July ended. Well, all months end, but July fading into August sent a clear message to Felix: Summer was drawing to a close and he'd really not done much with it. Well, Scarfboy had done a lot with it so maybe it balanced out a bit?

Whether or not it did, it didn't matter, because Felix could feel summer dying on him faster than he wanted it to go.

Another sign summer was nearing an end was the fact that Brody had come back from vacation. He hadn't even texted Felix about it, just shown up at his house and made himself at home until Felix got back from his midday coffee run.

And wow, Brody was a sight for sore eyes.

"Dude, I missed you so much. But the trip was super fun! The food, in particular, was amazing but maybe we only went to the places with the good food," Brody raved, taking Felix's desk chair for himself and giving it a quick spin.

Felix smiled at his friend, plopping down on the floor beside his bed and sipping the second cup of coffee he'd gotten from Popchester's to take home.

Brody continued on. "But oh man, I've missed so much! I tried to keep up with the fan-sites but we didn't have good WiFi at the hotel and we were so busy during the day. Did you hear that the warlock of Havenden has a name like the other vigilantes now? Magic Bat. Apparently, he told the university paper to call him that and they just ran with it. It's a pretty basic name but it totally fits! And what's more, Scarfboy, Magic Bat, and KeyMaster have all been seen together! Do you think they're good friends? What if they all know each other in real life? How are you not as excited as I am about this!?"

Chuckling at his friend's antics, Felix shrugged his shoulders. "You get used to the stuff in this city after a while. It's not too surprising anymore. Plus, sometimes it hardly feels real to me. I never leave the house so it's not like I have a huge issue with being mugged and thus need to be saved. I've never seen them."

"I know you like Scarfboy, though. Remember, I've seen your notebook," Brody pointed out, tapping a stray one on the desk.

Felix tried not to cringe at the name. "Okay, well, I am a teenage boy. As my mom said, of course stuff like this excites me. But I'm still not that focused on it. I'm pretty busy being a nerd."

Brody gave him a critical look. "You are pretty pale. You should really get out of the house more."

"I go to Popchester's all the time!" Felix protested.

"Only to sit inside and trade bad jokes with Ross."

"I don't know what you're talking about. I could never tell a bad joke."

Brody rose an eyebrow. "Whatever you say, buddy. But anyway, this is more important than your health-"


"-because you've heard of Dark Gunner, right? The west side's vigilante? There's speculation that he's targeting the Hell's Harbor gang."

Felix froze up, almost dropping his coffee. "Really? How do they know?"

"Well, he's been seen taking them down a lot recently but the real kicker is how he follows them deeper into the city. Like, they're either fleeing or trying to find him as well. People are pretty concerned about it, actually. He seems to be getting rid of them, though, so most say he's doing more good than harm," Brody explained.

Felix sighed, having known something like this would crop up eventually. At least Brody hadn't mentioned the hacker group - some things were still contained.

"Also!" Brody continued. "The girl who captured video of Scarfboy at Havenden University finally gave a statement about why she wouldn't share it."

Felix frowned, recalling the incident. "Well? Spill."

Brody grinned, almost rivaling the grin Felix wore as his vigilante self. Apparently he did something embarrassing and asked her not to share the footage for his own pride."

Well, it sucks to know that's out there but it could be worse. She could have shared the footage, Felix reasoned with himself.

"Did she make any other statements?" he asked.

Brody shook his head. "Nope. Nothing. All the articles about it make it very clear she doesn't want to say anything. Jade Grant remains silent. That's actually the title of one of the articles I read."

Felix almost let himself relax before noticing the irritated expression on Brody's face. "What's wrong?"

"Oh, uh, just… I just remembered another article I read," Brody said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "It was about the police and how they're treating the whole vigilante situation. They're really against them, even though these people are helping so many others."

Felix laughed awkwardly. "Well... I guess it's easy enough to understand? Vigilantes are technically committing a crime, no matter how much good they do."

"Still! Trying to track them down is way too much. It's absolutely ridiculous!" Brody grit his teeth, standing up and ever-so-slightly-overdramatically walking over to the window. Felix had a mini panic attack when he realized Brody may question why he didn't have a screen outside his window but felt a wave of relief when his friend just continued talking.

"I just… these people are protecting us, the police should be grateful to some extent!"

Felix shrugged, getting up off the floor himself and leaning against the wall beside his window. "I dunno, I'm sure some are personally grateful but the law is still the law."

