Minute by Minute Ch. 04byRosenkrantz©
I settled down on the stool Adrai had set up. A few feet in front of me, he was pressing buttons on the HoloCom.
I squirmed around on my seat. Shit I was nervous. "Is it done yet?"
Adrai gave me a long suffering glare for my impatience and stood. "Yeah it's just about there. Now settle down so it can scan you properly."
He pressed another button and a blue light shot out of the Com.
"Stay still, Noah!"
I grabbed the sides of the stool and held myself rigid. I watched the light in the corner of my eyes as it fanned over me, up and down, up and down. Finally the Com beeped and the light disappeared.
"Okay, it's calling. You don't have to stay completely still for the call, but try not to move too much." He smiled at me and leaned back against the desk. I wish he'd agreed to do this with me. He just kept going on about how I was the one they wanted to talk to. It didn't matter that doing this alone made me nervous as hell. He thought they'd be more comfortable if he wasn't there, even if I would be much happier if he was doing it with me.
The Com beeped and whirred, and the blue light shot out again. It widened and fanned over the area in front of me. Slowly, my family started to materialize.
I watched as Chloe appeared, smiling brightly and bouncing on her toes, then Ally, Sam, and Lucas.
As soon as their eyes focused on to me, Chloe screamed.
"Noah! Noah dad's gone! I was watching from my window and when Ad-ad-"
"Adrai, sweetie." Ally smiled softly at me.
"Yeah! When Adrai took you, these big guys in police uniforms took dad too! Then Lucas and Ally and Paul all went to...." She tugged on Ally's hand and whispered something up to her.
Ally laughed and replied, "Court."
"Yeah! Lucas and Ally and Paul went to court and when they came back Paul was really mad but Lucas was happy and Ally said that dad wouldn't be coming back ever. Like ever ever ever. So you can come back!"
Adrai visibly tensed, and his afore smiling face turned to stone. I turned my attention back to my family. Lucas was wearing a slight grimace, and Ally just looked sad. Sam looked slightly hopeful, his hands clenched at his sides. Chloe was still looking up at me expectantly.
"I'm sorry Chloe, I can't go back, not for a while at least."
She pouted fiercely and crossed her arms with a "Humph!" She glared at me, but I could see stubborn tears forming in her eyes. I wanted to reach out and pull into her a hug.
When she spoke again, her voice was wavering and pitiful, "Why not? I want you to come back home."
"I'm sorry sweetie, but I can't. I'm still recovering from what happened. And..." I glanced over at Adrai again, who had relaxed once I'd stated my resolve to stay. I waved at him to come over, but he shook his head. I waved again, but he still said no.
"Oh come over here! Please?" I asked plaintively.
He glared, but walked over until he was behind me, pausing to let the scanner add in his image. He placed his hands lightly on the stool on either side of me, forever possessive. I couldn't help a small smile.
"I'm happy here, Chloe. I don't want to leave. I miss you guys, but I don't think that I could survive being in that house, even if Dad's gone. Paul still hates me, and Beckett doesn't like me much either. I won't go back to being the maid, cook, punching bag, whatever I was in that house. Not after being here," I grabbed Adrai's hand and pulled it around so it obvious I was holding it. "Not after being with him. I'm happy."
Adrai growled softly and nuzzled into my neck, making me giggle. Sam gasped and blushed, but didn't say anything.
Lucas did, "I'm glad that we made the right decision then. I'm sorry that I never stood up for you, Noah. I'm glad that you have this chance to be happy." He nodded at me approvingly.
I felt a lightness in my chest that I hadn't noticed holding me down. I beamed at him, then remembered that I had other things I wanted to ask before he left.
"So Chloe and Beckett are still safe?"
Chloe perked up, "I've been good, Noah! I'm a super good hider! The police people never find me. I hide Beckett too, 'cause he's not as good as me."
"Good girl, I'm proud of you." I said.
Lucas chuckled and gave me the answer I'd been wanting. "So far no inquiries have come up, and we made sure not to slip up in court. We passed off the extra expenses as Dad's booze money. I think we're in the clear."
A sigh of relief slipped out of me, and Adrai looked at me inquiringly. I knew he'd have questions, but I'd answer them later.
"What about the farm, how's it doing?" I asked.
