Title: Meet The Parents
Author: jamjar (jamjarring@mac.com)
Recipient: Sarah T
Requested Character: Zodon (PS238)
Summary: It's parent/teacher evening at PS238
Rating: G/Gen

The corridors of PS238 were even more colourful than usual. As well as the puerile displays of 'artwork' on the wall, many of the parents arriving for the Parent/Teacher conference had come in costume.

Zodon surveyed his future domain, making careful alterations to his lists. Who would be crushed, who would be brainwashed, who was worthy of potential underling status, and who would be made to suffer countless humiliations before death came as sweet release.

And those, of course, who were unworthy of his attention, but were too annoying to ignore.

"Hey, Zodon," Tyler said. "I thought you'd be hiding in your room." He stood, holding the strap of his backback in a nervous gesture. It would have been a useful tell, if he wasn't so consistently nervous.

"My intent was to observe this circus from a safe distance," Zodon said. "From which I could safely determine which parents would be susceptible to blackmail if their offspring were threatened, which would refuse on principle and which couldn't care less."

"Mom, you've gotta see come see my drawing! Miss Kyle says it's one of the most colourful houses she's ever --watch out-- seen!"

"Franklin! Calm down, I--" Franklin's mom jumped over their heads and caught her son by his collar. "C'mon, kiddo. Show me you can behave."

"But I--"

"Know better," she said.

Franklin pouted. "Sorry, Tyler."

"S'okay," Tyler said, picking himself up. "I'm just gonna catch my breath. Uh, where'd Zodon go?"

"Up here, cretin." Zodon lowered his chair. "My chair is programmed to remove me from the path of anything approaching at greater than 30 miles an hour."

"Okay." Tyler smiled politely at Franklin's mother. "Uh, nice to meet you, Mrs... Franklin's mom."

"La Vitesse is fine," she said. "It's nice to meet you too, Tyler. And you too, Zodon." She ruffled Franklin's hair in a display of, in Zodon's opinion, entirely unwarranted affection. "Now, we can walk to your classroom, and you can tell me what else Miss Kyle said about your painting on the way."

"'Kay. Bye Tyler, see you later."

Zodon watched them leave and sniffed. "Canadian heroines. That's what happens when you let countries decide things for themselves."

"She seemed really nice," Tyler said. "Are your parents coming or-- do you have parents?"

"My odious family will be forcing me to suffer their presence later this evening," Zodon said. "My parents insist on inflicting another drain on my future inheritance in the form of a new sibling, so my oldest sister will be coming in their place."

"Wow. You've got a sister?"

"In spite of my best attempts to thin the herd, I have three sisters and two brothers including the new parasite," Zodon said. "Close your mouth. I can see what we had for breakfast and it's even less pleasant eight hours later."

Tyler closed his mouth with a snap. "Uh, sorry. I just always kinda figured you were an only child."

"One day, I will be. Are your parents coming, or have they decided to wait until you do something worthwhile. Or die tragically, whichever comes first."

"They said they'd come, unless something comes up. They can get really busy, you know, saving the world and stuff."

"So they can't always make time for their only son?" Zodon patted him with one of his arms, trying to look innocent when it almost sent him sprawling. "Ah well, I suppose that must be true of all heroes. Oh look, isn't that Atlas? He showed up early. I think that's over-parenting. How will Ron ever grow up independent, if his father's always making time for him."

Tyler looked miserable, and Zodon took a certain amount of pride in that. As frustrating and limiting as PS238 was, it was forcing Zodon to become more creative. Gone were the days when he could arrange for a suitable explosion or hack into the StarTrek project and send a surgical strike on his foes. Instead he was forced to rely on the more old fashioned methods of screwing with his enemies' heads, and while it lacked the visceral satisfaction of advanced technological dominance, it at least kept him from going insane.

"Tyler!" Ron was yelling, waving his arms. He dragged his father over. "Dad, this is Tyler. Oh, and this is Zodon, he's evil."

"Hi, Tyler. Ron's told me a lot about you."

"Oh. He really didn't have to do that," Tyler said.

"Me and Dad are going out for pizza with Suzi and her mom after. You wanna come?"

Tyler looked tempted. He fiddled with the strap of his backpack. "I think I should stay, in case my parents show up."

"You're assuming they ever will," Zodon said.

"Shut up, you big jerk," Ron hissed. He looked at the ground awkwardly. "You're sure you don't wanna come? Dad says we can get dessert after..."

Exploiting Tyler's many issues with his parents, while entertaining, was not something Zodon felt deserved his prolonged attention. Cracking Tyler's fragile mind and, quite possibly, his body too, was something that could be done at any time.

The fact that every significant member of staff was either in their classroom or showing parents around the school was something that needed to be addressed more immediately. The labs would be security locked, but there was always an override if you knew where to look.

Zodon quietly headed towards the principal's office. Ultima and Sovereign Powers stepped through the door just as he turned the corner, spotting him before he could activate any cloaking field. He could attempt a quick escape, or he could make use of the opportunity.

He tried to muster a friendly smile and directed his chair forwards. "Are you lost?"

"I am Sovereign and this is my husband, Ultima. We wish to find our son, Tyler. Do you know him?"

"Tyler? The flightless wonder, the mundane amongst metas, the boy who was standing behind the door when the superpowers were being given out. No, never heard of him."

"I do not approve of the manner in which you refer to my son," Ultima said. "You would be wise to choose a different one."

