The Meaning of Fear

Shortly after their reconciliation, Roxy and Rio decided to tell Claire their secret identities as Star Lass and Willpower. Since then, she's begun to work with them from the sidelines.

About six months have passed since the two heroes became closer, and they've even been going out since Roxy turned 19 in February.

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We see Roxy, Rio and Claire after school. Rio is running across his high school's track field, as Roxy beamed, checking the meter that Claire gave her that can sense how fast one is running.

"Amazing! 57 miles an hour. You're really improving."

"Careful, we don't have four extra people to get pull him out of the speed force."

She tilted her head up to face her taller friend. "Really, Esther? You already used that joke yesterday."

"Oh, yes. Yours was... what was you're one liner again? Oh right, you didn't make one." This caused Roxy to grumble until Rio responded to her previous statement about his improvement.

He panted. "Yeah, but I... I don't think my Xi... was at its best."

"What does the letter 'Z' have to do with your powers? Do you get them while you sleep?"

"No, 'Xi', like the Greek alphabet. That's what he calls his inner energy, he just came up with it last night." Roxy explained as he caught his breath. "He thinks if he calls it 'chi', it would sound too Chinese and that if he called it 'Ki', he'd be ripping off Dragon Ball."

"Given how his powers work, it's a little too late for that."

"Hey, excuse me for trying to be original."

"But you still need to work on your offense, it's really poor."

"Personally, I wanna avoid using force. If everyone would just get along peacefully, the world would be a better place." He said, with an innocent gleam in his eyes.

Claire rolled her eyes and cracked, "I can see exactly why you fell for him."

Roxy knew a quick way to get her back. "Oh, don't forget, you have to tutor those kids at 4."

"How could I forget, considering who signed me up?"

"No need to thank us for convincing your counselor that it would improve your social skills." Rio proudly smiled.

"If I don't get out of this alive, I'm killing the both of you."

"Oh, yeah. You can kill us with the... the, um... what was your kinetic power again? Oh right, you don't have one." Roxy smirked as her boyfriend gave her a high-five.

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45 minutes later, Claire drove to a large house, or rather a small mansion. "Well, looks like her parents are loaded." She said to herself as she walked up and answered the doorbell. She didn't expect who answered: none other than one of the most successful cosmetologists in Texas.

"Leila Ross? I must have the wrong address."

Leila looked confused for a moment, then it hit her. "Oh! You must be Esther. Come in."

Claire was uneasy. She hated people bragging about new Ross fashion lines each month and was hoping she was unpleasant to balance the idiocy she brought to her school. Unfortunately, she was wrong.

"So how do you live with yourself knowing your products are being purchased by airheads and blind followers?"

"Personally, I don't care. As long as it makes people feel happy, that's fine with me."

"You're parents must be very happy." She said with very heavy sarcasm.

Leila turned back, angrily scowling for a moment which took Claire aback, but then sighed. "I'm going to assume you don't know they've been dead since I was young. But please don't speak ill of them in my house."

That made Claire feel like a real jerk. "I-I'm sorry. I didn't know..."

Suddenly, the older woman lit up. "No worries. They're right upstairs, so go surprise them."

Claire walked upstairs and followed the sounds of a boy and girl. She opened the door and took out a note. "Merle Dawson and Thomas Richter?"

The girl backflipped right in front of Claire, causing her to flinch a little. "Hiya! You must be Esther. My name's Merle. Of course, you already knew that. That's Tom, but you already knew that too. I bet you didn't know he's my boyfriend. We've been going out for six months and counting. Do you have a boyfriend? Or maybe a girlfriend if you're--"

"If I had known you wouldn't shut up, I'd have preferred if you slammed me to the ground with that backflip." An awkward pause followed. "I just said that out loud, didn't I?"

"Would you feel better if I told you 'no'?" The boy, Tom, replied, which made Claire smirk for a split second.

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Several hours passed as Claire droned on about pre-algebra and whatnot. As it turned dark, she was getting ready to leave.

"Thanks for taking the time to tutor us, Esther."

"Yeah, I can tell you're already gonna be a great friend for us." Merle said with glee.

Claire stood there, surprised that the two younger teens considered her as a friend. "What am I? Flypaper for freaks?"

