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strannik01 ([personal profile] strannik01) wrote2009-12-17 01:48 pm

End of the Line - a Public Domain Heroes short

End of the Line

The official residence of Magno the Magnetic Man, New York City
April 13, 1954

They are coming.

I don't need to use my powers to know that the police cars are on the way. The feds probably pulled Thomas Dalton out of retirement, just in case. There really was no need for that. I already decided to go peacefully. I will not resist. I fought for justice for almost fifteen years now. The city police force respected me, and I respect them. Even after everything that happened today, I don't want to see them get hurt. As soon as they get here, I will surrender.

It's hard not to feel bitter. After all this time, after all the villains I fought, after G-d only knows how many close calls and brushes with death, I was brought down by a very vile but oh so very mundane muckraker. Some scumbag sneaked onto my property and took pictures through my window. The next day, David and I were on the front page of New York Record. Smash Dawson, a staff reporter and a former adventurer, never used the word "homosexual," but his disgust seeped from every word and every last insinuation:
"... This so-called wonder-hero is a violator in every sense of the word. He violated a trusting youth. He violated public decency. He violated the sanctity of God's law. But worst of all, he violated our trust. Magno the Magnetic Man proved himself to be more depraved than the worst uber-villains to ever crawl out the darkest Nazi catacombs. If the Claw was alive to see what our photographer has seen, he would recoil in disgust!"
I met Smash Dawson once, back in 1942. He was a blowhard and a muckraker, but he was a good man.

There is no one I can turn to. Most active wonder-heroes denounced me minutes after the article went off the presses. Agent Loover won't take my calls. William Martin, my police contact for the past ten years, told me to go to hell and die and hung up. I couldn't even reach Uncle Sam. His private number was suddenly disconnected and his secretary kept putting me on hold.

Claire called me earlier this afternoon. David's older sister was usually calm and collected, but this was anything but usual. She screamed at me for almost an hour. She told me that she was going to get David some help and that I would never, ever see him again.

I didn't respond. There was no point. She wouldn't listen.

I know how this looks - an older man taking advantage of a young, impressionable boy. And I know that nothing I will say will persuade them that it's not what happened. When David and I first met, he was only nine years old. He was a fun-loving, excitable little rascal. Out of all the wonder-heroes in New York City, he chose me. David was determined to become my sidekick and he wouldn't take no for an answer. When I finally gave him a portion of my powers and allowed him to tag along, he was so happy I thought he was going to burst from sheer joy. I admit, I was flattered, but, again, he was nine years old. I may be a queer and a pervert, but I would never make love to a child.

As years passed, David and I spent more and more time together. Used to be that he would go on a mission and run back to his sister's house, but by the time Japan surrendered, he would stay over in my house for days, sometimes weeks. Claire didn't mind. We played games, went to the movies, read books. After a day full of dangerous uber-villains, deadly traps, high stakes and close calls, it was nice to have someone I could unwind with, someone who understood exactly how I felt.

I told him things I never told anybody else. I told him about growing up in a Long Island suburb, a secret Jew in a sea of Gentiles. My father was a good man, but he never let me learn anything about our people and their traditions. He always told me that we had to assimilate if we wanted to get anywhere, and I tried to be a good son.

David told me about losing his parents, about how Claire took him in and tried to raise him the best she could. He admitted, his eyes downcast, that he barely even remembered his parents anymore, and that part of him wished that Claire was his real mother. We spent many nights talking about finding her a husband, but no man wanted to marry a working woman, especially a woman who was a good with guns and wasn't afraid to pick a fight.

David was the one who made the first move. He was sixteen and I was over thirty. I was surprised, but I wasn't shocked. I was relieved. After all the time we spent together, after everything we shared, after all the dangers we faced and after all the times we saved each others' lives, David was more than a sidekick, more than a friend. I tried to push those thoughts away, and it was nice to know that I didn't have to hold back anymore.

Of course, none of this would convince anybody. To the world at large, I am a pervert, a deviant. At best, I have an illness that needs to be treated. At worst, I am a monster, a rabid dog that needs to be put down. Part of me wonders if they're right. I am not a psychologist. I won’t pretend that what I feel is normal. All I know is that... it wasn't for the lack of trying. I went with women before. I even spent the night with a few of them. Two, to be exact, but it still counts.

I cared about them. I enjoyed their company. But none of them made my heart beat the way David did. None of them made me want to lose myself in their bodies and savor every part of them. When I woke up next to a woman, I never marveled at the way she looked as she slept. When I was with David, the whole world was brighter, every laugh was earnest and every promise was as true as life itself. Just hearing the sound of his voice made everything much more bearable. There was no mountain we couldn't climb, no villain we couldn't defeat, no obstacle we couldn't overcome.

David made me the happiest man alive. No matter what will happen, no one can ever take that away from me.

I can hear the sirens now. In another minute, maybe less, they will be here.

I could run. I could hide.

That's a laugh.

I’ve been hiding all my life and look where that got me.

I put on my costume one last time. There will be no more running. No more hiding. Whatever the feds have in store for me, I will face it as a hero.

I will face it as a human being.

2009 (C) [personal profile] strannik01