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(Chapter 3)
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''Well, they can't,'' he thought. He wasn't going to be sticking around here very long, if he could help it.
 
''Well, they can't,'' he thought. He wasn't going to be sticking around here very long, if he could help it.
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He assessed his cell quietly, taking in the cold metal bars and the concrete walls. There was no way he was breaking out of here.
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He rammed his shoulder into the bars anyways.
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"''Owww,''" he moaned, rubbing his shoulder. That's when he heard a familiar voice.
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"Well, well, well. Looks like Little Mister Dark and Temperamental woke up from his nap."
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Tam glared at Gethen pointedly. "Actually, I prefer the term 'salty.' It's got a bit of zing to it that "temperamental" just doesn't live up to."
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Gethen threw his head back and laughed. "I like this one!" he chortled.
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"The feeling isn't mutual, trust me."
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Grinning, Gethen pulled out a key. "We thought you might be a bit rebellious. That's why we all voted that, until you learn a little humility, we're going to let you have a bit of a.... well, a different job."
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Tam's stomach fell to the floor at the tone of Gethen's voice.
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Gethen stuck the key into the slot and turned it, yanking the door open. He pulled a strange looking device from his side and held it up. "Don't even think about running, Mister Salty."
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'''AUTHOR'S NOTES:'''
  +
  +
''Oh gracious, I'm so sorry for all the little references I've been throwing in! I can't help it. Drop a comment if you understand any of my weird references. ''
   
 
'''It's a work in progress, I'll continue on soon!'''
 
'''It's a work in progress, I'll continue on soon!'''

Revision as of 03:36, June 14, 2019

Flashback Spoilers ~ A Sokeefe Fanfiction ~ Read At Your Own Risk!

Written By Bib·li·o·ma·ni·ac

At the Heart of it All - Cover

Chapter 1

The words hit her with such a great force that she was surprised she didn't stumble backwards. But she was frozen in place, hardly even breathing as she stared at the two woman with looking at her with strange looks on their faces.

Then suddenly she could move again, and she was running as fast as she could out of that building. Why? She didn't know. Maybe some part of her felt like she could run away from all these troubles, and maybe even back to another lifetime, when there were no match lists or cute boys or evil organizations. When school was easy, and her biggest problem was how she was going to blend in that day. When she had two parents and a little sister whom she had assumed to be her biological family.

When everything was so much simpler.

This was just the straw that set it off. She could never and would never live a normal life; all aspects of her pointed to that solid fact. But these final words...

Sophie Elizabeth Foster is Unmatchable
What would Fitz say? That's the first thought in her mind. She knew how much Fitz hated the idea of being a bad match. He would probably be fine with it, though. He could move past that, Sophie was sure he could.

Just as she was thinking this, she felt a hand rest on her shoulder. Startled, she looked up, and finally took in her surroundings. She had run to some sort of park or garden. Maybe it was privately owned, she wasn't sure. She didn't even know how she had made it to this place.

The hand was Fitz's. He was looking at her with sad eyes. He seemed so disappointed.... with her? Sophie immediately felt hurt by the look on his face, although something told her that that was selfish. But she had been hoping Fitz would come in strong and confident and tell her that it didn't matter.

That was the farthest thing from what he said next

"You can try again. Ask Mr. Forkle. He'll help," Fitz said in a soothing voice, but it was marked with its own hints of worry.

"Fitz!" she exclaimed, and then slapped her hand over her mouth. She shouldn't be mad at him for saying that. He meant well, of course....

But she was mad.

Fitz looked startled at her. Sophie blinked back a few tears and then tried to speak while keeping her voice from shaking.

"Listen... I need you... to be fine... being with me... even if... I'm unmatchable. Are you... fine with that?" she said slowly.

"We don't have to worry about it. Because I will get you a match list."

Sophie stood up and shook her head, eyes narrowing in frustration at Fitz. "This is what I'm saying, Fitz! I want you to stop worrying about a match list! I want you to not care if I get matched with you or not! I want you to love me regardless of the names that some elven scientists decided were supposed to be on a list for you!"

Sophie couldn't believe she had said that, but something inside of her was happy she did. Proud, even. She had stood up for herself. But maybe she had been to harsh on him. She took a step closer and brushed a lock of hair off his forehead.

"I care about you, Fitz. And I don't want a silly list to come in between us."

Fitz ran a hand through his hair, obviously distraught. He closed his eyes tightly, and then opened them again.

"Sophie," he whispered, and then he leaned in, and suddenly he was kissing her. Everything about him -- the softness of his lips, the smell of his tunic, the warmth of his touch -- hit her all at once. But something felt off. There was a twinge of anger inside of her that kept resurfacing, no matter how hard she tried to suppress it.

