Jodie felt her hands tighten unconsciously on the fabric of the sofa.
Out of the corner of eye she could see the knickknacks on the side table shift to one side, water sloshing heavily in a glass. She glanced up at the air above her, where she knew her constant companion was floating in a state of near complete unease.
Aiden was just as tense as she was, his mood matching the icy chill running through her veins, making her hands shake and tremble without volition. Thankfully he hadn't started flinging furniture about like a mad spirit, smashing whatever he could get his nonexistent little hands on just to express himself in the most colorful way imaginable.
Jodie doubted her roommates would appreciate him burning the place down. They'd had enough experience with fires to last several lifetimes.
Aiden had been….different, since the Black Sun, since the nature of their connection had been revealed at last, and the two of them had been torn apart for the first time.
They'd both been different since then. How could they stay the same?
They were twins, two halves of the same whole, and despite the grief they'd caused each other over the course of more than two decades, they needed each other more than words could ever properly describe. Yes he was a somewhat vengeful spirit with the mischievous streak of a petulant toddler, but It calmed her to know that he was there, to feel his presence shift around her form bound by the violet cord that bound their souls eternally together.
Not now, of course. Nothing could calm either of them now.
Standing between the realms of reality and Beyond, between the inky black and the blue-white beauty of eternity, had side effects that weren't exactly appealing.
The dream Aiden had showed her on the brink of death had returned with enormous frequency. It came almost nightly now, and each time it came new details slowly came into being. Like new strokes of color being added to a painting over time, slowly revealing the true image behind it all.
And the image the colorful strokes were showing her was of a little girl grown to womanhood, standing beside her on the edge of the abyss.
Jodie shook her head, banishing the picture from her mind's eye.
Dear God, it was times like this that she most missed Nathan, and cursed him for leaving her behind to pursue his insane attempts at a family reunion. She didn't begrudge him for it, she was happy that he'd gotten what he wanted in the end. But losing the closest thing you'd ever had to a real father was never easy. And Nathan would've known what to do. Or if not, he'd have taken a good scientific stab at it.
For perhaps the thousandth time that morning Jodie glanced at the front door. The others were all out. Stan was helping build a patio in the suburbs three blocks over. And Tuesday was at a doctors appointment with Zoe. The little one was almost two now, and it seemed everyday her size doubled.
"What do you think, Aiden?" she asked quietly. "Should I tell her….tell them?"
The question had been tormenting her just as fervently as the dream. Her roommates her change in behavior of course. How she'd gotten quieter, how she fidgeted around the dinner table. They didn't ask of course. Just like they'd never asked about her past. She loved them for that. Their unconditional acceptance was what had led her back to them after all.
But how could she not tell them, especially Tuesday, about this?
How exactly were you supposed to tell the friend you loved like a sister that you'd had visions of her daughter, walking besides you across a landscape that resembled a mad-max movie, going off to confront all the horrors Oblivion had to offer? Maybe Nathan would've had an answer to that too. Now she'd probably never know.
….She's….Strong Came Aiden's response after a few moments. He didn't exactly talk to her with words. He didn't speak, seeing as he didn't have a physical mouth. But his thoughts and feelings could meld with hers, when they felt like letting them meld of course. Neither of them would've lasted very long if they were forced to share every single thing that crossed their minds.
"She is," Jodie agreed. Zoe gave off a powerful aura. A sort of light that hung about her tiny infantile body, a radiance that would only grow as she aged.
Before two long wild Entities who had slipped out of the Infraworld would come hunting for her. Jodie would be there when that happened.
The exact nature of the girls power was a mystery. It was unlikely she was linked to an Entity like Jodie and Aiden were. She hadn't had a stillborn twin to latch onto her soul. But whatever the source, she was gifted, even if said gifts hadn't revealed themselves in full.
"We're going to have to teach her," she said, still not speaking much above a whisper. There was a moments pause.
Yes Aiden agreed. We'll need her for what's to come.
