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Firepower

Author: Silver
Rating: Moderate
Status: Complete


Characters

Natalie- would do anything for others, is a strong ally, but shows compassion

Sophie- mood swings, can go from gentle to dangerous in a second

Elizabeth- shy, but speaks her mind

Annabelle- friendly, and essentially a go-with-the-flow type of person

Chloe- mysterious and silent, rarely shows or tells what she thinks or feels about anything

Power Levels

one-able to use your power slightly, at random times, unevenly

two- able to use your power to move things more confidently, evenly

three- able to move things with you power perfectly

four- able to control things, make them do what you want them to unevenly, occasionally

five- able to control things confidently and evenly

six- able to create your power's symbol (fire, water, etc.) out of nothingness occasionally, unevenly

seven- able to create, move, control, and use your power perfectly 


eight- having more than one power

nine- able to use two or more powers at once

Prologue

The way my world works is that everyone has a power, Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, and Forest. Each family has a power, passed down from member to member. Fire families have red hair, Water have blue, Earth have black, Wind have blonde or gold, and Forest have brown. 

Red hair fire power

Natalie

Water power

Sophie

There is only one high school in our city. A student from each family power would learn and live together. It is a strictly one-gender per group. A Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, and Forest power would work together and learn the fullness of their powers, as they would be surrounded by other powers. 

My name is Natalie. My family power is Fire. 

Chapter 1

"Do I have to go?" I pleaded, looking around the room at my family. My father sighed and threw a ball of flame into the hearth. The logs crackled as the fire caught, and he turned to me. "You see that? Try to do the same." 

I nodded, and tried to light my hand on fire too. There was a tiny spark and then nothing. "You see? You need to go, or you will never master your powers." He told me.

Forest power 2

Elizabeth

Wind power

Annabelle

Forest power

Chloe

I nodded, then stood up. My grandmother looked up from her knitting and gave me a small smile. My grandfather sat in his rocking chair, snoring, and my brother, Daniel, home from college, was playing with his power, making the flames dance up his arm, then extinguishing them.  I ran up the stairs to my room and slammed the door. I flung myself onto my bed. Tomorrow I would be at the school. 

~~

My mother pulled to a stop next to the school and helped me out. "Remember, go into the left room. That's the girl section." She told me while helping get my bags out of the trunk. I had two bags containing all of my stuff. The first was packed with clothes, and the second had shoes, makeup, and my computer. I walked uncertainly towards the school, hearing the car pull away. 

I saw one blue-haired girl crying while her parents tried to coax her out of the car. A blonde was struggling to take out a giant duffel bag from her trunk. A older woman chased after a brunnette, holding a bag and shouting that she had left it in the car.

I went inside and jerked back. Students were all chatting, staying firmly into their own power group. I made my way over to the Fire power group and sat down in one of the empty chairs and put my stuff down by my feet. 

A woman with golden hair tapped on the microphone that was on a stage in the front of the room. Everyone slowly fell silent, and looked up at her expectantly. "I will assign you to your groups now. No complaining!" She said sternly, and began rattling off names. I heard mine and my head jerked up. 

"Natalie, Sophie, Annabelle, Chloe, and Elizabeth!" I grabbed my stuff and followed the woman's directions. I knocked on the door of room G6 and opened it. A brown haired girl from Forest glanced up at me before turning back to her bed. 

We all had loft beds, with space underneath for whatever we desired. Other than the Forest girl, no one else was there. I took the bed in the middle, and started unpacking my bags. There was a box for clothes, but that was all there was under my bed. I looked around and realized all of them were the same. I shrugged and started putting my clothes into the box. 

When I reached into my second bag, I felt something. I pulled it out and saw an envelope. I opened it, and a wad of cash and a note fell out. Openeing it, I read the note. Money for decorations &furniture. I crumpled up the note and stuck the money into my box, shoving it to the bottom. I didn't trust anyone outside of my power group, and certainly not complete strangers. 

I climbed up the ladder onto my bed. It was completely white, no color on it anywhere. I glanced over at the Forest girl's bed, and saw that she was already changing the sheets with her own. I was a little disappointed that I hadn't thought to do the same, but I was distracted when the door opened and two other girls walked in.

"It's so confusing." A blonde said, looking at a map. "Are you Natalie?" Her question surprised me, and I nodded. "Oh good! Then we're here. My name's Annabelle. This is Elizabeth." A girl with black hair slipped by her and took a bunk. Annabelle followed suit and took another. "Where's Sophie?" She asked, looking around. 

A few moments later a blue haired girl with long hair entered, her blue eyes nervous. She ran to the empty bed and started unpacking. Annabelle, who was obviously trying to join us altogether, said "Hi Sophie! I'm Annabelle." Sophie glanced up before ducking her head back down and continued unpacking. 

Forest girl, the only name I didn't know, gave us our schedules. I took mine without comment. When she gave one to Annabelle, the blonde smiled and said, "Thanks Chloe." Chloe didn't respond. 

I laid down on my bed and read the schedule. "Training, History, English, Math, Literature, and P.E." I muttered. 

Schedule:

Monday: Training 8:00-10:00, History 10:00-12:00, Lunch 12:00-1:00, Literature 1:00-3:00, Free Time 3:00-6:00, Dinner 6:00-7:00, Study Hall 7:00-9:45

Tuesday: Training 8:00-10:00, English 10:00-12:00, Lunch 12:00-1:00, P.E. 1:00-3:00, Study Hall 3:00-6:00, Dinner 6:00-7:00, Free Time 7:00-9:45

Wednesday: Training 8:00-10:00, Math 10:00-12:00, Lunch 12:00-1:00, History 1:00-3:00, Study Hall 3:00-6:00, Dinner 6:00-7:00, Free Time 7:00-9:45

Thursday: Training 8:00-10:00, Literature 10:00-12:00, Lunch 12:00-1:00, English 1:00-3:00, Free Time 3:00-6:00, Dinner 6:00-7:00, Study Hall 7:00-9:45

Friday: Training 8:00-10:00, P.E. 10:00-12:00, Lunch 12:00-1:00, Math 1:00-3:00, Free Time 3:00-6:00, Dinner 6:00-7:00, Study Hall 7:00-9:45

Saturday: Free Day

Sunday: Free Day, back by 9:55 p.m.

Chapter 2

"Should we be doing something now?" Annabelle asked, straightening her sheets. I looked at the schedule again. "We have free time from 3:00 to 7:00." "What? We have a curfew?" Elizabeth snapped, her head whipping around. "Um, we have to be in our rooms at 10:00 at the latest." 

Elizabeth rolled her eyes and sat on her bed. I climbed onto mine and opened my computer. I went to a map of the area and saw there were three furniture places, one Goodwill, and a lot of food and clothing stores. I saved the picture on my computer and went to my email.

After a short conversation with my mom, I turned it off and laid down on my bed. Glancing around, I saw that the others were clearly bored as well. Sophie was surfing the Internet, Elizabeth was trying to find her powers, Annabelle was trying to make conversation, and Chloe was reading a book. 

I started wandering around our apartment. There was the main room that the others were in, which, it turned out, had a small fridge. The other was a bathroom. 

