What had he expected hugs and kisses? No, but it still stung. He could still see the acid in those forest colored eyes and it was directed at him. To her he was the most unnatural vile thing in existence, maybe he was. He shook his head that was her duty. She needed that acid to survive. He was her bound warrior it was his job to protect her not be her friend. Even though his mind said it, somewhere deep inside he hoped that maybe someday she would look passed what he was on the surface and see what lay beyond. But for now he was content with keeping her safe from things that would like to consume her.
Rylee sat on her bed, an Old One? Her mind wondered. How old? She asked. To her that seemed like heavy duty. What kind of s*** am I in? She thought as she stood up pacing the length of her small bedroom. Ug I don’t suppose this could work without actually having to see him? Probably not. Her mind answered. “Fine I’ll play nice.” She ground her teeth. Calming down, she closed her eyes. Thinking of nothing else but the warrior bond. She could feel it now it was like a sudden wealth of strength she’d never felt before. Despite knowing what she was doing she smiled. Nate Cypher…Her mind called. When she opened her eyes the room that had just been pitch black was illuminated in a golden light, it was a beauty she had never seen before.
He stopped in the middle of a thought clutching his chest but as suddenly as it had come it was gone. It was replaced by the NEED to be somewhere. Nate Cypher…The name was in his head but it wasn’t his voice. When he looked down he saw a faint thrum of golden light tugging at his chest, tugging at his existence. He realized then that it was Rylee. He ran forcing power to make him faster.
When she looked up again the golden light had faded and she felt him. He was here that was proven when she yanked the door open and found him filling the dimly lit hallway wearing the same jeans and under armor shirt he had on when they met. She moved aside motioning him in, with a sudden sense of dread. She closed the door behind him and turned to face him nervously tucking her hands in her back pockets.
“This does not in any way mean I accept you.” She said finally regaining her resolve.” He stayed quit looking at her and then away he nodded. “Maki told me what I had to do to activate the bond. This is a part of my duty it is nothing more.” She continued. He met her gaze.
“I understand. About earlier, I shouldn’t have done that that was probably not the best way to announce myself.” He explained. She nodded taking a seat on the edge of her bed. He respectively kept his distance and sat on the desk chair across the room.
“Am I your first?” She asked, then she realized how it sounded and opened her mouth to clarify. He looked amused.
“I know what you meant. But no you aren’t.” He responded. She nodded. “This doesn’t have to be awkward just ask what comes to mind.” He encouraged.
“Fine. How old are you?” She asked.
“Thousand.” He answered. She looked at him, he was serious. Crap. Old One is literal. She thought.
“Where are you from?” She asked.
“Dublin, Ireland.” He replied. She thought about it. It wasn’t noticeable at first, but some words were accented. Interesting. She thought.
“Family?” She leaned forward.
“8 brothers, 4 sisters. “ He replied.
“All like you?” She raised an eyebrow.
“Yes.” He said simply. They went back and forth like this for hours. He began to regret giving her free rein.
She stayed silent having run out of questions. “Your turn.” She replied leaning back on the bed.
“How old?” He asked.
“Almost twenty.” She replied.
“Family?” He asked. She shook her head. “Hobbies?” He asked. She burst out in laughter.
“No time. From 6-10 am I run lift, train on mitts with Maki. From 11:30-2:30 I have class. 3 I meet Maki for lunch. Then 4-6 we train. Then she goes to class. Everyday.” She explained.
“That sucks.” He replied. She scoffed.
“Well I don’t have a choice. My natural strength and skill is a lot lower than yours.” She added.
“True.” He shrugged.
“So how does this work?” Rylee asked motioning between them.
“It doesn’t really work, it just is. It’s just a tool for me to protect you.” He said.
“Helpful.” She responded.
Damn it! He thought watching as golden light flooded from her illuminating her room. She activated the warrior bond. He had underestimated her. He thought he’d had more time. He thought she’d fight it harder, fight him harder, but it was her Guardian. The word was like fire on his tongue when he thought it with such malice. That yellow b*** had persuaded her. Now he was protecting her. In a minute he gathered his resolve and pushed done the violence he felt. Well played, my son.
Nate had left her an hour ago. She had laid in her bed with her comforter pulled close waiting for Maki to get back from her class. Which, Rylee glanced at the clock seems to be running late. Deciding not to wait up Rylee closed her eyes and slept for a few hours before she had to get up again. Training is all her life seemed to be now. She wondered if she’d actually use the things she learned from psychology and the master’s degree in criminal justice. What was the point? If her sole purpose was to hunt the monsters in the darkness? Was becoming a cop even realistic anymore? These questions whirled around her mind making sleep difficult to hold on to eventually the questions stopped and she was completely consumed by sleep.
