❯ An Unexpected Incident – Face Off ( Chapter 1 )

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The wind chimes tinkled gently in a soft draft.
Cindy glanced over at them, before quietly pulling the door to behind her. Leaving the clothes to the side, she shrugged her nightshirt off over her head. She pulled on a pair of black-dyed denim bootlegs, then reached for the other garment she’d brought from her room. She shivered a little – the January chill was coming in through the open window – and pulled on the white hooded t-shirt. Fully dressed, she sat back down on her chair and took her cup up off her tray. She glanced over at Chris. He was still sleeping soundly. Cindy doubted the tray of food left beside his bed would still be warm at all by the time he woke up. It didn’t matter, though. He deserved to sleep.
Chris was just getting over a period of Raaja-Cleansing. A while ago he’d – yet-again – taken another one inside his body, and had spent the last week and three days unable to keep down any food that wasn’t administered intravenously (And even then he had a hard time at it), and suffering extreme pain, though, of course, he never complained. Cindy had spent those days tense and irritable enough for two, though. Just last evening, she’d felt a change in the aura of the room. She’d looked up, and Chris had looked right back at her and told her that it was okay. It was cleansed. It was gone. And then he went to sleep, and had been sleeping since.
The only time he’d woken up between then had been when Cindy had slipped into his room during the night. She’d had weird dreams about Raaja and asked to sleep in with him. He’d made no objection, only shifted a little to make room. Of course her worries about her dream seemed to be soothed enough by that for her to climb in and engulf him in a hug.
Cindy flicked through a magazine while she ate her breakfast. It was nine-thirty by the time she finished. She gulped down the last dregs of the tea, and put the tray down on the floor, then stretched and got up. She grabbed the brush off the desk and ran it through her thick red hair, crossing the room to look out the window, pushing the muslin aside. Cindy watched the treetops swaying in the breeze for a minute, and then looked around at Chris. He was still sleeping. His colour was better than it had been for days, though. Good. Now she was able to let her mind return to another pressing thought.
So he was closing in on the new Avatar. Cindy wasn’t sure exactly how she felt about that. Who on Earth could take Chris’ place? Who? Well, whoever they were, Cindy thought with a smirk, they’d have to be pretty tough to be able to take what Chris did.
She turned back to the window, lowering the brush. Looking out again, she suddenly noticed that the tree nearest the window had a plastic shopping bag tangled in its topmost branches. She was frowning at it, when, suddenly, she froze.
. . . Something was moving around inside it.
Cindy stared, and then caught a glimpse of red. A shade she found in no way unfamiliar. Mouth open, she moved back, the hairbrush slipping forgotten from her hand. No.
Yes.
The bag fluttered fitfully in its nest of branches, and then, without warning, the red beast inside it elongated itself, and came out onto the windowsill. Cindy pulled back again as the thing on the sill paused, sizing her up. She gaped at it in utter disbelief. No. No, this couldn’t be! She glanced back at Chris. It couldn’t!
The snake-like creature quite obviously found Chris’ presence intriguing. Ignoring Cindy, it stretched itself up again, attached itself to the ceiling and slithered right over her head. The girl watched in wide-eyed horror. It had come for him! But – but – no! It wasn’t fair! Chris hadn’t been over the last Cleansing for even twenty-four hours yet! No! Cindy gritted her teeth, clenched her fists, and concentrated violently.
NO!
There was a split-second flash, and the Raaja, which had been dangling down over the still-sleeping Chris, was suddenly ripped off the ceiling with force. It sailed over the foot of the bed. Cindy ignored the angry ache in her head (She didn’t use Telekinesis often.). She ran over and planted herself in front of the creature with her legs stretched apart and her arms out wide; a human barrier. Cindy glared down with dangerous amber eyes at the swaying monster as it picked itself up.
‘If you want him,’ she snarled, sounding more confident than she felt, ‘you’re gonna have to go through me!’
There was an ominous silence. Slowly then, the Raaja reared up, and Cindy found herself staring up in frightened disbelief at the now Python sized monster. All she was able to do was tense herself for the impact. The Raaja dived forward – and disappeared right inside her chest.
The force of the blow knocked her violently into the foot of the bed. Chris woke up. There was a silence. And then Cindy let out a yell and grabbed her head. A searing pain was blazing through her whole body. She heard Chris’ voice, and then dropped to the floor.