Brody sent him a critical glare. "And since when does Felix J. Cooper respect the laws set by authority?"

Feli fake-gasped. "I'll have you know I've always been a good kid! I do my homework, don't eat in class unlike some people, and have never been to detention."

"Your math notebook is full of poorly-drawn doodles of a scarf themed superhero."

"I wouldn't say he's scarf themed…" Felix muttered before continuing on. "I'll have you know, in fact, that I was on the honor roll all through elementary."

"What elementary school did you go to again?" Brody suddenly asked.

Felix caught off guard, found himself genuinely not being able to answer properly. "Uhh… it's out of state, you wouldn't know it. I'm the new kid on the block, remember?"

Brody shrugged, turning back to look at the city in the distance. "Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Sometimes feels like I've known you longer than I have. Like, has it really only been since we came back from winter break that I've known you?"

The brunette smiled, nodding along. "I know what you mean. Time moves fast but it also moves slow. At some point, you just gotta give up and say that it moves, speed of it be damned."

His friend chuckled. "Who said you could get deep all of a sudden?"

"Just the little voice in my head," Felix joked, tapping his temple for effect.

"Ya' know, Felix, I do wonder sometimes…"

"Hey! Shut up," Felix laughed.

The idea was risky. The idea was dangerous. He half expected it to go wrong and give him an injury he wouldn't be able to hide or something. But still, the idea was perfect.

Sometime after Brody's mom called the house demanding he come home - apparently, he hadn't gotten permission to go over, big shock - Felix had decided to once again indulge in his bad decision making.

Okay, well, he did have a plan, no matter what Flex may have argued. He wasn't just going off the rails here, he swears.

July ended. Summer soon would, too. Felix had to take advantage of how much free time he had or else it would all be for naught in his eyes. He had to have done enough activity to fill the time.

Which is the main reason for why, before dark fell on August 3rd, he took off from his house, changed somewhere deep in the city, and scouted out the other vigilantes.

His parents were both gone at work, so while he didn't have to be worried about them wondering why he wasn't at home, he did take caution when he got to Havenden University. He waited around in the belltower for about 35 minutes before Magic Bat showed up, visibly shocked at how early in the day it was for the scarf-clad vigilante to come around.

Felix immediately explained he wanted to plan a group patrol. The warlock seemed slightly wary of the idea but smiled and agreed nonetheless.

Felix took off to find Dark Gunner next. Instead, though, Dark Gunner seemed to immediately find him, explaining he'd been getting some information from an acquaintance. Felix noted how close they were to Deathwish's usual hideout and took note to check up on his friend later.

He pitched the plan to Dark Gunner - who didn't remove his hand from his gun until Felix joked about how he looked like a cowboy in an old Western right before noon - and didn't fully relax until the gunman gave a nod to show up at the given location and time and took off.

KeyMaster, he thought, would be the hardest to find, but just as it started to get dark and Felix was taking a break to chat with Flex, the vigilante popped up. She gave him some questioning glances regarding the fact he was talking to his scarf again but accepted to meet with him later on in the night.

And, from then on, Felix considered himself set, but just to be sure, he settled down in an alley with Flex to set some ground rules.

"Okay, first of all, don't distract me mid-conversation. Explaining a talking scarf to people who can't hear it only works if the person you're explaining it to is a naive, pure type of person, not a girl who scoffs at me all the time or a guy with a gun and a bit of a killing streak," Felix dictated.

"Got it," Flex replied. "Interrupt you at every turn."

"Second, I really like the way you warm me about people coming towards me but you could honestly stand to do it a bit more."

"I'll cut it out. On it."

"Third, if we get into any fights tonight, maybe try to make me look cool when I whip you around? I try really hard but we have people to impress tonight."

"I can't wait to flop around like an idiot."

"And fourth, and this is the biggie, okay? I give you complete permission to get sassy and snappy if I actually act stupid. Don't let me kill myself via building falls, antagonizing the gunman, losing the half-friendship of KeyMaster and thus losing my caffeine supply. You're on Felix-protection-duty tonight. Agreed?"

"I'm glad you've finally understood how stupid you can be."

"Well, you said I can be stupid, not that I am, so I'm assuming you're of agreeance. Let's do this, my friend," Felix sighed in relief, giving his scarf a little twirl for all its sass.

"I have to admit, this might actually be an entertaining evening to watch transpire."

"Don't make assumptions. Anything can still happen."

