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A Problem of Scale (WR/Min fiction... open)
A Problem of Scale (WR/Min fiction... open)
The dinner had gone perfectly. They'd had delicate French cuisine with portions just the right size. The soft candlelight at the table had danced in their eyes as they gazed at each other. They'd decided to go to his place for "coffee."
Oren sat patiently on the edge of the bed, silk sheets caressing the backs of his thighs. Soft modern jazz played on his stereo, providing what he hoped was a romantic mood. His uniform lay in a heap tangled with Min's jacket on his oversized wingback chair. He watched the bathroom door, waiting for her to come out. The breath caught in his throat as the doorknob turned.
She stood revealed in a dark green lace thing that accentuated her modest but still lovely curves. Her hair was down from its customary pigtails and cascaded down her back as a crimson halo. She glided gracefully over to him in a slink so sexy that Bella Fuego and Jackie Frost would weep in jealousy. He swallowed nervously as she hopped in his lap and kissed him. He reached up to caress her face...
... and she shattered into a thousand pieces. He leapt back from where he'd been sitting, and his bed burst into splinters and shreds of cloth intermixed with feathers and springs. He flung his arms out to catch his balance and smashed the wall into rubble. He fearfully looked down on the pieces of the girl he loved. Fragments of porcelain lay scattered about, half of her face still intact. A hurt expression flitted across the eye and her beautiful mouth.
"I thought you loved me, Oren," she said sadly.
He woke with a gasp, sending the sheets flying from his Promethium-reinforced bed as he sat bolt upright. Sweat laced with the stink of adrenaline ran in rivulets across his wide chest. A bewildered look crossed his face as he oriented himself. 'The same nightmare,' he thought and wept into his hands.
''We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat
them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.''

-- James Nicoll
My part in this story
(Lovely Foxboy, simply lovely! Here is my contribution to the revolution.) -Cindy
It was a rare day off for everyone. Wide Receiver had organized all of the Mac Hine siblings (save Mace of course), into a touch football game. They were squaring off boys against girls. Wide had to admit he found it a little distracting to be up against Minuet. But hed manage. If the sight of her in shorts and a tight t-shirt wasnt too distracting that was. Though short, her legs did manage to reach the ground from that nicely formed handful that was her
Incoming! Hands on automatic, Wide Receiver caught the ball and started running. There was an unvoiced assumption that superpowers would not be used, so he didnt speed. Although already Morgan had broken that unvoiced assumption by speeding to the goal. None of his sisters were speedsters so he had a point free and clear. He stopped suddenly when Min appeared in front of him, at face level, she was hovering.
Oren. She gave him a kiss, stole the ball, kissed him again, and Margaret teleported her to the safety of the goal line. The two of them stood there laughing. Wide was blushing as read as the Mac Hine childrens hair. Min blew him another kiss as Marianne and Meredith joined them.
Morgan, Marcus and Matthew appeared next to Wide. Id forgotten they could do that. Marcus, normally the quiet brother, said. Were going to have to think of a new strategy.
Did we have on to begin with? Matthew asked. He was huffing a little bit after having run over from the other side of the field in the park.
Yeah, remember we were talking about it not five minutes ago. Its like theyre reading our minds. Wide said innocently. The three Mac Hine brothers snapped their heads towards Margaret. Wide looked up and went, Hunh? She can do that?
Oh yeah, though she usually doesnt. It is considered rude. Marcus spoke again. Loud enough to be heard in the sisters huddle. Margaret looked up and waved at them. To give her credit, she did look a little guilty.
Then thats it. The gloves come off. Wide Receiver wrote something down in the nearby dirt and made sure all three of the brothers understood what he meant without actually saying a word. Apparently, they did know. As he stood up, he swiped his foot a few times over the single word. Tackle. While talking inanely about the game in general Wide gave each of the brothers a sister to take down. Morgan had Marianne, Marcus had Meredith and Matthew had Margaret. Margaret was the key to bring down first. She was the sneakiest by far. Wide would take care of Min. He wasnt quite sure how yet without hurting her, but he would.
