Kazim

Bronwyn Pascal's page

1,052 posts. Alias of Cwethan.


Full Name

Bran's Profile

Classes/Levels

Influence:
Influenced by: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Silver Shadow. Influences: Thor Girl, Bioshock, Wingblade, Kaoru, Mercy, The Kilt, Whipoorwill

Gender

Labels: Danger: -1 Freak: 0/3 Savior: 2 Superior: 1 Mundane: 3/1| Conditions: Insecure

Size

A hair under 5'10", just over 150 lbs of muscle.

Languages

English, Spanish, (Latin). Apparently Ancient Welsh and an early Goidelic language. ~1000 characters of Mandarin

Occupation

Chemistry, Sports, Latin, English, World History, Pre-Calc

About Bronwyn Pascal

Hero: The Janus
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Hero Name: Bran the Blessed
Real Name (if different): Bronwyn Pascal
Abilities: Heightened physical abilities, supernatural senses, energy absorption (via enchanted spear). Bronwyn/Bran is just above peak human potential in speed, senses, and durability, but her strength and stamina is clearly superhuman when she unleashes it. She also has a sixth sense for the supernatural that she hasn't gotten a lot of practice interpreting, or even using. A strange outgrowth of her mythic senses is what she calls her Guardian's Vigil. She has a sense for those she is close to, especially when they're in danger. Gae-Dearg can absorb different kinds of energy. She knows it works on magic, electricity and some other things, but she hasn't figured out a safe way of testing exactly what it can handle yet.

Look: As Bran: White, Male, Iconic, Costume, Helmet (He's built like an offensive tackle writ larger and dressed in a stylized version of the armor of a dark ages knight, with a full face greathelm and suit of chainmail she knit herself.

As Bronwyn: Light skinned Latina, Female, track clothes or nice clothes. She has a darker complexion than her alter ego that shows her mixed heritage. While she's clearly fit and muscled she has a relatively rangy build from her hard work in the Halcyon High track team (go Hornets!). Of course ever since she found the enchanted spear Gae-Dearg she's been stronger and faster than ever, but that doesn't stop her from putting in her time in practices. Well usually it doesn't.

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Labels
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Danger : 1
Freak : -2
Savior : 2/0
Superior : 2
Mundane : 0/2

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Influence
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Have Influence on:

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Team Moves
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List your team moves
When you share a triumphant celebration with someone, ask them if they see you as the person wearing the mask or the person underneath. If the former, mark potential and clear a condition. If the latter, take Influence over them if you reveal yourself.

When you share a vulnerability or weakness with someone, tell them a secret about who you really are. Give them Influence, and shift your Mundane up and your mask’s Label down.
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Advancement
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Write down any current advancements.

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Backstory
When did you first put on the mask? Why?: I didn't even know what was going to happen the first time I took up the Spear, Gae-Dearg. I was on a class trip to the museum when some crazy cultists broke in and took everyone hostage while they looked around for the artifacts to bring forth the dark god Balor.

I figured they were nuts, but that made them more dangerous, not less. I'd managed to sneak away when they first rounded everyone up, but soon they started talking about hurting people, maybe they'd hurt Marco.

I held the national highschool women's javelin record, so I figured if I was gonna do something this stupid, I'd do better with a spear. And boy did I. As soon as I picked up the spear, I transformed. I was strong. Really strong. I hit them like a cannonball - they never stood a chance. One of them tried to hit me with some kind of.. spell? I dunno, maybe it was just some crazy laser, but either way when I hit the beam with my spear, it disappeared. Which I guess was pretty lucky. Anyways, they were pretty spooked and ran for it before they could steal much or summon anything. And honestly I was pretty spooked so I ran for it until I could figure out how to turn back.

The spear shrunk down, and I did too, though the spear was barely bigger than a toothpick, and I was still the same size. But now I was strong. Really Strong.

Maybe I should have just left it there, but I've always believed in what super heroes do. I believe that might doesn't make right, but that might should be in service to right. How could I turn that away?

