Spirit of Fire

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Chapter Eleven: Not Alone

*Trigger Warning* This chapter contains content / conversations surrounding suicide that may be triggering to some readers

Coburn

I leave Saf in Luna’s hands as I approach Ana, forcing myself to not look back at her.

I know she’ll be okay, but she looked so cold, even before we got outside. Fire Wielders are often more vulnerable to the cold because of their heat resistance, which explains why the cold would be bothering her to the point that Luna has to intervene, but it seems to be a prominent thing for her. It always has, for as long as I’ve known her.

I approach Ana slowly, though I keep a fair amount of distance; not that I could get much closer anyways. Luna was right about me being the best one trying to approach her because I have the lowest chance of falling over in the wind, but I don’t know if I can get any closer. It feels like the closer I get to her, the stronger the wind gets. A pit forms in my stomach as I worry about what would happen if I fail at this, but I ignore it as much as I can, at least for now.

Don’t think about that. Just be here. Focus on what’s happening right now.

I think about the roughness of the rooftop under my shoes, the graininess of the sediment causing me to slide a little with every step. I feel the cold wind biting my skin, though I don’t feel cold to the point of it being unbearable; hopefully it stays that way. I see the shadows of the crossbreeze in the air, wispy, barely there to an untrained eye, but I’ve come to recognize what darkness can look like in all forms, I suppose. The dark energy is hard to ignore; I have to focus on not letting it get into my head. It feels similar to what was surrounding Jaxson, but stronger this time. I wonder why for a moment before bring my attention back to Ana.

I stumble to the side, regaining my balance as I call her name.

She looks at me darkly.

Her hair is unkept and unruly. It whips behind her, staying away from her face, the gold strands shimmering in the outdoor light of day. She has the same dark sheen to her eyes as Jaxson did, making me feel even more uneasy about all this. She’s wearing a pair of black shorts and a loose tee shirt, almost making her limbs look longer as the fabrics blow through the wind.

Her appearance is giving me further indication that Saf was right. Ana was never one to leave her room or be seen without looking somewhat put together, even if she is going through her own struggles.

I take a deep breath, remembering my objective.

Just get her off the ledge.

“Wanted a front row seat, huh?” She smirks.

“No! I – I’m trying to help you,” I reach out my hand, “we all are.” I add quickly.

She teeters over the edge, looking down.

“It’s a long way down,” she contemplates, “would you jump after me?”

Ana!

I bite my lip, trying to hide the shock of her comment.

“I don’t,” I sigh, “just tell me what’s going on for you.”

She contorts her face.

“Ryker is gone. My best friend, the only one that truly understood me, gone.”

I pause for a moment.

I think I know what she is talking about.

There was a palpable connection between him and Ana that neither of them had with anyone else. It’s like there was a force pulling them together whenever they were in the same room.

I give my head a light shake.

Stop it, just get her away from the ledge.

“I know, and it sucks being without him, and I . . .I know it feels like you’re isolated, but you know that we all care about you.” I say as calmly as I can, ignoring the fact that my heart is pounding out of my chest.

She looks down at her feet before taking a cautious step forward, reaching out her hand for a moment before jerking it away again, grimacing, the dark sheen to her eyes getting more intense, darkening her gaze. I stumble a little in the wind, putting my arms out to protect my face, feeling the wind bite my skin, but I manage to stay on my feet.

“No! How can I know that you’re not lying to me? You’ll say anything to get me off this ledge, you don’t really care. None of you do,” she says bitterly.

Her words sting; how could she think something like that?

But how much of this is really her? Or is being possessed bringing out this side of her? Was this within her all along? I never got the sense that she would ever go to this extent. I always thought that she was just working through her emotions and preferred to be alone while doing so, and that’s fine if it works for her. But maybe her feelings around Ryker have just intensified because of the possession, and that’s what’s compelling her to go to this extent. And if it’s Midnight and Nox that are behind all this, then this is probably exactly what they wanted to happen. Maybe this was all a ploy for them to get rid of another elemental leader, to weaken us somehow. Maybe.

I make the decision to ignore those thoughts for now, to help her as though she isn’t being possessed, to help her like she’s Ana.

Not a compelled form of Ana, but the Ana I know.

I take a deep breath, collecting myself, taking another step forward, close enough to reach out and touch her.

“That’s not true,” I hold out my hand again, “you don’t have to be alone in this.”

