BHM The Shocking Adventures of Spark

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JimBob

like a thief in the night
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Thanks so much! This story has been a total tightrope--I didn't want to play the "thin savior" card so I've had to find roundabout ways to guide Ben on his journey of self-love, and it feels so cathartic to finally give him good things, along with the rest of the polycule. (And it's certainly helped that irl I've recently become the "Chloe" in a similar situation lmao)

Good for you! Every writer should be so dedicated to their research...
 

stevita

like the pancake
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Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
499
Location
Texas
So, a little life update: I recently gnawed my leg out of a bear trap escaping a toxic relationship that was never working in the first place. And I think a part of me always knew and had a bad feeling about him. I know I wrote Chloe to be my self-insert, seeing as she shares my height, build, and ethnicity, but personality-wise I think I'm more of a Ben. I so wanted to believe in my "Felicity" but he was always going to betray me in the end, and just like Ben it even happened while I was in a helplessly trapped position.

But I'm out now. And at least no evil scientists stole any of my bone marrow ;)

Anyway, life has been amazing since I took my freedom back. I cleaned my whole apartment, started two new jobs and I've even opened up my own small business. So if my absence made you worry, be relieved, I've been taking care of myself.

Anyway, Chapter 13 of Spark is well underway, I've been working on it in bits and pieces for the last couple months but now that I've gotten most of my stuff settled I'll try and finish it this week! And I have it all outlined and I know how it ends, so look forward to more food-porn, pudge love, wild sex, and, of course, mayhem!

Oh, and if you happen to pass through Texas and see some middle-aged-looking bald white guy with glasses dressed like a car salesman who doesn't know his own shirt size, smoking a cigar and driving a gray Mazda with a broken passenger's side headlight...

Do me a favor and pray for him. Because he made the biggest mistake in the history of this city trading me out for a newer faster make and model, and he'll end up at the bottom of the bayou if the good Lord doesn't bless him with some common damn sense.

(To the NSA guy assigned to monitor my internet activity: that wasn't a threat towards my ex, I'm just stating in the kindest way I know how to the simple fact that he's dumber than a sack of hammers.)
 

stevita

like the pancake
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Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
499
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Texas
THIRTEEN

Elisa's previously unkempt mess of brown hair was cut to about shoulder length, and wavy, rather than matted. She wore it gathered into a stubby ponytail at the base of her neck. She was still skinny, but, having had some time to recover from her incarceration, her cheeks had some color and her bones weren't so prominent. She had tennis shoes on, along with yoga pants and a sleeveless sports top that zipped up the front, and she was holding a long, thin metal pole. Ben would have hugged her, if not for the stoic, distant comportment with which she still carried herself: square in the shoulder, intense gaze, even in freedom. Well, that, and she was armed. "What are you doing here?" he asked. "N-not that I'm not glad to see you--!"


"The same as you, probably," said Elisa. "After we busted you out, I went looking for allies...for answers...and I found Ms. Mitchell."


"So do you have lightning powers now, too?"


"Not exactly. Ms. Mitchell says I'm a compulsive bio--a bio--uh, well, she can explain it better!"


"There's no need for all the formality, child," said Martika, before turning back to Ben. "It seems that when Elisa was injected with your DNA, she developed an inverse version of your power set. Instead of detecting others' emotions, she can inflict them in a compulsive attack, and if she really focuses, she can draw that energy into a biomanipulative burst capable of knocking her opponent unconscious."


"And she's got a stick," said Ben. "Are we sparring now, or what? Do I get a stick, too?"


"As per Elisa's wishes, I've flown in a coach from France to train her in La Canne," explained Martika. "If you'd like some sort of formal combat training, I'd be happy to extend to you the same offer, but until then, I won't put a weapon in your hands you're as likely to hurt yourself with than anything else."


"But she's got a stick--"


"But you've got lightning powers. Elisa, please help yourself to breakfast. Then both of you, follow me to the studio," instructed Martika, before fixing herself a stiff cocktail from the fridge and proceeding to lead the way.


The studio, as it turned out, was a room lined from floor-to-ceiling with mirrors, like a ballet classroom, except missing the wooden bars. Martika had set up a plush velvet armchair in the corner, and with a slight waddle, she ambled over to it and plopped herself down onto the cushion, her rotund thighs barely able to spread as the arms of the chair compressed them in place. "Do my combatants need a count?"


"A what?" asked Ben.


"No, Ma'am," said Elisa. Her expression set with determination, she stepped towards him, fixing him with her cold, blank stare.


Her powers went to work instantaneously--and how unfair was it that she had a grip on them already, when it had taken Ben years? That resentful thought soon slipped his mind, though, as a giddy warmth spread throughout his body, starting in the center of his chest and spreading to his extremities. He felt drunk--no, better than drunk, and his mind began to wander to each lucky break he'd caught in the last few weeks: the first time he mastered his powers with Martika...his dance with Bailey Sharp…his magical night with Malcolm and Chloe…


Elisa swung her metal pole at top speed straight at his head, stopping just short of striking him. "Hiiii-ya! Dead!" she declared.


"You're gonna need to do better than that, Big Ben," Martika teased in a sing-song voice from her seat. "Again."


Once more, Elisa began to cloud Ben's thoughts, but this time, he was ready for her. Fighting against the giddy haze she induced in him, he dodged a swing of her stick and mentally approached her consciousness with his own probe attack…


Her rage was like nothing he had ever taken in before. It was dizzying, almost paralyzing. He was surprised it could all be contained within her tiny body, her solitary mind. This was bigger than the torture she'd suffered at the sadistic hands of Dr. Duplicate. Bigger than the confinement, the filth, the nonstop verbal abuse. Bigger than the loss of Nora and her parents. Generations of families could have lived and died and never generated as much anger and pain as he was taking in now. It almost burned him to even brush what she had within her.


But he was strong, so much stronger than he'd ever been. He'd been feeding himself well. So had Chloe. So had Martika. Just before the groundswell of emotional power named Elisa Bieler could rip him apart from within, he channeled that energy into a burst of static shock and grabbed hold of her stick.


He reeled it back at the last possible second, letting most of the blast dissipate into the air as static. The remaining spark was too weak to harm Elisa, but just enough to send a crackle of electricity up and down her metal rod to force her to let go of the weapon with a tiny, surprised shriek. She staggered backwards and hit the mirrored wall. He caught her stick in both hands and held it perpendicular to her neck, an inch away from her skin. She was breathing hard. They both were. "Dead," he murmured.


Martika put her drink down and applauded. "Good game! But Elisa, stop pulling your punches. And Ben, don't be afraid to lay your whole weight into her. I know you're friends, but we're preparing for a war. Treat each other like you would any other enemy. Again."
 

stevita

like the pancake
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Messages
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Texas
Biomanipulation 101 was held outside on the grounds, sitting criss-cross on picnic blankets, for the benefit of those students, like Heather, whose powers acted on lifeforms other than human beings. There were three other floramancers in her class, but she was by far the most accomplished, so she was one of the only students who didn't groan when Professor Wyndham announced on the last day before the winter recess, "I have a pop quiz for you all today!"


It took the petite, stick-limbed professor several moments to calm the class down. "Now, now, as you all know, I'm not like a regular professor. I'm a cool professor!" She smiled and shot her class the finger-guns, her slouched stance standing in stark contrast with her thin rimless glasses and tight, tight bun. "There are still no written exams here. All you have to do for me today is show the class a trick using your powers. Now, let's proceed in alphabetical order by last name. First up: David Alanis."


"Okay, so this is something I've been working on," said David as he stood and made his way toward the front of the class. "Watch this: I'm gonna turn myself into a frog!"


One by one, Heather watched as her fellow students strutted their stuff, transforming into objects, trees, other students; taller, smaller, or buffer versions of themselves, or simply changing their hair color. Occasionally, a rare projective biomanipulator would step up and require a partner: Carly Danvers healed one of their classmates' recent injuries, and Fernando Fuentes got one of the girls high on her brain's own serotonin. Then, at last…


"Heather Greene, would you please step up?"


Grinning ear to ear, Heather rose from where she was seated. As she took her first step forward, a crackle of earth from below her feet sent all heads turning in her direction. Great whips of sturdy root shot out of the ground to wrap themselves gingerly around her calves, up her thick thighs, and finally encased her belly and back, supporting her and shifting with her every step--retreating into the ground and rising once more to grip her each time she put down her foot--step by step, until she had reached the front of the class. There, she had the network of roots and vines fashion themselves into a wide and ample throne, which she sat upon with a serene smile and elegantly crossed ankles. "Thank you, brothers and sisters," she muttered to the plants. Then, louder, to the class: "Impressed?"


Wyndham made some notes on her clipboard. "That was a great display, Heather! But how do you think your organic armor will hold up on the battlefield? Remember, crooks have guns."


"Oh, I wasn't planning on using this for self-defense," said Heather. "It's more of a mobility aid?"


"But you aren't disabled."


"Not now," Heather agreed. "But everyone can see I'm a big girl. Well, except Mary, in the front row. Hi, Mary!" She waved to one of the other floramancers, a blind girl who had earlier demonstrated her ability to make flowers bloom by touching them with her fingertips.


"Hi, Heather."


"Anyway, if I ever get really big, like, so big I can't easily walk on my own, I still want to get around and go outside, so I've been honing this move as a failsafe."


"Interesting." Wyndham made a few more notes before handing Heather her assessment. Heather gaped, staring at the paper in disbelief, khol-rimmed eyes bugging.


"70 percent? But that was advanced biomanipulation! You gave Matt Crenshaw full marks and all he did was turn himself blue!"


"Look, Heather," said the professor, "you're obviously a talented and powerful girl. But if I rewarded you for using your abilities to enable your obesity, what kind of message would that send?"


Heather felt her cheeks grow hot. Gritting her teeth, she tore her assessment sheet in two and let the pieces flutter to the ground--littering wasn't so bad if it was biodegradable, right? "You know what? **** you. This has been a waste of a semester," she snapped and walked off.


***


"Heather!" Chloe ran up to her girlfriend as she spotted her across the grassy quad. "I thought Bio 101 didn't let out for another 30 minutes? You're out way ear--oh. Oh." If Heather's memories hadn't given away how her last class was, her sour expression certainly would have. "That is like, so, totally bogus! **** that professor!"


"I'm over it," Heather lied, and Chloe wasn't about to force her to unpack what had happened. She'd talk about it when she talked about it.


"And here I was, waiting around for you because I was so super stoked to give you a special surprise, and here comes Professor Poop-For-Brains to ruin the big moment."


"A surprise? For Me?" Heather's cheeks pinked. She glanced down shyly and smiled. "Well, I do love surprises. I bet it'll cheer me up."


"Wait for it...wait for it…" Chloe went rummaging in her chunky, red leather bag for a few moments until she found what she was looking for. "Ta-da!" she exclaimed, whipping out a pair of cruise tickets and thrusting them under Heather's nose.


Heather raped, taking them in hand. "A Caribbean cruise?"


"I figured, Ben's going home with his brother for the break, and Mal's going home with his dad…"


"How are you and the boys, by the way?"


"Great! Super great. But I've said it before and I'll say it again, I need all of you in my life. Anyway, I haven't been back to my parents' since I started school, and since we both don't have any people to go to that like us, maybe we could...get away? If you don't want to I can easily sell the other ticket--"


"She said, as a formality," said Heather, wrapping an arm around Chloe. "You already know what I think."


"I know...but I wanna hear you say it out loud."


She pulled Chloe against her side with a smirk.


At the beginning of the year, she'd been a docile, submissive thing, longing for any love for her chubby, growing body. Even if she had to endure humiliation, she'd gladly take it, because at least it would mean someone was paying attention. And even now, she knew there was a part of her that would always love being called a greedy mindless hog. But that wasn't all she was. Chloe had shown her that, with her tenderness and trust. Bailey had shown her that, with the opportunity she afforded her. And being Evergreen had shown her more than anything.


She could be large and in charge.


She could have her cake, and eat it, too.


"I'll go with you," she said, "but here are my terms. I need you to dedicate yourself to really making me huge. I want you pouring buffet soft serve down my throat by the bucket after every meal." She took Chloe's warm hand and moved it to the crest of her protruding stomach. "I want you to keep my gut so stuffed and heavy that people think I'm pregnant with twins. If I so much as say I'm hungry, I need you to bring me a big ol' plate loaded up with food...and that'll just be a snack." She smiled wickedly and kissed Chloe firmly on the lips. Chloe practically swooned, needing Heather to catch her around the middle of her back and keep her upright. "Think you can be a good girl and do that for me?"


The senior telepath nodded breathlessly. "I'll be the best girl. I promise. Anything for my big, fat, sexy gothic princess."
 

stevita

like the pancake
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Messages
499
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"Let's break here, Tiff, who knows when we'll find another open table. You want me to fetch you anything?"


