At first, the only sound Jade was aware of was the sound of her own breathing. It was faint and mellow… breathe in, breathe out; breathe in, breathe out; The rhythmic pattern soothed her and urged her to go back to sleep. It was tempting… but she knew she couldn't.
As she became more aware of the world around her, she heard the distant crackling and snapping of, what was undoubtedly, the fire. She could feel faint warmth tickling her left side. It felt nice and she unconsciously edged closer to the flames. A sudden chill caressed her and she shivered. The warmth from the fire felt pleasant but it wasn't strong enough to keep the coldness at bay.
She could now smell the pungent odor of the fire. It hit her wave after wave. It was choking; she turned her head in the opposite direction in hopes of finding cleaner and fresher air.
It was freezing. She could barely feel her toes.
Taking a deep breath, she slowly opened her eyes. A wave of nausea hit her and she quickly closed them again. Taking deep breaths and periodic swallows, she attempted to soothe the sickness. After a moment of controlled breathing, she attempted to open her eyes again.
Her vision was still blurry but it was much better than before. At least now, she could make out objects instead of swirls of nothingness.
It was dark and all she saw was a stony wall that laid inches from her face. She moved her hand and touched the rough texture. It was cold and ragged. She pushed her hand harder against the rough edges of the wall. It dug into her skin and she could feel a frail, stinging pain.
"I'm not dreaming." She thought to herself.
Turning her body around, she surveyed the rest of her surroundings.
She was in a small cave, no longer than four or five meters in width. A rosy fire sat in the middle. It crackled and snapped; its flame danced wildly and emitted a shadowy, orange glow. It was the only source of light in this small, dark cave and although it wasn't very bright, it still provided some comfort for the shivering and lonely girl.
Or at least she thought she was alone.
On the other side of the flames, a figure sat propped up lazily against the wall. She couldn't see his face but she could feel his gaze on her. She unconsciously backed away, stopping only when she felt the rough textures of the wall digging into her back.
"You're awake." Breathed the figure. The voice sounded really familiar, in fact, it sounded just like… Cal.
The figure stood gracefully and moved towards her. The closer he came, the less his face blurred and the easier it was for her to make out his features.
It was indeed Cal.
He stopped in front of her and kneeled. Graciously reaching forward, he gently pressed the back of his hand against her forehead.
"You have a fever." He stated quietly, "There's nothing we can do about it now so you should probably go back to sleep. We have a lot of walking to do tomorrow so you'll need your energy."
He watched quietly as she nodded and gently closed her eyes. He quietly rose to go back to his old spot when suddenly, he felt something enclose around his wrist… it was her hand.
"Stay," she whispered, "…stay…"
It was a weak hold and her slow, even breathing informed him that she had already fell asleep. He could easily remove her hand and go back to his spot if he wanted… but he didn't. Instead, he sat down beside her and carefully propped her up against him. She responded by unconsciously snuggling closer to him.
He didn't know why he did it… maybe he pitied her… she was cold, her icy hand had told him so, and had a fever… or maybe…
He sighed and turned to watch her. She was slumbering peacefully, using his right shoulder as a pillow. She looked so innocent… and cute?
Cal mentally slapped himself. "I'm only being nice to her because I still need her alive and well… for my plans… yes, it's all for my plans… for revenge…" He silently convinced himself.
He shifted his body slightly towards the right so that both of them could rest more comfortably… and also because he had to be careful so that she wouldn't touch his wounds (which are mostly located on his left side) by accident. She had escaped the fall unscathed (thanks to him) but he hadn't been so lucky. Although his wounds weren't death threatening, they still hurt like hell.
Closing his eyes and ignoring the pains, he silently hoped that he would be able to get some sleep tonight. Insomnia wasn't fun. Normally, he only got some sleep when he passed out from exhaustion. But tonight… he really needed to sleep and strangely, he did.
He walked in front and she trailed behind, not a word was exchanged between them. Jade didn't particularly mind the silence. Jade was never a person of many words and with that awful headache of hers, she could barely walk straight let alone conduct a proper conversation.