I pause, and I find myself thinking about when Saf’s parents died. We were only kids, but she had to grow up so fast, even though she was with Katya’s family for the rest of her childhood. I’ve lost count of the walks we took on the beach together as kids, where she just needed to get away from it all. The number of afternoons we spent together on grassy fields, escaping from the rest of the world, for a little while.

Maybe it’s because I’m a few years older than her, but I think she looked to me for some kind of guidance during that time of her life. Obviously, we have a different relationship now, but we’re still there for one another in a similar way.

I think back to what I said to her, questions she would ask me.

*

I was fourteen, she was eleven.

It had been a few years since her parents passed away, but I still enjoyed our adventures outside of the town, getting away from it all.

We sat against a large oak tree that stood taller than any tree that’s on the island, near a wooded area outside of town. You could still see HQ from here, though this was quite a few years before I got chosen by Luna.

Five, to be exact.

“Where do you think people go when they die?” I remember her asking me.

“I always imagined a place in the sky, I think, beyond the clouds or something.” I replied, looking out at the lush green field in front of us, “what about you?”

She ran her hands along the bumpy roots of the tree.

“I thought something like that too. At least, that’s what Katya’s mom told me all those years ago. It makes me think they’re still watching over me, I guess.”

“They are,” I reassured.

She made a flame in the palm of her hand, letting it dance around in the wind.

“What do you think they’d think of me if they saw me now?” She asked, playing with the fire, weaving it between her fingers.

“I think they’d be happy,” I replied.

She gave me a sideways glance, smirking.

“That’s so cliché!” She said, smiling.

I chuckled, “it’s true though. I think they’d be proud of you, Saf.”

*

“Ryker is still here,” I continue, brought back to the present, “maybe you can’t talk to him anymore, and you can’t see him, but he’s here. He never left.”

Ana looks down, contorting her face again.

“He lives in your memories,” I start again, “he lives on because you do,” I ignore my cracking voice.

Her eyes snap to me, the dark sheen dissipating, her amber eyes filled with warmth, remembrance, light.

Did I break through the possession?

She shakily takes my hand, the wind slowing down as she steps further and further away from the ledge, collapsing into me, forcing me to lower to the ground.

She shivers as I hold her, the dark energy around her disappearing, the wind becoming stagnant, hanging in midair, the shadows fading away from the crossbreeze, the events suddenly catching up with me.

I did it?

Did I actually do it?

Luna comes to my side moments later, comforting Ana for several seconds before looking at me.

“She’s out. Coburn, you . . .” she trails off, her eyes welling with tears.

“Let’s just get her inside, I’m freezing,” I mumble, afraid that I’ll break down if I say anything else.

*

Luna helps me carry her inside and we join Ehren and Saf in one of the rec rooms, where I told her about Midnight. She’s still passed out, her skin looking paler than ever, but she seems to be warming up. Ehren has covered her in about three thick, light blue blankets and placed a small heater next to her, which seems to be helping, at least as far as I can tell.

Luna nudges me after a few moments.

“She’ll be out for a while,” she sighs, “I knocked her out so that her body could recharge a little bit,” she explains.

I give her a sideways glance.

“She probably needs it; I don’t think she had the best sleep in the world last night.”

I bite my lip as soon as the words come out of my mouth; I probably shouldn’t have mentioned what happened last night, not only for her privacy, but mine too. I guess it’s too late for that now. I hope she doesn’t feel the need to pry any further.

Luna tilts her head to the side with a curious expression.

“That storm was pretty intense last night, I don’t know if anyone got enough sleep,” she says with a laugh.

Whew.

I look between Ana and Saf for a few moments, the full weight of the situation finally hitting me. An hour ago it was like any other morning, with the exception of Saf sleeping in my room, I suppose. But then in the span of what felt like no time at all, Saf ends up with hypothermia and Ana almost threw herself off the top of the building. But somehow, by some miracle, they’re both okay. So many things could have happened. What if Ana jumped? Would she have survived? What if Saf hadn’t gotten out of there when she did?

Being on the other side of it, I suddenly have a deeper appreciation for why Saf was angry with me during the Jaxson situation.

I sink to the ground, leaning against the front of the couch where Saf is laying, running my hands through my hair, trying to process everything that just happened.

Ehren joins us a few moments later, placing a gentle hand on my shoulder.

