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Things Change

Chapter Text

The morning of Greg’s eleventh birthday started exactly the way he expected. Someone had raided the party store of all its balloons in the middle of the night, completely ruining the decorations and leading to his party being put off for Saturday. Because Connor and Amaya had been struck with a bad cold a couple days ago, he hardly minded. Or he would have, if it didn't mean that he would have to face this nighttime villain all alone.

The moon hung low in the sky, more yellow and menacing than usual. He climbed to the top of the highest building and scanned the city. Borrowing the Owl glider would've been his best bet, but would also expose him to a surprise attack. In his situation, he planned to use his camouflage to the fullest.

Greg, or Gekko as he called himself during the night, quickly ran through the possibilities. Luna Girl is an obvious suspect. Unlike the other two, she never creates elaborate and ineffectual schemes, or causes property damage for the hell of it. She'd steal the balloons and throw her own party, because if she can't have a birthday party then no one else can.

Night Ninja did steal his birthday cake in the past, and attempted to steal his new race car bed last year, but lately his villainy has hardly been consistent. When he was younger, he would rely on his ninjalinos or prank them with his sticky splats, but in the past year he's become obsessed with trying to vandalize and destroy the town (Smashing the museum's walls in, bulldozing the houses, etc.). Even his loyal ninjalinos seem concerned over his increasingly erratic behavior.

His last suspect was Romeo, and to be honest, he’d prefer him out of the trio. Not that he liked him much, but while the other two have grown in their powers and become harder to stop, he planted his feet in the ground and never bothered to change. His plans became more predictable and even more inane. Lately, Gekko's been getting the impression that Romeo has never taken anything seriously. It felt less like he actually wanted to take over the world and more like he played the part of someone who did. Maybe he was such a fan of superheroes he realized the best way to see them all the time was to be their arch rival?

Gekko shook his head. Five years spent fighting crime, and you get bored . A year ago, he would have thought it was a waste of time to examine the mindsets of the villains they fought, but now he wonders what kind of people they are behind the crimes and theatrics. He's not even sure if Luna Girl is actually human.

He's never spoken a word about any of this to Connor or Amaya. They wouldn't understand. While he considers them his best friends, they're not the most understanding people. Connor has the habit of getting caught up in his own ego, and Amaya can get trapped in her own head. Out of the trio, he likes to think that his empathy is the best trait he has.

Realizing he’s getting distracted again, he settled on the most likely culprit being Luna Girl. Gekko then activated his Super Gekko Camouflage and and climbed down as fast as he could, rushing through the streets for any type of danger. So far, he hasn't spotted any huge parties, or plans to lift the city with balloons and take over, or anything equally ridiculous. He passed by the front of the party supply store a few times, before stopping and checking to see if there were any entry points that might reveal the true culprit.

While he was checking the window panes, he heard a crash, and had only a second to react before the wooden canopy collapsed on top of him.

 

---

 

He woke up to the sound of familiar, high pitched voices. Small hands were shaking him with a fervour he never thought possible. With a groan, Gekko managed to lift himself to his feet.

The ninjalinos cheered, and two of them even jumped up to give him a hug. As much as he didn't like Night Ninja, he’s always had a soft spot for the ninjalinos. For the most part, they weren't malicious, but loyal to Night Ninja, or anyone that's nice to them.

Gekko looked to the side to see that they cleared the rubble that landed on top of him. He was lucky that his costume protected him from hard blows like that, or Night Ninja would have killed him.

The thought unnerved him. He pushed Night Ninja out of his mind and lifted up one of the ninjalinos.

“Can you please take me to Night Ninja?” he asked. The ninjalino glanced back at his comrades in uncertainty. Gekko would usually see it as them being hesitant about the idea of betraying their master, but there was something different about them this time.

They were afraid that Night Ninja might actually try to kill him.

Gekko thought of Connor and Amaya, at home and defenseless, and said, “ Please.”

The ninjalino nodded to the others, and they all ticked their heads, vaulting behind Gekko for support. He put down the one he was holding, and it scurried off in the direction of Night Ninja.

He was always nervous when dealing with Night Ninja, due to his new violent streak, but tonight his heart pounded faster than it ever has before, and he feared that if he didn't get there before it was too late, it might just stop beating altogether.

