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Prodigal Daughter [Worm Alt-Taylor AU]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Ack, Dec 25, 2018.

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  1. Threadmarks: Index
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Taylor Hebert has had questions about her parentage for some time.

    When she unexpectedly discovers her answers, it raises more issues.

    Disclaimers:
    1) This story is set in the Wormverse, which is owned by Wildbow. Thanks for letting me use it.

    2) I will follow canon as closely as I can. If I find something that canon does not cover, I will make stuff up. If canon then refutes me, I will revise. Do not bother me with fanon; corrections require citations.

    3) I welcome criticism of my works, but if you tell me that something is wrong, I also expect an explanation of what is wrong, and a suggestion of how to fix it. Note that I do not promise to follow any given suggestion.

    Index:
    Part One: Random Thoughts (below)
    Part Two: Summer Camp Blues
    Part Three: Exceeding Expectations
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
    Warer and Twilight666 like this.
  2. Threadmarks: Part One: Random Thoughts
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Prodigal Daughter

    Part One: Random Thoughts



    [A/N: This is definitely an AU. A few dates and names have been changed around. You can pretty well figure out what's going on.]

    [A/N 2: This fic beta-read by Lady Columbine of Mystal.]

    [A/N 3: I wasn't going to write this, but it's Christmas.]



    I wonder if other people ever look in the mirror and wonder who their real parents are?

    I used to.

    I knew who my real mom was, of course. But she's dead now. I can see her every time I look in the mirror. Mostly, anyway. I've got her hair and cheekbones, but I've got my father's eyes.

    Which aren't the same as Dad's eyes. He's got brown eyes, while my mom's were more hazel. Mine are pale blue, like winter ice. Dad needs glasses, too, but I don't.

    Dad's tall and skinny, with dark hair, though he's starting to go bald. My hair's dark, too. So was my mom's. My father's was as well.

    Mom was tall and skinny too, and I take after her, so people don't usually wonder if Dad is my real father. It's not totally unheard of for two people with brown eyes to have a blue-eyed baby, but I'm pretty sure I know what it means.

    Of course, I couldn't talk to Dad about it. How do you even ask that sort of question, anyway? Excuse me, but do you know who my real father was?

    This isn't to say that I spent all my childhood obsessing over who got Mom pregnant back in the day. Dad did a reasonable job of being a dad, and Mom was a wonderful mom, so I had it pretty good. I didn't daydream about having my real father swoop in and take me away to a better life … well, much, anyway. Though I sometimes wondered what Legend's real eye colour was, at least until I found out he was gay. I didn't wonder about Eidolon. He's cool and all, but not in a 'perfect dad' sort of way.

    So I grew up and had friends and went to school and did all the things that kids do. Well … mostly. A lot of the time, I just liked to watch people. Not in an “I find them fascinating” way, but more in a “bugs under a microscope” way. Where everyone else obsessed over what Johnny was thinking when he did that, or what Raylee thought of them, I kind of just … knew. It wasn't a cape power. Well, at first I didn't know, but after I watched them for a while, I had it figured out. For the most part, it's because people are idiots. Predictable idiots, at that. Most of them can't fit two thoughts in their head at the same time.

    After a while, this kind of made people boring to me. I couldn't get into a conversation without knowing what they wanted to talk about, and how it would play out. It was honestly a lot more interesting to curl up with a book, because in a book I only knew what the book wanted to tell me, when it told me.

    I still had friends … well, one friend. Emma was pretty cool. Her dad was richer than mine, but she didn't mind sharing her stuff with me. This was kinda because her dad and my dad had been friends like forever, and partly because she felt sorry for me that I didn't have any other friends. I didn't mind, and it was nice having someone to talk to that wasn't me. Really, I agreed with myself all the time, and Mom had always told me it was a good idea to find people who didn't agree, so I could find out what they thought about stuff.

    So yeah, I was pretty happy. Right up until Mom died.

    When that happened, a small part of me died along with her. Dad died a little bit as well. He kind of went away for a while, which meant that I lost both of my parents right then. Losing Mom hurt more than losing Dad. I'd like to say this was because I knew Dad would come back, but deep down I knew better. Dad's not my real father, my secret thoughts went, not really. But I never admitted, even to myself, that I don't love Dad as much as I loved Mom. I'm not even admitting it now. Honest.

    Things got shitty then. Until Dad remembered how to be a Dad again—let's be honest, he had to first remember how to be a human being again—I had to go over to Emma's parents so I could eat from one day to the next. Emma was really sympathetic, which reminded me why having friends and associating with people was actually a good thing. I even cried a bit, a couple of times.

