Thank, everyone that sent me a review. They meant a lot to me and helped me hammer out some of my ideas for the next few chapters. I'm sorry this took so long to post, especially given the length. As always, I would really appreciated any kind of feedback you might have on this or any other chapters. Thank you again.
Disclaimer: I do not own Misfits or DC comics.
Mr. Tinkles wasn't a very brave cat. Once or twice a year, through, he seemed to collect enough of courage to try to escape from their neighbors' house. And only then if something else hadn't freaked him out in the meantime. Usually he only made it as far as the next garden over. Today, she found him huddled up near their sliding door looking nervous and cold. She was already running late for school but, she supposed, being a few minutes later wouldn't make much of a difference. So she picked up Mr. Tinkles before he get the chance to live up to his name on their patio and carried him through the house toward the front door. While she walked, he looked around everywhere, like he's never seen a television or sofa before even though she knows for a fact that the house next door, where he spends all of his time, is a mirror image of theirs and has a sofa and television of its own. He was warm and soft and nuzzled up to her when there was a sudden loud sound from the roof.
She wished her parents would let them get a cat. At least cat, unlike people, let you know where you stand. True, it was usually as a nuisance or a poorly thought of servant unless you're bringing them food or a treat, but at least you knew. Not like people. People will come over to your house and whisper and gossip and pretend like you're their best friend forever after school then the next day hovering around the edge of the popular crowd and pretending you don't exist.
When she stepped outside she realized that the loud sounds that are making Mr. Tinkles cower against her were the result of a hail storm pelting the roof, windows and sidewalk with huge balls of ice. She probably should have turned around and waited inside for the storm to pass, but she's already late, and Mr. Tinkles was scared. So instead she took a deep breath and decided to run to the neighbors. She was about halfway there when there was a bright flash, followed by a tingle of pain throughout her body and a high pitch and slightly pathetic screech from Mr. Tinkles.
She woke up to find the worried cat attempting to revive her with the power of his tongue. When she sat up Mr. Tinkles gave an impatient meow, jumped on top of her lap and impatiently waited for her to resume carrying him the few feet to his house.
The Weekend After Week Eight
April had assumed her ability or whatever you call it had come from the storm. Getting hit by lightening and surviving was weird enough. Spontaneously being able to unlock any door the same day was a bit too much of a coincidence to believe. And that was taking into account that she now lived in a world where someone could spontaneously unlock doors. But her niece hadn't even been in Wertham when the storm hit.
The trouble was, she wasn't sure what else could have caused it. It wasn't like she had gotten some new weird looking knick-knack the night before she had gotten her ability or anything. Hell, she hadn't gotten much of anything new. And it couldn't exactly have been something she got after the storm that had given her her power. She had still searched her flat, looking over everything she had had before that her niece could have come into contact with. But nothing explained it.
She hadn't realized what was happening at first. It wasn't like she had developed a new sense or anything. It was more like all of her other senses mixing together in a new way. It had taken her a week of thinking she was going crazy and searching on the internet for what different phantom smells meant before she realized that what she was going through was tied to who she was around and what they felt. After determining that Mr. Tinkles was not, in fact, a vengeance demon, that had granted her wish, she realized that the only explanation, well, the only explanation that her she could think of, was that that lightening strike had given her some sort of superpower. Like Barry Allen only more smelly and less useful.
Looking up other empaths didn't really help. They usually felt or saw how others felt. This wasn't that. The best way to describe what she experienced was through tastes and sounds and feelings. Sweet, tart. Hot, cold. Different food and different kinds of music. Slowly she started to piece out what all the different flavor, so to speak, involved meant. Kind of. She thought.
Her mother, she was like raspberry lemon sherbet. Very tart. Sugary sweet. With sharp bits of ice that hurt your tongue but so cold that eventually you just got numb to it if you were around her long enough. Her father was more like plain frozen yogurt. Still tart and sweet but less of both. Mostly bland. And smooth, but still cold. Her teacher was cotton candy and bad pop music, sweet and soft and happy but without any real substance. Her brother was like egg bread, taken out of the oven just a bit too early. Sweet, but not too much. With a lot of other flavors. Warm, soft and just a little bit doughy. Which she thought was kind of funny since she was pretty sure no one else would ever describe any part of her brother as doughy.
