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Wyvern - Worm AU fanfic

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Ack, Aug 4, 2015.

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  1. Asheram

    Asheram Know what you're doing yet?

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    Just what New Wave needs, btw. More blasters.
     
  2. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    FTFY :D
     
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  3. doomlord9

    doomlord9 Experienced.

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    Escalation....hmmmm.....well, Taylor is essentially a were-wyvern. Maybe the shard went full blast on it and her condition is contagious?
     
  4. pepperjack

    pepperjack A Variety of Cheese

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    So, all Amy would need to do to get a combat-capable power would be for ...

    ... actually, I think I'll give it a rest.
     
  5. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    Amy: Bite me.

    Taylor: Only if I get to "eat my fill" first.


    my insomnia has forced me to deny this topic it's rest.:p
     
  6. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    This is giving me flashbacks to that one quest I ran.
     
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  7. pepperjack

    pepperjack A Variety of Cheese

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    Absolute Power? Or did you run some other quest?
     
  8. Drak4806

    Drak4806 Well worn.

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    The one where Sabah and Taylor roleplay as the Spider Queen and Dragon Princess or something?

    By the way did you ever finish that quest?
     
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  9. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Yes, and no, I didn't. :(

    Though you can pretty well assume 'happily ever after'. As much as Worm allows that.

    When Real Life intervenes to ruin their happiness, they're gonna hurt someone.
     
  10. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    Link to quest please.
     
    Ack likes this.
  11. Slayer Anderson

    Slayer Anderson Orthodox Heretic

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    It's all in Ack's sig. Just look for Taylor Quest...the one without the [DARK] tag. Don't go there unless you really want DARK. You've been warned.
     
  12. Threadmarks: Part Six: Meddle Not in the Affairs of Dragons ...
    Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Wyvern

    Part Six: Meddle Not in the Affairs of Dragons ...


    Armsmaster paused in the doorway. “You're certain that you want to join New Wave.” His voice held what I took to be a note of hope, that I might say no.

    “Totally,” I told him. “They're nice people. And they don't want to poke and prod and scan me.” Unlike you, I didn't have to say.

    “You've only met two of them,” he protested. Dad cleared his throat, and motioned toward Flashbang on the sofa, still watching TV; he'd muted it for us, but was otherwise ignoring the discussion. “All right, three.”

    “And I like all of them. Which, to be absolutely honest … “ I paused. “I mean, I don't dislike you, and I think you're a great hero and all, but really, I still think that you're at least partly to blame for me melting your halberd like that.”

    Reminded of that particular incident, he glanced at the now-cooled blob of metal that adorned what had been perhaps the single most respected weapon in the city. His tone was a good bit cooler when he replied. “Just be aware, Miss Hebert, that destruction of property is still an offence. Your powers when in, uh, wyvern form are quite dangerous. Take care that you don't abuse them.”

    “I beg your pardon, Armsmaster?” I heard from behind him. “Did I just hear you use an intimidating turn of phrase toward a freshly-triggered parahuman?”

    He turned and looked; I saw, standing on the path, a woman with similar features to Lady Photon, dressed in a suit and holding a briefcase. It didn't take me very long to connect the dots; this would be Vicky's mother, Carol Dallon, otherwise known as Brandish. Superhero and lawyer at the same time; I was fairly certain that no-one directed death threats at her for failing to get them off their charges.

    “Uh, no, Mrs Dallon,” he replied. “She did destroy my halberd, as well as being the precipitate cause of a certain amount of damage at her high school. Her powers are obviously quite destructive, if used recklessly. I was merely cautioning her to that effect.”

    “I'd be interested in hearing her side of the matter before you made any more comments of that nature,” she replied dismissively. “If she triggered just today, then trigger events can cover quite a lot. If you don't mind?”

    Hastily, he stepped aside, and she entered the house. “Vicky,” she greeted her daughter. “You're home early. And Sarah. What brings you here?”

    “Vicky and Taylor, to be honest, Carol,” Sarah replied, crossing to where her sister stood and giving her a hug. “Taylor was flying over the city, Vicky heard about it and went to investigate. She ended up inviting her home, and I encountered them on the way there.”

    Mrs Dallon looked at me, her face expressionless. “So you're Taylor. The dragon girl.”

    “Yes, ma'am,” I agreed, with a nod. “Taylor Hebert. I'm pleased to meet you.” I put out my hand; after a moment, she shook it briefly, then looked at Dad. “And you are … ?”

    “Uh, Danny Hebert, ma'am,” he replied. “I'm her father. Lady Photon called me in, as soon as they had Taylor settled.”

    “I see.” She looked me over again. “You don't seem to be exhibiting many dragon-like qualities, Taylor. Do you need to Change?”

    “Uh, kind of,” I admitted. “But not right here, please.”

    “It wrecks her clothes, Mom,” Vicky explained. “She's been through two outfits since she got here.”

    “To be precise," Dad added, "she's on her third outfit since she got here. And I'm guessing another one got destroyed in the locker."

