Author’s Note: So, after I did one piece that involved the use of prompts from Three Word Wednesday, I had ideas that allowed me to use the same words again. I knew then that it was a part of something else, something longer, though where/if it belongs in this story is debatable.
I left the original of this scene in Kabobble’s Choice, and I’ve copied it in here, the Fire and Water category, as this is where I have it falling in the story, at least currently.
That day’s words: cumbersome, morbid, and rampage.
“You’re being morbid again, aren’t you?”
Cress put the phone back in his pocket, not sure how Stone always seemed to find him after he ended one of those calls. True, he’d been staring out the window for a while now, but that still didn’t explain how his brother-in-law had that kind of timing. Unless, of course, Occie had sent him, but why wouldn’t she have come herself? That didn’t make much sense.
“What makes you think I’m being morbid?”
“That cumbersome load you bear. ‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown,’” Stone said, leaning against the wall next to Cress.
With a frown, Cress tried not to fidget under the other man’s gaze. Stone had always been intimidating, intentionally or not, and he didn’t like the feeling he got from those words. That idea sickened him. They didn’t really believe he was on some kind of power trip, did they? “I’m not the king. You don’t honestly think I think of myself that way, do you?”
“No. It was just a fitting quote. I suppose a more apt one would be that you’re drowning under all that responsibility.”
Cress snorted, not bothering to remind him that it was almost impossible to drown someone like him. “Hmm. Should have given it to the one who’s a rock, then.”
Stone gave him a look, his eyes darkening. “What, so I could sink right to the bottom?”
Cress shook his head. “Just always figured you were stronger than me. Would have suited you better, perhaps.”
Stone grunted, taking out his latest carving and studying it. The details were more intricate this time, and Cress wasn’t sure he should point out that a normal carver would never have been able to get the granite to do that. “There’s a reason we look to you. Any one of us could have stood up in that role a long time ago, but no one wants to. You’re the only martyr among us.”
“I am not a martyr, either.”
“Please. Like I don’t know who you just called and why you did and how much it hurts you that you’re here and she’s there. I can’t stand having Occie out of my sight half the time, but you don’t even get to see yours more than once a year if you’re lucky.”
Cress rolled his eyes. “If you think I don’t know why you’re worried about my sister, you’re the fool. I probably knew before she did. Definitely before you did. I can sense emotions, remember? I knew she was in love with you long before she would admit it, and she didn’t have to tell me about the wedding. I don’t know how to get you or her out of this mess we’re in, though.”
“You want to send us away now, too?”
“Playing favorites again.”
Cress lowered his head, leaning against the window. “If one thing went wrong in a fight, that could be it. It could all be over. These people aren’t interested in taking captives. They want us dead, though I keep thinking it doesn’t fit with some of their other actions, but how else do you explain the live ammunition? Those aren’t blanks or that other kind of bullet… The… uh…”
“Relax. We’re not military. No one expects you to know all the terminology or lead us like a spec ops team. We’re just what we are, nothing more, nothing less. True, you’re something a bit more than the rest of us, but that’s different.”
“I want you and Occie to go, Stone. Tomorrow, preferably. I’ll take the team in the other direction, lead the agents away from you, but I need you to go.”
“You need us, and you know it. You can’t do this alone, no matter how talented you are, and do you really think the team will be okay with that? Some of them can’t forgive Enya for going, and she had a better reason to go.”
Cress looked at him. “You two are married now. You waited long enough for that, and if Occie gets pregnant—”
“You’re thinking like a brother right now. An older, protective brother. You need to think of the team. She’s not an invalid, and you always stand between her and the worst of it anyway. Even if she’s nowhere near the fight—where I tend to think she should be, too, even though I know she’s strong enough—after it’s over, you need her and you know it. You can’t ignore that. What happens the next time some rogue goes on a rampage and you nearly kill yourself stopping them? Who’s going to pull you out of it if you send Occie away?”
“That doesn’t matter. If you stay—”
“We have to argue about this later. They’re here.”