The art of inquisition, Adam thought as he met the steely blue gazes of the Gallagher siblings, had not died with the Spanish. Nor had it perished with either the Germans or Russians. It was alive and well and living in America. Specifically in a quiet suburban house at the ungodly hour of 6 AM.

The current topic of "discussion" was an explanation of what his powers were, specifically. It wasn't something he liked trying to define, as it was the most ambiguous of the ambiguous psychic powers. Plus people generally wanted to manipulate the manipulator. That, he had discovered from bitter experience, was not enjoyable by any means.

He had been only three when his "guardian" discovered his rather unusual abilities. Lyssandra, being herself, had been quite willing to earn some return on his care, and had put Adam to good use in her various plots and schemes. She had otherwise worked independently; this was one of the many reasons that they usually failed. Lyssandra was far too impetuous to be the strategist for any type of project, and Adam could have easily pointed out the many flaws in the majority of her plans. He didn't like to provide any more assistance than was absolutely necessary, though, so he kept his mouth shut, following her orders to the letter, but providing little else.

His decision to stop being her lackey had partly been boredom, and partly self-preservation. Lyssandra was getting into some deep stuff that he wanted nothing to do with. She no longer orchestrated the plans, and she no longer worked alone. Lyssandra was taking the orders now, Adam quickly discovered, from someone who knew what they were doing. That terrified him. He'd always been reassured by the fact that her plots and efforts had no chance of succeeding; he didn't have to worry about what their ultimate effect might be. Now that they could possibly come to fruitation, he was a bit panicked. After all, the ramifications for humanity were not good.

The plan was similar to Lyssandra's usual ones, take over humanity by utilizing all the people with special talents. Then implement a Nazi-like regime that particularly appealed to Lyssandra. That was the explanation given to her, at least. Adam had a feeling that there was more to it than simply that.

Thus he had decided to play a little double agent game with the assistance of Lisa's extremely intelligent computer. That decision, in turn, brought him into his current situation, facing down the gazes of four sentient beings, none of whom could be considered even vaguely normal. All of whom were specifically concerned with who he was, and what was going on. Adam couldn't provide too many answers on either score. And he had no clue how to begin.

Taking a deep breath, he prepared to plunge in as best he could.


Lyssandra cradled her arm as she crawled into a sitting position on the floor. She was going to find Adam, and then kill him.

There was no way in hell that a sixteen-year-old girl had the strength to break her arm. It would have required the use of supernormal powers, specifically telekinesis. Lisa Gallagher was Talented, but she wasn't telekinetic. Adam was, however, a low-grade telekinetic, as well as a number of other things. That was what had made him particularly helpful to her.

Lyssandra winced as she tried moving her arm. It hurt like a bitch, and she didn't know how she was going to get it fixed. She certainly was in no condition to drive herself to the hospital, and it didn't appear that she was going to be able to draw anyone near this place anytime soon.

She was lost in her contemplations when she first felt a new presence stir in the room. Glancing up, Lyssandra was struck with an impression of black clothing as the figure swept closer. A familiar voice spoke to her.

"Well, you've really screwed this up, haven't you? I shouldn't be surprised; you really are one of the world's most incompetent telepaths." The voice was low, scornful, and female. The speaker was clearly growing tired of failure; and Lyssandra had proven to be a disappointment in many ways.

Ana Severinson had learned early on in her life to expect disappointment before all else; however, this was taking it a bit far. She had, after all, done most of the work here.

Not only had she explained Lisa's Gift to her, in order to speed along the process so that she could better use the girl, but she had warped Jordan's dream as well. She smiled. That had been a particularly clever touch, she thought. Jordan should have seen her with Lisa, a potentially harmful vision that clearly could have derailed the entire operation. Instead, she'd replaced it with a still true, but less important vision that put he and the idiotic Ken doll directly into Lyssandra's grasp. From there, it should have been a piece of cake for her to trap all three.

Nothing was ever easy, mused Ana as she pulled the older woman up by her broken arm, eliciting a scream from the redhead.

"Do you have any suggestions? I'm sure your much more intelligent ward has spilled everything he knows already. And he likely is aware of anything you know, since you're clearly a total moron."

