It wasn’t exactly hard to find a six foot-one guy with crimson hair and a debatably good-looking face.
It also helped that he wasn’t even twenty feet from the front door.
“Hey, Star,” Maia said, seeing her OC in front of the TV. The noise made the boy jump, but then he calmed and turned around.
Star smiled. “Maia! Haven’t seen you in months!”
Maia blushed from embarrassment. She hadn’t interacted with most of her OCs since February. Though they weren’t real (in a sense), Maia still felt immense guilt. Though they didn’t seem to really notice or care.
“Yeah, sorry about that. I’ve been working with no break in sight for months on end. Plus, Writer’s Block seems to enjoy her hobbies a little bit too much as of late.” Red Star cringed at the thought of the petite yet threatening girl. She was disturbing and almost a bit too nice sometimes like a character in some parody Maia was obsessed with. What was his name? Shadowtalia?
“But since it’s your birthday, I’m not gonna miss it.” Star stared at his creator for a few seconds, lost. Then he grinned. “Oh, God! I actually forgot!” He laughed, both embarrassed and amused. He never did have the best memory, not even for the most important things. “I’m, what? Three in character years?”
Maia nodded, putting her elbows on the back of the couch. “Considering what you guys are like, I’m gonna assume you know what my present’s going to be this year?” “Yeah,” Star replied. “Go back to my favorite moment before coming to the mansion, or something like that. To be honest, I don’t even know what that is myself.”
“Your subconscious does. That’s all that matters. I guess it’s a good thing you’re already on the couch,” Maia said. “Oh, right.” The redhead stretched himself out on the large couch, his left leg on the ground since the piece of furniture was curved. “…I’m not gonna fall, am I?”
“I won’t let you… Being that tense won’t exactly help you. You won’t fall, and man, it’s your favorite moment of the past,” Maia said in a calm voice that she couldn’t help but compare to her mother’s.
“…Fine,” Star finally sighed. The brunette-who had gotten extensions with purple highlights just over a week before-smiled as she saw the tall male relax his muscles.
Maia waited a second before hovering her hand over Red Star in a slow motion. “Good. That’s good, Red Star. Now, just relax…and everything will be…” “Okay…
Red Star was falling. He didn’t know when he started falling, unable to tell if he had truly started or if he had been simply falling the entire time. He felt helpless for a hot second, but then the sensation stopped. He hit the ground without feeling a thing, though he was sure it wasn’t from his invulnerability this time.
He rose his head to see that he was lying on green grass. A bench with two people on it was about thirty feet away. A tan brick wall was in front of the two individuals. Instinctively, though it was from a long time ago, Star looked up. Just as he expected, there was a large clock with Roman numerals reading as four o’clock. A perfect time to talk to a friend when you didn’t want anyone else to see. Seeing movement to the side, Star saw another person staring at the clock. The boy, quite a few years younger than Star, wore his school jacket over a white T-shirt and jeans. He looked at the two people on the bench with a look of desperation and fear, though they hadn’t noticed him yet. Even from the distance he was at as he started to walk towards them, Star knew that the boy had just swallowed hard in anticipation.
After all, despite the lack of the birthmark, Star knew that the boy was him.
“Virgil” was listening to Aaron speak, not wanting to talk so much himself. Aaron was going on and on about the day and the evil was was his teacher Ms. Ratched (which was accurate, considering she was also the school nurse), though the dark-skinned boy didn’t seem too interested in his own conversation.
The blond couldn’t blame him. For the past week, there had been a space empty on the bench meant for three. The elephant in the room. The reason that he and his friend had been so gloomy lately.
That would be his cousin. The boy once known as Electric didn’t know and didn’t care, but he was sure that “Mark” was just as upset as they were at the sudden distance. He clenched his fist. It was his fault, though! Mark shouldn’t have said those things about Aaron! He was out of bounds!
Not noticing that he had zoned out of the conversation, Virgil went back to the week before. He had seen Aaron storming down the hall, catching his arm just in time. Asking him what was wrong. Why he looked so angry and tense.
He just glared at the boy with tan skin and said, “Tell that homophobic cousin of yours to stay the hell away from me.”
He didn’t actually say “hell,” but the message was clear. He learned more from Aaron later. How Mark had learned something that Virgil had guessed a long time ago-that Aaron was gay-and started shouting at him, saying that he couldn’t believe that he was “one of those” and had “lied” to him and Virgil for years. Aaron had, according to himself, calmly stated that if he thought that, they never had to speak to each other again. Mark had accepted the offer.
