neighbours

I try to make it my duty to check on how things are going with the construction and the work to fix up the warehouse into livable quarters. That and at times I find homeless folks who decided that it would make for a good temporary roof. Usually I don’t mind, the homeless folks just settle in one area and while they usually only leave a slight mess, it’s easy to clean up. I really need to work with the construction crew to have them set up fencing all around though. This place is going to be dangerous to walk around without a hard hat on by the time spring comes. Still a couple of months but safety is important.

The last person I found squatting inside wasn’t so much homeless as a runaway teenager and he had tagged the whole of the walls with ugly things. I should have found it funny in a way. That is how Quentin and Yael ended up together but this is my soon to be home, I don’t want the freshly installed walls to be defaced this way. So I kicked him out and I actually drove him back to his parents. They were thankful and he was pissed. The day following that I called in the crew for a brief time in and they set up a perimeter around the place that should keep everyone out but I still feel the need to check every couple of weeks, just to be sure.

I don’t really expecting to find anything inside today, it takes the key to be able to open the way into the working grounds. So when I come up to the gates with the key in hand but find that the lock is off, I look around and I find it. It’s warm in my hand which is a bit strange considering the current weather. It looks like it was burned open. That doesn’t make sense unless someone had a blowtorch in hand and I can’t imagine anyone would be that desperate to get into the place.

I slip inside, close the gate best I can and I find my phone. I could just walk back across to talk to Eoghan but I’m here and I need to find out who managed to find his or her way inside. The phone rings once, twice before he answers, somewhat out of breath and I can’t help but snicker just slightly. I know what he was doing. My number on his phone has a distinctive ring and if it hadn’t been for that he wouldn’t have answered.

“I think we have folks who made it into the grounds. Can you find that double of the lock the construction crew gave us and bring it over when you have a moment? I’m going to be looking in to see who I find.” He sounds a little baffled as he agrees to finding the lock and we hang up. I should take him about fifteen minutes at most to get dressed, find the lock and join me so I just walk to the building and I step inside.

It’s clear inside for the time being because it’s clear out. There is no electricity anywhere yet. Only the bottom most wall all around the building has been done over, it has windows everywhere so there’s ways for the light to poor in.

I stay quiet for a long while, just listening, trying to see where these intruders might just be. The staircases leading to the upper floors aren’t safe and said floors can only be reached from the outside currently so I know they have to be here on the ground floor. I listen again and there I finally hear it, the soft crackle of fire. I know there are a few trash bins around the place and that fire can be started in but what frightens me is that a single wrong move could burn this whole place down.

I move towards the sound, trying to be as quiet as I can be. What I do find baffles me. I don’t know if I was expecting to find an old man with rags for clothes or something but that wasn’t it. No, standing near a small burning fire in one of the trash bins is a pair of young teenagers and a slightly older woman. I don’t need Eoghan with me to know they’re gifted. One of the boys, his hair is half black half red, split almost perfectly so down the middle, is holding onto a small piece of wood and it catches fire in his hand. It doesn’t burn him so I know at least that this is his gift. I don’t know if the other two are gifted but that he is makes him a good candidate for my help if he needs it. His gift also explains the lock.

“Hey, you guys are trespassing here. Now don’t run off, I won’t call the cops, I have no reason to, but this is my property.” The two boys look ready to bolt and run but the woman stands her ground. She utters a few words in a language I’m not overly familiar with and the second boy, his hair seems to match the one with fire but it’s blue, split in the middle. He douses the fire with water and that makes two out of three. I can’t help but laugh and I laugh a little harder at the woman’s startled look.

“I have to assume you use this trick to usually frighten most folks. That won’t work on me, I’m gifted too and I sort of make it one of my few priorities to protect people like me since I know how poorly we’re usually treated by the world at large.” I see her shoulder sag a little but she shivers and I finally notice that none of them are really dressed for the weather. I step closer but I still stop a step away.

“Lex?” He calls out from a small distance and I call him back my way. Well, our way and when he stops at my side he cants his head. I smile at him just lightly. The twins, their names are Agni and Mira, are huddling a little together but they did get the fire going again, it’s small and controlled. Zora, their older sister, still looks a little uncertain and doubly so at Eoghan’s presence. I don’t blame her, if she’s been protecting them since they were toddlers.

“Isn’t the apartment on the east side of the building empty? The one with the two bedrooms? I’m aware three would better but we don’t have any that aren’t in use at this point.” He looks at me with his head canted and I briefly explain what I learned from the trio while I was waiting for him to join me.

He looks them over and his lips quirk slightly. He can better pinpoint their gifts as they truly are, I suppose having him at my side in a permanent way, even if I didn’t love him, is a plus for me. “Well this place isn’t ready yet, otherwise I think they could have one of the apartments here once they’re ready-“

“We can’t afford any rent-” she cuts him of but I shake my head and chuckle again.

“This is something we do for the rare gifted ones we see, especially the ones who need it. Don’t worry about it.”

“But I do think that yes, the apartment on the east side of the building is currently empty of tenants though it is fully furnished. How about you guys come with us and we’ll see about getting a roof over your heads? We have a friend who has more fruits and vegetables than he knows what to do with and that will just leave you with getting some meat.” Eoghan is like that, he’s just giving and giving.

I smile at them again as the twins ease closer slightly, uncertain but willing to be warm. As they step away from the fire it dies out and finally Zora steps forward too though she looks unconvinced. “We won’t harm you. We’re just offering you a roof and some warmth to be had. This place, we’re having it fixed up. We’ll have a few apartments on the first and second floor and we’ll be taking the third floor to ourselves. So once that’s ready and if you guys still need a more permanent roof, you can settle in with us. We’ll never ask for anything but maybe a little help now and again.”

It’s that simple, it just is how we work. Those twins stand out though, I don’t know why I’ve never seen them before. I suppose she keeps them well hidden. We cross back out of the construction zone, I lock it back up and I have to congratulate Agni on how well he controls his gift. He blushes brightly and I have to grin when Mira clings to his arm and huffs at me. Overprotective little bugger, it’s adorable.

We step into our building and Eoghan takes over to showing them the apartment. It’s not too big, just comfortable. It has electricity, heat and water. The furniture is simple but comfortable. Two beds in one room and one in the second. It has towels and sheets and all the rest. The old tenant actually died and no one ever came to get the belongings back. So we had everything watched and cleaned and tada, fully furnished apartment that we never really rented to that point.

Our first good action of the year. I think we’re on a good path just now.

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