tagSci-Fi & FantasyTangled Up In Capes

Tangled Up In Capes


"Tabitha, honey, how many Tom Collins is that now?"

The bar pulsed, but only gently so - it was far too classy an establishment to allow much in the way of raised voices or excitement. Well, at least, it wanted to be classy, but perhaps it was trying a little too hard. Raised voices were replaced by scandalously raised hemlines; and huge plasma screens running news, music, fashion and superhero lifestyle shows on all sides kind of kept the place from being anything more than a pick-up joint for the freshly moneyed and the socially ambitious.

"If you're talking numbers Lala," Tabitha slurred, "then I'm afraid I don't recollect. But on a scale from not enough to enough," she held her forefingers inches apart, "I'm still at not enough."

"Then I'm buying again," Lana still wasn't (she hoped) displaying how much alcohol she had imbibed, so she made a quick, graceful movement, beckoning one of the bow tied waiters over to their booth.

"Madam." Lana licked her lips, if the grey stallion at the bar didn't trot her way soon, she supposed that something like this waist-coated youth would do just fine. She smiled a little as the thought occurred to her that he was probably the same age as her, but the success, the charm and the maturity in those that she had been dating recently made him seem so much younger.

"A Tom Collins and another martini," she smiled - all lips and eyelashes.

"Of course," the waiter's eyes were on hers until he turned away, then her eyes migrated to his tight little ass. She looked back over at the grey stallion too - he looked pretty well built for his age. She ran her finger around her glass idly, allowing herself to daydream for a moment. What if the grey stallion was on of THEM? One of those spandex clad superheroes who patrolled the skies and streets, day and night, inside and outside of the law, keeping poor, innocent girls like her safe? That would be something.

"You're an absolute darling Lala!" Tabitha touched her shoulders. Tabby was always so touchy feely when she got drunk, and on some nights Lana loved to be around her. But tonight Lana was feeling prowly, and it annoyed her that Tabby wasn't feeling the same.

"What's with the souse look, honey?" she pried, bluntly, "Not hoping to meet the next man of your dreams tonight?" Tabby was maybe five years older than her, but they could have passed for classmates easily. Not sisters though, what with Tabby's cascade of flaming red hair, scattered freckles and eye-catching curves. Lana's svelte, page-boy, brunette hair style and her almost-frail slender frame were as different as you could get. The difference between them, however, was probably why they did so well when they hit bars like this one.

Except tonight Tabby, it seemed, didn't want to play.

"Tell you a secret, Lala?" the drunken red-head hissed, "I'm a little sore, if you get my drift." The crude gesture that accompanied this explanation meant that Lana certainly did get her drift. The drift was unmistakable.

"Oh!" Lana wrinkled her nose at the crudity, "Well why the hell did you call me to meet you here then, honey? You know that Mister Airline is out of town and I'm all lonely this week."

"I have something to tell you - something so fun!" Lana looked intently at her drunken friend. She really was high as a kite, and not just drunk but happy about something else too.

"You found a keeper?" she raised an eyebrow, intrigued.

"Oh absolutely not!" Tabby giggled wickedly, "Kinda the opposite in fact."

"Then why the hell are you...?"

"Shhh!" Tabby cut her off and jabbed her perfectly manicured finger at the big screen above the bar. "There he is."

"There who..." Lana started, but as her eyes followed her friend's finger her voice faded away. The screen was showing a montage of recent philanthropic and charitable works by various members of the super-community: Laser-Lad visited an orphanage and handed over a comically large cheque; The Human Gun was meeting and greeting the troops in Iraq (midway through his own third tour of duty); The Figure had met the King of France, that kind of thing.

But as Lana looked up, the figure that was filling the screen - literally filling it with his rippling, muscled chest and mouth-watering six-pack was Powerjack, the young electricity wielding hero who had burst into the A-List of superheroes last year, putting Terror-Nurse down for good (the authorities had been satisfied that her death had, in the end, had little to do with Powejack's actions during their climatic dust-up).

Tabby's finger remained extended, as she watched the shock that her insinuation had caused on Lana's face.

"You absolutely, completely and finally fucking didn't!" Lana whispered, when she'd finally let her mind run through the gamut of possible meanings behind Tabby's answers.

