Chapter 1: Worlds Burn

"A world of heroes is no place for someone like you."

Those words rang in Temp's ears and he shrugged, not giving any indication of the desperation stabbing at his chest. "In all fairness, I'm here. Guess it is a place for me."

"Do you think this is funny?" the man in the suit- Detective Meyers, he thought- lowered his voice, leaning over the table slightly. "We caught you stealing a big screen TV-"

"I turned myself in," Temp corrected mildly, inspecting the sleeve of his shirt, which was torn and frayed, not what he usually wore.

"Oh, did you? That isn't what your arresting officer said-"

"George Michaels. Police officer. 927 Ellis Street. Did quite a number on his apartment a while back. Oh," He glanced up innocently, widening his eyes. "Did he never tell you?"

Detective Meyers didn't know how to respond. This was the second hour of questioning and the kid wasn't shaking. He was composed, confident. Infuriating. For the second time during the interrogation, the detective had to leave the room.

Temp Dark leaned back in the chair, well aware he couldn't make any move that would make him appear weak, as the camera tracked his movements. Someone watched, someone waited. Always did.

And he honestly did turn himself in. Something in that TV wasn't right. The box was exactly ten pounds too heavy. Didn't want to be found with it, didn't want someone to find it and open it and find- well, he wasn't sure what was in there. So, he did something he'd never done before: went to the police.

He heard the distinct noise of the detective punching a wall and smiled to himself.

I could get out of here. He looked at the handcuffs that held him to the table. Wouldn't take him long to get out of those, maybe squirm out the small window- no, that won't work. He'd had a growth spurt earlier that year, couldn't pull off the old tricks now that he towered over practically everyone. No windows, no vents, no puppy eyes to kind adults for a couple bucks on the side. And he sure as hell wasn't about to get into armed robbery.

In his pondering, the sounds of Meyers' destructive tendencies receded, and the door clicked open. Temp sat up, putting the thoughts of escape from his mind to face the newcomer.

A tall man- not as tall as Temp though- entered the room. He wore jeans, a red dress shirt, and sneakers. Tanned skin, green eyes, short cropped blonde hair. An easy smile, and Temp knew he was dealing with someone who was used to getting his way.

"Are you Temporary Dark?"

Temp jolted in his seat, his indifferent expression immediately turning to anger, his hands curling into fists. "It's Temp. That's it."

The smile remained but softened slightly. "I'm sorry, Temp. I was just confirming who you are, won't say the name again. Okay?"

Slowly, he relaxed, his muscles loosening slightly when it was clear his name wouldn't be mentioned again. "Acceptable. So, you know my name. Yours would be…?"

"Darian. Darian Jones. I'm with…" the man fished around in his jacket, finally pulled out a badge. "PROSPECT Academy."

Temp groaned inwardly at the thought of school. "You know I'm enrolled somewhere, right?"

"Might as well not be. It isn't like you go to the classes."

"Um, have you seen the place? You probably have."

"Yes, I have. Everything about that place could use a complete do-over."

"Or napalm."

"That's violent."

Temp rolled his eyes. "Without any people in it, jackass." Then, he frowned. "Uh, sorry about the jackass thing. Word slipped out."

Darian waved the apology away. "I was messing with you anyway."

A nod in return, then silence from both. When Temp couldn't stand it anymore, he asked "What do you want?"

Darian sighed, leaning back slightly. "No doubt you've heard about the recent surge in superhuman activity."

A frown. "Yes…"

"We at PROSPECT believe that you are one of these superhumans."

Temp froze, then shook his head. "No offense, man, but I think you're wrong."

"Oh? Why's that?"

"Not a whole lot special here. I mean, I'm good at stealing stuff, obviously. But that's just a combination of kleptomania and practice. Not a power."

The smile finally vanished, but Darian didn't appear unfriendly, just professional. "Powers usually manifest during a major stage of puberty, though there are always exceptions. You put on almost a foot of height in a little under a year."

"I did? Gee, they didn't mention it at my last check up."
"Your last check up occurred when you were twelve."

"Yup. I was joking. Know what a joke is?"

Darian stood and paced to the small window, staring out at the sun that was beginning to rise. "You keep trying to get a rise out of me, Temp, but it's because you know that what I say could be a possibility. I understand, it's a lot to take in. Give it time." He paused. "Perhaps bring it up with Alex."

The metal chair was thrown back and Temp stood, straining against the cuffs. The look in his eyes was nothing short of fury. "Don't you dare talk about Alex!"

Darian looked taken aback and he turned back toward Temp. "W-why?"

"How the hell could you not know?" the boy snarled, tugging on the cuffs as if he was still trying to escape. He knew the metal was too strong but he didn't care.

Darian seemed to consider this a moment more, then the expression on his face turned to one of regret. "Oh. Oh, Temp, I'm so sorry, I had no idea."

He stopped pulling at the handcuffs and gave the man a halfhearted glare. "She died. Almost four years ago. You're not getting anything else."
"Fine, I won't ask." Darian paused, then moved so he could actually face Temp. "It's hard to lose someone."

"Thank you for telling me the obvious." But Temp felt the anger in his chest subsiding, and he looked away with a sigh. "Tell me about this PROSPECT thing."

Darian gave a small smile and returned to his seat. "Okay. Superhuman academy. Before now, it only had about thirty students enrolled, but we're expanding the program to include several hundred. Using an algorithm designed by an alumni, we're locating present and future superhumans to help them study and train for what lies ahead."

"And what, exactly, lies ahead?"

"Danger. Mostly from other superhumans, ones stronger and more experienced than you, who have other ways of locating you."

Temp swallowed raggedly. And here I thought the cops were bad news. "But the algorithm might not be right."

"No, there have been several mistakes," Darian admitted. "But I don't believe that's the case here. I think you're special, Temp."

"'Special' is a four letter word nowadays, Darian. People either love superhumans or hate them. I'd rather have neither."

"Neither?"

"Anonymity is the name of the game." Temp smirked and finally sat across from the man. "I'm a thief. Rookie conman. I'd really rather not be known to, well, anyone."

"I think we both know you're underselling yourself here, but I won't force you into joining up." Once again, Darian searched his pocket and set a small rectangle of paper on the table. "That's my card. You're being released in five minutes. Perhaps you'll feel differently after your powers surface."

It was far too easy to dissuade him, Temp thought, the smirk not leaving his face. "Gee, thanks. I'll call you. Or, probably not, so don't be waiting by the phone all night."

Darian shook his head, looking amused. "Kid, you might think you attitude is cute or endearing or something? There's plenty out there who don't take it as well as me."

"Oh, trust me, I know."

"Good. Just so we're on the same page."

"We're not in the same book, man. Try a different section of the library."

"See? That's what I mean." Darian stood up, glancing at Temp one last time. "Just… think it over, yeah? I'm sure you can do that much?" Then, he turned and left without another word.

When Temp was released exactly four minutes and thirty-six seconds later, he slipped the card into his pocket. Maybe he could use it for kindling.

This is my first story on here, reviews are requested and I'm grateful for any constructive criticism and words of encouragement.

Also, this's my story. I'd honestly be worried if anyone out there is named 'Temporary Dark' but if anyone or anything in this story bears any resemblance to real people or things, sorry, it isn't you, no hidden cameos in this. Except a few names, either the same or similar to my rp characters and that of my friends. But this is definitely fiction. Just meant for entertainment and all that. I'm not putting this at the beginning of each chapter so, thought I'd get that out of the way now.

Also, I'd really rather you not steal this. Dunno why you would but, seriously, don't think about it.

Lastly, thank you for reading!