I'm not sure this came out quite how I wanted it to, but I hope you like it!
As for how abrupt the Shadow Stalker thing ends I'm going to just state that no one is willing to start shit over the psychopaths passing when it would involve alienating a teleporter that has volunteered for Search and Rescue at every Endbringer battle since she was ten. Murderous juvenile delinquent in exchange for the anarchistic philanthropic cooperative Teleporter...yeah...tough choice.
Rage was an emotion I was quite familiar with; it was like an old acquaintance that you didn't particularly like but had gone through so much shit together you couldn't help but feel a deep connection to them. It was something I've dealt with every single day since I lost my family, since I triggered and accidentally blinked away from my terrified little sister and realizing what happened moments before she died, moments before I could have saved her. The horror, loss, fury, and rage I felt while watching Leviathan's waves topple the building near everyone I loved was in would be burned into my soul for eternity.
After all that I had been recovered by the US Navy, who had my undying respect for braving the waters that the Beast of the Sea had just frequented and devastated to save my pale skinny ass. I spent some time in a refugee camp for a few weeks after that, then when they figured out I was American, a foster home in California.
Fucking. Los Angeles. Why, why the fuck did they send me to LA when I was from San Francisco?
Anyway I try not to don't remember much of that time, I was only six and to be blunt horrifically traumatized, then the system actually managed to pull a hat trick and do its job by finding my only living relative. That meant I had to move in with my grandfather on the East Coast, who happened to be a completely unrepentant dick about how proper and old fashioned he was.
I respected that too, but I also hated him for it, but every time I wanted to rebel I thought of my little sister's gaze, Suguha crying for me to save her as the waves smashed through the windows and myself blinking away to leave her to die as she reached out to me.
I hated him at times, but he was my only family and I knew he loved me, so I loved him in return. Until I met and befriended Taylor he was all that I had left.
Sitting in Brockton Bay General Hospital's ICU waiting room I stared down at my shaking hands, trying to quell the still distilling hatred running through my veins as I worried over the fate of my only friend.
The heavily armed and armored PRT troopers keeping a wary eye on me didn't help, though they knew as well as I did they weren't an actual threat to me. This was more of 'being seen doing something' thing than anything else, especially after what I had done to Sophia…
Taylor was late for class, which wasn't all that concerning aside from the fact that I knew the psychopathic Heather wannabes had taken a step back from their ongoing terror campaign on her before break. Call me paranoid, but after fifteen minutes I was more than a little worried for my friend's safety. This school being Winslow and all I just packed up my bag and left the classroom, the teacher didn't even look up from his book as he kept on reading the text verbatim in a manner that would make Ben Stein proud.
Stretching out my powers I sensed everyone around me trying to find the familiar ping of my best friend, and much to my worry I eventually found her nearly on the opposite side of the school. As much as I wanted to just blink to her I had to resist the urge since there was three presences close by her, which meant I had to hoof it.
The first thing I noticed as I got close to her was the smell, if I hadn't already been through some shit I'd probably have gaged at the sickly sweet aroma of decay wafting down the stairs as I walked up them. When I heard screams of terror, and the laughter of girls I began running, taking the stairs two at a time and once reaching the landing I sprinted down the hall only to come to an abrupt stop.
The bitch trio was standing in front of Taylor's locker, which had putrid black ichor leaking out from the bottom of the door. Sophia and Emma were laughing and taunting the terrified voice coming from within as desperate panicky strikes tried to bash the door open, Madison for her part was pale and looked absolutely horrified.
If I was a less observant person I would not have even noticed the phone in her hand had dialed 911.
I didn't hold back when I yelled out, "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO!?"
Madison for her part took a step behind the other two and in wide eyed shock pointed at the locker and mouthed, "Taylor."
Sophia and Emma sneered at me; the ginger bitch took a step forward and spoke out loudly in a taunting tone that automatically pissed me off.
"Oh, we just put the trash in her place, where she belongs you fucking chink."
Huh...when the hell did she start using racial slurs considering her bestie is a black chick?
The banging from the locker stopped suddenly, Sophia and I glanced towards it, then we both rather inelegantly fell over, I managed to brace myself against the lockers, Sophia was caught by the ginger, and Madison was running away talking on her phone.
Shaking my head slowly I reached into my pocket, and after a bit of pawing about found what I was looking for. I extended my hand and with a flick of my wrist the butterfly knife's blade was brandished as Sophia shook her head and snarled at me when I charged forward and slashed at the bitch.
Well I tried to anyway, but Sophia became a vaporous cloud of smoke and appeared behind me only to elbow me in the back of the head.
The crazy fucking bitch is a Ward...everything makes sense now.