"Aww, that's so sweet of you, D'von! Now that you mention it...maybe a couple of those funnel cakes? And a large lemonade? Here's my card--"


"Girl, put your money away!" commanded D'von as the chunky redhead began to fish in her purse. "I told you already, it's my treat."


She flushed and helped herself to a seat on the bench of a covered picnic table. "Well, if you insist. Ben, you want anything?"


Ben shrugged. "Corn dog? Small drink? Anything but LaCroix."


D'von quirked an eyebrow behind his sunglasses. "You eat food now?"


"It's a long story," said Ben, joining his brother's girlfriend on the bench.


It was a cold, brisk day on the boardwalk, a weekend into the winter break. Between the Taylor-Moore boys and Tiffany, no rides had been ridden: Tiffany and Ben would never pass the weight limits, and D'von, despite being barely into his late twenties, was already complaining of aching bones and altitude-induced arthritis: blame a career in bartending. But they'd walked the carnival, played a few games--D'von had won Tiffany a truly gargantuan plush monkey, and Ben had maxed out the strength meter, a huge boost to his self-esteem. Training with Martika and Elisa was paying off, evidently.


He never used to like third-wheeling for D'von and Tiffany. She was nice enough...but those two were just so lovey-dovey, and it used to bring him to short-circuits.


He was in control now, at the expense of his waistline...but when he thought of Chloe's hands on him, touching him how she knew he liked to be touched...Malcolm's mouth...both their sweet affirmations...it was all well worth it.


In D'von's absence, Tiffany glanced Ben's way, twirling a strand of hair around one pudgy finger. "Your brother told me he has mind control powers."


"Yep." Ben gave a curt nod. "Are you scared?"


"No...no. If anything, it's exciting. And he never takes the sunglasses off unless I tell him to. If anything, he lets me be in control."


"Sounds like D'von. But you know, people get scared."


"What, of Deviants? Look, I've done the research, ever since he told me. If anything, you guys should be scared. 'You guys', listen to me being presumptuous. Do you have a superpower?"


"Yeah...but it's not that impressive until the sun goes down. Maybe someday I'll show you."


Just as D'von was returning with the food, Ben's phone rang in his back pocket. Despite the unknown number, he chanced an answer.


"Ben! Ben, oh, thank God. It's Mal, I can't stay at my dad's, and Chloe's out of town--"


"Wait, slow down. You okay?"


"Fine, kinda. My dad and me, we just got into it about my weight and we had this big argument and I bolted, my phone's dead, I'm on a payphone--"


"They still have those?" said Ben. "And did you tell your dad you just helped rescue a bunch of people?"


".....I probably should have led with that. But the fight was pretty bad, and I'm out a place to sleep, bro."


"Hang on." Ben turned to his brother, palming the receiver. "Is it cool if my homeboy...kinda boyfriend really...sleeps on the couch?"


D'von scoffed. "He don't want to sleep in the bed with you?"


He made a good point.


"I got you, homie," said Ben, fighting back a grin. "You'll like it at my place. My brother's a great cook, and my door locks. Where should I send the Uber?"


"Thanks. But I don't even know, bro…"


"Do you have a cross street?"


"I'm like...up a block from this fancy looking place called Fitzgerald's, across the street from...I think it's a Christian bookstore?"


"Right. I know where you are." Corner of Elgin and Third. It was always weird, talking to people who didn't drive.


But Ben felt a real affection for the guy, mess though he was.


Malcolm arrived in his Uber just in time for dinner--D'von was pouring drinks for the house, as was tradition before he started to cook. Malcolm had a probably shoplifted messenger bag full of probably shoplifted goods slung over one shoulder and a big smile on his face. "You must be the brother...and this must be your girl?" he asked as D'von answered the door, Tiffany close at his heels.


"That's me, D'von, and this here is Tiff. Well, get your ass inside here, brother!" D'von urged, clapping Malcolm on the back of the shoulder and leading him inside. The impact caused his whole body to jiggle, especially his soft underbelly, curving over the waistband of his tight sweatpants and testing the tensile strength of the threads of his thin white shirt. There was easily a fresh five pounds around his middle since the last time Ben had seen him. His cheeks heated. He wanted to squeeze that impeccable roll of dough...feel its pliant softness spilling between his own fat fingers...maybe nibble on it a bit. That sweet growing potbelly deserved some attention for sure.


Later.


"You want a vodka smash?" asked D'von.


"Yeah, bet, bro! I brought over some tequila, too, I didn't know what you had here," said Malcolm, starting to unpack his bag and setting each of his items on the cabinet by the door. "I got some food and stuff, too, I know Ben said you could cook, but I figured maybe I'd make it easier on you, put together some sides or something."


Wow. As seductive as Ben had come to find Malcolm's blase, bad-boy facade, it was a refreshing change to see him behaving like a proper, polite houseguest. Perhaps Chloe's restaurant worker veteran hospitality was rubbing off on him. She'd certainly influenced the expansion of his waistline; it was well within the confines of reality that she'd come to influence his demeanor as well.


"You guys need me to help?" he asked as D'von led Malcolm into the kitchen. Both brother and boyfriend turned around a step away from the doorway.


"No offense, babe, but I seen the mess you made in the panini press at school," said Malcolm.


D'von smirked. "Did he tell you he almost burnt down the house with the waffle maker?" he pitched in.


"No way! Making waffles?" Malcolm laughed. Ben's cheeks heated, even as he watched his shorter beau's launch jiggle adorably.


"Chicken waffles," he admitted, embarrassed. D'von rolled his eyes.


"First of all, it's chicken AND waffles. And second, you have to make the chicken and the waffles separate, and you don't use ground ass chicken, and you definitely don't throw the goddamn chicken in the waffle maker without no oil. It's good, bro, your services will not be needed."


Both Malcolm and Tiffany burst out laughing.


"And you, what your name is, Malcolm? Come on, this way now. I'm hearing you know your way round a stove, but I might have a few tips and tricks to teach you about food...drinks...whatever you wanna know."


The boys were at work in the kitchen for about an hour while Ben and Tiffany watched TV in the living room, shooting the **** back and forth and making fun of every stupid weight loss commercial they saw.


"Do they really expect us to believe the 'before' and 'after' pictures are the same person?" Tiffany scoffed at the side-by-side images on the screen, above the boldened 1-800 number to call to purchase some alleged miracle pill for three easy payments of $19.95. "Even if you could lose that much weight, everyone knows your skin doesn't bounce back like that."


"Sometimes they hire a biomanipulator for these commercials," explained Ben.


"A what?"


"A shapeshifter. It's a Deviant thing."


"Oh, right, the superpowers! So do they shapeshift hundreds of pounds heavier for one picture and then go back to normal for another?"


"Yep, takes less than five minutes if your photographer's any good."


"That's crooked!" gasped Tiffany. "But I'm sure you Deviants--can I say that, by the way?"


"Only if you ain't shouting it from a car window and throwing beer cans at us or whatever."


"People do that?!"


"That'n worse," muttered Ben, suddenly stoic. Memories from inside Dr. Duplicate's lab sent a chill through his very blood. "It's a whole world right next to yours that you wouldn't believe."


With impeccable timing, D'von and Malcolm entered the room to serve dinner on the coffee table. D'von had a cocktail ready for everyone, and Malcolm poured a round of shots. "What we toasting to?" asked D'von.


"****, why we gotta be so formal about it?" asked Malcolm, plopping down on the couch and pulling his plate into his lap.


"Believe it or not, I run a proper, polite house," said D'von. "Benjamin?"


"I got nothing."


"Well, here, then!" Tiffany piped up. "Everybody raise your glasses!" She picked up her shot, arm flab swaying a bit in a way that made D'von's jaw drop, and recited, "May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back, and…and may you be in Heaven before the Devil knows you're dead! That's a little Irish toast my dad taught me."


"Hear, hear!" D'von clinked glasses with her while Ben tipped his cocktail in solidarity. Malcolm got the bottle ready in hand for another round of shots.
 

stevita

like the pancake
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499
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That night, Ben led the way into his bedroom, belly comfortably satiated on a hearty helping of D'von's signature pesto salmon, spiced rice, and whatever vegetables Malcolm had managed to grill up--he couldn't identify all of them, but he hadn't wanted to ask at the table and look stupid in the process. There were onions? Garlic, maybe? Bell...pepper? Malcolm stumbled in after, a few paces behind, his footing unsure in the dark, his balance impaired--not that Ben was exactly sober after a couple rounds, but some point at dinner, Malcolm had abandoned his cocktail in favor of shots back-to-back.


"Your family is sooooo nice," Malcolm drawled, collapsing onto the mattress. "Tell you the truth, my dad and I have been tense ever since Mamita left this earth." His night vision adjusting, Ben watched by the moonlight let in by the open blinds as Malcolm rolled onto his side and fiddled with the rosary around his neck.


Ben barely knew what to say besides, "Sorry, dude."


"Ain't your fault my dad is a hardass. Do me a favor and hold me?"


"Like...how? I'm still new."


"Here, just take your hand...lay down like this…"


Gently, but clumsily, Malcolm guided Ben onto the mattress and pulled his arm around himself. His hand landed on the doughy swell of flesh right below Malcolm's navel and he gave an involuntary squeeze, a faint electricity coursing through his veins and warming his whole body in a way that maybe had to do with his powers, but probably not.


"Like that, huh?"


Ben swallowed and let out a strangled noise by way of answer, realizing all too late how hard his cock had gotten against Malcolm's widening ass through his sweatpants. Damn shame Malcolm was already this drunk and half asleep. Not that Ben would have known what to even do with him.


"That's another five pounds, recent, and it all went straight to the gut I think. Chloe's over the fuckin' moon, man. She said if I can keep it on for more than a month she'll finally give me back my--" he paused to let out a yawn, "--cocaine stash."


"Surprised you don't just steal some," Ben mumbled, beginning to grow a bit tired himself as he continued to palm absently at Malcolm's generous handful of belly chub. Man, Chloe had been onto something all along. This was so soothing. It was like playing with a stress ball. A softer, sexier stress ball that rewarded his efforts with tiny gasps and sighs of appreciation.


"Yeah, well, when you got it and you're serious about keeping it, you stay slick about it. See, you're from Blackwater like me...but what a lot of people don't know is there's really two Blackwater Cities. There's yours, with the money and the cars and ****, and then there's mine, with the spraypaint and danger. But you're learning that, ain't you...Sparky? Or is it just Spark?"


Ben froze. His hand went stiff. "How--?"


"You think Chloe don't talk?"


"Oh, I know she talk. I just didn't realize--"


"Nothing's a secret from her, bro. But look, all she told me is you're taking sparring lessons, getting ready for your next big showdown with the Division, maybe gonna be the next big friendly neighborhood hero. Heather's working on something for you, by the way."


"Heather is?"


"Yeah, but don't worry about it. She don't even need your measurements or nothing. If you know 'em, Chloe knows 'em, and she'll pass 'em along. Hey, could you go back to doing that squeezing thing? It feels really good. It's like ever since I put on all this weight all my nerves been turned up to the maximum."


***


The smell was heavenly when Ben awoke. Were those pancakes?


Malcolm was up and about, darting in and out of the room as Ben rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "¡Buenas!" he said brightly. "Your brother and his girl went out for brunch. They invited us, but I didn't want to **** with your whole beauty sleep, y'know? But I think I did alright."


By the look, and aroma, of things alone, 'alright' was a definite understatement. Rolling out of bed to follow Malcolm into the kitchen, he found the table laden with a mouth-watering assortment of breakfast foods, both familiar and exotic: there were waffles (not pancakes), bacon, and eggs scrambled with vegetables and cheese, along with more of the same beans from yesterday, tortillas that were dark blue for some reason, and...some sort of funny-looking, sliced fried bananas?


If Ben had never advertised himself as the adventurous type when it came to food, it was only because he never used to actually eat, but now that that had changed, he helped himself to a seat, a tall glass of juice, and a generous selection of all his plate could hold. "That's it, dig in, dude," Malcolm encouraged him with a smile and a firm squeeze to his shoulder.


"You have got to teach me how to cook like this," said Ben in between samples of the spread. Malcolm said something unintelligible through a huge mouthful of food, his own plate piled high. Ben was surprised he didn't choke. "You really were serious about getting your coke stash back from Chloe, huh?"


Malcolm swallowed thickly, gulped down some juice, and gave a vigorous nod. "Yeah I am. I might need some help though."


"Whatcha mean?" asked Ben, his head tilting curiously.


"I'm just saying." Malcolm set his plate on the table, looked over at Ben, and smirked. "Sometimes Chloe gives me a little special encouragement. She's got the strap and everything, but you've got the real deal. And this all might go down easier if I was going face-first into it."


***


"You don't wanna go balls-deep at first, babe, even though I--" Malcolm gasped, bent over the bed with a nearly-demolished plate of waffles before him and Ben inside him, fingers gripping his fleshy hips. "I know you want to, but you just wanna hit the--"


"Like that?" asked Ben, pulling out abruptly by an inch or so. Malcolm yelped, before letting out a low groan between labored breaths.


