LNH: Another LNH Title? Really? #8: Odd Love

Adrian McClure mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 9 20:22:52 PDT 2017

Another LNH Title? Really? #8:

"Odd Love"
A Legion of Net.Heroes story by Adrian McClure


The cover (yes there's a cover this time!!) shows Frat.Boy and a cute,
flamboyant, fat man sitting at a table in a bar, with All Knowing Last
Chance Whiner Destiny Woman looming above: "STOP! They must not be
allowed to date... OR THE UNIVERSE DIES!"


Dr. Stomper saw Sister State-The-Obvious pacing alone among the LNH
botanical gardens. The man-eating plants struggled to get at them from
behind their force field. A lot of people weren't sure that keeping
man-eating plants in the LNHQ was a good idea, but they didn't
understand its value for science. "What are you thinking about?" he
asked her.

"I'm thinking," she said.

He sat down on the bench next to her. "Well if you don't want to talk,
would you mind if I kept you company?"

She smiled slightly. "No." She sat down beside him in the bench. "To
tell the truth, I'm worried about the future of my character."

Doctor Stomper nodded. He knew that saying something outside her usual
speech pattern took a fair amount of effort sometimes. "Oh?"

"I used to be a fairly simple gag character, but since the dissolution
of my marriage, my character arc has become too complicated," she
said. "This makes me a lot harder to write. I used to be one of the
most popular LNH characters, but now I barely show up anymore."

Dr. Stomper took her hand and squeezed it. "There's nothing wrong with
you, wReanna. We've all had to go through periods of difficult
character growth at some point or another. Remember Beige Midnight?
I'm sure you'll come through just fine. A lot of people care about you
very much." He smiled nervously.

"Thank you. But--I don't really have a clear place in the LNH right
now," she said.

"Well, I was thinking," said Doctor Stomper. "Would you like to work
as my lab assistant? You're particularly skilled at seeing the
obvious--and I, as a fairly privileged superhero-universe super-genius
who thinks in many dimensions at once, am sometimes particularly
skilled at missing it."

She smiled. "That could be interesting."

Before they could say anything else, a harsh alarm rang out--the
Cosmic Catastrophe Alarm. It had been several years now since the fate
of the entire universe had been threatened, so he supposed it was
about time.

The two LNHers left the garden and saw a crow of their teammates
staring up into the sky outside the lobby. When they pushed through
the crowd, they saw just why this was.

"There's another Earth hanging in the sky," said Sister State-the-Obvious.

And there was.

"Damn," said wReamhack. "I thought we got all that Jonathan Hickman
Avenger stuff out of our system in Just Another Cascade..."

"Doctor Stomper," said Fearless Leader, who was still in his pajamas.
He looked up on the Earth in the night sky, which had turned a blaring
shade of red. "You didn't joined a secret cabal which is destroying
alternate Earths and mindwipe me, did you?"
"No," said Doctor Stomper.

"Good. I just wanted to make sure. But what do you think is causing this?"

"I'm afraid that as of yet I have no idea..."

"Legion beware!" All-Knowing Last Chance Whiner Destiny Woman appeared
in a cloud of smoke. "One of your members has made a terrible
mistake--one that threatens the existence of the Looniverse itsel!"



The gay bar was all right. Most of the men there right now were ones
Frat Boy had already tried and found wanting or ones that didn't
interest him much. He could try going on an app, but that was much the
same. He was doing OK as far as hookups went--after all, he hadn't
aged a day since college. He was the eternal twink. But he hadn't had
a long-term partner of any kind in ages. And sometimes people he dated
or hooked up with--both men and women--got weird about bi people.
(Which he was pretty sure he was? Every time someone tried to explain
the difference between "bi" and "pan" his brain shorted out, so he
thought of himself as "queer" for lack of anything more specific.)

