Updated: May 10, 2021
By Aerin Cuff
Hero and Villain. Villain wants power and loves destruction. Hero wants peace and loves tranquility. Hero and Villain cannot see eye-to-eye. Villain causes chaos across all realms. Hero attempts to keep the citizen out of danger while stopping Villain’s antics. Villain grows tired of Hero's attitudes and decides to put a final stop to ultimately destroy Hero. Hero hits a breaking point leaving Villain to have a temporary win. Hero gains the willpower to stand up against Villain once and for all. Hero beats Villain. Villain ends up sulking in a jail cell, while Hero is seen as an exceptional heroine amongst the townspeople. Until Hero is faced with a new Villain.
That is how the typical story goes between our dedicated heroes and dreadful villains. But what if our hero was the corrupt enemy and the villain was just a misunderstood vigilante. What if our villain was not a fearless, spunky individual and hero was an awkward, jittery individual? What if our hero never wanted to be a hero at all? Or doesn’t feel like they belong or aren’t good enough to be a hero? Or if our hero is a bad person deep inside? Or maybe what if our villain was actually a gentle soul deep down? Or if everyone else was misinformed and Villain was innocent? What if Hero and Villain instead of strangers, were classmates or coworkers? Or best friends? Or perhaps even lovers? Nonetheless, Hero and Villain were intertwined to become one. In this tale, they were destined to be more than one; they were destined to be infinite. And so, our tale begins.
“Where’s my coffee?”
“Maybe you ran out?”
“No, I made coffee, walked away to pee, and now it’s gone. Where is it, you bastard?”
Hero peeked behind the newspaper to eye Villain. Villain’s stature stood sluggish without the ounce of caffeine running through her veins. Her raven locks pulled into knots indicating that she just rolled out of bed. The bags lingered underneath her emerald orbs prominent against her sharp cheekbones. Hero’s white shirt engulfed Villain’s body and pooled at her wrist. Her finger turning white as held her strong grip on the table.
“I’ll ask once again where’s my coffee?”
Sighing, Hero put her newspaper down to reveal the glass mug. Lifting it up, to her lips she took a generous sip. Before saying, “you know coffee is awfully sweet, right?”
Villain’s right eye twitched in irritation. “Well, the coffee was for me. It’s not nice to steal.”
“Well, you abandon the coffee. It sat all alone on the counter. Who was I to leave the poor, sweet soul to shrivel up in this freezing loft,” Hero teased?
Hero jumped off the chair with the indigo mug in hand, walking around to face Villain. Offering the mug back to its rightful owner, Hero smiled sweetly. Hero’s pearly whites complemented her smoky eyes. Her braids drawled back by a headband, cascading down her back. Her platforms make her slightly taller than Villain.
Taking the cup into her cold hands, Villain added “you’re the pain of my existence.”
Dramatically, Hero clutched her chest and gripped the table as she stumbled back into the sink declaring, “No! I’m wounded by your foul words! How will I ever recover from this betrayal?”
“You’ll die in despair for taking my coffee” Villain grumbled as she walked away from Hero into the living area where she sunk into the sofa cushions.
Hero chuckled as she followed Villain’s body being pulled deeper into the sofa cushion grabbing the abandoned newspaper. Opening it back up to the main highlight of the day to show Villain.
“Did you see this yet?”
Glancing at the page, Villain quirked an eyebrow up questioning “the new candle store opening?”
“Ugh! No, I was referring to the grand opening of the art exhibit downtown tonight!”
“Ah, right. Here it is. In big, bold font too” Villain lamely stated as she tapped the page article and took another sip of coffee.
“You know what this means right?” Hero gave her a pointed look.
“We’ll enjoy our peaceful day alone together in this apartment.” Villain patted Hero’s knee in spirit.
“No Villain,” Hero sighed but she continued, “We have to rob the place!”
“A robbery? I thought we were done with this bit? It's getting kind of old, love.” Villain groaned as her head fell back.
“Come on, Villain! It will be like old times remember.” Hero climbed into Villain’s lap straddling her legs as she lightly tugged Villain’s chin down.
Rolling her eyes, Villain countered, “Old times? We did this last week! Can’t we just have one normal weekend?”
“Please, Villain,” Hero begged. “I really want to do this! Besides, you like this bit too. You break in the gallery wreaking havoc, then I come in to stop you. We fight for a bit before I take you to jail. I get applause and the glory. Then, you break out of jail and then we make love into the daylight rises again. And all is good and mighty in the world.”
“Our world, you mean,” Villain corrected as she thumbed at Hero’s pale pink collared shirt.
“Yes, our world. The only world that matters.” Hero traced Villain's lips before adding, “So what do you think, love? A little heist after a romantic night out?”
Villain pulled Hero’s plump cheeks in a chaste kiss. Adding, “Well, how could I say no to you?”
Hero grinned wildly before tugging Villain into a strong embrace. “Thank you, Vil. It will be a thrill, I promise.”
Villain hummed approval, “On a few conditions, I get the first punch this time, and don’t take me to Stonebrook Jail this time either. It stinks there.”
