Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Knight Dragon vs. the Invisible Man | Heroes & Villains 1.10

Ben carried a large cardboard box in his arms, following Ellie into the warehouse connected to the ground level of the Bakersfield office tower. She flipped on the lights and glanced around as Ben set the box down on the ground.
“What are you thinking?” Ben asked, placing his hands on his hips and watching her.
“I’m thinking that there is a lot of stuff in here,” Ellie replied. “And it’ll take him a while to find what he’s looking for. I’d say that’s an advantage on our end.” Ellie turned to him grinning.  Ben nodded in agreement.
Two men walked into the warehouse, catching sight of Ben and directing their course to him. Ellie watched them as the crossed the room. One was tall and gangly, wearing large rimmed glasses. The other was of medium height and bulky, his wide blue eyes scanning all over the room. They reached Ben and Ellie and the bulky man stared down at Ellie, his eyes connecting with hers.
“Hey Ben,” The tall man said grinning.
“Dexter,” Ben nodded to him. Ben turned to Ellie. “Ellie this is my friend Dexter, he’s the White Owl.”
“Illusion shattered.” Ellie groaned. “I wanted to believe the White Owl had no secret identity.” She stuck out her lower lip in a fake pout, turning to Ben. Ben laughed.
“It’s nice to meet you, too,” Dexter said, eyeing Ben. “I’m sorry for breaking the truth to you.”
“You can fly,” Ellie stated looking over Dexter. Dexter nodded, causing his glasses to slide down his nose. Ellie glanced towards Ben. “Do you two go flying together sometimes?”
“It’s not like we’re dating, Ellie,” Ben replied with a grin. “And this is Dexter’s intern Seymour.” Ben gestured to the bulkier man, whose eyes had only gotten more intense while he continued staring at her.
“Superheroes have interns?” Ellie asked, feeling squeamish under Seymour’s unbroken stare.
“It’s more like I’m his mentor,” Dexter spoke up. “He just graduated high school and he’s looking to get into the superhero program so he’s following me around for a while to get some experience in.”
“Oh, so it is kind of like an intern,” Ellie said. “Do you fly too?” Ellie asked him. Seymour shook his head, his eyes lifting up to meet hers.
“No, I can see in every direction,” Seymour replied. Ellie frowned slightly. “It’s literally like I have eyes on the back of my head. And also have x-ray vision.” Ellie’s eyes widened having never heard of that power before.
“Wow,” She said slowly. “That’s…” Ellie paused, regarding the way his eyes dropped, still staring at her. She bit her lower lip and folded her arms across her chest. “That’s very cool.”
“Anyways,” Ben spoke up, stepping forward between Ellie and Seymour. “Cassandra sent them over to help. Since Dexter flies, he may have an easier time with the anti-gravity machine, and they haven’t tested Seymour’s x-ray vision on invisibility yet. There’s one more hero coming as well but he may not get here until it’s time to work.”
“What hero?” Ellie asked.
“A newer one, he doesn’t have a codename yet but his current nickname is the Lizard,” Ben replied. “Real name, Javier. He’s a good guy. Though Dexter is in charge on this mission.”
“Right,” Ellie muttered turning her full attention to Ben. “You know, you fly too. Has she changed her mind on if you’re one of the heroes helping on this case?” Ellie asked him with a frown. Ben chewed for a second on the inside of his cheek.
“She still only wants me here to supervise you.” He replied. Ellie glanced to Dexter and Seymour.
“I don’t mean offense to either of you,” She told them before turning back to Ben. “But I’m pretty sure you and Roger can handle this on your own. You’re a good team and I wouldn’t let you fail.”
“Well, Cassandra’s the head of the board, so that’s not happening,” Ben said calmly. “So, Ellie, what can we do to help set up?” Ellie sighed and glanced back towards her box.
