The Halloween disco at North Santa Monica High School was in full swing. Music blared over the speakers, courtesy of the reasonably-priced DJ, who was taking pleasure in managing to palm off his ever-unchanging library of 80s and 90s Halloween songs to yet another crowd of students who were too young to recognise most of what he was playing. As most of the students danced the night away, some better than others, a figure in chrome-plated Stormtrooper armour made their way past the fringes of the dancefloor, taking care to make sure no-one stepped foot on their cloak. Eventually, they found what they were looking for: a girl with long, blonde hair, who was tucked away in the corner of the room, dressed in a witch’s outfit, and typing something on her phone.
“Soldier!” came the Stormtrooper’s voice. “I haven’t seen you dance once tonight. I order you to put that thing down and join me on the dancefloor.”
The witch looked across to the Stormtrooper, took a moment to look it up and down, and then smirked. “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?” she asked.
“Short?!” came the reply, “I’m 5’9”, you know! That’s taller than most of the soccer team, at least.”
“Yeah, but Captain Phasma’s supposed to be what, six-two, six-three? Compared to her, you’re still a midget, Kate.”
“Ah, well. I’ll let you know when I find a Stormtrooper costume that has heels.”
With that, the Stormtrooper removed its helmet, revealing the smiling face of a young woman with red, chin-length hair. She’d intended to spend as much of the night as possible in full costume, but she didn’t mind revealing her identity to the girl in front of her. For as long as they had known each other, Kate Zuel and Cassandra Sandsmark had been outsiders to the various cliques within the school, but this had only strengthened their friendship.
“I really like your costume, Cass.” Kate said. “Shows off your legs.”
“Thanks!” Cassandra replied. “Though I wasn’t really trying to get noticed. I, well, kinda picked it to annoy my aunt and uncle. See if they’d lecture me about disrespecting their Wiccan beliefs.”
“Oh, no!” Kate laughed. “How did they react?”
“They didn’t.” came Cassandra’s reply. “They went out before I had time to get changed into this. I’d forgotten that today was their wedding anniversary, so… yeah, they had plans.”
“They got married on Halloween?” Kate asked, with surprise. “I mean, I guess that’s one way to dodge the trick-or-treaters, but still…”
“Yeah. Well, whatever, they can have tonight to themselves. I’ll just try to be quiet when I go back home, I guess…” Cassandra started to say.
“Hey, hey. Listen, why don’t you come back to my place tonight? Let your aunt and uncle enjoy themselves in private.” Kate said, reaching out and taking Cassandra’s hand.
“Really? We’ve known each other for two years, and you’ve never invited me round to your home before.” Cassandra replied, raising an eyebrow.
“Well, it’s a few miles outside the city, remember? Not very easy to get to without a lift. But mom’s given me the money for a cab, and I’m sure she’d drop you off back home in the morning.” replied Kate.
Cassandra shrugged, and then smiled. “Okay, why the hell not? I could use a change of scenery!”
“That’s more like it!” added Kate, before gesturing towards the dancefloor. “Now come on, I’m gonna get you to dance at least once tonight!”
For a moment, Cassandra grimaced. “You sure about that? I mean, knowing our luck, people are gonna be spreading rumours about how I’m sleeping with Ms. Zuel’s daughter to get better English grades.”
“You know what this place is like. Chances are someone’s saying that already. Besides, if it’s between that and people reminding me of what my dad did for the twelve-thousandth time, well…” Kate said, before glancing down at the floor.
“Hey, hey. Anyone starts with that bullshit again, just tell me.” Cassandra said, reassuringly, as she took Kate’s hand. “I’ll give them a first-hand demonstration of my judo skills.”
“Didn’t you get in trouble for that just after we first met?” Kate asked, as she tilted her head. “You kicked Jack Todd’s ass after he mouthed off at me?”
Cassandra smirked. “Mmm, not exactly. I’d only just started learning judo, I didn’t know enough to pin someone back then. So I just kicked him in the balls instead. Got a week’s detention, but it was totally worth it.”
“Damn!” laughed Kate. “And you wonder why mom thinks you might be a bad influence on me?”
“Eh, she’s still the coolest teacher here. I’ll forgive her for that.” Cassandra said. “Now, the question is, do you really think you can dance in that armor?”
Kate laughed again. “Are you kidding? I’m a crappy dancer at the best of times. But at least this way, I’ll have an excuse for why my dancing looks so terrible.”
“Well, in that case, please lead the way, soldier.” Cassandra said, with a slight giggle.
Kate smiled, then replaced her helmet. “Yes, ma’am!” she said.
The remainder of the disco was relatively uneventful for Kate and Cassandra, outside of one or two snarky remarks that were really the sort of thing both had gotten used to dealing with by now. Plus, they could at least take pleasure in watching at least a half-dozen of their classmates get busted for possession of weed, booze or both over the course of the night. Eventually, the event came to a close, and both girls were soon sat in the back of a taxi, heading up the Pacific Coast Highway.
“You know, I think I’ve seen this road before, on Grand Theft Auto V. Gotta say, it looks better in the game. Less cluttered.” Cassandra said, as she looked out the window.
“Probably more cops around as well. Less need for super-beings to keep order.” Kate added.
Soon, the taxi pulled up outside a large, angular house a couple of miles outside of the city limits. Cassandra looked up at the house in shock as she got out of the taxi, completely taken aback by the scale of the building. On top of that, even with the sun having set, she could hear the gentle sounds of the ocean coming from behind the house. All this time, Kate had been living in a massive oceanfront house, and she’d never told Cassandra the details. At least, nothing beyond her house being “kinda big.”
“Holy crap, this place is huge!” Cassandra called out. “How the hell much does your mom earn, anyway?”
“Not enough to afford a place like this, that’s for sure.” Kate replied, as she handed payment over to the cab driver. “It’s really Nancy’s home. She got it just before she met mom.”
“Oh, right, now I remember. She has rich parents, doesn’t she?” Cassandra said, as the two walked towards the front door.
“That’s right. Truth be told, they don’t speak very often, but they make sure Nancy doesn’t want for anything.” Kate responded, as she reached for her keys. The actual truth was a different matter entirely – Nancy’s house had been furnished upon her by none other than the Justice League of America – but she reasoned there was no need to let Cassandra in on the full details just yet. After unlocking the front door, the two girls walked into the entrance lobby, where Kate deactivated the burglar alarm.
“Guess mom and Nancy got a last-minute party invite or something.” she said, before turning on the lights. “Oh well, means we can raid the fridge without having to worry about being caught.”
Cassandra took a few moments to take in the scale of the house she was stood in, then spotted something out of the back window. “You’ve got a swimming pool as well? I am SO jealous!” she yelled.
“Yeah, it’s a really nice place to live in, no question.” Kate said, as she tossed her Stormtrooper helmet aside and began removing her gloves. “Though it’s a little… isolated. It’s why I prefer hanging around at your place, to be honest, it’s actually in the middle of civilisation.”
“Point taken, but still… one of us needs to get a driving licence and car ASAP, then I can start visiting here more often. And since your mom can probably buy you a nicer car – scratch that, she’d probably buy you a car, period – I volunteer that you do it.” Cassandra replied.
“I was actually thinking of learning how to ride a motorcycle. But yeah, fair point. Listen, I’m just gonna change into something less bulky. You make yourself at home, get something to drink if you like.” Kate said, before ascending the stairs up to her bedroom.
“Sure, I can do that! See you in a minute.” Cassandra called out, before wandering into the living room. Even the living room of this house was probably larger than her aunt and uncle’s house in its entirety. Large, ceiling-height windows opened out onto the swimming pool she had seen earlier, next to which were a table and chairs. An ornate grand piano sat in one corner of the living room, with a huge TV set dominating another corner, and a bookcase and desk taking up another. It looked like the sort of room Cassandra might have built on The Sims with an infinite money cheat. Still, she wasn’t going to begrudge Kate for living in a place like this. Just so long as she got to share the benefits a little more often.
Cassandra then walked through to the kitchen, which she immediately noticed was dominated by several large Wayne Enterprises appliances, almost to the point where it looked like some sort of electrical showroom. Aside from that, it was immaculately clean and well-organised, though that made sense; Cassandra remembered Kate saying that Nancy was a food blogger or something similar. There was only one thing that Cassandra was interested in, however. She made her way over to the fridge, and opened it up to reveal several bottles of wine stashed away in the door compartment.
“Jackpot!” she thought to herself.
After quickly checking over the bottles, she picked up a bottle of white wine that was already open, then took a glass from a nearby cupboard and filled it most of the way. If she was going to have a Halloween treat tonight, this was it.
Strolling back through to the living room, Cassandra sipped from the glass, enjoying the taste of the liquid inside. It was tangy and fruity, but with a definite sharp zing to it. She then made her way over to a sideboard, on top of which a collection of framed photographs sat. Her attention was immediately drawn to one near the middle of the collection, which she picked up and studied closer. Standing against the backdrop of a city skyline – Metropolis, by the looks of it – was Kate, looking a couple of years younger than she did now; the photograph was probably from around the first time that she and Cassandra first met. Stood with Kate was a woman with the same shade of crimson-red hair, though it was somewhat longer, and the woman had green eyes instead of Kate’s blue eyes. In turn, she had her arm around another woman, with shorter, brown hair. Cassandra immediately recognised them both, one of them as the woman who taught her English, and the other of whom she usually saw dropping Kate off at soccer practice.
“Nice family shot, huh?” came Kate’s voice.
Cassandra looked up and saw Kate, who was now stood next to her, and wearing a t-shirt and long pajama bottoms.
“Yeah, it is. Where were you, in Metropolis?” asked Cassandra.
“Yep, my aunt and her family live there.” Kate replied. “That was from two summers ago.”
As Cassandra placed the photograph down, another one caught her eye. This one showed Ms. Zuel and Nancy wearing swimsuits and sat by the edge of their swimming pool, framed by the setting sun, with their lips locked in a kiss.
“You know, I’ve never been big on romance. But even I have to admit, your mom and Nancy make a cute couple.” Cassandra added, as she indicated the photograph.
“Oh, that’s one of their favorites!” Kate enthused. “They’d only been dating for a couple of weeks back then, and we’d just bought this waterproof camera. I was screwing around with it in the pool, and just by chance, I ended up getting that photo. Nancy really liked it, insisted that we had it framed.”
“I can see why. It’s a nice photo.” commented Cassandra.
“Well, more than that. You see, her relationship with mom was the first time she’d tried dating another woman. In the early days, she was still a bit nervous about whether things would work out. But whenever she looked at that picture, it reminded her that she and mom were meant to be together.”
“That’s nice. I’m glad your parents found each other.” Cassandra said, before taking another sip of her drink, and looking off to the side. “And I’m glad you found your mom, even if it took 13 years.”
“Yeah. Though knowing what sort of life she’d had if she hadn’t taken the deal from my father, I can’t really begrudge her for…” Kate began to say, before trailing off. “Oh, god, Cass, sorry. It’s been two years now, hasn’t it?”
“It was two years ago on Wednesday. I didn’t want to make a fuss about it. Besides, mom’s not gone forever, she’s just… missing.” Cassandra said, softly, before gulping down what was left of her drink.
“Of course she is. And I’m sure you won’t have to wait anywhere near as long as I did before you meet her again.” Kate said, taking Cassandra’s free hand.
“Yeah, sure. It just… hurts, I guess. I dunno.” Cassandra mumbled.
“She’ll be back. Sooner or later, you’ll see her again. I know you will.”
Cassandra pondered Kate’s words for a few moments, before squeezing her hand. “Thanks, Kate. I think I need some more wine, though.” she said, before walking back towards the kitchen.
“Uh, Cass, did you find that wine in the fridge door?” Kate asked, as she followed Cassandra.
“Yep! Why, do your parents have some harder stuff stashed away?” Cassandra asked, setting her glass down on the kitchen island.
“Kinda the opposite, actually. That was cooking wine you just drank.” Kate said, stifling a giggle. “Non-alcoholic cooking wine, to be exact.”
“What?! Who the hell makes wine with no alcohol?” Cassandra asked, incredulously.
“Alcohol boils away when you heat it up, so that stuff’s just to add flavor.” Kate explained. “Truth be told, we don’t keep anything alcoholic in the house at all. Well… except for today…”
With that, Kate reached into the pocket of her pajama bottoms and produced a small bottle, filled with a clear liquid.
Cassandra’s eyes widened. “Where the hell did you get THAT?” she asked.
“Back at the disco. Sonya Bridges smuggled two little bottles of vodka in, and someone ratted her out. My Stormtrooper outfit was a handy place to stash the bottles in before she could get caught. But I ‘persuaded’ her that letting me keep one bottle was a fair price to pay for avoiding an after-school detention.”
“Wow!” Cassandra laughed. “Kate Zuel, you continue to surprise me.”
“I try my best. Now, wanna try spicing up the wine?”
Kate poured a small measure of vodka into the bottom of Cassandra’s glass, and then Cassandra filled the glass the rest of the way with wine.
“Well, bottoms up!” Cassandra said, before raising the glass to her lips and gulping down a mouthful of whatever drink they had just invented.
“How is it?” Kate asked, pensively.
Cassandra winced, and tried not to laugh, as she swallowed the liquid in her mouth. “Awful!” she giggled, as she lowered the glass from her lips. “It tasted WAY better without the vodka.”
“Aw, crap. Guess I’d better try it, huh?” Kate said, wryly, as Cassandra passed her the glass. She then swallowed a good portion of the remaining liquid, before coughing and spluttering as she set it down on the kitchen island. “Yeah, I see what you mean. Either way, we’d better get rid of this bottle quickly as we can. Mom and Nancy would hit the roof if they found us with booze.”
Cassandra took the glass, downed the rest of the questionable-tasting liquid inside, then placed it back on the counter. “Well, we’ll have to find something nicer to mix it with.” she said.
“Let’s keep it simple, shall we? We’ll just add some cola.” Kate said, as she took a bottle of cola out of the cupboard. “Grab a couple of big glasses out of that cupboard, we’ll get rid of as much of this stuff as we can in one shot.”
Cassandra set down a couple of large glasses, then divided the remaining vodka between them, before Kate filled them with cola and slipped the now-empty vodka bottle back in her pocket.
“Well, here’s to… a happy Halloween, I guess?” Kate said, as she raised her glass.
“Works for me!” Cassandra said, as she touched glasses with Kate.
The two girls then drank a mouthful each of their drinks, before making their way through to the living, sitting down in front of the TV, and starting to surf through the channels.
“Hey, Cass, thank you. For being friends.” Kate said, as she set her glass down on the table in front of the couch and put an arm around Cassandra’s shoulder.
“I should be thanking you, I guess.” Cassandra replied, putting her own free arm around Kate. “I mean, you’re the only person at school who’s ever really wanted to know me.”
“That’s not true! It might not seem like it, but the other girls on the soccer team do like you. For the most part.”
“Yeah, but only because they know not to piss me off.”
“Well, whatever the case may be, I’m really glad to have you as my friend, Cass.”
“Yeah, me too, Kate.”
“Katrina. Katrina, wake up, darling!”
Kate stirred. Had she fallen asleep on the couch? Where was Cassandra? Wearily, she opened her eyes, and was quickly overwhelmed by the light coming through the windows. As the light slowly died down, Kate found herself looking up at a man with greying-blonde hair and glasses, dressed in a smart suit. After a moment or two of confusion, Kate felt completely shocked and mortified.
“Dad?!” she cried out.
The man in front of her smiled. “I told you I’d come back for you someday, didn’t I?”
“But… but… you should be in prison for another fifteen years!” Kate yelled.
“I got the rest of my sentence commuted for good behaviour.” came the reply. “You know, Doris and her partner have done a good job of raising you. But now it’s time for you to come home.”
“Home?! This is my home! Mom and Nancy are my parents, you and that… that bitch you’re married to, you’re nothing to me!” Kate yelled, as she stumbled to her feet. “Besides, I’m 18 now, you can’t make me do jack!”
“Katrina, please don’t make this difficult, if you’d just—”
Suddenly, an almighty roar came from outside the house. “GET AWAY FROM HER, ASSHOLE!”
“…Doris?” the man whispered, suddenly turning white as a sheet.
The ground shook, nearly knocking the man off his feet, and moments later the living room wall cracked, then crumbled, as a gargantuan pair of hands tore through the structure, sending bits of wood, plaster and concrete crashing to the floor. With an almighty heave, the hands tore down the rest of the wall, revealing the enormous form of Kate’s mother, towering over the house and looking supremely pissed off. She was dressed in the outfit she usually wore while teaching, a long-sleeved blouse and tan-colored pants… wait, that didn’t seem right, somehow.
“I told you not to ever go near Kate again. But you just wouldn’t listen, would you?” Doris snarled.
“Doris, darling, please, remember our agreement. You provide me with a daughter, and in return I—”
“I don’t care what we agreed! You gave up your right to have anything to do with Kate the moment you were arrested.” Doris said, as she started reaching towards him.
“Katrina, please! Help me, tell your mother to—” he said, with a pleading expression.
Kate stared flatly at the man. “I’m not called Katrina any more.” came the response. “My name’s Kate.”
Before he could respond, Kate’s father found himself in the grip of Doris’s enormous hand, her fingers pressing hard into his chest, leaving him barely able to breathe.
“It’s really a shame, isn’t it?” Doris said, as she raised him up to her eye level. “You got freed for good behavior, and your first action was to seek out and attempt to kill your only daughter for ratting you out. Thus leaving me with no choice but to eliminate you.”
“That’s not true! You know it isn’t!”
“Maybe. But who’s going to know? You won’t be in any position to give your side of the story.” Doris said, as she dangled him upside down.
“Mom, wait!” Kate suddenly called out. “I… I don’t want him killed. No matter what he’s done.”
Doris looked down at her daughter and smirked. “Hmph. I guess you really do take after your stepmother after all. Besides, you must know none of this is real. What does it matter if I chew up your father like a piece of beef jerky?”
“Yeah, I’d worked out this was a dream, but still…”
“Urgh, you’re no fun. Very well, then. Nancy!”
With that, the equally-gigantic form of Doris’s partner of five years, Nancy, strode into view. And she was… dressed like a cheerleader? The hell?
“Nancy, we’d better send him back to prison. The prisoner transport, if you please?”
Nancy smiled. “With pleasure.” she said, before taking out a gigantic piece of paper, and folding it into an aeroplane shape.
“Okay, now this is just getting weird.” Kate thought to herself.
As Nancy finished the plane, Doris seated the tiny figure she was holding in the middle. “Next stop, Alcatraz!” she said.
“Bon voyage!” added Nancy, who then gave the plane her strongest throw. Moments later, the plane disappeared over the horizon.
“Excellent throw, my darling!” Doris said, embracing Nancy.
“Thanks!” Nancy giggled, as Doris slowly ran her hands up her partner’s shapely thigh, and then began kissing her.
“Hey, you two, what are we going to do about this hole in the wall?” Kate called out to her parents.
“Oh, forget about that, Kate. Tell you what, why don’t you get big and we’ll have a walk down the shore. Just the three of us.”
“Umm, aren’t you forgetting something, mom? You got your powers when I was 12 years old, I didn’t inherit them! I don’t have any more special powers than the average joe.”
“Sure you do! Like mother, like daughter, as the saying goes. Just close your eyes and focus on getting big!”
“Well… alright, but I’m telling you, this isn’t going to work!”
With that, Kate closed her eyes, imagined herself getting bigger, stronger… and then suddenly felt dizzy as her head rushed upwards, before breaking through the ceiling. Moments later, the whole building collapsed around her, leaving her looking very much embarrassed – though still fully-clothed, mercifully – among the ruins of her home.
“Oops, sorry.” she said, with an awkward grin on her face. At least she’d managed to stop growing at the same height as Doris and Nancy.
“Ah, don’t sweat it. I was thinking of having the place remodelled anyways.” Nancy said, taking Kate’s hand.
“Now, let’s have that walk, shall we?” Doris added, as she took Kate’s other hand, and the three giantesses started walking down the coastline, towards central Los Angeles, leaving enormous footprints in the sand behind them.
Kate enjoyed the feeling of pressing her feet down into the sand, the grains seemingly impossibly fine as they brushed up against her massive feet. She likely wouldn’t ever be able to experience anything like this in real life. But it was going be a nice dream while it lasted.
“You know, some day, I’d like to join you both, help you save the world, even if I don’t have any actual powers. Think Bruce might be in the market for a new Batgirl anytime soon?” she asked.
“I think he’s happy with the one he’s got.” Nancy chuckled. “But if a vacancy opens up, I’ll let you know.”
