Someone was at the door, not that it particularly mattered to her. It was probably one of them attempting to talk her out of leaving. Let's see how well you can talk through a bolted door!
"Lina, are you in there?" a familiar, but muffled voice asked.
With a frustrated sigh, she threw the bundle of clothes back on the bed. Pausing only long enough to see who was interrupting her, she undid the latch and poked her head outside into the hall.
A lone handsome figure stood outside her doorway dressed in a simple white tunic and blue vest. Long blue hair cascaded down his face, barely held in check by the white headband he wore. For a brief moment their ruby eyes met, just long enough for her to feel the heat rise in her cheeks before she turned to look away.
"What do you want, Rune?" she asked bluntly. It wasn't as if she didn't already know the answer.
"You're a bright girl," the blue mage replied with a slight smirk. "Take a guess."
Lina quickly glanced down one end of the hall, then the other. When she was absolutely positive no one else was watching she abruptly grabbed him by the collar and dragged him into her room.
After resetting the latch she turned to face him. "Did Mom and Luna send you? Because if they did, you might as well leave now. I am not changing my mind!"
"I won't lie to you," Rune replied, crossing his arms as he leaned back against the wall. "They did send me, but I made it perfectly clear I wasn't about to talk you out of doing anything."
"Well, good!" she replied over her shoulder as she went back to stuffing more clothes into her backpack.
There was a tense moment as she felt his eyes roam over her. Only the sounds of clothes rustling filled the void of silence between them. It was almost amusing how similar they were, and yet, they were still so different in so many ways. Rune was one of her best friends, not to mention her mentor. She didn't know exactly how old he was, but he had made it clear he was pretty old. It was kind of strange considering he only looked to be about five years older than she did, if that.
"Are you sure you want to leave?" he finally asked the question that had been expected of him. Everyone else had asked it so why not Rune also?
"Yes," the flame haired sorceress huffed, stuffing another shirt into the already bulging backpack. "I'm leaving and neither you, nor Mom, and especially Luna can't change my mind!"
"Where will you go?"
"Away from here." An extra pair of boots found their way in among the rest of her supplies.
"So what brought this one?"
"Oh really," the mage said matter-of-factly.
"Really!" she hissed over her shoulder. Dammit! She hated it when he said that. It made him sound like a know-it-all.
Her sudden mood swing must have caught him off guard since his posture quickly straightened.
That's it! She spun around at the question and gave him a hard glare. "Why? What do you mean why!? -- " Her arm swung out and struck the overstuffed pack, sending it careening to the floor. " -- Haven't you ever wanted to just get up and go!? To just leave and forget everything about your past!? To get away from everyone that knows you!?" A single tear ran down her cheek as her entire body trembled with rage. "Haven't you ever wanted to get away from it all!?"
"Lina, calm down -- "
"No, I'm tired of living in Luna's shadow!" she snapped. More tears began to follow the first, clouding her vision in a fuzzy haze. "I'm tired of being Luna's little sister! I'm tired of being remembered as nothing but a little girl!"
"Nobody thinks -- "
"Yes, they do!" she screamed, nearly on the verge of hysteria. "Just look at me! I am a little girl! And that's all anyone will ever think of me! Luna's little baby sister!" Exhaustion pulled at the sorceress and she collapsed onto the bed with a sob.
The tears wouldn't stop, even when she did try to make them. They just kept coming so she resigned herself to letting them go. Why did life have to be so complicated? Couldn't the gods have made life so much simpler?
As her shoulders heaved in a heavy sob she felt a warm pair of arms wrap around her and a soft voice breath in her ear. "Shhh," the voice cooed as she was gently rocked back and forth in the loving embrace. "Just calm down. Calm down, Lina. You're only thirteen. Give it some time. You're a late bloomer. That's all."
"It -- hic -- doesn't matter," the sorceress sniffed, wiping away the flood of tears. "I'm still leaving -- hic."
"Here," a white handkerchief was thrust out before her.
She took it, blew her nose, and handed it back.
"So when do you plan on leaving?" Rune asked as he continued to hold her.
She sniffed again. "Tonight."
"If you're trying to -- hic -- talk me out of -- hic -- going..."
"No no no no," he shrugged off the accusation before it started. "I didn't come for an argument. That's not the reason I came. I'm not trying to change your mind. I came here because your family was worried about you and so was I. I can understand your reasons as to why you want to leave."
"You do, huh?" she dried the last of the tears and gazed up at him.
"Yes, I do," the youthful-looking mage nodded. "To tell you the truth, I think if you went out and saw the world it would actually do you some good. There are some things only experience can teach."
A skeptical look flashed over her face.
Rune smiled his know-it-all grin. She thought it fit him. He always knew more than he let on. Of course there were also times she really wanted to wipe that grin off his face with a well placed fireball.
"All I will suggest is for you to stay the night and leave in the morning. Spend one last night with your family. I'm sure your mother, and even Luna, would like to say goodbye. From the way it sounds, you don't know how long you will be gone."
"And if I decide not to?"
"You're mature enough to live your own life." She winced at the word mature. It made her feel like an old hag. "That's entirely your decision, Lina."
He released her from the hug and stood up to move away, giving her a moment to think.
One night really wouldn't hurt, would it?
"Okay, I will stay, but only on one condition."
"RAYWING!" The spell picked up the petite sorceress and heaved her at the mage. She tackled Rune, pinning him up against the wall and giving him one of the biggest hugs she had ever given. "You have to stay too," Lina smiled. "You're part of my family."
"Okay," he rasped, "but ease up on the hug...please. Lina...the gloves...you're crushing me...can't breath..."
"Oops," she giggled, immediately letting go. "Sorry, I forget about them sometimes."
"Oh sure," Rune coughed, struggling to get the breath back into his lungs. "They only give you the strength of ten men."
His sarcasm was only met with more giggling.
"Alright, Lina," he smiled, "let's go downstairs. Your mother and Luna are waiting for you. Despite what you may think they both still care deeply about you. They even went as far as to plan a big banquet for you. That's why I've been trying to talk you into staying. So why don't we go enjoy ourselves, unless you want the food to get cold."
"Only for tonight," she pointed out. "Then I leave first thing in the morning."
"Yes, yes. Just focus on enjoying yourself for tonight. The rest of the world can wait until tomorrow."