“I don’t need a babysitter,” Ellie muttered as she began pulling out her invention from the box. She handed a black square device, only slightly larger than her hand and relatively flat, to each of the men around her. “We need to put these on the ground across the room to create a grid. You can each place them against the walls, I’ll watch from my computer to make sure we have full coverage.”
The men set to work as Ellie moved to her laptop, pulling up a new program she had designed, giving her sight of where the laser grid was across the room. Ellie watched, instructing them every now and then with where to place one of the devices. It didn’t take long for Dexter to get bored and wander over to her. He stood, peering over her shoulder and watched the grid growing across the room. As Ben and Seymour continued moving, each point in the grid detected their mass and located their exact location.
“This is incredible,” Dexter said, reaching up to pull off his glasses, tapping one of the arms against his upper lip. “You really created this yourself in a couple of hours?” Ellie glanced back at him, unable to hide her smile.
“Incredible,” Dexter breathed. Ellie bit her lower lip and turned back to the laptop, not wanting him to catch her blushing. Despite her preference for the Knight Dragon, the White Owl was one of the most popular heroes in the city and she couldn’t help but admire his work. He wasn’t like Ben, he could only fly and had no other abilities, yet he was clever and resourceful enough to defeat some of the city’s worst villains.
“You’re a great hero,” Ellie blurted. She winced and brought her fist up to her forehead, tapping her knuckles in frustration. “Sorry, I just mean, you’re really good at what you do.”
“That’s what happens when you’re a full-time hero.” He replied, flashing her a wide smile.
“You work as a hero full time?” Ellie frowned.
“Yeah. This way Cassandra knows I’m available anytime she needs me.” Dexter replied. “It’s similar to what the Golden Man did in his heyday and I’m sure you caught sight of his statue in the BOS.”
“How could anyone miss it?” Ellie laughed. “So you’re into being a hero for the fame?”
“Of course.” Dexter shrugged. “What else would it be for?”
“Helping people,” Ellie replied quickly.
“Yeah, that’s a part of it, I guess, but if I’m going to stick my neck out for someone I think I deserve to take the credit for it,” Dexter said. Ellie’s eyes narrowed involuntarily. “That’s why I don’t understand Ben and the Knight Dragon. He only does stuff at night, people rarely get to see what he does. Sure he does a lot and is quite popular but unless he allows people to see what he’s capable of in daylight then he’ll never get a statue.”
“Fire doesn’t glow as brightly in daylight,” Ellie muttered, typing in a few commands to get a different view of the grid on her laptop. “I don’t think Ben cares about everyone seeing what he does as the Knight Dragon, he already gets enough of that just being Benjamin Baker. And perhaps Ben doesn’t want a statue of himself.”
“How long have you known him?” Dexter scoffed. Ellie continued to stare at her computer, clenching her jaw. “Ben’s been spending his whole career trying to live up to the hero his father was. The Golden Man is like an idol to the entire city. He rid the world of the worst supervillain to ever live. Ben wants to do something just as great and get all the fame for it.” Ellie turned to glance at Ben across the room, working with Seymour on one of the devices.
“I don’t think he has to,” Ellie said. “The Knight Dragon is already just as wonderful as the Golden Man.”
“Ben will never agree with that statement.” Dexter shook his head. “Besides, he wants to be better.” Ellie continued to watch Ben, thinking back over everything they had done together in the few short months since they met. She had seen him do wonderful things, without thinking about others seeing him do it. He had helped Lionel arrest a sexual predator. He had helped save her grandpa simply because she asked. Ben couldn’t be a hero just for the fame, could he?

“Our man has entered the building,” Ellie said, pulling the mic on her headset closer to her mouth. “He’s near the front entrance. I’ll keep you posted.” Ellie glanced to Ben leaning against the desk in the underground Knight Dragon command center. He was facing away from the computers, his hands clutching the edge of the desk, his fingers tapping anxiously. He was staring down towards his feet, his expression unreadable. He hadn’t been able to keep still since they had moved down here. He had spent nearly a half hour pacing the room but had now settled on tapping his fingers on the desk and remaining beside Ellie.
