[In-Character] Truth & Justice, Episode 8

I think I’m just going to have to get used to not being able to get a firm footing in things. Invisible waves pressing down from the sky, a motorcycle the other me can’t ride, and dreams that are memories of alien delusions. The life of a superhero is punctuated equilibrium, swathes of boredom and sudden electric shocks of adrenaline and death. Survival of the maddest.

Enough poetry. I spent a week with very little to do besides replay the incident with Swan in my mind and worry about the future. I went to the training room by myself a few times, but the weight of everything on my mind left me sprawled on my bed more often than not. There were days like that in high school sometimes, but high school was only rarely life and death. I know why I’m doing this hero thing–my conscience won’t let me not do it–but the motivations of the others are alien to me. Glenn did it for years, and I wonder if even he knows why he does it anymore. Sam is just opaque to me, and Jack isn’t entirely right in the head. Raz is a lot of things, including a screwed-up teenager whose standard delusions of immortality are validated by real super powers. And I think he’s running from something.

I finally talked to Raz though. I’ve been avoiding it, dreading it. Now that it’s over I’m not sure whether I was more concerned about what I would say or what he would say. He’s just so damn sure of himself, so sure that just because things went horribly wrong doesn’t mean he didn’t do the right thing. Being a hero is already treading on thin ice in so many ways, power and responsibility. Of course, he’s just like me in that he has a hard time seeing the world through different eyes. He talks about trusting instincts and following your heart, as though it’s something you can just pick up. He talks a lot, actually. There are some things you can’t learn by trying to learn them.

I don’t know how I got this way, though losing my father to a kaijuu when I was eight probably had something to do with it. High school taught me that emotions are a double-edged sword, and that drama is a cave where what you find is what you take in with you. I really wonder if the people in this new life would even recognize me if they saw me in high school. Everything seemed so pointless back then, but I played some of the games anyway as a way to alleviate the boredom. So now I’m a cynic who’s tired of relationships and sex, and deeply addicted to nicotine. I have that same floating sensation, only the current is stronger.

Japan shouldn’t feel so far away, in time as well as space. But my life now is so far removed from my high school life. When I go back there — less than two months now — it won’t be the same anyway. But knowing my mom, she’s going to make sure I wind up seeing all of my high school “friends.” Suzuka, Takeshi, Eri, and the others. Takeshi and Suzuka are the only ones I ever told about my father’s secret identity (and that had more to do with Ryo having such a big mouth). I’m trying to imagine introducing them to my new superhero teammates, and any way I look at it the picture includes Suzuka being all over Raz. She always liked the younger pretty boys. As long as they understand that I have no interest in him in that way. And bringing Sam and Jack to Japan would be… an experience.

I’m going to have to tell mom the truth about what I’ve been doing. If there’s anyone who ought to know the truth. I don’t know that she’ll be happy about it, but better me than Ryo. He’s been eyeing the Mega-Brace since he was nine, and he managed to break his leg once without getting into a super-battle (he was playing soccer; I had to go pick him up from school).

Anyway, with Raz I think things are as patched up as they’re going to get. He demonstrated why I don’t have the same trust in snap decisions: the moment a conversation becomes heated, people say stupid things they don’t mean. The best I could come up with under his barrage of self-righteous words was “I don’t hate you.” That much is true. He infuriates me sometimes, and it would be at best stretching the truth to say that I like him, but there is something there. I can work with him. Next time it’s him and Jack who need to do some kind of bonding. Raz gets so skeeved out around Jack I can’t help but laugh. To me Jack is mostly just a quiet guy who keeps to himself and occasionally blurts out tasteless jokes.

I think all five of us have a past that’s going to haunt us, and it looks like I’m up next. But I’m betting everyone will get their turn.

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