“I hope your email doesn’t find me at all. Every night, I lie awake thinking about how much I hate having to converse with people in the most awkward, uncomfortably formal manner imaginable, but you don’t think about that do you? You just send me your regards and wait for my many thanks in return.”
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“We are on a ship, in the middle of the ocean! What did you hope to achieve by trying to run from me?” the captain asked.
“I was hoping you might lose your big, stupid hat in a sudden gust of wind.”
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“Are you an angel?” the child asked, eyes wide with wonder.
The creature paused, and considered its next words carefully. “No, child. I am unknowable.”
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“You can’t just jump out of a window every time an uncomfortable topic comes up! We’re not always going to happen to be on the ground floor.”
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“We should unionise,” she announced to her group of friends.
“We’re thieves,” one of them answered, “how would that even work? We take someone to tribunal because the stuff we stole from them wasn’t worth enough money?”
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“Do you know why you always lose?”
“Because your water bottle is full of soda.”
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“I didn’t do this for you,” the villain snorted derisively.
“Then who exactly did you risk your life rescuing me for?” the hero asked.
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The villain leaned in for a kiss, and the hero met them half way.
But one of them kept their eyes open the whole time.
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“I want you,” the villain said simply.
I know,” the hero did not stop their steady retreat. “You want me, like I’m just another object you can steal.”
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“I kidnapped you!”
The door to the cell hadn’t even banged against the wall before Villain was shouting. Side-kick cringed back closer to the wall, even though they were reluctant to leave the warmth they had built up under their blanket.
“I had noticed.” Villain had been staring at them, and it seemed like they were supposed to say something.
“I kidnapped you, and I’m meant to be holding you against your will!”
Villain hadn’t asked a question, and yet they seemed to be expecting Side-kick to give them an answer. “I do understand the situation, I promise you.”
“Do you?! Because you haven’t tried to escape even once. You’ve been quiet, and well behaved, you haven’t so much as thrown a stray punch. The only problem you’ve caused is that you’ve read all the books I own and you still want more.”
“Do you want me to cause more problems?” Side-kick asked, instead of saying ‘you only own five books?’ because that would have been rude.
“No I don’t want you to-” Villain shifted uncomfortably. They hadn’t advanced further than the doorway; they were looking over their shoulder like they were unsure whether to retreat back out of it. “It’s just that... I mean, umm... It seems like you don’t want to go home.”
Side-kick shrugged. “Well Hero will find me eventually and take me back.”
“And will you want to go with Hero when they come for you? Or do you not want to go with Hero.”
Realisation dawned. “Yes, I want to go home eventually. It’s just that this is a nice break. You’re not hurting me, I get to lie-in every morning and you’re letting me catch up on some reading. It’s like a holiday, you know?” Side-kick said with complete sincerity.
Not for the first time Villain noticed how young Hero’s side-kick was. Too young to be in their line of work.
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“You’ve been doing all of it!” Villain gasped. Months of scheming had allowed them to break into Hero’s base; now they were in they wished they hadn’t succeeded. “You’ve been making people into supervillains? Who are they?”
Hero laughed. “No one who mattered. No one who’ll be missed at least,” they amended, seeing the look on Villain’s face. “But you on the other hand, you’re something quite special. You decided to move against me all on your own. I think I’ll keep you for a while. At the very least, you’ll make a good reference for my next batch of villains.”
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“Come with me now and that can be the end of the matter,” hero said. They held the villain’s gaze, rather than keeping an eye on the knife they were holding.
Villain shook their head mutely. The probably wouldn’t be able to put up much of a fight, but they weren’t going to roll over either.
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“[Hero] isn’t a person, they’re an idea.” They paused. “A really bad idea.”
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“When I say jump, you say...” the villain trailed off, looking at their henchmen expectantly.
“That I can’t because hero dislocated my leg last week and my doctor said I should take it easy for a while?”
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The four astronauts recieved a hero’s welcome when they returned to Earth.
The trouble was only three had left the planet.
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“Yeah, sure, call me James Bond and shake martini up my ass. Obviously I’m not a spy, dumbass!”
