And now, because I promised it, everyone's favorite OC Skrull is back for a bit. So are Bekah's moms. And a special, former Avenger guest. And… a TV reporter. What the hell is going on in this chapter? Read it and find out. Also, right now we're 314 reviews and the original of this had 363 after significantly more fic. I'd love to break that threshold before the content catches up so… leave a review, tell your friends to leave a review, tell your mom to leave a review… I promise not to embarrass you by telling her she's a MILF? Seriously, we're starting to get past the parts I have outlined in fine detail and into the 'one sentence outline per chapter' areas, so people who do drop in to chat have a much better chance of seeing cool shit they want show up than those who don't say anything.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
A bright flash of light in the corner of his eye made Xander look away from yet another 'Actuality Afternoon' just in time to get blinded as a softball-sized sphere of green light exploded. As the crackling green sparkles of energy that heralded L'xi's arrival via teleportation drifted to the floor - and Xander blinked to get the spots out of his vision - the Skrull threw her hands up in the air and stalked away from the three other women and a truly massive pile of luggage and cardboard boxes. "…you know, if you'd told me before today that I'd be happy to leave New York for Cleveland, I would have told the bartender that it was time to cut you the hell off. And then I met the Teen Titans. Actually, it wasn't all of them. Teddy and Billy were just as fun in boy form as girl. Satsu and Laura were MIA, and Xavin took off with Kate. So really it was just Eli and Tommy who were annoying. Still. I don't know how Bekah managed the one month that she spent with that pair, let alone the two years that Kate and Cassie put in. Jesus."
Bekah just grinned before lassoing one bag with a psi-web and lifting it into the air. "Shoe shopping with my moms. Lots and lots and lots of shoe shopping." Fingers dipping into her cleavage, the redhead pulled out a small wad of bills and offered it to L'xi. "Why don't you take Kate upstairs, earn these, and then enjoy some retail therapy on us? In Paris, maybe?"
Even as L'xi was shaking her head no, Kate let out a huff. "Why am I the one who keeps getting thrown at her? Did it ever occur to you that I might not be in the mood to get lap danced this afternoon?"
"Well, it certainly wasn't me or Cassie who wouldn't shut the hell up about her after we visited the Spearmint Rhino. I figured you'd be happy to see your new BFF. My bad." Bekah waved off a blushing Kate before turning her attention back to L'xi. "So what's your objection to my cunning, cunning plan? I know you're off-duty and all, but I figured it'd be easier than shipping Kate home with you for the night and then making you bring her back after your shift…"
L'xi turned, if even possible, a bit greener at the mention of her upcoming shift at work. "Oh, it's nothing against Kate. I just don't even want to think about stripping right now. I still can't believe Tommy…" She trailed off before shuddering. "He was supposed to be freaked out by the offer, not take it seriously!"
Well that certainly sounded like it had a story behind it. Curious about what could possibly traumatize someone who was both an exotic dancer and an intergalactic traveler to such a degree, Xander turned to his girlfriends in hopes of getting an explanation. The trio looked at each other, and then Bekah whispered something in Cassie's ear before giving the blonde a gentle shove forward. Cassie rolled her eyes but didn't protest, wandering over to plop down beside Xander as their girlfriends started in on what would be the first of many trips up the stairs to their rooms that afternoon. "Hey, if they want to work while I sit and talk to our boyfriend, no skin off my nose. Anyways, Tommy was hitting on L'xi because… well, she's got a heartbeat and breasts. It was inevitable. When he found out what she did for a living, he evidently asked for a price quote and she told him that he couldn't afford her but she'd do it for free if he'd let her shift into the Scarlet Witch's form first."
"Scarlet Witch? Hang on, didn't you tell me that she's Tommy and Billy's mom?" Xander blinked slowly as Cassie nodded, wondering if he was actually hearing what he thought he was hearing. "And he didn't freak out? That's just…"
"I know!" While the voice was familiar, the inflection was slightly off and so Xander wasn't as surprised as he could have been when he looked up and found himself staring at a 'Bekah' whose freckles were likewise subtly off. L'xi stuck out her lower lip as she deployed a credible imitation of Bekah's puppy-dog eyes. "What? I need a hug right now, the two people here I actually know just took off, and I figured I had a better chance at scoring one from at least one of you two if I snuck in looking like one of the other girls you're dating."