It hurt Virgil that his cousin, the cousin he had been with since before they were cousins, would inherit the traits that his mother Alex had. It was something that she and her sister Natalia, Virgil’s mother, agreed to disagree on.
Of course, Aaron hadn’t admitted something to his friend. Something that the redhead approaching them couldn’t get out of his head.
Aaron never seemed like the type of person that would turn out to be gay. Sure, “Mark” didn’t really think that someone gay acted a specific way, but…Aaron? His friend since middle school?
He tried to kiss
It started as a typical conversation on that bench before school. No one else was around, and like always, they were just talking. Then Aaron got this strange look on his face. He looked awkward. Scared. But also a bit confident.
The tall boy already going on six feet tall asked him if he was alright, but instead of answering Aaron quickly leaned in.
Mark had reacted quickly. He had pushed Aaron, jumping off the bench. Aaron started saying, “Sorry! Sorry! Stupid idea, I know!”
That was when Mark had started yelling.
He didn’t notice at the time, but the things he said were awful. Unacceptable. He never said the slur that started with an “f.” He could never call anyone that.
But he said other awful things, and that was what led to Aaron calmly walking away.
Mark, or Red Star as he was originally named, was too stubborn and proud to apologize. He didn’t even falter when his cousin caught him in the hallway demanding to know why he said those things. After exchanging a few…unpleasant words, the boy with “blue” eyes jumped him, punching him once despite knowing that “Mark” couldn’t feel it.
They haven’t spoken to each other for a week, and Virgil’s words to him under his breath had been haunting him the entire time.
“You’re a freak with superpowers, Star.
You don’t have the right to say what’s weird and what’s not.”
Virgil’s habit of pestering girls increased, and after asking his mom to ask his aunt, Mark learned why. Virgil had always been one to need physical comfort when scared or upset. Mark could remember that when they still went by their original names, Star was Electric’s security blanket. Electric always preferred a woman’s touch, and all he needed were a few seconds of holding someone’s hand to calm down. It was his way of coping.
But naturally, as he got older, asking for that comfort made him look weak. Though it was only a guess, the shorter male began his bad habit to gain the equivalent of contact comfort, since he felt like he couldn’t just ask a person to hold his hand or touch his shoulder. …Though he might have actually started to enjoy girls’ reactions to his perverted antics.
Alex admitted that Virgil had an extremely low self esteem, though he had become increasingly better at hiding it. The words said by him rolled in his head, and Mark realized something.
He wasn’t the only “freak with superpowers” that his cousin was referring to.
So there he was, a week after it happened, looking at the school’s giant clock to make sure that it was four in the afternoon. Everyone was either at home or doing club activities on the other side of the school. The three were alone.
Silently taking a deep breath, Mark wiped the foundation the color of his skin from his right eye, revealing the red birthmark beneath it. Aaron and Virgil still hadn’t noticed him. Good,
Mark thought. Then they wouldn’t notice when the newly revealed star-shaped birthmark glowed and he put his hand up next to his head, nor when with a sharp SHINK,
a red throwing star glowing with energy appeared in his hand.
“It’s…it’s just f**king stupid, ya know?” Aaron let out a weak laugh as he finished his story. He turned to see Virgil, who was looking at him with a blank look on his face. “Hey. Virgil?”
“H-Huh?” A small light appeared in his eyes as he woke up from whatever daze he was in. “Oh, God. Sorry, Aaron.”
Aaron smiled, though it looked forced. “It’s okay. Wasn’t important, anyway.” He hesitated before continuing. “Thinking about—about Mark?”
The name made Virgil jump, but he said, “…Yeah.”
Aaron patted his friend’s shoulder. “Hey, I’ve been meaning to talk about hi—” BOOM!!
The sudden noise followed a large red cloud in front of them. Aaron was terrified, but Virgil knew immediately what it was, despite not seeing it in years. He glared at the silhouette that moved through the cloud. “What’re you doing here, Mark?” he demanded, not caring that his cousin had just used his powers.
The redhead swallowed his pride and the fear from what he was doing. He was breaking the rule that his family had set up since “the incident” in elementary school. No powers, especially not in public. “I’m here to apologize,” he said.
