What gives you hope and why?
The unfinished Dome was a dead end. That was what Shane believed right up until that Hero appeared. Of course, it wasn’t the short gunslinger who had caught Shane’s attention. It was his companion, the woman who had whispered his name before recklessly placing herself in the line of fire. Shane couldn’t forget her two-toned eyes if he lived a thousand lifetimes. What in the world was Lara doing out in the Wastes?
“He’s not a Hunter,” she said, her hand lowering her partner’s gun towards the floor of the building’s foyer. Shane refrained from shaking his head at the ignorance her comment revealed.
“He shot at us first!” the Hero snarled, glowering past her.
“We just startled each other,” she said. She glanced over her shoulder at him, her face pleading with him to agree with her. Shane shrugged. That was one way to put it.
Her companion remained unconvinced. “What’s he doing out here, then? No one comes this far into the Wastes!”
“We did,” she said matter-of-factly, taking another step closer to him. His face took on a stubborn set and Shane thought he might object again. Lara wrapped her hands around his. “Midge, please. No one is hurt. It was just a misunderstanding. Let’s all just put away our weapons and have a nice chat. Please.”
How many times had she manipulated him into letting her off easy with similar pleas? Whenever she would rather go to the fields or stay at home reading instead of studying and practicing, she had taken a similar tone with him. For a Reader who claimed to hate the idea of Compulsion, she certainly had a natural talent for it. Then again, maybe she was just wily.
Midge holstered his weapon with a dissatisfied grunt. “You guys go ahead and talk ’til your tongues fall out. I’m gonna go make sure there are no other surprises waiting for us here.” Shane could have told him that would be unnecessary, but Midge pointedly shoved past him on his way out so Shane decided to let him sulk. He had business with Lara anyway.
Lara. She had grown in the five years since he’d last seen her. She was in far better control of her emotions than back then. He sensed Collette’s hand in that and felt a pang of guilt. He had taken Lara so she wouldn’t have to suffer Collette, but after Shane, the old crone would be the only one who could handle Lara.
“You left,” her voice quivered as the words hung between them. Her eyes were wet as she stared him down. He frowned and she grew angry. He didn’t blame her for it. “Why? You knew I needed you, that I wasn’t strong enough to control it. Why did you leave me all alone?”
She was Projecting all over the place. Of course, Ark hadn’t told her a thing. “I left you that ring,” he said softly, containing his anger at the Sage for when he could face the old bastard again. “It should have been enough to replace me.”
Lara stepped back as though struck. “If you think I only cared about you because you were useful, you’re an idiot.”
“If you think I left you behind because I didn’t care, I’m not the idiot here.” He knew his voice sounded cold, but her feelings were infecting him.
“I don’t think that!” she cried.
She may have grown up a little, but she still had a long way to go. “Yes, you do,” he said. He pointed to his temple. “You still lack control.” Her face fell. She probably didn’t even realize she believed he had abandoned her. He turned to leave.
Well, he had pretty much abandoned her. “No, I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “I should have known he wouldn’t tell you the truth. I’m as much to blame for this as those old fools.” He left before she could say anything else.
He half expected her to chase after him, to demand an explanation. She didn’t follow him, though. He only stopped to look back once, when he couldn’t Hear her anymore. It happened much sooner than he expected and he smiled. So, she had learned control after all. That, coupled with the fact that somehow, she had convinced Arcadios to let her out of Athens, gave Shane hope.
At the ridge to the west, Shane turned back towards the empty city, its unfinished walls barely visible through the dark and the dust. He had come looking for answers, but instead he just had more questions. He hadn’t found what he was looking for, but he’d found something even better. A weight had been lifted from his chest. Lara was free.
Notes: Or IS she? Muaahaha. I kinda rushed through the end there. Once I hit the “gives hope” bit I was like “ok that’s a wrap. ROLL CREDITS.” When I was thinking about this prompt and what sorts of things can give people hope, I came up with a few different ideas and then tried to figure out which characters would suit them best. Shane demanded to be featured in this one.
I don’t get to write him as often as I like so it was a nice change of pace. Learning more about your characters and how they think and why they do the things they do is always a good thing. I’d actually written this scene from Lara’s POV back when I first began working on their story two years ago but I was sure I could fit it to the prompt if I rewrote it for Shane. This scene also takes place right before this one from one of my earliest prompts. The aftermath is not as pretty as Shane thinks.
Well this is two nights in a row now that I am finishing up rather late. Blah blah I need to start earlier blah blah same old song and dance. Oh well. Have a great night! See you tomorrow!
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