My Secret Identity
© by Ryan Bartlett
Bobby didn't have time to be scared or afraid. Seeing his best friend fall from the sky, his body limp like a broken doll, it terrified him but he pushed the fear aside in the blink of an eye and rocketed towards Spencer. Bobby closed the distance at an incredible speed and grabbed Spencer around the waist. If they'd been playing football it would have been an impressive tackle. He wrapped his arms tightly around his friend and hurtled towards the ground.
It's got to be the altitude, thought Bobby. The higher you fly the less oxygen there is to breath, it's why airplane cabins are pressurized. Bobby kicked himself for not thinking about that before blasting off into the night. He was breathing just fine but he figured it was the result of the changes the Watcher's had made to his body. Spencer probably lost consciousness between fifteen and twenty-thousand feet. Bobby wasn't sure exactly how high he'd flown or how long Spencer had been unable to breath.
As he raced to the ground, all Bobby could think about was your brain needs oxygen. He didn't know how long you could go without oxygen before your brain suffered some kind of permanent damage. He was scared to death he'd hurt Spencer, broken him like a carless child with a new toy.
When Bobby touched down, he laid Spencer on his back and held his hand.
"Come on, breath," Bobby sniffled.
But Spencer lay there, lifeless.
Bobby had never taken a CPR class but he'd seen it done on TV hundreds of times. He pinched Spencer's nose and pressed their mouths together. Bobby exhaled deeply and watched Spencer's chest rise, his lungs filling with air. Bobby sat up for a moment to see if it had worked but when Spencer didn't stir, he went back to work on his mouth.
Spencer woke and sucked in as much oxygen as he could from Bobby's mouth. Bobby was so caught up in giving his friend the kiss of life he didn't notice Spencer's eyes were open. Spencer, ever the prankster, saw an opportunity and went for it. He gently slipped his tongue into Bobby's mouth.
"What the hell!" Bobby choked. The kiss startled him.
"Sorry, I couldn't help it," Spencer giggled.
"You think this is funny?"
"Don't get your panties in a twist, you kissed me first," Spencer smiled.
"I wasn't kissing you, I as giving you mouth to mouth."
"If you say so," Spencer continued to grin.
"Spence, you could have died!"
Spencer rolled his eyes.
"No I couldn't, I was with Superman."
"Dude, that's not funny."
"I'm not laughing."
"I almost killed you because of these stupid powers."
"They aren't stupid and you didn't almost kill me. It was an accident, Bobby. They happen sometimes."
"It's too dangerous. Someone could get hurt. We got lucky this time."
"What are you saying?"
"I'll fly us home but after that, I don't know," Bobby sighed.
"Bobby, you can't turn your back on this incredible gift…" Spencer started.
"What's so incredible about nearly killing my best friend?" Bobby snapped.
"You're upset, I understand that. Promise you won't make any rash decisions. You'll think about this?"
"I guess so," Bobby agreed.
Bobby helped Spencer to his feet and gave him a hug. The accident scared him more than he could express with words. He'd almost killed Spencer, his best friend, the boy he wanted to…he'd almost killed Spencer! Bobby promised him he'd think about things but in that moment, holding Spencer in his arms and thinking what he might have lost, he wasn't sure he'd ever use his powers again.
Bobby may have been the one with the superpowers but Spencer wasn't without gifts of his own. He was a fiercely loyal friend and the kinds of things that upset most people usually rolled off of him like water off a ducks back. Most importantly he was very intuitive and keenly aware of other people's feelings. He knew when to push an issue and when to let something go. As much as he wanted to nag Bobby, to convince him he had to use the phenomenal powers at his command, he knew it was a conclusion his friend would have to make on his own.
A week passed and the Tacoma Timberwolves were playing their last game of the season against the Bulldogs of Garfield High. Bobby boarded the bus with his teammates and sat next to Spencer. With traffic it was an hour drive to Seattle from Tacoma and Bobby couldn't help thinking how much faster it was to fly. He'd been wrestling with the choice he had to make all week. Some days he agreed with Spencer, he had to use his powers whether he liked it or not, but as he sat next to his lifelong pal, he didn't think he could do it. Spencer was precious to him, more so then he understood at the time, and he could have been killed.