Matthew hut the ball to Morgan, who threw to Marcus who was running toward the girls goal line. Matthew ran too, but not to the goal, to Margaret and brought her down fast. So fast she didnt realize what had happened until he landed on top of her. Morgan took out Marianne and Meredith together by tripping them with a martial arts move. That left Min angling towards Marcus. Wide went after her. Marcus saw her coming and actually turned to face her. A bad move on his part because she grabbed the ball from him, then turned and headed right for Wide.
As he was running not speeding he thought, shell break off and Ill grab her by the waist. Each second she got closer he kept saying it, and she wasnt swerving. This was an interesting game of chicken. Any second now shed swerve. She would, he knew she would. When she got within arms reach of him he grabbed for her, caught her around the waist and pulled her close to his chest. His momentum, her struggling and Morgan and Matthew tackling them, sent them to the ground.
It was what could only be referred to as a bad landing. He tried to fall on his shoulder in a proper roll that would protect Min. But whoever had hit him on that side, had knocked him just enough off centre that he landed on the arm holding Min, instead of the shoulder and he rolled forward over her instead of onto his back.
It took him only a millisecond to get himself up on his feet, Min was lying in the grass, not moving. Wides face went pale as he slowly and gently reached out to touch her cheek. Min? Her siblings had gathered around her and were standing over her watching. Minuet? His voice was trembling now.
Her eyes shot open and she inhaled like she hadnt been able to breathe for the last minute. Her next few breaths came in gasps. Then a few coughs, a hiccup, a tear and then a deep normal breath. The first thing she did after sitting up was to hit both Morgan and Matthew in the arms.
You idiots! Her voice was a little raspy. You totally ruined my plan! Wide sat back gratefully on his heals. She was o.k.
Your plan? Matthew glared at his sister.
Oren was supposed to catch me and Id get a hug out of it. Now all I have is a bruise! Wides face went pale again. Min got to her feet and lifted her shirt to show her side along her rib cage. He was close enough that he could see her lovely smooth skin, and the beginnings of a rather large bruise. Just about the right size for his hand. She looked at the bruise carefully, concentrated a moment and set off a healing aura. Any sign of the bruise disappeared. Except in Wides mind.
I think thats enough for today. I have to go. Wide stood up and passed the football to Marcus.
The siblings broke away from Min and Wide and let them say goodbye somewhat privately. Are you o.k. Oren? You looked a little distracted. And youre very pale.
Hmm. I didnt sleep well last night, thats all. He looked down at Min. She looked just fine, but he knew about the bruise. She jumped up and hovered in front of him until he reached out gently and caught her in his arms to hug and hold her.
You know, if theres something bothering you, you can talk to me right? she whispered in his ear.
I know. I promise, I will. One day. Just not today.
Love you Oren. What was that old song about kisses sweeter than wine?
Love you too. He set her down gently and, with one final quick kiss, sped away. His thought his only company.
Wide arrived at the base's med bay after a particularly harrowing fight against Arachnos troops in Warburg. He could handle the Wolf Spiders, Tarantulas, and Mu Mystics, but the Night Widows' psionic might blitzed through his defenses. Fortunately, it was a double knock out. He leaned against the wall and caught his breath. Despite being better than the field clinic aboard the Longbow ship in Warburg, the med bay still didn't provide the quality care of a full hospital.
He made his way towards the transporters and stopped when he heard a pair of voices from the meeting room.
"No way!" MirrorGuardian Naoko said. "A super strength guy can do that to anyone he's romantically involved with?" Wide peered around the corner and saw the pale, sickened look on her face.
"Yup," Emi Arizona said, thumping the hardcover book on the table in front of her. "Though, as a caveat, I should say that's against anyone who isn't invulnerable." Her accent shifted from a folksy southwestern drawl to a sardonic New England twang. "Niven's also quite clear on what happens should the poor woman survive the act itself. In quite graphic detail." This time the shudder went through both girls. "The title is apropos, 'Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex.'"
"Wait," Naoko said, waving her hand in negation. "What about Statesman? He's got a granddaughter, and that implies..." A sick look went across her face. "Ew! I didn't need to think about that! Thanks a lot, Emi!"
"Well, I guess States has got a way to do it safely, but..."