Why do you keep a secret identity?: Are you kidding me? Everyone would freak?! Especially Marco. I feel like I could explain it if I were trans, if I wanted to be this way, but I'm not! I just, I just don't want to keep having the same conversation over and over.

Who, outside of the team, knows about your dual identity? No one! Well, my best friend Mary-Beth, I mean I had to tell someone! And look, I've read Le Mort d'Arthur, I've read the Once & Future King, and when I found a magic Celtic spear, I read the Mabinogion too, but Mary-Beth has this stuff. Down. Cold. She's totally gonna be Indiana Jones or something when she grows up. Or maybe a wizard, she's been trying to figure out what other myths are real, 'cause this thing did NOT come with an instruction manual.

Who thinks the worst of your masked identity: Man, I don't know. I've only been doing this for a few months. I guess, there was one time when I really trashed this one guy, Mr. Brian Murphy's, car when I was chasing after some bad guys - spear right through the engine block. Unfortunately he was an alderman or a city councilman, something like that, and I've been getting some bad press since then. Probably why the powers that be suggested I join up. Which is great! I had no idea how to find a team. Mr. Murphy's still not really a fan though.

Why do you care about the team: They're helping me figure all this out! Well a lot of it. The fighting bad guys and the stuff that might be magic. Not the telling Marco why I'm always so busy stuff; that part I barely talk to Mary-Beth about.

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List Questions, then answers.

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Relationships
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We'll answer these questions in discussion.

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*Any Other Abilites Unique to your Playbook
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The Mask: You wear a mask and hide your real identity. Choose what Label you try to embody while wearing your mask:
❑ Savior
Once per session, you can affirm either your heroic or secret identity to switch your Mundane with your mask’s Label.
When you reveal your secret identity to someone who didn’t know it already, mark potential.

Mild-mannered: When you try to use your civilian identity to deceive, trick, or slip past someone, roll + Mundane. On a hit they buy your facade.
On a 7-9, choose one:
- you’re still under observation
- you leave something incriminating behind
- you’re forced to make a fool of yourself to sell it
On a miss, one of your civilian obligations rears its ugly head.

Dangerous web: When you reveal a trap you’ve left for someone using your powers, roll + your mask’s Label (Savior). On a hit, your opponent trips into it, and you get an opening or opportunity against them. On a 10+, take +1 forward to pursuing it. On a miss, the trap inadvertently leads to a dangerous escalation. (This will sometimes be different ways of reshaping the environment, but will usually key off of absorbing various energies with Gae-Dearg)

Secret Identity
Your mundane life comes with a series of obligations. Choose a total of three obligations.
School: Athletic team (Track & Field)
Social: Significant other (Marco), best friend (Mary Beth)

When time passes, roll + your Mundane to see how you’re managing your obligations. On a hit, things are going pretty well—you have an opportunity or advantage thanks to one of your obligations. On a 7-9, you’ve lapsed on one obligation, your choice. On a miss, you haven’t given your normal life anywhere near the attention it deserves; the GM chooses two obligations that are going to bite you in the butt.

Choose four drives to mark at the start of play. When you fulfill a marked drive, strike it out, and choose one: mark potential, clear a condition, take Influence over someone involved.
When your four marked drives are all struck out, choose and mark four new drives.
When all drives are struck out, change playbooks, retire from the life, or become a paragon of the city:

Earn the respect of a hero you admire
Punch out a teammate
Tell someone your true feelings for them
Break up with someone

I am not my body: When you take a powerful physical blow, you may roll as if you had two fewer conditions marked, but you must Lose Control on a 10+
Potential: 0

Unpowered PBs:

100 m hurdles 17.05 seconds
High jump 1.47m
Shot put 12.77
200 m: 25.8 second
Long jump 5.2 m
Javelin throw: 57.61 meters. (Record)
800 m: 2:12.43

