A Sky High and Playing For Keeps Crossover
"It's bad enough being a sidekick at Sky High but why do my ovaries explode when I'm around Warren Peace? And why does my mom have to be the biggest MILF on the planet? And why couldn't I have been born with cool powers?" For Keepsie, Sky High would be an experience she would never forget. Warren/OC.
"How can one claim perfect love, perfect trust,
and not know the wonders I know?
dreams are all well and good, but mine live and breathe,
who knew? You came true, I suppose.
If wishing on stars ever falls out of fashion,
we'll move to the Pleiades with no backward glance,
maybe between worlds and blackness,
I'll get up the nerve,
to finally ask you to dance."
- S. J. Tucker, To My Valentine.
When I woke up, sunlight was streaming through the window. My alarm had yet to go off and the digital eyes winked at me in the morning light. I blinked a few times and the fuzziness of my newly-woken sight dissipated. I stretched in the bed, bones cracking, muscles clenching and relaxing. I thought vaguely about getting ready early and making a bright an early start to the day. I almost laughed. I was mildly astonished that my mother hadn't presented me with a plaque to commemorate my first day of Sky High and danced around the room saying how proud she was. She actually thought I would make it as a hero.
Okay, so let's evaluate the things that I already know about today: My only friend would be Layla, I would be placed in 'Hero Support', people would ask me for my mothers autograph and humiliation would be inevitable. If that doesn't scream 'High School', what does? I mean, Layla would be fine, she had a super-duper nature power that could easily beat most of her friends, including me, in a fight, she was sociable and she didn't have a stupid hero complex that most of the, well, heroes had.
I shook my head and pledged not to feel sorry for myself. After I had breakfast. I was allowed to wallow in self-pity beforehand. The alarm buzzed and I slapped it, annoyed already and the day hadn't even started. "Ow..." I muttered, rubbing the palm of my hand. My dad beeped the horn of his car from the drive, giving me a second wake-up call. "I'm up, I'm up," I grumbled, swinging my legs out of the bed, ignoring the chill that was in the air. I vaguely remembered opening the window to cool the room down after an incident involving a dream and James Blunt.
I brushed my teeth and threw some clothes on, then hammered down the stairs for breakfast. The rest of the house of sickeningly squeaky clean and perfect, as were most of the houses on my street and I, as usual, scuffed the carpet on purpose to see my mothers jaw clench and call, "Someone's in a bad mood."
You will probably know my mom as Siren. She was dubbed 'Sexiest Superhero of the Year'. I read the article and I now wish I could erase it from memory. It was embarrassing having a mother that every teenage boy knew about, although it couldn't be helped that she was stunningly gorgeous. Who wouldn't want to be tall, slim yet busty and be the possessor a smile that made most men melt? Not that I'm jealous or anything. Note the sarcasm. My face and figure were only faint echoes of hers. It was like all her genes had been diluted and watered down when they got to me.
"Not at all." I muttered. "Just nervous."
She smiled and passed me a mug of coffee and I cupped my hands around its warmth. "You'll be fine. You know Layla, right? And Will." Her grin widened at the name 'Will'. She's been trying to push me into the young Stronghold for years and I'm not having any of it. He's sweet enough, sure, but everyone can see he's made for Layla. Plus, he looks like a monkey. Ostensibly, she wants William Stronghold and I to procreate so that she can hang with the Commander and Jetstream for all eternity. I'm glad I didn't inherit her personality.
I rolled my eyes and shoved two pieces of bread in the toaster while she fussed over my hair. It had grown two inches over the summer and she had begged me to get it cut into a more sophisticated style. I batted her away and sipped my coffee. She eventually gave up on tucking strands behind my ear and kissed my forehead, saying, "I'll see you tonight. Have a good day, love you!"
"Love you, too." I mumbled, watching her disappear from the kitchen and out the front door. I glanced at my watch and cursed. I seized the toast, buttered it with too much vigour, grabbed my bag from the table and rushed out the door, not bothering to lock it.
The sun was out, the air held the tangible scent of freshly mown grass and it was altogether a beautiful day. It made me want to throw bricks at pedestrians. I chewed, attempting to finish breakfast before the bus arrived and let me tell you, it isn't easy to eat toast and power walk at the same time. Thankfully, I made it to the bus stop with minutes to spare. Will nodded at me uncomfortably. He'd clearly had a visit from my mother about how awesome it would be to be my boyfriend. I worry about my mother sometimes.
Layla waved and said, "Aren't you excited? I think it's going to be a great year."
I finished the toast and wiped buttery hands on my jeans, ignorant to Layla's proffered tissue. "I think it's going to be..." I thought about the right adjective to describe it. I settled for, "Different."
The bus pulled up with about a dozen kids inside. I swallowed.
