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This is

Îïóáëèêîâàíî: 2021-04-08 00:33:12
Ýòîò òåêñò äîñòóïåí ïî àäðåñó: http://ontext.info/139137
This is Older-than-Time….and my very...very first attempt...at a story with plot, death, violence and porn.

I expect myself to fail.

But this will be a learning experience for everyone.

An exceptionally painful, drawn-out learning experience that we’re all likely to regret ever putting ourselves through.

So here it goes.

----------------------------

Living out a Fantasy
Escaping His Hands
Or

How one asshole almost destroyed everything by living according to his libido
How an abused son escaped his father to live the life he always wanted
----------------------------

It was early morning. I sat on the roof of my apartment building, staring at my watch. My target was a young brown-haired girl that ran along this street every morning.

[6:27am]

And...right about…

*tap-tap-tap-tap-tap*

...now.

Taylor Hebert ran down the street in calf-length sweat shorts and a light hoodie. She passed by several houses and came to a stop right at the crosswalk. I watched as she bounced in place, waiting for the ‘WALK’ light to come on.

‘WORM and Wildbow really didn’t do any of these people justice.’ was my main thought during the initial days of my existence here in Brockton. I’d spent a good portion of my first day lounging in the library going through old newspapers and browsing the (in)famous PHO Forums.

It was almost exactly like Sufficient Velocity and Questionable Questing, only more arguments on superpowers and a lot less speculation about fictional characters. Made sense when there are actual heroes and villains that you can stalk/ogle in every damn city.

‘Hmmm...Skitter is way too much a critic about her looks.’ I observed the teenager jogging right below. She wasn’t that plain or even ugly at all. More like midway between awkward teen and svelte jailbait. Taylor stopped at another crosswalk and I watched as she stretched, reaching down to touch her toes. ‘Ass is well-toned and those legs really need to be shown off…’

I glanced at my watch...

[6:38am]

..and noted the time. The girl was like clockwork with her workout. I just had to time things right and I’d bag my first target.

-------------------
Powerset (Non-CYOA):
Fire and Forget or “The World has Forgotten the Existence”
Blaster 5/Master 9
Target (Line of Sight, 30 feet, Instant)
Prepare Shot = 10 seconds
CD = 0

Pick a target. Choose a concept, force, etc. That person will forget or that concept in regards to that person will be ‘forgotten’ by existence.

Ex-1: Person Target [Breath] = Target has forgotten how to breath.
Ex-2: Building Target [Stability] = Target is unstable and slightest force will cause it to topple
Ex-3: Person Target [Suspicion - Host] = Target is very friendly with Host.
-------------------------

The next morning, I watched as Taylor Hebert jogged along the opposite street once again. I timed her carefully as I slowly ate my breakfast while leaning against the bus stop. I’d done this every other day for the past three weeks, tracking her movements. I wasn’t sure what powers she had in this setting; canon was...manageable in small doses...maybe.

Some AU would completely smash me. I really hoped this was a ‘good’ setting.

I glance at her passing form and nod. She returned the gesture and zoomed past, just a bit faster than last time.

She left my sight and I noted the time. Exactly 6:38am, as usual.

Three more days…

------------------------

Three days passed and I was standing at the bus stop. Taylor was running down my street again, only this time, she stopped right by me. She looked almost confused by the change in the routine.

I glanced at her and nodded. She responded in kind…

Wait for it…

...and spoke.

“H-hi...aren’t you supposed to ride the bus tomorrow?”

I stared at her with some minor vestiges of awe hidden under my jacket hood.

She sounded...well...fucking hell, it’s almost Summer Glau’s voice, i.e. River Tam... Only more tentative and less...well...kickass?

I nodded and took a bit out of my breakfast sandwich. This one was put together more sloppily than previous versions and dripped oil on the sidewalk.

“Covering a shift. You run every day?” I kept it as casual as I could. If she even suspected… I suppressed visions of the biblical strike she could possibly call upon me. She nodded and I held out a hand. “Jeffrey Moreau.”"Alonso Vasil"

She shook it. “Taylor Hebert...so uh, good luck with that shift.” She jogged off and I watched her tight behind.

Okay, tomorrow it was. There’s no way I can wait any longer.

------------------

The part of me that was still screaming about propriety and morals was drowned out by libido. Part of me was yelling that I was a sick bastard for doing this. The rest of me shouted that down, noting the svelte teenager naked in my shower.

It had been drizzling earlier and as Taylor was jogging down my street, I ‘shot’ the puddle by the road as a car passed, making it ‘forget’ pieces of physics and allowed its contents to splash up with greater force than usual and utterly soak the poor girl. She screamed in shock and I used that brief moment to fire off another ‘shot’, this time targeting her.

And another shot.

And then a third.

The first made her forget about being suspicious of me, making me a trusted friend. The second targeted portions of her morals. Made her think it was perfectly alright to ask friends to use their shower and not care about age.

And the third was to make her forget about us only meeting a few days ago, letting her own mind fill in the gaps.

So here we were, with a young girl in my shower and me getting ready to fire a few more shots. I had to be careful, seeing as two previous test subjects went nutso and killed themselves I was too eager and made them forget about non-essential bodily functions and focus entirely on sex. They went at it for two weeks before dying of heart failure, dehydration and extreme exhaustion.

Police thought there might have also been asphyxiation via lack of ventilation or something. I just answered their questions, seeing as I was on the same floor.

“No, I didn’t know them well at all. I just finished unpacking, actually. Borrowed a hammer from the guy…”
“I haven’t been here long enough to know the girl well. Amazing way to go, though.”

That was five months ago and well...I had pick my target. Taylor’s bad luck with jogging right by my place…

“Hey Jeff? Can you pass me a towel?” I took a deep breath and readied the first of the new ‘shots’. I went over and held the towel through the small opening, hitting her hand with my prepared shot. There was a shudder and I watched as the door opened a bit further, giving me a tantalizing view of her bare back as she dried herself off.

Target [Modesty - Host]

I smirked, taking a step into the small bathroom. I slowly placed my hands on her hips as she bent over to wipe her legs. She froze in place and I fired off the next shot, making her forget her shyness towards me completely, giving her a more...confident and open attitude towards me. There was an untensing and she pushed her ass against my hips. I let out a relieved sigh and began grinding my clothed crotch against her. Taylor began breathing harder and braced herself against the toilet and sink.

“E-enjoying yourself, Jeff?”

‘Okay, a few more shots to go.’ I chuckled and snarked back. “I dunno; your ass is covered by this damn towel…” She giggled and muttered ‘dirty old man’. I backed off and she ushered me out of the room, closing the door behind her. I let out another deep breath and powered up my next two prepared shots.

These were Target [Restraint Minor - Host] and Target [Not in Love Host]. I felt a little surge of sick guilt, but reminded myself of the tight ass that was rubbing against me moments before. Only a few more minutes and I’d be pounding away at her cunt.

“Hey, you got a shirt for me to wear? My top and hoodie are soaked through.”

I called back through the door. “And what about pants?” There was a brief pause and I waited eagerly for the slightest sign of willingness so I didn’t need to use these two shots…

“Why would I need those? You and I both know what’s gonna happen next.”

I silently fistpumped and took out a plain white button up with long sleeves. Time for a some fantasy fulfillment if she’s this forward right now. I passed it through the crack, not getting a free show this time. A muffled ‘Thanks, you dirty perv’ was heard and I plopped onto my bed, staring right at the door.

Moment of truth.

A few seconds and the door slowly swung open with her looking shy in the slightly-oversized button up. It was mostly done up, except for the three top buttons with the hem ending right below her butt. As I finished my perusal, my eyes went up to her face and she had the smuggest smirk…

“Enjoying the view?”

I grinned. “Yes. Now, get over here…” I gestured and she took two long strides. I groaned at the tiniest glimpses of her muff just below the hem. “Fucking tease…” She nodded and sidled up against me. I was just tall enough for me to get a good glimpse down the shirt. She had just enough up top to give her a nice shape in that thin shirt, but if I got a little creative with my shots, size wouldn’t be an issue in the near future.

“So, you’ve got me here...in your room...on your bed. I’m guessing you had some sort of plan?” Taylor hedged around the subject and I...actually wasn’t in the mood at all to play.

I wanted her...now.

Not a word was said. I just grabbed her and pinned her to the mattress. She squealed and looked at me warily. A brief pause was all I gave myself to take in the sight of her in such a vulnerable state before I pressed my lips against hers. The kiss was forceful, unromantic and just needy. I wanted out of these damn pants and to shove my cock into her. It was only the vestiges of the ‘chivalrous’ me that held back shoving myself right in.

She pushed me away for a moment and grabbed at my pants’ opening. “Get these fucking pants off.”

I needed no other invitation.

-----

Smutty-smut-below!

-----

There was little fanfare or foreplay.

After getting off my pants, I shoved myself to the hilt into her wet warmth, eliciting a squeal of pain from her. Her legs wrapped around my waist and I plunged in and out of her cunt with large thrusts. She muffled her cries into my neck, sinking her teeth into my flesh with every pump.

I had considered being gentle and kind in our first coupling. But with how willing and wet she was right now, all I could think about was filling her up. I wanted to fill her to the brim. I wanted her snatch to be dripping with my cum and her own juices.

Hell, I wanted to knock up the hero of a thousand worlds.

As she whimpered and moaned beneath my body, I took my time to appreciate her tight cunt. She was like velvet and each thrust met her deepest depths. She wasn’t particularly deep nor was I particularly large.

We fit just enough that the stretching she had to do was pleasurable rather than painful.

Didn’t mean that her first time wasn’t painful. It was, judging from the tears sliding down her cheeks. Our deep panting fogged up the windows and the lenses of her skewed glasses.

I upped the tempo, shortening my thrusts to short bursts of speed that left her gasping for breath and hands scrabbling to find purchase on my back and sheets.

I was close and with some effort, a shot would bring her to orgasm at the same moment, multiple times to be sure. I wanted her to remember this coupling. I wanted this first time to be the one she would never be able to match.

I wanted her to be mine of her own will...in a manner of speaking.

“J-Jeff! So-something...I...I’m gonna…!” She was tightening up to an almost painful vice. M thrusts became frantic…

“S-same here...I’m gonna fill you up...gonna pump everything I got right into you, Taylor.” She whimpered and tried to match my rhythm. Her hips smacked against mine at an almost painful pace.

We were both so close and…!

Taylor bit into my neck again, drawing blood as her body shook from the series of orgasms my power unleashed from her core. The spasms sent me over the edge and I spilled my seed within her.

It was good...better than good really.

We rode out her orgasms together as I flooded her insides with cum.

-----

Smut-End

-----

I laid back, staring at the ceiling. The cheap fan up top slowly spun, strangely in time with the fingers running along my chest. Right beside me was the exhausted body of Taylor Hebert, my third conquest of this setting.

Because honestly, with my powers, it was a given that I lived a few fantasies the moments I got here.

“Three rounds...wow…” Her breathy tones stirred me up again. I looked down, taking in her body again. At first, it was just needy lust-fueled fucking. Then after plowing her roughly to sate my hunger, I took some time to really explore the tight body that saved a thousand worlds in another life. She was soft, yet a little bony in places. Her mouth was just a bit too wide for her face. Really, her best features at this point were her really lustrous hair and how tone she is.

It made me think of how low her self esteem was if she thought she was ugly...and thank whatever power sent me here and gave me my powers.

“Yep. Up for another?” Her wide eyed stare got me laughing, She pouted and smacked my arm.

------------------------------

I watched as Taylor set off back home, hoping to god that my ‘shots’ didn’t completely screw everything up. I needed her semi...kinda...okay, I needed her mostly okay if this world was gonna be saved.

And I needed to see if I could actually do any biokinetic bullshit with my powers. I could either go to the PRT or try and get New Wave to help me.





I smacked myself for considering just mastering a few members. Their changed behavior would be too noticeable to their families.

Planning time.

-------------------------


As nice as all these comments are, have a chapter!

---------------------

I’m fairly sure this is a stupid idea…

Gathering my courage, I knocked on the Dallon’s front door. It was a nice place in the richer part of town, A damn two-story townhouse in great shape, obviously having some landscaping company and gardener doing the lawn and had a pool out back.

I would have admired it more if not for the sudden wave of [AMAZING!!!] that washed over me. I staggered, breathing hard as the door opened; Victoria Dallon, aka Glory Girl was standing right there.

Get on your knees and worship me!
I grant you the privilege of gazing upon me,
Now get on your fucking knees and you may lick the heel of my-

“Vicky, aura!”

And it faded, leaving me dazed. I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. Someone’s helping me up and...there’s voices.

“I am so sorry, I was just excited and then you got here and-”

Forcing myself, I concentrate on the concept [Aura] and shoot myself...then everything snaps into focus. I’m in the Dallon’s living room being checked over by Panacea while Flashbang and Brandish are reprimanding Glory Girl. Panacea suddenly grips me hard with a slightly scary look on her face.

“What did you do? You just...snapped back to normal…”

That got the attention of everyone in the room. Another wave envelops me, [FEAR] made manifest and I managed to stutter out, “C-cape, me. Self-Mastering...I...oh gods.”

Fear me! Death and despair are all you shall have.

“Aura!” It snaps out and I find Brandish right before me. Her hands are glowing just a bit and I don’t doubt that she could lop off my head in and instant. “Now, I’m sorry for Victoria, but it would be best if you explained why you’re here.”

All I could do was nod and explain.

One explanation, two more Aura waves and a near-pummeling later...

“...and after figuring out there was some sort of healing thing I could do, I came here.” I finished my explanation. The Dallon’s were arrayed around me with Brandish and Flashbang the closest. Panacea and Glory Girl were on the other side of the room, just in case.

“So, you hoped Amy would be willing to help supervise a healing session. I’m sure you haven’t approached the hospital yet?” I shook my head and Brandish nodded approvingly. “We’ll have to get you something to conceal your identity, possibly one of Mark’s old masks. We’ll all go to the hospital to see how this goes. Also, why not go to the PRT?”

