Differences 8-V

I’ve Been Really Busy.

Sabah stared at me, frozen. Just… completely still. 

Oh crap, I thought, I broke her.

“Wha,” she stuttered after a second. “How- I don… wha…”

“Sabah.exe has encountered an error and needs to restart,” I suggested with a grin. She glared at me, then buried her face in her hands and counted slowly to ten. When she looked back up, her face was a placid mask, with only the barest hint of irritation. 

“Okay. Okay. What.”

I laughed, a little quietly. “Do I need to spell it out?”

“No, no, do not condescend me right now, Hanners, I will have a sh**fit.” She took a deep breath. “So. You have superpowers. How long?”

“Wednesday morning.”

“Wait, really? You’re being very casual for someone who’s only had powers for two days. I’d still be freaking out.”

“Well, yeah, but that’s just because you’re a total dweeb.”

“I’m pretty sure that using the word dweeb automatically makes you the dweeb, dweeb.” She paused. “Dweeb. Dweeb dweeb dweeb dweeb. What a stupid word.”

“Shush, you dwe… oh yeah, it is pretty weird, isn’t it?”

She fixed me with a glare. “I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to distract me with witty banter. It’s not going to work.”

“Ooh, banter. We’re having a real throwback day, huh?”

No.” She pointed at me. “No. Seriously, how the hell- heck are you this calm?”

I shrugged. “Not really sure, to be honest. It kind of helps that I’ve had… other things to focus on.”

She grimaced. “Oh right. I’m guessing you’re talking about the Outliers?”

“Among other things. We’re probably gonna want to sit down for this one, it’s a bit long.”

The living room was an odd mix of modern, chic furniture, and older chintzy curtains, rounded out by a tattered, worn rocking chair. I let some light in, with the happy side effect of hiding those awful curtains. If you hadn’t guessed, they were remnants of my grandma. Well, the curtains were. The chair was just very, very comfy.

I plopped myself down on the couch, and Sabah took the chair. She sat quietly while I ran over the events of the last two days. Getting my powers, my perspective in the cafeteria, getting the costume, testing them out. Fog and the Outliers. For the first time, I told the whole story. No editing, no selective descriptions or obfuscation. Just the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It was a really good feeling. I’m not naturally a dishonest person, and these last two days had really made me stretch that description pretty far.

I finished with the talk I’d had with the Outliers, and what little I’d been able to dig up about them. Once I’d finished speaking, there was a moment of silence. The chair creaked as Sabah leaned back into it. “Okay,” she said eventually. “I have a couple of things to say, so let’s just do them in order.” She cleared her throat and steeped her fingers in front of her face. “One. What the hell were you thinking?! Running around like that with a bunch of terrorists around?! You could’ve been killed!”

I stared up at the ceiling. “I could’ve been killed anyway. What was I going to do, nothing?”

“That’s a terrible argument, and you know it.” I didn’t respond. “Ugh, fine, be that way. I’m not forgetting about this, though. Two. Again, what were you thinking? Forget going to the Tower, have you even registered yourself?”

Oh, right. I’d actually forgotten about that. Every metahuman was required to register themselves with the DoM upon gaining powers, or face fines and other restrictions. It was another one of those security measures they instituted after 9/11, theoretically to prevent another event like it from happening. Personally, I didn’t agree; it’s not like the kind of people who’d even consider doing such a thing would be willing to register in the first place. But, that was just the opinion of one teen on events that happened before she was born, so give it as much or as little weight as you want. Point is, kind of a big deal, but in my defense, it wasn’t like I didn’t have other things on my mind.

“Look, I don’t want my name on some list, okay?” Not technically a lie, and it seemed like an answer. And just when I thought I was being honest again.

“And because you forget about it?”

“And because I forgot about it.”

She sighed. “Of all the people… okay, three. Wisp?” She sounded so perplexed.

An unexpected laugh snuck out of my throat. “I dunno, I was in the moment and it fit. I kinda like it, though. ‘s better than…” I grasped around for an example, “Stump.”

She gave an odd little laugh. “Haha, yeah. Fair enough, then. Wisp. Wisp. Wi-”

“Noooope, nope, enough of that. You’re not allowed to ruin my beautiful new name.”

“Beautiful may be stretching it a bit.”

“Shush, you.”

“Whatever. Four. These Outliers people do not seem like the kind of folk you should be messing with. Firstly, they’re criminals, even if only technically. Secondly, if your story was accurate, they’re involved in some serious shit. They were covered in blood. Whatever it is, you do not want to get dragged down into that.”

“Mhmm,” I acknowledged. “That’s fair.”

“Oh come on, don’t argue- Wait.” She titled her head.

“I agree. You’re right, and I’m going to try and avoid them if I can, at least for now.”

“…huh.” She deflated a little, the wind taken out of her sails. “Well alright then.”

“Frankly,” I said, “I’m surprised you haven’t tried talking me out of this yet.”

“Do you want me to?”

“Not particularly, no.”

“Good, because I’m not going to. Hannah, I know you, and I know you’re not going to let this go. And while the idea is good, I’m worried that your execution is terrible. You literally lucked into any information you have now, and you plan to go out and do it again?”

“No,” I said suddenly, “no I don’t.” I turned to face her, serious face on. “You’re right in that I need to do this better, but I’m not going to join the Tower. Fog was a b-word, what little I’ve seen of their methods seem useless. But I am going to play it smarter. I am going to use a plan. And I am going to find those three clods, and I am going to make sure justice is done.”

“…you know, it’d be a lot easier to take you seriously if you didn’t just say clods.”