More characters from the Amethyst AU…

 

Amethyst 3 – Patricia Weston

 

Prompt used – This is getting awfully complicated.

 

Davie was a child when they took him away. No. I have to be honest. He was a child when we gave him to the Psionics Institute, a beautiful, golden-haired angel…  Well, as much of an angel as any nine year old can be, which meant, of course, he possessed a healthy dose of impishness, not to mention downright naughtiness at times. Just a normal boy. So when we received the phone call that told us he would be returned to us at six in the evening of the next day, we didn’t give a thought to anything other than our boy was coming home.

 

I was on tenterhooks from the moment Charlie put the phone down. We’d hugged each other, holding on for dear life, and I for one could hardly dare believe it. Even though I didn’t go far from the front room windows from the moment I got up the next day, I still found it difficult to imagine he really would be home in a matter of hours. Those hours seemed like days, dragging their feet ominously. Returned to us? What did that mean? Would he have to go back? Our emotions swung from nervous elation to dread. The weather didn’t help. A summer storm swept in from the southwest, hammering into the trees until they roared like surf on rocks and turning the track to our house into a river of mud.

 

A large black car pulled into the track, wings of brown water arching back from its wheels. Moments later it stopped outside our front door. Charlie and I both rushed to the door and jerked it open. A man stood there, a suitcase at his feet and the car was driving off. I gazed up into my son’s face and saw a stranger. He was taller than Charlie at just over six feet, wide shouldered and lean. His face was strong-boned, handsome, with dark gold brows and thick lashes shielding those beautiful, frightening amethyst eyes. His thick blond hair was gone. His scalp was shaved bare, and the skin over his skull was lightly tanned. He wore the tailored black trousers and tunic of the Psionics Institute, and somehow all that darkness threw his features into high relief.

 

“Mum?” he said in a rich, resonating voice. “Dad?” Suddenly I saw past the intimidating surface to the man beneath. He was tired, unsure of his welcome, and scared. And he was my son. I couldn’t speak. I just wrapped my arms around him and held him as close as I could. Then Charlie joined in, hugging us both. I was crying, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

 

David didn’t cry. I could feel the tension in him; he was strung taut as a bow string, and it took a few minutes for him to lift his arms and hug us back. That was when I first began to be afraid. He was twenty years old, a man grown, and we’d had no hand in his development since he was nine. Yes, he was my son. He was also the stranger on the doorstep and I had no idea what kind of person the Institute had returned to me.

 

Or why he had been returned.

 

“Your old room’s all ready for you,” I managed to say, but I couldn’t stop the fear from choking my voice to a shaking quaver, “and dinner will be ready very soon. Go and freshen up, my dear, and we can catch up on all our news later.” He nodded and stood away from us, not meeting our eyes. We watched him walk up the stairs and turn left on the landing, then he disappeared into his bedroom.

 

“Bloody hell,” Charlie whispered. “He’s the image of my old dad. Only tall, like your family. Pattie, what do we tell Ruth and Colin?”

 

“Oh, my God…” I’d forgotten about the Cunninghams in my shock and excitement, and now a sick feeling lodged under my breastbone. Ruth had been a close friend since our childhood, just as Charlie and Colin had known each other for years before they met us. Our sons had been born only a few months apart and had been inseparable as children — Dylan had moped for months when Davie went away. And Dylan was an Unregistered, as late into the talent as Davie was early.

 

“I’ll go over and warn them,” Charlie said quietly, “tell them to get Dylan away for a while. We can’t risk — ” He stopped, his face growing pale, and for a moment I thought I would throw up. I knew what he’d been about to say;  we can’t risk Davie finding out and calling in the Institute. We’d helped Ruth and Colin protect Dylan from the moment the transition began, and that wasn’t going to change now. I shook my head.

 

“This is getting awfully complicated, and I should have foreseen it,” I said. “I’ll go. If Davie asks, tell him the truth. I’ve gone to tell Ruth and Colin we have our boy home for a while.” I paused long enough to put on wellingtons and a waterproof coat, and hurried out through the kitchen door. As soon as I was screened from the house by the trees and bushes, I ran.

 

 

 

The rain stopped just as I reached their back door. The family was in the kitchen, Dylan washing the dinner dishes, Ruth and Colin wiping up and putting away. I half-tripped as I came in, and Colin caught me, laughing at my breathless clumsiness.

 

“Steady on, lass. Where’s the fire?”

 

“Davie’s home,” I panted. “Holiday — or  maybe — I don’t know if — memory-wiped — ” Ruth dropped the plate she was holding and it shattered on the tiled floor. But my eyes were on Dylan. His delighted smile lit up his face.

 

“Dave’s home,” he said wonderingly. “That’s — fantastic!” He snatched a towel from its rack beside the sink, dried his hands and started for the door. I caught his arm at the same time Colin grabbed his shoulder.

 

“Where are you going?” his father demanded.

 

“To see Dave, of course,” Dylan answered impatiently.

 

“You can’t!” Colin and I said in chorus. “It might not be safe,” I continued. “He-he’s like a stranger…”

 

“Pat’s right,” Colin said. “Until we know what the Institute has sent back, and why, it’d be best if you keep away. In fact, you should go and stay with your Aunt Megan in Bath for a while.” That was a stroke of genius. Megan lived in a flat above a shop in the older part of the city, not far from the Roman Baths and the Temple of Minerva. Excavations in the cellar there had unearthed another, smaller temple to Nodens. In effect, she lived on — or above — sacred ground, and that made Adepts undetectable to each other, as long as their eyes were disguised.

 

“No,” Dylan said. “This is Dave. He wouldn’t do anything to hurt me — us.”

 

“We don’t know that,” Ruth said, putting her arms around his shoulders and mine. “At least wait until we know more. Go to Megan and we’ll keep you up to date with — ”

 

“No,” he said again, gently but firmly. “I’ll leave it until tomorrow, but that’s all. Dave’s my friend, Mum. My best friend.”

 

“Once, he was,” I said heavily. “But is he now? We don’t know what that place has done to him!” All my fear broke through, and so did the grief, both old and new. “I don’t know if he is my son any more!” My voice echoed in the large kitchen, and the silence that followed was filled with foreboding.

 

tbc

 

Now clicky on these links for some great Free Flash Fic:

 

West Thornhill (m/m) http://wthornhillauthor.blogspot.com/
Julie Hayes (m/m) http://julielynnhayes.blogspot.com
Victoria Blisse (m/f) http://www.victoriablisse.co.uk
Lindsay Klug (m/f) www.ichbineinteufel.blogspot.com
Lily Sawyer (m/m) http://lilysawyerbooks.blogspot.com/
Catriana Sommers http://catrianasmuse.blogspot.com/
Heather Lin (m/f) http://heatherlin88.blogspot.com/
Ryssa Edwards (m/m) http://www.ryssaedwards.net/blog/

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