“But let's try to think this through, Mom. I mean, do I really need to go to this school? I've been perfectly content going to school with the other kids that live in the neighborhood and you know, if it isn't broke, don't fix it, right?” Logan Mitchell nervously babbled to his mother as the woman began to pack her son's bookbag. Not too many things: pencils, pens, notebook, first aid kit that could treat any first degree burns or nuclear acid. The usual things Logan would need for his first day of high school. Well, first day at a new high school, and the boy groaned even louder hoping that his mother would hear the distaste and the dislike of having to switch schools.
“Logan, me and your father talked long and hard about this and I believe you should give this school a chance.”
“I don't belong there, Mom.”
“You don't know that. Sweetie, you haven't even tried. . .maybe you're a late bloomer,” she said with a smile that Logan was frowning at.
“I'm not a late bloomer,” Logan said with a scoff and his mother gave a sigh, stopping to close Logan's bag and settle it beside his bed before walking over to her son and placing gentle hands on his face. Her skin was warm, soft and smooth and she moved her hand up to gently brush fingers through his brown hair.
“Try. Logan, this is a part of you that we can't hide anymore. This is a part of your family and I don't want you to not be exposed to other kids that are just like you. . .but know that you'll always be super to me, whether you grow up to be saving the world from flaming comets or become a world famous neurosurgeon.”
"Which I will,” Logan said, moving his mother's hands away and trying to straighten his hair back into place, “I really don't want to go.”
“You're going alright,” his mother said with a stern frown and Logan frowned back. Then his lips turned into a nervous smile, seeing that familiar red glow in his mother's usually chocolate brown eyes as she placed hands on her hips. Logan briskly walked over to grab his bag from beside the bed, flinging it over his shoulder and moved to give his mother a kiss on the cheek. She hummed, patting him on the shoulder, “You'll be fine, I promise. You're not the only new kid that's going to be going there.”
Logan just gave a sigh at that, moving out of his bedroom as his mother went to grab his dirty laundry to wash and began to make his way down the hallway to the stairs, his feet moving as if he was walking to his grave. Might as well be, he was going to Palm Woods. Course, that was just a front for all the 'normal' people to believe, believe that it was just some innocent, highly elusive high school located on the outskirts of town. To those that lived the life of crime-fighting, cape-wearing, superpower heroes of the city, the school was known as the Jupiter Halls High, the place where heroes were made. Logan let out another groan, this was going to be the worst day of his life, he just knew it.
He was finally at the foot of the stairs, now making his way to the front door and out to the sidewalk to begin walking towards the bus stop. Bet that kids that could fly or could teleport or could be there in only a couple of steps didn't have to take a bus like he did. What if he was the only kid that was on the bus? His heart was racing fast, wondering if maybe he could not even go to school today and go someplace to hide for the time being. Maybe even enroll himself back in his former school, the school with people he actually made some friends with. He was making a right instead of a left, leaving to go out the backdoor and jump the fence to maybe hide out in the next door neighbor's tool shed when his father strode out from his small little study, briefcase in hand and thick brown framed glasses perched on his nose. Logan stopped, his father noticing him and giving a gigantic smile his way as he strode over to slap a hand on Logan's back.
“Hey there, kiddo! You ready for your first day at a new high school?” his father cheerfully asked and Logan gave a small sigh, though lips curving into a tiny smile. If anyone got excited over the talk of superpower or superheroes, it was his dad. Which was reasonable, really, what boy growing up didn't dream about being able to fly high above the skies, being able to lift several thousands pounds without flinching or breaking a sweat. Saving the day and being admired by thousands of people, that was anybody's dream. That was once Logan's dream too, to be just like his mom and fighting crime alongside her. To save the day and have his own signal in the sky to call on him to right wrongs, kick butts and take names.
Not anymore though, Logan already got his reality check.
His father gave him a couple more slaps on the back, urging Logan from his destined back door right to the front door as he began to give his 'man to man' little lectures, “Now son, I know that this is a very big step for you and that you might feel a little bit strange but you got to remember to always be yourself and everyone is going to see that ole' good Mitchell spirit in you!”
“Thanks Dad,” Logan said and his dad beamed, pushing his glasses a little bit further up his nose to keep them from slipping.
“Now, I don't know what goes on in a superhero school but you just be the best super you can be, okay? Go out there with your head held high and chest puffed out and make your old man proud!” he said, the two of them striding out the front door and to the shiny black car out in the driveway. Logan's father turned, placing both hands on Logan's shoulder and gripping the joints tight, “I'm proud of you, son. You're going to grow up into a fine young man, I just know it.”
