2- Me, Myself, and I

2- Me, Myself, and I

A Chapter by Scyoni

It's not my fault my parents gave me a stupid name. ~Cross



I did see him again. Many times after that. For the remaining months of school we were together every day, and the day after our classes had ended for the summer he came to my house.


“Good morning, Rachel!” He greeted my mother cheerfully and she giggled at his theatrical bow.


“Good morning, Kane. Good to see you.”


“Good to see you, m'am.” He looked over at me and I wore a wide smile, then ran up and dragged him with me out of the house for a day of playing and talking in the park. One of the things I loved about Kane was how easygoing he was; how he would listen to what I said and, with few exceptions, do what I wanted.


He really was likable in general. My mother enjoyed having him over, the other kids at school were jealous we spent so much time together, and he made a bit of a buzz. This was a first, for our little community. The biggest point of interest was his mysterious father, because while Kane lived in a wood cabin somewhere outside the city, his father seemed to spend most every day and night within the castle walls. He was, of course, old enough to tend to himself- but the question remained of who had ever actually seen his parents.


Personally, I didn't really think it mattered. So his dad was a busy man, and he was a serious magic fanatic, that didn't have to mean anything.


Around noon we'd stopped to eat the lunch I packed for us when I noticed an unusual red tint in my friend's face. I put a hand to his forehead and he stared at me when I shook my head. “Kane, are you sick? You shouldn't be out...”


“It's just the sun,” he reassured me, laughing at my concern. “We're out running, what do you expect?”


I had to give him that one, but he still seemed a bit slower and generally odd that day. When it came time to go home, late as we already were for our respective dinners, we split up. Or we meant to, at least. Kane's health had me worried, and I wasn't sure where he lived but I knew it was a long way. I decided to follow him, to make sure he was alright.


We left our little community quickly enough, the brick roads giving way to a little-used highway. The hills rolled off in the distance, and I could see the forest ahead. Kane trod over the flattened grass, apparently a path that only he used, and I snuck after him. I knew his attitude about visits- he didn't want me to visit his house because the forest was dangerous, there were bandits, and his parents said no friends over when they weren't home... Personally I thought he was lying about the first two, because the forest was so close to the city, but I wouldn't find out on that trip.


We passed through the trees and over a stream, Lucifer walking along at Kane's side, and soon enough we found his home.


A tent.


Kane lived in a tent?


That made no sense, for a number of reasons... he was rich, for one thing; he always had clean clothes and good food and he bought me things when we went to the store. So he had money. He was always clean. That, and his parents...


As I was deep in thought, I'd stopped paying attention to where I was walking. I tripped and fell noisily into a pile of firewood that had been stacked against a tree, knocking it over and making a racket. Kane spun back and saw me, and his face shifted from surprise to confusion to rage, and finally settled on horror.


“W-what are you doing here?” I barely heard the whisper.


I scrambled to my feet, embarrassed for a moment before I tried to answer the question. “Well I thought I was here to make sure you were okay going home, mister 'it's the sun',” I said irritably, “but now I'm going to demand to know what's going on!”


He shook his head, “Nothing. I'm going camping.” If his tone had been the least bit convincing I might have believed him. As it was, his lies were just a bit too obvious for me. I put my hands on my hips and plants my feet firmly on the ground.


“Kane, we both know that's a lie! So what is this? Did you run away from home, or what?”


Kane stared at me for a moment, and then shook his head. “No, not really. And I really don't want to talk about it, so if you'll excuse me...” He turned back towards his tent, and took a few deliberate steps in that direction. Lucifer stared at me for a moment before turning tail and running after him, meowing angrily. From what I knew of him and his relationship with his familiar, I didn't doubt Lucifer's angered shouts were plain English to his ears.


I ran after them, stumbling over the wood and catching up as he reached for the zipper on the door. “Come on, Kane. I'm not going to tell anyone if you don't want me to, but I don't like you lying to me!”


