Chapter 5

by me_chan

Tags: #cw:noncon #comic_book #dom:female #f/m #pov:bottom #sub:female #sub:male #romantic

"You gotta be kidding me," the complaint was easily uttered as me and McGraw exited the car, walking toward an abandoned mall near a deserted highway, the fourth or fifth place Dr. Parker's info lead us to check out. In spite of his irritating lecture-length talk, a few things he said got us to look into the types of machinery and materials needed to possibly make Hierarchs; fortunately many of those elements were rare and regulated enough that tracking sales, purchases, and even transporting in some cases could be narrowed down. But every place we'd hit was struck with some kind of accident or abandonment, leading me to believe that even if anything was there, it was well-sanitized before we could get to it.

"Quit griping," McGraw told me a few times, excited about how he had a good feeling about this place. He had a good feeling about all of them, always sure that we'd strike gold, though he did seem even more excited with this one. I had a feeling about this one too; something about it reminded me of those set pieces in the crappy Hierarch Hero comics, or worse yet, my last field op at the warehouse. I told him to make sure to keep home base on standby alert if he was so sure about it, in case we were both right.

Old structural layouts, satellite photos, and instruments meant to detect trace forms of specific radiations kept us from having to search every empty space for clues. McGraw's intuition took him to the fountain area, a place he expected to open up to reveal some entrance to an underground lab. I watched him look everywhere there could be a place from the second floor, partly because it was funny to watch him move around like an aimless, overstimulated puppy. My own strangely sure-of-itself intuition was another reason the second floor held more appeal. Something about the floor plans of what was directly beneath some old shops, and because I swore I could hear electric hums nearby, muffled behind something.

Before I could tell McGraw about it, he called down to me about something he'd found around the fountain's base. It looked like some kind of loose wiring he'd pulled at to a point where it lay flat. For higher above, it reminded me of trip wiring Radio had briefed Epsilon on what to look out for. If it was though, it'd already been tripped, and something should've been sprung, or some silent alert had gone out.

"Congratulations," I spoke a little flatly, his discovery confirming that this place was exactly what we were looking for, a place an outfit like Hierguild wouldn't so easily let Epsilon traipse around. Despite his excitement, I started shuffling us both out to leave and call for reinforcements.

A crash from the ceiling followed by a ground-shaking impact near us on our way to the exit proved my point. McGraw yelped in panic like I did my first time this kind of introduction was made; I yelped a little bit too as we felt a little ways away, but hearing the loud foot stomps made me sigh in the dust and rubble as I found myself picked up with ease by our clothing.

"Hey Tovarisch! Been a while." The giant muscle mountain simply named "Mountain" greeted me.

Staring over at McGraw's scared-shitless face made me keep my laughing to myself as I sighed with my head down; it reminded me of me first time I ran into Mountain, his scary looks belying his personality.

"Hey гора," I replied back calmly, relaxed as I at least knew we wouldn't be harmed by him. Despite imposing heights of 7ft when normal and 20ft when fully in his Hierarch form, Hierguild's quintessential muscle was a pretty laid back adversary, rarely putting the full force of his power toward anyone, merely loving to toy with everyone smaller than him, which was everyone. He especially liked me since I was the only other person in his orbit speaking fluent Russian, treating and condescending to me like a little brother. If it wasn't for disdain I got everytime my teammates told me "Mountain said hi" after dealing with him, or guilt from how Radio's hospitalization happened thanks to an accident involving me and Mountain flicking chunks of debris away, I would've been genuinely happy to see him. But my half-smiling demeanor wasn't all fake as we spoke mundane "how was your day" stuff in his native tongue as he knocked at some concrete for some pieces of rebar to hang us on.

"So, you and your doctor friend come across anything interesting lately?" We were questioned with a knowing smile.

"If I said no, would you let us go and pretend this didn't happen?"

