WATCHING OVER YOU
My thanks go to
Pen for her beta work. Short piece that came to my mind while
I was supposed to study. It loosely connects to
Veil of Shadows' and even to another fanfic of mine – can you
spot it? – but I don't think it is necessary to read those.
But then again, I could be wrong.
watch a rescue – from a very different point of view
watching them again?"
floats through the air, tinged with fond exasperation.
and tears his gaze away from the scene on the beach. "I'm not
watching them," comes the gruff reply, "I just happened to be
course." A chuckle. "So you're not trying to help them at
not. Bunch of namby-pambies wouldn't deserve it anyway."
I had been thinking that you had taken a shine to the boy."
man snorts. "What? The blonde fruitcake? Too much of a sissy.
Always insisting on how he had to help people."
distance, another mud-coloured wave crashes into the
precarious structure, threatening to take it apart with half
of the people still on it. Amidst the panicked crowd are three
young men in equally muddied uniforms, working furiously to
rescue the injured and immobile before the ocean can claim its
tell me, why are you here?"
in which the wind howls, resembling an enraged animal.
Even though you haven't left the hospital in the last, oh,
man turns around and glares. "That's none of yer business."
conversation partner – a woman, beautiful, her hair flying in
the wind – tilts her head. "Admit it. You have been watching
them. This is not the first time I noticed you."
almost defensive. "...Why would you?"
I'm watching them, too."
One of the
wooden pilings gives way and half of the platform crashes
down. Screams pierce the air, as a child loses balance and
starts falling – right into the raging water. One of the men
darts forward, arms out-stretched.
tense. For a few horrible seconds the rescuer is hanging in
the air, without anything to hold on to – then he grabs the
child and is pulled back by his safety line. There is a lot of
shouting, but the words are too garbled to understand. His
dark hair is plastered to his face, a trickle of blood on his
left temple, but he is alive and he is standing on safe ground
once again, with a crying child in his arms.
tension drains out of their bodies and the woman smiles wryly.
"For someone who doesn't care, you seem awfully uptight."
glare. "Shut up. Who the hell are you, anyway? Haven't seen
haven't, but I have been around."
man snorts and leans forward on his walking stick. "They're
doing fine on their own. Besides, you know that we can't
sometimes it is necessary." Her gaze is serious. "As you well
uncomfortably. "I never helped no one."
shore, the structure has been stabilized with the help of
heavy machinery. The sea is still roaring, but most of the
people are safe and sound. The rescue crew is picking up the
pieces, trying to salvage what can be salvaged and taking care
of the few that are left.
to me." The woman points to a young, blonde man, standing high
up on the structure. "You helped him. He would have been
caught in the shadows if you hadn't been there to guide him."
Stupid bugger wouldn't listen to my advice," he waves it off.
"And then he did it all on his own."
an eyebrow. "Modesty?"
Honesty." Upon seeing that the rescue is on the verge of being
finished, the old man straightens. "Right. Time for me to go
back. Got enough of stretching my legs; don't like all this
fancy new stuff, anyway."
frowns, not happy with the turn of the conversation. "They did
a good job-"
are lost amidst a dark, grumbling sound. Another huge wave
roars towards the beach, this one at least twice the size as
the last one. She would never have thought that water
could make such a sound, but it does; all low and dangerous,
an immense power to be reckoned with.
while the rescue crew scrambles into action, redoubling their
efforts. They abandon the wooden structure, leading the last
victims to safety. It would have worked perfectly, if not for
the small, Asian woman who trips, getting her foot caught
between two pillars. She twists and cries, but she moves too
fast, too panicked, only wedging her foot deeper and deeper.
is almost there, the sound so loud that her voice disappears
beneath it. One of the men doubles back, trying to free her,
but she's beyond reason and lashes out, punching him in the
stomach out of accident and pure bad luck. He doubles over and
falls, while the platform tilts and twists.
onlooker screams, but she can't do anything beside watch as
the wave hits.
doesn't even offer any resistance; it splinters into tiny
little pieces, the whole structure exploding in a swirl of
waves and broken pieces. Water moves like a living organism,
eating what had once been solid. Someone screams in pain – the
woman? The rescuers? The rest of the crew is on the verge of
panicking, while a blonde head disappears under the waves.
escapes hers lips, and then she darts forward, only to be held
back by a hand on her arm. "Don't," the old man advises
sternly. "We are not allowed to interfere."
eyes glitter in the stormy afternoon light. "I never cared
to make it on their own."
bristles. "As I recall, you weren't following the rules down
to the letter, either."
