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Breed: Nine


  02:05:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 1179 words  
Categories: Breed

Breed: Nine

?This is really good,? Demi said.
?It is,? Mikaela said, ?just don't tell Drake that, or you'll never hear the end of it.?
?He loves food, but more than that, he loves to talk about food. Compare it.?
?He doesn't look the type.?
?That's because he also runs. If he wasn't a runner he'd be like a billion pounds by now, and short as he is, he'd look like a dime.? Demi laughed.
?Shit, I think I derailed.?
?You did. But I was kind of happy to have the out, really. I hate talking about Tucker. It's draining. I want to be done, the whole thing to be over. I don't even think I'd want her back,? Mikaela frowned, ?or him. And it's not because the trans thing is a deal breaker. I've dated men, and women, and quite a few of them weren't wholly cis.?
?Cis?? Demi asked, around a mouthful of pizza.
?Cisgendered. It's the opposite of trans; it's people whose gender identity matches their sex. I'm one of the last people to care about traditional gender roles. But even if he walked through that door, not here to get a pizza, but because he tracked me down because he realizes he made a mistake, and apologized and... he left me. I'd never trust that wouldn't happen again. Couldn't. There's no going back.
?But when he left, he clawed his way out of my chest like an Alien zygote; I just want not to have a gaping hole in my chest anymore, and that emotional wound is tied up in my feelings for him. I think. It's tough to know anything, the way I feel. I'm just... I'm not myself. And that's all I really want anymore; I just don't know how I get back to being me.?
?Then why'd you follow him up here??
?I didn't, exactly,? Mikaela said. ?But we were together during summer classes. I was one class behind him, before I could finish my AA. And we planned to both go here together, did the application together and everything. Even drove up together to check out the campus. But at the end of the summer he broke up with me. I had friends here; it was always my plan to go to school here. And it felt like I could either dash my plans, because of him, or follow through, in spite of him.?
Demi winced. ?And either way, the decision ends up tied up around him. I've been there, with my mom. For a while, everything I did was either because of or in spite of her. And it just took time and distance to not have her be such a controlling factor in my life.?
Mikaela shifted in her seat, and at the crinkle of paper in her pocket, removed Tucker's flier.
?Tucker's kind of a jerk,? Demi said. ?He was wrong about most things, except that program. I participated, last semester. It's cool. And Linc's a really good influence.?
?Lincoln Martens. He was recruited directly out of special forces. He was some kind of war hero; he doesn't like to talk about the specifics, and I don't know, I guess I wanted to respect his privacy, so I never looked into it. But mentoring younger people with abilities... I grew up alone. Like really alone. For most of my life I only had my mother... and she more or less blamed me for Dad leaving, so I wouldn't say I really had any of her but resentment. But working with other kids, both giving and just hearing other people's stories, it made me feel not so alone, and connected me with our community. I don't know that I ever felt a sense of community, except when I was working- living on the streets.?
?You were homeless?? Mikaela asked. ?Sorry, I'm just...?
?Don't be. I brought it up. I ran away from home. Things just got, my mom got a new boyfriend. At first he was just abusive to her, but then he turned it to me. And she didn't believe me, so she couldn't protect me; wouldn't. So I ran away, outside of the city, outside of the state. My abilities hadn't come in, or I might have been able to protect the both of us-? She glanced across the table, and accidentally caught sight of the salt shaker. Electricity arced from her fingers, and shattered it, sending a spray of salt across the table. ?Shit,? Demi said, reaching across the table for the shattered shaker.
The waitress was suddenly standing over them. ?It's okay, dear,? the waitress said. ?Dean Kean's doing the lord's work.? She held out her hand, and moved her fingers around. The shaker reassembled itself, with about three quarters of the salt back inside it. ?Keep at it,? she said. ?You'll get it under control.? The waitress smiled at them, then scurried off to another of her tables.
?So I guess I know what you can do,? Mikaela said with a grin.
?Yeah. I break things.?
?With electricity. From your fingertips.?
?I can also use electricity to make myself strong.?
?You're Thor, but a lady.?
?Thor can be a lady. Thor is more of a title, like President. There's been a lady Thor in the comics.?
?You can't brag to me about your graphic novel collection one evening, then try to call me a nerd for knowing comics the next day.?
?I get very 'Nerd Pride' when I'm drinking.?
?I know. Militantly, almost. You wanted to find a jock to give a swirly to, on principal.?
?You ever get a swirly?? Mikaela asked.
?No. But I've been picked on, plenty.?
?Yeah. I didn't see much of that, growing up. But the little parts I did... I hated. I always found myself befriending people who were on that bottom social rung. But I think we derailed. You were underaged, when you ran away, so I imagine there wasn't a lot of work.?
?No. I grew up in the midwest. All of the measures that were designed to keep undocumented immigrants out of the workforce made it harder for me to find work, harder still to find a job that wasn't looking to exploit its workers. So I spent a while being homeless, staying with friends- people I met.? Rox and Linc walked through the front glass doors of the parlor. ?Speak of the devil,? Demi said. Mikaela watched them walk to the counter, where he paid for an already boxed pizza.
?Is that normal?? Mikaela asked.
?Depends what you mean. It's innocent enough. He works with the satellite kids, buys them lunch as often as not.?
?Okay,? she replied.
?You sound skeptical.?
?Yeah. I had a choir teacher like that. Real friendly, real nice. Ended up on the sex offenders list.?
?Yeah, so I guess I'm extra dubious about adult men spending time with teenaged women.?
?Makes sense, though. And there is a difference between caution and being too zealous. And especially where men and sex concerned, it usually pays to be cautious.?

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