I shudder, actually shudder at that question. I’d done a lot of research so I could argue my case and well… “I’ve read the ‘reports’ on what happens to Master capes. Thy go in and no one hears from them ever. I...I don’t want to disappear like Simon Says, Heartstopper and Finley.”

At the glances to Glory Girl, I figured that the Dallons’ feared the same thing. Probably why they were agreeing to help me.

I just hoped they never learned about me lying about my ‘limitations’.

----------------

So here we were...at the hospital...with the Dallons…

...and a squad of PRT troopers led by Miss Militia as well.

“All you have to do is attempt to heal or alleviate this man’s illness. Do nothing else. Panacea will be standing by if you feel anything is going wrong.” So that plan had been to just go to the hospital, but the PRT and Protectorate butted in. They had one of their troopers who called in sick ‘volunteer’ to be my test subject. He was in full gear and face mask while his ‘friends’ were at the ready with foam sprayers.

And Miss Militia had a fucking shotgun.

I just nodded and got the prepped shots ready. Pointing a single finger at the man, I fired off three shots.

Target [Illness]
Target [Disease]
Target [Unwellness]

I was fairly sure that did the trick. A brief pause and I said it should be done. Miss Militia had me stand to the side as Panacea checked him over.

“He’s completely healthy; actually in better health than he was prior to getting sick. Let’s see...everything is operating at peak efficiency, actually. My only concern are side effects; hold him under observation for a few days, just in case.” Miss Militia congratulated me, shifted her shotgun to a big ass knife and left. The troopers followed after. There was a brief mention of joining the Protectorate and New Wave had something to ask me.

Then there was the paperwork.

Lots and lots of paperwork. My hand ached and my brain felt like it was leaking out of my ears. Luckily, Panacea and Glory Girl were willing to help supervise an hour or two of healing at the hospital. Together, we slowly explored the limitations of my healing mechanism…

There were none, actually. Just made them believe I was limited to ‘things that weren’t right/natural’.

All in all, a good day.

-------------------

And thus, a whole month and a half passed. I spent my time either at work, cooking overpriced imitation patties, at the hospital healing alongside Panacea or at my apartment...sexing up an energetic teenager who was slowly discovering how awesome sex is.

Mistakes were made.

-------------------

“Ugh, damn it...you...are...way...too...tight!” Groaning, I released myself into her. The freaking nympho moaned from above me and laid herself across my chest. Both of us wreaked and were soaked in sweat.

Not...as...planned…

I did not anticipate this. I did not even guess that this girl would be the damned energizer Bunny of Sex.

“Hah...hah...u-up for another round...Jeff?” Her request was met by a pained groan from me.

“Th-the spirit is willing, girl. But the flesh is sp-spongy and weak…” There was a slight shuffling and I felt a small hand grip my softened shaft; pumping and squeezing and caressing…

“How about now?” I hugged the conniving wench close and growled into her hair.

My breath hitched as she began nibbling at my ear whilst rubbing my shaft. Now it was a fucking challenge.

“...give me five minutes to catch my breath and I’ll fucking pound your pussy raw.”

“Promises, promises…”

Another two rounds of squealing and moaning later…

“A-are you tired yet?” I gasped, aching like hell. Damn girl was gonna kill me… Taylor merely hummed against my chest and cuddled against me. She giggled and there was a slight feeling of irony for the situation.

Being Taylor Hebert was Suffering, until she gets mastered by a creepy older guy into being his personal sex bunny. Then life is awesome because she’s loved, worshipped and made mentally well by orgasm.

How’s that for fucking irony?

I noticed her starting to doze off and remembered that she had to get home. I shook her back awake and we both got dressed. Just as I walked her out, she turned and gave me a long hard kiss. Then she left.

And said “I love you…” in a fading whisper.

Fuck

--------------------------

“Yo, you buyi-hurk!”

My fist slammed into the stomach of one of the many drug dealers infesting the Docks area. Clad in thick, concealing clothing, a scarf over my mouth and the mask given to me by New Wave, I was dishing out as much hurt I could to these lowlifes.

All while trying to drown out my own guilt; drown out how much of a lowlife I felt like at the moment.

I love you…

Grabbing the dealer’s guard, I shot him with a Target [Physical Strength] set for thirty seconds. The big guy was completely helpless against me as I pummeled his face into the ground.

I love you…

Firing off a second shot, this one a Target [Gravity - Minor] at .5 second duration, I tossed him down the alley. The brief moment of lessened gravitational force gave me the power to throw him thirty feet down the pathway.

I love you…

Both of the fuckers scrambled away as I caught my breath. Sagging against the wall, I stared at my hands. They were shaking.

“Hey, they got away.” I looked up and found two Wards looking down at me from the roof’s edge. One was clad in blue armor while the second was shrouded in a black cloak.

Gallant and Shadow Stalker

I waved at them and both came down to me. Gallant hovered down slowly while Stalker fell down in her shadow-fog form.

“You’re that healer New Wave supervised today.” Gallant spoke as if surprised by my presence. I nodded and held out a hand. He shook it while Stalker was looking around, noting the mess from the beatdown. “Why are you here beating up dealers, if you don’t mind me asking? I figured a healer would be out...healing and stuff…”

Stalker scoffed at that. I just shrugged; the kid could probably read my mood. My guilty conscience made me want to confess to the heroes...well, hero. Shadow Stalker is a bitch and I think giving her to Taylor would be an awesome apology gift for Mastering her into happiness.

“Messed up with someone in my civilian identity. Needed to let loose on assholes who deserve having their faces smashed in.” That earned an approving nod from the black-clad menace; not sure I appreciated that.

Soon enough, the two were off and I was headed into a different direction. I had some tests I wanted to run and useless druggies were the perfect test subjects. And sure enough, not even a block away was another fucking drug dealer.

Fucking Merchants.

I shot him and his lookout with a Target [Locomotion] and Target [Balance]. Both fell bonelessly to the ground. They began cussing up a storm so I shot them again, this time with Target [Voice]. Then they fell silent, eyes wide and wild. Grabbing them both, I dragged them into the open doorway where…

...I snarled under my breath as I saw some ugly homeless-looking fucker raping some girl. She was tied down and gagged while he repeatedly plowed his filthy cock into her bleeding snatch. Not even thinking, I snapped off a shot.

It struck him and he just went still...and fell over.

Target [Alive]

He was dead and the girl just looked at me with utter terror. I dropped my prisoners and went over to her. Taking hold of her gag, I spoke softly. “I’m a new hero. I’m gonna free you, heal you up and you run home as fast as you can. I’m gonna make sure these assholes pay. Understand?”

She nodded. I took off her gag and untied her. Calling back the shots I used on the trooper, I used similar concepts to heal this poor girl.

Target [Sickness]
Target [Disease]
Target [Unwellness]

Right before my eyes, the girl healed up. The red marks from her bindings, scratches and hickeys and even the blood itself was gone. She just looked at herself in amazement.

“You’re back to the way you were before these monsters hurt you.” She stared at me in shock. I nodded at the implication. “Everything is healed. Now get outta here and don’t tell anyone this happened. I’ll deal with them.”

And so she ran off, leaving me with two horrified druggies and one dead rapist. I looked back at the two and decided ‘humane test procedures’ were for actual doctors.

“Okay, boys. I’m a new cape and I need to learn how not to hurt people when I heal or modify their bodies. You two get to be my guinea pigs. Don’t bother protesting or begging; you still can’t talk or scream.”

------------------------

It was almost midnight when I got to my apartment. I dragged myself through the door and hurled my guts out into the sink. Turns out, when you make yourself temporarily put aside morals and shit, the backlash when you get them back is a bitch.

I was really not cut out for SCIENCE!!!

And discoveries. I apparently do have limitations concerning body modification. Literally at limit of one’s current potential. I cannot create what is not possible for the human body. That being said, making someone a Brute or Mover 1 is easily doable.

Anything above that and their bodies just break apart from the stress. I think that maybe a more fit person would be able to be boosted up to Brute 2, but...well...watching a druggie explode into salsa holds me back just a bit.

Shrugging mentally, I get my costume off and into my closet. My apartment was almost pitch black and I just collapsed onto my bed.

“Argh, fuck that hurt!” I scrambled off the bed, cursing at whatever was laying on there. From the groaning coming from under the blankets, I should be cursing whoever was laying there. I got up and found Taylor…

...in my bed…

...wearing some sexy silk number that highlighted her budding curves and toned figure.

Sweet Jesus…

Then the fact that it was near-black silk and almost uniformly smooth hit me. It looked like what spider silk was theorized to look like when weaved. Like what many fanfic authors described Skitter’s costume to be like.

Fuck…

“Ow, you’re freaking heavy, Jeff.” The sexy little nymph on the bed glared at me, having been rudely awoken by the near-two hundred pounds of me dropping on her. I just stared at her.

Because this could end in a wave of bugs and spiders.

Because Skitter.

“H-hey babe...nice uh...really nice…” She just huffed and huddled back under the covers. Probably not in the mood after falling asleep and shit.







“Are you wearing a domino mask?” Her inquiry was both incredulous and laced with suspicion. I just facepalmed and learned that I was indeed still wearing the mask.

“...uh...no, this is just a weird dream you’re having.”

The deadpan stare informed me that she was not amused. My life expectancy was dropping by the moment…

------------------------

So then came the explanations.

And power reveal.

And me accusing her of having powers.

And her having every bug hidden in the entire building swarming my ceiling.

“I’m sorry I hid being a cape. Please don’t cover me with the skittering mass of crawling chitin and biting fangs.” I was on all fours, begging the benevolent goddess clad in wonderful silk and glaring with emotionless eyes.

“...wE aRE NOt AMusED…”

I whimpered and shuddered as several black widows crawled all over my legs and arms. I was dead. So utterly dead.

Skitter has discovered my treachery and found me wanting.

I was gonna- “YOu wILl GivE ME ORGasms or die.”

...I can work with that.

-----------------------------------




Ah, more people talking about my news story. Happiness is found.

And so is the next chapter!

-----------------------

Panting and groaning, I powered on as best I could. After finding out I had powers, Taylor turned into a harsh taskmistress with little love or softness when it came to me being on the sidelines.

Because no way in hell was I not being a hero.

“Huff...huff...huff...b-babe, can I rest now?”

“nO…” The hiding swarm of widow-carrying wasps took flight from their hiding spots amongst the gargbage.

“Running! Running faster!” I pushed myself harder, drawing on reserves I had no idea I had. All the while, my beloved silk-clad overlady jogged just ahead of me. And boy, did my pseudo-biokinesis work wonders on her ass.

------------

“S-so babe...uh...c-can you get rid of the swarm...please? I’m really, really...really allergic to bugs.” Not a lie, because I am. I’m allergic to death by a thousand stings and bites.

The hovering, swarming, wall-crawling mass never ceased moving. It moved, wriggled and skittered across itself in an ever moving, slightly hypnotic being.

“YoU haVE fivE SEConds tO TEll mE tHE TRUth…” And thus I crumpled like a bitch.

“So...I have powers...healing and some biokinesis stuff...I-I...I went to New Wave to see if they could help me out! Been doing that for the past month...oh, gods...widows, not liking them!” The spiders, all of the ones above me descended on thin strings to surround my kneeling form. They stopped within an inch of touching my form.

“I want to believe you’re not lying to me, Jeff.” Great, she got rid of the Swarm voice, but that lilting whisper is still scary as fuck. It’s like River Tam is threatening me… “But after Emma and Sophia and all their cronies…” She sauntered off the bed and cupped my face. Good god, I had was both scared and so hard right now… “I have to be sure. I really do love you, Jeff. I want to make sure you...never...ever...betray me…”

And there are spiders in my hair, on my shirt, on my pants in my face!!! I shudder in place as she gets the craziest look in her eyes.

Mistakes were made. Yandere Detected!

‘M-maybe I can fire off a shot to make her forg-NEVERMIND!!!’ Two spiders (black widows) crawled up and held themselves right...on...my...eyes. I whimpered.

“Here’s what we’re going to do, Jeff~” Oh gods, my WHY?!-boner is killing me right now. “I’m going to hide my swarm. Then we’re going to have sex until you pass out. Then I’m going to wake you up for more sex. We will keep going until I leave for school. You will go out and be an amazing hero and pick me up from school. There will be more sex. Are we clear?”

I didn’t move, for the Swarm was all over me. She gripped my chin and placed a feather-light kiss on my lips and whispered in my ear. “Are...we...clear...Jeff?”

I nodded once and thus the longest bout of heart-pounding, ass-clenching terror-induced 'I-don't-wanna-die' sex commenced. She made good on her demands and my feeble mortal body did what it could to please our new overlady.

Because she is always watching.

Always…

--------------------

We made quite a pair. Two costumed individuals jogging through the park just at the border between the South Docks and Downtown. People passed us by, some asked for my autograph, some wanted to know about my partner and others (the Protectorate) just wanted to talk.

I think Armsmaster and Gallant may have noticed my undercurrent of [HOLY-FUCK-SCARED!!! I-wanna bone-her-so-bad], but I insisted that it was my partner’s motivational methods. The male half of the heroes glances at Skitter’s silk-clad and much-improved figure and agreed that I had my reasons.

Even New Wave managed to get to know Skitter… And can I say that being able to shunt your emotions into your insect swarm is bullshit? I swear I reset my Forget-Glory-Girl’s-Aura shot, but I still get hit with it. Maybe a limitation or something? Needs more testing…

“So, this your girlfriend?” Laserdream was amazing as ever in her shiny bodysuit, though she glanced jealously between Taylor and myself. The clear difference in body shape was eye-catching. I nodded as I caught my breath. She’s my girlfriend alright. My scary yandere bug-controlling girlfriend.

