WK: Long over due chapter. No inspiration, school evilness, and what not. Got a sudden burst of inspiration after listening to Lindsey Stirling, and dicided to finally finish this chapter. I'm random, I know. Anyway, sorry I haven't actually posted anything... In a long time... But, I do hope you enjoy this chapter. Recap: Skye's b-day, grand party. She gets an allergic reaction. That's pretty much it. Without further ado, here's Chapter 8 of Changelings.


Chapter 8

Night to Morning

"Skye? I'm so sorry." Kale said rather loudly after I'd gulped down the allergy medicine.

"Go away Kale." Brandy growled. Bradley knelt behind the two of us, rubbing reassuring circles on my back. My head was resting on Damian's lap. I was almost sure that the three of them had glares that would make Satan proud.

"Guys, I'm not dying," I croaked. "This just really sucks."

Bradley made a sound in the back of his throat. "You have hives, and still have trouble breathing, and can't talk very well." I raised a hand and waved dismissively, albeit weakly.

I didn't know what the guests were doing, and frankly, I didn't care. I just wanted to go home. And maybe sleep. Although I don't think I could. I mean, I felt tired, drained really, but my mind was wide awake. But I have this one fear about sleeping. I've had enough allergic reactions in my life to know that I was going to have horrific nightmares if I slept while still under the influence of Reactine or any other kind of allergy medication. Horrible dreams about spiders, or Aidan dying. Or Brandy or Damian dying. Or more recently, Bradley. Or, oh god, the pheline leader. I shuddered even thinking that possibility.

I felt a jacket placed on my torso before I realized that Bradley had stopped rubbing my back. I smiled at him, or at least I hoped it was a smile. I couldn't be sure in my somewhat dazed state.

"Skye, sweetie, are you up for travelling?" Brandy asked me. I don't know what I did, if I did anything, but there was some kind of approval, because the next second, she was making plans. "Bradley, will you take her home? Here's her house key. Damian and I will run damage control and let the guests party themselves out."

I don't remember how, but I found myself sitting in the front seat of Bradley's car. There was a breeze running through the car, not like if the convertible top was down, but like the window was open. I didn't bother looking around. I was more focused on the hand that was holding onto mine, and the body connected to it.

"Doing okay there?" Bradley asked quietly.

I let out a deep breath. "Tired." I whispered.

"You're not cold or anything? I can put the window up."

"It's fine. I like the breeze." I murmured, and it probably ended up being really slurred. I felt his hand leave mine when the car slowed and I leaned with the car as it turned. There was the sound of the windows being rolled up and then his car door slamming. My door opened and I opened my eyes. Bradley's face was inches from mine, which kind of scared me a little. The click of the seatbelt unbuckling made me jump slightly. I was on alert almost instantly. "Where are we?"

"Relax, Skye. We're back home." He chuckled silently. "By the way, don't talk, Shorty. You sound horrible." I made a face. He laughed again, almost a whispery sort of laugh. He placed my right arm around his neck and lifted me out of his car before kicking it closed. "Just relax and maybe fall asleep."

Completely ignoring his comment about being quiet, I said "Don't want to."

"I can see how I'm so attractive that you would want to stay awake all night just staring at me, but you just had an allergic reaction to something. You need sleep."

"Amazing. Asshole and Caring at the same time." I muttered.

"Aw, thanks Skye. I'm so happy you think I'm amazing."

I grimaced. "If I had the strength to hit you, I would."

Bradley squeezed me against him gently. "I know you would, Shorty, I know."

It was a quiet slow walk from the parking lot and the crunching sound of the gravel underfoot to the paved sidewalk near the cabins. He adjusted his grip as he tried to fish my key from his pocket. He seemed to have gotten it and walked up the steps to my porch. Or I thought it was my porch. It didn't smell like my house when he opened the door.

"I took you to my place. I've already told Brandy. I didn't think you'd want Aidan to see you like this." Bradley told me. He set me down on a couch, to which I fell over and say on my side. "Wait here," he laughed at his joke, "I'll grab you some clothes to change into."

I glared weakly at him and inspected my surroundings. It was sort of homey, which I did not expect. The dark green leather couch sat across from a rather large TV with some sort of game console that I was too tired to name, and there was a green leather loveseat that no doubt Bradley has made out with many girls on. His walls were all wood paneling in my view of the room. Bradley distracted my view of the rest of the room.

"Now, I wasn't sure what you'd want wear, so I just grabbed an old T-shirt and some sweat pants, if that's okay."Bradley said. He placed his hand on my forehead. "At least it doesn't feel like you have a fever. Not like the last time you were sick."

