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10 December 2011 @ 06:23 pm
Fic: Returns [Original]  
Title: Returns
Word Count: 978
Rating: T
Summary: Returning home causes Synara to face some tough questions about her life
Notes: written for a writerverse challenge


Synara’s hands gripped the steering wheel tightly as she pulled away from the last checkpoint.  She could see the concerned face of the guard in her rearview mirror as he watched her drive down the narrowing road. 
 
“There’s been another uprising, but they were put down,” he’d told her, with the air of someone who thought they were ‘in the know.’  “But now we need to be extra alert for retribution.  You know those mags.” And he had nodded very deliberately. 
 
She waited until both the guard and guardhouse had disappeared before pulling over.  She reached behind her neck and undid the clasp with one hand, pulling the heavy, warm pendant from where it hung against her chest.  She shuddered a bit and dropped the pendant and chain into her jacket pocket.  She pulled back out on the road and continued to her destination.
 
It was a two hour ride into the now wild countryside before she turned off the road, following a rambling, nearly overgrown driveway to a cozy little cottage-style house.  The house had seen better days, but still showed evidence of recent care and maintenance.  She left her bag in the car, unsure of the welcome she would receive, and took a minute next to the car to stretch, feeling the energy channeling through her core. 
 
She was a little surprised that Jase hadn’t come out to meet her, either in anger or simple curiosity.  It had been three years since she had been here; over a  year since she had even spoken to him.  And then last night, she was hit with the overpowering urge to go home.  An urge that had strengthened exponentially when she had removed that damned pendant.  A chill of fear began to run through her as she called out, “Jase?”
 
She walked up to the front porch, the wood creaking under her feet.  She felt strangely reluctant to let herself into the house and instead called for her brother again.  It had to have been his call she felt; he must have known she would come, unless he’d given up on her.
 
The door swung open, the unexpected movement making her jump.  The smile that started across her face when he first appeared in the doorway quickly faltered as she took in his unnaturally pale complexion, his hand shaking where it rested on the doorframe.  His voice was strained as he spoke.  “I was hoping you’d get here in time, Synara.  You kept me waiting.”  His wry chuckle broke off as he gasped for air.
 
She hurried to his side, steadying him as they walked into the dim cabin.  Only a few steps inside and he sagged to the floor.  All she could do was slow his descent.  They settled to the floor, Synara kneeling with Jase’s head resting on her lap.  Her hand reached out automatically to brush his dark hair away from his face; as her fingers touched his skin, she gasped at the stagnant energy charge emanating from him.
 
“What happened to you?” she asked, withdrawing her hand.
 
His brilliant blue eyes looked straight up at her, but she couldn’t read what emotions were behind them.  “Your friends happened,” he rasped.  With a weak nod, he gestured to his arm.  She gently slid his sleeve up until she could see a large puncture mark.  Still wary of the altered energy state he was experiencing, she gently reached to probe the area near the wound.  His hand intercepted hers before she could touch it.  He shook his head.  “Can’t take the chance, Sis.”
 
“What is it, Jase?”
 
“You’d probably know better than I would, living and working with them.  Some new technology they’ve started using on their hunting sorties.  It was a dart.  Mara has all the ones we’ve found so far.  It seems to destroy our connection with the Energies.”
 
Her eyes were wide as she stared at him.  She had heard they were developing a new weapon, but had arrogantly believed that it would be as useless as the others that had come before.  Looking at Jase, she realized that maybe it was the breakthrough they had been touting. 
 
“What happens?”
 
He looked almost sympathetic.  “I die, little sis.  I can’t call the Energies.  What little I have left is pooling in my soul, getting darker and dirtier by the minute.  We’ve seen it before.  It’s taken Trey and Lina and...”  He stopped, his attention distracted. 
 
His expression turned sour as he noticed the end of the chain hanging from her pocket.  He grabbed it and held it out to her.  “This and all those things like it, designed to control us, and now to kill us.  And you bear that yoke of your own volition.  You turned your back on us to pretend to be like them.”
 
Her stare alternated between her dying bother and the abhorred pendant.  They had had this argument before, years ago when she left.  She wouldn’t reopen it, not now.  Not when she didn’t even know how much time they had left. 
 
“I love you,” she whispered.
 
He smiled gently at her.  “And I, you.  But I need you to do something for me.  I called you because I want you to perform my Return.  We don’t know if it can be successfully completed given this condition, but if anyone can, you can.”  His breathing was becoming ragged, his eyes fluttering as he whispered.  “You’ve always been strong enough.”
 
She sat for another minute watching the rising of his chest slow and become nonexistent.  “I’m not strong,” she replied tearfully.  She stood and began to the look for the supplies for the Rite of Return, delaying her grief until after all necessities had been completed. 
 
Looking down at the still form, mired in a fog of dank energy, she said, in a stronger voice, “But I will try.”

 
 
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