“Are you okay, buddy?”

I look up at him, opening my mouth to say something, but I can’t find the words, deciding to nod in response.

He gives me a condescending look, suggesting that he doesn’t believe me, but he doesn’t push for more answers.

“How did you get through to her?” Luna asks, glancing at Ana.

I look down.

“I don’t know,” I mumble.

And that’s sincere. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know what would have saved her and what wouldn’t have.

How did I get lucky enough to say the right thing? To not only get through to her, but to save her from ending her own life. I can’t wrap my head around it.

“This was undoubtedly possession. We can investigate the Shadow Realm in the next few days. I fear something else might happen if we don’t put a stop to my brother and sister,” Luna explains, but it’s hard for me to take in any of what she is saying at the moment.

“Coburn,” Luna starts as she sits to my left, “your actions today were heroic. I want you to know that.”

I glance at her, giving her a weak smile.

“Thanks,” I pause, sighing, “sorry, I know I’m not saying much, it’s just a lot to take in, I guess. I’m just trying to process everything that happened,” I breathe.

“I understand,” Luna responds before getting up, “I have to attend to some things, but I’ll leave the two of you to keep an eye on them and ensure nothing goes awry.”

Ehren gives her a thumbs up.

“Try and relax a little though, for all our sakes,” she adds before exiting the room as Ehren joins me on the floor.

“What happened up there?” He asks with a nudge.

“I had to talk her down from the ledge,” I say slowly, “how’s Saf?”

He chuckles and looks down.

“She’ll be fine. Just got too cold, maybe her heat resistance backfired or something,” he explains, “do you want to talk about what happened?”

I glance at him.

“Yeah, I probably should,” I say with a weak laugh.

He says nothing and looks at me.

“What?” I ask, lightly pushing him to the side,

“I’m waiting for you to start,” he replies, trying to mask the grin on his face.

I roll my eyes with a chuckle before a grim look replaces the smile.

“I was the only one that could get close to her because of the wind, so I had to figure out how to break through the possession and get her away from the edge of the roof.”

“Oh my God,” he remarks before continuing, “how did you do it? Like what was going through your head?”

“I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t,” I say with a little more force than I intended.

I take a deep breath before continuing, “I didn’t know if what I said would help or hinder her, if any action I made would cause her to end it all. I just went with what I thought would work.”

“Well, clearly, it worked. What did you say?” He asks, his curiosity peaked.

“I – I talked about Ryker, how he’s still here in many ways, how she’s not alone,” I breathe shakily.

“That’s deep. How did you know talking about Ryker would work?”

“That’s the thing, I didn’t. I just went from experience of what’s worked before.”

His eyes widen.

“Damn, you talked someone out of suicide before?”

I sigh and bite my lip.

“I’ve never talked anyone out of suicide before, but I’ve helped someone who was grieving before, a long time ago.”

“Who, if you don’t mind me asking?” Ehren presses.

I don’t say anything as I glance at Saf.

“I met her right after her parents died. I think it was hard for her to understand, she was so little when they died.”

“How much older are you than her? It can’t be that much,” Ehren remarks.

“Only three years. But there’s a big difference between being seven and ten at that age, I guess,” he nods in response before I continue, “regardless, she would ask about it sometimes, like if I thought her parents were really gone for good, where I thought they went, those kinds of things.”

He glances at her.

“What did you say?”

I look down, remembering.

“Whatever I knew to be true. I never lied to her about it,” I say simply.

“Ha, you haven’t changed much then,” he says jokingly.

“Maybe not,” I say with a chuckle, “but with Ana I had a feeling that possession or not, grief had a lot to do with how she was feeling. And I got lucky and just happened to be right, I guess.”

“I think there was more to it than luck,” he replies.

“You think so?” I snap, “I could have been dead wrong. And what if I was? I didn’t know what I was doing. I could have been wrong, said the wrong thing, used the wrong tone of voice and we’d be having a different conversation.” I say quickly, frustration in my voice.

“You can’t look at it like that. Saving a life is saving a life. And you did that,” he nudges me with his elbow.

I grin at him.

“I guess so,” I mumble, glancing at Saf.

Maybe he is right. Maybe I should give myself more credit for what happened. But it’s hard to process what went right when so much could have gone wrong. Maybe I just need to give myself time to figure out how I feel about it.