Disappointed, I went back to the main room. Might as well try to make conversation. I thought, walking over to the others. I tried Sophie, who ignored me, Chloe, who ignored me, Elizabeth, who ignored me, and decided against Annabelle, who was in a conversation with someone on her phone. 

Great. We'll get along really well. 

~~

I opened my eyes, blinking a few times. I sat up and climbed down from my bed, grabbing some clothes from the box. I looked around for a place to change, then climbed back on top of my bed. Changing quickly, I went back down the ladder and put on a pair of shoes. 

The others were already done, and were starting to gather their stuff. I shoved all my school supplies into one of my bags, then ran after them. Annabelle was looking at the map and telling us where to go. When she tried to tell Sophie to turn left, Sophie's eyes grew dark and she frowned, but turned left anyway. 

We went into our first class, which was Math. There were table groups, with 5 desks per group, one for each of us. We sat down in one of the back groups, with Annabelle on one side, Elizabeth on the other. Chloe sat next to Elizabeth, clearly trying to avoid having to talk, leaving Sophie to sit on the other side of Annabelle. 

The class filled pretty quickly, and I noticed that Fire and Water students never sat next to each other. No one mentioned it, but our two groups didn't get along very well. Our powers were enemies. Water quenched fire, and fire destroyed water. There were no other major differences with the power groups. 

All I learned in class today was that our teacher wanted us to take "group tests" this year, meaning we would all take the test together. I could already see what was going to happen: I think we should circle b. No, we should circle e! No, she's right, it's b! You are all wrong, it's a! (etc.)

The bell rang and we left the clasroom, going to Training. It was in a giant room, with different objects spread all over tables. I noticed a barrel of water, and what looked like a fan, before the teacher called us to attention. She had gray-blonde hair, green eyes, and must be a Wind Power.  "This is where you will be learning how to use and master your powers. Now, I don't expect you to be able to master it this year, it will take at least three more.

"I will be teaching you, but NO fighting against each other is allowed. If you do, you'll be given somewhere from a weeks worth of detentions to expulsion, depending on how you behave other days. This class is not a joke. This is your training so you can go out into the world and use your powers." 

Chapter 3

We had been introduced to all of our classes today, each of them giving a speech about their class. I was bored out of my mind. By the time we got back to our dorm room, it was about 6:45 p.m, dinnertime. We went to the café, and I stared. The place was packed, with boys and girls, all sitting in their designated groups, but leaning over to talk to people at other tables. 

We worked our way over to an empty table and plopped our stuff down. Almost immediately, a boy with gold hair slides in next to Annabelle, were I was about to sit. "Hello." He says in a seductive voice, raising his eyebrows. 

Annabelle's eyes turned cold. "Go away Derek." "Or what? Gonna ruffle my hair? Oh yeah, that's right, you don't have your powers yet." Derek smirked, twirling a lock of her hair. Annabelle suddenly stood up, grabbed her bags, and smacked Derek in the face. He dropped her hair, surprised, and she stormed out of the cafeteria. "That's right! Run you little bitch!" he called after her. 

Derek shrugged and left. The four of us stood there awkwardly. "If I had my power right now," I muttered, "I'd set his pants on fire." 

~~

I left the cafeteria before the others, and went back to our dorm. Annabelle was sitting on her bed, reading, but I could tell she'd been crying. "Annabelle?" I asked hesitantly, looking up at her. She put her book down and faced me. "I'm fine!" "I was just bringing you this." I held up a book that had fallen out of one of her bags. 

"Oh, um, thanks." Annabelle cheeks flushed, and took the book from me and put it safely under her pillow. "What was up with Derek?" I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me. Annabelle shrugged. "Old enemies, from when we were younger." She didn't continue, and I didn't press her. 

However, late into the night, when everyone else was asleep, Annabelle stood up and got dressed. Then, she climbd out the window and vanished into the night. I followed her, weaving inbetween the trees. We were deeper into the woods, by a lake. Annabelle was sitting by the waters' edge, staring down at her reflection. I saw her eyes darken, her forehead crease. 

She was trying to make the water ripple. It didn't. Eventually, Annabelle gave up and started crying, her shoulders shaking. I wanted to talk to her, but I figured that would be rude. So, I vanished into the shadows and went back to our room, climbing through the window. Then, I went to bed, and pretended I was never awake. 

~~

The next day we had Training. It turns out we have a lesson a day, which I thought was stupid. Training would be exhausting. The teacher, who wanted to be reffered to as "Trainer" told us to get into our groups and get into a designated space. I stood in the circle labeled, "Fire". Chloe stood on one side, Annabelle on the other. Elizabeth and Sophie were facing towards me. 

Trainer walked over to us and told the others to back away. Then she set the ground on fire. 

A circle of flames leaped up, surrounding me on all sides. "Use your powers! Make it move!" Trainer called. Then she left to go to another group. "What?" I screamed, glaring at her. I stood in the flames, watching them. They were almost hypnotic, like watching the ocean waves. 

I reached my hand out and put it into the flames. There was no pain, just a sort of soft, gentle rubbing. Almost unconciously, I put my palm face-up into the flames, and willed them to come up, to go into my hand and stay there. The fire obeyed, shrinking into a small flame and leaping onto my palm. I held it, and asked for it to go out. 

It didn't. The fire just sat there, flickering silently, in my hand. Trainer walked over to me and smiled slightly. "Good job." Then she saw the fire n my hand and froze. "You... controlled... the fire?" She asked haltingly, her eyes wide. "I can't get it to go out." I admitted. 

"Controlling the fire s a level four!" Trainer was estatic, practically shouting. "But, I can't get it to go out." I muttered again, blushing. "You just close your hand and will it to have no oxygen. It will go out. Doesn't have to be in your hand to do it, either." I tried, and when I opened my hand, the fire was gone. 

"Good. Alright, your turn." She turned her gaze to Chloe. Chloe tilted her head slightly. 'What do I do?" She asked, her eyes narrowed. Trainer pointed to a chunk of trees, surrounded by a fence. She closed Chloe into it, and said, "Control the trees to let you escape." 

Chloe surveyed the trees for a few moments, then rested her hand onto a tree. The roots flew upwards through the ground, ripping up part of the fence. She did the same to the others, until the fence was lifted into the air by all the roots, tall enough that Chloe could walk under it without ducking. 

Trainer had turned, and was, like before, staring. "Wow. Two level foursin the same group! How likely is that?" She asked herself. "Alright, well, your turn." Her voice barely contained her excitement. Elizabeth looked down, then around. "What am I doing?" She asked quietly. 

"You will find your way out of this maze. It doesn't have an exit unless you make one." Trainer shoved her into a maze, and the entrance was sealed by dirt. We waited for a few minutes, and then, the entire maze vanished. Elizabeth was standing in the center of it, her hands on the ground, her eyes closed. 

She opened them, then jumped a little in surprise. "It's gone." She said unnecessarily, and walked over to us. "Making it vanish? All you had to do was move it. Making it vanish is level four!" By now Trainer looked like she was going to pass out from excitement. 

