A/N: Okay, so I started this story about five years ago and recently went back and read what I had written. …I have no idea what I was thinking back then. It was only half finished so I changed some things and typed up an ending. I may one day write a sequel but who knows. *Shrug* If you like it, I'd love a review. If you don't, I don't want to hear about it. I started this while still in school and the writing no doubt reflects that. I'm just happy I finished off a WIP (even if it sucks…).
"Who- who are you?"
"Why? Why are you doing this?"
"…Because it needs to be done."
"No! You- you're a kid you can't kill me!"
"No…I am Myst… and you are no longer a problem."
I left the house as easily as I came in. No one sees me… they never do. I am Myst…a mistake that fixes others; one that was never meant to be.
I like the night. At night I blend in and no one notices that I am different. I'm not like them. I never was though some times I wish it was so. Some thing feels different tonight but I don't know why. It isn't as loud… not the people but the noise in my head the thoughts of others that I can't get rid of. Why is it so quiet?
"This way Zan! I felt it over here."
"Cole, this had better not be another wild goose chase! And slow down dammit!"
"No! He's leaving. Move faster, Zan, his shields are tightening down." I yell back. I can feel the signal weakening, even as we get closer. Zan's gonna be pissed when he catches up, but if he stopped smoking maybe he could run as fast as me. Dodging another couple, I scan quickly trying to find the one that I felt. There I see him. He looks like a kid maybe seventeen, black hair, and pale skin. Skidding to a halt, I reach out with my Empathy to tag him. He flinched! He shouldn't have been able to feel that. His eyes rise to meet mine and I find my self frozen unable to move only stare as those eyes yellow and slitted like a cats pin me where I am.
Fingers bite down suddenly on my shoulder. Some one –Zan- pulls me back and suddenly I'm free.
I flinched when he touched my walls. Looking up in to blue eyes I catalog the person before me male, young, sandy blonde and scared. Another man runs up grabbing the one that touched my walls snapping him out of his paralysis. I feel my walls seeking the warm spot as the people in front of me seem to communicate through looks. Just as I touch the warm spot the first one speaks up.
"Hi, umm ok that sounds dumb, but we want to help you. I'm Cole and this is my brother Zan." Shifting my gaze to the other I realize they do have the same basic facial features, even if the older one has dark brown hair and a heavier build.
When I say nothing the second one, Zan, asks "What's your name?"
"Why what?" Cole asks, obviously confused.
"Why this?" I poke at the warm spot as I ask and am interested to see him flinch.
"Oh right. Well, that's so I could find you."
"…You already found me."
"But we may need to find you again." Zan points out.
"I don't like it."
"I'm sorry," Cole mutters, "but it really needs to stay. You aren't registered in the Quillion and you could get into trouble with out a tag someone recognizes."
"Quillion." I repeat it isn't a word I have ever heard before.
"Yeah we're a group of psychics that work for the government. We're recruiters." He adds.
"I'm not interested." I take a step back, half turning to leave when Zan speaks up.
"You don't need to join, but you need to register with us. That way you won't get blamed for any of the weird stuff that happens around here."
"Not interested." I repeat turning away.
Strong hands bite into my fore arm pulling me back around. "Registering with the Quillion isn't a choice, kid, let's go. It won't take long."
"No way. I can't take the chance you'll rabbit on us."
Lashing out mentally I feel as if I've slammed into a wall… his protections are very strong, but I'm better. Wrapping my hand around his wrist for skin contact I lash out again. This time his shields buckle and he releases me with a gasp.
"H-how?" Cole chokes out staring at me in shock.
"Telepath," Zan answers regaining his equilibrium. "Shinta will definitely want to meet you. Come on," his voice turns coaxing. "We just need to ask some questions and get your data into the network. We'll feed you."
I tense up dropping my eyes to the ground. I haven't eaten since yesterday. I release Zan and nod slowly.
Cole grins at me obviously delighted. "That's great." Twisting he darts out of the ally to the main road. "Taxi!"
Silently, I follow them to the car Cole slides in to the far door telling the driver where to go. Zan stares at me clearly waiting for me to get in. I shake my head. "Window." He just looks at me trying to stare me down.
"Zan." Cole again an edge in his voice I don't understand, but Zan shrugs and slides into the middle seat. Sitting down, I close the door. Almost before the door is shut the driver takes off. I can hear the mental babble. He saw my eyes and wants us out of his cab as fast as he can. Taking one last turn the cabbie slams on the breaks. Immediately, I'm out on the side walk. Zan follows just as fast, as if he thinks I'm going to run. Cole pays and joins us on the sidewalk.
"Well, here we are." Cole motions to a large brick building. Looking it over, I realize that it's a police station. I shake my head taking a step back. "It's ok, we're government funded that's why our head quarters are here."
I follow Cole up the steps, but I feel uneasy. I don't want to be here. Cole and Zan are greeted by a variety of the uniforms as we head down the hall toward the elevator. Coming to a check point with metal detectors, I can feel my shoulders tense up. Cole pauses by the uniform in charge speaking to him softly. He glances at us before motioning us to go around. Safely in the elevator and headed to the basement, I stare at Cole till he turns and smiles at me. "I didn't want you to have to tell them what weapons you carry. It was easier to ask Leroy to let us go around."