“Yeah, Dad. . .” Logan murmured and Logan's father pulled him into a tight hug, gently rocking them from side to side.
“I love you, son. I know you're going to be great,” his dad said, Logan just could hear the happiness and glee his father was feeling right now, slightly wishing that he could go to school in his place. Logan's eyes darted around, awkwardness seeping in from his dad still hugging him and he didn't even know how far he had to walk to get to the bus stop.
“Uh, Dad?. . .Gotta go,” he said and his father's arms quickly released him, his dad's hand going up to bonk against the side of his head and make a silly expression.
“Whoops! Sorry about that, son. Go on right ahead! Throw some heavy things around for me when you get there!” his dad shouted out as Logan began to make his way from the house, giving him a thumbs up as he began to get inside his car. Logan gave him a thumbs up as well, trying to smile and at least look like he was excited before turning back and giving a pained groan. A long day, this was going to be a long day.
Logan walked a good while down the street, tight grip on the strap slung over his shoulder and heavy step in his foot. The breeze against his skin was nice, rustling through the branches and leaves above him as he passed by tree after tree and house after house. Some occupied by normal families with normal kids leading normal lives, others occupying superheroes under an alter ego. Logan glanced forward, squinting his eyes to see a small bus stop with white rounded sign and someone standing beside it rocking back and forth on their heels and as Logan drew closer, he saw that it was a boy not much older than he was, perhaps a year younger even. His skin was a caramel tint, eager and hopeful smile on his lips as he rocked back and forth in his nice tennis shoes and small little backpack on his back.
Was he a student at Jupiter? A student maybe. . .that was like him?
He approached the boy, standing on the opposite side of the bus stop and subtly glancing over at him to watch what he was doing. Nothing really, just eagerly waiting for their bus and Logan bit his lower lip, wondering if he should be the one to make the first move and introduce himself. Say hello, make a friend. Logan knew it would be hard to make a friend once everyone finds out about him at Jupiter and what he could really do. . .maybe it wouldn't be bad if he tried to make a friend right now and hope that the boy would just stick along with him once the inevitable truth came out.
Logan turned his head, ready to say something to start a simple conversation but jumped back in surprise to find that the boy was standing very close to him and looking at him with an intense curiosity and interest. His eyes were a bright brown that seemed to glimmer in the sunlight and his lips were curved into a warm smile, a little birthmark below his plush lower lip. Once Logan's heartbeat regained a steady pace, he gave a nervous gulp. “Uh, hi?”
“Hi,” the boy said and leaned back a little bit, giving Logan his personal space and Logan gave a scratch to the back of his neck.
“So uh. . .going to go to school, yeah,” Logan said and the boy glanced over his shoulder at the sign.
“Oh yeah. . .'Palm Woods',” the boy said with air quotes included, Logan raising an eyebrow.
“. . .So you know about Jupiter?” Logan asked and the boy's eyes widened big, raising a finger to shush Logan and he jumped back into Logan's little personal bubble.
“Don't say that out here! You never know if there's a super villain lurking around here!” the boy whispered and Logan leaned his head back.
“I'm sure anyone with super powers knows that Palm Woods is just a cover-up for Jupiter, no need to whisper about it,” Logan replied and the boy blushed, nervously beginning to twiddle his fingers.
“Well. . .yeah, I guess you're right. I mean, my dads' said for me to not let anyone know where I go to school, you know, for protection and stuff because a lot of super villains would love to get their hands on a child of a superhero couple and I don't want my dads' to be worried about me cause I'm going to be just fine on my first day of hero schooling. . .Hi,” he stuck his hand out with big smile on his face, “I'm Carlos. Carlos Garcia.”
“. . .Logan. Logan Mitchell,” Logan introduced and shook the boy's hand, feeling how warm it was and how soft Carlos' skin was compared to his, nervously sweaty and pale in contrast to rich brown. Carlos continued to beam his pearly white smile, “This is so exciting! Imagine it, you and I are going to go to that school and enter as teenagers with powers but when we leave, we'll be considered genuine heroes!”
“Yeah. . .”
“I wonder who our classmates are going to be? And our teachers. I know I'm going to do great in school, I mean, I practically know every single superpower, superhero and their respective villains that has ever existed in the history of super history. Oh! And if we get to pick out our superhero names on the first day too! I already know what I'm going to be known as,” Carlos turned his body away, placing fists on his hips and looking straight up into the big blue sky with triumphant expression, “Meteor Man!”
“. . .There's already a Meteor Man, isn't there?” Logan asked and Carlos gave a sigh.
“Yeah, but he's in retirement. Can't I be the younger and newer Meteor Man?” Carlos asked and Logan shook his head 'no'.