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CW for implied underage drinking
Forty minutes into the party the hero disappeared. The villain found them alone on the back porch, surrounded by other people's discarded red cups and cigarette butts, staring up at the moonless sky. They did not turn, even as the villain slid the door shut with a whoosh and a click on the noise of the house party.
"These people are weird," the villain said.
The hero laughed, but hollowly. "I'm pretty sure it's you and me that are the weird ones here."
"Oh no," the villain said, leaning against the railing beside them. "I've checked it out thoroughly. We're the normal ones. Everyone else is strange."
The hero glanced back. "I was wondering when you'd come looking for me," they said softly.
"You could have found me," the villain protested.
They shifted, letting their shoulder just brush the hero's sleeve. Once the hero would have tossed the villain 30 feet for daring to come so close. Now they didn't so much as flinch, eyes locked on the sky.
The villain shrugged.
"Do you miss it?" the hero whispered. "Flying?"
"Don't bitch to me about it," the villain said, with more snap than they'd intended. They took a swig from the bottle of something they'd picked up inside. It was awful, just like everything else. "This is the world your boss made. No more powers. No more battles. You and me, free to be normal teenagers."
The hero looked down. "He wouldn't have done it if your boss hadn't murdered me."
The villain choked mid-sip. The hero gave them a sideways glance. "You didn't know? I mean, maybe I flatter myself, but it was the last thing I remember before everything changed. What it felt like to die."
"Shit," the villain said weakly, for lack of anything better to say. "Huh. Congrats on having the universe rewritten to bring you back?"
"Thanks, I hate it." The hero took the bottle, took a swig and gasped. "That's foul," they sputtered, wiping their mouth. "Speaking of bosses, you seen yours?"
"No. Well, yeah. Sort of." The villain grabbed the bottle back. "She's some kinda CEO now. Said I'm worthless to her now, she has no time for sniveling children, blah blah blah. Normal stuff. You?"
The hero shook their head. "He might be hiding. Or. He might. Be gone," they said, voice disjointed and jumbled. "There was a reason he didn't rewrite the universe everyday."
Silence fell between them. Inside, a new song had come on and the other kids were screaming along to the chorus. Something about being a teenage dirtbag, baby.
The hero looked over to the villain, tears in their all-too-human eyes. "I'm not going after her. If that's what she sent you to find out. I'm not gonna try and arrest her or attack her for killing me in an alternate timeline." They raised their hands, laughed again. "What could I possibly do now?"
"Hm. Well, finance undergrad, law school, government service, take over the SEC, give it teeth, and then in just 15 years you're primed to use teeth to rip your enemies apart where it hurts- their bank accounts," said the villain promptly. "Just to spit ball it out there."
The hero looked at them - actually looked at them - for the first time. "Oh damn," they said. "You hit the ground running."
The villain leaned in again, dropping a hand over the hero's. Sort of to hold them in place. Sort of just to hold them. "Join me. Or don't. We can make this, like, normal teenagers hating each other if you're more comfortable than that. We can fist fight right here."
The hero looked at the villain like they'd lost their mind, tried to pull away. "What is wrong with you?"
"Same thing that's wrong with you." The villain held on. "You're the only other one who remembers what we were, what we did. I don't want to be alone. And, God, you died? Do you want to go somewhere talk?"
The hero looked down at the protagonist's hand on their theirs. "Yes," they said, in a high, broken whisper. "Let's get out of here."
After that they were inseparable. At least, until the world changed again.
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You know what I'm a slut for? When a character visibly drops a ruse. Like, the way their face changes the moment they give up a facade and reveal themselves.
This applies to revealing love, apathy, anger, evil intent. I mcfuckin love it.
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“So...” Villain looked between Hero and the little kid at their side. “Is there a reason you’re recklessly endangering a minor? Because that’s a line even I wouldn’t cross.”
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“Do you know the best part about being me?” the hero asked, thought they knew the villain couldn’t answer. “It’s that even if people did work out that I’m the reason you dissapeared, no one would dare even question me about it.”
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