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Just Finding Out (IC)


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There were all of about three places that Eddie could count on finding Zoe. Depending on the day, she might be at all three at once, as far as anyone that operates at normal speed would be able to perceive.

But all things considered, when Zoe might be looking to blow off some steam, that narrowed the choices considerably. It left the band's practice space as the only place he had a good chance at running into her. So that is exactly where he headed.

He had recently been blindsided by quite a lot of new information. The only thing he really knew for certain was that he really needed to talk to Zoe.

Breakdown touched down lightly in front of the band's practice space / storage unit, hoping to hear the sound of a guitar being played...

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Eddie was indeed greeted by the grinding and squealing of an electric guitar as he made his way to the band's storage locker. He walked in just as Zöe reached the apex of a particularly difficult Slayer solo. Just in time to watch as one of the guitar strings snapped in half. Improbably, the string sliced through two of the fingers on her left hand, nearly severing them.

"FAAARKKK!!! she screamed as she clutched her fingers. Blood quickly drenched both of her hands as the Fender Stratocaster Eddie had purchased for her fell to the ground.

Before Eddie had time to react, he felt that vague nausea come over him, like he was on a roller coaster and his stomach just leapt up into his throat. It only lasted a second. It was just like the times she shared her super-speed to go running with him...or the first time they made love. Zöe seemed to vibrate for a few seconds, so fast she became a blur. When she settled down, her hands were still caked with blood, but the cuts were obviously gone. Her fingers were whole.

She muttered "No pain..." Then she looked up and stared emptily at Eddie. "...How...how did I do that?"

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"I dunno." He said. And in an instant, any anger he had felt at her was gone. Dried up just like the blood on her hands. He ran towards her and knelt on the ground next to her. "Are you okay now? Let me see those." He took her hand in his and examined it. Sure enough, despite the blood, she was A-Ok.

Eddie wiped off some of the blood with the bottom of his shirt and proclaimed, "Eh, you'll live." He shifted his weight back away from her, and turned his eyes towards hers. "Tough day? You were attacking that thing more than you usually do." He leaned over, lifted the guitar, and set it on a nearby stand. Then turned back to face her, expecting... Even he didn't know what.

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"Eh. Wasn't too bad. Someone's spreading rumors about Mark knocking up Maaah-lex *cough* and Mike almost got in a fight with him. But they're all razor now." Zoe looked at her hands, then looked around the room, shrugged, and wiped her hands on the bottom of Eddie's shirt. "Hey, thanks for the fake I.D. That was way schway of you." She cupped his cheeks and kissed him on the lips. "Let's go get something pierced!"

Of course, you already know it was that skank Daisy Gibbons. But you're gonna go ahead and give boy-toy plausible deniability on this one. He shouldn't be around when what goes down, goes down.

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"Normally, I would love to..." All of a sudden, Zoe noticed that Eddie wasn't smiling. It wasn't often that he wasn't smiling. "But first I wanna talk to you about something."

"I had a nice sit down with Alex today. And she told me basically everything that happened today. So I know about all the Daisy, Mike, Mark, and Alex drama. And I'm glad to see your okay. That was the first reason I wanted to see you." He smiled, but it faded quickly as he continued, "She also told me about you..." Eddie let his voice trail off purposefully, hoping to give her the chance to say something before he had to continue.

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Zoe's eyes went wide as she stepped back from Eddie. "She...told you?" Her mouth hung open for a moment. Then her arm shot out, grabbed the first thing within reach (which happened to be a half-drunk extra-large smoothie), and hurled it at the wall of the storage locker. The cheap plastic cup exploded on impact, painting the wall with orange-mango graffiti. "That meddling BITCH!!!"

Zoe's shoulders slumped down. She collapsed down to the ground, pulled her legs up to her chest, and rested her back against the wall. When she looked back up at Eddie, her eyes were blurry with the formative stages of tears. "...So. You wanna tell me what you know and have me fill in the gaps? Should I just start from the beginning? Or do we just cut the foreplay and get to the part where you dump my ass?"

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An aprehensive, "Erk!" escaped Eddie when Zoe took her anger out on the smoothie cup. After she flipped out and went quiet, Eddie busied himself with cleaning some of the smoothie off the wall before it began leaking into one of the amps. This he did with another old shirt that happened to be lying around. These things make REALLY good rags he thought to himself.

