Tag Archive: Hannah


Introductions

Emery Ballard followed Warden Hassett into the station that morning, rather than bounding ahead. A part of him was hoping to make a good first impression with his more sedate, more mature, pace and a part of him was a little anxious about meeting the new team of forensics magicians that had been added to the force.

“You know, some of them have been on the force for a while, just not as forensics magicians,” Hassett said. His tone was meant to be reassuring, but Emery found the words less so. The forensics team was meant to work with any and all of the wardens that were on call when they were, but in the year since his graduation from the academy, Emery had only worked with a select few. Veterans of the force or not, these men and women would be complete strangers.

“Are they being supervised by Morrissey too?” Emery asked. He glanced back at Miles. His brother was both strangely quiet and reticent to be in the station. Without waiting for Hassett to answer his previous question he asked, “What’s wrong, Mi?”

“Hannah,” the younger boy said softly.

“You know her?” Hassett asked.

“We were in school with her,” Emery said. “She and Miles have a bit of a history with each other. As I recall, you two went out together a few times. You were quite taken with her.” He glanced at his brother for confirmation and received a glare in reply.

“She was just using me to get to you, brother,” Miles said softly. “She had no interest in me at all. When she figured out your preferences, she dumped me before I could even blink.”

“Ah, so she’s a heart-breaker,” Hassett said softly.

“Yes,” Miles replied. “I ain’t saying she’s a gold-digger…” he hummed, edging ahead of them.

Emery smiled and shrugged. “She likes to date people she thinks are going to gain her power or prestige – or she did in school. She might have changed, Mi,” he called to his brother.

“Don’t count on it,” Miles shot back. They ducked into a conference room just off the lobby and paused as they noticed that they weren’t alone. “Here they are. Good morning,” he greeted the new team, all animosity gone from his features. He may dislike Hannah, but he’d hide it well – at least in front of other people. Emery doubted very much that his younger brother would ever have a good working relationship with the girl.

“Hi Miles. Hi Emery,” she greeted, bounding forward. “You must be Warden Hassett,” she added, looking up at the older man. Her green eyes roved over him as if taking in every detail and Emery caught Miles scowling out of the corner of his eye. He sent a brief smile toward his brother, along with a sense of calm that the empathy was likely to pick up on.

“We should wait until the rest of the team arrives for introductions,” Hassett said. “Though the boys told me that they knew you already.”

“We were in school together. Emery saved my life,” she said. She caught his hand and smiled at him. “He’s a hero.”

“She wasn’t really in any danger,” Emery said quickly. “She was in the woods on school grounds and… broke her ankle and… well, I found her.” He darted a glance at Hassett as if to ask if the other team should be let in on their secret. The warden caught his look and nodded once. “I just followed the trauma from the injury – and her distress, I suppose.”

“Emery can sense trauma and I pick up on emotions,” Miles said. “We both have off-magic but we’d prefer that no one knows.”

“Especially since Em was recently kidnapped by a group that is trying to exploit people who are specially gifted as they are,” Hassett said.

“The presence of off-magic tends to indicate Cygman blood,” one of the newcomers said.

“The blond hair and blue eyes tend to agree with that, Elsa,” another said. She smiled at the boys and added, “We can keep a secret.” Her dark, angular eyes and equally dark hair announced her Shynian heritage as much as the brothers’ coloring announced theirs.

“Technically, we’re all Shynian,” Hassett pointed out. “Whatever our ancestry, we live in Ameria, which is a Shynian state. Here’s Morrissey and Serenity. Is Armand on his way?” he asked the supervisory investigator.

“He had some things to do this morning to wrap up a case,” Serenity said. “He wanted your input on something Miles. He found some anomalies in the samples he was analyzing.”

“Some of the sample was connected to the region we found it in and some was,” Miles surmised. When the older investigator nodded he grinned. “I thought it might be. That’s not an anomaly. The samples were mixed. The suspect was trying to throw us off. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll go talk to Armand about it.”

He didn’t wait for permission, he simply left, glad to be away from his former girlfriend. Emery nodded at him as he passed, well aware of how tense the younger boy was. “Since everyone who’s coming is here, shall we proceed?” he asked.

“Very well,” Morrissey said. “All of you know me. I interviewed you. In case you’ve forgotten, I’m Robert Morrissey, supervisory investigator and ballistics expert for the first team. This young woman is Martha Sheppard, the ballistics expert for the second team.” He gestured at the woman who’d spoken to Elsa earlier and she bowed at the team members.