"Come on, sourpuss." Merle giggled, "We're just messin' with ya."

"Well, I already have..." She paused, the word "friend" seemed too strong for her to use. "acquaintances that I'm hanging out with at the moment. I'd prefer their company over yours, sorry."

"I bet they're not superheroes."

"Merle!" Tom snapped.

"Actually, they are. Wait, why did you ask?"

"Uh, no reason. It's not like I'm Crow and Tom's the Sonic Servo or something."

"Merle!!" Tom groaned and facepalmed.

It took a second for the young hero to realized what she did. "...Oops."

Claire had a rather sinister looking smirk, though it was rather benign. "Out of all the kids in this town, they paired me up with the crimefighting duo of Crow and Sonic Servo. If I wasn't trying to keep my emotions under control, I'd be laughing my ass off at the irony."

"Well, it's getting late and since you know who we are, do you want to watch us do our nightly runs?"

"What the hell, I got nothing better to do."

"Weren't you supposed to be leaving?" Tom tried changing the subject.

"Nice try, I'm not going to miss this." Claire put her sly smirk back on as Tom sighed in defeat. Although he didn't say anything, he found her personality to be rather interesting.

"Alright! To the Dusk Cave!" Merle hopped downstairs, with the other two just walking behind her downstairs.

In the kitchen, Leila was getting a beer from the fridge when she saw them about to go to the garage. "Oh, Esther, you're still-?" A second barely even pass when she realized what was going on. "That's strike two, Merle. Next time, you're grounded. Got it?" With that, she went back to the living room.

"What was that about?"

"Motor Mouth Merle here blabbed to me that she was Crow and Ms. Leila was Dusk Woman."

"So she's Dusk Woman?"

Just then, Tom's expression blanked, causing Merle to scoff.

"And you guys keep calling me the blabbermouth. Besides, I asked Leila first for Tom, so why was that a strike?"

"Can I just see you guys fight criminals now, or have you just been bullcrapping me this whole time?"

"Alright, alright." Merle replied. "You know, you need to learn to be nicer, Esther."

"My frie- er, acquaintances call me Claire."

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Going down the secret elevator, the three entered the Dusk Lair, then Merle and Tom changed into their hero outfits.

Claire stared for a while before finally blinking. "Wow, you guys really were telling the truth."

"Told ya," Crow said, "I guess you were wrong about us after all."

"It appears so. But I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you two." Claire let out a small smile. Then looked around. "So, how am I getting around? Do you have a 'Dusk Mobile' or something?"

"Actually, you'd probably be safer staying here." Servo insisted.

"Oh boy, I can't wait for the fighting I won't be seeing." Claire bitterly cracked.

"Not a problem." Crow grabbed a couple of little transmitters and gave one of them to Servo while she put hers on her forehead. Then, Servo went to the computer and did something that turned on two cameras, each capturing the duo's point of view. They went off as Claire sat in front of the computer and watched the cameras.

"Wow. This is amazing." Claire said through a microphone that functioned as a communicator to Crow and Servo. "How did you get these?"

"Tom made them. He's pretty handy with technology, except he's not too handy with putting them together; Leila had to partner herself with another company to manufacture them."

"Well, I've been dabbling in technology, too. I've managed to even make a gun that turns to a glove." Suddenly, she saw a man in a hood run into them. "Look out, guys!"

"Don't worry, he's with us. If that is you, Necromancer, is it?"

"Oh, good." The figure revealed his face. "I was hoping I'd run into you two. Where's Dusk?"

"Still on her vacation." Crow said in a deadpan tone.

"Necromancer? The guy who channels dead crazy people? I didn't know he was a superhero."

"Who's that on the microphone?"

"Our tutor, long story" Servo summed it up. "So, what do you need us for?"

"I'm getting close to busting a powerful crime lord, but I need you two to go in to keep him distracted while I prepare an enchantment to bind him."

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They reach an abandoned building downtown, where Crow and Servo noticed a familiar figure.

"Servo, look!" Crow whispered as she pointed to the bearded man with visible fangs. "It's that guy again."

"Holy crap, it is him!"

"Who is that?" Claire whispered.