His last--and first--real serious boyfriend, Frank, had been like
that. He'd broken up with him because he was worried that, because
Frat Boy was attracted to both men and women, he wouldn't fill all his
"needs." But he was pretty sure--based on his unfortunately limited
experience with this stuff--that no one person could satisfy anyone
else's needs, whatever gender they were attracted to. People were just
too complicated for that. Either you had to admit that, and rely on
friends for other stuff, or you dated more than one person, whichever
worked. But the idea of The One who can fill all your needs is a myth,
one that put people under way too much stress, since even the best
partner can't be that...

But it'd still be nice to have someone to come home to.

He was jolted out of his thoughts by a really cute guy. The cute
stranger was a kind of femme-y fat boy, who had dark blue dyed hair
and lipstick. He wasn't the kind of guy Frat Boy normally gravitated
to. Most of the men he'd been with had been muscular and
conventionally attractive--but a lot of them had disappointed him in
the end. So why not try something different?

He sat next to the cute stranger. "Hi," he said, dredging up his mind
for a perfect line that would make this boy instantly fall in love
with him.

"My name is, uh, Jack."

"Mhmm," said the cute guy. "What's your last name?"


"Yep. I mean, this is like, a parody superhero universe which runs on
really goofy and obvious jokes, so yeah. It coulda been worse. I could
be Miller Light. Or Pabst Blue-Ribbon." The cute guy laughed. "What's
your name?" asked Frat Boy.

"Daniel Jackson. Like the guy in Stargate."

"Huh. That's a heck of a coincidence. And hey, look, we're wearing the
same shirt at the same time."

"We are!" Daniel fistbumped him. "Maybe we're meant for each other." He winked.

"Hmm, yeah, maybe." Frat Boy--Jack--laughed nervously. He should
probably mention something about being a net.hero--telling people that
was a pretty easy way to get their pants off, whatever their
gender--but he didn't want to think about work right now. "I guess
there's only one way to find out, huh. How about we ditch this joint?"

"Sounds like a good plan to me," said Daniel. Once Jack had paid his
tab, Daniel led him out into the night.

They stumbled into another bar, one that was doing karaoke. Before
long they had a few more drinks in them. They'd had a long animated
conversation about music, bad dates, and other things they couldn't
quite remember. They stumbled their way onto the stage and sang.

And that's when the net.villain showed up.

It started when someone in the audience saw something sparkling on the
floor. He picked it up and turned it over in his hands. It was a pog.
A special shiny holographic pog. If he looked at it enough, he felt
like he might start to understand the secrets of the universe.

"Give that to me!" said the man at the table beside him.

"No! It's mine!"

Before long they started fighting it out, and people beside them
caught sight of the glittering pog and tried to get ahold of it. The
chaos spread throughout the crowd.

Meanwhile, a man in imposing spiky metal armor (who'd somehow managed
to be unnoticed by everyone... he was new at being a net.villain but
pretty good at that whole lurking in the shadows thing) looked on and
laughed. "Hahahah! My HoloZahir Pog--all the obsession-inducing power
of the Borgesian artifact, in pog form!--will drive them to tear each
other apart!!! Soon I will introduce these to children and ruin every
holiday! And then the world will bow before the SLAMMER!!"

Frat Boy realized there was someone villain monologuing and he should
probably do something about it. "Uh, I have to, uh, go to the
bathroom. Just wait a sec," he said.

Rushed into the bathroom, hastily took off his civilian clohtes and
reveal the net.hero outfit underneath. Every LNH member was required
to always wear a superhero costume under their outfit at all times. It
made hookups awkward sometimes if he'd forgot to slip it off first.

Then he realized he wasn't alone. Daniel was in the bathroom with him,
and he, too, was taking off his outfit to reveal a net.hero costume.

"Oh my gosh. You're a net.hero," they both said at the same time.

"Yep," said Daniel. What's your name?"

"Frat Boy."

"Oh cool! I'm Fat Boy."

"Now that's a heck of a coincidence," said Frat Boy. They laughed. Now
that he thought about it, their costumes were kind of similar too.
There was somethng Frat Boy almost remembered, something that was
really important. But he had a fair number of beers and a beautiful
man with him and a supervillain outside, so there were too many other
things to think about.

