Author's Note: this is my first story on fictionpress. I've been writing for years, though I've never had the confidence/drive to post something online. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as this work is going to be really important to me. Also, if you want a returned review, just let me know. I love reading as well as writing. Quick low-down on how this piece is broken up: many short chapters and entwining of two stories lines. I hope you enjoy. Oh, and steal my work, and I will hunt you down, Liam-Neeson-I-want-my-family-back-style. And without further commentary on my part, I give you:
I. Present Day: Somewhere Beyond Where Sand and Sun Touch
"We aren't heroes, Henry," she whispers, her breath dusting the skin of his cheek.
He nuzzles his nose into her hair. Her black curls are wild as they fan across the assortment of pillows he had found her lounging in. Perhaps, he could call them common—at least, common among the Arabian women living in the tents surrounding theirs. Hers, rather. Everything belongs to her. The assortment of expensive, handcrafted pillows, the blankets, the rugs, the tarp draped above them supported with wooden beams to block out the midday sun. Everything.
"Heroes don't run," she says. "Heroes have something to fight for—to save. We have nothing to save." Shifting, she tilts her head upwards to look at him. Her gaze is green and familiar.
She blinks and looks away again as silence slips over them. Not because he has nothing to say—no, he has everything to say. But she doesn't want to hear it. She just wants to keep running, to keep searching the world's corners for something she's missing, something he already knows how to find.
But he stays just as silent, lets her sleep there encased in his arms while he traces circular patterns into the skin of her collarbone, keeping that knowledge to himself as he has for centuries. She murmurs things instead of breathing sometimes, a kind of chronicle of secrets she'd never divulge were she awake. He smiles to himself as he listens. Just listens. He's waited thirty restless years to steal another moment alone with her.
She has never left him clues. She has never left him any kind of trail. He relies on the patterns he's drawn together over the decades of chasing, on local rumor of the fantastic, on instinct. People have always been his best source of information regarding her whereabouts. Despite her efforts, she never remains invisible for long. Not with eyes like hers. Green. The most rare of the natural colors. People talk; he listens.
Even now, as his mind wanders, he's listening. Her breathing steadies; her words finish as she falls deeper into her dreams. She shifts again and turns into face him, her nose pressing against his chest. Smiling once more, he can't help but tighten his grip.
They stay like that, he silent and awake, she sleeping in his arms, her unconscious and one-sided conversation a memory. He knows she'll disappear when the sun sinks beyond the dunes outside and he relaxes enough to for her to slip from his grasp. They both know he'll chase her again. He knows he'll find her; he also knows she wishes he'd stop looking.
"The only reason I run," he breathes against her ear, "is because you run, my dear."
Closing his eyes, he relaxes against the pillows. It's dark when he wakes. The tent is empty and silent. She's gone. And so it begins again.