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.

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

Unexpected Turn of Events – 3

Then, Cyrus drops the bombshell…

**

“So, then,” he said, giving Cyrus a wan smile. “Shall you read me in on our mission here? I’m assuming it’s to do with the attack on Professor Gildheim.”

Nodding, Cyrus stood. Slowly, pacing around the room as he spoke, he outlined exactly what he’d learned so far, which was precious little. “That’s why you were brought in,” he said. “As school caretaker, I’m free to explore the grounds, but… as a professor – one who’s come in to take his place – you’ll be in a position to find out exactly what happened.”

“Why doesn’t someone just ask him?” Logan asked, shaking his head. “Was he so badly injured, then?”

Grimacing, Cyrus nodded. “You might say that,” he replied. He hesitated for a moment and then, he looked out the window and over the school grounds, towards the place where the attack had taken place.

“Cyrus?” Logan said, his voice soft.

Cyrus looked back at his partner and spoke in a soft voice. “Contrary to what Professor Gardener told everyone at supper – contrary to what the healers have told Professor Williams, Professor Gildheim won’t recover from his wounds. The truth is this: he was killed that night. Whatever attacked him – whatever it is that we’re trying to capture – tore him limb from limb.”

Unexpected Turn of Events – 2

Then, Cyrus gets a surprise.

**

Logan heaved a sigh and closed his eyes. He could still imagine the feelings he’d had as he’d held Cyrus’s hand in his own. It was lust, he knew. However, the fact that they were partners complicated things. Before, he would have been within his rights to proposition the younger man. Now…

He shook the thought away. Glancing at the mirror, he straightened his own glasses, smoothed his hair and headed out of the room. Cyrus had said that Professor Gardener would want them to arrive for dinner promptly. It wouldn’t do to be late his first day on campus.

Thanks to the tour Cyrus had given him earlier, he was able to find the Great Hall rather easily. As he stepped into the large room, he saw that there were five long rows of empty tables. These tables, he knew, would be filled with students tomorrow evening.

As he swept between them, he noticed Cyrus sitting at the end of the large table at the head of the room, where the staff and faculty had their formal meals. He caught the younger man’s eyes and made the sign for partner. A smile touched his features when Cyrus blinked in surprise. It was good, somehow, to know that he wasn’t the only one surprised by the things had worked out.

An Unexpected Turn of Events – 1

First, Logan gets a surprise.

**

Logan had just finished unpacking and dressing for dinner when there was a knock on the door of his room. Frowning, he stepped over to the door and opened it. “Keenan,” he said, blinking. “What can I do for you?”

“I just need a moment of your time,” Keenan said, giving him a sunny smile. As he spoke, he gestured sharply that it was Agency business.

Blinking, Logan nodded. “Certainly,” he said, stepping to one side, so that Keenan could enter. He frowned as the smaller man moved into the room. Closing the door firmly, he said, “This is to do with my assignment?”

“Right in one,” Keenan said, tapping the tip of his nose. His brows furrowed. “Your partner for this assignment is Cyrus Grayson. You’ll need to work out a time with him when you can discuss what he’s been able to learn so far.”

“Grayson?” Logan repeated, blinking. He’d known when he set out for Ashwinder’s Academy that he was going to be working an investigation for the Agency. He’d known that he would have a partner. Some part of him assumed that partner would be Keenan. Cyrus, lovely though he might be, seemed too scatterbrained to be with the Agency.

A smirk touched Keenan’s lips. “He’s also known as Time, ” he said, arching an eyebrow. “Who – I’m sure you’ll realize – is one of our best undercover agents.”

Lessons in Magic

The interplay between these two is so sweet!

**

“Let’s say I help you a bit and then, you’ll be free to give me that tour. Would that suit you, Master Grayson?”

“But… how can you help me, if – if you’re a mundane?” Cyrus asked.

Starke chuckled and strode out of the room. As he passed Cyrus, he caught him by the hand. Drawing him back towards the corridor with the trophies, he said, “I’m a professor of theoretical magic, Master Grayson. I can explain almost any spell. I just can’t do magic myself.”

Cyrus bit his lip and nodded. He wanted to protest that he’d had the standard cleansing spells explained to him several times. It just never made sense to him. However, he was so surprised that Starke was holding his hand, he couldn’t seem to speak.

It wasn’t until they’d reached the display case that Cyrus had been working at before he’d heard the singing that Starke let him go. Then, Cyrus found his voice. “I – I don’t know about this, Professor,” he said, his nervousness making his voice tremble slightly. “I tend to break things when I use magic and – and Professor Foster is so particular!”

“You probably put too much force behind your spells,” Starke said, his tone gentle. “Take a steadying breath or two.” He waited until Cyrus had taken several breaths, before he said, “Now, the standard cleansing spell will remove dust and oils. It’s just what you want for these trophies.”