    Dad came around, eventually, but he was never really the same after. Which meant that he didn't really take notice when Emma … but I'm getting ahead of myself.

    He started being a dad again, but we weren't as close anymore. I had to take care of myself more often, which wasn't so much of a hassle, because I was already used to doing that. He didn't even notice when I started taking walks at night. I didn't know why. I just felt that the walls were closing in on me, and I had to get out under the open sky. Not that I was stupid about it. I carried a short iron bar with me to start, then when some Merchant kids tried to rob me, I broke one boy's wrist and another boy's arm and when the last one tried to kick me, I broke his kneecaps and his shoulder. The other guys ran off but kneecap-guy didn't, so I took his knife, and the knives the other two had dropped. I thought about killing him, but I decided not to. My first kill needed to be important. To matter.

    Knives felt much more natural to carry than iron bars, and they were a lot lighter, too. I started spending time down in the basement with illustrated books on how to fight with knives, practising the moves. It's amazing what you can buy online, these days.

    But I still felt restless, so between bouts of stabbing my practice dummy (old shirts and sheets wrapped around two brooms tied together), I started to organise the basement. There were a lot of boxes down here, a lot of them Mom's old stuff. There was no way Dad was even going to touch the stuff, which I thought was stupid. Bugs would get in and ruin it and we'd lose it all anyway.

    Maybe he wanted it to happen that way. I never thought of that till just now. Huh.

    I didn't really have a plan when I started going through the boxes. Mom had talked about how she'd been a Lustrum follower back before she started going out with Dad, so I wondered if she had any souvenirs of those days. Lustrum had gone to the Birdcage after her followers started attacking men. Had Mom been in on that? I knew I didn't really relate to most people too good, not like I did with Emma. If she was like that too when she was younger, maybe she'd left something for me to learn how to be like normal people. Or at least, act more like it.

    If nothing else, maybe she'd left behind a minion costume or something. That would've been kind of awesome, actually.

    I don't hate men. I don't hate anyone. There isn't room in my brain for that kind of emotion. But it might've given me some kind of structure to base my life around. Instead, I found something totally different. I'm still working out if it's awesome or not.



    September 8, 1994

    Dear Diary.

    Holy shit. My mom was actually the type of person who wrote 'dear diary'. I had to take a moment to recover from that. Then I kept reading.

    I'm alive. I have to keep repeating that to myself. I've thought so many times over the last twenty-four hours that I was going to die, that I'd never see Mom or Dad or Danny again, but I'm alive.

    Okay, now I was intrigued.

    Butcher and the Teeth are gone from Brockton Bay. He'll be going soon too, I hope. Taking his people with him. Taking the Nine.

    I had to read through that one a few times, until it sank in. My mom was talking about Jack Slash, of the Slaughterhouse Nine. There was nobody else 'he' could be.

    Mom knew Jack Slash.

    Mom knew Jack Slash.

    Holy motherfucking shitballs.

    Danny can never know what happened. It was so sudden. He was there, and I was there, and I thought I was going to die at any moment. It's amazing what goes through your head at a time like this.

    Um … fucking what?

    I don't even know why he saved my life. He could've let the Teeth kill me. But while the shots were smashing in through the window of the cafe and I was screaming and the broken glass was raining all around us, he grabbed me and pulled me down into the basement. A basement I hadn't even known was there.

    Is she talking about Jack Slash? Did the most murderhoboish of murderhobos save my mother's life?

    And we lay there, side by side, while they tromped around above us. And I held him so tightly. I was so terrified. He was just someone warm to hold on to. All I could feel was his arms and his heartbeat. I don't even know who kissed who first.

    What … the … fuck?

    I thought I was going to die at any second. You get crazy at a time like that. We didn't even get all the way undressed. Just far enough. And then we just … did it.

    Oh, no. No. Fucking. Way.

    And then just as we were finishing, the cavalry arrived and chased the Teeth off. Well, the Nine, anyway. He zipped up and kissed me, then made a 'ssh' motion. I stayed quiet while he climbed back upstairs and closed the trapdoor behind him.

    Mom made it with Jack Slash? I had no idea what to think about that.

    I'm alive. I'm glad I survived, but what happened between us ... it should never have happened.



