Author: FloatingPalace PM
Three months ago, tragedy struck. Maddie's hero died, and she...well, she didn't. She's a sidekick -ahem- "hero support" without a hero, and she's okay with that. At least until the "superpowers that be" decide that she needs another hero-and that another hero needs her. Futurefic, Warren/OC.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Romance - Warren P. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 5,227 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 26 - Updated: 07-12-12 - Published: 06-27-12 - id: 8263603
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Maddie stared at the bendy straw. She had stabbed it into her water seconds before, only to realize that she had used the wrong end to stab with. The bendy bit was now at the bottom of an eight-ounce cup brimming with tap water and half-melted ice cubes, and Maddie was too tired to rectify this simple mistake. It had been a long day, filled with paperwork, press conferences and concerned faces that seemed to float indefinitely in her peripheral vision. But she had endured—the press had drifted off to prepare for the evening news, her handler had gone home for a good night's rest, and she had been left to herself, at least for an hour or two.
Where else, she reflected, to go for a session of quiet reflection and self-study but the Paper Lantern, a Chinese restaurant known for its spring rolls and clanging cookware? It was in this restaurant that she sat now, nicely situated in a shadowy corner booth while young children rioted around their tired parents and elderly couples complained about their food to their waiters. In one high corner, a dinosaur of a television was displaying the six o'clock news on channel eleven. The anchors had just finished with their practiced banter about the weather, and were settling into their duty as bringers of bad news.
"Tonight," began Mary Fuller-Street, the channel's signature blonde anchor, "thousands mourn the loss of one of the most valuable telekinetic superheroes that the world has seen in decades—" cut scene to a large crowd standing in a street, each person holding a flickering candle in their hands. "Today, after a three month long search was called off, authorities declared Master Mind dead. Known for his intense powers of mental manipulation as well as his border-vigilante style of crime fighting, this great hero is believed to have met his end in a final battle with arch-nemesis, Storm Bringer over the Atlantic Ocean where the two were last seen locked in a fatal hold. In an exclusive interview with Master Mind's hero support, the mysterious Psy-Kick tells us of that fateful evening."
Mary flashed a dazzling smile and the scene cut again, this time to the image of a young woman clad in a skintight blue spandex suit. Her hands, cloaked to the elbow in shining silver gloves, were folded neatly in her lap. The high collar of her suit and thigh-high boots were silver as well, and the majority of the woman's face was obscured by a blue, lace-patterned mask, but intelligent blue eyes glittered behind the disguise. Her hair was sleeked back into a knot at the base of her neck.
"Psy-Kick, thank you for joining us here today," Mary's voice came from off screen.
The masked lady nodded slowly. "It's an honor to be here with you, Mary." Her voice was deep and calm. Nobody noticed the slight tremor in her voice as she spoke the news anchor's name.
"We know how hard it must be for you to go through such a difficult time. You and Master Mind always seemed to have a very special bond."
"Yes," Maddie spoke to her menu. "Very special." She lifted the glass of water to her lips and took a quick sip from the upside-down straw. Her blue eyes shone with unshed tears, and her hands shook. It seemed like only yesterday that she'd seen Tom for the last time. Perhaps that was the reason that every time she heard him discussed on the news, every time she was asked to speak to the public, every time she saw the heading on another newspaper—"Still No Sign of Master Mind"—it hurt worse than taking a punch to the gut.
"Excuse me," someone said, interrupting Maddie's reverie. "Can I take your order?"
Maddie closed her eyes and took a deep breath—get a grip, she thought—and turned to look at the waiter.
"I'll have a—" she froze.
Squinted a little bit.
"Oh my gosh," she squeaked. "Warren Peace, you're working at a Chinese restaurant?"
Warren frowned and tapped his pencil slowly against the pad of paper in his left hand. His hair had grown out a couple inches, and he still had those red streaks in it. His eyes were as dark and piercing as ever, and his muscles seemed to bulge even more than they had in high school, if that was even possible.
"Sorry," he said after a second of contemplation. "Do I know you?"
"Oh," Maddie shook her head. "No, no…you don't. I was just—um, that is…my order. That's right. Could I…" she wracked her brains and came up with diddly-squat. She pressed a hand to her forehead. "I'm so sorry, my mind just went blank—"
"It's fine," Warren almost-smiled. "I'd recommend the spring rolls, stir-fried rice, or the dumplings."
"Dumplings?" Maddie said, regaining her composure. "They sound…good."
"Yep," Warren scribbled something down on his pad.
"And…could I get them to go?"
"Sure thing. That'll be all?"
Maddie nodded silently, and watched him weave his way back through the tables with her order. Who would have thought that the golden boy (well, not exactly golden. More "the dark, brooding, handsome guy with anger management problems that always sat in the back of the classroom and didn't say a word unless he absolutely had to, which made all the little super-girls swoon behind his back boy") of Sky High would be working in the Paper Lantern a year and a half after graduation?
Well, that was rather rude. Maddie frowned—she was one to talk. Who would have thought that a year and a half after she graduated, she would be ordering Chinese food to-go just so she could go back to her apartment to listen to Gene Watson and Burl Ives sing their hearts out on an old vinyl or two for the billionth time that month?
Heck, maybe she would just make a night of it-break out the Haagen-Dazs and watch Steel Magnolias. If she was going to hit rock bottom, she was going to do it right—no ifs, ands or buts about it.