Jump to content

Interlude: Renewed Hope

Abel Cross

Recommended Posts

It had been some days since the grand revelation by Pandora, along with the climactic battle against the Asheen.   Abel knew nearly all he could about them, as pertained to their military, tactics and such, but most of it was useless now.  They really had killed them all.  Just as they had eradicated over five thousand other races, so now was their fate.   

He'd left the lab and base, heading for the lake.  When he got like this,  he really couldn't focus on his work in the labs.   It was true he could split off a part of himself mentally for it, but he knew if he kept doing it all the time, there were risks.   So he had simply shut everything off, and come out for fresh air and relative quiet to wrestle  with his own demons about what they'd done and been a part to.

For Abel, it was easy to just go cold, to Not care, but that didn't solve the problem, and Going down that path would only lead to darker places.  An avid fan of comics, even though now he was living one essentially, he had read far too many stories where someone like him shut off parts of themselves, to find they could never regain it, or reveled too much in their power until they questioned whether anything around  them was real or the product of their power.   Still more stories told of those who fell to the darkness, the feeling of total power that controlling others could give, The power to break the strongest wills, to literally tear a mind to ribbons. 

All things he could now do, in addition to knowing pretty much anything anyone else knew that he wished to know.  Very few could keep him out if he wished.   

He scowled abit.   The others could be the superheros for the world if they wished, Hell it was an idea they'd certainly all had at least once, but if the world learned the truth of his abilities, he had no illusions about how much of a threat he'd be considered.   

As paranoid as he was, he'd told them his big secret when they asked for a sign of trust, and a small part of him regretted it every day.   He wanted to work with Sean to prove the value of accommodating the Enhanced, while at the same time keeping humanity on the whole from outright fearing them.

All these thoughts were going through his mind, as he argued point and counterpoints, the merits and flaws of doing one thing or another to go forward, but even amidst the mental Din of all of that, he could feel her approach.

There was something about Kia beyond their romantic relationship, something special.   She appeared as herself in his mind, his mental image of her, surrounded by a warm light that seemed to banish his worries and concerns.   Whole new ones cropped up to take their place, but they were mostly the concerns of a young man totally smitten with a young woman, and for the moment, they were far more important.  
He didn't move outwardly as if he noticed her, still looking to be deep in thought, which he was, but never so deep as to not have time for her.

For her part, Kia was a little surprised to see Abel at the lake, sitting on some rocks not far from where some planks on styrofoam tied to shore passed for a jetty of some kind, or perhaps a quay. Pier? One of those. She'd been going there when she had a chance pretty much ever since she'd come out here. It wasn't the best swimming ever, but it beat public pools. She'd never seen Abel there though.

She had a red bikini with gold sworly things on, and a burgundy sarong wrapped around her waist. The sun hat wasn't really needed anymore for her, but she had one on anyway just because it was nice to chill with some shade. A cyan towel was curled up under her arm.

Abel didn't even look over at her though. Kia was pretty sure he knew she was there. He had acute senses, both natural and otherwise. Didn't even say anything.

Her mom had once told her, talking about her dad, that she could take the scientist out of the lab, but never take the lab out of the scientist. Kia thought she understood that better now.

She toyed with the idea of ignoring him right back, but couldn't go through with it. She was just no good at pretending that way.
"Hey," Kia greeted Abel as she dropped her towel a little farther towards the shoreline from where he was sitting. "I didn't know you liked coming out here too. You should have called me or something, I'd have come sooner."

The transformation of his features was impressive, and instantaneous.   Firstly his girlfriend in a bikini was a sight to behold, and while he kept his mouth from hanging agape, he did smile warmly, the same smile Kia always brought to his face.  "I didn't want to bother anyone when I came out here.   I had to get out of the lab for awhile.  It didn't even occur to me to grab some swimming trunks."  True enough, he came out to sit and think, but this could be an opportunity to do something far more enjoyable.

"I come out here when I need to be away from the voices.  With nobody else around, well It is abit easier to not hear all their voices in my head."  He looked up at her with a look of adoration.  "Your voice however, is always welcome, in here..."  he tapped his head..." And out here."  he gestured to take in everything around them.   

He knew she wanted to talk to him, to ask what was wrong, but he was still sorting out whether waiting for her to ask, or simply acting upon the knowledge they both had was proper.  He generally defaulted to the former, it creeped most who knew of his power out abit less.
"How about you? coming out to just relax and catch some sun away from our second home too?"

