Aiko and I sat and looked out over the city as the setting sun painted the city in amber and vermillion. Or, rather, Aiko sat and looked out over the city. I was sitting, but my vision was focused elsewhere, scattered through the eyes of a hundred ravens, hawks, gulls, and pigeons, giving me a literally birds’-eye view of the streets.
The scars were visible. Unmistakable, when the city was viewed on this scale, when the whole of the picture could be seen. There were gaps in the structure of the city, where buildings had been destroyed. There were gaps in the flow of the city, where the traffic was detouring around streets that were blocked or worse.
But there was traffic to stop. There was structure to interrupt.
It wasn’t nothing.
“My city,” I said, returning my consciousness to my own body and walking forward to stand by Aiko at the edge of the roof, my hands folded behind my back. It was a striking image, one that I could appreciate even if I couldn’t see it.
Theoretically this building was closed. About as close as Colorado Springs got to a real skyscraper, it was corporate offices all the way up. At the moment it was shut down, since nobody was going to the office just now anyway.
But I’d been in a melodramatic mood, and my name had been enough to open the door.
There weren’t many doors that were closed to me around here anymore. It was funny, in a way. Every door was open, and yet my choice of path was narrower than ever.
“Your city,” Aiko echoed. “How does it feel?”
“Odd,” I admitted. “This is…it isn’t something I wanted.” Then I frowned. “It’s funny, actually. I can say that, but…I did it, didn’t I? If I really don’t want this kind of power, why do I keep seeking it out?”
“Sometimes what we do has very little to do with what we want,” Aiko said. She sounded a little said, and a little thoughtful, almost meditative.
“I guess so,” I said. “It’s just…is it worth it? So many people dead. Snowflake still hasn’t woken up, and Kyra might never walk right again. All this, for what? Who gets to wear the biggest hat?” I shook my head. “I don’t understand.”
She turned to face me and leaned in for a hug. For once I wasn’t wearing armor, so it was more satisfying than most of our hugs had been recently.
Apparently she felt similarly, because she held me tight for almost a minute. It was more actual contact than we’d had since I’d started my campaign for control over Colorado Springs.
“I don’t know if it will all be worth it,” she said, letting me go. “I hope so, but I don’t know. Ask me after this is over.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I hope so too.”
We stood there and looked over the city as the shadows lengthened and the brilliant hues of evening faded into the muted greys and blues of a night without streetlights.