Snip Snip Snip
This chapter is just a collection of shorts to introduce you to some characters from the Dawningverse. Or get you more familiar. Ophelia Smythe and Courtney Harrison appear in our first segment, giving us a look past the major canon characters stationed in Cleveland. In our second bit, the mentioned but never seen Charisse Frost rears her head as Emma stops in for a visit. And to finish things off, we see Dawn, Billie, and another of Dawn's mothers. Enjoy.
Clink. Clink. Clink. Clink.
From her place in the shadows, Faith Lehane bit her lip to keep from laughing as Ophelia spun and swept her opponent off their feet, dumping them flat on their back. The dark-haired Brit twirled her halberd before bringing the head down to poke the spike against her fellow Slayer's neck. "Someone's getting sloppy. It might be time to start staying after for extra marks, Cat Girl."
"Sorry. My boyfriend isn't an expert on how to use these things. He wasn't alive back when they were still being used by armies." Slapping her hand against the halberd's head, Courtney Harrison rolled away and hopped back to her feet, sparing a moment to adjust her black, cat-eared hat before retrieving her own weapon. "Let's go again."
Ophelia nodded her assent, giving Courtney a moment to gather herself before rushing the brunette Slayer again. "Spike's not my boyfriend, darling. And they had guns back when he was born in 1850. He's just well traveled, unlike the glorified bricklayer you're bending over for."
Oh snap. Faith actually allowed herself a snicker there, thankful the clanking of the halberds' metal heads masked her outburst. Someone was spending an awful lot of time with Spike, boyfriend or not. Not that she thought badly of Xander or anything; after watching him lose an eye to save one of her Potentials, she had nothing but respect for the man. Still, it was fucking hilarious to watch Xander and Spike's feud continue through their chosen Slayer companions. Leaping backwards, Courtney adjusted her grip on her weapon and stabbed forwards, trying to impale Ophelia on the blunted spike at the tip. "At least when I bend over, it's not necrophilia."
"And yet again, I'm not sleeping with Spike. So your comparison, as Nibblet would say, is 'made of fail'. You got anything better?" Courtney responded with two more stabs before spinning and hacking at Ophelia with the axe head, the black-haired Slayer easily blocking all three strikes. "You know, if you spent as much time with a weapon in your hands as you did with Xander's cock, you'd probably be the second or third best Slayer in the city…"
Letting out an indignant screech, Courtney dropped her halberd and threw herself at Ophelia. Or rather she attempted to; rather than going hand-to-hand herself and trying to take the other Slayer in a fair fight, Ophelia twisted to one side and brought the head of her halberd up, slapping the flat side of the axe blade hard against Courtney's head as the girl sailed past. Skidding to a stop, the brunette twitched once before going limp, knocked unconscious by the blow.
Ophelia let out a snort as she approached the downed girl, using the hook side of her halberd to neatly pluck Courtney's prized Luna hat from atop her head, flipping it up into the air and catching it on the descent. "Still don't understand that girl's obsession with Sailor Moon. Or weird hats. But I suppose it'll do until I can beat someone up and take their coat." Tugging the hat on, she looked back over her shoulder, eyes unerringly seeking out Faith's hiding spot. "I guess we should drag her upstairs so someone can patch her up. Don't suppose this shows you I'm good enough to go to New York now that Mahika got voted off the island, does it?"
"Well, I have it on good authority that Dawn's already found someone new to be the sixth Wasp girl. Besides, do you really want to leave Spike behind just so you can go play superhero?" Faith held up her hand as she approached Courtney and Ophelia's position, hooking her hands under Courtney's armpits as Ophelia grabbed the girl's feet. "Or even worse, do you want him following you to New York and spending time with the creepy blue chick again?"
Sighing, Ophelia let Courtney's feet drop as she crossed her arms over her breasts. "Okay, let me put this as plainly as possible. I'll even use an American-themed joke; maybe it'll sink in that way. I did not have sexual relations with that vampire. Ever. There is nothing going on between Spike and I. Nothing at all."
