“I love you like my own child. You know that,” the hero said.

The sidekick wiped a trickle of blood from xir nose. “Yeah, maybe. But you love [villain] more.”

“You talk a big game,” says the vigilante, leveling xir sword at the hero’s throat “But are you really capable of the follow through?”

“What is this?” says the hero, raising a hand to lightly grip the blade “Why are you threatening me?”

“You said that we were in this together, no?” the vigilante presses the blade more firmly against the meat of the hero’s palm “But I’m starting to get the feeling you’re lying. About all of it, about everything. And I want to know why. Who are you, hero? What is it you’re really about to do?”

“Why won’t you teach me?” frowns the sidekick “What if I get captured one day?”

“Look,” says the hero “If you get caught, and someone threatens to torture you for information- on me, on my loved ones, on anything at all– you tell them. You don’t try and hold out. It’s not worth that.”

“Looks like you’re in a rough spot, hero.” says the villain with sham sympathy “If only your friends would come and save you.”

“Wha- you’re very dramatic, you know that?” grumbles the hero, brushing snow off xir butt. Xe and the villain are hanging out in public, in their day wear “You could’ve just helped me up when I slipped.”

“Absolutely not. I am the hand of darkness.” sniffs the villain. Xir winter coat is lemon yellow “Now come on, the lines for popcorn are always long at this theatre and I don’t want to miss the beginning of the film.”

“You can’t have xir,” spits the villain “Xe’s mine, now.”

“Xe is my child-” the superhero starts, only to be cut off

“Really?” ze snarls “Where were you when xe needed help with xir homework, when xe wanted to talk about xir days. Xe may not be mine by blood, but xe is my child and I will never take that for granted.”