Chris blinked awake. Something was wrong.
Cindy?
He sat up. And a horrible sight greeted him.
Cindy was at the foot of the bed with her back to him. Her small hands were clamped to her head, and dark sparks of negative energy surrounded her whole body. Her aura was blood red.
Chris stared.
“Cindy?”
The girl didn’t reply. She cried out. And dropped.
“Cindy!”
Chris threw off the covers, grabbed his stick, which was leaning against the wall, and made his way as fast as he could manage to the foot of the bed. He let go of the walking stick and dropped down beside the girl. She’d lost consciousness; her chin was resting on her chest. Chris grabbed her shoulders. A familiar shockwave ran through him, but he was used to it. He could take it. But could she?
“Cindy!!”
Suddenly the door slid open. He looked up.
Teresa entered the room, then stopped, the door closing behind her. She stared at the boy and the girl on the floor.
‘Chris?’
She looked at the unconscious redhead, her expression changing.
‘Cindy? Cindy, what’s wrong?’ She hurried over.
Chris frantically shook his head, mouthing `No!’ But it was too late. Teresa laid her hand on Cindy’s arm.
There was a flash.
‘Whoah!!’
And Teresa was thrown clean across the room.
Chris watched as the woman slowly picked herself up off the floor.
‘What the hell -?’ she growled, rubbing her arm where it had hit the wall.
‘Raaja!’ Chris mouthed.
Teresa blinked.
‘Raaja?! What – Where?!’
He gestured at Cindy.
‘Cindy? What, inside her?!’ Teresa gawped. She moved forward, but made no move to touch the girl again. ‘How?! Were you still asleep?’
Chris nodded, still holding Cindy’s shoulders.
‘Oh, man. We better get her to the Ruins.’
Chris shook his head hard, his face resolute.
‘No!’ he mouthed.
‘What? But – Chris -‘
The boy shook his head again, mouthing ‘NO.’
The he turned back to Cindy, closed his eyes, and with that, fell forward onto her shoulder.
Teresa stared.
‘Chris!’
Avoiding touching Cindy, she grabbed one of his wrists and pressed. She sighed, and let go. There was a pulse. He’d only astral-projected.
She stood up and hurried over to the intercom, pressing the button for the main control room.
‘Kenji, it’s me.’
‘Teresa?’ came the reply. ‘What’s up?’
‘The Scanners aren’t on in this room, are they?’
‘What? No, they’re not. There’s no point, the energy’s always fluctuating up there.’
‘Turn them on now.’ Teresa growled.
‘Why?’
‘Now!’ she repeated.
‘Alright, alright . . . . . . . . . . What the -?!’
Teresa heard Commander Onizuka’s voice in the background.
‘What is it?’
‘I-it’s this energy pattern, sir. It – it’s a new Raaja!’
There was a murmuring of several other voices in the background.
‘Another one already?’ came Commander Onizuka’s voice again. ‘But Chris recovered from the last one just last night.’
‘Yes, sir, but, that’s not it. This energy pattern isn’t TI-1’s signature!’
‘What?’
‘It’s Cindy!’ Teresa explained into the mouthpiece. ‘The Raaja’s inside Cindy!’
‘How did -?’
‘I don’t know, Chris was apparently still asleep when it happened, but he was awake when I came in. He’s astral-projected now, I don’t know where he’s gone.’
‘Well, get that girl down to the rui-‘
‘I can’t!’ interrupted Teresa. ‘Chris won’t let me!’
‘What?!’
‘He really doesn’t want me to.’
‘Well, override him!’
‘No,’ came Commander Onizuka’s deep voice again. ‘Do what he says, leave her.’
‘But, Commander, if we get her down there, the girl will be stronger.’
‘True. But the same also applies to the Raaja. TI-1’s right, don’t move her.’
‘I couldn’t, anyway,’ said Teresa. ‘Last time I touched her, I got thrown across the room.’
‘Really? Before I turned the Scanners on, hm . . .?’
‘Kenji I am not doing that again.’
‘Just observe,’ said Commander Onizuka. ‘And we’ll send a medical team up there in case things get really bad.’
‘Yes, sir,’ Teresa replied, and with that let go of the button.
After a pause she sat down on the end of the bed, and silently watched the two stationary figures. Though her mind was anything but quiet.

