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[Fiction] Peacekeeper


z-Sean McCline

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This was so not his thing. Sean leaned back against the stone wall above Ptesan-Wi's cave, letting the sun-warmed stone soak into his back. He was much better at dashing into action, saving or ruining the day, respective to which side he was on. This sitting and waiting was far too much like what he'd done for the Knights, without the distraction of paperwork and short-skirted secretaries.

"Hey." The voice was soft, low and utterly demanding. Sean tried to track it, looking left and then right before remembering why jaguars were still a predator of man in the Amazon and looking up. A Lakota child was perched on the rock above him, dirty but with the healthy filth of a child who loved to be outdoors. Sean couldn't immediately decide if it was a he or a she; he decided he, just to be safe. The ragged clothing was overly mended, and looked like the most comfortable set of clothing ever.

"Hey yourself," Sean answerered.

"Whatcha doing?" the kid asked.

"I'm guarding," Sean answered.

"Guarding a goddess?"

"Yes, well, no, she's not a goddess; she's my friend, Ptesan-Wi."

"She's my friend, too," the boy boasted. "And my goddess."

"She's a nova, not a goddess," Sean corrected gently.

"She does things," the boy said.

"No more than any other nova," Sean pointed out.

"No other nova could unite my people, save the Wakinyan, who died," the boy said sadly. "Did you know Wakinyan?"

"Yep," Sean said tensely.

"And you didn't like him. Why?"

Sean thought about arguing, then decided it was pointless. His frustration with Wakinyan was well-known. "He reminded me of someone I didn't like."

"Who?"

Sean eyed the kid. "You ask a lot of questions."

"That last one was the one I really needed to ask."

"Huh?" Sean asked eloquantly.

"People always try to change the subject when the question is the most interesting."

Sean took a harder look. There was an intelligent sparkle to the kid's eye he'd missed before. "I don't want to answer."

"Oh, that means it's really good. But thanks for the honesty." The kid stood up, balancing like a mountain goat. "I'm sure Ptesan-Wi likes having someone around, a friend to help. And a white friend - a real white friend, is worth his or her weight in gold." The dark head tilted to one side. "How much do you weigh?"

"Weren't you leaving?"

"Sure." The kid turned and climbed up, light and easy, disappearing over the edge of the ledge above.

With a sigh, Sean turned back to watching and waiting. Ptesan-Wi had to know he was her friend; he'd never do this for someone who wasn't a friend.

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