Shackles

Chapter 13

by Kallie

Tags: #cw:noncon #comic_book #dom:female #f/f #pov:bottom #pov:top #sub:female

Disclaimer: If you are under age wherever you happen to be accessing this story, please refrain from reading it. Please note that all characters depicted in this story are of legal age, and that the use of 'girl' in the story does not indicate otherwise. This story is a work of fantasy: in real life, hypnosis and sex without consent are deeply unethical and examples of such in this story does not constitute support or approval of such acts. This work is copyright of Kallie 2022, do not repost without explicit permission

Trinity woke up in the bed in Radiance’s safehouse. The worst part was that it wasn’t even the first time she’d woken up that way, after Radiance’s plans for her had taken a seriously wrong turn. The first time, after the dyke bar, she’d been sore as hell from the way Radiance and her friends had been tossing her around and bending her over. This time, it felt like all her joints had been filled with cement. She couldn’t believe how stiff she was. It felt like she’d been unconscious for years.

But at least her mind was her own again. Oh, she had a splitting headache, certainly. But when she looked back on her time running around the city in the obscenely embarrassing outfit she’d taken from Radiance’s closet, she felt what any right-thinking person would have: crippling, mortifying levels of shame. There were still a few dizzying, maddening traces of pride and hope mixed in there, but she could clamp down on them good and hard before there was any risk of her starting to spew more garbage about being a superhero.

Thank god.

Trinity was also naked. She wasn’t sure whether or not to be grateful for that.

When she tried to sit up, her stiff, weak muscles rebelled so hard and so painfully that she let out a harsh, ragged groan that hurt her dry throat.

Right afterwards, the pile of clothes and blankets next to her moved.

It took a moment of her rubbing her bleary eyes for Trinity to figure out that the pile was, in fact, Radiance. Radiance, who was now looking up at her with the biggest, most worried eyes Trinity had ever seen on the hero. She was perched anxiously on a chair at Trinity’s bedside, and until just that moment, she’d obviously been sleeping there. She looked enough like a loved one watching over her sickly beloved that it made Trinity blush.

“You’re awake?” Radiance whispered, urgently and hopefully. “Oh, I was so… how are you feeling?”

“Uh…” Trinity rubbed her head, and managed to haul herself up into a sitting position - almost. “I’m fine. I think?”

Her voice sounded rough as hell, and it hurt to speak. Radiance picked up on as much right away, and rushed to offer her a glass of water she’d placed nearby. Trinity took it and sipped from it gratefully, even though she was more than a little perturbed by Radiance’s anxious nursemaid act.

“When you say fine,” Radiance asked carefully, “what do you mean, exactly?”

“It means I’m a scumbag again,” Trinity replied cattily, once she could. “Not something half way between a sex doll and a shitty superhero action figure.”

She was hoping to see pangs of guilt on Radiance’s face, but she looked too relieved to register any other feelings. She shuddered for a moment, and let out a long, weary sigh.

What followed was an awkward silence. Trinity didn’t want to be the one who broke it, but after a few, long moments, her own feelings of remorse compelled her to speak.

“That girl. Candace?” she said. “What happened to her?”

“She’s OK,” Radiance replied. “I took her to a hospital and put her in the hands of a doctor I trust. They’ve been looking after her and helping her get her head sorted. I’ve been getting updates. She’s doing just fine.”

Now it was Trinity’s turn to breathe a sigh of relief. She wasn’t exactly sure how much of that night’s misadventures she deserved to blame herself for, but she felt guilty for all of it. She wasn’t a monster, after all, whatever Radiance thought of her.

“Officially, you’re still at large,” Radiance continued calmly. “I told them she’d run across you. They didn’t ask any more questions than that, and Candace’s memories are pretty scrambled. Fortunately, some doctors have a pretty good amount of experience dealing with mind control victims.”

“Right,” Trinity said slowly. That all made sense. Something about Radiance’s story, along with how exhausted the hero seemed, was making her apprehensive. “So… she and I are both back to normal in just one day? Guess those doctors of yours really do work fast.”

Radiance shook her head. “You’ve been out for three days now, Trinity.”

Trinity blinked. That took a couple of seconds for her to process. “Shit,” she said miserably. “Then…”

“I’ve been using a combination of medication and my power to keep you asleep.” Radiance’s expression was unreadable. “Except for a couple of times a day, so I could make you eat and use your power on yourself again.”

Trinity stared at her.

“It seemed like the quickest way to… to fix what I did,” Radiance added quickly.

“I see.”

Trinity made herself take some very, very deep breaths.

