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January 19th, 2014

Freedom City

 

Fingers fly over a keyboard faster than the eye can see. 

 

"Dear Set II? Set Jr? 

 

This is Clock Queen, and it's high TIME ;) we got together and talked about your old man. I'm in Freedom City right now and it's gloomsville around here. If you remember where the old Set put his stuff, you should meet me tonight at eight in the warehouse where the old Set kept that helicopter with the giant snake face. He really dug those snakes, hah-hah. ;) Don't keep me waiting!

 

Your good friend, Clock Queen. 

 

PS: Is it true you're just seventeen? BUMMER." 

 

With the email message set, Anne Cline sat back in her son's house and sighed. She'd been in this house nearly a week now; Paige was grieving her father, Dickie was helping Paige, and the kids knew their parents were going ape without hardly knowing the reasons why. She'd come up immediately from Florida when she'd heard they needed help, and was glad to do it. 

 

But it was sooooooo booooorrrriiiinnngggg. 

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"How sure be thee of thy bearings?" Sekhmet asked wearily, arms crossed but posture as upright as ever as she followed being the redheaded godling peering at each waterfront warehouse they passed.

"Eh... Eighty, eight-five percent, mayhaps?" Set, looking back and forth between the map on his smart phone's screen and the numbers on the large buildings. "Many years have passed and I was likely dead for some of them! Likely. Hmm... Twas a speedboat, but my elder self may have only borrowed that from ol' August. Barely used vehicles, truly, but minions have to get from point alef to bet, haha!"

The taller deity had remained suitably unimpressed ever since her charge had received the message. "So eager to relive thy past trespasses with a fellow reprobate, deceiver?" she practically growled, glad her human form dulled the worst of the dock districts varied scents.

"Bah, Anna tis hardly even a criminal!" Set insisted, waving his empty hand airily. "Well. She did break an awful lot of laws, I grant you. Just... whoo, so many, truly. Aheh." Sneaking a look over his shoulder at the war goddess, he offered a winning smile of perfect teeth. "Ah, but you shall like her! She has swords! You like swords!"

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GM

 

The crown she was legally barred in public as a condition of her parole. The fur-lined miniskirt with the red fabric and yellow and black clockfaces - and the twin swords, carefully packed into a walking stick, that an old lady needed in a city like Freedom where the heroes were evidently packing heat again. Clock Queen was ready. Taking advantage of Holly's sleepover, Paige's distraction, and Dickie on the phone, the grand-dame of super-speed super-crime zipped out of her son's house, down icy Freedom streets, and onto the sidewalk in front of the former warehouse that was now Waterside Apartments. Ticktickticktick! From the alley, taking all the time in the world, she caught sight of Set (who did indeed look a lot like his pictures) and somebody who was Hmm, maybe Lady Set? Set-Girl? Set-Woman? and smacked the ground with the metal tip of her stick to get their attention.

 

All this debating was taking entirely too long, and she made a snap decision in between the sound of the stick hitting the pavement and the feel of it shocking up her arm. "Hey! You kids!" When they looked her way from across the street, she pointed straight up and said, "I'm movin' on up!" And with that, she zipped straight up the brick wall and into the open balcony of the penthouse apartment. Whew! Good thing the guy who lives here isn't here. 

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"Haha, there now!" Set laughed, jogging across the way. "Moving on up, did you catch that? Classic Anna Cline!" With a snap of his fingers, a gust of chilled January air swept up a few pieces of loose debris lying about the docks, forming floating steps for him to run up and swirling about as he passed to continue his blustery walkway.

Sekhmet made a flat, long-suffering sound in the back of her throat as she shifted seamlessly into her tawny furred lioness form. "Timeless humour, truly," she drawled, the fang-filled feline mouth lending a extra bite to the sarcasm. Bounding after the excitable godling, she dug preternaturally sharp claws into the slight ledges created by the rows of brick, making her own more direct way upward.

