Kenji leans back on his hands. “Yeah, no.”
“Huh,” I say, my eyes focused on a point in the distance.
Kenji sighs. “Is he . . . like . . . nice to you, at least?”
I look down. Stare at my feet. “Yeah,” I whisper. “He’s really nice to me.”
“But you guys are not an item or anything?”
I make a face.
“Okay,” Kenji says quickly, holding up both hands. “All right—I was just curious. This is a judgment-free zone, J.”
I snort. “Yeah it isn’t.”
Kenji relaxes a little. “You know, Adam really thinks you and Warner are, like, a thing now.”
I roll my eyes. “Adam is stupid.”
“Tsk, tsk, princess. We need to talk about your language—”
“Adam needs to tell Warner they’re brothers.”
Kenji looks up, alarmed. “Lower your voice,” he whispers. “You can’t just go around saying that. You know how Kent feels about it.”
“I think it’s unfair. Warner has a right to know.”
“Why?” Kenji says. “You think he and Kent are going to become besties all of a sudden?”
I look at him then, my eyes steady, serious. “James is his brother, too, Kenji.”
Kenji’s body goes stiff, his face blank. His eyes widen, just a little.
I tilt my head. Raise an eyebrow.
“I didn’t even . . . wow,” he says. He presses a fist to his forehead. “I didn’t even think about that.”
“It’s not fair to either of them,” I say. “And I really think Warner would love to know he has brothers in this world. At least James and Adam have each other,” I say. “But Warner has always been alone.”
Kenji is shaking his head. Disbelief etched across his features. “This just keeps getting more and more twisted,” he says. “It’s like you think it couldn’t possibly get more convoluted, and then, bam.”
“He deserves to know, Kenji,” I say again. “You know Warner at least deserves to know. It’s his right. It’s his blood, too.”
Kenji looks up. Sighs. “Damn.”
“If Adam doesn’t tell him,” I say, “I will.”
I stare at him. Hard.
“That’s messed up, J.” Kenji looks surprised. “You can’t do that.”
“Why do you keep calling me J?” I ask him. “When did that even happen? You’ve already given me, like, fifty different nicknames.”
He shrugs. “You should be flattered.”
“Oh really?” I say. “Nicknames are flattering, huh?”
“Then how about I call you Kenny?”
Kenji crosses his arms. Stares me down. “That’s not even a little bit funny.”
I grin. “It is, a little bit.”
“How about I call your new boyfriend King Stick-Up-His-Ass?”
“He’s not my boyfriend, Kenny.”
Kenji shoots me a warning look. Points at my face. “I am not amused, princess.”
“Hey, don’t you need to shower?” I ask him.
“So now you’re telling me I smell.”
I roll my eyes.
He clambers to his feet. Sniffs his shirt. “Damn, I do kind of smell, don’t I?”
“Go,” I say. “Go and hurry back. I have a feeling this is going to be a long night.”
We’re all sitting on benches around the training room. Warner is sitting next to me and I’m doing everything I can to make sure our shoulders don’t accidentally touch.
“All right, so, first things first, right?” Winston says, looking around. “We have to get Sonya and Sara back. The question is how.” A pause. “We have no idea how to get to the supreme.”
Everyone looks at Warner.
Warner looks at his watch.
“Well?” Kenji says.
“Well, what?” Warner says, bored.
“Well, aren’t you going to help us?” Ian snaps. “This is your territory.”
Warner looks at me for the first time all evening. “You’re absolutely sure you trust these people?” he asks me. “All of them?”
“Yes,” I say quietly. “I really do.”
“Very well.” Warner takes a deep breath before addressing the group. “My father,” he says calmly, “is on a ship. In the middle of the ocean.”
“He’s on a ship?” Kenji asks, startled. “The capital is a ship?”
“Not exactly.” Warner hesitates. “But the point is, we have to lure him here. Going to him will not work. We have to create a problem big enough for him to be forced to come to us.” He looks at me then. “Juliette says she already has a plan.”
I nod. Take a deep breath. Study the faces before me. “I think we should take over Sector 45.”
“I think, together,” I tell them, “we’ll be able to convince the soldiers to fight on our side. At the end of the day, no one is benefiting from The Reestablishment except for the people in charge. The soldiers are tired and hungry and probably only took this job because there were no other options.” I pause. “We can rally the civilians and the soldiers. Everyone in the sector. Get them to join us. And they know me,” I say. “The soldiers. They’ve already seen me—they know what I can do. But all of us together?” I shake my head. “That would be amazing. We could show them that we’re different. Stronger. We can give them hope—a reason to fight back.
“And then,” I say, “once we have their support, news will spread, and Anderson will be forced to come back here. He’ll have to try and take us down—he’ll have no other choice. And once he’s back, we take him out. We fight him and his army and we win. And then we take over the country.”
Castle is the first to speak.
“Ms. Ferrars,” he says, “you’ve given this a great deal of thought.”
Kenji is looking at me like he’s not sure if he should laugh or applaud.
“What do you think?” I ask, looking around.
“What if it doesn’t work?” Lily says. “What if the soldiers are too scared to change their allegiance? What if they kill you instead?”