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"But enough of Thurgood," Linda sighed. There's not much else for her to do here. She knows she's abusing this friend of his, someone she only met a few times and this would be the first they were together alon without their very lives under threat. Perhaps she'd been too selfish for her own good. Taking advantage of their familiarity, invading his personal space, even laying claim to his property. Linda Linda now felt bad for Isaac.

"Isaac," she muttered, looking away, her face going scarlet. "I know this is sudden but I don't know how else to repay you. Right now, I have nothing under my name, no properties, no coin. All I have left is what you see before you. This may lower your opinion of me but this is the best I can muster at the moment, all I have is this body of mine."

Linda then raised a delicate hand, offering it to Isaac, her head turned away as if unable to face the man himself. "Take my hand Isaac. Please do this for me. As a friend."

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So many things were running through Issacs mind at that moment that he felt like his head might combust from the friction of all of them moving past each other. Of course there were the standard physical desires that went with being a human being with a functional sex drive. Linda was an attractive woman who seemed to be offering to be physically intimate with him, and his first instinct was to say yes. But there was something else stopping him, the pull of the emotions that he felt in regard to the woman. He knew at this point that he had feelings for Linda, and wasn't sure how this would affect those feelings. Then of course, there was the obvious.

Rising from the couch, he squeezed Linda's hand before pulling away gently and locking the door, mumbling that she could unlock it at any time if she felt uncomfortable. Then he began to undue the clasps for his overcoat, shrugging it off once the last one was loose. As the garment fell away, it revealed an athletic body, slate grey, with green veins glowing under the surface. Finally, he reached up and removed his mask, revealing snow white hair, and glowing green eyes. He walked forward, and took Linda's hand.

"I... I thought you should know what I really look like beneath it all," he said quietly, "And you should know that I care about you a lot. If that doesn't change anything then... then I accept."

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Shock flickered all over Linda's face as her friend laid himself bare before her. This was too much. Too much for a someone like her. She knew it must have pained him to show her the body he has been hiding for so long. Was it a sign of sincerity from his part? Perhaps.

Or perhaps it was Linda who was not sincere enough. Perhaps she should throw all caution to the wind. Unlike him, there was nothing to show in Linda's body. It was just another disposable sack of flesh, one she could easily replace at will and yet here she was taling off her long coat, the very garment that she cannot live without.

Her body was laid bare before the man, her smooth skin. Or what used to be. With her mother's body long reduced to ashes at Shawnee, Linda Linda was forced to use her original body. This was from the time she was Middy, but with appendages adjusted for a more feminine use. With her coat remoced, so too did the glamour of her power disappear. Gone was the smoothness of her skin, replaced with a plethora of deformities. On her the left side of her face was the prominent cut, the one she got when the bastards at Hell's Gate pulled out her eye without anaesthetics. There were the burns from the sacking od Tormo. The bones on her hands were bent, some out of shape. These were her present from that brothel at Izral.There was more numerous cuts and stab wounds all over her limbs and body, each one with a story to tell, but they all accumulated overtime. This body was almost broken and beyond repair, yet this too was her pride- a testament of her resilience, her determination, her ability to overcome death.

"I...I," she stammered as she once more held Isaac's hand, "I guess we both are monsters in our own right." She giggled then, her grip on his arm tightening.

Edited by Thotification

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Issac reached up with his free hand and caressed Linda's cheek, taking in everything about her, "You're not a monster to me."

He leaned in to kiss her, and the moment their lips touched...

"And now a few words from our Valedictorian, Issac Graham!"

The young man nearly jumped out of his seat at the mention of his name by the dean of the college. He had only been half listening as the man had gone through the motions of congratulating the graduating class on their accomplishment. While Issac appreciated the sentiment, he was never the kind of person who liked all the pomp and grandeur that went with such occasions. He was even less the kind of person inclined to give speeches, but he felt he couldn't refuse when he was being given such an honor as valedictorian. So with some reluctance, he stood up, and walked to the podium.

After fiddling with the microphone for a moment, he began, "Uh, hi everybody! I'm not very good at this kind of thing, so I promise I'll keep it brief."

