The Fated Return
Seven months have passed now and I just figured this is my new life. I’m still awaiting the day they want us to break the bond. One night I’m asleep in my apartment, next to my girlfriend. I end up having a dream.
I wake up lying in a very fancy looking king-sized bed. The room is decorated and painted to look like it was made for royalty. Lying next to me asleep on the bed facing me is Ariya.
I smile seeing how beautiful and peaceful she looks when she sleeps. Then my heart begins to hurt a little feeling emotions for her I didn’t know I had. I just wish things could be different between us. Our social status and us being bonded together make it impossible for us to be anything more than what we are.
I reach over and brush some of her hair off her face as I caress her cheek. This causes her to stir, and she moves slightly bringing her lips up closer to mine. I look at her lips aching to kiss her and let her know how I feel.
She moans softly in her sleep and her lips part to breathe. I can’t resist her. I lean in bringing my lips up to hers. Just as they are about to touch, her eyes open, and I wake up.
As my eyes open I see my girlfriend lying next to me still asleep. She is lying on her back sprawled out. One of her legs is over mine, and one hand is lying on my chest. She is a wild sleeper, especially after she drinks.
I lie there feeling my heart racing from that dream. It seemed so real to me for some reason. I could even still smell Ariya’s sweet scent in it.
I don’t know why but I close my eyes and inhale trying to get more of it. All I get is a mixture of mine, my girlfriend’s smell, and alcohol. I chuckle thinking I am going crazy, I decide to get up.
I lift Sara’s arm off me and set it beside her, then slide her leg off me as well. I slide out of bed trying not to wake her as I make my way to the restroom. I lean against the sink looking in the mirror and say to myself, “Why am I dreaming of her again?”
I take in a deep breath and I throw water on my face. Then I get startled by (Damn it, why did I wake up before we kissed.)Ariya’s voice suddenly enters my head.
I chuckle to myself thinking she must have had a similar dream as I did. I begin to wonder if it was the exact dream, or was it of someone else. I shake my head trying to abolish the thought. Then I dry my face then head back to bed.
As I lay back down, Sara wakes up and cuddles up against me “Are you okay?” She asks in a low tired voice.
I kiss her lips, “I am fine, go back to sleep.”
Another couple of months go by. This time I am getting ready for work when I hear a knock at my door. I walk to the door expecting it being my ride to take me to work. Since I am still on a type of probation, I am not allowed to own or drive any vehicle. When I open it I see Minerva standing there.
She steps forward hugging me, “Hey baby, how have you been?”
I hug her back confused why she is here. “Pretty good actually, why are you here?”
She steps back and looks me over with a smile, never letting go of my hands. “I wanted to see how you were doing. Why did you not let anyone know where you lived?”
“I figured I wasn’t allowed to. Especially after I screwed up as bad as I did.”
She lets go of my hands and smooths down her dress. “Are you going to invite me in?”
I step aside, “Oh yeah sorry, I am just getting ready for work.”
She steps in looking around, “Baby you don’t have to feel bad for what you did. You did your job, you protected your noble.”
“What I did, was leave a kid in a coma almost killing him.”
She looks to me,"Now baby, I always told you that temper of yours would get you into trouble.”
I nod and rub the back of my head, “Yeah you did. So how is Ariya by the way?”
“Can’t you tell from her emotions. She is happy and excelling in all her classes.”
I smile, “That is good, I am glad she is doing okay.” I motion to the kitchen and start making my way in that direction “Would you like something to drink? I don’t have much just some juice, water, and I think some milk”
She walks over sitting on my couch. “Water is fine” I start getting her a glass of ice water as she looks around. “You keep your place nice and clean.”
I walk over and hand her the glass, “Well until now, the only job I ever had was cleaning stuff. It’s kind of ingrained in me, you know.” I sit down next to her looking at her curiously, “You never told me why you are here”
She holds the cup in her lap with both hands and looks at me. “Well, we were kind of wondering if you would like to return to school?”
I shake my head, “No, I like my new life here.” I say without hesitation.
She looks at me with question, “Are you sure? We all miss you there and Ariya needs her guardian.”
I give her a skeptical look,“Yeah, I am not sure I believe that. All I did was cause problems and fight. Ariya seems happy now, so why would I want to go back and ruin that?”
