Happy (Belated) Halloween!
So, we're starting a new story that will be published on holidays, in particular, the ones that we celebrate. For now, it shall feature characters and settings from ACS and Child's Play, stories where we have plans already in place and would get bogged down with doing holiday chapters. Please enjoy and review!
We own the rights to nothing within this story.
Tyson Logan had been prepared to settle into a quiet evening, expecting no more trouble than the occasional alarm summoning him into the city to handle any crime on the night of All Hallows' Eve. Iris had run home, literally, to attend the regular trick-or-treating her family participated in while Mar'i, Colin, and Damian had returned to Gotham for Halloween festivities. The latter of the trio had been coerced into attendance and they'd left earlier in the evening aboard the Tamaranean cruiser the hybrid's mother had donated to the team. With everybody gone, the shape shifter had settled in the main room with a monster movie marathon his dad had prepared especially for Halloween, even if they didn't celebrate it in Upper Lamumba. Circling him was a feast of licorice, cans of sweet tea, popcorn, and other snacks to sustain him through the venture. It started with Wicked Scary and as he watched the foolish protagonists of one of the numerous sequels venture through the darkened halls, guided only by the flickering flashlight, he marveled at the foolishness of cinematic protagonists. Suddenly, the door flew open and a weight simultaneously landed on his back, coinciding with the beast bursting from the darkness to attack the characters.
"Ty! Take me trick-or-treating!"
"Hey, Ty, let's go out and do something!"
Lilith Logan and Mar'i Grayson paused at the sight of each other and the massive wolf-like creature now crouched in the center of the room, his claws digging into the carpet as his heart hammered in his chest. His sister had donned a tattered black dress with dark shoes, stockings striped in the holiday's regalia, and a wide-brimmed, pointed hat that had stitching in its design to resemble a grinning face. Mar'i was attired in the costume she had left in, a purple genie outfit that left her taut midriff bared and had been a major contributing factor in his inability to make eye contact with her for much of the night. Her pants were loose and equipped with golden trimmings. Silk adornments hung about her arms and a veil hid the lower half of her face. Gold embellishments accentuated her outfit and contrasted with the peach colored skin her ring provided her with.
After dragging his breathing back under control, he hissed, "Do not do that! I'd like to keep my heart in my chest."
"Mommy and daddy said that I could go trick or treating as long as you took me," Lili said from her perch atop her lupine sibling.
"Scarecrow's throwing a city-wide Halloween celebration in Gotham, and we got told to keep out. So, Colin decided to go hang out with Nell and dragged Dami along," Mar'i explained. "I figured you could use some company for the night, in case anything happened."
"He has company," noted the small girl imperiously. "You may go now."
"Now what sort of friend would I be to leave my best buddy alone with a hellion like you?" she responded, the cheeriness in her voice quite clearly forced.
"Before this develops any further, please note that I am without costume and quite unprepared for any Halloween venture," he pointed out.
"Please," Mar'i scoffed. "You're totally your own costume."
"You are rather skilled at partial transformations. You would make a great werewolf. Or an even better familiar to go along with my witch costume!" urged the young girl excitedly.
"'No' isn't entirely an option for me anymore, is it?" he asked.
"It really isn't," Mar'i confirmed and Lili nodded. As he shifted into his human form, his sister adapted to the change with obvious familiarity, refusing to give up her place on his back. She scampered onto his shoulders, sitting there and crossing her arms atop his head before he could draw his hood up. He permitted her to adjust and settle into place before he crouched down to grab a thick blanket that he had dragged into the main room, more for a potential hiding place during the course of his horror-fest than any worry of growing cold. Slinging it over his shoulders, he knotted it over his chest to form a long cloak before his shape, with its usual grotesque sounds, swelled and sprouted thick fur. Tusks emerged from his mouth and claws tipped the thick fingers of his powerful arms before he finally nodded.
"Permit me to play the beast to your beauties," he offered with a slight bow.
