Title: Relatively Powered #7: "Cold Shoulder, Part 2"
Summary: Two wannabe superheroes, a brother and sister, powered by incest! Will a ranging fire bring these two siblings back together, or drive them further apart?
Keywords: mf, inc, cons, superhero, scfi
Previously, in Relatively Powered: Alex and Tabby are two not-so-ordinary teen siblings. Not only are they in witness protection because supervillains want their dad, but they've also been becoming far closer than siblings should be... sexually close. But when they discover that acts of unprotected incest give them superpowers, their whole lives change.
Alex doesn't know why his sister's been distant lately, ever since she caught him fucking a famous superheroine in the ass. He doesn't know that it forced Tabby to confront the possibility that she was falling in love with her own brother. All he knows is that she's been giving him the cold shoulder. After somehow managing to convince her to go out in their superhero identities, the two split up to take down a drug house. Tabby was supposed to wait outside, with powers over heat and cold, while Alex charge in with flgiht and invulnerability. That was the plan, and it seemed to be going well... until Alex realized that the house had somehow caught fire...
Relatively Powered by AnonyMPC (mf, inc, cons, superhero, scfi)
#7: "Cold Shoulder, Part 2" (Additional Story Code: none)
(* indicates that the code applies due to the bodies and apparent ages of the people involved and, since this is a superhero series which might eventually include elements like body-swapping or shape-shifting, and already includes many people who's aging has been halted, does not necessarily reflect the actual minds or level of experience)
Being caught in a burning building is scary as fuck.
But when you've got super powers... being caught in a burning building is still scary as fuck. Even if you're invulnerable, some part of your brain doesn't believe that, it evolved and grew up in a world where being surrounded by fire means pain and death.
And even if you're invulnerable, you're not always completely invulnerable. Most of us still need to breathe, and a smoke-filled burning building is not the best environment to do that in. So, the first time I was caught in a burning drug house, I think I can be forgiven for my first few moments being spent saying "Shit, shit, shit," and probably in a very panicky voice.
I also had another reason to fear... I was pretty sure that the fire was started by my sister, and partner in crimefighting, Tabby. At that moment, she had the power to project extreme heat or cold... and it's a natural conclusion to jump to, that extreme heat could cause a fire.
Those same powers should protect her from it, but I couldn't know that for sure. What if she burst in on somebody and he knocked her unconscious just after the fire started, and she was down there somewhere, unable to protect herself? My stomach dropped at that possibility... although the thought had briefly crossed my mind, because she'd been giving me the cold shoulder lately, I didn't really think she started it deliberately to punish me, and that meant something had badly gone wrong.
"Tabby!" my panicky voice rang out. It was a good thing that her superhero name, Taboo, was so close to her real name, because I was scared enough that I completely forgot our cover identities. "Tabby!"
I flew down the stairs at top speed, where the fire was really raging. The ground floor. I called her name again. The front door was open, but I wouldn't be going out until I could be sure Tabby wasn't inside, so I did my best to dodge flames as I searched.
A crashing sound attracted my attention to the kitchen, and when I got there, I finally found her... she'd just kicked the door in... more than that, the lock was shattered, probably from being frozen first. On the other side, I saw Tabby. I flew over to her and hugged her. "Oh, thank god..." I said.
She hugged back, then let go. "What did you do?" she asked.
My mouth hung open for a second. "Me? You're the one with the heat powers!"
"I've been outside, waiting, like we agreed..."
Oops. I guess I shouldn't have blamed her. "I didn't do anything... I was upstairs when it started."
"Maybe somebody heard you and decided to destroy evidence?" she suggested.
It seemed like as good an answer as any, although, much later, I learned, following up on the case in the news, that they attributed it to a lit cigarette on a cheap, flammable couch. More likely somebody heard me, panicked, and the fire started accidentally. But the why of the fire wasn't important right then, only the fact of it. "Maybe. Come on, let's get out of here before this place comes down around us..."
I tried to usher her back towards the door, but she stood her ground. "Wait! Is everybody out of the building?"
I frowned. "No..."
"Just because they're drug dealers doesn't mean they deserve to die..."
I agreed, but a grumble worked itself into my voice anyway. I didn't want to have to be the one to save them... but I'd probably feel really guilty if they died. "Yeah, yeah. Okay, you go back out, I'll save them."
"No, I'm coming with you," she insisted. "Besides, I can help." She pointed towards the nearest wall on fire, and you could see a wave of cold projecting out, a glittering beam. I guess it was so humid in there that ice crystals formed along the path of her burst. It probably did that all the time, but with light from the fire reflecting off it everywhere, it was especially prominent. And, sure enough, when the beam hit the flaming wall, the fires significantly calmed. "Fire needs heat to burn, right?"
"Okay," I agreed grudgingly, as she continued to tame the flames in our immediate sight . "But you stay with me. On my back." As silly as piggyback looked, it really was the best way to do it. It left my hands free to grab the people we were rescuing, and if anything started to go wrong, I could get out of there in a hurry. She must have seen this, and I felt her first hugging me, her boobs pressing into my back pleasingly, and then her legs wrapped around my waist. I took to the air and started us towards the stairs. They were pretty much wrecked at this point... I wouldn't trust my weight on them, so carrying Tabby was the only way I'd let her up at all. They were fully ablaze when I saw them, but she pointed ahead of me with one arm, shooting cold and clearing a path of charred wood. By the time I got there, there were no flames and the air I could feel on my face was chilly like a midwinter day, but not unbearable.
We couldn't find anybody on the middle floor. Whoever was there must have bolted when the fire was still just beginning. On the top floor, I saw one of the dealers I'd tangled with before, a clean-cut college-age guy, with a tanned complexion.
He wasn't looking at me, though, he was looking out the window I'd originally burst through, like he was trying to decide whether or not he should jump. Suddenly, Tabby made a noise, and he turned, muttered a curse word, and reached for his gun.
"Whoah," I said, trying to be calming. "We've been through this before. Invulnerable. And I'm only here to evacuate you. We didn't start the fire." Shit, now I was going to have that song stuck in my head. He still looked unsure, but he wasn't pointing the gun at me, so I added, "And after we take you guys down to the ground, we'll probably be too busy firefighting to keep you from running." My eyes slid around the room, looking for others. I'd come face to face with two more guys on this floor. One was a spikey-haired young kid with a similarly tanned look. He bolted earlier, before the fire got too serious and before I went downstairs... so I figured he was long gone. The last was an older guy, again with the same skin-tone, but a moustache that made him look Arab... I'd kicked a gun out of his hand earlier, and I might have broken it in the process. The hand, I mean. The gun was probably still buried in the floorboards. I doubted with the injured hand and a raging fire, he could have snuck by me. "Where's your buddy? With the moustache?"
"He went out. Through the window."
"Hardcore. He okay?" My sister offered to call an ambulance.
