The Brotherhood: Kara: One Step At A Time

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the Brotherhood collection
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Growling under her breath she opened the kitchen door and stalked out into the garden, because she knew that if she stayed in the kitchen with Lucas then she’d blow up at him. She didn’t want to talk to Daniel either, so she headed for where Conrad and Miriam had been buried. It wasn’t until she was a few steps away that she realised someone was already there. Tears welled up in her eyes as she turned to walk away.

“Don’t go,” Daniel said, as he grabbed hold of her shoulder.

“Let me go.”

He tightened his grip. “Why are you angry with me?”

“You should never have brought back Mim and Conrad. It was a stupid idea.”

“I did it for you.” He pulled Kara closer to him and wrapped an arm around her waist. “You missed them.”

“Missing someone isn’t a reason to bring them back from the dead.”

“Don’t be mad at me. I never thought it might not be what you wanted.” Daniel pressed a kiss to her neck. “I thought it would make you happy.”

Kara tried to pull free of his grip, but he always had been physically stronger than her. “Can you send them back?”

“That’s not possible.”

“What are you planning on doing now?”

“Staying here, with you and my sister.”

“Daniel, I told you that I don’t want to be with you and I meant it.” She shook her head. “Are you planning to stay here as the leader of this house?”

“Maybe. I don’t know. It seemed like a good idea earlier, but I don’t know if I want to be tied to a house. Being able to move around is important for me.”

“Shall I take that as a no, then?”

“Who would be taking on the leadership?”

“Lucas.”

There was a moment of silence. “I changed my mind. I’m taking over the house.” Daniel tightened his grip on Kara. “You may trust him, but I don’t. He looks at you like…” He shuddered. “I’ll need your help.”

“Daniel…”

“Obviously my friends will be coming with me, so we’ll need several rooms.”

“Are you sure it’s a good idea?”

“Yes, it’s a brilliant idea. I can teach others how to learn interesting powers.”

“That definitely isn’t a good idea. People have enough difficulty coping with the powers they have, so I really don’t suggest you do that.”

“Why don’t we leave it up to them to make up their own minds, Kara? I know you’re just being protective, but anyone over sixteen in the house should be given the choice.”

“Fine, whatever, just don’t say I didn’t warn you when it goes wrong.” Breathing deeply, Kara turned to face him. “How did you learn to shapeshift?”

“It’s been a long time since you were this close to me,” Daniel said, smiling.

“Focus, Daniel.”

“I’ll teach you first, if that’s what you want. I’m sure there are some powers that you’ve always wanted to have.”

“Not really.” Kara had always wanted to be normal, but she had never been given that choice. “I need to know now how you did it.”

Daniel shook his head. “We have other things to do now, beautiful. How are Miriam and Conrad?”

“They were fine when I left them.”

“Are they with Lucas?”

“Does it really matter who they’re with as long as they’re with someone?”

“Kara, answer the question.”

“Yes, they’re with Lucas.”

“Come on then.”

Kara tried not to breathe a sigh of relief when Daniel freed her from his grip. Moments later he took hold of her hand and started walking towards the kitchen door. She had no real choice but to follow him, even though she didn’t want to. If it wasn’t for Conrad and Miriam she would have left the house for good. Having them there meant she had no choice. She had to stay, in a house that would change totally under Daniel’s control, because she had to look after them. They hadn’t been given a choice either.

“You need to think about what you’re going to do before you get in there,” Kara said, trying to slow him down a bit.

“I know what I’m going to do.”

“Walking in and announcing you the new leader of the house is not a good idea.”

“Why not?” He opened the door to the kitchen. “That’s what I am.”

Daniel stepped into the room. Kara managed to pull her hand free as she followed him, making the most of his distraction. She quickly put both hands into her pocket and used her arm to close the door, so he wouldn’t be able to steal either of them, before looking around the kitchen. Lucas was stood next to the oven, assessing Daniel closely. When Lucas turned his attention to her she shook her head, knowing exactly what he was thinking, because he would never be able to win in a fight against Daniel. If he couldn’t win against her then there was no chance.
Conrad and Miriam were still sat at the table. Miriam glanced over at her, seeming a bit more herself than before. Again Kara wished she was telepathic so she could talk to Miriam. It would be nice to know what she was thinking. Sighing, Kara looked at Conrad. He was staring at her intently, obviously waiting for her to look at him.