"Our training facility is extensive." Zan answers. "We are much bigger then it appears from the outside."
I don't answer. The doors open and to me it doesn't look any different then the hall way up stairs, but I can feel a difference, a miasma of power. It makes my head hurt. Ignoring it, I follow Cole down the hall. The soft murmur of conversation stops as we get close, then picks up after we pass. My head starts to hurt more with every step I take down the hall. Feeling sick, I struggle to hold on to my walls. They can't slip now not with all the power surrounding me. I'd go insane again… A hand wraps around my wrist and at the same moment I can feel walls go up over my own. As the pain fades, I realize I'm panting for air.
"Dahni? What are you doing?" Zan demands, pissed.
"You aren't sensitive to it, Zan but Cole you should have realized his shields were cracking. Not every one is used to the pressure of so many psy's in one place." Looking up, I stare in to dark green obviously worried eyes. Blinking, I look down at my wrist. A hand almost as pale as my own is wrapped around it. Tuning out Cole's protest, I examine this new man. Tall, much taller then me, maybe six foot two, reddish blond hair and an easy smile.
"Shields?" They stare at me surprised.
"Yeah, your shields around your mind, they were breaking." Dahni says slowly.
"…shields." I repeat. Tilting my head to the side, I look back up at him. "That's what you call them?"
"Yes, we can teach you to make stronger ones too." Cole puts in.
"Hmm… whatever," I murmur, since they seem to expect a response.
"Taking him to Shinta? I'll go with you. I need to give him my report anyway." Dahni says, shifting his hand to wrap his fingers around mine. I stare at them, trying to remember the last time some one held my hand.
"We don't need your help, Dahni." Zan snaps. "We can shield him with out your help." He reaches toward me, but I shift away and tighten my fingers around Dahni's hand.
"Well, it seems he does want my help, Zan," Dahni drawls.
"That's fine." Cole says quickly, cutting off whatever Zan was going to say. "We're all going to Shinta's office anyway."
Zan growls softly, but we start off down the hall again.
~Hey kid, what's your name?~ the words seem to echo in my head and I involuntary tense up. Dahni yelps, pulling at his hand. "Ease up! I didn't mean to scare you." Looking at his hand, I realize my hand tightened too much, almost cracking his fingers. It takes a conscious effort to relax them. Taking my other hand, he frees the one I hurt flexing his fingers. "You have some grip, kid."
"Dahni, what did you do?" Cole demands, sounding angry for the first time.
"I didn't do anything."
"How did you do that?" I ask, "You put words in my head on purpose, not like the others that won't go away. It wasn't random. It was a sentence."
They're staring at me again, but I can't figure out why. "We definitely need to talk to Shinta." Cole murmurs, starting off down the hall again walking faster then before.
Dahni follows, tugging my hand to get me to start walking. "Ah, to answer your question. It's telepathic communication. I can 'speak' to anyone with in a limited radius, but I can only 'hear' other psy's."
I consider that for a moment before reaching out. ~Like this?~
~Ow. Yes like that, but now so loud. You don't need to yell. I'll hear you.~
~No, it's fine that's much better. You've got to be a 'path to be a natural like this.~
~Telepath: Someone that can hear, send and/or control thoughts.~
~What are you?~
~Pyrokinetic with some hints of telepathy. I can control heat and create fire with my mind. Are you going to answer my question?~
"What?" He snapped, glaring at the man that interrupted. Then winced, "Sorry Shinta, we were talking."
"I noticed." Shinta answered dryly. "But my office is shielded and I only need your written report."
"Right. Here you go." Handing a folder to Shinta, Dahni attempts to retrieve his hand, but I merely tighten my fingers. "Umm… you can let go now kid, Shinta's office is shielded like he said. You'll be ok."
I glance at Shinta and then away. I don't know him and don't want Dahni to go.
"Kid?" Dahni tries once more to get his hand back.
"My name is Myst." I reply, "And I don't want you to leave." Dahni blinks, startled.
"Well, then it appears that you are staying for this Dahni," Shinta states, amused. "I hope you didn't have anything pressing to do?"
"No, I'm free." Tugging my hand, Dahni guides me to a chair motioning me to sit. I comply, sitting on the edge of the chair ready to rise at any moment. I don't like that the door is shut. I like even less that Zan is leaning against it, but at least Cole and Dahni are sitting too.
"Well, then," Shinta starts, "you say your name is Myst. Do you have a last name?"
"…no." He marks something on a sheet in front of him.
"How old are you?"
"You don't know?"
Shinta stares at me. "I'm sorry, but I find that hard to believe. You don't look more then seventeen."
"…May 14, 1989."
"That would make you 22," He states staring into my eyes, unflinching, "Very well, where do you come from?"
I tilt my head to the side and wait for a more precise question.
