Lex looked out at the crowd from the stage in the nightclub.
Somehow, some way, things had gone completely off course.
It had started out pretty standard. He'd been using his powers to travel Japan and a store had finally caught his eye. The store sold all sort of costume pieces, makeup and other theater or "cosplay" materials. He'd gotten lost in the store just looking at all the unique items they had available.
On a lark he'd bought himself a big bushy mustache that matched his hair colour, figuring he could have some fun with that as a Halloween costume, or a funny picture with his Dad, or even to see how much Kirstie liked the look of him with a mustache. Honestly he was just a little depressed and the concept of a little retail therapy appealed to him.
A little while later he'd found himself in a shopping district with an idea coming to mind. A pair of cheap aviator sunglasses were his next purchase, then a new T-Shirt which had had a swarm of insects drawn across the front. He snagged a couple of hair clips for Kirstie that he hoped she'd like, a set of light up headphones for his brother's birthday, a swanky looking cosplay sweater vest for Doug, and added that to a bag that already held some blue hair dye and blue handlebar mustache he'd grabbed for Gaspar from the costume shop.
It'd been a fun diversion, and he'd lost track of time. By the time he realized how late it was it was already too late. Unless he moved at top speed he'd miss curfew, and his bag of goodies he couldn't move nearly as fast as he normally could.
He missed his bomber jacket. Even before Martin had rebuilt it the jacket had been resilient with a few good sized pockets. He'd been pretty sure that the Frenchman had improved upon the design, but Martin had never said anything if he had. Either way it was a continent away, and so his best option was simply tucking it under an arm and moving at a much lower speed than normal.
Running in the dark, at high speeds, wasn't something he liked doing for one very good reason. It was hard to see things on the ground, like small holes, loose rocks, or small red dogs.
For the second time in such a short time he found himself going head over heels, trying to avoid killing a hapless mongrel. Unlike the first time, however, he couldn't just roll with the fall, not without destroying most of what he'd just bought. He twisted as best as he could to avoid landing on the bag, and swore as his knee cracked into the concrete hard. He ducked his head and curled forwards, and after a slight roll, his shoulder and back dragged along the sidewalk before he came to a complete stop.
He laid there for a minute, staring up at the starlit night with a scowl on his face.
"Dogs, youse so stupid," He growled in a Yosemite Sam voice.
He forced himself to sit up and discovered to his relief that his shopping bags had survived the worst of it. The rest of him was pretty beat up. His pants were torn at the knee and he could see blood through the hole to go with the sharp aching pain coming from the joint itself. His shirt was a complete loss, it'd been torn mostly off and he was bleeding from road rash.
That would have put a serious crimp in anybody's day.
But Lex wasn't just anybody, he was a neosapien, a man with powers beyond those of mortal men. Where most people would be pulling out a cellphone looking for help, Lex was looking for an unattended power socket, or an easily accessible light bulb. A few minutes with access to the power grid and most of the wounds would heal up as though they were never there. The pain would persist, but it was a small price to pay.
He glanced around but everything in the area had been shut down for the night, except for a busy looking nightclub. He grimaced. No way he was getting inside there unless..
He looked down at his bag and smiled.
Lex was glad nobody had been watching his aborted attempt at getting into the club. With his hair done up in a pony tail, a fake mustache, and a set of aviator glasses (which made him look like a jackass in the middle of the night), and his new shirt he figured he be able to pass for being old enough to wander in.
Sadly the bouncers weren't idiots and were checking for ID.
He quietly exited the line, pretending he'd forgotten something before wandering down the back alley. His second failed attempt came when he realized the side doors were using the old style of latches, not electronic locks.
He'd almost given up when he heard noise from further back and noticed a group of people carrying musical equipment into the building. He waited until the group had gone inside, picked up a speaker and carried it inside. He just hoped that if he acted like he was supposed to be there nobody would question what the white guy was doing. He hid his face behind the speaker as the group came back. A couple of them said something to him to fast for him to understand, but he just coughed and grunted a "yes" in Japanese, continuing on his way to the stage. They looked like they weren't about to simply walk away but they were distracted by a girl calling from outside and he didn't question his luck.
