Icarus was a gay trans detective. But he was also a sorcerer.
Despite his frosty demeanor, Icarus was unparalleled when it came to solving crimes and banishing evil.
One day, his husband, Lysander, showed him an odd story that he read in the paper: “Jack Hale was an ordinary man who minded his own business. But a few days ago, he dropped dead without warning. The police discovered that he had been infected by some strange disease, and they found disgusting maggots on his skin.” Lysander shuddered.
Icarus already had a sense of what was to come.
Over the next few weeks, Icarus amassed evidence to track down the culprit behind the incident. There was a certain Mr. Bennett Wakefield, the local billionaire. He was a grieving son who had lost his parents years ago.
While it was tragic to be orphaned so young, Mr. Wakefield was clearly using his loss as a sympathy shield to cover up his evil doings. Icarus had lost his parents too, but not by death. He refused to think more about that.
Still, Icarus couldn’t be too careful. He and Lysander rehearsed their script. The latter was skeptical of the plan, but he had faith in Icarus.
The next day, right at sundown, Icarus and Lysander arrived at the door of Wakefield Enterprises.
They sounded the doorbell, and they heard its ominous chime echo through the room. When the door pushed open, Icarus half expected to see a spectre, but it was only an old man; a butler. He was tall and fit, and one would be a fool to underestimate him. But he wasn’t the man that Icarus was looking for.
“Sorry for interrupting you, Sir,” Icarus said. “But my husband and I were wondering if Mr. Wakefield would consider sponsoring our fundraiser. It’s — ”
“Not interested,” the butler said in a flat tone and started to shut the door.
“ — It will be to Mr. Wakefield’s benefit,” Icarus persevered. “Our fundraiser is to support children with deceased parents. Especially those with parents who were mysteriously killed.”
As expected, Albert, which was the butler’s name according to Icarus’s research, pulled the door open again. The butler’s gaze was severe, but not entirely relentless. “Oh? What sort of fundraiser is this? How come I’ve never heard of it before?”
A wide smile spread across Icarus’s face. “That’s because we haven’t launched it yet. And we’re seeking Mr. Wakefield’s help to start our endeavor.”
Icarus didn’t have long to wait.
Soon, Albert returned with a tall, thin young man wearing long sleeves and pants, gloves, and even shoes in his own house, as though he had something to hide, which he obviously did. His face looked oddly emotionless and too perfect.
It wasn’t the first time that Icarus had seen a skin mask, however. Bennett Wakefield’s face matched his photos, at least the ones shown to the public. The detective had wondered why he couldn’t find any private photos of Bennett’s face. He even questioned if this was an imposter.
Yet, Icarus had a hunch that this was the real man. It just wasn’t certain what he was concealing. But Icarus bet it had something to do with maggots and parasites.
Regardless, the billionaire’s voice was cold. “So, you’re asking Wakefield Enterprises to fund this unknown campaign of yours. What would we get in return for our generosity?”
The detective wasn’t deterred by Bennett’s tough-guy act. The fact that he even bothered to show up at the door, meant that he was already interested in Icarus’s scheme. “Magic,” Icarus replied bluntly. “I’ve heard that you are skilled in fencing, archery, gymnastics, and even the martial arts. You have money, you have influence, you have everything. But the one thing you don’t have, and probably want, is magical ability.”
Bennett Wakefield clenched his fists. “Why should I believe you? You’re speaking as though you’re some superhero.”
Icarus chuckled. “I’m not a hero, just a magician.” He held out his hand. An orb of golden yellow light seeped from his palm into the air. When the light faded, a thin sword was in his hand. Bennett eyed the weapon with wariness, until Icarus handed the sword to him, hilt first.
Bennett frowned as he took it. “Aren’t you afraid that I would attack you with this blade?”
Icarus smiled and shook his head. “I believe you are a man of honour. You wouldn’t attack someone who has never done you any harm. Besides, this is a sincere gift from me. I know that I’m just a stranger, so I invite you to try out this blade, to prove to you that my help is genuine. The sword is not hard to use, and will not harm the bearer.”