    "Locker?" Mrs Dallon looked puzzled. "Where does a locker come into it?" She turned to me. "Is this to do with your trigger event?"

    "Uh, yes," I replied. "Some girls at my school locked me in my locker with some really horrible stuff."

    "What sort of horrible stuff?" asked Mrs Dallon, then immediately held up her hand. "Wait, let me sit down first. I suspect that I'm going to need to take notes on this."

    "I've recorded everything," Armsmaster told her. "I can - "

    "- leave now," she advised him sweetly. "I've got this, thanks."

    "I really think -"

    "No, Armsmaster," she cut him off, her voice never losing the sweet tone, "I really think it's time for you to go.” She turned to me. “There is the strong potential for a lawsuit here, Taylor. Would you like me to represent you, or help you find a suitable representative?”

    “I, uh -” I began.

    Dad spoke at the same time. “Lawsuit?”

    “Yes,” she answered. “Against whoever locked you in that locker.”

    “The PRT has lawyers -” began Armsmaster.

    “The PRT also has self-interest,” Mrs Dallon shot back. “Taylor?”

    I blinked, and glanced at Dad. He looked at Mrs Dallon. “We can't afford much -”

    “Money won't be a problem,” Mrs Dallon assured him. “Not with the sort of damages we could get out of whoever did this to you, and probably the school as well.”

    After a moment, Dad nodded. “Okay. Taylor?”

    “Uh, sure,” I replied. “But I don't want anyone hurt too badly. Financially, I mean.”

    “As badly as they hurt you emotionally?” asked Mrs Dallon. “How long has this been going on?”

    “Since September of the year before last,” I admitted.

    “Really?” Her eyes narrowed. “Then there's a lot of leeway between 'not badly enough' and 'too badly', isn't there?”

    “I … guess,” I agreed tentatively.

    "Good," she stated briskly. "So, do you accept me as your attorney until further notice?"

    I nodded. "I - yes. Yes, I do."

    "Excellent." Reaching into her handbag, she pulled out what I presumed to be some kind of recorder. "I am now recording. Armsmaster, I'm invoking attorney-client privileges. Please leave. This is out of your hands."

    He tried one more time. "She's a potentially dangerous parahuman -"

    "That's not the issue at stake here," she snapped. "The issue is that these girls saw fit to bully her until she became a potentially dangerous parahuman, and the school saw fit to let them do it. So will you be leaving, or will I be reporting you for harassing my client after you were asked to leave?"

    It was obvious that he didn't want to go, but she hadn't left him any leeway. So, reluctantly, he stepped out through the doorway, and walked to his bike.

    <><>​

    Mrs Dallon waited until the sound of the motorcycle had faded into the distance before she turned to me. "I'm going to need all the details," she told me. "Your locker, Armsmaster's halberd, anything else that you may have damaged -" She paused. "The lawn. There was a line of black spots on the lawn. Was that you?"

    Vicky went over to the door and peered out. "Oh my god," she reported, her voice full of horrified delight. "Taylor, you have to see this."

    I went to look; there was indeed a line of black spots on the lawn. Each of them consisted of a lump of metal, surrounded by a circle of blackened, burned grass. The line stretched directly away from the door, petering out before it quite got to the curb.

    "Uh, yeah, that was me," I admitted sheepishly. "That's bits of his halberd, I guess."

    Mrs Dallon was looking up at the doorframe. "The paint's scorched here," she noted.

    I looked also. "Uh, yes. The flame jet kind of came pretty close. I think it may have also given him a sunburn. And singed his beard."

    "Well, I'm quite impressed that you managed to destroy the halberd with such precision, and without burning down the house," she observed, "but please, for everyone's sakes, employ a little more discretion in future. Specifically, no insurance company in the country is willing to cover us for parahuman-related damage, so don't breathe fire inside my house. Ever again."

    I nodded meekly. "No, ma'am, I won't. If I'm going to be a part of the team, I know -"

    "- wait just a moment," she interrupted me. "Part of the team?"

    "Well, yeah, Mom," Vicky explained. "She's a new cape, she's a dragon -"

    "Uh, wyvern, apparently," I pointed out.

    "Still a type of dragon," Vicky forged on relentlessly. "Big scaly wings, and she breathes fire, and she looks all kinds of totally awesome. I mean, how can we not have her on the team?"

    "Sarah?" asked Mrs Dallon. "Do you support this idea?"

    "Actually, yes, I do," Lady Photon told her. "Taylor needs team support. For one thing, she can't enunciate English words while in wyvern form. For another, she can't do anything that requires really fine manipulation."

    "All right then, that changes matters a little," Mrs Dallon decided. "Legally speaking, Taylor, I shouldn't really be acting both as your attorney in this matter as well as your teammate."

    "So what does this mean?" asked Dad.

    "Either I take a temporary leave of absence from the team, so I can concentrate on the case," she informed us, "or I refer your case on to someone else."

