I let out a growl of a yawn, stretching my legs and arms like a cat who’s been sleeping half the day away. It feels good to finally get real sleep. I curl my hands into my chest and roll over, cracking an eye open to see if Kat’s awake.
The light from the window seers my eye and I squint, groaning in pain. Is the sun always this bright when I wake up? I stretch a hand up to shield my eyes to find the bed empty and cold. I bolt up and scan the empty room.
I hear an annoying ticking and my heart leaps hysterically. “Holy ** It’s two o’clock!! Kat!!” I shout into the empty room.
I roll off the bed with a thud and scramble for a pair of pants, not even bothering to find a shirt as I jump to my feet and take a step… looking around the caf. I don’t see her there, so I take another step… running down the training room hallway, peering into each of the rooms. I skid to a stop when I see a sign on one that reads Out Of Order. I look inside to see a large black smear on the floor; scorch marks and melted… something.
I turn away, wondering what that was about. The training rooms are supposed to be magically protected from damage, I thought.
I take step after step, starting to feel tired from checking the usual places. “Where the heck are you?” I puff as I step out onto a random field near to the greenhouse. I run around the building and see a wall and a large blue looking boulder. As I get closer, I see what looks to be Heath, stacking old rocks on the wall and fusing them together while Kat lays back against what I finally realise is Blue, seemingly asleep.
I stumble to a stop behind Heath, relieved to see her resting at least. When I stop, he looks up, a lock of his curly black hair falls in front of his glasses, covering his eye.
“Hey there, Andrei. Kaitlyn said you were sleeping. You ok?” he asks, eyes looking over me. It seems we are dressed similarly today… jeans and shirtless. “You look a little out of breath…” he says, turning back to the rocks with hot hands.
“Yea, I just… went running around… looking for her,” I thumb towards the dragon.
“Oh, yeah, she’s fine. She just set me to work repairing this wall,” he explains.
“Did she eat?” I ask. “She has a tendency to skip meals… She was supposed to wake me…” I groan.
“Oh, no, we haven’t eaten. We did a little training, and then came here. I think she burnt herself out earlier,” he chuckles at his well-placed pun.
“I see,” I laugh a little sarcastically. “You guys didn’t spar did you?” I ask him.
“What?” Heath says, eyes glancing back at me and quickly returning to his work. “No, she just… you know. Showed me some tricks and we worked on concentration stuff. That’s all. Don’t worry man,” he assures me.
I eye him, pursing my lips together as I decide whether or not he’s telling the truth. After a moment of thought, I shrug it off and turn towards Kat. She looks so peaceful there, head back against Blue, red hair a stark contrast next to his deep blue scales, which almost shimmer like water in the sun.
“She likes to outdo herself sometimes. Thanks for keeping an eye on her for me,” I say.
“Yea… sure,” Heath mumbles as he fuses another rock to the wall.
I kneel down next to Kat and gaze at her restful face. I don’t know how she does it, making me frantic about making sure she’s ok. She’s just got me head over heels for her, and I have this deep yearning in my heart to keep her safe from everything that seems to want to harm her. I reach out a hand and brush a stray lock of hair from her face, bending down to kiss her on the lips
She takes a deep breath, her eyes fluttering open. She looks a little confused, but smiles.
“Good afternoon gorgeous. Did you forget something?” I ask her sweetly, with a smile.
She rubs her eye and squints against the sun. “Hmm? Forget… What did I forget? Why are you only wearing pants? It’s a little cold isn’t it?’
“Well, it’s not cold anymore, now that my hearts beating a hundred miles a minute, running around the Guild looking for you. You didn’t wake me up!” I pout.
Kat blinks a few times, seeming to wake up. “You needed the rest. I guess I nodded off out here…”
“Yeah, you did. Well, thank you for letting me sleep. The near heart attack though, that nearly undid it all. How are you not hungry?” I ask her, flopping down beside her and hanging my arm over her shoulders.
She leans into me. “I wasn’t really thinking about it.”
