They plummeted down and Kaetlyn closed her eyes, her fingers digging desperately into his arms. The wind whistled in her ears, numbing her cheeks, as they continued to drop. "I'm going to die," she groaned.
There was a snort behind her. "Kinda tough to do, considering the fact that you're already dead."
Great, I'm stuck in the arms of a wisecracker, falling to the ground like some shooting star and the heat of the force is probably going to meld us together and we'll be stuck to each another forever like some ghostly pair of Siamese twins and I'll have to listen to this guy remind me everyday how dead we are. Lovely.
"Isn't it? I think so."
She sucked in a breath and the wind nearly choked her. "What?"
"Lovely." The low, raspy voice repeated. "I think so."
"My god," she breathed. "You're telepathic?"
"No," he said dryly. "You just shouted your thoughts out to the world for the past minute."
"Stop reading my thoughts!" The wind gargled her words.
There was silence. "Babe." A slow drawl murmured low in her ears. "I wasn't being sarcastic. You really were shouting your thoughts out."
She had the uncanny feeling that she probably really had done just that so she refused to comment. But then again, her dignity was already in shreds so what's adding one more insane tendency to her list? Behold, the dead runaway balloon so called secret weapon who can't keep track of her mouth's spewing of runaway thoughts. Excellent.
The wind seemed to grow stronger, slamming into her face, stinging her eyes. It's a good thing she didn't have to breathe. She choked out, "Who are you?"
"Well, do I get to go to heaven now?" Kaetlyn retorted.
"Oh sure, if you can just point the way …"
Her eyelids closed, tightening, and her hands came up to clutch at the arms that were wrapped around her, heat radiating through the tips of her fingers. They continued to fall, plunging like rocks, and then …
And then it was over.
They were back on the rooftop and quickly, she stumbled forward, disentangling herself from the man. His arms dropped, letting go with no trouble, and her body crumpled down just as easily. Gasping, she curled her fingers against the concrete ground, relishing the rough gravel.
Cian appeared before them, his hair wild. His hands caught hers and even though her hands were cold, his felt frigid. His eyes were darkened, wide. "Are you okay?"
She nodded and to her dismay, she could feel a tremor run through her. She glanced back over her shoulder at the stranger and the man, underneath the light of the moon, appeared alien with his crimson eyes, tight black leathery clothes, and spiked dark hair. He watched her with those glittering eyes, lids lowering to shadow the bright irises, as he dipped his head low with a feline grace. The lips, full and flushed, slowly spread in a secretive smile.
Cian shoved her behind him and took a step forward. Her heart pounded erratically. Was the stranger one of those renegades -
"What the hell took you so long?" Cian growled.
The man jerked his shoulders up and then his arms reached up, stretching tautly before him as he let out a huge yawn. "I showed up, didn't I?"
"You were supposed to have answered me yesterday when I submitted my report. I did include my request, didn't I?"
"Yeah, yeah." The man bounced on the balls of his heels. Then he brushed past Cian, heading for the doors. "Relax, since when did you become such a nag?"
"If she had been caught, you do realize we would have -"
"Yadda, yadda, yadda, got the same spiel already." The stranger waved a hand breezily over his shoulder.
Kaetlyn followed the arguing pair back down the stairs toward Cian's apartment, rubbing her elbow mutedly. She wasn't sure if she was supposed to interrupt or anything, but she'd rather that they didn't notice her anyway. She was still smarting from her little helium balloon on the loose experience.
Unfortunately, as soon as they stepped through the door to Cian's place, both men turned toward her. The stranger smiled again. "Blake, where are your manners?"
Cian threw him a dirty look and then flapped his hand between Kaetlyn and the man. "Kaetlyn, this is Haden. Haden, Kaetlyn."
Haden turned on his heels and dropped heavily onto Cian's couch, taking up the whole spans. He folded his hands behind his neck and stared up at the ceiling. "So you're the mysterious, almighty secret weapon, huh?"
"I suppose," Kaetlyn affirmed miserably.
His eyes slanted toward her, raking her up and down. "You got killed by some girl dropping in on you?"
She wrung her hands together. "Pretty much."
He sat up abruptly and somehow, crossed the room in a flash, bending his head low to meet her eye for eye. She blinked, resisting the urge to back away.
Those strange fiery eyes dropped, cruising down her body. A mischievous grin crossed his face as he leered, "Funny. I pictured you to be more … flat."
Someone probably couldn't turn thirty shades of red because really, were there even thirty shades of red? But if anyone could do it, it would be her.
Cian grabbed Haden's shoulder and hauled him backward. "Don't be an ass, Haden."
The man shrugged, sending her a lascivious wink. "Can't help it. It's my nature."
Kaetlyn nodded, bemused, and then edged sideways, heading for some random corner.
The two men watched her go. Haden raised a brow. "Where's she going?"
"Probably to recuperate. She tends to do this when she's particularly stressed, blabber like a nervous wreck or fall into this comatose silence." Cian scratched his chin. "Which, considering her situation, is what she's being doing for the majority of the time she's been here."
"And for the rest?"
"She tossed some renegades around."
"Nice," Haden whistled.
Kaetlyn was currently leaning against the wall with her eyes closed, face pale.
"Kae?" Cian called out. Her eyes opened and she stared at him warily. He winced. "Oh, come on, don't look at me like that. You did a good job."
"I almost flew off into outer space." Her voice was flat.