Kia shrugged at that. "It's all my home, kinda. A home isn't just a building with an address on it. It's everyone else who lives around there too. The whole community. The whole...area, I guess."

"But yeah, I had some time and I thought it'd be fun to come out for a swim."

She was torn. It was always the same thing. Whenever they weren't together, Kia promised herself the next time they met she'd talk to him about it. Then when they did, it always felt like such a bummer to bring it up. They didn't get as much time as she wanted...it seemed like a shame to spend it talking about uncomfortable things.

Even now. Wouldn't it be better just to get him up and out into the lake? Splashing and having fun? Maybe that sort of thing was all he needed! Maybe she didn't have to poke and pry. Maybe she could just fix him, and then they could just move past it.

It kind of sucked being young enough to feel like that should work, but old enough to know better.

Still. If there was going to be any fun to be had, it should probably come first.

She held out a hand. "You want to come in with me?"

Abel nodded, and reached up to take her hand.  Things were so simple with Kia.   

He let her pull him to his feet, and chuckled, releasing her hand.  Quickly he stripped off his shirt and pants, his socks and shoes, leaving himself in only his boxers.   Abel had definitely changed physically since before.  While he wasn't at the same level of attractiveness as Sean or Courtney, this was one of the first times that Kia got a good look at him. He would never have the bulky muscle of a football player, but he was lean and toned like the best track runners and soccer players.   He was far beyond human though, when he let it all out, like he was now.  
After that he reached out to take her hand and lead her to the water.  He knew she wanted to talk, and he smiled.   "I know you have something on your mind Kia.   Don't ever feel you cannot talk to me.   I love having fun with you, and simply being with you most of all.   When we're together, everything else seems less important.  Still, I know there's some distance between us, of my own creating.   I'm sorry for that, but I want you to know this.   If you ask me, there's nothing I won't tell you, nothing i'd withhold if you ask."

He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.  At least this way it was on him for bringing things down, and getting to the heart of the matter.   "I don't want any distance between us."  He pulled her close to him and wrapped his arms around her.  "It's something I want to work on, so I stop doing it.   I've worried for so long, I've had to hide so much for so long, it's hard to open up about anything, and things keep happening that make me hide more."

 Kia smiled at him and squeezed back.

"I don't really even know what to ask. You may have to take the initiative here. It's not just me either...you've been pulling away from everyone."
She hesitated, then asked, "Is it because of your powers?"

"In some ways, yes.  Others, it's everyone. "  He really needed to talk this out with someone, and Kia was the person he trusted most.   " I'll start with my own.   You know I can read minds? Well that's not all Kia.  I can control them too, and destroy them, if I so choose."   

He let those words hang for a moment, and pressed on.   "I did it for the first time during the battle."   He didn't need to specify which.  I found the enemy commander,  changed his battlefield perceptions so he'd stay and keep the focus on us.   I then took over the data load, and isolated his mind within his body.  Then we spoke.  Insults were traded, as I took in every bit of information I could.  By the end, the pain I put him through was enough to have him beg for his life, to seek an alliance.  It was however all lies, he'd have betrayed us.   So I didn't stop.   I ripped his mind apart, and left him the same level of puppet the rest were.   I left instructions on how to fight, and set things up the whole way for our final move.  I made sure it worked."

While he knew the responsibility was shared by them all, still he felt abit more guilt, perhaps due to his own savagery.   

"Then it was Over, we were home, and it was done, still what I'd done still haunts me, as necessary as it was.   Then Pandora arrived.  One of these 13 godly siblings and her comrade.   She was in my thoughts, I could feel it, and this isn't the first time another presence has bypassed every defense I have.   Knowing what I do of my powers, I have feared that one day, someone won't be interested in simply showing me my own actual weakness, but will make me do something or learn something that needs to be secret."

"It's the same fear that i lived with when I was the only enhanced.  Knowing everyone's secrets also makes me responsible for them.  If my defenses fail, our enemies could learn everything we do or have done, and I hate that."

He still held her, but if she wanted to break his hold, she could easily.  "As to the others, I've seen the changes in us all, and I grow concerned for what happens next.  We won't be able to remain behind the scenes indefinitely, and I don't really think any of us are ready for the level of scrutiny we will face.   Either face that, or forever live at the sufferance of the government.  While they've been benevolent so far, and we continue to give them excellent reason to continue,  Only a fool would think we've not given them reason to fear as well.   Seven of us, not even out of our teens, took on an alien invasion that would have eradicated humanity,  and wo, in a matter of hours."

