It’s around nine pm when it happens.
It occurs to him much, much later that, yeah, sitting on the ledge of a 12 story building in the middle of the night was probably not one of his better ideas. And that’s saying something too, because Callum Hunt has made a lot of bad decisions in his life, most of which have lead up to him sitting in this very spot on this random apartment ledge, revelling in the fact that, for once, he’s completely and utterly alone .
Figures it could only last for so long.
Anyway, he’s just sitting there, legs dangling off the edge, observing the rushing cars below and listening to the beeps and honks of Magistropolis traffic, when, suddenly, someone behind him shouts:
“ Don’t do it! ”
And then there are strong arms wrapping around his torso like a vice and yanking him backwards with so much force that Call loses his balance and tumbles butt-first back onto the concrete roof. He lands in a puddle. Dirty roof water goes everywhere .
“What the hell?,” he sputters, shivering and absolutely furious. He pushes wet black hair out of his face and whips around to get a better look at his assailant. “What is your problem? ”
There’s a boy around his age standing behind him, with blond hair and green eyes that somehow manage to look both frantic and concerned at the same time. But it’s the spandex suit that gives him away. And the cape. And the giant “OG” written across his chest. Call squints at that.
The boy says, “I know this sounds cliche,” and pauses momentarily to take a shaky breath born from pure anxiety, “But you have so much to live for, and I can’t just stand by and watch you throw your life away!”
Clearly this is not what Call’s expecting him to say because what? “What?”
“You probably don’t want to hear this from me.” He drops his arms and starts approaching slowly, like he’s dealing with a slightly rabid raccoon rather than a slightly chubby fifteen year old boy here. “But you’re young, and I guarantee that whatever’s bothering you is just a temporary set back in the grand scheme of things. You have your whole life ahead of you. And what about your parents? Won’t they be heartbroken?”
Call, not only bewildered, but also pissed and cold, says, “Well my mom’s dead and my dad could care less about me being up here, so no?” And now the boy looks sad and grossly sympathetic and Call is so so confused, what the hell is going on.
“Are you having trouble in school?”
“I...” He blinks. “Huh?”
“Bullying? Relationship trouble? Abusive family? Drugs? ”
Call does not have enough patience for this. “Dude, who even are you. How did you get up here?” He takes a step back. “Do I have to alert the authorities?”
Finally, the other boy stops walking towards him. “Don’t you know who I am?”
No. “Uh, the real OG?”, he guesses.
“Wha- no . Zero G. With a zero. This is clearly a zero.” (It’s clearly not, but whatever) “Defender of the weak? The Boy Who Always Saves With a Smile? Come on, you can’t tell me you don’t recognize me a little bit.”
Call does, in fact, recognize the name- as a Class S superhero . He tries not to freak out, because if word gets out that he’s been talking to a super of this caliber he’s screwed. Royally. “Okay? You still can’t be up here. Go away.”
“I have full clearance of all buildings. I'm certified.” (Now he’s frowning and, holy crap, are those tears in his eyes?) “I’m not just saying this because it’s my duty to save people, though, I really mean it. No matter how bad it gets, suicide isn’t the answer.”
It isn’t until then that the gravity of the situation dawns on him. Incredulous, Call tells him, “I wasn’t going to jump .”
“Okay,” concedes Zero G, and he looks like he doesn’t believe him. At all. “But I can’t leave until you’re safely away from the edge of that building. Will you come down, please?”
Call hesitates for a moment. He wonders what would happen if he just dove straight off the roof, right now, just to spite him, but as if reading his mind, Zero G suddenly flies over and grabs Call by the waist like he weighs nothing and proceeds to princess-carry him safely off the side of the freaking building down to the street below , and Call’s too shocked to even punch him for it.
They land softly in an alleyway. Zero G lowers a still gaping Call to his feet.
“Do you have a family member you can contact? A friend?” Call continues to sputter.
“ Wha -no- I’m not suicidal - what is wrong with you-”
“Here.” The hero takes off his cape and drapes it around Call’s shoulders like a suave casanova in a James Bond film. “You’re shivering.”
Because you pushed me into a puddle , he wants to scream, but then Zero G sighs and slips him a business card (??) and looks dramatically into his eyes like they’re in a movie and he’s waiting for his close-up.
And then he goes and hugs him like this is perfectly normal (it isn’t) and when he pulls away, studies him with terribly devastating green eyes. “I have to go now. Take care of yourself, okay? And if you need someone to talk to, call me.”
It isn’t until Zero G has flown away that Call realizes he left his phone at the top of the building.
Tamara instinctively notices something’s wrong.
“You feel like death,” she observes flatly, without emotion, when he collapses into the desk next to her and immediately begins to disassociate. “Did you suddenly get infected with a zombie virus or something?”
“Fell in a puddle,” he grunts. It’s not entirely a lie , even though he was more or less yanked into one, but Tamara doesn’t need to know that. As far as she knows, he’s just frustrated, groggy, and in need of a coffee. He’s so so glad she’s an empath rather than a mind-reader, or else he’d be in serious trouble right about now.
She hums, suspicious. Behind her, Gwenda is trying her very best to levitate a pile of marbles without launching them out the window again. Celia and Jasper are staring deeply into each other’s eyes and communicating telepathically about unicorns or whatever the hell they talk about. Rafe zips in and out of the classroom repeatedly to talk to Kai at Maximum Speed™ before the teacher can notice and send him back to his own class.
Call sits at his desk and does math problems. As always.
People have always told him growing up that he should be thankful for his powers. The percentage of people in the world who have them are small, so kids like him have to be trained separately in order to control them and use them in a way that’s beneficial to society. Most kids like him become police officers or superheroes. Some become criminals or petty thieves. Even less become supervillains.
He remembers being in kindergarten, five years old with a newly dead mother and newly blossoming powers, and having to wear these power-nullification cuffs to class to keep him from losing control. All of the superpowered kids wore them, all the way up through middle school, and he still vividly remembers how much everyone hated them.
At this point, most of the kids have gotten their cuffs off. Call still hasn’t.
“Just to protect the other students,” Ms. Milagros told him, looking sympathetic, but still turned the key in the lock, so he knew it wasn’t genuine. “You understand, right? We just don’t want any accidents.”
“Accidents”, she said. No, the truth is, they’re afraid of him. And not because of what he can do accidentally, but because of what he can do purposefully. With intent .
They catch the A Train after school. Despite having ridden this way for years now, half the people at the train station glare at Call’s cuff with a mixture of fear and distrust. The other half stare at the way he limps onto the platform. One older lady even gives up his seat for him. Call thanks her, but internally he’s seething.
“She was just trying to be nice,” Tamara murmurs under her breath, not looking up from her phone. “Don’t be like that.”
