Adelaide woke up to the sound of someone trying to hammer simultaneously as urgently and as quietly as possible on her door. She rolled out of the bed and realised that she’d fallen asleep fully dressed. Rick’s guest room was undecorated and weird to wake up in, and it took her a moment to register where she was and remember the events of the previous day.
Stumbling over to the door she opened it. Lee stood outside, tapping his foot impatiently. Adelaide had never seen him so twitchy. He nodded when he saw her and gestured wordlessly that she should follow him downstairs.
Going down the steps carefully, as though someone might jump out on them at any moment, Lee led her to the Door. Francis waited for them, carrying a plastic bag in one hand. As soon as he saw them, he gently opened the door and stepped out into the street. Lee and Adelaide followed him.
It was pretty early in the morning, but already there were quite a lot of people about. Nobody gave the three teenagers a second glance. The second Francis shut the door behind them, Adelaide turned to him wide eyed.
“What on earth are we doing?” She said, whispering despite the fact that no-one could possibly be listening in, “Is that the Source?”
“Yep,” Francis didn’t meet her eyes, “it fell asleep as soon as I put it in the bag, just don’t knock it.” He started to walk away, up the street, heading away from the house as fast as possible. Lee and Adelaide scurried to keep up.
“Where are we going?” Adelaide asked.
“Away from there,” Francis replied, still not looking at her.
“Why? Doesn’t Amadeus need the Source?”
“So why am I taking it?” Francis finally looked at Adelaide, she saw suddenly that his eyes were red and puffy, “Because that kid is insane. I was talking to him earlier. He’s… he’s… he’s a freaking super-human supremacist! Kept saying all this ‘power is an intrinsic good,’ ‘we need to purge this world’ stuff. Man I didn’t think any of those guys were around anymore!”
Francis stopped suddenly and Adelaide nearly crashed into him.
“That’s crazy!” She said, “So what are we going to do?”
Francis shook his head, turned his back and started off again.
“Oh don’t pretend you’re surprised,” he said, only just loud enough for her to hear, “don’t pretend you didn’t know this was going to happen. You know I actually believed that for once in my life someone genuinely wanted to help super-humans out, without, you know, having some kind of world domination plot up their sleeve. Guess I was wrong, again.”
“That’s not fair,” Lee said suddenly. Adelaide had almost forgotten he was there, “Adelaide wanted to help us, right?”
“If she wanted to help us,” Francis, “if she really wanted to help us, why didn’t she tell us she was working for the Director?”
“You don’t seriously still believe she knew what the Director was doing?” Lee said, a pleading note in his voice, “I read her mind, she didn’t know anything.”
“You’re right,” Francis stopped, “I don’t believe that. But I also don’t believe that this whole team thing was ever about helping us.”
He turned and pointed straight at Adelaide.
“This was only ever about you and your ego,” he said, tears streaming down his face, “wasn’t it? Go on, tell me it wasn’t.”
Lee looked back at Adelaide to. She watched both of them, unsure of what she could say. Francis shrugged and turned to go, the bag swinging beside him with a rustle of plastic.
“Wait,” Adelaide said, words suddenly pouring out of her in a terrifying jumble, “you’re right. Of course you’re right. This wasn’t ever about super-humans. I didn’t even think about you guys for a second. But… but that was then. This is now. Things have changed. I realised that I… I need you guys.”
Francis nearly dropped the Source bag. A low growl from inside made him tighten his grip on it. He looked back at Adelaide.
“What do you mean?” He said.
“Oh come on,” Adelaide said, “think about it. Didn’t I seem pretty eager to you? Eager to suddenly start associating myself with a bunch of super-humans? Eager to sacrifice all of my friends just so I could start running around with a bunch of random weirdos trying to fight crime?”
“Well that’s probably because I didn’t have any,” Adelaide said, looking at the ground, “friends, I mean. No friends, no social life, no nothing. I tried, of course I did. I just can’t… I can’t get on with other people. Apart, apparently from you guys. I don’t know what drove me away from you before, but now that I know you… I like you. Not like that, that’d be weird. But you’re cool, both of you. The others too. I like knowing you. I just want to be your friend.”
Lee let out a little sniff. Adelaide saw that a single fat tear was running down his cheek. She hardly dared look at Francis. When she did she saw that he was grinning a huge smile spreading across his face. Uncertain, she grinned back.
“Alright,” Francis nodded, “let’s go. We need to get away from that house quickly, Amadeus will be awake pretty soon and when he realises I’ve stolen the Source we definitely don’t want to be anywhere nearby. Let’s go.”
He hurried off, Lee and Adelaide close behind him.
“So Amadeus is some kind of super-human fascist,” Adelaide said, “I didn’t realise they even existed.”
“Oh yeah,” Francis said, “I know I hate people who talk down to super-humans, but those guys are even worse. They originated when a group of serious weirdos decided that super-humans were some kind of ‘perfected form’, you know the apex of evolution and all that kind of stuff. It seems like Amadeus has majorly bought into that stuff.”
“So what do we do?”
“Against him? I don’t think there’s a great deal we can do.”