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MarianFrae

Exsors UPDATED! 10/26/08

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Psh, doubt that would happen. I mean, reading it online is one thing, but straight-up book quality? I don't think it's THAT good.

 

Don't get me wrong, though. Still awesome.

 

Especially Rai. XD

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Come on, Raine... don't be so cynical (and when it's coming from me you know you need to listen). Besides... I'm asking because I'm doing it anyway... it just might have to be with Kinkos or something if there's not any interest.

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OUTSIDE ZEN’S ROOM

Kayle, Emily, and Rai- with Rakel comfortably perched on his shoulder- were looking for the others, when they noticed the door to Zen's room was ajar. The three let their curiosity overcome their manners, and pushed it open fully.

When they looked inside, they discovered Lithe and Zen, asleep together on his bed. A warm yet bright light was emanating from the two, intertwined as they were, which forced Rakel to blink furiously so as not to damage his vision.

Kayle's eyes widened as she squeaked gleefully, "Aww, it's adorable!"

Emily raised an eyebrow, looking as though she knew something she shouldn't at nine years old, "Adorable?"

Kayle's head bobbed as she tiptoed over to the sleeping couple, "Just look at 'em."

Grinning widely, Rai added, "Well, I certainly didn't think they'd get this far this fast," Rakel cooed sardonically in response.

Emily took in the chair, which had practically flown across the room, "I'm guessing Zen has woken up... I doubt Lithe threw the chair and attacked him."

Kayle giggled and lightly touched both of them with freezing cold hands, "Wake up, sleepy little love birds."

Emily walked over to the two of them and looked at them closer, "Oh... Teacher really should have explained that to them..." A shocked and slightly grossed out look flashed across her face, "It's not the best thing to do...."

Rai strutted over and sat cross-legged at the end of the bed. "What're you talking about? Looks like they enjoyed themselves nicely," he teased.

Emily's eyebrows knitted together in consternation, "That's the problem."

Zen shifted and moaned, "What...?"

Lithe's eyes fluttered open when she felt Zen move. When she noticed everyone in the room, she instantly sat bolt upright, removing all contact she had with him. "What are you all doing here?" she exclaimed in shock.

Zen groaned as his cheeks flushed deep red and he scooted down the bed, away from Lithe, "Umm... that's not... we didn't.... KAYLE!" His eyes were light and shining with exhilaration, "You did make it back!"

Kayle beamed at him, "Mmhmm... but no changing the subject. Did you two do the dirty?"

Zen's cheeks flushed even deeper red, if possible. Both Rai and his companion cackled at her bluntness, and Zen's reaction. Emily cocked her head, "They didn't do anything dirty, Kayle... just foolish."

Zen sat up a bit straighter, "Hey, now... I know what that must have looked like... but... we just kissed and... I dunno... something happened. I... I saw things..." he looked at Lithe, "beautiful things."

Lithe blushed deeply, then half-scolded the two girls. "Not that it's any of your business," she said as she glared at Rai, who purposely looked away.

Emiled frowned at Lithe, "It is my business, Lithe... and it's Teacher's too. How do you think I was made?"

Even Kayle looked absolutely shocked at that. Rai's jaw dropped. "Hey now, I'm no genius, but I really hope you didn't mean what I think you meant," he said quickly. "Please tell me that we don't have another insanely smart not-child!"

Emily shook her head slowly, "We shouldn't... Zen's not strong enough yet..."

Zen's eyes shot wide and a vein almost popped out of his head, "WHAT?!"

Kayle's mouth dropped open, leaving her speechless. Rai laughed aloud, startling Rakel into hopping off of his arm and onto one of the bedposts. "Hear that, Zenny boy? I think she just insulted your manhood!"

Emily gave Rai an odd look, "I'm New Life... we're created... by the Dreamer and the Liven's souls being temporarily combined by unbelievable and irreversible passion. Zen's not strong enough... Madeleine wasn't strong enough for three combinations. They didn't think she would be smart enough.... It has nothing to do with Zen's manhood." Emily took in the shocked faces that gave a sample of how fried their brains had been from this revelation, "What did you think I was talking about?"

Lithe sighed, out of both embarrassment and anxiety. "That's not something you need to know right now, Emily. But I do need to know why everyone came barging in here like they owned the place!" Her cheeks were still red, and she couldn't bring herself to meet Zen's eyes, no matter how much she wanted to.

Kayle took a deep breath in then spoke on the one breath, "Well, I'm back now... and we wanted to make sure Zen was truly back... and I have interesting information for everyone... and I'm throwing a party and we need supplies."

Emily persisted, "Is this another bird thing?"

Rakel glided over to the chair and shimmied to where he could reach Emily. He gently nibbled one of her knuckles, signaling he wanted to sit on her arm. “I can assure you, they're referring to something every creature does...not just birds.

Reluctantly, Emily positioned her arm for him to land, "So it is one of those bird things that makes growner people turn red. Thank you, Rakel."

Zen shook his head at the craziness of Emily talking to a falcon and tried to interpret Kayle's words, "Party?"

As Rakel settled himself on Emily's forearm, making sure to be careful with his sharp talons, Rai pouted jokingly, "Yep. Kayle wants to celebrate everybody being back and in their own heads."

Zen brightened at this, "A party? Celebrating... do we have stuff? I mean.. for a party? I haven't been to a party in.... You'd have to ask my mom. I'm sure she could talk for hours about that. A party!"

Kayle beamed, "Teacher said he'd give us all money to go into town and get stuff. You guys wanna come?"

Emily jumped in between Zen and Lithe, giving them hugs at once, "Please? It'll be nice seeing the two of you happy again."

Zen sheepishly looked at Lithe, not wanting to answer without her. Lithe chuckled at Zen, and replied to Kayle without taking her eyes off of him. "Of course we'll come. After all, Zen's been sleeping for so long I'm not sure if he can manage himself off of this bed," she added teasingly.

"Hey, I got you.... I can get off the bed, ok?" His cheeks reddened once more but his eyes carried electricity with his excitement.

Lithe giggled, her heart lighter than it had been in a long time. She took advantage of his excitement, and leaned over to kiss him on the cheek, then got up and fled to the other side of the room. "Then prove it," she taunted as she leaned casually against a wall.

Zen's face was suddenly consumed by a grin and he made a show of standing up, "See? Now... do I have to get you or will you come back here?" Still grinning, Zen crossed his arms, carefully leaning ever so slightly against the bed.

Thoroughly enjoying herself, and curious as to how far she could tease him, Lithe didn't move. "You know...I'm much too comfortable over here."

"Oh, really?" Zen raised an eyebrow, grin far from fading, "Well, I guess I'll just have to come over there." Emily rolled her eyes gently scratched Rakel's chest as Zen straightened himself, "Why is it I'm doing all the work here? I mean... I'm the one who was stuck in various minds... in various times. New Life is your power, but apparently, I'm not strong enough yet to make your power work. I had to pull you onto the bed so we didn't cramp our backs... and now I have to come to you when you obviously don't think I can take three steps?"

Lithe playfully batted her eyes at Zen. "Come now, you can't really be faulting me for not creating another New Life. Can you honestly tell me you want an infant to deal with right now? My choice or not, Emily's the only New Life we need right now. And did you ever think," she said as she grinned back at him, "of how you had the energy to do all of that?"

"Well, that's obvious, love. Two of my three lamps are out... I am a Generator by birth after all... but if I must come to you... I suppose I am willing to support our relationship... albeit more than you," Zen teased playfully and took a step toward her, "Unless of course you wanted to meet halfway?"