The memory of that night haunted Bobby. Every time he thought he was over it, it snuck up with a vengeance. He was quiet on the bus but Spencer was bored so he kept playfully elbowing Bobby in the ribs. Bobby turned on him and wanted to tell him to knock it off but Spence made a goofy face and Bobby couldn't help but smile. What scared Bobby most about what happened with Spencer was the fact he was falling in love with his best friend. Some people think when you meet the one you're supposed to be with there are instant sparks. Bobby was starting to realize that in real life, it took time to figure out what you wanted and who you were supposed to be.
When the team reached Garfield High, Bobby followed the guys into the visitor's locker room and changed into his uniform. His gray jersey, with Tacoma High scrawled in royal blue, was so clean it practically sparkled. That annoyed Bobby, he was an aggressive player and wasn't afraid to get dirty but he knew when he hung up his jersey that night, it would be just as pristine as it was now. It served as one more reminder he'd be ridding the bench when he knew he was perfectly healthy. He let out another sigh when he realized he needn't have bothered with his jock strap, the damn thing rode up the butt something fierce.
While the rest of the team finished dressing, Bobby looked over at Spencer. He was wearing his Tommy the Timberwolf costume and doing this goofy dance he did to psych himself up for a performance. The costume always made Bobby giggle. Spencer was a lithe boy and the Timberwolf was a bit too big for him, he could practically hula-hoop in it. The way the costume hung on his slender hips made his appearance all the more comical, especially combined with the dance. When it was time for the team to take the field, Spencer led the way. He made sure to give Bobby a firm smack on the rump as he jogged by.
It was a boring game and Bobby sat on the bench pouting with his arms folded over his chest. Spencer was done with his performance so he sat next to his friend in the hopes of cheering him up.
"Whatcha thinkin about?" asked Spencer when he took off the Timberwolf head.
"Just how boring it is to watch baseball," Bobby sighed.
"Awww, you just wish you were playing."
"Duh," Bobby agreed.
"Well how do you think I feel?" asked Spencer, Bobby shot him a quizzical look. "For me, playing is about as boring as watching."
"If you hate it so much why did you volunteer to be the mascot? Did you need the attention?" Bobby teased. Just talking to Spence put him in a better mood.
"While being Tommy the Timberwolf has added to my fan base, I'm here for the pants," Spencer smirked.
"Baseball butts drive me nuts," Spencer laughed and tugged on Bobby's tight fitting uniform pants.
"When did you become such a horndog?"
"I'm not a horndog!" Spencer protested. "I just need to get laid."
"I've heard gay sex is painful," Bobby warned.
"I'll tell you when I find out," Spencer winked. Bobby rolled his eyes.
The final score was Tacoma 1, Garfield 0. The team was happy with their victory and even Bobby managed to get into the spirit on the bus ride to the hotel. It wasn't customary for the team to stay in a hotel when they were so close to home but as an end of the season treat, they were overnighting and going to a Mariner's game at Safeco Field the next day. The boys were divided four to a room and Bobby found himself sharing a bed with Spencer.
He was a little shy when everyone started getting ready for bed. Bobby slept in his underwear at home but never at a sleepover. As the other boys stripped down to their boxers and briefs he felt stupid for bringing pajamas. Bobby stripped down to his t-shirt and grey boxer briefs. He bent over to shove his pajamas back in his bag when Spencer came out of the bathroom, having just brushed his teeth, and slapped him on the ass for the second time that night.
"Come on big boy, take me to bed or lose me forever," Spencer teased. Everyone laughed. Everyone always laughed at Spencer's flirtations which made it hard to tell when he was being serious. He treated his desires like a joke because it was hard for someone to make fun of you when you were already making them laugh.
Bobby shook his head and went back to packing up his things but made sure to take a good look at his friend before he got under the covers. Bobby didn't usually care for boxers but Spence was wearing a cute blue pair with snowmen on them.
"Hey McCoy, your undies are out of season," Brice teased him.
"Brice, if you're that interested in my undies, maybe you and Bobby should switch beds for the night," Spencer teased back. Once again, all the boys laughed.
