Wake-up call - Chapter 1
Do you know what’s the best part about dreaming? In my case, it’s that I don’t have to worry about my power. For a short, blissful time, I am free to experience incongruous moments without a part of me eagerly tearing them apart and feeding me clues. It’s liberating.
The worst part, of course, is waking up to a world roaring its mysteries at me, making sure I know how utterly out of my depth I always am. Especially today.
Because today I am tied up to my bed.
Lights never turned on—perpetrator can easily move around in the dark. Tied over sheets, no physical contact with restraints, restraints loose—delaying tactic, not final measure. Perpetrator nearby. Perpetrator deciding whether further action is required. Rachel’s dogs never woke up. Perpetrator either Stranger or known acquaintance. Restraints thin yet resilient. Spider silk. Skitter.
“Taylor? Didn’t know you were into the kinky stuff.” That’s right, Lisa, pretend it’s all a big joke. Maybe the biblical plague will play along rather than have the locusts scour the flesh from your bones—
Control over arthropods. Dust mites are arthropods. Dust mites eat skin—
Thank you, Power! That idea definitely won’t haunt my nightmares for years to come!
“Tattletale.” Oh. We are using cape names. Guess she isn’t in a playful mood.
I manage to turn around under my cotton blankets enough that, with the faint, yellowish light of the streetlights filtering through my window’s blinds, I can catch a glimpse of my eerily still teammate dressed in full regalia, the citrine lenses of her mask fixated on me (too still, channeling emotions to bugs, no buzzing in hearing distance—meant to avoid giving out clues, prepared for confrontation with Thinker).
“Skitter.” I try to inject as much levity as I can into my reply, with a mock-frown and raspy voice showing her how cliché the whole exchange sounds. I don’t think I am much successful.
“You have been lying to me.”
Fuck. No, not successful at all.
All right, let’s try and cover all the bases: I’ve lied to her about not knowing she’s trying to be a hero, about my connection to Coil, about my own legal name, about her being suicidal…
Any hints, Power?
Yeah, thought so. Fuck you too.
“I don’t know what you are talking about. Also, I can yell and have the rest of the team here in seconds, so… maybe you could cut it out with the creepy stalker vibes while no harm has been done?” To me. Harm done to me. I feel the clarification is important.
I suddenly get the clear impression of an arched eyebrow under her mask, as if that was reply enough as to the capability of any of my ragtag band of misfits to interfere with what is going on. Still, she elaborates, if only for the intimidation value. “Brian is at his apartment, Rachel went out for a late-night stroll,” fuck you and your anti dog-fighting rings crusade, Rachel, seriously, “and Alec won’t bother to come even if you manage to wake him up from his deep, deep slumber. I wanted uninterrupted privacy, and we are going to get it.”
“… Sooo, you are not helping your case about the whole ‘I am into kinky things’ deal, you know?” Damn, I just can’t help myself. Maybe I am the one that’s suicidal.
There’s a loud exhalation coming from the general direction of my nightmares come to life. “Funny you should mention kinkiness…” Oh, fuck, no.
Confrontation is about sexual matters. Deception strong motivator for hostile approach. Recent discovery made Taylor Hebert reconsider her relationship with Lisa Wilbourn. Taylor Hebert despises deception and manipulation. Taylor Hebert angry. Taylor Hebert recently discovered that—
Yes, I know! Fuck fuck fuck, deny! Abort! Exit ship!
In fandom subculture, “shipping” often refers to—
Shut the Hell up, power, or I swear to God I will lobotomize you! Myself! Both!
Okay, just take a few deep breaths that are in no way being resonated through the silk strings tying me down and feeding information about my mental state to Taylor through her spiders. Deep breaths, Lisa. You got this. “I don’t know what the heck you are talking about.”
Again, there’s that damnable, invisible, arched eyebrow. “You masturbated in the same house as someone with limited omniscience. Denial is no longer an option.”
“But still a river in Egypt? I could go to Egypt. Egypt sounds nice.”
“How droll. I seem to remember something about them being a lot into locusts, maybe we could visit together?” Oh no, you fucker, you don’t get to pull terrors from my mind and use them against me, that’s my shtick. Also, please don’t hurt me.
