Adam snaps.

He charges forward, fist pulled back and ready to swing, and it all happens so quickly I only have time to gasp before I hear a sharp crack.

Adam's fist is frozen only inches from Warner's face. It's caught in Warner's hand.

Adam is shocked into silence, his whole body shaking from the unspent energy. Warner leans into his brother's face, whispers "You really don't want to fight me, you idiot," and hurls Adam's fist back with so much force that Adam flies backward, catching himself just before hitting the floor.

Adam is up. Bolting across the room. Angrier.

Kenji makes a futile attempt to tackle him.

Adam jumps towards his brother, swinging his fist at Warner's face.

Warner casually dodges the punch.

I can't move.

The scene that's happening in front of my eyes feels so unreal that my brain isn't able to direct myself away from the ring.

Adam manages to make contact with Warner's face. Almost immediately Aaron's upper lip begins to swell and bleed. It seems to be the final drop, as if the bucket was already full with leaking patience; with a snarl, Warner attacks, placing a well-aimed punch against Adam's jaw. Adam stumbles, and when Warner attempts to punch him again, he catches his brother's wrist, throwing him on the floor.

Warner kicks himself up and blocks a swing at his nose.

"Is that the best you can do?" he taunts, dodging every single punch, then succeeding in placing a quick one on Adam's nose.

I don't hear a crack, but Adam's nose begins to bleed and he cries out "You fucker!" before charging again. Kenji, who'd been lying on the floor, just staring at the two of them fight, makes a weird movement with his body as he attempts to jump up.

Adam manages to punch Warner's eye. It's quite a smack, and I see Ian wince as Warner stumbles slightly.

Then my mind makes the decision that it's enough.

Just as both boys move towards each other, I stand in between, having caught both their fists in my hands. I had no idea I could do that; I'm sure Adam had thrown all his remaining energy in that punch, and I'm sure Warner had borrowed Adam's power for a little while. Before I look focus, I shake my head, observing the situation at hand.

Nobody says anything until Warner speaks up, voice straining.

"Juliette love, stand back please."

His gaze is dangerously bright, the green of his irises in stark contrast with the bruising starting to develop around his right eye. His bottom lip is split and still bleeding. I don't respond to his comment and turn my head to observe Adam. His cheeks are red with anger and his jaw and nose are slightly swelling. His chest rises and falls rapidly, his arm shakes.

Anger bubbles in my stomach and I direct my gaze to the floor, squeezing my eyes shut for a second.

"What the hell" I say, "do you two think you're doing?"

Both boys are silent.

I look up and glance around the room quickly, noting that James isn't here. Lily must've already had the foresight to take him to his room.

"What if James saw you?" I spit out. "What if James saw you bashing each other's faces in? Aren't you" I say to Adam, "supposed to protect him from that kind of bullshit violence?

"And you," I continue, now directing my words towards Warner, "weren't you here to just pick me up? Not to kick your ex-soldier's petty arse? What is wrong with you two?"

I push them back with more force than I had intended. The both of them stumble.

It's still death silent.

"You need to get over your issues with each other." I say. Warner's gaze darts towards me and he opens his mouth to say something, but I silence him with a glare. "This childish behaviour is infuriating. We've got a war to fight, you shitty assholes. Let's move along."

"There is no war." Adam seethes, crossing his arms. "And there sure as hell isn't going to be one."

"A war is inevitable." I reason. "It's not like one person who doesn't even want to get out of his beat-up home is going to prevent a war from happening."

Adam looks away.

"You two are grown-ups, aren't you? Behave yourselves like it."

"Well, technically, they're just teen-" Kenji starts. I glare at him.

"Shut it, Kishimoto."

Kenji shuts it.

I look at the both of them, turning my head every few seconds, and then proceed to sit down on the couch. Ian scoots away from me and shrinks visibly as I turn to glare at him.

Warner wipes at his lip. Observes the smudge of blood on the back of his hand. Sighs. "I apologize" he says, reluctance clear in his voice, "for losing my temper like that. I'm sorry." He adds. His eyes are on me.

I only nod.

"I guess I should apologize too." Adam says, though he doesn't look anyone in the eye. Instead he stares at the floor, arms crossed and frowning. "It's just a bit much."

Warner rolls his eyes. "You're a bit much."

Kenji produces a loud, amused snort and Adam's head snaps up, eyes flaming. "What?" he asks, when Kenji mumbles, "not again."

"I should get back to the base." Warner deadpans, tactfully ignoring Adam's question. "It's getting late." He looks at me. Takes a step closer. "Are you sure you want to stay here?"

"Yes." I say defensively. "Yes I do. I still need to speak with people."

Warner nods. The tip of his tongue fleetingly touches the cut. "Right. Okay. I'll come back at thirteen hundred hours."

"Thirteen hundred hours… from now?"

He bites his lip to suppress a smile. "One o'clock in the afternoon."

"Oh." I feel a little stupid. "Okay."

He seems to be wanting to linger for a while; though, after a small glance at a glaring Adam, he nods everyone goodbye and leaves.

"God, I hate him." Adam says as soon as the door is shut. "I hate him so much."

"He's not that bad." I say, though I know the comment is futile to change Adam's mind.

"Of course you'd defend him." Adam growls. "You're looking at him like you're in love with him or something."

I don't deny it. I don't shake my head. I don't look at him like he's just made the most idiotic assumption I've ever heard in my entire life. I only avert my gaze, trying to swallow my heart back to my chest.

His eyes flash with pain; he takes a step back.

"I need some air," is the only thing he says before he's out the door.

I release a breath I didn't know I was holding.

Kenji is the first to speak up. "Well that was quite the drama."

He's still on the floor, giving me the opportunity to gently kick his upper arm. My cheeks feel hotter for some reason. "Shut up."

"I'm just saying," he says, slithering away from my kicking range, "that I felt the damn tension very well."


He then sits up. "But we had to talk, didn't we?" he points out. "You said that. Let's go then. I know a place."

I narrow my eyes.

"It isn't something bad," he promises, and he stands up. Extends his hand towards me. "Come on, J. Let's go."

I grab his hand. "Okay."