Shit, shit, shit. I swear trouble follows me around more than my goddamn shadow does. One year in the clear, and already I was being chased by monsters.
Blindly, I ran into the darkness between two buildings, cursing myself a thousand times. Of course, I had to stand up for some stupid kid, of course, the bully had to actually be some deformed monster. It was always me who managed to finesse her way into these goddamn messes.
"Oh, man!" I yelled, hitting the wall with my palms because of course, it was a dead end. "Seriously?" I heard the hiss of the freak chasing me, and whirled around, watching what used to be my dick classmate, Aaron, enter the alleyway.
I contemplated my non-existent options: use the powers I wasn't allowed to use, die, or call for help. It was painful to remember that I used to have people who had my back. But no help was coming today.
Aaron grinned in the most sinister way imaginable, his smile splitting his face into half. Something dark, and violet oozed out, and I realized I was out of time.
I inhaled deeply, breathing in through my nose. As I breathed out, the fire in my veins came alive instantly. Cupping a hand around my mouth, I blew out flames.
The ooze shrieked, deforming to avoid the attack. It split into two, one part reforming into a snake. It struck at me like a snake and instinctively I shot at it, my fire scorching everything in the alley.
The gust of heat gave my magic new life, and I slammed my fist into the ground, the wave of fire obliterating the snake.
Before I could take on the second part of the creature, something grabbed the collar of my shirt and pulled me through the wall.
My latent training kicked in, and before the person on the other end could kill me, I twisted out of their grip, landed, and swept their legs out from under them.
"Hello to you-aah!"
Unfortunately, I recognized the voice of the person I hurt. "Devon?" I loosened my fighting stance and straightened up.
Somebody backhanded me immediately, and I scowled, turning around to glare at Elysse.
"Long time no see," Elysse smirked, crossing her arms. She'd let her hair grow out, and it looked pretty incredible.
"Starting to wish it had been longer," I muttered, only half-joking, rubbing my head.
"I knew we should've let you die," Devon growled, knocking my hand aside when I offered to help him up.
I rolled my eyes. "Said your parents when you were-"
"Is that any way to greet an old friend?" A slightly accented voice asked, sounding reproachful.
I looked up at that, smiling awkwardly at John Morrin, practically my dad. "Hello." I wasn't sure what to follow up with, sir, dad, father from another...yeah, I don't know. What was the appropriate greeting for a man who had raised you from age 12, along with your fellow super-powered ragtag family members?
Behind him, Harry waved at me, his glasses as always, dangling precariously at the edge of his nose. I waved back, delighted to see him and his somewhat charming cardigans again.
"What's happening here?" I asked, suddenly bewildered. They were all here...and though I would never admit it, I was beyond relieved to see all of them. Alive, and healthy-ish looking. Devon had a cast around one wrist, Harry's cardigan looked beat up, Elysse looked thinner and even John looked more tired.
"We're saving you, again, you're welcome," Devon said, throwing himself onto the couch.
Some things never change, huh? "Didn't need help, but I meant-"
"Did you forget you weren't supposed to use magic?" Elysse asked, smiling at me as she bit into an apple she had summoned from nowhere.
"No, I had to, because I ran into one of the goopy ones again," I said, feeling slightly defensive. I hated how all of them looked so calm, and settled, not at all surprised to see me again. Self consciously, I ran a hand through my hair.
John Morrin stepped in, beckoning me forward. "There's been a development, we'll explain it all, but first, dinner."
"Dinner?" I followed them anyways, all of us quickly settling into the roles we had fought over and decided as children. Elysse, being the fussy one set the cutlery, Devon brought over the drinks, I carried the dishes over, and Harry cooked.
Within about ten minutes everything was set up, and clearly, my arrival had been well timed, since Harry was done cooking too.
It was hard to conceal a smile when I noticed that Harry had made my favourite dish, chicken alfredo. Harry smiled slightly, and I carefully pushed his glasses up by the middle.
Devon and I were on opposite sides, which I disliked because it meant I had to look at him while trying to eat.
"How was college?" I asked, trying for politeness.
"I lasted more than a week," He said pointedly, raising an eyebrow at me.
"Two weeks, I was two weeks in," I growled, itching to throw something yucky, like broccoli at him.
Harry frowned at me and I stopped, smiling sheepishly at him. "Don't worry, Harry, I'm not wasting any of your food on the likes of him,"
"Does the word maturity mean anything to you two?" Elysse groaned, shaking her head.
Devon smiled evilly and flicked a pea at me. Elysse lazily opened a portal that swallowed it before it came near me. I reached across the table to the grapes, needing ammunition Harry hadn't cooked.