"No, you don't understand... he took Freek..." Fuck... one of the more potent, and dangerous, of the Empowering drugs. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Rare Exotic Element preparations weren't hard to get if you knew the right people, they were just pricy, as drugs go. Most granted some low-level ability because they were specifically prepared from, say, some Spore Kid who had flight, or super-strength, or whatever power you want. Take some of his adrenal gland secretions (or lymph, or sometimes even just blood), reactivate the so-called "exotic elements", and you can often get a much-weakened version of the power for yourself for a very short time, sometimes with bad side effects if they don't prepare it properly, but if you want powers badly enough, it can be worth it. Bounce I actually almost tried once with some friends, but it turned out to be a dud, which is the biggest problem with it... too much fraud. Since the process usually only works about half of the time even when it's done properly, and it's easy to denature accidentally, you can't prove the fraud's intentional. The dealers never offer refunds. It's always buy-at-your-own risk.
But Freek... Fortified Rare Exotic Element Cocktail is a mixture of preparations from different people, suspended in some mystery chemical. This was high-end shit, because the powers it gave could, potentially, be as strong or stronger than any of the people used to make it. Career supercriminals stayed away from it because there were some more predictable, repeatable ways to get powers, but Freek allowed criminals a shot at powers that haven't been successfully commercialized... and it was cheaper, too. So when some random thug got powered up to deal with a rival gang member or something, it was usually on Freek. But it was risky... it could do serious long-term damage to your body and often fucked up your mind like a PCP-trip.
"Do you know what powers he got?" Tabby asked, still clinging on to my back. Good thing I had super strength or I'd be starting to get tired.
"It's Freek," I snapped at her, unfairly, but I was a bit nervous. Who knows what kind of powers he got? Less harshly, I explained, "It's random." That's kind of the point. Sometimes you even got several powers in one. In the 80s somebody spiked some Tylenol bottles with a less-potent cousin of it, and that caused a lot of trouble. Mom even saw some of it herself... she was just a kid, but she remembers and told me about it a few times.
"He still might know," she said defensively. "He might have seen."
"I don't know. He grew wings and..." He waved outside. "He didn't even come back to save me! His cousin!"
"Well, no time for that now," I said, glancing back... the fire was starting to lick its way up the outer walls again, and the smoke was getting thick. Tabby couldn't snuff the whole house at once, and cold only slows fire for a short time. Firefighters still find work even in the middle of winter. It was time to go. With luck, the guy on Freek just flew off to satisfy a craving for falafel or something. I grabbed the only guy we had left to rescue by the arms, and then flew him down to the backyard.
"Look," Tabby said as soon as he'd touched down. She didn't take the opportunity to climb down like I'd expected. "The fire's spreading." I looked, and she was right, it was.... not just throughout the house, but the wind was blowing sparks to the one nearby. Full of innocent people. "We have to get back up there."
I was a little worried that there could be a super-powered maniac in the air, but we couldn't take the risk... the fire wasn't our fault, but it probably wouldn't have started if we weren't here. I wished Tabby had just stuck with the teleportation power... not only would it make it easy to evacuate the place, but she could probably sense if our winged menace was around, too. "Right," I said, and took to the air. "Too bad you can't actually create ice, like Johnny Snow." She grunted in reply, but then got focused, because we were close enough that she could throw a cold beam, which probably did create micro-crystals of ice, but that wasn't what I meant. It did the job, though... the fire on the neighboring house went out, leaving just a dark black spot. We'd caught it just in time, it looked like it was all surface. And, even more luck, I could already see that the people who lived there were already on the front lawn. They couldn't see us against the sky, I think, but I hoped they were grateful that their house wasn't burning anymore.
"Okay, now take us back to the drug house..." I complied, a bit grudgingly. I didn't want to spend all night fighting fires, but the wind could easily blow another spark in the way of innocent bystanders.
At least I could hear sirens in the distance, so I assumed the firefighting experts would relieve us soon. While Tabby focused on the fire, I swung my head around to see if I could see where they were coming from... and that's when I saw the green-skinned thing flying at us. "Tabby, look out..." While I spoke, I jerked my body around so that I would bear the brunt of any attack, and get a better look at my opponent.
If that was the mustached guy I faced earlier, Freek really did a number on him. He still had pants on, but his shirt was shredded and parts of it dangling from the waistband. It must have been torn apart as his body changed... for now he had green scaley skin, wings for arms, and his head... actually looked a lot like one of those hammerhead sharks, except with hair. He even still had the mustache. Weirdest of all, he had what looked like a big pupil-less eye on his chest.
I lifted my legs up as he rushed me, to put a little more of my invulnerable body between him and my sister and maybe kick him away, but I was unprepared for a blast of white energy that shot out of the eye in his chest, and slammed me backwards. Worse, I felt Tabby's arm slip from my neck.
The blast didn't hurt me, but it was very jarring, disorienting, and I knew I had to take care of my sister first. Her hand first caught on my foot, and held there, but as I was reaching for it, the creature landed the second attack, a body slam, wings wrapping around me, and her fingers were jostled free from my ankle. Tabby was falling, screaming.
I thrust my elbow out with all my force, succeeding in pushing him back, and the moment he was off me, I dove as fast as I could, racing towards my sister before she hit the ground.
I made it just in time. It couldn't have been more than a second between her falling and my reaching her, but it felt like an eternity before I grabbed her hand and slowed her fall.
By that point, we were so close to the ground that I just lowered her the rest of the way, and then darted out into an open area, hoping the creature would focus on me, which made the most sense, since I hurt his hand. Unfortunately, I'd lost track of exactly where he was... at least until I saw a white flash of light, from the eyebeam. It just grazed me, but the next thing I knew, I was on my knees and about to do a faceplant in the yard. I barely managed to steady myself with a hand.
It was a curious sensation because it didn't really hurt very much, but it tossed me around like a ragdoll. Because it was a one-off, temporary power, I can only guess at what it actually was, but I think had to be TK... not a dime-a-dozen beam of telekinetic force, but rather some kind of ray that directly altered my motion, kind of like Inertia can do to people, except at a distance and much more chaotic. I wasn't feeling particularly sore, but I did kind of want to throw up a bit.
When the shaking passed, I looked up and tried to find him. To my surprise, he was coming right at me again, proving he wasn't too bright... or maybe he didn't know exactly what his powers were. But he scratched at me with one of his wing-hands, which did have claws, but they didn't penetrate my tough skin.
I countered by throwing him down on the ground. He kept hold of me... his enhanced body had super-strength of some level too, but I was pretty sure I was stronger. Still, we rolled together, and for a while it was like we were wrestling... I was trying to keep him pinned, which I was doing okay on until that damned eye in his chest started glowing again, and suddenly my feet were in the air. Luckily, I managed to retain a grip on his arm, so it was more like an involuntary, anchored, somersault, and I landed near him, and got on him again, this time managing to put him on his stomach.
