The alternate title: How I Became the Next Sue Dibny
Because I'm a DC fan like that. ;P
This is a slash story. You have been warned.
Walking across the street was dangerous.
Oh, don't believe me? Think again, lest you become the human euphemism to the pins at the end of a lane at a bowling alley. I haven't had the misfortune yet, myself, but I've come close a few times.
You see, it isn't the looking both ways that's the important part, it's the listening. You have to be able to tell when there's a fight going on. You're not safe even if it's a couple of blocks away. Hell, even listening hard isn't always enough. I would advise you to move away from this city, but the problem is everywhere. You would have no place to go—well, maybe the desert?
No, they would be there too.
Me, I was just trying to make my college experiences worth the loans I would be paying back 'til the day I died. I didn't want to come to my mortal end before I graduated. So I didn't j-walk, I looked both ways twice and strained my pitiful, ordinary human ears, stayed on the defensive the entire time until I reached the other side. You would think that would be enough, wouldn't you?
I sighed as I was lifted by the armpits and flown safely the other side of the street right as an unmanned convertible went whooshing through the air and crushed into shrapnel against a thirty-eight story building. The walls of the skyscraper cracked and groaned loudly, and a few windows shattered. At least it didn't explode. Yet.
"You need to watch where you're going," chastised the hero that had saved me from being part of this damage to public and private property. He had an orange half-mask with opaque screen over the eyes, and a stereotypically muscled form that was encased in skin-tight orange, white and dark blue spandex. His hair was cropped short and brown, but with all of the soot and dirt in it right now it very well could have been blonde. "You could have been killed!"
"Then maybe you should look before throwing people's cars," I replied. "Because normal street-crossing practices aren't very effective against things that are moved faster than us normal people can hear or see."
"Hey!" Aw, he was an indignant super hero now. "I just saved your life, buddy—god, civilians are so ignorant!"
"Actually, I did my part. You know, look and listen?" I said blandly. "How was I supposed to know you'd throw a convertible at me?" And I gestured to the smoking wreckage at the base of the groaning skyscraper.
"I didn't throw it, I just saved you from the bad guy who did!" huffed the hero in complimentary colors. His hands were on his hips, feet planted shoulder width apart; he looked about ready to hold his ground in the face of the apocalypse itself. Or hold a pissing contest. "A thank you would suffice."
"Speaking of saving people," shouted a pointed voice as a young woman with a sword and electricity crackling in the air around her sprinted towards us from the same direction the convertible had come from. She had abnormally large breasts for someone with such a fit, athletic body; they were practically spilling out of the v-neck of her royal purple costume. Did she stuff, or did this skin tight dominatrix-looking number just have built in pushup? Her dark, layered hair was tangled and clumped with sweat and dirt around her shoulders—why didn't she tie it back? There were so many things it could get caught on.
When the woman stopped she looked right at the hero standing next to me and snapped, "I could use a little help here, Bronco! He's chasing me down this way, and I need you to tag-team him with me!"
"I know, this guy is just giving me—"
"Duty calls," I observed sagely. Then I waggled my fingers at him. "Adios, cowboy."
"My name is Bronco!"
"Okay, Electra, okay, I'm going!" He then nailed me with a positively vengeful look, but nonetheless took the time to say, "Get out of here. Things are about to get… sticky."
I had heard that pun before. It was one of the most common precursors to the arrival of—
"Thank you for leading the way for Glue-Man, Electra! I do so love an entourage," called an off kilter voice. You know how some people were crazy, and some of it got into their voices, but you couldn't quite pinpoint which part of it was the crazy part? That was how Glue-Man sounded. "I'll remember that fondly as I'm killing you!"
Bronco yanked Electra out of the way as a clear, viscous liquid shot at the spot she had been standing a split second earlier. Electra directed a stream of lightning like electricity at Glue-Man, but it didn't conduct. If the villain's subsequent manic giggling meant anything, it tickled.
"Don't you have a date with some pre-schoolers and macaroni?" Bronco quipped as he set Electra down and flew up to deliver a mighty uppercut to Glue-Man's chin. His fist naturally got stuck there, and Glue-Man laughed as the young hero tried valiantly to wrench it away again.
"Where—are—the—others?" Bronco demanded of Electra as he continued to struggle.
"Trying to handle Rubber Man," Electra panted as she and her electrified sword attempted to hack at the tendril of stickiness Glue-Man was sending her way.
"So we're on our own."
"Yeah, pretty much." Electra tried another utterly useless electric attack. Glue-Man just laughed some more. Bronco's entire arm was being absorbed, and Glue-Man was working his way to the young orange-and-white-and-blue hero's neck.
"Oh, that's just fantastic," Bronco growled.
I was going to be late for my first lecture of the day if I stuck around watching this any longer, but I just couldn't understand why they hadn't thought of using the fire hydrant next to me. Most common glues were water soluble, and while Glue-Man shouldn't have been stupid enough to design his evil superpower after Elmer's even industrial pastes like Gorilla Glue weren't entirely immune to the diluting effects of water before they set.
Besides, these three had already made a complete mess of this block—and the neighboring blocks, if the trembling of the ground and the crashing sounds I could hear in the distance were indicative of anything—what difference would one more hydrant make? The clean up heroes, the ones that got paid to put the city back together after incidents like this, wouldn't even notice the difference.
I was a normal human being, so obviously I couldn't get the hydrant open on my own, but I could wave Electra over. She seemed shocked that I was still here, no pun intended.
"What are you doing? You need to get to safety!"
"Just thought you and super-ass over there could use a suggestion, seeing as you're not exactly winning right now." I pointed to the hydrant. "What does water usually do to glue?"
It only took Electra a moment to understand, and then she and her sword—it couldn't be a regular sword if it could hack though the metal of a fire hydrant with all of the efficiency of a butter knife cutting through mashed potatoes—were releasing a powerful spray onto the psychologically unbalanced man. It didn't completely dissolve him, but it did weaken him enough for Bronco to finally get away and push through all of the glue to the man inside with a mighty roundhouse kick that left the villain unconscious on the uneven, cracked asphalt. With the absence of a consciousness directing it, the adhesive he produced dissipated completely, leaving the two young heroes panting and straightening their shoulders, staring triumphantly down at a thin, balding figure with spindly arms and legs that was once Glue-Man.
"Where did he—" Bronco's voice cut off when he realized I was not there. "…Go?"
"Who was that guy, Lane?" asked Electra.
Oh, was that the name of his secret identity? Stupid girl. They were in public; so many people could have heard that. Hell, I was running to get to my class on time and I could still hear her plain as day. What does that tell you?
"I have no freaking clue," said Lane/Bronco. "But now I really want to find out."
I didn't pause as I kept running, wary of my surroundings in case any other convertibles came flying towards me out of nowhere, but I couldn't help but chuckle to myself as I did. Good luck with that, Lane, I'd love to see you try.