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Of Super-Strength and Kitchen Floods

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Abby Tennyson stumbled blearily into the kitchen early in the morning and barely resisted the urge to glare at the kitchen sink as she passed it on her way to the coffeemaker. Though the kitchen was quiet for the first time since she’d gone to bed, she could still hear the irritating, near-constant sound of the faucet dripping all night long, despite her many attempts to fix the problem or at least dampen the sound.

Turning her back on the offending kitchen appliance, Abby finished making her coffee. Before she could finish swallowing her first sip, she heard a loud drip break the silence in the room.

Groaning, she turned to call up the stairs, “Mark? I think we really need to call someone to take care of the leaky faucet in the kitchen. I don't know how it isn't bothering you with your super senses.”

"I guess I'm just used to tuning out background sounds in order to sleep," Mark replied, as he zipped down the stairs. "I used to be awake all night listening to the neighbor's tv in high school. After learning to block that out, a dripping faucet isn't that hard to ignore."

He leaned over and kissed Abby softly, before glancing at the sink. "You know, I can probably fix that before I start working today," Mark said. "I've learned a lot from your dad since the water heater incident. This should be much easier."

"I don't know, Honey..."

"Abby, it doesn't look like a big problem. It probably just needs a little tightening somewhere. I can take a look at it and fix it up without troubling anyone else," Mark said, smiling at his wife.

"You're sure about this?" Abby asked.

"Absolutely. I may even figure out the problem before you're done getting ready for work."

"If you say so," Abby said hesitantly, before finishing the last of her coffee. "Just make sure you shut the water off before you start."

"I will. Now go get ready for work. You don't need to be late, even if Charlotte can take care of things until you get there," Mark said, nudging her until she gave him a kiss before leaving to get ready.

"Now...let's see what the problem is," Mark muttered as he approached the leaky faucet. He checked the tap to make sure it was off before he opened the cabinet beneath the sink. Mark carefully examined the pipes, using his abilities to scrutinize everything. Even if his vision wasn't exactly x-ray vision, it still allowed him to view the fixture in greater detail.

Confident that the small amount of water pooling in the cabinet could only be the result of a loose connection somewhere, Mark grabbed his relatively new toolbox from the hallway closet and sat back down to fix the sink.

Less than ten minutes later, he began to regret everything, when he accidentally cracked a pipe that he was holding onto and sent water all over himself, the cabinet, and the kitchen floor.

Mark grabbed every kitchen towel, paper towel roll, and napkin in sight, working quickly to sop up the water that was continuing to gush from the pipe that he'd accidentally cracked. When even those were soaked, he quickly flew up the stairs and rushed into the bathroom to grab even more towels.

"...Mark," Abby said suspiciously, "Is there something you need to tell me?"

"Slight problem," he said sheepishly. "We may have a bigger leak to worry about now." His voice dropped to a whisper as he added, "And a flooded kitchen."

"What?!?!" Abby yelled. "How? Mark, didn't you turn off the water first?" Abby was frantically throwing on her clothes as she tried to get answers out of her husband.

"Of course I did!" he exclaimed. "I checked the tap and it was off."

"Not there! Did you turn off the water to the pipes?" Abby asked as she tugged her shirt over her head. Clothes finally on, she grabbed some more towels and followed Mark back to the kitchen.

"There's another place to shut off the water besides cutting water to the entire building?" Mark asked in surprise, "Wait, that was what you meant?"

"Of course that's what I meant. There's a shut off valve under the sink," she replied. "It was already leaking when the tap was turned off Mark, the water has to be completely shut off before you can really work on it."

Abby watched as Mark dropped the dry towels on top of those that had soaked through.

"I think the crack in the pipe got bigger while we were upstairs," Mark said.

"Okay, new plan. Mark, would you be able to hover a couple inches off the ground without getting soaked?"

"Probably, though I think I'll still get a bit wet regardless. Why?"

"Well if you can hold onto me so that I don't end up getting drenched, I should be able to reach in and shut off the water valve," Abby explained.

"I can do it," Mark said. "Now that I have an idea of what I'm actually looking for, it should be fine."

"It should," Abby agreed, "But can you guarantee that the water won't make your grip too slippery to shut off the valve without using your super-strength to get it done?

"Well no, but even if I do, it won't be a problem."

"Mark, how did the pipe get cracked in the first place?"

"...Okay it could potentially be a slight problem, I'll give you that," Mark said.

"If we work together, we can get this shut off in less than a minute," Abby said. "Will you please help me?"

Mark stared at her for a moment and then smiled. "Of course I'll help you. I have to make up for this somehow. Are you ready? Just wrap your arms around my neck, and I'll get us in position."

Abby grabbed a still mostly-dry washcloth from the mass of damp towels, and wrapped her arms around Mark. "I'm ready whenever you are," she said.

Mark lifted both of them into the air and lay back in midair until they were both hovering only a couple inches above the kitchen floor.

Abby leaned forward from her spot on top of Mark and managed to get ahold of the dial under the sink. She twisted the valve until the water shut off completely.

With the crisis at an end, Abby leaned down and rested her forehead against Mark's. She kissed him softly for a moment then pulled back and stared at him, waiting for him to say something.

"What?" he said sheepishly, "I thought I had it."

"Mark…" Abby began.

"I swear! I really thought I just had to tighten it in order to fix it."

Abby sighed and said, "Call my dad, or call a professional to come and fix this." She paused and added, "Or hell, call both. Either one of them should be able to help us."

"Yeah, I think you're right."

"I'll call Charlotte since I'm supposed to get to work soon. I'll go in later; we need to get this water dried up before we end up causing a leak downstairs," Abby said.

"Sorry I made it even worse," Mark said quietly.

"It could be worse," Abby replied. "It could have happened after I'd already left for work," she said with a smile.

"That would have been a disaster," Mark agreed. "Whatever would I do without you?"

"Hopefully we won't ever have to find out."