"Where were you born?" Dahni asks. ~I'm picking some stuff up from you since you haven't let go of my hand and your shields, honestly, are not good.~
"…Germany." I answer. ~I don't mind.~ I don't let go of his hand.
I can see Shinta hiding a smile. "And where do you live right now?"
"Do you know what powers you have?"
"…Zan called me a telepath."
"How long have you been able to hear others thoughts?"
Dahni flinches and glances at me. He must have picked up the memory I automatically pushed away. I don't want to remember that. "Fifteen years."
"Since you were seven then?"
"Do you have any family?"
"No," the reply is flat.
Shinta moves on with out pause, not questioning my response. "Would you like to get some training with us? You should get some proper shields put up."
"Who would teach me?"
"Our telepathy instructor, Mr. Jay."
"Why is that?"
"I don't know him."
"You would meet him before hand, and we would have you get some one on one instruction. I don't think you would like being in a class room."
"Some one else, perhaps?"
"I had a feeling you were going to say that."
"But I can't teach shielding. I'm not even really a 'path." Dahni protested.
"I could help." Cole spoke up. "Empathy and telepathy shields are the same. You just have to adjust them depending on how much you need to block out. And you're selling your self short. You're a good teacher and you know how to shield. You'd do fine."
"Well, that's settled." Shinta said decisively, "Why don't you show Myst to his room?"
~My room? I have a room?~ I questioned as Cole led the way out of the office and down the hall.
~Of course you have a room. Well, a set of rooms actually. You get your own bathroom and stuff. Shinta doesn't think that putting you in the dorms would go very well. That and you're older then the normal students.~
~Where do you stay?~
~I have an apartment in the city.~
~Why can't I stay in the city?~
~You don't have a steady paying job.~
~…but I don't want you to be that far away…~
~It's not that far and why are you so obsessed with me anyway? You just met me.~
~…I don't know…you…feel warm.~
Dahni stopped short. "I feel warm?" he repeated incredulously.
"What?" Cole asked confused.
"Nothing." Dahni said hurriedly, "Where'd Zan go?"
"Shinta had an assignment for him."
"What kind of an assignment?" Dahni asked, ~Are you ever going to let go of my hand?~
"I'm not sure. He'll tell me when he's done." Cole answered. "And here we are." Pushing open the door Cole motioned for them to go first. The room looked nice a kind of sitting room with an absolutely tiny kitchenette off to the side. Cole blinked, "Shinta picked one of the more extensive rooms for you. He must really want you to stay. Most of the rooms are just a main living room and a bed/bathroom set up. We need to take you shopping, but we need to get some better shielding up first."
"Definitely better shields," Dahni commented. "I can stay for awhile but not forever. Myst, what do you want to start with?"
"Food?" I knew I sounded pathetic, but didn't care. I was hungry.
Dahni and Cole winced simultaneously. "Owww," Cole muttered softly.
~You're broadcasting your hunger. Dammit kid, you're hungry enough that you hurt. Why didn't you say anything.~ Dahni demanded.
~…no one ever cared if I was hungry… and Zan said that I'd get something to eat if I came and answered questions. I did that.~
"Please stop doing that. I can't hear you, you know," Cole stated, exasperated. "Let's go to the cafeteria. It's close and now I'm hungry."
"Sorry Cole." Dahni muttered. "Yeah, let's go, but here." Scooping something off the coffee table he held it in front of my face. They were keys. Blinking I shifted my focus from the keys to Dahni. "They're yours the big one goes to the front door. The smaller one goes to the bedroom door."
Slowly I reach up and take them staring at them for a moment I hesitate then slip them into my pocket. "Let's go," Cole is at the door holding it open again. Dahni pulls me through. Once again following Cole down the twisting maze of hallways I let my thoughts roam, thinking, trying to decide if this was a good idea or not. I don't know. Just as we reach the cafeteria, I decide that only time will tell.
Heading to the kitchen area, we stop suddenly as a huge man easily seven feet tall steps in front of us looking at Dahni. "Didn't figure you were in to pretty boys, Dahni." He drawls with a cruel edge.
"He doesn't have good shields yet, Pat, back off." Dahni sounds furious. I can feel his anger and Coles fear. I don't think I like this man.
"You shouldn't be giving people the wrong idea," Pat smirks. "Here I'll fix it for you." A sudden hard shove out of no where sends me stumbling away from Dahni. The instant surge of anger is lost as a maelstrom of sound hits my walls. I feel them crack. I look up at Dahni just as they shatter and everything dissolves around me in a sickening swirl of pain.
I had tightened my shields up as soon as Pat confronted Dahni. This was not going to end well. Pat hates Dahni. He broke the contact between Myst and Dahni, his shields! I start for Myst as he starts to scream and my shields are hit with a telepathic storm of pain. It's stronger then anything I've ever felt. He's channeling everyone around him. I can feel his mind shattering under the pressure, but I can't reach him. Desperate I reach out to Dahni. ~Do something, his mind is shattering!~
Amazingly, Dahni started toward Myst, every step must be painful. There is no eye in this storm. Myst is kneeling on the floor hands tangled in his hair, hunched over gasping, too out of it to even scream any more. Dahni half falls next to him and reaches out pulling Myst close. The pain is shut off as if a switch is thrown and I am instantly on my feet as Shinta comes through the cafeteria doors, looking absolutely ready to kill. People start to pick them selves up off the floor and tables, as Shinta comes striding toward us.
