Thank you for the feedback! Yes, this Liz definitely has the strength that the end of season Two Liz showed, and I just had to bring Ava back
Hope you enjoy this chapter!cjsl8ne:
Thanks! Yes, the group dynamic is very important, and we will see them all getting closer together, especially in this chapter
I hope you enjoy this chapter too and thanks for the feedback!Sundae:
Yeah, I definitely don't think they addressed Kyle's grief and turmoil over Tess enough in the show. And Ava's definitely a kick ass girl! Lol, I welcome your eyerolls! Hope you like this chapter and thank you so much for the feedback!
Chapter Five ~ Training
Nor judge me light, tho’ light at times I seem,
And lightly in the stress of fortune bear
The innumerable flaws of changeful care
– Sonnet I, by Robert Louis Stevenson
The energy filled her, warm and tingling just this side of pain. As she concentrated, the tingling spread and grew until it was pouring out her fingertips in streams of green and spiraling up her arms like thin, living snakes. She waited until it peaked, until it crossed the line into actual pain burning against her skin and boiling in her veins, and then shoved it from her in a controlled burst. The energy arced thirty feet and crashed into the six-foot boulder, dissolving it into dust in the space of a few seconds, leaving a feeling of peace in its wake.
The sound of muted clapping reached her ears and turning, she saw Kyle and Isabel applauding her while Michael smirked. Liz allowed herself a faint grin and bowed at the waist, triumphant butterflies dancing in her stomach. She’d come a long way from a split second projection to New York, and she was pretty damn proud of that fact.
She also had a sudden empathy for Michael and his tendencies to blow things up when upset. It was very satisfying to watch something explode after yet another fruitless phone call with Max, or a strained and silent shift with Maria.
“Remind me not to piss you off,” Michael said gruffly, and the other two laughed while Ava assumed his earlier smirk and poked him none too gently in the side.
“Aww, poor Michael, surrounded by all these women who can blast you into bits.”
“I think Maria’s lungs scare him more than we do,” Isabel said sarcastically before he could reply, and Liz suppressed both a pang at the thought of her still distant best friend, and a chuckle at how true the statement was.
Michael just grunted, but she saw a faint twinkle in his eyes, and stopped fighting her smile. This was their third training session, and the first two meetings had been understandably awkward and tense. By now though, both Michael and Isabel were treating Ava as her own person, and as a mostly accepted member of the group. Even Kyle had warmed up enough to converse easily with the small blonde, something Liz found nothing short of amazing since as far as she was concerned, he had the most reason to feel betrayed by what Tess had done.
It gave her hope that their reluctant group of companions, tied together by such fragile strings, would be able to turn the destruction of their lives into a catalyst for coming together, rather than falling completely apart.
Pulling the ponytail out of her hair, she ran her fingers through it and rolled her shoulders, relieving the last of her tension. “So, I think it’s someone else’s turn. I’ve done enough damage for one day.”
“I think you’ve got a ways to go before you catch up with me,” Michael said with a chuckle as he rumpled his tawny locks, earning smiles from Isabel and Kyle and a frown from Liz as she caught the underlying bitterness to his tone. She knew Michael had always compared himself to Max, and not in a favorable way, but she’d thought that in the past year, during which Michael had become the responsible one in most cases, that he’d stopped feeling the need to do so. She certainly didn’t compare them, they were far too different in personality and temperament for their actions to be judged on the same meter and it was foolish to try.
Max was, in most cases – passive, an optimist, someone who led with his heart, had trouble trusting himself or anyone else, and possessed a high academic intelligence and a natural tendency for leadership. Michael was, in most cases – aggressive, a pessimist, someone who fought his emotions yet acted on a more instinctive level than the other boy, who rarely gave his trust but once he did, it was nearly unshakeable. He possessed his own intelligence, and an ability to reason that superseded the academic plane, though he was perfectly capable of succeeding on that level if he’d wanted to, and he didn’t deal well with authority.
They both had flaws; they both made good and bad decisions, but their approaches to life were so different that sometimes she’d wondered if they would have even been friends if they didn’t have the alien secret tying them together. Then again, look at her and Maria, who also had drastically opposite personalities, and despite the personal betrayal she felt at the moment for how Maria had reacted to her suspicions over Alex, she couldn’t imagine not having the bubbly blonde in her life. Maybe it was the same for the two boys. If so, she hoped that the presence and actions of Tess, Ava, and herself didn’t manage to drive a permanent wedge between them, just as she hoped there wasn’t a permanent wedge driven between her and Maria.
“Do you want to try again Kyle?” she asked to break the silence, shaking away her moodiness in an attempt to prevent the need for blowing up any more rocks, however satisfying the action might be.
He shrugged, one side of his mouth lifting into a strained smile. “Why not? I just love failure.”
“It’s not failure,” Ava said firmly, giving him a gentle shove towards where Liz was standing. “Max didn’t connect with you on the same level he connected with Liz, so you didn’t receive as much energy, that means your brain and body have to work harder to adapt to the changes.” He rolled his eyes dismissively, but stepped forward, and she gave him an arch look. “You decided you wanted to develop them. If you had left it alone, you probably wouldn’t ever attain an active state, so no bitching, got it?”
