AN: I wrote this story years ago (a decade to be precise) and I've decided to go through, edit and generally tidy it up.
I hate my name! I don't know what my mother was thinking but Mindy makes me sound like some damn Mickey Mouse groupie. I honestly don't think it's fair that she got a perfectly reasonable name like Jennifer and my father's name is Michael. Did she want me to rot in purgatory?
"So are you like Mickey Mouse's girlfriend or something?" Zach asked.
"Not exactly. You see her name is Minnie and is also, incidentally, a mouse," I explained. "It's not because I don't want to be his girlfriend because I left heart wrenching messages on his answering machine but he doesn't think cross species would work."
Zach looked very confused. Good, Mindy! Great work; confuse the only people who have talked to you all day. To my relief, the dark haired girl laughed and affectionately pushed Zach.
This was my first day in Sky High and I was seated at the lunch table with Will, Layla, Magenta, Ethan and Zach. The only people who had befriended me. All I wanted was for them to adopt me into their friendship group which seemed possible, if my mouth would just stop saying words.
"So what's your power?" Will prodded.
Ah the dreaded question followed swiftly by the dreaded explanation. I could almost predict how the conversation would go.
"It's a bit unusual," I mumbled, trying to prolong the moment.
"Zach can glow," Ethan pointed out before jerking a thumb at said boy.
"When I say unusual I really mean it," I emphasised.
There was a pause. "Zach can glow!" Ethan repeated the hand gesture.
"Fine. I can control tattoos," I explained, trying to contain my grimace.
"Huh?" Will said brown eyes widening. The eloquence of the table astounded me.
"Tattoos on your flesh. I can control them," I replied to all the blank faces. This is the part where is gets predictable.
"What does that mean exactly?" Layla asked, putting her elbows on the table and leaning forward. I wish I could place probability bets with myself. Ever since my powers had developed I got asked the same question over and over.
"At the moment I can only make them move around on the skin," I hastened to explain, "But Principle Powers said they would develop. Well she said they should. Ok the phrase used was 'could' develop."
"What do you mean develop?" Ethan asked curiously.
"Um she mentioned something about assuming physical shape but I think it's actually taking on characteristics of the tattoo that is most likely," I informed them trying to remember the very large words that Principle Powers had used.
"Physical shape would be like pulling a sword out of the picture and really having a sword right?" Will was trying to comprehend. I appreciated the effort, most people had given up in their bewilderment.
"Yeah and with the characteristics thing I could make tattoos of fire literally feel hot to touch," I further explained.
"Speaking of fire, where's Warren?" Zack questioned the group looking around. Will shrugged, appearing unconcerned about the missing individual.
"Who's Warren?" And what did he have to do with fire?
"Just a friend of ours," Will answered.
"He repeated just to be in our year. He told the teachers he didn't pay attention in any classes so he may as well try again," Zach told me proudly as he clearly found this fact awesome. I, on the other hand, concluded he must be crazy if he really prolonged his time in this hell.
"He's actually really smart," Layla hastened to assure me. I didn't know who the hell Warren was so I hadn't really formed a judgement on his intellectual ability but I wondered why Layla felt inclined to tell me so quickly.
"Speaking of repeaters," Magenta whispered, "look who just walked in."
Two boys and a girl has just walked into the cafeteria, a noticeable hush following them as they moved to an empty table with disregard for the sensation they were causing.
"Who are they?" I asked craning to look, intrigued despite my companions tense glares.
"Remember how we told you about Royal Pain's attempted take-over," Will began with an obvious shudder.
"Well those three were her little accomplices. We knew they were horrible but we didn't think that they would really involve themselves in something so serious and evil," Layla looked most concerned.
I surveyed the group again. They did not look like villains… not that I knew a lot about what they were supposed to look like but I never thought it would resemble a combo of tweedle dee, tweedle dum and skippy the cheerleader. The taller boy was attractive but looked like he belonged with some angsty boy band rather than badass villain groups.
"So why were they let back in?" I wanted to know.
"Principal Powers is a softy really and somehow thinks these guys can redeem themselves. Royal Pain went to solitary but these guys are back. Probably right back to bullying!" Will snorted with disgust. Ethan nodded energetically with a far-away stare, clearly lost in some hideous flash back.
"Names and powers?" It was almost an obligatory question, I was discovering. I was secretly trying to guess which each one would possess. I'm betting the cheerleader had the power of the manicure. Which might have sounded bitchy but honestly it would be more useful than making pictures move.
"Penny can multiply herself. Thrice the bitchiness in one petite package," Magenta eyed the girl with contempt.
