The wince - no matter how subtle - was no understated reaction. Not in Shawn's eyes. A mother's instincts were primal and overpowering, or so he'd heard, having never spoken to, let alone met his own mother.
"Your plan only works if she hasn't already begun spreading"
The harsh truth rang true in his mind, yet Mari remained Shawn's primary concern. The others were secondary priorities. If he was to cast the spell on Mari then lend the others his aid through different means, then so be it. As thunder cracked overhead and dark clouds rolled in with a low rumble, Shawn wore a wolf's cool focus. His mind raced through all possible alternatives, through every charm and incantation he'd read from the Mystic Arts book thus far. "If she's corrupted the others kids, then there's still a way", he scowled, the conflict and anger rising in his chest. "For Mari, I can use me left arm as the catalyst for the sealin' spell. For the other kids, I'll have to sacrifice three of me most sentimental possessions, and use them as the catalysts".
Glancing down at the gold rings gleaming on his fingers, he pushed the down the pain that dared cause his face to wince. He shut his eyes. Those three rings - earned by defeating all three champions in Belfast's premier underground metahuman fight organization -epitomized Shawn's crowning life achievement. He let no one else wear them, and no one but his father touch them. And the thought of losing them, that which represented the only worthwhile thing he'd ever done, it sent a spike lancing through his heart and turned his world to grey. Yet as his heart, bleeding and anguished sank to the pit of his stomach, he thought back to Mari, to how Chaos had taken her, he sighed, and met eyes with Catalina.
"You really like her"
"More than even I thought I did", he answered, willing to give his arm and his rings so that Mari could walk free. "You'll have me help until the deed's done. Believe dat", he swore, taking her offered hand to be teleported to the Academy with her.
The clouds rumbled and the heavens shake.
A storm was coming.