Lithe made a show of thinking hard about his question. She put a finger to her lips and leaned forward. "Hmm...I suppose there's some merit to that idea," she admitted as she took a step in Zen's direction.

Sparks once again swam in Zen's irises as he took two more steps, "Look at that, Lithe. Three steps."

A hint of playful defiance shone in Lithe's eyes, and she took three tiny steps toward Zen, until they were face to face. Milking the mood for what it was worth, she spun around and leaned backward against him, molding her body to his. "Look at that," she whispered, "I took four."

Zen craned his head down to kiss the top of hers, realizing he stood to his full height, "I can still beat that."

Smiling warmly, she looked up at him and taunted, "Oh really? How's that?"

Swiftly, Zen lifted Lithe up into his arms, "I can hold you..." he kissed her, "and kiss you," and took a fourth step, "and take a fourth step." Slightly shaky, but steady enough to keep them, Zen stared into Lithe's eyes, the sheepishness from before far from lingering.

Lithe practically glowed with happiness as she allowed Zen to hold her. No longer being able to keep her hands still, she sensed his slight trembling, and reached up to cup his cheek with one hand. That hand emanated a warmth that only Healers could, and Zen steadied. "But I," she countered, "can keep you stable enough to pursue my love."

Zen glowed once more and spoke softly, "Your hand is so warm... and soft."

Kayle cleared her throat, "Why don't we head to the town and get supplies for the party? Zen can carry Lithe the whole way if he wants."

Emily giggled at the thought. Rai had dozed of while sitting on the bed, and a cry from Rakel woke him up quick. He noticed that Rakel had flown over to sit on his shoulder again, and stroked his feathers. "Are they done yet?" he yawned.

It really was quite amusing. Are they always like that?" Rakel mused, not really expecting an answer.

Emily shook her head, "No... they're normally the opposite. Lithe is all worried... and Zen is all... brooding... and he acts like he hates himself."

Still very much teasing, Zen turned around and stuck his tongue out at Emily, "I don't hate myself... just my life. With the exception of Lithe, of course. She's a nice surprise I sincerely hope to keep."

Kayle rolled her eyes, "So... going or not?"

Lithe smiled, snuggled further into Zen's arms, and gazed up at him. "Frankly, I'm just fine where I am," she answered, "But if Zen still wants to go, I'm up for it."

“You can stay there no matter where we go," Zen whispered, pushing back a stray lock of hair with his lips.

Emily hopped up, "Alright, come on. Let's go now!"

Kayle nodded, "Right, before these two start teasing each other to our deaths again."

"No joke. Remind me never to fall for anyone like that...if it can make Zenny boy act like an idiot, I want nothing to do with it," Rai jeered, fully awake after Rakel nibbled his ear a little too hard.

Zen raised an eyebrow at Rai, "Well, I guess you'd better not fall for any girl, Rai. 'Cause idiocy is not a far call from what you're normally up to. Though I must say... Lithe makes any kind of foolishness even more exhilarating than that launch into the trees."

Kayle rolled her eyes and grabbed Rai by the shoulder of his shirt, pulling him from the room with Emily following close behind. As soon as everyone else was gone, Lithe put her head against Zen's chest and closed her eyes. "Do what you will, my love. I want to stay here a little longer," she mumbled peacefully.

Zen laughed at Kayle's impatience, "I guess we are getting disgustingly mushy if Kayle is annoyed with it..." the mischievous grin spread across his face once more, "and I would be perfectly content annoying her some more... especially when it feel so good." Walking to the door, he held Lithe more securely and nuzzled her head with his lips.

COMPLETELY AND HIDEOUSLY TRANSFORMED PRACTICE ROOM

Kayle squealed with excitement as she picked Emily up in an overdone hug, “Thank you so much for helping me! I take back everything I’ve ever said… and anything I might say in the future. This is beautiful!”

Emily grinned as she assessed her work. Completely adhering to Kayle’s plans, Emily had turned the walls an elegant white lace pattern with mirrors spread evenly along them. The floor had been transformed into a brilliant black marble. Multiplying the flowers, streamers and balloons they had bought, she filled the room with fragrance and decoration in pastel colors. The room looked fit for an uppity school banquet, “Pity only the seven of us are attending.”

“Seven?”

“I convinced Teacher he had to come. He hasn’t gone to a party since I turned 3.”

Kayle raised an eyebrow, “That will be interesting… to say the least… now to call the boys.”

Emily grinned and spoke softly, though her voice carried through the entire keep, “The party is ready. Come to the assigned practice room.

Somewhat reluctantly, Rai and Zen made their way to the party. Both boys groaned as they saw the pastel, slightly controlled mayhem before them. Lithe lightly chuckled from a corner, well concealed by ribbons of roses. Zen practically scowled, “What, you’re telling me you actually like this decoration?”

Kayle giggled, “No, we forced her to stay so she couldn’t freak out on us like we knew you two would.”

“Then why couldn’t we stay and help too? Less stomach churning shock factor that way.”

Emily shook her head, “Lithe didn’t help. She’s an innocent bystander. Don’t worry.”

“Yeah, I didn’t actually assist with it…I just…watched,” Lithe said with an innocent smile.

“Doesn’t look like you tried to stop it either…” Rai muttered.

Teacher walked in and gasped, “What is this garish display?”

Emily squealed, “Teacher! I’m so glad you like it!”

Zen muttered an aside to Rai, “Since when was calling something garish a sign of approval?”

“Since when do I know what garish means?” Rai answered, with a cough from Rakel.

Rakel cleared his throat and scooted closer to Rai’s ear, “Garish means crudely or tastelessly colorful, showy, or elaborate, Rai. Honestly, didn’t you ever pay attention during your lessons?

Emily hugged Teacher, “Anything with color is garish to Teacher. It’s the best compliment he can give to something which isn’t dully colored… as you can tell from the decorations around here.”

“Guess that leaves you outta the picture, huh buddy?” Rai teased as he scratched Rakel’s feathers.

“While Rakel isn’t exactly a dull bird, he doesn’t have brilliant colors like a parrot might… he’s just brilliant.”

Zen rolled his eyes, “How quick you are to lather new intelligent beings with love. Great survival technique.”

Teacher chuckled, “I’m not completely opposed to color, Emily… just obnoxious color.”

Emily nodded, “Comes from having to make your own dyes, I suppose. Of course, I never had to do that. Instead, I was gifted with this,” she lightly touched Teacher’s tunic, turning it a bright cerulean. Teacher’s eyebrows shot up as he groaned.

Rai held back a laugh by covering his mouth with his hand. Zen grinned crookedly and crossed his arms, “Going somewhere, Teacher? I’m sure she’ll love that color on you. Quite complimentary.”

After he composed himself, Rai added, “I’m pretty sure that’s Gran’s favorite color, in fact.” Rakel shuddered at the thought of meeting any more of Rai’s family, having nearly been thrown into the oven on his first visit.

“Oh, see, Teacher, women your age… or relative age… like that color. It’s wonderful. Now all we need are some matching sandals and you’ll be set… of course… a suit might be better than a tunic… or even pants and a blazer,” Zen continued to jab.

Kayle raised an eyebrow, “Huh… so you actually do have some fashion sense, Zen. Why don’t you use it in your own life?”

“Hey! I’m just messing!”

Teacher sighed, “Emilia, please turn my tunic back.”

Emily glowered, “I dunno, Charles, Zen had a good idea with that blazer.” With a mischievous glint in her eye, Emily reached to touch his tunic again but he dodged out of the way.

