Author’s Note: It’s always interesting introducing a new character this late into the game, but if he’d come in sooner, well…
“We’re not missing anyone,” Sherwin said, coming around the car to tug on his sister’s arm. They couldn’t afford to let this guy bait them. They had to get in the car and go before the guy’s friends got here, and they were not going to give him a chance at any of them, not when Cress wasn’t with them. Damn it, why’d he have to leave now, of all times?
Sherwin already knew the answer to that one. He would have to deal with that later.
“I don’t know… Your numbers seem off to me,” the guy in the coat said, taking a quick count and nodding. “Should be eight. You’ve got five.”
“Yeah, sure. Just the right number for the proper orgy, right?” Enya said, rolling her eyes for effect as she grabbed hold of the door.
“Now, see, you… You’re what made me stop,” he said, taking a step toward her. “That feeling is almost painful, and I should have walked away, but for a moment I would have sworn…”
Moira reached out, knocking the man back with a blast of wind that had him hitting the building. He grunted, struggling to get back to his feet. Sherwin gave her a look, but then he saw Occie move closer to Enya, pulling her away from the mirror on the car. She shuddered, and again, Sherwin cursed Cress for not being there—and himself for being a part of why the other man wasn’t.
“Stay away from her,” Moira said to the rogue and then spoke to the others. “Get in the car.”
Oceana forced the keys into his hand, and Sherwin grimaced. He understood the choice—no way Enya could drive like this, Oceana needed to be free to deal with the firebug, same with Terra, and Moira was in charge, giving orders, so it was up to him to do it. He just hoped that she wouldn’t grab him for anything during it. Cress was the only one who could manage to drive and use his abilities, and that was probably because he was so used to having one of them going all the time anyway.
Didn’t explain why Sherwin almost always crashed them into something if he drove, but whatever.
“Damn it,” the firebug said, dragging himself up. “That was overkill, don’t you think?”
“Not particularly. What did you do to the water elemental?”
“Nothing. You think I’m stupid enough to go up against one of them that powerful on my own?”
“Plenty of you are,” Moira said, folding her arms over her chest. “I can smell the rain on you. I’m only going to ask one more time, and if you don’t answer me then, it’ll be a lot worse than a gust of wind.”
“Yeah, don’t make her do the tornado thing. She gets scary when she does that, and I say that as the brother who loves her dearly.”
The firebug smiled a little. “I remember those days. Look, I didn’t touch him. Yeah, there’s a water elemental I want dead, and I’ve been hunting him for a while now, tracking these freak storms to do it—he’s one of few I know who can manipulate the rain—but the one I saw first wasn’t the one I was looking for.”
Moira gave him a dark look. “There’s a reason we tend to stay close to Colorado. No one can predict the weather here. Try again.”
“Right. Makes sense that the one who could set off the rain would think of it,” the firebug said, frowning as he looked down. “Damn it, what the hell?”
“Now he’s not a problem,” Terra said, her lips curved into a slight smile that seemed more than a little psychotic to Sherwin.
Still, it wasn’t like he didn’t want to laugh to see the firebug half stuck in the ground thanks to their earth elemental. Someone must have forgotten what a girl like her could do. “Let’s go.”
Moira turned back. “Why?”
“I said that was the first water elemental saw, the one that looks like your girl there. The other is the one I’ve been hunting. I would have waited to see who won that one, came in and cleaned up afterward, but one of the second one’s goons spotted me. I dealt with them, and that’s when I sensed her. Your fire. For a second there, I thought I felt my sister again, even let that distract me when I knew better, but… if that water elemental’s yours, he might be in trouble.”
“Damn it, Cress.” Moira let out a breath and motioned to the car. “We’re going.”
“You’re really going to leave me like this?”
Moira walked toward him, leaning over him. “Understand this—while I find forest fires tragic and suspect you might resort to that to free yourself, I am not about to trust you on your word alone. I’m not a fool, and I don’t take risks with my friends’ lives. You get to stay right where Terra put you, and you’d better hope that the rain doesn’t come this way.”
Sherwin grimaced, pulling his sister back. “You’re getting scary again. Maybe we have to let Cress lead. I don’t like you like this.”
Moira would have knocked him down with the wind, and he knew it. Damn. He didn’t know that Cress could lead them anymore, and he didn’t agree with a lot of what Cress had done, but Sherwin didn’t like the effect it was having on his sister, either.
Still, compared to what they could have done to the rogue, that was tame.