Daysed and Confused Part 3
And here's part three of three that just shows little bits and pieces to play with the characters. Wanted some time to sit back and think about the outline and the second and third stories, so I did these three as a bit of busy work. Oh, and since I doubt we have many SPSU alumni on here… Horny the Hornet is the school mascot of the university Dawn got Cassie's workout gear from. I shit you not. And up next: Dawn's third mother.
"Our first guests… I think this is actually a first for a show like ours. After all, they're usually too busy out saving the world to sit down and talk. Now, normally I'd show a video here as an intro, but she threatened to stomp on my car if I showed that footage of her puking in Central Park, so I'll skip straight to the welcome… straight from New York, please welcome Hornet, Ant-Girl, and Wasp!"
Releasing a nervous breath, Dawn pasted a smile on her face before leaning over to tug a chunk of Cassie's hair. "Showtime. Onward, noble steed!" The blonde snorted but complied, striding out onto the stage and waving to the audience with both a hand and one of the waldos. The reaction was a mix of applause and confused murmurs; three heroes had been announced but only one had shown up. Or at least as far as they knew. Reaching up, Dawn tapped on her headset. "Get ready, Sophie. In three… two… one… go!"
Dawn tipped herself forward and fell from Cassie's shoulder, wings spreading as she zoomed towards the shocked looking talk show host. Unlike their combat experiences, they actually wanted to be seen this time and so rather than use their minimal half inch size, Dawn and Sophie were closer to the size of action figures, easily visible to both the woman they were dive-bombing and the cameras focused on her. Just as they'd planned and practiced, Dawn flew forward a bit before crossing over so she was headed for Ellen's left side, rolling in midair just in time to let Sophie past beneath her, the blonde executing a mirror of the move so she was headed for the host's right shoulder. Looping around behind the woman's head, Dawn high fived Sophie as they passed before coming in for a landing on Ellen DeGeneres's shoulder. "Hi, Ellen! Thanks for the invite; it's great to be here."
"Holy crap!" Looking from Dawn to Sophie and back quickly, Ellen chuckled in disbelief. "You really are your mother's daughter, aren't you?" Turning her attention back to Sophie, she raised a finger to poke at the shrunken blonde. "That doesn't explain you or Ant-Girl, though…"
Leaping off Ellen's shoulder, Dawn returned herself to normal size and landed lightly on the floor, spinning and throwing herself into the middle of the three guest chairs as Cassie took possession of the one to her left. Sophie was the last to settle, hopping onto Ellen's finger and wandering around on the back of the woman's hand for a bit before leaping off and joining the other two size shifters. As she settled into a position at Dawn's right, the black-haired girl spoke up. "Well, that’s why we agreed, really. Most superheroes aren't too good at managing their public relations. I'd rather have a chance to discuss the truth than just sit at home while people read gossip about us in rags like The Daily Bugle
, you know?"
Ellen just chuckled at that, shuffling the cards in her hands. "Ah, that wacky Jameson. He's so lucky Spider-Man likes having a secret identity or he would have been sued for libel a long time ago."
"Exactly. I'm not going to trust a person like him with my story. So I figured, why not come here, so people can actually here what I have to say instead of reading what words of mine someone wants to pass on? Oh, and please, real names are fine. We don't even use codenames in the field half the time. I'm Dawn, as you probably know from my public statement back when the Wasp Corps were started. To my left is Cassie and my right is Sophie." Cassie left out a soft cough and Dawn looked over at her girlfriend, getting the hint when the blonde turned her head away and reached up to grab her visor. Quickly and efficiently, Dawn released the catches that connected the visor to the band that circled behind Cassie's head, handing the back band to Cassie. The blonde put both pieces on her lap and ran her fingers through her multicolored hair to straighten it, and Dawn turned back to Ellen. "So, I'm sure the writers have cooked up a whole bunch of stuff for you to ask. Hit me."
Raising her hand, Ellen made a fist and stared at it for a moment before looking out at the audience. "I dunno, I'm pretty sure you'd kick my butt if I did…" The audience tittered and Dawn groaned; she'd totally set herself up for that one. After a few more seconds to let the audience's laughter die out, Ellen sobered and used her cue cards to gesture to trio of girls. "Alright, I've got a Dawn, a Cassie, and a Sophie. Do we get to know anything more about you?"