She pulled away.

"Sophie!" he repeated, sounding desperate.

"Say it. Say you don't care whether or not we're matched together."

He hesitated, and in that moment Sophie learned all she needed to no. She felt as though her heart had been ripped from her chest by hands as cold as death. The aching feeling of absence was left in its place. Fitz would sacrifice their relationship for his reputation -- this thought hurt Sophie so deeply that tears came pouring from her eyes and splashed onto the grass below.

"Sophie... I..." he began, seeing that she was hurt, but Sophie stopped him.

"Please. Just go," she murmured.

When Fitz left, she broke down into a sobbing wreck on the ground. Because of Fitz, because she knew here life would never be "normal," because from now on she was too tired to face the world anymore. She sobbed the tears of years of hurt and pain. It all came, all at once. Maybe her mind wasn't broken, but certainly a part of her was.

~~~

Maybe it was minutes, or hours, or maybe even days when she heard footsteps and felt a hand on her shoulder again. The touch was loving, as the last one had been, but Sophie shook it off.

"I said go, Fitz. And I meant it, leave me alone," she said fiercely.

"Don't worry, Foster, I'm not Fitz. It's me," a voice said. Keefe's voice.

"Keefe," Sophie choked. She looked up and saw his blurry form through tear-stained eyes. For some reason, his presence calmed her.

Keefe sat down, his back resting on a tree. He gestured for her to come closer. She did, reaching out her hand so her could help her up and over towards him. She rested her head on his shoulder, and let tiny sobs come out in little bursts until the tears had completely dried up.

"I'm unmatchable, Keefe," she said softly, painfully.

Keefe shifted slightly. "I know."

"I wasn't even going to get my match list, but Fitz really wanted me to," Sophie confessed. "So why does it matter so much that I'm unmatchable?"

"It doesn't," Keefe said confidently. "Who cares? You know one of the cutest couples I know? Kessler and Juline. And they were a bad match, weren't they? Plus, without them, our red-headed technopath friend wouldn't exist. Imagine a world without Dex! Who would have been your first kiss?"

Sophie's fists clenched at the word "kiss." Keefe, being an empath, noticed the slight change in her mood immediately.

"Oh. Something happened, didn't it. With Fitz."

Sophie nodded slightly. She knew that Keefe could tell just what had happened.

Keefe sighed. "He was my best friend, you know."

Sophie nodded again, wondering where this was going.

"Then the Neverseen came along. I was used to being disappointed with my family, and I was used to being hurt. But Fitz? It hit him hard. He changed. And now all he wants is to get back what he had before. Reputation, friendship, and a whole family."

"I ruined it all. I ruined his life," Sophie moaned.

"The Neverseen ruined all of our lives, Sophie."

Sophie paused and looked up, distracted. "Sophie?"

Keefe smiled wryly. "What's that, Foster? Did I slip up? Oh, I'll never hear the end of this one, will I?"

"I'll make a tunic to remind you," Sophie said, surprised she could still joke around.

"It'll say, 'He called me Sophie' on the front and 'My name is Foster' on the back," Keefe suggested. Sophie rolled her eyes.

Then she sighed, sinking back into the ocean of regret and despair that she knew Keefe was trying so hard to pull her from.

"Maybe I was too hard on Fitz."

Keefe was silent. Sophie had no idea how to interpret this. She glanced at his face, trying to read it. She was no empath, though, and she knew the rules of telepathy. Although now she wished she could read Keefe's mind...

"Do you want me to be honest?" Keefe asked.

"Yes. Please."

Keefe's head tilted backwards slightly. "Well, Foster, I think you know that I'm a bit biased in this matter..."

Suddenly, Sophie realized just how close she was sitting to Keefe, and felt his arm around her, and heard his breath as it escaped from his lips. Guilt flooded over her, though she couldn't really understand why.

"Relax, Foster." Keefe let out a dry laugh. "I'm not gonna try anything. As I was saying, I might be biased, but... let's just say, I would never put a list in front of you."

Sophie's lip pursed tightly together. She didn't like what Keefe was implying, but somehow she also knew it was true.

Sophie let her hand find Keefe's grasping it tightly. It wasn't a romantic gesture, Sophie told herself. But Keefe's lips spread into a smile.

"You're enhancing me," he said. Sophie blinked, and then glanced down at her hands. No gloves, no crush cuffs, no specially designed fingernails.

"Mmm? So you know the deepest, darkest emotions in my heart?" Sophie asked with a hint of sarcasm.

"Well, actually, yes. Don't worry, though, they're a huge mess right now, Foster. Not exactly easy to understand. It's like a full out war in there."

Sophie tried to let her heart emotions surface, just so she could figure them out. But they were buried deep inside of her, so far that she was surprised Keefe could access them, even when he was enhanced. It was like she had built a wall around her heart to keep her emotions from overflowing into the rest of her.

"That's why I feel so torn apart. It's too much," Sophie whispered. And once again there were tears. She let herself cry on Keefe's shoulder as he held her tight, patiently waiting and never letting go.

Chapter 2

Sophie was dreading this day.

It had been three days since she had received the news about being unmatchable. She hadn't spoken to Fitz since their fight. Now, she was meeting with the Black Swan to discuss a plan for Tam's escape from the Neverseen, and Fitz was going to be there.

This was quite possibly not the best time to confront her relationship problems, but it had to be done. So, she called Fitz over to Havenfield to talk.

"I'm really sorry, Sophie," were the first words out of his mouth when he stepped into her bedroom.

Sophie's heart softened a bit at those words, but she kept her expression stony. "Listen, Fitz, I forgive you. But we need to talk about this, because it's a real problem."

"Yeah. We shouldn't let this come in between us."

Sophie was relieved. Good, she thought, we're on the same page, then.

"I agree, we shouldn't let this come in between us. That's why I've decided not to even try to apply for a match list again. We shouldn't let them determine our future, that's for us to decide," she said confidently.

Fitz gaped. "You're not getting a match list? Sophie, you're not even giving us a chance to be a good match!"

"Good match, bad match, it doesn't matter! This is what I'm trying to say, Fitz. Didn't you just say we shouldn't let this come between us?"

Fitz face contorted as though he were in pain. He took a deep breath and shook his head. Then he began pacing back and forth, apparently deep in thought.

"I... can't."

Sophie lips parted in surprise. What did he mean, he couldn't?

"You have to try again, Sophie. You have to get a match list! Please. I don't know how else...."

Sophie turned away, furious. She couldn't believe what Fitz was saying! Fitz had always had her back, but now... And he had always put her first, but now...

"I think... I think this is over."

At first, Sophie was sure those words had come from the mouth of a stranger, because they couldn't have possibly come from her own lips.

But they had.

And she had meant them

Fitz's eyes widened, and his expression looked hurt. "You can't be serious. You're not even going to try? You're going to end our relationship without even trying to get the list?"

"It's not that I can't or won't get a list. It's the fact that you need me to get one. It's the fact that reputation is coming first for you. It's the fact that you would end our relationship if your name didn't end up on my match list. I'm not going to go through that," Sophie said.

Fitz's expression changed, now red with anger. "Listen, Sophie, don't act like I'm manipulating this relationship. If anyone is, you are. You'd put my family through public humiliation, without even trying to stop it!"

"A slightly tarnished reputation isn't the worst thing in the world, Fitz! Why can't you see that?"

Fitz glared, but didn't respond. It seemed like a century before he finally spoke.

"You know what? You're right. This is over."

And then he left.

