Chapter XIX: Into the Mind of Fire (2/18)Mature

Will stood at her bedside looking down on her, his chest aching with a mixture of worry for her and hatred for Marinia, though more subdued than Andrel. He moved Tayna's possessions off of the chair and sat down. Carefully, he took the flannel and bent down to dip it in the water.

'Is he gone?'

Will jumped and nearly tipped the water bowl, his gaze darted upwards and he saw Tayna looking at him. She had been renewed since he'd last seen her, she looked tired, but calm.

'Uh, yeah. He went to get you something to eat. How - how long have you been awake?'

'A little while, I just didn't want Andrel to know. He likes to baby me, and he worries too much, I don't want him to.'

Will took the flannel, ringing it out tightly, then placed it on her head. 'So, how are you feeling? Are you okay?'

'Wait a little longer, then maybe I'll be able to tell you.' He could tell that she was still exhausted, mentally more than anything. 'I've been having nightmares, that makes it difficult to sleep. I've been having them for a few days, though.'

'Tayna...' Will said hesitantly, though he knew he had to ask, 'what was it that Marinia made you remember? First, it was at Holloway, now this, we're all worried and we only want to -,'

'It's okay,' she said softly, 'you don't have to explain.' Slowly, she sat herself up, though the arms holding her up quivered and her head was bent over, her hair shadowing the expression of weakness and pain. 'I haven't thought about it in a long time, I think I was too afraid to remember. The fire in Holloway brought it all back, though, and from then on I knew that I would have to face up to it sooner or later.' She turned to him with eyes that had lost their bright youth, instead they looked old and weary. 'I can't do it alone though, will you help me?'

'Of course,' he said assuredly, 'anything that you need, I'll help you.'

'Good,' she smiled, 'we need to get to the lofts.' She wrestled her legs out from under the covers and turned to stand. Will jumped up and halted her.

'Whoa, slow down. Matron said you're supposed to rest.'

She stared at him stoically, 'I'll be at rest once this is done. And if you want to know so bad, you should help me.' Will eventually gave in, helping her out of bed and leading her down the staircase. 'We just need to hope that Professor Hellshaw is still hidden away in his classroom...'

The End

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