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Fleur de Joies Vingette - New Years 2010

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Stesha walked into her apartment and dropped her carry-on bag onto the floor with a weary thud. Two of her hyacinth forcings opened up to drop her suitcases as well, and even they sounded tired as they thumped onto the living room carpet. It had been a long, long trip. She'd been very happy to get a chance to go back to Chicago for a week, see her family and spend the holidays, but Christmas at home was always chaotic, to say nothing of the plane trip. Her powers had spoiled her for easy travel, but with her dad accompanying her to the terminal to say goodbye, she hadn't been able to figure out a way to go through security and still miss her plane without losing her luggage or having anyone looking for her. Flying coach was quite a let-down after teleporting or flying with Derrick, and she was sure her elbow was black and blue from her rather aggressive seatmate. She didn't need to sleep anymore, but she was exhausted.


When she was honest with herself, though, Stesha knew her weariness didn't come from the long flight from Chicago or a busy holiday week. She was desperately tired of having to lie to her family. Keeping secrets didn't come naturally to her, and after the invasion of the demons this past fall, strangely dreamlike though it seemed now, she'd known she had to tell the truth. She couldn't face the thought of something happening to her and her family never knowing, or knowing why. It wasn't fair.


And it wouldn't be fair, either, to take Derrick home to meet everyone while making him participate in her deception. Even if he wouldn't have been utterly incapable of pulling it off. He was a secret she desperately wanted to share and show off, but she couldn't until she came clean about the other. She'd planned to do it at Christmas, she really had. She'd even worked out what to say, more or less, and when, and how to maybe do it without ruining the celebration. Then the thing with Jack had happened, and Taylor's wedding, and she'd just been so tired and afraid in the days following the invasion. Even though everything had seemed to go back to normal, she still remembered how bad it was, how much worse than she could possibly have imagined.


For awhile, she'd thought about giving up, going back to being just a florist who was really good at growing things. She didn't have to keep putting herself in danger and watching people she liked or loved endangering themselves. Her powers weren't that great or indispensable, and she didn't have a charge from a god or a commission from the Freedom League to worry about. It wasn't like she'd signed a contract when she'd started visiting parks in the dead of night last summer. If she gave it all up, she could go home, back to Chicago, with no one the wiser, and everything would be the way it was, more or less. Simple and safe, even satisfying to a certain extent. She'd never have to watch anyone she loved die violently, ever again.


She couldn't do it though, and some part of her knew that the whole time. Stesha liked who she was when she was Fleur de Joie, and she liked what she could do for people. Maybe it was mostly small potatoes, no pun intended, but it did make peoples' lives better, and every once in awhile, when the stars were aligned, she could do bigger and better things. Giving up on superheroing would mean giving up the whole life she'd found through it, all the friends she'd made, the confidence she'd gained. And it would mean giving up Derrick, who she was sure would never understand such a selfish decision. She couldn't do that, either. Eventually the memories had started to fade a little more, and her resolve had grown a little more, and the immediate fear began to recede. Even so, she'd scrapped her plans for Christmas and had simply gone home instead, talking about her boyfriend without mentioning anything particularly unusual about either of them. It was a copout, and it had colored her time with her family.


Leaving her suitcases where they were for the moment, Stesha went to her front window. It was pretty enough outside, with Christmas lights still up even on the day before New Year's Eve, but the second floor didn't offer a lot of perspective. Making resolutions, especially big ones, called for a little of that. Touching one of her bromeliads, she transported herself through a little dwarf maple in the rooftop garden on one of the city's tallest buildings. That was better, though it was bitter cold even through her jacket. Stesha walked to the edge of the roof and looked up at the faint stars, then down at the bright lights of the city spread out beneath her. She would come clean this year, and she would do it soon. No more secrets, no more lies, not to the people who meant the most to her. This was the life she wanted, even the dangerous parts, but to keep it, she had to be good enough to deserve it. And her family was going to love Derrick, just as soon as she plucked up the courage to introduce them. "Soon," she promised aloud, her voice snatched away by the wind. "Very soon now!"

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