Jim finished polishing Phee's fire-sticks and laid them neatly on the rack by her changing station, before heading back out into the fading sunlight for a last breath of fresh air before the show. He didn't want to hear Sinestro yelling at the civilian for sneaking around, and he did not envy Sera for initiating that.
Wandering off in no direction in particular, he found himself in one of the practice yards, where the Aerialist, Des, had set up her silks on a tall flagpole. Jim watched, entranced for a little while, as she seemed to float through the air, tinged gold in the setting sun. Her pale skin, and startling eyes caught the light as she spotted him and landed lightly on the ground.
"What is it?" She asked, her voice soft.
"Just going through my rounds," Jim said casually, flashing her a grin. "Do you need anything repaired or polished before the show? Need your silks ironed?"
"Dyed, perhaps," she said, almost to herself, fingering the cloth.
Jim smiled and pulled a scrap of cloth from his belt. "Pick a color, any color." He waved his hand over the cloth, and began pulling the chain of colored scarves from inside his clenched fist, a simple illusion, but it did the trick, and the girl smiled faintly, her lips making the perfect bow shape.
Jim must have stared for half a second too long, because Des quickly turned away and wrapped her arms up in her silks, and floated off again. Turning away from the act, Jim tucked the scarves back into his belt, and headed back towards the main complex.
By the time he got to the big top, Sinestro had really worked himself up into a rant.
"You think you can come in here, and threaten the safety of my operation!" Sinestro shouted. Jim snuck towards the gap in the curtains, and peeked in to see the civilian, just a boy really, no older than Jim, trembling before Sinestro and the benefactor, Thanos.
Then, something miraculous happened. Thanos reached out and tapped Sinestro on the shoulder, and Sinestro went silent.
"Perhaps he can be of use." Then Thanos reached out, and touched the civilian on the shoulder, and he went limp, collapsing in the sawdust in the center of the ring.
Jim withdrew from the curtain as the two men came backstage, and quickly made himself busy polishing Seraphina's fire sticks once again, keeping his eyes on his work, and barely glancing up as they passed.