who has seen the wind?

By llamajoy

if you need a friend donít look to a stranger
you know in the end that iíll be there
and when youíre in doubt and when youíre in danger
take a look all around and iíll be there
--when in rome

Youíve lost her-- you stumbled once and now you canít see where sheís gone. Now what are you good for? So pointless. She was running so slowly, so raggedly, it should have been nothing for your long legs to keep up with her. To catch up to her. She looked so... lost. Donít think too hard about that, the frail edge of her bravery as she fought-- as she said goodbye.

Ignore the thickness in the back of your throat-- donít think about that now. It canít be goodbye. You know better. Not a one of you was meant to be alone.

But her hands looked so pale and small as she held them up to him, like she were making a peace offering. Of course he didnít listen-- itís not him anymore. It took you a while but both of you realized that, that there was something wrong with him.

And she took it hard, so hard. Youíve never seen her cry but Hyne she looked so close-- standing by her, you were the only one who saw her face as she turned away. It makes you want to hurt him, to lift him by his shoulders and shake and shake till he comes back to his senses.

But you didnít, you turned and ran-- because she needed you more. She needs you more.

And youíve lost her.

Youíd kick something if the ground werenít so flat-- frustrating! But kicking things was her job anyway, wasnít it? Miserable, useless--

Wait! Did you hear something? Spin around, drop into a crouch. Everything looks the same, so reddish and rocky and-- there! Turn your head to the sound. A voice? Start to run-- donít think, thatís his job. Just run and let your feet bring you where youíre needed.

A muted roar-- of pain or anger?-- and the voice again. Is it her? Her voice sounds soÖ abused. Youíd never heard her talk so much, as you stood by her side. You wanted to-- hold her hand, or some fool thing like that. Hold her, fold her into your arms. Strength was always what you were good at. But she would have just yelled, or kicked, or--

That has to be her, you know the sound of her. Faster-- there she is-- oh! It must be bad, sheís barely standing. The toramaís ferocious cat-jaws look hungry, opening to snarl magic at her.

Not like her, to let her guard down... but you know better, when it comes to him. Lift your weapon and join her-- no one else needs to know her weaknesses. Theyíre safe with you, she is safe with you. She has to be; donít think about her being alone.

When she tries to cast sleep on it, she misses. Youíre at her side in an instant, bodysense keeping you upright and mobile as your mind is reeling. She doesnít react to you, doesnít scream or meet your eyes-- and you realize sheís got blind on her, fighting sightless.

And, by the set of her small shoulders, not expecting to win.

A moment of clarity, like sunlight, shivers through you. She is blind-- and even your magic wonít lift that from her. Nothing will-- until you are three again. Esuna sparkles green and bright from your dark fingers and you smile, something like contentedness moving through your pulsing blood. Youíll find him again, if thatís what you have to do.

Feeling the healing magic, she swivels unsteadily and her eye is wide with disbelief. Her mouth opens as if she would speak, but decided against it. Grin; youíre not surprised. Sheís talked enough for weeks.

The monster must have been weakened more than either of you thought-- two more swings of her shuriken and it topples. Slowly you feel your breath returning, feel the growing ache of your overworked muscles. What must she be feeling? Oh, what you wouldnít give for a tent, or anything more than you have.

She staggers toward you, and you finally let yourself touch her, steady her. Heavily she leans on you, panting into your chest. For a moment you think sheíll fuss, yell at you for following her, for not letting her save herself. Some silly dramatic notion like that-- ideas are contagious, and he was always the silliest and most dramatic of all. Unconsciously you smooth her rumpled hair, hands soothing and strong and before you know it her trembling has stopped-- and she has not yanked herself away.

"Thanks," she whispers, and you know what it has cost her, so you rest a finger on her lips to silence her. And for once you donít have many wordsÖ maybe that is catching, too. Leave your hand on her mouth, playful, until she protests and kicks you in the shin. Hard.

Laugh, till your sides want to hurt. Almost back to normal. "Weíll get him back," you hear yourself saying, the pain fading into familiarity, sort of pleasant. "Itíll be okay."

And as you speak, you donít think it will be all right, you know.


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