“So,” Emma sighed, “that is how I got a detention every day for the whole week.”
Adelaide nodded, pretending to be definitely listening. The sun was warm on her face and she was feeling sleepy so it was a little difficult to concentrate. They were sitting on top of the hill in the park, bathing in the afternoon rays. Francis had laid his crutches to one side and was burning like a lobster in the sun’s rays. Lee was sitting next to him, reading a book. Anna was next to Emma with her arm around her shoulder. Alexis was staring into the distance.
“Sounds bad,” Francis replied.
“It’s fine,” Emma shrugged, “detention’s nothing new. I’ve weathered worse. We’ve all weathered worse.”
“Agreed,” Lee said, not looking up from his reading.
Footsteps sounded and Lydia walked up the hill behind them. For once she wasn’t wearing a hoodie. She smiled, looking up at the shining sun. Then she stepped over to Alexis and flopped down next to him.
“Hi there,” she said, grinning at him. He returned a faint, distracted smile.
“Hi,” he murmured.
“Alexis,” Anna looked up, “you’ve been pretty quiet. What are you thinking about?”
“Oh… just,” Alexis shrugged, “something really weird happened to me today.”
“Ooh go on,” Adelaide looked over at him, “tell us, tell us.”
Alexis looked around. The others all nodded at him encouragingly.
“Right,” he said, “well… yes. I was -uh- I got up in the morning and went to find Mordecai. He’s my pet gecko, by the way. He wasn’t in his cage and I couldn’t find him anywhere. Anyway I had a look around and I was getting pretty worried about it. I didn’t want to lose him because I’ve had him for ages and I’m pretty sure he’s breaking some gecko age records. That’s not really the point… what was I saying? Yeah. Well, I was getting sort of frantic.”
“Over a gecko?” Lydia raised her eyebrows.
“Yeah,” Alexis nodded, “what?”
“Nothing,” Lydia giggled, “it’s kind of sweet.”
“Yes,” Alexis seemed oblivious to her amusement, “so I kept on looking and suddenly I thought to myself, ‘hey, what’s that cold feeling on my foot?’ Anyway, I looked down and there was Mordecai, clinging to my foot. I reached down and tried to pull him off but he really dug his claws in and refused to let go of me. When I finally managed to tear him away he left scratches.”
“Huh,” Adelaide nodded. The story had been slightly less interesting than she’d thought it would be. Lee had put his book down. He was giving Lydia an odd look. He turned to Alexis.
“So why Alexis, why a gecko?” He asked, “Seems like a bit of an unusual pet.”
“I don’t know. I’ve always liked lizards. The texture of the scales is quite nice, I find.”
“Oh I bet you do,” Lydia said. She paused. The others all looked over at her. While she couldn’t blush it seemed like the scales of her cheeks went a darker shade of green.
“Sorry,” she mumbled, “that came out really weird. I… I don’t know what’s come over me. I just feel a little odd. Don’t listen to me.”
“Right…” Adelaide nodded. She stared at Lydia. She was acting strangely, “are you okay?”
“Oh yeah,” Lydia nodded,”I feel great. Just a little light-headed, that’s all.”
Adelaide looked back and forth between Lydia and Alexis.
“Wait a second,” she said, “wait a second. Might there be a connection between the whole Mordecai the gecko thing and Lydia’s odd behaviour?”
“Could be,” Lee nodded, “didn’t you spray yourself with Source blood, Alexis?”
“Yes, but it didn’t do anything,” Alexis shrugged.
“Except maybe it did,” Francis said, “maybe you did get powers. Not like crazy, obvious powers but more subtle powers. Maybe your super-human power is something to do with being immensely attractive to lizards.”
It seemed like Alexis was about to say something. Then he stopped and thought about it. Slowly a smile spread across his face. He nodded.
“I think you might be right,” he said, “I think I might have powers.”
He punched the air. Lydia hugged him. Then she kissed him. It went on for a couple of minutes.
“Yeah,” Alexis said when they pulled away from one another, “I could get used to this.”
“So could I,” Lydia replied.
“That’s awesome,” Adelaide said.
Anna reached out and gave Alexis a high-five. Emma nodded at him and winked at Lydia.
“Welcome to the super-human community,” Lee said.
They sat a moment in contented silence. Eventually a voice in the distance made them look around. Rachel was walking a little unsteadily up the hill towards them. She was drawing the stares of everyone in the park as she moved. Her face screen showed a huge smiley face.
“Rachel!” Francis waved.
“First time outside the lab like this,” Rachel said, “and I can walk! Julian let me come out on the condition that I get back by evening.”
“Awesome,” Adelaide nodded, “take a seat.”
Rachel and nodded. Sinking down next to them she placed her hands on the ground to steady herself and looked up at the sun.
“Wow, ouch,” she said, “okay that was a mistake. The sun is so bright! I’d forgotten it was that bright. It’s been a while.”
“I’m glad you’re out of that place.” Francis said.
“I’m glad I’m with you,” Rachel looked around at them, “my friends.”
Adelaide looked at her contemplatively. Eventually she nodded and stood up. The others all looked up at her apprehensively.
“She’s right,” she said, “it’s good to be with you guys. I’m glad that I can call you all my friends. We’ve had our disagreements, but I like to think we’ve grown pretty close. I know our original aim was to do some good, change the world. We didn’t really do much of that but we definitely saved some people. We at least changed ourselves for the better. I think that’s pretty important, right guys?”
“Yeah!” The rest chorused.
“Damn right,” she said, “we’re a team.”