Worlds Collide

Just when I thought my NaNo was finished… I am having fun with this section, though.

**

“This is Alexander Pemberton, on the Lady Sarah,” he said, as he keyed the button to answer the call.

Immediately, a familiar voice came over the comm.  “Hello, Al,” the caller said.  Alexander smiled as a face appeared on the screen in front of him.  Cyrus Greyson gave him a wry smile.  “Just calling to bring you up to speed on some new developments back home.”

“Go ahead,” Alexander said, as he made ready to record the information, so that he could pass it on to the others later.

Cyrus nodded.  “Director Haruko was arrested – turns out he was the mole that your cousin kept going on and on about,” he said, nodding.  When Alexander looked at him in surprise, he gave a weak laugh.  “Yeah.  I don’t think anyone saw that coming, but that left Keenan with a hole to fill.”

“There’s a new deputy director in charge of Special Intelligence?” Alexander said.  When Cyrus nodded, he felt a trickle of dread.  “Do I want to know who that might be?”

“Michael Graves, Junior,” Cyrus said, smirking.  He shrugged and then shook his head.  “He’s the head of an Organization family centered in Ameria.  Keenan said that it’s all kind of foolish that we have this animosity towards all the families.  After all, they were fighting the Berklians, too.”

“So, his solution is to get rid of an Organization mole and… replace them with an Organization Boss?” Alexander said, his voice soft.  He shook his head.  “What’s his game, Cyrus?”

“Graves runs his family on the straight and narrow,” Cyrus said, nodding.  “If he’s going to ease everyone into an era of peace, this is a good start.”

“Right,” Alexander said, although he was a bit doubtful.  After all, he’d been undercover to stop members of the Blair family.  Part of the reason he’d joined the crew of the Lady Sarah in the first place was because he and Robin had a price on their heads.

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Is this what that means?

I was supposed to write a scene with tension between the characters – where someone is hiding something. I think this qualifies… Logan is definitely hiding something from Cyrus at this point. Although, Cyrus has already guessed at what it is. Cyrus, for his part, is hiding something from Logan. That remains known to only me and Cyrus at this point in the story, though.

**

Cyrus paused to frown at him and Logan shook the thoughts away. Smiling, he said, “What?”

“What?” Cyrus said, mimicking him perfectly. He laughed and shook his head, turning back to the kitchen. “That was you, undressing me with your eyes again. That’s what!”

Logan stifled a laugh. “I don’t undress you with my eyes,” he protested, as he moved to his feet and followed Cyrus into the kitchen. It was clear that Cyrus had started his cleaning in this room. All the metal surfaces seemed to gleam in the early morning sunlight. Even the wooden surfaces seemed brighter than normal.

“No,” Cyrus said, his tone doubtful. “Not at all. You just imagine me in my altogether, yeah?” He chuckled and shook his head. Waving a finger at Logan, he said, “You look at me like that – with those thoughts in your head – and you wonder that them at school think we’re dating!”

Logan stifled another laugh and shook his head. “As I recall, it was you, my dear Cyrus, that was shocked by that bit of news,” he said. “I’d known for some time about those particular rumors.”

“And you didn’t tell me?” Cyrus said, moving over to the stove.

“At the time, that’s all they were: rumors,” Logan said. He shook his head and sat down. “It didn’t seem important to tell you what they were saying.” He looked over at Cyrus again and saw that the younger man was frowning at him. “What?”

“At the time, you said.” He tilted his head to one side, “What are they now, then? We’re not dating, not so far as I know. You think different?”

A teasing smile touched Logan’s lips. “You came with me to England on summer holiday,” he said, his eyes narrowing. “We’re sharing this cottage. What would you call it?”

Cyrus flushed and spun away. “You are an incorrigible flirt is what I’d call it,” he snapped. Shaking his head and mumbling to himself, he dished out two bowls of porridge. He poured them each a cup of tea and then set the meal in front of Logan.

“Thank you,” Logan said, a faint smile playing at his lips.

As he started to eat, Cyrus said, “You’ll wipe that self-satisfied smile off your lips, or you’ll wear that porridge.” When Logan looked up at him, a practiced expression on innocence on his face, Cyrus glared at him. “We are not dating!”

