I looked on a little jealously at Cal and Shadrach. They had found each other, and that was cute, but I couldn't help feeling irritated. Now they had each other, and Trinnean had Desideria (They weren't really a couple yet, but everyone knew they liked each other, except them!), leaving me with only Near and Athelstan, two boys who were both younger than me. Sure, it was by two years, but still...
Frustrated, I got to my feet and headed towards the nearest river, not using my eyes, but using my other senses. My intuition. My heart tugged when it felt water near, and I only had to follow those tugs. Soon I found a stream, and stood by the edge of it. I raised my arms slowly above my head, causing the water to rise in a long, thin pillar. Then I used fleeting hand movements to shape it into a heart. I thrust my hand, palm first at it, aiming to break it into pieces, but instead, suddenly, the heart turned to cloudy ice. I blinked, and changed my hand to a fist. As I went to punch it, the water turned to steam. Bemused, I glared down at my hands. Had my anger and frustration helped me discover new powers?
Just then, I spotted a figure on the other side of the river. It was Near. Except.. something was different about him.. He was taller, more muscular, and his hair was longer. His muscled arms were lined with scars, and a long scar ran down his cheek. This must be the future Near..
"Near!" I called. His head turned toward me quickly, but his expression softened when he saw it was me.
"Lyra! Oh Lyra," He said, leaping easily over the thin stream and throwing his arms around me. A little shocked, I let my arms go slowly around him until he pulls away, gently.
"Where are you coming from, Near?" I ask, searching his face. His eyes hold deep happiness, but also a strange sorrow. He must have seen many deaths.
"In my present, I am sixteen." He replies, curtly. "How old am I at your present?"
"You.. you're thirteen." I reply. How different future Near is.. All his innocence is gone, and he seems far more like Shadrach and Trin.
"How naive I was then.." He says slowly. Then, without warning, he leans down and lets his lips brush mine.
"Wh-what are you doing?" I say, leaping back.
"Sorry.." He mutters. "In the future.. You and I are.. somewhat closer than we are at present."
"You mean we're like Cal and Shadrach?" Hope lights my eyes.
"Uh, yeah, I suppose.." I grin, and put my arms around his neck. Amazingly, he is taller than me. My grin widens, and I kiss his lips lightly. I let out a giggle. "What?"
"You're so small..." I stifle another giggle.
"I know.. I was a midget.." He blushes, but cannot stop himself from cracking a grin. "Everyone was shocked when I suddenly shot up."
"Oh Near..." I murmur, tightening my arms around him. His face grows serious.
"Remember, you must never tell current Near about us. This is your present, but it is not his." Then, suddenly, he is gone, and I am holding thin air. I sigh, and make my way back to the others. I can tell already that this will be hard...