Dawn exchanged looks with the other two but the blondes just shrugged apathetically. Ahh, the joys of leadership. Yet another choice being dumped on her. Mehh, she had nothing to hide; if the others later felt uncomfortable about being pressured into sharing, it was their own fault for not speaking up. "I'm Dawn obviously. Dawn van Dyne. I'm eighteen and grew up in California before moving to Cleveland for two years and then on to New York City. I'm fluent in all the modern Romance languages, Latin, Greek, Egyptian, Sumerian, a number of both North Germanic and West Germanic languages, a handful of Baltic and Slavic ones, a few Dravidian descendents, some Mandarin, a bit more Cantonese, I'm learning Nihongo…"
"Woah woah woah." Ellen held up one hand, cutting off Dawn's rambling list. "Let's make this simple: what languages don't you speak?"
After pondering that for a minute, Dawn found an answer that was both truthful and comedic. "Pig Latin." That got the laughs she was aiming for and after they died down, Dawn pushed on. "No, seriously, before I was a superhero, I translated books for a non-profit organization and so I learned a lot on the job. Now I'm the house cook and like to go international, so I've kept it up with immersion learning through cookbooks and websites."
Ellen blinked a few times before shaking her head. "Well, now that I'm thoroughly intimidated by the intellect of a girl a bit over a third my age… what about you two? C before S, is one of you older than the other by a few minutes, flip a coin..?"
Each girl offered up a hand and Dawn watched in amusement as they played a quick round of rock-paper-scissors. Cassie won - most Slayers tended to go for rock, Dawn had discovered - and waved her doppelganger on. Sighing, Sophie shifted in her seat before addressing Ellen. "We're not actually twins, just to make that clear. The evil twin announcement from the Young Avengers was a piss-take. It's just a really, really strange coincidence that we look bloody identical. Now that I've shared why we don't have anything in common apart from our looks… my name is Sophie Johnston, I'm sixteen, and I'm from North London. I was transferred into the guardianship of an American about a year and a half ago, and that's all I'm going to say about that. Um, I like listening to music and dancing…" Here Cassie let out a choked laugh, which made Dawn quirk a brow. "…and I'm Dawn's co-cook for the household. Or maybe sous chef. She does most of the work."
"And I do none of the work, since I've been known to ruin TV dinners now and then. Oh, I'm Cassie Lang and I'm sixteen too. I'm actually a ward of Dawn's mom now; my parents sorta flipped shit when they found out that the person who was always putting a smile on my face was a girl." Cassie looked over at Dawn and eyed her speculatively. "Or it could have been the spandex. Mom's had a bit of an issue with superheroes ever since she divorced my dad and he went on to become one. Um, you may have heard of him, Scott Lang? The modern Ant-Man, after Mr. Pym became Yellowjacket? He's actually the reason I have powers; I used to steal the chemicals that gave him his powers and one day, I got angry and sorta doubled in size. After that, I joined the Young Avengers as Stature and then became Ant-Girl with Dawn after I had a, err, personality conflict with the leader of the team."
Ellen perked up a bit at Sophie's introduction and Dawn knew why; while Ellen wouldn't try to sensationalize the matter - it was why they'd picked this invitation over several others - it was still something ratings-grabbing and so getting as many details as tastefully possible was important. "So, the tabloids are right about the two of you are dating? How did that happen?"
Smirking, Dawn squeezed Cassie's thigh to keep the blonde from answering. She'd been preparing this one since they'd made arrangements to come on the show, praying for a chance to use it. "Well, you see, my toaster broke and I didn't want to waste my money on a new one, so I figured 'what the hell, I'm almost there anyways' and I went out and converted Cassie. Two birds, one stone. Got an amazing girlfriend and a free toaster to boot." Glancing over to her left, Dawn caught the slightest hint of rolling eyes before a hand smacked her upside the head. "Oww! Damnit, woman! What did I tell you about hitting?"
