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Generated: Jun 17, 2019 8:21 AM
Post last updated: May 21, 2019 6:53 PM
needless to say I keep in check
lev and sasha pile
Permalink Eye

Let's do this one last time.

My name is Lev Aarons, and I'm a mutant. I can find patterns in information, which it turns out is a way more useful power than it sounds like.

If my parents found out I was gay, they'd disown me, and if my parents found out I was a mutant, they'd kill me. So I spent a long time faking anorexia in order to seem like the perfect child. Then I almost died, Spider-man saved my life, and I realized if I kept it up I'd die without ever having really gotten to live. Naturally I started a Spider-Man fansite and somehow we wound up dating. He helped me run away from home, and now I live with a billionaire superhero and use my power to help him optimize the world.

A few months back, Sasha almost died, and then came back to life because it turns out his friend is dating Death. I'm still not over it, but mostly I'm pretty okay.

And then one night I woke up by being kidnapped...

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This plan is going to work brilliantly. Even if none of the alternate universe Levs have Lev's powers, they can still be used to reverse-engineer other worlds' technologies or even introduce entirely new superpowers. Liv is very pleased with it. 

She brings him to the lab and puts him in a swivel chair before she wakes him up. 

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Power, on. He'll make Asher take him to an all-you-can-eat buffet once Sasha rescues him.

"This is the second time in my life I've been kidnapped and I don't like it much better than I liked the first time."

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"Oh, don't worry, you aren't supposed to," Liv assures him. The machine she's working at has a truly ridiculous number of buttons in a truly ridiculous number of colors and light levels. "But it won't hurt a bit and there's almost no risk of your untimely death." 

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"I feel very reassured. --You realize I'm dating Spider-man, right? There are so many better people to kidnap." 

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"But nobody else in the world has your powers!" Liv says brightly. "Or at least nobody else near our research facility, and grants to search for mutants in China are much harder to come by." 

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Fuck. 

"My powers are boring. I solve math problems."

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She's smiling. "Don't lie, Lev — your name is Lev, isn't it? I'm so bad with names — I know what your powers are. And you could do the world a lot of good with them. It's almost like a moral obligation, if you think about it." Heroes love moral obligations. Liv's fingers fly over the keyboard as she talks, and a whirring sound starts from behind Lev's head. 

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"Math is not that important. And even if it did I'm not really a do-gooding sort of person. More like a do-mathing sort of person."

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She laughs like that's the funniest joke she's ever heard and pushes one final large green button — 

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— and the window breaks as a figure dressed in black and red breaks through it — 

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— and the whole room goes bright green. 

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Lev blinks.

"What was that?"

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"No idea," Sasha says, and grabs him and gets the hell out of Dodge, office chair and all. He'll cut him out of the chair once they aren't in this office anymore. 

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"I'm getting pretty tired of being kidnapped."

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"Pretty reasonable thing to get tired of," Sasha says, and gets him out of the chair by means of breaking the chair. "Let's get home?" 

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"Yeah. Unfortunately I didn't get enough to know what the machine is for. --Also, I'm really hungry, can we stop by a buffet."

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"Course we can." 

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"I think she knows my power is incredibly useful."

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"...that's. An issue. Did she say anything else about it?" 

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"Just that I could do the world a lot of good with them. Wait, let me check." He pauses. "She knows." He pauses for a bit longer. "Kingpin probably also knows."

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"....fuck." 

At least there are buffets. And sweatshirts and sweatpants to wear over your suit so nobody looks twice at you. 

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Lev gets a tray and fills up six plates until they're overflowing.

"Maybe we can get Asher to implant a tracker under my skin."

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"Probably we can — I'll ask him in the morning, you can sleep —" 

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"Okay," he says, and devours his six plates of food, and then falls asleep in Sasha's arms as Sasha is carrying him back.

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Sasha puts him in his bed and cuddles him until he falls asleep too. 

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Alright, let's do this one last time.

My name is Sasha Michaels, and I'm a digital artist and translator.

I live with my two boyfriends, who tolerate me for reasons probably, and I work remote jobs for a variety of reasons having mostly to do with the fact that the smell of another omega in heat gives me panic attacks. I'm still not over the tragic backstory, like even a little bit, but I have Marlo and I have Z and you know what -- I'm doing pretty okay. 

And then — 

— and then the world goes green and he's outside, still barefoot, in an unfamiliar city. 

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"Hi, Sasha!" 

The person who knows his name doesn't smell like an alpha or an omega. This is probably less weird than the fact that all his skin below his neck is scales. 

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— both of those things are pretty weird, actually, but yes. 

"Hi," he says. 

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"You look older. Did you run into something weird?"

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"...I have no idea what's going on, I'm not sure where I am, and I dont know who you are, sorry." 

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"Okay, well, hi, I'm Chris Parker, you look exactly like this guy I'm sleeping with except a decade older."

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"Hi, Chris Parker, I'm Sasha Michaels, I'm 25, what city is this?" 

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"New York City. Weird shit central."

(As if to prove the point, a person who is on fire flies down the street. No one looks up.) 

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"What the fucking fuck." 

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"Yeah, that's one of the Fantastic Four. Not that fantastic, if you ask me."

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"I..... guess. 

Do you have anywhere that I can stay." Preferably somewhere that doesn't have other omegas there but he'll deal. 

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"Do you prefer a giant penthouse with a billionaire or the sewers with a bunch of homeless mutants?"

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"....I'll take not the sewers and an explanation of what you mean by mutants." 

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He starts walking. 

"...You're not from this universe, are you?"

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"...everything went very green and then suddenly I was in New York and there's flying people on fire and I'm ten years younger here so I'm going to go with no I'm not."

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"Mutants are people like me. We have a mutation on a gene called the X-Gene which makes us have powers. For example, I can heal other mutants, and I also resemble a lizard. Your other self's boyfriend Lev can find patterns in information. My girlfriend Rachel mind-controls people into being attracted to her."

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"....cool." There are a lot of responses he could have but cool is probably the right one. 

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"Are you dating a Lev? He's cute, he turns bright red and stops being able to speak English whenever I hit on him."

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"My boyfriends' names are Marlo and Z." 

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He makes a face.

"Is Marlo the sort of person who would take an experimental serum in order to turn into a supersoldier so that he could fight Nazis, and then they want to use him for PR and he's like 'no, fuck this' and starts single-handedly liberating a bunch of concentration camps?"

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"....there's a lot to unpack in that question but it doesn't sound wrong?" 

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"I mean I don't know exactly how people being the same people in different dimensions works but it is very possible your boyfriend is Captain America."

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The chances of a Korean guy being recruited as a PR figure in World War 2 seem... low. "I don't know who Captain America is." 

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"He's the most famous superhero in the world. He, like, helped defeat Hitler, and then he fell into the Arctic and was frozen for eighty years, and then someone found him and woke him up and he saved the world a bunch of times." He sighs. "I met him!"

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"....my world does not have superheroes and if Marlo were a superhero I would know about it, but alternate universes are weird and anything's possible I guess." 

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"That sounds weird. Did Hitler win?"

(Noonlight may have noticed by now that no one smells like alphas or omegas.)

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He has noticed that but he's doing his best not to think about it. 

"He did not, but not for ....superhero.... reasons, just because invading Russia in winter is not a good plan." 

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"I guess Marlo Rogers might have been less important than they said in school. --You're going to be staying at Asher Stark's penthouse, he's a superhero too. I live there. He's dating the other you."

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That sounds like it'll be awkward as hell. He does not say this to Chris. 

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"We should probably tell him you're here because he's"-- Chris waves a hand-- "a super genius science dude who can figure out how to get you back."

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"Makes sense." 

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Unless Sasha says something, Chris will be quiet until they get to the skyscraper with STARK TOWER written on it in enormous letters.

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That's a lot. 

He is just going to figure out his feelings once he's in a place and can do that. 

"This the building?" 

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"Yep."

The receptionist does a double-take at Sasha but waves them up. 

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That's chill. This is fine. (Marlo and Z are probably worrying about him, somewhere where he can't reach them and tell them he's okay.) 

It's nice to be inside, his feet hurt. 

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"Hey Jarvis," he says to empty air, "this is Sasha from a different dimension where they don't have superheroes."

"Greetings, Master Mikhailov," says a robot voice with a flawless Russian pronunciation.

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"It's Michaels," he says. (Hopefully it'll be Lane, soon. He doesnt say that out loud.) "Nice to meet you, Jarvis." (Please stop with the calling me Master, he doesn't say.) 

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"My apologies, Master Michaels."

"He read a bunch of P. G. Wodehouse when he was a baby AI," Chris explains, "and now he insists on calling everyone 'Master.' I think it's mostly because it annoys everyone."

"I would never choose to annoy my masters," Jarvis says. "I seek only to follow the rules of proper etiquette."

"Yeah, see, he does that."

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"Okay. Is there a place I can sleep?" 

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"Yeah, there's a spare bedroom over here."

(Asher's apartment has a lot of spare bedrooms for NYC, although maybe not that many for a place owned by a billionaire.)

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Meanwhile--

Let's do this one last time.

My name is Lev Aarons, and I'm a survivor of the nuking of San Francisco.

I grew up homeless, but my mom taught me to read and write and do math and I spent lots of time in libraries, so the only long-term consequence was that I never ever ever want to interact with nature ever again.

My mom remarried when I was a teenager, so I had something approximating a normal youth. Then I went to MIT, where I hated a hot guy for two years straight and then got drunk and hooked up with him and now we're married. I have a job as a forecaster where I predict the outcomes of policies in exchange for way way way too much money, and that meant I could rescue my girlfriend Sasha from Gilead. Now I have three kids and two spouses and a rescue Gileadite and the best job in the world. Other than the fact that I'm probably going to die of cancer sometime in the next five years, I'm doing pretty okay.

And then--

The world turns green and he appears in the middle of New York City.

It occurs to him that this might be some sort of Gileadite plot. But New York City doesn't look like it's full of Gileadites; he sees two men kissing and a triad walking down the street holding hands and holy shit is that man on fire. 

Okay.

Shit.

So he's dreaming or hallucinating or in some kind of different world, where people are on fire, and he can't do anything about the first two possibilities so let's assume it's the third. He should try to figure out some basic facts about this world. (Fortunately, they seem to speak English.) He'll find a newsagent and get his bearings. 

Same basic selection of newspapers, minus the Gileadite ones. According to the New York Times, it's 2016, so he traveled a few decades into the past, which probably explains the men kissing, if not the people on fire. And-- why is there a person who looks like his husband on the cover of Wired magazine.

He opens it. The person who looks like his husband seems to be named Asher, which is a positive sign, even though his Asher's surname isn't Stark. And-- apparently Asher built a robot suit and now he fights crime. That definitely seems like an Asher sort of thing to do. 

"Hey, are you going to pay for that?" the newsagent asks.

Lev decides not to comment on how all his money is from thirty years in the future and a different country. "Do you know where Asher Stark lives?"

The newsagent looks at him like he's stupid. "In the giant building with 'Stark Tower' on it."

Yep, that sounds like Asher. "Could you give me directions?"

The newsagent gives him the 'ugh, tourists' eyeroll, but gives him directions he can follow to Stark Tower. 

On his way over, he thinks about what to say to the Asher from an alternate universe. By the time he gets there, he doesn't have anything better than the truth. 

"Excuse me?" he says to the receptionist. "I have no way of proving this, but I think I'm Asher Stark's husband from an alternate universe."

The receptionist doesn't blink. "What's your name?"

"Lev Aarons."

"Excuse me for a moment." She types something into a computer and a few minutes later says, "I'm sending you up."

Well, that was easy. 

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Having a husband from an alternate universe wasn't even the weirdest thing to happen to him this year.

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He's nervous when the door opens and then Asher Stark stands up and he moves like Asher and--

"You're a baby."

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"I'm a what?"

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That's Asher's smile

"You're an infant-- I don't think I'd even met you yet when you were this young-- sorry, in my home world you're 36 and we have three kids-- uh, this is awkward, sorry." He waves. "Hi! I'm Lev. I'm pretty sure I'm your alternate-universe husband."

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"My Lev," he says, "is my sixteen-year-old ward. We aged up a picture of him and it looked like you."

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"That's pretty fast, I don't think we can do that in Cascadia and we're thirty years in the future compared to you--"

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"I'm very good."

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"It is you! --Can you explain how I got transported to an alternate universe where it's thirty years earlier and people fly down the street while on fire without anyone caring and you're a billionaire flying a giant robot suit and the Gileadites don't publish magazines."

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"What's a Gileadite?"

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Lev sits on his desk. 

"You have no idea how lucky you are."

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"The hobby of the dictator of Latveria is dressing up in armor and smashing parking meters into cars while shouting 'curse you, Reed Richards! DOOM WILL HAVE HIS REVENGE!'"

