The Magician. A washed-up, long-forgotten super villian that was about as threatening as a three legged cat. Well, actually, the cat was probably more threatening...
The villain started his career as a super villain about five years ago, or at least, he officially started it five years ago. His criminal life started much earlier than that, not that anyone knew. Or cared for that matter. For two years he ruled a reign of terror upon the helpless city of New Pond, even spreading fear to neighbouring cities, however, his villainous empire started disintergrating three odd years ago.
Arthur didn't mind, of course. The game of Supers had started tiring him anyway and it had occured to him that, though his super villain career may have satisfied his need for completely unnecessary violence, he had still spiralled into becoming the monster his father was (or had been).
... Which was an alcoholic.
Naturally, he denied it, but somewhere deep down, he knew what he was. He couldn't resist drinking when he was feeling low, which was, unfortunately for him, whenever he got his butt kicked. Usually, he'd wake up the next morning just outside his flat, leaning against the front door, keys barely in his hands. On those days, he'd silently think he really needed a drinking buddy; someone who would make sure he got home all right. Perhaps more. It'd be nice to wake up in his own bed, with some painkillers and a glass of water on the night table.
Of course, becoming an alcoholic hadn't been the Magician's downfall. It had, admittedly, been a large factor, but it was not the main reason for the Magician becoming New Pond's biggest joke.
It had actually been his little brother, the one he hadn't even known existed, Peter Kirkland. Three years ago, before drinking had become a problem (or was legal for him), some people from social services had turned up by his door and told him that he was potentially Peter's legal guardian (if he was deemed a suitable guardian).
They had told him that his father was in no condition to take care of the boy and his mother had died recently.
Finding out his mother was dead was quite a shock for Arthur.
Sure, she had divorced his father when he was little and she'd had no social contact with him since then and sure he didn't actually know her and she was probably the reason his dad had become an alcoholic... But from the little his father had told him about her... Both Kirklands loved her dearly.
So, Arthur had ended up being in charge of Peter. And this damaged his career. A lot.
Suddenly, he found he needed proper work; the part-time jobs not bringing in enough money to support both himself and Peter. He had to either drop his super villian career or drop out of college...
Naturally, he decided to drop out of college.
And so he got a full-time job as a flipping waiter of all things. Of course, this hadn't been enough for Peter. Arthur couldn't let his little brother stay at home, alone, while he was off on a crime spree, so he often had to encourage the boy to go sleepover at someone else's place (getting a babysitter was impossibly expensive. Plus, the babysitter might start wondering where Arthur went every night).
On top of that, Arthur had had to go to his brother's school performances and parents evenings and anything else that came up.
The Brit frequently had to suddenly drop out of a show-down between him and any one of his given enemies in order to pick his little brother up from school or to meet the principle, who had gotten the dire need to tell Arthur personally what a troublemaker Peter was.
Arthur's opportunities to be the Magician had been getting smaller and smaller with every passing day, as Peter became more and more important in his life.
Then, one day, without even realising it, a whole year had gone by in which Arthur hadn't donned the mask and suit to become the Magician. To the public eye, the Magician had disappeared completely.
Then, like a freaking miracle, Tino and Berwald popped up, two super heroes, who weren't just heroes in the public eye, but heroes to Arthur. He had met them about one and a half years ago, when Arthur had been trying (and failing) to get his criminal career back on track.
Tino was from a rich family and had been a sort-of friend to Arthur, back when Arthur had still been attending college.
The Finnish boy had noticed that Arthur was having difficulties with Peter and had offered to act like a godparent to the younger Kirkland brother, as well as to help take care of Peter now and then. Arthur had happily agreed, thinking that he would now have a proper, good chance at fixing his criminal career.
Only, he never did fix it. Since he could legally drink (he had been 22 years old at the time), every time he failed to carry out a "master" plan, Arthur had decided it would be a good idea to go and get drunk.
Eventually, Arthur decided he was no longer a suitable guardian, with his drinking habits not getting any better and his villainous career going nowhere. He'd been convinced he was doing what was best for Peter. So he asked Tino and Berwald (someone that was constantly accompanying Tino) to become Peter's legal guardians. And they agreed. After enough pestering.
But instead of life getting better for Arthur, it just kept getting worse and worse. Berwald had to leave for Sweden, because of "family matters" (actually, Berwald and Tino were hunting down a super villain that they had finally located in Sweden) and Tino had "agreed" to go with his friend.