"What happened?" Shinta demanded.
"That little shit attacked everyone," Pat choked out.
"You lying bastard!" I'm surprised at my shout. So is Shinta; he's staring at me, but then so is everyone else after all I never yell. Rounding on Pat, I don't even slow down. He's still on his knees so I'm taller then him by about an inch. Grabbing the front of his shirt, I pull him three inches from my face, "You shoved him away from Dahni. He told you Myst didn't have good shields! You sick fucker, his mind almost shattered completely because of your stupid, thoughtless action. All because of an idiotic grudge from grade school! Grow up and get over it, before you're idiocy kills some one!"
"Cole, calm your self. Pat, go to my office I need to speak with you immediately," Shinta says crisply, turning he looks at Dahni. Myst is completely unaware of everything, his eyes are open but there's no pupil just that odd yellow. Dahni has him tucked in his lap his hands up Myst's shirt for more contact. "Dahni are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Got a monster head ache, but fine." Dahni replies.
"Is Myst going to be ok?" Shinta sounds worried.
"Hell if I know. I'm not a 'path."
"His shields are gone." I state flatly, "He doesn't even have the flimsy ones he had before. The only thing between him and the rest of us is Dahni's shields. Jay needs to check him out. I don't know how deeply he was hurt."
"His awareness is returning." Dahni sounds surprised.
My head hurts. For a very long time, what seems like eternity, that's all I can think. The pain seems to reverberate through out my whole being. The pain fades and I reach out starting to painfully piece myself back together. It's not the first time I've done so and I doubt it will be the last. As my mind starts to come together again I realize I'm hearing voices.
I close my eyes, then open them. The blackness is gone, but the room is blurry. I blink again and the room comes into sharp focus. I'm in Dahni's lap I realize, startled, and his hands are up my shirt, warm on my back and side.
"What happened?" I sound raspy and so quiet I'm not sure if they heard me.
"An asshole happened. Shinta sent him away. Myst are you alright?" Dahni asks sounding very worried.
"'M fine." I manage to get out. "'S happened b- before. Head just- just hurts."
"We'd like you to allow Mr. Jay to examine you." Shinta said softly, crouching down by him.
"No, I'm fine." I can't stop the wince and Shinta frowns.
"I said no. I can piece my own mind back together. I don't need help. I've done it before." My voice gets stronger with every word and I can feel my mind piecing its self back together faster. "I've had to fix my head too many times to count, I don't need help."
"If you're sure." He sounds reluctant, but is willing to let it drop to get me to stay.
"I'm sure and I'm hungry." I struggle to sit up more and get out of Dahni's lap. He tightens his hold and then shifts his hands and stands, lifting me in his arms. I blink startled. "I can walk."
"I'm sure you can, but Cole went to get us food and we're going back to your rooms to eat." Dahni states flatly.
"I'm fine." I stress again.
~You scared me. Please just let me make sure you're ok, alright?~ His voice is soft, so soft it doesn't hurt at all like I thought it would.
~Ok, but you sure as hell aren't hand feeding me.~
~No, I doubt you'd eat enough to add any weight.~ He starts to walk as he talks, I notice Cole standing by the door, styrofoam containers in his hands. ~I think that after we eat, we should start on your shields immediately. You really need them. Shinta will deal with Pat, but there are other assholes here.~
~'K, sounds good as long as I get to eat first.~
~So, what's your favorite color?~
~Cause we're probably going to be seeing a lot of each other in the next few weeks and I'd like to get to know you better.~
~Cool. Do you have a favorite food.~
~You didn't tell me yours.~
Dahni laughs in my head, it feels weird but in a good way. ~Fairs fair, right? Red is my favorite color.~
~Fried rice. Siblings?~
~Me neither. Hmmm… what's-~
"I thought I already said that's rude." Cole finally speaks up as he opens my door. I didn't think to lock it when we left.
"Sorry Cole." Dahni says easily, "We were just chatting."
"Then you can talk aloud."
"Dahni likes red, fried rice and has no sibs."
They stare at me. I shrug, "That's what he told me." I say easily as Dahni sets me in a chair making sure to keep contact with me. I honestly can't remember the last time some one touched me this much.
"Right," Cole murmurs, setting the containers down in front of us and opening them to reveal chicken, mashed potatoes, a covered bowl of gravy and rolls with butter and jam. I stare. I can't help it, I haven't seen food like this in years. Cole sets a plate down in front of me. Startled, I flinch glancing up at him. He smiles at me and motions to the food. "Dish up before it gets cold. Just don't eat yourself sick, ok?"