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"Has anyone ever told you this universe is extremely weird."

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"I have never met anyone from another universe and yet somehow I am not surprised."

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"Okay, so, a Gileadite is a sect of Christianity. They became really popular after the fertility crisis because they decided that it was a religious obligation to--"

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"Fertility crisis?"

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"Yeah, the thing where we pumped a ton of bitoxiphosphene into the air and now most women can't have babies, or miscarry, or the babies are born with horrible disabilities and then die?"

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"Not a thing."

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"Well, that explains why you don't have Gileadites. --If someone tries to put bitoxiphosphene into the atmosphere, don't do it."

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"Noted."

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"Anyway, Gileadites are sexist homophobic assholes, and then in 2020 they did a coup and turned the United States government into a theocracy."

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"Are you okay?"

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"Don't worry, I'm Cascadian. --Uh, NorCal, Oregon, Washington, and complicatedly Hawaii seceded to become their own country. And we're not homophobic or sexist or ageist or any of that bullshit."

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"I'm glad, I'm not sure how I'd respond to being part of a Christian theocracy."

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"Gilead is okay on Jews, for values of 'okay' that mean that they make us all be ultra-Orthodox."

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"Ouch."

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"Before we talk more about my home dimension's geopolitics-- the people who are on fire? What the fuck?"

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"So, there's a gene called the X-Gene, and when it's active you have superpowers. Like, some mutants have healing powers, or telekinesis, or telepathy, or the ability to shapeshift--"

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"WHAT."

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He spreads his hands. "I don't know what to tell you."

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"THAT IS NOT HOW GENETICS WORKS."

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"Everyone in this world is confused too."

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"HOW DO YOU HAVE A PROTEIN THAT CODES FOR THE ABILITY TO HEAL AND ALSO FOR SHAPESHIFTING. HOW IS SHAPESHIFTING EVEN PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE."

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"Physics in our world is kind of bullshit?"

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"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA."

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"Do you need a hug."

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"YES."

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He gives Lev a hug.

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The tiny infant version of his husband from the universe with HORRIBLE BULLSHIT GENETICS gives very good hugs.

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"So, the flying guy probably actually wasn't a mutant. He was probably Johnny Storm. It's much rarer, but people can also get powers from lab accidents or scientific experiments. Johnny Storm has pyrokinesis because he was exposed to cosmic rays."

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"WHYYYYYYYYYY."

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Asher pats his back sympathetically. "The amount of bullshit this universe is is hard for everyone."

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"So, what, some mutant summoned me from my home dimension?"

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"My guess is that it's probably a mad scientist doing some sort of experiment about quantum causality fields."

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"That's not even a thing," he says, but his protest doesn't have that much heat in it.

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"I don't know why you expect my universe to have the same physics yours does."

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"Just give me some time to process, okay?"

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He laughs. "All right."

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Lev pulls away, looks at him, and says, "Sort of want to compare notes about alternate universes, sort of want to fuck the hot alternate-universe version of my husband."

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"We can do both."

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"As long as it's not weird that this universe's me is your ward."

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"Nah, it's fine, I've had a crush on him for months but he's not into humans."

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Lev sits in his lap and kisses him. 

He tastes like Asher.

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Asher has no idea at all what Lev is supposed to taste like, but he does enjoy it.

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In the morning, Sasha kisses Lev's forehead and gets up to ask Asher about the tracker and stops at the door. 

"What. — Also hello." 

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"...Lily?"

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"No? My name is Sasha, is your name Lev." 

He's significantly younger than Lily; he wears his hair longer than Lily did back in Gilead but shorter than Lily does now. 

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"Yeah, I'm an alternate-universe version of Lev. --Why is everyone in this universe so young."

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"Maybe we're in the past compared to your universe? I'm sixteen, how old is your me." 

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"31. --We're married, she's my spouse. Just so you know."

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"She? — not the point. Asher, Lev got kidnapped again last night, I grabbed him and we were back within two hours but this is getting out of hand, can he have a tracker or something. This was his idea." 

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"Oh, yeah, sure," Asher says. He, unlike Lev, is not wearing a shirt. "Is it urgent, I was kind of enjoying talking to alternate-universe Lev. His universe is apparently full of fundie nutcases."

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"Not especially. Can I hang out with you two?" 

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"Yeah, sure. When-- we should name the Levs-- when Xenolev isn't busy you should ask him why Cascadilev is here so we can send him back to his two spouses and assorted adorable children." 

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"...you know, given the timing I bet I can answer that. Did everything flash bright green?" 

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"Yep."

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"It's Doc Ock's fault. Also, she knows what Lev's powers are." 

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"Great. Now everyone knows."

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"What are Xenolev's powers? And why is he particularly xeno?"

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"Other Lev is a mutant, which gives him the power to intuit the implications of datasets, which is the most stupidly OP thing ever. He's xeno because his orientation is 'mutants or aliens or monsters or science heroes.'" 

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"I want that power. Why can't I have that power."

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"I'm going to go make that tracker. See you in a bit."

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"Love you," he says to Asher, and "Something something the X gene?" to Lev. 

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"I thought I had the best job in the world and then it turned out there was a better job which is whatever job Xenolev is working with that power."

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"He does social science and other predictions for Stark Industries. What's your job?" 

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"I predict the outcomes of various policies for the Cascadian government. --I'm tied for second best in Cascadia. Fucking Aaron Way."

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"I don't know him." 

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"This universe has three good traits."

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Lev fifteen years older looks deeply weird but he smiles the same. It's good. "What are they?" 

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"No Gileadites, no fertility crisis, and no Aaron fucking Way."

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"....you're cute. Also what is a Gileadite." 

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"It is really, really nice to hear you say that. --Sexist homophobic fundie Christians who turned the US into an authoritarian theocracy. You grew up Gileadite."

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"Poor other me, that sounds horrible. In this universe I'm not Christian even a little." 

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"Well, Lily isn't an anything now, thank God."

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"I'm glad for —her?" 

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"It's complicated. If you ask her to put a label on her gender she'll say that Cascadians are obsessed with labels and people should just let things be complicated. But Asher and I call her 'she' and Marlo calls her 'he' and she's our kids' weird uncle."

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"Weird. I don't think I have that thing but I'm not actually sure I'd notice if I did." 

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"Well, try wearing skirts, see if it makes you really happy when they twirl."

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"I'll have to do that sometime! You smile exactly the same as my Lev, it's cute." 

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He bounces.

"You're cute too. You're so pretty."

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That's adorable oh no. "Thank you." 

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Meanwhile —

Let's do this one last time.

My name is Sasha Mikhailov, and I'm a wizard, apparently. I lived in the Soviet Union until I was ten, and six months after my family  escaped an owl brought me a letter that — so they tell me, anyway — said I was accepted to wizard school. I think that's about as weird as you think it is. 

I hate boarding school. I don't speak the language here, and I haven't slept for more than three hours at a time in the last two days, and I think I'm failing my classes but it's hard to tell because I can't read the language either, and people keep calling me words I don't know the meaning of but sure sound the way people sounded when they used to call me a kike. Most of my teachers hate me and all my classmates hate me except one. It's kind of a lot. 

But there's enough food and I'm not going to die or anything and apparently the hospitals here actually have resources, so I think I'm doing pretty okay?

And then — 

And then the world goes green and he's somewhere else entirely. 

His spot under the stairs was quiet. Hogwarts isn't near any large cities, he doesn't think, but he is loosely aware of what London looks like and he's pretty sure this isn't that. All the writing he can see is in English, or at least it uses English letters; he recognizes a couple of words from his textbooks. 

He's so tired. He's so so tired. But he can't sleep here; he starts looking for something to eat that he won't have to pay for, because now that he isn't in Hogwarts anymore food is going to be scarce.

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"I'm sorry if I end up accidentally calling you 'she'. Force of habit, you know."

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"It's fine!" 

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Lev goes back into Asher's room and sits on the bed.

"I got Asher's summary of his life but he totally did not mention you."

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"We met a while ago when he saved me from a death trap, he decided he wanted to date me — knowing I was Spiderman, not knowing I was fifteen — when I made a joke about Tolkien, we were flirty friends for a while after that, he offered to have sex with me, I said "I can't I'm fifteen," he went "well shit" and we did not have sex but we did stay friends until Kingpin mind controlled him into murdering me and he had depression for a couple months while we were avoiding each other and then my Lev told me he was really worried so I showed up here wanting to know what the hell was going on and we've been dating since then." 

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"Okay, so he did mention you, he just only called you Spiderman-- wait what."

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"Wait what what?" 

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"Why is you being fifteen a reason for you two not to date?"

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".....uh," which is maybe a little bit hypocritical given that he and Asher are in fact dating, but. 

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"I mean, I assumed this was a pretty progressive universe, since people are being gay and poly in public?"

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"...uh, New York in particular is a pretty progressive place, I'm not sure I'd say there's anything all that progressive about being poly, but none of that means we don't.... have..... an age of consent? Which technically we're still abiding by although not for that reason." 

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"I mean, Cascadia has an age of consent too, it's not like I'm saying Asher should fuck a kid."

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"Legally speaking I'm a kid. — which doesn't mean I'm a kid by any reasonable definition, I'm pretty sure once you've saved a city more times than you can count on one hand you're not a kid anymore, but that's not how age of consent works and nobody knows I'm Spiderman anyway, so." 

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"That's-- bizarre. And Asher wasn't like 'oh, you're fifteen, but you're literally a soldier already, I guess it's fine to date you'?"

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"I'm not a soldier! SHIELD can't hire me because I'm under eighteen, I'm an unlicensed independent menace. And no, he went 'I don't think I'm comfortable even not-quite-dating a fifteen year old, sorry,' and I went 'that's legit, we're still friends right?' and he said of course." 

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"I guess if people grow up in an ageist society I can't expect them to, like, independently reinvent youth rights, even if I am married to them in a different universe."

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".....that is a really bizarre statement in context but I'm just going to assume there's more context." 

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"Well, I don't know, it's like finding out that Asher thinks racism or nuking people or sex work criminalization or something is okay! Part of me is like 'I expected better of my husband' and the other part of me is like 'well, most people don't outperform the societies they live in, this is pretty much what you should expect' and a third part of me is like 'AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.'"

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"...that is again a bizarre way to conceptualize youth rights. I'm not sure I have an opinion on sex work but it is not in fact legal." 

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"What's bizarre about it?"

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"If I were going to talk about youth rights I'd talk about the unholy amount of things parents get to decide for their kids and making running away legal and fixing literally everything about how we handle child abuse and the foster care system and, I don't know, probably something about mutant rights but that's because it's my pet issue for reasons, and maybe something about public schools? I definitely would not talk about lowering the age of consent, although I might talk about Romeo and Juliet laws in states that don't have those." 

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"I'd probably be horrified by those things too! They just haven't come up yet. What has come up is the fact that two people both really really liked each other and wanted to date and didn't because of the imaginary harm caused by being in love with someone who has had a couple more birthdays than you."

Permalink Eye

"I mean, most adults who want to date a fifteen year old are in fact a bad idea to date, it's just that Asher didn't know I was fifteen and we'd gotten to know each other in a context where age didn't matter? And that ever happens but it is really not common, most adults who want to date teenagers are creepy about it." 

Permalink Eye

"It is kind of horrifying if fifteen-year-olds and twenty-two-year-olds usually never get to interact in a context where age doesn't matter! --Also, I know how you mean it, but 'most adults who want to date teenagers are creepy' sounds to me like 'most gays are child molesters' or something, like, that's how bigoted it is in my home society."

Permalink Eye

"Fifteen year olds are in... school. And if they're doing extracurriculars it's usually a club that goes through their school, or something for teenagers, something where you wouldn't be interacting with the adults around on an equal level? There exist people who volunteer at the library or something but usually it's, like, the school math club or the swim team. So an adult who wants to date a fifteen year old almost never just met a cool person and interacted with them and wanted to date them, they're specifically going for someone younger and inexperienced and who they have power over." 

Permalink Eye

"I realize, like, Canada and most of Europe are like that but it's weird. It's super weird. Like, I get that no one ever goes off to college at sixteen in most of the world, but-- surely some teenagers stay friends with their friends when they go off to college, and some teenagers have jobs, and some teenagers participate in community theater or sports instead of special segregated Teenager-Only Sports where they aren't tarnished by talking to someone over the age of 18, and some of the people in the first three groups invite their friends to parties, and then sometimes people hook up at parties."

Permalink Eye

"It is almost stereotypically true that you lose touch with your high school friends when you go off to college, and seniors aren't really friends with freshman anyway so the age gap there is only like one or two years, and adult sports pretty reliably don't let teenagers in and community theaters usually have youth theater and adult theater separate, and you would not generally invite your adult friend to the sort of party people hook up at. I think, anyway, I don't actually go to parties." 

