Chapter Two (of Two)
Ginny knew that her mouth was hanging open in what had to be a most unattractive way, but she just could not seem to get it to snap shut. Not with him standing there, looking so very much like he had years before. She felt Luna grab hold of her arm one moment before a vicious pinch had her yelping in pain.
“It was either that or slap you,” Luna was the picture of innocence with the exception of the sparkle in her eyes when Ginny turned an accusing glare on her. “You looked quite ridiculous with your mouth open like a Long-Tailed Persian Sucker Beast, Gin.”
“For Merlin’s sake, Luna,” Ginny muttered, face flushing as she realized that not only was Kyle there, he had heard exactly what Luna had said. “Do you think you could speak any louder?”
“Hello – standing right here wondering what the hell is going on.”
Sighing, Ginny shut her eyes and sent up a silent prayer not to botch this mess too horribly. She’d had such great memories of Kyle, not the kind of thing she wanted to ruin with an awful second meeting.
A second meeting which should not be taking place, a niggling little voice whispered in the back of her mind. It was far too coincidental that both times they had gone chasing a story about healing and handprints, Kyle had been right there.
It certainly gave her something to think about. Was Kyle some sort of healer?
Was Ginny some kind of investigator for the government? Sure she spoke with a nice not-American accent, but that didn’t mean anything. She could be undercover and working to bring Max and everyone else in to be used as lab rats.
Which meant him, too.
He thought back to what he knew about her, from their brief time together years before. She had seemed a little odd, but nothing like a government agent time. In fact, he’d gotten the feeling that she hardly had a mean bone in her entire body.
So why was she here and now of all times?
It was too much to be just coincidence, whether he liked it or not.
And what was this about some kind of Sucker Beast?
“Just ignore her,” Ginny offered sheepishly, turning back to him with a smile on her face. She was just as pretty as he remembered her to be. Red hair, sparkling eyes and pale skin. The years had been good to her, though. She’d… grown up, he guessed was the right phrase. “It’s good to see you again, Kyle.”
“Yeah, you too,” he managed, feeling his heart clench. If there was any way that she was some kind of agent, he had to do something. Run, tell the others. Get everyone out of this city as quick as possible before she called for reinforcement.
So why wasn’t he running to the nearest exit?
He didn’t have a single clue.
Standing there, confronted with all the evidence he should have needed that something wasn’t right about Ginny, he still couldn’t find it within himself to believe that she would hurt him. Call it naivete. Call it something Michael would kick his ass for later… it didn’t really matter.
Still, he supposed he needed to make a token effort.
“So … what are you in town for?”
There it was – a question that she could either answer honestly and hope for the best… or lie through her teeth.
It was a hard choice.
Telling the truth meant that maybe Kyle would open up to her about the handprints. He had to know something, after all. It also meant exposing herself and Luna.
Lying, on the other hand, served no purpose that she could tell, other than providing a cover for cowardice.
If all else failed, they could always obliviate him. It would kill a little part of her, but she could do it.
Or have Luna do it, as the case was.
“Same reason we were in your town years ago,” she shrugged, trying to sound nonchalant. If Luna had any misgivings about what she was about to do, the other woman didn’t show it in the least. Then again, Luna probably would tell a complete stranger about the entire wizarding world if she thought it would get her more info on something for the Quibbler.
Kyle’s face darkened. His smile faded to a thin press of lips and Ginny knew without a doubt that she had struck a nerve. “And what is that?”
“We write for a –“ Ginny paused, fumbling for that Muggle word that so succinctly summed up what the Quibbler was. “- a tabloid. We’re doing a story about the healing that happened here.”
That seemed to make him relax a little. This only confirmed in Ginny’s eyes that he knew something about the healing, the handprints. Why else would he get so defensive about it all?
“What about you?”
“Me?” He was nervous again now. Ginny fought the urge to sigh out loud or shake some sense into him. Perhaps it was just because she had already pegged him for having a secret, but he was being dreadfully obvious.
“Yes, you,” she forced a tiny laugh. “What are you doing here?”
“Visiting a sick friend?”
“Sure about that?” Luna cheerily asked, eyes wide with innocence Ginny knew was feigned.
“Sure about what?”
“Leave him alone, Luna,” Ginny sighed. “If he doesn’t want to be honest with us, then that is his choice.”
Her words were surprising and sort of… hurt. It wasn’t like he had a choice about the lying.
“Sorry, but I’ve got to go.”
Kyle turned, aching in a way he thought he was long past. It wasn’t like he had anything with Ginny other than a single conversation years ago before life got… complicated.
He didn’t stop or turn. There wasn’t anything more that the two of them had left to say to each other.
“You know who healed them, right?”
Kyle froze, head whipping around. She was right there, at his elbow and he knew she hadn’t yelled what she’d said, even if it had sounded like it to him. She wouldn’t do that.
He had to believe she wouldn’t.
“Why do you think I know anything?”
She shrugged. “Because its too much of a coincidence, Kyle, and you know it. You don’t have anything to worry about from me or Luna, though. We understand.”
Kyle laughed, short and bitter. And, not meaning to be cruel, he lashed out nonetheless. “You don’t understand anything, Gin. You can’t.”
Her smile faltered, the knowing look in her eyes dimmed just a little, but she didn’t back away and Kyle didn’t know how he felt about that. Here she was, just as pretty and great as she’d been back in Roswell, and he was about to run again.
But he didn’t have a choice.
“I’ve got to go.”
“What are you afraid of?”
“Nothing,” he lied with a tired smile. “Nothing at all. I don’t know anything, Ginny. It was great seeing you again.”
Luna watched Ginny’s friend leave, the hospital doors closing behind him too quickly, leaving her with just a memory of the man that had stood there.
“Why didn’t you stop him?”
Ginny shook her head. “What could I say? Tell him I’m a witch? The Ministry would be all over me for it and you well know it. If he had just…”
“Maybe he couldn’t.”
Luna took her quill from her pocket, forcing herself to smile despite the dreariness that Ginny now exuded. They had a job to do.
Love of sensational stories aside – both real and fictional alike, even Luna knew that not everything always ended happily.
Not at first anyway.
And something told her this wouldn’t be the last time the handprints appeared.
Or the last time they saw Kyle.