“Is he invisible?” Seymour’s voice came over the speakers. “I can see him through the wall.”
“Not invisible yet,” Ellie replied. “I’m assuming, like most super’s powers, it’s draining to his energy to be invisible all the time. He’s only going to do it when he needs to protect himself. Otherwise, if he meets danger it’ll be harder to use his gifts. He’s already had heroes after him before, he’ll be on his guard.”
“Ellie, any background information should have already been discussed. Just focus on the mission.” Dexter’s voice came over the speakers. Ben’s fingers stopped tapping immediately, clasping to the edge of the desk until his knuckles turned white. Ellie watched him, frowning. She flipped off her mic and swiveled her chair towards him.
“Are you okay?” Ellie asked him. Ben turned to her, his eyes wide.
“I’m fine,” Ben replied. Ellie scowled.
“Right,” Ellie said slowly. “I think our definitions of ‘fine’ are not the same thing. I know you want to be out there.”
“Well, I don’t get to be so we’re not discussing it.” Ben’s voice was sharper than he had intended and he winced. He took in a deep breath before speaking again. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it like…”
“You’re fine.” Ellie shrugged, turning her chair back and looking over the computer screen. Ben stared at her a moment, feeling guilt in the pit of his stomach.
“But as you stated our definitions of ‘fine’ are not the same, so I’m not exactly sure what that’s supposed to mean.” Ben smiled weakly. He watched Ellie’s profile as she fought back a grin, her eyes never leaving her computer screen.
“We will have to have a team meeting discussing word definitions.” Ellie teased.
“Clearly,” Ben let out a laugh, his rigid body relaxing only slightly. “We can’t have any confusion about vocabulary when I’m out on cases.”
“I’ll get right onto scheduling a meeting for you, Mr. Baker,” Ellie said, her focus on Ben disappearing as she leaned closer to the computer.
“I lost visual.” Seymour’s voice boomed over the speakers in the room. Ellie flipped on her mic.
“So have I,” She replied her voice calm. Her eyes scanned the screen, processing all the data it showed. “He’s in the storeroom with you.”
“Coordinates?” Javier asked quietly, his voice barely audible over the speaker. Ellie read the coordinates aloud and leaned back in her chair, still gazing at the computers.
“I got this,” Dexter said. Ben turned to the screen and watched as Dexter flew across the warehouse, colliding with something not visible on the screens. Ben’s fingers gripped the desk again, his foot tapping with anxiety as he watched Dexter punching at nothing, Seymour running up beside him. The two had seemed to corner Professor Totem as were both hitting hard between each other, looking as if they were swinging hits towards each other but without ever completely reaching the other. Their grunts of effort sounding over the speakers
Dexter’s hands moved and seemed to catch hold of something. Dexter lunged forward and fell to the ground, Professor Totem’s body appearing beneath Dexter’s for a moment. He disappeared again, the screen looking as if Dexter was floating just above the ground. Dexter slammed his fist downward,  making contact with nothing, but Professor Totem’s howl of pain was picked up on Dexter’s mic.
“Nice work White Owl,” Ellie said. “What is it like to hit something you can’t see?”
“Ellie shut your microphone off, I’m working here,” Dexter said irritably over the intercom. Ben let out an angry sigh and folded his arms across his chest. Ellie switched off her mic and continued to watch the screens in front of her, switching back and forth between the security footage and the detector’s readings. She watched as their fighting ceased immediately, Dexter and Seymour floated towards the ceiling. Dexter let out a long string of curse words, filling the room.
“Language, please,” Ellie muttered.
“Dexter doesn’t have much of a filter,” Ben spoke up.
“Clearly,” Ellie sighed, shaking her head. Javier appeared on the screen briefly, seemingly unphased by Professor Totem’s device as he crawled across the floor before his camouflage cloaked him from the screens.
