Author’s Note: Oceana wanted to tell part of the story. I didn’t object, even if I was surprised.
“We should stop.”
“Oh, really? Who are you to give us orders, Enya? No one besides Cress has seen you in years,” Terra said, and Moira glared at her from the driver’s seat, something she could ignore as though she’d never seen the mirror. Enya was doing her best not to look at it, and Oceana understood. The rest of them, they had broken mirrors, and they didn’t care. They weren’t scared.
Then again, most of them hadn’t killed anyone, either.
“Terra, if you wake my brother, I’ll drown you myself.” She’d been doing her best to keep Cress under, trying to get him to rest and restore, but Terra was bound to push too far again. She always did. She and Enya had never been friends, would never be friends. Sometimes Oceana thought the team would be better off without Terra, but now that Stone was gone, they were stuck with her. They had to have someone who could control earth.
“We are not going to fight. Not in the car. That’s suicide. Too many tempers, and we’d kill each other in a second,” Sherwin said, shaking his head. “I just got tempted to quiet you all with a gust of wind, and that would have been—Well, you know what it would have been.”
“We need to stop for Cress’ sake,” Enya said, sinking down in her seat, as far away from the rest of them as she could get. “Even if he’s resting, we’re all so tense we’re draining him. He can’t rebuild like this, not even with Oceana’s help. He needs to be alone, where no one can draw on him for a while. You’ve got to get me the hell away from him because I’m doing the most damage right now.”
The guilt. Enya would drown in it if not for Cress’ ability to flush the darker emotions out, purging everyone but himself. Oceana sighed. “She’s right. I am just holding things back, not fixing anything. It’s a stalemate, but if we keep fighting, it’ll get worse. I can’t counteract that, and he’s been doing too much ever since Stone died.”
“There’s a motel off the road up ahead. Crappy thing, abandoned years ago, but that has never mattered to us,” Moira said. “Trouble is, people will still notice us heading there and not coming back.”
“If it’s a dirt road, Terra and I can make it look like the dust cloud from the car headed back the same way after getting lost. It’s not perfect, but it’ll do.”
Moira nodded. “All right.”
“That place will be disgusting.” Terra looked back at Oceana. “You think you’ll be able to flush the rooms just a little?”
“What the wind doesn’t throw out we can handle.” Moira drove past the town, taking the turn off for the hotel that had been their base several times in the past. Cress liked to make it rain here, and the locals would be so shocked by that they never paid attention to anyone coming or going. Oceana would have had to burst their pipes, and she didn’t feel like ruining lives for the sake of a distraction.
She combed her fingers through her brother’s hair. She wished Moira would just take over as the leader. Somehow it always fell to her if Cress was gone or incapacitated, and she was as good at it or better. She didn’t even seem to hate it as much as he did. If he could give up a bit of the responsibility, a bit of the burden he carried, maybe Oceana wouldn’t have to watch her brother wander around like the living dead, mostly gone but stuck somehow, trapped with them by his endless loyalty. When he realized what it took to keep them calm, he should have run. He should have found a way to have his own life.
Instead, he’d let Enya walk away, and while Oceana had always understood his reasons for that—if she was pushed, if she fought, people died, and it was better if she never had to do what they did just to survive—a part of her still hated the other woman. She was stuck watching her brother slowly kill himself, and the only other person she’d cared about was already dead.
If not for the damage Enya could do, Oceana would have preferred to leave her behind. Let her deal with her own messes. At least the woman had the sense to know what she was doing and tried to make it right.
Stone was dead. Nothing would be right again.