Short story here: It’s Dallas’s birthday! We get a story from when he got his dog and his favorite shirt!
This is set in 2020/his 17th birthday/two years before Blank Mastermind takes place.
(don’t try and back out now Dallas we all know you have a birthday)
The long story: I know all of you in blogland read Blank Mastermind where it’s happening in February.
You know what I caught in draft 2? There’s a baseball game. There are no baseball games in February.
So the whole of BM was bumped to April along with all the dates.
So now there are some Important Dates coming up in this month and there may be backstories/deleted scenes posted accordingly. (Wolfgang loses his memory two days from now, in case you’re curious. Also fun, I am /actually/ going to a baseball game on the day that the gang went to the baseball stadium.
Will I blow it up, according to the book events?
Story. Enjoy. ❤
It was probably a good thing my parents wanted me to come home for a short break. I needed to take a rest sometime with all the intense training and defending we were doing to keep the Wolf from hurting more people.
But I just couldn’t let myself relax.
It had been nearly been two years, and really, Wolfgang Dankworth’s attacks had only become more intense. People were dying now. And I just couldn’t rid myself of the feeling that this was . . . somehow my fault.
If I’d had better control of my teleportation right at the start. Maybe if I hadn’t been so clumsy with it and gotten Mr. Fernsby shot. Maybe if I were the kind of person who could master it . . . get comfortable with it and be able to help people better with having my powers on . . .
But none of those things were true and the Wolf was still out there. Even if it had been quiet for a few days and Mr. Fernsby said he could handle any problems on his own. I still felt guilty for taking a break when I should be helping.
My dad’s car pulled to a stop outside the house. The slight jolt of the brakes being put on made me jump a little. I realized I’d had my head resting back against the window. My eyes had been closed.
I sat up straighter, blinking and rubbing at my eyes as I undid the buckles.
It was late, after all. Long after dark outside. Maybe . . . Dad hadn’t noticed?
But he wanted to talk to me and how long had I just been asleep?
Dad glanced over at me. “We have some dessert ready inside, or dinner leftovers if you want to eat something?” he kept his voice quiet, unbuckling his own seatbelt and pulling out the car keys. “Or you can just go to bed if you’re tired.”
I shook my head a little. “It’s alright. I’ll . . . stay up for a little longer.” After all, even if it was my family, it was just . . . rude to sleep away a whole visit.
It’s alright to just relax for a little bit. Get grounded back into normal life for a few days.
My stomach still knotted up as I stepped out of the car.
Dad shut his door just seconds after I shut mine and our paths met as we came around to the front of the truck, heading towards the warm glow of the light from the front door.
I put my hands in my pockets, watching the shapes of my mom and sister move around in the light behind the thin curtains. Rushing around to get ready for me.
Lucas wasn’t home.
He usually wasn’t. But it always stretched the loneliness inside of me just a little more when he was gone and I was home.
Dad’s strong arm came over my shoulders as we kept walking towards the steps, giving a comforting – even if unexpected – hug. He smiled down at me as I glanced up.
“Well,” he remarked. “We won’t have you for long, I know. But it’s good to have our little hero home for a bit.”
One side of my mouth moved in a small smile and I ducked my head again as we reached the stairs. “Sidekick actually, Dad.”
“Ah, you’re still a hero to us, Dallas.” He rumpled my hair before opening the door and ushering me inside.
Penny had always been a night owl when I was living at home and I certainly hadn’t forgotten that. She really had a lot to ask me though, since we hadn’t seen each other in so long. Honestly, we both lost track of time a little while we were talking. Mom and Dad stayed around for a while, but even they bailed and went to bed a couple hours in.
It was past eleven before I went to bed, and I was so tired I barely even remembered getting up to my old bedroom. My throat was sore from talking. I hadn’t talked to someone that much in months.
The sun was high in the sky and streaming through the window onto my face when I finally opened my eyes. I squinted against the light, shielding my eyes as I sat up.
Well that was the first time in a long while I’d gotten a good night’s sleep. I hadn’t even had time to worry about what the Wolf was going to do next before I fell asleep.
A small part of me felt guilty about that, but I felt so much better after sleeping I didn’t give it much thought.
My hair was sticking up on one side and I tried to pat it down as I looked over at the clock.
I jumped like I’d just been burned.
Breakfast was probably long done with and my family had been waiting for me for . . . hours at the least. Dad usually did Bible study in the morning and I’d missed that for sure . . .
And this was supposed to be a visit with them. I was leaving the next morning.
Oh good grief, I should have set an alarm . . .
I scrambled out of bed, getting dressed as fast as I could without making too much noise. I smoothed the sheets back out on the bed and scooted my backpack over to the corner so it wasn’t spilling out onto the floor.
I finger combed at my hair again as I stepped out of the bedroom and started down the stairs. It still wouldn’t lie down flat.
Maybe if I get a comb and some water from dad . . .
Quiet, talking voices got closer as I came downstairs.
I reached the bottom and turned towards the living room, ducking my head slightly as I heard the conversation stop.
“S-sorry, I didn’t mean to sleep in so late, I just . . .” I trailed off as I took in the room. My family was sitting in chairs or on the couch, all looking at me and smiling.
And I mean . . .
It was . . .
It was all my family.
Lucas. He was still in uniform and everything. Sitting in the corner of the couch and grinning at me. Just like he’d looked since the last time I saw him except . . . maybe a few more freckles on his face.
Mom laughed a little. Penny bounced in her seat.
Lucas saluted me, still smiling as he pushed off the couch. “Happy birthday, captain.”