“It is maddening for me to monitor two people with powers of invisibility.” Ellie groaned. “Have I ever told you how grateful I am that you don’t have the power of invisibility or camouflage?” Ellie glanced towards Ben with a smile. His face was stern, staring towards the screen, his jaw locked. She had lost him. Ben was too focused for her.
“Coordinates?” Javier’s voice came desperately. Ellie recited them into her mic and turned back to Ben. It was no longer just his foot tapping, his whole right leg was shaking, trying to get out his energy as his eyes never left the screen. Ellie let out a sigh and turned to her computers. There wasn’t anything she could do to help him.
They watched the screens as time wore on, Ellie often giving new locations for Professor Totem. Ben’s anxiety only seemed to grow worse as time wore on. They weren’t making much of an effect. They kept losing him, no matter how many hits they made. Ellie’s heartbeat had quickened. Her inventions were working, she always knew where Professor Totem was, but it didn’t matter if they couldn’t stop him. Dexter couldn’t seem to coordinate with Javier and Seymour well enough for an attack to be effective.
Something on the screens caught Ellie’s focus. For a moment something new had appeared in the warehouse. Ellie slid her chair to a third monitor and began pulling up the security footage. She reached back towards the other monitor and began rewinding the footage of the room as well as looking back on the mass readings. There was a moment Professor Totem dropped something. It appeared briefly on camera before disappearing, but it was long enough to get an image.
“He has it with him,” Ellie said to herself, staring at the detection reads in front of her. She reached for a folder on the desk and flipped through the papers to find the weapon blueprints Cassandra had sent her a copy of. Ellie gazed over the missing pieces. “It’s already assembled. He just needs to add…” Ellie’s voice trailed off and her eyes widened. She swiveled her chair abruptly to face Ben, pulling off her headset.
“You have to go out there.” Ellie nearly shouted. Ben raised his eyebrows and the movement of his leg ceased, but he tried to keep his reaction calm.
“Ellie, Cassandra said no,” Ben argued.
“Ben, he is building the gun as we speak, Cassandra won’t be able to call in another superhero to get here in time to stop him and no one out there is dangerous enough to make an effect on him. We’re right here, you can do this!” Ellie was speaking quickly, adrenaline and fear taking over.
“But I can’t see him, and we’re in my dad’s building. If I’m just shooting blind I could destroy everything!”
“Ben, you have to trust me,” Ellie said standing from her chair. She stood in front of him and grabbed his shoulders staring him in the eyes. “Please, I know that you can do this and I’ll be right here helping you through it. I don’t trust Dexter to handle this. You can stop him, you have to stop him. And you have to do this now or the whole city is in danger.”
“If something goes wrong…”
“Thousands of people will die if that gun gets assembled,” Ellie said sternly. Ben’s eyes narrowed. “Please! You have to do this. I’m not letting this weapon be made again. I need you to do this for me, please!” Ben saw the fear in her eyes and nodded. He pushed away from the desk, lightly moving Ellie out of his way. He moved off the platform and towards his super suit, reaching back to pull off his shirt as he moved.
“Ellie, where’s he at?” Dexter’s voice came over the intercom. Ellie reached for the headset and switched her microphone back on, pulling it over her head as she sat down. Her eyes scanning the screens. “Ellie, you have one job!” Dexter shouted. Ellie winced and heard Ben let out a grunt of anger.
“Three feet to your left,” Ellie replied. “He’s holding what’s currently assembled of the weapon. Do everything you can to get him to drop it and then take possession of it.” Ellie pulled off the headset moved away from her desk, rushing to the other end of the platform and pulled out a cardboard box from underneath the other desk. She began rummaging through it before pulling out a shoe box. She tore off the lid and grabbed a handful of small white disks, the fire extinguishers she had invented for Ben. She moved to Ben as he pulled his hood up over his head.
