"Shaw!" "Oh my god!" "No!"
To everyone's surprise, but especially Shaw's, a gust of wind swept down the mineshaft and caught the man before he could fall to his death. His eyes were wide with fear and surprise when he landed safely on the ancient elevator platform in the middle of the shaft. Ben's voice broke the stunned silence that had descended. "Are you all right, Dad?"
"I'm fine, Son," Patrick answered reassuringly as all eyes went to the father and son. The former was just straightening up, wiping his forehead with a handkerchief. "It's been awhile and I haven't kept in shape like I should have."
Abigail was the first to find her voice. "You're a super, Patrick?"
"I was a super," he answered, his voice bitter as he tucked his handkerchief back into his pocket. "Thanks to the government, I'm not anymore."
Abigail remained near Ben as Patrick watched the others jump onto the elevator platform one by one. The treasure hunter watched his father, shaking his head sadly. "All they ever wanted to do was help people and they repaid them by suing them."
"He was Windstorm, wasn't he?" Abigail asked softly as Riley made the jump, flailing a little on the edge of the platform.
A gesture from Patrick gave Riley enough of a nudge to stumble safely onto the elevator platform. Ben glanced at Abigail and nodded. "Yeah, he was Windstorm."
"Come on, Abigail, you next." Patrick held his hand out to her and she took it.
Looking up at him, she squeezed his hand and whispered, "Thank you for rescuing my father when you were a super."
She jumped onto the platform before he could respond. Ben followed her soon after, and Patrick jumped last of all. With everyone aboard, the ancient elevator began its descent.
"Ben, do you mind if I ask you a question?" Abigail made the request a few months after they'd found the Templar Treasure. Between requests for guest appearances at museum exhibit openings, they'd taken time to have a picnic lunch by the brook that trickled across the property that had come with the house Ben had bought.
He swallowed his bite of fried chicken, blue-gray eyes glinting playfully. "You technically just asked me a question, but you can ask another one."
"Smartass." She swatted his shoulder with a fond smile. "I was wondering if you could tell me what powers you have."
Ben gave her a wary look as he finished the drumstick and put the bone in the trash bag they'd brought out with them. The fact that one of his parents had superpowers didn't necessarily mean that Ben had them, too. Instead of responding directly to her question, he asked instead, "What makes you think I even have powers?"
"Please, Ben, it was very well-known that Windstorm had a thing with Spitfire." She rolled her eyes and patted his arm after putting her watermelon rind in the trash bag. "If she's not your mom, I'll eat my hat."
He made a point of looking around them. All that remained of their picnic lunch beside the brook was the picnic basket with their trash bag inside and the blanket they'd spread on the grass. "You're not wearing a hat. You didn't even bring one with you."
"That's beside the point," she replied, closing the picnic basket and pointing a finger at him, blue eyes dancing with amusement. "And you're avoiding the question, Mister."
Ben gave her an innocent look, even as he inwardly mused that she was very beautiful with her eyes dancing like that and the breeze tugging at her ponytail. "What was the question again?"
"I know your memory isn't that bad," Abigail smiled indulgently, obviously more amused than annoyed. "I understand if you don't want to tell me, but I can't help being curious."
He remained quiet for several moments, debating whether it would be wise to share something so private when he'd really only known her for a few months. Still, she already knew about his dad and hadn't said a word about him being Windstorm, even though she'd had plenty of chances. Nodding to himself, he said, "Well, I could show you."
An eager smile spread across her face, lighting it up. "Would you? Please?"
"Since you said 'please', I suppose I could." Ben couldn't resist teasing her.
Before she could retort a large globe of water, glinting in the shadow-dappled sunlight from the trees overhead, floated up from the nearby brook. Abigail watched, blue eyes shining with delight and awe, as the globe 'danced' over to them. Hesitantly, her face full of wonder, she reached out to touch the globe. Just as her fingertips brushed the surface of the water, the globe collapsed, drenching them both. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to puncture it."
"No, it's not your fault," Ben told her, sheepishly pushing his soaked hair back from his face. "It's mine. You were just so beautiful, with that expression on your face that I lost my concentration and that's what made the globe collapse like that."
Abigail blushed as she pulled the rubber band out of her hair, shaking out the wet strands. "I'm flattered that I was able to make you lose your concentration."
"You'll always be able to do that," he told her seriously, cupping her cheek with one hand.
She gazed up at him, completely speechless. His expression tender, Ben lowered his head to kiss her, sweet and soft.
"Ben, aren't you a hydromancer?" Abigail yelled over the thunder of the water as they gathered around the altar. "Can't you do something?"
He looked around and shook his head, blue-gray eyes regretful. "It's too much water and there's nowhere for it to go."
"So you told Abigail about your powers, but not me?" Riley demanded, looking hurt.
Patrick rested a hand on Riley's shoulder. "This isn't the time to discuss it, Riley."
"Ben, can you sense where this is all going out?" Emily asked her son.
He closed his eyes, tuning out everything except the water. After a few tense moments, he opened his eyes and nodded. "It's underneath us. We have to climb down."
"Trust in your powers, Ben," his mother whispered, kissing his cheek. He smiled and nodded, following her down underneath the altar.
Once Mitch and Ben opened the door to the drainage tunnel, Patrick used his powers to keep it open, even when the two younger men faltered a little. His face showing the strain of his efforts, he told them, "Everyone, go!"
"Pat..." Emily hesitated at his side, her eyes soft as she gazed up at him.
His reassuring smile was more of a grimace. "Go, Em. I'll be all right."
Once the others were through, Ben made Mitch go through before him. Now, with just Ben and Patrick left, the younger man asked, "Ready, Dad?"
"Ready, Son." Patrick braced himself, but he still cried out when Ben let go of the mechanism, the full weight of the stone slab bearing down on the cushion of air he was using to keep it up.
Ben didn't waste time: he dove and used his powers to propel himself through the water, right to his father. Just as Patrick's control of the air gave way, his son crashed into him, propelling both of them out from under the descending stone slab, which fell with a resounding splash. "Pat!"
"Ben!" With some flailing and splashing, both Gates men got their feet under them. Abigail clung to Ben as he leaned back against the wall, catching his breath. "You're okay. You're alive."
Emily likewise pressed close to Patrick, her relief that he was alive almost palpable. He rested his cheek against her damp hair with a sigh. "I'm all right, Em."
"I didn't know the Gates family was a family of supers as well as treasure hunters," Mitch commented quietly after a few moments.
Ben chuckled weakly, stroking Abigail's hair gently. "It's not exactly something we'd shout from the rooftops."
"Even before the Super Rehabilitation Program, we didn't announce our non-super identity," Emily added, eyeing Mitch distrustfully.
Patrick's glance encompassed not only Mitch, but also Abigail and Riley. "So we'd very much appreciate it if all of you kept this information to yourselves."
"I haven't said anything yet and I have no intention of saying anything at all," Abigail replied with a reassuring smile, her arms tightening around Ben.
Riley grinned weakly. "I have no reason to spill the beans. It's not as cool to tell women that your best friend can do something, but not yourself."
"You'll find your own way of impressing the ladies, Riley," Patrick told the young man with a chuckle.
All eyes went to Mitch now, who smirked. "I won't say anything as long as I get credit for finding Cíbola."
"You will," Ben replied before any of the others could say anything.
Mitch nodded. "Then your secret's safe with me."