Faith chuckled, nodding towards Courtney's feet and waiting for Ophelia to take them back up before resuming her backwards trek with the unconscious Slayer. "But you want there to be."
"Now that's an entirely different kettle of fish, isn't it?" As they reached the stairs, the two switched so Ophelia was walking backwards. "Hey, after we drop her upstairs, do you want to spar? I've heard you're not half bad with that scythe and it's a bit like a halberd."
After thinking about that for a moment, Faith shook her head. "Fuck no. I'm too close to your pants size." Ophelia looked at her quizzically and Faith nodded towards the purloined hat. "Last thing I need is you knocking me out and stripping me."
"Yeah. I've always wanted a pair of leather pants…"
"Left, back, left, left, right, front, right, sides, back, front, sides!" As the last beats of the song faded away, Charisse Cram waited for her score to appear on the screen. When it did, she gasped in outrage. "346,000? That's it?" Looking over at her friend Elle's score, her jaw dropped outright. "798,000? Okay, there's clearly something wrong with this machine. I want a refund. Of my time and the minutes of my life I've wasted here."
There was an eerie, synchronized chuckling that came from three angles behind her and Reese whirled to find the absolute last people she'd expected to find at her local mall's arcade. "Or the machine knows how ridiculous you look and is trying to encourage you to find a better use of your time. Maybe a hobby with less of a risk of you giving yourself a black eye?"
Pshaw, they were just jealous that she had curves and they could look at their DNA donor and see exactly how voluptuous they wouldn't be when they grew up. Well, unless they too developed a fondness for a surgeon's scalpel. Even with her ego assuaged, the mention had Reese crossing her arms over her breasts defensively, eyes narrowing as Elle cackled at the newcomers' barb. Oh, she'd get her friend for that later. Maybe reach into that crazy little mind of hers and give her a thing for the pimply little dork working the fryer over at Hot Dog on a Stick. "Curly. Larry. Moe. What brings you to East Buttfuck today?"
"Stooges. Cute. We're just here to bring you to Mother. You know she wouldn't lower herself by entering somewhere like this." Ivette Frost - or at least Reese assumed it was Ivette, given she was the most dominating of the remaining personalities now that Esme and Sophie were dead - grinned before looking over Reese's shoulder at the Dance Dance Revolution machine. "Watching you humiliate yourself on that torture device was just an added bonus."
Scoffing, Reese patted the red railing separating her from her… half-sisters? Mothers? She'd never quite settled onto a comfortable way of thinking of the Three-in-One, given their peculiar origin. Half-sisters would probably be best, at least in public. "Considering she wants to turn you into superheroines, you should get Emma to buy you one of these. Burns fat and builds stamina, coordination, and flexibility."
Looking from Reese to Elle, the trio's eyes began to glow as they tapped into their mutant powers. Surprisingly enough, though, it was Phoebe who spoke out rather than Ivette. "Based on the rumors Elle's heard about you, you're plenty flexible as it is."
Celeste picked that one up and ran with it, evidently determined to add insult to injury. "The fat burning part, on the other hand…"
"Hurr! You're hilarious. Really. You guys should be comedians. Could put on the same show in three cities on one night; touring would be a breeze. Besides, you're just jealous. I'm one of a kind. I broke the mold. You guys are what, three out of a thousand or so?" Hopping off the DDR pad, Reese used a pale pink scrunchy to pull her red hair back into a ponytail. "Suppose I should make introductions here. Elle, these are my… erm, half-sisters. Celeste, Ivette, and Phoebe. Girls, this is my best friend, Ellesandra Bishop."
Despite being offered a hand and a smile, Ivette just offered one of Emma's trademark fake, more smirk than smiles. "Charmed." Turning back to Reese, she nodded towards Elle. "I know you're stuck living here in the boondocks because Mother's ashamed the condom broke all those years ago, but really, a flatscan? I think I'd rather be friendless."
