Word count: 589
Fandom: City of Heroes/Sunday 9s
Characters: The J-Stars team (the Jeffries family: Alan, Ramona, Brent, Summer, and Ray)
Timeline: Takes place way, way, way before any of the other CoH fics so far. Like eight years before.
If you've read the previous fics, you know who these people are and what's going on. If you haven't, you might want to go read them first, 'cause this will make lots more sense after you read the other ones. Check the Memories section, under "CoH Fiction" in my LJ info.
Copyrights 'n stuff: The City of Heroes universe is copyright Cryptic Studios/NCSoft. The individual characters of the Sunday 9s were created by their players. I created Heat Lightning, Boneshatter, most of the NPCs, the shard and all of the Aligned and their concepts.
Based on the challenge: Heat's first adventure with the J-Stars. Not sure yet whether it's OK to put the challenger's name on these, though it probably is. ;)
"I don't think he's ready for this, Alan." Ramona Jeffries straightened the collar of her black-and-gold costume. Every few years the J-Stars updated their look, but the new outfits had major problems with the collars. She'd have to look into getting them altered already.
"Mona, he's fifteen. And he wants to come along with us. He's been wanting it ever since he was a little kid. Brent'll keep an eye on him." Alan Jeffries stretched in preparation for the day's work.
"I'm not worried about that. I know Brent will do his best, and I know Ray thinks he's ready. But, Alan – Ray's so... thin."
"I don't know where he puts it all," Alan grunted. "It's like he has a hole in his big toe and the food never even hits his stomach."
"I'm just not sure he's got enough mass to keep up with us," Mona fretted. "By the time they were his age, Brent and Summer were so much bigger than he is. And they already showed some signs of toughness. All Ray's got is hair like he stuck his finger in a socket."
"Mona," Alan said, in what was meant to be a reassuring tone, "All the more reason to bring him along. He can't stay on the sidelines forever. Maybe if we take him out on missions, he'll start to show some powers, some abilities. And there are skinny tanks out there, too." He put his arm around her. Both of them were tall – Alan at eight feet, Mona only a few inches shorter – and built proportionally. "He'll be fine."
"I hope so." They began walking toward the ready room, and Alan dropped his arm so they could hold hands. "Of course, maybe he'll turn out to be a defender, like Brent."
"Could be. Nothing wrong with that at all. Hey, kids!" Alan said heartily as he and Mona entered the ready room. "Ready to go kick some criminal butt?"
Their three children cheered. Brent and Summer, home from college, already had several years of experience in the family business. Mona knew she could count on them to look after their baby brother.
Ray, in official black and gold for the first time, looked ready and eager. He also looked like someone had taken a buzzsaw to his wiry, dark green hair, trimming it moderately short for the time being. He didn't have a cape, but that was to be expected – capes had to be earned. For visual solidarity, the J-Stars were all capeless for this mission.
As her husband outlined what they'd be doing, Mona tried not to watch Ray too much. She still didn't think he was ready. Sure, he was tall for his age – about five foot ten – yet he looked so fragile next to his more robust siblings. But Alan was right, they couldn't keep him out of harm's way forever. Besides, he was obviously a mutant – his hair would've confirmed it even if his neonatal blood screening hadn't – and sooner or later his powers would surface. Maybe even today.
It'd be nice to have another tank or defender in the family, she thought. Especially a bubbler, a force-field defender. But today, at least, she just wanted Ray to return home safe and sound. Sometimes she wondered if this was how normal, everyday mothers felt about their children, or if it was just part and parcel of trying to raise a heroic family.
Alan finished his briefing. "All right. Those cultists won't hang around all day. Let's go!"
And they went.