I just looked at him. He had this twinkle in his eyes, those beautiful grey eyes. Mischief? Humor? Both? I wasn't sure. I could stare into his eyes all day. I mean, really, he has these long blond eyelashes to frame the grey and there were flecks of brown, more in his right eye than the left. Or rather more in the left than in the right if you counted from me seeing the flecks on the right side, which officially would be his left side.

"Skye?"

"Hmm? What? Oh yeah. The clothes are fine."

I tried to stand. Didn't quite work. As I stood, my forward motion coupled with instability made me fall, aiming conveniently at Bradley's coffee table. But of course, given every possible cliché circumstance, the boy comes to the rescue in the terms of wrapping an arm across my collarbone. Contrary to cliché custom, we did not fall and land on top of each other. No, that would be too unbelievably cliché. And cheesy. I'm not one for cheese. Besides, Brandy and Damien emit enough bricks of cheese to satisfy a city.

Carefully, as if I were a doll, Bradley set me on the couch. He placed the clothes beside me. "I'm going to go change myself," he said as he glanced down at his tux. "Just call me if you need help. I'll be out in a few minutes."

The first thing I did was slide the pants on as fast as I could. They fit rather loosely on my hips, so I tied the drawstrings so it fit snugly on my hips and sort of billowed around the rest of my legs, just the way I liked. I slid the straps of my dress off my arms and then worked on trying to get the neck of the shirt over my head. I pulled on my hair when I couldn't stretch the fabric of the neck far enough. Was I loosing it? Or was my strength dwindling from possible inactiveness?

It has been really quiet in the forest front. Brandy and Damian were switching who took Aidan on patrols while I was teaching Conan some of the hand signs and the sounds of the commands. Conan had started trusting me more after the time we'd gotten found out. We had to basically disappear after that and the rumors had slowed down. Most people thought they were lying anyway. None of us had seen the phelines in a while, and Screech hadn't seen anything suspicious.

"Skye? You decent?"

"Enough," I called back. I'd just poked my head through the neck hole when Bradley came into sight. "My hair gave me some trouble."

Bradley grinned. He leaned over the back of his couch and helped me get my arms into the sleeves, and then just as deftly, unzipped the back of my dress. I pulled the rest of my shirt down when Bradley appeared in front of me. I glanced behind me and then back at him. How the hell…? Too tired to care right now.

On the bright side, I was more lucid now. Maybe I'd be able to stay awake.

He helped me stand, letting the dress fall harmlessly to my feet. Then he scooped me up like I was a little kid for the nth time tonight. He laughed when I glared at him. "Just accept it, Skye. At least for tonight. You can be all against it again tomorrow." He said.

"Only tonight." I muttered, conceding to how I was being treated. "I hate you." I added as an afterthought even though I placed my head on his shoulder.

"Yeah, okay, Shorty."

"Finally decided on my name, I see." I sighed.

Bradley laid me gently on his bed. "Hmm? Oh Shorty. I thought it fit. Might even stay."

"Have I told you I hate you?" I wondered as Bradley pulled the sheets up to my neck. He just smiled and turned to walk away. I reached my hand out of the covers and wrapped it around his wrist. "I told you I don't want to sleep, didn't I?"

Bradley crouched in front of me. "And what would you rather do?" He said rather suggestively. I made a face and ignored the innuendo behind his words.

"Talk."

"About?"

"I dunno." I muttered. "What's your favorite colour?"

Bradley brushed some hair, that had fallen on my face at some point, behind my ear. "I like green. You really need to sleep."

I sighed. "I'll have nightmares." I told him, feeling like a little kid again. He pulled his arm gently from my grip. "I don't want to sleep."

"Well try. Close your eyes." He waited for me to comply before continuing. "I'll be in the other room if you need me."

And that was the last thing he said to me before I did succumb to sleep. And a nightmare.

"Go ahead, little girl. Run. Try and escape me."

What am I running from? I'm scared. I don't want to be here. Scared. Afraid. What is that? A shadow? No. It's a person. I'm scared. Save me!

"You can't do it, can you?" The voice whispers in my ear. I jump. No one is near me. "You can't run away. You can't escape."

My heart beats faster. My breath heaves in and out of my lungs. I can't feel my body. It feels constricted. It is dark. Pitch black. I can't move. I want to cry.

"You will be mine. I've already—what are you doing here?"

What is going on? Is that a light?"

"Get out! She's mine!"

