Hey everyone! Arnold here. This is my first Sky High fic, so… welcome! I hope you enjoy!
There are many people whom I'd like to thank (you know who you are), but they're at the bottom, so that I don't bore you all to death.
IMPORTANT: This is NOT A WARREN/OC STORY!!! Just wanted to get that out there. After reading some of the really good Warren/OCs, I feel like I'd have a lot to live up to, and I'm not sure I could. So I settled for basically creating my own story, except for the fact that I'm stealing the school, teachers, and the characters. Okay, fine, maybe not entirely my own story, but you've got to admit, Sky High is a pretty good idea. This was originally going to be way before any of the 'gang' ever got to Sky High, but I changed it so that most of the characters are in Warren's grade (two years older than Will and everybody, same grade as Lash and Speed, grade below Gwen and Penny). But if you're looking for a story with a lot of the 'gang', you won't be getting it. At least, not until much later, if at all. Just letting you know.
Let's get ready to rumble!
Are you ready?Rumble
Shooting for the Moon and Stars
If you were a normal citizen and I stopped you on the street and told you I had a superpower (assuming that I'd tell you—which is unlikely—and that you would believe me—which is even more unlikely), you would probably think that was the coolest thing since Elvis. To citizens, superpowers in any shape or size are considered awesome. If you were a hero, however, and I told you what my power was, you'd scorn me.
That's the problem with our society. People are given these abilities, incredible abilities, and are split into classes based on what they cannot control and cannot even attempt to change. The second such a person walks into high school, they're either handed a first class ticket that flies them through on the Easy Breeze, or they're given a handicap that hinders them for the rest of their life and keeps them from rising in the world.
There are a few heroes who understand, vaguely, what it is to be a sidekick, only because they grow close to one or two. Yet, when asked about changing, very few would back the end of the hero/sidekick hierarchy.
Hypocrites. Cowards. They're comfortable with what we have, because they don't have the short end of the stick. There are even sidekicks who don't want to change, just because it's change, and it's frightening. If there were no more class system, they'd have the same rights as heroes-- but also the same responsibilities. And frankly, it scares the hell out of them.
Can I be blamed for wanting to protect my daughter from this unfair world in which she won't be given a fair chance? I know I should have faith in her, but with the people who are running the schools, in all likelihood, she won't become a hero. She won't become great. All I want for my baby girl, my only child, all I want is for her dreams to come true. But she's shooting for the stars, and all she'll end up with is a mouthful of cloud.
All I've ever wanted was to be a superhero and save the world. I'm not quite sure why-- my mom didn't exactly raise me to hate the idea, but her biases and dislike of the whole concept permeated my childhood. The reason was always there, under the hard but brittle surface, which took me twelve years to crack.
I remember the day perfectly. All my friends had just left my birthday party, and I had asked her again what had happened to my father. I'd been pouncing on her every chance I had since I turned six and realized other people actually had male parental units. My mother wouldn't tell me, but I waited patiently, hoping that someday she'd break.
And break she did. Not in the spectacular way I imagined, the way that's always pictured in movies-- the cover shattering completely and letting the rapids out. There was no fuss, no tears, no hysterics. My mother was always smoother than that.
She same me down at the kitchen table, took a deep breath, looked at me, and began.
"His name was David, David Skellar," she told me. "He was the hero that I was paired with after my graduation from Sky High.
"We were a great team. Whiteshot was what he called himself, and his ability to manipulate his bones required a healer almost every time he used it. And he couldn't have been kinder to me. He was one of the few who understood, to a certain extent, what sidekicks went through. He understood that I had never wanted to fight or save people's lives anywhere but a hospital. There wasn't much either of us could do about it, though he tried his hardest."
"What happened to him?" I remember asking, my heart beating with excitement now that I was finally hearing something about my mother's concealed past, my hidden origins.
"There were many rumors circulating about the two of us. How we were in love, dating, engaged. We had been dating, whether we were in love… I guess I'll never know. I sure thought I was in love, but I was only nineteen.
"He was murdered. Killed by a villain known as the Puppeteer. He was…" She paused, seemingly searching for the right word. "…obsessed with me. He'd been discovered by people from Sky High in the asylum that his parents had taken him to. They were citizens who thought he was crazy, because of his powers, they didn't understand. Well, he was crazy, and he got kicked out halfway through junior year because of it. Nothing good came of that, seeing as he got out of the asylum he'd been put back into in less than a month. His career of villainy hasn't stopped since."
As a naive kid who'd been waiting for superpowers to arrive and to go to Sky High to help mankind, I couldn't imagine someone wanting to abuse their power like that. Eyes wide, I asked, "What can he do?"
