|Ghost of Days Gone By
Author: DeathWriter97 PM
Anna Elizabeth Taylor has just moved in with her Mom at Northanger Valley. After years of being on the road with her dad, it's going to be hard to adjust living with her mom, her step-dad, and his son. Not to mention the ghostly stranger that seems to have claimed her bedroom as his.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 35 - Words: 70,357 - Reviews: 27 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 18 - Updated: 04-19-13 - Published: 08-31-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3054708
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Don't say goodbye,
Cause I don't wanna hear those words tonight,
Cause maybe it's not the end for you and I,
And although we knew,
This time would come for me and you,
Don't say anything tonight,
If you're gonna say goodbye," - Skillet
I could only half listen as Sergeant Hugo and some of the other higher-ups in the division argued over what the best tactics would be. I knew that I really should have been paying attention, but it was hard to when I knew that in less than an hour, I was going to be taken from the place that I had begun to call home. The past four hours, while productive as they were, passed by way too quickly and at the same time way to slow.
For those four hours, Sergeant had everyone working the phones and computers; stating our case to other divisions and gifted and begging them to help us. Most of them understood and were happy to join the revolution; some were not so, as was only to be expected. People from all over the world were going to be pouring in to Northanger Valley over the next few weeks.
As we worked, my mind continued to wander to my brother. I kept worrying about what he was thinking and what he was going through. He had to have been freaked; I mean it's not every day that one gets kidnapped by grey-haired men who claim to be 'purifying the world of evil'. Well, I guess lately that had been a trend among the gifted, but for normal people that doesn't happen often.
But his life was never going to be normal again; he might get to the point where he could laugh and joke, but in the back of his head he'd always know that things weren't right. He'd finally know that we weren't exactly mundane. He might never see Mason, Emma, Bethany, and Simon the same way as he used to; might see them as something other than the people that he went to school with, hung out with, and the family he fell in love with.
Because it was a family to him, in a weird, unconventional way; I had watched the relationships grow and had seen the way he felt about the group. Simon was his adopted brother of sorts; Mason his cousin. Emma and I were his sisters; he'd do anything for any of us. I think everyone knew what Bethany was to him; I just hoped that nothing that the hunter's told him or taught him would change the way he felt towards us. I hoped that all of us would survive to see the aftermath of this, but I had to push those thoughts away before I broke down in front of everyone.
I wondered if the others were having similar thoughts as my eyes wandered to them. Mason seemed preoccupied by Sergeant and the others' words, but on occasion his grey eyes would flicker exasperatedly towards his left, where Emma sat, but that was only when the subject of our English friends came up. Emma was relatively calm, for her; she listened quietly as Sergeant and the other men conversed. When the conversation would mention the division in England, her eyes would light up and she would have to hold in a squeal; actions that did not go unnoticed by the boy to her right.
Bethany seemed like her usual calm self, but I noticed that she was a little antsy; her leg bounced up and down nervously and she kept checking her phone for the time. Her blue eyes showed how torn she was; on one hand, she didn't want the hunter's to take me, but on the other hand, she really wanted Seth to come back home. I sighed before my eyes met with a pair of electric green ones.
I could tell by the fact that Simon's eyes had also been wandering around the room, that he was having trouble paying attention as well. I wondered how he was going to survive all the intense training and war-talk over the next month or two. Then, the thought of time hit me; it could've been two, three, four months or even up to a year before they were able to infiltrate the hunter's base. That thought scared me.
I tried to pull off one of those polite, albeit fake, smiles that one awkwardly gives when they've been caught looking at someone else, before Simon would notice where my dark thoughts were going. I could tell that it was all for not, though, as his eyes darkened and his own smile unknowingly mimicked mine. His eyes glanced toward his father quickly and seemed to take notice of the fact that he was quite engrossed in his work.
Simon stood up from his seat quietly as his eyes called out to me. I followed his suit and stood up carefully, not wanting to attract any attention. Bethany, Emma, and Mason watched us as we walked past them; walked towards our exit. We smiled at them as we passed; tried to quench their worries.
We walked through the seemingly long hallway in silence. The journey seemed a lot longer than it really was as I started to feel like the walls were closing in around me; the panic finally setting. The thoughts that I couldn't completely delve into before, due to distractions and vehemently pushing them away, came at me in full force. What if my brother hates us? What if some of us don't come back? What if I lose everything I've ever loved?