“No, you’re not touching me again with that look in your eye. I’ve fallen prey to that far too many times.”

“Well you’d think you’d have learned before now. Ah well…” Em turned away and abruptly transported behind him. She swiftly ran her fingers across his back and the tunic began changing shape and color.

Now fitted in a black and blue pinstripe blazer, Teacher spun around and caught his reflection in one of the mirrors. Raising an eyebrow, he moved to appraise himself. Nodding slowly, he began to feel the tread of the fabric, “Hmm… this I can live with. Perhaps I’ll wear this to the dance…”

Both boys’ expressions instantly shifted to shocked disdain. “Dance?” they spat in unison. As Zen fumbled with more words, Rai added, “Dances never end well with me. One of two things always happens. One: I manage to step on every single foot in the room…or two: the room ends up becoming a pile of ash.”

Composing himself, Zen nodded, “The lights either explode or just flicker endlessly… and I have to stand straight… standing straight and moving with any confidence never goes well. We might need Lithe’s services.”

Lithe smiled as she walked over to Zen's side, and lightly wrapped her arm around his waist. "That may be true, but I don't think you'll have to worry...seeing as you'll be dancing with the Healer," she teased.

Zen chuckled nervously, "I wasn't talking about hurting myself... I'm more worried about everyone else around me."

"Hm...I'm sure they can take care of themselves." She glanced warily at Rai, as if hesitant to include him in her statement.

Zen coughed a laugh, "Heh... I have a feeling we'll be staying as far from each other as possible... unless of course we're avoiding the dance completely..." he took a glance at Lithe, "but I don't suppose you'd allow me to do that, would you?"

Kayle butt in, "I'm not sure about Lithe, but I wouldn't allow you to... either of you. I'm far too interested in your chaos skills."

"Well, I certainly am not. With my luck, Rai will make me do all of the damage," Rakel squawked, with an irritated ruffle of his feathers.

Emily snorted, "Don't worry, Rakel. They're talking about clumsiness, silly."

Rai scoffed, "Heh, have you ever actually seen what happens when I get clumsy? Rakel isn't too far off the mark."

Emily grinned mischievously and Zen got a bad feeling about what she was gonna say, "So... Teacher, what is this dance?"

Teacher's smug grin disappeared, "There is an annual ball at the school. I generally attend as a guest of honor... you four will be joining me this year."

Zen groaned, "So there's no way we're getting out of this... is there?"

"That... depends."

"On what?" Rai asked, a little too quickly.

"On exactly how poorly you do dance. I will not have you embarrassing me in front of the peers I have worked so hard to build up."

Emily raised an eyebrow, "And thus his weakness is shown."

Rai sighed heavily, "I guess I have to go, then...I'll just avoid the slow dances. They're the ones that kill me."

Zen flushed, "They're the ones I can sort of handle... I just have to sway, right? I mean... it's not like I've ever done this type of thing before."

Teacher groaned, "That's it... I'm giving you lessons... starting tonight."

"Lessons?" Rai grimaced. The last thing he needed was more information to shove into his brain.

"Kayle, you will help me... your extensive training will come in handy. Lithe, how comfortable are you on your feet?"

Emily glared at him, "I can help too, you know. I bested three princes."

"Yes, yes..."

"I'm an average dancer," Lithe assured Teacher, "But I bet I can help with both of these Twinkletoes."

Zen grimaced and broke away from her, "I can't take any more lessons... especially not for something I will never like. Magic was ok... that is a part of me... and I reveled in it once... but dance will never be for me. I'll just get sick so I don't embarrass any of us in front of your precious friends."

Crestfallen, Lithe turned toward Zen. "You can't be serious! Please don't back out of it. Just one dance, and I'll let you leave after that if you want. One," she pled, "that's all. We've never danced together before, so please let me experience it this time. C'mon...for me?"

Zen shook his head, "I'm not taking lessons from him or Kayle or Emily... and I can't dance without them." His voice softened slightly, "I'll dance with you in private."

Lithe started to pout, then thought better of it. "Alright," she halfheartedly agreed, "but don't think you're getting out of that one."

Zen smiled, "We've had lights explode around us before... I think we'll be fine."

Teacher crossed his arms, "You're going through the lessons and you're going through the dance. I won't have you messing up decades of tradition, Dreamer."

Zen glared, "Would you rather me mess up tradition or mess up some people? 'Cause I promise you that's what will happen."

Kayle took a deep breath, "Zen, we'll talk about this later... let's not ruin my party, please. Zen, go back to Lithe... get disgustingly fluffy. Rai, come here. Let me dance with Rakel, Rakel willing. Emily, be your crazy self."

Rakel squawked in surprise. "What? Since when was I involved in this? Dancing is a very different thing for us falcons!"

Emily laughed, "Just get on her shoulder. I think the one she really wants to dance with is Rai."

Rakel sighed. Without waiting for Rai to move, he flew over and landed lightly on Kayle's shoulder, careful not to buffet her with his wings. Resigned to his fate, Rai slowly walked over and held both his hands palm up, as if for handcuffs. "Okay, do with me what you will," he groaned melodramatically.

Kayle chuckled devilishly, "I'd be careful what permissions you give me, Rai."

Teacher shuddered, "She's right. You don't know her history."

"Oh, and you do?"

"I know almost everything there is to know about each of you. I've known who you were since your births."

"Well right now we're having dance lessons, so let's just get it over with," Rai snapped.

Kayle wrapped her arms around him, "I didn't say I was teaching you anything just yet... not anything about dancing anyway."

Zen sighed, "Down, girl."

Frustrated, Rai's voice grew in volume, "Then what the heck do you wanna do? I just wanna get all the dancing out of the way," he grumbled.

Kayle giggled and Zen launched to rip her away from him. He growled under his breath, "Kayle, leave the blissfully ignorant as they are- ignorant and naive."

"But that's so boring."

"Yeah, well, no one enjoys being thrown out of ignorance against their will."

"Oh, it's not like I'm planning on the dirty. I'm not stupid, Zen."

Rai turned away and waved dismissively at them over his shoulder. "Just tell me when I'm back in the picture, okay? I hate it when people talk about me as if I'm not there."

Zen sighed, "Rai, just be glad this time."

"Yeah, sure," he said blankly as he stared out the window, now completely uninterested.

Teacher groaned, "Ms Adams, we must have a talk about your methods one of these days..."

"But, for now, let's have this party..." Emily shifted her feet uncomfortably.

Rakel, seeing that Rai had spaced out, flew back to his shoulder. He took a sharp bite of Rai's ear, startling him out of his reverie. "Ow! Party...right," he muttered. "Yeah, let's start already," he blurted as he turned around, instantly awake again.

CAFE

Zen held the door open for Lithe, one hand gently placed just above the small of her back, "Come on, Lithe... don't be nervous. I'm not that bad of a boyfriend. We'll enjoy ourselves... and I think you'll like the movie."

Lithe looked around the fairly large cafe as she let Zen gently lead her through the door. "Who said you were a bad boyfriend? I've just...never been in a place quite like this."

Zen let out a nervous chuckle while trying to be reassuring, "Neither have I... but my mom finds them completely inappropriate and self-conflicting... so that's a plus... 'cause she thinks the same about me."

Lithe laughed casually. "Don't be silly," she said as she slowly started to warm up to the place.

A man in a quaint uniform which made farce of formal wear approached them eagerly, "May I take you to a table, ma'am? Sir?" Zen politely nodded, not taking his obviously nervous eyes away from Lithe. "Would you like to sit with optimum viewing opportunity or where the two of you can talk better?" He obviously enjoyed his job.