"But you flew."
Her lips thinned.
"Okay, fine. We won't talk about it." Cian jerked a thumb at Haden. "Want to know who he is?"
"Haden," she answered matter-of-factly.
"Yeah, well …" He paused. Haden snickered. Cian shot him a quelling look and then continued, "He's going to help out with your lessons."
She stared at them skeptically.
"Honest. He can really be useful if you have any more of these … mishaps."
Kaetlyn grimaced. "Can we just call it quits and -"
Haden snapped and a flicker of flame ignited upon his index finger, golden orange. Her lips parted and she blinked.
"Whoa," she breathed. "You - you're going to teach me that?"
Haden brought his hand close to his face and with a whisper, blew out the flame. He cast her a sidelong look, lips curving. "Not quite. Ghosts can't materialize flames, but I can help you with other aspects."
"What - I mean, who are you?" she wondered, taking a slow step forward.
Haden's eyes crinkled and he cast her another one of his long, slow smiles. "You'll find out later."
She looked over at Cian. Haden wagged a finger at her warningly. "Hey, no fun if you just tell her."
Cian rolled his eyes, crossing the room to pull Kaetlyn over to a chair.
Haden continued, "All you need to know is that I was sent by the department to look after you guys. After all -" He tipped his head up, cutting Cian a superior look. "Cian's only a human."
"And you're a freak."
Haden ignored him, brandishing his hands. "There are limitations to what he can do. He can assist you in your tutoring, but if anything goes wrong, there should always be a backup." He bobbed his head as he sauntered over to the Cian's cabinet, strumming his fingers against the cases of CDs. Sending her a radiant smile over his shoulder, his head dipped into one deep nod and his fingers curled, touching his chest. "I'm backup."
Cian perched on the arm of her seat and drawled, "That's because he's pretty much useless otherwise. Reserved for only the last option possible, we don't want to risk him screwing up any other –"
Haden disappeared and reappeared across the room with a pop, falling back onto Cian's sofa with a prim smile.
Cian's eyes bulged. "Bastard! Get the hell off my furniture!"
Kaetlyn gaped. She didn't think Cian was that anal about -
Small grey tendrils of smoke started to curl up around Haden, who seemed utterly oblivious asides from the small dark smirk playing on his lips. Cian grabbed his lamp and swung it at the other man's head.
Haden ducked, rolling off the couch with a smothered laugh. Having vacated his seat, Kaetlyn could now see a blackened outline of the man's body seared into the couch. Cian settled his lamp back onto his drawer with a moan and he dropped to his knees before his furniture, patting the melted leather.
Swinging his head back to Haden, Cian glared through narrowed eyes and hissed, "I am going to murder you."
Haden rolled his shoulders. "Cheap material."
"Cheap material, my ass!" The other man snarled. "I'm going to disembowel you and then -
"Man, you should have covered it with plastic or something," Haden suggested with a faint grin. "You know, like what most grandmas do."
Cian looked like he could crunch glass from the way he gnashed his teeth. A spasm ran along his jaw. Growling deeply, he enunciated, "I tried that once, remember?" His smile was tight. "And you melted it like – a – pile - of - goo!" He snarled out the last words, hands fisting against his sides.
Haden sucked in a deep breath and cocked his head, shrugging. "Whoops?" Sending another wink at Kaetlyn, he disappeared with a subdued pop.
Kaetlyn turned back to watch Cian back to probing the sofa, making pained noises. "This is the fourth one he's ruined." He looked like he wanted to cry as he looked up at Kaetlyn. "Do you know how expensive good furniture are?"
He arched his head up at the ceiling and snarled, "I know you can still hear me, asshole! I'm going to tell POD to take the money out of your account!"
The leather sparked in a small explosion and Cian leapt back, glowering as the couch sizzled.
Cian muttered, "Can't even keep his own temperature down, stupid asshole. I hope global warming gets to you and you get fried."
Kaetlyn sat still for a minute, carefully pondering the many questions she had. Then she ventured, "Why didn't his clothes burn?"
Cian's hands hovered over the ruined leather grimly. He answered, "Specially tailored for him." Then he snorted, "It would be funny if I replaced all of his clothes with flammable suits one day. Yeah, watch him run around buck naked, stupid ass."
Kaetlyn touched her lips, trying to hide a smile.
"We'll bind him down and then we'll pour buckets of ice over him and see how hot he thinks he is then." He nodded at Kaetlyn, eyes bright and smile wide. "He's still male and you know, with male anatomy, our men parts tend to well, shrivel, when it gets cold and we'll steep him there until he gets frostbite and all his teeny bits fall off –" He stopped abruptly, horror sweeping over his face as he realized Kaetlyn was staring at him with an amused, yet mildly disturbed expression. Clearing his throat, flushing, he averted his eyes.
She was pink as well, but she couldn't resist. Chortling, she repeated, "Men parts?"
He threw her a threatening look even as his lips curled into a rueful grin. "Yep, that's right. His teeny parts." He nodded intently, bracing his forearms on his thighs as he leaned in closer with a conspiring smile. "That'll teach him for messing up my furniture."
Kaetlyn covered her face, shoulders shaking as she laughed helplessly, and Cian's smile softened.
© Copyright 06/27/2008 Maeven (FictionPress ID:349779). All rights reserved. Distribution of any kind is prohibited without the written consent of Maeven.