He stopped and looked back at me, perplexed. “Lying to you? That's what this is about?”


I nodded, trying to look angry. He snickered, and the color returned to his face.


“That's it? And you really won't tell?”




What reason did I have to tell? From what I could see he was set, he had money, and he took care of himself. As long as he wasn't stealing from people or anything, then it was fine.


Kane took a moment to compose himself, ignoring Lucifer's incessant meowing -seemingly protesting- and looking me in the eye. His azure orbs stared intently into my deep emeralds before he cracked a smile. “Ever heard the name 'Target'?”


“Of course I have.” Who hadn't? Target, one of the richest families in the area, high in the favor of Queen Lianna. They had been Black Fire Blaze's first victims- he'd burned their home, and all of them, to the ground. It was where he'd earned his title.


I stared at him, not understanding what he was implying.


He took a deep breath and straightened his posture slightly, “Well then, I suppose I should reintroduce me, myself, and I.” He gave a sweeping bow, and glanced up at me from under his unruly hair, “My name is Cross Fire Target, the youngest son and sole survivor of the Target family.”


My mouth fell open, and I suddenly couldn't remember how to get it to close.


When he stood back up to his full height, no longer with his usual slouch and now with his hair brushed away from his brilliant eyes, I could see the noble blood in him. He wore a charming, but crooked, smile as he chuckled at my expression.


“That's right, I'm a billionaire orphan living in the woods in a tent,” he said dryly, glancing down at Lucifer. The cat hissed once and then launched himself into the air, landing on his shoulder. “You see why I don't tell people these things? They sound ridiculous, regardless of how true they actually are.”


I was still staring. “You are...”


“Insane?” he offered cheerfully.


A small giggle escaped me, and I ran up to hug him tightly. “No. Cool! You're really telling the truth?”

He pulled a black credit card out of his pocket and flipped it between his fingers, “Do I need to prove it to you?”


He didn't. I knew him well enough to believe him by now. Besides, he used that card for everything, and I'd seen a few stunned expressions before. It wasn't hard to put that, and what I was just now noticing about him together to realize it was true. The tent, while still a tent, was of the highest quality I'd ever seen. Even the travelers from Lenoe, with all of its technological marvels, didn't have the kind of things this seemed to. A small label on the corner declared it waterproof, fireproof, tear resistant, insulating, and self-constructing. I wasn't entirely sure what all of those things meant, but I knew what a features list was.


More than that, he had a number of oddly high quality things around. A box of fire stones, the likes of which I'd only ever seen in the wizards stores, his hoverboard that he'd spoken of that I'd never seen, a dimensional bag, meant to hold up to a thousand times its size in items...


“My best friend is Cross Fire Target!” I said cheerfully. He laughed, and I stopped for a moment, "Wait, that didn't come out right..."


He shrugged, "It's not my fault my parents gave me a stupid name."


I spun back to stare at him again. “So you don't have parents, do you...”


He shook his head. “Dead.” I got the sense he didn't want to discuss it. “But you've seen it, I get along fine. So there's no need to bother anyone with this. I just want to live here like a normal person, as long as I can, before I have to leave.”


“Why do you have to leave?!” I asked, startled. I'd forgotten he'd said he was leaving in the fall...

He tensed up and Lucifer nudged him gently. He reached up to stroke the cat, and sighed. “Well... I told you I know Blaze. And I know it sounds wrong, but... Well he didn't actually kill my parents.”


I nodded, aware that we were on awkward ground, but also knowing that he had something important to say. My whole visit, having followed him here, seemed to disturb him greatly- even if he'd laughed about it a few minutes before. I wasn't going to push my luck, and so I waited while he paced and considered his words.


“See, Blaze was at my house at the time. We were friends, actually... and, he was an exceptionally talented wizard. More than me.” That was impressive. Kane- or, Cross- was a magical prodigy. “And The Black wanted to make him his apprentice... so he came looking.”


