B011.9 Monkey Family

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“This explains so much.” Camille was the first one to speak up, her voice much calmer than I would’ve expected. Her eyes were fixed on my father, and she looked ready to jump into action (not that I thought she’d stand a chance – he would have something lined up to defend against her power), but she was remarkably restrained. “I was wondering what kind of screw-up raised you.” Insulting the Dark to his face? I’d underestimated this girl’s guts… or perhaps overestimated her smarts. Fortunately, dad was too busy looking from Hennessy to Elouise and back again. Camille didn’t continue once she realised that no one else was taking her up on it.

Hennessy herself seemed completely lost, radiating a sense of such perfect, total confusion that she was giving me vertigo. Her facial expression was unchanged, but that didn’t matter right now at all.

Elouise looked from her sister to her grandfather, then to me. Unlike everyone else in the room, she looked ecstatic. Her eyes were shining brightly, and she was still holding Hennessy’s hands in hers, almost vibrating on the spot. I was pretty sure that the only reason she wasn’t grinning ear-to-ear was because, well, she was in front of the Dark and her mother had probably drilled her on proper etiquette.

Tamara, conversely, had turned very, very calm. Her face held no expression as she rose up. “Kevin, a word please?” she asked, nodding towards a nearby privacy screen. I stepped away from the table (it didn’t seem like anyone was going to say or do anything, anyway) and followed her behind the screen. In better times, my eyes would probably have been glued to her backside, but I barely spared that a glance (though it did look fine) and what the hell is wrong with you, Aaron? Focus!

When she turned around, her face was still carefully controlled, though I could easily see the tension in her facial muscles and her posture. She put her fists on her hips, and looked at me with an almost playful look. “Alright, let’s skip the part where I am outraged over you having a child with another woman – you said it happened before we got together, and I believe you – and besides, we were never exclusive, you and I – and let’s also skip the part where I profess disbelief over you being related to the Dark, or outrage over you never telling me when we were still together – it wasn’t my business.” She gave me a sweet smile, and I started to sweat. “Instead, let’s focus on the point where you didn’t tell me, as soon as you got back, that my daughter is related to the Dark.” Her smile dropped away, and her gaze turned into a glare that made me sweat more. “Or how about you explain to me why you thought it a good idea to introduce my child to the King of Supervillains!?” Her glare turned positively murderous, even though her voice was still sweet and quiet.

I swallowed the lump in my throat and put my hands behind my back, so she wouldn’t see how I was wringing them. Alright, Aaron, don’t fuck this one up. Dad’s training had never really helped me with Tamara, at least not where it mattered. “To be honest, I would’ve been perfectly happy if I’d never had to involve him in any aspect of my life again, ever,” I said quietly, in as measured a voice as I could squeeze out. She only frowned at me, but didn’t interrupt. “Today’s the first time we’ve so much as exchanged a single word in twenty-two years. And I would’ve been fine to let things continue like that, except that the situation here has-“

“Is this about the promise you gave me?” she asked, and her eyes turned sad, and a little ashamed. “Kevin, really, you don’t have to keep it,” she said, her mouth twisting into an ashamed pout. “I shouldn’t have asked you to do that in the first place. I’m sure the heroes will be able to capture that madman this time, and then the girls will be safe, anyway.”

I shook my head. “No, it’s not that simple, Tamara.” I sighed, rubbing the back of my head with one hand (I was glad for the screen, because dad would probably never let me hear the end of it for being so uncontrolled). “First, I would be going after him anyway, regardless of any promise I made you. And second… it might not be so simple to protect them from him.” Now she was looking really worried. “He’s got… backing. Big backing. The only reason I’ve contacted my father is because I need his help to protect them.” I sighed, and pinched the bridge of my nose. “Honestly, I… I probably still wouldn’t have done it, except… this is bigger than I thought. Way bigger.”

Her face went from worried to honestly scared. “What is it? What kind of backing does he have, who’s coming after my daughter?

I wasn’t sure whether I should tell her. There wasn’t anything she could do, even if she decided to go back into costume (which I highly doubted), and knowing would only scare her. And I so desperately wanted to keep her and her family safe…

You’re doing what your father would do, Aaron, I heard a treacherous little voice from far back in my head. Controlling the flow of information. Deciding who gets to know what. You set up this meeting specifically so as not to do that. To share all the crucial information with everyone in your family. And now I was considering keeping one of the big ones from her, to keep her safe. Be honest. You want to keep her ignorant. Because she is no more safe this way than she would be with the knowledge.

I sighed. There really was no arguing with myself. “Alright. I’ll tell you. Let’s go back to the table.” I turned to go back, but she grabbed me by the shoulder and flipped me around.