Hero groaned in response. “But you get the first punch every time! Maybe I want to hulk out on you first? And will you ever let that go? It was only one time and I apologized.”
“Those are my conditions. Take it or leave it. We can always just sit veg out on the sofa for the day.”
“Fine, I’ll accept those conditions.”
“Good. Now, let’s go get ready. I need to sharpen my knife.” Villain tapped Hero’s thigh signaling her to get up.
As day left into the evening, Hero and Villain got ready for their date or rather a heist. The natural light in their loft slowly cast away leaving a soft orange hue across the walls. Hero sat at the ivory vanity leaning over to get closer to become one in the mirror. Hero’s face was painted flawlessly. The smoky eyes accessorized a sharp dragon-like silver eyeliner running from her brow to her cheekbone. Full lips stained a fiery cherry red. The heightened shoulder pads of her metallic dress filled up the view as her braids peeked out from the ponytail.
Villain's tall stature came to fill the empty void of the background. Leaning back into the seat, Hero acquired a better view of Villain’s frame. The emerald pantsuit fitted tightly against her body as a cold porcelain lace shirt peeking through mixed in with her milky-white skin. Her bare face was framed by her wavy raven locks. Her lips were painted in a rosy gloss. Villain's eyes focused on Hero’s through the mirror while she fiddled with readjusting the knife in her pants and holding the thick cane.
“Breathtaking as always, my dear.”
Hero grinned, catching her Villain gaze through the mirror. “Always such the charmer.”
Villain let out a low chuckle as Hero stood up to face her. Hero pulled Villain into a light kiss before adding “you look beautiful as well, Vil.”
“Let’s get going,” Villain captured Hero's hand intertwining their fingers as they exited the loft to walk into warm nightfall.
“Where are we going, Vil?”
“An exclusive rooftop restaurant, just the two of us and our private chef obviously.”
Hero giggled at the last part while swinging their intertwined hand into the air, adding, “Adaline is one talented chef. It’s a good thing you’re loaded so we can afford just wondrous things that we do.”
“And it’s a good thing, you're such a squandering con artist, so we can get away with the most heinous crimes.”
They both began to laugh loudly as they entered the building’s elevator grabbing everyone's attention. The elevator took them mighty high up to the rooftop. Vines and sparkling lights are covered high and low as a table is set up in the middle patio.
Smiling, Hero and Villain travel over to the lone table and take a seat as Villain’s head chef and server greet them with their meals. As the night went along, their conversation might have been short but there was not a need to force one. Hero and Villain’s comfortable silence was enough to fill a stadium.
“So, what is the plan tonight? Are you winging it?” Villain teased as she bopped Hero’s dragon liner.
“Vil, don’t mess it up,” Hero complained as she slapped her hand away. “We’re doing plan Alpha-39. You think you can keep up this time?”
“I think it’s you who needs to keep up this time. I’m not going out easy tonight,” Villain grinned erratically.
Hero began to match the grin before replying, “Wouldn’t expect anything less of you. Now, let’s go steal a painting.”
Hero stood up walking over to the end of the rooftop. She inhaled deeply as her true form took over her body. The metallic dress grew into a form-fitting suit as dragon-like wings sprouted her back. She ran her hands over her face to reveal a matching eye mask. She looked over her shoulder to see that Villain has changed to her costume as well. The emerald suit grew into a darker emerald, green and black suit as a cape flew behind her.
Stepping up onto the ledge, Hero looked over to Villain who’s heading towards the other side of the ledge. She leaned forward excitedly yelling, “See you soon, Villain.”
The wind felt extraordinary against Hero’s wings as she dove down to the empty street before sweeping back up into the heavens. It was a truly exhilarating feeling to Hero. She soared above the clouds at a frightening speed naked to the natural eye. Her orbs wide and shining with determination with a hint of mischievousness. Diving in between clouds, she could sensation people only dream about. It was fluffy yet sweet like cotton candy dissolving in your mouth, but slightly wet to the touch. Suddenly, Hero’s erratic flying came to a halt when she heard an explosion towards the east side of Kikoro. Villain.
Meanwhile across town, Villain stood on the disregarded ledge as she focused deeply on to the empty space of the vacant street. Her mind grew tighter as her hands come together to circle out to reveal a ring of light. The florescent lights haloed all the way down giving a slight whooshing sound to surround the remaining air of the ring. Smiling at the portal created, Villain relaxed her arms as she took a leaped down. The portal began to expand under the city of Kikoro as Villain drove deeper. Echoing of the rings filled her ears as she felt her blood grew thicker.
Closing in on the end of the portal, Villain reached into her suit to pull out an explosive device. Her confident stature stood tall across from the vacant side of the building as portal released her from it’s hold.
Villain lifted her body from the street into the crisp air, winding her right arm back as she drove the explosive into the wall. Her eyes sparked as the walls crumbled down and gasps of panic was delivered. Gliding through the diminished wall, she quickly glanced the area. No civilians in this wing. Good. Villain soared into the new exhibit as people trampled out the hall, screaming in fear. Emerald orbs circled the room to find the best piece, stopping at a forest green canvas and gold frame holding the center of the room. Villain’s tore the frame off the pristine walls as she made her way to front of the building to start the real chaos of the evening.
