Chapter 2: Fireball

He dropped my arm. "Now that that's settled, let me bring you to the combat arena. Let's go, fireball." I spun around and felt a sudden flare of heat from behind me and I threw up a shield in the nick of time. There was an immediate sound of scuffling as security most likely threw Jay to the floor, which was proved to be true when I heard a thud. This idiot better control himself or he's going to get someone hurt. My fist clenched as I thought of little Rowan, who was currently in the RH, or Recovery Hall. I made a note to try and visit her later.

I kept walking, knowing that even without me security would bring him to the arena. I walked down a hall, noticing the white cameras following my movement and the doors opening as I approached them. Security was watching me through the cameras. The last door opened with a loud, low, beep. The door swung open, revealing one more door at the end of the hall that would lead to the arena. I sighed, watching as the door opened and revealed the dirt floor to me. I heard the sounds of Xenos fighting one another.

Stepping into the sunlight, I looked at the scene before me. There was a wide range of ages around me. Some as young as six were fighting against each other, albeit they were uncoordinated and stiff. Society even rejected kids so young and it pained me to see this. Little small children were cast away from their homes because they were born with an extra gift.

I felt another heat flare behind me and knew that my guest had arrived. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw a teenage boy in black and red struggling against two meaty security personnel. The last set of doors had been opened, waiting for my guest to go through them. I sighed and leaned against the doorway, waiting for his slow, but steady approach. I blew out a puff of air and ran my hand through my long hair. Security pushed him through the set of doors and they shut quickly behind him. The only direction he could walk now was forward. His eyes were aflame and glaring straight at me.

"If you want to survive here, you're going to need an attitude adjustment." I said coolly, and lifted myself from the doorway.

"I don't need you telling me what to do. I'm never going to stop fighting like you." He scoffed. "Following their orders and groveling at their feet like a pathetic animal." He spat, unmoving.

I narrowed my eyes and used my powers to slam him against the doors. They wouldn't break having been built to withstand our abilities. I stalked up to him and got right up in his face. "I do it to survive. And if you don't start 'following orders and groveling at their feet' you're going to end up dead. News flash. They don't care about our wellbeing and we're expendable. So you better fix yourself up before you end up just another failed file," I said dangerously. I lowered my mouth to right next to his hear and said lowly, "And don't you dare call me a pathetic animal. I have friends here that they won't hesitate to kill to make me comply. Maybe you don't care for others, but I sure do." I released him and spun around, angrily stomping towards the arena entrance.

My powers were flaring around me in an angry mess of purple. "Von!" I screamed. The black haired boy stopped whomever he was sparing with and gave me a look that clearly said 'what have you done now?' "Let's continue what we started." He saw him sigh and roll his eyes, quickly saying something to his previous opponent before approaching me.

As soon as he approached I lashed out, sending him a huge wave of my power; it was tangible and very deadly when used at its full capacity. I was held back by my Limitators, though. He quickly jumped up in the air, barely avoiding the attack. This was how I dealt with my anger and Von knew it, having fought me before when other situations brought me to this level of anger. Well, more like this level of rage. He sent a gust of condensed air at me and I dropped low to avoid the literally cutting wind. He came down at me hard, catching me off guard. I hit the wall of the arena with a loud thud. I fell flat on my feet and charged my friend. The world blurred around me and I focused on Von, blocking out everything else. Because of that, I hadn't even noticed as a ball of fire hit my side, exploding upon contact and very likely to have caused me minor burns.

I slid against the ground on my side, my left arm receiving scrapes. I turned to the perpetrator, glaring at him. "You 'wanna go at it, big boy? You think you're so tough?" I picked myself up from the ground, completely irate. I was tired of this boy. He kept pushing me and pushing me and pushing me and now I've snapped. His lucky day. I brushed the dirt off my grey tank top and black shorts. "Well then, bring it." I said, beckoning him forward.

"Mia." I heard a voice next to me say warningly—Von's voice.

I didn't turn towards him, keeping my gaze narrowed on Jay. "No, I'm tired of this guy and he's not going to stop until I make him."