“How can you not?” I shake my head, not able to understand her pattern. “I can’t figure you out. One day you wake up ravenous, the next, nothing,” I lean back, turning in Heath’s direction. “Aren’t you hungry?” I ask him, just a little bit curious.
“You know, I haven’t had my morning coffee yet, I guess I could eat something,” he says with a small shrug.
I turn back to Kat. I’m surrounded by zombies… coffee zombies… Just then, my stomach rumbles loudly.
She laughs. “Now that you mention it, I’m starving. I don’t feel it if I don’t think about it, usually.”
“That’s just weird, you know that right?”
She shrugs. “Yeah, I know.”
“That makes two of us!” calls Heath from behind.
“We can meet you in the cafeteria if you want to get dressed first,” Kat offers with a shy smile.
I suddenly remember that I’m not wearing a shirt, and nearly half the bloody Guild has probably seen me running around topless… I snap my arms to my chest, suddenly self-conscious. “Right. I should go… do that now,” I say, standing up.
I hear her snicker as I take a step and look around our room for a shirt. This trick, it’s really handy. I love it. I find a plain brown long sleeve in one of the drawers and pull it on, glad for the coverage. I know I’ll probably make it to the caf long before they do. I decide its best I start on something while they make their way there.
I step into the kitchen and start rummaging through the cabinets, looking for what I have in mind. I start the stove and begin cutting, mixing and frying. Twenty-two minutes in, I spot Kat and Heath walking into the caf, chatting about something. I hear mention of Kaede’s name but the rest drifts away in the dine of the caf. Now Heath’s holding the dragon egg. I only have a glance though, before returning my attention to the stove. I don’t want the food to burn.
They walk into the kitchen and I sense Kat head straight for the coffee machine. She better not think that’s enough to get by for the day, not after I started prepping this.
Heath and her step out, their coffees in hand and find a table, waiting for me. It’s strange, having the whole counter to myself… I miss it when Kat offers to help. It’s kind of fun, teaching her how to cook. In another seven minutes, I’m done, and I plate the wonderful food. I’m hoping this one impresses her. I smile as I walk out, three plates in hand like an expert.
I set down the bento style plates with little-fried tempura, egg rolls (Tamagoyaki), California rolls, fried fish and glazed potatoes. On the side is a little salad and a small bowl of rice. It’s a dish that’s got a little bit of everything, but not too much, for those who only drink coffee… I still don’t understand that!
I take a seat next to Kat and smile broadly. “Bon appetit!”
Her eyes grow wide as she looks over everything, “Wow, that’s amazing. I don’t even know what any of that is!” she giggles. She’s in a good mood today, it seems.
“It’s sort of a Japanese style bento lunch. They like to put a little bit of everything in it, so you never get bored! Give it a try!” I insist, handing her a memorable pair of chopsticks.
She blushes lightly, taking the sticks and trying, with some success, to remember how to hold them.
Heath eyes his chopsticks and then blatantly ignores them, reaching for the food with his fingers. “I’ve never really had eastern food before.”
“Never? That’s surprising. In most places, there’s at least one Japanese or Chinese restaurant in town. Where’d you say you were from again?” I ask him skeptically.
“All over, but I was in Montreal last,” he answers, tilting his head back as he eats a California roll.
I turn to Kat, watching as she holds up the chopsticks. “Yeah, that’s right,” I smile encouragingly.
I watch as she reaches out for tempura and, at the same time, I spot the approaching figures of Ceph and Eli, looking quite at home. Ceph’s even managed to shed the long trench coat, wearing a plain green long sleeve and his usual leather pants and belts. Without the coat, he looks a lot thinner than I first thought. I wave from the table with a smile, and he waves back.
As soon as Eli spots us his face lights up and he leaps forward, past Ceph, excitedly closing the gap between him and the table. I think I know exactly what he’s planning, and as I turn to Kat, I see she’s utterly distracted, trying to keep the tempura in her chopsticks. I can hardly hold back my laugh as she is completely unaware of Eli zipping around the table to lean over her shoulders, wrapping his long arms around her and rubbing his face against her cheek. I have a hard time remembering he’s like, over fifty or something. He acts like a big kid, all the time.