“Right, no international travel with the plague made flesh, got it.” I’ve got the strong impression she would be huffing right now if her body language wasn’t being suppressed, which is good, as Taylor isn’t the type to kid around with someone she has decided needs to be… dealt with. Not her style. That whole thing about a bad man enjoying abusing his power while a good man will just execute you… Yeah. At least she’s still got those heroic traits, much to her foes’ terror. “Still, I don’t see how my… self-care is any of your business.”
“You are not that stupid.” Hey! I mean, I am not, but phrasing. “It was not that long ago that you shared with me that whole spiel about how your power has made you asexual, how it feeds too much information about any possible sexual or romantic matter and kills your libido.”
“Yep, that’s me, TMI made manifest.”
“But after catching you… in the act,” Is she embarrassed? Yes, she is on the verge of mortification. Good, that emotion is rarely associated with violent murder, “I started thinking, and that’s just bullshit.”
“I will have you know asexuality is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle choice and I am deeply offended by the—” She waves a hand in irritation, which means I am dragging her into a conversational mindset rather than a confrontational one. Good. I don’t know how the Hell I managed, but good.
“That’s not the point, and you know it.”
“So what’s the point?”
“That you’ve basically told me that boys have cooties, and that makes you go eww.”
I pause. Yeah, that’s kinda what I did, isn’t it? Damn, and I thought I was being oh so clever with that piece of misdirection… “That’s not it at all, Taylor, you can’t imagine what it’s like to look at someone and know all of their deepest, darkest, sexual perversions. People are sick.” There, maybe that’s salvageable.
“Bullshit.” Or maybe it isn’t. “But, for the sake of argument, I will give you a chance. Come on, Lisa, this should be easy for you: what’s the darkest, most depraved, sexual thing you can get from me?”
I pause. I remember. And, going from the heat suddenly radiating from my face, I blush up to my hair roots.
“I am waiting.” Is that a hint of smug in her tone? Okay, good news is she’s definitely letting up on the emotion suppression. Bad news is I am about to hit her with a trademark infringement claim. Let’s see how you like being demonetized, bitch. In lowercase. No TM infringement intended, Bitch.
There’s a very pointed clearing of throat coming from the dramatically lit corner of my bedroom, and I sigh in resignation. “All right, fine, let’s see what I can remember… you like beefcake, obviously, have no notable experience save from the multiple times you have used marathon masturbation sessions as a means of escapism…” I trail off, hoping she will make me stop from sheer mortification—heck, I am about to choke up just from the second-hand embarrassment—but no dice, “you often fantasize about hair-pulling, even if you usually don’t allow yourself to think of you in a submissive position… And… you wonder whether your thin lips will be good enough to give oral pleasure… and often think about whether everyone has a different taste, and if that’s distinctive enough for you to recognize them after all your experience with bug senses… And… Fuck! All right! You don’t have a rape fetish, nor an incestuous one, haven’t ever thought necrophilia could be a real thing, have good hygiene and do not squick me out at all! Are you happy now?!” By the end of my tirade, I am almost panting for breath, and it is quite clear my tactic to inflict Taylor with enough shame to drop the fucking subject has backfired in the worst possible way. Fucking hate social confrontations without God-mode activated.
“… Is that everything?” She asks, with a voice so tiny it lets me know my suffering is shared. After a silence long enough to signal her to continue, she once again clears her throat, but without the pointiness. “Very well, I can… attest to the accuracy of most of that. Also, necrophilia is a thing?!”
“Don’t ask, Tay, just… don’t.”
She looks at me with what I can only imagine to be wariness before deciding to continue… whatever this whole thing is. A thing, I guess.
“Right… Still, seeing as we just proved your whole excuse is bullshit, and that the most elementary reading of behavioral psychology would indicate that even if you were surrounded all day by horny people with sick fetishes, you would just develop one of your own…” we get it, Taylor, your mom was a college professor. You are still just a teen putting on airs. No, I am not feeling petty just because you caught me. Shut up. “Well, the obvious question is… why?”
Subject feels strong emotional attachment with Lisa Wilbourn. Attachment perceived as vulnerability, manipulation perceived as Lisa Wilbourn taking advantage of vulnerability. Subject craves attachment. Unwilling to let go of it. Wants excuse to maintain relationship.
