427 Evergreen Terrace
New Hebron, California
Sapphira closed his eyes, the wind whipping his hair as he let out a long sigh. He let his eyelids slide back open, and he bit his lip glancing at the black SUV parked out front of Amelia’s home. He couldn’t make out the license plate from that distance or see through the tinted windows, but he knew without being told who was inside.
AEGIS was keeping an eye on him, and perhaps the agent too. He’d had a long night, first with the apartment building and subsequent trip to the hospital. Upon being treated and released, representatives from AEGIS swooped in and ‘debriefed’ him. The experience left him feeling like a criminal under investigation and rattled him far more than he cared to admit.
When they’d finished, they issued a warning about further ‘vigilante’ activity and then he’d allowed to leave. He stayed, looking into Katie Brown, thinking perhaps, he’d use his healing abilities to help her, but it appeared it was unnecessary as they had already discharged her. So, Amy and he returned to her home, and the pair collapsed exhausted into their separate beds.
He gripped his hand tight around the railing that lined the front porch of Amy’s little home and stood there staring off into the distance. Even when the first few droplets of rain splatter his cheeks, he remained there looking out into the distance.
He’d thought he wanted to die, to see his wife and daughter again, but after struggling for his life in the burning apartment building he’d realized how wrong he’d been.
The death of his wife had left a hole in his heart he would never fill, but he stayed strong for his daughter. When Clara passed away, he was more alone than he ever had in his life. It was the reason he’d turned in on himself and grew angry with the world. As the years passed, he’d looked forward to death more and more.
Now, he found that a part of himself, at least, wanted to live. He lifted a hand and clenched it in front of his face before stretching his fingers out and flexing them one by one. Could he make a life for himself, like this? How would he continue without becoming everything he despised?
The rain came down harder and the breeze blew it into his face. He didn’t care. He didn’t fear a little water even if it was half-freezing out. It didn’t seem to bother him much. He realized it must have something to do with his enhanced abilities, but the truth was he didn’t care. He gripped his side where the falling debris had impaled him and let out a long sigh.
“It’s raining you know,” a voice spoke from behind and Sapphira spun around on the balls of his feet both hands stretched out.
The front door frame creaked and groaned before splintering into a thousand pieces and sending the door slamming open with a thundering crack. A figure clothed in all black, stood in front of it hands held up and his jaw hanging open.
“Damn girl,” Babalawo said head craning back to gaze at the door. He was unaffected by the blast of telekinetic energy, either due to reflexive use of his own powers or, perhaps, he’d used them to sneak up on the other exemplar and had yet to turn them off. Either way, the result was the same.
“What the hell do you want?” Sapphira growled clenching both fists at his side.
“Well, just wanted to check up on you. Y’know after I rescued you, but given the way you welcomed me, I’m not exactly sure that was the greatest idea.”
Sapphira turned his back to Babalawo and leaned back over the railing cursing himself for the damage he’d done to Amelia’s home. “There’s an AEGIS car parked right out front, you know.”
He leaned over the railing and turned to eye Sapphira. “I’m sure, they’re calling for backup as we speak.”
Sapphira gritted his teeth and shook his head. “How the hell did you find me?”
Babalawo, grinned his eyes sparkling with amusement. “It ain’t too hard to access emergency room records when you can walk through walls. I figured they’d take you to the nearest hospital and from there all I needed to do was look for someone with your exact injuries and physical description. I’m a little surprised your pretty AEGIS friend didn’t have you admitted under an alias. Must have thought no one would track you. I gotta say, you have damn impressive healing abilities to be standing around like nothing happened.”
Sapphira scowled and stared straight ahead. Resisting the urge to check his bandages. He had a way to go in the healing department, but he was much further along than an ordinary human being would have been in his place. That being said, he wasn’t sure how resistant his new body would be to infection. It might be a good idea to head inside, clean himself up and change out his bandages. It was a bad idea to get dirty rainwater getting into his wounds.
“Why so much interest in me?”
“People like us gotta stick together. No matter what that goddamned spook has told you, I’m not a bad guy. I help people whenever I can.”
“And the money you steal, that’s just for kicks, right?”
“It’s more about redistribution of wealth. The banks I steal from our owned by rich white folk with more damn money than they know what to do with. You think they’re gonna miss it?”
“Admit it, you want to get into my goddamned panties,” Sapphira gritted his teeth and rounded on the other exemplar. “I’m not some love sick little ghetto whore. You even so much as touch me, and I’ll—”
“Shhhit,” he cursed cutting Sapphira short. “Is that what you think this is about?”
Sapphira never answered, he stared at Babalawo his mouth hanging wide open. There was something familiar about the way he’d drawn out the word shit. It wasn’t much to go on and he strained his mind trying to determine why it would strike such a cord with him. Try as he might, he couldn’t place it.
Before he could issue a retort, there was a loud screech from the street and he snapped his head just in time to see a half a dozen black-clad figures come pouring out a second SUV, identical to the first. Sapphira had no doubts who they’d come for and when he whipped his head back around Babalawo had disappeared.