Vince had been heavily injured before; it was a memory that was complex for him due to the other person involved in it. He had some idea of what to expect. Crippling pain, a ripping sensation through his muscles, and numbness that possibly would be there forever, these were all what should have come when the table landed on him.
As he cautiously opened an eye and examined the now largely-crumbled table next to him, he realized that none of that had or would be happening. He felt fine; it was as if the table had barely even touched him. Chad was staring down, his face aghast at the injury he had to believe he’d just caused. If he noticed the confusion on Vince’s face, it didn’t show in his own horror. Luckily, someone else definitely noticed, and that person sprang into immediate action.
“Nice catch, Mary,” Nick said, bounding out of his seat and putting himself between Vince and Chad. Things were calm for the moment, but with topics as sensitive as what they’d been dealing with, a return or an escalation was always possible. No, this situation needed to be guided to resolution and it needed to get there fast.
“Huh?” Mary said, looking at him dumbly from her seat. She, like the others, had been too swept up in the sudden show to fully register everything that was happening. Nick gave her a fierce glare and she snapped back to reality, quickly reading his mind to get a handle on the plan.
“So eloquent when you're concentrating,” Nick continued. “Still, it was impressive. I was right by him and I could see you had less than an inch of distance between Vince and the table when you caught it.”
“I didn’t have much time,” Mary said, playing along at last. The looks of uncertainty on the faces of their peers were slowly shifting to understanding. Of course Mary had caught it; she was an incredibly powerful telekinetic, she could make that kind of save.
“Now, as for you,” Nick said, turning to Chad. “I think you should leave.”
“I’m... I wasn’t... I didn’t-”
“I have no doubt you didn’t mean to almost cripple my friend or smash the birthday girl’s head, but you damn near came close regardless of intention. You were lucky we had a private room so no normal people were around to see it. You’re the guy whose power is control, so how about using some of it and walking away from a situation where you know you can’t keep a cool head?”
Shane appeared at his friend’s side and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Nick is right. Vince isn’t going anywhere. You can finish this later, when you’re calm.”
Chad nodded slowly, his eyes still trained on the two fellow students his single action had almost seriously injured. He hadn’t meant to hurt anyone, he’d just felt so... so angry. It had been a long time since his temper had gotten the better of him, and for good reason. When people with his kind of power lost their cool, innocent bystanders almost always got hurt.
“I’m sorry,” Chad said softly. He and Shane headed for the door immediately, followed by a few of their classmates who felt the party was probably over from this point on. Nick waited until they were completely gone before offering his friend a hand up. By the time Vince was on his feet, Stella and Violet had pulled Camille up and were checking her for any injury. As for Camille, her eyes never left Vince as he assured his teammates clustering around him that he was okay. The remaining students began to disperse, understandably not quite in a party mood anymore.
Nick slid away from the concerned crowd mobbing Vince, finding himself standing on the fringe of the group with Alice.
“Some night, huh?”
“Never a dull moment with these guys,” Nick replied.
“You did a good job calming things down.”
“Calm? Things aren’t calmed, they’re just delayed. Chad pretty much just accused Vince of being raised by the most notorious villain in recent history.”
“You’re forgetting something,” Alice pointed out. “Globe is dead. His team killed him after he murdered Intra.”
“That’s the story,” Nick agreed.
“You don’t buy it?”
“I prefer to say I have my doubts. Besides, it would certainly help explain why some random drifter was able to teach Vince to fight so well.”
“I see what you mean. Speaking of seeing, I was at about the same vantage point as you during that fiasco.”
“And I know the table didn’t stop an inch from Vince. It hit him full-force,” Alice said.
Nick turned a curious eye to her. He wondered when his former admirer had gotten so observant. It was certainly a useful trait, but one that could create problems in the future. “Yeah, he took it right in the spine. He should have a broken back right now, yet he looks no worse for the wear except for some bruising on his wrist.”
As Nick spoke Camille plowed her way through the crowd and laid a hand on Vince’s hand. The two shared a look of understanding as the red marks on his wrist in the shape of Chad’s hand began to fade and then disappear entirely.
“What do you think it means? Has he been hiding his abilities from us?”
“Vince couldn’t hide water in the ocean. It’s not who he is. Besides, he was more surprised than we were when this night didn’t end with him in traction,” Nick explained.
“So it’s something new then, like what happened with me?”
“If I were a betting man, and I am, that’s where I’d lay my odds. We can tackle that tomorrow. Right now we should really get him home so he can calm down.”
“He looks fine,” Alice said. Nick smiled inwardly at her words. If she hadn’t noticed the small tremors in Vince’s hands or the nervous way he was licking his lips then her observation skills were still at a manageable level.
“Trust me, he’s putting on a brave front. We need to get him home.” With that, Nick stepped forward and began herding the crowd with kind words and frequent assurance. He gave his apologies to the birthday girl but was insistent that they all head out. Some were electing to stay and keep the party rolling, however Nick spared his people from obligation with excuses, false commitments, and just the right amount of guilt. It took nearly ten minutes, but in the end, all of Team One was heading toward their respective dorms, an uncharacteristically silent Vince left alone to unwind in the back of Nick’s car.
That was the end of their party. For two of them, it was not quite yet the end of their night.