I was running my hands across the wool curtain material of the motel room for I don't know how long, triple-checking with my senses to make sure it was all real, that we'd literally teleported all the way to our private love nest. Doing the same with the carpet, the wallpaper, it all seemed wildly authentic, to the point where logic started complaining about the futility of needing further convincing, that there was no illusion. It wasn't like the fog of the diner where a case could be made that we or the space we inhabited was in-part real. It was real, and she made it happen.
Hours after sexy, surreal, soulful coupling with rainbow death, a.k.a., Maelstrom, whom I felt obligated to call Meredith as often as possible, consciousness was mostly high. Probably shouldn't have been, active as we were even before the love-making, so marveling at it all was the current thought among several. I could only guess her sleepier disposition came from whatever energy it took to transport us here, on top of vigorous sex. Darkness and curtains hid my bare body, looking out the window to see the lit diner across the road, still waiting for some flicker of reality to prove she'd concocted a grand illusion my mind accepted. The fact that everything seemed too perfect and too normal just made it believable in some weird way. I thought about touching Meredith, to see if she was really real, maybe more hoping that would just lead to more mind-bending sex where any perception of reality was her call to make anyway. I grew hard at the thought, fortunate that the window's base rested centimeters above showing how excited I was.
I turned to the sound of rustling on the bed, hearing her feel for her absent partner, bolting awake to see me standing a few feet away, amused at her sudden concern. Angrily smirking at my grin, the sleepily-grinning Hierarch yawned and stretched, still laying in bed, staring at me. Sheets modestly covered, but how her face turned lusty noticing me undressed was enough naked for the rest of her. I noticed her eyes darting up at my face, then lowering back to my bare ass which seemed to be her main attraction. Reflexes from living on a compound full of relative strangers made me hide it behind the curtains, but a quick flash of red at the tip of her tress and fingertip tore the curtain from my grasp and showcased what she wanted again, followed by a phantom smack on the ass that made me yelp. Her smile got lewder, and I inextricably blushed from that.
"W-we're really here, aren't we?" I croaked out, realizing how long it'd been since using my mouth. For talking, anyway.
A sleepy, satisfied head just shook up and down.
"How did we get here?"
A hand through her black hair plus shrugging expression conveyed "good question" to me; I'm not sure if it scared me that she had yet to realize how powerful she was. How she didn't seem too concerned strangely put me at ease.
A bunch of other questions flooded my head, needing satiated curiosity, but I found it easy not to pay them much mind; doubtful that they could help the situation, or the vibe still between us. I could only count us lucky that my/our old room happened to be vacant every time we were there, and that food was so close with my stomach growling out of the blue.
"...are you hungry too?"
More robust head-shaking made me laugh out loud, looking around for my clothes strewn about the room, happy she hadn't ripped through them, lest I looked like I barely survived a wild animal trying to make a meal out of me. Pulling up my jeans, I didn't hear her feet padding their way up behind me. Hard nipples pressing against my back told me she was naked, and gave my imagination plenty of images of how sexy she looked taking me again. One arm wrapped around me, the other roaming my body with a frisky hand, in her grasp again. Feeling my ass squeezed and the front zipper teasingly pulled down slowly, I tipped my head back, feeling her lips on my exposed neck. "Meredith" was a hot whisper escaping my lips; it made her hot too, but also made her stop momentarily. She was still taking her own name in, in deep reassuring breaths. I felt the wrapping hand grow just a little hotter over my chest, and then to my cheek as she leaned my other cheek into hers affectionately. We shared heat and breaths for a long, rejuvenating minute, before I felt her lips shape the words "thank you" against my skin. I reached for the roaming hand, and kissed the back of it as a "you're welcome."
Then her stomach growled; we both laughed until her teeth started grazing my neck and pulling at my earlobe more literally. "Bring food before I have to eat you," she lustily threatened. I had to slip out of her grasp to put a shirt on before she could make her message any clearer, not daring to see how hungry Meredith was, for anything. Doing my best to not look disheveled, I adjust my shirt as I walked out of the room and into the night air, taking a deep breath, slowly taking in more reality. So lost in thought, I practically glided to the diner, floating along a path I knew would be pleasing to her, to both of us. The night waitress must've thought I was high as she took down the takeout order I made for us. It was on the last item, a banana split shake with two straws, that I remembered that I'd been involuntarily (no matter how much my I would've volunteered) brought here, and my wallet wasn't conveniently in my pockets. On cue of the "cash or charge" question, a raven-haired beauty with a spring in her step came to my side, slightly bearing the embarrassment growing in me. Batting her eyes sweetly, mischievously at me, they turned to the older woman and lit up in a brief, triggering color I averted my eyes from.