“Take these, just in case,” Ellie said handing them out towards him. Ben began stuffing them into one of the pockets of his belt.
“You better not let me set this building on fire.” Ben grimaced. Ellie smiled weakly.
“I would never let you do something like that,” Ellie replied. Ben stared at her a moment, drawing in a deep breath, trying to steady himself. “Thank you,” Ellie breathed.
“I haven’t done anything yet.” Ben frowned.
“But you’re always the one I can count on to save the day, so I’m thanking you in advance.” Ben couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across his face.
“Ellie, coordinates.” Dexter’s voice filled the room. Ben scowled towards the speakers on the ceiling.
“You better get back to the computer before he starts swearing at you,” Ben said.
“Get going, I’ll patch your mic onto their frequency.” Ellie ran up the short steps to the platform and slid into her seat, reading the latest coordinate reading into the mic. She began typing furiously on the third monitor, working on getting her usual communication frequencies to match up with the ones the BOS had set up. When it seemed to be completed she leaned back into her chair and took in a deep breath, preparing herself for the onslaught of harsh words that were about to come her way.
“Seymour,” Ellie spoke into the mic. “The Knight Dragon is coming to the south door. When you see him outside let him in.”
“Woah! This is my case!” Dexter argued immediately.
“I’m well aware of that.” Ellie sighed, watching Dexter turn his head to face one of the security cameras in the warehouse as if to face her directly. “But I can see the full picture here and you cannot. I’m making a tactical decision.”
“You are not a hero, Ellie,” Dexter was nearly shouting at her. “You don’t get to make the decisions here.”
“Don’t yell at my tech support.” Ben’s voice came over the intercom, Ellie feeling relieved at the sound of his voice. “She knows what she’s doing and you shouldn’t be questioning her.”
“Oh come on Ben, you’re just jealous Cassandra didn’t pick you for this assignment,” Dexter argued. “But that doesn’t give you the right to break into my case.”
“I think we can use someone with a real fighting background and more of an intimidation factor,” Javier spoke up. Ellie grinned, grateful for some support.
“You don’t even have a hero name!” Dexter’s anger was building, though he managed to keep his voice just below a shout. “This is my case, Cassandra said so. Ellie, you have no right to make changes to my plan.”
“Technically this is all her plan,” Ben said. “Her device, her plan. Just trust Ellie.”
“I can’t do that,” Dexter argued. “I don’t even know her!”
“Will you girls stop arguing? Professor Totem is currently going through a box which holds one of the remaining pieces to the weapon. Stop him.” Ellie cut them off. She continued to give the coordinates and Ben reached his arm out, shooting a fireball from his palm.
Ben watched the fire fly forward to where Ellie had told him. Professor Totem’s body grew visible as he gasped, lunging out of the way of the flames. He fell to the ground in a roll as Javier leaped down from the ceiling, landing on top of him, but Ben barely noticed. He kept his eyes on the fire, watching as it hit a pile of cardboard boxes and ignited them immediately.
It took a total of two seconds for Ben to react. Two seconds for Ben’s attitude change to hopelessness. Two seconds to start believing Dexter, that he shouldn’t be here. Two seconds for Ben to forget he was the Knight Dragon and only remember that this was his family’s company, his family’s legacy, and he could not destroy it. He was no longer a hero, he was Benjamin Baker, and he had to protect his company.
Ben took off running toward the fire, reaching into one of the pockets of his utility belt, pulling out a couple small disks. Ben threw two at the fire and watched as they exploded into puffs of cold, white smoke. He could feel their cooling wave as the cloud spread, extinguishing the flames and fading away. Ben turning his attention to Javier, watching him roll off Professor Totem, groaning in pain, and they both vanished into invisibility. Ben ground his teeth together.
“Ellie I can’t see him. I can’t light the building on fire.” Ben reached up, pressing his palms against eyebrows, rubbing out the tension. “I can’t do this without lighting things on fire. I can’t stop him.”
