The Storm Chapter Twenty

Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin BBC. I don’t own Frozen, either.

Chapter Twenty

She couldn’t stop worrying as they took turns carrying the golden haired knight, no king is what the sorcerer called him, out of the bundle of underbrush. No matter how gentle they tried to get him to safety they could all see that he was struggling. His pain had to have been high as he slightly coughed and groaned through their journey. As soon as they made it out of the sorcerer’s protective gathering of trees she hurried over to create something that would block the downpour. Using vines and weaving techniques she usually reserved for making baskets and feet mats, she tied together branches of trees and ferns. It wasn’t going to be a perfect covering, but she needed something to lay the man under.

Arthur’s breathing had started to come in short bursts by the time they could hide him under her small roof. Leon looked to her in fear for the man’s life and hope that maybe she could do something.

“I can’t,” she whispered back. The others were in varying states of shock, wonder, and even anger. Elyan was worried for his sister mostly, but worried what would happen if she couldn’t save the king’s life. Percival was tired, since he did most of the carrying of the man, and Lancelot was still in a bit of shock of discovering who this man really was. The ire was coming off of Gwaine, who was now pacing in the pouring rain and stomping into the mud fiercely.

“Bloody king, of all things,” he muttered loudly after a large crack of thunder split the now darkening day. “Had to be helping a blasted noble!”

Leon went to stand up and confront the rogue, but Lancelot placed a well-meaning hand onto the knight’s bicep. He shook his head and stood for the Camelotian.

Lancelot wasn’t afraid of the dark haired man, but he certainly wasn’t stupid. The drunk had thrown himself into a state. “Need a drink?” he asked as he approached like coming upon a wild animal. Gwaine stopped pacing and eyed him suspiciously.

“We have been together on this journey for about two weeks now, and suddenly you have a pint?” The man’s anger was thrown into his words. It spoke volumes of warning and Lancelot understood the threat. Out of the corner of both of their eyes they saw Percival shift slightly. He was getting ready to break up the fight.

“I’ve been keeping it for special occasions. I had thought we would all like a bit after we stopped the storm, but now I think you need it now,” he kept his voice level.

The men all eyed each other as the storm continued to fall down. The only break to their silence was a wheezing cough emitted by the king who still hadn’t regained consciousness.

~*~Ma~*~

When the dragon awoke a bit later to the dry sun baking against his scales, he felt peace inside. Merlin opened his eyes as well and they both just enjoyed the peace away from the storm in silence. The sun was dropping beyond the far off gray clouds and they both knew night would be on them soon. Merlin wanted to sleep in his fern bed inside and not on the now dry ground, but he didn’t want to leave yet.

“How do you know me?” he asked suddenly to the dragon. He shifted as the dragon carefully raised his head to regard the small sorcerer beside him. Well, the young man was small to the enormous dragon, at least.

“Your father before you was a Dragon Lord and since his death has come it was passed to you. I have been waiting for you to call me,” a toothy grin was given, “Though I didn’t think it would take you going against the king to do so.”

“I’m sorry. He wants to kill me because I caused this storm,” Merlin stood up and then looked away as the dragon tilted his head in confusion.

“I do not think he would kill you, Merlin. The king needs you,” the dragon felt through the small bond they have that the black haired boy wasn’t ready for this conversation quite yet.

Kilgharrah saw the boy shake his head suddenly as he imagined the thoughts running through it were immense. The child did not understand that his purpose was to be near the king. The dragon held his thoughts to himself, though. “Young warlock,” he called out to gain the dragon lord’s attention.

“What is a warlock?” Merlin asked suddenly. He still didn’t look up. A shiver caught suddenly and he wrapped his arms around himself. He was unsure and scared.

The little bit of advice that Kilgharrah was going to bestow onto the young man was drowned even further back into the dragon’s brain. This boy wasn’t the knowledgeable young man that Gaius had promised would be there to call him when he was able to. This was a terrified child hidden within the confines of an adult body. This boy had the magic only others could dream of, but without the teacher to show how to use it.

Merlin never found out the answer to his innocent question as the trees burst suddenly spewing out fifty soldiers. The dragon reared up to defend his master as Merlin went to hide inside the house. The warlock never made it into the confines of the tree fort. The dragon was so distracted by the swords, spears, and arrows that he didn’t even notice when the young magic user snuck upon the dragon lord. Merlin only saw a sudden sight of green to gold before his own world turned black.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

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Blank Slate Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Nineteen

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing. I think I forgot to say that last chapter. Don’t sue me! I don’t have enough lint for a lint ball!

Warnings: I tried to not type out the torture that was done, but there is violence in this chapter. I had six paragraphs of graphic torture and deleted it all telling myself this is rated T.

The screams finally silenced as their echoes disappeared against the walls. Daniel’s sobs, though, didn’t stop. “I really don’t know,” he continued to cry as he watched the henchmen check the pulse of the younger boy. Daniel couldn’t recognize him any longer and he knew that the poor child would have nightmares for years to come from this. If Daniel could give them the information before they were both killed, that is. “Please, leave him alone. Come after me! Leave him alone!” his last words were screamed in anger at the woman he had been relying on for the last year.

“Awe, darling, I couldn’t do that. You were trained to withstand such torture. We have tried that before,” she said as she sauntered up to his bound chair. “I was hoping we could get you to talk with just torturing your innocent friend, but I guess we’ll have to put him out of his misery.”

Daniel thought fast to try and delay them in killing Sam, “Before?” It worked as Alecia turned back around from where she had been about to give the order to kill his best friend.