Aaron was still confused, trying to understand the strange cloud and the weird red star that covered his classmate’s eye, but Virgil held his ground. “‘Apologize?’ Seriously, Re—Mark? You think you can say, ‘Oh, so sorry I insulted your sexuality’ and everything will be alright?”
Glancing at Aaron and back to his friend/family member, he said, “Don’t correct yourself this time. Call me by my real name. Not the one on the birth certificate…my real name.”
Virgil gave him a look that said, “Are you freaking kidding me?” “…Mark, what’re you—”
“Aaron, are you willing to talk to me?” Ignoring Virgil, Star turned to the short Indian boy.
After staring at Star for a few seconds, Aaron replied cautiously, “S-Sure. Um…what was that?”
“I’ll tell you in a minute. For now…” He paused again. “…I am so, so sorry about what I said. I shouldn’t have. I-I shouldn’t have acted like that and I shouldn’t have avoided the whole thing. I-I don’t get it and I’m still not sure how I feel about it, b-but…” Star forced himself to walk up closer to Aaron despite a small attempt from Virgil to push him away, looking his friend in the eye. “I know it’s not your choice. It’s what you like, and…I shouldn’t be mad at you for that.” Aaron just sat there, his face blank. Star became uneasy. “God, Aaron, please say something. I know you might not forgive me, but at least know that I really am sorry.”
Aaron blinked, thinking for a second. He had always been one to forgive people easily, but this was something different. This was something that he felt he couldn’t forgive Mark for. This went deeper than a few insults.
But he knew that, Aaron realized. That was why he was doing this. Why he didn’t sound rehearsed and was appearing to show him some big secret of his own with the red cloud and the…tattoo? He had always felt like he and Virgil were hiding something big, so he just assumed that they were all hiding the same secret from each other (which resulted in what he admitted was a dumb move on his part. What was this? A romcom?). Even though he was wrong with what the secret was, Mark seemed ready to show it as a way to apologize.
“Mark…it’s-it’s okay,” he said.
Star’s green eyes widened, shining a bit. Oh, sh**,
Aaron thought. He’s gonna cry. He never cries!
If Aaron needed any more proof that “Mark” true regretted everything he said, then there it was. He didn’t cry, and he was a horrible actor. He couldn’t cry on command to save his life. Just ask his drama teacher.
“Seriously?” Star said, hoping he wasn’t just saying that sarcastically.
“Dammit, Mark! Don’t cry on me! Yes! Yes, it’s okay.” Star drew in a breath, not even knowing that he hadn’t breathed at all. “I’ll be honest. I can’t say that I fully forgive you, but…I can tell you’re really sorry. I’ll take it. For now.” He glared up at the boy easily taller than him by five inches. “But if you say those things again or make a big deal out of my being gay, then I’ll really never forgive you.”
Star nodded quickly. “I promise I won’t! I don’t want to lose you as a friend, Aaron.”
“God, you act so much like a girl sometimes…” Aaron rubbed his temple. “Seriously though, it’s not a big deal. I’ve just always liked boys, and I just kind of assumed that you did too, since you were obviously hiding something.” He glanced at where the red smoke was. “Speaking of, now it’s your turn to reveal something. What was that? And what’s with the star?”
“It’s nothing,” Virgil suddenly said, still glaring at Star. He could tell that his apology was genuine as well, but he was still a bit angry and saw what he was meaning to do. “It’s just a tattoo he just got. Aunt Alex is gonna be real mad when she sees that, Mark.”
“Would you please just stop? I was a jerk, and this is my way of apologizing. I was wrong when I said that he was a liar, but we—”
“Shut up!” Virgil yelled, terrified.
“Okay, what the hell is this about!?” Aaron demanded. The two cousins stared each other down for a few seconds. Star could practically feel the other’s want to let loose; he hadn’t used his powers in eight years, with the exception of the occasional usage hidden away from others. The temptation was too great.
“…Fine.” Virgil looked around to make sure they were still alone. “But if we get in trouble, it’s on your head.”
Red Star smiled. “Alright. Aaron, Virgil and I aren’t exactly…normal. Starting with our names, we’re pretty different.”
Aaron blinked. “Mark Sodiaac and Virgil Coor? What’s so weird about that?”
Star laughed to himself at a personal joke. “Well, those are our official names now, but— We’ve told you we’re both adopted, right? Not related by blood?” “Yeah, you’ve told me,” Aaron replied. “Why?”
