Not Cheating or a Unique Slumber Party

Author’s Note: So I had a bit of a downturn this weekend, and I asked for prompts to keep me working/writing and enjoying what I wrote instead of going into the hate cycle of my apparent love/hate relationship with writing.

This time isn’t fluff so much as “keep me writing” which could be fluff, but isn’t necessarily fluff.

Anyway, this prompt was Enya + pillow fight, and it ended up turning into two pieces that I went ahead and put together because one spawned the other.

Not Cheating/A Unique Slumber Party

“No fair. You’re cheating.”

Enya pulled the pillow close to her, looking over at her… friend and forcing a smile. She almost considered saying that no one could cheat in a pillow fight, but that wasn’t true. She wanted to say that this wasn’t cheating—if she wanted to cheat, all she had to do was burn that other pillow right out of the other woman’s hands, and it would be all over. She wasn’t cheating.

“I’m just used to fighting with a bit more opposition,” Enya said, not wanting to think about being fire, not right now. She was normal here, and she wanted to stay that way. That was why she was here and not with the others, so that she didn’t have to worry about fighting in other ways. She could have harmless pillow fights instead of infernos that killed.

“More opposition?”

“I… I had a large extended family. Kind of like a bunch of cousins even though we weren’t related by blood,” she said, letting out a breath. “And Sherwin always fought dirty—though Moira might have been worse. It usually meant that Cress would have to come in and calm us all down.”

“You sound like you miss them.”

“I do,” she said, closing her eyes. “I always do.”

“No fair!” Terra cried, though Enya would have said it wasn’t fair that she covered herself in a dirt mound to avoid being hit with a pillow or three, and she didn’t know where Aiden had disappeared to in all this chaos but she figured he was hiding out at one of the other houses because he’d been so insistent on not participating in the fight.

She didn’t understand that. Stone was bigger than all of them and always worried he would hurt them, but he was playing, and he’d even managed to get a few good hits in on Occie—the girl he swore he was going to marry.

Sherwin caught Enya around the waist, and she squirmed, trying to get out of the hold. She went to hit him with her pillow, but he kissed her, and she forgot all about the pillow fight.

At least—she did until all the pillows erupted in their faces. Coughing through the feathers, Enya glared at the culprit behind their impromptu feathering. At least she hadn’t been working with one of the waters—they’d be stuck that way if she had.


The air elemental shrugged, looking smug, but her brother wasn’t amused, and feathers flew again as he chased her around the room. The house shook, and someone bumped Terra, so the ground rumbled, and Enya found herself backing against the wall and hoping that she wouldn’t feel the need to use fire. Ever.

Water rushed over them, and Enya shivered a bit. Cress walked into the room, rubbing at his forehead. “Clearly it is a bad idea to try and sleep around the rest of you.”

She laughed. “I told you that you should have just joined us.”

He looked at her with a slight frown. “Like you wanted the wet blanket around when you were having fun.”

“It might have been more fun if you were a part of it.”

“New game,” Sherwin said. “Everyone get Cress.”

“We don’t have any more pillows thanks to Moira.”


Aquatic Oversensitivity

Author’s Note: So this answers the prompt Occie/Stone: bubble bath.

The thing is, Occie can be a bit sensitive about her water.

Aquatic Oversensitivity



“Did you some how lose your memory and forget who you married?”

He came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her and rocking her. Oceana closed her eyes, trying not to let him distract her. She did not understand what he thought he was doing, but this was not amusing. “What makes you think I could ever do that?”

“You said you were going to start a bath.”

“I did. In fact, I didn’t just start one—it’s full and ready and waiting for you to enjoy it.”

She shook her head. “Should I say something about you having rocks for brains? I am water. I don’t do bubble baths. Ever. I can’t stand salt in my bottled water. I don’t do dishes because I can’t tolerate soap. I don’t do chlorine or fluoride in my water and I—”

“I’m going to ignore that comment about rocks and remember that I have always loved you,” Stone said, and she grimaced, about to apologize, but all of that was forgotten when he lifted her up and carried her over to the tub.

“Put me down—and not in that adulterated water. Do you have any idea how many chemicals are in that stuff? I am not touching that water.”

“Occie, do you trust me?”

“Usually, yes, but this is—”

“Touch the water. Do what you do with it, that forensic deconstruction that I envy so much.”

