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Dark Horse

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It seems there’s always a climactic battle happening these days.

All these newcomers hoping to strut their stuff, show the world who they really are, and how does it like them now?

Long-winded monologues peppered with egomaniacal standards as though there’s a book they’ve all read, or perhaps some online course.

It’s annoying, really.

Makes a mockery of hard-working individuals like Trevor who have put their time in. Clawed their way up through the ranks, so to speak, to reach the top and in come these fresh-faced idiots bubbling over with some overrated superpower and thinking that’s all there is to this business.

No finesse to them at all, just brute force and bull in a china shop.

Smash through whatever – whoever – gets in their way and laugh about it afterward like it’s a game.

Look down on those like Trevor, the ones who favor clever plans and careful machinations and nothing about them that stands out at first glance.

Unassuming look to him, some underling that’s somehow survived his elders and betters through luck and coincidence and no real threat.

No.

Not him, or those he’s gathered close to him over the years. Equally unimpressive at first glance, dismissed as unimportant. Lesser threats, and perhaps a source of entertainment when the real threats have been dealt with?

Trevor bites back a snarl, signals Alfredo to take to the rafters as he moves on ahead.

Slips through the shadows striking from above, below, all around as Alfredo provides support for Jeremy who throws himself at the two-bit thugs guarding the building like a wrecking ball. Absorbing the force of the blows they land on him and turning it back on them with more power behind it. (Makes a note to do a proper study of it one day, discover what his limits are, if they exist. For science.)

Matt’s...somewhere.

Trevor knows he’s here, even if he claims neutrality in this constant back and forth between the heroes of this city and its villains. (Balance, delicate balance, and those who watch over it.)

There’s a pained cry ahead of him, and Trevor forces himself faster, faster as he moves past traps and devices meant to ensnare the unwary. (Foolish.)

Comes upon a set of doors and hired muscle and years of martial arts training serve him well against street brawlers and.

Imagines he feels his bones shaking as they hit the ground and a little further still, and there, there.

Familiar figure crumpled at the feet of a mountain of a man. Bright colors and blood smeared on his face and there is a raging inferno inside Trevor -

His.

- and then there’s no time to think because the man turns.

Cruel eyes set in a craggy face and it’s clear what his powers are as he thunders towards Trevor, and this time he knows he’s not imagining it when the ground shakes.

Heavy fists aimed at his head, but Trevor is faster, more agile, and avoids them.

Blocks and parries, turns aside strikes that would break bones if they landed true. Winces back from those he’s too slow to deflect, but doesn’t back down.

Watches the overwhelming confidence, arrogance, in the man’s eyes waver. Attacks wavering, weakening. Ground beneath their feet settling, until Trevor grins, smirks, and uses the man’s momentum against him. Flips him and moves back quickly as Alfredo’s shadows strike without warning to pin him to the wall, tendril wrapping around his neck when he spits foul invective.

Trevor glances behind him, sees Alfredo and Jeremy supporting Gavin between them, Matt following along behind.

An odd entourage to be sure, but this city -

Outcasts and misfits coming together how they will.

Trevor, unassuming Trevor no one looks twice at and the bonds he forms with those enough like him. Touch of bitterness, resentment to them and this refusal to abide by rules not meant for those like them.

Idiots like this would-be tyrant with their flashy powers on display for everyone to see and never, never expecting someone like Trevor.

Seems so frail, so human.

Breakable.

Smart, though.

Clever.

Realized there was something off when he was still a child. A bully with super-strength and an absence of adult authority and Trevor’s hands wrapped around thick wrists trying to pull hands away from his neck – and he did.

Slowly, slowly, but the bully weakened and Trevor could escape.

Another instance with a pyrokinetic who’d lost control of their powers and Trevor’s arms up as though

And again and again until he realized it wasn’t happenstance, wasn’t luck or coincidence.

A trip to the library and exhaustive online searches and eventually a succinct article buried deep in an archive.

Power-negation.

Dismissed as so much myth and legend. Stories bandied about by nulls to offer hope they weren’t as broken as society seemed to think they were.

A dirty little secret, people like him, and they always, always the villain of the piece.

Wave of their hand and the brave, noble hero struck helpless. A threat to those with powers, and -

There’s a history to it, reason they’re so rare these days, and oh, Trevor’s so very willing to play the role of the villain if that’s what it takes.

Gavin groans, struggling towards consciousness.

But.

Alfredo shifts, and his shadows mimic the movement, the ones looped around this would-be tyrant’s neck tightening just a little more, breath a faint wheezing thing.

“Did you really think,” Trevor says, smile a knife’s edge. He leans closer, because the sniveling weasel of a man is straining against the shadows holding him in place. “Did you really think you could get away with this?”

Trite and cliché, and oh, oh, he’s spent far too much time around Gavin and his ilk.

The heroes of this city are fools, everyone knows that.