After Curtis ignored her call, Rebecca had sent him a text to let him know that his friend wasn't really dead. When he called her back, later, she found out he hadn't gotten the text until well after he had found that out himself. He was tense on the phone. Whether that was because he was upset at himself for not realizing she might be trying to tell him something important when she called, or because he was irritated that it had taken a push from her power to get her to call him back she didn't know. She suspected the later.
She wasn't ignoring him to be mean or spiteful. She just needed to get her head around what she was feeling and what she wanted to do next. Or maybe just what she wanted to say. She wasn't upset that Curtis had kissed someone in the future. Maybe she should be, but she didn't know how far in future he had gone or what the circumstances were. She thought she knew Curtis well enough to know he wouldn't just kiss someone else because he could, and that he probably had been dropped into the wrong place and time by his power. Her power wasn't exactly known to be forthcoming on details. She was a bit more upset about the fact he had lied about it.
She wasn't sure how to deal with that. And she wasn't sure how much of that, of what she knew, she should talk about with Curtis. She told herself that wasn't hypocritical. It was practical. She didn't know if Curtis had really taken the time to think about the mechanics of his powers, but she had. She couldn't help but wonder, if he did jump to another timeline, and jumped into his body in that timeline, then what happened in the timeline he left behind? Did it disappear or just keep going? And what happened to the him left behind if it was the first one? Did he die? And It wasn't as if Curtis could control it. He didn't seem to know what would set him off or how to stop it.
Perhaps more worrying, what if she said something that made him feel guilty or regretful, what would happen? Would he suddenly keel over? Even if she knew he was alright, and alive somewhere else, he would still gone here. She's not sure how do deal with something like that. It was like having a boyfriend with some sort of aneurism or something. You're just waiting for the inevitable and stepping on egg shells until then.
And even if he didn't know what set him off, she kind of feared that getting caught kissing someone else might just be the type of thing that did it.
Kelly had been saving to go get a new top to go out in. Not that she was likely to get to use it anytime soon. She still had her curfew and her last attempt to skirt around it hadn't exactly gone too well. But she was still excited about doing a bit of shopping.
Plus she hoped it would get her mind off of what had happened. Seeing Nathan like that, laid out. Thinking he was dead. It really brought everything into perspective, you know. Even if it turned out that Nathan's death only showed he couldn't die, it reminded her how little time the rest of them could have. To live life to its fullest and all that. And while she hadn't quite figured out how to follow that line of thought when it came to her and Nathan himself, it seemed as good an excuse as any to get something nice.
The dressing room had one of those three sided mirrors. The ones that let you see yourself from all sides. She was twisting around, trying to decide on a top, when she saw it. Squinting she turned and pulled the top up to get a better look. Making sure it wasn't just the light. Something really weird was going on with her tattoo.
Sometimes she got a taste of other people's feeling towards each other. But only if it was strong enough. Like it was overflowing a bit or something. Her friend, Aimee, was the crunch of crackers topped with some of the weird cheese that only her Dad liked and an oily feeling when she looked at some of the popular girls in class. Her brother and his girlfriend were like being wrapped up in a thick warm blanket that smelled of fresh linen, with oldies in the background and the sweet sticky banana bread her Mum stopped making when she was five because it wasn't "healthy" enough topped with a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg on top.
Mostly, though, she only experienced what other people felt about her. And most of the time that meant nothing at all. Not unless she was with one of the few people she really knew, or she did something to call attention to herself. It was a strange. Everyone tells teenagers that. That everyone's too wrapped up in themselves to really notice you. But it was different to actually feel it. To realize that most people just didn't notice or care about her at all. That even the people she vaguely knew, didn't feel much more about her then, watery room-temperature mint tea and white noise.
Right after the storm, April had tried to search for information about the storm on the internet and found nothing. Literally. There wasn't even a mention on any of the weather sites. If she was the type to believe in government conspiracies and cover-up she'd definitely had thought this was one of them. Hell, she wasn't the type and she still thought it might be.
