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As soon as Sebastian had opened the apartment door, he had known his first choice had been a mistake. Sure, Sebastian was a regular on sweeping duties with Anna, but he was too young to truly comprehend Nathan’s predicament. Nathan didn’t know if he could trust Sebastian to keep the situation to himself. At eighteen, Sebastian was the youngest in the group and the most likely to see William as a father figure instead of the dictator he had become. Even if he didn’t see him in that way, he was the most likely to look up to William as a role model, and thus the most likely to reveal the situation to William for his approval and input.

Nathan paced the hallway while he debated what few options he had left. William and Anna were out of the question. He knew exactly what they would say. If either of them found out, he knew they would take the matter into their own hands immediately. They would spew the usual party line of it being for the safety of the group, but he knew that William liked the power he got from being the one in control, and Anna loved being his right hand man. In the months that he had gotten to know them, neither one of them had ever shied away from violence, and even seemed to enjoy it in a strange way.

His pool of options was already halfway drained. The only options remaining were Davidson, Daniel and Lenore, and he wasn’t sure he could trust any of them enough to ask for their advice. Hayley was out of the question, and even if he could talk to her about it, he feared what she might tell him. Davidson, he knew, had a military background, a fact which William did not like spoken in the building since it was experience that Davidson had over him. Daniel was a bit of an oddball. He had some kind of history in state or government work, but Nathan didn’t know exactly what. And Lenore seemed to be a bit of a loose cannon, half the time wise beyond her years and the other half leaning towards the loony bin.

If he had to talk to someone, and at this point he felt like he had to get it off his chest or he wouldn’t be able to return to their apartment, he figured Daniel was going to be his best bet. Halting his frantic pacing, he turned back around and headed straight towards Daniel’s apartment before he could change his mind.

Ironically, the door swung inward just as he went to knock, and he took that as a sign that he was on the right path this time.

“My, my, today is just full of surprises,” Daniel commented mysteriously when he stopped short and took in the sight of Nathan standing outside the door. “I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting visitors. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

Nathan wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic or not, but that hardly mattered. “Do you mind if I come in for a second? I have a personal matter I hope to get your opinion on if it isn’t too much trouble.” He hoped it didn’t sound desperate, because he sure felt desperate at this point.

Daniel cleared his throat, glanced back into his apartment for a moment, then returned his focus to Nathan. “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I would rather talk here in the doorway if you don’t mind.”

Nathan’s eyes immediately turned to glance up and down either side of the hallway. Fear burst into his chest, knowing that the risk of getting caught was probably minimal, but would it be worth it to risk it? He was just getting ready to make an excuse to leave and try to come back at a later time when he knew the others would be off on another floor of the building, but he didn’t know if he could keep the secret much longer. For days now it had been eating away at him, and he didn’t know how much longer he could stand it.

The way that Daniel stood patiently at attention kept Nathan from changing his mind. “Sure,” he said, but he dropped his voice a decibel or two before he continued. “I am having a… problem with Hayley and was hoping I could get your opinion.”

Daniel gave him a knowing smile, “Ah yes, women. They always seem to be causing problems now, aren’t they?”

“She is actually the subject of the problem, not the cause. Something has… happened to her. It started about a week ago and has only gotten worse. At first, I hoped she was just coming down with the flu or a cold, but then she started coughing up blood. And now…” he couldn’t finish the sentence, but he knew at this point he didn’t need to.

Daniel swore under his breath. “Who else have you told?”

“No one. I wanted to get your opinion before I went to William.”

“Under no circumstances can you tell William about this,” Daniel practically hissed. Nathan knew the situation was dire, but hearing the way Daniel spoke of it made it seem hopeless. His heart sank as he stood there and listened to his worst fears come true.

“But he might know something that could help her. If I wait too long, and she gets past the point where she can be helped-”

“We both know,” Daniel interrupted him then and there, “that if you are coming to me with this now, it is already too late for what you are hoping for.”

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