"Ah, meddling net.heroes! I should have expected as much! But you
cannot defeat the power of the SLAMMER!" he said, making extra effort
to announce his name, in fancy lettering and stuff. (Thanks

"The Slammer? Taking on the Slammer sounds like an interesting way to
spend the night," said Fat Boy.

"Let's double-team him!" said Frat Boy. The two net.heroes high-fived,
then rushed into battle. Fat Boy ballooned up and bounced around like
Bouncing Boy (of the Legion of Super-Heroes... you know... that OTHER
legion, you probably don't remember them... with Matter-Eater Lad and
stuff... Sounds like a cheap ripoff of Cheesecake-Eater lad to me!)
and tackled him from behind, while Frat Boy blasted him in the face
with beer (get your mind out of the gutter...).

The Slammer felt a tingle of excitement--his first real net.hero
battle!! His criminal career had begun when he encountered a demonic
chest of pogs flung from the citadel of a demon lord after it was
destroyed by the LNH [ALNHTR FCBD Special (that could probably use
another acronym)], which formed the backbone of his evil plan. He had
both hoped for and fear a fight like this.

THe truth is both these net.heroes were really attractive and the
Slammer couldn't help but wonder if he would have more fun with them
off the battlefield, but he was a villain and he had to build a
reputation. The enemy makeouts would have to wait until he had a
proper archenemy.

"Fools!" he shouted. "Taste the power of the MegaMetal Slammer!" (Is
there going to be a single line in this scene that doesn't sound like
some kind of double entendre? Well, no.) He pulled out a pog made of
metal and flung it to the floor, creating a blast wave that made the
bar shake and knocked Frat Boy off his feet. But Fat Boy bounced over
to him and saved him, like a human airbag, and Frat Boy launched back
at him.

"Go for the pogs!" shouted Fat Boy. Frat Boy blasted his beer beam at
the Pouch of Pogs at his side (and why is it that in Adrian McClure
type stories all these characters have special pouches that hold magic
artifacts, huh? Is it wish fulfillment because they're always reading
too many books at once and has to carry them all in a backpack and
wants some kind of dimensionally transcendental pouch to make lugging
around all the books easier? Bet that's it).

"No! No! You shall not harm my pogs!" said the Slammer. He could have
maybe planned this a little better, he realized. But this was really
more of a proof-of-concept fight. He would return one day... yes one
day... he would succeed where Acton Lord himself had failed, because
he had something the venerable villain did not: POGS!

Meanwhile, Frat Boy and Fat Boy shambled out of the bar. "We did it!"
said Frat Boy. "And we managed to not blow up any buildings. That's
really something."

"Yeah." Fat Boy giggled. "So where do we go now."
"Someplace we can be alone. Where are you staying?"

"Uh, not really anywhere. I came here to visit. I don't really know a
lot about this city... "

"Mkay." Frat Boy put his arm around Fat Boy and led him back to the
LNHQ. It was late at night. The new receptionist, Joy, who took the
night shift, was concentrating on watching cat videos and didn't even
notice them.

They stumbled into Frat Boy's room. It had beer cans scattered all
over and Beastie Boys posters up on the wall. Fat Boy didn't' really
pay attention to any of this, becuase he pulled them onto Frat Boy's
futon, grabbing him by the wrists, and pressed into his lips in a hot,
deep, passionate kiss. Easily one of the top ten best Frat Boy could
remember. He started fumbling to take off Fat Boy's shirt...

And then he remembered.

"Uh, wait. Wait, hold on." He managed--reluctantly--to pull out of the kiss.

Fat Boy stopped in his tracks. "What is it? You OK, babe?"

"Well... uh... Are you. Are you..."

"Am I what?" There was a plaintive note of preemptive disappointment
in his voice. Frat Boy was afraid to go on. But he had to.

"Are you from this universe?"

Fat Boy blinked. "Uh... No. No I'm not. You got me. I'm a
parallel-universe tourist. I--wait. Wait. Oh shit..."

"You're from the Oddballverse."


"And we're counterparts."

Fat Boy looked away from him, staring at the posters on the walls.