“Not at all,” Logan said, schooling his expression. He turned back to his meal and smiled again. “You’ve come to England with me, at my invitation. We’re sharing this cottage, so that I can protect you. You’ve made us this fine breakfast, because… why?” he said, looking over at Cyrus archly.

“You slept in, didn’t you?” Cyrus said, flushing further. Shaking his head, he focused on his food. “You make me crazy. You do know that, yeah?”

“Oh, yes,” Logan said, smiling, “and I enjoy each moment of it.”

Cyrus nodded. “Just so we’re clear,” he said, his voice soft.

Changing Feelings…

A little scene that I think shows my characters falling in love. At least, I hope it does…

**

“I’m for bed,” he announced, moving towards one of the bedrooms.

“Sleep well, Cyrus,” Logan said, as he moved to stoke the fire into life.

Cyrus frowned at him. “You’ll get some sleep too, won’t you?” he said, regarding Logan with a worried frown.

“Soon,” Logan said, giving him a weak smile.

Cyrus frowned at him for a moment. As tired as he was, he was hesitant about simply going to be when Logan seemed this tense. Sighing, he stepped close to his partner. “What’s got you so worried, then?” he asked, tilting his head up to look into Logan’s eyes.

“What makes you think I’m worried?” Logan said, his lips quirking into a smile. However, the smile didn’t reach his eyes. They remained hooded – guarded, almost.

“We’ve worked together for over a year, now, haven’t we?” Cyrus said, shaking his head. He frowned. “You’ve not said more than you had to since we arrived in England, have you? You don’t think I’ve learned to read you by now?”

When Logan said nothing, Cyrus persisted. “Logan,” he said, his tone coming out a bit petulant. “We’re partners, aren’t we? I want to help you! Yeah? How can I do that, if you won’t tell me what it is bothering you?”

The forced smile left Logan’s features. “I don’t think you realize the danger you may be in, Cyrus,” he said, his voice soft. He shook his head. “I feel – I’ve placed you in this danger and you seem so… oblivious to it!”

“I’m in the middle of a village surrounded by people cursed with lycanthropy,” Cyrus said, his voice soft. His brow furrowed. “I don’t know who among them – or even if any of them – are as diligent about taking the medicine as you are. Believe me, Logan, I know how dangerous this place might be for me.”

Logan sighed and looked down at the floor. “I’m concerned, Cyrus,” he said. His voice was hardly more than a murmur. Cyrus leaned in close to hear him. They were mere inches apart. “You’re young and, I appreciate that you want to help me, but… maybe I don’t want your help?”

“I think,” Cyrus said, his voice just as soft as Logan’s own, “that you’re scared. Yeah? I think you might have brought me here – three nights before the full moon – hoping it’d scare me off from you.”

There was a soft gasp and Logan lifted his gaze, meeting Cyrus’s eyes once more. He opened his mouth to speak, but Cyrus stopped his words with a finger against his parted lips. “I don’t scare so easy, Logan Rembrandt Starke,” he said, a faint smile touching his lips. “Not near so easy as you do.” Then, he turned away and headed into one of the bedrooms.

Connecting on another level

This is my attempt to show how their intellectual attraction… not sure how well I did.

**

Cyrus chewed his lip and finished sweeping the corridor. Then, he headed to Logan’s room. He was careful not to be seen entering Logan’s room – or even knocking on the door. He looked up, his cheeks warming when the door opened.

“Morning,” he said. His words came out a bit breathlessly, as if he’d been running. He felt a bit as if he had too, given the way his heart pounded in his chest. “I… wondered if we could talk. Yeah?”

“Certainly,” Logan said, stepping to one side.

Cyrus slipped into the room and then spun to face Logan as the older man shut the door. “I’m confused,” he blurted out. He flushed when Logan gave him a quizzical frown. He shook his head and spun away. “I know how you feel about me. I’m just… I’m not sure how I feel about you. How do I know if it’s love or lust or – or some echo of your emotions?”

He felt Logan’s arms wrap around his shoulders and sighed, leaning back against the older man. His eyes closed and he relaxed. His racing heart slowed and his breathing evened out. “I’m a little scared, too,” he admitted. “No one’s ever made me feel the way you do.”

