This is the third entry in the Tales of Glenhaven miniseries, with the focus on Matthew Cunningham. Enjoy!
Matt did a barrel roll before he landed the jet with ease. He jumped out the cockpit and threw his helmet into the seat. "How did I do?"
Lucius glanced at the stop watch then back to him and smiled. "A new personal record. I'm impressed."
"There's a reason why I'm part of the Justice Unit, Lucius. I'm the best damn pilot this Garrison has ever seen," Matt said.
"Second," Matt corrected. "After you of course."
Lucius chuckled. "Well, how about I treat you to a drink? Consider it a prize for a job well done."
"How can I refuse?"
Matt and Lucius went to the lounge and sat in a booth. Joni was on a mission and Nick was probably off training. The poor guy's been having a hard time with nightmares and guilt, it'd be hard for him to get out of bed.
"Something on your mind?" Lucius asked, taking a sip of his lemonade.
"I just can't believe he never told me...We tell each other everything."
"You mean Ag--I mean, Nicholas?"
Matt drank some tea. "Yeah. Nick's been in solitary for a while now. I wonder when Pete's going to let him off the hook.”
"I should hope not any time soon."
Matt raised a brow. "Why do you say that?"
"He almost killed my apprentice."
“It was out of his control."
"Even still, what if it had been Joni? Would you be so easily able to turn the other cheek if he had hurt her?”
“He’s not a menace to society, Lucius. He’s vulnerable and confused. No one else knows how it feels to be a demon.”
“And you do?”
Matt shot him a look. “Listen, I’m afraid I don’t like what you’re saying right now.”
Lucius nodded. “I don’t mean to be cruel, but Nicholas has caused damage to the Garrison. Surely as a member of the Justice Unit you can understand where I'm coming from. The arena has been destroyed, and he has insulted his superiors. He embodies everything that we are sworn to destroy. If it were anybody else, you'd be one of the first in line with your Wolfsbane, leading the charge for his head."
"All I know is that he's all alone when it comes to this and I'm not going to turn my back on him."
"But why? What is your stake in all of this?"
Matt closed his eyes and rubbed his eyebrows. He remembered the day he first met Nick.
Matt was playing around the halls with some other young soldiers when he accidentally broke the statue of Yuriel that sat in the Grand Hall. He didn't know it, but at the time Nick was sitting in a corner by himself, which he later admitted was because he was hiding from the torment of Paul and the others. Matt remembered being so scared when Gabriel burst through the door with the other knights, the looks of shock at the broken Herald at their feet. He remembered crying like a baby, blubbering in his fear of the punishment that was to come. But, when Gabriel asked who was responsible for the disaster, it was Nick who stepped forward. All of his other so-called friends had vanished. It was Nick, who had no reason to take the blame, no reason to owe him anything. It was Nick who was the only one standing at his side at the end of the day.
Matt opened his eyes and looked straight at him. "Because he's my best friend."