The Oddballverse. A weird world generated from the mind of the
powerful LNHer, Particle Man, as he traveled the Astral Plane. It was
made up of distorted counterparts of LNHers--so Ultimate Ninja had
Penultimate Ninja, who was second best at everything. Limp-Asparagus
Lad had Lipid-Artery Lad, Ultimate Mercenary had Ultimate Mer-Canary.
And Frat Boy had Fat Boy.

That wasn't the problem in and of itself. Oddball LNH members weren't
*quite* the same people as their counterparts, and also the idea of
making out with a version of you, while weird, was honestly kind of
hot. And there were definitely a lot worse things his Oddball
counterpart could have been.

The problem was that if a member of the LNH touched their Oddball
counterpart, something bad would happen.

They'd managed, just barely, to avoid it any number of times. And now
it had happened, whatever it was.

"Oh," said Fat Boy. "I, uh. I guess--" He pulled away.

"It's OK," said Frat Boy. "Whatever's gonna happen has happened. It
won't get any worse if we touch more. And I mean, it can't be *too*

He looked at the window and saw the red sky and the other Earth.


Neither of them said anything for a while.

"Y'know," said Frat Boy. whatever's going to happen, you were worth
it. Honestly."

"Thanks," said Fat Boy. He laughed sadly. "So--"

Just then, the Legion thundered down the hallway and slammed open the
door. "HALT!" said All-Knowing Last Chance Whiner Destiny Woman. "You
must not--"

"They're touching!" said Sister State-the-Obvious.

The Legion looked at the two of them. They looked at the Legion.

Then a dimensional door appeared with a boom on Frat Boy's wall. Out
stepped the Oddball Legion. Opposite Fearless Leader and Dr. Stomper
were Careless Whisper and Dr. Chompers.

"Hold it!" said Careless Whisper. "You can't touch or--"

"What is the end of the world?" said All Knowing Lightning Round
Jeopardy Winner Woman.

"Wait. Wait, guys, hold on," said Frat Boy. "Are you sure the world is
actually ending?"

"I mean--" said Fearless Leader.

"Nothing is happening," said Sister State-the-Obvious.

They all stood silently for half a minute. Nothing continued to
happen. "But what about--" said Doctor Chompers, gesturing at the
Earth hanging in the sky.

A voice like thunder echoed through the world. "OH, SORRY." A
RACCelestial touched down and picked up the Earth in his arms, then
teleported back to the Cosmic Beach Volleyball Tournament. The sky
returned to its normal hue.

"Well," said Fearless Leader and Careless Whisper at once.

"But why didn't the world end?" said Doctor Chompers. "I thought--"

"Hmmm," said Doctor Stomper. "Hmmm. Who was it who originally warned
about what would happen if our counterparts touched?"

"Uh, that was me," said wReamhack from somewhere in the middle of the
crowd. "I did readings with an advanced cosmic modeling program,
and--" [LNHCP #11]

"Can I examine them?" said Doctor Stomper.

"Sure," said wReamHack. He typed something onto his pad.thingy, and
Doctor Stomper examined them on his own. "Hmmm. Hmmmmmm." He pulled a
device out of his pockets (which like a lot of such devices, looked a
bit like a marital aid) and waved it over Frat Boy and Fat Boy.
"Hmmmmm. Ah. I see what the issue is."

"Yes?" said Fearless Leader.

"You see, Frat Boy and Fat Boy were always meant to be the first
LNHers from their worlds who would have made physical contact. They
are bound together by powerful lines of shipping affinity. wReamhack,
you did your readings in 1993. Back then, this would have led to a
considerable flamewar which would have had devastating effects on the
community. But it's been more than twenty years since then--the people
who would have had a problem with that are long gone now. Back then,
there was an upheaval when someone used the word 'woody' in a
story"--the word instinctively caused a lot of the LNHers from the
team's early days to groan--"but this story has gone far beyond that
already. And of course, the most prolific writers of LNH stories right
now are Adrian McClure and Drew Perron, who--"

"Yeah," said Frat Boy. "The LNH is kind of like that one troop of
baboons whose 'alpha males' all died of tainted meat, and the others
took over and made things a lot more chill."

