Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.
// tws: graphic violence, descriptions of bullying, police (?) brutality, swearing
“Woah, score!” Bright Flash shouted to his two companions. “Come here, dudes! We found a few villains over here! Probably some minions, they look conked out!”
The minions in question were two scrawny men cowering in a corner holding onto each other. They put their hands up in unison and gestured to the police officers across the street. “We-we already surrendered to the police, we sw-swear!” one of them babbled. “You-you don’t have to do anything to us, pl-please. We already surren-”
Dim Flash laughed in their face. “You think that villains have any say in what we do?”
Dark Flash hopped behind them and kicked the one on the left in his back, forcing him to the ground. He put his heavy boot on the minion’s neck and left it there. The minion began sobbing out loud, scrabbling at the ground to get away, but Dark Flash kept him still with his boot.
Dim Flash grabbed the other’s hair, bringing his head to his knee with a sickening crack. He lifted the minion back up, blood dribbling from his now broken nose, and grinned. “You revoked any rights you had the moment you chose villainy. How do we know you’re not acting, huh? You’re dangerous criminals!”
They tossed the villains around a few more times, the police across the street turning away while the minions cried for help. The Triple Flash, as the hero group called themselves, only stopped beating up the minions when they heard a warping noise behind them.
The group turned around. Dim Flash sneered. “Oh, who’s this?”
A man delicately stepped out of what looked like a black, circular portal and waved his gloved hand, adorned with rings and fake claws, making it disappear. He tilted his head, face covered by half of a black gas mask, Asian eyes crinkling in amusement. He said nothing, just walked towards them menacingly, black high heels clicking on the ground. The police trained their guns on him, and the Triple Flash lifted their fists in front of them. The man stopped and waved his hand in dismissal. “Don’t bother.” His voice was deep, but sounded warped, as if there was a voice modulator. “I’m only here to make a trade. There’s no fighting needed, I promise you.”
“It’s been awhile since we’ve had a new contender on the field!” Bright Flash shouted in delight. “How are you going to fare against us, I wonder?”
“I’ll win.” The man left no room for argument. Bright Flash shivered under the gaze of the man’s eyes.
“What’s the trade?” a terrified police woman said. She kept her gun trained on him. “I’m telling you right now, you can’t take our prisoners. We-”
“Oh? Your prisoners?” the man said with glee. He put his hands on his hips and leaned towards her. “I was under the impression that they were under my payroll, aren’t they not? In all fairness, doesn’t that make them mine? Besides—” He straightened himself. “—they are a part of the trade, and I will be taking them whether you like it or not.”
Behind the heroes, the minions grinned hysterically.
“There’s nothing that you can give us that will be worth it for them,” Dark Flash said. His eyes brimmed with confidence. “They got captured, which makes them ours!”
The man threw his head back and laughed. “Where are their handcuffs? All I see are cuts and bruises! In fact... this reminds me of a certain scene I saw a few years ago... oh yeah! Kaoru Myers.”
Each member of the Triple Flash stiffened, confidence dying out of their eyes. The man laughed at them again. “Oh, do you know the kid? He was tortured for years! Three bullies had targeted him, sound familiar? Every day, he would come home with a new bruise while his mother fussed over him and his father slept with other women! He had barely any solace; anything he found was taken away from him.” The man began pacing back and forth, gesturing with his hands. “The diary? Found out about, stolen, and read to everyone. The sketchbook? Found out about, stolen, ripped into the trash. The game console his mother bought him? Found out about and stolen.” He pointed at Dim Flash. “In fact, it was you who broke into his house for the game, wasn’t it, Cameron? Do you still have it?”
Dim Flash, also known as Cameron, opened his mouth to retaliate, but no sound came out of his mouth.
“That’s what I thought! And you!” He pointed his finger at Dark Flash. “Cute hero name, Aaron! Where did you get it? Oh yeah; it was from the short story that Kaoru wrote for a contest that you stole and successfully accused him of plagiarism! The hero, Dark Flash. It was a catchy name at the time, wasn’t it?”
“Who do you think you are?” Dark Flash - Aaron - angrily demanded, fists clenched so much that the white of his knuckles was clearly seen. “I don’t know how you found out about our identities, but this slander is inexcusable!”
“It’s not slander if it’s the truth,” the man pointed out, delight infecting every inflection of his voice. “And how about Carter, hm? He was the most tame of your group! At least, until he found that Kaoru was - how did you phrase it again? - a ‘dirty queer.’ Then, he got creative. He was the one who came up with cutting into the crotch of Yuki’s jeans while he was still in them, right? You threatened him to not move lest you ‘cut his balls off’…. which was very clever, I must admit.”