Logan kissed his neck and then moved upward. His lips brushed their way along his jawbone and then back to his ear. Cyrus moaned, turning his head so that Logan had better access.

“No one’s ever made me feel this way either, Cyrus,” Logan said, his voice low and husky. He rubbed circles into Cyrus’s abdomen with one hand, while caressing his chest with the other. “As to your questions: what is love?”

“Caring for each other,” Cyrus said, his voice soft. He did care for Logan, otherwise, he wouldn’t have agreed to the binding in the first place. “Wanting to be with each other… for always.” That was there too. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have run to Logan’s arms when he was feeling confused and frightened by his emotions and scattered thoughts.

“So, you love me,” Logan said, his voice soft. “I think, my love, what you’re truly worried about is not whether what you feel is love or not. It’s more a question of… is it the right sort of love? You love your parents and your sisters. Correct?”

“Yeah, but… not the same way,” Cyrus said. His brows furrowed. “I love my country and my sovereign, too, but… in another way still.”

Logan nodded against his shoulder. Then, he turned Cyrus in his arms and looked into his eyes. “Love is something you work at, Cyrus,” he said. “It’s an emotion, but once you move beyond that emotion and beyond the physical attraction… there needs to be more, or else we can’t make it work out.”

Cyrus nodded. His eyes were locked on Logan’s face. He searched the other’s face, seeking the answers to his unspoken questions there. What was it that made Logan want to be with him, of all people? What would make him want to be with Logan, over anyone else? “You’re so kind,” Cyrus said, his voice soft, “and brave – in ways that I’m not and – and never could be. Yeah?”

Logan smiled and cupped his chin. “You have your own kind of bravery, my love,” he said, his voice soft and hoarse with emotion. “As well as quiet strength and dignity. It was that which first drew me to you.”

Nodding, Cyrus smiled. “You – you want to protect me,” he murmured. Dropping his gaze, he leaned into Logan’s chest. As the older man enfolded him in an embrace, he said, “I want to do the same for you. More than that, I want you to be happy. I want to make you happy.”

“You do,” Logan said, his voice faint. “I want that for you as well, Cyrus. Can you be happy with a person like me? As dangerous as I am?”

“Yes,” Cyrus said. There was no hesitation in his answer. His doubts were gone. In the light of day, he knew the answers to his questions. He loved Logan and in a way that could be so much more. It wouldn’t be easy and it would take time. However, he was determined to make it work.

Just make up already!

That’s great in theory. In practice, Cyrus is a bit confused as to when they started dating…

**

“Cyrus?”

He looked up from the growing pile of dust and debris at his feet and blinked. The potions’ master was standing a few feet away, regarding him with a curious frown. “Yes, Professor Caimier?” he said, tilting his head to one side.

“Are you and Professor Starke… fighting?” he asked. He flushed and looked up at the ceiling, shaking his head. “It’s none of my business, I know, but… he’s been even quieter this last week than normal. He’s even been avoiding Athena – like he’s not in the mood for her games.”

Cyrus blinked. “I… wouldn’t say we were fighting,” he said, shaking his head. He bit his lip and then looked down at the pile of dust. They’d fought and Cyrus had stormed out of the room, leaving the matter unresolved. He sighed and shrugged. “There might be hurt feelings, I suppose.”

“I wish you’d make up, already,” Caimier said, shaking his head. “It’s like walking around on pins and needles whenever I’m in the room with Starke.”

“What?” Cyrus said, before he could stop himself. Make up? What was that supposed to mean? He flushed when he realized the implications. “But we’re not… I mean…” he trailed off. How was he supposed to explain that they were partners, but not in the way that Caimier thought?

“What makes you think we’re… em, seeing each other?” Cyrus said, his voice faint and high, but not in the way it was normally. Now, it was shock and embarrassment that made his voice sound that way, not an attempt to seem sweet and innocent.

“Oh, well, we all just assumed,” Caimier said, blinking. He flushed and started waving his hands wildly. “I mean, the way he stares at you when he thinks no one sees – not exactly sweet looks of longing, but… I’ll shut up now.” He spun away and disappeared back into his office.