Are you okay?

Don’t ask me questions I don’t know how to answer. When did you become telepathic?

He smiled at her. ‘I think it’s a bonus power for being brought back from the dead.

Really?

Well, I definitely didn’t have it before I died.’ He shrugged. ‘Did I have all four powers?

I don’t know. Bloody hell, Conrad, it was a long time ago.

Check the books for me later.

“If you two are going to talk I would appreciate it if you’d talk out loud,” Daniel said, making Kara jump. “It’s rude to talk mind-to-mind when there are other people around.”

Kara raised an eyebrow. “Conrad was just checking on me. It’s what friends do.”

“I would still prefer it if you’d talk out loud.” An arm wrapped around her waist. “I am your leader.”

“Really?” Lucas asked, sounding almost amused.

“Yes, really. Kara said she’ll help me.”

‘I didn’t. He told me that I’m going to help him.’

“As long as I know what’s happening, it’s all good.” Lucas shrugged. “With Tristan gone we need a leader.”

“You aren’t going to fight me.”

“I have better things to do with my time.”

“Like fight Kara?” The arm tightened around her and she rolled her eyes. “I did see what was happening before I arrived.”

“That was just a little disagreement,” Lucas lied smoothly. “It happens here.”

What did happen?

A failure to talk first and fight later.

Kara…

I know, okay. You always were the diplomatic one.

“If you touch her again then you answer to me,” Daniel growled.

“That’s going to make training difficult,” Lucas replied, with another smooth lie, and Kara knew she wouldn’t have been able to lie as well. “She’s the only person I can fight in training.”

All Kara could do was stare at Lucas. ‘Brilliant. Now I need to steal the record books before Daniel can look at them.’ She managed to project a sigh. ‘Why is this happening to me?

He’s already taken them. Don’t worry, we planned this out.

Thanks for the warning.

You were keeping Daniel busy.

Next time, can I be let into the plan rather than just a part of it?

Maybe.‘ Conrad’s mind voice sounded smug. ‘I’m not just going to let that moron take over my house.

Someone’s possessive.

It was always my house, Kara. You and I both know that.

Are you stronger that Lucas?

We’re going to find out when I’m older.

Kara turned her attention back to the conversation Daniel and Lucas were having. “She’s my girlfriend, okay? If I want to say that she can’t take part in training any more then that’s up to me.”

“Actually, Daniel, it’s up to me,” Kara said, doing her best to keep her voice even, no matter what she was feeling. “Even if I was your girlfriend I wouldn’t let you stop me from training. If I don’t train then I’m useless.” She shook her head. “I am going to train as normal.”

“Kara…”

She could hear the warning note in his voice and that made her think about what she was going to say. “I know you’re just trying to protect me, but I don’t need it. I’ve been looking after myself for a long time and I can’t let anyone make me weak.” She forced her to look at him. “Just trust me.”

“You’re going to get hurt.”

Conrad laughed. “Kara won’t get hurt. She’s one of the best fighters I know.”

“You’ve been dead for a long time,” Daniel said.

“That doesn’t change Kara.”

Where did you find this one?‘ Conrad’s voice was full of scorn. ‘Does he know you at all?

I don’t know.

“Daniel, I’ve fought you before.” Kara shrugged. “You weren’t worried about hurting me.”

“That was different.”

“How?”

“I wasn’t in love with you then.”

He’s not in love with you now. That’s not a feeling I can describe in words, but it’s sure as hell not love, lust, or anything like either of them. It’s black and nasty.

I had realised that, Conrad,‘ Kara said, trying not to smile at him because she knew it would give away their mind-to-mind conversation. ‘I’m not an empath, but I know he doesn’t feel true love for me.

“Let’s not argue about this now.” It felt weird to be having two conversations and all she could do was hope that she didn’t say the wrong thing to the wrong person. “How are we going to announce the change of leadership?”

“I’m not sure we should,” Lucas said, and Kara turned to look at him. “Everyone knows what happened to Tristan, and they heard Daniel before, so it would probably be easier just to leave things as they are.” He shrugged. “If anyone needs to ask questions they can.”

“I didn’t ask for your opinion,” Daniel replied. “The inhabitants of this house need to know that I am in charge now and that means things are going to change.”