    "Whatever happens, it's going to come out that I'm a parahuman, right?"

    "Unless we concentrate on the bullying angle and leave the parahuman aspect out of it altogether," she agreed. "Which would weaken our case, but not too badly ... wait. You're joining New Wave anyway, aren't you, Taylor?"

    "She is," Lady Photon assured her, "but she wants to keep her human identity secret for her father's sake."

    "She won't be wearing a mask as Wyvern," Vicky put in. "It's just that they won't know who she is when she's not Wyvern."

    "I'm not sure I'm totally on board with that," Mrs Dallon observed. "After all, transparency is what the New Wave concept was founded upon."

    "I'm pretty sure that Lightstar would argue about the validity of that," Lady Photon pointed out gently.

    Mrs Dallon's expression hardened. "Fleur's situation was different."

    "This is true," Lady Photon pointed out. "Fleur was powered, as are the rest of us. She still died."

    "Our children weren't -"

    "And if you don't see what a huge risk we were running at the time, then you need to think some more about it," Lady Photon snapped. "Danny has no powers, and nor does he live with someone who does.”

    “Taylor -” began Mrs Dallon.

    “- either has no powers at all, or looks entirely inhuman. And her Change is sufficiently unreliable that she can't guarantee to have access to her powers, even if she really needs them, or if someone catches her by surprise.”

    "So why can't she go to the Protectorate?" asked Mrs Dallon. "It seems to me that they're better set up for this than we are."

    I cleared my throat. "Still here," I reminded the both of them. "For one thing, I'm scared that the PRT will prod me and poke me and scan me, and then decide that I'm too dangerous and lock me away or something.”

    Lady Photon glanced at Mrs Dallon. “Not entirely an unwarranted fear, you have to admit.”

    “No,” Mrs Dallon admitted after a moment. “It's not. Though you're not saying everything, Taylor.”

    I nodded. “For another thing, I don't want to. I mean, in human form, I've got no real problem with it, but when Vicky suggested it and I was in wyvern form, I just knew somehow that I really, really didn't want to do it.”

    “Hm.” Mrs Dallon rubbed her chin. “Well, if you don't want to, then you don't want to. It might be some sort of instinctual thing. In any case, I wouldn't force anyone to be in the Wards who didn't want to be.”

    “So she can be in New Wave?” Vicky's voice was hopeful.

    “About the secret identity thing?” Mrs Dallon looked at Lady Photon.

    “Well, given that there's the presence of a non-powered family member, plus a certain unreliability about the availability of your powers, and the fact that you're pretty well unable to hide who you are once you become the wyvern form … “ Lady Photon paused. “I think I can amend the rules in this particular case.”

    “That sounds reasonable,” Mrs Dallon agreed. “Very well. Taylor, you'll be joining New Wave, but will not be revealing your real identity. So the lawsuit will be specifically to do with your being shut in the locker.”

    “ … which could pose a problem,” I told her.

    “What problem?” she asked.

    “I blew up my locker. The door ended up jammed in the far wall. I set the school on fire. If we're going to separate the fact of my being locked in the locker from the fact of my being Wyvern, how do we present it? I was locked in my locker, which was then blown up by persons unknown?”

    “Worse,” Dad pointed out. “More than one person knows that Taylor was in that damn locker. It's got to be the most open secret in Winslow by now. Half of them must think that she got out and then blew it up, while the other half have to be thinking that the locker was blown up with her in it.”

    “True,” she agreed, brow furrowed. “The explosion and fire are inseparable from the fact that Taylor was locked in the locker.”

    “Okay, how about this?” asked Vicky. “Taylor is in the locker. Someone lets her out. She staggers away to get clean, and the person who let her out sets off a bomb in her locker.”

    “Which begs the question of who let her out, and why did they explode the bomb?” Mrs Dallon had a pen and paper, and was writing as she spoke.

    “Hey, I can't think of everything,” Vicky protested. “Taylor?”

    “We can't make Wyvern out to be the bad guy either,” I decided. “Even misunderstood. I've read enough on the PHO boards to know that once a hero gets even the slightest hint of impropriety, it sticks with him for years. Plus, it'll reflect on New Wave's reputation.”

    “In any case, we need a narrative that diverges as little from the truth as possible,” explained Mrs Dallon. “Whatever we say has to be supported by the available evidence.”

    “Which all points to me blowing up the locker,” I groaned. “Because I did.”

    “So, our only real options for a lawsuit are, on the one hand, out Taylor and run the whole deal through the courts, which will almost certainly nail their hides to whatever wall we see fit,” Dad summarised, “or minimise the locker thing, and try to get them for whatever they did to her before that point.”

    “What happened today certainly brings it all together,” Lady Photon agreed. “Without it … they get away with a truly horrible act, and they may get away with the rest of it, depending on the throw weight of whatever legal talent they get on their side.”

    “Great,” I muttered, “and Mr Barnes is a lawyer too.”