“THERE YOU ARE! WE’VE BEEN LOOKING EVERYWHERE!” he practically shouts in her ear. I see her tense with the shock of his loudness and I frown worriedly, unable to step in and intervene. I notice then, Heath has stopped eating, hand hovering over the egg rolls as he stares, a look of shock on his face. I can only imagine the questions going through his head.
“Eli… She’s eating. You could be more civilized when you great her,” Ceph chastises in his deep voice. Heath’s head turns to see Ceph standing behind him, eyes widening as he takes in the duo.
“Don’t be silly, Ceph,” Eli grins, leaning back to ruffle Kat’s hair. “Sis doesn’t mind, do you?” Kat stares ahead, frozen like a deer.
“Yea, I think she minds,” I cringe, eyeing the tempura as it wobbles between her sticks, threatening to escape her careful hold. Ceph rolls his eyes with a sigh, pulling out a chair next to Heath and taking a seat.
He holds out a hand, elbow on the table, facing Heath. “Hi, I’m Ceph, and this is Elias. We’re friends of Andrei and Kaitlyn, from the 5th century,” he says with a flat face. That’s not your normal everyday greeting. I roll my lips, biting back another laugh.
“Uhh, hey. So, you’re the guys Kaitlyn said were from Camelot then? Wow… That’s… weird,” he says slowly, taking it all in. He awkwardly grips Ceph’s hand, working his jaw thoughtfully.
“Yea, a few months back we jumped to the 5th century, and Merlin introduced us to our elemental counterparts. Ceph is Time, like me, and Eli is Fire, like Kat,” I smile reminiscently.
“I’m sorry about my partner. He often does this, mostly with Kaitlyn. He can’t control himself around her. Makes me… jealous,” he says truthfully, eyes sliding to Eli with a hint of a glare.
Eli grins, moving around the table to sit next to Ceph. “I like you jealous. It means you still love me.”
Kaitlyn snorts quietly. “I guess that’s one way to look at it.”
“L-Love?” Heath stutters, still staring at the two.
Ceph glares at Eli, then to Kat with a skeptical expression on his face.
“Yea, they’re partners. Though, Ceph likes to keep it a secret,” I wink at him. He doesn’t look particularly amused.
“Considering how they are often persecuted, it’s not unreasonable,” Kat adds. “Eli is taking advantage of the liberal ideals of the twenty-first century.”
Heath’s eyebrow twitches but the shock quickly fades from his face as he comes to grips with the information. “Cool, cool,” he nods, slowly.
“And what brings you to the Guild?” Ceph asks him. “I see you’re a Guardian too. I’m surprised to meet so many here, after what you told us, back in Camelot,” he says with a crooked smile.
“Uhh, work. I’m not staying though. I’m just visiting… I guess,” Heath says. Kat looks down at her plate, poking at a roll.
“Visiting? What could be better than this place? We’ve been all over the place, all different times, and this is the best place for mages like us,” Eli flails his hands to accentuate as his statements. “Ceph, tell…. Uh…”
“Heath,” Kat fills in the blank without looking up. Heath glances at her and reaches for the egg roll, looking a little guilty.
“I’m sure Kat will convince him otherwise. It’s only his second day after all,” I say slyly, glancing at Heath. He doesn’t react, keeping a plain expression as he chews the egg roll.
“Of course she will,” Eli nods. “Not even Arthur could resist that face!” Kat freezes, staring wordlessly at a California roll.
Ceph, surprisingly, slaps him quite hard and everyone turns to stare. His expression turns dark as he stares at Eli. “Not appropriate,” he scolds.
Eli rubs his head where he was hit. “Oww… What was that for? He’s fifteen hundred years in the past.”
“Not in memories,” Ceph says cooly. I watch silently, the tension is so thick, you could cut it with a knife. Eli pouts, glaring back at Ceph. “Apologize,” he says curtly.
“It’s fine,” Kat finally speaks up. “He’s right. Arthur is long dead now. Besides, clearly, I could take him down if I needed to,” she smiles, though it seems more bitter than anything.