Along the way, Gekko tried to convince himself that Night Ninja wouldn't do anything to them. As far as he knew, he wasn't even aware of their civilian identities. Romeo knew, but all he does is hide them in a cage somewhere when he gets the chance, so it's never anything to worry about.

Before his imagination could get ahead of him, he pushed his thoughts to the back of his mind and focused on the task at hand. He tried not to think about how Night Ninja was willing to blow a building on him, or anything remotely close to the ‘k’ word.

The ninjalino stopped in front of the school gates, and dashed behind a bush. Gekko and the other ninjalinos followed.

On the roof of the school, Night Ninja was facing the other direction, holding a purple splat in his hand. Unlike his annoying but harmless sticky splats, these imploded upon being chucked at something.

Gekko motioned for the ninjalinos to stay where they were, then activated his camouflage and walked down the courtyard and up the building. He crept up behind Night Ninja, planning to grab the bomb splat, when he disappeared in a puff of smoke. In an instant, he was on the top of the roof, holding the bomb splat over his head. His eyes were red and puffy, and despite the mask, Gekko could tell that he felt nothing but disdain for him.

“Go away!” he yelled, his voice slightly raw. “Or I'll blow the school to smithereens!”

“Night Ninja, calm down.” Gekko said, barely able to raise his own voice. By the looks of it, he hadn't stooped so low as to threaten his friends, but blowing up the school isn't much better.

“....” He glared at Gekko like he despised him to his core. He then squeezed one of his fists and said, “I’ve had enough of you and your stupid friends! Am I not enough of a threat that those two couldn’t even be bothered to show up!?”

He didn't know whether he should try to reassure him or fight him. Night Ninja blinked and looked away for a few seconds, staring wistfully at the courtyard. Gekko took this as his chance to tackle him, causing the both of them to tumble off the roof. He dropped the bomb splat and it landed on the outdoor tables, blowing them to pieces. Chunks of wood flew over the school gates, with one large piece barreling towards Gekko. He narrowly crawled out of the way before collapsing from exhaustion.

Night Ninja was only a little better, lifting himself off the ground and struggling to even stay standing. The ninjalinos ran over to help him up, but he swatted them away.

“Gekko,” he said, clenching his fists. “I hate you!” he stumbled over to where Gekko was and kicked him in the stomach. “This isn't over! Get up and fight me !”

Gekko opened his eyes, and pulled himself up to his knees. “Stop it….” he mumbled.

Night Ninja’s eyes were alight with rage. “Get up already! What are you even here for if you're gonna just sit there?”

“I said calm down!” Gekko shouted, tackling Night Ninja to the ground. As unusual as the situation was to him, he realized that, for once, the direct approach won't work.

“Fine,” he grunted, “you win. Now get off.”

“....Where are the balloons?” Gekko asked after a long pause.

Night Ninja’s eyes widened, and he wheezed trying to hold back his laughter. “You went through all this trouble for some stupid balloons?”

“Uh, some kid needs them for his birthday party.”

“I popped them. The whole thing was just so I could get you and your stupid friends to the party store. Happy?”

He felt a bit of sadness hearing that. “Listen, it might be kinda weird to hear this from your enemy, but is something wrong?” He had no idea what to say next. He knew next to nothing about the civilian lives of the villains they fought, and usually he’d rather it stay that way. “Not asking for your life story, but if you wanna let out some steam, it's fine. Luna Girl does it a lot, sometimes even Romeo--”

“Gekko.” Night Ninja grunted, catching his attention. He almost never calls him that. “Out of all you PJ losers, I hate you the most. Wanna know why?” He grabbed Gekko by the wrists while he was distracted and flipped him over. “You're a coward ! A pathetic, lazy coward! You can't even take me out on your own anymore! Stop pretending like nothing's changed, or reality’s gonna hit and before you realize it, you'll lose everything you care about.” He climbed off of Gekko, brushing the dirt off his costume.

“You'll see. There's no time to care about your enemy. If that's all you're good for, then you're worth nothing.” Night Ninja finished his rant and trudged out the school gate, followed by his hesitant ninjalinos. Gekko barely registered the fact that he was putting more weight on his left leg than he normally does.

