She bit her lip. There wasn’t anything that she could see him wanting. Except…
“I’ll give myself to you, if you help me this time.” She unthinkingly blurted, before she could restrain herself.
Without hesitation, he pinned her against the wall. Leaning down, he paused, letting her feel his breath against the side of her neck for a moment, before slowly licking her temple. Eyes open, almost predatory as he watched her every reaction. Her initial quavering, followed by a flinch on contact.
Grabbing a fist of her hair, he forced her to look up at him. “Did you really think I’d let you off after saying that to me?” He whispered, his pupils narrowing into slits, similar to that of a serpent or angry feline, highlighting the color of his golden irises.
“I don’t expect you to.” She answered defiantly.
“Fine,” he said, letting go of her, and backing away. She felt a sudden chill in the air, in the absence of his body heat, as he casually walked off in the opposite direction of where she stood.
“Weren’t you,” she began, stretching a hand out to him.
“Hmm, no.” He answered, turning to wink at her. “I never saw you that way.” She could’ve sworn she saw his pupils narrowing again, as he turned to face forward. Was it her imagination? “We’d better get going if you want to make it in time to save him. The train doesn’t wait you know.” He shouted, without turning back, tone slightly teasing.
She flushed, jogging to catch up with him. “Then why are you helping me?” She asked, finally keeping pace with him.
“Can’t a man help out a cute girl without any motives in mind?” He asked, his golden eyes twinkling.
“But didn’t you just say that you never saw me that way?” She asked confused.
“Finding you cute and wanting you are two different things,” he answered, tone still flirty. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t find you cute now and want you later.”
Her face flushed again, as she sped up her pace.
“Hey!” He shouted from behind her. “The train is in this direction.”
She looked up to find that he was right. She had been relying on him direct them as they walked that she hadn’t kept track of where they were. Flushing harder, she turned and stomped towards him, before passing him, careful to watch the signs this time.
He chuckled behind her, as he stepped into the train car, doors closing behind him. He clicked his tongue and winked at her, as he stood, holding the handle bar near the exit. She hated how he was alway so flirty. If it weren’t for his constant apparent advances, she would’ve never made such an embarrassing mistake. She shook her head, there wasn’t time to think about that. Xev still needed her.
She looked down at her watch. They would make it to the hospital within an hour. The prognosis said two hours. She looked back at the silver haired man. Catching her eye, he smiled back. As infuriating as he was, she was grateful that he had agreed to help. He had no reason to. And without taking any payment or demanding anything from her, she really didn’t know how to pay him back for the favor.
In spite of her trust in the doctor’s prognosis, she couldn’t help growing increasingly anxious the closer they got to the hospital. The closer her brother’s time came to running out. Even now, standing before him, even having brought help, she couldn’t help but question whether she’d ever see her brother healthy again.
“Petrification huh?” The silver haired man asked from behind her, cutting off her thoughts, as he approached the bed.
She nodded. Bark was already growing from her brother’s fingers. “Xev,” she whispered, giving the hand a squeeze, despite knowing that her brother was no longer conscious of his surroundings. The action probably comforted her more than it did him. Probably more than it would ever comfort him. “Sylin, I…” She began, looking up at the golden eyes above her.
He put a hand to her lips, hushing her. Then gently shook his head, before taking her place, his passing gaze telling her that there was nothing needed to be said.
“Thank you.” She whispered.
A flash of light surrounded them, and she saw him. Really saw him this time. The man that constantly infuriated her. The only man she could rely on in this situation. His silver hair extended, growing beyond its normal boyish cut, before stopping at his hip. His casual coat and sweater were replaced by a carefully embroidered white robe. The tips of his ears gained a slight point. When he opened his eyes, though they remained golden in color, the inhumanly slitted pupils were back, without any indication of reverting to normal.
The illusion, which was normally so steady, spilled away, as he worked on her brother. A white glow surrounded him, following him like a personal aura. Though not quite human, she couldn’t deny that he was beautiful. His face hardly changed, but the seriousness of his current expression sharply contrasted from the those that she’s come to know him by. She didn’t think she’s ever seen him so concentrated.
She pressed her hands together, clasping them together in prayer. There was normally no cure for petrification. After the process sets root, the patient normally died once as his body, and eventually his heart solidified into wood. Even the strongest warlocks normally couldn’t do anything once a person carelessly becomes afflicted with the disease. If not for having accidentally stumbled upon Sylin undoing it in the past, she would’ve concluded that the deadly condition was incurable, just like anyone else.
Occasional currents of white light flowed from Sylin to her brother. The visible bark on his skin slowly faded, withdrawing back into wherever they emerged. The body seemed to soften, gradually becoming less stiff, and less corpse-like. Color returned to her brother’s cheeks. Then all the light retreated, just as quickly as it came.
Sylin’s appearance returned to the one she was familiar with. The shattered illusion reformed, and he looked human again. His clothes reverted back to the modern style she found him in, earlier in the day. A blue dress shirt, neatly tucked into a pair of white dress pants, adorned by an unbuttoned tan knee-length overcoat.
He shot her a lopsided grin, as the door clicked behind her. Though it made sense, she hadn’t realized the door had been locked. She had been too mesmerized by Sylin’s appearance, and distracted by her brother’s condition.
“Xev, he’ll be okay?” She asked, breaking the silence.
“Will the maiden catch me before I fall?” He asked, without answering her question, batting his eyes at her before falling forward.
She dashed up to him, doing her best to keep him upright, before collapsing to her knees under his weight.
He sighed against her neck, revealing that he was awake. She punched him in the shoulder, before pushing off of him and turning her attention back to her brother, who stirred in the bed.
“You could at least thank me,” Sylin pouted, before coughing. “That took more out of me than I’ve ever offered in a single setting.” Still kneeling, he continued, between coughs, “You of all people, should’ve known to seek me out before the petrification reached it’s final stage.”
She turned to him, just noticing his pallor. “Sylin, are you okay?” She asked, rushing over.
“Yeah. Just let me rest a bit.” He answered weakly, as he leaned himself into her shoulder. “Your brother will be fine. He should wake in an hour or so.”
“Thank you,” she whispered. But he was already asleep, snoring quietly against her. She smiled, gently patting his head. “Thank you.” She whispered again, before wrapping her arms around his unconscious body.