A figure clad in black jeans, a black turtleneck, a silver scarf, and a black mask stood atop a building as if to overlook the city beneath him, all too aware of how cliché he looked at the moment in time.
"Do you have to be so dramatic?" A crisp voice whispered to him.
"Don't be silly, Flex, I'm not being dramatic. I'm creating a good establishing shot."
"Establishing shot to… what exactly?"
The vigilante paused, glancing around. "Huh, good point. I just kinda felt that if we existed in a story this would be where it would start."
"Why now and not before?"
"You know as well as I do that there's no before, Flex."
"And where has that lack of knowledge gotten us?"
"Ay, that's not the only reason we've gotten nowhere. I mean, it's the media, if anything."
"I'll agree with you on that. Scarfboy, really?"
"Well, I am a boy."
"And you do have a scarf."
"You bet I do. A talking one at that."
"Say, if this was a story, shouldn't you be doing some sort of opening narration?"
"No way man, the author will do it for me. The beginning needs to be mysterious so this will be third person, if anything."
"You think we're maybe too far into this joke?"
"Have either of us gotten uncomfortable?"
"Um, I don't know how to answer that."
"Well, I've been paying attention, unlike some pieces of fabric, so it's not too far."
"Oh, yes really."
The aforementioned Felix grinned, deciding to give the scarf around his neck a twirl, resulting in a series of grumbles from his mechanical friend.
Yes, that was a weird sentence. Will it be explained? In just a bit.
In more important news, Felix heard some noises in the alley beneath him. He knew this spot well: it was a prime spot for bad guys to lure others in and mug them.
Quickly donning his favorite smile - and double-checking that his mask was in fact on - he jumped off the building, sliding down the drain pipe as if it were a fireman's pole.
And, of course, his assumptions were right. Three scary-looking guys were surrounding one very afraid looking office worker. The poor guy was clutching his briefcase to his chest as if it would shield any blow and had backed up against the brick wall.
Felix couldn't really see much of his face, but he could only assume it would be funny in a lighter situation.
He cleared his throat to alert the men of his presence. "Guys! You started boxing night without me?"
The men were shocked, immediately forgetting their current target.
"What the-!" Baddie One started. "Who the hell are you?!"
Baddie Two leaned into Baddie One and said, "Carl, it's that vigilante on the news."
Baddie One - Carl? Really? So anticlimactic. - scowled but looked straight ahead at Felix while Baddie Three rose his hands into a fighting stance.
Just before Baddie Three rushed in, Baddie Two held him back. "Hey, don't do it, Louis. He fights like that well. Use your gun."
Felix whistled. So smart but so stupid.
Baddie Three nodded and took out his gun, Baddie One following in suit. They rose their guns to aim at Felix but were distracted by a blur of silver coming at them.
And, with one hit, they were both on the ground.
"Really?" Flex groaned. "Right after you twirl me, you associate me with their faces?"
"Hey, hey. I'm sure Louis and Carl aren't too bad of guys. They just have poor choice in hobbies. I, personally, enjoy a good dash of generic, supernatural high school dramas every once in a while."
"Get a life, Felix."
"Not until you do."
"That's not fair and you know it."
"Yeah, well, life isn't fair, Flex."
Baddie Two stood staring, a look of fear plastered on his face. "You… you're crazy!"
Felix pouted, thankful that his mask showed his emotions easily, and stepped forwards towards Baddie Two. "Aw, what, you know who I am and how I fight, but you don't know what I fight with?"
"Listen, man, just leave me alone!"
"Nah, don't feel like it. Your buddies are unconscious, you know that right? Somebody has to look out for them."
He advanced on the man, easily tripping him up and forcing him to the ground. Resting his foot on the guys head, Felix started tying his hands together with rope.
As a finishing touch, he tied the rope to a drain pipe.
"Well, that's all good. Just wait here until the cops arrive, okay? Oh, and maybe try not saying your buddies names so much. It's kinda counter-productive in the criminal world."
Felix turned to look at the office guy, surprised to see he was still there and not looking at him scaredly. "Hey, call 911 for me, okay? Tell them that your local masked vigilante saved the day."
And with that, he took off, climbing back up the drain pipe he had originally slid down and escaping back into the night.
He heard his scarf start to talk again.
"Aw, so I don't get an introduction?"
"Flex, I don't think you need one at this point."
The morning had always been a rough time for Felix.
Originally it was just the normal "don't-want-to-get-out-of-bed" ordeal, but it had recently turned into a "man-that-guy-hit-me-hard-last-night" type of thing.
