Fame: Part 2

I could see that. Haley always had been worried about her powers. The fact that she shapeshifted into a version of herself with fangs and claws probably didn’t help.

It wouldn’t be like discovering you could fly. It wasn’t a cool power. Fangs and claws just said monster.

The combination of that with strength and poison filled dewclaws that were still there even when she hadn’t shifted couldn’t have made her childhood easy.

Actually, I knew it hadn’t been.

She’d told me about it. She’d always been worried about hurting people, or transforming without thinking and being regarded as some kind of freak forever.

Taking a breath, she looked around the park, and said, “Why don’t we go over there?”

The park had a few trees, mostly evergreens, but others too. Haley pointed toward a clump of trees. I agreed, and we walked over there together, holding hands.

Her hand felt warm and soft. I could notice the hardness of the dewclaw under her skin if I wanted to, but it was the furthest thing from my mind then.

A park bench stood near the trees. If I knew less about how well she could see in the dark, I would have wondered how she noticed it. Set back from the ledge it barely stood out amid the bushes.

That was a good thing.

We walked over and sat down. I put my arm around her shoulder and she leaned into me. We talked a little more then, but my mind paid more attention to her hand on my leg.

After a while we kissed, and then we stopped talking at all. We’d talked about boundaries when we’d started dating. Even if we’d blown past a few of them in the past year or two, it wasn’t as if we were doing anything particularly crazy on the bench. We were kissing though, and touching each other–which meant it wasn’t that surprising when she shifted into her alternate form.

Her shoulders broadened, and she grew an inch, grunting as it happened. Her feet and hands turned grayish while her nails became a pale white.

“Hah,” she muttered as her shoes fell to the ground. Somehow she’d managed to kick her shoes off before her nails ripped through the leather. She’d told me that she’d lost a lot of shirts and shoes to unexpected changes. When I’d asked why she hadn’t lost pants, she’d snapped the elastic around her waist, and said, “Stretchy pants.”

The shifting didn’t stop us. Sure, it had the first time. Haley had been worried about hurting me. Since then we’d kept on going. You get used to people’s quirks over time.

Haley had gotten used to me getting distracted or going on tangents about how things worked. I’d gotten used to her growing fangs and claws during awkward moments, and to her worrying about shifting.

It evened out.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the boundaries we’d set, we kept at it for a while.

When we did stop, it wasn’t because we wanted to. I was lying on the bench, vaguely aware that it was little uncomfortable, and Haley was on top of me.

Haley pulled her head back, breaking off a kiss and froze. “Shit,” she muttered. “Someone’s coming.”

I’d noticed that she was a little more likely to swear after she shifted. I thought she might be a little more decisive too.

“Sit up!” She whispered, pushing herself off me–which did hurt a little, and not emotionally.

“Sorry,” she said as I winced. She’d shifted back, checking her shirt for rips while I pushed myself up into a sitting position.

Their voices carried. I heard them before I saw them.

First I heard the voice of a guy my own age. “I’ll be fine, Mom. I don’t need anybody to check in on me. Clacy and Gifford are both in the program, and even if I don’t want to talk to them, I’ll be in the middle of a compound in a program full of supers. I’m bound to find someone I enjoy hanging around with. I won’t be lonely. It will be fine.”

I recognized the voice of the woman who replied. I didn’t know who it belonged to, but I knew it. Even though they guy had called her “Mom,” the voice didn’t sound much older than we did.

“Hunter,” she began, and I recognized the sound of suppressed frustration I’d occasionally heard from my own mom.

“As I’ve told you before, this isn’t about meeting anybody. I didn’t tell you to come here to meet anybody. You’re here to meet contacts, network, and create lasting relationships with the kind of people who can help your career. I could have hired people to teach you to fight. I can’t hire these teachers, not all of them. I don’t have the resources to track down all the students, some of them from very important families.

“You’ve got them all here. Don’t waste this chance. Your future career rests on who you know, whether you stay a hero or not.”

“I understand, Mom. Let’s leave it at that.”

That’s when they came into view. She appeared to be in her twenties. Between her full lips, dark eyes, and high cheekbones, she looked like a movie star.

And she was one. I recognized her. She’d been a superhero, and still went by her codename “Diva.” I knew that she had powers, and that they were impressive, but I didn’t know what they were–aside from the obvious resistance to aging.

She’d transitioned out of being a superhero before I was born.

Her son Hunter had her dark hair and eyes, and a similar face.

He noticed us, and asked Haley, “Did you lose your shoes?”

20 thoughts on “Fame: Part 2”

  1. Wow, there is just so much to like about this chapter, I’m not sure where to start.

    Typo: “Despite (or perhaps of) the boundaries we’d set, we kept at it for a while.”

    I have gone over this a few times, and there might be a word missing because it doesn’t make much sense as is.