“Don't think it works like that,” Logan said and Carlos gave a sigh before giving Logan a friendly tap on the arm. “Well what would your superhero name be?”
“I uh. . .haven't got one planned yet,” Logan said quietly and Carlos cocked his head to the side.
“Well. . .what's your superpower? Maybe I can think of one for you!” Carlos eagerly said and Logan bit his lower lip, looking at the ground and now not knowwing what to say, what to do.
“Well. . .there's a funny thing about me and powers and-”
“Oh look! The bus is here!” Carlos shouted out, head whirling around and eyes widening in delight as Logan craned his neck to see a rather normal looking school bus approaching the bus stop. In fact, it looked like one of those old beat down buses that took the other high schoolers that lived on Logan's block down to the high school in the city. The high school that Logan should have continued to go to instead of Jupiter. He felt Carlos' hand go down and tightly grasp his, Logan not having time to react as Carlos tugged him along to the doors sliding open, the two boys peering up the small set of steps to the bus driver looking down at them rather annoyed and bitterly. Carlos was still blissfully happy and smiling, “Hi!”
“Save the sunshine and get in,” the bus driver grumbled and Logan saw Carlos' smile fade for a split second, the younger boy looking over his shoulder at Logan before biting his lower lip and stepping up onto the bus. Logan followed, now seeing that the bus was pretty much filled with students of varying ages and personalities. Carlos moved to sit down in an open bus seat by the window, Logan sitting down beside him as the doors for the bus closed a few seconds later. The students around them were loud, talking about the excitement of going to Jupiter and how they couldn't wait to show off their powers to the student body. All this talk around Logan was slowly making the boy nervous, making him dread the moment he stepped foot on campus. He bit his lip, looking to his left to the other kids that were seated on the bus seat next to them. A girl with a mixture of red and black hair and punk rock attitude, arms crossed and looking disinterested with everything happening all around her and a girl with blond hair quietly humming to herself with a smile on her lips.
Logan sucked in a breath, looking over at Carlos who was staring out the window and knocking his knees together to a rhythm in his head and Logan began to knock his knees as well. “So. . .what do you think is going to happen once we get there?” Logan asked and Carlos turned, smile already back on his face and eager to share some of his knowledge on the subject.
“Well, first thing is that we're going to meet up with someone who will take us to assignment. Then we get our ranking and after that, move on to get our books and start classes,” Carlos smile grew even bigger, “I hope we get someone really cool that will take us to assignment and to get our books and stuff. A lot of famous superhero couples' children go to Jupiter, and imagine we'll be learning right alongside them!”
“Y-Yeah,” Logan murmured and Carlos cocked his head to the side.
“You know, for someone going to a high school for superheroes, you don't seem really excited. Are you nervous?” Carlos asked and Logan blushed.
“W-Well the thing is. . .y-yeah, I'm nervous,” Logan stuttered out and Carlos smiled, moving his hand to give a couple of good natured pats and rubs to Logan's back.
“Don't be! I mean, yeah hero assignment is a kind of scary experience but the good thing is that we can always work our way up if we're put at a low ranking.”
But that was just the thing, Logan knew he'd get the lowest rank possible and there would be no way to work his way out of the rut. He sighed; this was going to be horrible. He was going to make himself look like a total fool in front of all these people, all of these superpowered students that could throw him a mile away or blast him off his feet or read his mind or any other power that's in the book. His body was quaking now, absolutely quaking with fear and nerves and he just wished that this day would just disappear, or him, whichever could come first.
. . .Wait. . .that wasn't his body shaking. . .it was the bus.
Seatbelts were strapped across Logan and Carlos' chest, Logan's head whirling around in confusion as an eruption of cheers came from behind them and Logan's head turned to Carlos.
“What's going on!”
“I don't know!” Carlos shouted back, his hands gripping tight to the straps across his chest as it felt like the bus was tipping backwards, and towards the front all Logan could see out the window was the blue sky. His heart was racing more now than ever, feeling weightless as the bus took off higher into the sky and facing towards the mountains, climbing higher and higher and Logan's hands jolting out to grab the back of the seat in front of him. He could hear Carlos laughing and screaming as if this was some sort of thrill ride they were on, Logan looking over at the two kids across from them to find them holding onto their straps across their chest and looking startled and confused as to what the heck was going on.
It all seemed to happen so fast, the sound of jet engines booming in Logan's ear, the long red and black hair of the girl sitting across from him flying back as the bus flew towards the base of the mountains at high speed, everyone's screams and shouts and laughter blending together in one loud sound echoing and ricocheting off the inner walls of the bus. Logan closed his eyes tight, his teeth gritting together and knuckles whitening from hanging onto the seat in front of him so tight he was sure his fingertips would have broken through the leather upholstery of the seats. Whatever it was that was happening, make it stop.