It was then that I noticed the ground was wet, I could feel it even through my suit. I looked up, and there was Tabby, holding the hose from the neighboring house, practically at full extension, and the water was spouting out towards him. I caught her eye (or the eye-portion of her mask, at least), and knew exactly what she was thinking. I kept him pinned and let the water build up, and then she held her hand out. I nodded, and suddenly let go and took to the air.
The water froze almost instantly, and the Freeked-up dealer remained pinned. Even if you've got super strength, you still need some kind of space to move, to build up momentum, in order to put it into practice. Given enough time he probably could have broken it, but Tabby didn't stop there. She ran the hose over top of him, freezing more water on his back, until he was practically covered in a block of ice, except the face.
I landed by her side and watched him shaking in impotent rage. Or maybe he was just shivering. Either way, I said, "Well, that's one way to put a monster... on ice."
Tabby shook her head at me. "You are such a dork sometimes."
She never was a fan of CSI: Crash City.
Think what you want about my dumb jokes, we were having sex within twenty minutes, so I must be doing something right. Of course, if I didn't fuck her one more time to charge up her powers, we'd never be able to teleport back home, but I choose to believe my occasionally dorky charm had something to do with it. And she seemed to be in a better mood, all around... though she still wanted me to do her from behind, she was willing to look back towards me while I penetrated her. We were doing it mostly standing up, inside the front yard of an upscale home... the area was well-lit by a street-lamp, but we were behind a wall, which Tabby used to push back on, so in order to see us, you'd have to be inside the house or one of the neighboring ones, and none of the lights were on. Tabby was the one who picked the spot.
While we fucked, we discussed how things had gone down. "We didn't do too bad," I reassured her. As usual, she was picking apart every little mistake. "We're not responsible for the fire... and we did save some lives...."
"Mmm," Tabby said, and I don't know if she was agreeing, disagreeing, or if it was just a slight moan of pleasure. "I shouldn't have changed powers," she admitted after a moment. "When I was falling, I wanted to teleport away, but..." she couldn't. It was by far the scariest part of the night. "Just promise me, from now on, no more monsters."
I grinned to cover up my own unease. "Sure." I didn't actually think she was serious about that... at least about it being a promise, if a monster was hurting somebody she'd be the first to insist we go after it... but I still planned to stay away from them while she was nearby. "And look, I would have preferred you stuck with teleportation too... but you did amazing work with what you had." I thought she needed the encouragement, but she performed far better with those powers than I would have. I probably would have shot heat everywhere. "That cold projection did more good than my fists. Stopped that guy cold." That pun was completely unintended.
It also seemed to have escaped Tabby completely, but probably because she was concerned with nitpicking. "I don't project cold," Tabby corrected me, grunting a little as I thrust into her. "Cold is an absence of heat, you can't... unh... shoot it out, you can only... mmm... remove heat."
"Whatever," I said. Sure that's how it worked in normal physics, but who knows what happened when the Reality Dysfunction of super powers kicked in? Maybe there really was an anti-heat that she shot out. "You still did great."
She turned her head back towards me. "Thanks. You too." I didn't think so, or Tabby wouldn't have come so close to hitting the ground. This was the second time in less than a week she almost died. If she hadn't put her foot down against it, I'd call the whole superhero thing off. Then she looked back at the wall and started doubting herself again. "I hope I didn't do any serious damage..."
"What, the guy on Freek? Nah, he'll be fine. You melted the ice as soon as he started turning back. He was just wiped out." We left him unconscious in the yard, tied up in the hose, before fleeing. "We probably saved his life. What if he changed back in mid-air?" I turned suddenly, hearing a little creak noise. We were right in the street light, and it was impossible to see inside the windows, but I thought I might have seen a curtain fluttering. Somebody could be up there. It might have just been my imagination... there were no cars, so we thought nobody was home, but... who knew, really? "Shit, I keep thinking somebody's watching us."
"Mmm... so what?" Was it my imagination, or did Tabby push back against me a little harder? Maybe she had an exhibitionist streak. "They don't know who we are. They'll just think we're... two heroes blowing off steam."
True enough. As long as the costumes stayed on, I didn't care if anybody saw us fucking... because of how our powers worked, we'd have to fuck in public now and then, getting caught in the act was inevitable. So, why not have fun with it? "Good point. Turn around." I pulled out of her as I spoke, my hard cock waggling back and forth in the night air, exposed. Maybe I had a bit of an exhibitionist streak too.
"Why?" she asked, but she complied, with a bit of a waddle, since the lower half of her costume was pulled down to near her knees. I reached for her and lifted her on to me, face to face. I was getting a little sick of the back of her head.
Once I was inside her again, her arms wrapped around my neck for support, and her legs wrapped around mine... as much as they could, anyway. Good thing CoreWear was stretchy, although it felt a little like my own upper legs were tied together. But then, I didn't really need my legs... as soon as I was fucking her again, I shot up into the air. She shrieked in surprise and clutched me tighter. "If we don't care about being seen, might as well let everybody get a look."
"You're crazy," she said after she caught her breath.
"Yeah, but you know you love it..." And she did, she soon was bouncing up and down on me like I was a pogo stick. And groaning softly. "Besides, you can be as loud as you want up here..." She was, by instinct, a loud moaner, but she usually had to keep quiet... now, she didn't. I didn't really care much if we were seen, but I still aimed us towards less densely populated areas, and since, we were on the move, I didn't think there was much chance of it, at least not for long enough for anybody to realize what they were seeing.
My sister didn't answer me in words, but, gradually, her groans became louder and I knew she was taking my advice to heart, not worrying if anybody saw us. She was doing most of the work, too, because, in the air, I didn't have much leverage to thrust back into her, at least, not directly with my body. I could do tricks with my powers, sort of like accelerating and decelerating in short bursts... it was tricky to keep up for any length of time, but that, along with the use of my arms, allowed me to do more than just stand there. Pretty soon I had her about to cum... she was shouting out short, inarticulate bursts of noise, rising in intensity.
I couldn't resist it, I pulled a dirty trick... right as she was getting close, I pulled a barrel roll in the air, inverting us several times and picking up speed. She came, screaming, her cunt clenching down on me as we danced around in the air, and feeling that sensation was enough to make me let go and cum inside her as well.
I pulled out of the spin and took a more leisurely flight while she caught her breath, and then she said, "Can you put me down, now?"
It wasn't angry, but I complied meekly, landing us in a park, and when she didn't say anything else while Tabby pulled the bottom of her costume back up, I felt a little guilty. "Sorry about the end there," I said. "I guess I got a little carried away in the moment."
She looked up at me suddenly, like she wasn't expecting me to say that. "You did?"
"Yeah... I guess I just thought you'd like it... you know, be exciting."