And, truthfully, that's just what he got for being a vigilante.
How had he become a vigilante? He found a talking scarf and went out to punch some bad guys.
That's all he knows. He's kinda just accepted it as who he is.
Not to say that he wasn't curious to know if there's more, but he's shuffled that train of thought to a much lower priority than he usually would.
But that's an issue for another time. Right now, he faced a very cruel, relentless enemy:
The alarm clock.
No matter how many times he hit snooze, it would ring five minutes later. He knows that's how they function but does a vigilante really not get a break?
It went off again, and just before he could hit snooze again, his mom burst into his room.
"Felix Jansey Cooper, get out of bed! It's the last day of school and you are going!"
"But… can't I just sleep? It's nicer in here." He murmured as he snuggled back into his blankets.
His mom sighed, sitting at the edge of his bed.
"Listen, Felix, I know this year has been rough so far, but summer's just seven hours away, and then you can sleep in all you want."
Felix grunted, not being able to deny his mom once she showed her level of caring, and dragged himself up.
He and his parents had moved here a little over four months ago, smack-dab in the middle of the school year. It was weird not knowing anyone, but he had made friends - only to keep them at the edge of a ten-foot pole when he almost immediately picked up being a vigilante.
… vigilante-ing? Vigilanting?... Nevermind, you get the point, don't you?
But those friends hadn't talked to him much the past few weeks as he had become more involved in building his vigilante persona.
He really had to get the media past the whole "Scarfboy" thing.
He smiled at his mom before she left his room, and proceeded to shrug on the clothes he had laid out yesterday afternoon - a system he had been using to avoid having to think too much in the morning.
He found that breakfast was already laid out on the table when he walked out. His mom was eating quickly, and his dad was nursing his coffee as he played on his phone.
He wished he didn't have to know that his parents would be worried if they found out what he was doing in his free time. Or if they never did, and he simply vanished.
His mother, Juliana, often came off as cold to others, but he knew that she cared a lot about people, and thus would be broken if he were to die. Chester, however…
His dad was really something else. People often thought of him as the ecstatic one, but he would often go days without any sort of socialization, tinkering away in his study.
You see, both of his parents were scientists, Chester more in the mechanical field and Juliana being quite good in biology. It was how they met, actually, both attending a science-heavy college.
Wonder if them being scientists has anything to do with Flex… Felix wondered as he sat down, picking up a piece of toast. Eh, question for another day.
"Hey, Dad. Your eyes'll fall out if you stare at your phone too long." He commented.
Chester shot him a glare. "Says the teenager."
Felix grinned. "Yes, the teenager who goes on his phone less than his own dad."
Chester pouted, much like a young child would. "Honeeey, Felix is being mean to me again!"
Juliana smirked at her husband's whine, patting him gently on his head. "Now, Chester, I do believe it was all in jest."
Felix grinned, "No, it wasn't. Besides that, I am running late already, and as I've finished my toast, I need to get going."
His mom frowned. "Do you need a ride?"
He shook his head, standing up and grabbing his backpack. "I'll make it in time, don't worry."
As he left through the front door, he heard his mom snort.
School wasn't fun, to say the least.
After all, he'd fallen behind on his friendships and his friends seemed to accept that he probably wasn't going to return to them.
It made him a little sad to watch his old friends talk on without him, but he knew there wasn't much he could do about it - there was too much on his mind these days. Every day, he had to decide on what patrol route he would do that night, how long he should stay out, if it even mattered how long he stayed out, and if he'd see anyone else.
Generally, he never saw any one crook twice - he always made sure there was enough evidence to get them punished. But there was always the off chance they didn't get convicted, or maybe only got fined, or got out way too early.
Not to mention other vigilantes.
It was a strange thought, but if he was being fair, he'd say it'd be stranger if he were the only vigilante in this city. In fact, it made way more sense that after one would come another. So far, he hadn't heard any official news, but there were always rumors among criminals, and if that one time he went undercover taught him anything… it was that he wasn't the only one they'd feared.
He hadn't met any other vigilantes, obviously, and he wasn't quite sure if he wanted to. He didn't want to do any sort of teamwork, but making adversaries just seemed worse.
Felix let out a long sigh, conflicted as the clock continued to tick and the teacher continued to lecture. She didn't even realize they were about to go to lunch… and that nobody was listening to her on the last day of school anyway.
He was about to tune her out again when he heard, "Psst, Felix," coming from his right.
Glancing up, he noticed his old friend Brody leaning over towards him, obviously wanting to talk.
