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Every Thistle Has Its Bloom

Megan let herself out of Simon's apartment, realizing that she hadn't talked to his plants the way he'd asked her to this time, but not really caring enough to go back in. There was something strangely unfulfilling about one-sided chats with Phyllis the rosemary tree, and something bizarrely sinister about Old Noakes the aspidistra. And she had, after all, remembered to turn on the recording of the Fat Lady's "Hera and Zeus" for them.

There was a choked sob from across the hall. G's door was slightly ajar, and Megan couldn't keep herself from stepping over and gently pushing the door open enough to see.

Meteor was sitting on the sofa, face in her hands. She was in her outdated green tank suit, and her cat's-eye mask was lying on the table. Her long red hair flowed over her bare shoulders. Her hands were young and smooth, without any of the knobbly and muscled character of G's hands.

Megan noticed idly that none of the cats were in evidence. She was concerned for a moment, but then spotted Uhura staring at Meteor from the bedroom door, and realized that all the cats were just as far as they could be from the crazy ghost in the living room.

After a few moments, Megan said, "Hello."

Meteor jumped and stared. Her pale face was blotchy with tears. She had almost no visible eyelashes, and her eyes were blue (where they weren't red right now). She had some freckles sprinkled across her cheeks.

Megan tried a smile. It wasn't a very good try.

After a moment of silence, Meteor put her face in her hands again. "You're the reason she hates me," she said, muffled. Her voice was very young.

Megan shrugged, realized that Meteor couldn't see the shrug, and said, "I doubt that."

"Oh, you are," she said, still not looking up. "She was content to give me space before you came along. Now she says I've ruined everything."

"To be honest," Megan said, not feeling very nice, "you have."

Meteor burst into fresh tears. Megan waited for the initial downpour to pass and said, "So why don't you tell me why you're doing this?"

There was a sniffle and a hiccough. "Do you really want to know?" Meteor asked.

Megan sighed. "Yes, I do."

Meteor glowered at her with bloodshot eyes. "He killed me."

"Who killed you?" Megan said patiently.

"The Grey Phantom," she said. "Look, I know she told you this."

"And there's no villain on record with that name who had the power to dematerialize someone and shove them into a wall," Megan said. "So who really did it to you?"

"It wasn't his name," Meteor said. "That's what I saw. A grey phantom. Out of the corner of my eye, just before everything went... cold." She got a distant look in her eye. "It was very cold, having stone inside me. I didn't understand what was happening. I tried to ask, but my mouth wouldn't work. I heard him..." Meteor stared down at the floor.

Megan frowned. "What did he say?"

Meteor looked up. "It was my destiny, or something like that. I don't really remember. I only had half a brain right then," she added angrily.

"And then you just stayed there, where your body was?" Megan said.

"Where else could I go?" Meteor said. "It was my first time going out! I was so excited! I wanted to end tyranny and crime and be famous. Instead, I was part of a wall."

"You could have moved on to wherever dead people move on to," Megan pointed out. "You could have gone toward the light or something."

"There wasn't any light," Meteor said sullenly.

"And no one else came along who could have helped you?" Megan said.

"They were all men," Meteor said. "A man killed me."

"Ah," Megan said, at a loss. She wished she dared take the moment to run upstairs and fetch Watson. Watson would have more useful questions for Meteor.

Meteor sniffled miserably. "All I ever wanted to be was a hero," she said. "All I ever wanted to be was good enough."

Megan said, as gently as she could, "You're not being very heroic now, taking G's life away."

Meteor stood up, suddenly taller than Megan, her red hair crackling around her. She looked furious and a wind whipped up around the room. Megan took a step back. "She's had a life, at least, and she's wasting what she has left!" she shouted. "I'm going to do the right things now. I'm going to make her do the right things!" And with that, she threw herself at the wall and passed through it, out into the cold February night.

Megan lingered for a moment, then went into the bedroom to check on the cats. They were all there, even though she had to look under the bed for Olamina and Uhura. There were shreds of a filmy pink negligee stuffed into the trash can.

Madame Blavatsky gave Megan a sharp once-over, and imperiously said, "MWAH!"