When Tino told Arthur, the Brit insisted that they take Peter with them, despite Arthur going on about how he should have known the two would eventually take Peter away from him.
And finally, after they'd left with Peter, Arthur thought his problems would soon be fixed, now that his pesky brother was gone and he once again only had to look out for himself. But his problems didn't solve themselves. He found out the hard way that he was actually incredibly fond of his little brother and missed him a lot more than he had anticipated. Then it also dawned on him, that he, as the Magician, wasn't considered a serious threat any more. The Magician was barely a threat at that point.
His drinking habits got worse.
He blamed his failed return(s) on Peter, since he'd been unable to plan out his big comeback(s) properly, because he'd been busy looking after Peter and acting like a perfect older brother. But a small part of him knew that was a lie...
And so, Arthur found that he was an alcoholic, college-dropout waiter, working in New Pond City at the age of 23, with his villain career a huge joke, despite having been the most terrifying thing in the state for a whole two years.
It was late in the evening and Arthur found himself alone at home. Again.
Arthur tiredly looked through his post.
Bill, bill, bill, bill... Spam. Lots of spam... Oh. And a letter from Peter. Arthur dumped the now-sorted post onto the kitchen table and made himself some tea.
Really, he should move back to the UK; get a new, fresh start. Sure, he had spent more than half his life in America, but he had family in Britain and in all honesty, he really needed them in order to sort his life out (well... Maybe he didn't need his cousins so much, all four of them were wankers, but still...)
Sadly, Arthur lacked the money to move back to the UK and was actually kind of nervous about contacting his relatives again. He hadn't been in contact with them since his grandfather had died twelve years ago. And before that he hadn't been in contact with them at all.
Arthur finished making his tea and plumped down on the sofa, turning the TV on. He flipped through the channels, soon realising nothing was on. Again.
He stopped when he reached the "Super News" Channel, which was an exclusive TV channel only available in New Pond City.
It reported 24/7 anything to do with Supers, whether they were bad or good guys. And, if anyone wanted to know what their enemies were up to, this was the perfect channel to watch.
At the moment they were reporting Arthur's wonderful failure from last night, as the Magician. Two reporters sat in their deluxe chairs, with their stupidly over-priced coffees in luxurious mugs held in their manicured hands, with big sappy, fake and most of all, mocking grins on their faces, wearing classy suits and staring at each other, almost as if in a trance.
He hated them so much.
"... I don't even know why he tries anymore. He must know by now that he's a washed-up has-been! Not even the amateur supers care about him anymore. He's somehow become less than pathetic!" The woman said cheerfully. Arthur glowered at the TV.
Oh please. He wasn't that bad. So he didn't put that much work into being a stupid villain anymore. So what?
"Oh, I know Sal. But do you know what?"
"No, what Sam?"
"It's recently occured to me that he doesn't seem to have any powers! He's never used super powers and his physique seems to be equal to that of one of us normal people. And when fighting America, he usually relied more on tricking the Super, rather than having a direct face-off with him. Does sound like he lacks super powers, doesn't it?"
"Intresting! Not having super powers is quite impressive if you can pose a serious threat. However, the Magician isn't threatening any more, is he?"
"Nope. Although, I wouldn't call lacking super powers impressive Sal. Think about it. The Magician is essentially a conman. He usually avoids fights with anyone he considers out of his league, such as mentioned before, America. Doesn't avoiding a fight often mean you are a coward as a villain?"
What? Arthur knew he hadn't ever bothered revealing his status as Super or non-Super, but that didn't mean he definitely wasn't one! Hadn't they heard of ambiguity?! Besides, why were they claiming him to be a coward? He was not a coward!
"I don't know Sam... The Magician was something very special... He really stood out amongst all villains. It's a pity that he's lost his spark... His flare. Anyway, let's move on to more important and exciting events!"
"Oh yes! Sal, tell me, did you know that America and his sidekick are in the middle of a show-down with Cold Bite?"
"Oh yes, yes, yes! I heard about it! Earlier this evening, the three were seen fighting at East Railway Station and now they're at Second Green Park accompanied by the original Dream Team- Wait a minute, America doesn't have a sidekick. You must be talking about his brother Inviso-"
Annoyed, Arthur threw the TV remote at the TV. Frustratingly, it only caused a tiny dent to appear in the screen.
He unplugged the TV, annoyed, throwing the wire violently against the wall. How dare the TV not explode on impact? Of course he knew that that wouldn't have happened in reality, but he really didn't care. He had not lost his spark. Or flare. He simply had a rotten private life which had become even more rotten once Peter had entered and then left it, while destroying his villainous career completely in the process.
