For thousands of years the Elementals have chosen people to be their vessels as they help control the natural world and protect the people in it. Dante, Elijah, Stephen, and Christian are the latest generation of vessels. Stephen and Christian are destined to be together as Wind and Earth; Dante and Elijah as Water and Fire.
Then Elijah dies abruptly, tearing Dante apart.
Fire is reborn in Nicholai, and destined to be Dante's new mate—but Dante doesn't want someone new, and Nicholai is far too young to understand his new role and all his future will hold. As the years pass and Nicholai grows, Dante's constant refusals harden Nicholai against their bond, straining the relationship between all the vessels.
But if they're going to protect the world and ensure a future—for themselves and everyone else—they'll have to find a way to get beyond their pasts and let old wounds heal.
Another forest fire controlled, and I was exhausted. At least this one had been within a few hours of our home in Utah so the four of us—the humans housing the elementals—could get there, take care of things, and come back within the same weekend. It made the stress on us a lot easier. My boyfriend, Elijah, had gone out for a drive to relax shortly after we’d returned. I didn’t blame him one bit for wanting to get some air.
Right after he’d left, Stephen and Christian, the other elementals we lived with and our best friends, went out for a walk as well, leaving me with the TV and a pile of movies to watch. By eleven they were back and Elijah still wasn’t home. I kept looking at my phone, waiting for him to call me, but it never happened.
By one I knew he was dead. He had to be. He’d never stayed out this long and that was the only explanation I had for it. Even Stephen and Christian were leaving me alone as I sat there staring at my phone and willing him to not be dead and to call me. My brain thought up a hundred different reasons why he hadn’t. I didn’t even care if he’d found Chris Pratt and was in bed with him right then. Chris was his freebie. The one person he could be with and it wouldn’t be him cheating on me. Mine was Zachary Quinto. I’d never thought I would have wanted to wish Elijah was with someone else, but as the clock on my phone crept closer to two I hoped he was.
By three I knew better. The police stood in our doorway and I was numb. They spoke of a car accident, of Elijah driving too fast around a curve. I heard practically none of it. I felt Stephen’s arms around me and I heard Christian’s voice.
Elijah was burned a week later. We were elementals and so there was a large gathering of people, each wanting to see us, and him. I wanted them all to leave. We had been four and now we were three and I could do nothing but cry as he laid there only inches from me. He was unmoving and cold. He’d never felt as cold to me as that morning when I went to touch his hand only to be shocked back by the absolute chill of his skin.
People took pictures of us as we mourned. I wanted them to get the hell away from us but there was nothing any of us could do about that. We were celebrities in a way, and now we were morbid celebrities.
Stephen and Christian rushed me home as soon as they possibly could, but it wasn’t soon enough for my taste. There had been too many people and too much noise when all I wanted to do was scream and cry about how unfair it all was that Elijah was gone. We weren’t human, not really anyway, and yet something as absolutely human as a car accident had taken him from me.
I couldn’t deal. I laid down on my parent’s couch and I didn’t ever want to get up again. The US government had given us a month off to grieve, unless some massive natural disaster came up, but as far as I was concerned the world could burn. All I had cared about was Elijah and now he was dead.
My mom shoved food into my face. She’d been doing it every day since Elijah’s death. Stephen and Christian were always close, but my mom hovered. She made sure to feed me all the time, even though I was never hungry. I’d only been back from helping to stop flooding in Bolivia for an hour before she’d decided she needed to push food on me again. Working as much as possible was a good distraction and Water was there, always inside of me, always trying to comfort me in his own silent way.
“I have some news for you,” she began as she handed me a slice of cake as if my love for all things chocolate would somehow make this all better. Nothing could make any of this any better. The only thing that kept me from crying over Elijah’s death everyday was work and there weren’t enough natural disasters to keep any of us that busy.
“What is it?”
“Fire has been reborn.”
She’d kept her voice soft, but I still heard every horrible word she’d said. “No.” I shook my head. It couldn’t be. I didn’t want to believe it.
“Dante…” She tried to rub my shoulder, maybe to comfort me, maybe to try to keep me calm, but none of it worked. Nothing would. I needed out and I needed not to hear what she was saying. Fire couldn’t be back. Elijah had been the element and no one else could replace him. I would not have another partner.
“Dante there has to be a fourth, you know that.” She tried to reason with me as I shoved my feet into some flip flops.
There did, but I didn’t need to know about it. I grabbed my things and stormed from the house. I needed to be away from there and I needed Christian and Stephen. Only they could make this right for me again.
I’d barely used my powers since Elijah’s death but as I walked along the river that ran along the trail I took to get to the house the three of us shared I felt the pull of the water again like I had before his death. It was a sign Fire had returned to the world and so our powers would all be stronger, but it was one I was quick to ignore.
I was still in a rage as I stormed into our house. Stephen noticed me first. He tried to smile, but I glared at him and he lost it quickly.
“He knows,” Stephen called out.
“Give him space,” Christian yelled back from another room.
I snarled at them both and went to the hot tub. I needed to be in the water right then, to feel it all around me, and to know its calming presence.