Chapter One

"So what the hell are we supposed to do? How do we get them out?" Wes demanded, staring at Ignacio.

Alek started walking. "We don't," he said, his back to the building. His hand lifted to his abdomen and he winced with each step, blood seeping through his fingers.

"But they could be trapped with a bunch of guards and people that want to kill them," Wes argued, not noticing Alek's pain. He was still staring at Ignacio. It looked completely undisturbed from a distance.

"You think I don't know that?" Alek demanded harshly. "That is my sister and my niece in there," he hissed, glaring over his shoulder. "There is nothing that we can do. We have to trust that Avalon will keep Lucky safe. That is all we can do."

"So what do we do now?" Katrina asked quietly.

"I'm sure as hell not going to sit around and do nothing. That's my sister. I can't leave her to fend for herself," Damien said finally speaking up.

His thoughts were far from quiet. Damien, I will not let anything happen to my daughter. Trust me. Go. Follow Aleksander. Damien nearly jumped out of his skin at the soft voice in his head. Avalon.

Why would I trust you? You've lied to me for my whole life. Why would I trust you with my sister's life? he thought angrily back.

I suppose you don't really have a choice in the matter, Damien. You're going to have to trust me though. I lied to you, yes, but if I hadn't...this would have happened years ago. I couldn't protect you then. I'm not sure I can protect you now. I would give my life before seeing Lucky hurt. Or you.

Damien sighed sharply while the rest of the group stared at him. They all knew he was having a mind conversation, but no one knew the extent of it. He put up a block in irritation. Damien didn't want Avalon in his thoughts.

"If anyone can find a way out of Ignacio, it's Ava. So we are going to head out, find her camp, find her associates." Alek began walking again, his head throbbing.

Katrina looked at him, her eyebrows furrowed. "Hey…" she said. "Are you alright?"

Alek glared at her. "I'm fine," he said sharply. "It's nothing."

She shook her head and advanced on him, grabbing his wrist and jerking his hand back from his stomach. She gasped loudly at the blood that coated his hand. "Oh my God," she blurted. "You were shot!"

Wes glanced at Alek and cursed under his breath. They were all doomed. If Alek died, then the rest of them were as good as dead. "How bad is it?" Wes finally asked, afraid of the answer.

Alek shrugged one shoulder, cringing. "Flesh wound," he lied.

Damien shook his head. "When were you…?" He stopped and lifted his eyes to Alek's face. "It's my fault."

"Yes," Alek answered bluntly. "Let this be a lesson - don't do stupid things. I won't always be there to take the bullet for you, kid."

"How do we fix it?" Katrina asked sounding a little panicked.

"We need to stop the bleeding. If he keeps going at this rate then he's going to bleed out and we're going to be on our own," Wes said.

Alek eyed the boy. "How good are you at controlling your powers?" he asked vaguely.

"Um...I'm not sure. I've never really practiced it. Why?" Wes wondered, unsure of where he was going with this.

"Can you keep your stomach under control?" he asked, looking at Katrina. He pulled out a dagger and held it out to her. "I need a favor, sweetheart."

Katrina blanched. "W-what?" she asked.

"This is going to be a two part process," Alek said, walking a few steps away and leaning back against a large tree. "First - I need the bullet out."

"And you...want me to...dig it out?" Katrina asked, nearly dropping the knife.

Alek looked at her for a long moment. "No," he said, eyes turning to Damien. "You're going to do it."

Wes backed further away from the group causing Damien to turn to him with accusation in his eyes. "And just where do you think you're going?" Damien demanded, crossing his arms.

"I'm getting as far away from this situation before Aleksander volunteers me for any part of this process," Wes said.

"Don't worry, kid. You're part two," Alek announced. "Come on, Damien. You're so powerful - pull the bullet out."

"" Damien asked warily.

"Do try and pull it out straight, please," Alek said, closing his eyes and leaning his head back against the trunk of the tree. "It could get complicated otherwise." Without another word, Alek lifted the hem of his shirt, exposing the ugly hole that had been graciously bestowed upon him. Blood oozed steadily from it, making a trail down his stomach, staining his jeans.

Damien took a deep breath and stepped closer. "Back up, Kat," he said kindly. She did as he said without hesitation. She wasn't too keen on being anywhere near Alek when that bullet came out. She was beginning to guess what she and Wes would be needed for and it made her stomach turn. Breathing steadily, Damien bit his lower lip and focused. Only the bullet, he thought to himself. Just the small bullet. He focused harder until he felt it in his mind - he had it. Pulling carefully, Damien held his breath. Alek made a small noise of pain, but otherwise remained silent, his mouth twisting into a seconds ticked by slowly and Damien didn't breathe again until the bullet hit the grass at Alek's feet.

He slumped backwards against the tree, breathing heavily. "That went better than expected," Alek said quietly. Katrina and Wes both let out the breath they'd been holding while Damien worked.

"You okay?" Damien asked nervously.

"You're up, kid," Alek said, ignoring Damien's question, his eyes finding Wes.

"Tell me what I have to do," Wes said sounding nervous as he stared at the hole in Alek's stomach.

"First of all, don't lose your lunch on me. Second, I need you to get that knife really hot." Alek told Wes, closing his eyes again.