I glance at Ana, who lays on the couch adjacent to Saf. Her hair almost acts as a halo around her head, her eyes peacefully closed, her hands at her sides, resting.

Like nothing ever happened.

“Are you doing all right with all this?” I ask, turning to him.

“I’m just happy everyone’s okay. But Ana really scared me, honestly. It was like I didn’t even know who she was.”

“I don’t think anyone did,” I breathe.

“Do you think she’ll remember any of it?” He wonders.

I shake my head, “I don’t think so. Saf told me Jaxson didn’t remember anything, but maybe it’ll be different for Ana.”

“Maybe,” he runs his hands through his curly hair, “this is all so messed up. First Ryker is dead, then Jaxson and Ana get compelled? This has been the strangest couple weeks.”

I lightly elbow him.

“We got through it though,” I say reassuringly.

“Hmm, maybe so,” he grins.

“What happened down here during all that?” I ask, changing the subject.

“Not too much. Just a chaotic whirlwind of finding blankets and stuff.”

I look over at him and chuckle.

“What does a chaotic whirlwind of finding blankets look like?” I say, trying not to laugh.

“Like a fever dream of being too cold in the middle of the night? How should I know?” He quips back with a grin.

We both pause for a few moments before his voice breaks the silence.

“I guess we’re in here all day, huh? Just to make sure nothing weird happens,” Ehren contemplates.

“I think so,” I say with a sigh, “maybe I’ll try and sneak out to see Tess later if I can,” I think out loud.

Ehren raises his eyebrows at me.

“Who’s Tess?” He asks, his voice raising several pitches.

I roll my eyes at him, “Tessa? My sister?” I say with a playful edge.

His eyes light up with realization as he looks away.

“Whoops, sorry,” he says with an embarrassed laugh.

I suppose I don’t talk about her enough for people to realize who she is.

“Well nonetheless,” Ehren continues, “even if we are stuck in here for most of the day, at least I picked the room with alcohol. You’re welcome,” He gives a small bow.

I burst out laughing.

“It’s like ten in the morning.”

He shrugs before nodding in agreement.

“Okay, maybe that can be for later, but still,” he smirks, “we should try and relax a little though, if we can.”

“I’ll try, no guarantees,” I say with a playful grin.

The morning bleeds into the afternoon, like time has decided to run full speed ahead, almost like it’s eager to forget the events of the morning, to leave them behind as soon as possible. In the meantime, Ehren and I pass the time by playing numerous rounds of a block stacking game with the goal of getting the tower as high as possible by taking blocks from the pre-existing tower, making the structure more and more unstable as the game goes along. The blocks are smooth, all the same small rectangular size, a light wood colour.

I tug at a block near the bottom of the stack, trying to pry it free from the tower before I realize it’s not the best move, letting go to search for another block.

“You have to pick that one now!” Ehren protests.

I chuckle, “I was just testing it, I wasn’t actually grabbing it,” I say mischievously.

“Fine,” he crosses his arms, leaning back, “I’ll just distract you instead. Have you told Saf you like her yet?”

I jump and nearly knock the stack over, “what?”

“Have you told Saf you like her?” He asks again, looking at me inquisitively.

“She’s my friend, liking her is implied,” I reply, trying to cover my tracks, my cheeks feeling warm as I place my block on top of the tower.

“I mean as more than a friend.”

I should have known Ehren would catch on eventually.

“I don’t know what you mean, let’s just focus on the game,” I respond, trying to change the subject.

He raises his eyebrows, “nice try,” he muses, testing out various blocks on the tower, “you’re not getting past me with this one.”

“I’m not trying to get past you with anything,” I protest.

“Then stop avoiding the question,” he says with a wink, pulling out a block from the bottom of the tower.

“I’m not avoiding anything,” I say with a shy grin.

“God, you’re stubborn sometimes,” he mumbles, “I can tell you have feelings for her.”

“We’re just friends.”

“Mmhmm . . . for now,” he grins, dramatically placing his block on the tower; it lands with a soft click.

I give him a look, “We’ve been friends for years, we’re just protective of each other,” I start.

“Nothing more than that?” He asks as I start testing out blocks again.

“No,” I respond, not looking him in the eye.

“Then why are you blushing?” He puts his elbows on the table, propping up his head with his hands as he puts on a silly grin.

He’s caught me red handed. Maybe there’s no getting around this.

I sigh, “Fine, fine, you got me,” I mumble, admitting defeat.

