-Not What It Seems-

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Everything has its place. I have always believed that. So why, when my best friend somehow ends up in my kitchen with that damn mutant chibi, does the whole world turn upside down?

Submitted: January 10, 2012

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Submitted: January 10, 2012

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Fair warning, you'll probably see some Korean influence. (Sorry Shawol. Kasen's words are NOT my own).Besides that, for once I really have nothing to say. Enjoy :)

Not What it Seems

What are you wearing?” a dry voice asks from behind Kasen, a far too familiar voice that logically should not be in his kitchen.

Kasen turned around and gave Riley a bland stare, fighting against the smile twitching at his lips. She was propped against the white door jamb, her calf-length booted ankles crossed over each other and her arms likewise crossed in a pose that said, “I don’t care that I just practically broke into your house. I’m not moving.” She had on a layered yellow skirt that poofed out just above her knees and black leggings just barely longer than that. For a top, she wore a white long sleeve beneath a black vest bejeweled around the collar with buttons with various phrases on them. Kasen’s personal favorite? “If you can read this, LOOK UP.” Riley was, in a word, original.

Deciding the question wasn’t deserving of an answer, considering the plain black apron was a gift he had received from the girl for his birthday earlier that year, he instead challenged her with his own question. “Who’s the mutant chibi hanging off your phone?”

“M-mutant?!” she sputtered indignantly, unfolding her arms so her phone strap hung down against her thumb. “Taemin is not a mutant. Look at him. He’s, like, perfect!”

“He looks like a girl.”

Riley gasped as Kasen turned his back on her to check on the food sizzling on the stove. It’s a good thing he usually made extra so he’d have food for after work, or else Riley would be going without Kasen’s “mom-food”, the name Riley had sexistly given any of Kasen’s home cooked food when she had learned he did most of the cooking when they were fourteen. Whenever asked about her favorite food, she’d gleefully reply, “Kasen’s mom-food!”

“You’ve gone too far,” Riley pouted, popping into Kasen’s personal space and thrusting her phone into his face. “See? Perfect. Say he’s perfect!”

“I’m not saying that,” he argued, ducking away from her arm. And on that note, Kasen decided it was time for a subject change, because when Riley was allowed to go off on a tangent about her newest celebrity crush, the torture would never stop. He could already see the hours of endless- urghh…. He didn’t even want to think about it. “What are you doing here anyway? Or rather, how did you get here?”

Riley paused, dropping back on her heels and lowering her arm, a strange expression descending over her face. “Mississippi isn’t that that far from here,” she replied evasively, slipping backwards.

“….”

“Where’s my cat?” she demanding suddenly, effectively ending that particular conversation as she slipped her phone into her vest pocket so her phone strap hung out. Kasen sighed and removed his apron after turning off the stove with a click, the blue flames disappearing as though someone had taken an eraser to the bottom and pressed up. Like he needed to be reminded of the little beast right then. Not when she had decided his dresser would make a good scratching post the day his mom was getting back from location.

There were days, like this particular one, in which he wished Riley had never given him Kai. Not that he’d ever voice that out loud to his friend when he was still riding the residual annoyance. Riley loved the thing too much. If her dad hadn’t been transferred to the Mississippi branch of his company, a world-wide conglomerate known simply as WWESUF (an acronym of which nobody really knows the meaning of, nor do they care to figure it out), then Kai never would have come into his possession--- his drifting thoughts congealed back onto the first thing that had formed when he had heard Riley’s voice. He had just talked to her a few hours ago and she had still been in Mississippi. While in principle it’s possible she could have gotten to California in a few hours by plane, there had been no… anything, really, to hint at and support that theory.

Brows furrowing, Kasen took down two plates, dismissing his paranoid thoughts with a slight wave of his hand. He was going to write comedies, not sci-fi. Time to get back to the real world.

“She’s in the laundry room,” Kasen replied as he set down their plates, the square black and white ones. Riley got a look on her face that Kasen recognized well, the one she adopted whenever she found something or someone unpleasant and was getting ready to tell them off. However, her gaze snapped to the still steaming stir fry and her mouth dropped open, more to salivate than to voice her unhappy thoughts. Heh. Riley never could resist food.

“Food,” Riley said in her way, looking up in excitement, nearly falling into the filled plates as she dove against the island to snatch a fork out of Kasen’s hand. “I haven’t eaten this in so long,” she sighed in bliss after swallowing her first bite. Kasen couldn’t help but smile at her actions. She still acted like a child most of the time. It was nice to know not everybody had needed to grow up so fast.

