Author: AnonyMPC

Title: Relatively Powered #8: "Hard-To-Get"

Summary: Two wannabe superheroes, a brother and sister, powered by incest! Tabby struggles with her feelings for her brother and the attentions of others.

Keywords: mf, inc, cons, superhero, scfi, ff, exhib, Fb, reluc, ff

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.

Tabby's been struggling with her recent revelation that her feelings for her brother are turning more romantic, and has been taking it out on everyone around her. But Alex recently proposed a night out to lighten her spirits... visiting a Crash City dance club themed around the Powered.

Relatively Powered by AnonyMPC (mf, inc, cons, superhero, scfi)

#8: "Hard-To-Get" (Additional Story Code: Fb*, g, ff*, exhib, reluc)

(* 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)

Music broke through the calm center I'd been striving to build within myself. At first I was annoyed, but then I opened my eyes and realized how much later it was than I thought it was. Which, in its way, meant I was doing really, really well.

The sound came from my alarm, and I reached over to shut it off automatically, but not in that drowsy, half-aware state most people are used to, because I wasn't sleeping. Sleep is... hard, since I just don't get tired very often anymore. One of the things about being Powered.

Of course, if I really wanted to, I could just rub my pussy until I had an orgasm, and that would kick me out of the Powered state and make me drowsy enough to sleep, but I didn't want that, either. Being able to teleport is just so convenient.

Instead of sleeping, I could always read, or do homework, and I did some of that already that morning, but, lately, I've also been experimenting with something new... meditation. And discovering I had a talent for it, especially with my powers. See, it seems the mental state required for meditation is a lot like what I do to start up an ability linked to my teleportation. My brother Alex calls it spatial awareness. If I want, I can call up a sort of sixth sense that gives me an idea of everything in my immediate area, where there are solid objects and where there's empty space, where things are moving, and where they're still. But if I hold myself just short of seeing that image, I can sort of balance myself on a feeling where I'm aware only of awareness itself.

Usually I can only keep it up a few minutes, but hearing my alarm going off meant I'd been in that stage for almost an hour, and I was feeling quite proud of myself. It was yet another way it had turned out to be a great night. But the night was over, and another day of school loomed. I pulled myself out of the lotus position (feeling no stiffness anywhere in my body), and then did my morning routine, gathered my clothes, assembled all my latest homework into their proper binders, checked for messages (none, but I last checked only about two hours ago), and then took a quick spatial peek at the rest of the house.

My little sister Sally was still asleep, or at least in bed. Mom and Dad were both up, in their room, and not together... I couldn't see fine detail but I imagined my dad was getting dressed while Mom checked the news. And way down in the basement, my brother Alex was awake, seated on his bed in front of his television. My guess was, he was playing a game.

Whatever the case, no one was in the hallway or likely to be there in the next few seconds, so I decided I'd just teleport into the bathroom so I could take my shower.

During that shower, I had my music player perched on the sink to provide a soundtrack. I didn't worry about bothering anybody... my parents have a virtually sound-proofed room, and Sally... she could sleep through a nuclear attack... it probably would be a good thing if I managed to wake her up.

While I mouthed along to the words to one of my favorite songs (I'm always wished I could be a singer, but I'm just not good at it), and soaped up my body, I was happily patting myself on the back about my new meditation record, trying to think of what I'd done differently this time, but really, it was simple... the last few times I'd tried, I couldn't clear my mind because I'd been wrestling with a lot of issues.

But, last night, things got... better.

It was amazing the difference a night could make to your mood. And the thing is, I knew that many of those issues were still there. But I guess my perspective on things changed a little, and I realized maybe I'd just been wrong about a few things. Normally I hate being wrong, but this time, it was liberating.

I had my music on random shuffle, so when the song changed it felt a little like fate... the next song to come up was "Stronger", Emily Osment's brief hit, and I remembered how it had been playing last night, too. At the dance club in Crash City that Alex brought me to. And as I dance-washed in time to the music, my mind drifted back...


I don't know if you've ever been to one of these superhero themed clubs, but they're not like normal dance clubs. Not that I had much experience with those. I'd only ever been to one club before... and most of us never got in. We got all dressed up for one, snuck out, then were carded at the door. Our lies were not believed, except one friend who looked a little older and had a fake ID and promised to try and open a side door for us. We spent most of the night waiting for that until we finally gave up and went to have the sleepover we all told our parents we were having anyway. So I guess I'm no expert... but I'd seen a lot of normal clubs on TV, enough to realize that this one was a little different.

The obvious difference was that almost everyone was in costume. CoreWear and the cheaper alternatives, they show up in any big party, but not in such massive numbers. It was wild. The place was full of crazy characters, dancing like it was the last night on Earth. A lot of the dancers had the body to show off the tight outfits, plenty... didn't, but it didn't stop them. I guess being able to wear a mask helped with self-confidence. It certainly helped with mine.

The other big difference from the clubs I've known is that they play a really eclectic assortment of music. I guess the thinking is that, even if the majority of the crowd are just playing dress-up, they're trying to attract the real Powered. There's even a rule that if you show powers at the door, you get in free, although we skipped that by teleporting inside. But by now, a member of the Powered community could be more than a century old, so they play a lot of really old music too, although leaning towards the more energetic danceable songs, or remixes. We'd been watching from the sidelines for a while, but "Stronger" was the first song I was familiar enough with to want to risk dancing to.

Now, me, dancing in front of lots of people? Normally that's a non-starter no matter what song. I'm a bit of a wallflower... the thought of dancing in front of people (or doing anything in front of other people who might be judging me, like when I'm giving a presentation in class) fills me with fear, but as I said, wearing a mask helps with self-confidence. I wasn't Tabitha Carey, nor even Kathryn Grant, my Witness Protection name. No, I was Taboo, dressed in a skintight two-piece purple outfit (with red boots and gloves), wearing a blonde wing and a mask that hid my eyes. And I was dancing with Deviant, really my brother Alex, dressed in a costume mostly in black and shades of blue. With most of his face, and all his hair, covered by a similar mask, I could almost pretend he wasn't my brother, but it was more important to pretend I wasn't me.

Because we were the center of attention, and no surprise... we were now into our third song, and we'd been drawing a crowd. Our teleporting in got noticed by a few, and if word didn't spread from that, all eyes were on us the first time Alex flew me into the air for a lift. That was probably more swing-dancing than club-dancing, but it was thrilling, the fear that he might drop me at any moment, coupled with the knowledge that he wouldn't (or if he did, he'd catch me!).

By the third song we got a lot more into the aerial acrobatics, which I think made me feel less inhibited... I mean, sure, you have some heroes who've tried it, and of course, the yearly challenge on So You Think You Can Dance, but really, mid-air dancing isn't very well-explored territory. Everybody knows bad dancing on the ground, but when you throw it into the air, it's automatically more impressive even if your moves aren't that good.

I started out awkward at it, but I think as we went on, I got into it and got better, first after I started to decide to use my brother's body basically like a pole to support myself when I could (except when he held me aloft with his hands), and eventually starting to improvise with my own powers, teleporting from one side of him to the other or moving both of us to somewhere else in the club, in the air or an unoccupied spot of ground.

Another song ended and Alex landed us, and there was this moment of slight awkwardness, while we tried to gauge each other's interest in continuing to dance to whatever song as coming up next... and that's a little hard to do when you can't see each other's eyes. But before we could even get close to making that decision, the crowd started to press in on us, and this big-breasted bimbo in a yellow bodysuit (totally showing camel toe, by the way, CoreWear without panties!) in particular sidled up and tried to drag Alex away, like she was naturally his next dance partner.

And he started to let himself get pulled away, but I think he was just thrown, too many people talking at once and the loud beats of the next song were starting, so it was all pretty chaotic... I was just about to teleport to another part of the club, dragging him along with me and leaving the bimbo behind, and ready to yell at him if he complained, when he turned back to look at me and pulled himself away from her and took my hand, put an arm around my waist, and then we took to the air. I had to smile at him... at least this time he wasn't running off on me, he was determined to show he cared. "Crazy, huh?" he said... or more like yelled, over the sounds of the music.

I reflexively swallowed before I answered. My mouth was pretty dry. "Yeah..." The music was turning out to be a sort of hip-hoppy remix of an 80s song, and so I didn't try to dance along... I mean, I'm a white girl with no real booty, I feel more even more self-conscious with hip-hop than normal dancing... even the mask wasn't enough. Besides... "I could use some water."

We spun lazily above the dancers, like they were all just phantoms and we were all that was real. "Sure," he said. "Let's just see if I can find the..." He never finished the sentence. Instead, he turned me so we were facing the same direction and pointed.

They were on the second floor, a balcony overlooking the main dance floor, and there was just two of them hanging over the edge, both in costume... one didn't stand out... well, aside from being cute, with a shaggy mane of brown hair and a little bit of a beard, but otherwise, he was like anybody else here, in a body-suit...yellow and blue in his case. What really stood out was the kid on his shoulders, waving both of his arms, clearly trying to get our attention. He wore green and had a neon pink glowlight around his neck, not too unusual for this crowd. What was unusual was that he looked like a skinny twelve-year-old.

Once he saw we spotted him, he stopped waving, and both of them made beckoning gestures, like they were inviting us to join them. "S'gotta be a Spore Kid, right?" Alex said. "Cause I don't see him getting in, otherwise."

"I guess."