By now the rest of the class had stopped practicing, or trying, and were watching us. Sophie ignored them, and looked at Trainer. "What do I do?" "Get your way out." Then Trainer reached out to shove Sophie into a deep pool of water, but Sophie was a step ahead of her. Literally. Sophie jumped into it, plunging into the water.

"How deep is that?" I ask after a few moments. "About 20 feet." Trainer shrugged. There was more silence. The ripples stop. There's more silence. A few people start looking nervous, and one of them whispered, "Is she okay?" 

Suddenly, the water erupts, spewing everywhere. The water lifts Sophie into the air, and disperses, so she lands on the ground, and we're standing in a giant puddle. She is dry, and flips her hair over her shoulder. Trainer nods, and smiles. "Level four, again! Your group is the most talented I've seen in a long time. Let's see if you have the same skill." Annabelle pales slightly, but nods. She looks like she's going to be sick. 

"Use the breeze to knock objects over." Trainer says, turning on a fan. The objects are simple: paper, a leaf, but get harder: a plate, a plant of some sort in a ceramic pot, and a giant dictionary. Annabelle stares at the paper, focusing her attention on it. It moves a few inches, but that's it. 

People wander back to their training, bored. Annabelle focuses harder, her hands clenching. The paper moves a few more inches, but that's it. Frustrated, she shoves her hand out toward it. It scoots about a foot more, but Annabelle's done. Trainer shakes her head, disappointed. "That is how most people do on their first try." She consolidates, but I see that Annabelle's cheeks were flushed red, and she kept her gaze fixed on her feet. 

The bell rings, and Annabelle runs out of the classroom before everyone else. I follow after her, trying to catch up. She goes to our room, and sits on her bed. She's crying again. "Annabelle." I say, closing the door. Annabelle jerks up, and looks at me through streaming eyes. "What?" She snaps, glaring at me. 

I step back reflexively, shocked. Annabelle was such a happy-go-lucky type of person. "You did average," I tried. "Yeah, and everyone else in this group got level threes." Annabelle laughs, but it's humorless, and sounds hysterical. "Why don't you just practice more?" "And humiliate myself again? Great idea!" Her voice was sarcastic, and dares me to disagree. 

"No. You and me in the forest tonight." I suggest. Annabelle's eyes narrow, and replies carefully, "Sure." "Alright. It's time for Study Hall, so let's go." Annabelle gets up and grabs her bag, which she had tossed onto the ground, dried her eyes, and headed out the door. It was uncomfortably silent. 

As we neared the Hall, Annabelle's look turned into her normal bubbly self, and begins chatting mindlessly with me. She acts like herself, but I see it in her eyes. She's breaking inside. 

Chapter 4 -Annabelle

I can see it already. The others in my group moving up levels, getting better than students in senior year. And I would be known as "That girl who fell behind in her group". I bit my lip. No, I reasoned, more likely people will forget I even exist. I wish they would now though. Especially Derek. 

"So, Annabelle, I heard your the bottom in your group. All level fours, and you're already failing." He smirks. "Why does that surprise me?" Natalie clenched and unclenched her hands, trying to decide whether to defend or be silent. She seemed like a good person, but there was something in her eyes that made you wish that you were never her enemy. I stoppd her from having to make the decision. 

"Wow, still sore that I dumped you?" I smirked coldly. "Although, I can see why. I mean, who would want a filthy pig for a boyfriend anyway?" Derek threw his fist at my face, aiming to break my nose. My hand shot out without even thinking, and I grabbed his hand, stopping it. Well, no, I was actually holding onto him. His fist hand opened and he was grabbing at my hand for support. 

I saw why. My hair was flying around my head, and wind was rushing through the Study Hall, knocking everything over. It was directed at him, though, and he was in danger of being blown against a wall or through a window. The thought of glass raining down, and a body, even if it was his, broke my concentration. 

The wind stopped, my hair fell down in a giant tangle, Derek let go of my hand, and the entire school was staring at me. Natalie glanced at me. Her hair was all over her head, knotted, but her face was a mask. "Why don't we go find our homework papers?" She suggested calmly. 

Immediately, everyone snapped out of their trance and started scrambling for their papers, arguing over whose assignment it was. Natalie had one hand on her shoulder and guided me to our groupmates, sitting down carefully in a chair as if it might explode. I noticed that her eyes were narrowed, like she was concentrating. 

I sat down next to her and pulled out my books. The other students were oblivious to us, completely, as if we didn't exist. It was only after Study Hall was over that I noticed Natalie hadn't done any work, and that she was focused on something the whole time. 

~~

I followed Natalie into the forest, ducking under branches from trees and trying to figure out what I did. When we were standing in a clearing near the lake, Natalie spoke. "I doubt you need my help. What you did was pretty impressive." "I can't do it again though. I keep trying, but now it won't happen. Like it's shut off." 

"No, you probably just need to simulate it. Put yourself in a situation so you need your power. That's what happened before. You had to defend yourself." Natalie shrugs, thinking, "So I should put you in a dangerous situation? That's risky." She's still debating when she throws a punch. It comes within an inch of my face, but stops. 

I gasp, but nothing happens. Natalie frowns. "Come on, I'm about to beat you up. Use your power to defeat me!" Then she punches at me again, her fist hovering over my stomach before shooting out again towards my ribs. Nothing happens. Natalie slams her hand against a tree, singing a handprint into it, annoyed. "Come on, you have to want to hurt me!"

"I don't want to hurt anyone!" I snap, sitting down. Natalie sits down next to me, and thinks. "Maybe, instead of trying to simulate it using danger or surprise, we need to try to cause it by using something gentle. Since you don't want to hurt anyone." She adds the last part as an afterthough. "I mean, I don't either, but if it comes to protecting people I care about, there's no boundaries." She says that like it should be obvious. 

"Well, I guess. So, how will we cause it?" I ask, trying to stay away from that topic. "Beauty? Delicacy?" Natalie shrugs. "Okay. Let's give it a shot." Natalie opens her hand, and a tongue of flame dances across her palm gently. It changed from red, to orange, to yellow. It was stunningly pretty. I focus, trying to make it do something. "Try imagining it's beauty, and then focus." Natalie whispers quietly. I stare at the flame, watching it, trying to influence it's powerful beauty to my will. 

It flickers slightly, then goes out. I glance at Natalie. She's staring at her hand, surprised. "It worked." She murmers, then grins. "Nice one, Annabelle." 

"Thanks. I wonder why it only works sometimes?" I ask, more to myself, but Natalie answers. "I suppose it's because you're so nice and gentle. When you are angry, it takes away that and leaves your power. Then, for the fire, probably because you only see the best in people. Influences the best in things to your advantage." She looks up, and notices my face is pink with embarrasment.

"We should get back to our dorm. If we're caught breaking the rules..." Natalie trails off, and whispers, "Run when I do." Then, she bursts into a run. I follow behind her, and only after I'm a safe distance away do I turn and look. It's a bear, pausing at the edge of the clearing, watching us. I shudder, turn back around, and run after Natalie to the dorms. 

