Mrs. Jameson's house was immaculate, to the point of being dead. It looked like a showcase, not a home. Kitsch adorned every exposed surface, and photos on every table showed three people, a happy family. In a way, Mrs. Jameson was living one of Sarah's dreams, but also, one of her nightmares. Sarah always wanted a normal life. All the Chosen Ones did. But none of them really did. Life had some funny dualities.
Sarah watched as Ms. Jameson stared intently into her mug of coffee. She noted Aang watching her with the frank curiousity that only a child can truly manage. In some ways, he did kind of remind her of John when he was younger. Harry, on the other hand, kept an admirable deadpan considering his youth. He had a skill, Sarah thought, that belied the fiery temperament of his reputation: upstart, rebel. Chosen One. The fight in his world had honed him, tempered him, as had the fights for all the Chosen Ones, each in their own way.
Some things truly were universal.
"My husband..." Ms Jameson said, "...He got sent to Iraq. He kept telling me he was in the Green Zone, but I knew better. He was Delta Force." She blinked, looking away. "He...was supposed to be retired, but there's a little clause in the contract. Once you sign on with the US Military...they own you."
Sarah nodded. "I'm sorry."
"George loved him. He was devastated when I had to tell him..."
Sarah reached out and put one hand on hers. "It's okay. You don't have to talk about it."
"No, it's just..."
Sarah thought she saw Aang look away in sorrow. She wondered how, after the death and destruction he had seen on his own world he could still feel. Somehow, he had come through it with his heart intact--a blessing, and a curse, just like his opposite in The Bard and Paul. Harry did not appear to react, at first, but Sarah could tell--he was thinking about his own parents.
Sarah said, "My husband...Aang's father..."
"I know." Mrs. Jameson wiped a tear from her face. "I know what it looks like. I can see it on the three of you." She laughed tensely. "Well, anyway, George has always been special. He's...It's hard to describe. It's like he can mimic the voice and motions of anyone once he's met them. He's got a photographic muscle memory for some things--he and his father once stayed up late watching a Bruce Lee movie. The next day, he was doing all the fancy kicks and punches, and the nunchucks..."
Sarah took note of that. She saw Aang and Harry exchange interested looks as well.
"But more than that, he...he actually mimicked Bruce's voice. It's been a little scary sometimes."
Aang looked up at her again. "Your son has been given a great power, Mrs. Jameson."
Sarah closed her eyes, wondering how odd it would appear if she told Aang to shut up now.
Mrs. Jameson looked at him in shock.
He stood up. "I have to show you something." He went into the kitchen and turned on the water in the sink.
Mrs. Jameson got up, looking after him in alarm. She turned back to Sarah. "What is going on."
There was the sound of swishing of water. Harry and Sarah both stood up to see over the bar.
Aang danced. That was the only way Sarah knew to describe it. It looked for all the world like the flowing motions of a Tai Chi class, except that over his head hovered a blob of water that would easily fill a 5 gallon bucket. He moved with it, flowed with it, dancing it to the ends of his fingertips and around to the other side, up over his head, stretching it like a slinky and swirling it like a ball. As the water poured out of the faucet, he beckoned to it with absent, fluid gestures. Blobs of water joined the one he played with.
Mrs. Jameson looked on in horror and wonder.
Harry stepped up behind her. He said quietly, "We can teach your son that, and more."
She turned to look at him.
He smiled, pulling out his wand. He gave it a flick toward the water. "Wingardium leviosa."
Aang stopped moving, and hunched over, panting. Harry levitated the water over to the sink, and gently lowered it. When it was in, he gave his wand a flick, shutting off the water.
Sarah took her opening, and stepped forward. "We aren't with the Messengers of Light," She said. "We're an independent support group of people who have all been where your son is now. He has a destiny. It's a hard one. An unfair one. And both sides are going to keep coming after him." She narrowed her eyes angrily. "One side until they absorb him, heart and soul, like the Army did your husband. The other...until they destroy him. With what we can teach him, neither side will succeed."
