Dex had to be on his way, she thought. Her eyelashes had started to become heavy, as if icicles were forming on them from the cold. Aria hugged her thin leather jacket tighter around her, clenching her teeth and cursing Dex for making her wait this long. His turn in the fields should have ended an hour ago at least. In a last stitch attempt to stay warm, she lowered herself down and hugged her knees into her chest, balancing on her tiptoes.
The corner they had chosen for their meeting was pretty concealed from the street, even though she was fairly certain they wouldn't have to risk seeing anyone in this weather. Even the Blackjacks stayed close to the capitol where the Fire Lords kept everything warm and toasty this time of year. Aria's entire body felt like it was shaking. She closed her eyes and imagined a fire, crackling and popping and permeating her body with warmth. She sighed out loud and let the image overpower her, until someone grabbed her shoulders.
Aria let out a squeal and fell backwards, the cold snow licking her lower back where her jacket didn't reach. Dex let out a hearty laugh that echoed in the silence around them. Swearing, Aria heaved herself onto her feet, trying to brush the cold, wet slush off her skin. "Not funny," she murmured. She turned around to see him doubled over, hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath from laughing so hard. Her deep blue eyes furrowed in anger, and she pushed loose strands of hair away from her forehead. He finally righted himself, and between a few excess giggles, draped his thick winter jacket around her shoulders.
Dex's family was better off than hers and could generally afford more luxurious items like his winter jacket that was lined with soft rabbit fur that seemed to melt onto her freezing body. She was grateful for it's protection from the biting winter wind. Dex wrapped his arms around her, rubbing his hands up and down to warm her up even more. She closed her eyes and leaned back into his embrace in a sign of forgiveness for this peace offering. "Let's go, little squirrel."
"Don't call me squirrel."
Dex smirked at her, and she admired the playfulness in his big, brown eyes. "Ready to go?" he asked, pushing her out into the street. They started marching through the snow down the sidewalk, and Aria started to regret borrowing her older sister's heels. They slid on the icy concrete with every step, and she linked her arm with Dex to keep from falling.
The glow from the underground train station flickered in front of them. They quickened their pace at the thought of release from the bitterness of the air outside. Once they had reached the protection of the station, Dex lead her onto the awaiting train, and picked seats in the back. He took the window, and she buried herself into his side to restore warmth to her body.
"Those Fire Lords don't know how lucky they have it," she sputtered through the shivers that still ravaged her tiny frame.
Dex became suddenly serious. "Actually, I'm sure they do." He said, in almost a whisper. Aria noted the hint of anger in his voice, that always arose when he talked about the Fire Lords. The Fire Lords were the inhabitants of the capitol city. When the rest of the world had started to fall, they took power and forced the rest of the Elementalists into submission. Aria belonged to the sector of Earth Elementalists, and Dex was a hybrid. The Fire Lords had started forming an army, called the Blackjacks, that patrolled the streets of the city to keep everyone in line. One of the Blackjacks had broken into Dex's mother's house, and taken advantage of her. When he was born, it was discovered that he could control both water and fire. Aria was the only one aware of his power, other than his mother. Aria knew how badly Dex despised the idea of being part of both worlds, and his anger erupted every time the Fire Lord's were discussed. She decided it was better to not argue with him this time.
The train screeched to a halt in the new station, and Dex lead her out onto the platform. They weren't the only ones this time. A lone Blackjack was strolling down the steps, heading straight for them. "It's past curfew, all underlings are to be off the streets," the Blackjack shouted. Dex slowly positioned her behind his back. The Blackjack headed straight for them, unforgivingly pointing a glowing dark sword at Dex's throat. "Dex, run." Aria tugged on the back of his shirt.
Dex chuckled. "No way." he muttered back to her, a glint of humor in his voice. The Blackjack raised the sword upwards threateningly, but Dex was one step ahead of him. Flames erupted from his finger tips and engulfed the Blackjack. The man in the black suit stumbled backwards, dropping his weapon and waving his arms in horror. Dex laughed boisterously and dragged Aria up the stairs out into the cold night air. Her stomach seemed to be doing somersaults as they sprinted down the sidewalk. Without warning, he tugged her to the left into darkness. It took her eyes a moment to adjust to the lack of light from the street lamps. "Watch your step," he said as he directed her towards a flight of stairs. Aria thrust him against the wall of the stairwell.
"What the...hell was that?" She stumbled over her words, still trying to catch her breath. "Dex, you can't do things like that."
Dex pinched her lips together with his fingers. "That guy couldn't have done anything to us. Plus, I can do whatever I want. I'm stronger than they are, girlie." She let go of her grip on his shoulders, and buried her face in her hands.
"Dex...Don't. Just don't... Let's just go dance."
"You don't need to ask me twice." He slid out from between her and the wall, and started towards the faint glow at the bottom of the steps. He pushed the door open just a sliver, and whispered, "Saltantem fera,"
The door creaked open and the two of them slipped inside. Aria stripped herself of her jackets and handed them to door guardian. Dex turned around to face her, admiring her lithe curves that were wrapped in a sapphire blue dress that matched perfectly with her eyes. Her mahogany colored hair trickled just barely over her shoulders, and her bangs were brushed across one eye. She glared at him, knowing what was running through his mind. "Come on, there'll be better eye candy in there." her tongue lashed him as they pushed through the door at the other side of the foyer.