"It was exciting," she admitted. "It's just... no matter how good it feels, I can't shake the feeling that we're going to come crashing down at any moment."
"I get that."
"I don't want to get hurt."
I nodded, kicking myself for being so stupid to try that, tonight, of all nights, when she nearly did fall to the ground. "I know, but I had you, and I'm never going to let that happen." She smiled a little. "You should try to relax and enjoy it. I mean, I've got the exact same feelings as you, but it doesn't stop me any."
"You mean... you get scared too?"
She was so serious and earnest, I felt the urge to brag a little, like by being super confident I could make her feel better too. "Nah... not really scared. Even when I'm in a dive... sure, my body feels like I'm falling, but I know it doesn't really mean anything. It's an illusion. So I push it away."
"And it's so easy for you?"
I shrugged. "No sense feeling something I don't want to feel." The truth was, it wasn't easy, but I'd gotten used to it.
"Right," she said, turning away, looking up to the sky.
"So, what now? Want to patrol around, looking for some more crime?"
She shook her head, still not looking at me. "No... I think I've had enough excitement for one night. You mind if we just go home?"
"Okay," I said, trying to hide my disappointment. But I understood, another brush with death probably freaked her out a little. "Whatever you want."
"Thanks." We were swallowed up in purple, and then without another word, we were back in my room. Tabby began stripping off her uniform to put her normal clothes back on.
"You want to hang out?" I offered while she put her long t-shirt on again.
"I think I'm just going to read for a while."
"Okay." Realizing she was about to go, I blurted out. "Hey, thanks for coming out tonight. I know you weren't that into it."
"Don't worry about it."
"Night." She disappeared before I could suggest that, if she later changed her mind during the long, sleepless night, she was always welcome to hang out with me, but I was still feeling pretty upbeat about things overall. We were on speaking terms again, we'd fought a monster together, had sex... even if she needed a little alone time, I thought we'd gotten past whatever was bugging her.
But the next day, it was back to the cold shoulder. Women.
It wasn't as bad this time around... she didn't come down to breakfast until it was time for our ride to school, but she did say "hey" back when I greeted her with one. The big giveaway about her mood was that she didn't meet my eye at all, and when I said something to her in the car, she answered in the shortest way possible.
When we got dropped off, she started walking immediately towards the doors, keeping only a few steps ahead of me, but in order to do that she had to practically speed-walk. Like she was trying to discourage me hanging around and talking to her, without looking like that's what she was doing. I spotted Eva waiting by the doors, and I guess she noticed the speed-walk too, or my sad look, because she intercepted my sister. "Hey, Tabby, I was wondering if you wanted to come and..."
She didn't even let her finish. "Yeah, sorry, I can't stay to talk, I have... some homework to finish up." Tabby never was good at lying, and that lie was particularly transparent. The family overachiever? Up all night on a Powered buzz? Not finish her homework? "Maybe I'll see you later." She opened the door and went inside.
Eva had a weird sort of smile on her face, sort of somewhere between embarrassed and relieved. "Well, I tried," she said.
I appreciated the effort. Trying to get my sister to hang out with both of us before class was awfully nice of her, and might have even mellowed Tabby out if she had accepted. "Yeah, thanks. I think I'm probably just going to have to wait it out."
She tilted her head and look at me. "You ever figure out what's up with her?"
I shook my head. "But she's less annoyed with me than she was yesterday." Even if it was three steps forward, two steps back, I was still making progress. "I figure if I lay low, leave her alone..."
Eva nodded along, and then her already large, doe-like eyes widened even more at the last part. "No, don't just back off entirely. Stay in her life, even if she tries to push you away. Whatever's going on, she might need her big brother's help at some point and not be able to ask for it. Just keep a close eye on her, you know, in case she's involved something really dangerous. And if she is, don't be afraid to tell your parents, like if her behavior changes suddenly." That all came rambling out, as though she didn't even want to stop herself to breathe.
All in all, it was a bit weird... but Eva, like me, transferred mid-year, and although she told me it was just because her parents moved, I always had a suspicion there was something dark there. Maybe she had a history with drugs or something and got here right out of rehab. Or there could be a really bad eating disorder, or an abusive relationship, and she didn't want Tabby going down the same path.
"I'll keep an eye on her," I promised. "But I hardly think it's anything serious. She's not really the type to develop a drug addiction or something."
Eva smiled. "Yeah. I guess."
"Hey..." I suggested. "Do you want to talk about... anything?" I tried to make the last word meaningful, to suggest to her that if she actually wanted to talk about her past, I was there for her, but also letting her hold on to the idea that I don't actually know she was talking about herself, so she could treat it like it was a friendly question and not feel embarrassed.
For a second she looked at me longingly, but she shook her head. "No, I'm fine. I actually... I have to go, I just remembered I need to meet somebody." So I guess we weren't quite there, in terms of the level of trust. That was okay, in all honesty, I wasn't in the mood for a heavy conversation... and the more I thought about it that day, the more I wondered if maybe I was overanalyzing, imagining things that weren't there. For all I knew, she was just in a flighty mood. Again, Women.
Eva's warning did play on my mind, a little, particularly after I couldn't find Tabby for lunch. I couldn't find Eva either, but when I asked her afterwards she told me she also hadn't seen my sister. As the day wore on, my sister's cold shoulder began to occupy more and more of my thoughts. I never realized how much I depended on Tabby, in my own way. I'd grown so used to having her around to talk with, to laugh at my dumb jokes... it really was like she was my best friend. And so her pulling away bothered me. I just wanted to find a way to fix it.
I guess it shows how bothered I was, because the answer to turned out to be remarkably simple, and I came to it in the most unlikely place. It was in the locker room, where I was changing for my Phys. Ed class. Now, even though I didn't really have much choice (one of the perils of transferring schools mid-year, you don't get the full choice of classes, they stick you where they can fit you), I actually was glad to take PE. After learning my family was a target for criminals, I liked the idea of getting more physically fit... I started lifting weights outside of school at the same time, though to be honest, I was sporadic. If nothing else, in a gym class I couldn't slack off, so I was glad for it... if it came down to it again, I wanted to be able to help protect my family. Also, sports are a good way to bond with guys when you're the new kid, if you don't suck.
Which was something of a problem that day. That day, I had to be terrible. Because I had super-strength, super-durability, and a super-need to keep it all a secret. Since I couldn't turn it off completely at least without jacking off and having to recharge later, I had to miss every ball and try to avoid any contact with anybody else. For that reason, it was one of the few parts of the day I wasn't thinking of Tabby... instead, as we got changed, I was thinking about whether I should just fake an illness or something, when a conversation from some incoming students caught my attention.
"... burned down the house they were in, too." My ears perked up. I looked over at the speaker, and then away, so as not to seem too interested.
"Shit, I don't know, they're not saying, so probably." The guy, a black kid named Marcus who was also in my English class, laughed a little.