“You’re not the one who has to wear this stupid thing,” he mutters back, but there’s no heat behind it. Tamara’s pretty much going through the same thing as him. Her parents put her on this medication for her empathy, that’s essentially a numbing agent for her emotions. And, yeah, it's great that Tamara no longer has panic attacks due to overstimulation of the nerves, but he still misses the sound of her laugh.
The train slows to a stop. A couple of guys get on. The atmosphere in the train car transforms almost immediately.
They have guns. Tamara visibly tenses next to him.
“Everyone get on the ground, now!,” one of them shouts. There’s more than just two, there has to be at least five of them, and they’re all wearing ski masks and have ak-47s and Call is wondering how the hell they even got allowed into the station with those things. No one really moves until one of them fires into the air and that gets everyone on the ground fast. One little boy starts crying. Tamara is stone-faced.
Call is annoyed.
It doesn’t take long before they have everyone on the train giving them their money in true stereotypical fashion. It also doesn’t take long for Metropolis’ resident superheroes to get wind of the situation.
Twenty minutes into their fun little train ride, a superhero crashes into the speeding train via window and sends glass scattering everywhere. A collective gasp rises out of the commuters as the hero stands, arms akimbo.
It’s Zero G.
“Are you serious,” Call says.
“Sorry I’m late,” the superhero says. “I missed my flight.” The civilians cheer. Call makes a noise like he’s in pain.
One of the men seems to think that catching the hero off-guard would be his best bet, so he runs at him full force with the gun raised above his head to hit him (even though he could just...shoot him), but he seems to have forgotten the origin behind Zero G’s name, because before he can touch him, the hero has him knocked out, gun removed, and floating safely out of harm’s reach on the ceiling. The other three men quickly follow suit. It’s like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, but with criminals instead of balloons.
There’s one robber left, and he also seems to be the stupidest one, too, because instead of giving up during a clearly out-numbered match, he decides to grab a hostage instead.
And, go figure, that hostage happens to be Call.
“Are you serious,” he says again. The man puts a gun to his head and it’s freezing and metal and Call is so done. He is so done . “Man, I just wanna go home.”
“Release him,” commands Zero G. That only makes his captor grip him harder.
Call glares at the hero with every fiber of his being. “Leave me alone.”
Zero G puts his hands on his spandex-clad hips and that really shouldn’t look hot, but it does, unfortunately. “Is that how you normally thank people who save your life, or am I just a special case?”
“Please leave me alone,” Call tells him instead.
“I don’t think I can do that. You seem to be in a bit of a soar spot.”
Was that a pun? Jesus Christ.
"I don’t need saving,” he stresses. “Go away.”
The man holding him digs the gun deeper into Call’s temple and sneers, “You heard him. Go away.”
The hero frowns. “Why are you being so difficult?”
Call scoffs, “This happens all the time, man. I’m used to it. I’ll be fine.”
“You’re used to it?”
“Can we move this along?,” Tamara interrupts from her place underneath a train seat. “I have yoga at 4:00.”
“As long as Wonder Boy over here agrees to stop stalking me,” Call hisses and Zero G looks extremely offended.
“I am not stalking you, I’m saving your life. You’re welcome for this, by the way.” With one swift movement, he incapacitates the man holding a gun to Call’s head and sends him to the ground. And then sends him careening into the ceiling with his buddies.
Call shakily gets to his feet, pointedly ignoring Zero G’s helping hand. The hero frowns but doesn’t comment, too preoccupied with the crowd of civilians cheering for him. Figures.
The train finally reaches the next station where a crowd of police officers are waiting to take the criminals away. There’s also a news crew there which is not good . Call tries to slide away undetected, but then Zero G has to go and ruin his life yet again.
“You’ve had a pretty eventful day, huh?,” he says, appearing literally out of nowhere and hovering at least two feet off the ground for no real reason other than because he can. “Not to mention what happened last night. Are you feeling better today?”
“I don’t think that’s really any of your business.”
“But what if I wanted to make it my business?”
Call is unamused and a little freaked out. “I’m calling the police.”
The hero lands deftly in front of him. Call stops walking. In the low light of the train station his hair glows like corn or wheat or however that simile goes, and Call has the strange urge to eat it. Curse his intrusive thoughts.
“You could’ve died just now, you know,” he tells him seriously. “Weren’t you scared? You’re not even shaking.”
“I had it under control,” Call tells him.
Zero G gives him a distinctly unimpressed look. “Sure.”
He shifts uncomfortably, thumbing the straps of his backpack. “Well, thanks I guess. It’s been real. Gotta go.”
Zero G is in front of him before he can blink. “Wait,” he says. “Let me at least walk you home.”
He feels his eyes widen. “Uh, I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
Shit. “My...family isn’t exactly fond of...supers.”
Zero G’s eyes do this weird thing where they widen in realization while simultaneously narrowing in concern. “They don’t like people with powers?”
Not what he said, but okay. “Yeah. So don’t follow me. Please.” The super hero doesn’t say anything for a while, eyeing Call’s cuff. Call pushes his sleeve over it.
Finally, he goes, “Okay,” all soft and places a hand on Call’s shoulder. “And I was serious last time, please feel free to call me if you need help.”
“Yeah, okay.” He is going to do the exact opposite of that. “Well, bye.”
He feels Zero G’s eyes on his back as he walks off towards home.
It’s not until he’s halfway there that his phone lights up with a notification.
He exhales slowly. Carefully unlocks his phone.
It’s a screenshot of a news article, the title “Who Is This Boy?” emblazoned on the front like a death sentence and a clear picture of Zero G and a hoodied Call mid-embrace outside of an apartment building, placed side-by-side to a shot of him talking to the same hero after the robbery earlier today.
Below it is a simple text. Five words.
We need to talk - Connie.
Call is so dead.
“I take you in,” Constantine starts, all dramatic and tearful and annoying, and Call has to summon every bit of willpower within himself not to roll his eyes directly into his skull. “Out of the goodness of my heart and soul- my soul - and this is how you repay me? Fraternizing with the enemy? I thought I raised you better than this.”
“You didn’t raise me at all, sir. I’m just interning until June.” The amount of times he has to remind his boss of this is staggering.
The villain waves his fingerless-gloved hand. “ Details . You hang out in my lair and eat my food and I even personally put little heart-shaped notes inside your lunchboxes every morning, just because I care! And then you go behind my back and break the one rule I give you?” He scowls. “Be thankful I owe your father so much already, or you’d be out of a job.”
Call winces. “Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.” He can’t afford to lose this internship. Despite Constantine being one of the world’s leading super villains, he’s the only one who can help Call handle his powers. It’s a sacrifice he has to make to protect himself and others around him, and for that, he’s willing to do anything.