Lithe considered it for a moment, then decided. "How about a table with a nice view, but far enough away that we can hear each other easily enough? I have a feeling I'll want to see the movie," she said with a warm glance at Zen.

A look of confusion passed across Zen's face for a second but the glow of their first true date soon replaced it as he realized Lithe had only meant she wanted to see the movie because he thought she would. As they followed the waiter to a table, Zen held Lithe to him gently and loosely, murmuring in her hair, "Oh, but I'm not being silly. My mother's opinion of things is the perfect test. And I'm sure she would disapprove of you." As they sat, Zen broke into a grin and began impersonating his mother, "'Oh, she's far too pretty for you. Is she damaged goods or something? Are you active with her? Are you paying her off?' Oh, and of course... 'Romantic relationships before you're 21 are foolish and too easily thrown away. I can't believe you're trying to throw your life away again.' See? Perfect test. She would not approve of any of this... so it's wonderful."

Lithe positively beamed at him. She'd never dated anyone before, much less someone who loved her so openly. She was so overwhelmed by what Zen said that she was almost overcome by the urge to fling herself over the table and give him the most passionate kiss she could muster. But she knew that such a thing would be inappropriate, so she settled for taking hold of his hand with hers over the table. "I'm not sure if I can believe all of that," she said shyly. "You may be able to dismiss what your mother says, but I'm a different story. My mother wouldn't believe that I was dating you for anything other than, well, a test subject for my Healing," she admitted.

Zen grinned and took her hand to his lips, murmuring through a kiss, "Well, you do seem intent on healing my many scars." He, too, wanted to lunge at her and kiss her... though his imagined kiss was not quite the passion she had thought of... it was definitely full of fire.

Lithe chuckled under her breath, and blushed when she realized he meant more than his physical scars. "But I only do that because I revel in the sight of your aura when I'm around. When you're with anyone else, it's not as bright and lovely. And," she added, "I love the color it makes when it mixes with mine."

Zen blushed red, "Well, I'm glad I can give you a good light show then. Proves I'm good for something after all." Though the words he spoke would normally have been blackened with bitterness, they were only subtly tinted- so subtly, he thought he was only teasing.

Lithe smiled at him, noting the slight change in his voice. "You're good for a lot, you know. You certainly get more done than me, since I can't exactly fight for myself," she joked.

Zen grinned, "From what I've heard... that will soon change. But I suppose the scientist... or Healer in this case... always needs her ever-willing guinea pig. Besides... I'm not sure I'd be willing to let you fight even if you could. Far too dangerous. But do you mind a knight in not-so-shining armor? Don't much like the standing out part of the job."

"But of course, my love. As long as you're my knight, you can have whatever armor you like," she said happily.

Grinning as broadly as his face could stand without breaking, Zen leaned in closer to Lithe, "Good. I think it'll be green then... a nice dark green... and it definitely won't be a metal suit of armor. Do you know how horrible painted metal looks? We can't have your knight looking completely shoddy, now can we?"

Lithe giggled and mimicked Zen's move. "Dark green will be wonderful," she agreed. "But what does that leave the damsel in distress? Surely you don't expect me to wear one of those ridiculously frilly dresses?" she teased.

"Oh, no. That would look ridiculous next to a knight without his suit. Besides," his voice distorted for a second, fighting off laughter, "I can't imagine you in one of those. They look ridiculous enough on people who need them to look pretty. So... maybe a nice cloak and a rogue's clothing... like the female version of Robin Hood's stereotypical dress. A mix of light and dark blues..." his eyes shone, imagining her next to him.

Lithe watched Zen, and enjoyed the pleasure of seeing herself in such dress, as well. "I like that much better. I can't really see myself in a skirt, anyway. They're never practical enough for my taste," she commented offhand.

"True... no running or storming off... they're quite ridiculous... and you are far from ridiculous," his still light eyes deepened as his tone became slightly more serious. Completely ignoring the going movie, Zen leaned further in and stared intently into her eyes as if they were a splendid puzzle or book waiting for his attention. Subconsciously, his hand rubbed her affectionately.

Lithe delighted at Zen's flattery. "I should think not," she said with fake haughtiness. She noticed as Zen began to shut everything but her out, and completely forgot about the movie he had suggested to her. Watching his eyes change color, she closed the gap between herself and Zen, and softened her gaze towards him even more.

Gently, Zen allowed his forehead to touch hers and slowly, he leaned his head in to kiss her. As soon as Zen's lips touched hers, the room felt to her as if it was spinning. She allowed him to kiss her, gradually forgetting where she even was, concentrating only on the wonderful sensations Zen was sending through her body. Zen gently kissed Lithe for a little while before detachedly calling the waiter over with his hand and giving him some money. Change returned, Zen went to the other side of the table and picked her up- not once stopping their kiss. As soon as they were outside, he set her down gently, playing with a strand of her hair, "Where were we?"

Lithe put one hand at the base of Zen's neck and pulled him in close. "I do love it when you hold me like that," she whispered in his ear, ignoring his obvious question and sealing her words with a kiss under Zen's jaw line.

"Well, I thrive on holding you like this... so I suppose it's a good thing for us," gently and slowly, Zen lifted her up again, bringing her face level to his. The new confidence he felt had given him an almost perfect posture so that he had to lean down so she could kiss him even on the jaw. Placing his forehead once again to hers, Zen whispered, "If I could, Lithe, I would never let go of you."

Lithe felt like she was glowing. She felt so close to him every time he held her, she could hardly bear it. It gave her such a sense of security, as if nothing would ever happen as long as he was there. "As far as I'm concerned," she said in a rather breathy voice, "you never have to."

"Heh... and what would our parents think then?" Zen tried to kiss her again, grinning far too much to be even remotely successful. Instead, he broke into a deep, resonant laugh that shook his whole body.

Lithe blushed deeply. She soon forgot about it, though, as she marveled at the first real laugh she had heard from Zen. "Now where did that come from? Are you sure that I'm still talking to Zen, or are you some kind of imposter?" she teased after he stopped shaking enough for her to talk.

Zen blushed so deeply, he looked purple in the dark light, "I haven't laughed like that in a long, long time... grade school. Guess you did get your wish, Lithe..."

"My wish? What would that be?" she pried, followed quickly by a soft kiss on Zen's cheek.

"Think about it, Lithe... have you ever even heard me laugh before now?" His eyes, still intent on Lithe, searched back to fully explain the wonder she'd done.

"No, I don't suppose so," she pondered, "Nothing as heartfelt as that one, at least," she added with a smile.

"Then you got your wish. You've made me able to laugh again." There was no teasing at all in his voice. No pain... no bitterness... no sadness- only wonder and love.

"Good," Lithe beamed up at him. "I knew I couldn't be wrong when I saw your aura clash with your attitude...and came to love you. I would have to disown myself if my intuition had been that wrong."

Zen raised an eyebrow, "My aura clashed with my attitude?"

Lithe nodded. "Your aura was so incredibly pure, I just couldn't believe how ill you thought of yourself. Besides, how could you be so awful if someone like me falls in love with you?"

Zen blushed once again and tried to speak with false consternation, "Now stop it, Lithe. I'm not going to be able to hold you up any longer... with all this jelly-ness you're heaping upon me."

Lithe turned her gaze away from Zen. "Then you'd rather I stopped telling you how much I love you?" she asked with a false indignance.