"Morning." A man with a rounded face and doughy physique nodded at Will.
"Morning." Will replied. "Is this the bus to Sky High..?"
I have never wanted to facepalm so badly. The driver shushed him and gave him an incredulous look. My sentiments exactly. "Are you crazy?" The doors squealed as they shut and I turned to eye them suspiciously. No escape now. "Do you want every super villain in the neighbourhood to know we're here?"
"Uh, no. Sorry."
I edged to sit adjacent from a purple-haired girl but the driver stopped me. "Name?" He glared at me expectantly.
"Um, Keepsie Branson?" It sounded more like a question than a statement. And I gave my nickname, not my real name. Oh dear. I mentally scolded myself. Not a good first impression.
Realization dawned on his face. "Siren is your mom?" I nodded, getting a sinking feeling that this wasn't going to end well. He frowned momentarily and studied my face. I let him, hoping that when he saw there was hardly any resemblance between my mother and I, he would leave me alone. No such luck. He seized me by the shoulders and announced to the bus, "Hey, everyone! This is Siren's daughter! You show her some respect!" He added quietly. "If you could give this to your mom, I'd be real grateful." He handed me a card with 'Ron Wilson' printed in black ink.
Seeing no reason not to, I pocketed it and slouched into the seat I'd been hoping for. "And what's your name, son?" He asked Will.
Ron Wilson looked like he was going to faint. "Son of the Commander and Jetstream?" Will nodded, lips quirked upwards a little awkwardly. He slung his arm around Will's shoulders and shouted to the rest of the bus, "Hey! This is Will Stronghold! Son of the Commander and Jetstream!" He shook Will's hand. "Ron Wilson, bus driver." I sighed and leaned back.
Ron demanded the purple-haired girl and the boy next to her get up. Layla sat next to me, crossing her legs angrily and exhaling louder than necessary. "This whole system is flawed. Why should one person should get special treatment over another because of who their parents are?"
"I know," I said. "It's stupid. I don't like it any more than you do."
Will eventually sat next to his friend Zach towards the end. I had never met Zach, but by the very noisy, "BAM!" I heard, I was pretty sure I would by the end of the day.
Layla and I didn't talk for a while. I could tell she was in one of those moods and I didn't want to risk engaging in conversation and realizing too late that I was in for a 'How We Should Be Changing the World For the Better' lectures. It deserved capital letters and everything. After a few minutes, she appeared to have calmed down, so I tentatively said, "Haircut?"
She smiled. "Yeah. What do you think?"
"It's nice. It suits you." I reassured her.
The bus jolted suddenly to let somebody on and there was a shouted apology from the driver.
The next six minutes were, quite possibly, the most terrifying thing I had ever experienced. I'm not afraid of heights or flying, but when you think that your bus driver has snapped and is about to drive an entire bus of teenagers off a cliff, things change. I relaxed slightly when I saw I wasn't going to plummet to my death but still kept an iron grip on Layla's hand.
The landing was rocky and I breathed a sigh of relief at the prospect of setting foot on solid ground. We all made a swift departure. I was eager to be away from the Devil Bus. My first impression of Sky High was that it was like any other high school. Except for the kids experimenting with freeze rays on the front lawn. I met Will's eyes and shared a look with him, then he most likely remembered that my mom wanted us to have lots of super babies and he avoided my gaze.
Will told me that his powers hadn't manifested yet, if they were ever going to arrive. I wasn't even good friends with him, but we both understood the pressure from coming from a superhero family. Especially with parents like ours.
Without warning, a blur surrounded our small group. I squinted, trying to figure out if it was a person with super-speed or some weird freak of nature. It was the former.
"Hey, freshmen! Your attention, please!" Someone called. I shook my head, clearing the dizzy feeling. Some douche with a backwards baseball cap stood at the front of the crowd and he was soon joined by another guy in a skull t-shirt.
"I'm Lash. This is Speed. As representatives of Sky High welcoming committee…"
"…We'd be happy to collect that 15 dollar new student fee."
Right. So this is like any other high school, except the bullies have super powers? Fantastic. "There was nothing in the student handbook about new student fees." Said a kid in glasses.
I shall name you Jelly Bean, Kid in Glasses.
"Okay, guys, very funny. I'll take it from here." And, lo and behold, a ridiculously beautiful girl comes to talk to us. Will's eyes went some where far, far away. So far away that I really wouldn't want to visit there. Ever.
Gwen nattered on about rules and I decided I didn't like her. She was too… perfect. Everything from her white teeth to her flawlessly pressed skirt simply lacked imperfections and it was too good to be true. Layla was drinking it all in, expression serious and nodding and laughing at all the right intervals. She was going to be a high achiever, I could tell. Maybe it wasn't going to be that bad.