“Right, see?” Eli nods. “Sis could take the big bad king any day.”
Ceph turns away with an annoyed sigh. “So, do you have plans today?” he eventually asks, looking between Kat and I.
I shrug, not really sure. I look to Kat, wondering what she’s got on her agenda. She frowns, looking at Heath. “I was taking Heath around the Guild, to show him where repairs are needed. He doesn’t really know his way around yet.”
“Mind if we join you? We haven’t spent much time together,” Ceph smiles faintly.
Kat raises an eyebrow at him. “Sure… I didn’t think you were my biggest fan, but I don’t mind.”
Cephs brows crease and he gives a small frown. “What gave you that idea?” he asks. I cringe inwardly. He’s always felt she gets mad every time he says something. It’s funny how they continue to misunderstand one another.
She shrugs. “That’s normal for me, I guess. Eli is… just Eli.”
“So, you’re saying, If I had my hands all over you and shouted your name from across a room, you’d think I like you?” he raises an eyebrow. Heath chokes on a California roll, hand covering his mouth.
She laughs. “Yes. It’s hard to tell when people don’t do that.”
“I’m just not a touchy person. In my experience, if people touch you, they want to hurt you,” his voice seems to get softer as he finishes his sentence. I narrow my eyes suspiciously. Is this Ceph, opening up a little to his elusive past?
Kat nods. “Yeah, I thought the same too, before Andrei came along,” I turn to her, a lump in my throat as she brings up that.
“Yet you don’t seem to mind Elias fawning over you like a doll,” Ceph grumbles.
“It’s weird, sure,” she giggles, “but I also just… feel comfortable with you guys. Maybe it’s the Guardian thing. Eli isn’t scary, or threatening like some men,” she explains. Eli sits up, beaming proudly.
“I don’t know… You haven’t seen him when he’s angry…” Ceph gets a distant look in his eyes as he seems to recall some past memory.
Kat looks skeptical. “We’re both fire. I think I can imagine.”
“Perhaps,” he says softly.
The conversation breaks when Kat’s phone dings. She puts her chopsticks down to attend to the message as Eli and Ceph eye the plates of food. I tell them it’s fine and they happily enjoy the bento. Heath sits silently, waiting, scratching at his chin absently.
“They’ve decided to make an extension of the Guild to house the dragons and give them space while keeping them protected,” Kat says, reading the message. She looks up at Heath. “It could go faster with you.”
His dark eyes blink, staring at Kat. He gives a curt nod and drops his hand. “Alright, boss,” his lip twitches into a sort of half smile. She snickers quietly. I eye them both curiously, wondering what that was about.
Once the plates are cleared I offer to catch up after cleaning. Kat stands up on her toes, hand on my chest as she presses her lips on mine. It’s a quick, sweet gesture, the kind that sort of comes naturally after a while.
“Don’t be too long,” she whispers teasingly before she pulls away.
I growl deep in my throat. “Promise.”
I’m not long before I’m stepping out to the location Kat said they’d be at. I get the location a little off, but I can see them all gathering by a pile of construction materials. I jog up, happy I haven’t missed much. When I arrive, they seem to be having a meeting and it appears Markus, Rose, Nik, and Cliff are already there, along with a bunch of other stronger looking guys I’ve never met before.
I weave my way through a bunch of little dragons chasing each other around. I’m a little nervous I’ll step on one. Why can’t they stay still? As I stop next to Kat I notice Heath, egg in his arms, standing off to the side looking a little stiff. He looks down at the egg, listening to the conversation between Markus and Rose.
“Hey, guys!” I call. Cliff waves friendly from the pile of lumber and Nik just nods, hands in his pockets. Kat’s face turns, giving me a loving smile. I think I kept my promise. I give her a small wink as I join the meeting.
“Perhaps we should create the tunnel access into the main Guild first before we begin to build around it,” Markus suggests, looking to the other men for agreement. They seem to nod along. I doubt they would disagree with him either way.
