A number of events have come together to ensure that while this arc will bear some resemblance to the original version of Blue Belle
, it will be distinctly different as well. Namely Emma's gifts and Janet's presence, but Michelle meeting her mother - and Victor - early will also cause ripples. Accordingly, it might be a bad idea to skim this… but that's just my opinion.
November 25, 2011
Rosenberg Household - Willow's Room
Frowning, Willow made a fist and ejected the two claws in her left hand, staring at them for a moment before doing the same with her right hand. They were eventually followed by the claw in each foot, and then she shook her head. Each emerged perfectly through a pre-made hole in her new white leather outfit… a bit too perfectly in Willow's opinion. The perfectly fitting clothes from a relative stranger, she could understand. After all, they'd brought her home unconscious and stripped her. It wouldn't have been hard to write down her sizes. But to send her things that were perfectly modified her mutation? That implied a level of planning - and possibly measuring of her unconscious body - that she wasn't particularly comfortable with.
Glancing down at her chest as she retracted her claws, Willow's frown grew. Most of her new outfit seemed like it had been taken straight from her existing wardrobe and bleached. The white leather pants, for example, fit exactly the same as one of her favorite pairs from Jekyll & Hide. The white leather combat boots were likewise similar to ones she already owned in both construction and fit, and the white leather gloves… well, gloves were gloves. She didn't own any because she lived in southern California, but if she did? They'd probably be black and leather and look a lot like the ones Emma had sent her.
But while she owned a few tank tops and they flattered her figure, they were flattering in an understated way and not a Cordelia way. Reaching up, she poked the upper slope of one breast with her finger uncertainly. This particular white leather tank top, on the other hand, somehow managed to put even her best pushup bra to shame. And to be honest, Willow wasn't sure how she felt about that. Because seriously, she was not supposed to have this much cleavage. That was Michelle's schtick.
Willow pulled her hand away from her chest as her bustier, no-longer-really-a-doppelgänger picked that moment to wander into her bedroom, already dressed for their upcoming night out. Taking in Michelle's outfit, she couldn't help but chuckle softly. "You do realize that this means you can't pick on me for having a 'dead cow fetish' anymore, right?"
"Why not? I mean, there's a big difference between you and me." Sprawling out on her back on Willow's bed, Michelle gestured down at the sleeveless white leather catsuit she was wearing. "The only reason I'm wearing dead cow is because Emma sent it to us and for some bizarre reason, we're actually going with her color-coordinated, vampire-hunting girl gang idea." She then pointed at Willow. "You, on the other hand? Seek out dead cow. You have a dead cow fetish. I'm just a victim of circumstance."
Shaking her head at Michelle's ignorance, Willow turned her attention back to the mirror. After all, while she did indeed enjoy wearing leather, it wasn't psychologically necessary for her sexual gratification. Therefore she had a fondness for leather, not a leather fetish, thank you very much. "So, are you ready for tonight? I mean, this is going to be big. Slaying. Actual slaying, not just being there to hold stuff for Buffy."
Michelle wriggled on the bed a bit, pulling out… oh, that's where they were. It'd been impossible for Willow to miss the pungent smell of gun oil that followed the redhead into the room, but the guns themselves were fairly well camouflaged. A white gun in a white holster pressed against a white outfit didn't really stand out, after all. Michelle held the pistol up and examined it from several angles before slipping it back into its holster and shrugging. "I'm still not sure about this whole 'shoot stuff until it's dead again' thing, so I'll probably swipe a few stakes from the stash at the library. But… well, I'm sure you remember how things went down between me and Cordy the day after Halloween. You taped it, after all. Between what I inherited and some refresher training last night, this is the readiest I've ever been to go kill vampires. I'm just hoping that Emma's right and my brain keeps connecting to Mom's memories when I need it to, or this is going to end badly."
"Oh, you mean like what happened when we met the X-Men?" Then again, Willow didn't really have room to talk about last Saturday's fun. While Michelle had been blasted at the very start of the incident and been unconscious through the rest… that was about all Willow remembered, thanks to the whole berserk rage thing. Hopefully that wouldn't happen again tonight, or else… well, she had a few ideas as to how the girls might 'calm her down' and most of them involved Cordelia sticking pointy objects into her brain. Which… even if her body would heal the damage, it couldn't be good for her chances of getting into a decent college.
