The man was knocked out, spread flat across the pavement in a flash. But it wasn’t by my hand. 

Bane’s arm was still extended, hand clenched in a fist. I glanced down at the man laying by my feet in pity - if he wasn’t dead, he’d have some serious brain damage. 

“Thanks,” I muttered, still a bit out of focus. How could I have missed the footsteps behind the door? The click of the guns safety? Whatever was going on in my head was seriously distracting me.

“You seem...unwell,” Bane said, tucking both hands back into his pockets. He cast a ferocious glare into the warehouse to what I assumed were the rest of his henchmen. 

“I just... I swear that-” I breathed out, only to gasp in shock as the skintenna crackled once more then came alive. 

“Azalea... Are you there!? Damnit Z, come in!” Phoenix roared, her voice shrill with panic. 

“Ni-Nix?” I stuttered, eyes going wide with shock. It couldn’t be... I’d seen her de-specialized! 

“Yeah, Z! I’ll explain later, but right now I’m coming at you with two bogies on my tail! I’m two minutes out- SHIT. DAMN YOU! GAH, DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THESE SHOES COST!?! Get ready, girl!”

“Ditto,” I said, just before the skintenna clicked off. If Phoenix needed help with some bogies, the must have been bad. I’d never seen Phoenix lose her cool, let alone panic. 

“Get inside,” I hissed at Bane, glancing around nervously. He was looking at me strangely. He must have thought I was talking to myself. I must have forgotten to tell him the skintenna also worked like a semi cell phone. 

“I do not take orders,” He ground out, suddenly livid. I huffed, my ears picking up at the faint shouts and swears of my old colleague. She was getting close. 

“Fine, but I can’t guarantee your safety. You get hurt, it’s on you,” I spat, nerves coiling themselves in the pit of stomach. 

“What’s coming?” He asked, voice less stiff than a minute ago. 

“No idea. But they have one of the most fearless people I know in hysterics,” I rushed out, eyes on the shadows that danced across a nearby building. 

“Last chance to go inside,” I said, turning my back to him, and taking up a fighting stance. I was met with the sound of a slamming door, but I could still feel eyes on my back. They must be looking through one of the many windows. I had little time to ponder this because Phoenix burst into view, two men trailing her. Without a second thought, I darted towards them, relief washing over Nix’s face. With a smile she spun, nailing her attacker right in the face while I leapt at the other one. They were Specials, but their faces were unfamiliar. They were teens, like Phoenix and I. Would the surprises never end? 

I delivered a solid blow to my attackers nose, knocking him back a foot. A bit of blood dribbled down onto his lips, staining his teeth. He snarled, lunging, but I jumped and he sailed beneath my feet. This one was ill trained, or very rusty with his skills. 

I kept an ear open for Phoenix who seemed to be having the same luck with her assailant. To any passerby we would have been four colorful blurs swirling around each other in the street, two a tad slower than the others. 

“Who are you?” I snapped, bringing the guy to his knees in a flurry of kicks. I twisted his arm behind his back, smashing his face into the concrete. 

He didn’t answer at first, intent on flipping himself over. I dug my heel into his lower back like I’d been taught.

He cussed, wiggling beneath me. I tightened my grip, his shoulder seconds away from popping out of the socket. 

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