Every week, like clockwork, a slice of french toast appears in Cath's mailbox. Sometimes it's cold and tacky and disgusting, sometimes it's warm and oozing with deliciousness. Either way, it leaves all his mail gross and covered in syrup, which isn't that much of a loss, really. He barely gets anything but fliers and tax forms these days. Superheroing isn't a job that involves a lot of snailmail – anything work-related is emailed, faxed, or teleported, and his fanmail gets sent to another address for perusal and filtration. Not that he gets much. Stupid Tynan, stealing his thunder.
Point is, every week, a slice of french toast appears in Cath's mailbox, forcing him to scrape it out – he now has a designated spatula, which conducts electricity very nicely and doubles as a flyswatter – and toss it in the trash. Even on days when the toast is hot and buttery, he has to throw it out. He can't risk eating it when it's almost certainly poisoned.
Tavvy blinks slowly, a look of utter bewilderment on his round little face. “Okay, you've lost me.”
Tavvy is pretty dumb for a college boy, and also a terrible listener. He's lucky Cath likes him enough to spell things out for him.
“Poisoned. French. Toast. In. My. Mailbox. Every. Week.”
“I got that part.”
“Then where am I losing you?” Cath asks grumpily.
“It's just...” The art student waves his hand in the air, which is a lot less helpful than he probably thinks it is. “How do you know the toast is poisoned?”
“Because,” Cath says, drawing out the word until Tavvy rolls his eyes, “it was poison to her.”
Tavvy is really, really lucky he's cute. “Her. Selan. That one chick who went on one date with you before dumping your ass. The one who's hypoglycemic. That her.”
“The one I keep catching you hanging out with when you think no one is watching?”
“Pics or it didn't happen,” Cath says immediately. “The point is, she's been trying to poison me for years now, and I'm getting sick of it.”
Tavvy shakes his head. “I still don't get why she'd be trying to poison you. Or why you'd even assume the toast was poisoned. Did you get it checked?”
Oh, yeah, he totally called up the hero agency people and made them scan his mailbox toast for lethal ingredients. “Tavvy, man, be serious. I'm not getting her in trouble over a few minor poisoning attempts.”
And now Tavvy is giving him the 'are you entirely sure we live on the same planet?' look. Which, ordinarily, brightens Cath's entire day, but right now just hammers in the unfairness of life, the universe, and everything. Today's toast smelled so good. Everything else is just a letdown in comparison.
“Why would it be Selan, though? She's a nice girl.”
“Oh yeah.” Cath snorts. “'Nice.' More like a vengeful demon of vengeful vengeance.”
“You're really lucky Professor Marika isn't here. He'd be on you faster than you can say 'grammar Nazi.'” Tavvy wiggles in his seat, which he does pretty often, since he's super short and normal sized chairs are uncomfortable for him. Apparently, being nigh invulnerable does not keep your butt from falling asleep. “Anyway, Selan's really not that bad. She's more of an eye for an eye type, you know? So the only reason she'd be trying to poison you is if – oh my god.”
Cath sighs, leaning back in his own seat. “And the dime drops.”
“You tried to poison Selan?!”
“I did not try to poison Selan! I totally poisoned Selan. With sugar.”
“Oh my god, you gave a hypoglycemic french toast.” Tavvy's lip wibbles for a second before he turns the full force of his puppy eyes on Cath. “Please tell me you didn't do it on purpose.”
“I didn't do it on purpose,” Cath lies obediently. “I definitely didn't plan it out ahead of time. And I absolutely-positively-one-hundred-percent didn't play on her pride to make sure she ate it.”
If the world could see Apogee hunched over in a crappy plastic cafe chair, his mouth flapping open and closed like a fish, it would think twice about entrusting its safety to him. Finally, Tavvy lets himself slump forward, head hitting the table with a hollow thump. The table shudders on impact, knocking over both their drinks.
“You are a terrible person,” Tavvy says. It would hurt more if he didn't look completely ridiculous, green ponytail sticking up like the stem of some exotic fruit.
“I am,” Cath agrees, because it's true. “But I only did it the once, and that was before I actually knew her.”
“Still terrible.” Tavvy lifts his head just enough to give Cath a narrow look. “So you think she's been slipping french toast into your mailbox for – years, you said? – years, in an attempt to get revenge for that time you made her eat french toast?”
“Yes. We're finally on the same page. Now, Mr. Hero, tell me what I have to do to make her stop.”
“Have you tried apologizing?”
“Of course I–”
Cath stops, wracking his brain. Has he tried apologizing? He... actually can't remember. Which probably means no.
“Do that,” Tavvy says, in the tone of a Wise Old Master Offering Sage Advice. “And then, if it doesn't work, ask Xeno to reign her in.”
“Yeah, uh, that probably won't help.”
“Why not? Xeno's usually the voice of reason in their group, isn't he?”
Cath bites his lip. Lightly, of course. Superpowered fights can happen at anytime, to anyone, and biting an actual chunk out of your mouth hurts like hell.
“He is. Usually. But he might be holding a grudge, too. See, he was kinda there for the french toast thing, and... well... I'm like ninety percent sure he's helping her sneak the stuff into my mail.”
“Oh.” Tavvy thinks for a moment. “Then you're screwed.”
“I knew that already.” Cath sighs, staring up at the blue, blue sky. “Think I could get 'em off my back if I tricked Tynan into eating some for me?”
“Maybe. I don't think they've met Tynan too often, and it can be pretty hard to tell you two apart. But you wouldn't do that to your cousin, right?” Tavvy takes one look at him and pales. “Cath, stop grinning, you're scaring me. I will not be responsible for you getting your cousin – a licensed superhero – poisoned. Cath, I am licensed to arrest people for stuff like this! Cath! Put that phone down right now–”
"Heeey, Tynan! How's it going?" Cath laughs, hopping out of his seat with all the agility of a former secret agent-slash-assassin and kicking the table into Tavvy with all the vindictiveness of an evil, evil schemer. It doesn't even knock the wind out of him, but it does slow him down because he has to pretend it does. Secret identities are the best thing. "Why'm I calling? Oh, nothing much. I kinda miss you - just a little, shut up, jerk - and I was wondering... do you wanna come visit? There's some friends I'd like to mess with, and I need your help to pull it off. It's been a while since we pulled off a twin switch, hasn't it?"
"Cath, I will end you!"
"You're the best cousin ever. See you soon!"