1Title: Revenge Part 5
Disclaimer: I don't own the guardsmen, Firestar, Justice, any New Warrior or even Charlotte Smith. Mac's mutant power comes from The Sun Sword Series by Michelle West.
Author's note: The first part of this takes place right after Part 4. If anyone has a good team name, please let me know. Smith's team needs one. Also let me know if Angel's decision is out of character. If too many people think it is, I'll change the ending.
Aware that someone was holding her hand, Angel squeezed back and opened her eyes. "She's awake," Vance said to someone, his voice filled with relief. "Hey," he continued softly, "how are you feeling?" He smiled at her.
Her arm still hurt, though now it was in a sling, and her head hurt less. Angel licked her lips, "Okay." Vance sat on the side of her bed. Mac and another woman she didn't know sat in nearby chairs. "Where?"
"Mercy General. Stephen brought you," Vance replied, study her. His eyes had a slightly worried yet relieved look to them.
"Do you remember what happened?" This from the African-American woman, who quickly added, "My apologies for being abrupt. I'm Lieutenant Charlotte Jones."
"The boss," Mac added with a wink at Angel.
She began to nod and then thought better of it. "It was James, but it wasn't. Empath was controlling him."
"We know," Vance said. "Thrash finally found the tape showing him."
"Who is this Empath?" Lt. Jones asked as Mac flipped open her pad and began writing.
"He went to the same school as me. He's a mutant," Angel responded.
"Controls emotions," Vance added, glancing at the two women before looking back at Angel. "The others are looking for him. Do you remember where they took you?"
"They won't find him," Angel said as she tightened her grip on Vance's hand. "I broke his control over James, but then ," she could feel the tears well up in her eyes. She looked at Vance. Of all the Warriors, he would understand the most. "Stephen killed them. Both of them. James hadn't done anything; it wasn't his fault. He was my friend! Empath was what Frost made him," Her voice was filled with anger and sadness. "Stephen didn't even give them a chance. He burned them; there was only . ... " but she couldn't finish. Quickly, Vance moved so he could pull her into his arms. He held her gently but securely, with one hand still clasping hers.
Lt. Smith exchanged a glance with Mac who nodded. "Do you remember where they took you? Forgive me, but we should find the remains."
"For James parents," Angel finished from the protective circle of Vance's arms. "I don't know where it was." She took a shaky breath. "I remember what it looks like. I could draw it for you."
"You're that good?" Mac asked as she tore off a few pieces of paper and took out another pen.
"She is," Vance confirmed, moving the hospital table and pulling the paper and pen from Mac's hand telekinetically.
Angel let go off Vance's hand and began to sketch.
"Firestar," Lt. Smith said after a few moments. "I know this is not the best time, but I would like to offer you a job."
Angel looked up from her sketch and looked skeptically at the other woman, "As a guardsman?" She exchanged a look with Vance.
Mac snorted before her boss could say anything, "Do I look like an Iron Man wanna be?"
The comment even drew a smile from Vance.
Lt. Smith smiled indulgently, "Mac's actually a very good detective, though she doesn't come across that way. And her prattle has its uses."
"I do not prattle," Mac grumbled.
"The guardsmen who work with us, Mr. Washington and Mr. Conrad are part of my team. We are a version of X-Factor. We could use someone like you. Don't answer now. Think about it. We'll talk later," Smith continued. She waited until Angel had completed the rough sketch. "Thank you," Smith said as she took it. "We'll let you know when we find anything. We can coordinate with your team. Get some rest."
Mac nodded a quick good bye as she took back her pen, and the two women left.
Vance moved the table away and shifted his position slightly. His hand found hers again. "Can we make a deal?" he said quietly, "That next nut case comes after me?"
"What are you thinking?"
"That I should have done something more in Nova Roma," she responded sadly. "If I had James would still be alive."
"And what could you have done? Taken Empath to the authorities? They would have simply laughed at you. And we saw him after the Upstarts; he acted normally. This isn't your fault Angelica, no matter what you feel. Stephen killed them, not you." He gently brushed her hair back from her face and then rubbed her back.
Angel didn't say anything. Part of her knew he was right, part of her raged at the injustice that had been done to James.
