Jax (A Neveah Short Story)

Jax

A Neveah Short
Story

© Angie Merriam 2013

Edited by Kathy Krick

Smashwords Edition

 

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Jax’s Story

 

before the Bane

Jax Androni was a
precocious little boy. His dark hair always hung in his eyes and if
there was trouble to be found, one could be sure, Jax would find
it. His parents loved and doted on him, always so proud of their
son despite his hunger for danger. After all, he was a very
intelligent and handsome little boy. Both traits that could, and
would, get him into trouble. Rarely did a day pass that Jax's
mother, the sweet and somewhat docile Selene Androni, didn't swear
her son would be the death of her, but she loved him just the
same.

 

His parent's saving grace was the little
Annika Levannah. Where Jax was reckless, Annika was careful. She
was the exact opposite of Jax. His dark skin and messy dark hair
appeared a few shades darker when he stood beside Annika, her pale
skin and white hair making her look angelic. He loved her before he
knew what it meant to love someone. She balanced him. His light in
the dark. His saving angel when the devil tugged a little too
hard.

 

They spent nearly every day of their lives
together since the moment they entered the world. Destined to be
the best of friends, and if their parents had anything to say about
it, Jax and Annika would make them all a family. Neither Jax nor
Annika thought too much about the future as children. Their days
were spent exploring Neveah and learning to hone their
abilities.

 

Jax was a shape-shifter and he loved it. His
father told him of his power when he was a very young boy and
promised the eager child that one day he would learn to use it.

“You mean I can turn into anything papa?” The
young Jax asked eagerly. His father laughed and rubbed the boys
head.

“Yes, eventually you will be able to shift
into anything. It's a very powerful gift son. You must treat it as
such. You must not abuse the gift that has been given to you.
Always respect it. But you will learn of this as you grow.”

Jax did learn. For years, he practiced
whenever he wasn't with Annika. He hadn't allowed her to see him
shift yet. He wanted to share his gift with her as she had always
done with him, but he wanted to become something really special for
her. Something that she would remember and would make her smile. He
loved her smile.

When he was young, he started small. He would
blend into the furniture, walls, trees, shrubbery. The older he got
the more he felt the need to shift into something living. When he
was sixteen, his father was helping him with animal shifting.
“Becoming an animal is much easier than becoming a human. Every
shifter has their internal animal that they connect with. This is
what they will become most often and sometimes without warning. You
have to be aware of your emotion’s son. Once you find your inner
animal it can appear at any time and will do so most often if
you’re upset or angry. It's a defense for you,” his father warned
and Jax nodded in understanding.

“I understand Papa. What do you think I have
inside of me?” He asked, excited to know. He hoped it was something
fierce and strong. Though he'd been practicing and trying to shift
into an animal, it hadn't happened yet and Jax was antsy.

“I don't know son, but I'm betting it's
spectacular and brave and strong, like you.” His father was proud
of him, and it showed. Jax had great respect for his father and
looked forward to the times that they worked together.

“Looks like our lesson is over today son,”
his father said and nodded toward the path. Jax followed his
father’s eyes and saw Annika walking towards them. Her blond hair
was piled high on her head with flower’s thread throughout the
strands. He felt his heart speed up just a little, and his belly
fluttered. He'd been experiencing these feelings at the sight of
her for a while, but he wasn't sure what to do about them. He
resigned to being happy to see her and shot his father a smile.

“Thanks for the help Papa. Maybe it will
happen tomorrow.”

“Go, have a good time. Hello Annika,” he
called to her as he waved goodbye to his son.

“Hey Annika,” he said with a smile strung
from ear to ear.

“Hey Jax. What are we doing today?” She
asked, the same smile on her face. “Let's go to our spot, I have
something to tell you,” he said excitedly. He wanted to tell her
about the animal living inside of him. He rarely spoke to her about
his ability. Although she knew he was a shape-shifter just as well
as she knew she was a calmer. He knew she'd learned to use her
powers at a young age because she regularly used it on him, and he
was grateful. Had it not been for her he would have been in trouble
at least twice as much as he already was. He was excited to tell
her about his gift though. He was hoping to impress her, which was
a first for him. He'd never given impressing Annika a second
thought until now.

“Okay, let's go.” Annika always followed Jax.
He was her best friend.

Their spot was close to Jax's home but away
from prying eyes. They discovered it on one of their many
adventures. Nestled between a circle of trees and backed against
the side of a mountain was a large pond. The water sparkled like
crystal and had several small streams falling into it. The
surrounding trees produced red blossoms that reflected in the
water. When the sun shone just right it looked like rubies floating
below the surface of the pond. It had to have been the only place
in the universe that reflected the two so perfectly. The water:
warm, clear, inviting and peaceful like Annika. The trees: dark,
shadowy, shady and magnificent like Jax.

 

They ran to their spot and arrived breathless
but giggling. They collapsed onto the ground, catching their breath
between the laughter. “I beat you,” Annika said proudly. “We were
not racing,” Jax retorted, sounding hurt. She slapped his arm in
response. “Yes we were. It's an unspoken thing Jax. We always race.
If we are running, we are racing and I beat you. Don't be a sore
loser,” she taunted and saw the slight upturn of his lips.

