The Kids Are All Right
It was a warm spring evening as Will and Layla left the Paper Lantern after having had dinner together. Though Will hated chinese food, he knew Layla loved it, and it had given them a chance to see Warren for a few minutes before he had another of his rousing arguments with Mrs. Ling, the owner and cook. Though they always sounded like they hated each other with the volume and tone of their verbal exchanges, in reality Mrs. Ling was very fond of Warren and constantly made sure he was keeping up on his studies. Warren always complained, with a smile, that it was like having two moms between his real mother and Mrs. Ling.
"So, what would you like to do now?' asked Will as he and Layla walked hand in hand down the street.
"Let's go down to the docks and watch the ships come in," smiled Layla, "it's a full moon tonight and I bet the bay is absolutely beautiful in the moonlight."
"You got it," replied Will, "and since no one's watching..."
Before Layla could protest, Will grabbed her around her waist and took to the air, covering the distance to get to the docks in seconds. They quickly landed, and Layla had to pause to catch her breath.
"Will...someone could have seen us!"
"Relax," grinned Will, not letting go of his girlfriend, "nobody did. Besides, I thought you wouldn't mind getting here quickly as it would give us more time for..."
Will and Layla then kissed as the moon began rising over the bay, lighting it nearly as bright as day. Though the sight was as beautiful as Layla thought it would be, at the moment she only had eyes for her childhood sweetheart.
"You better leave us alone!"
The child yelling instantly broke the moment, and Will and Layla ended their kiss in response.
"Someone's in trouble," said Will.
"Let's go check it out," agreed Layla.
Together the two made their way across the docks as the shouting continued, then it was joined by two mocking voices both Will and Layla knew all two well.
"Awww, are the babies gonna cry?'
"Maybe we should get them their bottles, HA HA HA."
It was Speed and Lash.
Will and Layla turned the corner and sure enough there were the two now-expelled Sky High schoolmates that had decided they would rather be villains than heroes and help Royal Pain in her attempted mass-kidnapping of everyone in the school at the Homecoming Dance. Now the two were picking on what looked to be a pair of kids, even though they were probably only a couple of years younger than Warren and Layla.
One was a boy in a gray bodysuit with black gloves, belt and boots. His black hair was short and spiky, giving him an almost feral appearance highlighted by his piercing black eyes that were narrowed in a snarl exposing a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. As he kept moving to keep himself between the two punks and his companion, he revealed a large dorsal fin on his back that was probably not part of his costume. With him was a pretty girl about the same age, though a little taller, with striking long pink hair that seemed to glow like embers in the darkness. She wore a deep pink bodysuit with red boots and gloves, and a strange design like a lightning bolt ran down the length of her costume, glowing like her hair.
"Will," whispered Layla, her eyes wide in surprise, "they look like..."
"Little super heroes," finished Will, just as stunned. He had never heard of anyone allowing their super powered kids to already don costumes and go out into the world to fight evil without first going to Sky High or one of the other affiliated schools. And even then these two looked far too young for their powers to have already manifested.
"We've got to do something," said Layla, "Speed and Lash are jerks, but they're still dangerous, especially to a pair of kids."
"I know," said Will, "I'll..."
Before Will could finish, Lash shot out one of stretchable arms, reaching past the boy and grabbing the girl by the shoulder.
"Come here you little…YEEOWW!"
Lash instantly released the girl and withdrew his now blistered hand.
"She burned me! How did she do that?"
"Quit whining," replied Speed, "I know how to take care of these fire types! You get the little fanged freak!" Speed moved in a blur, too fast for the boy to keep up, and began running in a circle round the girl, cutting her off from her companion.
At the same time Lash struck with his uninjured hand, using the momentum to increase the power of his punch as he hit the boy squarely in the jaw. Although his head snapped back, the boy instantly recovered, his eyes now completely black as he snarled like a wild animal. He then leaped at Lash, clearing the distance between them in a single bound and landing on top of him. Lash tried desperately to fend the boy off as he snapped his dagger teeth and struck with his claws, which Lash now noticed were not on his gloves, but were his fingernails sticking out from the fingertips.
"What IS this thing?" Lash yelled as he managed to wrap one arm around the boy's waist and fling him away to slam into the very brick building where Will and Layla were standing. There was a solid crunch as the boy hit, but he seemed unhurt. He braced his feet against the wall and, with a flex of powerful leg muscles, leapt back at Lash by rolling himself up the length of the outstretched arm until he was right in Lash's face before he stopped.
"Gotcha freak," laughed Lash as he held the boy fast in his coiled arm, "what did you think was going to happen by doing that?"
With a sneer the boy slammed his forehead into Lash's face with a sick sound louder than when the boy had hit the brick wall. There was now a large dent in Lash's rubbery face, right between his crossed eyes. Stunned, Lash lost his grip on the boy, who used his obvious super strength to break free and then proceed to savagely continue his head butting attack on Lash. Since it seemed that the boy would not stop until Lash was dead, Will jumped in and grabbed him, pulling him off the downed villain. Strong as he was, Will found it difficult to restrain the boy, who seemed both rock solid and strangely slippery at the same time.
