Hotter Than Fire

266022
**Darkest Minds Fanfiction**
Tamarin is twelve years old when his little sister Chamberly is taken away by soldiers in black. Several inexplicable things happen that day, including explosions and unexplained fires. Six years later, now 16, Tam begins to understand everything that's happened. He discovers his identity as a red. Attempting to survive, he searches for Chamberly- joining up with some interesting allies along the way.

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18. A team

 

The van stops abruptly, and I fall back. Kia lands on top of me, still hugging me. The door to the back opens, and I look over and see Amaranth. She raises her eyebrows.

    “Clearly I’m interrupting again.” There’s a hint of bitterness in her voice. “We’re clear.”

    Kia quickly disentangles herself from me. She has a stray tear at the corner of her eye, and she brushes it away quickly. “Thank you,” she says softly to Amaranth. “We never would have gotten out of there without you.” She pauses, and then glances at me. “I’ve been thinking about what you said to me. I think you’re right.”

    Amaranth blinks. “Sweetheart, that’s past now.”

    “Still, you were right,” Kia insists. “I just wanted to clear the air so you don’t hate me or anything.”

    Amaranth stares at Kia like she’s come from another planet. “You’re not bad,” she says finally. Then she turns her eyes to me.

    I take a deep breath. Kia has made her peace with Amaranth. Now it’s my turn. The only problem is that it’s going to be a little harder for me.

    I sigh. “Are we somewhere we won’t be seen?”

    She nods.

    “Let’s take a walk. I need to talk to you.” I look over at Kia. I hate to leave my sister here, but I have to do this. “Watch Chamberly, will you? Scream if she wakes up.”

    Kia smiles. “Got it. You two go talk.”

    I nod, and then climb out of the car.

    Amaranth and I walk in silence until we’re a good distance away from the car. Then I stop, and turn to face Amaranth.

    “There’s something you want to say,” she comments. “Just say it.”

    I take a deep breath. “Listen, Amaranth… how I sent you away… I understand, it was a little harsh. But after what you said to Kia… I couldn’t forgive you.”

    She cocks her head. “You’re telling me you still hate me then.” Her voice is sad. “And you want to send me away without your little girl overhearing. You can tell her that I just left on my own. That’s it, isn’t it?”

    I stare at her. This is harder than I thought. Why are girls so confusing? “I wasn’t done.”

    “Then finish.”

    Her eyes are distracting. They shine so brightly. I can’t tell if she’s going to laugh or cry. The light is about the same. I sigh, and find somewhere else to look.

    “Listen, Amaranth. I know I was angry at you. In a way, I still am. But Kia forgave you. And if she can forgive you, then so can I.” I sigh. If she could read my mind, this would be much easier. “We were in a bad situation there,” I admit finally. “And you got us out of it. Without you, I don’t know what would have happened. So I guess I’m saying… thank you. I owe you. If you want to stay with us, then… you can.”

    She cocks her head. A lock of blonde hair falls over her shoulder, like a little ray of sunshine against her skin. With her black Psi soldier uniform, everything about her stands out so brightly. It’s unnatural to see her in that outfit- the outfit of people that have haunted me for so long. And yet, somehow she manages to make it look less threatening, and more beautiful. She can make anything look beautiful.

    I force myself to focus. “There will be rules, of course,” I add quickly. “Leave Kia alone. No getting jealous, or you’re out. And the same for my sister. No messing with my mind. At any time. For any reason. Understand?”
    She nods.

    “You’ll have to help us find food too,” I continue. “And watch for skip tracers, and soldiers, and-”
    She puts a hand on my shoulder, cutting me off. “So I can stay?” she practically purrs.

    My mind blanks, and I nod.

    “Good.” She leans forwards, and for a minute I think she’s going to kiss me. I find myself leaning towards her as well, almost against my own will. But she stops inches from me, and smiles.

    “I knew it,” she whispers. Then she lets go of me and walks back towards the vehicle.

 

    By the time I get back, Kia is sitting next to Chamberly, playing with her short cropped hair. She looks incredibly bored, but she smiles when we come back.

    “How was your heart to heart?” she asks cheerfully.

    “It wasn’t really a heart to heart, sweetie,” Amaranth laughs. “Just a little conversation. Tam’s decided to let me stay. If that’s okay with you.”

    Kia lets out a little laugh. “The more the merrier, right?” she pats Chamberly’s head. “Once she wakes up we’ll have a whole party!”

    I look at my sister, and my smile falls. If she wakes up

    Amaranth and Kia both notice my face. Kia’s eyes drop to the ground, and I feel Amaranth place a hand on my shoulder. Her skin is warm, and her touch sends little tingles down my spine. It’s a pleasant feeling, but not one that I want right now. I shrug her hand off, and she draws back.

    “We should keep driving. Kia, honey, why don’t you ride shotgun with me? I think Tam here needs some time alone with his sister.”

    Kia looks to me, and I nod slightly. She shrugs, and then nods. “I call picking the radio station!”

    Amaranth gives me a little nod. You’re welcome.

    I nod back. Thank you.

    Kia climbs into the front beside Amaranth, and I lift Chamberly, placing her in the back next to me. As the car starts up, I sit down next to her, waiting for her to wake.

 
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