    That was when I had to put the diary down for a moment, and go attack the practice dummy for a bit. That was huge. I mean, mega-fuckballs huge. It was taking me all my time to assimilate it, and I'd spent an hour last semester planning how I could sneak into the houses of everyone in my class and murder them in their sleep so I could get top marks without trying. That didn't bother me at all. I mean, I never was going to do it, but I could have, and that didn't concern me at all. This was bothering me big time.

    The worst bit was, I couldn't tell anyone. There was nobody I could tell. I could just imagine trying to talk to Dad on the matter. Hey Dad, guess what? Mom fucked Jack Slash, and I'm his kid. Yeah, that'd go down as well as Behemoth crashing a baby shower. If Mom was still around I might have tried to talk to her about it, but … yeah, nope. Unless going to her gravesite and yelling at a chunk of granite had ever done anyone any good … didn't think so.

    About the only other person I could think of to talk to about it was Emma. Would Emma understand? She seemed to understand everything else about me. But would she be on board with me being Jack Slash's illegitimate offspring? Would she scream and run, or ask me for an autograph, or say something like 'yeah, right'?

    Maybe there was something more, I decided. I wanted to get the full story before I said anything to anyone. So I started looking through more of her diaries. I learned a hell of a lot about her that I hadn't before, some of which I didn't want to know. She was a lot more graphic about describing the way she had sex with Dad, which I really didn't want to know about.

    But then I managed to find some more, starting about a year later.



    August 19, 1995

    Dear Diary.

    Welp, she still hadn't shaken that habit. Oh, well.

    He's back. The others aren't with him. He's dyed his beard and mustache as a disguise, but I recognized him straight away.

    Okay, 'he'? I'm wondering, here …

    I was out shopping and he just stepped up beside me and started chatting, like we were old friends who spoke every day. Then he asked me about Taylor. I had to tell him.

    Holy shit. Wait one turtle-fucking second. Jack Slash asked about me? I had to put the book down for a moment. To my astonishment, my heart rate was up. Wow. Like, wow. I never got excited over anything.

    He sounded pleased, especially about how I'd named her after him. He wanted to see her. I was terrified he'd want to take her away, but what choice did I have?

    I blinked. My middle name was Jacqueline. Mom had always told Dad and me that it was the name of a friend who'd died when she was just a child.

    That was a lie?

    She'd thought so much about him that she gave me his name?

    Son of a horny hairy goatfucker. I was going to be running out of swearwords at this rate.

    I brought Taylor out to see him. She was so tiny, only a couple of months old. The sunlight in her eyes made her screw her face up. He made a soft noise, then he poked his thumb with a knife and brushed it over her forehead. I couldn't help but think he was branding her with his mark.

    I couldn't help it. I reached up and rubbed my forehead. I don't know what I was expecting to find. There wasn't anything there, of course.

    He said he'd be back when he could, and to tell him if Danny treated me or Taylor badly. I said that he wasn't, that he was being a really excellent father, even though neither of us had really expected the pregnancy.

    I had to snort at that. I bet.

    I hope he never returns, but if he knows I'm taking care of her, then he won't attack Brockton Bay.

    I hope.




    The diaries continued onward. 'He' showed up every few days, then every week, then once or twice a month, for maybe two years. The last entry was when I was two and a half. There was even a faded Polaroid of Mom and a very young me, and someone who could've been Jack Slash, all smiling (or in my case, gurgling) at the camera.

    Well, holy shit. That was proof, or as much proof as I thought I was ever gonna get. I put the diary back where I'd found it, slipped the photo into an old envelope, then took it upstairs in my pocket.

    Dad was making dinner, which turned out to be mac and cheese. I reminded myself that he was stretched pretty thin at the moment, what with the Dockworkers being strapped for cash. “So, hey,” I said. “Could I maybe go over to Emma's for a sleepover Saturday night?”

    Emma and I did sleepovers every now and again. It wasn't a huge thing for me, but it was for her. She liked to do makeovers on me, and show me how to do makeup that brought my eyes out. We'd dress up in her clothing, and laugh like idiots at how they hung off of me—well, she'd laugh, and I'd smile a bit—and then we'd watch stupid shows on TV and stay awake way too late. Stuff that friends did. I could see now that she thought I was unhappy and she was trying to cheer me up, but she was wrong. I was happy, or at least as happy as I was ever going to get.

    This time round, I had an ulterior motive for initiating the sleepover. With that photo, I could tell Emma and even prove it. My reaction to finding out had been pretty extreme for me, and I wanted to see what it would look like on a normal person.

    “Shit, sorry, Taylor,” said Dad, looking anxiously at me. “I know you love to go over to Emma's, but we had that summer camp organised for you, remember? Starts on Saturday morning, goes for a month?”