Felix had given the same location to all of the vigilantes: The roof of a shopping complex not far away from Popchester's, basically meaning it was close to the center of the city. Felix got there a little bit early, about fifteen minutes before nine o'clock.

Magic Bat arrived a few minutes early.

"Hey, Scarfy! Long time no see," the warlock smiled, clearly proud of himself despite the mildness of the joke.

Felix grinned right on back anyway. "Welcome back to the cool kids club, Batty."

"Kill me now," Flex groaned.

"Remember our rules, Flex. Batty, how's your day been so far?"

Magic Bat smiled even brighter, sitting down next to Felix as he began talking avidly. "It's been kinda crazy, actually. When you showed up on campus, I was in the middle of an insane lecture and after that, I had to work on a group project so I kinda had to rush around a bit there."

"Sorry about that."

"No problem. Anyway, that project. I won't bore you with the details but we're supposed to do a map of the human brain and all that jazz. It would've gone by so much faster if my teammates had listened to my suggestions even like, once, ya' know? Like, how to plot the board out or which specific parts to draw attention to where. They restarted about three times until they finally came up with what I'd said earlier on their own. It was super frustrating."

Felix eyed the guy confusedly. "Why are you smiling while talking about it, then?"

Magic Bat shrugged. "After that, we got a huge portion done. So, like, even though they didn't give credit to me for the plotting of it, they still sorta took my advice and it worked great. It's a confidence boost, I'm sure you know how nice it feels to feels to have your ego fed."

The scarf-clad vigilante shot him a concerned look but nodded nonetheless. He was about to agree to save his own understanding of the situation when something struck him.

"Hey, wait up, mapping a brain. Are you a science nerd?" Felix asked.

The warlock shrugged. "A little. Not my big passion, though. Mostly a literature guy. But stuff like medical science is pretty cool. I probably would've gone into the medical field if I couldn't follow my actual goal."

Felix sighed. "A little bit of a nerd is better than not being a nerd. I'll take it but you're gonna have to stretch your interests a bit. I'm more of an astrophysics guy, myself."

"Nice to know," a female voice joined in, attached to the figure bounding over the edge of the roof. "Astrophysics is a pretty advanced field, though. You sure your brain can handle it?"

Felix checked his watch, chuckling as he noticed it was nine on the dot.

Looking up at the new arrival, he had to at least appreciate KeyMaster's punctuality, if nothing else. "I don't think I'm the one we have to be worried about but I'll give you points for trying to be funny. I can tell it doesn't come to you naturally."

KeyMaster scoffed, kneeling down in front of the boys, passing them cans of soda.

Felix scrunched up his nose. "What happened to my precious coffee."

"The machine I normally go to was out… probably because of me, and I was in a rush. I'll pick more up later, but for now, be glad it isn't tea," she explained.

Felix shrugged. "Fair enough."

Magic Bat elbowed him lightly, then turned a smile over to KeyMaster. "Thank you."

KeyMaster turned an amused smirk to Felix. "Yeah, Scarfy, what do we say when people do nice things for us?"

"Ugh… thank you," Felix muttered.

"Well, I have no clue what just happened but I'll take one of those cans of early death," another voice popped in from nowhere, giving the trio a jump.

Dark Gunner was standing at the far corner of the roof, half engulfed in shadows. Felix had to remind himself that this was a guy with as dorky a sense of humor as him in order to slow his heart rate down from "Heart Attack" levels to a milder "Vaguely Terrified".

KeyMaster, after recovering from her own shock, nodded and threw him a can which he caught with ease.

Magic Bat stayed struck still for a few more moments, then his face turned to confusion. "Wait, how did you not set off one of my cards? I have them around this building's perimeter."

Dark Gunner tilted his head, approaching the trio. "Cards?"

The warlock smiled. "Every magician has a few tricks. I've explained my abilities to Scarfy over here but I guess I haven't shared with you guys. Come to think about it, you got past my cards a few nights ago as well. Weird, I know they're working."

Felix rose a brow. "You set your cards up every place we stop for break and yet they also never notify you of our stalker?"

"I'm not a stalker!" KeyMaster huffed.

Felix ignored her, focusing on their warlock's pensive face.

"Huh, I guess she's gotten past them too. Weird, they always notify me when you're in the vicinity, Scarfboy," the pinkette mused.

Felix groaned. "Please don't-"

"Call you that, I know, sorry. It just slips sometimes. Anyway, I guess these two are just sneakier than you are."