Torgan the Black. The most infamous wizard in the Delvalian underworld. Reported to have eyes and ears in every corner of the kingdom, to control the other dark wizards and every murder and every crime that they would commit. According to the royal guard, Blaze was already his apprentice. I waited for him to continue, now unnerved.


“Torgan was the one who burned the house down with them inside. Trying to frame him. That's why I know he's innocent. He's running, like me. Torgan's been trying to catch me too, to get leverage, you know?” He was nervous. The look in his eyes was difficult to understand, but I saw fear and worry.




We stood silently, both shifting our weight uneasily.


“That's why I didn't want to make friends,” he explained. “I don't want you to get hurt...”


I nodded.


“I won't tell,” I assured him.


He nodded.


We stood still for a time, the silence pressing more with each second. Finally, he broke the tension. “You need to get home soon, or it'll be dark.”


“Don't you mean 'we'?” I murmured, looking over at him. He frowned, not understanding the meaning of my words. I smiled. “Wouldn't you like to come live with me and my mother? We have a spare room.”


He very nearly jumped at the words, the very idea setting him on edge. “With you and Rachel?! No, I can't! You'll both be hurt if I go with you. I'm fine here... He's not going to catch up at all for a few more months...”


Sighing, I walked over to take a hold of his wrist and look him in the eye, “My mother is the Pearl Witch, Cross. She was a famous wizard hunter. She knows how to keep the dark ones out.”

It was his turn to stare. Surely he'd heard of her, she was famous for many years and they wrote books about her for children. I could remember when she used to read them to me when I was younger, and how we'd read some of them in class and I had to keep from telling her secret.


Well, I trusted Cross.




He considered for a moment, and then sighed. “But that's just you at the moment, isn't it. I doubt Rachel really wants me there all the time... I mean I'm a guy, I'm older than you, I've only been here a little while, and she's... well she's your mom.”


“Actually I think she'll be fine with it.”


“You would.”


“Can I at least ask her?” I pouted. He threw his arms out, needlessly dramatic.


“Fine. You can go ask her. Tell her who I am, and see if she'll take it. If she does, she's insane!”

I turned towards the path and took a few steps before looking back at him. “Well aren't you going to walk me home?”


He rolled his eyes, knocked on the nearest tree, and turned to follow.




“Of course he can stay with us!” Rachel laughed at my concern, and Lucifer choked so quickly I could have sworn he had a stroke. I just couldn't take my eyes off Rachel, her long red hair tied back and her green eyes dancing as she shoved aside my worries. “Look, Cross, honey... I used to be a part of Liana's personal guard, you're not putting me in any danger. I'll protect -you-. Besides, I trust you. You look after Naia as if she were your sister, and I know you're a nice boy.”


A smile broke out over my face, and I gave a small bow. “Thank you, so much! This is wonderful, you don't know how long it's been since I slept in a bed. So can I move in tomorrow, or do you want to wait a bit?”


Her eyes wandered over to the window and the setting sun, “If you want to make the trip there and back tonight, I'll let you move in today. It's all up to you when you want to come, Cross, our doors are open to you.”


Not thinking, I moved forwards and hugged her. When I realized what I was doing I felt the heat rush to my face and ears and I backed off, smiling sheepishly. “Sorry... I didn't mean...”


She laughed again, and this time hugged me. “It's fine. You're a part of my little family now.”


Was it getting hot in there? Once she'd backed away again I grinned, trying to ignore the sweltering feeling that meant I was red as a tomato. “Thank you again! I'm going to go now... to get my things. I'll ride my board back, it won't take two hours.”


Rachel nodded, and as I turned away I felt another set of arms around me.


“Don't I get one, Cross?” Naia pouted, looking up at me. I returned her embrace for a moment. “Be careful,” she reminded me, “you're a bit sick today. If you don't feel well, just stay home tomorrow... We'll go pick you up.”


