I own the rights to nothing within this story.
'The Geeks Were Right' is performed by The Faint.
"I feel pretty, oh so pretty~, pretty and witty and gay~!"
"Dee, you think maybe wearing your dress might diminish its value when the actual dance comes around?" Gar perched atop one of the stools at the kitchen table, his expression slightly strained as he cradled Blackfire in his lap. Following their late return the previous night, compounded by Gar stopping to acquire Duela's dress, the golden woman had refused to allow the man out of her sight. Fingers curled in his shirt possessively and even when they exchanged whispers of sweet nothings, a hardness remained in her violet eyes.
The redhead continued to twirl about the room, garbed in a fresh revision of the dress she had worn for Eddie and Rose's prom. h'Andy skittered about her form, checking the ties and straps of the colorful garment while more of its hands tended to her hair, considering the possibilities for it. As a pair of hands pulled the vibrant locks into pigtails, others offered a mix of thumbs up and down until the latter outweighed the former. If his attention wasn't largely taken up by the woman cuddling into him, Gar would have been impressed with the eldritch box of hands' knowledge on styling as they set to more intricate designs.
"I guess. But, first, I gotta make sure that I can drop it like it's hot in this dress," she smirked and Gar grumbled under his breath as Blackfire tilted her head quizzically.
"I don't think I'm familiar with that phrase."
"Ooh! I can demonstrate!"
"For all our sakes, please don't." Rose's plea caused the redhead to falter as she and Eddie strode into the room, casually attired. Eddie's features were populated by a rush of excitement and he clutched the straps of the backpack over his shoulder with a barely restrained fervor. Although more reserved, Rose had contracted whatever enthusiasm had possessed Eddie and the ghost of a smile drifted across her lips.
"Ah, Rosie, you know you wanna see," Duela teased. "No need to be shy."
"Dee, if there was a day to test my patience, it's definitely not today," cautioned the one-eyed girl as Gar nodded towards Eddie.
"You two heading out for that science expo thing?" he asked.
"Yep! It's gonna be pretty awesome."
"Yeah, I'd come along, but I'm fairly certain I'm still under house arrest?" He looked towards the dark-haired beauty nestled in his lap and she gave a sharp nod that permitted no argument.
"Yes. You are."
"Just thought I'd try to make that clear."
"So, uh, not to interrupt you or anything, but are you sure it's okay for us to take the shi - hey!"
Eddie's query broke off as Rose suddenly smacked his arm and pulled him closer so that she could hiss into his ear. "Are you trying to get them to change their mind? Please, don't ruin this."
"You two are fine to take the ship," Blackfire interrupted, still refusing to abandon the property she had claimed. Rose's face brightened only to crash again as the elder woman issued the qualifier to her statement. "As long as Eddie is driving."
"What a load of -"
"If you finish that sentence, you're gonna owe the swear jar." Eddie's gentle chiding earned him a fierce glare but he held his ground until Rose glanced away, grumbling softly under her breath.
"Eddie has both his eyes. And less anger issues than you," Blackfire supplied in support of her declaration.
"Pah. You're just making excuses," she accused.
"Possibly." Blackfire shrugged before cuddling into Gar. "But, that does not diminish the validity of my statement. Eddie drives, or nobody does."
"Sorry, Rose," apologized the boy in question.
"Yeah. How dare you be responsible and an upstanding young man. You disgust me, Eddie." Gar smirked as Rose blew out a long breath and threw an arm into the air in exasperation.
"Fine, fine. I get it. You don't need to rub it in."
"It's not that we don't trust you, Rosie-Posie, but . . . well, that's a pretty big gun that you're driving around and that laugh you give every time you get to look down its crosshairs isn't exactly reassuring."
"It's not like I need a gun that big if I want to do some real damage. Anyway, let's get this over with. It's bad enough that I'm getting dragged to this nerd expo." Eddie patted Rose's hand consolingly as they headed for the elevator and gave a long sigh.
"I told you, there'll be a weapons section there. Besides, we need to support Styler."
"Oooh, Styler! Can I come?" Duela clapped her hands together as she bounced after the pair excitedly, h'Andy having arranged her hair in cornrows that were quickly vetoed.
"His hair's still growing back in, Dee."
"Oh. Never mind then."
"All right, we'll be back later then."
"Before midnight!" Gar cautioned.