"You go after her." Paul pointed to Bard.
The Bard squinted, somewhat annoyed at being given an order. "Are you nuts? Whaddya want me to do? Go up and knock on the door and say, 'Ay, by the way, our elven spy tells us your son is missing?'"
"Well I'm not going in. Ms. Connor's a mean little bitch."
"Oh, so you want me to risk her wrath." He evaluated his options and settled on a good one--he pointed to Link. "I think Link should do it."
Link's eyes opened wide. "Um..."
The Bard smiled. "You're the chosen of the goddess of courage, right?"
Anakin fiddled with the controls. "I am detecting unusual space-craft activity over a mall not far from here."
Arcadian hit some of the controls, bringing up a freeze-frame image of a ship, sleek and black, with red lights pulsing along its seams. His face went pale. "It's the Obsidian Guard. We have to move fast."
Paul looked to him, then urgently back to the Bard. "Do it!"
"You do it! I'm not gettin' shot over this!"
Paul rolled his eyes. "She is not going to shoot you, you fucking coward! She left her guns here!"
Link sighed harshly. "Fine. I'll go get her. When this is over, I'm beating both of you stooges senseless." He stormed down the ramp.
The Bard watched him go. When he was gone, he turned to Paul.
Paul eyed him. It was kind of intense, with his eyes glowing blue like that. He looked away.
Turning back to Paul, he said, "I am not a coward."
"Uh, yeah. You kinda are."
Link rang the doorbell, and took a moment to straightLien his forest-green scrub-fur tunic. He checked his breath, though not really certain for what. He imagined it smelled like normal breath, and stood up straight. In a moment of urgent thought, he quickly snatched his green stocking cap off his head and held it to one side.
The door opened onto a middle-aged woman with thin features and haunted eyes. Link surmized that there must have been more than talking going on. "Good afternoon. I'm a friend of Sarah Connor. May I speak with her please?"
The woman nodded slowly, and gently opened the door. Sarah jogged up behind the woman. "What's up?"
"We have to go. Now."
She turned to the woman. "Think about it. We'll be back."
Harry handed her a piece of paper. "Call this number."
Sbe looked at it. "What is it?"
Harry smiled. "It's my cell-phone." He turned to go.
The Bard waved them in as they mounted the ramp of the Tiderian. When the last one was up, he hit the button to raise it. One by one they all took their seats.
Whhhhh pahhhhh "Now hold on to something." He grabbed the joystick and started to take them up.
But nothing happened.
Link raised one hand. "Um..."
Anakin jiggled the joystick. "Oh for pete's sake..."
Still nothing Happened.
Ms. Connor smirked. "Would it help if I got out and pushed?"
Arcadian pointed to a dial, looking sheepishly at Anakin. "You um...forgot to get gas, didn't you?"
Anakin's black-armored shoulders slumped. "Sorry."
The Bard facepalmed with a fury hitherto unseen. Paul actually growled. "I am not fucking BELIEVING THIS!"
Aang smiled. "I could airbend us up!"
The Bard, along with all the others, turned to him in unison. "No!"
Aang flinched. "Okay, okay!"
Link looked down. "Lower the ramp again. There is one solution."
The Bard looked to him.
Mrs. Jameson answered the doorbell with trembling hand.
It was Sarah again, and the wizard and the...water...guy. This time, however, there was more: A man in a tight brown leather suit with eyes glowing in blue, a boy dressed as a video-game character, a scruffy man with a black electric guitar on his back, and a man dressed up like Darth Vader.
And with them was Arcadian, the Messenger of Light she had argued with earlier.
They all looked sheepish, except the blue-eyed man and Sarah, who looked exasperated and angry. Sarah said, "Hi. Us again, sorry." She ran a tense hand through her brown hair. "We're...out of gas. May we borrow your minivan?"