Constantine can’t stay stern for too long. The stiffness on one half of his face melts away while the other half, covered by the mask, remains cold and stone-like, and he sighs dramatically while falling backwards onto the throne, hand to his forehead. “Don’t give me that look, you know I can’t resist the puppy-eyes. Isn’t he just adorable, Jerry? He gets it from my side of the family.”
“We’re not related to him, brother,” Jericho mumbles, not looking up from his book. “Stop pretending he’s your son. It’s creepy.”
Call silently agrees. While him and Constantine certainly act and talk the same, they look wildly different from each other. With the villain’s blond hair and Roman characteristics compared to Call’s dark everything and soft features, they have little to nothing in common, save for the eyes; both slate gray and intense, and to be honest Call’s not really sure where he got them from. It’s a mystery.
Jericho, on the other hand, is brown-haired and sallow and mostly sticks to numbers and books rather than words. Unlike his brother, he’s quieter and takes comfort in things that are orderly and neat, which is why he’s probably the best secretary any villain could hope for.
Jericho’s mostly just there to make sure his twin doesn’t do anything too outrageous and stupid. He’s the true hero here.
“In spirit, Jerry. He’s my son in spirit.” He suddenly claps his hands together and Call jolts. “Alright, all of this business talk is making me hungry. How about you join us for dinner and we can discuss some things, hm?”
Call follows him out of the throne room and into the red-velvet dining hall, where the evil minions are already buzzing around making last minute set up changes for dinner. One of them bumps into him, but he doesn’t get more than an off-focus glance and a soft grunt before they’re off again.
He asked Constantine once if he ever felt bad about mind-controlling all these people to do his bidding without their consent, but all he’d gotten in return was a blank stare and the words, “Who cares if it’s consensual, I’m paying them, aren’t I?” and Call decided not to ask his boss any more philosophical questions.
The dining hall is very big and very dark thanks to Connie’s superb interior decorating skills, most of which include a lot of velvet and suits of armor and decorative swords that might not actually be decorative at all. He’ll admit, it’s pretty cool, although he can never bring Tamara over. It’s kind of hard to explain the giant black castle in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by fog, and the decapitated head they use as a door knocker.
A minion (respectfully dubbed Stanley by yours truly) pulls out a chair for Call to sit in and grunts in acknowledgement when he thanks him. Constantine sits at the very head of the long table in a black chair that’s taller than him standing up. Jericho sits at the other end.
“Oh look, it’s roast duck!,” Constantine cheers when the plates are brought out to them. “Call, it’s your favorite!”
(Call doesn’t bother to remind him that he’s vegetarian. Jericho will take him out to McDonald’s later anyway)
“How was school today?,” Jericho asks. His voice is quiet, since he’s nearest to Call. “Learn anything new?”
“It was okay. I got an A on my history test.” (A faint, “That’s my boy!” is heard from the other end of the table) “And then I almost got shot on the train home.”
Constantine scoffs. “You did not almost get shot. I was watching the whole thing live. If you were in any real danger we would have stepped in.”
“Thankfully that super was there, although I don’t approve of your association with him.” Jericho gives him a leveled look and Call sinks slightly lower in his seat. Oh boy, here it comes. “What exactly is your relationship with that boy?”
He says relationship with a particular emphasis that has Call scowling. “There is no relationship , he’s just weird and annoying and has a hero complex bigger than the moon. He’s also never going to leave me alone because he’s convinced that I tried to off myself the other night.”
Jericho is immediately on high alert mom-mode. “ Did you?”
“ No! ” Seriously, what is it with everyone and thinking he’s suicidal? “I’m perfectly mentally stable-” (Constantine side-eyes him here) “-and I would appreciate it if you stay off my case, because one hyper-fixated motherly type is bad enough.”
“Well if he won’t leave you alone,” Constantine inputs, running one long finger over his knife while his eyes darken with ill-intent. “We’ll make him leave you alone.”
“That’s...really not necessary,” he says too quickly. “Sir.”
Jericho cuts in, “Did you get a name?”
“Does it matter? It’s not like he wears a mask.” Still, he shrugs. “No name. To be fair I didn’t give him my name either.”
“Good. The less he knows about you, the less he knows about...you know what.” Jericho clears his throat. “And he can’t know who you are if we want to keep you safe.”
Call frowns. “What do you mean?”
Constantine says around a mouthful of food, “Well if the hero’s association finds out about you and your unique manipulation abilities they’ll most likely try to take you away to “train” you.” He burps demurely into a napkin. “And we all know how that’ll turn out.”
Call stares at his plate. Constantine doesn’t really like to talk about his past, the hero’s association, and what they did to him while he was there. Although it’s pretty easy to connect the dots once you hang around him long enough and realize that his ever-changing mood swings and personalities weren’t always there to begin with.
“As long as you stay under the radar,” Jericho stresses, shooting Constantine a look that has the other man blanching. “You will be perfectly fine, Call. On that note, I’m going to lay down a few ground rules. I don’t want you hanging around that boy, talking to that boy, or even thinking of that boy. Your association with each other is dangerous. Not only for yourself, but for everyone else.”
And there it is again. For everyone else’s protection . Even villains are scared of him.
“Okay.” He picks up a fork and starts poking at his duck.
He feels Jericho’s eyes on him for a moment before the man sighs. “I’m just glad you’re alright. I don’t know what those novices were thinking storming a train during rush hour like that. And then taking hostages . Not to mention taking you as a hostage, of all people.”
“Not to worry, I’ll pay them a little visit sometime this week,” Constantine says cheerfully to mask the underlying threat. “Although, Call, I’m a bit disappointed. Why didn’t you fight back? Have you been slacking on your training?”
“They were holding a gun to my head, sir.”
“So?,” he says. “Nothing you couldn’t have handled. You should have just used your powers.”
Call’s stomach turns at that and Jericho’s face twists into something ugly. “No he could not have, Constantine, you know why that would’ve been a bad idea.”
“Pssh. We’re supervillains. What’s a few more deaths added to the count?”
Call abruptly pushes away from the table and stands. “I’m going to bed, “ he announces, then stomps upstairs as hard as he can. Constantine says something about “teenage angst” but he slams the door to his bedroom shut before he can hear the rest.
He flops down onto his black comforter and sighs. It’s hard having highly ranked criminals as your legal guardians.
Call scans the streets below him for any signs of movement. When he sees none, he quickly hops across the roof to another building and hides behind a wall. A few beats later, no one appears out of the shadows, so he continues moving.
For each person on a top secret mission, there’s certain things they like to do to keep them focused. Some people mumble coordinates. Others count their weapons and make sure everything is situated in case of a surprise attack.
