Shana felt like she'd been run over by a train. A very big train. Everything hurt even her eyelids. She moaned and found that her throat hurt too. She couldn't bring herself to sit up and tried to float back into the peaceful darkness but the others had heard her moan and were now standing around her. Someone put a bottle to her lips and she instinctively drank it. The water helped her throat some, anyway.
"Is He gone?" she croaked when she remembered what had happened. She still hadn't opened her eyes and wasn't really motivated to open them yet.
"Yeah, he's gone," Earth said.
"Good," Shana mumbled before trying to go back to sleep. Someone roughly shook her shoulders.
"Wake up!!" Fire snarled impatiently. Shana winced as he continued shaking her.
"Ow!" she finally exclaimed. He immediately let go of her. This was even worse. She flopped onto the ground jarring her head painfully. She finally opened her eyes, afraid that if she didn't they'd end up killing her.
"Ok. Fine. I'm awake. What do you want?" she asked struggling to sit up. Light put an arm around her shoulders and helped her up. "Thanks," she said gratefully.
"First of all, what the hell was that…thing?" Fire asked.
"Who knows?" Shana asked, "I don't. All I've seen is what it can do." She shuddered violently.
"That bad?" Light asked gently.
"Worse than bad," Shana confirmed.
"What was it doing here?" Water asked in a frightened voice.
"I don't know exactly. All I can figure out is that it has something to do with your powers."
"Powers?" Earth asked carefully.
Shana rolled her eyes. "Earth and Wind, Water and Fire, Light; each of you controls one element," she glanced at Fire, "although not all of you are stable you each have your stabilizing element." They stared at her as if she had two heads.
"Shadow, we need to go," Wind said in a faraway voice.
"The name's actually Shana," she replied.
"It isn't anymore," he replied looking into the distance, "the six have joined. We no longer need names."
"Huh?" Water asked.
"Trust me," he replied somehow knowing that they all would.
"Where do we need to go?" Light asked remembering the original comment.
"My parents are out of town…" Earth volunteered reluctantly.
"Let's go then," Fire said impatiently. Shana grimaced and stood up ignoring the pain that shot through her body. Earth sighed and led them towards her house. Shana fell in step behind the others so that they wouldn't notice her limping. Light, however, seemed to sense that she was hurt and stopped abruptly. He frowned and gently put an arm around her waist allowing her to lean on him.
"Thanks," she whispered so that the others wouldn't hear.
"You're welcome," he replied politely.
They finally stopped in front of a rather large blue and white house. Earth fumbled with the lock for a little while but finally got it open.
"You better take her upstairs," Earth said with a motherly look on her face, "Second door on the left and you better not mess with any of my stuff!"
Shana barely made it up the steps even though Light was taking almost all of her weight and by the time they reached the top she was breathing hard and sweating profusely. Light hesitantly pulled her closer and lifted her into his surprisingly strong arms.
"What are you doing?" she hissed when it finally sunk in that he was carrying her. He didn't answer the question and continued until he reached the room and placed her gently on the bed. She was suddenly overcome by fatigue and felt her eyes flutter close.
"Goodnight," he whispered before quietly leaving the room.
Shana awoke feeling ten times better. She looked out the window and noticed that it was dark. She found her bag lying on the floor by the bed and began looking for some cleaner clothes. Of course, she couldn't find any. She brushed her hair and decided that her clothes would just have to stay the way they were. She crept downstairs and saw everyone sitting around the huge television in the living room.
"Hey," she said shyly. Everyone turned to look at her and she hid behind her hair.
"Hey, you're awake!" Fire exclaimed.
"Yeah, you weren't looking so good before. We were worried about you," Water said focusing her blue eyes on the girl standing by the door and noting the sadness that filled her face. Water had never seen anybody look so sad; mean or angry, yes but never just sad.
"I was drained," she replied.
"Drained?" Water questioned gently.
"Th-the words," she stuttered.
"They drain you?" Water asked. The girl nodded gratefully.
"Wanna watch T.V.?" Light asked patting the spot next to him on the couch.
"Um, okay," she answered still nervous around these strangers. She quickly walked to the couch and sat as far away from the other occupants as possible. Unfortunately, everyone but Earth was sitting on the couch so it was very crowded. She was sitting between Fire and Light and was made incredibly nervous by the electric energy flowing around her. Fire's energy seemed to bounce around randomly unlike Light's more controlled energy.
She scooted away from him as it got worse when an exciting car chase was shown on T.V. Water seemed to notice it as well and moved as far away from him as she could obviously foreseeing what was likely to happen. A plant next to the television burst into flames. Shana jumped and made a high-pitched squeaking sound before the room was plunged into darkness. Water immediately put out the fire and Light made the room brighten.
Fire grinned sheepishly and rubbed the back of his neck. "Sorry 'bout that, guys."
"You need to learn control," Shana stated.
"You're one to talk!" he retorted angrily. Shana bit her bottom lip to keep from crying. He was right, but she'd been doing better in the past months.
"Shadow-" Light said soothingly.
