Rage born of Fear
“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t break your bloody arms an’ legs and lock you up in your room,” said Amy quite calmly. It was quite clear, though, that she was very nearly boiling over with rage.
“Um… because you love me?” Basil replied as she kept him pressed flat against the ceiling.
“Not sufficient, I’m afraid,” she replied, and he felt her power start to tug and press against his arms and legs.
He was not worried that she would hurt him, not even by accident, but he did not put it beneath her to lock him up without a thing to use his power on. “Um, because I would just make prosthetics? I mean, Hastur and her cronies broke nearly every bone in my body and I still killed half of th-“
Wrong thing to say. A vein appeared on Amy’s forehead, pulsing angrily. “She. Did. What?!”
“Uh, maybe you could put me down and I could tell you what happened to me today?” he asked, hoping to somehow avert a total freakout (not a good idea when someone has purely mental powers).
Amy took a deep, slow breath, regaining her composure – a little. The pressure on his limbs vanished and he flew through the hallway and into the living room, where he was unceremoniously dropped onto the floor in front of Amy’s favourite love seat.
She came in and sat down, adjusting her bathrobe before she put one leg over the other and stared down at him. “Talk.”
* * *
Love and Words and…
Ten Minutes later…
“You… you…” Amy put her left hand to the bridge of her nose, kneading it as she closed her eyes. Trying to find her center before she crushed something in the house with ten tons of force.
When she opened her eyes again, Basil was still sitting in front of her on the floor, looking up with hopeful, big eyes… but she knew that trick already, and it wasn’t going to work on her this time.
“Basil… remember the discussion we had after you fought the Spiteborn?” she asked, trying to keep her voice calm. She succeeded, mostly. At least she thought she did, but Basil flinched, though that may have been due to her words, not her voice.
She did not like making Basil flinch from her. For whatever reason.
“Yeah… I do,” he said, rubbing the back of his head.
“I believe I made it clear that you were not to fight, or in any way engage, an S-Class threat, no matter the reason!” She immediately berated herself for screaming at Basil. That shouldn’t be happening.
He tried to take it with humor, which wasn’t a good idea at all. “Well, considering that you are an S-Class threat, wouldn’t that mean breaking off all con-“
“The difference between me and other S-Classes is that I would NEVER hurt you!” she screamed at the top of her lungs as she lunged forward, grabbing him by his collar and lifting him up as easily as a ragdoll. You bloody idiot, why won’t you understand!?, she screamed into his mind as her eyes turned purple. You could have died today in a dozen different bloody ways! You could have been beaten to death! You could have been impaled, blown to pieces, ripped apart! You could have been transformed, then died along with the rest of them when Hastur died and her power failed to support her toys! You could have left me alone!
Basil’s eyes widened as she projected all her misery into his mind, her fear and –
She cut off the connection before it would hurt him, gently putting him down. “You could’ve died,” she said as she felt something moist and warm on her cheeks. “You could’ve been gone.”
“So could you,” he replied, looking seriously into her eyes. His voice fell down to a whisper. “You fought Desolation-in-Light, who is a million times more powerful than Hastur could ever be. You have fought her several times now, and I have never protested, because I knew you felt like you had to.”
“Oh Basil,” she said, realizing how he must have felt. “There’s a difference, little brother. I’m quite a bit more powerful than you, my body is way tougher, I have low-level regeneration and I don’t bloody well get into close combat with her or anyone close to my weight class!“
He shook his head, as if to say that it didn’t make a difference, and she prepared a retort, but then she felt… she felt him notice something that shocked him, or rather surprised him.
“Amy,” he said, his eyes growing inquisitive. “You… you just spoke in a British accent… I think even a London accent! You’ve never done that before!”
That got her out of her current state of mind, as she went over what she’d said earlier. “Yeah. Yeah, I did. How come, I’ve never even been in London,” she mused, tapping her chin. Then she shook her head, regaining her focus. “Don’t try to change the subject now, little-“
“No, Amy, this is important!” he cut her off again, grabbing her by the shoulders. “Think. Where did you get that accent from?”
