[X-men: Legacy] The Time Has Come

Stale cigar smoke. Bitter beer. Earth. The coppery tang of blood that soap can’t touch.

She inhales deeply as iron strong arms wrap around her and hug her. Not too tightly but close. She can hear a heart beating alongside hers; strong, maybe a little slower than in the past, but still there. Tired. But still there.

When he releases her, she gives a small smile. barely there. “I’ll keep an eye on them,” she promises, not needing to state just who “they” are.

He doesn’t say anything in return, doesn’t have to. It’s been long enough that they understand each other without having to say much at all. Time will do that to you. Time marches on but, eventually, it takes you with it.

He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even say goodbye. Just utters a grunted huff, the edges of a rueful smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. No…not just rueful.

Proud. Sad. Determined.

Reaching out he puts a hard, rough, calloused hand against Betsy’s cheek for a moment before letting it drop to her shoulder and giving it a squeeze that would crack the bones of a less hardy person.

Then the old bastard shoulders his pack and heads off down the drive. He hops into the old ’68 mustang, roars it to life, and is gone.

It’s hard to say goodbye. Maybe that’s why they don’t say it. For them, can it ever really be goodbye, though? Or will they just end up side-by-side again when the world has turned enough times?

Who knows? In either case, goodbyes are hard. That’s why they don’t say them. Time will do that to you.

Time marches on and, eventually, it takes you with it.

(Graphic credit: Imgur, by ManWhoLovesSuperheroes)


[X-men: Legacy] The Feline and the Charmer: Mardi Gras Moon

Betsy giggles as she pulls the pink plastic baby from its cakey cocoon. 

“Well! Look at dat, chere,” Julien chuckles to the feral girl as she pulls the treasure from her slice of king cake.  “And wit’ your firs’ King Cake, too.”

She sets the baby down on the side of her plate and licks her fingers.

“Now you know dat findin’ de bebe comes wit’ a whole host of responsibilities as well as the luck, righ’?”

“Oh, like what?” Betsy ripostes smilingly. 

“Ohhh, well!” The Guild Prince sidles up to his feline-esque companion, close but not touching her yet. “Some people say dat whoever finds it will end up with a little’un by end o’ year, especially if you a woman.”

Betsy fairly screws up her face at that. “Yeahhhh….no litters for this feral, thanks. Even if they would turn out as beautiful as you.”

“Oh, Lor’, no!” Jules agrees, still smiling, and those ebony and ruby eyes glimmer in the lights that glimmer off the French Quarter. “There are other responsibilities, tho’.”

Betsy looks up at him, her own eyes melding to a shimmery gold. “Tell me.”

“In our househol’, the finder owes the baker a kiss,” he says with a completely straight face.

“Oh, so I should go find Henri then?” the feral girl quips mischievously.

“He would be righ’ surprised at you, I’d say. Especially since he didn’ make dis one,” Jules assures her with that self-confident smile. “I did.”

Betsy arches an eyebrow in surprise. “You?”

“Well, I couldn’ let my lovely Elizabet’s first Mardi Gras be anytin’ but the most’ special, could I?” Julien Boudreaux smiles fit to be tied at his girlfriend’s surprise.

Betsy’s cheeks pinken deeply at that and her eyes become molten, like gold heated in a forge. Stepping towards the tall Cajun, she rises up on her tiptoes, even in six-inch heels, slender hands reaching up to draw his face down towards hers. “It’s been amazing, Nawlins,” she purrs through wine-dark lips. “The parties, the parades, the food…but you…you are by far the best thing about tonight.”

Julien meets Betsy more than willingly, hands reaching out to grasp her waist and pull her close to him, lips meeting lips and a contented (and simultaneously hungry) sigh rumbling in his strong chest. That rumble lights a warmth in Betsy’s belly that sits low and heavy, her form flushing in his grasp in the warm New Orleans evening.

The music and ruckus of the French Quarter float up to meet them, the party going strong down in the streets. But here on this little rooftop oasis that Julien has concocted, they are as alone as they could possibly wish to be. Betsy has felt no silent, hidden presence watching them; Belladonna has in fact warned her people off the two teenagers for the night. Let them have their fun. Tomorrow the streets will be quiet, the church bells ringing in Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. But, for now…

Leaving the cake behind, Betsy draws Julien under an ivy, flower, and curtain strewn bower, letting the gossamer and heady scents envelope and hide them from the world for a while. After all, why go into Lent with no “sins” to confess?

BloPoMo Day 8, Post 2: “From One Stray to Another”

Dear Chance,

I hope this letter finds you okay, and that your family is doing well.

I found the fox. He’s sitting safe and sound on my shelf, waiting and ready, if you ever want him back. Just let me know and I’ll send him home to you. I miss you. A lot. I feel like we haven’t spoken in months, and I worry about you all the time. I wish well for you every day, lots of car windows and frosty eyelashes. I still catch myself making coffee for you early in the morning before training sometimes because I expect you to be burning the midnight oil upstairs.

I’m sorry for everything that happened during the war. I know that it was hard for you. Are you okay? It was weird when all the lantern power went away. I still feel…different, not entirely sure how but I do a bit. I hope you’re okay, really-really. And thank you for being there for me when I was shaky and holding me fast; as usual, you were right on time.

