ASH: LL&DD #10 - The Ties That Bind

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at
Fri Feb 12 12:13:11 PST 2010

     The cover is split down the middle, both Lady Lawful and Doctor
Developer are looking at themselves in a full length mirror that is echoed
across the split.  Lady Lawful is wearing her mask, but is otherwise in
civilian clothing, including a ravishing red dress.  Doctor Developer has
replaced his usual lab coat with a sportscoat, and is patting at his chest as
he notices the lack of a tie.  On a table next to him are roses and a box of

 Coherent                                                  LL&DD #10
 Comics          | ADY | AWFUL    __        __          "The Ties That Bind"
 Presents an     |__   |__     &  | \ OCTOR | \ EVELOPER   copyright 2010
 ASHistory Tale:                  |_/       |_/            by Andrew Burton

[February 12, 1996]

     Jennifer Blair looked at herself in the mirror hanging on her closet
door.  Looking back at her was a blond woman wearing a low-cut red dress,
lightly applied makeup, and hair that had spent just enough time in curlers
that it looked, she thought, pretty cute.  "You clean up pretty good, Blair,"
she muttered to her self, twisting to examine different parts of herself.
     It had been a while since she "cleaned up."  She had to think back a
couple of boyfriends to the last time she got to doll up.  She started to
regret counting back that far and stopped.  It was Valentine's Day, and she
had a date, time to focus on the present.
     She and Cameron...Doctor Developer when he was on the clock...had been
going out since Christmas.  It started with dinner on Christmas night, and by
the New Year they were sleeping over at each other's place on a regular
basis.  She wasn't sure how that happened.  That wasn't true, she knew how it
happened, the details and actions that led to the first time they'd  It was the *why* of it she was still unsure of completely.
     There were a lot of excuses she told herself: Cameron was interesting,
always up to talk about something exciting; he could listen to her talk about
work at the museum and intelligently comment on the technical aspects of the
heroic artifacts she studied, which was more than other suitors could do.
Cameron was also surprisingly honest and guileless for a regular guy, much
less a supervillain, she didn't think he knew how to play relationship games,
which was fine with her.  He was also one of the few people who knew her as
Jennifer Blair and Lady Lawful, and that certainly didn't hurt.
     Whatever the reason, she made herself move on from trying to justify
their being together, they were a couple.  Girlfriend and boyfriend might be
pushing it a bit far, but it was something close it.  Most importantly, if
their time hanging out, talking about whatever came up, and the like was any
indication, they seemed to be a pretty good match.
     She still wasn't sure how to tell her parents she was dating a super-
villain, even if he *had* switched sides.  She suppressed a snicker.
Normally when a woman talked about being able to make a guy "switch sides" it
meant something entirely different.
     Jennifer pushed her closet door closed and stepped over to her dresser
to put on the final touches of her outfit.  She picked a pair of scales-of-
justice earrings out of her jewelry box.  They were only costume jewelry, but
Cameron always seemed to get a kick out of her taking risks and wearing the
Lady Lawful symbol as Jennifer.  Her final adornment was the tourmaline
necklace, Cameron's Christmas gift to her.
     Satisfied with a final check of her appearance in the dresser mirror,
Jennifer picked up her purse and headed out.

               *              *              *              *

     Cameron McKay ran through a mental checklist one more time:

1. Get reservations at classy restaurant: check.

2. Buy a dozen roses: check.  (Although, he realized now that buying them the
night before might have been a bad idea.  They looked a little wilted.)

3. Buy a box of chocolates: check.  (At least chocolate didn't wilt.)

4. Dress up for fancy restaurant: check.  (Much to his displeasure.  Doctor
Developer's costume may have included a button-up shirt and tie, but there
was something about adding a sports coat to the ensemble that made the whole
thing a fiasco.)

