Fandom: Runaways, set vaguely near the end of Vaughan's run, no major spoilers
Characters: Chase, Molly, mentions of other characters
Word Count: 843 words
Betas: candyflosskillr and handyhunter
Author’s Notes: A birthday fic for van_el. His prompt: “I’d love a Runaways (Marvel-616) fic, focusing mostly on the character of Chase Stein – everyone’s favourite rebel. I think my favourite point in the character’s history is when Victor Mancha is being introduced to the team and he asks what Chase’s superpower is (as everyone else has one). Chase’s response is to point a flick-knife at Victor and claim it’s ‘a poor upbringing.’ Seeing as he is the pilot and mechanic of the Leapfrog, as well as Old Lace’s master, I would like a ficlet that really illustrates why this IS a superpower in Chase’s case!” And this is not really Van’s correct birth date – it has been changed “to protect the age of the innocent.” ;D
“Humph!” Molly crossed her arms and pouted, dropping heavily against the Leapfrog. “This is so boring!”
“Hey, watch it, ‘Bruiser,’” Chase teased. “You’re going to dent our ride.”
“Shut up,” she shot back, without any real anger behind her words.
Beside her, Old Lace mewled a soft “Arrrooo?” and rubbed her large reptilian head lightly against Molly’s shoulder. Molly’s pout broke as she answered the dinosaur with a small grin.
Chase simply crossed his arms and leaned against the side of the vehicle as well. Sure, playing lookout was boring, but someone had to do it. The others were staking out the building around the corner. They’d heard through the grapevine that an up and coming group of arcane thieves were planning a big heist. Their target – a magical artifact protected by high-tech security and safeguarded by some pretty heavy-duty spells. Chase had no idea what the artifact did, and he didn’t really care anyway. But Nico insisted they had to stop the robbery – or they might have another Pride on their hands.
Victor was handling the tech; Nico, the magic; Karolina and Xavin were there to handle the unexpected. Molly’s super-strength was superfluous. And that left Chase to play lookout and babysitter.
Chase smirked. He was used to it.
A low-riding burgundy sedan glided past on the dark street, and parked about a block away under a broken streetlight. The Leapfrog’s cloaking made Chase and Molly invisible to their new visitors. The four doors opened, several guys unfolded themselves from the interior of the car. They were dressed mostly in basketball jerseys and loose jeans, with a flash of a blue bandana here and there. Gangbangers.
They slowly approached, and Molly wrapped an arm around Old Lace’s neck, a look of distaste on her youthful face. Chase didn’t move. When he’d lived through his own parents trying to kill him, these punks hardly made him bat an eye.
Each one of the gang members bore a look of dark menace as they rolled silently past, projecting a ‘don’t $#&% with us’ attitude. The leader had some destination in mind, following an unwavering path… but Chase knew that behind the other guy's pair of unnecessary sunglasses, he was scanning the streets for any threat.
The leader suddenly stopped, even with where Chase, Molly and Old Lace stood. Chase knew the cloaking mechanism was functioning – but even then, he tensed, ready for action. The leader’s entourage halted with him, and several hands moved toward concealed weapons… but no one questioned him. No one made the slightest sound.
His head turned slowly left, right, and then back again. With a grimace, he shook his head. And then hocked a giant wad of spittle at the pavement a foot from Chase’s boots.
Chase’s eyebrows drew down, but he stayed still.
Finally, the leader began to walk again, his thugs trailing in his wake.
When he was finally out of sight, Molly let out a breath she’d been holding. “Ewww, gross,” she commented, nodding her head at the glittering puddle of slime at Chase’s feet. “What a loser.”
Chase looked at the spittle a moment longer, then over at the car lurking below the streetlamp. A malicious grin suddenly stole over his face. “Still bored? I think I've got the cure for that.”
An hour later, Victor and Xavin pelted around the corner first. Karolina soared through the air behind them in a cloud of rainbow-colored light, with Nico held protectively in her arms.
With a terse command from Chase, the hatch of the Leapfrog opened, and he leapt into the driver’s seat to turn off the cloaking device. Molly and Old Lace were already inside – Molly was curled up in one of the seats. She stirred groggily. “Wha…?”
The others piled into the vehicle, and Karolina set Nico gently on the floor. “Let’s get out of here!” she shouted urgently.
But the whine of the engine almost drowned out her voice. He was in the air within moments. “Is she all right?” he shouted back.
“I think she’ll recover – there was some sort of magical backlash,” Xavin explained, crouching beside Nico, who began to stir.
Nico slowly pushed herself up to a sitting position. “I think we’d better hurry.” She lifted her hands. “They’ll be coming after this.” Lying between her pale palms was a jade figurine. Some sort of horse.
Damn, that wasn’t part of the plan. Chase put on a little extra speed.
“Be careful, Chase; they could be disguised as anyone,” Victor added, placing an arm around Nico’s shoulders. “We almost didn’t recognize them at first – they were hidden with a magical glamour.”
“Really?” Molly asked, now wide-awake. “What did they look like?”
“They were dressed as gang members.”
Molly laughed triumphantly. “Score!”
“What’s so funny?” Victor asked, annoyed. “They could be following us right now!”
Chase smiled. “Calm your circuits, robot boy. Uncle Chase has got it all under control.” He surreptitiously pressed a button under the dash.
Far below them, a brilliant flash and deafening explosion lit up the Los Angeles night sky.
Is your birthday soon? Request a ficlet!