Shooting Cassie a look, Xander waited until the blonde nodded before scooting a bit to his left to make room for L'xi between the two of them. It was a brilliant plan, he figured: he couldn't possibly get in trouble with Cassie for snuggling the stripper if she was in on it too. The Skrull took a step forward, only to have Xander hold up a hand as he remembered the other two members of their little tribe of misfits. "You do know I can hug you when you're still you-shaped, right? I hug people who aren't my girlfriends. Lots of girls who aren't my girlfriends… and I'm sure most of them aren't nearly as upset as they pretend to be so they can get free hugs off me. Actually, hugging a you-shaped you would probably be easier for all of us, because at least then I wouldn't have to worry about the real Bekah coming down here and kicking someone's ass." Granted he was more worried about Bekah trying to talk them into dragging L'xi into their bed than getting mad at the Skrull for borrowing her form, but it sounded like an appropriate worry. Waiting until after L'xi had returned to an alien form that was actually remarkably similar to Bekah's from the neck down - if one ignored the green part - Xander beckoned for the woman to join them on the couch and verbally prodded her to try and resume the story. "So are you seriously telling me that Tommy was fine with getting a lap dance from… well, close enough to his mother for government work?"
L'xi nodded rapidly before tilting to her right and burying her face in Cassie's neck. "Yeah. I thought it was a great plan: if I shot him down, he'd just come back for more but if I freaked him out and made him run away, I'd be set for life. Nope. Little freak looks me up and down a few times and then goes 'On one hand, it's a free lap dance. On the other hand, it's from a stripper who looks like my mom. Not sure if want.'. Which means he was actually considering it. Eww. Just… eww."
"How did that even come up?" Xander grinned over the top of L'xi's head at Cassie as the blonde awkwardly wrapped her arms around the taller woman, patting her on the back. She narrowed her eyes and he mouthed 'better you than me', to which she rolled her eyes. Deciding not to push his luck, Xander turned his attention back to L'xi. "I mean, I've never even met the kid but after the warnings I've gotten from my girls, I would have known better than to ever mention I was a stripper around him."
Straightening up, L'xi shot Xander an incredulous look. "Well I certainly didn't do it on purpose! They were having this discussion about recruiting new members and the little perv actually put together a twenty slide presentation on why they needed the new recruit to be a hot girl because they were 'missing some eye candy'. Including slides about why the current girls don't count. Then he turns around and tries to get me to join up because he says I'm perfect for that job. I tell him that I'm pretty sure they can't afford me, he asks what I do right now… and then I was irritated at him and not thinking and it slipped out."
Xander held up a finger, opened his mouth, and then closed it. It pretty much was entirely her fault, but he certainly wouldn't win points with anyone by drawing attention to the obvious. So instead… "Then what? Tommy asked for a dance?"
"Nah, Eli pointed out I was useless except as a replacement to Billy's teleportation around the city, so how pretty I was didn't matter." L'xi ticked off points on her fingers as she stared off into space, chronicling the rest of the afternoon for them. "Then I tried to sell them my sister but they wouldn't take her. That's when things broke up a bit and Tommy came over to hit me up for a dance. At which point he permanently damaged my brain, the girls got back, and I got the hell out of there before I forgot how to teleport or something."
One particular part of that stood out to Xander. "Wait wait wait. You tried to 'sell' your sister to the Young Avengers? Especially after what you'd just gone through?"
L'xi scowled, crossing her arms over her impressive chest. "Don't judge me. You haven't met her yet."
Monday, August 15, 2011
Being in a serious relationship with someone who wasn't ridiculously possessive of their money and all things related to it was a lot of work, Xander quickly discovered. Sure, some of it was probably due to the fact that he now had three girlfriends instead of one Anya, but there were just some things that he'd never needed to deal with while dating the former demon because she'd been so vehement about being as self-reliant as possible.
One of the first things to pop up had been the subject of phones; more precisely, getting his girlfriends and Sarah transferred to the Council's 'business' plan so that Kate could stop footing the bill for Bekah and Cassie's phones and Sarah could keep her phone without having to start digging into her savings. That had taken an hour on the line with various customer service representatives - and a goodly amount of time stuck on hold - to accomplish. After that had come another half an hour spent talking to two more representatives in a completely different department at Verizon to begin the process of adding the four girls to the list of people authorized to speak to the company about the account. Two days later, one of the Slayers had asked Kate if she had a license and could give her a ride to the mall, which had in turn brought up the issue of auto and health insurance for the girls… and two more mind-numbing chats with Allstate and UnitedHealthcare.
