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: It’s funny how moments can shift from intense and dramatic to funny and back again. It’s always such a balancing act…

Still Waters

Enya knew she hadn’t slept that good in over twelve years. She couldn’t deny that. She also knew why she’d been able to get that kind of rest. He was still asleep on the other side of the room, still needing time to recuperate from supporting her all through the night. She shook her head. Cress shouldn’t have to do this all the time, but then they all had some kind of drawback to what they were, didn’t they? She couldn’t control any of it, he couldn’t shut off his empathic abilities, and the others had their problems, too. Sherwin couldn’t stop being full of hot air, Moira was too cold most of the time, Oceana was stuck with the things her brother couldn’t do, Terra was half-insane, and Stone…

Well, he was the one who’d really lost in this scenario, hadn’t he?

“Stop thinking so loud.”

“You’re not telepathic.”

“All right. Stop feeling so strongly,” Cress said, groaning as he rolled over. She shouldn’t find it so amusing to see his annoyance, but she did. “I thought we were leaving early. That sun seems rather… bright.”

“Maybe they ditched us.”

“I can see them leaving me after all I’ve done, but what did you do that would make them abandon you? You’re pretty much innocent in all this.”

Innocent wasn’t a word she’d use to describe herself. Ever. Even if he wanted to believe that she wasn’t the one who started the fire and his parents had let it burn, had let it kill, that wouldn’t change. “Some of them still hate me for not being here.”

“I asked you to go. Let them hate me.”

“You determined to be a martyr? You gave me what you thought I wanted,” she told him, and he frowned. She shouldn’t have said that. She had been happy, sort of, other than missing him and the others. She’d been safe and didn’t have to fear the mirrors. She could have had everything a normal person did, and he’d given that to her. She now got to see the cost.

Cress ran a hand through his hair. “It’s… Never mind. I think I have been… I don’t think I’ve ever had this much failure staring me in the face before.”

“Even though Moira’s in charge now, no one wanted it before, and you did what you could. No one can do more than that, and you didn’t know then what you do now.”

He shook his head. “Twelve years is a long time to waste.”

“You don’t know that it was a waste.”

He rose. “We’d better join the others. They were generous, letting us sleep, but this is a bit much. We should have been on the move by now.”

“You just can’t quit, can you? You’re still trying to lead.”

“It’s a habit now.”

She stood, touching his arm. “Why did you do it?”

“Become the leader when I didn’t want to be? We’ve already talked about that, and I can’t say I have any new reasons or good ones, but I gave you what I had. If you’re asking about why I asked you to leave, I… I thought you knew that already.”

She did, though sometimes she wanted to ask him if there was more to his decision than he was saying. She didn’t know how to feel about that, so she never did ask. She swallowed. “Why didn’t you tell us about your parents?”

He looked down at his feet and then back at her. “I might have had more control over some of my abilities than my parents did, but they still had their holds over me… They could use me as a conduit, or they could freeze me when I asked questions they didn’t like or if I wouldn’t listen to them. I could be stuck there for hours unless I managed to overcome it—I’m better at it now than I was—or Occie set me free. Even though they told me he wasn’t a threat, I used to think he’d come back and finish what he’d started, and I had a very vivid imagination for what that would be like for all that it never happened. I could have gotten out of it if I’d killed them, but I couldn’t. No, I wouldn’t. I could have.”

“And if you told us, we’d end up fighting and killing your parents.”


“And we all thought that your parents were great.”

“That, too.”

She sighed, putting her hand on his cheek. “You have so many issues, all that stuff locked up in your head and your heart. You have a lot bottled up, don’t you? You know, I’m tempted to make a terrible pun now, about still waters running deep…”

He grimaced. “Please stop there.”

She grinned, making no promises before she left the room.

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