TIMELINE: End of December. One month.

Kaine

With everything that has been going on, Kaine and Keyara had spent almost no time together, except when hoverboarding or in meetings together. He had, however, spent an amazing amount of time with Ares and Ayden. Ares had been watching while Kaine and Ayden practiced with their guns. Kaine had barely passed sword training and as the fourteenth moved closer, he stressed more and more. Today was especially stressful as Kaine was once again ordered to pore through his history books. The books were worn through and they held no new answers. Nothing at all. He was bored and frustrated. They all were. It was getting closer to the end. Or the beginning. The end of their new lives and the beginning of an even newer one. This one ten times scarier.

During practice one afternoon, Kaine suffered an injury to his shoulder. Ayden had accidentally shot him, thrown off by the wind. Luckily for him, it had been a clean shot and the bullet was now imbedded in a tree behind him. But that didn't help the pain he was suffering at the moment.

"I'm so sorry!" Ayden said for the millionth time.

"Don't worry about it, Ay. It's not too bad…" he said through gritted teeth. By "not too bad" he meant, at least he wasn't dead. Threads of pain shot up and down his arm like spider webs. He closed his eyes against it all, trying to remember something happy from his childhood. As he was immersed in his happy place, Dr. Becker came over and fixed him up, making sure that his shoulder would still work once it had been healed. Of course, that meant he was out of commission so it could heal properly.

Keyara was furious when she heard.

"This is not the time to get injuries! We are less than a month away from the biggest battles of our lives! Ayden, if you weren't our only qualified weapons trainer, you would be sitting on your ass, preparing food and clothes."

"Keyara, that was uncalled for. It was a mistake. It's not like she shot me on purpose. I'll be fine by that time. I learn fast anyway. I know all I need to know for the first battle, okay?" The older boy looked out of his shaggy hair, down at Keyara who glared at him before giving him a curt nod and walking off.

The red haired girl hugged Kaine tightly, her tears staining his shirt.

"Hey... Why are you crying?"

"Because I- I hurt you a-and K-Keyara's m-mad..." she sobbed faintly, clinging to him tighter. He winced as his shoulder got jostled but didn't tell her.

"I'll be fine. By the time this war is over, I'll have more injuries than this one. This one will make me laugh." On instinct, he kissed her hair, holding her close. Finally, as Ayden calmed down, he pulled back and the two of them walked on, Ayden to train with someone else and Kaine to sleep. Ares went to find Rhys and help him with the children.

He sat and opened his old photo album, one of him and Keyara as kids, remembering his childhood fondly. His eyes wandered to the window and stared out at the sky, wondering how their lives got turned upside down...