“Skitter. Nice to meet you all.” The introductions were exchanged and the teen members of New Wave eventually left. They did mention that I would be really helpful if I headed to the hospital soon; Panacea was heading there and a large group of medical tourists were noted to be there as well.

“Wanna head there after some food?” Turns out shooting myself with Target [Fear of girlfriend] only works in small doses when it comes to yandere and Skitter. Thus, I prepped a good dozen of the damn things just to be able to function correctly around her.

I was slowly adapting to them, needing to use them less often with each shot.

It was around a block or so from the hospital that I noted something very concerning about my girlfriend’s amazing costume. It was too sexy for public view. Don’t get me wrong, I loved...loved the way it complimented the figure I blasted into existence as a sort of appeasement for not telling her about my ‘biokinesis’ sooner. Thus, my junk was saved by the creation of completely a natural-seeming set of breasts and ass. I greatly enjoyed how they slightly jiggled with each step she took…

...but...well…

...other guys getting a good look at my girlfriend’s curves was really getting annoying. And given that I haven’t yet informed her on the Master aspects of my power, making a damn SEP field around her tits and ass was a no go…

...yet.

Maybe a thick silk cloak will work? I could probably afford it once I get my going-rates set.

Because no way in hell was I healing dozens, if not hundreds of people for free. I actually won that argument with Taylor. She wanted me to be a damn hero all the time and I needed the funds to support my new life choice (made by my girlfriend).

Thus, setting going rates for noncritical healing and high-to-obscene rates for body modification was accepted. I wasn’t allowed to make cancer patients or dying persons pay for healing on threat of ALL THE BUGS. But I was allowed to make assholes pay for curing their cold, gout and giving them a tune up.

I even had a set rate for breast size, dependent upon the starting size and the end product. Taylor’s idea, after I explained my actual limits in body modification. Giving her D’s was manageable. DD’s took effort and lots of food. Making them the size of watermelons was outright impossible.

And adding in me having to register as an Affiliate with the PRT...well...I was making money. Not a lot, but enough to move into the nicer part of town, buy a motorcycle and appear respectable in my new costume. It followed New Wave’s color scheme somewhat, though a pale green trim for my healer getup rather than Panacea’s iconic red cross on white robes.

Did you know that the fucking Salvation Army and the Red Cross sponsors New Wave? Because I didn’t! And I was officially a part of that deal too, just by virtue of being a healer! Well, every hero and rogue healer in the United States was sponsored by those guys. Requests for emergency healings and such were made by those organizations and transport and shit was paid by them in full; the PRT actually fought to get that privilege be exclusive to them, but the courts went in favor of the nonprofits.

I-

“-n’t do that! Making me pay to heal my son’s illness?! He could be dying and you’re making me pay forty dollars for healing!” I sighed and stared at the harpy yelling at me. The kid in question was hiding in his mother’s skirts. He maybe ten and looked embarrassed as hell.

“Ma’am, your son has a cold, not smallpox or salmonella. Trivial stuff like that holds up the healing of more critical patients, like Mr. Dynamite over there. He has brain cancer that I should be healing right now. But no, you’re screaming at me for passing over a noncritical illness.” The whole ER was now staring at the reddening woman. I continued. “Either you stand aside and let me get to the important ones in the room and I’ll heal the kid of his damn cold.”

Taylor and I strode past her and began going through the ‘freebies’ first. And given that I healed a lot quicker and could actually affect brains, I got the stupid stuff that Panacea shouldn’t bother with.

Also got the ones she couldn’t help with. Stupid morals on brains. But then again... I glanced at Taylor making butterflies dance by the kids’ area. Maybe she has the right idea.

Thus, four hours was spent going through the ever-filling ER of critical injuries. The mother and son had long since left after I shot the kid with something to enhance his immune system for an hour. That should let him push past the worst of his cold and the bitch paid only half.

Bitch.

“So, James. How’re you doing?” I stood in front of the man who just might by Clockblocker’s dad. Not sure, since fanon says their name’s Dynamite while WOG says it’s something else. Still, the guy had brain cancer. He went into remission three times and still the fucking tumor came back.

“Doing alright. Tumor popped up again and my headaches came back. You sure you can get rid of this?” I knew I couldn’t do it by myself and I told him as much. “Not really. My power doesn’t work that way. What I can do is force the cancer cells to die out without you going through chemo. It’ll take a few visits and some CT scans to make sure. We’re also putting me as on-call if you ever go into remission so I can kill that fucking blot, okay?”

The firm handshake and hidden tears were all I needed. Maybe Taylor had a point with being a hero?

“You tell him to get the fuck over here or I’ll sue!” I facepalmed as an argument got the attention of everyone...again. Over by the receptionist was some redhead guy in a suit arguing with Taylor. “Get the fucking healer here and make him help my daughter, or God help me I will bring him up for malpractice!”

I made my way over. “That would be kinda hard since I’m not a doctor, a physician or even a surgeon. I’m a volunteer and thus protected by the Good Samaritan Act. And the Helpful Hero Acts, now that I think of it.” I held out my hand and gave my best smile to the asshole. He grudgingly shook it and introduced himself.

“Alan Barnes, divorce attorney at Hewitt, Dully and Dallon. My daughter was assaulted by some punks at her school. Broke her arm and cracked some teeth. She’s a model and a top student; I need you to heal her. Money’s no object.” Ah...Barnes. I didn’t even glance at Taylor as the fucker pulled out a damned checkbook. Luckily, bureaucracy comes to my rescue.

“Sure, just fill out the forms like everyone else. Brandish made them and well, they’re really important by the way she tells it. It doesn’t matter how long its been since she’s injured; I can fix it. So let me get through the last of the cancer people and I’ll help out...uh...Emma, alright?” He frowned but nodded.

Crisis and biblical plague averted.

“...I don’t want you to heal her.” I glance back and Taylor’s masked face is right there. Looking around, I drag her out of the way.

“Can I ask why?” Well, I knew why. I just wanted her to justify it.

“She...she and her friends made me trigger. Locked me in…” She shuddered and hugged me. I returned the hug, though I tried to ignore the fucking spiders in her hair. “Don’t heal her…”

But I had to deny her this petty revenge. For even pettier revenge!

“Babe, I’m charging him through the fucking roof for this. And hitting his daughter with some stuff that’ll take away that pretty figure of hers. Maybe make some hair fall out?” The whispered words made her giggle. The promises for tonight made me happy in turn.

“Alright...that should be fine…” She sauntered away and a few guys nearby gave me silent congratulations on landing that ass.

-----------------------

I sat inside the hospital cafeteria, munching on some sadly bland food. Taylor had pulled up her mask enough so that she could eat as well. There was a small area around us that was utterly devoid of people; guess doctor’s didn’t like that I charged for healing…

“So, he signed the waivers?” I nodded. “How will we explain the...you know...effects?”

“Easy enough. Emma’s been healed by Panacea before and it’s on record that my healing undoes some of her stuff. So yeah…” I shrug. “It’s bound to happen and better yet, Barnes can’t sue me.” And the conversation ended, with Taylor imagining horrible, horrible things for her tormentor while I stared blatantly at the breasts I crafted into perfection.

*breath* Ogle. *breath* Ogle.

“So...my dad’s getting curious and I told him about where I’m going all the time.” And wouldn’t you know it, she times that just as I’m taking a fucking drink. I spew the juice across the table and sputter at her incredulously.

“A-*cough*-and?” She stares at me.

“I want you to meet him.” And I stare at her. Really?

“...you want me to meet your father. The same father who doesn’t know you have powers or that you’re having sex with an older guy.” I whisper that last part, just in case. Because doctors gossip. Scrubs says so. Taylor has a counterargument ready...fucking trap.

“I did my research. I’m fifteen. You’re...well, you say you’re nineteen…” I sigh and take out my ID and pass it to her. She reads it and notes that I’m only eighteen as of two months ago. “Well, that solves things. I turn sixteen in a month…”

“And how will we get around me being three years older? I’m fairly sure I can get tried for pedophilia!” She just shakes her head, taking another bite out of that stupid salad she bought.

“Not here in New Hampshire. Age of consent is sixteen, so long as the partner in question is within three years of age. Which...you...are.” She jabs at me with her fork, a jab for each word. I sigh and run a hand through my exposed hair. “Besides, he can’t argue with me dating the Bay’s newest hero and healer, can he?”

I act out the possible scene. “Oh, hey dad! I want you to meet my boyfriend. This is Asclepius.” I mime her speaking with one hand and her dad with another. “Dating? You’re only fifteen! And he’s too old for you! Oh, and his enemies might come after you to get to him.” The ‘Her’ hand argues back. “”Dad, he’s only eighteen. And I’ve got powers too. We’re both heroes. I just want you to understand my position and support me with no questions asked.” The ‘Dad’ hand sighs. “I do understand; I was older than your mother by a few years too. But damn it, kiddo, you’re my baby girl!”

Taylor smacks my hands down, huffing embarrassingly. Turns out I gathered something of an audience. Damn. Now the whole Bay will probably know…

Taylor calls up the swarm she hid in her hair to spook me into submission. “YoU wILL MeET HIm, JEFF…” And fuck, I crumpled.

Because spiders everywhere.

“Got it…”

--------------------------

Meeting Danny Hebert went a whole lot smoother than I thought it would. Really, after telling him we were dating, he just slumped into the couch crying in relief.

“Gods, kiddo. I thought you joined a gang or something...you just got a boyfriend…”

That didn’t mean he approved. Because he didn’t. At all.

“He’s how much older? Taylor, you…” Her argument wasn’t quite fair, either.

“I’m my mother’s daughter, apparently. We just like older guys.” Danny had winced at that. Turns out he was older than her mom by a bit...well...more than a bit.

“I know it’s hypocritical of me to say. Your mom...Annette was five years younger than I was, genius that she was. But Taylor...are you sure he’s who you want?”

I didn’t speak. I let the two hash it out, because canon-Taylor was never this open with her dad. So...brainwashing her into a Yandere was a good thing?

“Yeah, he’s great…” And she blushes and looks at me demurely. I’m not fooled one bit. This girl is the Old Testament made manifest. “He takes care of me, supports me and comforts me. He’s more mature than those idiots at school and…” She glances at me, takes a deep breath and soldiers on. “...and he’s Asclepius, the new hero. And I’m his partner, Skitter...uh, name pending…”

The silence was deafening after that declaration.

The ensuing argument made me shoot myself into deafness for a time…

Though one question and it’s answer did catch my attention.

“You guys are being careful right; contraceptives and…?”

“We don’t need condoms, dad. Jeff's a healer; he can takes care of that.”

I paled dramatically. Mistakes were made.

------------------------------






My name is Taylor Hebert and I’m in love.

Well, maybe more like lust, really. Before all this started, I was gawky and tall, pretty awkward socially and not a single friend. Life at home and school was slowly eating away at me; I’d been contemplating suicide for a good month.

But I held back, because Dad. We’d already lost mom and that nearly drove him insane. Losing me...well, I thought I could get past everything Emma, Sophia, Madison and all their stupid clique could dish out.

But then came the Locker.

Two months of therapy and being pulled down into debt didn’t break Dad and I, but brought us together. We started talking more, we went out sometimes and things were going great. Not even the creeps at school could have brought me down.

I honestly got a little paranoid for a while, waiting for the other shoe to drop. For my life to take a downturn, because I was happy.

But then I met Jeff. I realized I wasn’t happy, I was content. Then I met him. I met the man I’d make mine by being bold and daring for the first time in my life. I’d only ever noticed him in hindsight, the guy standing at the bus stop every other day during my runs. He’d always been eating when I’d pass him, a simple ham, lettuce and tomato sandwich made ever so neatly and carefully. He’d always give me a passing glance and I remember blushing when I noticed that we wasn’t just glancing at me, he was checking me out.

Me! Reedy, awkward Taylor Hebert was getting second, third and long fourth glances by an older guy. I’d felt some pride for that; take that, Emma.

I’d thought I was content with the looks, but one day, it was raining and I got soaked to the bone by some car. My amazing friend Jeff offered to let me dry off at his place. He was such a good friend; how’d I never notice he’d always been there for me?

How come I can never remember how we met? I never tell him that I don’t remember, because that would be horrible of me. He’d taken his time to get to know awkward Taylor Hebert and see who I am on the inside. All those months I always cherish, even if I can barely remember them.

-----------------------

I did it. I...I had sex! I’m not a virgin. Oh, I feel like Mom would be so disappointed but it was so amazing! Jeff was so kind and gentle at first, but once I was ready, oh that boy, no, that man made me feel things I’d never felt before. I...touched myself before this, but the things Jeff did to me…

I almost thought I was in love. But falling in love from sex is stupid, at least according to those books that Mom left behind, down in the basement. So I decided that I’d let my lust ride out and…

...it was amazing. We, that is, Jeff and I, had each other almost every other day. Inside his apartment, we did it on almost every surface. The ceiling remains out of reach; if only I had different powers, then that pure ceiling would be forever defiled by our depravity.

Sure, we never went out but I guess Jeff isn’t my boyfriend yet. I mean, he never outright said he wanted me like that and I never said it out loud…

The amazing sex is enough.

--------------------

I followed Jeff today. School was horrible so I left at lunch to be with him. But...he hadn’t been at his apartment or at his job. He’s a cook at this fancy restaurant near the Boardwalk. He’s so skilled with that knife and the things he knows how to make…

I don’t know where he went today, but when he got back I was extra eager for a romp or seven in his bed. He’d happily obliged me and I did my best to please him like in the...uh...videos and books I used to research.

For scientific purposes.

Because if I made Jeff happy, he’d stay with me. He’d never leave me like Emma or Mom did.

He’d be mine forever.

-------------------

I messed up.

I messed up so badly. I...I told him how I felt.

I hadn’t meant to say it that night. He wasn’t supposed to know. But I said it, those three horrible words that caused him to sort of avoid me for a week. He returned my calls, took me out to lunch and even smiled that crooked smile of his.

