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Davyd's panic at his current predicament faded as he saw the ease with which Miss Grue shifted, replaced with the awe of seeing a superhero in action and the thrill of wondering if he'd be able to pull off what she could do.  "Right, right, just focus," he said, "just focus on- hold on..."  He closed his eyes and mouth, okay, focus my thoughts, remember what I want to look like, he thought, what I had looked like.

 

The Balloon'd Lynn began to deflate, collapsing in on itself, but her features also started fading.  In moments, the large Sphere of Lynn was replaced by a roughly Davyd-sized mass of protoplasm, an indistinct, muddy hue that on closer inspection is really a scattered, glittering swirl of every color that human flesh could come in.  The blob pulsed and swayed a bit, then rose up into a column, like a candle melting in reverse.  Arms and legs extruded out, finer lengths sprouted from the top, and other features bubbled to the surface.  His form resolved itself, as did his beige outfit.  Now, Normal Human Davyd Palahniuk was standing before them.  "Wow... thanks!"

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Lynn sighed, recalling a previous time she'd helped a Grue hybrid who was struggling with his shapeshifting; of course, that was many years ago, and led to a surprisingly steamy kiss...

 

"Okay, good hustle out there, kid," the suddenly pink-cheeked changeling declared as she loudly clapped her hands like a high school coach. "As you can see, Miss Grue will be an excellent mentor, whereas I will serve in a more advisory capacity. I can't do growth or add extra limbs or stuff like that." She stopped and did an little shrug. "Well, I can; I used to, but now it's a lot harder, so I prefer to just, y'know, play to my strengths."

Edited by Heritage

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Miss Grue

Daphne was glad it worked so well, it was difficult to tell what would work as to her was pretty much second nature. There was also the fact she didn’t know just how much Grue there was in his nature.

 

 

“If you don’t mind, I'd like to get a few scans of you physiology. Baby, she’s my ship, has a Grue medical bay so it should be able to find more information than Earth based scanners. If you’ve not had enough of being poked and prodded obviously!”

 

Having been scanned herself a few times in the past she understood just how bad it could be, though mostly they’d been friendly really.

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"You have a spaceship?!" Davyd gasped.  Of course she does, why wouldn't she?  And surely this is not like one of those movies where an unsuspecting teen is lured into the alien vessel and subjected to probes and- ah, crap, telepath!

 

He cleared his throat (and mind), "uh, yeah, sure, that'd be great.  It's been about a week since my last prob- er, medical test, so I'm up for it!"

 

He morphed again, now looking like a football quarterback, "thanks, coach," he told Lynn, "I really gave it 110% out there!"

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Miss Grue

“Those grey’s are big meanies and I’d never do anything like them! Though to be honest I’ve never met any of them, so I’m not sure if they're really a thing or not!”

 

Daphne thought things for a few moments before getting out a mat black cube about the size of an old rubix cube, holding it her hand with some reverence.

 

“I’d like to introduce you to somebody who’s close to me, this is Mother Unit.”

 

<Very pleased to meet you Davyd Palahniuk.> the “voice” was polite and well mannered as well as being in his native Ukrainian

 

<I look forwards to meeting you more in future.>

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Lynn had resisted the reflex temptation to shift into a cheerleader, because really, that would be just plain inappropriate. Still, it had been a long time since she played 'Mad Madam Mim' with another shifter, and the Fae in her just wanted to keep on going. But her mortal self told that part where to stuff it, and she focused on the issue at hand: meeting an intelligent alien bioship

 

<Hi Mother Unit. I'm Lynn Epstein, a friend of your...uh, Daphne.>

 

Smooth.

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"Thi... this is your mamochka*?," he asked, seconds before it spoke to him.  "I- oh! <Hello!  I am pleased to meet you, too, ma'am!>," he replied demurely.  "<Your daughter is a, uh, a fine young woman, and has done much good for this city.  I am sure you must be very proud.>"

 

So, this is my life now.  Cool, cool... cool, cool, cool...

