Anyway, here it is, for what it’s worth…
Violet peers out over the edge of the roof and stamps her feet a few times to try and coax her body into making a little more heat. She doesn’t have any trouble keeping warm when they’re on the move, but stopping like this just slows down the blood flow. She’s pulled her glossy white and gold cape around her in a very non-heroic pose.
“So you’re still going out with her?” Fastball is talking to Brick. Some of the other heroes know each other outside of crimefighting and they shoot the breeze about personal stuff during downtime like this.
Brick is standing on the very edge of the roof, arms folded. He’s almost a silhouette against the city lights below. He nods his head, “I told her my secret identity last night.”
“Which one?”, Fastball asks idly.
“The architect one.”
“Why architect?”, Fastball asks, looking up. He’s crouched on the ledge next to Brick, back bent and looking vaguely like a very thin, angular ape in this light.
Brick shrugs, “She seems to be soft for artistic types.”
“Why didn’t you just do the painter thing again?”
“Think about where she lives,” Brick says chidingly, “She likes money too much to go for the whole ‘starving painter’ thing.”
Violet can remember being awestruck when she joined the group and met Brick for the first time. He was square-jaw, broad-shoulders, dimple-cheeks gorgeous. At twenty-nine, he’s the oldest member of the Steel Defenders, and he’s the unofficial leader of the team. Her enthusiasm was doused when she finally got a sense of who he really is. He’s not a bad guy or anything, and he’s saved more lives than most of the other members of the team combined. He’s just a selfish asshole sometimes. He has wit and charm that he can turn on at will, which he uses to mask his default personality.
“Cold roof is cold.”, Ophelia says curtly, “Let’s DO something.”
Ophelia didn’t show up for the last couple of weeks. The high-school aged heroes are always a little unreliable like that. This week she appeared with a new costume. The new one has kind of an emo vampire thing going on. She’s got a lot of white makeup and dark eyeliner, with lots of flowy bits of dark cloth hanging from her like a tattered cape. They had to talk her out of changing her name to “Eclipse”.
“Yeah”, Violet agrees, “This guy isn’t going to show. We should head back towards the metro and sweep the lots again.”
“Give it a few more minutes.”, Brick says, “He’ll show.”
It’s just the four of them tonight. The others are still away due to the holidays. Or the cold.
There’s a long pause. Eventually Fastball speaks up, “I thought you said she was a stripper or something?”
Brick shakes his head, “Ex-stripper. Now she’s a… I dunno. A clerk or some crap now. Like, at a law firm or something? I think she told me but I wasn’t paying attention.” Brick spits off the edge of the roof, and there’s a pause while he waits to see where it will land. “Anyway, when I told her my secret identity she cried.“
Fastball laughs. He’s got a loud, high-pitched voice. Not effeminate, but harsh and abrasive. His laugh always has a taunting quality to it. “You gonna keep seeing her?”
“Noooo.”, Brick replies as if this is the most ludicrous suggestion he’s ever heard, “She talks way too much. I figure I’ll see her a couple more times, make the most of it.”
“What about the one we saved from that fire?”
“I didn’t call her. Maybe I will later. I dunno. She had kind of a big butt.”
Ophelia groans, “When this guy shows up I’m going to crucify him for making us wait around in the cold like this.” She levitates a bit and makes all the strips of cloth flare outward as if she were facing into a harsh wind. She’s been sort of practicing this move all evening.
A flash of white light radiates from the street behind them, followed by a thunderclap. Brick bounds to the opposite edge of the roof and looks down, “There. What did I tell you? He’s a natural.”
There’s a guy on the street below, flinging lightning bolts with his fingertips. There’s no sign of any technology on him. Brick was right. He’s another natural.
“Let’s kick his ass!”, Ophelia says, but she doesn’t actually move. She’s a natural as well, but she’s also as fragile as a commoner and so she makes sure to stay behind everyone else.
Brick is standing still, watching carefully. Lightning-guy is standing in the middle of an intersection throwing bolts around. He’s gesturing wildly and setting random things on fire. People are abandoning their cars and running. His screams are maniacal.
There’s a pop and one of the traffic lights explode. This startles the guy and makes him flinch. Then he gets embarrassed and intensifies his attack.
“He just broke through”, Brick says, nodding. “He can’t control it.”
Sure enough, the guy is pointing, but the bolts of energy don’t seem to be striking where he points. They’re just sort of radiating from his hands, sometimes shooting sideways or straight up. His screams are a mixture of rage and frustration.
“Probably a crackhead or something”, Fastball offers.
Brick doesn’t answer. He waits for another minute or so. Eventually the guy is more or less out of things that can be easily set on fire. The intersection is deserted. His bolts of energy seem to be getting weaker and shorter. Eventually he stops blasting and starts hammering on the hood of a smoldering car with his fists.
“That’s our cue”, Brick says, and steps off the roof. There is a pause as he free-falls six stories before he hits the pavement like a wrecking ball. Lightning guy spins around to see six and a half feet of muscle heading his way.
The rest of them dive off after him.
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