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Superpowered Babysitters Wanted


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North Bay, Freedom City, New Jersey

Wednesday February 14, 2018

5:06 PM


The streets of North Bay were generally quiet and not too congested with traffic, with the exception of the morning and evening rush hours.  Of course, Lexa Veen and Zhu "Alexa" Xieng were just in the beginning of the evening rush hour, so there was considerably more traffic than normal as they rode in the back of a luxury town car.


The town car had been sent to pick the pair up at Claremont Academy to bring them to the Harrows' home in North Bay.  Headmistress Summers had recruited the two teenagers to help a family friends of hers, the Harrows, with some babysitting tonight. 


The slow moving traffic afforded the pair opportunity to take in some of the large homes and mansions that filled this part of Freedom City.  Or to watch the many luxury or high end sports cars that they passed in the traffic.


Eventually the town car had made it through the worst of the congestion, as it entered the more northern section of the North End, where the homes were much more spread out, possessing larger grounds and gardens around them.


After turning off one of the main roads onto a smaller road, the town car finally reached the pair’s destination.  The Harrows' home was a large mansion set well off from the road, a long driveway leading up to the front.  Hedges ran alongside the road, although not so tall that they could not see more of the grounds beyond.  There was a large, well groomed garden to the right of the driveway, and open grounds to the left that appeared to stretch back around the mansion for who knew how far. 


The home itself was of a classical style, that would like right at home on some English estate.  The town car pulled up in front of the mansion, the driver getting out to open the door for the two teenagers.

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"An evening of cartoons and tantrums eh? Let's hope the kid don't have laser vision or something" sighed Rev, climbing out of the car. "Still, its some pocket money, I guess. Which I need"


Her feelings about kids were mixed. For starters, she was not entirely sure she could have any, which was something she tried not too hard to think about. At seventeen, she didn't want any of course. But that was different from not being able to have any ever. 


She neither disliked kids nor particularly liked them. Or, to be more accurate, she liked larking around with them for a bit, but looking after them for an evening was something that made her gears grind. 


"Anyway, I hope you got some pretty sparkles in you bag of tricks" she said to Zhu. "Keep the kid entertained! I can look after the crisps and candy. Maybe roast some marshmellows on my pinky..."


She had dressed in a tank top and jeans and sneakers. Because Rev pretty much always wore a tank top, jeans, and sneakers. 

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Zhu giggled at Lexa, "Laser eyes?  Nah, I bet they have super vibration powers.  Or... they can eat anything... or something like that.  But I think I can manage a few toys and games to ent..." her reply died on her lips as she looked out the window.


"Whoah..." Zhu said as they pulled up to the mansion, "forget the kids... do you see this place?!"


As the large car wound down the driveway, she looked at the mansion as they pulled up.  The fact that it took them some time to actually travel down the driveway spoke to the opulence of the place they were arriving at.  "Do you think I'm under dressed?"  


The question was mostly rhetorical as Zhu's clothes tended to cute and well put together when she was out of the lab or their room.  Although her white blouse and comfortable blue skirt would not win any fashion contests, it was certainly decent enough to make a good impression... she hoped.  Her questions to her best friend continued unabated as the car pulled to a stop, "I know that we asked about some odd jobs to help with money... but wow... I didn't expect this."

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It was a short walk up a few flights of stairs to the front doors, but almost no sooner had the girls rang the doorbell than the door was opened.  Standing there to greet them was an attractive young woman who appeared to be in her mid-twenties.  She had long blonde hair and blue eyes that seemed almost bursting with energy.  She was dressed in a long black evening gown that clung tightly to her lean figure.


A wide, warm smile came to her face as she saw the two teenagers.  "Hello!  You two must be Zhu and Alex.  Please do come in."  The woman said warmly as she let the two into the entryway.  The inside of the home was no less grand that the outside, with old wood paneling and rich carpets decorating the foyer and a long entry hall, which included a grand staircase that led to the upper floors.


"I am Megan, and I am very pleased to meet both of you.  Robert and I are so very grateful you were able to come on such short notice.  Normally my parents would watch Lawrence when we go out, but they are out of the country right now.  I hope you did not have to cancel any Valentines' Day plans of your own?"

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Zhu's eyes nearly popped out of her head when Megan answered the door.  The beautiful woman was practically everything that Zhu felt that she wasn't and the dress that she wore just seemed to accentuate her natural beauty and grace.  While she felt more than a little awkward, it thankfully passed.  One thing that she had begun to learn was that there was a large share of very beautiful people who had powers.  Many of them were at Claremont and she had to often just be satisfied with her body and looks as they were.  


'Well, you could just walk around in a hologram...' she thought to herself as they followed Megan into her home, marveling at the opulent decor.