Nimbly stepping over the railing like a J. M. Barrie enthusiast, Set landed on both sandal clad feet and threw his arms in the air, thick red dreadlocks bouncing behind his wide grin. "Clock Queen! I should have known the years would be kind to you, haha!" He was followed moments later by a considerably less jovial jungle cat looking more like something out of Rudyard Kipling's work, who took a moment to brush a bit of mortar from her claws before resuming the form Anna had spotted earlier.

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"You've got a lot more zip than the Set I remember," said Anna, smiling at the muscular boy the way she would at Will when he was in a "look-at-me, grandma!" mood. She seemed to accept his recognition instantly and wrapped her arms around the kid, Anna smelling like vintage Chanel. "Dress better, too! And you're a lot less serpentine than the girls that usually hung around Snake-Boy. You should have seen them," she added to Sekhmet, "they had these green rattlesnake leather bustiers with giant fangs hanging off the girls," she cupped her hands over her own chest for emphasis. "Half the time they looked like they were going to stab themselves when they tried to run!"

 

She laughed, then half-turned to slide open the balcony door, scoping out the rich guy's apartment on the other side. "C'mon in and tell me how you turned back the clock. We've got nothing but time. And tell me about your kitty friend!" She watched Set go and succumbed to temptation and smacked him right on the ass, an innocent look on her face in the instant anyone looked back. 

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"Oy, the snakes. The Ra blighted snakes be the only thing anyone recalls," Set sighed, returning the embrace with a slight restraint in deference for Anna's advanced years that disappeared as she took advantage of her hands' proximity to the back of his shendyt. "Ho! Nobody ever got fresh with my elder self like that, you know!" he smirked, wagging a finger in decidedly mock protestation. "Which probably explains the dreadful mood he was always in. Oh, and then he died! Well, I died. We died. I think." Shrugging mightily, he idly scratched his jawline with one finger and followed Clock Queen into the apartment. "Tis all a bit... swiss cheese, honestly. God stuff, you know: an exciting light show at the time and then rather hazy in the retelling."

Sekhmet stalked in just behind him, closing the eye behind the fringe of her asymmetrical haircut as though it would somehow stem the tide of prattle. "...tis not thy dwelling, I suspect, mortal," she noted, looking about and making a displeased face.

"Ah yes, may I present milady Sekhmet, the Mistress of Dread, Lady of Slaughter, She Who Mauls... Am I forgetting one?" His question was met with a loud, warning growl, so Set soldiered on. "And more recently, my sidekick!"

"I be thy jailer, wretch," the goddess hotly corrected, drawing up to her full height in a way that flexed the muscles in her base shoulders.

"Papyrus, pa-paw-rus," Set dismissed, leaning against what looked like a wet bar or island countertop. "She's here to make sure I have truly turned over a new leaf," he explained to Anna, "on pain of kckk." He drew a line across his own throat and lolled his tongue for a moment, not looking overly concerned about the prospect.

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Clock Queen winked and raised a finger to her lips. "Sssh. You're gonna get me back in the hoosegow, Seky." She didn't seem too concerned by the prospect, and indeed, she wandered into the kitchen and opened up the fridge. "Hey, champagne! Nice deal this guy has." She produced a bottle from the fridge, and glasses from up above. "I can change out of the costume faster than any chucklehead walking in the door can see me, so no worries. I try telling people I'm a senior citizen and I don't always know what I'm doing, but people look at me and think "Oh, she's just somebody's crazy mom." She shook her head, pouring three glasses. "You know my Dickie has two kids now? Oldest one looks about as old as you," she added with a nod to Set. "All right, here we go." Zipping over to join the others, she handed the two gods a glass and raised her own. "Here's to past, present, and future. Cheers!" 

When the proverbial bottoms had gone up, she added, "So what's this I hear about you going straight?" It was a serious question, the kind one might ask a friend who had undergone a recent career change. "Just because you've got your big sister here watching?" she asked. Anna knew all about big sisters, she'd been the big sister to the younger women in the Crime League most of the time. "I mean, you don't want to summon your crocodile army to eat the capes, that's square with me, not even stealing a little Set-Pez? There's gotta be one of those still on the market somewhere. C'mon," she added with a wink at Sekhmet. "You gotta great gimmick there, but surely kitty likes a little shiny toy now and again?" 