"Control people's bodies with his mind. He was expelled for forcing teachers to do things. Not even something a normal teenager would want, like giving him good grades…" For the first time in the whole narrative, my mom shuddered. "Terrible things. One person died before they got rid of him." She fell silent, lost in awful memory, and I waited, knowing she would resume when she was ready.
"He heard the rumors and he became angry. All I remember is him bursting in and strangling David--" Her voice broke, and I took it as my cue to stop interrogating her and to start cleaning up.
As I folded blankets and listened to my mother's harsh breathing in the kitchen, I reflected on my childhood, trying to remember if my mom had dropped any hint that something so dark and horrifying lurked in her past. I racked my brains, but… nothing. Despite not having a father, my childhood had been fairly normal. A haze of school, dancing, playing, singing at the top of my lungs in the living room with a chocolate cigar as my microphone… Nothing bad. Nada. Mom had always, always been happy and under control.
That was the thing about mom-- cool and collected, never showing me outright what she was really feeling, though as I grew, I got better at reading her moods. It always seemed as though I was nothing like her. I was blonde, emerald eyed, eccentric and vivacious, where she was darker, brunette and brown eyed, and always more withdrawn. We looked alike except for the coloring and height-- I was a midget and she was average-- yet I always felt very different from her. We were close, but I felt as if I didn't take after her at all.
With a sigh, I shoved all of the blankets and pillows into a closet (another point on which my mother and I differed- orderliness). Unable to listen to my mother's sniffling any longer, I escaped to my room.
Despite the lack of proof or indication, of course I believed her. Why would my mother lie to me?
A few months later I skipped into my house carrying a bag of party favors and singing at the top of my lungs. My mother greeted me with a smile. "How was the party, sweetie?"
"Wonderful," I said with feeling. "There was a piñata and I was the first one to make a hole, and there were these piano players who played songs and we sang along… Mommy, can you play piano at my next party?"
My mom chuckled and kissed my head. "Whatever you want, sweetheart. Now go and finish your homework."
Groaning, I trudged upstairs. The party still clung to me, and I did not want to study for that French test. I hated French. No offence to them, but their language sucked. It all sounded so snobbish, and I, for the life of me, wasn't able to grasp it. Cramming was the only way to go.
I sat down at my desk. Heaving another sigh, I picked up my vocab cards, and started testing myself.
Around four o'clock, my mother stuck her head into my room to tell me she was going grocery shopping. I nodded once to show that I'd heard her, but refused to be distracted. I forced my mind to focus on the grammar rules before me.
About five was when I started feeling the pangs of hunger. I was able to ignore them at first, but they kept getting steadily worse. I pushed them out of my mind, mentally telling my stomach to tough it up. To my surprise, it worked. The hollow feeling disappeared.
My mother came home at five thirty, and dinner was on the table by six. Afterwards, I returned to my room, and worked steadily through the night, pushing off tiredness and hunger.
Thinking I was still asleep, my mom left early to go to work the next day without peeking into my room. Or, at least, I didn't hear her. I wouldn't let myself think of anything but French. I was even thinking in French. Maybe I'll do well on this test. Please, please, please.
The last thing I remember is staring at my worksheet on adjectives, and then everything went black.
I opened my eyes to white everywhere. It was a stark contrast to the black I'd been seeing, and I needed to blink a few times at the brightness of it all. Everything smelled sterile, and it took me only a few more moments before I realized that I was at the hospital with an I.V. in my arm. I wasn't able to notice anything else, however, before a pair of arms enveloped me.
"Sweetheart! Oh, I'm so glad you're all right!"
My mother didn't show much emotion very often, so seeing her like that got me rather alarmed.
"I came home from my shift, and you were unconscious on your desk! What did you do to yourself?"
Before I could even begin to think of an answer, a doctor walked into the room. He had bright blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was also tall. I felt my neck crack as I looked up at him, but, thankfully, he sat down on the other side of my bed, facing my mom.
I sat up a little straighter as he looked in my eyes, ears, and mouth, then checked my reflexes with one of those rubber hammers. I'm afraid of those things. What if, one day, a doctor picks one up, and it isn't rubber, and they don't realize it and they shatter your kneecap?
But my knees were safe, and my reflexes appeared to be fine. "Everything seems to be working properly. I think you passed out because of a combination of exhaustion, malnutrition, and dehydration." When my first reflex was to translate all of that into French, I got a little scared, but calmed myself down with the thought that I would ace that test.
Mom rounded on me, but the doctor interrupted her before she could yell at me. "I believe you have developed your superpower."
I snorted. "The ability to faint? Great power."
He waited patiently for me to shut up, looking amused. "No. The Bureau of Superpowered Affairs placed me here for cases that have to do with superpowers. I deal with all the power-related injuries that come to the hospital. Injuries that would blow our cover. Part of my power is the ability to detect what superpowers others have. You, my dear, have complete control over your body."