"When I first had Servo come with me for a bust, we ran into this weird... alieney guy who could breathe fire."

Servo nodded, then widened his eyes in horror. "Wait, Crow, remember how this guy knew where we were without even making a peep? What if he..."

"'Already knows we're here?'"

Merle let out a squeak before answering "I think you're right, Servo."

Tom was now even more frightened. "That... wasn't me who said that, Crow."

"I know", she said with growing fear.

They did a complete 180, revealing that their old acquaintance was right behind them. "Well, if it isn't the Super Brats."

Claire, being who she is, had to reply with something. "I'm guessing they go to the same school as whoever wrote you that pathetic excuse for an insult."

"Ah, is that the one you Little Avengers listen to?"

"No. I'm just renting these two until I get something cool. Also, your lines still suck."

"Quite the tongue on her." he stroked his beard and chuckled.

"Why not just attack them instead of listening to lil' old me?"

"Claire, please be quiet." Merle muttered.

"It's alright, I get the feeling you're stalling." Just then, a net was thrown on him. "For something like that, perhaps?"

"Luther Pen Dragon, you're under arrest." Necromancer stepped out of the shadows.

Servo's eyes widened. "Wait a second, he's a crime lord!?"

"Oh, so that's Dragon?" Crow pondered, "We never really had a photo of him in the databanks. Huh, I was expecting him to look, I dunno, a little more... dragony."

"Silly magician, you think a little net will stop me?"

"Oh, this is no ordinary net. I enchanted it with a fireproof spell. There's no burning this away."

"Who said anything about burning?" He grabbed something from his hand, ate it, then blew on the net. Quickly turning into ice, he broke it with ease. "Nice try though", he complimented as his eyes sparkled and the three heroes began to scream in agony. They envisioned their greatest fears and when it stopped, he was gone.

"Damn!" Necromancer muttered. "That explains how he manages to keep escaping."

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Meanwhile, at Roxy's house, she put an unconscious Rio on her bed. He soon woke up. "What... what happened?"

"You don't remember? You decided to run all the way home, but about 10 seconds later, you ran right into a brick wall."

"Oh yeah. Guess I can't steer, at least not yet. But thanks for taking care of me Rox. I'll be fine with a bit of rest."

"Really? Because that was a pretty nasty crash." She sat down in front of him.

"I know it's weird, but I can feel my body start to recover. Wonder if it's my Xi that's doing it."

Roxy slowly began to go from sitting to lying in the bed next to him, she began to smile. "You look kinda cute for someone who just got beat up by an inanimate object. And you know, my parents are out of the house for the weekend..."

Rio looked kind of shocked. Normally she isn't as upfront as he is, but this was a side of her he never saw. "Wha-what are you getting at, Roxy?"

She sighed, running her fingers down his chest. "Look, we've been going out for a few months now... I know it seems kinda soon, but I was wondering if we could... you know..." she began to blush profusely, trying her best to spit it out.

"Do you want to... ha-have sex?"

"Really? I didn't think you were that kind of girl."

"Well, I'm not." She didn't want to know what he meant by that. "But there's no harm in trying it out, is there?"

"Are you sure you can handle it?"

"Well, I am kinda worried I might start crying from an emotional overload. But I deal with superpowered freaks every day, so I think I can handle a few moments of intimacy."

"Well, let's start slow. I'm still kinda sore."

"That works." She removed her shirt and pants, exposing herself with the exception of her underwear.

"I still really love that chubby, muscular build you have." The two of them had decided to see each other naked shortly before they started dating. Needless to say, it was incredibly awkward.

"Thanks, your slimmy shape is kinda sexy too." she giggled as he also took off his shirt and pants.

Roxy stood on top of Rio and passionately kissed him one last time before they got started. About 30 minutes passed before they finished.

"Sorry that I couldn't last as long as you wanted."

"Ha ha. Don't apologize, I enjoyed myself. I mean it wasn't 'video game' exciting, but I had a lot of fun. We should really do this again sometime."

"How about now?"

"No, I want you to get your rest." She got out of the bed and turned to Rio. "Besides, like I said," her voice suddenly turned sultry, "we have the whole weekend to ourselves."

The End

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