AN: After Dalek Week, I realized that I could write around 40,000 words in around 7 days. That's something. I'm still in shock at how adept I was at writing Leviathan fiction. So I thought I'd try for that kind of thing here. Thanks for all the positive feedback from normal reviewers and my anonymous readers (you know who you are).
I sighed as we reached the door. Vaguely I could hear Conor and Rainbow arguing, but I didn't have the strength to listen in. All I could hear was the sea calling, and it took all of my self restraint to not dive back in.
Faro…I called and I felt his mind eagerly respond to my call.
Stay with me… I said. His spirit agreed, without using words.
"Sapphire? What happened to you? You look a mess!" Rainbow's exclamation broke me away from Faro's mind.
"I retrieved Faro from the sea. You don't have a towel, do you?" I asked. The cold was starting to set into my skin and I had goosebumps all over my arms and legs.
Rainbow nodded, her blonde curls shaking and she darted back into her house. I shut the door and walked into their living room. A fire was blazing and Patrick sat in the couch, nursing a cup of coffee.
'You look like a drowned rat." was his first comment and I threw him a dirty look.
"You're one to talk," I said and he laughed.
"Where are Conor and the other boys?" I asked, resisting the urge to collapse into their armchairs.
"In the kitchen. The brown guy is bleeding like crazy." said Patrick, quite candidly.
"You know? I got that." I snapped. Before Patrick and I could get into a sarcasm battle, Rainbow rushed back with a towel and wrapped it around me.
"Have a seat Sapphy; I'll just get some hot chocolate from the kitchen as well. I think we're going to need it." she rambled, sounding quite flustered.
I took a seat close to their fire and shivered a little. "When's the doctor arriving?" asked Patrick after a moment's silence.
"Granny Carne's coming. She'll know what to do."
Patrick frowned and I remembered that they weren't from Senara. Even the environmentally-ignorant Sancreeds and their friends knew that Granny Carne was more powerful than they could fathom. It was something you just knew, if you had been born there.
The doorbell rung and I was internally surprised at how quickly she had arrived, but was grateful. I went to open it, a weariness setting into my bones and numbing my mind. She was there, her long brown trench coat wrapped around her, with her yellow rain hat as the rain poured outside.
"Sapphire. We must stop meeting like this. You have to ask Faro to take better care of himself. How bad is it?" she asked stepping inside the hallway.
"Worse. He's probably freezing and he's bleeding just as badly as last time," I said as I led her in. Patrick nodded to Granny Carne as we passed the living room into the kitchen. Michael Sancreed and Liam Doherty seemed to be bandaging Faro's wounds quite effectively.
Dimly, I remembered that Liam had wanted to be an army medic, because his mum had died from an infected tourniquet in Iraq. Strange the things you remember on the edge of exhaustion.
"Stand aside boys," said Granny Carne as she came in. "I'll deal with it from here. You all go home now. I wouldn't advise you to make good fun of the sea again. There'll not be someone to save you next time, mark my words."
The two boys paled and nodded. Esther looked ill and Josie was sitting in the corner of the kitchen, still in shock. I resisted the urge to slap her this time round. They all said their condolences (He's not dead yet, fools!) and left, in an awkward way. Conor hadn't stopped with the warm towels to Faro's face and I felt myself grip his hands.
"You too." Granny Carne said, as she placed her coat on a chair. "I'll need to be alone for this. I'll call for you when I need your help."
Conor and I nodded and along with Rainbow, we trooped into her living room. I sunk into the armchair where I had sat before and gazed into the fire. It flickered with an odd rhythm, almost like the rhythm of a breathing pattern. I was vaguely aware of Conor and Rainbow seeming to be friends again out of the corner of my senses, but I was focused on the fire, now. It looked a little like the centre of the earth I had glimpsed; warm and welcoming. Like Ingo would be if I went there now.
I nodded off into blissful sleep and blackness, thankfully without dreams.
I was woken up later by a concerned looking Conor. "Granny Carne wants you." He said, helping me out of the chair. I was aware that my blue dress was still soaking.
