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*This is the first draft--if you notice any mistakes, please feel free to point them out ^.^ *


"Do not do battle with a mimic if you are not first able to best yourself."

-Author Unknown, Found on a slip of paper in the woman's restroom at Rayne academy

I'm a copycat. Or, at least, my ability is.

That doesn't mean I can watch someone flip and then perform the same move. Rather, my ability lets me mimic another's ability for a certain amount of time.

It has its limits. I needed to touch the other Ace as they were wielding to mimic it. And even after I got a good feel for what the ability was, there was no definite amount of time I'd have use of it. Could be a minute, could be a week. It made the process complicated.

What made it most tricky was control—there was no guarantee once I had the ability I'd be able to control it. That was the most dangerous aspect of my ability. It wasn't reliable and sometimes, it straight out didn't work.

What good was an ability you couldn't depend on?

That control—or lack of—had been the cause of my greatest disaster and my biggest regret. My old team members were innocents and they'd become a tally on my death toll.

The Initiative agents weren't even supposed to have a death toll. We should be saving Aces. Not killing them. Which was why it would be best for everyone involved if I just...went away.

I hadn't had the guts to do it though. Maybe it was a fear of death mixed with the thought of losing Wes. Maybe it was general cowardice. I needed Wes to end it—because I was too much of a wuss to do it myself.

Using the ability again had brought it all roaring back to the surface in a jumbled, aching mess. I forced myself back to the present as Dr. Freed pressed the cold metal of his stethoscope against my chest. After a moment he stepped back and pulled the earpieces out. "It's as normal as ever."

"Doc, I respect you. I do," I said, playing it off. Playing all of it off. Maybe if I kept joking I'd never have to taste those bitter memories again. "And I don't want to go into the whole, 'I told you so' thing, but..."

Next to the examination table, Wes crossed his arms. "You're sure?"

Dr. Freed nodded and nudged at his glasses. "I am. She's as healthy as ever. If not stronger than before."

My right hand rubbed at my Acemark. "Wes' ability was the only one that stayed," I mumbled to myself.

"It was. Which was crucial to your successful suspended animation," Dr. Freed said. He bunched up his plastic gloves and tossed them into the metal can over by the counter. "We theorized that subconsciously you drew on Captain Brooks' ability while you were under. Which is why you're the only successful case so far."

I twirled a finger, "woohoo."

Since Dr. Freed gave me the all-clear, I hopped off the table. The paper covering the chair ripped as I got down. "All of it means nothing if I can't fight."

Truth was, I should have had that Ace. He was a civilian, he'd had most likely no previous training. The only assets he'd had were his knowledge of the area and his ability. It should have been a quick run-and-done.

"You should never have been alone in the first place," Wes scolded, "And you know that."

I also should've had my team as backup, but I wasn't going to say that out loud. Though I did wonder what took them so long to get to the right location.

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