But he wouldn’t touch me. He wouldn’t kiss me deeply as he pinned me to wall and I needed it so badly.

I decided to force the issue. I put my costume on hold and got my spiders to make the thinnest, sexiest bra and panties I could design (or rather steal the design of). I felt so giddy as I snuck out of the house and through town dressed in a frumpy sweater and sweatpants. I almost ran into a few people with how fast I was going. But when I got there, Jeff…

...he wasn’t there.

It was eight, and he gets off work at five. He gets home at seven, so he should be here! He…

I cried for a bit and snuggled into his (our) bed. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, tonight only. If...if he doesn’t touch me, then he must not want me any more. I gave him everything I am and if he doesn’t want me…

...then I’ll make him want me.

----------------

I’m not sure how I feel.

It’s been over a month since I confronted Jeff (and had amazing angry sex with him) and things are…

...they’re not right. He’s my boyfriend now, he’s more honest with me and he practically worships the ground I walk on.

The sex is even more amazing, somehow and I can’t enjoy it.

Jeff, he has powers. He’s a healer like Panacea and he changed me. He said he made me more confident in myself, the body I wanted and now I have curves that I never had before.

How did I not notice my new figure? It’s amazing and somehow I never knew it was there…weird that not even Emma’s noted that I’ve grown so much.

The internet, PHO in particular, call him Triage but he’s chosen the name Asclepius. It’s the name of a greek god of healing, the same god we get our snake on stick symbol for hospitals and healing. Jeff gets annoyed when I call it ‘snake on a stick’; I ignore that, because it makes more sense.

And I got a PHO mention! People are actually talking about the ‘mysterious woman in skintight silk’ that’s always with him. There’s debates on my powers, our relationship and a thousand other things.

I sometimes preen at the mentions of how amazing I look in my silks and more than a few people got banned for their more...erotic mentions. The mods have said repeatedly that until my age gets mentioned, no public posts like that.

I’ve seen some private posts and somehow they’ve managed to get my measurements down to near-perfection.

My figure. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I mean, I have the breasts and rear that I’ve always dreamed about. Rather than looking out of place on me, these 34Cs (not Ds, Jeff. You measure wrong every time) fit me. They match my new frame and I…

...I think I both hate and love them. I love how more confident I am, knowing I look good. I look amazing with a little effort and combined with my height, I look so much older that I really am. But Jeff, he doesn’t pay them any more attention than he did when I was barely pushing an A cup.

Does he not like the way I am now? He made me look like this.

My name is Taylor Hebert and I’m not sure what I want anymore.

Other than Jeff. He’s mine. He can never leave because he is mine.

------------------------------------------------------

Amy Dallon. That’s her name.

It’s been her name since she was six and she thought she’d forgotten her original name. She’d been...content with her life, if utterly disgusted with her growing apathy and the fear of going evil like Carol always expects her to.

But then, every prayer whispered beneath her covers was answered in the form of a new cape that arrived at the Dallons’ home. A healer who came to them in his civilian identity.

Jeff Moreau.

Only a little older than she was, Jeff came to them for advice and maybe some supervision on his first forays into healing. That turned into a fiasco with the PRT jumping the gun. Three full squads and a team of heroes as an ‘escort’ were a bit much, especially with Vicky and Carol there as well.

The initial moments had been tense; she’d been fighting herself, hoping against hope that he really was a healer. But then...he proved it. She wasn’t the only one anymore!

Othala doesn’t count, that Nazi bitch.

But, then he had to ruin it by charging people! He, he charged people with the cold and flu; people with treatable problems were forced to pay!

Pay small change compared to insurance companies. He has to eat, somehow.

The only positive thing was that he didn’t charge cancer patients and the emergency cases, though he’s less help with the second kind. His form of healing works best over time; the tests showed he did more harm than good with quick and easy fixes that she could do blindfolded. So Jeff took over those she didn’t need to help and those she...those she couldn’t help.

Because Jeff could affect the brain, when she couldn’t.

Wouldn’t. That’s a line she just can’t cross; she’d never be able to stop.

------------------

He takes her out to lunch, sometimes. It was nice and helped her relax a bit after a hard shift at the hospital. Privately, Amy felt that these little get togethers meant something more. Something that wouldn’t be forbidden and was meant to be.

Two healers against the world.

But then she found out about the bug bitch. That tall, statuesque...bimbo he’s dating. The bug bitch didn’t have an official name, though Jeff calls her Skitter as a placeholder.

Fits that creepy stalking whore-biscuit. What with her freaky mask and hair crawling with bugs...and her busty breasts and those never-ending legs.

She, the bug bitch was his girlfriend. Jeff claims she’s younger than him, but amy knows her type. They say they’re young and inexperienced but a single touch and she knows the depraved things these whores do. What would Jeff say if he knew what she’s done. The sickening amount of sex that bitch has had.

Jeff would leave her and then she’d move in to comfort him. How could such a whore have such an amazing guy wrapped around her finger? He’s obviously terrified of her and since she’s the ever gentle and timid Panacea…

One day, he’d taken her to lunch and randomly offered healing...to her. To Amy.

To Panacea.

She’d been shocked at the idea and nearly said no, but when he held out his hand (even if he doesn’t need skin contact at all, that amazing man), she’d crumpled. The look in his eyes pleading for her to let him take the pain away…

They held hands for a brief moment and she momentarily basked in the clean and efficient way his body operated…

...then the world came crashing down.

It was like a blindfold had been removed and she’d seen the world for the first time. That ever present need to be with Vicky?

Gone.

That bone-weariness that creeped at the edges of her being every time she took a step into the hospital?

Gone.

The hidden wish that she could make the tiniest mistake and let someone die?

Gone.

Her ability to touch someone and know everything about their body and be able to warp it to her whims?

Gone.

Her powers had been gone for three days and it had been wonderful.

Sure, being held in the Rig while everyone was arguing on whether to arrest Asclepius (Jeff) or not. But then the more reasonable and rational minds stepped forwards in the form of Miss Militia and Armsmaster.

Her new favorite heroes, right after Jeff.

They’d reasoned that his (Jeff’s) methods of healing counteracted hers in every other instance that someone healed by her was healed by him, and vice versa.. Thus, it was reasonable to assume that his powers naturally cancelled her own out. So she’d been kept under observation and her powers came back three days later.

They were perfect for one another. They both healed the masses, suffered the presence of those they hated and feared and most importantly, they could MAKE each other take a break without hurting the other. Her powers cancelled out his and his cancelled out hers.

They were meant for each other. She just had to make him see that.

Bug bitch wouldn’t get in her way.

-------------------------------------------------------

Bitch was confused.

That is, more than usual.

Some random guy said hello and petted her dogs. He even healed Angelica’s eye. The guy then left after saying goodbye.

But that wasn’t why Bitch was confused.

She was confused because Tattletale was whining about stuff like ‘Event Rejection’ and other stuff she didn’t understand. Bitch didn’t care. Angelica had her old eye back and all things were almost right in the world.

She forgot to tell Regent his brother said hi...






*beep...beep...beep…*

I stared at the EKG monitor, tracking the heartbeat of my newest patient. Lying on the bed, deep asleep was on Shelley-Anne Nichols, aka Squealer. The two of us were in the Rig’s high-security medical wing/cell block area. Outside on the other end of a two-way glass stood the Director of the PRT and Armsmaster.

#Asclepius, you may begin when ready.# I gave a wave at the mirror and began the operation. Well, operation was being fancy for me shooting her with my power until I was confident she was cured of her addictions and coherent enough for trial that the villainous tinker couldn’t reliable plead insanity.

Target [Addictions - Chemicals]
Target [Obsession - Chemicals]
Target [Knowledge - Chemicals]
Target [Loyalty - Skidmark]

“Alright, I’ve done the most I’m currently comfortable with without having a damn court order, Director. I’m officially washing my hands of all this and if I hear even one word of shit coming my way, expect my lawyers to sue.” There was a static sound and the door chimed open. Armsmaster stepped through, followed by the Director himself.

Not-Coil was he, for he was the lone survivor.

“Thank you for your help, Asclepius. Your payment has gone through and you know you’re always welcome here.” I declined shaking his hand. I did once and immediately wanted to shoot myself into forgetting how utterly slimy his hand felt.

“Right, I’ll be going. Who’s escorting me out?”

“That’d be me. Heya, Quickdraw.” I smile and see my favorite hero here. Clad in red and blue was Assault, formerly known as Madcap, according to PHO. This kineticist could redirect any physical force applied to him or something he’s touching to a certain extent. There’s videos of him (and Madcap) getting hit by Brutes, cars, a train and even a damn artillery shell; no fucking effect so long as he’s paying attention.

“Assault! How’s your sexier half?” A stress ball smashes into my forehead and a growl comes from said sexier half.

“Hello, Asclepius. Please follow us out of the Rig and to the landing pad. Your ride back to Brockton Bay Central is waiting.” Ah, Battery. The mousy tsundere-next-door of the ENE. A local favorite, right up there with Dauntless, Miss Militia and Triumph.

Also someone I kinda wanted to both mess with and avoid.

Firstly, because her reactions are so hilarious. Assault’s pet names for her never fail to elicit a growl, physical violence and an adorable blush across her freckled cheeks. Adding to her Tron-esque costume that lit up when she charged her powers and accentuated her curves, every young man seemed to love her when asked.

As for me…

Avoiding her was my most reliable way of interaction. This woman bought her powers from Cauldron, if the canon holds true. A test tube of liquid entity-flesh went into her mouth and forged an artificial connection to the dead extradimensional being hidden on an empty Earth.

“Puppy, you’re not allowed to abuse my buddy. That privilege is mine!” The cuddling was kinda funny, especially with Battery protesting the whole time.

Though I did wonder. Since Cauldron capes ingested the damn connection-thing...could I affect the shard with my power? Experiments from before had shown that the natural triggers were beyond my fumbling…

------------------------------

I got back to my apartment...and stared awkwardly at Danny and a few of his Union guys. They were all sitting in the main room around the TV and a few cases of soda...and beer.

They all just glanced at me and resumed cheering for whatever was showing. Danny got up and guided me into the kitchen.

“So...didn’t know there was a party at my place. Why is there a party at my place?” I took the offered bottle but didn’t drink. Never really liked alcohol in any form. Danny took a swig from his and didn’t look at me; he just talked.

“So Taylor isn’t really sure yet. Could be too soon; used a few tests and some were positive and the others were negative.” I literally felt my stomach drop. Oh fucking boy… “Kurt and Lacey stopped by for a get-together and Lacey found the tests. Guess what we got to talking about.” I chuckled nervously and looked into the next room where one man raised his bottle at me and grinned evilly. I guess that’s Kurt.

“I...uh...well…” Danny cut me off.

“Not done yet, Jeffrey.” Ooooh, full first name. “Now, I’m not gonna bother asking you your intentions for my daughter, because your lack of precaution and the way you changed means you never had much good planned.”

I didn’t deny that.

“So here’s what’s gonna happen.” He placed the bottle down and reached behind the counter. I flinched at the sight of a damn pump-action shotgun in the hands of a rather angry father. “You’re going to do right by her, even if she isn’t pregnant. I do not approve of you at all, despite your so-called hero status.” The game, or whatever was on the TV, grew extremely loud and every guy crowded into my small kitchen, bearing some sort of weapon. I gulped...and took a deep, deep drink of the now warm beer in hand.

“This won’t be the first time we’ve dealt with someone wanting to take liberties with our girls. Now, you do right by Taylor. We’ll be watching, Jeffrey.”
Angry father with the Shovel speech. Always wondered what that’d be like.
And then I was alone in a messed up apartment, holding a half-empty bottle of warm beer.

Well, things could be worse…

*ding-dong* “Mr. Moreau, your motorcycle just got stolen. Some guys carried it off in a pickup.”

Fuck.

----------------------

“...so, your borderline legal girlfriend’s dad really…?” I nodded, head still resting in my arms. The café, some cheap place down the street from my apartment, was busy and the conversation I was having would be relatively ignored. My lunch companion was the ever-morose Amy Dallon. Luckily, the locals were content to leave the two famed healers alone.

“Yeah. So uh, how ya been?” My question was a bit muffled. She just shrugged, chugging at her second cup of coffee. I frowned inwardly. Amelia looked worn out; literally on the verge of collapse. Not sure how no one’s noticed but...to help or not to help?

A trio of flies moving in perfect formation easily led me to my answer.

“You know, since your powers don’t really affect you...like at all. Do you want some healing?” She sputtered into her cup, catching the attention of the folks nearby. I repeated the question loudly, hoping I would be able to get her permission without resorting to Mastering her.

Because Mastering Panacea somehow rings as both a great and really bad idea.

“Amy, do I have permission to heal you?” The people around us started whispering as she stared at my hand like it was a damn snake. The flies were joined by a small swarm that hovered just out of sight from the café and wouldn’t you know it, my loving yandere was staring at us from the roof across the street. Amy moved her hand slowly to mine; it was kinda...sad to see how much she wanted to both run and grab my hand. I bypassed the last few inches and gripped her fingers tightly. “So, ready to experience things on the other side?”
‘It’d be so easy, just a single shot and she’d be mine.’
She nodded just as I fired off my shots. Three planned out ones and an experiment. Hopefully it went okay.

Target [Infatuation - Victoria Dallon]
Target [Burnout - 36 hours]
Target [Apathy - 36 hours]
Target [Host-Shard Access - 36 hours]

Amy gasped and whipped her hand away from mine. She stared at her fingers as if they were a brand new. A few of those around us started clapping and Amy…

...she looked like a frightened rabbit.

“I-I should go…” She scrambled off and I shrugged at everyone. As I got up, my amazingly forgiving and completely not-jealous girlfriend took a seat.

A tense pause...

“So, that seemed really nice of you, Asclepius.” I winced at the aura of simmering anger she seemed to emanate. I reached forward and gently clasped our hands together, attracting a few awws from the ladies. Taylor didn’t seem appeased.

