Title: the birds take back their language
Disclaimer: not my characters; title from Margaret Atwood
Warnings: mild language
Point of view: third
Prompt: Push, Nick, It hadn't been his fight, but they brought the war to him and now he was in it to win.
Those first few weeks after escaping, he doesn't sleep. Doesn't do much of anything but run and hide and make up plans on the go, so no one can track or trace or trap him.
Cassie stays with him; everyone else scatters.
Those first few weeks, he survives.
He survives. But that's not enough.
He's angry. He's terrified.
Fuck them all, he's not going to hide and shrivel up and die. Not for them. Not for the monsters masquerading as heroes.
He looks at Cassie, curled up around her sketchbook, exhausted no way a kid should be.
He looks at his hands - hands that have never been particularly good or gifted. Hands that are scarred because he hasn't had an easy life. Hands that, for the longest time, were weak.
He curls his hands into fists and thinks, Fuck them all, they haven't beaten me.
He's been running his whole life. He's barely begun to fight. He's never applied himself to anything except getting as far away as he can as fast as he can.
Cassie wakes up with a shriek, throwing herself off the bed. Nick reaches for her without thinking and gently deposits her back on the bed, all without moving a muscle.
"We have to go!" Cassie says.
They haven't unpacked, so they're gone in under a minute.
Nick's anger thrums through him. And his fear. He can't let Division get Cassie. He'll kill them all if he has to.
He'll kill them all.
He's been running from them his whole life, barely surviving, scrapping by with the barest knowledge and use of his power.
They should have left him there.
Cassie shows him her latest sketch while they're on the third bus out of town: a puddle of blood and a haphazard hand.
"Where's the rest of the body?" he asks softly.
She shrugs. "You tore 'im apart."
Nick chuckles and settles back into the seat with grin.
He's done surviving, running, and hiding. That's no way to win a war.
And this is a war he's going to win.
He's too angry to accept anything less.