Being Amber

Without any memory of her past and not knowing why people react to her as they do, Amber has to learn to survive in the hard underworld of the City, among gangs and the unwanted citizens.
Her appearent resemblance with Ben's dead girlfriend, places her in the middle of a war that easily can cost her and others their lives.
In her quest to find her identity Amber has to learn to tell friend from foe, see behind the lies and decide if Ben's past matters at all.
When Ben asks Tom to train Amber he gets pulled into the war happening around him, far more than he wants to be.
Tom's alliance with Ben hangs in a thin tread when he not only falls in love with Amber but also starts a relationship with Kattie, who already has a boyfriend in Clay, Ben's second in command.
Will Amber ever find out who she really is ?
And how Will they get through the war ?

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42. From one war to another

 

 *Tom*

 Zombies people ran of as soon as Ben and the others joined us. Zac and I was managing the clean up outside and I was starting to find it really difficult not to let the many deaths get to me.

 I helped everyone needing help, not differentiating between friend and foe. Everybody that needed first aid got it.

 "Could everyone please come to the commando room ?" Ben's voice sounded in my earpiece, he sounded really serious.

 "Is everything okay ?" Zac's voice sounded, his eyes caught mine.

 "When has it ever been ?" Ben answered back

 Both Zac and I dropped everything and went back into the school. We found Ben and Kattie in the commando room, they had obviously been talking. Ben didn't say anything before the rest arrived. The only one not present was Amber.

 "I had to give Amber something to sleep on". Ben said. "The war is much harder on her than I had feared it would be".

 "Are you going to keep er unconscious until it is over ?" Zac asked. "I don't think she wants that, even though it's hard for her".

 "No, I am going to end this war". Ben answered. "As soon as we are done here, I am going to call Zombie and surrender".

 "What ?" I exclaimed. "Are you going to give him Amber ? Or how are we to understand that ?"

 "I am going to offer him The Shadows, and agree to leave the underworld and Catrista". Ben answered. "Regarding The Shadows we have taken some precautionsand about leaving the underworld, I don't care as long as I can find a place were I can make her happy. I can't see her like this".

 "What does she say about this ?" Zac asked.

"She understands that it is the only option". Ben answered. "Me and Kattie has talked this through and it is our final decision.

"I am coming with you". Zac declared instantly. "She is my sister, and I don't want to loose her".

 "And leave The Stars to Zombie ?" Ben asked. "She wouldn't want that".

 "Lucas ?!" Zac's gaze quickly found him. "You are hereby instated as my second in command. When I leave the underworld you are taking over as leader".

 "Uhh..". Lucas looke almost scared at the idea and I totally understood him. A few months ago he was an ordinary low ranking member of The Shadows, now he was handed leadership of The Stars.

 "Kattie". She still hadn't looked at me. And for the second time today I feared loosing her. I couldn't loose her. Finally she liftet her face and our eyes met. "Are you going with them ?"

 Tears was filling her eyes and I could see thatnit was impossible for her to answer me. She was standing in front of the choice she had feared the most.

 There shouldn't be a choice.

 "KC ?!" I turned my head and looked at him. "I trust you will lead The Eagles with the right spirit".

 "Are you just all going to leave us ?" KC asked. "What about Hope ? Are you just going to leave her ?" He was looking at Kattie.

 "Hope is old enough and mature enough to make her own choice here". Kattie answered. "This is the best solution. The underworld isn't big enough for both Zombie and Ben and if we want to stop the deaths we need to leave".

 "When do I need to make up my mind ?" KC looked from me to Ben.

 "I am going to ask Zombie for a couple of days to let Amber get stronger". Ben answered. "And now I would like for you all to leave, so I can call my brother".

 I was the last one to leave. There was several things I wanted to say to Ben, I wanted to apologise, but I didn't know were to begin. In the end I just left, joining Kattie and Zac in the hallway. Zac just padded my shoulder an left us alone.

 "Thank you Tom". Kattie folded her arms around my waist, pressing herself into me.

 "I couldn't ask you to choose". I answered, kissing her forehead. "You are following Ben and I am following you".

 We stand like that for a while, and I take a deep breath. "I am sorry Kattie". She looks up at me. "Sorry for what Tom ?"

 "For not being the man you deserve". I feel a lump in my throat. "I have acted selfish and stupid, been confused and through it all you have kept loving me, being here for me. I thought I would loose you today, first in the battle and then if you left alone. It made me realise that you are the only one for me. Your are the one I truly love. When we leave, when we find a new place to stay. I think we should get married.. Kattie will you marry me ?"