 

---

 

“Happy birthday, Greg!” Connor and Amaya cheered as they ate slices of triple layer chocolate cake on Greg's stoop outside his house.

“You're gonna love what I got you.” Connor bragged, putting his cake down to wrap his arm around Greg's shoulder. “It took me a week to find the perfect gift.”

“Sorry about your balloons.” Amaya mumbled through a mouthful of cake. “Who did it, anyway? Did they give you trouble?”

Greg hesitated. “I-It was Luna Girl. She wanted to decorate her, uh, lunar base.”

“I thought she didn't even like reptiles!” Amaya groaned. “Then again, she does whatever she wants.”

“I like these ugly balloons, so they're all mine!” Connor said in a high pitched voice. Amaya and Connor broke into laughter, but Greg barely managed a chuckle.

Amaya noticed Greg's silence and elbowed Connor in the ribs. “Not that they were ugly or anything.” Connor corrected himself. “I thought they were nice.”

“Yeah.” Greg muttered, squishing little chunks of cake flat on his plate. Amaya looked at him with concern.

“If you're not hungry, then do you wanna go inside and open your presents?” she asked. He gave her a slight nod, so she rushed in to tell his parents. Connor stood up, shooting a glance at Greg.

“What's up? You've been acting weird all week.” Connor said, then laughed. An awkward, forced laugh. “Quit being so mysterious and spit it out.”

Greg bit his lip. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he quickly spat out what was on his mind.

“I'm quitting the PJ Masks.”

 

Chapter Text

Something you’ve always had little restraint about is your own curiosity. When you need to know how something works, or something’s being kept hidden from you, your dogged persistence wears down yourself and the patience of the people around you. One particular memory from years ago involved your mother angrily confessing that Santa Claus didn’t actually exist after you asked twenty five times in a row.

This eventually led to your life being influenced by your desire for knowledge, along with wanting control over your life in any way possible. Since being elected student council president (despite being a year younger than everyone else on the council), you’ve started to feel for the first time that you’re satisfied with where you are in life. Being both the leader in your daily life and being a member of the PJ Masks takes a lot of work, and despite it all you manage to work everything out.

One thing that always got you since joining the student council was how little sleep you got during the night. A couple hours after your bedtime were spent patrolling the town and another hour to check up on the equipment back in the base leaves about five hours for actual sleep. The strange thing was, somehow, you never feel any effects of the exhaustion that should come with constant sleep deprivation. It’s something that weighs at the back of your mind, but you figure there’s some magic explanation behind it.

Sometimes you can’t help but catch a few glances at some of the other students for heavy eyes or an inability to stay awake during class. You’ve always been a little curious if any of the night time villains attended your school, but not to the extent that Greg not-so-subtly gets.

But while you don’t care much to know their identities, if there’s one thing you’d like to know, it’s how a ray gun that makes birds sad would help someone take over the world.

Romeo seemed almost flabbergasted when you asked him. “ Excuse me ?” he said, tapping his feet.

“I’m not kidding.” you grumbled while trying to squirm yourself free from his huge robot’s grip. In its other hand was Catboy and Gekko, who you could hear were as unsuccessful as you.

“Is this really the time, Owlette?” Catboy said.

“Well, it’s not like we’re in any danger or anything.” Gekko said.

“Hey! I can crush you guys like grapes!” Romeo yelled. “And you don’t get it!” He pointed at Owlette, like everything he was about to say was from the mouth of somebody worth listening to. “The most important part of having a “happy” morning is the sounds of birds chirping. If the birds are too sad to chirp, then no one will have a happy morning ever again! Then I’ll have them hand over the world to me if they ever want to hear the birds chirp again!” He then laughed in a way that sounded more overacted than menacing.

“Who’s they?” you said, interrupting his laughter.

“What?”

“You do realize that there’s no one person that owns the world, right?”

He tries not to show it, but you can tell that this was news to him. “W-Well, that doesn’t mean anything!” he snaps.

“And how would making the birds sad in one town have any effect on the whole world?” you continued to prod. “And can’t other birds from out of town come in? You know migration is a thing, right?”

I know ! I'll just zap the ones that come in!” he snapped.

