Remain. [NaNoWriMo '16]

[Sequel to NaNo '15 novel Run.] Ruling the world isn't as easy or as fun as it sounds, especially not when a group of angry angels are thrown into the mix. What's worse is that Baxel is without his right-hand man, who just so happens to be the key to everyone's plans.

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13. Twelve: Yet to be Seen

 

    Taryn sat down at the airport of the nearest city, propping her feet up on the armrest of the bench. She could feel the blisters on her heels breaking open again, and her legs hung like dead weight. Isaac took a similar position on the adjacent bench. Closing her eyes, Taryn asked, “So, what now? We’re here, but we still have no money. We look like hobos.”

    She wasn’t wrong. They were dirty and disheveled, tired from all the walking they had done. Miserable, she groaned, “How are we going to get home?”

    Isaac wiped the sweat from his face with his sleeve. “There is one… option we haven’t tried yet.”

    Perking up, Taryn looked over at him. “What’s that?”

    Chewing on the inside of his lips, it took Isaac a few seconds to reply. “My parents.”

    “Your parents?” she asked. Her eyes narrowed. “You told me you didn’t know where they were, that they were in hiding somewhere.”

    He shrugged. “It was half true. They wanted me to come, and I said no, so they went anyway. But not to hiding, not exactly.”

    Taryn shifted to better look at him. “Where are they?”

    “Spain,” he answered. 

    “Then what are we waiting for?” she demanded. “Call them. Maybe they can send money for plane tickets.”

    Isaac looked away, his expression guarded. “It’s not that simple.”

    “Why not?” Taryn asked. He hesitated. “Look, we’re stranded here. We’re going to continue being stranded here until you uncomplicate it for me.”

    “They’re not hiding in Spain,” Isaac answered slowly. “They rule it.”

    Taryn blinked. “What?”

    “The GITS tried to keep it quiet. I tried to convince them not to, but they wouldn’t listen-“

    “Isaac, what are you talking about?” Taryn demanded. 

    Isaac kept his eyes on the ground. “The people who went into hiding. Some of them did, but most of them made a deal with Baxel. If they joined him, he promised them a country to rule.”

    Taryn stared at him. “Your parents work for Baxel?”

    Looking like he was going to be sick, Isaac nodded. “I hate them. If all those people hadn’t left, we might have stood a chance against him.”

    For a moment they sat in silence as Isaac agonized over what to do and Taryn tried to wrap her head around the massive betrayal that she hadn’t even known had occurred. “I haven’t heard any bad reports about Spain,” she said eventually. “Is it still safe there?”

    “As far as I know,” Isaac said. “They may work for Baxel, but they can rule their part however they want.”

    Taryn reached over and wrapped her hand around Isaac’s arm. He looked up. “Call them,” she said. “It’s still our best option.”

    Resigned, Isaac nodded. “I know.” He pulled out his phone and plugged it into a courtesy outlet by the benches. As it charged enough to turn on, he sent a glance at Taryn. “Sorry I didn’t tell you earlier. I was just… ashamed. I’m not like them. I’m never going to join Baxel, I’m going to help overthrow him.” His voice was determined, some of his famous bravado coming back. Isaac’s act had slipped over the past few weeks as the journey had become more and more draining for them both.

    “I believe you,” Taryn assured him. “People aren’t defined by their parents,” she insisted quietly. She knew that better than anyone. Or at least she thought she did. 

    When Isaac’s phone revived, he scrolled through his contacts to the right number. Taking a deep breath, he pressed it and raised the phone to his ear. Taryn could only hear half the conversation, but it was enough. 

    “Hello? It’s Isaac.” Pause. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Pause. “Mom, stop. I’m just calling because me and a friend of mine are in Africa and we’re out of money. We were hoping you could spot us some for plane tickets home.” Pause. “Home as in the GITS headquarters, not Spain.” Pause. “Whatever it is, I’m not interested.” Pause. “Why not send it to Baxel? Now that you’re all buddy buddy.” Pause. “Mom, please-“ Pause. “Fine,” Isaac snapped. “But then you’re buying us a flight home from there.” 

    Taryn was studying his face as his expression got darker and darker. She almost missed his arrogant facade. At least it was lighthearted. Isaac rattled off the name of the airport, and then hung up without another word. 