Chapter 5

I didn't regret helping Annabelle. Over the next few days or Training, she achieved level four along with the rest of us. However, we all had trouble having the energy to use our powers. When I extinguished fire after fire, I would get a giant headache. Once, when Chloe was trying to uproot a 50 foot-tall tree, she collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital, because she had smacked her head on the floor. 

The principal got worked up about it, too. But not in the same way as Trainer was. "There is no way you can keep doing this! They aren't strong enough!" "They're level threes!" Trainer snapped back. "Level four is Junior year! They're Freshman!" "So?" Trainer smirked. 

"Just because they have the mental strength doesn't mean they're physically strong enough!" Principal's face was turning red with anger. "They will stay in level one with the rest of this class until I see fit!" 

Trainer frowned, but she didn't argue. Principal left, and Trainer turned to us. "You need to build up strength. From now on, work at the gym during Training. "What?" I asked, hardly believing it. "Principal says you're not strong enough. So go get strong!" Trainer barked back.

"But, what about training?" Annabelle asked quietly, keeping her poker face on. "You will be training. Same reason, differet way of it." "Same reason?" Elizabeth asked, frowning. "Yes. Same reason. To learn how to use your powers. If you're too weak to control it, you won't get anywhere. Now then, tommorow, you will go to the gym and work out. I will have assigned your workout nstructor to explain and help you with everything. And what to do." 

The bell rang before we could protest, and she shooed us out of the room. "If you don't show up for the gym, I'll know." Then, she closed the door in our faces. 

The mood out our table was tense. The empty chair across from me reinforced Trainer's idea abot us training in the gym, but I disliked it. However, Elizabeth, who was sitting next to me, began the conversation. "This is a horrible idea. Why can't we just be working on level two stuff or something?" 

"I agree. As if we need any more attention." Sophie frowned, glancing pointedly at a table group that was watching us almost reverently. "Besides, it's just level four. It's Junior, not, like, college-grade or anything." Elizabeth shrugged. "Actually, um, if we're four in Freshman, we can be five in Softmore, and six in Junior. Then seven in Senior." Annabelle told us quietly. "Six and seven? Isn't that first and second year of college?" I asked, surprised. 

"Yep. And people take it for one year, seven for another. So we'd be done with all of out training by the time we graduate." Anabelle's grinning with barely contained excitement. "Well, then. I guess that pretty much means that we'll be at the gym tomorow?" Sophie asks, looking eager. "I think we should," Annabelle shrugs, "besides, it's mandatory, so why not enjoy it?" 

Elizabeth and I exchange looks, then glance at Chloe's chair before turning back to our food. Although it might be good for us, we both seemed to agree that it was awkward. 

~~

Chloe had come back that night right before curfew. We explained what had happened, and all she said was "Fine." She didn't elaborate, so we went to bed.

That morning, instead of going to Training with the rest of our class, we went to the gym. A couple instructors, a man and a woman, were waiting for us. The woman was Fire, the man was Earth. As we passed, the man checked us off; making sure we were all here. Then, he pulled out a notebook and began reading out loud. "First, warm up by jogging five laps."

The other instructor, showed us the giant track we had to run around five times. "Now, stay in a group. You will be lead runner for the first lap, Earth. Then Fire, Water, Forest, and Wind. Understood?" "Yes," we all replied. "Good. Now, begin!" 

After the laps, our instructors introduced themselves as "Instructor of Speed" for the woman, and "Instructor of Weights" for the man. They refused our names, choosing to call Annabelle "Wind", Elizabeth "Earth", Chloe "Forest", Sophie "Water", and me "Fire". 

After introductions, Weights announced we would be doing stretches. Speed began doing intracite stretches that we had to copy that made my legs, arms, and torso hurt. We did push-ups and planks, sit-ups, and moe that  lost track of. By the time we were done with that, I wanted to go back to bed and sleep for a year. 

"Next is more running. This time, ten laps, which will be two miles." He announces. We all groan and get up. "Hey!" Speed barks, standing up. "No complaining! If you complain, you run double!" We all fall silent immediately, but shoot a few nasty looks when they're not looking. By the time we finally finish with that, we're all dead on our feet. 

Sophie tries to move some water bottles over to us because we're too tired to go get them, but it doesn't work. We're too tired to concentrate on anything other than breathing. Speed comes over to us. "All right, your time for two miles is 20:34. You can do better than that!" "We can't," Annabelle gasps, "Chloe got knocked out yesterday, so we're kinda slow. Plus, we already ran a mile before this." 

Speed frowns. "Pathetic. No excuses are accepted! Now, get up! We still have more training to do!" She barks, storming away. We drag ourselves up to our feet and stumble over to them, trying to ignore the fire in our legs. Fire. I concentrated hard on the pain which felt like fire, and closed my hand into a fist. 

The pain went out. Immediatly, everyone relaxed and glanced at each other, then at me. I smiled sheepishly and pointed at the instructors. They slowly turned their attention back to Speed and Weights, who were discussing something under their breath. Annabelle listened closely to the breath, and frowned. I cocked my head, but she shook hers and placed a finger to her lips.  "Okay. Next is weights." Speed announced, sitting where Weight was, who came ove to stand where Speed had stood. "Follow me." He orders, walking to the side of the gym where dumbells, barbells, and some benches were laying around. "We'll start with dumbells." He told us, picking one up. 

It was fifty pounds, but he pumped it up and down like it was nothing. "Take two dumbbells, same weight, same type, and stand in a line. Take, um, ten-pound ones."  We all grabbed them and stood in a line as he stood in front of us with his fifty-pound one. "Now, you go like this." He began raising it slowly up, and back down. We copied him, and, within minutes, my arms were burning uncontrollably, and I couldn't put it out because whenever I paused the pain would redouble itself, and Speed or Weights would start yelling at us. 

After that we were told to take showers and go to our next class. Speed stopped us by the door. "Now listen, all of you. We have official jurisdiction over misbehavior of any kind from you. If you do anything innaproppriate or wrong in any class, you will be punished by us along with whatever the teacher decides for you. Oh, and, of course, if you misbehave in here you will deeply regret it." 

Chapter 6-Annabelle

The next few week passes without incident, until, on Wednesday, Derek shows up again. He strides over like he owns the place and sits down on our table, shoving my food to the floor. I catch it neatly with one hand, and put it back on the table. "What do you want?" I asks coldly, hoping there was no emotion in my voice. 

"I want you to tell me your trick." He's actually being serious. "What trick?" I ask, frowning. "The trick that's got everyone convinced you're a level four. You're not even done with the first half of Freshman year!" He's panicking, I can sense it. He wants me to cave and admit to something I didn't do. "I am a level four." I shrug, glancing at my group. 

When I turn back around, Derek's dierctly in front of me. With a grin, he punches himself in the face and falls backward. "The bitch punched me!" He wailed, clutching his bloody nose. A cafeteria lady helps him up and leads him to the hospital. Everyone's staring at me, even my groupmates. 

"He's a liar." I tell them. Natalie nods. "We know. We saw. Just.... Instructor of Speed's going to be mad." I realize what she means, and I freak out. "Oh shit! She's going to kill me!" I hiss, sitting back down. "What do you mean, 'me'? You do realize we're your groupmates. We're not going to leave you hanging." Natalie says this so matter-of-fact that I feel happy

I mean, sure, Speed's going to have our heads, but we're actually awknowledging us as a group. Even Chloe, who's always so reserved, nods in agreement to Natalie. 