He didn't quite frown, but concern marred his features.  "Now it will be a quantum enhanced arms race, as any like us will be sought globally, so that the Powers of the world feel safe, or try to jumpstart a technology war unseen in the modern age."

He looked to her and for a moment, he smiled.  "I know it's all doom and gloom, and dark misgivings.   I want to believe that things will not go that way, That our presence will help bring humanity together, that we can make a brighter future for everyone. "

"At the core of that wish is us.  "I have you, and yes, the rest of the irregulars, in my life.  I want my friends to be happy, to see just how bright we can make the future.  Mostly I want you to be happy, and I want to meet that future with a smile, and holding your hand."  
"Then do it," Kia suggests gently.

She smiles and takes hold of Abel's hand.

"We took on a bunch of aliens and giant monsters. I'm pretty sure if the government or other countries or whoever want to try to take control of us, we don't have to go along with it. At any point we can just say 'no.' And if we're worried about other people like us getting caught and...turned bad, I guess..." Kia shrugs. "Then lets find them first. Help them."
"It's not powers that'll change us, I think, Abel. It's...how we react to them? Or what we do with them? Like, being afraid all the time. Worrying all the time. That's what'll change you. Or me. Or whoever. Believe in yourself, and keep your friends close, and we'll all help keep each other who we are."

Kia leans forward to rest her head against Abel's heart.

"You know, I was worried at first...about losing myself. When I change into things. It scared me because..." she pauses thoughtfully. "Not because it made me feel different, but because I didn't feel different. Like, I'd turn into this giant monster and...it seemed like that should make me different. And sure, I was stronger and tougher and jump and...all that. But then I'd turn back into me and THEN I'd feel different. Like me, like this...this is the lie."

She trails off for a moment. "Then, after we did that thing with the dream worlds or the other worlds or whatever that was...ever since then I can kind of feel me. The rest of me, I mean. The part of me that's not...here. It's kind of floating all around me, all the time, waiting for me to pull it here or push more back."

"But it's all still me. Kia's not just a bunch of cells that make up a body. And Abel's not just a mind that can hear other minds. We all changed, but I think we have more control over how we change than it feels like sometimes. You know? I could have just turned into an animal or something and run off and left all this behind. Sometimes I even kind of wanted to. I didn't though, because that's not who I am."

She pulls away from Abel so she can look him in the eye again. "Just decide who you want to be, and be him. Don't worry about who you might be...that's a choice, not something that happens to you."
It was that simple.   

Abel tended towards overthinking, worrying, and fearing all the unknowns, simply because he'd had to for so long, to keep his power hidden, to keep what he knew safe.   Kia believed in herself, in her friends, and in him.  She could still have doubts, but she never let those doubts change her, who she really was.  

"You know Kia, you might just be the wisest of us all."   

He met her gaze and smiled.  "I'm with you, I'm exactly where I want to be, and who I want to be with.   I guess sometimes I just forget that it's okay to be me.   I don't have to carry the burdens I think I do, worrying won't help anything., and fear only leads to darker paths."

He held her close in the water and took a deep breath.  "We'll help everyone we can, and we'll do it together, not just us, but all the Irregulars.  None of us are alone, and while we don't always agree, we've got a bond that isn't easily sundered.  I guess i should get with Sean on starting work on making a real working version of Cerebro."

He leaned in to kiss her softly.  "This is all most certainly real, this is no dream, no lie.  You've saved me from myself again, Kia.  I will find some way to show you just how much that means to me no matter how long it takes."   Kia was the only one who got to see his hopeful side, she was the reason it still existed, of that he was certain.  Still, it was time to move past the past.   The Future beckoned, and together with their friends, with each other, they'd meet it head on.

 Kia laughed and draped her arms lazily around Abel's shoulders, accepting his kisses, then giving him one in return. He was always so melodramatic...everything was always a crushing burden or a life-changing revelation. A big pronouncement, or plan.

She didn't mind though. It was kind of funny, kind of endearing, even if it was a chore sometimes to help him in his darker moods.
Part of her wondered what the heck 'cerebro' was, or what the heck a working version of it would do, but there'd be time for that later. For now it was enough just to enjoy this moment, however long it lasted.


This was written by myself and and Salmonmax

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...