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"I'm off to school now!" Cal called as he hurried out the front door.

"Hold it right there, Calix," Malecai called. "Come to the living room."

Doing as told, the raven closed the front door quietly, leaving his bag there before walking into the room. Mal stood by the couch, watching the morning news. Walking over to stand beside him, Calix saw that the reporter was standing in Tralli going on about the police department in the background.

Glancing over at the man from the corner of his eye, Cal watched the screen once more before rolling back his sleeve to look at his watch. "Mal, I'm going to be late for class…"

Turning off the television, the older man turned to face the younger one before him. His grey eyes scanned over the teen carefully, making sure he was at least dressed more adequately than the loose fitting apparel he had on the other day. Stepping just a bit closer, he fixed Cal's black tie then the lapels to his navy school blazer. Eyes trailing just a bit lower, Malecai saw that each of the buttons were done properly before seeing that the younger man's black pants were starched and ironed, his shoes scuff-free. The usual, controlled chaos of black spiky hair was just a bit more tamed than it looked on the weekend and a faint smile was soon pulling at Calix's mouth, making the other smile in return.

"Mal, I'm really going to be late for class."

"Alright, alright," the man said, watching as the teen took no time in hurrying out the room and to the door. "Oh, Cal, did you-" He listened to the door close before walking over to the window just in time to see his adopted son hurrying down the sidewalk with an apple in hand. "-remember to eat breakfast…?"

Scrubbing a hand down his face, Calix slid into his seat, doing all he could to stop from slouching. Massaging the sides of his head then his eyes, he exhaled heavily before sitting up as the bell rang. He had bags under his eyes but sleep shouldn't have been a priority at the moment.

Pulling out a pen, notebook and textbook, he held in a yawn the moment the professor walked in. "Good afternoon, class."

The usual greetings were given before the lecture began.

Jotting down notes, Cal looked around to see everyone else working diligently. Looking back down at his paper, his eyelids soon began to feel heavier, his hand slowing as a result. It soon came to a stop as dark eyes closed, the nineteen-year-old bowing his head soon after. Slipping lower into his chair, he opened his eyes for a moment to see the various scribbles along his paper.

Sighing, he turned the page to begin again though his eyes closed once more.

He felt so exhausted.

His shoulder hurt still from where the bullet grazed him, even after the painkiller he took before leaving his room. In his physical education class, he couldn't even complete the routine exercises given due to the soreness in his sides, back and abdomen. That and his PT gear would've revealed the dark bruises, which would've led to way too many questions. He skipped out on lunch, opting to go up to the roof and nap there.

He overslept of course, cutting it close to being late to the class he was in now.

Feeling someone tap his shoulder, the raven perked up quickly, grasping his pen in a death hold before relaxing.

He was in class; he was fine.

Class was safe.

He was just so damn tired.

Turning his head towards the window, he stared out at the large tree still standing in the courtyard.

There weren't many left in the modernized city district of Polaris.

Hell, there weren't many around anywhere nowadays though he remembered the first time he ever saw one.

Evren had showed him.

"I want to show you something!" the ten-year-old had said as he led his friend by the hand.

They had walked for nearly half the day to the edge of the decrepit city. They had weaved their way through the old, abandoned cars. They cut through old buildings that weren't too rundown and even went underground through the sewers when the blonde thought he had spotted a patroller off in the distance. All that walking, all that goading the older child had to do finally paid off when he saw the curious awe that painted itself on the younger one's face.

"What is it?" the raven had asked as he approached it cautiously.

"It's a tree," Evren had replied as he walked over to it. "Cool, huh?"

Dark eyes just focused on the smiling blonde before drifting up to looking up at the boughs blowing in the wind. Walking over to it, Calix poked it, jerking his hand away from the texture of the bark. Scowling as he heard the other laugh, he hit the trunk with his hand before jumping back as a leaf fell from one of the branches.

"I don't like it," he said quickly after he had folded his arms across his chest.