“Oh, right, amnesia… I’ll play along.

Yes, ‘before’. After you stole from us we found you in your hide out and flushed you out. We then did everything we could to gather the information from you. We would have just killed you, except you kept saying it would be found if you die. As we were transporting you to another place, because Preventers had been tipped off somehow, you escaped. Brian forgot to put the child lock on the back doors of the car. He won’t be making that mistake, or any more mistakes, again,” she smiled at him with full teeth. It was a smile Daniel had thought once to be kind, but now wondered if this was her version of a shark grin.

“My day job allowed me to get close to you when we found out you had been saved from death. I was weary at first that you’d recognize me, but you didn’t. I kept moving you to different places, horrible ones when I had the chance, to try and get you to remember something,” she sighed. “I don’t want to have to kill your friend. He really didn’t even know he was making friends with a terrorist and thief.”

Daniel asked, “What did I steal?” She needed to be talking to delay the inevitable. He didn’t know why but he was sure that he just had to buy them time. “Maybe I’ll remember if I knew what I took.”

She stopped for a minute. A complete stillness came over her as she studied his purple eyes. She finally spoke, “Our plans for spreading a disease using foster care children. It is a brilliant plan, really. At first I thought you were pretending amnesia to get into the system to learn more about what you had stolen… anyway, long story short, it’s already begun. We started in Britain yesterday and today millions of foster care kids are getting vaccinated against a new disease that we have let the media suppose was running rampant through the country. Just like bird flu and swine flu, it is said to originate through cows and their meat. In all meat eating countries it was perfect.”

Daniel tried to wrack his brain to remember if he’d seen any news reports like it. He hadn’t, but really it was because the other pilots had cut his cable off in his room. They had numerous times tried to get him to sit with them for the evening news in the main living room of the mansion, but he had refused. For a week now he had missed this vital information spreading across the airwaves because he had been depressed.

Anger shot through him. His arms tightened against their bindings and he felt the rope dig into his wrists. It wasn’t long before the tickle of the blood pooling from his wounds came down his fingers. His violet eyes turned dark as he stared at this horrible woman in front of him.

She didn’t seem to notice the sudden burst of strength from her captive, “Of course we do have a counter virus. We have inoculated the higher ups with it. The rich have requested the ‘vaccine’ as well and have received the true vaccine. The poor are a leech on our system and the foster care kids go to the poor who abuse it. They get medical free and food free. These people take and take and take. We’re doing everyone a favor by ridding the obsolete from this world.”

As she talked flashes of memories came to Daniel’s mind- No, not Daniel, Duo’s mind. Solo dying as he coughed from a plague that took out the entire gang of friends, family, he had when he was just a small child. Dead bodies everywhere and hunger pains attacking his body as he was afraid to leave them alone. For some reason, though, he didn’t get sick. The plague had taken out most of the poorest populations on L2 and he had survived. He was Duo, named after his older brother Solo.

He pulled harder on his ropes and felt them begin to snap. His body had been dormant for a year, and he had eaten well but not what he would normally eat to keep up strength. He didn’t care as he heard Sam start to come back to the world on consciousness. He needed to get out of here, find where he had hidden the information he stole, and get Sam to safety.

Alecia stepped back as the bindings broke and he stood up. He didn’t give her time as he lunged forward to get her into his bloody hands. She stepped back and away as her five goons jumped into action to save their leader. He was punched in the face before her broke the first goons neck. He tripped the second one, but everything stopped when the windows above them burst out. Yelling came from all around them.

Alecia, the men that were still alive, and Duo all raised their hands in surrender to black clad, gun toting, and armor wearing army that stormed the building.

“Duo!” he heard from behind the army as a blond head came rushing through to grab onto him in a hug. “You’re safe!”

He almost laughed, but instead he pulled the Sandrock pilot away from him, “No. There’s a virus out there spreading right this minute. We need to stop it!” He looked over as Trowa and ambulance crews were tending to Sam. “And he needs his mom.” Quatre nodded and pulled Duo away from the arresting of Alecia.

“Tell me everything,” Quatre said in a commanding voice as they rushed out into the sun filled area of a shipping yard.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

The Storm Chapter Nineteen

Chapter 19

A rhythmic thunder sounded through the sky as Mordred looked up. He saw a black shape fly high above him and he wondered if he had hallucinated. A dragon or something else? He thought hard to remember some of the books Morgana had given him about the creatures in the area.

It had to have been a dragon. He called for the knights to hurry and quickly they rushed their steeds into the driving rain. The wind soaked through their chain mail, but Mordred feared they wouldn’t be in time.

~*~Ma~*~

Merlin rushed to his feet as a creatures of great size barreled toward them. Arthur yelled out, “Dragon!” Merlin didn’t stay long where he had been pushed. His feet carried him into his home as the king’s companions drew their weapons.

The maw of the beast opened and hot flame spewed forth. It created a barrier between the sorcerer and the travelers. His scales gleamed a dark red against the bright sun. The clouds came into the clearing for the first time in days as Merlin felt the fear trap into his heart again. He knew the dragon wouldn’t harm him, for he also knew he had someone called the thing to that place, but he feared that Arthur would defeat it. If the king took out the dragon, then he could easily capture and kill Merlin. The other slight fear was that the dragon would kill the king. Even deep down inside of the brunette he felt the friendship was still there. He couldn’t deny that Arthur had been there for him all of those years during his captivity.

