Chapter 1

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John's POV.

In the infirmary, John was sitting on a chair facing Seraphina, who unusually for them was the one on the stretcher instead of him. He didn't dare to look up at her bruised face, his fists still trembling from the mix of anger and shame that he felt overwhelming him. The large bandage on her cheek reminded him that just minutes ago as they were walking down the hallway he had let Zeke push him aside and hit the only person in the school dear to him as he powerlessly stood by and watched.

His trance was interrupted by the sound of the magenta-haired girl's tears falling on the ground. He had only seen her crying once before, and at that moment he realized the extent of the pain she was in. Not physical pain, since even without her power Seraphina remained resilient and would not blink twice at an injury, but the pain of the realization that the foundation of her entire world had crumbled. That which had been a part of her identity ever since she was little had been ripped away, and with it the image of the former school Queen who everybody respected and feared.

"I really am powerless now...aren't I?" Seraphina said, clenching her hand.

John didn't know what the right thing to say to comfort her was. He hated seeing her suffer like this and just wanted to make everything alright, to bring things back to how they were when they would spend their care-free days together laughing all the time, with him in the role of the school cripple and her in the role of his all-mighty friend, not when they were both targets and he could not protect her properly.

"No, don't listen to Arlo. He doesn't know what he is talking about." John said, not really believing his own words.

"You think so?" Sera uttered, fighting the tears.

"Sera...," John stood up, making a step towards her, intending to put his hand on her shoulders but coming to a halt. He wanted nothing more than to hug her, to hold her tight and promise her that everything would be all right. But he knew it would be just another one in the long set of lies.

"Hey, no...please don't cry. It will come back soon, I am sure. It just needs some more time."

"But it's been weeks and nobody knows what's wrong. Not Doc. Not the hospital. Not the authorities. No one..."

"But that doesn't prove anything, right? Just because they didn't find a solution yet, doesn't mean there is none? This can't be happening. Let's wait a bit..."

"HOW LONG THEN!" Sera interrupted him. "How long am I supposed to wait?! Months, years? You know, every night I go to sleep thinking about having my ability back...and every morning I wake up with my hopes crushed...over and over again! I am sick of being disappointed. I don't want to just sit around and lie to myself anymore."

John stood silent as Sera leaned forward, placing her head on his chest.

"What am I supposed to do? Now that I am like this? Powerless, with nothing left..."

John wrapped his arms around her.

"Hey...don't forget you are not alone. I am powerless too – remember? We'll just be powerless together. This won't stop us! We can still play games, chill on the roof...Grab drinks, go shopping...or whatever! Just do what we always do." He mustered a smile. "It's going to be okay, we will get you through this."

Sera tried to smile back.

"You are always so brave John, no matter what. When we first met I just thought you were a crazy fool always rushing into danger without thinking...but then I slowly started to really admire you, you know? Forget I said that, my head must be acting funny because of the pain meds," she tried to pass it as a joke.

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