"No, I just want you to stop explaining it to me in such breathtaking ways."

Lithe couldn't help it, she had to look into his eyes. "Well, I'm sorry, but you either get it or you don't, love."

"Hrm... then maybe we should sit down somewhere. I don't want to drop you. Falling from this height could do some serious damage, you know," the teasing tone was fully back- along with his boyish grin.

"Yes, that would be fine. There are plenty of benches around," Lithe pointed out, pretending not to notice his grin.

"Well... I'll just have to relocate us... but I was thinking something more private. As I said before... not one for very much attention... and I have a feeling we're definitely getting plenty," though his eyes hadn't left her eyes for a second. "So... how about we go back home and face a few minutes of Kayle's insistence on details, Rai's humorous prodding, and Emily's reproving comments on us glowing again. If you hadn't noticed... neither of us has stopped glowing since we left the cafe." His eyes were once again lit by an eager electrical storm.

Lithe laughed at his eager eyes, then realized that they were the same eyes she had seen earlier, when Zen had first woken up. She didn't mind Rai and Kayle seeing them as much as she did the general public. Those eyes were meant for her, and her alone. In wonder, Lithe reached up and stroked the skin next to one of Zen's eyes, and felt the slight electricity. "Your eyes are wonderful, Zen...there's no way to describe them," she said, not completely aware she was speaking aloud. "I wish I could see them all the time. But you're right...we should get going before someone panics."

Confusion tainted the perfect glee on Zen's face but he started walking toward a decrepit, black open-top Jeep, "My eyes? They're never hidden."

Lithe shook her head and laughed, "No, they're electric right now. As if a lightning storm is calling out to me from above."

Zen's eyes widened with shock and he quickly set her in the passenger's seat and dashed to look in the rearview mirror, "Huh... another thing called back from the Max era...." Raising his voice from the almost breathless whisper, Zen turned to Lithe as he shifted the car into gear, "You're amazing."

Lithe blushed as Zen began to drive away. "I...didn't realize I was doing that much," she admitted halfheartedly.

"Maybe the best Healing only comes naturally," lost in his intentness on the road and the intensity of his amazement in what she'd brought back to him, Zen didn't speak another word on the way back home.

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Finally finished reading this... Takes me a while to read your updates. Lots of romance in this one... Those are both Raine's characters, right? Just curiousity.

So Zen isn't very strong yet? He really didn't appreciate being told that, did he? I wonder exactly what it means...

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nononono. Zen, Kayle, Emily, and Teacher... and Treel and Philip are mine. Rai, Rakel, Lithe, and characters to come are Raine's. And, yes... we discovered fluff in this chapter. heh.

And, no, Zen isn't strong enough yet. He and Rai thought she was referring to... well... never mind... it was a dirty reference. XD As for what it means... I only know. >D *evil laugh*

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Hehehe...I'm gonna take it for granted that Marian doesn't tend to write romance since the fluff automatically went to me. XD But seriously...fluff is fun. Just writing happy in general is fun. Unfortunately, we can't always stick to happy...or it wouldn't be a very epic storyline, now would it?

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and it WILL be epic. Whatever the muses want- it will be epic. XD

But yeah... you should already know i don't generally write romance... I mean... you were as surprised as I was that I had an angst romantic story(AoBL). *rolls eyes* but yeah... fluff only happen with Zen and Lithe for some reason. *sigh*

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Ok... so... Raine and I are putting together a playlist for our Exsors and friends(gosh that makes me think of barney and friends *dies*)

*random benevolent person runs by and applies cassia leaf*

Anyway, we're pretty much set for Zen with 9 songs that you guys can know at this point in the story and 13 more you can't yet. Likewise, Kayle has 9 you can know and 1 you can't. You can help us with these two... but they really don't particularly NEED it right now like the others do. ;)

 

ZEN

Untitled by Simple Plan; All That I Am by Rob Thomas; Hurt by Johnny Cash(just to be clear, the hurt is figurative for Zen- emotional/mental); Hey Jude cover by Joe Anderson; Kryptonite by Three Doors Down; Leave Out All the Rest by Linkin Park; Stop and Stare by One Republic; I’ve Got You by McFly; I'm Just a Kid by Simple Plan

 

KAYLE

Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper; Breathe Me by Sia; Come On Closer by Jem; You Can’t Stop the Beat by Hairspray Cast(movie); Let’s Get It Started by Black Eyed Peas; How Do You Do by Natasha Bedingfield; Nobody’s Home by Avril Lavigne; Pocket Full of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield; Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne

 

LITHE

Your Guardian Angel by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus; Here I Am by Bryan Adams; Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

 

RAI

Walkie Talkie Man by

Steriogram; Feeling Good by Michael Buble; This is Where I Belong by Bryan Adams; Soak Up the Sun by Sheryl Crow

 

 

EMILY

We Are Broken by Paramore; Just a Girl by No Doubt; Ordinary World by Duran Duran; If Everyone Cared by Nickelback

 

ZEN/LITHE

Don’t Give Up(You Are Loved) by Josh Groban; All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey; All For Believing by Missy Higgins; All About You by McFly; Blackbird by the Beatles(AU version); Stand Up by Fireflight; Rebirth by Fireflight

 

ZEN/RAI(friendship)

Don’t Fix It by Squirrel Nut Zippers(ignore the one line about a kiss... it fits marvelously otherwise. ;))

 

EVERYONE

Good Riddance(Time of Your Life) by Green Day

Shine On by Need to Breathe

Figuring Out by Elliot Minor

One by Simple Plan(THEME SONG!!!)

 

TEACHER'S FAVORITE SONGS/GUILTY PLEASURE

I just figured you should know 'cause Raine is shaking in her boots at what I'm going to drudge up. XD Please don't make any suggestions for this one.

Magic by Pilot

 

*Announcer Voice* And now, may I have a drumroll please.... *weak sauce drumroll commences* No, no... that's a drumroll for me saying Kayle flirted with another squirell, give me something good. *epic 50 drumset drumroll commences, Announcer clears throat* It is my pleasure to present you a playlist for a man who will change things completely... He's been mentioned multiple times... He's enough to make Emily lose control... please pay close attention to:

THE ETERNAL DARK ONE

There's A Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered, Honey, You Just Haven't Figured It Out Yet by Panic! At the Disco; Indestructible by Disturbed; Somewhere a Clock Is Ticking by Snow Patrol

*Announcer Guy again* Let this be a teaser, a warning, a foreshadowing of what is to come. Be wary, friends, for a storm is brewing but none know when it shall come.

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Viola! We are back... for a chapter at least. Yes, it's been forever... but we have it... part of it... we'll add some more to this particular chapter... hopefully by Christmas. Once you read, I'm sure you'll see what's missing. This chapter reverts back to the style of the first chapter- everyone is on their own again for much of it... but it gives you a little more insight to how they became who they are- especially Kayle. I think, so far as the chaps you guys can read- this is my favorite to do... just because it's back to the roots and serves as a very good launching pad for other stuff. So, now that I've finished my monologue... enjoy.

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

OUTSIDE A VERY DECREPIT HOUSE

Zen’s Jeep idled in front of the house he’d left behind. Music he’d written for Lithe played softly from the speakers- a birthday gift he hadn’t had a chance to give her before Teacher sent them on homecoming missions. Zen wasn’t sure he could handle going into that house again. For him, it held no nostalgia- no good memories of love shared and time well spent. That house had merely been the thing that sheltered him and the tool he used to try and stay sane. He wasn’t sure he could face his mother again- realizing she blamed herself for everything... and finally remembering the beginning of his childhood clearly. No longer could he blame her... but he’d promised not to blame himself.