“Really? You’d both really be okay with me joining the Justice League someday?” Kate asked, hopefully.
“I’d be okay with it, sure!” Doris replied, putting an arm around Kate’s waist. “But your actual mom and stepmom? Somehow I don’t think they’d be so enthusiastic.”
“Yeah. You’re probably right.” Kate sighed.
With that, Kate looked over the shoreline, enjoying the cool, gentle breeze on her face, and taking in the views of Los Angeles from her current, enormous height. In all, Kate didn’t really have too much to complain about in her life. But despite all that, deep down she felt the slightest tinge of sadness, knowing that she’d never experience the world in quite the same way that her parents were able to. This was probably as close as she was ever going to get to it, but she was going to enjoy it while it lasted. And maybe someday it could be more than a fantasy… no. She wasn’t going to get her hopes up.
“Well, a girl can dream, right?” she thought to herself.
A piercing sound suddenly brought Kate back into the waking world. She looked up in confusion, and saw her phone’s alarm going off. After a moment of wondering why she’d bothered setting it on a Saturday morning when she didn’t have soccer practice, she turned the alarm off, and silence was restored.
As her mental faculties gradually returned, Kate briefly wondered if she was experiencing her first hangover, but quickly realised this was no worse than the usual grogginess she experienced on a weekend morning. With a yawn, Kate stretched her arms, only to unwittingly press her left arm up against a figure that was sharing her bed. Startled, she looked across to see none other than Cassandra, sleeping blissfully next to her.
For a brief, dreadful moment, Kate wondered with some alarm if they had done more than share a bed last night. But she quickly realised that she was still wearing her pajamas, and Cassandra was wearing a t-shirt. Unless they’d gotten dressed again right before going to sleep, their night together had been entirely innocent.
“Ohh… is it time to get up already?” Cassandra mumbled.
“Well, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” Kate replied. “But I could use some breakfast.”
“Me too. Say, mind if I borrow some pants?”
“Sure, no problem. Top drawer, in that set of dressers.”
With a yawn, Cassandra got out of bed and made her way towards the drawer that Kate was indicating. As Kate slowly forced herself to her feet and stretched, Cassandra opened the drawer, and reacted with surprise.
“Uh, Kate, just for future reference… you’ve got the vodka bottle stashed in here. Just so you know to get rid of it.” she said.
“That… would probably be a good idea.” Kate replied in-between yawns. “I’ll just head downstairs, see if Nancy left us anything in the fridge.”
As Kate left her bedroom, she heard a couple of female voices coming from downstairs. Her parents were evidently back home, which, if nothing else, would save her the trouble of preparing breakfast herself. Gradually, Kate descended the stairs into the entrance hall, then walked through to the front room. Sure enough, Doris and Nancy were sat at the table next to the windows, each with a cup of black coffee in front of them. But what Kate definitely hadn’t expected was how they were dressed.
“Oh, morning, Kate!” Nancy called out, cheerfully.
“Did you have a good time at the disco last night?” Doris asked.
“Yeah… yeah, definitely.” Kate replied, with a slightly anxious tone. “Umm… why are you both in your outfits?”
While the world at large knew Nancy Fowler and Doris Zuel as a food blogger and high school English teacher respectively, they had alternate, secret identities. Nancy was secretly the Fifty Foot Woman, and Doris was Giganta, both members of the Justice League of America, with the ability to expand their bodies to gigantic sizes. And right now, both were wearing the special size-changing outfits that they had been furnished with by the League. Both women had crop tops – Nancy’s in blue and red, Doris’s in yellow – while Nancy’s outfit had a short skirt, and Doris’s a pair of shorts. Nancy also wore a mask as part of her outfit, but right now, it was sat on the table in front of her.
“You wouldn’t believe the night we had, Kate.” Nancy sighed. “We were gonna just settle down, watch a movie or two together, and then we got called out to an emergency.”
“Poison Ivy.” Doris added. “She showed up in Long Beach, with a few man-eating vines in tow. Seems that she has some objections towards Halloween, specifically the act of breeding and mutilating innocent pumpkins. Though personally, I think she was just using it as an excuse to wreck some shit.”
“Well, whatever the case, we had to get down there as quickly as we could, and deal with her. Fortunately, we managed to stop her before the vines had a chance to digest any of their victims.” Nancy continued. “Right now, Ivy’s on her way back to Arkham Asylum, and I wouldn’t place odds on her getting released anytime soon.”
“But if you know anyone who needs a couple tonnes of compost, tell them to write to the Justice League!” Doris laughed, before reaching across the table and taking Nancy’s hand. “You know, we should work together at night more often. You look very… sultry when you’re lit from below.”
“Aw, thanks!” Nancy giggled, placing her other hand on top of Doris’s.
“Well, I’m, uh, glad everyone’s okay.” Kate said. “But we’ve got kind of a problem now. See, I didn’t come home from the disco alone last night. I bought Cassandra back with me.”
“You did? That’s great! I’ve been trying to get you to bring friends back here for god knows how long.” Doris replied, not seeming to grasp the issue that Kate had immediately identified.
“Yeah. One big reason why I’ve never actually done that, though. The fact that my mom and stepmom happen to be superheroines, and Cass might see you in costume. You know… like you both are RIGHT NOW!” Kate yelled.
“Big deal.” Doris replied, with a shrug. “It’s the night after Halloween, we’ll just tell her we went to a Justice League-themed party last night.”
“Moooom!” Kate whined.
“Tell you what.” Nancy said, as she stood up from the table, picking up her mask as she did so. “We’ll go through to the kitchen, start working on breakfast, and change into something more respectable. You keep Cassandra in here; we’ll call you through when we’re ready.”
“This is why I let her take the lead whenever we’re in costume.” Doris added, getting to her feet.
“Of course! I’m not just a pretty face, you know.” Nancy responded, with a smile.
“Oh, you’ve got plenty of other nice aspects.” Doris replied, before patting Nancy on her backside.
“Not in front of your daughter!” Nancy laughed, as the two walked into the kitchen.
Kate felt momentarily relieved. Now all that she had to do was keep Cassandra in the living room. Even she couldn’t screw that up.
“Hey, Kate. Where are your parents?” came Cassandra’s voice, as she slowly walked into the living room, still looking visibly groggy.
“They’re just working on breakfast. Nancy’s a bit of a diva in the kitchen, though, so we have to wait in here until they finish.”
In the kitchen, Nancy cracked some eggs into a bowl and started beating them, while Doris pressed her hand into a rectangular area etched into the far wall of the kitchen. Moments later, part of the wall lifted up to reveal a small chamber; inside it, a shelf contained two sets of t-shirts and shorts, and next to the shelf was a pair of transport tubes. As Doris began unzipping the front of her costume’s top section, a set of storage modules arrived in each of the transport tubes and opened up.
Meanwhile, Nancy poured the contents of the bowl into a frying pan, while also putting some sausages and strips of bacon on the grill. After taking a few moments to make sure the food was cooking properly, Nancy quickly looked over her shoulder, just in time to see Doris dropping the shorts from her uniform, leaving her quite naked.
Nancy couldn’t help but giggle to herself. Five years into their relationship, and she still couldn’t stop acting like a horny teenager whenever she saw her partner in a state of undress… and considering that neither of them was fully immune to experiencing sudden growth spurts and ripping out of their clothes, that tended to happen more often than usual for most couples.
Doris overheard Nancy’s giggling, and looked over her own shoulder. “Shouldn’t you be keeping an eye on breakfast?” she asked, with a smile.
“Well, be fair. I didn’t get to see you undressed last night.” Nancy replied, batting her eyelids as she did so.
“Fair point.” Doris replied, before giving Nancy a little twirl, and letting her see everything. “Better?” she asked.
“Much!” Nancy replied, before quickly turning to check the food she was cooking.
Doris quickly slipped into one of the sets of clothing in the alcove, placed her Justice League outfit in the transportation device, and then joined Nancy at the stove.
“Go on, you get changed. I’ll keep an eye on this.” she whispered.
“Thanks, babe!” Nancy replied, before giving Doris a little kiss on the cheek, and making her own way over to the alcove. She slipped out of her boots, unzipped and removed her top, but before she lowered her skirt, she peeked over her shoulder to see a smirking Doris looking back at her.
Nancy didn’t even need to ask. “Oh, alright then!” she replied, in mock annoyance.
With that, she slowly began to lower her skirt, revealing her shapely behind. She may have occasionally taken some crap from the other moms at Kate’s school for not being a size zero, but she wasn’t going to lose any sleep over being a dress size or so larger than them. Besides, Doris liked her figure exactly the way it was, and that was good enough for her.
“Seen everything you want to?” Nancy asked.
“Yeah. Save the rest for tonight. I always like to have something to like forward to!” purred Doris.
“Me too!” Nancy replied, as she placed her outfit into the other transport tube, and then slipped into the remaining set of clothing. With that, she pushed down on the same area of the wall that Doris had pressed earlier, after which the two modules containing their outfits disappeared into the transport tubes, ready to be deployed to any of the similar receptacles elsewhere in the house, and the alcove closed, leaving a normal-looking wall.
“I’ll let you take over here.” Doris said, as Nancy returned to the stove.
“Thanks, babe. Could you just grab me some maple syrup? Should be in that cupboard over there.” Nancy asked.
Doris nodded, then went over to the cupboard Nancy was indicating. On opening it, however, she couldn’t find the bottle Nancy was asking for.
“Nancy, I don’t see any maple syrup. You sure we’ve actually got any?” she asked.
“Pretty sure. It might have gotten pushed to the back.” Nancy replied.
“Let’s have a look…” replied Doris.
Doris closed her eyes, clenched her fists, and willed her body to grow. Moments later, she began creeping upwards, her t-shirt and shorts tightening around her expanding body.
Nancy happened to glance up from the stove, to see her partner inching upwards, her lower back slowly being exposed as her t-shirt rose up her waistline, and the leggings of her shorts likewise getting higher, revealing more and more of her thighs. Nancy grinned deliriously for a moment, before remembering she needed to keep at least one eye on the food.
“Ah, now I see it. Top shelf, at the very back. Kate probably threw it up there without thinking.” Doris said casually, as she took the bottle out of the cupboard.
“You, uh… you could have just used the stepladder.” Nancy mumbled, with a slight chuckle.
“Maybe.” Doris said, as she walked across to Nancy, still well over a foot taller than her partner. “But where would the fun be in that?” she asked, as she put an arm around Nancy’s shoulder.
Nancy felt her heart pounding. And in that moment, she could feel her shorts and panties growing just that little bit tighter around her hips, and her already ample chest starting to fill out even further, straining the fabric of her t-shirt. It had only been a few hours since she was a giantess, but right now all that she could think about was growing big together with Doris, and…
No. Nancy’s control over her powers had never been quite as good as her partner’s, but over time she had gotten to grips with them. She took a deep breath, and as she willed it, her body quickly returned to its original proportions. Nancy wasn’t sure whether Doris had noticed the miniscule growth spurt, but it didn’t really matter.
“I’m, uh, nearly finished here.” Nancy said. “Why don’t you call the girls in… after you’ve made yourself normal size, of course.”
“My pleasure.” Doris replied.
With that, Doris closed her eyes, and quickly shrank down to her normal stature. After quickly taking a moment to adjust her shorts, she walked over to the kitchen door.
“Hey, girls, breakfast’s nearly up!” Doris called out.
A few moments later, Kate and Cassandra walked into the kitchen together.
“Smells amazing!” Kate said, catching the inviting aromas coming from Nancy’s cooking.
“No argument there.” Cassandra added, before catching the unusual sight of her English teacher stood next to the fridge in a t-shirt and shorts, pouring herself a glass of orange juice.
“Um, morning, Ms. Zuel.” Cassandra mumbled, awkwardly.
“Good morning, Cassandra.” Doris replied in a formal tone, before laughing, “We’re not in the classroom right now, I don’t mind if you call me Doris.”
“Thanks… but I think it’d be safer if I carried on calling you Ms. Zuel for now. I don’t wanna screw up and call you ‘Doris’ in class.” Cassandra replied.
“Fair enough. You’ve met Nancy before, haven’t you?” asked Doris.
“Yeah, we’ve spoken once or twice when she’s dropped Kate off at soccer practice. Guess I know her more by reputation though – Kate’s always going on about how great her stepmom’s cooking is.”
“Stepmom?” Nancy asked, as she finished plating the food. “You do know that Doris and I aren’t married, right?”
“Yeah, but ‘stepmom’ just sounds better than ‘mom’s girlfriend,’ you know.” Kate replied, with a smirk.
Nancy smiled back at Kate, knowing full well what she was trying to imply. Even though Nancy knew better than most people that you didn’t need to be married to be happy, she wasn’t above fantasising about walking down the aisle a second time.
“Well, whatever you want to call me, right now I’m the person who’s just cooked you breakfast. So, eat up!” Nancy said, as she carried the plates over to the kitchen island.
“Thanks a lot, babe.” Doris said, giving Nancy a little kiss on the cheek. “This looks incredible.”
“Oh, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.” Nancy replied. “Just a whole lot of grilled stuff, with a side of scrambled egg.”
“Certainly out of the ordinary for me!” Cassandra said, as she sat down at the other side of the island. “Usually I get any breakfast I want, so long as it’s raisin bran.”
“Well, then, enjoy! And savor it!” Kate said, sitting down next to Cassandra.
As the four began eating their breakfast, Doris looked up. “I take it you’ll need a ride home, Cassandra?” she asked. “Not that you have to go right now, of course. You can stay here for as long as you’d like.”
Cassandra took a moment to peek over her shoulder, at the expansive swimming pool that could be glimpsed through the kitchen window. The thought of spending the day here was certainly tempting… but she could do that some other time. Today, she had something else in mind.
“Yeah, if that’s not too much trouble, thanks.” she replied. “Though it’d actually help if you could drop me off at the bus station, that way I can catch a bus to the UCLA campus.”
“UCLA?” Doris asked, intrigued. “That’s my old college, I wouldn’t mind taking you there myself… so long as you’ve got a good reason for wanting to go there.”
“Great! And trust me, I do have a good reason. Now that I’m 18, I can access the Sandsmark Collection.”
“The what?” asked Kate.
“The Sandsmark Collection. They keep it at UCLA’s archaeology faculty, it’s a big collection of just about everything my mother and grandfather discovered during their archaeology careers.” Cassandra explained.
Doris smiled sympathetically. She didn’t usually go too far out of her way to do favors for people, at least not in her civilian identity, but family had always held a special level of importance to her.
“In that case, I’d be happy to take you. Kate, do you fancy coming along for the ride?” she asked.
“Yeah, sure!” Kate replied, enthusiastically. She didn’t know the first thing about archaeology, but Cassandra always somehow managed to make it sound interesting.
“I’ll have to sit this one out, I’m afraid.” Nancy added. “I’ve got two articles that need writing up on my blog.” She also needed to file an incident report with the Justice League about their encounter with Poison Ivy the previous night, but Cassandra didn’t need to know that.
“Okay, then! Looks like it’s just the three of us.” Doris said, before returning to her breakfast.
It was late morning by the time Doris, Kate and Cassandra arrived at the UCLA campus. Kate had already visited it a couple of times, mostly to see her mother’s old stomping grounds – before the days when she literally had the ability to stomp on people and vehicles, that is – but it was Cassandra’s first time on the campus.
“Just think, Kate!” she said, as the trio walked towards the archaeology faculty. “This time next year, you and I could be here, sleeping off the campus Halloween party!”
“In that case, you’re the one responsible for getting us home. Seeing how I did it this year.” Kate replied.
Before long, the trio arrived at the main faculty building, and made their way towards the front desk, where a burly security guard was on duty.
“Can I help you, ladies?” asked the guard.
“Well, you’re up, Cassandra.” Doris whispered.
Cassandra hesitated for a moment, then stepped forwards. “My name’s Cassandra Sandsmark. I’m here to, uh, view the Sandsmark collection.”
“Cassandra Sandsmark… let’s see…” the guard replied, as he checked his computer. “Well, looks like your mother already did the necessary work two years ago.”
“Did she? That’s… that’s really great…” Cassandra replied, trying to hide the tinge of sadness in her voice.
“But you’re only allowed one guest. That means one of these ladies is going to have to stay out here.” added the guard.
“In that case, Kate, you can join Cassandra.” Doris said, putting a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “I’ll go visit some of my old friends in the humanities department, and then I’ll come back here and wait for you.” She then leaned in closer and whispered “Besides… I think Cassandra could use your company more than mine.”
Kate momentarily glanced at Cassandra. The two had only known each other for two years, but she could still tell when Cassandra was putting on a brave face. And right now, she was clearly being torn up by the prospect of looking at the various treasures that her mother had collected over the years.
“Yeah, mom’s right. I’ll come with you, Cass.” Kate said.
Cassandra took Kate’s hand a smile. “Thanks, Kate.” she said, softly.
The guard led the two girls into the faculty building’s basement, which contained a series of rooms guarded by heavy iron doors. It almost looked like the sort of place you’d expect to see a bunch of highly-skilled, but entirely sympathetic criminals break into during a heist movie. Finally, they arrived at the room containing the Sandsmark Collection.
“This is as far as I go, ladies. The room can be opened with your handprint from either side, Ms. Sandsmark, so please don’t leave your friend trapped in there.”
“Not a problem! She hasn’t pissed me off THAT much lately!” Cassandra said, with a smirk.
“It’s not a laughing matter, ladies. We had someone trapped in there for a week once, and… well, it was the reason we had overrides fitted. Anyway, I’ll leave you both to it.”
With that, the guard left Cassandra and Kate, and started walking back towards the ground floor.
“Alrighty. Moment of truth.” Cassandra said, before placing her hand on the sensor next to the door. After a few moments, there was a loud click, and the door slowly opened, to reveal a room filled with shelf upon shelf of ancient artefacts.
“Oh, my god! I think I remember most of these things, from when I used to go on summer digs with mom!” Cassandra said, as the two walked into the room. “Never thought I’d see them again.”
“So, umm… would I get in any trouble for taking pictures of these things?” Kate asked.
“No, I don’t think so.” Cassandra said. “But here, let me tell you about them.”
For the next half-hour or so, Cassandra gave Kate a detailed history of just about everything in the collection. While Kate was pretty lost when it came to the historical details, she was nonetheless intrigued to hear more about the relationship between Cassandra and her mother, the time they had spent together on digs. Deep down, it made Kate want more than ever for Professor Sandsmark to someday reappear, to be reunited with her daughter. And she suspected that Cassandra was having to put on more of a brave face than ever while recounting her childhood.
“Now, can you guess where this one’s from?” Cassandra asked, pointing to an ancient-looking shield.
After a moment or two of studying it, the answer clicked. “It’s Themysciran, isn’t it?” Kate asked.
“Yep! The interesting thing about this is, it’s made of the same materials you’d have found in any ancient Greek or Roman shield. But through their special techniques, the Amazons made this thing so tough, it could shrug off a shell from a tank.”
“I can see why Wonder Woman never even seems to pick up so much as a scratch whenever she’s in action. Well, that and the whole immortality thing, I guess.” Kate replied.
“I don’t think she’s actually immortal, just really, REALLY difficult to hurt.” Cassandra added. “And this is…” she began to say, looking towards a large, silvery chest, that was closed with a large, intricate-looking lock.
“A puzzle box? Well, it looks pretty, I guess.” Kate said.
“No, no, no. Jesus fucking Christ, I never thought I’d see this thing again.” Cassandra replied, now with the biggest smile on her face that Kate could ever remember seeing. “Now, let’s see, if I remember correctly, you get this thing open by first turning the outer wheel…”
“Cass? What exactly is--?”
“Kate, just… just give me a minute, okay? It’s been years, I need to think. Just let me get this open.”
Cassandra was so engrossed in trying to open the box that she quickly stopped paying any attention to Kate. Realising that it was best to just leave her alone, Kate wandered down the shelves, looking at the various items they housed. But one thing in particular caught her interest. It was another box, similar to the one Cassandra was trying to open, but smaller. And more importantly, it was already unlocked. From within the box, she could see a faint, reddish-orange glow.
Kate looked back to where Cassandra was, but quickly realised she was still to focused on trying to get the lock open. Figuring it couldn’t do any harm to take a look, she gently eased the box open, revealing it to be full of sparkling gemstones. Kate wasn’t any sort of expert, but some of them looked like sapphires, some diamonds, some opals… but the one that really caught her attention was a deep red color, and emitting a faint, periodic pulse of light. After checking once more that Cassandra was still busy, Kate reached into the box, pulled out the gemstone and held it up to her eyes.