… All right, on the one hand that’s both useful and reassuring. On the other… Power, you just made me feel like a heel. Damn it, I could have kept playing around and taken the conversation to an indefinite conclusion that left everyone unsatisfied and the status quo untouched, but noooo, the fucking voices in my head just had to guilt-trip me.
I sigh in resignation and finish turning around, getting as comfortable as I can in my current restraints as I look at my best friend (and isn’t that an awfully complicated revelation) in the fake eyes of her mask. This is gonna hurt the both of us.
“I didn’t want you to see me in a sexual way. I wanted you to think I was safe, that I was as far as possible from your ex-girlfriend as a girl about your age could be. I wanted you to—“
And, just like that, just from that inquisitive tone, my stomach drops.
“… Your ex-girlfriend, you know? Childhood friend, deep emotional bond, left you for the new girl and caused you to trigger?”
Taylor’s mask moves in a way that tells me she’s wetting suddenly dry lips. “Lisa, Emma and I were never… like that.”
Of all the times to get a misfire, it had to be one like that, Power? What the Hell were you thinking?!
Taylor Hebert displayed severe signs of emotional withdrawal in association with subject Emma Barnes. Conflict coincided with puberty. Puberty heavily associated with romantic attachments of violent intensity and flighty nature. Romantic relationship probable conclusion.
Are you trying to make excuses?!
Lisa Wilbourn is anthropomorphizing power input. Attributing a personality to non-sentient objects can be linked to feelings of loneliness or emotional detachment from peers. Lisa Wilbourn going through late stages of puberty. Lisa Wilbourn probably craves romantic attachment.
… My power is a snarky shipper. Life is Hell.
“Hey, you all right? You kind of… drifted off. And your face looks like you are debating the merits of throwing up whatever you just swallowed.”
“Geez, flattery will get you everywhere, Tay.” Well, disturbing revelations about the nature of the voice in my head aside, I still have to deal with the other disturbing revelations born by a misfire of said voice. Fuck. “Right, we just discovered this whole fiasco was caused by me being overly conscious about a perceived issue that wasn’t an issue at all, so… how about untying me?”
There’s another pause as Taylor’s body language once again goes completely silent. Oh, dear.
“Actually…” No. Oh God, fuck, no, “there’s just one final detail,” shut up, please, shut up, just close your fucking mouth and— “it’s about what you said while you were—”
“Nope! Taylor, you can’t seriously expect me to talk with you about—”
“You kept calling my name! I thought you were in danger!”
“In danger of dehydration, maybe! Now just fucking drop the subject before I get into even more danger of an arrhythmia!”
“You are the first friend I have had in forever, don’t you think we should talk about this before it becomes a problem?”
“I am tied down to my bed in silk ropes by the girl whose, again, silk-clad, sculpted legs have driven me to finger myself to sleep for the past week! I already have a problem, and being scaroused isn’t helping any!”
At that, she stands up and unmasks herself. Her eyes are wide, her cheeks flushed enough to be noticeable in the low light of the sodium streetlights. As she takes a single step towards me, I can’t help my eyes from dropping to her shapely thighs and the way reflected highlights dance over the shifting, toned muscle beneath the fabric. Goddammit, not the time, Lisa!
“And how do you think I feel?” What? “Do you have the slightest idea what those tights do to your ass?” Of course I do. Thinker here. Cockteasing is a valid distraction tactic. “Do you even understand what it’s like being near you, constantly, while you keep showering me with attention and affection and having to remind myself that you are just unattainable because your power effectively neutered you?!” She’s… she’s coming near. Standing over me. Over me tied down to my bed. Looking into my eyes, frustrated moisture barely held back in her own, hair in disarray from the violent removal of her mask. She’s breathtaking.
Both Lisa Wilbourn and Taylor Hebert self-isolated from peers. Shared emotional bond has quickly grown despite deception on both parts. Resistance to bond overcome through emotional need on both ends—
“Tay… I… There’s something you should—”
And she kisses me.
It’s rough. None of us have exactly prepared with Chapstick, and our dry lips sometimes pull at each other as they brush, but I can’t help but lean forward, searching for more contact—
Enhanced response when leaning forward, Taylor Hebert eager for reciprocity—inviting yet not pushing would—
I open my mouth just enough to dart my tongue forward, licking her lips and softening them. She moans, and the vibration makes me hold my breath.