Bobby wanted to say he thought Spencer's boxers were cute but couldn't bring himself to do it. That's not all he thought was cute. He liked the way Spencer's soft brown hair flopped down on his forehead, liked how his green eyes sparkled when he was up to something, liked his slender body and the way it tapered down to his narrow waist. He liked Spencer's coltish legs and…Bobby shook his head to clear the thought from his mind. Now was not the time to risk getting a boner. In just his underwear there would be no way to hide it. He quickly finished packing and scrambled under the covers.
Sometime during the night, Spencer rolled over and draped his arm over Bobby's chest. Bobby was still awake and absentmindedly stroked his friends arm. Spencer murmured in his sleep and clung tighter to Bobby. Bobby was afraid someone might see but the snores coming from the other bed suggested it was unlikely. He let out a resigned sigh and held his friend as he drifted off to sleep.
When Spencer woke the next morning, he was pleasantly surprised to find himself in Bobby's arms. Bobby was still sleeping and Spencer stuck his head up to make sure the other boys were just as unconscious. When he realized it was safe, Spencer kissed Bobby on the forehead and stroked his blond hair until he began to stir. Spencer quickly extricated himself from Bobby and ran off to take a shower before anyone else claimed it.
The team checked out of their hotel at noon and then headed for lunch. The game didn't start until 4:00 but no one wanted to miss batting practice so they headed for the stadium a few hours early. Traffic was crazy for a Saturday and the boys gave a collective groan when their Coach announced they'd have to stop at the bank. Coach Winston never carried credit cards and wanted to make sure he had enough cash for food at the stadium. It took the bus driver 20 minutes to find a place to park in crowded downtown Seattle but when he did, Spencer went with the coach; he was short on cash too.
Spencer thought they'd gotten lucky when they walked up to the Bank of Puget Sound and found the line for the ATM machine empty. Unfortunately there was a sign on the machine stating it was broken and that all customers should come inside to speak with a teller. When they stepped inside, Spencer and Coach Winston sighed. The line was a mile long!
If you looked up the term born loser on Urban Dictionary chances are you'd find a picture of Frank Grimes and his brother, Ted. The pair had been committing crimes since the ripe old ages of 14 and 13 when they'd knocked over the concession stand at a junior high football game. Since then they'd graduated to grand theft auto, armed robbery and bank robbery. They met John Moss during their last stint in prison and since being released they'd been hitting banks throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The trio had no real job skills and rehabilitation was wasted on them. They were happy being a menace to society. They robbed and stole to get by not caring who got hurt in the process. They lived off the money they stole, spending it on loose women and cheap booze. Their last score lasted them almost a month but broke again, they pulled up to the downtown branch of the Bank of Puget Sound to refresh their coffers.
Coach Winston was just walking up to the teller when all hell broke loose.
The brother's Grimes and their accomplice burst through the doors waving shotguns at the frightened bank patrons.
"Hands up! This is a God damn robbery!" shouted Frank.
Ted quickly disarmed the ancient security guard and covered the door while Moss jumped up on the counter and drove the tellers away from their registers. The trio had the bank secured in less than a minute.
"Alright, we're just here for the money!" Frank exclaimed. "Get down on the ground. Keep your mouths shut and this will all be over in a few minutes!"
Spencer's first reaction was to call the cops on his cell but obviously someone would see him, then he remembered there was a bona fide superhero waiting for him on the bus. He frantically typed out a text to Bobby but it was too late.
"What the fuck are you doing kid?" asked Frank.
"Uh, who me?" Spencer replied, playing dumb.
"Gimme that!" Frank shouted as he grabbed the iPhone from Spencer's hand then threw it against a brick wall. "Try another stunt like that and I'll blow your fuckin head of, got it?"
"Y-yes sir." Spencer practically wet himself.
"That goes for the rest of you too," said Grimes. "Everyone empty your pockets and purses, I want those fucking cell phones!"
At first the hostages were too afraid to move.
"Now God damn it!" Frank shouted and fired a shot into the celling.
That motivated the hostages and phones started to appear as fast as they could get them out.
Moss jumped down from the counter and started filling a bag with money. He'd moved quickly but with his back turned, one of the bank's loan officers hit the silent alarm to alert the police.
"Where's the manager?" Frank yelled.
Once again, no one was eager to move.