Permalink Eye

"Your entire society is weird and horrible."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe it is, but the age of consent being where it is does reflect a real thing that actually exists." 

Permalink Eye

"So I assume that's a 'no' if I hit on you."

Permalink Eye

"It's a 'let's interact with each other for a while first,' if hypothetically you were to be hitting on me, which of course you would not." 

Permalink Eye

"I will respect the strange and unusual ways of the culture I find myself in!"

Permalink Eye

"Cute," Sasha says, and snuggles him. 

Permalink Eye

Sasha wakes up and puts the clothes he wore last night back on and comes out. (His feet still hurt from walking around the city barefoot.) 

"Hi, Chris brought me — what the everloving fuck." 

Permalink Eye

"--are there normally two of you? Hi, Other Lily."

Permalink Eye

"There are not normally two of me, what the fuck." 

Permalink Eye

"That's what I thought too. And my name is Sasha, not Lily." 

Permalink Eye

"Hi! I'm Lev! I'm from an alternate universe. This is Sasha, who is from this universe. Apparently someone summoned us for some reason."

Permalink Eye

"We know a mad scientist did it and was aiming for something to do with this universe's Lev but we're not super sure what she was trying to do. Sit down?" 

Permalink Eye

He sits down. "I don't think I have a Lev but that sounds not.... great." 

Permalink Eye

"Asher says if someone managed to get us here he will definitely be able to get us home, so I'm not too worried."

Permalink Eye

"Good. — I hope it's soon, my boyfriends are going to be worried about me." 

Permalink Eye

Lev considers this statement and then decides that it would probably not be helpful to point out that there's no reason to believe time runs at the same rate in different universes so for Sasha's boyfriends it might be five seconds or ten years and either way the amount of time it takes Asher to reverse-engineer it won't be the deciding factor.

"My world has a fertility crisis and a ton of fundamentalist Christians, and no mutants or superheroes."

Permalink Eye

"My world doesn't have a fertility crisis or mutants or superheroes. — everyone here smells weird and I can't tell what that's about." 

Permalink Eye

"Smells weird? I'm not used to thinking of people as having smells unless they forgot to shower."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe just a my universe thing, then. — it's weird, I can't really tell anyone's role, it's like everybody is using blockers." 

Permalink Eye

"I have no idea what a role is."

Permalink Eye

"....you know, the thing where there are men and women and also there are alphas and omegas and three-quarters of the world smells different from the other one-quarter, except apparently in your universe they don't smell different." 

Permalink Eye

"Those don't exist in my world. Uh-- we need different names for the Sashas now-- Spidersha, do they exist in yours?"

Permalink Eye

"Only as a fanfic trope." 

Permalink Eye

"Weird but awesome. And I go by Noonlight on the internet, you can keep your name and call me that." 

Permalink Eye

"We don't even have it as a fanfic trope. --How are alphas and omegas different other than the smell?"

Permalink Eye

"Omegas go into heat every couple of months, alphas don't, omegas can get pregnant, alpha women technically can but it's dangerous and they don't, there are different levels of risk for certain cancers...." 

Permalink Eye

"Is 'heat' the thing it sounds like?"

Permalink Eye

He makes a face. "Depends on what it sounds like but I'm going to take a stab at yes." 

Permalink Eye

"It sounds like you need sex a ton and have a hard time thinking about things other than having sex and also can get pregnant."

Permalink Eye

He winces again at the word pregnant. "I personally can't get pregnant, but all the rest of it, yes, that is a thing that happens to me some months. And to three quarters of the world." 

Permalink Eye

Lev makes a move like he's about to hug Noonlight and then stops. 

"I'm sorry."

Permalink Eye

"It's fine. Seventy-five percent of the world's gotta deal with it." 

Lev, who is married to Lily, will be able to tell that it isn't even a little bit fine. 

Permalink Eye

He digs his fingers into his palm. 

(He doesn't have a you-- it won't comfort him because he doesn't have a you-- it looks like him and he's sad and you want to hug him but it's a different person--)

"So there are Levs and Sashas and Ashers in different universes," Lev says, "I wonder if anybody else matches up. Do you have, I don't know, a Sandy Buford? A Marlo Lane? A Michael Way? A Joseph Lawrence?"

Permalink Eye

He brightens almost immediately. 

"Marlo's my boyfriend. I don't know any of the other names." 

Permalink Eye

"We have a Marlo Rogers, he's Captain America. Chris Parker, Z —" 

Permalink Eye

"I'm also dating Z but don't know a Chris." 

Permalink Eye

"Marlo's dating Lily and my Asher. I don't know a Chris or a Z."

Permalink Eye

"Marlo and Asher trying to date would go so badly. — they're doing their best to get along but neither of them likes the other, it's bad." 

Permalink Eye

"That's weird, my Marlo and Asher get along great. Asher was the first person other than Lily Marlo actually said multiple complete sentences to."

Permalink Eye

"That's..... weird, he doesn't talk a lot but he does talk ever unless he's really not okay." 

Permalink Eye

"He worked as a member of a homophobic authoritarian theocracy's secret police and fell in love with Lily before he'd realized he was gay. Lily kissed him, he confessed that he was a member of the secret police, and I pulled some strings and got Lily a visa to Cascadia before she got arrested. And then a year later Lily finally responded to his increasingly anguished texts to say that if he was really sorry he would send the Cascadian government everything he knew. He did and now he lives in a cottage in my backyard with Lily." He pauses. "He's. Not okay."

Permalink Eye

"Jesus." 

Marlo is not here and Sasha can't hug him but he wants to. 

Permalink Eye

"Yeah it was. Not a great set of things that happened. --Marlo and Asher go out on camping trips and, like, silently observe trees together and occasionally bring home a deer or an elk. I don't know. I am not a big fan of nature myself."

Permalink Eye

"...glad he's got that, anyway." 

He's just going to curl up into a ball and that'll have to be fine. 

Permalink Eye

There are little white spots on Lev's palm from how hard his fingers are digging into it. 

"So, uh, fanfiction," he tries. "That's different in different universes."

Permalink Eye

A short person with curly hair wanders into the hallway.

"--Wait, what the fuck, why is there an Old Sasha."

Permalink Eye

"Why is Tiny Me so thin?"

Permalink Eye

"Lev, this is Other Lev, he's from an alternate universe where fundamentalists took over most of the United States and turned it into an oppressive theocracy, but he's okay because he lives in Cascadia which is hella progressive and big on youth rights, and this is Other Me, currently going by Noonlight to differentiate, he's me but from an alpha/omega universe like in fanfic. Guys, this is my Lev, he's thin because his mutant power feeds on calories." 

Permalink Eye

"Other Me is old."

Permalink Eye

"I think we're going by 'Cascadilev' and 'Xenolev', to differentiate."

Permalink Eye

"Why do I have to be named after my kink?"

Permalink Eye

"Ask Asher. --Was I ever that small. I don't think I was ever that small."

Permalink Eye

"Probably you were at some point! Lev you should cuddle me." 

Permalink Eye

This is a good plan! He does. 

Permalink Eye

"Oh good! You two are dating! --I am married to my Sasha," Cascadilev explains for what feels like the hundredth time.

Permalink Eye

Bounce bounce bounce. "He's SO GOOD."

Permalink Eye

Bounce bounce bounce.

"He really is!!!!"

Permalink Eye

"You're both adorable," he informs them, and hugs his Lev. 

Permalink Eye

"Oh god I'm so cute. How am I so cute. I can't believe I was totally unaware of how cute I was."

Permalink Eye

"I'm probably going to start feeling insecure about how much better you are than me."

Permalink Eye

"I mean, same, but just let me bask in the cuteness for a bit before I start worrying about how you've achieved so much more at seventeen than I did."

Permalink Eye

"Okay, but you don't have powers-- unless you do--"

Permalink Eye

"--I don't--"

Permalink Eye

"--so your accomplishments are real and the only reason I've accomplished anything is that I'm cheating."

Permalink Eye

"Your accomplishments are also real and I love you very much." 

Permalink Eye

"No, see, when I was seventeen I was a normal high school student, I wasn't helping run a superhero team and a major charitable foundation!"

Permalink Eye

"What are you doing now?"

Permalink Eye

"Tied with Asher for second-best forecaster-- uh, that's a person whose job is to predict the outcomes of certain policies so the parliament can make informed decisions-- in Cascadia."

Permalink Eye

"Why aren't we first best?"

Permalink Eye

"I ask myself that a lot."

Permalink Eye

"He's like this about most things," Sasha says to the other Sasha. "Are you okay?" 

Permalink Eye

"I'm okay. I miss my Marlo." 

Permalink Eye

"...I could hug you too if you wanted?" 

Permalink Eye

He pauses for a moment, debates whether he wants a hug more than being touched will freak him out, and curls up against the other Sasha's side. 

Permalink Eye

Lev notices that Noonlight is being hugged and his face gets soft.

Permalink Eye

"Do you want to see the project I'm working on?"

Permalink Eye

"Um, yes!"

Permalink Eye

Sasha lets go of Lev and does not let go of other Sasha. "Have fun." 

Permalink Eye

Asher, who has still not managed to find a shirt, wanders back into the hallway.

"I think I've figured out the tracker-- wait what."

Permalink Eye

"Oh hey I do know an Asher, we're friends sort of on tumblr. — hi, I'm going by Noonlight, I come from a world that apparently you guys have as a fanfic trope?" 

Permalink Eye

"He means A/B/O. Except from what I can tell they don't have betas." 

Permalink Eye

"Cool. Why is there an alternate-universe Sasha?"

Permalink Eye

"I think I got in the way of the beam while I was grabbing Lev." 

Permalink Eye

"It shouldn't be that hard to figure out a way to reverse-engineer it and send all of you home. --SHIELD wants me to come in and talk about this alien they found wandering NYC but I think I'm going to blow them off and focus on you guys, it's not like they have a shortage of alien experts."

Permalink Eye

"I love you lots but don't blow off SHIELD." 

Permalink Eye

"If I never blew off SHIELD I'd never have time to do anything but help SHIELD. --So am I an alpha or an omega?"

Permalink Eye

"Alpha. Dating a trans omega but you just call him 'my boyfriend.'" 

Permalink Eye

"Wonder who that is. And I bet I didn't include anything else about my identity."

Permalink Eye

"Not particularly but I can ask Cascadia Lev if any of the anecdotes I know remind him of anyone." 

Permalink Eye

"Maybe it's Z."

Permalink Eye

He laughs. "It's not Z, I'd know if it were Z, I'm dating Z. Also he isn't a trans omega, he's a gamma — catchall term for lots of different intersex things —" 

Permalink Eye

"You should tell the other me to date Z! Z is great."

Permalink Eye

"I can't, the other you is monogamous." 

Permalink Eye

"That's weird. I mean, I guess I'm bi, it's not that weird that I'd be another sexual minority."

Permalink Eye

"You got some discourse about it a while back and apparently your reasoning was that your boyfriend was just so good that you don't want to date anyone else." 

Permalink Eye

"Okay, yeah, that sounds like me. --It's just that Sasha and Z are both so good I don't want to date anybody else!"

Permalink Eye

"Well, I know it isn't him or me or Marlo." 

Permalink Eye

"I can't imagine me dating Marlo anyway. I annoy the shit out of him."

Permalink Eye

"Apparently the Cascadia versions get along great," and he keeps a hand on other Sasha's back. 

Permalink Eye

"Maybe they got off on the right foot."

He sits on the couch, a few inches away from Noonlight, so Noonlight can touch him if he wants to.

Permalink Eye

Noonlight doesn't especially want; he curls up against the other him instead. "Maybe." 

Permalink Eye

"Z's busy for complicated reasons but I can probably get our Marlo to come give you a hug if you want."

Permalink Eye

"— I have a tragic backstory and the things I need out of hugs are really specific and it would be weird. But maybe." 

Permalink Eye

"Okay. --I'll do my best to figure out how to get you back."

Permalink Eye

"Thank you. — you probably should deal with the alien, if there's no shortage of alien experts there's probably a reason they called you specifically." 

Permalink Eye

"Okay, I'll go talk to them."

Permalink Eye

"Bye."

He curls against the other him and tries not to think too much about anything. 

Permalink Eye

Let's do this one last time.

My name is Levva, and I'm a grey.

I'm clumsy and I have motion sickness and asthma and no pain tolerance and I'm too weak to carry much of anything and I hate all sports with a burning passion.

I was planning to get a desk job in the military but I flunked out of basic training. In theory I'm looking for new jobs but in practice I spend my days indulging my fetish for greys who are better than I am and updating my blog about economic policy, which I can't accept money for because I have no income. I love babies so so much but I'm so dysgenic it wouldn't be ethical for me to ever have one. And I'm Voan which just adds insult to injury. I hope someday I can swap to Anitam and live on their social services forever.