    And of course, now I remembered it. I'd asked to go, not to get away from Emma, but to get away from people. To get out into the great outdoors, where I could walk into the woods and be totally alone and think my thoughts, and be myself, and if someone happened to push me too far and I had to kill them, I could hide the body a lot more easily.

    Not that I wanted to kill anyone.

    I still wanted my first kill to be important, after all.

    So I put together a smile on my face to show Dad that it was cool, that I didn't mind.

    And I really don't.

    It'll only be a month, after all. And then I'll be back. And I can tell Emma all about Jack Slash being my real father.

    And the look on her face is gonna be amazing.



    End of Part One

    Part Two
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  3. Mannfred Von Carstein

    Mannfred Von Carstein Patron Saint of Futanari

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    Oh, Ack, you glorious mad bastard. It really is Christmas. Holy shitballs sums up my feelings on this accurately.
     
  4. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Versed in the lewd.

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    Sophia will be the good influence on Emma, won't she?
     
  5. Darth.

    Darth. #ThanosDidNothingWrong

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    Actually it seems Tay-Tay hasn't fucked Emma's head up yet. If she had, Emma would likely never come to the conclusion that Taylor is weak.
     
  6. Malcanthet

    Malcanthet Shy Adorable Arachne

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    Why do I suddenly feel sorry for Sophia?
     
  7. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Because that's a perfectly natural and normal reaction when Sophia is about to make a mortal enemy of any relation of Jack Slash.

    Why do you ask? :p
     
  8. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    Yes.

    YES.

    SO watched.
     
    Death by Chains, Warer and Ack like this.
  9. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    ...Well.

    This can certainly only be gloriously entertaining somehow.
     
  10. Malcanthet

    Malcanthet Shy Adorable Arachne

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    Well at least Sophia will technically be 'Very Special' since Taylor will be 'Protecting' her Friendship with Emma. I almost need to reread Queen Administrator for the 'Frienship Cannon'
     
    Death by Chains, Warer and Ack like this.
  11. ZiggyStardust

    ZiggyStardust Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    I'm just going to watch the QQ thread aswell, cause other sides might have issues with whatever this could turn into...
     
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  12. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    Fun fact, prodigal does NOT mean what most people think it means.

    Most people hear the line "The prodigal son returns" from the bible, and assume 'prodigal' means something along the lines of 'prodigy', but prodigal actually means something more along the lines of 'a lazy bum, good for nothing but spending other people's cash'.

    In the bible, 'the prodigal son' was a son who asked for his inheritance, then went off to a far away country to waste it all on 'riotous living'.
     
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  13. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    True, but "prodigal son" (here "daughter" by analogy) is also its own set phrase (derived precisely from that parable) referring to a long-estranged child who returns.

    Which, come to think of it, may well imply ominous things about the future in this fic...
     
  14. Malcanthet

    Malcanthet Shy Adorable Arachne

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    I see nothing wrong about that at all. The Worm World could use that particular scary as heck wake up.
     
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  15. GiftofLove

    GiftofLove A Gift From The Heart

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    I guess it should be 'The Prodigal Dad Returns' then, since Jack is a murderhobo. :V
     
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  16. steamrick

    steamrick Wisdom is in pursuit, but I'm faster!

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    Well, now here's a concept to make me sit up and hit subscribe :D
     
    Ack likes this.
  17. RobotGuy76

    RobotGuy76 Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Definitely looks interesting and watched, but I'll admit I was very confused at first. I'd come from the voting thread and misread the premise (I blame eight hours of dealing with relatives) and spent the first few paragraphs thinking that Taylor's father was Captain 'where has all the run gone' Jack (Sparrow), then the rest of the first third thinking that it was Captain 'has a broken vortex manipulator and made a killing on long term investments' Jack (Harkness). When I realised that I'd make a mistake I found myself somewhat disappointed as both of these seemed to be ideas with hilarious potential.
     
  18. Darkarma

    Darkarma Not too sore, are you?

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    And then the final chapter will end with Taylor finding out, the Jack is second cousin to Harbinger.

    Queue Cauldron being invaded by a random teenager wanting to meet her relatives.

    Also brilliant.

    Also meeting Bonesaw.

    "Dad, you didn't tell me I had a sister! She's so adorable can I keep her?"

    "Uh, sweetie, we kind of need her with us."

    "But daaaaaad. MINE!"

    "Uh Jack, I know I look for big fish to help bulk up with but... when did you father a baby endbringer?"
     
