“Looking for something, Frack?”
Nick tried to turn around and look at Brian. “Yeah. I’m hungry again. The doc said it was natural-“
“I know Nick.” Brian chuckled. “I was there, remember? I also saw your chair getting further away from the fridge, so I figured I’d better stop it before it gets far enough away that you fall out. Your brakes must have unlocked.”
“I didn’t even feel it move,” Nick admitted.
“Well, considering how busy you were on your quest for nourishment, I’m not surprised.”
Nick rolled his eyes and pulled out some turkey and mayonnaise, intending to make a turkey sandwich. Inside, he wished that the cabinet door containing the bread would just open and the bread fly to him.
Nick looked up at Brian’s exclamation of surprise. His eyes bugged out when he saw the cabinet door wide open and the bread sliding out of the cabinet.
“Did… did I do that?” he asked.
“Well, it sure wasn’t me.” He saw Nick smirk and could sense some mischief running around in that boy’s head. “Nick, what are you thinking?” he asked warily.
“Nick,” Brian warned. “You know I can easily go into your head and find out.”
Nick rolled his eyes. “I just thought it might be nice to give a little demonstration tonight at dinner.”
“Oh, lord have mercy!”
Nick laughed as he made the sandwich. Brian glanced at his watch.
“Well, I think dinner will be in two or three more hours. I can expect you’ll be hungry again.”
“Well, if I’m still hungry two hours after lunch, I’d guess I’d still be hungry for dinner.”
Everyone dug into Jackie’s homemade pizza like a pack of ravenous wolves.
“Hey, Nick, could you hand me that slice of pizza?” Kevin requested.
Nick grinned at Brian. “Sure, Kev.” He felt excited; he could show everyone what he’d discovered as his power.
Be careful, Nick.
I will… okay, I’ll try.
Nick bit his lip, then reached out mentally… and had to hold back his cry of joy when the slice Kev wanted began rising in the air. Brian smiled while the others looked on in surprise.
After a second, Kevin reached out to take the pizza. “Nick… man, of all the pranks you could… aah!”
Nick had broken concentration a little too early and the pizza fell into Kevin’s lap with a splat. Brian burst out laughing and lay back on the floor. Nick blushed and ducked his head.
“I’m sorry, Kev,” he apologized.
“It’s all right Nick,” Kevin chuckled as he cleaned off his lap.
Brian sat up and placed a hand on Nick’s knee. “Nick, trust me, you’ll have this problem for a few days. Believe me; I felt the same way when I first discovered telekinesis. Although… it wasn’t exactly with food.”
The others looked at him. “What was it?” Harold asked.
Brian smirked. “A boulder.”
Dinner done, Brian suggested everyone go enjoy the evening at the movies. He got enthusiastic agreement from his folks and Ororo, but AJ declined, explaining that he had a date with his girlfriend later. Kevin and Nick both opted to stay home; both were slightly tired. Howie took a raincheck on the movie so he could keep an eye on the two sleepy ones.
When the three Boys were alone, Howie told Kevin and Nick to relax while he did the few dishes. Nick, still excited about his near-success at dinner, offered to help. Seeing the lively gleam in his youngest brother's eyes, Howie relented. While Kevin went to make a phone call to Ella in the privacy of his room, the two started on the dishes.
"Watch, Howie," Nick said, scowling in concentration and staring at a fork.
Howie stood back, just in case. Nick's forehead began to sweat as he tried to get the fork to move. He'd just about given up when suddenly, it moved.
"That's it!" Howie encouraged.
Excited, Nick felt the energy flowing through him and watched, amazed, as the fork slowly lifted off the counter and hovered above the sudsy water in the sink.
"Make it spin," Howie said.
Nick shot him a glance. "Want me to make it sing, too, D?" he said sarcastically. Concentrating more fully, he made the fork slowly, tediously rotate.
"Wow," Howie breathed. "That's amazing!"
"It's no boulder," Nick said, letting the utensil drop into the water below.
"But it's a start," the older man said. "One step at a time."
Nick grinned. "Yeah, and it seemed like it was a little easier than the pizza."
"At least when you dropped this one, it was into soapy water instead of Kevin's lap," Howie teased.
“Hey, that was an accident!” Nick defended himself. “I just broke concentration too early!”
“Sure, kid,” Howie grinned. “Sure. Think you can try a glass?”
“I’ll give it a shot,” Nick said quietly. In all honesty, he was beginning to feel tired, but he didn’t want to let it show just yet.
