MEMOIRS OF THE SECOND AGE 4: Burnout

Unimportant said you’d be coming.  I’d say sorry for the mess, but I don’t exactly clean up the cave for the one week I use it.

I’d really rather stay back here. I don’t look pretty when I’m like this, and I’ve scared people before. Let’s just get the interview going.

You wanted to know about Will, right? The man at both sides of the Second Age.

I think Unimportant got you to the most important part. There isn’t much to tell until Eclipse attacked, and I think you know more than enough about that.

He disappeared for three months after Jaeger attacked. No, wait, he didn’t’ quite disappear. We all saw him once. He’s walk behind us and we’d see him in a reflection, or lock eyes with use from across the street, but he was always gone if by the time we reached him. If it hadn’t happened to all of us, I would have thought I was seeing things.

We couldn’t have meetings without Will, but by then I don’t think there was any way we were going to stop being heroes. I think Will knew that too, or maybe I just feel less abandoned that way.

We’d still meet up every few weeks, and we’d patrol together when we could. It had become a habit at that point, and it’s always better to have someone watching your back.

If I had to be honest, it was the quietest three months of our careers. After Jaeger and Trump, a lot of new heroes showed up. Nobody you’d know, most of them didn’t last long, but a few dozen new heroes looking to prove themselves make for a pretty good fishing net for everyday villains.

I didn’t mind the help. I’d only been able to harden my flames for a few weeks, and I needed the time to practice.

By the end of those three months, I could keep the armor up constantly, and the wings had started looking less and less like they were made of fire. They had started to become the most recognizable part of my outfit.

The others were just as busy. Hawthorne still had her job, Allspades had started teaching classes at the gym, and Unimportant’s crusade had never even stopped. Red had started patrolling with his sister. I don’t think she wanted anyone to get any ideas now that they knew he was Jaeger’s son.

We did have some time to look for Will, but nowhere to start. He’d cleaned out his apartment, he wasn’t going to any of his usual bars, and none of the heroes he used to talk to weekly had heard or seen anything. We even spent a week taking turns camping out on top of the Kalliope hall. He never showed up.

Will was gone. He had grown up under the head of the largest organization of government paid walkers in the world. He knew how to disappear. Nobody who knew his name saw or heard any hint of him for those three months. If things had happened a little differently, then he might have disappeared forever. Maybe it would have been better that way.

We managed to piece some things together later. After that first week where he showed himself to all of us, he dyed his hair. He cut it too, but it was already short enough that he couldn’t do much about that. He started smiling more, not because he was happy, but because it stretched his face in a way we wouldn’t recognize.

At some point he broke his nose. I don’t know if it was on purpose or not, but he let it heal crooked anyway.

We found his new apartment after he died. He must have had a lot more money saved away than we thought, because it was three times as large as his old one and in the part of town with so much money you’d swear it was paved with it. It was, of course, the last place we’d think to look.

There were other touches too, I’m sure, but those were the ones he couldn’t change by the time we saw him.

He had decided to start over. And he was doing a good job of it. His neighbors all seemed to like him, he’d quit drinking, he even got a pet. Or at least he was planning on getting one. He had the food and a litter box, but we never found a cat.

The end of the second age started two weeks before Will died. That’s when the weirdness started, but I’m guessing you have enough reports on that.

-Burnout
Memoirs of the Second Age

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