Spells, Smoke and Teenage Rebels

Brothers, reunited after 16 years. One can cast ice from his fingers with a single spell, the other can burn down buildings without thinking. But happily ever after is much more complicated than you'd think...

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1. A flicker of fire

Once upon a time there was a flicker of fire. At first that fire could not control itself – it could curl paper and create ash without even thinking about it. Although it was often fleeting, it held great power. That flicker of fire, was me.
Every day had been the same. I had a few friends, but none of them knew about the flames. Neither did I – although, everyone thought I smoked a pack a day. I always smelt of singed paper. We went to school, and hung around places that we weren't supposed to. Everything was normal.
One day, something went wrong. We had never meant to cause harm, all Egg said was that we should trash the school. We'd been planning it for weeks, and waited until all the staff had left, and the lights were turned off.
It had meant to be just mucking about; something to do– we left loo roll in the corridors, took down the clocks and spray painted the sports hall walls. But in a second, everything can change. I know that now. 
I never meant to hurt anyone. Egg and Taylor were shaking the graffiti cans, and Jamie and I were rummaging through the desk drawers. We were all having fun, sure, but there was tension in the air. We could still get caught in the act. 
The Master says it’s brought on when I'm stressed. I didn't know that, back then. I felt sweaty and nervous, and my hands were shaking like crazy. I never meant it to happen. My fingers touched the paper in the drawer, and sort of brushed against it, like a match. 
Soon after, the whole school went up in flames. 
Nothing was the same again. 
Because of that incident, I was taken to the station. The other guys got away, and the cops were trying to get me to grass on them. They were calling me ‘vulnerable’ and saying I had ‘committed arson’. I knew I sounded crazy, trying to tell them I’d never meant to.
They left me in that room, and I couldn't see any way out of it. I just sat there, scratching my knees through my jeans and listening to the clock tick. There was a large mirror in front of me, and I stared at myself and the people behind it. Wondering who they were. Wondering if they had records about my parents. Maybe they knew who they might be.
They left me in that room for hours, with a cup of water and a WHSmith’s black biro on the table. I chewed the biro, and drank the water, and then I drew some patterns on the cup. Without thinking, the patterns turned into pictures of flames. Great. More evidence against me.
Another half hour passed, until finally, a man entered the room. The first thing I noticed was the cloak. Who wears a cloak? I laughed to myself, and he gave me a confused look.
“What’s so funny?”
“NO CAPES.” He didn't understand. “From the film, The Incredibles? Never mind.”
He was twitching a black caterpillar moustache with matching eyebrows, and took a breath in through his crooked nose. He was tall, with shoulder length greasy hair. And something else…
His eyes were golden brown, like mine. The colour of honey. I'd never seen anyone with eyes like that before, other than myself. 
He sniffed the air again. “Smoke.”
I slumped in my chair; I didn't know who this man was, but I wasn’t about to show him any respect.
“Are you coming, then?” He turned towards the door.
“What?”
“We’re leaving.” He waved a long, pale hand in my direction. “Everything’s sorted.”
There was almost silence, apart from the clock, and the pen falling out of my mouth. 
“What do you mean? I burnt down my school, single-handed.” I held my hand up to my face. “Literally. With like, one thumb.”
He clicked his tongue twice and swung round, sweeping his hair from his face. An article seemed to appear in his hands.
“It's all here. Everything's sorted.”
The document was in small print. I skimmed through the first paragraph. It said something about a medical condition and that my father was coming to get me. 
“My father’s dead, as far as I know.”
“No he’s not.”
I flicked my head up at him, prodding the paper.
“I don't have a bloody father! I've been in care my whole life!”
“Only because I didn’t know you still existed. But then, you burnt down the school, and I could feel your power. Everyone could.” He stepped towards the desk. “You've got quite a lot of power, you know.”
I looked at the mirror. And the document. And him. 
“So, let's go.”
“No.” I knocked my chair down as I backed into the corner. “I don't have power. I don't know who you are, and I don't have a dad.”
He stepped towards me, the heels of his knee-length boots brushing against the Lino floor. He seemed tense, and his voice was crisp.
“I am your ruddy dad.” 
With that, he touched my shoulder. Everything vanished.
