Solana watched, stunned, from her perch in the tree as Ash left the beach. She couldn't believe what she had just witnessed. She had been half-awake when Ash had left the room but hadn't thought anything of it until a breeze blowing in through the window had brought Flame's voice to her ears and the all too familiar scent of fire to her nose. In a heartbeat she had made her way down to the beach. Deciding it would be best if she didn't make her presence know, she had climbed the tree to watch the confrontation. When it grew to the point that Flame had Ash on the rocks, she had jumped in to douse the fire in a way that had made it look like Ash was responsible.

Now she still sat in the tree, staring out at the horizon, thinking about everything that had happened.

Suddenly, she was snapped from her thoughts as the tree started to shake. She looked down through the leaves to see her brother standing a few branches below her. She was speechless and not sure what to expect.

"So," he began, leaning against the trunk. "Is there any particular reason my little sister decided to conspire against me? That's right, I know you saved him. I'm not stupid."

"How…how did you—"

"I'm not stupid. He's a wimp. He couldn't have conjured something like that. And who else but you would have jumped to his rescue?"

"I wouldn't have had to if you would have just left me alone. Why do you have to come after me like this? What purpose does it serve?"

"Look, I do things because I care about you. I know a thing or two about guys and he's not a good guy. Running off with him is a mistake, Lana, and I'm trying to get you to see what's right in front of you."

"It's not a mistake," Solana said pointedly. "It's probably one of the most intelligent decisions I've made in my entire life. In theory, it gets me away from you and your incessant need to control my life. I can't believe you would ruin thousands of people's lives just to get me to come back to the island."

"Ouch. That hurts. That really hurts," he replied, shaking his head and looking at the ground. "Well, if that's how you feel, I'm out of here," he said, jumping down from the tree.

"Wait, what?" she asked, surprised by how easily he had given up.

"Later," he said, heading off through the trees.

Solana climbed down as fast as she could. "Wait, where are you going?" she asked.

Flame shrugged, not turning around. "Maybe my other little sister will be more accepting of my help."

"Wait, you're not seriously going to go find Lorinda, are you?"

Flame just shrugged again, not stopping.

"She hates even the very idea of us! How can you just expect to show up on her door step and not cause some sort of problem?"

"Just watch me."

Solana watched him disappear from sight, open mouthed at the very idea that he was going to find the one person that hated them the most. Thoughts and guilt began to rack her brain. There was no telling what he was really up to and she felt like it was her fault. After all, none of this would have happened if she had really put her foot down to begin with.

"I'm sorry," she called out finally, hoping he could still hear.

"About time," Flame said, coming back into view.

"Look, you're just so frustrating sometimes and you won't listen to me. I just want to be able to live, you know? Make my own mistakes, live the way I want to. I know you're trying to protect me, but I love Ash and he loves me and you have let me have that. After what you did to him, he couldn't stay on the island and the only way I could be with him was to run away from you with him. I'm sorry, but that's just the way things had to be."

Flame sighed. "Look, I'm sorry too. I guess I took things a little too far coming after you like that. I should have just taken the hint instead of being bent on revenge. Don't worry, you won't have any more problems from me anymore."

"So…we're cool, then?" Solana asked hesitantly.

After a moment, Flame nodded. "Yeah, we're cool. But if you two get caught and get re-deported, I can't be held responsible for my actions against water-boy. I'm not going to be hunting him down, but we cross paths and there will be some serious ass kicking."

Solana was at a loss of what to say.

"Later then," Flame said, turning to walk away again.

"Wait, are you seriously still going to find Lorinda?"

He shrugged. "May as well. Don't worry, I'll be on my best behavior and everything. Stay hidden, sis."

And with that he disappeared without looking back, leaving Solana a little shocked at what had just occurred.

Shaking it off, she hurried back to the motel to make sure Ash was alright. When she walked into the room, she found him sitting on the bed facing the door, as if he were waiting for her.

"How did you know?" he asked before she had even closed the door.

"Window was open. Can't use my gift openly, but who's going to know if I listen to things on the wind?"

He just nodded. "Thanks. I owe you. A lot."

Solana shook her head. "No, you don't. This whole thing was my fault in the first place," she said, coming to sit on his lap, her arms around his neck.

"You're not seriously going to start that again, are you?"

She shook her head. "No, I won't," she said, kissing him as if she were sealing the promise. "We had a talk after you left."


"Everything's cool. He's going to leave us alone, but if he happens to come across you by accident or we get caught and sent back, then he doesn't make any promises."

"Well that's…a little reassuring I guess."

"We don't have to worry about him anymore. Time to stop and smell the roses," she said, kissing him again, this time a little longer.

Ash raised an eyebrow. "Roses?"

She shrugged, smiling. "Or whatever," she said, kissing him again as he wrapped his arms around her waist in a way that almost seemed erase the dangers that might still lie ahead.

They didn't matter anymore. It was time to live in the present.

The End