I'm not okay.

And then--

The world flashes green and Levva wakes up on an unfamiliar street corner that smells strongly of pee. He pulls his knees into his chest and cries.

An alien comes up and babbles to him in an unfamiliar language. He half-heartedly tries some Voan. The alien goes away.

About half an hour later an alien in some sort of uniform appears and babbles at him, and then talks into some sort of primitive everything, and then some other aliens in uniforms show up and babble at him apologetically and take him into a truck. He doesn't resist. He tries to tell the aliens he's polluted but they don't speak Voan. Probably the aliens don't care about pollution anyway.  

He ends up in what is recognizably a prison cell. There's a toilet in his room with him. He's polluted and in prison and they're going to execute him. He curls up in a ball and cries and goes to sleep.

Eventually he is woken up for some sort of medical procedure. He suffers through it, pollutes all the medical techs, and eventually goes back to sleep. Everything is less scary and overwhelming when he's unconscious.

Permalink Eye

"--are you sure the alien hasn't done anything but sleep since--" He pauses. "That's a Lev."

"A Lev?" the SHIELD agent says.

"It's not an alien invasion," Asher says. "Doc Ock the second summoned a bunch of copies of my ward from alternate universes for some reason. I guess this one is from a universe where he isn't human. Leave me alone, I'll try to talk to him."

Permalink Eye

Levva is woken up again and now a very attractive alien who spends way too much time in the sun and has a glowy blue thing in his chest is babbling at him. 

This is fine. 

A different primitive everything is placed in front of him and it shows him a picture. The alien clearly enunciates a word and then looks at Levva expectantly. 

Okay. They want to learn Voan. He can do this. Maybe once their machine translation learns the word for 'pollution' he can explain to them that everyone who's touched him needs to shower. 

Permalink Eye

The alien didn't seem to recognize him, and judging by his miserable expression Asher's presence isn't very comforting. He'll wait until Jarvis has learned the alien's language.

Permalink Eye

A few hours later the everything says in Voan:

"Hello, I'm Jarvis."

"Hi, Jarvis," Levva says.

Jarvis waits for a few minutes and then prompts him with, "I'm sure you have questions."

"Not really." 

"Do you want to keep talking to me or do you want to talk to Asher? I can translate." The screen shows a picture of the alien with a glowy blue thing in his chest.

"Don't care."

"Then you can keep talking to me," Jarvis says. "Do you need anything?"

"I'm polluted," Levva says. "I need a shower."

"I don't know what that means."

"I touched urine," Levva says. "And now I'm polluted, and people who touch me will become polluted unless I shower."

Jarvis shows some videos of aliens coughing and sneezing and throwing up, then an alien with sores on their skin. "Like this?"

"No," Levva says, "that's 'sick'. I'm polluted. It doesn't look like anything. You can't check for it with machines or anything. --I'm sorry, I'm not a theologian--"

"Is there anything you need for the shower so you won't be polluted anymore?"

Special soaps. But he doesn't remember the order of the soaps. "No."

(If they don't have a procedure for pollution already then everyone here is polluted-- everything here is polluted-- he can never know whether anything is clean or not-- he's going to be polluted for the rest of his life-- Levva tries not to think about it but he's always been awful at not thinking about horrible things he can't change.)

One of the uniformed aliens shows him to a shower and he showers and scrubs his skin until the sensation of being polluted, still present, subsides and he realizes that he's about to faint from hunger. 

He signals the alien and they take him back to Jarvis. 

"Is there anything else you need?" Jarvis asks. 

"Food," Levva says. 

"Our scans indicate that you can digest the same food we eat," Jarvis says. 

The food, when it arrives, is alien; he doesn't recognize it. It tastes pretty good when he manages not to think about the fact that it's probably polluted. 

As he eats, Jarvis explains, "Some people in our universe can travel to different universes. One of them opened a door to another universe and forced you through it. We are going to send you back soon."

"Okay," Levva says. At least he won't be polluted forever or executed. That's a comfort. Well, probably a comfort for the second one.

"The same people live in different universes," Jarvis says. "There are other Levvas. You might also know Sasha or Marlo or Asher or Z. There are versions of those people too. You can meet them or stay here."

"I don't have friends," Levva says. 

"Okay," Jarvis says. "You can meet the people who like Levvas from other universes, or you can stay here until we figure out how to return you."

"I don't care," Levva says.

"You're not... curious?" Jarvis asks, surprised.

"Why would I be curious?" Levva says. 

Permalink Eye

Asher, watching this, totally breaks all the rules of confidentiality and messages Sasha:

There's a third Lev, he's a depressed alien.

Jarvis just asked him if he's curious and he said 'why would I be'

Permalink Eye

oh god

Permalink Eye

I think he needs a hug

immediately

Permalink Eye

should I show up

Permalink Eye

I'm going to collect him

Permalink Eye

"You're going to leave this cell," Jarvis says, "and spend time with some other Levvas, and the people that like them."

"Okay."

"They're going to bring you an earpiece that has me in it, so I can speak the translation in your ear while they talk."

"That's fine."

And he gets the earpiece and walks outside.

Permalink Eye

"Hi!" says the blue glowy alien. "My name is Asher."

Permalink Eye

"I'm Levva," Levva says. "You're taking me somewhere?"

Permalink Eye

"Back to my house. I flew here but we can get a car back."

Permalink Eye

"Okay."

He is perfectly silent the entire car ride over.

Permalink Eye

Sasha's knee is bouncing repetitively by the time he gets there. 

"Hi," he says, keeps his voice quiet but warm. 

Permalink Eye

"Hi. Apparently you like a different me. I think I'm probably worse than him in every way so don't get your hopes up."

(English comes out of a little speaker on his shirt; the voice is Jarvis's best imitation of Xenolev.)

Permalink Eye

"...that seems really unlikely. My name is Sasha, what's yours?" 

Permalink Eye

"Levva." He touches his hair; it's grey, even though he looks younger than Cascadilev.

Permalink Eye

"Hi, Levva. — can I hug you?" 

Permalink Eye

He flinches. 

"I think everyone here is polluted."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know what that means, I'm sorry." 

Permalink Eye

"If you touch feces or urine or corpses or garbage or the caste that deals with those things, then you're polluted until you can take a long shower with special soaps."

Permalink Eye

"We don't have that. We also don't have castes." 

Permalink Eye

"Oh." He touches his hair again. "I'm grey"-- Jarvis transliterates the caste name instead of translating--"I'm the caste that does the military and police and athletics and sex work."

Permalink Eye

"I'm so sorry. — are you sure you don't want a hug." 

Permalink Eye

He's already polluted. It doesn't matter. 

"Sure."

Permalink Eye

Sasha hugs him. 

He's very familiar with what Lev likes in hugs; hopefully Levva is the same. 

Permalink Eye

He's polluted he's polluted everything here is polluted Sasha has probably touched garbage and he's just fine with it--

Permalink Eye

Poor Levva. 

Permalink Eye

This is fine. He should probably just try to get used to it.

(He wants to tear off his skin.)

Permalink Eye

This isn't helping. He lets go. 

"Do you want to use our shower, do you want anything to eat, do you want a change of clothes?" 

Permalink Eye

"All the clothes here are probably polluted because none of you seem to care about pollution."

Permalink Eye

...this probably won't work but it's worth a shot. 

"It's not that we don't care about pollution, it's that we don't have pollution. For anything here to be polluted it would have to touch those things back in your world." 

Permalink Eye

That doesn't sound right but Levva is really really dumb. 

"Okay. I guess I can wait on the shower then." 

Permalink Eye

....maybe it did work. He should still talk to Asher about the thing. 

"Okay. Is there anything else you need?" 

Permalink Eye

"I guess if you're not polluted then probably a hug is nice?"

Permalink Eye

Sasha can hug him again. 

Permalink Eye

That's better. 

Sasha is very warm. 

"I don't know a Sasha."

Permalink Eye

"There's another me here and two more of you, and the other me doesn't know a Lev. I'm not sure why some of us know each other and others don't." 

Permalink Eye

"If none of you are greys I wouldn't have met you."

Permalink Eye

"None of the others come from a world with castes, grey is the only caste I know of." 

Permalink Eye

"Castes have different hair colors. Blues have blue hair and own things and run the government, greens have green hair and do art and science, yellows have yellow hair and do office work, oranges have orange hair do childcare and teaching and medicine, purples have purple hair and do farming and manufacturing and service work, reds have red hair and handle pollution."

Once he mentions the hair colors, Jarvis starts translating the names of the castes as colors.

Permalink Eye

"...I think I'd be purple. I'm sorry you can't be green." 

Permalink Eye

Hair touch. "I'm not smart enough to be green."

Permalink Eye

.........he puts one hand on the back of Levva's head. "I'm sorry you have to be grey, then." 

Permalink Eye

"It's fine except that I'm too dysgenic to have kids."

Permalink Eye

....how about he just doesn't offer an opinion on the subject of eugenics and instead keeps hugging Levva. 

Permalink Eye

Levva assumes that this is sympathy for not being able to have kids.

"You're nice."

Permalink Eye

"Thank you." 

Permalink Eye

Levva has run out of ways to interact with people so he is just going to be really quiet and hope that Sasha doesn't think he's annoying.

Permalink Eye

That's okay. Sasha can just keep hugging him. 

Permalink Eye

He's so tired. He's so, so tired. He doesn't have any money and he's hungry and he can't find a safe place to sleep and he's about to crash on his feet when —

Permalink Eye

Alright, let's do this one last time. 

My name is Sasha, son of nobody as far as you're concerned, and I was raised by villains on the Isle of the Lost. I was the smallest kid in my gang right up until King Ben of Auradon decided it was a good idea to bring me to a fancy prep school in Auradon City and there went that. 

It sucked for a while — however much of an asshole you're expecting Fairy Godmother to be, she's more of one, and rooming with Harry Hook is really not an experience I'd recommend, but I formed my own gang now, and Chen and Kaleva and Asher are excellent, and I'm doing pretty okay. 

And then —

It's been about a day since everything went bright green and he fell on a city he didn't recognize. He doesn't have any money but hey, the food they throw out here is minimally likely to be poisoned, and — is that him?

Permalink Eye

....that's him. He's a little older but that's Sasha's face, what the — 

"Hello?" he says. 

Permalink Eye

Everyone else so far he's been able to understand but not other Sasha, apparently. "I don't speak that language," he says, and points at himself and says "Sasha," and points at the kid and makes a questioning face. 

Permalink Eye

...oh. Other him doesn't speak Russian any more than anyone else does. He probably shouldn't have expected him to, but. "Sasha," he confirms. 

Permalink Eye

Doing this without words is going to be hard, so instead he just takes the other Sasha's hand and takes a bag of some kind of chips from his jacket pocket and offers it to him. 

Permalink Eye

...oh. Food. 

He takes the chips and eats them and — smiles. 

Permalink Eye

Meanwhile--

Bounce bounce bounce. "New Lev!"

Permalink Eye

"You're very excited."

Permalink Eye

"Do you want to work with me and Cascadilev?"

Permalink Eye

Hair-touch, curling into Sasha's side. "I'm really dumb. I probably can't keep up."

Permalink Eye

"We're all dumb."

Permalink Eye

"Lev, I know you aren't dumb, and Cascadilev sure doesn't seem dumb, and I don't buy that Levva's dumb either." He hugs Levva tighter. 

Permalink Eye

"We're all dumb, so if we can keep up probably Levva can too."

Permalink Eye

"You're greens."

Permalink Eye

"They aren't anything, we don't have castes." 

Permalink Eye

"Maybe you don't officially have castes but the other me is definitely a green."

Permalink Eye

He doesn't actually know enough about greens to dispute that so instead he keeps hugging Levva. "I bet they'd still like having your help. — you're from a different world, you might notice things they wouldn't." 

Permalink Eye

They all think he's smart because the other hims are smart, and that's the only reason they're keeping him around, and if he lets them know how dumb he is he will go back to the cell with the toilet in the same room and he doesn't want to live in a room with a toilet even if this world doesn't have any pollution.

"I want to stay cuddling you."

Permalink Eye

"Okay. We can do that." He smiles over at his Lev and adjusts the way he's holding Levva. 

Permalink Eye

Levva cuddles Sasha until Sasha seems bored and then eats a meal and then showers for five hours and then eats another meal and then sleeps.

Permalink Eye

The Levs are so excited to be working with each other that they almost forget to feel bad about how much worse they are than the other one.

Permalink Eye

Sasha cuddles Levva until Levva wants to stop, and then he goes and hangs out in the room where the Levs are working, and then he eats a meal and curls up next to Asher and reads. 