“What the fuck were you thinking?” she demanded.

Finally, a twinge of deep regret and guilt made it to Radiance’s stony face.

“I’ve been asking myself that a lot,” she confessed. “It was stupid. Unbelievably reckless and stupid.”

Trinity just kept staring at her. She wasn’t going to let Radiance off that easily. She wanted the why.

“I thought it would just… make everything easier,” Radiance struggled. “It didn’t seem that complicated. Good is good. Right is right. I’ve always lived my life that way. As a hero, I’ve tried to serve as an example to others, too.” She shook her head. “I told you before, I’m from Castron. Same as you. I grew up poor, same as you. I saw what people can do to one another when they’re cruel or desperate. In the face of that, all anyone can do is choose - choose to do the right thing instead.”

She looked up at Trinity, eyes wide and earnest.

“I don’t understand you, Trinity. I don’t understand people like you at all. But I thought if I could make you see it my way, even for one day, you’d understand me. You’d choose to do the right thing too.”

Trinity’s jaw almost hit the floor.

Then, after a few seconds of careful thought, she started laughing.

“Holy shit, Radiance!” Trinity cackled. “You’re kidding me, right? You can’t actually be that naïve.”

The wounded look on Radiance’s face took the mirth out of her laughter.

“Believing in doing the right thing isn’t ‘naïve’,” Radiance replied frostily.

Trinity rolled her eyes. “No, look, I mean- look, OK, first of all, you know you can’t just brainwash morality into people, right?”

Now, a faint blush touched Radiance’s cheeks. She looked aside. “Apparently not.”

“It’s…” Trinity sighed. “Let me explain. Shimmer brainwashing 101: it’s like… like trying to hotwire a microwave.” Radiance flashed her a strange look. Trinity was already doubting her own choice in metaphor, but she ploughed ahead. “Let’s say the ‘start’ button doesn’t work. That’s pretty easy to shortcut. All you need to do is open up the front panel and move a couple of wires around. It’s a little rough and ready, and you might wanna buy a new microwave before too long, but it’ll do. Right?”

“Right.”

“Now let’s say you’re hotwiring it because you want roast a turkey.” Trinity tried to ignore how dumb that sounded. “Maybe if you really try, you can pump it with enough juice. But even so - and this is very important - that would be fucking stupid. Nothing in your microwave was designed to handle that much heat or power. If you try, everything’s gonna explode. You see?”

Radiance shook her head. “What the hell are you talking about?”

Trinity sighed again. “Short-circuiting, it’s like… whenever I’m using my power on someone, I try to keep it simple. I try to get to the heart of someone, to the basic urges that drive them and motivate them, and twist a few dials here and there. Turn something up, turn something else down, and eventually you get what you want. It’s nice and simple, and my power makes it nice and easy. But roasting a turkey, that’s…” Trinity face-palmed. “OK, forget the fucking microwave. The point is: morality? That’s not simple at all. It’s a whole mess of beliefs and feelings and personal histories. You can’t just flip a switch in someone’s head and put them in goody-two-shoes mode.”

Nodding slowly, Radiance replied: “I guess I should have figured.”

“You think?”

Trinity snorted. The two of them lapsed into silence for a moment, but Trinity could resist pressing her further. “You really thought it’d be that simple? Just ‘do the right thing’?”

This time, Radiance’s sigh was long and ragged. “I… I don’t know! It seemed that way, I guess. Rules are rules, laws are laws, and most of them exist to protect us from one another. I thought my chain could make you follow them. Is that so crazy?”

“You spend all day flying around the city,” Trinity said incredulously. “And you really think everything that’s going wrong with the world could be fixed just by everyone being a little nicer? A little more upstanding? Are you superheroes so thick-headed you think the only bad people in the world are supervillains with shitty capes and shittier monikers?”

“What else am I supposed to believe in?” Radiance snapped. Trinity flinched a little at the hero raising her voice, but Radiance didn’t sound angry. She just sounded desperate. “Yeah. Yeah, I know the world isn’t that simple. But doesn’t the solution have to start somewhere? What chance do we have if we can’t all treat each other decently? If we don’t all play by the same rules? That’s what the law is, for all its faults. It’s better than nothing. That’s what I believe. And if you think I’m wrong, how about you tell me your way to fix things instead?”

Trinity realized she didn’t have an answer to that. Not really. She had a few snappy comebacks. She thought about telling Radiance that it wasn’t fair of her to expect Trinity to have a solution like that, and she thought about telling her that Eleanor Quinn was the real problem. What stopped her was the sincerity of Radiance’s plea.