"Current appearance aside, Charming's a more appropriate role for you," Lili suggested.
"I can agree with that," Mar'i smiled as she removed her holo-ring and slipped it into a pocket inside her costume.
"I'll get us into town," suggested the young girl before summoning a dark portal. They passed through it and emerged into one of the more residential areas of Jump City, outside the spires of glass and steel. Fresh lawns were kept trim and occupied by festive decorations, hanged men swaying from the trees and animatronic witches hexing the passing children from the yard with wicked cackles. Carved grins glowed from stoops and front porches, and the kids ran by them with gleeful shouts and heavy bags. Their sudden appearance caught the attention of pirates, ninjas, princesses, and other trick-or-treaters who stared at the towering beast in awe. Lili looked about excitedly, sifting through the minds of her nearby peers to determine the best houses to obtain candy from while Ty glanced around with an arched brow.
"You seem to have forgotten something," he said.
"Don't worry, I enchanted my hat. It stores all the treats and stuff I get in a pocket dimension," she assured him.
"I was referring to Mar'i."
"Really?" she asked incredulously, her face falling somewhat short of innocence. "I was sure I brought her with us."
"Lili . . ."
"Fine, fine. I'll get her," she sighed. Her eyes glowed black and she cast her hands out as she pouted, "Party pooper."
Mar'i appeared from the summoned shadows, garnering even more stares from the neighborhood, as she crossed her arms over her chest and swung her glare up towards the younger girl. Again, Lili attempted to project an aura of innocence, but her lips fought her schooled countenance, struggling to pull into a smile. The golden-skinned girl observed, "Real mature, Lilith."
"Forgive me. My portal creation training is still incomplete," she said.
"Oh, that is complete -"
"Refrain from such language in the presence of Lili," Ty requested. It was spoken in his usual, soft tones, but Mar'i did not miss the steel in it and decided that it was better to simply drop the topic.
"So, where are we headed first?" she asked instead.
"There," Lili declared, pointing towards a domicile featuring a web-filled tree with a spider that dropped at the youths who walked beneath it. She nearly bounced upon her perch with excitement as she explained, "They're handing out full chocolate bars. We need to grab them now. They only have a few left."
"You need to stop reading people's minds. Mom would not be pleased," he chided, but loped towards the house.
"It's for the sake of candy," she protested. "She would understand. Or, at least daddy would."
"It is a worthwhile goal," Mar'i confirmed.
Rolling his glowing eyes, he meandered up the path towards the door, crouching down to fit under the porch as the golden girl pushed the doorbell. When it opened, the bright smile on the woman's face faltered while the two girls presented their bag and hat along with the customary phrase.
After a second she recovered and offered them the candy bars before ducking back into her house, the lock clicking behind her. The odd trio continued along their path, followed constantly by the odd stares and occasional citizens approaching them in search of an autograph, primarily from the hybrid Tamaranean. She accepted the requests gracefully, offering a pleasant smile to each of those who interrupted their progress, and Ty pacified Lili's growing ire with verbal assurances and sugary bribes that he swiped from the proffered bowls. Upon completion of one neighborhood, they proceeded to the next, and Mar'i offered the contents of her bulging bag to Ty who stored them in the shadowy realm.
As a group of screaming youths raced past, their voices pitched with excitement, Lili made an attempt at maintaining the regal bearing her status as a princess mandated she possessed. However, she began to fidget and when Ty asked if she wanted to get down and join the groups, she nearly leapt from her mount to join the roaming packs. Instead, she waited for him to crouch low before she slid off and charged towards a cluster of kids, leaving the older pair to meander after her at a more sedate pace. Mar'i chuckled as she watched the small girl draw up short of a small collective and demonstrate, in her first instance of ever witnessing it from her, nervousness. After an instant, a boy dressed as a fireman noted the lingering presence of the faltering witch, and waved her into the group. A bright smile bloomed on Lili's face before she dashed forth again, running alongside her newfound friends towards the next house.