It was completely dark. Black.
And in the middle of it all, was a slight, red-haired figure, covered in a mass of squirming, red-glowing Raaja coils. There was so many, that it was impossible even to see the spot where that one creature had entered her through her chest. Her body was completely covered; the coils were wrapped tightly around her shoulders, her torso, and her legs. Only her arms and head were free.
Cindy frantically scrabbled at the coils with her hands, but it was no use. And the pain . . . . . The pain . . .
Eventually, she gave up the struggle, letting her hands drop. The pain was consuming. She knew nothing like it. She closed her eyes hopelessly, listening to her loud, ragged heartbeat.
“I’m going to die.”
It echoed through her mind like a death knell.
In response to the thought, the Raaja tightened its hold.
And all Cindy could do was whimper as the pain increased.
“ . . . No,” came a voice.
Cindy blinked her eyes open; to find herself looking into a pair of large, deep, blue ones.
It was Chris.
He was hovering right in front of her, his glowing white form contrasting strongly against the red-burning coils. He gazed down at her.
“Cindy, why did you do this?” he asked.
Cindy blinked at him, and then stared downwards.
“You . . . you know why,” was her weak reply.
Chris’ reproaching expression softened.
“Cindy, I’ve explained to you before. You cannot take a Raaja inside of you.”
She lifted her head up.
“It’s just a small one!” she cried out telepathically over the pain. “Well – well, it was. What was I supposed to do, just watch?! You haven’t even been over the last one for a day yet!”
After a moment, Chris smiled and shook his head. He moved forward.
And for once in her life, Cindy actually moved her arms to push him away.
“NO! Chris, don’t!”
He stopped.
“Chris, you can’t!” she shouted over the pain, still using her mind, as her body hurt too much to speak physically. “Please! Please!!” She was aware she was crying now, and it hurt to do that, even.
Chris stared at her. He sighed, and gently moved her arms away.
“I’m sorry, Cindy.”
He moved forward, and before she could protest, wrapped his arms around her.
Cindy froze stiff in horror.
But, after a minute, nothing had happened.
He was hugging her. He wasn’t taking the Raaja inside him!
Happy, in pain, and crying again, Cindy clung onto him.
She couldn’t tell how much time passed.
But, suddenly, she felt a change.
“I’m sorry,” Chris repeated.
Cindy froze.
“NO!!” she screamed.

Cindy yelled and opened her eyes, and Teresa jumped up. The medical team jumped, too.

Everyone in the control room saw the surge of energy on the Scanner.
‘What the hell?!’ gaped Kenji.

Chris opened his eyes.
He was still holding Cindy, and now she was awake, clinging onto him. And something was happening.
Cindy was glowing completely white. Except for her hair and eyes, which were blazing.
And there was a change inside.
Chris felt the Raaja he’d begun to take inside forced out, and completely cleansed. And the same was happening to the part that was still inside Cindy. But, he wasn’t doing it.
. . . She was.
The glow faded.
Cindy let out a breath, and cried silently into Chris’ shoulder, completely drained.

*

Okiedokie, this is my first, experimenting Arjuna fanfic. Chris and Cindy are my favourite pairing and I have a few fanfics written up about them, though I’m not sure whether to post them or not as the quality’s not the best (ha ha, sorry bout that . . .) Comments and reviews would be appreciated.
This story is set, as you can tell, before Juna came along. I’m wondering whether to continue it or not . . .