Skeleton in the Closet
You know, Smitty, you have *no* room to talk about influencing. I just bought eight issues worth of RUSE because of you. And that's not mentioning the JSA fixation, *or* my having to write this. :) This doesn't quite play by challenge rules, but...close enough.
Quick primer: Mr. Bones is (takes deep breath) an ex-supervillain with invisible skin which is lethal to the touch who used to hang out with Infinity Inc. and was used to kill that group's leader, the first Star-Spangled Kid, then known as Skyman. And now he runs the DEO. Whose idea *was* that, anyway...?
"Don't touch me," he warned, and felt a vaguely masochistic pleasure at the flicker in her eyes and the way she took a step back as he picked himself up.
All she actually said, though, was: "Are you okay?"
"No broken bones." A skeleton's smile is an evil thing. "Go catch the bad guy."
"Al's got him." She pointed vaguely, didn't quite take her eyes away. "He hit you pretty hard. Are you sure--"
"Read my invisible lips: I'm fine. Now go check on someone you give a damn about."
Color flushed through the girl's face. "I don't--"
"Kid, I'm a better liar than you ever will be, so save it. I killed the first Star-Spangled Kid, I scare the hell out of you, and you could care less what happens to me as long as I don't come near you."
Courtney took a deep breath. "That's not true."
Impossible for a skeleton to look cynical, but Bones was giving it a good shot. "No? So tell me, which part isn't right?"
"The part where you killed him," she said, and if her voice shook it was barely noticeable. "I know the story, okay? It was Harlequin, and maybe Grundy. It wasn't you."
"So?" Cold and careless, that voice, and Courtney almost backed down. Almost.
"So I'm a member of the Justice Society. And justice means you don't blame people for things that aren't their fault. Maybe you do kind of scare me. But it's not fair, and I'm trying to stop." No shake at all, this time, and she met his empty eyes full-on.
Long pause, and discomfort started to work through the girl's face again. "Um. So. Anyway." She started to turn away.
"He would've approved of you."
"Yeah." Long, skeletal sigh. "You have his heart."
Her eyes were just a little dazzled. "Thanks." Another pause, not nearly as uncomfortable. "So you're sure you're okay?"
"Positive. All I need is a tall glass of milk and about eight hours of shut-eye."
She blinked. "Milk?"
His voice was bland. "I like to have strong bones."
She blinked again, then actually giggled. "Uh-huh. Well, then..." And she was off, calling out to her teammates.
Behind her, invisible eyes blinked back painful tears.