Stuff you'd see in Bronwyn's room:
Posters of her track heroes (like Jackie Joyner-Kersee)
A single poster of Allison Stokke (who she feels bad for, but is NOT one of her heroes) with a cheesy note on it from Marco
A big pirate-looking chest that holds her armoring gear
Icon of St. Sebastian
Regulation javelin
Desk and laptop
Surprisingly big closet mostly filled with outfits she never ends up wearing
Laundry hamper that she wishes she'd tucked away into the closet first.
Dresser filled with the shorts, leggings, and tops that are 90% of what she wears
Assorted plaques & trophies (Athletic, Academic, and Service)
Big group picture of her with her brothers and sisters
Picture of her in a reallllly poofy dress at her quinceañera
Assorted group pictures of friends & (track) teammates
Picture of Bronwyn and Mary-Beth age 5, in a filthy dress and overalls, digging a big hole in the backyard in search of treasure.
Picture of Bronwyn and Marco all spiffed up for a dance
The picture of Wingblade and Whippoorwill she took from the Clocktower

Dramatis Personae:
FAMILY
César Pascal: Bronwyn's papá, a self-help author. An excellent cook when he's not out on book tours, but now that Bronwyn's the only kid left in the house, he's gone much more.

Marian Pascal-Murphy: Bronwyn's mother, an investment banker who's usually sitting on a half-dozen boards at any given moment. She's dialed up her workload in recent years too, but proportionally much less than César.

Anna Pascal: Bronwyn's oldest sibling, a Biology teacher at Franklin High. Least likely sibling to be seen in church (a CAPE Catholic - Christmas Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, and Easter). (Husband: Danilo Hernandez (Math Teacher); Kids: Lucas (13 not a twin), Camila (13, not a twin), Noé (9))

Patrick Pascal: Bronwyn's oldest brother, out of state. First round draft pick, but hurt his elbow in his third major league outing, and after trying to recover in the minor leagues for about a year, retired. He now owns a string of used car lots and apartment buildings, but went through a fairly dark period before then that Bronwyn was only at the very edges of. Separated from Grace Pascal and their son César (who goes by Tony, 10).

Miguel Pascal: Bronwyn's favorite sibling, a lawyer working for the public defender's office. No wife. Never brings anyone to church or home for thanksgiving, but always brings great stories.

Gabriel 'Gabe' Pascal: The sibling Bronwyn sees the most, Gabby's twin. Goes to college here in Halcyon, studying Mechanical Engineering. The one who's most likely to be asked to check in on Bronwyn or stay at the house when both her parents are out of town for a long stretch. Also the one who has (a couple times) bought booze for Bronwyn and her friends.

Gabriela 'Gabby' Pascal: Bronwyn's least favorite sibling. Goes to college here in Halcyon (yep, the same one), studying Pyschology. A lot of friction growing up with Bronwyn, who wanted to tag along with her and her friends, but was an annoying 5-years younger. Then when Bronwyn went hardcore into athletics, they drifted further apart. Most of the outfits Bronwyn never wears (even though she likes them) look like they could be Gabby's. Occasionally asked to watch Bronwyn if Gabe's too busy. Engaged to Tom Wieczorek - no date set.

FRIENDS

Marco Valdez: Bronwyn's boyfriend. They've known each other since they were little kids (same church, same schools), and they've been really close since middle school. He also is part of the track team, also an early entry to Varsity, but despite his prowess he's not the athletic virtuoso that Bronwyn is.

Mary-Beth Browne: They've been friends practically since birth; Marian met Mrs. Browne as part of a new mother mentoring group through their church, so Mary-Beth has known Bronwyn since the third time she ever went outside. She's very bright, and is a fountain of historical and occult esoterica. She's been trying to figure out the truth behind magic and all that since she was a little kid, but ever since Bronwyn found Gae-Dearg, there's a slowly growing power behind her rites.

Veronica 'Ronnie' Jackson: Ronnie is two years ahead of Bronwyn, and is a little annoyed that she's not the star of the track team anymore. She can still outrun Bronwyn in a dead sprint (probably, Bronwyn hasn't been able to go all out against her in a while), but Bronwyn keeps threatening to overtake her, even in her best events. Maybe if Bronwyn made it to practice more she wouldn't be bothered, but as much as she likes Bronwyn, seeing someone with her potential skip out on her team can make her a bit nutty.