“But doesn't that ray only work on one bird at a time? How can you track down every bird in the city? And that's not even starting on how a bunch of depressed birds will impact the local ecosystem. Might even create a disaster, like bugs everywhere, no one wants to see that.”

You glared at Romeo, expecting some sort of response, but he seemed to mentally shut down for a few seconds before stuttering out, “Can't you just play along?”

“So you admit you're wasting our time? That you have no idea what you're doing?” you finished.

“Argh! No!” Romeo clung to his invention like he was going to rip it in half.

“Maybe you should lay off.” Gekko said. “Um, Romeo, I thought your plan was pretty evil.”

Normally he would take any praise he could get, but tonight he flew off the handle and simply pointed to the sky, causing the robot to swivel its wrist and throw Catboy and Gekko in the air. Romeo then pointed his ray at them, managing to hit them both before they hit the ground.

“Hahaha, now what, Owlette!?” he cackled. “Now you PJ Pests will be too depressed to fight crime, and there’ll be no one to stop me from taking over the world !”

“Actually, I’m fine.” Catboy said, getting up and offering his hand so Gekko could do the same. “Maybe a little sad, but it’s honestly not a big deal.”

C'mon !” he nearly shrieked. His robot shrugged and attempted to grab them again, but you manage to wriggle yourself free in the confusion and use your Owl Wing Wind to cause its fist to sail back into its face. In the confusion, Catboy activated his speed and snatched the ray gun from Romeo, hitting the reverse switch and zapping himself and Gekko.

“Rgggh!” he whined, stomping his feet. “I'll get you, PJ Pests!”

“Right, okay.” you mumbled, rolling your eyes at the sheer predictability of it all. “Like the time before that. And the time before that.”

You slowly approached Romeo, until you were nearly leaning over him. “And the time before that. And the time before that.

“Owlette!” Gekko said, grabbing your shoulder and yanking you out of Romeo’s space. You sighed, something that carried the weight of all your annoyance at his near constant scheming.

“Aren't you tired of this?” you said, holding your arms up and gesturing to the city around you guys. “Your plans always fail, but do you know why? Why we always beat you?”

“....Because you're the heroes?” he responded, his face twisted into a frown.

“No!” you snapped, grabbing Romeo’s shoulders and shaking him like a rag doll. “It's! Because! Your! Plans! Are! Stupid !” You let go of him, and he tottered around for a few seconds before reorienting himself. “Even if we weren't around, I bet you couldn't even take over the city with these ridiculous plans!”

“Oh boy.” Catboy covered his face with his hands, and Gekko sat on the ground in defeat, waiting for it all to be over.

“Just face it!” you continued, allowing your pent up resentment for him and everything he does to come pouring out. “The one thing holding you back from ever winning against us is yourself! Why do you keep trying? You'd get a lot more out of your life if you tried to, I dunno, build things that made the world better rather than tearing it apart in the most inefficient and useless way possible!” Finished with your rant, you turned away from a flabbergasted Romeo and back to your fellow heroes. “We're done here.”

“Ouch.” Catboy laughed. He then glanced at Romeo, who gave them a blank stare. Since he didn't seem like he was going to give a response, the heroes decided to return home for the night. You used your flight to help Catboy get into his room, and then lifted up Gekko to do the same when he asked you something that made you stop.

“Are you sure you weren't too harsh on him?” Gekko said, holding onto the windowsill.

“Nah.” you said. “It's what he needed. You get what I mean, right?”

Gekko put his hand to his chin. “Surprisingly, I do.”

You couldn't help but laugh at the sight of his face all scrunched up in thought. “And that's why you're my friend.”

“I guess.” he said, crawling into his bedroom. “I still think you were a little too harsh, but it's not like you can take it back….so it's fine. G’night.”

“Good night!”

After he closed the window, you returned to your house. Your costume disappeared and left behind your old, unassuming pajamas as you dozed off.

 

---

 

You stumbled through the woods and out to the outskirts of town. Your new robot was out of commission, so you planned to send one of your other robots to pick up the scraps once you got back to your lab.

You wanted to kick your past self for leaving the mobile one at home, but what's done is done.

You climbed through the bushes until you reached an isolated road, then followed it past the smaller houses until you reached a gate. You fumbled in your pockets until you found a key, unlocking the door and stepping through the knee length grass that had overtaken the front yard.