I nod, unable to speak, and reach for a serving spoon, absently noticing that Dahni has shifted his arm around my waist under my shirt. Mouth full of food, I direct my thoughts at him again. ~Why do your shields only work if you're touching my skin?~
~Because I'm not that strong of a telepath; and I have to tell you that I can't really keep this up forever. Jay will have to come by and put some permanent shields on your rooms. I'm betting that Shinta has already talked to him. Cole will feel it when they go up and I can stop touching you.~
~I don't mind. I was just wondering why.~ I hesitate, then ask feeling rather lost, ~Why am I not afraid of you? I don't even like people, at best I'm rather apathetic, why am I acting like this?~
~Instinct.~ Dahni replies, after a moment of thought, "You instinctively reacted to me in a positive way. Something in your psyche told you to trust me and my instant reaction to shield you only reinforced that instinctive reaction. With your telepathy, you just knew you could trust me."
I consider that as I slowly chew and swallow my bite of chicken. "Then why didn't I react to Cole and Zan that way?"
"Zan is a predator. He would set off all of the warning bells you have. Cole being an empath is the opposite in street terms he'd be 'prey' not protection and not someone to instantly trust."
"I resent that," Cole snapped, "I am not prey!"
Dahni shakes his head, "I don't mean it like that precisely, Cole. It's just that you don't feel like a protector or a predator. Your Talent doesn't work that way you heal, comfort and understand, street wise you would be considered prey."
"Which is why Shinta never lets me go solo," Cole mutters sourly.
I felt something come up around the room. Shifting uneasily I realized what it was, a shield strong enough that I could barely hear a murmur. "It's quiet."
Cole smiled, "That's a good thing. You need the quiet to start building shields. It's rather difficult if there's any ambient noise."
"I can still hear some things." I tell him softly, taking a bite of roll.
Dahni's eyes widened. "You can hear though Jay's shield?"
I nod, mouth full. Now that it was quiet, I was drawn to something else in my mind. It was more noticeable since my mind had fixed its self and reorganized. Aside from Cole's tag, there was something else new in my mind. Curious and not really listening to Cole and Dahni's argument on training, I poke it.
Dahni almost jumps out of his chair. "What the fuck?"
Cole gapes at him, "What's your problem?"
"I don't know, something in my head." Dahni gets a far away look and I feel the weirdness in my head thrum.
"That tickles." I tell him.
Dahni stares at me, open mouthed in almost horror. "What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything," I protest.
"Cole, what is it?" Dahni demands.
"How should I know? I'm not a 'path," he retorts, irritated. He reaches out and takes hold of Dahni's hand anyway. The weirdness thrums again as Cole examines it. He blinks slowly and then smiles wickedly. "Congratulations, Dahni."
"What?" Dahni asks suspiciously.
"You just met your life-bonded." He grins and sits back. "You should have recognized it. We have five pairs here already and I know anyone with any telepathy or empathy has felt one their bonds to be able to recognize it in others."
Dahni collapses back in his chair, "You've got to be shitting me."
"Denial isn't healthy. I'll go tell Shinta. You can get better acquainted." So saying, he stood and left with a cheery wave.
I blink slowly considering what I heard, before settling on a simple question, "Life-bonded?"
"Umm…" Dahni blinks at me clearly at a loss, but the weirdness, bond I remind myself, hums and suddenly I know exactly what they meant by life-bonded.
"Oh." I consider the implications of being bonded permanently to another person for the rest of my life. I supposed since it's involuntary and I can't change it I don't really have a choice. It also explains why I was reacting so illogically with Dahni. "Ok. So, does this mean I get to go back to the city with you?"
Dahni sighed, "No, it means I stay here until you can actually shield. What did you do before to make your old shields?"
I glance at him and show him through the bond linking us. He jumps as if shot. "Shit. Warn a person."
"You didn't warn me." I point out logically.
"I didn't know it felt like that." Dahni answers with a faint sigh. "I'm sorry."
"It didn't bother me." I reply.
He says nothing looking thoughtful. It takes me a second to realize he's going through what I showed him. Finally he nods. "Alright, forget what you did before. Your 'walls' were crap. You're going to learn to shield our way. If that doesn't work, and it doesn't for everyone, we'll figure out something else. Can you meditate?"
I give him a blank look.
"Ok, that comes first. It helps with focus, controlling your abilities, and knowing your own mind." Dahni instructed. He seemed to be automatically taking a teaching tone.
"You've done this before," I note.
He grins sheepish. "Well, not shielding, but I'm one of the best pyros. If any of the new talents get past the basics, I end up teaching them."
"If they get past the basics?" I question.
Dahni grimaces, "Pyrokinetics have a very dangerous talent. Unfortunately, it has a high mortality rate. Only about four in ten live to thirty."
"What about me?"
Dahni answers promptly. "Telepaths have a high burn out rate. Only about four in ten get past puberty and out of those four only one and a half reach thirty."
"…only half a person reaches thirty…. How does that work?"
Dahni scowls at me. "No, it's statistics not real people. You don't' have to worry about any of that anyway. Life-bonded live longer and they don't suffer from burn out unless they go together."