Call, personally, likes to mumble the Mission Impossible theme song under his breath. Especially as he’s creeping around abandoned buildings in the dead of night and wearing super cool spy gear. It honestly just makes the entire experience that much more enjoyable.
“Call, stop singing over the comms,” Jericho’s voice comes floating into the ear piece. “It’s supposed to be used strictly for the mission and the mission only.”
“Don’t be such a stickler, Jerry,” Constantine sing-songs on one end. “Let the boy live his dreams.”
Call snorts. It’s a loud, ugly sound. “Yeah, Jerry, let the boy live his dreams. Hey, Con- uh, sir, what would you do if I quit to follow my dreams of becoming a Disney star?”
“I’d disown you,” Constantine’s answer is quick and flat. “No son of mine will be on Disney. ”
“Good thing I’m not your son, then.”
“Wha- Jericho, are you hearing this? Do something about your nephew, he’s out of control- “
“Will the two of you please pay attention?” They shut up. “God, it’s like taking care of two toddlers - Constantine, there’s a group of three heroes moving towards your location. Call, I want you to move north - “
“I thought we were using codenames,” Call whines. “You said we would use codenames this time.”
“The code names aren’t important right now, alright? Now, I want you to - “
“Aw, but I really like mine,” Constantine cuts in, also whining. “Captain Fishface is so good! And Call worked so hard to give names to everyone. I read in a parenting magazine once that you have to nurture a child’s imagination or else it’ll stunt their growth - which is probably why Call is so short , Jericho - “
“Fine!” The poor man is visibly frustrated even though neither can see him right now. “Captain Fishface, stay where you are and prepare yourself for an attack while Pooploser69 moves north to immobilize any enemies while staying out of sight. There, happy now?”
“Ecstatic.” Call starts moving again, keeping to the shadows and humming the Pink Panther theme this time. Jericho sighs very long and very heavily.
By the time Call gets to the alcove above the main floor, the heroes are just starting to trickle in for the fight.
The first one to arrive is Verity, a seasoned professional hero with a strong winning streak and a unique element manipulation ability that puts her as one of the top heroes in the country. When she arrives it’s in a swirl of fire that dissipates as she walks forward, scorching the dirt underneath her feet.
Next is Nightshade, who arrives quite dramatically from a twirl of his cloak and a puff of what can only be described as colored baby powder. He’s one of the younger heroes (having been recruited into the Association at age twelve and training there ever since) and it really shows in his costume design choices. Call’s not typically one to complain, but even he knows when to draw the line at how many rhinestones is too many rhinestones.
The last to arrive is, of course, Zero G.
“You picked the wrong day to be here, Enemy of Death,” he says in this deep-ass voice that Call knows he’s faking. “Surrender now. We have you surrounded.”
Constantine slowly turns, cruel excitement evident in the way his fingers are trembling, itching to fight. The supers are obviously on edge and Call really can’t blame them. Connie can be downright terrifying when he wants to be.
“Oh, but where would be the fun in that?,” he teases. His eyes gleam maliciously in the low light of the warehouse. “I thought we could play first.”
With the slightest wish of his hand, minions come running out from the shadows, so fast that the heroes barely have time to fight back before they’re captured and being brought forward to Constantine’s feet. Verity makes an attempt to use her flames, but the Chaos Ridden are quick to smother them.
“I’m surprised she would even attempt it,” Jericho contemplates. “Heroes usually try to avoid harming the Chaos Ridden since they’re technically civilians.”
Call says, “Maybe she doesn’t have as good a moral compass as the other two. She is older, anyway.” He takes a sip of his capri sun and sits back on his heels. “How long do you think this fight will take?”
“Not too long. Look, one of them is already succumbing to Constantine’s will.”
The one he’s talking about is Nightshade, who’s quickly backing up to avoid getting touched by the minions. Even though he’s wearing a mask, Call can tell he’s practically shitting his pants right now. He’s also showing the tell-tale signs of getting controlled, which is pretty embarrassing once you know that he’s the only telepath on the team and therefore the least liable to get affected by The Enemy Of Death.
Call scratches his wrist. The cuff is starting to itch a little bit.
Suddenly, he hears a creak behind him, like a door opening, and he freezes. No one else should be up here but him, and he has a brief moment of panic wondering if one of the heroes slipped away from the fight without him noticing. But no, all three of them are down there-
Hands grab him from behind.
“Hey-!” He starts, but then someone shoves a rag over his nose and holds it there and Call tries not to breathe in, but he does by accident and suddenly everything starts blurring together.
He vaguely hears Jericho yelling and a whole bunch of crashing sounds, but then everything goes dark.
He wakes up in a completely different abandoned building.
He knows it’s different, because while the other one was made of metal and looked more like a parking garage, this one is wooden and looks like it will collapse at any second. The only thing in the room with him is a metal door on one wall, but no windows. It’s also padlocked pretty tightly.
“Hello?” He bangs on the metal door, but it doesn’t budge an inch. “Captain Fishface? Ben and Jerry’s? A little help here?”
He puts a hand on the door and hisses when it burns him. Then he starts to smell smoke.
“Uhh, Jericho?,” Call says somewhat frantically. “We have a problem. ”
For one terrifying second, there’s silence. And then Jericho’s voice sounds over the comms.
“Call? Is that you? Call, are you alright?”
“Y-Yeah, I’m fine. I think. But I’m trapped and I think the building is on fire. Do you- “
“It’s alright, I’ve got you on the radar.” Call almost cries with relief. “I’m not sure where Constantine is but- are you alright?”
“Sure,” he grumbles. “Peachy.”
“Stay close to the floor. Try not to inhale any smoke.” Jericho’s voice is steady and reassuring even though Call is 99% sure he’s having a stroke right now. “There should be a window to your left. Do you see it?”
Call coughs, wondering how he’s supposed to not inhale any smoke when it’s literally everywhere . “K-Kinda? It’s hard to see in here.” He moves forward a little, but stops. “The path is blocked by a fallen pillar, I can’t get out.”
A long, long sigh on the other end. “Okay. Well. The best thing to do in this situation is not panic.”
“I’m not panicking.”
“I said don’t panic!” Oh christ, he’s definitely about to pop a blood vessel. “I- sorry, I just- you’ll be fine, Call. Don’t worry. Just- don’t move. I don’t know.”
“I could use my powers,” he suggests, already bracing for a sharp rebuttal, but it doesn’t come. Instead, Jericho hesitates.
A sudden crashing sound from his left. Call freezes, but his coughing is making his location very apparent. And then suddenly he finds himself being grabbed from behind a second time and lifted up, up into the smoke-filled air like a sack of potatoes and Jericho’s yelling something in his ear as they fly out of the building, but he can’t focus on anything except the nausea and panic lurching in his stomach as he clutches onto Zero G’s suit for dear life because not this again, oh god .