*
When I woke up, I was lying on top of soft cotton sheets. I'd never slept in a comfortable bed, so I knew this wasn't my room. This room didn't smell of damp; it smelt of wood and posh air freshener. My head and arms were hot, but my feet felt frozen. My feet had never been cold before, not like this. I was always warm. 
Someone cleared their throat at the foot of my bed, and I sat up too quickly. When the dots cleared from my eyes, there was a boy staring at me, about my age. He looked cold, like everywhere he walked would turn to ice. 
“So,” his words whistled slightly, making my spine tingle. “You are Nico, the fire boy. Come to steal my future.”
“What? Who are you?”
He hissed, baring perfectly white, slightly pointed teeth. “The ice boy. Supposedly, the ice heir, but, no more, dear brother.”
“Brother?” I looked him squarely in his pale blue eyes. His hair was almost black, just like the man from the station, but his was shorter and spiked up with gel. He wore a blue and white check shirt, with a navy blue jumper and dark denim jeans. “I don't have a brother.”
He laughed, mockingly. Bitterly. “That's what I thought, too.”
“You…you are…my…brother?”
“Twins!” He clapped his hands together, and fury flashed in his eyes. “Bloody perfect, isn't it? Like something off EastEnders. Apparently, when you were a baby, you burnt the house down. Mum died. Dad rescued me, but thought you were dead too. Dad’s the Master, and I was his heir. But apparently now you've shown up, I'm out.” He was spitting the words at me. “You get to be the next Master. I get to be your bloody heir.”
He didn't look like me. Not much. I mean, he was tall, and we had the same button nose and sticking-out ears. But my hair is blond, and wispy, whereas his was dead straight. 
“Oh God,” I pressed my wrists into my forehead. “Could this day get any worse?”
The boy smiled. “Oh yes,” he rubbed his hands together, and then held them out in front of him. “Ice Ice, Baby!”
Two things happened all at once. A jet of blue came out of his hands, flying towards my face. The next thing I knew he was lying on the floor, and one of his eyebrows had been singed quite badly.
“Crap.” I got off the bed and knelt next to him. He was making a low, groaning noise. “Sorry about that. I don't really know what happened.”
 “Of course you don't.” his voice was a whisper, laced with disgust. “I cast a spell that you didn't know, and you somehow counter-cursed it.”
“Oh,” I stood up. “Can I do that?”
“Apparently.” He rubbed his face with the back of his hand. “Fire beats ice. Which just about sucks for me.”
“So…you're telling me you have ice powers?” I sat on the end of the bed. “And I have fire powers?” 
“Yes, Nico.” He sighed, and ran his fingers though his hair. “My name is Sebastian, by the way.”
“Can I call you Seb?” 
“No.”
“Bass?”
‘No.”
“Tian.”
“Absolutely not.”
The room was small, with two beds. Sebastian’s bed had shelves of intelligent-looking books above it, and my bed, (if it was my bed), had a Boy Scouts pamphlet about building a fire. Really funny, Sebastian.
“So, what now?” I was sitting cross-legged, looking down at him. I guess we'd just had our first fight.
“We go to school.”
“Where?”
“Dad’s academy for weirdos.” He opened his eyes. “Like us.”
“What, like Professor X’s academy? Or Hogwarts?”
He rolled his eyes. “No, you twat. It's still school, we just all have weird powers. And our school’s fireproof. So you won't get arrested.”
“Do we have lessons about our powers?” I kicked my trainers against the cotton, and he stared at them, distastefully.
“Sometimes. We all take a Master’s of Magical Arts Award. Only the heir of the Master becomes the next headmaster. Of the school.”
“That's it?”
He propped himself up on his elbows.
“That's it? What are you on about? It means everything. You teach and inspire the future. You’re one of the World’s most esteemed magicians.”
I stopped kicking. “And that's going to be me, someday?”
He got up and walked towards the door. “Not if I get there first.” He hesitated, and then spun round. “Let it go!”
I was ready this time. Seconds later, there was a Sebastian shaped hole in the door. 
“Crap. Sorry. I must be powerful.”
He whined from the floor, and slowly stood up, leaning against the other side of the door. “I am so done right now...”
I looked at my hands. “I don't know what's got into me today. I’m on fire!”
I must have cast a spell by mistake, because Sebastian started cursing and patting out his trousers, which were smoking. 
“Sorry, again.”
He looked at me through the hole in the door. “Best if you just don't say anything.”
We walked down a corridor with portraits of various Masters. I laughed. “This is pretty awesome. Having powers and everything.”
Sebastian's face looked slightly blackened. “Yeah. It was until you showed up.”

 

 

 

 


 

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