"…And follow me inside for orientation." She smiled and turned and we drifted after her.
I slipped behind, giving Layla and Will chance to talk by themselves. I was about to eavesdrop on them when somebody tapped my shoulder. "Hmm?" I said.
"You're Keepsie, right?" I faced whoever was speaking. He was very pale with almost yellow blonde hair. He was one of those awkward teenagers who were gangly and made it seem as if they were comfortable with their height, but they don't realize how much space they take up.
"Yeah. Are you Zach?"
He grinned. "Sure am." He held out his hand. I shook it but he seemed to think we had progressed in our relationship to a hug. I wasn't sure if I was comfortable with that. I was drowning in Axe.
"Uh, nice to meet you."
"You too, dude."
We ended up in the gymnasium and had a special talk with Principal Powers. Zach was actually kind of funny, in a really weird way. He was commenting to himself throughout the speech and, at one point, shouted an enthusiastic "YEAH!" I didn't even try to hide my laugh.
I tuned in on time to hear the words, "…Power placement…" I gulped. What the hell was power placement?
"It's how they decide where you go." Jelly Bean spoke to Will.
"The hero track or the loser track." Muttered the snarky girl with the purple hair.
"I believe the correct term is, 'Hero Support'."
Hell, I knew there would be some kind of evaluation, but power placement? Really? Zach appeared to be fit to burst with pride. "What are you looking so pleased about?" I questioned.
"C'mon! I finally get to show off my powers! That's awesome, man." His face was so alight with glee.
"You're hoping for Hero, then?"
Principle Powers finally stopped talking and left in a near blinding flash of white light. The room was filled with a palpable silence for a moment before everyone saw the raised platform. When there's a raised platform, nothing good generally comes out of it.
"Alright, listen up. My name is Coach Boomer. You may know me as 'Sonic Boom'."
Please visualize a series of question marks to represent the blankness of the my stare.
He continued, "You may not. Here's how power placement is going to work. You will step up here and show me your power. And, yes, you will do so in front of the entire class. I will then determine where you will be assigned: Hero or Sidekick. Now, every year there are a few students or, as I like to call them, 'whiner babies' who see fit to question and to complain about their placement. So, let's get one thing straight: my word is law."
God complex, much?
"My judgement is final, so there will be no whiner babies. Are we clear?"
Zilch. Nada. Nought. Nothing.
"I said, are we CLEAR?"
"Yes, Coach Boomer!" My answer came out more of a squeak from the multiple sound waves that crashed through me. "Go time."
The first kid he called up was a short, freckled kid named Larry. I pegged him as a sidekick until he powered up into a gigantic rock person/thing. He sort of looked like a really big piece of cereal. A piece of cereal that could crush me to death. That's when I learned not to judge by appearances. I edged to the back of the class. The only thing that made me feel better was Zach. He could glow. Or so he said. It was hard to tell in daylight. He mumbled a disdained argument about being placed as a sidekick and was swiftly blasted off the stage.
"You tried." I offered when returned to stand next to me.
"He'll recognize my talent one day." He said.
I patted his arm in what I hoped was a consoling manner. I counted down the seconds on my watch, hoping that it would be lunch time before too long. Jelly Bean could turn into goo, there was a guy with six arms (Imagine sex with THAT guy. It would be creepy), a girl who could distort into a ball, an acid spit boy, a shapeshifter, Purple Girl morphed into a guinea pig (I thought that was pretty cute) and Layla, the noodle that she can be, refused to even show her powers.
The tension in my shoulders unwound slowly as the bell for lunch rang. "We'll take it up after lunch." He said, stalking off. The class dispersed, hungry and eager to chat and make new friends. I hung back at first, but Jelly Bean started to talk to me and we wandered companionably along with the rest of the group.
"So, what's your power?" He asked, pushing his glasses further up his nose. "You haven't been up yet."
"Um, it's a surprise. Like Will."
Jelly Bean raised his eyes brows, still managing to appear earnest. "You'll be a hero. You have that quality."
Far from it. Damn, now there's an expectation of me. I should have just told him.
I loaded my tray with food and sat myself down next to Layla.
I bumped her shoulder, playfully. "Why didn't you show them the flower-power? You could have been a hero."
She glared at me. "It would only encourage a social divide between me and everyone else in the sidekick division."
"But you could have done more about it if you were a hero." My words were lost on deaf ears, however, because Will had started to glance over his shoulder. Whatever floats his boat. I mentally shrugged and took a huge bite of sandwich.
"Don't you care that you're eating an animal?" Came Layla's disgusted tone.
I swallowed. "It's free range." I said, like that answered everything.
"Okay, am I crazy or is that guy really looking at me?"
I eased around to check for possible Will-Stalkers. I saw a guy definitely staring at Will. And I think my ovaries exploded.