“Ben, I need you to relax,” Said Ellie, her voice calm. “Ben, you need to trust me. I haven’t let you down yet and I never will. I promise you that you can do this. You’re the freaking Knight Dragon. Fighting villains is what you do best and I’m not going to let you fail.” Ben closed his eyes and inhaled, letting her words sink in. A smile played at the corners of his mouth.
“Ellie, we need coordinates, not pep talks,” Dexter said. “If anyone here needs a pep talk then they probably shouldn’t be here.”
“Shut up, Owl,” Javier’s voice came over loud through Ben’s earpiece. “We need the Knight Dragon here and you know it.” Ben couldn’t stop his smile.
“Ellie, tell me what to do,” Ben said.
“Talk to him,” Ellie replied. Ben’s smile turned upside-down and he glanced toward where Dexter was floating. Both of them sharing a glance.
“What?” Ben asked.
“He’s a professor and a villain, I promise you he wants to talk,” Ellie said. “Talk to him, hear out his plan, then talk him out of it.”
“He’s not technically a villain,” Dexter muttered.
“Just trust me, he wants to talk,” Ellie said sternly. “They all do.” Ben frowned and glanced around. There was no sign of where Professor Totem may be, there was no movement, no sound, no sign. Ben closed his eyes and exhaled.
“Professor Totem,” He shouted, opening his eyes and glancing around. There was a moment of silence before Oliver appeared across the room. He stood still, confident, and unmoving.
“Mr. Knight Dragon,” He sneered. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Please, call me Oliver.” Ben stared at the man for a moment. He didn’t look like a villain, messy graying brown hair, glasses, and wearing a tweed jacket. He looked like a professor, like a respectable man. How could things have changed so much for him?
“Oliver,” Ben said, his voice uncertain. “You’re not supposed to be a villain.” Oliver smiled.
“No, I am not, but that’s just the way life works doesn’t it? Things and people change.”
“Why did you change?” Dexter asked, landing beside Ben.
“There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t want power,” Oliver replied. Javier’s body appeared on the wall behind Oliver. Javier leapt onto Oliver’s back, knocking him to the ground. Oliver’s body disappeared as Javier was rolled over and tossed aside. Ben began running, watching as Javier’s body was hit by invisible punches. Ben ignited and flew forward, just inches over Javier, his body knocking into the weight of Oliver’s body and knocking him off of Javier.
Oliver’s body appeared as he shrieked in pain at the fire burning his body. Ben let the flames fade into smoke as he tried to get a grip on Oliver, looking for the weapon. Oliver swung a weak fist to Ben’s cheek, the punch barely phasing Ben. Ben kept searching, needing to find the gun and get it away. He didn’t notice Oliver reaching for a spare metal part beside him and swinging it towards Ben’s head. Ben rolled off Oliver, his vision disoriented.
“Why do you need this weapon?” Dexter asked, grabbing Ben’s arm and helping him to his feet.
“Ha, I knew you’d start taking my advice.” Ellie’s voice came over the headset.
“Ellie, timing,” Ben muttered.
“This gun was invented by the Master, the greatest villain to ever live, and an incredible inventor and designer,” Oliver replied, still invisible. Ellie groaned.
“It’s an elementary level design.” She commentated. “I could do something so much better than that.”
“Don’t,” Ben told her before addressing Oliver. “But why do you need it?”
“The Master ruled the city. People listened to him.” Oliver replied.
“They were forced to,” Dexter argued. “That was his power, he controlled people’s actions. No one had a choice but to listen to him, he made sure of that.”
“No one listens to me,” Oliver said, his body appearing only a few feet in front of him, his arms outstretched, holding the gun towards them. His expression solemn. “I’m an inventor too. I’m a professor, I teach students who don’t listen or don’t care. I can do more, but no one will listen. I was meant to be a hero but no one wants a man like me to save them. No one wants to listen to me.”
