Disclaimer: I own nothing. Caleb and Pogue belong to J.S. Cardone, Screen Gems, and Lakeshore Entertainment.
Author's Note: Thank you to Mercurybard for the beta. Written for Yuletide.

Caleb Danvers looked into the black depths of the water below him. Waves crashed against the rocks, each pound beckoning to him. It would be so easy to spread his arms and let the sea take him instead of the power coursing through his veins.

He wasn't supposed to be this powerful. He wasn't supposed to be this tempted. Yet, he not only felt his own power pushing against his brain, but his father's power as well. Use me, it whispered. You can do anything. He closed his eyes and willed it to the back of his mind. He hadn't asked for this, but it would kill him all the same. Hell, it might even kill him quicker.

He opened his eyes and watched the waves once more. It would be so easy...

“Thought I'd find you here.” Caleb turned to see Pogue Parry climbing the rocks behind him, a six pack of beer in his hand. He pushed his blondish-brown hair out of his eyes to see where he stepped. Caleb was glad to see him back on his feet. After the motorcycle accident, the doctors didn't hold much hope. Once Caleb had broken the spell, though, Pogue had healed almost overnight. A few fading scars were all that was left.

“Should've known you'd come find me.” Caleb nodded to the six pack. “Where did you get that?”

“The gas station.”

Caleb narrowed his dark eyes. “You used again, didn't you?”

Pogue set the six pack down and pulled out a can. “Who needs a card when ladies can't resist my eyes?” With a grin, he tossed it to Caleb. “Besides it's for a good cause.”

Caleb raised an eyebrow as he caught the can. “A good cause?”

“You're brooding again, man.” Pogue opened his own can and took a swallow. He then stood, joining Caleb at the edge of the cliff. Peering over the edge, he let out a low whistle. “Long way down, huh?” He nudged his friend and took another swig. “We could take it, though.”

Caleb chuckled, unable to resist. It was good to see the mischief return to Pogue's green eyes. Those eyes had been sad for far too long, ever since Chase had shown up at the beginning of the year and put both Pogue and his girlfriend Kate in the hospital. Caleb popped open his can and took a swallow.

“How's Kate doing?” he asked.

Pogue stepped back from the cliff. Finding a large rock, he sat down and made himself comfortable. His eyes turned serious as he contemplated his beer. “She's doing better. The bites are taking a while to heal, but the doctor said she would recover.” He met Caleb's eyes. “Have you talked to Sarah yet?”

Caleb shook his head, joining his friend on the rock. “No. Not since the dance.” He gulped down another swallow of beer. “I don't think she wants to talk to me.” He watched the fog dance across the cliff's edge. “I don't blame her. I shouldn't have brought her into this.”

Pogue slapped him on the shoulder. “Not your fault, man. If that asshole hadn't tried to kill us all, you could've kept it a secret forever. Thank God he's gone.”

Caleb was silent for a moment. Part of him knew Pogue's statement was true, but deep down, he wasn't sure. Could he have strung Sarah along? She had put two and two together long before Chase attacked her.

Chase. Neither the cops nor the fire department had found a body in the wreckage of the old barn. Not even charred remains.

“Do you really think Chase is gone?”

Pogue nodded. “I do, man.” He tossed his head back and finished off the can of beer. “But if he's not, you'll have more help this time. Remember, I turn eighteen in two more weeks.”

A cold feeling coiled at the bottom of Caleb's stomach, causing his insides to freeze. Pogue was right. In two weeks, his best friend would have to deal with this struggle along with him. He looked at the other boy, worry creasing his brow. With his long blondish-brown hair, dancing green eyes, and leather jacket, many people thought he was a rebel. Pogue didn't mind; he played the role to the hilt. But Caleb knew better. He was the one Pogue called in the middle of the night when the nightmares were too bad. How could he tell him the nightmares got worse as the powers increased?

He didn't want Pogue to ascend. Nor Reid, nor Tyler. He didn't wish this constant battle waging in his head on anyone, not even Chase.

He closed his eyes. Chase...

“Ascension isn't all fun and games, man. What if we turn into something like Chase or worse?” Caleb asked.

Pogue regarded him, the mirth leaving his eyes again. “Won't happen.”

“How can you be so sure?” Caleb knew the powers gave them a lot of abilities, but seeing the future wasn't one of them.

The mischief returned to Pogue's eyes. “You're a good guy, Caleb. The most decent one of us, man. If any of us can beat the temptation, it's you.” He squeezed his shoulder again.

“The most decent one, huh?” Caleb focused on the beer in his hands. “They used to say that about my father, too.”

“You're not your father, Caleb.”

“I hope not.” Caleb stared at the cliff. “It gets harder and harder everyday to keep the Power in check.”

“You won't give into it, man. Neither will the rest of us. We've got something Chase and the others didn't have.”

Caleb met Pogue's eyes. “What's that?”

Pogue's mouth quirked in a grin. “Each other.”

Caleb returned Pogue's grin. “Thanks, man.”

“So, you done brooding, or do I have to call the calvary?” Pogue stood, chucking his empty can over the cliff.

“I'm done.” Caleb finished off his can and followed Pogue's example.

“Good. Let's take the rest of this back to Reid and Tyler.” Pogue turned and started down the incline.

Caleb sighed, casting one last look at the cliff's edge. No, it wouldn't be as easy to jump off as he thought it would. Pogue would never forgive him. His best friend would find a way to bring him back from the dead only to kick his ass. Smiling, he turned and followed him down the incline.


© 2006 Crimson Idealist