My muscles felt sore from being so tense all the time; my stomach churned from the stress. My breathing became quick and shallow as I felt like something was sitting on top of my chest; keeping me from getting any air. I tried to push away the bad thoughts that were residing in my brain, but the damage had already been done; I had already reached freak-out mode.
Simon's pace quickened as if he could feel the change in the atmosphere; his warm hand found my cold, clammy one. I found that the closer we got to the doors, the more I needed to get out. The claustrophobic feeling lessened once my hand was in the safety of Simon's, but it couldn't completely take away the suffocation. It wasn't until the doors were opened and I was out in the chilly October air that I felt as if I could breathe again.
Once outside, it took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness; the moon not being visible enough to illuminate the place. The stars momentarily distracted me, but could not comfort me as I looked up towards heaven. I prayed, but I wondered if I had any right to ask God to hear me; it wasn't as if I had done anything to deserve it.
"I'm sorry," I whispered as I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. My eyes stung from the tears that I wasn't about to let fall.
"Don't be," he said calmly. He sat down on a patch of grass that had grown between the armory and the sidewalk and motioned for me to join him. As I sat, I looked into Simon's eyes; the agony and fear that he was hiding were all kept in his eyes. "You're going through a lot, right now."
"You are, too," I sighed. "Everyone is going through a lot. There's just so much pain. I feel bad for the aura readers who are going through it and then having to feel it from everyone else."
"Don't worry about it, too much," he spoke the words that seemed to have become his catchphrase as of late. He gave me a calming smile as he pushed some stray strands of hair behind my ear and his hand lingered on my cheek.
"That's easy for you to say," I murmured, slightly distracted by his warm hand and my quickening heartbeat. "But it's not so easy to do."
"I know; I'm sorry," he smiled sadly as he caressed my cheek absentmindedly. "I just hate seeing you so upset." His eyes got this faraway look in them and I figured that the thought of this possibly being the last time that we would have to spend together was weighing heavy on his mind.
There wasn't much of a thought process that went through my brain except for one thought; I hate it when he's sad. The next thing I knew, my arms were around his neck and my head on his shoulder in my own weird way of hugging him. I realized with a start that this was similar to the time in the school's nurse's office; well, minus the whole just waking up from a horrible nightmare and still trying to keep a gigantic secret from him thing.
Another difference was that he wasn't as hesitant to wrap his arms around me in response, this time. He held me there for a moment before he readjusted me into a more comfortable position; holding me tight as I sat in his lap with my head on his shoulder. I think that a small part of this positioning was so I couldn't see everything he wasn't telling me in his eyes, but I wasn't about to complain.
"Thank you," he said after a moment; his voice giving away some of the pain that he had been trying to hide. I stifled a humorless laugh; he shouldn't have been thanking me.
"No," I paused for a moment. "Thank you!" He moved around a bit so that we could look into each other's eyes; his electric green ones staring at me perplexedly. "You have been nothing, but nice to me; even in the beginning, when you were unsure of me." I didn't elaborate; knowing that he knew full well that I meant when he was still avoiding the gift. "You have helped me out several times and not just because of some unspoken 'bro code', where you take care of your best friend's little sister, because it's your duty or whatever; you really care. You've become so close to me that I consider you one of my best friends. So, thank you; for everything."
Tears formed in the corners of his eyes and a smile graced his lips. His mouth opened and closed a few times, but all he could manage was to shake his head and smile; something that he did quite often when I did something that seemed to surprise him. I was left to wonder what exactly had I done to provoke that reaction out of him when I saw a familiar look in his eye; determination with slight uncertainty.
Then, he kissed me. At first, my body was frozen in shock and it took a moment for me to kiss him back as my mind slowly grasped what was happening. When the realization finally hit, I thought that my heart was going to come right out of my chest from beating so hard.
I hadn't known how much I had actually wanted this until he kissed me. I mean, I knew that I was starting to like him, but I had pushed away those feelings as they surfaced because I thought that it was impossible that he would feel the same. As he pulled me close, though, I found that it was pointless to ignore them.
We pulled apart after a moment; both of us in need of air. His electric green eyes stared into mine timidly, as if to check to see if he had crossed any lines. After seeing the small smile and the blush that had painted my cheekbones, the fear was gone and replaced with excitement and joy. A blush spread out across his own face.
"I'm sorry if that was bit rash," he chuckled with a mixture of both nervousness and bliss. "I just couldn't let you leave without at least giving you some indication of how I felt. I probably could've found a slightly smoother way to do it, though. Are you- Do you . . . ?"