Coming off the clouds, Hero dove across the city to Kikoro Museum of Art. The west side of the building was blown into pieces. Civilians were scurrying out the building like rats as police began to surround the building guns drawn up into the air. Villain’s body floating into the air as she held the priceless painting caught the attention of everyone as her booming voice began to exclaim.
“Civilians of Kikoro, I, Melanta, have come to take what belongs to me. This city is filled with fifthly, pitiful civilians like yourself who need a new leader! This city now belongs to me. If you dare to object or stop me, you will feel the wrath and endless pain you could only dream. Now bow down to me!”
Villain’s eye glowed bright green as she summoned roots to sprout from the concrete. The roots gripped onto the civilians' legs pulling them to the ground as they scream in terror of what is Melanta.
That’s my cue. Hero sprang into action, soaring to face Villain as nearby civilians chanted her name.
“Melanta, let these people go! They have caused no harm to you!” Hero came face to face with Villain standing strong compared to Villain’s proud but cocky attitude.
“Ah, Blaze! Finally arriving at the party! This city belongs to me now and nothing will stop me, not even a fiend like you!” Villain laughed hysterically as her eyes glowed twisting her hands to shoot vines at Hero trapping her to the nearby land post.
Instantly, Hero’s eyes glowed red as she used her powers to dissolve the vines from herself and all the civilians under Villain’s control. Flying towards Villain, Hero grabbed her flying down to the ground causing the painting to fly away. Villain’s eyes grew wide as she opened the ground under the painting to create a portal. Successfully, the painting slipped into the portal leaving it out of sight.
“I’ve got what I really want, Blaze. So, now I just have to destroy you,” Villain hissed as she punched Hero’s face, throwing her across the street.
Stalking towards Hero’s struggling body, she pulled out her dagger. “So pathetic, Blaze, I expected more of a fight” she tuts as she was right above her.
Hero kicked out a leg, knocking Villain to the ground. A groan left her body as Villain’s dagger fell from Villain’s grasp, leading Hero to snatch it. Taking the opportunity as Villain was still on the ground, she quickly brought her claws out, pinning Villain down while holding the dagger to the exposed part of her neck.
“As was I, Melanta. Now, don’t move,” Hero spat.
Police sworn in as Melanta was down, shoving handcuffs onto her wrists dragging her to a holding cell. While, Blaze was surrounded by reporters and fans, congratulating her on beating Melanta once again. The crowd screamed her name adoring, as Blaze promised to find and return the painting back to its rightful home. Continuing so, Blaze soared off back into the clouds disappearing until the next crime.
Whereas Melanta sat in a holding cell all alone. The dull room chilled against her warm body as she rested her head against bars. She scanned the perimeter outside the cell. Two middle age men. One sitting at the desk and one guarding the cell she is withholding. As well as a plant resting on the desk. Melanta’s eyes caught the clock above the first man as they widen at the time.
“Sorry fellows but, I have to go now. Gotta beat the misses home.”
Melanta’s eyes glowed green as she extended the plant to hold both men in their spots. Her eyes shined brighter as the roots sprung to the handcuffs gripping tightly until the metal snapped, clinging against the floor. Quickly, she expanded another portal jumping in leading her back home. Before saluting the two officers struggling against the growing roots, “see you next time, boys.”
Hero soared back to the loft as she gracefully leaned onto the rooftop building. She inhaled deeply, returning back to her previous attire. The wings were hidden as she ran her fingers over the mask to reveal her eyes once again. Hero made her way back into the loft to reveal Villain sitting next to the stolen painting on the kitchen island.
“You’re late,” Villain teased as she waved a bag of frozen peas in her hand.
Hero walked over shrugging, “Reports are chatty.”
Hissing as the frosty bag on her skin, Hero whines, “you packed quite the punch tonight.”
“Well, you tackled me to the ground like a linebacker so, let’s say we’re even. Besides, we got the treasure.”
Leaning over, Hero got a better view of the piece Villain chose. It was exquisitely beautiful. It was a landscape. The canvas was filled with dark greenery mountains as they were divided with a stream going downhill. The remaining greenery of the canvas was decorated with white daisies blooming. Hero’s vision panned to the corner of the painting where two figures were traveling up the mountain hand-in-hand.
“You know, I don’t think I was ever destined to be a hero. I tried to play the part for a while, but I always found myself running towards danger.” Hero turned to meet Villain’s eyes again, leaning their foreheads together. “Towards you,” she whispered.
“I don’t think we’re destined to be a villain, either. I think I was just destined to be with you,” Villain whispered back.
Hero smiled as they both leaned into a feathery kiss once more.
About the Author
Aerin Cuff, Virginia State University
Aerin Cuff is a junior psychology major at Virginia State University, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Destined Love" is an excerpt from her upcoming collection surrounding Hero and Villain's love story.