“Pleasure to meet you all,” she said.

“Miles Ballard, who left to help Master Armand, is the first team’s trace specialist. Cliff Woodin is his counterpart on the second team and also will act as my second, supervising them when I’m not present,” Morrissey continued.

Emery looked up at Woodin. Like Armand, the man was unusually tall for a magician, approaching what was considered average height for a non-mage. Unlike Armand, the man had dark features typical to those who were ethnically Shynian. With a glance at the other team members, Emery wondered if this was a trend or if there were just more ethnic Shynians in Piedmont than in his hometown of Lyroron.

“Samuel Perkins is the second team’s hair and fiber analyst; just as Serenity Adams is ours,” Morrissey continued. Perkins was as different from Woodin as night was to day. The man was even shorter than Miles and fair enough that he could have been an albino.

“Hey all,” he greeted in a softly drawling accent. “Glad to be working with you. I hope we can all manage to get along well.”

“I hope so too,” Emery replied. “I’m Emery Ballard, Miles’s older brother. I’m the trauma and bodily fluids analyst for our team.”

“Elsa Adamson,” the woman who’d pointed out their Cygman roots said, extending her hand. As Emery shook it she smiled and nodded at him as if in approval. “I know your teacher, Rafael Cain. We were apprentices to the same master.”

“Professor Cain?” Emery said, beaming enough that his cheeks hurt. “You know Professor Cain? How is he?”

“He was well when last I saw him,” she replied. “I’ll have to tell him how you boys are doing when I talk to him. Would you like me to give him your contact information?”

“And how!” Emery said, bouncing up on his toes. He blushed as he realized how youthful his actions seemed and settled back, murmuring, “I’d very much appreciate that.”

“I’m sure that Emery knows Hannah Keller,” Morrissey continued, ignoring the interruption. “She is the counterpart to our own Armand Livingston. Master Armand is, as Master Serenity stated, in the lab, wrapping up a case.”

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Wild Heart, Child Heart

Michael had often felt like something was missing. He’d woken in the middle of the night for months after the accident with a sense of longing and despair. Now he knew why. Now he knew what had been missing.

He had a sister. Somewhere out there, Hannah was waiting – held captive, to use as a pawn or worse, by Aiello and his men.

He knew why school bored him also; why it always had. He was over a century old. The lessons seemed to be repetitive because they were. He’d learned all they taught in schools over a century ago.

The man who’d been raising him – whom he called uncle – was his father… and in a strange way, his mother. A pang went through him. This too had been missing. He’d felt a connection that went beyond simply the care of being raised by someone. Josiah was his progenitor – the one who had brought him into this world – who’d given him life.

He knew his pain was a dim echo of Josiah’s – of his father’s. His father had lost both of his children on that day five years ago. He turned at the familiar presence and smiled slightly. “Father,” he said. The word held more than a simple greeting. The bond between them was reformed – a healing balm passed between them as Michael acknowledged their true relationship. “Let’s go get Hannah back,” he said.

Josiah nodded once and held out a hand to his son. Michael darted to his side, not quite hugging him, but the light touch was enough. They were truly a family again – only lacking one member.

Grant sighed as he unlocked the door to his car and climbed in. He’d been doing that a lot lately; sighing. As he turned the on and was about to shift into drive he spotted Franklin and Wheeler making their way to the parking lot.

As he noticed them holding hands, he sighed again. Everyone seemed to have at least a good friend that they could spend time with out of work, if not a significant other. Why was he the only one left out… always? The Ballards not only had each other; they had a friend that they’d grown up with. Hassett and Everett were good friends as well as partners. Hurley and Morrissey had known each other for years, even before the investigator had joined the department. The list went on. He was the odd ball out.

It didn’t seem fair. He put the car in drive and eased his foot on the gas. As he reached the parking lot exit, he had to stop short to keep from running into the new tech person. She flashed him a brilliant smile and tapped on the window.

He rolled the window down quickly and looked her over. She was a very pretty girl. “Sorry, did I hit you?” he asked.

“No, I’m fine. I just wonder if you could give me a ride to my apartment. I haven’t got an alternate form of transportation yet and I think I missed the bus,” she said. At his nod, she climbed into the car behind him. “I’m Hannah,” she said.

“Um… Marlin,” he replied, adjusting his glassed. He looked both ways and then eased his foot onto the gas once more. “So which… which way is it to your apartment?” he asked.

