Kyndra awoke to frustrated shouting.
It stole her from her blissful sleep without hesitation, stirring a fiery annoyance in her gut. She sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the bed and rolling her shoulders back. Despite the arguments in the next room, Kyndra did feel a sliver of happiness move through her. The headache vanished, only leaving a manageable throbbing at the base of her neck. A powerful, renewed energy pulsed through her nerves, creating a blanket of comfort around the room.
She’s home; she’s safe. No need to be so on edge.
You got out, you’re not their prisoner, Kyndra reminded herself. Not anymore.
The screams came again from the other room, followed by a string of curses by an unmistakable voice. Her eyes rolled, albeit dramatic, before pushing herself off the mattress. Although she felt like she replenished enough energy to take on the world, the room still swayed under her feet when she stood. Kyndra inhaled sharply, giving herself a silent reminder to chew Callen out later for forcing her to sleep. She may have needed it, but it always left her in a murderous daze afterward. Not to mention, the stranger brought into their home took priority.
With a few unsteady steps, Kyndra entered the small dinning room as another awful cry left Ian’s lips. Standing around the poor man—once again tied to a chair—were the ones she called her family. She leaned her shoulder against the wall, out of sight from anyone in the room.
Fynn was towering over Ian’s panting form, massaging his massive fist in a pathetic threat. There were fresh bruises around Ian’s right eye, and his lip was split in the middle. His tongue licked the trail of blood dripping down his chin, a cocky smirk pulling the corner of his lips upward. Kyndra could see his shoulders tensed up, showing the pain he was hiding behind his smug expression.
Fynn raised his fist again, his self-control hanging on by thread every time he looked at Ian’s bruising face. He allowed a little more strength flow through his muscles as he brought his fist down on Ian again.
Callen flinched at the audible sound of his bone fracturing. She cowered in the opposite corner of the room, putting herself as far away from the two Terrans as possible. The smell of blood that penetrated the air made her gag, threatening her to vomit up what little food she ate that morning. She watched Fynn shake out his hand again before sending it into Ian’s gut, and swiftly covered her face in her hands.
Next to her, Quinn was split into multiple forms. His real-self sat on the hard floor, leaning his head comfortingly on Callen’s thigh, while his two doublegangers stood behind Ian like bodyguards. And while the clones had a sick smile on their faces, Quinn looked unphased in the corner. An unlit cigarette hung from his cracked lips, his dirty fingernails carved something Kyndra failed to make out on the ground, and he didn’t even look up when Fynn slammed his knee into Ian’s head.
“Fynn that’s enough!” Callen broke out suddenly, grasping onto Fynn’s shoulder. It was useless however, as he was three times her size, and he pushed her away in an instant.
“Cal, you don’t know him,” his voice thundered. His eyes narrowed at Ian, visible waves of hatred flowing off of him. “he deserves every punch.”
“Hit him harder,” the clones said in unison, Quinn suppressing a smirk on his real lips.
Callen glared at him furiously and he rolled his eyes. He pulled out the cigarette from his mouth and twisted the butt into the floorboards.
“Seriously, man, I think he’s had enough tonight,” he said with a hint of reluctance.
“Yeah, yeah, I like that idea,” Ian managed, spitting blood onto the ground, “you’ve had your fun McCoy—”
Fynn’s fist flew with lethal force toward Ian’s head but was stopped mid swing by an invisible force. Behind him, lounging on a dining room chair, Noe’s hand was raised in Fynn’s direction. Sitting formally next to him was his twin sister, Nye, her eyebrows furrowed in a mix of concentration and indignation. She jutted her chin out and spoke for Noe—as she regularly does.
“You cannot kill him,” she stated.
“You ain’t in charge here Squatter—”
“Neither are you,” Callen pipped in.
With another eye roll at her gang of friends, Kyndra cleared her throat loudly.