Felix pouted, giving a playful glare to the other two vigilantes. "Where's the value in stealth, anyway?"

He could see an blonde eyebrow raise above Dark Gunner's glasses. "It's one of the most important things in crime fighting."

"Obviously none of you have any flair," Felix argued back.

"She carries a giant key around and your magic friend is, ya' know, magic. In fact, you probably have the least flair." Dark Gunner pointed out.

Felix grinned. "I still have more than you, and I'll take that as a win."

A chuckle escaped from Dark Gunner's direction, though Felix couldn't actually see much proof it was from Dark Gunner other than the slight shake of his shoulders.

KeyMaster cleared her throat, checking her watch quickly. "Anyway, business. Scarfy, I know you asked if we could all patrol together, but truth is I started early today for a reason. There's a little something I sorta need to look into involving business dealing on the East Side, so I can always join back up with the group later on."

Felix felt his throat constrict a little. "Oh, well, yeah, that's fine."

Dark Gunner nodded along. "If that's the case, I'll duck out for a few hours as well. There's a group I have reason to believe is meeting up tonight and they need a good disbanding."

Felix turned to look at Magic Bat who simply shrugged. "I took study time off. It's either this or watching anime all night. I'm all yours."

"Just the way I like it. Well, uh, think you guys will be done by midnight?" Felix asked, anxiously checking his watch.

KeyMaster gave a moment to think about it then nodded. Dark Gunner shrugged and muttered, "I'll try."

Felix sighed, standing up and extending a hand to Magic Bat. The pair waved the other vigilantes off and then set out to patrol the upper side of the city, stopping only once or twice to intimidate a suspicious lurker in an alley and once for Felix to scoff at a Starbucks.

Time flew by relatively quickly but Felix was still constantly worried about what the other vigilantes were getting up to. He hoped KeyMaster wasn't snooping somewhere dangerous… and he didn't even want to think about what Dark Gunner might be up to.

By the time they noticed they should start heading to their meeting spot, Felix insisted on taking a detour.

They ended up in the alleyway beside a large hotel building, one Felix clearly remembered from the beginning of the summer.

"Psst, Batty. Wanna know a secret?"


"At the start of summer, I fell off this building."

Magic Bat blanched, showing Felix a look of horror. "What!? From how high up?"

Felix grinned. "The roof."

The warlock just stood stock still for a moment before sighing. "That's just like you… I thought I told you to take care of yourself."

"This happened before I met you."

"And you've tried to stay out of trouble since then?" Magic Bat asked hopefully.

"I may have stalked Dark Gunner one night before properly introducing myself. If he'd seen me, I'd probably look like Swiss cheese right about now," Felix admitted.

"Jesus, dude."

"I've actually been held at gunpoint a lot this summer. Most of the first few times I ran into KeyMaster were also pretty dangerous."

"Anything else about this death wish you apparently have that you want to share?"

Felix laughed to himself. "Yeah, I constantly visit a dangerous info broker named Deathwish on the East Side."

Magic Bat kept staring at Felix in shock. "Why are you unloading all of this?"

Felix let himself grin widely then. "It's a nice night at the end of summer and I'm with a friend. What better time for reflection is there?"

The warlock finally smiled a little. "You're really something, Scarfy. The most dangerous thing I've done this summer was decide to do the year-long program."

"It is a pretty dumb idea, yeah. I, for one, value summer enough to try and enjoy it."

"And all this danger? You enjoyed it?" The warlock asked.

Felix hummed for a moment, considering the question. "Maybe… just maybe."

Cutting the topic off, Felix shook his head and turned away from his friend. "But anyway, we should get headed back."

When they arrived back, Dark Gunner was waiting for them. The mask on the lower half of his face was completely off, a bag of sour gummy worms being lazily munched on as he scrolled down some app on his phone.

When he noticed he had company, he immediately hid the bottom of his face behind his hands.

"Chill, dude," Felix reassured the other vigilante, sitting down cross-legged a few feet away from him. "No need to freak out about the small stuff, it's just us. Have you seen KeyMaster yet?"

Dark Gunner sat stiffly for a moment before slowly relaxing.

"No," he replied, reaching for his mask on the ground beside him. "I only got here about twenty minutes ago. Finished stuff up a bit earlier than expected but that's not really an issue. That girl seems strong enough to hold her own so she'll probably be back before you know it."