"When he came," Tabby's voice was low and husky, as she whispered so that only Lana could hear, "inside me..." she waited for that line to have its maximum effect on her wide eyed friend. "He gave me a little shock too, and... ooooh my God, Lala! I've never come so hard in my life. It was like... fwooosh! Fourth of July! Apparently my... he said, my juices..." again Tabby paused after the filth, relishing this opportunity to embellish her story, "... well apparently I get wetter than most girls he's been with, so he thought that probably my juices conducted his charge - and that made it even better for me."

"You," Lana was almost too astonished to be sceptical, "fucked Powerjack."

"Maybe," Tabby looked up, as if remembering, "'he fucked me' would be better... He was kind of dominant."

"I absolutely don't believe it." Lana snatched up her purse from the seat beside her and fumbled for her cigarettes, then remembered that she had quit the week before. She turned back to Tabby, "When?"

"Last night," the astonishing revelations that she was hitting Lana with seemed to be sobering Tabby up, and she was grinning and leaning forwards with childish glee. She held out her hand to her brunette friend, and dropped something small and heavy into her palm. Lana picked it up between her thumb and forefinger and scrutinized it: it was a small golden token, much heavier than it looked, and it was in the shape of Powerjack's 'Tri-Lightning' logo. "He gave it to me," Tabby continued, her eyes wide, "he says he can sense them whenever he's within five hundred metres, so if he's passing, he'll know I'm there and we can..." she shrugged "... maybe we can hook up again."

"Are you bullshitting me?" Lana handed the token back - it certainly did feel... special somehow.

"I swear on my dear grandma's..."

"Ok, ok, cut it out honey," Lana grinned, "I guess I buy it." Lana was sore, of course, stinging with jealousy, but she couldn't help but share in her friend's infectious delight a little. "You know there are probably hundreds of girls in this city with this token?"

"So?" Tabby scoffed, "I don't want to keep him! But if that super-cock comes my way again, I wouldn't mind!"

The girls were silent for a minute, and when their fresh drinks arrived Lana didn't even look up at the cute waiter, she was so deep in thought.

"Did he keep his mask on?" she whispered, leaning forward as the waiter left earshot.

"The whole time," answered her friend, "But I mean, that's fine by me! Y'know, I wanted to fuck Powerjack, not Powerjack's secret identity."

"Mmm," Lana nodded, sipping her martini.

"I asked him if he was married y'know..." Tabby teased.

"What'd he say?"

"He just laughed, and then he said that Powerjack wasn't married, and that the distinction was very important."

"Oh my God!" Lana laughed, "Poor wifey!"

"I don't know, I wouldn't feel sorry for her if she gets a taste of what he's slinging every now and then!"

"So it was good?" Lana pressed, a little coyly.

"Like you wouldn't believe, darling. And not just that electric shock thing too - he had size, stamina and then some!" Lana didn't bother to hide her jealousy, she knew that Tabby loved to see her inwardly seething like this.

"So come on," she burst out finally, "how the fuck did you meet him?"

"You'll never believe me," Tabby's eyes promised that she was going to spill the beans, but she wanted to play around a little longer.

"On my honour as a girl scout," Lana raised two fingers in what she thought might be some kind of scout-ish salute, "I'll never doubt a word you say ever again honey."

"I threw myself off a building."

"You're a fucking liar," Lana snapped coolly, looking again for the cigarettes that she didn't have.

"Ok, ok," Tabby giggled, "maybe I exaggerated a little... I didn't actually throw myself off, I just looked like I might and..." she waved her hands in the air, still dizzy with happiness. Lana put her hands flat on the table and looked across it evenly at her friend. No more messing around.

"Tell me everything," she demanded.

"Ok," Tabby leaned forward again, and this time Lana knew she would be getting the meat of it. "You remember that hideous S&M party Mister Mobile Phone Discount Retailer dragged me to last month?"

"Oh," Lana made a disgusted face, "the one that miniature woman runs? The one who got hit by a shrinking ray?"

"That's the one."

"Joe Stone took me there last year," Lana admitted.

"He never did!"

"It was the straw that broke the camels back, as they say," why did she ever quit smoking? "Anyway, go on."

"So everyone there is positively... ugh, you know," Lana nodded in sympathy, "But I met this one girl, blonde, amazing bone structure," Lana nodded again, "who was at least tolerable, and we were chatting, and she let slip that she had made the beast with two backs with Skyscraper!"