She did, thinking things through… he was so insistent, suddenly… “I don’t know, it just… it just slipped out,” she replied. “I’m pretty sure that has never happened before.”
Letting go of her arms, he turned around and took a few steps away from her, running his fingers through his hair (it had grown a bit, she noticed, and remembered that it had been a while since she’d cut his hair).
But that was not what was worrying her right now. “Basil? Basil, what is going on? Why is this so important?” she asked.
He turned back around to her. “Amy, I need an honest answer from you – on a possibly very delicate matter,” he said. “Will you promise me to say the truth?”
Now she felt hurt. “Basil, I wouldn’t lie to you!” she replied, feeling the anger rising again.
Nodding as if he’d expected that answer, he asked: “Do you know someone named Macia-“
* * *
Words unspoken, Thoughts unthought
“What were we talking about just now?” asked Amy as she found herself sitting in her loveseat again. When had she sat down? And why was Basil on the floor, looking rumpled?
“I do not… I think I was telling you how worried I was about you fighting Desolation-in-Light… did you tell me what happened?” he asked.
I… my memory jumped again, I… But her concern over that was so hard to hold on to, so she focused on the easier territory of answering his question. “I didn’t… but I guess I should, shouldn’t I?”
“Well, it turns out… and this is strictly between us, ’cause I’m not supposed to tell anyone yet… but it seems DiL attacked another location in between her attack on Okinawa and Kansas City.”
“Huh? Where?” he asked. Surely, an attack would have been reported?
“Well… she attacked Osaka… while the Savage Six were holding it in Heretic’s sealed dimension.”
That stunned him. “She can get in there!? What the hell happened? I assume they bailed?”
She shook her head. “They either didn’t want to or couldn’t, once her Desolation Field spread throughout the pocket dimension. Long story short, she engaged Heretic and eyewitnesses – what few remain – report consistently that he was completely destroyed. Every sphere, every rod, she annihilated it all.”
His mouth fell open. “Heretic is… dead? Are you sure?”
Shaking her head, she replied: “There’s no being sure… but his pocket dimension collapsed and expelled the entire city of Osaka and whoever was still alive, as well as the Six’ base of operations and what remained of their minions. Eyewitness reports put the collapse at the same time at which the last bit of Heretic was destroyed, and there were a few sightings of the remaining four members fleeing in the real world.”
“Holy… I mean, hell…” He put his hands to his head, unsure of how to react. She knew how he felt.
Could this be it?, she was asking herself, and she didn’t need telepathy to tell that he was having the same thought. Could this be the end of the Six? Could Desolation-in-Light have finally done something good for the world?
“So… the Six are on the run… that is good… but what does that have to do with her attack on Kansas?”
“Well… she didn’t harden her Desolation Field,” she said, returning to her original point. “She… she mimicked Heretic, displacing the entire space within her field into another dimension, completely cutting us off from the real world.”
“No. Way. Desolation-in-Light… learns? That does not happen!”
She shrugged. “Well, we always had suspicions that she wasn’t as… simple-minded as most believe, so I guess…”
“No, you do not get it! She has been active for more than twenty-six years now, and she has never, ever varied her modus operandi, apart from starting to employ her Desolation Field since her third recorded appearance!”
“But she did. But there might be an upside to it,” she tried to calm him down.
“Huh? What could pos-” He stopped, thinking it over, and she could practically see him arrive to the right conclusion. “If the site of her attack was cut off from the real world… then there might not be any far-reaching after-effects, since her power wouldn’t have reached beyond the city!”
“As far as we can tell, damage was contained within the battleground… reinforcements were cut off, but it seems that ‘only’ Kansas City, or rather an area about four square miles across, was devastated,” she explained with a smile. “We still got our Superbrains watching the place, calculating possibilities and all, but it seems like we’re finally getting kind of a break with her.”
He smiled back, and they both relaxed, their earlier fight nearly completely forgotten.
After a minute, Basil slid up to her and hugged her waist. “I am glad you are safe, sister.”
“And I’m glad you’re safe, too. Now, let’s both go to bed, we’ve had a stressful day, each of us.”