The sounds of the battle were harsh against his ears as he snuck a peak through the vines. The men were holding well against the dragon. He could see that even the beast knew Merlin’s heart, because he kept them at bay but did not go in for any serious injury. He hoped they would just tire and give up. He wanted to just be left alone.

If he had known how to stop the storm, he would have done it. He knew that people were dying. He was aware that people were going to die for possibly years to come even after the storm stopped. Homes were gone, fields were flooded, and food stores would be rotten or looted within the next few months. He wasn’t the idiot the king called him. He knew the implications of having such a curse on the land. The problem was that he was also being truthful. He didn’t know how to stop it. He didn’t even know how he had cursed the land in the first place. He knew he had sent out some powerful magic during the celebrations, but he didn’t know that it would cause such suffering. His magic could be unpredictable, but it had never been this full of malice before. He didn’t understand it.

Honestly, even before he had only done damage by breaking vials or exploding candles when he had tried to suppress his magic. He had never done anything such as cursing an entire place. He wondered how his magic could have gotten to the point bring down the heavens on everyone in Albion.

The dragon roared suddenly. It reared up onto its back legs suddenly. Merlin saw a sword embedded deep into its hide of the front. Maneuvering the large body it struck out with the massive tail. The appendage collided with the blond king in a sickening crunch. Throwing the monarch far from the battle and into the tree line. Merlin thought for sure the man had been killed. The others saw their leader tossed and backed away from the fight. The woman, Merlin just really noticed her, ran for Arthur to prop him up and check on him. The rain came down harshly and drowned out the sounds.

Merlin almost ran to join the group to find out if his friend had been killed. They quickly gathered him up. One of the knights, a man with long wild hair, turned sad eyes toward the sorcerer and dragon. Then they rushed out of the now soaked clearing with the body of his king between them.

The dragon groaned and lay down onto the mud beneath. The boy ran out to him and quickly grabbed onto the hilt of the sword. “I have to remove it so I can heal it,” he informed the beat. The dragon nodded in consent, but still screamed out when the blade was pulled from between his tough scales.

“It missed my heart, young warlock,” the dragon spoke to him. He only glanced barely to the new friend as he pushed against the bleeding wound. He shoved his magic into the slash and tried to direct it to help. It didn’t do much and the dragon chuckled, “You are not made to heal me, Merlin.”

He stepped back, “How do you know my name?”

“You called me here. Shouldn’t it be obvious that I would know who you are?” the dragon gave an odd toothy grin even as he settled down farther into the earth. “I am Kilgharrah. I am the last of my kind and you are the only of your kind,” with that said the great golden eyes shut and he lay his large red scaled head down onto the ground. Deep breaths came through with a rumble and Merlin realized the dragon had fallen asleep.

Gathering his magic he forced the sky to open above his clearing once again and bring down sun. The little rain that had come through now was quickly soaking into the ground. The animals were weary of the massive magical creature laying outside of the tree house, but they still came out from hiding.

The sorcerer had a lot to think about. How did he call the dragon to him? It had been an instinct in him to do so and it had felt different than his chaotic magic. Why did Arthur have a woman among his knights? He knew his king wouldn’t bring a woman along on a quest, so how did they end up with one in their group? He looked up to where the sun was shining in the blue sky above. The swirling of grey clouds could be seen on the edges of the tree tops. If he could clear away his little area, could he clear away the storm from all of Albion? No, probably not. He couldn’t even heal his dragon of a sword wound. He wasn’t powerful enough to save Albion from a curse. Even a curse he had someone put onto the land himself.

He leaned against the side of the dragon, being mindful of the wound that was still there but had stopped bleeding. He looked over at where Arthur had landed against the tree on the edge of the forest. Was the king dead? If he wasn’t, would he just leave Merlin alone? Probably not. His blue eyes clouded over and he yawned before falling asleep against the warmth of the scaly hide.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen

His body shuddered, sweat ran down his face and skin, and he tried his best to not gasp or pant. Sleep called to him from the darkness and he fought as hard as he could to not succumb to the temptation. “Now… I… lay… me…” he said slowly to the black. He never finished as his fight against the lack of oxygen was lost.

~*~ Ma ~*~

His body was being dragged to somewhere else. His head was hitting the bumps in the concrete flooring and his ankles were being gripped by strong hands. The headache pounding in his brain meant he was alive. The glorious air was filled with much needed oxygen. His lungs burned with the sudden need to get as much as possible into his system as quickly as possible. He couldn’t even care at the moment where these bad guys were taking him, because he was alive. His eyes stayed shut and he almost grunted with each abrupt smack against his cranium.

The person stopped pulling him and dropped his legs unceremoniously back onto the concrete floor. Daniel would have said that the man threw them down, but he reasoned that the lack of oxygen made his muscles pain anyway.

“Daniel!” a high pitched male child yelled into the room. Daniel opened his eyes as the man pulled him to an upright position. He looked across the room of a warehouse to see his friend Sam strapped into a chair as the man did the same to Daniel. “Daniel!” the boy cried out again before another man, one Daniel hadn’t registered was there, shoved a cloth into the child’s mouth.

Daniel tried to clear his head as he looked around. They were in a shipping warehouse of some sort. Light streamed in through windows three or four stories above the concrete floor they were on. It was daylight out. Boxes stacked around them had no markings to identify what was inside. Daniel had thought there were two men, but now he realized there were at least five. The men all wore the same gray t-shirts, blue jeans and had shaved their heads clean. They were all tan and Daniel was guessing some form of Latin American. They didn’t talk as they stood around with space between them waiting for something. The boss was late or trying to make an entrance.