What's to come. An answer that was only as ominous as it was vague.
"What is to come?" she asked for not the first time. The image of an enormous condenser portal burned blue across her field of vision. It's white-silver edges tore all they touched apart, reducing a once shining city to rubble as black wisps with orange red mouths poured into the world.
I….I don't know came the reply. ….I'm sorry, Jodie.
That was an incredible rarity. Aiden never, ever apologized for anything.
"It's alright, Aiden. It's alright."
The prospect of training Zoey to use her abilities was something that terrified and thrilled her. She loved her little goddaughter, and sharing something like this with her would be wonderful. But teaching was something she'd never been taught to do, especially for things like this.
Everything she and Aiden could do had been self taught, a collaboration between her and her ever present companion. There was no 'Supernatural Powers for Dummies' to go on.
Obviously, discretion would have to be the first thing on her agenda. If the DPA got wind of another gifted, they'd pounce on the opportunity like a jackal on an unsuspecting rabbit. The pentagon was still pressuring them for weaponization programs. Super soldiers fueled by the Infraworld, bombs that would unleash Entities into enemy territory, and other crazy ideas that would no doubt lead to the eventual apocalypse she was dreaming about.
Hiding her abilities would be essential.
These thoughts were shoved out of her mind by the sound of the door opening and a loud greeting.
"I'm back!" Eliza called as she entered the apartment. Zoe was hugged tightly against her mothers hip, waving her chubby little fists at her favorite 'aunt'. Jodie forced a smile.
Well, it was now or never.
"Hey guys," she called back, rising from her seat and following the pair into the kitchen.
Eliza plopped the squalling Zoey in her high chair and stepped over to the fridge to fetch the apple juice. The back of her auburn-raid hair bobbed up and down as she stepped, humming the tune to some unknown catchy beat.
"So how was your day?" Eliza asked over her shoulder.
Jodie opened her mouth to answer, but froze mid syllable. Her mouth opened and closed several times all to no avail. She had no idea where to start. This wasn't a conversation she wanted to have. Not even Zoe's eager fingers grasping in her direction were enough to bring her out of her daze.
Something unseen grasped her shoulder. She glanced up.
I'm here Aiden sent.
Her jaw became a determined line. She had to get on with it.
"You alright, Jodie?" Eliza asked as she turned back around with juice hand, having noticed the silence. She handed the cup over to Zoe, who started slurping happily.
"There's something I need to talk to you about, 'Liza," said Jodie, trying to sound level as possible.
A look of notable concern crossed her friend's face.
Jodie gestured to the small kitchen table, with room enough for just the five adult residents, and the pair took seats across from each other.
Hands wringing in her lap, Jodie considered her next words, sincerely wishing Eliza didn't look so damn earnest and caring. It only made it harder.
"You know about Aiden, right?"
Eliza glanced at the space surrounding Jodie, then looked back.
"You're invisible friend? The 'Entity'?" Jodie nodded.
They'd never discussed her spirit channeling abilities beyond a few cursory statements. The first of these had made them think she was on drugs, though her later demonstrations had proven this wasn't the case.
Trying to play his part, Aiden helpfully lifted Stan's empty seat into the air. Eliza visibly jumped, squelching a scream in the back of her throat.
"Stop it," Jodie ordered briskly, though the corners of her lips slanted upward. At least he was using his mischief to try and help for once.
"What about him?" Eliza looked a little bit tense now. She hadn't seen Aiden do much. The fact that she couldn't see him didn't help.
"Because of my connection to him, I sometimes….see things." That was an alright way to start her explanations. "Sort of like visions. Back on the night of the fire, the night Zoe was born…" she glanced at aforementioned babe, who was still gulping down juice. "Aiden showed me something. My birth, and part of the future. I didn't think about it much back then. I'd just woken from a coma, and was on the run from more than a few things. But it's come back, in my dreams…"
"You're….you're dreaming the future?" Eliza asked with bated breath. The freckles of her face were creased in consternation. She didn't sound disbelieving, rather she sounded awed. Again Jodie nodded.