Finally taking a deep breath in, Zen ejected the cd, turned off the car, and headed up the cracked and weed ravaged sidewalk. Swallowing hard, he awkwardly rang the doorbell and stood in the brisk autumn air. “You’ve put this off long enough. School starts in two weeks. You have to settle things with your families. I know none of you want to... and for the most part, I don’t blame you... but you’ll never succeed if you can’t leave behind the hurt that merely hurts,” Teacher’s words rang clearly through Zen’s mind every time he readied himself to bolt- and he couldn’t help wondering what the others were running away from.

“Zen?” his mother’s voice asked in an unbelieving whisper. Looking up into his mother’s face for the first time in almost a year, Zen’s breath caught. For the first time, Zen realized how beautiful she could be; how much he’d held her back with worry; and how much he truly loved her. “Zen! I never thought I’d see you again!” None of the scolding or anger he’d expected tinted her words as she flung her small frame against his much larger one in embrace.

“Mom, you know I was coming back. We sent you a letter,” soft, gentle words were all he mustered- were all he wished to muster.

“I couldn’t believe you would.”

Fighting back tears, Zen pulled away and took his mother’s face in his hands, “Whenever you need me, I’ll come back for you. Know that and believe me when I say none of this is your fault. None of my pain... or anger... or self doubt. None of that is on you. You can’t blame yourself for Rachel’s death either... so just stop and breathe.”

“How- how did-”

“Let’s go inside, Mom, you’re shivering.”

*****

Rai adjusted the bag hanging over his right shoulder. It didn’t hold much, considering he didn’t really bring much of anything to Teacher’s place. Hesitant to face his mother, he shuffled his feet back and forth on his doorstep.

Rakel, perched on his other shoulder, sensed his hesitation. He tried to soothe Rai, :C’mon, you can handle this. With your kind of power, what could your mother possibly do to you?:

Rai glared at the falcon. “Dude, you haven’t met my mother before. She has ways of convincing people to do whatever she wants. Animals aren’t safe, either,” he added hastily, “I’ve seen her make my neighbor’s dog drop the most incredible steak I’ve ever seen.”

Stunned at his insistence, but not completely convinced, Rakel changed the subject. “Are you sure I can’t talk at all while we’re here? I’m not exactly your pet canary,” he scoffed with a snort.

Rai almost felt sorry for the bird as he involuntarily stroked his chest feathers. Well, if anything, Rakel would learn a valuable lesson in ‘normal’ house etiquette. “Yes, my friend, I’m afraid so. She’ll already be angry that you’re invading her ‘territory’, much less the thought of you still being wild. If you keep quiet, she’ll never know that you’re not a ‘tame’ bird.”

Rakel was about to retort, but his beak snapped shut when the front door opened unexpectedly. He settled for sulking quietly, occasionally sending Rai hateful glares. He hardly noticed them, as Rai was too busy shrinking away from the doorway. The woman who had opened the door was a little shorter than Rai, with dark brown hair and a stout frame. When she saw him standing there, she froze.

“R…Rai?” she whispered in disbelief. “Rai, is it you? You’re really back? Oh, my BABY!” she cried suddenly, launching herself out the door and latching her arms around Rai. “My baby, you’re home! I just got the letter – for some reason – kitchen table – never got the mail today – greater education!”

Rai grunted as his mother tackled him, struggling to keep her from strangling him. “Ma – hey – MA!” he yelled, forcibly shoving her away, “Grah, you don’t have to murder me!”

His mother sniffed and weakly wiped a tear out of the corner of her eye. “I’m sorry, I – I’m just so happy to have my son back. You’ve been gone for so long-” Her eyes suddenly grew fierce as she noticed Rakel’s ruffled presence. “What in Heaven’s name is that – thing doing here? You know my pet policy! There are no pets!”

Rakel’s eyes widened with shock and anger, but he managed to stay silent. “Please, Ma, he’s a…um…messenger falcon. The school told me to take him with me so he would know my home address. You’ve gotta let him in. I promise he’s house trained,” Rai argued, wincing as he remembered how many other times he had promised that.

She gave Rai a sideways look, and glared at Rakel, but surprisingly gave in. “If that school wants you to have it, I suppose…” she mumbled, “But he’s bedding in your room, and if I find even one mess, he’s dinner!”

With that, she took Rai’s bag from him, and ushered him inside. Deposited in the living room before she rushed off into the kitchen, Rai sighed dejectedly and stroked Rakel’s feathers for comfort. “See what I mean?” he whispered to Rakel, “This is gonna be one long, unbearable visit.”

*****

Forlorn and disappointed once again, Kayle stared at the elegantly scripted note in her hands, “The least you could have done is pretended you didn’t know I was coming. ‘Obligated’ to go on a Caribbean cruise...” the paper was suddenly consumed by Darkness. Tossing the purple, glowing ashes into the trash can, Kayle grumbled, “This is note is like saying, ‘We don’t care about you... why don’t you go jump in the lake. It’s not like anyone would care.’”

A kind, old smoker’s voice came from behind, “I would care, Kayle... and technically it’s a pond.”

Kayle sighed and turned around, “Whatever, Gammies.”

“I keep telling you, you’re too old to keep calling me that. Use my name- Jeanette.”

“Jeanette’s so old.”

“I am old, sweetheart.”

Rolling her eyes and crossing her arms, Kayle stated matter-of-factly, “I refuse to accept that. You can still beat me at tennis any day.”

“That’s only because you’re a dreadfully pathetic tennis player.”

“That’s beside the point. You know how to use a computer; you can drive my Miata over the speed limit with no problem; you still don’t wear glasses; and you’ve finally stopped smoking... therefore, I declare you not-old.”

Jeanette raised her eyebrows in false indignance, “And what makes you think you have the right to declare me anything?”

“Well, you are my nanny... which means you’re employed by me- and... I happen to know a thing or two about time.”

“Oh?”

Kayle grabbed the woman and whispered, “I'm the Temperus.”

*****

“I’m so happy for you, dear! A real Magi school!” exclaimed Lithe’s mother.

Smiling, Lithe allowed her mother to overload her with praise and affection. She had already exchanged greetings with her father, who had promptly gone back to work in his study. He had never been incredibly involved in her life since he learned she was more than a normal girl, but she had long since forgiven him for that. She knew her father simply wanted an average life, and didn’t hold any contempt for her having special powers. Besides, her mother had more than enough enthusiasm for the both of them.

“Come on, Lithe, let’s get you settled in. We’ve kept your room just the way you left it,” her mother chattered happily.

Lithe left her bags in her bedroom, not bothering to unpack. As her mother tried to complain, Lithe simply pointed out that she was only here for a couple days, and it would be much more effort than it was worth. Her mother frowned in disapproval, but didn’t push the issue. Instead, she beckoned Lithe to the kitchen so that they could prepare her welcome-home dinner.

As she was handed a cutting board along with a pile of vegetables to chop, Lithe looked out the window. Taken aback, she nearly dropped everything all over the kitchen floor.

“My garden! You-” Lithe gasped, “You actually took care of it!”

Her mother chuckled happily and replied, “Well of course I did. I couldn’t let my dear little Healer’s work simply rot away, now could I?” Seeing that Lithe was too distracted to be of any real help, she sighed, “Oh, go on already. I can see you won’t be satisfied until you’ve checked every last leaf out there.”

