35: Fluttery Cloak
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Mum had gathered Brook, Petra and me in the living room of our house after the stuff with my sperm donor went down. Why Petra was present I didn’t know, except assuming that maybe it was for extra protection? Either way, our plans to hang out with the guys were shot, so we sent them and Rosie a few messages to let them know what was up.

Petra and mum were on one couch while Brook and I were cuddled up together on the other one. I had Brook sort of leaning on me, my arms gently around her as she took deep, even breaths in order to keep herself from being hurt by her probably broken ribs. She really looked like she was in pain, and it totally sucked to see her like this. I wish I had like, healing powers or something right now.

“This conversation is going to require some… disclosure of secrets,” Mum said slowly, giving Brook a pointed look. “We need to know that we can trust you, Brook.”

“You can trust her!” I blurted, before Brook placed a calming hand on my forearm.

“It’s okay glowstick, I got this one,” she smiled gently. To my mum and probably future mum, she gave another smile, a wry one. “In my limited life experience, I’ve found that trust is sort of a gradient. Can you trust me to take a twenty down to the store to buy some milk and flour? Yeah absolutely. Can you trust me not call the cops if you tell me you’ve just murdered someone? Probably not.”

“Good answer,” Petra replied with an amused grin. I had to agree there. Gosh, I really loved this girl. Of course, any answer Brook gave would be a good answer in my eyes right now. I might have been just a little smitten.

“Indeed,” mum nodded, a smaller smile of appreciation on her face. “In that case, let us be blunt. Brook, I am not just a professor at your college, I am also a hero, Lavice to be precise.”

Oh no mum was rhyming. Was that like, a lesbian dad joke there? Could lesbians be dads? Or would it be like, dams or something. A bit of both? Dam jokes… I liked it, but I wasn’t sure other people would agree with me.

“And I am known as Mystrix Pallas,” Petra intoned, somewhat solemnly. Her posture shifting slightly to take on a more regal bearing.

“No shit,” Brook breathed, leaning back, her eyes wide. “You’re not fucking with me are—“

I almost blurted out that fucking her was my job, but we were waiting on that one.

As if expecting her to ask that question, mum went full ice mode, mist coiling around her body as it solidified into ice, her armour forming around her in seconds, while simultaneously the temperature in the room dropped by several degrees. She was totally enjoying this. I mean, what superhero wouldn’t though? The safe reveal of identity was like a staple of every superhero comic ever.

“Right, not fucking with me,” Brook gulped, looking suddenly very intimidated. “Also, note to self, don’t make my girlfriend’s mum mad.”

“Or your girlfriend’s mum’s girlfriend,” I murmured cheekily, just loud enough for both of the superpowered women on the opposite couch to hear.

The both of them looked away from each other, mum’s pale cheeks lighting with a slight blush, while Petra’s more tanned skin hid all but the barest hint of pink. They were so cute together. It was kinda funny being the one who seemed to be further along in her useless lesbian journey than my mum. Maybe I should give her some pointers. Step one, realise what the fluttery feelings in your stomach even mean...

“Yes, well… the point of the matter is that the both of us are, if I may say so, formidable heroes and warriors, each in our own rights,” Petra said after clearing her throat. “Which leads me to some worrying and rather unfortunate news. Based on intelligence that I am privy to in my station at the OMR, I have discovered that your… father and your wider family have been making some rather unsavoury connections of late.”

“Oh,” I gulped… might he actually be able to make good on those threats of his? That made our altercation with him earlier a whole lot less pathetic and funny and a lot more… terrifying.

“To be precise, he has been in contact with a group of people who are against the Emerged. It appears their goal is to develop a way to remove the powers granted to us,” Petra continued gravely staring pointedly at me. “It would seem that your father has offered you up as the first subject for their tests.”

Hold on… My father, involved in criminal conspiracies? “How?” I asked incredulously. I know my first thought after hearing their goals should have been like, worry for myself or something, but my brain was weird and it latched onto another part. The part where he displayed even a moderate level of competence at anything in his life. Dude couldn’t even do physical domestic abuse right, and that was a right wing male staple! “My old dad is like, extra strength stupid. He’d never be able to even find people like that!”

Mum, who’d gotten rid of her ice, gave a snort and covered her mouth to hide her very obvious struggle to hold in laughter. “Sorry,” she squeaked, glancing an apology to Petra. Mum was cute, Petra was cute too, but in that overly serious way that loops back around into cute.

“He is not overly intelligent, no,” she nodded, ignoring her totally-not-girlfriend as she struggled with her upwelling of laughter in what was meant to be a serious discussion. “In fact, it is because of his lack of intellect that we even know that the nefarious group in question is operating in and around New York.”

I was silent for several seconds as I tried to wrap my head around this. It was all so sudden. Why hadn’t anyone told me about it either? Also, why didn’t dad just offer himself up first? He hated being Emerged so badly, why didn’t he… maybe the tests weren’t safe?