"What's the time now?" I croaked.
"A little past three in the morning. Don't worry," he said, seeing the expression on my face, "I've already called mum and told her about the whole situation. She's worrying about us, but she's fine with it because of Granny Carne being here."
I nodded, a sleepy haze still settled over everything. My nap hadn't done much for my restfulness. I felt just as tired as I had before. Patrick was slumped into his chair, clearly quite awake, though looking tired. Rainbow was curled up on the loveseat like a cat, whuffling away in her sleep.
I walked into the kitchen and noticed that Faro didn't look much better. His wound hadn't stopped bleeding. I blinked as a sudden rush of tiredness came over me. I felt myself slump to the floor and saw Granny Carne's face swim in front of me.
"I knew it. Sapphire, I need you to break your connection with Faro's mind. It's not helping you or him."
I blinked, sleepily. I had contacted his mind, but it usually broke off immediately. (because Faro closed it down for you)
I sighed and reached into my brain. Faro's mind didn't need searching for; it was right there. How had I not noticed it nestling there? Gently pushing him out of my mind instantly restored my strength again, even if I still felt like I should sleep for a day and a half.
Granny Carne smiled. 'That should help his recovery a little. He was relying on your strength, so his strength wasn't rebuilding. Now it should. It will be a painful night for Faro, but he should come out alive, only a little worse for the wear."
I nodded, feeling relieved. This was much better news. "I shall be taking him with me home now." She said, as she put her coat and hat back on.
"How?" asked Conor, from where he was seated, mopping towels at Faro's brow.
Granny Carne merely smiled in reply, not answering Conor's question. "You shouldn't head home now. It's just a little late and all you'll do is disturb Jennie. Ask your friends whether you can all sleep here for the night. Come to me again once you are rested."
I nodded, sleep sounded the best option. Conor also nodded, looking a little more reluctant. "Good night," said Granny Carne, and in the blink of an eye, she and Faro were gone.
All four of us had slept in until noon, so we'd had brunch together with some omelettes and greens before Conor and I headed back to Senara. The dress was unsalvageable, so it headed for the bin, with me borrowing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt from Rainbow to take the bus back home.
It was a cloudy day, despite it chucking it down last night, but it was cold, which made me wonder whether our weather was getting back to normal. News had traveled fast about my rescue of Faro. The details were a little changed, leaving out the fact that Michael had chucked him in, but the rescue had remained the same, and everyone who saw me, pressed some money into my hand or congratulated me. I felt myself flushing with all the praise.
When Conor and I reached our house again, Mum was there to greet us and she hugged both of us like there was no tomorrow.
"I can't believe it! You almost died out there! And we'd just had an argument! Oh Sapphy!" With that she burst into tears just hugging me. I looked to Conor who shrugged and motioned patting her on the back. I did it awkwardly, but all she did was cry more. I could feel wet spots begin to develop on rainbow's shirt and I motioned for Conor to go inside at get Roger.
Luckily, he wasn't feeling too sadistic and promptly did just that. Roger came out and pulled Mum off me and told her to get a little bit of a grip, that I wasn't actually dead and that we should calm ourselves down with the coconut cake from Gloria Fortune.
I smiled gratefully at Roger and went to get myself changed into my own clothes. I neatly folded Rainbow's clothes and left them on top of Conor's table, leaving him a note so he would return it to her next time he saw her.
I then headed back down again and was thankful to see Mum back to her brisk self. She was sorting stuff out in the kitchen and I quietly told her the fate of the dress.
She turned around, a blazing look in her eyes. "Sapphire Trewhella!" she said and I waited for the explosion. "I can't believe you'd think I'd scold you for something that trivial." I recoiled a little. This was new. "If that dress was the price to pay for yours and Conor's lives, It was a well-made sacrifice. Heavens know what might have happened down there."
I knew she was thinking of the fortune-teller's prophecy and patted her arm. "I'm okay, Mum. Honestly. I'm not going to go away or drown." Not like Dad, were the unspoken words between us.