“Just trying to help out our friend. She seemed really worn out and since I’m a healer too…” I shrug and attempt to lead her away from the café. She does not budge an inch. Getting the message, I sit back down and order another round of coff-

“Tea.”

-tea, a round of tea for the both of us. And then we had a date in public, as Asclepius and Skitter (Name Pending). It was both nice and really awkward.

-----------------

So...sex in public. Not a big fan, come to think of it. What with having to expose my amazing girlfriend to the world rather than privately worship her body to my heart’s content.

After having tea together, she’d dragged me up to the roof she’d been standing on and tackled me against the roof-mounted A/C unit. As hot as having her on top and in charge usually is, the angle was all wrong for what we were trying to accomplish. So I flipped us around, driving my cock into her and muffling her cries with a kiss. We went at it quickly, mainly because her fucking swarm began acting up.

And by acting up, I mean mating season began for every insect and arachnid in her range.

“H-hey, y-you guys shouldn’t do that in public…” I froze mid-thrust as a wave of [SHOCK and AWE] washed over us both. We turned to see who it was, even if it was kinda obvious.

Glory Girl was there with a massive blush and eyes peeking through her hands. Taylor growled and tried to yank me further into her, but our audience killed my libido. I awkwardly pulled out and began dressing while Taylor yanked her suit back up.

And the whole time, Glory Girl stood there as if she was the one with something to be embarrassed about.

“So, can we just agree that you never saw us, Glory Girl?” The young heroine just blushed and nodded, shuffling her feet. Taylor leaned against the A/C unit, glaring beneath her mask. The simmering swarm that was collecting at the edge of the roof and in the shadows didn’t help.

“Y-yeah, j-just don’t do that in public, Asclepius. Seriously, you could have had someone else run into you, like some Nazis or the Wards.” I nodded and attempted to shake her hand. She just stared at it in disgust and…

Let’s just say disgust.

“Bye!” And she left, blazing a trail through the sky at high speeds...towards her house, I think. It was quiet for a moment before Taylor spoke.

“Sorry about dad. He’s just…” I sighed and glanced back at her. She was sitting in the shadow of the A/C, making flies move in random circles. I plopped down beside her.

“He has the right; I never did have good intentions in mind when I got you into my apartment.” Taylor stayed silent as I spoke. “And hell, even I should have considered whether or not you’d get pregnant; libido was thinking the whole time, I guess.”

As I spoke, I readied two shots. One to make her less obsessed with me and one to...better the odds on her not being pregnant. I held off as she started talking. Maybe she dec-

“I want to keep the baby...if I’m pregnant, that is.” I stared at her. “I’ll...just drop out. It’s not like school really matters in the end…” I prodded her in the head, getting her to look at me.

“No. Fuck no. Hell to the fuck no. Either tough out another two years or just test out; it’s probably easier to test out with your brains.” She shook her head, but I continued to convince her. Maybe I wouldn’t need a Master power to convince Taylor NOT to give up.

How ironic.

“You’re smart; a hell of a lot smarter than me. You could probably skip a grade if you weren’t having trouble that you won’t let me or your dad help with. But if you do...if you are pregnant, I’ll take responsibility. I mean, what kind of hero would I be if I wasn’t ready to be responsible for my actions?”

She into me and we cuddled for a moment. I rubbed her back and she began fumble with my chest and-”Taylor, we’re not having sex. Having one person stumble onto us was enough.”

She huffed and shoved me aside. I fell over and watched as she strutted away; her ass was still amazing…

“Let’s go to your apartment then. I’ll help you clean up Dad’s mess and we’ll talk more about possibilities.”

I got up and hurried after her.

------------------

“You helping me clean means using your hands and cleaning supplies, babe.” I stood on a chair, with a broom in hand. Taylor, on the other hand, was combing through the larger things while her swarm cleaned the floors. She scoffed and held up one of my jackets. Looking at it, she tried it on, seeing how it went with her shirt and jeans.

It looked good on her, just like most of my clothes do, but this is besides the point!

“Taylor, no bugs or I’m not gonna be able to live in this place. I-I’ll get you a terrarium or something to keep them in; just get them out of the apartment!” You’d think have a bug-controller as a girlfriend would mean you never had to worry about roaches or ants or spiders.

Nope.

It meant the damned things were everywhere, in greater numbers and they were organized into a fighting force. I swear, I saw her swarm hunting down a rat that got in through the window. It led her swarm on a running battle across the main room and into the bathroom, where her bugs laid a trap. Dozens of black widows fell on the fucking thing.

The rat lost the fight.

“Jeff, you really need to get over this. You overreact over the tiniest of bugs.” I stared at her incredulously and pointedly looked at the tarantulas she had me mail order. I got her two. Now there were at least a dozen of the fuckers that I could see.

“Overreact? Taylor, there’s bugs everywhere!” She rolled her eyes and tried on another one of my jackets.

“Everywhere? They were there before we moved here.” We? I think you mean I moved here! “And at least they’re under control, rather than the disorganized jumble they were before.”

As her back turned, I contemplated using the Target [Disobedience - Jeff] shot I had readied a few days before. It was getting more desirable by the minute. I glanced at the wooden broom in my hands.

This option was also desirable.

I mentally glanced at the broom and the readied shot. What to choose, what to choose…

“Hey Jeff, I think I found your porn stash~” My mind came to a screeching halt.

I don’t have a porn stash!

“Taylor, that definitely isn’t porn!” I charged into my room where she’d dragged out a box from beneath my bed. She sent a squadron of wasps at me and I yelped, flinching back. They circled me menacingly as I futilely brandished my broom. “Taylor, could you ple-...oh nevermind.”

She pulled out a woolen plaid blanket and a single picture from the box. She cooed at the three figures in the photo. “Jeff, you were so cute! Is this your mom?” The wasps went away and I sat on the bed next to her. Looking at the picture myself, I nodded once.

The happy-looking brunette in the picture was the mother I left behind. We were standing before a large pine tree. It was snowing and baby me was giggling at the white fluff accumulating on my nose. The woman had a kind smile and laughter in her eyes. The fat, balding man that held the camera, I glared at.

“Yes, that’s mom. She’s...back with dad up north.” I took the picture from her and placed it and the blanket back in the box. I looked up at her. “Please leave this under here. It’s...personal, right now.”

-------------------

#What is love~? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more~#

I jabbed at the radio, not wanting to hear that song ever. Taylor just rolled her eyes and kissed me on the cheek before hopping out of the passenger seat of my new car.

Because my bike ended up at the bottom of the Bay and the insurance company only gave me enough to get a new ride, not replace the bike.

“See you later!” She headed inside, breezing past a shocked-looking trio of girls. I waved from my seat, glad that I had something to drive.

Even if it was a fucking BMW.

“Pick you up after my shift. Call me when you get out!” She waved back and smirked at the fuming redhead at the door.

Emma Barnes looked...not as amazing as I remember. Curves were a little less and the cute beret hid the thinned locks of hair. Sophia Hess...short. Like, only up to Taylor’s chest but lithe. I can see her being some vicious vigilante, if that enraged look is any indicator. As for Madison Clements, she seemed...impressed.

I shrugged and drove off. The PRT wanted to talk to me about the expected Endbringer appearance. Supposedly it was Behemoth.

Not sure I was ready for this…

----------------------------------------------






She stared at the car that drove off after dropping Hebert off. At first, she’d thought he was one of the Dockworkers her loser dad kept. But then Hebert kissed the guy and that smirk she gave them.

How in the hell had Hebert landed an older guy? She’s just a skinny, flat-chested doormat!

Only, Madison wasn’t quite sure that was true. She had heard some guys talking about ‘Hebert’s new look’ and ‘those tits have to be real’. They’d taken to watching Hebert and there was definitely something different about their target.

Less frumpy and oversized clothes were worn; newer, more form fitting shirts, shorts and even a long skirt were seen. Madison had even commented on the tall girl’s improved fashion sense. But Sophia…

She knew something was wrong.

The guys talked about new curves and amazing shit, but all the trio could see was the same gawky teenager. It was almost as if…

Sophia shook her head. No way Hebert had powers...but it would explain why she was getting all that attention while looking the same…

-----------

Emma Barnes fumed. First, that stupid new healer had messed up something and now her hair was falling out. Daddy had tried pressing charges, but the cape’s attorney had pointed out that there were side effects for those that were healed by Panacea before. Turns out that the new guy’s powers cancelled out stuff Panacea did.

Just a freak coincidence in power interactions.

Luckily, it didn’t seem permanent. The thinning of her hair was fading, going back to its fuller, shinier self. And she may have lost a some...some shape, but that could have been all the takeout she’d been eating with Sophia during their sleepovers. She honestly had been ignoring her dietitian's set menu for a month or so since she broke her arm…

But then...but then Taylor came to school one day, looking amazing. And she had an older guy drop her off.

And they kissed!

Taylor kissed a hot older guy with a fucking nice, if a bit old, car. The taller girl had winked playfully at the guy and he’d smiled at Taylor. They were flirting!

T-Taylor wasn’t allowed to be like this! She was weak! Sh-she was shy! She was Emma’s to mess with and shape into a strong person, a predator! It’s why she put her aside and through all the pranks and snide comments. It’s supposed to make Taylor strong enough to be part of her circle again.

But...but she was...she was strong without her. Taylor was strong without her, just like before.

Emma didn’t know how she felt about that.

-------------------

Greg stared at the amazing new Taylor Hebert that had been coming into class this past month or so.

Taylor before...she’d been cute, if somewhat shy. But she’d been approachable and dare he say it?

Obtainable to a guy like Greg.

But then the locker happened and she hadn’t been in school for awhile. And when she came back, it was like Taylor was a whole new person! She’d had curves that started off promising. Now she was up there with the popular girls in terms of bust and the way her new clothes fit her…

It had given Greg more than enough fuel for his...activities at night.

Taylor still talked to him and Sparky and the other less-than-acceptable guys; she was still kind and friendly to them, more so than before! But now, it was like there was this wall between them that had signs stating [Off Limits], [Don’t Bother] and [Out of your league].

It took him a while, but with some encouragement from the rest of the guys, Greg asked her what changed; what made Taylor become...the not-Taylor that got out of some older guy’s car. The girl smiled, lighting up the whole room and broke their hearts.

“I got a boyfriend; his name’s Jeff and…” She sighed. “He’s amazing…” Taylor then spaced off, still taking perfect notes while Greg sadly relayed the information to the group. They all cursed their own awkwardness and shyness. They’d taken too long, believing they had time.

But it was too late. One of the only girls in Winslow any of them had a chance with was off the market, taken by an older guy with a car, a job and a future.

-------------------------------

Laserdream was on a mission.

The new cape, the healer Asclepius needed some backup when he made his rounds to the clinics in the meaner parts of Brockton Bay. He’d initially asked Shielder, hoping for some guy time but after some pleading and promises of favors, Crystal got the ‘privilege’ of being his bodyguard for the morning.

Better yet, that creepy, clingy girlfriend of his wasn’t coming!

Don’t get her wrong, Skitter (Name Pending) was a nice enough girl. She was always willing to help out or go on patrol when she was available or when Asclepius was busy at the hospital. But...she was really...really...really protective of her man and suspicious of every girl that entered his personal space.

Not that she was wrong to be paranoid, because some of those girls (herself included) were there with less than noble intentions.

Seriously, the stock of obtainable guys with powers her age in the Bay was a very shallow pool. The pickings were slim and every guy had something up with them. The few that were her age were...well…

There was Triumph. He was genuinely a nice guy, but he was such a jock. Totally not Crystal’s type, despite her time as a cheerleader at Arcadia. He also had no plans besides the Protectorate. Nothing beyond making the name Triumph iconic like Dragon or Alexandria, fighting villains and valiantly holding the lines against the Endbringers. Excuse her if she wanted something more than always wondering if her man’s gonna come back to her.

After him was Eric.

Her brother.

Obviously not happening ever.

The only other guys she’d consider even being the slimmest of possibilities were Uber and Leet. But...first of all, they were dorks of the highest degree, jerks whenever they were on camera and worst of all, they lived together.

Together-together.

Oh, and they were villains, but Crystal was sure that with the right incentive, either one would drop the other for a good woman. But her aunt Carol would never let her hear the end of it and that woman could rant and rave with the best of them.

So that left Asclepius, a healer-for-hire with reasonable rates and a free healing policy for cancer patients and similar emergencies. Already he was sponsored not only by the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and the American Medical Association, but his agent was in talks with Medhall, some health food franchise and ADIDAS.

There was a guy with decent looks, good prospects in terms of money and a future and his own fucking place away from family...her family, in particular.

She checked. Asclepius lived near Downtown, far away from her family, but close enough for same-day visits.

The only downside was that he already had a girlfriend. Sure, she was younger and therefore less worldly and experience than Crystal, who was in college and had a few boyfriend before. But damn, did that girl have the figure to rival the Dallon and Pelham girls.

She adjusted her costume for a more perky appearance, while Asclepius wasn’t looking. He was busy helping a man with some freak allergy to ibuprofen.

But Crystal could compete. The two of them were similar enough in terms of figure, height and characteristics. Skitter (Name Pending) had long, lustrous brown hair that fell in gorgeous waves while she had long straight blonde hair that every girl seemed to try and copy.

Crystal had a slightly more svelte figure than the silken busty heroine, but she felt that with the right...padding, her figure could keep pace with Skitter’s.

And well…

Crystal sneakily checks out her ass in the mirror, pleased by what she finds.

...she felt her ass was better than Skitter, even if the girl was gathering a larger following than Crystal had online.

So yes, she could compete physically. And power-wise, she blew the younger girl out of the water. I mean, how does bug control compare to flight, lasers and energy shields?

“Hey, Laserdream. You ready for the next clinic?” She nodded and clasped her arms around Asclepius, eliciting a surprised yelp from the man. She accidentally has his face in her chest while flying them both to the next clinic three blocks away.