“Did you call me a loser?” He asked and she
eagerly nodded her head in response. “What are you gonna do about
it?” She replied and before she knew it, Jax had her on her back.
He sat lightly on top of her, her hands pinned above her head. “I
don't know. What should I do about it?” She stuck her tongue out at
him in defiance. “Oh really?” He said before his hands found all of
her ticklish spots. He knew them all. He loved watching her giggle
and squirm. Tickling her was his favorite form of punishment.

“Ahh, Jax stop,” she managed to say between
fits of laughter. “Please, stop,” she happily pleaded before
freeing one of her hands and shoving her fingers into his rib cage.
The attack caught him by surprise, and he lost his grip on her
other hand. Annika took the opportunity and quickly began tickling
him back until he fell off of her, and she sat on top of him,
smiling triumphantly.

“Ha, I know you're just as ticklish as me,”
she said laughing at his now squirming body. “You're losing your
touch my friend,” she taunted.

“I let you win,” he said laughing.

“No you didn't!”

“Yes I did. I let you win the race and the
tickle match.”

He seized her arms and flipped her over
again. She looked at him stunned. Her wide blue eyes were like
windows into her soul. They danced and lured him in and suddenly
Jax felt differently about Annika. He always loved her. She was his
best friend. His sister. She knew all there was to know about him
and he about her. They shared everything. He knew she was his
light. His link to morality. Now looking at her through his sixteen
year old eyes, she was different.

He had failed to notice all the changes. Her
face was a little more mature, and her body was slightly curvier.
He felt that when he was tickling her. Annika was becoming a woman.
How had he missed that? Did it happen overnight? He realized that
he was becoming a man as she became a woman. That explained all the
rapid heart rates and butterflies but why did his heart suddenly
feel like a fist was squeezing it tightly when he looked at her?
Why did he feel queasy and excited at the same time? Why did his
lips want to feel hers? Then he did it. He didn't think. He just
felt.

They had both stopped laughing, and Annika
was no longer squirming. She looked at him in defiance but saw
something different in his eyes. When his head lowered to hers and
his lips touched hers, she did nothing to stop it. This was a first
for both of them. She knew that. She loved him. Of course, her
first kiss would be with Jax. It felt wrong though, like kissing
her brother, so she stopped.

“Jax, I'm sorry but this isn't right. You're
like a brother to me, closer than a brother. You're my best friend.
It doesn't feel right.” He saw remorse in her eyes and felt his
heart break in two. Her rejection did things to him he never
thought

were possible. Created feelings deep down
that were foreign yet familiar. As though they had always been
there, lurking, waiting to appear. Her eyes though. Her sweet,
innocent eyes forced those feelings away. Well, almost. He felt his
body tremble involuntarily and he quickly jumped off of Annika and
backed away. She just watched him, frightened but fascinated.

She watched his transformation. His body
quaked. His skin stretched, and his face twisted then seconds later
he was a lion. He roared loudly when he looked at her. Her eyes
wide, frozen in shock. She always thought Jax was a beautiful
person, but he was breathtaking in lion form. She stood and walked
to him, carefully. This was the first time she'd seen him shift and
knew she had to be cautious. He stood in place, waiting for her.
When she stood before him, she reached her hand up and rubbed his
head. He leaned his head into her touch, and she smiled at him.

“Wow, you're beautiful, Jax,” she said with
admiration. He nuzzled his head closer to her, and she giggled.
Almost as quick as his transformation to lion happened, he
transformed back. “Wow, that was pretty amazing huh?” He said, a
little breathless and tired. “I need to sit down.” She followed him
to the edge of the pond and sat beside him. “Tell me about it,” she
said. He looked at her, sadness in his eyes mixed with the
excitement of what had just happened. She was sorry that she was
the cause of that sadness.

“Well, it was great,” he began excitedly and
the sadness fell away. In that moment he made a decision. He would
marry Annika, as their parents expected. He knew he loved her. He
saw the admiration in her eyes when she looked at him in his animal
form. He wanted her badly, even at his young age, he knew. He would
wait for her. They had time. She would come around. She would
realize they were born to be together. He just had to wait, and he
knew she was worth it.

“The feeling, oh Annika, the feeling was
crazy. Like all the blood began racing through my veins at top
speed. I could feel every muscle contract and my skin tighten
around them. My heart was beating frantically then I felt the
prickles on my skin when the fur began to grow. It was powerful.
Absolutely powerful.” He was smiling wide, and she was happy for
him.

They sat by the pond for hours talking about
his ability, her ability, and their daily lives. He enjoyed every
minute with her and would have stayed there forever if it were
possible.

“Jax, you said you wanted to tell me
something earlier. What is it?” She asked, smiling.

“I wanted to tell you about me having a
companion animal inside. My dad told me about it today. He's been
trying to help me get the hang of shifting but until today I hadn't
been able to do it. I meant to tell you about it but you got to see
it firsthand. I'm glad you were here with me,” he said to her and
meant it.

“I'm glad too. You are spectacular as a lion,
Jax.”

“Thanks Annie,” he replied and smiled. She
returned the smile and laid her head on his shoulder, a gesture
she'd been doing for as long as he could remember.

“You know Jax, you're the only one that calls
me Annie. Well, Denali does sometimes but not as much as you. I
like it.” She smiled up at him with her eyes wide and full of
admiration and what Jax thought had to be love. His insides warmed,
and all was right in his life.

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