Arthur got up and grabbed his coat. He needed a drink.
This was a really fucked up night.
He wasn't drunk.
Why wasn't he drunk? It was nearing midnight and he was still as sober as a lemon. For heaven's sake, he was still on his first drink. He'd been stirring it for nearly four hours, never really drinking from it.
No, instead he'd been glaring. In fact, he'd been doing a lot of good old fashioned glaring.
And why? Well, it seemed that tonight, of all nights, the most annoying group in the super hero community thought it would be a brilliant idea to show up at Arthur's regular bar. And why? To watch a match of all things.
Arthur wasn't sure what kind of match it was, since he wasn't a sport fans and honestly, didn't give a toss, but he knew it had to be a very exciting match, what with the way the super heroes were cheering the teams on.
They were so loud.
But wait! How did Arthur know the superhero community had all but crashed his pub? Obviously, a bunch of Supers wouldn't come into a building to get drunk, while wearing their alter-ego costumes. They were supposed to be positive role models after all!
No, they had entered as civillians.
But that must mean Arthur knew who their alter-egos were!
Well, of course he bloody well did.
Remember that super power Arthur had alluded to? Well, that was his super power. He had the Sight. Or selective telepathy. Whichever you preferred.
Essentially, the Sight enabled him to read people and objects like an open book. He could draw out basic information, such as age, job, social status and names just by looking at them (when it came to objects, it was a bit different). Meaning, whenever he happened to meet a super hero in his normal persona, he immediately knew.
Or whenever he basically met a Super, he knew who they were. Immediately.
It was actually because of the Sight that he'd at first been very paranoid about his secret identity. He'd thought that everyone else knew who he, as the Magician, was, seeing as he knew who they were and could look through their disguises with ease.
Eventually he learnt that the Sight was not only his super power, but everyone else was too dense to recognise faces without masks. Just because he could easily recognise a Super, didn't mean everyone else could too.
Arthur sighed and dared a tiny sip again.
He really should just get up and leave, seeing as he could not get drunk with a bunch of super heroes around. But he couldn't. This was his bar and while he may surrender on the battle field, he absolutely refused to, when it came to his bar.
He drummed his fingers against the table's surface.
Why won't you all just get up and leave already? his mind screamed at them, not that they could hear.
All super heroes present weren't telepathic, so he didn't have to worry about his thoughts being read. He sat there, glowering at them, as the few Supers, legally allowed to drink, got drunk.
Strange. Arthur had never actually been in the same room with the Dream Team for this long before. Not even within his criminal life. Sure, he'd known their names for a while, but he had never bothered meeting them as a regular citizen and had actually actively tried to avoid places he knew the spent time at (not that he was exactly successful with this all the time).
The reason for this was simple. He wasn't avoiding them, because he didn't wish to meet them, but because they'd been "kind" enough to stay out of his private life, so he'd do the same thing for them. And it was an unspoken rule to stay out of each other's private lives anyway.
He stared at the Dream Team, deciding to count how many of them were present. Quite a lot of the Dream Team had already left, but there were still a few around.
Let's see... Who was left? Well, there was America, his brother Inviso, Shiro Ninja, Veloce, Red Blitz, Germanium, Brillo and, not to forget, Allure.
Or, if you wanted their human names, Alfred F. Jones, Matthew Williams, Kiku Honda, Feliciano Vargas, Gilbert Beilschmidt, Ludwig, Antonio Fernández Carriedo and François Bonnefoy.
They were in company of a non-Super, Lovino. Unless, of course, you decided Lovino's amazing ability to cuss like no other man was a super power. Then he wasn't a complete non-Super.
Arthur sighed and looked at his drink. He really just wanted to get drunk, but with a bunch of his enemies present, he wouldn't be able to. He frowned and slid out of his booth, putting on his coat to leave. He thanked the barmaid for the free drink (she fancied him), who in return simply looked shocked that one of their regular customers was actually leaving sober.
So Arthur would even surrender his bar to those bloody gits. Oh well. There were plenty of other bars he could visit...
He was almost out the door when he heard someone yell "Hey Arthur! Ve~ Arthur! Over here Arthur! Ve~"
Arthur froze, a huge scowl forming on his face as he closed the door and left the exit, in order to turn around and look at the only Italian he knew, who could have possibly said that.
Feliciano grinned at him and waved enthusiastically, Lovino glaring at him and everyone else looking a bit confused.