Felix gave a light chuckle. "Yeah, there's probably no reason to worry about her… unless someone pulls out a ranged weapon… but yeah, she should be fine!"

Magic Bat plopped down next to Dark Gunner and Felix held back his laugh at the slight jump it gave the gunman. "Scarfy, have you seen KeyMaster struggle with range?"

Felix nodded. "It was just once. I don't know if she could have actually dealt with it on her own but she was pretty occupied so I figure my joining in the fight didn't really hurt. Plus, it's easy to assume she's close-range only with her primary fighting style revolving around a giant melee weapon."

Dark Gunner nodded. "Fair enough. But weapon doesn't mean everything. I use a gun but I can still make it work at close range."

Felix snorted. "Yeah, believe me, I know."

The gunman cleared his throat. "So, uh, what did you two get up to?"

Magic Bat grimaced, jutting his thumb at Felix. "Apparently, Scarfy over here had almost died on multiple occasions this summer. He fell off a freaking building for Pete's sake."

"God… "freaking"? "Pete's sake"? How adorable is that?" Flex joked.

Felix ignored his scarf. "Look, I've already defended myself on this matter, I won't do so again."

Dark Gunner scoffed. "Honestly I'd be surprised if the guy hadn't gotten himself almost killed more than once. Not only is it in the job description, it's just the type of guy he is."

"I'm right here, you know?"

Magic Bat smiled warmly. "Yeah, he is a bit of a clutz. He was hiding in an observatory in the college when I met him."

"Am I dead? Am I a ghost and you just can't hear me?"

The gunman whistled. "Shame the accident happened. Sometimes, I can still hear his voice."

And then they were laughing. Three vigilantes, sitting on a roof, laughing like idiots at their own sense of humor. Felix could hardly even fathom why he was laughing so much, he was the one being made fun of, but he just couldn't help himself.

It took him a full minute to realize that Dark Gunner was laughing. Outright laughing, loud and clear. Felix himself went quiet just to listen to it. It was such a foreign and yet intriguing sound, let out mostly in harsh "k's" in contrast to Magic Bat's bubbly hiccups.

A new voice broke in, cutting their laugher off. "What did I just walk into?"

The warlock pouted, picking up the conversation before Felix and Dark Gunner could recover from the new arrival. "Not one of my cards, apparently. I took so much trouble making sure they got every angle, too."

KeyMaster shrugged. "Maybe you're not thinking about the right angles."

She glanced around then, assuredly nodding her head. "Okay, so let's head out."

Felix rose an eyebrow, not arguing as he got up off the ground. "Everything went well, I'm assuming?"

"To a workable degree. Subterfuge isn't exactly my specialty so some security guards may be waking up with the impression they fell asleep on the job soon, but I don't think I'll be suspected. Plus, I got a good amount of info."

Magic Bat jumped up, extending a hand to Dark Gunner who hesitated before accepting.

"Well, then!" He smiled. "Where to?"

Felix clapped the warlock on the shoulder. "Well, I've been missing my center city, so let's go see what's going on in the heart of town."

"Sure. I haven't been there in a while so it'll be good to check up on what you've likely mishandled."

"Not my usual area, but fair enough."

"Great! Let's go!"

Felix smiled at the other three's replies for a moment before turning to lead the way.

About an hour later, the three we still prowling around the center of Newcoast City, interrupting the casual suspicious loiterer and advising the odd easy-target to get somewhere safer every now and then. The group usually sent Felix in to talk to people like the latter, him being the best known and thus the least likely to give someone a scare. Dark Gunner, meanwhile, was deemed the most purely intimidating with the least confrontational factor to him if he just kept to a script for when they needed to spook someone off without causing a fuss.

He usually added a few more violent alterations to the script, but that was beside the point.

Honestly, they didn't run into any real ruckus until Flex picked up on sounds out-of-earshot from the crew.

"Felix, some strange sounds are coming from your left. Down the street a bit, I'd have to guess from the central park."

Flex paused halfway through his sip, gulping down what he already had real quick and grunting.

"Trouble in park. Flex said so."

Dark Gunner frowned. "And who's Flex?"

KeyMaster brushed him off. "I'd like to know as well but it's a question for another time. Let's go."

Felix nodded, turning to Magic Bat. "Can you send a card ahead of us to scout out the situation? That way, we have at least some time to prepare."

"Sure, one sec," the warlock summoned his cards and Felix could once again only stare as his friend sent a diamond card whizzing off, keeping another one floating in front of him.