“They all assumed we were dating?” Cyrus said, blinking.

Under the Moonlight

And the beginning of the physical attraction between the pair… I like the reaction Logan’s werewolf side has to his “romantic” notions around Cyrus.

**

Logan had never thought of walking under the moonlight with anyone until that day. To him, the light of the moon was something to fear. It meant the return of his wolf. Now, though, as he stood on the walkway at the top of the fortress-like school and waited for Cyrus to join him, it stuck him as romantic. The half-moon shining down on them and the twinkling stars filling the blackness of the sky… Cyrus would be like a star himself, a point of light in the shadows that had filled Logan’s heart for so long.

That’s pushing things a bit too far, his inner wolf chided.

He could feel the disgust of cursed side of himself at his sentimental notions. However, for once, he didn’t care. He heard a boot scrape against the stone and turned. Cyrus had stepped out onto the walkway as well. He was standing in the doorway, in fact, staring at Logan with wide eyes. Standing there, lit as he was by the light from the inner corridor, Cyrus looked like an angel.

Logan smiled at the mock-gagging sounds that echoed in the back of his mind. “Hello, my love,” he said, giving Cyrus a half-bow.

Cyrus stepped forward and took his hand. “It’s rather a nice night, yeah?” he said, his voice faint. He looked up at the stars and shook his head. “It’s not even too cold to enjoy a walk outside.”

“Nor too warm for me to set my arm around your shoulders,” Logan said, setting action to his words. Logan smiled when Cyrus rested his head on his chest. Then, they were walking together along the top of the fortress.

Joining of Souls

This is an excerpt from the story I’m writing. In it, Logan, a werewolf, needs to bind his curse to the magic of a wizard. Otherwise, he might die. Cyrus, his partner, volunteers to be that wizard. The binding will strengthen whatever kind of relationship they already have. For Cyrus, it was friendship. For Logan, it something far more…

**

Logan took a deep breath and then looked Cyrus, his eyes locking on Cyrus’s own. “You’re sure about this?” he said, his voice weak.

Cyrus nodded. “I don’t want for you to die, Logan,” he said, his voice soft. He set his hand over both of Logan’s hands, which were folded on the table. Leaning forward, he added, “Mischa said it would change our relationship. If we’re friends, we’d become like brothers.”

“Being bound to your core,” Logan said, his voice soft, “would be like joining our souls. We wouldn’t feel each other’s pain or know each other’s thoughts, exactly. However, we’d… know when the other was in pain and we’d sense each other’s emotions.”

Yet again, Cyrus nodded. “It’d end any doubt about what you feel towards me, then,” he said. “Is that why you’re so reluctant?” He searched Logan’s eyes, as if he could see the answer to his question written there.

Logan blinked and sighed. Shaking his head, he said, “I don’t know. I just… I know I’m afraid that the drain will be too much – with your affliction. Can you afford to let me draw on your energy in that manner?”

“I’ll just have to keep track of the lunar cycle. Won’t I?” Cyrus said. He grinned. “My affliction isn’t so terrible as that, Logan. Normally, I have enough energy – and more to spare. It just… I don’t gather energy the way I’m meant to, do I? I keep my energy sink near when I’m sleeping and… the moon rises mostly at night – when I’ll be abed.”

Nodding, Logan said, “You’d be in a state of energy gathering when I’ll be drawing on your core.” He seemed relieved, if only a little. He looked into Cyrus’s eyes once more and Cyrus blinked. They were mere inches apart. All Cyrus could see were Logan’s warm brown eyes.

His lips parted and, in that instant, Logan leaned forward. Their lips met and Cyrus gasped as Logan’s tongue slipped into his mouth. For a moment, Cyrus tensed. Then, he felt something stir deep inside. This was the binding ceremony! Logan was sealing his curse to Cyrus’s core in this simple act.

Cyrus moaned softly as Logan deepened the kiss. He was dimly aware of Logan cupping the back of his head with one hand, while the other settled into the small of his back. Cyrus felt his heart racing as his magic rebelled, if only for a moment, against what Logan was doing. Then, as if a switch had been thrown, Cyrus relaxed and he was no longer simply being kissed by Logan. They were kissing.

