Lola Merriweather folded up her graduation gown and put it in the hope chest at the foot of her bed. She breathed in the smell of cedar and smiled. High school was over and she would be starting college at The University Noir in the fall. She had the rest of her life in front of her. And boy, did she have plans for that.
There was a sharp knock at her bedroom door and her mother poked her head in the room. She had dark hair just like Lola, but her skin was white-pale while Lola‘s was a deep bronze, her eyes blue while her daughter’s were almost black. Her father’s skin tone, her father’s eyes, she’d been told. She didn’t know who her father was. “Hey baby,” her mother said, coming in the rest of the way holding a wrapped box. “I brought you something.”
Lola sat down on the bed and took the box, her hands shaking as she opened it. It was a shirt box, and it was light. She knew what was in it. “Really?”
“Just open it.” She opened the lid and found neatly folded black cloth. She smiled as she picked up the lycra body suit by the shoulders and held it up. “I hope you want to go with me tonight. It’s your graduation present.”
“Of course. What are we doing?”
Her mother gave her a wicked sort of grin, her red lipstick making a slash across her face. “Bank job.”
“Bank job.” Her mother liked bank jobs. Their beautiful five bedroom, three thousand square foot house was proof, as well as their summers in Europe and the twin black BMWs they drove. Anyone who asked was convinced that she was a world-famous writer instead of Mesmera, super-villain extraordinaire. “Cool,” Lola said. “I’m going to go on a bank job.”
Across town Glory Hart was tossing her graduation gown on the floor in the room she shared with her sister. She knew she should have been happy, but she just felt…empty. She didn’t know what was next. In high school she was Glory. She was blond and beautiful and was captain of the squad, president of every club. So she wasn’t so hot at schoolwork, but that didn’t matter because she was popular and Glorious.
But high school was over, and now she was nothing.
She went downstairs where her mother was cooking dinner, assisted by her little sister, Truth. Her brother Justice was setting the table, making faces at the strawberry cake at its center, all berries and whipped cream. “You made my favorite,” Glory said, surprised because strawberries were expensive so early in the season and Justice was allergic.
“Yeah,” Justice scowled. “And I get nothing.”
“Hush up,” their mother said from the stove where she was adding spices to spaghetti sauce. “There’s vanilla ice cream in the freezer.” She looked over at Glory. “Could you get the mail? In all the excitement this morning I forgot.”
“Glory? I’m proud of you.” She was the oldest and knew her parents couldn’t afford college. She hadn’t even applied. What’s the point? She thought as she walked out to the mailbox in front of the duplex they lived in. Proud of me for what? You get straight C’s and you get a piece of paper. There is no effort involved. There is no Glory in it.
Among the bills and junk mail was a letter with her name on it from the University Noir. There has to be some mistake, she thought as she ripped open the letter right there on the sidewalk.
“Dear Miss Hart. We have the pleasure to inform you that you have been selected for a very special program at University Noir. This is a full scholarship opportunity and should not be taken lightly. If you are interested you will come to the University, room 116 of Memorial Hall on August the fifteenth at six PM. You will not tell anyone that you are attending and must come in disguise. If you are not wearing a mask you will be turned away and will not be able to enter the program. Please prepare a name to refer to yourself, as your actual name should remain classified. You have great talents, Miss Hart, and we look forward to working with them.”
It was signed ‘Ms. X, representative of the League of Heroes.’
Glory had to sit down right there on the sidewalk. “Oh my god. Oh my god.” Everyone knew about her super-speed. It was a hard thing to hide when you got kicked off the track team for it. “Oh my God!” Her shrieks of excitement echoed down the street. She had always hoped to be selected for the League. She’d never imagined it would actually happen.
Somewhere in a small southern Ohio town Lawrence Lawrence hated his life. He really, truly did. He hated it as someone pushed a cup of beer into his face as they walked by him, and he wondered why he even came to his cousin Jeff’s graduation party. Probably because his parents were hosting it and it was supposed to be his party too. Lawrence was not friends with most of the people there, and didn’t want to be. He licked at the beer dripping from his nose and went inside. “Where are you going baby brother?” his older brother demanded as he moved through the kitchen.
“Nowhere,” he replied, resisting the urge to punch his brother. Nothing amused the people in his family more than pointing out that he looked years younger than his eighteen. Sometimes he felt it too, to tell the truth, even when he knew he was usually the smartest person in the room at any given time.
He ignored the creaking of the old farm house’s floorboards as he crossed the living room and went upstairs, ready to just be alone. He slammed the door to his room and pulled off his shirt to wipe the rest of the beer off his face. He tossed the shirt on the back of his desk chair, his eyes falling on the pile of college acceptance letter. Dozens of them, all offering full or partial scholarships, but he hadn’t made a decision. There was a new one, unopened at the top of the pile. “Yet another!” his mother had scrawled across the front of the envelope in pink pen. It was from University Noir. But he hadn’t applied there.
He made the envelope fly across the room as he collapsed on the bed. It fell on his bare chest and he opened it. As he read his hands began to shake. They knew. He didn’t know who ‘They’ were and how they knew, but they did. They had found out about his telekinesis. He had been invited to join the League of Heroes.
