Breed Book 4, Part 03

Three

“I feel like the Lone Ranger in this thing,” Iago said, fiddling with his mask as the followed they flow of marchers. “But not, you know, from the crappy movie. Want to be my Trigger?” he asked, slapping Drake on the shoulder.

“Dude,” Drake said, “we are both too white for you to say anything like that right now. And we just got done having a conversation about how you were uncomfortable being treated like a bike. Why would you want me to be your horse?”

“It wasn’t like I was going to ride you, or anything.”

“That wasn’t very convincing,” Demi said over his shoulder.

Mikaela took a breath to center herself, fighting the urge to tell them to be quiet. They were all anxious, hers just manifested in an overwhelming urge to mother her friends. “Hard not to rain on their parade,” Tucker said, smiling at her. “I’m not prying, you’re just very predictable. And fairly stiff. But a protest doesn’t have to be a wake, even one protesting a wrongful death. It’s also a celebration, of our friends, of our lives, of the fact that we’ve found so many other people who think and feel like we do, of the justice we’re all willing to risk ourselves to bring about. There’s beauty in today, even if we’re here for the ugliest of reasons. It’s okay to find some joy in it, too. And to let go. They look up to you, us, I suppose; but you don’t have to be on all the time, and you don’t have to be more than who you are, either. It’s okay just to be you, today. That’s already a lot of weight to carry.” Mikaela gave her a side eye. “I didn’t mean it like that. I am not a body-shamer- not that I’m saying there’s anything to shame you about.”

“Okay, you’re starting to make it weird.”

“Yeah. Sorry. We’re kind of a mine field, which is funny, today; I’m way more worried about the emotional mine field of our relationship than the potential battlefield we’re marching into.”

“Well, yeah. I can be everywhere at once. I think Mayumi could survive a nuclear bomb, you can make people unconscious just by being cross at them, and Demi could fry, well, everyone, so far as I know.”

“And Iago’s got that ice dick thing he’s so oddly proud of.”

“Which I’m sure we’ll find a use for, some day. And Drake can teleport, which… means he could run away really well.”

“I heard that,” Drake said.

“I wasn’t trying to talk so you couldn’t,” Mikaela said. “But you have a point: we can handle ourselves pretty well, out here. But,” she gave an exaggerated glance to a woman walking to the side of her.

“Yeah, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. The last thing the world needs is to see a gang of Breed drop a sixty foot ice dick on some cop.”

“I mentioned that precisely once,” Iago groaned, “while a little drunk. One time. Are you ever going to lay off?” 

“Absolutely,” Tucker said. “The very second any one of us says or does something at least as stupid.”

“Though the smart money is that will be you again,” Mikaela said, “so we’ll just be bagging on you for something different.”

“Oh, man. How did I become this group’s butt monkey?”

“It’s because you can handle it,” Drake said, patting his shoulder. “And bagging on you makes the rest of us feel closer.”

“And because you grew up as my little brother,” Tucker said, “you don’t feel accepted until you’ve had someone talk crap about you.”

“Okay, therapy’s over,” Iago said, putting up his hands. “I want all of you quacks out of my head.”

“I like it when he’s bossy,” Demi said. 

“So do we know where this thing is headed?” Drake asked.

“There’s a kind of method to the madness, I think,” Mikaela said, turning her phone in her hand to better understand the map on it. “But yeah; one of the groups organizers suggested the route we’re on. Good visibility without getting too close to hospitals where you might clog up emergency services, that kind of thing.”

“I thought the whole point was to be disruptive,” Iago said.

“That explains so much about the last twenty years,” Tucker said.

“You kind of spent an entire afternoon crafting the perfect crème pie, only to sit in it;” Demi said, wincing for emphasis. “That was like 90% self-inflicted.”

“But Santiago’s not wrong, either,” Mikaela said. “We are here to be disruptive. To make noise. To be heard. To show that there are real people effected, communities hurt, not just bodies they can bury and move on from. But there’s a balance, too. You don’t want to disrupt hospitals- especially children’s hospitals, cause that disrupts care and freaks the kids out- even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic.”

“And there’s the other thing,” Demi said.

“The other thing?” Mikaela asked.

“Fuck. I was hoping I could prompt you, so I wouldn’t have to say it.”

“I’m not saying this to relish your anguish- though I am totally relishing your anguish- but I have no earthly idea what you’re talking about.”

“Okay, then, as your apparent ambassador to whiteness, because I know I’m more privileged than two white-passing dudes or even a totally passing white trans man, a protest can’t fuck things up for the residents too much. White people, as a rule, want to be nice, good, and on the right side of history. But if you inconvenience them any more than a tiny little bit, you risk the whole angry Karen army mobilizing to call the city’s manager. And I’m not saying that because I think we should be beholden to them, but every aspect of this is way easier if we can get them and keep them on our side. What was that MLK quote?” “His greatest obstacle wasn’t the racists,” Mayumi said, “but the moderates who sat on their hands.”

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