Eric sent a wave of water her way, and Katie grinned as she deflected it to either side of her. She caught it before it splashed over the edge and re-directed it back into the pool. It looked funny, washing up against a wall that wasn't there and sliding down.
Water was easy to work with, and kind of fun. Eric liked sand better; Katie had seen him spend hours shaping it into fantastic castles with spiral spires and arching doors. The best she could do was an untidy, vaguely castle-shaped mound. But then, she couldn't make a sandcastle even with her hands. Maybe it carried over.
Water was different, though. You didn't have to shape water, just guide it where you wanted it to go. Katie was the best at it. She could make it do all kinds of things like shoot up in geysers or spin into huge whirlpools. Not that she could do things like that here at their apartment pool. Even keeping the water from splashing out too much was pushing their luck, if any of their parents caught them using their abilities too publicly. But their parents weren't around right now, just Mrs. M, and she was engrossed in her book (and she didn't mind if they used their powers, as long as they weren't too flashy about it and didn't splash her).
That had been the deal: no powers at all at school or in public. At home they could use them for small thing like pushing their glasses up or turning the pages of their books. And on Saturdays...Saturdays were fun. On Saturdays they were allowed to cut loose, to really push their powers to their limits. Katie could already lift almost twenty pounds. The boys had a little bit of a competition going. Right now Dale was ahead: he could lift twenty-three pounds, a half pound more than Eric.
"Too bad we can't lift more," said Dale, echoing her thoughts. She wasn't sure if he'd read her mind or he was just thinking along the same lines. That happened a lot.
"Why?" she asked. Twenty pounds was pretty good, she thought. It was more than enough to get things down from the high kitchen shelves at home without a stool.
"Day after tomorrow we get to go see the Main School, right?" She nodded. They were going to see it for the first time, and stay there for a full month. Katie felt a fizzy, butterfly feeling in her stomach whenever she thought about it. "Well, if we could lift more, instead of taking a plane, we could just fly ourselves there."
"Fly?" She gawked at him.
"Sure," he said. "We can lift water or sand or rocks with our power. Why not ourselves?"
The others gathered around him. "It sounds dangerous," said Kerri calmly. "If you lost concentration, you could fall."
"True, but once you can lift enough weight, things that weigh less are easy," Dale pointed out.
"We're a long way from lifting that much," said Eric.
"Only if you take us separately," said Katie. "I bet we could do it if we worked together, though," she added musingly. She looked up to find the others staring at her. "We can lift more combined than we can by ourselves, right?" The last time they'd tried, they'd lifted over a hundred pounds. A sudden excitement flickered through her at the thought.
"Kerri's the smallest," said Eric.
Kerri shook her head. She didn't speak, but they could all feel her nervousness.
"I'll do it," said Katie. "I'm almost as small as Kerri." The other three nodded.
And you were the one who found us, she caught Eric's thought, so you should get to go first.
Katie considered for a minute, then swam to the edge and climbed out. She walked over to the diving board and walked to the very end, until her toes were off the edge. It wasn't a high dive, just an ordinary diving board. Katie nodded down at the others.
Dale looked at Eric. "I'll get her left leg," he said. "You take her right. Kerri, you lift under her arms. On the count of three...One. Two. Three!"
Katie felt a jolt as she lifted several inches into the air. It was more scary than fun. Her legs were held fast, but she wobbled back and forth at the waist, feeling like she would fall at any moment. She reached out with her power to steady herself, and suddenly felt Kerri's strength supporting her own, giving her something to lean against as she held herself up.
Still, it wasn't really flying - she was just being held up. She thought of the cheerleaders she'd seen practicing when she walked past the high school, the girls balancing on the boys' hands. "Okay," she said. "You can put me down, now."
It was a mistake. Dale let her go at once, Eric tried to lower her gradually, and Kerri couldn't compensate fast enough. Katie twisted and fell forward into a belly flop, coming up moment later and choking a little.
"Katie! Are you okay?" Kerri's voice was more worried than Katie had ever heard it.
"I'm fine," she gasped. "Just got water up my nose. I'm okay."
"We'd better not try that again, at least not without one of the Teachers," said Kerri.
But Katie shook her head. "I have an idea," she said. The way Kerri's power had worked with her own had made her think of it. She reached out and touched the back of Dale's hand. The other two reached out touched the back of his other hand. They'd all learned how to talk to each other with their minds, but only Dale could hear what other people were thinking, just as only Katie could talk to animals, only Kerri could see in the dark (and other wavelengths, they'd discovered, like ultraviolet) and only Eric could understand other languages when people spoke them to him.
Dale was also the only one that could act as a conduit, so that they could all hear each others' thoughts at once. Now that they were all touching him, Katie could feel the link snapping into place between the four of them, feel each of their minds, individually and together.
Now, she thought. And she thought about how she lifted a stone or a weight, how she would decide to lift it, and it would just rise into the air. She imagined her own body doing just that. The others were doing the same thing, she felt.
Then, as one, they let the power flow through them, through her. Katie closed her eyes and let her legs float up, let her body float up parallel to the water so that she could still keep her fingers on the back of Dale's hand. She was the one controlling it this time, the others just lending her the strength she needed.
Looking down, she saw the water beneath her. A sudden jolt of excitement coursed through her body, and she could feel it echoed by the others. She was really doing it. She was flying!
She grinned and looked up...to see Mrs. M looking over the edge of her book, her eyes wide and delighted. Katie giggled and, with the others' help, lowered herself back into the water. She stopped touching Dale's hand, feeling the link between the four of them dissolve.
The others were grinning at her.
"Oh man," said Eric. "This is gonna be the best summer ever!"