Jane bit her nail and kept her eyes on Able's shut door. She wondered if he was awake yet, and if he was; what was the wife saying? How much did she show about them? Did she know about his ability before tonight? Were they getting along?
Joseph held one of her hands in his and examined it closely, "Your hands are already healing. Although you'll probably have to revisit the manicurist to get your nails redone. Or is that one of your abilities too? Oh, I know plenty of women that would love that."
She ignored the sarcasm. Able could often be the joker of the group, but Joseph loved the sarcastic remarks. Normally they weren't aimed at her, it was usually David and Lisa that had to endure his barbs, "You're his closest friend, right?"
"Yeah, unless I've dreamed up the last few years."
"Did you know about his wife?"
He looked at her and then recognition dawned on him, "Oh, you like him don't you?"
"Not anymore," she said truthfully, as soon as she found out that he had a wife, she realized that that feeling that made her heart start racing suddenly stopped and she felt sick when she thought about it, "Not really."
""I didn't know about his wife. We try not to tell each other anything about our lives unless it's necessary. You never know when someone will turn on you."
"Well, it still would've been nice to know."
"What do you care, it's not like you like him anymore."
She blushed, hesitated, and then blurted guiltily, "No! But if the Facility is going to use your family against you, then it'd be nice to know who exactly we're protecting."
Joseph grabbed her shoulders gently, "He was protecting her. And until he decided to go and get her, she was safe. Probably a lot safer than she will be now."
Jane didn't have to ask what he meant. With the Facility, and Guardians, and the various dangers that they all went after. She now understood why it was so insane to have a civilian here right now, and one that had a baby.
"How was it here?" Joseph asked, "Playing babysitter with David?"
A few seconds of silence passed and she just stared at him in frustration..
He looked confused, "What?"
"I think you should cut him a break," she said curtly
"Yes, I'll give the secretive man that not only has been watching my sister and I all our lives, but also has endangered us multiple times with his little secrets a second chance."
"Maybe it was the same reason Able didn't tell us about his wife. Maybe he was protecting us."
"How so?" she tilted her head, she wasn't mocking or accusing. She honestly wanted to understand his reasoning, "Don't you protect your sister the same way by keeping parts of your life hidden? And keep the little secrets that you do because you think she's safer not knowing?"
His hands shook in anger, "But that's because she's my sister and Emilia is Able's wife. Our situation with David is different. The only thing we are to him is a bunch of assignments."
"What if you're wrong?" she asked.
"Have you seen any evidence of his protection?" Joseph demanded.
"Have you looked?"
Joseph leaned against the table and stared at her. She looked back, not bothered by his piercing blue eyes, a genetic trait that he and his sister shared. If he looked at you in a certain angry way it almost guaranteed that he got whatever he wanted.
"I don't have to look, because I know that he'll betray us."
"Are you so sure? You claim that superhumans betray each other, yet you trust Naomi and Able. You may even trust me, but I'm not totally sure about that," he tried to turn away, but she grabbed him and pulled him closer. She used her strength to hold him in place "Joseph, sooner or later we're going to have to trust him. The other Guardians told Naomi that Kyrie's kidnapping was going to be the thing that started Naomi's destiny. Now, you may not like him, but he may be the only one who will tell us what's going to happen next and until we start communicating better, then he's not going to."
Joseph stood up, "We don't need his help anyway."
By the time he was eighteen, Able found himself married to the woman he loved, but at a heavy price. Neither of their parents was happy that they married so young and certain things were said on both sides that could never be taken back. Able found himself with a wife, a minimum paying job, mounting bills, and no means or time for college.
The first time that he used his ability to steal from a movie celebrity's account, the water had been turned off and they had no way to pay for both that and the rent. It was just a few hundred dollars. The celebrity that he 'borrowed' from wouldn't miss it.
He was so guilt ridden the first time he'd taken money that he could hardly look at his wife. She knew what he did, she knew about his ability, they'd both known about it as kids. He hadn't liked using his ability for things like that, but he had no choice. He didn't want to swallow his pride and tell his mother or in-laws that he couldn't handle all the stress of the real world.
The next time he used someone else's money to ensure his family's survival, the guilt wasn't as bad. They'd cut back on the hours and his wife's two jobs didn't pay enough for the rent. And so, he 'borrowed' again.
The third time, Able was desperate. Emilia's jobs had made her tired, and the exhaustion made her very sick. He used the money to pay for the hospital visit and that's when he decided that he'd had enough. He didn't want this kind of life anymore, being an honest man wasn't getting him anything, so he told Emilia that he'd gotten a better paying job and started taking from the accounts of those who wouldn't miss it more frequently. He'd never known if she believed him or not, but he didn't care. It was his ability, and his wife deserved a better life than what an honest living was giving them.
The money allowed them to get a house and he could pay to send her to college. They settled down into a new routine and instead of stopping and actually looking for an actual job, he became comfortable with using his ability and let his guard down.
And then, the facility came for him.
The pounding headache was the first thing that woke Able up. When he worked in the Facility, he'd been told that for the most elusive superhumans, they put enough sedative in the tranquilizers to take down an elephant and if this wasn't that dose then he hated to think about what that dose actually was.
He opened his eyes and tried to control the rising vomit in the back of his throat. He'd only been hit by one of those things once before during his first escape and after he was safe he laid sick in an alleyway for days.. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad this time, but he wasn't looking forward to finding out.
"Honey?" his eyes slowly adjusted and he saw Emilia bending over her, "Are you alright?"
"I will be in a bit," he grabbed her hands desperately, "Are you and the baby hurt?"
"No, we're fine," she smiled sadly and looked at the crib that was in his room, "How long have you been planning this little rescue of me."
"When I figured out the whole plan? About the time Joseph and I arrived at the house. The time I started planning it? When we had to separate."
A tear slid down Emilia's cheek, she wrapped her arms around his waist, "I've missed you."
Able buried his face in her hair. How many months had he spent dreaming of this moment? Emilia was finally with him and they were both safe.
"I love you," he whispered.
"I love you too," she pulled back, there was something in her eyes. Like she wanted to ask him but wasn't sure at how to do it.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Able, I know Joseph, but who are the others? What is this place?"
He laid back down and stared at her, "It's home, I guess."
Able looked around his house and kept his hands clenched while this Mr. Braun talked. It was everything he could do not to just fry him and the two guards and make a run for it. But he was a hacker, not a murderer and he didn't want to think about what could happen to Emilia if they were indeed holding her hostage somewhere.
Even if it was really tempting to just kill them.
"You have a choice," Frederic told him, "Because of your actions, we can take you to the authorities, or you can come with us."
"To be a lab rat."
"Just a couple of tests," Frederic promised. "It's just a study."
Able didn't know if anyone in the room actually believed that, "And what of my wife?"
"That's the benefit, Mr. Stewart. If you cooperate, then I guarantee you that we'll provide for your wife. She'll be given all the comforts that she needs and you can even keep this house for her to livei n."
"And when will I come back?"
Mr. Braun hesitated and Able sighed and continued, "I'll only sign that contract if it means that no matter what happens, you'll watch over Emilia."
Able glared at the man, "And rest assured Mr. Braun. I will come back."