In no time, an image manifested itself on the face of the card, clearly showing a group of somewhat violent looking men loitering and throwing cans around.

Felix sighed. "Just a bunch of trespassers. We can start by calmly telling them they shouldn't be there and if they don't leave we'll bring in KeyMaster for intimidation factor. Batty, I want you to keep surveillance of the perimeter and alert us of any changes. Dark Gunner, keep watch from farther off, make sure nothing goes bad for us, but try to be tactful about it. We all good?

KeyMaster rose an eyebrow. "Is there any Plan B in case one of us gets seriously injured?"

"There would be but I'm both an optimist and in a hurry, so I'm just gonna say you improvise."

KeyMaster smirked. "Fine by me."

Felix rolled his eyes, running for the park as fast as he could, trusting everyone else would manage their own way.

The park nestled in the middle of Newcoast City wasn't one of his favorite places to go. Not that it was unpleasant typically, but he usually only ventured as far as Popchester's, and the park was somewhat more north in the city than he would consider his civilian self's stomping ground. It wasn't particularly small, but it was still big enough that you usually couldn't see the street on the other side of it. It was also located across the street from a Starbucks, so there was really never a reason for him to visit. As a vigilante, it had made several appearances on his patrols, mostly with just a few people disobeying the closing hours.

The scene he was met with as the park was somewhat more intimidating than he'd expected. He really should've taken note of it earlier, but the men seemed to be somewhat drunk in places. Which meant they may not react the best to his casual introduction, but it was too late to change things up now.

Cautiously, he crept up behind the group, using a tree for over once he got close enough to hear them clearly. Their conversation wasn't extremely interesting to Felix, mostly just slurred insults to one another and vague threats to unnamed people.

After a particularly nasty regard about the mayor popped out from one of them, Felix decided to introduce himself.

"Hey, fellas!" He called out, stepping out from his hiding place. "You probably already got the memo, but it's pretty late already. If you wanna get drunk, there are plenty of bars in town."

He dodged a rock thrown his way.

"That's not a good sign," Flex groaned.

"Shut up, I'm doing great," Felix whispered.

One of the men in the group stepped forward. "Hey, I've heard about this guy. He's been causing a lot of trouble for our friends lately."

"Felix? He said he has friends. Doesn't that infer to you-"

"Yes, I'm aware. Hopefully, he's not meaning what we're thinking," Felix whispered, hushing his scarf up best he could.

He turned his attention back to the man. The dude didn't look particularly outstanding, nothing that would draw too much attention to him. He also couldn't have been over twenty-five year old, even if his attitude was worse than most old drunks Felix had ever met.

Clearing his throat, Felix spoke up again. "That may be true, but it's my responsibility to make sure people don't cause trouble. So, if we could do this nicely and be out of here soon, I think it'd be the best option for all of us."

The man lurched forward, a few of his buddies following the movement.

"Really?" The guy hissed. "'Cause I think a different perfect opportunity has made its way to us."

Felix easily dodged the first punch, sweeping his leg beneath the man's and tripping him over. For a moment, he even forgot he was supposed to have backup until the next man who threw a fist his way was met with the hammer end of a giant key.

Felix smirked. "Bit late?"

KeyMaster scoffed at him. "You're unnaturally fast. I only just got here and you're already making a mess."

She caught a can thrown at her head, hurling it right back and nailing a guy between the eyes.

Felix let a grin take over his face when he heard the sting of curse words that followed.

"Since when do you two work together?" One of the men in the crowd yelled.

"Since I became just a bit too desperate for coffee," Felix responded. "Listen, guys, we can all just end this here."

He caught the next fist before it hit his face.

"Or not," he added and threw a punch right on back.

When he'd arrived, he'd estimated there to be maybe fifteen guys hanging around, but quickly the numbers seemed more overwhelming than that.

In between exchanging blow, the first people to have been knocked down easily back on their feet by now, Felix felt something light hit his hand and saw one of the warlock's cards.

On it was the projected image of a wall with a hastily scribbled: Couldn't hold everyone back. Dark Gunner took up sniping.

Oh, god, please don't have him kill anyone in front of me. I am SO not ready for that, Felix worried, quickly passing KeyMaster the note before whipping Flex off from around his shoulders.

Quickly swatting a guy in the face, he took a sharp eye to those loitering in the background. Not everyone was engaging in the fight, in fact, quite a few of them were simply cheering on from the sidelines. Felix was still wary though because with mounting suspicions as to the threat these men posed, he wouldn't be surprised if one of them pulled out a gun.