~?~

Her body was still lagging, but Riley forced a smile on her face so Kasen didn’t notice. As she greedily scooped another bite of her favorite “mom-food” into her mouth, the warm flavors instantly settled the cavernous feeling in her gut that she always got after shifting. Honestly, she didn’t like shifting, but one person could only be in so many places at once. Though in her people’s time, she was only seven, she was seventeen years in human years, a distinction that, despite her father’s generally old-fashioned ideals, had her all over the country and world almost daily. Although, at the moment, she’d rather be anywhere else than her best friend’s kitchen unannounced. Her sudden presence meant only one thing: that something really bad was going down and required WWESUF, or WorldWide-Envoys-Serving-Under-Freedom, intervention. Really not a good thing, considering California had only recently been given the Clear stamp. Just a few years ago, in fact. Those against WWESUF would have plenty of ammo to work with if it got a Red stamp so soon.

A Clear stamp was a literal “stamp” on an area after being purified, and was both a message and a warning to Riley’s people and their demonic Cousins respectively. Without a Stamp, Cousins were free to wreak havoc on anything with a soul. However, if an area was marked with a Red stamp, it was in the process of being purified, and generally Cousins avoided these areas. Likewise, a Clear stamped area was penetrable only by the Old Ones, the oldest and most powerful Cousins. Once an area was marked Clear, it would physically repel Cousins from entering its boundaries. The downside was that if an area was marked prematurely, Cousins within its borders could thrive and reproduce as would be impossible in a Red stamped area.

The rumors of recent Cousin spotting’s in the little state put the people who had been charge of it in a lot of trouble, and this included her father. He and his partners were facing possible fraud charges, which came with heavy consequences, considering the fact that they were putting millions of humans and Kin in danger with their misdiagnosis.

Riley stabbed at a green bean, physically dismissing her thoughts with the violent action. She didn’t want to think about such things around Kasen. Or any human really… but he wasn’t really all human, was he? Cold radiated throughout her body, shifting waves like those crashing against an empty beach numbing her body. She remembered the day they had first met. She had been climbing trees. Kin liked to be in high places because Cousins had an affinity for Earth. For them, “heights” was a bad word. She’d always been a reckless child, besides, so the slip had come as no surprise. Generally speaking, she’d sit there dazed for a few minutes then shake it off and move onto something more fun.

This day had been different. She’s been high up, higher than Kasen even to this day realized. She had thought it would be fun to try imitating something she’d seen on TV (she couldn’t even remember what, exactly, that was anymore). She had felt the moment her foot left the branch, the slight pain at the odd angle, the weightless, airless feeling that she had experienced countless times. She had expected a hard landing. Her Kin body could handle that much, so she was simply counting the milliseconds.

Instead, she’d fallen on top of a seven year old Kasen. She’d known right at that moment, he was neither Kin nor Cousin, nor was he completely human, and it had scared her. It wasn’t until years later, when she had been enrolled into human schools and re-met the boy, that she was able to overcome the fear he had mistaken as hatred for those three years. Looking back at the friendship they had formed, the secrets she knew about him (and she knew he liked her cousin’s friend, he wasn’t that good at keeping that kind of secret), that fear seemed silly to her. Pointless.

Now, however, she feared he may be the cause of the surge in Cousins inside a Clear stamped area. Her father and his peers would never have been so foolish as to miss the signs, especially with the advanced technology at their disposal to prevent such occurrences….

The food was completely gone within a few minutes, nothing left but the pan the stir fry had been cooked in, Kasen’s dirty plate, and Riley’s licked clean one. Riley knew better than to offer to help clean up. Kasen had a very strong belief that guests not do dishes if they weren’t staying in the home for a length of time. To intrude on his self-imposed ethics was one of the worst insults one could give Kasen, considering his very easy-going nature. He’d take anything you threw at him, but to dare insult him by offering to help do the dishes in his home? Or, likewise, refuse his offer to help in another’s (and talk about a double-standard)? It was near sacrilegious.

Instead, Riley excused herself to see her cat, getting a little wave as the go-ahead. The freedom she got in Kasen’s home was both familiar and new to her. Kin would never trust a non-relative free-reign of their home, to come and go as they wish and move about as they pleased. The atmosphere in Kasen’s had always been such, however. Even when his parents had still been together, she’s been allowed to explore to her heart’s content. Honestly, it made her slightly uneasy, and yet more at peace, whenever she was in the home of the non-human who could possibly mean the end of her kind, than when she was with friends of her own kind.