“Are you okay? Did they do anything to you? How many fingers am I holding up?” Call wants to scream at him.
“Please put me down,” he whispers instead. Anxiously.
The boy peers down at him for a second, concerned. “Can you wait a little bit longer? I need to make sure the ground is safe enough- “
“ Dude, I’m gonna vomit .” That’s motivation enough. They soon land on a nearby church and Call immediately collapses to his knees in agony .
“Are you afraid of heights?,” Zero G asks sheepishly when Call’s done retching, and Call shoots him the most evil glare he possesses in his arsenal because really? Really.
“I’m not afraid of heights, I’m afraid of falling .” He shakily gets to his feet and pointedly ignores the hero’s helping hand. “What is wrong with you?”
“What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with you? What were you doing in a burning construction site in the middle of the night?”
“None of - your business.” He coughs some more. Jericho is suspiciously silent on the comms. “I’m fairly certain you’re stalking me at this point. How did you even know I was in there?”
“I was following The Enemy of Death. I just came back from a fight.” Call swallows nervously. Zero G notices. “I heard you coughing.”
“By the way.” He brings out a familiar looking Hello Kitty bag. “Why do you have a backpack full of knives and grenades on you?”
Shit. Call snatches the bag from him and quickly scans the contents. Nothing seems to be missing, thank god. “They make me feel safe.”
“Hm. You know, most people use stuffed animals for that sort of thing.”
“Well, some people have stuffed animals. Others have knives. Don’t hate on my lifestyle.”
Zero G stares at him. The moonlight makes his hair look like spider silk and once again, Call finds himself craving a good munch. What is wrong with him.
“Who are you?,” the hero asks after a pause.
“I’m Callum Hunt,” he tells him simply.
It’s obvious that’s not what he meant, but he nods anyway. “You’re a pretty mysterious kid, Callum Hunt.”
He shrugs, really irritated for some reason. “Whatever. Thanks for saving me I guess, but I didn’t need your help. I had it under control.”
The blond huffs, frustrated. “You didn’t. You were about to die from smoke inhalation.”
Call flails a bit. “Well, maybe I wanted to die from smoke inhalation. Ever think of that? Asshole .”
Zero G purses his lips. “I think we should get you to a hospital. You’re hysterical.”
“You’re hysterical,” Call slurs, then pitches sideways so violently he almost falls off the roof. Zero G is quick to catch him. “You damn heroes....never mind your own business...”
He passes out.
Call wakes up in a hospital bed with Jericho staring down at him.
“Do I even want to know what happened?,” he asks hoarsely, throat on fire and feeling generally like he got hit by a bus three times over.
“You fainted.” Jericho does not looked pleased. Neither do any of the nurses, although that might be because of the four zombified minions staring blankly at them from each corner of the room. “It was my fault, I should’ve known you weren’t ready to come with us yet.”
Call makes a frustrated noise in the back of his throat and attempts to struggle into a sitting position, but the heart monitor suddenly jumps in frequency and a nurse has to hold him down. “No. I am ready. It was just- it was just an isolated incident. I can go again-”
Jericho silences him with a sympathetic look. Call’s heart sinks. That look means ‘I understand how upset you are, but I’m not changing my mind’.
Constantine is inconsolable. He’s pacing around the room with his hands shaking stressfully and looking downright murderous, anxiety bleeding off of him in waves. “They took my kid. My kid. How dare they-”
“Clearly it’s someone who knows who Call is. This wasn’t just a random attack.” Jericho looks just about as blood-thirsty as his twin, if not moreso. “We’re going to need to enforce more precautions. And more guards.”
“I have a pretty good idea who it could be,” Constantine says darkly.
“When I get my hands on him.” The lights flicker ominously overhead and the remaining nurses high-tail it out of there like the devil’s nipping at their heels. “I am going to crush -”
“Let’s go wait outside and let Call sleep,” Jericho suggests, probably noticing how white Call’s face is becoming. “Oh, and by the way, those are for you.”
He gestures to the bedside table, where a large bouquet of flowers is sitting innocently.
“These were left here earlier today by someone, but we don’t know who. There’s a card, though.” Constantine finally stops pacing long enough to shoot the bouquet a suspicious look. He’s probably weighing the options of it being poisoned.
It doesn’t seem poisoned. And when Call takes a little sniff it actually smells pretty nice. He opens the card, it reads:
Dear Callum Hunt,
I’m not really good at these types of things, so I just decided to wing it.
(Get it? Wing it? It’s a flight pun)
Despite everything, Call snorts.
“Who’s it from?,” Jericho asks innocently. “A friend?”
That’s...a stretch. Call shrugs. “Sure.”
Constantine perks up immediately. “Like, a friend friend? Or a friend friend?”
“You just said the same thing twice. Sir.”
Constantine blinks at him. Then looks at Jericho. “Definitely a girlfriend.”
“Or boyfriend,” Jericho nods.
Call makes a noise.
Zero G visits him at the hospital that night.
Call’s watching Netflix when he hears knocking on his window. He pauses the TV and swivels around to find the superhero peering at him through the window. He waves. Call frowns.
“What are you doing here?,” he hisses when he gets the window open, and Zero G just rests his arms on the window sill like this is totally normal and they do this every night.
“I wanted to visit. I’m just really worried about you.”
“ Why? ” His hands fly up in frustration. “We don’t even know each other. I don’t know your name . We have no real affiliation-”
“Then let’s get to know each other!,” he blurts, then seems to immediately regret saying anything, if his reddening ears are anything to go by. “I-I mean-”
Call holds up a hand to silence him. “Nice try, but I’ve been given specific directions not to talk to you.” Not like he’s ever listened to Jericho’s orders anyway, but Zero G doesn’t need to know that. “Now shoo.”
And then, get this, Zero G has the audacity to look concerned . “Who told you that? Is someone threatening you?“ And then his expression darkens further and Call will admit at this moment that, yeah, that was kinda hot. “Or was it your dad? The one who apparently doesn’t care if you try to kill yourself?”
Call sighs through his nose and clasps his hands together in prayer. “For the last time. I’m not- ”
“I know your family doesn’t like supers. And I know you get really annoyed when I save you, which is weird by the way, but whatever.” He looks sheepish. “But...” He picks at the peeling paint on the window sill. He looks so young. Call suddenly remembers that he can’t be much older than him. “I still really want to be your friend. If that’s okay.”
Call studies him. Stands there for a moment in tense silence. Sighs.
He’s going to regret this.
“Do you want to come inside and watch Pretty Little Liars with me?,” he asks, and Zero G beams.
After that, it’s nearly impossible to get the superhero to leave him alone.
