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Chapter 1 of 1
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He’d stopped listening to the words that floated from the TV. He’d heard enough. Words like critical condition and coma were enough to have him glued to the spot for longer than anything else the anchorwoman could say. The next story could be about how the sun was changing color to green and purple polka dots, and it wouldn’t hit him as hard as the last one.

He looked back at the screen. Some bleached blond with fake tits was weeping uncontrollably about what had happened. But did she try to help? No, he was fairly sure that type of girl had stood there, or had been held back by one of the more cowardly of the group and screamed her head off as ten goons beat the shit out of Johnny. Useless. He shook his head, trying to get rid of the unreasonable anger he felt for the woman. Really, what could she have done?

A voice in the back of his head answered the question for him. She could have tried! He turned the TV off and started for the door. He wasn’t entirely sure where he was going. Somewhere where he wouldn’t have to hear anything about Stamford, or public opinion on the metahuman community, or…

His hand ran through his perpetually messy dark hair. He walked for what seemed like hours, lost in his thoughts. What if he’d been there? No doubt, Johnny had been running his mouth at the crowd. He wasn’t exactly one to keep his mouth shut. But what if he’d been there? Could he have stopped this? Could he have dragged his friend out of harms way? Maybe settled the crowd down?

His feet seemed to know where to take him, and when he shook himself out of his own head, he looked around to figure out where exactly they’d lead him. He read the sign a few times. New York Presbyterian Hospital.

He closed his eyes, and gulped in a few breaths before pushing the door open. He took the stairs up, wanting time to adjust to the horrible things floating through his head. He pressed the door open quietly when he reached the proper floor. He knew it was the right one because Ben was trying to sit down on one of those tiny plastic hospital chairs a little ways down the hall. He almost laughed. Johnny would have. There was yelling coming from the room Ben was sitting opposite from. Sounded like Sue and Reed. He frowned. What could possibly be worth fighting about now?

“Hey kid.” Ben’s gruff voice cut through his thoughts.

“Hey.” He sat down next to the craggy man. He didn’t know what to say, if anything. He suddenly felt like he was intruding. He should have just stayed home, maybe. The yelling from the room made him even more uncomfortable.

“Its okay, Pete.” A rocky hand patted him on the shoulder. “He’d want you here.” Peter looked up into the eyes of the man next to him and saw the same question that was haunting him.

What if I’d been there…?

Chapter 1 of 1
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