She set the drink down on the coffee table then takes hold of one of my hands, “Baby, you might not believe it but Ariya still needs you, and we want you around. The end of the year tournament is coming up. We have a stand in for you but they will be at a disadvantage since he isn’t her bonded guardian.”
I pull my hand away as I stand shaking my head, “I am sorry, I am happy here. This new life I am living isn’t that bad.”
She brushes out her dress again as she stands. “I see... So there is nothing I can say to change your mind?” I shake my head again “What if you just come visit for a week. Show your support for your friends and teammates at the tournament. If you still don’t want to stay after that week, you may go.”
“I don’t know, I just feel if people see me it will cause more problems than I want to deal with.”
“But I am sure your friends would like to see you, I know Ariya would.” She says,
I sigh and stand, “Look I miss them too, but I-”
She holds up her hand to stop me from talking. “How about this. We will mask your appearance while you are there. And if you want to reveal yourself to anyone you can.”
I chuckle, “You are really trying to get me to go.”
She smiles, “Come on Fabien, what do you say, just a week?”
I look at her and rub a hand through my hair, debating if I should do this or not. I know I don’t want to permanently return. Hell it’s only a week, I’m sure it will be fine.
I give in with a deep sigh, “Fine, one week. Let me call my boss to request the days off.”
She smiles, “Oh I already did that. All you need to do is pack.”
I laugh, “So you knew I was going to say yes?”
She tilts her head slightly giving me a look like I should have known better. “You know I can be very persuasive. You will be off till then. Your apartment and bills will be paid for while you are gone.”
“Oh, I won’t be gone that long.” I say letting her know this is still only temporary.
She smiles walking by me to the door, “You never know”
I grin, “Alright let me pack a few things and I will be ready to go.”
She smiles back to me as she opens the door, “Oh you just relax, I got it covered.” Then she says to someone outside, “Come on in boys” Jason and David both enter with smiles and she motions to my bedroom, “Pack his things and let's go”
I laugh as they quickly head to my room to pack up my stuff. After they pack up what they need too, we leave and head back to the school. They sneak me back into my old serfs room and I get unpacked spending the rest of the day in there with them.
The next morning I get woke up by a knock at my door. I stumble out of bed and make my way to the door. When I open it my eyes widen as I see Ariya standing there.
Her face lights up as she widely smiles, “Oh my god you are back! I missed you so much!”
“Um, hey.” I slowly say, confused how she knew I was back.
She steps forward grabbing my hand and looks into my eyes, “I was so lost without you. It wasn’t till after you left that I found out how much I was in love with you.”
I hesitate unsure what to say. Then I try pulling my hand away, “I’m sorry, I am kind of seeing someone now.”
Her face contorts with sadness as she falls to her knees and begins to cry, “No it can't be! I love you!”
Then I realize I am not feeling any sadness coming from Ariya at all. She is actually feeling pretty happy and content right now. I cross my arms giving them a skeptical look “Okay quit screwing with me. Who are you?”
She suddenly starts laughing as her form shifts into Markus. He continues laughing and says, “I had you huh?”
He starts to stand and I push him over “How did you know I was back?”
He chuckles standing up all the way. Then he pulls out a necklace with a amulet that looks like two faces melding together. He holds it out to me, “Minerva wanted me to give you this. When you put it on, it should mask your appearance making you look like someone else.” I take the necklace and begin to slip it on. “I still don’t get why you want to mask your appearance from all your friends?” He says,
My appearance instantly begins to change. My hair turns red, my skin lightens, my eyes turn a hazel color, and my facial features change a bit as well. As I start to talk , I stutter as my voice begins shifting to a higher octave.
“W-well” I clear my throat feeling a slight tickle in it “I am only here for the tournament. I feel I have caused so much trouble around here, I would rather just stay away.”
“Oh, so you’re leaving after it's over” He asks, and I nod. He crosses his arms, “Are you at least going to be in it?”
I shake my head, “No, I hear they have a replacement for me anyways.”
“Yeah, Michael is doing it.”
“Your guardian?” I ask,
“And her boyfriend.” He says with a smile.
I feel a bit of jealousy hit me hearing that, but I smile. “That’s good, I am glad they finally got together.”
He narrows his eyes at me, “Yeah I guess.” He says skeptically “So you don’t miss it here at all?”