And I wasn't, I knew that now. I wouldn't be able to do that to her, to Conor, to Rainbow, to Roger or any of the other friends I had here. And I couldn't expect Faro to do that either. Twice now, he'd been in danger, twice he'd been so vulnerable here in the air. He didn't belong here and I didn't belong there. They would have to make do with short-term meetings. It was the way it would be.
And it made a lump come to my throat. Because, what explanation could I give to someone for why I hadn't married or even looked like I'd fallen in love when I was older? "Oh he's there, he's just under the sea?' I'd be put into a mental hospital.
"I'm just heading out to Granny Carne's, Mum! I have to check on Faro." I said, my feet feeling restless. The cottage didn't seem big enough for my dreams.
"Just be careful lovey! And keep your phone on you!" Mum called and Roger gave me a clap on the back as I turned to leave.
"Good on you, Sapphy. That's twice you've rescued someone from deep water. You ought to be a life guard!" he said with a laugh as I walked out of the door. And there was a thought. Being a coast-guard for a living.
I knew what the RNLI did; I could hardly live by the sea and not know. We'd been there for a daytrip once with the school and their lifeboats had always fascinated me, because they looked a lot like the Peggy Gordon. It seemed a heartwarming thought that I could spend the rest of my days saving people from the same fate that had nearly claimed Faro and had claimed my father. Being called to Ingo forever was technically drowning.
It also meant that I could figure out who had Mer blood. If I could patrol the seas and see who was foolishly making their way to the beaches, like Gloria Fortune had, what seemed like an eternity ago, it would be easy to educate them about Ingo. Easy to re-establish relations between the two sides.
That also had the added privilege of no one questioning why I was always wet. I laughed as I kicked a stone down the gravelly pathway down to the Downs. The grass was bogged up with rain and the mud congealed to my boots as I made my way through the tall grass. The world seemed to be in mourning and I frowned as it started to drizzle again. I flicked my hood up and made my way to her front door.
I knocked twice and it swung open. I walked in, making sure to wipe the mud off my feet.
"Good, you come when summoned." said Granny Carne as I walked into the small guest room that was now Faro's. He didn't look like he had recovered at all.
"You didn't summon me, though," I said, as I took the chair she gestured towards, "I wanted to come here."
"You came here because I wanted you here, Sapphire," she said, her voice as hard as ice. I shuddered, it was a scary thought that my will was not always my own.
"What's wrong with him?" I asked, not daring to touch his mind again, in fear that I would not be able to break the connection.
"He will not recover naturally. It is worse than I thought. He will need help. A child of Ingo and a child of Norvys must bind themselves to him. He is half and half and he is drifting in a world that is neither. He needs anchors, or he will never convalesce." She said dully, keeping her hands over his wounds. She was looking older than I had ever seen her before, bent over and shriveled like old Alice Trewhidden.
I put my hand on her arm and opened up my mind and pressed it to hers. No child, this burden is too large for you to bear. She said, shrugging off my hand.
I can take some of it for you! I retorted and she laughed, breaking the connection. 'I think not Sapphire. You are not nearly old enough, nor experienced enough yet. The strain would rip your mind from your body, leaving you in a worse position than Faro. I am barely holding him together. I cannot do that task myself. You and Conor must go find them, and quickly. Before it is too late."
I nodded, and rose from my seat. I could hear thunder rumbling outside, but there was no time to worry about my hair. I had to get to Conor. A child of Earth was obvious, Rainbow was Earth, Granny Carne had said so herself, one summer afternoon as I'd gazed into the centre of the earth. And there was no doubt that she would be willing to help. She was nice like that.
The problem was a child of Ingo. I had never met a child of Ingo that was true-blooded. I could only hope that Conor had.
AN: Much shorter chapter than usual, but I wanted to give you guys something and I think the next part would work best as a standalone bit. This story arc is drawing to a close, so the story might end soon, unless you have some suggestions about some fluffy stuff to happen. Things you wanted Faro to react to, people you want Faro to meet or have a proper conversation with, stuff like that. Send me a PM or a review my way if you do!