Lost to the Flames (On Hold)

Meet Rune Oakes: notoriously badly behaved, too smart for her own good, and the new fourth year at prestigious Borthwick Academy Boarding School.

But when you're told you're destined to be a murderer, how can you begin to fit in at a school for the best pupils in the country? And even worse, how can you stop yourself from getting close. As Rune tries to stop herself from getting too attached, she becomes caught up in a spiderweb of secrets, magic, and, perhaps most frighteningly of all, love. (Amazing cover is by @Infinite_Exho !)


19. A Little Worry

She just lay there. Crumpled on the ground, tears glistening on her cheeks as she shook slightly. "Rune?" Avery said, leaning down to her. "Rune?" She didn't reply. "Rune, what's wrong? What happened?" Not even a whimper to indicate she was hurt. Nothing. "Rune, I'm sorry, please answer me? What happened? C - can you even hear me?"



Even to his own ears, Avery knew his voice had wobbled quite terribly, like cracking ice piercing his skin. "Rune?" Out of the corner of his eye, he could have sworn he saw something move - like a shadow - but he couldn't focus on that right now. Something was wrong with Rune, and until he found out what he could not be satisfied to simply divert away from her for something as dumb as shadow. "Oh, crap.Okay. Okay."



He ran a distracted hand through his hair, heart thumping as panic rose in his throat. Nope. Nope. All good here, all good. Avery pulled his phone out of his pocket, fumbling with it as it nearly fell out of his hands. Uttering a curse, he called Suzanne, silently praying that she would answer. With each long and dull ring, the panic rose further and further, until he was almost drowning in its murky darkness. After what seemed like an age, Suzanne picked up.

"Hello, this is Suzanne."


"You okay?"

He saw a shadow move again. He ignored it again. "Um, well. I'm okay, I guess, but, er - there's an issue with Rune." He bit his lip, shaking a little.

"What's happened? Avery? Avery!"

"Um,. well, to be honest with you, Suzanne, I don't really know quite what, er, quite what happened but she's here and ugh this is too hard to say I'm really sorry, right, but at first we had this argument - God, I can't even remember what it was about, oh god - but it all escalated and I guess she got kinda upset about something but I don't know what and then she ran off and I know is shouldn't but I kinda followed her and god that sounds so bad she just wanted to get away from me and I followed her and know wonder she isn't talking to me and I know I messed up oh god I'm really really sorry I know I'm dumb but - "

"Avery!" Suzanne snapped. "Where are you?"

"Uh, top floor, north tower, I think, I don't really know. I - I don't know what to do, Suzanne."

"Okay, don't panic. Look, I'll stay on the line, Laels and I will be there as soon as we can. Stay there, if she's hurt don't move her. It's probably not serious, but we'll get Mrs Anderson if think she'll be needing."



There was a muffled sound on the other end of the phone, which sounded like Laelia was probably freaking herself out, which Avery knew wouldn't help anyone at all. "Hang on, Avery," Suzanne said. "Laelia says Jesse'd probably be better, she's pretty adamant, and if she doesn't look hurt - she doesn't, does she? - it might have something to do with her powers. I'll run on up to you and Laelia's going to get Jesse, okay?"



Avery nodded as he heart the faintest sound of feet hitting the ground through the phone, and placed his hand over Rune's forehead. No temperature. That was always good, right? "Rune?" he repeated to her again. "Can you hear me now?"


His heart beat faster as he heard the faintest groan escaping from Rune's lips, and he gripped her hand tighter as tears pricked at the corners of his eyes. He heard footsteps thundering up the stairs and held his breath as Suzanne burst through the door, phone in hand and dishevelled hair, panting. "Any developments?" she asked with heavy breath, kneeling down beside him and Rune.


"She made a .. A kind of groaning noise a few moments ago, but I don't know..."


"Okay. That's probably good. Now, it looks like she fainted, so you should probably put her in the recovery position like any rational person would." She rolled Rune onto her side and put her in this' 'recovery position' while Avery stared on numbly, bile rising in his throat. He felt ice begin to cover his hand which was still laid across Rune's own hand. Her fingers tightened around his hand and he could have sworn her eyes fluttered open for a second before they closed again.


All of a sudden, Jesse flew through the door, closely followed by Laelia. "Okay, what happened here?" Jesse bellowed, so loud that Avery was sure someone downstairs would hear it and come upstairs to investigate.


"I - I don't quite know. You see, we had a bit of an argument and then she was upset and for some reason she decided this was the best place to go and then I kind of followed her because I was worried, y - you know, and - " he took in a deep breath, steadying himself. "I found her like this, fainted or something and then I c - called Suzanne and... Yeah."


"Okay. Move out the way for a second?"


Avery shifted away from Rune, releasing his grip on her as Jesse took his place, rolling Rune back into her original position and pressing his fingers to her neck. "She's got a pulse. I'm sure she'll be fine." He moved his fingers up to the edges of her forehead, closing his eyes. A shudder ran visibly through him and Avery frowned as Rune began gasping, sitting bolt upright.


"What the - Jesse, what the hell?"


For some mad reason, Avery found himself laughing, as the three teens rushed forwards towards Rune and Jesse took a step back with a sigh, shaking his head like he was an eighty year old rather than in his early twenties. "Geez, Rune, you terrified me!" Avery found himself whining as Rune laughed half heartedly.


"Yeah, uh, sorry about that. I kind of, um, tripped," she said with a laugh, and Avery shook his head. Of course she did.