I nodded, and finally got out the door. The heat was almost making me dizzy. Why did I always have to get so embarrassed over some small shows of hospitality like that? It was frustrating. As I skipped along the path to the street, I dizzily thought that it would be nice to have a bit more control over my own reaction.


When the pavement came rushing up to meet me, I thought it might be nice to have a bit more warning before I fainted.




“Cross? Cross, are you okay?” I opened my eyes to see my mother above me. I smiled and sat up.

“Sorry mom, I slept in again, didn’t I?” I asked and smiled nervously, she just laughed and told me to hurry up and get ready for school. I got dressed and went to the room where my instructor would come, as everyday. The lesson passed in a blur, and soon it was my free time.


I told my mother I was going to Jason’s house and left.


I'd barely gotten halfway down the street when someone grabbed me roughly, covering my mouth and holding me still. “Keep quiet kid, or this won't go well for you.” I was never one for following instructions... I tried to yell and a sharp hit to the back of my head had me seeing stars until they faded into the dark.


When I came to I couldn’t move. I was tied to a chair. I looked up and saw a man with long black hair and a strange hat talking on the phone, just in front of me. “That’s right, old man. That much if you want to see him alive again.” He paused and looked at me, “Oh, he’s awake! Here, I’ll let you talk to your little ray of sunshine.” He held the receiver to my ear.


“Cross? Cross, are you okay?!”


“Dad! Dad, I’m okay, but…” I looked up at the man, “I’m scared, I want to go home!”


Before I could hear the answer the phone was pulled away from me, the black haired man smiled and lit a cigarette in his mouth. “Hear that? He wants to go home. So pay up, Target!” The phone beeped when he hung up and he put it on a table somewhere in the dark room.


“You played your part well, boy. Now… Joe!” A man walked into the room, “Poison him and leave him in the park, the boy’s father will be here soon enough and we’ll get the money.” He walked out the door without so much as a backward glance and the other man walked up to me, all smiles. All evil, insane smiles.


He started rifling through his bag, but his eyes never left me. “Kid, if you drink all of this it’ll work faster. Trust me you’d rather die quickly.” He held up the bottles in front of his face one at a time, cursing the lack of light in the old building.


There was a knot in my throat and I struggled against the bonds, but they were tight. The poison man just laughed at my attempts and took a long time looking at one bottle. “This is it, kid.” He walked right up to me and pulled my hair back, “Drink up!”


He poured it down my throat and it felt like my tongue was on fire, the feeling faded and left a bitter taste in my mouth. I coughed a few times and my vision grayed at the edges, the last thing I heard before blacking out again was his laughter.


Suddenly everything was hot… too hot. Why…?


“Cross? Cross, are you awake?”


I blinked my eyes open and a dimly lit room came into focus. Rachel sat next to me, where I came to realize I lay in a soft bed. Looking around through a haze, it took a while for me to recognize the spare room, or what would now be my room. “What happened?” I mumbled, wincing as my dry throat cracked with the words.


She smiled her motherly smile and set a damp cloth over my forehead. “You fainted. You've got a fever, hon, so just stay where you are. I'll go pick up your things later, but for now you have to rest. No matter how nice that tent of yours is, it's no good for your health to live in it all the time.”

I managed a nod, and then sighed. “Okay... I'll be good, mom...”


She pulled the blankets up closer around me, and I closed my eyes again.

© 2008 Scyoni

Author's Note

Finally finished it. Well, try as I might, I'm sure there are some spelling/grammar errors in there, feel free to PM me with them, and I'll fix 'em right up.

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You switched how she found out about his past, didn't you? You sly dog you! I love this, no matter how long it takes for me to catch up to your mad editing skills!

Posted 15 Years Ago

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Added on August 11, 2008
Last Updated on August 12, 2008




A 16 year old author, I've been writing for two years and have completed two novels that I'm currently attempting to publish. On the side I write some 'bored stories' which are exactly as implied- sto.. more..

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