Kai was a beautiful creature, in Riley’s opinion. She had been carefully bred for protection and surveillance, her black fur marking her as a descendent of the Royal family’s personal guard. She was more than simply a cat, more than a companion and friend. She was a Guardian, a shapeshifter meant for the protection of Kin. When the state had been stamped, Riley had been unsure of what she was going to do. She had been best friends with Kasen for five years, and during that time she had come to feel the need to protect someone who very well may be more powerful than her, if whatever blood inside him should awaken. The decision to leave her other half with Kasen had come hard, but it would prove useful if indeed Cousin were still lurking within the stamp’s borders.

The laundry room was a small room at the back of the house. The walls were painted a very light pink, Rosalie’s favorite color. The black washer and dryer were stacked atop each other to allow more space in the box that couldn’t be more than 10’x10’. Propped against the washer was a petite girl with long black hair looking bored beyond reason as she played with the hem of the white garments only the most powerful and esteemed Guardians were allowed to bear. Riley herself possessed a lot of power, as a daughter of an Envoy and the distant relative of the Royal family through her mother. Even so, she highly doubted she had the power needed if Cousins were indeed within the stamp.

“Riley! ~” Kai proclaimed when she noticed her bearer standing in the room, immediately jumping to her feet and bouncing around like a child just told she could get any- and everything she wanted in the toy store. She had a high voice, child-like, and a bubbly personality that shown through in either form she took; she also was well-known for her ability to get in trouble.

“I see a couple things wrong with this picture,” Riley said cheerfully, holding two fingers up as she pasted a fake smile on her cheeks.

“Kasen-nim locked me in this little room,” Kai said glumly, looking up at the taller girl through her short, straight bangs.

Riley shook her head, smile in place. “No-puh,” she replied with a pop. “One, you’ve been misbehaving for Kasen. Don’t know what you did, exactly, but he has more sense than to lock you away unless you’ve been really bad—“

“B-but… Riley-nim!” Kai protested, using the respectful honorific she never took with Riley; generally, its use was unnecessary, but she knew she was in trouble. “I haven’t been in human form in so long ‘cuz I gots to live with Kasen-nim! My claws was hurting,” she whined.

“Which brings us to point numero dos.” Still, the smile. “Why, my dear Kai, are you in human form?”

Kai gasped, clutching at her white tunic, as though realizing for the first time that she was not in the form she was supposed to be in. She laughed unsteadily, widening her eyes to seem more innocent. “That’s- there’s a good explanation for…. R-Riley! I’m sorry!!”

Riley sighed, frowning at the younger girl. Despite her short stature, in appearance she really didn’t seem like she was any younger than Riley was. However, unlike the Kin’s lengthened lifespan, Guardians enjoyed a much more fleeting existence. Maybe because of their relationship to animals. Whatever the case may be, Kai’s behavior matched her age much more closely than her form.

“You know what, Kai,” Riley relented wearily after a moment. “It’s fine. Just be more careful in the future. What if Kasen or his mom were the ones to find you here in human form? How would you explain that?”

“Well,” Kai started proudly, a huge grin alighting upon her face. The smile quickly disappeared, however, replaced with a look of fear. “There’s… something… here.”

~?~

Kasen placed the dishes and pan in the drying rack beside the sink, then picked up the cream-colored dish towel from counter and dried his hands. A headache was starting to spear its way into his brain, a direct route of electricity arrowing through one temple and out the other. He’d been getting them a lot lately, starting from his seventeenth birthday and with increasing frequency in the following months. He’d learned the best he could do was sit down, take a deep breath (or hundred, which ever), and wait until it passed. He wasn’t a fan of medicine, so really, it was his only option. He had had an appointment a couple weeks before, but the doctor said nothing was wrong with him. It was a medical mystery.

Kasen clenched his teeth as he carefully lowered himself onto a chair, counting backwards in French. Riley had never seen him during an attack, for which he was grateful. No one had. If not for the hangover-like feeling that plagued him for days afterwards (not that he knew the real thing personally), then even he may not have believed it was real. But it was. The pain was undeniable. After a few minutes the agony subsided enough that he was able to lower his hand from his temples. It would do no good for Riley to come back or for his mom to come home and find him like that. He didn’t want to make anyone worry over him, and as the doctor had told him, nothing was actually seriously wrong with him.

