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Nick awoke with a cry, realizing that all the world was at stake.

Or at least, all of his world.

Or at least, this exam.

This exam wasn't the world, but it was the next thing to it. He had somehow slept right through his alarm buzzing and almost all the way to noon, leaving him running terribly late. That really wouldn't do. Nick Hernandez was never late.

He rushed up out of bed, a part of him remarking that it was odd that he'd tossed off all his blankets in the night but wasn't feeling cold in the slightest. Arizona nights were usually much chillier. Nor could he even see his blankets, which might be an issue later that night but for now paled in comparison to the fact that he needed to be out the door as quickly as was humanly or inhumanly possible.

He might have considered his priorities a bit differently if he'd known that his blankets were scattered around the dorm room as ashes floating in the air. Then again, this was a very important exam, and he probably wouldn't have.

First thing on the agenda was breakfast. He rushed to the fridge, almost gliding, and threw it open. There was some milk, and there was some cereal up on top. He'd just have a quick bowl and then-

Actually... no. Nick Hernandez knew the importance of a balanced breakfast, and would have pestered Jackson to no end to make sure he got at least something to eat, but there were things more important than filling your body with material sustenance. This exam was one of them.

Besides which, he really wasn't that hungry. Weird. He usually was. He might have considered his priorities a bit differently if he'd known that he wasn't hungry because the cells in his body no longer required material sustenance to keep him alive. Then again, this was a very important exam, and he probably wouldn't have stopped to question this.

Next thing on the agenda were his books. He flew to the shelf that held them by instinct, having spent so much time studying through them that moving to them took no thought at all. This was good, because otherwise navigating his new form of living light would have been quite problematic and would have taken him valuable time getting used to.

He rushed to his backpack and began packing it with books, heavy medical texts that usually would have hurt his arms to fling about so hurriedly but today didn't make him break a sweat.

He might have considered his priorities a bit differently if he'd known he was doing this so easily because he had no muscles, and was instead projecting his will upon the universe to move his new arms to grab and carry the books. Then again, this was a very important exam, and the only thing that likely would have bothered him was the fact that his unchecked energy surges were singeing their spines and covers.

The roaring of a motorcycle engine could be heard outside, and Nick rolled his glowing eyes out of habit. Jackson did insist on riding that noisy thing around everywhere, despite the safety hazard it posed to him. Still he barely thought about it as he prepared to rush out the door.

He heard Jackson's voice coming from outside in the hall.

"You awake in there, Nick? You were talking up a storm last night. Had to get out 'cause you were creeping me out a bit."

"Thank you for your concern," Nick said dryly, throwing his backpack on and heading for the door. "But I'm fine. Just have to get out right now for the-"

The door swung open, and the massive, hulking shape of Jackson Bravo filled the frame and blocked the way.

"What are you in a hurry for? Is there—whoa what the hell?!"

His usually stoic roommate was staring at him in complete shock, his jaw dropped halfway to his chest and his eyes as wide as hubcaps. Nick bounced impatiently, wanting past.

"Do you mind? Sorry, but I've got the exam today. I'm kind of trying to-"

"Nick, slow down." Jackson's voice was shaking a little bit, though more out of concern than fear. He calmed himself, becoming firm and methodical. "What... what happened last night?"

"Nothing," Nick said, exasperated and impatient. He was glad his friend was worried about him, but there were limits to how much he could be touched by this today. This was a very important exam, after all.

"Nothing at all," Jackson repeated flatly, looking disbelieving. "'Cause you're..."

"Impatient? I'm just in a hurry!" Nick glared, or did his best to glare. He was never really the best at anything resembling aggresssion. "Look, I'm fine. Maybe a little tired, and maybe I had some kinda weird dreams last night, but right now I absolutely have to get out for this exam."

"Your exam." Jackson rubbed his forehead, his eyes not leaving Nick for a minute. "Um... look. You got the day wrong. You know it's Thursday, right?"

"Thursday?" Now it was Nick's turn to dumbly repeat what he'd just heard. "It... isn't the exam on..."

"The exam's not till next week." Jackon's eyes were still huge. "You're usually better at time than this, but then, you're usually..."

He seemed at a loss for words. Nick breathed a deep sigh of relief, or tried to, because he didn't have lungs. He wiped his brow with a brightly glowing hand.

"Alright. Well, sorry for snapping," he said, laughing hesitantly. "I was just a little freaked out there. Good to know it's just a normal morning."

He paused a moment, frowning at his hand. It was radiant, shining like southwestern sun and gleaming with a striking golden sheen. His eyes went as wide as stethoscopes, and he looked all up and down his body in a panic.

He was entirely made out of golden energy, his old body gone.


It took Jackson a long time to calm his roommate down, but after a couple of hours Nick was prepared to settle down and approach this with a calm and rational mindset. A clinical demeanor, in fact. At the end of the day, he had to realize that existing as a being of pure life force was not going to change his lifestyle terribly much. Not for a great deal longer, at least. For now, he could take his time and grow accustomed to this radical new paradigm.

Then again, he might have considered his priorities a bit differently if he'd known that Jackson was in fact very wrong about the exam's date, and that it was very much on Thursday.