“We’re not done here,” she said, her eyes hard. “There are some things I need to know before I agree not to grab my girls and get the hell out of here!” She was looking ready to beat anything I wasn’t willing to tell her out of me. I could just nod, really. “First of all, can you promise me that they’re safe from him? Think very carefully before you answer, because if you can’t reply with a simple, straightforward ‘yes’, I swear I will grab them and get them out of here!”

I stopped for a moment, making sure to consider the question thoroughly. Obviously, I wouldn’t have brought them here in the first place had I believed him to be an immediate danger… but there was no denying that he could (and most likely would) be an incredibly bad influence, even if he didn’t take any direct hand in her life once we’d dealt with the Ascendant. To be perfectly honest, I would’ve done everything in my power to keep their lineage a secret from him, if at all possible. Even Elouise’s, because she really didn’t need the kind of attention she’d get for being his granddaughter.

On the other hand, I didn’t believe that he’d ever harm them on purpose. For all his faults and vices, his demented lessons and his twisted perspective on life, he had never actually hurt me on purpose. And I’d already gotten him to promise that he would always come to me first, if anything related to them came up, so… I could be reasonably certain that they were safe.

“Yes,” I said, making sure I was looking her in the eyes. “I have already gotten a promise out of him never to interfere with them in any way without consulting me first, and I intend to impose more rules on any interactions now that he knows they are related to him. And I wouldn’t have initiated this meeting – or him learning of their relation to me, and thus him, in the first place – if I didn’t think it was necessary to protect them from the Ascendant and his group.”

She searched my face for any signs of dishonesty, pressing her fists against her hips as she looked up at me (even in heels, she wasn’t close to my height). Then she relaxed, if only a little bit. “Alright. I’ll accept that. Next question – what is up with her?”

I didn’t have to ask who she was talking about. “Creepy story, best if I only tell it once. I don’t think she’ll be a threat to Hennessy anymore, if her current behaviour is any indication.” We both threw a look around the privacy screen. The girls had sat down again. Father was still just staring blankly at Hennessy and Elouise, Camille was getting more and more freaked out, Hennessy was… Hennessy and Elouise was absolutely bubbling over with excitement, vibrating on her seat and trying to jiggle closer to her half-sister with a manic grin on her face, but kept getting pushed back by an invisible force – not that it seemed to discourage her in the slightest.

“She looks like Charity on Christmas morning,” Tamara said. “Is that really the same girl who’s been ruling the local crime scene since she was barely a teen?” There was an odd look in her eyes that I couldn’t place.

“She’s the Matriarch’s daughter, alright. I don’t think she’s ever had a family that cared about her,” I replied. “I’m not even sure if she has friends.” Another sin to make up for.

“I’m… not sure how to feel about this,” she admitted as we turned from the adorably heartbreaking scene. “But I’m afraid that she’d be a horrible influence on Hennessy, if they do get… closer.”

“Or maybe Hennessy will be a wonderful influence on her,” I said. “I’m noticing that you’re not reaming me a new one for introducing the two of them without warning.”

She shrugged. “Children need their families,” she said, giving me a very pointed look. Ouch. “I would’ve preferred to have talked about this beforehand, but… I probably would’ve agreed anyway. Which you obviously didn’t expect, which is why you forced this whole scene.” Ouch to the power of two. Truth hurts.

I looked away in shame. “I was just… I was thinking this whole situation over,” I told her. “And I saw where it all might go, where it could go… and I decided to just screw it all and just put the cards on the table.”

Her sigh made me look at her again. “You’re probably right,” she said. “But this ain’t over, Kevin,” she jabbed her finger into my chest. “Not by a long shot. And I don’t think you’re quite aware of how much trouble is coming your way, just with those two girls.”

Now I grinned at her. “I’m still looking forward to it.”

“Good. Because I can tell you, having one teenage daughter can be a nightmare – two are a rubber room and a straight jacket waiting for you.” For a moment, I thought I saw the corners of her lips quirk up.

I gave her my best sheepish grin. “At least I’ll be comfortable.”

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74 thoughts on “B011.9 Monkey Family

  1. It’s always nice to see how characters react to a shocking revelation, and I’m happy that Eloise is being friendly with Hennesy, I just hope it’s not an act, I am not entirely sure my heart could take it.

    • I don’t think it’s an acted. Given how Eloise had no friends or proper family members until her father returned home(her mother doesn’t count), I think that she’s just ecstatic at now having some.

  2. Awww, short chapter. Alas.

    Ya know, with all your similarities to me (writing style, fiction preferences, music preferences… it’s surprising how many things I’ve noticed while reading this story actually…) I’m not surprised you might be on meds too.

    Unless they’re entirely physical problems, in which case my foot is somewhere in my throat.

    Looking forward to seeing the Dark flip out… in a, ya know, Dark way.