Permalink Eye

He does a lot of reading. 

The Marlo in this world isn't his Marlo, they have the same name but not the same face. He can't find any reference to a Z but maybe he goes by a different name publicly or something. 

Permalink Eye

He doesn't sleep. (He couldn't sleep. He's not safe here.) The other Sasha finds food for them both and shares it and he keeps watch and they try to figure out how to communicate — he teaches the other Sasha the Russian words for tree, street, sign, garbage, chips, food, bag. 

He's so tired. He's so, so tired. 

Permalink Eye

In the morning Levva wakes up and he can't stop thinking about other greys, tall and strong, people who can throw him around, and he can't stop thinking about having a baby with one of them, a little baby who babbles and smiles and has ten little tiny toes--

Fuck.

He finds Sasha. "I'm springing."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know what springing is." 

Permalink Eye

"Amentans-- that's my species-- are only fertile in the spring. So in the spring we really want sex and babies. And if our bodies are confused about what season it is we spring."

Permalink Eye

"It is actually spring here, it's April — can I kiss you." 

Permalink Eye

"Please."

Permalink Eye

Sasha kisses him, scrapes his teeth over Levva's lip. 

Permalink Eye

That's nice. 

Sasha's not grey, not even grey for an alien, but he's pretty and he likes Levva and it's spring. Levva kisses back with enthusiasm.

Permalink Eye

Sasha debates letting go, but — he has super strength, he can totally just pick up Levva and bring him to the room Sasha stays in. 

Permalink Eye

"What the fuck."

Permalink Eye

"I was bitten by a radioactive spider so now I have super strength and I can shoot web out of my wrists and sense danger, because my world is bullshit!" 

Permalink Eye

"What the fuck! This did not come up before! Are there more people like this?"

Permalink Eye

"Bruce Banner turns into a giant green rage monster, Johnny Storm flies while on fire, Susan What's-her-face turns invisble, Reed Richards has powers but I make a point of not remembering what they are — there's a whole franchise of people who are victims of atrocities and have powers around magnetism or metal, they're all terrorists except the one from South Africa, I don't know what's up with that either — Charles Xavier is a telepath. 

The glowy thing in Asher's chest is an arc reactor, which powers the robotic suit he uses to fly and shoot lasers at people, my fuckbuddy Chris has lizard scales from the neck down and can heal people, my friend Marlo was given a serum that made him into a supersoldier, including super strength, endurance, and nigh-invulnerability, my other friend Z can regenerate and heal any physical damage he takes, and Lev's power tells him the implications of datasets." 

Permalink Eye

"Oh, so he's not actually smart, he just has a superpower that makes him look smart."

Permalink Eye

"— he is also actually smart. His power doesn't tell him the answer unless he asks the question." 

Permalink Eye

"Doesn't matter. Fuck me."

Permalink Eye

It does matter but yeah sure he'll do that. 

Permalink Eye

"I love guys who are stronger than me."

Permalink Eye

"Glad I can provide." Strong enough to pick him up is strong enough to pin him down.

Permalink Eye

Levva is writhing under him. "Thank you"-- he gasps-- "thank you so much--"

Permalink Eye

"For what?" Sasha says, and bites him. 

Permalink Eye

"Oh-- pinning me down-- hurting me-- so good--"

Permalink Eye

"You're doing great — you're so good — so responsive — there you go —" 

Permalink Eye

"It's spring-- horny-- in spring-- want sex-- not like this-- all the time--"

Permalink Eye

"I'm not gonna be able to do this all season, I have school — among other reasons —" 

Permalink Eye

"Want it-- once a day-- sometimes twice-- can find people--"

If he gets the discussion done really quickly will Sasha suck his dick.

Permalink Eye

He doesn't even have to finish the discussion for that. 

Permalink Eye

"So good-- so pretty-- hold down my hips--"

Permalink Eye

He does that, swallows around him and hums —

Permalink Eye

"Hard enough to bruise, please--"

Superpowers, Levva concludes, are awesome.

Permalink Eye

He holds Levva down and digs his fingers into Levva's thighs tight enough to bruise — he tastes like Lev — it's very good. 

Permalink Eye

Well, if he keeps that up, Levva is going to come down his throat.

Permalink Eye

He swallows and then kisses Levva again. 

Permalink Eye

"You're so hot."

Permalink Eye

"Thank you." 

Permalink Eye

He kisses down Sasha's neck and his chest and his stomach and undoes his pants.

(Muscles! Eeeeeee!)

Permalink Eye

Oh. Good. Sasha curls his fingers in Levva's hair and — lets him do that. 

Permalink Eye

He doesn't have Xenolev's superpowers but he does have lots of practice. 

Whatever-species-Sasha-is genitals seem to work a lot like Amentan genitals.

Permalink Eye

Yeah. They do. Sasha goes loose and relaxed under him. 

Permalink Eye

He pulls off, says "you can fuck my face," starts sucking again, and tugs Sasha's hand so it's pulling his hair.

Permalink Eye

Then he'll just — do that — he lets his hips move, pulls Levva's hair — 

Permalink Eye

Levva is extremely enthusiastic about this plan!

Permalink Eye

Yeah. So is he. 

Once he finishes he kisses Levva again. 

Permalink Eye

More kissing!

"It's weird to be springing when no one else is springing."

Permalink Eye

"Noonlight — other me — has a thing that's sort of like spring? It sounds more intense and it's a lot shorter and more frequent but there are similarities." 

Permalink Eye

"It's just weird because I'm like 'mm, I could go again' and then I remember you're probably done for the day. --More intense, more frequent spring sounds terrible."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, from the way he described it he wasn't a fan. I don't know about done for the day, sixteen year old boys are sort of famously horny, but done for the next few hours, anyway." 

Permalink Eye

"You're sixteen?!"

Permalink Eye

"....yeah? How old are you, sorry, I didn't think to ask —" 

Permalink Eye

"I'm five! --Sorry, it was just a surprise. Species differences. Do you have kids?"

Permalink Eye

"No I do not have kids. Five." 

Permalink Eye

"I'm so sorry."

Permalink Eye

"At the you being five or at the not having kids or —?" 

Permalink Eye

"You're sixteen and you don't have any kids! That's awful!"

Levva is hugging him very tightly.

Permalink Eye

"......if I did have kids at sixteen that would be a problem! I'm still in school and being Spiderman, I so do not have time or resources for a kid!"

Permalink Eye

"You're still in-- uh, sorry, this is a really stupid question probably, but how long are your world's years?"

Permalink Eye

"....oh, that would explain you being five. Three hundred sixty-five days." 

Permalink Eye

"Our years are four times as long as that so you're-- four? That's still kind of old to be in school for a purple but I guess if you're engineering-track."

Permalink Eye

"I'm definitely not doing engineering, math is hell. And I'm still not done with high school, and most people go to college after that, which personally I think is stupid but there you go. — also I have no idea what I want to do with my life, I said I was purple because that's what my parents and most of my grandparents would be." 

Permalink Eye

"So you don't have castes and instead you educate everyone like they're yellows or greens, even if they're going to grow up to drive a delivery truck or do gymnastics?"

Permalink Eye

"...I guess not everyone goes to college? But I'm in a special test-in high school for smart kids and it's sort of casually assumed that everyone in my classes is going to college. I don't think you go to college to drive a truck but I don't know what athletes do, I don't know any athletes." 

Permalink Eye

"Oh, that makes sense. You tested into greenschool. That's a thing you might do if you don't have castes. Must make your population allocation more complicated though, if you're in a"-- Jarvis fails to translate the word-- "country it'd be like green child inequality but for everyone."

Permalink Eye

"...our what more complicated?" 

Permalink Eye

"You don't have population controls?!"

Permalink Eye

"No what the fuck of course we don't have population controls!!" 

Permalink Eye

Hair-touch. "--I need to go home as soon as possible before someone kills me."

Permalink Eye

"Why would someone kill you because we don't have population controls." He says 'population controls' the same way an Amentan might say 'permissions system.'

Permalink Eye

"Because if you don't have population controls everyone has ten babies and the population grows exponentially and the only way to get enough land for all your people is to commit genocide against everyone else."

Permalink Eye

".........uh, maybe your species is bizarre, but we don't have population controls and the average number of babies is two-point-something." 

Permalink Eye

"You mean you can have as many babies as you want and the number of babies you want is two?!"

Permalink Eye

"There are people who have five but they're usually Catholics — Catholics don't believe in using birth control and they have famously big families, one to three is a normal number. I'm an only child." 

Permalink Eye

"There's a philosophy that believes in not using birth control and it's not illegal?"

Permalink Eye

"No religion is illegal in America. And birth control isn't mandated anywhere, holy fuck." 

Permalink Eye

"On Amenta it's illegal to have a baby unless you have a child credit. In some countries you buy them and in some countries the government gives out credits to people it thinks are worthy of them. In Voa every couple gets two."

Permalink Eye

"That's horrifying and we don't do that." 

Permalink Eye

"It's less horrifying than genocide!"

Permalink Eye

"Here, if someone tried that, that would be a sign of an impending genocide." 

Permalink Eye

"You really only want two kids?"

Permalink Eye

"I personally don't want any kids. But, yeah, in countries where birth control is easy to access most people just have two." 

Permalink Eye

"You don't want any kids? But babies are so good."

Permalink Eye

"They scream all the time and you don't get any sleep and anything you do might fuck them up for the rest of their lives and they can be killed by fucking anything and they don't talk so they can't tell you what they need and the idea of interacting with one much less being responsible for its well-being much less responsible for everything having to do with it is terrifying get it away from me." 

Permalink Eye

"I... guess if lots of your species feels like that it makes sense that you don't have to have population controls?"

He sounds a bit like the way Sasha would sound if someone has just given an impassioned speech about how art is a waste of money and resources could be used so much more efficiently if everything were colored a dull utilitarian grey.

Permalink Eye

"I don't know about lots, sometimes it feels like everyone I say this to wants to assure me that I'll change my mind someday or it's different when they're yours, but." 

Permalink Eye

"If you've seen a baby try and fail to find its own toes and you don't want, like, four, I'm confused but I'm not going to argue."

Permalink Eye

"I have seen a baby try and fail to find its own toes and that was very cute but I have also ever heard the parents of small children talk and it is endless one-up-manship about how little sleep they're getting because of said small children and no thank you." 

Permalink Eye

"You don't need sleep when you have a baby of your very own."

(He sounds blissful at the thought.)

Permalink Eye

That's adorable. 

"Maybe Amentans don't," he says, and hugs him. 

Permalink Eye

"If I lived on Earth," he says, in the tone of a person fantasizing about winning the lottery, "I would have so many. Eight, maybe, so I can have a new baby when my last child has turned two-- uh, seven, in your years. Although if I have babies that wouldn't be stopping anyone else from having kids. I could have fifteen." 

Permalink Eye

"..........I almost don't want to suggest it because if I do I'm sure it's going to turn out that you have pressing responsibilities in your world." 

Permalink Eye

"I'm literally the only Amentan on the planet unless you've summoned an Amentan Sasha and she's a girl. And even if you had a girl Amentan I'd be dooming all my babies to a lifetime of empty springs because they wouldn't have anyone to have babies with."

Permalink Eye

"We have mad science for that! You wouldn't be anywhere near the least human-like alien we turned out to be able to have kids with." 

Permalink Eye

"In that case, I'm an unemployed grey with no loved ones except my parents and I'm pretty sure if I asked they'd prefer I give them twelve grandkids and never see them again to the reverse."

Permalink Eye

Oh no he's smiling. 

It's so good seeing him smile. 

"I'll talk to Asher, then." 

Permalink Eye

Bounce bounce. 

"I'm going to have baaabies! I'm going to have so many baaaabies!"

Permalink Eye

"As many babies as you want! — it's really good to see you happy." 

Permalink Eye

"All I need is an employer and somebody to have babies with! --Does it have to be a girl, if we're doing mad science anyway."

Permalink Eye

"I don't actually know, I'm not a mad scientist.

And now that you aren't restricted to grey jobs I bet there's a lot more out there that you'd be good at." 

Permalink Eye

Hair-touch. "I don't know, I'm still a grey, I don't have green or orange or yellow education or skills, and I'm probably not as smart as the average person working one of those jobs. I guess I could do purple work, a lot of purple work is unskilled."

Permalink Eye

"You could learn a skill, lots of people change careers at some point in their lives. And there are lots and lots of jobs where being smart doesn't matter all that much, being intelligent isn't nearly as important to being a teacher as being engaging." 

Permalink Eye

He keeps touching his hair. "I have no idea what I'm good at. I mostly know what I'm not good at."

Permalink Eye

"You've got time," Sasha says, and pets his hair and kisses his forehead. 