"Really?" The younger child nodded stiffly, making the older one frown a bit. "Hmm…wait right here, ok?"

He held up a hand before running away and out of sight. Looking around quickly, Cal started after the blonde before he took refuge at the base of the tree. He wasn't used to going anywhere without the other anymore so he had no choice but to stay put. And what felt like forever, though it was really no more than ten minutes, the dark-haired boy sprang to his feet to hide behind the thick trunk the moment he heard footsteps along the high grass.


Recognizing the voice, said person poked his head out to see his friend. Brown eyes then registered the scraped knees and lack of shirt as well before focusing on the bundle the blonde was holding so tightly.

"What's that?" he asked.

"It's something that'll make you like trees," Ren said with a faint smile as he set the item down.

Kneeling, he signaled Calix over before undoing the material that happened to be his shirt. Once it was out of the way, he presented a shiny, red object.

"What's this for?"

"You eat it," Evren said as he held one. "It's called an apple. They come from trees." Mismatched eyes watched as the other bit into the piece of fruit, his smile growing as he watched the younger boy eat it more gusto. "Here." He handed his over. "Good, aren't they, Calix?" Smiling again as he received a nod, the blonde turned to face the tree before fishing around in his pockets. Pulling out an old Swiss Army knife he had found during his routine scavenging, he soon started carving their names into the side of the trunk. "This will be our spot from now on, 'kay?" He looked over to see the younger boy studying it as he chewed thoughtfully. "So, what do you think, Calix?"

"So, what do you think, Calix?"

"I like it," he had replied, smiling.

"Mr. Lefay!"A text book slamming onto the desk had the teen shooting upright to see the professor standing there, their foot tapping with an expectant look in their eye. Averting his own gaze, Calix looked down at his desk since he already knew what was going to happen next. "Mr. Lefay, I expect to see you in my class after school… for detention!"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Over here, CL!"

Looking over in the direction of the voice, Cal saw Will flagging him down from by the tree.

It had become the norm for the past few days.

As usual, he made his way over, adjusting the strap to his bag. It had been a week since he had broken into the police department, since he had received the injury to his shoulder. He wasn't expecting the thing to heal overnight but he wasn't expecting it to hurt as much as it still did, even with the painkillers he had been taking. The punch to his gut still hurt like hell and that actually surprised him.

He was used to punches.

He really was, but this one was just…a bit too painful?

Maybe that cop bruised something on the inside…

Then there was Renyx.

Cal hadn't spoke to the man after leaving him in Tralli but it wasn't like the redhead had tried to get in contact with him either.

No text, no IM, no voicemail, letter, email.

Not even a simple, small call.

"Have you heard?" the woman asked, causing the younger male to look up.

"Can't you ever stand or sit on the ground like a normal person?" Cal questioned. He received a one shouldered shrug. "Damn, cat."

Stifling a laugh, Will swung her leg over the bough before dropping down in a crouch. Standing up slowly, she reached down fixing the loose, white knee-high. That was the only thing in school regulations though. Brushing a bit of dirt from off her black boots, she reached inside to pull out a small, metal tube. Standing up right, she adjusted the pleated, plaid skirt of green, black and white. Calix couldn't help but crack a smile as she pulled at the back, always complaining how it was ridiculously short. Her own school blazer was buttoned, save the first two buttons; same for her white blouse. She loosened her tie soon after, showing off the necklace there. Her sleeves were cut a few inches below the shoulders, leaving the rest to slouch forward around her wrists but not too much. Last but not least, she pulled her dual-colored hair from her ponytail before brushing aside the bangs and tucking them behind her ear to show the ear cuff and stud hidden there.

"So," she began as she collected her bag, walking off soon after, "did you see the news?"

"I don't have time for news," Calix said as he followed behind her. "That's why I have you."

Dark brown eyes locked on the other pair before the woman rolled her own. "Smartass."

"So, you're going to tell me or what?"