There was a round of polite laughter before he continued, "Well, uh... if you guys are anything like me, you can't believe how lucky you are to be up on this stage. Not that we're here because of luck, but because we are lucky to be graduating now, in this era. The world is changing, and we all have the opportunity to be on the frontlines of that change; to have a real chance to leave the world a better place than we found it. I can't wait to get started. Thank you so much!"

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"Oh Isaac," Linda Linda shuddered at his touch. But that was not all. It seems not even she can control her own self as Isaac's memories seemed to flow into her. She saw him as a young man at the top of his class, reveling in glory. A minor success and yet Linda thought it meant a lot to him. Guess that's another thing she'll like about the man.

But Linda too was not immune to her own power as portions of her memory flooded into Issac...

Middy eyes glossed over the streets of Izral. The brothel was in flames, its depraved services were no more. Justice has been served that day, the Justice that the man named Jericho has promised. Middy was instrumental to this plot as he too hoped to fee these slaves, these children from this perverse and degrading fate. He watched them all file out of the burning brothel, each one finally tasting the freedom they wanted.

Concern flickered on his face as Middy regarded the kids. They would need someone to guide, a semblance of family. Perhaps could give them that. At the very least he could give them a home. At his request, the cartel's ship opened its doors for these poor children and they all flooded into the ship. He'll find these kids a home, consequences be damned. 

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The memories flowing through Issac's mind blended seamlessly into those of a life not his own, of Linda's back when she went by another name, lived as another person. He had always known that her life had been shaped by tragedy and violence, and now he was seeing that first hand. Briefly he wondered what had happened to the others who were standing with her in the memory. Then he felt her pressed up against him, and was brought back into the moment. For the second time that day, he picked her up, and moved over to the house. Carefully, he managed to sit down in such a way that she would be sitting in his lap. As he went back to kissing her, another memory began to take hold.

"Test Log One Two Five. Big breakthrough today! We finally hit upon a mixture that works, combining the newly discovered Alloy One with a number of other arcane materials. We're calling the result Superalloy Zero, a metal with the consistency of mercury with incredible transmugenic potential. If our initial calculations are correct, there is virtually no substance that it can't replicate. The only barrier left is figuring out how to control it, but I already have a few ideas about that. 

Issac held up a vial of green liquid for the camera, "Officially it still just Superalloy Zero, but me and the lab boys are calling it, Aether."

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Linda blinked back the memories that seemed to overwhelm her. She can see so much of him now, the Isaac of the past and the Isaac before her now. But is this the secret he was always guarding? His grand achievement? Linda Linda felt honored that Isaac was willing to share this part of him to her. Somehow she felt that she didn't deserve any of this. But seeing him move her to his lap, Linda's complaints were a loss within the moment. 

Her memories melded with his the same way she melded into Isaac's arms. She pulled him back into her embrace then, her hands finding purchase all over him. Soon the memories would once more take over both of them-


"So you've come, child. I have been waiting," the woman spoke.

"Mother!" Middy roared at the woman, "Your madness has doomed the cartel. You have failed us Lady Blackhead."

The Lady giggled. "How observant of you, child. But then again, there's nothing you can do about it."

Middy stood his ground. "No, I still have one last resort."

"YOU DARE! I RAISED YOU, MIDDY! I-"

"I'm sorry mother but as a member of the cartel, I invoke my right to challenge you to the death for the position of the Black Head."

"YOU WILL REGRET THIS MIDDY! YOU UNGRATEFUL CUR! YOU-"

"Forgive me, mother. But this has to be done." 

And so, Middy spoke his last words to her mother with tears streaming down his face. She may not have been a good parent but Middy was grateful to have one. But he too has an obligation to the cartel. Dredge may have corrupted the Lady but Middy will correct this mistake and with her death, he will lead the cartel on a different path.

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Between the physical and mental processes going on, Issac was beginning to have a hard time comprehending what he was seeing, but subconsciously he was absorbing it all. Occasionally a particularly vibrant memory would break the trance, and he would find himself right in the middle of it. Such was the case of the memory of Middy's last confrontation with the Lady Blackhead. He'd no idea that Linda had gone through something so horrible, and his heart ached for her. But now he felt himself being pulled into a new memory, one he recognized as his own...


"Fifty percent"

Issac stared at the man in disbelief, "That's it? That's the best you can give me?"