Ty seemed to relax, and Mar'i gave another giggle, "You worry about her too much. She's a tough little girl."
"I'm an elder brother. Worry's coded into my DNA," he said simply. "And it's a part I cannot change."
"And it's part of what makes you so sweet," she smiled as she looped an arm with his gigantic limb. She reclined her head against the soft fur, and he shifted, uncomfortable at the touch and emotions transferred to him. His movements were subtle and he suppressed them before she could take note as they continued down the sidewalk. Eventually, he permitted himself to relax and enjoy her presence as they followed after his sister, both content to leave her to gather candy while they merely watched. Their contact brought him the sweet taste of her friendly affection, her soft joy as she watched the children, and the subtle nostalgia such a sight inspired.
The rather idyllic scene was shattered by a series of screams arising from a ring of children. Mar'i took to the air while Ty dropped to all four limbs to bound forward, charging at whatever threat had inspired the shrieks of terror. They drew up short, looming over the youths to stare in shock at the blubbering teens twitching upon the ground. A bucket of candy was spilled about them and they had been wearing a variety of monster masks without any other costume. Standing over them, hands on her hips, was Lilith, her eyes emitting a red glow as she regarded the quivering boys.
"Maggots and parasites are of higher station than you miserable fools," she sneered. "Tell me, when you thought it would be as easy as taking candy from a baby, did you think it would end up like this?"
The teen's blubbering was interrupted by the young girl's roar, "Answer me!"
"No! S-sorry! W-w-w-we're s-s-s-sorry! Please, please j-just make it s-s-s-stop," he whimpered and Ty stepped forward, shifting into his humanoid form. His fingers wrapped about his sister's shoulder and she gave a slight jump before turning towards her brother who could feel the guilt bloom before he saw it in her eyes.
"Th-they were trying to take our c-c-candy. I didn't d-do anything wrong," she said immediately, protesting any blame. He glanced back up at the trembling teens who were struggling to their feet and he allowed his teeth to sharpen for a moment.
"Go," he growled. They jumped to obey, racing from the scene as his fangs diminished and he knelt before his sister, both his hands on her shoulders. "Lili, you can't do that to people."
"They were going to steal from us," she argued. "I didn't even hurt them. I just made them think I did."
He sighed, dropping his head for a second and she shrunk away at the disappointment she could feel in him. Sorrow weighed heavily in her stomach and as he sensed it, he pressed his forehead to her own and ensured that she could sense the powerful affection he felt for her. It abated the rising negative emotions and there was a glimmer of happiness that they shared before she pulled away to meet his eyes. She gave a bright smile as a black aura shimmered about the fallen treats before they were loaded into the hollow plastic pumpkin that then levitated towards its owner. Lilith turned to face the other children, but her smile flickered and disappeared as she met their frightened eyes. Shoddy excuses were hastily made, accompanied by insincere apologies before they departed, leaving the oddly-hued girl alone on the sidewalk.
Her shoulders dropped and she bit her lip before a companionable hand landed upon her shoulder. She looked up in surprise at the golden girl who smiled down at her and she could feel the twinge of regret coupled with the briefest hint of vindictive validation and a surprising depth of compassion. Mar'i offered an understanding smile as Lili dashed at a forming tear with the sleeve of her costume and her elder captured one of her small hands before lifting into the air. The young girl followed suit, her eyes glowing as her powers carried her.
"I think we've got enough treats for the night," the elder of the pair said. "How about we do a few tricks?"
"Like what?" she mumbled.
"Just follow my lead."
With a broad grin, Mar'i dropped the younger girl's hand and rocketed skyward, violet globes encompassing her hands. Curiosity piqued, Lili lifted higher to better observe the elder girl while Ty remained earthbound, watching with interest. Shooting towards the full, silvery moon, Mar'i began moving in jagged lines, leaving a glowing trail behind her to create a toothy grin. She leapt higher up and quickly left a pair of burning triangles for her celestial jack'o lantern as Lili looked on excitedly. Quickly rising after her, she threw her hands forward and telekinetically seized the scattered clouds, dragging them together. Ty glanced about as his fellow spectators gasped in surprise and delight at the impromptu display and he smiled before his fingers twisted and leathery skin stretched between them to form wings. He sprang upward and joined the girls in the sky as his form swelled, entertaining the citizens with aerial acrobatics as they prepared their next show.