* * *
Lust and Love (and Popcorn)
She’d taken Basil up and kissed him goodnight before he went into the bathroom, and she went to her own bedroom to dry her hair and get ready for bed. By the time she’d finished her hair and put on her nightgown, he was already in bed, half asleep.
Smiling to herself, she laid down on her bed, relaxed and… heard someone knock on his bedroom window.
Snapping back up, she sent her sight and hearing out into his room, expecting to see an attacker or a robber or someone else she’d need to quickly remove and brutally murder out of sight of Basil… but only found a girl in a golden armour she could not look into.
The armour was too thin, too skintight and detailed to be real, and she got ready to blast her away… but Basil looked through the window, gave a start and hurried to open it and let her in before turning on the light in his room.
What the hell?
Wait, of course! His girlfriend had manifested. Her sleepy brain supplied the details.
My my, he didn’t mention that she ended up creating a drop-dead gorgeous bombshell.
Now curious, she watched as the girl leapt in, her helmet vanishing to reveal rich dark red curls, bright green eyes and red lips she mashed onto Basil’s as she caught him in a hug.
This promises to be interesting, she thought as she watched her boots vanish before she touched the floor of the room. Sneaking out of her room (not hard to do when you can just float out) by returning her sight to herself and keeping only her hearing with them, she eavesdropped on the two as they greeted each other and got to the serious business of some more – and very heated – kissing (and quite a bit of groping on her part).
Reaching the kitchen, she took out a pan and started to make some buttered popcorn, returning her sight to the room as soon as she could.
“I’ve missed you,” Prisca said, her face mere inches away from Basil’s.
He chuckled, rubbing his nose against hers.
Hey, that’s supposed to be just between you and me!
“It’s been just a few hours. And don’t you need to recharge your power?”
Oh, interesting. He didn’t note any limitations before.
Prisca shrugged a little. “As far as I can tell… I need to be awake twice as long as I want to use my power. I spent the last four hours awake, so I’d have two hours now for… this…” And her armour melted away, leaving only smooth, supple flesh as she slid (literally slid) backwards, giving Basil (and Amy) a nice view.
Basil seemed to agree, unable to tear his eyes off of her. He swallowed drily. “Um… I guess you… ah.”
Oh God, he’s so adorable, Amy thought as she snapped her sight between Basil’s room and the kitchen, buttering the popcorn just a little before glazing it in honey. She almost considered not being a peeping tom when her little brother lost his virginity. She wondered who was going to-
“I want you to have sex with me. A lot.”
Ah. Well, she’s nicely forward. Then again, she probably knows you need to, with Basil. He can be a little slow.
“I, uh, I see,” said slow person managed to say, still fighting to tear his eyes off her magnificent rack.
“Enough talk, let’s get to the fun part!” she said, grabbing him and pulling him into a tight hug and the kind of kiss Amy had just recently shared with Lamarr… though this one had far less skill and far more… fire involved.
It took them nearly three minutes to part their lips, and by the time they did, their faces were flushed and they were both breathing heavily (even though she could not possibly feel tired already). Their eyes were dilated, too.
“Let’s get you out of these stupid pajamas and get to some f-“
“No,” Basil suddenly said, his face growing serious as he put her at arms length… though his hands remained on her shoulders.
He looked at her with something like… sadness in his eyes. “Prisca, love, how do you feel?”
She blinked, her mouth open as she tried to switch mental tracks. “I feel… great. I mean, I’ve never felt this good and I’m whole again and strong and healthy and I can really feel you and why in God’s name are you not in bed with me having sex already!?”
Smiling sadly, he said: “Look, I am not exactly an expert when it comes to people-“
Ain’t that the truth, Amy thought as she put the popcorn into a large bowl, still hoping for some entertainment. Some more entertainment, because this was already promising to turn into one hell of a show, with or without sex.
“-but even I can tell that you are… that you are quite literally high on your power right now.”
“What does that have to do with anything!?” Prisca asked in an indignant voice, trying to wiggle out of his grip and get closer to him – but though she was quite obviously physically superior to him, he evaded her easily by taking an almost dance-like step around her, so their positions only reversed.
“Because sleeping with you now, when you are for all intents and purposes intoxicated would be a real sleazebag move… and we both deserve better than that.”