Taylor Hebert afraid of, yet craving, intimacy. Offering and not imposing—
I retract my tongue and, after a second where her warm exhalation washes over my still open lips, her own tongue pursues me right into my mouth.
Excited by having initiative, yet insecure about own skill—
I moan. Half of it is because I know Taylor wants me to (and isn’t that a thrill all on its own), and half of it is because this is our first kiss, and no amount of Holmesian deduction has prepared me for the sheer rush of mingled emotions racing through my spine.
“Tay…” a moan escapes me as she decides to nibble on my lower lip, “Tay… we should talk about… Oh God…”
“Tats… I love you dearly, but you talk too much.”
And her lips seal my own.
Excited about romantic connection. Afraid of losing connection. Wants to lose herself in the moment.
I try to work my arms from under my tied down blankets, whether to push her or hug her it’s unclear, but Taylor drops herself on me, and her embrace blocks my movement. I can feel her slight bust pressing on my own, the silk smoothly gliding over the cotton, and a sharp exhalation flees me as her two hard nubs start circling and pressing down on my own.
Knows she’s wanted. Exalting in the feeling of Lisa Wilbourn accepting her. Excited by Lisa Wilbourn passively being subjected to sexual stimulation. Wants to go further.
Oh God… That’s such a bad idea…
She frees my lips just to lower herself a bit more and start working on licking my ear, which makes saying what I am about to say even harder. “Tay… Please, don’t take this as a rejection, but we should stop…”
She lowers herself a bit more, now nibbling on my neck, and the sheer sensuality of the feeling (thrill of danger enhances—) makes me cry out. “No,” she says in a happy murmur. And my mind goes blank for a minute, only rebooting as her left hand starts palming and circling my breast.
“What do you mean ‘no?’”
Her lips go to my wet ear once more, and, between slow, sensual nibbles, she answers, “I mean that I’ve got a gorgeous, hot blonde, whose spandex covered butt has been teasing me for days, tied down to her bed, moaning at my every touch. I mean that I don’t think we should stop.” At this, her tone takes on a possessive note, and her hand grips my breast with enough strength to make me gasp. It’s hard to argue her point.
Taylor Hebert often fantasizes about sexually dominant scenarios. Current circumstances allow Lisa Wilbourn to escape with enough determination. Slight resistance will be taken as going along with the scenario. Serious resistance will be taken as rejection and cause Taylor Hebert to withdraw in guilt.
And now my power is emotionally blackmailing me. Great. If he was a human, he would be such a “nice guy.” Meanwhile, Tayor has taken my silence and ragged breathing as eager acceptance and let her hands wander. This girl, I don’t know how she makes such wild leaps of logic.
Our mouths press together once again, and I can’t help but be an enthusiastic participant. Our legs entangle through my sheets, thighs rubbing through soft cotton, and I just can’t resist tilting my pelvis upwards, seeking pressure and friction. Taylor… doesn’t deny me, and I moan into the kiss once again, a low sound that rumbles up from my increasingly warm chest. For a short, blissful moment, my mind succumbs to the roar of rushing blood, and even the persistent mumbling of my power is drowned out. There’s only me, Taylor, and yearning.
Her hands hold my face, scalding hot on my cheeks, and she lifts her lips from mine, only her surprising strength stopping me from chasing her—that, and my restraints. I let out a growl that would make Rachel proud. I swear, if she blueballs me after all of that… “So… I guess I have your permission to continue?”
I look at her with all the grumpy pouting I can manage, which, going by the flush I can feel burning down to the top of my breasts, may come across as more adorable than menacing. Damn it. “You think?”
She has the goddamned nerve to chuckle. Oh, girl, you don’t know what you are getting into starting a teasing war with a fucking Thinker. Or by fucking a Thinker, come to think of it. Speaking of, why are you getting up and denying me the feeling of your sculpted legs rubbing between my soft ones? No, I am not needy. Shut up.
“Don’t worry, I am not about to leave you hanging.” She smiles at me and my heart fucking flutters. Fluttering isch verboten, you hear, you damn mushy piece of crap? I am going to gorge on fried chicken and greasy pizza just to spite you, you pretentious valve system.
“I am more worried about you leaving me tied down to the bed and frustrated out of my mind, to be honest.” There. A cheeky remark. Can’t let her forget who wears the pants in this snark—the skin-tight pants, much like her own.