"Ve~ Arthur, I didn't know you were here!"
"Er... Neither did I. That you were here, that is," Arthur replied, doing his best to look friendly (and failing).
"Do you want to sit with us? Ve~ Then I can finally introduce you to all my friends!" Feliciano continued, giving him an innocent look that not even a super villain could resist. Arthur frowned, but nodded, despite his guts screaming at him to run far, far away.
Blitz, Allure, Lovino and Brillo were already drunk, all four shouting at the TV screen, in a mix of support and frustration.
America was also too busy watching the screen, too busy to notice Arthur. Which was a relief. Of the nine present, America had spent the most time fighting the Magician (until the villain became a loser) and was the likeliest to recognise him, which was a risk Arthur should definitely not be taking. But was.
Feliciano patted a free seat next to him and Arthur took it, shrinking back nervously. Usually he didn't mind meeting strangers he didn't plan on meeting ever again, however, these were enemies. This changed everything.
"Ve, ve~ Arthur, this is Kiku and Ludwig and those are Gilbert, Alfred, Francis and Antonio. You already know my fratello. Ve~"
"A pleasure to meet you." Arthur bit out, giving them a very bitter smile.
"Er... Feli, you forgot me..." A voice piped up. Everyone (minus the ones consumed by the match) jumped up and looked to where the voice had come from.
"Oh yeah, ve~ Sorry Mattie, I forgot. Arthur, this is Matthew. He's Alfred's brother, ve~ Oh, and Ludwig is Gilbert's brother, I don't think I've mentioned that! Ve~"
"How do you know Feliciano?" Inviso- Matthew asked curiously.
"Er... I work for his grandfather... I'm a waiter at their restaurant."
"Strange. I've never seen you there before." Germaniu- Ludwig commented, before taking a sip of his cola (he was not yet allowed to legally drink).
"I've never seen you there either..." Arthur replied. Well, that was a lie. He'd seen Ludwig often enough and every single time, he'd carefully avoided him. No need for more supers than necessary to personally know him.
"It is nice to meet you Arthur-san."
"Y-yes. It's nice to meet you too." Arthur replied, forcing a smile on his face. Oh, Arthur is such a liar.
"Hey, you're British." Americ- Alfred said, looking at him surprised. Arthur frowned, finding it even more difficult to behave politely towards him. Not only had America fought him the most, but he was likewise the most annoying of all nine.
"Thank you for noticing." Arthur replied sarcastically. Alfred smiled and held out his hand.
"Alfred F. Jones."
"You do?" Oops. Minor slip. Easily covered.
"Yes. Your friends already introduced you to me. And I don't need to know your full name," Arthur replied, faking his smile even more. Alfred didn't pick up on the fakeness of the smile and simply smiled back.
"Why are you chaps here anyway? With the amount of people present, I'd assume you're celebrating something?" Arthur asked.
"Of course we're celebrating! Not only is there a match on, but have you heard what happened to Cold Bite this evening?" Alfred replied (more like shouted), grinning.
"No. I haven't. I'm not that interested in what Supers get up to. So if you feel you must enlighten me, please do." Arthur muttered. This was not what he wanted to be doing on a Saturday evening.
"America totally kicked his ass! And caused his great master plan to fail completely! Hahaha!" Alfred said, now laughing obnoxiously. From underneath the table, Invis- Matthew kicked him.
"America kicked his ass all by himself, eh? From what I heard, it was a team effort." He sneered at his brother. Americ- Alfred frowned.
"Yeah but I- he didn't need it much." Everyone glared at him, apart from Arthur, who decided to pick up on the slip. No harm in teasing.
"I? What do you mean I?" Arthur asked, successfully faking an innocent expression.
"Er- I didn't mean I. I meant he. It just slipped." He lied, smiling nervously.
"Arthur-san, what do you think of-" Kiku tried to distract, but Arthur interrupted him.
"It just slipped? Wouldn't slip mean that you made a mistake? Hey, now that I think about it, you do look awfully familiar, you know. Like I've seen you somewhere before..." Arthur said, trying to hide the very satisfying feeling he now had swelling up in his chest. Oh, this was a lot more satisfactory than any punch to the face he could have ever given.
He almost had a predatorial grin on his face.
"Er... Er..." Alfred stuttered.
"Goal~!" All four drunks suddenly shouted, hugging (and kissing when it came to Francis) each other and throwing their arms in the air.
Arthur frowned. The moment had passed, further teasing would be suspicious. He sighed and got up.