Kyle: Bronwyn's first boyfriend. He came out of the closet about 6 weeks into their relationship, and she didn't handle it that well. Not horribly, but... not well.
His nose has a few extra kinks and bumps in it from bullying that only got worse after he was out. The physical bullying stopped abruptly though after Bronwyn was suspended for nearly blinding one of his attackers. That was a few years ago, and is mostly old news, but it's a story that gets dragged out when people want to talk s&@+.

Jacob

Father Rotoli: A Jesuit priest. He believes that he does his best work as a guide rather than a shepherd.

Eliza: A frenemy of Bronwyn's. She's on the track team, and has a thing for Marco. If dating Marco wouldn't be a thumb in Bronwyn's eye she might be less interested.

Eli aka Bioshock: A friend of Bronwyn's, and a teammate of Bran's. One of a very few people who knows that Bran and Bronwyn are the same person. His powers wreak havoc on his central nervous system, so he's currently in enforced retirement after a particularly self-destructive incident that no one really wants to talk about. Was totally over-the-moon in love with Bronwyn, never told her.

Vick aka Hashtag: An old teammate of Bran's, part of the original Team. Had a mildly adversarial relationship with Bran. Well, more accurately, Bran had a mildly adversarial relationship with him. It wasn't anything specific, they just never really clicked, and Bran had to keep forcing himself to be nice. Went on a single awkward date with Shayera, for the life of her Bronwyn can't figure out why Shayera said yes.

Atoms: A hero Bran has had a couple of encounters with. An old teammate of Wingblade's, he has tremendous power, but is currently off on a deep space mission, and hasn't been seen for quite some time.

Mythic Celts
Balor: The Waking Death. A monstrous and nigh-unkillable god, who presently relies on human hosts to express his power in the mortal realm

Ceridwen: Enchantress of fickle morality and devious spells.

Branwen: Sister of Bran the Blessed, obviously coincidental name.

drafts:
"You're just... you're you all the time. Even your disguise is just an insanely beautiful girl, just in cute glasses instead of armor." Her face instantly flushed with embarrassment, And clothes! Of course you wear clothes either way. She swallowed audibly, "Anyways, I just mean... You always seem to sure of where you're going, sure of what's right. And I don't always agree with you, but the point isn't that you're right, it's that you're sure.
You knew that you... wanted me, and you just said so.
It's a little intimidating. I've always known there is such a thing as right and wrong, but the more I look at it, the more my doubts creep in. So many smart people disagree about so much, and I'm just supposed to pick a few of them to trust?

*
Alternate: reflection. I really admire how open you are about everything. Honesty's really important to me, but ever since I got the spear (started helping Bran?) I keep having to lie. I mean, it's only when it's important, or to protect someone. Really, I only lie about who I am.
But then I see you walk around, and you have a secret identity just to keep things simple, but... you just wear it, you aren't twisted up in knots to hide behind it. I really envy that.[/ooc]
*
Track isn't just some extracurricular to me.
*
Dreams that she really is gone
*
To whom much is given, much is expected.
*
"I don't care what the next step is. Just don't land."
*
"I know at some point we'll have to figure out the next steps, but for now, don't you dare land."
*
Her eyes barely flickered from the gorgeous <earrings>, but she made herself say, ”No thank you.”

I'm really touched, Shayera, but umm, I'm not really comfortable with you buying those for me like this. It's too much for you to spend on a whim. Like if this were 10 birthdays or something, but... yeah, no thank you.”

Shayera, I'm not saying you don't deserve this money. But even if you have the money to burn on this, don't you think we could maybe do something better with it? I'm not saying you can't use it for yourself, or for your friends or anything like that, but I don't really need this.
*
Bronwyn gasped as she looked at the price tag, [b]”Shayera, this is beautiful, but it's way too much.”

<If Shayera says or implies that she's pretty or would like to see her in the dress/whatever>

She rolled her eyes, but couldn't help but smile, ”Okay, fine, flatterer. I'll try it on.”

