TITLE: The Guardian
AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: I own none of these characters, I’m not making any profit, blahblahblah.
RATING: Overall, it’s PG-13.
NOTE: With this fic I’m practically going back to my roots. It’s not werewolves this time, but it’s close.
Part 1 - Magic
Samantha McPherson was asleep. And whenever Sam was asleep, nothing could wake her up again. Brooke knew this from experience. She had tried calling her name, brushing her hair, kissing and, a few times, even touching in some of the more intimate spots.
But Sam always remained fast asleep, waking up when she wanted to and not before. So Brooke lay in bed beside her and watched her sleep, occasionally brushing away a stray hair, but otherwise simply watching her as if she tried to memorise every aspect of her face.
A small, slender and barely visible hand brushed through Sam’s hair. Brooke looked up. A small, elfin face grinned at her. The blonde smiled back. The Sylph was little more than air that had taken form. Brooke could make out the small face with the gentle eyes, long flowing hair and a pair of slender hands. The rest of her looked too much like the surrounding air for Brooke to clearly make out. Sam, on the other hand, was completely incapable of seeing or communing with Sylphs, but strangely enough this one never seemed to be away from Sam.
“She’s beautiful when she sleeps, isn’t she?” Brooke asked.
The Sylph nodded, smiling.
“I wonder sometimes, should I feel threatened?” The blonde asked jokingly.
The Sylph seemed to take the question seriously. Pondering, she nodded first, then quickly shook her head to then end with a shrug.
“Thanks, that helps.” Brooke said sarcastically.
The Sylph grinned, then planted a quick kiss on Brooke’s lips. The blonde wasn’t surprised with this. All Elementals expressed their fondness with kissing and hugging.
“So what did she say?”
Brooke looked back at Sam, who was now looking at her with opened eyes. When she awake Sam’s pure innocence seemed to have diminished somewhat, but the sight of her open eyes fully compensated for that in Brooke’s opinion.
“Said who about what?” Brooke asked innocently.
“My invisible friend.” Sam said. “Has she got a crush on me or not?”
“She’s not sure.” Brooke answered. “But I don’t think so. Elementals aren’t intelligent enough to fully comprehend the concept of love.”
The Sylph huffed with indignation, glared at Brooke for a second, then disappeared.
Sam, of course, hadn’t noticed it. “How intelligent would you need to be?” She asked. “At its very heart, it’s not so difficult, is it?”
“You may be confusing it with lust, Sam.” Then she smiled. “But I can’t blame you for that mistake.”
“OK, this is the part where we normally start arguing and since I’m not even out of bed yet I’d better get up and get some breakfast.”
“Can’t we just stay the way we are right now for a little longer?” Brooke asked.
“Sure. But if I don’t eat I’ll be grouchy the rest of the day.”
“Wouldn’t want that, now would we?” Brooke said. “Well fine then, go have your breakfast.”
“Oh thank you, Most Divine And Exalted One.” Sam said mockingly.
Sam laughed, got out of bed, then started searching for her clothes. Brooke too got of bed, but instead of looking for some clothes to cover her naked body, she simply kneeled, drew a circle around her and closed her eyes in preparation for her morning ritual. After calming her mind and taking a deep breath she started chanting the ancient words that were designed to thank the Goddess for the gift She had bestowed on her. After the simple prayer was over, Brooke remained motionless for a while, not wanting the outside world to mess up her inner peace just yet. Not even if the outside world contained Sam. After a while though, she opened her eyes and saw Sam, leaning against the wall and looking at her with that amused smile she had every time Brooke performed her rituals. The blonde also noticed that the Sylph was back and hovering protectively around the brunette.
“You know, Brooke,” Sam started. “Wouldn’t it be more appropriate if you were actually kneeling on the ground when you’re performing that ritual?”
“Why would I want to do that?” Brooke asked, erasing the circle and standing up again.
“To show how humbled you are in the presence of the Goddess, maybe?” Sam offered.
“Good point.” Brooke conceded. “But if I did that She might think that I’m ignoring Her gift instead of using it like She wants me to.”
“And how do you know that?” Sam asked.
“Sam, EVERYONE knows that. It’s ancient lore and all that. You do know that, don’t you?”
“Oh, well, EVERYONE. I suppose I can’t argue with EVERYONE, can I?” The brunette said sarcastically.
“Sam, you may be my girlfriend, but I won’t let you insult my Goddess, understand?”
Sam raised her hands defensively. “OK, OK, I won’t blaspheme any more, don’t worry. But you can’t blame me for wondering, can you?”
“Wondering equals doubt.” Brooke stated. “And you should never doubt the Goddess.”
Sam rolled her eyes. “I just can’t talk to you when you’re one of these moods, you know.”
“Then I suggest you go get your breakfast.”
Brooke walked into the kitchen, now clothed in a rather shapeless white robe. She walked up to the table and sat down on one of the chairs. That is to say, she made it look like she was sitting on the chair. She wasn’t actually touching the chair in any way, but Brooke had discovered that Sam found it less disturbing if it looked like she was actually sitting on something solid.
Sam briefly looked up to smile at the blonde, then went back to eating her cereals in silence.
“So what’s it like?” Brooke asked.
“What’s what like?” Sam asked, quickly swallowing before answering.
One of Sam’s eyebrows approached her hairline somewhat while an amused smile formed on her face.
“I thought you didn’t care about stuff like that.”
“I don’t.” Brooke said. “Just making conversation.”
“Hmm.” Sam said. “Well, I don’t think I can describe it. You’d have to experience it for yourself.”
Brooke shivered. “No thank you.”
“Why not? Eating can’t be that repulsive, can it?”
“It’s a base animal instinct.” Brooke said. “My kind is above things like that.”
“Your kind, eh?” Sam said in a tone of voice that made Brooke wince. “And what’s so special about ‘your kind’ that they are so lifted above everything else on this Earth?”
Brooke hesitated. She didn’t know. She honestly didn’t. Everybody had told her that she special and destined for greatness and she believed, no, knew, that it was true. She had been Chosen. She was favoured by the Goddess. Her whole life had been filled with evidence that she and all the other wielders of magic were above the commoners, that they had let go of the vices that bound the others to the ground.
But whenever Sam talked about it, she wasn’t quite so sure any more.
Sam, rightfully interpreting Brooke’s silence as doubt, continued. “And besides, you’re no more released from those so-called animal instincts than I am. Take last night for example.”
“When we have sex, it is an act of love.” Brooke responded automatically. Dogma could be quite comforting sometimes. “We are not obsessed with the urge to procreate, but appreciate the beauty of it and, more importantly, use it to show our considerable affection.”
“Goddess, Brooke, you sound like a broken record.” Sam said. “Can you at least tell me how _you_ think about it?”
“That is how I think about it.” Brooke said. “I love you, Sam. Sex is just another way to show that.”
“You know I love you too.” Sam said, then softened up somewhat and apparently deciding to let the subject drop. “But you also know I always start asking questions whenever you get dogmatic. I can’t help it.”
“I know.” Brooke said gently. “It’s OK.”
“Now don’t you start patronising me.” Sam said, waving her spoon admonishingly.
Brooke smiled. She loved Sam, she really did. But the reality of the situation was simply that, compared to her, the brunette was little more than an infant, unaware of how the world worked, but curious to find out. And Brooke was more than willing to slowly and patiently explain it all to the girl.
Aeshtirs are enormous birds of prey created by magic. Their feathers are usually grey, with the exception of a few black spots around the eyes and a white belly. Female Aeshtirs usually have yellow eyes, while the males normally have green. The Aeshtir that landed on the Kennedy High parking lot had yellow eyes and had been carrying Brooke and Sam. As soon as the girls dismounted, the Aeshtir vanished and Brooke sagged somewhat. Sam supported her to the best of her abilities.
“You know, Brooke, I do have a driver’s license.” The brunette said. “With the help of just one single seatbelt it’ll transport you here easier than one of those Aeshtirs.”
“I’ll be fine, Sam.” Brooke said. “It’s not such a big deal.”
“Not such a big deal?” Sam repeated. “To create and maintain that thing you have to use a huge part of your magic power and it always takes a while for you to replenish.”
“I just need more experience, that’s all.” Brooke said, straightening up again. “If I just study hard enough I’ll be able to create an entire flock of them without any trouble.”
“Always the hard way, huh?” Sam said.
Brooke smiled. “That’s what it’s all about.”
“Brookie! Up here!”
Sam and Brooke looked up. Hanging in the air above them were Nicole and Mary Cherry. Like Brooke they only wore a single white robe, that had been designed in such a fashion that no commoner who was briefly taken over by a moment of animal instinct would be able to see anything of interest if he looked up.
“I, err… I have to go.” Brooke said reluctantly.
“Yeah, I know. See you after school?”
“Definitely.” Brooke answered smiling.
Sam pulled her in for a hug, then kissed her. After returning the kiss Brooke slowly let go and rose up to talk to her friends. Sam looked at her lover for a moment until she felt an unusual gust of air that told her that her Sylph was nearby.