Bennett glanced over at Lysander. “It better not. Otherwise, you and your husband had better watch out.”
“Are you sure this will work?” Lysander whispered when they were miles away from the mansion.
Icarus grinned and squeezed his hand in reassurance. “Trust me, it will.”
“But you know what happened with the Icarus of Greek mythology. He flew too high and fell to his death,” Lysander persisted.
Icarus scoffed. “You tell me that every time you’re worried about a mission.”
“I just don’t want you to get killed,” Lysander said. “This Bennett Wakefield isn’t just some broody, filthy rich villain. He’s got something deeper up his sleeves. Please be careful.”
Icarus gave his spouse a quick peck on the lips. “Don’t worry. I will.”
Back at Wakefield Enterprises, Bennett Wakefield stared with amazement at the magical sword. Everything was as advertised. He could shoot beams out of it like it was a laser gun. It was a fun new toy. His advanced analyzers did not find anything strange about the blade, either. Could the boy truly be sincere?
He didn’t find anything odd about the young spell caster or his husband. They could have given fake names, but their faces seemed to match their photos. The spell caster, who called himself Dioneo, used to be the son of wealthy parents, but they had cast him out of their will because they refused to acknowledge his gender. A transgender boy who had issues with his parents, huh?
Bennett became even more intrigued by Dioneo’s motives than by the magic sword. One thing was certain. He had to meet the spell caster again.
The following day, he managed to persuade Dioneo to meet him for lunch, though the latter said that his husband would not be attending this time. That in itself wasn’t a cause for concern. Bennett was confident that he could catch them either way, if there was any deception on their part.
During their meal, Bennett noticed that Dioneo was a very handsome man. He also had a lack of social grace, which ironically made Bennett feel less on guard.
He plied the spell caster with questions, however, and was surprised by Dioneo’s candid responses. Apparently, he had many friends whose parents had been killed or viciously harmed in some way. His husband Corinth’s parents had been wrongfully exiled from the country as well.
Bennett inquired about Dioneo’s relationship with his husband. And soon, the billionaire became intrigued by the boy’s backstory.
At the end of the meal, Bennett Wakefield smiled and said, “All right, I can sponsor your fundraiser. But only if you promise to teach me magic.”
Dioneo nodded calmly. “I promise.”
Lysander eyed him dubiously.
“Are you sure it’s wise to give this asshole magical training? I know that detectives need to be flexible with their methods of smoking out the villain, but don’t you think you’re going too far here?”
“It’ll be worth it,” Icarus insisted. “You’ll see. You can’t win their trust without genuinely giving them what they want, first.”
And Icarus kept his word. On most days, he showed up at Wakefield manor to teach Bennett Wakefield how to fight with magic, using the magic sword that Icarus had gifted him.
It was apparent to him that Bennett was growing to trust him. But what wasn’t so clear to Icarus, was that he was growing to trust Bennett as well. Lysander had remarked on this, but Icarus dismissed his concern by telling his husband that he was just jealous. Lysander pouted and ended that conversation.
Before Icarus knew it, he suddenly wished that he didn’t have to arrest Bennett at all. Mr. Wakefield was bitter at the man who had killed his parents, but who wouldn’t be?
Bennett may have used a more extreme form of revenge, but Icarus himself was not entirely innocent when it came to killing, though he had done so in the name of the law. Bennett was just taking justice into his own hands. Was that so wrong?
Lysander must have influenced him too much. Before Icarus met Lysander, he was lonelier and sadder, yes, but he was clearer on what was right and wrong. Lysander introduced him to the world of uncomfortable nuances.
Icarus’s husband used to be a hooker, and a very popular and successful one, too. Lysander’s profession led him to meet a lot of people who were not on the right side of the law…yet, they were not bad people, in Lysander’s view. It was all very befuddling.
Still, Icarus’s resolve was wavering. From what he had found, Bennett hadn’t committed any more crimes after killing the man who had murdered his parents. While Bennett had the arrogance that you would expect from a rich man, he seemed quite…normal, even decent, otherwise.