“Kasen!”

The called teen flinched at the shrill tone, but managed to keep a smile on his face when Riley came literally sliding into the kitchen, a strange girl trailing worriedly behind her. The first thing he noticed about the stranger was her eyes. They were keen, intelligent in the manner of a cat. In fact, he was unable to beat back the stray thought that they almost reminded him of Kai. Kasen laughed inwardly, wincing in discomfort. Back to thinking like he was in a fantasy novel. Whoever the girl was, she definitely was not his animal ward.

Next, he noticed her strange clothing. She wore a white jacket, etched with silver embroidery that had the collected sense to them of a language, but surely none he had ever seen in his lifetime. The sleeves were wide, leaving plenty of room to see the bare skin of her arms… or what would have been bare, if not for the leather cases strapped to her upper arms. The jacket was held together in the front with one large, oddly colored button at the neck, her white and silver tunic’s neckline just an inch or two lower. Her feet and hands were bare, but their delicate appearance somehow also denoted the deadliness they must surely possess. She appeared nearly seventeen in age despite the fact that she was very short; however her mannerisms bespoke those of a young child.

Riley made a distressed noise in the back of her throat, quickly diverting Kasen’s attention from the trespasser. Her hands her clenched in front of her mouth, eyes wide. Her normally blue-green irises were darkened to a navy blue, such a strange mutation they could be caused by nothing short of contacts… right?

“Kay—” Riley’s voice cracked as she took a step away from her best friend.

Brows furrowing, Kasen asked, “What’s wrong, Riley? Did Kai get out? Thing’s too smart for her own good,” he quipped, unable to fathom the reason for the fearful expression alighting his best friends face.

“I’s right here,” the stranger piped up, raising her hand. “But thankies for the comp-li-ment! ~”

“Kai” smiled sweetly, easily slipping past Riley and offering her hand to Kasen.

“Uh—” Riley said unintelligibly, swallowing reflexively. “Kasen—”

“Not him.” The strangers eyes stared deeply into Kasen’s, like she could read the most minute clue from the twin organs.

The two words from “Kai” seemed to cause something to snap in Riley, whatever had been going through her mind just moments before forgotten as she breezed past Kai and Kasen to look out the window on the far side of the room. Still, a strange emotion remained wedged in his friends eyes as she adopted a professional air that seemed as though she had been through war and could do so again if the need should ever arise. Like a seasoned warrior, her transformed eyes took in the surroundings in the fading sunlight, missing nothing.

“Kasen-nim~” Kai said softly, tugging on his sleeve slightly. “There’s something we needs you to know. Before they get here.”

“They? Who are you anyway?” Kasen questioned, letting out a breath as another wave of pain rocked through him. He didn’t have any problem if Riley’s friend had come to visit with her. She’d always been more family than friend, honestly. She was like his little sister, even though she was only a few months younger than he. He did, however, have a problem with a stranger talking to him like they knew his deepest secrets; like they were best friends when he didn’t even know who they were.

The girl blinked her golden eyes in confusion, tilting her head to the side in a distinctly animal way. “I’s Kai. Don’t you recognize me, Kasen-nim~?”

“Kai?” Kasen replied incredulously. “As in, Riley’s pet cat, Kai??”

“I’s not a pet,” Kai huffed, stomping her bare foot once. “I’s a Guardian. It’s a very esteemed position. I’s not a lowly housecat!”

“Kai,” Riley interrupted, letting the curtain drop back against the window. “There’s something out there. We don’t have time to convince him of the truth with words.”

“But… but Riley! I don’t wanna—”

“Kai. Who’s in charge?” Riley cut in, pulling out her phone. It seemed like the oddest thing to Kasen, honestly. Here they were, trying to convince the kid with one of the world’s worst migraines that his best friend’s pet had somehow turned into a humanoid being, and she was texting. A humanoid being, by the way, who looked like a teenager but talked like a little kid. Maybe this was all a hallucination. Hell, maybe he had had an attack and was in the hospital and this was all a drug-induced reality.

That this was all just a dream was another explanation he considered, but he knew better. The pain was too real, the nightmare too real, for him to explain away so much of the situation. Didn’t mean he didn’t keep hoping the current development couldn’t be the aforementioned elucidations. Anything was better than his going crazy.