Kat looks to Heath. “I know I asked you to fix walls, but do you think you could bore a hole in this one?” she asks, with a mischievous smirk.
Heath looks up at the wall, a thoughtful expression on his face. “I guess… but. What about the clothes thing?” he asks worriedly, voice dropping low. I raise a curious eyebrow, making a mental note to ask Kat about it later.
She bites her lip and frowns. “Oh, um… What if you changed somewhere, out of sight?”
He shrugs, trying to look unphased by the awkward exchange. “Sure. Ok,” he looks back at the wall. “How big do you want it?” he asks.
“I’ll ask Rose,” she offers, heading to the main group that stands a few feet away. Markus looks a little hurt and confused as Kat speaks to him, and Rose gestures across the construction site, walking off and leading Heath, Kat and Nik away from the main group.
I watch on as Kat takes the dragon egg from Heath, who seems to pass it off reluctantly. He steps behind a large board of wood Rose and Nik hold up and a few minutes later, emerges as a glowing red lava man. It’s pretty impressive, I have to say.
He approaches the wall, scorching the grass as he moves. As he arrives at the wall, he reaches out a hand to it. The stone of the wall starts to glow and change colour and before long, a large patch of the wall is burning hot.
I stand rooted to the spot as I watch him step into the wall, disappearing. As soon as he’s in the wall, the patch grows much larger, much quicker and within a few blinks of my eye, there’s a section of wall the size of a large transport truck glowing like molten lava.
The lava starts to bubble and when Heath steps out of the wall, it oozes away with him, slowly pouring from the wall and onto the grass next to the existing wall. Kat crosses the grass, carefully trying not to step on the lava. I guess between her and Heath, neither of them feel the heat like the rest of us.
She leans over, peering into the hole before calling to Rose to confirm if it’s big enough. Rose seems to think so, so she points for Heath, telling him where to put the lava that used to be the old wall. He seems to glow brighter as the lava congelates and forms a larger boulder-Esq shape next to the old wall. When he’s cooled it off, he makes his way back behind the privacy wall and shifts back, emerging a short time later in his pants and shoes, but no shirt.
Kat waits by the board, chatting with Nik. She looks up at him, apparently annoyed. I decide to walk over to see what it’s about. I close the distance quickly, with a little help from my speed. When I get there I frown at Nik, and they both promptly stop talking.
“Is there a problem?” I ask tartly.
Nik looks at me then turns back to Kat. “My point exactly.”
“What point was this?” I prompt.
“You don’t trust me, no matter what I say,” Nik points out, quite bluntly. “So what does it matter what I say?”
“I don’t trust you ‘cause you keep making moves on my girl,” I frown.
Nik laughs. “When I make a move on someone, I don’t play games. Kat’s like a baby sister. I’m not interested. Not that you’d believe me anyway.”
“Maybe I can, but Kat doesn’t like your teasing, and what she doesn’t like, I don’t like,” I puff out my chest, trying to seem bigger, though there’s no chance in hell I’d intimidate Nik.
“Sure,” Nik scoffs, rolling his eyes. “Teasing. That’s what you call it,” he shakes his head, turning on his heel.
“Nik,” Kat calls after him. He waves over his shoulder, walking off. She sighs, watching his back with an odd expression.
“What was he bugging you about anyway?” I ask her, an angry bubble in my gut. His attitude annoys me.
“Nothing,” she mutters. “It doesn’t matter.”
I inhale sharply, throwing my arms out. “W-what, now I’m the bad guy? Why can’t you tell me?” my voice rises against my will.
Her expression grows nervous and she takes a slow step back, arms hugging the egg protectively. “I never said you were the bad guy…” she says in a small voice. Her words are soft, but the action hurts all the same.
I feel a pang in my chest and my chest caves. “It sure seems like it,” I say, suddenly aware of how many eyes are on us. I feel my eyebrows pulling and huff angrily. “Fine, keep your secrets. Not like I care,” I finally say, turning and stepping away into the library. I need some time to cool off. Maybe the dusty books will help…
By Kayla West