~~

We get up early, too nervous to eat much, and go to the gym. Instructor of Speed and Instructor of Weights are talking on the phone to someone. Before I can catch what they're saying, she hangs up. I didn't need to anyway. "That was your teachers. They have all agreed to let me train you for the whole day. You see, I told them you all needed extreme reconditioning, and that and hour a day isn't enough time.

"They understand the circumstances. They all know you're level fours without the strength. They understand how important it is to get you strong. So, we'll train you for the entire day, except for when you are excused for lunch and dinner. After you have gotten your food you will come back and eat here. You will have a guard, me or Instructor of Weights, to make sure you don't hurt anyone." She grins like she's told us great new, then orders, "Run twenty laps, now!" 

We weren't allowed to walk, at all, so by the time we were done my legs felt like rubber. Natalie kept trying to get rid of the fire, but Speed would order another lap every time she tried, so she gave up. "Instructor of Speed, could we get some water?" I choke out, trying to breath without setting my throat on fire. "No." She says coldly, barely looking up. 

After that we did 500 push-ups and 200 sit-ups without stopping. By then it was lunch, and Speed grudgingly allowed us to go get food. However, she went with us, leaving Weights to set up for his training. When we walked in, heads turned our way. We were sweaty, panting, and looked like we'd been hit by trucks. 

As soon as we got our food and paid, Speed led us out of the cafeteria and back to the gym. Then we ate our food quickly, gulped down our water, and tried not to run away screaming. Before the bell even finised ringing to symbolie the end of lunch, Speed had us up and going over to Weights. 

Weights started with what we did yesterday. Then he gave us barbbells, and attatched ten-pound weights to it.  After that, he had us get onto the treadmills and gave us our ten-pound dumbbells. As we ran on the treadmill, we had to curl our weights. After a while, he changed it to fifteen, and repeated the whole thing over again. Then he tried twenty, but we couldn't move the barbbells that way just the dumbbells and on the treadmill. 

The bell signaling the end of school ran, and we all stopped. "What?" He asked, turning to see if we were looking at something. "It's Free Time." Natalie says. "No, you have that after dinner. "Um, no, that's Study Hall." I reply, placing down my weights. "So get back to work." He shrugs. "But it's Free Time." Natalie protests. "So?" He retorts. 

"School is out." Sophie pipes in. "But this isn't school." Weights replies. "But-" Natalie tries. "No! Instructor of Speed!" He calls. "Yes?" "They want to run another few miles!" "Okay. Girls get over here. Oh, and bring some of the dumbbells too." 

As I bend down to pick up one of my dumbbells, Weights bends down next to me. "I'm sorry," he whispers, "I don't have a choice." Then he hands me the weight and points to the track. I nod, barely, in understanding. He smiles ever so slightly, but points to the track. I turn, and go to my groupmates to endure another three-mile run. 

Chapter 7

I watched through half-closed eyes as History Teacher pointed at a map. "Where did the most powerful power-holder come from?" Annabelle raised her hand, and calls out, "In Arizona, July 12th, 2036." "Good. What happened? Natalie?" I jerk my head up and think for a moment. "Um, there was a giant fire in a building, and this girl jumps into it, and controls it away from everyone, then extinguishes it."

"Yes. She had a level seven power, and she was your age." Teacher looks directly at me as she says that. I feel my face turning red as everyone turned to look at me. She continues, oblivious to my embarassment. "What was her name? Isabella?" I feel my face turning even redder. My family had named me after her for luck. Apparently, I got it, but I was seriously contemplating changing it right now.

"Natalie." She pipes up, from her table several groups away. Her blue hair is short, unlike Sophie's, like a boy's, and she's wearing heavy mascara and eyeliner. History Teacher nods and looks back at me. "A Fire power named Natalie, who is more powerful than any other her age." 

"I'm so sick of that." I grumble as we leave. "What's to complain about?" Sophie asks mildly, "I mean, 'oh darn, you know, I'm living up to one of the greatest power-holders of all time'. I would love to have the same name as someone like that! All I get named after is my great-aunt!" She shoves past me, heading for our class. Annabelle and Elizabeth glance at each other, but don't say anything. 

Chloe has her gaze fixed on the floor when she speaks. Her voice is emotionless, not proving which side she's on. "You know, you might want to apologize." "For what?" I ask angrily. "Well, whether or not you're right, Sophie's offended. I just think it would be most beneficial to you both and the rest of us as well if you try to make up." She sits down and takes out her books, silent again. 

I try to talk to Sophie but she ignores me; Eventually I give up and we lapse into a tense silence. Screw what Chloe said, I wasn't going to try to force Sophie into seeing sense.

We ignore each other until we're in our dorm. Then I turn to her and say, "Sophie. Listen to me." She goes to her desk and pulls out her homework and clicks her pen. "You don't understand what it's like." I try. She starts rummaging in her backpack and pulls out our English book. "It's harder than you think. It's like.... everyone wants you to.... are you listening?" I'm losing my temper. I can feel the fire kindling inside of me. When Sophie doesn't respond I let the fire of rage engulf me. 

"See how much you would like it if everyone's staring at you whenever we go to History class, whenever we're in the cafeteria or anywhere that involves my powers. I hate it! You think you're soo much better than me that if you were in my place you would be able prove it! It sucks! Everyone expects that no matter how good you are, you have to do better! I can't be as good as her, I have to be better! And that's not even possible!"

Everyone's staring at me, shocked. Sophie's mouth is open, and she's staring at me. "I think I could handle it." She says finally, turning back to her paper. I grab her desk and stand in front of her. "You couldn't. No one could!" "Just because you never tried to achieve anything doesn't mean everyone does. Some people actually care about our own reputations enough to try!" She snaps back.

My senses go into override. I want to punch her in the face so badly it hurts. I take the rage inside of me, the fre, and tell it to become real physical. My hands light up, burning into her desk. Sophie shrieks, and the sink bursts, flooding over the desk. My fire doesn't go out, though. I had moved my hands to the underside, so it was still burning through. Sophie sends water flooding over me, and I shake out my hair, furious. 

My hands catch fire, and I throw a fireball at her. She is surprised, and it catches her skirt on fire. She quickly extinguishes it, but before I can throw another, a wall of rock is seperating us, and we're being dragged back to other sides of the room by a strong wind. Vines are wrapping around our arms and pin them to the wall, so we can't attack each other. 

Elizabeth is sending bits of wood through the window, placing it in the burns, and melding it together with her mind. Annabelle is blowing the smell of smoke from the room, and Chloe was getting a vine, which were so strong they were like rope, to fix the sink. "You agree to stop fighting momentarily?" Annabelle asks, and walks to the center of the room, inbetween us. "Listen, Sophie, it doesn't matter what you would do because you're not Natalie. Natalie, Sophie is entitled to her own opinion, so don't try to change it."