I nod, “Oh I do believe me, but I like my new life more. Also Ariya seems to be doing so much better with me gone anyways.”
He places a hand on my shoulder and looks in my eyes. “But are you truly happy. Is what you are doing really what you want to do for the rest of your life?”
I think about it briefly, there are so many things I would rather be doing. “I don’t know man. All I know is I haven’t fought or almost killed someone since I moved away.”
He pushes me, “Dude, you got to get over that. The guy deserved it, he was abusing his powers to do something sick and illegal. You did what any guardian would do, protect their noble.”
“Yeah, I guess. So I hear she is excelling in her classes now and Michael really makes her happy?”
“She was really depressed for a while after you left. She even stopped coming to school. But she got with Michael and things changed.” He says as he looks around my room.
“What about Wayne and Tyson. They haven’t been bothering her?” I ask,
He looks back at me, “Not till Michael decided to take your spot in the tournament. When they found out they started dating, that’s when they really started to harass him.”
I sigh and shake my head, “Damn it, they really piss me off.”
He looks at his cell phone, “Well I have to get to class.” He holds out his backpack to me with a grin, “Serf carry my bags for me.”
I push him,“Don’t make me hurt you”
He stumbles back and laughs,“Alright later man.”
He ends up leaving to his classes. Now that I look different, I decide to walk around the school. Maybe I could go talk to Daniel and Minerva. I begin walking past all the class rooms looking in feeling a bit nostalgic.
Then I end up coming across the Yoga and Meditation class. I look in and see Ariya sitting next to Michael. She cut her hair shorter, now it hangs just slightly past her jawline. It actually looks really good on her. They both seem to be laughing and doing a bit of flirting back and forth. Seeing how happy she is, makes me smile. I actually begin missing sitting in there with her like that.
As I am watching Mr. Drake walks up behind me. He places a hand on my shoulder. “Excuse me brother, can I help you?”
I step back letting him in, “Sorry I am new here, I am just learning where everything is.”
“Oh okay, very well then.”
He walks in and I glance in one more time. This time Ariya is looking at me curiously. I just turn and begin walking off. I get maybe ten feet away when I hear Ariya’s voice behind me, “Excuse me, who are you?”
I turn and see Michael and her walking up to me. “I am just a new serf here, just trying to learn my way around.”
She crosses her arms and furrows her brow in disbelief “For one, I know you are lying and-” She waves one of her hands in a circle in front of her at me. “you also have magic masking your appearance. So who are you?”
Crap she got better with her magic. I think to myself.
Michael steps forward glaring at me, “Boy you better answer her.”
I hold up my hands in surrender backing away from him, “I don’t want any trouble, Minerva brought me here. I am just on the way to see Daniel, I mean the headmaster.”
Ariya looks at me skeptically, “That wasn’t a lie. Fine, we are coming with you to make sure you don’t cause any problems.”
I look past her to her class, “What about your class?”
She points down the hall, “Just go.”
I smirk, “Yes Ma’am.” I sarcastically say,
As we are walking there I glance over at her seeing her just staring at me.
“What?” I ask,
She narrows her eyes again, “Why are you masking your appearance?”
I smile, “Because I don’t want people to see what I look like.”
“No shit,” she says, I chuckle to myself remembering how much I tried to get her to cuss. “What’s so funny?”
I just shake my head and look forward with a smile “Nothing”
“I don’t think I like you.” She says,
“That’s nothing new.”
Michael slaps the back of my head, “Boy quit being a jerk. As a serf you can’t talk to her that way.”
I just take in a deep breath gritting my teeth trying to keep calm. We keep walking and finally get to the office. Ariya grabs my hand pulling me in with her. Daniel looks to us up from some papers on his desk.
“Daniel who is this?” She asks,
He glances to me with uncertainty, “I don’t know”
I subtly pull out the necklace showing it to him as he smiles realizing who I am. “Oh, that’s F-Frank” I roll my eyes shaking my head with a grin as he continues “He is observing the school to see if he wants to attend here.”
She crosses her arms looking at him with disappointment,“Now you are lying to me. What’s going on?”
He chuckles, "Ariya listen, I can’t tell you who he is, just trust me he is okay to be here.”
She looks to me skeptically again, “I still don’t trust you.”
