The air and everything that stood within a hundred yards of him ignited in flames. The oxygen was ripped from her lungs, killing her screams before she could make them. Collapsing to her knees, the flames parts before, the smoke and scorching heat banished from her around her leaving a bubble of reprieve in the centre of the sea of chaos. She coughs feebly from her section of the floor, her throat and lungs ache from the momentary heat that seemed likely to burn her alive, inside and out.
Stepping through the raging inferno, he joins her there, watching her struggle with a detached serenity. His body, indistinct in its corporeality flickers in conjunction with the waves of rippling heat, his eyes smoulder with the emberous seeming of cherry coals. The fire of his being fleeing as she crawls towards him, parting and revealing the man beneath as she reaches up to touch his leg. With unrelenting determination she uses him to drag herself back to her feet, the flames returning wherever she releases him until she stands tall before the humanoid column of flame, meeting his cool gaze with her own burning intensity, all the while the flames continue to dance harmlessly around them.
“You’re a bastard,” she whispers, gripping him by the collar that appears in the wake of the departed flames, pulling him in close. The flames billow away from her, only barely retaining their attachment to him as far from her as possible. His gaze continues to match her accusatory glare with a passive indifference, allowing her to hold him limply in place. His lack of response provokes a furious yell from her, shaking him fiercely in place, “You’re a bastard and a murderer! I can’t believe you! You coward! Say something!!”
She throws him back, the force of her shove driving him back sending him stumbling to a knee and catching himself with a hand against the floor. Paralysed by her own fury, she can only glare at him, her breathing erratic and tears streaming down her cheeks as he calmly stands and brushes himself off, the fire consuming him entirely once more.
“He would have hurt you,” the mans voice is as cold as his gaze, completely lacking in uncertainty or remorse.
“So what!?” she wails back at him, throwing herself completely into the action as if she hoped to injure him with the power of her voice, “He had a right to!”
In that exchange her body wilts, all the fury that had fuelled her spent. Weakness crept into her body and she crumples once more, her sorrow completely overtaking her, her voice growing hollow and distant, “It should have been me.”
He doesn’t move to contradict her or console her. He knows he cannot share her pain, though he wishes he could, that her emotions are a raging inferno which must be allowed to burn themselves out with time, so instead he waits and watches over her as she grieves.
He has known her since before she was born, he had loved her mother as he loves her now. She resembled her mother so perfectly, though her mind held more of her father. So strange and beautiful to him she was, he could see her soul and it shone so brightly, the all too familiar mote of living crimson that slumbered so sweetly, enshrouded deep within a shining white crystal lattice interconnected with gently pulsing neon blue veins that felt as alien to him as her core was familiar. Never could he have imagined her in all the thousands of years that his fire had burned, and for all his wisdom and experience, he could no more imagine what she would become than the men he had taken her from.
“Godfather,” her voice was so quiet as it broke through his thoughts that it may not have had any sound to it at all, but he heard her, he would always hear her.
He knelt to meet her at her level, his hands reaching out and resting upon hers where they held her knees to her chest, “Yes, Lia?”
“Will you take me away from here?” she asked.
Beyond the room emergency workers battled the inexplicable inferno, unable to understand the futility of the struggle. The researches had been evacuated, a number of them had to be dragged as they pleaded for the rescuers to save the young woman who’s room had been in the centre of the conflagration. It was impossible, they had said, the fire was too hot, anyone inside would be beyond saving, that trying would simply lead to more dead.
A man who shared the girl’s eyes stepped away from the crowd of survivors and emergency personnel. His mind raced with the calculating precision of a machine, considering every variable available to him to understand what had happened. He was the only one present who understood the fire, and he hated it with a deep intensity. It took less than a minute for him to understand what had gone wrong, He understood that there was nothing he could have done to prevent it, and less he could do now. He didn’t afford himself the seconds it would take to resent that knowledge, but filed it away for later. He pressed an icon on the interface of his watch and waiting for the report to be uploaded. Only then, when there remained no constructive action available to him, did he allow himself the feel the anger, sorrow and regret that was within him.