“Can I take a break yet?” Damian asked after about an hour of trying to break a glass and failing. I wasn’t always going to be there to irritate him into anger.
I glanced up from a re-run of Friends. “I suppose.”
Damian stood up and stretched, and I suddenly realized that he was a lot taller than I gave him credit for. He was probably almost six foot, just a few inches shy of me. Damian strolled around the room, surveying the place. It was impeccably clean; it was almost as if no one had lived there at all.
“What’s this?” Damian asked, picking up a briefcase that was sitting next to the door. “Is this yours?”
“Nope,” I replied, not bothering to take my eyes from the TV screen.
“Then whose is it?”
I sighed and looked over at him. “Come on, you don’t really think that this is my place, do you?”
Damian scowled. “When you said you had places everywhere-“
“I meant that I take what I want where I want,” I replied, then turned back to my show. “Really, you were supposed to be smart.”
“I-“ he began, then cut himself off. “You killed this guy just for his apartment?”
“Who says I killed him?”
Damian gave me a look.
“Okay, yeah, I killed him.”
“And whatever poor soul owned that house we were at in Wisconsin?” he asked.
I gave a half shrug. “Yeah, them too.”
“I can’t believe this,” Damian said, shaking his head in disappointment or horror or disgust or something similar.
“Seriously? After everything you’d seen me do so far, you can’t believe this?”
“But… innocent people! You murdered innocent people for their apartments.” Damian was scowling and gaping at the same time in a rather unattractive display.
I spread my hands. “Give me some credit! The last one was a house.”
“You disgust me.”
“Seriously, you’re a monster.”
“So I’ve been told.”
“I’m of the opinion that you should go die in a hole.”
“Duly noted.” I sensed some of the shadows receding and looked towards the window. The sun was coming up. We had been operating in the dimmest light possible for Damian to still be able to see what he was doing, but the sun changed things. “We should call it a night,” I suggested. “The sun is coming up, and if you can’t break the thing with all of the shadows at your disposal, there’s no way you’ll be able to break it now.”
Damian seemed relieved. “Okay. I need to get used to the time switch, anyway.”
“There’s only one bedroom,” I said. “So you get the couch.”
He was apparently too tired to care. Flopping down on the leather sofa, Damian closed his eyes and said, “Cool.”
I closed the shades, darkening the room almost completely, then flipped off the light. It was pitch black. “Oh, and one more thing before I go: when you wake up, use as little light as possible. If you have to go somewhere, do it as quickly as possible and keep moving. Understood?”
With my excellent night vision, I could see Damian crack open an eye. “Why?”
“Because I said so,” I replied, then turned and headed down the hall without another word.
Truth be told, I didn’t decide to quit for the night because of the lack of shadows, nor did I close the blinds to help Damian sleep. No, I had a good reason, a very good reason. I knew how Sirio’s powers worked; they were the opposite of mine. If I could see everything through the shadows, he could see everything through the light. That was, if he knew where to look.
I hoped he didn’t know that I favored Glasgow above most other cities, but on the off chance he did, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take precautions. The less light we were exposed to, the lower the odds of Sirio happening to sense us. After all, I couldn’t have him spying on me out of principle, but also because if he saw me training Damian in controlling shadows, he would know I was up to something. I didn’t work in confrontation; I much preferred passive aggressive subtle deceit. It was far more my style.
I drew the blinds in my room, then settled down in the bed. Mr. Skullcrusher curled next to me, a warm weight against my side. For the first time, it occurred to me that one of my genius plans might actually have a chance of working. I mean, I’m not saying that they usually failed, but, well… they usually failed. This time, though… this time was different. There was something about Damian. As much of a pain in the ass as he was, I could see vast amounts of potential in him. If I had to pick any human I’d ever met across my long lifetime to train with any hope of success, I can’t say I would pick anyone but him. Not even Hitler, and that guy was evil.
No, there was something different about this boy, and I liked it.