The stage was quiet and dark. The only sound was somebody plucking at a guitar, and swearing quietly. Lex set the speaker down, drawing the man's attention. He looked up at Lex, blinking away tears.
<Who are you supposed to be?> The man demanded, pointing at him with a bandaged hand.
Lex grinned, unable to fight the response of "Bugs Potter."
The man didn't get the reference and Lex just shrugged, <I help carry. Exchange student.>
The answer didn't sit well with the man, who looked like he was about to start calling for somebody, so Lex picked up a guitar and plucked the same notes as the guy had been playing, <Play good, must, you hand hurt.>
The man started to say something Lex knew was nasty in Japanese then hesitated. The man muttered to himself, then looked at his bandaged hand, swore, and asked, <Do you play?>
<Yup,> Lex nodded.
<How good are you?> He asked.
"I'm the best there ever was," Lex said with a smirk. It wasn't true, but modesty didn't help much in the music world.
The Japanese man didn't respond, he just pulled out a phone and turned on a music file. It sounded like some kind of Japanese pop/rock music. Then he paused the song and pointed at Lex, <Play.>
Lex shrugged and aped the song as best he could from the quick clip.
The man just smiled and Lex suddenly got the feeling he should have ran when he had the chance.
"I should have ran when I had the chance," Lex moaned, looking down at his silly outfit. The sparkly suit jacket looked silly as heck, along with the pants. He'd convinced them to let him keep his shirt and glasses, due to his injuries, but otherwise he was in the same outfit as the rest of the band.
They had somebody in the audience who was a big name in the music industry, so the band had gone all out in the hopes of getting signed by a label. But at the last minute their guitarist had been injured in an accident. The guy was unable to play, and they'd lose their big chance if they couldn't play. And Lex had stepped right into it like an idiot.
He'd gotten a crash course in their songs. He was good, but learning an entire set of music from hearing it a couple times, and some cribbed notes from the guitarist was hard as hell. He'd done the best he could and improvised where he'd been unable to remember. He'd gotten a few quiet looks from the rest of the band, but nobody had complained. It hadn't sounded bad, at least to Lex, but he could tell it hadn't been what they'd been expecting.
Either way he let out a sigh as the set came to an end.
The band leader walked over, <What do you say, one song of your choice, then we end with our last song.>
Lex just laughed, <Drummer know> "Cliffs of Dover?"
Lex let out a sigh of relief as the van dropped him off a block from the school. The band had been entirely too excited after the show to let him go. Apparently the guy from the music label approached them for a meeting. The rest of the night, and some of the morning, had been them celebrating. And any time he tried to sneak off he was dragged back by an increasingly inebriated band. Eventually their designated driver helped Lex pour them back into the van, along with their equipment, and offered him a ride.
And now he was back outside the school, in the middle of the night wondering for the first time how he was going to sneak in without being noticed.
Normally he could move fast enough it wouldn't be an issue, but with his bag of stuff.
"God dammit, I need to think these things through," Lex swore at himself.
The woman shook her head and laughed as she slinked away.
The lightning god had been easy to manipulate. A word here, and a voice there, and eventually he'd been curious enough to explore Japan to find a store. After that all she had to do was draw his attention to a new store, then another as the time rolled by. The hardest part had been getting him to where she needed him before he noticed he needed to leave.
His failed attempts at entry to the bar had made her laugh. His poor disguise and ill conceived plan to sneak in, his inability to find an open door. Had she not drawn his attention to the band, and then distract them, he'd never have made it as far as he did.
Once he was in she'd been forced to rely on dumb luck, but the lightning god had that in spades. Never had she seen a being who's existence was so dependent on the kindness of cosmos. The important part, though, was that things had worked out. The band had their chance.
Another prayer answered, and another step closer.
She disappeared into a shadow and from the shadow a small red fox trotted away in to the darkness.