"What are you talking about?" somebody asked, luckily, so I wouldn't have to.
I was feeling a little rush of pride already at my exploits being discussed, but it didn't last. "Photonic, he took down a Scarab group, they were plotting an attack." At first I was annoyed that somebody else was getting credit for what we did... but when they mentioned an anti-government group, I wondered if it was something else entirely.
"When did this happen?" I asked, trying to keep my voice level.
"Just like, two hours ago. Caught the news on my Handy." So it definitely wasn't talking about us. "They had powers and shit, too."
A black-haired, scruffy-bearded lanky guy named Lee spoke up. "I can't believe you listen to believe that horseshit. It was probably a bunch of Spore Kids the government wanted eliminated. Photonic's totally a government stooge these days."
"Hey, don't be a hater. You just wish you could do the stuff he does."
"Well, yeah," Lee admitted. "But I'd be more like the Photonic of a few years back... he barely does anything legitimately heroic anymore, it's all taking out 'enemies of the country'. More like enemies of the corporate interests that run the country."
I wanted to speak out, as one of the only people in the town who was legitimately saved by the dude, but I couldn't, because admitting he saved me and Tabby would compromise our cover identity. Hell, my dad was a high-value government scientist... for all I knew, Photonic was sent out specifically to rescue us. Marcus said, "Hey, there are real threats out there. Somebody needs to take 'em out."
I finally found a way to defend him without looking like it, and opened my mouth to say, distractedly, "Besides, if it was Spore Kids, they'd have said it was Eternal Revolution..." I looked between them and grinned. "If they're going to lie, they'd do it smart, right?"
Marcus pointed at me, looking at Lee, like I'd just made his point, and even Lee grinned a little. He opened his mouth like he was going to say something else, but just then a guy named Ryan stormed in, pushing the door so hard it banged into the wall. He was talking on his phone... he actually had a BP, like the one Tabby got us, though his was the previous year's model. "Yeah? Well, good! Cause guess what, your cousin's been sucking me off for weeks!" He pressed the button to hang up and growled angrily. "Bitch."
"I hope her cousin's a girl," someone said to lighten the mood, but it didn't work. "Bitch broke up with me," Ryan muttered. "Me. I'm the one who should have been breaking up with her, way she's been acting."
"Bitches can be crazy," Marcus said. "And freshmen girls are craziest of all. I'm about this close to breaking up with Emma." He put his fingers together.
"She still doing the reclaimed virginity thing?"
"Yeah. Like there's anything left to reclaim. But you know, I can tolerate her wanting to cool things down a little. But I can't just respect a girl who gives up eating meat."
"I hear that," somebody else said. "My girlfriend's doing it too."
"Both of them, it's all part of this Body Purity movement."
"Maybe they're in on it together, a couple of vag-itarians," somebody joked. He put two fingers up to his mouth, spread in a V-shaped, and ran his tongue between them.
"Hey, I'm okay with that, as long as I get to watch. But she's not gay, she still sucks me off whenever I want, she just won't let me fuck her anymore. It's just a fad, it'll wear itself out."
"My sister's doing the vegetarian thing," another guy said. "And she better be doing the virginity thing."
The guy next to him, Ethan, who sat near to me in Math, put his hand on his shoulder and says, "I've got bad news for you, man."
"Shut up. You've never even touched a girl, much less my sister."
"I have so. I mean, not your sister, that was a joke. But there's a girl I hook up with sometimes..."
Lee sat down beside me to put his shoes back on. "What about you, you hang around with that other new girl, Eva, right? You getting any?"
"I don't like to kiss and tell," I said, and it was true. Part of that was just because my best sex stories I couldn't share, but even so, I still was friendly with Eva and I didn't want anything I said to get back to her. "We're mostly just friends, anyway."
I guess he mistook my indecision over what to say for some kind of conflicted feelings. "Let me guess, sometimes she seems really into you, and sometimes she pulls away. It's was the same with me and my girl. We finally did it for the first time, and it seemed great, but then the next day she wouldn't let me near her." He shrugged. "I guess she freaked out or something, you know? Women are like that. The slightest thing can set 'em off."
"Yeah, I know, I've got sisters." And though it wasn't true about Eva, it exactly described the situation with my sister Tabby. And, I realized, it wasn't even the first time she freaked out over something and pulled away.
"So whaddaya gonna do?" Lee asked. And that was the question that was important. What was I going to do? This wasn't the first cold shoulder treatment I had... it was just the first in a long while where I didn't have a clue what had caused it. I'd wondered for a bit if she actually was jealous of what happened with Little Miss Menace, but after she went cold again on me this morning I had to ditch that theory. There was nothing to be jealous over last night. Yet, maybe "why" didn't really matter. I was getting wrapped up in that issue, but every other time Tabby was awkward around me, I had the same two approaches... either I let her get over it herself, or I did something to try and make her happy again....
One of the worst of the past cold shoulder treatments was a few months back, right after the first encounter that was directly, unambiguously sexual, the night I talked Tabby into giving me a handjob. Before, there were accidental touches and ones that I pretended were accidental, light gropes, or stumbling in on her naked, everything perfectly deniable and usually not even noticed. This wasn't deniable, my sister had given me a handjob... and it was the most incredible feeling of my life, cumming all over her hand.
But naturally, the next day was awkward. And the day after that. And after that. I don't think it bothered me as much as this time... in the months since we started fooling around, I've grown embarrassingly more attached to her, but it still slowly drove me crazy with guilt. I knew I'd screwed up, and I had to fix it.
So, one day, I talked the Boyds into not taking me home right away, because I wanted to hang out with a few guys after school for a pickup game of basketball in the gym. I didn't actually play, but watched for a while and then ducked out, coming back about an hour later to get a ride back.
When I entered the house, I had a light jacket on, and a bag wrapped up and hidden within. I had perfect timing, because Tabby was in the kitchen, and she must have heard the door, for she came right out. "Mom, did you get the..." At that point, she realized it was me and stopped. "Oh," she said. "Hi."
"Hey. Where is everyone?" I asked, looking her over. She had changed out of the sweater and baggy jeans she had been wearing to school, but the house was warmer. She now wore a sort of blue-green top that extended just past her hips, and, down below, tight black yoga pants.
If my attention lingered on her sexy legs a little too long, she didn't seem to notice. "Dad's still at work... Mom ran out for groceries to make dinner. Sally's upstairs, talking on the phone to one of her new friends."
Perfect. Except for the fact that Tabby was making a beeline for the stairs herself, and avoiding my gaze as she'd been doing for days. "Wait up a second," I said. She stopped, but wouldn't look at me. "Look, I know things have been... awkward around us."
"It's okay," she said.
"No, it isn't. I got you something to make up for it." I pulled the bag from under my arm and handed it to her.