"Unlikely..." A slimy tone came from above us, crawling down like a four-legged serpent to reveal Toxic, Hierguild's industrial toxic waste-spitting "ugly" member, very much despite his movie star looks. "You little pests always sticking your noses where they don't belong. Makes me want to take care of you before lunch, or for lunch..." Crawling near my body to levy those threats was bad enough, but that purposefully-bad breath almost made me vomit all over him.

"Ah ah, you don't touch that one," Mountain defended me.

"What about the other one? He smells...fearful."

Mountain just looked at McGraw, and shrugged his shoulders.

"Enough of that, gentlemen," came from the exit we never made it to, from Driver, head of Hierguild's taskforce. A former Air Force colonel, he was on his way to even higher military rankings before he got outed as Hierarch, with the ability to operate any man-made piece of machinery with inhuman precision. Like Radio, he was proof that Hierarch operations loved utilizing exiled soldiers for leadership positions.

"We're here for information first."

"I seriously doubt we know anything that useful to you guys," I had to appear to be the brave one for once, with a companion obviously not equipped for combat, or the kind of interrogating they'd have in-mind.

"Don't sell yourselves short, Half. You found this place after all."

"What? Epsilon can't be scouting out real estate for expansion?"

The older leader just shook his salt-and-pepper head, either amused at the excuse, or how the once-new Epsilon recruit wasn't the one shitting his pants anymore.

"If you're going to insist on questioning us, I've got some of my own."

Everyone looked towards McGraw, slightly amused at his nervous gumption.

"Hierarch scientist?" Driver asked me, getting a confirming nod from me.

McGraw looked back at everyone else, confused about the joke he wasn't in on.

"Only a Hierarch scientist would have the adequately-sized balls to go along with their inflated curiosity. Even when it could hurt them," Driver helpfully explained.

"You might be hurting us anyway; might as well get something out of it," was McGraw's retort.

Toxic and McGraw were lucky Hier-Half was a no-show, lest I found a way to whack McGraw to unconsciousness using Toxic's body. Why he thought trading words that might lead to intel with the opponent we were investigating was any kind of good idea frustrated me to no end.

"Trafficking was bad enough, but now you're making Hierarchs?"

"You say 'trafficking', we say 'drafting.' Is Epsilon really so different?"

I held my tongue at Driver's point.

"And funny that you think they tell us grunts anything; that stuff's all scientists' bag."

"And you enforce it."

"Soldiers enforce the orders given, dumbass. Meanwhile scientists are the ones giving the orders they know are morally reprehensible, make the evil tools used, etc. Don't act like you're not in this shit you profess to call evil too."

"That has to be the kind of pious attitude that got you kicked out of the Air Force and made you a glorified chauffeur."

A crisp throat-clearing from Driver got Mountain to bring him and McGraw face-to-face.

"And the only shit I'm looking at i-"

A solid punch to his face cut off anymore self-righteousness could get him killed right away.

"How do you work with guys like him?" Driver regarded me.

"Like you said - orders."

"True, but now you've got some new ones. Tell us what you know ab-"

"The only orders he's taking is mine." Both the voice and falling figure came from almost nowhere, dropping down the same hole in the ceiling Mountain made. Expender's landing caught everyone off-guard, especially me. "And one thing you should know by now is that Epsilon rarely works alone."

"Expender," Driver greeted my newly-arrived comrade, freshly-charged with energy from the fall she absorbed.

"Driver," she greeted back in the same tone as B&B and Copula entered, blocking off the exit.

"Short-staffed today?"

"Numbers aside, I think we'll make do." Mountain and Toxic took to their commander's words quickly as toxic liquids were shot at Expender who quickly got out of the way. The twins shot their respective elements to make Toxic retreat while rescuing McGraw and Me. Copula was trying to slow Mountain down as he faced off against Expender.

"Half, get McGraw out of here! And see if your better half would be willing to help out this time!"

I swore under my breath at Expender's dig with McGraw in-tow, half-cursing at how she was right. Hier-Half could've taken care of Driver while carrying McGraw, but I was forced to do one at a time, stashing him in some vacant store space away from the fight.