"Skyscraper!" Lana whispered.

"And I reacted exactly like you just did, but exactly darling. So she showed me a photo she had snapped on her cell and... well, it was him, alright. And her, if you get me."

"Good grief."

"So I pressed her and... turns out there's something of a secret club of girls who go after..." Tabby's hands opened, implying the answer that she went on to say anyway, "... those with superpowers."

"Fascinating," Lana's fingers were drumming on her lips in lieu of toying with her cigarette.

"They don't get together or anything, but they share tricks online for bagging them, they keep a list of those heroes that will and those that won't."

"That'll put out?" snorted Lana, loving the idea of these everyday girls targeting the godlike heroes that soared over their heads.

"Exactly!" Tabby was still almost bursting with excitement. "So she gave me the basic lesson: go up onto the rooftop of a tall building and throw yourself off."

"That can't possibly work," Lana waved her hand dismissively, "you'd be pancaked!"

"Listen darling," Tabby got serious, probably copying the girl who had told her this, "we live in New York. There are more heroes here than anywhere else in the world. Every major super-team works out of here, and they have powers! They really do! If you scream about falling or jumping from a building - one of them will hear you and you'll be scooped up on the way down. Of course I imagine it must happen rarely that there's a fire at an orphanage, and you don't rank as such a high priority..."

"That's quite a risk..." Lana murmured uncertainly.

"...Or when they have one of those intergalactic crises and they all fly off into space. You can't do it then, the ones who are left are stretched too thin."

"This is crazy."

"But anyway, mostly you don't even need to jump off. Do what I did - hang around looking like you're going to jump off and chances are that one of them will stop by and check if you're ok."

"Oh my God," Lana started to see how this could actually work.

"And sometimes they're one of those straight arrows, they've got a wife they love, they won't mess around, but mostly... they're stopping to do more than just make sure you don't jump."

"Oh my God."

"They know the rules too!" hissed Tabby, lifting her drink and looking intensely over it at her stunned friend. "They want to play."

- - -

Well, for one thing Tabby hadn't mentioned anything about how goddamned cold it got on top of a building.

Lana had come up here in her lightest, flimsiest, sexiest sundress and had regretted it immediately. It was floating and flipping up in the breeze just as she had hoped (so revealingly, in fact, that she kept having to press it back down with her palms in case someone else came out of the battered brown rooftop entrance and caught her bending over with her tiny thong panties splitting her ass) but as soon as the sun passed behind a cloud she started to shiver uncontrollably. It looked like it was clearing up, but she was losing patience.

And she had been up here for so long it seemed like. Leaning over the parapet, striding back and forth as if in emotional turmoil, occasionally crying out to the heavens, faking sobs - she hadn't seen a single caped avenger buzzing by all day. The thing was turning into an absolute bust.

The rooftop of her own six-storey apartment building had been a choice made mostly out of laziness. She could have found somewhere a little further from where she lived, for privacy, but - she was looking for superheroes. It was hardly like they wouldn't be able to track her address down! They would probably be able to read it right out of her mind.

She did another lap of the roof, her arms wrapped around her so-slender frame, looking without interest at the dead pot-plants and troughs of a long abandoned rooftop gardening project. She stopped at the east edge, where she could look out over the roof-tops of her neighbourhood into the centre of the city. It must have been just lousy with superheroes in there.

It used to be a blessing that she'd found an apartment that felt both secluded and central, but now she felt a pulsing, burning desire to be in amongst the action. Surely that was how Tabby did it.

She span on her heels, taking in the whole panorama. There weren't many buildings overlooking her here - there weren't many tall buildings in this part of town at all actually. She should have been standing out. Sighing, she leaned again on the ledge and peered over. A narrow street below, a few trees, garbage cans, one or two pedestrians. Hey was that the cute college boy from upstairs? He wasn't with his girlfriend today! She leaned...

It was an accident. She had never had any intention of throwing herself off the roof and trusting in a passing cape to catch her. In fact, the longer she had been standing there the more ludicrous that concept seemed - she hadn't seen a single flash of coloured spandex all afternoon! But as she leaned out into the thin, street air, craning her neck for a look at another one of her crush-objects, there was a breeze, or her feet slipped on the rooftop gravel perhaps.