Cassie did her best to look innocent as Dawn scowled at her. "It's only fun in the bedroom, otherwise it's assault?"
"I swear to God, I'm going to pay Mrs. Pym to make me a totally new costume and then get a face transplant so I can't be linked to either of you." Shaking her head in disgust, Sophie turned to Ellen. "They're always like this. It's nauseating, especially for us singletons. Oh, if I can offer a word of advice for any mutant girls out there, or girls who want to become a superhero another way? Don't put a costume on unless you're willing to say goodbye to your dating life. Guys are scared of a girl who can bench-press their pickup."
Without missing a beat, Ellen nodded sagely. "I'll keep that in mind if I fall into a pit of toxic waste or something and come out with powers." Turning to Dawn, she waved a hand at the girl's costume before gesturing to Sophie's matched attire. "So, you wear that and Sophie's the Wasp… does that mean your mother's retired from crimefighting? And what's it like being the daughter of one of the founding Avengers?"
Dawn shrugged. "Like being any other woman's daughter, really, except my mom could totally kick my friends' moms' asses. She can't cook worth a damn and so Sophie and I control the kitchen for the good of the household. She loves to spend time sewing and making new costumes for Cassie and the Wasp Corps girls; as you can see, Sophie here is already on her second. Mine, since she's too unoriginal to come up with an idea of her own." The blonde stuck her tongue out at that and Dawn retaliated with a tiny ball of green bioelectricity, making the Slayer lean back with a squeak to avoid being hit. "Her and Hank are on their, like, tenth honeymoon and so I have to be careful to knock before I open doors…"
"Hank… Pym? So they're together still? Again?" Ellen shuffled through her cards again before scoffing and tossing them onto the tablet by her side. "Told them to at least prep something for me in case you brought him up, but nooo. Alright, we weren't going to go there out of respect for their privacy, but since you brought it up… what's going on with them? Even the best superhero gossip sites are coming up empty-handed."
Shuddering at the memories, Cassie fielded that one. "Are they together… legally? Yes. Mentally? Yes. Biblically? Far too often. And since I'm the one who's the least useful in the kitchen…"
"And the slowest to yell 'not it' when she needs to…"
"…I keep getting stuck on parent fetching duty before meals." Reaching up Cassie rubbed at her eyes before giving another long shudder. "These eyes have seen things they can never unsee. Believe me, I've tried. Even tried bribing a telepath we know, but he didn't want to risk seeing them himself."
Dawn shuddered herself as she thought back on some of the near misses she'd had with her mother and step-father before pushing on to answer a question of Ellen's that she'd missed before. "And no, the Wasp and Yellowjacket are very much active. The Wasp Corps is made up of six girls, as you've probably seen on the news, and they're known as Wasp-One through Wasp-Six, with Janet as Wasp-Prime or just plain Wasp. So Sophie is a Wasp, but not the Wasp."
Rising from her seat, Sophie tapped the yellow band encircling one bicep before indicating the matching stripe running along the hemline of her skirt. "We're marked with what our number is… biceps and thigh markings for most girls, with a hemline marking in my case. Our fearless leader has one on each bicep, I have the biceps and a skirt marking as Two, then the girl after me has two on each bicep and one on each thigh, Four has two and two, and so on. I used to be Six before we had a bit of turnover and I decided to get a new look to go with my new number, and the new Six got an individual look too. Hopefully the others jump on the bandwagon and so we'll have six wasp-ish girls and Mrs. Pym instead of Mrs. Pym and six Mini-Mes."
"The turn-over… I'm assuming she's talking about the Indian girl who disappeared after your fight with Venom and the redhead who's appeared recently?" Dawn nodded as Sophie settled back into her seat. "What happened there? Or is it an internal matter you can't discuss?"
Biting her lip, Dawn debated how much to share. No names, obviously. Then again, she hadn't done anything wrong and so she couldn't see a way it would make the Corps come out looking bad. "Well, the Indian Two was a Jain who, it turns out, takes the religion's stance on pacifism to the extreme. I decided to go with inclusion and religious tolerance and all that, and so we made an agreement that she'd join the team to do search and rescue and cleanup to earn her keep in exchange for the powers. After the Venom fight… well, I'm guessing she hadn't pictured herself righting damaged cars for the city or handling roasted headless ant. She wanted out and so we released her from the team and replaced her. Sophie moved up to take her place as Two and the new girl became Six."