    • Fortunately, mental issues that need to be medicated are not among my list of issues. I simply have a very weak throat, ever since I got seriously sick during my childhood, and my sinuses are similarly susceptible to infection, causing my current issues

      • Ugh, all the pain in the ass problems. Incidentally, I have all the above, just not in such a serious manner. I do hope you don’t get sinus headaches, that’s what hampers my writing the most…

        Hope you feel better soon.

      • sinus headaches? I have pet names for them. I call them “needles IN MY BRAIN” or “someone is taking AN ICE PICK TO MY EYES”. and then there’s the always popular “some ass is DRILLING HOLES all around MY EYES”

        I’ve had all three kinds over the last week and a half

      • I simply refer to them as the ‘fuck thinking’ times. So roughly the last two years.

      • @ tieshaunn
        Re: pet names

        My pet name, after over a decade of repeat sinus infections, is “reason why my sense of smell is about gone.” I hope that doesn’t happen to you.

      • Ouch, I only coughed a lot and stuff, how are you doing with that?
        Are you better?

  3. Typo Stuff

    straight jacket > either straitjacket straightjacket/straight-jacket as I understand it.

    who’s coming after my daughter?“ the (“) is backwards

    dad would probably never let me hear the end of it for being so uncontrolled > Shouldn’t there be a ‘have’ in there as it’s a theoretical/not going to happen: probably have
    him learning of their relation to me > I feel like that should be ‘relationship’.

    Hennessy was… Hennessy and Elouise was absolutely bubbling over with excitement, vibrating on her seat and trying to jiggle closer to her half-sister > This bit just didn’t make sense to me. We started off with Hennessey, switched to both Hennessy and Elouise and then immediately changed to a singular Elouise. Are they both excited or just Elouise? What’s Hennessy doing?

      • Ah, I see.
        Honestly I feel like there should be a comma in there after the 2nd Hennessy as I had a bit of trouble sorting out the two thoughts (although no one else has complained so maybe it’s just me). Initially I read that the whole thing was one idea, as
        {Hennessy was…. Hennesy and Elouise} which then shifted from the plural of describing both H&E to just E.
        This, rather than what you intended:
        {H was.. H} and {E etc.}Where you describe H and then shift to E.
        If that makes any sense.

        The other tiny issue I have grammatically with this is that Aaron (and I find what name he identifies as very interesting btw) theorizing what his father WOULD have done, if not for te screen. As his father is not actually going to have a reaction to his poor control, shouldn’t it be better read as some variation of:
        “I was glad for the screen, because OTHERWISE dad would probably never HAVE let me hear the end of it for being so uncontrolled”
        Or something.

  4. “…Hennessy and Elouise was absolutely bubbling over with excitement, vibrating on her seat and trying to jiggle closer to her half-sister with a manic grin on her face, but kept getting pushed back by an invisible force…”
    By the invisible force was that Dearheart’s invisible attack or Hennessy’s telekinesis?

    • his official ratings are:

      Damage 7, Movement 8, Perception 6, Protection 10

      Much like his father, he has many names. Aaron is his birthname, though. His official name is Kevin Paterson

      • Speaking of the Wiiki. I apologize for my recent innactivity I’m in a 5 day track tournament and competition. Besides working on my schoolwork I have been training so I for once am short on time.

      • Huh. I would have expected God tier movement. Is the rating because the UH aren’t fully aware of his capabilities, or is the higher tiers of movement just restricted to the more fancy movement (teleportation, inertia ignoring flight etc.)?

      • yes

        it really is like a drug

        but seriously now – the movement rating is due to his top speed and cornering ability, which are not *that* extreme compared to other speedsters (tight corners are his worst enemy). The problem lies in the fact that, as a true speedster, ALL of that speed translates into damage. Imagine being punched at 120 miles per hour, by someone who’s tougher than steel.

        So while there are quite a few people who are stronger than him, and faster than him, (few are tougher, though), the combination of his traits makes him far more powerful than a normal speedster of the same or a higher rank

      • also, remember that he can’t reach his top speeds off the bat – he needs a start up for that, which means it’s not usually an issue, at least in urban combat; he simply doesn’t have the time and the space to run in a straight line and reach his top speeds

    • Favourite Food: sour sweets and all things pasta

      Favourite TV Shows: Castle, Bones, Loveless (hero/villain drama)

      Favourite Movies: The Dollars Trilogy

      Favourite Musician: Polymnia

      • Speaking of Music
        I was thinking of John Lennon’s Wife who died the other day, and then I thought of how John Lennon died which brought me onto the thought of assassinations. I then proceeded to think about JFK, was he still killed in this reality?

      • That changes things a lot, speaking of presidents: has there ever been a blackish (Obama is Bi-Racial), female president, or gay president? With a society like this I’m guessing probably, considering they’re far more accepting of LGBT.

