Frank Sinatra crooned out the words to ‘Come Fly With Me’ as they danced. A spectacular ball held on top of the Grand Titan building had attracted the cream of New York’s movers and shakers, and suited men came arm in arm with woman in the most bedazzling dresses of the time in celebration of yet another victory against the forces of evil.

For Sentinel himself though, it was not the party, the attendees or even the fellow members of the Defiant Guardsmen that drew his attention, but rather Shelly Star, Hollywood’s leading lady. She smiled up at him as they danced under the moonlight, surrounded by good food, pomp and pizzazz. It was a slightly cheeky smile though.

She knew his identity. Sentinel was a hero, someone who patrolled the streets and skies in only a white and black costume with a matching cape. The thin material provided little protection for him. In fact, he provided the protection for the suit. When he fought, a shimmering aura of force surrounded him that granted strength and resilience. He could even fly.

Shelly Star however, knew that beneath the legend was a man. A simple farmworker, who tilled the land with only the simplest of tools as he cared for his little farmstead in the heart of America. She’d played in those fields with him as a child. Swam in the nearby creek. Kissed in haylofts.

Harold Thompson, that farm worker, knew all about Shelly though. Even as they took off to cheers from the crowd as they moved in volant dance, he couldn’t help but think about her secret. Earlier that day they had danced in an altogether different style. Sentinel’s strength-backed punches simply slid through the illusions of Addle, sorceress supervillain. Equally, her focused blasts of light did little to his aura of force. He did, however, prevent the theft of a set of priceless diamonds.

High above the cityscape, Harold ‘Sentinel’ Thompson sighed. “Why, Shelly? Why do you keep doing this?”

“You’re the super hero, Harry. You figure it out.” Shelly Star replied with an arch smile, arms slipped around his shoulders.

“It couldn’t be for the money. They’re one of a kind, and very hard to sell.” He mused, twirling slowly as they talked. “And you wouldn’t be able to wear them…”

“Both true observations.” Shelly agreed.

“For the attention then? Or to get at me?”

“For the fun of it. And for all this.” Shelly laughed, glancing down at the party, twinkling away below. “I was in New York, you were bound to turn up if I caused some mischief, and the owners of the gems were bound to throw a party and reap the further press coverage.” She finished with a sigh though, glancing away.

Harry’s voice was pained as he spoke, supporting her body with one hand as he tried to turn her head to face him again. “Why does it have to be like this? You could use your powers, this gift of yours, for so much-”

“Don’t make it about this, not again, Harry.” She spoke, drawn up into looking deep into those soft green eyes of his. “I’d hoped we could just… enjoy this little evening. Filmstar to superhero.”

“Why not villain to superhero? Or childhood friend to childhood friend? I -worry- about you, Shelly. And I just wish… it didn’t have to be this way. These other villains you hang about at times, they’re not nice people like you are. They could really hurt you.”

“And you and your little group of capes couldn’t?”

“They could, and that’s a problem, Shelly.” The hero said quietly, brushing her blond hair back with a gentle motion.

“Take me back to the party, Harold.” She ducked her head away from his hand. “As nice as it is to see you, the conversation always gets like this. I tire of it.”

“The ball’s in your court then.” He replied as they descended back down to the top of the tower, broad shoulders sagging in defeat. “I’ll never stop trying though.”

It brought a slight smile to her face again. “No, you wouldn’t. All smiles, Harry. Time to play pretend once more.”


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