Wide had heard enough. He streaked to the teleporter and set the coordinates for Galaxy City. He needed to set up a meeting with the leader of the Freedom Phalanx. His arrival and departure had gone unnoticed by one of the girls, but not the other.
Emi turned back to his/her conversation with a somber expression.
"So who's this 'Superman,' anyway?" the erstwhile magical girl asked.
"Well, Hiroshi..."
''We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat
them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.''

-- James Nicoll
Wide's arrival on Talos Island was marked by his team headset being filled by the melodic thrum of Fae Wree Tail's chatter. Wide listened half-heartedly, and eventually told her where his licorice stash was in the base. Her gratitude included an innocent statement that gave him hope.
"I'm sure you'll get your Happily Ever After, Wide Receiver."
Smiling, he entered the Freedom Corps building and was soon brought into a back room. His breath caught in his throat at the sheer presence of the man before him. Despite Wide's enormous stature, the room was still filled by this man. An intense gaze flicked over the Legendary uniform Wide was wearing and met his eyes.
"What did you need, Wide Receiver?" Statesman asked.
Wide took off his helmet and ran his fingers through his hair. "Well, you see, I kinda need some ... personal advice."
"You took me from investigating Lord Recluse's latest plan for that?" he turned and began to walk out the door.
Panic gripped Wide like an opposing player trying to strip the ball from a running back. He blurted, "If I don't get a game plan from someone who's been there before, you're gonna have to bring me in for involuntary manslaughter."
Statesman's cape billowed out as he whirled. His gaze intensified beneath his faceplate. "Explain yourself."
Unable to resist the tone of command, Wide let everything out. From his first meeting with the diminutive Minuet Mac Hine, through their early relationship and his current fears of hurting her accidentally. He kept at it doggedly like a great team forced to use running plays against the Steelers: many stops and starts, but with inevitable progress towards the goal. Statesman's gaze never wavered. He stood and listened. When Wide finally ran down, a slight smile crossed his normally stern visage.
"Well," Statesman said, placing his hand on Wide's massive shoulder. "I think I can help you there."
He then proceeded to give Wide Receiver some frank advice on his love life.
Wide's blush was bad when he left the Freedom Corps building, but his relieved smile made up for it.
''We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat
them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.''

-- James Nicoll
Re: Continuing
Minuet Mac Hine stood just inside the bases main computer room and watched as Evangelia and LoraLai discussed something related to the bases computers. She thought back the few hours that led up to her being here.
Shed just returned to base from a particular nasty mission. It was fairly late so the base was rather empty. Fae Wree Tail was standing IN the trophy case and had a fist full of licorice. Min knew whose licorice that was and challenged Faes possession of it.
NO! MINE! He said I could have it if I didnt tell you. So Im not telling you.
Min was not in the best of moods. It had been a long day and she had no energy left to deal with this. She picked Fae up under her arms. Fae. Who doesnt want me to know this and what doesnt he want me to know? She tried to be calm, she really did.
Wide Receiver told me nothing. He was sad so I cheered him up and wished him a happily ever after. He gave me permission to eat the licorice.
Min dropped Fae to the ground. Sad? Is he o.k.?
Dont know. Gotta go, licorice to eat. Fae dashed away and hid from Min under the giant meeting room table.
When Min glanced in that direction all she should see were a set of eyes, looking out from under the table.
Min kept walking through the base. Sad. Why would he be sad? Did I do something? Did I forget to do something? She headed for the computer monitor room. If Oren was out on a mission it would show on the monitors. She reached the computer room and looked up along the monitors. Yes, he was still out. Finding a quiet corner, she sat down and paged him.
H-Hi Min. He didnt sound sad. He sounded nervous.
Oren, are you o.k.?
Yeah, Im fine. She heard the sounds of imminent battle in the background and there was a moment where she knew he was fighting, so she waited. Min? Still there?
Yeah. Its just, I ran into Fae and she said you were sad. Is everything o.k.?
Well, now that you mention it. She heard him clear his throat. Mommawantstomeetyou. I mean, Momma wants to meet you. She couldnt see him but she could almost feel him blushing.
O.K. Where and when?
Friday night. Shell make you dinner.