Logan was thrown forward, seatbelt barely managing to keep him in his seat as his forehead collided with the back of the seat in front of him. He groaned out loud in pain, the bus not flying anymore but parked alongside other yellow buses with small airplane wings and tails on the sides and silvery turbines below. He rubbed his forehead, the skin sensitive and sure the area was most likely bruised badly as he glanced over at Carlos. The boy's face was up against the window, looking out to see the amazing view that was Jupiter Halls, the green grass on the front lawn and the steps that lead up to the school's entrance. Logan squinted his eyes, trying to see for himself and it looked like the school had been practically swallowed up by the base of the mountain. Nothing but rocky exterior and stone, didn't look like much of a school to begin with.
“Alright, don't leave anything on the bus. Have a nice day, yadda, yadda yadda,” the bus driver said nonchalantly, opening the doors to outside and in a large frenzy the students unbuckled themselves and made their way off the bus, shoving and shouting and screaming in excitement. Logan waited til at least the large congestion began to dwindle before getting up and allowing he and Carlos to walk down the aisle and step off the bus. The air was cooler here, the skies blue and bright and the sight was amazing. The city seemed so far away from here, so small in comparison as Logan's head searched his surroundings. Already he could see students landing from the sky with bags on their shoulders and others appearing before him in the blink of an eye. Super speed maybe, or even teleportation, Logan wasn't sure but he was already growing intimidated.
Carlos was by his side in an instant, the boy grinning so happily and eagerly. “Oh. My. God. This is so cool!” Carlos said through his clenched smile and Logan only gave a nod, looking around and seeing students beginning to gather at the front of the school. He gave Carlos a light nudge, Carlos looking over at the front of the school himself before he grabbed Logan's hand and tugged the brunette along with him, feet flying quickly and hurriedly over the grass. Logan stumbled a few times, slipping over the large rocks and the students that were pushing them all around, his grip on Carlos' hand slipping.
“Carlos, slow do-”
Carlos slammed into someone that crossed in their path, knocking whoever they were straight to the grassy ground with Carlos and Logan in tow. Logan's hand slipped from Carlos' to try and brace himself against the fall, knees sliding along the grass as he fell beside whoever it was that they ran into. He groaned, trying to get up quickly onto his feet and glance down at who it was. A tall brunette, dressed in what used to be very nice and rather expensive looking clothes but now rumpled and slightly stained with grass. He reached a hand down, trying to pull the boy onto his feet as Carlos slowly got to his feet himself but the boy glanced up at Logan and swatted his hand away.
“I can help myself,” he snapped, getting off the dirty ground and trying to clean himself off while Logan began to frown.
“Sorry, okay? We don't want to start trouble on the first day,” Logan said sternly and the boy gave a scoff, those hazel eyes of his giving a roll before landing to glare at Logan's face.
“What's the big rush for? Not like seeing a bunch of goody-goody hero kids is really worth knocking into people,” the boy hissed and Logan raised an eyebrow.
“What's that supposed to mean?”
The boy scoffed again, turning his nose away, “Like you don't know, bet you two are just like them.”
And before Logan could say or comment or do anything else, the brunette walked away from them, heading in a different direction that wasn't by the crowd forming at the steps. Carlos stepped beside Logan, shaking his head worriedly.
“That guy is bad news, I can feel it. Hope we don't get him in class,” Carlos murmured, the two of them now slowly making their way to the crowd so as to not run into anyone else with a sour attitude.
“What did he mean by 'goody-goody hero kids'? That's what I want to know,” Logan said with a frown, glancing over his shoulder in the direction where the boy walked off too. Never had he met someone so rude, nor has he ever met someone so handsome. Nicely done hair before Carlos had knocked him to the ground, cheeks a flushed red and those angry hazel eyes were something to stare at, like a mixture of gold and bronze. And the boy was fit too, tall and muscled, he must have super strength. But maybe not, seeing as though small and lithe Carlos managed to knock him over.
Logan was curious about him, curious as to who he was or who his parents are. What kind of power did he have deep in him. . .
The two began to intermix with the crowd, someone shouting out for everyone to get into an orderly line and to please not use any powers while they were in the large crowd of people. Carlos grabbed onto Logan's hand again, tugging the boy over to a more open area of the crowd where people were getting into a line and released the brunette's hand once they were standing with the other ten people in line. Logan glanced down the row, everyone talking excitedly with each other and gesturing to the entire campus. He also saw that girl with the red and black hair and the boy with the suit in the line as well, not talking to anyone and standing there with stone expressions on their faces.