"Pretty good, we're getting it ready for your... uhm," He paused and glanced nervously over my shoulder, "friends' people to come and start planting. They had all sorts of weird requirements for the fertilizer and how they wanted the irrigation set up. It's fine though, we're getting paid big bucks for it."
I nodded, "That's good. We're about to head out to Acaoch in a few days, so it might be a while before we can talk again. How's everything at home going?"
Ally spoke up, "Paul's worse than ever. He's so much like Dad. He's drinking again, and he blames you for everything that goes wrong. He doesn't even play with Beckett anymore. So of course Beckett's moody all the time." She heaved a big sigh and rolled her eyes.
"I hope he calms down soon. I love you guys, I-"
"Wait, before you all leave, I'd like to have a word with Sam please." Adrai butted in.
Sam looked scared, but he nodded at Lucas and Ally, who waved at me and promised to talk again soon before gathering up Chloe and stepping out of the image.
I looked up at Adrai, confused. "What are you doing, why would you need to talk with Sam?"
Instead of answering, he walked over to the wall and typed something into the tablet. He came back and picked me up off the stool before sitting down himself and setting me on his lap.
"Sam, when you came to me at the embassy, you told me that you had 'got most his bones healed' and when we brought Noah here, we found many bones that had been broken, but all were healed, though badly. What did you do?"
Sam looked down at his twisting fingers, his knuckles were white and his whole body was trembling. He looked up at me, his eyes pleading.
"Noah, you remember, right? Whenever you're hurt I try...." He went silent and looked down again, tears slipping down his cheeks.
Oh. My ocean.
I twisted around so that I was facing Adrai. Putting my hands on his broad shoulders, I said, "I know what you're talking about. Whenever Dad would hurt me, Sam would help me. He made me feel better. If I had cuts or something felt broken, he'd fix me so that I could keep going."
Adrai's hand lifted up to stroke my cheek and I leaned into it. His eyes were soft as they looked at me.
The moment was interrupted by the door to our room opening. Isir walked in, looking fairly upset.
"This is Sam?" Without waiting for an answer, he walked over so that he was standing in front of us. "How did you learn to heal like that? You obviously haven't had any training. Do you have any idea how much danger you put both yourself and Noah in? You could have seriously injured Noah, possibly even killed him."
Sam was shaking, staring up at Isir with obvious fear.
Adrai spoke up, "Isir, stop yelling at the boy. He was just trying to help Noah, he didn't know about the dangers of it."
"You don't understand." Isir looked back at us, frustration written all over his face. "This power is usually born into us. Rarely, it is purposely passed on to a member of the Ooana who has been meticulously trained and ordained by the council."
The color under his skin swirled and shifted and the scales across his shoulders bristled in agitation. He paced across the room, passing in and out of the scanners light.
"Even those of us lucky enough to be born with it go through years of training and tests and every little thing we do is scrutinized before we are accepted as members of the Oorla. The fact that a human has this power... I don't see any situation where it could have been passed to him, nor do I see how he could have been born with it."
"I-I wasn't born with it." Sam whispered.
Isir abruptly stopped his pacing, staring intently at Sam. "Then how did you manage to get it?"
"My mom..." His eyes flickered over to me. "Our mom gave me something before she died. She gave Noah some papers, but she gave me a necklace. She told me to keep it safe, and that if I ever needed to help someone, the necklace would show me how."
Adrai's hands clenched around my stomach, and I knew he was thinking about the papers. They relaxed after a second, and I turned my attention back to Sam and Isir.
Isir was pacing again, muttering to himself. Suddenly he seemed think of something and stalked over to stand in front of Sam.
"Are you wearing the necklace?"
"Y-yeah..." Sam replied.
"Show it to me."
I'd seen Sam wearing the chain before, but he always wore it underneath his clothing.
He slowly pulled it out from underneath his shirt, carefully placing the jewel at the end in his palm and presenting it to Isir.
Isir gasped, "No..."
Adrai slid me off his lap and walked over to him "What is it?"
"K'Loemach, if --if I'm right, this is the Seiloa Ceri'nuana. The Stone of Great Healing. It's been missing ever since the Ederian War. That was over a hundred years ago! How did you mother come to have it, Sam?"
Sam's eyes were wide and he shook his frantically, "I don't know! I swear I didn't know it was special or anything. I'm sorry!"
"It's okay Sam, just think back. Do you remember anything else that your mother told you about the stone?"