    “I beg your pardon?” asked Mrs Dallon. “Did you say 'Mr Barnes'?”

    I nodded. “Alan Barnes. Emma's dad. Emma used to be my best friend. Mr Barnes and Dad have known each other forever.”

    “If he knows about what she's been doing to my girl, and hasn't done anything about it, then I don't know him nearly as well as I thought I did,” Dad observed, mainly to himself.

    “Really. That's very interesting.” Mrs Dallon made a note. “Alan Barnes and I work for the same law firm.”

    Dad and I stared at her. “Uh, is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I asked carefully.

    She considered the question. “That depends. Probably a good thing. I'll have to see.”

    “Wouldn't that be some kind of conflict of interest?” asked Dad. “If you're both working for the same people, that is.”

    “As I said,” Mrs Dallon told him, “I'll have to see.” She looked around. “Now, I think it best if we took this to my study.”

    “Can I come?” asked Vicky. “I promise I'll be quiet.”

    Personally, I had my doubts.

    “Sorry, Vicky,” Mrs Dallon replied. “We're going to be discussing important information about the case.”

    Vicky rolled her eyes. “Aww.”

    “Don't complain too loudly, young lady, or I might find myself compelled to ask you why you aren't back at school already,” Mrs Dallon warned her.

    “Being quiet.” Vicky hastened toward the kitchen.

    “Good.” Mrs Dallon turned to Dad and I. “Shall we go?”

    <><>​

    “Take a chair, each of you. This might take a while."

    Following Mrs Dallon's directive, I sat in one of the chairs in front of her desk. Dad sat beside me.

    Putting the recorder back on the desk, she pressed the button. “Carol Dallon, recording,” she stated out loud. "Now, Taylor, this is very important. Can you identify your assailants?"

    I hesitated. "I can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was them, but I'm pretty damn certain."

    "What makes you so certain?" she asked.

    "Because they've been making my life hell for the past fourteen months," I snapped. "It's the same three, over and over, and if it's not them, it's one of their friends." My voice had risen, and I could hear the bitterness in it. I took a breath. "Sorry. But it just keeps happening, and nothing ever stops it."

    "Can you at least state with certainty that they were there?" Her voice was almost gentle, and I realised that this must be how she treated her witnesses on the stand.

    "Oh god yes. They were right there, making comments about my height and weight, and how I must throw up to stay so skinny, and how I must have thrown up just then, because of the smell."

    "Which was whatever in your locker?" She paused. “What was in the locker, exactly?”

    I drew a deep breath, and took Dad's hand. He squeezed it reassuringly. “A lot of rotten tampons and sanitary pads from the girls' bathrooms. But I didn't know that then. All I knew was that something stank."

    "All right, so these girls – all of them are girls, right? – what are their names?"

    "Yeah, they're all girls. Some boys are in on it, but they're just hangers-on. The three main ones are Emma Barnes, like I said, as well as Madison Clements and Sophia Hess."

    "Armsmaster seemed really interested in that last one, Sophia Hess," Dad commented. "He asked if Taylor was sure."

    "Yeah, I noticed that, too," I agreed. "I wanted to ask about that, but I was a wyvern right then."

    "Really?" asked Mrs Dallon. "But you're non-verbal in that form, aren't you? How were you communicating?"

    “Vicky brought out a plastic sheet with the alphabet, and I picked out letters on it,” I explained. “It was slow, but we made it work.”

    Mrs Dallon nodded. "Very clever. So Armsmaster was interested in this Sophia Hess, was he?"

    "It sure seemed that way," I agreed. "I don't know why."

    "I'll make a point of asking him, next time I see him. Now, Emma Barnes is definitely the daughter of Alan Barnes? Big man, red haired?”

    “That's him,” I told her. “She's got red hair too.”

    Mrs Dallon's eyes were focused on me. "Okay. So you're telling me that the daughter of Alan Barnes, a man I work with, is bullying you, has bullied you badly enough to cause a trigger event?”

    “That's exactly what we're telling you, yes.” Dad's voice was steady, but he squeezed my hand again. “I thought he was a friend. Now, I'm not so sure.”

    “That would depend on if he knows about it, surely,” she observed. “Do you know, one way or the other?”

    “He's friendly enough when we meet,” Dad mused. “Talks about Emma. Asks about Taylor.”

    “But you and Emma haven't been friends for a while?” She looked toward me.

    “For more than a year,” I agreed. “For all I know, she's telling him that I broke up the friendship, not her.”

    “We can't use that in court,” she cautioned me. “Conjecture holds no weight as evidence.” She looked to me. “What sort of bullying has it been? Physical? Emotional? Verbal?”

    “All of that and more,” I sighed. “You name it, they've done it. Sophia handles the physical side of things, tripping me down stairs or in the hallways, things like that. Madison's good at pranks. Leaving juice on my chair, dumping pencil shavings on my desk during class. Emma knows all my secrets, all the ways to hurt me, and she uses them.”