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"Phaw, I spy a young lady as fit and firm as ever," Set scoffed, accepting the drink and draining it. "You'll not fool anyone playing up your age."

Clock Queen's sly question for Sekhmet, however, drew an angry snarl from the goddess, who stepped forward still in humanoid form but suddenly with the head of a lioness, lips pulled back dangerously from bared fangs. "Mortal, hold thy tongue before an arbiter of ma'at lest thy--"

"Hold, Sekhmet, hold!" Set cut in quickly, placing himself between the two women with upraised hands and a pleading look for the incensed warrior. "No harm meant nor done, aye? Law and order be as much a part of Sekhmet's nature as storm and sand and stunning good looks be mine, Anna," he continued for the retired thief's benefit. "The mauling point? Not merely good buzz, hm?"

Narrowing her eyes, Sekhmet snorted disdainfully but shifted back to her previous visage and adopted a less threatening posture. "As for my reformation, you will find me quite genuine, I assure!" Keeping on eye on the irritable goddess, Set returned to answering Clock Queen's question. "My elder self had... issues, frankly. Not a flattering phase in the least. There comes a time one must consider one's legacy!" He offered Anna a broad smirk and a raised eyebrow. "'Straight' may not be the word, truly. Good though Set may be, so too be he bad! In the best sense."

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"You sound like my kid." Anna tossed back the whole glass and sat it down on the counter. "'Ma, you need to stop getting drunk in front of the kids! Ma, stop teaching Willy how to pick locks! Ma, stop teaching Holly dirty jokes! Ma, stop making crime look fun.'" I've been living in that house a whole week, and it's like living in a goddamn halfway house all over again." She sighed, rubbed her cheeks, and for a moment seemed her age before she added, "Anyway, I'm glad to hear you're happy, kid," she said encouragingly to Set. "The old Set wasn't such a bad guy, but he always looked so dour. If you're happy, I'm happy for you. And you, Sekhmet," she added, "you're a girl with spunk, and I like that. Half the girl heroes I knew were too goody-goody to stand up for themselves, and you-" She looked at Set and covered her mouth, eyes going wide with joy, her earlier 'down' moment completely forgotten. 

 

"Wait a minute...so was that thing with you and Nick Rourke legit?" she asked. "That's Nero, big fire guy," she added to Sekhmet. "Damn! We gotta get into Providence, Sammy C owes me fifty bucks if that thing with you guys happened."  

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"Hoo, Nero. A name I've not thought on in ages, truly." Set rested his chin in one hand and considered for a moment, frowning slightly in concentration. "Now there was two pounds of crazy in a one pound canopic jar, I must say."

"In the 'best way'?" Sekhmet inquired dryly, at least moderately placated by Clock Queen's interrupted attempts at praising her.

"Nnnnno, not as such," Set admitted with a small wince, before turning back to Anna waggling his eyebrows. "Still hit that. Say what you will, Rourke was never lacking in enthusiasm! Hm, may have been some shapeshifting involved, unless I'm getting confused... Those snakeskin bustiers weren't all bad." With a sigh, Sekhmet finally gave in and took a long drink from the pilfered wine. "Well, regardless! Lockpicking and dirty jokes are fine skills to pass down! Worked out well enough for young Richard, did they not?"

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"I've gotta admit, he came out a lot better than he had any right to. I wasn't the best mama sometimes." Clock Queen reflectively poured herself another glass. "You-know-who's still in Providence, can ya believe that? Another year or so and it'll be forty-five years since that psycho clown let them lock him away because a bunch of hippies ruined his all-American groove. That's what happens when you outlive your TIME." Clock Queen's vendetta against her old partner, and Richard's father, was something that Set remembered well enough. "Everybody's either locked up, dead, crazy, old, or 'reformed'" She said the last word with a palpable sneer. "But my kid's all right, even if that wife of his is practically Donna Reed with brain powers. Those damn Psions, I-"

Suddenly, there was a zip out on the balcony, and a new figure appeared - a man in a black and white costume that Set hadn't seen in nearly forty years. Or had never seen at all, really, depending on how you looked at it. "Ma!" said Richard, only slightly winded from searching the entirety of the Waterfront district. "What are you doing here? Who are these people?" 

