Ch. 13.2 – Sara

Sara Taylor stretched languorously on the cabin’s sofa. She wore a long black T-shirt, purple leggings and lacy black socks, suiting her trim, lithe frame. Maxwell watched with less interest than usual. Still, there’s some, and considering how he’s been around Victor since Rifty Hotness showed up, I’ve still got it. She grinned at him. “Enjoying the log cabin life, Maxie?”

“It’s not made of logs,” Max drawled, then flipped genders. This Maxine was curvy and muscular, looking as much the amazon as Molly. “What’s with the vamp look?”

Sara laughed. “Take a guess.” She looked out the window, enjoying the sight of the sky painted orange and purple. “Darkling time is upon us, and I have a sunboy to seduce.”

Maxine dropped into a plush chair, sinking into it as she exhaled. “You’re going all-in on the purple poetry thing, huh?” she asked, a bottle of ale dropping through a shadow on another table, then rising into her hand. The cap popped off, spinning into the recycle bin. “Is he into that stuff?”

“I’m not using it on him,” Sara retorted, waving idly. “And sure, it’s not exactly Byron, but who cares? It’s just us now, free of the Complex and the Alliance for a few days. Even I’m entitled to a little self-indulgence.”

Max nodded. “You’ve needed a break.” The Weaver sat up in surprise. Maxine grinned Cheshire-like. “Everyone’s noticed you Evoking like there’s no tomorrow, Weaving luck for the world.” Max leaned back, hands folding behind her head. “You’re going to lose your cynic cred, you keep this up.”

“I’m a cynic, not a nihilist,” Sara retorted, looking away. “A better world helps everyone, me included.” Maxine laughed. “I — I’m going to go check on Alex.” She stood more quickly than she’d intended, and strode out of the living room, ignoring Maxine’s stifled chuckles.

Even knowing where he was, Sara almost stumbled across Alex. He was practically looming over a table, glaring at a small sheaf of notes. Ben and his paper fetish, Sara thought fondly. “What are you afraid of?” Alex muttered. “Are we such freaks, even to other Majestics?” Even from behind, she recognized his Captain Beacon T-shirt. It went with his blue jeans and sneakers.

“You know,” Sara noted huskily, forcing herself not to grin when Alex turned in surprise, “if you’re trying to be dark and brooding, you’re doing it all wrong.” Then she smiled, one hand on a hip for her best smoulder.

Alex gripped his mouth briefly. Victory is mine, Sara thought with satisfaction. “Sara,” he breathed. “This probably isn’t the best time.”

She flowed up to him, into him, and locked eyes with the Bastion. “This is the perfect time,” she insisted, one arm snaking around his waist. “Nicole’s drilled you mercilessly on Schnyder and Nehru. You need to play hooky for a night.” She leaned closer, until Sara was sure he could feel her breath on his lips. “I think I can convince you,” she whispered.

Alex’s shudder was reward enough. “God, yes,” he rumbled, “but I just — they — there’s something here, I just need a minute.”

Sara’s smile twisted on one end. She sighed and stepped back, looking Alex over pointedly. “I’ll give you a break. A short one. What’s in Ben’s notes that you need?”

“They’re good people, both of them,” Alex said, gesturing vaguely at the table, “and they usually agree, in spite of what a lot of Majestic seem to think. This should be easy, but it’s not.” He glanced at the notes. “They’re afraid of something. I’m just not sure what.”

Sara laughed and put her arm around him again, this time for a sideways hug. “Pfft. You’re a force of nature, hon, and they don’t know you yet. Goddess, you held off Ekaida by yourself.” She shrugged, pulling him closer. “They’re also afraid of how the other factions will react to them getting back in the game. Everyone else wants to be top dog. Whatever problems the Alliance has — and it’s got plenty — they want to share the wealth, heal the Schism. They’re worried that if you bring an army of superheroes to the table, the Complex, Havoc, and the Cultists are going to panic. Maybe even D-One.”

Alex looked at her with surprise. “Really?”

“Of course,” Sara chuckled, pulling herself around to face him again. “It’s why I can tolerate the Alliance. The rest of them are control freaks. It’s all they have in common. Freaking out is part of the job description.” Her smile slipped, and Sara looked away. “It’s humanity’s whole weakness in a nutshell. Not enough good people are powerful, and not enough powerful people are good.”

She looked up in amazement when Alex stroked her cheek with a tenderness that was almost painful. “Then I guess we have to help change the equation.”

Sara laughed. “Romantic math. That’s a first.” She threw her free arm around his neck and kissed him fiercely. Mercifully, he didn’t hesitate, responding in kind. Blaze energies flowed around them, embracing the Weaver with implacable tenderness. “Ooo. You’ve gotten good at that.”

“You’ve been there for the practice,” he noted, smiling. The smile vanished as he looked around. “Um. Privacy is an issue. It’s bigger than my box of an apartment, but we’ve got eight people here.”

Immediately, Sara Wove a Talent-binding pattern, then blew him a kiss. “Remember that sound baffle you made to help Powerstar sneak up on Eviscerata-of-the-stupid-name? Put it in there, and we’re good to go.”

“How does that work, anyway?” Alex wondered, peering intently at her Weave. “Alice keeps telling me that Inspiration is temporary because it’s internal, but the flow of majestas connects everything. It doesn’t make any mmph.” He looked down at Sara’s finger on his lips, eyes crossed.

“Better,” Sara replied. “Now. I love that you’ve become as big a magic nerd as I am. I love that you’re my sweet, gentle champion. Honey, this is not the time for either.” She pulled back her finger, then grabbed his collar. “Now close the door, make our quiet zone, and get wild with me.”

Alex grinned. “Yes ma’am.” The door slammed shut. The room shuddered. So did Sara. That’s more like it.

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Written by Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan was born in the Bronx, New York, giving him the right to root for the Yankees while making less than six figures. After a long, largely pleasant interregnum in suburban Connecticut, he moved to the Inland Empire, California to be with his wonderful wife and muse, a stepson, and a crazed feline. An occasionally too-avid player of and writer for tabletop roleplaying games, his other passion is metaphysics, which informs most of his fiction.

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