A small foot presses into my side, and I tell it, "It's still time for sleeping."

"It's time for running, you lazy-bones," Amy retorts, pushing me again.


"Shut up, and get up," Lisa grumbles, "You stayed up all night flying, Amy wants to run, so we run."

"I thought pregnant girls stopped running," I say, and let Amy push me out onto the floor.

"Yeah, if there's a medical indication, and they shouldn't start if they didn't run before they got pregnant."

"So you pressing me into running with you was a risk to the baby?"

"Maybe for a girl who was in worse shape than you and didn't have me to provide maintenance."

"This doesn't do anything for me anymore," Lisa tries this line again.

"It helps you with your balance and skill at running."


"What are we doing for Amy's birthday?"

"Strippers and cake."

"No, really."


"No strippers."

"I found a group who dresses as us."


"The Tattletale is pretty cute, but the Skitter and Amy are all wrong."

"No strippers."

"It would be funny!"


"You could strip."

Kermit the Frog face.

"I could teach you!"

I drop my chin so I can look up at her through my eyelashes, a silent *are you for real* and *when did you learn about stripping. And how.*

"Dated a stripper before I triggered."

"Weren't you thirteen then?"

"She was only 18."

"What happened?"

"After I triggered I realized that her life goals really were to scrape by and have a kid," she shrugs, looking away, "And I really didn't figure into them at all."

Her hands cross over her belly, shoulders hunching a little.

I guess at what to do, put a hand on her shoulder, give it a squeeze, "Was she pretty?"

"Almost as pretty as Amy," she smiles, "Tall, good shoulders, legs almost as nice as yours, didn't slouch."

"How's she doing?"

"Well enough, last I checked. Alive and not in jail."

"Who broke up with who?"

"I prodded her until she broke up with me."

"You want to hire your stripper ex for Amy's birthday party?"

It's her turn to blink at me, doing a very good impression of surprise.

"No, why would you think that?"

"Because you've been talking up strippers for days."


"Have you forgotten to look at what we're going to do?"

"I managed to filter you out of my precog, but I'm still watching Amy, because she's still squishy."

"So you don't know what I'm going to do anymore?"

"Not unless I try," she pauses, "It's different than my power, I had to stop caring about all the gross and creepy things it tells me, but I can just tell the precog that I don't want to see certain things, and I won't."

"Gross and creepy?"

"It loves to tell me all about the human excrement in my salads, the likelihood my burger was dropped on the floor, picked up, and put back on the bun, the guy on the corner fantasizing about," she waves her hand down from her neck to her crotch, "The librarian wanting to check us out and take us to her home, the girl at the bookstore who wants me to check her out, the boy at the coffee shop," she shrugs, slouches, bends her knees, and tucks her head under my chin, "It's annoying."

I wrap my arms around her, and lean back, taking a step when the wall's a bit further than I thought, "I hope Amy and I don't make you uncomfortable."

"I trust you two," she laughs, something bitter in her voice, "I can rip anyone," she pauses, "Oh. Fuck."

"What is it?"

"Scion. God damn."

"Lisa?" I twist us side to side, "Use your words."

"Scion is the projection of an interdimensional space alien, and powers are parts of it," she clenches me painfully tight, "And he's gonna get bored and end the world, sooner if Jack tells him to, later if he doesn't."

"Oh," I ponder that a moment, "Amy'll fix it."

She pulls back, hands on my shoulders, and looks up with wide, bottle-green eyes, "How?"

"He's all depressed, so graft him onto you."

"That's fucking crazy," she pauses, then laughs, "But it might work."


A/N: There they were, arguing about whether strippers are appropriate for their wife's 17th birthday party, then Lisa's looking to see if there's anyone she couldn't rip apart if she tried . . .

21 Jan 2018: 64,205 words.