LAST CHAPTER! I was originally just going to end before the bits in italics, but the last, gushy paragraph just came to me, so I put it in :-D
"Okay you lot, I'm here, don't worry!" Susan announced, striding out of Nemesis whilst shoving the papers into her pouch.
"We saw you with those people," one boy said.
"You looked pretty upset, so we followed you in case something happened," a girl told her.
"And when you went in there with that man all beat up, we waited here," a smaller boy finished.
Craig smiled. It was obviously a routine amongst the orphans to tell her everything that had happened, and they made a habit of doing so without being questioned.
"I didn't see you when I left…" Susan recalled, confused.
"Well it's like you taught us, innit?" a boy said, "stay hidden unless necessary. And it was dark, so we wasn't expecting you! You came back, anyway, so we waited longer."
A small boy in a pair of torn, filthy pyjamas spoke in a small, shy voice.
"We missed you…"
Susan smiled fondly at the child.
"I was only gone a day or two," she laughed, ruffling the boy's bright red hair, "Now then," she continued, to be interrupted by yet another boy in the crowd.
"I am?" Susan raised a hand to her face, feeling for the first time the painful bruise on her chin, and the stinging cut at the corner of her eye, made as she'd been thrown against the chair, "Oh, that! Nothing to worry about, just had a bit of a fall, is all."
"But what about that man you were with? He looked pretty beat up, too!"
"He got into a bit of a fight. One of those madmen I warned you all to avoid."
"So why did you take him in there?"
"There's an infirmary in there, and it was closest," Susan explained, her brain working overtime to try and find excuses.
"What is Nemesis, anyway?"
Susan thought about this for a moment.
Y'know, she mumbled telepathically to Craig and the others, head down, pretending she was massaging a headache, For a secret agency, you really do have a lot of signs outside. 'Nemesis is this way! We're a secret agency, but ssh, don't tell anyone!
"It's just one of those boring places where adults work. Nothing interesting," is what she said aloud.
"Then why's there an infirmary there?"
"Because they work with dangerous equipment, of course!" Susan sighed exasperatedly, running out of answers, "Look, I didn't come here to be interrogated! Let's get back home and you can tell me everything there." She shooed them away, sending one last smile up at Craig, who was watching at the window.
Sometimes you just have to take what life throws at you. Bad things happen, yes, but sometimes good things come from it. You may sometimes think that bad things outweigh the good, but it's thesmall things that really count. Shows of kindness, of friendship, of love, are all what makes the human race so special.
Susan Redman: the girl who lost a father and found a family. She is one of the Champions, a twelve year old orphan, and part-time operator for the international agency, Nemesis.