runaway tales ; pomegranate #22: priorities ; verse: the rainbow league

Title: Super Group
Verse: The Rainbow League
Character(s): Kyle Jordan Kramer
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None?
Prompts: Pomegranate #22 – Priorities
Toppings: None
Extras: None.
Canon: No.
Note: The Rainbow League actually first started on Runaway Tales, back in the old days of LJ. I was writing it using prompts and enjoying it a lot. It’s… not held up to the test of time (I was 15 and made All Superheroes Gay), but I’m enjoying fucking in the world and seeing what I can make from it.

Kyle Jordan Kramer has always been bog standard, white bread, cis, straight, heteronormative as hell, never the target for any bullies, nothing, because he’s always been so utterly Normal (with a capital N) that he blends right in with the wallpaper. Even his best friend at school is white and blonde and utterly passable.

He’s always been pretty okay with that.

He knows the truth, of course. He knows that the more normal you are, well, the more normal you are. He knows that Cybertorch is genderqueer and he knows that Divine Bolt has a husband and a wife, and he knows Nucleovibe doesn’t date at all. He knows all these things just like everyone else does, it’s an open secret: superheroes are never straight or cis, they’re all on the spectrum somewhere, existing outside of what the world thinks of as Normal and Kyle has always just seen as wallpaper.

Which is why it’s really fucking weird that he splits into two people one day when he’s torn between chasing down a mugger and checking if an old lady is hurt. It’s really, really fucking weird that when he shrugs it off as obviously his imagination he comes face-to-face with his own damn self in the school hallway.

“What,” he says.

“What,” he also says.

No one seems to really notice that Kyle’s sprung a magical twin brother, nor that he’s talking to himself in the hallway, and that’s the most normal thing that’s happened to him so far in the last forty-eight hours: no one is noticing him at all. 

The other Kyle steps forward, right into his personal space, and then right into him and oh. They’re one again. Kyle can tell by the memories of spending the night chasing down and beating up the mugger and the memories of lying in his bed staring at the ceiling trying to work out what the fuck was going on in his life that he recombined and it gives him one hell of a headache.

“I’m a super?” he says to his reflection in the mirror he stuck to his locker two years ago. His reflection doesn’t answer, which is yet another weirdly normal thing that’s happening today, all things considered.

He shuts his locker, goes to class, sits through the math lesson ignoring pretty much everything the teacher says and only once being called on to give the wrong answer. He sulks through science. He knows the laws. You’re either a superhero and you’ve joined a squad and you’re registered with the ISR or you’re a supervillain, by not being registered anywhere and hiding your identity. There’s no middle ground.

He doesn’t have to come out to the entire world, there’s no compunction on him to say Kyle Kramer is a super, but he has to register. He has to find a group to sponsor him and register, and that means consulting The Board.

He’s never had to consult any board before, about anything. The football team was practically handed to him on a silver platter and everything else he’s tried? Well, he hasn’t had to look through a board covered in flyers to get involved with it, that’s for sure.

The board, luckily, is full of other flyers too, enough that he doesn’t have to look utterly suspicious staring at it on the wall of the school. There’s football tryouts — pointless, considering he’s the captain — cheer tryouts — not his thing — chess club memberships and more. He’s ignoring those right now though. He hones in on The Super Group.

He knows The Super Group. He’s admired The Super Group from afar. He has a Super Group stan twitter account, although he’d never admit to it. He knows them inside and out, he knows all the members, he even knows the trainees, which is an entirely different subset of The Super Group: The Super Recruits, which is a pretty obvious name to pick but it’s still so cool!

He knows how the recruiting process works, you call them up and they put you through to the Recruits, and then you get collected and taken somewhere for an interview process. They run you through the information and then if you’re good enough, you get accepted and spend the next two years in training.

Which, obviously, he’s good enough for. He’s the captain of the football team! Everyone wants to be him! Everyone loves him! There’s no way the Super Group won’t take two looks at him and accept him.

He calls the number.

