“So… what’s the lecture going to be?” I say as I look around the Science room. There are long tables lined up and a desk in front. All of the tables are covered with machinery. “Going to tell me that I can’t skip school in the middle of the day?”
“You skipped school for an entire year, I figure it’s too late to go into that,” Nico says, dropping down in the chair at the desk. “I just figured you’d want to talk about it.”
“About what?” I ask.
“Going to meet your mother,” he says.
I go still, feeling completely off-guard by that. “What?”
“You found out about her, so you should want to see her, right? I know I would. I did, in a way.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I say, starting for the door.
“I barely saw my father while I was growing up. He was always away, out saving the world. I was around your age at the time when I decided to do it. I’d just thrown my stepmother out of the house—”
“You did what?” I say, my jaw dropping.
“She was trying to make Liz tougher than I am. Liz hadn’t even come into her powers at the time,” he says. “It was pretty much child abuse. I threw her out of the house, told her not to come back. She never did. It left me with a little girl to raise and an old man that was never there.”
“So you went to find him,” I say, absently sitting down in one of the larger chairs in the room.
“Yeah,” he says. “I couldn’t even fly at the time, so I ran all the way to Saint Louis, just to see him at one of his appearances. He didn’t even notice me in the crowd.”
“Did you have an illusion watch on?”
“I wore a hat.”
“How big was the crowd?” I ask. It startles a laugh out of him.
“It was massive,” he admits. “But I was a kid—I was HIS kid. I expected him to be able to pick me out of a crowd. I went home, feeling completely abandoned. It felt like his job was more important than his family ever would be. I wasn’t wrong, either. Even though Sparky was gone, we still barely saw him. He would come home only when he needed to sleep. Just like I am, now, he only had to sleep once every three or four days. He would head straight for his bed and sleep so deep that I felt like I was stuck guarding him, as well as Liz.”
“So… with that sob story, you really expect me to go out and find her?” I say.