It took a second for this to sink in. "I what?"
"You can control not only your voluntary actions with your mind, but you can also control involuntary actions. You can also dictate your body's strength and flexibility."
In a sort of daze, I stood up. My mother tried to help me, but the doctor stopped her with a significant look that I barely saw.
I wasn't hungry, but I was still groggy from sleeping. I ordered my brain to wake up. Instantly, I felt wide-awake and energy jolted through my veins. Just because I now was certain that I could, I sank into the splits, what I'd been working hard on retaining as my childlike flexibility left me. It was laughably easy; I didn't even feel the burn. I turned back to the adults in the room. One was smiling; the other was staring in amazement. A grin crept up my face.
That night, I sat on the floor of my mother's Secret Sanctum, staring at her old costume. Around the outfit's case were newspaper clippings and pictures of Whiteshot, with Nightingale behind him like a shadow, black-and-white photo not doing the delicate shade of grey justice, and, of course, not able to depict the fiery red cross with its bright orange boarder properly. Here all the colors sort of blended together, so you couldn't see that there was an outline around the cross at all. No matter how plain she looked in the picture, people were still cheering for her.
How could she just give that up? I asked myself, not for the first time, as I looked around the room. It had been converted into office once she'd given up actively saving the world and turning to saving those who save the world. There were cabinets filled with the files of her patients; every superhero's medical record, even if they'd never been admitted to the Medical Department of the Bureau, was stored there.
She was happy with her job, and had saved more superheroes from radiation poisoning and skeletal malfunctions and villainy-inflicted injuries of the mortal sort than anyone had ever cared count. Being one of the strongest healers since Hale (and he lived in the nineteenth century), she had quickly risen through the ranks at the Bureau. Despite her immense power and how valuable she's been to superhero society, she doesn't get paid as much as an active hero (barely more than even an active sidekick). It's because of the screwed up mentality of our world. You're not really important unless you're out there kicking ass. But you're not allowed to be out there kicking ass big time unless you're a hero.
I recalled the conversation my mother had with me in the car on the way home from the hospital. She told me more details about her Sky High experience, as if I would remember them better now that I would actually be going.
My mom never wanted to be a superhero, and Sky High just made that worse. Because she was a sidekick, my mother didn't get a say in anything-- how she was taught, what her career would be, who she was paired with-- and everyone who goes there assumes everyone wants to do the same thing: save the world one kitten at a time. All that my mother wanted to do was to learn how to use her powers better, then heal for the rest of her life. They only listened to her after Skellar-- my father, I thought, with a little jiggle of my head-- was killed. They were so shaken up that they finally listened when my mom put her foot down. Although she never told anyone official, she blamed herself for his death, as if she could have stopped it.
And now she's convinced I'll go through something similar. It's true; my power will probably land me in sidekick class. But I don't care. It'll hinder my ability to save the world, but I'll impress everyone. I'll be the greatest sidekick the world's ever known.
Maybe I'll be lucky, like mom, and get paired with a superhero who has an idea of what sidekicks go through. Maybe he or she will let me stand up beside them one day, call me the hero. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get the glory for one shining moment. I'll work my hardest for that. I want to save the world.
And you know what they say: "Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
And in the next chapter, you'll actually learn their names! Isn't that just lovely?
A note I didn't want to add to the beginning, because it was just too damn long-- the main narrator in this story will be the girl who narrated the second half of the story. The first half was done by her mother, who won't appear very often. There will be other spinners of this tale, and they will appear quite randomly, but hopefully you'll be able to tell who it is. Such switches will be indicated by a ~PPP~PPP~ in the middle of the page, as opposed to my break, which is just plain ol' ~PPP~. I hope that's not too confusing.
A few people I want to thank, who made this story possible:
First and foremost, to my lovely beta, ProtectorofCanon2. She's the one who introduced me to the wonderful Sky High fandom. She also helped me while I was coming up with ideas, and listened as I came up with all these ridiculous powers and even rationalized them for me (you'll see this later).
Secondly, I would like to acknowledge Jeune Chat, author of War and Peace In Mind and related works. She's the first story in this fandom that I read, and WaPIM was really what got the creative juices flowing for me. She's also letting me use one of her ideas, the Bureau for Superpowered Affairs.
Thirdly (and this is the biggest- no offence, POC2), to Katharwen. She responded to my desperate plea for names for almost every single one of my characters. She put up with me even after I told her I was finished with her, and became sort of like a second beta (a… gamma?).
Finally, I'd like to thank Issak,with whom I threw around ideas, along with POC2, to the immense puzzlement of everyone in the vicinity (all of whom haven't seen Sky High. The losers.)
Next stop: Sky High!