Reese's eyes widened at Ivette's daring, not only in speaking so plainly about the circumstances behind her conception and banishment, but about her status as part of the world's most disliked minority. "Now listen here, you little…"
Clapping her hands together, Elle offered a too cheerful smile. "Wow. Well, this is fantastic. Tell you what. I'll let you four do… whatever personal family shit you need to do. Reese, see you in school on Monday." Reese stared at her friend incredulously, unwilling to believe Elle was going to let the insult drop that easily. Then she noticed the tendrils of blue lightning crawling over the blonde's right hand and fought to keep from smiling. "Oh, and Blondie?" Slipping between two of the sisters, Elle's hand was practically a blur as she brought it down against Ivette's right ass cheek, creating a noise halfway between a crack of thunder and the normal slap of flesh on flesh and making Ivette shriek. The telepath jumped into the air, rubbing her ass frantically as the smell of ozone filled the air. "You know what they say about assuming…" Bringing her hand up, Elle blew each of the other triplets a kiss full of blue sparks of electricity before striding off.
"She's not on the list." Ivette bit her lip, continuing to rub at her posterior. "And oww."
One of Elle's favorite phrases popped into Reese's head and emerged from her mouth unbidden. "You'll get used to it. And then you'll start to like it. Besides, I always thought the idea of like, two hundred mutants remaining was a little low. Maybe Mother's just not as good as tracking them with Cerebra as she thinks she is." Untangling the strap of her purse from the DDR machine's bar, she slung it over her shoulder and pointed to the exit. "Speaking of Mother dearest… shall we?"
As the quartet made their way out of the arcade, the ghostly whispers of mental traffic began to flit back and forth between the girls. Reaching out with her mind, Reese slid into position between them so she could listen in on their conversation. 'Is it just me, or did Reese's friend look a lot like Kristen Bell?' 'Who?' 'You know, the blonde who played the crazy mutant on that horrible superhero show? The one that was like, the X-Men's autobiography, just watered down and the names changed to avoid a lawsuit?' 'Oh. I thought Kristen Bell was the girl who played the detective chick on that show Veronica Mars?' 'Same actress, Einstein.' 'Oh.' 'I have no clue who you two are talking about.' 'Well that's what you get for wanting to individuate…'
Ivette shot her sister an irritated look at that and it was only then that Reese noticed her half-sisters were wearing nearly identical outfits but, for the first time, they weren't quite the same. All three had their hair pulled back and secured with barrettes: Celeste's were red, Phoebe had blue, and Ivette wore black. Each of the girls also had a silver bracelet with a gemstone in that color and, oddly enough, white sneakers with certain spots done in their color of choice. Before Reese could ponder the change too much, they reached the food court. There, her estranged mother was muttering unhappily to herself as she poked at a rather limp looking salad. "Mother. She was in the arcade, just like you said she'd be."
Looking up from her salad, Emma Frost rolled her eyes. "Of course she was. You do remember where you got your X-gene from, right? I located her telepathically and sent you to find her so I could have some alone time." Gaze shifting to Reese, she gestured to the chair across from her. "Although really, dear, Dance Dance Revolution? If you really feel a need to put a show on for the boys, you should at least charge money like I used to."
Reese scrunched her nose up in disgust at the reminder of one of her mother's past occupations. "Well if someone ever gets around to creating Lap Dance Revolution, I promise to stop playing DDR right away. Honest." Emma scowled and Reese chalked up a point for herself in the never-ending battle of parent versus child. "Besides, you're all just jealous of me." She gestured to her body. "This is what God gave me." Smirking, she waved at Emma. "You had to pay for that."
"She has a point." The pair looked over at Ivette, who shifted nervously under the scrutiny. "I meant about the buying part, not the jealousy part. You've made no secret about going under the knife and as long as we're on the subject, since us having your genes means we're pretty much guaranteed that the Curves Fairy isn't going to be stopping by our room anytime soon… well, we've been reading up on butt implants lately and our birthday is coming up…"
Pinching the bridge of her nose, Emma's mouth moved as she silently counted to ten before straightening up and grabbing her purse. Pulling out three gold credit cards, she held them out to the trio of blondes. "I don't care where you go or what you buy. Just go… away…" Eagerly plucking the cards out of their mother's hand, the Three-in-One dispersed, leaving Emma and Reese alone at the table. "Now that they're gone… we need to discuss the possible ways of handling you entering the superhuman spotlight, and then we're going to discuss that friend of yours who touched your sister inappropriately."