Dragging herself forcefully forward, Jade really wished that he would stop and take a break… if only for a short while. However, she didn't feel that she had the right to complain. After all, it was her fault that they ended up in this situation and not once did he complain or blame her (well, at least not out-loud). So Jade didn't feel she could rightfully ask him to rest. She's already slowing him down (he has slowed his pace in order to accommodate her condition) and he looked like he really wanted to get out of this forest… and who can blame him? They haven't eaten for nearly a day… they were tired and dirty…
"And I really want to go home!" She thought to herself.
They had fallen a long way from the designated route so they had to find a way back to the original path. That was, of course, easier said then done. They were completely lost or at least Jade thought so… Cal, on the other hand, refuses to admit it. So on and on they walked, hoping they were going the right way.
"Have they found them?" Knive asked eagerly but Tare shook her head.
Knive screamed in fustration. It's been a day already and nobody has seen them. Many search teams has been sent out but no-body has seen them.
"It's all my fault! It's my fault. I never should've let her out of my sight." Knive shouted.
"It's not your fault." Tare replied quietly. She had never seen Knive like this and it terrified her.
"Of course it's my fault! After working so hard to bribe those stupid teachers into putting me in the same group as her… Have you forgotten why, Tare? Have you? It's so that I could keep an eye on her, to protect her from harm. And now look what happened! How could I let something like this happen?"
After they had discovered that Jade was missing, Tare, Knive and Cal agreed to split up and look for her. They were to meet in fifteen minutes regardless of whether they found her or not. However, only Knive and Tare made it back to their designated meeting place. Cal never came back. They were going to go and look again but the pelting rain forced them to seek shelter. So they had no choice but to return back to camp. They informed the teachers and as soon as the rain stopped, search teams have been sent out but as of now, they have yet to find Jade and Cal.
"As much as I… dislike the idea of the two of them together, I really hope he's with her. I know him well enough to know that if he was willing to go and look for her, he won't leave her to die." Muttered Knive.
For the first time in his life, Knive prayed. He prayed, to a god he didn't believe in, that his sister was all right.
That night, Cal and Jade spent the night in a tree, on the recommendation of Jade. Jade managed to convince Cal that the safest place to rest was up in a tree because you never know what kinds of creatures prowled the forest floor at night. It was a rational decision… but there was one problem. Jade was afraid of heights. So in order to soothe her fear of falling out of the tree while she was sleeping, Cal had no choice but to let her use him as a pillow again.
That night, Cal managed to fall asleep again… he reasoned it was because of the fresh air.
The next time Jade woke up, she was lying on a soft, warm bed. Her headache was gone and she was feeling much better. To say that she was confused would've been an understatement.
She had no idea why she was here lying in a warm cabin instead of sitting up in a tree (where she last lost consciousness). Not that she wasn't grateful; she was. She was really glad she was here instead of being out in the cold but she couldn't help wondering how she got here.
"Was what I just experienced part of a dream?"
"Why would I have that kind of a dream?"
"Am I dreaming right now?"
"Will I wake up and find myself back on that tree?"
"What is real… and what isn't?"
While Jade was deep in thought, Knive entered her room carrying a tray. She didn't notice him so naturally she screamed when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Knive found it highly amusing while Jade wished she could hide in a hole somewhere…
"Are you feeling better now?"
Jade nodded. She happily accepted the tray (filled with food) handed to her. Muttering a quick thanks she munched her food happily.
After satisfying her stomach, Jade turned to ask the question that has been nagging her. How did I get here?
Knive seemed reluctant to answer. After pondering for a very long time he finally answered her. "He brought you here… and then he left."
There was no doubt as to who "he" was.
Knive then left the room after telling Jade that if she needed anything, all she had to do was call.
Jade was left alone to her thoughts… She knew she had to repay Cal for all those times he helped her… 'How' was the question… So she spent the next few days in bed pondering about the possibilities. Soon, it was time to return back to school.
A/N: Hello everyone~ I've disappeared for a couple of months but now I'm back! I hope you enjoyed this chapter… it has a really crappy ending but this was the only way I could end it… maybe I'll go back and revise it sometimes… actually, I probably needs to revise the whole story. Anyways, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!
I'll see you all in the next update and don't forget to review!