Welcome, one and all, to chapter 12!! Finally, right?!

This is, by far, one of the shortest chapters I've written for this particular book. It's sort of a transitional chapter, so do not be alarmed!! I will start to make them longer again, I promise!

Enjoy!! X3

Chapter 12: Secret


Shane came back to the lab late in the afternoon to find Mia awake. He noticed that her color was back, and she looked alert.

"Oh, you're up," he said, surprised that such a short nap could bring her back to normal, "Good afternoon, Mia."

Mia glanced up at him, obviously surprised by his appearance. "Oh. Shane. Good afternoon."

He sat down on the bed beside her, laying the back of his hand on her forehead. "How're you feeling?"

With a roll of her eyes, she grinned at him. "I don't have the great plague, Shane. I won't have a high temperature."

"No, but if it's low, you may have a low blood cell count," he replied with a serious expression, "I don't want you to do too much for a few days. Let your body recover."

Mia stuck her chin out defiantly. "I'm perfectly fine, Shane. Don't be such a worry wart."

Shane frowned at her. "You know, you may possibly be the most stubborn, beautiful girl I've ever met."

"That sounded like a compliment," she said with a sly smile, "In which case, thank you, Shane."

His frown deepened. "Don't be ridiculous. Just stay in bed and rest for a while."
With a huge grin, she shook her head. "No, I don't think I will. I want-"

"Mia," Shane interrupted, his eyes tired and pleading, "Please. Take it easy today, and rest. For me."

With an exaggerated sigh, she slouched back against the pillow grumpily. "Fine, but only for today. Tomorrow's not guaranteed."

He cupped her cheek and smiled at her gratefully. "Thank you." For emphasis, he kissed her, a light, lingering pressure on her mouth.

Nose to nose, Shane watched embarrassment stain Mia's skin with a beautiful shade of pink. "You're, ah... welcome."

He chuckled as he stood, walking away from his Realm Jumper.


Mia watched Shane as her facial temperature started to drop. That was weird, she thought, warily watching him go. He usually didn't show his affection unless-

She smacked the heel of her hand into her forehead, feeling stupid. Unless he drank blood. Duh. He'd done that a few hours ago, and the effect lingered for a while.

Gingerly, she got to her feet and swayed as blood rushed into her head. Shane was right. She needed to rest, but she needed to walk around a bit, too. She didn't want to Travel again, and too much rest would cause her to melt through this Realm to another. Also, she wanted to draw.

Soft as mouse paws, she tip-toed through the lab, looking for a notepad and two pencils. Carefully, she flipped through the notebooks scattered around Shane's lab, looking for one without any writing in it. They all had quickly jotted notes, abbreviated words, and a handful of hasty observational sketches.

After some careful examination, she found some looseleaf paper, a clipboard, a blunt-tipped pencil, and another pencil with a razor-sharp point. Satisfied, she snuggled into the bed.

Thoughtfully, Mia tapped the blunt pencil's eraser against her lip, wanting something to draw. Mindlessly, she sketched out two figures wielding swords. The left one's sword was lowered, in the act of swinging upward. The right figure held his close to his head, ready to parry the blow. She sketched in more details, turning the figures into discernible beings. They were both male, the left one dark haired and scowling, the right one fair haired and unconcerned. Both swords were basic longswords, made of shimmering metal.

Taking the razor sharp pencil in her sure grasp, she sketched in the details of their faces, hair, and clothing. With ease, she picked out the highlights and lowlights.

"Finished," she declared to the papers on her lap, carefully brushing away the eraser shavings. With a quick once-over to be sure she'd gotten everything in proportion, she gasped.

The boys on her paper looked exactly like Tobias and Shane! Awed, Mia let her fingers hover just inches above the graphite markings to avoid smudging it.

From her dream, she'd exactly captured their essences. Shane's fury and one-track drive, and Tobias's complete lack of expression were nearly perfect in the black-and-white sketches.

Never show Shane, she vowed to herself, sliding the sheet under his fold-away bed. I don't want to have to dodge that bullet.


Shane tapped his pencil against his nose, idly staring at some papers on his lap. He was too preoccupied to really grasp what was on the page. The letters turned into scribbles in his eyes, smudging together into black-and-gray blobs.

He was really curious about where Mia had gone, and why she'd had a ragged bloodstain in her shoulder. His eyebrows pressed together, and the tapping increased. Where had she gone?

With an irritated growl, he snapped the folder of papers shut. That question had been burning his tongue ever since she had returned. He couldn't think of a tactful way to ask, without seeming too overbearing or demanding.

Frustrated, he rubbed his face with his palms, trying to wipe away his irrational anger. It really wasn't any of his business, and he knew it, but it was eating away at him.

He would think of a way eventually, but would eventually be fast enough for him? Probably not, he thought with a wince. Information never came fast enough to him, and he was always thirsty for more.

"I will find out," he vowed to himself fervently, "I will if it takes me an eternity."

Yeah, not a lot of action in this one. I apologize if I've bored any of you to death! D:

Chapter 13 will be out ASAP! Please review! :)