Reese blinked. "Wait, what? I'm happy… well, not happy but happy enough… right where I am. Unless Oklahoma is about to become superhuman central, I don't think we need to worry about anything. Although if you finally want to admit I'm a Frost and give me access to some of those deep, deep pockets of yours, that would rock. I don't know how much longer I can keep my friends at bay. Me knowing that I'm adopted but not wanting to find my real parents baffles them."
"So go into their heads and squash their interest. That's what telepathy is for, dear." Evidently deciding that wasting a few dollars was preferable to eating her meal, Emma pushed the salad away and steepled her fingers under her chin. "And superhuman central, no. But somehow, at least one group has found out about you and so you might be receiving some spandex-clad visitors looking for Charisse Frost, rather than Charisse Cram. We need to decide how you're going to handle it."
Looking over Emma's shoulder, Reese chuckled softly as she watched Ivette hurry along at a brisk pace, shooting nervous glances back over her shoulder. Why became apparent a moment later as she spotted Elle, hot in pursuit. Refocusing on the topic at hand, Reese decided to make one thing clear off the bat. "I don't do white."
Emma arched a brow and Reese twitched as she felt a mental probe slither through her rather rusty shields. "Oh really? A number of your memories of parties say otherwise."
"Okay, it's bad enough when the Stepford Stooges do it, but do you have to make jokes about my sex life? You're all old and stuff. It's gross."
"You know, I'm only thirty-four. Less than half your age. I still have sex. Copious amounts of it as of late. Scott isn't a very inventive lover, but he has amazing stamina for someone whose mutation doesn't help in that area…"
"Gahh! Too much information!"
"…and so then she's dumb enough to say the activation phrase and pop, gone. At first I was just a little annoyed, then I went down to her apartment and saw that she hadn't packed anything up yet. Took me two days to clean the place out." Dawn relaxed against the plush leather back of the booth, sipping from the Dr. Pepper she'd ordered. While being related to the club owner was a perk insofar as it let her get in free and without waiting in line, it also meant the staff knew exactly how old she was and so her fake ID was wasted on them. "Ugh. She was only here for three weeks. How do you accumulate four monster suitcases worth of junk in three weeks?"
Next to her in the booth, her companion for the afternoon snickered. "Easy. She was with you. I'm not even a girl full time and I've got like, a third of my room taken over by red girls' clothes. And now you want to make me a girl costume. Astrid may be the fashionista around here, but you definitely give her a run for her money as the Queen of Clothes." Billie Nalpak, as she'd recently been dubbed by Dawn, was silent for a moment before waggling her finger at the black-haired girl. "And you'd better tell Astrid that when it comes to my costume, there will be no top hats, no fishnets, and I'm not learning how to pronounce my spells backwards."
Dawn blinked owlishly before the reference sunk in and she broke into peals of laughter. "I don't know. You'd make a really hot Zatanna Zatara. You've got the figure for it." Billie just glared and Dawn held her hands up in surrender. "Actually, we were thinking of a version of your mom's costume. Except…" She waved a hand, cutting off an objection she knew was coming. "Except Astrid was going to have you wear it over a red bodysuit, so your skin's covered. No hanging out all over like Wanda did."
"It's not all over that I'm worried about. It's the hanging out in one particular place that I'd like to avoid." Billie reached forward, tearing a piece of their shared blooming onion off and nibbling on it. "Remind me again, though, why do I need a costume? And why am I even doing this whole Billie thing in the first place?"