Didn't mean I wasn't going to shank her.
She didn't seem to notice that she had outed herself regardless, which was in on itself idiotic, and continued to attack me, so I returned the favor.
Hey, the PRT was going to be involved regardless after she pulled that move, so why not make the situation memorable?
Dropping my knife I grabbed her wrist with both hands and grinned at her, "Hey Shadow Stalker, can you fly?"
I blinked us at around 200,000 feet, and let the bitch free fall just long enough to give her the finger.
Blinking back into Winslow Emma was still standing there looking like a shell shocked cow, I snatched up my knife and jammed it into the hasp of the lock of Taylor's locker, breaking it and my favorite knife in the process. When I opened the door a trembling figure and a deluge of putrid gore fell at my feet, and upon seeing my spasming friend all I could feel was rage.
"It never gets easy you know," I snapped out of my fugue as a hero I deeply respected and felt a healthy amount of fear of, sat down beside me.
Assault sipped his coffee, and while his eyes were hidden by his visor I could tell he was shooting me a concerned glance.
"Friends getting hurt due to the injustices inherent in the system. I read the file, read your report, read the testimony from that Clements girl too. What your friend went through because of one of our own was...well it was bullshit. It should never have happened and sooo many heads are already rolling over it that there is no chance of keeping it under wraps."
He took another sip of his coffee while I shot him an assessing glare, "Should it be kept under wraps?"
He lightly nodded his head back and forth for a few moments before responding, "Strictly speaking? Considering who you are? Yes. But that isn't going to happen now after what you did to Shadow Stalker."
"She...didn't phase out when she approached the ground?"
Assault sipped his drink again, then shook his head, "Oxygen deprivation, she was unconscious when she hit the ground at terminal velocity."
"Oh," I began, "That's...unfortunate..."
He stared at me directly then while dryly stating, "Seriously don't even try to pretend you care, according to witnesses you tried to stab her before she grabbed the idiot ball and outed herself."
I was silent for a few moments then let out a tired sigh as I turned my eyes back to the ICU door, "I'm not apologizing."
He scoffed at that while shrugging lightly, "Kid, you're Blink. You've participated in every Endbringer battle for the past six years playing search and rescue and have as a result saved thousands of lives. Sure you have a rap sheet as at worst a minor villain but all you've ever pulled off is some minor larcenies while moonlighting as a vigilante."
He leaned back then shrugged as he continued on, "Shadow Stalker? She had committed murder on six separate occasions, that's how she was railroaded into being our problem, and as a result was a constant headache to keep in line." He sighed before continuing, "Am I happy that you effectively murdered her? Not even remotely. Do I understand why you did it? Absolutely, and so do my bosses. So we find ourselves at an impasse, you are outed, yes, but only to a select few. That crazy redhead isn't an issue since she's been committed, and the Clements girl has already signed NDA's to keep herself out of juvie. The only people who know that Keiko Kirigaya is the rogue teleporter Blink, are the Protectorate and Director Piggot."
I remained silent for a time, then asked, "Where does that leave us?"
Assault was quiet for a time, then spoke in almost a whisper, "My bosses... and I want you to become a Ward."
I didn't respond at first, everything had been moving at near breakneck speed for the past few hours and now this. I mean I had purposely tried to kill Sophia and managed to pull it off for what she did to Taylor, and now the fucking feds were trying to recruit me with the kid gloves on for it which was all kinds of fucked up.
There was a thought, if Sophia was as psychotic in her cape persona as her civilian, maybe they really were glad to be rid of her.
"Your Ward has been bullying my best friend for the past year and half, tried to murder her, and she is currently suffering from what amounted to torture via a biohazardous weapon. Through all that, you're seriously trying to recruit me?"
Assault remained quiet for a time, then shook his head, "Miss Kirigaya...Blink, you've been alone for a very long time. You've been on the outside of the law for most of it but in the end you always do the right thing, the humane thing. Our Thinkers figured you were around eleven when you first started showing up for S&R during Endbringer attacks-"
"-I was ten, actually," I interrupted blandly.
He grimaced, "That is so much worse... Still, we can give you a foundation to build on, give you peers, give you the structure you need to become the hero I know you can be."
I didn't respond at first, I didn't really have anything to say honestly. I stared out into nothing for a time, then glanced at the 'IN SURGERY' light before glancing back to Assault.
The man seemed earnest, and not getting charged for murder, and it was murder despite how much the bitch deserved it, would be rather nice, but I needed to make a demand that would seal the deal one way or another.
"Alright...I'll become a Ward, but only if you get Panacea to heal my friend."
Taylor was worth a few years of inconvenience after all.