Instead, I watched the waitress' face begin to contort, before the quick burst of flames burned all the effort in her facial muscles away, leaving her placid-looking, lips itching to say something.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed flaming eyes flashing briefly again instead of maintaining a consistent blaze, the hanging tress flickering orange to match. How just seconds worth of flaring was enough to sedate and communicate freshly-planted ideas in the waiting mind made it hard to look away from their faces.
"Favorite c-customers," she spoke with a smile, looking at us like a pleasant couple giving dedicated patronage every day. As the waitress turned to fulfill her orders, an arm reached my side to pull me closer.
"How hot was that?"
I didn't dare look at her to answer; the huff of my breath and thoughts replaying what just happened were enough for her.
"I don't think you even need to exactly see the flame to burn from it; just knowing my control works on anyone gets to you. The longer I see that in you, the more I see the appeal..."
Ten minutes later, after a lot of suggestive talk, we were walking out with our order, steering clear of a few cars pulling into the parking lot. She stopped as she noticed their bumper stickers and protest signs in the car, evidence of their being very anti-Hierarch, probably driving out of state to protest at Mickey's college. The way Maelstrom's hand absently, tightly balled up into a fist revealed how pissed just the sight of ignorant assholes targeting people like us. Seeing her fist begin to flash red, I tried to calm her down in mind-speech, but I felt a flash of an old random memory, the kind she wouldn't have been trying to remember on-purpose. They broadly hinted at a time when she was harassed, threatened, and maybe worse for being what she was.
The scowl on her face told me she was reliving the memory; shaking off how much it resonated with me, I placed my free hand on her arm, trying to get her to turn towards me. Whatever happened would get messy in a hurry if she engaged them or if they noticed us a guy and his goth-looking girlfriend with glowing fists and would've tried anything. Looking and sounding like the boisterous, provoking type, and sure I couldn't stop Maelstrom, I would've taken on all of them, Hier-half or no. I still opted to give her a look stating "I understand" and more emphasizing words mentally spoken. I physically put myself between her and them heading into the diner, keeping her focus on me for more than a minute, just hoping she wouldn't ignite her powers and do something. Easy as it would've been to swat me aside and act on malicious impulse, thankfully, keeping her focus on me calmed her down, and we all went our separate ways; I could only laugh to myself how lucky they were they never caught on to us or bring any of their bullshit our way. As we made it back to the room, I made sure the bag with styrofoam containers was put on the table before pulling her hand to another kiss applied chivalrously.
"Those assholes deserve whatever bullshit or worse life can throw at them, but they don't deserve the attention of a gorgeous Hierarch named Meredith. I hope I do."
Solemn anger turned into a smirk from my mental declaration. She pulled me into a hug as I heard her mind reply "you just might, Byron."
We pulled our meals to the bed, eating and feeding each other bites of chicken fingers and fries, sipping on a mostly-melted shake like they do in sappy movies. There was something to her look as we both approached loud slurping of the end of the dessert, something very insistent. She sucked a little harder to try to empty the cup before I could; I rose to the challenge, leaning the cup in a direction where I could get the most out of the remaining concepts. Just before the contents were completely gone, she pushed the mostly-empty cup away and pulled me to her, determined to get what banana split flavor she could out of my mouth before I swallowed it all; it ended up being a great excuse to start making out again, and laughing while mentally insisting either she or I had won.
Somewhere along the line, we ended up snuggled together in bed, and I thought to myself how I couldn't remember the last time I'd had such a fun date, nor been with such a fun date like Meredith. I'd started to wonder if it was really the same for her.
"So...anything else come to you yet? Memories or anything else?"
"Not yet, just that one special thing. Hopefully more will come with time, or more mind-blowing sex."
"That would be swell."
"Something would certainly swell," she grinded against me to stimulate her point.
Hard as she was making me, my curiosity was much more interested in being satiated.
"I hope it all comes back to you, but I'm curious about...well...do you ever imagine what you may have exactly forgotten about yourself, like family, friends, or where you come from?"
The next breath she took was long and considerate, almost a huff.
"A lot of unconfirmed 'maybes.' Like 'maybe I have a family that misses me,' or 'maybe I have a family that has yet to notice or care that I'm missing.' I want to know, even if I might not be ready for what is. Maybe there even isn't a life for me to return to at all; that might be...better."
"But you don't want that," I replied honestly, sensing her feelings fighting some conflictions. She didn't answer, but her genuine huff was enough of one. I could sense she wanted to look back at me to show how annoyed she was.