Considering that, Dawn tore a piece off for herself and dipped it in the sauce, which she was pretty sure was some odd concoction involving mayo, sour cream, Red Hot sauce, and human blood. She wasn't going to mention that last ingredient to Billie, though. "Well, I don't like guys because the only ones in my life who haven't been colossal douchebags are friends of my sister who will probably come to my funeral in fifty years wondering when 'little Dawnie' grew up. Kate's a little too serious for me, Astrid is out, Teddy tolerates me but I can tell we just wouldn't click, and all the Wasp Corps girls are out for one reason or another. That means you're the perfect choice for girlfriend - friend girlfriend, not a girlfriend girlfriend because I have one of those already - by process of elimination. Also, I've inherited a twisted sense of humor from one of my three mothers and for some reason, I find the fact that I can bribe you to turn into a girl using material possessions for your girl form - which you wouldn't need if you weren't transforming for me - to be hilarious? And the costume's just for if you ever want to come out in the field with us as Billie. Better safe than sorry and all that."
Billie made a crooking motion with one finger, telekinetically stealing Dawn's snack and sending it floating across the table and into her own mouth. "You know, one of these days you're going to have to explain the whole 'three mother' thing. Because two mothers was weird enough, but when you start getting into genetic asymmetry… that's some seriously weird stuff, Dawn."
"Tell you what, I'll not only tell you but I'll let you meet one of the non-Janet ones… but you're not allowed to tell anyone else. Not Teddy, not Kate, not the rest of the Young Avengers. Nobody." Dawn tore off a new piece of blooming onion, using her free hand as a shield to keep it from being stolen as she moved it toward her mouth. "And to sweeten the deal, I'll buy you those cute silver pentacle earrings we saw at the magic shop I took you to last week."
Billie grinned, flicking her finger up and then hooking it, sending Dawn's treat sailing up over the barrier hand and into her possession. "First it was clothes, then it was shoes, now jewelry? Keep it up and Teddy might start getting jealous." She paused. "Or get up off his butt and start buying me more nice things. Now that I think about it… thrown in the minor spirit conjuring tome and you've got a deal."
Gathering some of her bioelectricity into a ball between two fingers, Dawn arched a brow challengingly as she reached for yet another piece of the blooming onion. Billie wisely let that one go, allowing Dawn to pop it into her mouth. "Deal." Eyes drifting over to where a familiar woman in a slinky blue dress was singing on stage, Dawn nodded to direct Billie's attention. "Now I think this is the end of her set, so if you want to go touch up your makeup or anything, my mother will be over in a bit."
"You know I don't wear makeup, Dawn, and… wait, what?" Billie looked over at the figure on stage. "That's..?"
"One of my missing mothers? Yup." Dawn joined the rest of the club's patrons in applauding as the song came to an end, watching as her mother bowed before sweeping one blue-tinged tendril of hair back behind her ear. "Don't suppose you got around to reading that book I loaned you about the true history of Earth and the Old Ones?"
"Yeah, but what…"
"Wait for it."
As the band members walked, oozed, and floated away, Dawn watched as the club's co-owner walked out on stage. "Wasn't that fabulous? The one, the only, the illustrious Illyria!" After more applause and another bow from Illyria, he took control of the crowd again. "Our gorgeous God-King is going to take a break now but we'll have a bit of karaoke next and I'll be handing out readings to anyone who wants to brave our stage. She'll be back at nine, so stick around. Now, I'm off. Enjoy your drinks, enjoy your snacks, and I'll be back to start up the karaoke in five. Ciao!"
Flopping back against the booth, Billie stared at Dawn in horrified disbelief. "Please tell me she's just a serious worshipper or something." Dawn shook her head. "Seriously? Your mother is an Old One?"
"And here you thought your mother was scary powerful." Watching as Illyria was mobbed by patrons as soon as she stepped off stage, Dawn turned her attention back to Billie. "So, how was this morning's debriefing? How big of a dick was Eli?"
Billie snorted. "The girl he kicked off the team and her girlfriend went on to form their own team and had to come save our butts against a villain we should have been able to take? Let's just say that if body and mind matched, he could get a job doing porn. And I'd probably dump Teddy for him." She thought about that for a moment. "Nahh, I love Teddy too much. But we'd at least invite him over for some fun."
Well. Wasn't that just cringe-worthy information she hadn't needed to know? "Eww."