Accidentally, because there’s no way a nice girl like Laserdream would ever do this with a random guy.

Crystal giggled as Asclepius' protests were muffled by her breasts.

Lucky that Asclepius isn’t some random guy, eh?

--------------------------------

In Parahuman Studies, Greg flinches as Taylor’s metal pen snaps in half. The girl has a befuddled and mildly angry look on her face. When he asked what was wrong, her answer chilled him.

“Laserbitch is gonna die.”

He subtly scooted his chair a few inches away from the fuming girl.

---------------------------------

“S-so you found them...d-doing that on the roof?!” Amy’s scandalised whisper was rather hilarious, though Victoria held her laughter in at the devastated look on her face. Poor Amy. Her first real crush on a guy and he’s not only in a relationship already, but with a girl willing to give it up at any moment.

“Yeah, they were really going at it when I found them. He had her pinned to the A/C and man…” Victoria giggled. She’d gotten more than a glimpse of the two when she’d found them. Truthfully, she’d started watching when Skitter had tackled Asclepius to the machine and practically mauled him. She only interrupted when things got way too heated for the public eye; especially since the Wards were supposed to be patrolling only a few blocks away. “...Jeff was really pounding away at Skitter.”

Amy’s face fell and she covered her face with her burkha veil. “Oh, that...that...harlot is corrupting Asclepius!” Amy’s sudden declaration freaked Victoria out, sending the heroine tumbling off her sister’s bed. She stared at the almost zealous look on the normally timid girl’s face. “P-public indecency and do-doing that where anyone might stumble upon them? H-how can he stand someone s-so...so…”

Laughing internally at the passionate rant, Vicky chimed in. “Kinky and willing?” Amy slammed her hands on the bed and pouted at her.

“N-no! Someone so...loose and lascivious! Jeff deserves someone more careful with themselves and not someone willing to spread her legs to the world.” Okay, this was getting a little intense and shit for gossip.

“Amy, it’s not like Jeff’s innocent in all this. After all, he is the older one in the relationship. Skitter’s only like...our age and Jeff’s the same age as Eric and Crystal. Technically, he’s the one in the lead…” Her reasoning was countered instantly.

“There’s no way Jeff instigated this...travesty, Vicky! I’m betting Skitter sank her claws into him using her body as bait; probably convincing him that she was older until he’d gone too far.” The rant turned to muttered ramblings that got more and more outrageous as Amy went on.

Vicky quietly got up and tiptoed out of the room. As she closed the door, she watched Amy yank out a notebook from under her bad and madly scribbled into the pages.

Maybe she should get someone…nah, it’ll turn out fine.

Victoria shook her head and went to the kitchen. There was ice cream to be eaten.

Rocky Road, to be exact.

---------------------------------

Alec, or rather Jean-Paul, sighed as he lost to some tryhard across the internet as his avatar was blown to bits. The team he’d been in had been crap. Well, mostly crap.

“That one in the robe; what is he?” Turning, he found Bitch staring at the screen in confusion. Funny, she’d never shown any interest in games before. It was interesting enough that Alec decided to humor her question.

“That’s the cleric, he’s kind of like a ranged Panacea.” Alec thought for a moment and found a better comparison. “He’s like the new healer, Asclepius. Can shoot healing beams and shit.”

Bitch seemed to ponder the information and stared at her dog, Angelica…





“So, I’ll get back to m-” Bitch suddenly punches him, looking like she had an epiphany or a religious experience.

Probably both, considering the stupidity she’s shown on a regular basis. Still hurt like a...hehe, bitch. He cracks himself up sometimes.

“Ow, what the fuck, Bitch?” She just stares at him with new interest.

“I just remembered. The guy who healed Angelica, he says ‘Hi’.” Alec just looked at her. Really? She bothered him because she needed to remember that some hero said hi? Just as he was about to return to his game, she punched him again. “He said to say Hi to Regent from his brother. That healer your brother?”

Alec almost shook his head, but it was as if fog lifted from his mind. Scowling, he tossed his controller across the couch.

‘Hi’. What kind of safe phrase was ‘Hi from your brother’? Apparently a good one. Fucking Alonso...Asclepius...whatever.

“Thanks, Bitch.” She nodded, satisfied with things and went back to doing whatever it was that she did. Alec just stared at the TV, not sure what to do.

On one hand, one of the only siblings he ever acknowledged any relation to was here in the Bay. He was pretty famous, had to be rolling in dough and from what he remembered from Tattletale’s PHO trawls, had a hot girlfriend.

On the other, Alonso being here meant Heartbreaker might find them more easily. Because as strong as his older sibling’s power was...this was Heartbreaker who he was talking about. The man’s power was Connection Manipulation. He remember that his sire had tracked an escaped sibling halfway across Canada just by the blood connection they shared.

He swiped a hand over his face and groaned.

Sometimes he wished he had Alonso’s power. Making anyone, even himself, forget things would be awesome. Sure worked to make him ‘forget’ about not having proper emotions.

He sighed. Having a measure of motivation and emotions had been pretty cool. Maybe he’d get Alonso to do it again?

...meh, might be too much effort.

-----------------------------






Yes I did. I'll let you know when it happens, though.

But here's a chapter!

-------------------------------

The entirety of this chapter is told from the view of other characters.

-------------------------------

Skitter (Name Pending!)

“You don’t deserve him.”

Taylor stopped, hearing the hissed remark from behind me. Turning to see who this asshole was, she found that it was…

“...Panacea?”

It was indeed the other healer of the Bay; Amy Dallon, the original and still the best (for now). The burkha-clad girl shook as she stood in the mostly empty hallway of the hospital. Her arms were held stiffly to her sides as she glared at Me. Confused, Taylor cocked her head to the side.

“Don’t deserve...don’t deserve Jeff?” Amy nodded and crossed her arms.

“Not all all. I heard from Vicky about that...that quickie you two had on the roof the other day. D-doing that kind of thing in public?!” Her voice turned hysteric at the end, face burning red. Taylor was glad she had a mask that covered the top half of her face. It easily hid the dark blush that flashed across her pale cheeks.

“You two talked about that? I-” Panacea interrupted. She strode forward and jabbed an accusing finger at the taller girl, catching her precisely in the sternum.

“You...you are a fucking whore that’s going to drag a good man...a great hero down.” Her words were harsh and whispered. “Making him charge for healing and d-doing those obscene things!”

How dare she?!

I growled and smacked the jabbing hand away. Thankful for my height, I towered over the shorter girl and struck back...verbally, because this was Panacea, not some random bitch. “For your information, bitch. Jeff was the one who decided to charge for healing; I had to convince him that some cases should be free. And more importantly, he came onto me. He’s the one that took my virginity and happily introduced me to sex. And more importantly,” Taylor crossed her arms, unsubtly emphasizing her bust. “He’s had all the chances in the world to leave me and he’s still mine. How about that?”

Well, he had chances to leave. But fuck if he’s going to ditch her. Jeff was Taylor’s. Period.

Panacea grimaced. “Please, you seduced him, you whore! And virgin? As long as there’s penetration, it’s still sex. So whoever you were on your knees for before? You better go back to them. They’re the ones you need to drag down into depravity, not Jeff.”

Panacea j-just...she just…!

Taylor’s swarm erupted into a frenzy around the hospital, the collective cloud encompassing five blocks. People stared up at the black cloud, though most went about their day. Biblical plague or not, it was still a week day.

It was probably Asclepius’ partner stopping a crime. She’s scary like that.

Her probably-lethal retort was cut short by a nurse shouting that there was an emergency. Something about Uber, Leet, and bystanders. They glowered at each other before parting ways.

They’d settle this later.

-------------------------

“Hello, viewers!”

A costumed duo, each cosplaying as a different character from some video game, stood on the roof of the Brockton Bay Hospital. A swarm of bugs is seen in the background, approaching the duo.

Uber and Leet wore what the viewers identified as medieval fantasy-style armor, though the exact game escaped them.

“Today, we’re doing an adaptation of Aleph’s amazing game, Dark Souls. Now, we know this isn’t exactly child-friendly, but no matter! We’ve armed ourselves not with Leet’s own tech, but nonlethal stuff we got from Toybox! So yes, no serious injuries or casualties today!” Uber, in his platemail, finished, gesturing for Leet who wore leather armor and wielded a bow.

“Now, we need a volunteer to play our cleric! We hope that the Bay’s newest healer, Asclepius will join us for this show and to ensure he does…” He presses a button that causes the insect swarm to fall to the ground and the female hero, Skitter (Name Pending) appears. Both men whistle appreciatively at her newest costume iteration.

Still using her iconic skin-tight full-body silks, her mouth, chin and toned stomach are laid bare. The silk suit, usually a mottled brown are a shiny dark blue and white.

“...looking good, Lady Skitter! Anyways, we’ve captured his lady love to ensure he cooperates!”

Skitter yanks a baton from...somewhere behind her and attempts to smash Leet’s head in. “Who’s captured? Not me!”

Her attack is parried away by Uber, stunning her with some electrical discharge from his shield. She crumples to the ground and is bound by some device that captures her in a golden field. Shakily, she hammers away at the field to no effect.

“As we said, we’ve captured Skitter and ask, no, DEMAND that Asclepius come out and fill in for our cleric! We promise to release her after our show ends, unharmed and unmolested.” Uber announces to the world. Leet, however stares at the fuming girl in the field. He makes a witty remark.

“Though we can’t guarantee we won’t stare leeringly at her until he gets here, because seriously!” Leet gestures at Skitter wildly. “How in the heck did he land a babe like her?!”

Uber sighs and they begin waiting for Asclepius to arrive.

-------------------------

Dauntless

“...huh, I should probably go. My girl’s probably gonna be pissed if I don’t hurry up…” Asclepius’ nervous mutter echoed throughout the conference room. The heroes present turn to him, though Miss Militia is the first to speak.

“Aren’t you worried about Skitter? She just got captured by those two, live on camera!” Asclepius shrugged, his robes looking almost more ruffled than he was. Other than his girlfriend, nothing seemed to really rattle the young cape. And when it came to her, he was jittery and anxious. Miss Militia and Battery said that it was cute about how overprotective he was; Dauntless wasn’t so sure.

Sometimes, it seems like he’s terrified of her, not for her.

He rubbed my face and looked around the room. Armsmaster was frowning; his visor had faint glowing lines running down the glass. Most likely reading the comments of Uber and Leet’s Youtube channel to keep track of the villainous duo.

“Worried? Please, once she calms down, she’ll mop the roof with those two idiots. It’s not like that golden field-thing blocks out powers; I mean, Toybox wouldn’t be stupid enough to sell that kind of hardware to Uber and Leet.” His insult to the two villains aside, his reasoning was pretty sound, disregarding the wild look in his eyes. He stared solely at the silken heroine on screen, smashing at the containment field.

“...Leet has modified the device beyond the original specifications.”

Everyone looked to Armsmaster, who pulled up Toybox’s online store.

Because a Tinker organization hidden in a sub-dimension somehow have an internet connection…

“As you can see, the device,” He gestures to an object mostly similar to the one containing Skitter. “...is different in appearance, having more parts wired into the original casing; the sloppy connections and sparking wires indicate Leet’s usual ‘modifications’ to other Tinkertech. I believe that while it may not cancel out powers, it may just limit them to a degree where the two were confident it could contain a Master like Skitter. At least for a limited amount of time. The two seem very anxious. They’re shuffling constantly and staring at the skyline every few minutes.”

Asclepius saw the indicated movements and remarked, “So there’s a time limit. I just have to wait it out and she’ll get free, right?” Looking at the duo in question, Dauntless didn’t feel that was the case.

“No, more like the device will malfunction in the usual method of Leet Tech.” Assault emphasized my statement with a booming sound and explosive gestures.

Asclepius grimaced and looked even more worried. He hurriedly got up and made for the door.

“I’ll play their game.” He looks back at Armsmaster. “Can you disable the device while I got the two busy with whatever reenactment they’re doing? It’s Dark Souls, so it’s probably gonna be a cheesy version of ‘slay zombies’ or a boss fight of some sort.”

Armsmaster nodded and Dauntless hurried out to follow the younger man out. It wouldn’t be the first time a new hero did something stupid for someone they cared about.

---------------------------

Regent

“Alec, where’s the remote?”

Grue’s shout from the living room was ignored in favor of the U&L channel on the laptop screen. Alec sipped at whatever soda it was he’d grabbed. He hadn’t really been paying attention; didn’t really care, really.

Then again, he didn’t really care about anything anymore...again…

Except whatever his brother was doing with the two game-obsessed losers. Because reasons.

“Alec, where’s the damn remote?!”

He glanced at the doorway and figured getting out of bed and shouting would be too much effort.

“Asclepius! Comrade! Treasured cleric! Healer o-!”

Alec watched as Asclepius punched that loser Leet’s face and cussed the two out. Sadly, the swearing was censored by whatever tech Leet built into that super durable drone of theirs.

“-you! Now, what stupid run are you guys hosting?”

The two explained that they were gonna ‘’slay some Hollows’ and grab the ‘loot’ from some safehouse they’d found. Obviously Bro was the Cleric, Leet the Thief and Uber the Knight.

“Fine.” He looks to his majorly hot girlfriend smacking that weird gold forcefield. “I’ll be back in a bit. Armsmaster’ll let you out in a bit, ok” She nodded, though Leet cried out that ‘was cheating!’ “I’m doing this stupid thing anyways. I just don’t trust your crap to not blow up. I bet you can’t even be sure it won’t blow up after you modified it, can you?”

Leet grimaced and shrugged. “It shouldn’t...well, most of the time, my modifications to other tech doesn’t…” At the pointed look from Uber, he adds, “...I’ll let Armsmaster turn it off. Let’s go!”

The three went down the fire escape and off somewhere. The camera followed after them for a moment, then went black.

[Loading…]

Damn loading screens...really?