“Well, before we were adopted, our names weren’t Mark and Virgil. Mom just liked the name Mark and Natalia just thought the name Virgil was—” “HI-larious,” Virgil interrupted, mock-mimicking his mother’s faint Southern accent. Star smiled at him. He was getting into it.
“Our real names were…they were Red Star and Electric,” the blond said, pointing to Star and then him. “Yes, ‘Red’ was actually his original first name. I didn’t even have a surname until I was adopted.”
“Um…what?” Aaron said. “Red Star and Electric? Seriously? What kind of parents name their kids Red and Electric?”
“Uh…” Electric and Star glanced at each other. “That’s where it gets weird. Electric, you’re better at explaining stuff.” Star was glad to use “Virgil’s” original name. After “the incident,” they weren’t even allowed to do that
Electric returned the smile. Maybe things would be alright after all. “We don’t really have biological parents. Not as far as we know, anyway. We…woke up on some day early in the morning only knowing our names, the other’s name, and what we could do. We’ll get back to that. We found a school, the principal was there, and we were put in the orphanage. If we had any life before the ages of five and six, we don’t remember them.”
Aaron slumped back on the bench. “Okay, now I know you’re kidding…or crazy. But probably kidding.”
“It gets better,” Star added. “That cloud you saw? I made it using this.” He tapped the star on his skin. “It’s a birthmark, but it’s way cooler than the average birthmark.” Glancing around one more time, he allowed the birthmark to glow bright red and for him to bring up his hand once more so that when the throwing star appeared, it could be caught. He waved it in front of Aaron’s face.
“What the fu— How did you do that!?” Red Star shrugged. “I don’t know. Magic? My guess is that they’re made of energy. What is it…the law of…conservation of mass? It’s probably my own body’s energy being used to make these things.”
“Holy crap! You got it!” Electric laughed, knowing Star’s less than ideal test scores, though that could be chalked up to his bad memory.
Star turned bright red. “Hey! Anyway, I’m also pretty much invulnerable, minus the birthmark, odd enough.” “Seriously?” Aaron said. Star nodded.
Aaron just stared at him with a conflicted look on his face. “…You wanna hit me, don’t you?” “Kind of, yeah.”
“Then go for it,” Star said, his arms outstretched.
Aaron got up, clenching and unclenching his right hand. He wound up his fist, hit Star in the chest with all his strength and…
Not so much as a grunt from the tall teen. After getting bullied a lot in fifth grade, Star had learned to not laugh at any futile attempts to harm him, so he just stood there silently. Sure, he had exercised enough that his physique matched his strength, but a hard punch would still have caused a normal person to react.
“Dear God, man! You’re a brick wall!” Aaron exclaimed, his hand shaking. “You haven’t even seen his strength yet!” Electric said. Star glanced at him. “I’m not picking you guys up.” “C’MOOOOON! You used to do that all the time!” “When we were eight!”
“Wait, are you saying you have super-strength?” Aaron interrupted the two boys’ bickering. “Like, Superman-level strong? I’ve gotta see this if you’re not joking.” Glad that he was being so accepting, Star hesitated before taking the bench that Aaron just sat back down on and lifted it with one hand. This wouldn’t quite be as impressive it the bench hadn’t been welded to the concrete sidewalk.
“Holy sh**!” Aaron shouted. “I have a superhero has a friend!” Star waved his other hand towards Electric. “And you haven’t even seen what Electric can do!” Red Star was dancing in his head. The powers that he had been forced to hide for many years, and here he was, showing them off to his friend…and he was still his friend! “I can do all this, plus the throwing stars can act just like a regular one, not just an explosive. I can also grow in size, so far to the size of the school building.”
“Can I just show off now?” Electric complained. “Uh, yeah!” Aaron said with a grin.
“Well, maybe taking these out will help,” he said, bringing his hand to his eye. He squeezed his eye shut fast, and before opening that eye did the same to the other. He lowered his hand, and Aaron saw two semi-circles with blue tints. Contact lenses.
Electric opened his eyes, and for a second Aaron was horrified. Where blue eyes were, there were now golden eyes with cat-like pupils. The blond then wiped his face with his arm, and a bright yellow thunderbolt birthmark showed around his left eye.