Ellen nodded. "And the armor she wears? Err, she being Red Six? Uh, the redhead Wasp-Six? Man, that's gotta get confusing."
"It's why we normally just use names or, like Sophie was, shorten to just the number. As for our current Six's armor, it's based on another of my former costumes. My superhero training wheels, so to speak. I moved on to my current costume and so I don't mind donating it to a good cause. Each of the girls has their own fighting style and hers is to soak up damage and pound on enemies from up close. So to keep her from getting tenderized, we decided to armor her up a bit more than the others. My mom and Hank can actually strip the electronics from a costume, sew a new one, and kit it out in less than two days, so all the others really need to do is figure out what changes would work best with their style and approach mom or her understudy. Like us?" Dawn gestured to herself, Sophie, and Cassie in turn. "I'm a distance fighter and so I've stuck with the lighter costume with a skirt because it's not like I'm literally kicking butt or anything. Sophie… well, I think she just likes the challenge of trying to fight without showing off London, France, and everything in between." The Brit offered the back of her hand and two fingers and Dawn, having spent far too much time with Spike to not know the significance of that gesture, zapped Sophie for her trouble. "And Cassie's Cassie. She torches, she stomps, she supplies battlefield intel… doesn't make Julienne fries, though."
As that crack earned more laughter from the audience, a television began to rise into position between the three guests and Ellen. "Alright, since I'm pretty much out of questions and we do have other guests today… you've brought us some kind of video?"
Dawn looked over at Cassie and then poked the silent blonde into action when she remained tight-lipped. After shooting Dawn a scowl, she turned her attention back to Ellen. "It's my job with the Wasp Corps. Well, apart from the obvious. My visor records video and then I edit and clean it up for stuff like this. I think that's why Dawn dragged me along instead of one of the other girls… Re-err, One and Six definitely would have enjoyed this more than me."
"Hey, having to show off your work is part of being a director. You're doing fine, trust me." After reaching across to pat Cassie's hand, Ellen turned to stare off at a production assistant. "Roll it."
The black screen burst to life and Dawn barely suppressed a wince as the speakers began to blare loud rock music. The first few shots were of the different Slayers messing around in the training room, followed by one of Kimberly stealing a donut from Regan by flying towards the hole and enlarging herself just enough to wedge in it and yank the pastry out of the Texan's hand with her momentum. That gave way to a shot from what Dawn guessed was Vi's glasses cam, showing Cassie kneeling at the mouth of an alley and using her height-multiplied body to keep a bunch of thugs from escaping, reaching down every so often to flick one into the side of a nearby dumpster.
Dawn cocked her head to the side as she watched. It wasn't quite what she had envisioned when she'd told Cassie to show off the 'fun, human side' of the Corps, but it wasn't bad.
♫'And they say that a hero can save us; I'm not gonna stand here and wait. I'll hold on to the wings of the eagles, watch as we all fly away…'
Then the video flashed a shot of Cassie - the red arms making identification a piece of cake - playing tug of war with Regan over a purse before the Texan released it, making Cassie stumble back a step. Turning, she trotted over and presented it to a spectacularly busty redhead - a mugging victim, Dawn was guessing - who proceeded to launch herself at Cassie and wrap her in a tight hug. Looking over at the blushing Cassie, who she could hear muttering something about Vi, Dawn narrowed her eyes and mouthed two words.
♫'Raping the geek and hustling the freak,
Like a hunchback juice on a sentimental noose.
Operation filth, they love to love the wealth,
Of an SS whore making scary sounds.
Crawl on me… sink into me… die for me… living dead girl…'
Hands in the act of sliding down her sides, Regan abruptly stilled as the music was cut off before opening her eyes to find Dawn staring at her. The upside down girl quirked a brow before holding up a CD case. "American Made Music to Strip By
, Regan? Not that I have anything against Rob Zombie, mind you, but… wow. Trashy much?"
