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After this and this


Since the news about the antidote meant the immediate threat to Gotham was gone, I figured what made most sense was to go after the red-haired woman behind it all before she died her hair, disguised herself as a nun and started with the next take-over a few month later. Or just took the green stuff to the next big city where they didn't have the antidote.

She didn't reply on the number she had given Lex, no surprise there, but Lex had managed to track a location down via Eddie's cell phone, but the house where Eddie's phone call had most likely gone to had about a gazillion apartments, plus of course we had no guarantee she was still there. She could have left some clues, though. I had never met her, and nobody I asked recognized the description, until someone said he didn't know about a readhead, but there was this nice shy mousey-haired girl who lived in 212 b and always kept to herself. This sounded like a candidate, and the disguise thing reminded me I'd better get into the blue outfit. She was human, after all, which meant prison, which meant she could identify me as a vigilante or something if she felt like it.

So I put the costume on, and I did find her - not just her, but her in two editions. They were both packing. Utter and complete weird sight. I guess I should meet more twins, except those don't usually wear the same clothes. Also, twins don't smell of clay, and one of them did. In addition to smelling familiar. Great. Really great. Because I did have that binding chemical Peter Parker had given me. At home. Because I was after crack-good-dealing readheads, not suffocating shapeshifters.

"Hmmmm," said Redhead on the right side, whom I figured had to be the genuine Ivy, if that was her real name. "Seems you can take over from me sooner than I expected. Ta, darling."

With that, she touched her other self on the cheek. I noticed she didn't wear a glove on the hand she used for this, contrary to what Lex had said, but she did wear one on the other. Readhead No.2 nodded obediently and promptly went for me, changing form in the process.

I don't think I ever did what I did next before. The thing was, if I duked it out with Clayface, it would end up with me getting suffocated again, and even if it didn't, she'd get away in the meantime. Plus I figured that the reason why he was all of a sudden teaming up with her, wearing her shape and obviously meaning to stay in Gotham to get arrested wasn't exactly his idea. She had to have some hypno power or something.

So what I did was getting right out of the window I had just climbed into again, jumping down to the street. And then I raced back into the building and broke the next fire alarm glass. The sprinklers went on everywhere, people started to run outside, and sure enough, so did Clayface looking like Ivy again. Not the real her, though. She must have taken the elevator to the garage. I'm so sticking to vampires and demons again, I thought. You need techno teams for humans. Or the police. The garage exit was on the other side of the building, and Clayface saw me running there and followed. There wasn't anyone else insane enough to take a car when they thought the building was on fire, so the hybrid speeding out had to be her. I jumped on the roof, smashed in the driver's window, and that was when my luck run out, because Clayface had caught up with me. Cue mudlslinging, literary. He couldn't be precise enough on a driving car to cover my mouth and nose, so he couldn't use his old tactic, but I had just one arm free all the time because I was clinging to the car so Ivy wouldn't go away. As for her, seems driving with two passengers on a roof wasn't the same thing as using chemicals to control people and enhance their powers. That car crashed right into the next traffic light. Which was when the police showed up. I guess the fire alarm must have gotten their attention earlier, so some patrol car or the other had already been on its way.

I saw them, yelled "the woman inside is responsible for the Wayne hostage thing" and did the fasted backflip I could to get the hell out of there. Clayface by now had looked like a boxing lump of earth and not like Ivy, and I guess whatever she used to control him might have gotten flushed out with the water from the sprinklers, or self interest was just too strong; anyway, according to the late night news he vanished by sliding away, literary, before the cops had figured out what was going on.

They did get Ivy, though. And some of the guys they arrested in the hostage situation say they can identify her. Plus there was evidence in her apartment, which I suppose was meant to stay there so Clayface-as-Ivy would take the fall. Anyway, she's got a lawyer who claims this thing won't even go to trial because she's clearly innocent. Guess we'll find out later. Right now, I'm out of Gotham. Boston first, then Nevada with Harry.