“Knew it,” he smiles.

“How could you tell?” I complete my move.

He shrugs, “the way you look at her, how close you are already, just little things, I suppose.”

“I didn’t realize it was so obvious,” I look down as he takes his turn.

He tilts his head to the side, “it isn’t really. To anyone else you just appear to be really good friends, I just pick up on extra things sometimes,” he grins.

“Hmm,” I respond, looking away.

“You don’t have to be so shy about it, you two are cute. You get the official Ehren stamp of approval on this arrangement,” he says with a laugh.

“Thanks,” I say with a chuckle.

“So when are you going to tell her then?” He asks again, playing with the block he extracted from the tower before placing it on top.

“I – er – I don’t know, I hadn’t really thought about it, honestly,” I admit, “maybe I’ll wait until all this blows over. But even then, I don’t want to force it or anything. I’ll say something when it feels right.”

“Maybe you should take her to the Winter Festival in a few weeks,” he suggests as I scan the tower.

Christmas and the holiday celebrating the creation of our society are both in December, so over the years, both events have been combined into one big event throughout the month, cumulating on Christmas Eve. During the day, the main square and many of the streets are populated by people giving away party favours, homemade goods, all sorts of things. Other fun things take place throughout the month as well like special events and late-night parties. Because of our position, all five of us have to attend pretty much all the special events, but I haven’t been to one of the more informal late night parties since I was younger.

“We can’t just go to the festival like anyone else though, we’d be swarmed like celebrities the entire time.”

“We’ll figure something out,” he says with a chuckle.

*

Into the late afternoon, Saf begins to stir in her sleep. She looks much better than before, with pretty much all of the colour coming back into her face, parts of her dark hair falling over her cheek, her lips slightly parted. She looks so peaceful.

“Okay, it’s 5’o clock, I think it’s time for wine,” Ehren announces, grabbing a round stemless glass and a bottle of one of the reds.

“Can you get me a glass too?” I ask, leaning my elbows on the high table that stores the alcohol.

He slides another stemless glass towards me, handing me the bottle once he’s done.

“Thank you,” I say as I pour myself a small amount, taking a sip. It’s sweeter, with deep earthy tones and a smooth finish.

Saf begins to stir again, her bright eyes opening lazily as she scans the room, confusion in her face.

I put down my drink on a nearby table and quickly make my way over to her, crouching in front of the couch so we’re at eye level, Ehren close behind me.

“Hey, Sparks,” I say softly.

She sits up, running her hands through her hair.

“What’s going on?” She mumbles, rubbing her eyes before a flash of fear and realization crosses her face, “wait, Ana! We need to help her –”

She moves to take the covers off when Ehren stops her.

“Ana’s okay. Thanks to this guy here,” Ehren elbows me with a small grin.

I shoot him a sideways glance, “It wasn’t just me,” I mutter, slightly annoyed.

“I don’t understand. What happened?” She starts, glancing over my shoulder at Ana, who is still fast asleep on the adjacent cushions, “you got her away from the ledge?”

I nod.

“You got hypothermia while you were up there, Luna knocked you out so that you could recover properly,” Ehren explains.

She frowns at him, “I do not remember that,” she mumbles, “so what happened?”

I quickly relay the events of the rooftop to her, keeping out the part where I thought about her; I’ll talk about that with her later, when Ehren isn’t in the room.

Her eyes widen and she blinks several times before responding.

“Oh my God,” she breathes, “are you doing okay?”

I nod, “Yah, I’m okay,” I look at Ehren for a moment, who grins at me, “are you still cold?”

“No, surprisingly,” she muses, “My heat resistance will go back to normal eventually, I think. Also, I’m gonna have to steal one of these,” she mumbles, running her hands over the soft surfaces of the blankets before looking at Ehren, “thank you,” she says with a grin.

“Don’t mention it,” he says with a playful shrug, taking a sip of wine.

Luna comes into the room moments later, a relieved sigh escaping her before she joins us, leaning over the arm of the couch.

“Thank goodness you’re awake. Are you feeling okay?” She asks, looking at Saf.

“Bit of a headache, but otherwise I’m okay, I think,” she leans against the back cushion, running her hands though her hair for a moment.

“Fantastic,” her tone darkens in the next breath, “we need to figure out more on all this possession business,” she starts.

