Bonding by Sid Arbaon

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SUMMARY: Belated entry for Jan. FCC. The Keeper of Memories is forced to look after the young Guardian of Flashbacks. This is the story of their bonding.

"No, Guardian, you can't do that," Keeper said in exasperation as the Guardian pointed to the Mirror of Time. "You know that interfering with the mortals is against Rules. You could lose your position."
Not for the first time, Keeper wondered how in the worlds a mute ten year old was able to obtain the great position of Guardian of Flashbacks. And even more, the masters thought that he- the Keeper of Memories; the most anti-social, heartless Watcher of anything Time- would straighten her out. Keeper sighed when the girl squealed, jumping from the ledge that supported the Mirror and ran in the opposite direction.
"Guardian!" Keeper called, chasing after her as she skipped rounds in the Clock Circle, just barely missing the steps that would transport her to another dimension. Keeper stopped chasing the girl, breathing raggedly while clutching his chest; he hadn't run like that in centuries. Keeper observed the Guardian's playful examinations of his crucial and rather priceless items; he knew that she must have been a handful when she was younger. Suddenly, the Master Bell rang, its tone resonating in the spacious room, alerting Keeper of his visitor.
"Master Kule!" Keeper cried, before bowing deeply to the Master as-with a swirl in time and space- he appeared at the foot of the stairs.
"Greetings, Keeper," Master Kule walked regally down the stairs, his navy robe sweeping the granite floors.
Rising from his bow, Keeper asked in polite confusion, "What brings you here?"
"Keeper," Master Kule began with a gentle, almost regretful smile, "I realize that you have your hands full with the Guardian."
Keeper nodded his head in agreement. He never knew how the girl was to act; one day, she may be subdued, while the next day, she was full of energy. Her mood swings baffled him to no end.
"The other masters and I discussed some issues, and decided that perhaps a bonding exercise might make things a little easier for the two of you." Keeper's eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
"Bonding exercise, Master?" Keeper repeated.
"Yes- bonding exercise. We would like you and the Guardian to go Flash Traveling."
"I don't understand, Master." Keeper objected. "We're doing fine now." Keeper knew not to question the Master's orders; but he had enough horrible memories about traveling through mortals' memories and little flashbacks.
"I'm sorry Keeper," Master said, "but we have already decided." Keeper felt a rush of angry fire flame through his body; the masters always said flash-traveling was against the rules, and yet here they were, forcing him to do it!
Master softened at Keeper's expression. "I know you don't want to do it, but you must bond; the Guardian may stay under your wing for quite sometime." The thought of having to watch the girl until she grew of age frightened Keeper, but he tried not to let it show.
"Yes, Master," he replied- even he could hear the sorrow in his voice.
Ignoring the response, Master called, "Guardian!" The girl looked up from her crouched position in front of a frozen ice ball that could apparently foretell the next Ice Age.

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