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A Field Of Paper Flowers

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The building’s power had already shut off an hour ago, but that was okay, Eddie didn’t need any power or light to see. He conjured the light from his hand, low enough to not alert anyone in the building but enough to see where he was going. Eddie takes a shuddering breath, stepping around the corner.

The building was huge, and there were too many floors to cover at once, even with their whole team. 6 Losers as they all called themselves. And all capable enough to stake out the building alone, which is exactly what Eddie was doing right now, staking out the building where someone had broken in.

Eddie shook his head mentally, because it was obvious who had broken in, only one group had been managed to hold up for so long against the heroes; Nox. A group as old as their own, that posed the biggest threat to them. It was founded by a couple that was now pretty much retired.

They had been one of the OG powered people, and they had recruited many over the course of the next 20 years.

“Well shit-” A voice cuts through Eddie’s thoughts, and the boy looks at the figure in front of him. “Well hello there cutie.” He continues with a grin, a goofy grin on his face, standing in the middle of one of the offices, staring at him.

“Who are you?” Eddie asks sharply, shifting into a fighting position. The boy was dressed in all black cloak, the hood loosely on top of his head and but not actually hiding his face. A thick mop of curly hair was visible under the hood, and a dopey grin that was strangely infuriating plastered on his face.

“Ain’t that the million dollar question?” The boy chuckles, lingering for a moment before taking a step back. Eddie could see black smoke lingering around his hands.

“Don’t move!” Eddie cries out, a dagger of lightning shooting out of his hand. The boy raises an eyebrow, almost as if he was amused rather than scared.

“And here I thought pops was just exaggerating when he said all of you heroes were a cliché,” He quips, and then he was just gone. The boy appeared in front of the table, picking up the files that had already been placed there. Eddie frowned, throwing the lightning dagger at the boy.

The boy yelps, phasing out again and materialising a few steps to the right. “You really couldn’t make this easy on me huh?” The boy shouts back, but Eddie was already attacking again, charging in himself. He sucks up the light in the room, blasting himself forwards with incredible speed.

The boy’s eyes widen at the sudden display of power, transporting again. Eddie adapted quickly, throwing more daggers of light at the boy, and using the attack to grab the files that the boy had dropped earlier. Whatever was in those files was valuable to Nox, so he had to make sure he wouldn’t get it.

“No but seriously I need to get back to your mom, so can you just give me those files and be on our merry way?” The boy tries, only focused on the files.

“As if,” Eddie snorts behind his mask, conjuring up more daggers and shooting it at the boy. Smoak lingered around him constantly, and every time he disappeared it was as if he disappeared into the shadows. This time the boy quickly dodged, rolling over the ground and disappearing again.

The boy appeared next to him, but Eddie was too quick, jumping forwards and getting the files out of the boy’s range. He groaned, as if this was a game to him.

“No seriously, at least tell me your name, or should I just call you cutie?” The guy shouts, but Eddie shoots three more daggers. The boy yells in surprise, ducking low. Eddie used that surprise to shoot himself forwards, colliding roughly with the taller boy and pointing a dagger at his throat.

“It’s luminance-” Eddie hisses, but the moment he moved the dagger forwards, not planning on actually killing the boy but threaten him a bit more, the dagger just disappeared. Eddie blinks, stunned for a split second before he conjured one again, but it disappeared the moment it touched the boy’s skin.

A wicked grin spread across his face. “I think you’re having some performance issues-” He snickers, raising an eyebrow. “Can’t get it up?” He snickers, but Eddie moved before he could dignify him with a proper response, striking out. The boy ducks low, and smoke spread around him, ready to-

“What the fuck.” The boy suddenly whispers, eyes widening as he stayed on the same spot. The boy scrambled up before Eddie landed another hit, creating more distance between them. His eyes landed on the files again, a frown on his face, and for whatever reason, he hadn’t transported.

Eddie’s eyes narrowed, his powers didn’t work properly around this person, that much was clear. But he didn’t know if the files he currently had were the only thing they were after, so he tugged them in his uniform, sucking in a deep breath and booming himself forwards with a flash of light.

The boy seemed to quickly snap out of his confusion, narrowing his eyes at him, and raising his fists. Black smoke appeared from them, but when he went to punch, it just vanished. Eddie still grunted, force still strong behind that punch, and he throws his arms up to deflect a second one.

Eddie conjured another dagger from his hands, throwing it at the guy but as expected the dagger shattered the moment it hit the boy, disappearing in a cloud of smoke. The boy transports again, and Eddie whirls around, seeing him appear behind him, still at a distance, but he was fast.

He shoots forwards, reaching for the files.