"He's right," she whispered as she gathered her power and began to dissipate into shadow. He grabbed her arm before she could completely change form.
"Shadow, you have to stay here," he said a slightly desperate note entering his voice.
"Why?" she whispered hardly daring to believe he had spoken.
"Because we need you," he replied as if it were obvious. Shana was silent for a few minutes before nodding almost imperceptibly.
"Alright," she whispered the sadness lifting from her eyes for a minute.
"My mom's going to kill me!" Earth yelled advancing on a suddenly frightened looking Fire.
"Um, sorry?" Fire said flinching away from her obvious anger.
"Stop! We can't start fighting each other!" Wind exclaimed just realizing what was happening, "We still need to figure out what this thing wanted."
They paused and looked at Shana as if she had the answer. She looked away, focusing on a spot on the wall and trying to ignore their gazes.
"Shadow, do you know what it wanted?" Water asked, her blue eyes showing sympathy for the girl who was obviously hoping to avoid the question.
"No," she replied tensely.
"It's too terrible. You shouldn't have to hear about it," she replied with a sad, pleading look in her face.
"We have to know what we're fighting," Light replied gently. She shook her head, trying to keep the unshed tears from spilling from her eyes. There was silence for almost five minutes before she spoke in a haunted voice.
"It was about a month ago when he ruined my life. I-I was never a happy person. I always seemed to see sadness where others saw only joy. I didn't appreciate what I really had. My parents fought a lot but I knew they still loved each other even though they made each other miserable. That night I slipped out of my window at eight. They were fighting again so I knew they wouldn't worry…" she trailed off lost in thought.
"Go on," Water whispered.
"I took a walk in the woods near our house. I wasn't scared since I had my powers and knew how to make the darkness thick enough to scare anyone else away and I carried a knife in my boot. I walked for hours, blending with the shadows and trying to find some peace. I suddenly felt cold. It wasn't rational but I ran home as fast as I could. I now realize that I was sensing His presence. I walked into the living room just in time to hear him yell that words that brought them under his control. I was frozen in place, too chicken to move even though I knew in my heart what he was about to do. They went to him like sheep going to be slaughtered…Then I came here looking for all of you," she said hoping they wouldn't notice the lack of detail.
"He killed them?" Earth asked horrified. Shana laughed hysterically.
"Not quite," she said trying to control the laughter welling up inside of her. Everyone looked confused but no one dared to push the issue. Light reached over and put a comforting arm around her shoulder. It was then that she finally recognized their bond. She pushed closer to him shivering and trying to keep her voice steady. "He made them his and set them against me. Last time I saw them was in Texas. They tried to kill me. Their faces were branded with his mark. They didn't even recognize me."
Light pulled her closer in a protective embrace as if he thought he could shield her from the memories. She pulled away, wanting to get the rest out as quickly as possible.
"He didn't kill in my town though everyone believes my family to be dead. He killed everyone on one of the buses that I was on, though. The words he used to kill them are the words I used against him today and once more on my journey here but backwards- the words only work backwards. I had to find you and warn you. I knew about you because I could feel the magic pulling me here."
"And here you are," Light finished for her.
"Here I am," she agreed.
"Wow," Water breathed. They watched T.V. in silence for another hour before Water began to yawn. "We sleeping here tonight?" she asked Earth.
"Yeah," Earth replied, "You and Fire can have my room as long as you promise not to destroy anything."
Shana's eyes widened in shock. They slept together? Fire noticed her look and smiled suggestively. "Care to join us?" he asked. Shana felt heat creep into her normally pale cheeks.
"Don't listen to him," Water said blushing furiously, "We're just friends."
"Ew! No!" Water exclaimed at the same time Fire said "Not yet."
"We just pair together because it's sort of like creating balance. Powers usually don't spin out of control when opposing elements are together."
"Oh, I see," Shana said but really she didn't. It seemed too much like an excuse to be alone in a bedroom. Then, she remembered back to when her powers had been developing and realized what they meant. She had often been afraid because of the sudden darkness that would envelop her. She figured that if she'd had someone to make it stop for a little while she would have stuck to them like glue. That didn't happen anymore, though. She'd learned strict control over the last month. Fire and Water went upstairs together, arguing all the way.
"You two can sleep in my parents' room," Earth said looking at Shana and Light. Shana shook her head fiercely and Light looked slightly annoyed.
"You're scaring her, Jada," Light hissed.
"Why?" the girl asked with a confused look on her innocent face.
"It's alright," Shana said realizing the girl truly didn't know why she objected to the sleeping arrangements. Light looked at her as if trying to gauge her seriousness. He shrugged and led her to the room which was much larger than any of the others they'd passed. She took off her shoes and resolutely climbed under the sheets. Light took off his shoes and shirt and Shana forced herself to ignore it. He took the other side of the huge bed so that there were at least three feet between their bodies. He pulled the comforter over himself and went to sleep. Shana soon followed suit even though she found this arrangement weird, because she was nearly exhausted from the day's adventures.