Rising into a sitting position, Michelle waved dismissively. "Well, since I'm pretty sure vampires can't shoot lasers out of anywhere, I think I'm good. You ready?"
Willow nodded before looking down and picking up her last 'gift' from Emma, frowning as she stared at the white leather choker. To some people, it would be just a fashion accessory. But given some of the comments Emma had made about her real father, Willow was pretty sure it represented the fact the blonde saw James - and by extension Willow herself - as subhuman. As animals. Or maybe she was overthinking it and it was just a handy way to cut off access to her jugular while fighting against things that wanted to sink their teeth into it.
On second thought, that was probably it. After all, if Emma didn't like her, she wouldn't have sent anything… right? But wait. As best she could tell from Buffy's comments, the Slayer hadn't exactly hit it off with Emma but had still received a box full of stuff. So maybe it was a degradation thing and not a functional thing. Or maybe she was really overthinking it.
Scowling, Willow dropped the choker onto the top of her dresser. She'd figure it out later. Because right now? "Yeah. Let's go."
November 25, 2011
Rosenberg Household - Living Room
Sheila Rosenberg looked up from the latest issue of Psychology Today
, blinking as Willow and Michelle came marching down the stairs in white leather outfits that - while not identical - were more similar than not. The white contrasted sharply with two things that Sheila was still coming to terms with: her niece's blue skin and her daughter's short black hair. But it was to the white itself that Sheila's eyes inevitably returned. Since when did her daughter wear leather? She hadn't seen her niece wearing it before now, but Michelle seemed comfortable enough in leather. Had she been the bad influence on Willow? Or had it been one of the many girls who'd been in the house on Sunday night? Or a combination of the two? Also… "Girls? Where are you going dressed like that? And Michelle, shouldn't you look a bit less… unique… if you're going out?"
"Hmm?" Raising a hand, Michelle stared at it for a moment before making a soft 'oh' of comprehension. "Right. One sec." As Sheila watched in fascination, her niece's face screwed up in concentration and her skin shifted from blue to a tone more commonly seen on humans. Her bright red hair grew out until it reached her shoulders, shifting to be black like Willow's in the process. And when Michelle reopened her eyes, they were brown rather than yellow. "Better now?"
Willow looked back over her shoulder and frowned, reaching back and batting at Michelle's hair. "Can you do another color? Black's kinda my thing. And Harmony's. And Janet's. But at home, it's mine. No stealing it." Michelle rolled her eyes in response to the request but obliged, morphing her hair into its blond-streaked copper norm. "Thank you." Returning her attention to her mother, Willow nodded in the direction of the front door. "Just out for a bit. Mutant things. What are your plans for the evening? And where's… Ira? Come to think of it, shouldn't you both be gone by now?"
Wincing at the last two questions, Sheila mentally cursed her husband. Ever since the truth of Willow's parentage had been revealed, he'd demanded she refer to him by his real name, since he wasn't actually her father. Willow had moped for a day or two before rebounding and retaliating by questioning Sheila at length over every family meal to find out more about her real father. Somehow, Sheila doubted her husband was missing home any more at this moment than Willow was missing 'Ira'. "He's back on the road for another conference. I'm supposed to be with him, but things are a bit…" Here she hesitated; while she preferred to be truthful with her daughter because sugarcoating things was only harmful in the end, Sheila didn't want Willow to blame herself for her parents' marital troubles. "…things are a bit strained at the moment. Because of… well, you know. It took him a while to get over my infidelity in the first place and I think he repressed it rather than actually dealing with his feelings in a healthy manner. Now he can't ignore things anymore and he doesn't know what to do. So I'm going to give him a little space and stay here with you two. There's a paper I've been meaning to edit and submit, and I need to catch up on all of these journals that have stacked up."
"Oh. Cool. I guess." Willow shifted from foot to foot awkwardly before offering a wave. "See you later, Mom." From behind Willow, Michelle offered a wave of their own before following her cousin over to the front door and then out into the night.
A flicker of concern bloomed in Sheila's mind as the front door shut as she wondered several things… what exactly did 'mutant things' entail? Especially at this hour of the night? Why was leather involved? Where were they going for these 'mutant things'? And - most importantly - why was she just sitting here as her daughter and niece left to do who knew what who knew where?
