"SAMMY!" he called back, voice bouncing around the gym. He jumped to his feet, stumbling down the stairs as he tried to run in the dark. Speed was quick on his heel, fumbling to find the entrance to the small man-made arena. No luck.
"Zach! Warren! Give us a light!" instructed Amelia, shoving the sunglasses to the top of her hair. Brown eyes were wide as they fluttered side to side, mind whirling as her left fingertips pressed against her temple. The gears in her head were working in overtime to draw up a vision and a plan. "Coach Boomer! There's a villain in there! Someone ...Phantom! His name's Phantom! And he's got Samantha!"
Zach moved to the center of the steps and a moment later he was emitting a bright green glow, working as well as the gym's regular lighting. Warren became a full torch, sending those nearest to him scrambling for a safe location from the flames. The inside of the arena was visible again, Sam and Phantom's shapes vague as they flickered in and out of focus.
"Coach! Open the doors!" called Speed, returning after circling the arena multiple times. No available entryway.
"They're locked in place until the three minutes are up! With the power out, I can't rig them open!" explained Boomer. Lash swore loudly.
"Well fuck this shit!" He reached up and grabbed a ceiling beam, lifting himself up and dropping himself on the interior side. His Sidekick and the villain were straight ahead, locked in some kind of stalemate. Not thinking of any kind of plan, he charged. Legs pumping hard, arms cutting through the air as he closed the distance.
Phantom glanced at him at the corner of his eye and smirked. Smirked at him. Blood pounding hotly through his viens, he let out a yell as he dove to tackle the freak. Only to close around nothing, diving into the ground with painful force.
"Larry! Will! Bring down the wall!" called Amelia, her voice carrying over.
Suddenly, Sammy and Phantom broke apart. The distractions must have given her the upper hand for the moment. Lash was back on his feet, sending his arms out to encircle Phantom, but again, he grabbed nothing. This time, Phantom actually laughed.
"Sit down, boy," he chided. "Maybe then I'll pay some attention to you. Not that you're worth the time-" His rant was interrupted when Sammy struck his jaw, snapping his head up. He was only stunned for a second before they were completely engaged.
Lash could hardly follow the two as they were always shifting in and out of focus. The wall tremored as "Little" Larry charged the structure, blasts of fire spraying up from Warren. The Hero could only stand, form slightly defensive as he tried to follow his Sidekick. He felt useless. How could he fight or defend Sammy from something he couldn't touch or see?
"If your Hero was trapped in a situation that would render their power useless, how would you assist them?" Lash gave an unbecoming snort.
"Please, as if I would ever be rendered useless. You, definitely, but not me."
The pair moved fluidly, dancing around the other, sweeping in for a strike. Sometimes they were solid and visible, other times Lash had to guess their spot by their breathing. Phantom was larger than Sammy but she was holding her own, though breathing hard. More than three minutes had passed, in fact, they were going on ten straight minutes of arena time.
There was a crash as Larry, Warren, and Will managed to break down the wall. Boomer let out a deafening roar, making Lash cover his ears to save his own hearing as the glass windows shattered, spraying the shards. More Heroes and Sidekicks were starting to fill the gym, alert and on guard. Principle Powers appeared as well, demanding answers from Boomer while the other senior Heroes were trying to flood the arena and flush out Phantom.
The two kept exchanging blows, locked in their fight. It was obvious that Sammy was wearing out fast yet she plowed on. They were untouchable. There was no way to tackle one and pry them apart. Lash continued to watch, locked in a defensive stance, waiting for a moment to spring into the fight, but there was nothing he could do. As they moved they were either intangible or invisible, sometimes both. It seemed as if they could hurt each other as Phantom growled every now and again as Sammy cried out.
Sammy, Sammy, Sammy... he chanted over and over in his head. There was nothing he could do. Nothing.
