I think I just enjoy writing confused Simon, flustered Mark, casual Chuck and irked Lady Illusion all together in the same room at the same time. Standard disclaimers apply. Reviews and concrit appreciated.
Saving the World on a School Night.
'Mark, what're you doing under there?'
A yelp was followed by the sound of Simon's son's head colliding with the underside of the bed. In spite of this, the boy didn't emerge and Simon had to settle with talking to a pair of legs. On the other side of the room, his son's best friend and a tall, blonde woman who looked vaguely like their ex-babysitter were rooting through a large set of drawers, throwing bric-a-brac to the floor as they did so. Chuck also seemed to be dripping wet, but this was hardly the most intriguing of Simon's current outlook.
'Ow! Damn it, I... um... hi, dad, sorry about all the noise, we won't be a minute.'
'...Won't be a minute doing what, exactly?' Simon frowned, tilting down to his left to try and get a better look. A board game of some kind emerged from under the bed and slid past his feet as he did so. (So that was where the Monopoly set had gone.
'Uh, dude,' Chuck said. 'I don't think it's in here.'
'It has to be, keep looking,' Mark said, still calling from under the bed. 'It's got to be in here somewhere...'
The blonde woman seemed to snort under her breath in a tone that Simon thought was reminiscent of his previous boss's secretary –derisive, but at the same time not especially arrogant. She picked through the various magazines and junk that made up his son's possessions very gingerly and with not a little reluctance. 'Honestly, this is ridiculous, Kid. I should be on the battlefield, not helping mortals work out where they last left important equipment.'
'Hey you were the one who saw it last, you're supposed to know where to look!'
'You do realise that it was mostly a pretence of cleaning up that I put on? As if I'd go rooting through some mortal child's fowl belongings unless absolutely necessary...'
'What do you mean "foul"? Besides, you're doing it now.'
'Only because I haven't been given a choice in the issue.'
Oh... Simon looked at the woman more closely. Yes, now that he looked she did look very much like Felicity, albeit with a different hair colour and perhaps a little less eye shadow.
'Look, you can take out your long standing grudge against Staffhead later, dude... lady... sorry, whatever,' Chuck muttered, seeming somewhat more annoyed than usual. 'Right now we're on recovery duty, keep lookin'. Hey, Mark you sure you didn't put it in the garden shed?'
'Um... I don't think so. If I had then Kat would've found it by now,' Mark pulled his head out from under the bed and seemed to brush away dust mites. His hair, Simon noticed, was no dryer than Chuck's. 'And we'd probably be hearing the explosions.'
Simon sucked in a breath between his teeth at Mark's particular choice of words (as well as the thought of Kat, whom he knew for a fact was useless with electric tools, rooting through the mechanical paraphernalia in his garden shed.) 'Oh dear... this is another save the world situation, isn't it? Mark, what have I told you about letting us know about those things before they come along?'
'Sorry, Mr H, but this one kinda sprung on us by surprise,' Chuck muttered. 'And while we were at the pool, no less. Creepy water bound snake freaks in Conestoga hills... who would've thought.'
Well, that certainly explained why Chuck was dripping on the carpet. It didn't, however explain exactly what they were doing, turning Mark's room into something that resembled a bomb blast. Or rather, something that resembled a bomb blast even more than it had in the first place.
'I would've thought,' the "lady" muttered.
'...True, but I still say you're way more used to this than we are.'
The Lady sighed, crossing the room to the wardrobe, stepping over Mark as she did so. 'Four years, boy, we've given you more than enough time to grow accustomed to this. Excuse me,' she added crisply, sounding like she didn't care whether he did excuse her or not. Simon found himself Stepping back a couple of feet to allow her access.
'Look, would any of you care to explain what's going on to me?' Simon asked, feeling slightly exasperated. This was the last thing he needed after a day at work.
'Well, remember that conversation we had about... you know... the Ace thing?'
'And the issues of superheroes and saving the world, yes, Mark; I don't think it's a conversation I'll be forgetting any time soon, somehow.'
That said, it hadn't been the kind of conversation you ever expected to have with anyone at any point in your life, really. When your sixteen year old son asked you and your wife of eighteen years to "sit down please, I have something important to tell you", you normally expected to hear that they'd been involved in some kind of criminal activity, or were dropping out of high school, or were about to introduce you to their first boyfriend. Anything along those lines, really.
What you didn't expect to hear was some seemingly fantastical story about a videogame coming to life and superheroes and villains waging some nonsensical war for domination of your planet. Oh, and the fact that your son had been recruited into the ranks of a team of superheroes that seemed to have stepped right off the cover of a comic book.
Still, Simon believed that he and Fiona had pretty much gotten used to it by now. What he hadn't yet gotten used to was... events such as this: Why the solution to preventing the End of the World always seemed to be somewhere in Mark's bedroom.
'Yeah well... you know when I mentioned the explosions that had been popping up in the central mall a few weeks before that?' Mark said, scrambling out from under the bed and redirecting his attention to the shelves above it. 'It's kind of connected to that.'
'Let me guess,' Simon sighed. 'You can't tell me anything more without risking my life?'