She frowned, but he lowered her to where she could touch the water. When her fingers dipped into the tub, she cursed herself for being a fool. “When did you have time to ask Cress to do that?”

“Not telling. Now are you going to get in your bath or not?”

“Only if you’re getting in there with me.”

Not Playing House

Author’s Note: So this is one of the prompts I filled during the fluffy prompt fest following my completion of Fire and Water’s saga. Liana Mir gave me Occie/Stone and first kiss. This moment had been in the back of my head since I first met those two, and so it was not hard to write.

Stone always knew what he wanted. Occie didn’t see it the same way, not at first.

Not Playing House

“Oceana Washburne, I love you.”

She gave Stone a look, shaking her head as she did. “You don’t know what love is. None of us do.”

He sat down next to her, his legs making hers look short and scrawny, but Stone had always been big for his age. That was what the Landons said, anyway. Her parents acted like he’d done something wrong somehow, but she didn’t know what that could have been because Stone was one of the best behaved kids she’d ever met.

“Yes, you do. You love your parents, don’t you?”

She hesitated, looking back at the house. She didn’t think they were listening, and she didn’t know that anyone would understand if she said she didn’t think she did. She shrugged.

Stone frowned a bit, but he tried again. “You love your brother.”

That time she nodded. That felt right. She knew Cress better than anyone, and they were close. They were twins, so everyone expected it, but she could feel him sometimes, like she knew exactly where he was even if he wasn’t nearby. That was silly, though, and Oceana didn’t do silly. “I’m not your sister.”

“I know that. I love Terra, but not like I love you.”

Oceana frowned. “That doesn’t make sense, Stone.”

“Yes, it does,” he insisted. He took her hand. “I’m going to marry you someday.”

“I am not playing house today or any other day. I think that is one of the stupidest games ever created. I don’t see why anyone would want to pretend to be our parents. I don’t even like—I just think it’s dumb.”

Stone leaned over and kissed her. Not the sort of kiss her parents stumbled over giving her, not the kind of thing Cress did when he was feeling sentimental, but a kiss like on television or the movies. She reached up to push Stone away—she’d said she wasn’t playing house, why didn’t he get that?—but he let go and touched her cheek. “I’m not playing at anything, Occie. I love you.”

She stood. “We are not getting married, and I am never playing house with you again.”

“This isn’t a game. Someday you’ll know that.”

She rolled her eyes, but she found herself tracing her lips as she walked inside. She wasn’t going to admit that she’d liked the kiss.

Cat Versus the Elements

Author’s Note: Liana Mir wanted an AU snippet from Fire and Water based on this passage of it (from A Bit of Practice):

He glanced down at his chest before coming toward the shore to pick up his shirt. He pulled it on and shrugged. “I’m wet. A lot of things look better wet. Not cats, though. I don’t think it would be fair for one of us to have a cat.”

“Probably not. I might set it on fire, you could drown it, and Moira would end up knocking the poor thing out of the house with a gust of wind.”

Here it is.

Cat Versus the Elements

Legend said that cats had nine lives, and if they did, Chocolate seemed to be proof of that. The small, brown ball of fur belonged to Terra, a gift given to her by Sherwin as an apology of some kind. None of the others quite understood why he would give a woman attuned to earth a cat, of all things, but he just reminded them that a dog would dig up her plants and said no more.

It was probably better that he didn’t. Any time Stone saw the cat, he had a habit of turning a gaze befitting his name toward the other man. Of course, when the kitten placed a paw on him, she turned that big man into mush, and everyone was reminded that he was a gentle giant—when they weren’t teasing Occie about how he’d be with their kids.

Occie would take the cat from Stone’s hands, give her a gentle scratch behind her ears, and set her down. After this ritual, the two of them tended not to be seen for hours, though that never bothered Chocolate.

She had other mischief to find, and find it she always did.

She never seemed to regret it, either, though she probably should have after she startled Enya. Chocolate had no way of knowing that Enya had become a city girl in her time apart from the others, no idea that having something small and furry sneak into her sleeping bag would cause the reluctant fire elemental to scorch away all of that fur.

Terra and Enya didn’t talk for a while after that, though Enya did try and remind her that Chocolate would have been too hot in the summer with all that heavy fur. Chocolate was able to meet her namesake when Terra got a large box of gourmet chocolates as a peace offering, promptly shredding the ribbon that had wrapped it shut.