"Perfect." He gave a vigorous nod. "So close...remember when I said I wanted to--?"


On cue, Ben grabbed a fistful of Malcolm's hair and shoved his face into the sticky, syrupy remains of his breakfast. "Wanted to what, huh? Cum with your mouth full?"


Malcolm shot his load with a strangled gag, and Ben's own orgasm overtook him seconds after, catching him panting and unprepared. He'd never given anyone a prostate orgasm before. It was hotter than he ever could have imagined.


Malcolm rolled over and collapsed on his back, one hand resting on the upper crest of his taut, distended belly. Ben watched as it rose and fell with his breathing and sat down on the bed next to him, laying a hand over the smaller man's. "Why is this so hot?"


"Chloe can explain it better. Course she can, she's in your head. Something about wanting to give me the things I never got. Her whole family's military, so she knows all about that life of discipline and deprivation, too. She ever tell you she was related to Fire--?"


THUMP THUMP THUMP.


The house might have looked nice, with D'von's decorative touch--family photos in frames in the hallway, nice rug, good placemats on the table--but it had been built in the 30s, and the walls were paper thin. D'von slept upstairs, which wasn't the best living arrangement for someone with his exclusive addiction to very large women.


Apparently, he and Tiffany were home.


Ben winced at the telltale crash of his brother's mattress breaking through the bottom of the bed frame. His charming barman brother had repaired that thing time and time again using nothing but his tools and his hands, but clearly a more sustainable solution was in order.


Ben reached for a textbook on the edge of his bedside table and chucked it at the ceiling. "JUST GET IT REPLACED, D'VON!"
 

stevita

like the pancake
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Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
499
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The whole gang reconvened at Chloe's apartment the day before the spring semester was to start. Ben was told nothing about the meeting, other than the fact that 'Heather's present for him was ready'.


Heather greeted him and Malcolm at the door, all smiles and dark eyeliner and sun-pinkened flesh on display. He'd seen the same black band shirt on her before--and thank God for another Complicated Scheme fan--along with her weathered black chain-adorned jeans, but while the shirt used to cover her middle, it now rode up like a crop top, and the pants looked painted on, with a roll of belly spilling over the waistband. Chloe had no doubt spent the whole break stuffing her well.


"Mal! Ben! Come on in! Chloe's getting groceries, but Ben, she told me you're in training, and, well, if you have a name, you need a costume, so I put something together for you between snacks and vacation stuff and...well, ya know. Anyway, I left everything on the bed, here, you can change in Chloe's room, go on, now!" She practically shoved him past the bedroom threshold and slammed the door behind him.


Ben did not, in fact, know his measurements. But as he slipped on the outfit Heather had laid out for him on the bed and glanced in the mirror, it became apparent that just from being in his head, Chloe knew his dimensions probably better than he did--well enough, even, to pass the information along to her gothic seamstress girlfriend.


There was a sturdy but lightweight double-breasted jacket in gunmetal gray, with accent stripes in a reflective, fluorescent yellow that almost shone white, along with matching slacks that sat comfortably at his waist and tucked neatly into a pair of black combat boots. Along with a domino mask and off-center beret, the whole ensemble gave him a distinctly foreign military vibe.


"Sexy, huh?" called Heather from the next room.


"Sure, if you're into electric Che Guevara." Really, though, it wasn't half bad, he thought to himself as he examined his reflection in Chloe's full-length mirror. He wasn't quite sure about the little hat...but he was thankful Heather hadn't included any fishnets.


"Trust me, it's the hat that like, ties the rest of it together!"


Ben startled at the sound of Chloe's voice through the bedroom door. He hadn't even heard her come home, stealthy creature that she could be despite that motor-mouth on her.


"You want me to come out and show you, or can you see just as well from inside my head?" he asked her.


"Of course I can! Lately I've, like, really been getting a handle on these powers. But don't keep Heather and Mal in suspense!"


Just then, Ben's phone vibrated in the back pocket of the pants he'd cast off on the floor. He bent down to fish it out and checked the screen. He hadn't been expecting a call from Martika, but that was all the more reason to believe that whatever she had going on, it was urgent.


"Hang on, I need to take this phone call."


"Oh, I know."


Taking one last look at himself in the mirror, Ben smirked and began to get cocky as he answered the phone: "Spark speaking."


Martika snickered into the receiver. "Is that what you're calling yourself now? Well, I have to say, the enthusiasm will come in handy. I have a little job for you. Tonight. Normally I'd enlist Knockout--she has more training--but there's a chance things could go sideways, and she's a little young to be taken downtown by the cops."


"Wait, who?"


"Oh, Elisa. She's experimenting with her alter-ego."


Ask Ben, Elisa was a little young to be using the name 'Knockout'. But he supposed it suited her powerset.


"Meet me at my penthouse at nine tonight. Oh, and Ben--oh, I'm sorry, Spark--bring a mask."

**********

(A/n: took me long enough! There's a few more chapters coming, so don't touch that dial!)
 

stevita

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(A/n: I hate posting short updates and I hate to drop a half-chapter on you guys without bringing it to a satisfying conclusion, but I have been working on this segment for a really long time and I've been really excited to bring back a character you've met before, but maybe forgot about. So here's the first half of Chapter 14, featuring Big Tech's ex, Tegan...)

FOURTEEN


Heather and Chloe lovingly packed Ben's costume in two layers of bubble-wrap, and once everything was tucked neatly into his backpack, Chloe handed him a crisp hundred dollar bill. "It's been a good Christmas season at the restaurant. Take this for a snack along the way, and use the change as a tip for Martika's valet."


Of course Chloe would know he'd forgotten all about the valet. "Good looking out. I'll pay you back!"


She dismissed him with a wave of her hand. "Consider what's mine, yours. After all, we are sharing Malcolm." If Malcolm had anything to say about that, he offered no discernible response besides a reddening of his rounded cheeks.


He knew he ought to eat something before he showed up to Martika's--if his appetite spiked in the middle of his commute, he'd arrive a misfiring mess--but he also knew his mentor would be at no shortage of food, with her full kitchen staff at her beck and call, and for some reason, he wanted her to do the honors. So, he drove straight to her building, handed his keys off to the valet, and handed the gentleman the whole lump sum. Carl--for that's what read the man's nametag--was probably used to accepting even heftier tips on the regular from the residents here, and Ben figured it would suit his future well to be on good terms with Martika's people.


When Martika answered the door to her penthouse, Ben got his wish.


She was wearing...God, how could he describe her...outfit? Costume? He had seen her in her lingerie before, and she had always looked breezily beautiful in all her breadth and her confident carriage, but now?


Now, she looked dangerous.


A black leather bustier strained to contain her bountiful breasts and left cleavage for days on display, its steel-boned structure doing nothing to conceal the outline of her round belly and voluptuous hips--if anything, the ensemble made the curves of her figure all the more obvious. Her black leather pants clung to her thick thighs and burgeoning backside like a second skin, and yet, not a thread of their stitching appeared worn-down or out-of-place.


Of course: with money like she had, she would have sprung for nothing less than the finest custom tailoring when it came to her superhero digs.


A matching black domino mask fit neatly around her eyes to conceal her identity. Sleek yet sturdy leather boots clung to her calves, stopping just short of where her thighs began to roll over her knees. Her big, bouncy curls flowed freely to her mid-back, and at her belt, she kept a sheathed knife the length of her forearm.


There was a tall glass on the armoire by her door, full of ice but half-drained of the effervescent pink liquid within. What's more, she was holding a gigantic blueberry muffin.


"Ben!" she squealed, her purple-lipsticked smile contorting into a grimace as she beheld him. "Don't think I can't feel you running on fumes. You know you can't turn up hungry to the scene of a crime--or are you trying to kill us both?" With that, she broke off a big chunk of muffin and thumbed it into his mouth.


He struggled to chew and swallow the mouthful, between its creamy texture, decadent sweetness, and light, crumbly topping, but finally managed to choke it down. His cock stiffened against his thigh. "Guess it slipped my mind to grab some food," he lied.


He couldn't help but feel a twinge of guilt: he already had Chloe and Malcolm to keep him happily stuffed to his heart's content. Wanting to bring Martika into it made him feel greedy, especially knowing that she had a boyfriend out of town somewhere. But the hungry smirk on her face told him he wasn't the only one getting something out of this.


"Did you bring what I told you?" she asked.


"Did ya one better! Is there anywhere I can change?"


"You know where the bathroom is," she said, and gestured with a pop of her head towards the end of the hall.


Five minutes later had him reconvening with his mentor in the entryway, all suited up and ready to go. Leaning against the wall, Martika threw him a wolf-whistle and a conspicuous once-over. "Looking sharp, Spark!"


He stuffed his hands in his pockets. "Thanks, uh...what's your hero name again?"


"Crucifix," she reminded him. "Before we head out, though, I did want to mention that heroism isn't all about high-flying, flashy adventures, catching bad guys, and winning the hearts of swooning damsels in distress."


"Okay...what are you getting at?"


She sighed, her shoulders slumping. "Please don't panic when I spring this on you: tonight, we're robbing a liposuction clinic."


***


"So there's no Crucifix-mobile or nothing?" asked Ben in Martika's passenger's seat between the last couple bites of the muffin she'd all but forced on him in her doorway. With how much she loved to flash her cash, he had expected her to have a separate car for superhero business, but here he sat in the black SUV he'd already seen, only tonight, she had turned the neon purple undercarriage lights on, bathing the backalkeys in an ominous glow as she nudged the vehicle at a slow crawl toward its destination.


"I know it's not ideal, but it's difficult to come by a car that'll comfortably seat a woman of my proportions."


He kept forgetting about just how fat she was. When he glanced at her, in profile, he saw only beauty, even now, when she was at her deadliest. The gentle curves of her chubby cheeks and double chin were merely an afterthought to the glare of dangerous determination burning in her eyes, the inviting warmth of her soft belly and pillowy breasts secondary to the tension coiled in her arms and shoulders. Her grip on the steering wheel was so tight, she might have been trying to strangle it.


As they pulled up in front of the Pryor Cosmetic Hospital, Ben's insides began to churn with uncertainty. "So, uh...I probably should have asked this earlier...but why a lipo clinic?"


"Well, according to the intelligence I've managed to gather...along with the evidence you gave me when we first met...the cosmetic surgery is largely a front," Martika explained. "Of course, I wouldn't have expected you to get a thorough look at all the drugs and equipment in the Rivington laboratory while you were incarcerated there. But, my people were able to digitally enhance the photos you provided, and, well, the name Pryor Pharma is plastered on everything."


"You mean--?"


"Yes," said Martika as she fished in the cup holder for a cigarette to light up. "The same people who own and operate this hospital are responsible for supplying the entities that tortured and experimented on you and your friend Ms. Bieler." She pulled on her cigarette and exhaled slowly, letting off a neat pair of smoke rings. "Disrupting their supply could buy time for the prisoners in that lab, and any others the Division might be operating. I completely understand, though, if you'd rather stay outside and stand lookout, rather than come in with me."


"N-no, I should finish this," insisted Ben.


"Oh, believe you me: by the end of tonight, it'll be far from finished."


"Still. I need to see it through."


A rapping at the passenger's side window startled Ben, causing him to jump in his seat with a small yelp. Outside was a security officer in a uniform and knockoff police cap, shining a flashlight through the glass. "Roll down the window, won't you?" said Martika. Ben winced, but complied.


"Excuse me, Ma'am," said the guard, turning the light now on the radio star, "but you can't park here."


Martika smirked wickedly. "Oh, I can't park here, is that what you said?" She reached over Ben and stroked the back of the interloper's hand with the tip of one overlong fingernail.


Instantly, the man collapsed with a blood-curdling shriek. Ben leaned his head out the open window to see what had happened to him. There, on the asphalt, he lay convulsing, still screaming, his expression contorted in agony.


"Holy ****," Ben breathed. "This is just like that British book about the wizard school."


"This is nothing like that British book about the wizard school." After refereeing a quick dispute between her belly and the seat belt, Martika swung her car door open and beckoned with a head gesture for Ben to follow her out. "He'll live. He's just not too happy at the moment. C'mon now. I'll need your electric powers to bypass the security system."
 

stevita

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Technically, the Pryor Cosmetic Hospital was closed for the night.


Technically, nobody was supposed to be in the building after hours.


But what was a struggling receptionist to do on a salary that barely covered her rent, let alone her electric and internet bills?


By the cool blue light of the front-desk monitor, Tegan Fanning sat hunched in the dark, scrolling through local hiring ads on Gregslist. She knew she'd be in trouble with her superiors if they caught her abusing the company wi-fi to look for better jobs...but she'd never been caught before.