"Oh... none ma'am.  I haven't had much opportunity to meet people who would..." she stopped that line of discussion, "I mean, no I didn't have any plans at all."

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"Oh yeah, I had to cancel a few hot dates. My third boyfriend got a bit grumpy about it, but my fifth one was really sweet about the whole thing" replied Rev, breezily with a smile. "But, you know, its cool. Too commercial these days. Say, did you know the actual St. Valentine got clubbed to death. A fitting end!" she declared as she snooped around the house looking this way and that. 


She was neither intimidated by, or in awe of, beautiful people. As far as Rev was concerned, you could only look good after working on an engine for two hours and glowing with sweat, oil, and dirt. 


She had made sure her sneakers were clean though. Didn't want to trudge in some dirt. 


"So where's the rascal?" she asked. 

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There was a reason that Zhu loved Lexa, and her confident witty response was a perfect contrast to her own bumbling un-confident reply.  Rev reminded her as to who she wanted to be, not the mouse that she was.  Well... mostly who she wanted to be at least.  Regardless,  Lexa was the Yin to her Yang and she actually couldn't think of someone she would rather spend the evening with than her best friend.  She covered her mouth to stifle the giggle that threatened to escape as Lexa seemed determined to root around the mansion for the child like she was searching for a hedgehog in the forest.  


Which, come to think of it, given how huge this mansion was, might not be entirely incorrect.  As Zhu followed the questing Rev, she spoke to Megan, "if it wouldn't be a bother ma'am, what should we know about babysitting?  I've taken, and am certified with the American Red Cross for basic and advanced child care... but it would be good to know about things like dinner, snacks, how much TV they are allowed to watch, bedtime and all the other important information."


She would have asked about contact information, but she had already snooped Megan's cell phone number the moment they walked in the door as well as her email.  Being able to contact the parents in the event of an emergency was important!  Not that she expected anything like that to happen.

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Megan had given Zhu a slightly sympathetic look before glancing back to Lexa and giving the other girl a small smile.  "Well, I am sure you will be able to make it up to them."  She replied, unfazed as she started to lead the two teenagers deeper into the house.  As they went, they passed a number of rooms off the main hallway, a sitting room, a large, formal dining room.


"Lawrence is likely downstairs, or up in his room."  Megan replied to Lexa's question.  "We can call him to have him meet us."  She then added before turning to Zhu’s questions.  "Please, call me Megan."  She began.  "As for the particulars, Lawrence has already finished his homework so no need to worry about any of that.  Dinner can be whenever you two are ready, I ordered pizza from a great gourmet place in Kingston."  She added as she led the pair into a large kitchen.


The kitchen was open and spacious, with dark granite countertops, including on a large island toward the middle of the kitchen.  It led to a good sized breakfast nook with a table and six chairs.  The nook had large windows that looked out to the dark grounds behind the home.  Sitting out on the island in the middle of the kitchen were several large pizza boxes.  "I was not sure what sort of pizza you might like, so I order a few different kinds."


"Lawrence can show you were drinks and snacks are.  Normally we only allow a few snacks round eight or so, he can watch two hours of TV or playing video games and he is at least in bed reading by nine.  But, my parents tend to allow him to get away with considerably more, so if you can just see that he is in bed by ten-thirty, that should be fine."  Megan said with a smile as she walked over to an intercom on the wall.


"Lawrence, the young ladies who will be watching you are here, please meet us in the kitchen."  She said after pushing a few buttons.  She then pushed another one and spoke again.  "Robert, the sitters are here and the town car is waiting, we should be going dear."


Turning off the intercom again she gave the two teenagers a small smile.  "I always seem to be waiting for him."


"So, the note pad there by the pizza boxes has our contact numbers."  Megan then added, pointing over at the kitchen island.  "It also has information on our itinerary."


"Hello."  Came a voice from behind Lexa and Zhu, and as the two teenagers turned around they saw a ten year old boy standing at the doorway to the main hallway.  He was about three or so inches shorter than Zhu and was dressed in blue jeans and a collared short-sleeved shirt.  He had short blonde hair, fine features and bright blue eyes that where the very image of his mothers, and seemed filled with a deep curiosity and inquisitiveness.


"Lawrence, this is Zhu and Lexa."  Megan said in introduction.

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"Pizza great! I'll have a golden Pizza please. You know, the one topped with gold bars. That's real tasty, although the gold bars do get stuck in my teeth. And when I pick them out they sometimes fall into my wallet" smiled Rev. 


"Hey, kiddo. Your mum didn't tell me how handsome you are! Wow! How come your head doesn't explode with all that handsome stuffed in it?" she asked. "That must be real hard for you to live with. Hey, you know what? The only way to sort that out is to eat lots of candy and play lots of video games. And, as an added bonus, its good for you teeth and eyes if you do that!" she grinned. 


"Well, one night only!"