"First of all, Alex is not a meddling bitch. She's my friend. She is also apparently you're mom, but I'm not one to lecture, so whatever." His thought process was interrupted when Zoe finally lifted her head up to speak.

"...So. You wanna tell me what you know and have me fill in the gaps? Should I just start from the beginning? Or do we just cut the foreplay and get to the part where you dump my ass?"

"Okay stop right there." Eddie said, tossing the shirt aside with a wet slopping sound. "I'm not dumping you. Not until I know what's going on, and I've heard your side of things. But at any rate, I still don't think its very likely." He smiled as he sat down next to her. It was relieving to see him smiling again.

When he spoke again, his tone was easygoing and soothing. "But...I don't think Alex would lie to me. Or leave much out. So at this rate, you can probably assume I know as much as she does." He took Zoe's hand, "A while ago, I told you that you could tell me anything. And that I would listen. So I'm asking you again, if there's anything you want to tell me, you can tell me. I won't get mad, I promise." He said with a smile.

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Zoe sighed, closed her eyes, and rested her head back against the wall. "You can't promise not to get mad. That's ridiculous. Look, I'm not a starfrakker. I didn't throw myself at you because I knew you were gonna be a rock star someday. I wanted to get in on the ground floor of that, sure, but I wanted to do it with you. I'm not some barnacle looking for a free cruise. I've had a crush on you since I was eight. I grew up listening to your music. It hit me right here." She punched her chest. "And my parents hated it. That helped. Octopus Dropkick was the reason I learned to play guitar. And when you guys donated all the profits from your fifth album to charity, even the concert tour? When that reporter asked you 'Why?' and you just smiled and asked her 'How many yachts can I water-ski behind?' I wanted to jump on you right there. I mean, yeah, you were old, but you aged really well. Most of you guys did."

"In about 14 years, Alex and Mike are gonna get married and have me. About 16 years after that, they're gonna die. The Crime League is gonna hold the entire world hostage with a bunch of nukes. You guys are gonna scour the Earth for them, and it's all gonna come down to a battle royale in Freedom City over the last one. Then Hiroshima Shadow is gonna super-charge it and set it off. And the NorthEast United States is gonna become a real quiet neighborhood. Unless I can stop it."

"I don't know how I got here. One second, I'm running faster than I've ever gone before. Not fast enough to save my parents, as it turns out, but just barely fast enough to watch the flesh melt off their faces in slow-motion before their eyeballs explode and their bones crumble into ash, along with everyone else within a few hundred miles of Freedom City. But instead of going boom, I trip and fall 30 years into the past."

"I went to Claremont. I was Next-Gen. Mom and Dad were in charge of the Freedom League. You were rich and famous. Anything else you wanna know?"

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Eddie listened, and nodded, and listened some more. More and more he was finding out what he had told Alex earlier was true. He was a little upset that she had held back on him, but she had her reasons and he respected that. Sure, the situation was bizarre, but all in all, he was okay with it.

When the part about Alex and Mike came up, he held her hand tight, though it hurt him to hear about it too.

Face it, man, He thought, You just can't stay mad at her.

"I went to Claremont. I was Next-Gen. Mom and Dad were in charge of the Freedom League. You were rich and famous. Anything else you wanna know?"

"No." He looked at her and smiled. "You said exactly what I was hoping you would." Eddie paused for a second as a new thought rattled around in his brain. "Actually, there is one thing. You wanna go get something pierced?"

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Zoe laughed, wiped her eyes a couple times, took Eddie's hand and used it to lift herself up. "Yeah," she chuckled as she hugged him. "That sounds like fun. This is the part where I'd say 'I wonder what you'd look like with nipple rings,' but I saw that shoot you did for Playgirl...nevermind. Let's just go. You driving, or are we running?'"

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"Haha, oh god!" Eddie laughed as he stood up behind her. He'd had enough deep conversation for one day. For now he was just glad that she was back to normal. "Yea, I don't even want to think about the horrible brain scrambling time paradoxes our relationship brings to life. And you know I don't have a car." Once they were both standing, he pulled her in close to his body, holding her around the waist.

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