Of course, peace with Chocolate around never lasted long. After the record-breaking heat wave, tensions were a bit high all around, all the more so in the overheated water elementals. Chocolate wouldn’t have understood what the argument was about, but she did become more acquainted with the rain that followed after than a cat ever wanted to be.

Not even being water could save Cress from Terra’s ire over the cat’s near drowning. Terra only stayed with the others to be close to her brother, since Occie would not leave hers. Chocolate didn’t hold a grudge, though. She still snuggled with Cress as she did everyone else—Enya said it must be because he smelled like fish because cats didn’t like water.

Cress let her do an impression of the drowned cat for that comment. Chocolate wisely avoided all that followed that, choosing instead to find the air elemental that was alone—almost alone—in the cabin. Had it not been for Flint’s choice of comment at the time, nothing might have happened. Moira liked Chocolate well enough—as much as Moira liked anyone, at least.

What she did not like was a certain firebug and a certain song, and in ridding herself of one irritating presence, she caught an innocent party in her gale wind, shoving both of them out the door. Terra scooped up her cat and disappeared into her garden for a while.

“I don’t think we as elementals should have a pet,” Cress said, and everyone would have agreed had Chocolate not come out of the garden with a litter of kittens. They cursed instead, knowing they’d lost.

Though this is not a part of the main story, you can read more by starting here.

Author’s Note: At least they get Stone back.

A Rescue, of Sorts

Something was different. Stone could feel it the moment he opened his eyes. He couldn’t place it, but he knew it. He needed more than that fleeting sensation to pin it down, but he thought if he could, everything would be fine. Strange. Nothing was right, and yet he assumed that it would be if only he was able to get closer to that feeling.


Terra. He knew what it was. He could feel his sister. He hadn’t felt her presence in a long time, but he knew what he was feeling now, and it was her. She was here. Well, not here, but close. Close enough to give him more strength than he’d had since he first woke. He didn’t care about the drugs. They couldn’t hold him back from the earth, not with her near.

He forced his hand over, yanking out his IV with a grim smile. Sure, now everything hurt a hell of a lot more, but that didn’t mean that he was going to stop. He couldn’t flush the drugs straight out of his system like Cress or Occie, but he’d work on it all the same. If he got a hold of something to connect him to the earth, if he could find a plant or something organic, he could help his recovery.

The door opened—that was tame way of saying that since it slammed into the wall, crumpling into a twisted bit of metal—and he smiled. “Moira. I take it someone pissed you off.”

“Someone’s good at doing that, actually.”


She came over to the bed, putting a hand on his cheek, her eyes filling with tears. “Oh, you idiot. I thought you were dead.”

“I’m sorry. I thought I was, too,” he told her, brushing back a bit of her hair. Damn, she was beautiful. She looked down at the bandages on his chest, grimacing. He shook his head. “It’s not that bad. They’ve been keeping me down with sedatives. That’s what’s bad.”

“Yeah. Cress said if we didn’t get you out and back in touch with the earth that you’d die.”

“Your brother is good.”

“He’s also an idiot,” she said, moving to the side. “I don’t see a bed pan. Get prepared to puke.”

“Damn it.”

She shook her head. “Have to get the sedatives out of you one way or another, and I think you’d prefer that over the alternative.”

He nodded, leaning over the bed as she put a hand to the back of his neck. He didn’t want to think about what she was doing to his body as she forced the drugs out of his bloodstream and into his stomach. He gagged, vomiting it onto the floor. Moira kept the air flowing, making the stench dissipate, but that wasn’t much of a consolation.

“Better. Not going to be able to move on my own, though.”

“That’s what we’re here for,” Sherwin told him, coming over to the bed. He shifted it with the air, moving it away from the vomit so that Stone wouldn’t put his feet in it when he stepped down. “Um… sorry we took so long. Terra was… kind of a mess.”

“Where is she?”

“In the car. Cress said she’d be too much of a danger to you as she is, and he’s right,” Moira said, looking toward the doorway. “Where the hell have you been?”

Stone frowned, expecting to see Cress, but that was not his brother-in-law. The man in the doorway shrugged. “Don’t get bent out of shape, Windy. I was just causing a small electrical fire to make sure that the surveillance was gone.”

“Since when do we work with fire rogues?”

“Nice to meet you, too. I’m Flint. It’s a long story,” the firebug said, coming over to help lift Stone off the bed. “Damn. Maybe we should have asked your brother for a wave to ride him out on, huh, Oceana?”