Lyssandra was growing quite tired of the younger girl's audacity. She seemed to believe that she was a total idiot. This wasn't the case; she was just a little impetuous. She didn't always think things through. That wasn't a sign of idiocy.

"No, just a lack of self-control, and the inability to develop any, as well," Ana remarked. She smirked. "Haven't you learned to guard yourself better around me?"

Lyssandra just frowned. The pain had been ebbing away a moment ago, now it had increased tenfold. Ana was doing something to her, she realized as everything began to fade to black.

"You always were a slow one," Ana smiled. "Nighty-night."

She had more important things to do tonight than deal with incompetents. He well-laid plans were slightly in danger. She doubted that Adam knew enough to destroy what she had spent years constructing. However he was smart, as was Lisa, Jordan, and that computer. There was the slightest possibility that they could manage to wreck things for her.

Ana would not allow her promise to be broken.


Let me get this straight, " Jordan said, attempting to rub away a headache between his eyes. "You're telepathic."

"Yes," answered Adam.

"And telekinetic, empathic, and precognitive as well."

"To a very small degree."

"To a very small degree," Jordan repeated. My brother was clearly confused. All of us were, with the possible exception of James. One could never tell exactly with him.

"My head hurts," announced Aidan.

"Join the club," I muttered. Adam had finally finished his long explanation of what he was. It was now 6 AM, and I had to go to school in an hour. I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

Adam, so far as I could tell, was a low-level everything. He didn't have enough power on his own to do much by himself, but he was a master at manipulating the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others. Which was apparently how I had managed to break Lyssandra's arm.

Lyssandra. I didn't even want to think about that mess.

She was not the one behind the search attempts for me; someone else was. Adam didn't even know who, it had been the one piece of information he had been unable to pry out of Lyssandra. He figured whoever was orchestrating this thing had put a block on that information.

I groaned. My life was a disaster. I had an uninvited male guest in my bedroom, a psychic war to deal with somehow, and a Calculus test in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Why couldn't I be normal? Or at least normally weird?

Jordan caught my eye, and shooed both Aidan and Adam out of my room, and into his. We had all clearly had enough for one morning.

I sighed, as I looked blearily down at my backpack. Maybe I could catch some sleep during lunch. And avoid people from home. That should be possible; after all, none of the rest of them were at my school.

Or so I thought.


From the glazed expressions on everyone else's faces, I could tell that it wasn't just me and my exhaustion. Erika was boring everyone else as well. So far as I could tell, it was about her, her latest boyfriend, and her mother. Again. Clearly, I should at least put up a pretense of listening, and I was doing a fairly decent job, if not for what occurred next.

"May I sit down here." The voice that spoke was male, and unfortunately familiar.

Shit. Adam went to my school. There was no escape.

Adam slid into the seat next to me, and I half-heartedly scowled in his general direction. I was too tired to try anything else. He should be, as well, but apparently was one of those horrible people with enough energy to be classified as Superman.

"Actually, its just a massive amount of caffeine," he spoke telepathically. It had been decided that a link between the five of us might be wise, given the situation. It had its low points.

"Out," I muttered darkly. "I'm to tired to carry on the pretense of two conversations."

"Poor baby."

I really didn't think I was going to like him.

I was cheerfully plotting his death, when I heard Erika's unmistakable voice. "Who's he, Lisa? He's kinda cute."

"Typical," I thought as I attempted to formulate a believable response. However, Adam beat me to it.

"Lisa's my girlfriend."

Oh hell. I was really going to kill him now.


Aidan was completely and utterly bored. Jordan, Lisa, and Adam were all at there respective schools; Jordan at the university, and Lisa and Adam at high school. This, naturally, left him by himself, with the exception of James.

James was usually company enough. They generally exchanged sarcastic comments and insults, and this was enough to keep the blond occupied until Jordan got out of class at 2 PM. The computer was apparently not in the mood for such things today, however. He had been spent the majority of the day making the quiet hum that generally meant that not only did he not wish to be disturbed, but actually managing to catch his attention would be next to impossible.