'Something like that, dad, yes,' Mark sounded vaguely apologetic, but mostly distracted. He had that look on his face, Simon realised, which reminded him of the expression his mother sometimes got when she couldn't locate her favourite cookery book.
'So what would it be you're looking for? This... seemingly world saving device?'
Mark hesitated. '...it's complicated.'
'How, precisely, is it complicated?'
'Well, um... because if I tell you what it is, you'll start asking questions about how I got it,' mark was looking sheepish, trying to avoid his father's gaze while also remaining frantic in his search for whatever it was. The blonde woman thrust a pile of clothing into Simon's hands, which he grabbed on impulse, and continued her search.
'Alright then. How did you get... whatever it was?'
'I borrowed it. From the school science labs.'
Simon blinked, while simultaneously realising that he probably shouldn't have been so surprised. 'From... the school science labs?' Goodness, this meant whatever it was it was probably toxic... 'And what on earth would it be doing in your room?'
'Not what "on earth", Mr H,' Chuck said, grinning. 'More like what on the 6-Dee.'
Simon pretended to understand what that meant.
'Look, dad it was an emergency the first time alright?' Mark looked at him, biting his lip. 'I mean the fate of the world was at stake I just, um... forgot to return it afterwards and we need it again now anyway and... And can we talk about this later? I mean, potential apocalypse, you know?'
Simon would have liked to say that Mark was just being melodramatic (to a certain extent he was) but of course, he was probably being mostly serious. When Mark said "this is the end of the world" he meant it more literally than most teenagers his age did. So Simon could only watch, bewildered, as an impatient young blonde shoved yet more clothing on him, and Chuck wacked himself on the head with a falling telescope.
'You know you're probably exaggerating on the end of the world thing, man, it's more like maybe the end of upper Conestoga Hills.'
'Well... close enough for you at least, Chuck, that's where the tech college and the biggest game-store in the city are.'
'Oh boy... That's definitely the end if the world.'
'I see,' Simon said, without really seeing at all. 'Well uh, I trust this isn't going to interfere with your curfew?'
A ridiculous thing to suggest really, but it worked for him. If his son was going to be saving the universe every weekend then be damned if he wasn't going to be relatively organized about it.
'No, dad,' Mark groaned. 'I planned it, it'll only take us fifteen minutes to get to the square if we hit the speed limit exactly the whole way there... and provided Chuck doesn't crash into anymore fences...'
'Hey, I did that once, man,' Chuck muttered. 'You've gotta let it go.'
'...And that we can get Random into the back of the truck within ten minutes, which might be hard but we'll manage... oh and don't worry he's got the evil side under control for the moment, so he won't be killing anyone.'
Simon opened his mouth to mention something about the power hungry cyborgs, then decided he'd really be better off not knowing and closed it again.
'...We get the stuff to Ace, finish up the mess in the square, banish Googler and the Buzzbeasts, and that should give me twenty five minutes to tidy up, convince any passersby they were experiencing a mass hallucination and get back here for curfew with time to finish the geometry homework that's due in first thing tomorrow. Give or take a minute.'
He had stopped wandering and paused to look up at his father by this point, with an expression his face resembling the one his father used for talking to clients. Actually he seemed rather pleased with his ability to work out this entire plan in his head, and it wasn't as if they hadn't had this conversation before.
'As wonderfully convenient as that plan is,' the Lady snapped, 'I believe you mortals have a saying that a plan is only a plan until you actually put it into action, and this plan, Kid, ended the very second you lost the most important element. Honestly, why are you going on about such ridiculous mortal concepts of law when the fate of the world is at stake?' the woman sighed impatiently. 'Sometimes I have to wonder why on earth Ace picked out you, of all people...'
Mark gave her a glance and a frown. 'Well, sometimes I ask the same thing about you.'
'Wait, wait!' Chuck yelled, emerging from a box on the other side of the room holding aloft a jar of strange looking vaguely pink powder. 'Is this it?'
'Yes!' Mark half jumped across the bed to reclaim the object from Chuck, and then stuff it into his knapsack. Simon could only watch, bemused as his son started ushering people from the door. 'Sorry dad, got to run, be back for curfew probably better if you don't watch the news, see you later, bye!'
'Uh, yeah, later, Mister H!'
'I'll bid you goodbye.'
And then they were gone, out the door and halfway down the stairs. Before Simon heard Chuck saying: 'What I wanna known, Mark, dude, is why the heck you kept that container of caesium in your room in the first place.'
'Shh! Chuck, I'll explain later, not around da— Oh, hi, mum, sorry talk later, we're kind of saving the world!'
Simon heard the clatter of the door opening, and then the slam of it closing, and then he was left in the company of his wife who had just rounded Mark's bedroom door and was staring at the absolute mess with a look of vaguely contained dismay and annoyance. '...What was all that about, dear?'
'Oh, nothing,' Simon sighed, deciding to try and ignore that typical clawing feeling in his stomach for a while. 'Just the consequences of what happens when a theatrical actress and an accountant reproduce...'
Fiona Hollander looked at the floor again and sighed. '...Oh, I see. Well, he didn't get his room tidying tendencies from me, dear, you can count on that.'