You With Me
Long archways made of charred metal pipes filled up the strange training room on The Ignis. At the center was a grated platform. A large raised gear sat at the center. Tall thick metal spikes poked out of the ground around the platform with warped dents and holes sprinkled across them.
It was a terrifying cold space with plenty of room for danger, and empty of people. The perfect room to practice using her arm without having to worry about others’ safety. She adjusted her footing, trying to work on her balance, Dash’s words ringing in her ears. Core died, and it was our fault.
Vale flexed her metal fingers and swung her arm, hitting one of the large spikes, warping it out of shape. What did Dash mean? Was Sky involved? What happened? Dash had left her shortly after mentioning Core, telling her to stretch her muscles in the training area and let him know if there were any problems with her casing. Three days had passed, and Vale had grown accustomed to the room that she had taken to practicing in for several hours a day.
Sky had been asleep each time she visited, driving her to spend hours sparring, determined to fight back her feeling of claustrophobia, of being stuck on a mysterious ship with rules she didn’t understand.
Dash had told her that walking on her injured leg was all the movement allowed. “No kicking anyone, no using it to pin them,” he had said with a roll of his eyes. “Just... try to get better. But that doesn’t have to stop you from learning to do some serious damage with that arm.”
Vale stared at the warped spike, curious to see how much she could actually do. Placing her hand around it, she yanked it towards herself, watching it bend under her grip. She pushed it down and watched the metal groan and buckle folding until it laid wrinkled and warped on the ground. Vale gasped and stared down at her arm. She had known that she possessed something unique, awe-inspiring. But this was something else.
No metal could do what she had just done. None that she knew of. Her arm was more powerful, more durable than any metal she had encountered. Incapable of being stopped by lightning, the ability to withstand insurmountable heat. And suddenly, Dash’s question felt larger than before. Who designed it?
She transformed her hand into a large sword, a two-headed axe, a shield, a spike. Each time, she took in the transformation, watching as the plates shifted and grew. “Who made this?” she asked out loud, echoing Dash’s question.
Hearing a set of footsteps behind her, she turned, struggling to move quickly on her metal casing. Sky stood in the doorway, sending a wave of surprise and joy through her. “Sky!” she gasped. He smiled, amused by her excitement, his eyes bright.
Vale hobbled over and threw her arms around him. “You’re okay.” She took in the smell of eucalyptus and copper that wafted over her, enjoying the familiarity. He ran his fingers down her hair bringing a smile to her face at the tender gesture.
Thanks to you, he signed once she had released him.
“Thanks to Dash,” she said. Sky took a step back, his face growing guarded.
I don’t want to talk about him. He looked around the training room. What are you doing in here?
Vale allowed the subject to drop for the moment. “Working on my balance. Got to get used to this new casing on my leg until it heals.” Sky stared down at her leg, his eyes scanning the work. He knelt down and pulled a wrench out of his toolbelt. “Why are you wearing that?”
He looked up at her, you never know when you will need to fix something. He placed his hand on her casing and began to make adjustments. Then he stood up and motioned for her to move around. Better?
It was far easier to move around. “You have a gift,” she said with a smile.
Sky shook his head, his eyes growing distant. He is still setting the casings too cautiously. Always afraid to try new things. You can heal and move. He doesn’t have to make it impossible, Sky signed after adding his tool back to his tool belt, a bitter expression on his face.
Vale sat down on the cold metal ground. “I don’t see a problem with being cautious. Especially when it comes to the body trying to heal itself.”
Sky lowered himself to sit across from her. Caution can lead to you being paralyzed, too comfortable, or afraid to do anything.
Vale stared down at her casing, lost in thought. We’re supposed to find the people on that list. To warn them. But I’m trapped here on a strange ship with two boys who won’t talk to each other or tell me why. And they may have killed one of the people on that list... She tucked her good leg up to her chest, leaning her head on it. She was afraid to talk to Sky about Core. Afraid of what he was hiding.
She felt Sky’s forefinger touch her chin and tilt her head up to look into his eyes. He held a question in them, waiting for her to explain where her mind had gone. “When you get better, you should go.”
He shook his head, his finger still under her chin, his eyes gazing into hers with determination.
“Sky, we can’t afford to wait until my leg is healed before we go find everyone on that list.” He shook his head again. “Don’t be stubborn about this. You hate it here. And we have a job to do. Just leave me here and-.”
He pulled his hand free from her chin and signed slowly, making each word clear. I. AM. NOT LEAVING. YOU. HERE.
Sky cupped her cheek and shook his head.
“That isn’t an answer Sky. What could possibly keep you here when-.”
Sky pulled her into a hug, weaving his fingers into her hair, his warm body pressed against hers as she instinctively burrowed her face into his neck. She enjoyed the feeling of his skin against hers. His strong pulse along her cheek. She felt him trace several words into her back, causing her to shiver. I want you with me.
His words made her blush, sending her heart tumbling into a pattern she didn’t understand. She leaned back and looked into his eyes. They were dark, an open desire filled them making her mouth dry. Before realizing what she was doing, she kissed his cheek.
He took in an unsteady breath and she moved back, feeling suddenly foolish. But before she could get too far away, Sky wrapped his hands around her hips and pulled her forward, covering her mouth with his. Sky’s soft lips consumed her, igniting her body, melting her resolve. Vale wrapped her fingers into his hair and pulled him closer.
His touch was fire, his hands strong as they moved to her waist trapping her in place. The kiss was hungry, full of unspoken wants that whispered to her heart, tugging at its strings.
The moment was shattered a moment later when a sharp pain ripped along Vale’s back, causing her to gasp against his lips. Sky let her go instantly, his bright blue eyes glazed, his cheeks pink.
He blinked and looked at her with question. “You didn’t do anything wrong,” Vale said, unable to keep the smile from her face. Far, far, far from it. Her heart was still wild in her chest, her breath uneasy. Sky blushed, the first one she had seen, causing her grin to grow wider.
Vale glanced over her shoulder and found that they had moved over to the metal spike she had folded, a shard of it had lodged itself into her back. Sky gingerly touched her back and pulled his fingers away, his hand covered in blood.