Of Gods and Men
Reeve is more than just a genius. He's a genetic anomaly, and he isn't the only one. At a young age he loses his hearing. Ten years later, he meets a man who gives it back. Eventual SLASH, Justice, Romance and Superpowers.
Please be aware of violence and adult themes before reading.
"Reeve, it's time for breakfast!"
The young boy looked up from his book, before sitting up on his bed and catching a glimpse of his loosely tied sneaker. Bending over to secure his left shoe lace with a double knot, he found himself sighing as he snapped the book shut reluctantly, then his eyes flicker to the clock on his wall.
The sight of the analogue clock reminded him that there were actually students in his class that didn't know how to tell time even now, three months into kindergarten. Such a simple concept, Reeve had always thought. Seconds ticked by, minutes, hours and then days…he'd understood it long before he even knew what it meant to understand it. It was math, a never ending equation that added up continuously. He'd been keeping track of it mentally for as long as he could remember, subconsciously doing the addition in his head. At any moment, if asked, he could state it with certainty.
Reeve had existed, technically, just two weeks shy of six years. He had existed outside of his mother's womb for nine months and three weeks shorter than that. He had been a late baby, so much so that they had actually been planning a C-section when his mother went into labor.
Reeve had existed for over three million minutes, which ended up being almost two hundred million seconds. He knew the exact number, of course, but it was changing constantly in the back of his mind, and the count had never ceased to exist even when he was distracted with something else. It was always there, reminding him how long he'd been here, how much he had soaked in. Two hundred million seconds of absorbing knowledge—it seemed like so much.
His parents had been alive six times as long as him (his father closer to seven times), meaning that they had over a trillion seconds of knowledge. Everyone around him, save his two year old sister, had seen as much as he had on this earth, if not more.
So why did everyone seem so stupid?
Reeve set his book down on his desk and straightened his collar in the mirror once more before starting out of his room and down the hall. A glimpse through the open door to his sister's nursery had him blinded by violent yellow, so he quickly turned away and trotted down the stairs as fast as he dared.
"Reeve—oh, there you are, Sweetie. You only have fifteen minutes to eat now," His mother chastised as he pulled himself up and onto the tall stool as he sat at the island where his baby sister was already in her highchair and doing what Reeve supposed was her version of eating. Meaning, that she was smearing orange and yellow gunk all over her chubby cheeks and giggling when she managed to toss some onto the floor or the counter.
Of course, Reeve made sure he was a sufficient distance away from her so that any catapulting done with her flexible pink baby spoon would not be able to reach him. Hopefully.
He was quite sure he had never been that messy.
"I'm not hungry, Mom," Reeve told her, looking down at the pancakes and trying to hide his distaste. They were painfully sweet, even without syrup. If he was quick, before his mom started loading them into the car to drop him off at school he could sneak an apple out of the fruit basket and into his backpack without her noticing.
"Breakfast is important," the woman replied with a frown, tapping her temple with the handle of the spatula still in her hand. "It's brain food."
Then I really, really don't need it. The thought was in Reeve's mind before he could stop it. It made him hide a smile behind his hand as took a bite just to appease her.
However bad he felt about thinking such a thing, because such immodesty went against everything he had been taught by his parents and in school, it was the truth.
He hated school.
At first, he'd thought that it was just the kids at the park that his mother took him to. So about a year ago, before he'd started school officially, he'd asked to be taken to a different one. There, the children were similar, the same know-nothing faces and careless, thoughtless eyes.
But even then, he had hope. There was still school, after all…it was one thing to be disappointed with children that were still too young for class, but when he got to elementary surely he would find those that were like minded, learned individuals with a passion for furthering themselves.
Coming home after his first day of kindergarten, Reeve had been depressed.
Most kids could read in his class, but they didn't understand what they were reading. They wanted to play, or chat, or sing or…whatever nonsense. And what was more, was that the teacher let them. Usually, it was as a part of the learning process, or because she was trying to be lenient because it was their first time in school setting. Ms. Sorron, was more tolerant than Reeve. She was a young woman, a petite cheerful thing that taught them concepts Reeve had been sure they would have covered in preschool, which he hadn't attended.
They were all the same faceless kids he'd seen at the park.
It wasn't different at all.
He was the only one.
Reeve wanted to yell at them sometimes, for not working harder, for not working towards something, at the very least. Didn't they want to know more? Didn't they thirst for it?
