"Need any help, Kick-Ass?"
Dave froze and, batons still poised for action, slowly turned his head so he could look in the direction of the familiar voice. Eyes widening so that the lids almost disappeared under the yellow stripe along the brow of his green neoprene mask, his mouth dropped open in dumb surprise, leaving him vulnerable to attack from the two punks he had been about to beat on for their mistreatment of Mr. Bitey, who had escaped his home once again and was now meowing piteously from the bottom of a burlap sack held closed by the skinny kid in the black board shorts with "MotherFucker" blazoned across the left leg in bold blood-red letters.
But Dave needn't have worried about any retaliation while his attention was diverted. The punks were as transfixed as he was by what they saw. It was a girl. But not just any girl. It was Katie Deauxma.
Well, Katie's alter-ego, apparently.
She was standing in a classic superhero pose, feet planted firmly and wide apart, knees stiff with arms akimbo and fists on her hips, her elbows sharp and shapely as they jutted out from the tops of long satin evening gloves colored a bright and shiny red. She was wearing tall boots too, the kind that are high enough to cover a girl's knees, but her thighs were bare all the way up to the bottoms of a pair of black form-fitting boy shorts that were covered in green five-pointed stars of varying sizes.
As Dave's eyes moved farther upwards, his breath caught in his throat when his brain registered the green Merry Widow corset and bustier studded with an array of twinkling clear rhinestones that was laced tightly to push Katie's breasts up high and proud. And when Dave was able to tear his eyes away from them, he noticed she was wearing a red choker that served as an anchor for a silver cape, double-sided with a red lining that hung straight down in a perfect superhero cape-type manner behind her back.
Finally, he looked at her face. She had applied a rich red lipstick to her full mouth and wore a black mask tied around her temples, honey-colored curls spilling over the sides of it framing sparkling eyes that held a defiantly confident challenge.
Dave hoped the challenge was for him.
Just then, the attention of the small group was captured by the purple-and-black projectile of human agility that was Hit Girl, who had easily vaulted the wood fence on the south side of the parking lot so she could flank Kick-Ass' targets and provide any necessary backup. When she had pulled herself up to her full 5'2", she realized that there was one too many vigilante crime fighters present, and her lip curled up in a cynical snarl as she looked past the transfixed boys towards the provocatively costumed newcomer.
"And who the fuck are you supposed to be?" she inquired, her voice dripping with scorn.
Katie stood her ground. Tossing her head a bit to set her curls flying, she looked smugly down her nose at the diminutive dynamo and announced in a self-confident tone, "I'm Fantasia. I'm here to fight crime with Kick-Ass."
Hit Girl's sharp bark of laughter rang out among the battered trash cans and scattered bits of paper that lined the empty lot.
"Ha! And just how do you suppose you're going to be any help? Aren't you afraid you're going to chip a nail or something?" she chortled, very amused at her own joke.
Without making an effort to answer her challenger, Katie – or Fantasia now – strode over to the punks and plucked the burlap bag out of the unresisting grasp of the skinny one. Turning on her heel, she approached Kick-Ass, who had by this time returned his batons to their sleeves on his back and was able to reach out and take the writhing sack from his girlfriend and release the terrified cat, but it streaked away before Dave could catch it to return it to its owners.
"Smooth, dumbass," observed Hit Girl, who had assumed a martial arts ready pose for when Kick-Ass and the two bad guys decided it was time to start a fight.
Katie, directing all her attention towards Dave, smiled, took his yellow-gloved hand in her red one and began to lead him away from the scene. Before they got to the edge of the lot, however, they were stopped by Hit Girl's puzzled cry.
"Wait a minute, you guys!" she exclaimed. "What about the fight?"
"There isn't going to be a fight," Katie replied while looking at Dave the way a hungry lioness looks at a gazelle.
"No fight," Dave murmured, and he was suddenly galvanized into action. Not the kind of action that Hit Girl had anticipated when she was putting on her costume earlier that day but certainly the kind of action that the two mouth-breathing idiots standing beside her could appreciate.
He released Katie's hand and quickly swept her up in his arms, lifting her from the ground and pulling her to him so he could feel rhinestones and flesh pressing against his chest. He breathed her new name once in awe, "Fantasia," before he kissed her firmly, and when he put her down, they clasped hands again and sprinted away from the parking lot, Katie's joyful laughter fading to silence after they had turned down the next alley.
"Pussy," Hit Girl commented to the air, of course referring to Kick-Ass, but she was a bit surprised to suddenly realize that maybe there was another perspective to this whole Fantasia thing when she heard the boys' admiring chorus of, "Yeahhhhhh."