Not a Superhero
Moritora wasn’t a hero.
He couldn’t do a running headlock or a piledriver. He couldn’t mediate when tempers flared and disagreements became harder to ignore. He couldn’t play an instrument, stay in school, or save the day.
However, there was something that Muro insisted only he could do. He kept the family together.
So it was on nights like this when Moritora would flank Muro and Matsumi with a big shirt to promote their latest event, don a face mask, and clean up the mass of party streamers summoned by their musical performance to kick off the kelpie races.
Even though it was by all accounts a happy day, with a higher than expected number of customers, Moritora was feeling down. He shuffled off to a quiet, spare room in the former hunter’s guild, took off his mask, and stared off in the distance at a wall.
Following about fifteen minutes of thoughts kept to himself, a knock was heard on the door.
“Hey, Mori, are you in there?” inquired the voice of Muro.
“Sure, yeah.” was about all that Moritora could think to say.
The door swung open and Muro, fairly comfortable at reading her brother’s swings in and out of various states, took a few steps in, not with the usual confident stride when she’d speak in public or deliver an enzuigiri to an Orc.
“Would you like to talk?”
Muro sat down next to Moritora in the middle of the empty storage room and gave him a little hug. “You’ve been amazing at setting all of this up.”
“It’s nothing.” Moritora remained still. “I check people in. Play games. Walk Following about fifteen minutes of thoughts kept tHey, Mori, are you in there?” inquired the voice of Muro.
“Sure, yeah.” was about all that Moritora could think to say to himself, a knock was heard on the door.
“No, you’re wonderful! You helped set up the ring and the decorations. And you helped settle things down between Matsumi and myself for… well, it’s been quite a few times, but we’re all still together thanks to you.”
Moritora gave Muro a deadpan glare. “Muro, I walked into the room and told both of you to settle down, then I went straight back to staring at hot pictures of nekomata with big tits.” Muro held back a laugh as Moritora continued, “I’m not even trying.”
A finger jabbed Moritora’s chest. “But you care about us! That matters, for me and Matsumi.”
Moritora took another swig of his bottle of apple bavarian ginger beer. “I don’t do shit.”
“Nooo, you do plenty. And you’re always welcome to be a part of our shows.” Muro patted Moritora on the back, trying to be reassuring.
Moritora looked down at his feet. “I don’t know that I want to try wrestling, and I don’t have enough muscle to look intimidating.”
“That’s fine! You can be a manager. Keep the squad in line!” Muro winked while kicking her boots in the air.
“NOBODY is going to give a fuck, and I barely talk.” Moritora let out a very audible sigh. “I don’t even have a heavenly ass like you-”
Muro’s eyes went wide as she burst out laughing. “Excuse me! Heavenly Ass! That sounds like… like a truly vile demon!”
She stood up, hands at her hips, turning to look at Moritora with boots firmly on the ground. “HEAVENLY ASS! The Cheeks of Christianity, the Alpha and Omega of Ass!” Arms crossed, her hair flared up as though a breeze passed through. “I am that I ass! Blessed are the big in ass, for they have inherited the cake!”
A smile finally showed up on Moritora’s lips. Muro dropped her arms to her sides and went back to sitting next to him.
“So,” she asked, “where’d you listen to talk like that?”
“Uh, intranet sites.” Moritora looked off to the side. “…Matsumi told me I have a pancake ass.”
A familiar voice could be heard outside the door screaming, “YOU DAMN RIGHT!”
“Well, don’t worry, you have very nice shoulders,” Mori said, rubbing his lift. “And you know I’m trying to start an acting career, too. I could always use a man to handle some roles. A co-star!”
“You think so?” Moritora asked. “It looks like the people here are more interested in eye candy for kelpie races.”
“Maybe here, but… I really do want to be an actor. Wrestling demons joshi style is fine, it’s just… maybe a bit more violent than I’d like sometimes? Not that I don’t mind beating demons up, just… not all the time. You know? I don’t have Matsumi’s constant energy for these things.”
Moritora finished up the last of his fake beer. “Okay, I guess I can try it out sometime. How many people come to those plays, anyway?”
Muro put a finger to her lip “About… two dozen people right now. Not a lot.” Moritora’s smile faded a bit. “But you know, small crowds mean there’s less people to worry about if you mess up. And I know most of the regulars by now!”
“Mmm.” Moritora was still a bit visibly down.
Muro leaned in a bit to Moritora’s ear. “Would you like to blow raspberries on my belly, again?”
“Aw, shaddup,” Moritora grumbled. “That shit is kid stuff!”
Muro took off her giant boots to avoid a preventable kicking hazard. “Does that even matter? Old people are into super hero junk, video games, cartoons, comics. Wrestling! Idols! It’s all absolutely ridiculous kid stuff!” She carefully laid her back down on Moritora’s lap. “And I’m older than you so here’s a secret: we take it all damn seriously.” Muro tapped Moritora’s nose twice with her index finger.
Moritora gave Muro a look with heavy lidded eyes, a look of resigning himself to childish urges. “Fine, just this once.”
“No. No, it won’t be!” Muro stuck out her tongue, smiling. “It doesn’t matter how much money you don’t have, or how much you wanna give up. The show must continue.”
Muro got up just quickly enough to give Moritora a kiss on the cheek, and laid back down again to give a salute. “Ten, hut! Blow those raspberries with force, sergeant!”
Finally, Mori gave an honest smile through depressed eyes, taking hold of the absurdity of the situation. “Aye aye, captain!”