5. Meet Jennifer at door at 6:00pm.

     That was all he had left to do.  As soon as she showed up, he would give
her the flowers and candy.  That was what people did on Valentine's Day.  At
least that was the basic permutation he'd discovered from watching a dozen
romance movies and discussing the subject with Software Pirate.  Software
Pirate offered other suggestions that exceeded the movies, but everything up
to those seemed reliable.
     He just had to wait for Jennifer to show up.  That had become harder
than it seemed as time ticked closer to 6:00.  A thousand concerns had
crossed through Cameron's mind since showing up half an hour early, most of
them stemming from his uncertainty as to why Jennifer had agreed to spend the
evening, an evening which by all measures of popular culture seemed rather
important, with him.
     It was fun working with the Four Strikes...they weren't Three since he
joined...and no small part of that was thanks to Jennifer.  Even before
Christmas, getting to work with her was even more fun than trying to trap
her.  The past month, since their date on Christmas, since that first awkward
kiss under the mistletoe a he paid a waitress to hold, had been the best
month of his life.  But he couldn't figure out why.
     Jennifer was beautiful.  Jennifer was funny, smart, amazing.  She was a
"good guy".  He'd worked out a statistical model based on the romance movies,
and was pretty sure that while Jennifer was indeed most like the female
leads, he was most like the people who ended up rebuffed at the climax of the
films.  The only problem with that model was, as far as he knew, there was no
boyfriend-to-be lurking in the shadows to displace him.
     Not one that he knew of anyway.
     "Hey, Cameron!"  Cameron shook himself out of his reverie and saw
Jennifer getting out of her car.  She waved at him as she ran across he
parking lot, only slightly awkwardly due to her dress.  Cameron swallowed as
she stepped up on the curb.
     "Wow," he said.  He couldn't stop staring at how gorgeous she looked.
It wasn't something he had failed to notice before, but all of a sudden it
seemed like he might have missed it before.  Jennifer smiled and preened just
a bit, turning to the side to show off her outfit.
     "You like it?" she asked.
     Cameron knew she was asking a question, but couldn't get his brain to
work well enough to answer.  Instead, he just nodded and said, "Yeah."
Hearing his voice, though, triggered somthing, and he snapped back to
reality.  "There are for you."  He handed Jennifer the flowers and candy.
     She accepted both, pausing to smell the roses.  If she thought they
looked at all wilted, she was nice enough not to say anything.  "They're
lovely, and thoughtful.  Thank you, Cameron."
     "You're welcome," he replied, not really sure what else to say.  The red
dress was very distracting.
     There was a moment's pause as they stood on the sidewalk.  Jennifer
admring her boquet and Cameron admiring her.  "It's six," Jennifer finally
said, "Should we go on in?"
     "The reservations are for six," he fumbled, "I guess so.  Oh!"  Cameron
stepped over and opened the door.  "Allow me."
     "Ever the chivalrous chauvinist," Jennifer teased as she walked into the
restaurant.  "What am I going to do with you?" she asked.
     Cameron stoped himself before answering, figuring that fell into the
same area beyond good taste as Software Pirate's suggestions.  Instead he
just said, "I guess we could eat."

               *              *              *              *

     Dinner had gone perfectly.  They talked.  They laughed.  It took some
cajoling, but eventually Jennifer had gotten Cameron to explain how he'd
built up a statistical model to figure out how a Velentine's Day date worked.
It was one of those wierd, sweet things that only Cameron would do.
     Jennifer shifted beneath the sheets on her bed, which caused Cameron to
mumble in his sleep.  She laid still, waiting to see what he did.  He mumbled
a bit more, but then quieted down.  She watched him sleep.  Light from the
outside making him just barely visible.
     "My boyfriend is a super-villain," Jennifer thought to herself, "Ex-
villain anyway."  It felt a little odd to think, but it felt very right as
well.  There may have been some doubt before, but after dinner, after
Valentine's day, after a month, there was no doubt now.
     And, Jennifer decided, in fact told herself, there were no more excuses
about why either.  She liked Cameron, she liked him a lot, and she felt that
he liked her too.  Whatever she knew about him back in Detroit, that wasn't
what he was now, and maybe it wasn't what he ever was.
     She risked waking Cameron up and slid an arm around his waist so she
could snuggle closer.  He mumbled again, then settled again.  She lay her
head on his shoulder, using it for a pillow.  It was hard to tell in the
dark, but if she squinted really hard, Jennifer could have sworn Cameron was
     Grinning herself, she closed her eyes again, letting Cameron's breathing
lull her back to sleep.


