Chapter 21 - "People fail you."

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The library was still with silence. Beyond the rows of books, the faint scattering of footsteps and voices could be heard. Carter sat in a far back corner, staring at nothing, her muscles aching from remaining stasis so long. She wasn't aware of how much time had passed since she had entered the library and hidden away. There was a hollow ache in the pit of her stomach and tightness around her chest that hadn't lessened.    

The bell cut through the quiet, stirring up the world. Carter remained where she was, uncaring. She was vaguely aware that she should be somewhere else, but couldn't find it in herself to get there.

A shadow fell across the her feet and she looked up.

Donovan stood above her.

"How long have you been here?" he asked.

She shifted, her muscles groaning in protest.

"I don't know," she said.

Carter uncurled her legs, wincing as discomfort skidded through the knotted joints.

"You didn't come to lunch and from the tightness in your muscles, I'm going to guess you skipped the last two classes as well."

"What should I care?" she said, in a flippant tone. "I would be bored in them anyways."

"Why did you get called into the office?"

Pain darted through her face and she froze with a flash of memory. Donovan studied her. Forcing her features into a neutral expression, she shrugged.

"It was nothing," she said.

Donovan slid his hands into his pockets.

"That's a lie."

She looked up at him with annoyance.

"You know, just because you can see everything doesn't mean you have the right to know everything?"

He raised his eyebrows.

"That's rich coming from you."

Carter dropped her gaze, unable to find the energy to fight back. They stayed there in silence for a long moment, Carter staring at the floor, Donovan quietly scrutinizing her.

"What's wrong?" he asked, his voice even.

She shifted her features in a blank canvas.

"Nothing," she said.

He gave a slow nod, not convinced. Tired from overburdening thoughts and a weight in her chest she couldn't remove, she leaned against the wall, forcing nonchalance and crossed her arms.

"What do you see, Donovan?" she said, carelessly. "A girl who didn't feel like going to class. That can't be something new."

He said nothing. Irritation budded inside her at his weighted silence.

"Link and I are your friends," he said.

A thousands words dropped onto her tongue, only to be blocked by a wall she had created years ago. For a long minute they regarded each other, each trying to read the other's unspoken thoughts.

"Force people away for long enough," Donovan said, "they won't be there when you need them."

"I don't force people away," Carter said. "They leave."

He narrowed his eyes, challenging her statement.

"People fail you," she said. 

He said nothing, but his skeptical expression spoke speak his disagreement. Carter scowled.

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