"I thought considering some of the problems before us, it would be a good idea."
Vestige nodded—not at Imago, whom she refused to look at, but to no one in particular. “Oui, it ‘as made me more useful. ‘Ere is to ‘oping some idiot wiz an over-inflated sense of purpose does not come along accusing you of zings you did not do and attacking in you in your own room.”
Without waiting for a reply, she made her way through the hole Jack had created.
Outside, their group was joined by Magnitude, who questioned whether the others had gone.
"Current got hot-headed and ran out to fight Crux. Fluxx is handling that, and sent us out this way."
Magnitude shook his head. “Those two make me want drink sometimes. Well, let’s go find them before they manage to escalate this...”
Taking hold of the group, Magnitude carried them towards the front of the building...
"Not so fast, Patrick
." A knife of ice formed in her hand. "You're getting more than parole this time."
Wolf said nothing—no braggadocios taunts; no vows to have revenge; no claims that he would be out soon... The teen simple looked forward, bowed his head, and waited...
In moments, Taheka and Puck were on the ground, with Current and Fluxx arriving soon after. With Wolf contained, the others went to work on containing the other fleeing Crux as Magnitude swooped in with the others.
Faced with a man made of water, an electric speedster, a bear, and the monstrous appearance Greystone took, few were willing to put up a fight. Those who failed to surrender and let themselves be bond by Fluxx were snatched up in Magnitude’s gravity well or detained by walls of ice. Some ended up running right back into the building, thanks to Imago making them think they were running to safety.
Soon, the police arrived and began to take statements. That Wolf had cut off his ankle monitor didn’t help him; that one of his neighbors had taken a video on his cell phone of the van speeding into Kirstie, and then Wolf helping to abduct Lex only further muddied the waters for him...
Apparently, given the angle of the video, the neighbor had not managed to record Lex’s attack on the man Martin had impersonated—only the attack on Kirstie and the abduction of Lex.
Statements from Lex and Steven meant that everyone from Crux was arrested for illegally detaining the brothers. It helped that everyone involved wore a uniform: the green coveralls helped police identify everyone affiliated with the group and made sure that charges would follow.
As the police continued to arrest the people of Crux, representatives from the school arrived: Doctor Fisher was there, representing the school, along with Anisah Mirza, the school’s public relations specialist. Not long after they arrived, Magnitude’s mother—the attorney the school kept on retainer—was there.
Roger Murphy was there soon after.
At the sight of Lex, Roger broke into a run. Electricity crackled around him as he almost instantly cleared the distance between him and his eldest. "Are you okay?" he asked after hugging the teen for a moment. Ignoring that Lex was capable of regenerating if he was exposed to the energy most of their family members generated, he checked his son for injuries. "Did they hurt you?"
Stephen simply walked past the two of them.
"Us, Dad," Lex says reaching out and grabbing Steven's arm, "They got Steven too."
Stephen flashed Lex a look—the sort of look that was equal parts rage and pain. He was angry at his brother for including him here, and looked terrified that this would only end up hurting more than had Crux castrated him.
“You had us worried sick!” their father snapped at Stephen. “What were you thinking, running off like that?”
Stephen rolled his eyes. “I was thinking that I wanted to deck mom for the shit she pulled, but since I can’t exactly go and punch my mom, I figured these guys were about the same.”
“You could have gotten yourself killed!”
Stephen shrugged. “Not like anyone would care.”
“Plenty of people would care, son. Your mother cares. I know that it might not seem like that right now, but she-”
“Jesus Christ, dad! I don’t give two shits about mom, okay? What she did could have gotten Lex or one of your other kids hurt.” He gesture to Nate. “Him, or the bird kid, or the mood ring girl, or the little one. Doesn’t that piss you off? I mean... you care about them, right? How can you just stand there and...” The youngest Murphy threw his hands in surrender. “Whatever. Just... I dunno, okay?
“I’m fine, by the way. Thanks for asking.”