Looking around it was obvious that he was in an office of some kind. Heavy bookshelves made of hardwood, and multiple diplomas and awards lined the walls of the space. Sitting behind a large wooden desk was a man with white hair done up in a ponytail, and spectacles that lent him an intellectual look. He looked at Issac and sighed, getting up and pulling a folder from his desk. Walking around his desk, he stood in front of the alchemist.

"You're lucky it's that high. I've never attempted to do anything like this before, nor have I ever seen anything like the device you outlined in your proposal. If it works, you should get what you want, and the device will replace the functions of your heart while using your body to create more Aether. But there are a thousand things that could go wrong, and nobody I can consult with. I'm sorry, but I feel that this is the best I can do."

Issac looked down at the floor, suddenly unsure of the plan he had thought up. He had already destroyed all the files on Aether back at the lab; nobody was going to be replicating his work anytime soon. Logically he knew he should just let it go, let all traces of it fade away so it could never be abused the way his employers wanted. But he also didn't want to throw away something with so much potential to do good. If only he could use it, then he figured he could make sure it was only used for good. He still believed that it could be used for good, and so there was only one thing he could say.

"I'll do it."

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Linda Linda felt for Issac. She had no idea the man had such resolve and determination. In fact, it made her blush. Acts of courage were always her weakness. And also got her killed but she was asking for it that time. But for Issac to divulge the secret of his whole life's work was rather sweet. Now it only made Linda like him more. 

They were lost in the trance, a pair dancing in and out of their dreams to a world of physical and emotional intimacy then back to the land of dreams where their most intimate moments flowed into each other.


"I did it, mother. I finally did it."

The young man raised his eyes to the heavens but was greeted with the cracks and fissures of a breaking dream. The mindscape that was the Lady's realm was slowly breaking apart with what the boy had done. The Lady Blackhead- no, her mother was no more. She had...passed away.

Tears streamed from his eyes to drop over his mother's body. The Lady or whatever was left of her soul was laid bare before the youth, her broken person spread atop his tired laps. The final moments of a mother and son.

The things lost, the things left unsaid. All these the son had thrown away for his duty, for the responsibility the mother had run away from. Now he only needed to take the final step.

"Only a woman can lead the cartel. I had expected as much mother. You had always favored my sister and I know you were waiting for her to take your place as the new Black Head. Please forgive me for claiming this mantle so my sister can live the life she wanted."

The boy's whispers fell on dead ears as the mother breathed no more. He could already feel it, his mother's curse coursing through his body. He was changing. He was becoming a woman. His dead mother will lose a son and would soon have a daughter. His sister will lose an older brother and would be granted a new sister.

"Sometimes, shit happens."

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Memories rose unbidden from the two lovers, flowing from one into the other until it was impossible to know where one ended and one began. It was impossible to tell how long it went on like that, two people intertwined in the most intimate of ways both physically and mentally. When it finally began to fade, Issac found himself laying on his couch, looking up at the ceiling of his office. Beside him lay Linda, who seemed to be coming out of the trance at the same time as he was. At some point one of them had pulled the quilt draped across the back of the couch down on top of them, leaving them pleasantly warm in the naturally cold room. 

Issac looked at Linda and smiled awkwardly, "So... was this a one time thing or... I mean, uh...would you like to be my... you know?"

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Linda chuckled at Issac's remark. His you know what? The man really needed to speak up. Still she can't complain after all that happened. Perhaps it is time for her to move on as well. Her duty as the Mistress is over. Perhaps now she should fulfill her duty for herself. 

With a sly grin, Linda placed a dainty finger on her lover's lips interrupting the man's words.

"No Issac. You are mine."

Yes,she deserved this small amount of happiness. In the end, Linda Linda- no the Mistress will rise again. And with Issac by her side.

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SUMMARY: While conducting some experiments, Issac Graham is visited by an old friend, Linda Linda, who has just moved to the area. The pair catch up with each other for a while before things begin to turn more serious. Through Linda's powers, the two share their memories with each other in an act of physical and emotional intimacy. Once it's over, Issac and Linda begin a relationship

SHORT SUMMARY: Two old friends catch up with each other, and deepen their relationship.

@Ataraxy @Csl

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