Episode Twenty-Eight: Graduation: Scene 17

Fortunately, my funk only lasted until I got some sleep. The next day was Saturday and Clara, as good as her word, showed up with some friends and quietly put anti-arson wards on the building.

I could kind of feel them myself – they didn’t affect me, though, and I got used to them quickly. As in, by the end of the day quickly. Maybe it was only psychological, because I knew they were there.

But fire was an important part of my being. I’d worked out by now that I couldn’t change that and might as well enjoy it. It might not have been my choice, but it certainly intimidated the bad guys.

Well, except for the fire giants. They, of course, would be more intimidated by cold things.

Thruor was still working with Derek. I elected to leave them to it and head out looking for trouble, as it were.

Or rather, knowing trouble would find me. Armed and dangerous. It was a beautiful summer day, likely too hot for some people, but it didn’t bother me at all.

Fire within me, I thought wryly. The sun beating down, the humidity climbing, and people were starting to flee to the air conditioning.

Kanesha called. We met up at the National Zoo, but the animals were also feeling the heat. The fishing cat was asleep in a sunbeam, just like any house cat. So were the lions.

“Too hot for man or beast,” she said.

I teased, “Says the girl from the tropics.”

“That’s how many generations back. Fire giant,” she teased.

“Can’t exactly help it.”

“You sure about that?” She gave me kind of a sidelong look. “Wasn’t there that thing about parts of the universe choosing how to manifest?”

“I dunno about that. I mean, would that imply that some poor kid born in the worst slum in India as an Untouchable chose to be there?”

“Point.” She shuddered. “I was reading up on that. They still haven’t got into the twentieth century on it in some places, let alone the twenty-first.”

“Give them chance. It takes every society a while to shake feudalism.” About which I probably couldn’t talk. “But if it’s true, I think it only applies to us.”

“Then how am I exactly where I want to be?”

I grinned. “Maybe you did something to earn it.” Maybe past lives were real, at least for some people. Thruor would probably know. She knew more about death and mortality than I did, that was for sure.

“Or maybe you did.” She grinned back at me. “I love you.”

Those words made the humidity lift and the sun become much less unbearable. They also made me worry much less about the future.

“I love you.”

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