She took it from me cautiously, like she was afraid it might explode, and then she pulled the box out of the packaging. Her eyes widened in surprise. "A StarKitty!" she gasped.
"Yeah, I knew you lost yours back in... when we had to move."
She peered through the clear-plastic on the front of the box to look inside at the little robotic-cat figure inside. "I can't believe you got me this."
I shrugged. I didn't exactly have a plan except for a gift, and I was thinking of going for something simpler, like a little teddy bear, but this was a last minute lucky find. "It's no big deal, I just thought you might like it. And I had some allowance saved up." It didn't even cost much. They were the big toy of the Christmas season when Tabby was like, seven or eight, after that big movie about the Headliners' space odyssey, but I guess people got bored with a little "robotic" kitty that just sat and turned its head, and, in a darkened room, projected a starscape on the ceiling, because now you can find them cheap. But I knew Tabby always loved hers. It had a special place back in her room back in Crash City, but, like so much of our stuff, it had to be abandoned, so when I saw it in the store, I knew it was just what I needed.
"This is very sweet of you," she said, finally. "But you really didn't have to. I mean, what happened was my fault as much as yours."
"No, it was all my fault, I didn't realize you'd take it the wrong way."
She raised an eyebrow as she looked up from the box. "The wrong way?"
I guess I was hoping we might, someday, repeat the encounter, so I'd already prepared justifications. "I mean it wasn't really a big deal. It's just a physical thing, it didn't mean anything."
"How could it not mean anything?" she asked, and then made her voice soft, to avoid any chance of somebody overhearing. "You're my brother, and I was rubbing your penis." She was blushing outrageously.
That made my penis stiffen up again, but she wasn't looking down, so I just shrugged and acted casual. "Yeah, but... I mean they do that in massage parlors for guys. It's not even a sex act, and it's totally legal. They call it 'massage with release'. That's all I thought it was, just... releasing some tension." I'd also asked for a blowjob, but that didn't really work with my story so I left that out and hoped she forgot about it. "Like if I were to give you a backrub. If I realized you were going to freak out about it, I wouldn't have asked."
"Hmmm," she said, weighing my words, and I thought she was going to go on upstairs, but she said, "You know, my back has been tense all day. The chairs in Social Studies are crap."
I wasn't expecting that, but I jumped at the opportunity. "Lie down on the couch." She looked at me a little skeptically, so I promised, "Nothing hinky's going to happen."
Soon, she was lying on her chest and I had taken my jacket off and was beside her, rubbing her back, just under her shirt, kneading her muscles, which actually did feel kind of tense. I kept my word for the first part of it, not even straying near her sides where I might accidentally brush breast territory and spook her again. But there's something erotic about the act itself, manipulating flesh, feeling it give underneath you... and, of course, she was moaning softly at my touch, saying things like "That feels good". I'd intended this to be completely innocent, but I was getting turned on. I couldn't take my eyes off her ass, covered only by a thin black layer of fabric and some panties underneath, but looking delicious and jiggly, and I couldn't resist.
The words just slipped out, "If the chairs are bad, your legs and butt might be tense too."
Her whole body got tense then, and it seemed like forever before she said, "Okay... but over the pants only. We shouldn't be touching each other, not... directly." My cock was now rigid and making a tent in my pants, but she had her face buried in the cushions and nobody was around. I let my hands drop down to her buttocks, and I began massaging them slowly, and then, having no objection, went down her legs and rubbed them, before rising back up to her butt.
This time, I got bolder, squeezing both cheeks, more of a grope than a massage, but she said nothing, and so I continued, my hands starting to come together, and my thumbs joined together, wiggling right on her the very back of her mound with every flex. I'd done it several times before I realized. "Oh, shit... I didn't mean to..." I sputtered, assuming I'd gone too far.
She sounded breathless, but said, "It's okay... you didn't... touch anything... directly." I breathed a sigh of relief, and then couldn't believe my luck when she said, "You can keep going."
From that moment on, for a long time, that became the line in the sand, that anything we did was okay as long as we didn't touch 'directly', but I didn't know that then, I thought this maybe was a one-time thing, and I had to take advantage of it. Slowly, as though expecting her to change her mind at any time, my hands returned, and my thumbs stroked the part between her legs that was most definitely no longer ass. For all that this was supposed to be a tension-relieving massage, she seemed to be a lot more tense all over, her body twitching at every touch, but she never voiced a complaint. Soon, I got bolder, and kept one hand on her ass cheek but my other slipped down underneath, stroking the front of her pussy underneath her body, just with my fingertips. Her hips rose up to give me a little more room, and her breathing was starting to get ragged. I probably couldn't actually feel anything, not through the pants and the underwear, but I felt like I did, in my mind I could feel the edges of her pussy lips, even where I imagined the nub of her clitoris was. I rubbed a little more aggressively....
The thundering sound of running feet rolled overhead. My hand pulled away from Tabby like I was avoiding a snake bite. Our little sister Sally appeared at the top of the stairs. She had a cordless phone in her hand. "Mom?" she called. "Did you get the Go-Gurt?"
Tabby gave off a little groan of frustration and snapped back, "Mom still isn't home!"
"Oh," Sally said, and then looked at the two of us as though she could see right through what we were doing, even though our positions were completely innocent... except, perhaps, Tabby's face was a little flush. "I thought I heard the door." I raised my hand. At that moment, the phone rang. She pressed the button and said, "Hello?" Her voice changed instantly, more upbeat. "Oh, right. So where were we? I know!" And she trudged up the stairs and back to her room, lost in middle school gossip.
I looked back at Tabby, and she, for the first time in quite a while, looked right back in my eyes, not saying anything. And then she pulled up her legs to her chest and moved into a sitting position. "I should probably get started on tomorrow's homework," she said. I moved aside to let her out, thinking I'd blown it, or maybe Sally did. Tabby grabbed the StarKitty box, now on the table, and said, "Thanks for this, though."
"I'm just glad you like it."
She stood, and looked back to me. "And for the backrub. That's all it was, right?" I nodded, and she smiled. "You are pretty good at them... I should take advantage of them more often." I nodded again, and she pranced away towards the stairs.
Letting my sister get over her problem obviously wasn't working, at least not fast enough for my tastes. So it was time for the cheap bribery. Except, actually buying her something wouldn't work. We never did get rid of the cash I took from the dealers, and so she'd know I wasn't really sacrificing anything. But what I could do is try to be really nice to her in other ways, do something special, make her feel wanted, like I cared... which I did. A lot.
So, that evening, after dinner, while the rest of the family was downstairs in the family room, I snuck up to my sister's bedroom. The door was slightly ajar, and I spotted her on the bed, watching her TV.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Watching Grey's Anatomy." It aired a couple days ago, but Tabby sometimes liked to watch it On Demand. Sometimes she watches it a couple times, too, since she's a big fan. She only really got into it in the last couple years, so she's got collected editions of the previous seasons, and it could even be one of those that she was rewatching.
