- I -
Katrena knew that right now she looked like someone who is showing quite a few signs of mental retardation - blank stare, open mouth, twitching lips - and she could care less. First of all, there was nobody around; and second of all, even if there was someone watching her, she would simply unleash all four elements on them. God help those idiots who managed to piss her off. She kept staring at the small white plastic stick - the simplest-looking thing in the bloody world, which for some reason, became more complicated than a nuclear warhead laced with poisonous magic.
"No, no, no..." she started muttering, completely unaware of the fact that she was saying something. "No, no... It's impossible... No, oh bloody hell, no...!" She shook the stick furiously, as if trying to perform some bizarre magic trick.
The plastic stick remained mute (of course), indifferent (naturally), and double-striped. Those two very clear blue lines kept flashing in front of Katrena's eyes every time she brought the damn stick up for yet another furious shake. Finally, she threw the cursed thing into the trashcan, kicked the lid of the said trashcan with desperate force, and slammed both her hands onto the bathroom counter.
"I am pregnant...?" she thought numbly, staring into the mirror without seeing her own reflection. "That's impossible... That's bloody impossible...! I can't get pregnant... Physically can't; it's a fact... It's goddamn impossible...!"
She knew ever since she hit puberty that people (well, more correct word would be 'creatures'; Katrena wasn't exactly a person; she wasn't a monster or anything, neither was she an alien life form, but not exactly a person either) like her were incapable of procreation. It was the price they had to pay for the gift (curse?) they received in their genes. Katrena was more gifted (cursed) than the others. Instead of having an ability to control one of the elements or magical streams, she was able to control all of them. Elements like Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. She couldn't do anything with elements like metals and such (she regretted that immensely), neither did she possess any mind-controlling powers (another regret), but when it came to those four elements and magical streams - she was on top of the list. Katrena was the only one who had such an enormous ability; she suspected that she was the only one in the entire world who was capable of things she was capable of.
The fact that she would never be able to have a child never upset her. It made her happy instead. She never cared about kids; it wasn't like she hated them, no; she simply didn't care about them. She could never understand why some people would do anything to be able to pop a baby into this world. First of all, it would be painful - Katrena hated pain. Second of all, it would be insanely time-consuming (money consuming as well). And third of all, having a child would mean taking constant care of it (not her or him; for Katrena it was it), and she was a very wrong person for such a thing. Katrena knew how to take care of herself and herself alone; she would never even imagine taking care of someone else. Damn, she never even had any pets when she was a kid! Not because her parents wouldn't let her, no... In fact, her mother tried talking her into having a puppy, which Katrena flatly refused. Hell, she wouldn't even agree to a fish tank!
Every time some pregnant girl would look at her with great pity and say something like, "I am so sorry you will never experience such joy," Katrena would laugh in disbelief. Joy? What is so joyous about ballooning to an enormous size, going through hell of a pain, and having a monkey on your back for the rest of your life? She could sleep with anyone she wanted (she loved that part) and she wouldn't have to worry about a missed period or forgotten pill. Her abilities also protected her from every single disease in the book, and if she was injured (a broken arm, for example), she would heal a hell of a lot faster than someone who was 'normal.'
So yes, up until now, Katrena definitely considered herself gifted rather than cursed. She didn't worry much about the fact that her period never came two weeks ago - 'her time of the month' was always quite flexible, it would never happen at the same time. She started to get somewhat curious three days ago, however. It was flexible yes, but not that flexible. A week was fine. Ten days even. But longer than that? Just for the hell of it, she went out and bought those damn pregnancy tests. "What the hell," she thought, laughing uncontrollably back then. "I've never done this before... Might as well..." The entire matter was hilarious.
Well, now three positive tests later, it wasn't even remotely funny, let alone hilarious. She stared at her reflection, not even noticing how huge her eyes were and how pale she became. The inevitable question 'Who is the father?' never crossed her mind. She knew the answer to that question. In the last six months, Katrena was intimate with one single man. It felt bizarre to her at first (she wasn't a slut by any definition, but she never tied herself to just one single person; it was always 'no strings attached' kind of deal when it came to her bed-style), but a couple of months ago, she realized that she felt more and more comfortable about the situation.
"Goddammit..." she hissed and squeezed her eyes shut.
This still didn't make much sense to her. Hell, forget much! This didn't make any sense to her. The only explanation was - it's a miracle. Except, this miracle Katrena would be happy to flush down the toilet right now. The idea of having an abortion also never crossed her mind. It's hers, she thought numbly. It belongs to her and she is not going to get rid of it, even though she will end up with that bloody monkey on her back for the rest of her life. A very long life, come to think of it... People (creatures) with abilities had a much longer life span than the rest of the population.
How the hell was she supposed to tell Jett about it? If she breathes a word to him about the damn monkey, he'll flip out. Not in a normal way, by the way, oh no... He is not going to panic and run away screaming - that Katrena would actually welcome. Jett would be flipping out in a completely opposite way. He'll be happy. In the last couple of months, she caught his stares and weird looks more than several times. She knew that he was on the verge of bringing up the whole 'mate' thing. She dreaded that. He kept his mouth shut, knowing what her reaction would be like - to her utter amazement, Jett could read her like nobody could before. Well, now the situation has changed drastically. The minute he finds out...
"Crap..." she hissed through her clenched teeth.