Now he was at the bank with Bekah, whose lack of income had precluded the need for a bank account during her time with the Young Avengers, and since that was a situation that didn't appear to be changing any time soon, they'd decided to just add her to his account. Kate and Cassie were still sitting on the fence about whether they wanted to do likewise or establish their own accounts at the credit union he used, which was fine with him because it meant only one set of long and tedious paperwork to fill out for the moment. Xander shook his head in disbelief; why there were more papers involved in changing an account than opening one made absolutely no sense to him. Maybe it'd be easier to withdraw all his money, close out the account, then come back with all three girls and take care of business…
"Everybody freeze! This is a robbery! Get down on the ground, nice and easy, and nobody'll get hurt!"
Oh, this wasn't going to end well. Xander looked back over his shoulder at the half a dozen men in black clothes and ski masks, and then over at Bekah. The redhead's eyes narrowed into slits as she glared at the wannabe robbers and Xander, as unreligious as he was, quickly made the sign of the cross before following the robbers' instructions and hitting the floor. Poor bastards. Today was quite possibly the worst day in the history of days to try robbing this particular bank…
Rolling onto his side, Xander watched as Bekah balled her hands into fists before turning and stalking towards the robbers. "What… the fuck? Seriously, people, what the fuck? All I want to do is go to the fucking bank with my fucking boyfriend, and I can't even do that without some fucking two-bit robbers trying to hold the fucking place up? Do you idiots have any clue how fucked you are? Do you? Do you know who the fuck I am?"
"I know you're gonna have a hole in your head if you don't hit the ground, you crazy bitch!" One of the robbers waved his gun wildly, clearly not willing to add assault or attempted murder to his rap sheet unless absolutely necessary. "Now get on the God damned floor!"
Growling, Bekah lunged forward and then lashed out with her right foot, catching the robber between the legs so hard that the man was actually lifted up off the ground and slammed into the ceiling before tumbling back to earth. As he curled into the fetal possession, babbling nonsense and cupping his crotch, Bekah looked around at the others and raised two glowing fists. "Anyone else want to threaten me? Because your unfriendly neighborhood Spider-Girl is offering cut rate ass-kickings today: buy one and get the next five free."
The robbers looked at each other until another one raised a hand. "Wait a minute. I thought you was supposed to be friendly. Spider-Man's friendly." His buddies all nodded in agreement. "I saw it on Wikipedia, yo. All his notes are signed 'your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man'."
Bekah scoffed before flicking her wrist and sending a venom blast into the floor in front of the robbers, the men stumbling back as they were pelted with bits of stone. "I'm on my period. All I want to do right now is go buy some Midol and chocolate from the nearest CVS, and then go home and curl up with a chick flick. You are standing between me and all of these things. 'Unfriendly' is probably the nicest word you can use to describe me today. Now drop the guns and lay down with your hands behind your back, or you're going to find out firsthand why San Francisco criminals used to stay home five days a month back when my mom lived out there."
"Oh snap. I'm out." One of the robbers tossed his gun her way before dropping to the floor, lying with his hands crossed at the small of his back. The four remaining robbers looked at him in shock, but he just shook his head. "Bill, think of what your girlfriend is like when it's that time of the month. She's scary, right? And she's just a normal woman. This is a… a superperiod. That's beyond scary. That is pants-shittingly terrifying." After a moment's contemplation, 'Bill' nodded before tossing his gun away and dropping to join his friend on the floor. "Guys? Seriously? She is gonna fuck you up. Give up while you can still talk. Unlike Matt."
The remaining robbers looked down at the friend that Bekah had kicked, then over at Bekah, and then back down at their friend. One's gun twitched towards Bekah and she didn't even hesitate before nailing him with a venom blast, sending him collapsing to the floor in convulsions. "First shot's to stun. Second is even more painful. If I have to do it a third time, you're probably getting tagged, bagged, and dragged when the cops show up. Now who wants to lay down and who wants to be put down?"
Out of the two remaining robbers, one opted to surrender peacefully… while the other decided it was a good idea to try charging Bekah for some bizarre reason. He got within about a yard of her and then dropped like a puppet with the strings cut as Bekah's heel connected with his temple. After nudging him a few times with her toe to make sure he was out, the redhead looked over at Xander and shrugged before wandering back towards where she'd left the paperwork she was working on.