 

"I am having a civilized conversation with two friends of mine!" shot back Anna, getting in her son's face despite his being taller than her by at least six inches. "I am a grown woman and I can talk to whoever I want! I'll have you now this is Set and Sekhmet, who I met on the Internet!" 

 

"This is...hey!" Richard abandoned the argument fast and turned to the two new-style celebrities. "Hey, so that was you Ma was talking to! Nice. I thought that was just some marketing thing for the new Gerard Butler thing." 

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"Phaw! Unlike some other Ancient Egyptian 'gods', we actually look North African! Truly, I ought to sue," Set rebutted rather hotly, smoothing an eyebrow with one finger and adopting a cross expression that inevitably gave way to a wide grin moments later. "Little Richard Cline! You've grown taller."

"Thy stature merely be diminished, liesmith," Sekhmet reminded him with a faintly feral smirk that noted her pleasure at the opportunity to needle her charge. From the reactions of Clock Queen and Set she'd surmised the new arrival was no threat. Upon consideration, he even looked vaguely familiar to her. "I have seen thy visage on the flickering nets, mortal."

"It can be both!" Set insisted, placing his hands on his hips and adjusting his shendyt slightly. "And tis Netflix, Sekhmet. Ra's morning breath, I swear you do that on purpose. But you!" Turning back around, he pointed a finger accusingly at Fast-Forward's nose. "You should should show your mother more respect, young man! One of the greats, right here!" Placing an encouraging hand on Clock Queen's shoulder the godling couldn't resist returning her earlier smack with the other. "Ho, 'fit and firm' was well spotted! Do you partake in the pilates I hear so much about, Anna, because tis remarkable, truly."

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"Ma! He's like seventeen!" Richard had grown up with the idea that his mom really liked men and they really liked her, a fact she'd never been shy about concealing from him. But this guy was..."C'mon!" 

 

"Oh! No, no, it's fine," said Anna, winking at Set and then giving a more serious look to her son. "This is the real-deal Set, honey, he just turned back the clock a little." Affectionately, she put an arm around the godling's shoulders. "And this is Sekhmet, she's a cat goddess! Rawr!" She made 'scratching' gestures at the air, and gave an affectionate, almost grandmotherly smile Sekhmet's way. "They're an all right coupla kids." 

 

"I...well, okay then. I will take your word, Ma, since you know I can't hear about you hob-nobbin' with crooks, right?" He covered his ears in a "hear-no-evil" position before turning back to the others. He automatically went to the fan of the show first. "You like the show?" he asked brightly. "That's great! You know, we could use somebody who can do powered stuff on camera," he offered. "I've been wanting an Egyptian thing for years but since we couldn't get Horus, the producers said there was no point." He added in Set's direction, in a not-unfriendly fashion, "So did you drink too much of the old ambrosia, or...?" He shrugged. "Is everybody up there a teenager now?" 

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"Tis... not inaccurate," Sekhmet allowed at Clock Queen's introduction of her, the corner of the stern warrior's mouth twitching into something that might have been a small smile in spite of herself. There was something undeniably amusing about the elder Cline's manner, the goddess was forced to admit internally. "Thy... 'show' has been of some interest, Son of Cline, informative in the ways of scoundrels in this modern age. She Before Whom Evil Trembles be no trained performer, however."

"No poaching talent, young Richard," Set tutted. A look of genuine despondency had flickered across his face at the mention of Horus but he'd forced it away quickly enough in favour of a broad smile of perfect teeth. "We can talk show business anon. And do these appear to be the abs of one who overindulges?!" The hand not around Anna's shoulders indicated his bare torso with a flourish. "My elder self merely got us a bit dead. Probably. God stuff," he reiterated with a look toward Clock Queen. "Before you stands the hipper, pared down reboot, with considerably better casting and writing, if I may! I'm terribly heroic now, heart of gold, the whole bit."

"Tongue of silver," Sekhmet corrected flatly, crossing her arms and glaring with one smoldering, golden eye. "Concern thyself not, mortal, I am present to hold the betrayer to his outlandish claims of reformation."