At first, it looked innocuous enough. But then, it emitted another pulse of light. And for the fleeting moments that the light emitted, Kate could see what looked like a fiery maelstrom within the gemstone. But it didn’t move like fire, it was almost like… liquid. No, more than that… something that was alive. And as the gemstone pulsed, Kate could feel vibrations coming from within it. They were faint, but still felt impossibly strong. As if all the powers of the universe were trapped deep within this crystal, and just waiting to be unleashed.
That was when it hit her. She had read a description almost exactly like this before, in some notes that she had found laid on her mother’s desk shortly after they were reunited. Doris’s and Nancy’s abilities weren’t anything they had been born with, and they weren’t unique to them, either. In ancient times, the bravest and most skilled warriors of Themyscira had been blessed with the ability to grow to giant size, and this ability was granted by an enormous red crystal, known as the Titaness’s Ruby. But following a disastrous civil war, the Titaness’s Ruby had been smashed into pieces, the fragments stolen by those Amazons who were forced into exile, and subsequently sold to buy a new life.
And now, all these years later, Kate had finally found herself in possession of one of the fragments.
Kate momentarily felt nervous, wondering if she was about to be turned into a giantess. But a few more moments passed, and nothing happened. Now that she thought about it, it made sense that whatever powers were still inside the ruby couldn’t be triggered so easily; otherwise, Professor Sandsmark would have ended up a giantess herself the first time she touched it. But this only made Kate even more curious about the objects that had granted her mother and stepmother their incredible abilities.
Kate looked back at Cassandra, who judging by the look of anticipation on her face, was close to opening up the lock. Cassandra had been one of the few true friends Kate had found over the last years. Stealing from her, and something that her missing mother had found at that… it almost seemed too terrible to contemplate. But on the other hand, the Justice League had never been able to properly evaluate the effects that Doris and Nancy’s exposure to fragments of the Titaness’s Ruby had on them, due to the fragments having gone missing. Health complications in metahumans certainly weren’t unheard of…
No, what was she thinking? Even if she wanted to, she couldn’t get anything out of here. She had been forced to put her purse through an x-ray machine when she entered the building, and she’d be caught in an instant if she tried to sneak anything out.
“Jackpot!” Cassandra suddenly yelled, as the box she had been working on opened up.
“What have you found?” Kate called out, as she subtly placed the ruby back in the box where she’d found it.
“Something very special.” Cassandra replied, as she took a pair of gauntlets out of the box. These didn’t quite seem to fit with anything else in the room, however. They somehow looked more modern… alien, even.
“What are those, exactly? Sir Lancelot’s gloves?” asked Kate, walking back to Cassandra.
“Even better. Mom was never exactly sure where these came from, or even if they were of this world. But when she accidentally put both her hands in them at once while she was trying to clean them, well… she got a whole lot more than she bargained for, let’s just say that.” Cassandra laughed. “These babies are coming home with me.”
“What? How are you going to smuggle those out of here, Cass? Even if they fit in my purse, that x-ray machine--”
“We don’t need to smuggle anything, Kate. I’m entitled to take one item from the Sandsmark Collection for ‘research purposes.’ I’ll have to think of some convincing answers as to what I’m gonna do with it, but they can’t stop me from taking this.”
With that, Cassandra went to take the box from the shelf, but found herself unable to lift it more than a couple of inches before having to set it back down. She tried again, but once more was unable to move it even to the edge of the shelf.
“Now, the weight of it, on the other hand…” Cassandra said, between gasps.
“Guessing it’s made out of solid lead or something.” Kate said, inspecting the box. “I think there were some trolleys near the elevator, though. We can probably use one of those to get it out of here.”
“Good thinking! You wait here, I’ll get a trolley.” Cassandra replied. “Won’t be a minute!” she added, before jogging out of the vault towards the elevator.
Kate inspected the box again, and felt her heart racing. Cassandra was an athletic girl, it wouldn’t take her long to return with a trolley. Whatever Kate decided now, she wasn’t going to have long to make her decision.
For the second time, Kate reminded herself that what she was contemplating would be an act of theft, and from one of the few true friends she’d ever had. But this would be for the sake of a mother and stepmother who had given her a life that, five-and-a-half years ago, she would never have even dreamed possible.
More than that, however, Kate remembered the talks she’d had with her mother over the years. About how during both her own life prior to meeting Nancy, and even during her career with the Justice League, she had been forced to make the most terrible decisions for the greater good. Hell, Kate’s very existence had come about from one such decision.
In the distance, Kate head a clattering noise, presumably from Cassandra getting one of the trolleys loose from where it was stood. It wouldn’t be long, now. Time to decide.
“Forgive me, Cassandra.” Kate whispered.
Doris smirked to herself, as she glanced over the Wall of Valedictorians of UCLA’s Humanities faculty. Most of the names weren’t familiar to her, but one definitely was: Lacy Warfield, who had finished top of the previous year’s journalism class.
“Always thought that girl could go far with just a little push.” she thought to herself.
Of course, Doris liked to think that she herself had been a big part in giving her that push. A little over five years ago, back when Lacy had been a high schooler, she had humiliated Doris in front of an entire English class. So, that night, Doris decided to teach her an entirely different kind of lesson, by growing to giantess proportions, and wrecking the new car that Lacy’s rich father had just bought her. Even now, she could recall the events of the night in vivid detail… the sensation of feeling her clothes stretching across her body and tearing apart, looking down on that insolent brat of a student like she were a mouse, before feeling Lacy’s car crumple like tinfoil in her massive hands…
In retrospect, that night had been something of a turning point for Doris’s life. For one thing, it was the point when she had to admit to herself that her feelings for Nancy went beyond mere curiosity about what it’d be like to make love at fifty feet tall. And for another, it was when she was shanghaied into being part of the Justice League of America. In a way, then, it was kind of fitting that she was now waiting for a call from Diana Prince, the alter-ego of Wonder Woman, whom she had worked alongside for the first time that night.
Eventually, Doris’s cellphone began to ring. She took it out, checked the caller ID, then answered it.
“Diana. How’s your week been?” she asked.
“Not bad, really. But never mind me, what about you?” came the prim, formal tone of Diana Prince. “Are you and Nancy both okay after last night?”
“None the worse for wear.” Doris replied. “Nancy should have her report with you before long.”
“You know, you’re the one with a degree in literature, right? Why is it always Nancy who writes your reports?”
“Hey, Nancy writes for a living, doesn’t she? She’s probably better at doing them than I would be. Anyway, I take it you got my message?”
“Yeah. How is Cassandra?” asked Diana.
“Putting on a brave face, as usual.” replied Doris. “She went into the archives without much fuss, though. Kate’s with her right now.”
“Well… you’ll let me know if she has any trouble, won’t you? I mean, heaven only knows we’ve not spoken for a while, but…” Diana said, quietly.
“I will do. But I think she’ll be okay. She’s a tough cookie.”
“Too tough, perhaps. She may not share enough of my blood to give her any powers, but she has the tenacity of an Amazon… and the temper to match.” Diana added.
“Yeah, I kind of figured that out when I was extracting one of her sneakers from the ass of one of my other students. But I think I’ve managed to keep her in check.” Doris replied.
“Well, thank you for your help, Doris. And well done to you both on dealing with last night’s incident in such an efficient manner.”
“Thanks! I’ll pass that on to Nancy when I get back home.”
“Okay, then. I’ll probably see you this week at some point. Take care.”
The call ended, and Doris placed her phone back into her purse. She and Diana didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but Cassandra’s well-being was something that both women took a common interest in.
Doris checked her watch. She hadn’t seen anyone she knew hanging around – not that she had really expected to; it was a Saturday, after all – before deciding to head back to the archaeology building.
As soon as Doris walked into the archaeology building’s lobby, she saw that not only had Kate and Cassandra already come back out of the archives, they were stood next to a trolley, on top of which sat an ornate metal box. Kate noticed her mother walking in, and quickly went over to greet her, while Cassandra filled out some paperwork.
“Hey, mom! I never realised just how much Cass knows about archaeology. She knew what just about everything in the collection was!” Kate enthused.
“Good to hear. If she applies that kind of effort in my class, she’ll have nothing to worry about.” Doris replied, before indicating the box sat near Cassandra. “She’s decided to take home a souvenir, I take it?”
“Yeah, she said she was gonna do some research on it. Looking for extra credit, I’m guessing.” Kate replied.
“Huh. Good for her.” Doris replied, with a raised eyebrow. Cassandra had always been a decent enough student, at least when she wasn’t being disruptive, but this seemed unusually… diligent for her.
Cassandra, meanwhile, had finished the required paperwork, and started pushing the trolley in the direction of the exit.
“You okay, with that, kid? You want me to push it?” asked Doris.
“No thanks, Ms. Zuel. I can manage.” Cassandra replied, though the gasps in-between her sentences indicated otherwise.
“Here, let me. I’ll never hear the end of it from your soccer coach if you hurt yourself on my watch.” Doris responded, firmly.
With that, Doris took over pushing the trolley, doing so with far less trouble than Cassandra had. Kate had always wondered whether her mother’s powers also gave her increased strength. Then again, saving the world once a week probably gave her and Nancy a pretty decent workout.
“Okay, on the count of three. One… two… three!”
With one big heave, Kate and her mother hauled the box into the trunk of Doris’s car, the rear springs audibly groaning as the box settled into place.
“If the suspension on this thing goes, I’m sending you the bill.” Doris said to Cassandra.
“I’ve got an idea!” Kate suddenly piped up. “Why don’t we go to the campus sports bar? The UCLA ladies’ soccer team should be playing this afternoon, we can watch them on the TV.”
Doris raised an eyebrow. “You two ladies are really pushing your luck, you know that?”
“Hey, always push for more. That’s what you’ve always told me, right?” Kate replied.
“Touché.” Doris replied, with a smirk. “But it’s really quite academic. I don’t have any cash right now.”
Kate could tell what her mother was hinting at. Still, she needed her and Cassandra out of the way for a moment.
“Okay, tell you what.” she said, reaching into her purse. “Here’s $50 from my allowance. Drinks and lunch are on me.”
Doris eyed the money suspiciously. “$50? What do you think I’m going to buy you, a bottle of champagne?”
“No, no, of course not. But I thought maybe we could have one of those sharing snack platters. I mean, it’ll about 1PM by the time the game finishes.” Kate suggested.
“Well… okay, then. Just don’t tell Nancy. She wouldn’t be very happy if she knew we’d eaten out without her.” Doris said, as the trio began walking towards the sports bar.
“Why? Is bar food her thing?” asked Cassandra.
“Any food she can blog about is her thing.” Doris replied.
After the three had walked a little ways into the campus, Kate spoke up again. “You know, mom, if we’re not going to tell Nancy we had lunch here… no reason why you couldn’t have a beer here as well.”
Doris pondered her daughter’s words. “That’s true, I suppose. I haven’t drunk anything alcoholic for a few months.”
“Well… why not have a couple of drinks?” Kate suggested. “I mean, I’ve got a driving license now, I could—”
“Nu-uh! Sorry, missy, but I still don’t trust you with my wheels, let alone when there’s half a ton of lead in the trunk! I’ll stick with just the one beer.” Doris replied, firmly.
“Well, it was worth a try!” Kate laughed. “Do you have any breath mints though? I mean, Nancy’s probably gonna plant a big kiss on your face as soon as you get home.”
“That’s a good point, I don’t think…” Doris said, rifling through her pockets as she did so. “No. But I’ve got some back in the car. You take Cassandra to the bar, I’ll run back to the car and get them.”
“No, no, I’ll get them for you. Cass and I can’t order you a beer, anyways.” Kate replied.
“Good point. You know where the bar is, don’t you?” Doris replied, as she handed her daughter her car keys. “We’ll see you there.”
Kate nodded, then turned back towards the parking lot. After a short jog, she arrived back at the car. Before looking for the mints, however, she opened up the trunk, and was greeted with the sight of the lead chest which they had loaded into the car. Fortunately, Cassandra hadn’t bothered to reset the locking mechanism. Kate opened the box and took out one of the gauntlets. She already knew perfectly well that the chest’ had shielded its contents from the x-ray and that the guard hadn’t done anything more than just quickly glimpse inside it, but still she felt anxious. After taking a moment to glance around, she gave the gauntlet a little shake, and the ruby fragment that she had found back inside the archives fell out into her free hand. With all the speed that she could muster, Kate then quickly replaced the gauntlet back inside the box and shut the trunk door. She gasped in relief; hopefully this would be the first and last act of theft she would ever have to commit.
Kate took a moment to look at the fragment, marvelling at how different it looked in the sunlight. The fiery maelstrom she had seen back in the archives no longer appeared visible; instead, specks of light danced within the fragment, in patterns that almost seemed balletic.
After a few moments of admiring it, Kate stuffed the fragment in her purse, burying it as best she could. Now, once she’d got it home, she’d be able to figure out what to do with it in her own time.
“Okay, class, that’s it for today! Just remember, book reports next Monday morning.”
Nearly a week had passed since Cassandra’s and Kate’s trip to the UCLA campus. Since then, it had been back to the usual routine for Cassandra. Ms. Zuel’s English class last thing on Thursday, followed by soccer practise.
As the students got up from their desks and began walking out of the classroom, Doris called out across the room.
“Cassandra? Before you go, I just need to talk to you.” she said.
Once the rest of the students had left the classroom, Cassandra stood by Doris’s desk.
“Tell me, Cassandra, how have you been getting along with Jack Todd lately? Not had any arguments with him?” Doris asked.
Cassandra shrugged. “Can’t remember the last time I spoke to him.” she replied.
“Well, it’s just that… he was late in to my class first thing. Apparently he woke up this morning and found that someone had totalled his car.” Doris said.
“Really? That’s terrible!” Cassandra replied, visibly shocked. “But, uh… why are you telling me this? You don’t think I had something to do with it?”
“Well… the two of you have always been a pretty volatile combination, and I seem to recall you admitting you know how to hotwire a car, but…” Doris mused, looking off into the distance.
“Yeah, on a car that’s from, like, thirty years ago. But a modern car? I wouldn’t even know where to start!” Cassandra replied.
Doris thought for a little longer, then relaxed. “I won’t ask how you know that. But I believe you for now. Just let me know if you hear anything.”
“Will do! By the way, would it be okay if Kate came round to my place after soccer practise?” Cassandra asked.
“Yeah, sure, not a problem. I’ll just text Nancy, let her know she only needs to cook for two tonight.” Doris answered, getting out her phone.
“Awesome! I’ll see you later!” Cassandra said, before leaving the room.
As she walked through the corridors of the school, in the direction of the sports field, Cassandra smirked to herself.
“Everyone thinks it was a hit and run? Perfect!” she thought.
Cassandra soon arrived at the changing rooms, where most of the team were already changing into their kit. She looked around, and on seeing that Kate had already arrived, put her bag down next to her.
“Hey, Kate, you still okay to hang around after school?” Cassandra asked.
“Huh? Oh… yeah.” Kate mumbled, not looking at Cassandra.
“You sure? You don’t sound very positive.” Cassandra asked.
“No, I’m fine. I’m good. Just… got things on my mind.” Kate replied.
Now that Cassandra thought about it, Kate had been really quiet since the weekend.
“Is everything okay at home? Anything you want to talk about?” asked Cassandra.
Kate sighed, and after a moment or two replied, “Well… kind of. We’ll talk about it after school, just… don’t worry about me, Cass. I’ll be fine.”
As Doris sat at her desk, she leafed through a stack of papers, privately despairing at the poor quality of some of them, while trying to figure out how she was going to avoid handing out detentions and having to give up yet another lunchbreak. Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door.
“Nancy?” Doris asked, looking up with surprise and seeing her partner stood there. “Did you get my message?”
“Yep.” Nancy replied. “I was gonna grab a quick coffee, pick up one or two things at the mall, then collect Kate. But then I got your text, and I figured you could use some company.” she continued, before walking over to Doris and placing a hand on her shoulder. “How’s your day been?”
“The usual.” Doris replied, placing her own free hand on Nancy’s. “The board have been on my case again about doing a talk during Equalities Week, but other than that…”
“You mean, on being gay, or being a metahuman?” Nancy asked.
Doris laughed. “The rest of the staff already treats me as some sort of hero for my sexual preferences. I think that’s enough.”
“Yeah, well, I guess I’ve got to take my part of the blame for that.” Nancy replied, mischievously. “If we hadn’t started dating…”
“Eh, it was more Kate showing up that forced my hand on that. But don’t think I’ve forgotten your role, missy!” Doris said.
“Well, now that I’m here, maybe I can make it up to you?” Nancy said, sitting in Doris’s lap. “Is there… anywhere private we could go? A supply closet, or…?”
“Yeah. About eight feet that way.” came Doris’s reply, as she indicated a door on the wall behind her, next to the window.
“Holy crap!” Nancy laughed. “How have I never noticed that?”
“We’ve got a well-behaved daughter.” Doris replied. “You don’t need to come in here very often.”
“Guess not.” Nancy said, as she stood up. “Well, Ms. Zuel… care for a little recess?”
Doris looked up at Nancy for a moment, and then smiled. “You know what? I think I can go for that. Just give me a minute.”
With that, Doris stood up, pulled the blind over the classroom door’s window, and then Nancy led her into the storage cupboard.
No sooner had Doris closed the door to the cupboard and turned on the light, than Nancy grabbed hold of her and started kissing her passionately.
“Whoa, take it easy, babe!” Doris laughed. “It’s not my birthday for another month, you know.”
“Sorry.” Nancy said, in-between kisses. “Just spent the last few days cooped up in the house. It gets lonely.”
Doris was about to reply, but was quickly distracted by the distinct feeling of her belt starting to tighten and dig into her stomach. And if she was already starting to grow, it was a sure bet that Nancy was, too.
“Nancy, wait just a moment.” Doris said, as she started unbuttoning her blouse. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any spare clothes here.”
“Ah, good point.” Nancy said, before removing her polo shirt. Doris looked up, and sure enough, Nancy had already grown a little bit bigger, with her already-fulsome breasts having enlarged to the point that her bra was struggling to contain them.
After Doris had removed her pants and shoes, and given Nancy a moment to do the same, she embraced her again.
“Hey, I haven’t taken my underwear off yet!” Nancy half-heartedly protested.
“Big deal. We’ve both gone commando enough times.” Doris replied.
The two women started kissing each other on the lips, and taking the chance to feel every curve, every contour of one another’s bodies. As always, the pleasure was heightened by the anticipation of knowing what was coming next. They were both practiced enough that they could prevent their incredible abilities from kicking in and remain normal-sized through their love-making, but letting themselves grow ever so slightly… that was so much more fun!
Soon, both women could feel it happening. Their bodies gradually starting to inch higher, and their underwear slowly growing more constrictive, beginning to press into their flesh.
Not surprisingly, Nancy’s bra was the first item of clothing to give out. Her bosom rapidly became too large for it to contain, and the cups broke in two at the front, leaving her exposed breasts pressing into Doris’s own chest.
Doris in turn gasped in pleasure, feeling even more aroused, and causing her growth to accelerate ever so slightly – enough for the fabric of her panties to slowly start ripping open across her backside. She giggled and moaned in pleasure, feeling them get ever tighter, before beginning to gradually disintegrate. The rear strap on her own bra, meanwhile, grew ever more taut before finally snapping.
Nancy sensed the destruction of her partner’s underwear, and took a moment to sweep the ruined undergarments off of Doris’s body, before resuming their lovemaking. She thought for a moment that she must have bought some good panties, seeing how they were still pretty much intact… but no sooner had she thought that than they started ripping right down the middle, before snapping off.
“That’s better! Now, let me really get a feel for you!” Doris whispered, as she held Nancy close, feeling her soft, warm body pressing into her own, as they both got bigger. Doris had lived in Los Angeles for nearly her entire life, and gradually come to despair of the botoxed, plastic blondes who had come to dominate the city. She had always been attracted to classically beautiful women, and Nancy was exactly that.
Nancy, meanwhile, couldn’t help but think how much she enjoyed the life she had nowadays. Six years ago, she had been living in the middle of the desert, while stuck in a loveless marriage, and spiralling into alcoholism and depression. Now she had a partner with whom she had a connection she had never quite felt with her ex-husband – even leaving aside the two’s shared abilities – and a wonderful stepdaughter. Wait… stepdaughter? She usually told Kate off for using that word, now she was using it in her own thoughts…
The attentions of both women were soon taken up by another thing entirely, when they felt the top of their heads starting to press into the ceiling. An odd side-effect of their growth abilities was that their emotions became more and more intense as they got bigger, meaning that an excess of one particular emotion – especially anger or pleasure – could cause their powers to go out of control. They had both gotten skilled at avoiding this, but not completely immune.