A scream from outside barely startled her from her search. People got assaulted all the time around here. Proximity to violent crime was a price she had grown used to paying for working a block away from Blackwater's only methadone clinic. She wasn't particularly worried. Her shitty Ford Focus was parked outside with duct tape over a crack in the windshield. Any passing junkie would no doubt take one look at it and deem it not worth a break-in. And if someone tried to bust down the hospital door, she had her phone in easy reach in case she had to call the cops--or the Bombshell hotline.


Not that she necessarily endorsed a so-called 'superheroine' who dealt with criminals by fattening them to such great weights that it paralyzed them...but she'd done it before. At the time, she hadn't had a choice. She'd been sitting in traffic when some crazed lunatic took a random passerby hostage at the point of some kind of futuristic weapon. The incident had struck her as too big of a deal to leave to the cops, so she's done her civic duty, and if she would call Bombshell for a stranger, she'd be more than willing to do the same for herself.


If it came to that.


Not that she imagined it would.


She was just about to refresh the page when a fuse blew and took out power to the entire building. Her eyes blew wide in the sudden darkness. "Stupid, cheap faulty wiring," she muttered to herself. "Plastic fucking surgeons really can't afford to spring for a practice in a nicer part of town?"


Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a faint light.


Her breath caught in her throat.


Whatever the source of the mysterious light, it was on the move, and fast approaching her position. She tried to stand, to grab her phone, to do anything at all, but she was immobilized by a sudden sense of helplessness, and it wasn't like she'd have gotten far with her vision still adjusting, anyway.


What seemed like an eternity passed before the intruder finally encountered her. The source of the light: a hovering ball of pure electricity floating inches above his open palm. "Are--are you supposed to be in here?" he asked in a choked whisper, looking just as shocked to see her as she was to see him. The light was too dim for her to make out any of his features in detail, but she could tell that he was a big guy--big as in tall, but he also had to be pushing three hundred pounds, if not more.


The words tumbled out of her mouth of their own accord: "Holy ****, an electric fat guy."


He sighed, his shoulders slumping. "Really? That's all you got for me?"


"Are you gonna, like, hurt me?" Tegan stammered.


"That depends. Are you gonna call the cops?" he asked, his gaze dropping to her right hand, which was frozen in position halfway to her cellphone on the reception desk.


"I was actually thinking of calling Bombshell, but like...has that ship already sailed, or…?"


"Look, I'm just here to do a quick, in-and-out robbery. I didn't want to hurt anyone, but if you wanna do fat jokes all night--"


"Spark!" cried a female voice in the darkness. "Is the coast clear, or what?"


****. So he did have backup.


"Look, I'm sorry," Tegan pleaded. "I didn't mean to say all that rude stuff. Sometimes it just comes out of me like--like vomit, but with words. I was actually almost bulimic once in high school, and well...old habits. Steal anything you want, though, you really don't have to hurt me!"


"Spark! I asked you a question!"


"Cool, cool, cool," muttered the electric fa--Spark, his name was Spark, Tegan reminded herself. "Listen, though, my, uh...accomplice? She's kind of jumpy. I know you're feeling cooperative. But just so she doesn't lose her cool and attack you, maybe you should fake like I already electrocuted you? If she thinks you're unconscious, she'll leave you alone."


"So, what, just scream, fall, and play possum?"


"Exactly."


She could do that. She'd been through the motions hundreds of times in high school theatre.


She took a deep breath, let off a shriek, and slumped out of her chair, onto her side, on the ground. "How was that?"


"Oscar worthy, now just shut up!"


"SPARK?!"


"All clear, Crucifix! One witness, but she's down for the count. You can move on in."
 

stevita

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It took Ben and Martika several trips, and halfway to sunrise, to load the SUV up with stolen serums, samples, and drugs, but troublingly, by the time they had cleared out the vaults of the hospital, there was still room in the backseat. Ben didn't believe for a second that their haul was the entirety of the inventory. Whatever wasn't on site must have already been shipped off to its destination, to be used for its nefarious purpose.


Martika drove until they reached the edge of the river with their bounty and parked the car along the bank. There, by moonlight, she began hauling crates full of vials and syringes out of the trunk and backseat, with Ben close at her heels, following her example. "We're just gonna get rid of all this stuff?" he asked.


"Well, yes--I figured our enemies would have a rough time finding it all at the bottom of the river," said Martika. "Unless you had a better idea."


He glanced from the stacks of boxes to her masked face.


"Don't let me stop you from whatever you're thinking of doing, Spark, but be advised: these are drugs, not candy."


His heart jumped into his throat. He could feel her eyes on him through her mask...but there was no hiding his curiosity from his mentor, and so, he figured, he might as well just do the thing he wanted to do…


He rummaged through the contraband until he found what he was looking for: vials of the familiar suppressant Dr. Duplicate and his goons had administered to him and the other prisoners to nullify their powers. Holding a single dose under the dim light of the sky, he squinted to read the label. "Found anything fun?" asked Martika. "Sedatives? Painkillers? Those nice Marilyn Monroe barbiturates, maybe?"


He shook his head. "This is what they shot us up with to make us ordinary."


"Oh...I see."


"Without our powers, we couldn't defend ourselves. But I couldn't ricochet, either. For the first time since I came into the electromancy, I actually lost some weight."


"And is that what you want?" she asked. "A convenient little diet pill in your back pocket that doubles as an off-switch to your powers? A way to return to normal life whenever you feel like it, if only for a little while?"


Now that the possibility was within his easy reach, it was tempting.


But then he thought back to the cold, hard nights on the floor of his cell, the hours he spent aching for comfort and missing the extra weight that had melted off of his body...longing for someone to fill his stomach with a nice, warm meal...dreaming of Chloe holding him, fortifying him, softening him back up with her affection…


"No," he decided at last. "All I want is justice." With that, he bent down, heaved the whole box of suppressants over one shoulder, and chucked it into the river below.
 

stevita

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FIFTEEN

***

"Next to take the floor," announced the MC into the microphone, "after her long hiatus from the super scene, a former Division heroine now clocking in on the payroll of Commissioner Jasmine Freeman of the BCPD, please welcome the one-and-only, enigmatic Kilowatt, escorted by America's favorite savior himself and leader of the Frontline Force, Captain Justice!"


From his place at Martika's side on the marble steps descending to the dance floor below, Ben watched as the petite but curvy little woman known to the public as Kilowatt curtseyed before the crowd, hand-in-hand with the blond, broad-shouldered Captain Justice. Kilowatt had swapped out the police uniform she had worn to the preceding conference for a glimmering, sleeveless gown in navy blue, dotted with tens of thousands of golden rhinestones, along with a matching masquerade mask and a gossamer sash draped elegantly over her elbows. Captain Justice's blue super suit would have matched her ensemble, if not for the silver star emblazoned across his chest and the gaudy striped cape he only wore to these sorts of see-and-be-seen public affairs, since capes had been banned on the battlefield by the Division for the last few decades. "I can't believe Kilowatt came here with that **********," Martika muttered to Ben.


"I can't believe he came with her! She's openly admitted to playing him on your show."


Martika scoffed. "Guys like Captain J don't bother listening in on gloom-and-doom social justice shows like mine. They think their chiseled jawlines, eight-pack abs and federal contracts make them invincible. Just you wait, though. In a few years, when those muscles start to go soft, he'll be the next one the Division decides to throw in cryo-freeze...if they don't just take him apart for organ donations when their newer, prettier ops take damage in the field."


"Not to be outdone by his teammate, next on the dance floor, we have Human Taser, of the BCPD, accompanied by none other than his direct supervisor, Commissioner Jasmine Freeman herself!" announced the MC. The Commissioner stole the show in a periwinkle blue, floor-length gown, while her date--her subordinate--wore a simple suit and tie with a pocket square matching the shade of her dress. While she waved gratuitously to the crowd, all smiles, he stood stoically, expressionless. "This marks Mr. Taser's third time attending the Electromancers' Conference and Masquerade, and his first year attending since his retirement from the military. On behalf of the Electromancers' Union, I'd like to wish him luck in his future career as both an officer and as the Commissioner's spokesman against the nationwide epidemic of friendly fire against both government-employed and rogue superheroes alike."


"I heard," whispered the man behind Ben on the staircase to his date, "Freeman only hired Taser as her second choice. She wanted Bombshell for her spokesgirl."


"Really?" asked the woman on his arm. "I thought you said Taser made a big deal in the media about vying for that job. He's definitely the most qualified person here to talk about the whole friendly fire thing. Why would there even be competition from that freak that makes people fat?"


Martika glanced inconspicuously over her shoulder. "Don't look now," she murmured to Ben, "but we're right in front of Lightning Rod and Seismic Siren."


At the sound of a familiar name, Ben started to whip around instinctively, until Martika gripped his arm to hold him in place, facing forward. "I said don't look!"


"Sorry. It's just...I know that guy."


It didn't seem like Lightning Rod recognized him, though, which tracked, sadly. They'd met at last year's Electromancers' Masquerade. Lightning Rod, under the influence of several glasses of free champagne, had bared his heart to Ben, sharing the story of his humble upbringing, followed by a hard college career at Rivington, ridiculed for his threadbare clothes and inner-city mannerisms, until finally, he had his big break and subsequent rise to fame.


And who had Ben been back then, aside from the random electric fat guy escorted by Bombshell?


"Next onto the dance floor…"


Martika gave Ben's fleshy upper arm a squeeze through the sleeve of his costume jacket with her long, glittery nails. "That's us!" she said, her chubby cheeks rounding as she smiled behind the ornate, stainless steel mask she'd had custom made for the occasion.


"The Union is always honored to welcome in new blood," said the MC.


Nevermind that Ben had literally been to this event before...just never as Spark.


"Therefore, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce Spark, the Northwest Coast's newest up-and-coming electromagnetic rogue hero, along with his date, the radio star you know and love as the voice of disenfranchised Deviants everywhere, Martika Mitchell of Nail Me to the Cross!"


"That's Martika Mitchell?" hissed Seismic Siren to Lightning Rod. "Somehow I pictured her slimmer."


Martika nudged Ben into the spotlight, but let the music play for a bar and a half before stepping up to join him in what he could only assume was a calculated move on her part to make him look good…


And it worked.


For a split second, he was alone before the crowd. And then…


Then the indomitable Ms. Mitchell sidled shyly up to his side, a vision in her big, beauty-queen curls, and yet, so understated. Her steel-gray dress, though voluminous enough to give stately curves to her plump frame, was free from much embellishment, and she'd left off the high heels for the night in favor of dainty ballet flats. A simple diamond necklace with a yellow citrine centerpiece completed her look and tied her color scheme in with Ben's gray and yellow ensemble, and as much weight as her name held, she made a show of looking up at him as if to show the world that appearing on Spark's arm was the highlight of her life.


"I'm not used to you being this much shorter than me," he muttered.


"Doesn't it make you feel big and strong, though?" she countered. "All eyes on us, big guy. Please tell me you know how to foxtrot."


"The basics." Oriana had been the one to teach him, and there was only so much dancing you could stand to do with your cousin.


"Here, just step forward on your left," she said, gripping his hand in her fingerless-gloved one.


"I know that much."


"Then this should be easy for you."


Though she guided the pair of them around the dance floor, between the other dancing couples, any onlooker would have guessed he was the one leading, so effortlessly did she signal each change in direction with a subtle squeeze of his shoulder or barely-perceptible tug with her steps. He felt the others' gazes upon them--and not all of the eyes were kind--but not once was Martika shaken from her graceful dance.


"How do you do it?" asked Ben.


"Do what?"


He shrugged. "Glide through life like nothing bothers you."


"With ease and poise, knowing my left shoe is worth more than everything and everyone in this ballroom," she replied. "But it's really not about the money. It's about realizing that no matter how much better than you anyone might think they are, it doesn't give them any power over you. Not really." As the song came to its conclusion, she began to glance around the room, over each shoulder. "Are you dizzy? Do you want a snack, or maybe a drink? You know what I could really go for right now?"


"A snack?" Ben guessed. "Maybe a drink?"
 

stevita

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"Bingo. I'll be right back, I'm going to go find us some refreshments. Why don't you socialize with...oh! Kilowatt!" Martika beckoned the woman over with a wave of her hand. "Kilowatt, this is my date, Spark. Spark, this is Kilowatt. She was a guest on my show."


"I know," said Ben. "Kilowatt, right? Sorry the Division...y'know...froze you."


"Awe, bud, you don't need to worry about it! Loads of people in this room have it way worse than I did. At least I got to be asleep through the whole thing. Spark, was it?"


Up close and personal, Kilowatt was a beauty...and Ben felt guilty for thinking it, but it brought him comfort to see that the elegant electomancer was not exactly thin in build. She wasn't a big woman, by any means, but she wasn't built like a typical police officer, either. She had high cheekbones, visible collarbones, and an hourglass waist, but her DD breasts, pillar-like upper arms, and voluminous hips looked like they could have belonged to a heavier girl, and it wasn't a bad thing. It was hard to place her, ethnically, especially under strobe light and a disco ball, but her heavy-hooded, dark eyes, along with her accent, hinted at Spanish descent.