“So you want a weapon to make people listen?” Ben frowned.
“Haven’t you ever wanted more?” Oliver asked. “To be better than the rest? You may be a team of heroes now, but I know you all secretly want to outdo each other. You’re all here trying to prove you’re the best. That’s how people work. We all want to be the best.” Ben bit down on his tongue, not knowing how to respond. Seymour ran up beside Dexter and they all stood frozen, staring at Oliver as he began to smile.
“You all agree don’t you?” Oliver asked.
“No,” Ellie’s voice came across the headset. “Don’t let him get into your head. He’s a villain, this is what they do best. The gun isn’t functional yet, he’s standing right in front of you, Ben just shoot him.” Her voice caused Ben to react, raising his palm and shooting towards Oliver’s face. Oliver howled in pain, reaching up to cover his cheek in his hands, the weapon falling to the floor. Ben ran for it, sliding to the ground and taking the cool metal in his hands.
“Burn it,” Ellie instructed. Fire filled Ben’s hands and he held onto the gun, watching the metal bend out of shape into something different and indistinguishable. He molded the melting material between his hands into a ball and tossed it to the ground.
Dexter, Seymour, and Javier were surrounding Oliver, Seymour placing handcuffs on his wrists, a chain connecting the handcuffs to a single metal band that Dexter held tightly in his hands. Oliver was still whimpering in pain over his burned face. Ben stared at the red, blistered skin on Oliver’s cheek knowing that, as a super, he would heal quickly. Oliver’s eyes found Ben’s and he glared angrily at him.
“Someday you’ll want power too. Everyone wants power. When you get that desire just try to fight it. Tell me how that goes.” Oliver’s voice was too calm and it caused a chill to run down Ben’s spine.
The warehouse doors burst open and officers of the BOS began marching in, guns raised. They surrounded Oliver, taking the chain from Dexter and connecting it to one of their belts. Cassandra strolled in casually, both Lionel and Ellie beside her. Ben winced, trying to calculate just how much apologizing he would have to do to keep Ellie from Cassandra’s wrath. Ben took in a deep breath and walked up to her, needing to get things straightened out now.

“I believe you will continue to amaze me with your work.” Lionel smiled at Ellie. She had just finished explaining to him everything that had happened while Ben took Cassandra aside to speak with her. Lionel, reluctant to listen to or work with the BOS, didn’t care to have Cassandra brief him.
“Sorry to disappoint, but shooting guns and building tech are all I’m really good at. I have no more surprises after this.” Ellie laughed. Lionel continued to smile, shaking his head.
“I’m glad you’re working for Ben,” Lionel said, keeping his voice quiet. “He can be reckless sometimes. He’s dad had asked me to help protect him, but I have my own things to worry about.”
“I would never let anything happen to Ben,” Ellie replied.
“I know.” Lionel nodded.
“Ellie!” Dexter called, jogging toward her. Ellie breathed in deeply, waiting to be chastised again. “You’re really good at what you do.” Ellie frowned, feeling blindsided.
“I think he’s trying to compliment you,” Lionel spoke up. Dexter smiled at Lionel, nodding.
“Exactly, you’re smart and talented and you saved us all in there.” Dexter continued. Ellie smiled, her cheeks flushing. “You figured out how to stop him. I should have trusted you from the beginning. You’re really good at what you do.”
“Thank you,” Ellie muttered.
“You’re also very beautiful and I would love to ask you out on a date,” Dexter said. Ellie’s mouth fell open and she found herself glancing at Lionel, finding him looking as confused as she felt.
“Oh,” Ellie stammered. “I, um, thank you? But I’m sorry, I’m going to have to say no.”
“Because of Ben?” Dexter asked. Ellie frowned.
“What? No. I have a boyfriend. Not Ben. Different guy. Very different guy.” Ellie continued to stumble over her words. Dexter grinned at her discomfort.