“Whoa, Nancy! Nancy! I think we’re big enough!” Doris called out.
“Yeah.” Nancy replied, before holding Doris close again and looking into her eyes. “Say, Doris… do you ever see us being more than just girlfriends?” she asked.
“Hey, if you ever find a size-changing wedding ring, let me know!” Doris laughed.
“Right… of course.” Nancy replied, chuckling slightly. It seemed like such a small, insignificant thing, but it was an obvious obstacle to them formalizing their relationship. Still, she was sure it wasn’t an insurmountable one. And right now, she had other things to think of.
Doris leaned back against the wall, and Nancy started kissing her again.
“Think we’re a bit too big to get on the floor now.” Doris whispered.
“That’s okay.” Nancy whispered back, before reaching down towards Doris’s nether regions. “I’ll improvise.”
Doris tilted her head back, closed her eyes, and grinned broadly. When she wasn’t dining out, blogging, or being a superheroine, Nancy liked to play the piano in her spare time. And she liked to take any opportunity to give her fingers a good workout. Especially on Doris.
“Mmm… remind me to give you a gold star when we’re done!” Doris purred.
“So, Kate, what was it you wanted to tell me about?”
Kate and Cassandra had just finished soccer practise, and were walking through the streets towards the apartment that Cassandra shared with her aunt and uncle. Kate took a deep breath, and decided it was time to finally get things out in the open.
“Cass, do you remember last weekend? At the UCLA? You see, while we were there, I—” Kate began to say.
“Whoa, hold on a minute, Kate. I think I hear something interesting.” Cassandra said, before reaching into her backpack and pulling out a device that somewhat resembled a large walkie-talkie.
Kate heard some noises coming out of the device, and then her eyes widened in surprise. “That thing… is that a police scanner? Aren’t they illegal?”
“In some places. But not California.” Cassandra replied, as she fiddled with the dials on the device.
“…FIVE SUSPECTS, HOSTAGES INVOLVED. NO INJURIES YET. REPEAT, ROBBERY IN PROGRESS AT BANK AT THE JUNCTION OF COLORADO AND LINCOLN…” came the staticky voice of a police dispatcher.
Cassandra smiled. “Perfect! Now it’s time to show you something, Kate.”
“Uhh, Cass, I was the one who wanted to show you something, remember?” Kate said, while privately wondering whether it was worth messaging her mother or Nancy to let them know of the robbery.
“It can wait.” Cassandra replied, before grabbing Kate’s wrist. “C’mon, let’s find somewhere out of sight!”
After a few moments of searching, the two girls found an alleyway between a pizzeria and a liquor store. Cassandra led Kate into the alleyway, and briefly glanced around to make sure they wouldn’t be disturbed.
“Cass, what exactly are we doing?” Kate asked.
“I’m about to kick some butt. And hopefully, you’ll be able to record it on your phone.” Cassandra replied, before opening her backpack and taking out a familiar-looking pair of gauntlets.
“Those are the things we took from your mother’s collection!” Kate said. “Why do you have them?”
“Oh, these things are very special. Here, I think it’ll be quicker if I just give you a demonstration.”
With that, Cassandra inserted her left arm into one of the gauntlets, before doing the same with her right arm. After a few moments, Cassandra’s body began to shudder, and a red liquid slowly began to emerge from the gauntlets, gradually enveloping and advancing up her arms.
“Cass?! What… what the hell?” Kate gasped. “What are those things doing to you?! Take them off before—”
“It’s alright, Kate.” Cassandra said, reassuringly. “I’ve done this before. First thing this morning, in fact.”
Kate stepped back, nervously. She had a mother and stepmother in the Justice League, she should have been used to seeing weird shit like this. But it happening to Cassandra… it felt difficult to process, somehow. Then things got even more difficult.
“You’re… you’re growing!” Kate called out.
Sure enough, as the red substance reached halfway up Cassandra’s arms, she began to grow ever so slightly taller. However, the more obvious change was to Cassandra’s build. Her normally slender arms were slowly becoming more defined, more muscular. Her biceps began to bulge and expand, and her jeans slowly grew tight across her legs, which were also becoming thicker with muscle. Even Cassandra’s breasts seemed to be growing larger, straining against her t-shirt, which was also fighting an increasingly muscular chest.
“Only… problem with this… it’s making my clothing bill a lot higher.” Cassandra grunted.
“Uh… I can imagine.” Kate laughed, nervously. “Kinda like my—”
Before Kate had the chance to unwittingly blow the cover on her mother’s identity, Cassandra’s t-shirt suddenly ripped in two down the middle, exposing her newly-muscular chest and abs. At the same time, her jeans began to split open at the seams, under the pressure of thighs and calves that were rippling with muscles.
“Holy… holy crap… shame you, uh, can’t wear those things on the soccer team, huh?” Kate asked, trying to lighten the situation.
Cassandra didn’t even seem to register Kate’s words. By now, the red substance had completely enveloped her arms, and was spreading across her torso. It seemed to adhere to Cassandra’s body, squeezing into the gaps between her skin and her increasingly damaged clothing. Within less than a minute, it enveloped nearly all of Cassandra’s body, leaving only her head and the very top of her chest exposed, and seemed to harden and take on a metallic appearance. The remainder of Cassandra’s clothing quickly ripped apart and fell away as her body continued to grow larger and more muscular, leaving only the makeshift outfit formed by whatever had come out of the gloves protecting Cassandra from the elements.
“Gotta admit, it feels weird. But you get used to it.” Cassandra remarked, as her growth levelled off and eventually stopped.
Kate stared at her friend, utterly dumbfounded. Normally, Cassandra was an inch or so shorter than her. But now, Cassandra was towering over Kate; she must have been at least 6’5” or so compared to Kate’s 5’9”. More than that, Cassandra now had a physique that was positively Olympian; still distinctly feminine, but with pronounced, powerful muscles all across her body.
“This is… this is amazing!” Kate said, placing her hands on Cassandra’s body. It felt smooth, metallic, yet warm to the touch. “I mean, how much is the suit, and how much is you?”
“Oh, I think the suit’s only a millimetre or so thick. It’s more like armor.” Cassandra replied, before flexing her enlarged arm muscles. “This… it’s all me!”
“Wow…” Kate laughed.
“You can admire it later. C’mon, we’ve got a bank to save!” Cassandra said, firmly.
With that, Cassandra put her arm around Kate’s waist, and with an almighty leap, jumped well above the surrounding buildings, giving Kate an aerial view of the neighborhood.
“Holy SHIT!” Kate yelled in terror.
“Relax, Kate! Nothing to be scared of!” Cassandra replied casually, as they momentarily landed on the roof of another building, before soaring back into the air again.
“Whoa! Oh, holy… Jesus Christ…” Kate gasped.
“Don’t worry, Kate. I’m not gonna drop you.” Cassandra said. “Just close your eyes, and count to five.”
Kate figured she had nothing to lose, and closed her eyes.
“1… 2… 3… 4… 5…”
As she counted, something odd happened. Bit by bit, number by number, her fear began to ebb away. By the time she had reached five, all the she could feel was the wind rushing on her face.
She opened her eyes again, just as Cassandra was at the peak of another jump, and got another aerial view of Los Angeles. But this time, she didn’t feel afraid of falling any more. The view… it really did look incredible.
“This is… WHOA… actually really amazing.” Kate called out.
“Isn’t it?” Cassandra replied. “I mean, c’mon, Kate, don’t tell you me you’ve never fantasized about holding Superman’s hand and flying above the city with him!”
“Only because Lois Lane would kill me if I tried anything like that.” Kate replied.
“Lois who?” asked Cassandra.
Kate suddenly turned white-faced, realising she’d just screwed-up big time.
“Uh… what I meant was…” she began to reply.
Cassandra suddenly interrupted Kate. “Wait, no time to chat! We’re nearly there!”
Moments later, Cassandra touched down near the bank. Sure enough, four police cars were parked around the entrance, with a bunch of officers standing guard behind the cars. Cassandra landed far back enough that they didn’t notice her, and she and Kate quickly took cover behind a wall across the street from the bank.
“Cass, what do you think you’re going to do?” Kate whispered. “They said the robbers had hostages, so…”
“Don’t worry.” Cassandra replied. “I’ll think of something.”
Moments later, one of the robbers walked out of the bank’s front entrance, and stood there silently. He was wearing a long trenchcoat and a simple, white mask, with only a pair of eye holes offering any glimpse of the face beneath, and carrying what looked like some sort of rifle.
“You’re surrounded! Drop your weapons!” barked one of the police officers, as he and his colleagues took aim.
The robber stared blankly at the officer for a moment. Then, without a single word, he raised his gun at the car the officer was stood behind, carefully took aim, pressed the trigger… and instead of a bullet, a blinding flash of energy erupted forth, drilling into the car, which then exploded spectacularly. One of the two officers stood behind the car took the brunt of the explosion, and was thrown clear, landing approximately twenty feet away, battered, burned, and clearly dead.
The other officer, the one who had originally warned the robber, slowly started to get up. The robber allowed him a few moments to get to his feet. And then he aimed and fired his gun again. In the blink of an eye, the officer’s body exploded into a cloud of fine powder, while his uniform burst into flames and quickly burned into ashes, leaving only a molten puddle of slag made up of the officer’s weapon and radio as any evidence that he ever stood there. The remaining police officers tried firing their own guns, but they just clicked uselessly, somehow rendered inert.
“Jesus…” Kate whispered, now visibly quivering, and white as a sheet.
“Energy weapons?!” Cassandra scoffed. “Now, that’s not even playing remotely fair.”
“Fall back! Fall back” cried one of the remaining officers, as he and his colleagues fled.
The robber fired a few more shots in their general direction, not even bothering to aim properly. The first shot hit a pine tree across the street, causing it to explode like a bomb and sending shards of burning wood everywhere; the second shot hit another one of the police cars, causing it to explode and also setting the next car along on fire; the third shot caught one of the unfortunate officers right in the back, quickly incinerating him.
Kate screamed as burning fragments of wood fell towards them; Cassandra moved at incredible speed to shield Kate with her own body, which easily withstood the fragments.
“Cass, we’ve got to get out of here!” Kate cried out. “The police can’t deal with this, and neither can you! We need the Justice League.”
“They won’t get here in time. I have to sort these guys out, now!” Cassandra replied, resolutely.
“Nooo… please, don’t!” Kate said, hugging Cassandra, and with tears now starting to form in her eyes. “You’ll die!”
“Oh, I’ve got no intention of dying. You haven’t even seen half the things this suit can do, yet! Go on, get out of here, Kate!” Cassandra said, before vaulting over the wall and taking off towards the bank.
“Cass! CASS!” Kate screamed.
Cassandra stormed towards the bank at considerable speed. The robber, who was still stood outside the door, tilted his head and looked quizzically at Cassandra. Whatever resistance he had been expecting to face in the robbery, Cassandra hadn’t been a part of it. Still, he took aim at her with his weapon, fired…
The energy bolt quickly connected with Cassandra, but instead of atomizing her, the energy began to crackle and dissipate across the suit covering her body. Cassandra stopped, looked down at her body as it completely absorbed the energy, and then smiled.
“Oh, that was a BAD move, asshole!” she called out, smugly.
With that, she held out her arms, and her hands began glowing and crackling with energy. Moments later, she returned the blast to the robber, aiming just left of him, and blowing him off his feet. His rifle flew through the air, landing some distance away. Before he could attempt to retrieve it, Cassandra ran across with superhuman speed, and brought her foot down on the rifle, smashing it in two.
“That’s enough of that!” Cassandra yelled.
The robber got to his feet, glared at Cassandra for a moment, and whistled. Cassandra wondered for a moment or two how he whistled through a mask, before three more robbers walked out of the bank. This time around, they weren’t armed with rifles; rather, they wore bulky, mechanical-looking suits, with huge metallic augmentations covering their arms. As if to demonstrate what Cassandra was going to be going up against, one of them reached across, tore a signpost out of the sidewalk, and folded it in two like it were a paperclip.
“So, that’s how it’s going to be, huh?” Cassandra said, cracking her knuckles. “Bring it on!”
Cassandra ran towards the newly-arrived trio, and before she knew it, was in spitting distance of them. One of them took a swing towards her, and the punch connected, knocking her back. She quickly got to her feet, feeling a little winded, but otherwise fine. What their armor lacked in elegance, it apparently made up in brute strength.
“Hmph. Gonna need a different approach, I see.” she muttered.
With that, she leapt into the air, and landed behind the one who punched her, before kicking out at him and knocking him to his knees. Before she could land a follow-up attack, time seemed to stand still. She felt what seemed like a rush of air towards the side of her face…
Quickly, she ducked, and the armored fist of one of the other two sailed above her head, missing it by a matter of inches.
“Alright! Getting the hang of this now!” she said, jubilantly. “Now, let’s put those martial arts classes to use.”
Cassandra did a backflip, landing halfway back to the wall Kate was hiding behind, and then gestured for the robbers to come and attack her. By now, the gunman had retreated back inside the bank, but his three colleagues were still as eager as ever, and began charging towards her.
As soon as they reached the right distance, Cassandra jumped into the air and begin a spin kick, hitting two of the robbers in the head, before landing and catching the third robber off-guard with a flying kick. One of them quickly recovered and swung at Cassandra again, but she easily evaded him. It had quickly become apparent to her that whatever their power armor gave them in brute strength, it came at a heavy cost in agility.
As another one of the robbers tried to attack Cassandra, she did another backflip, landed behind him, then began tearing at the pipes and wires holding his armor together. The robber started jerking around, as his armor began malfunctioning, then collapsed in a heap on the floor; still alive, as indicated by his flailing legs, but immobile.
The other two robbers, seemingly knowing they were outmatched, grabbed their fallen colleague and started retreating towards the back. Kate peered over the wall, still very nervous, but actually quite impressed with what Cassandra was doing with her new ablities. Still, she had listened to enough of her parents’ stories to know that the guys Cassandra had been beating up might have just been the footsoldiers, and that the actual mastermind might still be waiting. She reached into her purse, pulled out her cellphone, and started looking for her mother’s number.
No sooner had the trio of robbers returned to the bank than yet another figure emerged. Only this one was far taller even than Cassandra, to say nothing of the ones she had been fighting, and he was wielding what looked like the unholy combination of the laser rifle seen earlier, and the type of minigun you might have seen Arnold Schwarzenegger wielding in his prime.
“CASS! Get back here!” Kate yelled, as she hit the “dial” button on her phone.
Before Cassandra could react, the behemoth of a robber opened fire with his laser cannon, bombarding her with blast after blast of energy. She quickly disappeared in a cloud of ash and atomized bits of the road beneath her, as the blasts quickly dug a crater into the concrete, and started burning their way into the earth beneath.
Kate ducked below the wall, and stayed down for what felt like an eternity, as she waited for her mother to pick up the phone. When the sound of the blasts stopped, Kate pensively looked over the top of the wall, to see nothing but a smouldering crater where Cassandra had once been.
“Cass…” she whispered in horror.
Moments later, a blinding flash emitted from the crater. Kate shielded her eyes, and when the flash receded, she could see something floating out of the crater. It was Cassandra.
“THAT… WAS A MISTAKE.” came Cassandra’s voice. But it sounded different… booming, yet mechanical at the same time.
As the smoke cleared, Kate witnessed Cassandra floating roughly twenty feet in the air. A golden aura now surrounded her, patterns of light danced on the surface of her armor, and her hair seemed almost… alive, somehow, floating and writhing like serpents. Had Kate been able to see Cassandra from the front, she’d have noticed her eyes glowing as well.
Stunned, the robber took aim at her again, but she simply fired a burst of energy from her hands, melting the end of his weapon.
“NOW YOU WILL PAY. ALL OF YOU.” Cassandra intoned.
With that, Cassandra held her hands together, as though she were holding a soccer ball, and began to generate some kind of energy sphere. Kate could feel the air starting to rush towards Cassandra, and moments later she noticed the hairs on her arm starting to stand on end, followed by little arcs of electricity appearing on any metallic objects nearby. Whatever was about to happen… it was gonna be big.
Suddenly, Kate heard the sound of someone answering her phone call.
“Mom!” she yelled. “You have to get to where I am, now! It’s Cassandra, she—”
Before Kate could even tell whether she’d actually gotten through to her mother, or just the voicemail, the energy sphere that Cassandra was generating suddenly detonated. Everything went quiet for a moment.
And then a shockwave erupted forth from Cassandra, hurling the robber backwards into the bank, then shattering all the windows at the front of the building, and finally ripping open the front of the building itself. The shockwave then tore its way across the road, sending chunks of dirt and gravel into the air. Kate gasped in terror, and dived for cover under the wall…
But it didn’t help. The wall shattered, and Kate was lifted off the ground and hurled into the building behind her.
She blacked out for a moment or two, then slowly came around. She could see people running out of the ruined bank across the street – the hostages, she presumed – but Cassandra wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Slowly, Kate got to her feet. She wasn’t too badly injured, at least; the wall had clearly taken the brunt of the shockwave. But she was still racked with pain, and covered in bruises and cuts.
As she looked around, however, Kate quickly realized the full extent of the devastation caused by Cassandra’s blast. For a good couple of hundred meters in all directions, the nearby buildings at the very least had all their windows blown out, and some of them had been half-demolished. Fire hydrants were torn out of the ground, with water gushing into the air, traffic signals and street signs had been blown over and snapped apart like twigs, and all the cars that had survived the earlier firefight had now been crushed like soda cans and thrown into nearby buildings. The whole area looked like someone had dropped a bomb on it.
“Jesus Christ, Cassandra…” Kate whispered.
She briefly pondered trying to find her phone, but reasoned it was pointless. There was no way it would have survived the blast, and it wouldn’t take the emergency services – or Justice League – long to notice a blast like that.
Kate took a few steps forward, but even that felt painful. Then, she caught glimpse of something on the sidewalk. Her purse had been torn open by the blast and its contents strewn across the concrete. And right in the middle of it all was the gemstone that she had taken from the Sandsmark Collection earlier in the week. As the days had gone by, she had come to feel guilty about taking it, and had intended to give it back to Cassandra and explain her actions this evening. At least it seemed to be a tough little thing; it had survived without a scratch. But then it started to glow.
Kate took a step towards it, and it glowed brighter still. More curiously, however, Kate felt the pain in her joints subsiding, as she got closer to it. After coughing a couple of times, Kate kneeled down, persevering through the pain of her injuries, and grabbed hold of the fragment.
As she held it up to her face, she felt her breathing become a little bit easier. Then, she could feel a warm sensation spreading into her hand, then down her arm, and into the rest of her body. The pain of her injuries quickly died down, and to her amazement, Kate noticed the cuts and scratches on her limbs starting to gradually heal, and eventually disappear altogether, leaving no indication that she had ever been hurt.
“Guess this thing has some healing powers or something.” she thought to herself.
Then Kate felt her body shudder. She felt… no, it couldn’t have been…
Her body shuddered again. And then Kate felt tightness around her chest, in her shoes, even in her underwear.
“No… no way, this can’t be…” she thought.
Before she could complete her thought, Kate shuddered once more. She could feel her toes pressing up against the fabric of her sneakers, which grew slowly, inexorably tighter. Her shorts likewise grew increasingly taut across her hips and butt, and her shirt tightened, and slowly inched up, exposing her midriff.
Then, little bit little, Kate’s entire body began to inch upwards. It took her a moment to notice, but before long she noticed everything getting that little bit smaller and lower. She panicked and flexed her toes, wanting to make sure she still had her feet planted firmly on the ground. That was when her toes burst out of her shoes, and her t-shirt began to rip open, exposing her cleavage.
“Oh, FUCK!” Kate thought.
No matter how much she wanted to, she couldn’t deny what was happening. Kate was growing, rapidly. More than that, however, she felt that little bit stronger and more powerful with every inch added onto her height. She could practically feel the energies of the glowing Titaness’s Ruby fragment she was still holding onto as they flowed into her body through her hand, building up within her, and then making her ever larger in order to accommodate the increasing amount of power building up within her.
Kate gasped, as she felt her t-shirt begin to rip again. Compared to some of the other girls at her school she had a fairly modest chest, but she could swear it was growing at an even faster rate than the rest of her body. Her t-shirt quickly ripped open down the middle, allowing her breasts to spill out; Kate quickly moved to cover her chest, reflexively hunching over forwards as she did so, and this in turn caused the seat of her already straining shorts to split open, exposing her panties. After taking a moment to process what had just happened, Kate blushed.