Howie pointed to a glass on the counter, and Nick focused his mind on lifting it. Beads of sweat trickled down his face by the time the glass was halfway to the sink. It was beginning to hurt, and he was tired.
I… can’t hold it…
The cup missed the sink and shattered on the floor as Nick slumped forward in exhaustion, resting his head in his hands.
"Hey, Nicky, you okay?" Howie asked, seeing the boy pale.
"S-sorry," Nick replied. "I... I couldn't do it."
Kevin came into the kitchen to see what the noise was.
"Watch that glass," he said as Howie bent to pick up the pieces. "Are you all right?" he asked the blond.
"I... I tried to lift the glass, like the pizza," came the muffled explanation.
Kevin's eyebrow raised, but he decided not to point out that the pizza thing had failed too. Instead he said, "That’s okay, Howie can take care of it. Oh, Ella says hi to the both of you. She was just headed out the door when I called, so I couldn't talk long."
"How's she doing?" Howie asked from his bent-over position.
"Fine," Kevin sighed. "I just wish..." He trailed off, but both Boys understood what he was going to say.
"Don't worry, Kev," Nick said, his voice quiet from exhaustion. "You can go visit her soon, maybe."
“That's right," Howie said. "Didn't you say- aah!"
The sharp cry snapped Kevin’s attention around in a flash. Howie's face was deathly pale as he stared at his hand. Kevin groaned inwardly; Howie had always been one to get queasy at the sight of blood, especially his own. Quickly he moved to the scene, grabbing Howie's hand and pulling him up. Carefully but swiftly, he guided his slightly shocky bandmate over to the sink.
"The glass was dirty, so... No, Howie, don't look at it, just look at the floor. If you pass out it'll make it worse."
Howie swayed, but did as asked. Kevin, with a skill that came from years of practice, drained the water in the sink and started the water running. A few seconds later, he held Howie's hand under the tepid water, trying to see beyond the blood so he could judge the severity of the cut. He hoped, with all his might, that it didn't need stitches.
A strange wash of heat swept over Kevin’s body, and for a split second he felt an odd tingling dance across his skin. He shut his eyes against the strange sensations and felt something... He opened his eyes at Howie's startled gasp.
Where there had been an inch long, deeply cut wound on the palm of Howie's hand, there was nothing but smooth skin now. Kevin blinked in confusion. He held up the hand for closer examination, but there was not a trace of the cut. Startled green eyes looked up, full of questions. Nick was the one who spoke first.
"Kev," he breathed, "I think... that was you. You healed the cut!"
“You've got the healing power," Howie said in an awed voice. "Kev, this is... wonderful! A miracle..."
That's when the wave of dizziness hit the oldest. He swayed, and it was Howie's turn to steady him.
"Easy, Kev," Howie said as he held the older man steady.
“Wasn’t… expecting that…” Kevin murmured as he rubbed his face with one hand.
“Kev,” Howie suggested, “maybe you should go to bed… you too, Nick… and get some rest.”
Kevin started to move, to protest that he was fine, but another dizzy spell hit him and he agreed on the spot for rest.
“We should… keep this a secret,” he said. “I need more time to work on it and control it. I’ll tell when I’m ready.”
Nick and Howie agreed to keep it a secret, then Howie led Kevin and Nick to their rooms for rest.
“Man… just one week,” Brian remarked as he handed Nick his drink. “One week till I get married.”
“I know,” Nick replied as he started painting. “I still can’t believe you’re the first one of us.”
The two friends were sitting outside waiting for the grill to warm up so they could barbecue. Kevin was inside cleaning the grate.
Brian sighed. "Yeah, by now it would have been Kevin," he said. "If his and Kristin's plans hadn't... well, you know." He glanced at the door to the house. "I can tell that all this wedding stuff is getting to him. He tries to be happy, but... I think it reminds him of what he almost had."
Nick thought about it. "But at least he's got Ella, right? Even though she's kind of far away, and he hasn't seen her for..." His voice trailed away. He realized that his big brother really was alone.
"Yeah," Brian said. "Exactly my point."
"I guess talking on the phone isn't the same," Nick said. "When he feels better, do you think he'll go see her?"
"He calls her, or she calls him, every day," Brian answered. "This wedding stuff... it's got to hurt him. I know what it's like to be lonely."
"I miss Ella," Nick said, staring at the ground.
"She was invited to the wedding," Brian said. "That’s really only a matter of days."
Brian paused. "I think so, yeah."