Unless Lex has me arrested for kidnapping, but there you go.
abetterlie: (Default)
Okay, this last week was interesting in the not-Chinese-saying sense. First I got my powers back, and let's just not mention the part where Angel... anyway. (Fate bitchslapping me with irony is nothing new.) So I guess Cordy was right, it was just a matter of time. Plus major effort. (Being in Peter's debt is one thing, but now I owe Norman. Not good. Also humiliating. But it's such a relief, being back to normal. The other thing just - well, wasn't. Though I think I got better at the adjusting and didn't feel completley like an astronaut on another planet anymore. Still, it's way better not to walk around half blind and half deaf and so on, plus let's face it, it's great being able to fight again. And when Harry and I visit Ireland, I'll totally kick every leprauchan's ass if they try anything.

Secondly, Illyria announced her presence. When I had met her at Wolfram and Hart two years ago, I didn't have my memories back yet, so I just thought she was awesome, like a comic book figure come to life. (Also, I was so embarassed later when I did remember. And a bit mad at Angel, because hey, what did he mean, "they were supposed to fix that"? Fix what? Darla is how many centuries older than he is, and Buffy how many centuries younger?) Now she reminded me of Jasmine at first. Not so much once we got to talk, because they're quite different, except for the part where they come from another world and are sort of trapped in ours. And I just want to - I don't know. Do something right for a change, I guess. Harry asked me whether this was about me killing my daughter when I told him about Illyria, and maybe it is a little, but I know Illyria isn't Jasmine. I just think - well, I remember what it was like as well. Coming here, in this world, not knowing the rules or anyone except for really few people, and feeling trapped by it all. So maybe I can help, a little. And learn more about how gods think.

Thirdly, Kara had a spasm about Buffy and then she said she'd come to New York on "important business" and wanted to meet. So now I'm set to pick her up at La Guardia and wonder what the important business could be.

1) Darla and Angel told her I was fine and back to normal, and she finally wants that rematch where she beats me. Which, okay, is absolutely in the cards. She's got lots more practice since the last time, and she has way more motivation.

2) Those scratches from the dragon she defeated really were dangerous and infected and are not dealt with by Slayer healing, and she needs medical help. Except I think if that were the case Angel and Darla would have made her go into a hospital already. I hope.

3) Something I can't guess because each time I think I can figure out Kara, she brings up something like tea cups or cheescake (?!?) or burning buildings and I have no idea where that came from.

No time like the present to find out.
abetterlie: (Default)
Chicago: rocks, for the most part. Yes, I'm aware that comment will get me stoned once I make it back to New York and repeat it, but a lot of stuff here impresses the hell out me. Plus each time I call something "awesome" here Harry gets a fun gleam in his eyes. Well, that might also have to do with the fact he had to distract and calm Bailey for most of the drive, and she wasn't used to such a long time in the car.

No, seriously. We went to the John Hancock Observatory, and the Skywalk blew me away. More than 1,000 feet above the city, and it felt a bit like - okay, because we were so high up and there wouldn't have been that many sounds and smells anyway, it felt like I would have experienced it Before, but that's really not the only reason I thought it was great. It was the view, and the clean cold winter air, and knowing everyone I care about are more or less alright or as much as they'll ever be right now. I mean, that's not going to last - it never does - but as great moments go? It was good to capture this one.

Also, I remembered what Angel had told me about the dimension Emily went to. How it looked like. Crystal catching the sun. And Chicago, from up there, sort of reminded me of that.

I miss her, I thought, and because Harry was with me, I said it out loud. He gets it. He loved her, too. (Cordy as well, but Cordy just went through another possession thing, so I won't talk with her about anything Jasmine related soon, I guess.)

He didn't admit it, but I think he was impressed, too, not so much by the Skywalk perhaps but by the Riverwalk Gateway. It has to be the longest series of paintings in the world. We walked up and down for eons. (Bailey liked it way better than the Skywalk - I don't think she's too keen on heights. Figures. That's a cat thing, not a dog thing, heights.)

So, does Chicago have a downside? Sure. And no, I don't mean opening my laptop Saturday night and finding out about Kara's post. That was actually first embarassing and then funny. No, it was stuff that could have happened anywhere. We were staying at the Fitzpatrick Chicago Hotel, which has a Irish Cabaret weekend. Harry suggested going to Ireland during Spring Break, so I figured this was advance training or something. So there is this guy at breakfeast, Sunday morning, and he takes a look at me, and says: "Wait. You're Angelus' kid."