"The tall one is Lash. Self-explanatory really" Ethan glared at the older boy.
"He whips people? Kinky!" I joked to hide the fact I didn't think it was self-explanatory at all while Ethan looked slightly mortified.
"He stretches," Zach confirmed. That actually didn't make it much clearer but I nodded as if I understood.
"The last one is Speed. He runs really fast," Layla pointed at the shorter, slightly tubby boy.
I tilted my head and examined Speed, "Well if that ain't a little slice of irony right there."
"Life's cruel that way," Magenta agreed shaking her head.
"Hey there's my man," Zach proclaimed, standing up to greet a boy with dark brown hair and an exceptionally cool leather jacket.
"Don't speak Zach, you'll only embarrass yourself," The guy retorted but he was only half serious, his eyes sparked with affection.
"Warren, this is Mindy," Layla performed the introductions.
"Nice to meet you," Warren spoke before he flashed a smile my way. My cheeks felt so hot I wanted to melt despite that being Ethan's power. That grin was a hundred watts bright and a number of other clichés.
"Ha uh um," I finished lamely. Well, that settled it – I was transferring to whichever superhero school would have me.
"She is actually more coherent than that usually," Magenta told Warren who blinked in confusion but mercifully didn't draw attention to my uncoolness.
"Sorry, really pretty smile but back to normalcy here," I babbled and managed a normal smile. Layla shot me a weird look.
"She can manipulate tattoos," Zach raced to tell Warren before he had even settled in the seat beside Ethan. At this rate I would never have to inform anybody ever again. Zach would do it for me.
"Cool. What can you do to mine?" He pulled up his sleeve to flash his wrist. Flames wound around his forearm. Oh fantastic. As nice as the exposed arm was, it unfortunately was a chance to demonstrate the uselessness of my powers.
"Aren't we not allowed to use our powers outside of the gym?" I asked hesitantly (hopefully).
"Minor detail of a regimental society," Layla grinned mischievously.
Realising I had no way out of it I waved a hand over his wrist, my palm tingling with the tiny burst of effort. The flames started dancing like it was a really fire. There was no light or warmth just the incredibly realistic movement.
"That's pretty weird," Warren concluded, gazing at his arms.
"Yeah," I agreed and waved a hand to revert the tattoo back to normal. A familiar tingle wound its way down my body just like it did every time I used my powers.
"So what tattoos do you have?" Ethan wanted to know.
"Um none," I winced.
"But your power is tattoos," Will pointed out incredulously.
"Let me explain it this way. You know the story where you ask your parents to get you bellybutton pierced 'cause it will make you cool and fit in etcetera. Well I explained to my mom that I needed she laughed and said when you turn seventeen," I recounted the story feeling slightly ridiculous and annoyed at my mother all over again. Though I couldn't really blame her. Neither of my parents had powers so were still perplexed by the whole thing despite numerous meetings with Principle powers.
"Well I refused to show my powers on placement day," Layla reminded the table, accurately sensing I didn't want to be the centre of attention anymore.
'Brave." It genuinely was. High school was a minefield at the best of times even when you tried to fit in with the status quo.
"And now they've abolished the silly hero support class and are implementing a new system due to our protestations!" Layla confidently countered. I paid close attention to this. The first half of the day had been orientation and assessment of my powers so I wasn't sure how everything worked around here yet.
"Speaking of, does anyone know what's happening and when?" Magenta asked flicking her eyes around the cafeteria. Following her lead, I skimmed over the so called villains. They were laughing at some joke appearing to all intents and purposes…very, very normal.
"You get paired with a person and go to classes together and fight crime as equals," Warren told Magenta and finished with a mocking, high voice, "'We're partners against crime' is the new slogan."
"The list goes up at the end of lunch I heard," Ethan told me, obviously spotting my confusion.
"Cool, man. I can't wait to see which lucky person gets put with Zach attack," Zach informed us happily while Will stifled a laugh and Warren stared intently at his food. I wondered who I was going to be partnered with. Attending classes together and fighting crime? How was I going to defeat crime with my level of (aka non-existent) powers? I suppose I could find someone with a naked lady tattooed on their back and bring it to life to distract the bad guy.
"I just feel sorry for whichever poor sap is put with our newly returned bullies," Layla scoffed. For someone so friendly, she certainly harboured a grudge against those three.
"Listen up kids," a voice roared over the cafeteria. I clapped my hands to my ears as the windows shook in the volume.
"Boomer," Warren groaned and lifted a hand to massage his temple.
"I am about to place the list. People were carefully paired with complimentary powers. When I say go you can come check then please pair off to share hellos and come to the realisation that you are stuck with this person till you retire from crime. Or die."