A twinge of irritation flashed through him. Those two added that in, too? Alec sighed…

“I need answers.”

...and turned to see the purple-clad blonde Thinker of the Undersiders. Tattletale stood at the door, hand on hip and scowl on her face. Alec shrugged and she came in.

“You’ve been way more apathetic than usual. Spill.” Alec drank the...cream soda? Yuck. He drank it anyway and glanced at her.

“Use that power of yours; less effort for me.” She frowned and stared right at him.







----------------

Tattletale

‘...Emotional responses dimmed. Sick? No, this is considered normal for him. Emotions from before were...not real? Artificial responses. Based on…’ She concentrated, letting the power take the reigns. Alec was…

‘...based on popular perception of teenage behavior. Responses were programmed in. Allowed, not forced. Didn’t know...no, forgot...made to forget by programmer.’ Lisa glanced at the laptop and added the new line of information to collate.

‘Programmer was familiar; trusted. Uber and Leet on laptop; comments on new healer joining for episode. Healer convinced. Hostage. Bug-cape is hostage. Bug-cape is girlfriend of Asclepius.’ She cut off that train and focused on the Healer’s connection to the moment. ‘Healer is interesting to Alec. Asclepius is known to Alec. Alec knows Asclepius...trusts him. Asclepius is close…’

Glancing at the boy in front of her, unmasked, her mind calls back to pictures of the new cape from PHO. ‘Similar appearances; common ancestor...no, close relative. Shared relative...shared cousin...shared...shared parent. Facial structure matches that of a paternal link. Alec and Asclepius share a parent; the two are brothers…’

A second glance at Alec.

‘Half-brothers. Asclepius is older; older half-brother. Raised near...raised together. Differ-Powers. Powers are related, not the same. Alec is a Master that controls nervous system. Asclepius is a healer...not a healer, healing is a side effect...intended effect. Healing is a cover. Asclepius is a Master. Asclepius is a Master that can force physical changes on target.’

She groaned, head pounding from the deep run into her power. Peering through her hands, she watched as Alec looked on with the barest hints of interests.

“So, you got it, I guess. Good for you. Can you go now? Your blondeness might be contagious.”

‘Joke was sarcasm. No effort. Not e-...’ Lisa stumbled out, forcing her power to take a backseat so she could process this new information.

Alec and Asclepius are brothers. Alec is a runaway from Heartbreaker; so is Asclepius. Both ran at the same time? Alec can control bodies but not the mind. Asclepius is stronger; can control mind to an overwhelming degree that it forces physical changes upon the body.

Her eyebrows furrowed as she curled up on her bed. Focusing as much as she could, Lisa thought it all out without falling back on her power.

Asclepius placed the artificial responses into Alec...on purpose. Asked or suggested it to help them blend in. Asclepius’ behavior is...stilted. He varies depending on situation and the people present. He’s in a relationship with the Bug-cape where she’s the dominant one, despite him being the Master...the more honest reactions. He’s falling back on conditioned responses with her.

Public responses are more...heroic and clash with pragmatic persona. Heals for fee but heals terminal illnesses for free. Each case is handled with pragmatism, sarcasm and overly emotional responses. Responses placed at different times and clash unevenly due to...not know they’re there?

She opened her eyes and frowned. That didn’t make sense. How could he for… Carefully loosing the reigns on her power, she let it take the heavier load.

‘Can’t remember others because artificial behaviors replace previous ones imperfectly. Imperfections filled in with random behaviors by power. Causes behavioral disorders in target. Causes Alec to be an ass.’

Lisa cursed under her breath. Alec wasn’t an asshole intentionally, damn…

‘Causes those Asclepius heals of mental problems to develop new ones… Has only healed a few people of mental issues...unknown. Most likely those close to him...girlfriend a prime suspect. Others may include Panacea and Glory Girl…’





‘...not Glory Girl. Narcissism and Anger Issues naturally part of her. Panacea takes less shifts since his debut. Takes more time for self. Has been seen at cafes and restaurants with other healer. Has most likely healed Panacea of her issues.’

‘Likely has caused other issues.’

Lisa groaned into her pillows.

Why couldn’t it have been a simple ‘I’m sick, go away’?

----------------



I lied, here's the chapter. Didn't realize how much I'd done...

--------------------------

“Babe, as much as I’d love for you to go All The Bugs on those two, it’d be really bad for your image as a hero.” Attempting to calm an angry swarm of insects, arachnids and even a horde of crustaceans was hard to do without Mastering my already mildly-psychotic girlfriend.

And attempting to calm her when she’d obviously just gotten out of an argument with someone...possibly her dad...was an exercise in futility.

“GEt ouT OF ThE WAy, ASCLEPius.”

“No, please stay in the way!” Leet whimpered from behind my robes’...skirts. I need another word for the bottom half of this costume…

“Yes, please amazing cleric! Oh merciful healer of hundreds…” Uber was in the same position as Leet. I sighed and forced them to let go of the cloth. Walking up to her slowly, I spoke as placatingly as possible.

“Skitter, hurting these guys would no doubt be cathartic and great for practicing your nonlethal takedowns. But seriously, they just...put you in a bubble. Nothing else.” She crossed her arms and huffed. But the swarm did recede. I put my arms around her and told her my final reason. “Besides, I really want to hire these guys and another for reasons.”

She jerked her head away and just stared at me with those unblinking compound lenses. “What?!” she whispered. I nodded once and explained.

“Right now, they aren’t wanted for anything more than trespassing and disturbing the peace. And furthermore, isn’t being a hero being more that a punch-people-in-the-face kinda job? Don’t we have to rehabilitate people like Legend does?” I could feel the scowl as she buried her face in my neck. Without turning, I gave the both of them a thumbs up.

Their cheering was quiet and…

“You’re both under arrest.”

...there’s Armsmaster. I groaned and let go of my girl.

Time to work a miracle.

------------------------------

“...and that’s how I convinced Armsmaster that you two are harmless idiots without a future instead of vile criminals bent on destroying society as we know it.” The four of us sat in the cafeteria of the hospital, the two listening intently as I went about the master plan I made up on the fly.

“...” Leet looked at Uber. Uber looked at Leet.

And Taylor groaned into her hands, not believing me at all. Or maybe it was cramps, but that would have been sexist of me to say.

“What do you think?” The two paused for a moment and it was Uber that answered.

“Ok, just to be clear,” He gestured and spoke, emphasizing each statement. “You want us to give up villainy, make our Youtube Channel our job. You’ll give it legitimacy and sponsor us so you’ll have a tax write off.” I nodded and he mentioned phase two of the brilliant plan. “Then...then you’ll...what, do any healing we need for free, because Leet’s shit always blows up?”





“Yep.” Another groan from Taylor. Both villains looked at each other and seemed to come to an agreement.

“We have a separate condition.” Leet placed a comforting hand on Uber’s shoulder as the taller man spoke. “I want the healing up front for something big. Something you...haven’t done before.”

Did not see this coming. “Okay? Gonna need some backstory, though.” For Taylor’s benefit, not mine. Maybe hearing a sob story would let her be more on board with less villains on the street through nonviolent means.

“O-ok. So, back when Leet had more options with his tech, there was an accident. One of the firsts, actually.” Leet shook and Uber hugged the shorter man in turn. “I was caught in some explosion and well…”

I waited patiently, envisioning the various side effects. Castration? Sterilization? Maybe not being able to get it up ever?

All horrible things for a guy to-

“...I turned into a guy.”

-say what?! I looked at hi-...her in shock. Taylor choked on a drink she had, sputtering as she stared at the accidental transvestite. Leet nodded and took over.

“I was working on a bioscanner for a Dead Space video and when Uber...tried it out while using her disguise field. The two things interacted and…” He gestured. “Boom.”

Taylor and I looked at each other. She shrugged, not expecting this. Hell, I didn’t either. “Why didn’t you guys go to Panacea for this?” Leet slammed a fist onto the table in anger.

“We did! She didn’t believe us, since Uber’s always masqueraded as a guy on our channel. And besides, she ‘doesn’t do stuff like that, only healing’...” Uber nodded in agreement. I just...sat back and took it all in.

Was not expecting this...at all.

“So...I just gotta somehow turn Uber back into a girl and you’ll be on board for whatever?” Both guy...uh, both of them nodded and promised to stick to Youtube (again) if it meant Uber could get her real body back.

“Okay...uh…let’s go to a private room. This’ll...well, I’ve never done this before. I’ll actually need a few things.” I listed the various things as we walked down the corridor. “I’ll need a picture of Uber in her original body, as bare as possible. That’s the most important one. Because if I can’t just reverse whatever happened on my first try, I’d like a reference for the possible biomancy magic I’ll have to do…”

----------------------------------

My name is Cole Robbins.

I’m a nerd.

I like video games. I like the stories behind their making, the worlds they’re set in and every character created for them.

For a long time, video games were my life.

They were my closest companions and friends. They didn’t judge me for how bad I was with people. They didn’t scream at me for messing up. They didn’t crush my soul with silent looks of disappointment.

But then she came into my life.

Evelyn.

My first real friend ever.

She came into my life and changed things so much. She loved games as much as I did, though she was really crap at everything she played.

‘All left thumbs, really’ was what she’d say. Uncoordinated and clumsy, the perky happy girl was teased as much as I was.

Only more kindly, because of how cute she was.

Then one day, she didn’t come to school. Or the next day. Or the days after. For a whole month, Evelyn disappeared from my life and I wondered what I’d done wrong.

But then she came back.

Fading bruises and a broken arm, Evelyn came back and suddenly she could do anything she put her mind to. Gym, debate, choir…

Everything she did became perfect and everyone loved her.

I thought she’d leave me in the dark like everyone before.

But no.

Sweet, amazing Evelyn cornered me and asked me to be her boyfriend. Not hang out or go on a date. She had the most vulnerable look on her face and all I wanted to do was hold her in my arms.

So I did, and the rest should have been history.

But then things happened. I became a parahuman, learned she was one too and our single foray into heroics was such a disaster that we both decided to ham up our video game hobby into a moneymaker scheme.

Youtube became our life and it was cool.

Then I fucked up. Evelyn became Uber forever and I thought all was lost. Things kept getting worse. My tech kept blowing up, Evelyn was depressed and we were labelled villains because of a single disaster.

But today, we found hope.

-------------------------------

The first attempt at reversing whatever Tinker bullshit that Leet did was enlightening. A simple shot of Target [Forced Change] caused Uber’s form to flicker between his obviously male body to a short feminine shape. It only lasted a minute or so, but the brief joy was nice.

Now, the flicker was strange. My shot should have worked but for some reason, it only took hold for a moment before disappearing.

My power fizzled out when it tried to change her/him.

I idly flicked through possibilities, seeing as this had never happened before. It was really quite interesting and I wondered if there were other ways that Uber was changed from female to male. My power worked best on mental and conceptual stuff; physical changes were hard to do instantly. It usually required a long term regimen to do modifications, like Taylor and stuff like cancer.

Maybe I needed to first cancel the change, then make whatever force that changed her ‘forget’ her existence? Or just that it ever changed her…

I loaded up the shots and fired them off. Uber shifted to female and the second and third shot took effect. Hopefully, Target [Aspect Shift] and Target [Mental Shift] would work.

“...well, it’s been six minutes…”

Taylor muttered from next to me, still holding the video camera. I asked her to record the process so I could go back and see what I’d done if anything was wrong. I nodded as Uber/Evelyn stayed female. Leet/Cole was...well...we strapped him down so he wouldn’t interfere.

Uber/Evelyn’s idea, honestly!

“I...I’m not changing back!” I interrupted her joy, because I wasn’t sure I did it fully.

“Mind heading into the bathroom and checking everything? I’m working on pure visuals only right now, so I’m not sure the inner workings are female again.” I pondered for a moment before mentioning, “I should probably call Panacea here. She’d be able to see how things should be inside…”

Taylor gave a huff and ignored my questioning look. Was something wrong?

“I’ll be right back!” Uber/Evelyn ran into the connected bathroom while Leet/Cole stared after her helplessly. I patted him on the shoulder. Seemed like the appropriate thing to do. “Uh, not everything’s right! I still have...a...yeah…”

Leet/Cole paled and shook his head repeatedly. I grimaced sympathetically. A majority of males in the world don’t want to imagine a dick attached to their significant other…

Or so I’ve researched.

---------------
: Alexandria's Power Set for this Story




theqwopingone said: ↑

she's a Breaker isn't she?

Breaker 6, Brute 9 and Mover 5 subset. Also Thinker 3.

This setting's version of Alexandria has a variant of 'Timeless' from Worm CYOA ver 4 and limited tactile telekinesis

This Alexandria has a limited stasis field that envelops her body, making time have a limited effect on her. It's more powerful when she isn't breathing, consuming or defecating, due to subconscious commands to let objects enter or leave her body.

When breathing, etc., she is Brute 9. When fully 'locked in stasis', she is roughly Brute 10 for as long as she can hold her breath.

Thinker 3 due to her being able to perceive actions in slow motion and power-induced eidetic memory.

Flies, hits and lifts through Tactile Telekinesis. Can break the sound barrier, top speed around Mach 6.

She can and has operated as a Kinetic Kill Device on several occasions.





Suck it, I go by PST like any sane person does.

Too short because I have little idea on how to properly get it onto paper...err...whatever.

-----------------------------

“Hey viewers! L33t here with some special news! Thanks to the efforts of the newest and best damn healer on the block, the Uber and L33t Show will be going under some heavy renovations.” Leet was sitting behind a plain desk with their channel’s logo hanging in front of a blue curtain. “Now, you all may be wondering what we’ve been up to these past few weeks, especially with the news that I actually helped out during an Endbringer battle. Well, things have been a little messy since we got caught by the Rogue Asclepius a while back. He insisted that the two of us give up villainy for YouTube and hanging out with him.”