 She looks at me with huge eyes and her mouth sligthly open. "But Tom, only the upper-class gets married, we have never used it here in the underworld".

 "I don't care, I want to marry you. What do you say ?" I look at her, feeling nervous, until she smiles. "Yes, of course my answer is yes Tom".

 

 I felt good about my decision. Not that it was easy to leave the others behind, but I couldn't stay and watch the people that means most to me leave. Amber was right. We couldn't keep letting people die just because Ben and Zombie hate each other. Ben has turned out to be the sensible one.

 I was laying in Drews bed with Kattie sleeping in my embrace, I was watching her, as I had a hard time gearing down enough to sleep. I no longer had any doubt, Kattie was the woman for me, Amber was my friend, yes I had felt attracted to her and it had messed a bit with my head, but it didn't matter anymore.

 "Zombie has agreed". Ben came in, his voice a whisper. For a moment in the dark I felt something was wrong, the way the moonlight reflected in his hair made it look blonde, and he looked to much like Zombie.

 He continued. "We have a truce until noon tomorrow. Then we meet in the park, handing over The Shadows. We got till friday to leave".

 That gave us three days. It wasn't much, but it was doable.

 "Is Amber still asleep ?" I aked.

 "No. Zac is with her right now. KC went to Penny to discuss it with her. I am holding a meeting tomorrow, informing all the members of the new plans. Right now we all deserves a good night of sleep". Ben nodded towards me. "Sorry we have stolen your bed".

 "It's fine Ben. Drew isn't using his anymore". I said.

 Kattie didn't react before Ben had left. She turned, folding her arm around me. "I am so happy to see that the two of you have finally become real friends". She smiled.

 "What did Hope say about everything ?" Kattie had gone to her sister to tell her about the decision. It was a talk Kattie had to do on her own.

 "She had a couple of questions about how the future would look if she went with us". Kattie said. "She is going to think about it".

 "She is a good girl. She is going okay if she stays. She has Lucas and KC and I can ask Mike to keep an eye on her too". I kissed Katties forehead. "What about we get some much needed sleep ?"

 

 I hadn't sleept for many hours when an explosion woke me. The instincts was deeply rooted in me and I grabbed my gun from the nightstand in the same motion I sat up in. Kattie had her knife ready.

 "Get dressed quick". I was on my feet and pulled on my pants just as I heard gunfire outside. I didn't wait for Kattie before leaving the room. I needed to know what was happening.

 "They have blown in the gate". A man told me as soon as he saw me. "We can't hold them back".

 "Get everyone out of bed". I told him. At least almost every active member from all three gangs was here after the last battle.

 "What is happening ?" Zac and Mike reached me at the same time and seconds later Amber and Ben emerged from my room.

 "We are under attack". I told them. "Kattie, get KC and have him get everybody still at the prison and lead them here. We might need their back-up". I pointed at Lucas, who just came around the corner, his shirt inside out. "Get all the passive members and the injured down in the basement. Hope will help you". I had spotted her coming down the stairs. "Amber, Mike, do a check through of the upper floors, make sure everyone is up. Everyone capable of fighting to the front door, everyone else in the basement". Mike grabbed Ambers arm, pulling her along.

"Let's go stop who ever it is invading us". I nodded towards Ben and Zac.

 "Do you think it's Zom...". Zac was cut of by a new explosion, that blew in several windows. The sound of automatic gunfire was clear to hear now.

 "Catrista". Ben answered. "From one war to the next". He signed.

 "Call Zombie. In three days he is practically running the underworld, he has to have some interest in helping us". I asked him. "Come on Zac, let's go do, what we do best".

 There was no one I rather wanted by my side in a battle than Zac. If we were talking a fair fight. This figth was no were near fair. They didn't go by our rules. They simple shot everyone they could point their guns on and the ground was already covered by the dead. More than the war had claimed.

 I shoot back. When they didn't play by the rules, neither did I. The difference was every one of my shots counted, theirs didn't. I felt no compassion for these professional soldiers, when I moved between them, cutting them down as I went. This was about saving the people under my protection.

 "I am begging you". An older man stopped, looking at me with fear in his eyes. "I have a wife and kids back home".

 "And you don't think we have that ?" I asked angrily. "There are fathers, mothers, sons and daugthers among those you have slaughtered tonight and you have the nerve to ask me to spare your life ?"

 "My.. my children".

 "What about their children ?" I yelled pointing down the halway, it was littered with corpses.

 "I am begging you..".

 "Get out of here". I pulled his weapon from his hands, and poited at a group of soldiers. I needed to find out who was in charge. I grabbed to nearest. "Who are in command ?" I asked demanding.

 "Noble". He answered in a scared voice. Christopher Noble".

