Chapter 3 art by Other Sophie
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They won’t catch me 👁
Finally finished these pages for my webcomic!! Hope you enjoy :)
Take A HikeTake A Hike
He let her storm off back to the manor. James looked ready to go after her, but Fergus headed him off before he could take more than three steps. He gave him a plaintive look.
“What did I do wrong?” he demanded.
“Nothing. If she’s not going to listen, then we can’t make her,” he said calmly. “She might have to learn this the hard way.”
An old but rather familiar fear tingled at James’s fingertips. “And what does that mean for the people around her, Fergus? Who gets hurt to teach her this lesson?”
“I’ll keep this staff with me,” he promised. “That way, if either you or I are nearby, we can at least head off the worst of it.”
His shoulders slumped. “Alright.”
Fergus gave him a friendly nudge. “The more you two seem alike, the more you’re different. Control was never your problem, was it?”
“Yes because I was aware that I could hurt my fellows. I don’t understand how she can lack that presence of mind!”
“She’s confident in her abilities. It’s not that she doesn’t care about hurting other people, it’s that she doesn’t think it’s a problem.”
“Has she seen her power usage?”
“It’s easier to see from the outside, trust me.” James’s frown remained as he stared off in the direction Lizz had gone. “You’re gonna be a good teacher, James. It’ll just take some time. You might have to wait for her to come to you. Maybe try catching her when she’s cooled off, if she doesn’t come to you first.”
“Very well, Fergus. I trust you to know best.”
He was struck by a moment of doubt, that maybe this wasn’t how to handle Lizz. With all his doubts crowding in once more, he couldn’t help but ask: “Am I doing this right, James? I feel like I’ve lost…something. Like it’s been too long. I’m not as good as I used to be.”
He shrugged. “I think you’re doing just fine, dearest.”
“I just…” He squeezed his eyes shut. “Rabi and Sandra are…dead. Jimmy was taken. And we don’t even know the fates of the other three…”
James’s firm grip made him crack his eyes open. “Listen, your plan was sound and it was the best we could do at the time. You can try to think your way around it all you want, but if you’d sent help to Jimmy and Sandra, we most certainly would have lost someone else instead.”
“But maybe they wouldn’t have killed someone else. Sandra could at least be alive…”
“It’s in the past now, Fergus. You can’t do anything about it, and thinking about what you could’ve done will just distract you.” Fergus didn’t respond, fiercely studying the ground. “Think about when you let Trinity’s death control you.”
“I could have changed hers too,” he growled.
“Maybe by dying yourself. She’d chastise you for that.”
He sighed. “No lecture, she’d just call me young and stupid.”
“Mmhm, and she would be correct.”
His shoulders slumped. “Is it bad that I’m so relieved that Blaine changed his name? I don’t I could have lived with that, but now he has all the hell to go with it.”
James slung an arm around his shoulder, beginning to guide him back to the manor. “Well, it’s easier when he has guardians who are dedicated to ensuring he can be who he is without hassle.”
“I just worry if he ever decides to come out to the other Betas, y’know? I already know that he and Lizz and Ying don’t get along.”
“Well it’ll be his decision in the end. At least he can just as easily choose not to; they already see him for who he is.”
“He’s lucky in that regard, I suppose. Oof, one sec, lemme smoke.”
They stopped at the base of the stairs so Fergus could pull out a cigarette. James was nothing but judgement, but these days he was too tired to feel ashamed. An easy way out of stress was just too tempting to turn aside for now.
James crossed his arms. “It’s truly a wonder that you don’t have cancer yet.”
“Well, I did quit for ten years.”
“After smoking for more than fifteen.”
“I know. It’s not as bad as it was.” He flexed his left hand, able to feel the pull of the tightened, scarred skin on his palm. “I’ll quit again soon.”
“Holding you to that one, dearest.”
“Good. Do that.”
He finished the cigarette and they went back inside.