“People will die if you continue to refuse to get involved,” warns the hero.

“Bitch, what do you think this is,” says the vigilante, gesturing to the soup kitchen xe’s volunteering at.

“Give me back my fucking sidekick!” the hero yells “Like seriously, [Villain], what the fuck!”

“Absolutely not!” the villain responds, affronted “Xe is my youngest now.”

“Really? What’s xir name?”

“It’s a work in progress! We’re going to go to Disneyland!”

“Oh my god!” the hero yells “You kidnapped my sidekick!! I want xir back!”

“If you didn’t want xir to get kidnapped, maybe you should be a better parent!” the villain counters.

The crowd of onlookers below is very confused.

“Now, you listen to me, okay? No one is going to die here.” snarls the hero “We’re all going to be okay.”

They’re not. The hero is bleeding and there’s some kind of pain coming from deep in xir chest. But giving into despair won’t save anyone.

“Follow me, okay?” says the hero, aiming for lighthearted. The civilians nod, and stagger to their feet.

One more thing. Xe can do this one more thing.

“Anyway, as it turns out I’m not legally allowed to adopt you unless I know your legal identity.” says the villain, holding up a legal pad “So.”

“I’m not taking off my helmet.” says the heros sidekick “And I’m also not going to be adopted by you!”

“Okay, but consider- I’m an excellent parent!” says the villain excitedly “Look at my sidekick!”

The villain’s sidekick is sitting down on the ground, holding xir head with both hands. Xe is Done. What the fuck, [Villain].

“[Hero]’s going to be so pissed I adopted you first, it’s going to be great. Do you like sushi? We could go to Disneyland Tokyo for a weekend to avoid [Hero]’s big temper tantrum.”

“Is [Villain] for real?” asks the hero’s sidekick.

“Yes.” says the villain’s sidekick “Like, distressingly serious. I hope you don’t have parents because you have a new parent and ze is very pushy about being the best.”

“Okay, so who wants to tell [Hero] that xir sidekick is missing?” says one of the emergency responders, looking out at the collapsed building.

“Dibs out.” says the other “You think the kid was inside?”

“I think the kid was inside with [Villain]” says the first emergency responder “Which means it’s about fifty/fifty on if the kid got murdered or adopted.”

“This city is fucking nuts,” says the second “What the fuck even, man.”

“Does it hurt?” asks the villain “You’re bleeding.”

The hero’s sidekick glares “[Hero] is coming, [Villain], you’d best flee like the coward you are!”

“Oh, I don’t think I will.” I have some words for [Hero], letting xir little sidekick out to play in such a condition.”

“I am loyal.” hisses the vigilante to the head of the league “I have helped you gain ground in the turf war between [hero] and [villain] that was thought impossible to convert. I have done much to gain the trust of people.”

“Yes you have been very useful,” the leader agrees “An excellent tool. But you are becoming willful.”

“So that’s it.” xe says, bitter “I’m a person. And you don’t need that. I thought we were supposed to be better than [Villain].”

“You are,” agrees the head “We are not.”

“You need to stop, man. You;re going to get yourself killed.” says the vigilante “At this point you’re basically doing [Villain]’s job for xir.”

“Crime never sleeps,” says the hero “I’m just-”

“Exhausting yourself? Why don’t you work a white collar crime case for once, leave the street criminals alone.” the vigilante shoots the hero a blinding grin “Unless you think embezzling millions of dollars isn’t as big a deal as stealing a car.”