Layla turned her attention to the little girl, wondering how she could use her powers to help her. Here on the docks there were no plants she could use her power on, but she knew she had to stop Speed before he could hurt her. She needn't have bothered.
Speed was circling the girl at super speed, creating a vacuum around her to stop her flames as he had done to Warren back in school at the Save the Citizen challenge. The girl, however, seemed unaffected by his attempt. Though her pink hair was whipping around, there seemed to be no other affect to her as she watched Speed.
Layla watched in horror as the girl suddenly melted, then she realized she may have the same power as their friend Evan, who could also turn into liquid. This
liquid, however, was more dangerous as the dock where she and Speed were on suddenly exploded in flames that were caught up in the wake of Speed's wind and had become a tornado of fire with him in it. Speed yelled in shock and pain and suddenly stopped, beating out the numerous tiny fires that caught onto his clothes. He was so busy doing so he did not notice that the girl had resumed her solid form until he felt a tap on his shoulder and turned directly into a rock-hard punch that loosened several teeth and dropped him cold.
"Layla! A little help here!" yelled Will.
Will was now desperately holding the thrashing boy at arm's length as the boy had been able to turn and was trying to attack him with his snapping teeth, spraying foam like a fire extinguisher.
"I think he's got rabies!"
Layla ran to the struggling pair, wondering if she could somehow calm down the savage little berserker who was getting closer and closer to Will's throat. Just as she got there, she heard someone behind her, and saw the little girl was aiming for them as well.
"Wait, don't..." was as far as Layla got as a blast of flame shot out from the girl's hand and struck the boy squarely in his butt. He howled in pain and Will accidentally lost his grip on his suddenly limp opponent. The boy lay on his hands and knees, breathing heavily as the girl ran up to him.
"Sharkey, calm down. We're okay." she said.
The boy raised up and though his eyes were back to normal he still had a half-snarl on his face and glowered about him as if he had just woken up.
"Are you two okay?" asked Layla, slowly approaching the pair with her hands held up, signaling that she was no threat.
"We're fine," repeated the girl, who was apparently the voice for the two, "but I don't know why these guys attacked us. We weren't doing anything when they just popped up and wanted to start a fight."
"That's the norm for those two," said Will as he remembered his own first encounters with the pair of punks, "but what could they gain by picking on a pair of kids?"
"Let's find out," growled the boy, as he ran over and grabbed Speed by his shirt. He then started shaking him to revive him. Slowly Speed opened his eyes, and
found himself staring into the knife-edged teeth that filled the boy's mouth to bursting.
"Okay fat boy," snarled the boy, "why did you and rubber band man there attack me and Lavagirl? You've got three seconds to answer before I bite your nose off...then I get mean."
Though he had super powers and was a bully, Speed knew the boy was not bluffing as he looked into the cold, predatory eyes. There was hardness and a barely tempered savagery that rivaled the greatest predators in the world, something even Warren Peace at his worst could not match.
"He...he hired us to catch you two," stammered Speed, "broke us out of Detention Central and offered us a big chunk of money to bring you to him."
"Who?" asked Will, stepping in but not getting between them, "I know it wasn't Royal Pain because she was there with you. So who was it?"
"I don't know," said Speed, "some new guy I never seen or heard of before. Looked like he was some kind of cyborg or something. A big round metal body with a video screen for a face, mechanical arms and legs, made a lot of really stupid jokes."
"So did he say why he wanted these kids?"
"We didn't ask, Stronghold," replied Speed, "and until he broke us out and sent us after them I'd never heard of these brats before either."
"By the way," said Layla as she addressed the girl, "Who are you two? We thought we knew about all the young super heroes around here."
"My name's Lavagirl," smiled the girl, "and that's my friend Sharkboy. We're...not exactly from around here."
"My name's Layla, and this is my boyfriend Will."
"So what do we do with these two?"
"I've got a couple of ideas," growled Sharkboy as he licked his fangs with a long black tongue.
"I'll take care of them," said Will as he quickly lifted Speed up safely out of reach of Sharkboy, who looked like he still wanted to bite a chunk out of the thug.
Once Will had used the semi-conscious Lash to tie Speed to a lamp post and Layla had called the authorities to report where they could find the two escaped criminals, they and their new friends headed away from the docks towards the main part of town.
They were almost to the main street when they met Warren, who looked like he was in a bad mood, at least one not normal for him.
"What's up Warren," said Will, "you look like you've had a bad night."
"I'll tell you in a second, Stronghold," said Warren as he noticed the costumed kids with Will and Layla, "but who are these two? I didn't know it was Halloween tonight."
"We're super heroes," said Sharkboy, walking up to Warren and looking at him like he wanted a fight.
"Yeah?" said Warren, looking over to Layla. "I didn't know you or Stronghold had a little brother and sister."
"Actually," Will grinned back, "with her powers and his attitude, we thought they were yours."
The look on Warren's face was priceless, and it actually seemed to bring him out of his bad mood, but it was what he said that threw everyone else off.
"Is your name Lavagirl?"