"Hazards of being able to read one another."
"Like sensing you deeply, deeply hoping that there's no husband or committed boyfriend to return to in my old life."
Her stating what was more obvious than I thought hurt more than I expected. I didn't reply, but started thinking how if and when she put all the jigsaw pieces of her past together again, they'd reveal a life with no room for me in it. It struck me how quickly we'd become any kind of thing; too quickly if logic had any say, and yet I was suddenly worrying about it ending.
"Funny how you first complained about rushing into things, and now you'll be worried about rushing to the end of things."
"If slow was an option, I would've taken it."
"I bet most men would say that and mean the opposite."
"Moot point since I'm not most men, you're not most women, and I bet neither of us really have time for bullshit."
"Exactly my point," was her retort, speaking as if trying to sell me on an opinion. "You're still worrying too much about what could be or what might be, or what's been. You're forgetting a lot about what is; it might suit you better to worry about now. The past can't be changed, and the future isn't guaranteed, especially since we shouldn't pretend we don't live dangerous lives. Sure, we have our truce, but no one else in our group has agreed to it, or some dangerous Hierarch lashing out, or some idiot bigot looking to kill just because; the worst could come to either of us at any moment, and I'd rather spend time fucking you over worrying about whatever's going to come."
"Which is funny since you're using fucking to find out about your past, which'll probably tell you where your future is going."
How right I was about the hazards of reading her so well; she made a great argument, one I didn't expect to use against her so easily. I regretted my response, but couldn't take back the honesty; much as I liked this brand of caution to the wind, who knew how long that was going to last, and why let it lead me to trouble if I see it coming. Her look was considerate, as if considering whether to act out in anger, or less-likely, concede to my point. All I could hope was that she could read my feelings that were more eloquent than my honesty, expressing loving what's been, and hoping for the best with her, regardless of the before and after.
"I'm sorry, Meredith." I responded out loud, surprising both of us. It turned her look to a weird smile, and hitting my nose with a leftover fry. No spoken response came from her, but a sense of her understanding what I meant and should've said put me somewhat at ease, though some anxiety remained for what she could've said or done to follow up. Whether it was because she really didn't know, or just felt like lightly torturing me, she left the issue in silence, until a good topical joke came to her.
"If it makes you feel any better, if we live to find out, regardless of any old significant other, you can always come with and be my housepet," I felt her smirk as she sensed my annoyance.
"Go on, Byron. Tell me you'd rather some hot blonde's trophy boyfriend over being my well-conditioned pet and occasional pyro-slut."
"Maybe you just want to test how conditioned I am, to see if I need more, Meredith."
"Why test? It's more fun to watch you beg for it."
Meredith turned her body to face me, hoping to catch annoyance or embarrassment on my face, getting a mix of both.
"Speaking of what's been and will be, were you always a fan of mind-control and hypnosis before me, or did I just happen to shine a light on that hidden side of you, determining your foreseeable future?" She asked as if she couldn't probe for it a little bit; she wanted to hear me say it, and that made it a bit easier to answer.
"You shined an orange spotlight on it for sure."
"How hot it must've been to have it dawn on you those first few times. Exposed to a power you couldn't say 'no' to, wouldn't say 'no' to with all the barriers hiding all the 'yes' burned away, until a hidden truth about you became too real to ignore - you like hypnotic control."
She knew I would've argued with "being controlled," but begrudgingly loved manipulation from one source, a source starting to wave a finger in my face. I was sure of being taunted about it, even as that finger and the black, shiny nail grew easier to follow. Easier still as that the shine off her nail stood out against a miniature halo of fire circling the finger. Finger-drawn small circles nearly drew the fire in the air, still moving back and forth.
"No other control feels this good, no other control takes control by taking all your cares away. No other control needs little more than a finger to manifest it. It needs so little because those controlled want it. They want to be relaxed, uncaring, deciding how good it would feel letting someone else bother with decisions. They don't necessarily care how they get it either. They can look into a pair of fiery eyes and say they had no choice, those eyes were just too powerful. They can look at a finger going back and forth between someone's vision, between someone's thoughts, and forget that there was such a thing as choice; the finger made the choice, it chose back, and forth. Back. And forth. Back. And forth. Back. And forth."
She was right about her finger coming between my thoughts, with wavy fire severing the thought process of being impressed with hypnosis skills that didn't require Hierarch powers. I tried to think of how honored, and horny I felt that she learned how to hypnotize just for my sake. Maybe that book she was reading at the college where she ambushed me was about hypnosis, or maybe it was something she studied before she became Maelstrom; regardless, there was too much pleasure from her words instead of trying to keep up with them. Less instant than her typical fire, but just as profound, I began slipping into another drowsy trance state.