Eddie deflects again, throwing a punch at him. The boy blocks again, ducking and swiping his leg over the ground. Eddie staggers, falling backwards but he uses his powers to stabilise himself. He looks at the boy, and then he shoots himself forwards, light seemingly exploding behind him to propel him forwards.

The boy’s eyes widen, and he wasn’t quick enough to dodge Eddie’s body from literally cannonballing into him. Eddie lands on top of him, immediately slamming the boy’s arms down in an attempt to restrain him.

“Quite kinky m’lady, but I will get better attention from your mom tonight-” The boy laughs, twisting from under Eddie, and before the boy knew it a hand was freed and the boy delivers a hard strike to Eddie’s head. Eddie cries out, staggering and the boy quickly worms his way from under Eddie, standing up.

Eddie quickly blinks, shaking his head and staring at the boy, who was standing there with a smile on his face, holding the files.

“No you don’t!” Eddie cries out, sucking in another breath and propelling himself forwards. The boy immediately shifts, and Eddie, in a split-second, can see smoke seemingly coming from every part of his body, ready to-

The two collided and there was an explosion of light and darkness, and a resonating boom. Eddie cries out, being flung backwards and landing on the ground. He groans, pain shooting through his body and he blinks furiously, but when he looks up all he can see is darkness again, no light at all.

Eddie heaves in a breath, struggling to even produce a flicker of light. From the darkness a laugh sounds, a laugh that sends chills down Eddie’s spine.

“Darkness is my speciality cutie, send your stupid boss my regards-” The boy giggles, and then there was just… silence.

Eddie groans loudly, struggling to his knees and looking up, slowly illuminating the room again. But he was gone, the boy was gone, and so were the folders. Eddie groans again, letting his head hang.

“Lume!” A voice suddenly cries out, and Eddie looks up almost warily to see Bev run towards him with wide eyes.

“Hey Loris,” Eddie breathes out softly, looking up at her. She wore a dark brown skin tight suit, completely different from his bright white suit, that allowed her to keep her full range of abilities. Loris was her hero name, like Luminance was Eddie’s. It was after the animal the slow Loris, as he abilities seemed to match that, and just like the animal, she looked cute and small, but was probably the most deadly of the Losers.

If she managed to get close to you, she would be able to poison you with one bite. A bite that wouldn’t immediately kill, but was dangerous and could be extremely painful.

“What happened?” Bev asks, crouching down. Eddie groans again, carefully standing up. He could see some scrapes and cuts, but apart from that it was fine.

“I’ll tell you during debrief, it’s a long story.” He mutters, looking down at his hand as he slowly creates a dagger. He had learned to do that years ago, so it couldn’t have been his fault. It was something else. He could see Bev staring, but he ignored it, closing his hand and following her.

The rest of Nox had also retreated when they got everything, but they managed to secure a couple of files from them, so it wasn’t a complete failure.

Eddie allowed Bev to take him back to the transport vehicle, and they rode back in silence until they got to the compound.

“What happened out there Eddie?” Bev asks, peeling off her mask, and Eddie removed his glasses as well. Eddie sighs, putting them on the table as the rest of the Losers walked in, all still wearing their uniforms. He ignored the stares he got, as the rest no doubt sensed the tense atmosphere.

Stan walks over to him silently, putting a hand on his shoulder and just looking at him, asking him if he was okay. Eddie smiles softly, shrugging before sighing.

“I ran into someone new today, he was good,” Eddie starts, glancing at the rest of the Losers. Most wore similar outfits, all designed by Beverly of course. Bev, Bill and Stan all had a similar skin tight suit on, but different colours. Bill’s was completely black with white lines over it.

Stan’s was darkish red, almost auburn, with greyish parts. The inner parts of his costume were mostly red, with the darker colour on the sides. The collar was grey, a thin line going from his collar down to the equally darker red belt.  

“Who?” Stan asks, and Eddie shakes his head.

“I have no idea, he didn’t give a name, but he was working for Nox no doubt,” Eddie says, frowning slightly. “He was wearing this long cape with a hood, but he was young, like us. And he was infuriatingly immature. Black curly hair, pale, tall-” Eddie listed, and Mike glances as Bill for a second, who sighs.

“Y-You mean P-Pitch?” He asks, shifting forms until a tall man, or rather boy, was standing in front of them. The serious expression on Bill’s, or Pitch’s face didn’t seem to match his appearance. The unruly black hair was even worse now there was no cape to hide it, and Eddie could see freckles dotted along his nose and cheeks.

“Yeah that’s him, you know him?” Eddie asks, staring at the guy’s face for a little longer before Bill nods, shifting back to his own body. A power that had earned him the name ‘Anyman’ pretty unanimously. Bill walks to the computer that was also in the room. He opens it, typing something in quickly and turning to Eddie to show it. “Get the fuck out-” Eddie exclaims, eyes widening.

