Chapter One

I love My Job

I love the sharp click that comes from a hard sole shoe on a hard surface. A surface such as the finely polished marble floors of one of the biggest banks in New York. I also love counting money. I hummed a happy tune as I casually counted through the thick stack of crisp hundred dollars bills in my hand.

"...and one thousand." I purred before putting the stack into my duffel bag with the other stacks of cash. The moonlight shined brightly from outside thanks to it's full state. It casted a pale glow about the bank, giving the massive place an eerie look that I just loved. However the beauty of it was ruined by the flashing of red and blue. I stopped and smiled at the familiar light, pulling up my scarf and goggles to hide my face. My goggles looked more like they should be on a WWII pilot's face rather than my own, but they covered a lot.

"Ah," I chuckled. "Tonight's fun has arrived."

I heard three quick beeps in my ear thanks to the tiny ear bud that functioned as a blue tooth piece. I tapped and didn't even bat an eye as a rather peeved voice growled on the other line. "Dad, you do realize that she," the girl on the other line spat the word with great venom,"has way over half the police force there to arrest your butt right?"

I chuckled deeply and nodded, knowing full well she could see me from the cameras. "Yes Sarah, I do realize this. The lights are kind of hard to miss. Can I presume she has the building surrounded?"

"Pfft, of course." She scoffed.

"And where is she?"

"She is carrying a twelve gauge and coming in with the swat team through the giant hole you made."

Just as she said that, I heard a familiar voice bark, "Phoenix, drop the money and get down on the ground!" I slowly turned around to face her. Every time I see her my heart beats a little bit faster. Namely because she's normally trying to hurt me in a very creative and painful manner. This time, not so creatively with a rather sinister looking shotgun. Her long brown hair with its streaks of white that blended perfectly with her locks indicated she was rather mad, her well toned body from years of chasing me and other crooks was tense and ready to strike at a moment's notice, her icy blue eyes glaring at me also indicated she was ready to shove that gun up my ass and pull the trigger, her police uniform not hiding her perfect body in the least bit, and her thick lips pursed into a scowl that I still find adorable after everything.

"Ah, Jen," I said in my false deep gravelly voice I put on for the police. Seriously, I sounded like I either smoked way too much or was trying to sound like Batman. Or both. "How nice to see you."

"Bag on the ground, now. Hands up," she repeated as more and more swat circled around me. I watched them with mild amusement. My, she really did go all out didn't she?

"Come on now, Jen. I thought we've been over this many times. I can't do both at the same time."

"I swear Phoenix, if I wasn't a cop I would have already shot you. Put the bag down then you're hands up."

I smiled at her from under my scarf and put the bag down, but didn't put my hands up. Instead I clapped them together then rubbed them against one another.

"Phoenix, hands up now," she said in a low warning tone. "You can't escape. I have the entire place surrounded. Both hands in the air and get on the ground."

"Oh but I can," I slyly said. I rubbed my hands together one last time then flung them apart during the final slide. Sparks flew from my hands and the handles of the guns of the officers became white hot, causing them to drop them. Even Jen's. In the same moment, my feet ignited into a brilliant fire and soon I was bursting from the large windows of the bank, for all intents and purposes, looking like I was riding a very small comet. My stance was similar to one you would have while riding a skateboard or a surfboard.

Of course Jen wasn't lying when she said she had the air covered. Immediately, almost seven helicopters were on my case. Sweet Jesus, I didn't even know the police had that many helicopters. I looked back to make sure and low and behold, Jen was following me. You see, we're opposites in more than just the whole crook and cop way. I'm literally fire and she is literally water and ice.

So as of now, she was mimicking my stance, but on a giant block of ice shaped like a board. Well to be honest, her stance had a much more angry air about it. The fact she was aiming that shot gun at me didn't help that look. Wait... Shotgun?

I looked back again and saw that she had the handle encased in ice. Ah, that explains it.

She easily surpassed the flying machines and was soon on my tail. I heard a shotgun blast a felt a few pelts whiz past my lovely head. "Warning shot!" she yelled over the wind. "Next one hits your head!"

Not likely. She wanted me alive so she could arrest me and interrogate me and most like torture me a bit.

I did need to get her from those helicopters though. I had a limited amount of time to finish this plan, and the main part was getting her alone so I could talk to her. I looked at the large skyscrapers around me, my own base being counted among them. I could try and lose them in the sharp twist and turns of the New York City buildings, but then they could follow Jen's trail or better yet, just go higher.