    “Physical abuse.” She zeroed in on that. “Do you have proof? Bruises? Scars?”

    My voice was full of regret. “Nothing visible.”

    “Damn.” She leaned back in her chair.

    Tentatively, I cleared my throat. “I've been keeping a sort of journal.”

    “What?” She leaned forward. “A journal?”

    “Kind of a list of what they've been doing to me. Since the start of school last year,” I explained. “I wanted to try to get the teachers to listen, to help, but they never did. So I haven't shown anyone.”

    “What's in this journal of yours?” she asked.

    “Uh, day by day of what they did. All dated. Emails I got sent, by them and by others. Stuff that was sent from the school computers, during school hours. I've spent hours printing them out.”

    Dad was looking at me. I looked back. “What?”

    “Why didn't you show this to me, Taylor?” he asked. “Tell me about it. I could have done something.”

    “The school doesn't do anything, even when it happens right in front of a teacher,” I told him bitterly. “I'm the weird loner. They're the popular kids. That would just have gotten me more attention, and not of the good type.”

    “Then you could have told me about Emma,” he protested. “I could have spoken to Alan.”

    “And said what, exactly? That I said she was bullying me? All she has to say is no, she's not. And she could pull a dozen alibis out of her pocket.”

    “All right, this is what's going to happen, Taylor,” Mrs Dallon stated. “Once Winslow opens again, you're going to go back to school, as if nothing happened. Nothing will happen to you, because the PRT doesn't out new parahumans. The story will be something along the lines of a gas leak. You were never in the locker.”

    “How do you know that about the PRT?” asked Dad.

    “Because we've assisted in this sort of cover-up before,” she told us briskly. “So, Taylor. Pretend that nothing happened. But carry a voice recorder. I have a spare. Record any time that someone's giving you any sort of trouble. Identify them by name on the recording. In the meantime, I'll need your journal, so I can start building a case.”

    “So we're skipping the locker.” Dad didn't make it a question.

    “We're skipping the locker,” she agreed.

    “Uh, about school,” I began.

    “About school?” She looked at me. “What about school?”

    “My powers,” I pointed out. “If they corner me and start working on me, I'll out myself in less than a minute.”

    “Hmm.” She bit her lip, and switched off the recorder. “Explain.”

    "I, uh, still don't have much in the way of control over my Changer ability. So far, all my changes into wyvern form have been pretty well involuntary." I paused. “Vicky's seen them; she can help explain.”

    “Very well.” She rose and went to the door. “Vicky, could you please come in here a moment?”

    Vicky didn't quite cause a sonic boom with her arrival, but she got there pretty quickly, anyway. “What's up, Mom?”

    “We're discussing Taylor's Changer ability. She says she doesn't have much in the way of control over them. Is this true?”

    “Uh, sure,” Vicky agreed. “I didn't see the first one, but I saw all the ones after that.”

    “So what happened with the first one?” Mrs Dallon's eyes were intent; I was very aware of the notepad.

    "They locked me in my locker. You know what was in there with me. I must have triggered pretty quickly. I tried to claw the door open, but I couldn't. So I blew it off the locker with an explosive fireball. Which blew up my locker plus the lockers on either side, and damaged the lockers on either side of that."

    Mrs Dallon made notes. "What did you do then?"

    "I got out of there and flew toward the ocean. The second time that I changed -"

    "Wait," Mrs Dallon interrupted. "You didn't go after your tormentors?"

    "Uh, no," I confirmed. "I wasn't really thinking about that. I just wanted to get the mess off my legs. So I flew to the ocean."

    "Right. So tell me about the second time you Changed."

    "Uh, Mom, that was sort of my fault," confessed Vicky. "She told me how she first changed, and I wanted to see if my fear aura could do the trick."

    "Which it does," I pointed out. "Very dramatically. Mind you, I kind of destroyed the clothes I was wearing at the time." I wrinkled my nose at her; she cheerfully ignored it.

    “I see,” Mrs Dallon replied, raising an eyebrow. “Did you damage anything other than your clothes when this happened?”

    I looked at Vicky; she looked back at me. “Uh, not that I know of,” I confessed. “Vicky?”

    “No, you just changed,” she agreed. “Though the look on your face … “

    “I was a dragon at the time. What look on my face?”

    “The 'oh crap, I'm a dragon again' look.” She snickered. “It was priceless. Though the look when your dad called out was even better, I have to admit.”

    Mrs Dallon cleared her throat sharply; we both looked at her. “As I was saying,” she went on. “You say that no damage was done the second time. What about the third time? What happened then?”

    “Armsmaster happened,” supplied Lady Photon, leaning in the doorway. “He accused Taylor of trying to burn down Winslow -”

    “- not that it wouldn't be an improvement,” I muttered.

    “Taylor, did you actually try to burn down Winslow?” asked Mrs Dallon.

    “Uh, no. I just wanted out of that locker.” I pointed at Vicky and Lady Photon. “Ask them. If I wanted to really set fire to something, it would still be on fire. Right?”