Much as she wanted to, Kate couldn’t let go of the ruby fragment that was doing this to her. Maybe the fragment’s power was somehow compelling her to keep hold of it until the process was completed… or perhaps it was her own subconscious mind at work, wanting the same amazing powers she had witnessed her parents using over the last five years.
Whatever the reason was, the more immediate reality was that Kate’s clothing was rapidly disintegrating under the strain of her expanding form. Kate wasn’t overly modest by any means – she didn’t mind wearing revealing clothing in public, was happy to wear a bikini on the beach, and didn’t usually get too self-conscious when in the locker room – but being naked in public was another matter entirely!
One small mercy of what was happening to Kate was that the process had completely healed the injuries she picked up during the explosion that Cassandra had caused. At least now she could move around without any pain. And most of the nearby people were still too shocked at the carnage caused to the surrounding buildings to take any notice of what was happening to her. She quickly looked around, and on seeing an alleyway between some of the buildings behind her, started running towards it. The added strain caused by her running ripped apart what little remained of her t-shirt and shorts, leaving bits of fabric to flutter to the ground in her wake.
Kate managed to get into the alleyway, and on spying another section running off to one side, went down that one. It led to a dead end, of course, but at least there was less chance of her being spotted.
By now, all that remained of Kate’s clothing were her panties, and she could tell it wouldn’t be long before they were also destroyed. As her body passed the 7’ mark, she began to feel her panties ripping open at the back. She blushed even more, as the sensation of raw strength she was feeling through the change momentarily gave way to suddenly feeling very exposed. This feeling only got worse as her body continued to expand more and more, and her panties began digging into her crotch and behind. For a moment, it actually felt quite pleasurable; Kate couldn’t help but giggle, despite the stress of her situation.
That moment of pleasure ended when the elastic on her panties snapped, and they fluttered to the ground. On the one hand, it was something of a relief to be free of her increasingly constrictive clothing. Actually, it felt oddly liberating to be naked in public like this, to feel the warm California sun shining on her entire body. Even with all the time she had spent in her parents’ swimming pool, she had never been completely naked out in the open like this.
Reality soon kicked back in, however. She was going to have to find something to cover herself up as soon as her growth spurt. If it ever did stop, that was. Kate worried for a moment that she might end up twice the size of her parents’ “normal” giantess height. Or worse still, that she might never stop growing…
No. Her mother and Nancy both had the same regular height in their giantess forms, and they’d been exposed to fragments small enough to be part of necklaces. The one that Kate was holding was about the same size, so her growth hopefully wouldn’t go any more than theirs did. If anything, the real problem was going to be recognised, and having half of Santa Monica looking up at her. Then again, her mother didn’t even bother with a mask, and no-one had ever seemed to draw the connection between Doris Zuel and Giganta.
Suddenly, Kate felt her growth starting to accelerate, rapidly growing to more than double her original height. The Titaness’s Ruby fragment had already been getting gradually smaller in her hands, but now it felt like little more than a pebble. Yet she could still feel its incredible energies flowing into her body like a tidal wave.
Kate looked around again, and was astonished to realize that she was already about two-thirds the height of the buildings surrounding her, with their rooftops getting nearer her eyeline by the second. She had to be at least twenty feet tall by now.
As Kate took a step backward, she could feel something metallic hitting her lower leg area, followed by a crash. She looked down, and saw a dumpster turned on its side, with its contents strewn across the alleyway.
“Jesus, I’d have struggled to even move that thing a few minutes ago! And I just knocked it over like the wastepaper basket in my room!” she thought to herself.
Clearly her strength was increasing along with her size. If she did grow all the way to the same height that her parents usually operated at – and she was already halfway there – then even the slightest wrong move could cause untold damage. Nancy had always been honest with Kate about the problems she used to suffer from, and how the shock of getting her powers had allowed her to effortlessly lay waste to the home she shared with her ex-husband. But at least Nancy’s former home was out in the desert. Kate was about to find herself turned into a giantess right in downtown Santa Monica. If she screwed up…
Kate took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and steeled herself. Her parents dealt with this problem every time they went into action with the Justice League. If they could avoid causing more damage than the people they were trying to stop, then so could Kate.
When Kate opened her eyes again, she found herself peering over the rooftop, looking right back at the bank that Cassandra, intentionally or otherwise, had nearly destroyed.
“Christ… Cass! I completely forgot about her! Please, be alive! Don’t tell me you blew yourself sky high!” she thought to herself.
The thought of any harm having come to Cassandra briefly made Kate feel physically ill. However, an even worse possibility then occurred to her. Immediately before the explosion, Cass’s behaviour had been unusual, to say the very least. The voice that emanated from her form didn’t sound like the person whom Kate had known for the last couple of years. Hell, it didn’t even sound human! Those gloves… had they done more than change Cassandra physically?
As she passed the 40’ mark, Kate could feel her extreme growth spurt finally starting to slow down. It was actually a relief, knowing that she was going to at least end up in the same ballpark height as her parents.
Finally, her growth stopped, leaving her towering over the surrounding buildings, and still covering her chest and crotch as best she could with her hands.
Kate looked around, momentarily awed at seeing Los Angeles from this height. She could see for miles around; in the distance she could just about spot a freeway, populated by what looked to her like toy cars. She could even spy a few people in the streets around her, and they were barely even ankle-high next to her.
The experience she’d just been through would almost certainly have felt disquieting to most people. But now that she was giantess-size, Kate actually felt quite exhilarated. Maybe it was the fact that she was already pretty knowledgeable about the world of metahumans, but whatever the reason, she felt absolutely incredible. Even without trying to pick anything up or crush anything under her newly-enormous limbs, she felt incredibly strong. Like nothing could stop her. Part of her just wanted to run rampant through the neighbourhood, crushing and trampling everything in her way, feeling the concrete crack beneath her enormous feet…
“No, Kate! Get ahold of yourself” she thought. Was this what had happened to Cassandra? Her newfound power had become so intoxicating that she had completely lost control?
Suddenly, Kate heard an explosion coming from a few blocks away. She looked up, then saw beams of energy erupting from between the buildings. Some of them looked like the blasts from the bank robbers’ guns, others like…
“It’s Cass! She’s still alive!” Kate realized, feeling an incredible sense of relief.
Glancing down at the building in front of her, Kate noticed a pile of construction sheeting. Enough to cover herself up at least, which was all she needed right now.
But first, there was something she needed to check. Kate held out her hand and opened it, and in it she could see the Titaness’s Ruby fragment. It barely even seemed any bigger than a grain of sugar now, and it somehow looked and felt different. Dark, and inert. Had she drained all its power?
Whatever had happened to it, she didn’t have the time to wonder about it now. She dropped the fragment onto the roof of the building, figuring someone could come by later and collect it, before she reached down, took the sheeting in her hands, and began covering up her hip area.
“Nothing fancy. Just enough to cover my modesty. Then I’ll find Cass and stop her before she can do any more damage!”
“You know, Doris, I don’t remember being so… adventurous before I met you.” Nancy said, as she emerged from the supply closet where she and her partner had been intimate only moments before.
“What, you mean aside from the whole being a superhero thing?” asked Doris, as she followed Nancy out of the closet, buttoning up her blouse as she did so.
“In the bedroom. You know what I mean...” Nancy began to say.
Before Nancy could complete her sentence, Doris suddenly went as white as a sheet, then dashed over to her desk. Her cellphone was displaying a missed call from Kate, and more importantly, the emergency signal. The cellphones of all Justice League members and their immediate family were equipped with special transceivers that emitted a distress signal in the event that they were damaged, and Kate’s had been triggered a couple of miles away from the school.
“Holy shit…” Doris whispered, her voice wavering. “Kate’s in trouble! And you and I… we were… too busy to notice the emergency signal.”
Nancy felt sick to her stomach. Their intimate encounter had been her idea, after all. The thought of anything happening to Kate was just too horrible to even contemplate. She closed her eyes and tried to gather her thoughts, as she felt her heart beginning to race…
And then Nancy’s body began to grow.
Doris looked up in shock to see Nancy rapidly growing towards the ceiling, the fabric of her shirt stretching across her curves and splitting open, allowing her breasts to spill out, and her jeans rapidly tightening around her hips and thighs before bursting open at the seams. Nancy opened her eyes and gasped in shock, just as her head hit the ceiling.
Fortunately, Nancy managed to regain control of her size at that exact moment. But now Doris was going to have a dent in the ceiling to have to explain away to admin. Still, there were more pressing matters at hand.
“Please tell me you bought your outfit.” Doris said.
“Uh, yeah. It’s in my purse. Though I left my boots in the car.” Nancy replied.
“You’ll just have to go barefoot!” Doris replied, willing herself to grow. Moments later her blouse began popping open, then splitting open at the shoulders and back. The seat of her pants burst open, exposing her bare butt, before Doris reached down and tore off her damaged clothing with a single tug from each arm.
Now standing naked in the middle of her classroom, Doris reached down to her briefcase, and pressed her thumb into a hidden sensor next to the latch. A second compartment then popped open, revealing the yellow hues of her outfit. Nancy, likewise, had removed the ruined remnants of her clothing, and was putting on her own outfit.
“Kate’s going to be fine, you’ll see.” Nancy said, in a reassuring tone, as she zipped up the front of her outfit.
“Yeah, I’m sure you’re right.” Doris replied, hurriedly. “C’mon, let’s not waste any time!”
The moment Doris and Nancy had finished putting on their outfits, they left the classroom and began sprinting down the corridor towards the exit. Fortunately, most of the staff and students had gone home, and no-one was around to see the sight of two eight-foot-tall women in superhero outfits storming through the school’s corridors.
As soon as they ran through the main entrance into the parking lot, both Nancy and Doris willed themselves to grow again, and their bodies rapidly began expanding towards the 50’ height they usually operated at in their personas as the Fifty Foot Woman and Giganta respectively.
“Nancy? Doris? Are you receiving me?” a female voice asked, emitting forth from transmitters concealed in Nancy’s gloves and Doris’s wrist bands.
“Doris here. Please, Barb, tell me you know what’s going on here!”
“I’m getting multiple reports from the police and civilian channels.” came the voice of Oracle, the Justice League’s dispatcher. “A battle between two parties equipped with energy weapons of some description. Massive property damage, at least a couple of confirmed fatalities. Heading up towards Beverly Hills.”
“Do… do we have any idea on who the fatalities are?” Doris asked, hesitantly.
“Cops, as far as I know. A few civilian casualties, but we’re only talking injuries, not…” Oracle began to say. She then went silent for a few moments, before speaking again. “Doris, can you just confirm that you’re at your high school? And that Nancy is with you?”
“Huh? Yeah, that’s right.” Doris replied, more than a little confused. Usually Oracle had enough information at her fingertips that she wouldn’t need to confirm such a basic fact like that.
“Why do you ask?” Nancy enquired.
“Well… I’m not sure what to make of this… but I’m getting reports of a giant, red-headed woman chasing the two parties who are attacking one another. But she’s several miles northwest of where you are.” reported Oracle.
“Well, it’s not me. If it were, they’d be reporting on two giant women, not just…” Doris began to say, before her voice tailed off. “Nancy…” she continued, turning pale once again, “You… you don’t suppose that other giantess… could be…”
“Kate?!” Nancy asked, in disbelief. “That’s impossible! She doesn’t have our powers!”
“No, she shouldn’t. And yet…” Doris muttered, before holding her communicator back up to her mouth level. “Barb, tell us where we need to go!”
“Whoa! Sorry, there! Coming through!”
Kate really had no idea how her mother and Nancy did it. In their superheroic alter-egos, they seemed able to move through the streets of major cities with such grace, even at their incredible sizes, and were almost always able to avoid any real collateral damage.
By contrast, Kate was stumbling and crashing through the streets of Santa Monica in a way that might suggest to an onlooker that she had just downed an oil tanker’s worth of vodka. With every step she took, her colossal feet caused a small earthquake, cracking the road and leaving impressions of her feet and toes in the tarmac, while also smashing nearby windows and knocking to the ground any bystanders that happened to be in the vicinity.
Kate winced, knowing full well the destruction she was causing. Her limbs felt incredibly heavy – which she guessed made sense given her massive size – and moving her body seemed to take an enormous amount of effort. She knew that she could probably move faster, but she didn’t dare actually try to increase her pace beyond the equivalent of a light job, knowing that she’d probably end up levelling half a block if she lost her balance and fell.
Still, she could tell she was getting closer to where Cassandra and the robbers were. Her senses actually seemed a good deal more acute at this size, though being at this height meant she had Los Angeles’s usual shroud of smog limiting her sight.
Before too long, and while thankfully managing not to cause any major damage, she found herself within spitting distance of her target, indicated when a laser blast suddenly punched through the roof of a nearby building and set it on fire. Kate rounded the corner, and found herself looking down on the bank robbers. By this point there were only three left, namely the ringleader and two of his lackeys. They were looking around, and even with their faces covered by armor, Kate could tell that they were terrified. Despite that, Kate couldn’t see Cassandra anywhere.
That changed moments later, when Cassandra suddenly crashed through the wall of a nearby building and launched a barrage of energy attacks at the robbers. The two lackeys were caught head-on by the blasts, and sent flying into the building behind them, knocking them out. At least, that’s what Kate hoped Cassandra had done.
Their leader, however, was made of stronger stuff, and was able to stand back up again, though was clearly hurt. He managed to pick up his rifle and take aim at Cassandra, who began charging up another blast.
“CASS!” Kate called out, her voice now so loud that people as far as Long Beach could probably hear her.
Unfortunately, this didn’t quite have the result she expected. Instead of getting Cassandra’s attention, the lead robber, who had somehow missed her until now, turned to face the enormous form of Kate; even with his face hidden behind a mask, it was clear that he was shocked at the sight of her.
Cassandra, on the other hand, wasn’t to be distracted so easily. Without any hesitation, she hit the lead robber with another energy blast, knocking him off his feet, and sending him head-first into the building behind him. This time, he didn’t get back up again.
Kate looked on in horror. She could only guess that Cassandra had somehow gotten drunk on the power of her gauntlets, that it was affecting her judgement.
“Cass, c’mon, it’s over now! It’s time for you to take those things off.” Kate called out.
Cassandra looked up at Kate, took in the sight of her for a few moments, then gradually floated up into the air, to Kate’s eye level.
“DO NOT INTERFERE.” came Cassandra’s voice. Or at least, something that sounded vaguely like Cassandra. Once again, her voice sounded wrong; overly mechanical, with flat inflections.
“Interfere? With what? You’ve already taken out those guys! Cass, please, it’s over! You don’t need to do anything else!” Kate pleaded.
“OVER? NO. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING. STAND IN MY WAY, AND YOU WILL BE DESTROYED.” Cassandra intoned.
Kate stared at her friend, dumbfounded. After a few moments, however, her resolve steeled.
“Okay, I don’t know who or what you are, but you’re not Cassie Sandsmark!” Kate roared. “She’d never act like this! Give her back to me, or else!”
“FOOL. YOU ARE IN NO POSITION TO BE MAKING DEMANDS.” came Cassandra’s reply.
No sooner had she replied, than Cassandra raised her hands and fired yet another energy blast, this one aimed squarely at Kate’s chest.
Kate stumbled backwards, feeling winded by the force of the blast. Before she knew it, she first crushed a car beneath her feet as though it were made of tinfoil, then crashed through the front of a store, the staff of which had thankfully fled while Cassandra had been battling the robbers. Kate could feel the masonry and glass of the store’s front crumbling around her legs, and within moments her feet were covered in debris, as the store partly collapsed, sending a plume of dust into the air.
“Oh, shit! Sorry! So sorry!” Kate called out, to no-one in particular.
Cassandra stared at Kate in surprise. She had evidently been expecting the blast to do more damage than it actually did. Not to be deterred, she raised her arms and sent another, even more powerful blast into Kate’s body. This one sent Kate reeling backwards again, with her feet and legs bringing down the rest of the store, with the air filling with the sounds of wood cracking and splintering, and concrete crumbling into dust, as the building collapsed into a pile of debris.
“HEY! Cut that out!” Kate yelled, her attention now focused entirely on Cassandra.
Before Cassandra could attempt another attack, Kate suddenly lunged forward and took a swipe at Cassandra. Her swipe actually connected, and sent Cassandra hurtling off to the side, eventually crashing through the front of another building.
Kate was still having trouble getting used to moving around in her newly-enormous body, however; the effort she put into the swipe caused her to lose her footing and fall forwards into one of the buildings that Cassandra had set on fire previously. The building was completely crushed under her unfathomable weight, and the force of her landing was enough to total the buildings either side of it as well. If nothing else, at least her destruction of the buildings managed to extinguish the fire before it could spread.
As Kate gradually picked herself up, Cassandra smashed upwards through the roof of the building she had landed in, and hovered back up to Kate’s eye level. Until this point she had been carrying a generally impassive expression on her face despite the carnage that she’d been causing, but now she looked peeved, to say the very least.
“ENOUGH OF THIS!” Cassandra roared. “NOW, I SHALL PUT AN END TO YOU!”
She then held her hands out, and bolts of electricity slowly began to arc from the nearby buildings and power lines into her body, which in turn started to glow as the power built up within her.
Kate looked on in alarm; Cassandra’s last couple of attacks had hurt even with just the power that was presumably being generated by her suit. She didn’t want to think what a supercharged blast would do to her. But then she remembered something she’d heard in science class a few months prior, something about electricity always taking the path of least resistance to the ground…
Thinking fast, and seeing Cassandra about to attack, Kate quickly dived behind a nearby store, the roof of which featured a huge neon sign. Moments later, Cassandra unleashed her attack in the form of an enormous burst of electricity, and fortunately for Kate, the sign took the brunt of the blast. A few arcs of electricity managed to get through and hit Kate, causing her to yelp in pain, but most of it was absorbed by the sign. Though the process of absorbing the electricity did have the slight side-effect of setting the sign on fire and causing several of the beams holding it together to become red-hot and begin melting, eventually leading to the sign breaking apart and crashing through the roof of the store it stood atop.
As she got to her feet, Kate winced, wondering if she was really making things better, or if her attempts to stop Cassandra were leading to her causing even more destruction than if she’d just left things alone.
As it turned out, however, destruction was exactly what was on Cassandra’s mind right now, especially with her latest attempt to take out Kate having just failed.
“SO BE IT.” she called out, now audibly angry.
With that, she held her hands out, and energy began gathering and forming into a sphere. Kate looked alarmed, recognising it as the same attack she had took out the better part of a block with back at the bank. She quickly weighed up her options, but in the heat of the moment, only one occurred to her. It didn’t sound like an appealing option, but she couldn’t think of anything else…
“Kate?” came a female voice from behind where Kate was stood.
As Kate turned around, she was met with an incredibly relieving sight, namely that of her parents – or rather, Giganta and Fifty Foot Woman – stood about a half-block or so back, staring at shock at the sight of their newly gigantic daughter.
“Wh… what the hell happened to—” Doris began to say, struggling to get the words out.
“MORE OF YOU? NO MATTER. YOU SHALL ALL PERISH HERE!” roared Cassandra, as she turned to face Doris and Nancy, the energy sphere that she was manipulating growing brighter and more intense by the second.
Kate didn’t even really think about what she did next. She just acted on instinct. Without any hesitation, she ran towards Cassandra, then reached out and grabbed hold of Cassandra, clutching her to her chest.
Cassandra, whose attention had been focused on Nancy and Doris, was caught off-guard by Kate’s reckless act. Before she could do anything else, Kate threw herself to the ground, the force of her landing totalling another couple of buildings. Still less damage than just letting Cassandra destroy the entire block, she reasoned.
For a few seconds, there was nothing but silence. In what Kate thought might well be her last few moments, she mentally flashed back over the last couple of years. The day when she had met her true mother for the first time, moving in with her, the moment when she found out that her mother and her girlfriend both happened to be superheroes, getting to meet the rest of the Justice League, meeting and befriending Cassandra, winning the school soccer team’s top scorer trophy the previous year, going out to all those fancy restaurants with her mother and Nancy… even if the first two-thirds or so of her life had been spectacularly shitty, the last five years had made it all worth it.
And then the energy sphere that Cassandra had been generating detonated.
The effects were a lot less spectacular than the first time Cassandra had used the attack, but they certainly had an impact; Kate was sent flying several feet upwards, allowing a powerful blast of air to erupt from underneath her body, shattering the windows of all the nearby buildings, and forcing Doris and Nancy to shield their faces from the flying debris. Kate then landed back where she had been laid before Cassandra caused the blast, and remained there, motionless.
“KATE!” Doris screamed, before she and Nancy quickly made their way over towards their injured daughter.