Another shot rang out from Jen and I felt a slight stinging sensation in my shoulder. I looked and saw it was nothing more than a minor cut, not even worth looking at. I wonder if she stopped flying, her aim would be better. Actually, I know for a fact it would be. I swerved between a few skyscrapers and moved ever closer to my base.

Wait. Stop flying. Those choppers needed their routers to fly. If, per say, they were to encounter a high heat such as what I can produce, they would drop like two ton rocks. I like this plan. I don't like killing all that much but whatever, if it has to be done.

I turned a hard right and flew above Jen's head and narrowly avoided getting my man bits blown off by her shooting at me. I patted myself to make sure everything was still intact and when I was sure I could have children in the future, I put the new plan in action.

I threw out my hands as I flew past the helicopters and jets of scorching flames ignited from my hands, melting the metal blades as if they were nothing more than ice. Soon the machines began to crash to the ground in what would most likely be a fiery explosion, or at the very least some very dead police officers.

However as I turned around to view my dastardly handy work, I found that Jen was saving them like a good little hero. Despite the fact that we were easily hundreds of feet in the air, she made slides for the helicopters to go down and land safely on the ground, saving both innocent lives and police officers. I hadn't even thought of the pedestrians and I felt a pang of guilt run through me. I quickly killed it and focused on Jen.

Her hair was its dull brown and she was barely staying in the air. One bad thing about her mode of transportation was that she had to keep moving and thus using more powers. Where as I could just stand by her calmly and hopefully not use as much.

She looked a bit pale and drained of energy as she threw her gun to a nearby rooftop. "Come on Frosty, you used too much of your powers saving your fellow pi- I mean cops." I called out not bothering to disguise my voice anymore, "Let's land and have a nice little talk."

"Like hell," she growled. A spear of ice appeared in her hand, and despite her weakened state, she still charged at me. I glanced behind me to see a building not that far under me, maybe ten feet. When I looked in front again, Jen was almost on top of me, about to run that spear through me.

I caught the shaft while twisting to the side to avoid having my entrails ripped out and flung her onto the building below me. I didn't want to hurt her like that, but I acted on instinct. Not to mention I had to avoid the whole getting skewered part.

I quickly landed next to her and helped her into a standing position. She pushed me away, barely able to catch herself from her own shove. She was exhausted. I could see dark bags forming under her eyes already, and her hands were shaking, hanging limply at her sides.

"Look, I just want to talk," I told her in a soothing and calm voice, or so I hoped. she glared at me and snapped, "You have five minutes." More like she needs five minutes. Maybe five hours.

"Okay, I can do that. Sarah, listen in and make sure I don't miss something." I cleared my throat, and Jen give me her confused glare as she panted and tried to get some energy back, "Okay, let's see. I wasn't really paying attention, but the gist of it is that some douche bag you work with is really some double crossing bastard who runs a gang and killed your boss, and then framed you to get you out of the way. That is why I robbed the bank. Not only to get you away from him and the police station, but to get you some place safe from the other police officers so you wouldn't get arrested."

"You missed so much it's not even funny," Sarah deadpanned. I rolled my eyes and let this sink in with Jen. She stopped panting and was only breathing in a bit more labored way than what was normal. She opened and closed her mouth a few times, looking an awful lot like a fish, before she barked, "Are you on crack?"

"No, I swear this is all legit." I sighed, curing my impulsive nature not for the first time, "Sarah, help me out here."

"The man in question is named Zachary Helms. He was supposed to be promoted to Police Captain, but she got the job instead and this not only infuriated him, but also made it harder for him to cover up his gang's tracks. He is currently the leader of the Electrodes gang, horrible name by the way. Like you, he has an assistant that handles that part more than he does so that he can be a good little pig, but Zachary still makes the big decisions and what not. And way back to the main point, he made this plan to kill the Commissioner and frame Jennifer for it, and he's done an excellent job. The police are already hunting her down. Since she has been incriminated, she will most likely be removed from her post and worse, allowing him to take his quote unquote, rightful place. Oh, and he hired some assassin to kill her and said assassin is on his way now, so get a move on. You're literally a thirty second flight to the base."

I told Jen all of this, replacing words here and there so it was correct in a sense of grammar. When I got to the assassin part, I slowly trailed off "...and you have an assassin or two...on you..." I quickly looked around at the surrounding rooftops. There were so many, they could be anywhere. The building we were on had several large AC units we could hide behind if it was a sniper, but that wouldn't help if we didn't know where he or she was.

