48 Days Until Respite And the Uncertain End (part 1)
Heia was bored, which was saying a lot considering that there was always more work to be done. There was enough happening around her at all times and in the world that the idea of relaxation seemed frivolous. Despite this she didn’t have to do anything and in not having anything to do, she felt lazy. She wondered if she should have been acting in a way so that the others knew to ask her for assistance. She wondered if she should make herself available. She wanted to.
Yet she wouldn’t have been able to help them anyway.
She was not skilled in politics. She was not trained like Kim to interact with others. Heia was good with people, but her people. Not Circles. Certainly not Stars. She knew that they were all to be equals, that she had planned for that, and still she felt woefully incompetent with them. She was not good with getting people to listen to her, if they didn’t already respect her.
Kony was off at school. Karla had disappeared to help Rayda and Crass on specific things needed for the Circles as Uly continued to work with the scientists and Kim worked with the Circles. Lynx and Onyx had begun to help with the protocols for abandonment of the cities. Phil was with Shawn at Zeydar’s side at the school. Even Andre and Layla had work for the Igilistal’s. Kori was the only one like Heia: without a task at hand.
Unlike Kori, however, Heia felt as if she should have been doing something. She wasn’t like Kori who was a fighter and nothing else. Kori didn’t have to work if she did not want to. Heia was supposed to be one of the three “heroes”, and instead even Evester had things to do with his brother.
“We should protest.” Kori complained from where she laid upside down.
“I don’t know.”
There was little that they could do with protesting regardless. They were too far from Alan Penn for it to make a difference and while in Circle territory, Estashia had total control. And Estashia was already on their side. The only points of issue were the Stars, which they could do nothing about, and the X’s, who they were far from.
“We should train.” Heia sighed.
“For when we go back to war?”
They had little time before the predicted final offense and thus Heia was left in a state of frustration. Even training seemed like a cop-out. There was not much to do with it regarding the fact that they had already fought the Aralax before. If they—
Heia looked up to see Layla at the door, and immediately got to her feet. Was there something for her to do? Was she needed? Layla motioned for Heia to follow and then started walking without waiting. Almost giddy, Heia tried to contain herself.
“Not fair.” Kori complained as Heia hurried out the room.
“What’s up?” Heia jogged up to Layla’s side. Layla was dressed in clothes that had to be some circle business attire, something that Heia had no doubts that Europa had picked out.
“I’m on break.”
Heia felt her heart sink at the words. Why had she gotten her hopes up? “So?”
“So. I want to talk.”
“About what?” Heia stopped walking.
“Everything.” Layla stopped as well, looking at Heia.
Heia began to glare, uncertain what talking could accomplish, when there were no issues between the two of them.
“The kids are doing well. Did you know that?” Layla crossed her arms and sighed.
“Estashia said she’d keep her word. I believed her.”
“Well, they’re well.”
“And we have a date and location decided for us up in those ships.”
“I know that you are going to be at risk in the upcoming weeks and I just… I’m sorry.”
Heia paused. What? For a long moment, Heia was confused, staring at Layla who shifted awkwardly and looked away. Finally Heia asked. “For what?”
“For keeping us alive? For protecting us? For being there? Layla you might be an asshole, but you kept us alive.” Heia searched for a reason in Layla’s eyes. What was it that Layla was apologizing for, Heia had not once hated Layla. Layla had gotten the short end of the stick for everything and had to balance her out. Heia knew that Layla was as apprehensive regarding things as Heia was, but they showed it differently. “I was never mad at you.”
Layla blinked and then laughed. “I knew you would say that. I just—“
“You had every reason not to trust any of this. I didn’t.” Her sister had only wanted their family to be together. To be safe. “Thank you for protecting us.”
“You protected us. I merely did what you didn’t have time for.” Layla shook her head. Before Heia could retort, however, Layla reached out and hugged Heia. “We will make it right?”
“Yes.” Heia hugged her back.
They’d make it, and then Heia would ensure that all people were equal. Perhaps that was what she needed to do, start the plans. Yes. If she had time, that meant she and Kori had time to come up with plans and contingencies just as EverDanger had taught them. They could prepare for their new home and the procedures they’d need to go through, for the peace they dreamed of. They would not waste the precious preparation time that they were given.