The hero wasn’t trying to put her down, or win a high school debate with her. She wished, sincerely, from the bottom of her heart, that Trinity had an answer for her. She wished for a different way. She simply hadn’t been able to find one.

“I guess we’re both idiots,” Trinity said quietly.

Radiance didn’t say anything. She didn’t need to. Each of them could sense the other’s agreement.

“Maybe I’m the bigger idiot, though,” Radiance mused. “Maybe not. Either way, I owe you an apology, Trinity.”

Trinity couldn’t help a little sarcasm. “Another apology? You’re being real generous with them, you know.”

“Well, I keep doing things I need to apologize for,” Trinity replied evenly. “And it’s the least I can do to try and make them right. That’s one of the rules I’ll never stop holding myself to.”

“Oh. OK.” Radiance’s earnestness made Trinity feel a little embarrassed of her own snark.

“So: I’m sorry.” Radiance stared into Trinity’s eyes. “I’m sorry for messing with your head. I’m sorry for being reckless with you. I’m sorry for allowing you to go out and endanger yourself by acting against your own will. I don’t expect you to forgive me, but I promise you, on my honor as a hero, that it will never happen again.”

“Thank you,” Trinity said, before she could stop herself. Somewhat against her will, she felt sincerely touched. She wasn’t used to being spoken to like that; not by Radiance or by anyone else. It was special, somehow. Then, after a long moment, she blinked. “Never again? So… what happens now?”

It took Radiance longer still to answer. “I’m going to let you go.”

Trinity blinked.

“Just like that?” she asked, incredulously.

Radiance shrugged. “I guess so.”

“But… why?” Trinity couldn’t believe this. After all she’d gone through, was it just over? “That’s a little hard to believe, coming from you.”

Radiance laughed ruefully. “Why are you arguing?”

“I…” Her question gave Trinity pause. Why was she arguing? “Don’t I at least deserve to know the reason?”

“Yeah, you do,” Radiance agreed, nodding slowly. “I just figured it was obvious. After all this, I can’t trust myself. I still don’t think you’re a good person. Stealing from people is wrong. Breaking the law is wrong. But… I’m not the right person to punish you for that. Or maybe what I’ve already done will be punishment enough.” She rubbed at her own head, like it was hurting. “I… was supposed to get that money back from you, I guess. It seemed important. I don’t know why. I’ve put you through enough. Anyway, you’re free to go.”

“Oh.” Trinity looked over at the door. “Right now?”

“If you want.”

Trinity should have felt happy. Relieved. Victorious. She didn’t. The idea that she could just stand up, walk outside, and never see Radiance again didn’t seem real. An odd reluctance threatened to bind her to the bed. It was the feeling that something was being left unresolved.

But at the same time, it wasn’t like she was going to stay.

“In that case, I guess I’m out of here,” Trinity announced, as lightly as she could. She swung her legs off the bed and tried to stand.

Before immediately falling back onto the bedsheets.

Trinity’s legs were jelly. She couldn’t possibly make it out the door and back to her apartment under her own power. Even making it to the bathroom seemed unlikely.

“I’m afraid lying in bed for days at a time will do that to you,” Radiance said gently. “You might want to stick around for a few hours. Eat something. Do some stretches. Don’t worry, your strength will come back soon.”

Trinity’s cheeks turned slightly pink. “Yeah. Sure. Good idea.”

The silence that followed was very, very awkward.

“So, um, any plans for what you’re gonna do first?” Radiance asked, and immediately looked embarrassed with herself.

“Um, what?” Trinity asked. The attempt at small talk was so unbelievably ridiculous it made her smile a little.

Radiance shifted in her seat a little. “Convicts love to talk about what they’re going to do when they get out of jail. Where they’re going to go, what they’re going to eat, who they’re going to fuck. I know this isn’t exactly prison, but still. I figured you might have some plans in mind.”

“I hadn’t really thought about it,” Trinity admitted.

“Any more charity events to crash, maybe?” Radiance flashed her a strange look.

“What? No!” Trinity shot back. “Are you seriously just trying to get me to admit to something criminal?”

“No!” Radiance looked like she wanted to fly out of the skylight and disappear. “It was, um, meant to be a joke.”

“Oh,” Trinity said again. She felt silly for getting worked up over it, and she could tell Radiance felt silly for asking. “Sorry,” she added.

Radiance tried again. “I guess what I meant was more, what are you going back to? I’m sure you have a place somewhere. An apartment, a hideout, a lair, whatever.”

Trinity nodded.

