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Chapter 22: On Borrowed Time

Daniel sat on his bed, his head buried in his hands. He could not believe that Sebastian had gone. Despite everything Daniel had done for his boy he didn’t trust that Daniel only wanted the best for him.

Daniel knew killing Gabrielle wouldn’t make Sebastian feel better. Its why he had risked sending Alina and Darcy to protect him.

He had kept them safe, telling only a select few beings on this earth about their existence. He had saved them as babies when Eric lay waste to their parent’s home in an attempt to kill them.

Eric may have thought them dead but light and shadow Elementals were so rare that Daniel had done something he had never done before. He had braved his fear of fire and rescued them from the burning ruins of their home. Having them on his side meant that Eric couldn’t use them, and it may be the difference between losing and winning.

Daniel could hear Shaft giving the twins some lunch downstairs. Good, she would keep them safe while Daniel rested. This was not his first time being tortured, but it had been a long time. The recovery would probably be slow given he was not as young as he used to be.

Hot pain laced its way up Daniel’s left foot. The opposite one to his bad knee, if it wasn’t one thing it was another. This though, this he had been expecting and it created a knot of anxiety deep within his stomach.

He bent over and slowly undid the laces on his favourite boots. He had cleaned up since he had gotten home. Removing traces of dirt and blood from his face and arms. His boots still held the dust from the apartment block.

He pulled off his socks to reveal something that only he and Eric knew about. Or, just him since Eric was no longer alive. He had taken this secret to his grave. Now Daniel had to deal with it alone.

Eric would never have known, if not for the fact that he had suffered from it as well. Neither of them had ever found a way to rid themselves of it, and they had both known what it meant.

His skin from ankle to toe was broken up by cracks of shining green light. The power that he had squashed down over the years struggling to be free. It was necessary from a young age for many powerful Elementals. If you wanted to protect the people you loved.

Suppressed power didn’t just disappear, it built up and if you lived long enough it began to look for a way out. Inch by inch his power was literally breaking him apart. Untangling from between his nerves, leaking through his muscles.

It was starting to spread up his leg, the stress of Eric’s passing and everything that had occurred afterwards giving it speed. Soon he would not be able to hide it, or fight it. The power would sap his strength to feed itself as it travelled around his body.

Once it was everywhere he would succumb, he could not stop it. If he were to release all of his pent up power perhaps it would save him. There wasn’t anywhere on earth that was isolated enough for an earthquake of that size without any fatalities.

He had enough blood on his hands already, he couldn’t release Fifty years of power into the earth even if it meant he would die. He had time still, time to end this fight with the Peacemakers. He had started this war; he would not leave young Elementals like his nephew to fight it without him.

I can keep it at bay, Daniel stretched out his hand and held it over his lower leg. Where the burning was starting to spread though there was no visible green yet.

For my boy, Daniel concentrated and drove the burning back down his leg. He squashed his power as far down as it would go. His foot might hurt more but it would take longer to spread. Daniel needed as much time as he could get.

He knew eventually he would have to tell Sebastian, and Daniel dreaded that day with all his heart. His boys mind was already straining under the tragedies that had occurred in his life. Daniel was afraid that the knowledge that he would soon lose his only remaining family might drive him over the edge.

Daniel squeezed his eyes tightly shut to stop the tears that were suddenly threatening to spill out. Without him Sebastian would be so lost, he would be left truly alone in the world. Just as Eric had been when he was abandoned.

The truth was, no matter how much he denied it Daniel cared about Sebastian. He was like the child that Daniel had never dared bring into this world. God damn it, he didn’t want to leave him to face life by himself.

People who looked at Sebastian might see how distant he was and think that he didn’t care much for anyone. Yet, his nephew deeply loved Daniel, even if he wasn’t the father figure he’d started life with.

One stray tear refused to cooperate and trickled down Daniel’s face to drop on his shaking hands. He looked at them and saw the burns scars and rough skin from years and years of fighting. Daniel was tired, he was past the point in his life where he wanted to be challenged.

He couldn’t stop quite yet though, not yet. Eric might be gone but the threat of all he had created still remained. Sebastian might think he could fight it alone but he couldn’t.

Daniel would have to find him, and hope that this time Sebastian would accept his help. The burden of his illness might weigh heavily on him but Daniel is the only person who can see the real Sebastian. The hurting Sebastian who needs his Uncle to guide him.

It doesn’t matter where you go, or whether or not you want to be found. I can always find you. Daniel took a deep breath and felt the coolness of his power spread out and into the ground. It was time to bring his boy back home.

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