Pairing: Nick/Cassie; Nick/Kira
Word Count: 1,612
Author's Note: Set six years after Push. Cassie is living in New York while Nick and Kira are living in Australia, but a series of events force their worlds to collide. Eventually Nick/Cassie.
-New York City, New York-
Cassie woke up slowly, her eyes adjusting to the morning light. She pushed herself up on her elbows, grateful that for the moment she was pain free. The blinding vision she’d had of the young boy being kidnapped three days ago was just a haunting memory. It had taken almost that many days for the ache inside her skull to subside, and in that time they had another kid join the house, this one a Stitch.
She swung her legs over the side of the bed, amazed that in the few weeks they had been in New York, they had already pulled ten kids with abilities off the streets. Ten kids that had been outcast by society or living on the streets and had no place left to go.
When Kane had first approached Cassie about helping set up housing for teens with abilities, she had scoffed at the idea, not seeing how it could work. But over time, she had seen that the houses were a necessity.
After Henry Carver’s untimely death (some said murder), there was a power vacuum in Division that couldn’t be closed until finally the President of the United States stepped in, mandating that all Division subjects had to be strictly volunteers only. Needless to say, few wanted to volunteer to be lab rats. The significantly downsized Division project had left thousands of people with abilities around the country suddenly out on the street with no housing or income to speak out.
It left a huge void in the social infrastructure of people with abilities. This led others with abilities, most of whom had their own abilities and powers, to start a project aptly named the Healing Hands Foundation. The Foundation aimed at helping these outcasts reintegrate into society. The goal of the project was simply, really: give them temporary housing and help them find jobs while rejoining society.
Kane had been recruited early on to help with the teen sect of the project. He found runaways and kids who had basically been abandoned and brought them into the houses he set up in each city. He helped them learn how to master their ability so they weren’t a danger to others. His own ability as a Telepath helped him to identify and empathize with the teens.
It was while Kane was setting up a house in southern San Francisco that Cassie met him. She had just turned sixteen and was grateful for the place to stay. When Kane announced he was leaving to set up another house in Olympia, Washington a few months later, Cassie offered to go with him and help him find people by using her own power.
They had been together ever since, moving across the country and setting up different housing sanctuaries as they went. But it wasn’t until they had moved to Detroit she started getting the disturbing visions of young teens being kidnapped without warning.
Each time they investigated the vision, it turned out the child was already missing. Her visions seemed to be happening only moments before the actual abduction. It was frustrating and terrifying all at once. She had never felt so out of sync with her ability.
Cassie got out of bed and shuffled towards her dresser, pulling out a pair of jeans and a gray tank top. She changed quickly, pulling her hair back into a messy bun before opening her door and heading for the communal kitchen she shared with the others.
The three story brownstone they shared had been donated a three months earlier by an elderly woman, a first generation Mover, who had passed away with no family to speak of. She left the house and several thousand dollars to the Healing Hands Foundation. It needed some repairs, but the structure was sound and had four bedrooms and an attic that had been converted into two more rooms. Each room had three beds, save for Kane and Cassie’s. They each managed to get a single room, one of the perks of working for the Foundation.
Cassie’s feet had just hit the landing when Devin’s head popped up from around the corner.
The sixteen-year-old brunette Bleeder smiled at Cassie as she approached. “Hey, Cass.” Her smile was kind and innocent, belying the violent nature of her gift.
“What’s going on, Devin?” Cassie offered her a sleepy smile and stretched her arms over her head.
“Kane’s out front. Apparently he found another one this morning. Young, too. Like twelve or something,” Devin explained, popping a grape into her open mouth.
Cassie frowned and looked out the window where she saw Kane and two others they shared the house with standing in front of an Asian girl who looked entirely too young to be on her own.
Frowning, Cassie started for the door, stopping long enough to snag a grape from the baggie of them Devin had. She crossed through the front hallway and opened the front door.
The early July sun was warm, already heating up the asphalt. She went down the steps to the street, coming to a stop beside Kane.