Sammy was breathing hard, her chest stabbing with pain as she continued to move. The worst possible thing she could do would be to stop moving. Then he would catch her. Then he would hurt her. Well, really hurt her, in comparison to the bruising he's putting on her now. He dipped low, leg swinging out to catch her by the ankles. She jumped yet he still caught her, just barely, but enough to send her to the ground. Her head hit the floor hard, jerking her into her solid and visible state. Phantom was upon her, pinning her down as he smirked. His hand found her temple, fingertips digging.
"It's been a pleasure, darling."
Then all was black.
It was a warm and sunny day. The sky was clear, the birds were singing. It was perfect. James Falcon was walking down the street, a small bouquet of flowers in his hand. His white blonde hair was pushed back away from his bright blue eyes as he smiled to himself. Today was the day. Definitely today. He was going to ask her.
He was going to ask the beautiful Mary Jones to marry him. With her golden blonde hair and easy smile, she always made his heart flutter. They had been dating for less than a year now, but they were both done with school so there was nothing restraining him. Sure, they went to different schools but he loved her obsessively anyway, despite their differences.
Even if he was a Hero and she was some little civilian. She was the very minor exception to his iron clad rule.
The scene swirled, refocusing on the young Phantom and the girl he treasured. It was sunset, the last warm rays of the day melting away in the sky. Mary looked at him with wide deep blue eyes, startled by his proposal. She looked stunning in her light blue sundress, the length moving in the wind.
"J-James...this can't work..." she tried to explain, rather pale. His smirk started fall away.
"What do you mean?" he asked slowly. She struggled for a moment, trying to find the right way to phrase her statement. She started to fiddle with the edge of her shirt, nervous.
"Y-you can't be asking me to marry y-you...You told me just the other day th-that people were...were just toys! To be manipulated!" She shook her head, blonde curls waving. She was visibly shaking. "Because...because we're not like you!"
He rose to his full height, the air around him growing dangerous. The flowers were left on the ground as the sun disappeared entirely. His voice was growing cold, sharp.
"And just what does that mean?" Her eyes were glassy with unshed tears as she caved.
"Y-you're...a bad guy, James! You're a villain! Y-you think that I'm beneath you, th-that we're all beneath you!"
The last visage of his heart chilled to ice.
"Because you are. Every last one of you."
Again, the scene morphed, taking the form of a sterile white hospital. Mary had moved on from him, marrying some Marine, leaving him to be forgotten in the past. Phantoms are never meant to be forgotten. He was never to be forgotten.
The white room was displayed by the large window leading out into the hallway. James phased through the wall, invisible to the human eye. About a dozen of clear baby cradles were orderly lined inside the room. He drifted past a few, nothing more than a shadow. His feet brought him to the center cradle, a small baby girl sleeping soundly.
"Aha, there you are. Little Samantha Winchester," he said, tone scathing. He leaned against her cradle, so that he was looming over her. She stirred lightly, his voice daring to wake her. He smirked down at the baby.
"You know, right now, you're just some little, pathetic bundle. In fact, you're not going to amount to much. Not with your genetic make-up." He returned to his physical state, though still invisible. His fingers brushed over her soft baby skin, over the pink round cheeks, tracing her tiny lips. So delicate. So fragile. Perfect.
Slowly, he pulled out a syringe, tapping the vial to clear it of air bubbles. A dangerous smirk was starting to form, canines lengthening. The sharp needle point pressed against the tender skin, slipping beneath the surface. Blue, iridescent liquid slowly oozed in the little girl's system. Wide blue eyes snapped opened before she started to cry out, the foreign substance now fully pumping through her miniature veins.
"There," he sighed, content. "Now, you'll amount to something and you'll be mine..."
Gasping, Sammy sat bolt upright, wide eyed and startled. Before her surroundings could register, she double over in pain, crying out. Arms encircled her immediately, the sight of stripes reassuring.
"Sam..! Sam...my...!" It took a minute for his voice to register, her senses heavily muted. She was scarcely aware of her lips moving.