Chloe comes over, and the vines retracted. Before either of us could make one move, Annabelle was leading me to my bed, Elizabeth with Sophie to the other. Once we were in, Chloe made the vines snake around my wrist, keeping me from leaving my bed. I saw that the same thing had happened to Sophie. All my anger that had fueled the fight had gone, leaving me feeling guilty. But, when  looked around, I saw that nothing had really been permanently damaged. 

The sink was fixed, the desk was repaired, the water was cleaned, the smoke blown away. All except for the fact that my groupmates were glaring at me like I'd killed Sophie, not just burnt her desk. Even now, when everyone else was asleep, the vines didn't move. I could see why, but when I tried to get out experimntally, it wouldn't move; It was like trying to move a cement house. Eventually, I give up and fall asleep. 

~~

The next morning, Sophie and I are cool towards each other, but don't break anything or set it on fire. Which was good. The rest of my group relaxed when they realized we weren't going to destroy each other. Today. 

After eating breakfast, we went to the gym like usual. When I looked in the mirror, I noticed that my leg and arm muscles were visible. Looking at my stomach, I noticed that I could see the faint outline of a six-pack showing. I smiled; all of our work had finally paid off. After almost half the year, we could finally get back to regular Training. 

My other groupmates had noticed too, so we were in a pretty good mood for the whole training session. When we left, I noticed that it didn't hurt as much anymore to do workouts. Actually, know that I thought about it, we had all been running and weight-lifting with 25-pound weights. 

I was distracted from my thoughts when a group passing us stopped dead. Their mouths were slightly open, and I looked at us. We didn't look that different. Other than the fact that we were more muscular, nothing had changed. One of them pointed and whispered something; the other nodded and they kept moving, glancing behind at us occasionally. 

We walked to our Training class, and a few people glanced at us, then froze. "Ah! My star students have returned at last!" Trainer called, rushing over to us. The principal walked over and said, "What did I tell you?" 

The Trainer's sly smile made me uncomfortable. "You said they didn't have enough strength."

The principal frowned. "I don't like it." "Well, you will soon," Trainer shrugged, before pointing at Elizabeth. "Do something." Elizabeth blinked in surprise, then held her hand on the ground. It erupted around her, knocking Trainer to the ground. 

The principal supressed a smile. "I see what you mean. I did like that, very much so."

For some reason, that made me shudder.

Something in her eyes...

I knew if she learned that  had another power...

Chapter 8

I frowned at the palmful of fire in my hand. "I don't like this. It's like we're being put on a show." "It feels like that to me too, but maybe we're overreacting. It's not every day there's someone as advanced as we are." Annabelle soothed.

"Maybe, but trying to make us sevens seems a bit extreme. Why can't we just stay at four or five?" I asks, looking at each of the others. No one answers. A voice comes from behind me, making me nearly jump out of my chair. The principal. 

"It may seem extreme, but we're trying to push you to the limit. You are not challened using fours or fives. You need to be challenged to use your power, or you will never grow with it. You may even lose it." Her voice is smooth, erasing concern from our minds. "Right Elizabeth?" She asks. 

Elizabeth blinks and look up. "It has been shown in cases that those who don't use their powers can actually lose levels of power because of lack of use. Their brain muscles in that area relax and you lose the muscle memory, yes. However, to do such a thing you can't use your power for at least a year before you start showing any actual loss in power control. Why one would choose not to use their power... I do not know." 

The principal nods, and replies, "Nevertheless, we should break bad habits before they form." Then she walked away. 

Everyone immediately relaxed. I didn't realize I was holding my breath before I let it out in a little puff. "Wow, Elizabeth, where'd you pull that out from?" Annabelle asks, eyes wide. "I like to read," she defends, her cheeks turning pink, "there's a library next to the Study Hall." 

We were interrupted from our conversation when Derek walked up to us. "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Elizabeth smirked as he approached. "Or You-Know-Who."

"What?" I ask.

"Harry Potter joke." She grins.

"Oh. Who's that?"

"He's-"

"Hey, princess. How does it feel to be special? I know, don't get used to it. You'll never feel this way again." He grins coldly, going to wrap his arms around Annabelle. I raised my hand, palm out, under the table. He froze, arms barely an inch away. I flicked my hand at him under the table. He walked back to his table, silent. 

"What the heck was that?" Sophie asked, staring after him. Chloe didn't say anything, instead watching me, but when I glanced at her, she nodded. Barely. It almost wasn't there. But it was. Suddenly, I had the feeling she knew exactly what had happened. 

"What just happened?" Elizabeth asked, looking at each of us. "No clue." I lie, hoping it doesn't sound forced. Under the table, I clenched my hand, tight. Finally, Annabell shrugged. "Well, who's complaining?" She asked. 

As we left to our next class-- History--, Chloe knocked into me, dropping all her books. I bent down o help her pick them up, and on the corner of a paper there was written:

Everyplace is watching. Do not act or do anything unusual. If you do, we're all dead. By the lake, midnight.  

As soon as I finish reading it, she covers it in a stack of other papers and books, before sticking it back into her bag. "Sorry." She tells me, before following after our group me right behind. 

For the rest of the day, I am tense. Although I go through the day fine, I still expect the principal or another person to start throwing fireballs, chunks of rock, or giant trees at me. 

~~

Finally, the end of the day comes, and we troop back to our dorm. Then Annabelle decides to talk to her mom on the phone, and Elizabeth starts reading. Eventually, they turn of the phone, close the book, and crawl into bed. However, they seemed to never fall asleep! 

When they finally did, I waited a few more minutes before sneaking out the window, closing it behind me. Chloe was probably already there, since her bed was empty. Slipping into the shadows, I snuck over to the lake. Chloe was siting by the edge of the lake, watching the waves lap at the shore. 

"Um, hi, you--" She held up her hand, mouthing, "Shut up!"She touches the ground, and trees rise up around the two of us, so thick that you can't see through them. A canopy of leaves covers us. "Now we can talk." She sighs.

"So, Natalie, you have a second power?" She asked, looking up. "Be truthful." "Yes. I can control minds, I think."

She cocked her head. "I can tell when people are being honest, liars, or just plain clueless." Her eyes narrowed, and she continued. "This... thing... we have isn't supposed to exist. Simple enough. They told you about that same-power family?" She asks. "Of course." I shrug. 

It was simple enough. A Fire had to have kids with another Fire, Wind and Wind, Water and Waer, etc. If you intermingled with other types, they could destroy the bloodlines and the children would be powerless. 

"They don't become powerless." She says, as if she knew what was thinking. "They become extra-powerful. That's what the government fears: someone being stronger than them. That's also why Trainer and Principal are acting like this." 

I jump. "They know--" I begin to say. 

"No. They just know that we're level sixes and sevens of our power. If we're on their side, then they can get better pay on their jobs, higher status, and so on."

"So, our education is a power play?" I hiss.

"Actually, we have all the power. It's more like they're playing with fire." She smirks. "Anyway, eventually the government will get suspicious, if they're not already. With our level of power, they will eventually realize why." 

"But if they think that intermingling loses power..." I trail off. This was getting confusing. 