Sam took a deep breath and looked down, thinking hard.
After a few minutes, his head shot up and he looked excited. "Oh! Her dad was a collector! We never met him because he kicked her out or something when she married our dad, but she used to tell us stories about all the amazing stuff he had in his house. That's where Noah's papers came from too!"
Adrai looked back at me sharply, but didn't say anything.
Crap, we were definitely having that talk soon.
"K'Loemach, we need to bring Sam and that necklace here right away. If anyone else gets wind of this Sam could be in great danger."
Adrai nodded and walked over to desk, pulling his tele-cuff out and snapping it on. He tapped a few buttons, then started murmuring into it.
I walked over to Sam and smiled, "Hey, at least we'll get to hang out again. How are you feeling?"
"Terrified. I honestly had no idea this thing was so important. I just figured that it was some kind of cool tech that allowed me to help you. But I guess you won't really be needing it anymore, so it doesn't matter if I give it up." He smiled sadly at me and reached out as if to touch my hand.
"I'm gonna miss you, Noah."
I grinned at him, "I'll miss you too, maybe you could come to Adannen with us for a while after you come here."
Both Adrai's and Isir's heads snapped around. "No!"
"I highly doubt that."
And they turned back to their own conversations.
"Okay, maybe not. But we'll still be able to talk to each other. And don't worry about me, Adrai wouldn't let anything happen to me."
Sam glanced wryly over at the big warrior and rolled his eyes. "Yeah, he seems pretty protective."
I couldn't help blushing a bit. "I like him that way. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't feel nearly as safe here. I wouldn't even be here." I looked at Adrai's expansive back, silently thanking him again for everything he'd saved me from.
Isir finished up his conversation and turned towards us. "I called a friend of mine who's on the Council, and he'll be here tomorrow to help find out if that's the actual stone."
Adrai turned his tele-cuff off and walked over, wrapping an arm around my waist and pulling me snuggly into his side.
"Sam, I've given orders to the soldiers already on your farm to fly you out tomorrow. Because of the hurry, you'll be riding in a Caoch warship, so it won't be very comfortable. Bring as little as possible and just do what they say. They'll give you a com system that you can use to contact me or Isir if anything seems out of place. Be very careful, Sam. You should arrive in three days."
Sam nodded hesitantly and glanced behind him before asking, "What should I tell Lucas and everyone?"
"Just tell them that I've agreed to allow you a few days visitation with Noah. We'll be here for a bit to greet you before we have to leave so it won't be an outright lie."
"Okay. I guess I'll see you guys in a few days." He gave a small wave and turned to shut off his Com.
I stepped forward, "Be careful, Sam."
He gave me a shaky smile and then his image disappeared.
I stood staring at the empty space for a moment, then felt Adrai's warm hand on my shoulder.
"Noah, we need to have our own talk now. Let's go back to the room."
****** Back in the room, we were sitting across from each other on our bed. Adrai was leaning against the wall with his long legs stretched out. I sat near his feet, cross-legged and nervous.
He reached over to the bedside table and pulled out an envelope form the drawer. He reached inside and carefully pulled out a sheaf of yellowed papers.
I lunged across the bed and grabbed them from his hand, "My stories! How did you get them?"
"Your brother brought them to me while you were at the Earth hospital. I've wanted to ask for a while how you came to understand and speak my language, and where you got these. Now, thanks to Sam, I know the where, but still not the how. Care to explain?" He arched an eyebrow at me and kept his facial features schooled.
This wasn't my cuddly lion prince; this was Adrai K'Loemach, son of the Kohar of Adannen, Ambassador to Earth for the planet Acaoch, home of the fiercest warriors in our galaxy. I fidgeted, looking anywhere but at him.
"Noah! This is important, tell me now!" His voice erupted, a heavy growl accompanying the words.
I flinched and scooted a bit further away from him. I could hear him sigh, but kept my head stubbornly down. After a few more minutes of him growling under his breath and me playing with a loose string on my shorts, I decided to tell him.
Even if he was being a big jerk about it.
"I've always had a way with languages." I started out, whispering. He jerked and sat up straighter, listening intently.
