[AN: This tale harkens back to story 1 in this thing ]
I tried to tell her it wouldn't work. Convincing a superhero Aunty to finance a neophyte supervillain requires more points in debate than dear little Wondergal ever possessed.
Just like every other rich person, Aunty Wonderbabe thought that all the poor people had to do to get ahead was work harder.
"Fine," said Wondergal. "Then I demand to have my allowance revoked for the rest of the semester. If I can work hard, I shouldn't have a problem, right?"
"If you want to pick that animal's side," announced Aunty Wonderbabe, "Then you can live like her too." And just like that, she was kicked out with just the uniform she had on.
So Wondergal moved into my tiny little
closet apartment that had just enough room to turn around in and fart.
It was cramped with just me in it. What there was of 'kitchen' was a one-ass nook full of refrigerator, toaster oven, and one cardboard cupboard that was in danger of falling apart. And of course, it was bare. There was just enough room for the single bed and the crate I used to hold my laptop on.
Wondergal summarised it in one word. "Yikes."
"It ain't much, but mi casa, es tu casa. At least until the absentee landlord receives a complaint about two of us living here so he can kick us out and raise the rent some more."
She giggled. "That can't happen, that's illegal."
Sweet summer child... Of course I helped her alternate identity get work. It was easy to sell a privileged child on the outs with her rich family. What she wasn't used to was the work.
She might have powers, but this kind of stuff wears you out on a spiritual level. Smiling and being nice to asshole customers. Staying quiet about those same customers and their sexual assault. Taking out the garbage, taking in the orders, and taking all of the blame.
By the second week, she was using her X-ray vision to help me dumpster dive.
The nearest food place that was open at the hours we had time to be free was a dive. No vegetables worth mentioning, of course. Packaged stuff that was definitely not vegan, atkins, or anything else approved. Possibly not FDA approved either. But it filled the holes and that was what mattered.
She auctioned off her authentic, signed, Wondergal costume to internet perverts so we could make the rent. She lost every single standard she had when she was rich.
And then she had a brilliant idea. She blogged about it as Sally Stevens. How she had a fight with her sponsors over a relationship with Maria -me- her girlfriend. And now she was trying to make do on the other side of the fence.
It helped that she was blonde and pretty. It helped that I stayed in the background and didn't say a lot. She got quite popular. And then YouTube pulled her account just before a big cheque was due. We were depending on that to pay for the new cupboard after the old one finally collapsed.
And everyone knew how badly our landlord was overcharging, but we couldn't afford a lawyer. Everything is shut up and pay up when you're that broke.
It took us a few months of busting our asses, but that one was the final straw. Wondergal turned to a life of crime. We got away with a couple of heists before Aunty Wonderbabe turned up to crash the party.
My Sally did all the heavy hitting. Two months of creep dodging between jobs definitely honed her reflexes. Meanwhile, I managed to sneak off with the loot.
We chilled out opposite the jewellery store that started it all, two nights later. All the money we got from fencing the loot was already spent, and our debtors always wanted more.
"Crime is a symptom of a world turned rotten," Sally brooded.
"Hey. You're completely the wrong gender for the stubbly anti-hero."
"High time there was an anti-heroine. Right?"
I giggled. "Could call yourself Miss Methadone."
She got it in an instant, and laughed her first real laugh in months. "Robin the Hood and her merry dames?" she countered.
"Eh." I sighed, looking down at the store. They'd upped their security of course. I couldn't See a way in any more.
"Y'know..." said Sally. "If I still had a Wondergal outfit, I could walk in and convince them that I needed all those diamonds to save the world."
"Diamonds are shit. Go for the sapphires. At least you get close to market value on the resale."
But, as it turned out, neither of us needed to. Sally still had the passcodes for a bunch of super-lairs. One, unified, blitz attack on all the heroic resources and all of a sudden the entire city was upside-down.
And that made us the first paired Valedictorians, that year. Sally insisted.