Elated, Lithe abandoned her load on the counter and flew out the back door. She ran past her beloved wicker chair and most of the greenery, only to stop abruptly in front of a picture frame surrounded by a beautiful array of exotic flowers. Shining in the sunlight, the golden frame accented a photo of a very young girl with soft features and long brown hair. Lithe crouched in front of the picture, a tear escaping her eye. “Little sister…I’m sorry that I left you for so long. If I could have stayed, I would, but…I couldn’t. I know it’s too late for you, much too late…” she whispered, wiping her now flooded eyes, “but I’m training. And I’m already so much better than I was. I promised you before that I would never let what happened to you happen to anyone else, and I’m trying my best to keep that promise. So please be happy, wherever you are.”

Lithe took a moment to check the health of every flower, occasionally wiping her red, leaky eyes. Satisfied that they were all in wonderful shape, she stood and slowly walked around the perimeter of her garden, Healing wherever necessary. Her mother really had taken good care of it; even the Hibiscus was still blooming beautifully. She continued to tend to the plants until her eyes finally dried. Then, with a sigh, she retired to the familiar wicker chair. She rested her head against the back and closed her eyes, a sad smile spread across her face.

It wasn’t until her mother called her inside for dinner that Lithe realized she had dreamt of Zen…and longed to sink into his loving embrace.

*****

A shrill voice, full of worry, called out from inside the house, “Gatzen! Aren’t you forgetting something?”

“I'm packing the car, Mom! I'm not leaving yet,” Zen groaned. He’d gotten along much better with his mother- resolved some issues... but she was still a pain.

“There are some things in here not in a box!”

Sighing, he set the box he was carrying in the trunk, not bothering to set it, and walked back inside, “I don’t want to leave the room empty. I am coming back.”

“I know, I know... but you’re leaving your favorite books and games...”

“I'm going to school, Mum.”

“And I'm very proud of you for caring about your education- finally... but surely you’ll have time for games and such.”

“Most of my down time will be devoted to Lithe.”

“Lithe?”

Zen sighed, “Yes, you’ll get to meet her next holiday, I promise.”

His mother was suddenly in a state of alarm, “Her? Zenny, do you have a girl? Is she the reason you’re going to this school?”

Sarcastically, he responded, “Yes, Mum, she’s the reason I'm going to a school which only accepts the best Magi. She’s also the reason I disappeared. We’ve been doing the dirty. Oh, and she’s pregnant so... you’ll probably have a grandchild to meet too.”

“Gatzen! Don’t mock me so. You know what I mean.”

“I’d be going with or without knowing her... but she’s part of the reason I'm not going begrudgingly. I have another friend going... and I'm finally going to be with only people like me. People with powers. Heh... I might actually fit in somewhere for once.” His mother made a noncommittal grunt, “What?”

“You’re still as sarcastic and surly as ever... but at least you have some hope... maybe this girl is a good thing for you.”

Panic immediately overtook Zen’s features and his color washed out, “What?”

“I said this girl might be a good thing for you... of course- she’ll probably completely ruin any hopes you have of staying caught up in school... and I doubt your innocence will remain in tact- being with a girl so far away from home....” caught with this contradiction of thoughts, she pondered for a moment as Zen started to relax- she wasn’t approving necessarily. “You said there was another friend?”

“Yes... Rai... he’s an Elemental. We’ll be staying in a dorm together with another guy.”

“So he’s a boy then?”

“That is what the pronoun ‘he’ implies, Mum.”

“Good. Is she pretty?”

“What?”

“This Leaf person.”

“Her name is Lithe... and yes, I find her quite attractive- pretty.”

“Prettier than me?”

“Ugh, I'm leaving. Can’t even kiss you now. Goodbye.” Grabbing the last of the boxes and a couple of books, Zen made his escape. How could you possibly ask that?! I try to think of you as anything but my annoying Mom and I retch.

*****

“Can’t you stay just a bit longer? You’ve only been here for a day and a half.”

“I don’t want to stay in an all but empty house, Gammies. Besides, I need to go shopping- for things I can’t find here- and I need to make sure Emily is set in the wardrobe department for while I'm gone- she can’t shop alone and Teacher has no taste.”

“I'm sure you’ll change that eventually.”

“I’ll at least make it look like he has some taste.”

“Good... what if I came with you?”

“Gammies, who takes their nanny to Magi Boarding School?”

“You.”

“No...” Kayle sighed, “ok... I’ll take you to the mansion... but you might have to come back... are you fine with that?”

Jeannie nodded, “Of course. Just so long as I get to see your new home and friends.”

“Fine. Let’s get you packed.”

Practically beaming, the woman hugged her ward and began to walk toward her room. Stopping suddenly, she turned back to Kayle, “How are we going to get there and how did you get here?”

“Well, we’re going to drive... but I translocated.”

“You what?”

“I poofed from one place to another instantaneously.”

“When did you learn to use real words?”

“8th grade. Come on, let’s get you ready and packed. The sooner the better. Don’t want to tease Lithe with your age and inevitable health problems if you can’t stay.”

“Lithe... Lithe... that’s your Healer friend, correct?”

“Correct. Lithe is my very obsessive, stubborn, and particular Healer friend.”

Jeannie laughed, “I'm glad you think so highly of her.”

“Oh, she’s a wonderful Healer... she just takes life a bit too seriously.”

“Let’s get me packed, come on.”

*****

Zen all but slammed the car door behind him as he bounded toward what he realized had become his true home- the first of its kind since Rachel had passed. In eager anticipation, Zen sent out a warm mental probe, searching for the person he'd missed most, though he truly would have been glad to see any of his companions.

Eyes already spinning with electricity, Zen barely smothered his cry of joy as he found Lithe was merely minutes behind him. Greeting Kayle and Emily, he didn't even bother trying to restrain the uncontainable joy building inside of him. Sensing the mood and not wanting to witness the inevitable PDA, Kayle and Em swiftly excused themselves, allowing Zen to twitch alone.

As Zen impatiently waited, a small car eventually drove up to the curb. Barely taking enough time to turn off the engine, Lithe opened the door and flew out of the driver's seat. Without hesitation, she sprinted straight for Zen, shouting his name the whole way. She blissfully threw her arms around him and kissed him before he could say anything.

Not wanting to be caught off guard, Zen had carefully checked her emotions in the short minutes it took for her to reach him; therefore, he easily hefted her into the air, kissing back almost immediately upon impact.

Reeling from the rush of his presence, Lithe pulled back so that she could catch her breath. "Zen! You have no idea how much I've been looking forward to seeing you," she said, nearly whimpering from relief.

Zen grinned, murmuring, "I might... if it's anywhere close to what I've been feeling." Taking a deep breath, Zen blurted, "I don't want to leave your side ever again... next time we see our families together- whether I have to stalk and kidnap you or not." He was clearly only half teasing.

Lithe sighed happily as she swiftly and gently kissed him again. "You don't have to worry about that, love. I was tempted to run like fury straight to your house," she admitted, "and not knowing where you live is the only thing that stopped me."

Zen beamed and for a few seconds, no trace of his irises or pupils could be seen through the brilliant electrical storm, "Good. Now I don't feel so weird."

As she was looking at Zen through half-closed eyes, Lithe noticed something. "You know," she said playfully, "you have an incredibly handsome smile...and surprisingly, I think I spy dimples too." She giggled and stroked his cheek with her thumb.

A light blush rose to Zen's cheeks. Feeling it coming, Zen made a noncommittal sound close to purring and gently pulled her in to kiss her.

