Seeing as I was now officially part of the investigation, I figured then would be as good a time as any to start training up Axel. I managed to get him while we were on a break from our patrols, making sure to keep an eye out for anything at the same time.

“Hey, Axel?”

“Yeah what?”

“About the whole training thing. You free later this afternoon?”

“Yes! Absolutely!”

“Great, I’ll meet you in the weight room at our bunkhouse. Say….three-ish? Quarter past?”

“Yeah I can make that!”

“Nice. I’ll see you then”. I made sure to say that with a smile. If I was gonna train him up I needed pretty much all his focus and attention. So I figured if I was nice to him, but kept a metaphorical leash on him, then maybe this might work. All that chaotic energy I was also familiar with needed an outlet regardless of how you put it. Anyway, the time came and I went to the weight room to meet him and funnily enough he was already there. Trying in vain to bench press weights that were clearly too much for him. So I just pulled it up and put it down; simple as that. Being super strong works in a lot of situations. He sat up and while struggling to breathe (Axel doesn’t work out as often as he should) and seemed to almost bounce around “I’m ready for it! What do I gotta do first!?”

“Well for starters, I’m not gonna teach you how to fight like me”

“What?!?!”

“Well not exactly like me. You’re still a kid and they way I fight, plus the way you fight equals death. So I’m gonna teach you the way my mum taught me”

“Huh?”

“Look I’m gonna be smart with this. I’m gonna work WITH your power. I’m not gonna make you change your style, but I’m gonna teach you some boxing incase you can’t use it alright?”

“S-sure! I’ll do my best!”

And with that I was teaching him how to jab properly, I taught him southpaw and orthodox (he’s a southpaw like me, which made it a lot easier). He seemed to get the hang of it pretty easily, which surprised me; I didn’t take him for such a fast learner but he surprises me every single day. I’m used to it by this point. Eventually he had leaned pretty much everything my mum taught me and he was pretty excited to keep this going. We had to cut this session short, since today was the day of the ceremony and well, I had to jazz myself up. I’m not one to wear suits. It was never my personal style but I will admit that while wearing one I become one hell of a handsome bastard. At least its my assumption. Anyway, by the time we had decided it be best to get ready, everyone else was already frantically getting ready too. Kyle was helping Fe get her hair right and styled perfectly (still don’t understand it. Her hair has one style anyway!) And of course, Tyler was already ready, but couldn’t figure out how to get his tie done. In all the years I’ve known him, he still to this day cannot get it right, no matter how much we tell him or show him. As for me, I had a pretty special suit in mind. It was the suit I had intended to get married in but, I guess it never really got to be there for its use. I’m guessing you’ve got a grip on my personality by now, so I hope you didn’t picture me in a plain black one. I chose one that was right for me. Purple and grey. I don’t know if theres anything that says something about me because I chose those colours but I liked it, so I got it. I made sure to shower and do all that, and when I put it on I felt sad. I should’ve worn that suit watching Alice walk towards me in her dress, but she never bought one. Didn’t get that chance. I guess I kept it because it was a reminder that I was still alive, in a time where honestly; I wish I wasn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I would’ve gone with her. Being dead alongside her felt better than being alive without her. And while I did feel sad that, she’d never get to see me wear it, I felt pride knowing I was where I wanted to be, with people who, while they didn’t know me very well, they knew me enough to care.

Eventually we were all ready and off we were. I spent the walk to the main atrium with Felicity. Just talking about things that have happened in the past week. “You think this Apex guy is gonna try anything?” She asked, although I could hear the concern in her voice

“Maybe. He’s smart. But I don’t think he’ll overdo it”

“How do you know?”

“I uhhh….I might’ve knew him when we were kids”

“You what?”

