Hidden Heroics

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Nathaniel was ready to collapse the moment he stepped through his front door, kicking his shoes off and pulling the hood off his head.

Though his initial landing hadn’t been the most graceful, what with falling back first from six stories up, he came away relatively unscathed; minor bruises and scrapes aside.

He had supposed, lying in the bushes with an aching back and a tennis ball rolling off his chest, that maybe jumping out a window wasn’t the best idea, even if he could slow the speed of his dissent. He had already used so much of his energy glancing forward that any little break in his concentration would be enough to send him crashing down.

A lime green tennis ball just happened to be the thing to break it.

While he stood carefully from the bushes and brushed himself off, he decided he was still pretty lucky. He had been not too far from the ground when his concentration was broken, his fall then wasn’t as harsh as it could have been, even if he did land in both the bushes and glass.

“You’re five minutes late.”

Nathaniel looked up quickly from where he had been arranging his shoes, train of thought broken.

His father stood across from him in the doorway, continuing to speak at his silence.

“You said you would be home at 9:42 and it is now 9:58.” There was an accusation somewhere in there that Nathaniel hoped he was only imagining.

“Oh, he um was harder to get away from than I expected. It won’t happen again.” Nathaniel promised, desperately trying to keep eye contact.

His fathers expression changed for only a second, eyes narrowing and jaw clenching before quickly smoothing back and he returned to his usual indifferent demeanor.

“Be sure that it does not.”

“Yes sir.”

“Very good. Now then, I am well aware that your current semester is coming to an end and your finals will very soon be upon you. Therefore I’ve decided you will be taking a break from assisting me.”

That catches Nathaniel’s attention, “Are you sure? I mean, you said previously there was still months worth of work left to do.”

“That may be, but I can not allow your future to be jeopardized by just from my own doing.” His father began, “And it is just as well, there is a matter that I must…. inquire about, before I am able to move any further. From this moment on, I will be working alone.”

“Oh, I guess that makes sense, I mean if you’re sure you won’t need me to help you?” He implored, hoping for his father to think and reconsider.

“I am more than capable of handling it on my own.” The man had turned away, ready to leave, but paused briefly, looking over his shoulder. “And Nathaniel, do go and change, I don’t need any of our more nosier neighbors peaking in here and thinking my son is some ruffian.”

“Yes, of course father.”

And with that, he was gone.

Nathaniel let himself fall backwards with a groan, slumping against the front door.

This was so typical of his father to just suddenly announce a change of plans like this. If anything he should be relieved, because yeah he did have a lot of school work that needed to be done and he didn’t need the added stress of preparing traps and running away from some ‘hero furry’.

But, this meant his father would be around even less and Nathaniel would be back to only seeing him once a week, if he was lucky.

Sure, maybe committing crimes along side his father wasn’t the best idea, but at least it allowed him to see the man. It wasn’t exactly a father son bonding activity, but they never were the playing catch or teaching how to shave type.

The need to be connected to the only family he had left was enough to push away any guilt he felt from any of the crimes he was committing.

And now his father was working on his own for a while and not only would Nathaniel not see him anymore but he would have an even harder time understanding what his plans are.

Their crime sprees had started so simple, breaking into banks and transferring money from corrupt politicians, multimillion dollar business, and others that wouldn’t miss a few thousand.

It had actually been rather easy to move the money into an offshore account and then into multiple smaller amounts and then to cash it out at different times in different locations, all under different aliases; Nathaniel’s allowance had of course increased ten-fold.

And then suddenly they were breaking into guarded offices and buildings that were hidden from maps and stealing heavily encrypted information. Stealing money Nathaniel could understand, but information was a harder concept to grasp.

Just what was his father’s end game here? What did he need the information for? Nathaniel needed to find out.

He lifted himself from the door, favoring to lean on his right leg as he pulled the cowl down, relishing the cool air that hit the lower half of his face. He really needed to figure out how to make a cowl that stayed up but didn’t leave his face feeling like a swamp. The last thing he needed was to break along his mask line.

He finally made his way out of the front hall and into the main room, retrieving his phone from where he had tossed it onto the couch earlier.

He punched in the passcode and then entered a number, holding his phone to his ear and waited. He spoke softly when an answer came, in fear his father was still within ear shot.

“I dropped the drive off in your mail box. How long will it take for you to decode it?”

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