“You know something,” Sam said. “I think she may be about ready to finally listen to me. What do you think?”
The only response Sam got was the wind suddenly playing with her hair.
“Was that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?”
The brunette’s hair rose again on a very small, very local air current.
“Well, you’re no help.” Sam said. “Come on, it’s almost time for class.”
Brooke watched the brunette turn around and walk to the school building. Sighing, she turned her attention back to her friends. Nicole didn’t look very pleased.
“What?” Brooke asked.
“Tell me something.” Nicole said. “How are you and Sam getting along?”
“I love her. You know that.” Brooke said.
“Yes, but how much?” Nicole said. “You have to remember that we live only to serve the Goddess. Emotional attachments are generally too messy and interfere with our work.”
“There’s nothing wrong with love.” Brooke stated.
“Of course not.” Nicole said soothingly. “But sometimes it has the tendency to cloud one’s judgement and I think you should just be a little careful and make sure that won’t happen.”
“Don’t worry.” Brooke said. “It won’t.”
School was over much quicker than anyone had expected, so Sam found herself in the parking lot once again, waiting for Brooke to show up and take her home. Sam wasn’t quite sure if her Sylph was around, but she assumed she was.
Sam rolled her eyes, then looked up. Bowing in a highly mocking fashion, she answered: “Greetings, Oh Horned One.”
Nicole ignored it and descended until she was just above eye level with the brunette.
“Sam, we need to talk.” Nicole said.
“Wait, let me guess.” Sam said. “I’m a bad influence on Brooke.”
“Damn straight you are.” Nicole said. “Brooke started asking questions.”
Sam laughed. “So? Isn’t that what school is all about?”
“Not the kind of questions she was asking!” Nicole yelled.
“Geez, calm down.” Sam said smiling. “Your kind is above such petty emotions like rage, remember?”
The blonde glared at her for a moment, closed her eyes, took a few deep breaths and opened her eyes again.
“You’re right.” She said. “I apologise.” Then she raised one threatening finger. “But if you continue to poison her mind like that it would be my duty to do something about it.”
“Oh yeah, Nic, that’s really intimidating.” Sam said.
Nicole didn’t reply. Instead she turned around and rose up again, gracefully. Until she yelped and reached for her bottom. She turned around again to glare at Sam.
“And tell that Sylph of yours to behave!”
Sam, Brooke and the Sylph weren’t watching TV. Sure, the TV was on and showing a movie, but Sam and Brooke had other things on their minds and the Sylph simply didn’t care for television. Sam was almost lying on the couch with Brooke more or less hovering above her. To an outside spectator it would simply seem that Brooke was lying in Sam’s arms. The Sylph hovered above them, occasionally brushing Sam’s hair out of the brunette’s face.
“Hey Brooke.” Sam said finally.
“What did you do at school today?”
Brooke shrugged. “Nothing important. Why?”
“Nicole was pretty furious when she talked to me after school.”
Brooke frowned. “I told her she had to work hard on her emotional control.” She muttered.
“What kind of questions did you ask?” Sam asked.
Brooke squirmed uncomfortably for a moment. She briefly glanced up to see that the Sylph was also very interested in her reply.
“Something about the morning ritual.” Brooke said. “I just wanted a translation.”
Sam looked surprised. “What do you mean?”
“Well, every morning I chant the same words over and over again and I don’t know what they mean.”
“So basically, you don’t even know if it’s a prayer of thanks or not.”
“Something like that.”
“And how did the teacher respond?”
Brooke snickered. “He exploded. It took him a full five seconds to recover.”
“Not literally exploded, I hope.”
“Of course not.”
“That’s a relief. So what did he say then?”
“He said that the meaning of the words aren’t important. He claimed that all that mattered was that the Goddess could sense our unconditional love and devotion for and to her. He said some more stuff, but that was about the gist of it.”
“Wait… hold up.” Sam said. “If the ritual doesn’t matter, why perform it?”
“I don’t know.” Brooke said smiling. “I’ll ask him tomorrow.”
“Better not. Nic’ll turn me into a frog if you do that.”
“Oh come on, Sammy. You know shapeshifting is impossible.”
“Of course it is. Everybody knows that.”
“Here we go with that ‘everybody’ again. Have you even tried before?”
“Well… no. Because I knew it wouldn’t work.”
“And that is why you would have failed.” Said Sam.
“Hey, you’re not Yoda.”
“What?” Sam said innocently. “I didn’t say something like ‘Why you fail that is’, did I?”
“You know what I mean.”
“Well someone should say stuff like that. Just to keep you guys on your toes.”
Brooke sighed. “Sometimes Sammy, I just don’t get you.”
“I know.” Sam said, nuzzling Brooke’s neck. “But you still love me, don’t you?”
The blonde smiled. “Yeah, that I do.”
She turned around to kiss Sam. The brunette wrapped her arms around her and pulled her down against her body. Brooke quickly looked up and mouthed ‘go away’ to the Sylph. In response the Sylph moved down, kissed Sam on the forehead, winked at Brooke and disappeared to give the girls the privacy they wanted right now.
Another day came and during that day Sam once again found herself on the parking lot, waiting for the ‘magic’ half of the school to finish so that Brooke would take her home. Sam realised that she wasn’t going to be waiting much longer when she suddenly heard someone cry out in rage:
Looking up, Sam saw Nicole, seething with rage and an almost murderous glare in her eyes. She was followed by Mary Cherry and Popita, who looked equally displeased. However, despite the menace floating towards her, Sam felt rather unimpressed and unconcerned.
“Didn’t I warn you just yesterday?” Nicole demanded to know. “Or do you commoners have such bad memories?”
Sam smiled. “Well… I do remember not being intimated in the least yesterday when you threatened me.”
“This time, I won’t just threaten.” Nicole hissed.
“Were Brooke’s questions _that_ blasphemous?” Sam asked, almost amused.
“She questioned the rituals.” Nicole said like it was the most horrific things in the world. “And I just know you were behind it. You’re always behind it.” The blonde smiled. “So now, it’s time for a little lesson.”
“Nic! Don’t kill her!” Popita yelled alarmed.
“Don’t worry, I won’t kill her. Just put her in a world of pain and agony until Brooke shows up to break the spell.”
“Well, better hurry up then.” Sam said. “She’s getting closer by the second.”
Nicole’s eyes narrowed. She raised one hand and less than a second later, Sam was engulfed in flames. Smirking, Nicole leaned back against the air so she could watch Samantha McPherson’s suffering in relative comfort.
“Nic, what are you doing!” Someone screeched.
Turning around, Nicole saw Brooke. The blonde muttered a little profanity since the other blonde had shown up a little too soon for her tastes.
“Nothing important, hon.” Nicole said. “Just teaching Sam where her place is.”
“Oh, hey Brooke.” Sam said happily.
Nicole’s head snapped back to look at Sam. The brunette still resembled a living flame-thrower, but she didn’t seem to mind. Then, much to Nicole’s horror, the fire started spiralling around Sam’s body. The spirals became smaller, lead towards Sam’s right arm and, finally, her hand. Opening her hand, Sam showed a tiny little flame, dancing in the air just above her skin. Smiling, Sam blew out the flame, ending the spell.
Brooke felt uncomfortable. She wanted to be angry and yell stuff like ‘You lied to me’, but somehow she couldn’t. What Sam had done, or was still doing, wasn’t exactly illegal or something. It just went against a few millennia of tradition. So there Brooke sat, on her bed (which was only there because she felt that a bedroom should at least have a bed), with Sam sitting in a chair opposite of her and with the Sylph sitting on the brunette’s shoulder, wondering what to say.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Brooke asked, thinking it to be both a fairly neutral, but still important, question.
“Because you would’ve freaked out.” Sam answered. “You’d put me into of those awful robes, have me chant meaningless words on a daily basis and overall doing things that I don’t want to do.”
“But don’t you see that it’s a gift?” Brooke tried. “Why would you want to ignore that?”
“Sorry, how am I ignoring my gift exactly?” Sam countered.
“Sam, you suffer under gravity, you have to eat and sleep, you get ill. All of that and more, when you shouldn’t have to if you’d just accept who you are.”
Sam laughed. “Hear that?” She asked her Sylph, no longer needing to pretend that she didn’t see her.
The Sylph smiled and rolled her eyes. Then she pointed at Brooke and nodded meaningfully.
“Yeah, I agree with her.” Sam said. “Of the two, well, three of us you’re the only one not accepting who you are.”
“I’m a child of the Goddess.” Brooke responded automatically.
“And I’m Samantha McPherson.” Sam said. “And I am, first and foremost, a human being. I have accepted that fact and don’t perform magic tricks on a twenty-four hour basis just to convince myself that I’m not.”
“That’s not true.” Brooke objected.
“Is it? Tell me, why do you walk on air when the ground has been made to support you? Or why do you have to summon Aeshtirs if you can just as easily walk or drive? In short, why use magic for every little thing if you don’t have to?”
“Because it would be an insult to the Goddess if we didn’t use Her gift.”