"Some foolish leadership you've got, thinking she's the one to give you orders."

That voice in my head appeared the same time Maelstrom's blue scanning flash covered the area. Running back towards the fight, it seemed like everyone noticed it and got distracted for a second. That was enough for Epsilon to be totally caught off-guard. A thin, red bolt of energy shot out at Expender from out of nowhere, catching her by the ankle before she could try to hit Mountain with a charged fist. Cuffed around her ankle, it lifted her mid-air. More bolts followed to cuff her other ankle, wrists, torso and neck, keeping her levitated and unable to move. I noticed Copula trying as hard as she could to find Maelstrom, but a purplish plume of air came and filled her headspace, weakening her enough to collapse in a coughing fit with an instant flu-ish reaction. The twins tried to come in and help, but a green wave of energy passed through them, and suddenly their powers were gone. Totally besides themselves, it was easy for Toxic to tackle them to the ground, threatening them with nauseous fumes.

"Oh shit! Cray-Crayola’s here!" One of the twins screamed, a chuckle sounding off in my head at their panic and choice of nickname.

As if by magic, in a flash of white she appeared in the middle of the wrecked courtyard. A look bordering annoyed and angered covered her face. Mountain, Driver, and Toxic kept silent, as surprised to see her as we were. She finally turned in my stunned direction, and raised her hands, red energy seeping out of them, damn-near whipping me into the closest empty store space. The energy kept me rooted to the ground like Expender was airbound, but I was fairly sure her restriction didn't come with the feeling of phantom hands caressing me, eliciting all types of reactions I was thankful-as-hell no one else could see. To everyone else, I guessed, and hoped, it looked like Maelstrom was trying to pay me back for the close encounter in the warehouse, flinging us both into another enclosed space.

Those hands knew what they were doing, as feelings pleasure were amped high enough to get me to grunt and yelp like I was in pleasure, that could be mistaken for pain. All the yells from outside demanding she stopped, it was hard not to yell back to shut the hell up, until I could feel another energy, definitely her orange flame, reach out to whisper tantalizing nothings in my ear, then slip into it and deep into my head. I felt myself melting in a way, being probed, the insistent flame stroking me internally while searching for something. Time lost to me, I could only assume it found it soon enough, and surprisingly it ran into some resistance to hard and stubborn to burn away easily, I felt it try, yet not fully achieve what it wanted. But enough eroded away to yield a surprising reaction.

Some of her control faltered, just as my Hier-Half kicked in, and I was able to rush out of the store fast enough before Maelstrom could recover. I picked her up by the torso and threw both of us through a plastered wall; making it look like she took a lot of the force of the wall instead of me wasn't easy, and I took a moment to make sure she wasn't hurt much by the convincing tackle. With privacy from the rest, she just smirked exhaustively at me; I took that as she was ok, and moved back into the courtyard to see Maelstrom's power ceasing against the others. Dodging Toxic spitting, I gave him a decent shoulder tackle that took a few breaths out of him.

That was the easiest I'd ever seen him taken down; reveling in that fact lasted on a few seconds before Driver's Joyrider, his tricked out weaponized vehicle, drove into the mall. It was unfair how cool it was, mounted guns shooting rubber bullets, grappling hooks, net guns, whatever he could customize into it, with as much precision aim as his driving. I even noticed he was controlling it remotely via some device since no one was in the driver's seat.

A recovered Toxic seem to set up the B&B to get bound in the car's net shot out. Toxic climbed atop the car, enjoying the ride as it threatened to drag the twins along the card's wild, demolition derby-like circling path. Lucky for them, I was strong enough to rip the wire from the car before that happened, right after I drop-kicked Toxic off the top of Joyrider. Melting away the binds, Burn shot a fireball at the car that made it begin to retreat outside.