“Well if you and the boyfriend ever break up, give me a call.” Dexter winked.

Ben watched Ellie talking to Dexter as Cassandra continued to lecture him about the dangers of not listening to her. Ben was barely listening anymore, his focus on Ellie. She had helped him many times before, but this was different. He had seen a different fire within her, a will to make it happen, and the intellect to make snap decisions to help save the day. The weapon was destroyed, all copies of the weapon blueprints were destroyed, and the weapon would never be made again. Ben credited Ellie for all their success. Cassandra credited Dexter.
“Are you listening to me?” Cassandra’s voice rang sharply in his ears. Ben turned to her.
“No.” He said honestly. Cassandra scowled. “Cassandra, I get it. I shouldn’t have gone in there. Dexter had a handle on it himself. This was his case and he was more than capable of making it happen. I’m sorry.” Cassandra’s face softened.
“You never apologize.” She noted. Ben pressed his lips together and nodded. In reality, he was often apologetic, just not to her. It had become difficult for him to work with Cassandra after he had realized she would never stop comparing him to his father.
“Can I go?” Ben asked. “You put me in charge of supervising my tech support and she’s currently falling asleep on her feet.” Cassandra glanced over to where Ellie stood, swaying slightly on her heels as Dexter and Lionel left her side.
“Yes, you may go.” Cassandra sighed. “But I still expect a full report on this tomorrow.”
“Yeah, I know you well enough to know I wasn’t getting out of that.” Ben rolled his eyes and turned away, walking towards Ellie. When Ellie caught sight of him her body perked up and a smile lit up her face, though her eyes were red and drooping with exhaustion. Ben loved her smiles, always sincere and genuine.
“Hey, Ellie it’s late, do you want me to take you home?” Ben asked. “You look exhausted.” Silently, Ellie reached up and pulled Ben into a hug, her arms around his neck. Ben slid his arms around her waist, feeling the warmth of her body against his. It was a comforting hug, and he hadn’t realized how much he needed it.
“Thank you, Ben,” Ellie said gently. “I knew that I could count on you.”
“Please, this was all you.” Ben smiled. Ellie pulled away and Ben felt a slight ache in his chest.
“I think I am too tired to drive, but Art is already going to be mad at me for being so late and getting a ride home with his self-proclaimed worst enemy probably isn’t the best idea,” Ellie said with a yawn. Ben frowned.
“Right,” Ben said drawing out the word. “But I’ll see you tomorrow at work?” Ellie groaned.
“Yeah, I suppose.” She sighed. “Hey, you’re the boss’s son, you should really work on getting the work day to start at noon.” Ben laughed.
“I’ll get right on that.” Ben teased. Ellie grinned.
“Thank you again,” Ellie said with a nod as she began to turn for the exit. “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight Ellie.” Ben stared at her back, watching her leave, realizing how much he didn’t want to see her go.

Aww, Heroes & Villains is done for a while now. I'm sad, but I have nothing else prepared for you. I will try to write up the next collection as soon as possible, but if I'm being honest it'll probably be a year. Sad. But it's just so everything will be perfect and I won't do any last minute editing. These past few months have been stressful because I procrastinated editing too much.

I hope you all enjoyed this first rollout of stories. There's so much more to come... a total of 7 different rollouts! If you like the series so far please go follow our Twitter account, as I will give sneak peeks, trivia, and release dates through there. (@superssaturday)

Share this series with your friends, family, and enemies, because the more buzz it gets, the more motivation I'll have to get the next section ready for you. You can also support me, this blog, and this series by checking out the "Sponsor" page at the top of this site. 

Just for fun, here are a few things you can look forward to in the next rollout of Heroes & Villains: More of Art, injuries, Roger's wedding, fighting between Ben and Ellie, dates, and more villains!

... but don't get too excited, because again, probably a year till those stories are ready.

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