Twelve Sessions, 5/? (2017-01-25)

I remember the early years with fondness, grief, and no small amount of embarrassment.

The three of us were boys. Weird, stupid boys with more power than sense and the worst taste in food.

It’s amazing that Doc hadn’t just thrown us to the wolves and been done with us.

(That’s not a pun about Alvin, by the way.)

We were high on the adrenaline, the thrill of being young and being heroes and making a change in the world. We fought bad guys, foiled their schemes, wrapped them up for the authorities to deal with, and went on our way as if there were no repercussions.

Stupid.

Joy made us see that things weren’t nearly so black and white. We grew and we learned and–

–and Leanne arrived just in time to see everything begin to crumble.

No field trip today. Which is just as well. I’m feeling chatty: I’ll talk, but not about what happened.

What happened can’t be changed, why talk about it?

“I know a Simon,” I begin, taking charge for once in these sessions. If she’s surprised at all, it doesn’t show on her face.

“He’s Al–uh, Silverfang’s boyfriend. Shit,” I stutter, uncertain. My identity–neither of them–isn’t a secret, but the same cannot be said of the rest of my team.

It’s hard to keep track of who knows what.

Well, it was. There’s less to keep track of now.

“I know who Alvin is,” she assures, simply, and gestures for me to continue.

“Yeah, so, Simon. Alvin’s boyfriend. I used to think that was hilarious because of the chipmunks. You know, all they were missing was a Theodore. But then I thought about it more and I realized that’s weird because aren’t the chipmunks brothers?”

The words flow out of me too quickly for her to answer, not that there’s much of an answer to give.

“And why is it called Alvin and the Chipmunks anyway? Isn’t Alvin a chipmunk, too? It’s kind of redundant. Then again, I guess Alvin and his two brothers isn’t exactly catchy. Though it’s still pretty shitty considering it’s like saying oh, hey, you two we don’t really care about you. Just do some backup vocals for Alvin. Now he’s the real money maker.

The chipmunk, not the real Alvin. Al is basically the trashiest person to ever live. I swear one time I found him eating pizza he fished out of a dumpster. And you’d think what with the whole enhanced sense of smell that’d put him off, but it was an entire free pizza that someone tossed out because it was also a proposal pizza.

And who does that? Who thinks–oh, hey, I’ll propose marriage via pizza what could possibly go wrong? I mean, the eating dumpster pizza thing is still fucking gross never mind that it had still been warm in the box and untouched, but I already knew that about Al so it’s not like I was too surprised.

But the proposal pizza–the pizza proposal?–that’s just. And it wasn’t even any of the fancy toppings, either. Just pepperoni. Like, shell out for some gourmet chicken or whatever. Honestly, who does that?

Then again, if it were up to Al, he’d do a pizza proposal. Or, you know, try to. Except I’m pretty sure that even Al knows that Simon’s too classy for a pizza proposal. Joy would definitely shut that shit down before it took off. Nothing but the best for her baby brother. Never mind that they started dating before she joined the team.”

“Joy?”

Shit.

“Yeah… Simon’s older sister…”

I fucked up.

There are only two women on the team. Were. Jaguar and Anachron.

One of them is a reformed cat burglar (pun, annoyingly enough, intended). The other is a time traveller that has already disappeared.

Neither of them are public with their identities. Not that it would matter for Leanne.

Shit. I fucked up real bad.

I should have just kept talking, the silence is really fucking conspicuous.

“… I’d at least spring for multiple pizzas, if I were going to do a pizza proposal,” Simone says, slowly, as if the silence had a function to let her consider such a hypothetical and not a complete fuck up on my part.

Still, I take the out for what it is, and continue my word barf.

“Right? And pepperoni wouldn’t have worked, anyway, because Simon’s a vegetarian…”

By the end of the session, my throat feels sore from talking about absolutely nothing and I only slipped up the once.

As a parting gift, Simone tosses me a bottle of water–which I do catch–and, considering there’s not hint of it on the news the next morning, does not pass along valuable intel about still-wanted felon Jaguar.

Untitled (2016-04-04)

On the day of her brother’s wedding, Joy falls in love.