Daniel tried to show Sam with his eyes that everything was going to be alright. He would have called out to him, but breathing was still difficult enough. ‘Please understand,’ he thought.

As his breath started to calm down and oxygen filled his body again in the places he desperately needed it to be in, a woman clicked into the room. At first Daniel thought that his brain still was deprived of cellular use, but then it all caught up to him as she spoke, “Hello Duo. I hope they didn’t rough you up too much.”

“Alecia,” he whispered harshly into the stillness of the room. His social worker smirked at him and then full on smiled brightly. “Why?”

“Oh Duo…” she walked forward and leaned down in front of him, “You have something of mine. I need it back. Where is it?” Her sweet smile turned to a sneer. Her manicured hands came out and brushed down his cheek, “I know your memories are returning. I just want to know where you put it and I’ll let poor little Sam go home.” Behind her Sam started struggling in his bindings and humming against the dirty cloth. She moved out of Daniel’s view so he could watch his friend.

“I don’t know what you’re looking for!” Daniel yelled. “Let us go! I really haven’t gotten my memories back!”

She started to tisk against her teeth as she walked over to the younger boy. The blond looked from Alecia to Daniel and tried to struggle out of his chair. “Oh, poor Sam… Boys, why don’t you help Duo remember what he stole from me?” One of the henchmen nodded and walked toward Sam who was now screaming in fear and crying.

Daniel didn’t have the chance to look away as another bulky guy grabbed his head and forced him to watch. “I don’t know!” Daniel kept chanting as loud as he could. He tried to keep his voice above that of his friend’s so that the crazy lady would listen to him and stop.

“I don’t know!”

~*~ Tsuzuku ~*~

The Storm Chapter Eighteen

Chapter 18

Arthur saw Guinevere yawning next to her brother as they struggled further into the now dense brush. Lancelot stumbled into the back of Gwaine for the fifth time since they had entered the forest. Gwaine mumbled something, but they all knew it would be hazardous if any of them went further apart. It was hard enough on them trying to walk through the ferns and stay in each other’s sights. The king sighed as they once again stumbled past a large tree. They came out the other side and he looked up to search for the bright sun again. In front of him were dark clouds and over to the left of his vision was the bright golden light they sought. “Gwaine!” he called out.

The rogue stopped and everyone turned to where Arthur pointed. Looking back down at the monarch from his outstretched hand the rogue said, “Trust?”

Leon looked over to the light beams that his king pointed to and then over to the darkened sky the drunk was leading them toward, “Arthur, we promised.” The golden-haired man nodded and waved his hand in a gesture for them to continue.

Gwaine grumbled again and they marched on. Far in the distance the sky grumbled along with them. They were sure the clouds would open again and down pour onto them all. They shivered with the thought.

As the sky gave a large burst of light and the resounding crack, they burst through the foliage. Behind them they heard the sound of the large droplets falling, but where they stood was dry. It was like they had walked through the curtain at a waterfall. It caused a few to stumble.

There standing in front of them was a few deer, a unicorn, and a bear all drinking from a stream caused by the rain falling on one side of the clearing to the other. They all stared for a second before Guinevere giggled at the feeling of finally being dry. The men all smiled as well and congradulated Gwaine for getting them in. They all felt elation at their freedom from the storm.

Arthus broke away from the small celebration and looked farther into the clear. He noticed a large tree, or rather three trees twined together almost unnaturally, to create a structure. It looked like a house almost. The others followed as he stumbled slowly toward the abode. hearing their feet crunch against the dry green grass made him realize he had company. His body turned quickly and blue eyes gazed at the crowd. “Uh,” he started and gathered his thoughts quickly, “I don’t think you all should be with me when I confront him.”

“Why not?” Gwaine demanded to know while he folded his arms. “I got you here!”

“And I sent him here with his fear by throwing him into a crowd in the first place,” Arthur admitted. He looked at Guinevere who nodded. She turned to everyone and with her own scowl everyone else nodded too. They didn’t know the story like Elyan, Leon and she did, but they could see that Arthur really did need to go in on his own.

“We will only wait for a bit, Arthur. If you don’t return soon we will come for you. Remember, he is a sorcerer. He is dangerous,” Leon said as he clasped a comforting hand onto the monarch’s shoulder. Arthur gave a quick nod of his golden head and turned back to the tree.

He passed by the animals and watched as they closely eyed him, but they never moved to flee. They felt very safe in this haven from the storm. His body gave tingles as he approached the house of his friend. The magic was thick in the air. He reached the vines covering the entrance to the small tower. he reached forward and parted them to enter inside. “Merlin?” he called into the dim lighten main area.

A gasp was heard and he looked up the spiral wooden stairs that followed the path of the spiral walls. A landing was about ten feet above where the king stood and there stood the sorcerer. Merlin’s eyes were wide in shock and a bit of fear. “What are you doing here?” the dark haired man asked.

“Idiot. I am here to rescue a maiden it seems. Nice tower you made for yourself,” Arthur said as he crossed his arms on his chest.

Merlin scowled as he rushed down the steps to the main floor, “Really Arthur, how did you find me?”

Arthur rolled his eyes, “The bright sun. You have the only clearing in all of Albion! It doesn’t take a genius to find you.”

“Good thing you’re not one, then,” Merlin muttered. Arthur glared a bit at him as he continued, “How did you get in here? I portected this space.” Both men stood threatening to each other and Arthur realized this wasn’t how he had meant this meeting to go.

