“Tabitha… you got a minute?” John asked as he entered the recreation room. She looked up from her movie and slightly smiled.
“Sure. What’s up?” she asked. He looked at what she was watching and smirked.
“You like black and white movies?”
“I love black and white movies! Actually… I love movies, period. Everything’s so simple in ‘em…”
“So… you’d rather believe in the unrealistic guy goes after girl, guy always gets the girl stuff?”
“Don’t forget that he’s always the hero as well!” she winked at him. It provoked a small laugh and a shake of the head from John.
“I was wondering if you’d be interested in doing a bit of training.” he informed her when he calmed down. She gave him a look.
“What type of training?”
“There’s a young man who has similar powers to yours. I want you to meet him.”
“Oh… you want me to train him! I don’t know… can’t say that I’m a good teacher.”
“Just tell him everything that you know.” he assured her. She thought about the idea and nodded. If it would benefit someone who was in her shoes four years ago, she was willing to help the guy out as much as she could.
Tabitha and John transported themselves to Dakota City, a place located near the border of Indiana and Ohio. The two were immediately greeted by Virgil Hawkins in full gear as Static. His blue with a yellow inside hooded coat flowed in the slight wind, revealing a white shirt with what looked like a black lightning bolt encased in a black circle. There was a broad yellow stripe on the left sleeve a couple of inches above his bicep and the blue sleeves came to large white cuffs that accentuated his grey and black gloves. Even wearing a white mask, Tabitha could see that the guy was actually a teenager. His jet black dreads were much shorter than her best friend’s; while hers were easily down her back, his barely covered his nape. She wondered at first the purpose behind the yellow goggles that sat on top of his head but she figured that they were there to keep his dreads out of his face. The rest of his outfit was simple: black pants and boots that matched his gloves.
He approached the two with a smile on his face, his brown eyes almost shone as he looked at Tabitha. That told her that he knew who she was.
“GL. Always good to see you.” he decided not to address her.
“I was wondering if you had a bit of free time for a little training.” John simply asked. Virgil switched glances from John to Tabitha.
“With Batman’s sidekick? Wow…”
“Guess you know who I am…” she winked at him.
“You’ve been missing from Gotham for a while.”
“Eh; been stuck on Watchtower.”
“You’re finally in the Justice League?” his eyes slightly widened. She could tell that there was a hint of jealousy; the kid must had always wanted to be a part of the faction. She kept her smile and nodded.
“But, I’m fairly new. I don’t know what… GL had in mind as far as training goes so let’s just play this by ear!”
The two were led to what Virgil called the “Abandoned Gas Station of Solitude” (he smiled wider as Tabitha almost giggled uncontrollably at the name); a hideout for himself and his best friend/sidekick Richie Foley. Once inside, she felt more comfortable taking her mask off and listened to how Virgil and a handful of Dakota citizens came to be. She frowned at first when he mentioned his almost involvement with gang members but slightly understood; he was being “helped” trying to take care of an actual bully (she found it ironic that the bully was a member of an opposing gang). The potential gang fight between the two gangs by the docks were interrupted by the police and during the conflict, a shot was fired, releasing a deadly gas in the area; the accident was dubbed the Big Bang. A lot of people were killed from the exposure to the gas; it was designed as a deadly alternative to tear gas. The ones who did survive were forever mutated. After his story, she kindly shared a bit of her own.
“Wow! So, you’re going to teach Static some moves?” Richie asked. His eyes almost mesmerized her, being entirely black; they didn’t really matched his short blond hair. Tabitha smirked and shrugged.
“Not much to teach him, really. If anything, he’s better than me! I only have the basic powers of lightning. I want to learn what he has!” she smiled at Virgil.
“You’re upgrading Watchtower and I’m better? Maybe… we could learn from each other.”
“Sounds like a plan to me!” she winked. Tabitha was about to say something else until she saw in the corner of her eye two people walking in. She immediately jumped to her feet and started to charge up but both Virgil and John stepped in front of her.
“Sorry; forgot to tell you that there are others who know about the hideout! They’re Bang Babies, too.” Virgil explained. She stopped charging up and looked at the two. They didn’t have on any special outfits of any kind and Tabitha concluded that they were there to just visit. A man and a woman; the man was a few inches taller than the woman, able to look almost eye-to-eye with Tabitha. He was slim and almost the same shade as Tabitha, with light chocolate eyes and dark brown hair cut very short. His facial features seemed familiar but Tabitha pushed that to the side as she went to study the woman. She was a bit shorter and full figured, her dark brown hair flowed as long as Tabitha’s own shoulder-length locks. She had some distinctive Hispanic features in her face and her eyes were a hazel-green mixture, almost like a cat’s.
“It’s what the people who were affected by the gas are called.” Richie explained to Tabitha. She nodded as the two approached her.
“Blaze…” the guy introduced himself, sticking his hand out, “Hey, I know you. You’re… Batman’s sidekick; that lightning woman!” he smiled. She slightly blushed and shook his hand.
“Does everyone know about me around here?!”
“It’s not every day Batman gets a sidekick, let alone someone who’s similar to Static! I’m Reign.” the woman introduced herself. Tabitha tilted her head slightly and smiled.
“Blaze and Reign. Let me guess: your powers are fire and water…”
“Close enough. We like to call them Benders; they can manipulate water and fire elements.” Virgil explained. Almost on cue, Reign lifted her hands, focusing on a nearby cup. As her hands moved, so did the water in the cup. She made it swirl into loops around the area and finally froze it in its place. A second later, she made it liquid yet again and go back in the cup. Before Tabitha could be amazed that not a single drop of water was on the ground, Blaze took a meditative stance and immediately created a fire cyclone around himself. In the same manner that Reign had moved her hands, he manipulated the fire away from him and in the air above them, making it spell out his name. With a blink of an eye, the fire dissipated, leaving the lightning woman to gawk at the two.
“Whoa! That was… fucking amazing!”
“Not bad, huh?” Blaze smiled. She was about to return the smile until she studied his. She had seen him somewhere before, the thought rang in her head. Tabitha tried to think of exactly where and immediately thought of the pictures that were all around her best friend’s house.
“Blaze… you look so much like this guy in a picture my friend has. Do you know Jamila Lindsey?” she decided to simply ask. Both Blaze and Reign’s eyes widened a bit at the mention of the professor’s name.
“How… how do you know my sister?” he confirmed. It put a smile on her face; the professor had talked so much about the brother that was shown in the various pictures around the home: she never asked where he was. Studying him more, she realized that she should’ve known sooner; he had the same nose as Jamila, even the same shaped eyes and smile.
“She took me in a while back. She’s… my best friend, now. Does… she know where you’re at?”
“No. She doesn’t even know that I’m married or that we’re Bang Babies…”
“Wait… you two are married?!” her eyes widened. The two laughed a little.
“I know, I know; fire and water don’t mix! We’re an odd couple; kinda found it funny and ironic when we learned about our powers!” Reign laughed.
“How is she? My sister?”
“She’s good. How long has it been since you’ve seen her?”
“It’s been a few years. I try to talk to her every week but after the Big Bang… I just never could call her.” Blaze explained. Tabitha nodded.
“I know how you feel. Took me four years to finally face my family. But I tell you what; it felt really good to see ‘em and talk to ‘em again. She’d understand… trust me…”