"Wanna go say hello?" I must have hesitated a little too long because he said, "Your call.. it's your night, after all."

That just made me smile. "Sure," I said. "I could use a break anyway." I wasn't tired, exactly, but like I said, I wasn't too into the song and was kind of thirsty. Besides, we needed to meet more people in the Powered community, and at least they weren't girls that I could get stupidly jealous over.

I could have teleported us there, but I let Alex fly me... there was something comforting about being in his arms, even if I was still having mixed feelings about my feelings. I honestly didn't know if I was in love with him or just confused or crazy or fucked up, but his big gesture, this night devoted to making me happy, was at least putting me at ease.

Alex landed us on the other side of the railing, where there was a table and a little lounge set up, and a narrow metal staircase leading down to the ground floor. Turned out, there was a girl here after all, she was just sitting back in one of the couches, wearing a rose-colored leotard with a polo-neck, which might have been tasteful except for the big slutty circle cut in the center to expose her cleavage to the world. No bra, obviously. No mask either, which is why I could see she was a little out of it. She gave us a lazy wave and, with her other hand, tried to push herself into a more vertical position. Sloshed.

The other two didn't seem drunk, they were friendly and appeared happy to see us. The twelve-year-old-looking Spore Kid in green had spiked-up dark hair and his smile was a little lopsided, like a smirk, but not a mean one. His outfit was a shorts-and-long-sleeved-shirt number. The shirt was in CoreWear, the shorts weren't, but the colors matched. He was cute, too... not like I had any attraction for him of course, but just, you know, like a cute kid.

The one in the yellow and blue bodysuit, now, he was, like, genuinely good looking. He had a domino-mask on, so I couldn't see his eyes, and if I knew for sure he wasn't age-resistant I would have guessed he was in his late teens, maybe twenties. But I figured he was Powered, just because he had a lean but muscular build and there didn't seem to be a trace of acne on his pretty face. He could be a singer or underwear model or something.

Good looks are nice, but it was when he opened his mouth that I almost swooned. "Brilliant. Was beginning to think we were the only legit Powered here." It wasn't what he said, but how he said it... he had an English accent. I smiled widely when I heard it, and he seemed to catch it and grinned back. "We haven't already met, right?"

"Don't think so," Alex said. "I'm Deviant, this is Taboo." I nodded, and the English guy took my gloved hand and raised it to his lips. "So you're Powered?"

"Relatively," he said. "I'm Thane. I'm pretty much just a puffball, so I never bothered with a handle. The little guy's Jim."

He'd sat back beside the drunk girl and put an arm around her shoulders. "I thought about taking a code name, but I couldn't find a good one that hadn't been used."

"I hear ya," Alex said with a sympathetic grin. "What do you do?"

Jim put his hand up to his nose and pulled on it. To my surprise, it stretched out, like it was made of some kind of modeling clay. Leaving it long and pointed, he then pushed up his cheekbones a little. "I do a little commercial work, but it turns out it's not really much good for heroing anyway. Not like what you guys do. You see any action?"

"Some," I said. "We're still pretty new."

Alex, though, felt the need to boast. "You remember Menace attacking a few days back? We were the ones who took him down."

"No shit?" said Jim.

The girl on his arm leaned forward. "Oh my god, like, my cousin was driving just down the block from where he was attacking. If she'd left work five minutes later, she might have been dead."

"Wow, taking down Menace," Thane said, shaking his head in amazement. "Way to give us an inferiority complex."

"It wasn't even the real Menace," I pointed out. "We don't know if he was as strong as the real one."

Alex grinned. "He was pretty strong though. Got in a few good licks before I took him out." He looked between Thane and Jim and his girl, and reigned in his bragging to ask, "So what about your powers, Thane... and I don't think I got the lady's name?"

"This is Sandy..."

"Cindy!" she corrected.

"My bad," Jim said. "We met on the dance floor. She's not one of us. But hey, she plays her cards right, nine months she might be mommy to one of us." He reached over and pretty brazenly squeezed her boob... not even through her top, either, he slipped through the chest hole and went under, pulling the breast back out and exposing nipple.

She didn't seem to mind much, she just let out a cackling laugh and playfully slapped his hand away. "You're bad. You're going to get a spanking you keep talking like that."

"Fair enough... it is my birthday... but generally I'd prefer to be the spanker."

They went on in that vein for a while, but Thane said, "They've been doing that all night, I don't blame him, but I'm glad for some real conversation..." He stopped himself like he was just considering a possibilities. "Unless of course you're just here to make out, too, in which case, I can go check out the dance floor." He picked up his drink, a clear, squat bottle filled with some kind of amber liquid, maybe Scotch or something, and took a swig.

"No, we're not together," I said quickly... partly because I didn't want to hear Alex saying it. "We're just partners." Thane nodded at that, and I thought I saw a little hint of a smile. "So you two know each other before this, or did you guys meet here?" I'd have included Jim in the question, but he was now making out with his girl, sort of kneeling on either side of her legs, and it was getting embarrassing enough that I didn't even want to look in that direction.

"We're roommates, actually. We don't come here very often, but he turned twenty-one today, so, some drinking was called for whether it's legal or not."

"Speaking of drinking..." Alex said, "Where's the bar in this place?" Thane leaned off his seat to point out the side of the building... I don't think Alex really needed the help though. "You want anything?" he asked me.

"Some bottled water, please." My throat really was dry. Alex nodded and flew off, leaving me with Thane, and Jim and his girl who were tongue-kissing while he squeezed her boobs.

"Yeah, for a bloke who didn't even make it to his teens before his spore bloomed, he sure is a randy fuck, isn't he?" Thane said, noticing I looked in that direction. "And there's no shortage of women willing to play the naughty babysitter type." He slid around so he was slightly closer to me. "So, how long's it been since the spore bit you?"

"We're not actually Spore Kids," I said, and then cursed myself inwardly... I was never good at making up stories on the spot. Alex and I had talked about what to say to other heroes, but it was always in vague terms. "It's a kind of magic thing. We've been Powered for a while, but just started getting into the whole hero thing when we moved here." I had a sudden inspiration. It was a complete lie, but it made a good story and explained why we looked so young. We didn't want people to think we were actually teens. "When we started out it was just to heal a... terminal condition I had as a teenager." Vague is better. And a normal unpowered life is kind of a terminal condition, right? "But now it's time to start paying back, you know?" I swallowed, really craving that water. Lying sometimes made my mouth go even dryer.

At first I thought he was going to see through my story, but he said, "Absolutely. If I could do anything useful, I'd probably play the same game."

Movement in my peripheral vision got my attention... it was Jim again, but this time he had hopped off the couch and was extending a hand to Cindy to help her pull herself to her feet. She wobbled on her heels a second before she got stabilized, and giggled when Jim said, "We're going to go find a place and, you know, dance." I noticed that the facial features he pulled out of shape had gone back to what they were when I first met him.

Thane nodded, and we watched quietly as the two of them descended the metal stairs, listening to the clang-clang-clang of her heels on the steps. Then, to hopefully get his thoughts away from asking about the magic, I asked, "So, you never said what your powers were?"

He gave a shy little smile, leaned in and said, "Well, it's kind of embarrassing." I tilted my head, waiting for him to continue, and he slid closer towards me and spoke softly, just loud enough to be heard over the music. "You see... my power is to be the world's greatest lover."

I couldn't help it, I wasn't trying to humiliate him or anything, I just laughed. "And that's the power you showed to the bouncer to get in, huh?" Of course, I was just assuming he showed his power... maybe Jim got him in, or he paid full price.

Thane grinned good-naturedly at the implied homosexuality in the question though. "My reputation precedes me. But if you haven't heard it, I can certainly show you." Okay, he was hitting on me, and I was flattered and not at all turned off by his cockiness like I'd normally be... I guess because I got the impression he was half-joking, that he realized it was a lame line and was doing it more to make me laugh than to get in my pants... though he was a guy, he'd have taken both.

"I think I'll pass," I said. I do have a little self-respect. I don't want to jump into bed with somebody right after meeting them.

"Seriously, though," he said smoothly, not at all bothered, "it's nothing really special, but it is flashy. Come have a dance with me and I'll show you..." He held up a hand defensively. "Just a dance. I can't fly but I can do all right."

"Maybe a little later. I need a little break." I wasn't tired, but... I guess I was afraid that if I just danced non-stop, I'd get bored too quick. I wanted to space it out, and I kind of liked having a chance to talk to somebody new, hear more of that adorable accent. And then, of course, there was the thirst. "And a drink."

As if on cue, I spotted Alex flying in our direction, two drinks in his hand. He whipped his legs over the railing and landed. I saw my water in one hand, and in the other... "You got a beer?" I asked, that disapproving tone creeping in despite my best intentions.

"Yeah, I figured why not?" My brother looked back and forth between me and Thane, and I felt a little thrill go through me as I realized he was noticing how close Thane had slid towards me, and he looked... tense, at least. Maybe even jealous. Or was it just wishful thinking? In any event, I self-consciously slid around the couches to space ourselves out a little more, and he seemed to relax, enough to sit down beside me and look at the beer. "I'm surprised they gave it to me, with how I look. Didn't even card."

"Shows it's your first time here, yeah?" Thane said, and then explained. "You got powers, they don't question, unless they think there's a raid coming, and they got people who warn 'em of that. Powered Groupies are their client base, so they practically let us get away with murder. Only reason it's worth coming here."

