This is just fucking awesome.

“Run,” I say.

And then I repeat it louder because I have no idea whether I whispered it or what, but they weren’t moving, and now they are. Now they’re scrambling all over each other, falling, and I extend my field out to steady them – I really hate having whole people running around in my field but they’re my kids what am I supposed to do – and I can feel one or more of them send blasts of power his way. Not Gatling, not Enigma, because you can tell what bullets are, but someone.

Klepto kind of cocks his head. I mean, he doesn’t make some sort of terrifying expression like he’s amused or angry now but, hey, I’m still terrified.

I extend my field out toward him, I can reach that far at least, and it intersects with his with a sickening oil on water sensation. Not his. Mine. Mine mirrored, but one that feels just like mine, only out of my control. I gag and shove my field farther towards him, wishing he just had TK of his own, wishing I could just pit our powers against each other while I fought through the prickles down my spine – not that and this.

His doesn’t reach as far as me, thank god, just about halfway across the street, but I don’t know. It could start expanding any minute. Or he could yank out a power I or any of the kids never knew we had. Maybe powers he’s brought along with him. I have no idea whether he has an invisible powerhouse standing behind him, but I would bet on it, because that would be a treat.

My field shifts under his touch and I want to throw up.

He’s pushing mine back, now. He’s got my field under his control, he expected me to throw him off the roof or something, and he’s actually bending it, turning it off inch by inch, and my gun is out, in my hand, I don’t know when it got there, but it’s shaking and I have no idea whether that’s him moving it or just me fumbling it while he’s tearing my powers apart and, oh god, tossing something else at us, who knows what, best case one of his signature EMP neutralizer flash-bangs, worst case –

Enigma Machine shoves forward, batting his arm out, and all the kids go down in a heap. One of them catches the edge of my coat, pulling me down with them before I can get it off, and I barely catch myself, smacking my cheek on the lip of the building. Same cheek, too.

Across the roof, Klepto’s eyes widen.

“Um,” Klepto says, staring at me. “Mwahaha, mine is an evil laugh?”

And then he blurs away.

Caffeine’s power. Caffeine, who I very explicitly told to run, because he’s by far the fastest of any of them, and with his power gone, there would be at least one of my students Klepto couldn’t chase down. And if he hadn’t been able to run so fast, we might have had a chance of catching him.

Oh, great, now I’m having delusions of grandeur.

Enigma Machine groans. He went down hard. His armor is dented. I feel around it carefully, trying to ignore the exciting new sensation of my TK getting pins and needles, figuring out whether I need to pry it off him. He’s in one piece under there, nothing went through his skin, although I can’t say anything for bruising, or even cracked ribs. He seems to be breathing okay, though, so I’d guess they aren’t broken, at least. I wonder if the armor is salvageable.

Jailbait is tugging Caffeine to his feet and brushing him off. Aside from a scrape on her arm and the way he’s limping slightly, I think they’re probably fine, though. I have a fleeting moment of panic for Gatling, who’s completely still, but then he sits up, and I feel bad for panicking over him. Then I feel bad about feeling bad, because he’s still a person, and he’s still just a kid.

Then he leans over and throws up, and I actually feel bad for him, getting my field up around him to support some of his weight. He coughs a little, and sniffles, and grabs his head. Oh, kiddo. There’s a gash down the side of it.

“Hey, Teke?” Caffeine asks, hobbling over to me, which looks swollen and bruised where his pant leg’s ridden up.

“Yeah?” I say, trying my best to have it come out within human hearing range and also not accompanied by either sobbing or hysterical laughter.

“Can you tell if my leg is broken? Is that a thing you can do?” he continues.

I nod, still not taking my attention off Gatling. It’s been a while since I’ve done this, and I should probably be explaining either that we’re heading for medical right fucking now or that really, really, he would know if his leg were broken, can he not see one of his teammates has a serious head injury at exactly this moment, but I just lace my field through his leg – it takes a minute, because, augh, through his leg – and check whether any of his bones are broken.

“No,” I say, “you’re good.”

He smirks over at Jailbait. “Watch this.”

Then he shimmers a little, and his ankle goes back to normal.

Which is a neat trick and probably ought to go in his file.

“Where’s FiendPuncher?” Enigma asks, finally prying off his chestplate, but still not sitting up.

I look around, all sides, listen, even slam my TK just about as far as it will go, but she’s not there, not anywhere around us. I wonder if she fell to the ground. My hand only shakes a little as I pull out my phone and pick out her icon and call her on the brand-new just-issued communicator she better have on her and on.

“Hello?” FiendPuncher says, after one ring.

I breathe. “Where are you?”

“Where am I?” she repeats, “where the fuck are you?”

I stop breathing again. “FiendPuncher, I need you to tell me, as best you can, where you are.”

“What the fuck do you mean, tell you where I am?” she huffs. “You told us to run. I ran.”

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