His gaze is unwavering. "But I only guided. You are
thinking of lending a hand, like you did with that other one
on the roof, helping him down from the railing."
deflates. "You were there?"
my sons," she gives as a way of explanation, as if it was
enough. And to the old man, it is.
being thrown into the water, as the rescue crew desperately
tries to save the two victims in the churning sea. They can't
hear the shouts anymore; the wind has turned, carrying the
words away from them. It's like watching a silent movie on
television; with the only exception that this is oh so very
is still on her arm, even though she is as still as a statue
now. Carefully, he lets her go and coughs. "Actually, they're
not sissies at all," he admits, with tremendous effort.
smile blossoms on her face, for she has read the underlying
meaning. "I know," she answers, and pride is evident in her
voice. "They are heroes."
it would sound cheesy, but for them it does not, because they
know that these five men are indeed heroes. But even heroes
can get hurt, and so they both flinch as finally, the two in
the water are rescued and pulled out of he storm, all broken
and bleeding. For a moment it seems as if they are dead.
she whispers, her face defiant.
as if he has heard her speaking, the blonde man twitches and
chokes on the water. Helpful hands slap him on the back,
relieved smiles all around. Saved. Rescued.
smiles, painfully so, because she is relieved and yet she
would like to be closer, to hold them, to brush his hair, to
touch his face in order to make sure that yes, he really is
alive. But she is not allowed to, is bound in her spirit form,
and so she remains, hands tightly clasped in front of her
man sighs. "It never gets easier."
doesn't," she replies and looks at him. "I wonder why you
is full of regret and mysteries. "I promised."
accepting the simple answer, because they all have secrets,
the ones that roam like her. They have people to protect, to
watch, reasons to linger even though they are being called
"I owe you
my sincere thanks," she bows. "You rescued my son when I
couldn't help him."
gave him a nudge," the old man grumbles, shy despite his gruff
demeanour, and there even is the tiniest hint of a blush on
escapes her lips, because she has learned to see the
underneath and she knows that despite his insults and his
egoistic utterings, the old guy has a heart of gold. Her son
only managed to get a glimpse of it, but she knows, and she is
glad for it, because there are few enough of those as it is.
And she cannot always be there, cannot help all her sons, even
though she would like nothing more, because she is bound, as
well, and even spirits have their limit.
surprises her by holding out his hand. "I shouldn't be talking
like this to a proper lady," he grumbles, "I know your son,
but I don't know you. Ye may call me Gustav. Or
Schnabelewopski. Whatever you want."
appreciate that," she takes the hand and shakes it. "Lucille
Tracy. Pleased to meet you."
crosses over them. One of the huge machines, green and bulky
looking, has lifted into the air, the crew safely on board,
dressing the wounded and stowing away equipment. Then there's
another flash of fire and the rocket departs, quick and sleek.
Soon, the two are left alone on the beach, where the waves are
still raging, angry at the escape of their prey.
rescue, another success. They are indeed heroes, even though
she knows about all their little quirks and annoying habits.
meet again," she says, and it is a statement, not a question.
man looks at his walking stick and sighs. "I guess so. Someone
needs to look out for those sissies, I guess."
they aren't sissies?"
outlines are fading. She smiles again. "Farewell, Gustav," she
whispers, and then she is gone, too, like a wisp in the air.
Schnabelewopski clutches the walking stick tighter, glares at
the remains of the wooden structure and grumbles to himself.
"Fancy-schmancy stuff. Much too modern. And damned I'll be,
but he is a fruitcake. So!"
time, he stomps on the ground, and then he is gone as well,
leaving behind only silence.