"No, you'll just have to wait and see."

"Wait, and s-why?!"

"Because you weren't watching the-because I said so!"

The raven rolled his own eyes before yawning. "Can't you just tell me? I want to go home so I can go to bed."

"You can after this."


"How old are you again?"

"Nineteen, why?"

"Act like it," Will chided as she walked off campus, "and if you even try to leave me-!"

She looked over her shoulder to give the younger man a death glare as he tried to creep away. Watching him glare back, but slinking back, she smirked inwardly as she led him from the school and into the downtown district. Pulling off her blazer along the way, she shoved it into her bag before removing her blouse, much to her friend's alarm. She then laughed when he noticed the black tank she had been wearing underneath.

Taking off his own blazer, the teen placed it in his bag, opting to carry the item instead of letting it rest along his shoulders. Picking up the pace, he followed at the woman's heels, trying to determine where she was taking him exactly. After a good twenty minutes, he gritted his teeth when Will didn't say anything, not answering any questions of any kind.

Hell, not even commenting on the weather though the man couldn't figure out who did even that anymore.

"Will-" She looked back at him before rounding a corner quickly. "Would you slow the hell down?!" he asked peevishly, weariness seeping into his voice as he followed after her. He then caught up to her, since she had stopped finally. "Will, what-?"

Looking over her shoulder, she then stepped aside to show the redhead leaning up against the wall. The hand that was visible from his viewpoint was bandaged though it soon slipped out of sight and into the shadows of his coat sleeve. A square bandaged covered his cheek as well. Tawny eyes peered from over the rim of sunglasses before looking away, brown ones doing the same.

"I'm going home," Renyx said as he pushed off the way and headed in the opposite direction.

"Oh, no you don't," Will hissed, grabbing the back of the man's lapel, almost dislodging SHU who was still perched there from nights before.

"Well, I am," Calix said, walking back in the direction from once he came.

"You're not going anywhere either, CL!" she said as she snagged the back of his shirt. "You're both coming along."

"I rather not," Renyx stated.

"I agree," Cal confirmed. "Now, let go of my shirt, Will. I want to go home and go to bed."

"Bed can wait," she said heatedly as she shoved the pair out in front of her. "Start walking."

Both men looked at her, only to receive an arched brow. Not trying to push their luck, they began walking. Silence, save the sound of their feet against the pavement, was all that was between them. The tension was thick enough to cut with a knife and it didn't quite help when they had finally reached the Tralli district roughly fifteen minutes later.

The area was packed with people, not that it wasn't usually, but many of them had camera, no doubt reporters. Furthermore, they were gathered in front of the police department, a place that had been a talk of the city since the raven and redhead had broken in, taken down a carrier, and messed up several of the officers before escaping.

Of course that wasn't what was reported.

Those men had to cover their asses.

It was in the headlines as well.

An organized band of misfits perhaps from a rivaling organization had caught wind of an important shipment and had attempted to steal it away. Their attempt was thwarted by the group of brave men that were outnumbered an incredible three to one. The officers only regret was not being able to catch up with them to apprehend and throw them behind bars.

Their tale received quite the publicity yet no one seemed to notice that the men went missing roughly a day or so after that headline was printed.

Failure didn't quite fly well in the police field. What with the task force, a step ahead of them and all; if you messed up, it was basically game over.

"Why are we here?" the redhead man asked, coaxing SHU into his hand. "SHU and I have gaming t-"

"Would you shut up?" Will asked before spotting the little robot sitting on the tip of the man's fingers. "And how long do you plan on keeping my SHU?"

"I say it likes me," Renyx said as he watched people trying to make their way to the front. "Ain't that right, SHU?"

The small bot looked at him before looking over at the woman. Looking back at the redhead, it crawled along his bandaged hand and disappeared into the shadows of his sleeve. It soon popped up at his collar and crawled its way back under his lapel, peering out ahead at Will as she folded her arms.