“Merin, I need you to return with me,” he told the other man without answering his question.

The warlock shook his head and pushed passed the royal toward the vine covered door. He pushed through while talking, “I’m not going to return to just be put on a pyre! I refuse to be executed. Here… here I am finally free. I don’t want to live in solitude within the confines of walls anymore. This is beautiful, free, and I don’t want to return to my imprisonment!” Arthur followed out fast behind him.

“You have to come back! The storm is killing people,” he grabbed onto the younger man’s peasant shirt and forced him to stop. He didn’t want him to leave the place until he could tell him about his companions, but he realized too late that they had left the home.

Merlin’s eyes widened as he spotted the men and woman waiting on the other side of the clearing. From the distance he couldn’t be certain, but he still rounded onto his old friend, “You brought your knights with you to kill me?!”

“No…” Arthur started, but Merlin continued.

“I can’t stop the storm! I don’t even know how I started it! I have never done magic like that before! What you see here is the only deliberate magic I have done in years! I cannot help you! Are you going to kill me now?” he screamed.

Arthur went to stop the magic user from returning to the house. “You need to stop it!” he yelled.

“I can’t! I won’t!” Merlin yelled back. Arthur didn’t know what to do, so he did the only thing he could think at that moment – he pushed Merlin to the ground, straight onto his backside. It was a childish thing, he knew, but he was angry that his friend didn’t care about the people dying across the land.

He was wrong. Merlin did care, but he really didn’t know how to stop something that he didn’t even know how he started. His rear end shot pain through up his back, but his pride hurt more. His chest ached suddenly from feeling betrayed by the only voice he had heard for years. Arthus yelled at him some more, “I don’t care if I have to kill you! Stop this storm! Stop being a sorcerer!” Both of their eyes widened as the king had said something he couldn’t take back. He didn’t mean it, but Merlin was certain he did deep inside.

Both sets of blue eyes were shocked at such harsh words. Quickly Arthur went to apologize as he heard his companions come running to them throuigh the clearing. Merlin’s eyes, though, went dark. “Get out,” he grounded out. Slowly he stood from the ground and didn’t take his eyes away from his enemy. “Get out, Arthur!” he yelled.

“Merlin…” the king started.

The warlock felt another stirring deep inside of him. Feeling trapped as he feared the knights would reach them soon and arrest him, he shouted into the bright sky above, “O drakon, e maia soi ftengometh tes’hup anankes!”

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Seventeen

Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.

Chapter Seventeen

Daniel was still staring at the chair Wufei had vacated when the other four pilots came into the room. Quatre immediately went to sit next to him on the bed while the others stood around. Daniel looked over at Quatre, “Sam is missing.” Quatre nodded.

Wufei looked down as his cell phone beeped. “It’s from Lady Une. She says she is looking at the police reports now.” He waited as his phone beeped again. Heero sat down and pulled his laptop from underneath the bed. Daniel didn’t even know that he had kept it under there. The tapping from both of them had everyone else watching as they waited. Wufei continued, “She sees nothing amiss with the reports. Looks like a standard grab and disappear. No connection.”

“No connection from the underground, either,” Heero said as he continued to read and type randomly onto the pad.

“Connection to what?” Daniel asked. They stopped and everyone looked over at him.

Quatre sighed, “No connection with what happened to you.” His blue eyes searched the purple in front of him and Daniel knew he was looking for if Daniel could remember anything more than what they had already figured out, which wasn’t much besides he was found in a ditch. He looked away and fingered the cross hanging from his neck.

“If it had been connected, could we have found him?” he whispered.

“We are going to find him,” Wufei said as he turned off his phone and shoved it back into his jeans pocket.

“We are?” Daniel asked as he looked up hopefully to the Chinese boy.

“No, you are staying here. We, as in the rest of us, are going to go and find him,” Quatre said as gently as he could. “Please don’t hurt yourself while we’re away. We want to bring Sam back to you alive and well.” Daniel nodded and whispered out a promise. He was disappointed to be staying behind, but without his memories his body and brain did not always meet in the right place. He couldn’t remember all of what the others could do and he probably would hinder the investigation more than help at this point.

“If I get my memories back, can I help?” he asked. They looked around at each other.

It was Trowa who spoke, “Of course.” With that the others left to start on finding the twelve year old boy.

Daniel was determined now to get back to being Duo. He needed his memories, even the ones with the screams, if he was going to help find his friend.

~*~Ma~*~

Daniel had his hair pulled back and he was crouched down low to the grass as he watched the dogs walk by. Their ears swiveled toward him but they kept on walking alongside their handlers. Slowly he crept out and kept alongside one of the hedges. Counting to five in his head after watching the camera turn he dashed across the lawn toward the tree. He stayed still against the tree as guards with guns walked by. He shut his eyes to keep the light from their flashlights from bouncing in reflection. Listening intently he knew when the crunch of their feet was far enough away.

He looked really quick for the sign of the camera making its rounds. He had four seconds to make it to the wall and shimmy up. He took off again. Using skills he didn’t remember having he launched himself up the wall, over it and onto the street on the other side. He allowed himself to fall down to his knees to quiet the landing on the pavement.

His smile broke as he sighed. He made it out of Quatre’s compound even without memories on how he knew what to do. He didn’t need his memories to find Sam. Now he just had to go back to the front gate, tell Rashid what he had done, and call Quatre to tell him he can join in the search.

