ArguesWithFrogs t1_j5d18hf wrote

I was thinking Flash's Rogues when I was writing this. The Trickster (Placeholder name for this prompt & ironically is also a Flash Rogue) is just messing around. Keeping Core-Fire on his toes, but also letting him unwind after some of the bigger threats.


ArguesWithFrogs t1_j585p61 wrote

I'm sitting in a run down bar on the edge of the docks with a bottle & glass in front of me, when Jack walks inside. He looks around, scanning for tricks, traps, or other assorted "surprises" I may have set up for him. Understandable force of habit; my villain name being "The Trickster" after all. Satisfied, he approaches the bar & sits down.

"There's nothing here for you, Sam.", he says. I say nothing, but I get a glass, some ice, & set about making an Old Fashioned for him. We've reached an understanding in the years we've been nemeses, besides, it isn't his fault. I take a drink from my glass & set his drink down; the me behind the bar vanishing without a trace.

"There's nothing back home either, Jack." I flatly reply, setting my drink down & pouring some more whiskey into the glass. I didn't want to believe the news when I saw the headline, "Villain Killed in Superhero Showdown!" The story went on about how Phase Master had been killed by The Teen Team during a bank robbery gone bad. How the team of super-teens had come in through the solid ceiling; completely wrecking the building but saving the civilians inside. How they had permanently put a stop to Phase Master's crime spree.

What it failed to mention was the call I had gotten ten minutes later. The county coroner's office, asking me to come down & confirm the identity of my son. My son; who wanted to follow in his father's footsteps & become internationally famous. My son; who had been working villainy for a year! Dead at 27. Dead from "severe blunt force trauma" to his skull, along with other injuries to his torso & abdomen. Dead at the hands of a bunch of idiot teenagers that didn't even do a third grade level of research on who they were going up against.

"Sam, you're yelling." Jack's voice startles me. I hadn't realized. I didn't want this. He knew how I worked, knew I just wanted the money & opportunity to make sure that the people at the top were taken down a peg, on occasion. Funny; how the guy who had, for years, been trying stop me was now the only person willing to consider how I felt. He had to, of course. He was the only person who knew how powerful I actually was. Some of the others suspected, I was sure, but Core-Fire knew. Core-Fire, "The Man with a Heart of Fusion", was the only person who bothered to actually consider that the person he was fighting, week after week, was also a human being with their own feelings.

"Sorry, Jack. I just- you know I am." I say, "This is why I keep those rules. Why right now, you're Jack Calliope & I'm Sam Hollingshead. Why you've only ever had to visit hospital beds, not gravestones." He gives me a look that I can't quite place, pity? Remorse? Doesn't matter, I continue, coldly, "You have a week to get me, meaningful compensation."

"I'll pay whatev-", he starts, but I cut him off; growing massive & bestial, my eyes flaring into burning red, teeth shifting into shards of black glass, talons of pure un-reality sliding out of my fingertips, the frozen bystanders in the time locked bar starting to crumble to dust, the walls of reality itself beginning to crack with the sheer, ZK level POWER I was just barely holding in check, "I said MEANINGFUL compensation, Core-Fire. The Council doesn't get to just throw money at this problem." He flinches, but I suspect they forced that offer, "If I wanted money, I'd just take it."

"What do you want, then?" he asks, lifting his glass & taking a drink. I do the same, returning to normal & considering. I do have a code, of sorts: Take the money & run, don't harm civilians, minimal collateral damage (if any, which is almost never but Core-Fire occasionally has to get creative stopping me.)

"Well, the entirety of the current Teen Team getting their capes revoked would be a nice start", I said bitterly, swallowing before continuing, "I'd also put them under a year-long geas to obey the Justice Council Code to the letter, as well."

"The entire team? Even the ones that weren't-", he can't stop himself, it's a bad habit of his.

"DID I FUCKING STUTTER, JACK?", a brief flashback of the true nature of the Class 12 Reality Bender, "Or, you can hand over the ones that landed the killing blow; for me to deal with as I personally see fit." He's not gonna do that, though, too "Lawful Good" for that.

"I'll see what I can do, Sam", he replies, outwardly unfazed, but I know that display rattled him, "I'll also see about getting some Superhero Academy Upperclassmen to help out at that free clinic you run." He finishes his drink, stands up & pulls me in for a hug as I stand to go too.

"You'll get through this, pal. I know it", he lets me go & heads for the door. I smile wanly & pay the tab with the cash I lifted from his wallet, before making my own way home.