"Lash?" she called. Nothing. She kept her eyes closed due to the fire hot pain. "Lash!" The arms tightened around her, drawing her to chest. Her body shook with tears and shudders of pain, but the world was still eerily quiet. Cold fear was starting to claw at her chest. Scared blue eyes looked up at her Hero, tears fogging her vision.
"Lash?" she called. His mouth moved in answer. She caught snippets of his words, but nothing coherent, maybe her name. Pulse spiked and heart thundered, her hand grabbed the side of her head, a splitting headache resounding with a vengeance.
"I-I can't hear you," she tried to say. He looked down at her, concerned and his mouth moved, saying something. This time, she heard none of it. "I-I-I can't...I can't hear you...!" Her breath was catching in her throat, making it difficult to breathe. "Wh-why can't I...h-hear...?" The room was starting to spin as she continued to fight for air. "L-Lash...!"
Doctors swarmed the bed, prying Lash away from the patient. They were Hero doctors, but that didn't make Lash trust them anymore than he absolutely had to. They were the ones who were going to help Sammy. They pushed her down flat on the bed and in a few minutes she was back under. Few theories were exchanged, but the most likely was that her hearing was damaged under Coach Boomer's attack. Most likely. The Hero stole a look between the men, the bruising and battered body of his Sidekick obvious. Principle Powers was quick in organizing transport to the nearest Hero specialized hospital. Lash was given permission to go with her as he was her Hero. He certainly didn't feel like a Hero. Especially Sammy's.
The moment Phantom was gone, there was madness and deafening noise. Security had to be checked, property damages, and distressed students. Lash could scarcely remember. He remembered skidding on his knees as he dropped beside the blonde. He remembered picking up her lithe form, trying to shake her awake. Trying to call her to consciousness. Screaming her name. He could recall how his blood was boiling with anger, how his eyes were glazed with tears of frustration. There was so much noise and confusion, Speed tried to pry him away but that failed as he was locked in place.
He dropped into the small chair in the corner, leaning forward on his knees, head held in his hands.
Sammy woke up again to sunlight streaming in the white room. Relief was instant as she could hear the tiny beeps of machinery, the footsteps in the hallway and more prominently, snoring. Blonde brows furrowed, she looked to the side to see Lash out cold in the chair. Head lolled back, mouth open wide with snoring. A smile slowly spread across her face, the sight funny and relaxing all at once. She made a move to go over to him, but she was still wired to some sort of machine and her legs still felt like they had they structure of water. Looking around, she found a couple of napkins by the remains of food. She crumpled them tightly and took aim, giving the toss a nice arch so to peg Lash square in the face.
He snorted awake, half jumping to partial alert. Sammy laughed aloud, clutching her throbbing ribs but still laughing all the same. She even gave a snort, trying to cover her mouth.
"Y-your...face!" she wheezed. "Oh my gosh, that was so great!" Lash rubbed his eyes, trying to gather his bearings.
"Sammy?" he asked. She nodded, sitting back up. Catching her breath, she scooted over on the bed and patted the open space.
"Could you come here? I'm hooked up to something still," she asked, only a vague tremor in her voice. It took only two good strides before he was beside her, still taller than her even when sitting.
"Sammy, I—" She cut him off by throwing her arms around him in a tight hug, burying her face in his chest. She could feel his arms around her, grip secure and painfully tight on her recent injuries, but it was all right.
"I'm so sorry Sammy. I'm sorry I couldn't help you. Th-that I couldn't protect you—" Her hands slid up as she pulled his face down to hers, locking him in a kiss to drown out his apologies. To drown out everything. His apologies, her pain, the memories. It needed to all go away. Lash returned the vigor of the kiss, grip digging into her body so to hold onto her. So not to let her go so that she could fall in harm's way. So he could be her Hero.
I'm sorry I couldn't save you...
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