"Yep...Spark. That's me." As many months ago as Chloe had suggested the name, it was still a bit strange answering to it. "So how long have you known Mar--"


****, he thought to himself as he looked over his shoulder into empty space. Martika had already left to fetch the snacks.


"Ya know, it's the craziest thing," said Kilowatt. "I was actually introduced to Ms. Mitchell through this mutual friend, 'Crucifix' or something like that. Or, I think it was Crucifix. And I assume she knows Ms. Mitchell. I might be wrong. I never got a good look at this Crucifix person, or whatever her name is, or was, if she yet lives. But she and two or three other people broke me out of cryo-freeze. Super disorienting, my head was spinning the whole time. And then, while I was still warming up, they asked me to use my lightning powers to help them thaw out a few other heroes the Division had froze...and how could I say no? The next thing I know, I'm waking up on Martika Mitchell's couch, and she wants my story. Crazy, right?"


"Yeah," Ben agreed. "Crazy." And slightly sketchy of Crucifix to play with Kilowatt's head like that...but then again, sometimes anonymous salvation was a necessary part of being a hero, wasn't it? There was a whole course about it Ben was scheduled to take in the coming semester. Bombshell never revealed her identity. Hell, she never even followed up with the people she rescued.


The music abruptly cut. Tap-tap-tap, went the test of a microphone. "Hello? Can everyone hear me?"


"Oh, hang on. This is important," said Kilowatt. She directed Ben's attention to the center of the room, where Human Taser had taken the podium.


A tall, athletic-looking man with square-cut hair and broad shoulders, Human Taser was much closer than Kilowatt to Ben's mental picture of an inner-city cop. "If I can have your attention for just a moment," he went on into the mic, "as much as we've all been enjoying the festivities tonight, it's important to remember the purpose of the formation of the Electromancers' Union. Here to say a few words is a beloved American heroine, who, depending on how long you've been a part of our family, you may have been waiting to hear from for quite sometime. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Miss Scarlet Flame to the stage."


He stepped aside with a humble gesture of his arm.


Only...nothing happened.


He cleared his throat and stepped back up to the podium. "Welcome Scarlet Flame to the stage!" he repeated.


There was a murmur from the crowd. Someone walked up behind Human Taser and whispered in his ear. He forced a smile and leaned down into the mic.


"It seems Ms. Flame has been called away on urgent business. But that's no problem, right? Sorry to bother all of you. Please, let the celebration commence as planned!"


Things around Ben started to happen incredibly fast. "I brought you back a beer," said Kilowatt, coming up behind him with two bottles in one hand. He hadn't even realized she had gone anywhere.


Then, Human Taser joined them. "Unbefuckinglievable," he muttered to himself, head down. "Third year in a row Flame's done this to us, and that's not even counting the years before I got here."


"Captain...it's okay," said Kilowatt, placing a hand on his shoulder.


"Thanks, Lieutenant. Say...is one of those beers for me?"


"I...uh…"


"Sure," said Ben. "I think Martika's bringing me something stronger."


"Perfect, then!" Kilowatt made to open one of the beers, but struggled with the cap. "Stupid, stupid arthritic hands!"


"Here, I got you girl," said Human Taser. With that, both the caps popped off, hands-free. Kilowatt handed a beer to her colleague and they clinked the necks together in cheers.


"So," said Ben, "I'm kind of new. If you don't mind me asking...why was the Union founded?"


"Look," said Human Taser, "I don't mean to drag Scarlet Flame's name through the dirt. I really don't. But do you remember the Electric Elite?"


Ben couldn't say he did. "Um…"


"A while back, the Division put her in charge of that team. And then they had her lead them into a massacre. That's when we knew we had to band together and get each others' backs. Voltage was the one what started this operation...Rest In Power, Queen. But I think she's proud of us up there where she is, with God drinking Veuve, or whatever the hell it is God drinks."


"The Division had ways--" Kilowatt started.


"I know, I know," said Human Taser. "It would just mean a lot to the bunch of us to hear Flame say she's sorry."


"I'm sure she is," said Kilowatt, both to her superior and to Ben. "I'll tell you right how, Spark, it's not easy trying to be a superhero, no matter who you work for. I was picked up by the Division early on, and you know how that went for me. But HT here has had it even worse. Back when he was in the Marines--"


"I don't really want to--"


"Come on, Captain. The new guy deserves to know the risks that come along with our line of work."


"And you can tell him all about your time in a block of ice until the damn cows come home, alright? But I don't want to talk about my ****, and I don't need you to talk about it for me. Got it, Lieutenant?"


"Okay, okay," said Kilowatt, baring an open palm in surrender. "I hope you're at least talking to Dr. Castro about it, though."


"Maybe you should just leave it," Ben told her, tentatively touching her forearm.


"Fucking thank you!" exclaimed Human Taser. "See? The new guy understands boundaries. Bro, where the **** have you been this whole damn time?"


A guilty rush of heat crept up Ben's neck. Where had he been? It seemed like this bunch were long overdue to meet someone with a knack for de-escalation. And where was Martika with that drink?


"Probably in my little sad-guy dorm room, drinking vodka-and-LaCroix and watching Splice Sisters," he admitted.


At that, Human Taser's eyes lit up. "I thought they canceled that show! I've been trying to find it forever! I mean, not for me, but I have this nine-year-old cousin who just came into hydro powers, like, crazy early, she'd love it!"


"Oh, it did get canceled. But the whole thing's on FlickStream," said Ben.


"Shut the **** up! No it's not!"


"Why would I lie about something like that?"


"Excuse me...excuse me...oof! Sorry," squeaked a new voice as a small shape softly bumped into Ben from behind. "Oh my god, so sorry! It's my first time here."


Ben turned around and regarded the stranger, a short, hard-muscled and wide-eyed youth of ambiguous gender with their dark hair gelled into a swooping faux-hawk, its fringe falling messily over the eye-holes of a rhinestoned mask. The newcomer wore a black gown that overflowed with tulle and shimmered in a pastel rainbow of hues reminiscent of the Northern Lights, but Ben didn't want to make any assumptions before the introductions were over with, even if he was overcome with the strangest sense of familiarity. "Wait...where have I seen you?" he asked.


The stranger shrugged. "The news, probably? I'm like, the sixth person to be introduced as 'the Division's first openly queer superhero,' since, ya know, the first five of them died. Name's Ember. Anyway, where is everyone getting the booze?"


"Here, I'll get you a beer!" Kilowatt piped up. "In fact, why don't I get a bucket of beers, for the bunch of us? Spark, do you mind helping me? I don't like touching ice."


"Right...since they froze you and whatnot," Ben nodded, following Kilowatt away from the group as she led him by the arm.


"Oh. My. God. I am so embarrassed!" confessed Kilowatt, once they were a safe ways away. "So, please don't judge me, but I kind of dropped Ember's name in my interview on Ms. Mitchell's radio show, and I completely misgendered her. I MEAN THEM!" she quickly corrected herself.


"Ember, Ember, I know that name...!" said Ben. "Didn't Bombshell open for them on an episode of Fredo Flores?"


"I heard Bombshell is the sweetest, despite her bad rap. Is it true? I mean, not that….sorry. It's presumptuous to assume that every fat guy has shot his shot with Bombshell. Not that I'm calling you fat!"


"It's okay."


"You're really just chubby. Man, why can't I go anywhere these days without sticking my foot in my mouth? Do you know anything about the science of being in deep freeze and whether or not it might, uh...might cause permanent brain damage?"


"Kilowatt! It's okay. I know I'm pretty fat." He gave the side of his stomach a pat with his free hand through the fabric of his costume. His expanse of flesh jiggled slightly under his own touch, and it was...nice? "It's cool. I like being the friendly neighborhood electric fat guy."


"Good...good," said Kilowatt. "I bet you're fun to hug."
 

stevita

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"Do you want a hug right now?"


"I have always been a hugger."


Without another word, he wrapped her up in his arms... even took her about a half inch off the ground. Instantly, he felt comfort radiate off of her, even if he wasn't reaching for it.


"Thanks," said Kilowatt as the embrace broke. "Have you ever thought about a career in law enforcement? You could be good for the force. You calm me down, and as for the Captain...this is the first time I've ever heard him talk about anything as normal as cartoons. Of course, it would be up to Commissioner Freeman. But I could put in a good word with her?"


"That's alright. I don't really see myself as a cop," said Ben.


After all, he couldn't guarantee that he and Crucifix wouldn't be robbing any more hospitals.


They reached the drinks station, where a bartender graciously handed them an iced-down bucket of beers before either of them even had to ask. "Here, I'll take it," said Ben, grabbing the handle while Kilowatt kept her wary distance.


"Thanks," she said with a small, wry smile. "Seriously, though, do you think Ember's mad at me?"


"What, over your segment on Nail Me? I'm sure they know no harm was meant. Again, you got frozen, and you basically missed the 2010s. A lot's changed about a lot of things. The conversation about gender...the Internet...oh! We totally impeached a President, too."


"No way!"


"Again...why would I lie about something like that?" said Ben. "But the point is, it would be stupid to expect you to be all up-to-speed about everything right away, and you're obviously trying your best. But if you really want to know what Ember thinks, the easiest way to find out is ask."


It was a short walk back to their original cluster of new friends. "HT, do you mind?" asked Kilowatt. With a sigh, Human Taser performed his bottlecap trick on all six beers in the bucket with a slight backwards pop of his head.


"Y'all finna make me change my name to Human Beer Opener, swear to fucking God."


"Oh, Ember," said Ben. "My new friend Kilowatt had a question. See, a while back, she was on this radio show--"


"I probably missed it," said Ember. "I haven't been able to get much free time to listen to podcasts lately, or have any me-time at all, really. But whatever you said, Kilowatt, it's fine, I swear, it's fine." They grabbed a beer and took a hard pull. "It's been a rough year to be a Deviant."


"What a relief," said Kilowatt. "I mean, not that you've been so busy. Just that we have no bad blood. Oh, who are you here with, by the way? Or did they change the bit about having to be an electromancer without a date since I've been here last?"


"And are you old enough to drink?" asked Human Taser.


Ben glanced off to the side and tried to act natural, being a few months shy himself of his 21st birthday.


"What are you, a cop or something?" asked Ember.


"You miss the introductions or something? Kilowatt and I are both cops--"


"And everything's legal at the Electromancers' Masquerade, unless they changed that while I was in the box," supplied Kilowatt.


Ember took another big gulp of their beer, pointed skyward, and sent forth a bolt of lightning that didn't quite reach the ceiling, but got damn close.


"****!" swore Kilowatt. "But...I thought you were a pyromancer! What the ****, girl?! Sorry! Dude! Does 'dude' work for you?"


"Honestly, I'm less worried about labels right now," said Ember, "and more worried about what I'm going to do for work now that I've effectively defected from the Division."


"Good for you!" said Kilowatt. "What was your back-breaking straw?"


"You know, I've never liked how willing they've been to just bury their gays," said Ember, "but what really nailed the coffin shut for me was when they locked me up in a filthy underground lab and forced my body full of all these extra superpowers." They looked pointedly at Ben. "He can tell you more about it. He was there, if I'm not mistaken. A little ways down the hall from me, in the holding cell across from that scary-quiet brunette, right? And weren't you also neighbors with that insufferable Novak girl?"


Ben's stomach did a backflip.


So that was where else he knew them from.


Ember's gaze shifted to a point past Ben's shoulder. "I better go. Kilowatt, heads up."


No sooner had Ember gotten rid of themself than Captain Justice appeared at Kilowatt's side. "There you are! I wasn't expecting to find you among the riff raff." The broad-shouldered blonde took Kilowatt around the waist and stooped down to kiss her neck. "Is it just me, or did your tits get bigger?"


"Blame the Commissioner, and all the donuts she keeps around the station. She says they're for her, but she never eats them. I think she's just obsessed with thick women. But if you approve, I see no reason to change my eating habits…" She reached backwards over her shoulder to touch his cheek and hooked him with a seductive glance.


Human Taser chuckled under his breath. "Girl's working him like a case and he don't even know it."


"So you and the Commissioner--?" Ben began.


"Nah, man. It's all professional between us. Jazz likes girls, I like guys. She just wanted to test the waters tonight, see if she could recruit. If you see her, she'll probably try and get you on the force. Ember was just talking you up as a natural born hostage negotiator. I just assumed y'all had a class together at hero school at some point, but I guess you musta pulled some tricks out the sleeve while you two were locked up together, huh?"


"Aww, shucks." Ben shifted his considerable weight from one foot to the other. "I guess I rose to the occasion once or twice."


"I'm sorry Scarlet Flame didn't show," Captain Justice said to Kilowatt. "I can talk to her the next time I see her?"


