Fire and Water

- A Serialized Novel -

Enya Royston has hidden from herself and her abilities, fearing the destruction that always comes with using them.

Author’s Note: Changes are coming. The balance of power has shifted. Probably for the best, though it’s hard to say right now.

Changes and Plans

“Terra’s still sleeping.”

“Then we should wait for her. We don’t make decisions without consulting the whole team.”

Cress snorted. “That’s not true. I do it all the time, and while you might argue with them for a while, you always accept it in the end, even when I’m wrong. Every time I’m wrong, you let my mistakes pass. Is it the water? I lure you into a false sense of calm?”

“Cress, what are you doing?”

“Thinking. Reasoning, trying to gauge how much damage I’ve done over the years.”

“Just because I told you it was time to stand down does not mean that you can start second guessing every decision you’ve ever made,” Oceana told him, but he did not look at her. Sherwin frowned. Occie had told Cress to step down? When did that happen? And why?

“I think we need more information on the agency that’s been chasing you,” Enya said. “If we knew who they were, where they were based, that might give us a better idea of where to look.”

“Look?” Sherwin frowned. “I thought we were going to discuss how to help Terra deal with her grief because it’s really becoming an issue. Why are we discussing the agency? Who cares about that right now?”

“We all do—if Terra is right and Stone is still alive.”

Moira stiffened. “Alive? We left him behind? How could we do that? That’s not… We’re not… We all saw him go down, we heard Terra scream that he was gone, but now he’s… alive?”

Oceana nodded. “According to the earth after Cress gave her the clarity to listen to it. I don’t know what to think, but if there’s even a chance that we can get him back, we’re going to do it.”

Cress moved toward the door. “Or we could just hand me over to them because I’m probably what they want and the one that got us all into this.”

“We are not giving anyone to them,” Moira said. Sherwin nodded, not liking the idea of handing their most talented member over to the bastards chasing them. “If those idiots are interested in bringing down the barriers, they won’t get any help from us. We have to focus on the fact that Stone might be alive. We need to know what we’re going to do to find him. If Terra can sense that, then we have to find a way to amplify her ability and get him back.”

Enya cleared her throat. “I still think that we’d do better if we could pin down where and who these people are. We get some of the news coverage about what happened at my house, we find the men from the agency, we determine if it’s legitimate or some kind of private organization that’s hounding you and what they’re after. If Stone’s still alive, there’s a good chance they would have him.”

“We haven’t arranged a trip to town for a laptop yet, and chances are, that mobile broadband you’d want wouldn’t work up here.”

“So I’ll use it in town. That has to be better than following Cress’ suggestion.”

“Yeah, I think we’re done following my suggestions,” he said, reaching for the door handle. “You were never the monster, Enya. I was. I just hide it a lot better than anyone thinks.”

Oceana frowned, rushing to grab her brother’s arm. “Where do you think you’re going? You better not be about to do anything stupid.”

“That depends on your definition. So far, from what I can judge, everything I did was wrong and therefore stupid.”

“Like hell it was,” Enya said, getting everyone to look at her. “If anyone has a right to be mad at you, it’s me, isn’t it? And I’m not.”

“You should be. You’re not because you have the worst guilt complex on the planet. Everything’s your fault. Even the things that are mine.”

Sherwin knew he wasn’t the only one who was confused. “Okay, one, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Two, I don’t know why we’re fighting right now. We have to work together to get Stone back. That is the only thing that matters.”

Oceana touched her brother’s face. “Look at me. There we go, that’s it. When I said you should go, I meant you should leave for your own health. You gave Enya that option years ago when you should have been the one to take it. This is destroying you.”

“It should.”

Moira held up a hand. “Enough. If Cress is stepping down, then I guess I’m in charge, and that means we’re going to focus on what we can do to get Stone back. Occie, you and Enya will go get the laptop and everything else she needs. Dip into some of the old accounts if you have to. I know none of us like doing it because we have no idea where our parents got that money, but do it anyway. Sherwin and I will work with Terra. Cress… you get the unpleasant job of keeping us all stable while we do it.”

He nodded. Oceana shook her head. “No. He’s not up to that. Even if he spent the next week in the water, he wouldn’t be up to that. He can’t.”

“Occie, I have to make up for my mistakes somehow. Don’t take that from me.”

She sighed. “I don’t like this. You are allowed to be as human as the rest of us, to make mistakes, and I know you have, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be punished for them.”

He pulled free of her. “I’ll be down at the lake when you need me, Moira.”

Sherwin rubbed at his ear. “I suppose I have to wake Terra, don’t I?”

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