Chapter 1

I took a bite out of a delicious burger while on a date from an August day back in 2013.

"Mmm!" I said with a look of joy on my face. "Good call on this spot, honey."

"Thanks, Roxy." my boyfriend Macario blushed. "So, what do we do now?"

I kinda froze. Out of the year or so we've gone out as a couple, this was probably the first date we've had that didn't involve staying at one of our houses and playing video games or watching television together. I was socially anxious, he understood that, so we didn't do much outside activity together.

"I... I don't know. Whatever you wanna do, I guess..."

"Maybe go see Astra?" He helpfully suggested.

"I actually called her before we went out, asked to be a buffer if things got awkward, but she was in the middle of a case."

"Oh, I see" he looked at me, not seeming subject to his occasional ADD-like attitude and actually being content with helping me assure him he was having a good time. It calmed me down that I wasn't making him feel bad. "But we can still have a ton of fun together."

"You think so?" I asked, trying my hardest not to have the goofiest grin on my face. "I'd like that."

His eyes caught a Chuck E. Cheese across the street and immediately lit up with childlike joy.

"Oooh! Hey! After a bit, do you wanna go over there?" He pointed in the direction of the fun place and assumed the begging position. "Pleeease, Roxy?"

"I don't know, Rio. I kinda lost my enjoyment for those about ten years ago; it just feels like mindlessly walking around. I guess video games spoiled me too much to enjoy actual physical fun." This explains why I was a bit on the hefty side. I shouldn't be too hard on myself though, 185 pounds isn't too overweight for a girl my height. Besides, most of the calories I burn come more from my solar abilities fighting against supervillains than off my body.

Speaking of which, as if right on schedule, we started seeing trees popping up nearby and strong gusts. Even in southeast Texas, that was not normal.

"Sounds like Skywood." Rio sighed, then asked. "Need some help?"

I kinda wanted to handle her on my own, but I didn't want to risk pushing him away like I do with all but a few people in my life. So I decided to oblige.

"Sure, hon." I grinned as the two of us quietly but swiftly made our leave, going into an isolated area and using special devices given to us, by our good friend Claire, to transform into our alter egos...

"Star Lass and Willpower, away!" My boyfriend said with interminable vigor as I blushed in embarrassment.

Skywood continued destroying the town's various concrete areas in favor of speed growing trees everywhere as she flew around creating strong gusts of wind to keep others out. However, we had superpowers too.

"Hey there, Nature Girl. How you doin'?" Willpower cheerfully waved, to Skywood's confusion.

"Sky, you don't have to do this." I tried reasoning with her.

"Don't I?" She asked rhetorically. "Gee, I guess you missed my whole speech last month about this being my whole thing! This town has been bastardized by big businesses and I sure as hell ain't going to let that happen to the wildlife either. Either you stay out of my way, or I'll stop you myself!"

In case you didn't get the memo, she's basically Poison Ivy; only in real life; also with the ability to fly and cast windstorms.

I sighed, flying up to her altitude. "Always the hard way..." I gathered solar energy and fired them as hard light beams. She swiftly dodged them, but I managed to at least give Willpower a chance to leap high into the air and cut her up a bit, wielding a sword he created from his inner power. He managed to make it so the cuts were nonfatal unless it was a matter of life or death.

"Gah!" Skywood wiped the blood from her slashed cheek, this ruined her concentration enough to dissipate most of the wildlife and made the tornado she surrounded herself with to become tamer. She lowered herself to ground level, as I also did, and prepared to unleash a ball of wind toward me. "Let's see if you can hold you breath, Star Lass!"

Suddenly, just as I prepared to create a light barrier and deliver the winning strike, a dark shroud came over the three of us and I knew what was going on. From the sound alone, I heard as the cause of the phenomenon kicked Skywood, cast a shadow-like hand from the ground, and grabbed her in what they call in wrestling a "three quarter facelock", lifting her a bit up in the air and slammed her to the ground.

The darkness dissolved and I came to see a five foot short woman dressed in attire that you'd see people from the Middle East wearing, at least on TV. She grabbed the unconscious Skywood with the hand she materialized from dark energy and gave me a smug grin.

She likes to go by Black Moon.

"Astra, what the hell!?" I asked Moon, chastising her on yet another interference. "Rio and I had this one!"

"Geez, Star. You're welcome." She said with a sardonic inflection.

"Aw, man. Come on, Moon!" Willpower was predictably bummed. "That's the fifth time this week. Leave some for us to fight."

"Alright, damn. Next time try not to talk to the stupid bastards and I won't feel the need to get shit done for you." Ah, there's the vulgarity. For the sake of the reader, I won't highlight her more... colorful remarks very often.

I walked toward her and put my hands on her shoulders. "Look, Black Moon, I know you aren't into the whole 'super team' scene like Willpower and I are, but please just try not to deal with our problems unless it gets bad. Okay?"

I saw a cocky smirk come across our face and I knew she was gonna say something to kill the mood.

"Roxanne, are you hitting on me?"

I playfully shoved her away, trying as hard as possible not to laugh. "Come on! You can't let us have just one earnest moment together?"

We all had a laugh for a bit. Then Will wrapped his arm around Moon. "You know, Roxy and I were just saying we'd like it if you joined us. We hardly just hang out anymore, even in the afternoon."

"Yeah, sorry. I've been dealing with this crazy-ass crime ring that's been forming all year since you and I took down Biocide..." She looked to me, a bit annoyed she hadn't included someone else. "...with help from Roxy and Claire, of course. The son of a bitch I was rounding up didn't know jack, even though he was working for someone involved. If you want, I can take you along tonight for a recon if you promise not to do anything stupid." It sounds hypocritical of Astra to say that, but she honestly has a better track record than Rio does with reckless behavior.

"As long as you come by our place earlier tonight, it's wrestling night."

"Hell yeah, man!" The two of them bumped fists. I wasn't really into that kinda stuff, but Rio and Astra eat it up. Rio is what they call a "mark" and Astra is a "smart mark", using words I found on the internet.

"I almost forgot how well the two of you could get along." The lightened mood made me smile as we walked (or flew, in my case) away to let the others apprehend our party crasher as the sirens drew closer.

After we changed back, we headed to the Chuck E. Cheese that Rio had his eyes on and Astra and I watched as a 20-year-old man – who was turning 21 in a couple months - played in a ballpit made for children half his age.

"I would have optioned to go to Dave & Busters, at least they have booze." Astra quipped as she took a sip of her non-alcoholic soda. She was in street clothes like the rest of us, but compared to myself and Rio, especially in contrast to her superhero attire, she looked like she was dressed for the gym with the tank top and short jeans she's fond of. "Do you ever think to yourself 'why am I in love with that guy'?"

"Not as often as you'd think." I just smiled, watching him playing with the kids in the fun center. "So, how's Claire? You told me you were helping her while she was out in Lubbock."

"She's doing good. She mentioned a roommate that sounds a lot like our manchild over there if he were a girl."

A female Rio sounded interesting. "Any chance I could meet her?"

"In probably a few months, depending on if she comes back on holiday." She looked at me with a more penitent face. "Look, Rox. I just wanted to say I'm sorry about-"

"Let me stop you right there, because I already forgive you, ya big dummy." I gave her a small hug.

"Okay, I promise I won't ruin this moment." She snarked once again.