     And now, a bonus vignette!


[January 28, 1998]

	Cameron frowned.  There was something wrong with his closet.  Not the
closet, actually, that was fine.  Rather, there was a problem with the
contents of his closet.
	"Where are my ties?" he asked.
	Jennifer stepped up behind him, holding up her right arm.  Cameron
understood immediately she was indicating the two half ties still knotted
around her wrist.  She still wore the makeshift shackle like a bracelet, but
he could see the two frayed ends where he'd cut her loose.
	"But that's just," he paused to count, "nine.  I have a lot more than
that."  In fact, he suspected he'd started to get a reputation at the local
Wal-Mart as "that guy who keeps buying all the ties."
	"That was nine last night," she said, "And nine Saturday, and
	Cameron was a bit shocked.  He was usually pretty good about keeping
track of supplies, but some how he'd lost track of how many ties he and
Jennifer had gone through.  In the back of his mind, he thought it might have
had something to do with Jennifer being a bit more playful lately, but he
hated to place blame like that.
     "So, no tie today?" he said, his inflection turning his realization into
a question.  He would have to pick several up.  Part of his Doctor Developer
costume was a tie, it wouldn't feel right not to wear one.
     "Guess so," Jennifer said.  She began picking at the knots on her wrist,
but stopped after a second.  "Oh, by the way, happy birthday!"  She leaned
forward and pecked Cameron on the cheek.  After the quick kiss, she reached
up and pulled a brown bag from a top shelf.  Inside the box was a silver,
wrapped box.
     He took the silver box from Jennifer and looked at it curiously.
     Cameron had actually forgotten it was his birthday.  It wasn't a day he
was used to celebrating.  There had been a few years when he forgot it until
someone asked his age, and he caught himself having to count how old he was.
     "Go on, open it," she told him.
     Cameron ripped into the paper, tearing it away from the box.  He got
hung up on a couple of pieces of tape around the edges, but soon he was
lifting the lid off the flimsy cardboard.
     "Oh, hey, ties!" he cheered.  He smiled a quirky grin, then looked up at
Jennifer, perplexed.  "How did you know?"
     Jennifer smiled slyly, patted Cameron on the chest, and winked.  "It's a
secret we wives are sworn to before we get married."  She kissed him again,
pushing the box up against his chest.  "Just be careful with those," she said
as she stepped out of the closet, "You're not getting any more until our


Author's Notes:

     Not being an expert on romance, I hope the above sheds some quasi-
authentic logic behind LL&DD being a couple.  And thanks go to "Rapfic"
(author of "Eight Tiny Reindeer?") for establishing what LL&DD's first date
was like.  [Editor's note: no, you didn't miss anything, Rapfic's other LL&DD
story is something Andy has decided to leave unpublished, part of his
"background" material.]
     As for the tie story, that's one that's been knocking around the back of
my head for a while.  It would have been nice to be able to write it in a
longer form, but I'm happy with it as it is.  Suffice to say, Cameron's not
the easiest person to shop for. :-D [Editor's note: On the other hand, he's
one of the few guys who actually LIKES getting ties as a gift.]


     For all the back issues, plus additional background information, art,
and more, go to !

     To discuss this issue or any others, either just hit "followup" to this
post, or check out our Yahoo discussion group, which can be found at !

     There's also a LiveJournal interest group for ASH, check it out at (if
you're on Facebook instead, there's an Academy of Super-Heroes group there


More information about the racc mailing list