“Squandering Her gift, in my opinion.” Sam said. “Face it Brooke, you feel all high and mighty and superior when deep down, you really aren’t. So you suppress your emotion and use your magic to show the world that you really have risen above it all. And in doing so, all you ever do is conjuring up glamours that have no real purpose and that don’t help the Goddess’ plans in any way.”
Brooke hesitated before speaking. Sam was right. Somewhere deep down, she knew that. She realised that she had probably known all that for a long time already, but had just denied. That was why Sam’s words had made such an impact on her. That was why she had started asking questions about things that everyone simply accepted as being true.
But then again, Sam was the only one who seemed to think like that. Nicole, Mary Cherry, Popita, all her teachers; they all said that if you didn’t float and if you didn’t use magic for quick transportation and if you didn’t let go of all intense and negative emotions you were insulting the Goddess.
On the other hand, she was a human being. Created by the Goddess, just like She had created animals and plants and everything else around her. The only difference was that she was able to use magic. But did that set her so far apart from everything else? She was able to take magic and change it into Aeshtir, just like other people could take raw materials and change them into a car. Did that set them apart as being something more, something greater?
And then there was that Sylph. All the Elemental races were beings of magic, closer to the Goddess than to nature. And Sam, the girl who acted like a commoner, who listened to her emotions, had managed to closely befriend one of those beings. And that was rare. Elementals usually just came and went. They popped in for a quick look, then left again, never to be seen again. People who could befriend an Elemental had to special indeed.
Brooke smiled. Well, of course Sam was special. There had never been any doubt in Brooke’s mind about that.
The blonde slowly emerged from her thoughts. Both Sam and the Sylph were looking at her expectantly.
“Sam…” Brooke said slowly, reaching a decision. “I think I’d like you to teach to me.”
“Teach you what?” Sam said, a grin creeping across her face.
“Well, what it’s like to be human for one thing.”
Sam stood up from her chair and kneeled in front of Brooke. Taking the blonde’s hands in her own, she looked up at her.
“It’s going to be hard, Brooke. Trust me on that one.”
“You’ll be here, won’t you?” Brooke said.
“Of course. You wouldn’t last a day without me anyway.”
“We’ll start tomorrow, OK?”
“OK.” Brooke agreed. “And Sam?”
Sam smiled. “I think you’ll have to wait ‘til tomorrow to really find out the meaning of what you just said.”
Part 2 - Body
“How do I look?”
“You look fine.”
Brooke looked down at her apparel, still feeling pretty uncomfortable and awkward wearing clothes that weren’t robes. And since her entire wardrobe consisted solely out of robes she had to wear Sam’s clothes that were all a little bit too small to be worn comfortably. Furthermore, she didn’t like the way the jeans were rubbing against her legs, thought that shoes were just redundant since socks were bad enough already and she wouldn’t even get started on the bra. But Sam had assured her that each piece of clothing had some sort of function and Brooke had decided to take her word for it.
“OK then…” Brooke said. “What’s next?”
Sam had to think about that. “I’m not quite sure.” She said. “Can you stop floating?”
The blonde looked up as if the brunette had just asked her if she was a boy.
“So you can’t.” Sam said. “Bit of a problem there then. Well, I’ll guess you’ll just have to go cold turkey.”
“What do you mean?” Brooke asked.
“Well, you know how only your magic keeps you afloat, right? But since you’ve been doing that pretty much all your life, it’s become totally automatic. So I’ll have to cut of your magic supply. But just for now, rest assured.”
“What!?” Brooke said. “You can’t do that.”
“Yes I can Brooke. Both in the practical and the moral sense.”
“But it’s impossible!” Brooke blurted out.
“We’ll see about that. Would you mind at least touching the floor?”
“But Sam, you can’t…” Brooke started as she lowered herself a few inches.
“OK, brace for impact.” Sam said.
Brooke wasn’t quite sure what happened next, but her first guess would be that a giant elephant had just fallen on top of her. She was suddenly, and quite painfully, lying on the ground, with something heavy and massive pressing her down. Brooke struggled to get up, but failed.
“Do you need any help?” Sam asked, concern in her voice as she sat down next to Brooke’s lying form.
“What. Have. You. Done. To. Me?” Brooke managed to grind out.
“I cut you off from your magic.” Sam said. “It’s not supporting you any more.”
“Are you sure you haven’t created a whale on my back?”
Sam snickered. “Brooke, the only thing pressing you down is gravity.”
“Gravity?” Brooke gasped. “I’ve conquered gravity. It can’t push me down like this.”
“You haven’t conquered it. You’ve just ignored it all your life. Now, do you want my help or not?”
“I think I can do this on my own Sam.” Brooke said, surprised with herself about the fact that she sounded a little angry.
The blonde quickly pushed that surprise away and grimly focused on the floor. During her fall, her arms had fallen outstretched on the floor. Though she wasn’t very good at physics (having never been able to follow that class in school), she felt that it would be easier if her arms were closer to her body. She tried lifting her arms up, was quite satisfied with the fact that she was at least able to do that, but was disappointed again when she realised she couldn’t keep it up very long. So instead she dragged her arms closer to her body. Then she positioned her hands with the palms down, like she had seen Sam do sometimes, and pushed. Trembling, Brooke managed to push herself upright far enough to move one of her feet. After it was standing, she moved the other foot. Then with one last shove, she managed to get upright. Panting, she looked triumphantly at Sam. She was standing on her own two feet. And she didn’t need Sam’s help for it.
The Sylph clapped and cheered for her. Brooke looked at her and felt a flash of recognition. As if she had seen the Sylph earlier. A lot earlier.
“So, how do you feel?” Sam asked.
Brooke looked at the brunette and all the unsettling feeling melted away. It was instead replaced by this sort of warm feeling that was not at all unpleasant and for a moment she thought she couldn’t breathe any more.
“Goddess, you’re beautiful.” Brooke said.
Sam looked surprised, then smiled. “Thanks Brooke. But that wasn’t what I was asking.”
“I can’t believe how I’ve never…”
Sam’s breath was brutally forced out of her lungs when she found herself crushed into an embrace by Brooke. The blonde had buried her head somewhere between her neck and her shoulder and was holding her very tight.
“I love you, Sammy.” Brooke whispered.
“I… love you too Brooke.” Sam said, feeling a little awkward.
<<Is she crying?>>
“Don’t ever leave me.” Brooke pleaded.
“I won’t Brooke. Promise.”
<<She really IS crying.>> Sam thought. <<This cold turkey thing is hitting harder than I thought it would.>>
“Sorry.” Brooke said, slowly letting go of Sam. “I don’t know what came over me.” She now turned around and quickly wiped away her tears. “I’m sorry. I pro…” Brooke’s sentence was cut off as she turned around again.
For a moment, Sam feared the blonde was going to cry again. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, Brooke grabbed her and kissed her. A small, sensible part of Sam’s mind that could, for a moment, ignore the heat flaring up between the two girls noticed that Brooke’s kiss was different. Normally, Brooke’s kisses were little more than two sets of lips being pressed together. But now, Brooke’s kiss was filled with passion and need and love and pretty much everything Brooke was feeling right now.
And what Brooke was feeling right now was an impressive amount of emotions, that all said the same thing.
She had fallen in love with Sam. Utterly and desperately and forever.
At the same time as Sam’s small, sensible part of the mind had reached this conclusion, the last remaining fragment of Brooke’s rational thought also noticed something. But she had difficulty figuring out what it was exactly, since she didn’t have much experience with taste. Drawing knowledge from a more instinctive part of her mind, that was currently occupied with other things than pondering about what stuff tasted like, the small fragment of rationality decided that what Brooke was tasting was salt. And it was very wet salt at that.
If Brooke had just opened her eyes for a moment, she would know what the wet-salt deal was all about. But she didn’t open her eyes, since she was much too occupied with her attempt to make Sam realise how much she loved and wanted her.
So that was why Brooke didn’t see the answer Sam was unconsciously giving her. But then, Brooke would probably have misinterpreted the answer anyway. She associated tears with sadness and pain, and would have never guessed that the tears flowing freely from Sam’s eyes were fuelled by an overwhelming joy that came with the realisation that Brooke really did love her completely.
In the car, Sam had some time to think. Since it was Saturday there was no school and since Sam’s clothes didn’t quite fit Brooke they were heading for the mall. The reason Sam choose this particular moment to think was because Brooke wasn’t touching her in any way right now. After the kiss Brooke had constantly been hugging the brunette and if hugging wasn’t a possibility, they were holding hands. The only reason why Brooke wasn’t hugging or holding hands with Sam was because Sam needed to prevent the car from crashing into something. So, with Brooke sitting in the chair next to her -and trying her very best to still be as close to Sam as possible- Sam had a little breathing room for some much-needed thinking.
Sam couldn’t figure out why Brooke was suddenly so… overwhelmingly intense about loving her. Not that Sam minded, not in the least, but it was still a little strange. Maybe it was because Brooke wasn’t really used to emotions. That sounded like a pretty reasonable explanation. After all, the magic types hadn’t risen above emotions, they had just repressed them with the help of their magic. And now that Brooke could no longer use her magic she was also unable to repress her emotions any longer. If emotions were water, then Brooke’s magic was a dam that had just burst and, as result, the village of her mind had just been hit by an enormous flood.