I nod unconcerned. Dahni proceeds with his lessons in meditating and shielding. He seems surprised at how quickly I pick up shielding. I like the meditating, it's very calming. Dahni seems disturbed by some of the things he sees in my mind over the bond, but he doesn't question any of it.
I don't remember falling asleep, but I wake up later tucked in bed with Dahni.
I wasn't surprised when Myst fell asleep in the middle of meditation after he managed to put up the start of shields. I wasn't sure what to do about this life-bond. I was positive I didn't like some of the things I'd seen in Myst's mind. He's a killer plain and simple. I saw him kill people. I saw a glimpse of the memory he pushed away when Shinta asked about how long he'd been using his power.
But… he was still my life-bonded. I needed him.
I let my thoughts drift for awhile before deciding to just go the hell to bed. I didn't realize until I got to the bedroom that I had automatically picked Myst up and taken him with me. With a shake of my head, I shrugged it off. I stripped Myst down to boxers and a t-shirt before flipping the blankets over him. I was more then a little disturbed by the two guns and seven knives I found on him, but set them aside on the nightstand. I stripped out of my own clothes before sliding in with him. I just really hoped that he didn't lobotomize me when he woke up.
I needn't have worried. Myst is not an early riser, apparently. I can see the clock from here and it's past ten. At some point during the night he had shifted and was now resting pressed up against me with his head on my chest. I was just glad he wasn't on my arm or I'd have no feeling left in my fingers.
Figuring I had the time, I checked his shields and discovered that he can build them up in his sleep. They were three times thicker then when I put him to bed. I think my probing triggered something since I felt him stir. I waited hoping he wasn't going to freak.
I watched him slowly sit up rubbing his eyes and looking around. He looked at the clock and then frowned at me, "How long?"
"How long what?" I asked.
"How long did I sleep?"
"Umm, eight hours or so. You fell asleep about two," I answered.
He blinked slowly and made a soft unhappy sound.
"I don't sleep that long."
"You were tired."
"I never sleep that long."
"Not to me."
"Not sure how to answer that." I admitted after a lengthy pause.
"…I can't remember that last time I slept for longer then two hours."
"You're kidding," I didn't even bother to try to hide my shock.
Myst shook his head. "The streets are deadly. If you sleep too long you don't wake up."
"Things are different here." I told him, "You're safe here."
I could tell he didn't believe me, but I hoped that would change. "Are you hungry?" I asked changing the subject. He nods, so I climb out of bed and retrieve my clothes. I didn't like putting on dirty clothes but I didn't have anything else here. Myst dressed as well, but if the dirty clothes bothered him I saw no sign. I also didn't see him collect his weapons, but when I look they're gone from the nightstand. He follows me silently down the hall a ways before asking.
~What do I have to do to be able to leave with out fighting my way out?~
~Prove you can shield adequately.~ I answered.
~…I'm walking down the hall without your shields.~
I stopped so suddenly he ran in to me. I admit I turned to gape at him. It hadn't even occurred to me to slide my shields over him once we left the safety of his rooms. ~How did you manage to build you shields up so strong so fast? I mean I knew they were stronger but not by that much. You were sleeping!~
~You can't change you mind in your sleep?~ He sounded puzzled.
~I'm more of a pyro, remember? I've never heard of a telepath that can change their mind like that so fast.~ I admitted even as I started down the hall again.
Myst looked thoughtful. ~I've always been able to fix myself when I sleep.~
~Fix yourself? What do you mean by that?~ I asked as we entered the cafeteria. Several of the people in the room looked freaked out once they caught sight of Myst. I'm betting they were here yesterday when his shields snapped.
~When the voices get to loud. I sleep for awhile and my mind fixes its self. It did the same thing when my walls broke. It fixes its self and reorganizes.~ Myst answered, appearing not to notice the reactions of the people present. Though I think he's just more interested in the food.
I hand him a plate and motion him to take what he wants as the workers watch us warily. ~I've never heard of a telepath fixing them selves that fast either. Most 'paths need help if their shields get shredded.~
~…I'm not most 'paths?~ H sounded uncertain.
~I agree with that assessment.~ I answer as I fill my own plate. Glancing around the room I realize that Zan and Cole have come in. They immediately head toward us. Cole looks as cheerful as always, while Zan looks half asleep.
Cole frowns faintly as he gets closer. "Should you be testing his shields this soon?"
I shrug, "They were that high when he woke up this morning."
A dumbfounded look crosses Cole's face, "That's not possible."
"Tell that to him," I answer motioning to Myst.
Myst merely blinks innocently, "I'm a fast learner."
"But you didn't have any idea how to shield correctly. No one masters shielding in less then a day." Cole protested.
"I did," Myst answers indifferently, moving toward the tables. He was clearly more interested in eating then talking.
Cole and Zan joined us at our table once they had their food. Zan glaring at me looking much more awake, "How'd you get him to shield so fast? Cole says his shields feel almost as strong as Mr. Jays."
I scowl back at him, "I didn't do anything. I taught him the basics and he did the rest."
"That's not possible."
"Tell that to Myst."
Zan fixed Myst with a narrow eyed look. Myst ignored him focused on his pancakes. Zan growled softly, "He's a threat."