  19. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    I know :p
    Exactly.
     
  20. SaltyWaffles

    SaltyWaffles Know what you're doing yet?

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    So, I wonder if this is going to be a fic where Taylor joins the S9, or if she accidentally horrifies people with a power and disposition eerily similar to Jack Slash while not being...evil.
     
  21. Daimah

    Daimah Something something

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    FTFY.

    Well, Taylor wanted her first kill to be special. What's more special than the person that you considered your only friend but betrayed and replaced you. Bye bye Emma. Of course Sophia has to go too, but I guess she'll just be her second kill, not as special.
     
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  22. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    Oh, I know YOU know (you're not the type to name a fic like this without pulling out the dictionary first); it's the ignorant masses I'm attempting to educate. ;)

    Here's to hoping this is one of the fics where you blast out 7-8 chapters in a row before the muse abandons you.
     
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  23. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    If Taylor's got Jack's people skills as well as his conscience, I can't help but think Emma won't even get to the point of betraying her before she gets yoinked off onto Taylor's preferred trajectory.
     
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  24. Threadmarks: Part Two: Summer Camp Blues
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Prodigal Daughter

    Part Two: Summer Camp Blues


    [A/N: This chapter beta-read by Lady Columbine of Mystal.]


    Summer camp promised to be mega-fucking boring.

    Or it would have, if I was really able to get bored. I was more concerned with the security on the place. All these restless teenagers and not one guard. Not so much as a pat-down on arrival. Mother of fuckballs, they didn't even search our luggage. I could've had the machete handle sticking out of my backpack and nobody would've noticed. Instead, I had to suffer the whole bus ride with it strapped to my leg.

    Not that I wanted anyone to search my luggage, or my pockets. My good friend the iron bar was there to make my backpack heavier, and I had my knives in my pockets. I wanted to pass the time playing with the butterfly knife, but I wasn't sure enough with it yet to not be worried about losing fingers if the bus hit a pothole. Besides, somebody might tell the bus driver.

    But seriously, they took a bunch of kids from Brockton Bay on summer camp, and didn't expect us to have weapons? Did they not do their research? Or maybe they did, and didn't care. For all I knew, they had hidden cameras set up to record us killing each other off or something. Not that I cared. I hadn't brought the weapons along for the specific purpose of attacking anyone, though that might be a distinct possibility if someone got in my face.

    The machete wasn't there to kill anyone with. It was there to cut the bodies up if I had to kill someone. I'd bought it from a seedy-looking military disposal store on Friday afternoon. The guy behind the counter never even looked up from his issue of More Dakka Quarterly. I'd carefully strapped it to my leg and worn the baggiest jeans I owned, and nobody saw a thing. With the laxity of the observation on us, I could probably have carried a revving chainsaw on board and nobody would've cared.

    The camp had a swimming pool setup with a slide, and rustic—read: “no running water”—cabins that we'd be bunking in. They also had woods. Lots and lots of woods. Each of the cabins had a cutesy animal name carved above the door: Deer, Squirrel, Chipmunk, Raccoon and so forth. I ended up in Chipmunk cabin, with seven others. There were four double bunks, and of course intense competition sprang up for the upper bunks. I didn't see why. The mattresses were so thin, anyone in the lower bunk could easily stab you in your sleep, right through the mesh that held the mattress up. Or, if they had a mind to, they could cut through the mesh and send you on a one-way trip to the floor. So I took the bottom bunk farthest from the door, but with a good view of it—because duh—and had a nap while the others argued.

    A clanging sound roused me, and I sat up and looked around. The squabbling had more or less died down, though a couple of the girls were still glaring at each other. Instinctively, I checked my pockets for my assortment of knives—still there—and eyeballed my backpack for the red thread I'd stitched through the flap. It was still in place, so nobody had tried to go through my stuff. So far, anyway. I knew I'd need to find a place to stash my more lethal accoutrements, in case the organisers were more on the ball than they'd appeared so far and pulled something like a cabin search while we were on a nature hike.

    Along with the rest of the girls, I left Chipmunk cabin and headed across the playground, or parade ground, or drill square, or whatever it was, in the general direction of the clanging noise. Which turned out to be a smarmy-looking guy wearing a camp supervisor polo shirt, standing outside the one building that seemed to have electrical power, hitting a hanging tyre rim with a metal bar. His was three feet long rather than one foot like I had, but I could see the appeal.

