Chapter 40: Discussion

Rachel Chase watched her brother collapse onto the couch. She grabbed some fruit juice and tossed the small bottle at his head.

“Drink it.”

Mitchell grabbed the bottle out of the air and began to drink it.

“I told you not to use your powers too much. You’ll stunt your growth if you keep wearing yourself out like this. What have you been doing all day?”

Mitchell shook his head. “I wanted to see it again. How did Mr. Writer do that-at?”

“You know I can’t tell you that.”

“But-ut…if he can do that, why would he quit?”

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Phil grunted as Jack’s fist slammed into the punching bag again.

“Kid, Will’s not as cut and dry as you. The reason he quit has nothing to do with his power.”

“I saw the way he looked at me when I talked about the Cards. The man who nearly destroyed a mountain had a case of morals when I went after real threats.”

“Hah! That’s what you think? Will may’ve had issues with your history, but your ego needs some work. Hell, if Will had your power, he might still be a hero.”

The ceiling groaned under the force of the swinging punchinh bag. “Bullshit, the man can level mountains.”

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Tina and George walked slowly through the park. George had been awake for two days already, but the doctor hadn’t wanted him to leave until this morning. She finished telling her story

“He destroyed it? The whole cave? I bet people would kill for a power like that.”

“Possibly. But I was more concerned with Sigurd’s familiarity with him. He seemed rather confident that Will could help you. And Will made it clear he was not a mage.”

George stared at her. “Really? I mean that’s weird, but the guy can level a mountain. That’s the only real hint we’ve had for his power. Plus, dragons are weird with magic. I bet a lot of people could have helped if they’d looked into it.”

“Sigurd knew he could help, George. The two of them were at each other’s throats the moment we got there, but they still worked together. Sigurd is on the Council; they don’t exactly take walks with Strollers. And he knew Kalliope too. That’s a bigger hint than his power.”

“Tina, everyone knew Kalliope after Eclipse’s attack. And she was pretty famous before that too. It’s not like he was calling her by her real name or anything. And so what if he knows Sigurd? I know Sigurd now. Hell, I can tell you his birthday. I might be cheating, but if a nobody like me knows Sigurd, and met The Court, then I can’t say that makes him important.”

Tina sighed. “I suppose. But I do not think his power is as useful as you think. I looked into it. A lot of things can cause earthquakes, and none of us saw him doing it. He may have just punched the walls.”

“I don’t think so,” George said. “Do you remember the first meeting? Why he said he quit? Cause I was thinking, maybe he was talking about his power, and he was worried about taking it too far.”

“He caused an earthquake.” Tina’s voice was flatter than normal.

“Well, yeah, but that could be like the minimum of his power. Maybe he’s actually so strong that going all out would destroy the planet or something.”

Tina smiled.

George looked at her strangely. “Did I say something funny?”

She shook her head. “No. But you’re a lot more energetic than you used to be. It is…a good change I think.”

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“I don’t know, Barry. It’s fun to wonder about, but what if we actually figure it out?”

“C’mon Rosie. It’s not like you told me his real name. And even if you had, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gave you guys a fake one. Plus, you already told me about the mountain; I’m gonna be wondering about that either way.”

Rose sighed. “Okay, so what is it you think then?”

“Well…a tel could do it.”

“Maybe, but not if he was a reader. They wouldn’t use a reader for the group right?”

“I wouldn’t,” Barry shrugged. “But I wouldn’t put it past anyone. Hey, did you see how he looked afterwards?”

Rose closed her eyes. “He was…tired and he kept panting, but I don’t think he was sweating.”

“So…rule out tank?”

Rose nodded. “And runner, but that really wasn’t in the running.”

“Heh.”

She slapped him. “What’s next then?”

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“Can you help him or not?” Will grunted at Janus.

“He’s not exactly a normal case, Will.”

The solid blue faceplate gleamed under the street lights. Janus was short, and the long golden cape she wore did nothing but make her look shorter.

“We’re talking about a nearly unprecedented power. I can split myself between two universes easily, but I’m still there in both of them. If his powers are slipping and he’s so worried about splitting other people up, then he’s either uncontrollable or out of control. Sliders don’t get a middle ground. You should understand that much.”

Will sighed. “Can you at least make sure he won’t hurt himself with them? You might see something I missed.”

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John walked. For the first time in months, he walked down the street with his powers completely off. He caught himself flinching whenever anyone got too close.

The thought had been stuck in his head since the cave. He didn’t want to know, but he couldn’t not know.

Could he really leave someone split like that? Would they know what had happened? Or would they just fade away?

“Do you want to know?”

John turned. The man was…average, his mousy brown hair and glasses identifying him, but not distinguishing him. His smile was large and gentle, and he wore a simple button up shirt.

“You do don’t you?”

John felt his heart clench.

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“I just hope he doesn’t meet him anytime soon.”

“Who?”

Janus looked at Will. “Every slider meets him eventually. He never does anything just talks, but it was still the most frightening thing I ever experienced.”

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John ran.

The man didn’t follow.

 

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