After a few minutes of silent arguing, which Kasen tried his best to ignore, Kai stomped once and growled out a “Fine—” before shuffling over to Kasen with a decidedly petulant expression. “Watch me closely, Kasen-nim, ‘cuz I isn’t going to do this again.”

Throwing Riley a carefully dramatized hurt expression, she flicked the strange button once with her index and middle finger.

And before his eyes, his old life ended. There was no more blissful ignorance to what hid in the shadows, no scoffing at the fantastical stories girls like to read and recount on with stars in their eyes (like that stupid Edward Cullen. What did they see in him, seriously?). Because when a girl turns into a cat, the same one who had been living with you for several years… well, that kind of thing really messes with your head.

Thank the gods his headache had relented before Kai performed her little trick, because he’d be grounded otherwise. As it was, he was speechless, unable to speak around the lump of fear clogging his throat.

~?~

Riley clenched her teeth, slamming her emotions far away from herself. She could sense a Cousin getting closer. While there were so many emotions she could be feeling, they needed to go away. A soldier could not fight when her actions clouded by worry.

If she was unable to handle the Cousin, hopefully with the help of the newly awakened Kasen, what would it mean for her family? Not just her and her mother and father. But her extended family who would be just as affected by his fatal mistake. She was raised to follow the rules and accept a punishment if it was due. She wasn’t worried for her father, who understood he was at fault. It was all the others. And the humans who might be harmed if she was unable to stop her evil brethren.

Releasing a breath that she had been holding for far too long, Riley turned back to Kasen. His normally brown eyes were a shiny, almost metallic black. When she had come into the room and seen that, she had honestly been more afraid than she had ever been. He wasn’t just a human who had some mixed blood, as she had originally thought. He was so much more than that, a race that had been thought extinct. An Element. There hadn’t been a confirmed birth in thousands of years, not since the last great Kin-Cousin war, when stamping was invented. The Elements had sacrificed their power to give Kin the ability to beat back the Cousin’s evil advances. And without power, one cannot live. There had been rumors over the years, of course, that some bloodlines had survived. But this was the first time Riley had ever seen an actual Element.

“Kasen—” she started, unsure of how to continue. How did one tell a human, who had lived their whole lives as a human and had never once fell for a ghost story or entertained thoughts of the paranormal, that they weren’t human?

Kasen interrupted her, steadily meeting Riley’s eyes. “What are you?”

“I… am Kin. We’re a race with a lifespan three times that of human’s, and the only ones left alive who can protect the human race from Cousins, those who once shared the same blood as us but at some point in ancient history turned cold and unfeeling.” A pause. “And you are an Element. Far more powerful than Kin and Cousin combined.”

Kasen swallowed visibly, unable to meet Riley’s gaze anymore. “You’re saying not only are you not human, but neither am I.”

“….”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“I need your help,” she admitted reluctantly, tugging on the hem of her vest. Her phone buzzed in her hand, a quick pattern that let her know Headquarters had gotten her text. They’d be sending help, secretly, but Riley wasn’t sure if they’d make it in time. Kai was back in her human form, looking anxious, proof positive that the danger was real. Kai never looked anxious.

A good friend of hers worked in the department responsible for dispatching soldiers in the time of need. He would send only the best, the soldiers she had trained beside all her life. She wasn’t worried in the slightest that she and her family’s situation would be betrayed to the higher-ups. Nevertheless, Elements were born to fight, and since Kasen had always been a pacifist, his awakening would go against everything that was him. He’d be pulled into the fight either way. Better forearmed and forewarned.

Carefully, delicately, she explained the situation to Kasen, explained as best she could in such a short time what he was and what it meant. Explained what was about to happen, and how it would affect his newly awakened blood. He took it like the male he was, in silence when he needed to be but more than ready to spring into action when he needed to.

It was weird –and that wasn’t even close to the word to describe it- to look at Kasen and see his smile gone. He always made the best out of any situation, but in that moment his black eyes glittered and he looked like the once mythical Elements had always been described to her. This wasn’t right. Kasen… should smile. Not be forced into a war he had never before even known about, and at one time, even just an hour before, would never have believed in.

Riley swallowed. “Kasen—”

At that moment a loud BOOM echoed through the air, instantly converting Riley into the soldier she was. “We need to go. Now.”

Kai squared her shoulders, brandishing a clear blade she kept who knew where. Kasen jumped out of his seat, looking around as though the sound had come from his kitchen. Not even looking back to see if he was following her, Riley dashed out of the house, running at a speed even she hadn’t known she was capable of. Only two thoughts ran through her head: purify the Cousin. Protect the humans.