"You guys haven't asked me to tell you my past. I've appreciated that. My life's sort've been one big mess. Mostly thanks to Aiden here." Her chair shook with a playfulness to match her last statement. "But there are things about me you all deserve to know, especially you, 'Liza. 'Cause with what's gonna happen, you'll need to know everything. You deserve to know everything for how good you've been to me."
There was a pause in which Eliza smiled with just a hint of fear. Her eyes however returned the warm sentiment. To her, Jodie was an angel who'd saved her and her child's life. How could she do anything other than welcome her home with open arms?
"What's going to happen?" came the inevitable question.
"Something big," Jodie answered. "Something bad. I'm not sure what, not even Aiden is. But it's gonna be bad, that much I can tell."
Another pause. Something particular Jodie had said clicked in Eliza's mind.
"Why 'especially me'?"
Jodie's eyes slammed shut. The hard part.
"Take my hands. You need to see."
She offered her hands, pale and slender, and with only a little hesitation, her friend took them.
A blue geyser of psychic energy bubbled up like a flame where their hands met. Obediently, Aiden fanned it towards the red headed mother. The flame found it's kindling, and the vision that had burdened the pair ignited once more.
Two women, one much older and with short cropped hair, both armed and armored paced across a dust strewn hell-scape. The remains of cars and crumpled steel lay shattered, the skeletal remnants of civilizations.
The two crested a hill determinedly, looking out on a swirling vortex of blue, black and white. Monstrous fiends ripped themselves through the portal in droves, pouring out into the world to reap havoc and pain wherever they went.
The women's battlescared faces came into view, and-
The vision spluttered to an end right where it always did. Eliza fell back heavily, unused to the strain of melding minds. She knew at once who both women had been. The vision had let own known intuitively, and not even years and years of age would make her unable to recognize her baby girl.
Trying to recompose herself, and process what is what she just saw, she looked up at Jodie.
She sat ramrod stiff in her seat, awaiting her reaction.
"That was…you and Zoe, wasn't it?" It wasn't really a question. Jodie nodded.
"She's going to be powerful someday. Really powerful. And whatever it is that's coming….she's gonna help stop it. I had to show you, 'Liza. I have to get her ready. Train her, or something. But I can't do anything like that without you're permission…and you're help. The other's too. God knows I can't do all this shit alone."
She knew she was rambling now. A frightened defense mechanism.
A mechanism that was put to a stop by Eliza's comforting hand.
"I trust you, Jodie," she said shakily. She was obviously terrified. A whole new world had been opened to her, and all that it really offered was a future that made her terrified for her daughter's future. "Probably more than anyone. There's no one else I'd trust to keep Zoe safe from all this. To get her ready for it, if that's what you say needs to be done."
She gulped down a knot in her throat.
"And I'll help you do it….I have no idea what that means, but if you say it needs to happen, I'll help. Anything to protect my girl."
Almost violently Jodie leapt around the table and embraced her. She felt the moistness of tears starting to trickle down her cheeks.
So this is what it felt to be part of a family. To have someone watching your back no matter what.
She could probably get used to that.
"Do you know if Walter has any booze left?"
Eliza pulled away, looking perplexed at the question.
"When the guys get home tonight, I'm telling my life story," Jodie explained. "We're gonna need more than a few shots to get through it. Trust me."
A little explanation is in order. In the ending I got, which wasn't the Zoe one, Aiden comes back and reconnects with Jodie at the end. I saw the Zoe ending, and liked elements of it, so I blended them together. As far as I'm concerned, no matter the ending Aiden will come back to her in some form. It just has to be that way in my mind.
Though I have been told that if you choose death instead of life, Jodie becomes Zoe's entity, like Aiden was to her.
Don't know if I'll do anything to continue this. I have other one shots planned, but they're completely unrelated to this one. Happy reading.