Alex nodded, twisted off the beer cap with his hand, and then took a swig. "Where's your friend and his girl?" Thane threw up his hands in sort of an elaborate shrug, like he didn't know, didn't care, and Alex smiled then looked at me... and I guess he must have read something in my expression... maybe without being able to see my eyes, he assumed I was staring at him, judging. I guess I was a little. "Hey, it's not like I can get drunk."

"Right," Thane said. "Not unless you use this." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a little baggie of glittering green powder, then flung it on the table.

"Activator?" Alex asked, clearly interested. He picked it up. "Where'd you get it?"

"Loads of connections in the Spore Kid community here. You guys must really be new in town."

"Y'mind?" Alex asked. I grit my teeth a little, but didn't say anything, even as Thane waved a hand in assent. I'd heard of Activator, Howard Hughes made it so he could start drinking again after he was upgraded. It was supposed to be relatively safe... it just let Powered, who often were immune to alcoholic effects, get a little tipsy, but it was still less of a buzz than a normal person would get off a normal beer, and no hangover. It figures, though... the first alien science humanity masters is in pursuit of getting drunk. Alex poured a little bit, under a teaspoon's worth, into his bottle, swished it until it dissolved, then took a swig. He made a little grimace. I know he's drunk a little before, so I had to wonder if maybe it was the Activator powder adding a bad taste.

Well, it was his problem, I wasn't going to nag, especially since the night had started out so well. Instead, I took a long refreshing gulp of my water and closed the cap again.

"Isn't it kind of tasteless to play this?" Alex asked suddenly, whirling one hand around in the air. I'd been aware the song that had just started was seventies-style, but hadn't really been listening, now I caught lyrics about the singer's mother crying and praying. The next few words clicked it in place... it was "The Night Chicago Died", about the Crash in the 40s... or maybe it was about the spores being released in the 60s, I was never quite sure and never listened to the lyrics closely enough. I know, you'd think growing up in Crash City I'd pay attention, but it's like growing up in New York, you never actually go see the Statue of Liberty.

"Tasteless?" Thane asked, and shook his head. "Nah. It is a little naff to do it in the middle though... in a place like this, it's the kind of song you either start the night with, or end it. It's like an anthem, man." Alex shrugged and took another sip, bowing to Thane's superior experience. "So, what's it like, taking down Menace?"

Alex told the story then, this time bragging shamelessly, and from there talked about some of the other things we did, including meeting Little Miss Menace. I steeled myself against him gloating about how he banged her, but, to my surprise, he didn't, the two of them just got to talking about other heroes they've met. In Alex's case, that involved a lot of exaggeration. He counted Photonic, who saved our life but barely spoke to us when he did, and a few people he saw at conventions, getting a card autographed. Thane claimed to have associated with most of the Spore Kid heroes, having spent a little time at the Camp, but had only limited success meeting the A-list heroes outside that category. He told us a few of the Powered, like that guy who goes by the N-word, come to clubs like this sometimes, and claimed to have drunk with some of them, but it seems like the bigger the name, the less likely they are to show up. After that we moved organically to other topics, from the music playing to some of the latest movies coming out.

It was a pretty casual conversation all in all, but gradually I became aware of something... I was the center of attention. That probably sounds conceited, especially since it wasn't like... blatant. They weren't hanging off my every word, and often I just hung back quietly while they talked about something I didn't have an opinion on, but girls notice these things sometimes, when a guy's focused on them. And I could tell that Thane kept looking my way, directing his smiles my way even if something Alex said inspired them. And it was almost the same story with Alex, although in his case I couldn't tell if it was a boy-girl kind of interest, or just because we were family and were always checking to make sure the other was okay, not getting uncomfortable or too bored. I do the same when I'm out with Sally or even Mom and Dad.

Thane though, there was only one reason he'd be so focused on me... and it wasn't just looks, either, he'd sometimes reach over to put a hand on my leg, nothing inappropriate or lingering, but just making contact... kind of subtly flirty. Alex looked like he was quietly sulking every time he did, like he didn't like it but didn't want to make a scene.

That felt great. I have to admit that... both a cute English guy who wanted me, and the thrill that I was possibly making my brother jealous. So for both reasons, I never discouraged Thane's touches, and in fact smiled back or played with my fake hair while he was looking at me.

At another song change, Alex must have had enough. "So, you want to get back on the dance floor?" he suggested.

I was going to say yes, but Thane snapped forward, took my hand in his, and said, "Actually, I believe she owes me the next dance, remember? I told you I'd show you what I could do. And besides, I love this song."

Alex was clenching his jaw when I looked at him... he didn't want me to go. But I guess I wanted to disappoint him, like the way he had me. "I did promise him..."

Thane helped me to my feet, and we stepped away from the table. "Shall we take the stairs, or really make an entrance and pop onto the floor your way?"

"I can take us," I said, and gave one last look to my brother, who was leaning back and, I thought, trying not to look like he was bothered. "It's just one dance, I'll be back before you know it." He waved a hand dismissively, and I took Thane's other hand and made us disappear.

Seconds later, Thane and I were dancing. No fancy flying tricks this time, we were just like any other couple, a sea of nearby bodies forcing us into close contact. My brother wasn't around, it was just me and a guy I knew who wanted me... and I found myself grinning madly.


I finished the shower still thinking about that night, the new possibilities whirling around in my brain, and, although I wasn't exactly grinning, I still had a smile on my face when I came out. I walked back to my room this time, a long towel wrapped conservatively around myself, because I could sense the door to my parents' room was open. They were either running a little early, or I took a longer shower than usual, lost in my thoughts. I'd later find it was a little of both.

As I passed their door, my dad came out into the hall. This time, the sight of him didn't bring me down like it sometimes did... my complicated feelings for him were nothing compared to the other stuff going on, and I was feeling cheerful about everything. I smiled at Dad, and he smiled back, then looked a little nervous and took an instinctive step back as he saw I was in my towel. It was as though he was afraid if he bumped into me he might accidentally knock it loose and have to face seeing his daughter naked, so he didn't want to take any risk. I tried not to take offense... it was a reflex. "Good morning Sunshine," he said, tugging on his tie with an uneasy grin. He was dressed like he was already just about out the door.

I smiled back. "Morning Dad." I craned my neck past him and saw Mom sitting on the bed. "Morning Mom." She was still in her long robe, but she often was... my Dad's the kind of guy who looks like he's ready to be out the door within twenty minutes of waking up... and it's true, he often has to be, but it's the same story even when he doesn't. Mom likes to lounge... she's not lazy, but sometimes she doesn't even get fully dressed before noon if she doesn't have anywhere to go.

"Hey," Mom chirped. She got to her feet and made her way to the door, looking me over. "Looks like somebody's in a good mood."

I shrugged, but couldn't get the smile off my face. "I guess I just had a good night."

"Well, I'm glad," Dad said. "I hate to see my little girl down. You know you can always talk to me, right?" I shrugged. Parents always said that, but no, you can't, not about some things. And especially not about what was bothering me lately. Still, he pulled me in for a hug, forgetting his awkwardness about me being in just a towel, and kissed my forehead like he had since I was a kid. At least there was no irritating stubble, this time, he's just shaved... apparently cut himself again, too. I could see a little bit of dried blood on his neck when I finally pulled away. "I need to run. We've got an early conference call with Washington. You have a good day, though." I nodded, and he turned to Mom and gave her a long goodbye kiss, with tongue. I rolled my eyes and started walking away. I had to dress anyway.

It was after I did, wearing a blue shirt and some light colored pants, and was on my way to the stairs, that my good mood was noticed again, this time by my sister, Sally. She had her door open a little and I walked by, I spotted her sitting on her bed. "Hey," I said, just in passing.

I guess there was something in my tone that gave me away. Her head snapped up like she was an animal who just caught scent of a trail. "Okay, come here." I don't know why, but I did. She looked me over, shrewdly. Like she was reading my mind. "Something happened. You're... cheerful."

"God," I said, trying to look disgusted, but a smile wormed its way back onto my face anyway. "Can't I just be in a good mood?" I must have been acting like a real bitch to everyone these past few days.

She pretended to consider it for a second and then said, firmly, "No." She grinned, hopped off the bed, and closed the door. "Last night, after we went to bed... it was him, wasn't it?"

"Him who?" Did she know I snuck out?

"You know. The guy. Library guy. He sent you a message, is that it?" There was no library guy. But I'd been forced to invent a mystery guy I was supposedly interested in, when Alex and I went out to meet Little Miss Menace. My sister can be so nosy sometimes. "Come on, you promised to give me details, and so far you've given me squat."

Damn, I'd forgotten that. She hadn't followed up because right after I got home I was in a foul mood. Right now, I didn't really feel like coming up with a set of lies... but maybe I could get out of it on a loophole. "It's not the same guy," I told her. There was even a kind of truth to it.

"Oooh, a new guy?" she smiled along with me, like my poor excuse of a love life was still something she could live vicariously through. "You owe me details on A guy. Tell me... or I'm just going to snoop until I find out on my own."

I sighed. "You really are a pest, you know?" More than that... an outright pain in the ass!

She just grinned wider, like it was a compliment. "I know. Come on, at least tell me his name?"

"Fine, it's... Thane." It just popped out. Afterwards, I mentally kicked myself... I should have covered with a name of a guy that went to school with us.