Even when they were willing to learn, it seemed like they weren't paying enough attention.
Why did the teacher have to explain things four or five times? Why did the other students need help with homework? Why were they confused by things that were just plain obvious?
For two weeks, Reeve had struggled with it.
But the epiphany hit him in a moment of clarity when he had answered his teacher's question "Does anyone know anything about how a car goes?". Two students had given it a try. One spoke of the comical interpretation of how there was a hole in the floorboard of cars, so that adults ran their feet along the road to push it along, while the other was slightly less idiotic with the answer of 'something to do with gas'. Reeve had been third to reply. He proceeded to give a detailed description of the combustion engine that left the other students stumped and the teacher thoroughly dazzled. He'd trailed off in the middle of describing the four strokes of an engine, because…
The look in her eye when she peered at him from across the room answered quite clearly the question he had been asking himself for years.
He was the only one that could see it. It wasn't laziness on the parts of others, at least not entirely. They were average, sometimes even above average, he was just…something else. Something more.
Reeve didn't know, exactly, what he was.
But he did know, without a doubt, that whatever it may be called, it was spectacularly, fantastically, dramatically …boring.
"Reeve, Sweetie, if that's all you're going to eat, could you get Anna's shoes on for me while I find my purse?"
"Yes, Mom," Reeve replied, glad to have a reason to stop nibbling little bites of his sugary breakfast. He grabbed the tiny blue shoes from where they had been set next to the couch just for this purpose before going over and plucking the spoon out of her hands.
Anna was not pleased. "Waaah, Weeeeef—"
That was Anna's version of Reeve's name. 'weef'. His mother though it was adorable. Reeve was not so endeared to the nickname, and hoped desperately it didn't stick once her tongue grew a little more dexterous.
"Oh, shush," He admonished idly, wiping her down with a rag to get as much sticky goo off of her as humanly possible before pulling her shoes onto her soft, wrinkly feet. "There. Not so bad."
Yes, Reeve was fairly sure that he had been more verbose at her age. Anna's vocabulary consisted of perhaps fifteen words at this point, while he was certain he'd been forming nearly full sentences. Anna couldn't hold a fork correctly, while Reeve had learned quickly and efficiently at her age how to use it rather well, write with proper utensils and color inside the lines at that age.
So much for a companion, he thought mournfully as he pulled her out of her high chair carefully and secured her in the car seat on the floor, snapping the buckles into place. She was heavy, but as she didn't fight against him, and it wasn't for a long distance, so Reeve could pick her up with relative ease. He'd been hoping genetics would throw him a bone and give him a sister who could understand just what the world was like through his eyes.
No such luck.
It was just as well. He attended a small elementary school, after all, comprised of mostly local kids. Middle school would be a little more elite, because at that point his parents would have saved up enough money to send him to a private one—it was in their five year plan. He could find someone there, perhaps, that understood. That looked at other students, other adults even, and saw what he saw.
If not, there would be an even better chance in high school.
College, then, when he got to that point.
If not then, surely he would find someone when he became a police officer, after all. His father was a smart man. Evan was a good man and smarter than most of the adults Reeve had come across. Even so, he couldn't help but feel that at his father's age, his mid-thirties, that he should know more. He'd had over a trillion seconds, after all, and it just seemed like he'd accomplished so little.
He loved his father. He loved his mother, too, though she had never been all that intelligent. She'd married his father young and had never graduated high school…Reeve was fairly sure that he had surpassed her already.
Would that be his whole existence, then?
Surpassing everyone? Always running in front of the pack with ease, alone, but ahead? Sometimes, he imagined his life as a giant track— black asphalt, painted white lines, hurdles and all. Running and running until everyone in the entire world was left in the dust behind him, with Reeve only able to look back and wave as their faces grew more and more small and distant…blurry and unrecognizable.
No. No, that couldn't be all there was to it.
Reeve, however tired he was of all the mediocrity, was optimistic.
"Oh! You've got her all in her seat and everything. You're such a good boy, Reeve," His mother kissed the top of his head, ruffling his hair in the process and grabbing the handle of Anna's car seat as she started towards the door.
Reeve straightened his hair and slipped on his shoes, coat and backpack while he approached the door just behind her. He tossed one of Anna's small beanies to help keep her warm because it was still chilly outside this time of year.
"No problem, Mom." Reeve replied easily as he swung the strap of his bag over his shoulder and followed her outside to the car. It was still dark blue outside, the sun just barely blushing against the sky and the last of the stars fading as he slid into the back seat next to where Anna, who was being latched in.
