Pairing: Kate/Kevin/Sawyer (and combinations thereof)
Word Count: 2554
A/N: Well. This is the Lost Superhero!AU I've been working on for a bit. Serious madness. Written using writing_rainbow's 'rose' (as in rise as in fly…) prompt. Inspired in part by No Heroics. Thank you to babylon_pride for betaing.
Summary: By day, Kevin Callis is an unnoticeable police officer, up-holding the law and too committed to his job to hold down a relationship; by night, The Captain emerges to help where the law can't. When he becomes entangled in the plot of a pair of supervillains, the line between his two identities begins to blur.
His head was buzzing when he came to, one hell of a hangover. A deafening rhythm pounded in his temples. He blinked and shook his head like a wet dog trying to rid itself of water: it didn't really help. If anything, it just made the dark room he was imprisoned in seem even darker.
The Captain took a moment to take stock of the situation he'd found himself in. His wrists were handcuffed together behind his back while endless lengths of rope spun around his arms and legs to keep him tied to an uncomfortable wooden chair. A length of foul-tasting material had been shoved into his mouth and tied in a knot at the back of his head. Someone's sock, he thought. Well ain't that gross?
The room he was in was windowless and bleak. A single bare light-bulb hung from the low ceiling, its illumination casting the shadows back into the corners of the room. A stairway led up to a single doorway, the only way out that he could see. The room appeared to be a basement, below ground level.
Worse than all of this – after all, with one superpowered jerk of his wrists the handcuffs would tear like paper – was that he couldn't feel anything on his face. He was unprotected. The black mask that usually slotted neatly over his eyes, held in place by a neat application of theatrical glue, was gone.
The Captain unmasked… The first tingling of fear began to tug at the corners of his consciousness.
Without his mask, the culprits were all too likely to track down his alternate identity: the mild-mannered Kevin Callis. Policeman by day; superhero by night. His service to the public never stopped. The evils thrown at the world never paused: the fight against them couldn't either.
He groaned, head lolling, as everything started to come back to him. He'd been answered a distress call. Listening in on his police radio, it had sounded like there was something big going down. A bank hold-up – but not your regular kind. No ordinary gangsters here, no hyped-up kids desperate to make their way in the world. These were bigger than that. Villains.
One supernaturally fast. One supernaturally persuasive.
The descriptions had sounded familiar immediately. Kevin had raced into his outfit, attaching his cape and settling his mask onto his face. The second he'd emerged from his suburban house he'd taken off into the sky, flying downtown.
The back of his head hurt, a steady, stubborn ache. He groaned again, a sound muffled by the makeshift gag that had been stuffed into his mouth. He rolled his shoulders to try and regain some feeling, and then pulled.
Nothing happened. The chain on the handcuffs didn't break. The ropes didn't even fray – now that didn't make any kinda sense at all.
He released the breath that was caught in his lungs and tried again.
The door at the head of the stairs was flung open, causing it to rock on its hinges. A warm laugh sounded from the silhouette at the top before Kevin's captor began to descend into the basement. "What's the matter, hero?" the tall blond man said as he traipsed down the thin steps. He had the air of a man who was bigger than he ought to be, lumbering and large. "Can't break free?"
If Kevin had had full use of his mouth, he might have demanded to be untied: however, in his current state, all he could manage was a stilted, 'Mmph!'
"What's that?" the villain said smugly. "Didn't quite catch it. Wanna speak up?"
When faced with his own helplessness, Kevin took the only avenue that remained open to him: he glared. He glared so hard that, if only he'd had the right power, the man in front of him would have ignited. Instead he'd been blessed with a supernatural strength designed for pummelling bad guys and the ability to fly like an arrow to a crime scene. Wonderful powers… but right now it seemed that they didn't want to work for him.
"Here – lemme help you out with that," the villain offered, smirking. He circled like a cold-eyed shark, moving behind Kevin and out of sight in just a few paces. The hairs prickled on the back of Kevin's neck as he felt a presence too close, too damn close. Fingers toyed with the gag's knot at the back of his head, teasing it loose. Huffing and spitting, Kevin shook the material from his mouth. "There, all better."
"Snake Tongue," Kevin snarled. The man wasn't wearing the outfit, didn't have his mask on, and was being curiously blasé about letting his face be shown – but Kevin recognised that villain's voice when he heard it. He recognised that neatly dimpled smile. "What's going on? Kidnapping and imprisoning a member of the public… That's not your usual style."