I blanched. There was that fighting crime again. This was a wholly new concept for me since all last year I thought going to university, becoming a doctor or becoming a surf instructor in Thailand were on the cards. Now, apparently, I was a budding superhero and destined to advocate justice.
"GO!" Boomer shouted. After a brief pause the room exploded into action. Kids scrambled for the list using powers to get there first. Boomer chuckled clearly enjoying the moment of chaos.
My own table made a bolt for the list after a minute or two of trying to look like we were too mature to scrabble. Even Layla joined the fray, though she appeared to be preventing serious injury rather than getting to the list.
Ethan melted to dodge one boy shooting electricity to clear his path while Warren flared a hand of flames in the face of a blond girl who glared icy daggers, which made the air literally feel cold.
"Ex-girlfriend," Magenta mumbled in my ear before disappearing into the body of a guinea pig. That was one of the odder things I had witness thus far.
Will was carefully pulling people out of the way and setting them down. I saw an opening and dashed up towards the list with a pounding heart when a blur flashed past me and a hand grabbed the back of my shirt tugging me backwards. Speed and Lash had passed me, laughing easily. Layla reached a hand down and helped me get up, scowling at their backs.
"I wish I could write a rude word on his head!" I swore passionately.
"Can you even use your powers for that?" Layla inquired.
"I was thinking more along the lines of permeant marker," I confessed.
"I'm with Zach," Will announced as he walked towards us two girls, "And you're with Warren, Layla."
A puddle suddenly materialised beside us. "I'm with Magenta." Ethan appeared happily.
"I gotta see this list," I grumbled and started elbowing to get closer, ignoring protestations. I stared at the list, trailing my finger down, and searched for my name. I found it just as I heard a disturbing voice say, "I'm with some chick who thinks Mickey Mouse is her boyfriend?"
"Lash," I read the name out loud just to double check. And I thought I had dumb name – what parent calls their child Lash? I turned slowly to face him.
"What are you staring at?" he demanded rudely
"I'm Mickey's girlfriend," I answered slowly.
"What?" Lash replied.
"This may take a while," I groaned out loud.
"Hey, who are you with Mindy?" Warren asked coming up behind me.
"Elastic Boy," I said weakly.
"Ouch. You get to be the villain's friend," Warren grinned his support. I shook my head. There had to be some kind of mistake.
"What is going on here?" a voice screeched. "This looks like a zoo. Boomer you were supposed to call the partners out."
"Sorry, Principle Powers. Forgot I guess," Boomer feigned sheepishness.
"Students, pair off now," Powers yelled in a voice almost as commanding as Boomer's.
Lash and I were left staring at each other in uncomfortable silence.
"I guess you know what I do," Lash began awkwardly, assuming that everyone knew who he was at this school. He wasn't wrong. Left one on one and his communication skills fled.
"I control tattoos. I can make them move on the skin and no, I don't have any. It is actually a useless power," I explained it in a single breath. Lash was horrified.
"I have to go to all my classes with you?" He whispered slowly. Ok, that was being slightly melodramatic and incredibly irritating. I hadn't exactly won the lottery getting stuck with him as my partner.
Unable to resist being snarky, I retorted. "Yeah but at least we won't have to fight crime together. I hear you swing the other way so unless we fight each other ain't no justice gonna be done," I adopted a southern accent for a moment.
"It was a phase," Lash protested but he smirked. Oh the sincerity!
"Right," I drawled, "I'm sure it was and sure that we're are all gonna to ride unicorns to class, hold hands and sing hymns to one another!"
"So Mickey's girlfriend, you'll just have to keep me in line," Lash said with the knowledge that with my pitiful power I could do jack all.
"Do what you want. I'll just go solo, tell the world we had creative differences and you had a drug problem. Worked for the Spice Girls."
"Did they have a drug problem? I didn't think they did!" Lash said confused.
"Clearly you were the only one immune to Ginger Spice's dresses" I threw my hands in the air.
"What do you mean?"
"If I say any more, I will sound like a bitch so I'm gonna stay silent," I crossed my arms.
"But you just said it," Lash observed.
"Said what?" I replied, playing dumb. I was making things worse but I had zero impulse control with which to stop myself.
"Oh good! A comedian partner," Lash moaned.
"I know I'm not as funny as, say, pushing someone with a comically long arm but I will try," I muttered sarcastically.
"Wow, so you work on your absence of real humour and I can work on my drug addiction and attraction to crime and we can save the world with a rousing finale of 'Kumbia my Lord'"
I glared at him. This was going to be a very long year!