His school was barely a mile away, but his mother didn't like him walking there in the dark. He was allowed to walk home in the afternoon because it was broad daylight and there were crossing guards and police officers out and about looking for speeders ignoring the 'School Zone' signs.
He enjoyed walking alone. It gave him time to be by himself, without worrying about baffling his teacher, or annoying his classmates, or trying to act interested in what his mother had to say.
"Did you study for your math quiz, Reeve?" His mother asked suddenly as she pulled the family car out of the drive. His father was still asleep, because he didn't have to get ready for work for another hour or so, and Donna said he could use all the sleep he could get. "You have one every Thursday, right?"
"Every Wednesday, actually. I took it yesterday," Reeve informed her patiently, looking out the window as the houses passed by.
"Oh! I see. Right, Wednesday then. Have you gotten the score back? Did you do well on it?"
"We haven't gotten the score back yet, but yes, I did well. I'm sure I got a perfect score."
"Perfect," Reeve corrected, for what he knew to be the fifty-eight time. He didn't expect it to hold for long.
"Perfect," Reeve praised, not wanting to spend too much time on fixing a toddler's pronunciation. It was close enough. He saw the school coming into view, and he readied himself to get out.
Even though he knew his father needed sleep, he also wished that he could have spent more time with him. He loved his mother, he did, but…hearing about his father's work was the only thing that gave a spark to his day. Hearing stories about how his father helped put away a bad guy was interesting. It sounded glorious, it sounded like fun, it sounded…
Reeve had decided, from the moment his father had explained what it meant, that he liked that word. Justice. It just made so much sense to him. Justice was good and injustice was bad. Injustice like bad people hurting good people, injustice like the guilty going free, injustice like the innocent being condemned, injustice like—
—like Reeve being the only person that could do what he could do. The only mind that could see what he could see and comprehend everything, not just learning facts or memorizing statements or solving mathematical equations, but understanding actual concepts that were decades beyond his years. He did it with such ease that it sometimes made him nauseous to think about it in too much depth.
What would happen when he ran out of things to learn?
What would happen when the puzzles grew too easy and the questions were all answered?
Reeve couldn't wait to become a detective like his father. To bring justice into the world like no one else could even understand, because as far as he knew, he was the only one. He wanted to prove that there was another glimmer of perfection, of color, in this life of grey and bleak and dumb. That would be true righteousness, and he would fight for everything that stood for, in hopes that in return he would get some of it himself.
If he had to live like this forever, he didn't know what he would do.
Reeve had never slept with a nightlight, or thought that there was a monster in his closet, but the possibility of living his life like this forever…that he was scared of. It was his precious, secret fear, one that no one could know about. He was already different, but no one really knew by how much. He couldn't let them know how…horribly dull they were. How they hardly seemed worth anything at all to him unless he made himself stop and think about it, about caring. No one else had to think about it, had to think about feeling things for other people, however stupid they were.
It hurt, that he forgot to care.
He figured though, if it still hurt, then he wasn't too far gone.
But he would keep running. He was only two hundred million seconds in the race now, after all, though he feared soon he would pull so far ahead that he wouldn't be able to see them at all.
"Alright, just here is good. I'll see you later, Mom."
"I love you, Reeve."
"I love you too. Bye."
"Bye bye, Anna."
Nothing was holding him back.
The students hadn't seemed to progress much over the school year. Reeve was unimpressed, though he came to realize it was through no fault of the teacher. This was just how other kids, other people, learned things.
Reeve came to understand that he would never learn anything if he relied only on the assignments in class. And so the library had become his haven, books and internet research on the computer had him learning at an alarming rate. His little sister still hadn't begun talking in full sentences by the time Reeve had learned every word in the dictionary, the pronunciations, spelling and meaning of each one and their multiple uses. Anna was still watching children's shows with talking animals that sung songs about basic addition when Reeve had begun algebra and she still stumbled when she walked while Reeve had begun to take the lead in all physical education areas, from speed and agility to balance and aim. It wasn't about athletic skill so much as understanding anatomy and the science of how to throw a ball and with what amount of strength so that it went where you wanted it to.
The first grade came around, as did Reeve's sixth birthday, and he readied himself for another year of being the best. The adults in his school were in awe of how easily he passed every test, never below a perfect score because he was years ahead of where they thought he was.
