Ch. 8.2 – Molly

Molly watched from the rooftop across the street from the restaurant as Alex jogged around the car. Sara opened her door, and Alex slowed, offering her a hand. He was going to get the door for her, Molly realized. She smiled in spite of herself. I’m not sure which of them is in deeper, with this relationship. The Ghost Dragon did a quick scan of the block, for the third time since she’d chosen her perch. All clear.

Sara let Alex help her up, then ‘stumbled’ when she stood, steadying herself on his chest. Alex’s flustered reaction would have been obvious from Molly’s perch even without Majestic senses. Now I’m sure. The poor boy won’t know what hit him. Sara took Alex’s arm firmly, and they walked in together. Molly sat on a nearby vent and settled in for what she hoped would be a long, boring evening. For me, at least. If they end up bored, someone’s doing it wrong.

*Is there room for one more?* Max sent, from far enough away to not have triggered Molly’s Vision sweeps.

*Sure. Take the roof over the lovebirds,* Molly replied, hearing flickering down to the duo.

“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a little stability, Alex,” Sara said, clearly reassuring him of something. “Believe me, no matter how proud a freak you are, it can’t be all weird, all the time.”

“Thanks,” Alex replied, just as Max appeared atop the restaurant. “It’s been weird for me being the most normal person in the bunch. I’m glad to know it’s not catching,” he joked.

Max sighed, palm meeting face. *It’s going to be a long night,* he sent.

*If we’re lucky, it’ll be an uneventful night.* Molly looked Max over. *You’re male again. That’s not like you.*

Max shivered. *West is straight. And a monster. There are other reasons, but…if they capture me, I’d rather not be attractive to him.* Molly felt a wave of crimson fury rise inside her. She crushed it ruthlessly. *Besides,* he added lightly, *I like both forms. It’s been a long time since I really enjoyed being a guy. It’s kind of nice, not to feel wrong in the body I was born with.*

*There’s nothing wrong with you in any skin you choose to wear, Max,* Molly insisted, reaching out to grasp the air. A grinder appeared in her hand, and she chewed on it thoughtfully.

Max’s mind was quiet for nearly a minute. Below them, Sara and Alex laughed merrily. *Thanks,* he finally sent. *I’m glad we’re okay again.*

*I had to be sure, that’s all,* Molly replied. *My concern about you had nothing to do with what you are, just what you did. That was West, not you.* She took another bite, smiling as she chewed when Sara took Alex’s hand. *It’s no failing to be controlled by a Vision Prime.*

*Well, it won’t happen again,* Max insisted. *I’ve visited Alice since angel-boy dropped us off last week. I’ve got first-class mind shields, and they only need to last long enough for me to tear his face off.* Molly felt his fist clench.

A warning echoed through her mind as a Rift opened half a block away. *Incoming,* she sent.

*Is it just me,* Max asked, appearing by Molly’s side, *or have these guys been teleporting like it’s taking the 405, lately?*

*The freeway would be harder,* Molly retorted, almost smiling. *Shadow-slide. I’m going to jump.* Max nodded and sank into the darkness. Molly leaped, landing lightly behind the newcomers.

The quartet of suits were almost shoulder to shoulder when they appeared, but quickly spread out. Two pulled out Majestech scanners, while the other two touched their sunglasses, using them as mystic tools for their Evocations. They haven’t spotted Sara and Alex yet, Molly noticed. She permitted herself a predatory smile when they failed to spot the Ghost Dragon in their midst. *I’ll take the scanners,* she sent to Max. *You handle the shades.* Max nodded somewhere in the shadow.

As one, they struck. Molly destroyed both scanners, slamming the two Complex thugs together and using a combination of Blaze and Rift to stick them back to back. While they struggled, their partners turned, only to be pulled into the shadows one after the other. Max slid back into the physical world, dragging two unconscious bodies behind him. Molly sat the scanner agents down with a shove, and both winced as they landed. “What are you doing here?” she asked coolly.

“Get bent, you atavistic freak,” the taller of the two snarled. Molly hit him, and a flicker of Anima knocked him out cold.

“Wrong answer,” she whispered, then leaned over to face the other. He was pasty-faced, with a hint of baby fat. The smell of sweat and terror wafted from him. “Perhaps you could be more forthcoming, Mandate thug.”

“We’re looking for the goth chick!” he blurted. That confirms he’s Mandate, then, Molly thought, deliberately not smiling. “We didn’t find anything, I swear!”

Max put his hand on the Mandate agent’s shoulder. He whimpered. “Why were you looking here?” the Reanimate asked, smiling broadly enough to let recently-grown fangs gleam.

“I don’t know!” he gibbered. “We got orders, that’s all!”

Max looked over at Molly, who nodded. Max tapped the man gently on top of the head, and a pulse of Anima knocked him as cold as his partner. “This isn’t good,” Max grumbled. “We’re going to have to be more careful than ever.”

“Agreed,” Molly admitted, “but we can’t hide her in one place forever, either.” She glanced at the restaurant, where Sara and Alex were mooning over each other. “Sara’s been considering joining the Allies, for Alex’s sake if nothing else, but I don’t know if that’ll be enough. We have to find a way to settle this, or none of us will ever be able to stop running.”

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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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