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Zhu grinned, if anyone was going to win over their young ward, it was going to be Lexa.  In truth, she was probably going to have to babysit both of them at one point or another in the evening.


"Lexa..." she said pleadingly, "you know we'll get in some of that, but there are some rules..."  Then turning to Megan, "I'll keep a good eye... on both of them.  I hope you have a very good night and I've already forwarded my cell and email to your phone in case you need to contact us for any reason."


She stood a little behind Lexa, letting her friend interact with Lawrence while she finished talking to Megan and hoping she had the confidence that the two of them could manage the evening.

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Lawrence gave Lexa a skeptical look.  "I am sure that is not really the case," he said with a sight accent before he gave a slightly mischievous grin, "but sounds like fun anyway."


Megan watched the interaction with a slight smile and then turned to Zhu as the teen spoke up.  "I am sure you both will have things well in hand.  Lawrence should not be much trouble."  She glanced at the clock on the wall.  "Looks like we are going to need to be going, where is Robert?"

"Right here dear."  Came a distinctively British accent from the doorway as Robert Harrow walked into the kitchen.  Robert was tall and handsome, the resemblance to Lawrence impossible to miss.  He was a few years older than Megan and was dressed in a black tuxedo that was well tailored to his lean frame.  He was carrying a jewelry case in one hand.  "Good evening ladies."  He said, addressing Lexa and Zhu with a charming smile.


"You forgot these dear."  He then said to Megan, holding up the jewelry case.

"Ah, right."  Megan replied with a small smile as she turned around and lifted her hair so Robert could help her put on the string of pearls in the case.  "Lawrence can show you where the television is and help get you otherwise oriented around the house.  We should be home shortly before midnight."


Lowering her hair back down once the necklace was on, Megan went over and gave Lawrence a kiss on the forehead, which naturally seemed to embarrass him.  "I know I do not need to say it, but I will anyway, be good and listen to Lexa and Zhu."


Robert gave his son a light cuff on the shoulder and a warm smile before nodding to Lexa and Zhu as he and Megan then made their way out of the kitchen and down the main hallway towards the front door.

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"Cool. Party time. Hey, you know what? I'm pretty sure 2018 is a pretty special year. Santa has decided only to give presents to naughty boys this year. Pretty wild, right? So, that means, Larry, that if you want any presents you better be really naughty, ok?" she explained with a wink at Zhu. 


"But first things first. And that means eat as much as you like Pizza. Did I say eat as much as you like?. I mean eat as much as you can. And then eat a little bit more" she grinned. She didn't actually get that hungry these days. At least, not for food. She did have the urge to drink petroleum every few days. 


"And meanwhile, Auntie Zhu has really mean party tricks. Magic! You believe in magic, right?"

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Her first instinct was that sounded like a terrible idea.  Stomachs were far more efficient when given an appropriate amount of food at regular intervals.  That was not even considering the inefficiency and lethargy that would result.  Also encouraging disobedience from their ward before things really even got started did not seem like the most strategic decision.


Oh... wait.  Kids, fun.


She smiled and nodded at Lawrence and Lexa, "yes totally!  I mean, I can make stuff appear and disappear... and all sorts of things."  She tried to make a cool waving motion with her hands in front of her face to make her words seem more mysterious.  She wasn't sure that it really worked, but it was a start.  "...and I bet I can eat more pizza than either of you!"

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Lawrence gave Lexa a slightly critical look.  "Why wouldn't I believe in magic?  At any given time there are about a dozen significant practitioners of magic in Freedom City.  Santa Claus, on the other hand, I stopped believing in about two years ago."


The trio then set about getting something to eat.  Megan had set out plates with the pizza boxes, and Lawrence showed them the various drinks (non-alcoholic) available in the refrigerator.  As they began eating, Lawrence looked between the two teenage girls for a moment and then asked.  "So you both go to Claremont right?  What are your powers?"

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"My powers are being really really cool" said Rev, seriously. "Now, you may ask how I got my powers. Well, its a long story. But basically, Santa gave me the power to be really really cool". 


"What, you don't believe me?" she interrupted herself, aghast at the mere notion that she was either not cool or not empowered by Santa. 


"I'm shocked! I'm hurt! I'm literally coming to pieces!" she added. 


Her arms dropped off and clattered to the floor. 


"See! That's what happens when you don't believe me. Or think I'm not cool. Tsk!" she tutted, shaking her head. "Now you will have to pick those up and screw them back on!"

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Zhu giggled at Rev's antics but wondered if it was ever a good idea to ask a pre-pubescent boy to screw anything.  However, she did a reasonable job of hiding her embarrassed reaction at her own thoughts and her giggle was thankfully powered by an armless Lexa as much as anything.  As she laughed she was busy writing code which reconstituted fibers from the carpets and began to rather quickly generate a rather decent looking Santa cap on Lexa's head.