He kept his true potential to himself.
Over the course of the first semester of his first grade year, Reeve became less worried about school work (he would be the top of his class, whether he studied a little or a lot) and started asking his father more questions about his work. What it meant to be in his position, what it entailed, what types of 'bad guys' there were, as well as basic laws that his porous mind soaked in at a rate that startled his parents whenever they caught a glimpse of just who he was.
"Dad," Reeve asked one day at the dinner table, when there was a lull in conversation. "I was reading something today."
Evan nodded, somewhat distantly as he chewed his dinner. He took a sip of his water before he spoke. "Oh? Did your mother get you a new story book?"
Reeve regarded him for a moment. His father was a hard worker, and he looked up to him quite a bit—he wanted to do what everything his father did and more. He wanted to save the world, and being an NPA agent seemed like the best facility to do that in. But his father was rarely home, sometimes he was around long enough to eat dinner before either heading back to work or collapsing after all-nighters. He was due for a promotion in six months' time if he impressed his superiors.
But Reeve had not read a storybook since he was four and a half years old.
"No, the article in the paper about Sarus Jacobson," Reeve informed him, cutting a piece of the meat on his plate into a smaller bite. "Is it true that he was released from jail even though that woman told the jury what he did?"
Evan's eyes widened, and his full attention was on his son.
"Wh…how did you know that, son?"
"I told you," Reeve said, and his eyebrows rose, "It was in the paper. We get the paper, you know. On the doorstep. Usually in the morning, if the boy who delivers it isn't late."
"…Ah." Evan cast a glance at Donna, who was blinking widely herself. As if Reeve didn't notice the gaze…Adults really didn't get that he saw everything they did. Like when he was young, and they spelled words that they didn't want to say out loud, should he repeat it. He understood them, every condescending flicker of the eyes and every patronizing dumbed-down sentence they relayed to him.
It was infuriating.
"What exactly did the paper say about it, Reeve?" His father asked slowly, as though choosing his words carefully.
"That they hurt her," Reeve started, and saw the tension in his parent's shoulders deflate. His father's eyes began to drift back to his plate, and so he decided instead to make him listen. "They said he raped her."
"What?" His father hissed, eyes shooting back to his son.
"They said he raped her," Reeve repeated with a frown, "A lot. She said he kept her in a basement somewhere for a long time and tortured her, but she got out and waited too long to say anything, so there wasn't any evidence to prove that he was who caused her injuries, and they couldn't find the torture chamber, so—"
Evan set his fork down a little too hard, obviously flustered hearing such words formed in his child's voice. Reeve's mother looked as though she'd been slapped across the face, pressing a delicate hand to her mouth in horror.
"That's enough, Reeve, I know that case." Evan swallowed, running his hand over his head of short hair.
"It wasn't your case, though, was it, Dad?" Reeve asked, frowning. Surely his father wouldn't have let the bad guy get away so easily.
"…No, it wasn't, Reeve, but I work closely with the man who was in charge of it," Evan explained, still a little shook up from hearing the young boy talk about such a thing so freely. He'd never heard of a child Reeve's age reading the paper. Hell, most six-year-olds didn't read anything willingly. The man tried to think back to what he had done at Reeve's age, and though he couldn't think of any memories specifically, he was rather sure he hadn't read the paper until he was in his late teens.
"Is he stupid, then?"
Evan, again, was dumbfounded. "What do you mean?"
"The man that was in charge of the case," Reeve took a bite of his dinner and cocked his head to the side in a way he knew adults seemed to be endeared to. "Was he stupid? He had to be, why else would he let a criminal go?"
"Oh, Reeve, Sweetie, it's more complicated than that…" Donna said, patting his hand.
Reeve found himself frustrated once more. Then explain it to me.
Adults also felt the need to dismiss his curiosity with statements like that. There were things that he didn't know yet, simply because he didn't have enough seconds, but once they were explained he could grasp the concept. The fact that those who were older didn't even think it was worth explaining was maddening.
Evan patted his mouth with a napkin and turned in his chair to face Reeve straight on, meeting his eyes and speaking to him in a way he'd never been spoken to before.
-Like his father knew he would understand the words. It was recognition. Evan was a good father, but now, there was respect somewhere in there that Reeve had never felt directed towards him.
"No, he's not stupid, Son. He did everything in his power to get that man behind bars. However…there are laws that get in the way of prosecuting—" He paused for a moment, and Reeve could see that he was wondering if Reeve understood the word. Reeve nodded slowly, meeting his father's eyes head on. Evan continued, "Prosecuting a criminal."
