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Electra

Hero Work (IC)

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Late one evening at the end of March, after what had been an unusually nice day, Moira received a phone call at her house in the West End. It was Stesha. That was a little surprising, since the two women, despite patching up their differences, hadn't talked too much since the precipitous events surrounding Moira's return to the mortal world. Tonight Stesha sounded a little subdued, but friendly. "Hey Moira, I was thinking about going out tonight and getting started on my parks for the spring. I was wondering, would you come with me?"

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Stesha! Moira loved Stesha like a little sister. And she hadn't talked to her in a while. Hearing from her was definitely a good thing. "[divine]Of course,[/divine]" Moira replied warmly, "[divine]I'd love to.[/divine]" Striding towards her closet, she looked at the costume her Ani-Earth double had inspired. "[divine]So, I hear you're in the Freedom League now. Maybe they gave you a costume? I'd like to see it. I have a costume of my own![/divine]" Moira sounded enthusiastic, to say the least. She gasped, "[divine]Ooh, I just thought of something. Maybe after we go seed planting, we can do the hero thing?[/divine]"

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"I have a costume," Stesha told her, "Ace and I went out shopping while you were gone. It was a very weird experience, but I like the costume itself. It's a lot better than the sweatsuit I was wearing last summer." She laughed, but seemed to sober when Moira asked about the heroing. "I suppose something might crop up, it all depends on the night. I sometimes run into trouble when I'm just gardening." She didn't exactly sound eager for superheroics, even over the phone.

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"[divine]Oh,[/divine]" Moira calmed down, "[divine]If you don't want to do this, I understand.[/divine]" Actually she didn't. If she was part of the Freedom League she'd be all over it. Doing heroic things all the time. But Stesha was her best friend, she didn't want to rush her into anything. "[divine]Well, I could at least show you the costume,[/divine]" she said dismissing the whole thing. "[divine]Are you on your way over now,[/divine]" she said looking in her closet for something to wear. Having just got out of the shower, she couldn't go out in just a bath robe.

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"Sure, it sounds like fun," Stesha said. "I can't wait to see it. I'll be over in ten minutes, okay?" Ten minutes later, Stesha stepped out of the bonsai plant in Moira's living room for the first time in what seemed like ages. She was in costume herself, a spring-green tunic and trousers with a belt full of pockets and pouches for her seeds, and all of it covered by a dark green cowl jacket with a hood that covered her distinctive hair. "Hey Moira," she called teasingly. "I'm here, where's the cheesecake?"

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Moira didn't expect Stesha to come fully costumed out. Here she stood with just summer shorts and tanktop. She thought this was just going to be a planting session. "[divine]Hey,[/divine]" she said excitedly, greeting her friend with a peck on the cheek and a hug. Letting go, she circled around Stesha, taking in everything about the costume. "[divine]Nice set up you got there,[/divine]" she smiled and nodded approval, "[divine]Do they make you wear it all the time?[/divine]"

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Stesha laughed, pushing back the cowl to reveal her braided and flower-bedecked hair. Maybe it was the costume, but even her skin looked just a little bit green these days, not sickly, but a little bit strange. "No, I wear it when I'm going out and working. I got tired of ruining leggings every time I ran into any trouble out there. Anyway, this summer people have been talking about camping out to try and see me when I'm running around. I'm doing my best to avoid them, but I don't want my identity getting out. Where's yours? I thought you were going to show it to me?"

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"[divine]Oh,[/divine]" Moira said surprised, "[divine]I thought you mean that we weren't gonna go do the superhero thing.[/divine]" She smiled and took Stesha's hand, escorting her to the bedroom, "[divine]This way.[/divine]" When they got there, Moira opened the closet with a flourish! There it hung, all by itself. A short white silken toga. With it were a pair of white silken fingerless gloves that looked long enough to reach just up her forearm. A pair of golden sandals with long straps. And finally, a white porcelain half-mask. "[divine]Tada![/divine]" She grinned like a happy schoolgirl showing off her A+ homework to her parents, "[divine]So what do you think? I can put it on for you if you wish.[/divine]"

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"It's beautiful," Stesha said admiringly, touching the soft fabric. "I'm sure it looks gorgeous on you. Nobody's going to be able to commit crimes when you're around, they'll be too busy just watching you. Best deterrent ever." She laughed, but again she seemed a little distracted. "And we can go out and do hero stuff if you want to," she told Moira. "It's just... I haven't done very much lately, at least not by myself. I kind of got into a bad spot last month, and, you know... sometimes it's hard to get back on the horse," she admitted awkwardly. "Planting flowers is sort of more my speed these days. But I'd love to see you try on the costume," she said with more enthusiasm.

