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Fake It Till You Make It

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CHAPTER 1

/

'I was a hero.'

"Oh look!" Emma crowed, delighted smile firmly in place. "I think she's crying!"

I stared at her, through blurry eyes, sheer willpower all that stopped the moisture from sliding down my cheeks. My tongue felt like it was going to give with how hard I was biting it.

The tears weren’t ones of sadness or hurt, despite what my tormentors thought. No, those feelings had disappeared two months ago, when they left me to die in my own locker.

Now, I only felt one emotion in regards to everything Winslow related. Rage. An all-consuming conflagration that seemed to sear every other thought and emotion from my skull.

‘I was a hero.'

Sophia shoved me and I fell back on my butt, I didn't even register the pain of my tailbone hitting the tile.

'I was a hero.'

"Aww, Taylor, don't cry." Emma's voice took on a high pitch that most people did when talking to pets or babies. She was speaking down to me, both literally and figuratively.

'I was a hero'

"After all, if you start now, you might not stop for a week, again ."

It took me a moment to puzzle out why she put so much emphasis on that last word, when I finally did, I went numb. I moved to stand up so I cou-

Sweet sticky liquid poured down my head, judging by the smell and the slightly fizzing sensation, it was Cola. At least the sudden shock of the cold liquid helped me reign in my apoplectic rage to less murderous levels.

' I was a hero.' I repeated the mantra over and over, until they finally left the bathroom, and continued even after.

I was a hero, and heroes didn't rip teenage girls in half, no matter how much they deserved it.

As I left the bathroom a few minutes later, much calmer, I had to wonder what people would make of the shattered sink.

/

The longer I stared in the mirror the more conflicted I felt.

On one hand, my powers apparently turned me into an achingly beautiful woman and even supplied me with a costume.

Shockingly vibrant blue eyes and impossibly full lips, with not a single blemish on my noticeably more tanned skin. Straight blonde hair replaced my normally curly black, the golden locks almost seemed to shimmer even in the dull bathroom light, I could only imagine what it would look like under a bright blue sky. In this form I even appeared older, easily passing for at least 19. It was a face that could have easily graced a magazine cover without an ounce of photoshop or makeup.

‘Emma, eat your black, shriveled heart out, you stupid bitch.’ I thought with a vindictive flash of unfairly white teeth. I was beautiful .

My eyes trailed down, turning my smile into a frown. On the other hand, my powers turned me into a very well-endowed pornstar with a costume to match.

That was the only thing that could explain the enormous mounds of fat currently sitting on my chest, or the "costume" I was currently wearing. It looked like someone had grabbed a white leotard and went to town with a pair of scissors. The arms had been removed, and the part that my legs went through had been trimmed back enough that my hips weren't even covered, having the added effect of making my already long legs appear even longer. Somehow the super-thin material was also extremely clingy, almost appearing to have been vacuum sealed with how it clung to the underside of my breasts rather than creating an overhang. Thankfully, I noted that although it was thin enough that I could see the outline of clearly defined abs, I couldn't see even a hint of nipple despite not seeing nor feeling any padding.

All of that was bad enough, but the real icing on the cake was the window.

There was no other word for it, an oval-shaped patch of cloth was missing over the chest, exposing enough boob and cleavage that I wasn't sure if it was even legal. Even putting both hands over the hole didn't quite manage to cover everything.

I couldn't even approve of the supplied footwear either! Mid-calf red leather boots, with heels. If this form didn't come with super strength and what was some sort of super balancing, I would have snapped my ankles like twigs in the first hour.

The sound of a familiar car engine finally entered my hearing range. Giving my reflection one last glance, I exhaled .

Like a balloon losing air, I watched as I deflated. Losing height, muscle, fat, and even color. The "costume" seemed to get absorbed into my skin, while at the same moment my clothes rose to the surface, the transition so seamless that there was not a single moment of exposed skin.

Within a handful of heartbeats, Taylor Hebert was looking back at me, dressed in a dark hoody and baggy jeans.

I went downstairs and got the lasagna out of the oven. Dad was going to be home any minute now, and today was movie night.

I smiled happily at the piping hot food, after the locker, our strained relationship slowly started to mend. Mainly due to me putting in so much effort.

"Taylor?! I'm home!"

"In the Kitchen Dad!" I called back with a grin.

"Oh! Lasagna! Mmhhh, smells delicious sweetie." He gave me a side hug, which I happily leaned into. "You pick out a movie yet?"

"Yup, I was thinking Horror?"

He groaned jokingly, "You always pick horror. I don't understand where you get it from, I don't think we ever let you watch them growing up."

I shrugged amusedly, "I don't know, I just suddenly had the craving, ya know?"

"Hmmm. Alright, well imma go change, then I'll be right back and we can watch idiots trip on nothing and die horribly."

"Sounds good, but hurry up! The Lasagnas getting cold!" I gave him one last squeeze before shooing him off. I smiled fondly at his retreating back.

It only took me almost dying and getting powers to realize what should have been so obvious.

Nothing was more important than family.

/

It was well past midnight as I walked through a less than reputable section of the city, firmly in between Merchant and ABB territory. I wasn't nearly brave enough to walk outside in my "costume", instead, I bought a large white leather trench coat at a yard sale. For a mask, I just grabbed a simple plastic mask from a dollar store, it was white to match the trenchcoat and large enough to cover half my face. The outfit may not have been the fanciest thing in the world, but it got the job done and didn't look too bad.