    “So?” Taryn prompted. 

    “We have to stop in Spain,” Isaac told her, sighing. “But then they’re sending us home.”

    Taryn nodded. She would take what she could get. “They want to see you?”

    “They say there’s something we should see.”

    “What?”

    Isaac shrugged. “Didn’t say. I don’t really care.” He stood. “Come on, we should get in line. She said she’d call the airport and buy the tickets for the next flight out.”

    Taryn followed him to the line of people in front of the desk. “Are you sure you’re okay with seeing them? Calling them is one thing, but…”

    “I said I’d do anything to stop Baxel, didn’t I?” Isaac asked. “This is anything.”

    Without protest, Taryn accepted that. She knew the feeling. 

 

—[]—

 

    Damian and I were almost to Riya’s office when Damian froze. I almost walked into him, jerking back just in time. “What, did someone hit your off switch?” I muttered. 

    Turning to me in concern, Damian asked, “Have you thought about Sirio in a while? 

    “I don’t think about him often, no,” I answered, frowning. “Though I checked on him just before meeting up with you. Why?”

    “The angels were loose in the Nether, freeing each other,” Damian explained slowly, like he was waiting for me to catch on. “What if they freed Sirio too?”

    I tried to come up with some reason why they wouldn’t, but drew a blank. “Shit.”

    “Yeah.”

    “We need to go check,” I said in a hurry, turning and picking up my pace. At Riya’s open door, I poked my head in, saying, “Change of plans, Damian has to be a hero, I have to be a bad guy. Publicize that!” I barked. 

    Riya didn’t even look up. “I was already making you a bad guy, and Damian is a hero, so.”

    “Good! Great!” I turned to Damian. “Let’s go.”

    I reached for the shadows and in a wave of bliss, they obeyed. Damian and I dropped into the Nether without a problem, and I grinned and punched the air. “I’m back, baby. Back in black!” Damian gave me a look, and I dropped my arms. “Just back, then.”

    He teleported away from me without comment. I was only a second behind him, appearing in front of Sirio’s cage, which, thankfully, still contained him. My heart sped up, remembering that Sirio had the one thing that could destroy my and Damian’s relationship for good. I couldn’t let him tell him. 

    I put a hand on Damian’s shoulder and held him back. “He’s here. That’s all we needed to see. Let’s go.”

    Damian nodded, glaring. “Okay. I can’t even stand to be this close to him.” 

    “You head back, I’ll be there in a sec. There’s just something I want to say to him first.”

    Damian studied me for a second, then nodded and disappeared. I stepped over to Sirio’s cage, and the pathetic angel raised his head. “Sent away your boy toy, did you? Afraid of what I have to say to him?”

    “I’m not afraid,” I protested. 

    Sirio laughed a wheezing laugh. “I’m just saving it for the right moment, don’t you worry.”

    I clenched my jaw. “Did you see the Watchers come by here?”

    His face darkening from his snide amusement, Sirio scowled. “Yeah. How’d they get out?”

    “Not your problem,” I said. “Did they say anything about their plans?”

    “Why should I tell you?”

    I leaned closer to his bars and rapped on them with my knuckles. “They could’ve let you out. You saw the light dagger they had, and I’m betting you felt its power too. But, yet, here you are.”

    A muscle twitched in Sirio’s neck. “Bastards.”

    “Who do you hate more, them or me?”

    “You.”

    I put a hand over my heart. “Aw, come on, bro.”

    Sirio rolled his eyes. “I’ll help you if you let me out.”

    “I’m not a fool.”

    “Damn, here I thought…” 

    I took a step back. “Fine. See you in a another hundred years.” Turning, I reached for the shadows. 

    “Wait!” Sirio said, pulling himself up to sit straighter against the bars. “You could use me on your side up there. If you’re trying to trap the angels again, you could use some light powers. I can help.”

    “I don’t trust you,” I said. 

    “And you shouldn’t,” Sirio admitted. “But you need me if you want to win this.”

    I frowned. “That is yet to be seen.”

    “You’ll change your mind,” Sirio promised, swallowing with effort and leaning his head back against the bars. “You’ll be back.”

    My back was too him, and I didn’t reply. That was yet to be seen.

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