Kazav started to feel uneasy as the night went on and the tension began to spill over to James who started tossing in his sleep.
"Kazav," he mumbled, "what's wrong?"
"Something doesn't feel right kid. It's like there is some kind of dark force coming our way."
James yawned and tried to find interest in what Kazav was saying. "What kind of force?"
"I'm not sure, but it feels hostile. Maybe we should go check it out?"
James' response to the question was to close his eyes and go back to sleep. Kazav's response to that was giving James a spasm that threw him out of the bed.
He rubbed his head as he sat on the cold, stone floor, "What was that for?"
"You wouldn't get up, so I got creative."
James sat up on the edge of the bed, now fully alert. "Fine, what is it you want me to do exactly?"
"Just head outside and make sure everything is on the level. I would feel much better knowing we aren't being stalked by some dangerous monster, wouldn't you?"
James suited up and snuck outside. There was a secret hatch that led up to the field above them, it was the only other way besides the front doors which you could only find using Sparrow's powers.
Pale moonlight beamed down and illuminated the field of flowering grasses the hatch was situated in. It would be a beautiful moment if not for the impending sense of doom James was getting from Kazav.
He looked out at the field and scanned the horizon. Nothing was in sight, just a few wild animals roaming about in the night.
"I don't see anything," James whispered with an attitude.
"Just keep looking, maybe walk around a bit, I won't feel better until I'm sure nothing is out here."
James started to feel amused by his paranoia. It was not at all like Kazav to express concern or fear, he almost had the impulse to tease him about it.
"So, uh, Kazav, what do you think is after us, that raccoon, or maybe that opossum?" James tried to hold back a laugh as he teased him.
"Just be quiet and keep looking," Kazav shot back.
After 20 minutes of searching out in the damp and musty woods, he decided to call it quits.
"Look Kazav there is nothing out there. Are you sure you're not just a bit nervous about this whole meeting at HQ? Because I am and-"
Before he could finish his sentence a flash of light streaked across the sky, slamming into the ground and sending James flying backward as flames engulfed the ground.
Squinting through the smoke and billowing fire, James' eyes widened, and his jaw dropped. Stepping out of the inferno of the impact zone was a person he would never have expected to see in a million years.
With a chiseled jaw and a tight sinuous body, the man walked towards him full of confidence and authority. James sat frozen on the ground as he tried to think of what to say.
"Jeremy, is that you? How did you - where did you...?" James kept stuttering as he tried to form the words to put to his feelings. His brother closed the gap and reached down with his hand in an offer to help pull James up.
With a deep and powerful voice, Jeremy said, "Hello brother, long time no see."
There was a long silence as he tried to think of what to say. He hadn't seen his brother in a long time and wasn't exactly happy that he showed up out of the blue.
Jeremy glanced down at his hand which was still outstretched. "Are you going to take it, or do you feel more comfortable on the ground?"
James got up on his own and wiped the dirt off his suit in a display of independence.
His brother pulled his hand back in and let it rest. He wasn't surprised by the lack of brotherly affection. There was a lot of bad blood between them, and he knew it.
"It's good to see you again little bro," Jeremy announced as he tried to break the ice.
The statement made James' face twitch. "That's an odd thing to say," he sassed, "considering you haven't seen me in over ten years."
Jeremy started to form a scowl. He had hoped James would have softened since their childhood but that seemed unlikely. "Are you still bitter about how things ended with us? Why can't you mature and move on?"
The mood quickly devolved as they both vented their frustrations to one another. After a spat of bickering, Jeremy cut the argument short. "You know what? I'm not out here to pick old wounds."
James lifted his arms into the air as he asked, "Well then why are you here?"
Jeremy hovered forward with his arms crossed and his cape flapping in the wind. "I should be asking you the same question. There I am back at HQ when I get a summons to appear before the council tomorrow for a briefing. I look at who the speakers will be and guess who's face I see?" He then pointed at him and asked, "You want to explain to me why you're fooling around in the heroes guild when you're not even a hero?"
James' blood started to boil, and his face turned red. This argument brought up a lot of unresolved feelings only this time he wasn't about to be silenced. With his newfound powers giving him the confidence to speak he decided to stand up for himself for the first time in a long time. "I am too a hero and if you need proof, I would be happy to provide it."
Kazav decided now would be a good time to chime in. "Woah kid calm down; I don't like your jerk of a brother any more than you do but I don't think picking a fight with him is a good idea."
James ignored Kazavs attempts to cool things down and took a battle stance.
"Fine," Jeremy shouted back. "You want to play hero? Show me what you got."
James tensed up; he could feel Kazav trying to restrain him as he talked him down. "Look James you're not even close to the same level as him. If he decides to fight you then it's not going to end well for you. Please just try to calm down!"
Kazav's plea's started to sink in and James took a few deep breaths. He started to regain his composure and realized it wasn't worth giving his brother the satisfaction. He did however have a few closing thoughts to share. "Jeremy, I don't need to prove anything. I am a hero, and you know what? I'm going to be more of a hero than you could ever dream of being!
Jeremy was taken aback by the newfound confidence of his little brother. But brother or not a challenge had been issued to his ego and he was not about to let that go. "Fine," he coldly replied, "I'll make you prove it."
Jeremy raised his foot into the air and slammed it down on the ground causing huge chunks of rock to burst up from beneath the dirt. He smacked them towards James and shouted, "A real hero should have no trouble dealing with these."
James prepared himself for the wall of gravel and granite that was flying to meet him. With his fist at the ready, he slammed it into the largest of the chucks and split it apart causing rubble and debris to shoot out in all directions.
The dust settled and Jeremy watched on in shock as James stood there unharmed and still in battle stance. "How did you do that?"
James smirked and returned the favor, sending out a wall of rock and stone back at Jeremy who didn't even attempt to avoid it. The massive stones turned to powder against his nearly invincible body once they made contact and blew away in the wind.
He hovered in place while staring James down, a shocked and confused look was now glued firmly on his face. "But you failed all the tests. How is this possible?"
James shrugged his shoulders. "Maybe I was just a late bloomer?
Jeremy flew in close until he and James were face to face, then he issued a warning. "I will be keeping a close eye on you from here on out and let me assure you that if your newfound power is a threat to the guild in any way then I will take action to protect it."
James let out a chuckle to show he unfazed he was. "I'm sure you will," he poked back sarcastically.
Jeremy gave his brother one more intense and challenging gaze and then took off into the sky. James and Kazav let out a massive sigh of relief as they watched him rocket out of sight.
Kazav was upset and made sure James knew it. "Kid, are you nuts? What are you thinking challenging your brother like that? You're lucky he didn't snap you in two!
He brushed off Kazav's concerns. "I knew he wouldn't do anything serious. I called his bluff is all.
"You got off easy," Kazav replied.
"Are you afraid of my brother," James asked in a mocking tone.
"No kid, I'm afraid of what he could do to your body, as in turn it into pulp. Now simmer down and get some sleep."
"Gladly," James cried out through a yawn.
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