As Logan broke the kiss, Cyrus took several steadying breaths. He blinked rapidly and then looked up at Logan. Suddenly, as their eyes met, he felt… Logan admired him and was deeply attracted to him. Cyrus felt his cheeks warm and he fled.

He didn’t know why he ran; only that he needed space. He didn’t go to the cottage. Instead, he ran into the trees at the edge of the village. He stopped, heart pounding, at the edge of a small brook. “What… was that?” he breathed. Feeling foolish, he shook his head. “Why’d I just… run like that?”

Time and again

Logan and Cyrus had met each other before – worked together, even. However, that was years ago and things change with Time.

Logan felt a bit nervous as he moved down the corridor. It was one thing to be assigned to one of the intelligence teams. He’d been expecting the call for years now. Ever since he’d contracted the curse, he’d known the day would come. He’d never expected to be assigned to the administrative team, though. What did that even mean?

He looked up as he reached the door. Frowning, he touched the Greek letter that was emblazoned on the crazed glass. A theta – the symbol for their team. He sighed and was about to push the door opened. It fell back, away from him, and he stepped back with a stifled gasp.

The first thing he saw were wide, hazel eyes. “Oh,” a soft voice said. Logan blinked and he looked at the person in front of him more keenly. He took in all the details: the untidy red-brown hair, the careless way he wore his uniform and, there on his shoulder, the symbol marking him as…

“You’re the team’s second?” Logan blurted. He shook his head. “You’re hardly more than – than a child!”

“I’m plenty old enough, Starke,” the other snapped. His brows furrowed and he bit his lip. Whirling away, he waved an arm at Logan. “Found Starke,” he said. Then, he crossed his arms over his chest and strode back to stand beside a female agent – the team leader.

Tiana Hartfield smiled. “Agent Starke,” she said, waving at the young man beside her. “I believe you’ve worked with Agent Grayson before?”

Logan blinked and looked at the younger agent again. Some things were the same, now that he knew the man’s name. The same eyes, of course. His hair was longer now – messier than when they’d worked together all those years ago. There were other differences, too. Grayson wasn’t a boy now, not really. He was a young man and a rather handsome one.

A faint smile touched Logan’s face. “My apologies,” he said, using his most charming tone. He bowed slightly. “I didn’t recognize you, Time. You’ve… matured. It’s very good to see you again.”

Grayson frowned at him, his expression guarded. Then, he sighed and rolled his eyes. “Whatever,” he said, shaking his head. He finger-combed his hair and smoothed out his uniform. “It’s not as if I don’t get told to smarten up my appearance often enough by Director Haruko.”

“Time you listened,” a low voice said.

Everyone in the room straightened at the sound of their director’s voice – except Grayson. He sighed and rolled his eyes again. “Yes, Uncle,” he said. Only then did he straighten as well. Logan hid a smile. Oh, yes. He remembered Grayson well. That attitude, like his eyes, was the same as always. He looked over at Grayson again, this time with a bit of respect. It would be a pleasure to work with Time again.

“Nice of you to finally join us, Chance,” Haruko said, his tone a bit annoyed.

Logan bowed slightly. “I apologize for my tardiness, sir,” he said. Straightening, he met the director’s eyes. “Full moon last night.” He nearly smiled as the director’s pupils seemed to twitch – the only hint of fear the arrogant man would give.

Faculty – Core Curriculum

Adrian Glen – young Professor of Transfigurations; quiet and serious; does not seem to like the students very much, often scolds them for small infractions; is distrustful of Cyrus; thinks that Larissa is lovely, but is too shy to tell her so; formerly of Lucidaran House

Athena Lark – junior Professor of Captivations; a terrible flirt, has bedded nearly all the male staff and some of the females staff; very skilled with spells relating to allure; low, musical voice; lovely, feminine; formerly of Eidolon House

Chloris Adams – junior Professor of Potions; head of Constantine House; Keenan Meadows will often substitute for Chloris Adams, and she will take his classes at Northeast Academy as well; skilled with spell-activated potions; Master of Apothecary Arts; golden brown curls, blue eyes; 36 years old; formerly of Constantine House