    Vicky nodded vigorously. “Mom, you didn't see her melt Armsmaster's halberd. It was awesome.”

    “I have to agree – not about the 'awesome' part, but about her capabilities,” Lady Photon commented. “If she had truly wanted to set fire to Winslow, it would still be very much aflame.”

    “So the fire that did happen was due to your … “ Mrs Dallon checked her notebook. “ … explosive fireball, right.”

    “That's right, yes,” I agreed.

    "Hmm, good." She wrote a few words, then looked up again. "All right. It sounds very much like your Changer ability is stress-based, as you've no doubt worked out for yourself.”

    “I had pretty well figured that, yes.” I tried not to make it sound sarcastic.

    If she took it as such, she ignored it. “I'd suggest taking the week off, if the school isn't closed that long. Work to learn control over your power. Learn the signs of an upcoming change, see if you can't head it off. Once you can avoid Changing in a stressful environment, then go back to school.” She paused, and smiled slightly. “Because trust me, even though setting fire to them might feel really good in the short run, it won't help much in the long run.”

    “Wow, Mom, was that a joke?” Vicky's eyes were wide. “Holy crap, Mom made a funny. Wait till I tell Ames.”

    “It wasn't that funny, Vicky,” Mrs Dallon told her reprovingly, but her heart wasn't really in it. “Now, Taylor.”

    “Uh, yes, ma'am?” I asked.

    “I'm going to want to see your, uh, wyvern form at some point. I suggest that you and Vicky go somewhere so that you can work on your power control.”

    “Sure thing, Mom,” Vicky agreed at once, grabbing my hand. “Come on, Taylor.”

    “And I need to make a phone call, so if you can entertain Danny a little longer for me, Sarah?” asked Mrs Dallon.

    “I can do that,” Lady Photon responded, stepping aside as Vicky more or less dragged me from the study. “Another cup of tea, Mr Hebert?”

    “Don't mind if I do, Mrs Pelham,” he replied gravely.

    <><>​

    Vicky paused at the bottom of the stairs, and raised her voice. “All right, power testing in progress. No-one goes into my room, okay?”

    “We hear you, dear,” replied Lady Photon's voice. “No-one's going to barge in.”

    "And what are we going to do, exactly?" I asked.

    "We'll think of something." Vicky tugged at my hand. "C'mon."

    I resisted momentarily. "Not that damn fear aura again, okay?"

    "Chicken." But she was grinning as she said it. "Okay, fine, no aura."

    "I'll give you 'chicken'," I muttered, but followed her anyway.

    <><>​

    This is Franklin Rogers. Make it quick.”

    "Mr Rogers, it's Carol Dallon."

    "Carol?" He frowned. "This is not a good time for you to be away from the office.”


    It's never going to be a good time, sir.”

    No, seriously, someone set fire to Winslow High, and three different people had to go and pick up their kids. Now there's rumours about terrorist plots to firebomb all the schools in Brockton Bay. Why did you head out anyway? You don't even have any kids at Winslow.”

    "It was a family matter."


    By family matter, do you mean ordinary family matter, or your type of family matter?”

    Actually, as it happens, sir, both.”

    He waited, but she didn't explain farther. "Okay, if you say so. What's up? Why are you calling me?"

    "I want to warn you of a potential conflict of interest within the firm.”

    That got his attention. “What sort of a conflict of interest?”


    I'm likely to be going head to head with another employee of the firm regarding a lawsuit I'm looking to pursue.”

    Who is it?”

    I'm sorry, sir. I can't tell you that quite yet. Once I've got the paperwork filed, I'll get the appropriate details to you. This is more in the nature of a heads-up.”

    Very well, I'll tell you this for free, Carol. You can pursue outside cases, so long as they don't impinge on the firm's business. If you're going against another member of the firm, then both of you are on your own. You can use our facilities, but we won't support either one against the other.”

    That's fine, sir. I have no problem with that.”

    However, before it comes to that, perhaps mediation could be attempted first. It would look bad in the papers if two of our members started squaring off in the courts.”

    Normally I would not argue with that, sir, but this is a case for damages. Quite extensive damages, I'm afraid.”

    Is this likely to bring the other person's good name into question?”

    If that person chooses not to settle out of court, this is quite likely, sir.”

    And the name of the firm?”

    Won't come into it, sir.”

    Hmm. Thank you, Carol.”

    Thank you for hearing me out, sir.”

    You're one of our best people. Don't go biting off more than you can chew.”

    I'll try not to, sir.” There was a faint noise in the background, one that he couldn't identify. “Ah, I have to go, sir. I'll let you know more when I find out.”

    You do that.”

    <><>​

    “Okay, what happens now?” I asked Vicky, after she closed the door to her room.

    “Well, first, you take your clothes off,” she explained, in a very matter-of-fact tone.

    Vicky!” I protested, blushing scarlet. “Seriously? No!”