"Thane..." she repeated. With that she pulled off her shirt, the one she wore to sleep, and went to choose something to wear. She still didn't wear a bra most of the time, ever since a socially disastrous incident just before we moved, where she was caught stuffing her training bra. Sometimes I think she was relieved she got to go into hiding soon after. Pretty soon, though, she was going to have to start wearing a bra again, and with no tissues necessary. There was definite growth since the last time I'd seen her naked. It's not like I made a habit of checking her out or anything... she's my little sister, and I didn't consider myself even a little gay. The closest I came to lesbian experimentation was a few games of truth or dare where I kissed or made out with another girl, and even that always felt more weird and awkward than hot. Sally soon found a pink shirt with 'Girls Rule' written on it, and then dropped her underwear. "So what's this Thane guy like?"

While she changed her underwear and put on pants, I looked away out of courtesy, inspecting her desk. "He's like, a guy..." I noticed the binder on her desk was full of a half-completed problem sheet. That was a good way to try and change the subject. "You didn't even do your homework?"

"I'll finish before class," she said. "There's this smart boy who'll let me copy anyway." I looked back over to her, and she was wearing tights that ended at her shin. Before I could scold her for copying, she asked, "So is he cute?"


"Did he ask you out?"

"Not exactly."

"But you think he might, right?" I shrugged. "You're afraid of our bodyguards spooking him? You can sit with him at lunch at least, right? Or, you know, find a janitor's closet and make out?"

"Sally!" I chastised. She was as bad as Alex. "I'm not doing any of that. And I'm not having this conversation, you got your details... there's really nothing else to say at this point." I held up a hand before she could open her mouth, which she was itching to do. "Maybe there MIGHT be something to say later, but if you're going to pester me, my mood to tell you anything is going to go away." That worked. She wouldn't be able to resist bothering me, and when she did, I'd have a perfect excuse to deny her. Right then, though, she pouted and stayed quiet, and gave me a chance to leave.

The rest of the morning went pretty well. The whole family, except Dad, met over the breakfast table, although we all had different things. I just had some fruit, Alex had toast, Sally had a bowl of sugar cereal. Mom just drank coffee. It was kind of nice just hanging together. And Alex kept smiling over the table at me, a little uncertainly, like he was trying to make sure we were still cool. I always smiled back, striving to reassure him... and not just that. The idea that my bad mood bothered him that much... it was really touching. Even if it was just because he thought I was mad at him, specifically. And maybe I was, a little, but not anymore. It was like the events of the previous night had lightened the mood of everything, brightened the whole world. Everybody noticed the change in atmosphere, though, and for once we weren't all rushing... like we all wanted to savor the good mood everybody was in.

It's really amazing the difference a lack of tension makes to a day. Even the weather seemed perfect when we finally left for our ride to school, a little later than usual, although still with enough time so none of us would be late. But no day can be perfect, and even ones that start as well as this one could turn into a nightmare by the end of it.

The tension first crept back in as we were getting dropped off to school, and it was Sally's fault. I guess it was my fault, really, but it wasn't me who said the words. Just as we were getting out, and Alex had circled around to my side of the car, Sally leaned out and said, in what she might have thought was a whisper but was clearly audible to anybody within five feet, "Good luck with Thane." And then, to top it off, made a kissy face.

I don't know why I ever tell that brat anything. I turned away swiftly and started walking away mechanically.

Alex followed, a few steps behind, so you could almost imagine we weren't talking at all, but I could hear his voice. "Thane? Wasn't that one of those guys from last night?"

"Yeah," I mumbled, feeling the blush creep into my cheeks. I so did not want to have this conversation right now. I picked up my pace, seeing a couple girls from my first class of the day ahead.

They noticed me, too, and seemed to smile at my approach. Erica was there, with whom I was starting to get along well, and another girl, Brooke. Her I was a little more ambivalent about, we'd only talked a few times and never for very long. "Hey, we were just talking about you," Erica said. "Hey, we've only got a few minutes before class. You wanna..."

Before she could finish, Alex caught up and swept me up with him. "Sorry ladies, I need to ask my sister something, privately." I looked back at them, gave a helpless shrug at their strangely annoyed expressions, but didn't resist. I guess it was better to get it over with.

He walked with me, a light grip on my arm, and directed me down a hall. "I thought we discussed this. We agreed Thane was bad news."

"I never agreed to anything," I pointed out. In fact, I hadn't much discussed him at all.

He turned me around to look at him face to face. "Did he give you his number or something? Did he contact you after we got back?" There was an intensity in his eyes that I almost got lost in.

"If I did, what business is it of yours?" I couldn't help but smirk, just a little. I'm not proud of it, but a little bit of payback felt good.

"Come on Tabby," he whispered through his teeth. "You know I'm only worried because I care about you. And if you're telling Sally about what's going on..."

I sighed and pulled away. Time to end the game. "I didn't tell her anything," I said. "I mean, she was bugging me for details about some guy she thinks I'm into, and..." I shrugged. "It was just the first name to come to mind." I looked over my shoulder. Some people I knew were coming, and I certainly didn't want them to overhear. "Look, I have to get to class," I told Alex. "I'll see you at lunch." That was almost a peace offering, a promise that this time I wouldn't be trying to avoid him.

It did the trick... he had started to relax when I explained why I mentioned Thane to Sally, and now he was actually smiling again. "So, there's nothing going on between you and that Thane guy?"

I gave an enigmatic smile and shrugged, then backed away, turned, and headed down the hall. Maybe it was unwise to tease him again, but I couldn't resist. And this time, he didn't follow, maybe because he didn't really have time. I only managed to get to my locker and to my first class just before the bell rang, and I teleported from one empty stairwell to an empty bathroom near my class. I know I shouldn't have, but my locker's really far away from my first class... I think it's cause we came to the school mid-year. Anyway, I made sure nobody was around when I teleported, and I already know where all of the school's security cameras are.

In class, my mind wandered a lot. Normally I try to pay attention to the teachers (except maybe in History), but as that day wore on, I just couldn't stop thinking about other things, that interaction in the hallway, what exactly it meant, and how it related to what happened last night, and what that whole thing with Thane meant. Was I imagining things? Maybe it was simply brotherly concern after all.

My first class, after almost getting busted for not paying attention (luckily, the teacher asked me a question I remembered from the homework), I managed to rein it in, but in the next one, we watched a movie. And a boring movie combined with darkness was the perfect excuse for those thoughts to circle back around over and over... I replayed the night over in my mind, dancing with Thane under my brother's gaze...


Thane was a good dancer. Sure, maybe he was a bit on the grind-y side, but... the truth is, I kind of like that too. Like it was obvious how much he wanted me. And there was much less pressure than when Alex and I were in the air, the center of attention, I could just relax and have fun.

And it was fun. When you're moving to the beat of a great song with a partner and a crowd all around you all having a blast, it's like... you're suddenly in synch with the universe. Your worries melt away, and even when it tires you out and leaves you breathless, it's like everybody else's energy buoys you up for longer than you could last on your own. As one of the Powered, it's even better, because you don't really get tired, and only temporarily breathless. So when the crowd's energy flows into you it makes you feel on top of the world.

It wasn't just the crowd around me that was energizing me, though. Because, as fun as it was, I never did lose myself completely... I always knew my brother was watching. Almost right from when we started dancing, I caught sight of him, looking down from the balcony, like he was a bodyguard... or a jealous lover. That thought got me even more excited, and every so often I'd glance up to make sure he was still watching, without making it look like I was focusing on anything other than Thane. I wanted him to get a taste of what I felt, and so I played to him, dancing closer with my new partner, letting him touch me or grind me for longer than I otherwise would have.

And, just to spice things up, I teleported around. Just Thane and I, to a different part of the club. It was both amusing and reassuring to see Alex's head give a panicked scan around the club until he finally caught sight of us.

I didn't know that it was actually jealousy, but it made my heart beat a little faster just to imagine that it was. Maybe I wasn't so alone in my feelings... they still might be wrong, but at least we'd be wrong together, you know?

The song was starting to wind down, and Thane got in real close, wrapped his arms around me to pull me close, and he said, "Come on, love, let's have another dance... unless you want to go somewhere more private."

I looked up and saw Alex again, staring down at me, frowning, and on a whim, teleported us... this time, outside, to the rooftop we were on before coming inside. It was suddenly, shockingly quiet. Thane let go of me and gaped around for a moment, but then his cocky smile was back. "This is definitely more private. I approve..."

I'd turned around to face him by this point, and he stepped into my personal space, leaning forward like he was getting ready to kiss me, which was incredibly flattering, but I put one hand up to stop him. "Not so fast, loverboy," I said. Though a part of me wanted to just let him take me, worship me, whether it was a one night stand or the start of a romantic relationship, but... it just didn't feel quite right.

He pouted, which was cute, but was a gentleman enough to step back. "So why take us out here?" he asked.

To drive my brother crazy... that was the real reason, though I couldn't admit it to him... I could barely admit it to myself. But I liked the idea of him not being able to find me, imagining what I might be doing. There was one excuse I could give Thane, though. "We had a deal. One dance, and you show me your power."

The smile returned, this time flashing teeth. "Fair enough, I did. Ready?" I nodded. He pulled up the mask that covered his eyes, and I could see his full uncovered face for the first time. I guess he didn't have much of a secret identity to worry about. It didn't change my impression of him, he had nice eyes... which then began to glow with an eerie green light.