"If I don't have the manager in five seconds, I'm going to start shooting until I find him! One, two, three, four…"
"Here, I'm right here," said the manager, a timid man of 40 who rose bravely to his feet.
"Open the vault," Frank ordered.
"What the hell are you doing?" Ted demanded. "We never hit the vault. We don't have time."
"I'm sick of this candy-assed shit. We're going for it. You watch the hostages," said Frank.
Frank pushed the branch manager behind the counter and then he and John Moss followed him to the vault. The manager's hands shook and he dropped the key.
"Come on God damn it!" Frank screamed.
The manager grabbed his key and felt the barrel of Frank's shotgun at the back of his head as he finally opened the heavy vault door. The two robbers pushed the manager aside and started to fill their bags with money.
Back on the bus, the boys were getting restless. It seemed like Coach Winston and Spencer were taking forever and the team was tired of waiting. That's when the police cars showed up.
"Hey, check it out," said Danny Garza, the team's third baseman. He was pointing at the bank as police car after police car came screeching to a halt.
The boys all got up and rushed to the right side of the bus for a better view. They watched as the police started cordoning off the streets with crime scene tape and set up a perimeter around the bank.
"Oh my God, Spence and Coach are still in there," Kevin Bishop reminded them.
"Come on, let's check it out," said Brice. He was the first one off the bus and the rest of the boys followed, so did the driver.
"Keep back kids," ordered a policeman, as the team joined the steady stream of onlookers gathered around the police barriers.
Oh God, Spencer, Bobby whined internally.
"Cops!" Ted shouted, back inside the bank. "God damn it! I told you not to hit the vault!"
"How many?" asked Frank.
"Fuck if I know man, it looks like all of em," said Ted.
"You in the bank, this is the Seattle Police Department. We have you surrounded. Come out with your hands up," came a voice over a loud speaker.
"We're fucked now man," said John.
"Relax. Those pigs aren't going to do shit while we're sittin on these hostages," said Frank.
"You sure about that?" asked Ted.
"They ain't stupid. They know there's people in here. They won't try to come in, they'll try some bullshit negotiation," said Frank.
As if on cue, the phone rang.
"Told you," Frank grinned at his partners and reached or the receiver.
"Yeah?" Frank answered. "None of your God damn business, that's who. I got thirty hostages in here. I want those fuckin cops to back off. I see one pig getting close to this building and I'm gonna start shooting," said Frank as he slammed the phone down and turned back to his partners. "That'll give them something to think about."
Outside a large crowd gathered to watch the action. More police cars arrived along with a SWAT team van. They set up sharpshooters on the roofs of the nearby buildings and a police chopper circled overhead. Media trucks showed up next and local TV was interrupted so they could go live with the story. Most of Bobby's teammates were too distracted by the circus unfolding in front of them to remember they had friends in there. Bobby paced nervously, chewing on his thumb and begging God to protect his coach and his best friend.
An hour went by and then two. The police kept trying to negotiate with Frank but he refused to release any hostages and the police refused to let him and his partners just walk away. By the third hour the robbers were growing restless so Frank decided to do something drastic. He grabbed Spencer and pulled him to his feet, then dragged him to the door. He pushed the door open and kept the boy close to his chest to protect him from snipers.
"Listen up God damn it!" he shouted at the police and reporters. "All we want to do is leave. You got half an hour to leave an unmarked car running in front of this door or I'm going to start shooting hostages. I'm gonna start with this little brat right here," he shook Spencer for effect then withdrew back inside.
"Are you fuckin crazy?" They'll fry our asses if we start killing people!" said John.
"Man, did you see all those TV camera's out there. Cops can't say no now. If we shoot anyone them pigs are gonna get blamed for it," Frank reasoned.
Bobby watched the whole thing. At first his heart leapt when it looked like Spencer was being released but it fell into the pit of his stomach when he realized what was going on. Bobby knew the police wouldn't give the robbers a car. Were they stupid? Didn't criminals watch TV? The cops would never let them just drive away. More likely, they'd storm the building and try to subdue the robbers before they killed too many hostages. Bobby couldn't accept that. The man said he'd shoot Spencer first. In a moment of absolute clarity, Bobby knew he would have to act.