Sheila dropped the magazine onto the coffee table and pushed herself to her feet, only to drop back onto the couch as a warm fog descended over her mind. Almost mechanically, she picked up her magazine again and flipped back to the page she'd left off on. Idly she wondered if the girls needed help on their homework, but the couch was rather comfortable and this article so fascinating…
November 25, 2011
Chase Household - Cordelia's Room
God, what had her mother been smoking back when she'd come up with this monstrosity? Because while Cordelia could blame Emma for sending it to her - all in white, no less - the blonde wasn't the one who'd designed it. No, that honor went to her mother. Who'd obviously had the fashion sense of Xander when she was younger.
Whether in white leather or green spandex, the outfit was a monstrosity. A leotard over tights, knee-high boots, bracers, a cape… a cape of all things! Granted this had probably been before The Incredibles
, but seriously, Edna Mode had it right. Capes were a horrible idea. What had her mother been thinking? The only thing Cordelia actually liked about the whole ensemble was her tiara, and that was her own invention. Well, her own insofar as she'd taken the 'Phoenix Five' tiara she'd seen Anya wearing on Thanksgiving and replicated it using the piece of white metal that Emma had sent her, but still. She'd made it with her own two… err, with her mind. That had to count for something, right?
But as much as she wanted to complain about them, Cordelia was in fact grateful for the gifts Emma had sent her. Not only was it nice to have a telepathy-blocking tiara she could call her own - even if it was an alloy of real Wakandan vibranium and Frost Industries's synthetic version - but being given a uniform to go out slaying in meant she didn't have to risk her own clothes. Stores didn't exactly offer warranties or replacement plans on pants or cute shoes and even if they did, she was pretty sure that going out vampire hunting would void them.
Making her way out of her room, Cordelia shut the door behind herself and wandered downstairs… only to run into a potential problem. Her mother was in the living room, which was between her and the hallway leading to the garage. After a few seconds, she just shrugged. The woman was hardly Mother of the Year material, at least when blue girls weren't involved. She probably wouldn't even care that Cordelia was going out. And she knew something that could be of use to Cordelia, come to think of it. "Hey, Mom? Does Dad still have that crappy DeSoto in the garage? You know, the one you refuse to be seen in public riding in?"
Miriam looked up from the newspaper she was reading - Cordelia knew her well enough to assume there was probably a magazine hidden behind it - and nodded. "Last time I checked. Why?"
"Oh, was thinking of using it as a battering ram."
"…what, like driving it through a wall or something?"
"Puhlease. Like I'm that crazy. I'm going to pick it up with my powers and hurl it through the wall, of course." Cordelia honestly couldn't believe the way this conversation was unfolding. Because she was deliberately trying to sound as serious as possible, and her mother wasn't even blinking.
Maybe her mother had refined her powers enough to somehow know when Cordelia was lying… or maybe she was just a terrible parent. Either way, Miriam seemed more than happy to provide her with what she needed. "Okay. The keys should be behind mine on the rack. All the keychains and the mace help hide them so your dad can't find them. Have fun." She went back to reading material and Cordelia decided not to question her easy victory, walking past the woman casually on her way to the garage. Suddenly her mother's head snapped up, eyes raking up and down over Cordelia's body. "…wait a minute, where are you going dressed like that?"
Cordelia feigned ignorance of the problem, looking down at herself. "Hmm? Oh, you mean all the leather?" Her mother nodded. "I've been going to this S&M club across town to try and meet Mister Right, but they tossed me out when they finally figured out I had a fake ID. Since the bouncer won't let me in anymore, I'm gonna go over and make my own door."
Miriam thought about that for a moment before looking back down at her 'newspaper'. "Oh. Okay. Have fun, and try not to get marked anywhere that'll show. Your dad would probably have a stroke."
Wow. Just… wow.
November 25, 2011
Chase Household - Living Room
As the door to the garage closed behind her daughter, Miriam calmly set her copy of Cosmopolitan
down on the couch before folding up the newspaper and placing it atop the magazine. Rising to her feet as the family's crappiest car sputtered off into the night, she walked over to the French doors that looked out over the backyard and used her powers to open them with an idle flick of her wrist. "I know you're out there, Victor."
