Chapter 12

It was a chill night, despite the California heat, but the wind had died down to almost nothing. Up in the sky Henry could see the stars that were otherwise obscured by the city lights, twinkling and giving the night a serene feel. He didn't feel at all calm, however, as he looked to the deadly Spectaral Guard that was still walking towards him.

Without blinking, Henry gazed at the Spectar who seemed to be the leader of the group, daring him to come closer. They were all thin and muscular, but this one showed some emotion, a disgusted frown on his face. He also had the largest frame, towering over some of the other Spectars. With a signal that he couldn't see, the whole group parted until a form stepping into his view. He got a small shock when he recognized him from the memory. He didn't look that much different, but he could see that he had a few more thin white scars decorating his face, a fact that made him wonder what he had been doing to get them.

The large Spectar whom he had first believed was the leader of the group had also stepped away with the others, and he could now see that the Spectar who was stepping forward was obviously in charge. Even though he had a smaller build than the other Spectars, the powerful energies coming off of him clearly showed leadership, although they were different than his father's in his memories. He had light brown hair cropped close to his head and charcoal black eyes that seemed dead in his face. He was still coming towards them, but he saw his coal black eyes flicker with surprise before continuing with their original blank state.

"You're not…" He seemed confused for a moment, but shook it off. "Hand over the human. Now." Henry flew backwards at his words and shook his head quickly, wincing at how childish he probably looked, but unable to think with the adrenaline pumping through his veins at that moment. For the voice coming from the leader was spoken with hardly any emotion in it, but was still able to give Henry a clear message. We're not afraid to kill you if you don't obey.

"W-why do you want her?" he stuttered out, gripping the girl closer to him. Some of the Spectars with less-powerful auras started grinning wickedly, but a look from the leader froze their smiles and made them look down.

"She's connected to a certain person that we want to find," he almost spat out, for once not even trying to hold back the disgusted emotions coming from his memories.

"A… Spectar?" he asked cautiously, not wanting to give any information out yet. His father had told him that they probably wouldn't know his identity yet, since his Spectaral energies were still developing, but sooner or later he would begin giving them information about himself unconsciously, letting them see who he was with just a glance at him. For now, though, his only priority was to keep Ashley safe.

"Yes," the Spectar said, gazing at him closely. Adam felt like trying to cover himself up from the other Spectars, but tried to show as little fear as he could, standing straight in front of them. "Your energy doesn't seem very much like a Spectar's…" he said quietly, staring at him intently again. "In fact, it seems almost… human." His head snapped up to face him and before Henry could react, he had crossed the air to him and was right next to him, fingering a strand of his hair and gazing at his face, grinning. Henry automatically stiffened, feeling the hostile waves wash onto him.

"I thought that you looked a bit too much like him for it to be a coincidence," he grinned, his teeth looking almost like an animal's and glinting in the light. "And now… look at you! You're almost a mirror image of the bastard!"

"I… I don't know what you're talking about," Henry stiffly said, although he knew it was pointless to try to lie to him. His features had given him away, just like Adam had warned him they would.

The Spectar's smiled disappeared sharply. "Don't even try, you filthy half-human." Some of the Spectars in the group far away from Henry were still trying to get it, and caught on once he spoke. The Spectar moved too fast for Henry to see again, and was at the other side of him, a drop of blood sliding down his finger. The tip of his index finger was glowing with the silver light that he had seen before, and when he reached a hand up to his face, still supporting Ashley, he winced as he felt a gash down the side of his left cheek. At that point he knew that the Spectar would be able to kill him in a second and felt a chill run through him, threatening to make him go limp in the Spectars gaze.

"But this is very interesting," the Spectra thought aloud, looking contemplative again. His extreme mood swings were beginning to disturb him even more than his dangerous energy, and he seemed more like a wild animal that a civilized Spectar being. Especially after seeing and talking with his father in his memories, the cold, ferocious energies of these Spectars showed the true nature of the beings. "I'm going to have to report this to the King." He turned around to the group of Spectars and made a signal to them with his hand that Henry couldn't catch. "All right, you guys, we're going back." To a few grumbles, he shouted out, "Does anybody have a problem with that? … No? Good."

He started floating slowly towards the rest of the Spectars, and Henry couldn't believe his luck. They were letting him go? He still couldn't believe it as the leader turned to him one last time.

"And don't think that we're letting you off easy just because we're not killing you," he grinned at him. "It just means that we have much better things in store for you." With that, they were gone, leaving Henry left with an empty sky.

He suddenly had to remember how to breathe, almost falling out of the sky with the feeling of weakness that he had. He looked down at Ashley, though, and knew that he had to get on land. He could keep going, probably, but he didn't think that hundreds of feet above the ocean in the arms of a stranger was the best way to wake up.

*-*

The next morning, Henry woke up early, wondering how long Ashley could sleep and marveling that he used to be the same way. He hardly needed any food or sleep anymore, and could still feel his body growing stronger and more efficient.