His first thought was he couldn't just march past the cops and up to the bank; that would create problems of its own. He needed to conceal his identity, if anyone knew about the powers he possessed they'd lock him up somewhere they could experiment on him and he'd never see Spencer again anyway. He needed to conceal his identity but how?
Spencer was clever about stuff like this, what would Spencer do? Spencer, of course thought Bobby as an idea came into his head. He quickly backed away from his teammates and out of the crowd. No one took notice of him; they were all too busy watching the bank. He went back to the bus and used his heat vision to blast the lock off the luggage compartment and then he grabbed the huge duffle bag Spencer kept Tommy the Timberwolf in. He ran back onto the bus and emerged a minute later wearing the Timberwolf costume over his street clothes.
A quick scan of the area revealed no one watching him so Bobby took to the air and flew over the police barrier to land softly next to the ATM machines.
"Dave, tell me I didn't just see what I think I saw," said one policeman to his partner.
"Is that a…" his partner responded.
"A flying teddy bear?" asked Dave.
"That's no teddy bear, its Tommy the Timberwolf!" exclaimed one of the boy's on the baseball team.
The gathered crowd stood stunned and speechless. No one could believe what they were seeing. Seattle has a reputation for being something of a strange town, largely due to the number of hippies that settled there after the Vietnam War. Strange as the Emerald City may be, no one had ever seen a flying timberwolf before.
Bobby shook it off. He had work to do and started walking towards the bank's door.
"You…wolf guy, stop where you are," the police officer in charge of the crime scene ordered.
Bobby ignored him. He walked straight through the door as if he was just running in to cash a check and found himself looking at the hostages huddled on the floor.
"What the fuck?" Frank exclaimed.
"Hi," said Bobby. "I'm going to need you to put your gun's down and let these people go."
"Man, are you for real?" Frank laughed.
"Uh, yeah, I'm for real," Bobby replied. "Let these people go or I'll…"
"You'll what? Beat me with your fluffy tail?" Frank and his cronies laughed.
God damn it, Bobby swore to himself, why did I put on the stupid tail? He shook it off and kept his attention on Frank.
"Come on dude, please?" Bobby asked. That only drew more laughter from the robbers.
Bobby took a step towards Frank, "Look if you just…"
"Don't fuckin move," said Frank. He wasn't laughing now. He grabbed Spencer again and was using him as a human shield to protect himself from this nutcase in the wolf outfit.
"Let that boy go," Bobby hissed.
"Yeah, Fluffy? What if I don't?"
Bobby took another step forward and Frank shot him in the chest at point blank range. The blast blew Bobby backwards ten feet and he slammed into a wall before falling on his face.
"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" Spencer screamed. He'd felt so relieved when the Timberwolf walked in. He knew it had to be Bobby and that he was going to save them. Now Bobby laid there, face down on the floor surrounded by bits of fur and stuffing.
Wait, Spencer told himself. Bits of stuffing. Stuffing, not blood.
"Ohhhh," Bobby groaned as he stood up. He was a little clumsy in the costume. "You shot me you a-hole."
"Holy shit!" Frank exclaimed. "What the fuck are you!"
Bobby marched towards the robber, he was pissed now. He couldn't believe the guy had actually shot him. Bobby walked forward until the barrel of Frank's shotgun was pressed firmly against his chest.
"That's a 12 gauge, right?" asked Bobby.
Frank was so scared all he could do was nod.
"Play Dough!" Bobby exclaimed and using his heat vision he melted the weapon until it fell from Franks hand to become a steaming puddle on the floor. Frank's eyes nearly popped out of his head.
Bobby grabbed Frank's wrist and pulled it away from his body setting Spencer free. He grabbed Frank's collar, hoisted him into the air and threw him at Ted. The force of it was incredible. The brothers impacted against the brick wall and were rendered unconscious. Bobby turned his attention to John Moss.
"No, no, I give up," said Moss, as he dropped his shotgun in a panic.
Bobby picked up the weapon and as though it were made of rubber, he used it to bind John's wrists. The robber was so stunned by the display he passed out.
With the robbers under wraps, Bobby's first instinct was to go to Spencer but he knew he couldn't. If he acknowledged his friend, or his coach, someone would figure things out and he'd spend the rest of his life as a lab rat. He turned and walked out the door to find the police hunkered down behind their cars with their weapons drawn.