"Together we battle evil and all around nastiness! Tis an excellent pitch, truly."

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"Hey, that's great!" Even knowing this was the shapeshifting god who had once left him in a locked room with a twenty-foot king cobra "to encourage the family's gift, haw-haw-haw!" Richard felt sorry for the look in the kid's eye and changed the subject. He knew all about family troubles that you couldn't do a damn thing about, especially that week. "Believe me, it's a lot better going straight than you'd think. Safer, since you get your ass kicked a lot less, easier, since you don't have to go out and commit stuff to get some action, and you make a lot more money when you don't blow it all on hookers and blow or bury it in your treasure vault. So, uh, Ma," he added, "how long are you gonna be hanging around here?" 

 

"I'm keeping my own TIME," Anna informed her son archly. "I spent an hour in the kitchen when your wife was sleeping and I must have cooked thirty or forty of my casseroles. Your freezer is stuffed, your carpets are clean, which means I'm free to socialize with one old friend and get to know another one a little better." 

 

"Maaa..." Richard sighed, but smiled indulgently anyway - he wasn't the kid his mom had raised anymore, but she was still his mom. "She's spent the whole week at our place trying to behave, and I guess we've all been a little on edge. We...hey, whose apartment is this, anyway?" he asked the others suspiciously. "This can't be yours, because no version of Set wouldn't have a picture of himself around here somewhere." 

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"Bah, cooking, cleaning. No fit tasks for a matron," Sekhmet scoffed, giving Richard one of her many variations on a disapproving look. "The Clock Queen be a creature of action, that much tis clear enough." She still didn't think hanging out the betrayer's old partners in crime was wise but there was a principle of respect for an elder, accomplished warrior to be observed.

"Got the idea for the oil paintings from Amir, the treacherous good-for-nothing," Set recalled, pursing his lips. Typhoon might have been a backstabbing parasite of a man in the godling's book but he'd certainly had a flair for opulent decorating. "Truly, they were for the cultists more so than myself. ...more recently I may have sized some photographic self portraits for use as wallpapers for my followers on the Tumblrs. Tis merely good self branding!"

Looking about the apartment again, he coughed slightly and adopted a look of innocent contemplation. "Need it truly be someone's dwelling? Mayhaps tis a naturally occurring apartment, birthed spontaneously into the world!" Sekhmet met his supposition with a low growl emanating from deep in her chest. "Peace! I shall leave an appropriate sum as we depart. Tis akin to an unexpected, extremely brief subletting agreement, hm?"

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There was a rushing sound of air from the street outside, and then suddenly a black blur with green tracery rushed in from the balconey, and taking a half-lap on the far side of the room before resolving into a sleek form clad in a black bodysuit with green highlights which slowly faded from their previous glow. The figure was crouching down and apparently breathing heavily, before slowly standing up.

 

"Man, Dad, couldn't you call or something? Mom's on her way but she said you hadn't reported back! Oh, hey Gramma. And, uh..."

 

With a shake of his head, the young man (between his voice and the suit it was pretty clear this was a young man) seemed to will the glossy helmet around his head to retract, unveiling a head of messy brown hair and a fairly large domino mask covering his face. His arms crossed over his chest, one eyebrow raised, and his voice seemed a bit frostier.

 

"Gramma, who's the little dude you're leaning on there?"

 

By some strange miracle Will hadn't really noticed Sekhmet yet. Which was probably for the best if he wanted to give a good-ish-esque first impression.

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Richard pointed, only at a loss for words for a microsecond or two; nearly an eternity for someone as fast as him. "This is Set, evidently! You remember, the snake guy in my old pictures." 

 

"Hey, he didn't just do snakes, he..." Anna looked at Set and shrugged helplessly - while Set had turned into things besides snakes in the old days, he hadn't really partnered with Clock Queen enough for anything. "There was that greyhound-jackal...thing? I always thought you had a lot of commitment, sticking with the snake thing. But no more with the evil snake stuff!" she added to Will, returning her attention to the grandson she obviously doted on. "Now he's totally reformed, just like your old nana."