Shadow – Professor of Herbology; true name is Thaddeus Goldeneagle; head of Eidolon House; only head of house to have not attended Ashwinder’s Academy; old friends with headmistress; claims to be 50 years old, is actually at least 400 year old; strange personality; dark brown hair, intense gray eyes

Chelsea Williams – young Professor of Evocations (also called Defensive Magic); head of Kindaran House; she and Loki were lovers; 23 years old, one of the youngest professors they’ve had at the school; lovely and rather innocent; formerly of Kindaran House

Alexander Narasweln – senior Professor of Astronomy; playful and kindly towards students; very informal in class; skilled with astrology; rumored to be Nestor’s lover; formerly of Constantine House

Melinda Kalkberg – senior Professor of Transmutations, leads school chorus; curious and outgoing; likes the students to ask questions, even if she doesn’t know the answer; skilled with bardic magic; head of Lucidaran House

Xenia Bluebunting – junior Professor of Illustions; a bit flighty; has very particular views about what she should and shouldn’t be asked to do as part of her job; grew up with Athena and is, therefore, immune to her charms; lithe; formerly of Lucidaran House

Logan Rembrandt Starke – senior theoretical wizard; replaced Loki Gildheim as Professor of Theoretical Magic; a werewolf; an agent with Shynian Intelligence, skilled investigator codenamed Chance; unable to perform any magic (a mundane), however he is considered the a top notch theoretical wizard; dark hair, gray eyes, glasses; has terrible scars on his chest and back from the werewolf that attacked him in December of 1995, from whom he contracted lycanthropy

Theodore Madison – senior Professor of Language Arts; one of the only staff members to have no magic; magic makes him uncomfortable; unable to perform magic safely; gifted in Theoretical Magic, but has no desire to teach it; formerly of Candidan House, failed to graduate from Ashwinder’s Academy

Jeremy Crane – late Professor of Equestrian Arts, also teaches Flying (carpets, broomsticks, animals); only ghost among the staff and faculty of the school; knows nearly all the secrets of the school, but has never heard of any monsters on the grounds; killed protecting a student from an enraged hippogriff; although he’s dead, he’s full of life; formerly of Constantine House

Loki Gildheim – late Professor of Theoretical Magic; he and Chelsea were lovers; was attacked at the edge of the school grounds my some sort of monster; although the faculty and staff are being told that he is injured and making a miraculous recovery, he was killed; in spite of his posting, he had strong magic, gifted in Captivations; formerly of Kindaran House; red hair, green eyes, glasses; died at the age of 24 years

Staff – Ashwinder’s

I’ll add to this when I’ve worked a bit more of the details out.

Alyssa Gardener – elderly headmistress; matronly sort of woman; seldom seen, except during meals or emergencies; closer to the faculty and staff than she is to the students; formerly of Contantine House; silver hair, gray eyes

Eustace Foster – senior wizard; deputy headmaster, Professor of Abjurations (also called Offensive Magic, especially skilled with curses, hexes and jinxes); very particular about how things should be done; controlling and manipulative; has an eye out for young men, has targeted Cyrus in the past; formerly of Eidolon House; brown hair, hazel eyes, glass, scar on right cheek

Myron Lorember – elderly groundskeeper; has worked at the school longer than nearly any of the professors; frequently scolds Cyrus; skilled only in low level spells; formerly of Candidan House; gray hair, blue eyes

Alistair “Cyrus” Ezekial Grayson – young caretaker; seems shy, quiet and bumbling; actually an agent with Shynian Intelligence, top undercover agent called Time; very poor hand with magic, tends to break things (too powerful for him to control); afflicted (unable to recharge without the aid of an energy sink, which he has hidden in a white teddy bear); very skilled with taming magical beasts, natural gift with herbology, animagus that becomes a rainbow swallow; was not trained in magic at Ashwinder’s Academy; red-brown hair, red-brown eyes, glasses; 20 years old at start of story

Danae Silversparrow – senior school nurse; serious and business-like, while still being caring and gentle; acts motherly towards Cyrus; very skilled in potions and healing spells; formerly of Kindarin House; graying black hair, brown eyes

Larissa Redfinch – young librarian; intelligent, quiet and bookish; skilled only with low level magic spells; formerly of Contantine House; blond hair, gray eyes

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