Not only does he visit at night, but sometimes he’ll pop his head into the window during the daytime (which never fails to give the nurses a heart attack), and yet miraculously the Madden twins never catch him in the act nor are they all in the same room at the same time. Call’s glad; he’s sure that if Zero G ever found out who he really was, they wouldn’t be friends anymore.
Friends. Yeesh, it sounds so weird to say that.
But that’s essentially what they are now. Zero G will come and visit and sit in Call’s hospital bed with him and watch Netflix. Sometimes he’ll even bring popcorn. Call learns that they have a lot in common and like the same things and make each other laugh.
“I love robotics,” Call tells him. “My...uh, dad is really good at it. He taught me everything he knows.”
Their conversations always get more subdued when they’re talking about Call’s family, mostly because Call can only hide so much when it comes to them, but also because Zero G gets a dark look on his face that makes him want to change the subject.
“I like robotics too. Always have. At headquarters when I’m not really doing anything I like to build little robots and things. My instructor gets mad because instead of going to sparring practice I’ll just be reading science books.” He laughs. “I’ve always wanted to go to school to learn. But I’ve never had the time.”
“Trust me, you’re not missing out on anything.” Still, it’s kind of sad that Zero G hasn’t experienced some of the stuff that normal kids have. It’s hard to do when you don’t have a secret identity. “We should totally hang out sometime. Like go to the arcade or something. Just have a normal day as kids.”
They decide to go to the mall.
Call tells him he better not show up in costume or he will fight him. Zero G tells him not to worry and winks before disappearing for the rest of the day. That should’ve been a red flag.
When the time comes for them to go, Call is waiting outside the mall in a sweater and jeans, and the superhero shows up sans costume rocking a bright pink Hawaiian shirt, huge green sunglasses that take up like half his face, and khaki shorts that end just above the knee and it’s horrible, it’s very very horrible, and Call thinks he might cry.
“Are you kidding me,” Call dead-pans.
“What?,” he says, hands on his hips and, yep, there are definitely people staring at them now. “I look like a citizen, right? This is a great cover.”
“It’s the middle of September .” He pinches the bridge of his nose and gets a flash of Jericho doing the same and, wow, that’s scary. “You know what, whatever. Let’s go. And you better not be pulling a fake mustache out of your pocket right now or I swear to god.”
(Zero G slowly slips the mustache back into his pocket)
“So this is a mall,” he says once they’re inside, gazing up at the spacious building with an expression of awe. “Fascinating.”
“You’ve never been in one before?”
He shakes his head. He’s so busy looking at everything that Call has to grab him when he almost walks into a kiosk. “Too busy training. Never enough time to go to places like this.” Then he gasps when his eyes catch sight of something. “Is that an arcade?”
For future reference, going shopping with someone who’s never been shopping before is nothing short of a nightmare. The superhero drags him into every store they come across, and it takes about fifteen minutes of debate each time to convince him not to buy something totally stupid (“No, you cannot get a mini puree machine, put that down.”), which ultimately ends in him pouting for five minutes until Call makes it up him by getting him an ice cream cone. Every. Single. Time. It’s ridiculous and exhausting and Call finds himself close to tears from frustration a couple of times, but it’s also quite possibly the most fun he’s had in a very long time.
“This is great,” says the hero when Call walks back over to their table with yet another ice cream cone. “I love the mall. I want to live here.”
“Might as well buy one,” Call suggests. “With that big superhero paycheck of yours.”
Zero G laughs, clear and bright, and Call is sweating . “I could, but I won’t. The city needs someone to save it, not some bratty kid who sits on his money all day.” He clears his throat. “Besides I’m too busy training to really have any fun. I’ve been in this business since I was two and I’m not stopping anytime soon.”
"Two?” Call stares at him. “How-”
“My powers manifested early. Dad turned me in.” He wipes his chin with a napkin but doesn’t get all of the ice cream off. “I don’t remember much about it, but apparently everything I touched kept floating to the ceiling. Including my crib.”
“Cool.” Then he thinks about it for a second and backtracks. “Wait, no, not cool. Your dad gave you up? Just like that?”
A shrug. “I don’t really blame him. Having a kid that powerful can be...dangerous. He wanted to protect my mom, so he thought that getting me into training early would help me get more control.”
Call nods seriously. “I get it.” And he does, he really really does, and it’s sort of sad just how much he gets it. “But he’s still a jerk. Tell me where he lives, I’ll fight him.”
He’s being totally serious, but the other boy just grins and bops his nose with his disgusting ice cream cone. “You’re adorable.”
Call grumbles darkly to himself and takes a sip of his milkshake to hide a smile. “But seriously, do you never take breaks? Like, don’t you get tired?”
The blond shrugs. “Well, you know what they say.”
Call raises an eyebrow.
“The grind never stops,” he says seriously, holding up a cheese grater, and Call snorts so hard that milk comes out of his nose.
“I told you not to buy that!,” he yelps, trying to staunch the flow of milk as Aaron laughs and laughs and just keeps laughing. “Stop laughing at me you dick, my nose is burning!”
But pretty soon Zero G’s laughter (which is really loud and ugly and sounds nothing like what you would expect and Call loves it) gets to him and he starts laughing too. It’s starts to patter off when he notices the other boy isn’t laughing anymore, just kind of staring at him with this weird look.
Call asks, “What?” all self-conscious, and Zero G just kind of. Looks. At him.
He says, “You should smile more.” His voice is quiet, like they’re sharing a secret. “I like your smile.”
Call is totally not blushing.
They day winds down and soon the two boys find themselves in front of Call’s “apartment” (it’s not really his, it’s just a random apartment he claimed was his so the hero doesn’t follow him home). The sun is already setting when they say their goodbyes.
“It’s been real, Zero. Or- ZG. Can I call you ZG?”
“No.” And Call scowls. “You can call me...Aaron.” Call stops scowling.
“Oh.” He blinks. Zero G- Aaron is looking at him with wide eyes and his shoulders hiked up to his ears like he’s nervous and Call realizes that this is very vital information that is being shared with him right now. He has Zero G’s name. Constantine would be ecstatic.
He decides not to tell Constantine.
“Okay. Cool.” Call is a bit dazed. “My name’s Call.”
He laughs a little and Call is pissed , because he’s so cute this is illegal and he needs to stop immediately. “I know.”
“Right. Okay.” An awkward pause. “Bye...Aaron.”
Aaron waves. “Bye Call.” He flies off into the night.
Call calls a taxi, presses his face into the back of the seat, and screams.
Call dodges a series of drone-bots as they streak through the air. One of them comes too close to his face and he reaches out with his mind to brush along the sleek metal - but nothing happens.
Another fleet of bots zip towards him. Constantine watches from the sidelines with terrifying focus, fingers steepled under his nose. Call is sweating at the attention, but he tries not to let that distract him. Again, the outer reaches of his mind come in contact with two bots - nothing happens.
