It was past midnight when Beatrice returned to the LA house. She’d been in Long Beach since nightfall, enjoying the new boat that she and Giovanni had bought before an early meeting with her Grandfather Alvarez had finished. She hadn’t expected anyone to be awake, but then she heard noises coming from the den.
“No way… oh, you rat bastard.”
“Aren’t all rats bastards? I do not understand that insult. And surely you had to see that Loki was inevitable.”
“But he did the thing with the scepter thingie and took Hawkeye! And the doctor from Thor. I can never remember his name.”
“I do not understand what qualifications Hawkeye brings to the Avengers team.”
“He… shoots arrows and stuff. He has… strategic intelligence.”
There was a long pause. “That does not seem sufficient.”
Beatrice stifled a laugh as she walked back to join Ben and Tenzin watching the movie. She’d seen the movie already, but hey… it was The Avengers.
“Hey guys.” She zoomed to the couch, leaping over the back and squishing herself between her friend and her nephew.
Tenzin lifted an eyebrow. “The meeting finished early. Any bloodshed?”
Ben was just watching her with narrowed eyes. She frowned. “What?”
“Why can you jump over the back of the couch, but I can’t? You and Gio always give me a hard time about that.”
“One—” She reached up and patted the top of his head. “—You have become a small giant, my dear nephew, and the furniture cannot take your abuse. Two, you have neither my speed nor preternatural grace.”
Tenzin said, “Is that what caused you to trip over that pile of books in the library the other day? Your preternatural grace?”
“Be quiet, small annoying one.”
Ben elbowed her. “Be quiet both of you. This part is awesome.”
“This whole movie is awesome. I can’t believe we missed it last summer in the theater.”
Tenzin shrugged. “We were trying to save the world in Rome. Movies did not seem like a high priority. Though… this one should have been.”
Beatrice cocked her head. “I love how the director created the visual representation of the long-boat in this scene with the lab equipment. It’s subtle, but links to the original mythology. Very cool.”
Ben said, “You sound more and more like Gio every night. Pretty soon you’re going to be justifying comic books academically.”
“Uh… comics and superheroes are modern mythology, Ben. That’s not really hard to do.”
Tenzin nudged her. “Both of you, be quiet. You’re talking over the movie.”
Beatrice smiled and quieted down. Tenzin loved movies. Loved them. She hadn’t seen a modern home entertainment system since television was invented and she’d been enthralled with the setup in LA. She had to admit, it was pretty sweet, but when you were housebound during daylight hours, entertainment became more of a priority than you might have previously anticipated. She watched raptly for another half an hour, until she became distracted.
“If you had to pick, which superhero would you be?”
“Why?” Tenzin muttered. “Why do you both insist on talking?”
“It’s not like you haven’t seen it before. So Ben, which one?”
“Um…” He was staring at the action on screen. “I’m not sure. Thor is a no, because he’s a demigod and that just kind of seems like cheating, as far as becoming a superhero. I think either… Ironman or Captain America.”
“Hmm, vastly different origin stories. I think I prefer Ironman over Captain America. I do love a good-looking smartass.”
“Why?” Tenzin leaned forward, her eyes peeled to the screen. “Captain America has a very clear sense of honor and admirable battle focus. And extremely impressive abdominal muscles. I prefer Captain America.”
Beatrice stifled a laugh when she saw Ben sneak a glance down at his abs. He squirmed a little. “But Captain America is like… lab-created and stuff. Ironman is more impressive because he made all his own powers. I mean, his suit and the arc reactor and everything. He’s not some genetically enhanced super-freak.”
Tenzin shrugged. “Your aunt is a genetically enhanced super-freak. The end product is what’s important.”
“Hey!” She punched Tenzin’s arm. “What the heck?”
Her friend looked at her as if she was a child. “I exchanged blood with your father to dramatically increase his elemental power, strengthening him so that you were, in turn, far more powerful and sired with our joined bloods. It was our own version of genetic engineering. The vampire way.”
She’d known that her father and Tenzin hadn’t mated for love, but she still slipped an arm around the small slip of a woman and gave her a slight hug. “A brilliant plan. You two could have been super-villains.”
“Luckily, we used our powers for good, not evil.”
Ben seemed eager to dispel the wistful mood that had fallen over the room. “So, what you’re saying is that B is a genetically modified super-vampire?”
“She’s like Captain America… with fangs.”
“No.” Tenzin shook her head. “Her abdominal muscles aren’t nearly as impressive.”
Beatrice giggled and turned her head when she heard the kitchen door close. Her blood raced in excitement, and her heart began to beat.
He’s here! Mate! Here!
Would it ever cease? Even after years together, she felt as eager to see him as the schoolgirl who had longed for his Wednesday night visits in the library. She would have felt pathetic if she knew he wasn’t as bad as she was. He practically pouted when she left their room every evening.
Giovanni slipped silently into the den, paging through some correspondence that had his brow furrowed in concentration.
“Avengers?” he murmured. “Again?”
“Did you know you were married to a genetically modified super-freak?”
“No.” He winked at her. “But at least you’re more attractive than Captain America.”
Tenzin said, “I beg to differ.”
“Gio,” Ben spoke over the explosions blaring from the screen. “Which superhero would you be?”
He cocked an eyebrow. “Other than myself?” He set the letters down on the table and leaned down over the back of the couch, drawing her mouth into a kiss that wasn’t exactly fit for company. “I missed you, Tesoro.”
“Dude, you guys.” Ben winced. “Get a room.”
“This is my house; they are all my rooms. And I’d be Batman, of course.” He flicked his tongue over the point of Beatrice’s fang, “He always has the best toys.”
Suddenly, the Avengers wasn’t all that interesting. Beatrice climbed over the back of the couch and onto her husband’s back. He wrapped her legs around his waist and started for the door. “See you guys.”
Tenzin tossed them a wave. “Enjoy the sex.”
Beatrice hid her face in Giovanni’s back to stifle the snort as Ben said, “Seriously?”
“What? They’re quite obviously going to engage in—”
“Getting back to the subject, which superhero would you be?”
Even though they were headed at warp speed up the stairs, Beatrice still grinned when she heard Tenzin’s answer.
“Oh, the Hulk. Definitely the Hulk.”
~~~Hey, these are my crazy meanderings! Please respect the author and do not distribute my work illegally. Copyright © Elizabeth Hunter, 2012