She shook her head. Stone didn’t know what to think at the moment, but he wasn’t going to complain too much, not after what he’d been through. “Wait. Please don’t tell me your brother is taking on that water elemental on his own.”

“You met that bastard?”

“Yeah. Never got introduced, but we all kind of met him before.”

“We did?”

“That day that the water was wrong and you and Cress both looked like you were going to die…”

Moira cursed, and Sherwin echoed it. The fire rogue grunted. “Figures. He must have had plenty of reason to watch over Washburne considering he’s the closest thing to a match that bastard’s got.”

Stone shook his head, wishing he had the strength to pull away from the men helping him walk. They were carrying him, and he couldn’t fight their hold. He was too weak, still a bit drugged, and he hadn’t managed to get a hold of any dirt yet. “No. I don’t—Damn it. You all knew I was bait, didn’t you? That bastard didn’t care about me. He only wanted Cress, and he didn’t—”

Occie stumbled, hitting the wall with a shudder. She slid to the floor, and Stone cursed. “Occie, how bad is it?”

She looked up at him. “I… I can’t sense him. There was… It was sharp and horrible, and he was in a lot of pain, and then, now… there’s nothing. It’s like he’s gone.”

“We thought Stone was, and he’s not. Don’t go assuming that about Cress,” Moira said, pulling Occie onto her feet. “We have to go find him. Just hold on until we do, okay?”

Occie nodded, looking numb. Stone wanted to take her in his arms and comfort her, wanted to tell her it would be all right, but he couldn’t. She wouldn’t be okay again until she saw her brother, and even then, that was no guarantee. There might not be any way of pulling Cress back from the edge this time.

Author’s Note: Stone wants to make sense of things. Someone else doesn’t.

Obscuring the Reasons

“You knew the Washburnes.”

“The who?”

Stone was not in the mood to play this bastard’s games. The water elemental had been standing in his room for a while now, pretending he didn’t know Stone was awake. He didn’t know why, but since he couldn’t move and they weren’t increasing the medication yet, he figured he’d do what he could—he’d talk. He could push. He could ask questions. Even if he couldn’t give anyone else the answers, he would have them. “You were the reason that the water felt wrong. It was like you were poisoning them both, so I never forgot that day. You knew the Washburnes, you hurt Cress and Occie even if you didn’t mean to—though with you, I think you meant to—and you’re going to tell me why.”

“That is a curious thought. Why would I do that?”

“Bragging rights, intimidation, that sort of thing. You said I had a special role to play, so what is it? Bait? You want me to sit around and lure the others right into your trap?”


Stone closed his eyes again. He had a feeling that was a part of it, had known it since the first time he woke up, but he knew that even if he could give the others a message in words, they’d never turn away from helping him. Cress was too damn loyal for that. Occie and Terra could not leave him, no matter how practical Occie might be most of the time. Moira and Sherwin wouldn’t go against all that. No, they were coming. That was inevitable. As soon as Terra knew he was alive, they’d had to have started after him. He knew that.

He didn’t know how long it would take them to find him, but he knew that they would. They’d play right into this bastard’s hand.

“You their real father or something?”

“Excuse me?”

“Cress and Oceana. Are you their father?”

“No. A shame, really, since my progeny would likely have been even more powerful than Washburne has become, but he is not mine. Nor is she, but you knew that.”

“Not necessarily. Just because they’re twins doesn’t mean that they—”

“I do not need a genetics lecture. I have studied them extensively. I have always been curious about what makes us like we are, and I poured several billions of dollars into learning that. Even with his heritage, Washburne is an anomaly. He should not be what he is. That is was I intend to find out.”

Stone swallowed. “How? By dissecting him?”

“If necessary.”

He wanted to believe that the water elemental was just screwing with his head. He would rather have the guy have an interest in Cress or Occie because he was their biological father, but if he wasn’t, if all he wanted was to experiment on Cress…

“You want to take down the barrier.”

“That is a careless assumption to make. Why would I want it down? Here I am almost all powerful, and I just increase that power by the day. The more I know, the more I can control. I will, of course, eliminate any kind of threat to that.”

“And Cress is a threat.”

“He is… amusing. He limits himself, but he could be true competition. If I had been the one to train him, things would be different.”

“You knew where he was. You had him completely debilitated that day, but you left him behind.”

“A poor choice, perhaps.”

Stone shook his head. “Nothing you’ve said makes sense. Why are you doing this?”