"Don't bother," shrugged Kilowatt. "Some of the newer electromancers are too young to know this, but she tried to come and state her case the year before I went under. And when she got here...well, we were drunk, and we were burning her in effigy. If I was her, I wouldn't want to come back, either."


About then was when Martika finally returned with a plate of canapes and a glass of sangria for Ben. "What have I missed?"


"Oh, thank God." Ben took two spinach puffs off her tray and shoved them both in his mouth at once. He hadn't eaten since before the Faraday matches--the conference always opened with the most confident members of the Union challenging their leader for his post in a combat tournament. For the last two decades, it had not gone well for the challengers. Killowatt and Lightning Rod had both gotten their asses kicked. That had been over four hours ago. It was only a matter of time until Ben's body ran out of available calories and started relying on ambient emotional energy instead, and with the personalities present in the room, he didn't want to wait for that to happen.


"Poor thing," said Martika, resting her hand on his upper belly as those first bites made their way down his throat. "You look ravenous! Want me to fix a to-go plate and we can go back to my car?"


"Please!"
 
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stevita

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SIXTEEN


"...And it's just kind of funny, now that I think about it."


"Huh? Sorry, what's funny?"


They'd been on the road for a solid fifteen minutes before Ben managed to catch on that Martika was in the middle of one of her educational, if a bit dogmatic, monologues. Before they'd made it through the exit doors of the masquerade, a few more glasses of sangria had made it into his hands, and through the last several stoplights, he'd been mindlessly grazing his way through the Styrofoam box in his ample lap, which had been stuffed to the brim with dainty phyllo pastries, crackers stacked with fine cheese and a variety of fruit compotes, and finger sandwiches featuring every filling from pate to caviar when he'd first buckled in for the ride. He was now scraping the edges for the last remaining crumbs of what had been a moderate feast, and it had only just dawned on him that Martika had been trying to initiate a two-way conversation. To think: when they'd first met, he'd barely been able to choke down a whole fast-food burger. Now, it was second nature for him to reach for that satisfying pull of a slightly overfull stomach as a comfort to his fried nerves after an overwhelming night.


"You just seemed so certain tonight would be a bust," said Martika, "but from what I could see, you accrued quite the fan club, and did I even overhear you got a job offer? Look at you, Mr. Popular!" She nudged his shoulder fondly with her own.


"I'm...just as shocked," mumbled Ben, leaning back in his seat to stretch out and give his belly a soothing rub. Between its warm weight pressing him into the seat and the gentle caress of the heaters built into the upholstery, he felt cozy enough to go to sleep--it was quickly becoming a losing battle to keep his eyes open. "Nobody wanted to talk to me last year."


"I never said I was shocked," said Martika. "Did nobody want to talk to you, or did you just not want to talk to anybody?"


"I guess I was pretty antisocial last year," Ben admitted. "Maybe I was onto something, though. Full-time superheroes are a mess."


"It's a rough life," said Martika. "Why do you think Crucifix doesn't go to masquerade balls, or have a social media presence?"


"I wonder if it's too late for me to go incognito like that," Ben mused. "Jeez, that whole time I kept wondering when you were gonna come back and save me."


"Save you?" Martika scoffed. "And here I thought I was doing you a favor, giving you some time to cozy up to Kilowatt."


"K-Kilowatt?" If Ben had been a shade or two lighter, he would surely have flushed crimson. "Don't get me wrong, she's a beautiful girl. I just don't really feel like we clicked, that's all. Plus, Captain Justice would have murdered me with his laser eyes if I tried to make a move, so…"


"So, what I'm hearing is, I still have a shot with you?"


Ben swallowed thickly.


Of course, he wanted her. He'd been wanting her. He'd be a liar if he said the thought didn't cross his mind daily, sometimes more than once. Still, though, it wasn't the most pleasant feeling, being called out like this. It was like he was a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar, reaching in for a second cookie with the first one stuck halfway down his throat, after his mom and the doctor had already forbidden it. "I thought you said you had a boyfriend?"


"I did...I also said he was out of town."


"Wow...he's, uh, he's been out of town for a while."


"What can I say? We both keep busy," said Martika. "Thankfully, I have a very comfortable bed at home with a lot of pillows...a staff trained to indulge my every demand when it comes to food and liquor...still, though, I've been craving some human touch recently, and you…" At the stoplight, she turned her head to give him an appraising up-and-down glance, her grip tightening around the steering wheel, her brown eyes sparkling under the traffic signal as if they were flecked with tiny pieces of gold. "Hell, why keep it a secret? I've always found you attractive, Ben."


He could have choked. "Funny...I've always thought the same thing about you, too."


"And now that you've been eating better...building your strength...thickening up a little...I find you downright irresistible."


A million voices echoed in his head. He heard Chloe offering him gentle encouragement, insisting that if he was supportive enough to be comfortable with her living her free bird lifestyle, exploring the world one squeezable inch of fat at a time, then surely he deserved the chance to get his rocks off with his wanton and willing mentor. Malcolm, telling him to just go for it, bro. Heather, in all her proud, plump perfection, urging him to seize his chance with the big beauty before him, since--and no offense--she knew she was a prize, but she just didn't like cock like that, but every red-blooded woman-loving man deserved the chance to lay at the side of a blubbery belle who wanted him.


"Let me ask you this, my darling Spark," Martika smirked. "Have you ever taken a bath in Veuve Clicquot?"


***


For all the years Ben had spent worrying about his weight, biology had never been his strongest subject in school. As painfully aware as he'd been of the size of his body, the nuances of how it worked remained an elusive mystery to him--or perhaps the fact that his own biology was so atypical and perplexing even to the experts was what alienated him from the subject as a whole in the first place. Math came easily to him, as did physics--after all, what was physics but applied math? Chemistry, too, was a no-brainer--unsurprising, as it was little more than applied physics. But even though biology was essentially just applied chemistry, that was where science ultimately lost him.


Perhaps that was why he could think of no explanation for why he felt dizzier and woozier in Martika's bathtub full of cold champagne than he ever had at even the wildest of Bellvue college ragers, despite refraining from sampling the bath water. Was it possible, he wondered, to get drunk through your skin? Or from simply breathing the fumes from alcohol?


Maybe Kilowatt had slipped him a Ruphy at the masquerade, but he highly doubted it. He had picked up no malicious intent directed at him from her, and even if she'd had nefarious designs on him he'd failed to detect, she was far too spacey to pull off any sort of evil plot. She may have had Captain Justice around her little finger, but any and all of that guy's mental faculties were dedicated to fueling his rampant self-obsession, so of course, he made an easy target.


Of course, it was entirely possible that his lowered faculties had less to do with alcohol and more to do with the impediment of his breathing. Martika had him pressed to the wall of the tub, barely allowing him breaks to come out for air between passionate makeout sessions, and while there was a lot of give to her soft figure, especially the pillowy breasts pressed to his chest, the undeniable fact remained that she was downright heavy...but the lightheadedness came to Ben as a welcome disorientation.


"Holy…" he gasped as her plump lips pulled away from his. He gripped her upper arms and she smirked, leaning even harder into him. He could practically feel the blood rushing out of his brain to keep his stiff cock standing insistently at attention between her belly and his own.


"Want to get out and lay down on the bed while I fetch a con--?"


She was promptly cut off by the loud, abrasive buzzing of the doorbell.


"Oh, that must be the package I'm expecting." She heaved herself off of him and exited the tub, its champagne contents splashing against the walls with a wet 'plunk' as it settled at its new water level in her absence. Ben ached for the pressure of her body against his--had he been a little bolder, he'd have reminded her he had a package ready for her, too. "You can come with me if you want," she said, wrapping herself up in a towel. "It is for you, after all."


"F-for me?" he stammered. "You didn't have to do that! It's not even a major holiday or nothin'."


"Must I keep reminding you? I'm Martika Goddamn Mitchell, and I do nothing more and nothing less than whatever I please at any given moment. Anyway, you should learn to get used to the special treatment. You are, after all, the spectacular Spark!"


He tugged his boxers, pants, and t-shirt back on to follow her to the door--comfortable as she was with stepping into the hall almost naked, he didn't have her economic clout, and, thus, was less keen on the chance of any member of the city's elite glimpsing him with his pants down. When she swung the door open, he was glad for the coverage: what greeted them was not a mail parcel, but a man.
 

stevita

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Tall, broad, and intimidating, wearing impeccably-shined shoes and a navy blue suit that had to be custom-tailored to his dimensions, he could have passed for a big brother of Ben's--and that was not a mere reference to their five-ish year age differential. The guy had to have a hundred pounds on Ben, if not more. He carried it mostly as plush, protruding fat in the belly and hip areas, but his arms, as thick around as two-liters, were nothing to be unimpressed with. If it came to it, Ben would not have wanted to fight this gentleman.


"Dante? What a pleasant surprise!" exclaimed Martika. "I wasn't expecting you home for another week!"


Oh. ****.


So this was the boyfriend.


"And I wasn't expecting you to bring a guy up here--"


"It was just this one time, and we didn't even really do anything!" Ben blurted, fully prepared to drop to his knees and beg for his life.


"--without telling his ass you and I were open! Holy ****, Tika, poor dude's scared enough to piss his pants!"


"O-open?" Ben repeated. "Like, as in poly?"


Martika called gleefully. "Forgive me my mischief, Dante! It gets boring, having so much money and power. Of course, fighting for Deviant rights is its own reward, but sometimes I like to feel like the bad girl for a change."


"You coulda just roleplayed," Dante chided her. "Messing with a dude's head ain't cool." Ben chanced a read on him to see if he was really on his side and found a thorough understanding of each of the parties in the room.


"You're a telepath?"


"Who else but a telepath could handle a girl like her? Hope you're alright, bro. She's too much." Dante waddled over the threshold to take Martika by the waist. As much belly as there was between the two of them, his arm had no hope of making it around her. She had to lean into his pudge, displacing it slightly, to allow him to press a kiss to her cheek. "And yet, just enough. So, quick update, baby girl: I talked to the guy in Utah and he's onboard with the plan."


"Did he name his price?" asked an eager Martika.


"Ol boy said he'd do it for free, out the goodness of his heart."


"Excellent! That's one less transaction the Division can track."


"Oh! This was in the mail for a Spark, care of Martika." Dante pulled a yellow bubble-mailer out of the inside of his suit jacket and offered it to Ben.


Ben tore open the envelope and gasped as he glimpsed its contents: a single set of car keys. "Martika! You didn't--"


"Again, I wanted to." She disentangled herself from Dante and strode back into the bedroom. "Once I put some clothes on, why don't we take her for a test drive?"


***


Martika's idea of 'some clothes' turned out to be one of her sheer nightgown/silk robe combos, barely adequate to contain all her curves, not that Ben was complaining.


The Sparkmobile was a sexy gray Hyundai Elantra with paint accents in fluorescent yellow that matched the color scheme of his costume and invoked the stormy, overcast Blackwater sky. The driver's seat was a bit of a tight squeeze for Ben, but, as Martika had explained, it was hard to customize a car when one of your requirements was unregistered plates.


"Are you mad at me?" she asked, prodding his arm as he sped down the I-39, periodically adjusting his belly behind the wheel.


"Nah. Girls just wanna have fun. I'm kind of in an open triad, and one of my partners, Chloe, she's always making trouble. But we love her."


"Then why are you driving so--WHOA!"


He shrugged. "Used to it?" He wasn't as reckless as Bombshell. In fact, he didn't even like to sit in her passenger's seat. But she had been his first driving coach, and her need for speed had somewhat rubbed off.


He pulled over by the side of the river. "Wow...it's so peaceful here."


"And polluted, and smoggy, and bad," Martika sighed. "But as much as the world can suck sometimes... I'm glad I'm sharing it with you." She reached over to squeeze the pliable roll between his side-moob and upper belly. "Now what do you say we christen that backseat?"


He kissed her with confidence and fondled one of her mountainous breasts. "I'm onboard if you are."


***


"Hey, Ben, where are you? Party started half an hour ago."


It was Oriana.


****. That party was today.


Between crimefighting and prison reform, it had taken Bombshell quite sometime to arrange her and Big Tech's housewarming party. As for Ben's own busy schedule...he hadn't even been at the dorms when his invitation arrived, along with Evergreen's. Unlike Evergreen's, though, his was addressed to him by first and last name. Bombshell didn't know he was Spark, and he'd given anyone who did the strict instruction to keep that little tidbit to themself. Chloe had scarcely batted an eye learning of his robbery at the lipo clinic, and he was sure Bombshell herself would see that he'd done it for the greater good. But if word of his exploits got around to her friend, the Police Commissioner, it could create a problem.


Speaking of Chloe, it had been too long since he'd gotten to drink in her affection, to look in her eyes and hold her hand...but it was Evergreen who would be escorting her as her plus-one to the party, so as to free up Ben to be Malcolm's date and fulfill his longstanding wish to meet the Fattening Femme Fatale in the flesh.