"No promises!" Rose answered as the door closed behind them. She snickered as she leaned closer against Eddie, tightening her hold upon his arm and letting her head fall against it. "So, any chance I could convince you to skip the expo and find some better things to do?"
"And just what could be better than the invention expo?"
"Oh, I can think of a few things . . . wink, wink, nudge, nudge."
He turned an introspective eye towards her, a smirk tugging at the edge of his lips that he struggled to repress. "You realize that's from Monty Python, right? As in, Gar's fav-"
"Hot stuff, if you like all your organs where they are, then you probably shouldn't finish that sentence."
"You know, you're really lucky that I'm not thin-skinned or anything."
"And that I'm hot."
"Not the word I would've used, but sure." Eddie shrugged as they stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the hangar, descending towards the bottom level. The pair enjoyed the silence beyond the automated hum of the elevator until it landed at their destination and the doors opened for them. They stepped out onto the walkway that encircled the alien craft and as Rose set to opening the doors, Eddie boarded the ship and awoke the vessel. Engines silenter than a car stirred to life and he felt the ship begin to subtly left as he eased into a chair, releasing a long breath and curling his fingers about the controls.
"All right. You can do this. It's just like practice . . . except Blackfire won't be around to catch you when you mess up."
"What was that?" Rose's voice broke his semi-reassuring speech as she joined him in the cockpit, startling him and causing him to go rigid.
"Nothing! I, it, uh . . . it was nothing. Anyway, you ready to go?" He posed the question with forced enthusiasm, smiling broadly and causing her to arch the brow over her good eye suspiciously.
"All right." Taking another breath to steady himself, he eased the controls forward, lifting off and passing towards the opening that appeared in the ceiling overhead. Hovering in the enclosed space as the door closed and sealed behind them, he waited impatiently, certain he was going to bump into one of the walls, as the doors opened and water rushed in. Once the doors were open, he fired into the air, the force throwing him and Rose against their seats as they rocketed into the air, tearing through the clouds. Quickly reining the craft in, he leveled out as his girlfriend peeled herself off her seat and frowned at him.
"You're not making me feel any better about not being the one driving."
"I got this," he promised. "I just got . . . I got a little excited."
"Oh, there are so many jokes I could've made right there."
"Yeah, I realized that as soon as the words left my mouth."
"Just so you know."
"Right. Anyway, you got the GPS, right?"
"Can't you just sense the massive accumulation of nerdiness and guide us there?" As she smirked at him, she typed their destination upon the small device before sticking it in place upon the dashboard.
"Strangely, that is not a standard power for demonically empowered teens. But I'll suggest it the next chance I get." He straightened the GPS and Rose snorted and gave his shoulder a companionable shove that she followed up with a kiss to his cheek. Smiling at her, he took a steadying breath and pushed the ship into a turn, skimming over the coast as his companion sucked in a breath.
"Man. You think they ever get tired of this? All the flyers out there."
"Maybe. Kinda hard to believe that they could though."
"Yeah. I know I certainly never could. Hell, if-"
"Rose . . ."
"Right, right. Sorry. I'll put a dollar in the swear jar when we get back. Anyway, like I was saying, if I could fly, I don't think I'd ever touch the ground."
"Yeah, but what if your wings got tired?"
"Who said I'd have wings?"
"Well, I figured, since you were already an angel, it only makes sense." Chuckling, he dodged the playful slap aimed at the back of his head and forced a serious expression on his face. "Hey, no assaulting the driver."
"Well, what if there's a few other things I'd like to do to the driver?" Her question came out in the closest approximation she could make to a purr as her fingers played with his silvery locks. He coughed, eyes shooting wide open and he was frightened for a second that the steering wheel was about to melt in his hands before noticing the GPS.
"Oh, would you look at that! We're here!" His voice cracked at his proclamation and he shifted, dropping them from the air suddenly and causing them to temporarily leave their seats. Wincing, he slowed their descent and they landed heavily back in them before they jolted as they landed upon the water. Rose straightened out her hair and adjusted her clothes while he set the craft to float upon the water beside the pier he had spotted from the air. The warehouse was swarmed with men and women of all sorts though they had stopped to regard the extra-terrestrial craft in awe.
Standing up, he offered her his hand, helping to her feet and surprising her by pulling her close, temporarily laying claim to her lips. After her initial surprise, she relaxed into his affection, wrapping her arms about him and molding to his body. Eventually, they separated for air but he butted his forehead against her own gently and met her eye.