“This is… a lot,” I finally said, cuddling closer to Brook for comfort. “What are we going to do?”

“That’s why we needed to tell you about us, Brook,” Mum said, straightening herself. “They’ve already tried to come after you to get to Elsie once, so for the time being I’d like to ask you to stay here with us. It will be much safer, and with the wards that Petra has been placing, no one will be able to get inside to hurt you both.”

I was instantly excited. Getting to spend every night in Brook’s arms? Hell yeah! Sign me up! Thanks dad! Not really, but you know.

“I mean yeah, definitely, but for how long?” Brook asked thoughtfully. “I guess what I’m asking is, can I leave my current place so I don’t have to pay rent?”

Mum only contemplated the question for a moment before she nodded, “Yes, I believe that is fair. I’ll send you some money for the early termination, since we have gotten you into this mess.”

“Oh, no. Don’t worry,” Brook protested. “I’ve got some money saved.”

“And it will stay saved,” Mum said pointedly, giving Brook a stern look. Hell yeah, you tell her mum!

“Help,” Brook said, turning to whisper in my ear. “Am I being forcibly adopted right now?”

“I think so,” I giggled, struggling to keep my voice at the same level. “Just go along with it, it’s better that way.”

Interrupting Brook and I, mum cleared her throat. “That’s a yes?” she asked.

“Yeah, sounds good,” Brook replied with a nod and a grin. “You two will be a step up from my current roommates at the very least.”

That was so true. I remembered the time I bashed the shit one with my skateboard very fondly now.

After that, the conversation turned to logistics. Brook would be given her own room, despite our protests that it wasn’t needed. Mum explained that we’d only just started dating, and despite the stereotype it would be a good idea if we each had our own spaces to retreat to if we needed them.

Which meant that mum’s office was going to be converted into Brook’s new room. It was only two thirds as big as her current one, but that was over there and this one was here. The room back at her apartment had problems with insulation anyway, and winter was going to be knocking soon.

With that sorted, Petra decided that the time to move all of her stuff was right then. Like, literally that moment, we realised as she asked for directions and then disappeared out the door in full Mystrix Pallas regalia, cloak fluttering in the breeze. It was like watching superman go off to get your laundry or something in his spandex.

No more than twenty minutes later, all of Brook’s stuff materialised in the empty second bay of mum’s garage, leaving my girlfriend and I staring in shock. I might have raw power, but that was a whole new level of flexing right there. If I was turned on by Brook’s muscles when she flexed them, was mum turned on by Petra when she flexed her magical ones? Would it be weird to ask?

We spent the rest of the afternoon moving all of mum’s office stuff out of the room, and then all of Brook’s stuff into the room. It also didn’t help that all of Brook’s stuff had been moved as-is, which meant it was a massive mess of clothing everywhere. My Brook was just a little bit of a disaster. By the end of it we were exhausted, and after we each had a shower, we flopped down back in the living room.

“We’re getting takeout,” mum groaned, rubbing at her eyes.

Petra, who’d been using her magic to move things rather than her hands, arms and back like the rest of us, gave a wordless sound of agreement as she dumped back an asprin and a glass of water.

Again the question about magical muscles sprang to mind. I know I’d enjoyed watching Brook as she maneuvered her bed through the house… like a whole lot. Except the part where she banged her chest on the wall and hurt her ribs and we all banished her to moving the clothing mess instead of the heavy things. Silly girl kept acting like her injuries weren’t a problem. I was going to be watching her like a hawk from now on.

“I need to stop using my magic as a crutch,” she groaned, placing the cup down with a clunk on the table, then reaching up to massage her temples.

“You won’t though,” mum sassed from where she was sprawled haphazardly across the sofa.

“I will if you remind me, you know how singular my focus gets when something must be done,” Petra replied, all but pouting back at the cheeky grin that mum was shooting her.

Brook and I exchanged a look that said something like, They’re so cute together.

Their back and forth teasing was interrupted by mum getting a text, which had her plucking her phone off the arm of the sofa and squinting at it.

She gave a snort. “Rampart says that your dad is a dick, and she wishes he had real powers so she could punch him out, then she rambled on about honour or something, I can’t quite tell. Your dad is being processed by the police for assault… which means you both might end up having to appear in court.”

I had a sudden, massive spike of fear at the idea of having to go to court and testify against my father. Everything about it, from actually going to a place in an official way, to having to stand in front of my father and explain what he’d done and stuff. Who knows what would happen, but really it was the whole… social thing. Plus, New York wasn’t exactly nice to Emerged…

I didn’t want to end up like those people who’d been abused by the Yelmorn corporation, or just killed because I was Emerged and the guy in charge of the police around here had it out for me. I don’t think he actually had jurisdiction out here, but he certainly had influence.

Shit, and what if we lost the case and he walked free… I couldn’t… I couldn’t go through… I know I’d stood up to him this time, but what if he came with those friends of his and… oh goddess, oh goddess… what if he got Brook too, or… My mind went on a rampage through every awful scenario it could think of, from having brook get kidnapped and held to ransom until I gave in and everything else and...