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Moira nodded happily. Dropping her shorts and top, she tied the toga on perfectly and in good time too. She had definitely practiced the maneuver before. The toga itself was very light on her. It was almost like a mini dress. "[divine]See,[/divine]" she said with an upwards inflection as she curtsied. "[divine]I use it when I go out patrolling,[/divine]" she shrugged, "[divine]Then again, I don't get to patrol much.[/divine]" She noticed that she was sounding asky-with-trying-to-be-asky. Hopefully Stesha didn't think she was begging. She slipped on the gloves while musing, "[divine]But yeah, I enjoy it.[/divine]" She reached out and softly caressed Stesha's cheek, "[divine]Nice green tintage, how'd you do it?[/divine]"

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Stesha looked away. "I got hurt pretty badly last month," she replied softly. "Really badly, actually. They say that I died, though I still don't remember it and don't really want to. I just remember it hurting so much. But I... I came back. Derrick and Taylor and Ace buried me, and a plant grew, and there I was again. And a little greener than I used to be." She closed her eyes for a moment. "It's been hard for me to do hero work since then," she admitted reluctantly.

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Moira gasped. There were many things going through. Stesha died? No one told her. Why wasn't she told? Stesha looked visibly upset. Who did this to her? The rage simmered unnoticed under her sympathy. Moira gently embraced her friend, placing her forehead on hers, and spoke in a comforting tone, "[divine]I'm so sorry I brought it up. I didn't know. We don't have to do anything of the sort if you don't want to. We'll go plant gardens and eat cheesecake and it'll be just like old times.[/divine]" Moira pulled her head back up to look at Stesha with a soft smile, "[divine]Sound good?[/divine]"

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Stesha hugged Moira back, absorbing the comfort of an understanding friend for a few moments. "It's okay," she said, "I've got to get back in the saddle, you know? And maybe it'll be easier if I'm not going solo. But I want to do some planting first." She straightened up, reaching for the seed pouches on her belt. "I've gotten behind already, and the weather is so nice tonight." She smiled, though it was just a little wobbly around the edges. "And your costume is amazing. It would be a shame to waste that on digging around in the dirt."

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Moira just wanted to make Stesha happy. If she would have said, "Moira let's go to Vegas and turn it into a lush oasis," Moira would have obliged. But no, she wanted to do something that Moira probably talked her into without meaning to. Still, it was Stesha's night. Moira would grant her her every wish. She grabbed her golden sandals and sat on the bed, leisurely lacing them up, "[divine]So, I have transportation now. We can use yours or mine. I'm a bit of a novice at this whole patrolling thing.[/divine]" She then got her mask and pressed it to her face, followed by putting her fists on her hips, "[divine]Teach me, oh mistress.[/divine]"

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"Well, I don't do a lot of patrolling either," Stesha said, "but you never know what' going to crop up along my route. There's a lot of petty crime in parks, even in a nice place like Freedom City. I'll drive this time." Stesha pulled her cowl back up to hide her colored hair, then took Moira's hand as she reached out to touch the little bonsai tree. "Let's start big, Freedom City Park."

They came out in a sheltered little copse of trees, just coming into their spring foliage. Stesha took a deep breath and looked around with a smile, obviously happy to be in one of her favorite places. "It's going to be a good night," she decided. "What colors do you feel like?"

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Moira always loved the ride, quick and strange. "[divine]Hm,[/divine]" Moira thought about what she wanted to see. Then she remembered why she was here, for Stesha's support. She remembered Stesha liked liked green, but green flowers? That couldn't be right. It was springtime. "[divine]How about starting with something light. It is spring time you know. Pink. White. Yellow. Make it look awesome.[/divine]" She massaged Stesha's shoulders and softly whispered in her ear, "[divine]I know you can do it.[/divine]"

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Stesha smiled, reaching into her bag. "This is the easy part," she assured Moira. Planting flowers didn't bother her a bit, not when there were no monsters or villains or crazy doppelgangers barreling down on them. She drew out a handful of seeds, sorting them in the darkness by touch, and began scattering them. As soon as they touched soil they began to grow, stretching out long stems and unfurling petals. She'd gone mostly for tulips this evening, in a rainbow of colors scattered with cheerful daffodils and gorgeous fat hyacinth stalks. "It's definitely spring! Don't you love it? I'm so glad we're both here to see this one."

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Moira watched happily as the flowers grew. She still hadn't forgotten what Stesha had said. The part about where she died. She just didn't know at what angle to go in. She didn't want to upset Stesha. She was just happy to see Stesha happy. Picking up a daffodil, she put it behind her ear. Her hair would never look like Stesha's, but a flower in her hair made her feel like she was a kid with her father. The yellow kinda blended with the costume, but it made her red hair stand out. Moira hugged Stesha with a friendly hug, "[divine]That was beautiful.[/divine]" Stepping back she took a quick survey of the other places, "[divine]This park is pretty big. We can do more, right?[/divine]"

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"Sure," Stesha said with obvious pleasure. "It's the biggest park in the region, we could work here all night." She poured a handful of seeds into Moira's palm. "Here, toss these out wherever you want them, they'll grow." As Moira tossed seeds, Stesha focused power on them, sprouting and growing them with magical speed. The air soon became floral and fragrant, the ground bright with color even in the dark. "How is it, being back?" she asked after a few minutes.