Sorry, shorted out there, for a moment.
Lisa Wilbourn uses humor and narrative conventions as a defense mechanism to avoid considering—
Thankfully, Taytay is feeling charitable enough to help me derail my train of thought and upcoming argument with the disembodied voice of a less boundary conscious Sherlock Holmes living in my head. By flipping the sheets up.
I stare dumbly up at the still fluttering (forgivable in sheets, not in organs) piece of white fabric as I feel air suddenly rushing over my legs, followed by a leggy brunette slipping down my short pajama pants. I am still tied up from my waist up. Oh God, this could be so bad and so good.
Before I can fully process what’s about to happen, I can feel Taylor’s lips leaving scorching trails of wet fire as she drags them over the inner side of my thighs, one leg after the other, alternating and going ever upwards with each pass. My gasps grow heavy with anticipation, and I clamp down hard on any hints my power is about to give me. The anticipation, the thrill, is too much for me to stand. And far too good for me to spoil.
She stops, and I can feel her hesitation as warm air washes over my wet center. I shiver. “Lisa, If you don’t want me to—” Before she can finish, my hands slither from under the sheets and grab the silky hair I have admired so often. Then I pull her towards me.
The hesitation, the tentative touches expected of a first-time lover, get washed away by a torrent of passion finally unleashed. Her tongue attacks me, and it’s only my own arousal that lets me accept such enthusiasm from the get-go.
“Taylor, I—” Her lips lock around my clitoris and she sucks on it as hard as she can. My breathing stops.
It’s only after an indeterminate amount of time, which she spends alternating suction and quick, hard licks with her pointed tongue, that she stops and speaks, her words a vibrating warmth on my sex. “I always wondered, you know, when playing with myself, how it would feel to—” My hands tighten their grip on her hair and pull her against me so hard I can feel the impact reverberating up to my chest. A low moan hums against my lower lips, and there are no more words.
There’s some shuffling on my mattress, Taylor’s lips intermittently abandoning my own, and I can hear soft fabric falling to the floor. Before I can guess what it is that Taylor has removed, her lips return to my nub, suction and an increasingly deft massage from her tongue leaving me seeing sparks, and then… Then her bare fingers start prodding me.
And, before I can even begin to process what to say (teasing remark inappropriate in highly emotional—) she… She penetrates me. Taylor is inside me. Me.
And I come.
I… I am usually a quiet girl. Sometimes I mutter, or gasp, or moan, and sometimes I can get really into things and say a word or two in a volume that may not be entirely appropriate (or, apparently, chant my teammate's name in a litany insistent enough that she thinks I am desperately calling for help… which may not have been entirely inaccurate). But I am usually a quiet girl.
Today? With my first real friend since I triggered, the girl I have been guiltily lusting after since shortly after meeting her, not only reciprocating my feelings but unleashing her own lust on me while I am helpless to stop her?
No, today I am not quiet.
I let out a scream that is only interrupted by the wracking shocks seizing my body, barely aware of my fingers digging into Taylor’s scalp as I press her even harder against me, desperate for her not to stop. I gasp for breath, and, even as the physical sensations let up, the emotional release is enough to make me cry out again—in joy, in laughter, in sheer exhilaration. I am here, with Taylor, and I am shouting my happiness to the world.
Which is when somebody knocks on the door.
Taylor freezes, which, given the way her fingers had been hooked inside me to rub at the upper walls of my pussy, makes me let out a final, strangled gasp. Of course, there’s no need to be a Thinker to know that—
Other teammates out of the building. Regent only teammate present. Intruders unlikely to knock—
… Power, you are useless.
Trying to steady my breathing, I answer with all the dread the situation demands. “Yes? Is something the matter?”
“You fucking kidding me?” Comes the slightly baffled response.
“… No?” Comes the very mortified reply.
There’s some sighing loud enough to come through the solid wooden door (theatrical expression of emotion, intended to maximize discomfort), and then, with an almost chiding tone, he says, “Tats, my dear teammate, either you enjoy strangling cats to a degree I find most disturbing—which means a lot, as I despise the little bastards—or you and Taytay finally did the deed. Just wanted to congratulate you, express my sincere admiration at her amateurish yet obviously effective technique, and tell you to keep it the fuck (heh… ‘the fuck,’ get it?) down, because some people are trying to sleep.”