Not to mention if this assassin is already here, they most likely have powers. Probably flight or something like that to reach the roof tops.

"Are you sure you not on crack, Phoenix?" Jen asked gaining my attention again. "Because you are not making any sense."

"Look, Jen, I swear to you this is all true. Just please believe me." I was almost begging. I don't even remember the last time I begged. "Just trust me this once."

"Why should I trust you? You've spent the past seven years making me miserable."

I ripped off my scarf, yanked up my goggles, and let my hair turn to its normal black color. My sharp and rather handsome face was free for her to see for the first time in nearly a decade. Several emotions flitted across her face. Anger, joy, betrayal, confusion, and even a bit of guilt, but her face settled on anger as she shouted. "Aden Hayes!?"

"Yes, it's me. Now for the love of God, just come with me so you don't get your brains blown out or worse!"

"If anything, this is even more reason for me not to trust you! Why did you-" her rant was cut off by a bullet narrowly missing her head and instead finding my shoulder. I howled in pain while falling to the ground. Okay, that arm was now out of commission. Jen also hit the ground and hid behind one of the AC units. I quickly joined her while holding my bleeding shoulder.

Jen breathed under her breath, "If I hadn't had shifted my weight..."

"You would have a bullet in your head," I finished for her in a painful grunt. "Now do you at least believe me about the assassins?" She vigorously nodded her head. "Good."

"Dad," Sarah interrupted, "the assassin is bad at hitting moving targets. If you make a run for it, you should make it home."

"Got it." I turned off the ear bud and looked at Jen and instructed her. "We are going to run to the edge of the building. When we reach it, I want you to hold on as tightly as you can to me and don't let go until I let go of you, okay?" She just nodded.

I grabbed her hand with my gloved one and stood up, ignoring the pain in my shoulder. As we broke into a run, shots rang out and bullets hit where we once were. First rule of shooting moving things: shoot where they're going to be, not where they are.

The end of the building came seemingly too fast. We jumped off at the same time, Jen gripping me around the neck tightly, and me wrapping my good arm around her. In the same second, my feet ignited and we flew into the air as shots rang out around us. To be honest if hadn't been for the fact that we were spinning wildly from my sudden imbalance due to her weight, we would have been shot multiple times. Instead, he missed horribly, and I even saw a bullet fly by easily ten feet away during our barely controlled spiraling.

I could barely fly in a semi straight line towards the tallest skyscraper of them all. Jen was holding on too tightly and cutting off my air supply. When I finally got just close enough so that when I dropped her she wouldn't have the chance to fall off the edge, I dropped her like a rock. Of course I fell with her, gasping for air and, of course, landing on my bad shoulder. I was making a noise that was a mixture of gasping for air and gritting my teeth and hissing in pain. In other words, I kind of sounded like a dying animal.

I rolled off my shoulder to see the concerned face of Jen. She grabbed my good arm and yanked me into a standing position. I wanted to say thanks or something, but then she smacked my bullet wound. Pain exploded from it and I nearly fell back down.

"The hell?" I yelled as I held my shoulder and walked around. "God damn, that hurt!"

Jen monotonously stated, "I was getting the bullet out and stopping the bleeding."

I looked at my shoulder and moved the black leather jacket to see the bleeding had, in fact, stopped. I looked back at her and panted. "Since when can you control blood?"

"I can't, but I can put some ice on the wound."

"That's why it stings."

"Yeah, whatever. Where are we going?"

I started walking towards the elevator, really the only nearby thing that stuck out of the roof, and she followed behind more angrily repeating, "Where are we going?"

"Well, we are going to my base, place of operation, my humble abode, although it's anything but humble to be honest. Hell, for you, call it what you may, either way, that's where we're going."

I hit the button for the elevator and patiently waited while Jen glared at me from my right. "And no, I don't bribe the owner of this building, I don't break and enter every time, or anything else illegal because," the elevator opened with a ding and I walked in and finished, "I own it."

She came into the elevator her mouth slightly agape. I hit the button for seventy fourth floor, one right under us. "You own this building?" Her voice was more of a growl with a dangerous edge to it. I ran my good hand through my messy locks and nodded.

"What building is this?"

Instead of answering, I just waited for the elevator to open. The elevator dinged open a moment later, and we walked out to see expansive room. It easily housed a metal walkway that was more than big enough to allow four full grown well built men walking side by side, several large machines, computers, work benches, a desk, and carts that were pushed around from station to station. On the left wall was four metal doors, each labeled a different thing: Office supplies, Men's bathroom, Women's bathroom, and the hostage room. On the left, four more metal doors stood there without labels as they were guest rooms.

