"'So what do you say, ready to change the world? No. But I'm ready to kick some ass!'" The familiar words drifted out from the lounge room.
Mariah Travers left the saucepan simmering on the stove to poke her head around the door and cast a quick eye over her children.
Sophie sat with her green eyes fixed on the TV set, the remote held high above her head, out of reach of her little brother's scrambling hands.
"'S my turn. Scooby Doo is on NOW. Gimme!" Unfortunately, Noah caught sight of Mariah standing in the doorway. His eyes lit up. "Muuuummmm! Sophie won't give me the remote!"
Reluctantly, Mariah went to the rescue. "Sophie, give Noah the remote please, you know it's his turn. Your program is recorded, you can watch it later."
"But Muuummm! It's getting to the best bit!"
Mariah rolled a derisive eye in the direction of the TV program. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. They had no idea. If only real life were as easy and straightforward as that. Sparks were now flying, literally, from Sophie's fingers and Noah yelped. Then he screwed up his face and blew a large blue bubble from his lips. In less than a second it expanded to encase him in a protective shell. Water dripped from the surface, soaking the sofa.
"Noah! How many times have I told you not to bubble inside?" demanded Mariah, crossly. "That's it. No TV for either of you until this mess is cleaned up. Sophie—you dry the sofa and do it carefully this time without burning the material. Noah—come out of that bubble right now and mop up the floor!" Mariah switched the television off with a snap of her fingers, waited until both children, grumbling but obedient, set to their tasks, then returned to the kitchen. She threw a last word over her shoulder. "Let this be a lesson to you. The next time you feel like using your powers inside the house—don't."
Kids! Agent Coulson didn't know the half of it.
She had just added chopped tomatoes to the saucepan when there was a brisk knock at the door and the next minute, Guy's cheerful tones echoed down the hall.
"How's my favourite sister?"
Her younger brother picked Mariah off her feet and swung her around in a circle.
"Put me down, idiot!" Mariah was smiling. Guy's mouse brown hair was sticking up on the back of his head as if he had just got out of bed—or teleported through a wooden door.
"What's for dinner?" Guy sniffed. "Spaghetti Bolognese? Any room for a fourth?"
Sophie and Noah came out of the lounge in a rush. "Uncle Guy! Are you staying for dinner? Did you bring us anything?" The questions tumbled out.
After they'd eaten and the dishes were washed and put away—and the children safely tucked up in bed—Guy sat down at the table with Mariah to have a quiet word.
"Do you remember that police detective I told you about? The one who's been sniffing around the Gifted?"
Guy nodded. "That's the one." He paused to take a sip of coffee. "He's getting too close, I'm going to have to do something about him. He almost caught James the other day, lifting the car to get that child out of the wreckage. He would have, if he'd arrived on the scene a minute earlier."
Mariah put down her coffee cup, her eyes wide with worry. "What are you going to do? You're not going to hurt him, are you?"
"I've got a plan," Guy smiled and tapped the side of his nose. "I'm going to let him catch me."
"What! Are you crazy?"
Guy grinned. "But first I need your help. I want to borrow some of your clothes." He stood up as he spoke and led the way to Mariah's bedroom, ignoring her questions.
"I'll explain in a minute. I need an outfit, preferably with sparkles and glitter—something really gay." He turned to wink at Mariah.
"Idiot! You are gay!"
"I know, but I want something to make a statement!" Guy shuffled through the clothes in Mariah's wardrobe. He looked down at his conservative dark trousers and white shirt, then pulled out some plain black leggings. Guy considered them for a second then shook his head.
"Well, what would you prefer? Yellow spandex?"
Guy's eyes brightened. "Ideal! Have you got some?"
Mariah opened a drawer and lifted out a pair of gym shorts. The spandex was sparkly and bright yellow. Guy smiled broadly and raised a questioning eyebrow.
"I bought them for a costume party," explained Mariah, quickly.
She hunted around and drew out a black teeshirt with a glow-in-the-dark Batman symbol on it, and a sleeveless top made of scarlet silk.
"Your choice," Mariah offered, with a straight face.
"Decisions, decisions," muttered Guy, taking all three garments and shooing Mariah out of the room.
In the end, he decided on the yellow shorts over the black leggings, with the Batman teeshirt on top.
He came out of the bedroom and spun around, hands on hips. "What do you think?"
Mariah was torn between dismay and laughter. "What I think is that you'll be mugged before you take two steps down the street!" she warned.
In answer, Guy pulled his grey coat on over the top, hiding both the shorts and the Batman logo. The effect was dramatic—now he just looked like an ordinary man with rather thin legs.
Mariah nodded. "That'll do."
Guy changed quickly back into his own clothes and bundled Mariah's garments under one arm.
"Wish me luck!"