Chapter 10

Clouds covered the sky, snowflakes flowing down lightly. Children ran about, throwing snowballs at each other and tackling each other. Laughter filled the air in Copper Canyon, a joyous mood filling the atmosphere of the city. Everyone was smiling, but one lonely girl sat on the bench, her bangs covering her face. She would've seemed out of place, but no one paid attention. The blonde sniffled, looking up as a shadow loomed over her. Another blonde had approached her, a concern look on her face.

"Mary, what's wrong? You've been really quiet lately, and your happy attitude has disappeared," the girl asked Mary, sitting down next to her on the bench. Mary rubbed her right eye, yawing from the lack of sleep. "Looks like someone hasn't slept."

"I haven't, Sydney. I'm so exhausted in the day, and I can't wake up; but at night, I can't fall asleep. I'm wide awake!" Mary exclaimed, throwing her hands into the air. She sighed as she slouched, burying her face in her hands. Her dear friend stared at her feet in thought, thinking of something to say to her suffering companion.

"I didn't know you had insomnia," she mumbled, turning her gaze to the down girl. Mary sat up, looking at her with tired eyes. The bags under her blue orbs were obvious, and her eyes seemed empty.

"I never have had this problem! It came on so suddenly and so hard!" she exclaimed into the wind, groaning as she slid down in her seat. She turned to Sydney with an angry sigh, pouting as she crossed her arms. Sydney rose an eyebrow, a slightly amused expression washing over her.

"Explains why you were late to school yesterday," the blonde haired teen teased, turning her gaze to a few children making snow angels. She heard her friend grumble something, and she turned to see her glaring at nothing in particular before Mary turned her gaze to her, her face faltering as she leaned her head on the back of the bench.

"You would think I would sleep all day since its Saturday! Instead, I didn't sleep at all!" she grumbled, standing up. She looked towards her partner, jerking her head in a direction. "Do you want to go find Max so we can pull a prank on him."

"Again?! I thought you called a truce yesterday," she exclaimed, standing up as you both began to walk to his apartment. Mary smirked, the life coming back into her eyes. Sydney shook her head as she rolled her eyes playfully.

"Sydney, do you HONESTLY think that I, the "Prank Queen," would give up something like that?" the teen over exaggerated, giving herself the title. She gave her a dangerous smile, showing her schoolmate that she was serious. Sydney rose her eyebrows towards her friend, shaking her head once again as they made the way down the sidewalk.

The walk was filled with a comfortable silence as the girls listened and watched the people around them, occasionally waving to a few people they knew. They made their way to the apartment building Max lived in, and they were about to walk in when a scream echoed throughout the city. The teenagers whipped around, only to see someone they didn't want to see again. Dark Max cackled evilly as he saw the horrified looks upon the girls' face. He watched in satisfaction as a few people ran, while others stood there, confused by the similarities he had with Max Steel.

"You again," Mary sneered, gritting her teeth. She quickly grabbed Sydney's arm as they made a dash into the building. She whipped around, freezing in her tracks as she looked at Sydney. "I need you to call the police while I'll go get Max and get him out of here, OK?" Her friend hesitated before nodding, watching as the girl with purple highlights dash up a flight of stairs.

The evil twin grinned like a maniac as he chucked a pebble at an innocent child, hitting the young person square on the head. The kid began to cry as he ran away, his eyes filled with terror towards the man. He rolled his eyes underneath his helmet, sighing. He looked around for the vigilantes, but they hadn't shown up yet. He shrugged as he stayed in front of the building he had spotted the two girls go into, knowing that they had to come out eventually. He leaned on a nearby car, enjoying the (now) silent area.

"Hey! You pick on kids for fun?! How heartless can you get?!" he heard a female voice screech, looking in the direction it came from before getting punched in the face. He was sent flying across the street, banging against the wall before sliding down. He looked up, hopping to his feet as he couldn't stop a grin from covering his face. Marj stood in front of him, her fists clenched as she held herself in a calm position. She took one step backwards when he took a step forward, showing she wanted to keep the distance. He chuckled, cocking his head to the side as he crossed his arms.

"Sounds like Ms. Hero is in a bad mood today," he stated, taking a few steps towards her. She stayed where she was, lowering herself into a fighting stance. The copy laughed, raising his hands to show he meant no harm, but he was not trusted by the girl as she only growled at him. "Someone is in a bad mood today."

"Maybe because some idiot decided to disturb a peaceful day," a male voice spoke up from behind him, causing him to whip around with clenched fists. Max Steel stood before him, also clenching his fists subconsciously.

"I was bored and wanted some attention. Plus, the joyous mood is sickening," he said, stating it as if it were an everyday thing. Max sneered as he got into a fighting stance, his doppelganger mirroring his acts. The evil duplicate lunged at him, tackling him to the ground. Before he was able do anything else to the hero, the female shoved him off. She pinned him down, raising a fist and bringing it down. Before it could collide with his jaw, he quickly caught it. She growled as she raised her other fist, only for that one also to be caught. The teen underneath her switched their positions, pinning her for only a mere moment before getting kicked in the stomach by Max. He slid across the ground before getting up slowly. "Why, you little…"

"I wouldn't be talking! I've almost HAD IT with you!" Marj screamed, taking all her anger out on him as she sprinted towards him. He stood in shock for a moment, snapping out of his surprise and getting into a defensive stance. He blocked and dodged her attacks, barely escaping her fist that was only an inch from his face. He growled in annoyance, grabbing the next punch that was thrown at him. He grabbed her arm with his other hand, swinging her over and smashing her into the ground. She let out a pained yelp as her body made contact with the concrete.

"Don't you dare hurt my friend!" Max yelled, punching his evil twin in the stomach. Dark Max gasped from the impact, shattering a window as he made contact with the glass. Max Steel quickly helped the girl up, supporting her as she took a deep breath. "You OK? That looked…"

"I'm fine," she cut him off, shrugging him off her shoulder as she dashed towards the broken window. She peered inside, letting out a frustrated yell. "He disappeared AGAIN!"

"Hey, at least he's gone. What concerns me is where he went," Max said, jogging over to her side. Marj let her thoughts collect before she heaved an angry sigh, slumping her shoulders.

"What does he want," she whispered to herself, leaning against the building. She felt her energy leave her body, panting heavily. "Why is he here?"