    Also, this kissing scene brings up an interesting function for her transforrmations. In the future, when they get to the baby-making stage of their relationship as I hope they will (Don’t dissapoint me, Jim!), the transforming due to emotional excitement could become a gauge of whether or not she is into it, but it also presents another way for her to fake being into it by transforming manually (“manually” isn’t really the right word, but I can’t think of a better one right now).

    Aside from that, I’m imagining their potential children to be somewhat like Hank McCoy from X-Men: powers that give immense physical ability that are used more often to move heavy science equipment for than to fight evil.

  2. I have a question, why did you add a bit to the end? When I read it this morning it ended with “I understand, mom” or somthing like that. Not that I’m complaining, more content is great.

  3. “Consciously” or “by choice” both could be applied to non-accidental shifting.
    Also, Jim could potentially fill a book just on the concept of pregnant shifters. Does the mothers body differentiate between itself and the child and leave it unchanged or does it change with the mother? If the latter, what effect would that have on the child’s development? Would the shift create too much pressure on the baby, causing injury or even death? Maybe the mothers body recognizes the need not to shift while pregnant and the ability is suppressed by hormones during the pregnancy. That could be awkward for the mom who hasn’t yet discovered the need for “baby on board” signs and her ability to shift suddenly cuts out in the middle of combat. More likely in that case the gradual increase in hormone levels would cause her to find it requiring increasingly more difficult to shift and seeking the help of the local super-doctor.

  4. Considering that Haley inherited her power from her grandfather two generations back, this might well be a legitimate problem.

  5. What’s worse is that she’s right. Success has much more to do with knowing the right people.

    Also, good luck hiding the boner, Nick. It hurt when she pulled herself off him? Try tucking it into the waistband and wearing a loose shirt.

    All the good supervillains know Boner Hiding 101. It’s not heroes who are going to sneak into many places involving huge amounts of money or naked people, after all.

  6. @Cultist: If Nick and Rachel are anything to go by, powers don’t always mix and match like that; we also know that in most cases, powers skip a generation. There’s also Marcus, which is a grandson both to C and Night Wolf, but has only tangentially-related powers.

  7. “It wouldn’t be like discovering you could fly. It wasn’t a cool power. Fangs and claws just said monster.”

    I know what mean here but the 2nd “it” would seem to refer to flying. Perhaps that “it” and the “Fangs and claws” could be swapped and replace with “They”.

    Keep up the great work. I love the story!

  8. @John: It just reads as stream of consciousness to me, which is to be expected. That was fine to me.

    @Cultist: I was thinking, (or perhaps because of), would work here.

    Cape mom! This should be good. Though it’s gonna be awkward in a few years when her son catches up to her apparent age…

  9. Hmmm… Seemingly pushy mom, a villain if I interpret it right, and one with a lot of power and used to getting her way. She’ll probably end up fighting nick and the gang just because they’ll get in her way

  10. Nah, she’ll push her kid to be involved with them, maybe even to try and date one of them. If things get really dramatic, she’ll try and break Nick and Haley up to match her son with Haley.

    At the very least, there’d be some natural tension between the always-pretty super and the super whose ability makes her turn into something people consider a bit monstrous.

  11. @Psycho Gecko that’s sorta what I meant. I was thinking that she’ll try to force him into their group and they’ll reject him. And we all know what happens when brats don’t get what they want… Temper tantrums. Very big and explosive temper tantrum in her case.

  12. “You get used to people’s quirks over time.”

    I LOLed. Nick just rolls with life so easily at times. Girlfriend turns into alternate form that can throw cars around when she’s excited? No problem. A bit exciting the first time but it’s not like it’s really important like that crystalline lattice processing data structure in the sample from the machine intelligence AI’s! 🙂

    As for Diva and Hunter, well, I can see all sorts of interesting directions this might lead.

    Someone really needs to do a crossover fanfic between Iron Man and Legion of Nothing. Interactions between Nick and Tony have the potential to be absurdly funny. Maybe someone has. Time to go Googling!

  13. Ohgod. I just had a future fridge moment. Forty or so years from now, Haley is sleeping in one day, and Nick sends their granddaughter into the room with breakfast for her. It’s bacon and whatever else Haley really likes. Really good smelling bacon, which in Haley’s semi-awake state makes her transform. The grand child has been carefully prepared for this moment with a red cape and a phrase. “Grandma, what great big teeth you have!”

  14. “Even though they guy” (the)

    I suppose we were due for a Nick/Haley scene, after them spending so much time apart. Nice to have little nods to offscreen events.

  15. Weird wording, maybe add a word?
    Despite (or perhaps of) the boundaries we’d set, we kept at it for a while.

    Maybe:
    Despite (or perhaps because of) the boundaries we’d set, we kept at it for a while.

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