indemnity - compensation for damage or loss sustained • i can go anywhere i want, just not home

Everything had changed to the tune of a flat line, preceding another only days, maybe months, after that had put Joseph where he was now: Quiet, alone, the subject of many conversations, but never part of one in a way where it had mattered. A teenager, someone who couldn't have been thought to be rational with such financial security and power that had all but fallen in his lap with the final drips of an I.V. flow and cessation of medical professionals to attempt what was thus determined impossible - bringing the dead, dead who had parted too far into that light or had seen no other option, had been given no other option, than to let go.

Twice now - twice now it had happened, and all medical professional had been tossed aside so haphazardly for the knowledge that a broken heart had been to blame; that his mother has succumb to whatever might have been ailing her without her support, without that person who had been half her very being, in her life through such a cruel fate as disease and sudden seizure of such very life giving function as one's own heart. There had been screaming. There had been crying. There had been an attempt to live the rest of her life for the sake of her son, suddenly without his father never mind any appropriate guidance in the world beyond her own, but it seemed the fate would have other plans as the hours continued to turn and the days began to pass and, in what seemed a time far too short to see himself out of his own grief and sorrow founded in his father's death, Joseph found himself faced once more with the notion that maybe he wasn't enough.

"No, that isn't it."

"No, you're parents loved you."

"No, it was just their time."

"No, they're in a better place."

It a revolving door echo of the same sentiment that a logical human being would have believed for the most part, but there was nothing logical about a teenage boy already trying to navigate what was a trying time for anyone - not because of what they had and what they didn't that added another layer of complication to an already complicated time, but because of nature, of natural change and progress, and emotion that seemed to tip the scales to the side of extremity more often than not. There was nothing logical about the chatter that had become his very life, his livelihood, among corporate bodies, trusted board members and equally stranger stockholders who would have tanked a company at the slightest wind that the status quo no longer applied who didn't know whether to mourn or get down to business, and who far too often chose the latter. There was nothing logical about a situation that would ultimately put him in a bind, no yet an adult, but far too young to be emancipated even upon the death of his parents, and had it not been for the implication of a corporate guardianship to make sure he didn't end up somewhere the company and it's multi-million dollars worth of financial gains didn't want to be.

Money - it always had and always would be about money, and far less about those that had to be stepped over if not stepped on to get to it, such jaded perception of the very thing that had only ever accompanied the Warren name so easily befalling the last of the line who, to his own perception, had no one to turn to.

It hadn't been to say he wasn't appreciative of what had ultimately been left behind, but money, financial stability, was no true indemnity to missing parents who might have gone on to see him do great things with the position he would ultimately be granted. It was no replacement for the gleam of pride in his father's eye when he had come out of the Air Force academy, uniformed and polished and shining example of what training and discipline could do in service of his country and the freedoms it echoed in its very being. It was no replacement for a doting mother who wanted nothing more than to nurture and care for someone who, on the best of days, could be bullheaded and stubborn, easily his father's son, and may have needed such a counterpoint to balance him out. It was no replacement for bringing home to them the girl he had wanted to marry only to endure a dozen or so speeches about knowing when the time was right and knowing who was right, and straightening ties while securing cuff links to the tune of a mother who, watching her son grow up into his very own man, couldn't keep her sniffling quiet.

Money was no replacement for parents though it had certainly seemed the intended perception in the fury of legalities and security measures meant to make sure Warren Enterprises didn't tank as soon as the namesakes behind it were shuffled off the mortal coil for higher clouds. It was a rush, a storm in the financial sector as much as it was to secure respecting partings, and by the time the dust had settled, it stood to question who was still around to address the one lost in the midst of it all, little to no purpose in the grand scheme until he was deemed old enough.

Assuming they didn't want to remove him from the picture entirely, a level of paranoid thought joining him as he stepped out of the luxury S.U.V. only to stand face-to-face which what would be his home for his summer - a camp, rickety enough in wear and tear, but still standing to the public eye which might have been enough to warrant parents dropping off their kids in the middle of Wishon, California, right along the shores of Bass Lake, to be someone else's problem for the time they had off.