I stared, still not sure I was seeing right. “Lucas?”
He just laughed and came around the coffee table, pulling me into a hug that squeezed all the breath out of my lungs. The kind of hug I always got from Lucas.
I couldn’t get the air to say I was happy to see him, but a smile spread across my face anyway and I hugged back with my one arm I could get free. My grin faded just slightly with confusion as I played back the words he’d said in my mind.
He pulled back and I blinked, looking up at him. “Happy . . . birthday?”
Lucas just stared at me in disbelief for a second, then burst out laughing.
“Dallas!” Penny sounded scandalized. “You didn’t remember your own birthday?”
“You didn’t realize what we were having you home for?” Dad asked.
April. Well I knew it was somewhere in April I just . . . forgot that the tenth was my birthday.
I shrugged, feeling my face growing red. “I . . . guess I just lost track of the date with all the . . . hero project things going on . . .”
“Sounds like you’ve been working even harder than me, then,” Lucas remarked. “No wonder you slept in so late.”
“It’s a darn good thing we got you to take a break when we did, my goodness.” Mom gave me a look.
I gave an embarrassed smile as Lucas pushed me over towards the couch to sit down. “It’s . . . well . . . protecting the whole state when there could be more bombs anywhere isn’t an easy job to take a break from. Mr. Fernsby can’t do it by himself . . .”
“And neither can you,” Dad shook his head. “Even Charles remembered your birthday, and he’s only known you for the last two years through work.”
I rubbed at one side of my face and looked down at my socks.
“There’s eggs and toast in the kitchen if you’re hungry,” Penny put in.
I shook my head. “I’m alright for now. Thank you.”
“On to the presents, then?” asked Lucas.
“Presents?” I lifted my head to stare at him again. “Oh, you didn’t need to . . .”
“Too late. I’ve had this since last year.” He grabbed a small, brown paper wrapped package off the floor and tossed it to me. “A bit of a uniform for our family hero.”
I caught it, fumbling a little. It felt soft and was flat. Judging by his remark as well, it was probably some sort of clothing.
I carefully pulled off the tape and unwrapped it without tearing the paper. A dark blue and grey shirt, folded from the back, lay in the middle.
“Turn it over!” Penny wound a strand of her pink hair around one finger as she watched me.
I turned the shirt over to see the front and couldn’t help the smile that came across my face as I saw. A Captain America shield pattern was printed on the blue front of the shirt.
Lucas and I had always watched those movies together when I was younger. He never got tired of the endless times I’d picked the first movie to watch and he’d teasingly pretend to mix up when he was calling my name and say “Captain Rogers” instead.
I never missed him as much as when I was watching those movies, after he left. And it seemed like some prophesy coming true as we both headed off on our different life paths. The way I’d tried to follow him into the army, instead getting pulled aside into being given experimental superpowers. Even if I’d stayed just as small and skinny as ever.
It seemed like it had been forever since I’d just sat on the couch with Lucas, watching Captain America. I’d almost avoided watching, since it seemed like some sacred thing I should only do with him.
And here he was giving me a shirt so I could remember it more often.
“Like it?” Lucas asked, sitting forward in his seat to see my face better.
I nodded, still unable to tone down the huge grin on my face.
Lucas chuckled, clapping a hand on my shoulder. “You’ll be a little more identifiable as your alter ego now, right?”
“Plus having one shirt in your wardrobe that isn’t green,” added Penny.
“Thank you,” I laughed a little as I folded the shirt back up and set it on the table. “I wasn’t even expecting any presents so this is . . .”
“Oh hold on there,” Mom interrupted. “We’re not done just yet.” She looked over at Dad, who nodded and got up, heading out of the room.
Lucas raised an eyebrow at me.
I looked at Mom, then back to where Dad had gone out. “Do I need to . . . follow him?”
“No, no, he’ll be back. Sit tight.” She tucked her hair behind one ear, smiling secretively.
I sat there and waited, wondering what Dad could be getting. Something too big to wrap?
My gosh, I hoped they didn’t get me something too extravagant.
It was another minute before I heard Dad come back inside, through the garage door. He was laughing to himself and quietly saying something.
There was another sound too. Uneven, excited clicking on the tile. Dog toenails, skittering on the hard surface, it sounded like.
We hadn’t had a family dog in years.
Did they get another dog? I don’t remember hearing anything about . . .
Realization hit me and my eyes widened.
Oh no, they didn’t.
Dad came around the corner, grinning and holding the bright green leash of a tiny chocolate lab puppy.
The puppy bounced around on the end of the leash, excitedly wagging its tail and straining towards the living room.
“So we decided you need a loyal sidekick of your own, Dallas.” Dad laughed and let go of the leash, letting the puppy run over, excitedly going to lick everyone’s shoes and jump up on their legs. It came to stop at me and wiggled excitedly, sniffing at my hands and licking them.
“Just a little someone to keep you company in your apartment and with all the hero stuff,” Penny grinned. “I mean, even Superman has a dog, right? Amazing Man can’t mind. We all pitched in to get him.”
I didn’t think I could have smiled any bigger, just after getting the shirt. But this?
My own dog?
I rubbed my hands over the puppy’s soft, mushroom brown fur, flopping his ears around a little before picking him up into my lap. My heart felt too big for my chest and I took a few seconds to find my words.
“Thank you all.” I grinned.
The puppy barked along as they broke into a rendition of the happy birthday song.
Hope that filled everyone’s dose of happy for the day. ❤
Feel free to leave Dallas presents in the comments! XD
See you guys next time!