After wrestling your way through the neglected garden, you used your other key to get through the front door. Your house was three stories high, with most of the rooms filled with boxes that were never unpacked. The only rooms in use were the living room, the kitchen, your room, and the nanny’s room.

The living room looked old and grand when you first moved in, but now it smelled like smoke. Just as you guessed, you saw your nanny out cold with a bottle in her hand on the couch. You didn't bother trying to keep quiet, immediately deciding to grab a frozen dinner from the fridge (Not that you had a choice--that's all she ever bothered to buy) and run to the basement.

Once down, you stuck it in the microwave you kept down there and activated your smallest, fastest robot. On your command, it sped off towards the city to retrieve the rubble before daybreak. You then sat down in your favorite chair and stared down your work bench.

Nothing she said was true. Nothing she said was true. So stop thinking about it. Stop.

“Just stop!” you snapped, picking up the nearest wrench and throwing it at the wall. The microwave went off, but you suddenly lost your appetite. You stare down your empty work desk and begged yourself to come up with something, anything that could be enough of a threat to make the PJ Masks take you seriously--

You stop. And realize.

You take off your lab coat, and almost think of putting away the goggles before deciding against it.

You try your best to deny the realization that maybe, what Owlette said had some truth to it.

The robot returned, unceremoniously dumping the rubble into the scrap pile and returning to sleep mode. You decide to dig through the pile to find any ideas for what to build next. The first idea that you think of is a device that puts a funny hat on anything it touches.

No. That's juvenile.

You tell yourself that that plan is something the old Romeno would do, but that's not you anymore. You're better than that. Like Owlette said, you need to be more of a threat if you really want to call yourself a villain (Ignoring everything she said about using your skills for more “beneficial” purposes).

You get up and pace back and forth, clasping your hands behind your back. Usually you tend to rush your projects so you have as many opportunities as possible to take them down, but this time you want to take things slow. It’s not like you go to school, so there’s nothing stopping you from spending nights in your lab.

But what to build? Every plan that you’ve made now seemed so--so stupid . You need something really evil, something that can prove that you’re serious, that you can take over the world!

Perhaps you could trap their block in an impenetrable cage? Or steal their transforming pajamas and destroy them so there’ll be no more PJ Masks?

It’s not enough. You need something bigger.

How about a weapon that can vaporize the PJ Masks? That way they’ll never be a threat to you any longer.

Your eyes snapped open. You stopped walking and glanced around the room. That wasn’t your thoughts. There didn’t seem to be anyone else there.

Did you really think that?

No. You should just go to sleep. Maybe you’ll dream of something better. You try to forget about what you heard and went upstairs, completely forgetting about a late night snack and falling asleep while trying to think about ways to stop-- get rid of --trap the PJ Masks.

Chapter Text

“Hey lizard boy, wanna play?” I threw a ball that hit Gekko on the head, rolling into the museum through the window pane open on the ceiling.

“I’d love to!” he said, then his voice dropped to a more deadpan tone. “Or you could untie us and we can all go home.”

“We are going home!” I said, activating my lunar magnet and forming a translucent pink sphere around them so they can survive the trip, then lifted them up. Inside were the PJ Masks, who were dumb enough to get caught in my trap. It’s what they get for running off to patrol the city without a single word to me for a week! What am I, chopped liver?

I flew off into the night sky, followed by my luna moths and the disgruntled heroes. Next stop: the moon! There’s really no other place I’d like to be, other than earth when something exciting is happening. I then increased the speed on my luna board, trying to get there as fast as possible so I can mess around with them, before they get antsy about the time, beat me, and return to boring old earth.

After a long period of silence, we broke the atmosphere, and at that point we could all see the millions of stars that speckled the sky. Back on earth, the light pollution from the big city an hour over had completely drowned out the beautiful night sky, but here it was allowed to sparkle as much as it wanted.

I picked up the speed even faster, to the protests of Catboy. “Hey, slow down!” he cried, pressed up to the wall of the sphere.

“Luna Girl!” Owlette yelled, trying to fight against the force. Gekko activated his super strength, snapping the ropes, and tried to break the sphere open, before realizing they were already in space and gave up.

