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This story arc has been published as a novel!

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---

Getting to Like You

"Mom says that she's glad she could be a visible Black para," Simon said, leaning back on his overly-squishy orange-tiger-striped sofa. "But I think she's still pretty pissed off at the Universal for not giving her a choice when he gave her a human form."

Megan finished her beer and looked up at the gilded crown moulding along the high, slightly cracked plaster ceilings of Simon's studio apartment. "If he'd given her a choice, what race do you think she would've picked?"

"I asked her once," Simon said, taking a swig of his own beer. "She admitted that she probably would've picked white skin, since all the paras she knew in the big leagues were white."

"When you read the histories, everyone is white," Megan said, plucking another beer off the six-pack and opening it. They were well into their second six-pack and she was starting to get a buzz. "Though, of course, no one officially knows the skin colors of the various Guardians."

Simon stared into his beer can. "Mom hadn't ever paid attention to the politics before. I mean, you'd think that after her parents' fight to be declared sentient by the courts so they weren't just the impounded belongings of Dr. Armageddon that she might've paid more attention. But she said that was, you know, a human thing. She was all into animal rights and saving the forests. But when she got a human form, she wanted to know what was up with it. Through your mom, probably, she got into feminism, and on her own, she got into race politics, Black Power, that sort of thing. According to Dad, he and your mother had to very nearly sit on her after she found out about the whole racist/sexist animal link thing. She wanted to hunt down the Universal and figure out a way to pull the plug on his cosmic powers. So she could kick him in the 'nads, she said."

"How did your dad handle the race thing?" Megan asked, finishing another beer.

"Not very well," Simon said, snorting. "He got better. His family never did. I've got a couple of cousins who'll talk to my brother and sisters, but that's pretty much it. I honestly think they have more trouble with the black thing than the hyperintelligent-talking-wolf thing."

"Wasn't he the Green Machine?" Megan asked, squinting at the blue Celtic knotwork wallhanging behind the eyesearing couch.

"Yep. South Boston Irish," Simon said, reaching for another beer. "What about your dad?"

"No idea," Megan said with a shrug. "For all I know, I'm the freakin' immaculate conception. Except, you know, no one would like that idea, since..." She waved her hands, indicating her congenital tan.

Simon laughed. "Why the big secret?"

"I think that Mom wanted a kid," Megan said, "and wanted to make sure that no man had any claim on me."

"Does your mom have a girlfriend?" Simon said, setting the empty can down on the red plastic end table.

"She's had a lot of girlfriends," Megan said. "But, you know, non-paras don't really get a lot of the problems that paras have. Some of her girlfriends were para fetishists -- starfuckers going after her because she was the Amazon, and they dumped her after they figured out she wasn't in spandex any more. Some of 'em didn't like that she had a kid. Some of 'em were sweet and wonderful people, and Mom was -- is -- just too fucked up to deal with a good relationship. Some of 'em figured out that they really couldn't handle eight and a half feet of solid muscle." She cocked a grin at Simon.

Simon said, dreamily, "I like big women."

"You," Megan said, reaching over to poke him in the ribs, "are a goofball."

"But I'm a goofball that really likes big women," Simon said, sprawling . "I mean, I had posters of The Fat Lady all over my wall when I was a teenager. She is SO fuckin' hot. I got to meet her when I was in college -- she came and did a talk in one of my classes. A bunch of us took her out to dinner after, and she kissed me on the cheek. I used my notebook to lift the lipstick print off my cheek. Kept it."

"You didn't ask her out?" Megan said.

"I did," Simon said mournfully. "That was when she kissed me. And told me how cute I was, and to give her a call in ten years if I was still interested."

"Ow, burn," Megan said.

"Yeah, but I totally will call her, because I'm also into older women," Simon said, then sighed. "And here I am, cheerfully ruining my chances with another big, gorgeous woman by talking about my teen crushes on someone else."

Megan pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows sarcastically. "Dude, you haven't ruined anything until you tell me about your teen crush on my mother."

Simon's eyes got big. "Nooooooo, she's scary."

"You're not into scary?" Megan said.

"Not that kind of scary," Simon said. "Not 'my mother's old friend' kind of scary. Besides, she's a big ol' dyke, right?"

"Who knows?" Megan said with a shrug. "My mom and I have an agreement: she doesn't tell me about her relationships, and I don't tell her about mine."

Simon looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, "Well, that's beside the point. The thing is, no, I've never once been attracted to your terrifying mother."

"Oh, good," Megan said, grinning. "Wanna see how terrifying I can be?"

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