thisfatefulhour: (And the powers of darkness)
[personal profile] thisfatefulhour
It's dark in the hotel suite, and quiet; everyone has managed to get to sleep, one way or another. The curtains have been drawn.

The ringing of Charlie's cellphone isn't loud, and doesn't wake either Zillah or Charles. The abrupt wave of shock ten seconds into the conversation, however, gets past her mental shields.

Charles isn't sleeping well in any case. The second-hand emotion jolts him awake. After a disoriented second, he gets up, running a hand through his hair, and pads over to the door of Charlie and Zillah's room.

"Charlie?"

"Yes," she's saying very quietly, and "Of course," and "I'll be right there."

The door opens. Zillah is sitting up straight in bed, wide awake; Charlie’s already in jeans, hastily tugged on over her pajama top, and she’s pulling on her sneakers. “That was Tet,” she says, low. “Something’s going on and they need me to come down there.”

His eyes widen. "What is it? Can I help?" No, wait; his gaze flicks to Zillah. Someone has to stay here.

She’s already shaking her head. “I don’t know what’s going on, and I’ve got a very bad feeling about it. I’m going to need you, Charles, but I’m going to need you here.”

"All right. Go. We'll kythe to you." He touches her shoulder, light and quick. "Be safe."

Charlie finishes with her sneakers, and stands up. “There’s a list of numbers in my notepad, on the table. If anything happens and you can’t reach me, use those.” She looks at Zillah. “You’ll be okay here with Charles,” she says. “Listen to him while I’m gone, all right?”

Zillah nods silently.

Charlie turns, meets Charles’s eyes briefly, and heads for the door, grabbing her coat on the way out.

The immediate next thing is to go over to sit on the edge of Zillah's bed. "Are you all right?"

She wraps her arms around herself, tucking her chin down. “My nerves are bad tonight,” she mutters.

"Yes, bad," he counters, and moves closer to put an arm around her shoulders. He needs the hug as much as she does. "I'll stay."

Zillah leans into him. ”With her. You said. Down the hill they run, drawing the kitecord with them.”

He half-smiles, and hugs her closer. "Right."

An image: Meg, in the attic room, with Ananda (and Polly, still sleeping inside), as he mounted Gaudior and leapt into the heavens.

He closes his eyes, and kythes strength and connection and hope to Zillah.

She takes a deep breath and shifts, drawing her legs up to sit cross-legged, facing him; a nudge to do the same comes through the kythe. Charles mirrors her, and kythes out to Charlie the same strength and connection.

The image comes to their minds clearly: Charlie, on the street below, climbing into a yellow taxicab.

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Charles Wallace Murry

September 2009

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