 

"<So, will you also be teaching me about shapeshifting?  You taught Miss Grue, yes?">  He cocked his head slightly to the side, "<or is that instinctual for them?  Ah, for Grue, I mean.>"

 

* mommy

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Miss Grue

<My main function is to help raise and support my wards, of which Daphne is my only child! I like to think she’s like a daughter.> there was a note of pride in her voice

 

<I provide a correct moral backbone for her to better assimilate into you human society.>

 

Daphne had returned to her normal side and was sitting cross legged on the desk, being amused with the entire conversation. She loved her Mother Unit, but she could be to much sometimes.

 

“It’s part of our nature to shapeshift, but we have to practice to get really good at it. Hopefully I can teach you the odd trick or two!”

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"And if you need more general skills-based training, I'm your gal," Lynn said with a touch of pride. "I've been doing this a long time, and I've picked up a lot of knowledge: infiltration, stealth, advanced combat techniques, you name it." 

 

And then she turned into a pretty pierrot, and began to juggle three balls in the air. "Also, you can make good money working kid's parties. I'm not even kidding."

Edited by Heritage

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"<Ooh, so I would be learning about how to use my powers and how to... to... um...>"  He paused a moment, trying to put together a coherent English sentence, then realized he was still speaking Ukrainian and worked on it from that angle, "<how not to rely on my powers?  Skills that would complement my powers, or could be complemented by my powers?>"  He nodded, satisfied with what he'd said, then a huge grin spread across his face.  "<That's exactly what I was hoping I would learn here!>"

 

He scratched the back of his head, "<so do all students here get mentors like you?  Experienced heroes, that is?  Or just the ones who got their powers very recently?  Or the ones who enrolled in Claremont so close to the end of the school year?">  He did fit all those categories.

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Miss Grue

“Shapeshifting is like a part of your nature, with a little training it’ll become natural with you. It’ll become like a reflex to you, reacting instinctively to the danger around you!”

 

It was difficult to put into work what was natural to her Grue nature, it was like describing how you breathed without trying.

 

“The Headmistress tries to find mentors to help students with unusual power sets, I’m helping another student with telepathy. Not every Grue has that though, so I’m not sure if you’ll ever develop telepathy or even telekinesis.”

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And suddenly her words clicked together in Davyd's head.  "Wait, wait, wait, hold on," he backed up, holding his hands up defensively. "What are you saying?  Are you... are you saying that I am... that you think I am... a Grue?  I'm human!"  He was quickly becoming agitated, and red in the face.  "I got these powers in a lab accident!  A dozen different experiments, using stem cells, from humans and animals... for skin growth, muscle repair, bone mending.... they all got on me, in me, during that fight with Fear Master!  I may be changed, but I'm still human!  I'm not some Grue sleeper agent," he made a slicing motion in the air before him with one hand, "not some-"

 

And then he saw it.  His hands -- his entire body -- had become the deep red of a Grue Metamorph.  He felt his face, which had become leaner, and his ears, now longer and pointier.  He still had a mouth, but his lips were almost nonexistent; his nose was almost gone, and his eyes had shifted to solid yellow.

 

"What," he screamed, panicking, staggering backwards, "what's happened... what did you..."

 

 

Edited by Dr Archeville

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Seeing the poor shapeshifter starting to freak out, Lynn quickly moved to calm him; she reached forward and put one hand on his shoulder and one on the side of his head. She then locked eyes with him, those big brown orbs as deep as time, and began to speak to him in flawless Ukrainian. Her voice was low, soft and steady.

 

<"It's alright, Davydka; it's alright. Take in long, slow breaths, okay? No one is saying you're a Grue; we all know you're human. We have reason to believe some of the DNA you were exposed to may have been Grue in origin, but that doesn't make you any less human. It just means you have access to some other powers, none of which are bad, alright? Keep breathing...keep breathing...">

Edited by Heritage

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Miss Grue

Having just always been herself Daphne had never really worried about her own identity, cut off from all but her transmissions from Earth she’d just decided for herself who and what she wanted to be. Being telepathic she quickly learned about how insecure humans could be about who they were, which was quite a surprise to her. She gave out calming telepathic waves, hopefully helping to calm the young shapeshifter.

 

“Lynn is right it’s you who get to decide who you get to be. As a shapeshifter you get to decide who and what you get to be, there’s a core part of you that will never change.”

 

She shifted to her natural Grue form, with the long hair that she always had despite not being part of normal Grue nature

 

“Mine is this, and even if it's not normal for a Grue, your is human you just need to get in connection with your inner self.”

