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Guilty Pleasures by Bonita del Rio

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Night was beginning to smother Central Park like a disenchanted spouse trying to hide the reality of what was once beautiful youth as it rolled with its mate in desperate need. Two lovers celebrated their beauty and desire by holding hands, even as they surveyed one of the most notorious sites on their tour.

"I can understand why that annoying insect who defied me enjoyed this era. It has a certain stench all its own," a blond man commented, imperiously surveying all of New York that he could see.

His lover, who grew up in the Dorian Farm Belt, wrinkled his nose. "It does stink. I have to admit, Hart, you've picked more romantic vacation spots."

"I must know why this time and place appealed to my enemy, dearest one."

"Who cares? He's dead."

"It still might be useful, Mekt; his mate still breathes."

Mekt snorted. "A woman who could create visions."

Hart shook his head in mock wonder and pulled the farmer's stubborn son onto a bench before entwining Mekt's magnificent arms in his embrace. "Enough about ghosts and those who speak to them. I wish to enjoy this "New York" beyond our hotel room. Now do you remember the address to the "performing artist"? I wish to experience pathos."

A crude and primitive voice grunted in gibberish. "Buttfuck, you shoulda never left home" were the sounds the tourists heard. Curious to understand what was said with such menace, the pair turned on their translators as they stood to watch five men dressed in dirty clothes that smelled of sweat and dead animals leave the safety of the bushes. They were each armed with a weapon even time and historical ignorance could not disguise. "You fags don't even deserve the time it takes to kill ya."

"Oh, dear," Hart exclaimed, deliberately pitching his voice an octave higher, "I do believe these brutes are threatening us. You will throw yourself in front of me to protect me, won't you, sweetest?"

"Get real, Hart," Mekt replied as his translator made his reply understandable to all.

"Nothin's gon' save you, Pretty Boy. Your asses are ours."

"I don't suppose I could convince you primitives to wash first? Great Maltez alone knows what diseases you have," Hart jested as the first three of the barbarians approached to kill them.

"Don't waste your breath, Hart!" Mekt shouted as a metal pipe swung towards his head. He caught it and sent his body's electricity through the pipe and man at the other end. As Mekt's victim charred and convulsed, Hart held two victims of his own. The pair gagged and struggled even as they heard the wet crunch of their windpipes giving way to the super-strength Hart suddenly possessed. Mekt grabbed the fourth by the chains on his jacket and sent a current of lightning through the man and watched the death dance with a strange gleam in his eyes. He was going to electrocute this man until he saw the eyeballs pop and ooze down the already rigid face. Hart was perfectly willing to indulge his lover's bloodlust since his own was sated, but then he saw the fifth pulling out what was unmistakably a gun. His first instinct was to run, but then he shouted, pushed Mekt down and caught the bullet in his invulnerable body. Instantly, the invulnerability left him and became the strength he demanded to throw the small projectile back to its source.

The .357 shattered and splinters of it embedded in the thug's heart and lungs as the bullet shattered his upper chest.

"Mekt! Are you all right? I hope I didn't push you too hard."

"I'm fine, Hart. You'll never be able to hurt me," Mekt assured as he brushed the dirt off himself.

Hart was nearly in tears as he hugged his lover. "I'm glad. Let's get out of here. Things haven't changed so much that I can't recognize the sound of police approaching when I hear them."

Forty minutes later a homicide squad, accompanied by a sleepy Nightwing, was slowly picking over the corpses of the five thugs. Nightwing stifled a yawn as a detective warned, "You have got to stop sleeping with those alien chicks, kid."

"Sleeping with her's not the problem," the masked hero answered with a crooked smile. "So, who were the losers?"

"Our prime suspects in the Central Park gay-bashing. What do you think happened here?"

"Same thing you do," Nightwing responded. "These gay-bashers met up with a pair of super-powered homosexuals. Y'know, I've been wanting something like this to happen for a long time. I'm not even particularly sorry they're dead."

"Nobody will miss these sweethearts, Nightwing. As long as the lovebirds don't go vigilante on us, I doubt we'll really even look for them. They did us a great big favor."