Her alarm beeped annoyingly in her eat and like every morning she slammed it off rolling out of bed to throw on workout clothes, eat a small protein enriched breakfast and head down to meet Maki.
Imagine Rylee’s disappointment when she saw Nate in place of Maki.
“She had some errands to run for her class.” He answered, noticing the glare on her face. In place of his usual black jeans he wore dark mesh gym shorts and an under armor tank top. “So I will be your running partner.” He added.
“Great.” She answered sarcastically leaning down to stretch out her legs. They walked out to the trail and started jogging to warm up. Nate, no doubt had to slow down for her. After about five minutes Rylee picked it up to a run. Sucking in air strategically she avoided the raw feeling in her side. Nate ran alongside her with every stride he took matching hers perfectly as if they’ve been running partners for years.
“This is nice.” He said not needing to breathe which must be nice. Rylee turned sideways to glance at him. His attention was focused on the land surrounding him. A look of pure joy overwhelmed his features almost how it was when you come home after being away for so long. It struck her then the way he spoke the deep green of his eye that always seemed to intensify when he was near nature, the color of his clothes, they were all natural. She didn’t understand how, but the woods made him stronger.
“I suppose it is.” She replied. He smiled at her. The rest of the run was silent as if he could guess she didn’t like to talk.
Now in the gym Rylee threw down some water gasping for air she so desperately needed. Watching Nate she felt a pang of jealousy. Undead asshole! She cursed mentally. “Guess…I’ve been missing out.” She said between gasps. He chuckled.
“No, there is just a physical difference between me and Maki.” He explained. She glared up at him giving him a sarcastic thumbs up.
“Slight physical change my ass. Try different species.” She mumbled under her breath. He of course heard her, being the thousand year old vampire that he was. Finally having caught her breath she moved back to the mat.
“Alright again. 1 2 3.’ He called out combos holding out the mitts catching her punches. “Again. Harder!” The look in his eyes was tense. She glared at him and put as much shoulder behind her jab, cross, left hook combination. “Better.” He encouraged. The sting in her shoulders said otherwise. They continued on like this for an hour with breaks in-between. Her body would hurt like I hadn’t in forever. She shrugged it off, it meant she was getting stronger. If what Maki said was true, she would need to be at her physical maximum.
Rylee shoved her hand wraps into her gym bag along with her gloves. “We’ll pick up tomorrow.” Nate came beside her taking off his own wraps.
“Fine.” Rylee replied whilst picking up and shouldering her bag. Nate watched as she left.
“I think that went well. She’s really starting to warm up.” He said sarcastically as he exited the building being sure he shut off the lights. He again had to remind himself that he was something that everything in her told her to kill. She had done an honor in activating the warrior bond. He thought of his brothers and sisters some in different states others in different countries. It has been a long time since he has talked to any of them. He wondered how their training was going. He needed the advice of his big brothers.
Nate didn’t return to his dorm instead he lingered close to Rylee’s dorm in case she had need of him. To him she was all he could think about filled with the need to protect and serve. She may not like it but she was his. She was so strong, smart, and beautiful she was his equal in every way.
She was being civil, wasn’t she? Rylee wondered maybe I’m being too harsh? She knew he was there to protect her but she was having trouble seeing past the whole vampire ordeal. Yet somehow she knew with her whole heart that he would never hurt her. How do I know that? She asked. Maybe it was the bond. Maki said protectors had powers so where were hers. She had been so focused on training physically that she had completely forgotten about the latter. She made a mental note to ask Maki if they could start developing her protector powers.
“Come on! You keep saying I need to be strong I AM strong. It’s been years Maki and other than toned biceps I have nothing. I can’t fight impending darkness with nothing but a dull stake!” Rylee shouted. Maki stood in the middle of their room with her arms crossed and lips pursed. Her eye shadow glittered when she shifted into the light. Finally her gaze met Rylee’s.
“You’re right. But what you don’t understand is that when you received your powers, they will drain you. And when you are in battle I need you to be able to push through even if you are tired. You and Nate are what stand between us and the darkness.” The look in her eyes was that of extreme seriousness trying to get Rylee to understand. Rylee nodded.
“I understand. Let’s do this.” She spoke with new found determination.
“We’ll start tomorrow night out in the woods. Call Nate to you.” She wasn’t asking, she was telling. Rylee refrained from rolling her eyes.
“Fine. I’ll meet you out on the path after your class.” Rylee said moving around Maki to reach her bed. It was a quarter after 10 and Rylee took off her jeans and went to bed. Alarm set for 5:30 as it always was.
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