39. Let's Make A Trade

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Zero. Is. Here.

Why can't I get my mind to believe what my eyes see? I also am shocked at his sudden reappearance. I mean, who runs away, only to turn up a Day later? I at least expected it to be another week before we found him.

"What in the name of Dalton is that coward doing here?" Becky hisses, and Max evens seems tense too.

I don't answer her, and even though I'm pretty sure Zero hears from all the way at the other side of the lake, his silver eyes don't shift to hers, and remain locked on mine. He takes a step closer to the water's edge, which in turn makes a painful throb wrack through my brain and make me wince.

"Stay where you are!" I yell loudly in a shaky voice.

Zero's quite far away, but I'm almost certain I can see the hurt flash through his eyes. Then suddenly there's a noise behind him, which even my human ears can hear across the distance.

There's hooting, and loud footfalls, echoing over the roar of the waterfall. Zero quickly turns his back on us and dissapears into the trees. I didn't realize I had been holding my breath until he leaves and I release it.

We all exchange nervous looks, before End grabs my hand and snatches the map from Peter, taking a second to figure out the direction we're supposed to head in and then marching off that way, dragging me along behind him. My body doesn't cooperate for a few seconds, some deep part of me wanting to run back and find Zero, then demand answers from him.

I thought I liked him, like really liked him. I mean after all we had been through on the island it was a little obvious that he liked me, and I had no idea that I was slowly growing feelings for him too. Then I went all out and kissed him out of nowhere, only for my world to be turned upside down once again and my heart broken.

Was it all just a fluke? Did Zero never like me in the first place? Was I just a mission to him? Him running away hasn't eased any of my thoughts. It almost feels like he has just left me to die, the bond slowly constricting itself around my heart.

Almost self consciously I rub my free hand over the area my heart is supposed to be, not feeling anything but sensing that's it's there.

"Forget about him." I hear a soft voice next to me and I inhale sharply, turning my head to see Becky walking fast beside me, eyes almost.....sympathetic. I blink in shock, and barely even manage to nod.

She rolls her eyes at my surprise and picks up her pace with a huff. And Becky's back.

"What-Happened......to....me being.....the navigator!" Peter manages to get out from a few yards behind us.

You would think soldiers would be trained for endurance and harsh climates but Peter is starting to look like a lukewarm mess. His uniform ripped in some places and now muddy all over again, leaves in his hair, and sweat drenching his entire body.

I bet I look just as much of mess as he does. I can almost feel an ocean of water and salt on my skin from sweat, and let's not mention the mysterious bug bites that appear on my skin every now and then. I'm just praying they're mosquitoes and not some exotic poisonous bug I've never heard of.

End ignores me and gives my hand another sharp tug. In curiosity I use my free hand to reach out for his shoulder, but it just goes straight through. I guess only his hand is solid, and is it just me, or did he shiver a little when my hand passed through him?

I quicken my pace to keep up with End, and his long strides force me to half walk, half jog.

"Slow down!" I tell him, and thankfully he slows down, but just a little.

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