"True, it ain't. But you're not exactly a 'member of the public', are you?" He walked back around Kevin's chair to the front, where Kevin could see him. "Ain't that right, Kevin?"
God, his name.
The sound of it chilled him more than any insult or threat could have done. "I don't-"
"Don't bother playing dumb, Captain. I've done my research." Snake Tongue's blue eyes twinkled in a way that spoke not only of mischief but of evil deeds and malevolent agendas. "Here now – you can call me Sawyer. Now we're even."
"I very much doubt that," Kevin grumbled. "I swear, when I get out of this cuffs I'm gonna have to get mighty violent towards you, Sawyer."
"Well, damn." Sawyer shook his head in amused disbelief. "Guess I'd better not let you outta those cuffs in a hurry then. Thanks for the heads-up."
Kevin's hands clenched into supernaturally tight fists and then released. "What's your game plan?" he demanded. "What're you after?"
"Nothing you've got to worry about," Sawyer promised. He paced to the basement wall as if to show off that he could, that he wasn't tied down. "We don't want anything from you."
"'We'," Kevin repeated. Of course. Snake Tongue's partner in crime. There was no forgetting about her, was there, the mastermind pulling his strings. "Where is the missus anyhow?"
"Around," Sawyer answered. His gaze didn't waver from Kevin's face. "Y'know, you don't look quite how I thought you would, hero."
"Same here." Snake Tongue was a villain with the power to make people do anything he ordered… Kevin had always thought he'd be uglier. Made sense, didn't it? "How come you're not wearing your mask?"
"'cause I don't care if you know what I look like," Sawyer pointed out, as if that ought to be obvious. He smirked. "Ain't like knowing is gonna do you any good."
Kevin refused to acknowledge it as his blood ran cold. It didn't mean anything. Really. It didn't. This guy didn't scare him.
"You won't get away with this," he stated. It seemed like the right sorta thing to say in this sorry situation.
If anything, Sawyer's smile seemed more self-satisfied than ever. "I'm counting on that," he said.
Before he could be goaded into saying anything further – monologues, Kevin remembered being taught, they all love a good monologue – the doorway at the top of the stairs opened again. Light poured through it as if it came from heaven itself and for a second his spirits lifted. Rescue already?
The shape that came down the stairs revealed itself to be female, small and muscular with rags of brown hair pulled back from her face. Kevin's hopes crashed through: he recognised her by her frame if not her face. This wasn't rescue. This was his fate getting worse.
Sawyer noticed the deflation of his mood – the wilting of his shoulders, the hope that died in his eyes – and seized upon it with all the vigour of a starved dog. "Well now, Freckles, I think you just 'bout broke his heart already. That was fast."
The villain known as Lightning Strike cast Kevin a confused glance before her attention returned to Sawyer. "Don't taunt him," she said. "That's not fair."
"Fair as anything they do to us."
She rolled her eyes. A hand remained on her hip. "I need you upstairs, Snake Tongue," she said. "Jarrah's about to make contact."
Jarrah… Sayid goddamn Jarrah! Kevin bit the inside of his cheek to stop himself from grinning: the city's Chief of Police was getting in touch with two small-time villains just 'cause of him? Kevin thought that probably meant he'd made it big time in the superhero stakes.
"Don't gotta call me that dumb name in front of him," Sawyer said as he walked towards the stairs. "Told him my name. Said he could call me Sawyer if he wanted."
Lightning Strike looked at him with bizarrely sympathetic green eyes. With a dusting of freckles over her face, she looked too sweet – too innocent – for the long list of crimes she had under her utility belt. She smiled sadly at him but didn't approach. "I'm Monica," she said.
Kevin chuckled – even grinned. "Sure is nice to meet you, Monica," he said.
"We've met before."
"Not quite. The Captain's met Lightning Strike. I ain't ever met Monica."
She watched him with eyes that said a thousand things, none of them comprehensible. "I guess that's true." She didn't drop his gaze for a second, like a scientist watching an experiment.
Glancing between them, Sawyer gave an impressed whistle. "You want me to leave you two alone?" he asked, stepping forward to place a hand on Monica's hip and yank her closer to him. He whispered stage-loud in her ear. "Never knew you had a thing for heroes. Shoulda just said."
Slowly, deliberately, she peeled away from him. "You're disgusting," she remarked – and an eye blink later she was gone, moving faster than Kevin could follow and leaving only an angry breeze behind her. The door at the head of the stairs closed sloth-slow, as if it had been sleeping and her abrupt departure had disturbed it.
