Will was sitting on the floor, and Ash was lying down with her head in his lap.
"Ash, I need to talk to you," Renee said breathlessly as she ran into the living room.
Ash quickly sat up, her wavy hair falling across her face. "About what?"
Ash winced as another cramp ran through her torso. "What about it?"
Renee walked across the room and sat on the couch in front of her. "I found something more in your blood."
Ash stayed silent, confusion on her face.
"I found hydrogen and oxygen cells in your blood.”
Will leaned back. “Isn’t that what’s in our blood, mom?” he asked.
Renee nodded. “Yes. Ash, has your body ever given you any hint to let you know that you can control water, too?”
Ash tilted her head and thought for a second, then shook her head. “No. Water’s always steamed when it’s touched me, and I’ve burnt Will a lot before because my temperature’s too hot for anyone else to handle.”
Will shook his head. “That’s not true, Ash. You’ve only burnt me once. Every other time, I’ve either steamed or nothing’s happened. There’ve been small signs all along, but we’ve never picked up on them.”
Ash thought for a moment, then nodded. “You’re right. There’s been times where nothing’s happened and you should’ve had at least second-degree burns.”
“But this explains it,” Renee interjected. “It must have come from your mother, that’s the only other place you could’ve got it.”
“So it’s possible that I inherited my mom’s and my dad’s blood?”
Renee nodded. “That’s the only explanation I can think of for this. I don’t think there’s any other way that those other cells could’ve gotten in your blood.”
Ash looked down, and then back up at Renee. “So how will we know for sure? Will I go through the whole ‘coming-of-age’ thing again?”
Renee shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never seen this happen before, but it’s a possibility. We’ll just have to keep watching you and see.”
Will and Ash exchanged glances.
“If she were to go through the coming-of-age again, how long will it take before she does and how long will it affect her? She can’t be in that condition while we’re trying to destroy the facility. I’ll need her in her full health for that,” Will said.
“I understand,” Renee answered. “But I’m not sure, it depends on how long it’s been in her blood. And if it’s been in there as long as the elements that give her the fire, then it could be any day. And as for how long, I’m not sure. It varies from person to person.”
“So should we wait and see if the whole coughing up blood thing happens again? Or just go ahead and go and hope for the best?” Ash asked Renee.
She shrugged. “That’s up to you and Will. I don’t know the horrors that are locked up in that place, but if it’s bad enough to make you cry out in your sleep and stay up nights, then I say go ahead now and deal with the coughing there. But that’s your call, you know what’s best for you right now.”
Ash closed her eyes and spoke in a voice edged in steel. “The Type M Blood Facility is a death machine that with every day it is still working rips apart lives and kills innocent people. I’ve made it out of there once while I was in this ‘condition,’ and I can do it again. But this facility needs to go down and never come back.”
Will nodded in agreement. “And this time, there’s less of a risk.”
“How so?” Renee asked. “You’re going back into the lion’s den, that just as risky as the first time you were there.”
Will shook his head. “No it’s not, because this time Ash and I know how to work together for the good of us both, not just our own interests.”
Ash nodded. “He’s right, it’s actually a little safer for us to go back this time.”
“But what about Gustav, or the other scientists who might remember you from last time?” Renee asked.
“I can take care of that,” Ash said coldly.
Renee was about to question Ash about the more sinister meaning behind her words when the girl started coughing violently. She fell forward to the ground and rolled onto her back.
Renee helped support Ash’s head as she continued thrashing. “Will, go get the sedatives from my lab, now,” Renee commanded in a cool voice used to control. Will quickly got up and ran up the stairs toward the lab.
“It’s going to be okay, Ash,” Renee said, trying to help calm Ash down. Her charcoal-ringed golden-orange eyes locked once on Renee’s before she blacked out.
Will ran back downstairs, the liquid sedative in a syringe in his hands. “Is she going to be okay? This is just part of her coming into terms with the other elements, right?” he asked uncertainly.
“Of course,” Renee said, but secretly wondering if that was really what was wrong with Ash.