"Well, that was certainly a pleasant surprise," she said, voice soft and near breathless.
"I just wanted to make sure my feelings for you were clear. I know I'm not the best at sho-"
A second kiss interrupted him, significantly shorter this time as she broke away to reassure him. "Message received, loud and clear."
Smiling in relief, he loosened his grip about her, unwinding the tail that had wrapped about her waist until only their interlaced fingers remained in contact. Striding to the door, he pressed the button and a walkway slowly extended to the stone pier, a second that they took advantage of to share another kiss, before the door hissed open. They strode into the morning sun, surprising several of the couples who had handed off their cameras to get pictures in front of the strange vessel. Eddie nodded to them with more confidence than he felt and fished out a small remote from his pocket as they stepped onto the cement. A press of button upon the control retracted the ramp, resealed the door, and lowered their ride beneath the gentle waves, to the dismay of many.
"Well." Rose surveyed the awestruck crowd with a half smile. "We certainly made an entrance."
"That's one way of putting it. I'm fairly certain that you just ruined everybody else's chance to impress anybody."
They glanced to the side to find Styler, purple hair still buzzed close to his head, offering them a lopsided smile. Despite his dedication to his oddly hued hair, he appeared almost professional in a suit even with the jacket opened and tie abandoned. He squirmed under the appraising gaze of the couple and shielded his body with his hands.
"Okay, could you two quit that? It feels like you're undressing me with your eyes."
"Sorry, man." Eddie stepped forward, lifting a fist that his friend begrudgingly bumped his own against. "You caught us off guard. You're better dressed than you were for prom."
He shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck self-consciously. "Yeah, well . . . This could be the rest of my life. Figured I should put my best foot forward, y'know? At least before they learn how I really am."
"Wow. That is probably the most mature thing I've ever heard you say. Congrats."
He rolled his eyes before smiling at Rose's barb and turning back to the convention center, waving over his shoulder for them to follow him. "C'mon. Let's get back inside. I'll show you guys the stand."
They chatted amicably as they passed through the surprisingly sizable crowd, stopping periodically for the young heroes to pose for photos or sign autographs. Eventually they made it inside and after Rose reminded Eddie to wipe the drool from his mouth at the sight of the inventions, they wound through the aisles to make it to Styler's stall.
"Rosie! I was wondering when you'd show up."
The one-eyed girl accepted Kat's tight hug as she flew into her with surprise before pulling back to inspect her professional. "Hey, Kat. What're you doing at this nerdfest?"
"Me and the boys came as moral support." Still beaming, she swept her hand to encompass Zack and Bam who seemed more intent on stuffing a meatball sub into his mouth to the encouragement of his friend. Rolling her eyes, the brunette made liberal use of air quotes. "They said they were gonna be 'security' but I'm not exactly sure what they're securing."
"They'll be helpful when it comes time to present the harness." Jess, after exchanging greetings and hugs with Eddie, joined the other girls and clasped Rose's proffered hand in a brief shake. "Though I think Kat's selling herself short. She's here to help us negotiate any contracts we might get offered."
"Hey, what's with that look? I haven't spent the last seventeen years of my life as the daddy's girl of a lawyer for nothing."
Rose's dubious stare remained unappeased and Jess bit back a snicker as she placed a consoling pat on Kat's shoulder. "She's not kidding. You should see her on the debate team. I sometimes have to wonder if she's more shark or cat."
"You're on the debate team now?"
"What? I like being right. And that's hard to do in just about any other class I have."
"Hey, don't be like that," Jess interjected. "You've been making leaps and bounds in bio."
"Only because I have an awesome tutor."
"Damn straight you do."
The two shared a laugh and Rose glanced between the two of them, mouth hanging open slightly before she launched into a hug, gathering up both of them.
"Whoa! Uh, not them I'm discouraging this, but, uh, what brought this on?" Kat squirmed in her friend's steely grasp as she tried to return the gesture but the most she could manage was an affectionate pat on her ribs.
"It's . . . It's just really nice to have a normal conversation. You have no idea how great that feels."
As she released the hug, Styler tilted his head curiously from behind the stand they had set up. "Huh."
"What's up?" Tongue poking from his mouth, Eddie did not look up from his study of the internal mechanics of the hard light projector until his friend tapped his shoulder and directed his gaze.
