Goddess of the Dayspring, Am I (Part 2)
For those of you who read the original draft of this story back in 2006 and are rereading it now, I proudly present a chapter that you can read and not
need to squint to try and figure out what's new. Because it's all new! Happy happy, joy joy!
If you missed it or ignored the end notes of last chapter, this is a continuation of a scene that begins in Chapter 10
, so if you're reading this story but not Trigamy
, you might be a little lost.
Karolina sighed, reaching up to adjust her prized spotted violet D&G 8083s, one of the precious few artifacts of her previous life that she'd been able to secure in those chaotic days after the fall of the Pride. There was just one problem: either there was something wrong with the bridge of her sunglasses or something wrong with the shape of her nose, because even lying as perfectly still as she could on the blue pool raft they'd found in the cabana, they kept slipping out of place and exposing the tops of her eyelids to the bright sun. Grr.
Then again, beggars couldn't be choosers. It was either deal with her constantly sliding sunglasses as she lounged in the sun to 'refill her reserves', the convenient out that Xavin had been gracious enough to give her, or sit there talking to some girls she didn't really care about while watching Kit and Nico be all cutesy. Which sounded bad even in her head, she realized after a second. She didn't have a problem with either Bekah or Cassie; they actually both seemed rather nice. But they weren't her friends or even really acquaintances at this point, just a fangirl of the Runaways and her girlfriend. And so as nice as they both were, there was really nothing for her in the cabana that compensated for having to sit there and watch Kit be all over the girl who should have been hers.
Why had she even come again? Oh, right, someone had helped Xavin perfect the art of guilt tripping. Probably Kit, since the brunette went out of her way to fuck with Karolina in every conceivable way as often as possible. And the idea of getting above ground for a reason other than beating up supervillains - or not-so-supervillains as the case usually was - had appealed as well. But, well, they were in Vegas. For some reason, she'd expected something more interesting than hanging out talking to a pair of fellow C-list superheroines. A show, maybe? Trip to one of the casinos to see if maybe she could turn a few bucks into some spending money that didn't come from Kit's purse once she got back home? Their host for the day paying for lunch at a nice restaurant, since she was the one so desperate to have them out there for her girlfriend to meet?
Instead, they were sitting around a cabana next to a mostly empty pool while she floated in said pool. How lame.
Although on the subject of their host… yowzers. Karolina let her head loll to one side so she could peer into the cabana, watching as Bekah slid off her girlfriend's lap and crouched down in front of the refrigerator so she could fish out drinks for the others. It was too bad she was taken. And into boys too. Because if she was single, Karolina would so… probably strike out while hitting on her awkwardly, but she'd definitely make a pass. So what if she and Nico were meant to be? That didn't mean she couldn't find a way to pass the time while she waited for Nico to come to her senses and dump Kit, did it?
"So, Bekah, just out of curiosity…" Looking away from where Karolina was being about as subtle as the Juggernaut while trying to watch them, Nico turned her attention to the girl who'd organized their trip to Vegas, from initial contact to transportation to securing the cabana and providing snacks. It was a… not inconsiderable amount of work, and for what? "Not that I mind the day out or anything, because it's nice to get out for a reason that doesn't involve needing to beat up crooks. But what made you decide we were a good date-like activity for you and Cassie?"
With Karolina's departure the girls had reshuffled themselves a bit, with Xavin joining Kit and Nico on the couch as Bekah and Cassie moved to sit at the table. Or, to be precise, Cassie was sitting on the table with Bekah seated between her legs as she played with the redhead's hair. Said redhead shrugged at the question, tilting her head back to stare up at Cassie. "Well, like I told Kit when I called her, I knew that Cassie had been thinking about running off to Los Angeles to join you guys before the Young Avengers formed because… yeah. So then it hit me: Vegas was close enough to LA that it wouldn't be too hard to get you guys out here, probably the closest we're going to be LA in a long time, and having you guys around gives Cassie and I a more interesting way to learn about each other than like, filling out a survey and swapping to read the other person's answers. You talk to her, I learn stuff about her. I talk to you, she learns stuff about me. See? Perfect."
Nico had to admit that at least on the surface, it sounded like a workable enough plan. And with Karolina in the pool instead of taking up space alternating between eyeing the redhead like a particularly juicy piece of filet mignon and glaring at Kit for daring to be physically affectionate with her own girlfriend, it might even work. Then again, the entire plan fell apart if the five of them couldn't manage to hold an interesting conversation that Cassie and Bekah could learn about each other from. Or if Nico and her friends didn't feel like being used by the pair. But seeing as how she was neither that much of a bitch nor interested in engaging in mindless small talk for hours, Nico had no intention of messing things up for Bekah on purpose. Accidentally, on the other hand… grr. Think. What could they talk about? Nico nibbled on her lower lip for a moment and then it hit her. There was something she wanted to know and maybe it'd be news to Bekah, too. If not… well, she wanted to know. "Hey, Cassie? If it's too personal you don't have to answer, but why did you want to join us anyways? I mean, we don't exactly have a glamorous life. We live under tar pits, ride around in a metal frog, and fight villains that are… what's after D-list? E? Or is it like in school, and you go straight from D to F?"