Two seconds after pulling up in the mall parking lot and getting out of the car, Sam again felt herself crushed in one of Brooke’s almost desperate embraces.
“I love you Sam.”
“I know baby.” Sam answered. “I love you too. But you really don’t have to mention it every ten seconds.”
“Sorry.” Brooke said, slowly letting Sam go. “But I just… this is all new to me, you know. I mean, for years I just saw you as, you know, a pleasant companion to spend the rest of my life with. But now…” The blonde halted. Sam feared tears were again imminent, but Brooke managed to control herself. “I don’t think I could survive without you.” She finished.
“Then it’s a good thing I’m not leaving, is it?” Sam said.
Brooke chuckled briefly.
“Come on.” Sam said. “We’ve got some shopping to do.”
By the time Brooke had reached the fitting-room part of shopping she was happy. Sam had explained to her that fitting-rooms were meant for people to take off their clothes so that they could try on potential new ones. Especially the taking clothes off part of that explanation had made Brooke rather happy. She still felt clothes were very restrictive, so she was quite relieved when she was standing naked in a fitting-room. With a hint of disgust she looked at the new clothes she had brought in with her. Sure, they were probably nice clothes and all, but she didn’t want to try them on just yet. She turned away from her clothes and looked at the mirror. Reflected in it she saw her body and for probably the first time in her life she paid attention to it. The body was not important, she had been told. It was only the mind that mattered. A perfect world was a world where mankind had been released from the confines of their bodies and where their minds could wander freely.
Whether that was true or not, Brooke didn’t know. Nor did she particularly care. What she did care about was that Sam would find her attractive. She wanted Sam to love her body just as much as she loved her mind. Looking in the mirror, Brooke was pleased with what she saw. Her magic had kept her body in good condition. She wasn’t fat, she wasn’t thin, her breasts were quite firm, even though she thought that they might be a little on the small side and there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with her legs either, turning around she felt that she could safely say the same thing about her ass. The one thing she wasn’t really very pleased with was that patch of hair between her legs. She knew that Sam sometimes trimmed hers. A practise that Brooke had found slightly ridiculous, but that she could now understand. She decided that she would start trimming it as well. Maybe even shave it off completely. Or, and this sounded like a rather enticing idea, she could ask Sam to shave it for her.
Brooke awoke from her thoughts with a start. What was she thinking? That sounded dangerously like… like lust. And of all the base animal instincts that she had to overcome, lust was one of the major ones.
But still… when she kissed Sam today she felt things that she had never felt before. Things that didn’t feel wrong, no matter how you looked at it. And when they hugged, she felt warm and safe and loved. It was a warmth that she could feel through her entire body, but that had evolved into a fire. A fire that could only be put out if she felt Sam’s naked skin on her own. A fire that could only be controlled if she heard Sam’s voice cry out her name in unadulterated bliss and passion. A fire that needed to be quenched. Very, very badly.
“Oh, Goddess.” Brooke gasped as she realised where her thoughts were taking her again.
Trembling, she noticed that her nipples were so hard, it was almost painful and that a certain dampness had come into being between her legs. And Sam wasn’t even around!
Hastily, Brooke reached for the clothes, feeling a sudden urge to cover her body.
But not even clothes could help Brooke. If anything, she unconsciously found herself rubbing her crotch against the insides of her new jeans. During the entire car ride, Brooke couldn’t keep her eyes of Sam. Her hair, her eyes, her lips, her hands. And then the rest of that gorgeous body hidden under all those hateful clothes. Mustering more self control than she even thought she had, Brooke managed to keep her hands off Sam.
That is, until they reached the Palace kitchen. After putting the car in the garage and dumping the new clothes somewhere, Brooke couldn’t control herself any longer and pounced. The blonde practically threw Sam onto the floor, then threw herself on top of her. Kissing and groping the other girl in a frenzy of hitherto unseen proportions, Brooke tried to get Sam out of her clothes. Being short on patience, experience and rational thought, Brooke failed to do so and contended herself with lifting up Sam’s shirt and bra enough for her to kiss and suck and fondle those gorgeous breasts of her.
“Brooke.” Sam whispered, trapped in the same kind of haze Brooke was in, but having slightly more experience with it. “Brooke!”
“What?” Brooke growled, not pleased with the fact that she was interrupted.
“The Sylph.” Sam said, looking upwards.
Brooke looked up and saw the Sylph looking at them with interest.
“Let her watch.” Brooke said grinning before crushing Sam’s lips with her own.
The lovemaking that ensued couldn’t quite be called lovemaking. Brooke was rough, brutal and uncompromising. She took control of Sam’s body and used it the way she wanted to, without any consideration for the other girl. The blonde looked up from time to time to see that the Sylph was also very much enjoying the show, which only drove her on even more. After what seemed to Brooke as an eternity, she finally collapsed in the biggest orgasm she had ever had. She fell down next to Sam, panting. Realising that she was the only one who had an orgasm she rolled slightly over and let her hand wander into Sam’s panties. The wetness that she found there was inviting and warm and Sam shuddered when Brooke lightly grazed the girl’s clit. Not in the mood to slow down, Brooke quickly fingered the brunette until she came as well.
The girls lay in silence for about five minutes after that, not able to form a sentence that even a Neanderthal wouldn’t find an insult to his intelligence.
“Wow.” Said Sam.
“Uh-huh.” Said Brooke.
“I am going to be so incredibly sore when the rush wears off.”
“Brooke, you OK?”
The blonde wasn’t completely sure. She knew she felt satisfied -VERY satisfied, even- but there was something missing. What it was, she had no idea. So instead, Brooke looked up at the ceiling, seeing that the Sylph had had a little fun of her own, by the looks of it. Seeing the Sylph like that was the cause of a thought slowly assembling in Brooke’s mind.
“Why can I see her?”
“Why can I see your Sylph?”
“All magic people can see Elementals. You know that, right?”
“But you took away my magic.”
“I prevented you from using it. That’s something different.”
“You want it back?”
“Want what back?”
Brooke thought about that. So far the day had been very interesting. The answer, therefore, was quickly given.
“I’ve already given it back.”
“After we kissed this morning.”
“That was some kiss, by the way.”
“Did I really let that Sylph watch us?”
“Oh.” Brooke said. Then, “Sam?”
“If I can use magic again, why am I lying on the floor?”
“Because you’re not floating.”
“But I always float.”
“You’re not using your magic now.”
“Oh.” Said Brooke.
The blonde moved up and hovered a few inches above the ground.
“I see.” She said, sounding disappointed.
Then she went back to the ground, in the comforting embrace of gravity.
“If you want, I can prevent you from using it again.”
“I don’t think you have to.”
“Because I think I’m hungry.”
“Oh Goddess.” Brooke moaned in pure orgasmic bliss. “More. I want more.”
Sam looked at her with a frown on her face. The Sylph couldn’t stop laughing. Brooke didn’t notice either them, lost in her own world of gastronomic delight.
“Brooke, it’s just bread.” Sam pointed out. “The most basic food you can get.”
“And it’s delicious.” Brooke said. “Goddess, I should’ve done this a long time ago. Pass me the peanut butter.”
Sam warily passed her the jar, watched Brooke smear some peanut butter onto a sandwich, bite into it and then heard her moan with delight, sending the Sylph into a whole new fit of the giggles.
“Make sure you don’t overdo it, OK Brooke?” Sam asked.
“Don’t have to.” Brooke answered, swallowing a bite, then reaching for a bowl and a box of cereals. “Magic’ll keep me in one piece.”
“One very big piece.”
“I’ll take up jogging.” Brooke said, filling the bowl with milk.
“Yeah, you do that.” Sam said, still disturbed with the sight.
Brooke quickly emptied her bowl of cereals, making sounds that were really only fitting for the bedroom, then put it back onto the table and stood up.
“Brooke, where are you going?”
“There has to be more in there.” Brooke said, opening the fridge.
“Brooke, leave some for dinner!” Sam yelled alarmed.
“Dinner!” Brooke screamed delighted. “What are we having?”
“I… don’t know. The parentals are still on that business trip. Maybe we’ll order pizza or something?” Sam offered.
“Sounds delicious.” Brooke said. “Oh! Ice cream!”
All the colour drained from Sam’s face as she watched Brooke pick up one very large container of chocolate ice cream. And at that point Sam knew one thing for certain.
This was going to be one very long afternoon.
“I can’t move.”
“I think I may have eaten too much.”
“Gee, you think?” Sam said, looking at Brooke lying in a miserable heap on the couch in the living room.
“Will the pain ever go away?” Brooke asked miserably.
“Of course it will.” Sam said.
“That’s good.” Brooke said. “I don’t think I’m cut out for this common life.”
“Apart from the emotional outbursts I’ve been having so far? Not to mention the fact that I practically assaulted you in the kitchen. And I don’t even want to mention the food business.”
