This was inspired by a near literal moment of being mindbogglingly bored and I just wrote till my 12 year old nephew showed up with his dad and asked me what happens when you mix brake fluid and chlorine tablets, youtube said it was awesome. Which, admittedly had me grinning like an idiot while stating, "WELL~! You remember when we made thermite out of that ground up [REDACTED] and [REDACTED]? It is nothing like that, but it's just as awesome and we can pull it off without the cops getting called on us!"

Afterwords I was bitched out by his mom, very annoying.

I am a terrible influence on tomorrows youth, I am apologizing for nothing.

On to the story!

NOTE! Piggot has a bad leg in this story, she isn't on the precipice of dying from kidney failure so she has more of a sense of humor than not since Xander keeps her head above water when she is about to drown in politics.


Taylor was currently walking beside the Director of the Parahuman Response Team East North East, namely one Emily Piggot, with a PRT supplied domino mask shadowing her visage while she was getting the stoic woman beside her to snort in faint amusement as she carried on with her anecdote, hand gestures and all part of the package.

"I'm not joking, he really did go on for thirty minutes straight, completely oblivious to the fact that both Beacon and I were listening to our headphones not even recognizing that he was there much less paying attention to him. Honesty set to on and not making shit up to have a better story here, not once did we acknowledge that he was there much less bothering to add anything to the conversation. It was..."

"Amusing yet depressing?" The older woman interjected, Taylor for her part could only nod in agreement.

"Yes exactly! It was one of those sad little moments that you didn't want to be right about something but you totally were and you just didn't know what to do about it, and the only person you wanted to share the ridiculousness with was your girlfriend who was there so you're just kinda left staring at Greg hoping he sees something shiny and gets distracted enough to wander away like the unhousebroken puppy that he is."

As it turns out, the only person to get the regularly laconic and emotionally indifferent girl known by her hero name 'Umbra' to become the chatterbox that had once been known only as Taylor Hebert, was the cynically bureaucratic Emily Piggot, and she was now pouring on the schadenfreude.

"So I'm guessing at that point he asked you out?"

Umbra grinned and nodded, "Yeah, we didn't even time it but in that super awkward thirty seconds Beacon pulled her ear buds out, kissed me, and asked if we could get coffee. Not only was Greg standing there gaping, but she had kissed me and spoke right in front of a group of Nazis!"

The director chuckled at that a moment then shook her head, "Well...what happened then?"

Taylor snorted while drawling out, "I grabbed her by the hand and ran away while all the boys were blue screening. There is playing to the audience, and playing with fire, and shorty was playing with napalm and didn't even know it. Still though, their faces? Priceless."

"What about the Nazis?," Emily asked with a hint of honest concern that Taylor just smirked at while shrugging lightly.

"What about them? There are rules at Winslow, if you can protect yourself, well, those who matter know and you're left alone otherwise you reap what you sow."

Taylor paused for a moment then shot a smirk at Emily, "As an aside, I am not nearly as subtle with the wannabe Fourth Reich as I am with the Protectorate. Let us call our current interactions an exercise in deference in...the spirit of relations of honor and future endeavors, while leaving it just that for the time being. Shall we move on?"

Emily stared at the smug child at her side a moment before muttering out, "You literally said nothing of import there girl, you are going to become an ongoing problem, aren't you?"

The shadows giggled as the girl shrugged, "Maybe, maybe not. I honestly only want to help my home town recover from the severe negligence that has been its ongoing bane ever since Leviathan has become a thing."

Emily sagged a bit at that while nodding, "You are not wrong there child..."

Walking in silence they arrived at Armsmaster's lab, and the door soon slid open as Emily tapped the needed keycode into the pad. They were then greeted with a cloud of feathers, a breeze of greasy smoky air, and cackling about the pure efficiency of the power distribution system inherent in the networks design. Umbra...Taylor tilted her head to the side a moment, hit the pad languidly closing the door, then turned back to Emily.

"Tea?"

Emily stared at the young girl a few long moments, then nodded as she jerked her thumb over her shoulder while offering Taylor her hand and asked, "So what do you like to read?"

Taylor sighed as she turned and accepted Emily's hand as they walked away from the lab, "As in what I want to caustically mock people with making them feel like uneducated idiots? Or what I actually enjoy reading for my own pleasure?"

Emily rolled her eyes, "What you actually enjoy reading, I don't need any help in verbally crucifying idiots. I am...quite adept already."

Taylor was quiet for a few moments, then gripped Emily's arm as she grimaced in shame, then muttered out, "I really love the Earth Aleph version of Harry Potter and its fanfiction..."

They were silent for a time as they soon sat down at a glass ensconced observation deck, and took in the bay before them as they settled down on a bench, both ruminating on their thoughts.

Eventually Emily spoke up, "Please tell me you don't ship Hermione with Ron..." she muttered under her breath, Taylor practically bristled at that statement.

Nearly seething she spat out an acidic, "Hell no! That pairing is a murder suicide ready to happen! Harry should have totally ended up with Hermione...or Luna...or Tonks...or...Grrr... Hermione was the spokeswoman for feminism in my generation and that bitch stuck her with fucking RON WEASELY!? What the fuck!?"

Staring at the huffing and puffing girl beside her as the shadows surrounding her writhed in fury complete with glaring eyes and gritting teeth, Emily couldn't help breaking out laughing as she ran a hand through her thin hair while shaking her head slowly in amusement, "Kid...how would you feel about joining the Wards?"