I nod, “I wouldn’t either”
She growls and I grin. I really miss annoying her like this. She takes Michael’s hand pulling him with her as she leaves.
I turn back to Daniel as he smiles at me “You were almost caught”
I rub the back of my head looking at the door in shock. “Wow, she improved a lot with her magic.”
“Not just her magic, she is a formidable fighter as well. She might kick your butt.”
I chuckle, “Nice, I will have to see that.”
“You know there were several rumors going around about you two.” He says at he tilts his head looking at me.
“Uh oh, like what?”
He smiles, “Well that you two were dating each other secretly.”
I laugh, “Oh yeah that one. I may have started that rumor. One of my exes was trying hard to get back with me but I said I was dating someone. When she asked who, Ariya was the first person who popped in my head.”
We sit and talk about pretty much everything that has been going on while I was gone. He would ask how I have been doing. Surprisingly, he doesn’t press the issue about me returning to the school. But he does bring up a school dance that is happening that he would like me to attend. He says its a masquerade dance where everyone’s appearance would be hidden anyways. I was reluctant about it at first, but he convinces me to go. Our chat eventually ends and I leave.
I decide to walk around some more and find myself over by the training grounds. I check the time and realize I have a couple hours before people would actually show up to use it. I spend a little over an hour messing around out there and doing a bit of exercising. Two hours go by quickly and I get pretty hot and sweaty. Now I decide to head to the pool to cool off and relax.
As I am walking that direction, I see Ariya walking towards me with Melissa, Elizabeth and Traci. Trying to avoid another session with Ariya, grilling me about who I am. I keep my head down as I walk by.
Traci notices me and pushes Melissa to get her attention. “Damn who is he? He is kind of hot.”
Melissa looks to me, “Yeah he is, Is he new?"
I chuckle silently to myself. If they only knew it was me.
I guess Ariya notices me after they say that and stops. “You serf, stop.”
Traci’s eyes widen. “He is a serf?” She clicks her tongue “I thought he was a new student, gross. And I called him hot.”
I smirk turning to face them, “Can I help you with something?”
Ariya gets close trying to see past the magic masking my appearance. She looks in my eyes trying to see anything about me. Then it hits me how good she smells today. There’s that smell I’ve been missing.
“There is something about you that I-” She begins to say,
I smirk and cut her off, “Look I get it, if you want to kiss me all you have to do is ask.”
She scoffs then slaps me across the face and backs away from me. My eyes close as I rub the side of my face with a chuckle.
Melissa pushes me away saying, “Serf you can’t talk to us like that. Do you want me to report you to the headmaster?”
“I don’t know, he might find it amusing.”
Melissa begins to step up to me and Ariya grabs her arm pulling her away. “Just ignore him, I will talk to Daniel later. We are going to be late dealing with this idiot.” (He is right Daniel would probably find it funny, jerk.) She thinks,
They turn to walk off and I say responding to her thought,“You shouldn’t call your brother a jerk. But you know he would find it funny.”
She turns looking at me in shock as I smirk turning to walk off. Then I hear in my head,(Fabien is that you?)
I close my eyes thinking she figured it out. I just keep walking ignoring her then she thinks to herself again, (Yeah it can’t be him, Daniel would have told me if he was back.)
I finally get to the swimming pool and lucky for me its empty. It’s good knowing how the class schedules work around here. Without thinking, I remove my shirt along with the necklace and my shoes before getting in the pool. I swim around for a while and end up just floating on my back relaxing with my eyes closed.
Suddenly, I hear someone trying to quietly get in the water. When I sit up and look I see Ashley in nothing but her underwear swimming over to me. “No one told me you came back.” She says,
I sit up and begin to wade in place. “No one knows, and I would like to keep it that way.”
She circles around me checking me out, “You are looking good, you cut your hair and got a tan.” She says then stops in front of me.
She is so close I can feel her feet brush against mine as she tries to stay afloat“Yeah I got a job building houses, so I am out in the sun a lot. I am only here for the tournament then I am leaving again.”
She swims closer taking my hands as her body touches mine. “Then I need to take advantage of what time we have then. You know I have missed you.”
I pull my hand away swimming back slightly. “Ashley, I am seeing someone now. Shouldn’t you be working anyways?”