The elemental reached for the IV, turning up the medication, and as it flooded his system, Stone cursed. He knew he had pieces of the puzzle, but he couldn’t make sense of them, and he didn’t understand any of this. All that conversation had accomplished was making him more confused.

He didn’t think things would be any better when he woke up again.

Author’s Note: Because Occie and Stone were always a couple, even when they thought they weren’t.

Blessing in the Rain

“You ever wish for a normal life?”

“You mean like what Enya has or like what normals have or just… quitting this?” Oceana asked, lying on the beach and trying not to pay too close attention to what was behind Stone’s words. She had a feeling that she already knew, and that wasn’t what she needed or wanted. She didn’t want to talk about it. He’d been pushing since he was maybe ten, insisting that he was in love with her when neither of them were old enough to know what that meant.

Stone stepped back from his sandcastle, admiring his elaborate work that would have put any local kids to shame if this wasn’t a private beach. “I know better than to bring up quitting with you. I know what happens if I suggest you go anywhere away from your brother.”

She closed her eyes. “I can’t let him kill himself. It seems like every time we go up against a rogue, he’s doing more, pushing harder, trying to do it all himself—”

“So he can tell us all to go and do it on his own. You know that’s what he’s been trying to work for all this time. He wants to be strong enough to give us all our freedom, not just Enya.”

“He can’t do that.”

Stone shrugged, sitting down next to her. His eyes went out to the water. “I don’t know. I think he gets closer by the day.”

“He wouldn’t know how to quit. Being a leader is all he has.”

“No, it’s all he thinks he has. It’s all he thinks he can have, but that’s not true. It’s not true for him, and it’s not true for any of the rest of us.”

“Don’t start.”

Stone put a hand on her cheek, shaking his head. “I never stopped, and you know I won’t. Cress thinks there’s no life out there besides this, not for someone like him, with that much talent and control and guilt, so he keeps trying to push things to where he can get the rest of us out of this, trying to take it all on himself. You see him do it and get scared, so scared that he’s going to kill himself doing it, and you won’t leave him because you’re the only one here that can pull him away from that edge. You won’t consider any other kind of life because you think you have to be with him. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this, and I think it’s time to prove you both wrong.”

Oceana yanked his hand away. “For the last time, Stone, I’m not running off with you or abandoning my brother.”

“I never asked you to do that. All I want is for you to love me—to admit that you do, at least. I see it when you look at me, and I feel it when we touch, but you’re so tied up in keeping your brother from his martyrdom that you won’t take a moment for yourself. You’re as bad as he is. You know no matter what your parents did, that wasn’t you and it wasn’t him. You two don’t have to be punished forever for what they did or thought should be our way of life. I don’t care if we have kids that are attuned to an element—yours or mine. I think I want kids, want to spoil little Occies and build sandcastles with them, but I don’t have to have that, either. I just want to stop the misery I see in both of you. Part of the reason he’s unhappy is because he knows what he’s keeping you from.”

She turned on her side. “We don’t get normal lives. I thought you knew that already.”

He leaned over and kissed her cheek, down her neck, his hand tracing along her side, far too close to the edge of her swimsuit for her liking. She couldn’t think when he did that. “Marry me, Occie. For the hundredth time, marry me. I’m not asking for the normal’s delusion of a house with a picket fence and two-point-five kids. I’m asking for you and me as a couple, admitting that we care about each other. I’m asking for you to let me be where you are no matter where that is. If it’s always at your brother’s side, I can live with that. He’s my best friend—Don’t tell Terra I said that—but he is. I already see him like my own brother, if I’d ever had one, and this team is a family. I want to be close to our family. I just want us, too.”

Oceana stared at him. “Stone…”

“I love you. I always have.”

“I know.”

Water splashed over them, soaking them both, and Stone sat back with a frown. She looked up as rain splattered her arms, shaking her head. “Cress, knock it off!”

“Not until you go,” he yelled back, and she cursed him even as she forced the water off the shore. Her towel was soaked, and the rain hadn’t stopped. She couldn’t make it stop, either.

“I think he just gave us his blessing, such as it is,” Stone said, and in spite of everything, she laughed.

Author’s Note: Time for Stone to remember more.

Memories from a Stone

Stone opened his eyes, aware of less pain in his chest but at the same time, he still couldn’t move. They must have been keeping him under heavier sedation than before, and he had no idea how long had passed since the last time he was conscious. This time he was alone, no water elemental hovering over him, though how long that would last was debatable. If his captors knew he was awake, he was sure to find himself getting more drugs.