*recorded laughter*

“Yeah, I know. Sounds pretty stupid, right? Well, seeing as his amazingly merciful, kind girlfriend Skitter (Name Pending) was rather...well…”

*cough*

“She argued their case and we agreed on a single condition, which Asclepius, after some trial and error, fulfilled!” Leet got up and gestured to the side. “May I present the true Uber, after years of being stuck in another form by my messed up tech…”

A dainty hand takes his outstretched limb and from off screen walks in a petite brunette in a padded full body suit. The suit has the same designs and colors as Uber’s outfit.

“Uber, as she originally was before my first big screw up trapped her as a guy! Give the lovely lady a hand everybody!”

*recorded applause*

The newly-revealed Uber waves and speaks. “Now that I’m back as a girl again, we can finally give up our less-than-respectable ways. Thank Asclepius for being an awesome, unprejudiced healer after being ignored by Panacea after so many years. The Uber and L33t Show is going legit and our first showing is the Endbringer Battle, take a look!”

The camera moves forwards, through an opening in the curtain. It is pitch black, before a retro cinema countdown appears.

--------------------------

“Why are we here? Seriously, why are we here?” Cole looks around, staring at the various capes getting ready to defend Sapparo, Japan from Behemoth. Why it was attacking Japan after freaking Leviathan sank the bottom two-thirds, no one knew. But hell, it was a massive turn out. Leet could see several dozen Asian capes within ten feet of him alone.

And there’s Lung and Oni Lee by the door…

“Because we need to publicly align you and Uber with me so no one says shit when you make the announcement. So, get ready to help out the medics.” The Boss (Cole’s mental label) spoke softly, holding hands with his girl. A hand takes his and he finds her there, smiling warmly.

She’s back to normal a-

“Everyone, please gather around. We’ll begin our briefing shortly”

Cole shook his head and turned his gaze up to the Triumvirate, the U.S.’s top hero team.

-------------------

Jeff Moreau

--------------------

I gasped, dragging myself back into consciousness. The triage area was completely destroyed; the surrounding buildings were toppled, ruined or in the middle of burning down. The nearby river was completely dried up and there was a faint tingling of power still in the air.

My armband was still active.

#Casualties are as follows:

Asclepius, Dauntless, Caduceus, Panacea, Skitter, Leet, Uber, Scapegoat, Legend, Herodotus, Fyodor, Gandhi, Mama Bear, Chubster, Jury Duty, Gentle Giant and Nurse-Chan are all downed. Movers on route to evac to Fallback Point Theta.

Thirty-eight capes no longer active.

Behemoth is in sector H8. Brutes moving to intercept.#

W-where’s Taylor? F-fuck, Behemoth hit us...did he throw fucking lighting at us? I heard a groan and saw Chubster picking himself off the ground. He shuddered and several people…



Fell from his belly button

I’ve seen some freaky shit, but that was horrifying. Most were just volunteer Thinkers and a single Mover, but the most important of the bunch was Panacea. She stumbled as I was helped to my feet by some hero in armor. All around, we were being rushed to Strider and GLADOS for evac. I kept turning my head, trying to spot Taylor…



ZAP

The next few hours were a blur. I was healing people left and right, placing some I knocked out and others I just outright put into comas to stop their thrashings.

“Panacea, we got a dismemberment!” “Asclepius, radiation poisoning over here!” “Caduceus is still down, fuck! We need more fucking healers!”

The shouting and outcries were deafening but all I could do was rapidfire as many healings as I could. I was relegated to minor injuries and rad clearing and even this was pushing my limits.

I didn’t even know I could get Thinker headaches…

“Here, drink.” A cup of something warm was shoved in my hand. I drank without protest.

Coffee.

Looking up, I found Laserdream, dirty and worn out. “I...shouldn’t you be out there?” She shook her head and took a drink from her own cup.

“Behemoth retreated ten minutes ago. I guess you were too worn out to notice the announcement. Teams are going around, searching for missing capes, getting supplies and generally making sure the island isn’t gonna fall apart under us.”

I groaned and went back to healing the survivors. This was what I was supposed to do. What Asclepius, Rogue Healer and reluctant hero was supposed to do.

Where are you, Taylor?

--------------------------

It was almost night by the time I finally got free of the medical tent and headed to Dragon’s Search Terminals. It was this series of screens that let you know the location of all surviving capes, so long as they still had their armbands. Running a tired hand across the screen I commandeered, I searched for Taylor’s alias.

Salamander, D5
Shroud, R3
Sideways, K6
Sidonus, G1
Siegland, E7
Skylander, J9

I closed my eyes and pressed my head against the screen. I was just tired. I missed her name. I tried again at another screen.

Then another.

And another.

I cycled along every screen twice before accepting that she wasn’t on the list.

Skitter was not found.

Not sure what happened afterwards. There was someone talking to me. They helped me to the rest area and I blanked out.

------------------------

Amy Dallon

------------------------

Jeff was catatonic. She’d found him by the Search Terminals, sitting on the ground. He hadn’t even reacted to her calls and even her power was clueless as to what was wrong, other than being in shock.

Crystal helped him to the rest area while she took a glance at the screens.

Bug-bitch’s name wasn’t there.

While she knew that it was wrong, she couldn’t help but feel giddy. Her main rival for Jeff’s affections was out of the picture and all that was left for her to do was pick up the pieces. Humming softly, she made her way to the rest area.

No one noticed her drop a broken armband into the garbage.






Update incoming for the first chapter. Will finally include the Smut long since promised. While Friday is optimistic, I will definitely update it within the next week or so.

Otherwise, here's the long-awaited Chapter 8!



The Bay was quiet for once.

The recent clash with Behemoth over in Japan caused a great change in the status quo. Lung, in an amazing move, managed to go toe-to-toe with the Hero Killer for a solid three hours. Those who were at the battle say he was twice the size he had been when he had fought Leviathan.

With the aid of several terra- and geokinetics, the assembled capes managed to keep the island intact while the two titans duked it out. The additional aid of Alexandria and a new flying Brute calling himself Rebound kept the endbringer at bay long enough for the monster to just give up and leave.

The death toll was somewhere in the thirties; a new low record, from what I was told. There was a big party on the Boardwalk, hosted by the Protectorate and PRT in celebration of our ‘victory’.

I, on the other hand, stayed home. I was curled up in my bed, cradling Taylor in my arms. She was fast asleep, exhausted. Who wouldn’t be when they managed to keep a dozen heroes alive through some clever use of poisons while leading capes around Behemoth’s kill aura?

She used the venom of her least deadly insects to somehow knock the downed heroes unconscious, keeping them stable with webbing and such until they could be brought to me for healing. Those away from her were guided by her swarm outside the kill aura and out of the way of the Lung-Behemoth fight.

She saved their lives while I thought she had been dead.

She was more of a hero than I was, I think.

I felt her shift over, turning to face me. Staring at her weary face, I couldn’t help but wonder…



“Hey, Asclepius here. Now that Uber is hot again and L33T is getting laid, I’d like to formally announce that they are now the two newest members of my team. We’re Rogues, though more heroic than villainous by intent.

I stage-whisper, “Even if some people think charging for health care means you’re obviously an evil bastard.” Continuing on, I just shrug and keep talking.

“Anyways, while we don’t have much of a name just yet, Uber and L33T have restructured and redone their YouTube and Patreon pages to include both myself and Skitter (Name Pending). You’ll now find several informative videos on emergency triage, as well as several interesting videos on the capabilities of various insects and other arthropods around the world. Those are obvious done by Skitter (Name Pending) and I.”

I gesture at two on-screen links the viewers will be able to see.

“Up top is the link to join countless others in pledging funds to my healing efforts. The more money given here, the more people I’ll be able to heal by lowering my service fees as well as pay for the travel tickets to other cities in need of my skills. Down below is the link to fund Skitter (Name Pending) and get her a slew of new insects and other creepy crawlies added to her swarm, fund her various videos on their capabilities as well as…” I gesture to a third link beside Taylor’s first link. “...the Kickstarter for her fashion company and clothing line, all crafted from exotic spider silks and other materials at an incredibly low cost. Reach her Stretch Goals and her top pledgers will receive a free custom article of clothing made to their exact measurements.”

I wave and say, “That’s it for this video. See me next week with a video on how to properly use a tourniquet and the consequences of improper usage and implementation.”

“And that’s a wrap, boss.” L33T gave a thumb’s up from the booth, Uber by his side. The two were all but joined at the hip. I privately wondered when they would ask me to stop with the birth control shots I was giving Uber.

“Jeff...”

I turned to see Taylor, clad in yet another iteration of her silk costume. This version seemed even more erotic, covering more than all her previous ones, yet leaving parts seemingly uncovered. The sides of her hips, stomach and lower chest seemed bare to the naked eye but were in reality protected by some strange Tinker-augmented silk given to her by Dragon.

The specifics of it were lost on me, though I did secretly blast the costume with the usual Perv-Not and Can’t-Be-Destroyed shots.

She wrapped her arms around me and led me out of the studio. L33T assured me he had it covered, though by the looks Uber was giving him, I expected the video wouldn’t be up until much later.

“...Jeff.” Taylor grabbed my attention again and I noticed we were at my car. After both of us were buckled up and well on the way back to her house, she drops a bomb.

“I’m pregnant.”

The deadpan tone does nothing to prevent me nearly smashing my front end into the rear of a shiny Porsche.



Looking back, I should have guessed this would happen.

I sigh, staring at the beat-up pickup in the driveway. After pulling up to her place, Taylor got out without a word and went inside. I was left to stew in the fact that the first thing I said in response to her news was to say, “Who’s the dad?.”

Boy, did I ever.

I rested my head on the steering wheel, wondering where in the fuck did I go wrong in keeping track of her cycle?

Flash of us going at it in a bathroom on the Rig after getting back from Japan. Another of us fumbling around in the backseat. Then a few dozen more in various locations around the the city after Taylor discovered she had a fetish for public sex.

Oh, now I remember.

My groan of frustration is cut short by a sharp rap on the window. Looking up, I see Danny staring down at me. His face leaves his message obvious.

We need to talk.



“I honestly saw this going a lot differently.” I’m a bit out of sorts, sitting on the couch with Danny, watching a game between the Lower Brockton Lodestones and the Upper Brockton Rimwalkers. The Lodestones were losing by three and the Rimwalkers just lost their left tackle. Danny took a sip of his beer, passing me one as well. I took it with little complaint.

I didn’t actually drink and removing the alcohol out of it with a few shots made it even less bearable.

“After Annette’s father pulled a chainsaw on me, I promised myself that if Taylor ever brought home a guy and got pregnant, we’d have a civil and reasonable conversation.” At my incredulous glance, he added, “Me and the boys breaking into your apartment was the result of three hours of drinking and several of them assuring me it was a good idea. I sobered up halfway back from throwing your bike into the Bay.”

He took another sip. “Really, I half expected you to show up with the police that whole month after.”

I shrugged. I hadn’t really cared about the bike.

“Still, I’ve been...worried about how you treat Taylor. She’s always on the news in those..outfits of hers.” I interrupt there.

“Those are all her designs. If I had my way, she’d be wearing robes like me and not giving random assholes a show every time she goes out.” We share a brief moment of camaraderie that is torn from us by the appearance of my loving, oh-so forgiving, totally-not-going-to-kill-me…

“Are you two...bonding?” Her incredulous tone kinda hurts. Can’t Danny and I enjoy a nice game and a cold beer without it being weird? I ask her out loud and she snorts. “Neither of you actually drink and Dad hates soccer...come to think of it, do you even know what you’re watching, Jeff?”

I denied everything, taking a deep drink from my own bottle, gagging at the taste. What I did not do was not apologize about my stupid comment. Danny hacked and coughed the beer from his nose, having been in the middle of drinking when she repeated the phrase with a great deal of frustration.

“You really said that?”

The following laughter, while not appreciated, left us mostly lighthearted for the ensuing talk on the future of our relationship.

Needless to say, marriage was the first thing out of Danny’s mouth.



“James, my friend! How’s the malignant little parasite?” I pat the older man on the back, looking over the chart left by Amy. She couldn’t find anything left over from the previous session, so I just topped him off with a few shots of Target [Illness], [Disease] and [Unwellness].

He returned the gesture, making his own joke. “Dennis is doing fine. His grades are a bit iffy, but I’m sure he’ll bring them back up.” The indignant squawk from the redhead that was surely Clockblocker made it all the funnier.

“Great. Now, I’ve doubled up on the treatment from last time. Panacea says you’re clear right now but I don’t want you to fall back. You still have my number, right?” He nodded and after a few signatures, the two Dynamites were off for some family gathering in Boston. I settled down, getting ready for another patient.

The appearance of Laserdream in her civies was a surprise.

“Uh, Crystal. Hi?” She giggled and I felt a minor twinge of annoyance. Not sure why but that pitch made me feel...mad.

“Hey, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind doing some...cosmetic work for me?” She sat on the table rather demurely, tilting her head to the side. I grabbed the paperwork she brought in and read through it.

Minor increase to the bust, trimming of the waist and steady regimen of fat transition?

“Crystal, if you don’t mind me asking, why all this? My prices for cosmetic stuff isn’t exactly cheap and honestly, you’re a beautiful girl. You shouldn’t need to change your body this way. I mean, I’m pretty sure you don’t have problems over image or self esteem…” I trailed off, staring at the suddenly nervous look on her face.

“It’s not what you think. I’m not asking for rapid results. Amy doesn’t do cosmetic stuff like you do and your work is done best over time. Your changes always look natural rather than the obvious silicon features plastic surgery leaves.” She gets up and tries to hug me. Seeing as we’re just friends, I let her, returning the gesture. “I’m just...trying to get rid of some stuff that’s bothering me without the health issues. You can help, right?”

I sigh and start marking her papers. “Fine, but if at any point I feel that we’ve gone too far, I’m bringing Amy and your family into this. Agreed?’ Her bright smile did nothing to ease the bad feeling in the back of my head.





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