I had a moment of panic... it was pretty reckless of me to drag him out here to see his power, away from Alex... he could be mind-controlling me. I didn't feel like he was, but that's what good mind-control would do, make you think you were acting on your own free will.

"There you go," he said. "That's it. I can make my eyes glow. See in the dark too, while I'm doing it, except it also makes me stand out like a bloody torch. Not real useful, but it gets me into the clubs." He replaced the mask.

"Oh." Okay, I was a little disappointed. "It's better than nothing."

He gave a half-nod, half-shrug. "Could do without the color-blindness, though. That came as a package deal, even if my eyes aren't glowing. I bet you look even lovelier in color." I didn't know what to say to that, a compliment on my beauty AND delivered in a hot English accent? I was tongue-tied and a little weak in the knees. My silence gave him a chance to take a step closer again. "Now that I've showed you my powers, how about we see if I really am the world's greatest lover?"

That brought me to my senses... cute accent or not, underneath he was still just another guy. I wasn't really that annoyed, but I wasn't interested, either, at least not in sex, right then. At least that proved he wasn't secretly mind controlling me. "How about not," I said. "But if you want to head back to the club, I would be willing to give you another dance... and from there, who knows?" He was fun to dance with, even if most of the fun was driving Alex crazy. If that's what it was doing. If not... why not have some fun?

"Ah, the hard-to-get act, is it?" he joked. "I can respect that, for a while... just don't go leaving me broken-hearted."

"No promises." At that moment, I made a snap, impulsive decision, the kind that's normally not my style, but when I do it, I do it wholeheartedly. I was going to have sex with Thane if he kept asking. That night. Maybe right at the club.

But only if my brother let it happen. If he didn't give me a reason not to, I was going to have fun. If he could be promiscuous with somebody he just met, so could I, right? Screw self-respect. If Alex really didn't care, maybe it was the best thing to help me get over my own stupid feelings. The decision made, I smirked at Thane, looking at him in a new light. I bet he'd look even hotter without the silly costume.

Thane smiled back, and his head tilted, like he could see my interest. He took my hand. "Lead the way."

In a flash, we were back on the floor, the music blared in our ear and the temperature must have jumped thirty degrees just from the difference from an outside breeze and a room full of dancing people. I took a quick look around and didn't see Alex anywhere, so I decided to just get back to dancing, although I had to fake it for a few seconds until I realized what song it was... Ke$ha's "Die Young" song, which I was kind of sick of already, but it seemed appropriate that night.

We danced for maybe a minute, and Thane's hand hand was sliding up my thigh. Through our CoreWear, that felt almost like he was touching skin on skin, which made me thinking about upping my timetable, when the crowds around us parted, and Alex hovered an inch off the floor. "Mind if I cut in?"

"Actually..." Thane began, but Alex wouldn't wait. He grabbed my hand and pulled me towards him.

"Oh, come on," my brother said. "You can't hog her the whole night... besides, she needs to be where everyone can see."

He wrapped one arm around my waist and flew us out into the most open part of the club, with the highest ceiling, like he just expected me to start dancing again. Inside, part of me was smiling, but I kept a scowl on my face. I shoved him with one arm. "What are you doing?" We had to raise our voices some to be heard over the music, but the speakers were on the ground floor so it was actually a little quieter near the ceiling.

"Rescuing you," he said with a smug, confident look.

"Did I look like I needed to be rescued?"

The cocky smile faltered. "Kind of, yeah," he said. "Come on, the guy's clearly bad news. And you really need to turn on your phone when we go out on a mission."

That meant he'd been calling me, probably since I went out of sight. Thane must have gotten him really worried. "He's been totally sweet..."

He shook his head vehemently. "Yeah, for a total perv. Didn't you hear what he said earlier? About being a puffball?"

"Yeah, so what if he's gay?" I asked, playing dumb. I've watched some British TV. I mean, even if I mainly watched Sprogs for sexy Tom Felton, I paid enough attention to know the difference between a puff and a poof. "Doesn't mean we can't dance."

"He's not gay... they used to call people who got useless powers from the spores... puffballs," Alex explained. I looked at him, waiting for him to get to the point. "Used to. Like, in the 70s. That means this guy's gotta be at least fifty."

"Or he's just watched a movie or show about that time." Maybe Thane watched Sprogs too.

"And he said he stopped hanging out at Neverland after the Mothmen tore the place apart. That was, like, in the 80s, when they had the camp in Virginia." I didn't recognize the event, but that's no surprise. My brother's much more of a fan of Powered history than I am. "Face it, Tabby, he's too old for you."

I scanned around for an out of the way balcony where nobody was around, and teleported us there. "Like Little Miss Menace was too old for you?" I snapped, pushing him away. It felt good to finally be able to whip that out.

"That's different," he said. But he looked a little like he'd just been slapped.


"Because... because..." he sputtered, searching for a reason. "She's like a celebrity! We know she's a good guy. This guy, you don't know anything about!"

"So what?" I asked. "This is supposed to be my night, isn't it? Where I get to do what I want to do?"

"Yeah, but..." He struggled again for something to say. I guess I scored a point, he made a big deal about this night being for me.

"And so what if I want to have a little fun with Thane. You know what they say, YOLO." That time I was needling him deliberately. That acronym's sudden prevalence is one of his pet peeves, even though he agrees with the sentiment... you only live once. I guess I like it too, but in my case, it's more how I want to live than how I usually do. Too many times I feel like I'm stuck doing what I know I should be doing instead of what I want to do. "But don't worry, if I do have sex with him, I'll make sure I use a condom!"

"Come on, Tabby... don't do this to me..." he pleaded with me. And he looked so pathetic I almost gave in right then. But I crossed my arms over my chest and waited. "I brought you here because I wanted to hang out with you... not watch while you go do... whatever with some loser."

"What does it matter to you?" I wanted him to say it, say the words I'd been longing for, or something close to them.

I didn't get it, but what I got was good enough for now. "You think I don't care?" he sounded hurt. "Of course it's going to bother me that you're with some... foreign loser instead when you should be with me." He shook his head. "Look, I can't stop you... but if you do teleport off with Thane again, I am spending my night getting as drunk as I possibly can. I stole his bag of activator powder while you were gone."

I shook my head right back at him, but then broke out into a smile. Sure, he didn't admit to feelings, but admitting to wanting to drink because I was with somebody else? That was something, at least. And he said that I "should" be with him. "You're paranoid for nothing," I said. "It was just a dance. I was only messing with you." He relaxed a little. "And if you're going to freak out about me dancing with somebody else, you'd better be prepared to pick up the slack."

With that, we were out on the dance floor. I convinced Alex to go easy on the flying, which was fun but I didn't want to be the center of attention all the time... except, to an extent, we kind of were, the whole club knew us by now. And, it occurred to me, based on the way Alex and I kept to each other, they probably thought we were a couple.

Something about that felt so right... and it wasn't just the warm hopeful feeling, there was also an exhilarating thrill of a brilliant idea, a solution to my problems, or at least some of them. Even if I couldn't tell Alex what I was feeling, and couldn't tell exactly what he was feeling... if everybody ELSE thought we were a couple, as superheroes, at least I wouldn't have to deal with so much jealousy. I mean, you have to be a total skank to hit on a guy you know is with somebody, and if they're both Powered, you'd kind of have to have a death wish too. It wasn't a perfect fix, but it might help... especially if the news got around the hero community. Maybe I could even suggest to Alex that we play up that angle... what better way to throw off suspicion that we're related?

A dirty little idea came to me next. I pulled Alex close, the music was so loud right then that there was no other way to talk, although I liked it, and the idea that those nearby might wonder if we were kissing. "I'm out of power," I said into his ear. "We need to be recharge." It was a lie, but a small one. I wasn't sure exactly how much I had left, but I knew I was close. There was still probably enough to get us home if we left right then in one hop, maybe even a handful of other jumps before or after. It's not an exact science, but judging by past experience I was probably getting close to empty.

Alex drew away and just stared at me for a second, then I saw his mouth open as he got what I meant. He started looking around, like trying to find an exit. I bit my lip, grabbed his hand, and pulled him in the direction of the bathrooms. There were two sets, but I went for the one that was the least crowded.

My stomach churned and my heart raced with every step, and I must have thought of abandoning the plan a dozen times. It was just so dirty, and shameless, not like me at all... but something about the idea was irresistible. On previous outings I'd gotten so turned on by having sex in places where we could be seen, this was just the next logical step up... a place where almost everybody would know what was going on, and a few might even see or hear directly.

Besides... I wasn't shy Tabby, the good girl who always behaves in public and only gets naughty when nobody will ever find out. I was Taboo. And my brother was Deviant. We could hardly call ourselves Deviant and Taboo without occasionally doing something to live up to the name, right?

Alex didn't say anything, he just let me lead, even when I pulled him into the ladies' bathroom (I may be kinky but I am NOT doing it in the men's room, that sounds so much more disgusting), enjoying the looks of the people near by... particularly the girls. It felt like I was claiming him for myself. I think somebody even snapped our picture.

Even though it was the least busy of the two washrooms, I'd still expected a lot of people, but no... closer in, I realized that most of the people I sensed were outside. Inside, it was pretty much empty except for one woman (wearing a skirt and CoreWear top and domino mask which showed eyes) who was adjusting her lip gloss. She looked over the two of us in the mirror, then rolled her eyes at us and sighed.