I slowed down once I got close enough to the moon, then approached the biggest crater that could be seen. I landed in the very center of it, and it slowly descended into the center of the moon, like a secret elevator. Once we were inside, I dropped the sphere, and it popped.

They landed in a clump, and groaned in pain.

“What a ride….” Catboy mumbled. “Owlette, get off my tail.”

“I’m not on your tail.” Owlette said.

“Sorry, Catboy.” Gekko crawled off of Catboy, and Catboy lifted himself off of Owlette. After a little adjustment, they snapped into combat poses.

“What’re you up to this time, Luna Girl?” Catboy said. “And where did you take us?”

“How can we breathe?” Owlette wondered, relaxing in her stance before the other two.

“Uh,” I started to say. There’s no way I’d tell them that I wanted them to see that I remodeled my moon base. “I heard a legend that, deep within this moon base, is a rock that will power my luna magnet to godly proportions!”

“Really?” Owlette said. “Don’t you live here? How did you not know about that?”

“Do you expect me to know every old legend around here?” you said. Owlette shrugged.

“I’m hoping you’re not expecting us to get it for you.” Catboy said. “We might be friends now, but a luna magnet that powerful only spells trouble.”

“And that's why you're here!” I said, jumping on my luna board again and floating above them. “It wouldn't be very fun if I grabbed the rock without any competition, so now it'll be a race.”

“A race to this legendary rock, huh?” Catboy said. His stripes began to glow blue as he started some warm-up stretches. “Hope you know what you're up against!”

“Ha!” I laughed. “First one to make it to the rock gets to keep it!”

Owlette and Gekko lined up next to Catboy, while Luna Girl hovered next to them.

“Three….Two….One-go!” I yelled, managing to get a head start against the PJ Masks.

“No fair!” Catboy whined as he managed to get right behind me.

“Well, duh , I'm a villain.”

 

---

 

For the first time in a few weeks, the lunar moths started to get antsy again, so I tagged along with whatever they wanted to do that night. While wandering aimlessly in front of the museum, I barely managed to fly out of the way of a car barreling towards the museum.

It crashed into the front door, demolishing that along with creating cracks in the wall. Upon closer inspection, it was actually Romeo’s mobile lab. Following him were Owlette and Catboy, who stood ready to fight.

“Stop running!” Owlette yelled. “What kind of trouble are you trying to cause?”

The door popped open, and he shot out on a high speed scooter. “You'll have to catch me and find out, PJ Pests !”

“I got him!” Gekko yelled, intercepting his path and grabbing the scooter with his lizard grip. Romeo then pressed a button on the handlebar, which caused a metal hand to  extend from its base, grab Gekko, and throw him into the bushes.

After he escaped, Catboy and Owlette took off after him, while Gekko’s head peaked out of the bush.

“You'll get ‘em next time, lizard boy.” I said, and he pouted and looked away from me.

 

---

 

The time of day I hate most is 12 pm. If I'm ever up at that hour, I'm too tired to do anything, and all the kids at the schools get to play in their dumb playgrounds without me. If I needed something done during the daytime, I'd rather get my moths to do it instead.

But this--this was special. Last week, I missed Greg's birthday. Not that I care that much, but he gave me a piece of cake he saved so I figured a friend would do something back.

Friend. Referring to them that way still made me feel kinda off. I guess technically I'm their friend. I still mess with them, but I really only do it to have fun with stuff I couldn't normally. And they don't seem to hate it, so I assume that's what being friends is like. I doubt Greg's gonna be upset about a surprise birthday gift, anyway.

I walked a good while of the way, earning odd stares from random people.

“Is that a costume?” A lady wearing a big feather hat whispered to the other lady she was with. Hey, look in the mirror, lady!

“Is that a child?” A man in a blue uniform looked right at me, and reached over for his walkie talkie. In a panic, I ran by the nearest corner, and hid in an alleyway. He ran by me, and I ducked back out and cut through a broken fence to get to the school.

The gates were locked during school hours to stop trespassers. Instead, I decided to go around, cutting through the forest and going to the old playground. None of the older kids were at the lunch tables because they were demolished, blown up, or whatever. I don't care.

The playground was nearly deserted, but I spotted Greg and Connor leaning on the jungle gym and talking.