She felt so helpless, she wanted to scream. She would scream if she knew it might help. She cared about him, she thought numbly. She cared about him so much that sometimes her heart ached when he wasn't around. If the circumstances were different, she would say 'yes' the minute he even mentioned the word 'mate.' The circumstances, however, were such that she would be beyond selfish and cruel to do such a thing. When you are practically an outlaw, when you are on your own little very shaky island of neutrality (which could fall apart any minute), when both sides would be happy to see you gone for good, since you kept flipping off both of them - you don't get too close to someone, unless you don't care about them. If you don't care about them, it's easy; you don't give a damn if they get hurt in the process of you trying to survive between a rock and a hard place. If you care about them, however, then everything is very different.
"Crap..." she said again, in a softer voice this time.
Maybe she should just go to Claudia; talk to her; tell her that fine, she'll accept her offer, the damn offer that she's been pestering her with ever since they were both teenagers... Everything would be different then. She thought about the Trial and snorted at her own reflection. Those two will never pass it, she thought. Claudia will end up losing yet another Guardian, which would put her in even bigger disadvantage to say mildly. To say less mildly, Claudia is going to end up in very deep shit. If Katrena accepts her offer, however, everything will be completely different. Who needs any Guardian if someone like Katrena is around? Even if Claudia ends up with two Guardians instead of four, but has Katrena on her side, the balance of power is going to shift so much that it'll make Reagan choke on her own tongue. Now that would be a very good thing, Katrena thought darkly. She wouldn't mind cutting off one of her fingers to see that bitch's fall.
No, she shook her head finally, unaware of the fact that she was digging her fingernails into the bathroom counter. No, she is not going to talk to Claudia. One of the reasons was the fact that Katrena would be completely and utterly incapable of Pledging to either side. The other reason was the fact that Claudia might be pretty pissed at her still, not that Katrena blamed her... When you flip off a leader of Everything-That's-Good, and shove her out of the door with particularly nasty blow of the wind, there might be a slight chance that the said leader might have a grudge against you...
"Hell," Katrena thought with a bitter smirk. "She'll probably disintegrate me on the spot the minute she sees me..."
Yeah, that and there was also a fact that Katrena was quite famous for the last several years. Famous in the bad way, not a good one. She knew that she was going down a very dangerous and maybe even suicidal road, and she didn't care. Her power - that was the problem. Sometimes, she would feel literally drunk with power, and she would blatantly abuse it every chance she got. That power of hers made her feel invincible sometimes, which she knew wasn't true, but once again - she didn't care. After more than several robberies and quite a few somewhat pointless murders (later, Katrena was wondering herself why the hell did she waste those people), there was a hefty price on her head. Katrena knew for a fact that both - Claudia and that bitch Reagan - were itching to finally get rid of her for good. All her wild escapades (without Pledging to either side) made both leaders to flame with desire to see her burn on one of those poles they used for executions around here sometimes. She was untamed, therefore she was dangerous.
Katrena knew how to take care of herself. She was also very much aware of the fact that if either leader ("bitch") found out about any weakness of hers, they would pounce on that immediately. She calmed down a lot during the last six months. Ever since she met Jett. She calmed down so much that she wouldn't even pull her usual stunts with mindless and sometimes, worthless robberies. She bit her lip hard when she realized that Jett would definitely qualify as a weakness. And if that monkey was real (which it was, according to three pregnancy tests), that would mean that she was going to bring someone much worse than her into this world. The kid might end up having hers and Jett's abilities combined. That made the kid extremely dangerous. Never mind the fact that the damn monkey might end up Pledging to one of the sides one day; it would still be dangerous.
So where did this leave her then? The minute either one of them - Claudia or Reagan - finds out about her affection ("It's called love, Kat; just use the damn word...") for Jett and the fact that she is freaking pregnant, it'll be the end of the world as she knows it. Not just for her, but for Jett and the damn monkey that apparently took residence inside her body for the next nine months. Not like Jett couldn't take care of himself, oh hell, no! When a guy can force someone like Katrena to call for a draw, it says something, all right... But never mind the fact how excellent they both were when it came to ass kicking. If Reagan and Claudia decide that the unborn monkey is a threat (considering who the monkey's parents are, that kid is going to be a hell of a threat), then all three of them (both parents and the said monkey) are not going to stand a chance.
"Son of a..." Katrena whispered to her reflection, which immediately whispered the same thing to her.
That left her one single option - leave. Now. She wanted (longed) to see Jett at least one more time; to say her good-byes; to explain something... She knew, however, that if she waits for him tonight, he'll read her yet again, and then things would get beyond complicated.
"He'll be pissed at me," she thought dully. "Hell, beyond pissed... Me, leaving like this...? Without any warning...? He'll hate my guts... But I'd rather him hate me than die..."
She bit her lip so hard that she drew blood. She could care less. She also knew that if she was serious about leaving, she'd better take care of that wild side of hers. If she goes through with her plan, there is absolutely no need to succumbing to that damn power of hers - that would ruin everything. She wasn't sure if Locking herself would also Lock the kid ("It's inside me... Locking should affect both of us..."), but she was willing to take the risk. With her out of the picture, Jett should be somewhat safe. He was semi-famous as well, but not as bad as Katrena.
"It's time to see the wizard..." she muttered without a smile, and her reflection agreed with her with silent movement of the lips.