"She really is cool, and you can totally see that she has ties to the South Pole," she said smiling.  "As for me... I pretty much can read your phone or tablet or whatever.  That's about it other than being smart.  But I bet you I can probably give you a good run at any video game you want to play!"

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Lawrence was genuinely shocked, for a brief moment, when Lexa's arms fell to the ground, but then he picked one up and looked at it carefully, particularly where it attached to her shoulder.  "This is impressive cybernetics."  He said as he looked at the arm.  "I assume it provides greater than normal strength?"


He then looked over at Zhu as she explained what she could do and created the Santa cap on Lexa's head.  "So you can talk with machines?"  He asked.  "It must be more to it than that if you can form material such as that stocking cap in moments.  How are you able to create this?"

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She shook her head, "nope.  Just the machine talking.  I might have created a nanobot swarm that helps me out, but that's not a power, that's just figuring things out."


Then she realized that she was talking with an 11 year old who apparently was a little more mature than they had expected, "so... magic tricks aren't really going to work for you, are they?"


As she spoke she looked over to Lexa and shrugged, this was going to be an interesting night to be sure.

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"Gosh darn it. Even the arm trick doesn't work, huh?" sighed Lexa. She activate the arms to stretch out and reconnect to her body. 


"Yeah, they are pretty strong. And flexible. And all sorts of stuff" she explained, flexing them again. "Zhu here game me some artificial skin to spray on so they look pretty real. Underneath, its shiny and chrome" she explained. 


"So if you need any cars lifting, I can do that. But honestly, it's not that useful. Zhu has got a lot more tricks than me" she said, smiling. And it was true, to. "Being super strong is swell and all, but being super smart is better"

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Lawrence listened as Zhu explained how she had created the stocking cap.  "I don't know, sounds like a power to me.  I mean, not everyone has a swarm of nanobots that they can talk to and get to do or create things for them."  He said with a shrug.  "It must be really interesting to be able to talk to machines."


He then watched as Lexa's arms reattached themselves, studying the process.  "That was cool."  He stated with a smile.  "That seems a useful feature.  But they do not come off easily do they?  Or is it something you are able to control?"

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"I suppose so, but anyone could make them.  Well... maybe not anyone, but there are a lot of people trying.  You seem, very mature for a man of your age.  How old are you again?"


She had started to get out Pizza and was going to follow the advice on the online course by cutting it up for him, but that seemed like it would probably be insulting to him.  "I'd ask if you need anything with the pizza, but I think you seem pretty self sufficient.  Also, it must be something to have parents this well off?"

Edited by BlazingCoconut
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Rev gave her arms an experimental wiggle. "Yeah, I can put them on and off pretty easily. I don't think they have ever come off without me wanting to. Except when we were facing off against Doctor Dislocation. He just snapped his fingers and pow! My arms and legs fell off. Zhu had to see a physiotherapist for six weeks afterwards. Man, Doctor Dislocation was super annoying, huh, Zhu"


She winked at Zhu, and made sure that Lawrence could see she was winking at Zhu in secret. 


"To be honest, its not so useful to detach your limbs. Firing plasma jets out of them is way cooler!" she said, excited. 


"I can char grill your pizza in a second!!" she boasted. 

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"Oh yes..." Zhu replied, not nearly as smooth as Rev with her stories, still she was smart and made up for it quickly.  "I basically fell into a pool of jelly.  It was very uncomfortable... the being jelly part of it.  Took forever for them to put everything back where it was supposed to go.  The biggest part I was worried about was that Lexa would eat me.  She loves Peanut Butter and Jelly, so it was a real threat!"


She grinned as she nibbled on the single small piece of Pizza she had taken, "So tell us Lawrence, who are your favorite heroes?"

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"I am ten."  Lawrence replied to Zhu’s question about his age, he then shrugged slightly.  "I suppose.  It is sometimes difficult to fully relate to all my peers."  He added in response to her comment about his being very mature.  He then smiled as Lexa and Zhu joked about facing "Doctor Dislocation."


When Lexa offered to char his pizza, he held up his hands and shook his head.  "Oh, that's okay, I rather like my pizza not blackened.  But that it is pretty cool that you have built in plasma projectors."


Then Zhu asked about who his favorite superheroes were and Lawrence smiled.  "Oh, pretty much everyone on the Freedom League."

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What he said made Zhu pause, she completely understood not being able to relate to her peers.  Her entire childhood, not that she was far out of it, had been spent a league apart from her peers.  To hear this young man say exactly what she had gone through hit a resonant chord in her.  She was beginning to have suspicions as to why that might be.  His mannerisms and word choices suggested that he was far smarter than his years indicated.


She hesitantly asked, "why is it hard to relate to your peers?"

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