His feet didn’t even make it away from the wall when pain shot through his neck. He reached up and pulled out something. Confusion came into his brain as he held what looked like a dart in his hand. Then the world turned into a swirling mess before he felt his legs give way. It spun and spun as darkness engulfed him.

~*~Ma~*~

His shoulders hurt, his side hurt, and as he pulled on his legs he realized his ankles hurt. Slowly he opened his eyes. Black, so black that for a minute panic almost set in. Was he blind now too? No, it was just a closed room. Not even a sliver of light came in from where ever the door was. The air was stale, too, meaning that there wasn’t a vent in the room. It was sealed and his only hope to not be suffocated was that someone opened the door in the next two hours. His brain supplied all of the calculation and a bit of a memory of something similar happening at some point in his life… with Wufei, he thought. He shuffled a bit and heard the scrape of his cross against the floor. So the floor was made of concrete and so were the walls from the way the acoustics bounced.

If bats could have echo location, than he was sure he could as well. Carefully he scooted until he had the chain in his mouth. He tapped the end of the cross against the floor he listened for return sounds. The room was empty from what he could tell. The pinging stopped and settled. His arms and ankles were tied tightly and he knew his fingers had to have been purple. They really didn’t want him to escape. He felt a giggle peak up through his throat, but choked it down. He’ll laugh later when the kidnappers arrive or right before he died.

He lay there and thought of anything else besides the fact that he really didn’t want to die of lack of oxygen.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Can they understand?

Today is the fourteenth year after that fateful day in New York, D.C. and that field in Pennsylvania. Today marks another year passed that terrorists tried to take down the United States people.

Yet, I wonder if the children now understand what that day was like for most of us who lived through it?

Last week on Friday I found out that my own children have a large amount of compassion for humans they don’t even know. We don’t have a television antenna or cable or internet to stream news. We use our radio. Every morning we listen to the news talk radio on our way into town. Last week they listened as thousands of people tried to escape war by entering into other countries. I explained to my children what was going on as they asked questions about where these places were and what was happening. By the end of the week my kids were wondering why we couldn’t just live where we wanted to, since we all live on the same planet?

Today children held their voices back and lowered their heads in honor to those who died fourteen years ago. My niece and nephew, on the other hand, tried to tell me how they learned about it in school. I watched in bewilderment as my niece laughed and smiled her way through her explanation of it all.

I turned on my hotspot and streamed a video of that day to show her. I couldn’t hold my tears as my memory of that fear and sorrow came again. She shrugged and said, “Did people die? Like in a movie?”

Like in a movie…

My nephew just rolled his twelve year old eyes and said he was going outside to shoot arrows at the target. “I didn’t care about some stupid building.”

My kids had had to be removed from the classroom like they did every year because they were crying too  hard.

But my kids are the ones who aren’t “normal”. Their classmates don’t understand why they cry hearing about someone they don’t know who died.

My younger coworkers are the same way. They don’t remember it and they just shrug.

Today is another day for these kids. It isn’t that to me, though.

I remember the phone call that morning before the phones became jammed. I remember the excitement at first as I told my classmates in my high school and then the confusion as our school was locked down. I lived in Las Vegas. New York could have been South Africa to me at that moment. Then came the announcement that all teachers were not to allow radio or television in the classes. We were deaf and blind sitting in those schools.

My dad had me removed after threatening to sue the district. I remember coming out of the building to the court yard to see the elementary kids being herded into the high school gym and probably down to the bomb shelters below. My dad roughly brought me to the van where the radio turned on to report the Pentagon had been hit.

My heart pounded as the excitement turned to fear. I was in a major city and one that brings in traffic from around the world.

At home I was told to get on the computer and get in contact with my siblings on the East Coast. My two brothers and a sister lived and worked in the tristate area. I didn’t have much information on them except for an email address. I instant messaged another sister, one who was in Florida, and we both kept trying to contact the oldest three. The phones were useless anyway.

As the trade center fell I began to feel numb. We had watched live as people had jumped and reports came in that a group had been found in our own airport. As the buildings fell we cried. For the first time in my life I saw my dad sob.

My brain filled in that those were dads, moms, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons. My own brothers could be in the rubble beneath. Those buildings could have been the casino my dad works in instead of a sky scraper on the other side of the world.

That day filled me with a new fear and determination. August 2003 I walked into a recruiters office with the image of those buildings in my head. I boarded a plane for Recruit Training Command with a burning for the people who died on those four planes in 2001.

Maybe these kids don’t understand that fear, but I hope that one day they will know the compassion for those who survived it. I hope one day they will feel the burn inside to live everyday to protect the innocent.

I have the new fear that we have desensitized our youth, though. The smile and the shrug make me worry that we won’t remember. One day those innocent people and their families will just be a picture in a history book. I hope that a few will still shed a tear.

image

The Storm Chapter Seventeen

Chapter 17

The sound of knocking echoed in the chamber and the candles flickered suddenly on the table in front of her. She sighed and called out to enter. As the door opened the flames stilled once again and she went back to her writing. A young man of about 16 entered the room in a full chain mail and a flowing red banner cloak. He bowed his head, “My lady?”

She looked up at the black hair and smiled as she stood, “Mordred, my dear! No need to be so proper! We’re friends, right?”

He nodded and smiled. His green eyes flowed with adoration for the woman in front of him. “Morgana, what did you need me for?” his voice belied his age to maybe even that of a younger child.