Jay came at me and really quickly. I pushed Von away from me and spun to dodge the hit. His fist slammed into the ground and I performed a back handspring, avoiding his kick. I used my powers and threw him against the wall. Telekinesis was very convenient, but I learned hand-to-hand combat because when facing many, many people, I wouldn't be able to concentrate enough when they're all coming at me to only use my powers. Fighting hand-to-hand and using my powers at the same time was the most effective way to fight. Normally when sparing, I wouldn't use such a tactic either, wanting to push myself and not use the easy way to fight. However, this was Jay and I didn't care about using underhand methods to bring him down. He deserved it.

His body hit the side of the arena and the force of my telekinesis caused him to break the wall. He climbed out from the dent he made and glared at me murderously. He had superhuman durability, but I had thrown him hard enough against the wall to hurt him. But since he also had accelerated regeneration, he healed immediately. I watched in slight fascination as the large gash wound on his arm sealed. But there was no time to continue to watch, he sent a huge column of fire at me and I threw my shield up. Now, it was a battle of strength. This was a test to see whose powers were stronger. I fell to my knees under the pressure of his fire, struggling slightly to maintain my shield. I will not break, I will not break, I repeated to myself over and over. The air began to heat up and is started to get sweatier, it was getting really warm.

Suddenly, the column stopped, but I kept my dome shield around me, bracing myself for another possible attack. But the scene before me proved that nothing else would happen. I lowered my shield. Before me I saw Jay lying unconscious on the ground. Dr. Lorate stood over Jay, a needle in his hand, three more Observers and five security personnel beside him. I pressed my palms against the ground, breathing heavily in exhaustion.

"Mia." Lorate's voice called out. I pulled myself slowly to my feet and made the fifty yard trek to wear Lorate stood. Finally I made my way to him. All the other Xenos around me were still, observing the scene before them. "Mia," he repeated, condescendingly, "you were supposed to get along with Subject 1926." He gestured to Jay. "But then I hear word of you two fighting in the arena. I'll let you off this time, Mia, but you know what happens if you disobey me again," he threatened. I knew. He would torture my friends and force me to watch. I bit my lower lip, closing my eyes, and bowing my head in submission. "Good. I have taken Subject 1926 under my watch. He will be your new partner." My eyes snapped open and I began to protest. Lorate held his hand up, silencing me. "I want you two to work together from now on." I nodded slowly, showing that I had understood his command. "Now, deal with Jay. Take him to RH and stay with him until he wakes up. Call for me when he wakes. I want to have a talk with both of you, together." His gaze was hard and I nodded. Lorate reached and put his free hand on my head before heading towards the exit of the arena. I saw him hand the needle to one of the Observers as they made their exit.

Everyone remained silent and I fell on my knees beside Jay's still form. I sighed heavily before feeling a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see Von. "Need a little help?" He offered. I smiled and nodded, giving my thanks.

My amazing friend picked Jay up and threw him over his shoulder. I felt another hand help me stand up and looked to see my other friend Korellia, who was three years older than I. She was blessed with the powers of light manipulation and empathy, the latter given to her as a result of a successful experimentation. This synthetically given manipulation made her a wonderful person to talk to. She knew exactly what to say to make you feel better. She rubbed my back comfortingly, knowing my frustration in the task given to me. I did not want to watch over the fireball. He was extremely infuriating!

We made the slow trek to Recovery Hall, doors opening automatically for us. The metallic hallways were cold and silent, making the sounds of our padding feet more obvious.

No one spoke during the beginning of our trek until Von spoke. "What happened, Mia?"

Korellia's arm around my shoulder tightened, giving me support after feeling my flash of anger. "Nothing I want to talk about right now, Von." He dropped the subject.

"Mia, who is that?" Korellia asked, gesturing to Jay.

"Jay," I reluctantly responded. "He just arrived today. Got caught after on the run, I guess, since he's just arriving now. He's sixteen, a stable level eight, and has six powers." I heard Von whistle, impressed. Six was a really large repertoire of powers. Normally, most only had about one or two. I, myself, only have three and still considered one of the more powerful and dangerous subjects in addition to the fact that my level continues to increase. "Fire Manipulation, Heat Manipulation, Superhuman Durability, Accelerated Regeneration, Night Vision, and X-Ray Vision. And now, apparently, my new partner."

My two companions were silent, taking in the information and no doubt tucking it away in their memory for any other person who might ask. Another thing about being in this metallic compound was that there were no secrets. Everybody knew everybody else's business but no one cared too much, because by everyone knowing everything, it brought us all outcasts closer together. It felt like family, because only your family knew everything about you—the good and the bad. But I don't mean that we're all a very big, cliché, happy family. We have our bad family members, but we learn to tolerate and deal with them as a real family does. We all face everything together.

