Amanda turned as soon as she arrived, finding Daniel sitting on a rock and smiling at her.
“I can't believe you left without even saying-” his smile withered into a look of concern, “Woah...” he stood up and held Amanda's face, tracing over her split lip and the bruises on her forehead and cheek with his fingers, “What happened?”
“Progress check,” Amanda said.
“Berg did this to you!” Daniel exclaimed. He stepped away and said, “Excuse me,” he picked up the giant rock he had been sitting on and tossed it out to sea like a Frisbee, shouting with the effort. It created a huge splash and Daniel swore at Berg profoundly.
Amanda giggled, “If only you'd taken off your shirt first,” she mused.
Daniel looked at her, the frustration plain on his face, “Why don't you get it? That good-for-nothing sleazy fucker beat you up!”
Amanda smiled and paused for effect, “I beat him.”
Daniel stared, as though he hadn't quite heard her, “What?” he whispered.
Amanda laughed and repeated, “I beat him.”
Daniel beamed like a madman, “Seriously?”
He picked Amanda up just below her buttocks and turned in a full circle, screaming, “Wooooo!”
Amanda laughed, squirming in his grasp, “Daniel, put me down!”
He dropped her on the sand so that she was lying down and kissed her, “What happened to working a 'desk-job'?” he whispered.
Amanda shrugged, “I became a manly, American idiot.”
“Urgh, not when I want to make-out with you, please?” Daniel said, kissing her again passionately.
“Ow,” Amanda said, pushing him away, “Not so rough, Danny.”
“Sorry,” he said, kissing her bruised cheek and then sitting up, “I don't want to sound like a gossipy bitch but: tell me everything.”
So Amanda told him. She exaggerated her part, making the test look harder than it really was, and Daniel knew it - but he let her have it. It was her victory, why not let her be big-headed for a little bit?
Daniel clapped, “That is now my favourite story ever,” he laughed.
Amanda hugged him and said, “Thank you.”
He returned the hug - the sensation being his personal favourite. Daniel had always loved how his body fit so perfectly with hers, as if they were meant to be together, “For what?” he asked softly.
“For making me shoot and jump and climb and stuff. I couldn't have done any of it without you,” she looked at him, “You know, when I tell this story to anyone else, I will give them the full scoop. About how you never let me go?”
Daniel blushed, “Um...”
“Aww! You're so cute when you blush,” pinched his cheeks, “Like a baby-face on a man's body.”
Daniel took her hands away, “Shut up,” he snorted.
“Will you teach me then? Everything I need to know?” Amanda asked, “Please?”
Daniel paused, and rubbed the back of his neck, “Gee, I... I don't know.”
“Amanda, I wanted you to be safe. I... I don't know how things are going to work out if you become top of your class, top of your teacher,” he paused awkwardly, “that wasn't intended, please don't climb on top of-”
“Daniel!” Amanda snapped.
“Anyway... I... was kind of hoping you'd go for the desk-job.”
“But I thought you wanted me to-”
“I did... but you know that thing you said about my mixed intentions, and my need to show-up Berg...?” he trailed off, “I'm not you. You're the smart one. I'm the idiot.”
Amanda paused for thought. What was Daniel trying to tell her?
“Daniel...” Amanda swallowed, “Am I... changing?”
He gazed at her, his mouth parted. After a while, Daniel nodded.
“Then what am I changing into?” she said.
“What do you mean?”
Amanda held Daniel's hand, “I don't want a desk-job,” she said, “I want... I want to do this. What you did.”
Daniel clenched his jaw, caught between wanting to protect her and wanting to support her, “Are you sure?” he asked, hoping that she might rethink it.
Amanda nodded slowly, “Yes.”
“Then I promised I'd be on your side. Through right and wrong, thick and thin,” Daniel said, cupping her face in his hand, “You're going to be a Master Templar.”
“You didn't answer my question,” Amanda said, “What am I becoming?”
Daniel gazed at her. Her cheeks weren't as hollow as they were last week, but he couldn't tell if it was because she'd been eating well or because of the swelling from the bruises. That confusion alone worried him more that her not eating at all, “I think you already know, Amanda.”
Amanda looked at the ground, “Please tell me what I should do.”
“Amanda, I'm a dead man,” Daniel said, “My time for decision-making is up. I'm not going to make yours for you. I never wanted to be that guy, and I'm not going to tell you what you should and shouldn't do now. I already told you: You should do what you want to do.”
“But... I want you to make this decision for me.”
“I don't know... what you should do,” Daniel admitted, “And, I know that you're crazy about me, but... you know me,” Daniel said, “I was an asshole. And you don't have to be me to be a Templar, thing is...” he mentally listed all of the top-ranking Templars he knew: Alan Rikkin, Warren Vidic, Laetitia England... Daniel's face soured, “somehow we all end up that way. Somehow.”
“Dr Sung is nice,” Amanda mentioned.
“Yeah,” Daniel nodded, “Yeah, she is.”
“So I should go for the desk-job?”
“I'm not going to say yes or no.”
Amanda rested her head on Daniel's chest. This was just another thing she had to figure out. Another point of stress. She was meant to avoid those in the Black Room.
“They're training with long-range guns today,” Amanda tried, in an attempt to change the subject.
“Oh, they're simple,” Daniel said, waiving the sentence away, “Just watch out for the recoil. Can dislocate your shoulder if you're not careful.”
“I wish I could stay here with you. Things aren't so complicated in this place.”
He stroked her hair. He didn't remember much and/or often, but he knew that that was how he had felt about Amanda and her home when he was alive. Maybe their roles really had been reversed, “I came back from the dead, Amanda. Shut up and be happy about that.”
Amanda laughed and looked at him, “Will you teach me to fight?”
Daniel moistened his lips, “I'd have to hit you. A lot.”
“Yes... I know.”
“I can't do that.”
“No buts, that's just something I can't do.”
He held her face, “I suck at promise-keeping, don't I?”
Amanda looked at the ground, “Please?”
Daniel shut his eyes, “No.”
“I jumped off a cliff with you!”
“This is different.”
“But I need you to help me!”
Daniel looked away, “I know... Just... the thought of...” he shook his head, “Promise me one thing. And you have to keep it.”
“Visit the doctor every day or whenever you can. Make sure she's alright and... keep her close.”
Amanda nodded, “I can do that.”
“Alright then,” Daniel put out a hand and Amanda got up, “Let's do a bunch of things I'm going to regret.”