Suzanne frowned, and cast a look at Avery before Laelia motioned for Jesse to come forwards with them. Laelia whispered something in his ear and he nodded with a grim expression on his face. "Jesse says you'll be fine, Rune, just take it easy and try not to trip over and hurt yourself."


"It's a bit irritating. I was in the middle of something, and it really wasn't that important."


Rune glowered at him. "Oh, I'm ever so sorry. I'll try my very hardest not to be an inconvenience when I'm hurt ever again."


With one last glare, Jesse swept out from the room, Laelia staring after him as though lost in thoughts. "Come on, then," Avery said, offering Rune a hand up. "You should probably get back to your room, right, Suzanne?"


"Yeah," she agreed as Rune hauled herself to her feet. "Come on, Rune."


She slipped an arm around Rune's shoulder and slipped her free hand into Laelia's as the three of them glided down the staircase, Avery trailing behind.



His room was almost too cold when he entered it. Suzanne and Rune had gone back to their room, and Laelia had decided to join them. Since it had been a strict rule since first year that he wasn't allowed anywhere near Suzanne's music stuff after a conflict with her violin, he'd had to go back to his own room alone which, although it was rather dull, was significantly better than sitting alone in the vastness of the library. He heard shouting from outside the window and groaned, reaching up and slamming the window closed. Bloody first years.


The time was only six - not too long until dinner - but he got out his jotters and books anyway, setting them down on his desk with a heavy bang. He almost tore his maths jotter in half with frustration after he couldn't work out the answer to a question they had clearly been taught when he was ill, and for a stupid second he considered going to Rune's room and asking her for help, before thinking better of it. It was highly unlikely that Suzanne would let him in. Instead, he turned to his phone for a distraction, figuring he could ask Rune about it at dinner.


He frowned as he noticed he already had a text from her.

'Is it orite if a come over tae your room the now? I kinda need to talk to you.'

He typed out a quick reply, and a few moments later  there was a knock at the door and Rune's head poked around it. "Hey," she said with a grin and a sing song voice, though it seemed forced and Avery realised with a wretched twisting of the heart that it was probably his fault. "Can I come in?"


"If you couldn't, I wouldn't have said yes, now would I?" he laughed, waving at her and going to sit on his bed as she walked over to him. "What's up?"


He could see her shaking a little as she tried to force the words out, could see the nerves almost eating her alive and he had to resist the urge to wrap an arm around her. "You see, I - I'm really sorry, Avery." He frowned. "I know I shouldn't have gotten so upset with you earlier, I know that was my own fault that I - that I tripped - and I'm just really sorry. I didn't mean to worry any of you, and I'm so sorry and ... Yeah." She cringed. "That probably sounded so lame, I'm sorry, but I just.. I needed to say something, to apologise. I know it's no excuse, but it think it was maybe partially the stress of the auditions, too, I know I messed up there, but I just... Yeah."


If it was just wishful thinking or not, he wasn't sure, but he could have sworn she'd twitched closer to him. "You don't need to apologise," he chuckled, edging just a little bit closer to her. "If anything, I should be apologising. I shouldn't have pressed you, and you have every right to be annoyed with me and if it was anything I said that made you run off, that hurt you... I'm really sorry."


To his surprise, Rune barked out a laugh. "Yeah. But that's over and done with now, yeah? We - we're still friends, right?"


"Of course we are." God, she was beautiful when she laughed. "We're always friends, right?" Avery surprised even himself when he held out his pinky finger for her to grasp with her own. "Pinky promise."


She smirked. "Pinky promise."


For a moment he managed to hold her gaze, just long enough for him to admire the blueish flecks that hung in her green eyes, the way that the sun hit her irises in such a way that they seemed so much more amazing than normal, before she looked away to look at his desk. "Anyway, what are you working on?"


"Maths," he groaned. "It's the cosine rule, I think the class studied it when I was ill and I haven't quite worked out how it works yet."


"Oh," she laughed. "Cosine rule's easy once you know how it's done. Is this question three, yeah?" He nodded. "Cool. Come on, I'll show you what to do."


She jumped onto his chair at the desk as he dragged another one over from the Adam's side of the room, silently hoping that he wouldn't come in and start asking him a thousand different questions about what this girl was doing in their room for the second time in the space of about a week. It took all of his energy to keep focused on what she was telling him to do, instead of just glancing at her face again and again and again, which she would no doubt find quite creepy. He scrambled to write down the working she was instructing him to do, trying to ignore the sweet smell of vanilla he was engulfed in when she leaned forward to point to the triangle he was working with.


Glancing at the clock next to him, he turned to her and offered her his hand up. "I think it's time for dinner," he said, cringing at his awkwardness until she giggled. "You coming?"


"Of course," she smiled, taking his hand. "I'm absolutely starved."


It was odd, Avery thought, that she could just a short while ago have been passed out on the floor after 'tripping' and have been in such a dazed state, yet now she seemed so... normal. Like nothing had happened, like she was just falling back into the way things had always been and dancing through her life like nothing else mattered in the world, like she didn't have a care at all. She was so wonderfully at ease that Avery found himself smiling along with her as she chattered on about something that had happened in her English class earlier that day, waving her hands about and nearly smacking him in the face more times than was safe.


And when he found himself laughing, she laughed too and he wondered why all of a sudden something had changed. Because Rune didn't usually laugh like that, that sweet little tinkling laugh that sounded like a summer's breeze and passed through the world with comfort. That wasn't her normal behaviour, as pleasant as it was to see her smiling, and Avery was determined to find out why.

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