"Back and forth, Byron. And back, and forth. On your chosen path. A lone path. A lone finger. A lone mind, a lone thought. Alone, but always accompanied by my voice. No room for anything else. Released from the drag of doubt or worry. Smooth tones you don't doubt eliminate worry, drawing it into non-existence. Yes, that's right...in-fact, the path is so smooth, it rates as memorable to the deepest quietest parts of you. Feeling this reminds you of a smooth ride to deep, hot, sexy mind-control. And all it takes to return there if I really want you there, instantly, beyond all hope, or interference, is my voice speaking in smooth tones..."
The pause of consideration went unnoticed, but not how pleased she was after staring at her fire-lit finger, thinking a perfect thought.
"My voice, speaking in smooth tones, the words 'worry not, little moth.' 'Worry not, little moth,' as the words carry you straight to Maelstrom's control of Half, to Meredith's control of Byron. 'Worry not, little moth,'" She repeated once more, waving the circling finger right in my face, until the halo entered my eyes in a smooth stream and undisturbed trip to the wonderful conclusion "I am in-control."
Vacant eyes flashed orange hearing that trigger, an appropriate signpost for what felt like past the point of no return. I could feel her speaking to my mind, and me answering her in matching slow tones; whatever was being said left me totally at ease, even at the idea of our night nearly being over. Half-lidded eyes managed to keep track of that finger waving my senses into slumber, until it touched my forehead and made my body surrender to unconscious sleep. The weight of my heavy head pushed against that lone finger, I swore I heard her giggle as the finger pushed me back to fall limply onto the bed.
In and out of consciousness, awareness kept drifting against a river of monotone suggestions from beautiful black lips. I woke clearly to try to stare at them and twinkling amber eyes, but the words bidded to me to repeat about loving trance states, and speaking through drowsy arousal about the trance state I was in, pushed me deeper into the weird disposition. Hard, but too sleepy to do anything about it, I simply reacted as instructed. If what I felt was accurate, Meredith was reacting herself too, sitting naked on the bed next to me, watching me, programming me, diving freely into her own arousal. Her own fingers dipping inside her felt nearly as satisfying as my shaft being stroked, also nearly as satisfying when she came several times and I almost joined her several times. Maybe my whines of denial were her revenge from earlier; would've been easier to complain if sensing her satisfaction wasn't so pleasing, knowing what her hypnotic control had done to me. My mouth tried to their damnedest to form the begging words, and eventually she took pity on me.
"Worry not, little moth," unspokenly brought me to the brink. "I am in-control," and her claim carried me over, spurting evidence erupting leaving me along with all worry.
Sometime later, I seemed to surprise her a few times as I pried my eyes open to find her sitting cross-legged on the floor, in-front of my body positioned the same way. When my eyes were closed, I could feel another shift of energy flowing between us, built up from earlier, pulling us a little deeper into one another, hoping to gain more perspective, and especially more revelations on her. It seemed to be hard to do, expending a lot of energy. So much had been used already, from the spontaneous teleportation, to her partial identification, and still trying to use more; I could tell it was taking a toll, especially on her.
"M...Mere..dith," I croaked out in concern, opening my eyes sometime later to one last look, seeing her eyes open, gently smiling. She looked so peaceful, so unbothered by anything, as if engaged in simple meditation. I could feel her being that way on the edge of a cliff she was nearing, fearing she was, or we were on the cusp of bottoming out, surprised at all to sense a Maelstrom with limitations, that know her Hierarch well wasn't bottomless. I could feel her still attempting to search for more, probing but getting no further, feeling the coming risk. The worry in my eyes eased as she eased up on her energies, reaching over to kiss my forehead. With that kiss came a wave of energy rushing over me, pulling me back into deep, mental currents, and back to the room at Epsilon I'd almost forgotten had existed for one joyous night.
Too exhausted to move or process anything else, I fell back to the floor, on the cusp of needed sleep. A deep chill shot up my spine, and settled into my brain, like the start of a really bad head-cold; I grabbed at the covers from the bed and pulled them over me, clutching to them for warmth. Shivers from the cool floor gave me enough energy to pull myself up to the mattress, waiting for the chill to go away; it slowly left my body, and but remained in my head. Drowsiness not caring how cold I was, I clutched to keeping Meredith on my mind to heat my dreams to last all night before tomorrow's reality would set in.