The last door, the door to the RH, opened and our foursome stepped in. Dr. Patricia Green saw us and ushered us in. She was all the Xenos' favorite Observer. She was the compound's medical doctor, who took care of all the Xenos when they were injured. She was the kindest Observer that worked in the IEG—the only one who actually seemed to care and connect with the Xenos. Each and every one of us were like her children, even insisting that we call her 'Mom' within the RH, which I had done since I was a little girl when I had my first visit with her. She was pained to see us suffer during the experiments, but she remained working because she felt that she could provide us with all the love and affection that no one gave us here. And she knew that she could never help us to escape, though, and all of us accepted that. We didn't want her to risk that anyways. We loved her because she thought of us. She possessed kind, sparkling, brown eyes and short, light brown hair. Her small nose and delicate face-shape was a person to envy to all who ever saw her. She was the epitome of perfection.

She led us to a private room at the back. The Recovery Hall had previously been just the Recovery Room, having used to been just a single room until "Mom" argued that she needed more space to treat us all. And since we were sent on missions for the benefit of the country we deserved better accommodations when we're injured. She had won and received a whole hall to treat the Xenos that had been previously used for just storage. Since then, it was nicknamed the RH since Recovery Hall was just too much to say.

"Mia," she said, "who is this boy?" She had already told Von to place Jay on the white bed and excused both of my friends from the room. Korellia gave me one last look before leaving that told me to behave and if I wanted to talk later, she was willing and would be waiting.

She was seated on the between the two beds that were in the room and forced me to sit on the other, my feet hanging off the sides. "Jay. He arrived today. My new partner." I said as she dabbed at my scrape to disinfect it.

She hummed. "I see."

"Lorate told me to stay here until he wakes. He injected him with sedative."

She glanced over where he laid and nodded at me. "He should wake in about ten minutes if he was given the regular dosage." She finished dabbing my arm and collected all the medical supplies she had used. "I'll be right back," she informed me as she stood. "I'll go grab some restraints for when he wakes up."

I nodded and she left the room. I looked around me. I was a regular patient in this room. Most of the time, this room was reserved for me when I come back from missions. Even when I'm not hurt, I still come here to rest for a few days before returning to my other room and resuming my regular schedule. Lorate allows me to do this only because I'm his prized test subject and the other Observers don't bother me here.

Each of the private rooms had two beds with curtains that could be pulled around each. There was a seat beside each bed for any visitors, which was the only furniture present in the room. Any other medical equipment would be brought into the room depending on the patient's needs. The beds were more comfy than the ones in the regular rooms, which is also why I often stayed here after missions other than to be in the comfortable presence of Mom.

I swung my feet around as I sat and fell backwards to look at the metallic ceiling. Lifting an arm, I placed it over my eyes lying down for a minute before I heard the door open and the familiar click of Mom's heels.

"Mia, help me with this." Mom's voice said and I sat up, jumping off the bed to assist her. She handed me two sets of specially designed restraints. I stood on one side of the bed, with Mom on the other and we both fitted them into their locations on the specially made beds and placed Jay's limbs in each of them. They looked like simple metal cuffs, but they were definitely a lot more durable than regular cuffs.

Mom came around to my side of the bed and wrapped her arms around me. "You know you can come whenever, Mia." She pulled back and touched her finger on the tip of my nose. "And you know Dr. Lorate will let you, so don't hesitate to come to me whenever you want." I nodded and she gave me one last hug before leaving and tending to the other patients that she most definitely had.

I sat on the edge of Jay's bed, near his waist, and studied him. He was definitely a looker. His had high cheekbones and a straight-edged nose. His lips were thin and a rosy pink. I could see wrinkles between his eyes, showing that he often furrowed his brows. His jaw was delicate and he looked just a slight bit feminine. Some of his hair was in his face, so I leaned down, reaching my hand out to brush it away. His dark black hair was soft to the touch and I ran my hands through it more relishing in its softness.

I heard him moan and I froze, fearing I was caught. He mumbled something, but his eyes remained closed and I relaxed. His face scrunched in frustration, deepening the wrinkles, and he looked troubled. I moved my hand from his hair and rested it on his cheek. He seemed to relax and mumbled something I could not catch, again.