Permalink Eye

He keeps touching his hair. "I did decision sciences in high school, I would have gone into logistics if I hadn't flunked out of boot camp."

Permalink Eye

"You could do logistics here. Or economics, or psychology, or...." 

Permalink Eye

"I guess I did okay at linear algebra."

Permalink Eye

 

 

"....I shouldn't be in green school. Lev and Asher say it's not that I'm stupid but I'm pretty sure they're just wrong."  

Permalink Eye

Levva hugs him. 

"It's okay to be bad at school things. --I'd say 'I'm bad at school things' but I don't think that's very comforting, I am in fact unemployed for reasons directly connected to failing Survival Swimming."

Permalink Eye

"Thank you. But — the thing I was going to say is that there are still tons of jobs I could do, even fun ones, even though I'm not that smart? I couldn't be an academic but I could be an architect or a designer or lots of things, I'm sure there'll be something that you like and can do." 

Permalink Eye

"I'm glad they don't make you be a green if you test in to greenschool! --Although I guess if you could be a designer you'd probably be a good artist."

Permalink Eye

"I could be a decent one if I practiced but not good enough to do it as my day job, trying to make money that way is hell." 

Permalink Eye

"It's a huge problem with greens. Most of them don't make any money at all. And it's worse because some of them are really rich, so the rich ones can get seven child credits and then five adjuncts or broke artists wind up not having kids. So most greens are poorer and less successful than their parents, and that ends up causing all sorts of stress and neuroticism."

Permalink Eye

He really really hopes Levva reads about social science. 

"It sounds like it would, yeah. — here most people who make money off art have a different day job waiting tables or being a barista or something, it's still a mess but not nearly as much of one as if artists couldn't also have another job —" 

Permalink Eye

"It's pretty bad for greys too. The problem is that you need a lot of greys for going to war but the rest of the time there's just not that much for us to do, you just don't need that many arcball players and cops and dancers and park rangers. --It's really bad in Voa because we're two-per-couple, so you can't just reduce grey unemployment by making there be fewer greys."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah. — I'm sure there are reasons to have castes but I think having people be able to do more than one thing over the course of a lifetime is good for us." 

Permalink Eye

"You can do eugenics-- in general, yellows have better executive function, greens are smarter, greys are"-- hair-touch-- "more athletic. And people can specialize pretty early on. Greyschool is like half athletics in the early grades because we're all going to have to work physical jobs, blueschool has more politics, greenschool has more art and music and more advanced math and science, orangeschool has a ton of psych classes--" He sounds a little longing about that last one.

Permalink Eye

"...............................eugenics." 

Permalink Eye

"That's an oddly skeptical face."

Permalink Eye

"When someone here decided they were going do eugenics it ended with eleven million people murdered." 

Permalink Eye

"What? Why?"

Permalink Eye

"Because he didn't want the Jews in the gene pool. Or the gays, or the disabled, or the Roma." 

Permalink Eye

"I don't know what two of those are, why would people who spring sideways be on your top four list, and disabled people not being in the gene pool is fair but you could just sterilize us."

Permalink Eye

"Roma and Jews are ethnic groups, Judaism is also a religion but he meant it the ethnic group way not the religious way. People on earth have a long and horrifying history of hating gay people in lots of different ways. And here if someone suggests sterilizing disabled people they are maybe a quarter of a step away at most from suggesting rounding them up and killing them." 

Permalink Eye

"What's a religion, were they particularly dysgenic ethnic groups or something, why would you hate people who spring sideways, and why can't your species do population controls without murder."

Permalink Eye

"It wasn't population control. He didn't give a fuck about population control. He gave a fuck about dirty foreigners invading pure German society and about the nasty money-grubbing Jewish vermin and the licentious degenerates and —" and here his voice breaks and he buries his face in the pillow. 

Permalink Eye

"Hey," Levva says, and holds him. "Hey, it's okay-- I'm sorry-- I don't actually know what most of those words you said mean-- it's okay--"

Permalink Eye

"I don't know if I can explain them, sorry," he says, and presses his face into Levva's shoulder. "I just — that's what people think of when you say eugenics here. Is eleven million people rounded up and murdered." 

Permalink Eye

"I'm sorry. Back home it means-- not doing that. If anything."

Permalink Eye

Coming up with a response to that sounds like it would involve both feelings and taking his face away from Lev's shoulder and Sasha is not a fan of that idea. 

Permalink Eye

Levva strokes circles on Sasha's back and holds him and does not comment that he's very pretty even though he is and it's spring.

Permalink Eye

"I think I'm gonna fall asleep," he says after a few minutes of being held and having his back rubbed by someone who smells just like his boyfriend. 

Permalink Eye

"That's okay," Levva says, "I think I'm going to try to figure out whether you have an Internet and if so where can I find the videos of babies getting confused about mirrors."

Permalink Eye

"We have an internet. Try Youtube." 

Permalink Eye

A robot knocks politely on the door, enters, and presents Levva with one of the primitive everythings. "I believe this will help," Jarvis says, in English and in Voan.

"Thanks."

Permalink Eye

He curls up and sleeps and — 

— doesn't dream, and if he did dream he wouldn't remember it, and if he did remember it he wouldn't admit it. 

Permalink Eye

When he wakes up, Levva is very intently watching "Funny Babies Moments - Cute Babies and Daddies Moments Compilation 2013." A baby is biting his dad's nose while the dad giggles.

Permalink Eye

That's cute. "I'm gonna get some food and talk to Asher, see you." 

Permalink Eye

"See you," Levva says, eyes fixed on the video. It cuts to a baby repeatedly kissing his dad on the cheek while saying "ma!"

Permalink Eye

Cute. 

He acquires a food and finds Asher and says "So I got Levva to bounce." 

Permalink Eye

Asher, who has still not managed to find a shirt, glances up from the finicky machine he's working on. "That's great! What did you do?"

Permalink Eye

"He was talking about how if he lived on Earth where we dont have population controls he could have as many babies as he wants and I said 'you know, I bet mad science would let you have kids with humans and it doesn't sound like you have any responsibilities back home' and he was so happy." 

Permalink Eye

"Population... controls?"

Permalink Eye

"Yep, that's what I said too, apparently everyone wants as many children as they can possibly have and if they don't have controls they wind up committing genocide for the space. He was deeply confused that we can have as many children as we want and most people only want two." 

Permalink Eye

"He might only get one baby, it depends on how half-humans work with his species. If they want babies as much as he does I'm not going to create fourteen of them, that sounds like a disaster."

Permalink Eye

"That makes sense but please don't make me be the one to break it to him." 

Permalink Eye

"Why is he-- you know-- like that?"

Permalink Eye

"His world has castes, and he's part of the sports and military and physical activity caste, and apparently greys have lower IQ on average and also his entire education was about training people to be soldiers and police and sports players and security guards, so he thinks that he's stupid and not good at anything even more than the other Levs do just because he never got a chance to study the things he's good at." 

Permalink Eye

"Why would anyone put a Lev in the sports caste?!"

Permalink Eye

"You're born in, nobody got to pick — I know —

Permalink Eye

"And Lev just had-- incredibly bad luck-- I assume he's not, like, more athletic than Xenolev."

Permalink Eye

"No. He isn't." 

Permalink Eye

"We're keeping him."

Permalink Eye

"Of course we are," Sasha says, and hugs him. 

Permalink Eye

"I told Xenolev to work on trying to get the Sashas and Levs home. What we've figured out so far is that the machine can only be operated once a month, so we'll have to track down Doc Ock next time she uses it and reverse the polarities. Which is good, because as best as Xenolev can figure out, it summoned three of each of you."

Permalink Eye

"...so where are the other two of me and the other Lev, do we know." 

Permalink Eye

"They were near you in New York City two nights ago and neither SHIELD nor us knows where they are. That's all we know."

Permalink Eye

"That's not awesome." He does not unhug Asher. 

Permalink Eye

"Yeah. Unfortunately New York City disapproves of spy drones flying around the entire city looking for Sashas and Levs, so I don't have a better suggestion than you looking."

Permalink Eye

"That's fair but obnoxious. — I can look." 

Permalink Eye

Asher kisses him. "I love you."

Permalink Eye

"I love you." 

 

 

The problem with having him look for the missing Sashas and Lev is that New York City is.... big. 

Permalink Eye

It probably helps that he's supposed to be looking for extremely confused aliens. It limits him to homeless people and people with tentacles for hair.

Permalink Eye

Chris tells the other Morlocks to keep an eye out for confused alien Sashas and Levs, on the grounds that this is probably what Marlo would want him to do.

Permalink Eye

He misses Chen and Asher and Kaleva but finding food for the two of them is way easier here than it was on the Isle of the Lost. 

People wear fewer colors in this world. It's weird. Then there are the people who, for instance, fly while on fire, which makes the other Sasha gape so he assumes he's supposed to be surprised by it. 

Permalink Eye

Then there's the person in the black-and-red Spandex suit, who looks kinda like a villain from the outside but who drops down into their alley and says "Hey," in a casual and not-particularly-villainous tone. 

Permalink Eye

— that's his voice. 

Well. If there was already another of him, there might as well be two more of him. 

"Hey. — the kid doesn't speak Auradonian." 

Permalink Eye

They're speaking English. He does not voice this objection. He turns to the very small version of himself and says "Are you alright?" in Russian. 

Permalink Eye

"I don't know. Do you have somewhere safe I can sleep?" he says, also in Russian. 

Permalink Eye

"Of course I do." Then, in English, "I have a place for you two to stay, if you come with me." 

Permalink Eye

He debates that for a moment, but if you can't trust yourself, who can you trust? 

"Sure, I'll do that," he says, and does. 

Permalink Eye

Cascadilev and Xenolev are arguing furiously in the living room about something incomprehensible. Xenolev's mouth is full of avocado but he's talking with his mouth full. 

Permalink Eye

He's still so tired. 

Probably he's going to have to talk to the new people, or try to anyway, but he's so tired and he's kind of clumsy from lack of sleep and he really just wants to crash. 

(He is also very, very small.

Permalink Eye

"Why are all the Lilies so small."

Permalink Eye

He doesn't know what that means. He holds onto the other him's hand. 

Permalink Eye

"....I guess an adult Kaleva isn't any weirder than a kid me. Hi, Kaleva and adult Kaleva." 

Permalink Eye

"Hi, tiny Lily and even tinier Lily."

Permalink Eye

"I'm from this world. Cascadilev is from a world where they accidentally made a bunch of people infertile and also for some reason weirdo fundie Christians are running the US government. Levva is an alien, the aliens have a caste system and really really like babies, he's really sad because he's from the jock caste, but he's just discovered porn so probably you won't see him much. Noonlight is another Sasha and he's from a world where some men can get pregnant and go into heat, he mostly sits in his room being sad."

Permalink Eye

"He mostly sits in his room reading, apparently he doesn't usually leave the house much." He turns to the tiny Sasha and says, in Russian, "Do you need somewhere to sleep?" 

Permalink Eye

"That'd be nice." It comes out halfway slurred together. 

Permalink Eye

"What's a fundamentalist Christian." 

Permalink Eye

"Hey," Cascadilev says in Russian, "do you want me to show you where the bed is?"

Permalink Eye

He nods and reaches up to push a bit of hair behind his ear and misses. 

Permalink Eye

Oh, no, he's so small.

Cascadilev shows him to one of the spare bedrooms.

Permalink Eye

"--Probably you should tell us about your world first," Xenolev says to the new Sasha, "so we know how much we have to explain."

Permalink Eye

He thinks about it. 

"You guys have a US so I can probably skip that — do you have an Isle of the Lost?" 

Permalink Eye

"A... what?"

Permalink Eye

"Okay, so in my world, when the US was unified, King Beast took all the villains and put them on the Isle of the Lost and sealed them in there so they couldn't do magic, and then they had kids, and that's where I'm from. Pretty recently he abdicated in favor of his son, and King Ben decided he was going to let villain kids onto the mainland so we could have a chance to escape their parents, which is why I now go to prep school with a bunch of celebrities." 

Permalink Eye

"--Okay, so, America doesn't have a king, or magic, and I don't think we call anyone villains..."

Permalink Eye

"...maybe I do need to back up more, then — my history classes all kind of sucked, sorry — the United States of Auradon was unified about five years before I was born, by King Beast; all the member-states were at least allegedly willing to sign on to this but according to Chen this is not as true as most Auradonians prefer to believe. They put all the evil fairies in anti-magic fields and sent all the evil people — or, well, ""all the evil people"" — to the Isle, which is a little island off the coast, and then they locked us in and put up a force field and didn't send us anything to eat but garbage until King Ben decided to let the kids out four at a time. I have never personally done magic but apparently it works with rhyming couplets, which do have to rhyme but do not have to make sense and therefore are usually really stupid." 

