A Different Sort of Hero Support
I own nothing save the clothes on my back, and I think I may have borrowed this shirt. Yes, most certainly did. So, clearly I don't own anything Sky High related.
The soft clicking of the keys on her keyboard was the only sound in the house, save the static whirring of the fan above her. Every morning began something like this. She would wake up too early, the rest of the house would be fast asleep, and sit at her desk, the blue light from her monitor illuminating her face until the sun's light reached her window. Somewhere outside birds had begun chirping and a car drove by, most likely Mr. Aarons coming home from his graveyard shift at the hospital. It was these early mornings that she relished above all else.
Her damp dark hair had begun curling at the ends, the aqua blue towel lying somewhere on her bed while she typed away. The 'T' key on her keyboard wobbled dangerously and she knew that soon enough she would have to get it fixed. A few rooms down an alarm buzzed into life and her brother groaned as he tried to find the snooze button. She glanced over to the little white numbers at the bottom of her screen out of habit, she knew what time it was, her brother's alarm always went off at 7:30. With a sigh as she heard his alarm go off again she finalized her post and turned off her monitor.
Downstairs her father was sitting at the kitchen table, his usual blue mug of coffee in his hand as he watched the news. He looked up at her when she came through the archway. "Mornin', darling." He gave her a kiss on the cheek and turned back to the WXY NEWS. She made her way over to the counter to pour herself a cup of coffee, the cold ceramic of her gray smiley face mug felt nice in comparison with the warm handle of the coffee pot. She heard her dad shift in his seat. "Maxville had another attack today, giant robot this time." She scoffed.
"Hey, how often do giant robots actually work?" she asked him, sitting down across the table, glancing over to the TV just in time to see Jetstream fly out of the picture. She didn't get an answer, just a laugh and a shake of his head. She could hear her brother moving around upstairs, probably muttering nonsensical things to himself until he got in the shower. Her mother was probably also waking up just now. The house phone rang, right on time, and she stood up to get it, nestling it between her shoulder and ear while she poured herself a bowl of cereal. "What's going on?" she asked into the receiver, like she did every morning.
"Nothing much, I'm just getting my stuff together, then I'll be right over."
She nodded, forgetting she couldn't be seen over the phone, and closed the cereal box. "Deal. Don't forget, we still have to go and make sure Mags wakes up on time." She set the bowl down on the cream tablecloth and moved to get the milk from the fridge. "She's been late way too many times." Upstairs something fell and broke, loudly. Her father and her looked at each other and rolled their eyes. "Hey, Lijah just broke something, I'll see you later." With a quick bye she set the phone down and jogged over to the stairs.
"Don't worry, Emm, I fixed it." Her brother said the moment he saw her. She looked skeptically between him and the chest of drawers he was pushing back against the wall. She caught a drawer that was sliding out and helped him steady it until it was back in its rightful place. "Thanks."
Emmeline shook her head. "What were you trying to do this time?"
He looked sheepishly over at her, pulling a gray shirt over his head. "I was just trying to open one of the drawers. I wanted my shirt." He moved past her to manually open his sock drawer and pulled out a pair of gray socks. She laid on his bed, propping his pillows against the headboard, while he pulled his socks and shoes on.
"Why don't you ever practice with something small?" Elijah just shrugged and smiled sheepishly again. Considering what little control he had over his telekinesis, he should have practiced with pens or shirts, not drawers attached to very heavy wooden chests. Downstairs the front door opened and they heard their father greeting someone. "That'll be Dan." She said as she stood up. "Hurry up, or we're leaving you."
Emm left his room and moved down to the next door, her own room. She grabbed the worn gray backpack off her chair and gave the room one last look over to make sure she had everything. Satisfied, she closed the door and went downstairs, taking the stairs two at a time. In the kitchen, eating her cereal was Dan, his light blue eyes shining as he saw her. "Don't give me that look," he began, "I just had one spoonful, the rest is still here." He slid the bowl over to her original seat and got up to get a glass of water.
She made quick work of her cereal while Dan sat watching the WXY NEWS with her father and Elijah finished getting ready upstairs. She heard her brother before she saw him, his hurried steps were loud on their stairs, Elijah had never been a light walker. He slid into the kitchen with a quick hello to Dan and his dad before opening the pantry and pulling out a granola bar and a bottle of water.
He turned to look at them expectantly. "Well, let's go, we're going to be late." Had it been a year ago Emm and Dan might have been annoyed that he was the last to come down and the first to demand they leave, but this had been their exact routine for the past year, since Elijah had started at Sky High. They all filed out of the house with backwards waves to Mr. Garwin and headed down the street. In a matter of minutes they'd reached a pretty two-story yellow house, the shiny black numbers next to the door read 159.
They let themselves in and greeted the short red-haired woman they knew as Ma Rollings. In a line they all trudged up the stairs and through a butter yellow door and the curtain of multi-colored beads that followed. Somewhere under a bundle of dark purple blankets and comforters a head of red and brown hair poked out. They would spend the next few minutes trying to get the owner of said red and brown hair out of bed. Eventually Mags, as Maggie Rollings preferred to be called, would get up, grumbling and shuffle into the bathroom to get ready. Downstairs they would sit around with Ma Rollings and drink pomegranate juice while they waited.