"Yeah," Megan said. "I feel that way too. Let me check on your food and stuff."

After ensuring that the cats were fed and watered (and petted), Megan climbed wearily up to the third floor and knocked on Watson's door.

The older woman opened the door. She wasn't wearing her glasses and her hair standing up at odd angles. Megan grimaced apologetically. "Did I wake you?"

Watson blinked and rubbed her face. "Yeah, I guess so. I don't have keyboard-prints on my face anywhere, do I?"

Megan thought the red spots on her forehead had been oddly regular. "Just a little."

Watson said, "Hah," and then, "What's up?"

"I just had a conversation with Meteor," Megan said. "I thought you'd like a run-down."

"Sure," Watson said. "Come on in."

Megan glanced once around the apartment and thought that Watson took more after Holmes than was really good for her. Overstacked bookshelves teetered against every wall, papers of various sorts covered practically every flat surface, and the computer was so covered in ephemera that it looked likely to burst into flame at any moment. The sitting surfaces were mismatched, intensely cushioned, and more numerous than Megan would have thought this solitary woman would need. There were only a couple dim floor lamps lighting the place, which made it seem oddly warm and cozy.

Still, the place could've used a Mrs. Hudson.

Watson kicked a path through scattered papers to the sofa and threw herself down on it, waving extravagantly to an overstuffed chair.

Megan shook her head slightly, perched on the chair carefully, and repeated the conversation, as much word-for-word as she could.

Watson listened intently, focusing her gaze just past Megan's left ear. It went quickly, and when Megan was done, Watson nodded. "That makes much more sense than an unknown villain. The anti-male bent is interesting, given her choice of host -- a lesbian -- and given what she's trying to do to G."

"Convert her, you mean?" Megan said. "I found a shredded nightgown in the trash in the bedroom."

"Hunh," Watson said, rubbing her face again. "All right, we need to move faster. Shall we consult Madame Destiny?"

Megan's shoulders slumped. "Yeah, I guess so. Mom always said Madame's predictions were really cryptic and usually useless, but I think we're at a dead end."

"No pun intended, I'm sure," Watson said. "Want to stay here tonight?"

Megan blinked, more than a little startled. "I, um, are you sure you want to turn this into a really complicated triangle?"

Watson gave her a grim little smile. "It might not end up a triangle at all, if we can't find someone to help G."

"You don't beat around the bush, do you?"

"Wastes time, annoys the Watson," said Watson. "What do you say?"

"I..." Megan looked around at the disastrous, and yet comfortable space. "Oh, sure, why the hell not? How do you find the bedroom?"

"That door," Watson said, pointing at a door that probably couldn't be completely closed because of the detritus. "Where did I put my glasses?"

Later that night, Megan dreamily reconsidered her previous biases about perception-based para powers, and thought that, perhaps, G had learned a great deal from Watson.


From the Author:
Oh, Megan. So easily distracted.

Wonder City Stories has been nominated for the Rose & Bay Award! Check out all the nominees in all the categories here. I'd love for you to vote for WCS. And please do consider voting for Dave or Lucid (I mean aerynvale or badfaun!) in the patron category.

I'm posting twice weekly during February. Thank you for all your comments! Please keep commenting while I come up with new ideas (or steal other people's ideas) for fan involvement. I love all your comments.

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Date: 2011-02-11 03:26 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
I could seriously smack Meteor. And what _exactly_ does Megan think she's doing!? Oh wait, there's that 'thinking' thing again. Easily distracted indeed!

Date: 2011-02-14 11:02 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
...yeah, it's true; I remember being that age (despite occasional attempts to forget). I'd make a comment about hoping it doesn't get too exciting, except that it's fiction, so of _course_ it'll get exciting. :) Keep up the good work!

Date: 2012-01-28 05:24 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
I dunno. *I'm* twenty-one and I think I'm pretty decent at foreseeing relationship consequence-y things.

Though I'm not as quick to jump into bed with people as Megan, so maybe Megan's level of foresight works for my level of activity? :D

Date: 2012-01-28 05:25 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
Also, have you watched BBC's Sherlock? What do you think of it in relation to your Watson Holmes?


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