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Fin and Mark were still not speaking to each other. In fact, Fin wasn’t speaking much at all which was a quiet and peaceful change from normal nights. Not even popping in the old DVD of BBC’s Sherlock brought Fin out of his depressive state, which was saying something. If there was one late night event Fin loved, it was comparing his own Sherlock Holmes to the one played by Benedict Cumberbatch on screen. It was starting to become a little bit too quiet, but luckily it was interrupted when there was a ringing at the door. The Company building was a large edifice with rooms that even the kdis hadn’t had time to discover quite yet. Fin had sworn there was a hidden swimming pool, but no one had found it. There were ten different training areas where they played paintball – each a different environment including snowy, rocky, sandy, jungle – you name it. There was intercom system hooked up in almost every room sort of like what they had had in high school. When the bell rang, which it never had before, it also came through the intercom. And the TV room was on the fourth floor. No one wanted to leave to answer the door. But Fin, who would have normally started a game of “no nose goes” immediately stood, muttering something about no one caring if he were in the room anyway. He went into the hallway and took the elevator on the left to the first floor. It suddenly occurred to him that the doorbell had never been rung before. In fact, up until this point, he hadn’t been aware that they had a doorbell. But he felt too depressed to care too much. The elevator doors opened and Fin stepped out into the deserted lobby. There was a secretary’s desk to his left, though no secretary had worked there in over twenty years. He looked ahead through the glass front doors and noticed a tall figure with his back to Fin, waiting outside. Fin went to a panel to the left of the glass doors, tapped in the four number code and heard a click as the doors unlocked. He opened one and said, “Yeah? What do you want?” The boy – or should I say man, Fin thought – turned and faced Fin. He was handsome, to say the least. He was olive-‐skinned with dark hair and high cheekbones. His v-‐ neck shirt was tight fitting in all the right places and his washed out blue jeans made him look like a Hollister model.
“Perfect,” Fin found himself whispering. He cleared his throat. “I mean. Hey.” He did a little sup nod that he hoped made him come off as cool and distant. “Um, hi,” the boy said. He looked nervously around. “Is this… is this The Company?” “Sure is. How can we help you?” “I, um… I was told you could help me. You see, I have… well, I sort of have… these special abilities.” “No way!” Fin exclaimed with a huge smile. “What can you do?” “I can… talk to animals.” Fin smile turned into some strange expression he must have thought looked like elation. He took the boy by his arm and dragged him inside the lobby, not even bothering to lock the doors again. But he didn’t stop there. Fin dragged him into the elevator and back up to the fourth floor. When they reached the TV room, Fin left the boy at the door, stormed over to the TV, and shut it off. Amid the groans of decent, Fin yelled, “I have an announcement!” “This better be good,” Dare snapped. “Sherlock was about to ask Watson if he was involved with anyone…” Fin ignored her. “We have a guest!” “A guest?” Gabriel turned around in the couch and saw the boy at the door. “Who the hell are you?” he called. Fin stomped back over to the boy and cradled his shoulders maternally. “Don’t yell at him! He’s just been on the street, all alone, for months!” “I actually -‐ ,” the boy started to say, but Fin cut him off: “He hasn’t had food for days and he’s had to drink out of the gutters of Manhattan. So if you would kindly stop being such a prick, Gabriel, I think… um…” Fin turned around, his back to the rest of his group and whispered to the boy, “What’s your name?” “Um, Logan,” he replied. Fin whipped back around. “I think Logan here would like to explain how grateful he is to be here and how awesome it would be if he were allowed to stay with us.” “Fin, we can’t just take any guy you think is cute off of the street,” Opal said. “Besides – and no offense, Logan – but he looks perfectly healthy!” Dare pointed out.
Fin bit his lip. “But he’s like us! He has powers! Don’t you, Logan?” Logan nodded. “Yeah, I can talk to animals.” “Really?” Jasper asked, sounding skeptical. He stepped out of the shadows. “How do we know you’re not just some phony The Business sent over to infiltrate us, huh?” “Jasper!” Fin cried out. “How dare you! This boy came to us for help and we’re treating him like a common criminal!” “Fin, Jasper’s right. We can’t just assume he’s a good guy,” Dare said. “With the boss gone, Gabriel’s in charge, so I say we let him decide.” Dare turned to Gabriel. “Well?” she asked. “There’s no way we can know for sure if he’s lying, but you can at least prove you’ve got powers, right?” Gabriel asked, getting up from the couch. He walked over to Logan. “And then once you’ve done that, you don’t mind if we ask you a few questions – just to get to know you better.” Logan nodded, though he seemed ready to run for the door at a moment’s notice. “I need… I need an animal,” he said. “Mark’s over here,” Connor said. He picked the turtle up off of the table and brought it over to Logan. Logan took it, looking a little bit sickened at what was in his hand. Fin slapped him hard on the back and said, “Well, let’s have it! What’s old Mark saying about me?” “Um… He says… he says that he likes it here. And that he’s hungry. He wants… to go outside?” Logan paused and looked up at the group. Everyone was looking at Fin for confirmation, but Fin seemed lost. “But that’s… that’s not what the turtle said,” Fin muttered. “Maybe you’re just confused?” he suggested. “Sometimes Mark can be a bit confusing.” “No, it’s not that,” Logan said with a sigh. “I can’t talk to animals. I’m sorry. I just… My ability’s difficult to understand.” “Well maybe if you talk real slow we can understand you,” Gabriel said. Logan pursed his lips. “I can make people see things that aren’t there,” he said. “Like a mirage?” Opal asked. “Yeah. Like a mirage. But it’s more complicated than that.”