Her shoes crunched on the gravel of the driveway, then swished through the grass toward the backyard. She could sense them there, having a barbecue from the smell.
"You know, Bri," Nick complained, "I don’t see why we ALL have to get dressed up in those monkey suits. I mean, you're the one getting married, not us! Are you sure we can't just wear black jeans or something?"
Brian laughed. "Listen, if it were up to me, we'd all be wearing T-shirts and shorts."
Nick grinned. "Even Ororo?"
"Nope," Brian said, wiggling his eyebrows. "She could wear a bikini. White, of course."
Nick snickered at the very idea. "Right, I bet she'd love that."
"No, but I would!" Brian said. "Look, seriously, you only have to wear the tux for like what, two hours? Then you can ditch it and-" He stopped in mid-sentence, an odd look crossing his face.
"Bri?" Nick sat forward, looking at his friend. "What is it?"
Brian held a finger to his lips to silence him. Nick quieted, but still watched Brian in curiosity. His friend stood quietly and headed over to the gate, making sure that Kevin was still facing the grill. He noiselessly lifted the latch on the gate, and then pulled the door back.
Ella stood at the gateway, a soft smile on her face. Brian let her into the yard, closed the gate, and then wrapped her in a hug.
It’s good to see you, El.
Ella smiled, the warmth glowing in her eyes. I'm so glad you're all right, Brian... so glad the pain is gone now. You look wonderful!
So do you, he replied. Come on, there are a few people that will love to see you. Especially one in particular.
She stepped forward and saw Nick; the happy expression on his face made her feel truly welcome. He opened his mouth to speak when Brian caught his attention and put a finger over his own lips. Understanding, Nick kept silent, but still hugged Ella as hard as he could. She returned it in full. Then... she saw the figure across the grass, standing at the barbecue.
Her heart skipped a beat as she took in the image of the tall, handsome man she'd missed so very much. Even seeing him like that took her breath away, and she almost wanted to burst into tears of joy. Not wanting to delay their reunion any more, she crossed the grass, all other thoughts forgotten.
She was about six feet away when Kevin turned around. The shocked expression on his face was almost comical. The spatula almost dropped from his hand as he blinked, not quite believing his eyes.
"Hi, Kev," she said softly, her blue eyes shining.
"Ella," he breathed, and then stepped forward into her open and willing embrace.
The couple stood, locked together, oblivious to everything but the feel of each other's arms. Brian smiled at the wave of love, joy, and happiness that came from Ella's unwitting projection. This kind of sensation was more than welcome.
Kevin pulled back just far enough to say, "I've missed you... more than words, El." He leaned in and kissed her hungrily, and thoroughly.
Brian blushed at the resulting thoughts Ella projected then put up a block so the pair could enjoy a moment of privacy.
A cry of greeting sounded as AJ and Howie came through the door. Soon, the group was in a happy reunion. The barbecue turned out to be quite a celebration. By the time the food had gone and tongues were tired of telling stories, it was well into the evening.
Brian spared a moment to watch Kevin, seeing a light behind emerald eyes that had been missing far too long. Ella, wrapped in Kevin’s arms, leaned in and whispered something in his ear. A nanosecond later, Brian could feel indescribable joy radiating in waves from his cousin. Not that he wasn’t able to see that from Kevin’s bright, overjoyed smile.
“What’s up, cous?”
Kevin smiled at him as Ella replied. “I just told Kevin that I’m not going back. I’m here to stay.”
Nick lay on his back staring up at the ceiling. It was the night before Brian’s wedding and he was positive that Brian was having just as much trouble as he was, perhaps more, at getting to sleep. Tomorrow evening, Brian would be married and on his way to his honeymoon. Nick sighed deeply, feeling a small twinge of pain. Though, whether it was physical or emotional, he couldn’t tell.
“Brian’s getting married,” he said aloud to the room.
There was a quiet knock on the door then Kevin announced his presence. Nick telekinetically opened the door for him and he entered.
“It’s tomorrow, Kevin,” Nick said as the older man sat beside him on the bed. “I can’t believe B is getting married tomorrow!”
“Exciting, isn’t it?” Kevin smiled.
“That’s not even the right word.”
Kevin chuckled. “I agree.” Suddenly, he got quiet. He glanced across the room at the object that had been Nick’s bane for the last few months.
“What’s on your mind, Kevin?”
Kevin turned back to him, a smile on his face. “I think you’ve been in that wheelchair long enough, Nickolas,” he replied. “How’d you like to give Brian a surprise tomorrow?”