She dropped her head into her hands, trying to force the mid-term grades on the screen to change, to make it feel as if her every waking hour hadn’t been an utter waste of time, and worst of all, money. Thousands of dollars down the drain, another semester past, and so much more debt.
She sighed, shook her head, and glared at the screen. Maybe she could figure out a way to gain some extra credit. Liv groaned, then pushed herself carefully out of the creaky desk chair. One way to solve this, after all, was to go and try to appeal to the professor.
Professor Bryant steepled his fingers, slowly raising an eyebrow. “You want to find extra credit to raise your grade.”
“Yes, sir.” Liv tried to hide her nerves, fighting the urge to stare at her feet. Instead, she forced her eyes to lock on the dry erase board, letting herself trace the clean white lines from freshly erased notes through years of marker dyes.
“You’ve…barely made it to class, slept through a good number of lectures, and honestly I haven’t seen a single page of homework in months.”
“I…I know sir. I’ll do near about anything to fix my grade.”
“…Anything, you say.” Liv swallowed, hoping that she wasn’t setting herself up to play part in a lawsuit. “I need you to swear to secrecy, and remember your grade won’t change if you suddenly need to acquire a new professor.”
Liv would have expected nearly anything else. Sexual harassment? Sure, she would have not only said no, but reported him, run, and probably bathe with bleach. Washing cars? Demeaning, but not the worst.
Get told to wear a ridiculous costume and be the lackey of a supervillain?
Well, you couldn’t blame her for being confused as all fuck.
After all, who would think that their anthropology professor, who volunteered at the big city museum pretty frequently, would be the same person who raided it nearly as often, to collect items rumored to have been vessels of power at some point in history, to absorb it for himself? Other than the school conspiracy theorist, that is.
Mageo, which honestly sounded like a bad name stolen from an online name generator, sent her out to scout the city, and report back in case authorities began to report to the scene. Which didn’t help settle the feelings of panic in her stomach. She shouldn’t be doing this. She should slip his name to the police.
But her grades. That was money that she couldn’t afford to pay back, and the looks of knowing disappointment on her family’s faces would be too damn much.
So of course, Liv…no, Sorceressa (because that wasn’t an utterly terrible name) got good at it.
Subjectively, she knew that there were heroes. Every time there was a supervillain, there had to be a hero. It was as if it was a law of supers.
Liv never expected the one she met to be hot.
The speedster grinned, her posture easy. Novaflash was tall, built like a runner with legs that could crack a skull if she wanted. Everything from the waist up was wiry muscle, and everything down was terrifyingly solid. Her suit helped with accentuating that shape, and Liv could have forgotten how to breathe, and die happy.
“You don’t gotta do this,” she said, short black hair shining blue in the sunlight. “I know there’s good in you. I can see it.”
The stereotypical hero script pulled Liv out of it, and she found herself cackling before she could stop, as the wind tossed both girls’ hair and the stupid robes she wore. “Good? Desperation, maybe. Desperation, ramen…I think I had a Red Bull and a cold taco for breakfast…spite. Definitely spite.”
Novaflash blinked, not expecting that response. “What? That…what? I…what…what are you…?”
“What?” Sorceressa gave her a lopsided grin, waiting for the other girl to see the dark circles under her eyes weren’t makeup, that she was tired and really, she should go, she only had another 15 minutes before her next lecture, and there was still the previous lab’s work to finalize–
“What caused you to do this? There’s other ways.”
Liv’s shoulders slumped. “I failed.”
“Failed? Failed who? Your family? Is your lover held hostage?” Liv cackled harder, bent in half as she wheezed through laughter at Novaflash’s poor misconceptions.
“The only thing I failed was my anthropology course. I’m doing this for extra credit.”
“Couldn’t you just get a tutor?”
“Have you ever heard of an anthropology tutor?”
Novaflash blinked, then laughed. “Good point.” There was another little pause in their conversation, then she leaned in. “But I do know one. Why don’t we ditch the costumes, go get our materials, and go study, huh?”
It was Liv’s turn to be confused, staring. “What?”
“I had Professor Bryant two years ago. I nearly failed then too, and that’s how I ended up as a hero. I know it pretty well.”
Liv bit her lip, then nodded. “I have Tuesdays free.”
“Fantastic. Meet for coffee at noon?”
“How about that place about two blocks from campus housing?”
“Perfect. See you there.”
Liv clicked on the link, trying hard not to panic. She had ditched the sidekick thing, buckled down and studied with Cassie, and worked her ass off. She had managed to not get distracted, even through the first awkward steps of flirting. This was the hour of judgement.
She shouted, throwing herself out of the chair to do a victory dance. Cassie peeked out from the kitchen, having just gotten changed into pajamas and working on the dinner dishes. “Everything okay?”
Liv darted over, kissing her hard, before skittering further into the kitchen proper. “I’m making victory dessert!”