Not that it had been his parents to drop him off.
Though there seemed to be some semblance of authoritativeness to the staff and counselors at Camp Anawanna, there was nothing that secured Joseph in place. There was nothing that kept himg grounded, nothing that kept him within the confines of the camp grounds, nothing that would keep him boxed in given a considerable lack of established boundaries, something that would have inevitably broken the spirit of attending a summer camp in the first place.

Summer camp, after all, was a place to get away. It was a place to learn as much as it was a place to have fun, a place to see old friends as well as make new ones, a place to explore the wilderness around them while keeping to the relative safety of grounds that, landscaped and maintained, could provide suitable enough accomodations for a bunch of teenagers who, with their own definitions in mind on what the summer camp experience entailed, could at least appreciate the bare essentials - whatever those might have actually been, Joseph sure there had been a studdent or few who would have much rather roughnecked it in the woods than stay in a four-walled cabin with some level of creature comfort.

To that, he could simply suggest that it took all sorts to make the world go 'round - the people who wanted to stay in cabins and the people who didn't, the people who just went to campfires for the marshmallows versus the people who just went to campfires for the scary potential, and the people who swam in the lake versus the people who somehow found a means to drown in it.

It was just the same as it had been in the world beyond the boundaries of Camp Anawanna, as grossly laid as those were physically when a treeline could just as easily provide, taking all matters and manners of people - hero, villain, ad otherwise - to ensure life continued as known.

And where did he sit?

It was hard to say presuming he had even sat at all, far more inclined to find whatever reason possible, even if there was no reason at all, to be in the air; to fly; to embrace that which had made him different and that which he had no time to tell his parents about before their unfortunate departure from the Earth. It was something they - the men of the Warren Family - could appreciate with such firsthand experience found in the cockpit of a fighter jet or whatever other aircraft they had found themselves in and, from that, something even those of the other gender could knowing just how much it meant, how free from restraint it had made their loved ones feel, to do.

There had only been on difference, concealed in baggy sweatshirts, thick jackets, and any and all attempts to tourniquet them to his body, and that had been the method.

There was no jet propulsion here, no rumble of heavy metal turbines meant to slingshot fighters and their more civilian-in-nature builds through the sky. There was no jet fuel required or calculation of speed and velocity observed in sensor gauges to be spied in those slight moments between taking one's eyes off and returning them to the invisible pathways of the sky. There was no vastly technical method relying mechanics and everyday maintenance to ensure everyone in contact with or who may have crossed paths with such air bound masses of metal required.

There was just as a set of wings, naturally perched however unnatural they were on his back, growing from the very bone and tissue and muscular sinew that had composed every other limb of his body to general human specification. White and feathered, they were as much pride and joy as they had been the subject of what felt almost eternal torment, a secret to remain hidden from everyone who wouldn't have known how to process what their eyes had perceived; and the change not only in school, but in city and state and the very coast he had been raised on, that had come at the behest of his corporate guardians had at least provided him with opportunity to be what, by all personal accounts, was normal.

From here, high in the skies over Camp Anawanna, he could go anywhere - near, far, for a few miles or a few miles more, with nothing to stand in his way except his own capability as what many would call a winged wonder, a super hero, a mutant and a scourge on human kind. He could go into the woods, find himself a bird's eye view of the nature around him in ways that only birds had been able to on an everyday basis and he could escape whatever might have been going on among those with their feet firmly on the ground for something that was so much more free, so much more light, and so much more airy than juvenile delinquency - not that he didn't embrace a fair amount of that in his time attending a summer camp that seemed to have just as many individuals with powers, individuals like him, as it did those without.

He could go anywhere he wanted, anywhere at all...

... anywhere but a home that no longer existed. Not without the the home he had grown up in, the penthouse apartment in a Manhattan high rise that might as well have been the size of a house and came, painfully enough, with far too many LEGOs left on the shared walkways with other residents who had found themselves in the same halls; not without the parents who had been there from day one of Joseph's kicking and screaming in the world, there to endure his torments, his struggles, his ire and tantrums just as they were to help him and guide him throughout the sure troubles that would be found along the path of life; not without the friends he had made, now miles away through no fault of his own though there had been some argument to stay in New York City despite the change in corporate leadership to someone more aligned with the West Coast and inclined to remain as such.

Home?

He didn't know where that was anymore.

Not unless it was up in the clouds.