"I think that's the closest I've ever seen Rose get go crying."
With an affectionate smile at the one-eyed young woman, the demonic boy shifted his attention back to the device to close it up. "Yeah, we've been caught up in heroics lately. And even before that . . . Normalcy isn't something Rose has had a lot of."
"Compared to you?" Styler smirked and Eddie frowned as he leveled the screwdriver at him.
"Hey, I didn't always look like this. You should've seen me back when I was human."
His assured tone evaporated as he neared the end of his sentence and the young inventor eyed his friend worriedly but was interrupted by the boisterous arrival of Bam. The stocky boy grabbed the red-skinned teen in a headlock, bringing him closer to his height as he beamed at him.
"Eddie, buddy! I'm not letting you go until you gimme Duela's number. You can't just keep putting me off!"
"Bam, I promise you, if I give you her number, you're gonna wish I hadn't."
"Bro, c'mon. You think I can't handle crazy? I can handle it! I'm way into crazy!"
"I'd trust Eddie on this one, Bam." Styler ran his hand over the purple stubble on his scalp, wincing at its rough feel against his palm.
"Excuse me, boys. Need to borrow tall, red, and handsome for a bit." Rose smiled at Eddie's predicament, stifling a chuckle as he disengaged himself and joined her on the other side of the table. "Just saw some dudes going by with new rifles and I'm gonna need to check them out if I'm gonna make it through the day here."
"Just make sure you bring him back by curfew. And don't do anything that Jess and I wouldn't do!"
"That'd be a much shorter list if you weren't such a pansy," Jess breathed out, flushing at the look of bewilderment on Eddie's face, the only one who had heard her, before she quickly retreated to the other side of the stand. He let the subject dropped as Rose tugged him towards the military section of the convention, marked by a banner hanging overhead. Rose's smile widened as they approached and a hungry gleam lit in her eye as her gaze fell upon the firearms, body armor, and other devices meant for war.
Eddie tried to keep interest in the stalls they came across but aside from certain technical aspects, he kept most of his attention upon the white-haired girl whose arm was linked with her own. Her excitement at seeing a new weapon showed vibrantly upon her face and she bantered with the developers eagerly. Her youth surprised them but upon realizing that she was as versed in the subject as they were, they eagerly pointed out the features of their creations. Rose's pockets quickly filled with business cards before they were transferred over to a pocket in the backpack the horned boy carried.
As Rose was discussing a new type of body armor, a more pliant type that she was looking to incorporate into her own suit, Eddie allowed his eyes to wander. He offered small smiles to the eyes fixed upon him before his gaze roamed across the stalls before pausing on a strange figure. Giving a small shake of his head to clear his head of visions, he took another glance at the man who looked as though he had stepped from a cartoon. The attempt at remaining unobtrusive had only made him more conspicuous as he dressed in a long coat, ratty scarf wrapped about his face, and crumpled hat pulled low. Slinking through the crowd, he pulled up to the stalls before quickly departing, managing to escape notice by crouching behind the others.
"Hey, I'll be right back." He tugged at his girlfriend's sleeve and she offered a short glance back, accompanied by a nod as he merged with the crowd. Stalking through them, he approached the man in the overcoat and placed a hand upon his shoulder, causing him to jump and turn. "Are you allriiighhhttt!"
His question grew into a shout as a hand captured his wrist and threw him into a stand, causing it to collapse. As he groaned and shook his head, his vision swam and several of the disguised figures drifted upon the edges of it before solidifying and revealing that there was more than one.
"We weren't expecting you here." They spoke in unison, their voices echoing and overlapping as shouts rang out elsewhere. "But we can't deal with it."
They pulled down their scarves and tossed aside their hats, revealing ragged cloth masks decorated with wide grins and manic eyes. "We aren't losing it just yet."
Sorry about that delay, folks. I'm back.
A lot has happened since the last time I posted . . . anything. There has been a lot going on and I'll get that in later posts because from now on I will post a chapter here at least every two weeks. I'm not sure what's going to happen with my other stories, but I am going to at least complete this one.
So, for those of you who came back, I wanna thank you! I'll try not to disappoint you, but I was in such a rush to get this chapter out, I failed to proofread it.
Thanks for reading!
Shyguy: Sorry it took me so long to get back to this! Hope this chapter lives up to its previous chapters! And thanks for the review!