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"[divine]It's been fun,[/divine]" Moira said with a smile, "[divine]I've made some new friends. Atlas, Mongrel Angel, Freedom Angel, Fulcrum, Dead Head, Sarah Prescott, Lukos, Phalanx, Jack of all Blades. It's been very busy few months for me.[/divine]" Moira knew in her heart that she couldn't lie and say she didn't enjoy the time she was gone. So she wouldn't mention it. Stesha would have asked if she wanted to know! Though really, she loved both places equally. "[divine]I am even starting to do the superhero thing, as you can see.[/divine]" She chuckled and shook her head, "[divine]You'd never believe it, but seeing a cat-person from another dimension got me interested in the 'professional' deal.[/divine]" She looked to Stesha, "[divine]what about you?[/divine]" She gently massaged Stesha's shoulders, "[divine]Tell me about what happened.[/divine]"

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Stesha passed a few seeds from hand to hand, rolling them between her fingers as she thought about what to say. "It was... it was weird," she said awkwardly, not knowing how to put it all into words. "The whole thing, from beginning to end, it was like a nightmare, like something that wasn't even real. Taylor and I were out shopping, for baby stuff," she explained, "and we went to this cute boutique. Civilian clothes, everything was really just normal. I think I was trying to get her to buy some mobile or something. Then all of a sudden Dark Star shows up, not Derrick, but Dark Star, and he's acting so strange. Talking about how he's going to enjoy killing us, the sort of thing you'd never hear him say in a million years."

Rather than keep playing with the seeds, Stesha threw them in a wide arc across the lawn, letting them fall where they would. "I couldn't figure out what was happening, but Taylor said it wasn't him, it wasn't Derrick inside the Dark Star thing. He started to do that gravity thing he does, where he just beats the hell out of everything, but he was aiming straight at Taylor. And I know she's strong, but what about the baby? So I tried to get in front of her, tried to get some plants up to protect us, but he was... god, it all happened so fast. All I even really remember is flying through the air, and how much it all hurt. I mean, really, really hurt, more than I thought anything could."

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Moira listened as she softly held Stesha while the flower girl worked, but not so much as to interrupt her. A friendly hug always made people feel safe. Moira gasped when she heard the story! She was glad to hear Derrick wasn't a horrible person, but her best friend had died! She was speechless. What could have gotten hold of Dark Star, she wondered. It didn't matter. The fact that it was beating on and killing two of her friends. Rage boiled inside Moira, but she pushed it down for a moment. Stesha needed a sympathetic friend, not an angry one. After Stesha finished talking, Moira held her best friend close. She wondered how Taylor was doing. Her and her baby. But right now Stesha was top priority. Stesha was always top priority. "[divine]Stesha,[/divine]" she said softly, "[divine]I'm so sorry I wasn't there for you. I feel horrible for everything that happened there. But I am glad you are alive.[/divine]" Maybe she was being too self-centered talking about her own feelings. This was Stesha's turn to lay her problems on Moira's shoulders.

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"I don't think it would've made any difference," Stesha admitted. "It was over in the blink of an eye, before I could hardly even think about it." She tossed another handful of seeds, a little rashly this time, so that they were sprouting before they hit the ground. "Taylor was right there, and she couldn't even get a spell off. Plus, he's insubstantial when he's like that. You could hit as hard as you wanted, you'd only hit air. I don't even know how they got that one banished from this universe and back where he came from. I didn't really ask, I just wanted him to be gone. Derrick's kind of torn up about it still. It's hard to talk with him about it." Another handful of seeds. "I just wish I remembered. You went to heaven, sort of, but you remembered it when you came back. Why can't I?"

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"[divine]Well, the first time and supposedly the second time I went of my own free will.[/divine]" Moira sighed remembering everything Edone did in a flash second. She was still there in the back of her head. Edone cajoled and coerced Moira to give into anything and everything she ever wanted in the slightest, like some kind of super-id. But Moira kept that in check. "[divine]If I may posit a theory,[/divine]" Moira head heard that from one of those science shows before, "[divine]and then admit something to you.[/divine]" She cleared her throat, then put her arms behind her back and began to rock on her feet, "[divine]First off, my theory. I hope it doesn't seem harsh or anything. Maybe, just maybe when you're in the realms of a god you don't remember anything because you're not a god.[/divine]" She stopped rocking and gently put her hand on Stesha's cheek. "[divine]Secondly,[/divine]" she spoke softly enough for only Stesha to hear, "[divine]Your coming back to life was a gift from me. I know you don't like remembering it, but think back to the time when you visited me with the bee stings and we went to Jack's place. Remember the wine you drank? That stuff? It was something we call Ambrosia. Nectar. Anyone mortal who drinks it is part divine.[/divine]"

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Stesha was a little distracted for a moment by Moira touching her face, a phenomenon she had gotten used to but wasn't even close to overcoming yet. "What?" she asked when the words finally sunk in. "I don't think I understand. What do you mean by part divine? Did I come back because of something I drank that night at your house? I don't think I even remember everything I drank that night."

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