“You’re new to this.” Sam said, shrugging. “And I kinda liked the assault thing.” She added with a grin.
“Hey, if it was anyone but you I’d start screaming. You know that.”
“Well, don’t worry. It’s not going to happen again. From this day onward, Brooke McQueen is going to be in control of her emotions.”
“Control them how?” Sam asked.
Brooke shrugged. “The usual way. With magic.”
“That’s not control, Brooke. That’s repressing.”
“Whatever.” Brooke said. “But I don’t think I can live day after day waltzing like a drunkard from one need to the next.”
“Like I said, lack of experience.” Sam said. “It’ll get better. Look at me, for example. Lived like a commoner all my life and you don’t see me waltzing like a drunkard.”
“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask you that.” Brooke said. “Why do you do that?”
“Live the common life.”
“I was three years old.” Sam said. “And everybody around me kept telling me how damn special I was over and over again.”
“You too, huh?”
“Yeah. So anyway, with the superior intellect of a magic-wielding three year old I started wondering why everybody thought I was so special. And then I noticed that mom and dad were walking on the ground and not the air. They told me that because I could walk on the air, I was special. So I figured that I wasn’t one who was special, but that it was the magic that made me special.”
“And thus you decided to live like a commoner?” Brooke asked.
“Yep. I’m treating magic like it’s something special. Something that shouldn’t be used simply to make life easier.”
“Guess that makes sense.” Brooke said. “Bit too late for me though.”
“Oh come on.” Sam said. “It’s never too late to learn. Especially not for types like you.”
“Maybe.” The blonde said.
“Probably. I mean, from what I’ve heard, your half of the school basically consists of classes with practises to transcend above your emotions, right?”
“Right.” Brooke said. “So?”
“So how can you transcend above something you don’t know? Yesterday you were talking about base animal instincts, but today is the first day of your life that actually experienced some of them. So now you can start dealing with them. ‘Transcending’ them, if you will.”
“I wish you weren’t making so sense.” Brooke said.
“But if you want, you can use magic again.” Sam said. “I’ve already given you back the ability to use it.”
“Yeah, you already said that.” Brooke said. Then she sighed. “But I don’t think I’m going to.”
Brooke turned her head to look at Sam. “Because I love you.” She answered. “Because today, for the first time, I understood what that really means. And I don’t want to lose that.”
Sam smiled. “I was hoping you’d say something like that.”
The rest of the day passed with nothing worth mentioning really happening, since Brooke spent most of her time bemoaning the fact that she’d eaten too much. It was dark now and Brooke and Sam were lying in bed together, like they had for a long time now. Brooke thought that there might be something like fatigue tugging at the back of her mind, but she was much too nervous to fall asleep. The reason Brooke was nervous was because Sam was naked and practically using her as a pillow. This caused Brooke to feel how soft Sam’s skin really was, feel what the brunette’s hair felt like on her own skin and how enticing the other girl smelled. The result of this being that Brooke felt like she was ablaze and she feared that she might lose control again and simply fuck Sam without any reason other than to satisfy her own needs.
Sam seemed to sense Brooke’s distress as she reached up and gently kissed the girl. The brunette then slowly started kissing the rest of her body, increasing Brooke’s arousal, but at the same time diminishing the urgent need for a forceful release.
Sam was caressing Brooke’s breasts and kissing her collarbone when the blonde felt another pair of lips on her own. Opening her eyes, she saw the Sylph, looking worried.
“Sam?” Brooke whispered urgently.
“Your Sylph just kissed me.”
“Oh.” Said Sam, momentarily ceasing her activities.
“Oh?” Said Brooke, ignoring the disappointed screams of her body. “Is that all you have to say?”
Sam looked up at the Sylph. “Pretty much. She loves you, Brooke.” She said, looking back at Brooke. “Because she’s part of me.”
“What do you mean?”
Sam was silent for a moment. “We were two separate beings once. And, technically, we still are, but sometimes it’s hard to tell where I stop and she begins.”
“So, she loves me.” Brooke said, looking at the Sylph. “Because you love me.”
The Sylph smiled despondently and nodded.
“I can ask her to leave, if you want.”
Brooke swallowed. “If she’s you, then she’ll be here no matter what, right?”
“In a way, I guess.” Sam said.
“Then… I guess she can stay.” Brooke said slowly.
Both Sam and the Sylph smiled and Brooke noticed that the similarities were frighteningly obvious.
“Great.” Said Sam. “Tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” Said Brooke.
“Unless you’re still in the mood, of course.” The brunette hastily said.
“Well… not really no.” Brooke answered. “I think I’m tired.”
“It’s been a pretty eventful day.” Sam said.
“Love you too.”
Sam and Brooke leaned closer to each other and kissed. Not as foreplay, nor in a desperate attempt to convey a whole array of emotions, but simply because they kissed. And during that kiss, Brooke felt a small hand caressing her cheek and a second kiss planted on it. Strangely enough, Brooke wasn’t surprised by this. What did surprise her, however, was the fact that she wasn’t bothered by it.
Brooke liked showers. She felt that it really was a crying shame that she discovered it after seventeen long years of not showering. Even though she had never felt dirty before in her life, the shower still had a nice cleansing effect. So, even after she had finished cleaning herself, she simply kept standing to enjoy the flow of the water and to look at the occasional Undine that came past.
That didn’t stop her from being surprised, however, when the door suddenly opened and Sam stepped inside the shower as well. The brunette hugged the blonde and kissed her.
“Sam, what are you doing?” Brooke asked. “Not that I mind, but…”
“Well…” Sam said smiling. “We didn’t get to finish what we started last night.”
“But here? In the shower?”
“Why not here?” Sam asked, kissing Brooke.
The blonde had to admit that Sam got a point. A point that Sam was quite busy backing up with gentle kisses and caresses. And, like last night, Brooke decided to let Sam take charge. Unlike last night, however, she didn’t say anything when the Sylph appeared and kissed her as well.
It was a few hours later and Brooke realised she was happy. She was lying on the couch in the living room with Sam in her arms and the Sylph hovering above them. After the shower, the three had moved to the bedroom. There, Sam and the Sylph had slowly and lovingly guided Brooke to an orgasm. It had lacked a measure of intensity compared to the one she had yesterday in the kitchen, but it had left Brooke far more satisfied and far more at peace with everything. The three of them had then moved to the living room where they did nothing except cuddle and sometimes talking and kissing.
And this, Brooke thought, had to be happiness. Because if it wasn’t, then happiness was something that no-one could ever hope to achieve.
“Brooke?” Sam whispered.
“There’s something I want to do.”
“I’m not sure if I should, though.”
“Sammy, what is it?”
“Do you remember me saying that me and my Sylph are sort of one being?”
“And how would you… I mean… well… how would you like to join us?”
“What do you mean?”
“What I mean is…” Sam hesitated. “What I mean is that you’re alone. In the mental sense. There’s only one mind and one soul in your body.”
“And you have several?” Brooke asked confused.
“Well, no.” Sam said. “But that’s because I’m explaining it wrong. Brooke, what I want to say is, do you want to share the rest of eternity?”
Brooke smiled. “I’d love to.”
“No, Brooke, think about it first. When I say ‘eternity’ I really mean it.”
“I don’t have to think about it, Sam.” Brooke said.
“OK then.” Sam smiled relieved, even though she was clearly still nervous. “Close your eyes.”
Brooke dutifully closed her eyes.
“All right.” She heard Sam say. “How do you look? In your mind, I mean. Imagine that.”
Brooke formed an image of herself. It wasn’t a very detailed image. When she tried to really see herself she didn’t come any further than a vague outlining with blonde hair.
“OK, good enough.” Sam said. “Now, just wait one second…”
Brooke opened her eyes. Then she closed them and opened them once more. The forest was still there. Looking down, she noticed she was standing on grass. She also thought she saw wolves patrolling between the surrounding trees.
“Welcome to my mind.” Sam said.
Brooke looked at her and saw Sam. Which didn’t really surprise her. Next to her was the Sylph. She was shorter than Sam and for the first time Brooke could see her completely. Including the fact that she was completely naked. Blushing, Brooke looked away from the Sylph and back at Sam.
“Where is this place?” Brooke asked.
“It’s in my mind.” Sam said simply. “Sort of. It’s difficult to explain right now. But if you would be so kind as to follow us?”
Sam and the Sylph turned around. Brooke had no choice but to follow. After a short walk the three of them arrived at what Brooke could only describe as a marble temple. It bore an uncanny resemblance to the most important Temple of the Goddess that was located in Iceland. She saw a triangular roof, large pillars supporting the roof and a huge staircase that led up to a massive door that still looked small compared to the rest of the temple. Sam, Brooke and the Sylph walked up the stairs, through the door and stepped into Sam’s bedroom.
“What the…?” Brooke said.
“This usually looks a little different.” Sam said. “But I wanted you to be in a familiar surrounding.”
“Sam, how powerful ARE you if you can do all this?”
“No more powerful than you are, I guess. I’ve just studied more and harder on other things than Aesthir breeding techniques.” Sam turned around. “OK, close these eyes as well and let us do the rest.”