"Should I talk dirty to it?" Wes asked trying to lighten the mood.

Damien snickered. Alek started to chuckle as well, but it turned into a groan. "Don't make me laugh, kid," he wheezed. "Just do it...please."

"Sorry," Wes said, moving toward Katrina who had picked up the dagger. He focused his energy only on the metal piece of the weapon, heating it quickly. It began to steam.

Damien watched Wes and Katrina, glad he had only been tasked with removing the bullet. "Now what?" he asked.

"That's my line," Katrina said quietly, barely audible.

"You need to burn the wound closed or it will just keep bleeding," Alek said firmly. "It's faster than bandaging and works better. It hurts like a bitch, but it will do the trick."

"You want me to burn you?" Katrina squeaked.

"I'd do it myself but there's a chance I might pass out," Alek said. "You ever burn an already painful wound?" he asked, cracking open one eye. "Unpleasant is a mild word for it. I know it's a lot to ask, sweetheart. If you can't do it-"

"I can," Katrina interrupted. "I can do it." Taking a breath to steady her nerve, Katrina stepped closer to Alek. "I'm sorry," she whispered before pressing the flat of the dagger against the gunshot wound. Alek hissed and Katrina whimpered, covering her mouth with her free hand. Even Wes and Damien were cringing, turning away from the scene before them.

Katrina could figure out why Aleksander had elected to lean against the tree. She dropped the blade to the grass and hand to quickly throw her arms out as he pitched forward. Alek was mostly unconscious and he was heavy. She supposed trying to catch him didn't do any good as they both ended up hitting the ground. Alek groaned and Katrina stared up at the stars above them. "Sorry…" Alek croaked, barely able to form the word.

"S'okay…" Katrina whispered.

Damien and Wes swooped in and grabbed Alek, hauling him to his feet. "Okay, we need to get going if we're going to find these associates you speak of," Damien said emotionlessly. He wasn't happy that they had to leave at all, but if they had to leave, then he needed a distraction from the fact that his sister was in serious danger and he was at a loss to be able to do anything about it.

"We need to let Alek rest," Katrina argued. "He's in no condition to be doing anything right now. He was just shot for heaven's sake."

Wes sighed. "Arguing isn't going to help anyone right now. Alek, do you feel like you could walk for a little while, or do you think we should call it a night-get some sleep?" Wes asked, taking his usual place as the voice of reason.

Get me to the car," Alek said firmly.

"Okay," Katrina said with a nod of her head. She slipped her arm around his waist, shooing Damien and Wes out of the way. "Let's go."

Alek tried not to lean on her. "We won't all fit in my truck," he said. "You boys remember where Avalon parked?"

"Yeah, not too far from you actually. We will all be able to fit in her car," Wes said as he followed, Damien trailing behind him.

"Good. We need to get to the car and we can make a game plan once there. But...we're going to have to go the long way. I can't climb any fences like this. Unless one of you has super strength and can rip a fence down…?" He peered down at Katrina and she shook her head.

"Electricity," she stated. " least I used to be able to control it. I haven't been able to use my powers for hours."

"They should come back on their own. Whatever they injected you with will wear off soon," Alek assured her as they walked.

"You think so?" Katrina asked.

"I know so," Alek told her. "I helped create the serum."

"Giving us just a little more proof that you might not be as trustworthy as you would like us to believe," Damien pointed out.

"Right," Aleksander muttered dryly. "Because I would take a bullet for you for kicks. It would have been easier - and less painful - to let you get shot."

"Then why didn't you? Why go pretending you're some selfless saint now?" Damien snapped.

"Never said I was selfless," Alek said easily. "Or a saint. Hell, I never even said I was a good guy." Alek kept his eyes focused up ahead as they made their way through the trees. "But I'm all you've got right now and you're stuck with me, boy."

"Which probably means we're all doomed if we rely on you. Obviously you're in no condition to lead us anywhere," Damien said.

"Okay, I think we all need to just take a step back and calm down. We're all under a lot of pressure and a lot has happened in a little time, so we all need to just breathe," Wes said, trying to calm the situation. Obviously Alek and Damien didn't care for each other and there was an unexplained tension between the two of them.

"He saved your life," Katrina said. "I, for one, am grateful for that," she said, looking at Damien pointedly. "And he made it possible for us to escape." She looked ahead once more.

"I'm starting to wonder what the hell I was thinking saving your worthless life," Alek snapped, no longer caring about being kind to him. He lost any sympathy he had for Damien by this point.

"I don't want to hear about him saving my life because he screwed up when he trapped Lucky in that place. He negated his good deed almost immediately," Damien grumbled.

"Like you've got any room to talk," Alek said harshly. "Don't talk about good deeds after what you-" He stopped and narrowed his eyes.

Damien glared back at Aleksander daring him to say what he wanted to. He knew he wouldn't, and he really didn't want Wes and Kat to know what he had done. He glanced up into the distance and sighed. "There's Avalon's car."

"Thank God," Katrina blurted. She was about sick of everything. Damien's attitude, Alek's hostility. The only person she wasn't getting annoyed with was Wes. She wondered idly how long that would last on this little road trip.