Fandom: Sky High
Characters: Warren Peace and the gang
Word Count: 1,984
Spoilers: All of the film
Disclaimer: Sky High is owned by Disney. I make no money.
Notes: If you’re reading War and Peace In Mind this could be in chapter 36. For those not reading the previously-mentioned story, the only thing you need to know is that Warren has the superhero name Phoenix and has graduated, but the rest of the gang hasn’t. Clear? Clear.
Summary: Warren gets roped into doing his patriotic duty. Wacky hijinks ensue!
“Dude, we are not doing this again.”
“Come on, I thought you liked fireworks!” Will insisted.
“I like the fireworks, it’s the nearly getting caught for setting off the illegal ones that I didn’t like.”
“That was totally a mistake-.”
“How did you even get ahold of those Stronghold?”
“Umm… Dad bought them at a discount last year. Someone must of just packed the box wrong!”
“That’s totally not going to happen this year though,” Will said with a confident grin. I began to get suspicious.
“What, we’re sticking to sparklers this year?” I asked sarcastically.
“Nope, we’re setting off Maxville’s city display.”
There was a pause.
“What?” I asked.
“I mean, you are. Phoenix is,” Will clarified, clearly enjoying the dumbfounded look on my face.
“Since when?” I demanded to know.
“Since um… yesterday,” Will said, shuffling his feet a bit. “I mean, the mayor was going to ask you, and then my dad kinda found out, and thought maybe it’d be better if I did, because maybe you wouldn’t kill me.”
“Well, they were kind of worried Pyrospark might show up and try to use the fireworks to burn down the city-.”
“If this is a hero thing, then why would I want to kill you? I don’t mind guarding the fireworks if they need me. Of course I’ll do it,” I said, rolling my eyes at Stronghold’s sense of the dramatic.
“…Because they want you to make a speech to kick off the display.”
I stopped my mouth from dropping open, stopped myself from shouting “What?!” again, and stopped myself from strangling Stronghold by a supreme act of will.
“A speech,” I said finally.
It wasn’t like I was unfamiliar with the attendant media duties that came with being a superhero. I had been talking to the press after my superbattles, I had occasionally written back to some of my less-crazy fans (or “phans” as they called themselves, to my everlasting horror), and I’d even joined in one or two public service announcements along with the Commander, Jetstream, and other Maxville heroes to help raise the awareness of important issues.
That had only been tolerable because first, I had been in a group, two, I only had to say what was on the cue card, and three, it had been a lot more embarrassing for Will’s parents than for me.
“We need Phoenix in this to get the youth vote, so to speak,” the director was saying.
The Commander got this slightly odd expression on his face, as if he couldn’t believe what had just been said.
“Youth vote?” he said finally.
“Yeah, the young kids, they think he’s pretty cool, so we need him to hit the target demographic,” the director said breezily, before going off to adjust the lighting.
“Youth vote?” the Commander repeated plaintively to his wife. Jetstream only smothered a smile.
“Dear, generally it’s the adult population of Maxville that really sees us as role models nowadays. You know that, right?” The Commander just kept looking at her as if she had grown two heads.
“Honey, the last human interest interview I agreed to do was for Good Housekeeping magazine. You remember, “Keeping Your Neighborhood Beautiful from Above”?” she pointed out.
As the Commander struggled to realize he was no longer a teen idol, I just kept my mouth shut. This alone was worth the price of admission…
“Just a little thing about America and independence or something, nothing big,” Will promised.
“Don’t your parents usually do this?” I asked instead.
“Um… they’re doing the one in New York, next to the Statue of Liberty,” he said with a shrug. And a smirk.
Will Stronghold was smirking.
“You’re enjoying this,” I accused. Will nodded, unrepentant.
“Better go practice, you don’t have too long until tonight,” he suggested.
“This is going to be really bad. Why aren’t you doing this Wonderboy?”
“Because I don’t have a hero’s license yet,” he said reasonably. And annoyingly.
“When you graduate, I’ve never doing this again,” I growled.
A little later that afternoon, Warren’s backyard
“You’re going to hate this,” I warned.
My audience only looked bored and sniffed the air.
“You’re going to get all startled and freaked out and start running around and hiding and I’m not going to pick up the mess,” I said firmly.
“Fine, I warned you. Citizens of Maxville, today we celebrate our independence… Damn that sounds lame,” I muttered.
The audience stretched casually.
“Screw it, let’s just cut to the chase.”
I powered up and touched my hands to the fuses of the bottle rockets. Within a few seconds, they went screaming up into the air above my house. Trixie, my audience for this little practice run, predictably found this to be the scariest thing since Zack tried to dance the Macarena, and fled in abject terror. Within a few more seconds, three of the bottle rockets corkscrewed their courses back to me, and slammed into my mom’s rosebushes.
After I used the hose to put the rosebushes out, I discovered that Trixie had been using them as cover. One wet and miserable cat stalked out, her fur plastered to her body comically, and yowled pathetically. I found a towel and dried her off the best I could, but she still insisted on crawling inside my jacket to steam dry. I couldn’t find the heart to chase her out.
“This isn’t going to go well,” I said aloud, sighing.
“Wow… you weren’t joking when you said you were bad at this,” Will commented from the doorway.
I didn’t even bother to ask how long he had been standing there, why Mom had let him in, or anything like that.
