He grinned. “You did. The bird had been attacked by a forest cat. There were feathers everywhere. You picked some up and gave them to me while you tried to make the bird okay.”
“And... And I screamed at you, because I knew you were a doctor. You said there was nothing you could do.”
His grin faded but he was still smiling at her. “Yeah, that’s right.”
“I began to cry, because it was dying and we sat by it until it was gone. Then we buried it.”
He undid the charm bracelet around his wrist and held it out to her. “You placed this on its grave.”
Slowly, she reached out to take it from him, vaguely remembering it.
“You’ve been carrying this around with you for twelve years?” she asked him.
“Seventy-two for me,” he reminded her.
“Oh... Wait, if time is faster in the Dimension, then... how old am I really?”
“When you came to me, I brought you to Earth. In Earth time, you were technically only about a hundred-and-twenty days old. But you spent your first two years in the Dimension. You are the age you think you are. It would be different if it had been the other way around.”
“Yeah, like Zeke.”
“So, I’m not fifty or something like that?”
He grinned. “No, you’re just eighteen.”
“Okay, good... Why didn’t you ever come and see me?”
“I did, very occasionally. In your dreams. Sometimes I’d make you forget it, but not very often. I wasn’t supposed to have any contact with you; I wasn’t even supposed to check up on you.”
“I told you, they said I was becoming too attached.”
“What does that mean though?”
The look in his eyes as he watched her was odd, inexplicable. Beth couldn’t tell what he was feeling. “Nothing. It means nothing whatsoever.” He blinked and the look in his eyes disappeared. “So why exactly are you here instead of at home?”
Beth was grateful for the subject change but she couldn’t explain why. “My mum wanted me to get an abortion when I told her that I could be pregnant.”
His face suddenly darkened. “She what? Bloody Shadows.”