Long-time readers (long suffering readers? remarkably patient and tolerant at any rate) will recognize many of the players, though I'll be bringing in some new characters to abuse. Story #2 is a rewrite of the one that was the universal favorite, Drunk Butterflies. It's been retitled Turncoat.
(and for the curious, story #3 is Close Enough to Touch and that is Minder's story).
Onward to Turncoat snippet :3
Dixie scrubbed the towel over his close-shaved hair and wiped water from his face, then let the towel fall to drape over his shoulders as he left the bathroom in a billow of steam. Black boxer briefs clung to his still damp skin as he padded down the hallway following the chirping of his phone.
He read the text from Matt saying that he and Karl had made it safe and sound to their safe house. Good. Tell your man to keep you in bed and out of trouble. Karl replied with a smirky emote, and Dixie tossed the phone back on his sofa, smiling faintly.
The house was quiet—too quiet, even after all these years of being alone. He'd never not be used to the sounds of his mama. The way her TV always had to be on even though she barely paid it any mind while she played whist with all her online buddies, cackling maniacally every now and again. Or the radio while she cooked or cleaned, the sounds of her phone and her laptop, the damned yippie dogs she liked to keep underfoot.
Dixie had always been more of a cat person, but he wasn't dumb enough to try and keep pets when one, most of his enemies wouldn't hesitate to kill the poor thing just to hurt him and two, he was probably gonna have to torch everything and run one day. The only person the G.O.D. wanted more than Dixie was the super hero killer nobody knew anything about, past his dumbass codename: Scones.
In the kitchen, he pulled a longneck out of the fridge and twisted off the cap, took a long swallow before he set the beer on the counter-slash-bar that divided the kitchen from the living room. He stared in the fridge, considered the options there, then closed it with a sigh and leaned against it a moment before heaving away from it to poke through the cabinets instead.
Fuck it, maybe he should just call for pizza. At the rate he was going, dinner was going to be beer and microwave popcorn. He didn't have the energy for shit all else, and he wasn't much feeling the only options in the house: pasta or rice.
He crossed the kitchen to the laundry area and dropped his towel in the washer, swung back to grab his beer than dropped onto his leather sofa and picked up the large tablet. It shimmered, chirped softly as it read his fingerprints, then scanned his retina, and finally displayed a small box with a vibrating blue line running across the center. "Fox in the henhouse," Dixie said, dropping his soft drawl, reciting the phrase in a perfect, mid-east American accent.
The tablet chimed and unlocked, displaying a boring wallpaper of a dark blue lake surrounded by evergreens, with a sleepy little cabin and dock far to the left, a tiny rowboat to the right, only sign of its occupant the feet hanging over the edge and a dangling fishing pole.
Dixie had always wanted to be that relaxed, so comfortable in his skin and the world that he dozed off fishing in the middle of a lake in fuck nowhere, USA. "Pizza, usual order." The tablet chimed again and immediately the tablet sprang to life, pulling up the pizza website, logging in, loading his usual order and sending it off.
He set the tablet aside and finished his beer, deliberated the wisdom of a second.
Then decided he deserved something after all the damned craziness and terror of the last few months. Even for being one of the most wanted men in the world, that had been a little too adventurous. Though they'd done woken themselves a real super villain. Sure as hell wasn't anything else to call Karl. Not much scared Dixie, but he was damned glad that man was on their side.
Hauling to his feet he fetched a second beer and finally sat the bar to go through all the damned mail that had piled up while he was gone. He didn't even want to think about all the work at the garage that had piled up while he was gone. Getting people to tend the grunt work was easy. Paperwork was another matter.
He threw out all the junk, retained the bills, and returned to his couch and beer. He'd just turned on the TV to find something to watch when the pizza showed, and for an hour Dixie was able to pretend he was really and truly ordinary: a mechanic coming back from a long business trip, who just wanted to unwind and sleep hard for several hours.
But good things and dreams never lasted, and this time they were interrupted by a loud bang, followed by a muffle cry of pain. Coming from his backyard. It had better just be a couple of stupid kids, but Dixie hadn't lived this long by believing in stupid hopes like that. Heading for the backdoor, he unlocked it, grabbed the slugger he kept next to it, and stepped out into the chilly night.
Maybe he should have gotten dressed first. Too late now.
Another pained cry filtered across the backyard, coming from a little pile of shadow by the back gate, which gaped open and clacked as it struck the fence over and over. What in the hell? Still holding tight to the bat, Dixie knelt and found his way through layers of… damned interesting material for a man to be wearing. But beneath it all he found a steady pulse. Drawing back, he gingerly examined the rest of the figure—a man, to judge by the flat chest, though that didn't really man much necessarily—and came across blood when he touched the side of the man's head.
More and more interesting. Didn't seem to be any other wounds, though, so he set the bat aside and dragged the man fully in the yard, then closed and locked the gate… which had been locked from the inside, and this guy was too short and little to reach over to do it. Hell, Dixie couldn't manage that trick, and he wasn't exactly little. Only way to get through was unlock it from the yard, or climb the fence, and that wasn't easy given it was ten feet high and smooth as a baby's butt.
Dixie had never gone for fancy alarms because those were likelier to draw attention to him than anything else. The best cover was often doing nothing at all. Still, it left him twitchy.
He retrieved his bat, then hefted the little man up in his arm. Thing didn't feel like he'd weigh more than ninety pounds soaking wet.
Back inside, Dixie laid him out on the kitchen floor, closed and locked the door, then pulled out the first aid kit kept on a shelf over the washer and dryer. Some warm water and a soft cloth helped him clean the head wound, which turned out to be a small scratch that bled dramatically but didn't amount to much in the end. Dixie treated it to prevent infection, then put everything away and cleaned up, using bleach to get rid of any sign of whose blood in particular had been.
Scooping up his house guest, still dead to the world, Dixie hauled him down the hallway to his own room and laid him out on the bed. He stripped the man's clothes off, frowning all over again as he examined the soft, pliant fabric lined with wires as fine as hair. It was specially made stuff that could work with the unique abilities of superheroes, particularly things like fire and teleportation. The material couldn't do everything—Matt's suit was unique to him, modified with nanotech to keep up with his ability to go invisible—but the list of stuff it couldn't handle was short.
Setting it aside on a chair in the corner, Dixie finally gave his guest a good look. If he had to guess, he'd wager the man was at least half Latino, half Asian, but more specific than that—hell if he knew. He had short hair, but getting on toward long like it needed a cut. A long white scar cutting down the side of his throat and across the collarbone. That must have hurt like the fires of hell. More scars—burns, cuts, what looked ominously like shrapnel damage—peppered the rest of him. Whoever the man was, he wasn't very good at staying out of trouble. Or ducking.
He looked even smaller stretched on Dixie's massive bed. Maybe a touch or three over five feet, and Dixie still wouldn’t bet much money on him being over a hundred pounds. Not by much, anyway. There was a silver hoop in his left nipple. Man was pretty as hell… and looking was turning into gawking so that was enough of that.