The moment Alisha explains that he told her they would fall in love he knows his future self lied. He doesn't tell her that of course, but he knows the truth. When he gets a closer look at the Vegas picture it confirms his suspicions. It's a good job of Photoshopping (he's never done a bad job after his first few efforts to insert himself into the pictures of former friends), but it is definitely Photoshopped. He can only imagine that his future self couldn't resist trying to change things a little bit.

He can't blame him really, the first time they...no, he...he must think in the singular now to make sure that the plan works out. The first time he saw Alisha, he wanted her. Deeply. Desperately. The performance she put on with the soda bottle made it impossible for him to look at her without thinking of sex. She was completely out of his league of course, and he was okay with that fact throughout her relationship with Curtis. Not allowing himself to hope for anything was an old life lesson after all. But, a version of himself with access to time travel? All kinds of things would be possible.

When he found out Curtis' power was time travel, albeit travel that he couldn't control he had wished for a moment that it were possible to switch. Being invisible wasn't a new thing after all, even though it did come in handy to literally be able to disappear it was still symptomatic of his life to date. When he allowed himself to imagine life with that power (controllable thank you very much, because he'd have practiced until it was unlike Curtis who is content to let things happen when they happen), he'd envisioned an elaborate plan rooted in the idea of giving his younger self what he needed to change everything for the better.

So when Alisha tells him the whole story, and mentions the now missing laptop potentially loaded with videos and info he's not shocked. Not really. Because he knows why he'd bring such a thing back and where he'd put it. Waiting for Alisha to leave is the hard part, but he gets through it as best as he can. Once she's gone he goes into the corner behind that ridiculous shower and opens the panel under the vent. As he expected his future self has stowed the laptop there. The password is one he's always used, and as he scrolls through the video folder he recognizes his personal numbering system.

Watching himself is strange. Not least, because the first video contains detailed instructions on how to train his body into the flying daredevil that was Superhoodie. It's a rigorous regimen, but he's already doing parts of it, so it's almost a relief to know the rest of what it will take to transform. The tips on how to be bad at sex, but not actually awful perplex him. At least until he figures out that it is so Alisha will want to teach him how to please her. The logic is impeccable, how else to make her forget the unfortunate things he's said in the past? And what better way to get her to stick around long enough to trust him than to make her feel like the powerful one? At least at first.

Future him is very clear that he has done his best to impress her with his strength and skill, and that he's convinced her she's the key to the changes Simon has always wanted to make in himself. There are other videos to watch of course, many of them about other attempts to travel back in time, and explanations of what things not to do so that he doesn't have to die in the past like his future self. Despite years of exposure to science & science fiction he's still confused how this plan doesn't lead to a eternal loop, but his future self seems confident that he's solved the puzzle, and Simon trusts no one more than himself.

That trust means he lets a lot of things play out, including several near death experiences and Alisha's lie about giving up their powers. He suspects he is the only one to buy so many powers, but he doubts he is the only one to buy more than one. Of course its not likely Nate & Curtis will have brought anything particularly useful. On the other hand, his purchases are strategic. Immunity to the power of others, heightened reflexes, increased strength, speed, and of course time travel. Not Curtis' power of course, that wouldn't be right or even as useful as what his future self described.

It's amazing how much more confident he feels at each step, and he begins to understand why his future self told Alisha it was her love that changed him. It wasn't entirely a lie after all, since he's doing all of this in order to be loved by her. It's a quest of sorts, and he's always been fascinated by them. The prize at the end of this one will definitely beat any ring or pot of gold.

Some things he doesn't need advice from the future to figure out. Little details like introducing Alisha to his parents, and taking her nice places to eat or watching a show with her even if it bores him. Other things like dancing are more difficult, but she's convinced she has to teach him things, and he lets her teach him that with no qualms. It means lots of touching, and Simon definitely wants to to do that as often as she'll let him. They play fight from time to time too, partially because it's sexy and partially because after so long without touching Alisha wants to feel everything. He's always gentle with her, even though he suspects it occasionally frustrates her.

