He was surprised to find them there at all. His friends were not ones for fighting. Well, maybe the detective, but not the other two. Bernard's friends were gathered in a tight knot to the edge of the fighters. He didn't join them. Not until one of them beckoned him over, at least.
Amadeus Darkside was not a fighter. He was a sensitive who didn't have any skill with visions but was excellent at messing with other people's minds and probing, and maybe a few offensives, but not many. He worked in public relations, was normally fair-skinned but seemed to have gotten a recent tan from somewhere, a little underweight, possibly recovering from an eating disorder, or at least that was the rumour, and with blonde, frizzy hair that was just a couple of inches from his shoulders. If he dared cut it any shorter it became an afro. It was a mess of blonde frizz and natural ringlets with an occasional streak of brown and he often hoped it would all draw attention away from the mismatched eyes. One was a dark brown while the other was deep green. He was single, but he liked to sleep around, including with Bernard's wife, who he insisted had told him she was single.
Isaac Binding was a sigilist. His basic job was to organise files and similar documents. He insisted this was an integral part of Sanctuary running and some of the detectives agreed that his job was helpful in terms of research, but Isaac had even less fighting experience than Amadeus. He was a big man, though. Tall, broad-shouldered, muscular, very intimidating and looked like a tough opponent to beat. He probably was, but people were still taking bets to see how long some of those who rarely fought would last, and Binding was still towards the bottom of the ranking. He had dark skin and close-cropped dark curls and a circle beard which he liked because he thought it made him look like an old action-movie cop. Like his blonde companion, he was single, but he was currently looking for the right man to share his life with. Unfortunately everyone he was interested in didn't swing that way. He didn't mind, though. He believed there was someone out there for everyone.
Memphis Heatwave was the only one used to fighting, an elemental. He was the detective, and also did some work as a guard by the gaol area, with a cool, laid-back attitude...apart from when he had something to get excited about or when someone stole his sunglasses. You could see his eyes flickering around nervously through the light brown lenses. He wore them to protect his photosensitive eyes from burning light. They were grey underneath, and he had black hair to his shoulders. It wavered slightly, but it was mostly straight. He was always wearing leather jackets, but sometimes his trousers were denim. Today they were thick things designed to protect his legs rather than to look cool, and they looked very stupid on him. His wife, a nice Brazilian Mage named River Tempest who worked in the medical facilities. She wasn't there to fight, she was just seeing Memphis off. There was a possibility that she would be helping to look after the wounded after all the fighting was done, but it wasn't likely since she had a baby to care for. Memphis was currently holding his son, who looked very unlike him, but seemed to be looking anywhere but at the infant.
Bernard approached, Melantha behind him, and greeted his friends quietly. Memphis gave a nod of acknowledgement, Isaac smiled and started talking, a usual 'Hey man, how you been? You look well, anything interesting happen recently?' and similar words. Amadeus held his hand up for a high five which Bernard did not give. He stood there awkwardly for a few minutes before dropping the hand. The administrator gestured to the child the detective was holding. "So would this be the 'good news' that had you barrelling through the Sanctuary a couple of weeks back?"
"I wasn't 'barrelling', I was late."
"He's adorable, man. He got a name?"
"Duh. Jaime." He smiled and finally looked at the child. "Jaime Adin Grady. You ever hear the song 'Hell is for Children?'" Bernard shook his head. "If I die, I want that to play at my funeral." He turned to his wife and told her to 'make a note of it'.
"Why do you always have to get so depressing, Mem?" Isaac complained. "If you talk like you're going to die, we might as well give up and kill ourselves now!" he crossed his arms and smiled sadly. The detective paid no heed. "I think as long as we protect each other, we'll be fine." He had always had a very sanguine attitude towards things. It sometimes annoyed Bernard, such as when Binding had tried to give relationships advice over the Melantha issue. "I take it a group hug before go-time would be out of the question?"
"Not for me, man. See you on the other side, though." Darkside chirped cheerfully.
Sult grinned. "You and your group hugs. You don't know how awkward it gets. 'Course, under the circumstances, it would be very appropriate, I'd have to admit." He jabbed a thumb in the direction of the forth friend. "He's very anti-hugging, though. I feel a bit sorry for that kid."
"Eh, River's nice." Melantha mumbled. "She'll do her best to stop him screwing that kid up...is that group hug open to me too?"
"Sure, Mel." Isaac practically yelled, "it's open to everyone. Group hug before go-time!!"
There were a few laughs and titters around, but some people seriously considered it and there were even people who normally hated Isaac and Bernard who joined in on the hug. Back to the present, however, Memphis slowly turned and gave a rare smile.
"You're so loud. So embarrassing. And, for the record, I can hear everything you're saying. Thirdly, I'm in a hugging mood today anyway." The group all smiled, despite what was about to happen. Positivity was probably good. Morale was always good. One reason Bernard liked these people was, with the occasional exception of Darkside, they always made him feel good. They always made each other feel very good.
"We'll always be there for each other." He blurted, then pretended he had said nothing as Amadeus nodded slowly.
"In life and in death." He agreed with a widening grin.
Right, this is just so you guys have a chance to get properly acquainted with Bernard's friends and fighting partners...and what did I do to Amadeus?! He used to be a Ghanith fankid...and a Necromancer...but he's always been a womanizer, I must admit that at least...bit iffy about writing a fighting scene with Bernard in...going to assume he's elemental...what do you think of the friends?