As the palm of my hand rested against his cheek, I noticed how warm he was. He nuzzled into my hand and I smiled a little. He wasn't so bad…only when he's sleeping though. Suddenly he groaned and I jumped away, knowing this time he was definitely awake. I stood above him, next to his bed. "You up, fireball?" Red eyes appeared and glared at me. I put my hands on my hip and glared at him back. I saw him struggling against his restraints in my peripheral.

"Release me," he growled.

"Sorry, bud, I don't have the keys." I rolled my eyes. "But I can get them if you stop struggling. We've been summoned to see the Head Observer upon your awakening."

"I don't know who or what you're talking about. Just release me!" The temperature in the room rose a degree I knew exactly what the cause was.

"Stop it, or I'll dump a bucket of water over you. That'll cool you down." I threatened. I was definitely that I liked him a lot more when he was sleeping. He froze. I was pretty sure that water was his weakness if he had Fire and Heat Manipulation. "Now, I can release you, but you'll have to not attack me and we have to go see Lorate." He rolled his eyes and I took this as a sign of affirmation. I poked my head out of the room. "Mom? You there? He's awake," I called out. I heard a door open and Mom appear behind a hallway corner.

"How is he?" she asked, hurriedly coming down the hall.

"Angry." I replied.

She laughed and handed me a device, knowing that meant that I should call Lorate. She walked in the room, me following in after her. She approached Jay and said, "Now, I'm going to undo your restraints and I am going to trust you not to try anything." She pulled a trigger button out of her pocket that would immediately release this set of restrains. Each of the restraints had been synched with a trigger device before use so that when the button is pushed, all of the restrains immediately unlatch. She continued to instruct him on something and I zoned out, focusing on calling Dr. Lorate.

I looked at the little rectangular device in my hands about the width of a pen. It was a simple metal device with a small button on the side. I pushed the screen and it came to life, a holographic screen popping up. Navigating my way through it, I found the contact list and found Lorate's. I pressed his name and it began the calling process.

Lorate's face showed up on the screen. "Hello Mia. I assume that 1926 is awake?"

I nodded and said, "Yes, sir."

He nodded back at me and said, "Very well. Meet me in your regular training room." Then, he hung up, the holographic screen disappearing.

Looking up I saw Jay sitting on the edge of his bed, rubbing his wrists. "Those probably wouldn't hurt if you hadn't struggled," I said. He looked up at me and glared. I approached Mom who was standing in front of the devil and handed her the calling device. "Come, the Doctor is waiting for us," I said, meeting his eyes and turned around without getting a reply. "Bye, Mom!" I called out and she returned the farewell.

I made my way to the exit, passing the many closed doors, which may or may not hold patients. There were the sound of heavy footsteps behind me and I knew he was following. After all, he had nowhere else to go. After exiting the private room hall, we made our way through the other hall that held a couple of large rooms where minor injuries were treated. The doors to those rooms were also closed.

The door opened on its own and I turned right, navigating the halls to my regular training room, the doors opening automatically because of security watching us, as usual. I felt a glare on my back the whole time and ignored it. Finally I saw the door to my regular training room. This room was similar to the one that I first met Jay in, but larger. Its properties were similar, with the observation deck and power-proof room below as well. This entrance, however, went straight to the room and not the observation deck, where I knew Observers sat to observe, as they always did during my sessions.

I knocked on the door and it opened. Dr. Lorate was smiling at me. "Hello, Mia." He glanced behind me and said, "I see you brought Jay, too. Good." He held the door open for me to walk in, and I entered.

Not hearing the (by now) familiar sound of Jay's steps I turned. "You better come in before you're forced in," I said. I heard him grunt and reluctantly walk in, Lorate closing the door shut tight after him.

"You two will from now on be training with one another as you two are now partners. I have taken on Jay as one of my private subjects. The two of you are to be our most deadly team on call, but that won't be true if you can't work together. Therefore, I have schedule for your private training sessions to be together. No fighting, either." He looked up to the dark glass of the observation deck and made a gesture. The room began forming holographic forms that were tangible. Buildings appeared as did opponents that were simply just black shadows. "Begin." Lorate said, before I saw him disappear in the elevator that led to the observation deck.

I turned to Jay. His red eyes locked onto mine and I said, "Just you and me, fireball. Let's begin." I grinned and went straight for a shadow.