I glanced at the screen. It was hard to tell, but it looked like one of the newer ones. Christina Ricci, who played the main character's bubbly best friend, was performing a medical procedure on a patient. "Any Powered cases in this one?" I didn't watch the show often, but I did like sometimes when they explored the unusual medical issues of somebody with powers. Powered people tend to be immune to viruses and most normal diseases, but there are still congenital defects, injuries, afflictions caused by their own Powers (or other peoples), and, very rarely, cancer, and it's interesting sometimes to see how medical staff have to treat the unique needs, like operating on somebody with impenetrable skin. Sometimes they even got famous celebrities to play themselves.
"No," she said, and then corrected herself. "Well, yeah, there's a Spore Kid with the ability to bend stone, who got in an accident, but it didn't really affect his case, or I would have told you."
One of the reasons I love my sister, she saves me from watching the uninteresting crap and only lets me know when it's worth watching. Grey's was too soap-operay for my tastes, focused on who's sleeping with who, boring relationship drama and talking endlessly about it. I realized suddenly that the Spore Kid was the patient on the screen right then... I could tell, because they were taking a bone-marrow live DNA sample, although right when I realized what it was, the show switched to another scene, with the lead character Meredith Grey. "Were they taking his real DNA? SPREE not good enough?" I took the opportunity to enter the room and crouch right beside her bed.
"Yeah, he wants to find out if this woman who came in with him's his real mother." I nodded. That explained it. With a lot of the Powered, and especially Spore Kids, their DNA gets scrambled by their powers, or degenerates entirely when it leaves the body's electrical field. If it wasn't for this, heroes with secret identities would be almost impossible. Of course, the same applies to villains. As anyone who does watch CSI: Crash City knows, they can still use SPREE-testing to tie most of them to crimes where they lost blood, by testing the specific proportion of rare exotic elements left behind, but none of that works for gene analysis or comparison between two people, so sometimes they use a special machine to snapshot DNA while it's still unchanged, inside the body. Bone marrow is the best site. I still wanted to get one of those swab tests to see if our own DNA changed or degraded when we were Powered up... it would be useful to know.
But that wasn't why I was here now, and neither was talking about the show. "So we made the news last night," I told her. She looked up from the screen at me with some curiosity. "Just local. And they think we were bad guys, trying to take out a rival gang."
Tabby exhaled softly and looked back at the TV. "Figures."
"Our names weren't in it, at least, so we're not getting a bad reputation. And they arrested the guy who was Freeked. He's okay, by the way." She didn't answer. I gave it a few seconds, and then tried another ice-breaking topic. "I was thinking of adding horns to my costume. Just little decorative ones, give the costume a little more flair."
No interest. I wasn't sure if she was still cold shouldering me, or if she was just really into the show. "What, no joke like, 'It suits you, you're always horny?'"
"Too easy." Her voice was mostly flat, but I thought there was at least a trace of amusement in it. I let her watch for another minute or so.
Proving my point about the show being more soap opera than interesting information, though, they'd switched to a scene where Christina Ricci's character, was talking about her newest love interest with the allegedly dreamy boyfriend of Dr. Grey, the one played by River Phoenix. She was bitching about how the doctor she liked didn't seem to care about her. I decided to try again with Tabby. "I didn't see you at school much. I just wanted to check in and see that everything was... okay."
"It's fine," she said lifelessly, although I didn't know if it was one of the dangerous fines... she might have just been distracted by her show. Before I could press further, she added, "I teleported to the park for lunch. And for study hall. I wasn't avoiding you or anything, I just felt like I kind of wanted to be alone, to think."
"He's heartless. He literally has no heart. God, why do I always go for the worst kind of guys for me?" Christina Ricci whined, on the TV. "It's like I'm addicted to hopeless cases." Sounded about right, she always did go for the jerks or hard-luck cases. I guess must have she got over the patient in isolation who'd been hit by a spore-corrupted Greyman bioweapon, but then that was a couple seasons ago. I only remember because I had to watch months worth of the show in a row with Tabby, to get through that plotline. Luckily we were watching the collections, so it only took a couple days, but still, I had to sit through far more of it than I should have.
"I don't think it's hopeless," said Doctor Phoenix. Or whatever his name was. I have a tendency to mix the names of characters and their roles... it drives Tabby crazy, and sometimes I play it up deliberately to get under her skin, but sometimes I can't help it. If I've never seen the actor before, I have a better chance of remembering the character name, but otherwise I usually only remember the actor, or their most famous previous role.
Christina Ricci (who I remember from the old Addams Family movies, so I sometimes call her Dr. Wednesday to rile my sister) looked over, skeptically. "I love him, and to him I'm just... someone to warm up the bed. How is that not hopeless?"
"Do you want to talk about it?" I asked Tabby.
She shook her head, and, on the screen, Doctor Phoenix continued, "But I do think he cares for you."
I couldn't take it anymore. Not just the soap opera on the TV, but trying to play it cool and casual. "Look, Tabby, I'm sorry."
That got her to look back to me again. "For what?"
"I don't know, everything. Just tell me what to say and I'll say it. You're acting differently around me, and it's driving me crazy. I know you say you're not mad at me, that you're going through stuff, but... it feels like you are. Because I thought we were close. If you were going through stuff, I'd hope you'd want to tell me... whatever it is, I might understand more than you'd think."
She was quiet for a while, like she was considering whether or not to open up. The only sound was from the TV. "Well, I don't know him very well. He doesn't exactly open up to me... or anyone that I've seen, really, other than you." He flipped closed the patient folder he was reading. "But I do know that, when it's real, when it's not a line, 'I love you' is really hard for guys."
"Doesn't seem to be hard for you and Meredith."
"Not now, but I felt it a long time before I said it. And when I was his age, I never said it first. I just figured... when you're the most important person in somebody's world, that should speak for itself. And I know the only times I've seen him unhappy was when you were hurting. That says something."
"But does it say enough?" Ricci asked.
"Just because I'm not talking to you," Tabby said finally, "doesn't mean it's about you. Some things are just personal. But I appreciate your concern. Really." And she sounded like it. I'd scored a point, at least. But I wasn't quite done. Except she turned back to the TV. "Anyway, I'm watching this."
"You may not ever get what you want from him," Doctor Phoenix said. "But if you do love him, let him know, and give him time."
"So do you want to go out tonight?" I asked, hopefully.
"Can this wait until this is over?" she snapped.