"My mom was a High Born, before she met my dad. But then she fell in love with him and her father threatened to disown her if she went through with the marriage. She did it anyway and had to move out of the city and to Dad's Division. When she had us, she taught us everything she knew, how to speak properly and about Earth's history and about all the galactic species that she had met. She told me about your species, the Caochians, and how regal and beautiful you were."
I glanced shyly up at Adrai and he smiled, reaching out to me with his palm up. I placed my hand in his and allowed him to pull me towards him. He lifted and turned me slightly so that I was sitting in his lap.
"Go on, Noah."
"Those were my favorite stories. I was always asking her about the 'Lion people". She had already taught me some other languages, so she thought together we might be able to decipher those papers."
Adrai's fingers traced a scar on my leg thoughtfully.
"What other languages?"
"Mom taught me French, Spanish, Italian, Old Russian, Dutch, German, and Arabic. And some Mandarin, but she died halfway through. I taught myself Afrikaans and Zulu when I was trying to get closer to understanding Caochian."
"Kahl... How old were you?" He looked down at me curiously.
"We started when I was really young, three, I think. Mom would sometimes lapse into different languages, and I started copying her.
"What about your other siblings?"
"Ally knows French, and Italian I think, and Sam liked to sit with us while Mom was teaching me, so he probably knows something, but after mom died, Dad didn't like to hear any of us speaking them, it reminded him too much of her."
"So how did you learn my language, as far as I know, it doesn't follow any of the same rules that Earth languages do."
"You'd think that, but there are some similarities in you can find in Zulu. Not a whole lot, but some of your words are very close, like ikhanda and kandh."
"Head. Wow. So from just a few similar words you learned our whole language?" He looked down at me incredulously.
I snickered a little, "No, dope. It did allow me to make some contextual assumptions, like I and me, you, they, them, up, down. But no, once I hit a wall, I snuck out of the house to the Division center and read everything I possibly could about you. There are more people than you think who are fascinated by your species, you know. I found all sorts of forums on the database about everything little thing that had to do with Acaoch. Of course, most of it was just speculation, but every once in a while I managed to talk to somebody who actually knew something. That's how I learned about your caste system."
"Ah!" I squeaked when Adrai suddenly rolled us over so that I lay prone beneath him. He draped himself over me, covering my whole body with his much bigger form. He buried his head in my neck and nuzzled my ear.
"Noah, the more I learn about you, the more amazed and confounded I am. I knew when I rescued you that you were mysterious, I had so many questions. I didn't think much beyond your beauty and the fact that you knew Caochian."
I glared at him, "I'm not a girl, you know."
He grinned down at me lecherously, "Yes, I'm very aware of that." Still smirking, he ground his hips against mine, making it very obvious just what he thought about my lack of female genitalia.
"Ad- Adrai..." I gasped out, grabbing onto his shoulders.
He growled and hitched his hips again.
He stared down at me, slit pupils wide with desire. His mouth dropped open and his fangs slid down, glinting. I could hear him pant with each thrust against me.
I cried out and tried to meet him, wrapping my arms around his neck and pushing my hips hard against his.
He pressed me down into the bed and forced my head up, crushing his lips to mine. His tongue thrust into my mouth, matching the motions of his hips. He coaxed my tongue to explore into his mouth and I did, running it over his fangs. He growled and pressed harder against me, nearly making me come.
I moaned into his mouth. One of his fangs pricked my lip. He sucked it into his mouth, turning the slight pain into heady pleasure.
Suddenly he wrenched himself away from me, throwing himself across the room and punching his fist, claws out, into the wall.
"Adrai! What... what happened, are you okay?" I got up to walk over to him but he threw a hand out.
"Stop! Don't come near me yet. I'm sorry Noah, I shouldn't have done that." He turned his back to me.
Shouldn't have done what? Humped me? Kissed me? If he was worried that he scared me, he hadn't.
"Adrai, I wasn't scared. You've been taking care of me for weeks now, I want this. I want to be with you. Even if I had gotten scared, I would know it was you. Your fangs kinda make that obvious."
Instead of the snicker I was expecting, he growled and punched the wall again.
"Adrai stop! What's wrong?" I tried to reach out again and he threw himself away from me.
Literally threw himself back.
He hadn't liked it.
Tears welled into my eyes so I jerked my head down. This was my fault. I had done something to make him do that to me and now he was mad.
My dad used to tell me that all the time.
That I made him do it. Maybe whatever I had done to make him, I had done to Adrai.