“I have no idea whatsoever what you are talking about.”
“I can still see your nervous system lighting up like a Christmas tree.”
… Given that psychics are not supposed to exist, I am getting fucking tired of being surrounded by them. My prolonged silence while trying to come up with an adequate reply (revealing Heartbreaker’s connection considered excessive retaliation—) seems to instigate further elaboration from the jerk with a heart of… jerk. “You know, if you have so much trouble trying to be silent, I can always lend you some gags that I—ouch! Hey! Stop that! There’s no need to—gack!”
After half a second of pondering and at the start of a running retreat from the other side of my door, I turn my still blinded attention towards my leggier teammate. “Mosquitoes? Fleas? Gnats?”
“God, I love you so much.”
“I mean, uh, that’s just an expression, you know, a saying, an idiom, a hyperbole used for humorous effect in a somewhat cliché manner that nonetheless contributes to establishing a common ground in the transmission of said effect to achieve effective communication and—”
“I get it. If you keep explaining I may get upset.”
Regent’s pained cries for mercy play in the background as I ponder the wisdom of upsetting Taylor Hebert after what has probably been her first non-solo sexual experience. After a few pico-seconds of careful consideration, I offer my sincere capitulation. “Do you wanna cuddle?”
There’s some rustling and a few snaps as the slight pressure of my bindings disappears and Taylor gets off my bed. I throw my blanket back down and, turning to watch her lithe figure, I scoot towards the wall, offering her a spot with what I hope is a warm, inviting smile, and not a slasher grin borne from sheer anxiety. Taylor, mask and gloves off, seems to consider my offer and gestures towards the rest of her uniform. “It is… kind of streetwear. Should I…?”
I try not to nod twice.
With a hint of humor, Taylor regales me with the striptease that by all means should have come before I did. The silk at times glides like water over her smooth skin, the faint light in the room not enough to reveal any imperfections and leaving me with the impression of a creature of myth stepping out of a cocoon of liquid darkness. When she’s finally down to her underwear and she shakes her head to throw her hair back, my breath catches.
She’s my best friend. Quite likely my only friend.
She’s, no matter what she thinks, gorgeous.
She likes me. Broken, messed up, devious, vicious me.
I… I think I have a huge crush on her.
Postcoital emotional openness known to cause feelings of euphoria and elation, hormonal imbalance easily amplifies emotions—
Yes, Power, I get it, I am a hormonal teenager who can’t be trusted to know her own emotions. My feelings are all chemical reactions and everything is terrible and life has no meaning and love is a lie—
Origin of emotions irrelevant to their effect. Effect divorced from genesis. Lisa Wilbourne's emotions valid datapoints.
… Thank you, Power.
Suddenly, before I even know how to react, there’s a warm body lying next to mine. I still have my pajama’s shirt on, but our legs finally entangle without any fabric getting in the way. Closely. Intimately. I am grinning like a loon.
She looks at me, head bashfully tucked down, and I get the remarkable experience of looking down at the much taller girl’s eyes. I love it. “So… Where does this leave us?”
I can’t even begin to think before my mouth opens. “Here. Together.”
She giggles, and I feel her body trembling against mine. I also love it. I find that I love a lot of things, at the moment. “That’s a remarkably accurate description of our current circumstances. But is that literal, or…”
I kiss her hair as she starts trailing off, and I murmur between her curls. “Yes, it is literal and metaphor. You’ve got me, Tay, and it will take some effort to make me let go.”
We remain silent for a moment that stretches a lifetime before she answers. “Good.”
And it is.
But… Well, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t engage in some possibly self-destructive exchange of words, would it?
“There’s something I should tell you, though.”
She prepares for the worst. She gets it.
I talk long into the night, explaining to her how much of a bad idea it is to try to infiltrate a villain’s team, more so when said team has its own consulting detective. I reassure her I won’t betray her trust, that nobody knows about it but me. There’s a lot of hushed whispering while we try to keep the volume down. I manage to calm her, and she, delightfully, never leaves the bed and our legs remain twined.
Then… Then I talk about Coil.
I tell her I have extensive files on everything I know about his operations, everything I suspect about his power, everything she wanted when she joined the Undersiders.
She’s free to leave.
I am not.
And so, she doesn’t.