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This story arc has been published as a novel!

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Getting to Know All About You

Simon said, "This is my favorite cafe ever." He leaned back in his chair and folded his hands over his stomach with a contented sigh.

Megan nodded, still navigating her way through the enormous reuben assembled for her. "I'm glad you showed me how to find it."

The Sufferin' Sappho Cafe had basement-level digs on D. Yankee Boulevard, along the western edge of College Flats. It was a notoriously liberal-artsy neighborhood, full of street performers, college students, and queer folk of all shapes and sizes. The cafe staff -- two whippet-thin butches in muscle shirts -- were a little startled by an obvious para like Megan showing up, but were glad to adapt "for all appetites," as one put it.

Simon leaned forward and took a sip of his milkshake. "So now that we've had our feeding frenzy," he said, "we can proceed to the usual questions. Where are you from originally?"

"Las Vegas," Megan said, once she'd chewed and swallowed her latest mouthful of sandwich. She put it down and took a gulp of root beer float. "My mom's got a security company out there. How about you?"

"Local boy, as you might have guessed," Simon said.

"Hah," Megan said, "I'm not a detective, but I guess you did mention your sister going to school with Nereid. Always lived in the city?"

Simon shook his head, playing with a french fry on his plate. "My family lives just outside town, but my dad drove us into town for school."

Megan cocked an eyebrow. "Didn't like the suburban schools?"

"Not inclusive enough," Simon said, waving vaguely. "Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

"Nope," Megan said. "You said you had a younger sister. Any others?"

"Oh, yeah. There's four of us."

"You the only boy?"

"I've got a younger brother." Simon finally ate the mangled french fry. "Why Wonder City?"

Megan shrugged and took another bite of sandwich, giving herself time to think of a way to put the answer. Finally, she said, "Because Mom used to tell stories about it, and I wanted to see it for myself."

"Your mom used to live here?" Simon chewed thoughtfully on another french fry. "Why'd she move all the way to Vegas?"

"I don't really know," Megan said. "She doesn't like to talk about that part of her life."

Simon grinned. "Yeah, my parents don't like to talk about stuff from before we were born either. I get the idea that the 80s were tough for everyone in the city."

"I guess the Trans-Gulf War mucked up a lot of people's lives," Megan said thoughtfully. "Ripping apart spacetime does that."

Simon grunted. "Lots of paras died. It didn't really affect the normals."

"You are para," Megan said, popping the last bite of her sandwich into her mouth.

"How do you figure that?" Simon sat up straight and stared at her intently.

Megan realized suddenly that Simon's glasses were slightly tinted and he hardly ever made eye contact, all apparently to hide the fact that his eyes were a disturbingly pale amber color. His stare made her want to flinch. She swallowed her sandwich, even though her mouth was now dry. Another gulp of soda, then, "It's just... the tone of your voice when you talk about so-called normals. And you assume that no non-para could have lingering memories after a time glitch, even though there are hundreds of cases in the literature."

Simon's gaze dropped back to his plate. "You have a psych degree or something, don't you?"

It was Megan's turn to stare intently at Simon, frowning slightly. "How do you figure that?"

Simon's face relaxed into a smile. "The way you talk about 'cases in the literature' so casually." He shrugged. "Sorry, puts my hackles up. Yeah, I'm para. I guess I caught the habit of talking about normals, er, non-paras like that from schoolmates or something."

"Sorry," Megan said, finishing her drink.

"No, I'm sorry," Simon said. "I didn't mean to offend you."

She shrugged and waved it away. "My mom is... kind of sensitive about how one talks about non-paras, so..."

"So your mom's norm-- non-para?"

Megan sneaked a look at Simon's face. He was watching her. "No. She's not. I'm, er, spandex spawn."

"Good guys or bad guys?" Simon said, elaborately casual.

"Good guys," Megan said in the same tone of voice. "How about you?"

She drew another stare for that one, but she was ready for it. Simon shrugged and finished his milkshake. "Yeah, me too, I guess."

There was a brief pause, and they both said, in a rush, "And you're not in spandex?"

They stared at each other, then burst out laughing.

The server collected their plates and carefully placed the check in the center of the table.

Megan, having the longer arms, got it first.

"No fair!" Simon protested. "I asked you out!"

"Too slow," Megan said, tucking her credit card into the holder. "You can try to outmaneuver me next time."

Simon peered at the card, head cocked sideways. "Oh, shit! You're the Amazon's daughter?"

"Why do people keep reacting to my name that way?" Megan said, losing a considerable lot of her good humor.

"I'm sorry!" Simon said, ducking his head. "I've just heard so much about her. It's like being the Golden Guardian's kid or something."

"Is she the Wonder City bogeyman?" Megan asked. "Used to terrorize children and supervillains alike?"

"Noooooo," Simon said as the server collected the check and card. "She... just... um... well... she's scary."

"Why are you scared of her?" Megan said, rolling her eyes. "She's not your mother."

Simon giggled, then sobered. "And, well, um, I think your mom and my mom may have been," he added in a low voice, "friends."

"Friends?" Megan said, eyebrows raised. "Like, friends friends, or just friends?"

"Oh, geez," Simon said, "I didn't mean friends friends. Just friends."

"Ah," Megan said. "That's okay then."

Megan signed the bill when it came back and they drifted outside together. "So what now?" she said.

"I dunno," Simon said. "Movie? Nightclub?"

Megan shook her head. "I don't fit in theater seats and nightclubs. You should've seen the mess I made of the lighting last time I tried to go out dancing. If I had a place, I'd invite you back."

Simon gave her a measuring look, then flashed a wicked grin. "Well, I have a place, if you want to trust a dog like me, little girl."

Megan favored him with her best sarcastic look. His grin faded a little under the scrutiny. Then she said, "I think I can manage to defend myself. Lead on, MacDuff."


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