“I think,” he pants when they take a break, “That this would be a lot easier if I had the cuff off. Sir.”
“Easier, yes,” Constantine nods. “But then what would be the point of the exercise? Do it again, from the top.”
Whining and complaining will do nothing for him in this situation. Constantine’s immune to his puppy-eyes when he’s like this.
His training’s been getting more and more intense lately, ever since the mission fiasco, and Call would be touched over the fact that Constantine’s trying his best to make sure Call can protect himself when Constantine can’t, except that he absolutely hates it . Day after day he trains with this stupid cuff on “to build up resilience” or whatever, but all it does is make him powerless for more hours out of the day than normal and he’s sick of it .
He’s also been hanging out with Aaron more, and people are starting to notice. Tamara thinks he’s sneaking off for a secret rendezvous with a secret boyfriend or girlfriend every time he tells her he’s going somewhere. It’s terrible.
Although the worst offense of all is that he doesn’t tell Constantine.
Jericho knows something’s up, there’s literally no getting anything past that man, but Call’s lucky he doesn’t really take too much interest in social media, or else he would’ve seen all the snapchat stories documenting his ‘budding relationship’ with the blond super. And there are a lot.
And, sure, he expected there to be some sort of social media frenzy when the two started hanging out regularly, so it’s not really surprising when he gains more and more followers each day. What he doesn’t expect are the legions of Zero G fangirls who seem to be out for blood. Call’s in particular. His instagram feed is filled with comments such as “take an L” and “idk what ZG sees in a doofus like you. Poophead” and plenty of gun emojis to cause concern for one’s well-being.
“Is this cyberbullying?,” Call asks no one, staring off into the middle distance, and Tamara just nods absentmindedly, attention completely stolen away by the brewing war on the hero’s association’s official Twitter.
Overall, things are okay. He has a pretty good system going for him. None of the important people in his life clash and everyone’s safe from each other. It’s good.
And then it’s not good.
“We have another mission!,” Constantine sings while putting on his mask and cloak. “Do you think I should go with black again this time? Or maybe navy blue?”
Call knows he’s not going on this one, but it’s a two day mission and that means he’ll be home alone. Jericho is beside himself with worry.
“Don’t worry about me,” he dismisses. “I’ll hold down the fort. Besides, I have to catch up on Pretty Little Liars, so this is the perfect opportunity.”
Jericho purses his lips. “Alright...if you’re sure.”
“I’m sure.” He pushes him out the door with all of his strength (Jericho is a lot heavier than he looks) and stands in the door frame with his hands on his hips. “Just go. I’ll be right here when you get back.”
He’s not there when they get back.
There are men in cheap suits standing outside his door the next morning, tall, stone-faced beings that block sunlight from streaming into the foyer like slabs of concrete, and Call’s just standing there in his lego pajamas, ratty-haired, gaping, trying not to let the piece of cinnamon sugar poptart fall out of his open mouth and onto the ground.
“Come quietly and you won’t be hurt,” is all the warning he gets, before he’s zip-tied, has a bag put over his head, and gets hauled into the back of a moving van. The doors slam shut behind him. Call groans as they drive off.
“Guys, this is hardly necessary,” he tries to reason with them, but at the same time not really because he could honestly care less. They’re forcing him along a dirt path, shaking him impatiently when his feet get tangled up in each other. “What exactly is kidnapping me going to accomplish?”
He can’t see anything and his captors aren’t replying, so he puffs out a resigned sigh. “You guys are going to regret this, big time.”
He’s almost sort of impressed. Usually lower ranking villains, even ones that don’t obey Constantine’s orders like some sort of strange evil hierarchy, wouldn’t dare to come after Call lest they face the Enemy of Death’s wrath. Whoever organized this kidnapping must be really bold to actually steal him out of the house like this.
It’s not until he’s inside wherever they’ve taken him that he gets the bag removed from his head. It’s a spacious warehouse or maybe a farm, with sunlight streaking in from the sunroof like golden threads and angled shadows making it appear more ominous than it should be.
“Nice place you got here,” he quips to one of the security men. “Very chic.”
Next to him, there’s another captive. Their bag is removed and long white hair comes tumbling out over white-clad shoulders. Gray eyes light up in recognition.
“Hey Ms. Tarquin,” Call greets her. “How’ve you been?”
The older woman smiles warmly at him. “Good afternoon Call. I’ve been quite well. But how many times have I told you to call me Mom?”
His smile gets wider. More sarcastic. “And haven’t I told you that it’s not happening, you psycho?”
She doesn’t get offended. She never does. Instead, she titters airily in a way reminiscent to her son, Constantine. “Oh Call, you amuse me so.”
“ENOUGH!,” a voice booms suddenly from the ceiling. Both captives glance uncaringly up at the teenaged boy reclining in a makeshift throne in the rafters. He’s dressed all in black and has a cape, and on his head sits a golden crown that vaguely resembles a kindergartener’s craft project. In his hands he holds a super huge gun that looks like it came from Constantine’s personal lab.
“Oh, Alex!,” Anastasia calls delightedly, and she would probably be waving too, if it weren’t for the fact that her hands were literally tied at the moment. “Hello, son!’
“I am not your son , stepmother,” he sneers, dramatic as always. He’s even gone the extra mile today and put on some heavy looking eyeliner. Call approves. “Do not patronize me so easily when you are at my mercy-”
“Alex, I hate to be a party pooper,” Call yells up to him. “But I have a math test tomorrow and I really cannot be bothered to do this right now.”
“ What did I say about patronizing me? Ugh, you always do this! You never listen! ” The older boy get so worked up over it he rips the crown off his head and attempts to throw it (it floats harmlessly to the ground) and starts precariously pacing along the rafters in anger. “It’s always ‘Call this and Call that!’ What about Alex , huh? What about my needs?”
“I’m assuming he didn’t take his medication today?,” Call mutters under his breath, and the wide-eyed guilty look Anastasia sends him is proof enough.
“I should’ve been the one to get that internship!,” Alex yells passionately. “It should’ve been me! Why you? Why a stupid little kid? It’s not fair!”
“Because they like me better,” he shouts back. “And you’re a dick!”
“Language!” Anastasia practically sings.
“ Shut up, stepmother- !”
“Mom,” she corrects happily.
While Alex is having a mental breakdown, Call slyly presses the emergency button hidden under his clothes. Constantine and Jericho should be getting the distress signal right about now. Now all he has to do is wait.
In the meantime, he looks around for anything to free himself with. There are a number of rocks near his feet, but he can’t really get ahold of them with his hands tied like they are. Great.