 

"And this is Sekhmet, who I guess is a cat-god. We haven't really been introduced," Richard added apologetically. "Nana just wanted to socialize with some old friends...you really should have left a note, Ma," he added more seriously. "You know how on edge we all are right now, and how crazy Freedom is." 

 

"All right, fine," Anna agreed reluctantly. "I'll leave a note next time I leave. Which is probably soon," she added seriously. Not liking the serious mood a bit, she said, "You know, Seky, my grandson here is really good with a sword! I tried to get him some discount Foundrybots to cut up, but evidently convicted felons aren't allowed to own weapons of mass destruction, thank you very much, Washington. You know where we can get any mummies on the cheap?" 

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"Not a flattering phase at all," Set sighed as snakes were inevitably brought up once more. He supposed he couldn't fault his elder self's ability to leave a lasting brand identity, eager though he was to shed it. "But aye! Tis in the past! Looking to the future, I see the Cline family good looks have bred strong and true!" With a winning smile and wink, he shot the youngest and so far unintroduced speedster a finger gun with his free hand. "As the Tumblr scribes pronounce it: oh no, he's hot!"

"I am an arbiter of ma'at," Sekhmet clarified in a reverberant tone, squaring her shoulders while a disk of sunlight appeared behind her head like a halo. "The arts of war and those of healing be my purview in equal measure, though I favour the former. The divine lioness be also within my aspect, aye, as too the sun as blessed Ra's Eye on the mortal plane." The sundisk faded away and she turned to Clock Queen specifically. "When last I viewed properly prepared mortal remains, Anna Cline, they were on display in thy city's museum. Distasteful, though less so than when foul sorcery made them as puppets."

"Heh," Set snorted in a lowered tone, "'Purr-view.'"

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"Barking up the wrong tree, Short Stop."

 

William sounded annoyed, but Set was probably good enough at reading people to know it wasn't because the young godling had flirted with him. Except maybe as the rider to "this guy is trying to make moves on my grandmother".

 

He couldn't help but look when Sekhmet activated that glowing disk of sunlight, and took several long moments to gather his wits afterwards.

 

"Uh. Nice to meet you. Uh, both of you, I guess. I'm William. Will. And yeah, I know a couple sword moves."

 

For a moment, he conjured a pair of glowing green blades, which in this case bore some resemblance to his grandmother's old clock-hand-style swords. They shattered into glowing green motes that he shook from his hands just a moment later, though. He spared Set a glance before giving Sekhmet a broad smile and a slight bow.

 

"Short Stop there can call me William. Or Thoughtspeed. You, Milady Sekhmet, can call me Will. Or the other two. Anyways, Gramma, I don't need mummies to practice on. They'd smell, anyways. I thought you said that an opponent who actually fought back was always better practice! But you've only sparred with me once this week!"

 

There wasn't a whine in his voice, but the boy did perhaps seem a bit hurt at the fact.

Edited by KnightDisciple

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Anna didn't seem too put off by her grandson's reluctance to do some high cultural vandalism. "So we would hire somebody magic to make the mummies come alive, and then you could be a big hero for putting them down-" 

 

"MA!" 

 

"Fine, fine." Anna gave Set a look that said You see what I have to put up with. "I promise, Willy, we'll do at least one more sparring session before I go, okay? You two boys don't need to stay around for little old me, anyway," she went on, reassuring her son and grandson. "I didn't put the costume on where anybody could see - and these two really are legit. Give your old ma some credit, I know how to take care of myself on the Internet." Suddenly the walking stick in her hand vaulted upward in an almost impossibly fast blur of motion and came apart, separating into a thin, razor-sharp rapier in one hand and blunt-edged, metal-tipped cane in the other. "C'mon, Sekhmet," she teased, "you ever fight a little old lady and her walker?" 

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"Oh, tis hardly a deal-breaker," Set assured Thoughtspeed with an understanding nod as Anna extricated herself from their linked arms to engage Sekhmet. The godling snapped his fingers and was immediately replaced with what was clearly a female version of the same being, shifting her weight to one side and placing a hand on one hip to accentuate hourglass curves and wearing one of the rattlesnake skin bustiers Clock Queen had described earlier.