"A year alone, and somehow you are all acting two years younger," John stated icily, setting a napkin down on his lap. "Why don't we save the festivities for after? Guten Appetit,"
All of us echoed it and dug into Harry's delicious cooking. It was a relief to be done with cup noodles, vending machine food, and various snacks. As per a secret agreement, Elysse portalled all her unwanted mushrooms to me, in exchange for the salad I was ignoring.
I grinned at Harry, letting him read the rave reviews of his food I was composing in my head. Harry smiled back, perfectly twirling fettuccini around his fork before mechanically eating it.
Even Devon was bearable with food, and after a little while, John cleared his throat.
Out of habit, but mostly respect, all of us looked at him. John smiled at all of us, "Our family, together again," He raised a toast, and grudgingly, with our cups of water or pomegranate juice, all of us clinked glasses.
I set mine down early, more eager to hear the story of why we were all together than anything else. This time last year I was told we were never seeing each other again, we had an emotional and tearful separation, and now here we all were like nothing happened.
"Are you going to finally explain?" Devon asked, and the edge in his voice told me that everyone had been waiting for answers for some time now.
John smiled, wiping his mouth. "I would've done it before, had you asked. All of you probably recall the events of last year and the reasons why we separated," John started, and I couldn't think of any non-sarcastic response so I said nothing.
It was hard to forget, we had the crazy twin bounty hunters, the government agents, those ridiculous fans of ours, the monsters at literally every corner, and were being hunted by the witches.
"The separation worked, at least in the beginning, bit fairly quickly we were all caught again, beginning with Elysse."
I nodded, made sense, Elysse's powers had the most distinct aura. Elysse blushed though, and I suspected that there was more to that story.
"Devon's powers burst out when the water supply at his school was contaminated with Rilum flowers, Harry informed me that innocent people were being arrested on suspicion of having powers, and a monster was planted at your school. In addition, the witches covens are planning an attack on a human city, and we've decided that it wasn't worth the risk to remain apart." John explained, succinct and clear as always.
Devon glanced down at his plate sourly, pushing it away a little. His telekinesis could be...interesting to control at the best of times.
"What do you mean planted at my school?" I asked, frowning.
Harry answered, his voice gently entering my mind like a loud thought: They now have the capability to trace us. The witches and some of the Lost kind have joined forces.
"They can trace us?" I asked incredulously, a sinking feeling in my stomach. "So it wasn't my fault I got caught," I informed Devon, childishly given the circumstances, but whatever.
Elysse scoffed when Devon stuck his tongue out at me. "Yeah, and it's not just them, the police ask weird questions now, and there are investigative teams for...odd events." She twisted her hair around her finger. "It's really terrifying,"
Seeing Elysse like this silenced any further jokes I was going to make. Devon clasped her shoulder gently, but she still looked perturbed.
"Okay, but isn't it bad that we're all here then?" I asked, suddenly feeling the urge to panic.
John shifted his eyes from Harry to me, "No, Harry is keeping a barrier around this location." That explained why he wasn't talking tonight. "And, instead of our old strategy of hide and seek, we're doing something else this time." The gleam in John's eye got rid of my fears. John knew what he was doing, and he would never put us in danger.
Elysse buried her face in arms, rolling her eyes. "Not the school idea again!"
"The school-?" I repeated, waving my hands to prompt them further.
"Starting a school for people like us." Devon finished like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "I guess you won't be one of the teachers,"
"No, children, not a school. Not yet. Right now we just need to get our people somewhere safe, in a centralized location that can be protected."
My issues with Devon evaporated in the face of excitement. "This is so cool! When are we doing this?" I was burning to get started on this, I had missed being a part of a group where I belonged. This whole year it felt like getting teeth pulled after an amputation, I was missing an entire part of me and everything hurt. Not only was the band back together, but there would be more of us?
John looked approving, and Harry smiled thinly, his hands clutched around the edge of the table. No matter what Devon said, I grinned like a moron, my heart finally pumping some happiness into my veins.
"Hey, watch it sparky!" Devon dropped a heavy cloth when the table started smoking under my hands.
"Oh, my bad!" I stood up and threw water on him. The look on his face? No regrets. Elysse began laughing and I winked at her.
"Wait! Devon, Elysse, Simin, you have, precisely one hour to make whatever mess you are about to create, then clean up and head to bed. Harry is going to sleep at 11, meaning you have six hours to sleep before we are traced." John rose up from the table, straightening his suit. "I cannot believe I'm saying this, but do share how happy you are to see each other at some point."
"I made a New Years Resolution not to lie," I said immediately.
Devon tossed a grape at my face. "Pinocchio called, he wants his nose back,"
"No offence, John, but missing these two is hard, I met children all year," Elysse readied the bowl of fruit she had in her arms.
"Please don't waste food, there are water guns in the pantry, Gute Nacht," John clasped my shoulder as he passed, "It's nice to have you back, Simin."
I grinned at him, and huffed out flames at my opponents. "Get ready to lose!"