“My birthmark can’t do anything but glow when I do something, but I think my own powers are pretty cool.” Aiming his palms at the ground, there was a spark, and then lightening shot down. Electric was pushed off the ground and up to meet Aaron’s brown eyes filled with amazement. Holding himself up with electric tendrils, he said, “Hey, give me your cellphone.”
Aaron dug into his pockets and found his phone, handing it to his friend. Electric glanced at the on screen. “Twenty-three percent. Wow, this thing really does suck. Hasn’t it been on for like, two hours?”
“Just about, yeah.”
Electric’s birthmark and eye glowed just as promised, and for a second he looked almost…drunk. His eyelids drooped and his grin widened. After a second, he handed the phone back. Aaron looked at the screen. Ninety-nine percent.
“I’d do one hundred, but that weakens the battery,” Electric said. “And when I’m not going that…” He brought his hand out and zapped Aaron just enough for him to feel the electricity shoot through his body, but not enough to harm him.
“OW! What the hell!” he started, though excited about this new discovery and a bit more energized. He was also a bit warmer.
“Annnnnd I turned that energy into body heat. I have a lot of powers, and it all comes from knowing how to do this,” Electric said, having a ball of energy with lightening surrounding it in the palm of his hand. “And being immune to it. That helps too.”
“D-Dear God…that’s so awesome…” Aaron whispered. Star looked at him.
“You’re so…accepting about this. It’s kind of weird. Why?”
The brunette scratched the back of his head. “Well, I actually thought this was a dream, so I decided to just play along. But it really doesn’t seem like one now, especially after that zap.” He smiled at Star. “You guys really have powers, you really do have weird names, and…you actually apologized.”
Star finally placed the bench on the ground, looking at the destroyed concrete. “…Whoops.” “Maybe someone won’t notice?” Aaron suggested. “Just put it back in the hole and you’ll be fine.” Electric snickered, earning a glare from the others.
“I’m just glad that you forgive me. And that I can show my powers for the first time in forever,” Star said, happier than he had been in awhile.
Electric threw his arm over his cousin’s shoulder. “Yeah, it’s nice to let loose again, and in front of Aaron of all people! Though, if Mom and Aunt Alex learn about this we’re so screwed…”
“Yeah, well, I guess we just have to focus on what’s going on right now and worry about the future later.” Star generated another throwing star, turning it more solid and watching it catch the light. “For now, I’m just glad everything’s alright.”
Red Star stirred, watching the scene around him disappear into nothingness. Everything he saw was black, and he realized that he was back in the real world with his eyes closed. As much as he didn’t want to, he opened them.
“Welcome back to the world of the living,” Maia said, still kneeling in front of Star. He slowly turned his head before finally opening his eyes, seeing his creator. “How was it?”
“…It was good. I remembered it, but not…not all of it.” Star brought a hand to his face. “Like how exciting it really was to reveal my powers to him. I guess I take them for granted now.” His hand slid off his face so he could look at the ceiling. “That was the conversation we had before Electric and I ran away.”
“That’s right,” Maia said. “Someone had actually seen the whole thing, right?”
“And some people from elementary school from ‘the incident’ recognized us and we decided to run. I remember…I took a throwing star, ran to Aaron’s, and told him that we were gonna run away. I gave it to him and said…” Red Star thought for a minute. “UGH! I can’t remember exactly!”
Maia went through her memories, trying to remember it herself. “‘Take this throwing star and keep it. When you finally forgive me-when you really
forgive me, throw it at a surface. It’s solid now, so it won’t explode. We’ll come back one day. I promise.’ I’m pretty sure that was it.”
Red Star nodded. “Yeah, probably is. It’s been years since then, though. I wonder if he even remembers us.”
Maia stared at him. “Speaking on behalf of all normal humans out there, there’s no way that he would forget a super-powered set of cousins that just so happened to be his friends. Unless he got amnesia. But other than that…”
“Not helping!” the redhead exclaimed, laughing a bit. “Anyway, aren’t you supposed to be packing for vacation or something?”
“Already done, good sir,” Maia said in a horrible fake British accent. “Anyway, at seven the others will be in place to surprise you in the dining room. I’m telling you because I know you hate surprises.” There was a pause, and Maia frowned awkwardly.
“Double M heard you?” “Double M heard me. Doesn’t matter. Unless someone asks, he won’t tell. Now that you’ve got a warning, I suggest heading there now.”
Red Star grinned. “Yeah, I should probably do that.”