For a moment, Miriam wondered if her senses were lying to her - or if someone had discovered a way to reliably spoof a mutant's electromagnetic signature - and then a large shape melted out of the shadows. "Good. In that case, can you hurry up and go change for bed? You're messing up my schedule."
"…just because I can't kill you doesn't mean I can't make you feel pain, Victor." Miriam scowled as Victor just laughed her threat off, and then shut him up as she waved her hand and sent a patio chair flying into his head. Crossing her arms over her chest, she waited a few seconds for the fairly deep gash in his forehead to close before continuing. "Judging from the outfit, Cordelia's hired herself out to Emma. I want to know what she's doing."
Victor shrugged. "And I want the world to get its shit together and figure out space travel so I can enjoy some new scenery."
"Ten thousand to follow her until she comes back home."
While she'd heard rumors through the few connections she still had within the mutant community, Miriam had been hoping that they weren't true, or that Victor might be willing to help her for old times' sake. Evidently not. There was just one problem, at least assuming the rumors were true about the sort of non-monetary payment he preferred. "I'm married."
That just earned her another bored shrug from Victor. "Then send him out after Magnette."
God damn it. There was nothing worse than an indispensable person who realized just how indispensable they really were. Miriam sighed before slumping in defeat. "Will you at least wait until Robert leaves for a business trip on Monday?" Victor nodded. "…fine. But if Cordelia comes home with so much as a scratch on her, the deal's off." And if Cordelia didn't come home with a scratch on her, she'd be waiting just inside the door to give her daughter one…
"Don't worry, I'll take good care of Magnette. Do me a favor, though?" Victor pulled a business card out of his pocket, closing the distance between them in two large strides and sliding it down between her breasts. "Red's gonna owe me one by the end of the night too, so take a picture of what you're gonna wear for me and email it to her. I'm in the mood for twins." With that, he spun around and took off down the lawn with long, loping strides.
Reaching up, Miriam pulled the business card out of her cleavage and eyed it curiously. Senator Robert Kelly? What did he… suddenly, all the clues Victor'd given her came together in her head and she swore. Loudly. In four different languages.
November 25, 2011
van Dyne Household - Janet's Room
Kicking off of the edge of the bed, Janet launched herself into a backflip and shrunk her body just enough to eject her wings, landing nimbly on the floor of her room. She patted herself down before sighing in relief. While the note in the box had claimed her new halter-neck catsuit would shrink and grow with her the way underwear and other tight-fitting garments did, she'd wanted to make sure before taking it out in public. Because if there was one thing that didn't intimidate opponents, it was starting off a fight by having a wardrobe malfunction.
Now that she knew it worked? Janet was definitely going to adopt the catsuit as her default flying outfit. Granted she wasn't really a fan of white clothes… or white clothes with very light grey stripes along the sides and some odd chevrons in the same very light grey running down the front. But hey. It beat running - and flying - around in her underwear, especially at this time of year.
Janet wandered over to the massive aquarium that dominated the top of her dresser and tapped the glass lightly, smiling as her friends emerged from their nest and began buzzing around the inside of the tank. Ever since she'd brought them in for the winter, the wasps had been restricted to stretching their wings by flying around her room. But tonight… well, they probably wouldn't actually hurt the vampires, but they'd make an awesome distraction.
There was just one problem: she couldn't ask them to fly all the way to school and then onward to their target, but the tank was too big for her to carry easily. Especially over any real distance. Hmm. Bounding over to her bedroom door, Janet opened it and stuck her head out into the hallway as she raised her voice. "Mom! Are you doing anything?"
November 25, 2011
Sunnydale High School - Library
"…there are forty-three churches in Sunnydale. I've split them into three groups by location. Buffy, Kendra, you'll each take one of the smaller groups. My Cordettes and I will take the big group because I've got wheels and so we can cover ground faster." Waving her hand, Cordelia drove a series of red, blue, and green pins into the map laid out on the library table before looking around. "Any questions?"
Buffy's hand shot into the air. "Yeah. Who died and left you queen?"