It is the second worst thing to happen to the Guerrero family.

Normally, Simon would be very supportive of his older sister having any positive emotions for anyone other than himself and maybe their neighbors the Bakers who ply his sister with free sugar and caffeine on a near daily basis. Frankly, it’s not even the fact that it’s his wedding that is the problem–Simon is not so selfish that he demands the entire day be about him and his fiancĂ©/husband–it’s the who that is the problem.

Because it’s one thing for Simon to keep secrets from his vigilante husband about the real identity of the criminal Jaguar. It’s another thing entirely to not tell his sister that she’s fallen in love with a different vigilante Apex. Who himself is engaged to yet another vigilante Firefly.

This can not end well for his sister.

“Fly straight, fly true,” Bastian murmurs, before pulling the trigger. It is not quite the same–the differences in technology, between bullets and arrows–and he’s not actually invoking any magic. But it is a habit, or maybe a superstition, and the bullet does its job.

Bastian doesn’t know what the man did to get a hit called out on him, but easy money is easy money. And even though Bastian can never die, he’d still prefer not to starve.

Once, he was the prince of the most powerful kingdom in the world. But that was thousands of years ago: times change, the mighty fall.

Bastian stays put for two minutes more, waiting even though alarms and sirens sound off. Sometimes, when he does something she wouldn’t approve of, Leanne appears. But she does not this time, and so he flees just seconds before the heroes of the era happen upon his vantage point.

His kingdom is not the only one who has fallen.

It’s strange growing up knowing that you are only the middle man. That you were born for that exact purpose.

It’s not that his parents don’t love him, not like he can’t live his own life. It’s just that, at some point in the future, he’s going to have a daughter and he’s going to give her the pocket watch that allows her to travel through time.

He met her once already, when he was just a child: a green haired woman who had looked at him and started crying with a wobbling smile. His parents had been alarmed, catching on and fearing the worst, but she had stayed silent on the matter, hugged them all farewell, and disappeared.

It’s not that he’s not worried about what that kind of reaction might mean for his future–but there’s also some good in it. He’ll have a daughter that will love him enough to cry for him; everything else he’s free to choose.

~

A/N: So this is about a decade before Leanne is born. Just some snippets from the same universe, some world-building, I guess…

Untitled drabble (2015-06-26)

“I am not bleeding, bruised, or in any way concussed currently!” Brian cheers, perhaps a little too enthusiastically, arms flung out and nearly punching Curtis in the eye.

“Congratulations,” Alvin says, not even at all sarcastically. It’s practically a miracle if Brian can get through a day without taking on someone’s pain. Most days they’re lucky and he has an opportunity to pass some of it on, but he still ends up keeping some.

“My little boy’s all grown up. Walking around on his own two feet, not hurting himself.” Curtis mocks, faking a sob; but he lets Brian smack him with a pillow, so all is forgiven.

“We can’t all be invulnerable,” Brian shoots back.

“We should get cake,” Alvin suggest, which is somewhat disjointed from the conversation, but not a total non sequitur, so his teammates let it slide.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” Brian demurs, confused yet also totally on board for cake. Any dessert, really. Well, all food, really; teenage boy plus biological superpower equals ludicrous metabolism.

Curtis, squinting suspiciously in Alvin’s direction, smacks a fist against his open palm. Then his expression rearranges itself into an exaggerated leer, waggling eyebrows and all, “Is Simon on shift at the Baker Bakery today?”

Alvin blushes, a creeping spill of red across his face. Curtis laughs.

“Dude, don’t play me like that,” Brian chides, kicking at Alvin’s ankle but only just barely grazing it, “If you want a wingman you just have to ask. Don’t risk my twenty four hour streak of perfect health for a lie-cake. A lake. A kie?”

“Yeah,” Curtis agrees through his chuckles before it peters out, “Don’t tease, man. You can’t lie about cake.”

“It wasn’t a lie!” Alvin protests, though suitably shamed.

“And anyway,” Curtis continues, unrelenting, “Isn’t his older sister super protective?”