"Someone's been taking their vitamins," I heard Mountain from behind , flipping out of the way of his trying to grab me. I smiled confidently at his frown. He reached out again and I ran up his arm to flip over his shoulder, holding onto the material of his jumpsuit. He flailed all over the place, cursing in Russian about getting the flipping monkey off his back.

That distraction gave everyone else time to recover, as Mountain found his feet suddenly frozen solid to the floor from Blizzard. Expender capitalized on that quickly, gaining enough energy to knock him out cold to the ground; I tried dashing out of the way before being pancaked between him and the floor, but a strong bout of vertigo hit me hard, making me tighten my grip to keep steady of something, anything.

Unfortunately, the vertigo was my Hier-Half leaving me worse off and weaker than ever, as gravity took me and Mountain down. All I knew was smothering pressure and darkness after that.


It was nearly half a day later before I came to again, back in my dorm at Epsilon. I got us sore, out of sorts, hungry, and with a weird sense of satisfaction after everything that happened.

I walked out to the corridor, hearing voices in the cafeteria. Walking in, I was greeted with smile, applause, and the smell of pizza wondering what alternate dimension I'd woken up in.

"Nice work today," was the general greeting from everyone, with an aside from the twins about being "half-decent today," which I ignored, but everyone chastised the twins for, reminding them of who saved the day, though everyone also got a good laugh of how my successful assault ended. I tried taking all the praise in stride, obviously not used to it, but trying not to seem ungrateful. I was just happy to heat my pizza in an oven, enjoy it amongst co-workers with good vibes, and spend my evening in peace.

Before I could leave the cafeteria, Expender pulled me aside for a moment.

"Look, I just wanted to say thanks for what you did out there today. We were really screwed once Maelstrom showed up. Again. And you took care of her, and nearly everyone else this time."

"Got lucky," I admitted, keeping the source to myself.

"We needed it, and you did pull through. I keep underestimating how valuable you are to the team, whichever half is helping out, and I need to stop being what must feel like a resentful bitch."

Of all of them, I really thought she thought the least of me, which I couldn't blame her for after Radio being sidelined, and as I technically still had that problem.

"Wouldn't call you that, Expender. I've been a liability out there more times than not; just really glad I wasn't today. Can only push for more of the same next time."

I put off thinking about what it might take to keep the Hier-Half going.

"It's Danielle; you don't have to be so formal around us. You are one of us, and I'm glad you are."

I shook the hand she extended, taking the compliment and trying to not feel fraudulent about it, enjoying feeling genuinely accepted for once.

"So am I, Danielle. So am I."


Light outside my dorm window looked like sundown, which felt like a good time to get in some "meditation practice." No one had mentioned Maelstrom's condition after-the-fact, just their quick evac, so I hoped she would be available and wanting to reach out the way she did before. I let my mind go blank, and tried keeping it that way for as long as I could; it was hard not to think about what happened earlier, how amazing it felt to be reliably Hier-Half for so long in battle, right up until that wave of weakness hit me. It was harder not to think that the same weakness hit her as well, and maybe made her just as vulnerable as me. That concern turned the currents I floated in warm, and floating in a direction I wasn't aware of until I suddenly felt too far gone to care...

My eyes opened, and the orange color of dusk grew brighter yet hazier as it shined through a larger window. It looked beautiful, like looking at the setting sun through orange-hued clouds. But the woman reclining across from me in our booth looked better, though a little tired, like recovering from exhaustion. In front of us were small bowls filled with mini chocolate banana splits.

"You look a little like I feel," I thought to her.

"I know," she replied with a small smile, slowly eating, savoring the contents of her dish. I did the same before mine melted into a puddle.

"So, do I even need to guess exactly what happened?"

"Should be pretty self-explanatory. You got a helpful little boost, and made yourself look quite dashing in-front of everyone. How I love how you showed up even Toxic and Mountain."

"Yeah, though I've gone mountain climbing before. Never had the pleasure of the mountain falling on me."

I hated how cute and sincere her "oops" face looked.