I couldn't help, but smile as he struggled; the part he feared not totally over quite yet. In one bold move, I kissed him; hoping that he'd grasp what I meant. Then, I smiled at him and added, "I feel the same."
I caught only a glimpse of the grin the broke out across his face as he pulled me into a tight hug. "Thank goodness!" I could barely hear him whisper into my hair. I couldn't help the giggle that escaped my lips; the evanescent euphoria that came from the sudden revelations and being safe in his arms left me a bit light headed.
"Anna? Simon?" Bethany's voice called out in the distance; bringing reality back with it. With a sigh, we separated ourselves from one another and gave each other a slightly embarrassed smile.
"We're over here," Simon called out rather calmly. I could hear Bethany's footsteps as she neared where we sat. When she reached us, I took one look at her face and was reminded of the impending doom that was to come upon us.
"It's almost time to go," Bethany informed me. "Everyone wants to say goodbye before you go." Simon and I stood to our feet and nodded before the three of us walked back into building silently.
The pleasure that I had felt outside faded as we walked through the bright hallways. Simon's grip on my hand was a nice reminder, though, and kept my thoughts from wandering down dark paths. I tried to keep my mind blank as we walked into the room where I was to say my farewells to my friends for possibly the last time.
The first person to attack me was Gabriella Bond; her emerald eyes were watery as she wrapped her arms around me in a bone-crushing hug. She and I had become close after the knife incident and through training; I was going to miss the spunky teenager. Her brother, Gabriel, gave me a slightly gentler hug. Both of told me to not let anything the hunters did get to me and that they'd be waiting for me to come home.
I lost count of how many hugs and handshakes that were given to me that night. I remember Sergeant Hugo giving me a slightly awkward one-armed hug as his wife, Nurse Hugo, quickly pulled me into a bone-crushing hug. With tear filled blue eyes, she said, "There's something I need to tell you before you go."
"What is it?" I asked, wondering what the kind hearted woman had to say. She looked around us to make sure that a certain person of interest wasn't around. When she was satisfied that it was just she, her husband, and I, she turned back to me.
"I want to thank you," she said quietly, still afraid that someone was in hearing distance. "For bringing our son back to us. He had kind of started to shut us out and then you came and brought him back into the gifted world. So, thank you."
"Oh, but I didn't do anything," I protested. "He came back all on his own." The gentle nurse shook her head and smiled at me.
"You still played a major part in it," she said as she gave me one last hug. Before I could start to protest again, I was pulled away by a very forceful and familiar hand.
"I know you have to make a good impression on the boyfriend's parents and all, but save that for after you've saved everyone. Your friends want a little time with you before you have to go," Mason complained as he made an abrupt stop halfway before we could get to where Emma, Bethany, and Simon stood in wait.
"I wasn't –" I started to argue when he turned around and gave me a knowing smirk; mischief dancing in his grey eyes. "But you already know all that."
"Yeah, I know," he smirked. I could tell that he was having problems keeping up a joyful countenance; as much as he didn't want me to surrender, he also didn't want me to feel totally miserable about it. "Oh, and don't worry about your boyfriend messing around on you while you're gone; I'll keep an eye on him." He winked at me.
"Are you . . . okay with us?" I asked, recalling how the two still weren't exactly the best of friends. For some reason, asking him this made me think about Seth; I wondered how he would handle this if it wasn't for his current circumstances.
"Yeah," he said after a moment of contemplation. "I'm cool with it. I mean, I think that you could totally do better, but he seems a good enough guy. Of course, if he does anything that hurts you, I will kill him and not feel the least bit guilty at the enjoyment I'll get out of it."
"Fair enough," I grinned, letting the relief flood through me. I valued his opinion and was glad that that it wouldn't become totally awkward between us when I got back. "But instead of keeping an eye on him while I'm gone, maybe you should look after Emma."
"What do you mean?" he tried to act as if he had no earthly clue as to what I was implying, but I saw the hint of a blush that warmed his face. I raised an eyebrow at him and gave him a little smirk of my own. His blush grew and he looked away for a moment. "Fine," he said, looking back a pulling me into a hug. "While I do that, you need to take care of yourself."
"I will," I whispered as I hugged him back. "I promise." Then, we started walking towards our friends again. Emma quickly hobbled over and crushed me in a hug.
"If any of those evil people are especially mean to you or overall evil, you just point them out and I'll take them down," Emma said passionately; her eyes flashing. I gave her a small smile and glanced down at her broken leg silently.