I ignored her, or pretended to. I knew she was there going in. I also knew that one of the stalls, the one closest to the door, was occupied. But I didn't want my brother thinking that I just wanted to fuck him in the bathroom where everybody would know, instead of teleporting us outside, so I had to play dumb, like I couldn't access my spatial sense.

Which meant I had to try the nearest door first, to keep the charade going. It would have been innocent enough mistake... try the door, find it locked, move on.

Except it wasn't locked. And it wasn't just one person inside, either.

I mean, my God, what's wrong with some people, if you're going to have sex in a club bathroom, at least lock the door!

No, when I pushed the door open, Alex and I were treated to the sight of Thane's friend, the little Spore Kid named Jim, with that girl Cindy (or was it Sandy?), fucking. She was seated on the toilet, legs spread, which I guess put her at the right height for him to easily enter, and I could see his tiny little butt flex as he pushed into her. His shorts were pulled down to his ankles.

Then he must have heard us, for he turned and pulled out, and that's when I could see that she was still wearing her costume, just the crotch was pulled to the side, and her tits were now popping out of the top.

Jim grinned at us, a wide grin, which seemed to get even wider as he noticed me looking down at his rigid penis. I don't know why he was so proud, it was the smallest I've seen in person, though I guess for the age he was stuck at it was probably normal.

Cindy, when he pulled out, opened her eyes and blushed, then covered them with her hand. "Oh god..."

"Shh," Jim said, and then, to us, "This one's occupied."

I let the door close, and then couldn't resist snarkily yelling, "Lock your fucking door next time."

That was another moment that I almost backed out, but instead I stalked all the way to the other end of the row and opened that stall, the Wheelchair-accessible booth, and Alex followed behind. I made sure to lock the door, and then pulled down my pants and underwear, presenting myself for my brother. I saw he already had his cock out and was grinning, whether at me or what we'd just seen, I didn't know, but he was hard as a rock.

I wasn't going to touch the toilet itself, even though I was wearing gloves and was immune to pretty much any germs, but I braced myself up against the wall behind the toilet tank and leaned over, just waiting, until his hands took hold of my hips. His dick didn't enter right away, it slipped down between my thighs and he sort of grinded me for a second, like we were freak-dancing still, but then pulled out and repositioned himself, and the head of his penis nestled in my hole, requiring just a little more effort to go inside.

I provided that myself, so turned on despite, and maybe a little because of, the sex going on just a few stalls down that I couldn't wait and just pushed myself backwards. Then, I didn't have to do any work, it was just the two of us, like always, where he thrust inside of me, giving me that seemingly perfect fit that made me feel like we were made for each other. In and out, we had a good rhythm going, and while I was trying to be quiet, the girl in the next stall was moaning loud enough that I felt comfortable giving short gasps of obvious excitement. Pretty soon we lost ourselves in the act, my own pleasure building quickly and steadily, like all the dancing that night was merely foreplay and we were finally indulging in what our bodies really wanted. And, as though all the exercise during the night was finally catching up to me all at once, my whole body, but especially my mound, felt impossibly hot, and I was feeling light-headed with the certainty of an onrushing orgasm...


"Kat... hey Kat!" It was more the poke in the shoulder with a pen that snapped me out of the memory, but the whisper really should have done it... after all, it was my name. Not my real name, the witness protection name that I was supposed to answer to. Even though Alex managed to pass off Tabby as a nickname (Tabby-Kat), I had most of the people I know call me Kat or Kathryn. I turned and saw June, one of my friends... although I wondered if maybe that was going to change. Lately she'd started dressing a lot sluttier. I don't look down on girls who do that (okay maybe a little, which I know is totally hypocritical given the stuff I get up to) but I've seen it happen... they dress more provocatively, then they start hanging out with a new crowd or throwing themselves at boys and forgetting all about friends. Right now she was in a short skirt and tight top... when we met she always wore pants and a nice summery blouse.

"Geez, it's like you're in another world or something," she complained, and I guessed she'd been trying to get my attention for a while. In fact, she normally sat one column down, so I'd completely missed her swapping seats with the guy to my right. "What were you thinking about, anyway?"

I blushed, or at least felt like I did. Luckily, many of the lights were still out for the movie, so I don't think it showed. Another thing I'd hoped didn't show was my clenching my thighs together, just a little, or I hoped it was just a little. If I was squirming in my seat, I'd never live it down! But the memory of the bathroom sex with my brother was just so hot that I was getting turned on all over again right in class. I guess it was good she interrupted me, much longer and I was in danger of getting the seat slick. "Sorry, I..." I shrugged, and let it drop. No explanation was necessary, and we were in class... the more we talked, the more chance the teacher would put a stop to it. "What's up?"

"We're going to sneak off campus again at lunch and eat out. Come on, come with us..."

"I don't know..." I said. It wasn't really the sneaking out that bothered me. I obviously have my wild side, maybe wilder than any of them have ever dreamed of being. It was the risk of getting caught and punished.

"Please? Sapphire really wants to get to know you. We've been telling her all about you."

Now I was blushing again, but for a completely different reason. I never thought of myself as the type of person my friends would promote to other friends... hearing otherwise provoked a warm rush of pride. Even though Sapphire herself left me a little cold... but I was being unfair, I'd never even talked to her. Still... "I already told my brother I'd eat lunch with him," I told June.

"So what?" She rolled her eyes. "It's just your brother."

"Well, I promised," I said, even though I hadn't. "And if he heard I snuck off he might tell our parents, and..."

"God, Kat, learn to live a little." I shrugged, a little hurt, and she softened, putting on a smile. "Look, just think about it. We're meeting at the parking lot at the start of lunch. Barbara's big sister's coming, and she's got her mom's SUV."

"Okay," I said. "I'll think about it."

But I didn't, not for long. The truth was, I wanted to hang out with Alex more. We were just getting over our fight, and I wanted to check him for any new signs of jealousy. Besides, June and Erica kind of ditched me the other day to hang out with Sapphire and I was still a little pissed off at them.

So it wasn't just that I didn't meet them, I actively avoided them. When the lunch bell rang, I dashed out to get to my locker, and then ducked into the library and browsed for a few minutes, like I was looking for a book, before leaving empty-handed.

When I got to the lunchroom, I quickly found Alex, who waved, with a relaxed smile that told me he wasn't still bothered about Thane, which... I guess was good. Though I'd hoped he was bothered a little, to be honest. He sat at the edge of a table, and it didn't look like he was with any friends, not even Eva, although he saved a spot, and I liked that.

I came out of the food line with just a burger and a carton of milk, and was about to join him, when I ran into Steven.

Steven's a freshman like me, he's got short dark hair, wears glasses sometimes, but contacts that day... he's shorter than me, and a little scrawny, but he's nice, and smart, maybe a little geeky but not annoyingly so... and I'm pretty sure he likes me. Just the nervous way he grinned, looking a little glassy-eyed when he said, "Hi Kathryn," gave me the feeling he'd been working up his courage to talk to me all day.

Which is why I don't normally encourage him. I mean, he's nice and all, and I enjoy talking to him sometimes, but even if I could date him without worrying about our family bodyguards making it awkward, or accidentally blurting out something that compromises our witness protection, I don't think I feel that way for him. So usually I'm polite and friendly, but I try hard not to do anything that would lead him on. "Hi, Steve."

"Listen, we've got that essay in History?" he said. It was assigned recently, the last of the year. "And we can work on it in pairs?"

Can, but didn't have to. I always work alone when that's the rule, it's just easier... you'd think it's half the work to team up, but too often I find I wind up doing everything anyway. In this case it might not be the case, I was weak in History and he was a good student, but I was still prepared to tell him no and do it solo... until I glanced over his shoulder and saw Alex staring at us suspiciously. And something inside me changed, and I smiled and tucked some loose hair back behind an ear. "Uh-huh?" I asked, waiting for him to make the offer I knew was coming.

"Well, I was thinking, maybe you might want to team up? I mean, I know you're smart and all and it would just make sense, don't you think?"

One of my hands, almost of its own volition, found another strand of hair, near my shoulder, and I started playing with it, and I giggled. "I don't know, maybe. Let me think about it."

He seemed surprised, like he wasn't really expecting a yes and so even my 'maybe' was good news. "Sure... just, you know... let me know. You're on Facebook, right?"

"Yeah." Sort of. It wasn't my name... not even my fake name, it was a fake fake name, if that makes any sense at all. The theory is that if we don't have any online presence, we stand out even more, but if we pretend we just have strict parents and we sneak around the edges, nobody notices as much, and the agents watching us (who have full access to it... it's worse than snooping parents!) can be aware if, say, anybody snaps a picture and posts it without us knowing. We can't even have profile pics. I use a cat picture for mine. "My profile's kind of secret so my parents don't find it. How about I just contact you on yours?" I spared another glance for Alex. Still watching.

"Sure, my name's easy. It's just Steve-Kasjaniuk-1. It's spelled..."

"I know how it's spelled," I said quickly. He perked up. "I've seen you on Erica's friends list." Alex was still watching, so I smiled and casually put my hand on Steve's arm. "I was actually going to friend you already, but I don't know... I guess I just didn't think you'd know who I was..."

He actually blushed. It was kind of cute. So was he, really. "Of course I would, you sit right in front of me in..."

