All Gods High
I can hold forty-five pound dumbbells at arm’s length without shaking. I know it’s kind of a douche bag thing to do, but I look at myself in the mirror while I do it. I was so weak, SO weak before… I just feel so good when I watch myself lift and looking like it’s effortless. It’s not, but I LOOK like it is.
I get a lot of looks in the school gym when I do that… well, I always got a lot of looks during athletic events, but now they’re admiring ones. Yuki gets mad, which is pretty cute. I like to know she cares.
Right in the middle of a pose, I see my mother in the mirror.
I bet anybody would get startled by seeing their mom during a sexy pose… but for me, it’s just something else. My mother isn’t the type to make day trips.
She’s just as gorgeous as I remember…
I guess I’m still not comfortable with those feelings I have… my mother is so, SO beautiful. And she didn’t raise me, I met her for the first time when I was sixteen years old… so even though she’s my mother it isn’t like I can JUST look at her as a mother. Plus, she’s literally a goddess, so, you know… that.
“M-mom!” I toss my weights down in what I hope is a way that disguises how shocked and awkward I feel all of a sudden. “Mother!”
“My boy,” she says in a gentle, loving, tone as she reaches for me.
I think I was already aware that things were wrong. For one thing, my mother is like, fifteen feet tall. For another, she’s WAY noticeable. If she showed up in a high school gym, there’s be a riot. There weren’t any screams in that moment, though… and I think Mom was only around nine feet tall… but, goddess. Shape changing wasn’t an impossibility.
Her hands rest on the sides of my face, and she looks down at me like I’m her darling little boy. I feel all kinds of heat through my face, and through my chest. I feel… a lot of things at once.
“Wh-why are you here?” I ask, and I don’t know what to do with my hands. I want to embrace my mother, but it feels too strange.
“I wanted to see you,” she says. “I wanted to see my beautiful little boy.”
She caresses my face, and one hand drops to my chest, caressing that too. My throat locks up like it’s filled with rocks, I try to speak and I can’t even make myself breathe.
“Oh, my mistake,” my mother coos. “You really aren’t little are you? You’re my big boy, aren’t you?”
I get out a nervous laugh as I start to put together all the things that are wrong with this situation. The lack of screams, the height… the strange physical affection…
“Mommy wants to see how big you’re getting,” my mother says as her hand drops lower than my chest to the top of my sweat pants.
And then I woke up with a start.
“What’s wrong?” Yuki mumbles, turning over in the bed next to me.
“Just had a dream,” I pant.
“What about?” Yuki asks, barely opening her eyes.
“My mother,” I answer, then shift my posture just in case Yuki might be able to see I have a boner.
That quickly proves to be a tactical blunder as it just prompts Yuki to open her eyes completely and frown as she sees the state I’m in.
“”Do you have an erection?” She asks with an incredulous tone.
“It just happens to guys when they wake up!” I respond, hopping out of bed and heading for the bathroom.
“What happened in this dream?!” Yuki demands, sounding much more awake.
“It was nothing!” I call back, closing the bathroom door shortly before coming face to face with the embodiment of Lust.
“I can tell her,” Luxuria says to me impishly. “If you think it would help.”
Reflexively, I hop backwards and end up hitting my bare butt on the doorknob. It doesn’t feel good.
I reach for where my holy weapon, Dauda Dagr, would be if I were clothed. I know from experience that it wouldn’t help against an enemy of Luxuria’s power, but it still would have made me feel better to have it with me while I was locked naked in the bathroom with a demon. You know, as opposed to having nothing.
“Is that for me?” Luxuria asks, pointing at my erect penis.
“N-no!” I gasp, trying to cover myself up.
“Saving a present for mommy?” Luxuria giggles. Then, leaning forward and in a breathy voice, “I can be your mommy.”
I can’t say that had no effect on me. In my defense, Luxuria can basically affect anybody.
From the other side of the bathroom door, Yuki’s annoyed voice carries through. “Who are you talking to?”
She tries to open the door, hitting me in the butt with the doorknob again.
“OW!” I wince, but don’t let Yuki press her way in.
“There better not be a girl in there!” Yuki snaps. “I KNOW you’re naked right now, Bo!”
“D-don’t come in!” I stutter, shifting so I can more comfortably brace the door.
“Who is in there with you?!”
I breathe hard as I try to come up with something. Yuki has lingering trauma from our first battle against Luxuria, I don’t know how she’d react if she knew the truth.
“It BETTER not be Eve in there!”
“It’s Luxuria, Yuki,” Luxuria says, in a calm, informative tone. All of a sudden the door isn’t trying to push against me anymore. Yuki’s annoyed tone vanishes with her voice, leaving an emptiness on the other side of the suddenly lifeless door I’m pressed against.
“I’ve missed you, you know,” Luxuria calls out to Yuki. “Bo, let her in for goodness sake. Let’s have a proper threesome.”
“It’s okay, Yuki,” I say in a tone I hope is reassuring. “I’m okay, you don’t need to help. I’ll be fine.”
“Awwwww,” Luxuria smirks. “You might be a lot better than fine, my beautiful boy.”