Her announcement halted all movement in the room, each one of them staring up at her. Callen was beaming at her, relieved that her closest friend was not dead. The twins looked obediently at their leader, something that’s always rubbed Kyndra the wrong way. Quinn’s clones were smirking at her, and even Ian tried to meet her frustrated gaze. Fynn remained the only one in the room refusing to look at Kyndra.
“Fynn?” Kyndra smiled when the muscles in his shoulders visibly tightened. She adored how afraid of her he was. “What are you doing?”
“We caught a Terran in the apartment, he must have broken in or something—” Fynn started.
“Broke in? You bastard, she is the one that broke me out—” Ian interrupted.
“I already told you he did not break in—” Callen insisted at the same time.
The Clones started mocking the argument, adding more noise to the growing volume in the room.
Kyndra huffed a sigh and looked in the Twin’s direction. Nye simply shrugged and looked at her brother, sharing a silent conversation with him. Closing her eyes, Kyndra massaged her throbbing temples with her fingers. All around her she could feel the sound waves rippling through the air, each one growing more aggressive than the last. Surrounding the sound waves she could feel the thick oxygen atoms bouncing against the other elements in the atmosphere. They mixed with carbon atoms like water mixing with oil, and split off with hydrogen couplets, creating a layer of humidity in the room.
She pushed aside the headache and focused on each of the couple of oxygen atoms and started forcing them out of the room. As each atom disappeared from the dining room, the air became thinner and thinner until her shouting companions were all gasping for air. Violent coughing brought Fynn to his knees, and Ian’s mouth was left hanging open. Quinn’s face turned purple for a moment as he struggled to breathe. Callen, the only intelligent person in the room, held her breath and gave Kyndra a pointed look.
Of course, the Twins remained where they were, unbothered by the lack of air in the room—being the only not-entirely-human-beings of the group.
In reality, not even a minute passed before Kyndra flooded the room with clean air again. She paid careful attention to the oxygen surrounding Ian, removing many of the heavy toxins Wastelanders have become immune to inhaling. It was a wonder how even the air on Terra was superior to everything else in the universe.
Fynn held Kyndra’s gaze as he gasped for air. His brows were furrowed together in anger, lips pulled back so he was almost snarling at her. But she could see in his eyes the real fear he was trying to suppress. If she really wanted, she could end his life in a heartbeat. Make him suffocate in his own breath or simply pull apart his brain one nerve at a time.
Even his invincibility couldn’t stop Kyndra from erasing him from existence with a single thought. And Fynn knew this.
“Fynn would you do the honors and untie our guest?” His eyes narrowed, a satisfied smile spreading across Kyndra’s face.
“Kyndra you don’t know who he is,” Fynn spat back at her, “what he’s done—what he did to—”
“Don’t you think I know that?” Kyndra smiled calmly, leaning against the wall again. “I don’t know who this Terran is, or why he is here, or why his memories are wiped, or why he was branded a rebel, or, more importantly, why he is the only human being who can resist my power!”
Quinn looked up from where he was staring at the ground, finally interested in what was happening in the room. His eyes met Calen’s downcast gaze as her mind tried to piece together explanations for the information that wasn’t so new to her. Fynn stood straighter, his eyes refusing to leave Ian’s bloody face.
“No that’s...that’s...,” Fynn struggled to collect his thoughts.
“Impossible? You’re right,” Kyndra shoved her hands into her coat pockets and shrugged, “it’s not. And yet here we have a Terran who can do just that.”
“And you brought him here when you can’t control him?”
“It was the safest option.”
“Safe? The safe option would be to leave him to rot in those cells or just kill him!”
“Smarter to keep him with us than let Patrol have him,” Quinn said from the corner, he pulled out another cigarette from his pants and rested it between his lips. “And ya can’t kill him. He’s a rebel.”
“My point exactly.” Kyndra nodded in his direction. “If they knew they had a way of stopping me, we can only imagine what they would do with that knowledge. Hell, what they would do to him.”
“Ky, he’s a Terran—”
“So are you,” she said in unison with Ian. All eyes suddenly turned to him as the room went silent.