"Fine, be that way then."

"Now that your custody battle is over, can you tell me why I'm here?" Calix asked after stifling a yawn.

"You two really don't watch the news do you?"

"No," they said before looking at each other.

Sucking her teeth, Will went to whack each of them as they looked away quickly. What saved the pair was the increase in chatter around them. All then faced forward to see the Director of the police department, an older gentleman dressed in a suit, making his way to the front of the crowd and up to a podium. As soon as he went to open his mouth, questions flew from the mouths of the countless bystanders.

"Now, now," he began, quieting down the crowd just a bit, "I would like to thank you all for coming out today."

"Yeah, yeah," Cal muttered to himself as he leaned against a brick wall.

"As you all must have heard, we have had quite the incident here at our department. Nevertheless, we will find who was responsible," he said firmly as his eyes trailed over the mass of people. "We wouldn't be reliable law enforcers if we couldn't find a small group of thugs."

"Thugs, huh?" Will commented. "You two must be big bad thugs. Big scary men."

"Shut up, Will," Renyx said before receiving a punch to the arm. "Ow, take a joke, woman!"

"But to the point, I hold this small conference today to say that the majority of the current task force will be stepping down to take our current officer positions."

"What?!" Calix questioned heatedly as he stood straight.

"But who will take the task forces' positions?" one of the reporters asked, holding up a recorder.

"Ah, I'm glad you asked," the director said before gesturing to platform at his right. "First, I would like for you all to meet Tyson."

Being escorted out, a male, perhaps no more than twenty-one and about an inch taller than Renyx, came walking out. A pair of sunglasses blocked his eyes though a small smirk pulled at his mouth. His features were sharp though his sharp, deep red eyes seemed to grab everyone's attention the moment he removed his glasses to place them in his short, black and gold hair. Some of the people in the front even shifted as the one dubbed Tyson looked over each of them. His smirk was soon a grin as he slid his hands into the back pockets of his black jeans.

A holster was attached to his thigh though it appeared to be empty for the time being. He wore a black, tight-fitting shirt that exhibited a well-toned body as well as the tattoo of flames wrapping around his wrists and up his arms. Though the ones in the back could not see, there was another, smaller tattoo upon his shoulder in characters not quite legible but perhaps not even necessary to the civilians present. Other than that, a metal band was attached to his other arm, a small, red light blinking every so often


Said person stepped forward before allowing his grin to fall into a pressed line, a more serious expression crossing his olive face. "It is a pleasure and honor to be serving all of you," he said with a bow.

Standing up straight, he stepped back, sliding his glasses back into place before returning his hands back to his back pockets.


Stepping up, a young woman, maybe no older than nineteen and the same height as Will, came forward. Her head was slightly tilted downwards while a pair of sunglasses hid her eyes. Wavy, brown locks hung over her fair shoulders while she held her hands in front of her. She looked too timid to actually be part of the task force. Unlike the one before her, she did not remove her glasses. Instead, she simply gave a curtsy before smoothing out the black and red plaid skirt she was wearing. To those not paying close attention, one could have easily missed the holster hidden beneath the pleated material while one for the arm stood out though it was empty like the male before her. Again, like Tyson, she did have a metal band on though it was on her wrist.

"I look forward to helping everyone," she said quietly before taking her place at the raven's side.


Coming forward, was a dark-skinned girl. She had to be at least the same height as Calix though she looked to be at least twenty. Her dark brown hair fell in an asymmetrical bob though the interesting feature of it was the green streaks that seemed to run through it. They almost seemed to transition through the spectrum of green, varying from everything of an emerald to that of a jade. She didn't have any sunglasses on, giving clear view to the sharp, equally green eyes that peered out at everyone below. And unlike the two before her, she had no holster anywhere on her body. Unlike like the girl before her, she wore khaki cargo shorts, a loose brown belt hanging from her waist, and a green, off the shoulder top. The metal band for her was fitted along her ankle, just above the small markings there.