“It’s just up here,” she replied. He blushed as he noticed the way she was looking at him; almost sizing him up. “Would you like to come inside for a drink?” she asked.

“Alright,” he managed after a moment. He wondered where the night would lead them from there.

Hannah frowned as Miles left the room. She followed him silently until he reached the lobby. As he turned down the corridor that led to the supervisor’s office, she caught his hand. “I’m sorry, Miles,” she said. “You’re right. I… I followed you. I figured that… well, I wanted to apologize and… I was hoping… maybe…?”

“Hannah,” Miles said, his tone full of warning.

“Alright,” she said, relenting. “Seriously though, I want the job. I think I’ll be a good investigator – even if I have to work my way up from technician. Just give me a chance – not at a relationship… just let me work here. You don’t have to tell Morrissey about… how we used to be.”

Miles frowned but nodded. “There is no us,” he reminded her softly. “I’m not even sure we can be friends. This is purely a working relationship.”

“I understand,” she said, smiling. “Thanks, Miles.” She let him go and watched as he retraced his steps. Her smiled relaxed to one of grim satisfaction. Miles was the kind of person who was forgiving to a fault. She could bide her time. The right opportunity would present itself sooner or later.

Miles felt his breath catch in his throat when he saw her. It had been years, since they were in school. Still he hadn’t forgotten her. They’d gotten acquainted after his brother had found her, lost in the forest.

“Hannah?” he greeted softly as she stepped into the lab.

“Miles,” came the shocked reply. “I… had no idea you worked here.”

He smiled wanly and shook his head. “Hannah, you saw my brother; you knew I worked here.”

She looked down and smiled. “It’s good to see you again, Miles. You look good.”

He caught her hands as she reached up to set them on his shoulders, ready for an intimate kiss. “No,” he said, his voice steady. “Hannah, I’ve moved on and if you can’t then I’ll make sure that Morrissey knows about our past together. It can’t go back to what it was. It hurt too much the first time… the second time too. There will be no third time.”

“Miles,” she started. “I do like you. The past –”

“Happened,” he interrupted. “It’s still the past. It can never be the future, Hannah. I have a case to work on.” He took a step back away from her and left the room.

Hannah knew she was dreaming; she recognized the dream. It looked like the same familiar streets that she always walked, but there were little things that seemed… wrong. She watched the young man as he limped around the corner. He glared at another young man who greeted him.

There was something wrong about the pair. A part of her was sure there was something going on between them. The man with the limp hated the other. He seemed to blame the other for his limp.

Then she was awake; back in her own world. She looked up into the bright blue eyes of a boy only a few years older than her. “Hi, Hannah,” he greeted. “We were in school together. Remember me?”

“Emery Ballard?” she squeaked.

“Yep. Morrissey’s this way. Don’t be nervous. He’s really nice.” He chuckled and bounded down a corridor, obviously intending to lead her to her interview.

Emery already knew he had gifts beyond magic. That much had been shown when he found the slain birds. However, he’d never thought to apply the gifts in any purposeful manner – until now.

Now one of the first year students was missing. The wardens had no leads and once more it was because of a lack of forensics mages. Though he wasn’t officially part of that brotherhood, Emery thought he might be able to help.

Thus he found himself at the girl’s empty dorm room. He felt the sensation that he’d come to associate with trauma, but no pain as he would with physical injuries. Supposing the sensation to be from the missing student, he followed it out into the hallway and down a side corridor.

Soon he was outside, still following the trail. In his mind’s eye he could see the little girl reading something and then running out of her room and down the corridors until she was out. She was heading toward the forest that hemmed in the school grounds. The problem lay in the fact that, much like the forest that wasn’t far from his hometown, many dangers lie in wait beneath the trees.

He followed the sense of desperation until he suddenly encountered a different form of trauma. His ankle began to hurt and he almost stumbled down a ravine. Then he was sure he knew what became of the girl. Once more, in his mind’s eye, he saw the girl running. She reached this part of the forest and tripped, sliding down into the ravine.

“Hello?” he called, directing his voice down into the chasm.

For a moment he listened in silence then he heard the unmistakable voice of a young child calling out for help.

“Hang on!” he called back. “I’ll get help for you.” He turned and dashed as fast as his legs could carry him back to the campus. It took him a few precious moments to find a professor, but then he was able to get help for the girl. She would be fine, no worse off than a broken ankle and a scrape on her forehead. Emery smiled as the wardens carried her out of the forest. This was most certainly what he was meant to be doing.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

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From the files of Shynian Intelligence

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