Character Name: Midnight
Alternate Identities: Alicia Cross
Player Name: Kloe
|Alicia has gradually moved away from her bag lady look into a more 'open' Goth look that suits her. Makeup tips from Wren have brought out for all to see what Slater instinctively saw the moment he spotted her. Now with her hair stylishly cut, the dark makeup against pale skin and her more 'daring' choices of clothing, Alicia is a stunner that no longer draws the eye because of her strange tastes in street wear and henna tattoos. She is a petite, toned Goth knock-out.|
Alicia left the homeroom walking on clouds, Slater Monroe's words ringing like cathedral bells in her ears. Habitually she clutched her binder to her chest and walked with her head down, avoiding eye contact with the mass of students that performed the dizzying ballet that was a class change. To the small group clustered around one locker, she presented a ripe and easy target for a little hazing. Dressed in a to-the-ankles skirt, wearing a bland brown Cardigan with a hole in one elbow and clunky but serviceable leather shoes, the group began to mentally tabulate the list of insults.
"When did they start letting the bag ladies beg in the halls," one blonde cheerleader type sneered.
"Looks like her hair was done in a blender," said another.
Alicia tried to ignore them and recapture the burst of excitement when Slater had called her beautiful. Hunching her shoulders and hugging her binder tighter, she tried to slip by them. A hand shot out and expertly knocked the binder out of her arms. It hit the tile floor on edge and sprang open, papers flying everywhere. The laughter made her ears burn and without a word, she knelt and began to gather everything in. A hand touched her shoulder and she looked up into the eyes of Slater Monroe. Her flush deepened to crimson. Leaning over he offered her a hand and when she took it, pulled her to her feet. Eyes still locked on hers, he pointed to the cheerleader.
"You, pick it all up," he said quietly.
The girl barked a laugh.
"As if!" she said.
Almost reluctantly Slater's gaze shifted from Alicia to the other girl. It was like looking down the barrel of a gun and all mirth died instantly in the girl.
"Yeah, sure," she said. "Glad to help."
She knelt and began to pluck papers from the floor. Slater's gaze felt hot on her back as she stuffed it all back into the binder and stood. Trying for nonchalance she offered the mess back to Alicia but Slater intercepted it. Their eyes met.
"If you ever say another unkind word about Alicia, I will hear about it," he said softly. He swept the entire group with a steely look. "Any of you." Dismissing them from his mind he turned to Alicia and took her hand. "History, I believe," he said to her.
It took a moment for her heart to start beating again, and then she nodded.
"Me too, as it turns out," he grinned and her heart melted again.
Behind them the small group stood with mouths agape. Why would an obvious hot jock take up for a girl like that?
"Must be his sister or something," one said under her breath.
"Obviously good looks doesn't run in the family," the cheerleader snickered.
"Obviously brains doesn't run in yours," a female voice said.
The group turned to find an elegant girl their own age with curly black hair and black eyes glaring at them. It took all a moment to realize the wall behind her was in fact the chest of the most massive boy any had ever seen.
"I didn't mean anything by it," the cheerleader started to back away. That was all it took and the cluster of girls scattered like cockroaches in sudden light.
Nat's rumbling chuckle made Wren smile.
"In so few words thy tongue doth cut to the pride," he said with a smile.
"I don't recognize that from Shakespeare," she said looking up at him suspiciously.
"Nah," he shrugged. "Some guy named Ryan."
"Are you getting all poetic on me?" she asked.
"Don't dance and poetry go hand in hand?" he replied, offering her his arm. She tucked a hand into the crook at his elbow.
"Doesn't," she said, correcting his English.
Nat hung from the bar, his legs curled up to keep from hitting the floor as he did chin-ups. Dropping his feet he stood and turned to the coach.
"My office," the coach said.
He knew what was coming.
"Sit down, Ryan," the coach gestured to one of the chairs before his desk.
Nat settled gingerly on the chair.
"Why haven't you signed up for football," the coach said as he leaned forward, elbows on the edge of his desk. "You got the size and speed. You'd make a hell of a nose tackle."
"I'm a surfer, Coach," Nat replied. "I don't do land sports."
"How far you gonna get surfing," the coach said. "You gonna get a scholarship from that?"
Nat half smiled.
"You don't read surfing magazines, do you Coach?"
The man eyed him. "What about them?"
"I gather you haven't heard of the East Coast Surfing Championship this past August."
"I took first place."
"How much can a surfing contest pay?" The coach's voice was full of scorn.