Turns out it was a leprauchan who had run into Angel a couple of times over the centuries. Most recently in Los Angeles during the sunless time, and then after the sun was back he was smart enough to get the hell out of there again before Angel got his soul back. At this point, I didn't even ask why he he knew about me; I guess everyone else's mindwipes were unravelled when Mom and Dad and Mere died as well. Anyway, he said "Angelus was such a proud father, telling the fellows all about you. Murderous little bastard, he said. Way better at killing than at screwing. So, Angelus' son, did that get any better?"

It was clear he wanted a fight. And two weeks ago, I would have wiped the floor with him, except two weeks ago, I had other things to worry about, so maybe he wouldn't even have registered. But this was now. I've trained, I thought. Every day since. I've got my balance back, sort of, I have adjusted, and no way Gunn would have stood for that kind of crap, and he's human. Then I looked at Harry, and I could see what he was thinking. Because I did promise, after the thing with the goo.

So I didn't do anything. It felt like letting Father tie me up in Quortoth, during one of the tracking games, or smiling at Angel when I thought he had killed him; doing nothing when all you want to is act. Well, I did act. I walked away with Harry, and the leprauchan kept yelling after us. I had a bad taste in my mouth until we got up to Sears Tower, and then the view was way too good for that. Plus I had to concentrate on convincing Harry to give Chicago pizza a chance.

By the time afternoon and time to drive back to New York came, I felt pretty mature and like Mr. Self Discipline, but wouldn't you know it, first time we had to stop for gas some (human) idiot on a motorbike taunted Bailey. I swear Harry mouthed of at him first, and well, then I had to get into it, too, right? I mean, I'm still his bodyguard.

Strangely, getting in to a brawl with some bikers feels almost as good as staking vampires did. Well, this one time.

Oh, the biker who started it? Had a Californian accent.

Figures.
abetterlie: (Default)
This is day 1, in many ways. Day 1 where I know Harry is not going to die or go insane. Well, not of the green goo anyway.

Worth it. All worth it.

Peter injected me with the antidote on Tuesday, and he and Norman gave it twenty four hours to check for side effects. Then they injected Harry as well and kept screening. When Peter did another blood test on Wednesday night and then said he'd go and tell MJ the good news, I knew it was the real deal.

Not dying. Neither of us, which, since despite what everyone else seems to think I don't want to die is good. (I know how wanting to die feels. I wanted to save Harry, and I didn't care much how. There is a difference, okay?)

It felt a bit like when the sun came back after the Beast got killed, only much better. When I realized that it was really okay, that this ticking time bomb thing inside of him is deactivated, or whatever you want to call it. I think I could have scared everyone speechless by singing. Or leaping to the walls. Well, not so much the later.

That's the other thing. Because the antidote got rid of that ticking time bomb thing inside of me, too, but it didn't reverse the effects the stuff already had. Which means I still feel like an astronaut who ended up on a different planet with a different atmosphere and different gravity and different everything. Yesterday I accidentally burned my mouth when drinking the hot chocolate Maria placed in front of me too fast, and Darla did her x-ray look thing which she does and cornered me later and told me how she nearly went insane when the lawyers brought her back the first time and everything felt wrong and smelled wrong and was wrong because she hadn't been human for four hundred years. I said I was okay with it because I didn't want to talk about it, and she said I was wasting her time by being a lousy liar and I could do that better if I had to lie at all.

Anyway. Okay. It does freak me out. But I'll deal. I mean, I have to. I'll adjust and figure out how most of the world does it all the freakin' time, right? Plus it's not like that even means I have to stop fighting patrolling, because I'm not sure I can do that anymore. Stop, I mean. Father. Justine. Gunn. None of them has superpowers or enhanced anythings, and they did just fine. It's not like I have amnesia or anything. I still remember every move. I'll have to train harder to make up for the - anyway. Though it turns out the strength part is really the least important thing. The dim vision is what scares me, and the not-hearing anything, because I keep wondering what I missed sneaking up on me. So I don't just feel like a cripple but a paranoid cripple. What else is new?

But you know, even if. He's alive. And we're still scheduled for a big argument in a while about what I did, I know that, and I have no idea how that will turn out, but he could be dead now. Or in the final stages. And I could have all the enhanced abilities in the world and be utterly useless and watch him die. Or find him dead. So if that was the price? Norman could have told me in advance, and I'd still have done it.

