Title: Henri's Story
Fandoms: I am Number Four and Tremors
Disclaimer: I own nothing of Number Four or Tremors
On The Road
'A plague, that's what the Mogadarians were. They roamed from planet to planet; consuming, destroying, devastating everything that they touched. We knew they were coming. Lorien wasn't the most peaceful planet in the universe, despite what the Elders might have said. We warred with other worlds for various reasons, taking the battles to them rather than allowing war to taint our world. That's how we found out that the Mogs were coming. One of the worlds our warriors were on was overwhelmed. They barely had enough time to warn us.
'The Loric Garde were the leaders of our army. They were born with special abilities we called legacies. These abilities were so powerful that when combined, only a handful of Garde were needed to defend Lorien – but even the most powerful of people can be killed. One bomb was all it had taken to kill every Loric Garde adult.
'They had been in a planning session, attempting to prepare our world for the Mog's attack when a single bomb had come out of nowhere. I don't know if we were betrayed or if something else had led the Mog to attack us at that point. All I know is that the building I had just left an hour before was gone, and all of my commanders with it. I had my orders, what to do in case the worst happened and I followed them, as did eight of the others who had the honor of serving the Garde personally.
'We were the Cepan, the best of the fighters our world produced and we had but one duty, to protect the next generation of Loric Garde. No one served in the Cepan without first having survived real combat with the enemy. We had to be intelligent and smart, able to both hide and attack, and knowledgeable enough to know when it was time to do which. We were skilled in hand to hand, weapons, intelligence work, anything and everything that a Garde child would need to know. We were their protectors, their teachers, and now we had to take the place of their parents as well.
'Nine of us made it to the ship with our charges. We didn't have time to wait for the rest. That fact haunts me now, but as I watch my charge I know it was the only thing we could have done. My charge was only eight years old. The youngest of the children was only three. They might never remember their homeworld, but we would teach them, protect them, and when the time came we would stand with them when the Mogs came to take this world.
'The Mogs would come. We all knew it. They couldn't afford to let the Nine live. Together, once they came into their legacies, they were one of the very few powers in this universe that could stop the Mogadorian fleet. So they would send scouts out to try and assassinate the children before that happened. The best way to protect the children was to scatter. The most senior of us put a charm on the children to further protect them. I don't know what else to call it. I don't know how it works; only that it does. The Mog or anyone else really, can only kill the children in sequence. My charge is number four. We stripped the ship of anything that we could use or could trade for Earth currency and then we scattered to the four corners of this new world.'
The Cepan now known as Henri paused his writing for a moment as he relived that heart wrenching time. Nine years had passed, but his grief at the loss of his world remained soul deep. The Mogs had come. The first three of the Nine were dead, and no doubt their Cepan as well; number three had just died last night. He glanced over at his charge, sleeping in the motel bed farthest from the door. It was important for number four that he record as many of his memories as he could, especially now. With number three dead, his charge was next on the Mogs' hit list. If for some reason number four survived but he did not, his charge would need to know what he could remember.
It had taken only a single year for the Mogadorians to find number one. Three years later they had found number two. It had taken five years this last time, but Henri wasn't going to take any chances. They had left their current home the minute they could, changing identities as they did every time they moved and for safety's sake they moved often. He knew his charge hated it, but there was no other choice this time. He had to find Malcolm, and hope that with his help they could find the others. At least one of the others had to have come into their legacies by now, even if number four hadn't yet. He was a little behind schedule, but only for the most common forms of the legacies. The rarer forms took longer to manifest.
Henri smiled. The boy was more stubborn than a fleet of Mogs when he put his mind to something. It would be just like him to manifest when he wanted to regardless of what was considered normal by Loric standards, and there was no way he'd settle for something less than outstanding regardless of what he thought he wanted. John, (and Henri had to remind himself not to refer to his charge by another name but he would only need to remind himself for another couple of hours before he had their new identities firmly in his mind), had been born that way.