When she says that, I feel a twinge of desire… but also relief. She doesn’t lean forward when she says it, and she doesn’t reach for me. That means she’s just teasing, not looking to… do some of the things she’s done before.
“What do you want from me?” I ask.
“Apart from the obvious?” Luxuria asks, and she DOES step forward and caress me. I end up…. Well, needing to clean the floor later.
“BO?” Yuki’s panicked voice sounds like she’s standing about five feet away from the bathroom door. “Are you okay?!”
Luxuria giggles as I try to regain my composure. “I…. I’m fine, Yuki. I’ll be fine.”
“A…apart from the obvious,” I say to Luxuria, trying to look as though I hadn’t just… that.
“Well,” Luxuria looks me up and down, debating with herself as to whether to toy with me some more. “I suppose I wouldn’t mind if you found out which student managed to get their hands on the Amor Bow. If you could retrieve it for me, even better.”
“Why would I do that?” I ask, feeling a weird mixture of fear and excitement at the possibilities she might offer. “And what the hell is that, anyway?”
“The bow of Eros,” Luxuria says. “And you’d do it because you need to show your gratitude to me.”
I don’t even manage a response. I can’t think of where to begin.
“I just thought,” Luxuria continues in a matter-of-fact tome, “that with all I’ve given you, you’d want to pay me back.”
“I want to pay you back,” I say.
Luxuria watches me with an infuriatingly amused expression. “Those exquisite muscles on your chest,” she says with a lusty glance, “would you have them without me?”
I try to come up with something clever. Nope.
“If I hadn’t broken you so badly that you needed to overcome your limitations, would you have ever made it?” Luxuria has the same little smirk on her face indicating mild amusement as she had when taunting Yuki through the bathroom door. “Without my testing of your relationship, would you and Yuki be as secure in your love as you are now?”
“Me and Eve would be a lot better off,” I growl.
“Oh, Eve?” Luxuria feigns a shocked expression. “That girl you were stringing along until I came through and forced you to admit you didn’t love her how she wanted?”
“It was… It was innocent until you…”
“Innocent?” Luxuria cocks her head. “Is that what it was? It STARTED that way, go on… tell me how innocent it was when you intentionally stringed her on once you realized how she felt about you.”
After what felt like an eternity, she continued.
“So,” she smirked, “I’ll await your ‘thank you’.”
“O…okay,” I answer.
“Mama’s waiting,” she purrs, and vanishes out in a wink.
I almost have to clean more of the bathroom floor… but I manage to hold back.
I do a quick wipe up and flush the toilet before opening the door. Yuki is standing about eight feet away from the door, clutching her hands to her chin. Tears are budding away at the corners of her eyes.
“Are…?” Yuki starts but gets choked up.
I hug her, and she hugs me back. We both cry.
I spend the next couple of weeks trying to figure out who was getting too much nookie. As it turns out, I have no frame of reference. I tried checking Natelie’s feed, which didn’t really help.
I guess assuming the Amor Bow was in the hands of some easily-caught amateur was too much to hope for, but it seems like the kind of artifact which favors the shallow: I mean, I know how I’d use it… if I wasn’t in love with Yuki, I mean. I mean, if I was the kind of guy to wield divine power recklessly just to indulge my own desires.
Sometimes I wonder what I should have done differently with Eve…
I guess rather than wondering what I should have done, I probably ought to figure out what to do NOW. She’s settled in to comfortable denial… maybe that’s best.
My investigation into the Amor Bow gets derailed by student death. As usual.
Travis Piven, 3-F. Cause of death: Fright. It’s the second death by fright I’ve encountered in a year…
We break into Travis’ room, but as usual the police already got all the useful evidence. Some students are saying he was found in the bathroom… the last death by fright I encountered was in a locker room… could be a link of some kind.
A class F death always warrants extra caution, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if every single class F student is a Scion, but the percentage is high enough to say that it’s a possibility. And something that can kill a Scion… well, it can kill me. So, yeah.
As usual, the Occult Club has lots of theories but not a lot of proof. Currently, we think that the Rand Corporation, under the control of the Reverse Vampires, in collusion with the government, is using Karen to frighten people to death. Why Eve’s trainer? Why Travis Piven? No motive we can figure out.
During the next couple of days, we run out dead leads as to who or what kills people by fright. In the past, we’ve found that months can go by without anything solid. James and Desiree, though, announce that they’re getting engaged.
I didn’t see that coming, either. I mean, I knew they were dating…
…not that they were as sickeningly in love as they appear to be now. I’ve never seen either of them be very physically demonstrative, but as soon as they told everybody the “good news”, they’re always holding hands, cuddling… it makes me and Yuki retch.
At the end of the week, Eve and Ryo are going out. Two great athletes… again, it feels weird to me. I mean, Eve wouldn’t start dating without at least telling me first, right?
This doesn’t feel like the work of a villain, exactly… but definitely supernatural.
During club time, I go to the place my search probably should have started: the Archery Club. Basically as soon as I arrive, I notice Emily Tachibana switch out her shooting equipment. Like, as soon as she spotted me. I smile a little at her… not too much. I don’t really want to be either threatening or inviting.
