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Alone again [Vignette]

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Ren sat atop his apartment building, looking out over the neighborhood as the good people of Southside did their level best to blow it up, one tiny piece at a time. In truth, the fourth of July was a holiday he could get behind – it wasn’t like Japan didn’t have massive fireworks displays. Heck, the people that developed gunpowder in the first place only lived one country over. The displays down on the streets were far more sedate than the one taking place in the City Center, true, but he felt that the friends and families getting out and doing their thing, if only one day a year, was far more personal than gathering at a pre-designated place and gawking at some pretty lights.

Of course, did wish he wasn’t all by himself tonight. For all the friends he’d made in the city thus far, one would have thought he could have gotten one of them over to his place tonight of all nights. Unfortunately, it seemed everyone had things to do. Everyone from the bar was out with their significant other or was out of town, the people from the poetry club were indisposed (he couldn’t stand amateur night), and Daisuke had taken off with some neighborhood kids. Even Lynn decided to take a break for the night… for whatever reason.

Sighing heavily, Ren ran a hand through his hair in frustration. For all her faults, Lynn was a great person to be around, but still… she couldn’t spend some time? Tonight of all nights? Okay, she said she would swing by later, but that was by no means a sure thing. The girl tended to get flaky at the worst times, which was what Ren was expecting tonight. Hot and cold running superhero, that was Lynn in a nutshell.

Whining about it wasn’t going to accomplish anything, though. Ren sat back against the one of the ventilation exhausts on the roof and tried to get a better view of the fireworks from his vantage point. A tight smile crossed his face as he saw a couple neighborhood kids had taken to shaking Roman candles about, laughing and giggling as the multicolored sparks cast brilliant shades of blues and reds over the street.

“Hey…†the tentative voice from behind him made Ren look over his shoulder at the speaker. It was the girl from down the hall, Amber something. “You up here all alone?†she asked, cocking her chestnut tressed head to the side in a faint expression of concern.

For a moment, he simply stared at her, not knowing exactly what to say. No one from the building had approached him before now. Not that he could blame them. Ren didn’t really put himself out there for people to get to know. At least, not people that lived close to him. “Yeah,†he said after a moment.

“Mind if I join you?†She brushed her long bangs back out of her eyes and pointed to the piece of concrete next to him. He dumbly stared at her finger, then to where she was pointing, then back to her finger again. “I promise I don’t bite,†she said.

She was quite beautiful in that moment, giving him a magnificent smile that seemed to light up the rooftop even more than the fireworks from street level did. “Be my guest.†He patted the area she had pointed at and the girl plopped herself down right next to him without further preamble.

The two of them sat in silence for a while. Ren knew he should come up with something good to say, something suitable cool that would let her know that she wasn’t sitting next just any inorganic, battlesuit wearing metahuman. “Sooo…†he began awkwardly. “Come up here often?â€Â

Amber looked at him oddly for a moment, then smiled. “You don’t do this often, do you?†Ren shook his head, trying studiously to avoid eye contact from embarrassment over his question. She reached into her pocket and handed a couple firecrackers to him. When he looked up at her in confusion, she just winked and produced two lighters. “You wanna?â€Â

For the rest of the night, the two entertained themselves by tossing firecrackers off the roof. They didn’t even know each other. They didn’t have any reason to be together that night, or any night. But maybe that made it better for both of them.

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