As soon as they got to where Kate was, Doris flipped Kate over onto her back, revealing a roughly ten-foot-wide crater in the ground underneath her body, with an equally motionless Cassandra laid in the middle. Neither of the two giantesses even noticed Cassandra at first, however. They were too concerned about their daughter, who was visibly burned and bruised across her torso.
“Kate, please, wake up!” Doris cried, as she gently shook Kate by the shoulders, getting no reply.
“Kate, c’mon, don’t do this to us!” Nancy yelled, as she took Kate’s right hand, and then felt her wrist to check for a pulse. She could vaguely feel something, but wasn’t sure if…
Suddenly, Kate coughed weakly. At the same time, Nancy could feel Kate’s pulse becoming more pronounced, to her eternal relief.
“I… mom, Nancy, I’m…” Kate whispered, barely hanging on to consciousness.
“Shh. You’re okay, Kate. You’re going to be okay.” Doris whispered back, before giving her daughter a little kiss on the cheek.
“Mom… not in public.” Kate mumbled, managing to crack a slight smile.
Doris sighed in relief. At the same time, she noticed the bruising on Kate’s torso slowly starting to heal itself. As if her size already wasn’t enough of a hint, this confirmed beyond all doubt that Kate had somehow gotten her hands on the same power that she and Nancy possessed. But now wasn’t the time for an interrogation.
“Cass… is she…?” Kate asked, in-between coughs.
Nancy finally noticed the prone form of Cassandra, and quickly shrunk herself down to a smaller size to check on her. Seeing what had become of Cassandra was still quite a shock, even considering the situation; she was taller, and looked like she’d just walked out of a female bodybuilder’s competition. Nancy didn’t even want to guess what the metallic substance covering her body was.
Before Nancy could check on her, Cassandra’s muscles slowly began to shrink, almost like a gradually deflating balloon. As this happened, the metal substance that covered her slowly began to disappear, with gaps opening up and exposing Cassandra’s skin, before the substance, little by little, retreated into the gauntlets on her hands. Within less than a minute, Cassandra laid naked atop the rubble, and the gauntlets fell of her hands. Nancy picked them up and tossed them aside for the moment, before checking Cassandra’s pulse.
“How is she?” Doris called to her partner.
“Unconscious. But alive.” Nancy replied, looking up towards Doris, and suddenly noticing just how weird it felt, being a mere fraction of her stepdaughter’s size.
“Good. You’d better call this in. We’re going to need medical assistance for these two.” Doris called back.
“You… might want to send someone to check out the building opposite the bank that was robbed earlier. There’s something… on the roof. An ancient treasure from… you know, Diana’s…” Kate whispered to her mother.
Doris’s eyes went wide, instantly grasping the implications of what Kate was saying. “Right, of course. We’ll, uh, send someone to check it out.” she said.
Nancy nodded, held her glove up to her mouth level, and activated the inbuilt communicator.
“Oracle, this is Fifty. Situation resolved, danger has passed for now. Okay to send in rescue teams, and we’re gonna need medical assistance back at the base.” she said.
“Roger that. Thanks, Nancy. Are you gonna need assistance getting back here?” came Oracle’s voice.
Nancy looked up at Kate, once again, who was now holding hands with and being comforted by her mother.
“Yeah… we’ve got a BIG patient here.” replied Nancy.
Thousands of miles away, on an island in the Aegean Sea, there stood a set of ancient ruins that, for the most part, had remained undisturbed for centuries. Archaeologists had visited the site, of course, but for the most part they had been unable to make sense of the site. Its architecture was an unusual mix of Ancient Greek and Roman styles, with a third, unidentifiable style mixed in. It was only in the last few decades that scholars had finally identified this third style, namely as the one unique to the island of Themyscira.
Suddenly, the entire island began to shake, and a crack began to develop on the dais that sat at the heart of the ruins. Little by little, the crack widened, until a cloud of smoke erupted from within the crack, followed by a blinding beam of light.
The tremors built to a crescendo, causing the ruins to slowly come crashing down, then they just as abruptly stopped, as did the burst of light emitting from the dais. When the smoke cleared, it revealed an unassuming, middle-aged woman stood in the dais, wearing a ragged blouse and shorts.
The woman took a few a moments to take in her surroundings, then smiled to herself. After centuries, she finally had her freedom back. True, even with having stolen the body of a careless mortal who happened across her prison, she’d been forced to wait two more years until she could lock onto an energy source powerful enough to attempt an escape, and her attempt to transfer herself into the body of the young superhuman half a world away had failed. But she had become strong enough to free herself. For the time being, at least, she would have to deal with the constraints of this human body. But at least she had access to its memories.
The woman made her way across the island, enjoying the feeling of the sun shining down on her, along with the breeze blowing in from the sea. Before long, she arrived at the campsite that her host had set up when she first arrived on the island. The elements had since had their way with the site, with paperwork strewn around the tent, and her clothing showing signs of damp rot. But there were only two things she was interested in. The first was the wallet containing the woman’s credits cards and passport, which she soon located, and found to be intact. The second was a solar-powered energy cell, which was connected to a satellite phone. She thought it amusing that even after millennia, and with all the advances it hand managed, humanity still relied on the power of the sun for the most basic things. Regardless, she now had everything she needed to finally escape this accursed island.
She picked up the phone, and checked its memory. After finding the entry she had been looking for, she dialled the number, hoping it was still in service.
Eventually, a Greek-accented voice answered, “Marathi Water Taxis, how may I be of assistance?”
“Good evening. I require transport to the mainland, as soon as possible. I am presently on the island of Skyrou.” the woman replied, in a pleasant but formal tone.
“Skyrou… yes, that will be possible. Could I take your name, please, miss…?” the voice on the phone asked.
“Doctor, actually.” came the reply. “Doctor Helena Sandsmark.”
On most days, the hangar technicians at the Justice League’s Los Angeles facility would be working on one of the vehicles owned by the team’s members. The Batplane, for instance, or Wonder Woman’s personal jet. Today, however, they were just milling around the facility, doing bits of maintenance, keeping themselves busy, and trying their hardest not to pay any attention to the two enormous women who were taking up most of the hangar.
By now, Kate’s newfound healing factor had completely healed the injuries she sustained during her battle with the out-of-control Cassandra. Of course, the more immediate issue was that she was now roughly ten times her original height. Doris had taken every step she could to make sure that Kate didn’t face the challenges that either she or Nancy had faced in their respective childhoods, but this was one issue she definitely hadn’t been expecting to be confronted with.
“Are you feeling ready to tell me the full story, now?” Doris asked her daughter, while holding her close.
“You mean, the bit about how Cass turned into a goddess of thunder, or how I ended up like this?” Kate asked, innocently.
“Diana and Nancy will get the truth out of Cassandra.” Doris replied, with a firm tone. “I just want to know how you ended up giant sized.”
Kate glanced towards the floor of the hangar, still marvelling out how small everything looked, and then looked back at her mother.
“I didn’t intend for this to happen.” Kate replied, nervously. “All I wanted to do was find part of that crystal that gave you and Nancy your powers. Ending up like this definitely wasn’t part of the plan!”
“Well, that’s good to know. But I didn’t ask you that.” replied Doris, her voice rising ever so slightly. “The Titaness’s Ruby fragment… where did you find it?”
Kate knew better than to try pulling the wool over her mother’s eyes. Even if the threat of her growing larger to intimidate her didn’t exactly carry the same weight now.
“It was part of the Sandsmark Collection. I don’t think Cass knew what it was.” Kate mumbled.
“Really? And yet she just agreed to hand it over to you?” asked Doris, sternly.
Kate’s face turned red, and she looked away from her mother.
“No, she didn’t. I… I stole it from her.” came the reply.
“You STOLE it?!” yelled a visibly furious Doris. “Jesus fucking Christ! When I was telling you all those stories about the trouble I got into for stealing at your age, which part made you think I was encouraging you to do the same thing?”
“You’re one to talk, mom!” Kate suddenly snapped, looking back towards her mother. “I mean, isn’t the entire reason you’ve got a girlfriend you love, a big house by the ocean, and a place in the Justice League the fact that you stole—”
“That’s not the same thing!” Doris replied, trying to shut Kate up before she could say too much. “You stole from your best friend… hell, your ONLY friend from what you’ve told me!”
“I know! And you know what, mom? I really fucking regret doing that. In fact, I was about to give the ruby back to Cass when all hell broke loose.” Kate sighed.
“Why did you steal it in the first place, then?!” demanded Doris. “I mean, I’d kind of understand it if you wanted to be superpowered as well, but…”
“Well, let me ask you this, mom.” asked Kate. “What effects do your powers have on your health? Or Nancy’s?”
“Uh, what?” Doris asked, dumbfounded. “We’re both perfectly fine, health-wise. And considering how quickly you recovered from taking a blast that would have levelled a neighbourhood, that should clue you in as to how well we heal.”
“Okay, cool. But what did being exposed to those ruby fragments actually do to the two of you? How did it change your bodies? Do you know that?” Kate asked, insistently.
“Umm… not exactly. But the Amazons used it to gain giantess powers, and clearly it did them no harm, so—” Doris began to say.
“Not quite!” Kate said, butting in. “The Amazons used the whole thing, they’re immortal to begin with, and they knew exactly what they were doing with it. Maybe I’m misremembering the story, but didn’t you and Nancy tell me you were both exposed to a small fragment, after some giant alien dude blasted it with energy?”
“Something like that. My memory’s still a bit fuzzy on the whole thing…” Doris replied, before cottoning onto what Kate was trying to imply. “Wait, you were worried there might be side-effects to our powers?”
“Yeah. I mean… I’ve already lost one set of parents. Okay, they were assholes and criminals, so I could cope with that. But you and Nancy… I couldn’t bear to see anything happen to either of you.” Kate whispered, as she held her mother close.
Doris took in Kate’s words, feeling genuinely taken aback. Normally Kate’s disposition ranged from quietly positive to outright sunny, but even she could tell that Kate tended to fret about things at times. For the most part, it just seemed to be what most teenagers worried about – being accepted at school, getting into college, romance, the future… but this was something she hadn’t counted on. Nonetheless, she put her arms around Kate, and smiled reassuringly at her daughter.
“Kate… Nancy and I have gone up against bad guys who want to take out cities, countries, sometimes even the whole planet… and every time, we’ve come out absolutely fine. I don’t think there’s anything you have to worry about.”
“I’d… I’d like to believe that, mom. I really would. It’s just… hard, you know?” whispered Kate.
“Well, if it makes you feel any better, Nancy was the same when I started working with the Justice League. She was so protective of me. Always kept her eye on me during missions, gave me a big hug whenever they were over, yelled at me whenever I put myself at risk…” said Doris.
“So, just being a typical girlfriend, then?” asked Kate.
“Actually, no! Back then, I was just her roomie.” Doris laughed. “But I think the by time we started working together, we were developing more… substantial feelings for one another. Nancy and I ending up together, it was probably inevitable after we took that trip to Themyscira just after I joined the League. But then you showed up, didn’t you?” she continued, giving Kate a little squeeze. “Gave us an incentive to actually try making a go of things.”
“Ooh, I forced you into a relationship with a beautiful woman? I’m so sorry!” giggled Kate.
“Apology accepted!” Doris replied, before looking into Kate’s eyes with a serious expression. “But seriously Kate, I do know how you feel. Because there’s been times when your teachers have told me about other students bullying you, screwing around with you… and I’ve just wanted to grow big there and then, and stop them into the ground.”
“Holy crap!” Kate gasped. “You’d never actually…?”
“I haven’t kept my secret identity under wraps this long by being reckless, Kate. And that’s why neither you nor Nancy is going to have to ever worry about me leaving you.” Doris said, softly, holding Kate’s hand. “Besides, giving you up once was enough to last me a lifetime. I’m never going to do it again, ever.”
Kate smiled, and as a single tear rolled down her cheek, she hugged her mother tightly.
“I love you, mom.” Kate whispered.
“I love you as well, Kate.” Doris whispered back, as she embraced Kate.
As the two hugged, Doris heard a round of applause breaking out. She opened her eyes, and looking over her daughter’s shoulder, saw the assembled hanger staff applauding the two giantesses.
“Hey, we aren’t paying you to watch! Get back to work, pronto!” Doris ordered, grinning slyly.
The staff quickly resumed their maintenance duties, and mother and daughter sat back, leaning against the hangar wall.
“So, um… what happens now?” asked Kate.
“We wait for Diana and Nancy to finish talking to Cassandra. Then we decide where we’re gonna go from there.” Doris replied.
“Just look at her. Sleeping peacefully. Hard to think that just a couple of hours ago she was trashing Los Angeles.” Diana said, as she gazed on the sleeping form of Cassandra. She was tied to a bed in the Justice League base’s medical facility, and hooked up to a heart-rate monitor.
“Are those restraints really necessary?” Nancy asked. “I mean, she doesn’t have those powers she had before, right?”
“Perhaps not. But she still may not be herself. And if that proves to be the case, I wouldn’t want her to get hurt.” replied Diana, as she picked up a small bottle of smelling salts from a table.
“You sure we’re going to get the truth out of her?” enquired Nancy. “From what Doris tells me, she’s always been pretty slippery in that regard.”
“Don’t worry, she’ll co-operate.” Diana said, before waving the smelling salts under Cassandra’s nose.
After a few moments, Cassandra stirred, and then woke with a start. She gasped, and tried to sit up in the bed, but found herself unable to move.
“It’s alright, Cassie, it’s alright.” Diana said, in a soothing tone. “You’re safe now. You’re in the Justice League’s base. But we’ve had to restrain you for your own safety.”
Cassandra, having apparently come to her senses, relaxed her limbs and looked at Diana and Nancy, the latter of whom was still in her full Fifty Foot Woman outfit despite being back at her regular size.
“Right… of course. It’s, uh, good to see you, Auntie Diana. You as well, Nancy.”
Nancy looked utterly dumbfounded. “What?! How did—”
“Uh, yeah.” Cassandra replied, with a sheepish grin. “Truth be told, Ms. Zuel revealed the truth about her superhero identity about a week after I first arrived at her school. I’d kicked some guy’s ass, and I made the mistake of sorta, kinda trying to name-drop Wonder Woman. So, Doris gave me a demonstration of her powers to make it clear I shouldn’t rely on being able to use that as an excuse. After that, it wasn’t too difficult to work out you were her partner.”
“You’ve always had such a good head on your shoulders, Cassie.” Diana said, with a tinge of sadness in her voice. “And yet you insist on acting out in this way.”
“So what?” asked Cassandra, a strong air of defiance in her voice. “I still stopped those bank robbers, didn’t I?”
“’Stopped the bank robbers?’ Do you even have the faintest idea how much collateral damage you caused?” Nancy asked, in clear disbelief.
“Well, maybe I broke a window or two, but compared to blowing up police cars or incinerating cops, I’d call that small potatoes, wouldn’t you?” Cassandra responded, either ignoring or not seeming to understand what Nancy was trying to get at.
Diana tilted her head. Cassandra was rebellious for certain, but there was no way she could have been this blasé about the amount of damage she had caused. Fortunately, there was an obvious solution to this problem.
“Cassie… you know what this is, don’t you?” Diana asked, as she took a long, rope-like object off her belt.
Cassandra grimaced. “Um, is it that Indiana Jones replica whip I wanted for my last birthday?” she asked.
“Not exactly.” Diana said, before gently moving the object so that it was ever so slightly in contact with Nancy’s arm. “Nancy, would you mind telling me what you and Doris were doing in bed last night?”
“Oh, we just snuggled up together and watched a few episodes of House. Though at one point the episode got pretty steamy, and I ended up busting a couple of buttons on my—” Nancy began to say, before realizing what was going on and yanking her arm away. “You know, Diana, I would have told you that anyway!” she muttered, while smirking a little.
“So, it’s the, uh, Lasso of Truth, huh?” asked Cassandra. “Figured it might be.”
Diana didn’t say anything, and simply walked forward, before wrapping the lasso around Cassandra’s left forearm.
“Tell me everything. What are those gloves?” Diana asked, with a firm note in her voice.
“I… I don’t know, exactly. Neither did mom. All I know is that when they’re worn, they make the person wearing them bigger, stronger, and grant a few other abilities as well. I took them out of the Sandsmark Collection at the weekend.” Cassandra replied, in a flat tone.
“What have you used them for?” asked Diana.
“Well, the first thing I did was use them to reduce Jack Todd’s car to scrap metal. He’d gotten a girl in my science class really drunk, taken nude photos of her and passed them around on social media. I wanted to make him pay for that.” continued Cassandra, in a completely matter-of-fact manner.
“Holy crap… I think we’d better keep that detail hidden from Doris.” Nancy groaned.
“What else?” asked Diana.
“Then… I used a police scanner I had bought, found out about the bank robbery. I took Kate there to show the gauntlets off to her, to see me in action. Those robbers were tough, but I knew they’d be no match for me. At least, not until their leader showed up. I was pretty scared of him, to be honest, especially that huge weapon he had.”
“And then what?” Diana asked.
“I… I don’t know. He opened fire on me… then everything after that’s just a blur. I have a few vague memories of flying through the city, blasting things… then I woke up here.
Diana and Nancy raised their eyebrows. This was definitely not what they had expected to hear. But even the most powerful of meta-beings were unable to withstand the Lasso of Truth; there was no way that Cassandra could have been resisting its power.
“Just let me know one more thing, Cassie. Why did you do this?” Diana asked.
“Why? Because I wanted to fight crime. But more importantly, I wanted to find mom. Because you don’t seem to give a damn about her, Auntie Diana.”
This latest response left Diana looking completely shellshocked, and even took Nancy aback. The lasso forced its subjects to be truthful, but it didn’t limit what they could be truthful about. And Cassandra clearly wasn’t holding back.
“That’s… that’s not true!” Diana yelled. “Do you think it makes me happy to know that my own flesh and blood is in so much pain, missing her mother so badly? I’ve done everything I can to try and find your mother, I really have! I just… I couldn’t do it!”
“Diana…” Nancy began to say.
“If you’re worried about me, you haven’t shown it.” was all that Cassandra said in reply. “All that you’ve done is get Ms. Zuel to act as your eyes and ears. You just don’t want to get involved.”
Diana closed her eyes and steeled herself. In the many, many years of her life she had witnessed death on a grand scale, and experienced terrible personal tragedies… yet somehow, Cassandra’s words still cut her to the soul.
“Alright… thank you for telling me everything, Cassie.” Diana muttered, as she removed the lasso from Cassandra’s arm, while looking off into the middle distance.
“So, uh, where are we gonna go from here?” asked Cassandra, her voice now sounding more natural.
Diana thought for a moment, then turned to look at Cassandra with a stern expression. “Well, clearly your aunt and uncle haven’t been able to keep you under control. I can’t let you go back to them.”
“What?! You’re going to send me away from Los Angeles?!” a clearly horrified Cassandra asked.
“Not in so many words. You’ll be going to live with Nancy and Doris at their home.” Diana continued, glancing briefly towards Nancy.
“Hold on, WHAT?!” Nancy gasped.
“Um, really?” asked Cassandra, pleasantly surprised. “You’re going to punish me be making me live with my best friend in a mansion by the sea? Interesting idea, but if that’s what you want…”
“Oh, you won’t be living with Kate. Not at first, anyway.” Diana added. “When she recovers from today’s events, I’m sure she’ll be home. But for now, it’ll just be Nancy and Doris for company.”
Cassandra’s face suddenly turned white as a sheet. “Recovers? Please… please tell me I didn’t hurt her, Auntie Diana!” she stuttered.
“No, you didn’t hurt her as such. She’ll be fine… eventually. But you might want to think about how easily your recklessness could have hurt those nearest and dearest to you.” Diana replied, as she left the room, with Nancy following.
Before she left the room, Nancy stopped at the door and turned around. “Look, Cassie… if it’s any consolation, I know what it’s like. To lose control. If the League hadn’t come along when they did… I don’t like to think what the result would have been.” she said, softly.
Cassandra sighed, and looked at Nancy with an expression of remorse. “Thanks, Nancy. Just… when you see Kate, tell her that I’m sorry.”
Nancy smiled. “I will. I’m sure that when she gets back home, she’ll be glad to see you.”
As Diana strode down the corridor towards the hangar, Nancy caught up with her.
“I think you’re being a little harsh on Cassie’s aunt and uncle. I mean, none of us could have predicted what she was going to do!” Nancy said.
“It’s not so much that.” replied Diana. “You see, I have kind of a seventh sense where the supernatural is concerned. And I could sense the lingering influence of someone or something in Cassie. Something very powerful.”
“SEVENTH sense?” asked Nancy. “What’s your sixth sense?”