While it was true that technically speaking I didn’t need a mask, since no one would ever be able to connect my cape persona to Taylor Hebert. I still opted to use one, the way I saw it, wearing a mask added an extra layer of subterfuge. If I ever got unmasked, they would be looking for a blonde bombshell, not boring old Taylor. On the other hand, if I decided to not wear a mask, they might get suspicious when they fail to find said blonde in public records. 

Under the trenchcoat I wore my “costume”, it was both small enough and of a thin enough material that I could have easily gotten away with wearing it under civilian clothes. Assuming I had any civilian clothes for my new proportions of course. Also, more importantly, the suit was both tight and supportive enough that it acted in much the same manner as what I imagine a sports bra did. Free underwear, that’s what my power-given costume had been relegated to.

The distinct clacking of my heels seemed so much louder in the quiet street. I glared down at my feet. Pausing for a moment, before glaring even harder when I realized I couldn't see my feet past all the stupid fat. 

Originally I had bought a pair of boots with the trench coat, but as it turns out, normal shoes aren’t meant for people with super strength. At first, they had appeared to be strong enough to hold, but the moment I had done anything more than a light jog, the damn things ripped at the seams. Somehow, through what I could only describe as absolute bullshit, the much more impractical-looking red heels held up to whatever abuse I could dish out. So I was left with only two options, go barefoot, or wear heels. 

Now in a foul mood, I stalked down the street. It was only after my heel went through the concrete that I realized the amount of damage I was doing with each step. The sidewalk slabs I had walked on were sporting noticeably more cracks than its neighboring slabs.

' Oops .'

Now more embarrassed than angry, I speed walked away from the scene of the crime. Putting extra effort into making sure my steps were soft and measured.

' Great, first night out, and I'm already committing a felony.' 

With how acute my hearing was, you would think I would hear crime around every corner or something. But no, even pushing my ears to their limit only got me a radius of a block and a half. Much to my disappointment, despite what Saturday cartoons would lead me to believe, people don't generally monologue to themselves about crimes they are planning on committing. At least not out loud at any rate.

Twice now I had nearly responded to false alarms. When all I had to go off of was sound, it was surprisingly easy to get tricked by people's Televisions.

Also, much to my eternal embarrassment, sex was loud . I felt dirty spying on them like that, I could only try my best to zone them out and focus on my search for crime.

Finally almost an hour into my search, I heard something unmistakable, especially after watching all those horror movies. The ear-piercing sound of a girl screaming in fear.

Instantly I was moving, running at full speed towards the sounds at the edge of my range. Laughing men and what sounded like flesh hitting flesh.

With my top speed easily reaching highway speeds, it only took a dozen seconds to cross the block and a half distance. I found them in an alley behind a restaurant. Four men, kicking a downed figure who was curled tightly around themselves.

"Hey!" Even I flinched at how loud I was, easily matching a car horn. Turned out I had some enhanced lungs as well. Neat.

The men jumped, practically falling over in their haste to face me. Asian, red and green. ABB. I cataloged them quickly, trying to take in as much as I could. I didn’t see any guns, but that didn’t necessarily mean they didn’t have them. With the limited amount of testing I had been able to do on my own, I knew a knife would snap against my skin, and dropping a hundred-pound weight on my bare foot had barely even registered as painful. Until I found a way to test it safely, I would do my best to avoid getting shot. 

"Get on the ground now, and you won't be hurt." Now that they weren't beating the poor girl, I could afford to speak at a more normal volume.

I could practically feel them taking me in. I couldn't have been more glad for the trench coat than I was at that moment. The trench coat did its best to obscure my figure, but the normally loose shapeless leather tightened up considerably around the chest area, making it impossible to hide how endowed I was under it.

Just before I could say anything more, they ran away.

I just stared at their retreating forms, stunned at the turn of events. I made to run after them, with my speed I would easily ca-.

A pitiful moan at my feet made me freeze. The victim!

Quickly I kneeled next to the girl, gently touching her shoulder to turn her over. "Are you okay?" I cringed at myself, of course she wasn't okay!

With all the bruises and blood, I couldn't really make much of her features besides the fact that she was white and blonde. My hands fluttered about uselessly for a few seconds. Why didn't I learn some first aid before coming out here!

' I needed to do something! What if she was bleeding internally? Oh god, what if she was bleeding internally!?'

I needed to get help, but how? I didn't have a cell phone. Somehow I hadn't thought this part through properly, so focused on going out and making a difference, being a hero. Stuff like what to do after , never really crossed my mind.

Eventually, I calmed down enough to search her pockets, luckily I found a cell phone.

"911, what is the nature of your emergency?"

I didn't answer, my attention was wholly taken up by something else. The woman had a silver necklace. That in itself wouldn't have been worth noting. If it wasn't for the pendant gleaming oh so innocently in the dim alley lights.

A Swastika .

"First time out being a hero, and I save a fucking Nazi, really?" I couldn’t help but mutter to myself.

"Well if it makes you feel any better, I am glad you intervened." A man's voice spoke up behind me, tone clearly amused.

In my panic, my grip around the phone had reflexively tightened, apparently a little too tight. With a yelp, I threw the now flaming ball of plastic and glass away.

Whipping around I raised my fists towards the newcomer.

I could practically feel my face pale as I took in the people that had managed to sneak up on me.

"Oh, don't look at us like that. My dear, I promise you have nothing to fear from us. Especially not after you have done us such a favor." I couldn’t see his face through the intricate metal helmet, but I could hear the amiable smile in his voice.

Someone upstairs must have seriously had it out for me.

"K-Kaiser?" I stammered in disbelief.

First time out as a hero, and I run into Kaiser, Fenja, and Menja. And I wasn’t even Empire territory!

Ridiculous doesn't even begin to cut it.