“Can you show us?” Dare asked. “Show you?” “Yeah, show us,” Jasper agreed. “Make us see something that isn’t there.” “I really shouldn’t…” Logan trailed off, looking nervous. “I’m beginning to think this freak doesn’t even have an ability…” Gabriel sized him up. “You work for The Business, don’t you?” “No! I don’t! Please, just listen. When I make people see these… illusions… well, I can’t control what they do. I can only control what they see. And sometimes... bad things happen. Things I can’t control.” “Like what?” Fin asked. “Like…” Logan hesitated. “People have jumped in front of cars or off of buildings. Because when I create a new illusion, I have to recreate everything they see. If I misjudge just one thing – one car, one person, one ledge – it could end badly. And it has before. So as a general rule, I don’t use my power, and I definitely don’t use it for parlor tricks.” “This isn’t a parlor trick,” Gabriel assured him, adopting a less uppity voice. “Listen, we know what you’re going to show us isn’t real, so it’s less likely we’re going to start picking up knives and stabbing each other, right? So, just do something simple.” Logan frowned. “Fine,” he said. “I’m sorry.” He took a deep breath. Nothing seemed to happen until two men dressed in fine, white robes phased through the wall and started singing some ancient Latin hymn. In an instant they were gone. “Where’d they go?” Connor asked, looking wildly around. “It’s over,” Logan said. “I didn’t want to do it too long… it gets harder to maintain the longer it lasts.” “That was weird,” Dare said. “There’s something else about the illusions I create,” Logan admitted. “When I manipulate people, they’re inclined to believe what I show them, no matter how far fetched it is.” “So if you could do this, why didn’t you just manipulate us into thinking you could talk to animals?” Opal asked.
“Like I said, I don’t take this power lightly. I don’t use it unless it’s absolutely necessary. And lately… Well, lately, that’s been a lot. There are these people who keep showing up no matter where I go. I had to run away from home. I used to live in West Virginia, and – “ “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Fin held up his hand. “Stop right there. You lived in West Virginia, too?” “Too?” Logan repeated. “You’re from there?” “We all are,” Connor answered. “Hedgesville.” “I’m from Martinsburg!” Logan exclaimed happily. “This is too weird! Wait… do you think that’s why they’re after me?” “It’s possible that if they knew you had powers and lived in the same region as us, they could think you were part of The Company,” Gabriel agreed. “How did you find us, anyway?” “I came to New York City after I ran away. I figured – lots of weird people doing weird things, I’m bound to blend in! But they found me anyway. Then, just by chance, I overheard these people talking about a strange building they’d come across behind a toxic waste factory or something. They kept talking about how people there could do incredible things. I knew I had to check it out, so… here I am!” “You look a little too well-‐dressed to have been living on the streets of NYC,” Connor pointed out. “Yeah, well, I’m not going to lie and say I’ve used my powers for only good. I can convince people I’m anyone. I show up at a doorstep and all of a sudden I’m their cousin Howard from Wichita.” “That’s sort of incredible,” Fin said with a look of pure adoration. “You must have been so miserable. But we promise to keep you nice and safe here. We’re a little cramped for room, so you can share my bed…” “Fin!” Dare warned. “Jesus, he’s been for ten minutes!” She turned to Logan. “There’s plenty of room here. You can have your own room. And bed.” Fin scowled at her. “Hold on a second!” Gabriel interrupted, sounding indignant. “I’m the leader here and I haven’t decided yes or no yet!” “Gabe, you can’t seriously be considering putting him back out on the street,” Opal said.
Gabriel hesitated. “No,” he said finally. “But I do want to have a meeting now in the conference room. Sorry, Logan.” Logan shrugged. “I’ll be here,” he said. “I’m sorry about this,” Fin apologized graciously. “Gabriel’s normally… well, actually, he’s always been like this.” Logan smiled weakly and the group filed out of the room, down the hall, and into the conference room.
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