On the screen were two figures they were all too familiar with, the leaders of Nox and one of the first publicly known powered people. Their own organisation, Imperium, was a direct response to Nox as they were getting too powerful, and the two organisations had been enemies ever since.

The two people on the screen were Wentworth and Maggie Tozier. The two hadn’t been shy with revealing their true faces, which had pretty quickly led to them discovering their real names. So of course Eddie knew these two, but what he didn’t know was that they apparently had a son.

“We don’t know much about him, he’s only been out on the field for a few months, but he’s good,” Stan frowns, arms over each other.

“Do we know his name?” Eddie asks, but Bill shakes his head.

“Only t-that he goes by PItch-” Bill says softly, and Eddie sits back down, pulling his knee up to his chest.

“And powers?” He frowns, looking down at his own hand and allowing a light dagger to come out of his hands. Because he hadn’t forgotten about the fight with Pitch, and the way his powers just seemed to short circuit around him.

It had been years since he discovered his powers, it had taken him so many hours of training to control it, to figure out what he could do. And he was still learning. It had only been a few months since he figured out he could, if he touched someone, see someone’s hopes, something they truly desired.

And take it away if necessary.

But it had been so long since his powers malfunctioned, especially considering he mastered creating daggers so long ago already. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

“What happened out there Eddie?” Bev asks instead of answering, and Eddie looks up at the rest of the Losers, allowing the light dagger to crumble into little pieces, vanishing before they even hit the ground. Such control, and yet it had meant nothing when he was fighting Pitch.

“My powers malfunctioned-” Eddie says softly, causing the rest of the Losers to frown.

“H-How?” Bill asks, equally confused. “You’ve t-trained for y-years-”

“I know, that’s the thing I don’t understand,” Eddie interrupts, frustration bubbling up inside of him. “We’ve been training for so long. Even before we were found by Imperium, I haven’t had my powers malfunction for months, and certainly not like… this.” Eddie almost whines, huffing slightly.

“What do you mean?” Bev asks, sitting down next to Eddie. The boy glances up at her, but just for a second before he looked down at his hands again, taking an almost shaky breath.

“Nothing worked when I was near him, even my daggers just-” Eddie starts, conjuring another dagger and then letting it vanish. “Vanished.” He emphasised his words, knowing the Losers were watching his daggers.

“Maybe it's because you’re opposites?” Ben asks softly, walking over to Bev and sitting down next to her, wrapping an arm around her. Bev smiles lazily, leaning into him, patting his chest endearingly. Ben probably had the most straightforward powers of the Losers; Super strength.

Which had led to an equally straightforward name; Brawn.

But the powers was something the Losers, but especially Bev, exploited often. Bev loved riding on Ben’s back when they walked around the compound, or around their own homes. And it wasn’t just super strength either, his skin was also near indestructible, and not much could penetrate his skin.

Stan was the one teamed up with Ben the most, as they could use each other’s power the best. Stan’s powers weren’t as pronounced as the others, but still equally as dangerous to their enemies. Stan’s hearing, eyesight and all senses were amplified to an incredible level, making him really valuable to the team.

He couldn’t exactly fly, but he could hover in the air, glide forwards using air streams. And Ben was an excellent way to get up high enough to do so. His nails, both on his feet and hands, could extent at will, resembling sharp claws that could easily cut through skin if they wanted to.

His claws so sharp, and being one of the few things that they had discovered could harm Ben’s skin.

And being the bird enthusiast himself, he hadn’t given himself the most obvious name like Hawk or Eagle; but he had eventually settled on Osprey.

“It could be possible, maybe you cancel each other out. Light and darkness.” Stan speaks up, and Eddie gnaws at his lip, shrugging slightly. 

“Pitch had the same problem, his powers malfunctioned as well,” Eddie supplies. ”It just felt weird guys, different.”

“Different h-how?” Bill frowns, looking at Eddie with concern. It was at times like these that they realised just how little they knew about powers in general. All they knew was from their own, and Imperium’s, limited research on their powers. But everyone’s power was different, reacted differently.

After near 20 years they had experience with teaching people control over their own powers, but in the end it was all the person themselves who had to figure it out. And it had been a lot of trial and error. They still didn’t even know what caused their powers exactly, but it was no coincidence that it had something to do with Derry.

Wentworth and Maggie were born in Derry, and the 6 Losers had grown up in that town as well. But other people with powers had popped up all over the country, mostly in concentrated areas. Their team was still looking into that, but so far they had come up with virtually nothing.

“It didn’t feel like it was malfunctioning. My powers worked, just not on Pitch,” Eddie explains. “And it wasn’t like fire versus water, there was this barrier or something-”

“Like your powers didn’t even connect with each other?” Mike asks, voice steady as always. He wore a jacket with black sleeves and a brownish yellow on the front, and equally black pants and boots. The equally brownish yellow animal logo was printed on his right sleeve, as a reminder of his powers.