“Man, he’s really starting to go downhill,” he mutters to Anastasia, and she nods sadly. Somehow Alex hears this even though he’s like twenty feet above them.
“Downhill? I’ve only just begun!” He holds up the gun and waves it around tauntingly. “You know what this is?”
“Yes, because you stole it from Constantine’s lab.” He’s trying to be patient here, he really is, but Alex is so annoying. “I dunno, it just seems like this plan of yours is a bit of a downgrade. I mean, last time you chloroformed me. This time you just put a bag over my head.”
“Well, not everyone has a freaking huge inheritance, Call. This was within the budget. Besides.” He aims the weapon at Call’s head and smiles. “This way is much more dramatic.”
But before he can fire, someone crashes in through the window.
It’s Aaron. And boy, does he look pissed .
“Ah, there he is.” Alex’s smile turns dark. “I knew it was only a matter of time before your boyfriend showed up.”
Aaron does a quick sweep of the room, identifies that Call is sitting tied up in one corner of the room, and his eyes darken with barely concealed rage.
“Let him go.” His voice is flat and deep. Alex huffs.
“But where would be the fun in that? Especially before Constantine can see what I’m about to do to his precious perfect Call.”
“Now Alex,” Anastasia warns, and for the first time she sounds a little bit terse.
“Don’t you now alex me, woman! Don’t you see? I’m winning!”
Aaron makes a weird noise. “Why would Constantine Madden care if Call...”
Alex makes a delighted face at Call, who’s shaking his head frantically and trying to convey through telepathy not to do what he’s about to do.
“Oh, but don’t you know, Zero G?,” he purrs. “Your little boyfriend is working for your greatest nemesis, after all.”
“What?” Aaron looks so confused and betrayed and Call feels his heart seize because it’s his fault he looks like that. It’s his fault any of this is happening, really. He turns his devastating eyes on Call. “You...you work for the Enemy of Death?”
Call tries to explain, “Well, actually -”
“Duh,” Alex says, rolling his eyes. “Why else do you think he befriended you?”
“No!” Call’s surprised by his own shout. “No , I’m your friend, I promise. Aaron -”
“Look, while this is all nice and dandy,” Alex interrupts and Call is ready to scream at him. “I kind of have someone to kill. So.” He aims again.
Aaron, clearly still reeling from this bit of information, makes a split second decision. He tackles Alex to the ground.
Or at least, he would’ve tackled Alex to the ground, if Alex were the type of person to obey the laws of science. Instead, he makes a quick jerking motion with his head and the entire room flips upside down.
Call yells as he’s suddenly flung to the ceiling, but Aaron throws out a hand to lessen his gravitational pull and he floats safely up (down?), while Alex cackles like a madman. His gravity manipulation is kind of cool, Call will admit, but damn is it annoying. Not to mention dizzying. He might actually vomit.
“We’re quite similar, you and me,” Alex says from the ground/ceiling and Call can’t look up/down at him for too long or all the blood will start rushing to his head. “Abandoned by our fathers. Similar powers. Betrayed by our significant others.”
“Kimiya didn’t betray you, she just broke up with you because you’re a psycho!”
“Shut up, Call!” He fires the gun, but he wasn’t aiming correctly and it goes ricocheting off the walls. Aaron does some crazy air maneuvers to avoid the blast.
“Aim for his head!,” Call yells to Aaron. “He can only use his powers if he’s looking at you!”
Aaron either doesn’t hear him or pretends to ignore him, because he doesn’t even look down at Call in acknowledgement. Also, somehow Alex is kicking his ass even though he weighs 80 pounds wet, so Call knows he has to step in fast.
The cuff around his wrist digs into his skin like a heavy reminder. A surge of anger pulses in tandem with his heartbeat.
Call remembers all of his training, all of the time and energy he and Constantine put into pushing Call’s abilities just in case he was in a situation like this. The cuff seems to heat up angrily, almost as if it knows what he’s about to do.
Black cracks begin to appear in the metal. Anastasia makes a soft “oooh” noise as she watches the cuff break and crumble to pieces. The zip-ties are close to follow it’s fate, curling and bubbling into a melted black mess. He clenches and unclenches his hands in relief.
“You’ve been getting stronger,” Anastasia notes proudly. She sighs. “All of my sons are so talented.”
Ignoring her, Call half-swims through the air towards the battling duo and nearly gets knocked out when Alex changes the direction of gravity again and a whole bunch of stuff from the ground comes hurtling towards him. Alex doesn’t seem to have noticed he’s free yet. He still has time.
Aaron notices him coming and opens his mouth to say something, but stops when he notices the black, web-like cracks running up the side of the building towards the rafters where Alex is currently gloating. His eyes widen. The wood starts to turn black with rot.
Call hasn’t used his powers against another person like this in a long time. The first time he did, he was four years old and didn’t know his own power. The last time he did, he was four years old, and his mother was dead because of him.
“I will be the new Enemy of Death!,” Alex crows. “Bow before my might - “
But before the black tendrils can reach Alex, there’s a loud crack from the wall behind him. Everyone pauses. There’s a brief moment of silence, before the wall caves in and Alex screeches as he’s buried under the rubble. From the hole in the wall emerges a military-grade tank with the Chaos symbol spray painted on the side and Call puts his hand down and curbs his powers before they can bring the whole building down.
The dust settles. A blond head pokes out from the tank.
“ Mommy! ,” Constantine warbles, waving excitedly. “Sorry I’m late, but look at my new toy! Isn’t it just grand? ”
“It’s lovely, Ducky,” Anastasia simpers. “Now can you come over here and untie Mommy, please?”
Jericho emerges from the tank as well and makes his way over to Alex and softly nudges his motionless body with his toe. “He’s alive,” he announces.
Everyone except Anastasia groans.
“Okay,” says Aaron as he floats to the ground. His eyes are practically bugging out of his skull at the familiar way Constantine is untying Call and brushing his bangs away from his face to check for injuries. “What the heck is going on here?”
“You did a good job today, son.” Jericho claps a hand on Aaron’s shoulder, who’s looking a little worse for wear and kind of shell-shocked, but mostly alive. “Call was right. You are the real OG.”
“It’s Zero G,” he corrects softly.
“What did I say?” He peers closer at him, probably scrutinizing whether or not they needed to take him to a hospital. “Hm. I never expected for anyone else to be privy to our...family affairs, but it seems like we have no choice with you, G Force. Since I’m sure Call won’t let us kill you.”
“Once again, it’s Zero G. Just throwing that out there.”
“Whatever.” He turns and calls across the compound, “Call, are you going to explain everything to your G Spot friend here or should I do it?”
“You’re all embarrassing,” Call tells them all vehemently, face burning. “Every last one of you. Worst family ever.”
Constantine beams at him.