Directly in front of the elevator was stairs that led down to the main room that had grey concrete for the floor, a large light gray couch that could easily and comfortably seat ten fully grown people, the large coffee table that sat in front of an even larger T.V. stand that held, of course, the giant flat screen T.V., stereo system, several gaming systems, many CDs, DVDs, and, of course, games. Behind the nice setup was a large window that ended at the edge of the walkway on both ends and allowed for a magnificent view of the city.

To the left of the main room was a full, Peninsula style kitchen with a stainless steel industrial fridge with enough food to feed a small army, a black and white granite counter that wrapped around the entire area of the kitchen, only to be broken to allow access to the kitchen, there were windows and seats on the outside so that there was areas to eat since there wasn't a table, the stove was also industrial size and meant more for a food place than a place of living, the sink and dishwasher were right next to each other, the overhanging cabinets were a nice black metal that I never learned the name of, and scattered amongst the countertop was the microwave, toaster, and coffee maker.

And to the right, four more doors were there. The two closest to the stairway were plain metal like the guest rooms for the same reason. The one second closest to the staircase was painted various shades of red, yellow, and orange to make it look like fire, and in bold black letters due to a prank from Sarah, it said "HELL" and was my room. Of course she had already painted her door with a nice little robot, you know, one that you would see in a fifties movie or something, and in more black bold letters it said "NERD CAVE".

I looked back and expected Jen to maybe be looking around at the various people dressed in the same thing: red shirts, black pants, and black shoes, granted some wore nice clothes, while others casual, but I didn't care so long as they wore the correct colors, or maybe she could just be in awe at the vast size of the building.

Instead, she was giving me a glare that promised I was going to get the shit beat out of me sometime in the very near future. I quickly turned around and hurriedly made my way down the stairs. I heard her following after me. I ignored the looks I got from the others as they watched us walk through the room.

Me being hurt was hardly something new. What was new was a police officer following me into my base of operations.

"You own this building?" Jen almost growled while we walked into the kitchen. I just mutely nodded as I strode into the kitchen and place a roll of paper towels in the sink. As I searched around the kitchen, Jen seethed. "And does this building have a name?"

"Well to be honest, I don't totally own the building," I absent mindedly amended, avoiding the topic at hand. "My father owns most of it."

"Answer the question."

"Phoenix Industries."

I looked at her to see her face was perfectly blank. The calm before the storm. I needed to find that lighter and fast. I resumed my search at four times the speed from before. Of course I found what I was looking for in the drawer I would have gone to next if I hadn't stopped. I sprinted over to the towels and lit them on fire and promptly started eating the burning part. Not the best tasting thing ever, but hey, it heals the bullet wound.

I glanced at Jen to see the calm had past and the storm had arrived. Face, I knew you well, and I'll miss you, you handsome devil.

"You're telling me you own Phoenix Industries, which literally has your name on it, a multi-trillion dollar company, and yet you keep robbing banks?"

I looked at her and considered my options. On one hand, I could be brutally honest and probably make her over exert herself and have her pass out, or I could lie a bit and she wouldn't pass out. I think either way she's at least going to try and hit me. I sighed and metaphorically kissed my face good bye.

"Yes I do," I admitted and I felt the temperature drop a little, "But I don't keep any of the money, and what I steal goes to charity, and is stolen from drug dealers and worse. Plus I don't own one hundred percent of it, seeing as to how my father is the active CEO, but I do own a fair bit of the stocks and run a bit of it."

The temperature went back to normal and I noticed she was starting to shake even more. Not able to keep her confusion and anger out of her voice, she shakily demanded, "So, what, you're Robin Hood now?"

"Actually, that's pretty accurate," I muttered while bobbing my head in agreement. I ate some more of the flaming goodness and checked out my shoulder. It was nothing more than a small scab now. I rolled it and found that it felt fine. Having no more use for the flaming towels, I stuck the roll back in the sink and turned on the water to put out the fire.

When I glanced at Jen, she was shaking her head in disbelief. The only thing she could ask was, "How? How did you get like this?"

"That is an extremely long story." The answer came not from me, but a teenager that walked into the kitchen, absent mindedly playing on a tablet, vivid green eyes glued to the screen. The teenager was sixteen with short black hair cut in a pixie style, and wearing a baggy black shirt and green cargo pants that hardly did her body justice. Her many metal bracelets lightly clanked as she moved across the room to my side, her black converse not making a sound as she moved.

