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: The new guy is bound to make a few mistakes…

Outside Stumbling In

“That man can sleep.”

“Takes a lot out of him when he does stuff like that. He’s not a god or even superhuman. He’s just screwed up like we all are,” Occie said, running her fingers through her brother’s hair. She had fallen asleep on him earlier, not that anyone would blame her for that, not after all she’d done in the town, and not when Cress was draining her as well.

She should be asleep, but Oceana was nothing if not as stubborn as her brother. Sherwin shook his head. He’d help her if he could, but all anyone could do at this point was wait and hope that rest was enough to bring Cress back again. Usually it was, but who was to say after all he’d been through in the past few days?

Flint put his feet up on the table. “I’m surprised you bother with hotels. I tend to pitch a tent. I can make anywhere a warm spot, so it’s not a big deal for me.”

“We used to camp a lot more before that bastard started hunting us. Well, his people did. He only showed up recently. Not sure why, though he crossed my brother’s path years ago, before Cress was aware of his abilities. Scared the hell out of him with the freezing routine.”

Flint nodded. “Yeah, that one’s rather frightening. Not too bad for a fire to overcome, but he doesn’t have to use that to be dangerous. Or to kill.”

“All it takes is the water in your body.”

“The air in your lungs.”

“Or the ability to deprive you of both those things,” Terra finished with a smile. Flint gave her a look, frowning before turning his finger around in a small circle.

“Terra’s a bit… unhinged at the moment. We believe that the guy who killed your sister has her brother, so… she’s… um… well, psychotic?”

“Shut up, Sherwin. I’ll bury you in the earth next.”

“No fighting. You’ll wake Cress, and then I’ll drown you all.”

The fire rogue smiled, amused by them, even if he didn’t know why it was so important for them to keep calm until Cress woke, and that could take days after something like this. “So, fourth generation water, huh?”

Occie shrugged. “That’s if you believe anything our parents told us, which is probably not a wise idea. It’s debatable if they ever said anything that was true.”

“Occie, get some sleep,” Moira ordered. She sat down across from the rogue and studied him. Sherwin wasn’t sure he liked the way she kept interacting with Flint. She was harder, pushing him more and more each time she interacted with him, and Sherwin was not liking this side to her leadership. “You seem to know a lot about elementals. Why is that?”

“When you’re fire, you learn fast or die. Or kill, I guess.” He glanced toward Enya, but she ducked her head. “We weren’t as close a group as you seem to be, but there were eight of us in the beginning. Not sure what happened to all of them. We kind of drifted apart, and I know some died. Was just me and Maggie for a while until we hit the same thing you did. Was just the goons for a while, but when we’d burned a few too many, he came himself. She died the first time we went up against him, and I should have. I’m not sure why he didn’t make sure of it, but at least I was around to bury her, since he wouldn’t have bothered.”

Terra frowned. “No cremation?”

“Yeah, ’cause all us fire elementals dream of being burned after death,” Flint said. He turned to Enya. “That what you did with your brother? Turned him to ash?”

Enya glared at him. “There was nothing to bury after that was done, not even ash. You bastard.”

“Hey,” Sherwin said, knocking Flint out of his chair. “Terra’s question might have been out of line, but you do not get to take that out on Enya.”

“I didn’t mean it that way. I just… I was trying to figure out why I’d even been asked that question. The only thing I could think of was that it was something from her side of things.”

Enya shook her head. “No.”

Flint rose. “Look, I can help you, you know. Learn to control it? My sister and I had to figure out a lot of things the hard way, and I’m not afraid of getting burned. I can show you what I learned, can tell you about what Maggie could do—”

“No! Get away from me. I want nothing to do with it. I’m not using it. All that ever happens when I do is that people die.”

“They wouldn’t have to, though. It’s possible to control this—”

“Stop it,” Enya said, backing into the wall, and Flint did stop, but by then it was way too late. She’d gone into one of her panic attacks, and they were all damn lucky she didn’t have a mirror at the moment. If she had…

Cress pushed past his sister and went over to Enya, touching her arm first, and she shook her head, fighting him as he drew her into his arms. “Shh. You’re okay, Enya. It’s not happening again. You’re safe. Calm down.”

“I can’t control it. I don’t want to.”

“I know.” He closed his eyes, running a hand over her back. “Just stay calm.”

“Let go, Cress. You know you don’t have the energy to do this. I’ll kill you. You need to stop before I drain you dry.”

“Little bit longer,” he told her, and she nodded, her eyes closing as he lulled her into sleep. “Sherwin, come take her.”

He did, moving fast, barely getting hold of her before Cress collapsed, and Occie cursed even as she sat down next to him, pulling him back into her arms. “You’re such an idiot.”

“Couldn’t afford to douse her if he got her really worked up. This is nothing.”

“Go back to sleep.”

Cress didn’t need her words. He was already unconscious. Sherwin cursed under his breath, shifting Enya in his arms. He looked over at Flint, tempted to say something, but if he did, he’d probably wake Cress again, and that was not an option.

“Enya lost her whole family in a fire she thinks she started,” Moira told Flint. “Don’t push her about trying to control it. Ever. If she panics and that comes out again, the only thing that has ever stopped her is Cress, and as you can see, he’s in no state to do it now.”

Flint nodded. “Yeah. Sorry. She didn’t exactly give me all the details. I was only trying to help. I know how hard it was for Maggie, but we did manage to work through it and get control.”

“Men came to her house looking for us, and she killed them, too. She’s got every right to be terrified of what she can do. Just leave her alone.”

“I will.” Flint’s eyes went to Cress, and he frowned again. “I’ve never seen anyone do that before, either.”

“Think of it like one of those fountains or a recording of running water used for relaxation but far more powerful and concentrated. He can do that, can calm anyone with a touch.”

“Damn. You sure he’s just fourth generation and you know… not from the other side or something?”

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