As it was, though, he had no way to quickly and decisively end the brawl. For now, they'd just have to tough it out.

KeyMaster was doing well and had knocked out a few people for good. Felix had barely managed to bring more than a few guys to the ground, let alone keep them there.

One of the punches thrown at him managed to land, taking him by surprise and freezing him up for a moment.

A moment was all it took, though, because his opponent took the opportunity to pull out a knife. Felix hardly even processed the sight of it.

Before it could begin moving toward him, though, a loud "Bang!" rang out and his opponent yelled, grabbing onto his hand which had become glazed with blood. The knife was quickly forgotten on the floor and Felix only had a moment to process that Dark Gunner must have shot the knife out of the man's hand before he was back in the fray.

From that point, he didn't worry as much about someone pulling out a weapon.

Dark Gunner only shot two more times, both at weapons, which Felix was grateful for. As the fight began to wane, though, the physical toll began to show itself.

"Key-Club!" He called out, quickly kicking someone out of punching range. "How you holding up?"

She swooped her key behind her, hitting a man in the chest, before replying, "Just fine. Why, you getting tired so soon?"

Felix rolled his eyes, ducking a stray rock and elbowing a gut while he was at it. "No chance! Just, you know, might wanna consider ending this soon to save time!"

She scoffed as she pivoted away from a strike. "Any suggestions?"

He paused for a second before grinning. "Just one. Hold them off for a second?"

"Sure, just leave me with all the hard work."

"Well, we don't keep you around for your stellar attitude."

Felix was already up a tree before she could fire back.

He carefully scouted the area before locating one of the men KeyMaster had knocked out, having been pulled aside to make room for the brawl.

He quickly used Flex to lower himself down to the man, fishing around in the pockets until he pulled out a phone, and climbed back up.

His last ditch plan, as per usual, was calling 911.

"Hey, yeah, resident vigilante here. Big brawl with possible gang members. They have knives and so far there've been three gunshots. Center Walk Park. Please arrive soon."

And that was all he gave before tossing the phone back to the ground.

"You think they'll come?"

"I mean, they probably got a call about gunshots already. If not, well, they really want to catch me, so even if they can't verify the call, they'll probably test their luck anyway. Which means we need to scram before we hear the sirens," Felix explained.

He jumped back onto the ground, specifically onto someone's head right before they took a swing at KeyMaster. At least that was one more down.

"Police should be here soon," he told her, making his voice loud enough for the attackers around them to hear.

A few of the people facing them off stopped in their tracks at the announcement, faces frozen with fear of being caught, but most took back to running at the duo soon enough.

Felix, feeling pressed for time, tried to land harder punches to knock his opponents out, but ended up overshooting a swing. For a terrifying moment, he felt himself lose his balance.

Just before he fully tripped, a hand caught the collar of his shirt and yanked him back into a standing position. Felix expected it to be an attacker but a quick glance behind him brought Magic Bat into focus.

"Batty? Why are you in the fray?"

"You obviously needed reinforcements," his friend gently explained, quickly pulling Felix away from a stray punch.

Felix surveyed the location and found that only about seven people were still fighting, many left on the ground or having retreated to the side. Over half of them were focused on KeyMaster.

The vigilante grinned. "You may be right. Go ahead and take some pressure off the coffee-bringer, will ya'?"

Magic Bat smiled and was over at KeyMaster's side in barely any time. Felix couldn't focus on him too much but picked up on two new pieces of information: Magic Bat's cards could definitely be used for combat as well, and the warlock was just a bit of a sneaky little shit.

As Felix used his scarf to disorient an opponent, he noticed the warlock sliding in between someone's legs to get a clean hit on the back of their head. The next glance Felix got, he noticed several cards linking one man's hands together and bringing them to the ground.

"Since when can the kid do that?!" Flex asked.

Felix shrugged, turning the motion into a backhanded slap. "Dunno. He did say they had other purposes."

The man in front of him paused for a second, confusedly staring at Felix for speaking so out of context, and was quickly rewarded with a solid punch to the nose.

Felix pouted when he saw his gloves. "Damn, now they're all bloody!"

"They're black."

"Shut up."

"Hey!" Dark Gunner's voice interrupted, pausing all motion in the fight.

Felix whipped around to see the gunman leaning against a tree, gun firmly aimed towards the man Felix had just punched.