“I’m sure people have been missing you, too,” Radiance continued. “Friends. Roommates, maybe. Your girlfriend.”

“I don’t have a girlfriend,” Trinity interjected.

“A boyfriend?” Radiance suggested.

Trinity made a snorting noise. “Hell no.”

“Then, you’re single?” When Trinity nodded, Radiance’s eyes widened. “Huh. I seriously wouldn’t have guessed.”

Trinity let out an awkward laugh. “I know, I know. One touch, and I could be dating any girl I wanted, right? Well, I can’t say I’m not tempted. But that’s not what I want out of life, you know? I’d rather do it the real way.”

“Oh, um, no, that’s not what I meant,” Radiance corrected quickly. “Just… that you’re really pretty.”

She might as well have hit Trinity over the head with a sledgehammer. The bedridden villain turned a very stupid shade of red, and let out an even stupider giggle.

“You really think so?” she asked, before she could think better of it.

“I do,” Radiance replied, looking aside as she did. Plainly, the superhero was almost as embarrassed as Trinity was.

“T-thank you,” Trinity stammered. “I mean- um, that’s nice of you to say. I’m not so sure, I guess.”

“Well, I am,” Radiance said, with unexpected conviction. “And trust me, I’d know. I’ve seen just about every part of you. You’re pretty.”

Trinity felt like a kettle boiling. After a few dumbstruck seconds she did her best to laugh the compliment off.

“I can’t believe the city’s greatest hero thinks I’m pretty,” she quipped. “Man. Some of the girls I know are really gonna get a kick out of that one. Do you think you can go on record with that one? I’d love to see it in a newspaper, next time they mention me.”

Mercifully, Radiance let out a genuine laugh. As the hero laughed, Trinity found herself admiring the way she looked as she did, relaxed and at-ease. When her face stretched into a smile, a pair of little dimples formed at the corners of her mouth. It was an oddly cute, innocent little feature for her trademark strong, heroic face.

“Anyway,” Trinity added, “being pretty isn’t always the most important thing, when it comes to finding the right person. I mean, I’m sure you’d know that better than anyone, right?”

Radiance kept laughing, although now with a hint of bitterness. “Damn. It’s really that obvious I don’t have a girlfriend, huh?”

“’Fraid so,” Trinity told her. “If nothing else, there’s no way I’d ever let a girl I was dating live in a place like this - no offense. And…”

She broke off, but she’d caught Radiance’s curiosity. “And what?”

“And… you seem pretty lonely,” Trinity answered, a little apologetically.

“Ah.” Despite everything, the look of deep sadness on Radiance’s face melted Trinity’s heart. After a moment, though, it passed, and with an air of forced brightness, she said: “Well, hey, at least you think I’m pretty too. That’s something, right?”

Great. Trinity had just barely managed to stop blushing. “O-of course I do!” she spluttered. “Doesn’t everyone?”

“I suppose so,” Radiance admitted. “But I’m not sure they’d still think that, if they saw all the sides of me you’ve seen.”

“I think they would,” Trinity said quietly, before reaching under the covers and pinching herself. What the hell was she saying? And why were her cheeks so damn hot?

It wasn’t fair. When Radiance called her pretty, Trinity blushed. When Trinity called Radiance pretty, Trinity blushed. How was the superhero having this effect on her?

Maybe it was a lingering effect of that golden chain of hers. Yeah, that had to be it. Like how she’d made Trinity enjoy some of the demeaning stuff Radiance had subjected her to. Of course. That made the most sense. At least that meant it wasn’t Trinity’s fault.

And if it wasn’t her fault, then did it really matter what happened?

“Hey,” Radiance said suddenly, hesitantly. “You mind if I lie down? This chair hasn’t been too comfy to sleep in.”

“Sure,” Trinity replied quickly. “I’m afraid you’re gonna have to share, though. Standing up is still a little beyond me, apparently.”

“That’s fine. It’s not like it’s the first time, right?”

Radiance clambered into bed, sighing gratefully as she stretched out and let herself sink into the sheets. Trinity considered shifting over a little, to allow the hero a little more personal space. But she didn’t.

“Hey,” Trinity said suddenly, hesitantly. “You mind if I hold on to you a little bit? It’s kinda cold in here.”

“Sure,” came Radiance’s quiet answer.

The superhero didn’t move or protest as Trinity pressed up against her side awkwardly. Radiance was, indeed, much warmer than Trinity.