I’m so glad that I got to see you before Christmas. I know it was a coincidence but still! It was one of the best presents I could have gotten. I’m so glad you were there and that I got to share a snowy park with you. Thanks for coming to say hi.

You are wonderful, Chance. You know it. You can do this. All of this. And it’ll be great. Be safe and be brave, hon. I’ll keep an ear out for you. And don’t forget: you promised me a surprise from a young man in a tux in an art gallery someday.



From One Stray to Another



RPG Fiction: “Beastly Dreams”

Author’s Note: This piece is from an online X-men role-playing game that I participate in. My character is a feral girl with a Wolverine-esque power set (claws, heightened senses, feral nature) who is struggling with the dichotomy of her feral and human natures.

The woods are dark and the moon is full, the branches reaching their clawed fingers up to embrace the glowing orb. Or are they trying to catch it? She prowls the woods silently, eyes shining in the moonlight nose lifted to the wind. She doesn’t know what she’s looking for but she is looking for it, driven toward it, obsessed by it.

Her steps through the woods are silent, calculated. She can smell it more clearly now: another predator. But unlike any she has ever smelled before. Animal but…not. Picking up the pace, Betsy hurries through the darkened woods towards the scent that grows stronger and stronger until her head spins, intoxicated. It’s like inhaled wine and goes straight to her head. Finally, she’s on top of it. But…where is it?

“Good work, daughter. Your senses are keen and sharp,” comes a voice and the scent washes headily over her again. There’s the flick of a bright tail and, between the trees, Betsy spies something she has never seen before.

A lion. A white lion.

She lowers herself in a crouch, lips starting to pull back in a snarl. A bid to show who’s alpha. But, suddenly, it all seems…unnecessary. There is no bid to be won here, no need to proclaim who’s alpha. He is.

“Come. Sit.” The lion grooms its forepaws complacently before raising great golden eyes to the feral girl. It is larger than any creature she has ever seen and only seems larger as she approaches. It doesn’t move, just watches Betsy as she nears it inch by inch, finally coming to rest just before it.

“Are you frightened?” the beast asks, its maw moving gracefully with the words. There is a great sense of trepidation that surrounds him, as well great peace, as if he were the ultimate balance between the two.

“A little,” Betsy admits, kneeling before the great beast.

“Good. We are always afraid of the other. But it doesn’t take us away from it. Why are you so afraid?”

“I’m not afraid!” the feral girl retorts, though she had just said she was.

“Yes. You are,” the beast replies, “It is what makes you frail and weak and omega. Elizabeth…”

Her own name strikes her heart like an arrow.

“There is nothing wrong with you. Nothing to correct. Nothing to atone for. Nothing to “be better”. You are living in fear. Wasting away in it,” the beast tells her patiently, “You have put yourself in a cage. You are putting yourself right back into that closet again.”

The girl falls silent before the great lion, chewing on her bottom lip as she always does, trembling slightly as dark eyelids hide golden eyes of her own. “I…”

“Why are you so afraid?” it asks. Again.

“I…I’m supposed to be “normal”. I’m a mutant, yes. But I’m supposed to just be a girl. Everyone thinks so. I’m supposed to just fall to, toe the line, and accept the mate that everyone thinks I should have.”

“And you don’t want to?” the beast queries in its quiet way.

“I…no. Sometimes it’s like warmth all over, delicious and sweet and thick. Other times, every part of me screams against it, and I don’t know which is right!” Betsy’s voice cracks slightly as the words come tumbling out in an avalanche.

“Why must one be wrong?”

Betsy eyes the lion. “Because! Because…”

“You lost your first mate, child. And your bosom companion. It doesn’t mean that you must tie yourself to another, just to “be right”.” The beast then breathes, great golden light spilling from its mouth to wrap around her form. It’s musky, strong, and Betsy feels it sinking into her skin and infusing into her very bones.

“You are girl. You are beast. You are both in one. Your path is unique. The wolf mates for life. The jaguar does not. Humans may or may not. Your path is not like others’. So why do you try to force it to be straight when it curves and whorls, just like you?” the beast looks at her with eyes even more golden than her own.

“I don’t know.”

“Then stop. Don’t waste away. Live as you. And only you, Elizabeth. That is all you can do. You cannot live and walk the path designed or expected by others, only the one forged by your own soul at the moment of your creation.”

Betsy bites her bottom lip, seeming as though she is about to protest, but, suddenly, a giant paw wraps around her, drawing her against the great beast’s chest. He holds her close, so close that she can hear his heart pounding. Wild and strong and free. The scent overtakes her, mingling with all the happy pinpoints of her mind and memory, the thundering purr rumbling through her form.

‘Live as you and only you.’

= = =

In the darkness of the room that she shares with Anna, Betsy awakens, reaching out as though to sink her fingers into that softest of furs again. Finding only air, the feral girl breathes in deeply, the scent wafting away from her memory quickly. But, for a moment, it’s still there.

She is silent as she sits in the bed. Finally, a small smile curls her lips and she lies back on her bed quietly, reaching up a hand to touch something on the wall over her bed head before falling asleep once more.

She can only live as herself. Now she actually needs to do it.