        Also what was Elouise’s Cowl name before becoming the Matriarch?

      • there is currently a hispanic president in the white house. his predecessor was an african-american woman. no LGBT yet, though

        Elouise didn’t have a cowl of her own before she took up her mother’s. she only acted behind the scenes, or within the top of the organisation. more an assistant/apprentice than a sidekick

      • I think it’s been mentioned before, but it’s a far cry from what it once was – it’s still the most powerful independent organisation in Chicago and around it, but it used to be top dog in the entire Great Lakes region.

      • Yes, I believe you listed her entire force of about 18 metahumans, but it didn’t say that was all of her metahuman members. Also I’m assuming Kakitsune wasn’t that powerful (meaning The Matriarch is pretty desperate), considering she’s a flying brick. But she might have been really powerful. Also I was confused on what a Kakitsune is, I googled it. It came up with nothing besides Kitsune I knew what a Kitsune is, but I’ve never heard of a Kakitsune. What is the meaning or origin of the word?

      • I *think* it means something like “bad fox”, but I seem to have misplaced my notes on Elouise’s metahumans… gotta find them again…

      • I’m getting seriously curious about her metahumans if I buy a donation interlude is there anyway I can put a suggestion in for one focused on Elouise and her organization?

      • you can add a subject request to a donation, and I’ll certainly do my best to honor it, but I already have two interludes lined up for after this arc… maybe the next one?

      • Ok, I did a little research and Bad Fox is a thing, although they’re called Nogitsune, or Yako. I found nothing on Kakitsune. I also called my japanese friend (My school is full of immigrants, and foreign exchange students such as myself), and he said that in mythology and folklore they use Nogitsune as the bad fox.

      • I got 11 euro here, for which I am duly thankful. I’ve updated the donation site, and added the titles of the upcoming donation interludes, as well as their placement

  5. Hey Tieshaunn. I’m a new reader and I really like your stuff. I saw you list some of the stuff Elouise is into and I was wondering if you could do the same for Brennus. He doesn’t seem the type to watch tv or movies, but what are his favorite foods at least. Also Amy’s too; I may need to know in case she shows up at my house and threatens to kill me unless I serve her favorite.

    • Basil:
      Favourite Food: anything he can eat while working, prefers spicy stuff

      Favourite TV Shows: Dexter’s Laboratory, Darkwing Duck, Merlin

      Favourite Movies: Toy Story series, too many Disney movies to list, The Man from Earth

      Favourite Musician: Polymnia (he hasn’t told Vasiliki)

      Favourite Food: whatever Basil makes for her; has a weakness for greek food

      Favourite TV Shows: Loveless, The Sopranos, Duck Tales

      Favourite Movies: Too many Disney movies to list, romantic comedies

      Favourite Musician: No specific musician, but she likes jazz and anything she can dance to

      • Can I just say you’re a really good author. You’re a great sport in giving us all these crumbs we’re desperate for.

        Plus I appreciate just how well thought out the world is, not just on the level of favourite foods and stuff – which is admittedly cool – but also how it all fits together, with stuff like your answer to my question about Aaps rating. It really shows how you’ve spent a lot of time thinking through the world.

        Also I’m curious to see if/when Basils fandom of Polynmia comes up (I’m suddenly appreciating how popular she is; the poster we saw just recently, being Elouises and Basils favourite musician and, if course, Vasiliki – again nice touches with the worldbuilding). From memory, I don’t think he knew who she was back in B002 (I’ll check) so I’m guessing he started listening after he met her? And now is keeping it semi-secret? Honestly I find that slightly amusing.

      • about halfway done. I have the rest of sunday and monday off, so I’ll have plenty of time to make this a big one (maybe even finish the arc in one go)

      • I’m surprised that one of Amy’s favourite shows isn’t MLP given you were fairly blatant that she got her costume inspiration from Twilight Sparkle.

        Though the existance of Media and Celebreties from our world is one of the biggest irritations I have with your story. When looking a politics an technology you can easily see that this world has been on a path since early in the 20th century and yet with media for some reason modern characters appear even if most of them would never have been born and if they had being born into a different world would have made them take a different path. Overall it’s not a big issue just a niggle I wish was different.

      • MlP should be on her list, I just forgot to add it.

        I understand your issue, but… honestly, it’d be a pain to discard *all* current shows and come up with my own – nevermind that it’d be impossible to throw in some references here and there and some jokes

        So, while I agree that it SHOULD be different, I’ll stick to this halfway thing, because everything else would be too much work^^

  6. Hey Tieshaunn, I was wondering. Since you mentioned all the favorites of Elouise, can you do that for Team Brennus. And for that matter, can you do it for Amy too. I’m one of those guys who for some reason loves learning miscellaneous things about his favorite characters.

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