    She sighed and rolled her eyes. “Taylor. Every other time you've Changed into your dragon form -”

    “ - wyvern,” I corrected her.

    “Okay, wyvern,” she agreed. “Anyway, every time you've Changed, you've lost all the clothes you're wearing. So, take 'em off first and you don't have to worry about that.”

    “Well, give me something to put around myself,” I objected. “I know you've already seen me naked -”

    “- couldn't really avoid it, to be honest,” she agreed cheerfully. “But you don't have to worry about me making moves on your skinny butt. I'm interested in guys first, last and always.”

    “Best news I've heard all day,” I replied, reluctantly beginning to remove the clothing which she had given to me. “Get me a towel or something?”

    “Sure, here you go.” She handed me a hand towel.

    I looked it over. It would cover my front, or my back, but not both at the same time. “Oh, very funny.”

    “Actually, I have a theory,” she proposed. “If we don't cover you up, maybe the discomfort and stress will cause you to change back into the dragon?”

    “That's a stupid theory,” I told her. “And anyway, it's a wyvern. Come on, give me a real towel.” I shivered as I began to remove the last of my borrowed clothing; her room was warm, so it must have been a psychological effect.

    “Huh. Your butt's looking better from that burn, earlier.”

    I twisted, trying to get a look at the site of the burn. “Huh, so it is.”

    “Good thing, too,” she grinned. “You might have gotten all butt-hurt over it.”

    I stuck out my tongue at her. “That was a terrible joke. Now stop looking at my butt and get me a real towel.” I held up the hand towel between me and her; it made a great apron, or about half of one of those draughty hospital gowns.

    “If you can turn into a dragon,” she pointed out, “you won't need a real towel. Now come on, concentrate. You can do it. Make the Change. Show your powers who's boss.”

    “Wyvern.” I wrapped my arms around myself, trying to hold the towel in place. Uncomfortable, I definitely was. This definitely had points in common with the other times I had Changed.

    Huh, maybe Vicky's got the right idea after all.

    I began to concentrate, to form an idea in my head of what it was like to be the wyvern – or, if it was to be my cape name, the Wyvern – and try to slot myself into it. It wasn't easy; the effort was not unlike attempting to pick myself up by my own shoelaces. The discomfort was indeed helping; with the lack of comfort came increased focus. At that moment, I desperately wanted to Change into the wyvern form, if only to get rid of the goosebumps that were now decorating me in plague proportions.

    It was there, I could almost feel it. All I needed was that little extra effort, to kick my body to Change from one form to the other.

    And if I can learn to Change to the wyvern at will, maybe I can learn to reverse it without needing a hug or a hot shower?

    Gritting my teeth, I concentrated.

    <><>​

    Amy trudged in through the back gate. She didn't often take the bus; it was easier to get a lift home with Vicky. But Vicky had had to go off somewhere in a hurry, and she'd never gotten back to Arcadia, and so Amy had ridden the bus home.

    Climbing the back stairs, she let herself in, closing the door quietly behind her. She opened the fridge to grab an apple, then headed through to the living room. It was a little bit of a surprise to see Aunt Sarah there, as well as Dad and some guy she'd never met before, but she wasn't in the mood for meeting strangers right at that moment.

    Still, politeness was a good thing, so she wandered over. “Hi, Aunt Sarah. Hi, Dad.”

    Mark raised his eyes from the TV long enough to give her a vague smile and a wave; he'd forgotten to take his medications again.


    Hello, dear,” Aunt Sarah greeted her. “This is Danny Hebert.”

    Hi, Mr Hebert.” She looked back at her aunt. “I'm looking for Vicky. Is she in?”

    Oh, yes,” Aunt Sarah told her. “In her room is what she said, but -”

    Okay, thanks.” She smiled warmly at her aunt, and politely at Mr Hebert, and headed up the stairs.

    Amy dear, make sure to knock,” Aunt Sarah called after her.

    Yeah,
    that's gonna happen. Vicky hadn't knocked on her bedroom door after about the first day of them sleeping in separate rooms, and she'd gotten out of the habit herself. Amy headed along the passageway, opened Vicky's door and stepped inside.

    Say, Vicky, why -” she began, before her mind locked up. Because Vicky was standing, facing her. But between Vicky and Amy, facing Vicky, was a total stranger, about her age, with long dark curly hair. Vicky was fully dressed. As far as Amy could tell, the other girl wasn't dressed at all.

    Amy couldn't think of a single good reason as to why Vicky might have a girl in her room, particularly one without clothes on. Many bad ones cropped up, tumbling over one another to make themselves heard. But all she could hear herself think was, Oh god, why not me?

    And then the girl turned, and Amy saw that she was holding a small towel over her front; at the same time, the girl screamed in fright, grabbing for a sheet off the bed. Reflexively, Amy screamed right back, retreating from the girl, from her rival. The girl screamed again; this time, somethinghappened to her body.