Myst looked up at that his expression blank and his eyes empty. "And you are not?"
Zan snarled at him and Cole shifted uneasily. "I am no threat to the Quillion."
Myst smiled thinly, but there was no amusement in his eyes. "Does Dahni care about your Quillion?"
"Yes," Cole answered before Zan could speak.
"Then I am no threat to them," Myst said and turned his attention back to his meal.
Zan opened his mouth to retort but Cole cut him off with a hand on his arm. "Shinta would like to speak with you, Myst."
Myst looked up his expression unreadable, "Why?"
"I don't know," Cole answered, clearly unnerved to be the focus of Myst's gaze.
Myst frowned faintly at his plate.
"What's wrong?" I ask reaching out to touch his hand.
~I don't trust him.~
~Shinta? Why not?~ I'm startled, everyone likes Shinta.
~He manipulates people.~
~What do you mean?~ I ask totally confused.
~He's like Cole but he uses his power to get people to do as he wants. I don't like that. I don't want him to use me. Too many people have tried. I won't let him manipulate my emotions. I can block him. I did yesterday and I can do it again today…. I won't let him manipulate you either.~ Myst tells me flatly, anger flashing in his eyes.
I admit I pretty much stared at him wide eyed. I knew Shinta was Empathetic but I didn't know he used his powers on other psychics. ~Are you serious?~
~That he manipulates you? Or that I'll protect you?~
~Yes, to both.~ Myst answers as he finishes the last of his food.
"Cole's right. That is annoying," Zan half growls. "Damnit, Dahni, when did you get so good at mind-speech? You always sucked before."
I flick him a look before fixing my gaze on Cole, "You didn't tell him?"
"It's not anyone's business." Cole answers.
"You tell him everything." I protest.
"I'm perfectly capable of keeping things from Zan." Cole snaps.
"What are you talking about?" Zan demands.
I shrug as I stand with my dishes, Myst following. I answer Zan over my shoulder as we walk away, "Myst and I are life-bonded." I'm rather delighted to see the dumbfounded expression on Zan's face. It makes me down right gleeful. Cole starts laughing behind us as we leave.
Myst is silent as we head toward Shinta's office. I don't think that he's happy to be going to see Shinta. ~Everything will be fine. Shinta is a nice guy. He protects all of us from prosecution of the normals.~
~What makes you say that?~ I demand. ~I mean, I know you don't like him using Empathy on us but it does keep us safe.~
~It also keeps you loyal.~
~There's nothing wrong with loyalty.~ I half snap, stopping outside Shinta's office.
~I know, but there is something wrong with loyalty that is forced.~
~Shinta doesn't force our loyalty.~ I protest.
He gives me a considering look. ~How so? He uses his Empathy on you. He has you pick up psychics off the street, whether willing or not. Do you really think he'll just let me leave if I tell him I want to?~
I freeze thinking that over, but before I can respond Shinta opens the door. "Were you ever going to come in or just stand in the hall?" He asks dryly.
I feel myself flush, "We're coming."
I step in the office past him, Myst doesn't hesitate in following me. Shinta closes the door behind him before moving to his desk and sitting. I watch uneasily as Myst sits on the edge of his chair eyes fixed unwaveringly on Shinta, his expression blank.
I watch Shinta silently as he settles behind his desk. I can feel his power spreading out through the office. With a twist of my mind I block his influence from myself and Dahni. I can't hear his thoughts. Shinta is a blank wall in front of me. I can see him but I can't fell him at all.
"Well, you've certainly shaken things up here," Shinta says sounding amused. I don't reply, just wait. After a moment, when it becomes obvious I'm not going to say anything, he continues, "You're shields have grown quickly. You are a very talented Telepath. The strongest I've ever come across."
I don't feel like waiting for him to cut to the chase. "What do you want?"
"What makes you think I want something?" He asks, raising an eyebrow.
"Those in power always want something." I answer. Dahni shifts uneasily beside me as Shinta's power goes up a notch. I wrap tighter shields around Dahni.
Shinta smiles, "Well, I do admit I'd like you to work for me."
"No." I know I sound harsh, but I don't care.
"Myst-" Dahni starts.
"No!" I cut him off. "He's still trying to manipulate us, just because I'm stopping him doesn't mean that it's alright for him to be trying."
Dahni looks troubled, "Shinta?" I don't like how lost he feels. I can pick up some of his memories. All centered around Shinta finding him and helping him with powers that he didn't know how to control. The first person that wasn't afraid of what he could do, unlike his parents.
Shinta smiles at him, "I'm not doing anything, Dahni."
I can feel the tension building in my shoulders. "Stop lying."
Shinta smiles at me, but it doesn't reach his eyes. "I'm not lying, Myst. You haven't been using telepathy around other psychics. I don't think you know what you're feeling."