“I knew him. But even I didn’t think he’d turn out like this”

And that was true. As much as I hated him, I never expected him to be capable of murder. Then again, I doubt he cared about being a hero or even a good person in general. He just wanted to feel like he was better than everyone else. Even if that meant killing someone. Regardless, when we got to the atrium, the party was already in full swing. Heroes of all shapes, sizes and powers were all dressed up, drinking and enjoying the night. Even Mama Glam had gotten dressed up and was interacting with recruits and professionals alike. After drinking a bit myself and laughing and talking with others and my own team of newfound friends, I had put Dom and the threats he had given out of my mind. Eventually at round about 11:15 it was time for the awards and such. I did actually manage to get one, “for calmness and sense of right during a crisis”, which I assumed would be for the incident with Kai. I took my award and sat down at the table Tyler had managed to get us and was showered with compliments. Once the awards was done, they told us to just have fun. Keep doing what we were doing. While that happened Tyler beckoned us to follow him and we all did. He led us to a corridor which led to some stairs. We followed and ended up on the roof, just behind the dome at the very front of the Association building. It was one of the landing pads for the heroes who could fly or had some sort of gadget that helped them fly. “I managed to snag this one. The other were all taken but no one wanted this one, so I turned it into a kind of retreat for us” and boy was it ever. It had a jukebox, a TV, video games, food and drink. Tyler really outdid himself and for the rest of the night, we all had fun just hanging out with each other. I watched Axel open a beer bottle with his teeth, Kyle showed us this cool optical illusion he learned when he was a kid with his hands. Johnny did this thing where he drank AND smoked at the same time! How crazy is that?! Even some other heroes had come up to their landing pads and we all just had fun.

As the night went on I noticed Felicity had climbed onto a small platform on the dome. What it was for I’ll never know but some how she was sat there, just staring at the city. It made me feel bad that she was alone so, I grabbed two beers and headed up there. No one seemed to notice where I was going, and if they did, they didn’t say anything. I climbed up and sat next to her. She seemed pretty happy I came. I twisted off the cap on her beer and handed it to her and after doing the same to mine I sat next to her.

“I take it you like looking at it?”

“Hm? Oh, yeah. It’s so pretty. It’s crazy to think of the things that go on during the day”

“Yeah. Crazy”

She paused for a bit, as we both just stared at the lights of the city, in all its crazy glory. It was usually pretty peaceful ay night. The guys and girls on the night shift are pretty scary from what I hear. Anyway, she spoke and it broke me out of my staring contest.

“I don’t get you”

“Really? I’m a pretty simple guy. Have you seen the state of the jacket?”

She laughed a little and continued

“No, I mean you’re not what I always thought a hero would be like”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. You’re so…..so….”

“Private?”

“Yeah. Most heroes are really open but, I can tell you’re hiding something”

“I…I have a lot of things I don’t like to talk about”

“Would it make you feel better if I told you about me?”

“I-i guess. If you’re okay with that”

She took a breath, composing herself somewhat, then continued on.

“When I was a kid, I was pretty weird. I liked emo stuff you know? And I wasn’t really good at showing off my powers so I guess a lot of kids didn’t like me. And one day, one of em pushed me a bit too far. I hurt him pretty badly. And ever since then I’ve felt like I’m just….”

“Yeah….I know what you mean”

We once again found ourselves staring into the lights of the city and next thing you know, she slid her arm around my and rested her head on my shoulder. Naturally I panicked on the inside; what is she doing!? I’m here for Alice dammit! I kept telling myself but I just didn’t move. Instead I spoke

“Ummm…since tomorrow is Saturday um….do you wanna….”

“Get lunch? See a movie? Do anything other than work?”

“Y-yeah pretty much”

She smiled at me. In a way that Alice used to that was all but familiar to me

“Sure, why not. I was gonna ask you at some point too”

We sat in silence for a while before the reality dawned on me

“Did….did I just ask you on a date?”

“Yup”

“Huh. Never thought I could”

“Why’s that?”

It was at this point that, I realized I had a choice. I could tell her about Alice, about my past, about everything. She deserved to know right? And as much as I felt the same way, I just….couldn’t

“Nervous I guess” I said as I chuckled nervously. Hopefully she didn’t see through that but Fe is smarter than she looks. Of course she saw it. But as we headed back to out bunks, she pulled a sneaky on my and held my hand the whole way there. I tried not to let it get to me. I really did. But come the next day I needed to talk to someone I trusted the most. So I went back to the place this person was

“Well Aunt Patti its just….. I think I’m in love!”

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