"Hey, ____, wanna play superheroes?" you heard your older brother, Alfred, call out. You looked up from your colouring book and smiled. "Okay, Alfie!" you said, springing to your feet. Alfred came into the living room with an American flag tied around his neck. Following his lead, you grabbed your own special blanket that you carried with you everywhere, making a cape similar to Alfreds. He jumped onto the couch, making a fist and punching the air. "Prepare yourselves, evil villains, for the power of the mighty Captain Alfred and his sidekick, girl-wonder ____!"
You laughed as your adoptive father, Arthur, came into the room. "____, Alfred, what are you two doing?" he asked. Alfred suddenly pointed. "Look out, it's the eyebrows monster!" he shouted. Arthur took no hesitation in catching on as you began to run away. Grinning he said in a growling voice "Yes, it's me, the eyebrows monster, and I'm going to tickle you and your little sidekick too!" He moved forward and grabbed you around the waist, tickling you as you squealed and squirmed. "Don't worry, girl-wonder, I will save you! A hero never lets his sidekick be in harms way!" Alfred declared, launching himself at Arthur. Your father fell over from the tackle and lay on the ground as if defeated. You and Alfred laughed and gave each other high fives until Arthur got up and began chasing you two around the living room once more.
. . .
A few months later, you were starting school. You were in kindergarten while Alfred was going into grade two. Nervously, you clutched your father's fingers in one hand and your blanket in the other. "It's okay, ____, you can go into the school yard. If anything bad happens, just find Alfred, okay? I'll be right here to get you at the end of the day." Arthur said. You nodded as he kissed your forehead and shooed you off.
When the bell rang, you went into the classroom and met your teacher, who you immediately liked. You thought that maybe school would be fun, and you worked and played until snack time. After you ate, your class was dismissed for the recess break.
You went back onto the playground, holding your blanket and looking around for anybody you might know. As you walked, you accidentally ran into some older fourth grade boys, who looked down on you with a mean stare. "Weeeeeeeeell, looky here boys, a little girl who doesn't know how to look where she's going. And see this, the little baby's got an itty bitty blankie!" one of them said in a mean tone. You began to back away, trying to mouth an apology but not producing any sound from fear. You backed up until you hit a wall.
Suddenly one of the boys reached out and grabbed your special blanket, holding it above your head. No matter how high you jumped, you couldn't get it. "Aww, is the widdle baby sad without her widdle blankie? You gotta do better than that if you want it back!" he taunted, and tears began to form in your eyes. "Huh, is the widdle baby gonna cry, now? Come on, widdle baby, cry for your stupid blankie!" they teased, until you heard a voice call out from across the school yard. "Hey, you bullies, leave my sister alone!"
They turned around, giving you time to scoot away and hide behind Alfred. "How cute, the little kid pretending to be a big hero." a boy snarled. "Shut up, Gilbert, and give my sister back her blanket." Gilbert leaned in close to Alfreds face. "And what're you gonna do about it if I don't, huh?"
Alfred stared at him for a second. Then he punched him square in the nose.
. . .
You were now sitting in the front office, waiting for your father to come and take the two of you home. Gilbert had already been scolded by the principal, but you thought that the bloody nose and black eye Alfred gave him would make a better lesson than the principal's words.
Alfred himself was nursing a bad scrape on the side of his head with an ice pack as you sat and clutched your blanket tightly. "Alfie, why'd you fight that boy for me?" you asked, looking up at your big brother. Alfred looked down at you, giving a cheeky grin and ruffling your hair. "Because," he told you, "a hero never lets his sidekick be in harms way!"