Dec 09, 2019 1:09 PM
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It was probably safe.

The bar was...unusually reticent, in the lower layers of her mind (and she hadn't pried further; she wasn't sure if she'd be noticed; she wasn't sure if offending would get her kicked out, and regardless of whether it was actually safe it was safer than anywhere else she'd been for the past...three years?) so she couldn't be sure this place wasn't really a trap of some kind, but the higher layers gave a plausible explanation that didn't involve being a trap, and whatever else it was warm and dry and had food. Her guard was probably a full 25% down. Positively trusting, these days.
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The door opens.

"Edie! Hi!"
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What.

Instinctively, she reaches out--assess the threat, optionally neutralize and flee--but there isn't even a mind there, who the fuck is daring to act friendly while wearing one of those damn bastard tinfoil hats they made out of Dad's helmet--

She turns around, a snarl rising on her lips, only for confusion to override rage--she's not wearing a telepathy-blocking hat, or any kind of hat for that matter (if she was wearing any kind of hat there would be no guarantee it wasn't lined) only to be overriden in turn by fear (no matter how she's untouchable she could hurt me at any time how do I escape--)

"I. Don't know how you know me." (maybe she's a mutant maybe she visited the school before everything ended maybe I gave her a kind word and she remembered it in the long dark times since but Bar says she gathers from all kinds of worlds--)
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"Maybe it's been longer for you than for me."
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Stop. Think. Your mind is good for more than just a weapon--

(If there is more than one universe might there be more than one of her it might be a case of mistaken identity

unless that's what they want you to think. You would trust someone an alternate version of you had vetted, wouldn't you, more than a completely random stranger, but you can't trust her you can't read her)

She starts edging around. This place was safer than back home but at least there the only people who can block her can be neutralized by Emily but Emily isn't here--

"I don't think I know you."
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"Have you - not been here before? I could imagine being forgettable but I think Milliways isn't. I met - the person who I was talking about - here."

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"I've never been here before."

(Familiar weight of the knife in her sleeve--other hand edges toward it, make it look like a nervous tic--don't draw unprovoked (you have enough enemies) but be ready if you are provoked)
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"Oh. Then you aren't my - the Edie I knew. Sorry about that."

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"Mm."

She doesn't sound convinced.

(Why would an alt of me be close enough to someone so blank that she would slip up and say my)
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"Are... you okay?"

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"No."

There's no reason to lie about that. Okay is for fairy tales like five years ago.
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"What happened?"

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"Why do you imagine I would trust you enough to answer that question?" A tinge of fear and hostility leaks into her voice. She tries to clamp down, but isn't fully successful.

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"I, uh, didn't realize it was that personal a question?"
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If she's a plant she already knows she's a telepath--

"I can't read you. I can't trust you for anything."
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"You can't -? Oh. There's some hostile mind magic floating around in my world, not a ton but some, but I have a spell for it now. Were... you... trying to read my mind. Without asking. Is that a thing you were doing."

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"I was trying not to get fucking killed."

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"I'm not trying to kill you! All I did was recognize you from having met one of your alts once!"

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"Even assuming I believe you, I was supposed to know this how? If you don't want to kill me that puts you in a club of less than a fifth of the people I've met over the last three years."

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"Then you kind of have a problem, but that doesn't mean you should go around preemptively being everybody else's problem!"

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"I know I have a problem, but I'd rather be somebody else's problem than dead."

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"Supervillain version of Edie: not as fun a surprise as a free drink," mutters Bella.

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"I'm not the fucking supervillain, the supervillains are the people who murdered a school full of children, my parents, literally everyone I have ever loved except my sister, and thousands if not millions of other innocent bystanders. I'm pretty sure you only count as a supervillain when it is significantly less ambiguous that you are the lesser of two evils. I would love to be able to afford to have ethics again, but every day I get to decide between reading some peoples' minds without saying pretty please first and letting not only myself but also dozens of innocents die. If it helps I'm under no illusions that I count as an innocent anymore."

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"I'm not saying those people are not also supervillains, but I've been murdered a few times and the people I'm madder at are the ones I needed my fucking mind defense spell for!"

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"Well lah di dah for you, I imagine I wouldn't mind people trying to kill me as much if I could get back up again afterwards!"

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"That's not the point! You can't just declare unaffordable mental privacy for random people! It's not yours to refrain from purchasing!"

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