"We're gonna have company real soon. As much as I hate to leave these scumbags to the mercy of the police, I'd rather not get caught up myself," he announced.

Felix too, now, could hear the sirens approaching, so he turned a cheerful grin to his opponents.

"You all heard the scary man! Time's up here. See you all later, or, well, I'd actually rather not, but you get the point," he joked, taking one last kick to the man in front of him, hoping the blow would keep him down.

Overall, three men were still looking for a fight, but the numerous men left to the sides were more than enough to prove some fight had happened here. Felix figured their work was done well enough.

He signaled to KeyMaster to retreat first, sirens growing ever louder, and she made a show of grabbing him by the collar and dragging him away. Magic Bat followed them quickly, Dark Gunner maintaining his aim on the group until it was safe for him to retreat as well.

The four only managed to get to an alley a block or so away before they collapsed from exhaustion.

They were all silent for a few moments, huddled in the darkness with caution not to get caught by any passersby, catching their breath and settling their adrenaline.

Eventually, KeyMaster reached into her bag and pulled out more coffee, and, though he knew it was too dehydrating to really help right then, Felix accepted a can with open arms.

Soon enough, he broke the silence.

"I'll be the first to admit, I thought that would be a lot easier."

"Really?" KeyMaster asked. "I was expecting a bit more hassle to deal with. You didn't even have a gun pulled out on you, that's super rare."

"Oh, shut it."

Magic Bat laughed lightly. "You do have a bit of a bad habit of that, you know. How many times was it again?"

"...I think it was about three, but I could be wrong. Past this summer, definitely more," Felix confessed.

Dark Gunner straightened up. "Crap, summer is almost over, isn't it?"

Felix chuckled, nodding his head. "Yeah dude, it is."

KeyMaster groaned. "Oh, god, life is about to get busy again. Sleep loss is gonna take a way harder toll."

The warlock shrugged. "Hey, I'm the year-round college student here. Pretty sure if I can manage, you guys can too. After all, if you can manage a double-life at all, you can probably manage school."

KeyMaster straight-up scoffed. "Who said anything about school?"

"Do you really think I'm that young?" Dark Gunner joined in, voice turning a little harsh.

Felix stayed silent.

Magic Bat held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. "Sorry, sorry, jeez."

The brunette chuckled at his friend's scared face, glad to once again peek into its detail, before glancing up at the sky above them.

"Hey," he started off, "do you guys like living here? In this city?"

Dark Gunner shrugged. "I don't know, it's a city. I just happen to be here."

KeyMaster tilted her head. "I guess I don't hate it. Life can be hard but it's where I grew up."

Felix smiled, Magic Bat's enthusiastic nod clearing his mind.

"Heh, yeah, I guess that's the common answer for people who grew up here. I don't know, though. I haven't always lived here so, to me, there's a sort of magic to it," Felix contemplated.

The warlock's eyebrows shot up. "Um, sorry, I don't mean to ruin the serene mood, but I just realized I never recalled my cards. Gimme a minute."

He stood up and walked several feet over while KeyMaster asked, "You didn't grow up here? You seem to know the city so well, though."

"Been here long enough to learn it, not long enough to find it boring, I guess. You guys never get that? That sense of wonder at how many people live here, that refreshing sound of people going about their lives?" Felix questioned.

The other vigilantes shook their heads.

"Don't get me wrong, I care about the people in this city, that's part of why I do this, but I don't feel that at all," KeyMaster admitted.

Dark Gunner simply said, "I hardly do this to protect the good. More to punish the bad."

"Gathered that much, thanks," Felix joked, happy to earn a laugh from the gunman.

He gazed up at the sky again, taking in the brilliant moon and sounds of cars passing, reveling in the euphoria that adding coffee to the stimuli created, before grinning and leaning back over to catch the attention of his friends.

"Hey, what do you guys say, same time next week?"

The vigilantes shared a look before shrugging, nodding along. Magic Bat, coming back to the group, shook his head.

"I'm busy during a lot of next week. Finals. I should be good on Saturday, though. Is that fine?"

Felix let his grin widen. "Sounds perfect."

He stood up then, stretching his back. "Well, then, I know it's a bit early but the police will probably be a lot more watchful for us tonight after this. I'm headed back to my secret lair, now, see you all another time."

He waved to them before taking off, getting home as quickly as he could.

Honestly, it was sorta the perfect opportunity to catch up on some lost sleep.