"How did that happen, by the way? Everything was going smoother than ever, and then suddenly I was just drained, way weaker than my human self. All I could do was hold on to what crushed me. Thank Christ it was only a 7ft mountain that fell on me!"

"Yeah...sadistic as I can get sometimes, that wasn't part of the plan. Sorry."

"So, what was that?"

"All the probing I've done in you got me access to a place deep inside you, seemed rarely explored, yet linked to a path to your powers. Tapping into it wasn't hard once I found it, but staying there, not getting shut out, that was a first for me."

I tried not to think hard about what she was alluding to.

"I really hope there's more than one path to tap into for either of us, if it ends with either of us weaker than we started. You don't need to look any weaker around your group for sure."

I got a little sheepish in preparing an apology I meant to bring up.

"I...hope me throwing you into a wall the second time didn't hurt," narrowed eyes and a gorgeous smirk made me look away to smile my smile.

"Don't get angry; I did try to make it look convincing, hopefully it didn't bruise anything besides pride." I wondered if my cocky comments were going to get me in trouble; it was hard to care despite the harder stare thrown my way.

"But hopefully that was what you had in-mind, and you didn't miss much of the show you put on." I had to throw that in to remind her of who was really to blame for her looking bad.

"Not really, conquering hero," she chuckled. "Didn't see everything, but from what I could see, and what your thoughts tell, you put on quite a show when I turn you on."

The double entendre got a good smirk out of me.

"Like a wild stallion you are when I'm in your brain. Majestic, powerful, liberated, untamed...maybe not that last one, but surely the rest." I learned I could smirk harder after that line.

"None of the rest of Hierguild could ride the fury that is your Hierarchy, not Driver, not Mountain or Toxic-"

"Okay, okay, okay. Enough please."

I watched Maelstrom negotiate the last spoonful of ice cream in her mouth, trying to hold it and her laughter in; I knew she could sense the pain and general displeasure of being "ridden" by any of the others named, forcing vague numbing thoughts over other possibilities I feared she might find fun later. I went into overdrive recalling every sexual encounter we'd had, filling my brain with her body, her seduction, her sunset eyes...

"Mmmm, I sense someone's still hungry for something," She leaned forward in her seat, reaching over to feed me my last spoon full, snatching it away from my mouth before it shut. The arrogant grin on her ice cream-covered lips got me to feel as bold as I was back at the mall. I reached over and pulled her face to mine, determined to get my last spoonful back. Tasting the sundae and her, it was hard to care and hard to stop once our lips collided.

Eventually we pulled back to breathe, sitting in our seats, staring at one another. I audibly gulped hard, giving back the arrogant smile she'd given. The sky was dark at that point, but the sunset came back, as did the moth all too willing to fly too close to it. Filled with the love of her control and fiery beauty again, we reached across our table to embrace again. The table soon disappeared, as did the diner, and our full awareness of where we were. Legs wrapped around my torso, I only hoped the soft cushioning beneath us was a bed as we practically tore our clothes off and covered each other with needy grasps and kisses.

Talons dug into my skin as I bit into her breast hard, the heat between us raging. I was deep inside her, rocking at a pace I felt her setting. Fiery loins soon matched the fire of of the space we occupied. We were probably still in that hotel room across from the diner somehow, but also in a dark space that felt a subconsciousness. Aimlessly, we sank into whatever thoughts we came across that seemed buried deep. The hotter we rocked one another, the deeper we went, until something we'd run into struck both of us. Our eyes popped open in realization, I stared deep into hers as we climaxed hard.

After the fires of sex eventually died down, and we were clearly back in the room, a single word fell from my literal lips.


The look on her face matched her feelings I felt, that it was a name she should recognize and identify with, because it was hers. More than anything since becoming Maelstrom, nothing felt more real and hers the name she'd forgotten.

"Meredith," I whispered again in her ear, kissing away the tears of joy she'd felt, regaining a piece of herself that made sense for once.

Drifting off together, I kept whispering her name, so neither of would ever forget it.

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