I laughed flirtatiously. It sounded awfully fake to my ears, and made me feel a little sick for doing it, but I pressed on, adding in a high pitched voice, "I meant because of my fake name, silly."

"Right. Well, I'd be happy to be your online friend. And I'd love to work with you on the essay." He smiled nervously, and the moment hung there awkwardly. "Anyway, I'll let you get to eating..."

"Where you running off to, Steve?" I wasn't quite done torturing Alex.

"I just usually spend lunch in the Drama room, with some friends." I'd never actually been in the Drama room yet. "Hey, you want to come along? Just a couple guys, even a few girls... you know Gabrielle?" I shook my head. "Well, they're all pretty welcoming, if you wanted to tag along..."

"Um..." And suddenly my brain grew an evil little thought, that I should go with Steve, and see how Alex reacted. Thane was a stranger, so my brother getting worried over him could mean anything... but going off with a guy at school? What if that bothered him? "Sure," I said. "Just give me a second..."

I took my tray down to where Alex had saved me a seat, and when he looked up at me with a smile, the guilt started to creep in. But I couldn't back out now. "Hi, Alex... if you don't mind, Steve invited me to eat with him and his friends... and, I kind of want to."

Alex's face dropped, but in a way that I couldn't tell if it was sad or just surprised. He was practically blank. "Oh," he said. That's it. Just "Oh."

I thought I'd up the stakes. "I mean, I'd eat here, but I kind of like this guy and..."

He waved a hand. "It's okay. You don't have to explain yourself." I thought, maybe, he was sulking, just a little. He wouldn't look directly at me. But I couldn't tell for sure, and it was incredibly frustrating... even though I don't know what I was expecting, certainly not for him to sob or make a scene or beg me not to go. There was none of that, just acceptance and what might, might, MIGHT have been a little bit of a pout on his lips.

I wanted to take the whole decision back, but I couldn't. "I'll see you after school though. Thanks for understanding." I left my tray and just grabbed my foil-wrapped burger and milk carton, and headed out the door.

There was Steve, grinning, and he held the door for me, and we walked down the hall, and... I just felt disgusted with myself. I was a horrible person. I mean, I didn't even like Steve, that way. And now I had to go eat lunch with him and his friends, and he probably thought I liked him, all to try and get a reaction I couldn't even figure out. I was probably imagining the whole thing. What was wrong with me?

We made it down the hallway when I finally broke. "Hey, Steve... I'm really sorry, but I think I'm going to have to take a rain check..." His face fell too, but in his case, it was pretty clear he was disappointed. Ashamed, I struggled to come up with an excuse. "I just... have something I remembered I need to do. Sorry. I'll let you know about that essay."

"Sure..." he said, and I just waved, turned and started walking, a knot of guilt and sickness in the pit of my stomach.

I couldn't go back to the cafeteria. So, I decided I would leave campus after all... not going with my friends, though, I'd just go off by myself, as I sometimes did, by finding an unwatched corner or the school and then teleporting out to Crash City. Somewhere peaceful to calm me down. I always liked the view from the roof where we used to live there, but it was a construction site now. However, there was a building nearby that I knew well enough to teleport to... a friend's building. I hadn't been to the roof while I lived there, but by aiming for her bedroom I could redirect easily enough. All that was required was focusing on memory of Mary's apartment...


It was just the two of us, lying on her bed, listening to music and eating some caramel-covered popcorn, and, of course, talking about boys. "I'm telling you, he still totally likes you," Mary said. "Give him a chance."

I thought so too, but boys were infuriating sometimes, and this boy, in particular, more than usual. The infuriation I was feeling at least made the memory powerful enough for me to use as a teleportation beacon. It would have been even easier to go to the school where he actually annoyed me than to Mary's building, but that was just a bad idea since I was supposed to be dead. Anyway, the boy's name was Eli, he was my age, dark hair, kind of a joker in class. I wasn't even sure I liked him, at least like that, but I was willing to give him a chance to win me over. "Why doesn't he just say so? I mean I already gave him a chance."

"That's the problem, you just... asked him if he wanted to see a movie with you."

"Right. And he said no."

Mary shook her head. "Cause he wants to ask you, not for you to ask him. With guys it's all about the chase. If you ask a guy, he loses interest a little."

"That's insane."

She shrugged, not disagreeing. "Boys are a little insane. But don't worry, it's fixable. What you do is, you pretend you don't care about him. You play hard-to-get. Flirt with his best friend."

"No way... Dan's an ass."

"Who cares? If Eli thinks you're interested in somebody else, he'll want you more than ever." She grinned. "Man, Tabitha, you've got to learn to play the game!"

I was offended, rolled over on my back to stare at the ceiling. "I don't like games. They're like a kind of lying! Why can't you just like a guy and tell him and if he likes you, that's it?" I shook my head angrily. "It's not fair, why do we have to make a big production of everything? Why can't things be simple?"

Mary listened to my rant with the patience of a friend, and said with smug confidence of a girl who knew it all. "Because nothing worth a damn is simple. And love is definitely worth a damn." She grinned and poked me in the ribs. "It doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't have to be fair. It just has to do the job... you gotta make him think that if he doesn't show you how he feels, he may never get another chance."


I still don't like playing games. Why do girls have to play hard-to-get? It makes no sense. But I guess I had to admit Mary was right... whether it made sense or not, it seemed to work. And for all my talk about how much I hated it, when I got a chance, I betrayed all my principles and played right along. Maybe I had to play the game a little, maybe it was just what every couple does.

It made me feel so dirty though. Right then, I wanted nothing more than to apologize... both to Alex, and to Steven. Maybe Thane, too. We hadn't seen him since Alex dragged me away... I wondered if he heard about us having sex and ran off, hurt that I was just toying with him. But I couldn't apologize to anybody, not really, not without explaining why, and those were three explanations I didn't want to give. So I guess I just had to be accept what I'd done. Maybe it wasn't so unforgivable. And maybe I should be genuinely exploring other options instead of doing it as a game... either it'll give me an idea of what Alex really wants, or maybe I'll get over my crazy feelings for him. I didn't know which I wanted more.

But whatever the case, I was still sure that it wasn't fair to lead other boys on, not when I didn't have any real interest in them. Thane... maybe, who knows, if we ever met again and I gave up on Alex ever returning my feelings, my real feelings... something could happen, a fling if nothing else. But I didn't really see any kind of relationship working with Steven, he wasn't the fling type, and I couldn't really date him, not when we might have to move away and change our names again at a moment's notice. So eventually I had to try and make it clear to him I really wasn't interested. Toying with him was just cruel.

That provoked a fresh burst of shame, as I started thinking about Zach, the boy who would take my virginity months after that talk with Mary, after Eli was nothing more than a memory of 'what might have been'. With Zach, I thought it was simple. Our relationship started with us being direct and open about our feelings... we kept secret to everyone else, sure, but between us there was no game-playing. Except, that was a lie, I was the only one not playing games. He never really liked me at all, he was just toying with me, for sex. I hated him afterwards. And now I'd just proved I was no better.

Maybe love was all a lie. Maybe Alex was even the same as Zach, deep down, just using me. It felt different... at the very least, it was more honest, since Alex never said he was in love with me, that might have all been in my head. But whatever it was, or wasn't, it was very, very complicated. Another thing Mary was right about. Nothing worth anything seemed to be simple.

I stayed on the rooftop of Mary's building until the end of lunch, listening to my music player, eating my burger and drinking my milk alone, tempted only a little to check in and see how Mary herself was doing. She was probably still in class, just getting ready for lunch, due to the time zone difference. Mary would know what to say to make me feel better. But as much as I wanted to see my old friends again, I knew it'd be irresponsible to try. So I just enjoyed the music and the skyline, watched how the construction was unfolding on the building that was replacing where I used to live. Gradually I calmed down and, although the guilt was still there, resolving to be better in the future helped me come to terms with what I'd done and stop beating myself up over it. Before long I realized it was time for my next class, and I certainly wasn't going to ditch. So I teleported my trash into a bin at street level, and then popped back into an unoccupied bathroom at my school.


My last class of the day is the one that really changed everything... not the class itself, but being called out of it, in the first twenty minutes. We were in the middle of the lesson, when the teacher got a call on the in-class phone. He listened to the voice, his eyes roaming over the class... and falling on me. "Kathryn," he said, and I tensed up. I'd never been called out since coming to this school, and I'd been dreading a call like this. Did something happen to Mom, Dad, or Sally? Alex at least could take care of himself. Or... oh, shit, did they possibly, somehow, notice my teleportation? "Sapphire," he said next, and my heart rate began to slow back to normal. This had something to do with both of us? We had nothing in common. I looked back towards her, she sat in the far back corner. She looked right back at me, smiling, maybe you'd call it smirking. She didn't seem at all surprised or worried at being named though. "Okay, I'll send them," he said, and hung up. "Kathryn, Sapphire," he repeated, and started writing up a hall pass. "The Principal wants both of you in room 211 for some reason. That's a science lab, I think... did you two blow something up?" I shook my head nervously, even though his grin told me he only meant the question jokingly. He waved the papers towards us. "You're excused from the rest of the class, you might as well take your things. Don't forget to check the homework on the class web site."

Sapphire and I walked down the hallway together, but in silence at least half the way there. Finally, I couldn't take it. "You have any idea what this is about?"

"I wouldn't worry," she said, still with that cagey smile. "It gets us out of class, right?" I nodded, though I cared less about that. "And you never know, it might even be fun."

