1. Ryan never actually quit the paper. He still sends in stories about The Letter Z and her mysterious new sidekick with the debonair hair and the dashing good luck. The Star prints the stories because they're hilarious, and because Z still won't talk to any other reporters.
2. The only time Ryan has ever been completely terrified was when he was trapped in his car for twenty minutes, teetering over the edge of the chasm in the bridge.
3. That was before he knew Z was going to be there, every time.
4. The contents of Z's wardrobe are amazing. 'Killer fashion sense' never had so much resonance. Z deciding what to wear is the sexiest thing Ryan has ever seen.
5. Even when she's not wearing anything that can kill you.
6. Especially when she's not wearing anything at all.
7. Ryan's favourite part of being a superhero's sidekick is flying. He doesn't know if it's the rush of wind beneath him or the warm delicate fingers gripping his or the delighted grin Z sends him when he tilts his head up and laughs into the sun.
8. When Ryan was five, he was witness to a bank robbery. That was one of the times his mom was home. He gripped her hand tight, lying face down on the cold bank floor, and squeezed his eyes closed when ugly shouting ended in gunfire. He opened them again afterwards, though, sneaking looks up at the door, because he knew what had to happen next.
9. The superheroes had to come blasting through the door. That was how it worked, every time, on the news.
10. One of the bank tellers died. Ryan's mom wouldn't let him look, but he heard the sounds the girl made.
11. The heroes must have been too busy that day.
12. All reporters had to cover the superheroes and the villains of the city, of course, but Ryan did it with a cool, mocking detachment. He hoped that readers would see the scorn under the words. (And that his editor wouldn't.)
13. Then there was this girl who threw herself on top of a bomb and smiled at him, one hand holding the ceiling up, blowing wisps of hair out of her face.
14. Spencer only listened to thirty minutes of Ryan's thoughts on that before he interrupted to ask what had happened to the sickening decay of a society whose very law enforcement system relied on the apotheosis of heroes who let you down.
15. Ryan rolled his eyes. He wasn't interested in whatever stupid shit he'd said when he was younger ("Last week," Spencer said), and stupider ("..." Spencer said).
16. The first time Z and Ryan went out on a job together – deliberately, rather than through Ryan stumbling into it or being kidnapped – Ryan spent most of the time reminding himself not to let go of Z's hand. He did manage to knock somebody out with an umbrella as he and Z flew past, though. That was pretty cool.
17. "Ice, baby," Z said, grinning, and Ryan rolled his eyes self-consciously, leaning over to kiss her. When he pulled back her eyes had gone soft. "We're going to be awesome," she said, her voice low and warm. "There are going to be stories about us all over the city. Better stories than ever before."
18. Ryan thought the existing stories about Z were pretty fucking amazing, but he was happy to make some more with her.
19. He'll admit it was pretty great the first time a journalist who wasn't him referred to The Letter Z swooping in with her sidekick, RR.
20. (It didn't trip off the tongue, maybe, but how cool did it look when the Rs were interlocking, right?)
21. Ryan's favourite part of being a superhero's boyfriend is easy. It will always be Z.