Oh God, is he seriously letting morals get in the way of teenage love sex? Perhaps she should nudge him in the right direction? No. Don’t even think about that. You swore to yourself that you’d never do that to Basil, whatever the reason.
“Basil, that’s stupid, I might be a little euphoric – big surprise! – but that doesn’t mean I’m not in control or anything!”
“Can you look me in the eyes and say honestly that you would even have considered just getting into my room at this time and jumping my bones before getting your power – if you had been physically capable of it?”
“Look, I’m just trying to get the most out of my new body, and you’re a big part of that!”
“Prisca, I have known you for months, and I am telling you – you are not acting like yourself right now.”
“Well, big fucking surprise, I just cut out my own eyes hours ago, got superpowers, fought a giant monster made of shit, helped take down an insane teenage monster girl-“
“And you expect me to believe that you are not in the least bit influenced by those events? Look, Prisca, I really, really want to… to make love to you… but right now, it would just be sex. And probably not the good kind, either, because neither of us has any idea what to do, I am tired and you are probably not yet in full control of your b-“
“GOOD GOD BASIL, why won’t you just fuck me?!” she shouted at him. “It’s sweet that you’re so concerned about morals and doing it right the first time, but I want it now and you’re seriously pissing me off right now!”
He actually seemed to relax when she said that. “I can live with that. Because tomorrow, or maybe the day after tomorrow, you might hold it against me if I took advantage of you here, or if we did it and it turned out wrong in any way, we might both hold it against each other for a long time… maybe forever. I would rather live with your anger now than with th-“
“For the love of FUCK, could you stop being so rational and considerate and shit and just fuck me!? Why are you even thinking about it so much!?”
Yeah, why aren’t you just having fun with the super-beautiful sexbomb who’s throwing herself at you?
Basil looked sadly at her. “Look, thinking is pretty much my superpower, even if it is usually limited to technical stuff. And besides, there is another reason why I… why I want to wait. Until we are both ready.”
“Oh? Do tell, and it better be good!” she said as she kept standing in front of him, stark naked.
“I would much rather… have our first time with your real body, after I have hea-“
“This is my real body, Basil!” she screeched, her composure blowing away for a moment. Both Basil and Amy reeled back in surprise at her outbreak. “That… that piece of shit back in the hospital? That hasn’t been my body since Dusu had her way with it! She twisted it, broke it, turned it into… not me!”
“This is how I see myself… how I should have been, had that monster not fucked up my life! As far as I’m concerned, the piece of meat back in the hospital is just there to project and recharge this form… and I know that every. Single. Moment I spend in it to recharge my power will be pure hell, waiting to get out of that prison again!”
“Prisca, look, I know this projection feels great, but you shou-“
“No, Basil, you don’t get it!” Prisca replied, cutting him off. “This is me. The me inside of me, the one you always said you saw in me when I asked what you saw in me! Why won’t you take it now?”
“Because neither of us is ready, Prisca, and I’d rath-“
“Agh!” She threw her arms up and turned on the spot, wrapping them around her head. “Why are you so… so responsible and considerate? What kind of teenage boy says no to… to sex?“
He giggled. “I am not a normal teenage boy… and I love you enough to wait for as long as it takes for us both to be ready. You are worth it, and I am sure our first time will be worth it, too.”
Ohh, how sweet.
Finally, Prisca relaxed and looked over her shoulder, her eyes misty. “I hate this. You’re right, but I don’t care, I still just want to… to jump you.”
“Maybe you would rather go out with me – a nighttime stroll, to burn off some energy?” he asked, relaxing now that she was calming down.
“No… no, you’re right. You’ve got to be horribly tired, and I need some me-time to… to cool off. And get to know this body.” A simple dark green bodysuit appeared on her, looking a lot like standard hero wear, skintight and smooth. “At least I don’t need to ever worry about clothes,” she added.
Basil nodded, stepping forward to pull her into a far more tender kiss than before. When he let go of her, they were both flushed again, but the… tension from before was no longer there. “I am sorry I am being so stubborn right now, but I hope we will both look back at this and laugh, later,” he told her.