And of course, today would be the day when Crucifix would call upon him to officially complete his training.


"Listen, Ori, I'm running a little late." How was he going to excuse this? He was never late when he RSVPed. "I, uh, fried my car battery again." In truth, the Sparkmobile was in tip top shape. He'd just opted to carpool with Martika today for comfort's sake. "She's in the shop right now, I'm just waiting on an estimate of how much it'll cost for the replacement and the labor, and then I guess I'll ring D'von and have him CashApp me--"


"D'von's here already," said Oriana. "I can send him to pick you up?"


"No! I mean, no, that's okay. I can Uber. You guys stay put. Hey, tell D'von to have a drink for me. I'll be there before you know it. Hey, did you, uh, get my housewarming present?"


"Yeah, it came in the mail this morning. I actually had a couple questions about that: first of all, what is it?"


At Malcolm's suggestion, he'd made a last-minute gift of his latest project from robotics club. In hindsight, given Ori's lingering shell-shock after her fight with the criminal cyborg Chimera, this might not have been the most thoughtful gesture.


"It's one of those automatic vacuums, you know, like a Roomba. I built it myself."


"O...kay. Next question: why does it scream when it hits something?"


"Because it effectively, uh...feels pain," explained Ben.


"WHY?!"


"Because that makes it objectively better at pathfinding."


Oriana sighed. "I swear, you are just one bad day away from becoming a whole supervillain. Anyway, your boyfriend's already here, and he ain't stopped hitting on me."


"Tell him I said to stop!"


"Why don't you tell--? Ah, ****…"


"Everything okay, Ori?"


"Yeah, I gotta let you go, though. Gotta put out a fire."


"What kind of fire?"


"Depends how much Fireball had to drink before he showed his ass up here uninvited! Okay, love you, dude! Bye!"


All the while, Crucifix had maintained her steady speed as she scanned the streets for trouble. "That was Ori?"


"The cousin, yeah."


"Why'd you lie to her?" she asked.


"Spark's got a warrant. Why get her involved?"


"You don't have to drop your name to tell her you're in the business of saving lives?"


"I'm not in the business yet."


"Sure you are! What about those test subjects you liberated from Rivington?"


"That was a fluke." He gazed out the window sullenly. "What if I fail tonight?"


"Then I'll be right here to get your back, and we'll try again next week."


Suddenly, he felt something prick at him from deep in a passing alleyway: panic, terror, desperation. Crucifix had perked up in her seat, too, alerted by the proximity of pain.


"Well, kid, it's go time."


Ben gripped the door handle nervously.


"Remember, Ben, I'm right behind you."


He stepped out of the car and wandered into the space between two gleaming uptown high-rises, following the pull of the intense anticipation of certain doom.


It was a nice neighborhood, but that wasn't enough to stop the city's most vicious miscreants from prowling. If anything, it probably encouraged them: this was the part of town where they'd find the deepest pockets.


At the end of the alley, by dim streetlights scattered by clouds and thick overhead smog, Ben made out the figure of a slender woman held in the clutches of an armed assailant. He had her in a chokehold, weapon cocked, and though she kicked and struggled, her meager strength was no match for his brawn. "What do you want, money? It's inside, I'm in 6240, you can take all the money you want, I'll hand over the keys if you just let me go!" the woman pleaded, but the gunman wasn't having it. Having caught her empty-handed, the robber had decided to settle for a prize other than cash. Ben could feel the perverse intention rolling off of him in waves.


"Hey, let her go!" cried Ben, stepping out of the shadows. The robber dropped the girl, who landed on her bottom with a sharp grunt.


"What are you gonna do, fatso?"


Ben channeled the man's own violent adrenaline into a white-hot ball of electricity that shot out of his palm and hit his enemy in the chest, illuminating the alleyway, the nearby dumpster, and the bespectacled blonde staggering to her feet. The gunman hit the ground, instantly electrocuted, his skull cracking upon impact and leaking black-looking blood as the light from Ben's electric blast fizzled out.
 

stevita

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Perturbed, but never forgetting his top-priority concern, he rushed to the girl's aid and helped her the rest of the way back to her feet. She gripped his arm with both hands for support, but nevertheless, she felt light and dainty, delicate enough for him to pick up with one arm if he tried. And if he squinted in the semidarkness, he could make out a familiarity about her almond eyes, pouty lips, and high, sculpted cheekbones.


"Wait...I know you."


"You and most of the world."


By God...it was Bailey Sharp.


"Boy, am I glad to see you, Ben," she said, both of her slender arms clinging around one of his.


"Bailey...wow, this is...****, is he…?"


"Better him than us. Try not to sweat it. Every hero kills their first bad guy," she said.


Yes, he'd heard that at Bellvue plenty of times from plenty of teachers, but was little consolation now.


"Walk me up?"


He could keep Crucifix waiting for a few minutes longer, for the sake of Bailey's peace of mind, right? Besides, it would get them both away from the dead guy.


As he followed her into the building, she huddled up against his hefty frame, shivering, seeking warmth. He wrapped an arm around her in an attempt to still her trembling. "Guess that's what I get for taking out my trash alone at night," she muttered, shaking her head.


"How did you know it was me? There's got to be dozens of electromancers in this city!"


"None as cute as you, though. And I know, because Lightning Rod took me as his date to the Electromancers' Masquerade the year I made my music debut. Not the conference, just the dance afterward; he thought the conference would be too 'dangerous' for me to go to."


"Aw, man, the conference is the best part!" Well, it was if you weren't busy sulking, like Ben had been his first year. "They always open with the fights between the leader of the Council and anyone who wants to challenge him for leadership...you ever seen a Faraday match? It's like a cage match, but you know...zap zap!" Ben spread the fingers of both his hands to mime tiny explosions.


"That sounds awesome! Do you have a date this year?"


"It actually just passed. But yeah, I had a date."


"Oh. Your girlfriend? Is that the girl you were telling me about rescuing?"


"No, that girl actually, well...the good news is, she's free now. The bad news is, she broke my heart. I went with my...mentor, I guess? I don't have like a specific girlfriend right now."


"Duly noted." She cracked a small smile. "Can I call dibs on you next year?"


"If we still know each other, sure."


"Well then, just to make sure we do, let me put my number…" She reached into his back pocket and dug out his cellphone to add herself to his list of contacts before handing it back to him, "in your phone."


They got off on the 62nd floor. He would have bid her adieu at the elevator, but she glanced behind as she exited the car to invite him in: "You're welcome to have a glass of wine with me. Unless you have to patrol the city some more."


"I...uh...wine, sure." He nodded, trailing right along after her. "I was just gonna go to my, uh, my cousin's house after this, but I'm not driving."


She led the way into her unit and flipped on the light. It was spacious inside, with floor to ceiling windows boasting a magnificent view of the city skyline, and yet…


"Wow. It's very minimalist." He worked off his goggles and took stock of the living room: a plain, utilitarian sectional sofa sat in the center of the hardwood floor, with a coffee table in front of it and a flat-screen TV on the wall.


"I don't know how people do it, with their private jets and dozen yachts," said Bailey. "Some people never get tired of stuff, stuff, stuff. I've been wealthy long enough that material things have lost their appeal to me. I'd much rather take a vacation or go to a concert than buy a car, or a dress, or what-have-you. I like the things you can experience, feel, taste...how about that wine?"


He helped himself to a seat on the couch while she sauntered into the kitchen, her posture relaxed now, her voice steady. From where he sat, he could hear her softly singing the lyrics to some song he'd heard before, but couldn't quite place. Just like at the concert, her voice calmed him, and he felt his body sink into the couch cushions as his anxiety melted away. She returned after a few minutes with two glasses of red wine and a small plate atop which sat a fist-sized chocolate tart.


"I like to bake," explained Bailey as she handed him his glass and sat down with him, her slender body barely making a dent in the couch cushion. "I had a few people over earlier in the day, and there are leftovers. I figured saving people must take a lot out of you. Try some?" She waited for him to finish taking a sip before picking up the tart with two fingers and holding it to his lips.


Oh, the feeder energy was strong with this one. But the texture of her desire lacked the sharp edge he'd felt when he first met Chloe, or maybe he was just coming around to the idea of girls who liked to spoil him. Anyway, she was right: saving people did take a lot out of him. He shouldn't show up at Oriana's house hungry and potentially ricocheting...right?


He accepted the bite Bailey offered, his eyes blowing wide with amazement. The crust had the perfect amount of crumble to it, the chocolate filling velvety and decadent. "Holy ****, Bailey," he said once he'd swallowed.


"Impressed?"


They both sipped their wine.


"If you weren't already a singer I'd say, become a chef. Don't you want any?"


"Unfortunately, my manager has me on a very strict diet and exercise program. Gotta look the part for the stage, right? So I have to indulge vicariously." She leaned in and fed him another bite. He happily chewed and swallowed, letting his eyes flutter shut in pleasure at the explosion of flavor in his mouth and mentally kicking himself for the years of deprivation he'd put himself through. How could he have ever given this up?


When he opened his eyes, he realized Bailey was now straddling his lap--and her thighs were competing for space with his lowermost belly roll. At three hundred pounds, his flab spilled over the waistband of his pants and pooled onto his thighs, straining his white tank top and pulling up the hem--he'd have been flashing a sliver of belly if Bailey didn't have her own firm midsection pressed flush against him.


Three. Hundred. Months ago, the idea would have horrified him. But now that he'd hit the milestone and his world hadn't fallen apart, he was fine--pleased with himself, even. Here he was at his all-time biggest, and yet, he was the best version of himself. At long last, he had a handle on his powers. Hell, he'd just saved someone's life!


And her fingers felt too good as she adoringly kneaded his side while she fed him the remainder of her sweet confection; her lips felt too good as she pressed them, warm and soft, against his own…


"Bailey! Bailey, wait." He didn't want to do it, but he gripped her shoulders and pried her away. He had to know this was really what she wanted. "You just had your life threatened. You're distraught. Do you really want this now, or do you just not want to be alone? Cause if you just want someone to sit with you, I can do that too. We can put something on TV?"


"You saved my life, Ben. Superheroes get certain privileges. Everyone knows that's how this works."


"Maybe in the sixties, but I'm not like that."


"Such a gentleman...but I do want you, Ben. I've wanted you since the fall formal. And you've only gotten cuter since then. Come on: I know you feel the spark."


"****. Who told you my weakness was corny puns?"


She kissed him again, and this time, he didn't resist, but wrapped an arm around her waist to pull her flush against himself. She let slip a needy sigh, and when he felt her lust building up in his own core, he just held her tighter and let it happen.


He was probably taking in thousands of calories' worth of her arousal...and it was fucking delicious.


She slipped her hand into his and entwined their fingers. "Come on. Let me show you the bedroom."
 

stevita

like the pancake
***
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
499
Location
Texas
SEVENTEEN


Bombshell and Big Tech's house was secondhand, but nice. Built in a decade long past, it had been renovated by the feedee-and-feeder hero power-couple to incorporate double doors at the entrance, wide hallways, big bathrooms, plenty of handicap bars along the walls, and outlets to support the running of at least one fridge in every room. Solar panels on the roof made this hedonistic heaven logistically possible.


Heather--well, Evergreen, as everybody here knew her in her full hero regalia--was having the time of her life. Between the free appetizers and booze, the crowd of fellow costumed superfreaks, and a plethora of fat, friendly faces, she felt right at home. She'd have been content never to leave, even if that meant an eternity of watching strangers hit on Chloe.


She was nursing a glass of wine, on her knees, in the process of making friends with a houseplant in the corner of the living room, when a cool grasp closed upon her shoulder. Her head whipped around and her eyes widened behind her mask as she took in the sight of her idol: "Big Tech!"


He was even more stately in person, the flexible armor of his costume and helmet conforming to every bulge and roll of his wide, towering frame. "To what do I owe the pleasure?" Heather asked breathlessly.


"Who said the pleasure is yours?" he replied. "It was my idea to invite you."


"M-me?" Head spinning, she staggered to her feet to face him. She could have fainted in all her giddy glee. "I didn't think I was that special. I mean, I'm kind of a big deal... I've been on the news here and there, but you? You're the OG!"


His posture shrank, head and shoulders dropping. She imagined him blushing beneath the cycloptic visor and mechanical mask. "Well, I'm not a crook anymore, and I don't think I ever qualified as a 'gangster'..."


"That's not what I mean," said Heather. "Wow...you're much more humble than I expected for the guy that paved the way for plus-sized heroes everywhere."


"Me?" said Big Tech, incredulous. "Tell that to the press! I could save ten thousand children from a hundred burning orphanages and all the Channel 5 News would want to ask me is if I've gotten stuck in any bathtubs lately. But you? I saw you on Fredo Flores, you were fantastic!"