"Yeah, yeah, and I have the ACLU and Fox News on speed-dial. You so much as make your eyes glow threatening me and you'll be sued for inflicting emotional damage on a minor, and convicted by the brain-dead TV watching population in the court of public opinion." He rubbed his hands. "You know, Ultima's kind of a girly name for a hero."

Sovereign put a warning hand on Ultima's arm. "Husband. Remember the matter on which we spoke" she said, exchanging a meaningful glance with him.

"You mean...?"

She nodded. "Perhaps you can find Principal Cranston, whilst this boy and I locate our offspring."

He gave her a pleased smile that Zodon found vaguely worrying and disappeared in a gratuitous display of teleportation.

Sovereign's smile was even more disturbing.

"Give me one good reason why I should help you?" Zodon said.

"Because although my husband and I may be without the authority to punish you, we can describe your behaviour to those with permission and practise in discipline."

"Point. Although you do realise I'll be taking this out on your son."

"I would not expect anything less. You are questing for world domination, unless I miss my guess?"

"You will bow before the name of Zodon by the time I graduate this scampering school," Zodon said, adjusting his chair so they were at eye-level.

"Zodon? I believe I have heard of you. Your name was mentioned in a file taken from the headquarters from the Society of Dominators."

Zodon preened. "Well, I have been head-hunted. Not that I'd join that group of second-rate villains, but--"

"No?" she said, raising an eyebrow. "You are not planning on succeeding your father as head?"

Zodon froze. "Head? My father? You oolong-tea necklace! That's Von Fogg! I'm Zodon!"

"Not the Von Fogg whelp?" She said, sounding disappointed. "Oh. I had hoped you were--"

"You mistook me for that tablecloth honey aluminium? That pathetic wannabe, following his father's footsteps? Someone who's only able to take over his own wardrobe because Daddy already beat the servants for it? You-- I am the very model of a modern major general, I've information vegetable, animal and mineral and--" He took a deep breath and managed to control himself. "You thought I was that tin-plated, two-legged, c-list villain? I guess Tyler comes by his stupidity honestly."

"I apologise. It was my hope that you were a villain, worthy of becoming a foe of my son, whose torment would cause him to grow stronger. Still, he is young, and I am sure an enemy with enough--"

"Wait, what? You want me to bully your son?" He said. "And you don't think I'm worthy?"

She shrugged. "An archvillian is inevitable for any that has heard Destiny's call. Tyler's meta-abilities would no doubt manifest themselves in response. It was our hope that we would find someone among his peers, but--"

"So you want a nemesis for Tyler," Zodon interrupted. "Someone to make his life a living scarf in the futile hope that he'll suddenly develop some special power." He grinned, not bothering to make it look anything other than evil, and rubbed his hands together. "Can I have that in writing? And a copy sent to the principal would be helpful."

She stopped in the hallway. "You think yourself worthy of this task?"

Zodon snorted. "Rest assured, I am already attempting to make life uncomfortable for your son whenever possible, just on principle. I wouldn't say no to a little parental support. It's always nice to be able to blame the parents."

She nodded slowly. "I will consult with my husband on this. While we do not wish him to be unhappy, and hope he is meeting worthy comrades-in-arms--"

"Oh, he's got a stupidity of friends."

"--we do want him to fulfil his potential. This is our burden."

"Right," Zodon said. "It probably hurts you more than it hurts him. Or would, if you weren't invulnerable, and he wasn't a regular little pre-teen boy." He smirked. "You know, you're going about this all wrong. As amusing as your continuing attempts to kill your son are, if you're looking to trigger his--" he coughed, "--his latent abilities, personal danger isn't the way to go."

"You dare question the raising of our child?" Sovereign said.

Zodon shrugged. "Just pointing out that most heroes become heroes after the tragic death of their parents. Or their girlfriend, but Atlas might object if you--"

"Enough! I have played mind-games with alien intelligences millennia old; do you think I will fall prey to the crude attempts of a child?"

"I'm just saying, you'll throw him in the path of a bulldozer in the hopes that this time his invulnerability will kick in, but you're not quite sure enough to risk doing the same yourselves." Zodon smirked. "Where's your sense of parental sacrifice? Maybe you can ask your husband on the way home." He favoured Tyler with his least-reassuring smile. "Tyler. We were just talking about you."

"You were?" Tyler said. "What about?" His father clapped a hand on his shoulder that made Tyler buckle a little.

"Our involvement will not be necessary," Ultima said. "It appears our son has found his own nemesis." He guestured at the being hiding in Tyler's shadow. "See, he is already consorting with one who, despite their initial bond, will eventually reveal his own intrinsically evil nature and betray him."

Zodon looked over. "Malphast?"

"Um. Malphast said his mom and dad can't come over into the dimension without making earthquakes and deserts bloom and stuff, so we're hanging out," Tyler said.

"Tyler let me play on his gameboy!"

Soverign cast an assessing eye over him. "He does not seem overly menacing... Are you sure he will be corrupted to the dark side by his own inner demon?"

"Huh?"

"I am sure of it! Destiny will have her way," Ultima said.

"Yet this one is already openly villainous," Sovereign said. "Though granted, he is yet to prove a danger great enough that Tyler's power will--"

"Tyler? Are your mom and dad okay?"

Tyler shrugged and fiddled with the straps of his backpack. "They get like this sometimes. What were you and mom talking about?"

"Nothing much," Zordon said. He adjusted the lighting on his chair to give him more villainous shadows. "She just wanted me to do her a little favour."

End.