Chapter 30: Don't Leave
Finding them wasn’t easy, Darcy had done a good job of making them hard to track, but the water found them. It followed a scent that reminded Sebastian of rotting leaves.
When he finally fell from the water and into his physical body he almost collapsed. He hadn’t realised it had taken so much power to get here. Here being a dusty old apartment complex that must be condemned or abandoned.
Spider webs and old tatty carpeting, yep this seemed like a place that would be safe for them. No way the Peacemakers would check in this place. It would give them time to heal and grow strong again.
They may not get all the time they needed to heal, but any time was better than none at all. Fighting while weak wouldn’t end well for them.
I hope uncle is alright, those green cracks in his skin had looked like they hurt. He thought perhaps he’d seen them before but for the life of him he could not remember when. It wasn’t normal for sure, something was wrong.
He walked up two whole flights of stairs before he found the room Alina was in. she was lying in a bed that had definitely seen better days. Bandaged up to her shoulder, still unconscious. Darcy was slumped in a chair next to her bed sleeping. He had used more power than he had ever used before.
In the next room he found Shaft and his uncle, the room was illuminated by a single lamp that gave off an unsteady faint yellow light. Barely enough to see by, Shaft sat next to the bed his uncle was lying in. His bright green eyes were open but still glazed in pain.
“Blue! You found us, Darcy was worried that you wouldn’t be able to get away from her” Shaft seemed relieved to see Sebastian. She might be only his friend because his uncle had taken her under his wing, but at least it was nice to share the responsibilities he had with someone else.
“I managed” he didn’t mean to sound as rude as he did but he was worried. The more he thought back on what had happened to his uncle in the earth dome the more worried he became.
“Shaft, go put Darcy to bed, I need some time alone with Sebastian” they shared a look that told Sebastian that Shaft already knew more about what was going on than Sebastian did. Usually that would have pissed Sebastian off, but he had a growing feeling that something was very wrong.
“If you need me boss, just whistle for me” Shaft left without any of her usual sass towards Sebastian. It didn’t make him feel any better.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t protect Alina uncle, I tried to get there in time!” he felt immensely guilty because the twins were their one real hope and he had let Alina be injured. If she had died it would have been his fault and Darcy would never have forgiven him.
“It wasn’t your fault, I took my eyes off them for one second and they were gone, I should have protected them better” uncle was paler than Sebastian would have liked. It enhanced the dark circles under his eyes and made him look older.
“That’s not when things really went wrong though” he didn’t want to make his uncle feel bad about what had happened. He just wanted to know why it had happened and what it might mean in the future. He wanted to hear that his uncle was going to be okay.
He took a deep breath and noticed that the rotting leaves scent the water had followed was stronger here.
“Oh my boy, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to add more burden onto your shoulders, I wanted to wait until Gabrielle had been dealt with” icy fear dripped its way down Sebastian’s spine. The last time his uncle had sounded like this, it had been when he had told Sebastian the truth about why his parents had died.
The grief and regret layering his words did not bode well.
“The green that you witnessed, the cracking, it is my power. That I have kept squashed down for the safety of the humans and those I love” Sebastian knew that feeling. When power welled up inside and instead of letting it wreck everything you pushed it away.
“You can’t do that for as long as I have without consequence, it is looking for a way out, leaking through my body over time” if it got out what would happen then? Could his uncle stop it?
“Why don’t you just get rid of it somehow?” Sebastian had never been taught about this before… He didn’t know it was a thing that could happen. He always thought power that you pushed away just dissipated back into the power source within each Elemental.
“No… If I let it free an Earthquake of massive strength would occur, I can’t kill that many people for my own sake, it is not something that I could ever feel justified in doing” that was very much like his uncle. To put the human lives first ahead of anything else.
“Sebastian, my boy, if I don’t let it out, and I can’t. It will spread and take all of my strength until I succumb and it dies with me” Sebastian’s mind could not fully process what it was he had just heard. This could not be true, there had to be something he could do!
“What can I do to stop this? How can I help? Is there a cure?!” his uncle shook his head and Sebastian felt the strong walls he had built around his emotions starting to buckle under all of this strain.
“If there had been a cure, Eric would have found it for himself” Fairless had this problem as well, they were the same age so it wasn’t completely unexpected. Yet, did Daniel not remember that Eric hated him?
“He wouldn’t have shared it with you” that selfish fire Elemental would have kept it all to himself and maybe even destroyed it. If Daniel died, he would have celebrated.
“You may think that, but despite all we have been through, I know Eric wouldn’t have let me go like this, it is a painful way to die” there was still lingering pain in his Uncle’s face. In the frown he wore and the way he slightly tightened his jaw.
“No, there is no cure… And I wanted to end the war I started all those years ago but I’m afraid, that my body doesn’t agree with me anymore” this couldn’t be happening. Uncle was dying… He would leave Sebastian alone without anything to hold him up against the darkness.
“You’re going to…Leave me” his words were almost interrupted by a sob but he would not cry. Damn the elements, he would not cry. He would not.
“I’m sorry my boy, I’m so sorry, I would never leave you to face this world alone if I had a choice” now Daniel was close to tears as well and Sebastian could not have that. He didn’t want his uncle to waste his energy being upset. He needed to rest.
“I’m going to get some air, stay and rest, don’t worry about me” the words were emotionless despite the tears Sebastian felt prickling his eyes. He wasn’t going to break down where his uncle could see him.
He left the room robotically and went to the very top floor where the air was colder and the rooms in even worse condition.
He chose the very end room and sat on the stained blue couch. He hunched over and put his head in his hands. His hair hanging over his face like a black silk curtain.
He let himself sob without abandon. His cries of pain and loss echoing throughout the room. His breathing ragged as he broke down.
Alone. I can’t be alone. Uncle please, please you can’t go!