Green eyes raked over each of the people standing below, seeing the anticipation on their faces as they awaited her comment.

Instead, she merely bowed her head by a fraction before making her way over to the brunette fiddling with the ends of her skirt.

"We saw them a few nights ago," Renyx said quietly as he glanced at Will.

"Oh, really?" she asked as she slipped on her own pair of glasses. "Cal, what do you think?"

"I think I'm going home," he said as he turned to walk past the pair. "I'm tired and have to finish studying for a test I have tomorrow."


"Just let him go," the older man said as he continued to watch the trio of newly appointed task enforcers. "You know how he can get."

Clenching his hands into fists, the raven just let it go as he rounded the corner.

Calix knew he didn't have time to pick a fight with the redhead.

He had tests to study for, sleep to catch up on.

He didn't have the energy or the time to waste it on any of this.

"Evren, do come out."

Backpedaling, Cal stood with his mouth slightly agape as he watched the alleged person come forward.

At first, the male standing there couldn't have been who the director had said he was. He just looked…different from what the nineteen year old had been expecting. Cal had been expecting a head of medium-length, blonde hair. This person's hair was silvery, almost white with the faintest tinge of what appeared to be purple. His skin was pale, almost like porcelain and it only seemed paler against the dark lens of the glasses he was wearing. But when he removed them, everything seemed to fall still as mismatched eyes scanned over the crowds of people. The deadened colors, one of turquoise and the other of jade, slowly drifted along before focusing on Calix way in the back.

The young man stiffened though his hand soon went up to grasp the silver chain at his neck. Dark eyes then locked onto the other pair, slowly feeling unnerved.

That gaze felt like it was boring right through him, as if trying to find something.

The one dubbed Evren soon removed his hands from the pockets of his slacks in favor of bowing to the people, his gaze never leaving the younger raven's for even a second.

"It is a great honor to be servicing each and every one of you," he said monotonously as he straightened, "and I will take it upon myself personally to find the group of individuals that broke into the department as well as take down any and all criminals in this city."

"These four shall be serving as the new task force. Though young," the director said, "I ensure you that they are more than capable at handling themselves as well as taking on the crime that has seemed to have built up in these past few months. So, please, help me welcome Polaris' new XYZ team."

There was a round of applause though each of the proclaimed members seemed occupied with the Director.

All but one.

Stepping down from the platform, the last member began making his way through the crowds of reporters and average citizens. He ignored their questions, sending off a slightly chilling yet electrifying vibe as he passed by.

He gave long, sideways stares to those that had thoughts of approaching him and soon enough the rest got the picture that he wasn't going to talk. Even more, they got the memo to give him space lest someone might've gotten hurt.

Those unique, strange colored eyes stayed trained on the teen in the back as if ordering him to stay put, not to flee lest he wished to be pursued. And, soon enough, Evren stood only a few feet away from the stunned raven. Starting to close the distance between him, he watched as the raven took a slight step back before dark brown eyes lost their shock to be replaced with something fonder.

"Evren," Calix said quietly as he touched the chain he was given years ago. A smile started to stretch itself across his face before the other male took a step back. "What…what's wrong, Ren?" It felt so good to call him that yet the look upon the paler man's face was starting to make him a bit more anxious. "Ev-"

"You…" he said quietly as he slipped a hand into his pocket.

"Me what?" the raven asked, taking a step forward. He didn't understand why the man kept backing away from him and what he was doing with those people; the ones that took him. "Tell me, Ren. What's wrong and why are you working with them?" The flat look in the odd-colored eyes deadened even more, almost bordering something completely unnatural, before the man pulled a handgun from his pocket and pointed it at the man. "E-Evren, w…what are you doing?" Calix asked, taking a step back to distance himself from the other.

"Weren't you listening to me when I was talking? I'm doing my job," he said as he took a step forward. "I'm placing you under arrest for breaking into the police department one week ago from today."

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