A Time For Answers, Part 4
Location: Tina Cyparissus' apartment, Shady Side, Maryland
Timeline: December 28th, 3pm
Lauren glanced over at Tina nervously before turning back to Bryan. “Before I do... I have questions.”
“I’m here to answer.” He gestured grandly.
She bit her lip and her spirals started to fade back to a dull glow. “I... I’ve been having dreams. Strange dreams. There are things in them... people... that I feel are familiar... symbols and places that I don’t understand.”
“Describe some of them,” Bryan urged. Deo interrupted with an apology.
“Am I part of this trip down memory lane?”
“Afraid not.” Tina moved to go sit with her cousin on the couch.
“Oh, just checking.” The Greek youth nodded. “Can I have cookies then? You left them out of reach.”
Tina smiled, mussing up his hair as she went to the kitchen to grab the plate of Lauren’s cookies and pass them out.
Lauren politely refused. “I’m not sure where to even begin. How about... there’s a girl I keep seeing. In her late teens or early twenties perhaps, with strawberry-blonde curls, a flounced green skirt and t-shirts that say things like ‘who’s your goddess?’. Isolde. She’s almost always there, in my dreams.”
Bryan’s face lit happily, ‘that’s great! Isolde is--or rather was--your sliver. Think of her as Jiminy Cricket. Isolde is your advisor, your best friend, your constant companion, your sidekick, your confidant, and if need be, a kick in your pants. Slivers are there to help you adjust to being a mutant. They monitor your vitals and if necessary, when you wear a special suit, a sliver can clamp down on your power to help you keep control. Isolde helped you keep from accidentally hurting anyone. My sliver was Riff.”
“Riff.” Lauren repeated with a frown before shaking her head. “I don’t remember that. What about the word ‘Meskhenet’? I know it’s Egyptian, and has something to do with a...” She frowned a little more. “A... weird... dog-like statue with glowing red eyes.”
Bryan darkened at the name. “Yeah, that, I guess you can’t pick what you remember. Meskhenet was your birth name, but you never knew it until you grew older. The rules are different here--it might not be your birth name anymore. The dude with the dog face and a bad attitude is the Egyptian god of Chaos and Strife.”
“Oh, you mean Set,” Deo offered helpfully.
“It’s a good idea not to say his name aloud.” The darkling prince winced. “I don’t know if he exists in this world, but who wants to take chances. I know him as the Sand Lord or the Lord of Sands.”
“Complete dick.” Tina asserted as she handed Deo the plate of cookies. “The biggest, dickiest dick who ever dicked.”
“Tina!” Lauren frowned.
“What? He is... err, was, anyway.” Tina shrugged as she bit into a cookie. “Definitely not like the Greek gods. The Egyptian ones might have had less interpersonal issues, but they could do evil a whole lot more evilly than our worst.”
“You speak of all these... gods... like they’re real.” Lauren shook her head. “How could that be? They’re just myths.”
“All myths come from little bits of truth.” Tina said softly.
“There is a Norse god running with the Avengers,” Bryan shrugged, “just saying.”
“Okay, but that’s...” Lauren shook her head with a frown. “He’s not really a Norse god!”
“Says who? Not the Norse.” Tina shrugged. “The gods were real, Lauren. I can say that from my own experiences.”
Deo looked at the book on the corner of the table, forgotten until now, “Phobos, your boyfriend?”
“My fiance.” Tina said softly. “The one and only great love of my life is - and was - the god of fear. How’s that for messed up?”
“I thought I had it bad with two boyfriends.” Deo murmured.
“Dude, you have two men? Score!” Bryan held up his fist to bump. Deo gave him a level look and the faelord shrugged and returned to Lauren.
Lauren frowned disapprovingly.
“You can believe what you want, Lauren. No pressure,” Bryan assured her. “Who else can you describe from your dreams?”
The mention of lovers brought another name to Lauren’s lips. She said it more softly, tentatively and with a strange reverence that she wasn’t even sure she understood. “Donovan.”
Tina’s eyes closed and she hung her head sadly.
Bryan mirrored her gesture, “Tall, nice build, dark hair and eyes, kinda cocky with an Irish accent?”
“He looks like Paul.” Lauren said softly. “But... in my dreams, he doesn’t sound like Paul and I feel...” She shook her head. “Who is he?”
“Donovan was a bard from Eire. He and Paul were cousins. Their grandmothers were sisters.” Bryan explained.
“Was?” Lauren’s heart sunk.
“As near as we can tell, he’s gone--along with others we were close to, I’m sorry, Lauren.” Bryan offered gently.
“Donovan was the father of your son Bryan, Lauren.” Tina said softly. “You were to be married before everything... changed. I guess you were pregnant at the time, but I didn’t know about it until we got here.
Lauren, feeling strangely numb, sunk down into one of the empty chairs. Her hair glowed faintly.
“You talk like we’re in another world.” Deo observed.
“We are,” Bryan answered baldly. “That’s how Lauren remembers another life. There was a world before this one and she’s remembering.”
“Whoa,” Deo fell back at that. “Another world? This is part of being a mutant?”
“No, but it’s part of some of the things we got mixed up in as mutants.” Bryan clarified. “We were part of an elite team. We used our powers to save lives, fight off alien invasions, save the world; stuff like that. Only, in that last case, the world ended and a new one popped up in its place--this one. The same world, kinda. Some things are different. Shady Side seems to be reliving history and that ain’t good.”
“Not really, no.” Tina sighed.
“What happened here the first time?” Lauren stared at Bryan. “Why is reliving history a bad thing? You said that my... awakening?... killed Tina last time?”
“Yeah, that was a bad thing.” Tina gave a small laugh. “One of many.”
“What else?” Lauren prompted.
“Paul found out you were a mutant and had you chased out of town with a lynch mob. He took the kids and ran off to a foreign country only to end up hostages of that dog-faced Egyptian god. You went after them and got trapped. Donovan went in after you. It all worked out eventually, but not until after a lot of people were hurt, Paul sacrificed himself and proved he wasn’t a total dick, and you rescued your birth family. That says nothing about the zombie apocalypse that broke out here twice.” Bryan paused. “I can go on.”
Lauren simply blinked.
“Fun times.” Tina nodded. “Any hint of Lauren’s real parents in this world, by the way? Either of them, her step-mother, step-siblings...?”
“I have step-siblings?” Lauren asked.
“Yep, they’re all in Egypt, though things are considerably more low-key than before. Rameses is...shall we say...a subcontractor for the school. So, if Lauren wants, we can start working on a reunion.” Bryan smiled.
Lauren shook her head. She closed her eyes. She felt like her entire world was spinning out of control. The things that Bryan was saying made sense and felt right, only she found it hard to reconcile the things he said with the life she currently knew. “I don’t know...”