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Playing With Fire

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Layla and Zach.

Will's head was still spinning from the very thought of it but he should have expected something weird to happen in his sophomore year at Sky High. He and Layla had dated for a whole month following the Royal Pain incident at Homecoming, but their easy friendship became lost in the process. He loved Layla. He really did, but perhaps they had grown up too close because he'd felt uncomfortable with their changed relationship, like he was dating his imaginary sister.

Incestuous. That's how it had felt to him.

When Layla confessed to feeling the same way, thinking of him like a brother, they had agreed to return their relationship back to being good friends. Fortunately it had worked with the minimal amount of mental scarring on both sides, and their other friends had simply shrugged and let it go. Will had half expected Warren to make a play for Layla but was so pleased when that didn't happen. It wasn't that he didn't like the idea of Warren and Layla together, except that was exactly what he didn't like. It was confusing, but he guessed that was what being a teenager was all about - raging hormones and gender confusion. Not that he was interested in changing his own gender. That wasn't what he meant. It was just...

He smacked his head down hard and the desk disintegrated beneath him.

"Mr. Stronghold!"

"Sorry, Mr. Medulla."

Futilely, he prodded at the broken desk with his foot, and when he asked to be excused, Medulla was only too pleased to tell him to leave.

Warren caught up with him in the cafeteria a little later, sliding into the seat opposite. He gave him a stony look before raising one eyebrow meaningfully.

"Zach and Layla?" Will stated, still bewildered.

Warren shrugged. "His glow is soothing to plants."

That kind of made sense, especially as Will had the exact opposite of a green thumb, unintentionally trampling flower beds, plus he'd uprooted that tree to take down a monster only last week, much to Layla's dismay. It could also explain why she saw Warren as a friend only, because he had a tendency to burn things. And by things, Will meant plants, like setting fire to the uprooted tree before Will threw it. It was unintentional collateral damage when they worked together to save the world.

"Huh! I guess that works," he murmured; the same way he and Warren worked well together, and not just when they were saving the world.

Will couldn't imagine passing a single day without seeing or at least speaking to Warren. For two boys who'd started off as arch-enemies, they'd become inseparable since the Homecoming incident in their freshman year. If Will truly thought about it, the closest comparison for their relationship was... his parents.

Will sat up as all the confusing thoughts fell into place with startling clarity. Warren was looking straight at him, a slight frown the only sign of his intrigue and concern. Will stared back. noticing allt he things about Warren that he'd tucked away in his head - his brooding, handsome face, his kind eyes and gentle smile.

Will was a 'hero' and a Stronghold, the only son of The Commander and Jet Stream. He had both of their abilities, strength and flight, and yet he was truly scared for the first time since his powers came online. What he was about to do would be playing with fire - literally in Warren's case - but he refused to back away, taking his courage and Warren's face in both hands... and kissed him.

Many planet-saving years later, Will would look back on that moment as his best and most courageous, because it turned his best friend into the greatest love of his life.