Aidan sighed heavily as he leaned his head back and began counting the cracks on Lisa's ceiling again. There was really nothing to do during the day. He couldn't watch a movie, because the sound would catch the attention of their mother. He'd already skimmed through most of the books in both Lisa and Jordan's rooms, and to be perfectly honest, they didn't interest him much. Lisa's collection consisted mostly of some science fiction and fantasy, comic books, and computer manuals of varying sorts. As if James couldn't provide the information on whatever she wanted to do.

Jordan, on the other hand, seemed to favor what were inexplicably known as the classics. Whoever had named them as such, he decided, had been on some pretty funny drugs. They generally tended towards deep meaning and long- winded language.

And now, he was hungry. Lisa generally forbade him from setting foot further away than the bathroom, as explaining him to her parents would be extremely difficult. And Mrs. Gallagher was a free-lance writer, who worked from the house, so he couldn't move around at anytime, because someone was almost always there.

She had gone shopping, though. So maybe he could sneak downstairs and grab some food, and run back upstairs. No one would know anything about it, and his stomach would stop making those odd noises.

He was in the midst of rummaging through the refrigerator when he heard the tell-tale sound of a bag being dropped heavily to floor. It was followed by an angry adult voice.

"Who the hell are you, and why are you in my kitchen?"

Bridget Gallagher was home, and she required answers.

Some quick thinking was certainly in order. Unfortunately, Aidan had not developed that particular skill.


Jordan was looking forward to a nice, semi-quiet afternoon. One of his classes had been cancelled, the evil biology one, and thus he was on the way home for some nice quality time with his pillow.

He was pretty sure that he'd be missing said quality time when he saw the oozy mess of eggs and yogurt on the kitchen floor. He was absolutely certain of it when he turned the corner and saw his mother interrogating Aidan.

This was not a situation he wanted to deal with. In any shape or form. But it appeared that he was the only person available for the job. Damn precognition. It never warned him about the really important things, like potentially irate parents.

Grabbing a cookie off the counter, and making a concerted effort to look nonchalant, he flopped into a chair across from his mother, and next to the blond.

"Hey Mom. Hey, Aidan." Jordan to a moment to chew and to frantically searched his brain for some sort of believable excuse for the blond's presence. Finally, he turned to Aidan. "Did your roommate kick you out again?"

"Uh, yeah," said Aidan quickly. "You said I could crash here if I wanted, but I think I scared your mother."

Jordan eyed the woman across from him, and decided that "scared" was not quite the right word for it. Shocked and angered might come closer, and unfortunately, the focus of her emotions was shifting towards her son.

"Um, Aidan? Why don't you go up to my room? I think my mother would like to discuss this with me in private."

Aidan was quick to follow Jordan's directions. If Bridget Gallagher's temper was anything like her daughter's, it was not something he wanted to deal with. Ever, if at all possible.

He glanced over his shoulder at Jordan, who was madly improvising an excuse for his presence. Dealing with him when this was over was going to be no picnic either.

And all he'd really wanted was some cheese. Was that really too much to ask?


She'd actually bought it; God only knew how. But his mother had actually bought the story about Aidan being a fellow college student looking for a place to stay.

Of course, by convincing her of that, he also got the lecture from hell. Terms such as "check with me before you open up my home to people" and "I know I'm your mother, but you can still talk to me" were ringing through his head, and he now had a headache to rival the one he would have had if he had been in Bio today.

All of this, naturally, meant that Aidan was going to die. Slowly, and painfully, if at all possible.

Jordan was on his way upstairs to achieve this goal, when his sister slammed into the house.

Lisa was looking exhausted, disturbed, and fit to kill. And she was talking to their mother. Jordan ducked around the corner so to not be drawn into it.

"Lisa, your brother has so thoughtfully invited someone to stay with us for awhile. Some long-haired college student named Aidan." Jordan didn't bother listening to the rest of his mother's statement, but instead snuck upstairs to hide.

Lisa had clearly already been angry when she stepped into the house. Knowing that Aidan had blown his cover was going to make her bloody furious, and Jordan didn't particularly wish to be in the line of fire.