“Hello, you’ve reached The Super Group, the only five-star superhero group in the Los Panico Bay Area,” a voice says. He starts to speak, but then he realizes it’s automated as it continues with, “If you’re reporting an emergency, press one.” Well, no, although the panic in his chest seems to think he is. “If you’re reporting an incident, press two.” What’s the difference? “If you’re looking to turn yourself in for crimes or felonies, press three.” When he gets in, he’s going to ask how many people use the third option. “If you’re calling for journalistic opportunities or an internship, press four.” No, but he was so going to do that when he was older if he wasn’t going to be a part of it. “If you’re calling for legal reasons, press five.” What? “If you’re calling for recruitment, please call this number.”

Oh.

He writes the number down on his palm, sulking the whole time, and he spends a few minutes just being grumpy that he can’t just call The Super Group and get accepted, and then he dials the number. 

“Hello, you’ve reached recruitment hotline of The Super Group, the only five-star superhero group in the Los Panico Bay Area.” It’s the same voice, it’s the same automated voice. “Due to the high volume of calls we receive each day, we have installed a queue function. Your call is important to us. You are number seventy-three in the queue.”

Kyle pauses. Seventy-three? He glances at his watch. He has class in twenty minutes and he can’t be caught making this call. He huffs to himself, shoves in his knockoff Airpods and goes to class, spending the entirety of his math class staring off into space while the hold music plays and, occasionally, breaks for the automated voice to tell him he’s somehow further down the queue than he was before, usually by about two places.

He’s almost home by the time the line clicks and a smooth — and non-automated — voice says, “You have reached the recruitment hotline of The Super Group, the only five-star superhero group in the Los Panico Bay Area.” He’s aware of that, by now. He’s never been more aware of anything in his life at this point. “Please tell me your name and social security number.”

He squints in vague suspicion at that, but he has it written down in his phone so he pulls it from his pocket and says, “Kyle Jordan Kramer,” as he hunts out his SSN and quotes it off to the person. 

“Hello, Kyle, I’m Lyn. Are you in any pressing danger, Kyle?” the voice says.

He pauses and glances around. “No,” he says.

“Okay, excellent, I just have to check as many manifestations of super abilities can cause long- or short-term danger to the host,” they say. He doesn’t like that. “I’m looking you up on the system now. I see you’re sixteen and currently enrolled in Los Panico Bay High School?”

Oh, he hates that. “Yeah,” he says. 

“Is this your first manifestation of super abilities, Kyle?”

“Yes,” he says. 

“And what ability have you manifested?”

“I split into two people,” he says. “One went after a mugger, the other was—” He was going to say was me but then they’d merged back together and now he remembers doing both things, which is enough to make his head spin. “Went to school, I guess.”

“Excellent, self-duplication is a remarkably rare ability and quite coveted due to its many practical applications.” There’s the sound of typing, a loud mechanical keyboard clicking away in the background. “It says here that you’re the captain of the football team, and according to your Facebook profile you have a girlfriend named Natasha. Will you be requiring counselling for your sexuality?”

That gives him beyond pause, that takes him out all together. “Wait,” he says. “What?”

The voice gets gentle. “We understand that many supers are unaware of their own gender or sexual diversity until the day that they discover their innate abilities, and—”

“No, no,” he says, cutting her off, which he immediately regrets considering how downright nice they’ve been to him, “I’m straight. Cisgender. Straight. I’m not even neurodiverse! Or a person of color! I’m— just— plain old white bread Kyle.”

There’s a pause down the line. “I see,” says the voice. “You understand and acknowledge of course that those with superpowers are, without exception, never cishet?”

“I have a girlfriend,” he says pitifully. 

“I understand that,” the voice says, “however—”

“I love her,” he says.

“—bisexuality—”

“I’m straight,” he insists. “I swear to god I’m straight. Swear on my grandma.”

A small huff echoes. “We don’t appreciate prank calls,” the voice says. “If you want to prank call a superhero group, try the Rainbow League. I hear they have a lot of time on their hands.” 

Click.

He blinks a few times at his phone screen, in the knowledge that not only does this person now have his SSN but also that he just accidentally got himself blacklisted from the one superhero group he’d wanted to join before he’d split in two. 

“Fuck,” he mutters, and brings up a web browser to search out other options.

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