"Um, hi," Bobby waved. "It's safe in there now. You should uh, probably go in and help the hostages."
Some of the cops stood up and Bobby realized they were more afraid of him then they had been of the robbers. He'd already been shot once. He decided it was best not to push it.
"Ok, well, I'm gonna go now," he waved again and then shot into the air.
It took Bobby a few minutes to find a safe place to land, and then he had to dispose of Tommy. He couldn't just take the costume back. If he did, the police would know whoever had worn it was someone from the school bus. This way, it looked like the hero of the day had stolen the costume to hide his identity from the police. When he rejoined the team, the police were freeing the hostages and no one even noticed he'd been gone.
As soon as the boy's saw Coach Winston and Spencer come out, they pushed past the police line and swarmed their friends. Spencer wanted to tell Bobby that he'd saved his life, that he was wonderful and amazing and that he would be forever in his debt but Spencer came to the same conclusion as Bobby. He had to play it cool or risk giving away his friends secret identity. They settled for a friendly hug instead.
The boys missed the Mariners game that day. The police spent hours asking the hostages questions about the bank robbery and more importantly about the flying Timberwolf. The cops couldn't believe the story the hostages told, it was just crazy. There are no such things as superheroes.
When the team returned to school that night the bus was met by their parents. Mom's and dad's hugged their son's and thanked God they'd all come home safe. While the team hadn't been in danger, anyone of them could have gone into that bank with Coach Winston. The parents were eager to get their boy's home so the crowd quickly dispersed. Bobby lost sight of Spencer but as soon as his parents were asleep he climbed out his window and took off into the night sky.
Being the only boy in a family with three sisters wasn't all bad, there were some substantial perks. The McCoy's had a small studio apartment over their garage and it had been Spencer's kingdom since he was 12. He was just getting ready for bed when there was a knock at his door. He figured it was his mom. It took an hour for him to talk her into letting him out of her grasp and he figured she wanted to hug him goodnight one last time. He was a little surprised when he found Bobby on his doorstep.
"Hey," Spencer smiled at the unexpected surprise.
Bobby didn't know what came over him but he grabbed Spencer, pulled him into a tight hug and kissed him on the lips.
"Whoa, what the…" Spencer started when the kiss broke. Bobby didn't let him finish. He kissed him again only this time he slipped his tongue into Spencer's mouth and Frenched him.
"Bobby!" Spencer giggled.
"I-I can't help it," Bobby stuttered. "When I say that douche bag with his arm around your throat, I…"
"Hey, it's ok," Spencer soothed him. "I was scared too."
"I can't live without you, Spence."
"That's sweet but…"
"No but's. It's not just what happened today. I've been thinking about you a lot and it's really confusing but today it all became clear. I need you Spencer. I love you."
Spencer pulled him close and they shared another powerful kiss. They somehow managed to find their way to Spencer's bed and collapsed on it without breaking their embrace. They lost track of time as they made out and eventually stopped from exhaustion.
"Wow, who knew kissing a boy could be so great?" Bobby panted.
"I did," said Spencer. "Tried to tell you."
Bobby laughed so hard he snorted.
"So what does this mean, are we boyfriends now?" asked Spencer.
"Call it whatever you want. All I know is I love you."
"That's so sweet, I think you earned another kiss," Spencer giggled but this time he gave Bobby a gentle peck on the lips. Bobby pulled Spencer against him and smiled as he caught his breath.
"So, now that you've popped your crime fighting cherry…" Spencer started.
"Yeah, I've been thinking about that too," said Bobby.
"You saved all of those people today, Bobby. Doesn't that make you feel good?"
"Spence, it feels incredible. I think about how relieved I was when you walked out of that bank safe and sound. If I can give that feeling to other people, I think I have to, don't you?"
"Yeap, thought so all along. I knew you'd come around."
"Glad you did, I wasn't so sure."
"You've got a good heart, Bobby, and good things happen when you follow it."
"Yeah," Bobby agreed and gave Spencer a squeeze. Holding the boy he loved in his arms, that was a very good thing. "So if I'm going to do this, I need your help with something."
"I told you, I'll be your sidekick."
"Yes, but that's not what I meant."