Kyle grinned devilishly at her. “So, now we have a Christmas Nazi and a Training Nazi?”
Liz and Michael winced as both blondes turned furious glares on him and Liz stepped prudently away from Kyle, wanting to be out of the blast radius. They were all on edge and Kyle had never been what she would describe as a cautious person, but taunting two impressively powerful women, who both had just as much emotional turmoil to work through as he did, was really, really risky, even for him.
“Maybe if we blasted him, he’d learn to shield,” Isabel stated coldly, her arms crossed over her chest and all amusement gone from her eyes.
Ava nodded her agreement, lips pursing thoughtfully. “I think we can work out a new training regimen, just for him; really put those ‘Nazi’ tendencies to work for us.”
Michael chuckled, and then choked on it as two impressive glares were turned on him. He pressed his lips together in a thin line and directed a grim look at Kyle. “Watch it midget, before you get us all flattened.”
Kyle just grunted, then turned away and stared at the rock next to the one Liz had blown up, his brow furrowing as he concentrated. Almost a minute later, the rock wobbled slightly. Several minutes later it hadn’t moved again, and Kyle slumped, muttering to himself. “I need to start carrying aspirin.”
Ava walked towards him and placed a hand on his head, ignoring his instinctive flinch, and then smiled when he relaxed after her hand glowed briefly. “Try to avoid the name calling, or next time I’ll make it worse instead,” she said sweetly when he turned surprised and grateful eyes on her.
He gave her a lopsided smile and nodded. “Deal.” Tilting his head towards Isabel, his smile turned hopeful. “Forgive me for being an ass?”
She waved her hand magnanimously, expression softening ever so slightly. “I suppose.”
Michael rolled his eyes. “Great, now they’ll get used to apologies.”
Isabel started to glare again and Liz laughed, unable to hold in her amusement any longer, and wanting to prevent the renewal of the tension. “I promise Michael, we won’t expect them from you.”
He nodded sharply, face severe but eyes subtly glimmering. “Good.” Turning towards Ava, he raised one eyebrow. “So what’s next?”
Ava rested her hands on her hips, eyeing all four of them thoughtfully. “I want to try something new. All of you come stand over here by Kyle.” They obeyed and she directed them to stand in a modified foursquare position; Isabel next to Kyle, Liz behind Isabel with her back turned to the other girl, and Michael behind Kyle, also with his back turned so that all four of them were facing outwards, towards the desert, rather than each other.
“Close your eyes,” she instructed, watching them intently. “Breathe slowly and try to focus your energy, but without trying to release it or do anything with it.” She waited several moments before continuing, her voice softer. “Think about what your energy looks like, how bright it is. Does it have a color, a texture?”
Liz concentrated, seeing a soft green glow, not as bright as the energy she used for destruction, but somehow more intense. It felt warm, like a bath that had reached the perfect temperature, and it felt right, no longer something foreign and alien, but like a part of her.
“Let the energy fill you, surround you, but don’t use it. Just let it be,” Ava said, her voice barely audible to Liz as she sunk into that well of power until she could feel it bathing every inch of her skin. It was intoxicating, but in a different, more soothing way than she had felt when using it to blow things up. She felt grounded and in control in a way she hadn’t in a very long time and she didn’t want the feeling to end.
“Now open your eyes,” the distant voice instructed, and Liz let her eyelids slide lazily upwards. She gasped. The world around her was illuminated, full of colors and lights and shadows she had never before seen. Every rock, tree, even the ground, all glowed softly, and she could see tiny bright sparks that she gradually realized were living creatures – lizards, snakes, even tiny insects. Turning her head to the side, she saw Michael standing beside her and stopped breathing for a moment, staring in awe.
He glowed with rich, dark gold light, faint whorls of red and green and black hovering over different parts of his body. She could feel the power inside of him pulsing against her own, and knew that if they wanted to, they could merge their power and use it perform feats she never would have thought possible. At her back she could feel similar power from Isabel, thought not quite as strong, and a fainter but still strong pulse from Kyle, and realized that this was why the foursquare was important.
It wasn’t addition, as she had somewhat naively assumed. When it came to their powers, it was multiplication she now realized, instinctive knowledge flooding her brain as she calculated the strength of the energy rushing through and around her. If two of them merged, they were four times as strong. If three of them connected, nine times. And if all four of them joined their energies, they would have sixteen times as much power as they had individually, and not much in this world could stop them.
If this was the kind of power they had wielded in their former lives, she shuddered to think what could have defeated them. Who could have defeated them, and what devastation such power could cause, both to people, and planets.
Fear tainted her joy in this new world that had opened to her, and her heart seized in her chest as panic surged through her veins. Was this the kind of power that would destroy Earth? Had her and the others thoughtless actions over the past years, sealed her planet’s fate? So much power between them, so much potential, but would it, could it, be enough?
Only time would tell. She clenched her fists and focused on the energy flow – training had never been more important.