“What do you think is going to happen next?” Carlos whispered and Logan shrugged, not so sure himself. He didn't see anyone looking like a teacher hanging around to watch the students, Logan assuming that all the students gathered in the crowd were the freshman and transfers while others were walking up the steps to get to their classes. He bit his lower lip, they needed to go to assignment. They needed to be put on display for all of the student body to see if they were going to be actual heroes or total zeroes.
How far was it from here to the city? Maybe Logan could make a run for it and no one would-
“You! Dogs!” a loud and angry shout boomed in their direction, Logan holding his ears tight and letting out a pained groan. He glanced over, a large man dressed in gym shorts and white polo shirt with a blue visor atop his bald head approached them, Logan not being able to see his eyes behind those dark sunglasses. “Let's go!” he barked out, stomping away and slowly the line of students began to follow with Logan and Carlos bringing up the rear.
“That's Gustavo Rocque,” Carlos said in amazement, moving to walk alongside Logan instead of behind him as the line rounded the corner around the school and began to descend down a path of stairs leading into a tunnel underneath the base of the mountain.
“Doesn't ring a bell to me,” Logan muttered, sticking his finger in his ear and tapping it to see if he could still hear clearly.
“You know, Super G? With the ability of sonic screams and to sense low frequency sound waves,” Carlos rattled off and Logan looked at the boy with raised eyebrow. Carlos shyly bit his lip, “I told you, I know anything and everything about superheroes. This is so cool! I mean, my dads say Super G was mean and obnoxious and a total pain to work with but he's like famous.”
“Yeah, every famous superhero becomes some washed out gym teacher,” Logan said sarcastically and the line stopped in place as Rocque turned around.
“You two! In the back!” he shouted and Logan gulped. “Get up here now!” the man screamed, the tunnel rattling at the sound waves and Carlos quickly rushed to the front with Logan following behind. Once he got up there, he could see the sneer and peachy red face of the large man and the angry eyes behind those dark glasses. “Now you can stand behind the famous washed out gym teacher,” he growled out before turning around and continuing to walk down the tunnel. Logan said nothing after that, only listening to the sounds of everyone's footsteps echoing in the round tunnel and around Rocque, Logan saw they were approaching what looked like a glass door leading to a gymnasium.
The man opened it with a cardkey, Logan hearing more voices inside and he gulped as the line moved inside. The gym was huge, tall ceiling and seats that looked like the entire student body of Jupiter could fit in. On one side of the gym, he could see lines and lines of freshmen and transfer students, their own line standing on the other side of the gym as Rocque stood in the center and blew a whistle. The sound was higher than the average whistle, more screeching, and any talking that was going on ceased immediately as everyone's hands went to their ears to hold tight.
“Alright! You all are here to find out whether or not you will be going into either A or B ranking for your year here at Jupiter.”
“What do the different letters mean?” Logan whispered to Carlos and the boy shrugged.
“Does it really matter?” Logan heard a sarcastic voice behind him and he turned, seeing the girl with red and black hair looking at him with raised eyebrow and crossed arms. “A is heroes and if you're a B, you're a sidekick.”
“When I call your name, you're going to come up here and show your stuff. Once you're done, you take a seat where I tell you to sit at, got it!”
There were a couple mumbles here and there and the man growled, “GOT IT?” his voice boomed out, the gym shaking at the sound quakes.
“Yes Coach Rocque!” a louder response sounded back and Logan bit his lower lip, heart racing. Carlos looked over at him.
“Hey, hey, what's wrong?” he asked and Logan watched as Coach Rocque looked at his clipboard, calling out Jennifer Avalos. Okay, this was good. They were going in alphabetical order, it'll be a good while til he has to go up there and hopefully by then, there would have been other kids that sucked and got placed as a sidekick as well. Harsh to think that way but Logan was going to be bad, extremely bad.
“I'm nervous, really nervous,” Logan said, watching as the girl that was called up stretched herself to tip top of the ceiling, body practically rubber as she moved and contorted and twisted her body all over the place before snapping back into her normal shape. Coach Rocque gave a nod of the head, writing it down on his clipboard.
“Hero! A!” he called out and the girl grinned, walking over to the spot in the bleachers where the man was pointing at. Carlos gave Logan a little friendly nudge, “It's okay. We all have powers here, even if they're not that extraordinary.”
But that was just the thing, the thing that Logan absolutely dreaded. Everyone here had superpowers.
And he was the only one that didn't.