With the threat largely neutralized, people began to rise to their feet, whispering incredulously. Xander made his way over to downed robbers, partially out of curiosity and partially out of a desire to avoid the dreaded paperwork, at least for a few minutes. The bank's rent-a-cop sidled up next to him, shooting a look back at Bekah before gesturing to the crooks. "Can she… you know…" He made a strange gesture with his hand and waved it back and forth at the crooks.
It took Xander a moment to process what was being asked, and then he shook his head. "Yes, but hers are these weird psi-webs. Not like the ones Spider-Man uses. She'd need to keep her attention on them to keep them tied up and… well, you heard her. She's kinda in a rush to get out of here. Sorry. You'll have to keep an eye on them until the cops get here. Speaking of which… why aren't the cops here?"
"I, err, didn't manage to trigger the alarm until just now. Don't ask me why, but the idiots who designed this place made it so you can only activate the alarm from three places. Only one is on this side of the counters and I was on the wrong side of the lobby when they came in." The security guard gave the robbers another nervous look and Xander shook his head; 'had job done for me by teenager with superpowers' wasn't going to look good on his shift report. Turning to head back to the counter, Xander paused as the security guard addressed him again. "Where are you going?"
Xander didn't even bother looking back, but instead just pointed over at where Bekah was talking to one of the bank's employees. "You heard her. Look what happened to them when they tried to get between her and her plans for this afternoon? Just because I'm her boyfriend and she won't hurt me doesn't mean she can't make my life really unpleasant in other ways…"
Raising the hand not occupied by a pen, Bekah flipped Xander off as she continued to whittle away at the paperwork. "Just remember, there's still a bed in the spare room I can put you in for the night…"
"See, like that."
"…and then she kicks this guy in the balls so hard that he literally. Goes. Airborne. Like, she probably would have put him in orbit but the ceiling got in the way. Made my [bleep] hurt just watching it. Then she tells the other guys that she's on the rag and two of them surrender because they think she's 'pants-[bleep]ingly terrifying'. She gets a fourth guy with some kind of… spider… taser… power, and then another guy surrenders too because he's not a retard. But the last guy… he charges her and she tags him in the head with some kind of flying spinning kick and he just shuts the [bleep] off. And then she just turns around and goes back to doing whatever she came to the bank for." The teenage boy on camera looked over at the reporter, bouncing slightly on his heels. "It was officially the coolest thing I have ever seen. Ever. Although now I'm thinking that if I ever date a mutant, I'm gonna find a friend's house to stay at for a few days every month. I mean, can you imagine what that would be like? Make your girl angry and get thrown through a wall with her mind or something?"
Blinking owlishly, the young female reporter looked from the camera pointed her way to the teenager she was interviewing and back a few times. "I can honestly say that's never occurred to me before. Although I'm sure you've given those dating members of Homo sapiens superior
some serious food for thought. And now back to you, Jerry."
As the anchorman began to natter on about something that didn't concern her in the slightest, Mary Jane muted the television and then took a sip from her Cosmopolitan before chuckling. "So… pants-shittingly terrifying? Who gets credit for donating that one? Or the blame?"
"Well, you gave her your looks and Julia and I gave her our powers, so we're all a part of her." Jessica held up both hands, being careful not to tip the highball glass she was holding as she weighed the two, before lowering her right hand a bit. "On the other hand, Julia and I are each responsible for a quarter of her while you're an entire half. So logically, if you think about it, it's twice as likely that you're the one to blame for anything bad she does."
Scoffing, Mary Jane took another sip of her drink. "One problem with that theory, you know. Even if she does look like me, she might as well have 'Jessica Drew Inside™' stamped on her ass."
A shockingly bright combination of vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cranberry juice came perilously close to sloshing over the edge of Jessica's glass as she shot upright in her seat. "Hey! I resent that!"
"You resemble that?"
"Oh, screw you. I am nowhere near as bad as Bekah." Turning to her left, Jessica stuck out her lower lip as she pouted across Mary Jane at her usual partner in crime. "Right, Jules?"