Ten minutes later they were standing at the bus stop, Maggie grumbling still, Elijah levitating a blade of grass, Dan and Emm rolling their eyes. Every morning, the same thing, their routine never really changed, even after summer break. Ever since Dan, Maggie, and Emm had started Sky High four years ago, they had had more or less the same morning each time. When Elijah joined them the year before, not much changed.
"Seniors, don't forget to report to the gym after lunch for your first pairings." The cafeteria was buzzing with excited chatter and speculations. Today, for the first time, the seniors would be paired off, hero with sidekick, so the faculty could get a feel over who would be best paired at graduation as the permanent Hero-Sidekick duo. Heroes were a mixed bunch of excitement and annoyance that they would need a sidekick. Sidekicks were mixed as well, but with the added fear that some held.
Emm rolled her eyes, something she did quite often, and took another bite of her club sandwich. Dan caught the look on her face and smiled. "Oh, come on now. Maybe one of you will get paired with me. Eventually it has to happen." Emm made a derisive snorting noise but kept eating.
"I really hope we do get paired together." Maggie began, her lunch untouched due to nervousness. "I mean, how am I supposed to help any other super with my astounding ability to understand languages?" They all laughed a little at her self-deprecating comment but said nothing otherwise. It was true. Dan and Elijah were heroes, Emm and Maggie had been relegated to hero-support, but she had no use in a fight. Emm, at least, could hold her own in a fist fight.
Eventually lunch had to end and they all filed out of the cafeteria, some antsy and excited, others dreading arriving at the gym like never before. Emm watched idly as Dan tried to reassure Maggie that no matter whom she was paired with she would be alright while she thought over the heroes she could have been placed with. She was roughly jostled when someone pushed past her shoulder. She watched the leather-clad shoulder move past without even a look. Dan gave her a look, she ignored it.
"Shit, Peace. 'Excuse me' isn't that hard to say you know." A few of the other students looked back at them, wondering how long she had to live, most had just stopped caring if Garwin and Peace got into another argument. Warren didn't turn around, just shook his head and kept walking. "Asshole." She said loud enough for him to hear. Dan shook his own head and grabbed her arm to keep her walking.
When they'd all found a seat in the gym the comet better known as Principal Powers drew their attention to the podium she was standing at. "Welcome, seniors of Sky High. As you all know, at the end of this year every hero shall be paired up with a member of the hero-support class. What we, the faculty, don't know, however, is who would be best suited together." She looked around to make sure everyone was paying attention. "So, for the next few months, until you graduate, you will be paired up with different students of the opposite class so that we can better assess who should be permanently paired off. Each month your partner will change, and each month you will have small tasks assigned so that you can both get to know each other better." All the students looked awkwardly between on another.
"So, without further delay, let's begin." Principal Powers seemed to have a list in front of her, in alphabetical order, of all the pairings. One by one student's names were called. Their reactions were relieved sometimes, other times they didn't know who the other person was, and a few times they were honestly upset. Emm had swung her arm around Maggie to comfort her in a small way, Dan still assuring her.
"Emmeline Garwin," Her head shot up, Maggie's and Dan's following. "And Warren Peace."
The following "Shit!" that echoed through the gym made Principal Powers look at her pointedly. Emm looked as though she wanted to kill herself. Warren hadn't even looked up but she knew he couldn't be happy about it either. A few snickers circled the room and she was upset to find they were also coming from Dan and Maggie. "Traitors." She whispered harshly.
Until Dan's name was called she paid no attention to anything, just sulked in her seat. "Daniel Patterson." The three of them looked up, each hoping the next words would be 'Maggie Rollings'. They weren't. "Marcus Mathews." They each looked a little deflated. Marcus was a nice boy, capable of talking to birds, but he wasn't Maggie. She looked more nervous now than ever and the two of them had to try and silently calm her down. Soon enough "Maggie Rollings," was announced.
All of them were on edge, anxiously waiting to know who would be paired with the sensitive multi-lingual girl they liked to call Mags. "Andrew Thompson." Emm would have let out a louder 'Shit', but she didn't want to scare Maggie, or land herself a detention. Andrew Thompson, while handsome and able to create a thick metal like covering over his body, was an absolute asshole. At least, in Emm's opinion. Emm was not fond of Andrew's to begin with, but this boy was cocky and self-assured and an all around asshole. All in all, Emm couldn't say she was happy with Principal Powers and her stupid pairings.
It was clear to anyone with half a brain that, as they left the gym, Emmeline Garwin was in a foul mood. Her friends from hero-support did their best to avoid her while Dan and Maggie followed behind. They were to go to the courtyard and meet up with their partners before returning to class to receive further instruction. Emm had no intention of meeting with Warren, they both knew each other. No, she wanted to go with Maggie to meet Mr. Thompson. Dan, it seemed, had the same idea.
Andrew wasted no time in finding them, strutting up in his usual cocky manner, his light brown hair falling into his green eyes. He was a looker, and he knew it, so did the girls he had previously dated. "Maggie, right?" He said, ignoring Emm and Dan as they stood to either side of her. Emm would have stayed by her side throughout their entire meeting, but Maggie demanded that she go meet Warren. She gave Dan a look and they both left reluctantly, Dan going to find Marcus, Emm going to find a spot she could keep an eye on them from.
She sighed and shook her head as she took a seat on the school steps; this was going to be a long year.