She managed to hold the pose for a beat before dissolving into laughter. "Ra's buttocks, these truly were terrible," she decided, tugging on the top of the garment in an effort to make it more comfortable before snapping her fingers again and replacing it with cloth wrap that looped around her neck and left her back and stomach bare. "If any of those poor women are still about, I must send them a fruit basket or some such. We did stop those necromancers, though! Rousing heroics all around!"

Evidently unconcerned by the shapeshifter's antics, Sekhmet ignored Will's bow and instead gave Clock Queen a hesitant look. "Ah. Well. Anna Cline, I intend no disrespect, however..." The goddess looked about the room for an excuse, tapping her forefingers together with trepidation.

"Sekhmet only bares her claws for true combat," Set provided smoothly, pursing lips darkened to the same shape as the lines about her eyes and brushing brick red dreadlocks airily. "No sparring. Warrior goddess thing, you know, honor and... things. I wouldn't truly know."

Sekhmet paused briefly before nodding curtly. "Aye. Honor. I hope for thy understanding." She gave Anna a respectful nod and coughed slightly into her fist.

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Just then, there was a loud knocking on the front door of the penthouse, but Richard was already moving to answer it. Paige Cline was waiting outside, looking slightly winded and vaguely put out. Her outfit of faded blue jeans and an old Los Angeles Sparks t-shirt suggested someone who'd been anticipating an evening at home, not scouring the city for an errant mother-in-law. "Parking is terrible out there," she muttered to Richard, before turning her attention to the others in the room, especially the two young women. "I thought you said she was with Set. Didn't all his ladies wear the cobra corsets?" Before Richard could comment, she caught sight of Anna and her swords, and looked truly pained. "Mother Cline." 

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With a deep sigh, Anna started ostentatiously putting her swords back in the walking stick from which they had come, not doing more than exchanging a nod with her daughter-in-law. For his part, Richard said, "This is 21st Century Set. And the young lady here is Sekhmet, she's a cat god." He mentally added And sun god, and justice god, I don't know: are there really gods of more than one thing? Like Paige, Richard had never been to school; unlike her, he hadn't been educated about much of anything. "Evidently the whole snake thing is a thing of the past; I don't know. Set, Sekhmet, this is my wife, Paige Cline. Sekhmet's a big fan of the show!" I figure someone impersonating Set would probably hit the snake stuff up pretty hard, so maybe this is the real Set cut down to size somehow, and some kind of pocket cat-god? It's the ones from the Internet. 

 

"They and Ma were just socializing," he said, obviously not eager to come between his wife and his mother. "And she's just packing it in."

 

"Cover your ears, Willy." Clock Queen said with a gesture to her grandson. "The hell I am!" Anna added when it was done. "If I take off the costume and let you take the swords home, I'm not technically breaking parole as long as we don't go outside. Set here is a genuine superhero these days, and no mortal court ever convicted him of anything!" 

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Will preened just a bit at his grandmother's promise to spar with him, for all that this whole situation was making his brain start to hurt. 

 

Then Set was suddenly a girl. He blinked, tilted his head a bit, and raised an eyebrow...before shaking his head.

 

"Nope, sorry. Snake thing doesn't help, but nope."

 

'Seriously this guy, girl, god, goddess, whichever, was JUST flirting up Gramma. Just...yeargh.'

 

William tactfully kept such reactions to himself. He did narrow his eyes just a bit at the suggestion of "true combat" between his grandmother and Sekhmet, but relaxed when it was extremely clear no such fight would be happening. 

 

He seemed a bit relieved when his mother arrived. Though he winced a bit at the "Mother Cline" comment; William knew that tone all too well. 

 

He sighed as his grandmother ordered him about and continued to call him "Willy". But he did as she asked, even as he mentally remarked to his parents (and only them).

 

--I really wish she wouldn't call me that in front of strangers.--

 

He seemed blissfully unaware of the about-to-explode argument that was sure to happen. 

Edited by KnightDisciple

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