As the sun started to shine through the cracks in the wood that they were surrounded by, he decided to get going early and tapped Ashley slightly, trying to wake her up. At first she just stretched lazily, perhaps not realizing yet that she wasn't in her room. Henry had carried her to the closest building he found, a small beach shack by the shore. He had piled some net sand soft cloth to make it softer, instead sleeping on the hard wood on the other side of the shack, but it still couldn't' be that comfortable…

He glanced back at her as she started to blink her eyelids, her eyes still seeming lit with the energy that he saw in her. She seemed confused for a second, looking around at the wooden slats covered with beach things and fishing supplies until her gaze alighted on Henry.

She screamed, of course, unsettling the ocean birds that had settled on the roof of the shack.

"Where am I?" she asked him, scrambling as far as she could away. "You're that creepy person from last night! Where did you take me?" She tried the pocket of the light cream coat that she had on over her dress for her phone, but Henry had removed it earlier, predicting this. "You knocked me out?" she shrieked, looking around at her surroundings. "What else did you do to me?" She stared at him with a panicked expression on her face, breathing heavily, but he just stared at her calmly until she calmed down.

"I moved you because I had to," he told her simply. "I needed to get you out of there before they came, and in my rush I accidentally knocked you out. I'm sorry."

"What-how…" She stared at him curiously until, sighing, he lifted himself into the air, refreshing her memory. Her eyes widened again and she gasped, almost making Henry laugh at how comical it looked. "How did you carry me, then?" she asked, looking more quizzical now. She stood up in front of him, looking curious. He stiffened, not expecting this type of reaction, but answered.

"I can control it most of the time, but I'm still getting used to it," he tried to explain. She nodded at him, still looking fascinated, and asked him, "And does it work the other way? I mean, can you feel things going around you as well?"

"Yeah," he answered slowly, wondering how much he should tell her. Then again, he didn't know how long they would be in this mess, and it would probably be better for her to know who they were up against. "And there are others like me who can touch me, since I'm becoming more like them. Spectars."

She looked up at him quickly and gazed at his cheek. "How did you get that scar?" she asked quietly. He touched his face self-consciously, knowing that even with his accelerated healing powers, there would still be a thing white line. He had figured out before that the only wounds that would leave any kind of mark were the ones created with the silvery energy that the Spectars seemed to be able to control.

"Last night, after you blacked out, I met the Spectars that were coming after you. They let me go after a while, but wanted to give me a little warning."

"They just let you go, huh," she said, a little distracted by gazing at his scar again. "Why did you save me?" she asked. "Why do you care if I get caught by those things-Spectars, or not."

"Somebody important to me asked me to," he said quietly, watching her as she gazed up at him again. "He's gone now, and I think... I think this is the best way to honor him, to accomplish what he asked me to do." He was quiet for a few moments before turning away and saying, "I think we should be leaving soon, before anybody finds us. Also, I'm not exactly how it works, but maybe if we get some distance in between us it'll be harder for them to find us."

"Wait, hold on a second," she said, her expression turning incredulous. "You're expecting me to just go with you, and not go back home? You said that you don't when this could end- it could be days, weeks!"

"Time's usually not an issue for Spectars," Henry said gravely. "We could be speaking years."

"What?" she cried, disbelieving. "Sorry, but I can't do that. Thank you for saving me before, but-"

"Would you rather they just kill you and get it over with?"

"They would do that?" she whispered in a voice not much higher than a squeak. He nodded and she turned around, shaking her head. "I still cant- I can't just leave!" she cried desperately. "I'm sorry, but I just want to come home." She started walking to the door of the shack, her head down.

"Good luck with that," Henry said.

"What?" she asked, turning to him again.

"I travelled a while before they caught up to me last night. I think we're around the western coast of Mexico right now."

"What!" she repeated, a little strained. She stomped off again and told him, "I don't care. I'll just… find my way home somehow." She opened the wooden door and bright light came pouring in, blinding them both for a moment. Soon, though, she was walking onto the sandy beach, without shoes and still in the party dress that she had on the night before.

"Come on, you aren't seriously thinking of walking back to San Francisco," he said, floating a little bit behind her. He worried that people would see him, however, and touched his feet down onto the sandy beach, walking now.

"I'll find a cab to take me," she said stubbornly.

"Do you even know anything about Mexico? Or for that matter, do you know any Spanish?"

"I took a semester of it…" she said, looking less and less sure. "I'm sure I don't need to talk much, just show them some money and I'll be on my way!" With a burst of frustration, Henry realized that he hadn't taken away her money along with her phone. But what could he do? He wasn't about to just take her wallet from her hands!

"You don't know if you'll be safe. What if somebody attacks you when I'm not there?" They were passing by people now, and even as he was gaining a better understanding of his powers, he still wasn't comfortable around large crowds. He had changed out of his formal attire into a t-shirt and shorts after they had left, but he still felt like he stuck out too much.