“I’d… have to give you a demonstration for you to properly understand it. But that’s besides the point. If whatever it is tries to take control of Cassie again, I want her to be around people who can deal with the problem. And under the circumstances, you and Doris are the best people I can think of.”
“Well, I don’t have any problem with looking after her. But Doris… she might be a little bit sore about the whole thing.” Nancy replied, nervously, before asking, “We did find the Titaness’s Ruby fragment, right?”
“Yes, our clean-up crew was able to secure it and place it in a sealed container. I’ll go to the lab later on and examine it, along with the gauntlets that Cassandra used.”
“Tell you what, why don’t you go and do that now?” Nancy suggested. “And I’ll go talk with Doris and Kate.”
Diana thought for a moment. “Okay, that sounds like a good idea. I’ll check it out, and then get in touch with the scholars from my homeland.”
“Great!” Nancy replied, with a beaming smile. “Then we can figure out how to get Kate back to normal, right?”
Diana briefly glanced around, and then sighed. “Maybe. But there’s no way of knowing. It could be a long time… and that’s assuming she consents to having her powers removed.”
“What?! But I thought…” Nancy began to say.
“Our rule is, we don’t deprive a metahuman of their abilities unless either they consent to it, or their abilities are a danger to themselves and/or others. Kate’s abilities clearly aren’t dangerous to herself, and considering how she saved the city from Cassandra, I don’t think we can make the argument that she’s a danger to others. Meaning we can only remove her powers if she agrees to it.”
Nancy looked crestfallen. “You mean, now Doris and I have to deal with a size-changing teenager?” she asked.
“It might be academic.” Diana replied, shrugging as she did so. “Her abilities might only be temporary. Or, it might turn out we can’t remove her abilities even if everyone involved agrees. We’re just going to have to wait and see.”
Kate closed her eyes and focused. Nothing happened. She tried it again, squeezing her fists as tight as she could, and audibly grunting as she mentally focused on making herself small. Again, nothing happened.
“Umm… what are you doing?” Doris asked, puzzled by the noises her daughter was making.
“I’m trying to make myself small again!” Kate said. “I mean, don’t you say you just focus on being bigger or smaller, and then it happens?”
“I might have said that, but if I did, I was kinda simplifying things.” Doris replied. “You’ll be able to do it soon, but it’ll take practise.”
“Practise? How much?” Kate asked.
Before Doris could reply, a voice called out from across the hanger. “Hey, ladies, how are we doing?” came Nancy’s voice.
“I feel a lot better now. But I’d feel even better if I was my normal size.” Kate replied, as she noticed her seemingly-miniscule stepmother looking up at her. “Whoa, you look so small, Nancy!”
“Now you know what it feels like to look at the world from our perspective.” Nancy replied, as she smiled, before getting an idea. “Hey, why don’t you try picking me up?” she suggested.
“Umm… that’d probably be fun, but I’m still pretty clumsy at this size, so…” Kate began to reply, grinning nervously.
“Relax! You’ve seen how much of a beating we can take. C’mon, just hold your hand flat on the ground, and I’ll get on it.” Nancy said, a reassuring tone in her voice.
“Okaaay… if you’re sure you won’t get hurt.” Kate chuckled, as she laid her hand flat on the floor, exposing her palm.
“Perfect!” Nancy said, as she clambered up onto Kate’s hand. “Now, try lifting me up to your eye level.”
“Right. Uh, I’ll try to keep my hand steady.”
Nancy crouched down, and Kate slowly began lifting her up into the air. When she was younger, Nancy might have gotten motion sickness from Kate’s less-than-steady hand, but a few years working in the Justice League had knocked that out of her. Within a few seconds, Nancy was looking straight into the enormous eyeball of her stepdaughter. Kate was clearly enthralled by the experience, and even Nancy herself had to admit that there was a certain novelty factor to what she was doing.
“Holy crap, this is… amazing! This must be what it’s like for the two of you, right?” she gasped.
“Well, the difference is, we’re probably more likely to pop the bad guys like grapes in our fingers than you are.” Doris laughed.
“Hey, that’s not true! We don’t do that!” Nancy replied, with a smirk. Not that it didn’t get tempting, the thought of holding the scumbags the Justice League fought against in her enormous hands, and crushing them to a bloody pulp… but that wasn’t how they operated in the League.
“Well, I guess some day I’ll be joining you in action, right? Just as soon as I get my powers sorted out, that is.” Kate said, eagerly.
Nancy looked crestfallen, and Doris clearly grasped the implications too. If Kate wasn’t going to willingly give up her powers, assuming that was even an option at all, they were just going to have to deal with their new situation as best they could.
“If… if that’s really what you want…” Nancy replied.
“Yeah, of course! I mean, I don’t want to be this big forever, right? Just as soon as I learn to control my abilities, I’ll be straight back home.” Kate said, still enthusiastic.
Doris put an arm around her daughter, and smiled. “You know we’ll support you, Kate. But it might take time before you’re ready to come home.”
“Time?” Kate asked, suddenly worried. “How much time, exactly?”
“Well… it took me a few weeks to get control of my powers.” Doris said, softly.
“And in my case… it was a few months.” Nancy added.
“MONTHS?!” Kate yelled, looking utterly aghast. “Fuck… I’m probably gonna flunk high school, now! Or be held back for my last year, at least.”
“It’s fine, Kate, it’s fine!” Doris said, hugging Kate even more tightly. “We’ll just tell the school you got hurt in Cassandra’s rampage, and I’ll homeschool you until you’re ready to go back. You won’t miss anything.”
“And it only took me months because I was going through a lot of other problems at the same time. You’re more like your mother, I’m sure it won’t take you nearly as long.” said Nancy.
“Okay… thanks. I think.” Kate replied, sighing slightly. “But still… weeks, if not months in this hangar? That’s gonna get old real quick, to be honest.”
“You’ll be alright, Kate! Besides…” Nancy started to say, as Kate suddenly felt her get heavier. Sure enough, she looked down to see Nancy getting gradually larger. Kate put her down on the hangar floor, and Nancy rapidly expanded, growing to the same enormous height as her partner and stepdaughter, before sitting down next to them. “There’s gonna be at least one of us around to keep you company.”
“Right! And you know what, I’m gonna take a little trip, find an electronic store, somewhere that sells Blu-Rays. We can set up a projector in here, and you can watch whatever you like!”
“That’d… that’d be better, I guess.” Kate replied. “Just so long as you can do something about the floor. Not gonna be fun sleeping on metal.”
“Of course! They’re already digging out the things I used to sleep on back when they were training me. With any luck, they’ll be here by the end of the night.” Nancy said.
“So, in the meantime, why don’t I leave you with Nancy, and I’ll go buy you some stuff.” Added Doris.
“Sure. Thanks, mom.” Kate said, smiling faintly. Even having only been around for the past five years of her life, however, Doris could tell when Kate was putting on a brave face.
“You’ll be fine. We’ll get though this.” Doris whispered, hugging Kate one more time.
With that, Doris began shrinking down to her “normal” size, as Kate looked on, feeling more than a tinge of sadness that she couldn’t do the same thing.
Nancy thought it best to keep Kate’s mind off her immediate situation. “Listen, I thought you might want to know, Cassandra’s fine. And Diana thinks that something took over her mind. When she was blasting up the city… that wasn’t really Cassandra. She’s back to her old self now.”
“She is?” Kate replied, obviously relieved. “Oh, thank god! I knew it, I just knew it. That… thing couldn’t have been Cass, there was just no way! I’m so glad to hear that.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet you are.” Nancy said, putting her arm around Kate. “In fact, when you get out of here and come back home, you might be seeing even more of her…”
As Doris changed into a more respectable outfit in a changing room adjoining the base’s garage, she picked up the receiver of a telephone that was mounted on the wall, and placed a call.
“Hi. Listen, this is Giganta. I’m going to need to interview one of the prisoners, ID number LL2927831A. No recordings, nothing. As far as the official record is concerned, the interview won’t be taking place. Got it? Okay, I’ll be down there in the next hour or so.”
Slightly less than an hour later, Doris walked through the front entrance of a special holding facility just outside of Los Angeles. There were twelve of its kind throughout the world, and the Justice League was partly responsible for operating the facilities that were in America. Within its walls were the most dangerous criminals the world had ever known. Some of them held the kind of powers that made Doris’s abilities look distinctly ordinary. Others, such as the one she was about to interview, were only dangerous in as much as they possessed uncanny intellects, but even so, they posed just as big of a risk as their super-powered counterparts.
“Ms. Zuel.” the warden said, as he greeted her at the front desk. “We have the prisoner in an interview room.”
“Thanks. You didn’t tell him I was coming, did you?” Doris asked.
“No. In fact, he seems under the illusion that Ms. Knight’s the one who’s going to interview him.” replied the warden, as he led Doris into the depths of the facility.
“Normally, she probably would have. But with the incident in Santa Monica this morning, Diana has her hands full.” said Doris.
“I understand. Just be careful. This prisoner is the type who can really get inside your head, make you question what you think you know.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I’m used to dealing with his sort.” Doris replied. Or at least, she was used to dealing with schoolkids who thought they knew how to play mindgames on her. Then again, this prisoner was intelligent enough to actually do that.
“Here we are. Are you doing this alone?” asked the warden, as they arrived at the interrogation room.
“Yep. Doris replied. “Don’t worry, I don’t intend on releasing him from his chains.”
“Well, if anything untoward happens, just hit the button next to the door, it’ll electrify his chains. Hit it a second time, it’ll flood the room with anaesthetic gas, and we’ll send a team in to help you. Good luck, Ms. Zuel!”
Doris entered the interview room, to see a bald, middle-aged prisoner. She swallowed, feeling distinctly uncomfortable at seeing him for the first time in over five years. Not least because she was partly responsible for him being in here.
“Well, well! Never thought I’d see your face again. How has life been treating you, Doris?” the man asked.
“Not… not too badly at all, really. It’s, uh, been a while, hasn’t it, Lex?” Doris replied, slightly nervously.
“Well, it’s my own fault, I suppose.” Luthor said, as he leaned back in his chair. Or at least, leaned back as far as the chains shackling him to the desk in front would allow him to. “I always knew you could never resist a beautiful woman. And yet, I still trusted you with taking out Nancy Archer.”
“Hey, it wasn’t my fault you got caught!” Doris replied, irately. “I still kept Nancy from going into action. And come to think of it, how exactly did you get caught by Wonder Woman? That dam job should have been straight-in, straight-out in ten minutes, tops!”
Luthor looked around, mulling over Doris’s question. “Just promise me one thing, Doris. You didn’t rat me out to the authorities, right? Tell me you avoided blabbing to Nancy.”
“Of course I didn’t tell her anything! Even after all these years, she doesn’t know I used to be in the Legion, and neither do the rest of the Justice League!” Doris replied, before scowling. “Not that it ever felt like I was part of the Legion, anyway. The Justice League can be sanctimonious at the best of times, but at least I feel like I have a place there. What did you ever do to make use of my abilities?” she asked.
“Doris, do you know what your best attribute was? Your mind.” Luthor said, as he sat forward again. “You were the only other person besides me who actually wanted to plan out our operations, to actually achieve things beyond destruction, chaos and terrorism. Sure, I don’t doubt that you’d have made a good human wrecking ball given the right situation. But if you’d gone charging headfirst into a job, odds are the Justice League would have caught you, just like they caught your girlfriend.”
“Okay, maybe you have a point.” Doris sighed. “But maybe if you’d let me know this at the time…”
“Well, it hardly matters now. I’m in here, you’re part of the League, and the Legion is run by a bunch of psychopaths.” Luthor grumbled. “Truth be told, at first I thought you’d ratted me out. But when I sat back and thought about things logically, it makes more sense if one of the others did it. Probably the Joker. I always got the feeling he was ready to pull the rug from under me given the chance.”
“That wouldn’t surprise me.” Doris replied, before asking, “Wait, if you thought I’d ratted you out, why didn’t you do the same for me? I mean, it was, what, less than a month between you getting captured and Giganta joining the Justice League line-up.”
“Ah, well, I’m afraid I’m the Boy Who Cried Wolf in that respect.” Luthor said, smiling sheepishly. “I attempted that many plans to discredit Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and so forth, that if I had blown the whistle on your identity, they’d never have believed me. It wasn’t like you’d ever been seen in public, right?”
“I suppose not.” replied Doris.
“Well, I must say, this has been a nice chat. I so very rarely get to talk to people other than Agent Prince and the guards. But I think we both know this isn’t a social call, so why don’t you tell me why you’re really here, Doris?” Luthor asked, with a steely gaze that seemed to penetrate right to the heart of Doris’s person.
“Okay, then. That device I used for a while just after I joined the Legion, the one which locked me at normal size. Where is it?” Doris asked, figuring it was best to get to business.
“How should I know? The Legion probably has it somewhere, assuming they didn’t lose or destroy it when they cleared out of their old HQ.” Luthor replied, with a shrug, before smirking. “Why are you so interested in it now? I though you had control over your powers.”
“I do, I do.” Doris replied, remembering that she had never told Luthor about Kate, and that having been in prison for so long, he wouldn’t know about her existence. “It’s not for me, it’s for, uh, Nancy. Her control over her powers has never been as good as mine, and sometimes she has nightmares. Having that device would save buying her a lot of new pajamas… and beds.”
“The things we do for those we love, huh?” Luthor chuckled. “Well, like I said, I have no idea what happened to the device you wore. But I did have LuthorCorp produce two other such devices, in case anything happened to the first one. I’m sure they’d be happy to turn them over to you… for a price.”
“That’s fine. Nancy’s family’s loaded for bear, and we get a pretty nice stipend from the League.” Doris replied.
“Ah, no, I don’t mean a price in the monetary sense. Most likely they’ll ask you to do a job for them… destroying a competitor’s prototyping facility, stealing some important blueprints, that sort of thing.” said Luthor, with an evil grin.
Doris momentarily felt uneasy, but quickly steeled herself. Whatever the cost, she knew she was doing this for the right reason. “Alright, then. Who should I speak to?”
“Contact Ms. Mercer, she’s the current chief of operations at the company. She’ll point you in the right direction.” Luthor replied.
“Alright. Thanks, Lex.” Doris said, as she prepared to leave the interview room. “I’ll tell the guards you were cooperative. Maybe they’ll re-instate some of your privileges, if you keep on behaving.”
“My pleasure. And Doris? Can I just say that I’ve always appreciated your… pragmatic approach to things. It’s one thing we have in common.”
Doris stopped by the door, seeming to dwell on Luthor’s words. Then, without looking back at him or saying a word in response, she left the room.
Cassandra was woken from her slumber by the sound of the alarm clock next to her bed. Back at her aunt and uncle’s home, she’d have stayed in bed another hour just to avoid facing the world. But in these new surroundings, she didn’t mind getting up when she was supposed to. Better to take full advantage of this place while she was here, she reasoned.
After shutting off the alarm, Cassandra got out of bed and threw the curtains and windows open, to reveal the Pacific Ocean spanning the horizon, and Ms. Zuel’s and her partner’s swimming pool below the bedroom. Kate’s bedroom was located on the other side of the house, presumably so that she wouldn’t accidentally get an eyeful of her parents being intimate in the pool, to say nothing of doing so when they were both giant-sized. There were no more bedrooms on that side, however, meaning that Cassandra had to take a room on the facing side. Not that she was complaining, mind.
“Cassie!” came a voice from outside the bedroom. “C’mon, time for breakfast!”
“Coming!” Cassandra called back, before opening the bedroom door to reveal Nancy, waiting expectantly. “Say, can I have scrambled eggs today?”
“Sure, if that’s what you want.” Nancy replied, smiling pleasantly. “Come on, let’s go.”
Nancy led her guest into the kitchen. Before Cassandra had the chance to sit down, however, Nancy reached into one of the cabinets and handed her a saucepan.
“Here, cook them in this. Better results than if you use a frying pan. You put it on a gentle heat, and I’ll get you some eggs.” said Nancy, smiling wryly.
“What?! I have to—” Cassandra began to yell indignantly, before quickly coming to her senses. During the last week, despite everything that Cassandra had been responsible for, Nancy had been an accommodating and welcoming host. The last thing she deserved was to be yelled at. “I mean, I have to start heating it up first? Shouldn’t we beat the eggs first?” Cassandra continued.
“Maybe for a larger serving, but for just the one, it won’t matter. I’ll just have some cereal.” Nancy said, taking a box of eggs out of the fridge. As she handed the box to Cassandra, Nancy heard her cellphone ringing. She took it out, and Doris’s name appeared on the screen.
“Hey, Doris.” Nancy said softly, as she answered the phone. “How are things?”
“Could be worse. We’re about to try something new with Kate, hopefully it’ll have results. How are you coping?” asked Doris’s voice.
“Oh, pretty well. Cassie’s not been any bother.” Nancy replied, glancing and smiling at Cassandra, who was breaking the eggs into the saucepan.
“Good to hear. But what about you?” Doris asked.
Nancy was silent for a moment. She gestured towards the salt and pepper for Cassandra’s benefit, then walked through to the living room.
“Nancy?” asked Doris.
“I’m… managing.” Nancy replied, quietly. “But I’ve got to be honest Doris, I’ve been really feeling lonely over the last week.”
“Lonely?” Doris asked, genuinely surprised. “But, isn’t Cassandra…?”
“It’s been nice to have her around, for sure. If she weren’t here, I’m sure it’d be worse. But you and Kate…” Nancy started to say, before suddenly feeling a tear rolling down her cheek. She quickly wiped it away, recomposed herself and continued, “I… haven’t been alone for this long since I met you. You and Kate mean the world to me, Doris, you really both do. I guess this week has given me a glimpse of what life would be without you both, and I, uh… I can’t say that I really like it that much.”
“Hey, hey, gorgeous, it’s okay.” Doris replied, trying her hardest to re-assure Nancy. For all the progress that Nancy had made during their relationship, Doris knew full well that Nancy still tended to depend on others. A consequence of her lonely childhood years, combined with so many years married to her cheating ex, no doubt. And much as she hated to admit it, Doris couldn’t imagine a life without Nancy, either. At least it felt nice to be wanted.
“Sorry. Urgh, maybe I should make another appointment with the psychologist, I mean…” Nancy said, putting her free hand over her eyes.
“Let’s not jump to conclusions yet, babe.” Doris replied, in a soothing tone. “Look, Cassandra’s back at school today, so why don’t you drop her off, then come on down to the base? Kate’ll be glad to see you.”
“Hold on, WHAT?!” Nancy called out, taking her hand away from her face and opening her eyes. “Cassie’s supposed to be back at school today? She never told me that!”
“Oh.” replied Doris, flatly. “Well, I’m pretty sure the school has her cellphone number. And I heard from one of the office ladies that they’d sent out a text informing the students it was re-opening today.”
“I… see.” came Nancy’s icy reply. “Well, now I’m glad I dragged her out of bed early. I should still be able to get her down there on time.”
“I’m sure she’ll appreciate it!” Doris laughed. “Look, I’d better go now, but Kate and I are looking forward to seeing you.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing you both too. More than you can possibly imagine. See you soon.”
Nancy hung up her cellphone, then went to go back into the kitchen. Before she actually did so, however, she closed her eyes, focused on invoking her abilities, and slowly inched upwards, her nightie tightening around her hourglass frame in the process. She wasn’t tall enough for the difference to be immediately obvious, but it was enough to help make her point, if need be.
Just as Cassandra emptied the contents of her saucepan on a couple of waiting slices of toast, Nancy strode into the kitchen.
“Ta-da! What do you think?” Cassandra said, indicating the plate.
“Not bad at all. Nice and light – you should have plenty of time to eat it before we get you to school.” Nancy replied, with a smirk.
“School?! That’s… but I haven’t heard anything about that being open again!” Cassandra protested.
“Probably just an oversight.” Nancy replied, continuing to smile, but now looming over Cassandra. “I’m guessing they sent the message to your aunt and uncle instead of here. Doris told me the school was re-opening today.”
“Doris told you…?” Cassandra asked, her eyes suddenly widening. “Well, uh, Ms. Zuel would know, wouldn’t she? Being a teacher, and… stuff. Yeah, I’m not gonna argue with her. Just… gonna have breakfast, and then get ready for school.”
“Of course. I’ll give you a lift there, then head off to the base.” Nancy replied.
Cassandra silently nodded, then sat down and began quietly eating her breakfast.
“That was easier than I expected. Maybe she genuinely didn’t know that the school was open again today.” Nancy thought. “Either that, or she feels bad for Doris.”
