The manor was far from being new—it was one of the first buildings built when the war had ended—but it wasn't old to the point of disrepair, either. The bricks on the exterior had chipped in multiple places, and the windows and corners of the house leaked a little whenever it rained, which was pretty frequently in the town of Baron Lake. The grounds were in a perpetual state of muddiness, resulting in the children's despisal of outdoor training, and the only reason none of the flowers in the flowerbeds had drowned was that Eve nursed them back to health three times a day.

All of this was a point of contention between Klancy and MacKenzie. It wasn't until years later, however, when Klancy learned that they actually had very similar views of what their life at the manor had been like, but MacKenzie had made a sarcastic comment about it once and had enjoyed the resulting argument from Klancy not understanding him. From that point forward, every interaction between the two boys included some kind of argument, all thanks to MacKenzie making sure he found a way to get on Klancy's nerves.

It was almost hard to believe that what had started as petty arguments between two little boys had now turned into two men, fighting for their lives on the roof of the same manor where it had all started, vacant except for the two of them.

Neither said a word to each other; they had long since gotten tired of those long speeches before every fight and the antagonistic comments gritted out through their teeth as they each battled for the upper hand. If it was anyone else they were fighting they would be all for it, but this was them. At the end of the day, it wasn't what they had said to each other that would count towards their victory. It was the amount of blood spilled, how long it would take the other to recover, which one was the last one standing, and something about this time told them both that it would be the last. Only one of them would be left in the end, maybe even neither, but definitely not both.

There was something almost poetic about the fact that this downward spiral had started with the two of them, on these very grounds, and it was about to end the same way. Nothing and no one was there to hold them back. Baron Lake was empty except for the two of them.

MacKenzie had always been the stronger of the two—confidence always seems to do that—so Klancy wasn't even slightly shocked when MacKenzie had overpowered him and sent them both tumbling over the edge of the roof. They barely fell three feet before MacKenzie caught himself in the air, manipulating it so he could stand up and dangle Klancy over the edge by his shirt.

"Dramatic much?" Klancy gritted out through his teeth as he rolled his eyes, not even fighting against it anymore. He knew how to play with MacKenzie's emotions; the more helpless he acted, the more likely it would be that MacKenzie took pity on him and let him go free. "Come on, the suspense is killing me. Get on with it so you can go back to your heroic, saving-the-world bullshit. Rid the world of me once and for all."

And just like that, there was solid ground under Klancy's feet. Well, solid air, so he wasn't quite in the clear yet.

He lunged forward, jumping at MacKenzie and knocking him back and causing them to fall to the ground, albeit slowly. Klancy let out a guttural scream—of course, MacKenzie would want to end this on his terms without any dramatic mid-fall fights that would be documented in movies and paintings for years to come.

As soon as the swamp-like ground was back under Klancy's feet, he found himself stumbling backward, fresh blood started to stream from his nose. For a fraction of a second, he thought of letting his power surge through him and ending it right then and there, but that wouldn't be any fun. When he won it would be without his power, or at least, without his first power. The others were free game.

Klancy raised one hand towards the sky, the other clutching his nose and healing it before it too raised to the sky. The ever-present clouds overhead darkened and the rain started pouring, a stark contrast to the simply annoying mist that had been falling from the sky previously. Electricity crackled across the sky and down into his hands forming a spear almost two feet taller than him.

"Who?" MacKenzie asked, shock clear on his face as he uttered that single word, the first sound he had made since he arrived at the manor that day.

With a smirk, Klancy thrust the spear towards the sky, which again burst into the colorful light-show as more lightning traveled across the bottoms of the clouds and sparks rained down on them, sizzling in the cold puddles of rain.

"Doesn't matter now, does it?" Klancy asked, and he pointed the spear at MacKenzie.

It ended all too quickly. Before even a full second had passed, MacKenzie was on the ground, clothes smoking and body twitching as small bursts of the electricity continued to travel through him.

Klancy took his time in walking to the lifeless body as the movements slowly spaced themselves out until there were no more and there was no denying that MacKenzie was—

"Bastard," Klancy said in disgust as he stood over the remains. He spat down on MacKenzie's face, watching as his saliva mixed with the rainwater and dripped down a cheek towards the grass.

He knelt down and gently moved the head into his lap, stroking one hand through the rain-soaked hair as the other traced its thumb back and forth along a cheekbone, smearing away the remaining spit. His eyes fell closed as he finally let his power coarse through him and through his hands, into the corpse.

"I can do more than just take life and powers, you know," he murmured when he knew his power had taken hold and MacKenzie had taken in a shuddering breath. "I can give it, too."