"No, no, they lead you to believe that it's that, so you won't do it. When in reality, they're scared of us." She frowns, "It's smart, yet completely stupid."

"It sounds pretty smart to me." I shrug. 

"If no one ever gets any stronger than ths, we'll start to de-evolve. Notice how while our parents talk about the power levels they had at our age, others are a level or two below? It's not from lack of effort, it's lack of skill." 

"If people are starting to de-evolve, and the governmetn is suspicious, what do we do?" I ask, looking up at Chloe. "We train, practice, stretch our new powers to the limit, learn the extremes that we can go to with it, and, when the time comes, escape."

My mouth drops open. "What?" She asks. "I just realized something. If we have such high powers skills and another, does that mean that the others have them too?"

Chloe frowned. "It's possible, but the chances of such a thing as the five of us..." She gasped. "Oh my... that means that..." Her eyes were wide. "What, Chloe?" I ask, although I think I know the answer. I'm already feeling the seed of terror sink in. 

"What if they already know?" She asks. 

Chapter 9

The next night, Chloe and I practiced our powers. She suggested that I might be able to read thoughts, instead of just controlling them. I, in turn, offered that she could make people tell the truth, not just know when they're lying. 

By the end of the night, Chloe was making me answer truthfully to questions, although I was trying to lie. "What's you name?" She asks. I immediately answer, "Natalie," although I was trying to say, "India." 

I, in turn, could hear her thinking, The sun's starting to coming up, Natalie. We should probably head back before anyone sees were gone. Enough time to change into our nightclothes and fall asleep. 

"Yes," I say.

Chloe nods, and we trudge back to our dorm room, sneak in, and close the window. Chloe walks over to her bed and starts to climb it silently, holding clothes in her hand. 

I walk over to mine, and do the same. About halfway up, a voice asks, " Natalie, what the hell are you doing at four in the morning?" It was Annabelle. 

I hop down the stairs and say, "Going to the bathroom." Easy enough, simple to keep straight. She's not convinced. Like I didn't hear you sneaking out with Chloe. "Why were you gone, then?" She asks. I decide it's best to cover up using her weakness: kindness. 

"Chloe was having... issues. I helped her with something... personal." I light my palm, then jerk my head at Annabelle. Her eyes widen, then she nods. She must've needed help wih her powers or something. Thank goodness I'm not the only one, but is she okay now? I hope so...

"Is she all right?" Annabelle finally asks, after what seems like a monologue of her thinking. "Yes." I answer, climbing back up the stairs to my bed. "You should probably get some sleep." I tell her.

"You know, Natalie, you're a really good person." Annabelle sighs. In her thoughts, I know she thinks it's true.

I feel the guilt weigh me down. 

~~

I practice my power during my classes. Most of the people in my Math class were thinking about a party someone was having over the weekend. Annabelle and Sophie were thinking about Math, Chloe was thinking about an escape plan, and Elizabeth... Wow... she was really smart. 

What if by switching the y=mx+b with mb+y=x, it would be changing the answer to the square of the g... I had to tune her out because she was giving me a headache. Grimacing, I stare at my math paper; it was hard enough without all that extra stuff added in. 

The bell rang, and I walked out of the classroom with my group. Elizabeth is heading out the door, when she freezes. Her eyes are wide, nervous. I look back and see a pencil on the table. It's shaking. I glance back at Elizabeth. Her hands are clenching and unclenching. 

The pencil falls and rolls over to us. Then it stops at her feet. She opens her hand, her fingers shaking, and it flies to her hand. She closes her fist around it and lets out a breath. Then, she slips it into her bag. I quickly tune in to her thoughts. No, no, no... this is not happening. Is Natalie looking at me? Oh god, please tell me she didn't notice...

I pretend to be fascinated with the ends of my hair, and try to ignore Elizabeth. I tune her out, deciding to pretend that nothing was wrong. 

I listen to Chloe instead. She doesn't know. Chloe? I think. There's no response. I try again. Chloe? I realize I'm just thinking to myself. I focus, picturing my thoughts leaving my mind and being sent to hers. Chloe? 

Her thoughts snap to me. Natalie? Are you talking to me?

You can hear? I think back, excited. 

It's a bit fuzzy, like static, but yeah. What do you want?

Elizabeth can move things with her mind! I tell her, my mind doing carwheels. 

Really? Her mind voice is shocked. 

No, I'm lying. I think sarcastically. 

If she has it, we need to get her on our side before the others figure it out. 

How do you suppose we do that? 

Bring her with you to the lake. I feel she would trust you more, anyway. Chloe mentally shrugged. 

Okay. I consent. Midnight good?

Yep. Now get out of my head. 

Chapter 10

I convince Elizabeth to follow me. It wasn't hard. I just told her it was urgent and that she needed to follow me, and she did. I guess Chloe was right: she does trust me. I'm not sure why. It doesn't matter, since pretty soon she won't anymore. 

The two of us snuck to the lake as fast as possible. Once again, Chloe was waiting for us. As soon as Elizabeth saw her, she took a step back, grabbing my arm. "It's fine." I tell her, striding towards Chloe without a trace of worry in my gaze. 

Elizabeth sighed, but followed. As soon as she was next to us, she looked around. "So, what's the problem?" She asked. 

"You," Chloe smirked. Elizabeth's eyes widened and she bit her lip. "What about me?" She asked as calmly as possible. Her mind was racing a million times a second. Just listening to it made me feel sick, so I cut her out of my thoughts. Chloe hasn't responded. She is looking pointedly at me. Elizabeth is doing the same, only with a questioning look on her face. 

"You have two powers, don't you?" I say. Elizabeth shakes her head, even as her voice forces out, "Yes." Her hand jerks to her mouth with surprise. "I don't know... what did I... I'm not..." She trails off, her eyes wide behind her hand. 

"Don't worry," Chloe says flippantly, "we have them too." Elizabeth drops her hand. "You have telekinesis?" "What?" I asked, not understanding. "It's the name for my ability to move things with my mind. I looked it up. So, you guys have it too?"

"No. I can read minds, control them, and send messages." I tell her.

"Whereas I can tell when people are lying and make them tell the truth." Chloe says. 

"Wait... is that what you did to me?" Elizabeth asked, looking impressed. 

"Yes." Chloe looks at her feet, then back at Elizabeth. "I felt that I didn't have a choice."  Elizabeth nods, then asks, "So... why am I here?"

~~

By the time Chloe and I finish explaining everything to Elizabeth, the sun is just peeking through the trees. "We have to get back." Chloe warned, standing up. I nod, and turn to Elizabeth. "Come on. We can't get caught." She nods, and we hurry back to our dorm. 

I close the window carefully behind us and turn around. We are face-to-face with Annabelle. Her voice is shaky, and she looks at each of us. "I don't know what you three think you're doing. She finally focuses on me before continuing, "It's dangerous. Sneaking out every night... you're going to get yourselves killed." 

Her voice catches, and she pauses. "I don't know what you're doing, but stop doing it." Chloe's eyes narowed at this. 

"We can't." I mutter. "What do you mean?" Annabelle asks. I just shake my head, and stare at the floor, while tuning into her thoughts. 

