Happy New Year, dear readers! I hope you all made resolutions you can stick to! And also ones that are good for the world, like, “I resolve to recycle more, ergo, I need to get more champ cans so I can recycle them after I’ve enjoyed their tasty contents!”

Anywho, it’s a new year, and a new you as you journey through time in today’s installment of Choose Your Own Adventure! By 2 votes, you chose to have your mother: “Send me back to a year ago.”

So let’s see what was going on last year at this time, hmmm?

Chapter 17: You Can Look And You Will Find Me, Time After Time

“Mom, wait!” You cry out, just as she points her wand at your chest. She pauses, just for a second.

“I miss you.” Your voice sounds as small as you feel.

“Oh honey, I miss you, too. But I’m with you, every day, in my heart.”

Your eyes cloud over as unshed tears threaten to spill. She kisses her fingers and holds them out to yours.

“Now be a good girl and go save the world.”

With a wink and flick of her wrist, YOUR world is suddenly being sucked backwards, and you watch as everything around you forms a cyclone not unlike water going down a drain, except this cyclone is pulling you back from your belly button in what feels like a never-ending roller coaster ride.

You wonder how long you can keep from being sick, as a swirl of scenes from the last year of your life overwhelm your senses. You try to shut them out, but you realize your eyes are already closed, so you clamp your mouth shut and hope this is all over soon.

Then you see something that stops your heart: bright white heat, rock, and you — with Eli. You WITH Eli. You’re flooded with the memory of his lips and hands and body on yours, with yours, in yours, and suddenly it’s not your stomach that feels about to burst, it’s your heart.

But that never happened! Did it? You think about your mom, and what she just did for you, and all you’ve ever learned about parallel planes and the space/time continuum, and then you think, holy shit! Does that mean I’m not a virgin anymore?

And that’s when your body slams into stone. Literally.

You open your eyes, but it takes a minute for them to adjust. You are in a small, dimly lit room made of stone. You look to see where the light is coming from, and notice a door made of bars. That’s when you see the figure huddled in the corner of the room, and suddenly 2 + 2 = 4.

Gainswitch! Oh. My. God. You scramble over to Eli, noticing what looks to be fresh whip marks along his bare back. Your mind flashes back to the scars you saw when you walked in on him… was that just earlier that night? It seems like a lifetime ago. Two lifetimes ago.

“Eli!” You whisper, reaching out to touch his arm — the only place you think might not hurt him. You realize you can’t turn him onto his back because of his injuries, but he seems unconscious, so you crawl over his body.

You can’t help but notice his skin is cooler to the touch than normal, even for him.

“Oh, Eli! Oh my god, I’m so sorry.” You don’t even know why you’re apologizing, and you knew he had been through something horrible, but this? Your heart breaks for him. For a lost childhood full of torture and despair.

“Eli, wake up, come on, please, please, wake up. You’ve gotta wake up.” Your hands flutter over him nervously, wanting to touch, to hold, but not wanting to injure him further.

You brush the hair away from his face. It’s longer now. Or, you realize, it was longer back then. And for a moment you marvel at how hot he looks, even in here, and even with long hair.

You stroke his forehead, his cheeks, whispering, “Please, please wake up.” before you lower your head and touch your lips to his.

His eyelashes start to flutter open, and you hear a sound the makes you happier in this moment than you thought possible: his voice, scratchy from disuse.


Okay, not exactly what you want to hear when you kiss your boyfriend. Is that even what he is? You decide you two should probably figure out what you are exactly, because these feelings of love you have toward him are really… intense.

But then Eli’s eyes focus on your face, and a look of surprise and delight cross his features. You can’t help the smile that overtakes your face in return; does he somehow, deep in his psyche, know you? Your lips meet his again, urgently this time, and he matches the intensity of the kiss, before his arms circle around you, and suddenly, you find yourself on your back on the cold stone, and Eli is on top of you, and you can feel the length of his body pressing against yours. And it feels good.

He stops kissing you, just for a second, and looks at your face. “I like this dream.” He whispers, but then his mouth is on yours again, and it takes a moment for you to register what he just said. When you do, you smile between kisses. He DOES know you! And also think how did he learn to kiss like this? Without breaking your increasingly fevered make out session, you murmur, “You dream… about me often… then?”

And that’s when his mouth slows over yours, and his body stops pressing needily against yours until he stills completely, your lips still touching.

“Wait…” he pulls his head back to look at you, “is this real?” and suddenly, he jerks back away from you and is sitting upright.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Wait, is this some kind of trick? What do you want?” The fact that he was recoiling from you would have been funny if he wasn’t, well, recoiling from you.

I guess he doesn’t know me, then. Well. Not yet.

“No. I would never trick you like that.” You pause, choosing your words carefully. “Eli… I’ve traveled from the future. My mother was a necromancer, and she sent me back to fix things… and somehow I ended up here.”

“We know each other in the future?” He reiterates more than questions, but you nod anyway. He smirks a moment, “In the carnal sense?”

You can’t seem to help the laugh that escapes you. “Possibly.”

You then explain everything that has happened in the last eight hours and how you ended up here, and Eli seems to take it all in stride, listening carefully.

“So,” you look at him. He really is in a terrible state. Your heart pangs for the pain he’s probably in. “We just need to… save the world.”

Eli laughs wryly. “And how do we do that?” He’s taken hold of your hand, and wether it’s for comfort, or because he does feel the same things you’re feeling, you don’t quite know. But you make a decision.

“Well, for starters, I’m going to apparate us out of here.” you tell him. You take in his appearance, and realize he needs more than healing to be able to pass unnoticed in your world. He needs a change of clothes.

“Let’s go back to my room.” You’re familiar enough with your room at home to be able to apparate the both of you there without any difficulty, and are only mildly embarrassed by the lace curtains and stuffed animals along one wall.

Eli gazes around himself in wonder, and you are reminded again that he grew up with walls of stone for a home. You take him into your bathroom and clean his wounds, soothing them with the healing potions the maid always keeps in stock, before sneaking into the laundry room for clothes from your dad.

As you take in Eli’s cleaned, well-dressed form, you can’t quell the quiver in your stomach, or the feeling of… pride… for just knowing him.

As he rolls up the sleeves of one of your dad’s blue button-down shirts, he asks gamely, “Okay, where to next?”

Do you:

A. Apparate to the Order of the Sphinx HQ to look for answers

B. Apparate to the school. It’s time to put Dace out of commission BEFORE he gets to your dad.

C. Stay where you are. Your dad will be home soon and you can talk to him. And in the meanwhile, you and Eli can get reacquainted.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.