Brooke closed her eyes and felt alone. She saw a tiny flicker of light somewhere in the darkness she found herself in and realised that was her. A second light appeared. It looked like a small streak of silver and moved around like quicksilver. The silver light approached Brooke and enveloped it, adding its own light. Then a third light appeared, bright as a golden sun. The third light enveloped the first, small, light as well. The three lights slowly merged, lighting up the darkness until it was too bright to look at any more.
Brooke opened her eyes and wasn’t alone any more.
“Wow.” Said Brooke, back in the living room, lying on the couch.
Sam smiled at her and when she talked, there was no sound coming over her lips.
>>Well, Brooke, we’re stuck together now for pretty much all of eternity. How does it feel?<<
Brooke smiled back.
>>Pretty damn good.<< She thought.
Part 3 - Guardian
Monday morning arrived and for the first time in her life, Brooke was wondering what to wear. The clothes she had worn during the weekend still felt a little constrictive and unpleasant, but were also a symbol of, what Brooke liked to call, “the new Brooke”. The robe was wide and comfortable, but also an unpleasant reminder of the time when she thought of Sam is a simple child that needed to be taught. A time where she did a lot of things, except live. Sam, however, quickly solved the dilemma by stating that the two of them had school today. And Brooke showing up at school in common clothes was bound to make people start asking questions.
Brooke couldn’t concentrate. Not only was her current teacher a very boring man with highly irritating nasal kind of voice, the Sylph was also distracting her. The Sylph’s mind was playful and comforting, but it was flitting about all over the place. One moment, Brooke could feel the Sylph’s mind filling up every part of her body, the next she was gone again.
>>Sam?<< Brooke thought.
>>How can you live with this?<<
>>What? The Sylph? You get used to it.<<
>>How fast? I have a test next period and she’s distracting me.<<
Brooke felt a sense of merriment flood over her briefly before she could hear Sam’s voice again.
>>I’ll talk to her, don’t worry.<<
>>I don’t want her to be gone, you know.<< Brooke hastily thought. >>I just want her to sit still in one place for a while.<<
The Sylph appeared. She sat down before Brooke’s eyes and glared at her, while at same time filling Brooke with an alien sense of annoyance.
>>I should’ve asked you first, shouldn’t I?<< Brooke thought.
The Sylph nodded.
The little being seemed to ponder this for a while, then smiled and nodded. Giving Brooke a quick peck on the cheek, she disappeared again. A few seconds later Brooke could feel the Sylph’s small mind huddle up close to her own. Acting on the unspoken question, Brooke searched for the love she harboured for the little being and, finding it, enveloped her mind with it. She was surprised at the intensity she found. Given time, she would probably love the Sylph as much as she loved Sam.
>>Aw, you two look so cute together.<< Sam thought.
>>Shut up, Sam.<< Brooke though playfully.
>>Oh, come on, look at you. Huddled up together like you are. Makes a girl feel left out.<<
>>Care to join us?<<
>>Can’t.<< Sam thought, and Brooke could feel her regret. >>I have a test this period.<<
>>Then why are you… uhm… well… you know… talking to me?<<
>>Hey, I can multi-task.<< Sam thought. >>Surely you hear the background noise?<<
>>There is _A_ noise, yes.<< Brooke conceded.
>>That’s me thinking about the test.<<
Brooke snickered, earning her a glance from the teacher.
>>Well, good luck with it.<<
>>Luck is not required here. I’ve got this one in the bag.<<
>>Hey, can I do that too?<< Brooke asked. >>You know, doing this and paying attention to other stuff at the same time?<<
The blonde sensed Sam doubt before the answer came. >>Not yet.<<
>>Soon.<< Sam thought. >>Should be soon.<<
After that, Sam’s mind hastily retreated, leaving a hole Brooke didn’t realise had been filled in the first place. A warmth quickly attempted to fill the hole, lessening the sudden pain. Smiling, Brooke realised it was the Sylph trying to comfort her.
>>Sorry for bailing on you like I did.<< Sam thought apologetically.
“Sam, when we’re in the same room, could you please talk to me? I… like the sound of your voice.”
Sam smiled. “Your wish is my command.”
It was after school and Sam and Brooke were sitting on a couch in the Palace living room. Despite the fact that Brooke wanted to get out of her robe and into a common set of clothes, she had postponed that desire in exchange for some more time with Sam. And the Sylph. Lying between them the Air Elemental drew small circles with on Brooke’s stomach and didn’t do much else. Then she suddenly lifted her head, exuding a sudden anxiety that was so intense that it completely flooded both Brooke and Sam for a moment. She growled soundlessly and disappeared.
Two seconds later, the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it.” Brooke said reluctantly.
She got up from the couch and set one bare foot on the flood. She quickly yanked it back, however, since the floor was rather cold.
“I think I’ll float now.” Brooke said. “If that’s OK with you.”
Sam smiled. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Squandering the gift our Goddess gave to us, maybe?”
The doorbell impatiently rang again. Brooke got up again, setting her foot an inch above the floor and walked to the front door. There, she stood still for a moment before deciding to use her hand to open it. Opening the door revealed a man, wearing a light blue robe who smiled at her faintly.
>>It’s the SS!<< Brooke thought distressed.
>>The WHAT!?<< Sam thought.
>>Oh.<< Sam thought relieved. >>Them.<<
“I take it you are Brooke McQueen?” The man asked.
“Splendid.” The man said pleasantly. “And is a Samantha McPherson here as well?”
“She likes being called Sam.”
“Fair enough.” Said the man. “Can I come in?”
“Yeah. Go ahead.” Brooke said reluctantly.
Passing Brooke, the man floated past her and into the living room. The Sylph appeared behind his back, stuck her tongue out to her and disappeared again. Forcing away a smile, Brooke closed the door and followed him.
When the blonde got back into the living room, the man was sitting comfortably on the air. There was a suitcase next to him, which opened to give him some paper. Brooke walked past him and sat down on the couch, next to Sam. The man raised an eyebrow.
“Are you two lovers?” He asked.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but yeah.” Sam said.
Brooke sensed Sam’s hostility and tried to soothe her a little, but failed since she didn’t particularly liked the man either.
“I see.” Said the man. “I suppose it must be upsetting for you to see your girlfriend flaunt about her magic all over the place.”
“Sort of.” Sam answered.
“Oh, very well then.” The man said, letting his pen scribble a few things down somewhere. “Now then. My name is David Henderson. I’m here to ask you a few questions, if you don’t mind.”
“And what if I do mind?” Sam asked.
“Oh, don’t worry.” David said. “We won’t pry into your mind. It’s impossible, you see.”
“Really?” Sam asked, amused.
“Afraid so. It would make our work easier, but alas. Now then, shall I start on the questions?”
“I understand you were living alone with your mother before moving in here?”
“How does she feel about magic?”
Sam shrugged. “Same as everyone else, I guess.”
“And your father. What kind of man was he?”
“He was a good man.”
“Really? Did he never say things to you or hit you or anything like that.”
Deep hurt flooded through Sam and Brooke rallied to comfort her. She noticed that the Sylph was trying to do the exact same thing, but the hurt ran deep and the two of them could only manage to ease it somewhat.
“Why do you ask?” Sam asked, her voice cold.
“I’m just trying to understand.” David said soothingly. “I mean no offensive.”
“Well, you’re being pretty offensive.” Sam said.
“My apologies. I just want to know why you’re… repressing.”
“We received a message a few days ago.” David explained. “It appeared that you countered a low-level fire spell not so long ago.”
“Well, have you ever realised that only magic people can do that?”
“What has this to do with my father?” Sam asked.
“Possibly nothing, possibly everything. The truth of the matter is, and I suppose this may come as a shock to you, that you, Samantha McPherson, are not a commoner. You are, in fact, one of us.”
“Get out of here.” Sam said.
David, unable to comprehend sarcasm, continued. “No, no, it’s true. You can wield magic. We don’t get cases like this very often, but it happens. Some kid gets born in a family with parents that fear or even hate magic and they attempt to beat it out of them. The child in effect represses his or her magic for years, but when it finally leaks out… well…” He let the sentence hang unfinished in the air for a few moments. “It is our job to find such people and make sure they develop smoothly and without any further troubles.”
“My father was a good man.” Sam ground out. “And have you ever even considered the possibility that this was my choice?”
“Excuse me?” David said. “You… you _want_ to live like a commoner.”
“That’s what I said.”
“I… I see… Well, I don’t suppose I can take these decisions for you. I think I’ll just… Why?”
“Why live like a commoner?” David asked. “I don’t understand.”
“Because I like to live.” Sam answered. “Because, from my perspective, you don’t. And because I think that most people use their magic for totally ridiculous purposes only.”
The colour drained from David’s face. “You do realise that this sounds like blasphemy, right?” He asked concerned.
“There’s no law against it.” Sam said.
“That’s… that’s true. I suppose. Err… yes… Now then, if you don’t want to use your magic, you don’t have to, but you will need to learn to control it.”
“I think I can.” Sam said.