They can't sneak out anymore. What they're talking about is going to get them killed. Besides that, it's crazy. No one can have more than one power. 

Before consciously realizing it, I had sent her a message. It's completely possible, Annabelle. 

Her eyes widened, and she stumbled backwards, catching her hand on the table. "Annabelle? Are you okay?" Elizabeth asks, stepping towards her. Annabelle steps backwards slowly, her gaze never leaving my face. "Natalie. What did you do?" Chloe asks, turning to me. 

I opened my mouth, then closed it. There was nothing I could say. "Oh, god, Natalie, you messaged her?" Chloe hissed, her voice still lowered, although her eyes were blazing with anger. "By accident," I say; it was true, I never would've done that on purpose. 

It doesn't matter; the damage is done. Annabelle is backed against the wall, visibly shaking. But when she speaks, her voice is even. "This never happened. You were here the whole time, and so was everyone else. Okay?" Then she draws away from the wall with a wince. Her hand was scraped, proably from the table. 

She stares at it, and, Elizabeth approaches her gently. She takes Annabelle's hand carefully, and examines it. "Not too bad. We can just-" This time it's Elizabeth's turn to gasp and drop her hand. "What? What is it?" Annabelle asks, before staring at her palm. She opens her mouth but nothing comes out. 

"What?" I ask, stepping forward. Speechless, Annabelle held up her hand. No cut, not even a trace of blood. I am momentarily stunned before tracing where the cut was on her palm. Still nothing. "You can heal. With your mind." Chloe is calmest in this situation. 

"But, that's impossible." Annabelle frowns. Before any of us can respond, there is a rattling sound. The door. Before any of us can react, the door is opening. "What is going on here?" The principal asks, "Thumping and carrying on like that, it's a miracle you haven't woken the entire division!"  

If we didn't you certainly are now. I think angrily. Then I notice something strange. The principal is not angry; she seems to be excited. "I'm sorry." Annabelle steps forward and says, "I'm sorry, ma'am, but, you see, I was having a nightmare, and, well," She blushes crimson, "I sort of woke up everyone." Even Chloe is impressed with her lying skills.

But principal doesn't seem convinced. She cocks her head and smiles. "You know, I was expecting this. I mean, we kept tabs on your families. All adopted, all hidden out of sight until, finally, it shows." Her voice is detatched. Emotionless. "And, best of all, you managed to contain it long enough to not be noticed. Why do you think I sent you five excersising all the time? It was to show your powers. You four can be great assets. You can have whatever you want, and whenever, if you come and work for me."

"And if we refuse?" I ask, my temper boiling.

"Then we'll be forced to kill you." The principal pulled out a gun and cocked it. "Woah! Sophie gasped sitting up. I try to message her to stop, but she climbs down, and stares at the principal. "What's going on?" 

Sophie is standing next to us. However, suddenly, another Sophie is standing next to principal and holding the gun, swinging it around in her hand. Principal grabbed at her, but she is standing next to the window and opening it. All the while, another Sophie is still standing next to us. 

"Well? Hurry!" Sophie next to the window snapped. The four of us raced for the window and clambered out. Sophie is standing outside with us, gun in hand. "Run!" Sophie ordered. We took off and sprinted towards the lake. When I stopped and looked back, every light was on in the school. 

"So much for a smooth exit." Chloe growled. Sophie isn't listening. She is standing in the water, and muttering something under her breath. "Sophie, what are you-?" Annabelle asks nervously. Sophie grabs my arm. Another grabs Annabelle, one is holding Chloe, and another Elizabeth. 

Then the many Sophies dive into the water, carrying us with her. We sink to the bottom. I dare not try to breath, but eventually, it gets too difficult, and I gasp in. It's like breathing air. The original Sophie says, "We need to stay down here until the search parties are away from here. Going to the same place every time... bad move."

"Well, gee, I'm sorry. We didn't know, okay?" I tell her. Being underwater freaks me out. Probably because it is the opposite of my power. "Just don't let go of me. You will lose the ability to breathe. Also, you may be crushed with the pressure." 

"Isn't that cheerful." I mutter. The Sophie holding onto me shoots me a nasty glance, but ignores me otherwise. "When there is no more search patrols, we leave. Then, we go somewhere safe and figure out what to do." I say. 

"Whatever you say, boss." Chloe tells me. She's dead serious. I realize now that really, we are on our own. No, not on our own. I decide. We have each other. And I will never let anything happen to any of them. And that's a promise. 

Epilogue

It's been years since I hid in the lake with my friends. We have been through so much since then. Trials and justice, panic and comfort, loss and gain. I fiddle absentmindedly with my red strand of hair. The only part of me I have left to remember my original power.

The others are sleeping. But I cannot. I like to sit on the chair by the window, and watch as the sun rises. It reminds me of a time, a few months after we left the school. We were in a fight...

I shot flames at the enemy, but they deflect it. Growling, I send a blast-up Freeze! in their mind. They stop in surprise, and I knock them down. They are knocked out. One down, four to go. Chloe is taking on one of them no problem, and Annabelle and Elizabeth are combining their powers to cause a huge duststorm, and blowing it into their opponent's face.

Sophie is on the last one. With her multi-location, she's all over him. First, she's sending 100-force water jetted at him on the right, then trying to knock him out. Where's the last one? I scream mentally. Sophie turns back to one and turns to respond when... Bang! She collapses onto the ground, blood staining her shirt. Elizabeth yanks the gun out of the person's grasp from across the room and hits her with the handle. She's out like a light, but none of us are paying attention to her anymore.

Annabelle is trying to stop the blood, but Sophie's already almost gone. "You... distracted... me." She choked, smiling slightly before wincing. "I can fix this." Annabelle looks up at me. "Anything." I reply, kneeling next to her.

Annabelle looks at me hesitantly before taking my hand and placing it over Sophie's heart. I feel my fire erupt around us. Elizabeth screams, and Chloe watches with a shocked understandning in her eyes. The fire wraps down my arm and into Sophie's chest. As it goes, I feel colder.

When the fire is completely inside Sophie, the wound heals, she sits up, and, just like that, she was fine. I feel colder than usual, but I quickly become accustomed to it. I try to catch my palm on fire. Nothing. Not even a spark. Sophie looks up and gasps, "Oh my god! Your hair!" I lift it to my face and stare in shock. It has all turned white. All except for a lock along the side of my head that is still streaked red.

"I'm sorry. It was the only way." Annabelle whispers. I shrug. "Well, c'mon, I can read minds. Not gonna complain. Besides, Sophie's okay. That's what matters most anyway." I tell her. "We need to get going before the government sends more people." Chloe warns, standing up.

I know they are shocked and scared by this. I think they are overreacting. I am okay with it. Yes, I will miss it. But I made a promise. My power was nothing more than a symbol of pride. I am no longer prideful. My pride comes from the company I keep now, not the level of power I have.

I gave my power to save Sophie. I do not regret my choices; i made a promise. I have kept, am keeping, and will continue to keep it. Although I miss my power, I would not change a thing. No matter what happens tomorrow, or the day after, or sometime in the murky fog that is the future, we will stick together. That is the way we are.

The End

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