~~~

Fitz didn't show up to the Neverseen meeting later that day. Sophie glanced at Biana, and Biana motioned for her to sit next to her. Feeling as though this conversation might be a bit awkward, she took the chair between Biana and Keefe.

"Fitz told me about the break up. It sounded rough," she said quietly.

"Yeah. Yeah, it was," said Sophie, and she could feel herself tearing up.

"Listen, Soph, I want you to know that I'm not going to hold this against you -- against either of you. I'm not taking sides. I'm going to be here for you, no matter what," Biana said.

"Thanks, Biana," Sophie said, feeling a bit relieved that Biana wasn't mad at her.

Just then, Mr. Forkle walked in. They were all there, except Fitz: Biana, Dex, Keefe, Linh, Wylie, and even Marella. Marella, Sophie noted, was a little teary-eyed herself.

"Afternoon, kids. As you all know.... just a moment. Where is Mr. Vacker?" Mr. Forkle began.

"Right here," said Keefe, patting the arm of the chair beside him. "He manifested as a Vanisher, the precious little peacock. Imagine the advantage he has in base quest now.... a Telepath and Vanisher!"

Mr. Forkle wasn't amused.

"He wasn't feeling the greatest today. Mom made him stay home," Biana inserted smoothly.

"I just stopped by the Vacker residence, as it were, and Mrs. Vack... I mean, Della, claimed that both of you were out, and then would come here right away. I believe Fitz was at Miss Foster's house, according to... Della?"

"Really? Faker!" Biana groaned.

"That's true, he was. We were just hanging out. Then he left, and later I came here. Um, I think he said something about going to Atlantis... maybe he was delayed?" Sophie said.

"Yeah, she's right, I saw Fitz in Atlantis today, and the line he was in was super long. For the grand opening of Teal and Co., Atlantis," Keefe added. Sophie could tell that Keefe knew about the break-up.