“I think you can’t.” David replied. “I fear that if this unhealthy attitude persists accidents will follow. Grave accidents.”
“I’m sure you think you can.” David said. “But I have experience in these matters. You can’t manage it. Your powers haven’t been developed slowly and thoughtfully and that is dangerous. We can help you. It’s our job to help.”
“I don’t need your help.” Sam said. “I don’t want it either.”
“Now, now,” David continued. “We have facilities where we can take care of you. Sam, you must realise that we are only looking after your best interests. As well as the interests of those around you.”
“Thanks for your concern.” Sam said.
“Now, I can’t force you.” David said, standing up. “However, I can have a test arranged for you. If your magic powers are below par, then I will leave you alone. If they aren’t I fear I will have no choice but to force you.”
“Force me to do what?” Sam asked. “Force me into one of your facilities and lock me up in there.”
“We don’t lock people up, Miss McPherson.” David said, sounding a little insulted. “Everything we do is for their own good.”
“Which is a sentence that is sure to strike fear in the hearts of everyone who hears it.” Sam said. “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
David didn’t respond to that. Instead, he just turned and left. When he had left, she noticed that Sam was trembling a little. Extending her mind a little, she also noticed that the brunette was upset. The Sylph was slightly annoyed with her for retreating back like she had instead of comforting Sam like she should. Brooke apologised to her, then took Sam in her arms in order to soothe her, both mentally and physically.
“It’ll be OK.” Brooke said.
“I know it will.” Sam said. “I was trembling with rage, not fear. You were just too worried to notice that.”
“And has the rage ebbed?”
“See for yourself.”
Brooke reached out to Sam. At the surface was happiness and contentment, below that, Brooke was happy to find a love that was burned bright and comforting and that she didn’t really mind having to share. Reluctantly going through that vast layer, Brooke arrived at calmness. The calm after the storm, in this case. She could still feel traces of an anger that wanted to devastate everything that stood in the way. Brooke shuddered.
>>And this would be anger.<< Sam said, her presence closer to Brooke than it had ever been.
>>It’s awful.<< Brooke thought.
>>I know.<< Sam said. >>If there’s one thing worse than a magic explosion, it’s an anger explosion.<<
Tears streamed down the blonde’s face as her mind looked over the empty wasteland Sam’s rage had left behind. Sam’s mind gently enveloped the girl and pulled her away. Worried, the Sylph’s mind came closer and tried to help Sam comfort the blonde.
>>It’s not pretty.<< Sam said. >>But I don’t let it control me.<<
>>I know… It’s just… does that exist inside me as well?<<
>>It does.<< Sam said. >>It even exists inside our Sylph lover.<<
>>Well, isn’t she?<< Sam thought good-humoured in an attempt to cheer Brooke up.
>>I suppose. But I love you more than I love her.<<
>>Thereby implying that you do love her.<<
>>Yeah, I guess.<<
>>Feeling better?<< Sam asked concerned.
>>Ready to return to your own body?<<
>>If I have to.<<
Slowly, Brooke let go of Sam and went back to where she was supposed to be. The intense contact watered down somewhat, but wasn’t broken. Soon she was back in her own mind, with her own emotions and not surrounded on all sides by Sam. A part of her was saddened by this. Losing herself in Sam sounded very tempting.
>>Don’t go there Brooke.<< Sam warned. >>I would lose you again.<<
>>I won’t.<< Brooke promised. >>Is this what the Sylph feels when she’s fluttering between you and me?<<
Morning dawned on the next day and as Sam walked over to the gate of her part of the school after saying an extensive goodbye to Brooke, she noticed with no small amount of discomfort that the principal was waiting for her. Sam knew this, because the principal was holding up a sign with her name on it.
“Principal Hall.” Sam greeted. “What’s up?”
“Ah, Sam.” Principal Hall said. “I must inform you that I’ve received a letter this morning.”
“Oh.” Sam said carefully. “From who?”
“Social Services.” Principal Hall answered. “I must say, I never suspected a thing.”
Sam groaned. “So you know about me.”
“I do. And, considering the fact that you’re going to be tested, I think it’d be better for you if you attended our magic classes for now.”
“Do I have to?” Sam whined. “All my friends are in the common half.”
“I’m sorry, Ms McPherson, but I’d hate to see you locked up in some institution.”
Despite the situation, Sam smiled. “So you don’t like them either, do you?”
“I suppose some of them are quite nice.” Principal Hall said neutrally. “Run along now.”
Sam sighed a little defeated. “OK. Fine.”
Brooke was sitting in class, patiently waiting for class to begin. The Sylph appeared on her desk. She looked worried and pointed at the door.
“What about it?” Brooke asked.
The Sylph uncomfortably shook her head and pointed at the door again.
“Is there someone coming?”
The Sylph nodded.
The little girl grabbed her head in frustration. Then she looked up and smiled. A moment later, Brooke felt as if she was wrapped in a warm blanket, safe from harm. For a moment, the outside world didn’t exist.
The Sylph nodded again.
“She’s going to be so pissed.”
The Sylph nodded a bit more emphatically this time. Then she looked up and disappeared.
The door opened and Miss Glass entered, followed by Sam. A few shocked gasps could be heard throughout the room.
“OK, class.” Mr Glass said. “Unfortunately for me, Samantha McPherson here decided to develop some skills as well. She’ll be attending this class for now. Sam, take a seat.”
Sam looked across the empty room. “Where?”
“Anywhere.” Glass answered. “We don’t use chairs or tables here.”
“Great.” Sam said.
She walked over to Brooke and sat down on the ground next to her.
>>What’s up with… err… her?<< Sam thought.
>>Glass. Is she… he… well, what gender is… it?<<
>>All of them.<< Brooke answered. >>She had a little… accident a while back and since then her body doesn’t seem to be able to figure out just what gender it is.<<
“OK, people, listen up.” Miss Glass said. “Today we’ll be insulting some more Salamanders, since we’re going to be focussing on fire spells. Again. And if you all actually pay some sort of attention this time, we might be able to move on to water.” He looked around the classroom for a moment. “Yes, Miss Cherry?”
“Well, Ah was wondering, Sir, with Spam McPherson bein’ here and all, well, won’t that hold the rest of us hard working students back?”
“It would have if the lot of you actually did something once in a while.” Glass said. “But she’ll be able to catch up quickly enough. Just in case, though, Sam can I ask you a question?”
“You’re the teacher aren’t you?”
“My point exactly.” Miss Glass said. “Say I were to send a Kerval at you. What would you do? Assuming, of course, you know what a Kerval is.”
“A tiger made from living flame.” Sam said. “And I’d tell you you’re an anachronism. Living Element spells were outlawed about 150 years ago.”
A few shocked whispers filled the classroom. Mr Glass quieted her students with a wave of its hand.
“Very good Ms McPherson.” (S)he said. “Tell me, how do you know that?”
“It’s basic history.” Sam said, surprised at all the surprised looks everyone else, even Brooke, was giving her. “The Iceland Council decided that creating living beings that resembled Elementals in any way were an insult to the Goddess, so they banned that kind of magic and made sure nobody would be able to use it again.”
“How do you know that?” Nicole blurted out.
“I learned it at school.” Sam said. “I thought you all knew that.”
“Actually, Ms McPherson we aren’t interested in the past.” Miss Glass said. “The past is a memory that binds us to the Earth. And, in order to transcend this plane, there must be no more ties to it.”
“And that is why you teach spells no-one is able to use any more?” Sam asked.
“No, I was simply testing you. You passed with flying colours, by the way. Now, then Miss Cherry, I hope you’re satisfied. Can we now please move on?”
“You call that education!?” Sam said after a very long day at school.
“It wasn’t that bad.” Brooke said defensively.
“Not that bad?” Sam said. “Brooke, every single lesson was about how to use certain spells, except for the one which was trying to teach us emotional control. You can’t call that education.”
“Sam, it’s been this way for a very long time.”
“That doesn’t mean anything, Brooke.” Sam said. “Something isn’t automatically right just because everyone else has been doing it for a few hundred years.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
Sam was cut off when the Sylph appeared. She sat down on Sam’s shoulder and stroked her cheek. Feeling a twinge of jealousy, Brooke watched as Sam calmed down. Then the Sylph went over to Brooke to brush her cheek as well, erasing the jealousy.
“Wow.” Said Brooke. “She’s good.”
“Yeah.” Sam said, fondly watching the proud Sylph. “She’s quite the peacemaker.”
“Good in bed, too.”
“Well, it’s true isn’t it?”
“OK, good point.” Sam said. “But there’s no need to say it out loud.”
The Sylph anxiously started tugging on Sam’s and Brooke’s sleeves. The two girls looked down at their companion, then up, following the little being’s finger and seeing three Aeshtirs descend. When they landed, three men dismounted. They all wore light blue robes. One of them was David.
“Test time already?” Sam asked.
“I’m afraid so.” David said. “Would you care to follow me? Miss McQueen is allowed to come too, of course.”
“And what if I don’t want to follow you?”
