Eye of the Tiger (Who doesn't love some Survivor?)

Niko bounced on his toes in his room, stretching out one shoulder then the next by crossing his arm over his body. He cracked his neck. Free weight dumbells sat waiting on their rack in the far corner. He’d love to convert a room into a workout area; the Sanctum had enough rooms that it could spare just one, but the house was also a dick and Niko knew he’d get a full work out in just trying to find that particular room again.

The first opening notes of Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger chortled through Niko’s headphones. By the time the first four chords sounded, he had 50 crunches under his belt. In the background he could still hear Theo talking to Bob Dylan Wong about the unfairness of Bailey Bishop.

“A reporter who doesn’t like mutants?” he thought bitterly. “Who could have seen that coming? Oh, that's right, I saw that coming.” It would very much be in Bailey’s wheelhouse to send some sort of spy, like Bob, to dig up more information. Turning up the volume served to drown out the talking and helped to focus on his work-out, plus he really wanted to tune out the events of the day. On tonight's menu, crunches, free weights, squats and his favorite, skipping rope. Of course, jump ropes never lasted very long. This one was no exception. Friction from hitting the floor at high speeds snapped the rope in two, the two cord ends still smoldering. Before the song ended he’d completed his workout and was finishing up his shower. He shook the water from his silver hair and wrapped a towel around his waist, wiping clean the mirror to check if he needed a shave, but his chin wasn't showing any signs of stubble. He exited the bathroom with a hefty waft of steam and found himself standing directly in the kitchen. Seated at the table were his cousin, and it appeared she was serving tea to the make up man with the ponytail from NBC’s broadcast. Niko inwardly growled at the Sanctum.

“Niko, you remember Birdy, I’m calling him Birdy now. We’re having a chat about the awful reporter we were talking to earlier. Do you want to join us?” Niko looked down at the towel he was wearing and then back to his cousin with raised eyebrows. Sure, she’d seen him in a towel hundreds of time and vice versa, but Bob, no matter how beautiful his soul, was a stranger. With a wave of her hand a chair magically slid from the table for Niko to sit. Niko raised his eyebrows higher.

“Don’t change on my account.” Bob quipped from behind his large mug of tea, He tapped the ceramic to his teeth as he eyed Niko like a dog eyes a bone. Niko curled his lip and retreated from the kitchen into, of course, the dining room, where he hung his head, slunk past the creepy family on the wall and eventually made it back to his room.

He had no issue with Bob per say, except for the fact he might just be there for a story, but he’d be happy if he never heard the name Bailey Bishop again. He quickly discovered that her name was inescapable. Thumbing through his tablet, all of the big sites were running stories. Everywhere there were pictures of Bailey with sensational headlines like “I survived” and “Avengers: Generation Next.” Live news streams showed there was a protest being staged in Union Square, “Mutants, Go Home” was the gist of it. One report in particular caught his eye; it was about the “Mighty Maximoff Menace - Magnets for Mutants.” This one had featured a grainy picture of a girl in a red and blue suit flying high above the city by slinging webs, her red hair soaked and sticking to her head. Several New Yorkers had taken photos and video as she soared above the skies. Niko chuckled. He still had her mask. Maybe after Theo was settled in tonight, he’d go out looking to give it back.

Other news reports caught his eye. There was a dignitary from Wakunda visiting, which further invoked suspicions that a new generation of Avengers were on the rise. There were speculations and rumors about the next threat and where it would come from. “One thing is for sure,” one reporter said. “The city that never sleeps has a new reason to lie awake and worry.”

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