"Then are those laws bad?" Reeve asked, the only conclusion he could come up with given the information he had. "Since those laws stopped him from going to jail?"
"No, no," Evan shook his head, pausing as though looking for the words. That was also something that Reeve rarely had trouble with—the right words came to him, flowing out of his mouth fluently, his brain supplying him with retorts at the drop of a hat. "The laws are there to protect us. There has to be proof, or someone that is innocent could go to jail for something they didn't do. It's happened before because people lied. Have you ever been in trouble for something you didn't do, Reeve?"
"No," Reeve answered simply. As if he would let that happen.
"Could you imagine it? Prison isn't a nice place. What if someone said you hurt them, and the police just threw you in jail because they thought you did it?" Evan asked, and Reeve was forced to consider it.
"That wouldn't be fair."
"That's right," Evan's lips twitched upward, "That would be injustice, Reeve, everything officers like me fight against. So even though sometimes we can't get the bad guy because of the laws that protect us, it's our job to enforce them…"
"Even if they're inconvenient," Reeve concluded thoughtfully.
His father smiled at him and Donna looked between them dubiously. She hadn't seen Reeve talk like this before. Certainly she knew that he was an intelligent boy, but she'd never heard anyone his age, or even children older than him, speak the way he was. Vocabulary she was certain they weren't teaching him in the first grade was coming out of her cherub of a son and it was disconcerting in a level that she was not equipped to comprehend.
She only knew that it saddened her.
Reeve finished the food on his plate and set down his chopsticks slowly, "Thank you for explaining it to me, dad."
The bespectacled man smiled. "I want you to grow up well, Reeve. Please, ask me these things when you need to."
A ghost of royal blue seemed to glow around Evan head and shoulders, baffling the young boy instantly. He stared at it for a moment, trying to figure out what it was. It was just a tinge, noticeable but not blinding, outlining his father like a halo, except that it extended past his head and seemed to continue over his shoulders and what Reeve could see of his body.
He blinked, and it was gone. He blinked again but it did not reappear, so he dismissed it as a visual blur and shook it out of his mind.
He responded to his father's statement with an honest smile. "Of course, Dad. I'll make sure to."
And he would. Because such concepts just didn't come naturally to him, not like most things did. Numbers, facts, language- those were easy…but for some reason his mind didn't work the way that most people's did when it came to understanding why something was the right thing to do or not.
Most of the time he did what the rules stated he should simply to stay out of trouble—even if he didn't like it, or found it unnecessary or inane.
Even this short life of ennui had made him distant, as though he was looking at the world through a television set and not actually participating in it. Reeve thought he might be lacking something that most people had, despite all of his talents. All he knew, all that was ingrained, was that good people deserved happiness and that bad people deserved to be put in prison for destroying that happiness.
All other morals were lost to him. He knew what was right because he was taught it, in school, by his mother and father, even by examples that people set for him.
It seemed like certain emotions came easier to everyone else. Not just other children, that were vibrant and sunny—adults, too. They laughed, they cried, they…felt everything so easily.
Yes, Reeve had been angry before, and he remembered crying when he'd been very young…but it seemed to take so much more to evoke such reactions from him. Even smiling, something he saw people do every day, never seemed to come naturally to him.
He supposed faking would have to do.
It had gotten to the point where Reeve's mom let him walk to school in the morning, even though she drove Anna, who had only just begun kindergarten. She always gave him the choice, of course, to ride with her, but Reeve preferred the time to himself. Especially this time of year, where the weather was crisp and cool, but not yet shiver inducing. The morning routine was much the same as it had always been, only with Anna eating in a sReevely less disgusting manner.
He'd grown more and more interested in his father's work, and several times a week his father would set aside an hour or so to have discussions with Reeve. Either the latest happenings on the news, older articles in the paper or sometimes even a vague outline of his own case he was working on. There weren't enough details allowed to be given for that to be of much use to him, but it kept his interest more than anything else did. Not that that was saying much.
Reeve enjoyed the time with his father.
But he had stopped actually learning anything from their conversations quite a while ago. He'd advanced to trigonometry recently, learning completely from books, and had started learning Chinese on his own time from a book he'd found in the public library. He'd had to move on from his school's book collection; he'd already read every book worth reading in their library halfway through his first grade year. Over two hundred and fifty million seconds had passed, and Reeve had used every one of them to better himself. Sometimes he resented the people around him for not doing the same.
