IN THE END
“Lance, there are some people here who would like to see you,” the nurse said and he sat up.
“Okay?” he replied in a sleepy mumble and she stepped out in the hall to welcome them in.
“Thanks,” April said with a little bow, then walked into the room with a bouquet of flowers in her hands. Lance stared at her for a moment while the rest of the group came in, then he smacked himself in the head.
“Okay. That… That was real,” he said as he looked straight ahead. April only giggled while the others smiled.
“Yes it was,” April said, handing him the bouquet.
“They filled me in,” Demitri said as he stepped in closer and the others stood around Lance’s bed. “Here, I got you these,” he said with a glance at the box he held in his hand, then handed it to Lance as he reached for it. “April said you liked chocolate,” Demitri said and Lance smiled shyly.
“Yeah. Thank you,” he replied.
“You’re not getting any gifts from me after what you did to my face!” Matthew exclaimed, pointing to a bruise on his left cheekbone.
“I’m sorry!” Lance apologized while hiding behind his box of chocolates.
“It’s okay, Matthew’s like that,” April said. “Besides, you didn’t know any of that was real, right?”
“I really didn’t…” Lance admitted. “It all felt like a dream. Except…a little clearer and more tiring,” he said.
“And now I know what was messing up Mainframe’s monitors,” Demitri said and Scott looked at him as if he had said something horrible. “Relax. He already knows about our powers. It’s a pretty unique gift he has. It holds a different signature from ours and everything, which is why we never knew what he could do,” Demitri remarked. Lance just sat quietly, feeling rather shy but at the same time a bit pleased to have people to talk to. “By the way,” Demitri said and Lance looked up at him. “I’ve seen you a few times before, but I don’t believe we’ve ever had the chance to get properly acquainted. My name’s Demitri,” he said with his hand extended.
“Nice to meet you, Demitri,” Lance replied as he shook his hand.
“I’m Scott!” Scott added and shook hands with him next.
“And I’m Crystal,” she said in turn.
“Matthew. Now where’s my compensation?” Matthew said and April elbowed him. “I’m kidding! Sheesh.”
“Anyway,” Demitri began and looked Lance in the eye. “Like it or not, you know our secret now. I only ask that you keep it that. A secret,” Demitri said and Lance glanced away.
“You mean how you could move things with your mind, and how he could make those barriers?” Lance asked, referring to Demitri and Matthew, but the team only stared at him blankly.
“Wait, what?” Demitri asked.
“Well you did knock all those pins over,” Matthew commented.
“Okay, wait a minute,” Demitri said then focused on Lance’s box of chocolates. “…Yeah, that wasn’t me. I can’t move things with my mind,” Demitri stated. “Looks like you’re full of surprises, Lance.”
“You mean I…did…that?” Lance asked and Demitri nodded.
“Keep it a secret, Lance. Those powers are your gift,” Demitri told him.
“I will. And I won’t do that again. I would never normally do something like that!” Lance assured Demitri, who smiled knowingly.“And I won’t tell anyone. I mean, I won’t tell anyone about your secrets! Whatever…those are,” Lance replied.
“All right. And keep your gift a secret, too. We’ve got to head out, but you take care, okay?” Demitri said and Lance nodded.
The group began to leave, Demitri and Matthew first, then Scott and Crystal, followed lastly by April.
“Goodbye,” April said as she started to head out the door.
“April, wait!” Lance entreated and she stopped at the door. “I um…I wanted to say I’m sorry. I hope I didn’t…ahh…” he struggled to say and tapped his fingers on the box of chocolates while avoiding eye contact. “…hurt you,” he finally said and she gave him a warm smile when his eyes turned back at her.
“This is all so humiliating…” Lance admitted in embarrassment over his actions.
“Don’t dwell on it. I’ll see you around,” she said, then followed the others, who were watching and waiting just a little ways down the hall.
“So why didn’t we invite Lance to Mainframe if he already knows everything?” Scott asked.
“Because he’s still not well. Like I said, his powers are different from ours and they seem to be causing his physical weakness,” Demitri explained.
“You mean his powers are making him sick?” April asked.
“It’s sort of like a growing pain. Once his powers have matured, the pain should subside, but for now it’s better that he gets his rest,” Demitri answered as they continued their march out from the hospital. “Now then, we never did get that ice cream I promised. Who’s up for a trip to April’s café?” Demitri suggested.
“Yeah!” Scott cheered.