All she knew was that suddenly she was tipping, there was nothing to grab onto and then she was falling.

Sheer, wild, uncomprehending terror gripped her as she tumbled through the air...

For all of three feet.

She hadn't even had time to start screaming before she came to a gentle stop, lying almost horizontally in the air, being supported by her shoulders and her waist.

She had been caught! The look of abject horror on her pretty face span into an expression of joy. She had been saved! She was being held aloft by the strong hands of... who?

She craned her neck and looked over her shoulder, but below her lay the vertiginous drop and the unforgiving grey of the paving slabs far below. She could feel a gentle pressure holding her shoulders, but couldn't see anything. It was the same around her waist (and now she felt the same force supporting her knees too - lifting them so that they didn't dangle awkwardly beneath her). Something was holding her aloft, but... she couldn't see anything. She seemed to be just... floating! In mid air!

"Well, that was careless."

Lana had twisted as she fell, reaching back for the parapet ledge so she was facing the building in her current, arrested position. The voice, which was rough, educated and faintly amused, came from right behind her. Also in the air. Her breath caught in her throat.

"I mean, if you're going to go up on the roof to check out boys you should really be more careful." She knew this voice. Her heart started pounding. "What if there had been no one here to catch you?"

"Thank you," she whispered, and felt the pressure that supported her shift, strangely. She was turned, pivoting in mid air to face out into the street - to face her saviour. "Thank you Architect."

"You'd be surprised how many people don't say even that." He sat, crosslegged, in the air a few metres in front of her, his short, sandy hair being ruffled by the summer breeze. He looked bigger somehow than on TV, perhaps just more impressive in person? His classy black and white costume (capeless, but she could live with that) looked just as good on his sculpted muscles though. He was resting his wrists casually on his knees and his hands were... glowing. That was how his power - telekinetic, she knew - worked. That was how he was holding her up.

He. The Architect. One of the big guns. Was The Architect interested in playing?

"My name's Lana." Why was she saying that? Lana tried to bite her tongue, but there was no use. It was one thing planning for this, but another entirely actually coming face to face with someone with this kind of power. And she was floating, for Christ's sake, with only his supernatural abilities preventing her getting pancaked like she had predicted.

"Hello Lana," he chuckled, "feeling better?"

"Yes. I mean, no... I don't quite know what you..."

"You were being very dramatic earlier on, stamping around your rooftop like a petulant little girl," he was smiling, and not that big, beaming, super-hero, save-a-cat-from a tree smile. This was looking good. "Or someone who might do themselves some harm."

"I was... upset..." should she lie? Could he read her mind? She had no idea, she really should have boned up on some of those hero fact books that were popular with middle-schoolers.

"But you didn't really want to kill yourself - did you?"

"N-no..." He was higher in the air than her by some two or three feet, but at that moment a flickering breeze lifted her troublesome dress into the air and she gave a squeak of surprise. It billowed out, zeppelin-like, and she knew that he could see everything - her flat stomach, trim thighs and of course the cute, fuck-me, silk thong she'd bought yesterday especially. It covered her... barely and with her legs splayed like this he must have a wonderful view of how tight it was on her mound. "Oh God!" She actually wanted to push the unruly garment down, but was terrified of moving her arms for fear she would fall.

"Why were you up on the roof, Lana?" His face was unchanged, he acted as if he had seen nothing. He rolled his neck slowly, as if working out a crick. "Would you like me to put you back?"

"I was..." she was torn - should she keep playing the innocent, or should she just come out and say it? She bit her lip, felt the breeze rush up her dress and tickle her ass. She might never be in this situation again. "I wanted to get your attention."

"And why," The Architect paused and his smile became... something else - something a little darker, something she'd certainly never seen on TV, "would you want to do that?"

"Because I think you - the heroes - do so very much for our world. And I just wanted terribly to... give you something back." She bit her lip again and made her eyes big - this bit she had prepared. And fuck it, with the wind tousling her hair and this tiny, sexy fucking dress... she must look good enough to eat.

"I don't recognise you."

"I'm sorry?"

"I know that Cape-ette gang. You're not affiliated are you?" The secret society of cape-fuckers! Was it a good or bad thing that she was going this alone?

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