But mostly, he resented them because they had the luxury not to.
Reeve's mind wouldn't allow it. Just continue to move, to run, farther and farther ahead, because to stop would be to die. Running was his only choice, he'd come to accept that. School had become merely an obligation. His homework, class assignments, projects and tests were all handed in neatly and without error, but that was all second to how he was really furthering himself.
Reeve almost winced at the shrill voice of his baby sister. Oh well, at least 'Weef' hadn't stuck. He turned to her with an easy pivot of his heel, looking down at her pigtails.
"Yes, Anna?" He asked, honey brown eyes immediately finding her shoe to be untied and stooping to one knee to correct it.
"Can you ride in the car with us today?" She asked, giggling as she held out her foot for him. Reeve tied it snugly before reconsidering and making a second knot. She would need it. He looked up at her from his kneeling position, giving her a smile as he stood back up. He adjusted his backpack on his shoulder and patted her on the head.
"Not today, Anna."
"Awwwww, but whyyyyyyy? You never ride in the car with us!" Anna put on her best pout. Reeve was almost impressed with her manipulation technique.
Perhaps she did get a little something from his side of the gene pool.
"-Oh wow! Lookit that Hello Kitty backpack! I want a Hello Kitty backpack! I wannit, I wannit, I wannit—"
Reeve humored her as he spotted his mother pulling the family car around the long stream of cars coming to pick up children. "I thought you liked your Spongebob backpack, Anna."
"I do, but it's yellow!" That it was. Blinding, bright, cutesy yellow. "I want a pink one! That one is so pink and cute!"
"Well, you should tell Mom that," Reeve said, gesturing to the car. Anna was still looking up at him, big brown eyes beaming. She had darker features than Reeve did, taking more after their parents than Reeve, with his brown hair and eyes that verged on amber. He grasped her shoulders and turned her around so that she saw the woman who was waiting with the door open for her youngest child.
"Oh! Mommy!" Anna laughed and ran over to the woman, who smiled at Reeve gently.
"Did she talk you into riding with us, Reeve?" Donna asked, leaning over to buckle Anna into her car seat, before straightening up to look at her son.
"Afraid not, Mom, I think I'll walk. I'll see you at home in fifteen minutes." He said, responding to the kiss his sister blew through the window with a grin and a wave, before turning and letting the expression fall into a more platonic one.
However, something caught his eye—black, no, not true black. But a blue so dark that at first glance it could almost pass for black, and he turned his gaze back to his sister. That was where the flash of color had come from, he was sure, but it was nowhere to be seen.
Reeve closed his eyes hard before reopening them and starting down the sidewalk.
Summer was fading into autumn quickly at this point, Reeve purposefully stepped over the leaves that lay scattered over the sidewalk to avoid the crunch of it. The sun was blocked by clouds that told of the rain to come. Although Reeve did not look forward to getting wet when the clouds decided they could no longer hold, he was glad for the shade they provided for the time being. He would, mostly likely, have to take his sister up on a car ride tomorrow. He didn't like getting his school uniform drenched, because it always came out of the dryer itchy.Being saturated in rain water did nothing for the already somewhat stiff fabric.
Adjusting the strap on his backpack once more, so that it hung from a single shoulder rather than two, Reeve started passed the main street that his school was on and into the smaller side roads that were lined with strip malls and buildings only a couple stories high.
The sidewalk grew wider and the grass was not as green nor as prevalent, although just a couple streets over there was a more suburban neighborhood where yards were taken care of impeccably. He passed a public library on his right, the one that he frequented on his days off and occasionally after school to gather more information on languages he wanted to learn. He'd started on Mandarin because it was a language with a huge population that spoke it. He had already decided to start on French next, and he supposed after that it didn't quite manage. He had already tackled English, and even as a native he couldn't believe how difficult the rules, exceptions and nuances of it had been.
What a silly, unorganized language it was.
But Reeve was confident in his ability to speak it, despite its inconsistencies and general lack of order.
From there, he would move onto other languages when he had the time, perhaps. German would be useful as well, but he didn't want to get ahead of himself. Languages were handy, that was for certain, but learning them was…painfully boring. Especially with no one to speak them with, to show off to, because he couldn't just tell his father that he'd learned it all by himself, that while he was supposed to be working on the basics of arithmetic that would lead up to algebra (a subject he'd long since gotten passed) he'd been teaching himself things that he wouldn't even learn in high school.