Youre not going to be there?
Probably best if I wasnt. Shell bring out my baby pictures. I have to go Min. See you soon?
Love you Oren.
Love ya.
Minuet sat there for a long while, thinking. Something was up. Oren wasnt normally that nervous. Although, hed never really mentioned his mother before, maybe she was imposing. And his mother wanted to meet her. That thought filtered through Mins head for a moment. His mother wanted to meet her. Her eyes suddenly went huge. OH MY GOSH. HIS MOTHER WANTED TO MEET HER! She needed help. Who was still in the base? Min went running to see.
She found Eva and LoraLai in the computer room. When they were done their discussion, Eva turned to Min. O.K. Im all yours. What do you need? The two went off to sit on a set of nearby chairs.
Well, Im supposed to meet Orens mother on Friday.
Yeah. That should be interesting. Youre nervous? Youll be fine Min, shes a nice lady.
No, thats not it. Min was getting visibly nervous and little upset.
Whats wrong then? When your healer starts going nuts like this, Eva had learned to listen.
I dont have a mother Eva. How do I talk to one? Min whispered.
Eva sat there stunned. Of all the questions she had expected, this was not among them. Well, ah, let me think about that. Holy Schmoly how do you answer that one? How do you talk to your father?
The Mac Hine doesnt encourage people to talk to him, even his own children. We talk about what we did during the day, he hands out daily praise, we say Thank you Sir and thats about it.
O.Kaaaaaaay. And Eva thought her family had its dysfunctional moments. HA! She made a mental note to tell her mother how much she loved her. Thats not the way to talk to a mother. Most mothers anyway. Do you have any friends that are older women?
Carmen, LoraLai, youre not older, but I consider you a friend, Syndesis.
You seem to spend a lot of time with Bella. What do you talk about when youre together?
I ask her advice about things, I heal her a lot, we help each other with missions, and we sometimes go shopping together. I complain about Morgan so she has some ammunition against him.
Hmmm. The advice, shopping, helping and complaining bits sound about right. Eva took hold of Mins hand and was very glad shed signed up for that college level psych classes by correspondence. I would advise getting to know Wides mom first. Walk in with an open mind. Try and develop a friendship if possible, move on from there. If it was meant to be, itll come naturally. Minuet bit at her lip, apparently still a little unsure. Then her face set into a determined scowl and she nodded once.
O.K. Ill do my best. Thank you Eva. With a quick hug for Eva, Min was gone.
Her sisters walked with her to the tram station for the ride to Galaxy City where Mrs. Heisman lived.
Do you have everything? Meredith asked.
Yes. I picked up a vase to go with the flowers I got as a hostess gift. Min took a deep breath. Do I look o.k.? She was visibly trembling.
Youll be fine. Margaret gave her a kiss and a hug. Remember, Oren loves you. Min nodded absentmindedly as she walked onto the station platform to catch the next train.
On the ride to Galaxy City Min tried very hard not to think of anything. She counted flower petals. It was a nice bouquet shed gotten for Mrs. Heisman. One white rose surrounded by red chrysanthemums. Shed also picked up a very nice slim little vase with a pewter cameo on it. You couldnt guarantee the person you were bringing flowers to had a vase so she brought one. Galaxy City Next stop. Min jumped up and positioned herself next to the door. Her stomach started to turn. Now she was nervous.
On exiting the train, she decided to walk. It wasnt all that far away, but she needed the time to calm her nerves. Her shoes made little clicking noises as she walked along the sidewalk towards Mrs. Heismans house. Before Min turned onto the correct street she stopped, rechecked her address and took a deep breath. Calm, cool, confident. Oren loved her. She loved Oren. Things would work out fine. Yes, thinking positive was good. O.K., she was ready. With a determined air she started down the street. Oren was waiting for her outside his mothers house. He had gone over early to help her prepare dinner.
Hiyas Min. She watched him look her over carefully as he came toward her, picked her up gently and kissed her.
Hi Oren. She did a twirl when he finally put her down. Do I look good?
