Chapter One: Of Friends and Mornings

"Battle!" Baron span round and threw a fistful of fire at the Commander, setting his cape alight - anything for a distraction, even if it was only for a moment.

He fired up again, throwing all he could at the buildings around him, at the people, at everything, taking all the hate and rage and anger out on whatever he could. How had it come to this? Why didn't they just listen? He warned them. They should never have hurt her. And they should never have threatened his son.

The Commander charged at Battle, knocking him to the ground, enabling a terrified young woman to run to safety.

"Battle enough!" He shouted. "Stop this! This isn't you!"

Baron took his flame shaped pendant in his hands and pressed it to the Commanders skin, branding him, charring his back and intensifying the smell of burning flesh that stuck to the air. Commander yelled in pain and Baron threw him off. He had to finish what he started. He wanted to ensure his family's safety. But as soon as he came to his feet, a flash of blue and red smashed him into broken concrete, rubble and glass. The impact left him reeling.

Before he could gather his senses, the Commander was on him, clasping cold, tight shackles around his wrist. His powers were rendered useless, but he wouldn't give up. He kicked his enemies legs from under him, for whatever good it would do, and proceeded to kick him over and over and over and over again. The rock that Commander had landed on dug further and further into his spine, causing more and more pain. Blood began to come from his mouth. But then it all stopped, and as he looked for his attacker, he saw Baron Battle laying unconscious on the floor, and his associate Jetstream hovering above him, the remains of a piece of solid and bloodied rock crumbling from her hands.

Warren woke suddenly in his bed, not breathing for a moment as the dream remained vivid in his mind. He raised his hands to his face and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Time to get up. He threw himself out of bed and trudged into the bathroom for a shower. He hated mornings - especially on a Monday; especially just after summer vacation, especially when it meant school.

And most especially, when there was no coffee - anywhere. The kitchen was cold and far too light, and in Warren's opinion, smelled funny. He raked through the cupboards, wondering how long he had to make some breakfast. So he checked his watch. His enquiries were answered with "Oh fuck!" It was 8:30, and if he didn't leave now he was going to be late for the bus. He quickly grabbed his leather jacket and gloves and yanked his bag from out under the chair - how it got there he didn't know - and ran out the door just as the bus was coming round the corner.

"Running a little late Mr. Peace?" said Ron, the bus driver.

Warren just glared at him and took his usual seat near the back of the bus, pulling out his current book and started reading. If he had been paying more attention, he may have noticed how people kept glancing at him and whispered oh-so-subtly to their neighbors, more than usual - but he was far too immersed in Tolstoy's War and Peace to bother. He had received endless amounts of teasing about his name because of this book, and already bore a grudge against it even though he'd barely started it.

Two seats in front of him, a very popular blonde girl was watching him out of the corner of her eye, smiling to herself, knowing full well what she wanted, and suddenly looking a whole lot more forward to the coming school year.

As the students milled off the busses and ran to be reunited with their friends lost from over the summer, Warren headed up the stairs, heading into the school as he always did. But it would seem someone had other plans for his morning as he heard his name being yelled enthusiastically.

"Warren!" Will Stronghold was waving him over to where he was sitting with his little gang of friends.

Warren's brow furrowed in confusion as he groaned and dragged his feet over to them, not having even the vaguest idea what was going on. He was not a morning person.

"What do you want Stronghold?" he asked as he reached them.

It was Will's turn to look confused. "Well, um, I was uh, just wondering, you know, if you wanted to hang with us?"

Warren just stood there for a minute, unsure of what Will meant. "What?"

Will's stuttering increased. "Uh, well 'cause you helped us with the whole uh, erm, Royal Pain thing last year and uh, uh, well, uh, it's just, I just thought that-"

"Spit it out Stronghold!"

"Wanna be friends?"

He was answered by a look of sheer confusion from the older boy's face. "Why?"

As soon as he said that he realized how harsh it sounded and regretted it.

"Well seeing as we're not enemies anymore..." Will let the sentence die on his tongue.

Warren sighed and shook his head. "We weren't enemies in the first place Boy Wonder."

Will's eyes lit up. "Really?" he asked.

The pyrokinetic simply snorted at him and walked off into the school as the bell signaling classes went off, leaving them to wonder whether or not he had accepted their invite. Warren went over the morning's events in his mind. He had just became friends, or at least casual acquaintances, with Will Stronghold. What the fuck had he taken this morning?