"Who are you?" Jen asked while narrowing her eyes.

"This is my daughter, Sarah." I proudly told her. I then added "Adopted of course."

"Who in their right mind would let you have a kid?"

"Well I didn't really have an option with him taking me in," Sarah dryly told her. "It was either him or my real dad who got a sick kick out of hitting me. So the choice was pretty easy. Oh, and you should probably eat or rest. You're on the verge of collapsing."

Jen shook her head defiantly and instead hissed through clenched teeth, "I want to know what is going on."

Sarah looked up at her and pointed out, "My father already told you."

"So I'm just supposed to believe what this idiot says?" I let mild hurt cross my face at the insult.

"Point taken." Sarah sighed. She tapped the tablet a few times then handed it to Jen. Jen frowned at it as she took it. "What's this?"

"The warrant for your arrest. If you scroll, you'll find the details of your supposed crime, who set you up, why, and evidence that he did it."

For a few moments there was silence as Jen scrolled through the information. I could slowly feel the temperature dropping again. The others on the second floor were going about their usual business while sneaking glances at us. When they saw me looking at them, they would quickly look back at what they were doing, or even turn around.

"Where did you get this?" Jen's voice was toneless and barely above a whisper. She looked like she on the verge of falling to the ground and turning into a puddle. I didn't know if she could actually do that considering her powers, but I didn't really want to find out. It doesn't sound too fun to clean up a Jen puddle.

Sarah took the tablet back and briskly told her, "I control technology. I can easily hack the police database and any other computer. And I assure you none of this-Cats sleep for seventy percent of their lives." And the somber mode was shattered by that. Jen's eyes went wide as she looked at Sarah who was a bit peeved at her outburst.

I rested my arm on Sarah's shoulder and, with a smirk, enlightened Jen as to why she now knows how often cats sleep. "You see, since Sarah controls technology, she's always connected to the internet. We have no idea why, but she is, and if she doesn't focus on one thing, she blurts random facts like she did a second ago. I call it Google Tourettes. It's also the reason why I never lose trivia night at the bar."

"That's a horrible thing to say!" Jen gasped.

"But true." Sarah sighed. "Okay, what was I saying before? Right. Everything there is one hundred percent true. No tampering from me. That means your boss is dead, and your so called friend is actually the leader of the Electrodes. That one set you up for murder and then hired an assassin to try and kill you."

"Way to be nice, Sarah," I breathed under my breath. She just shrugged uncaringly and asked me, "How's your shoulder."

"Fine." I rolled it again to prove it. Jen was looking deathly pale and the only thing keeping her from falling over was the counter. Sarah started to count down. "Three, two, one, zero." And right on the dot Jen collapsed on the ground. She weakly tried to get up before collapsing again. Everyone on the second floor stopped and stared for a second before briskly resuming what they were doing to avoid getting yelled at.

With long sigh, I walked over to her and picked her up bridal style. Strange... she's lighter than I previously thought.

Then again, she was gripping my neck for dear life before.

I walked through the living room and over to the spare room next to my own. She'll most likely want to move seeing as to how that's much too close to me, but for now it's the closest room so that's what she gets.

Sarah was following me and opened the door. I gave her a grunt of thanks and quickly set Jen down on the bed. I was about to just walk out, but for some reason I turned back and pulled the nice blanket over her.

When I did leave the room, Sarah warned from the couch, "It's dangerous having her here."

To which I snorted, "And it's not dangerous being around me? She'll be fine Sarah."

"Highly doubt that. I also highly doubt you two will go more than five minutes without fighting. We both know how you get when you lose your temper."

"Sarah. First off, we both know I don't get that mad very easily. Second, you don't know Jen like I did, well used to. She can adapt quickly. Meaning she'll get used to this lovely new life style."

She looked back at me with an eyebrow raised. "You are really letting her stay here? The woman who crushed you're soul, abandoned you when you needed her most, has spent seven years trying to kick your ass, and has done a pretty good job, stay here?"

I nodded and slowly pointed out, "What am I supposed to do? Just leave her to the dogs?"

"Yes! It's what she did to you! It's called Karma and she is a bitch."

"Sarah, she's staying here and that's final," I sternly told her just how most fathers would. She looked like she wanted to say more against Jen but instead asked, "So what now?"

I admitted honestly and casually, "I have no idea, but I do know it's going to get a lot more interesting." I actually did have a plan already formulating in my mind, but I wasn't ready to let her in on it. No... I needed to put more details into it. Then I could tell her.