And, before she knew it, there one stood. An Old One.

Kai paused beside her bearer, eyes taking in every detail of the Cousin. The breach was not the cause of negligence on her father’s part, as Kai could now honestly report. This should come as a relief, but the emotion didn’t come. That her family’s reputation and livelihoods were safe didn’t take away from the fact that an Old One had breached the Clear stamp, making it ineffective.

Hurry, she silently called to her brothers-in-arms. This is more than I can handle on my own.

“This is the ‘Cousin’ you told me about?” Kasen asked from behind her. Riley nodded, shocked at the change that had overcome Kasen. Here wasn’t the boy she had met all those years ago. This… was an Element. Cold, and deadly, with the heart of gold that would give up itself without a second thought. What had she done? She had only exasperated the change! Surely, if she had just shut up, this stranger wouldn’t be standing before her!

The Cousin was nearly nine feet in height, with shoulders as wide as one of Riley’s arms. His pale skin was mottled with blue, black talon-like nails shooting out from its gnarled fingertips. Snarled black hair hid his face from view, but that he was an Old One was evident in the way he held himself and the deadly aura he gave off. No Cousin was so evil as an Old One.

Kasen blinked and Riley almost cried at the change that had overcome him. Emotion was as far from his face as Pluto was from the Sun. This wasn’t Kasen anymore.

He tilted his head to side slightly, taking in his surroundings. He appeared so uncaring. That is, until he saw the human laying on the ground beside the Old One’s bare foot (if one could call it that). Riley remembered her from when she still went to school…what was her name? Kaylee? She had never said a mean word about anyone, a sweet redhead with a temperament to match when she thought someone was being done wrong to. They had never been friends, but both Kasen and Riley had appreciated the helping hand she had readily given anyone.

It was at that moment Kasen snapped. His oily black eyes rose to meet the hidden ones of the Old One. Something indescribable flashed in Kasen’s eyes, and just like that, the Old One was gone.

Just, gone. Without a trace. Riley would have thought she had blinked, but the moment happened faster than even that. Where the thing went, Riley would never know.

As her reinforcements made their appearance, Kasen collapsed in a heap on the cracked asphalt, lifeless.

~?~

Silent darkness met Kasen on the other side. Where he was, he didn’t know. He felt stiff, like he hadn’t moved in a long time. Like that time he had come down with the flu and his mom hadn’t let him out of bed unless absolutely necessary.

He had had the strangest dream. That he was an extinct being known as an Element. That Riley was another non-human called a Kin, who lived three times as long as humans. And, funniest of all and the reason he knew he had been dreaming, Kai was a Guardian shapeshifter who could turn into a human! It was all so ludicrous, Kasen even laughed in his sleep.

Deciding he’d probably been asleep long enough, considering he didn’t even remember going to bed, Kasen pried his lids open by sheer force of will. A bright light met his abused ocular devices, causing him to wince and snap his lids back closed.

“Kasen!” he heard his mother cry from above him, followed by an echo from Riley and another voice that was strangely familiar. “Honey, wake up. Mommy’s here~ Okay? So you can open your eyes now. It’s alright.”

“Kasen.” Riley’s voice was hard, but he heard the quavering beneath the surface. “It wasn’t a dream. I know you want to pretend it was and just sleep away the reality, but that’s not a luxury you can afford. You almost died.”

“Riley!” Rosalie gasped.

“You can’t pretend it didn’t happen. You…” her voice cracked and he heard a swallow. “You saved a lot of lives with what you did. Kaylee’s fine. Understand? But now people know. They know you exist. Ignorance is not possible for you anymore.”

“Wake up, Kasen-nim~” another voice begged. Her voice sounded as though the owner was crying. “Wake up.”

Kasen swallowed and carefully opened his eyes, squinting against the rooms bright lights. His mother squeaked an apology and jumped up to turn down the intensity, instantly making looking around at the worried faces easier. He looked over at Riley, who looked down at him with her blue-green eyes warrior strong. He didn’t need the navy color to understand what she meant. He nodded once against what he now realized was a hospital pillow.

“I understand.”

Whatever had happened when he first collapsed, it was just the beginning.

As of right now, this really is just a short story, which I wrote for my Creative Writing class. Maybe I'll continue if there's a demand, but I don't know... I hope you liked it?


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