Ian hung his head, in a bit of a dramatic fashion. “Can someone please untie me?”
Kyndra’s gut dropped as she found herself smiling at Ian’s remark. She chewed her bottom lip, willing the smile away. When she looked up and met Callen’s inquisitive gaze, she cocked an eyebrow. Peering down at Ian, her lips pursed before her gaze shifted to the Clones standing behind him.
“Boys,” they turned to her and obediently smiled, “would you mind?”
“Our pleasure,” they said together.
As they got to work untying Ian from the chair, Kyndra turned again to Callen with a pleading look.
“Cal, could you help the man out, he’s bleeding all over my floor. Fynn...” she trailed off, studying his face that was still pinned to Ian’s form, “Fynn come with me.”
Kyndra slid out of the room without turning back; she could not only hear but feel his hard footsteps following behind her. They made it as far as the living room before Fynn grabbed her wrist and pulled her dangerously close.
“What the hell Ky,” he growled.
“I don’t have to explain myself to you.”
She pulled herself from his grasp and tugged against her braids. She let her eyes close, feeling her heart skip a couple beats as she finally thought over what was happening. Ian could fight against her, something she believed to be impossible her whole life. There have been a few in the past, rich Terrans who couldn’t see past their noses, that would be difficult to tear into. However, none have been able to fight her, to really push back as she dug into their minds.
Not to mention, he’s a Terran and a rebel and with no memory of why he’s here.
“What other choice did I have?” Still fidgeting with one of her braids, Kyndra spun around to face Fynn. “His memories were wiped. He’s got a rebel mark over his ID. He can fight against me, Fynn. It’s not just some Terran that seemed interesting, maybe we could have some fun with him and get paid at the end of it. There is something really very wrong here.”
“It’s just...” Fynn ran his hands across his face, falling on the couch in defeat. “We can’t trust him, he’s just another rich boy who uses people to get richer. I’ve seen him do it, he doesn’t know what’s happening around him—”
“Well maybe he did. Maybe he figured it out and tried fighting back.”
He sat frozen for a moment, his eyes refusing to move from her face. Fynn could not believe it. No, he would not believe it. He’s read about him in articles and watched him smile at cameras after his father let another guilty man walk free. Not Ian Klyne, there was no way in hell he actively betrayed his entire life.
“Not him, Ky,” he said coldly. “He’s selfish. He’s narcissistic. He’s a gold digger and can’t be trusted.”
“I didn’t say I trust him—” Kyndra took a step farther away “—I’m saying there’s something here we need to be very careful with, and I am not letting Patrol get their hands on him.”
Fynn stood, crossing his arms across his chest. Although she was taller than most, he made Kyndra look tiny. Standing almost half a foot taller than her and his biceps alone three times the size of hers, he was intimidating. He knew it too and flaunted it proudly. The invincible man with nothing left to lose.
“Fynn,” she started, walking towards a dark hallway near the dining room, “try keeping an open mind. He got that mark somehow and maybe he...everyone has the ability to change and be better. You know that better than anyone.”
“You won’t be saying that when he’s the one that sends Patrol knocking down our doors,” he added, loud enough for just her ears to pick up.
Once out of his view, she paused. A deep feeling in her gut told her not to go looking into his head. Afterall, Kyndra already knew what she would see: the pain of his life on Terra and what brought him to the Wasteland a few years ago. And yet, there was her intuition as a leader, that she knew she had to be careful. No matter how much trust she might hold for Fynn, his temper was not one she wanted to take a chance on.
She pinched the bridge of her nose and made a mental note to apologize later. Reaching out with her mind, she could feel the waves of emotions flowing through Fynn in the other room. Every neuron that passed through the synapses in his brain screamed a different thought.
He missed his sister.
He felt like he couldn’t breathe here.
He just wanted to go home sometimes.
He wanted to kill Ian.
He trusted Kyndra too much.
He would never cross her, no matter how much he disagreed.
And yes, that came from the fear Kyndra could feel radiating off of him.
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