Chapter 18 - Let Nothing You Dismay

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Inhale big.

Exhale big.

Inhale at ambient temperature.

Exhale intense cold of the type that's not normally seen in National City.

Seriously, we get Santa Ana winds straight from the desert at all times of the year, so fifty Fahrenheit is low enough for most people around here to break out their up-bundlables. Heavier hoodies, flannel. Furs and leathers if you're made of big money like that one Rush song Winn really likes - and he likes 'em all, pretty much, so that's saying something. Merry Christmas, SoCal style.

One drone flies into the path of my freeze breath, and another into the path of Conner's heat vision. Neither lasts very long, both quickly exploding in midair. Do they have time to reassemble themselves again? Not this time, no. Not when Donna's knives come flying back to their owner, cutting through the wreckages after they've partially fixed themselves up.

Conner holds up the knife that Donna had given him and whistles appreciatively. "Are we sure this is supposed to be Themysciran tech? Looks like you took a little Australian inspiration."

"She never said it was Themysciran," I point out.

Donna nods. "Yeah, I only said it was like Themysciran. A little more Hephaestian."

"How'd you get into his forge?" J'onn asks. It takes me a second before I remember who Hephaestus is. It was his Roman equivalent who lent his name to the volcano. That must be why the Greek OG slipped my mind there for a second.

"I may have slipped his assistant a bit of a bribe," Donna says.

"Hephaestus has an assistant?" J'onn asks.

I chuckle softly. "Who'd've thunk, huh?"

"What?" Donna asks. "That he doesn't work alone?"

"No, I think more that you ever bribed anyone," Conner says with not hardly a hint of amazement in his eyes. Maybe it's a Kryptonian thing, but I do love to see a boy wearing his heart on his sleeve the way Conner does. I'm still not unconvinced Barry's not part-Kryptonian himself because of that exact same reason. As for Conner, well, it may be that he's so young yet, but he's got such a rebellious streak alongside his sweet side that it sometimes boggles my mind that those two sides of his personality can coexist.

"So...should we keep an eye out for more?" Conner asks, switching back to business mode as if he can impress Donna that way.

To my surprise, he seems to be doing exactly that, as she gives him a soft, shy smile. "I think they might be, uh, a little too much in need of repair." Never let it be said that boys were the only ones whose tongues were prone to tying by crushes. That's pretty universal to all genders, I'd say.

"I think we should go down and observe the wreckage," I suggest. "So we can start following anyone who comes to pick it up."

"And we should take some ourselves, while we're at it," J'onn says. "Winn, you up to studying some strange machinery in your lab?"

"Am I ever, boss man!" Winn, who thinks he's so sneaky, pops out of the door behind which he'd been hiding for the last minute or so. "Hold on, let me just call my Lyft-"

"Nope." Conner holds out his hand. "I'm your ride today, sweetheart."


"You think I can't carry you?" Conner looks around at everyone, his mouth wide open with silent laughter. "Dude, you forget how much stronger I am than my tiny size might suggest."

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