Updated: Jun 17
by Christopher Brown
I could hear them approaching, doing their best to be silent but, well, failing miserably. Not their fault, though. They weren't exactly professionals. I slid out of bed silently, my wife still sleeping soundly. I didn't think it was necessary to disturb her for this. I navigated the still dark room to find my weapon, made sure it was loaded, and slipped out of the room. The assailants had made their way to the hallway but still hadn't seen me. I had the element of surprise in my favor, as usual. I took aim and fired. POP! POP! Two shots, between the eyes of each of them!
"DADDYYYYY! How you always win?!" Ashton yelled in mock disappointment.
"No fair, daddy, no fair!" Xavier grumbled.
I scooped them both up in my arms and whisked them off to the kitchen. They giggled and laughed. "Quiet, boys, your mom is still asleep," I gently reprimanded as I sat them down and began getting pancake mix out of the cabinet.
I turned on their favorite cartoon and began fixing breakfast.
If you'd told me 10 years ago that I'd be married with children, I'd have told you I was likely brainwashed by the likes of Dr. Grimm or some other villainous foe, or maybe sucked into some alternate timeline with memory loss. Both of those would be very real possibilities, given my history.
I'm Hitman. Member of the former superhero team known as The Urban 30. We saved the known universe on a few occasions, saved the galaxy a few times, saved a few planets including but not limited to Earth several times (yes, there are definitely planets with intelligent life that are WAY more advanced than us - they just avoid Earth most of the time), and saved District City more times than we can count. I was the guy who was called in when things got ugly, and a more permanent solution was necessary besides due process. In other words, I killed the bad guys. And I was exceptional at it.
Until a few years ago, I was content with that life. I lived a mostly solitary life, handling business, killing bad guys that needed killing, saving the world with the others in the team. It was lonely, sure, but I was ok with it. Then Morningstar joined the team. She embodied hope, love, light...all the things I'd been missing from my existence, and somehow she saw something in me that she loved. Before long we were together, and then we married and had children. So, after we married and had kids, we basically retired from hero life. Once in a while, we'd get called in to help with a major extinction level event, but overall, we were done with that life. Eventually, the team disbanded and things got quiet. Our two boys, Ashton and Xavier, now 4 and 2 years old, well, they're amazing.
They're special, not just in the way you say your kids are special because you love them, but in the "holy shit they have superpowers too!" kind of special. Besides already being unusually intelligent for their age, they were already exhibiting abilities. The range of powers haven't exactly been determined yet. It seems Xavier has unusual strength and my healing abilities, so far. And Ashton...it's almost like a roulette wheel of powers that randomly spawn at any given time. One day he's flying around. The next day he's moving things telekinetically. Another day it's pyrokinesis. Then ice. Then Morningstar's invisibility. Never seems to be the same power consistently. We manage, though, with some help from our friends and a near infinite level of patience.
I finished making breakfast and put them out for the boys. Ashton telekinetically poured the syrup on his pancakes. "No fair! No powers at the table!" Xavier grunted, stuffing his face full of breakfasty goodness.
"Good morning, guys!" Morningstar - Chloe - had finally gotten up and made her way to the kitchen. "Your world famous pancakes! I knew I smelled something amazing out here." She kissed me and then rubbed the boys' heads before getting the coffee started.
"'Star, remember Terra is coming from offworld today," I reminded her, "and I think she's bringing her kids, so we might get babysitting out of it!" Terra, another of the U30 team, was an alien - codenamed Elemental - who had a variety of abilities including control over plants and nature and flight. She returned to her home planet to raise her kids shortly after Morningstar joined the team.
"Oh, right! Thanks for reminding me...with any luck we might finally get a date night," she sighed, hopeful. I hugged her. God, date night felt like ages ago. I kissed her on the forehead and then heard a chime from my phone that I'd never heard before. We looked at each other.
I picked up the cell and opened it. A new text message from an unknown contact - that somehow triggered an unusual ringtone I never used in my life. I read the message and looked at Morningstar.
"What? What does it say?" she asked, concerned.
It could only be from one person.