Trials: Part Six

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Jude paced around the new house silently. It certainly was nice, fully furnished with actually decent furniture. Two stories and a finished basement, two bedrooms upstairs, two on the main floor, and one downstairs. There was even a home gym in the basement. He gathered that they really didn’t want him leaving the house if he didn’t have to.

He stared down at his ankle and saw the black band. They’d told him they’d be observing all of his outings, and he had to notify them to go off of the property. He still had his car, but they encouraged him to walk. After all, why wouldn’t he? Everything he needed was within walking distance. He wondered if this would be a new start for him. He could get fit again, maybe get his degree.

He found himself sitting on his bed upstairs, looking at the pamphlets for care homes for Deven. There were three, one in Atlanta, one in Houston, and one in New York. They advertised themselves as supernormal ready care homes. Jude supposed this made sense, since the green light didn’t discriminate, there would naturally be some people with supernormal powers that needed care, and normal care homes wouldn’t really be capable of handling someone who could destroy the building.

He quickly ruled out the New York and Houston ones, as he felt he needed to at least visit Deven if he was going to keep his promise to Jamal. He contemplated just how much weight his promise held. Jamal was a criminal after all, then again, he wasn’t necessarily a bad guy. One of Jude’s friends, who he still believed was a good guy, was doing ten years for a robbery, simply because he fell on hard times. Jamal was hitting only big banks, and only fought when cornered.

He glanced down at some boxes in his room. A stack of them were labelled ‘Comics’. Jude sighed. He had hoped superhero morality would be more along the lines of his comics, where there was a clearcut bad guy, and the good guy stopped him. Crime was simply always wrong, and whenever someone stepped out of line, they were then one of the bad guys until they came back around. Sure they wrote more complex stories sometimes, but Jude always loved the simpler ones, because they gave him hope that one day the bad guys would lose, and everything would be good again.

Jude looked back down at the pamphlet. He pondered what Agent Daniels had said about Deven, how he would be deployed on missions still. He wondered how they would treat such a malleable person with such great power. Deven was a military’s wet dream, tough, strong, and does what you say. Jude didn’t know much about the DSR, and honestly wasn’t quite sure if he should trust them. This was certainly an arc he’d seen go badly before. A hero joins an agency and trusts them, then finds out that the agency is the bad guy, and has to fight them.

Jude had also learned at a young age to never trust the government. He learned the law was to be feared and obeyed to the letter. That could’ve just been a thing for his hometown, but he had his doubts.

Jude decided to reframe the issue. He wondered how he would feel if Paul was taken in by the agency with nobody else to look out for him. He felt certain they would lock him in a room and have him predict the future 24/7. He couldn’t let them do that to Paul, and he knew what to do.

He pulled out his phone and called Agent Daniels. It rang for a moment and went to voicemail.

“Hey, Agent Daniels, this is Jude. I’ve decided I’ll take care of Deven myself. There will be no need to have him put in a home. I made a promise to take care of him, and I’m gonna keep it.” He hung up the phone, satisfied.

He was about to go to Deven’s room to discuss dinner plans, when he heard the doorbell ring. He ran down the stairs, and answered the door. It was almost dark outside. A man and a teenager stood on the stoop. The teenager held a foil pan.

“Hey, I’m Guillermo Rodriguez, and this is Zoey, my daughter.” He smiled and patted her back. “We live in the house next door,” he gestured towards their house, “and Zoey told me someone moved in, so we thought we’d make you some food as a welcoming gift!”

“Oh, wow, thanks!” Jude smiled. He thought about calling Deven over, but thought it would be best if he didn’t scare the neighbors this soon. “I’m Jude by the way.” He shook Guillermo’s hand

Jude heard loud footsteps behind him, followed by a voice. “I’m Deven.”

Jude supressed a sigh and stepped aside, so they could see Deven. He wasn’t going to introduce him, but trying to hide it would only make it worse now.

“Oh my god, are you guys supers?” Zoey asked, before Guillermo put his hand up.

“Zoey! That’s rude.” He turned back to Jude. “Please forgive her, she just got excited.”

“No, it’s fine, don’t worry about it.” Jude smiled at them. “We are supers, actually.”

“Wait a second… Are you Dayspring?” Zoey’s eyes widened.

Jude sighed, but covered it up with a laugh. There was no hiding it, he had face recognition. “Yup, that’s me.”

“That’s so cool! I have so many questions!” Zoey was again cut off by her father.

“Well, Zoey, I’m sure they’re tired from the move. Maybe another time. Why don’t you give him the lasagna.” He turned back to Jude again, as Zoey passed off the still warm tray. “Well Jude and Deven, I’ll let you get back to whatever you were doing. It’s a pleasure to meet you, and don’t hesitate to come over if you need anything.”

“Will do. Thank you for the food.” Jude smiled as they walked back off towards their own house. Jude waited for a second, then closed the door.

Jude placed the pan on the dining room table, and breathed in the scent. It smelled and looked delicious, and he was definitely hungry. “Alright, Deven, do you want any?”

“Sure.” Deven meandered into the dining room, and sat on a chair.

Jude remarked at the sturdiness of the furniture here. Deven broke at least two chairs at the Smith mansion when he moved in, so clearly the DSR put special thought into their accommodations. Jude grabbed a couple of plates, glasses, and forks, which he had saved from his apartment with Paul, and set the table. Sure enough, the lasagna tasted as good as it smelled. Jude felt like this might actually be amenable.



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