Lithe continued to keep her kisses very soft, as if savoring every moment that their lips touched. She shifted herself in Zen's arms, molding herself to him as closely as possible. It seemed that they had been apart for years.

Willing himself to concentrate on something other than professing his love in every way possible, Zen carried Lithe to her room and sat down on her bed.

When she saw where they were, she slipped out of Zen's arms and sat down next to him. Peacefully, she leaned against him and closed her eyes.

"I've done something I never thought I'd do, Lithe."

"What's that?" she asked without opening her eyes.

"I've begun to wholeheartedly love magic," his open eyes might as well have been closed as he murmured back. His eyes were blissfully distant, his words laced with other meanings.

Stunned by his confession, Lithe opened her eyes and looked up at him. "I'm not sure I understand," she said uneasily.

Softly, Zen spoke as though savoring the very words as they passed over his lips, "You're magic, Lithe. Magic..."

Lithe smiled, basking in the glow of his aura. "I'm not the only magic, Zen," she whispered.

"Mrm... maybe..." Zen's fingertips crackled with the pure energy coursing through his body. Smoothly, he turned to Lithe and leaned so his head was even with hers and he could look into her eyes. "You amaze me constantly."

Lithe chuckled. "Well, I'm sure you wouldn't feel the same about me if I was boring, now would you?" she teased.

"Mrm... boring is the farthest thing from what you are... but I said amaze not interest..." unspoken thoughts lingered at the edge of his words, as though he weren't sure he was ready to speak them.

Seeing straight through him, Lithe gently pried a little more. "You're holding something back from me," she murmured, moving her lips as close to his as she could without touching them. "I can see it in your eyes."

"When we're close like this, I can't help but... taste every feeling and thought you have... and it constantly amazes me what you feel."

"Don't tell me you feel differently?" Lithe asked, a little harsher than she really meant.

"Mrm... not about most things. My feelings for you are certainly at least as strong as yours for me..."

"Then what is it that amazes you so?"

"Your feelings about me."

Unable to keep completely still, Lithe ran her hands down Zen's spine. "And what exactly is the difference?" she asked almost impatiently.

"Feelings for someone include love and devotion... feelings about someone include faith... and I can't help but marvel at your faith in me. Some days, you manage to believe in me even more than I am capable of believing. You have such a capacity for faith..."

Lithe fidgeted with embarrassment. She held out her hands, staring at her palms. "Well, being born a Healer means that I have to believe in myself. People's lives could depend on it. Your life could depend on it," she added in a tense voice.

"But that doesn't reflect on your belief in me. They're unrelated," Zen spoke, a minute edge of urgency pushing through. He needed to understand why she had such unshakable faith in him.

"Zen, I can't fully explain it to you...but...yours was the first aura I ever saw. It was so beautiful that I almost felt I didn't deserve to be in your presence. And never have I seen it darken significantly. How could I not believe in you, especially after I met you, and found out how wonderful you are?"

Zen's brow furrowed as he tried to soak in her words, "But how can you have faith in someone who has no faith in himself?"

Taking his hands in hers, she looked straight into his eyes and said, "Because I believe that as long as someone believes in you, and stands by you, then you will eventually begin to believe in yourself again."

Once again, Zen murmured, seeming to savor every word, "You continue to amaze." With that, he gently coaxed her to lay down and put his lips to hers. Lithe wrapped her arms around his neck, all worries washed away in the sensations that he sent through her. Forgetting about her previous attempts at holding back, she returned his kiss. Lost in their sweet revelry, they hardly noticed when the lights began flickering. Lithe's passion began to surge, and she subconsciously sent warmth through her hands, which faintly glowed a pale green. Zen's body buzzed with Lithe's warmth as he methodically rubbed her arms, massaging her lips with his own. She arched herself with pleasure, molding her body to his and allowing her hands to wander wherever they wished.

 

 

Still needing help on that playlist thing I brought up a bit ago... we have some new songs though, so I'll post an update after a few story comments from readers. ;)

 

 

Hopefully, you guys will get an amazing Christmas present this year- THE EXSORS WEBSITE. There are a few things I want to put in it first that will hopefully get done on time... but much of that depends on how Raine's school(the source of much evil) treats her in these coming months. If she continues to have too much homework... then we shall have to scorn the high school come December(which won't be much of a deviance from my daily practice). So... cross your fingers. ^_^

 

 

Just a heads up- there are probably nine chapters to go until the end of BOOK ONE. We haven't gotten there... but we've planned the last chapter fully... it's just a matter of the in between stuff. There MIGHT be more... but we're finding the in between stuff very hard and somewhat boring to write since we know what's coming. As that is, we'll probably do a lot of skipping great lengths of time once they get to the school. ;) At any rate, book one is coming to a end(for us at least) soon. There will be a break during which Raine and I will be planning, recooperating, and sorting out our lives a bit. The start of the second book(which WILL have its own topic) will probably come around December 2009.

 

 

As for that very suggestive ending... no. no they didn't. shame on you for even thinking such things. *scorns*

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Exsors is a very long story I write with RaineGryphon and post on here. It is nearing book length and is only halfway done. If we were to edit all chapters for mistakes and then publish the finished first half(aka book one) on lulu.com, would you buy either the digital copy or the hard copy?

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indeed, i do still live. clearly, insomnia is the only thing that allows me to get anything important done. :roll:

so i've managed to read your extremely long chapters in one night :o and although i'm really not big on fluff, i will forgive it for two reasons: one, your writing styles are engaging, and two, i'm expecting terrible things to happen later on. XD

well done!

 

and btw, marian, methinks the scorn is a bit premature, because if you didn't think we'd think it, then you wouldn't have had to scold us in the first place. ;)

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SCHWEET! KAZ LIVES!!!

Neither of us are big on READING fluff... it's just so darn fun to write. XD

lol. but as soon as I said it- you thought it. XD therefore- there is scorn. :P I wasn't SPECIFIC about what they didn't do. you took that leap yourself.

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Hooray, feedback! We do oh-so-love that, as I know that I at least am an attention-grubbing bugger. =3

 

Yes, I am lazy, and the missing pieces are mine. Bite me. School sucks, and gaming is too much fun. Even with how much I love Exsors, I have always been a gamer before all else and writing (unfortunately, don't kill me Marian) isn't normally on the top of my to-do list.

 

And much love to you, Kaz, for saying our writing styles. It's nice to know that people remember I exist, even when I'm nearly nonexistent on Amaranthia. ^-^

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writing (unfortunately, don't kill me Marian) isn't normally on the top of my to-do list.
unfortunately, I know this all too well. I practically have to drag your butt to the computer and nag you to write your solo crap each time... but, were I of the mind to kill- I promise it would have already happened. So take heart, dear friend, if your life is taken, it will not be my fault... or at least my choice. :P

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exactly. XD my absolute stubborn insistence(slash impatience) and out of control imagination... keeps us going. Raine's slightly more controlled imagination and utter laid backness keeps us readable. Quite a good team, I think.

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*takes tissue gladly* Thank you, my friend. *wipes face and blows nose* You know, I always thought it could be kinda cool to be a starving artist... never thought of writer. Guess now we can find out.

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Oh. I have forgotten about this. I guess I have to read the whole story over again....I started this before and kinda got lost after I had a retreat...it seems a quite interesting.

 

*goes back to read Chapters day per day*

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I just wanted to let anyone who's still active and read this back in the day know that we're now at 878 paperback pages and are currently in the process of editing. The story will end up being three or four books in total. Please comment if you're still interested/newly interested and want updates on progress.

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