"Exactly," said Doctor Stomper. "So there doesn't appear to be any issue."

"Oh. Well," said Doctor Chompers. "Sorry about that, then."

"What is an anticlimax?" said All Knowing Lightning Round Jeopardy
Winner Woman. The Oddballs all went back through their own door.

"Uh," said Fearless Leader, "Yeah, sorry. You're free to, uh, do whatever."

"And I am sorry as well," said All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny
Woman. "I reacted out of fear, fear borne as much from my own
circumstances as my duty to protect the cosmos. You see, there are
things that I *almost* remember about the person I was before I took
this role. And I was afraid to remember them. I--" And then she
vanished in a puff of smoke.

"What the heck was that about?" said Fat Boy.

"More foreshadowing that may or may not ever pay off, most likely,"
said Doctor Stomper. "Standard issue for a story by this author."

"Well," said Frat Boy when they were alone. "Now what."

"Uh," said Fat Boy, "that was... really stressful. Not sure I can do
anything else."

"Understandable." Frat Boy flopped on the bed and they cuddled
together. It felt nice. "This still isn't the weirdest date I've ever

"Oh yeah." Fat Boy laughed. "And it turned out OK. I guess the world
doesn't end when the Fat Boy sings..."


"So," said Doctor Chompers the next day, "are you sure there won't be
any detrimental effects on my world?"

"I doubt it," said Doctor Stomper. "In fact, I suspect that it will be
more beneficial than not. Consider--people from your world have often
tried to attract attention from readers in order to make it more
'real.' That'll never be a problem again. Adorable queer relationship
stories are a powerful source of emotional investment--look at how
many people got into figure skating because of Yuri!!! On Ice."

"True," said Doctor Chompers. He smiled nervously, revealing teeth
which seemed to be too large for his mouth. "It seems strange that
people would have been up in arms about that. I mean, we know that
some of our own number are queer. Careless Whisper is gay. Painful Pan
Person is pan, obviously, and Cattle Kiss Lass has a crush on your
world's Giant Wandering Cow Kid, who is female."

"I see," said Doctor Stomper. "It's the same with our own world. Now
that I remember it, the Van Damme Stranger did say whatever happened
wouldn't be that bad." [LNHCP #12]

"But I have to wonder... What happens to us next? Most Oddball stories
to date have been about trying to attract more readers or the problems
that could happen if our counterparts touched. Now that those issues
are both resolved, what are our stories going to be about?"

"Well, you'll have to figure that out for yourselves. But the
relationship that exists now would be a good starting point. I have to
warn you, though... Being real can be something of a double-edged
sword. As you grow in complexity you will will have to deal with more
complex emotions and difficulties. I'm sure there are times when
Pinocchio missed being woody... er... made of wood..."


And in the East Coast Brotherhood of Net.Villains headquarters,
Mistake was carefully studying the faces of each member of the LNH,
practicing impersonating them. That could be difficult. Once she'd
tried impersonating Sig.Lad and was stuck in his form for a week,
because he'd been a shapeshifter, and that meant she *couldn't*

Then she saw another face, a face she had to double check that she'd
seen. It was labeled "All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny Woman."

Mistake's fingers brushed across the photograph. "Her? But it can't
be--I saw her die..."



Consider this my contribution to Pride Month as well as the LNH's 25th
anniversary year.

Slammer was created by/is the semi-Writer Character of Drew's and my
friend Orville. A lot of this story was inspired by him.

And yes, the final reveal was a big part of why I brought back Mistake.


Frat Boy: Uplink
Fat Boy: Me
Oddballverse: H. Jameel al Khafiz (the members in this story were
created by Drew Perron and me)
Sister State-The-Obvious, All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny
Woman, wReamhack: wReam
Dr. Stomper: T.M. Neeck
Cliche Dude, Halls Jordan, Mistake: Jef Kolodziej (who said we could
do anything we wanted with his characters... >:)

Slammer: Orville

Adrian "The Dark Spaceknight" McClure, now with sig

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