Chapter 7

"You can't," Jonathan says immediately, and attempts to shut the door in my face. I jam my foot in the space between the door and the frame at the last moment. The door slams against my foot, hard. I make a sound of pain.

"Sorry," he murmurs, and opens the door again. I withdraw my foot, now throbbing painfully. The thin leather does not offer much in the way of protection.

"Well, are you going to let me in or not?" I ask. Jonathan mutters under his breath but moves away from the door frame. I enter the house, and he shuts the door. We are now facing each other in the narrow hallway.

"You're not coming with me, David," he says, and makes it a statement. Almost an order. Except he is not superior to me, and I will not let this throw me.

"Yes, I am," I say stubbornly. "You promised me a long time ago that we'd stay together and watch each other's backs, always. As brothers, Jonathan. I cannot let you do this alone."

Jonathan's eyes flicker to the ground quickly and back up again. I know he is remembering that night when I came to him. When we lay in the dark, he on his bed and I on the floor on an old mattress, and he told me that he would respect me as more than a friend, as a brother, as family, and he would be watching my back. Always. I told him the same.

Now was the time to make that count.

"Stop coming up with valid arguments," Jonathan says in mock-anger, but then turns serious again. "I don't care. You are not coming. I'm doing you a favour here."

"No, you're not," I reply angrily. "If you go yourself, you're going to get killed. If I go with you, that risk is reduced by at least half. And if you get killed anyway… It's all over." I soften my voice. "I never found out why you intend to go."

Jonathan mumbles something unintelligibly, looks down at the floor with sudden interest.

"What was that?" I say, raising my eyebrows inquisitively.

"God, David, will you stop it already?" he looks back up at me, eyes shining with anger. "I'm going… because I want to prove to myself that I can be something else." He says quickly, and stalks off to some other area of the house, leaving me staring after him.

Of course… He's not going to use his powers when he goes out there. He's going to fight without them. He's going to fight… like an ordinary man. To prove… that he is one.

I cannot believe I didn't realise this earlier. Of course, this only fuels my determination to go with him. Nothing is going to stop me.

I hear some loud noises from the back of the house, and decide to leave Jonathan alone for a while. I leave the house, and close the door behind me silently.

I decide to take a stroll over to the registration building, just to make my decision official. It is situated in the main part of the village, which means it is a while away from Jonathan's house. I do have a lot of time to spare.

I think of Genevieve on the way there, about how she will react to my decision. Will she be sad? Will she accept my decision? Will she be happy for me, defending our country? I think of her eyes, those bright green eyes that show so much emotion. What will they show if she knows of this? I chase the thoughts from my head. It does not matter, I tell myself. I am not… in love with her. This is merely a one sided affair.

Or is it?

My train of thought is disrupted as I see the registration building looming ahead. It is large and imposing, the tall mahogany doors shut. I know it is open, though, because just as I am about to knock, a man opens the door, startling me. He has some parchment in his hand. I assume he has just registered voluntarily, or maybe he was enlisted and was there collecting his documents. I take a deep breath and walk in.

There is a long hall ahead. I walk along it, my footsteps echoing off the walls, which, combined with the emptiness of the place, makes them seem louder than they actually are. There are doors to my right, and various framed articles of writing on the wall to my left. I continue walking until I reach the door labelled "Army Services". I open it.

Inside, at a desk, sits a man who I assume is in charge. He signs documents, not looking up as I approach him.

"Hello," I say cautiously. "I'm here to… register. For the army."

He looks up at me. "Volunteer?"

"Yes."

"Name?"

"David, son of Cyrus."

He grabs a thick book from the corner of his desk and begins to flick through it. I know that this is the book that contains the names of all the men who have come of age to be in the army.

The man looks back up at me with a surprised expression. "Are you the governor's son?" he asks.

"Yes," I say.

He shrugs. "Well, okay," he says, but seems a bit suspicious. He looks around before saying, "Did he make you do this?"

"No," I say.

"Does he know you're doing this?" he asks.

I sigh. "Honestly, I don't know."

"I know where you're coming from," he says, patting my hand. I stare at him, bemused. Does he really? But he is already writing something down on a sheet of parchment. He hands it to me, and marks my name off in the big book.

"Thank you, sir," I say, and give him an awkward little nod. It seems he has gone back to not noticing me, because he doesn't reply. I leave the room, and then the registration building, shutting the door silently behind me, as to not disturb the silence of the place.

The sun starts to set as I walk back to Jonathan's house, painting the sky in beautiful colours of maroon, orange, purple, and yellow, and drawing out long shadows on the ground. Usually, I would take my time to admire this display. But this time, I can only think of one thing.

It's official.

I am going to the war.