"Of course I was. He set me up to be. Fredo's like, the guardian angel of fats, femmes, and controversial crimefighters. Doesn't mean people don't still throw stuff at me on the street and scream at me to join a gym. But that's why I avoid them, and anybody who's with Channel 5."


He quirked his head. "It's...it's that easy?"


"I never said it was easy...then again, I can't fly."


After mulling over her words for a few moments, he said, "You wanna come out on the deck where it's quiet? I could use your notes when it comes to this hero business stuff."


***


"So…who was that on the phone, Queen B?" asked Malcolm, giving Bombshell a conspicuous once-over through the most charming smirk he could muster. He might have buried his former track-star physique under dozens of pounds of plushness, but the new weight had done nothing to stifle his nature as a chronic flirt, and as long as he was in the presence of a superhero as famously fat-obsessed as the catsuit-clad crusader, he might as well play his odds, right? With one arm draped over the bar counter in the kitchen for that extra dose of swaggering machismo, he straightened his posture, pushing his belly even further out than it protruded on its own.


"That was your boyfriend," said Bombshell. "He said to leave me alone and wait for him to get here."


Malcolm's first instinct was to perk up like a puppy whose adoring master had just walked through the door. Ben had checked in? Where was he? What was his ETA? How long did he have to wait before the soft collision of their plump bellies slowed the needy connection of their lips in a kiss hello?


But he'd be damned if he let anyone other than Ben, Chloe, and Heather witness him in one of his rare moments of experiencing a real human emotion.


Outwardly unshaken, he said, "Ooh, good idea! For your sake, I mean. What's better than two big hunks of man meat, right? You'll love him. I'm pretty sure you've already met him, but he's bulked up since then, and not by lifting, if ya know what I mean!"


Bombshell rolled her eyes and groaned.


"I gotta make a phone call," she said, turning on her heel to excuse herself.


As she left, Malcolm patted himself on the back for his ingenuity. By driving her off, he'd let her walk away thinking it was her idea to exit the conversation, and spared himself from the mortifying ordeal of having it known what a lovesick sap he was. Who knew toxic masculinity was actually good for something?


Just to sell the performance, he shouted at the back of her shiny orange helmet, "Fine! Be like that! I just saw a damsel in distress to save, anyway!"


Less than a second later, his eye was caught by an actual damsel in actual distress.


***


Chloe needed another goddamn drink.


Maybe then she could drown out the vulgar thoughts about her body, along with the speculation about what sort of underpants separated it from her jeans and one of Heather's outgrown pop-punk band shirts, running through the mind of the creepy loser who refused to stop following her around the party despite her firm and repeated orders to leave her alone.


It was Oriana's former supervisor from her old job at the digital security company. Oriana had invited him, as Bombshell, in what seemed to him like random happenstance, or else a case of incorrectly delivered mail--not that he had any misgivings about taking advantage of the mistake, if that was what it was. She'd intended to observe from the sidelines to see how he was doing after her abrupt departure from the firm. The answer? Not great.


Well, morally, he'd never been great, but Bombshell, being unburdened by the double-edged sword of telepathy, couldn't have known. On the surface, he perfectly played the part of the sympathetic, if perpetually stressed, middle-manager, always happy to step in as backup for his team when disputes arose between the common workers and their shamelessly sexist, shamelessly racist douchebag of a CTO. But behind closed doors, he was the reason why so many female interns quit and got therapists.


"Cuh-maaaaan, sweet cheeks!" he slurred, stumbling after her. Chloe quickened her stride in an attempt to lose him in the crowd, but she was disadvantaged by the relative shortness of her legs. "Just take down my number! You won't regret it!"


Only yards away, an oblivious Bombshell paced on her phone: "You're killing me, Scarlet Flame. I've pushed this party back twice because of your work schedule. You really expect me to believe that some Division thing just came out the blue like that?"


"Did I mention I'm a huge deal in the tech world?" boasted the lecherous penetration testing team-leader.


Chloe whipped around to face him glaring daggers. "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times to **** off!"


A WHOOSH of wind from behind nearly took her off her feet. Then, a pudgy arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her into the comfort of a warm, round gut. The familiar scent of Malcolm's cologne layered under the faint, pheromone-filled perfume of his sweat made her crotch grow warm with anticipation. "Mind showing a little respect, dude? You're talking to Blackwater's newest and most dangerous big time hero, here."


Chloe's tormentor scoffed. "What, you? Plenty of superheroes can run fast like that. Faster, even, without the extra weight to lug around."


"I was talking about her."


"Her?"


Chloe fought not to laugh as she became privy to Malcolm's game. "Yeah. You'd never guess it, but this girl can scramble your brain without even touching you! That's why they call her…" he trailed off. "****," he muttered under his breath, "what's the name of that brain surgery--?"


"Craniotomy. My name's Craniotomy, love," said Chloe, never missing a beat. "And I could have easily killed this ******* if I wanted to. But do I really want to bring the cops to Bombshell's door? Talk about a party foul. But thanks for the assist…" She had to think for a second, but then, inspiration struck: "...Cannonball."


Their unwelcome company got rid of himself after that.


"Cannonball, huh?" said Malcolm with a fond grin. "I like it. Think I'll keep it. Is it because I'm dashing and unstoppable?"


She chuckled, wrapped both her arms around the one he was still using to hold her, and squeezed. "It's because you're fast and round."
 

stevita

like the pancake
***
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
499
Location
Texas
When Ben got back downstairs from Bailey's penthouse, he had a text message waiting from Martika: 'Rivington labs go up in smoke tomorrow. Meet there at 2300.' He had completely forgotten about her, so it only made sense that she had driven off.


He showed up at midnight to Oriana's spacious, but cozy-looking, one-story suburban home, in an Uber, having stopped at school to change into something more normal-looking than his costume. He'd get around to telling her about his alter ego eventually, but for now he'd rather not explain that he had plans that technically consisted of domestic terrorism.


The house, with its picket fence, warm porch light, and wide, impressive brick facade, was a complete 180 from Oriana's old apartment on the west side with a rickety balcony and broken cold-water tap in the shower. Then again, the new Oriana was a complete 180 from the brooding, reclusive, workaholic loner Ben had come to know in the recent years.


He walked onto the porch and rang the doorbell, and for a moment after the door opened, all he could do was stand there gaping, until finally he breathed, "Yep, this is definitely Oriana's house."


Big Tech was, by a long shot, the fattest person Ben had ever seen, on TV or otherwise.


"That's because you don't know how to find the good channels!" called Chloe from the living room. "If you want my advice, try the local news! Bombshell's on a roll lately!" Ben's eyes shot wide.


"She's just...responding to something I didn't say," he said to Big Tech, wincing.


"You must be the other cousin. Ben, right? I'm Eddie." He had changed into his lounge clothes for the night, which had to have been custom-ordered, but extended a handshake with metallic-gloved fingers. Ben met him limply.


"You met D'von, then? Is he still here?"


"Yeah, in the guest room," said Eddie.


"Evergreen shook his hand and he fainted," Chloe added.


She was on her knees in the living room, scrubbing a spot on the carpet with a soapy sponge. "Chloe, I told you you didn't have to do all that," said Eddie.


"I know, but it's the least I can do since my cousin threw up on your girlfriend," said Chloe, before turning to Ben. "Ori's in the shower, by the way. She doesn't believe you about the car troubles and thinks you skipped her party because you were scared of what would happen if you were exposed to too much emotional energy. But, she forgives you."


Good, so the Spark secret was still safe from…


Ben internally checked his notes: his closest family. Yep, he was officially a fully-fledged rogue superhero.


"Seriously, Chloe, Eddie...why don't y'all just use the vacuum?"


Eddie winced. "Yeah, about that...Oriana was a little perturbed by the screaming? The last time a robot screamed at her, it was threatening to slit her throat. But I took a look at your source code and I have a couple of suggestions that might improve the machine's quality of life. Oh, do you want a beer, by the way? Silver Eagle brought them, but Ori doesn't like them and I don't drink."


"Sure." Ben let Eddie and Chloe sit him down on the living room sofa and put a beer in his hands. He cracked it open and took a big pull. "Be honest, I was probably projecting on the robot. I was going through a rough time...a girl broke my heart…"


Eddie came around behind the couch and patted him on the shoulder. "Not the worst thing anyone's ever done because of heartbreak."


"You sound like you know."


Eddie sighed. After a long pause, he confessed: "Her name was Tegan. One day, we were okay, and the next...well, she was walking out of my life forever."


"Rough," said Ben with a nod. "Yeah, Felicity pulled that **** on me too. She also went to work for the people who kidnapped, tortured, and experimented on us."


Eddie winced. "Okay...yours is worse."


Chloe squeezed his hand.


She no doubt knew how he'd spent his night, but she was, at the moment, unreadable, at least, to anyone who wasn't a probe. She was surprisingly unperturbed; he'd have expected at least a little jealousy, but she was perfectly content to sift through his thoughts, as if his pleasure was her own. He squeezed back, welcoming her warmth as she cuddled up against him. "How was the party?"


"It was good! Even if Scarlet Flame had to cancel at the last minute and Fireball committed a total party-foul. He's passed out in the master bathroom with his head in the bidet. Oh! Silver Eagle was a total hoot!"


"Isn't he a total political bootlicker?" asked Ben. He'd certainly heard enough ****-talk from Oriana.


"Yeah, but Ori invited him anyway because he has the best jokes. Oh, and the police commissioner was here, but she was kind of a wet blanket. Kept trying to use the party as her recruitment drive."


"Did anyone sign on with her?"


"Yeah, this one electromancer. Seemed like a nice guy, but not as cute as you. Maybe you'll see him at the conference. Speaking of that, can I call dibs on you, not the next one, but the time after that?"


"Well, damn. When did I get so popular?"


"Ben!" Oriana came out of the master suite then, in her bathrobe and shower cap, and came up behind the couch to clap him on the shoulder. "I didn't think you was gonna make it!"


"His car broke down," Chloe lied. "I know you had your doubts, Ori, but it's true."


"I'm just sorry I missed the whole thing," said Ben.


"Who says the party's over?" countered Oriana. "There's booze left...thank God Fireball passed the **** out. Y'all want to play some checkers?"


Chloe was the decisive winner of the tournament--Eddie might have won if she didn't have the power to see his next move before he made it. Ben was okay, and Oriana lost every round, but kept a good sense of humor about it. It was three in the morning by the time Ben squeezed into the passenger's seat of Chloe's car for the long ride back to school for the start of the spring semester.


"Hey...thanks for not being mad about the whole Bailey thing," he said.


"Why should I be mad?" asked Chloe. "People don't belong to people. Holly Golightly said that in Breakfast at Tiffany's. I've never, like, seen it, but Eddie's buddy Marion has...oh, she's delightful! You should have met her! But there's always time for that after you help Crucifix blow up the Rivington labs. Ben…? You got all quiet…"


"You already know what's wrong."


"But better you should say it than me."


He sighed. "I really like you, Chloe," he told her. "But I really like Malcolm too, and Bailey...and don't get me wrong, Heather is a great friend…"


She placed her hand on his thigh. "Just say what you need to say. I have a feeling you need this."


"I don't know what I'm doing right now," he confessed. "I think I want to be with all y'all...but I don't know if that's true, or if I'm just spiraling in the void Felicity left."


"That's okay," she shrugged. "You're nineteen. I'm twenty-one. We don't have to have our whole futures figured out. I am looking forward to that conference-slash-masquerade, though."


Halfway out of Blackwater, it started to rain.


"I do love how much Bailey liked Spark as a superhero name for you, though."


"I'm definitely keeping it. What can I say? You're a genius."


"And you have a thing for perverted geniuses. Predictable: it runs in your family."


As Chloe pulled to a stop at a red light, Ben reached over tentatively, took her hand, and placed it on his lower belly. She grinned and kneaded into his soft flesh. He could feel the swell of her chest as her heart beat faster, her anticipation, her desire, her arousal…


"Look, Ben...****, Bailey was right, you do feel really good, but that's not the only thing I like about you. This doesn't mean I love Heather or Mal any less, but I can't help but feel like you're my...like...home base?"


She loved him.


She loved him!


As good as the attention felt from all the admirers who had crawled out of the woodwork to notice him, now that he was finally comfortable with being noticed, he could take comfort in the knowledge that his heart, at long last, had at least one home.


"I think I could feel the same way too," he said, rubbing the back of her hand. "Maybe it's just the complimentary power sets...but I feel like I can talk to you about anything. And not just because you already know."


"Oh? Why then?"


"Because you understand."


She wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "Want to stop for tacos?"


"Only if you promise to feed them to me."


"****, Ben."


She gave his thigh a firm squeeze. His heart leapt. The light turned green, and together, they drove off into the rainstorm.


***

FIN
 

FFAscinated

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2021
Messages
140
Location
USA
FIN? Are you doing the great Riverdale raid as a separate story ? 🤞 (I know. I'm greedy. If you need a break, dat's OK. I'll wait.)
 

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