"You won't be taking anyone down with that leg of yours," Mason pointed out before she could get too carried away. She gave him a glare, but then sighed; he was going to win this battle tonight, but something told me that it wasn't completely over yet.
"Be careful; okay?" she said turning back to me with a small comforting smile. "And remember that, when all else fails, kick butt!"
"I'll remember that," I chuckled. "Take care of yourself; when I come back, I want to see you walking around with ease." She grinned and nodded in agreement. Then, I turned to Simon and was engulfed in another hug.
"I'm going to miss you," he murmured into my hair. The tears that I had been fighting back as I said goodbye to all my friends threatened to escape as I was mostly hidden in Simon's embrace.
"I'm going to miss you," I spoke quietly for fear that my voice would break. As we parted, I had a sudden thought. "Oh, I want you to take care of these," I handed him my cell-phone and started to take off the jacket that he had given me.
"What are you doing?" he asked with a raised eyebrow. I gave him a smile as I handed to him; he took it hesitantly.
"I need you to take care of it so I can wear it when I get back," I shrugged. I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me once I was inside the hunters grasp and I really liked the jacket; I didn't want to have to throw it away because of a tear or something – vain, I know, but that jacket really did mean a lot to me. Simon chuckled a bit before giving me another hug.
Then, Bethany and I were off to parts unknown. As we went out the door, I took one look back at the people that I'd grown so fond of. I was going to see all these people again, I told myself. They were an amazing bunch of people; they were going to come out of this better and stronger than before. I told myself all this as Bethany and I rode off into the dark night, but I still couldn't fight away the dark thoughts that were slowly creeping into my mind.
Bethany pulled into the vacant parking lot and we just sat there in silence; the car's headlights adding a fitting spookiness to the empty playground area. This is it, I thought to myself, as she turned off the car and pulled the keys out of the ignition; I'm really going to do this. A quiet sob broke the silence and caused me to turn to my companion, who was now holding her head in her hands and crying.
"I'm sorry," she said, pulling her head out of her hands and shaking it, as if she could just shake off all the pain. I put a hand on her shoulder and started to try and comfort her. "This isn't right," she exclaimed through sobs. "You shouldn't have to leave!"
"I know," I whispered as I pulled her into a hug and she cried into my shoulder. I ran my fingers through her hair as she continued to let out everything that she had been holding in all night. "I know."
"I'm sorry," she said as she slowly sat back up. She took a deep breath and gave me a slightly painful smile. "You don't deserve this; I'm going to be strong from now on."
"It's okay, you've been the strong one all night," I reminded her. "Sometimes it okay to let your feelings out; sometimes it's necessary."
"Thanks," she smiled. Then, a worried look came across her face. "I'm sorry if I interrupted you and Simon, earlier. I just didn't know how much time we were going to have left after everyone said goodbye and -"
"It's okay," I laughed. "Don't worry about it; I think we got everything we needed to say out before you came to get us." I blushed again, recalling what had happened.
"Thank goodness," she breathed a sigh of relief. Then, the two of us decided to get out of the car and walk into the park. "I'm glad you guys have finally come together!" she said as we sat down in the abandoned looking swings. I caught a glimpse of joy on her face before it turned into a wistful look.
"Maybe when things have settled, you could try to make it work for yourself," I said carefully; not wanted to offend her. She looked away; a blush forming.
"What if he doesn't want anything to do with us?" she asked sorrowfully; lightly swaying back and forth in her swing. I had been having similar thoughts all night, but I wasn't about to let her go around thinking like that.
"Seth isn't that type of person," I said with more assurance than I felt. "It might be a little awkward for a little while, but it's nothing that time can't heal."
"You're right," she said confidently; I wasn't sure if she was saying that because she really believed it or if she wanted to believe it so desperately. Then, we fell into a comfortable silence again.
I kicked my feet and swung carefully; going back and forth as I kept an eye on the entrance to the park. I stopped as a dark van pulled into the parking lot where Bethany's car sat; my heart stopped with me. All I could see were silhouettes in the distance, as two men jumped out of the van's cab and walked around to the back.
One man freely jumped out of the back after the first two had opened the doors; from the way he walked and stood, I guess that he was a little older in age. Then, he turned to look into the van and stood there; he seemed to be talking to whomever was inside, but I couldn't hear anything from where I sat. Then, the last silhouette appeared from the back with his hands that seemed to be tied in front of him and he seemed reluctant to walk; my heart jumped into my throat.