Kara sighed. “Daniel, a lot of the people in the house are children. This sort of thing is just going to scare them and I really don’t think that’s fair.” She looked at him again. “We have enough problems as it is without scaring people. If we’re going to do this then it needs to be done carefully.”

“Why are you suddenly working against me?”

“How is being sensible working against you? Today has been a difficult day for everyone, and I don’t just mean the people in this room, so we need to work things through. If you want to take over the house you need to do it properly.”

“What do you mean properly?”

Kara thought for a few seconds, trying to find the right words even though she didn’t think there were any right words. “In the last three weeks,” she said finally, “we’ve had four new arrivals. They’ve just been thrown out of their home because they turned into animals and right now they’re terrified. None of them understand what happened to them or why. Yesterday they were interacting with Tristan and a couple of our older children in order to learn about the Millennium powers. If you just step into that position without taking time to think about those children, then you are failing in your first duty as the leader of this house. No matter what happens we look after those children.”

“I’d never thought of that.” Daniel looked at Conrad and Miriam, who were still both children. “You told me before that everyone arrives at this house at a very young age because of the circumstances surrounding their power, but I never realised how much of an effect that would have on how you led this house.” He looked back at Kara. “What do you suggest I do?”

Well done.

Thank you.

“We take it one step at a time.” Kara turned to look at Lucas. “I need you to spread the word, as quickly as you can, amongst everyone over the age of fifteen. Anyone with questions can talk to Daniel, who is going to be in the study.”

Are you sure the records have been moved?

Yes, I am.

“I’ll start talking Daniel through the basics,” she continued. “Conrad, Mim, you’re going to need to stay with me for now.”

Daniel touched her shoulder. “I’m sure I can deal with a few questions alone. Why don’t you spend the rest of the evening with Conrad and Miriam?”

“It’s not going to be that easy.”

“Kara, I’ll be fine.”

Leave him to it. If he makes a mess of it then maybe we’ll be able to get rid of him.

It’s not going to be that simple.

“I don’t know.”

“What are you scared of?”

“You telling people in the house that you can teach them the ability to learn other powers, powers that aren’t naturally theirs. I don’t want you saying anything about that to anyone.”

Interesting.

Dangerous.

Possibly, but even having powers is dangerous.

“Kara, I promised you I would teach you first. I’m not going to break that promise.”

Lips touched Kara’s forehead as he passed her on his way to the kitchen door. Even though she wanted to spend the evening with Conrad and Miriam, without Daniel, a part of her wanted to follow him to make sure that he didn’t say anything. There were people in the house Kara didn’t trust, so she didn’t even want them to know it was possible, let alone how to do it, but she knew that as soon as one person knew the whole house would.

“Seriously?” Lucas asked, looking at Kara. “You’re going to learn how to learn other powers?”

Kara sighed. “I don’t think I have a lot of choice.”

“We could leave.”

“That’s not an option.” She looked at Conrad and Miriam, wondering if she would in different circumstances, before turning her attention back to Lucas. “Daniel needs to be controlled. I dread to think what he’d do if we left him alone in a house full of children with powers.”

“I’m more worried about you than everyone else.”

“You don’t need to worry about me. I can look after myself.”

“He knows, Kara,” Miriam said, making Kara jump. “I told him about what happened before when you were out in the garden.”

“That doesn’t change a thing.” Breathing deeply, she looked at Miriam. “I am no less capable of looking after myself than I was back then, so I don’t need any of you worrying about me.”

“Maybe you don’t, but that’s not going to stop us. You were one of our closest friends then, and being dead hasn’t changed that for me, although I can understand if it did change things for you.”

As Kara studied the two people she had thought of as her best friends she tried to come to terms with what had happened. They were alive. Daniel’s necromancer had brought them both back, and that was going to change her life. She wasn’t the same person she was when they died. Time had changed her, so there was a chance, no matter what Miriam said, that their relationship would never be the same again. Working out what to say, and how to say it, was no easier with them than it had been when she was talking to Daniel. “We need to take our time to come to terms with everything.” She brushed a hand through her hair. “I never imagined it would be possible for someone to bring the two of you back, and at the very time it happened the house is going through one of the biggest changes it’s ever gone through, because before I was the only person affected.”