While he was awake, he had work to do. He had to get his hands on something, get to the earth. He didn’t know that he could get free in his current state, but even the slightest bit of manipulation should send a ripple through whatever let them control the elements to reach Terra. She’d know. She’d know that he was here, and he knew they’d come for him if he couldn’t get himself free.

He would have to—Damn it. He couldn’t do anything, couldn’t feel earth, couldn’t feel anything.

He closed his eyes. The drugs might be kicking back in, or maybe he needed to wait longer before he tried again. He tried to pull up the image of the man he’d seen the last time he woke. He knew him. He had to remember how he knew him, though.

“…Told you not to come here. He’s got enough talent to sense you.”

Stone frowned, stopping in front of the Washburnes’ house, not liking the tone he heard in Mrs. Washburne’s voice. She saw him and waved, a smile on her face. “Hey, Stone. Remember that dinner’s at six, and if you see either of my wayward young ‘uns, tell them they’re wanted at home.”

Stone nodded. Sometimes he thought she tried too hard to be friendly to all of them, and he didn’t like her sudden cheerfulness. It had to be for the guy’s benefit, the one standing on her doorstep, the one Stone wasn’t supposed to know about, or she wouldn’t be bothering with the reminder. “Sure, Mrs. Washburne.”

“It’s Brooke.” She shook her head, guiding the man into the house. “You can call me that. Or something else if you like.”

Stone smiled, though he knew he’d never call her Brooke or Mom, even if she’d had custody of him and Terra for years now. “Right. I’ll go see if I can find Cress.”

She nodded, shutting the door behind her. Stone shook his head, not sure what the deal was with that man, but he figured Cress would. Cress knew too much about everything these days. Stone didn’t think he’d acted like himself since school started up again. Maybe they should blame that on Hannah, though. Too much time around normals.

“Damn it, why is it freezing all of a sudden?”

“Don’t know.”

Stone frowned, walking around the side of the building. He hadn’t been by any of the vacant ones in a while. Not even illegal aliens were willing to live next to all the weirdos on this street. “Cress? What are you doing? You… Are you sick?”

“Not exactly.” Cress wrapped his arms around his legs. “It’s… There’s something wrong with the water. It… It hurts.”

Stone could see that for himself. Cress couldn’t seem to keep from shuddering, and Stone would almost say the other boy was feverish. He looked like he had the flu or something—no color in him, just pain. “Where’s Occie?”

“Don’t know.”

“Here, let me take you home—”

“No! I don’t want to go anywhere near there right now. I’ll be fine. It’ll pass. I just need to—” Cress fell over, curling up into himself. “Can’t fix it. It’s like it’s fighting me.”

“Then don’t try again. You need to rest. I’ll find Occie.”

“If something’s wrong with the water, you want to find her, yeah, but she won’t be able to help him,” Enya said, coming around the other side of the building. She went to Cress’ side and touched his arm, frowning. “Do you think that if we could get you away from here, out to some fresh water like a river or a lake, would that help?”

“Don’t know.”

“Sounds good to me. I think I know how to get us there, but we have to get Occie first.”

Stone looked up to see Moira holding the keys to her mother’s car. He thought about arguing with her—none of them had a license—but if Occie looked anything like her brother… He’d never forgive himself. He picked up a handful of dirt and ran it through his fingers. “I know where she is. I’ll meet you back here in a few minutes. Get him in the car if you can.”

Moira nodded. “Come on, Enya, take that side. We can manage. Go, Stone. Occie needs you.”

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…”

“Rubber ones?”

“Yes. Them.”

“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.”

Wake up to the Fire

Author’s Note: Apparently, I am crazy. I decided to make Three Word Wednesday a part of almost all my serials today. Yeah. Not the brightest idea, but to that end, I wrote a flashback for Fire and Water because two of the words fit too well to ignore.

Today’s words: pale, naughty, and douse.

I only wanted pale and douse for this, but I made the other one work, too.

Wake up to the Fire

“Ouch. That hurts. Why do I feel like I got hit with a brick?” Enya groaned, trying to turn over, only to find she couldn’t move. Something heavy had her pinned down, and she wasn’t going anywhere. “Okay, make it a bus. I got hit by a damn bus. Get it off me.”