    I wondered if he was the guy to go to if I wanted to change the name of the cabin. Chipmunks were cute and all, but they were basically striped tree rats. I was thinking of something that also had stripes, but had a lot more street cred; specifically, the honey badger.

    “Good afternoon, campers!” he called out before I could step forward. “Welcome to Camp Puckatawney! I am the head supervisor, Mr Horton! I … am in charge here!” He stopped talking and beamed at us, like he expected a standing ovation.

    Crickets, actual real crickets, sounded instead. Several of the kids snickered. I almost smiled.

    Clearing his throat and losing some of his cheery expression, he went on. “Very well. With me are my deputy supervisors, Mr Barryman and Ms Gurney.” He looked around. “Mr Barryman? Where are you? Ms Gurney?”

    “Mr Barryman had to leave,” someone said. Everyone looked to the corner of the building, where a newcomer had strolled into view, just in the process of tucking in his supervisor shirt. Behind him was a slender, graceful Middle Eastern woman, also dressed as a supervisor. “So did Ms Gurney. They got messages from home. A sick grandmother, I believe?” The man held out his hand to Horton. “Hi, I'm Mr Cutter, and this is Ms Bird.”

    Horton stared suspiciously at the pair. “I've heard nothing about this. Whose grandmother was sick?”

    “Does it matter?” The man had blond hair, with a moustache and beard of the same colour. He smiled gaily at Horton, with the expression of someone who knew that they were going to win the game no matter what, because none of the other players knew what they knew.

    Except that I knew it too. And the others around me were starting to suspect. In a moment, their fearful minds would make that last connection, and someone was going to do something very stupid, and get everyone else killed.

    And in fact, that was his basic plan. I could see it in his posture, his unconcerned expression. He wanted the bluff to fail. That was why he'd gone with the most transparent ruse possible. Even the fake names were as obvious as Leviathan in the fucking Sahara Desert.

    I wasn't playing, so I stepped forward. “Hello, father,” I said resignedly. “I see you've got yet another girlfriend. Mom would be pleased—I don't think.”

    Everything skidded to a halt. Incipient panic was put on hold as everyone craned their heads to look at me. Even the crickets took time off to stare at each other and ask what the fuck is going on? Meanwhile, my father gave Horton an embarrassed look and came over to me.

    “Ah … Taylor,” he said awkwardly. “I didn't want you to know I was here. It was kind of supposed to be a surprise?” A surprise, I gathered, that was supposed to include the fact that Jack Slash was my father. Tough shit, father dear.

    I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, great fuckin' surprise. Pay off the other supervisors so you can show up in their place. Very original. And I see you're still shaving your beard in that stupid way. That thing might get a laugh—once. You don't need to make a life choice out of it. Jeez!”

    My voice carried to everyone else and I could feel the tension in the crowd easing off. Nobody wanted to think that they were standing so close to Jack Slash, so when one of their own claimed the menacing stranger as a family member then tore a strip off of him, of course he was nowhere near as threatening.

    Meanwhile, the line of bullshit I was peddling had pushed my father right off balance. The Middle Eastern woman—I had a really good idea who she was, given the idiotic name Jack Slash had given her—was watching him to see what he wanted to do. He waved her away and turned back to me.

    “But Taylor, honey, I thought it would be nice if we could do something together.”

    He wasn't good at this, I suddenly realised. Jack Slash had a knack for talking to capes and confusing them, but with us unpowered plebs, he usually just pulled out his knife and slashed away until the problem was gone. Having to try to convince someone without powers or something, without any leverage to go on with, wasn't going well for him.

    I grabbed him by the arm. Under the shirt sleeve, I felt a sheathed knife. Ooh, very nice. When I could afford it, I was going to get one of those. “Walk with me. Private talk.”

    “But—”

    I didn't give him a chance to hang back. I stomped off to the side, dragging him with me. Once I judged we were out of earshot from the others, I turned to him. “What the hell, father? You get Mom pregnant, then you fucking vanish. All I know about what's going on with you is what I see on the news. What are you even doing here?”

    I wasn't really angry with him. It took a lot of effort for me to stay angry, and I usually didn't consider it worth my time. But I was a bit irritated, and I let it show.

    This wasn't a conversation he'd ever anticipated having, I figured. Someone who wasn't powered and wasn't part of his team, but who knew who and what he was, and was still willing to call him out for being a dick? It had to be somewhat out of his experience.

    He rubbed at his lips. “Taylor,” he began again. “You know who I am. You know who you are. These people—these cattle—are beneath you. They're your prey.” He snorted, amused. “Join me, and we will rule the galaxy together.”