From the moment he took his first steps Henri had been forced to rescue the stubborn child from one situation after another. Trees, strange chimeras, nothing had stopped the child from charging right into something interesting to him regardless of the possible danger. The arrival of the Mogadorians had changed that, but John was still stubborn. Henri stood up from the motel room table and stretched before silently moving over towards John's bed. He gently brushed his hand across John's cheek.
As much as Henri had never wanted to be John's father, he loved the boy as though he were Henri's son, and as he well knew once a Loric loved, they loved forever. John would be safe here for a little while, long enough for Henri to get a haircut and pick up some supplies. They were going to need warmer clothes in Ohio than they had needed in Florida, and John's hair was too short to change by any other means than dyeing it. He hoped John liked being blonde.
Hours later, after giving John his new identity and both of them changing their appearance as much as possible, Henri and John were once more driving down the highway. Henri noticed that John was fidgeting in his seat, something that didn't happen often. "You want some story time?" he asked, knowing that John had reached the age where he wanted to be treated as an adult not a child. He chuckled as John shot him a dirty look. "Or you can tell me what's on your mind."
"Did you have anyone back home? Before the Mogs came?" John asked, looking out the window again.
"No," Henri admitted. "The closest thing I had to family was my sister and the other Cepan, and you of course. I remember the first time I saw you. My sister had been chosen as Cepan the year before and when it was announced that you were on the way, the competition became intense to be the next chosen. We'd be going over our files, looking for anything that would make us stand out. We learned new languages, took child care courses, mastered new weapons, you name it one of us in the running was doing it in the months before you were born. I was scared shitless when they brought me in and placed you in my arms. You were just hours old, so tiny I almost thought you'd break if I breathed hard enough," Henri chuckled, amused now at how scared he'd been at the time. "Now look at you. You're almost as tall as I am and you've mastered most of the basics. You're almost all grown up."
"Yeah, about that….there was this girl, just before three died. I think she wanted me to…" John trailed off, not knowing how to explain.
"That's not surprising. Humans begin experimenting with sex about your age. They're going to expect you to do the same. We don't though, we're different. You're not ready yet," Henri said calmly.
"Can we even?" John asked, now staring at Henri.
"Find a mate among the Humans? Sure," Henri said. "Your mate doesn't have to be one of the other Garde, not that I would mind you hooking up with my sister's charge."
"What about you?" John asked. "And your sister was assigned to a girl?"
Henri could hear the concern and surprise in John's voice. It didn't surprise him, John had always worried about him, at least unless they were butting heads over John's teenaged angst. Those were the times that he really wished that they were back on Lorien, simply so that he could have other Cepan to talk to. "I'm in the same boat you are John. I didn't find my one back home so if I ever do find her, I'll find her here. As far as my sister goes, yes like all female Cepan her charge is also female. There are some things that are only taught along gender lines. I'd have no idea how to teach a girl how to deal with becoming fertile for instance."
"But you do know to deal with a male," John laughed. They'd had that talk only three months ago.
"You can't teach that without having gone through it, especially the rape talks," Henri said matter-of-factly.
"You?" John asked, horrified. Henri realized that John had thought that part of the talk had simply been standard information, like the sex ed classes in Human schools.
"Every Cepan has to have experienced everything that a Garde might have to deal with. That is why we are chosen from the front line fighters, because sooner or later every Garde ends up on the front lines of a war. With your protective instincts it's inevitable," Henri said patiently. "And because everyone knows we Loric are monogamous, it's a common torture tactic." He always dealt better with teaching this sort of knowledge than fighting with John about wanting to settle down somewhere. He knew that the boy simply wanted to have a home, but that was impossible while they were still being hunted, no matter what their instincts told them. He wasn't about to give the Mog any help when it came to tracking them down. That seemed to stun John, who remained silent for the rest of the trip to Ohio.