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AAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

 

Davyd took a half step back when Lynn first approached him, a part of his mind fearing what other terrible revelations might come.  Daphne's attempts at calming him telepathically also met with some resistance.

 

AAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

 

But their words -- not so much their content, but more the fact that Lynn's were in his babusya's language, and Daphne's tone so sincere  -- did slowly calm him.

 

AAAAAAaaa...

 

His breathing slowed, and he looked down at his hands.  His red, alien hands.  He concentrated a moment, remembering himself, his past, his family.  Slowly he shifted back to Davyd Palahniuk, Ukrainian-American teenage boy.  He looked at his hands, brought them to his face and tentatively felt it, making sure his lips and nose and ears were as they should be. 

 

"I... I am not a Grue... I am part Grue... but I am human, too..."

 

He lowered his hands and stared at them again, still processing everything.

Edited by Dr Archeville

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Lynn now had both hands on Davyd's shoulders, and was offering an encouraging smile.

 

"Shapeshifting can be a very scary power when you're just starting out; one time I actually melted into a pool of goo, and couldn't figure out how to put myself back together. I was scared s###less! But then I calmed down and collected myself, and then I, well, collected myself, and I was okay! You'll discover all kinds of stuff you didn't know you could do, and at first you'll freak out, but then you'll be like, 'cool, new power!'

 

She put one hand affectionately on the side of his face.

 

"The other thing you have to remember is you're a teenaged boy going through puberty, which is kind of like being a shapeshifter already! Your brain is still developing, and you're figuring out, for the first time really, who you really are. And being an actual shapeshifter can complicate that, but maybe it can also set you free, y'know? Every other kid in school is locked in the body God and biology gave them. Except you. Remember that. You can actually walk in someone's shoes. Most guys will never know what it's like to be a girl, but you can. Most white people will never know what it means to be a person of color, but you can."

 

She spread her hands wide.

 

"Now I'm not saying it's the same as a lifetime of experience; that's impossible. But I will say don't be afraid to explore the world through your powers. And if you ever start to freak out again-"

 

She put an arm around Daphne's shoulders and beamed at Davyd.

 

"Know that you have two crazy aunts you can call to help you through it. Okay?"

Edited by Heritage

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"You melted, too?  Like I did?  So... maybe I can learn... maybe you are the best choice for teaching me..."  He smiled, and placed one hand on hers, "I do really like these powers.  I grew up in Freedom, I've seen so many, and of course," his speech sped up a bit, "I've thought about what it would be like to have them, but to actually have them is another thing entirely!"

 

He grinned happily when she brought Miss Grue in, "two crazy aunts?!  Well, I have one crazy uncle, and- OH!"  His eyes went wide, easily three times as wide as any human's should, "my uncle!  He's the only one who knows about my abilities, the rest of my family doesn't!  But if any of them come to campus, and see all the teens with superpowers running around, they'll figure out I must have something, right?  Augh, geeze, I do want to tell them, I want to share this, but I know they'd freak out so bad."  He cradled his head in his hands, unsure how to proceed.

Edited by Dr Archeville

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Miss Grue

Daphne frowned, she was happy that Davyd had found some comfort and control of his powers. But this current dilemma was something that was a little beyond her experience, apart from what she’d learned for television and movies. Still she had to be honest here.

 

“My family wasn’t exactly the perfect nuclear family, except I guess in the other sense of the word!” she grinned before continuing

 

“I will help you however you need it, but I think you’ll need other help here. The good thing about this school is that they’ve got lots of experience of helping in situations just like this.”

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"You can never tell how people are going to react to this kind of thing," offered Lynn as she once again rested a hand on Davyd's shoulder. "Sure, some people flip out, but a lot take it better than you might think. I will say that Claremont has been doing this for several years, and no doubt will offer all kinds of help in smoothing things over with your family. And yeah, maybe don't show your folks you can turn into a chitinous nightmare dripping slime; practice a few popular impressions, like Schwarzenegger or Tom Cruise, something they can wrap their head around. And let them know that you're learning how to use your powers for good; let them be proud of the boy they brought up."

 

And then she reached up and tussled his hair. "You'll do fine, kid; I promise." 

Edited by Heritage

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