Well, that one certainly presented Cordelia with an amazing opening. The question was… how mean did she feel like being today? Oh, who was she kidding? She always felt like being mean. "You did." Buffy's jaw dropped as Kendra snickered softly, and she shot a glare at the dark-skinned girl before sinking back into her seat and crossing her arms over her chest. "Any other questions?"
"Yeah. I'm a Chellette, not a Cordette. What am I doing?" Looking back over her shoulder, Cordelia raised an eyebrow as Brittany emerged from between the stacks with Santana close behind. While logically she'd known that Magnolia had delivered a sixth box to someone after leaving the library… Cordelia had not been expecting this. Also, why was she the only one with a horrifically unfashionable outfit? Willow got a tank top and pants, Michelle and Buffy got basic white catsuits… even Brittany got off easy with a pair of low-rise pants and a bodice. Okay, the neck corset looked a bit odd, but would probably slow down any vampires that went in for the kill. And sure, the belt covered in pouches was kinda dorky, but the pouches probably held nifty gadgets from Emma or something. Most importantly, though? Unlike her, Brittany wasn't a complete fashion disaster. Ugh. Cordelia made a mental note: email Beth as soon as she got home regarding potential alternate costume options.
Forcing herself to focus on the now, Cordelia looked from the blonde 'Chellette' to a certain blonde Slayer and back. She didn't want Brittany around, she didn't trust Buffy… two birds, one stone. "Did you bring your cell phone?" Brittany nodded. "Go with Buffy. I don't trust her to call for backup if she does find Spike."
Bristling, Buffy jerked a thumb in Kendra's direction. "But you trust the girl who'd never even seen a cell phone before she got here?"
"Pretty much, yeah." Which wasn't unreasonable in Cordelia's opinion; Kendra had proven herself perfectly capable of opening the flip phone they'd gotten her and mashing '1' until speed dial took over. Buffy, on the other hand… was Buffy. "Now that that's settled, let's…" She trailed off as the library doors swung open, revealing Janet, an aquarium full of something that wasn't water and fish… and Janet's mom. Shit. And here she thought her friend was more intelligent than… well, a wasp.
Missus van Dyne looked around the room slowly, taking in the assembled group of largely coordinating girls, before turning to the sole adult in the room. "My daughter kept insisting that she 'had' to come to school at this hour, so I agreed to drive her because I don't need her getting killed by a wild animal or some gangbanger on PCP. And what do I find? Not a school club meeting inappropriately late or cheerleading practice, but… are those swords? And does that girl have guns? What the hell is going on here?!"
And now for one of the few downsides to being the one in charge: taking responsibility when there was nobody else Cordelia could easily foist the blame off onto. "Missus van Dyne, I'm not going to lie to you." Even as the woman turned her attention to Cordelia, the green-haired girl was looking past Brittany to… "Santana?"
Swearing softly to herself in Spanish, Santana rushed across the library, moving to intercept Missus van Dyne as Janet backed away. "I'm on it. But you're going to owe me for this."
Cordelia shook her head at that. "No, Janet will owe you because you're cleaning up her mess."
"She's only here because of you. Your mess."
Ugh, fine. Cordelia waved her hand dismissively before turning her attention back to the group around the table. "We've got a ritual to stop, girls. Let's roll."
November 25, 2011
Approaching Saint Barbara Parish
"All right, so I've gotta ask… what the hell is up with the shitty wheels, Cordy? The Highlander get repo'd because your parents forgot to make a payment?"
Cordelia let out a snort, reaching across to swat Michelle's shoulder. "Funny, Red. No, I'm helping my mom take out the trash. Let's just call it a clunker buster."
Batting at Cordelia's hand, Michelle giggled at that. "Did you seriously just say 'clunker buster'? Wow. Someone needs to go to the punitentiary for that one."
"Any chance you'll pull the car over and let me and Willow out? I mean, we're the badasses here; we can take care of the vampires without you if you wanna go parking over at Kingman's Bluff or something." Scowling, Janet shifted uncomfortably in the backseat. She wasn't exactly a big girl and even she was a bit uncomfortable back here. "Although Michelle's got a point. What is this thing, and what junkyard did you find it in?"