He could summon the spirits of animals, not transform into them but summon their spirits so he was known to the world as Spirit.

Eddie nods at the question. “It didn’t just malfunction, it just wouldn’t hit.” Eddie affirms,

“I’ll see if the research team has any idea.” Mike murmurs, wrapping his arms over each other.

“Thanks Mike,” Eddie smiles softly, and Mike nods. “Should we just go back to debriefing? Pitch got away with the files, and I don’t know what was on there.” Eddie says, and the rest of the Losers nod, getting back to work.

*

*

*

“I see you were successful,” His dad draws out, literally looking down at him. Richie’s expression remains stoic, nodding as he stood rigid in front of his father.  

“I was sir.” He says, handing one of the servants the files, so he could take it to his father. Wentworth Tozier was sitting in front of him, next to his mom Maggie, but he couldn’t call either of them that, it was either sir, ma’am or the names they had chosen for themselves when they started Nox.

Algos and Statera.

His father narrowed his eyes when he didn’t elaborate, and Richie can only swallow thickly before pain intensifies in the back of his head. Richie stifles a yell, unable to suppress a wince but he remains seated, unmoving as much as possible. The pain only lasts for moments, until it disappears again.

Richie gasps softly, steadying himself and looking up at his father.

“I ran into one of the heroes Sir, we fought-”

“And got injured.” Wentworth interrupts him, disappointment clear on his face. Richie sighs, knowing there was no way to hide it. His father could sense the pain someone was feeling, and could no doubt feel the pain lingering in his head, and if he wanted to, amplify that pain to unimaginable levels.

The only thing holding him back right now was age, even though he was still relatively long. And it was also the reason why both his parents wouldn’t go out in the field again. Which is also part of the reason why they pushed Richie so hard to be ready on the field, carry out their legacy.

“I did, he was good.” Richie says softly.

“And you’re supposed to be better Richard,” Maggie huffs in annoyance, shaking her head. Richie gnaws at his lip and Maggie narrows her eyes, looking at him. “You are hiding something from us.” She states, and Richie only bites down harder. Because he had hoped that he could hide this from them.

He had no idea how his parents were going to react if he told them he failed, that he was weak. But he also knew that lying would be even worse, he learned that one the hard way.

“My powers malfunctioned around the boy I fought, Luminance was his name-”

“What do you mean malfunctioned?” Maggie hisses, and Richie knew he would’ve shit his pants if he hadn’t grown up with them. They may think that his father was the leader, but it was his mom that called the shots, sat back and directed anyone on the board, like a Queen in the game of chess.

The most powerful of the players, protecting the king.

“Luminance has some kind of light powers, it was like they cancelled my powers out. He had the same problem.” Richie spoke, as stoic as he could, because he knew all too well how much his parents despised it when he showed too much emotion.

“Interesting-” His father draws out, glancing to the right to look at one of his advisors Mr. Hockstetter, father of Patrick. One of the few people in the organisation that didn’t have an alternative name, largely because he wasn’t out in the field like the rest of them, didn’t even have a superpower apart from his knowledge.

Mr. Hockstetter frowns, turning back to Richie.

“There is a legend-” He starts, looking up and down, and Richie has to suppress a scowl, or even a witty comeback, but he knew better than to do that. He turns back to his parents. “I will have to do more research sir, but I think I have an idea.” He says, and Wentworth nods, waving him away.

Unlike his son, Mr. Hockstetter could be considered sane, and was evidently incredibly wary of Richie’s parents.

Mr. Hockstetter bows politely, leaving the room, no doubt to go to his office. Richie listens to him leave, but his eyes were focused on his father. He sighs, finally looking down at the files in his hand that Richie had managed to steal. He looks up at Richie, before he sighs, picking up the files and handing it to the woman next to him.

Richie frowns, biting his tongue to keep himself from asking why this random woman needed the files. The woman, Febris, grabbed the files from his father, looking pleased with herself. Richie hated her so much, ever since she came to them now a little over a year ago. She was a large donor, and her powers earned her a spot at the top.

A position she had more than often abused to get what she wanted, but Richie had no idea what she truly wanted from them, from Nox. His parents knew, but they wouldn’t tell him because when did they ever tell him anything? He was their son, but he wasn’t special because of it.

And he had no idea what she needed with the files the city stored on known superheroes.

“Enough?” Wentworth asks, and Febris looks up at Richie, scowling at him, because of course she was.

“For now-” She huffs, closing the files again.

“You are dismissed Richard,” His mom spoke, and Richie nods, bowing for a second before leaving the stuffy room.