"Well, I really should be going. I do want to actually get up tomorrow morning, you see." Arthur said, getting out of his chair.
Feliciano made him sit down again.
"Ve~ But Arthur, this part of town is dangerous this late at night." Feliciano complained. Arthur's frown deepened and he subconsciously drummed his fingers against the table.
"Yes, but we're living in New Pond. Highest Super count in the world. I doubt I'll be in danger," he replied, standing up. Again, Feliciano made him sit down.
"But what if they've all gone drinking and aren't doing any of their "Protect the City" Stuff tonight?" he asked, some worry in his voice.
"Well, I highly doubt that they'd all be that careless now, would they?" Arthur replied, biting back a smirk when he saw everyone flinch. Ah. So the cities ever-adored protectors weren't as responsible as everyone thought? What a fun fact.
"But Arthur, what about if, on an off-chance, they might actually have all taken the night off?" Feliciano insisted.
"Why? As said, they would never be so irresponsible, as to let innocent citizens get hurt on their watch, merely because they all want to go and hang up their cape for a night." Arthur repeated, practically feeding off the guilt that the super heroes were brimming with. Arthur continued.
"Why would they all want to go out drinking at the same time anyway?"
"Well, because they've managed to bring down Cold Bite of course, duh~ Ow!" Alfred said, wincing when his brother kicked him again. Everyone mentally screamed "Shut up Alfred!"
"Oh? And how would you know that? You said that like you know this is definitely what happened... Wait a second... Hm... You all actually look kind of familiar..."
Everyone at the table seemed to freeze, even the drunks.
Oh, teasing their secrets is more fun than it should be, Arthur thought, watching everyone sweat with nervousness.
"We would still prefer you not to leave unless accompanied Arthur-san." Shiro- Kiku said. Arthur squinted at him, mouthing Shiro, before lightly shaking his head, secretly grinning at the reaction he got from Kiku.
Arthur sighed and rolled his eyes. They really were overreacting. Arthur could handle himself. He'd fought with each of them before and had actually won on several occasions. Not that they knew. He could easily take out a few thugs, if he so wished.
"Look, I'll be fine. The city's protectors have taken down the most dangerous threat in the city. And most thugs will stay low after such a victory. Unless some random villain like, I don't know... The Magician decides to go on a crime spree, I'm not really in that much danger."
Everyone suddenly snickered at the Magician's name, causing Arthur to frown.
"What's so funny?" he asked, sincerely confused.
"The Magician? Seriously? You still consider him dangerous?" Alfred asked. Arthur blushed slightly in embarrassment and folded his arms.
"Well, yeah... I mean, sure he hasn't pulled any dangerous heists worth mentioning recently, but he's still dangerous..."
"Please tell me you are not serious. The most dangerous thing he's done recently is try to rob a liquor store. A hand full of normal citizens took him out," Ludwig commented, looking at Arthur confused.
"Yes, but he used to be really dangerous. I mean, he frightened the whole state, including super heroes. And no one could so much as touch him, let alone take him out."
"Yeah, but that was three years ago. He hasn't been dangerous since then."
"But... Why isn't he dangerous anymore?" Arthur asked, suddenly realising that super heroes really did consider him a joke... Did that include the criminal scene as well? Did they also think he was pathetic?
Is that what everyone thought?
That the Magician was a worthless degenerate?
He felt like someone was crushing his heart and soul.
"No one knows Arthur-san. Whatever happened three years ago has rendered him into a complete idiot that has no idea what he is doing."
"But... No one ever took him down. No one beat him into submission. He just simply... Stopped. What's to say that he won't ever go back to being the Magician of three years ago? When not even America could take him down?" Arthur asked, his voice strained. To anyone listening, it would sound like he were worried, but in truth, he was putting a lot of effort into restraining his anger.
Everyone stared blankly at their drinks, while the drunks were busy falling out of their chairs.
"But... He's not that dangerous. He doesn't even have a super power." Alfred muttered, who had the complete inability to read the mood. Arthur sighed and grabbed his coat.
"With or without escort, I think you are all overreacting about my safety. I'm going home now, maybe I'll see you later." Arthur said, promptly leaving before anyone could protest.
... So, the Magician's not dangerous, hm?
Well, that could easily be fixed.
It was a new shiny idea! I couldn't resist! I had to write it quickly, in order to get... er... In order to concentrate on other stuff better! yeah! That's it! (sweats)
/SuperSisterof2015 - Hey, I edited it a little. :F