Permalink Eye

"I think you're from a planet with a different history, like Levva, and not an alternate Earth."

Permalink Eye

"That's probably true. What is a fundamentalist Christian?" 

Permalink Eye

"It's a religion-- do you have religions-- that believes that God wants women to stay at home and have lots of babies and that being gay or trans is wrong and that you should only date one person at a time and only have sex with one person ever in your whole life."

Permalink Eye

Now this is a concept he's familiar with. "Oh, so like good people. — we do have religions, yes, there's Catholicism and Judaism and I don't actually know if worshiping Zeus counts given that he's real." 

Permalink Eye

"We also have Catholicism and Judaism-- this world's Sasha and I are both Jewish-- and people used to worship Zeus but he was not at any point real."

Permalink Eye

"Huh. Weird." 

Permalink Eye

"I assume that you think that good people are terrible because they locked you up on an island and think you shouldn't be gay or poly."

Permalink Eye

"Some of them don't suck! Chen and Kaleva and Ben are excellent. Also what is poly." 

Permalink Eye

"Poly is where you date more than one person."

Permalink Eye

"I guess Chen and Asher call it dating and they know the words Auradonians use for their relationships better than I do, so." 

Permalink Eye

"What do you call it?"

Permalink Eye

"We're a gang! It's sort of ambiguous who's leading and we keep it that way because having it look like I'm under Chen's protection keeps everyone safer, and they don't really realize they have gangs in Auradon and also we have to hide that we aren't just friends so we don't call it that out loud, but that's definitely the thing we're doing." 

Permalink Eye

"We have gangs here but they're, like, groups of teenagers or people in their early twenties who get together and do crimes and it is not easily mistakeable for dating."

Permalink Eye

"Huh. — when I say gangs I mean, like, Jay and Evie and Carlos do what Mal says and bring food and Mal distributes the food, and in return if anyone tries to pick on Carlos Mal beats them up, and also they have sex." 

Permalink Eye

"That seems like the kind of thing that would evolve out of our gangs if you put a bunch of people on Prison Island."

Permalink Eye

"That makes sense!" He already really likes Lev. 

Permalink Eye

"On this planet, though, if you go around talking about how bad goodness is, people will think you're talking about it being bad to give money to homeless people or help old ladies cross the street or something. Basically no one you'll meet thinks being gay or poly is wrong."

Permalink Eye

"Awesome!" 

Permalink Eye

"But you don't have religions, people just think being gay is wrong for no reason?"

Permalink Eye

"We have religions but most people aren't religious. Sex is something good people say you're only supposed to do with your true love when you get married, and true love is always straight and between just two people." 

Permalink Eye

"That's kind of weird, I sort of thought secular societies would all become poly and accept queer people. I mean, Noonlight's does and Cascadilev's does in the parts that aren't run by weirdo religious people."

Permalink Eye

"What does my society do? — hey, other me, I'm going by Noonlight." 

Permalink Eye

"Be poly and okay with queer people."

Hello hot alien Sasha! 

Permalink Eye

"Poly, sure, but the extent to which people are okay with queer people depends on where you draw the line around 'queer,' there's lots of people saying I don't count." He sits down. 

Permalink Eye

"That's bizarre." 

Permalink Eye

"Why wouldn't you count?"

Permalink Eye

"If you say you're bi but you'd only date another omega if the two of you were dating the same alpha then you're just straight because multiple-omega-one-alpha relationships are normative, or something. And I wouldn't date another omega at all so I'm even straighter than that." 

Permalink Eye

"Hey, guys," Cascadilev says. "I put Smolsha to bed."

Permalink Eye

".....cute." 

Permalink Eye

"So what's up with Sasha #3?"

Permalink Eye

"His world has some similarities to our world but is also, like, a monarchy. He grew up on a prison island they put all the criminals on and then the new king let some of the criminals' kids leave Prison Island. Also it has magic."

Permalink Eye

"....wow. That's — a lot." 

Permalink Eye

"It really is, when you put it all in one sentence like that." 

Permalink Eye

"I think all of our worlds are a lot when you put it like that. Mine is like, 'there's a fertility crisis, and that means North America has three fundamentalist theocracies, an incompetently run country, and Cascadia, where people eat their pet pigs and the age of consent is twelve and we're capable of making literally every inch of North America radioactive despite the fact that declaring war would lead to riots.'"

Permalink Eye

"....twelve." 

Permalink Eye

"Legit! I'm still not super clear on what a fundamentalist is." 

Permalink Eye

"They're like good people in your world except that they're that way because they think God wants them to be. --Uh, you have Catholics, I don't know how to explain evangelicals using Catholics--"

Permalink Eye

"Mexico is a Catholic theocracy. So, uh, country run by Catholics, and then two other countries run by people who believe in the same God but think he wants different things."

Permalink Eye

"Most of the Catholic hierarchy is on the Isle of the Lost convincing themselves they aren't actually evil the good people just need to see the light of God, except for Claudine who might be the most traumatized person I've ever met. — I guess it's probably still nonzero practiced in Paris and Louisiana and maybe some other places? But the only one I'm personally familiar with is Claudine." 

Permalink Eye

"You have a Louisiana but not an America?"

Permalink Eye

"....why would we need some other country to have Louisiana?" 

Permalink Eye

"Okay, here, Louisiana is part of America."

Permalink Eye

"Same. --Well, here it's part of Gilead, but same general idea."

(It might be a little strange to see an identical facial expression on two different people sitting next to each other.)

Permalink Eye

"Louisiana is part of my America too." 

Permalink Eye

"Weird. In my world Louisiana is part of Auradon, but we don't have an America — do your worlds have a China, a London, an Agrabah, a Morgendämmerung —" 

Permalink Eye

Both Levs have both a China and a London but not an Agrabah or a Morgendämmerung.

Permalink Eye

Noonlight too. "This is a really weird assortment of locations to have in common." 

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, the only Agrabah I can remember is in a children's-- uh, unnamed Sasha, can I ask you a really, really dumb question and everyone can make fun of me for thinking it afterward?"

Permalink Eye

"....sure?" 

Permalink Eye

"Does Agrabah have a Sultan with a daughter named Jasmine who marries a guy named Aladdin? And Aladdin has a friend who's a genie in a lamp who granted him three wishes? And the vizier was Jafar and he's evil?"

Permalink Eye

"....yes. How do you know that and why is that a stupid question." 

Permalink Eye

"I think your world is a series of children's movies that exists in my and Cascadilev's world."

Permalink Eye

"And.... mine? What other countries are there." 

Permalink Eye

"Uh, just Auradon and the Isle, insofar as the Isle is really a country, but Auradon's member states are —" he pauses to think about it — "China, Arendelle, London, Cinderellaburg, Agrabah, Morgendämmerung, Louisiana, France, Other France, Scotland, Corona, I think Weselton was its own state but I might be wrong — there are probably more but these are the ones I remember —" 

Permalink Eye

"We should wait until tomorrow because it's late and Smolsha is the only one of us in the target audience but we should do a--"

Permalink Eye

Bounce bounce. "DISNEY MOVIE MARATHON."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah!"

Permalink Eye

"That could be fun but like, I might not know these people personally but the way I think about them and the way you think about them will be... different." 

Permalink Eye

"I mean, we don't have to if you don't want to, I just want to hear gossip about Mulan and Tiana and King David."

Permalink Eye

"I am — I guess the word is dating — both Mulan's son and Tiana's, and we don't have a King David. And I didn't say I didn't want to, just expect running commentary on these people's personal lives and what I think of their kids." 

Permalink Eye

"That is literally the whole point of having a Disney movie marathon!"

Permalink Eye

"King David is not a Disney movie character."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe it's not out yet?"

Permalink Eye

"Disney at least in my world really doesn't touch Biblical stuff, maybe it's all the fundamentalists?" 

Permalink Eye

"I guess it must be-- they don't do New Testament stuff but for the past twenty years they've been mining the Tanakh for every story they can find. Queen Esther is a Disney Princess."

Permalink Eye

"We also do not have a Queen Esther," he confirms. 

Permalink Eye

"But you have Jews."

Permalink Eye

"I guess maybe my world's Jews talk about Queen Esther? I don't know any, they're all from Peru — oh, right, that's the one I was forgetting — and everyone else you guys have mentioned so far is a celebrity in my world." 

Permalink Eye

"Why are Jews from Peru?!"

Permalink Eye

"....because......they......are? Religions spring up in places? Maybe there's some kind of complicated historical reason it's Peru and not, like, Corona, but I don't know it." 

Permalink Eye

"What movie is Peru even-- Emperor's New Groove? Are there Jews in Emperor's New Groove?"

Permalink Eye

"Look, I'm still recovering from the fact that Esther isn't a Disney Princess for you people."

Permalink Eye

"I think Kronk is Jewish in the sequel — hold on, let me look it up —" 

Permalink Eye

"Kronk is in fact Jewish in the sequels," Jarvis says, "but other things Master Sasha Nobodyson has said imply to me that nothing else from the sequels is canon-- at least from our universe's sequels."

Permalink Eye

"....um, why is there a disembodied voice in the walls?" 

Permalink Eye

"That's Jarvis. He's a computer program but he's also a person-- do you have the concept of computers-- and he's secret. He likes pretending to be a butler."

Permalink Eye

"We have computers and an internet but they are not people. Hi, Jarvis." 

Permalink Eye

"Asher wants to surprise people who might invade the apartment with the fact that it's supervised by a computer who is also a person."

Permalink Eye

There's a thought process he's familiar with. "Makes sense!" 

Permalink Eye

"Greetings, Master Sasha Nobodyson. I am available to assist you with anything you might need before you are returned to your home world."

Permalink Eye

"You can leave off the Nobodyson, I picked it mostly to make a point." 

Permalink Eye

"You should clarify whether that's something that actually matters or something he should ignore in order to be annoying. --Unfortunately, he was programmed by Asher age seventeen and the family resemblance stuck."

Permalink Eye

"Most of Auradon uses patronymics and I was annoyed at how people kept introducing themselves to be as Aurora's daughter or Cinderella's son and then asking about my parents rather than about me, so I started saying 'son of nobody as far as you're concerned' and they put that on the paperwork. I would genuinely prefer it not get brought up more than it has to be. And I'm something with Asher age seventeen and he's basically fine? He picks more fights on the internet than he maybe should but it's whatever."

Permalink Eye

"Of course, Master Sasha," Jarvis says. 

"I mean, I was like ten at the time, but apparently Asher Stark age seventeen spent half his time making genius inventions and the other half snorting cocaine off models and at no point did he learn to stop calling people stupid if he thought they were stupid."

Permalink Eye

"He... sometimes seduces married people? He does a really ridiculous amount of handstands? I don't think he has ever done cocaine much less off a model. Also he's best friends with King Ben and is sort of in charge of running the country." 

Permalink Eye

"I think that's the sort of thing that makes Asher take things more seriously."

Permalink Eye

"I mean, mine was running a corporation, but maybe. --Maybe there is just way less exciting partying going on in Auradon."

Permalink Eye

"Probably true. Good people are really boring." 

Permalink Eye

"You're cute."

Permalink Eye

"I mean it! I had to explain to Kaleva what masturbation and blowjobs were and that gay sex was physically possible!" 

Permalink Eye

"Oh no. Poor me. I must have been so sexually frustrated."

Permalink Eye

"You were. It was kind of heartbreaking but also it was really fun." 

Permalink Eye

"Sounds fun. --My you had more sexual experience but I was the first boyfriend she got to take on dates and kiss in public and that was great."

Permalink Eye

He's just going to assume there's a reason he's a girl in Lev's world. "Cute." 

Permalink Eye

He's not going to say 'want to fuck a me who has known what blowjobs are for more than twenty years' but he is thinking it. 

Permalink Eye

"I feel so left out that both Sasha and I knew what blowjobs were and expected to be able to hold hands with our boyfriends. --I guess I didn't but we fixed that problem."

Permalink Eye

"Well, he definitely knows what blowjobs are now. What happened?" 

Permalink Eye

"Uh, if my parents knew I was gay they would have disowned me."

Permalink Eye

"Our mom did what?!"

Permalink Eye

"Kaleva's parents are awful too, he stays with Chen's family in summer. I'm so sorry." 

Permalink Eye

"My moms are great."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe our parents don't match up? My dad is Aleksander and my mom is Sophia."

Permalink Eye

"My moms are Ruth and Mila, and my dad was Zev."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know either of Kaleva's parents' names except insofar as 'the Duke of Weselton' is a name." 

Permalink Eye

"I don't think they match up. Why did Cascadilev get the good parents?"

Permalink Eye

"Just lucky, I guess."

Permalink Eye

"I'm so sorry about everyone's parents except for Cascadilev's." 