Morgana pitied the boy, she really did. He had been orphaned so young, but she was lucky enough to have hid him during most of the purge and then convince Agravaine to train him into the knighthood. Without her help and the love the former king had had for his ward, she would have never been able to keep the child safe. Then again, in light of the newest developments with the boy Merlin, maybe she should have just went to Uther with the child in front of her. Shaking away her thoughts she smiled brighter and took the knights hands into her own. “I need him found, Mordred. I can trust no one else with this task. Please, tell only a handful of knights and search him out yourself,” her eyes brimmed with unshed tears. “He needs to be found alive. Bring him back here alive.”

The boy nodded his head, let go of her hands and with on last smile and short bow, he swept from the room to complete his task.

As the door shut behind with a resounding thud her smile dropped. Turning angrily toward the servant’s door she snapped, “Agravaine, I told you before that spying was a despicable act. One not becoming of a noble.”

THe man came out from the shadow of the door and bowed his head, “My lady. I did not mean to cause injustice.”

“Then what is it?” Morgana sighed as she huffed back into her chair to continue writing.

“Why send the boy to get him?” Agravaine asked as he walked over into the candle light.

“We need to stop this storm. You know the people cannot continue this way any longer. Without him we are not able to continue any longer, either…” she paused and looked up at him. “Why did you argue with me in the conference?”

“I did so to keep the council men contained… My lady, why did you burst in like that? We could have discussed this at a later date and still you could have sent Mordred without my consent. You needn’t have had to take my pride like that in front of the men,” Agravaine stopped suddenly and looked terrified. “I apologize. I didn’t…”

“You did,” she said. They stayed in silence for a minute. The candles again flickered as she looked up at the regent, “You may leave now. I’ll discuss things with you again later.”

He bowed low and quickly strode out of the room before he could feel her wrath.

~*~Ma~*~

The king was soaked and in a sour mood when they were walking once again over another hill. They had just crossed a newly formed stream and the rain was once again large drops. They were heavy with the water and exhausted from the quest. Gwaine’s voice rang through the sound of the downpour, “One more hill and we’ll see it!” Arthur felt his shoulders sag a bit with the good news. They were almost there and soon Merlin would just stop this horrible storm.

At the top of the crest they saw the most glorious sight ever. A large hole in the clouds shone down golden light into the tree line just beyond them. It really didn’t seem that difficult to reach, either. A few of the guys smiled at the sight and Guinevere giggled from the sadle. They were almost there.

They walked faster as they rushed to meet the new tree line. As they stopped in front of the large trunks Gwaine turned to look at everyone. “One thing before we enter,” he said. “You need to trust me to lead the way. No matter which way you think I’m taking you,” the last bit was said while staring into Arthur’s eyes. The king narrowed his eyes in suspicion.

Leon didn’t wait for the monarch to protest, “Remember everyone that Gwaine is the only person we know who has been able to enter the clearing where the sorcerer lives.” Arthur still didn’t break eye contact with the rogue drunk as he nodded his consent.

Guinevere dismounted from the sadle and tied the horse to a limb. As one they followed into the thick brush.

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

Blank Slate Chapter Sixteen

Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing. I wish I owned it, or maybe even the mansion described as Quatre’s. I don’t own one of those, either.

Chapter 16

Daniel was amazed when they drove through the white large fence gates. There were big burley men, dogs, and guards everywhere. He watched carefully as they passed each one but the house froze any thoughts he had of trying to deceive his way out of the sanctuary. The mansion was huge from the outside and his purple eyes immediately took in the gleam of where the sun bounced off of the security cameras. This place was more secure than he had ever thought before. Whoever did the security was a genius. His brain tried over and over to come up with ways to avoid the guards, dogs or cameras. “Wow…” he breathed as he stepped out of the parked black sedan onto the gravel entry. Quatre and Heero stepped out of the front seats, Quatre had been driving. He heard a chuckle from the blond and turned to look over at him.

“You said that the last time you were here,” Quatre smiled at him. “When I asked you and Heero here to check the security I have and upgrade it all?” It was a question on whether Daniel remembered. He didn’t so he ignored it and started to follow the silent soldier into the huge double doors ahead. They had done a wonderful job on the security and Daniel couldn’t remember if he had left any holes big enough for him to slip out of.

~*~Ma~*~

Two other friends showed up the next day. Daniel refused to come out of his room, but they refused to leave him alone. They had given him a bedroom with a lock but he quickly found that they were just as good at unlocking it as he was at rigging it to be locked.

The Chinese boy, Wufei, seemed to be on guard and Quatre said he was waiting to see if Daniel was faking the amnesia. It only took the first day for Wufei to relax and realize that Daniel was not playing a joke on him or the others. He was smart and just a slight taller than Daniel. Wufei scolded him like a father would when he found out Daniel hadn’t been taking his growth pills, but Daniel could not be remorseful since he didn’t know why he had stopped taking them. Daniel noticed quickly that Wufei was a ranter and it was a bit funny to watch the other boy in his animation about things he took to heart.

Trowa was silent but not harsh in his quiet. He sat comfortably and even seemed to listen intently as Daniel rambled about different things. He answered questions Daniel asked with a way that made Daniel think he thought of every precise word like they were golden truths to be delved out to only a select few. Quatre had told him that Trowa had had amnesia like he did at one point and Daniel wanted to cling to that knowledge like it was a life saver. How did this boy in front of him, who Daniel knew had just as many terrors as he did, not go insane when he got his memories back?