After what happened to her niece, through, she had tried again and discovered that in the last few weeks through, people had slowly been coming out of the woodwork and onto message boards and forums and twitter. There still wasn't anything official and half the people were probably jokers or nut jobs but there were a few that seemed like that might be legitimate. A substitute teacher that had suddenly grown a set of eyes in the back of her head (hidden by hair, luckily). A girl whose skin literally turned green when she got jealous and blue when she was sad. A local golden boy who worried about going swimming because every time the bottom of his feet hit the surface of water it seemed to harden underneath him. It allowed him to walk on top of it but it apparently so great if you tried to do a cannon ball.
April did a bit of research into them, and eventually tried to talk to a few. They all had seemed to get their powers about the time she had, and, like her, attributed them to the storm. Which maybe wouldn't have counted for much except that none of them seemed to have shared anything in common with her, not the places they visit or things they used or did, other than being hit by the storm. And if they did, it wasn't something her niece had been around too. At least, nothing that would explain why her niece had suddenly turned into a non-toxic version of Uma Thurman from Batman.
Slowly she realized that when she was around of the people some of them started feeling differently towards her. Shifting a bit. There was a bit more sweetness. The textures were smoothing out. There was even some flavor and a bit of a melody added where there was none before. And suddenly she had a lot more friends.
Along with letting her know about the text, Curtis also asked Rebecca to get together with him. Even though she still wasn't quite sure what to do, she did know that she had to do something. She couldn't just keep making excuses. So she said she'd go out to dinner with him. And spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what she was going to tell him afterwards.
At first she had thought the change she was feeling in the way people felt was because she was responding to them. Like those feedback machine. She had changed now that she had a different kind of feedback. But it felt off. As much as the people around her thought they liked her, she could feel the difference.
It was like artificial sweetener instead of sugar. Still sweet, but just a bit off. An autotune voice. Satin instead of silk or the smell of an imitation perfume. She realized she was doing. That she was changing them, not the other way around. And she knew it was wrong.
After the initial flush of finally being popular and the relief of no longer being surrounded by unpleasant sensations the way she had been on and off for weeks after the storm, she knew she couldn't keep doing it. She knew this wasn't what her power was meant to be used for.
She shifted it back. Shifted them all back. But it didn't go back to what it was before. Not exactly. It was like there was some sort of backlash. They didn't hate her or anything. It was more like a weird aftertaste in her mouth when she was around them. Or an off smell. She could feel it and even weirder, they felt it on some level too, but just didn't really understand what it was. Like a smell or a sound that was so low they couldn't consciously hear it, but still kept everyone from coming close without realizing why.
"What's this?" April turned to see her boyfriend looking at the wooden box. She froze for a second before reminding herself that he had no way of knowing it was stolen.
"It's a jewelry box." She said, then added. "I found it at a garage sale. I don't think the owner knew what it was either. I've been trying to figure out what to do with what's in it."
"What is in it?" He asked, picking it up and examining it closer.
"Jewelry." She told him with a bit a chuckle. He shot her an amused looked, then opened the box. She watched as surprise and maybe a bit of awe spread over his face as he took in the contents.
"I know." She said, smiling a bit. He gave a sly smile back.
"Well, I know one thing we could do with some of it." He told her, drawing out one of the necklaces. He walked to her and draped it around her, fastening it around her neck. Amused she picked up the pendant and examined it.
"Is this the part where to you saw you'd like to see me in this and only this." She joked. He leaned down and kissed the side of her neck.
"Isn't a bad idea." She reached up with her free hand, and squeezed his hand as it lingered at the juncture between her neck and shoulder. Then she stiffened as she felt the rush of her power activating.
"Is something wrong?" He asked at the movement.
"No." Looking around the room it didn't seem like there was anything that had spontaneously opened. Still, she thought it would probably be best to distract him from playing with anything else from the box. She turned around to face him. "Nothing's wrong." She said, then pulled him into a kiss and began steering them both towards the bed.
Rebecca played with her glass a bit across the table from Curtis. Neither of them had brought up the calls they both had missed but it was obvious she had something on her mind.