The two of them lay together like that for a long time. Trinity was unwilling to move, unwilling even to breathe too deeply. She wanted to be still, even as strength gradually returned to her body. Radiance was still too; so still, Trinity thought she might have fallen asleep. Only the occasional flickering of her eyelids as she glanced over at Trinity reassured her. Trinity wasn’t sure how much time passed like that, but her mind kept turning to the knowledge that soon, it would have to end. She would have to go. As she dwelt on that, a question came to her mind.

“Radiance?” she said quietly. “Won’t you at least tell me your name?”

Radiance frowned slightly. “I…”

“I think you owe me that, as well as the apology,” Trinity pressed. “You’ve seen too much of me. I’ve seen too much of you. It feels so dumb that I just have to keep calling you ‘Radiance’.”

The pause that followed was so long, Trinity thought Radiance was simply giving her the silent treatment. But then, finally: “My name actually is Violet.”

“Ha!” Trinity exclaimed. “I knew it. I knew you gave Daisy and the others your real name.”

“I didn’t mean to,” Radiance replied. “I was going to make something up, when I met them. I just slipped up.”

“Maybe that would have been a good idea,” Trinity teased. “’Violet’… wow. The fangirls would love that.”

“It doesn’t suit me.” Radiance turned away to try and hide the blush in her cheeks. “So it’s Vi, mostly.”

“Vi,” Trinity repeated, nodding.

After another pause, Radiance reached up to rub her face. “Trinity, that shimmer of yours sure is something. It’s been days.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have absolutely no idea why I told you that,” Radiance replied. “Some of the stuff you did to me about… about how I feel about you. It’s still messing with me, I think. Can’t get my head on straight.”

Trinity was surprised to hear that. On Radiance, of all people, it should have worn off by now.

“Let me see,” she said, propping herself up on an elbow.

“See what?”

“Your eyes,” Trinity explained. “With my power, there’s usually a trace. It fades, as the influence weakens.”

Without another word, Radiance turned her head so that she was looking right at Trinity. It made the villain suddenly very conscious of how close their faces were. She could see from the look in her brilliant eyes that Radiance had realized the same thing. Neither of them backed away. The moment held them.

Instead, they kissed.

And a single second later, Radiance’s communicator started to buzz.

In an instant, Radiance was all business again. The transformation was so swift, Trinity was left wondering if their kiss had happened at all. Radiance leapt off the bed, swiped her communicator from its place on the table, and held it to her ear.

“Radiance,” she said, “talk.”

Her voice was perfectly cool and calm. So this was Radiance when she was truly called into action. Trinity felt a little wounded at having been abandoned so totally, but with Radiance’s back to her, she was at least free to inch closer and listen in.

This is Peregrine, came a cold, aristocratic, and strangely familiar voice, from Radiance’s communication device. Where are you? I expected to hear from you by now.

“I’m sorry,” Radiance replied. To her credit, she managed not to sound flustered or embarrassed. “I’ve… something came up.”

I see. Peregrine seemed to consider that for the moment. That’s not like you, Radiance. Don’t tell me you got distracted. I thought we were very clear with each other, the last time we spoke. Where are you with finding Shimmer? 

A heart-stopping pause ensued, before Trinity heard something miraculous: Radiance lying.

“I lost her trail,” Radiance said calmly. “I don’t know where she could be.”

That’s very disappointing, Peregrine said. She made it sound like a threat. Trinity couldn’t imagine any other hero being willing to threaten Radiance. And surprising. You don’t let villains get away, Radiance. It’s one of the things I most like about you.

“I do my best.” Radiance’s voice was completely flat. “Maybe this one just got lucky.”

Or maybe you just weren’t motivated enough, Peregrine growled. I think you should keep trying. You need to find her. You need to retrieve what she stole.

“I’m telling you,” Radiance protested. “She-”

Remember, Peregrine interrupted. You agreed that you would just do it my way.

Something strange happened to Radiance. She didn’t respond, not for several seconds. Instead, her back stiffened, and her breath caught in her throat.

“Understood,” Radiance said eventually. Somehow, her voice was even flatter and more emotionless than before.

Good, Peregrine said. Call me once it’s done.

The communicator beeped as the other hero hung up.

As soon as Radiance turned around, Trinity knew something was wrong. It was like the superhero had put on a mask. Her face was blank and her eyes were ice.

No.

It was like she was a completely different person altogether.

Trinity wasn’t sure what was going on, but she knew she should be afraid.

“I’m gonna leave now,” she said nervously. “I think I’m strong enough, I can probably manage-”

“You’re not going anywhere,” Radiance interrupted firmly. She reached down and seized Trinity’s jaw in her hand, holding her still. “Not until you give me all the money you stole from Eleanor Quinn.”

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