    Her face changed, pushing outward from her head. Hair retreated into her scalp. Arms, already skinny, lengthened as membranes spread between them and her body, her fingers shooting outward and growing more membranes. Her skin grew red-gold scales, a tail lengthened from behind her and her legs became digitigrade, with wickedly clawed feet. The scream turned into a high-pitched screech of alarm, while a red-gold crest raised on the saurian head. Both the towel and the sheet fell to the floor, but that didn't matter any more.

    The girl had Changed into a dragon. There was a dragon in Vicky's bedroom. A dragon, which had previously been a teenage girl.

    Backing up, Amy found that the door had swung shut behind her. Trapping her in the room with the dragon.


    <><>​

    Stunned, I watched as the teenage girl – I strongly suspected that this was 'Ames', otherwise known as Panacea – backed up against the door, eyes wide.

    “Hah!” Vicky's exclamation of triumph made both of us jump. We turned to look at her; she pointed at my face, or rather, my muzzle. “That expression, right there. That's what I'm talking about.”

    Lowering my head, I put my wing over it, in lieu of performing a proper face-palm.

    Oh boy.


    End of Part Six

    Part Seven
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  13. Asheram

    Asheram Know what you're doing yet?

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    Oh dear...
     
    Ack likes this.
  14. Starfox5

    Starfox5 Experienced.

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    Very funny chapter! Loved the ending - I had to laugh out loud!
     
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  15. Slayer Anderson

    Slayer Anderson Orthodox Heretic

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    Soooo....

    Just a random question, but, how good are Taylor's sense in Wyvern form?

    I mean, she probably has better eyesight, sure. Better hearing too. Her sense of touch isn't as good, likely and her sense of taste is probably really *different,* to be sure.

    Hmm...but, sense of smell? Pheromones-sniffing level? My question probably isn't related to Amy at all. Probably.
    I'll admit it, I laughed.

    Now I feel bad.
     
    Eryk, Scopas, Dragonin and 6 others like this.
  16. edale

    edale Versed in the lewd.

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    I'll admit it, I laughed.

    Now I feel better.:D
     
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  17. pepperjack

    pepperjack A Variety of Cheese

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    You're not trying very hard to stop us shipping this, are you?
     
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  18. Chojomeka

    Chojomeka Kimochi~

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    ...well now that is one way to make a first impression. :p
     
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  19. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy The only Sane one left

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    That means nothing! I will still go down with this ship!
     
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  20. seeing_octarine

    seeing_octarine Unverified Colour

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    ...looking for a repeat of the little dip in the ocean from the first chapter, are you? :p
     
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  21. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Chapter has been extensively rewritten.
     
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  22. nobodez

    nobodez Bringer of Context

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    Really good, though I'm not sure if you had Sarah in the recorded meeting with Danny and Taylor at the start before she came in with her comment (originally from the scene when it was still in the living room).
     
  23. Chojomeka

    Chojomeka Kimochi~

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    This flows much better, and oh boy is Sophia in for a nasty surprise when Armsmaster gets back to the Protectorate base!
     
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  24. Datcord

    Datcord Giggling menace

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    Good lord, how long IS Taylor's hair? Is she pulling a Lady Godiva here?

    Whulp, that's my new story canon. Taylor's going to deliberately grow her hair STUPID long, as a backup means of disguise/covering for when she changes back to human unexpectedly. shutupIdon'thaveafetish

    You notice how she SPECIFICALLY said "skinny butt"? It just means Vicky's not an ass gal! Probably legs. Taylor's got nice legs, right?

    THE SHIP SAILS ON.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  25. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    Taylor was holding a hand towel to her front. It wasn't wrapping around her.
     
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  26. Ack

    Ack (Verified Ratbag) (Unverified Great Old One)

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    She leans in the doorway after Carol calls Vicky in.
     
  27. Datcord

    Datcord Giggling menace

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    Well, yeah. But she was facing away from Amy... which means her skinny butt (which Vicky has to have checked out at least ONCE to know that) was facing her. Unless Taylor's got some pretty LONG hair, Amy is probably a little more certain than "as far as she can tell" that her sister is currently spending time with a naked girl WHO'S NOT HER.

    ...though, don't let my whining imply I'm not enjoying the hell out of the latest chapter. Hell, the facewing at the end made me hade to choke down laughter before my coworkers started looking at me funny.
     
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  28. Prince Charon

    Prince Charon Just zis guy, you know?

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    Poor Amy.

    Of course, as a Silencio fan (as well as Amelia), I'm 'shipping her with Taylor here, too. After all, Amy's already seen her naked, and she's both more socially acceptable than Vicky, and will be on the same team.
     
  29. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy The only Sane one left

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    Ack edited the rewrote version in incase anyone missed it.

    You confused me here. Why would Taylor and Vicky dating not be socially acceptable and Amy and Taylor would be?
     
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  30. SwiftRosenthal

    SwiftRosenthal Connoisseur.

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    It's in comparison to Amy/Vicky.
     
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