Deep within the Justice League’s Los Angeles base, Doris paced back and forth in the private quarters that she and Nancy had been provided with. It was a bare-bones room that neither she nor Nancy had ever really bothered decorating, due to the close proximity of their actual home. Which was just as well – smiling family photos would be the last thing she needed to see right now, with the dilemma she had on her hands.
Still, lost in her thoughts as she was, Doris was still alert enough that she heard the sound of the room’s door opening. She turned around, to see her partner walking into the room, and no sooner had Doris caught sight of her, than she found Nancy’s arms wrapped tightly around her body, as she rained kisses down on Doris.
“I don’t ever want to be apart from you for that long again!” Nancy said, in-between kisses.
“Mmm… I’ve certainly gained even more of an appreciation for you!” Doris replied, savouring the feeling of her partner’s body pressing into and rubbing up against her own. Deep down she felt the urge to grow, but knew that this wasn’t the time or place. “So, shall we go see our daughter?” she asked.
Doris led Nancy into the hangar that had been converted into Kate’s temporary living space. It had been made a little more homely since Nancy last saw it, with the addition of bedding, a projector system, and a few drapes hung on the walls. However, the biggest surprise was what Kate was wearing.
“Kate! I like your outfit!” Nancy called out to her gigantic stepdaughter.
“Thanks!” Kate replied, seeming to have perked up just a little since Nancy had last seen her. She was wearing a top that looked like a green version of the top half of Nancy’s outfit, and shorts that resembled the lower half of her mother’s outfit. “They had Wayne Enterprises throw it together from their stock of spare materials from your outfits. Think I’m gonna ask for a mask, though. Masks are cool, right?”
“Well, uh, I… guess I’m kinda biased on that, huh?” Nancy chuckled. “But yeah, I think a mask would look good on you.”
“Kate… why don’t you show Nancy what you’ve been practicing?” Doris suggested.
“Yeah, sure! I think you’re gonna like this, Nancy.” Kate replied, as she sat up straight.
Kate closed her eyes, clenched her fists, and focused. After about ten seconds, Nancy realized Kate was slowly starting to dwindle in size. It was barely perceptible at first, but soon she was down to 45ft, then 40ft, then 35ft…
“Come on, Kate!” Nancy urged.
“Don’t distract her.” whispered Doris.
As Nancy, Doris and the other onlookers watched on, Kate reached half the size she had been moments ago. Fortunately, her outfit had kept pace with her size, sparing her blushes. Before long, she was only about 12ft tall. Her shrinking slowed at this point, but still continued. She dwindled to to 10ft… 8ft… 7ft… 6.5ft…
“Nearly there!” Doris whispered, a smile on her face.
The last few inches were the slowest of all, and from Nancy’s and Doris’s perspective, the most tense. Still, Kate continued to shrink, until she finally reached the height she had stood at before all this started. A round of applause went up from the people watching.
“You did it! I knew you could!” Doris called out.
“Come here, give us a hug!” Nancy added, gleefully.
“Oh, believe me, I’m gonna give you both a week’s worth of hugs!” Kate called out, as she got to her feet, then ran over to Doris and Nancy and hugged them both as tightly as she could, savouring the moment.
“You’ve been practicing, huh?” Nancy asked.
“Yep. All week. I’d been able to get down to about 10ft, but I wasn’t able to shrink down the last few feet until today.” replied Kate.
“I had a feeling that Nancy being here would help you with the home stretch.” Doris added, with a smile. Five years ago she’d never have thought it possible, but she was genuinely looking forwards to the prospect of having a normal family life again…
And then, just as quickly, that prospect was torn away again. After a few, quiet moments of the trio enjoying a hug, Nancy and Doris quickly became conscious of the sensation of their daughter slowly starting to feel larger.
“Kate, you’re-!” Nancy cried out.
“Oh, no! SHIT!” Kate yelled, as her body started to rapidly expand. Within a matter of moments she was double the size she had been when hugging her parents, and she continued to rocket upwards towards the hangar ceiling.
Nancy focused, and invoked her own abilities again. The belt on the long dress that she had put on snapped, her feet burst from her heels, and then the dress started to tear apart down the middle, exposing her Fifty Foot Woman outfit. Doris, meanwhile, just stared at her expanding daughter and partner, seemingly in shock.
Kate sat on the hangar floor in silence, as her body continued its growth back to the 50ft height it had been when Nancy and Doris walked in. Nancy soon caught up with her height, and put a reassuring arm around her. Within less than a minute of Kate having started to grow again, both she and Nancy were 50ft tall.
“I’m… I’m so sorry… I couldn’t…” Kate mumbled, fighting back tears.
“It’s alright! It’s fine!” Nancy told Kate, hugging her tightly. “I mean, it’s only been a week, and you can already get back to normal size and hold it for a couple of minutes. It took me over a month, and another few weeks to hold it as long as you did.”
“But you said before that…” Kate began to say, before thinking better of it. She had caused enough problems for her parents without reminding Nancy of her past. “Thanks, Nancy.” she then whispered.
Doris, still normal-sized, continued to stare up at Kate, seemingly pondering something. Finally, she came to a conclusion.
“Kate… you did well, kiddo. I’m just… I’m just gonna head out, and… I’ve got an idea, I just need to make some calls.” Doris said, quietly. Then, before Kate or Nancy could say anything in reply, she hurried out of the hanger.
Kate sat there in silence for a few moments, before bursting into tears.
“Hey, hey. It’s okay, Kate, it’s okay.” Nancy whispered, trying to comfort her crying stepdaughter as best she could.
“Mom hates me now, doesn’t she? I’ve let her down, let you down… fucked up my life, basically.” Kate sobbed.
“No, that’s not true at all!” Nancy replied. “Doris loves you so much. If she didn’t, she would never have taken you back in!”
“But she didn’t have any choice in the matter, though, did she? I mean, dad and… they got themselves arrested, and Social Services basically dumped me in your lap.” Kate said, wiping the tears from her cheeks.
“They didn’t force Doris to take you in, and I didn’t try to push her into it. If she didn’t want you in her life, you wouldn’t be living with us.” Nancy said, looking into Kate’s eyes.
“Well… maybe… but even so, you’re the one who’s with me right now, and she’s…” Kate began to say.
“Doris has always been the calm, controlled one between me and her.” responded Nancy. “She needs to be, really, god knows I get too emotional about things. But there are times when that façade of hers starts to crack, and… she doesn’t like people to see that.”
“Yeah. And it’s cracking because I was stupid enough to try stealing from my best friend.” Kate sighed.
“That wouldn’t even have been an issue if Cassandra hadn’t been using those gauntlets!” Nancy interjected. “Besides, if you hadn’t had that ruby fragment, Cassandra would have done a whole lot more damage before Doris and I stopped her… assuming we could have stopped her at all. I have to admit, what you did, throwing yourself on top of her, it was a pretty ballsy move, Kate!”
“Also a really dumb one.” Kate replied, allowing herself to smile ever so slightly.
“Look, Kate, why don’t we rest up for a bit, and we can try getting you back down to normal size again. I can teach you some of the tricks I use.”
“Sure. But do you mind if we watch some American Dad first?” Kate asked, pointing to the projector system. “I’m kinda tired from the last attempt.”
“Of course, Kate!” Nancy replied, hugging her stepdaughter tightly.
“By the way, how is Cass?” asked Kate.
“Her usual self. For better or worse.”
An hour later, Doris was stood in the Los Angeles hills, looking over the city, and waiting anxiously for her contact to arrive. She briefly wondered whether she was doing the right thing, but quickly reassured herself that she was. Anything she did for Kate – or, for that matter, Nancy – was, by definition, the right thing.
Eventually, a 4x4 slowly drove into view along the path that Doris had taken, before pulling up just behind her own car. The occupant got out, revealing herself to be a woman about Doris’s age, though a few inches shorter, with light red hair that was tied back.
“Ms. Mercer, I assume?” Doris asked.
“You assume correctly.” the woman replied, with a slight smile. “Shall we get down to business?”
“Yes, let’s. But first…” Doris said, as she reached into her pocket and produced a small device. “An electronics disabler. Good to disable any recording devices you have on you, and scramble the signal of any drone you might want to send this way.”
“A reasonable precaution.” Mercer said, as she reached into her purse and pulled out a similar device. “Though personally, I prefer the LuthorCorp version. Longer battery life, and it goes better with my purse.”
“Well, clearly we’re on the same page.” Doris replied, as she put her own device away. “So, you know what I need. What’s the price?”
“All in good time. Wouldn’t you like to inspect the merchandise, first?” Mercer asked, before reaching back into her purse and producing a small box.
Doris went wide-eyed in surprise. “Really? You’re just gonna show it to me like that? You do realize I could just grow big, knock you out and take it?”
“I don’t doubt you could. But I know all about you, Doris. Lex was very loose-lipped when he used to bed my secretary, you see. I know you’re always thinking about the bigger picture when you act. And I’m far more valuable to you as someone who’ll trade information and technology when the need arises.” Mercer replied, her smile growing ever more smug.
Doris ground her teeth for a moment. “Fine, you’re right.” she said. “Okay, let’s see it.”
Mercer handed her the box. Doris opened it, then checked the device in silence for a few minutes. It was a small device that somewhat resembled a blood pressure monitor, with a wrist strap and a couple of controls on the face. Finally, she looked up at Mercer again.
“Looks fine. What’s your price?” she asked.
“Hold on! You’re not even going to try it?” asked Mercer.
“I can do that later.” Doris replied. “Besides, you want me to do something in return for this, right? It’s not exactly in your best interests to cheat me before I’ve even done it.”
“Fine by me.” Mercer said. “All I can say is, salesmen must really love you!”
“I do my shopping on Amazon. Come on, what do you want in return for this?” Doris asked.
With a nod, Mercer reached into her jacket pocket and produced an A4-sized envelope, which she handed to Doris. “This should make things quite clear.” she said.
Doris looked over the contents of the envelope, then raised an eyebrow. “That… is actually a bit less than I was expecting.” she said.
“To tell you the truth,” Mercer said, as she crossed her arms and smiled, “You’ve already done me a massive favour by putting Lex Luthor inside. Since I gained control of LuthorCorp, profits have gone through the roof!”
“Along with your salary, I presume?” Doris asked.
“Hey, some of us are only human!” laughed Mercer. “Anyhow, all I’m asking you to do is help me cement my control over the company. You can do that, right?”
Doris scanned over the documents a few times, then looked back at Mercer.
“Okay… yes, I think I can do what you’re asking.” she said, a mild hint of trepidation in her voice.
“Excellent! I’ll give you a week. And if you were thinking of going back on our arrangement… well, Wonder Woman still has that Lasso of Truth, doesn’t she?” Mercer asked, as she crossed her arms and smiled. “I’d hate to think what might happen if someone got in touch with her, gave her reason to doubt your past…”
“That won’t be necessary!” Doris replied, quickly. “I’ll make sure this gets done.”
“I don’t doubt you will. I’m looking forward to doing business with you again! Take care, Ms. Zuel.”
On that note, Mercer got back into her 4x4 and drove away, leaving Doris stood by herself. After waiting a few minutes for Mercer to get out of range, Doris shut off her electronics scrambler, then took out her cellphone and dialled the number of one of her team-mates.
“Hey, Bruce. Listen, are you anywhere near LA right now? Only, I’ve got a device that needs testing, just to make sure it’s not booby-trapped or… Lucius is in town? Great! Can you ask him to call by JLA HQ? I’ll make sure you’re both compensated for… okay, great, I’ll meet him at the base. And I’ll send him on his way with a bottle of sauvignon blanc for each of you.”
Back in the Justice League’s base, Nancy and Kate were huddled up together. They had spent an hour watching cartoons, then spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon training Kate’s powers, before going back to watching cartoons.
“You know, most of this stuff isn’t bad.” Nancy commented. But I’ve gotta admit, I prefer the classic cartoons. Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, that sort of thing…”
“Hey, I like those as well. It’s just that, you know, I prefer my cartoons to have a bit more of an edge.” Kate replied.
“Well, I guess it’s a generational thing…” Nancy began saying.
“Hey, ladies!” a familiar voice called out. Nancy and Kate looked down, to see the comparatively diminutive form of Doris stood by their feet. “Not interrupting anything, am I?”
“Um… nah. I’ve seen this episode before.” Kate replied. She momentarily looked away from Doris, before deciding that the least she could do was look her mother in the eye. “Listen, mom, I’m so, so sorry for this whole mess…”
“Kiddo, you’ve spent the last week apologizing! And I’ll tell you again, I’m not angry at you!” Doris called back, trying to sound reassuring. “Look, Kate… do you think you can make yourself normal-sized again. Just for a few moments?”
“Uh, yeah. I think I can manage that.” Kate replied, pensively.
“It’s okay, Kate, you can do it.” Nancy whispered. “Just remember what we practiced earlier.”
Kate nodded, and then once again began to dwindle down in size, at a somewhat faster rate than she had done in the morning. As she shrank, Doris opened the box she was holding, and took out the device inside, before slowly moving towards her daughter, as she shrank down to about 20ft tall.
“What’s that thing you’re holding?” Nancy asked Doris, only to be shushed by her partner.
Finally, Kate shrank down all the way to her original height, and stayed there. Without missing a beat, Doris clamped the device she was holding around her daughter’s wrist, and activated the central control button on it.
“OWW! That’s too tight! What are you doing, mom?!” Kate yelled, irately.
“You’ll see in a minute. Just stand up and wait a bit. Nancy, why don’t you make yourself small and come join us?” Doris said.
Nancy quickly shrank down to human size, and joined her partner and stepdaughter. The trio stood around in a silence that eventually became a little awkward.
“Mom, what exactly are we waiting for?” Kate asked.
“You to get big again.” Doris replied, before asking, “Do you feel like you might be growing at all?”
Kate looked down at her body, then back up at Doris. “Come to think of it, no.” she said.
Nancy raised an eyebrow. “You know, I wasn’t timing how long you were able to stay small when we were practicing before. But I’m pretty sure none of our trial runs were this long!” she said.
“Very promising!” Doris said, before adding, “Say, helping Kate practice must have been a thirsty job. Why don’t I get you an expresso, Nancy?”
“Um, sure, if you’d like.” Nancy replied, a little thrown by Doris changing the subject.
“And I’ll bet you’d just love a cocoa, wouldn’t you, Kate? After everything you’ve been through.”
“Well… I certainly wouldn’t say no.” Kate replied, equally bewildered.
“Excellent! I’ll be right back!” Doris said, before hurrying out of the hangar.
Nancy and Kate stood there, looking at each other in confusion for a few moments, before Kate held up her wrist.
“Any idea what this thing is?” Kate asked.
“Not sure. I’ve never seen that before.” replied Nancy.
“Whatever it is, it’s kinda tight. Maybe I should try and loosen the wrist strap.” said Kate.
“I’d just leave it for now.” Nancy said. “Whatever that is, your mother’s put it on you for a reason.” She then eyed the device up before saying, “I think I can guess what it is, but I don’t know where Doris got it from. I don’t remember her having anything like that even when we first met.”
After a few minutes, Doris came into the hangar, wheeling a small trolley piled with sandwiches, drinks, and cakes.
“The kitchen had a few things to spare, so dig in, ladies!” she said.
At the sight of a small buffet of the kind of food she hadn’t been able to eat for a full week, all of the questions Kate had about the device on her wrist instantly evaporated. She instantly rushed over to the cart and began hungrily devouring its contents.
Nancy, likewise, was so overjoyed to see her stepdaughter in such a happy mood that she walked over to Doris and gave her a big kiss on the lips.
“You are such a good mother, you know.” she said.
“Thanks!” Doris replied, before picking a coffee from the cart and taking a well-earned swig from the cup.
“So, what was this thing, again?” Kate mumbled in-between mouthfuls of food, as she pointed to the device she was wearing.
“Something that keeps my – or should I say, our – abilities in check.” Doris replied. “As long as you’re wearing that thing, you’ll stay at your normal size.”
“How long have you had THAT?” Nancy asked. “That would have come in so handy when you and I were… uh, you know… learning to share a bed without…”
“Truth be told, I had an old friend make one for me when I was learning to control my powers. Came in handy but I, uh… accidentally ruined it by spilling whiskey on it. Didn’t matter too much by that point since I had my powers pretty much under control, but after what happened to Kate, I decided to get another one made.” Doris said.
“Well, thanks so much, mom!” Kate added. “It’s pretty small and light, you know. I could probably go back to school tomorrow, if I wore a baggy sweater and have the sleeves cover—”
“School! Goddamn it, I totally forgot I was supposed to pick up Cassie!” Nancy suddenly called out.
Doris checked her watch. “It’s only two-thirty. You should have enough time to put on some clothes and get across town before her day finishes. Take a few things from the cart; no reason for you to miss out!”
“Sure, of course!” Nancy replied, hurriedly grabbing a selection of pastries, then looking at Kate. “Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow, Kate. And hopefully, I’ll see you back home sooner rather than later!”
“Believe me, I’m looking forward to that!” Kate replied, with a grateful sigh. “See you tomorrow, Nancy!” she continued, giving her stepmother a hug.
“Bye, darling!” Nancy said to Doris, kissing her on the cheek.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” Doris replied. “Take care.”
Once Nancy had left, Doris picked up a slice of lemon cake from the cart, and turned to face Kate.
“You know, you’re not far wrong about what you said. In theory, you could go back home tomorrow, use that device, and start living a normal-ish life again.” Doris said.
“’In theory?’ Meaning that I shouldn’t actually do it?” Kate asked.
“You could if you wanted. I wouldn’t stop you. But you see, Kate, the longer you use that device for, the better your body becomes accustomed to maintaining your normal size.” explained Doris.
“Sooo… you mean, if I kept it on too long, I’d lose my powers?” Kate asked.
“Probably not lose them altogether, but they’d become very hard to use.” Doris continued. “However, if you kept the device on for most of the day, but took it off every few hours and let yourself grow big, and did some more practicing changing your size… I reckon that by Saturday, you’d have as good control over your powers as Nancy did when she started working as a superheroine.”
Kate’s eyebrows almost jumped off of her head. “Seriously?! That quickly? But… why, mom? Would you feel safe, with me having this power, able to use it whenever I want?”
“Regardless of how you got it, Kate, you’ve got an amazing gift now.” Doris said, placing her hand on Kate’s shoulder. “I’ve spent so much of my life suppressing who I really am, in so many ways. I don’t want you to have to do the same.”
Kate pondered her mother’s words, then nodded and smiled. “In that case, I’m gonna make you and Nancy so proud of me!”
“Well, focus on doing that at school first. Then we’ll sort out the superheroine stuff.”
“NEXT!” barked one of the many customs officers at Los Angeles airport.
A middle-aged woman with dark blonde hair approached the officer, and handed over her passport.
“Good afternoon.” she said, smiling pleasantly.
“I’ll tell you whether or not it’s good… Dr. Sandsmark.” the officer replied in a gruff tone, without taking his eyes off the passport. He then scanned her passport into his computer. “Says here you’ve been gone for two years. What have you been doing in all that time?”
“That’s not an answer. Researching what, exactly?”
“Archaeology. Ancient Greek ruins, to be precise.”
The officer scowled at her. “Greece, huh? Awfully close to the Gulf. And when an American citizen’s gone for that long in that part of the world, it’s not usually a good sign.”
“Sir,” Helena replied, indignantly, “I assure you I am no threat. I am a respected academic, and I—”
“Respected academic, huh? Well, in that case I’m sure you won’t mind talking to one of our interrogation officers for a couple of hours. I’m placing you into custody for enhanced interrogation. If you require a lawyer, you will be permitted to—”
“I do not have time for this!” Helena suddenly intoned, her irises glowing an unnatural blue-purple colour. “I am a citizen of this country, and you have no right to deny me access!”
The officer’s conscious mind wanted to tell the woman in front of him that she was a pretentious bitch, and to e-mail his colleagues to tell them to keep her awake until midnight before interrogating her. But he couldn’t quite focus himself enough to do the deed. Instead, as his mind seemed shrouded in a haze, he heard himself saying something:
“Welcome back to the United States, Dr. Sandsmark.”
“Thank you. Have a good day.”
As Helena walked away, the officer suddenly slumped forward, feeling nauseous and suffering from a splitting headache, almost like someone had run a cheese-grater over his brain. He looked around in confusion for a moment, and thought about calling security, but some kind of mental block prevented him from doing so. Instead, he resumed his job, and called the next traveller.
Helena, meanwhile, smiled to herself as she walked towards the airport’s exit. Experiencing this strange new world for herself would be interesting. But more importantly, she was going to reclaim what was rightfully hers. And no-one was going to stop her.