"You look like someone I used to know," the guy with the metal arm says.
Chase blinks at him, confused. "Wasn't I dead?" he asks. He's pretty sure he was. Caleb's power doubled and Chase had been too slow, too overconfident, and it burned -
The guy chuckles. "I'm pretty sure we can't die, actually." His grin is dark and dangerous. "Believe me, kid. I'd know."
Chase just shakes his head. "Whatever," he mumbles. His head hurts. His whole body hurts.
"Well, now that I found you," the guy muses, settling back in a crouch, tilting his head to study Chase, "what do I do with you?" He chews on his bottom lip for a moment.
It’s only then that Chase realizes what he’s been seeing for the last minute, since his eyes opened and he was alive.
“Holy fuck, you’re me,” he says, sitting up, power thrumming through him in a panic.
And the guy is. Older, darker hair, and a gleaming metal arm – but Chase’s eyes, and Chase’s smirk, and his goddamned cheekbones, what the fucking fuck.
“Calm down, punk,” his double-with-the-metal-arm says. “You’re not crazy. I’m pretty sure my dad was your great-uncle or something.” He flicks his non-metal hand in a dismissive wave. “Not what’s important right now.” He stands up smoothly, like a cat uncoiling, and Chase swallows his fear. “C’mon,” the guy says, holding out the non-metal hand. “Let’s get out of the rain before that punkass comes back.”
Chase is pretty sure he’s hallucinating. He’s also pretty sure he was dead, so he has no idea what’s going on.
What the hell. Someone who looks like him but older and with a thousand miles of bad road behind him is smirking at him, that smirk he was wearing when he beat the shit out of Caleb. But he doesn’t feel like a threat. Not to Chase.
“And if Caleb does come back?” he asks, meeting those eyes he knows, inside out and all the way down.
The smirk darkens, like a wolf baring his teeth. Chase’s power thrums, deep in his bones, purring. “Then I’ll kill him and it’ll be a shame because you’ll never get what’s rightfully yours.”
Chase reaches up for his hand. “What’s your name?”
“James,” he says, pulling Chase to his feet. “And you’re Chase, unless you’d like a new name for a new life.”
“Can we worry about that after the world quits shaking?” Chase mutters, because the change in altitude really didn’t help anything.
“Yeah, kid,” James says, laughing softly. “We’ve got a lot to talk about, but it can wait till after you’ve slept.”
Chase doesn’t want to fall asleep. He’ll wake up and be dead, and a failure, and so fucked up…
James scoops him up, holding him bridal-style, and Chase is so tired, so worn-out, he doesn’t have anything in him left to protest with.
So he rests his head on James’ shoulder and lets it all go.
Chase wakes up in a bed and a guy with a metal arm, who looks likes him plus half a decade, is smirking at him, chair tilted back on two legs.
He’s not dead, and he feels completely rested, and his power is still purring.
“James,” he says, sitting up.
“Chase,” James says back. “Or, kid-formerly-known-as-Chase. Whichever.”
“Chase, for now,” Chase tells him.
James smirks, a darker, far scarier version of his own smirk, and Chase feels the world looking up.