"Maybe," I said, doubtfully. When you're called before the Principal, it's usually either because you've done something really bad, or really good, but I couldn't think of anything in either category. I got good marks, but I was trying not to stand out too much. Maybe she had some special assignment for us, like something for the graduating class, but why choose me and Sapphire? The only thing we had in common was being the newest girls in our grade.

Perhaps that was it... we were being asked to show yet another new student around. I was going to suggest the idea, but Sapphire said, "Besides, it'll give us a chance to get to know one another. I've been trying to hook up with you for the last couple days, but somebody's really been playing hard-to-get, huh?" She put an arm around me and pulled me closer, close enough to get a good whiff her perfume, that I'd only been dimly aware of before. It was more sweet than floral, like strawberries.

"Huh?" Hard-to-get? Well, she had invited me out to lunch. "No, I've just been busy." I pulled away from her grip... trying not to look like I was being rude, but just wanting my personal space back.

"Busy as a beaver?" she said. "Well, no longer. You and I are going to be very close, I know."

I looked at her sidelong... I guess I was suspicious at that point, I've rarely been... pursued as a friend before. "Oh yeah?"

"Yes, I've got an eye for people. And you, Kat, I've had my eye on for a while."

I swallowed nervously. "Why's that?"

"Because I've heard so many delicious things about you. You're somebody really special... and you are just adorable to boot. I mean look at you. Perfect skin, gorgeous hair, beautiful smile. You smell great, and I bet you taste even better."

Oh.... oh, man, this was awkward. This whole time was this like, a set-up? Did Erica and June tell her I was into girls? I never said I was to them, but I've been a little ambivalent when they talked about guys, maybe they got the impression. "Oh, um... thank you?" I said, knowing my face was red like a tomato. I pulled away to establish a comfortable personal space, and hoped she wouldn't take it as an insult. "But, the thing is... I'm not into girls, like, at all." She was quiet until I looked back at her. And I did look her over, a little... she was pretty, I thought I could admit that despite not considering myself even a little gay. She complimented my hair, but her red hair was just... wow, eye-catching. And I could see guys liking that recessed chin and upturned nose, and she was all over slender. And she wore form-fitting clothes despite not having boobs to show off, which showed a comfort in herself that I could only imagine.

But no, I wasn't gay. "I don't have a problem if you are," I said, uncomfortable with her continued silence. Oh, no, what if I jumped to the wrong conclusion? Even though she did suggest I might taste good, maybe she's just... weird. "Or even if you're not... I don't know. Look, I just don't want us to have an issue."

"No issues," she said, and broke into another smile, one that didn't seem forced or covering for embarrassment, like mine was. "Look, here we are." She pulled the door and held it open. "After you."

I went in, looking around the lab. Nothing strange, no stack of work prepared for us, no disaster we had to explain, it was a classroom. The Principal wasn't around. Neither was anybody else... the room was completely empty. "Are you sure this is the right room?"

"I am," she said. "They're probably just running late."

I nodded, and leaned up against one of the big desks, the ones with the sinks built in, folding my arms over my chest, maybe subconsciously worried she was staring at my breasts. "So..." It was too quiet. I could hear some footsteps approaching, though, and crossed my fingers that it was the person who called us here, so the awkward aloneness would be ended.

"Listen, Kat," Sapphire said, taking a step towards me. "Forget about what happened. I still want to get to know you."

I nodded. "Okay, sure."

"And what you said about not being gay?" I caught her eye... I was worried she'd be angry, but her eyes were twinkling beautifully. "I'm sure I can change your mind."

Before I could react, she leaned in and placed her lips on mine. They were soft, a little wet, and just the contact got my heart thumping. Before I knew it, my mouth was open and kissing her back. It was crazy, but suddenly I wanted her, I needed her to keep kissing me. She pushed towards me, stepping in between my legs, putting her hands on the desk behind me.

A slight wave of dizziness overcame me as we started making out. She was so beautiful and it just felt so good. "You want me, don't you?" I nodded, whimpered at the very notion that she pulled away. Her hands left the desk behind me and landed on my hips, then one circled around to the front of my pants. "Take off your shirt," she said, and seconds later, I was topless, except for my bra, and she was planting kisses down my belly while she freed the button of my pants and was working the zipper down.

She looked at my panties, noticed a wet spot I didn't even notice was there, but now I did, I was suddenly aware of how wet I was, how hot I was down there, how I wanted her to do anything to me right then, even though we were in a public place and somebody could walk in on us any time.

And she did, she pulled down the panties, and gave me soft kisses all around my mound and I let loose a soft moan. One hand flew to my mouth to bite down on so I wouldn't make too much noise. Then I felt her soft tongue flicking up and down inside me, and I finally looked down and saw a girl's face in my pussy and it felt like the most natural thing in the world.

The tongue disappeared, and she gave me one last kiss, then smiled up at me. "I was right, you do taste good," she said. Pride filled me up like a balloon. It was like she'd just told me I'd been announced valedictorian, or I'd just saved somebody's life. "You like girls now, don't you?" I nodded, hurriedly, and I did. It seemed entirely natural to love girls, I wanted to see what Sapphire looked like naked, find out what she tasted like, to feel her body writhe under my tongue. "And you love me, don't you? You completely love me."

I nodded again... and it wasn't just pillow talk. I did. I felt a passionate love for this girl I'd never spoken to before today. I knew how insane that was, but I also knew that's what love was... it was insane. "Yes, I love you... I love you so much," I said. This was a startling development, I didn't realize I was capable of such love. I pictured us running off, getting married, adopting kids.

"You'd do anything for me."

"Yes..." I said. Anything. Almost anything. Maybe actually anything, right down to dying. I wasn't sure. But I was pretty sure anything she might ask, I'd do, she was so perfect that I couldn't conceive of her asking for something I wouldn't willingly give.

"Good," she said, and nuzzled my slit with her nose. "Then let's talk about why the government is protecting your family..."

A chill ran down my spine. It wasn't a new lesson, but somehow it always surprised me, how easily love can scare the hell out of you.

The End
Next Time: Playing By The Rules

This story is free to share and distribute so long as no money is charged.

The Letter Column

In the letter column, I'll post mail direct from (volunteering) fans, and answer questions for all. This week, a few more than usual, no doubt partially due to the long wait between installments.

weedlord bonerhitler writes:

Firstly, thanks for the rad stories. When are you going to reveal what's up with the parents? It's obvious that there's more to the witness protection thing and it seems like they have some sort if sex based powers as well.

Ahh, I'm afraid I don't know when I'm going to reveal what's up with the parents... sure, there's more to the witness protection story than the kids know, but that's viewpoint characters for you... they don't always know everything! But I will say this, although I don't want to spoil things, it might be less complicated and elaborate than you're thinkings. As for sex-based powers... I can see how you might come to that theory, but I promise the parents are not giving each other super powers. There are secrets, and they're meant to be long-term ones, but that's not it. Of course, the parents are also not related (again, I promise!) and we don't yet know if it's just sex, or if incest is a key factor.

Sal writes:

Wow, what a great story, so glad that Alex and Tabby finally made up! I'm looking forward to seeing what other powers they have from different kinds of sex, although I don't see Tabby really agreeing to indulge Alex in anal. Haha, hope he finds a way to convince here though!

Maybe, maybe. There hasn't been a lot of 'new powers' appearing lately because I didn't want the story to devolve into revealing a new one all the time, but... you heard it here first. In one of the next two segments, there will be another kind of sex and a new power will be revealed. Will it be the long-awaited anal? Stay tuned!

Neo writes:

Wow, I must say, I really love how much time you put into making these. The character development is incredible! I have to ask, how much does feedback and fan suggestion affect/make it in to the story?

Thanks! So far, not very much fan feedback has made it directly into the story, although a number of people wrote in with suggestions with Alex's code name (good ones, too, just they didn't work for one reason or another). And Alex using his super-speed to cheat at certain types of video games was, I believe, a suggestion by a reader. So I'm certainly open to suggestions and fan input, although I tend to plot far ahead so it's more likely that I'll listen on small ideas rather than big ones that would require me reshaping whole storylines... and always remember the golden rule for suggestions: Any idea you give me, I feel free to reject, accept, build off of, or alter, even if that means it may go in a direction you personally don't like. And I don't get paid for this, so you won't either. Even if I somehow did get paid for it you still probably wouldn't.

Bear999 writes:

I love the "Relatively Powered" spin on the TV/movie/book references. Makes me wonder what changes would be made to some of my favorite shows. I have to hope you just did a little resarch on "Greys Anotomy", and don't actually watch it. I don't want my favorite author's mind getting turned to mush.

I'm afraid I must confess I did less research than you might imagine. I watched Grey's Anatomy for the first year or two before I gave up, enough to get an instinctive feel for the long monologues of the main character. I didn't really research it, though... anything I got wrong, I chalk up to it being different in the Relatively Powered universe.

And if you liked this installment, please provide feedback:

Note: If you want your feedback to be answered within the Letter Column of a future issue for others to read, please include a request to that effect and include a name you'd like to be called by. Your e-mail address, if you provide it, will not be published. This is completely optional, it's just for fun, to give the series a more comic-book vibe, and it will allow me to respond even if you don't want to give an e-mail address. If you don't specifically request this, your mail will be answered privately (again, assuming you provide a reply-address).


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