"Teal and Co. opened in Atlantis? Eek!" Biana shrieked, a wonderful acting job on her part, in Sophie's opinion. "No wonder he faked being sick, of course he didn't want me coming along."

The look of disappointment and exasperation on Biana's face was so perfect that even Sophie was almost convinced by it.

Mr. Forkle stood up and began pacing.

"Alright then. Those were some very nice lies from all three of you," he said.

Linh, Wylie, Marella, and Dex all turned towards Biana, Sophie, and Keefe.

"Called it!" Marella exclaimed, and then glanced at Dex. "I called it, didn't I?"

"She did," Dex admitted from where he sat, in between Biana and Marella.

Mr. Forkle shook his head. "You kids are teenagers right now, and I get that there will be cases such as this one occurring, but I don't think the best way to deal with it is by..."

"Hey Forkle? Maybe this isn't the best way to deal with it either?" Keefe suggested.

Mr. Forkle paused, took a breath, and then sighed a deep, frustrated sigh.

"Kids," he muttered, and then he left the room.

You should tell them. Now. Then we can get on with the meeting. Mr. Forkle's voice appeared in Sophie's head.

Right. Because you can keep as many secrets as you want, while I can't have any. Most people know my memories before I do, and you won't even let me tell this one small secret in my own time.

This is essential to this plan. You can't be at odds with anybody here.

Fine.

Sophie stood up on, and so did everybody else. She felt Keefe's hand grab her own, and realized she had been shaking.

"So... Fitz and I broke up," Sophie said, so fast that she wondered if they had even understood the words.

They had.

"What? When?" Dex cried.

"You two were dating?" Marella asked, eyes lighting up.

"Yeah, I know. Tea." Sophie said, rolling her eyes at Marella, and feeling empty inside.

"Tea?" Linh asked, confused.

"Oh! It's a human thing... like gossip, and stuff."

"What happened?" Dex demanded

"I like tea," Marrella said, seeming disinterested once again. "Particularly peppermint."

"Um... we didn't see eye to eye about... things," Sophie answered Dex's question.

"Matchmaking," Linh inserted.

Sophie was surprised she'd guessed. "Yeah, actually."

"So pretty boy and his hotshot girlfriend broke up. What else is new? Like, shouldn't we be trying to save Tam here?" Marella asked.

Mr. Forkle reentered. "Mrs. Redek is right. Now that we have that all sorted out, let's get down to it. Tam has been bribed by the Neverseen, and is currently working for them."

He looked around the room, as though expecting one of them to pop forth with a brilliant solution. But nobody spoke. Linh, eyes wet with tears, buried her face in Wylie's shoulder. Marella, looking dejected, stared at her lap. Biana and Dex both looked sad and uncomfortable. Sophie felt like she was going to be sick. All this time that she had spent worrying and worrying about Fitz, when one of their friends had just been bribed into joining the enemy....

It was time she took action.

Chapter 3

Tam's eyes flickered open. It took him a moment to realize that he wasn't waking up in his own bed, but instead in a cold, dark cell. Suddenly, the memories of all that had happened came flooding into his mind, and he cried out in pain. He had joined the Neverseen.

Willingly? Sure. But that didn't mean that he wanted to. It had been his only option. As much as he tried to seem flippant and impassive, he cared too much about his friends and his sister to let any harm come to them. So, he had sacrificed himself for them.

They must have knocked him out. It made sense; they had no idea if they could trust him.

Well, they can't, he thought. He wasn't going to be sticking around here very long, if he could help it.

He assessed his cell quietly, taking in the cold metal bars and the concrete walls. There was no way he was breaking out of here.

He rammed his shoulder into the bars anyways.

"Owww," he moaned, rubbing his shoulder. That's when he heard a familiar voice.

"Well, well, well. Looks like Little Mister Dark and Temperamental woke up from his nap."

Tam glared at Gethen pointedly. "Actually, I prefer the term 'salty.' It's got a bit of zing to it that "temperamental" just doesn't live up to."

Gethen threw his head back and laughed. "I like this one!" he chortled.

"The feeling isn't mutual, trust me."

Grinning, Gethen pulled out a key. "We thought you might be a bit rebellious. That's why we all voted that, until you learn a little humility, we're going to let you have a bit of a.... well, a different job."

Tam's stomach fell to the floor at the tone of Gethen's voice.

Gethen stuck the key into the slot and turned it, yanking the door open. He pulled a strange looking device from his side and held it up. "Don't even think about running, Mister Salty."

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

Oh gracious, I'm so sorry for all the little references I've been throwing in! I can't help it. Drop a comment if you understand any of my weird references.

It's a work in progress, I'll continue on soon!

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.