“I am, it’s my turn to clean the pool.” She swims back up to me putting her arms around my neck, “But I would rather play with you. Do you remember what you said to me the last time we were together?”
“Why are you in my bed?” I say with a smile.
“You told me we could finish what we started in bed the next time I see you.”
I pull her off me again with a sigh, “I am sorry, I can’t”
She pouts and splashes water at me, “Whatever, you know your ex found a new man too.”
I nod, “Yeah I heard, that is good, I am glad she is happy. Maybe you should do that as well.”
“The man she is with only got with her to forget his ex.”
I shrug, “As long as he makes her happy I don’t care.” I swim over to the side pulling myself up. “Well, I think I better go so you can clean this up.”
She looks a bit upset watching me get dressed and walk off. Talking with her made me want to call my girlfriend to see how she is doing. I dial the number and instead of her answering I hear a familiar man’s voice say, “Hello?”
I look at the phone making sure I dialed the right number, “Um, who is this?”
“Sara’s boyfriend, who is this.” He replies back.
Just as I am about to respond I hear her snatch the phone from him and quietly say “Damn it Chris, don’t answer my phone.”
Now I recognize him as one of my co-workers. He has always been extra flirty with her. Even saying he wanted to date her if we broke up.
“Hello?” She says to me,
“Why is Chris there with you, and why is he answering your phone?” I ask in an upset voice.
I hear her hesitate, “Oh uh, you know how my car was making a funny noise? So, he is here checking it out for me since you aren’t here.”
Trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and not jump to any conclusions, “Uh huh, well I am going to be gone the rest of the week, I just wanted to talk to you.”
Suddenly, I hear with my heightened hearing a kissing noise as she gasps. Chris then whispers to her, “Hang up on that loser and come back to bed with me.”
I stop walking, “What did he just say?” I loudly ask,
I hear shuffling around as she stutters again. "Wha- What he didn’t say anything”
“You better not be cheating on me.”
She gasps, “How could you say that, do you not trust me?” She says,
“Let me talk to him” I say,
“What, no. Fabien we aren’t-”
“You either let me talk to him now or we are over.” I sternly say this time.
She hands him the phone and he acts like nothing is going on. “What’s up Fabien?”
“Listen, I know you are sleeping with her. I heard you whisper telling her to come back to bed. All I got to say is, when I get home, if I see you anywhere near her or the job site I am beating your ass.” I say
Now I have been doing good at not getting overly angry and keeping my emotions in check. I even started trying not to cuss as much. I was actually doing pretty good, then he says to me, “It's your fault, if you were giving it to her right she wouldn’t have to come to me.”
I growl into the phone, “You are fucking dead.”
I hear her slap him as he hangs up on me. I crush the phone in my hand ignoring the glass shards getting piercing into my fingers and palm. I turn with the same hand and punch the wall shouting, “Mother fucker!”
Large cracks shatter outward from the indentation I leave in the stone wall. My knuckles begin to bleeding. I’m so angry the pain hasn’t hit me yet.
Then I hear a female’s voice behind me say, “Excuse me, you just damaged school property.”
Still angry I spin around to confront the person. That’s when I see Samantha and Donovan standing there. I take in a deep breath to calm down, “Yeah, sorry about that.”
She walks up in front of me crossing her arms. “May I ask who you are and why you are punching our walls?”
I grab my hand feeling the pain starting to hit me. “Oh, I am a new serf here. I am really sorry about the wall.”
Donovan walks up looking at the cracks I made in the wall then back to my hand, “No serf can hit hard enough to leave an indention in stone like that.”
I smile, “Adrenaline maybe?”
They both give me a skeptical look and I pray she doesn’t use her enchantment magic to make me tell the truth.
She walks up taking hold of my hand gently. “Well, I think you broke some knuckles. You should really go see the nurse to get it checked out. We are going to have to report this to the headmaster. What is your name?”
Off the top of my head I quickly come up with, “Frank, Frank Hopkins”
Still not sure if she actually believes me and I can hear the skepticism in her voice as she says, “Okay, Frank Hopkins, head to the nurses office and no more punching walls.” She looks to Donovan, “I think you should make sure he gets there okay”
We begin making our way to the nurse’s office. When we get there I see a golem blocking the entrance. I hesitantly walk up to it hoping it wont see through the magic masking my appearance.
