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TJ and the Invincible Woman were headed down the skyscraper-lined street when TJ's phone rang. They were supposed to lure a giant bipedal shark on legsone of the Iron Fist Guild's pet projects, according to Controltoward the pier, but the ringtone was "Conjunction Junction," which she really couldn't ignore.
"I've got to take a call, Vincy," she said, her collar-mic automatically transmitting the words to her partner in the air. "How you doing up there?"
The cops had diverted the early-afternoon traffic from State Street, but plenty of pedestrians remained gawking at the monster, which was to TJ's advantage. Her modest jogpacing the creature's ponderous stepsmade her look like any of a dozen rubberneckers doing the same thing.
Hiding in plain sight was her MO as the Hidden Hand, no matter how many superhero groupies insisted she must have the power of invisibility. Who needed invisibility? The ability to move things with her mind had always been far more useful, from sneaking out of her bedroom window as a teenager to flying.
She carefully kept the Invincible Woman floating out in front of the land shark while she fished her phone out of her pocket. Vincy was being the carrot, staying mostly out of reach until TJ brought her darting in to attack. It didn't matter that punching, kicking, tearing or even full-body blows wouldn't do significant damage to the creature. They still hurt it, so it kept going after her, while Vincy didn't even bruise her knuckles.
Her voice was slightly tinny through TJ's earpiece. "I'm goodnothing really changes till we hit the bay. I'll shout if things get out of hand." Thank God Vincy wasn't one of those prima donnas who believed that if you didn't wear spandex and take the limelight, you weren't really a superhero.
And of course, since you aren't really a superhero, you should shut up and take orders from your betters. Bullshit. Genes might make you a metahuman, but using those metahuman powers for good, that made you a superhero.
And if you were an asshole, all wearing a costume did was make you an asshole in a costume.
TJ answered the phone on the last ring while doing an awkward skip-step around some soup cans and other potential ankle-breakers littering the sidewalk. Somebody must have dropped their groceries in shock. "This is TJ Gutierrez, what can I do for you?"
"Hello, Mrs. Gutierrez. This is Lindsay Santos, the school nurse."
Of course it was. The nurse was the only person at the school who couldn't seem to remember that she was Ms. Gutierrez, thank you. TJ had finally given up.
"I'm afraid I have Marisol sitting in my office with a fever of 102. We'll need you to come pick her up."
TJ flung the Invincible Woman's blue-costumed form at the shark's sensitive gill slits. From the ground, she couldn't see exactly how Vincy used the opportunityshe just dragged her out of the way again a few seconds later. Impressive teeth snapped at Vincy, but TJ kept her out of range and continued moving her partner steadily toward the pier. "Of course. I'll be right there."
"She'll be waiting in my office. Just give the front desk your name, and be sure to have your ID with you."
TJ resisted the urge to grind her teeth. She appreciated the school's caution with her kids, but it wasn't like she didn't know the drill by now, and she was falling behind while her attention was split.