Emily smiles back. A tight-lipped smile.
I decide to pretend she was inviting me to come over and talk, and do just that. One of the other club members tries to tell me not to cut into club time, but I tell him I’m a member of the Archery Club and of course, he believes me.
“Hello,” Emily says to me.
“Hi…” I get a case of nervousness for a second. “…have you heard from Rachel?”
“No, why?” Emily raises an eyebrow.
“I… guess I don’t know where I stand with her,” I say. “We… used to be friends, right?”
“I used to see you two together pretty often,” Emily replies. “…but maybe you misunderstood your relationship.”
“Why do you say that?”
Emily fidgets a bit. “I’ll tell you later,” she says. “After club time, in private.”
I arrange to meet Emily in her room, since if we try to go to mine Yuki will watch us like a hawk and probably misunderstand the situation anyway. I wait at Rachel’s room, getting a lot of suspicious stares until she shows up, carrying a big cloth case for unstrung bows.
As she lets me in, some girl shouts “Don’t get pregnant!” and Emily mimes shooting her.
Emily carefully sets down her bag before turning to me.
“My sister loves Yuki,” Emily says, looking away from me. “Maybe Rachel used to be your friend, but she’s not now. That’s it. You have Yuki and she doesn’t, and basically as long as that’s true she can’t be your friend. If she ever was.”
I don’t know what I was expecting… but not THAT. It’s like a punch to the stomach.
“Wh…” I stutter and my face feels icy cold as blood rushes away from it. “I… isn’t there anything I can do?”
Emily looks as me, and I think she can tell how hard I’m being hit by what she’s just told me. Her expression becomes one of pity.
“You can sit on the bed if you need to,” she says, and I do. My legs feel all wobbly.
“No idea….” I’m saying it more to myself than to Emily. “Wh…why didn’t she ever say anything? Why didn’t she tell me?”
There’s a long and uncomfortable silence.
“I would have… tried…” I trail off.
Emily touches my head, on the top like patting a child.
“It wasn’t your fault,” she says. “My sister was in love with the wrong person. People get hurt when that happens.”
“Don’t I know,” I answer. “Eve… uh, well, you don’t know about that, do you?”
“I knew,” Emily says, then has an immediate expression of regret, as though she very quickly realized she’d said too much.
“It would have been so much simpler,” I sigh, “if she’d fallen for Ryo instead of me, wouldn’t it?”
“It would have spared a lot of people from getting hurt,” Emily answers, not looking nearly as pitying as she had a second ago.
I don’t say anything for a bit, not because I don’t have anything to say, but instead just allowing the moment to become right for me to say it.
“You’d have spared me a lot of pain if you’d made that happen,” I say.
For a second, I don’t think Emily’s going to admit it. Then she says, sounding kind of annoyed, “And Rachel. And Eve. And Yuki. And Me. All of us were hurt by that lust demon!”
“Y-yeah…” I lower my eyes.
“I have a way to stop that from happening again,” Emily glares at me. “It would be wrong not to use it!”
“You can’t decide who needs to be together,” I look at Emily directly. She doesn’t flinch.
“I can!” She snaps at me, and I see slight tears in her eyes, whether from sadness or anger I don’t know. “I can make sure people are happy together!”
“You can’t,” I keep calm, letting Emily’s emotions deflate on their own.
“Why not?!” She shouts. “If you really were my sister’s friend, why wouldn’t you want to fix her?! She doesn’t have to stay hurt!”
“I… I don’t want Rachel to be hurt… I never did. If I’d known what she was going through… I would have wanted to help. I still want to.”
“I can stop her pain!” Emily sniffles a little, and I’m pretty sure now that her tears aren’t from anger.
“You shouldn’t,” I say.
“Why not?!” Emily demands again.
“Because it wouldn’t be love,” I say. “Not real love.”
“So what?!” Emily stares daggers through her tears.
“Love comes with pain,” I answer, the wise old man talking to the emotional youth. “Yuki and I are stronger together BECAUSE of what we went through.”
“What about Rachel?! What about Eve?!”
“M-maybe they’ll be stronger too… but it just… can’t be magically fixed. I… I had to go through so much to make it back to just being… stable. I invented a whole new personality and tried to commit suicide a few times before my friends saved me.”
Emily’s voice cracks as she says, “what about Rachel?”
I stand up, and exert a supernatural influence over Emily’s emotions as I say “I don’t know… but I promise I’ll help you to help her. We won’t abandon her, just like my friends didn’t abandon me. We’ll make her okay.”
Luxuria meets me outside my room, leaning against a wall.
“You knew where this was the whole time, didn’t you?” I ask, handing over the Bow of Amor.
“Maybe I just like having you as my servant,” she smirks as she bites her lower lip. “I could force you to like a LOT of things, you know.”
Reflexively, I back away from her.
“Oh stop,” Luxuria giggles. “I’m done with you… for now. Do you have anything to tell me?”
“Th…thank you,” I force out. “I…even though you hurt me so bad… I… really am better because of you. And I see why you’re important.”
Without a further word, Luxuria vanishes.