“How has it been?” Miriam’s eyes met with Kara’s. “I’m sorry for putting you through that pain. I wish I hadn’t made the choices I did, but at the time it seemed like the only thing I could.”

“Mim, you have nothing to apologise for. We were children. Dealing with Leonard wasn’t something any of us could have been prepared for, and I can understand why you made the choices you did, but I’m not going to say it didn’t affect me. I was alone. There was no one here for me to rely on. Seeing Tristan… I panicked, to begin with. I didn’t want him to be here, yet I knew I needed him to take control, because I knew I wasn’t going to be alone for long, and when the next new arrival came I wasn’t ready. I’d had no time to let go of what had happened.” Kara looked at Lucas, before turning back to Miriam. “I made mistakes. I still make mistakes now, because I react without thinking, the way I always did before.”

“Not always. If you’d reacted without thinking we wouldn’t have had a chance to speak before I ended things. You knew there was something wrong, so you helped me through it, as best you could, and I will always be grateful to you for that.”

Kara smiled. “Occasionally I make the right choices. Most of the time I don’t. I have no problem with admitting that, but things have to change now.” Her smile faded. “Daniel’s arrival is going to have an effect on everyone in the house, and on everything we do. We need to be ready for him to make decisions that are going to affect the entire Brotherhood.”

“Which we know far too little about,” Lucas said. “Tristan, from what I read in his journals, has tried to contact the other houses, but their leaders haven’t replied. He had no way of knowing why. There is a chance they’re going through the same difficult transitions we are. My focus has always been on this house, on looking after those who have found us, and now I find myself wondering if that was the right choice to make. Should I have spent some time learning about the other houses?”

“Ever since Leonard made the decision to split from the rest of the Brotherhood there’s been a distance between us and the other houses.” Conrad shrugged. “I’m not surprised they wouldn’t be any more willing to deal with Leonard’s grandson, but it does put us at a disadvantage if the other houses have been working together. Leonard’s records made me think it was unlikely the Brotherhood would have stayed together. Each member of the group had a different priority.”

“What do you know of them?”

“Not much. Leonard didn’t like me asking too many questions about the other houses, or the other leaders. He was, however, happy to talk in more general terms about finding the crystals. A book was found, by a man called Dexter, who gathered his friends and told them about what was coming. The book mentioned the Millennium Children, and how they would affect the world, so he made the decision the best thing they could do was help those who would be born with the abilities we have… only it was never going to be that simple. Not when it came to a group of people who soon found themselves arguing about whether they would help the children, or use them. Leonard, obviously, chose to use us.”

“There should be more information in one of Leonard’s journals. It’s not something he wouldn’t have written about, because he wrote about everything, but I’m not certain what would have happened to them after…” Miriam trailed off, nibbling her bottom lip. “What did you do with them, Kara?”

“I left them for Tristan. I trusted him, and I wanted him to know about the decisions his grandfather had made. It was the right choice to make. He’s the one who made the decision to keep them, as a reminded of the sort of person he never wanted to be, so they should be wherever the records are now.”

“You know how badly that could have gone, don’t you?” Kara didn’t need to look at Conrad to know exactly what his expression would be. When she did all she could see was a little boy who’d never had a chance to grow up. He hadn’t needed to make the difficult decisions she’d made, because he was dead. “Tristan could have made a very different decision.”

“He could have done, but he didn’t. I’m not going to look back at the choices I made them and second guess myself. Tristan has been a good leader. Well, I think he has anyway.” She glanced at Lucas. “I don’t believe everyone here agrees with me…”

“I never said he wasn’t a good leader. I said it was impossible for him to truly understand what it was like to be one of us, so I thought it would be best if someone else, someone who does understand, took his place. Learning the truth about what happened to Conrad and Miriam was always going to have an effect on my opinion of Tristan. I just wish the two of you had told us the story sooner, because if you had done we might not be in the position we are now.”

“Not telling it seemed simpler at the time. Reliving it wasn’t something I wanted to do. As time passed it became harder to bring up, for so many reasons.” Kara sighed. “I’m sorry, Lucas.”

<<< The Brotherhood: Conrad: Talking with Lucas***The Brotherhood: Tatiana: Arriving at the Shapeshifter House >>>
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