Third Interlude

[This interlude takes place after Chapter Five, and continues from there.]

“-reflection, twin, replica, copy, match-”

Aiyana touched the shower door, mouth firmly closed as she concentrated, then appeared on the other side. “I can’t believe you still have a dead-tree dictionary sitting around the house.”

“-verb form: reflect, match, reproduce, imitate, simulate, copy, mimic, echo-”

She appeared inside the tub again in an instant, eyebrows drawn together. “Aren’t a lot of those the same thing?”

“-from the old French ‘mirour’, which is from the Latin ‘mirare’, meaning look at.”

A deep breath, then she switched to her opposite hand. “The support is nice and all, but there’s no telling if I’ll be able to do more than just this.”

Franz snapped the book shut, then reached for his laptop. “No telling if you won’t, either. Predator got a whole bunch of stuff, why not you?”

“Flare only has one thing,” Aiyana muttered, popping through the shower door a few times with that hand.

“Flare only showed you one thing,” Franz corrected, fingers clacking away at the keys. “Would you show some random stranger everything you could do?”

She sighed. “No, probably not.”

“What are you complaining about?” Franz twisted his body to look at her from where he sat against the wall, “you’ve got superpowers! Live it up a little.”

“And my superpowers can be duplicated by someone kicking through the glass,” Aiyana grumped, “yay for-”

She appeared on the other side of the door with one foot raised in the kicking position. Surprised, Aiyana slipped and landed on her butt, yelping.

Franz, of course, promptly dissolved into laughter.

“Stop laughing, jerk,” Aiyana muttered, standing up and rubbing her backside, “I could totally punch the crap out of someone on the other side of a window, or something.”

Franz, of course, promptly started laughing harder.

That particular testing session dissolved into a sibling brawl, where the far more muscular Franz easily pinned his sister and tickled her mercilessly.

[*]

“What is that,” Aiyana asked flatly, stopped dead at the doorway to their dining room.

“Is one of your superpowers asking dumb questions?” Franz teased between bites of his cereal.

“Very funny, smartass,” Aiyana rolled her eyes, dropping her bag at the door and stepping forward to inspect the new addition to their dining room.

It was a pane of glass as tall as Franz, and probably twice as wide. He’d scooted the dining room table to the side to make room for it, and there was a good amount of space on either side. It was – somehow – supported by a sturdy metal base just long enough so neither glass nor base was sticking out. She pressed her palm to it, splaying her fingers across the glass.

“Figured you could practice your kung-fu teleport better with more room,” Franz commented with a forced-casual tone.

“How did you even get that in here?” Aiyana asked, flickering to the other side of the pane with only a split-second of concentration.

Franz snorted. “Half my job is being as buff as possible without losing flexibility, and the other half is coordinating with other people who are as buff as possible without losing flexibility.”

“No, the other half is putting up with little old ladies checking out your ass,” Aiyana smirked, teleporting from one side of the glass to the other at different points along the pane.

“At least I don’t get dirty old men choking the chicken after buying the pork,” Franz said innocently, “and don’t think some of those little old ladies at your work aren’t checking you out.”

Aiyana colored and lost the rhythm of her movements, giving Franz the evil eye. “I could say the same thing, y’know. You could totally have some repressed closet-bait old guy thinking about how you bent over just right-”

“Ew, okay, ew,” Franz cut her off, finishing the last of his bowl and standing.

Smiling victoriously, Aiyana trotted up to the kitchen to grab a dish rag. “How are we going to explain this?”

“If your lady friend needs you to explain why her glass-teleporting girlfriend needs a pane of glass in the living room, she is seriously too dumb for you to date,” Franz grinned, washing out his cereal bowl. “And besides, I’m an arr-teest and you’re a college student. We can totally get away with weird stuff in the house. Someone asks, we tell them it’s for an upcoming act.”

“And when no glass shows up in any of your performances?” Aiyana asked, scrubbing her handprints off the glass with the rag.

Shaking his hands dry, Franz put on his best ‘disgruntled artist face’. “The other performers just don’t get it. It’s a statement about how we all take on traits of each other, and they just want to stick to the old flips and tricks!”

Aiyana snorted, and threw the dish rag at him, then pursed her lips thoughtfully. “Take on traits of each other, huh?”

Franz, struck by the same kind of thought, only dodged the rag on reflex. “Hey, that’d be nifty. Maybe you can steal powers, like that girl who kills people when she kisses them.”

Aiyana pulled a face, walking back to her bag and shrugging it back on her shoulder. “I hope not. That was the most traumatizing thing you’ve ever made me read.”

“Worse than Silence of the Lambs?” Franz called after her as she walked back to her room.

“You think I really read that?” She yelled back, then closed the door on his noise of indignation.

Chapter Eight

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