Dark clouds were gathered in the form of a great pumpkin with the image of a witch on its surface, and held in place by telekinesis as Mar'i joined Lili within the hollowed core. Lifting her arms, she provided a constant light to display the image to the masses below who showed their appreciation with fierce cries and clapping. Lili beamed as she pushed the shape into a spider lurking upon its web, and gave a laugh as her brother adopted an insect-like form and pretended to struggle upon the strands, staying aloft via buzzing wings. At her side and continually providing the shining light, Mar'i smiled at the younger girl's excitement before the image changed to a flock of bats. Ty changed along with it and flapped forward, screeching to the shouts of adulation from the crowd.
Releasing her hold upon the clouds, Lili let herself drop onto the back of her brother as he flapped beneath them and Mar'i shot after her. She circled about the immense bat, crafting masks of light between her fingers in an attempt to startle the youth with each pass, who merely laughed joyously at the bright images. The trio swooped through the city, the elder pair flying expertly about buildings, bridges, and its denizens, and those who had been considering illicit activities quickly reconsidered at the sight of a bat nearly as large as a house. Lili regarded the awestruck citizenry excitedly, waving to them as they passed and sharing the joy she felt with her brother and Mar'i when her enthusiastic greetings were returned.
The moon voyaged across the sky and her arm grew weary as her eyelids struggled to fight their own weight. Her fingers curled in the thick fur of her brother's form as she nestled into it, pressing against his warmth as she rolled up in the blanket turned cape. He felt her drowsiness and dipped before pulling towards the Tower, Mar'i following after. Dropping to the shore of their home, he shifted into his humanoid form and shifted his sleeping sister into his arms, still swaddled in the blanket.
"I can carry her," Mar'i offered.
"Thank you, but I shall manage," he assured her, smiling warmly at the sleeping youth. "You have done more than I could have asked for tonight."
"I barely did anything."
"It was enough. Thank you," he gave one of his rare, full-fledged smiles and she marveled at its display in the spotlight of the moon, free of the obstruction of his hood. She managed a nod and a mumbled acceptance of his gratitude as they proceeded inside.
When Ty returned from tucking Lili into his bed and informing his parents that she would be spending the night, he found Mari perusing through the tower of films he had left behind.
"You were going to watch all of these?" she asked with some incredulity.
"Dad usually clears out his schedule for an entire day for his Halloween marathon. I intended to watch them over the next several days in a protracted celebration of Hallowmas," he said as he hesitated at the couch.
Mar'i nodded and then sighed, "Well, we better get started then."
He balked, "I was under the impression that you were not a fan of the horror genre."
"I'm not," she admitted before sliding next to him, looping an arm with his own and offering the suddenly nervous shape shifter a smile and the remote, "But I've got a friend who can be scarier than anything the movies has to offer if he wasn't such a softie. I think I'll take my chances."
Iris was the first to return to the Tower, racing the dawn with cargo nearly as heavy as her, filled with candy. She, in the costume of the Flash, and her father, in the costume of Impulse, had taken the family on a county-wide trick-or-treating and even with her advanced metabolism, it would take her several days to finish off the veritable mountain of treats. Lugging them up the stairs of the Tower, she paused within the main room and tilted her head at the pair propped against the couch and each other. Popcorn was tangled in Mar'i's dark mane and scattered about the floor as though a bowl of it had exploded. Crumpled cans ringed her and Ty as well as a variety of candies, chips, and snacks that had been emptied from overturned bowls. Mar'i clutched at Ty's hand with inhuman might, and even in sleep, her grip did not relax, but Ty appeared content as her head leaned upon his shoulder.