When he thinks about it, if he thinks about it, there are many reasons for his careful handling of things between them. Most of them revolve around noticing just how tiny Alisha is when she's not wielding her larger than life personality to get her way. He sits at the bar sipping his beer some nights while she's working, and watches her slip into it like a second skin when someone gets too rowdy. He learns a lot of things while he's watching, most notably that Alisha can save herself if she has to, but he doesn't want her to fight every single battle. Or any of them really, but as long as she shoots him that saucy look that says clearly, "I've got this." he stays out of it.

One night that look is missing from her face as he's coming through the door. So is Curtis, who has apparently opted to fuck off somewhere and leave her to close up alone. It's nothing too unusual, just some bloke who doesn't want to take no for an answer. She's doing her level best to fight him off, but he's twice her size and when Simon walks in she looks genuinely terrified. Hitting him feels good to Simon, better perhaps than it should, and for a moment while he is angry he forgets to hide that side of himself that is his other reason for being so gentle. Alisha has to pull him off the larger man, her frantic demands that he stop before they have to hide another body making him laugh in the midst of his fury.

It's easy enough to toss the drunk out and lock the doors. Harder to keep his hands to himself when Alisha's are all over him. But, he doesn't want the first time he allows himself to show her what 20 years of reading and fantasizing can teach you, to happen when they're on the sidewalk. Or while his fingers are bloody for that matter. So he takes the time to wash up, and encourages her to splash some cold water on her face too. When she gives him her best smoldering stare he has to fight temptation by literally stuffing his hands in his pockets, and biting his tongue. It's worth it though.

Alisha's thrilled with him for saving her of course, and fully prepared to show it. But he catches her hands in his, and kisses her the way he's always dreamed of until she goes all soft and silly in his arms. He takes his time undressing her, kissing every inch of exposed flesh. When she's naked he turns his attention to stroking her in all the places he's learned she likes, as well as the ones he loves touching. He's desperate to taste her again, to try to outdo his future self and finally erase his ghost from the space between them. Alisha's languid smile after he's made her scream and moan and call his name again and again is a reward of sorts. But, the moment she tightens around him, and he feels himself free falling into pleasure he thinks that life can't get any better.

Sleep comes to them both easily enough, but he wakes up to find Alisha staring at him, tears trickling down her cheeks. He knows what she's thinking, and so he pulls her into a tight embrace, and whispers soothingly until she falls asleep again. He considers showing her the laptop, but discards the idea as soon as he has it. She won't thank him for the news that their love is the result of his machinations through time and space. It's selfish, and he knows it. But, now that he has Alisha he can't imagine letting her go. It's not until the next day after she's gone to work again, despite his offer to support them both that he goes back to the laptop in search of answers.

Future him has left no clear instructions on how to comfort the woman they've so effectively manipulated into love. But, left to himself Simon puts together a plan. He knows from the sheer number of things they've run into that danger is lurking for all of them. Probably all the time, since there is always the risk of exposure and government interference. As things stand they have no control over their future. Not really, not as long as other people have powers of the political and supernatural nature. One of his favorite comic books springs to mind then, and he goes out in search of the power broker to see if he can't use his feelings for Kelly to tilt the odds in their favor. The guy is an opportunist anyway, so when he sketches out a plan that smacks of world domination, he's quite willing to sign on in exchange for certain assurances.

Pitching the plan to the others is more difficult, but once he sketches out the kind of powers they'd be picking up and adding to their arsenal they come around too. Admittedly, his newest ability to persuade people is helping, but he hasn't practiced enough yet to be truly dangerous. The plan he's sketched out will take time of course, and they'll have to be careful but he can see now what his future self was up to with all the trips back in time to nudge things along. He's always envisioned the reason for their abilities to be the world's need for superheros ala the comic books he reads regularly. Now he remembers that every good story has super villains too.