The next day Cal introduced Kent to Sarah and Josh at breakfast. They all sat in the restaurant that they had chosen to start going to regularly. The sounds from the kitchen the only ones other than the talking at their table. The restaurant always seemed to be less than half full, but they also bought more food here than anywhere else.
"This is a new friend of mine, Kent. He kicked my ass in our last spar, if that tells you anything." Cal explained.
"When did you guys spar? We were with you all day." Sarah mentioned.
Cal shook his head. "Doesn't matter. Kent, this is Sarah and Josh. They are my best friends, you can trust them with your life." He told Kent with a smile.
They walked through the market district after they ate. Sarah had Cal see if he could copy a few things for her.
"How about this?" She held something out in her hand. If Cal had ever seen something like this before, he had forgotten. He just shook his head. Sarah frowned and then took whatever it was up to the front desk and paid for it.
Kent picked up a pack of pencils.
"Do you thi-" Josh shook his head. Kent seemed confused, but Josh did something and he seemed to understand something that Cal didn't.
They all walked out and carried on to the next store. After Sarah had bags full of stuff and the rest of them had picked up groceries and whatever else they needed, they all headed back towards the dorms to drop it off. They stopped at the girl's dorms first and waited outside while Sarah dropped her stuff off.
"So he won't do that for all of us?" Kent asked Josh, obviously confused about something.
"Who won't do what?" Cal asked. Josh just shook his head.
"He probably would for anyone, but uhh... this case... is different." Josh explained to Kent.
"What are you guys talking about so cryptically?" Cal questioned further, but before he could get an answer Sarah came back out.
"Ready?" She asked, and they headed towards the guy's dorm to drop off the rest. They each dropped everything off and then came back downstairs and met at the fountain.
When Cal got down, he found Sarah with a furious look on her face. A group of two guys and two girls stood in front of her. Cal didn't recognize them off-hand.
"Oh shut up! You don't even know what you are talking about!" Sarah shouted at them.
Cal set his jaw and walked towards them. They were all quiet.
"What's going on here?" He asked them, looking each of them in the eyes.
One of them, either bold or stupid or both, spoke up.
"We were telling her about how your next match was going to go." He said with a sneer. Cal hadn't checked his next match yet, he had been out with friends. Sarah was practically shaking.
"And how exactly do you think my next match is going to go?" Cal said coolly, staring the guy in the face.
"Well your next match is with me, and I am going to do to you exactly what you did to Vera." He said to Cal. Cal smiled.
"You're going to calmly tell me to leave? Not sure that one is going to work out for you, buddy." Cal patted him on his shoulder.
He held out his fist and it was bathed in fire. "Maybe I should give you a taste of what it will be like." He said to Cal, a misguided grin spreading across his face.
Cal smiled. "Oh I do think that's a good idea. Why don't I stand here and you can shout when you are ready to start."
Cal stepped back and the group backed up and formed a circle around them. Sarah joined the circle. "Cal, don't."
Vera's friend stood, his hands covered in large flames. Cal stood a few feet in front of him.
"Now." He shouted, but then didn't make a move. In an instant the flames died and his eyes widened in panic. Cal walked towards him slowly, and spoke loudly, but calmly.
"I am going to explain this once and once only, so pay attention." He spoke to everyone, the rest of the people in the park joining the circle.
He was getting closer and closer to his immobile opponent.
"I didn't touch Vera. Anything she did, she did to herself. Anything she got, she deserved. I don't care if you believe me, I don't really care about her."
He was withing arm's reach of his opponent now, but kept moving closer.
"But there is one thing I care about. One single thing that will quickly put you on my bad side. I am quick to lose my temper when people bother my friends."
He stood face to face with the guy now. Close enough to see the fear in his eyes.
"If there is one thing you take away from this, it's that there is one thing you definitely do not want me to do." Cal held his hand up to his opponents chest, bending his arm only slightly.
"You don't want me to lose my temper."
With the slightest push, his opponent slid fast along the ground. There was a layer of clear ice under his feet, but for the push and paralysis he was using abilities other than water and ice. People would be to distracted to notice.
It looked like Cal barely nudged him, but Vera's friend fell and slid across the entire park like he had been shot by a cannon. He hit a tree at the edge of the large park and stopped with a thud.
"Do you understand?!" Cal shouted and the audience scattered. Vera's friend rolled over on to his hands and knees and slowly got up, but Cal started walking away before he could check to see if the guy was really okay. Right now, Cal didn't want him to be.
"That was stupid," Sarah said to him, following as he walked away. "You didn't need to do that, they were just trying to get under your skin."
"Well they did!" Cal yelled. "Sorry. I shouldn't take it out on you." He said softly after.
Kent and Josh came down and walked with them, but then they separated from the group and went to spar. Josh had found out about Kent's training and wanted to try his best to show him up.
Cal and Sarah went back to the restaurant. It was still a little early for dinner, but they didn't want to hang around the park or the arena. They sat in silence for a while, the banging of silverware on plates and bowls sounding louder than ever.
"I'm sorry." Cal said, finally.
Sarah looked up at him and back down at her food. "You don't have to tell me. I can see it." She looked back up and into his eyes. "Don't ask me for forgiveness, ask yourself."
There was a lump in Cal's throat. Sarah was sitting next to Cal, in their usual spots, even though they didn't have Josh and Kent to sit on the other side. She put her arm around him.
"You know you wouldn't let yourself go to far. You wouldn't." She spoke softly.
"It would be so easy. Easier than breathing. I could sneeze and kill someone." He said, his face buried in his wet hands. She held him. He was stopping the sound waves from leaving their booth, so he wasn't afraid to tell her the truth. "I don't know how I am supposed to do this. I can't do it."
"You can do it Cal. You can do it so easily. You've practically won the tournament already." She told him.
"I don't mean the tournament, I mean living." He said with a shake. "I don't know how I am supposed to stay sane with the ability to see every atom in the universe. How I am supposed to avoid hurting people when a single stray thought could tear a hole in the world. How I am supposed to tell the world what to do, when I don't know myself." He was sobbing now.
"I'll tell you what you don't do," She said, leaning against him. "You don't do it alone."
He looked up from his hands and then wrapped her in a hug.
"You aren't alone." She said to him. He laughed through his tears.
"And to think. I told someone the same thing just last night." They held each other for a while longer. Cal simply made it so that no one could see or hear them. The restaurant never got busy enough that they needed to book the table. They held each other until their tears dried, and then a little while longer.