Lola stepped out of her bedroom that evening wearing her new lycra bodysuit. It was made of a very shiny material, which made every lump and fat deposit on her body visible. Her mother tried to hide a frown. “Oh honey. What did I tell you about eating all those doughnuts?”
“Shut up,” Lola grumbled.
“I can see the lines of your bra and panties, dear. You’re not supposed to wear any underneath.” Lola glared at her mother, thin and lithe in her bodysuit and high heeled boots. She had a dancer’s body, while Lola did…not.
“I’m not going out without underwear and I need my bra,” she snapped back. She had wanted this outfit since she was a little girl, but now that she was in it, she wasn’t feeling too happy. She felt nominally better when he put on the mask that covered most of her face. At least no one would know who she was, and it finally made her contact lenses worth the hassle.
“It’s not your fault you take after your father,” the great Mesmera assured her. “Let’s go.” Take after her father. After eighteen years of hearing how much he was like him she hoped her mother might give her a name or show her a picture…no luck. She was done wondering. That was the real reason she had applied to the University Noir—it was situated in Acropolis Connecticut, one of the most crime-ridden cities in the nation. She was sure that her father was a super-villain, and every super-villain passed through Acropolis at one point in his or her careers, including her mother.
The house had been built specially—they went through a false wall to get down to the sub-basement under the actual basement. The black Mesmermobile was parked in a lofty underground garage, and her mother used a remote to open the doors and tossed the keys to Lola. “You drive.”
Lola didn’t feel as bad about her outfit once she was behind the wheel and racing towards Third National. She was finally allowed to go on a bank heist. Her first job as a super-villain. It might have only been a bank job, but it took money to live well.
They pulled up behind the building. It wasn’t late and the place had only just closed, but Mesmera didn’t need to break locks and security codes like other villains. She had Talent, after all. “Just follow my lead,” she told Lola, and they got out of the car. Mesmera began to pound on the door in the back of the building, screaming and crying loudly. “Murder! Rape! Help, please someone let me in!” Lola noted a doorbell and rang it over and over again, until eventually someone opened it. “Thank God,” Mesmera said, pushing her way into the building.
A security guard had opened the door for them. “Now wait a minute,” he started, but Mesmera was faster. She grabbed him by the chin and forced him to look into her eyes. “Is the bank manager here?” she asked him. He nodded wordlessly. “Take us to him.”
Lola followed her mother as they made their way down a hall and into an elevator. The man stared ahead with glassy eyes. He took them up to the top floor and opened up an office. The bank manager was on his computer. He looked up at them. “What is this?”
“People here to see you sir,” the guard said.
“We’re just going to sit quietly and wait for the building to clear out,” Mesmera said, sitting down in one of the chairs and Lola did the same. “You may go,” she told the guard.
“You won’t remember us.”
“You won’t remember us,” Lola echoed. She had inherited her mother’s mind control. She hadn’t had as much practice as Mesmera, but for the past few years she had been brainwashing half her teachers into thinking she was earning A’s instead of barely passing. She couldn’t waste brainpower and time on classes like Gym or Literature when she had bigger things to think about. Much bigger. Her mother might be content brainwashing people for bank jobs, but Lola was going to be more. She was going to change the world.
“What shall we call you?” Mesmera asked as they sat waiting for the building to empty out.
“Mesmera Junior? Hypno Girl?”
“I need to think about it,” Lola said. She already had an idea. Dr. Brain maybe, or the Great Controller. The Great something because she was going to be great. She was going to be so much more than a bank robber. Especially one that didn’t need guns or special equipment. What kind of bank robber simply walked into the safe with the manager in tow?
Finally the building was empty, and Mesmera stood up and gave the manager a look and a smile. “Let us into the vault.”
On the way down the stairs a cell phone rang and Mesmera retrieved it from somewhere on her persons. “How did you do that?” Lola asked.
“I’m a professional—Jolie Merriweather. Yes, Glory, she’s here.” She handed the phone to Lola. “You gave your friend my number?”
“For an emergency,” Lola argued. “Glory, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing nothing,” her best friend said, her voice coming fast and breathless. “Why don’t you have your phone? I’m going to Noir with you this fall! Lola—I got accepted into the League!”
“They said not to tell, and I won’t, beyond you and mom and dad of course, but my life isn’t over, Lola. I’m going to be one of them. A super hero.”
“Oh,” Lola said, her blood going cold. “Good for you.”
So this is my love letter to Joss Whedon and Dr. Horrible. (DES was a love letter to Buffy). When it first aired I was just going to write some Captain Hammer slash fic, but this is a better use of my time. :)
I have to say, I am in love with all three of these characters. They are all perfect.
Updates will still be once a week, I think on thursdays.
And sorry about the two character same name thing between this and Thistledown. I was working on this when the other Lawrence needed a name, and I didnt think this was going to go anywhere...I'm gonna change the Thistledown's Lawrence's name, because it really belongs to this character.