"Hunter," Jack steps into the light and nods. "This is Louise." Caleb coughs and Jack doesn't even glance over at him. "And her brother Caleb." A man turns round and looks at us. I hold my breath as his face changes for a few seconds, before he raises an eyebrow.
"This is Louise?"
"Well you aren't a looker yourself." I snap. I take in the big black boots, the long red jacket, greased hair slid back in a pony tail, small features. I challenge his glare with my own one.
He looks surprised at my cockiness and then glares sharper.
"Jack," He says slowly. "You didn't tell me she was this ... this ... delightful ..."
"Well what can I say." Jack smirks, turning his head slightly and watching me in the corner of his eye. "She's a handful."
"Your handful." Hunter says. "I can't deal with her now." I raise an eyebrow and step back quickly.
"What? Your handful? I'm nobodies handful! I'm my own person!" I object but neither man looks at me. I clench my fists and suddenly wish Caleb was allowed to come into the room as well but the guards didn't trust us. I don't blame them. He did try to start a fight with one of them just for laying a finger on me. I had smirked and waved mockingly at the guard but now I wish I didn't. He wasn't allowed in after that ...
"Now get her out of my sight, you found your damsel in distress, go shove her in a cell or something." Hunter waves a dismissive hand at Jack and the boy nods at me but I glare at him. He shrugs and turns away, his Raven perched on his shoulder. I follow him out of the room, look around for Caleb and fail to find him. Instead, I continue to glare at Jack.
"Why am I here?" I snap. Jack doesn't reply. I stop and grab his arm. "Jack!" He stops and his bird squawks at me. "Oh shut up you stupid bird!" Jack's eyes flare up but he doesn't say anything. His bird falls silent, shocked. "Why am I here? How did he know I was coming? How am I you damsel in distress? Answer me!" Jack looks around, rubbing the back of his neck and then shakes his head.
"This isn't the place to talk." He looks back at me and puts on a winning smile. "Coffee?"
I clutch the coffee, staring down into it as Jack gets comfortable.
"Ready?" I nod and look at him. He looks at me from the other side of the table and his eyes burn into me. I distract my gaze on stirring the coffee. "Ok ..." He says slowly and then he clears his throat. He leans back. "The first time we met, it was in a ... a dream, right?" I nod, swallowing hard as i remember the first time we met. He nods back. "It wasn't a dream. Well it was, but it was a controlled dream. I was being monitored on how I would fight against a Watcher. I had four steps I had to complete before I could past to be a full Fighter. I was trying hard; finally made it to fourth scene when suddenly, out of nowhere, you appeared." I don't realise I'm staring at him before he starts to fidget under my gaze. I don't drop it though. "The Watchers seemed to prefer you to attack, leaving me alone. I still had to fight them though, so I could become a fighter, but apparently "getting a little bit of help" doesn't mean I can qualify for a Fighter." I lift a hand to my head, slow to process what he's saying.
"But - ... What? I don't understand ... How - ... Why? Why was I there? How'd I get there?" Jack shrugs, peers out of the window beside us and then turns back to me. He opens his mouth like he's going to say something, before closing it again, pretending like he never opened his mouth. I scowl. "What?" He shakes his head.
"No! Tell me!" I sit forwards on my seat; stare at him until he becomes uncomfortable. He swallows.
"So the controlled dream was meant for me. But what happens if it wasn't meant for me? What happens if it was meant for you?" Me?
"Me? Oh no! No! I don't want to become a whatever, I just want to find Caleb and then go." Caleb! I just left without him! Where is he? Is he mad that I left him? What will he say?
I start to get up but Jack grabs my wrist, pleading me with his eyes to stay. I try to fight it but he's stronger. He shoves me back into the seat.
"Before you run away and get all freaked out, have you got any questions?" He asks. I stare, unable to respond. Yes! I have a million questions like why am I here? How did you get into my dream? Why me?
But all them have no answers so I just shrug.
"The first time we met, in the ... the ..."
"Yeah that ... well I heard your voice then ... How'd you do it?"
Do this? His voice! It's in my head. I swear and stand up again. He laughs, amused, before relaxing into the seat.
"It's a gift."
"You -! You ... You spoke in my head ... What? How?" He chuckles. I don't know. You can do it as well. It just takes practice.
"No!" I snap. "Don't do that! Speak out loud!" He shrugs.
"What? You don't like it?" I shake my head and he chuckles. Sorry.
"Louise!" I glare harder and he just grins. "Any other questions?"
"Who's looking for us?"
"They hate us."
"Apparently we're dangerous."
"Well for a start we can do this," Hello. "And we can access dreams from what we found out. And we can blow up their cars-"
"Hold up. We? I can blow up a car?"
"When you get to level five of The Fighters. You've got a way to go yet." I moan and cover my face with my hands. Too much new information. I can't take it all in at once. I don't like it.
We sit in silence for a few seconds before he chuckles lightly.
"Want me to take you back? Or would you like to find your own way back?" I give him the finger and stand up.
"Take me back to my brother."
"Please take me back to my fucking brother."
"Language!" But all the same, he stands up and grabs his coat. We disappear out of the coffee shop and head back to my brother.