She nodded, her eyes more than a little wet. “I… I guess we will. It’s sweet, at least. But now I should go, or I might just jump you nonetheless.”
Smiling, he wished her good night and closed the window behind her.
Good Lord, that was not what I expected, at all. What did I make this popcorn for, now?
She watched as Basil pulled the curtains shut, then walked over to the one free wall in his room – well, more like the one part of his walls that he could easily stand in front of – and started to headbutt it.
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
Rolling her eyes, Amy walked to his room and went inside without knocking.
“Feeling stupid?” she asked with a smirk.
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
“You watched.” It wasn’t a question.
“Of course I did – for a moment, I was ready to blast her into the sky before I remembered that she was your girlfriend’s projection.”
“A wee little more than that, it seems. At least to her,” he replied.
“Yeah, well, about that. What did you expect? She’s been trapped in a body that was deformed by forces completely out of her control and now she suddenly gets her perfect dream body… it’s really a common problem for Spawners who actually create remote bodies of some kind. Think there’s a scientific term for it…”
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
“Multiple Body Disorder, kind of the opposite of Fluid Disorder, or a close cousin to it, depending on the theory you adhere to. People with multiple or changeable bodies often have trouble with their physical identity, to say the least… often followed by a complete disintegration of their former identity,” he rattled off as he kept hitting the wall with his head.
“But that’s not why you’re hitting that poor wall with your thick head, is it?” she asked playfully.
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
She smirked. “No, it’s because you just passed on what was surely going to be passionate, unrestrained and most probably mindblowing sex… all for the possibility that it might make her feel bad in the future… even though she’d most probably love it.”
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
“C’mon, everyone’s an idiot sometimes – come here.” He looked at her with a questioning look.
Winking, she said: “How about we watch a movie before going to sleep? Come on, I made popcorn, and you need some distraction.”
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
“And please stop punishing that wall. Now, come on, my dearest little idiot.”
He snorted and turned away from the wall, before stopping in his tracks and looking at her. “What the hell did you make popcorn for?”
* * *
Memories forgotten, but not lost
They’d ended up watching a Disney movie (The Lion King, it had always been great at distracting him from whatever was weighing down on him) and emptying the bowl before going to bed.
Amy laid down in her queen-sized bed, the strain of the day catching up to her as her eyes closed…
“Are we there yet?” she asked her big brother.
“Not yet, Amy,” he said as he carried her on his back by a few straps he was using to hold her there and dangle the sack with the… pieces from.
“Amy? Why Amy?” she asked as she rubbed her cheek against his shoulder. “I thought my name was Amanda now?”
“Well, Amy is like, a nickname. A short form, right?” he replied. “Amanda can be your full name, and Amy the name your friends and family use.”
“That’s stupid! You’re the only one that matters, so why do we need names in the first place? And why do you call yourself Macian, anyway?” she asked, giggling as he threw her an annoyed look over his shoulder. This was nice, distracting her from the pain of the missing pieces.
“Well, first of all, it’s not an actual name, but a cape. Means ‘Maker’, which is just bloody fitting, don’t ya think?”
She tilted her head to the side, confused. “A ‘cape’? But it’s a word!” she replied, indignant that he was violating common sense now.
He chuckled now, which she thought was nice. He did it so rarely. “It’s slang. A kind of technical term. A ‘cape’ is a superhero’s whole identity – costume, name, modus operandi, stuff – and a ‘cowl’ is the same, only it belongs to a villain.”
“So you’re gonna be a superhero? Cool!”
“Yeah, Ember really left an impression,” he replied, blushing a little. “Especially considering I barely got to know him before we were seperated again by that bugger’s spell.”
“He sounds nice. And he helped you pick a name for me! So I wanna meet him, can we do that?”
“Of course, as soon as we get out of here. We’ll go to the sea and have a bath, we’ll get our own house, and friends, and family…”
She giggled, imagining all that before the pain of… before it made her flinch again. She tried to surpress a cry of pain, but she knew he’d noticed, and it always made him sad when she was in pain, even if it wasn’t ever his fault…
“What about you? Don’t you need a real name, too?”
“Hm, I do. Forgot to ask him for help with that. Got any ideas?”