“Sun, this is Cassie,” Kane said without missing a beat. “Cassie helps me run the house.”
Cassie smiled warmly at the skittish girl. ‘Hi. Sun, was it?”
The girl nodded, her straight chopped hair bobbing. “Yes,” she managed, her accent thick and heavy.
Mandarin Chinese, Cassie recognized. In the months she lived with Nick and Kira in Hong Kong, he had taught her the basics of the different dialects he knew, one of them being Mandarin Chinese.
“Sun is a Mover,” Kane informed her, crossing his muscular arms across his broad chest.
Cassie turned her gaze back to Sun. “That’s great. We have two other Movers in the house as well.”
Kane looked over at the two girls standing a few feet away. “Asha, Lindsey? Can you guys take Sun inside and get her settled in?”
The blond of the two, Asha, extended a hand to the younger girl. “C’mon, Sun,” she encouraged, her southern accent thick and friendly.
Sun’s eyes widened as she glanced nervously at Kane and Cassie.
“It’s OK,” Asha went on, her smile bright as the sunny day. Lindsey smirked at the younger girl, but thankfully remained silent.
Lindsey had a chip on her shoulder the size of Texas and had tattooed almost every inch of available skin on her body that wasn’t pierced. She had been one of the first kids they found when they came to New York. She was as much a talented Stitch as she was a pain in the ass.
After another moment of hesitation, Sun nodded and followed Asha and Lindsey inside the brownstone.
Cassie let out a long breath. “We’re going to have to get another house at the rate you keep finding them.”
Kane leaned against the railing on the steps and shrugged. “Probably.” He didn’t seem bothered by the idea.
Cassie flinched at the sudden vision that clouded her sight. “What’s Sun’s story?” she asked sharply when the image cleared.
“Family freaked when they found out she could move objects telekinetically.” Kane looked suspiciously down at her. “Why?”
She frowned, her expression stormy. “Sun’s dad is going to show up here and make a scene. He’ll want her back.”
Kane snorted, shaking his head. “The bastard burned her arms with a lighter every time she accidentally moved something. Like hell she’s going back.”
Cassie shrugged, but nodded in agreement. “Where’d you find her?”
He smiled ruefully and rubbed the back of his neck. “Around the corner, actually. She’s been living at the shelter down the street. I was walking by and saw her move a dumpster.”
“She moved a dumpster?” she repeated slowly.
He chuckled and nodded. “There was this huge, fat cat stuck behind it. Damn thing scratched her arm when she tried to pick it up.”
Cassie started laughing then, imagining the petite Asian girl trying to free an oversized tabby from behind a dumpster. It only took a second for Kane to start laughing with her, his massive shoulders shaking. She was still giggling when she heard her name being called.
She froze mid-laugh, her eyes going wide. Her breath caught, and she watched Kane stiffen at her reaction.
“Cass,” he started, beginning to move around her protectively.
Cassie spun, strands of blond hair coming lose from the bun and flying around her face. She squinted in the sunlight, certain she wasn’t seeing what she was seeing.
Nick smiled at her, barely five feet away. He looked amazingly the same, and yet completely different. His hair was lighter, bleached by the sun, but his face was still scruffy. He was more tanned, his muscles seemingly more defined beneath the black t-shirt he wore, and his hands were shoved in the pockets of well worn blue jeans. His blue eyes were grinning at her in a way that was so familiar it made her heart ache.
“Cass, you know this guy?” Kane asked quietly, his expression narrowing in concentration as he focused on Nick, intending to read him.
“Nick,” Cassie said softly, amazement in her voice. She started shaking her head in disbelief. “What are you doing here?”
He chuckled. “Came to see you.”
She took one step forward and then ran the remaining feet to him, jumping into his open arms. She wound her arms around his neck as his arms closed around her waist, holding her off the ground. She let her eyes slide closed and rested her chin on his shoulder.
He laughed again, the sound rumbling through them both. “I missed you too, Cass.”