Darla says she wants to go back to Kara now because she's worried about her. I wanted to give her the Sopranos DVDs I meant to give to Kara anyway, but then I figured with watching Tucker W. recover this probably wasn't what she wants to see, so I went and bought a collection of the Highlights of the Muppet Show. They had some bonus DVD Highlights of SMILE TIME as well, so I bought that, too, and when I gave it to Darla for Kara along with the Muppets Angel glared at me and asked whether that was supposed to be funny. Each time when I think I figured one of my fathers out, something like that happens. (I totally got why he backhanded me when I told him what I had done with the goo and the antidote, but this was crazy.)

So: Harry is safe. My parents went from concerned and pissed off to gone (Darla) and weird (Angel). I'm feeling more like an alien than I did since first arriving here, and sometimes the idea of staying like that nearly makes me throw up. Except that when I finally could sleep a bit earlier this morning, around four am or so, and then when I woke up, I had forgotten that the antidote was found, tested, and used, and I thought Harry was dying again, and then I remembered.

I don't think there were many times I felt better in my entire life.
abetterlie: (Default)
After this

It's so cold.

Funny that this is what I keep coming back to. I mean, of course it's cold, it's been cold in this city ever since I came here and the winter isn't over yet. But I don't think I ever felt it this way. I just went and changed into the warmest sweater Harry had given me. Doesn't help much.

I came back from OsCorp about the same time he came back from I don't know where. Didn't have the chance to ask. Angel was still patrolling, which meant I had to do the explanation thing twice. When I told Harry, he said: "You fucking hypocrite, you fucking made me promise I'd live and then you do this!" and stormed out again. Angel later on didn't say anything at all, he just backhanded me for the first time since - but I don't want to think of that night now. And then he hugged me. I think he's talking to Darla on the phone now.

I can't hear it.

I'm sure he's not whispering, he never does. He's in the library, and I'm in front of the fireplace, and I still can't hear him. I can't hear anything but the wood cracking in the fire. Burning wood is the only thing I can smell right now as well, and the eyesight thing keeps getting worse.

So I try to remember that I have an entire set of memories where I don't have superpowers for most of my life, and this wasn't any different. Except it is. In those memories Vail made, I just didn't know what I was, but I still had all the senses I had in Quortoth. I mean, just after I had figured out I had superpowers and before the mindwipe got reversed, I didn't feel any different. I thought it was all about being able to do lots of pushups and throw heavyweights through the air. How stupid is that? So I guess that means that even in the second life, the normal one, I wasn't human after all.

It's done now, though. If the antidote works, then Harry will live and whether I get back to normal or whether I'm going to stay that way doesn't count. If the antidote doesn't work - well, I should have died two years ago anyway. At least this time, I didn't drag anyone else to their death first. No formula annointed in the blood of the innocent, thank you, Norman Osborn.

Speaking of blood, he talked me through using a needle to get some samples of mine before I left OsCorp and pronounced that it did show the corrosive effect of the goo, the first signs anyway. The thing that will end up liquifying my organs and is already liquifying Harry's. Which is good because that's the effect the antidote is meant to combat. The weirdest thing? This whole dying prospect isn't freaking me out the way everything else does. Under water. I keep getting back to that. It's like living under water, and something must be wrong with me beyond the goo because I'm pretty sure this can't be what normal humans feel like.

So if I had known the goo would cripple me take my powers instead of enhancing them further, in addition to doing the usual crazy-plus-dying stuff, would I still have said yes to Norman's plan? You bet. Maybe Harry hates me now, but I wasn't kidding when I said I'd do anything. Plus this way, at least I won't have to worry about becoming a crazy supervillain if the antidote doesn't work. Just a crazy cripple guy who can be easily locked up.

Just a minute ago, I thought I saw Jasmine in the flames. Not really, I mean, not like I didn't know she's dead, but I thought I saw her anyway, and I said: "I figured it out. Ever since he started to be sick, I wondered how you did it. Taking pain into yourself so you could heal. I finally figured it out."

She said: "I knew you would, Connor. You are my father, after all. But don't forget that they hated me for the price."

Then it was just the flames, and the silence, and I keep wondering whether I'll ever get warm again.

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abetterlie

July 2010

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