“Well it’s not my café, but sure. I’m in,” April said happily.
* * * * *
After a pleasant stop for a treat, the team parted ways. Matthew headed back to his apartment and Crystal returned to her yard to enjoy the sunshine. Scott got back to his home, writing down all the excitement they’d had over the last few days. As for April and Demitri, the two of them remained in Mainframe for just a little longer.
“It kind of feels like all my worries just came to a close,” April said as she stretched her arms into the air.
“I can’t say I really know the feeling,” Demitri replied and she looked at him. “I figured something out last night. Part of the reason I think Lance ended up using his powers on me,” Demitri told her and she suddenly became very interested in what he had to say.
“Go on,” she urged slightly and he smiled. Her heart began to beat a little faster. I thought three was a lot, but now even four years doesn’t seem like such a big age gap after all. And maybe…maybe Melissa was right. Maybe Demitri… she thought to herself and began to feel excited and hopeful.
“I can read minds,” Demitri said and she stared at him blankly.
“What?” she asked and he smiled awkwardly.
“I can read minds. But I can also speak to people telepathically,” he answered. “I mean, I haven’t really learned how to use it yet, so I think I’ve accidently spoken to people mentally and listened to their thoughts without even really knowing it. Lance also has powers over the mind, so I think it was that connection that maybe caused him to use his powers over me,” Demitri explained and April looked a bit uncomfortable. “These more mental powers don’t seem to register on Mainframe. Right now, at least,”
“So you weren’t reading my mind just now, were you?”
“Huh?” he puzzled and she suddenly waved.
“Okay! Bye! I’m going to go home and rethink a few things,” she said.
“Wait, hold on! What were you thinking?” Demitri asked but April quickly departed to her house. As soon as she arrived, she kicked back in a comfy chair with a book in her hands and tried to think happy thoughts and hoped he hadn’t caught on to how she felt about him just yet.
After April had departed for home, Demitri went off to the estate he called home, though he would always consider Mainframe as the place he really belonged.
Scott, after writing in his journal, decided to sit back on the couch with his mom, who was watching the news. He sat back and sighed just as he got comfortable, but when he opened his eyes, they were suddenly fixated on the news. His heart started pounding and he couldn’t believe what he saw.
“I’ve got to go!” he said as he jumped off the couch and ran to his room. He quickly dialed up Crystal and grabbed his C-Cuff, then hurried to relay the message to April, Matthew and Demitri.
The group followed his seemingly urgent request to meet at Mainframe, and as they did, Scott asked Demitri if there were any way he could replay the news. After gathering further information on what station and what time, Demitri replayed the local news from Scott’s area.
“An amazing turn of events as five people appeared out of nowhere and prevented further disaster. But was there something extraordinary about these eccentrically dressed heroes? Here’s Andria Perkins with the answer,” the first newscaster said.
“Elizabeth, eye witnesses say these five young heroes saved their lives that night,” said the reporter before the screen switched to an interview.
“Heeey!” Matthew said as he recognized the clerk from the hotel.
“I had already been given the rundown that if this kind of thing happens, you just give them what they want, but I could tell this guy was going to shoot me when I was done,” the clerk explained to the reporter. “Then, out of nowhere there’s suddenly smoke flying up, and I thought it was something they did, you know? But then out of the blue the guy holding the gun at me screams and drops his gun, and this guy, clad in armor, he just smacks the guy to the floor,” she explained and they started showing what a camera within the hotel had recorded.
“I think I’ve seen enough,” April said, wide-eyed and feeling a bit uneasy.
“I knew we should have checked for cameras,” Matthew said over the program while the other three still watched intensely.
“…One thing that is certain, at least to those who were in the building when it happened, these five saved the day,” said the reporter as they wrapped up the newscast.
“Does this mean I can’t write Comic Book Hero anymore?” Scott asked and Demitri stood up, still looking at Mainframe’s screen.
“Well, it does mean we have some decisions to make,” Demitri replied.
“What do you mean?” Crystal asked and he crossed his arms.
“We tried to avoid this, but soon enough, other stories about us will come out and now they won’t be so quickly discredited,” Demitri said and the whole group looked at him. “What I’m saying is, we’re found out. We can continue working in the night, or we could take this to the next level, and help whenever and wherever we can,” he proposed and the others exchanged glances with one another. “Guys, it looks like we could be more to the world than just Comic Book Heroes after all.”