"Relax. It's not like I haven't been in a big city before," she told him, looking for a business to go to.

"Please," Henry said softly, causing her to turn around. "I promised my father I would do this. I don't know how you're connected in this, but they've already gone after you and they'll do so again. Please. I just want to do this one thing for him."

He almost ran into her as she stopped suddenly, her head slumping over on her shoulders. She let out a sigh and he looked at her curiously, jumping as she turned back to him.

"You really think I'm in danger?" she asked, with a stern expression on her face.

"Now more than ever," he told her, thinking about the Spectars who had stopped them last night. "If you had seen them, Ashley, you would have known," he told her pleadingly. She sighed again and started walking. He was about to start asking her again when she told him, "I guess I can get away for a few days. If I get to tell my parents." Henry grinned at her words and almost hugged her.

"You won't regret this, I promise! I'm saving your life here!"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever," she said without emotion. Where a slight grin would usually alight her face, there was no sign of anything she was thinking. She allowed him to lead her to a less crowded place and asked him, "Can I use my phone now? I have to tell my mom right away, otherwise we'll have the police after us." Henry grinned, knowing the human police would be nothing compared to the Spectaral Guard, but nodded and handed her the phone. She turned around, her stance suddenly showing nervousness, and asked him, "Can I talk to my mom alone, please?"

"Sure," he smiled, backing away. She walked to an empty lot and he saw her punching in numbers into her cellphone. He knew she couldn't escape even if she wanted to, especially since his speed had increased and he could probably get to her before she had taken more than a few steps, but she almost seemed panicked as she held the phone up to her ear.

Slowly, though, she brought the phone back down and looked at it, her bright eyes duller than they had been the night before. She seemed to be trying to suppress some emotion, but Henry couldn't tell what. She clicked the phone shut with an emotionless face again and he could hear the soft sound across the space between them. She walked back to him slowly with her head down and placed the phone into his outstretched hand when she came to him.

"No signal," she said simply, turning away from him again. He flipped the phone open and saw that there weren't any bars in the top left corner of the screen, a notice that he was sure she wouldn't miss if she had been thinking calmly. With quick and silent presses that she wasn't able to notice, he searched through the call history until he found the newest entry. He felt like gritting his teeth as he saw the numbers. 911. Instead, however, he grinned grimly, thinking how she still thought that the human forces could save her now. She might not believe how powerful the world of Spectars could be, but the way things were going, she was sure to find out.

A few seconds passed until Henry made up his mind. He looked quickly around but could see no people around him, and stepped towards her quickly, gathering her in his arms and shooting up into the air. She was about to shriek, but he covered her mouth with his hand again until they got higher up in the sky, making sure her crimson lips stayed closed. He was sure not to fly too high or fast to make sure she wasn't uncomfortable, but it annoyed him that he couldn't test his new speeds. After he was sure she wouldn't struggle, he loosened his grip so that she would be more comfortable and uncovered her mouth.

"Can you warn me when you're about to do that?" she asked him angrily as soon as she got her breath back.

"Well it would lose all of the fun then, wouldn't it?" he asked her, grinning and lowering his face just above hers so she could see it. Automatically her cheeks flushed scarlet and she looked away, startling him. Well this is interesting, he thought, wondering why the usually bold girl had gone shy. Maybe she was feeling guilty. He pondered that for a few minutes, neither of them saying anything as they passed by the land. Eventually though, he decided that it would be easier for both of them if they at least talked to pass the time.

"What were you going to tell you parents, anyways?" he asked her, breaking the silence between them. "Hey, I'm not going to be home for dinner tonight, but no worries!" She grinned slightly and he felt glad that he had made her smile.

"I don't really know," she told him, a far-off look on her face. "I couldn't really say I was completely all right, could I?" He nodded, understanding how she felt. Oh, and it's just parent by the way.

"What?" he asked her, coming out of his thoughts.

"It's not parents, it's just my mom," she said calmly, as if she were just trying to smoothly explain things so there wasn't any confusion.

"Oh," he said quietly, wondering why she was telling him this. If she really just planned on getting this over and going back home, why would she care what he thought? "Can I ask what happened, or is it too personal?'

"He died a long time ago," she told him, looking into his eyes with a pain in her that didn't seem quite healed-over. As soon as it came out, she was pushing it back into her, closing off the subject. "Should I just keep addressing you as, 'Hey, You,' or do you actually have a name?" She was back to her wise-cracks, and was smiling again, but Henry could see that this was to cover up whatever she had said before, making the atmosphere light again.

"It's Henry," he grinned, being more than welcome to have an easier time with Ashley. He didn't know what to say to her father dying, didn't know how to get through the thick emotional barrier that she had just placed between them.

"All right, Henry. Nice to meet you, finally."

Underneath them, the brown land eventually changed into the deep blue waves of the ocean and with her head leaning against Henry's chest, Ashley closed her eyes and let sleep take her away in his arms.

A/N : Double update!