It begins scanning me then says, “Fabien - Classification Guardian - Expelled - Illusionary aura detected - Access Denied”
The nurse stands up out of her chair looking at me. Then Donovan grabs my shoulder making me face him, “Fabien, is that you?” He asks,
I close my eyes with a sigh “Yeah it is and why is there a golem here now?”
The nurse looks at me with uncertainty “Why are you disguised?”
I pull out the necklace from under my shirt showing it to them “I got this necklace from Minerva so people wouldn’t know I am back”
“Why?” Donovan asks,
“Well, I am only back to watch the tournament and support my team. Then I am going back to my life outside this school.”
“Golem, allow Fabien to enter.” The nurse says as she walks up to the door.
The golem says as it steps aside, “Fabien - Access granted”
I walk inside and the nurse grabs my hand roughly causing me to wince in pain. “I see you still like punching things” She says with annoyance.
“Ouch! Yeah sorry.”
Donovan smirks, “What made you mad this time?”
“Apparently my bitch - ow!,” The nurse squeezes my hand scowling at me not liking my choice of words. “...girlfriend, couldn’t wait one day before cheating on me.”
“That sucks, how long were you two together?” Donovan says,
"Four or five months... Ouch, damn it woman that hurts!” I say as I scowl at her.
The nurse pulls a piece of glass from my hand. “Stop being a baby.”
I growl at her as a slight smile crosses her lips. Then we hear the golem go off again announcing Samantha as she enters. Donovan immediately motions to me, “Sam, this is Fabien in disguise.”
Samantha smirks, “I should have known with that violent outburst. Why are you disguised?”
I sigh, “Again, I didn’t want people to know I am back, and so far it’s not working at all. I am just here to watch the tournament then leave.”
“So you don’t want to be in it?” She asks as she walks over and crosses her arms.
I shake my head, “Nah, I am good”
“Chicken,” The nurse says,
I glare at her as she fights back a smile just looking at my hand. “Aren’t nurses supposed to be nice to their patients?”
“So are you afraid to fight?” Donovan asks,
I chuckle, “Really, I have been in more fights here as a serf; than most guardians ever see all the years they are here.”
The nurse nods in agreement.
“Maybe you are afraid that you might let your team down. You have been out of practice for a while.” Samantha says,
I get quiet thinking about it knowing she’s right. I haven’t really been training, other than the martial arts classes I’ve been taking.
“What if your team’s only chance at winning is having you there? Could you really just sit back and watch them lose?” Donovan asks,
I chuckle and look at him, “Wow, way to try and guilt trip me. But no, I am still not going to do it. I am done with fighting. I don’t want to end up hurting another person like I did.”
“Oh well, you are still coming to the dance right?” Samantha asks,
I give her a displeased look, “Yeah I kind of told Daniel I would. But I will be going as Frank though.”
We talk a bit longer as the nurse heals my hand. Then I leave and grab some food, before heading back to my room. A couple hours go by and I am sitting in my room reading when I flash into Ariya’s body, looking through her eyes. She walks into a room to talk to Daniel. He is sitting on the edge of his bed taking off his shoes.
“Daniel is Fabien back? That serf Ashley told me she saw him swimming in pool by the gym. He isn’t that guy Frank is he?” She asks,
I can feel my nervousness rising thinking she is going to figure this out. Daniel looks to her with confusion. “What are you talking about? No Fabien isn’t here.”
She crosses her arms. “You would tell me if he was though right?”
I begin to wonder how he got away with that lie.
He sighs, "Ariya, Fabien got expelled. When Minerva went to go ask him if he wanted to return he said no. He really likes his new life. There is a chance he may never come back.”
I feel a bit of sadness coming from her. “He really said he didn’t want to come back?” She asks,
Daniel nods, “Yeah, he did”
“Was it because of me?”
He shrugs as he stands, “I don’t know, I wasn’t there. I’m sure he was just tired of all the drama and fighting he was dealing with.”
“Oh okay, I guess I will go. ”She turns to leave thinking to herself (He probably hated dealing with all my problems and me being a bitch to him) She begins walking back to her dorm and then speaks to me (Fabien I am sorry, I understand why you want to stay away from me) I jump back to my body and sit up rubbing my eyes and I hear her say to me (I do wish I could see you again)