Raising one eyebrow, Julia regarded Jessica for a moment before taking a sip from the glass goblet Jarvis had delivered her Tequila Sunrise in. "You know, I'd tell you yes but I'm always on Rachel about how it's wrong to lie to people…"
Janet van Dyne chuckled and shook her head as she looked up from her laptop. "Ah, superheroines bickering over stupid shit. Times like this almost make me miss being an Avenger. Then I remember how many times I almost got killed, the robot running around with a copy of my brain in it, the time I got mutated into a wasp-woman creature, the number of times I had to restart a commission because someone blew up the mansion with my projects inside…"
"Speaking of wasp-women, how's that project of yours going? And your second doctorate? Come to think of it, when you polish that off, what's that going to do to your name? Doctor Janet van Dyne, PhDD?" Jessica sat there for a moment as silence descended and then sighed. "Nobody? Nothing?" More silence. "You all suck."
Shrugging, Janet looked down at her chest. "Be a bit funnier if I was you or MJ's size. Or if I decide to get in touch with my inner Frost at some point. Anyways, better on the latter than the former, although they're tied together and so I'm not getting the second doctoral degree until I can pull off a miracle in the lab. Still, I've got everything but that part done, so I'm good to go as soon as I pull a rabbit out of my hat. Or a wasp."
Mary Jane still had trouble believing that the woman sitting across from her was the same person as the young, vivacious fashion designer she'd met several years ago. While she still dressed nicely and smiled easily, Janet was now a more serious and intellectual person at her core and for good reason in Mary Jane's mind. The redhead didn't have all the details, never having wanted to stick her nose where it didn't belong, but did know that it had something to do with the fact that Janet had a unique physiology and the only person that fully understood it was Hank Pym. Mary Jane shuddered; if she'd been the one stuck relying on that man for her continued good health, she probably would have found herself getting really interested in the sciences really fast. Man gave her the creeps, and that took some doing given the number of smarmy directors and photographers she'd met in her life.
Still, Janet seemed happy enough with her new life and so Mary Jane was happy for her… at least as long as it didn't adversely affect her fashion sense. Speaking of… "So, about that thing Jess talked Tony into sending a Quinjet over to England to get you for…"
"Hmm? Oh! The costumes. Right." Janet bent forward, digging a series of folders out of her bag. "Still don't know why you two didn't just ask MJ to do it for you. I mean, she's the one who designed the black and yellow one I wear now." Mary Jane set her drink down on the coffee table and then coughed as she held a hand out to either side, collecting a twenty dollar bill from each woman, the redhead folding the bills up and stuffing them into her bra. Janet just shook her head in amusement. "Not sure whether I should be offended that you're making money off me or flattered that everyone thinks I'm some sort of omniscient clothing goddess."
Shrugging, Julia reached out a hand and accepted the folder that Janet passed her. "Actually, I just didn't believe her because… well, she knows Spider-Man too and look at him. I figured if she really was some sort of costuming genius, he'd have a better costume."
That earned the blonde a shrug in return from Janet. "He's not that bad, all things considered. Sure he could be better, but I've seen a lot worse. Simon, for instance. Anyways, back to the costumes. Julia, I've got something like a dozen in your folder that I've designed just for you. Variations on your old costume and then a few completely new ideas just in case you really want a change. To top it off, I threw in a few extras that I came up with all the way back when Spider-Man wore black that I cleaned up and tweaked to fit a woman." Hefting another folder, Janet waved it before passing it to Jessica. "Jess, there are only a few for you because you told me you were curious what I might come up with but didn't think you'd change your costume and so I figured… well, why waste my time on someone who doesn't really want my attention?" Janet eyed the third folder critically before offering it to Mary Jane. "And MJ, you have more than Jess but fewer than Julia because you wanted something based on Spider-Man and… well, the man's only had three costumes in his career and the third was just a variation of the first. Not much to work with there." She shook her head. "You know, if I was your husband, I'd be a little worried about how into everyone's favorite wall-crawler you are…"
Mary Jane bit her lower lip to avoid laughing at that one; if Janet only knew. Although seeing as how she'd just been presented with an excellent opening… why not? Watching as Jarvis dropped off a drink for Janet, Mary Jane cycled through a few different versions of her joke in her head as she waited for the perfect moment to deliver it. And then Janet took a sip and… "Nah. Peter's fine with how much I like Jess. Probably thinks he'll get to have a threesome if the two of us hook up."
Peach schnapps and orange juice exploded out of Janet's nose.
Julia just sighed.