"I'd try defending myself, Dawn, but it's not like you even know anything about working a pole." Lowering her hands to the floor, Regan unwound her legs from around the pole she'd been working out on, idly noting that the pulsing colors had faded and it had returned to its base cloudy white state - Dawn had turned the system off completely, not just paused her CD. Bitch. She bent at the waist, bringing her feet down to the floor before pushing off and straightening up, turning to face the interloper. "So, what's so important that it couldn't wait until after my workout?"
Shrugging, Dawn reached into her pocket and pulled out her iPhone, waggling it at Regan before tucking it away again. "You tell me. You're the one who sent me an email flagged urgent that insisted we just had to talk as soon as possible. Well, Sophie's on breakfast patrol and I have plans for the rest of the day. Take it or leave it."
Regan let out a huff at the blonde's name, crossing her arms beneath her breasts. That proved to be a bad idea, though, as Dawn's eyes abruptly dipped south to focus on them. Thank God she was wearing a shirt over a sports bra, or there'd be bulging cleavage for the girl to molest with her eyes instead of just cloth-covered swells. "Hey, Horny the Hornet. My eyes are up here."
"I've made my choice."
Great. Now Dawn was leering and tossing out Simpsons quotes. Could this get any worse? Remembering the psychology course she'd taken back in high school before being Called, Regan decided to just ignore Dawn's bad behavior. Humoring her by acknowledging it would only encourage her. "Whatever. I wanted to know why you took Cassie and Sophie with you on Ellen. You didn't even come to me… did I want to go, did I have any thoughts on who'd represent us, et cetera. This is my team, Dawn, and I think…"
Dawn sighed and waved a hand to cut Regan off, gaze finally migrating up to meet her eyes. "Alright, I think it's time we cleared a few things up. This team exists as it does because I decided to pick six Slayers instead of hitting up a local dojo and taking the six best black belts or going out clubbing and dangling superpowers as a lure to attract the six hottest girls I found. I wanted a team that could handle the superhuman and the supernatural, though, so I picked Slayers. And you're only the leader of them because nobody protested. I've stayed out of things because I know you're like wolves and I didn't want to get in the way of your 'pack' structure, but if you wanna start trying to duke it out over who's in charge of this operation? Just remember who holds the remote that can shut off your powers before shoving a size hundred shoe in your ass."
That brought Regan up short, mostly because it was true. Not the part about her being the leader by disinterest; the other girls all knew she was the best Slayer and that was why she was the leader. But Dawn was responsible for their unique opportunity and what the good Dawn giveth, the good Dawn could taketh away. Maybe it would be a good idea to be a bit less confrontational when dealing with her, Regan decided. Suck up a bit, even. After all, this was a hell of a step up from stalking the crappiest parts of Austin looking for vampires to stake.
Hmm. Argument was essentially shot to hell, as were her chances of asserting dominance. It was time to pull back, at least until she could reevaluate her situation. So now what? She wasn't in the mood to restart her workout and trying to pick back up where she'd left off would be awkward. Oh! Something had been wandering around her head since Dawn's interview on Ellen and now was the perfect time to ask. "Were you telling the truth about the costumes?" Dawn arched a brow and Regan sighed; that'd been delightfully vague and useless of her. "We can get new ones if we want?"
"Well yeah. Sophie and Vi did, after all." Dawn's gaze wandered over Regan's body as she regarded the brunette speculatively. "Why? Got something in mind?"
Regan shrugged. Not really, but if Dawn supported the idea, it could be a way of earning crucial brownie points she was just realizing she should accumulate. "I'd need to see how much your step-father needs to put where to make my powers work. Probably something a bit more like street clothes… top and pants. Maybe bracers for the stingers?" Grabbing the towel she'd tossed over the barre on the nearby wall, she made her way towards the door, Dawn walking beside her. "Wait, your mom's wings were added when she was our age, right? Do you think I could get wings too?"
Opening her mouth briefly, Dawn closed it, contemplated her answer, and then finally responded. "I… don't know. Let me get back to you on that."