Roger looked to Lex for help. Before the older child could offer any, Roger looked back to his youngest. “Stevie... It’s... I was worried about you both. I was out looking for you. I heard that Kirstie was hit by a van and Lex was taken...”
“Yeah, so was I.”
“I didn’t know that, son. I’m sorry.” He moved to reach for the boy, only for him to pull away.
“Don’t, okay. Just... I don’t need a... I don’t want a fucking consulation prize.”
“Watch your mouth, Stevie.”
“Can you not call me that? I don’t like that. It’s Steven, okay. That’s my name.”
Once upon a time, it had been Alex and Steve. Then, right around the time one decided to go by Lex, the other went by Steven. As one shortened his name, one adopted the longer form. They went in two different directions. The only difference was their father respected one’s wishes...
“All right. I’ll call you Steven.” Their father looked earnestly baffled and unsure of what to do to rectify the situation. “Steven, we can talk about this lat-”
“We don’t have to,” Steven said. “You’d probably be much happier with your other kids. So, I dunno, go take them all out for ice cream or whatever you all do. I don’t give a... I don’t care.”
“Do you want ice cream? We can get-”
“I wanted my dad! Jesus! Do you know how hard I tried to be like you? I tried to learn to fix cars like you, or fight like you, or play football, or... Or... I almost electrocuted myself trying to get your stupid powers. Did you know that? But you don’t fuckin’ care, do you? You’ve never given two shits about me! It was always Lex, Lex, Lex! You’ve always been so proud of me, but me... You just look at me like...” Steven pointed at his father. “Yeah, like that! Just like that! Like you don’t know what to do with me! Why is it that being a father comes so naturally for you with Doug and Nate and Rose, but not me? Not your actual goddamn son‽ Why can’t you just be my dad?”
“Steven,” Roger said slowly, clearly at a loss for words, “I’m sorry if I... I’m not perfect. Maybe I messed up, but that doesn’t change that I love you.”
“Do you‽” railed Steven.
Roger sighed. “I love you both equally. Your my sons. Nothing or no one can change how I feel.”
“So why do you treat me so different? You always have!”
“Because you’re both so different! Because...” The man was clearly holding back. He bit his bottom lip. He considered it, and then he let it all out. “Because you’re not Lex.”
Steven stared at his father strangely, unsure what that was supposed to mean.
"No, he's not, [small]thank god for that amiright[/small]?" Lex says, "He reminds me of you, Dad."
“I just mean that...” Roger rubbed the back of his neck and sighed. “Don’t take this the wrong way, Steven, but your brother... He’s always been... Well...”
“Stubborn,” said an agitated Roger.
“As a baby, he fussed if we didn’t let him feed himself. He had to pick out his own clothes. He had to dress himself. He never wanted help. You, though... I’m not saying you couldn’t, but you... Your mother babied you. Me, I was always afraid of you getting hurt. When you were both little, I tried to teach you to ride bikes. Lex would fall off and he’d get back up. If you fell, you needed to cry first, then go in the house for a Band-Aid, and then you were done for the day.
“I know you’ve grown up—both of you—but I guess that clouded me. I keep seeing that little boy who cries over things and when you say you want to learn to box, I imagine you getting hit and crying and needing a Band-Aid. You’re going to be a man soon, Stevie—Steven. You can’t keep doing that. Maybe you wouldn’t. You probably wouldn’t. But I just... I guess I did wrong.
Steven didn’t say anything. Neither did his father. They couldn’t even look at each other, vindicating Lex’s claim that they were too alike...
“So,” Roger said uneasily, “what do we do now?”
“I don’t know,” Steven said. “I guess... I start with...” He closed his eyes. He braced for the impact. “I’m sorry, dad.” He opened his eyes and looked at his brother. “I’m sorry, Lex.
“We don’t have to hug now, do we?”
"No," Lex grabs Steven and his Dad and drags them in close, "We don't have to."
Roger Murphy held his sons and fought back the urge to cry.
In anticipation of this session winding down, I started to coordinate this with Arkrite, so as to not draw it out for everyone else.
Everyone, feel free to add what you need to.