“I think someone threw up over there.” Connor said, pointing at one of the swings.

“That's why only the lower grades play here anymore.” Greg said.

“At least you can't smell it.” Connor laughed.

With a lull in their conversation, I planned to step out from behind a tree when I heard something that made me stop.

“Greg, you can't quit the PJ Masks.” Connor said. Greg's natural smile faded and was replaced by a forced one.

“But I did. I quit.”

“Why?” Connor put his hand on Greg's shoulder, and he yanked himself away.

“I don't want to talk about it.”

“Greg!”

“You're fine without me, aren't you?” he said, his voice trembling slightly.

“No, we really do need you.” Connor insisted.

“Really?”

“Yeah! Last night would've been a lot easier with you around.” Connor began.

“But you won, right?”

“I-I mean, we did, but it was hard!”

Greg bit his lip.

“Actually,  I almost got my tail blown off, uh, and Amaya had a hard time rescuing me--and it was way too hard! We need you back!”

“Connor.” Greg said.

“What?”

“Can't you see? There hasn't been a single time that you've ever needed me to stop a villain. Not since a long time ago.” With that, Greg ran away.

Connor stood there speechless. When I tried to leave, I accidentally slipped on a pile of leaves and fell onto the pavement.

“Luna Girl!?” Connor exclaimed. Before he could react, I jumped on my luna board and flew over the fence.

 

---

 

I didn't stop flying until I reached the suburban area, making sure I avoided the city and sticking to the forests on the outskirts. After landing nearby, I walked down the rows of houses until hitting a certain block.

Lined up next to each other were three houses, one blue, one green, and one red.

I stopped at the green house, but hesitated at knocking on the door. I mean, it's not that I'm scared or anything, but I doubt that Greg’s parent will let in any person who knocks on the door.

I took a deep breath. All I have to is tell them that I’m a classmate or whatever, leave the gift on the table, then get out of there and back home. Piece of cake, and Greg won’t have to--

“Excuse me, young lady do you--oh, my….” The door suddenly opened, and I nearly jumped out of my skin. She had long blonde hair down to her shoulders, with a white shirt and ugly khaki pants on.

“Uh, I’m a friend of Greg’s.” I said. It still sounds weird to say, but it’s not like I have any choice.

“I see.” she said. “Is today halloween? Why are you wearing a costume? Isn’t it still school?”

“I don’t go to school.” I said. “Um, my name’s Luna Girl.”

“Luna...Girl?” she said, tilting her head. “Are you playing superhero?”

I had to stop myself from laughing. “Y-Yeah.” I responded. “Is Greg here?”

“He’s still in school.” she said, her face twisting into a frown. “Well, Luna Girl, I’m sure your parents don’t want you wandering around by yourself. Come inside and I’ll call them.”

“You can’t!” I cried. Nope. Nope, this was a bad idea. Bad things always happen when I wander around during the daytime.

“Why not?” she said, putting her hands on her hips. She was starting to get annoyed, and I briefly considered taking off on my luna board and forgetting this ever happened.

“They’re busy.” I muttered. She raised her eyebrows.

“....I hope you’re not lying to me.” she said, grabbing my hand and leading me into the house. “But I can’t just leave a child to run around by themselves. You can rest until Greg comes home and then you can play superhero with him, alright?” She glanced outside the window and sighed. “I thought he said he was too young to be playing pretend. I’m glad he’s not trying to grow up too fast. Are you hungry? I’ll make you a PB&J.”

She left me alone in the living room while she hurried to the kitchen. I yawned and sat on the couch, taking in all the weird stuff that was in here. I’ve never seen the inside of a house, save what I could see through a window, or from TV shows I’d watch from the window of the only electronic store that stays open past midnight. Being in one felt like I was intruding somewhere I didn’t belong.

I wanted to leave before she got back, but I was way too tired to do anything else but curl into the cushions and fall asleep.

Per usual, the moment I opened my eyes again, it was midnight. I never had dreams like other kids, instead I always woke up with a headache and the feeling that something was missing.

No one seemed to be awake, so I left my present on the table. It was then that I noticed some weird food wrapped up on a plate, with a note next to it with my name on it. I opened the window and buried it in the backyard, then got on my luna board and flew back to the only place I could call home.