Anna flopped down onto the sofa, exhausted but exhilarated from her day’s training. Matt’s laptop still lay, open, on the coffee table, and she wondered whether he would come back for it.
More to the point, where was he? Anna tried to remember if he had told her when he would be back, but nothing came to mind. She trusted him implicitly, but still wished that she knew where he was, and when he’d be back. It made her nervous, being alone with Aelvyn. She didn’t know how much use he’d be in a fight, being that he was a ghost, and so not exactly solid.
“Aelvyn, how do you lift things?” she said, the question she had been meaning to ask suddenly springing to her lips.
“I’m sorry?” her teacher replied, confused by her question. Anna smiled and laughed.
“I was wondering how you lifted things. I mean, you’re a ghost, right? You’re not solid - so how comes you can pick things up?” Her voice was filled with curiosity, and Aelvyn had to chuckle despite himself, because she was so like his daughter had been.
“Over the centuries I have perfected the art of solidifying my ectoplasm,” Aelvyn said haughtily. “That is, I can regain a solid form for several days, but it means I have to rest it more often. If one remains fluid, we can go for weeks without having to rest our essence.” Anna nodded. That made perfect sense to her.
“I see,” she said, and for once she meant it.
As they sat together on the green leather sofa, Anna had an inexplicable sense of being watched. She scanned around the room, her sharpened senses aiding her as she sought for the spy. Moments later, she located a tiny camera lens in the leg of the shelves.
“Ah ha!” she announced, smashing the tiny thing with her fist. She realised then that she should have traced it, but knew there would be more of them.
“A fly?” said Aelvyn, puzzled - he must think she was swatting some sort of insect.
“A camera,” Anna replied. “I’m going to see if there are more of them.” The doorbell rang. She hurried to answer it, and with relief found that it was Matt, wiping snow out of his eyes and hair, and shivering.
“Anna! I’m sorry I was so long, I had to collect some stuff,” he said, swooping her into a hug. She grinned - it was just so great to see him.
“I don’t care. None of it matters, because you came back!” her voice bubbled over with joy, and she realised that her earlier words had been true.
“Love you, Anna,” Matt said, and she saw the truth in his eyes.
“I love you, too,” she said, blushing and stuttering over the awkward words. He grinned and hugged her again, kissing her lightly on the lips. She blushed deeper, her cheeks now crimson. That was fire - more so than the fire she had lit beneath her skin earlier, to warm her - more so than the fire she had sent in streams down her sword.
“I found a camera,” she told him, her voice suddenly serious. “I think there are more of them - will you help me to find them?” He nodded, looking grave.
“Anna, I haven’t been completely honest with you. I never told you my past, did I?” Matt asked her, his forehead beginning to show a frown.
“No…” said Anna, cautiously. “What is it?” Matt lifted her up and carried her into the sitting room. Aelvyn had left, presumably to rest his ectoplasm. He gently laid her on the sofa and started to talk, hesitantly, brokenly. His frightened words took the two of them back to a period of time over fifteen years previously…