But he had to keep moving. His mind was not going to stop just because it would be lonely.
As he turned the corner, he saw it. It was just another color out of the corner of his eye that had him rearing back. This time it was red—no, not just red, it a color that reminded him of a tangerine, a cross between red and orange. Just like the other times, it was gone before he really had the chance to examine it closely and the young boy could not help but stop in his tracks and try to find the source of it.
A teenager who had apparently been walking behind him snapped as he nearly ran into him at Reeve's sudden halt.
A huff came from the teenager, but he was running ahead to catch up with his friends as Reeve's attention focused on the direction the strange color had come from. To the right, that was for certain, across the street and over-
In an alley way just where he was sure the color had originated, he saw a man's arm. It was attached to a body, of course, though the building was blocking Reeve's view of it at this angle. He saw it claw at the brick, and then seem to be dragged further into the depths of the alley.
Then he heard a chilling cry, "Help!"
Reeve's body seized, but not into stillness—into action, as he briskly approached the source before he could stop himself. Someone was being hurt. A man, by the sound of it, and from what he had seen of his arm there had been a white cuff and a black jacket; he was probably some sort of business man. In this part of town, just a mile from a high class section as well as a slew of large corporations, it was not uncommon to see them walking passed. The younger businessmen that were just starting out tended to live around here so as to save up their money for the future.
Reeve once more stopped himself, just feet away from the opening of the alley, to wonder what the hell he was doing.
He was a child.
He was small.
This was a job for a policeman, or at least someone much larger than he was to intimidate whoever was assaulting the businessman into submission.
Reeve looked around quickly, surveying the area through sharp eyes but found no one. In the distance, there were other children walking home, but they were like ants from this far away and going to look for an adult at this point could mean certain death for the victim.
So Reeve took those few steps forward and brought himself past the brick into the opening of the alley.
In an instant, his mind had imprinted the scene, taken it all in and assessed it. It did look like a businessman, or an intern, because he was younger than Reeve would have expected—someone still in college, most definitely. He was slim and tall, and although his inky black hair fell to his shoulders there was nothing ill kept about his appearance. The mugger, on the other hand, while a few inches shorter than the man in the suit, must have been three times as wide. There was fat and muscle piled up on what had to be thick, sturdy bones and a snarl on his bulbous features as he held the frightened young man's chest to the wall, twisting a lithe arm around his back and—
-pressing the lips of a beer bottle against the jacket, just in between the silky-haired man's shoulder blades.
"I'll fucking shoot you, you hear me, trying to get away, m'gonna strip you of everything you got, even that fancy suit, fag—" He was rambling, Reeve thought, narrowing his eyes even more. He was not a calm, organized criminal…he was most likely very unstable. "So you're going to strip down to your socks, or else your heart is going to be kissing the brick. Understand? No funny business, you think I won't shoot you-?"
"You're not going to shoot him."
Both sets of eyes shot to him, one pair beady and filled with contempt and the other dark and terrified.
"…Because that's a beer bottle, not a gun." He took a step forward into the alley but not daring to move any closer. He could see those panicked eyes startle, and then relax somewhat at the notion that there was not a gun at as his back. They were approximately fifteen feet from each other and Reeve's heart was pounding like drums in his head but his expression did nothing to expose his apprehension.
This was what was right.
His father fought for justice and this was not justice. This was crime, and Reeve would do everything in his power to stop it from happening.
"Fucking brat!" The man snarled at him for disclosing the truth behind his fake firearm. "Get lost, this isn't your business!"
"Let him go," Reeve stated as firmly as his voice would come out. Which, luckily, was quite steady. Both men seemed surprised. "I've already called the cops. There's a school just around the corner—they'll be here any minute."
But Reeve had been lying all his life, to people much closer to him than this criminal.
"I called the police, so I suggest you run now if you don't want to be caught for petty theft." Again, the criminal looked confounded, and then wrenched himself away from the young target with gritted teeth.
"Are you fucking kidding me?"
"No," Reeve replied, frowning, "You're a rotten man. Hurry and leave before you get taken away to jail."
"You think I care about going to jail, you little fucker?"
"If you didn't," Reeve tilted his head and found a smirk twisting at his lips, "You wouldn't have pulled away from this man at the mention of police."
