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“It has been a year since we have made this place ours. The compound has slowly grown to accompany the trickling arrivals of Gifted and handpicked specialists, but mostly it is just us and relying on what we have on hand. The winter is difficult but the parents have been sending in supplies when they can, helping a lot of the younger kids with clothing and blankets. Whatever is left we take and share out amongst the older kids. It helps that the Canadian military has been sending in supplies, evening out everything.

New buildings have also been made, including a schoolhouse where Magnolia teaches the kids how to write, read and participate in discussions without getting too heated. Axel, who would have thought it, is a maths and geography major! He gives lessons before going out on patrols. Murphy and Neo, as well as a classified teacher, teach science and biology. Besides those lessons, everything else is chores and training. Everyone seems happy, but still on their toes.

I wish you could see it all, Vic. This place is exactly how we imagined it back in our dorm room on the base. Maybe some things aren’t the same... You’re not here for one and I have a catch of a boyfriend, but it’s a proper safe haven away from the monsters. At least, for now.

It has not been all smiles though. Last week mercenaries managed to get into the compound and almost got away with two of our girls. Damian was the quickest to respond. Let’s just say, those kidnappers won’t be the same after meeting him. He’s been pretty behaved since coming here so it’s a start, y’know?

Anyway, I’m sure you’re tired of my ramblings, but I miss talking to you, miss having you around. You had so much to live for, so much to still achieve, but I know you wouldn’t want to change anything if we had a chance to go back in time. You’d want us to continue, to stay hopeful about our future and not have our home be ripped away from us. It’s just...what am I supposed to do without my best friend?”

“Live twice as hard.” Turning around, I saw Hunter. He was watching me with a sheepish smile, bundled up in his snow clothes.

“What are you doing out of bed? You’re sick!” Standing up, I wiped my eyes. Sending one final glance at the three flourishing blue flowers, I walked into Hunter’s open arms.

“I got bored and wanted to check on you since...” Hunter trailed off, burying his face in my chest. Today was Victor’s birthday.

“I’m okay, Hunt, but you won’t be if you stay out here.” He grumbled into my chest before gazing up at me. His eyes swirled with his powers being used. They were beautiful when he wasn’t glaring at me.

“It’s lunchtime, we go get something to eat then you can take me back to the cabin, deal?” He pouted, giving me the puppy dog eyes before grinning, knowing fully well I had already given in. Sighing, I kept my arm over his shoulders, making sure he could use my body heat too as his eyes went back to their natural gorgeous emerald green as we walked out of the grove.

The ring of a hammer against steel greeted us, followed closely by the screaming of children as they played at the makeshift jungle-gym. Another house was being erected, its wooden skeleton waiting for its outer walls to be added. Further along, Cat was training with Claude, Tango overwatching them.

I couldn’t stop the smile from showing on my lips as I squeezed Hunter’s arm.

“You guys heading to the food house?” Fox asked as he and Rooi stopped in front of us.

“Yup, then this one’s going back to bed.” Chuckling, I watched as Hunter rolled his eyes but still ended up sneezing.

“C-can we join?” Sophia and Damian came up from behind us. Smiling, I nodded, my gaze lingering on Damian.

“The more the merrier! Plus, we can complain as much as we want about chores,” Rooi exclaimed, stretching her arms above her head.

“Complaining about what?”

“Fuck, Rylan, don’t do that!” Hunter snapped as Rylan appeared in front of us. Rook emerged from the ground; hands covered in soil.

“Lunchbreak?” She asked nonchalantly, cleaning her hands on her stained jeans.

“Is anyone else going to appear out of thin air?” I asked, chuckling as snowflakes began to fall.

“This is our general group so I don’t think so,” Damian commented with his cocky grin. “But who knows, surprises are nice.”

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