“Then I fear that these two gentlemen have orders to apprehend you. You may not realise it, but you’re a danger, Miss McPherson, a threat to all around you. The sooner this is done, the better.”
Less than an hour later, Brooke found herself in the San Francisco Temple. She was sitting on a bench, with the Sylph sitting next to her. In front of her was Sam, standing in front of the altar. Behind the altar there were five women, all dressed in golden robes. Much to her surprise, Brooke was the only one that felt anxious. The Sylph crawled up her lap and hugged her. Smiling, Brooke started stroking the creature’s here which helped in easing her anxiety.
>>Don’t worry.<< Sam thought.
>>Well, yeah… But you’re not, so I don’t think I’ll have to worry.<<
Despite the fact that Sam’s back was turned towards her, Brooke knew that the brunette was smiling when she answered. >>Thanks for the vote of confidence.<<
“Samantha McPherson?” One of the priestesses asked.
“Call me Sam.”
“You have received the Gift from the Goddess. For reasons unknown to us, you choose to ignore this gift. That is your decision, of course. However, we must be see if you are allowed to live without training. If you are found too powerful, you will receive the necessary education. Do you understand?”
“Yep.” Sam said cheerfully. “If I’m weak, I won’t get locked up in an institution.”
>>Brooke, brace yourself!<< Sam yelled in the blonde’s mind.
>>For what?<< Brooke thought.
What followed was beyond Brooke’s descriptive abilities. Her body suddenly felt too small. She didn’t feel as if her mind and consciousness were being pushed aside, but more as if something had been added to it.
>>You’re in here!?<<
>>Don’t worry, not for long.<< Sam thought. >>Goddess, Brooke.<< She gasped.
>>What? What’s wrong?<<
>>Nothing, it’s just… I never realised you love me so much.<<
>>Well… I do… but could you please return to your own body? You’re sort of on trial here.<<
>>I love you.<<
>>I know, Sammy. I felt it too. But now really isn’t the time.<<
“And so we commence our test.”
>>Damn. What’d I miss?<< Brooke thought.
>>Nothing much. A few prayers.<<
The five priestesses fell into silence and looked at Sam. Sam’s body blankly looked back.
>>What are they doing?<<
>>Taking a peek at my aura and soul.<< Sam responded.
>>But… both of them are… you know…<<
>>Here with you.<<
>>So, they won’t find anything?<<
The priestesses ceased their staring match with the uncaring body, then started discussing amongst themselves.
>>Ah. Time to get back.<<
Brooke felt Sam leaving and, although her body had felt very crowded for a moment, she wished the brunette was back.
>>I’m still here Brooke.<< Sam said reassuringly. >>Just a little farther away.<<
“Samantha McPherson.” The high priestess started. “It is the conclusion of this Council that you do not posses any magic powers. We are therefore quite interested in hearing your explanations of how you countered the fire spell one Nicole Julian targeted you with.”
“Oh, it’s quite simple.” Sam said casually. “I’m Iara.”
The five priestesses shrunk back from the altar as if someone had slapped them. Brooke didn’t understand their reaction, but judging from Sam’s almost cocky stance and the fact that the Sylph was jumping up and down with joy in her lap, the brunette’s announcement was of some sort of great significance.
“How do you know that name?” The eldest priestess asked, her voice a little shaky.
“Well… I used to be her, you know. Past lives maybe don’t mean a lot to you, but they do mean a lot to me.”
“If you’re really Iara, you wouldn’t be here.” The eldest said.
“Care to make a bet?” Sam asked. “Iara is the name of the only woman who ‘transcended this earthly plane’. She did so about, oh, three thousand years ago. And ever since then mankind, that is to say, the magic part of mankind, has been trying to achieve what she had achieved. To this day no-one else has succeeded.”
“Very impressive.” The eldest said with a hint of sarcasm. “But, please, enlighten us, why are you here?”
Sam shrugged. “Two reasons really. The other one being that I, well, Iara, saw that things were starting to get a little rigid and dogmatic. Which, by the way, this so-called ‘test’ is a very nice example of.”
“Untrained magic poses no danger.” Sam snapped. “Unused potential isn’t a threat. You’ve made that all up so that you had a nice excuse to lead more people over the way towards your much desired transcendence.”
“It is a noble goal.”
“We could argue about that for aeons and frankly, I don’t have the time. I came here to see if I could stir things up, but you’re all so bogged down in your meaningless traditions that it’s no use. Either you’ll lock me up or I’ll show you my true power and you’ll start worshipping me. None of those options’ll do any good, so I guess I’ll just have to try again in some other way sometime.”
“And what, may I ask, was the other reason?” The eldest asked.
“The other reason?” Sam asked, her voice softening. “There was another, back then. She was close. Very close. We were lovers, you know. She knew what I knew and vice versa. Then I transcended and left her behind. She died of a broken heart.” The brunette turned around and looked at Brooke. “And now I’m here to take her with me.”
“How very touching.” The eldest said contumelious. “Sisters, may I suggest we get back to the matter at hand?”
Sam ignored her. She kneeled down in front of Brooke and took her hand.
“Will you come with me?” Sam asked.
“You know the answer.” Brooke said.
“I have to warn you.” Sam said. “You’ll never see your friends or family again. Not in this lifetime anyway.”
“Can’t you stay then?”
“After everything I’ve said here? No.”
“Then I’ll gladly come with you.”
Sam and Brooke stood up simultaneously. Throwing her arm around the blonde, Sam and Brooke turned to face the priestesses.
“Sorry girls.” Sam said. “It didn’t work this time. But I’m sure I’ll come up with something else soon enough.”
Gold light started emanating from Sam, filling the entire Temple. When the light faded, the girls were gone. Only the Sylph and the priestesses remained. The Sylph flew over to the altar, smirked at the priestesses, gave them the middle finger and disappeared.
Brooke found herself in a glade, surrounded by trees. In the distance she could see a large, white temple that bore an uncanny resemblance to the most important Temple dedicated to the Goddess in Iceland. She thought she could see wolves patrolling between the surrounding trees. The Sylph happily danced around them, like a little child that had come home.
“Well,” Said Brooke. “This looks familiar.”
“It should.” Said Sam.
“So is this what the higher plane of existence looks like?”
Sam laughed. “Hell, no. I created this place for myself shortly after my transcendence. The higher plane, if you want to call it that, is something beyond your comprehension. I use this place to make sense of things. I often come back here too, when I want to remember what having a body feels like.”
“Why didn’t you come for me sooner?” Brooke asked, hurt clear in her voice.
“I couldn’t.” Sam answered. “I wanted to so badly it hurt, but I couldn’t. We’re not alone in this universe, Brooke. There are other planets, other beings. It would be naive of us to think that we’re the only ones capable of reaching this plane. Most of us are pretty decent, but some…” Sam paused a moment. “Some should never have been allowed to come here. They go from world to world, conquering them, leeching them dry and moving on again. When I came here, I put Earth on the map. For the first few centuries, I had to fight them off. Those wolves around us are a warning. When they start howling, I have to start fighting. And in those early days, the howled very often. I wouldn’t have survived if I didn’t have any help from the other. I couldn’t go back, because we’d both die at their hands if I did, without any hope of reincarnating ever again.” Sam closed her eyes, as a stray tear ran down her cheek. The Sylph, no longer as small as she was back on Earth, walked up to her and kissed the tear away. The brunette smiled briefly and continued. “When the fighting lessened I looked back down, searching for you. But so many lifetimes had passed since then. You were happy with other people, and I knew Earth still wasn’t safe. I didn’t know what to do, so I started building a shield. I wanted to make sure that no-one could reach Earth, at least for a while. When I had done that, I went down to Earth again. Well… you know the rest.”
“Yeah.” Brooke said. “If it helps, I never really loved any of them.”
“How do you know?” Sam asked curiously.
“I don’t really know.” Brooke said. “I just do.” Then she pointed at the Sylph. “So how does she figure into all of this?”
“Her? She was born here. Well, not _here_ here, but on somewhere on this plane. All Elementals are. Anyway, one day, I found her. She was badly injured, on the brink of death. So I took her with me and nursed her back to health. She stayed with me after that, making the centuries up here just a little less lonely.”
“How did she get that wounded?”
“I don’t know.” Sam answered. “She won’t tell and I don’t ask. It probably has something to do with my enemies, though. I sent her to Earth a couple of times, just to check up on you, when I was too busy with other things. And when my shield was finally finished, she practically kicked me down to Earth. Something for which I’ll probably be eternally grateful.”
The Sylph smiled at Sam, who smiled back.
“Anything else you want to know?” Sam asked.
“Not really.” Brooke said. “Oh Mighty Guardian of the Earth.” She added with a smirk.
“Well, thank the Goddess it’s only THIS Earth.”
“What do you mean?”
“Never mind.” Sam said. "Let's just say, there's more than one."
“OK then.” Brooke said. “When do my lessons start?”
Sam hesitated. “I wanted to wait with a that for while. I just… I just found you again and I’d like it if we’d just spend some time together. Is that OK with you?”
“I don’t really see a problem.” Brooke said, smiling. “We do have eternity, after all."
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