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Minutes till Midnight

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There's a girl and you love her.

You spend every New Year's with her in Times Square laughing, joking, being the best of friends. You never once kiss her; you never tell her you love her, even when it seems like the both of you are running out of New Years to celebrate. Instead, you stand in the cold for four hours and watch a silver ball fall, marking the start of another year of unsaid things and unkept promises.

You've changed so much, but that's the one thing to remain the same.

--

You fold up the mask, tucking it into the box holding the rest of your old costume. You hold up the new one, with all its blue, red, and gold, and study it:

No mask. No more secrets. No more lies. You think.

You cut off your hair in front of the sink and watch it fall in large clumps down the drain. You wash the sink clean and then pull on the costume. It's skin tight, like they all are, and it has a zipper up the front that goes all the way to your throat. There's a gold star that rests directly in the middle of your chest and you can't help but think maybe it's a little bit too big of a target. But it's too late to change it now; you're in the costume and you're going to stick with it and see it too its end. 

This is big step for you. Before, you were just a blip on some B-list team, never a big-shot, but always striving to be bigger, better, faster, stronger. And now you've finally got your chance, you're going to make a name for yourself, you're going to try a swing at the big leagues in the superhero business. Swallowing nervously you step in front of your bathroom mirror and look at yourself - chin titled, jaw set, eyes steeled:

"I am Carol Danvers. I am Captain Marvel. I am untouchable."

--

This year is going to be different from the others.

New name. New costume. New plane (albeit it's an old plane, but it's new to you and that's all that counts). New everything.

You're turning over a new leaf and it's going to be amazing.

--

Carol meets Jessica for coffee at 8am on December 31st in the same little family owned cafe that they've been frequenting every since the two of them started being friends off of the clock. They've done it every year since then, without fail. Jess waves Carol over to their usual booth; Carol's coffee already waiting for her because Jess knows exactly how she likes it brewed.

Carol say slides into her seat across from Jess, the vinyl covering making an obnoxious squeaking noise. She wraps her fingers around the mug, where it's already grown cold with Jess' waiting and she determines the repercussions of heating it up herself. Deciding that warm coffee at 8am is the only pro that matters she heats it gently until steam rises from the top. "Hey Jess."

"Stop that," says Jess slapping Carol's hands off and away from the mug, "Someone might see."

"Hey, I don't have to worry about that any more since I'm, um..."

"Out of the closet?" Jess readily supplies and then takes a sip of her drink. "How's that turning out for you so far?"

"Pretty good, actually. I think the press actually cares a lot less about some superhero revealing their identity than they do about a superhero, you know, actually coming out of the closet."

"Well don't worry there's still time for that," she says laughing, which just makes Carol twitch nervously.

"Um. So, um. How have you been? Crazy year right?"

"I've been pretty good. Haven't seen you around much, Captain," Jess smirks at Carol over the edge of her drink. "And I haven't seen you around much since that whole babysitting fiasco."

"Babysitting?"

"You know. That whole debacle with the X-men where they tried to create an Utopian society? We where basically babysitting this one Summers kid named Hope; they where gonna use to her to 'cleanse the world', which is probably code for 'kill everyone'," Jess shoots her a critical eye over the table, "How about you?"

"Oh yeah I'm fine, but- um- that. It must've slipped my mind," she said looking absently at her coffee. "Who's letting the Summers' family reproduce anyway?"

"Beyond me. Surprised you weren't all over that though; seemed like your kinda fight." Jess says laughing softly, "Lot's of outer space and punching."

"Hey, look, I'm busy enough as it is, trying not to get myself killed. This new name sort of comes with bad mojo. Last couple of people to have the name haven't turned out so good."

Saying that causes Jess to stop laughing and instead fix her gaze seriously on Carol, "Carol..."

"Look, I'll be fine!" she says, twiddling nervously with her, now empty cup, "I'm always fine Jess."

"I know."

They sit in an awkward silence, during which, Carol picks at the the dirty table cloth while Jess drums her fingers thoughtfully against her stained mug. Jess turns her head to look out the window, watching the New Yorkers scurry bye, and the rising sun illuminates her face from behind creating some sort of soft halo-y effect.

We really need to pick out nicer cafes, Carol thinks in the same moment that she notices how pretty Jess looks with her face highlighted by the sun and then her thoughts turn from cafe decor to how ho- and she definitely needs to stop thinking there. Definitely.

"Remember when we used to save the world from alien invasions and the sun exploding?" She says, trying to break the silence, "Now we spend our time arguing with ourselves and stopping the X-men from killing everyone, including themselves."

"Oh how the mighty have fallen," says Jess in a singsong tone.

And they laugh about the end of world, because when you've seen what they've seen that's all you've got left to do.

--

This year will, most decidedly, be no different from the last.

Same old, same old. Even though you're always telling yourself you're going to change something about yourself and your poor excuse for a life, but it never happens.

You're going to keep everything exactly the same this year and it'll suck as always (unless you do something about that).

--

You look straight into your bathroom mirror, checking your already immaculate hair and makeup that you've spent the last thirty minutes getting together.

"I am Jessica Drew. I am Spider-Woman. I am breakable," you tell yourself like it'll stop you from doing what your about to do. But you've decided that you've had enough of your own bullshit and you think it's time you stopped wallowing in something resembling self-pity (or maybe loathing is more accurate).

So you muster up as much courage as you can and head out the door.

--

There's a girl and you love her.

You spend every New Year's with her in Times Square laughing, joking, and being the best of friends. You never once kiss her; you never tell her you love her even when it seems like the both of you are running out of New Years to celebrate. Instead you stand in the cold for 4 hours and watch a silver ball fall, marking the start of another year of unsaid things and unkept promises.

But when the clock strikes twelve you bend her over and you kiss her senseless.