"You ready to go?" He asked. She nodded, and the two of them headed out of the restaurant.
"Can we sit down, someplace quiet?" Rebecca asked, nodding in the general direction of the lake. Curtis tried not to frown. It wasn't quite "We need to talk," but he got the impression it was damn close.
"Sure." She let out a long sigh once they'd settled on one of the benches overlooking the water, then turned to look at him.
"This isn't working, is it?" She asked quietly.
"What do you mean?" He asked, almost mechanically.
"I mean, it feels like we're always on the edge of a fight. We don't share the same schedule or interests." She shook her head and let out a bit of a huff. "I'm pretty sure the only thing we have in common is our powers and , let's face it, we both hate each other's powers."
"That's not true." She gave him a disbelieving look.
"I've seen the look you give me when I follow one of my power's instructions." She told him.
"I meant about having anything in common." He corrected. That got him a raised eyebrow.
"Really?" She challenged. "Like what."Curtis froze a minutes, silent. He knew there was something. It wasn't like they didn't talk about stuff. And they didn't really disagree on stuff. But it was usually just the normal things. Their days. The weather. He couldn't really think of something special off the fly.
"Right. How about I put it this way. Have you actually had wanted to go on any of the date's I've suggested?" She added.
"Yeah." He told her slowly. That got him another raised eyebrow. "Well, I enjoyed a couple." He corrected. She looked away then, and he felt like he had to explain. "Look, when I was running, all I ever did was train. I never had time for anything else. That's sort of got me into this whole community service thing to begin with. I was trying to do something fun. Something normal. So no, I might not have been excited about some of the stuff you suggested when you suggested. But that was just because I'd never really gotten chance to do it before." Then added. "And, I did like some of it." She gave him a small smile.
"I'm glad." She looked off over the lake for a second before she continued. "Do you really think it's enough?" Curtis leaned back against the bench. Maybe it was. He hadn't really thought about it. But he wasn't sure he wanted to fight for it if Becca didn't. And he wasn't sure he should fight for him and Becca when he couldn't get some nameless girl he hadn't met yet off his mind. She took his silence as an answer. He supposed it was one.
She reached into her bag then, and fished out something. Turning towards him she pressed a folded up piece of paper into his hand. "I know you don't like my power. And I guess I really don't have any place to be asking for a favor now. But that seems important." She said, nodding towards the paper. She leaned over, kissing him one last time before standing up to face him.
"I hope you find what you need Curtis."
"Yeah." He told her, looking away slightly. "You too."
She had to keep alert, after she shifted everyone back, and make sure she didn't accidently do it again. If she stayed aware, she could make sure she didn't influence anyone. Eventually she realized that it was just easier to stay around people she already liked and that liked her. It was more comfortable to be around them, for one, and because of that she didn't feel the push to change them.
"Is something wrong?" Her brother asked. He settled down bench beside her, looking at her with a bit of concern. She had been staring off into space, she realized, and turned to look at him with a bit of a smile.
"No." She shook her head. It really wasn't. She was figuring out how to deal with everything on her own. She didn't need to add something else to her brother's plate. "Just thinking." He looked at her for a second, as if trying to decide whether to believe that she was really alright, before nodding.
"Alisha and I were going to get some ice cream, would you want something?"
"Mint Chocolate chip with sprinkles." She answered. It wasn't her favorite, or at least it hadn't been, but at least it didn't have a texture or a flavor she associated with anybody. They stood up then and he gave her shoulder a bit of a squeeze.
"Did you have a good time today?" he asked. She paused a second before answering.
"Yeah." She told him honestly. "Yeah I did."
The name April comes from the name of the month which itself may have originally come from the latin word aperire "to open"
Kelly mentioned on her twitter during the time between Episode 2 and 3 that she was excited to go shopping for a new top.
I'm not sure I got Isobel's voice right. I think she might sound a bit too old, but I decided that as Simon's sister she'd probably be pretty smart so it might be alright.
I hope that what happened between Curtis and Rebecca felt organic rather than rushed. I'd appreciate any feedback you might have.