Cyrus nodding. He swallowed thickly and then took a few more calming breaths. Finally, he said, “A-all right. I – I know the spell words, but… it doesn’t seem to help any.”

Starke set a hand on his shoulder and said the spell word. After Cyrus had repeated it, he nodded. “Now, just point your wand at the first trophy and – softly, now – say the word.”

Nodding again, Cyrus drew out his wand. He bit his lip and took a few more steadying breaths. Then, in a soft voice, he spoke the spell words. A thin layer of foam covered the trophy, then it dissipated, leaving a shining and clean metal surface behind. Cyrus blinked and then bit off a laugh.

“Nothing broke,” he said, his voice cracking.

Starke slapped his shoulder and nodded. “As I said, Master Grayson,” he said. “It’s a simple matter of you putting far too much into your spells. Just relax and ease off a bit. Speaking softly will help that.”

“Thank you, Professor Starke,” Cyrus said. Now, he’d be done with the task of cleaning the trophies before supper was served. He grinned brightly and said, “I could give you that tour now, if you’d like?”

Falling under her spell?

Professor Lark is a charming woman.

**

Once he was alone, Logan sat down on the couch, near the window and stared out. He took a deep, steadying breath. The school grounds were lovely. From this window, he could see the building that housed the horses that the students rode, as well as those that pulled the school’s carriages. The horses themselves were running in a pasture outside the stable.

For a while, he merely stared out the window. Then, he felt the couch shift and glanced to his right. A woman had settled down beside him. She was nearly his age and rather lovely, in a feminine way. She gave him a faint smile.

“You looked like you were in a daze when Keenan introduced you,” she said, her voice low and musical. “I’m Athena Lark. I teach Captivations.”

Logan felt his cheeks warm and nodded. “Nice to meet you… again, I suppose,” he said.

Professor Lark shrugged. “I’m not sure what course it was that Keenan said you’d be teaching,” she said, leaning forward slightly.

Something about her made Logan feel warm. Perhaps it had something to do with being a charms master. He cleared his throat and then smiled faintly. “Honestly, I don’t know if he even said,” he replied. Shrugging, he added, “I’m to be teaching Theoretical Magic.”

“Ah, so you’re replacing Professor Gildheim, then,” she said, smiling brightly. “It’s nice to know they found someone to take his post, in spite of what happened.”

Logan frowned. He hadn’t heard that anything happened to his predecessor. All he’d heard from Keenan was that the man had gone extended leave. “Medical leave,” he said, when he realized what Keenan had meant.

Nodding, Professor Lark said, “It was near the end of last term.” Her brows furrowed and she shook her head. “Some sort of monster attacked him. Professor Gardener said he very likely wouldn’t recover enough to return to his duties.”

“He’s lucky to be alive at all,” another professor said, nodding.

A Time of New Beginnings

For a moment, Logan was afraid. If he’d hurt someone while he was a wolf, he’d never forgive himself. Shaking the thoughts and fears and doubts away, he opened the door. His eyes widened when he came face to face with a young man, hand raised to knock on the door.

“Hello,” he said, blinking.

The young man flushed and took a step back. Folding his hands behind his back, he released a nervous chuckle. “Morning, Professor Starke,” he said, giving Logan a weak smile. “I – I was sent to wake you? It’s breakfast, if you feel up to it?”

Logan nodded. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage, Master…” he trailed off, as he stepped into the corridor and closed the door firmly behind him. He arched an eyebrow at the young man. “I don’t know your name,” he prompted. “Yet, you seem to know mine.”

“Oh,” the young man said, flushing. He looked around nervously – or perhaps it was shyly – and said, “Master Keenan told me your name when I brought you here last night. I – I’m Cyrus Grayson. I’m the… um, caretaker… for the school.”

On such a night as this…

…anything can happen.

**

Cyrus walked through the silent trees, feeling just a little nervous. The night was still, with the only light coming from a full moon shining high above. He suppressed a shiver. However much he might not like it, fluxweed could only be harvested on nights like this one. Any other night and it would lose its effectiveness.

A howl split the silence of the night. The cry was long and loud. Not only did it seem to echo through the moonlit trees, it went on for several minutes. It was a low, mournful sound. Tears came to Cyrus’s eyes, but he blinked them away. It was silly, really. For all he knew, the wolf was just calling to other members of its pack. There was no reason to think the creature was sad.

Shaking the thoughts away, Cyrus went back to searching for the herbs. A faint glow in the underbrush caught his eyes. “Ah,” he said, “there you are!”

He was just hurrying towards the dim light coming from the phosphorescent plants when he heard a second mournful howl. This time, it was much closer. Far from bringing tears of sadness to Cyrus’s eyes, it brought tears of fright.

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