Three Days Later
Her arm still in a sling, Angel waited with Vance for the nurse so she could leave the hospital. The doctors had kept her in for a few days due to her concussion. Vance had spent much of the three days at the hospital as well, leaving only to get her a few things from her apartment or when the doctors and nurses kicked him out for a couple hours. When he returned, he always brought flowers. He had the strangest expression on his face today though.
"Vance," she asked sitting on the bed, "Is anything wrong?"
"No." He took a quick look out the door for the nurse. Why the staff thought Angel needed a wheelchair to leave was beyond him. If they didn't want her to fly out, fine, but he could lift her telekinetically. He returned to stand in front of her. "I was going to tell you after we left, but since the nurse seems to be making a wheelchair, I might as well tell you now." He took a breath and looked at her, "The Avengers offered me a slot on their reserve team.""That's wonderful!" she practically shouted as she hugged him. "I'm so proud and happy for you."
Laughing, he hugged her back, lifting her off the bed before realizing that he was doing so. Still worried about her concussion and arm, he put her back down gently and kissed her. "Looks like we're both leaving the Warriors at the same time."
"We're not leaving Thrash in a lurch, though. Not with Turbo and Dagger stepping in," Angel replied; she had worried about that when she made her choice.
"You sure about working for Lt. Smith?"
She nodded. "I was concerned that it would be something that would require mutants to register, but after what Mac said,"
"Wasn't the politest word in that diatribe unconstitutional?" Vance asked taking a seat on the bed.
Angel nodded, "And the line about taking a case to the Supreme Court." She smiled, but it quickly turned to a slight frown, "After what Stephen did, after Frost. I think so few people could understand what's it like. Once he met Frost, did Empath have much of a choice?" she finished.
"You did," he replied, kissing her lightly on the cheek, his hand lightly brushing against her skin.
"I had Randall," she countered. "Smith is right. If mutants are citizens then they shouldn't get an automatic pass, like Frost did by joining the X-Men, simply because of their power, right?"
"And if Empath had been..." she started again.
"We had that conversation," he interrupted. "Even Smith and her people agree. That wasn't your fault." He reached out and cupped her chin, raising her face to look in her eyes. "If you're joining because of misplaced guilt, than it is the wrong decision. Your choice should be made for the right reasons. Not for me, not for the Warriors, not for them. But for you."
"It's not guilt, not exactly, more of a sense to the right the wrong. Does that make sense? I'm explaining it badly," she sighed, her blue green eyes slightly troubled. They had talked about this over the past couple nights, but she still felt slightly guiltily about her decision.
"I understand," he replied. "I do. I felt the same way in the Vault," he stroked her cheek with his thumb. He loved the feel of her skin and sometimes his thoughts, his dreams, . .. "At least, the Avengers sometimes work with Smith," he said after moment.
There was a knock on the door. "Finally," they both said together.
A month later
Sitting at Angel's kitchen table, Vance looked up from his text book and studied Angel. Her head was bent over her art history book, and her long, vibrantly red hair slightly obscured her face. She absentmindedly tapped the pencil against the table. She was still on disabled list as far as Smith was concerned, but had joined the team for some practices. In a couple weeks, she would be an active member. So far, she said, she liked working with them. She said that Mac and Scott kept asking her questions about her power, making her think about it in new ways.
Vance's gaze shifted to the letter on the fridge. Samantha's reply to Angel's letter had arrived last week. Angel had yet to open it. Sometimes he thought that he shouldn't have told her about his confrontation with her mother, but then he felt Angel had the right to know. He looked down at his notes and then back at Angel. They both had time after finals. It was time to ask. He doubted that she would say no.
"Angel," he said. She looked up from her text book, her eyes meeting his. "After finals, how about if we go away for a long weekend, just the two of us?"
She smiled at him, "That sounds like a wonderful idea." Angel looked down at her textbook for minute. After her stay at Mercy General, and after a long conversation with the doctor about birth control, she had finally determined what lay in her mind. If Vance wanted to go away for a weekend, then it was time to broach the topic. "Vance," she asked quietly, putting aside her book, "I was thinking we should re-evaluate our decision about sex."