    I eyed him, unimpressed by his butchery of the Star Wars quote. “Sorry, not sorry. You already missed out on the Luke, I am your father line. Hard pass. I'm not exactly interested in an entry-level position in the Slaughterhouse Nine.”

    His grin wasn't particularly pleasant. “Maybe you'll change your mind once you've learned to love killing. You are my daughter, after all.”

    “Well, duh.” I rolled my eyes. “I already know I'm a killer. I've known it for the last few years. I kind of got the hint when I started treating slasher movies like comedies.” Not that I'd actually laughed at them, though I'd smiled a little. “But I'm not gonna waste my first kill on some nobody. If I'm gonna do this, I want to do it right.”

    He glanced over at the kids, who were still milling around in front of Horton. “What, so you didn't—”

    “Come out here to murder people wholesale?” I interrupted. “Nope, not really. I came out here to practise pretending to be normal.” Turning my back toward the kids, I pulled the butterfly knife from my pocket, I flicked it through the motions I'd practised in the mirror. “If I have to, I'll kill anyone who gets in my face, but what I really want to do is figure out what it really means to be me. Once I've done that, I can learn how to be them.” Flicking the knife through its sequence again to close it, I slid it back into my pocket. Yes, Dad, I know how to use a knife.

    “But why do you need to do that?” He seemed honestly puzzled. “Why hide what you are? Be loud and proud with it. Make your name drip blood on everyone's lips.”

    I snorted. “If you're used to the murderhobo life, sure. But if you want to stay around the same area for a while, it's easier if everyone isn't pointing fingers at you.”

    Murderhobo?” He let out a startled bark of laughter. “Where did you get that little gem from?”

    “Wouldn't you like to know.” I made a rude noise with my lips. “So yeah, I'm not gonna say it hasn't been interesting meeting you, but would you fucking mind not upsetting my plans five minutes after you come back into my life?”

    I considered stabbing him to make him shut up, but decided not to. For a start, there were people watching, and that might cause issues. Secondly, if the Nine were anywhere about, they'd definitely cause issues. And thirdly, he was probably better with a knife than me, so I'd probably end up being the one bleeding out on the ground instead of him. So I shelved the stab Jack Slash repeatedly plan for when we were nice and alone. And he was preferably tied up. Fair fights are for morons, especially if the other guy's a lot more experienced than you are.

    “Y'knowww …” He drew the word out longer than I was comfortable with. “I'd like to see that. Hang around as camp supervisor and watch you try to interact with these little walking testosterone bombs until one of them pushes you too far and you decorate the camp with his guts. But I don't think so. I'm more of an instant-gratification kind of guy. So I'm gonna make you a bet instead.”

    “Oh, really?” I looked at him warily. “What kind of bet?”

    He grinned again, showing more teeth than I ever had in my life, except maybe to my dentist. “Well, here's the thing. I've got an empty spot in the Nine, so I brought them along to do some incidental evisceration and bloodletting, and along the way I thought we could initiate you into the family business. That way, by the time you get powers—you haven't got powers yet, have you? Bonesaw thinks you don't, but she could always be wrong.”

    I shook my head, wondering where he was going with this. “Nope, no powers.”

    He wrinkled his nose. “Inconvenient, but fixable. By the time you get powers, you'll be totally one of us. And if you take too long to trigger, I'm sure my little Bonesaw could devise a way to make it happen. Make you the most monstrous of us all in the process.” He beamed at me proudly. “I can't wait.”

    Crossing my arms, I did my best to give him an angry glare. “Well, I can. I don't want to be 'one of you'. I want to be one of me. So you can go find your next recruit elsewhere, because I'm not playing.”

    “Ah, you see, but you are.” His grin turned into a feral smirk, and I realised that he'd been working toward this all the time. “So, our wager. We take all these little snotbags off a ways, and they get to run back to the camp in the dark, or hide, whichever they choose. Whoever gets back to the camp itself gets to live.” From the look in his eye, he intended for that number to be 'zero'. “You get to go with them, or sit it out, whichever you choose. If you go with them, and don't get caught, you can go back to Brockton Bay and play out your boring little game of 'pretend to be normal'. If you sit it out, or get caught, which basically amounts to the same thing, you come with us and Bonesaw triggers you.”

    “That's not fair,” I said flatly.

    “Life isn't fair, little Taylor,” he retorted lightly. “My parents locked me in a box so they could control my every move. At least I'm giving you a choice.”

    “Some choice.” I rolled my eyes. “Either I participate in your little game, or I participate in your big game. I don't get not to play.”