Felix mouthed "Hey." and went back to pretending he was listening to the teacher.
Another "psst" made its way towards him and, when he refused to acknowledge it, a crumpled ball of paper found its way onto his desk.
Glancing back at Brody questioningly first, he unfurled the paper and read the writing that was messing scrawled across it.
Let's talk at lunch. -Brode-meister.
Choosing to ignore the horrible nickname for the time being, he gave in, giving Brody a small nod.
Lunch came perhaps too fast, leaving Felix scared of what Brody could possibly want to talk about. He hadn't talked to the guy in weeks and had honestly thought his friend had begun to forget about him.
But, despite his inner conflict, the bell still rang.
Felix seriously considered making a run for it so he could at least get his lunch before Brody - who was relentless once he wanted to talk to you about a serious matter - would inevitably track him down. He even thought he had a chance to, as Brody had already gone over to their old friend group, but sure enough, the brunette turned and made eye-contact with Felix. There was a very clear message carried in them:
"Stay right there."
Felix sighed, accepting whatever fate had in store for him this lunch.
"I'm a vigilante and yet I can't even best a high-schooler…" He muttered to himself.
In just a moment, Brody was in front of him, offering him a kind hand to help lift him out of his seat.
"Let's walk," he said. "There are some things I need to talk to you about."
Felix accepted the hand, more out of good nature than of actually needing help - though it was helpful on his slightly sore sides.
"Sure. What is it you want to talk about, Brody?" He questioned.
Please don't hate me. Please don't hate me. Oh, God, please be a pleasant need to talk.
Brody started walking, signaling at Felix to follow.
Great. This is just going so well. Hey, at least I have a healing factor. Felix thought. Geez, where's that sarcastic scarf when you actually need his humor?
Felix followed Brody out of the classroom and into the main quad. He noted the trees were green in comparison to when he first started coming here, in winter when all the branches were bare. It was nice, he thought. The green trees were always nice in comparison to the highly modern city they lived in.
Just when he was starting to think Brody had maybe forgotten about him, the boy stopped walking and spoke up.
"I miss you, Felix." he sighed. "We all… well, maybe not all of us do, but I don't want to hang out with those who don't anymore. To think they cared so little…"
Felix didn't fully understand for a moment. "Sorry, what?"
Brody finally turned to look at Felix, a goofy smile on his face. "C'mon, you didn't think I would just forget about you, right? I'm sorry that I didn't reach out earlier, I thought you were mad at us or something and would cool down and come back. But then the others didn't seem to care anymore, about whether you forgave us or not, so I knew I had to clear things up before summer started. Of course, I procrastinated until the last day but… Hey, what's so funny?"
Against his will, Felix had begun to laugh a little during Brody's rambling. Leave it to Brody to get so worried…
Felix tried calming down, knowing he had to respond.
"Br-Brody, oh my god, I'm not mad at you guys…" He managed to wheeze out.
Now it was Brody's turn to be confused. "You're not? Then why have you been avoiding us like we just killed your puppy?"
That froze Felix a little. The whole reason he'd been avoiding them was because he couldn't explain why he was avoiding them.
He briefly wondered if Flex would've made a comment on the Catch-22, but the thought was quickly discarded.
"I-I uhm… heh." He stuttered, floundering for a reasonable excuse. "I don't really know, it's not r-really something I can describe… I guess I just got really stressed with the upcoming finals and the fact that I really miss my friends back home and Mrs. Pinery is such a jerk sometimes and... Uh, I… really don't know. I guess I just started pitying myself too much to realize what I was doing."
He winced at the poorly constructed rambling. Brody rose a suspicious eyebrow in kind.
"That your final answer?" He asked.
Felix bit his lip. "Can it be?"
Brody sighed, letting out a breathy laugh. "Sure, man, but you could've just said you didn't wanna talk about it."
The immediate sigh of relief Felix gave elicited a chuckle from Brody.
Felix grinned, something that has nowadays become more indicative of his vigilante alter-ego. "Thanks, man. I'll be honest, I almost forgot how awesome you were."
His friend clapped him on the shoulder. "And you'd do well to never forget again. Now c'mon. I wanna get some food, and I'll bet you're hungry too. I swear you've lost weight since you've started distancing yourself, I'm almost scared what you'll do to yourself over summer."
Brody started walking off in the direction of the cafeteria, leaving Felix to follow behind.
Well, I guess that solves one issue, Felix thought, quickly catching up to his friend.
The day passed by quickly after that, and summer break came accelerating at Felix like no other.