Reign Of Fire Fanfiction: Don't Bite the Sun - 5. Chapter 5
A/N: I don’t think any of the characters are given an age in Reign of Fire, so I’m using the actors age at the time of filming. Quinn is 28, Creedy is 33, and Jared is 18. My story is a prequel, eight years after dragons were unleashed. Quinn is 20, Creedy is 25, and Jared is 10. Just thought I’d put it to a distinctive timeline.
What Creedy really wanted was some damn peace and quiet. At just after dusk, it was the time when everyone chatted to one another about all manner of things. They made plans, they held each other, and they talked about the people they missed. Normally it was his favorite time of day but just that minute he couldn’t stand any of it. This time when he headed out the door, Michael was awake.
“Hey,” Creedy said. He drew a deep breath feeling the chill in the air. Felt good in his lungs.
Michael ducked his head nervously. “Hey. What are you doing out here? I’m sentry until moonrise. Another hour or so. Maybe less.”
“Who’s replacing you?”
The youth shrugged noncommittally. “Not sure, honestly. That other boy — can’t remember his name.”
Creedy nodded and looked up. The sky was beautiful; the stars clear points of light against a steel blue canvas. Not a wisp of cloud. Michael followed suit but his reaction was a bit different. In his hazel eyes, there was only nervousness, his posture reflected tension. To him the open air was nothing but a thing of fear, a vast threatening expanse that offered nothing but danger. Creedy felt infinitely sad for all the children who would never really see the sky.
Just like all the warm, caring people inside, Creedy couldn’t stand being near Michael. “Why don’t you head inside, Mike. I’ll wait here for the other guy.”
“Yeah, go on inside. Get some rest.” He clapped the boy on the shoulder and took the rifle. He preempted the attempt at thanks. “Don’t mention it. You’re welcome.” Michael gave him an odd look of uncertainty, but didn’t question it. Creedy smiled to reassure him and then took his place. From the vantage point, he had a clear view of the square and the road down the hill. A quick check showed what he already knew. One round in the chamber.
“‘I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.'” Her voice was soft and somehow seemed not to break the silence or fill it. The words spread out into the night and became part of it. Or at least, that’s how it seemed to Creedy. Rio came to stand beside him. He didn’t look at her.
“Somehow, I wouldn’t have pegged you as religious,” he answered.
“I’m not. I’d like to be, though.”
“‘O how all things are far removed / and long have passed away. / I do believe the star, / whose light my face reflects, / is dead and has been so / for many thousand years.'”
Her smile was beatific. He couldn’t help it. He had to look.
“Somehow,” she said. “I wouldn’t have pegged you as a fan of Rilke.”
“Just that one.”
“‘I long to quiet my anxious heart and stand beneath the sky’s immensity.'” Creedy’s voice joined hers and together they went on, “‘I long to pray… / And one of all the stars / must still exist.'” Their eyes met, and turned away. This time the quiet twisted itself into knots, tense and uncomfortable. Creedy very desperately regretted sending Michael inside. And at the same time he didn’t. Part of him knew this was necessary.
“You want to thumb wrestle?” he asked. Her eyebrow shot up and a half-smile pulled up the corner of her lips. Creedy shrugged. “It worked the last time. Where’s Quinn?”
She leaned back against the hollow door frame, her chin tilted imperiously. Every line of her body was elegant. “He’s with Jared still. I don’t think you could get him away from that kid for the world right now.” Even her voice held the quiet tinge of authority. “I know we’re supposed to dance around this but I won’t tell anyone we cut to the chase if you won’t.”
“Deal, but I get to go first.”
“That’s hardly fair. Why do you get to go first?”
“Because I called it.”
“Fine. You can go first.” She smirked at him knowingly.
“Right. Here it goes.” He took a deep breath to steady himself. It wasn’t so much fun now that he had his moment to speak. “I want you to come with us when we leave.” He cut her off before she could answer. “No, let me say it. Rona, I really want you to come with us when we leave. I’m not delusional, and I don’t know that I believe in God anymore, but I believe things do happen for a reason.” He paused for a moment and looked away. It was damn hard being honest. “And I think we could really have something, you and me. Something good.”
Seconds passed. Unbearable seconds. He risked a glance at her. Rio was staring down the road, but she wasn’t seeing it. Not that there was much to see, he noted dispassionately. The world was dark, waiting for the moon. Creedy waited for her.
“I was on a plane to see my father. He left my mother before I was born. He had a wife here, and a stepson. It was going to be the first time I met them in person.” She looked down. “It was overcast that day. Cloudy. You couldn’t see hardly a thing, but I saw it out the window. We had made landfall and we were approaching Heathrow. And for one perfect instant the clouds broke.” Her eyes glittered and Creedy realized she was crying. He wanted to hold her. “I remember thinking it was beautiful.”
The truth struck him suddenly. She was talking about the first. She had seen the original dragon.
As from far away he heard his voice ask, “Beautiful?”
She nodded. “Yes. Absolutely beautiful.” She brushed the tears away. Creedy felt like he was under some spell. He couldn’t make himself move. His chest felt tight. Rio went on, “My father didn’t believe me, of course, and by the time he did there were no flights in or out of the country. He left me with his wife and her son. She was the one who taught me nursing. We stayed together for five years but our settlement was raided. They both died and I was raped by the marauders.
“I told you that story to tell you this story,” she said. “I don’t know how to be close to people anymore, Creedy. I can’t promise that I’ll stay. I can’t promise anything.”
“You don’t have to promise anything. You don’t even have to say yes. Just think about it, yeah?”
She nodded, her hair falling forward. In the dark, her eyes looked black. “It’s all I’ve been thinking about. I just… I don’t want to be unfair to you, Tim.”
No one had called him Tim in years. He didn’t know how to feel about it. “Really, everyone calls me Creedy.”
She gave a half-smile that was real beneath the grief. “Well you called me Rona earlier. Fair is fair.” This time the silence was comfortable and less expectant. “How long are you sentry?”
“Just till moonrise.”
“I’ll wait with you.” She stepped closer and looked at him expectantly. For a moment he had no idea what to do and then she motioned for him to scoot over. He realized she was telling him she’d try.
She would want to sit down, wouldn’t she? he thought. He made room for her on the crate. It was a tight fit, but he didn’t mind. She was warm, and she smelled like sulfur. Most likely a remnant from his rescue.
“How’s your back?” he asked, prompted by his train of thought.
“Blistered, but healing. It should be fine in another few days.”
Creedy briefly considered putting an arm over her shoulders, but decided it wouldn’t be prudent under the circumstances. Instead he reached over and threaded his fingers through hers.
“How much longer till moonrise?” she asked.
“About an hour.” He felt electric tingles down his spine when she leaned her head against his shoulder.
“Good,” she answered.