“You grew up with those two, didn’t they ever talk about it?” Ehren asks.

Luna shoots him a glare before continuing, “just because I grew up with them doesn’t mean I know everything about them. Father was the one who knew everything about possession, but he never taught me any of it. Nox and Midnight were groomed to rule the Shadow Realm, not me. So, I only know what I heard in passing. It never felt like my place to do more research on; not like I had much of an interest in it at the time anyways,” she sighs, “if I had known it would be useful now, I would have tried to study as much as I could, but we can’t change the past, I suppose,” she looks down.

“Is your father still around?” Saf asks.

Luna tenses a little before responding, “I don’t know. Nox and Midnight took over after I left,” her tone of voice tells me that she doesn’t want any more questions on the matter.

Luna exhales quickly, “okay, on that note, if you’re feeling okay, Saffire, I’m going to send you and Coburn on an assignment to the Grand Manor the day after tomorrow.”

I tense a little.

“The what?” Saf frowns at Luna.

“It’s at the base of the mountain. It’s essentially like our HQ, but, er, darker, I suppose. There’s a library that houses all kinds of information on different topics, so I suspect we’ll find what we need there,” she suggests.

“What about me?” Ehren asks innocently.

“You will be here with Ana to inform her about what happened today. I suspect it will be a tender conversation, which is why I need your calming Earth abilities here,” Luna explains.

“Hmm,” he agrees.

“This is risky,” she continues, turning to Saf and I, “but we need to find out what’s going on before they harm anyone else in their plans. Though one thing I need to stress with both of you is that you can’t be seen.”

“But I was seen last time,” Saf contemplates.

“It’s one thing to go to the Shadow Realm, it’s another thing to break into the Grand Manor. For one, portals don’t work in there, and for another, they’ll put two and two together as to why you're there. If they find you, there’s no telling what they’d do,” Luna quickly looks at me before continuing as a shiver runs down my spine, “despite that, I know you can both handle it,” she reassures.

“Sounds good,” I add.

Luna looks between Ehren and I, squinting for a moment, “how much of that is left?” She asks, referring to the wine.

“I opened a new bottle, so lots,” Ehren grins.

Luna walks over to the bar and pours herself a small glass of wine.

“I can get you a glass?” I nudge Saf.

She shakes her head, “Tempting, but maybe later. I don’t want this headache to get away on me. I just came out of a day long coma,” she says with a laugh.

“That’s fair,” I say playfully, mussing up her hair a little bit. She smooths it out with her fingers moments later, a shy grin on her face.

She swings her legs over the side of the couch, taking a deep breath before getting to her feet, stumbling to the side before gaining her footing again. She’s still in her clothes from earlier, from last night; I can’t help but appreciate how good she looks.

“I say we continue our game. Saf, you want to join?” Ehren invites, walking over to the table with the block tower.

“Oh! I haven’t played this since I was a kid,” she excitedly walks over to the table and sits across from Ehren; I take a spot next to her.

“Luna! Want to join?” Ehren calls out.

“I’ll pass, I had some things I wanted to finish up before the day is done, but you guys have fun,” she says with a grin before exiting the room.

“What a crazy day,” Saf breathes as she taps various blocks on the tower.

“You’re telling me,” Ehren muses, “the Grand Manor though, that will be exciting.”

“Have either of you been there?” Saf asks, pulling away a block and playing with it between her fingers.

“Yah, a few times, creepy place,” Ehren answers.

“I haven’t for a while,” I say quietly, shivering a little as I remember the events that took place last time, when I got caught.

Saf looks at me curiously for a moment before returning her gaze to the game, placing her block on top of the tower before placing her hand on top of mine. She gives my fingers a small squeeze, almost as if to reassure me, like she can tell what I’m thinking. The feeling grounds me somewhat, taking my fear away, if only for a little while.

“You two will be fine,” Ehren reassures with a grin as he scans the tower.

I glance at her, catching her gaze for a moment before looking back at Ehren.

We play into the late evening, all of us trying to leave the events of the day behind, but I don’t think they’ll ever be truly left behind. Not really. This is going to impact all of us in one way or another; part of me is still in disbelief about everything that happened, like it was an out of body experience for me, though that may not be how Ehren or Saf or Luna feel. Perhaps the best thing we can do with all this is be open with each other to talk about what we’re going through with Ana. Maybe that will help.

I’m just glad everyone’s okay.

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