Carter, hero alias Bright Flash, rushed towards the man with a roar. The man summoned a portal in front of him and dropped Bright Flash behind him, a few feet up. “Cute,” he laughed, dodging a roundhouse kick from Dark Flash. The Triple Flash all attacked him in tandem, but the man dodged all of it, yelling taunts the entire time.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The police’s bullets flew harmlessly into portals the man made almost absentmindedly, which were redirected to the front of the police car tires. The police could only watch in horror as several of their tires were punctured with the bullets, rendering their vehicles almost useless.
The man practically skipped towards the happily waiting minions, who grabbed onto one of each of his arms. “Duck,” he instructed them. The minions complied, barely dodging a wayward fist.
“Your determination matches that of a book protagonist, but...” The man kicked his foot directly into the diaphragm of Dark Flash, sending him wheezing onto the ground. “You all need much more practice before you can beat me.” He caught Dim Flash’s fist and kicked him in the crotch, then threw him straight into Bright Flash. The minions held on for dear life.
The man turned around. “You know, if you had taken my offer for a trade, you could have gotten something so much more valuable than bottom-feeding minions.” He waved his hand and a portal appeared in front of them. He stepped towards it when:
The man turned back around. “Oh?”
Emerald Angel - the #2 hero, renowned around the world for stopping villains before they could do any real damage - stood in front of the police, heels shoulder-width apart, brown hands on his hips. “Who are you, and what do you want to do with Triple Flash?” His eyes squinted at the mysterious man.
The man in question laughed. “If you must know, I offered to trade extremely valuable information for these minions I have on my arms. No fighting needed. They were the ones who had attacked me. I had nothing to do with it!”
“You slandered us with baseless accusations,” Dim Flash pointed out, still holding at his crotch. “You said that we bullied a man named Kaoru, to the point where I apparently broke into his house to steal a game console. That’s blatantly false.”
“Kaoru?” Emerald Angel whispered to himself.
“Is it? Take your masks off right now, then,” the man retorted angrily. “And prove it.”
None of the Triple Flashes moved.
“We-we can’t,” Dark Flash said. “It’s against hero code.”
“I don’t much care,” the man snapped. “If I recall, that rule doesn’t apply when the other party has due cause. You could even take it off in private if you’d like, only in the company of me and Emerald Angel, yeah? I already know who you are anyway.”
“If we do that, will you leave them alone?” Emerald Angel spoke up. The Triple Flashes all whipped their heads to him in unison, eyes pleading for him to not agree.
“Yes,” the man said. “All I want is for them to pay for their crimes.”
“That seems fair.”
“Thank you very much.” He maneuvered out of the minions’ grips and pushed them towards the portal. Once they stepped in, he walked towards the Triple Flashes, cape sweeping behind him dramatically.
Dark Flash bolted, and the other two followed not long after.
The two men watched them go. Emerald Angel ducked his head in an imitation of a bow.
“I will investigate them properly later,” he promised.
“I know,” the mysterious man grunted. “You are one of the few heroes that I’d trust.”
Emerald Angel whipped his head up, but the mysterious man began walking towards the portal he had thrown the minions in. “Wh- wait.”
“Hm?” The other man turned to look over his shoulder. The gas mask scraped against his metal shoulder pads.
“What should I call you?”
“Call me... Void Zero. Goodbye, Emerald Angel.”
Emerald Angel’s eyes widened and he began running towards Void Zero. “Wait a second!”
It was almost too late. Void Zero had already stepped into the portal, but Emerald Angel managed to grab the back of his cape, white gloved hand stark against the black fabric. The portal closed and Emerald Angel was sucked through, his hold on Void Zero’s cape not slackening.
They dropped onto a metal floor, Void Zero landing neatly with a click of his heels and Emerald Angel almost falling flat on his face. He caught himself just in time and grabbed Void Zero’s shoulders. Void Zero fought back, grappling at the other’s hands; Emerald Angel shoved Void Zero to the floor in a burst of strength and pinned him to the floor with his knees. Void Zero squirmed and scratched at the other man, but Emerald Angel managed to pin Void Zero’s hands over his head.
For a few seconds they sat there, panting. Emerald Angel’s hand rested on Void Zero’s chest. Emerald Angel looked into Void Zero’s dark, familiar eyes; their faces were only a few inches from each other.
“You...” Emerald Angel whispered. Void Zero shivered. “You’re Kaoru. Kaoru Myers.”
“Congratulations,” Void Zero - Kaoru - said breathlessly. He tried to squirm again, but Emerald Angel’s grip was unyielding. “Would you like a consolation prize with your correct guess?”
Emerald Angel scrabbled at the white mask covering his eyes and pulled it off, chest heaving. Kaoru made a choking noise. “Fi...del?”
“Yuki,” Fidel Moore, high school best friend of Kaoru Myers, breathed. He shakily let go of Yuki’s hands and cupped the gas mask in between his palms tenderly. “I’ve found you.”