He had to clear his throat a few times. Min considered that a good sign. Yeah, yeah you do. Mommas looking forward to meeting you. Come inside. Without even looking at the windows of the house, Min knew they had been being watched by Mrs. Heisman, which would also explain why Mrs. Heisman was waiting for them in the entryway. Momma, this is Minuet Mac Hine. Min, my momma.
Its a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Heisman. Min smiled and extended her hand. It was taken gently. Thank you very much for hosting me for dinner. Min extended the gift bag she had been carrying with the flowers and vase in it.
Thank you dear, these are lovely. Emily Nagurski Heisman placed her flowers on the coffee table in the living room. Already she was a little impressed with the girl her son had brought home. Oren, youve made the introductions. Go play outside. I want to talk to Minuet. Ill call you when dinner is ready.
Yes Momma. He bent to kiss his mother, then Min. Yell if you need me. Mrs. Heisman led Min into the living room and watched as Oren organized the children on the street into a pick up game of football. Min took a quick look at the house. It seemed everything her own family home was not.
The furnishings were well kept up, but looked like something from a museum she had visited in high school, with the funny legs and stuff like that. There were even supersized furniture in the same style so Oren could be comfortable. Little lace doilies were under all the lamps and knick knacks. And the whole long wall of the house was decorated with trophies, ribbons and awards. From here Min could see they were for both the Heisman children, Minerva and Oren.
Emily turned to take a good look at Minuet. So, youre the girl my Oren is interested in hmm? Stand up, turn around, lets get a look at you. Min stood up and slowly turned around in place. Are you sure you eat enough dear? Youre so skinny!
Uhm, yes maam. Its the healing maam, it take a lot out of me.
And polite as well, I can see Orens made a better choice then last time.
Min cleared her throat. Thank you maam. Min took a deep breath and tried to relax. Start slowly Eva had said, friendship might come in time. Mins nerves had calmed down with that last statement.
Oren walked her back to the tram station after dinner. Momma really likes you Min, Im glad.
I like her too Oren. She wasnt what I expected. She really likes showing those naked baby pictures of yours doesnt she? Shes going to teach me how to make perogies. Those were delicious. My mouth is still watering but I couldnt eat another bite. Min was still savouring the hug shed gotten from Mrs. Heisman. Be good to my boy shed said.
Mmmm. Ill taste test. Oren smiled. Ill see you in about an hour? Well go patrolling?
Sounds good. He gave her a quick kiss and sent her off on the tram. If things went according to his plan, he would be having a guest and he needed to give his apartment a quick once over. Oh, and pick up roses.
Evangelia had asked for help with a mission in Salamanca so Minuet and Wide headed there. On the way, Min continued her habit of baiting Oren by propositioning him. Hed always evaded an answer. Do you have plans for tonight Oren?
Mmmmaybe. He turned and winked at her. Some wine, roses, maybe a little Barry White on the stereo.
Change that to Chris de Burg or Peter Cetera and Ill be there with the wine.
Done and done. Make it a Blush Chablis. Min stopped in her tracks and replayed the conversation over in her head. Three times. Yeah, seems shed been hoist on her own petard. Hed accepted. She had to follow through. What are you standing around for Min? Eva needs help.
Yeah, on my way. She flew out towards the nearest Green Line Station. As she flew she called her sister Margaret. Can you pick me up a bottle of wine? Blush Chablis?
Margaret set down the phone and looked at her two sisters. Min has asked for a bottle of wine, a Blush Chablis. The sisters all looked at each other. Let us replay the events of the evening. We leave Minuet at the tram station for dinner with Mrs. Heisman; let us assume that Oren is present for it. She returns fairly happy and goes back out with Oren. Just over an hour into her evening out with Oren she calls home and asks for a bottle of wine, by name. Our little Min. Who wouldnt know a Cabernet Sauvignon from a Pinot Noir even if they were labelled.
Marianne smiled. Im guessing the evening is going well then. She wont be cooking breakfast tomorrow morning, for us anyway.
Merediths eyes were sparkling. We ought to pack her an overnight bag then. Add some important things. Like a toothbrush. Change of underwear. Body pudding.
And the pompoms Orens high school gave her. Dont forget those. Sounds like a good plan. Well meet back here in half an hour then? The sisters nodded and headed off in different directions.

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