A rotation was set and once again Daniel was on 24 hour surveillance. He almost wondered if he should try to escape just for the fun of it after a week passed by.

~*~Ma~*~

“Wu, can I call my friend?” he asked suddenly while they were reading their books still in Daniel’s room. The Chinese eyes looked at him calculating for a minute before reaching into his pocket of his jeans and passing a cell over. “Aw, thanks man!” he almost squealed out just to annoy the other boy, but thought he’d better not test his luck. He quickly dialed the number he had memorized. It only rang once before a frantic woman answered.

“Hello? Sam?” she asked.

“No, this is Daniel. Is Sam okay?” he asked into the receiver. Wufei brought his attention up from the book he had gone back to. They stared at each other as Daniel heard Sam’s mom on the other end.

“Sam is missing Daniel. He’s been missing for a week now. He never came home from school last Friday,” the woman sobbed. “I’ll call you when the police find anything, but they told me to keep the phone line clear. Please Daniel, pray for my son to return home.” The line went dead and Daniel felt his breathing and heart stop as he lowered the cell to the bed.

“Sam is missing… he had to have been kidnapped…” Daniel felt the tears coming to his eyes while Wufei’s widened and then turned determined. The Chinese boy rushed out of the bedroom and left Daniel alone for the first time in weeks.

Why hadn’t Daniel thought to call Sam last week when he came home from the hospital?

~*~Tsuzuku~*~

The Storm Chapter Sixteen

Disclaimer: I do not own Merlin BBC. I don’t own Frozen, either.

Chapter Sixteen

To diffuse the situation quickly Percival took action, “Where are you headed?”

Leon looked at the Arthur, who gave a slight nod, and answered, “We are searching for the sorcerer who caused the storm.”

Gwaine dropped his smile, “In the clearing that is dry?” Arthur nodded. “I know where it is…”

“Tell us, please?” Guinevere interrupted. Her brown eyes pleaded with the gambler.

Gwaine became guarded, “I can show you, but I don’t like the thought of someone being executed. If he can stop this without his death…”

“I never said the sorcerer was a man,” Leon said as he crossed his arms.

“You didn’t have to. I saw him. I wanted to be dry for a bit and sat in some bushes near the house he is in. Didn’t seem that he wanted company, though, so I left him be.”

“You have been in the clearing? I heard no one can get into it. They try as hard as they might, but become lost and tangled in the over growth.” Lancelot also looked suspiciously at the rogue.

Gwaine shrugged but didn’t give an answer. The steady beat of the rain began to increase as the drops became larger. They stood soaked looking at one another before the new comers to the group started to pull out rations and cloaks.

Lancelot and Elyan worked together with little voice as they tied the cloaks over branches. Percival saw they were creating a tent and went to grab two large logs for them to sit on underneath. Gwaine took the reins of the horse to tie her to a branch on a tree close by as Guinevere was shuffled into the more comfortable new tent by Arthur. Leon collected money from everyone and set back to the village to buy more rations for their group.

Once everyone was settled away from the loud patter of the falling water, Arthur spoke, “We won’t hurt Merlin.” Gwaine looked up from where he had been dumping water from his boots. “He was my friend before, and I don’t think I could ever see him executed.” Gwaine nodded and they all decided to get comfortable. Leon returned shortly with a pack full of more food rations and a thicker cloak for Guinevere.

“The clearing is a full day’s walk from here toward the east. I hope he is a good friend because this storm had to have been created by some powerful magic,” Gwaine said as he leaned against a tree trunk and slid to the soggy mud to shut his eyes.

“How powerful does a sorcerer need to be to do this?” Elyan asked.

Lancelot answered him, “Before the purge, according to stories I had heard growing up, the high priestesses could conjure weather for an hour or so. A group of them could bring a significant storm. For one man to do this would mean he is more powerful than they were in the height of their day.”

The silence pushed against them as they mulled over this. Arthur remembered the journals and the struggle he had read in them. He didn’t realize, though, that Merlin could ever be that strong. The skinny and pale physicians helper was more powerful than the king of Camelot. It sent chills down Arthur’s spine, and he fought the urge to panic. He chanted in his head over and over, ‘Merlin is my friend.’

~*~ Ma ~*~

The courtyard was amass with people of all ages. The screams of children and weeping mothers assaulted her ears as she rushed from them all toward the main doors. She heard people say, “My lady,” as they bowed but she hadn’t the time to greet them. She needed to find out what was happening quickly.

Her pace was determined as she strode into the council room where Lord Aggrevaine was bellowing, “I know what his Majesty’s request was, but we are running out of supplies!” A few of the lords were still nodding as Morgana made her way to the man’s side. The lords all looked at her and bowed their heads as she turned onto the leader.

“Why are there children dying outside on the streets of Camelot?” She waved towards the towering windows that chimed with each drop of rain.

“My lady, you needn’t concern…”

“I obviously do!” she pointed to the men with her finger in a sweeping motion as she continued, “When Arthur returns he will not be pleased to find we have forced a mutiny of the masses by starvation of their youth!” She tossed her long dark hair aside as she came to stand next to the Lord, “Fix it Aggravaine!” Her glare sent fear into the pit of all of the men. With her piece said she once again stormed through the castle.

Outside the weather fumed with her. As she flowed down the stairs to the court yard, a clatter of shouts and hooves parted the sea of peasants. Two horses without riders came barreling toward the royal stables. Morgana brought her hands to her chest and her eyes widened in shock as a guard yelled out, “It’s the kings mount!”

~*~ Tsuzuku~*~