I can feel his power wrapping around me seeking a way through my shields. With a growl I reach for the well of my power in my mind. Instantly there's a difference in the world. I can see the lines of his Empathy streaking through the office and the training facility. I can see the link between him and Dahni. I reach out fast, too fast for Shinta to stop me and grab Dahni's hand. With a thought I sever the link between them. Dahni gasps in shock his eyes wide, he can see what I'm seeing. His face drains of color. I stand up, dropping Dahni's hand and pull out one of my guns pointing in unwaveringly between Shinta's eyes.
Shinta goes absolutely still staring down the barrel of my gun. "I'm not mistaken with what I feel. Stop trying to manipulate me." Very, very slowly he pulls his power back toward himself until only the treads going out of the office remain.
"I don't believe," Shinta says slowly, his smile gone and his eyes hard, "anyone has ever been able to stop my Empathy."
"Shinta?" Dahni breaths, betrayal clear in his tone.
Shinta's eyes soften as he looks at Dahni. "I was only trying to keep everyone safe, Dahni."
"By controlling us?" Dahni demands, clearly upset.
"The world isn't fair, Dahni." Shinta answers, sounding regretful. "If I couldn't keep tabs on the strong psychics they would have pulled our funding and started to institutionalize us."
"Only if you let them," I cut in coldly.
Shinta glares at me, "You think your way is better, Myst? Killing those who oppose you?"
"I protect myself." I snarl. "If they're stupid enough to attack me then their own stupidity kills them."
"Even your parents, Mitchell Collins?" Shinta asks smoothly.
I flinch and my hand tightens on my gun. I barely stop myself from shooting him. "That's not my name," my voice sounds funny to my own ears.
"It was," Shinta says leaning back in his chair seemingly unconcerned.
"It's not my name." I repeat.
"Mitchell James Collins." Shinta says slowly, "Missing since 1996. Father was part of the army and stationed in Germany where you were born. The family moved back to the States when he was three. At age seven his parents are found dead. His mother from a gun shot to the chest and his father apparently had an aneurism. Mitchell James Collins hasn't been seen since."
Dahni is horrified. I can feel his emotions through our link. He can see what happened. He can see what papa did to mama. He can see what papa failed to do to me. With a massive effort I push the memory back and lock it away again. Shinta used my upset to get hooks into me. I can feel my emotions starting to twist. I shift my aim and fire.
Shinta yells as the bullet tears through his right arm. I readjust my aim back between his eyes even as I cut him off from my mind. "Stay out of my head," I warn softly.
Shinta's shocked. I can tell. His eyes wide staring at me, he clearly didn't believe I'd shoot him. He has his left hand holding the wound on his right arm trying to stop the blood. Dahni makes a strangled sound, but doesn't move. There's the sound of running feet in the hallway and the door slams open. Zan and Cole are in the door way.
Zan snarls raising a hand. I can see his power flowing toward me. With a thought I block it. His mouth drops open in shock. "What did you do?" he gasps out.
"Blocked your power." I answer, shifting my attention back to Shinta. "If you ever try to manipulate me again it won't be a non-lethal shot."
Shinta's expression dissolves into fury. "You're going to get us all killed."
"By who?" I demand. "Who do you think can stop all of you? You have your own army down here, manipulated to be loyal to you. Normal people can't stop a psychic. You don't need them. It's all just an excuse to keep everyone here under your thumb."
"We can't stop everyone." Shinta snarls, "They out number us, in case you haven't noticed."
"I'll take that risk," I tell him flatly, lowering my gun. "I'd rather live free. You can't control me and you can't control Dahni anymore. I'm leaving. If you try to stop me I'll kill you."
"Like you killed your father?" Shinta sneers.
I stop, half turned toward the door, and look back at him. "You are nothing more then an angry, bitter man who's throwing a tantrum because you're not getting your own way. The past is the past and nothing can change it. He deserved what he got."
I start toward the door again. Cole is staring at me in horror. I feel a twinge of guilt. I know he wanted to be my friend. "You killed your own father?" he whispers as I get close to the door. Dahni is right behind me, watching Zan as he glares at me.
I meet Cole's gaze, "I killed a rapist who had a fondness for little boys." Cole and Zan choke. "I've spent my life hunting down and killing any rapist I come across. Not everyone can save themselves like I did." They don't stop me as I leave the office. I don't stop, just head for the elevator.
I don't speak until we're out on the side walk. No one stopped us from leaving though several of the cops waved to Dahni. A safe distance down the block I stop and face Dahni, but don't look at him as I ask, "Do you want to stay with the Quillion?"
"No," he answers, reaching out and tugging me close. I don't resist his pull and let him hug me. "Shinta's not the man I thought he was. I will let everyone there know what he was doing though."
"Do you want- Will you-" I falter.
"I'm coming with you." Dahni answers my unfinished questions. "You need all the back up you can get, since you're apparently trying to get rid of the scum in this world all on your own."
"You don't expect me to stop." I can't help the relief in my voice.
"No, I know you make sure they're guilty and honestly we could use a few less scumbags in this world." Dahni answers, smiling at me. "Come on, let's go save the world, one scumbag at a time."
I feel a smile spread over my face as I follow him down the street. I have the feeling that my life will never be the same, but some changes are a good thing.