Inwardly I cringed, hoping against hope I didn't screw things up. I shut up and let her watch. Luckily, before long, Meredith Grey was doing one of her pretentious monologues, and since it didn't look like the beginning of the episode, I knew it was nearing the end. "For all its romantic symbolism, in medicine, we learn that the heart is a muscle, like any other. Do enough damage, and even the strongest one can be torn beyond repair." There was a shot of a sheet being put over the Spore Kid's head. I hadn't realized he was so close to dying. "Even using it too much risks hurting it." A shot of an older woman sobbing came next... that was the mother, the actual mother, as confirmed in the last minute or two before he died, and then it quickly cut to Christina Ricci who was crying as well... she always got attached to her patients. "And so it might be tempting to not use that muscle at all. But that doesn't work either. We need our hearts to live. Most of us, anyway. And even if you do manage to protect your heart, to keep it just to the beats necessary to maintain your life... it's still a muscle. And a muscle that's not properly used begins to atrophy." These was intercut between an overweight woman confined to bed and the doctor played by Jared Paladino or whatever his last name is, the tall one Christina Ricci was obsessing over, the one she called heartless. "Which means when you really need to use it, when your life, or happiness, depends on that muscle... it might not be there for you." The overweight woman went into a code blue and had to be taken into emergency surgery.
The show continued, a string of unrelated shots of the 'heartless' doctor walking through the hospital. "But, if you catch it in time, an atrophied muscle is not the end. Because hearts, like other muscles, can heal. Torn muscles will grow back stronger. An atrophied muscle can grow strong again." His path took him to where he saw Christina Ricci, still crying over the death of the Spore Kid. He rushed over her, and took her in his arms to quiet her tears. "You just have to decide to start using it."
Sappy song, and the credits. "All done?" I asked. She shrugged. "So, what do you say, you up for a mission tonight? Cause I've got an idea."
Tabby looked over at me. "I'm not sure I'm in the mood."
"Well, get in the mood," I teased, swatting her lightly on the butt with the back of my hand, then softened my tone. "Come on, you got to choose the last one, and this is really important, and we have to do it tonight. Unless..." I hesitated, and then offered one last time, "You want to talk about whatever's going on?"
She sighed a little, but said, "Fine, I'll 'port down when everyone's in bed."
That wasn't my master plan, for making it up to Tabby. That was just my way to soften her up and get her to go out with me again. The mission was my master plan.
This time, I had to navigate. But it wasn't so hard. The place I was aiming for was pretty near a spot Tabby and I had both been to when we lived in Crash City. So I told her to take us there, and then, on the roof of a nearby building used an app on my phone to get an idea of where to go next. It was hard, because it was dark now, and the satellite photos were taken during the day, but I figured it out. I took a picture of a building, pointed at it, and then out in the skyline, so she knew exactly which one I was talking about. "Okay, you see that building over there? Take us on top of the south side of that."
She sighed. "Are you going to tell me where we're going?"
"We're almost there, don't worry. Just 'port us over."
There was a flash of light, and we were there. I had to wait for my phone to re-sync, and then check the location, and pointed to a building that looked like a warehouse. I took another picture, and said, "Now, drop us off inside there."
She looked at the picture, and then stared out over the side of the building we were on. "There's a lot of people in there."
"I know. Just take us inside and you'll see why we had to go..."
"Jump right in? Isn't that going to be dangerous?"
I grinned. "Trust me. The security's on the outside. We absolutely need to do this mission."
She looked over at me, and even without seeing her eyes, I could tell she was skeptical, but a few seconds later, I was surrounded by purple light, and then...
Loud music, soft and occasional strobing lights, and lots and lots of people dancing, drinking, or otherwise having fun.
And nearly every one of them were in tight superhero costumes... not all of them were CoreWear, but there was plenty of that mixed in with the spandex and the occasional costume made of more elaborate materials. It was like a superhero dance party, and it was fun watching Tabby's mouth open, gawking in shock at what was going on. I also took a quick look around... most people were oblivious to our arrival, but a few people were pointing and gasping... the word would soon spread, we weren't posers, real Powers were in the place tonight.
Then we were away, and, to my surprise, back in my bedroom rather than the rooftop we just left. Did I misjudge? "What the hell was that?" Tabby asked me. She didn't sound mad, just confused.
I decided to go with it, explaining the obvious like she was from another planet or something. "Well, you see, sometimes teenagers like to dress up and go to a club, and dance to this thing called music. For fun?" Although it wasn't all teenagers, mostly it was college kids. It was final exam season for the colleges, which meant a lot of students needing to blow off steam mid-week after a particularly stressful test.
"Very funny. But you said this was a mission..."
"It is. The mission is, cheer Tabby up, any means necessary. You've seemed so depressed lately, and you won't tell me what's wrong, so I'm doing all I can to help. We're taking a night off for some fun. It doesn't have to be this. We can do anything you want... go play mini-golf... catch a movie... I will even go with you to see one of those god-awful Edward Twilight movies if you want, that's how dedicated I am to making you happy tonight." I grinned, and shrugged. "But this was my first idea... superhero dance party... even if we'll probably be the only ones there who actually have powers. I don't know, maybe the idea sucks... all I know is you're unhappy and I can't stand it, and all I want to do is fix whatever's wrong."
She didn't answer for a while, just looked at me. "The idea doesn't suck. It's very sweet. But..." she bit her lip adorably. "I can't dance."
I stared at her. "Of course you can."
"Not well. I always look stupid."
I did remember a school dance once, that we both attended. She didn't have a problem with the slow dances, and she didn't really do any of the sexual grind dancing that some of the students got into when they thought they could get away with it, but her attempts at the more fast-paced but still clean dances were stiff and awkward. I think most people at school might agree with her when she said she couldn't dance... but I knew something they didn't, a side of her they never got to see. "You absolutely can dance. I've seen you dance... around the house, when you're cleaning, sometimes in your room, with the door open. You just psyche yourself out when people are looking at you." People other than family, she was comfortable with us.
"But if we go to this club, people will be looking at me, and so... I can't dance."
I raised my hand up and tugged gently on the edge of her mask. "No, they won't be looking at you. They can't see you. They can only see Taboo. And I think Taboo dances like a fiend." I grinned. "Besides, I'll be with you... if you get nervous, just pretend it's just you and me."
She looked uncertain for a moment, and then smiled. "Okay, let's try it."
When you're one of the Powered, you've got the energy to dance non-stop all night without breaking a sweat, and although that's not quite what we did, it felt like it at times. We took breaks, mingled, had sex in the bathroom once, even played celebrity a little... once people realized that we were the real deal, we became the center of attention. It was a good night... better than good because I made my sister happy. Much of the night is a blur now, but I'll always remember one dance, where it felt like all the eyes were on us, but her eyes were on me and mine were on her, and we just had fun like it was just the two of us. I spun her away from me and when she looked back she smiled... such a free, beautiful, open smile, showing teeth, nothing held back, no doubts or worries about anything. When you cause that smile in somebody, you feel a little like you're on top of the world, and that was the moment I knew my master plan had succeeded. With that spin, I'd turned her around. Whatever had caused it, the cold shoulder treatment was over... at least for now.
Next Time: Hard To Get
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