More and more, Icarus wondered whether there was another way out.
One day, as Icarus taught Bennett yet another spell he could emit from his sword, Bennett smiled and said, “Thank you, Icarus.”
Icarus stopped his hand in mid-air, stunned.
Bennett Wakefield laughed. “You didn’t think I was that gullible, did you? I was duped by your cover story as ‘Dioneo’ at first, but I’m not the Wakefield heir for nothing, detective. You are very good, but you have underestimated me.”
Icarus recovered his breath and said, in as calm a tone as he could manage, “If you already knew, then why do you still let me inside your house? I could easily apprehend or even kill you, you know.”
Bennett smirked. “I still let you in because I knew you wouldn’t want to harm me. The law may be hard, but even men of the law can have an independent conscience.” He went on, “It became clear to me some time ago that you wanted to earn my trust. In a way, I did trust you. But two can play at this game, so I aimed to make you trust me as well.
“But despite what you may think, I am not a heartless man. I genuinely have no desire to hurt you. But I do wish to strike a bargain with you, Detective Icarus. Let this case go. Tell your colleagues that it was all a mistake, that I was innocent, after all. Do that, and I will give you riches beyond your imagination. If you want promotions, for yourself or your husband, I can also find you the connections to get you there. We’ve helped each other for so long, Icarus. Why should we become enemies? And I know that you’re a better man than that.”
Bennett continued, “You know in your heart that what I did, was right and just, even if the law disagrees. I have appealed to the police multiple times, but nobody could pin the crime on Jack Hale. He was such a slippery eel. And despite my wealth, none of them would believe the eyewitness testimony of a small child. They told me I was too young and must have been mistaken. Albert supported me, but the police didn’t care about the words of a mere butler.
“Tell me, detective. Is that just? Is it truly okay to let an evil murderer get away with killing a little boy’s parents? And is it so bad for that boy to grow up and take revenge on this despicable murderer?”
The intensity in Bennett’s eyes scared Icarus, but he couldn’t help but feel moved, too. The words of his husband came to him: Sometimes, the truly evil don’t get caught. It’s the innocent who get arrested because they fought back to defend themselves, but they weren’t crafty enough to cover their tracks.
Icarus had countered Lysander’s words back then, insisting that his husband was too cynical. Of course the innocent would prevail and the wrongdoers would be punished. Plenty of victims were protected because they had only been acting out of self-defence. Lysander countered: But plenty of victims don’t get that pardon. The police just assume they were violent, uncontrollable criminals.
Now, with Bennett staring balefully at him, Icarus drew in a shaky breath. “Yes, it is unjust. No child should have to be orphaned so cruelly, and be completely dismissed by the — justice system.”
Bennett nodded, satisfied and almost smug. “So, you agree to our bargain, then?”
Never had Icarus imagined that he would want to let a criminal go, though he was astonished by how much it grated him to think of Bennett as a criminal. Yet, it went against his principles to accept a bribe. He could not take Bennett’s money or his offered connections.
Instead, Icarus thought of a much better idea. He said, “Bennett, to be honest, I don’t wish to hurt you, either. You are not the monster that I had thought you would be. And I know that the justice system is…flawed. I admit that, even as a detective myself. I cannot accept your money or connections, since I do not wish to become corrupt. But I do hope that you will do me one simple favor in exchange for your freedom.”
Bennett’s eyes softened a little. “What is it? If it is in my power, I will give it to you.”
Icarus smiled and gazed down at the magic sword in Bennett’s hand. “I want you to use your power for good. I have already taught you enough magic to defeat most sorcerers, let alone non-magical folks. Become a superhero and protect your city. Be the justice that the law enforcement fails to be.”
Bennett considered his words slowly. He sighed. “I frankly don’t have much love for my city. This place has brought me too much pain.”
“Then why don’t you move to a new city, and get a fresh start?” Icarus asked.
Bennett looked torn. “I will think about it. But yes, I promise. I will use the magic that you taught me for good. I will be…a superhero.” He pronounced that word as though he had never thought that the term could apply to him.
Nevertheless, Icarus was glad, relieved, and a little tired.
