You've got to be kidding? Right! that mask is supposed to hide who you are? -- Knitnan
The hero blushed a little and scratched the back of his head. "You'd be surprised how often it works, though," he said. "Like... people don't recognise my mum when she wears her contacts, so..." He shrugged. "The flashy costume helps a lot."
"If I knew who you were, you would catch so much shit, right now," said Pam. "Like, thanks for the rescue and all? But the teeny tiny mask and the face paint? How long does it take you to get ready for a night of random heroism?"
"The mild-mannered day persona really helps." Now he couldn't meet her eyes. "And so does super speed."
"How do you keep that thing on your face anyway?"
"You know that weird glue you get on the back of credit cards? It's made out of that."
"Well. Mostly that. I sort of made my own formula. It's boring nerd stuff. Um. I can hear an alarm going off, are you going to be okay?"
Pam assessed her situation. Day and life saved - check, shaken up and needing a decent amount of chocolate and ice cream - check, otherwise fine - check. "Yeah, I can make it home from here. Thanks. Go save the day."
He tipped his head to her as if wearing an invisible cap and leaped a tall building in a single bound. Pam made her way home and tried to remember where she had seen that clean-cut face before. Mild-mannered day persona, he had said. Which meant that whatever he was doing in the daytime, it was something that would blend in with the daily scenery of life as anyone knew it.
Pam got herself a personal tub of chocolate ice cream at the 7-11 on the way to her flat and, with the combination of hot tea and cream, settled enough to get sufficient rest to go to her work, the next day. Though the small talk included her encounter with the Bayside Defender, her day and her life returned to normal.
Until the office's delivery guy from Coffee Courier turned up with the morning order at ten AM on the dot. She usually didn't look up from her work, but this time, she needed her triple espresso with a shot of hazelnut. Pam saw the face she knew from behind the tiny mask and everything clicked.
Rather than out him in front of everyone, she thanked him with, "My hero."
He looked briefly horrified for a second, but did his hat-tip at her and said, "Thank you ma'am."
She grinned and winked at him. He pretended to flirt a little for her and went on with his day. It would be more than a few weeks before they even began chatting for a handful of minutes at a time. Even heroes had to pay the rent, and a job like Coffee Courier was pretty much minimum wage with a very few perks.
One day, when no-one else could hear, she'd have to ask him how he paid for everything when his other job was basically saving the day for completely random people for little in the way of reward. But that day would not be coming soon.
Heroes, knowing the habits of villains, were very squirrelly about relationships.
[AN: Fiction fact - The very concept of a secret identity in narrative as we know it was invented by the Baroness Emma Orczy in The Scarlet Pimpernel, which inspired Zorro, which inspired The Lone Ranger, which inspired Batman and quite a lot of other superheroes besides. Everything cool was made by the ladies]
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / hobrath]
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