 "Fuck !" I pushed him away, running for the entrance. Christopher would never come inside himself. But he might be outside.

 To my big surprise I saw Zombie walk through the gate with around 300 men. Our eyes met and again I got that weird feeling, that something was wrong.

 "I heard you need help here ?" He said.

 "Catrista's soldiers". I answered. "Lead by Christopher".

 "Find Christopher". Zombie ordered his men. They spread out. Throwing theself into the fight against the soldiers.

 "So Ben are leaving for good". Zombie was looking at me. "And taking away the princess ? I can't think you are okay with that".

 "It's their choice". I answered him. He didn't need to know that we would be leaving too. "I know what you think, but Kattie is the only woman for me".

 "If you say so". Zombie shrugged.

 

 Most of the soldiers was pulling back when I entered the school again. I found Zac slumped against the wall, a hand pressed to his chest. He was breathing raspingly. "Are you okay ?" I aske worringly.

 "Just a couple of bullets, I am goi...". He was cut of by a series of shots down the hallway. I turned my attention to what was happening and spotted Kattie in the middle of it all, trying to get away. Just then someone kind of stumbled it semed, pushing Kattie out of the way, taking the bullets meant for her.

 The person had looked way to well know, and Ambers desperate screams confirmed my suspicion. I ran towards Ben at the same time as Amber. I tried to warn her, there was still soldiers behind her and the shooting wasn't over, but she ignored me.

 Kattie on the other hand looked up at me. For a second we had eye contact and I sent Ben a grateful thought for saving her life. Then everything slowed down, as she stepped in front of the two guns pointing at Amber.

 It was like those bullets pierced my own body, as I saw her body being shaken by the impact, as she fell her body pressed Amber down with her.

 I stopped in my track. Everything stopped. Ben was most likely dead and I feared that was the truth for both of the girls as well.

 I just stood there as the rest of the soldiers retreated without even seeing me. I didn't move when KC ran past me, throwing himself down next to the girls. First when he helped Amber to her feet I could say anything.

 "Is.. is she okay ?" I asked on an almost soundless whisper.

 "Amber is..". KC answered, he clearly couldn't look at me.

 My legs carried my forward by themselves and I fell to my knees, pulling Kattie to me, while I kissed the top of her head and her face over and over, like it could bring her back to me. "No". I whispered.

 I don't know how long I had been sitting there, cradling her in my arms, when Mike came over, squeezing my shoulder gently:

 "Tom !" Mike said softly. "Zac need help if he is going to make it". His voice was filled with compassion, but he wasn't feeling the pain, the loss, the grief like I was. "You are the only one standing with the needed experience".

 "I.. I can't..". My hands were shaking badly and tears blurred my vision.

 "We have lost enough". Mike said, then he nodded towards Amber. "She has lost enough". I looked at her. She was laying over Ben's lifeless body and KC was on his knees next to her, gently stroking her back. Lucas was standing next to them, both his arms around Hope, who was sobbing into his chest. "There is nothing you can do for Ben or Kattie. They are gone. But you are the only one that can save Zac".

 "Amber..". I needed to be there for her. I had promised Ben.

 "KC is taking care of her. The best thing you can do for her is saving her brother". Mike grabbed my shoulder so hard it pulled me back to reality. "Rigth now we need to clean up, get an overview and then deside what will happen".

 I tried telling myself that my hands weren't shaking badly, when I was removing the bullets from Zac's chest. Three shoots he had taken, close together and I had to work fast or he would die from the bloodloss. Right now I had to push my grief away. Forget that my whole world had just crashed and burned.

 When I had closed up the wounds, I took a bit better time to clean of the blood, check his blood pressure and breathing, before covering the wounds up. When I finishe up KC arrived.

 "I have given Amber and Hope something to sleep on". He said biting his lip worriedly. "I know it isn't the right thing to do..".

 "Well right now it is". I told him. "How many have we lost ?"

 "Lucas is doing status". KC answered. "Mike is organising the clean up and I have put extra guards at the gate. I am guessing this means that no one is leaving ?"

 "It doesn't really matter, no reason to with Ben gone". It hurt so badly saying it. And even more thinking about the fact that Kattie had followed him.

 Of course she had followed him, she always followed Ben.

 How could I be grateful towards Ben for saving her when it was all in vain ? And how could I be angry at Kattie, when she had saved Amber ?

 "I know it is a great loss, especially for you and Amber. But Ben and Kattie had been through so much together, they had so much history. Hadn't Kattie had you, I think she would have willingly followed him there too".

 "Isn't that what she did ?" I answered. I looked down at Zac. "He just have to pull through".

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