"Just $25000 for this one," Nat told him. "For a four day event. Up at Huntington this year the prizes total $450000." Nat was referring to Huntington Beach less than 100 miles up the coast from San Diego. "So you see, Coach, I really don't have time for football or any other high school sport." Nat rose to his feet. "Sorry."
The man sat back in his chair and watched the kid go. Twenty-five k in four days. That was more than he made in six months. All thoughts of a regional football championship disappeared. There was a knock at the door and the Monroe kid stepped in.
"What do you want, Monroe?" the coach snapped.
"I wanna sign up for football," Slater replied.
"Yeah? What position?"
The coach jerked a thumb at the clipboard hanging from a hook behind his desk.
"Sign up and take a parental consent form, have it tomorrow, practice immediately after school."
Damn rich kid thinking he could be a star, the coach thought as Monroe left the office. Then he remembered another kid that had come in just like Monroe. Mark Law. Who knew, maybe the kid would be half the QB Law had been. And maybe pigs could fly.
Chris, dressed in dark blue bike shorts, a white tank top, white socks and white tennis shoes sauntered up to the cluster of girls that surrounded the a fit looking woman in her thirties. As if drawn by some sixth sense all eyes turned to the approaching newcomer and more than one felt a shiver run down their spine. The girl moved like a cat about to pounce something eatable.
"Ms. Blake?" Chris addressed the older woman. "I'm Christiana Gilchrist and I was told to see you about joining the cheerleading squad."
Susan Blake eyed the girl. She definitely looked the part. Blonde, tanned, fit and extremely beautiful but that didn't always translate into the coordination required for cheerleading.
"You were almost late," Ms. Blake snapped. "Make a habit of that and you'll be sitting in the bleachers."
Ten minutes later Susan Blake was still trying to process what she had just witnessed. After being shown only once, the Gilchrist girl and performed each and every move with the precision of a world class gymnast, easily out shining every girl on the squad including her top senior. There was no doubt in her mind that the single spot on her Varsity Squad was Gilchrist's for the taking.
Out on the field the football coach smacked the back of his running back's helmet as most of the team stood gawking at the girls on the sidelines trying out for cheerleader. One of them had attracted every male eye in the stadium, and, he had to admit, his as well. The way she moved was unbelievable.
"Get your head back in the game, damnit!" he snapped.
His new quarterback, Monroe caught his eye. The kid was grinning but not at the cheerleader. On the bottom tier of the bleachers a mousey grey and brown girl sat watching the team, her tattooed hands clasped on top of an overstuffed three-ring binder on her lap. She lifted a hand and gave a little wave. Monroe's grin brightened and he waved back. The Baker kid, the center, scowled at his quarterback.
"Man what you looked at that bag for when there's prime pussy right there?" he gestured at the cheerleading squad.
Before the coach could blink Slater Monroe had the 300 pound center lifted off his feet by his shoulder pads and was glaring up at him.
"If you or anyone ever says something like that again about Alicia, I will rip you apart," the kid growled.
"Man, I'm sorry!" the center stammered, his eyes wide at the fury in Slater's eyes. "She your sister or something?"
With an almost casual flick of the wrists the center landed hard on his back, dumbfounded. Slater's met the eyes of each man in turn; including the coach, then crossed the short distance to the bleachers and drew the girl to her feet. Very gently he lifted her chin and kissed her. When they parted he smiled softly.
"I love you,' he said just loud enough for the team, the coaches and the cheerleaders to hear.
Slowly she sat back down as he pulled on his helmet, her fingers brushing her lips. She had never been kissed before and no kiss in the future would ever match that one.
"Does everyone understand?" Slater said when he rejoined the team.
The center put his hand on his quarterback's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, man, really," he said.
Slater nodded and gave him a crooked smile then tapped helmets with him.
"Holy shit!" one of the cheerleaders said. "That Goth bag lady?"
Christiana glared at her.
"That 'Goth bag lady' happens to be my best friend," she said. "You got a problem with that?"
The cold stare from the beautiful blonde that only a moment before had been bouncing around with all the cheerful spirit of a top cheerleader almost had the girl wetting herself. She dropped her gaze to the tops of her tennis shoes. Ms. Blake clapped her hands to get their attention.
"I have made my decision," she announced though all there knew what was coming. "Welcome to the squad, Chris."
Nat was sitting on the knoll under the windswept pine waiting for Wren's class to end when Slater sat down beside him.
"Heard you joined the football team," Nat said.
"Always wanted to try out," he replied.
Nat looked over at him. "Be very careful," he said.
"Don't worry," Slater grinned. "Unlike SOME people, I can only bench about 400 POUNDS, not 400 TONS." He paused, the grin fading.