“I swear, the bus will move in a minute,” Cress said, and her eyes shot open, trying to figure out how she’d ended up in the middle of the street with him covering her, bodies pressed together like they’d been up to something naughty, and she had to be dreaming because she and Cress were not like that. Cress wasn’t her boyfriend, Sherwin was, and though he’d kind of hinted around that he wanted to do more, she wasn’t ready for that. They weren’t even in high school yet, not ’til the fall, but he was such a guy. They only had one thing on their minds, right?

Not Cress. He was different. The water thing made him focused on other things, not girls, not school. He was kind of obsessed with learning all he could about his element and what he could do with it. He did that all the time.

“Did you start another rainstorm? I’m soaked, and that had better not be because you… um… I don’t know, spit all over me.”

Cress grunted, rolling to the side. “Enya—”

“So the two of you are alive. I almost thought you’d both be dead after that one.”

She looked up at her brother, feeling something strange when she did, and she didn’t like it much. It wasn’t like being with Sherwin, flirting with him or letting him kiss her, but there was a kind of tug to it, like she couldn’t help being aware of everything Aidan did. “Dead?”

“You hit the car, remember? We were playing, and I almost caught you, and I swore I’d get a kiss when I did, so you tried to dodge me, but you hit the car, the mirror and… It broke, honey,” Sherwin said, and she swore she’d make sure he never called her honey again because it was wrong, but so was what he was saying. “It broke, and it was… bad.”

She sat up, looking around the street. The lawns were scorched, all the grass gone, and the car that she’d hit—damn, that belonged to the Washburnes—was a shell, something out of a war movie or one from the end of some world. She shook her head. “No. Tell me I didn’t do that. Tell me I’m not fire. I didn’t do that.”

“It’s okay,” Aidan said, putting an arm around her, but he was always a terrible liar, and she could hear the fear in his voice. She’d scared the hell out of all of them, hadn’t she? She could see it in Moira’s face, in Sherwin’s and Terra’s and everyone. Well, everyone but Cress, but then he looked more like he might pass out any second, so she didn’t think he counted.

“I could have killed someone.”

“You didn’t,” Cress said, forcing himself to sit up. He was so weak, his skin pale, and he almost fell when he stopped bracing himself against the pavement. Occie knelt next to him, and he leaned back into her, gratitude in his eyes as he tried to smile for her.

“You idiot. You almost got yourself killed.”

“No, Occie, it wasn’t like that—”

“What did you do?”

“He doused the fire, Enya. He doused you. He was the only one who could get close enough to do it, but he did,” Stone told her, and she stared at him before turning to Cress, not sure if she wanted him to deny it or not. At least he’d been able to stop her, but if he had done all that… what had it cost him? Could it have killed him, like Occie said?

“Thank you,” she said, though the words were awkward and inaccurate. She needed so much more than that to make up for what he’d had to do.

He shook his head. “It’s fine. You just weren’t ready for that. You didn’t know what was happening, and I’d have done it for one of the others if they’d needed it.”

Enya grimaced. None of the others had, though, and they wouldn’t. Well, maybe Aidan, if he was fire like she was, but Terra was already working on restoring her garden, quiet and calm. Stone could create art with what he did. Moira’s windstorms were scary, but she had them under control the whole time. Sherwin was—well, he was hot air, but he didn’t need help with his element. Occie was fine, too. The only screw up around here was Enya.

“Cress, if you hadn’t been here…”

“One of the parents would have intervened. Or you’d have come through the panic. Don’t look at me like that. You don’t need me. You can do it yourself. This was just a one-time thing,” he said, letting Occie help him to his feet. “I think I need a nap. Or a bath. Why do I want a bath?”

“Because you’re water, you goofball.”

“Oh. Yeah. That. No, I want a nap. No more water. I hate water…”

“You’re tired and talking crazy. Come on,” Occie said, shaking her head as she and Stone herded her brother inside their house.

“You okay to walk?” Aidan asked, and Enya nodded, accepting his help to get up, leaning on him as she stood. Her clothes were soaked, but she was alive, they all were, and she knew that if Cress hadn’t been there, that might not be true.

“I don’t want to be fire.”

“It won’t always be like this.”

She gave her brother a glare before turning to go to their house. What did he know about it, anyway? He hadn’t done what she just did. He hadn’t almost killed everyone and destroyed their homes. He didn’t get to talk about things he didn’t know.

She was a monster. Just look at what she’d done.