Before Icarus left the door of the Wakefield mansion, Albert stopped him and murmured, “Thank you, Master Icarus. I say this from the bottom of my heart. You have achieved the impossible. You brought the true, original Master Bennett, the one capable of great kindness and goodness, back to life. Please, if you ever have any need of help, don’t hesitate to let me know.”
Icarus gave him a tight smile. “The pleasure is all mine, Albert. Your Master deserves a much better life. The justice system has failed him and his family. If you wish to help me, then help me watch over Bennett. He’s lonely, and New York City unfortunately has too many bad memories for him. Maybe you two could move somewhere more peaceful, where Bennett will feel more accepted.”
Albert beamed and nodded. “Of course, Master Icarus, I will. I am forever in your debt.”
When Icarus got home and told Lysander what happened, Lysander looked shocked, but then he smiled. “I had a feeling that this might happen.”
“So, you don’t blame me? You don’t think I did the wrong thing by — letting a criminal go?” Icarus asked.
Lysander shook his head. “How unlike you to be so unsure of yourself, babe. But I can see the answer in your eyes. Even if I told you that you should have arrested Bennett Wakefield, I know you wouldn’t listen to me.”
Icarus was embarrassed. “On that, Lysander, I’m sorry. I realized after today, just how stubborn, arrogant, and foolish I was. I thought I was so clever that I could outwit anyone. But Bennett outwitted me.”
Lysander enveloped his husband in a close hug. “You’re not a fool. Yes, you miscalculated a lot of things, and Bennett proved to be much more astute than we thought. But you still got the last laugh. You made him promise to use his powers for good from now on.”
Icarus laughed against his spouse’s shoulder. It was odd to talk about Bennett like an opponent when they were now on the same side. He whispered, “Do you think Bennett will keep his word?”
Lysander clutched him tighter. “I can’t tell the future, but I believe in you.”
Icarus chuckled with relief and happiness.
Some months later, when Icarus and Lysander had moved to another city for work, Lysander showed him a strange news report from Quebec. He even recorded the tape for Icarus to watch.
Icarus indulged him, even though he had been feeling jaded lately, and avoided watching the news if he could help it.
But what he saw on the screen stunned him. A figure with a blue cloak and mask dashed toward a fleeing robber. The figure brandished a familiar golden sword, and icicles trapped the villain in a frozen prison. The villain groaned but could not move.
The news reporters thought this was a miracle. They were too slow to get the blue-cloaked man for an interview, but the robber muttered that the hero had called himself, “Daedalus, the man who could create anything with his magic sword.”
Lysander turned a smile at Icarus. “You really did it. Bennett Wakefield — Daedalus, ha! He could have chosen a nicer name, though. If anything, you were the one who made him those wings, well, sword, in this case. You were also the one who persuaded him to stop and turn back, and he did!”
Icarus snorted. “True. So we are Icarus and Daedalus reversed. Except with a happy ending. I wonder if he sees me as his potential sidekick in the future.”
That was just a joke, but Lysander frowned and said, “If anything, Daedalus should be your sidekick. You’re the one who taught him. So you’re like a master and apprentice.”
Icarus was amused, but he was glad that he had made the right choice by letting Bennett Wakefield go free. He reached out to take his husband’s hand. “Thank you.”
Lysander smiled. “For what?”
“For making me a better man,” Icarus answered. “For making me see beyond the black and whites of the justice system.”
Lysander beamed. “The pleasure is all mine, babe.”
Some months later, they discovered that Daedalus had acquired a sidekick, a masked boy with a dark purple cape, who called himself the Nightingale.
Daedalus and the Nightingale soon became the legendary heroes of Quebec.
Thank you to Zane Dickens for his We Need a Hero prompt. A number of authors wrote a story about their fictional villain. Four top villains were chosen based on the highest number of fans (clappers). Our mission was to write a short story with our superhero to vanquish one of these villains. I chose Jay C Well ’s villain, Parasite, aka Bennett Wakefield. Parasite is a twisted version of Batman, which I was very fascinated by.