Noble and kind-hearted to a fault, as their kind are, and so laughably short-sighted. Trip their way into traps all the time, cleverly laid out or not, and it would be amusing, if.

Trevor sighs, because the would-be tyrant looks moments from fainting out of sheer terror.

Takes a step back, allows his posture to slip back into its usual lines. Affable, approachable. Friendly smile and next-door neighbor.

And this man in front of him with all his little tricks and gimmicks and abilities watches him carefully.

Licks his lips.

Thinking, much as he’s capable.

Scheming.

Assuming once Trevor’s far enough away he can free himself, overpower them or escape to fight another day.

“Matt,” Trevor says, and there’s a quiet murmur from him as he moves away from Jeremy and Gavin.

Trevor glances at him, sees the question in his eyes, slight tilt of his head.

“Have you ever met an Architect before?” Trevor asks, turning back to the would-be tyrant. “Matter manipulators. Whatever they can imagine will become reality.”

Trevor pauses.

Leans closer as though he’s sharing a secret, just between them.

“Very powerful.”

Cosmic-level.

Almost as feared as people like Trevor. (Harder to kill.)

The man swallows nervously, eyes ticking over to Matt.

Fond of Matt as he is, Trevor knows he doesn’t inspire the sort of fear those with his powers tend to. Not what people picture when they’re told what he can do. (Great and terrible things.)

Trevor clears his throat. Smiles when the man’s eyes snap back to him.

Matt’s people are meant to be neutral parties. Observers.

But he’s so very young, Matt. Still growing into his powers and his bloodline has been muddied with filthy human DNA through his mother’s side.

An outcast in a city like this, and he’s strangely fond of Gavin, isn’t he.

Morals somewhat malleable, and Trevor would like to think he’s clever. (Enough so to make an ally of Matt instead of an enemy, unlike others he could name.)

“Would you kindly,” Trevor asks, wriggles his fingers, “do that thing you do?”

There’s all this science to it that would just go over the poor man’s head, no need to burden him with that at the moment.

So.

Matt -

“Really?” Matt asks, so long-suffering. “’Do that thing you do’?”

Trevor shrugs, takes a step, two, away from the man.

“Please?” he asks, all sweet and nice and he’ll owe Matt one once this is done.

Another sigh, and this...humming buzz through the air, faint glimmer that flares with an audible snap and then there’s a hole in reality, yea high.

Portal, really.

Pulsing darkness on the other side and creeping cold and the man makes this terrified noise, struggles to get free of Alfredo’s shadows.

It’s a good thing Gavin isn’t awake to see this, because he’d put a stop to it.

(Cruel and inhumane, and he’s the best of this city, he is.)

A look to Alfredo, and the man is hurled through the portal, agonized screaming reaching them – who can say if a human can survive there? - and in between one blink and the next the portal is gone along with the humming buzz.

There is no sense of satisfaction to this kind of thing, no.

Just -

“Trevor?”

Trevor blinks, looks over to see Gavin leaning heavily on Jeremy.

Blood in his eyes and a mess, trying to make sense of things as he looks around, mind sluggish still.

“What happened?”

Jeremy glances to the side, jaw working.

Alfredo moves to take more of Gavin’s weight and Matt remains silent. (An observer.)

“I’ll tell you about it later,” Trevor says, pitches his voice soft, soothing. Smiles. “Let’s get you fixed up first, hmm?”

Gavin’s sure to figure it out on his own, piece things together and realize what went down here. (And where was that team of his? Do-gooders all, and suspiciously absent through all of this.)

Gavin squints at him, clever, so clever, never forgets who – what – Trevor is.

“You - “

“Later,” Trevor says, fingers light on Gavin’s face as he examines a cut here, bruise there. Too many hurts to catalog just yet. “I promise.”

Gavin huffs, still so suspicious, but there is trust between them. (Hard-earned, and even more precious for it.)

“...Later,” Gavin agrees, tired and hurting, winces as he moves wrong.

Stubborn.

“Here,” Trevor says, and takes Jeremy’s place, gladly taking Gavin's weight as they make their way out of his firetrap of a building with Jeremy in the lead. “Let me.”

Gavin gives him a look, knows something is off, but unable to determine out what.

“I don’t like it when you lie to me,” he says, low, quiet. Knows the others won’t comment.

Trevor knows all too well, yes. Feels his mouth twitch up into a wry little smile.

There had been a proper fight over it, years back. Long before they moved past the roles handed to them. Before they’d reached an...understanding, and so much more besides.

“I’m aware, yes,” he agrees, hears Gavin’s soft laugh.

Makes note of the pang in his chest, cold hand wrapped tight around of his heart finally loosening its grip because Gavin is safe.

No way to know how he’ll react to Trevor’s actions, choices here tonight, but that’s a future worry. His focus is on the here and now, and one foot in front of the other.

Everything else can wait.