It feels like a comforting breeze. "Release her." It sounds like a whisper, but it sounds strong. "Let her be. Now, Skye, wake up."

"She's mine!"

I can't breathe. I'm fading away. Save me…

"Wake up."

"Skye! Wake up!"

I was screaming. That's the first thing I realised. So I shut my mouth. That voice scared me. I roughly wiped my eyes across one arm, but it didn't stop me from crying. I hiccupped once.

"Are you okay?" Bradley asked, placing his hand on my back. I was sitting up, my knees bent in front of me under the covers. "That's a stupid question, of course you're not alright." He placed his arm around my shoulders and held me close. "What's wrong? That's what I should have asked."

I pushed at him. This was his fault. His entire fault. The tears just kept falling, and I kept blaming Bradley. "It's your fault." I muttered at first. I pushed him again, my voice rising as all the blame for my nightmare went to him. "I hate you!" I screamed. "This is your fault!"

"Skye! Stop! What's wrong? What's my fault?" Bradley repeated over my yelling. I shoved him again, but he refused to move off from his spot next to me on the bed. I somehow caused him to fall backwards though, and continued to hit him with my fists.

"I told you," I cried. "I told you'd I'd have nightmares if I fell asleep! I told you and you let me sleep!" I hit him again, and again. "I told you!" Bradley wrapped his hands around my wrists.

"Stop, Skye." Bradley snapped. I started. He's never spoken like that to me, even when I was excessively rude. I stared at the boy lying in front of me. "I'm sorry, okay?"

I didn't move. I couldn't. I wanted to run. I think. I did tell him I'd get nightmares, right? I was positive I did. I wanted to run. Far away. He didn't get it. If I ran to my room, Faolan wouldn't be there. She's still at the vet's. I couldn't go running to Brandy or Damian, I didn't even know where they would be right now. I was stuck.

Bradley let out a mix between a grunt and a sigh. He sat up and then pulled me close, wrapping his arms around me. "It's okay," he muttered. "I'm sorry you had a nightmare." He rested his chin on the top of my head and rubbed his hand up and down my arm. I tried to ignore the comforting feeling I got from it, that I'd never let anyone give me. And yet somehow, this one guy was able to comfort me. It brought more tears to my eyes that I just let fall. "Do you want to talk about it?"

I shook my head and grabbed a fistful of his shirt. He squeezed my shoulder. "Are you going to have another nightmare if you fall asleep again?" He asked me gently. I thought back to my previous allergy experiences. I nodded. He brushed his thumb under my eyes, wiping away any tears that had fallen. "Then we'll talk. I won't let you sleep again. What's your favorite colour?"

I smiled slightly. "Blue."

"What do you want to talk about?"

I wondered myself at that kind of question. What did I want to talk about? "How'd you get accepted?"

He snorted slightly. "To the school?" I nodded, provoking a strong evergreen scent. It was comforting, like Faolan's scent. "I'd just turned 14 in the summer. My dad took me to the local pool and we were racing in some open lanes. We got quite a crowd. Needless to say, my dad won, but a scout from the school just happened to be there with his son and then the kid and I raced. I won that one. The scout offered me a place on our team on the scholarship, and I agreed. It took me a while to convince my dad, but I won. And I'm here." I smiled. That sounded like Bradley. "And you?"

I'd gotten here by my own volition. Well partly. My parents had decided on my territory to defend and I had no choice but to take it. Out of the two schools I could have possibly gone to, this was closer with more territory to readily defend. So I'd applied, swam the qualifications, and got in with Brandy and Damian as my partners. But they chose to join me when they could have gone anywhere. But I couldn't tell him that.

"I've been swimming since I was little. I'd heard about the school and applied. I was lucky to make it in." I told him. "Nothing special."

"Well, I'm glad you made it in. I wouldn't get to tease you otherwise." His chest rumbled as he chuckled. I felt safe. I haven't felt safe in so long. I started to cry all over again. I pushed myself away from that comfort to wipe my tears again. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for my teasing to make you cry. I'll stop."

"No, no, it's not the teasing. I'm fine." I swiped the side of my wrist across my eyes. Being away from that safe feeling, as much as I wanted it, started making me feel more like myself. That was good right?

"The nightmare?"

"No." I replied. "Not the nightmare. God, I'm moody tonight."

Bradley stood up. "C'mon. I have candy and chocolate in the other room. We can stay up and watch cheesy horror films." I looked up at him. He had his hand offered to me. With one last eye swipe, I took his hand and followed him into his living room.