Cordelia and Michelle exchanged looks before inching a bit further apart in the front, and then the green-haired girl answered. "Well, if you've got something against my choice of which car to borrow from my parents, I suppose next time we could… oh wait, that's right, you don't have a car. Or even a license." Flicking her blinker on, she made a left at the intersection and went a short way down the new street before slowing to a stop in front of yet another church. "Well, this is the last one on the list. Hopefully Spike is here."
As they all climbed out of the car, Michelle looked around warily. "I don't know, personally I'd rather not run into Spike again. But on the other hand… if he's not here? It means he's at one of the churches on the other two lists, and we haven't heard anything from Kendra or Brittany. If he's there instead of here, chances are someone did something stupid and… yeah."
"Guess it's a good thing that he's here then, eh?" Shrinking a few inches in height, Janet spread her wings as she fell into a ready stance, watching as a hulking form emerged from the shadows. And good God was that a big man, Janet thought, her eyes widening as she got a good look at the newcomer. While almost everyone was taller than her, this man was positively huge. If he was here to help? Awesome. If not? This was going to be one hell of a fight. The blonde looked the group over slowly before focusing on two members in particular. "Lil Red. Runt. Miss me?"
Michelle sighed loudly, reaching up to pinch the bridge of her nose as Janet and Cordelia looked at the pair of cousins curiously. "Like a self-inflicted gunshot wound. What are you doing here, Victor? And does this mean Mom is around somewhere too?"
Shaking his head, Victor made his way over to the group and ruffled Willow's hair affectionately. "Nah, she had to get back to Los Angeles for… work. But don't worry. Uncle Victor's here to keep an eye on you. Mostly because she's paying me to, but… details."
For some reason, Michelle didn't look too happy about that. Or… actually, Janet wasn't quite sure what the redhead's expression meant, but it definitely wasn't a positive emotion. "Mom's… paying… you?"
"Uh huh." Victor grinned widely before jerking a thumb in Cordelia's direction. "Magnette's mom is too. Gotta tell you, nothing beats being paid to do the same job twice."
Based on the shudder and expression of horror that elicited, Michelle definitely knew something. But while the gossip in Janet desperately wanted to know… they had a job to do. "Um, as fascinating as this all is… can someone get the trunk for me? The faster we take care of business, the less time I have to let Santana mess with my mom's head."
Cordelia stretched out her arm and jerked it upward, causing the trunk of the car to fly upward with the squeal of tortured metal. "If I were you, I'd pull the entire tank out instead of just opening it. I mean, if you want the tank to survive the next few minutes." Nodding rapidly, Janet returned to her full size as she rushed over to the trunk, awkwardly wrestling the aquarium out and staggering over to set it down on the church's lawn. Flipping the lid open, she freed her six-legged friends and watched as a stream of wasps raced upward into the air. They circled around Janet's shoulders a few times before… flying over to Cordelia? The green-haired girl went very still as the cloud of wasps swirled around her body, eventually clustering around her hips. "Janet? What's going on?"
β Hey guys, c'mere. You're freaking out Cordelia.
β Janet still had no idea how this particular ability of hers worked. She knew it wasn't like being a parseltongue or anything because she wasn't actually 'speaking' per se. However it worked, though, it let her communicate with insects… and command them when necessary. As the swarm returned to her, Janet held out her hand and waited for a dozen or so to land before bringing them up to her face. β I thought I told you to be cool? You guys know you freak most people the hell out.
β My bad.
β Sorry, Cordelia!
β It's not our fault, though.
β Yeah, I mean, look at the size of that thing!
β Dat ass!
β Baby got back.
Okay, she knew her wasps were smarter than the average bug but… wow. Janet couldn't help but giggle as she met Cordelia's curious gaze. "They're, uh, kinda like a giant colony of frat boys. They were checking out your ass."
Cordelia blinked several times before shaking her head. "Of course they were. Because that's my life these days. All right, let's get this show on the road. Everyone out of the way." Furrowing her brow in concentration, she stretched out both arms toward the car. With a soft grunt of exertion, she raised her arms and it slowly floated up off the ground, defying gravity in the grip of her magnokinetic powers. Then she sighed and carefully set the car back down. "…except this isn't one of the abandoned churches, so I can't do that. Damn it. Okay, time for Plan B." She paused for a beat and then looked around. "Anyone got a Plan B?"