hara_sensei3377 t1_j59466u wrote

The lair was quiet, but for the quiet drip of tears.

Usually, it would be full of light and whirring gizmos. Useless, most of them. But it fit the image so well.

I was the Instructor. The stereotype of a Mad Genius, perfect for teaching young heroes. Their first test of using their powers, in the relative safety of my laboratory.

I used to love to design my inventions, each calibrated to challenge the budding heroes abilities.

My son never understood why I never made more of my abilities. Why I deigned to putter around in my cliche of a lair, basically training the very heroes who should have feared me.

How could I explain it to him, the beautiful dance of perpetual invention? He couldn't see past the waste of our power, and it consumed him.

He swore he would make the heroes respect our family name.

He lasted a mere year.


A cautious step behind me broke me from my reverie, lost in memories as I wept over my beloved son.

He looked old, my nemesis, older than I remember. I heard that they forced him into retirement last year, claiming "a well deserved rest, after a distinguished career." An old mule to pasture, more like.

The grey hair suited him, I thought idly. A warm salt and pepper hair, still in that perfect coiffure. It projected the right feeling of fatherly confidence.

He stopped on the top step of the risers leading to my desk, hesitating. His mouth opened again and again, working for the right words, the right phrase to convey his pitiful condolences.

I stepped toward him, my grief urging me to strike out at him. The same grief, echoed in his eyes, drew me up short. The hand that had stretched out to slap his chiseled jaw instead caressed it as he drew me into a viselike embrace. My tears stained his suit as we held each other, our cries echoing through the vaulted room.

"I couldn't save him." The titanic arms around me spasmed at his words, withdrawing until he held my shoulders and an unwelcome space separated us.

"I couldn't save our boy." His voice rasped with emotion, "Those young punks, drunk on their own power. They could have stopped, he wasn't a threat after the first couple of hits." His fingers dug into my skin as he gasped, his tears streaming down that handsome face. "But their leader, Hyper's boy. That.... That.... Little shit wanted to send a message. To prove he was better than his old man."

I knew the brat. Helios. Son of the Leagues Founder, Hyperion, with powers to match. How he could walk with a head that large was beyond me.

My love sank to his knees, clasping me to him. I held his head against me, the weight of his head against my stomach an echo of the hole in my heart.

The sorrow in my soul began to smolder with rage, and with hate. Helios never considered me enough of a challenge to visit my lair, but his father had. And as my fingers twined in my beloved hair, I began to plot.

I fought many budding heroes over the years, and took delight in my inventions that could challenge any hero who strode across my door step. But in that challenge, I learned those heroes. And how to defeat them.

I vowed to crush young Helios. And I would send my own message with his broken body.

// Oooh, this was delicious. Thanks for the prompt, OP!