“You’re asking me!?” she asked, delighted.
“Well, of course,” he said as they rounded a corner and he looked over his shoulder at her. “I picked yours, so it’s only fair if you pick mine.”
She would have clapped her hands in glee if she could. “Hmm, a name, a name… something with a ‘B’!”
“Why a B?”
“Because mine starts with an A, so yours should start with a B… how about… uh…”
She thought about it real hard as he went into an empty room and gently put her down. “I need to think some more, I think,” she said as he unpacked the sack, and took his tools out of his belt.
“Take your time, I’ve got plenty to do,” he said as he began to clean the pieces and her up and started to clean his tools, too.
“Hmm…” She thought about it some more when he started to work, and it even distracted her from the pain… a little. “B… Basil? Bart? What about Balthasar, that was someone in one of those books you read me before. About that old king, and that Daniel boy.”
“Bart is a short form for Bartholomew, I think. And Basil for Basileus,” he said as he made his stitches. It hurt, but she was used to it.
“Hm, Basileus, or Bartholomew, or Balthasar… they’re all nice, and they fit you, I think. Feels right. But which one, I can’t decide!” she complained, trying to ignore the pain in her leg as he finished and made her try it out.
“Well, why not take them all? Greed is good. So… Basileus Bartholomew Balthasar… Basil short. What should be our last name?”
“A last name? You mean… like a real family?”
“Hmm… Black!” she said as she looked into his eyes. They were so pretty, and bright and black…
“Black… Blake, then. It means ‘Black’, but sounds more interesting than just black,” he said as he went to work on her other leg. “Should we have a double last name, too? You know, like, our parents married but decided to keep both last names?”
“Sure! But then you choose the other name!” She flinched a little when he finished and made her test it, but neither of them commented on that.
“Okay… hmm… a little difficult… how about… Brant?” he asked, trying to smile while he worked on her left arm.
“Why Brant?” She tried to smile back.
“Just because. So, Basileus Bartholomew Balthasar Brant-Blake it is!”
She giggled happily. It was so silly. She liked it. And when she started to smile, he smiled too, for real this time, and that made her smile some more…
And then she got careless and cried out a little when he finished the left arm, making them both flinch.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…” he started, but she shook her head vigoriously.
“It’s alright. I’m used to it, and you’ve gotten way better,” she said, trying to calm him down. Her silly brother always took everything so serious…
“I need to finish the other arm, and your right eye, so please relax now,” he said as he took one of his knives and approached her empty left eye soc-
Amy literally flew out of her bed, almost slamming into the ceiling before she caught herself.
She was drenched in sweat, her heart beating like crazy as she floated down again, rubbing her rough arms.
Another one of those dreams… if only I could remember… I need a shower…
Going to the bathroom, she immediately got into the shower without even turning on the light, throwing her nightgown into the laundry basket and turning the water on hot.
Rubbing herself vigoriously with the sponge, she tried to get the clammy sensation of sticky sweat off of her, and wash off the… the remnants of that dream. Whatever she’d dreamed about, it always made her all sweaty and worked up and feel so rough.
Getting out of the shower, she stepped in front of the mirror, sopping wet, and turned the light on with a thought…
And she screamed for a second before cutting it off.
Oh God, what happened to me!?
Her whole skin was covered in scars. From her scalp down to… she looked… down to her toes, scars everywhere, making her look like a leathery carricature of a woman… as if she’d been cut and torn apart thousands of times, and someone had put her back together, again and again and now she remembered the dream, twinkle twinkle little star, she saw the boy with the blazing black eyes, it was Basil but he was older than her, how I wonder what you are, that made no s-
Amy stepped out of the shower to dry herself off in front of the mirror. Her skin was no longer sweaty and clammy, but back to its usual softness. She could barely remember what had happened, only a bad dream, and now a lingering sense of… unease. A lack of safety.
What is going on wi-
She went to Basil’s room, not bothering to clothe herself, and slipped under his blankets, hugging him close.
The feeling vanished as she felt… safe.
Here she did. Only here, really, with her brother, did she feel… safe and whole… as if he was the only thing holding her together, putting her together…