He made a sound that reminded Reeve of a bull huffing just before charging at a red curtain—but instead, he just stomped passed the eight-year-old and out on to the sidewalk in retreat.
The man was smarter than he seemed, apparently.
Reeve instead turned his eyes to the finely dressed man as his assailant disappeared from view. He watched the young man roll his shoulders and hold his arm to his chest briefly, looking at Reeve in awe.
He seemed about speak, but Reeve beat him to it, "Are you alright?"
The look of amazement directed at him turned to horror, this time directed just over Reeve's head.
"Stop, he's just a child—!"
Reeve spun to intercept whatever was to come, but only managed to adjust the angle of the blow. Pain shot through his head, neck and spine as he heard the sound of something shattering. For a moment he thought it might be his own skull breaking, but as his slight form hit the ground it a pile of broken glass he realized what had happened. Though the beer bottle had been a fake gun, it was a real weapon, and the criminal had used it according.
Reeve had thought he'd saved someone.
Somehow the scream that had been on his lips was sucked out of him, like all the air had just stopped coming and his voice wouldn't move. He'd never felt such pain before, so much blinding agony that his vision was blurring red.
Or was that blood leaking down from his head and coating his vision?
He didn't know. He was on the ground, unmoving, wavering in and out of consciousness. He held on to what he could, though what he could see of the world was swimming before him. He couldn't feel the hard cement against the ground, he could only feel wet, warm fluid in his hair and the piercing pain, his entire body throbbing with every beat of his heart. Reeve could see the hulking figure of the criminal walking toward the businessman who had come forward several steps as though to rush to Reeve's aid.
The jagged remnants of the beer bottle still clutched in his hand as he stalked closer.
Was this how it was going to be? Reeve had tried to save someone, and the result would be death for them both?
He'd be buried as a child for doing what was right, for fighting for justice, and this man, who he had failed to save, would die with him by the same weapon.
No, no, no, no—
Time was moving in slow motion through his eyes, and he for a moment he thought he could see the color again around the thug. This time, however it was a much paler color than it had been before. Still a strange cross between red and orange –certainly not a color Reeve was fond of—and that couldn't just be the blood. He wasn't delusional, because he'd seen the same thing before, long before he'd been bludgeoned.
He could see the dark blur of the suit backing away from his attacker.
No, no, no, no—NO.
How could Reeve have let this happen? There was no one to come for them, the police had never been called and he hadn't had the time to run to get someone and this wasn't fair. This wasn't justice, and through all the excruciating pain, he could not help but balk at the inhumanity.
This was not the way the world was supposed to be.
This was not the way it was supposed to end. Not the way Reeve was supposed to end. A botched attempt to spare a man's life and a criminal, a disgusting, vile man who had decided to kill a child, would get away with it—
That someone like this existed was a disgrace to humanity.
Abruptly, something happened that Reeve didn't quite understand. The bottle dropped to the ground and out of the thick hand that held it, rolling somewhere out of the youth's range of vision. The man that had accosted them both was gripping his chest, and though his vision was too much for him to make out the exact look of anguish on his face in detail, his body language said enough.
What had happened?
Had the would-be prey succeeded in harming him somehow?
Reeve didn't know, all he knew was that his assailant was crumpling to the ground like a rag doll. He saw the sick way his large body hit the ground, the strange angle that one of his arms fell into beneath him. Yes, yes, he was safe. They were safe. Relief swelled in Reeve's chest, but before he could express it, his eyes were fluttering shut despite his desperate inner plea for his body to remain awake.
The world went silent and black.
When he awoke in the hospital bed an immeasurable amount of time later, the world slowly but surely came back into view as he opened his eyes. He could feel the ache radiating from his bandaged head, see his parents slumped on the couch next to each other asleep and even the faint lines of tears stains on his mother's cheeks. Something was wrong, and he knew it, but for several seconds it was hard to tell just what was abnormal. The darkness that had come with being knocked unconscious was gone –and the realization of just what the anomaly was made him freeze.
The darkness had faded.
The silence had not.
A/N: So... here you have the first chapter. The first third person story I've posted on this site, but I really love it. I've been sitting on it for a while. It has a X-men and Phenomenon vibe to it, but more than anything it's the story of a real life superhero, from childhood and on. It will involve romance between him and another man, but not until later, and it should be very slow in the making.
A deaf superhero.
Ahem. So, please tell me what you think about this. Critiques? Questions? Comments? I'll be looking forward to your reviews.