“I’m pretty sure she hates you,” Brian adds, completely unhelpfully.

“She hasn’t even met me yet,” Alvin grumbles, but nods because he’s pretty sure Joy Guerrero hates everyone in general but Alvin specifically.

He has no idea why.

~

A/N: Well, this was not the direction I was expecting it to go in. But okay. Just click on the Alvin Chand tag for related drabbles.

Untitled (2015-05-03)

The second time Joy meets Alvin, she can’t decide whether or not it’s a terrible nightmare or an elaborate ruse. Considering he thinks it’s the first time they’ve met, when in fact the first time they met he was trying to arrest her for stealing over twenty thousand dollars worth of jewelry while they were both using their alter egos, her reservation is valid. Silverfang and his vigilante friends failed in catching Jaguar that night, but that doesn’t mean Joy Guerrero has necessarily gotten off scott free.

Fortunately and yet, somehow simultaneously, unfortunately, her younger brother really is dating Alvin Chand. Which means that although she isn’t going to be arrested belatedly for her crimes, her personal and professional lives are going to intersect in rather uncomfortable ways.

“Joy,” Simon says, smiling, unaware of the inner turmoil he is causing in his older sister, “This is my boyfriend, Alvin.” Which is obvious, from the way their arms are threaded together like out of a period drama.

Alvin looks at her nervously, the same way any teenaged boy meeting his boyfriend’s family for the first time would look. Not like a vigilante trying to suss out if said family is a wanted burglar.

“It’s nice to meet you, Alvin,” She lies through her teeth, extending a hand for him to shake. And if her grip is particularly tight, then it’s just an older sister’s prerogative. She raised Simon herself, she’s allowed to be protective.

“Likewise,” Alvin responds, wincing slightly. More from a message received than from actual pain–Silverfang has super strength, Jaguar does not.

“Joy!” Simon scolds, knowing her too well, though secretly pleased enough not to do much else, “Let’s sit already,” he continues, leading the two of them to one of four table in the unimaginatively, but aptly, named Baker & Son’s Bakery and Cafe.

Mostly, the Guerrero siblings just call it the Bakery. In part, because the entire name is ridiculously redundant sounding, but also because the two of them have lived in one of the apartments in the upper floors since they were children. The Bakers are practically family.

As soon as they all sit, Aaron, the latest generation of Baker, eagerly makes his way over to them with a pad of paper and a bright purple crayon. He is four years old and his tiny apron has little cartoons of smiling cats. As it should, since Joy was the one to buy it for him as a birthday gift.

“Ms. Joy,” He beams up at her, delight obvious on his adorable face. His greeting for Simon is only slightly less bright, “Mr. Simon,” And his smile drops completely when he eyes at the third member of their party suspiciously, “Who are you?” Aaron pouts, though he’s likely aiming for a scowl.

Aaron’s father, observing from behind the counter, stifles a laugh.

“This is Alvin, my boyfriend,” Simon explains, which prompts said boyfriend to wave slightly with a slightly sheepish smile.

Aaron looks extremely skeptical, but quickly dismisses him to gaze adoringly at Joy instead.

“Are you our waiter today?” Joy asks, extremely amused by this entire exchange.

“Yes!” He chirps, pride evident on his cubbish face, “Daddy says I’m a good em-ploy-ee,” sounding out each syllable carefully.

“I’m sure you’re a big help,” She assures, Simon and even Alvin, grudgingly, making noises of agreements. Aaron’s smile really could not get any wider.

“I think I’ll have one hot chocolate and a… hm, what’s your favorite kind of muffin, Aaron?”

“Blueberry!”

“Then I’ll have one of those,” Joy responds, smile curling as Aaron’s purple crayon draws random scribbles on the notepad. Behind him, his father waves a hand in acknowledgement of the order.

“Ooh, me too. Except instead of a muffin I’d like two chocolate chip cookies, please.” Simon adds, before nudging his boyfriend’s shoulder, “What about you Alvin?”

~

A/N: This drifted away from me very quickly. Like… this is what happens when I don’t outline shit, it just goes off on a tangent and so long, goodbye, thanks for all the fish.