"What'd I say?" Sawyer protested innocently, before he followed that up with a chuckle that would've made the devil blush. "I'd better go, Kev – duty calls. I'll say 'hi' to Jarrah for you."
A mocking salute flickered by his forehead – then Sawyer was retreating across the room and up the stairs with steady, unhurried footsteps. The single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling dimmed menacingly. The door opened. Closed.
Kevin resumed his efforts at breaking the chain of his handcuffs.
The damn metal was hardier than you'd think.
A week passed, and all he had to show for his escape efforts were rubbed red wrists and an increasing sense of cabin fever. Twice a day Sawyer led him to the bathroom with a whispered instruction in his ear to, "be a good boy now, hero, don't act up." Struggling never crossed Kevin's mind after that: he was always tied back in his seat by the time it occurred to him that he should have. He saw Sawyer more than he ever saw Monica.
"You ever gonna tell me how you're doing it?" he asked before Sawyer could leave one evening.
Sawyer paused half-way to the stairway. "Doin' what?"
"My powers. They're gone."
"Bet you're missing 'em."
"Sure am. Had them since I was a kid."
"Yeah?" After a thoughtful pause, Sawyer sat down on one of the lower steps. "Where'd they come from? C'mon, cowboy. Give me your origin story."
"Don't have one." He seemed to be more or less unique when it came to that. The other heroes had gods on their side, had freak accidents, had experiments gone wrong. Kevin had nothing. "Just born that way, I guess."
"That's it. Kinda boring."
"Yeah. Kinda." Sawyer gave a dismissive snort. "Heroes aren't just 'born'."
"I was. Sorry to disappoint you, Snake." He shuffled and readjusted his position as much as the ropes would allow him to. Sitting on this wooden chair all day left him with a long list of painful cramps. "What about you? Don't you got a fancy little story to tell?"
"Me?" Sawyer asked. He grinned, innocent dimples showing. "Freak accident."
"Struck by lightning during a con." He met Kevin's eyes unfalteringly – there was an expression there that Kevin didn't know exactly how to measure. Something amused; something interested. A cat toying with his prey, Kevin thought, before he bit back that thought. "Woke up in the hospital and suddenly people started doin' what I asked them to. All I had to do was think about it hard enough."
"How's that work?" They've usually had some kinda science to back them up. It all went flying over Kevin's head, but it was nice to ask. Everyone loved talking about themselves, villains most of all.
Sawyer kept on looking at him thoughtfully, before he gave an indulgent smile that led Kevin to believe that he shouldn't have asked that question at all. "Say your name."
"Full name," Sawyer elaborated with a warm grin.
And he fought with his tongue, biting down on the tip and it tried to tell everything – fighting with it was a pointless, futile battle. "Kevin Callis."
"Tell me – you got a girlfriend?"
"Boyfriend? Any kinda attachments? Is anyone missing you out there?"
Kevin swallowed, feeling out of his depth and helpless – he really couldn't say it was a feeling he was at all comfortable with. "No."
"And why's that? Strapping guy like you must have chicks all over them. You're fighting them off, hero. Why is that?"
Kevin clung to his silence for as long as he could, but it broke easily. "Too dangerous," he said, the confession ripped violently from his lips. He gasped for air. "They might get- might get tangled up in what I do."
Sawyer smirked, a dimple on one side of his face, as he moved closer. "But you think about it, don't you? I bet you think about it a lot – all that tension, it's gotta go somewhere. Tell me."
"I…" His chest ached. His jaw hurt so bad from trying to fight this. "Please," he whispered. "Please, stop…"
"C'mon, hero, I'm just getting started. You ever think about Jarrah like that?"
"The police chief?"
"No, not him. No way."
"Might wanna start considerin' it. He sure is worried about all you guys penned up in here."
"All us… What?" He pulled at his wrists with a clatter of metal as it dawned on him. "You've got others down here too? Who? Who else is here, Sawyer? You gotta tell me."
"I don't 'gotta' do anything," Sawyer said, looking over his shoulder anxiously. "Sit tight, Captain. Won't be long now."
"Long?" Kevin asked – Sawyer turned, retreating already and leaving Kevin to talk to his back. Shoulders broad, angry. "Long 'til what?"
The stairs creaked under Sawyer's feet.
The door slammed.
The darkness fell.
Kevin closed his eyes, breathed through his nose. He could do this: he was strong enough to do this, wasn't he?
Slowly, he started working again, trying out anything that he thought might help him get loose. He wasn't the only one in trouble, he knew that now: there were innocents to save.