Although Bo didn’t share his yearnings aloud, Bruce would have been sympathetic to them had he thought to give them voice. The mental manipulator had sired two children, a secret to all but a select few, because their Daddy was their Daddy
in all the ways that mattered most. Bruce was their uncle
, and when they were babies, he spent more time with them because he had the touch, but Avery was a toddler now and Mabel was in elementary school. Occasionally, he had pangs about a child of his own, raising one from infancy to adulthood rather than babysitting and popping into recitals. For a child to call him Daddy rather than only his play partners. It was impractical, but not immoral. There was nothing immoral about bringing a child into this world to love.
Bo might believe that everyone was an inspiration in their own way, but Bruce vehemently disagreed. Owing both to his general agnosticism and his refusal to attribute to the Divine the choices of humanity. Suffering and poverty were caused by myriad human choices and systems, none of which came from the Lord guiding someone’s head, hands, or heart. Some people’s choices made the world worse and no amount of positive spin could change that simple fact. As a society, they could end genetic tests tomorrow. Cut up their ID cards. Free the DEA agents from their employment contracts. Cease administering suppressant except to those Evolutes who voluntarily sought it out to counter the effects of their powers. (As he knew that some people did, although he was not among their ranks.) Find permanent housing for the residents of Sanctuary Park. Institute a jobs program for the unemployed. Nothing external stopped them, only the failures of the collective will to do so.
That benefitted nobody.
Bruce would never nudge people in the right direction, even when convinced he knew better; he respected consent far too much for that. His worship at the altar of informed consent tied his hands, but it didn’t place rose-colored glasses on the bridge of his nose. Rebecca Ramsey might bring comfort to her family, but her political opinions were hardly an inspiration. The Cartel, the Entente, Typics United; they weren’t the vultures feeding on carrion and contributing to the ecosystem in an unappreciated way. They were blight, brought about by greed or bigotry, and the absence of their actions would bring only peace upon the city. No murders. No kidnappings. No attempts to poison Evolutes
with black market suppressant. No keeping human beings in cages and forcing them to fight. No underground drug trafficking. No extortion. No usury or protection rackets.
He said none of this, shared it neither through speech nor facial expression or body language. The same smile remained on his lips as he burped the tiny girl in his arms, before shifting her back to try the nipple again. Her itty-bitty lips rooted for several seconds before making contact; Bruce held her head securely while she had seconds of her mid-morning meal.
“I’m sure there are days when I could be a better Bruce than I am.” Humor and self-deprecation seemed a better topic than reminding Bo of misery to which he wasn’t blind. The younger man had admitted moments ago to giving all he could to those in Sanctuary Park, after all. What was the point in sparking an argument that he didn’t want and in which Bo wouldn’t participate?
The offer caught him off-guard, although, in retrospect, he should have realized Bo might extend an invitation the moment the words had left his lips about being alone. It was generous, despite not being Bruce’s cup of tea. Surely it would be a mostly-Malachite affair. A grateful smile touched his lips as he replied, “That’s kind of you, Bo. But I might go for a drink after this. Or go dancing.” He paused briefly before asking, “Do you ever go dancing?”@Bo Fierro