“Then what would you say?” I demanded.
“Um… Probably something about how much of an honor it is to celebrate our nation’s independence-.”
“Ok, you can stop right there.”
“And maybe about how our ancestors struggled to provide this great freedom for people of all types-.”
“And the wonderful way our country can accept all kinds of ideas-.”
“Where do you come up with this stuff?”
“I was listening to my dad practice his speech,” Will said, laughing.
“I can’t say any of that crap with a straight face,” I complained. “I mean, I don’t even have any catchphrases as Phoenix!”
“Not according to your ‘phan’ site.”
“Well, then just say something spontaneous! Free speech and all that. I bet that’s what Layla would say.”
“Layla would probably want me to add something about-.”
“The environment,” Will and I finished together. I shook my head and finally extracted my freshly steam-dried fluffy cat from my clothes.
“Or recycling, endangered animals, or something. All the heroes get to plug their favorite thing during stuff like this! I mean, Dad’s doing his usual ‘America is cool,’ Layla’s mom is talking about animal shelters, Zack’s dad is talking about electrical safety-.”
“Fine, I’ll figure out something,” I said, suddenly getting an idea. Will suddenly looked very worried as I began to smile.
Later that night, city center
“We really appreciate you doing this at the last minute Phoenix. I mean, the Commander and Jetstream were going to fly back from New York in time to kick this off, but then they got that invitation to the White House, and everything got all shuffled around…”
I listened to the mayor with only one ear, most of my attention on the truly insane amount of fireworks behind the barriers. It looked like a cross between a supervillain doomsday device and a leftover munitions pile. Just because I was a pyrokinetic didn’t mean I was a pyromaniac. Honestly. I just liked to watch things burn or explode occasionally.
Everyone liked that. Right?
“Almost showtime,” the mayor said, adjusting his tie. “And thank you for volunteering! I know this probably isn’t really your thing, but you have no idea how this helps the city’s image. It was such a relief when Pyrospark was jailed a week ago…”
I tuned the mayor out again as I carefully contemplated how to roast Will alive without getting caught. Volunteered, my ass. Ten to one Layla put him up to this…
“And five, four, three…” the cameraman counted down the seconds as the TV station began their live feed.
“And this is Brad Braley for Channel 6 news! We’re here at the Central Plaza with Mayor Briggs and Maxville’s own Phoenix!”
“We love you Phoenix!” I heard squealed out from the sidelines. A dozen girls in pink and red shirts that proclaimed “Phoenix Phans are the Hwattest!” had pushed to the front of the police barriers several blocks away and were waving phoenix-emblem flags and carrying posters.
“We promised them they’d be able to pose for pictures afterwards, that’s what the Commander and Jetstream usually do,” the mayor added casually. I began to feel a little faint.
That would have been bad enough, if one of the camera crew hadn’t swung around to catch them in action while another caught a simultaneous reaction from me. The image on the jumbo-tron screen on the nearby theater showed the girls jumping up and down and me with a smile frozen on my face. Any of my friends would have probably run for cover at that particular expression, but the fangirls were just screaming and waving, while one actually fainted in an excess of zeal. The camera quickly cut away before the frozen smile could shift into slack-jawed horror.
My favorite holiday was quickly turning into a distaster. Fangirls to the left, a speech in front of me, and pictures after… There was only one sane thing left to do to spare myself future embarrassment.
“Phoenix,” Brad Braley was saying, shoving the microphone in my face. “Do you have any words for this occasion?”
I smiled again, an expression that probably would have sent Trixie scrambling for cover and my friends out the door.
“I think it’s my patriotic duty to get this party started. Let’s light this up,” I almost growled, and spun to launch a dozen fireballs at the twisted fuses. In an extravagant showing of pyrotechnic fury, at least thirty minutes worth of fireworks went up in a five-minute explosion of psychedelic color, light, and deafening sound.
By the time anyone downtown was capable of seeing or hearing again, Phoenix was far gone, and I was back in my own house. I found my friends huddled around the TV, throwing popcorn at the screen as Zack tried to get my “speech” on a continuous loop by flipping through the various news channels.
“You guys all suck,” I announced, as everyone turned around and began to laugh and clap.
“Dude, that was the most awesome Fourth of July speech in the history of history!” Zack said, laughing so hard he tumbled back on the couch into Magenta.
“That was a desperation exit line,” I corrected, arms folded.
“Come on Warren, that was cool!” Will insisted.
“Hippie, hit him,” I said, but Layla only grabbed Will for a brief kiss, and then arched a brow at me as if daring me to ask her again.
“I think your ‘phan’ site just quadrupled its hits when you said that. It’s your official catch phrase now,” Ethan said from the corner, pointing to his laptop. “There’s a link to the Channel 6 webpage already!"
“…No,” I said weakly. I had wanted this to blackball me from any future event list, not increase my already dubious popularity!
“Yup, you got a catch-phrase, dude!” Zack crowed, and then collapsed back in the couch again.
“Stronghold, you volunteer me for any more crap like this-.”
“It’s ok, I won’t. I wouldn’t want it to… backfire!” Will said, and the room erupted in laughter.
After a while, all I could do was laugh too.
Overall, not a bad day’s work for a hero.
This is a piece of fanart drawn for this story by the wonderful bitsyglitter of the FanFiction.net community.