"What's wrong," Nat asked.
"Why do people have to pick on other people just because they chose to dress in their own style?"
"Not everyone looks for the person inside like you, Slater," Nat put a hand on the other's shoulder. "Makes you a far better person than 90% of the population."
"You think so?" Slater searched his new friend's face for scorn or sarcasm and found none.
"I was very lucky to meet a man a year ago that taught me a lot about what ... " Nat made a gesture between them indicating both. "WE have to be in this world."
"What do you mean?"
Nat leaned a little closer.
"He said 'with great power comes great responsibility' and I believe that."
"Sounds like a comic book," Slater snickered.
"Actually, I believe it was," Nat grinned then sobered. "The point is we, all of us, are unimaginably powerful compared to normal people and because of that, we gotta help and protect them, even from ourselves."
"That why you didn't join the football team?"
Nat nodded then looked down at his hand. "I'd kill someone," he whispered. "Accidentally, but someone would die. I can't take that chance. Hell, I worry about killing someone every day."
"Must be tough," Slater said.
"No, it isn't tough, its reality and I have to make sure it doesn't happen," Nat said.
"I'll be extra careful," Slater said "but like I said, I am not exactly in your league. All my real power is in the mind. Nat, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, what's on your mind?"
"How did you know you were in love with Wren?"
"Probably the moment I saw her but I really didn't realize it until she was sitting between my legs on a rollercoaster."
Slater didn't make the all-to-appropriate comment and Nat's opinion of him rose sharply.
"I mean here was this beautiful girl pressed against me and all I wanted to do was fold her in my arms and protect her from the world. I never, ever felt anything like it."
"I know what you mean," Slater said. "It just happened to me."
"At practice yesterday, Alicia was sitting in the bleachers and Chris was over trying out for the cheerleading squad so naturally everyone was watching her, except me, I guess. Gary, my center, saw me looking at Alicia and said something about a 'bag' and I wanted to kill him. I didn't, don't worry but I had to go over to her ... and I kissed her, right there in front of the team and the cheerleaders and the coaches. That's when I knew, and that's when I told her."
Nat grinned. "Yup, that's the feeling."
"Hey, Slater!" Chris plopped down on the grass. "You have to stop throwing your team around like that."
"Says the girl with the 'death stare'," Slater retorted.
"Death stare?" Chris's brows knitted causing a delicate series of lines between her eyes.
"Yeah, the guy I dropped yesterday, Baker, tells me you made a cheerleader pee her pants."
"She made a crack about Alicia," Chris shrugged. "No one talks bad about my friends around me."
Chris smiled. "Don't worry lover boy, no one on that squad is going to talk like that about her ever again."
"What are you grinning about?" Wren said as she settled beside Nat.
"Team building," he replied.
|Over the years, Alicia's powers have altered in very small ways, mainly in her ability to control them but her other skills have blossomed. After four years at UCLA, Alicia is one of the world's most promising Physicist and now consults on a regular basis at Alamogordo, the United States' premier nuclear research facility. Away from physics, she has tapped into more of her grandmother's skill set and is the team's 'detective' skilled at the more 'covert' operations.|
Alicia is driven by her grandmother's memories and desire to battle evil even if the 'evil' disappeared about half a century ago. Alicia feels she must take up where Madam Midnight left off and fight the good fight. Sometimes it will scare the piss out of her when she finds herself diving into a fight without making a conscious decision to do so. She has weird flashbacks of times she now recognizes as events in her grandmother's life and has begun to look forward to them. Her grandmother was cold and silent as Alicia was growing up and she looks at these insights into her grandmother as a blessing, getting to know her in ways she never imagined could be possible.
As part of the Minutemen/Legacy, she will rarely speak up unless the chance of bloody mayhem could be in the offing. She has become the team's moral compass with respect to bloodshed and Nat accepts her call if she feels there might be a possibility of blood being spilled. This 'carnophobia', surprisingly, has not come between Slater and a nice thick steak, Alicia just has to eat in another state ... and she certainly does NOT push her opinion on eating meat for which her teammates are grateful.
Another 'legacy' from her grandmother is a new found love of flying, especially the more acrobatic type. Alicia frequently makes appearances at air shows, not only as a pilot but as a patron. She has set up endowments in her grandmother's name at three of the country's largest privately funded air museums. The fund, the Midnight Flyers, has enable a number of restorations thought to be un-fundable. One of these projects is more of a minor repair of her grandmother's first aircraft, a deHavilland DH 82A Tiger Moth, found in a barn on one of her properties. She is also on the lookout for a Beechcraft Model D17s Staggerwing.
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