Permalink Eye

"I don't ever have to speak to them again, so it's fine. --I'm sorry about your parents, if applicable."

Permalink Eye

"Haven't talked to them since college but thank you." 

Permalink Eye

"Mine stopped keeping touch when I was ten or so but that's.... normal for the Isle, mostly, unless your parent really wanted kids." 

Permalink Eye

"I'm sure you get this all the time but the Isle is horrifying."

Permalink Eye

"I do indeed get that all the time but you aren't wrong. It's kinda what happens when you take a place and fill it with villains and give them nothing but garbage to eat and even then not enough of it, I was fifteen when I found out that bananas are supposed to he yellow." 

Permalink Eye

"They gave you garbage. --Don't tell Asher, he'll try to overthrow your king."

Permalink Eye

"King Ben is amazing and fixing it as fast as he can, don't you dare. — but yes, they gave us garbage." 

Permalink Eye

"Okay, then, he won't overthrow the king, he'll just be very upset."

Permalink Eye

"That's fair and also sweet of him." 

Permalink Eye

Xenolev's stomach rumbles. "I... should get some food."

Permalink Eye

"I should too," and he'll follow Lev to wherever Lev is going. 

Permalink Eye

"I used to climb into dumpsters to feed myself and my mom. It was easier for me because I was small and my mom has a bad back."

Permalink Eye

....are they exchanging childhood anecdotes? Is that the thing they are doing? He tries to come up with something to say that doesn't sound like an attempt at one-up-manship, fails, and says "When I was ten someone poisoned the food they were throwing out and I almost died?" 

Permalink Eye

"I'm sorry."

That totally failed to have the intended effect. In retrospect, childhood-trauma-based flirting was maybe not a good plan.

Permalink Eye

"That wasn't the response you were hoping for. I'm sorry." 

Permalink Eye

"I was aiming for 'behold our shared childhood trauma, we have something in common, we should make out,' which in retrospect was maybe not the most well-thought-out flirting tactic."

Permalink Eye

Sasha cracks up. 

"You could have just asked!" 

Permalink Eye

"I have flirted with two people in my entire life and I would say it always went abominably except I'm married to both of them."

Permalink Eye

"That's cute. — do you in fact just want to make out or should we find a room." 

Permalink Eye

"We can go back to my room."

Permalink Eye

And Sasha can pull them both onto Lev's bed and kiss him deep. 

Permalink Eye

Lev knows to pull his hair.

Permalink Eye

Lev also knows what it means when he goes all soft and pliant and relaxed under Lev's hands — does he know where to bite — 

Permalink Eye

He very much does!

"You're so beautiful."

Permalink Eye

He makes a soft high-pitched noise and clings to Lev. 

Permalink Eye

Probably this Sasha won't like "you're such a pretty girl" as much as his Sasha does, so he says, "you're so small and so pretty and so delicate, I like that," while pulling his hair.

Permalink Eye

...he is not in fact a fan of 'small' and 'delicate' as traits. 

Permalink Eye

Lev notices and kisses him and says, "beautiful."

Permalink Eye

"Mmmmm. Thank you." 

Permalink Eye

Perhaps they should be wearing less in the way of shirts.

Permalink Eye

Perhaps they should. 

Sasha's gained weight since he arrived in Auradon but he's still thin; you can't see individual ribs but you can see the ridge where his ribcage ends. 

Permalink Eye

He's not going to comment but he is going to hold Sasha protectively.

Lev has not skipped meals much in the past fifteen years.

Permalink Eye

"What's up?" Quiet, gentle. He keeps one hand on Lev's back.

Permalink Eye

Forehead kiss. "I want you to have enough to eat."

Permalink Eye

"I have enough to eat." He ducks his head, nuzzles Lev. "Food just grows out of the ground in Auradon." 

Permalink Eye

"Food grows out of the ground most places!" He laughs. "My Asher sometimes goes into the forest and brings home fruit or mushrooms or greens for dinner."

Permalink Eye

"There's a forest near the school but I don't think it has fruit in it." 

Permalink Eye

"A lot of places don't have real forests." He traces lines along Sasha's chest and stomach.

Permalink Eye

"I've only ever seen the one." 

Permalink Eye

Sasha looks like he has a very biteable shoulder.

Permalink Eye

Ah — he does — his fingers scrabble at Lev's back — 

Permalink Eye

That's a nice response. 

Lev kisses his shoulder and then says, "does your world have sexually transmitted diseases?"

Permalink Eye

"Does my world have what now?" 

Permalink Eye

"Diseases you can get from having sex. --I'm trying to figure out if we should use a condom. My world does but I don't have any."

Permalink Eye

"I don't.... think so? What's a condom." 

Permalink Eye

"It's a plastic thing you put on your dick, it prevents diseases and also babies."

Permalink Eye

"Huh. Weird. We can do that if you want but I dont actually like penetrative sex all that much and obviously I can't get pregnant, so." 

Permalink Eye

"We don't have to." Mm, that is some delicious shoulder.

Permalink Eye

Lev is so good his teeth are so good his everything is so good he should definitely keep biting Sasha. 

Permalink Eye

He undoes Sasha's pants and starts touching his dick. 

He has practice in giving Sasha a handjob he likes. 

Permalink Eye

He bites his lip so he doesn't say Kaleva's name out loud and clings to Lev and rocks his hips up. 

Permalink Eye

Mm. Sasha should be kissed and have his hair pulled. 

He loves watching Sasha fall apart under his hands.

Permalink Eye

Falling apart under his hands is so good. 

"You — you've got me — Ka—" and he cuts himself off and moans. 

Permalink Eye

Lev kisses his cheek. "It's okay."

Permalink Eye

He nods and buries his face in Lev's shoulder and murmurs something that might be "Kaleva." 

Permalink Eye

He buries his face in Sasha's hair and keeps touching him and murmurs that Sasha's beautiful and wonderful and makes him so happy and almost calls him Lily.

Permalink Eye

He shakes and bites down hard on Lev's shoulder when he finishes. 

Permalink Eye

Lev moans and holds Sasha more tightly when he bites.

Permalink Eye

Then he just — won't let go. 

Permalink Eye

He buries his face in his hair. He smells just like her.

"Oh-- Lily--"

Permalink Eye

Maybe he should bite harder, then. 

Permalink Eye

Then Lev won't call him Lily again because he won't be capable of saying any words at all.

Permalink Eye

Sasha doesn't stop, kisses the marks in between bites. 

Permalink Eye

Okay. He has an opinion. He should assemble his brain so that he can speak the opinion.

"Wanna. Wanna fuck you."

There was probably some reason that specifically wasn't supposed to be his opinion but he has totally forgotten it.

Permalink Eye

"You're cute but," kiss, "I don't actually like anal," kiss, "remember?" 

Permalink Eye

Oh right. 

Well, in that case he is just going to get kissed. He has used up his ability to have opinions for today.

Permalink Eye

He is going to get kissed and also he is going to get his dick sucked, how about that. 

Permalink Eye

That is an excellent plan!

He wants to say that Sasha looks so nice with his mouth around Lev's dick but all he manages to say is "mmmmrmph." Hopefully the sentiment is understood.

Permalink Eye

It is. Sasha moans, just a little, makes it a show. 

Permalink Eye

Sasha should have his hair pulled.

Permalink Eye

The moaning is louder and more genuine. 

Permalink Eye

Excellent.

He can't keep his hips still.

Permalink Eye

That's — fine — that's better than fine — 

Permalink Eye

And he gasps and throws his head back and comes.

Permalink Eye

He tastes like Kaleva. Sasha swallows and then kisses his cheek and curls up on his shoulder. 

Permalink Eye

"Stay with me tonight? I don't like sleeping alone."

Permalink Eye

"I don't either. I'll stay." 

Permalink Eye

Lev kisses his cheek. "Is Kaleva okay?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah. He really needed a hug when I met him, he and Chen both did, but he's got us, he's doing a lot better now." 

Permalink Eye

"Hm. I don't know a Chen. I guess not everyone matches up." He's petting Sasha's back like Sasha is a cat. 

Permalink Eye

Mmmmmmm that's nice he should keep doing that. "He's incredible. — he had a panic attack when he figured out he was gay and then he had a thing where he thought wanting it made him evil so he'd say no and I'd read his body language instead of listening but we figured it out. And he's the reason Kaleva doesn't get bullied anymore." 

Permalink Eye

"I wonder if people have the same names across universes. --We have a Marlo Lane. His job was to arrest gay people and people who believed in different religions and people who wanted to overthrow the government. Then he fell in love with Li-- uh, my Sasha without realizing he was gay, and my Sasha kissed him, and he said he was supposed to arrest gay people, and I rescued my Sasha from Gilead because we were afraid he would arrest him. And then he was miserable for a year and texted Sasha all the time saying that he loved Sasha and would do anything for him. So Sasha was like 'tell the Cascadian government everything you know' and he did and fled to Cascadia and now he lives with Sasha in a cottage in my backyard. And he's sad all the time and he doesn't talk much and he won't look at you between your neck and your knees." Lev pauses. "He is apparently incredibly subby."

Permalink Eye

"...yeah. That sounds like something he'd do, if I hadn't found him and Kaleva and I hadn't talked him down. And we know people dont always have the same names, Kaleva and Levva and Lev are similar but they're not the same — do you have a picture —" 

Permalink Eye

Lev's phone won't connect to the Internet here but he has a photo saved!

 

Permalink Eye

"Yep. That's him." 

Permalink Eye

"Huh. --I'm glad yours is less sad."

Permalink Eye

"Me too." 

Permalink Eye

"On the other hand, we have an entire country that isn't run by good people, and you don't."

Permalink Eye

"That's true. — we have the Isle but it's kind of the Isle. And there's Louisiana but they don't treat people like Asher well even if they are better about queer people." 

Permalink Eye

"I'm married to two men-- well, one man and a Lily-- and no one cares."

Permalink Eye

"I have literally never thought of myself as the kind of person who gets married, but — not having to hide sounds really nice. Or having to deal with Fairy Godmother." 

Permalink Eye

"I have no idea what Fairy Godmother is like!"

Permalink Eye

"She's the very worst parts of how good people are — she teaches Remedial Goodness and she hates us, she wants us all back on the Isle, she doesn't even try to hide it — and Chad Charming can get away with literally anything because he's Cinderella's kid, but if I seem sort of pissed off about it I need to keep a positive attitude about Auradon or my cynicism will get in the way of my becoming good, or something —" 

Permalink Eye

"Unfortunately, Cascadia is not asshole-free, but at least we don't have any classes called Remedial Goodness."

Permalink Eye

"We had to do worksheets on whether you should lure children into an amusement park, turn them into donkeys, and sell the donkeys!" 

Permalink Eye

"Well, should you?"

Permalink Eye

"Of course not! Why would you do that! You have an amusement park, why would you not just charge admission for the amusement park!" 

Permalink Eye

"I love you."

Permalink Eye

"Shit, I mean--"

Permalink Eye

"— you mean?" 

Permalink Eye

"You... say things that Lily would say if she were in your shoes?"

Permalink Eye

"That's adorable," he says, and kisses Lev's cheek. "— the first time Kaleva said he loved me I freaked out and ran away but I'm. More used to it now." 

Permalink Eye

"I mean, really, I love Lily and you look and think like Lily. I know you're a different person."

Permalink Eye

"Still. I won't be upset or freaked out or anything about hearing it. It's kind of nice, actually." 

Permalink Eye

"I would probably love you if we were going to end up being together for more than a month!"

Permalink Eye

"That's adorable." 

Permalink Eye

Bounce bounce. "So what else do you learn in remedial goodness besides 'there are better ways to make money from an amusement park than by turning people into donkeys'?"

Permalink Eye

"Oh, you know. A romantic relationship contains exactly one man and exactly one woman. It is very important that men not wear dresses, for some reason, she wouldn't tell us why. Chivalry is not the same as cavalry." 

Permalink Eye

"If men can wear dresses, you might get confused about whether someone is a girl, and how could we possibly survive as a society without knowing the genital shape of everyone we encounter?"

Permalink Eye

"And it's extremely important that men and women fulfill their roles and dont deviate from them, because the world will end if a woman punches someone in a man's defense and not the other way around, unless the woman is Mulan, but that doesn't count because Fairy Godmother likes Mulan.' 

Permalink Eye

"At least it makes more sense if you believe in God! Like, if you think some all-powerful guy is going to torture men if they wear skirts, then it makes sense to try to get people to not."

Permalink Eye

"I don't really think it makes sense either way!" 

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Lev is going to curl up on Sasha's shoulder and fall asleep.

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That sounds like a good idea. Sasha will join him. 

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In the morning Cascadilev goes to check on Smolsha. 

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He's awake, sort of; he's curled up around a pillow with one eye open, looking over his shoulder at Lev.