    “But you still get the chance to go back to Brockton Bay,” he pointed out, sounding amused. I had the impression he was laughing at me and my irritation. “All you have to do is not get caught.”

    I revised my opinion of how bad he was at talking to normal people; he'd backed me into a corner easily enough. The urge to stab him returned, but I held it in check.

    “Okay, fine,” I huffed. “I'll run your little gauntlet.” I brought out my butterfly-knife, and flicked the blade out and back in again. “But I'll run it armed, and if any of your asshole friends tries to catch me, I will cut them.”

    Far from being angry, he laughed delightedly. “Oh, this is beautiful. By all means, run it armed. If you can take one of them down, that will be amazing.” From the tone of his voice, he didn't think this was at all likely to happen. Deeper down, I got the impression that he was actually hoping that I might be successful. Did he want me to take out anyone who had gotten slack enough for me to tag them? No, I decided. He wanted me on the team, and killing another member was the quickest way to get there.

    Either way, I hadn't gotten what I wanted, but I'd at least set terms that were more favourable for myself. “Good,” I said. “Prepare to be amazed.”

    He smirked. “I'm always prepared to be amazed. But let the games begin.” Turning, he drew the knife that I'd noticed earlier from its sleeve sheath. “Good afternoon, everyone! I'm afraid my daughter has misled you a little. Yes, I am her father. But yes, I am also Jack Slash. And may I introduce my lovely assistant, Shatterbird!”

    The smashing of glass drew every eye to the large cabin. As we watched, shards of glass flew out of all the window frames toward 'Ms Bird'—I'd already figured out who she was—and wrapped around her, giving her a glass helmet and a costume akin to a wedding dress.

    This was the moment of truth for Mr Horton. I looked toward him, interested in seeing what sort of useless defence he was going to put up for the kids under his care. Surely, he was going to … ah.

    With a high-pitched scream that I would've been hard put to match, he turned and bolted toward the only vehicle in sight, a battered old truck with the Camp Puckatawney logo painted on the door. His route took him past the end of the big cabin, and that was where Crawler leaped out with a roar and landed on him.

    I had to give the inhuman cape serious props. If anyone had asked me, I'd never have thought that anything that size could sneak so close to the campsite without being seen, especially given that he was pitch black in colour. In the dark, sure. In broad daylight? As if. But he'd done it anyway. And the bellyflop-ambush was pure art. Or was it more than that? When he stood up again, Horton was nowhere to be seen. Did he have a mouth underneath? Then again, did I care?

    As Crawler let out a resounding belch in several tones at once—showoff—Jack Slash turned to the quickly-becoming-horrified bunch of kids. “All right, now that the irritating adult is out of the way, we're going to play a game. We're going to drop you off in the woods a ways. You can hide, or you can run back to camp. If you make it into camp and touch the flagpole—” He indicated the sad-looking flagpole with the even sadder-looking flag drooping from it, “—then you're safe. Run any other direction, or try to hide, and we might find you, or the wildlife might find you, or you might just starve to death.” He gave them a broad smile, full of death. “Your choice.”

    As glass shards danced around the kids, herding them toward the truck, I joined the mob. More than one of them eyed me and then edged away after they saw the knife I was carrying. It didn't bother me. It took a lot to bother me.

    I'd been wrong.

    Summer camp was gonna be anything but boring.



    End of Part Two

    Part Three
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  25. Darth.

    Darth. #ThanosDidNothingWrong

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    Let the Hunger Games begin!! I hope Crawler didn't snack before they reached the Camp. All those delicious kids will go waste!
     
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  26. Darkarma

    Darkarma Not too sore, are you?

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    Ha.

    Well you just had to jump into the deep end on the second chapter.

    Well done.

    Jack having an unpowered daughter certainly takes him a little time to get used to without his shard available to whisper in his ear. Also a good new take on the Nine visiting Taylor at Summer Camp...

    Shame she won't be able to make friendship bracelets out of Emma after all. Never get a chance to learn here.
     
  27. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    Oh man, I did not expect this. This will be awesome XD
     
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  28. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Versed in the lewd.

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    That's an original twist. But now there are a lot of people who have heard about Taylor's ancestry. Well, probably not a lot after the game's done.
     
  29. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    I've come to the conclusion I love this Taylor's inner monologue.

    And Jack is a douche, like always.
     
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  30. GiftofLove

    GiftofLove A Gift From The Heart

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    Parents, always embarrassing you in front of the other kids, am I right?
     
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