The music hit her like a wall. A delicious, sensual, and exciting wall. The pulsing beat tugged at her shoulders and she lead Dex onto the dance floor. The Blackjacks and Fire lords could stop them from using their Gifts, but they couldn't stop them from having a little bit of fun, she thought as she began moving in rhythm with the other writhing bodies. Dex fell in line with a tall, scantily clad blonde, who gratefully thrust her hips into his. Aria admired the way every curve of the blonde's body seem to be fluid like waves being tossed around to the thump of the bass. It didn't surprise her how quickly Dex had found a dance partner, and she felt her cheeks starting to flush. Sometimes she wished he might choose to dance with her first, before falling into the breasts of some girl in a short skirt, but she pushed those feelings of jealousy into the back corner of her mind before losing herself in the new song that started dancing around them. She pushed herself through the sweaty bodies of the other dancers until she was in the middle of the crowd. Her hips started to sway in rhythm with the others, and she felt herself drowning in the music. A set of fingertips grazed her shoulder and she spun around dizzily on her tall heels. A pair of catlike green eyes peered through her, and she imagined that this is what it felt like when the Fire Lords sucked out your soul. She let him drop his fingers to her waist and pull her in close, his gaze still piercing through her skull like a knife.
"Name?" was all she heard. His lips were moving, but Aria was too busy trying not to stumble over herself in the crowd of people to make out the rest of what he said.
"Aria," She leaned forward, and tried to keep her voice steady as she spoke into his ear.
The boy with the catlike eyes smiled at her. "That's a very pretty name," his whispered back into her ear, and his breath tickled her neck sending shivers down her spine even though sweat had started to glisten on her skin.
"Are you going to tell me yours?" He didn't answer. The song had changed, and with a wink, he slipped into the crowd and disappeared.
Disappointed, Aria turned around and headed back towards where she had last seen Dex. His eyes lifted from the blonde girls hips and met hers, and with a smile, he immediately abandoned his partner to sift his way towards her. Aria returned the smile as he playfully grabbed her wrists and started jumping up and down to the beat. Aria giggled and bounced with him. The blonde girl glared at them, and Aria sent her a sly smile which sent the girl fuming into the washroom. Aria couldn't blame her. Even though they were only just friends, she couldn't deny how handsome Dex had become. He could make anyone melt on the spot with his fiery gaze. His chocolate brown eyes could go from sweet and innocent like a puppy to burning seduction in an instant. Aria hated him for that.
Before her mind could realize what was happening, screams begin erupting in the crowd. Popping and cracking sounds released a haze of smoke that blinded her. Aria desperately clung to Dex's wrists as he pulled her towards the opposite side of the club from where they had entered. The other dancers were pushing and shoving their way in every direction like a herd of elephants being chased by a den of lions.
As the smoke began to settle, it became clear what had happened. A few rookie Blackjacks had discovered the night club, and we waiving their soul-stealers around at the dancers that had fallen to the back of the pack shoving towards the exits. Aria's heart began beating wildly in her chest as she watched one Blackjack shove a young redhead on the ground. "Dex, wait." Her voice was breathy and fear surged through her boiling blood. Dex halted, and she could feel him shaking with rage as his dilated pupils caught sight of the scene playing out before them.
The Blackjack was smiling as his arms raised the dark sword in his hands to the girl's neck. The redhead was pleading in whispers for him to spare her, but it was too late. Aria dug her fingernails into Dex's arm as golden tendrils slithered out of her throat and into the sword. "Aria, we need to get out of here. Now." He pulled her out the back door, cursing under his breath. Her fingernails were still clawing at his arms, and blood had begun trickling down his skin that was already shining with sweat. Her head was spinning in circles as she looked around at the alley they were pouring into.
It seemed like an eternity before she felt the relief of the train seat beneath her and Aria collapsed into Dex's arms. Her entire body was still trembling as she replied the scene over and over again in her mind. The smoke. Blackjacks. The redhead head begging for her life. Aria wondered what element she was, and where she went to school, who her family was, what music she liked. The idea of the girl's soul sitting on someone's mantle in the Fire Lords' sector made the hair on the back of her neck prickle. Aria peered up at Dex, who seemed oddly still. He was staring blankly ahead of them, his eyes blackened with rage that Aria knew must be pumping through him. Angry that he couldn't help the girl, probably, she thought. Or furious with himself for not going back and ripping out the Blackjack's skull. Knowing Dex, it was most likely the latter.
"Dex, you 'kay?" She nuzzled closer into his chest that thumped underneath her cheek. She listened to his heart beating, each pump pulsing with pure hatred.
"Fine," he muttered. His breath was ragged, and his face was still shimmering with sweat.
They sat in silence for the rest of the ride. He walked her to her flat, where she stayed with her parents. The flat was dark, shrouding it's inhabitants from the tragedy that had happened outside that night. Aria propped open her window and Dex helped lift her up onto the sill. Half in her room, Dex grabbed the back of her neck and placed a rough kiss on her lips, pulled away, and disappeared into the night.