"Heh. The F-List. I think that's what the Black Cat calls the section of her rolodex that holds lingerie stores." That earned Bekah three groans and a confused look from Xavin. "Sorry, I guess that one's only funny if you know what she looks like. Hang on." Rising from her chair, the redhead wandered over to crouch down next to the fridge again as she dug through the bag she'd brought down to the cabana. "Sunscreen… sundress… hairbrush… trashy romance novel… aha. Borrowed iPhone." Chuckling, she returned to sit between Cassie's legs and began tapping at the screen. "You know, it's a good thing Xander doesn't seem to have much use for this or else I might actually get in trouble for stealing it as often as I do." After a minute or so, she gently tossed it so it landed face up in Xavin's lap. "Quick, to the Wikimobile! There are a few different pictures and police composite sketches; the third picture down was taken by my step-dad and is probably the best one you're going to find on the Internet."
As Xavin began to poke at the cell phone experimentally, Nico returned her attention to Cassie in hopes of getting an answer to her question. Or had Bekah's attempt at redirection been a sign that she already knew the answer and that Cassie wouldn't want to share it? Maybe she ought to ask somethi- "My dad was one of the Avengers when they broke up two years ago. Ant-Man, although between my costume and my powers, that's probably pretty obvious. He, uh, died during that whole mess. By that point, my visits with him at the Avengers Mansion were pretty much the only reason I hadn't run away yet. My mom and dad had divorced a while ago, I only got to see my dad during supervised visits at the Mansion, and I got to spend most of my time at home with someone who… well, Mom's strangely anti-superhero considering that if it wasn't for my dad becoming Ant-Man, I would have died years ago from a heart defect."
That one was evidently news to Bekah, who looked up at Cassie in surprise. "You're all better now, though, right? Because I don't even want to think about what growing must do to your body, much less some of what we did with Xander, and… hell, do they even make AEDs to jumpstart sixty-foot tall girls?"
Cassie scoffed and ruffled Bekah's hair. "I'd be more worried about you breaking Xander than Xander breaking me, thank you very much. Anyways, to give Nico the rest of an answer… I was still sixteen back then and so if I just plain ran away, I knew the police would drag me back and my step-dad would be furious because he's a cop and it'd make him look bad in front of his buddies. On the other hand, by the time Dad died, I'd been stealing his Pym Particles for a while and so I knew that developing powers like his was a 'when' and not an 'if'. Which meant that the anti-superhero mother would eventually be anti-me. So when you guys made the news, it seemed perfect: you were heroes like I was going to be, and anyone who could stay ahead of the Avengers could keep me from getting dragged back home. My plan was to sneak into the Avengers Mansion to get my dad's suit and helmet but I couldn't get in. Then I saw Kate on the news with the whole hostage situation at St. Patrick's Cathedral and figured… actually, I don't remember why I thought she could help but I went to track her down. The two of us got in, ran into the Young Avengers, and the rest is history."
Nico didn't quite know what to say to that. Kit, on the other hand… "Huh. Well, at least you're qualified to be a member of the team. I mean, your mom sounds pretty evil from where I'm sitting. Two evil parents are preferred, but we'll settle for just one."
"Well, the one time I swung her home after a fight, I got to hear her step-dad chewing her ass for daring to save a bunch of his coworkers from getting… actually, I don't know what happens when you get hit by one of the Shocker's blasts, but it can't be pleasant or else he wouldn't really be a supervillain, now would he? So she's got an evil parent and an evil step-parent. Close enough, right?" Bekah paused for a moment to collect her thoughts but before she could continue along that - or a new - train of thought, she jerked backwards and waved her hands back and forth in front of her. "Gahh! No! Undo!" Nico shot a look to her right, eyes widening as she took in the extremely buxom, white-haired young woman sitting beside her. Holy hell. Those things were as big as her head! But why the hell was Xavin getting in touch with her inner Black Cat? At Bekah's urging, the Skrull shifted back into her natural form for the briefest of moments before retaking the dark-skinned appearance she normally wore around humans. "Jesus. Don't scare me like that. The idea of two of her… the world would not survive."
Stretching out one arm, Xavin returned Bekah's iPhone before pulling her legs up to her chest and wrapping her arms around them. "My apologies. I was simply curious what the woman's appeal was, since the text accompanying the images stated she is regarded as one of the most attractive heroines currently active. I take it from your reaction that you know the Black Cat personally, though, and have an unfavorable opinion of her?"
Bekah nodded, shook her head, and then sighed. "It's complicated. Yes, I've met her but she never did anything to me. It's more overall awkwardness that comes from the fact that… oh, how do I put this delicately? Fuck it. She's a skank. She's the ex-girlfriend of the husband of one of my mothers and she either has anterograde amnesia and can't remember that he's married or just doesn't care. I'm really not sure which. And so she's just all sorts of inappropriate when she's around him and… yeah. Needless to say, MJ-Mom doesn't have the highest opinion of her and the times I've met her didn't exactly convince me that she's just misunderstood or something."
"Hang on a second." Nico pulled out of Kit's grasp as she sat up, mentally trying to diagram everything in her head and coming up a little short. Mothers. Plural. One of them had a husband. And Bekah didn't refer to him as her father, which meant he was probably a step-father… but then how did mothers plural fit into things? Divorced parents, and then the other mother was her father's new wife? Except then why would Bekah consider that woman a mother but not consider her mother's new husband a father? Finally, she decided to just bite the bullet and ask rather than sit there all afternoon making wild ass guesses without all the information. "How many mothers do you have, Bekah?"
Chuckling nervously, Bekah looked down at her hands. "Oh. I, uh, don't suppose you'll believe me if I tell you it was a slip of the tongue and I meant to say 'ex-girlfriend of my father' or something? And that there was no 'mothers' or any other phrases implying I have more than one mother? Anywhere? Ever?"
"Didn't think so. In that case, three."
And since this story arc is proving to be so great in terms of character exploration and world building… there's going to be a third part of it, continuing in Chapter 11