When Brook’s arms closed around me, pulling me into her protective embrace, I realised that my face had gone numb and my breathing was wild and erratic. Almost like a switch had been turned back on, my vision returned in a rush and I blinked, looking up into Brook’s concerned hazel eyes, just the hint of sparkling gold in them.

“It’s okay Glowstick, it’s okay Elsie,” she was whispering, over and over again. “I’ll protect you,” she told me earnestly, her eyes going solid gold for a moment as she spoke those three words, her pupils disappearing entirely. That was odd, was she…

“Eloise,” mum said gently, sitting down next to us, placing a hand on my leg. “We really, really need to get you to a professional. Someone who can help you work through this.”

“I know… I said I’d do it,” I mumbled, my voice husky and weird.

“The paperwork is taking time to process, unfortunately,” Petra said apologetically. “We’re still working through the victims from the Yelmorn incident, as well as the investigations that followed. Rampart has been on a bit of a crusade helping people and it’s flooding the system.”

“Who is Rampart anyway?” Brook asked as I subsided into cuddling against her. “I think I’ve heard her name once or twice, but only in recent months.”

“She is… well, that’s not my story to tell really,” mum started, then thought better. “Although I guess it’s no secret now. She is like Eloise, which is to say transgender. I’ll leave the rest for now, maybe her and my daughter could have a chat one day over their shared experiences.”

“Maybe later,” I mumbled, closing my eyes. Panic attacks were exhausting.

“Alright,” came mum’s quiet voice. “I’ll pop an order into a delivery app, let me know if you need anything.”

“Thanks mum,” I smiled through my closed eyes.

Despite the impending terror that was facing my father in court, I felt loved and protected right then. I’d never experienced this level of safety and affection in my life, and I desperately wanted it to stay this way. So desperately in fact, that my mind was doing its best to make me doubt it all. Shit up brain, you dumb, dumb bitch.

 

****

 

Regardless of what she'd said earlier about having our own rooms, mum didn't say anything about Brook and I not sleeping in each other's beds. She just wanted us to have the option I guess.

So after a night of watching silly movies together, where the two older women got progressively closer on their sofa, we all headed to bed. I decided I wanted to sleep in Brook's bed with her, and she was more than happy with that arrangement. I liked brook’s bed, it was so comfy and it smelled like her. Maybe it was because she didn’t wash her sheets enough… hmmm. Anyway, most notably, it appeared that Petra would be sharing mum's bed with her.

"This is so wacky," Brook said as we entered her new room. "I feel like a highschooler again. But also not."

“It really is a bit weird living with someone who’s a few generations older,” I agreed. “Diana is adopting me, she will be like, legally my parent and stuff… but I’m already an adult in the eyes of everyone but the liquor industry.”

“Yeah, plus she’s probably off in the other room getting frisky with uh, Petra…” Brook added, her eyebrows raised in an expression that could only be described as, Holy Crap.

“Yeah that’s… a thing,” I laughed, even seeing my girlfriend make that face had my heart all fluttery. I don’t know exactly why, she was just cute with the way she used like 150% of her face when she was being all expressive. “I love you, you know,” I blurted, my smile going wobbly and affectionate.

Her reply was a blush as she glanced down at the ground bashfully, then back up at me. “I am so not used to hearing you say that with that much feeling.”

Gosh, my poor girl. I hated that I’d made her wait so long.

“Well...” I said slowly, stepping close and weaving my way into her arms. “I really do love you,” I whispered, my lidded eyes focused on her lips intently. “Like, a whole lot. Lots and lots and lots.”

She took the hint and leaned down to press the kiss I wanted to my lips. We both let out little moans of relief, and I realised that I’d been craving this ever since Rosie had arrived at brook’s old place this morning. Only a few kisses into the relationship and I was already hooked. Even a lifetime of kisses from Brook wouldn’t be enough to sate me.

I pulled away when I tasted salt, finding that my girlfriend had started silently crying. Oh no, had I done something wrong?

“Sorry,” she told me with a hiccuping laugh, her voice thick with emotion. “I just uh… I just… it’s everything. I mean… you’re everything. No, wait… I mean yes, but… shit,” she said running a hand through her short blond hair desperately. “This, what is happening between us… it’s been the stuff of dreams and wishes for me since pretty much the day we met. It’s kind of… a lot to deal with.”

The fact that her feelings hadn’t changed once inch since my transition had me feeling so damned gooey. She loved me and the wrapping was just a bonus.

“I’ll help any way I can,” I told her earnestly, wiping the tears off her cheeks, then cupping her face. “I love you, and… I’m sorry it took so long to say that.”

“It’s okay… I’m just happy I’m with you at all,” she smiled, eyes wide with love for me. “Should we get into bed?”

“Um, sure,” I said with a happy sigh. I was so excited to snuggle up to her. Carefully of course… she was hurt after all.

 

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