She called out over the divider, voice slightly muffled by her old outfit as she swapped, ”Not saying I'm keeping it though!”

Okay this is ridiculous. When am I ever going to wear this?

I do look really good though.

What am I thinking - I can't go out there in this; Skuld's going to have an aneurysm! Why did Shayera pick this one anyways?

Okay. Okay.

She gave her hemline one last tug.

Okay.

”Well?” She emerged all smiles, ”Going by the sticker price/Apparently I should literally look like a million bucks in this thing.”

Bronwyn looked off to the side, embarrassed, but with a smile slowly spreading across her face, ”You win; I'll keep it. You've gotta help me make sure it doesn't just stay in my closet though, okay?”

<If not>

[b]”I'm really touched, and I know you're not exactly hurting for cash, but... I don't want to have something this expensive just sitting in my closet. Sorry”

<If she pushes> ”Okay, fine, <you get to buy me> one outfit.” Eyes sparkling she teased, [b]”So you'd better make it count.”
*
Rolling her eyes she plunged a hand into her backpack to grab the pair of shorts she'd put there for Shayera, ”What would you do without me?

Get going! I'll get Bran.”
*
”Okay, it's not like we're.. we're comfortable, you know? Like, I don't have to worry about not being able to do something 'cause it costs too much, and when something's important, I get the best stuff for it. Not like crazy high tech, but, even before I got super strength, I could run through a lot of shoes in a year, and they add up.
*
Holy crap.

[b]”You look.. amazing!” She gave Shayera a 'very serious' look, ”You have to get it.”
*
"Why? Because you lied to me Shayera. The first chance you had - the first chance! - you strapped yourself to a G!~*$%ned missile!

Did what we talked about mean anything to you? And don't tell me you were the only one who could help - Skuld was there, and she's basically invincible, [Jusker] was there and he wouldn't have even had to go near it.

Did you even look to see if there was another option?

Of course you stopped it, you stopped the last one too, and you stopped the train before that, and - you keep throwing yourself at these things like it doesn't matter what happens, but you do matter, Shayera!

I need you to know that you matter.

Memory Fragments:
[b]᚛ᚉᚏᚔᚔᚉᚆ ᚓᚔᚉᚆ ᚇᚐᚌᚏᚐᚒ ᚐᚈᚑ ᚆᚔ᚜
"Cryiwch eich dagrau ato hi"

"Bydd eich cariad yn lladd y ddau ohonom"
᚛ᚁᚔᚇᚇ ᚓᚔᚉᚆ ᚉᚐᚏᚔᚐᚇ ᚔᚅ ᚂᚂᚐᚇᚇ ᚔ ᚇᚇᚐᚒ ᚑᚆᚑᚅᚑᚋ᚜

-"Pam y byddech chi'n rhoi drugaredd i'r anghenfil hwn"
᚛ᚚᚐᚋ ᚔ ᚁᚔᚇᚇᚓᚉᚆ ᚉᚆᚔᚅ ᚏᚆᚖ ᚇᚏᚒᚌᚐᚏᚓᚇᚇ ᚔᚏ ᚐᚍᚆᚓᚅᚃᚔᚂ ᚆᚅ᚜

Mae'r llafnau yn ein blaenau, peidiwch â cholli (The blades are before us, do not falter)
᚛ᚋᚙᚏ ᚂᚂᚐᚃᚅᚐᚒ ᚔᚅ ᚓᚔᚅ ᚁᚂᚙᚅᚐᚒ ᚚᚓᚔᚇᚔᚉᚆ ᚐ ᚉᚆᚑᚂᚂᚔ᚜

Mae eich calon yn gorwedd i chi, mae hi'n farw (Your heart lies to you, she is dead)

Bydd Gae Dearg yn ei hatal os oes gennych chi'r cryfder. (Gae-Dearg will stop it if you have the strength.)

Bydd eich cariad yn lladd y ddau ohonom (Your love will kill us both)
*
**
I know. It was just embarrassing! I mean after I like anti-came out it feels really stupid to be like "Okay, yeah, you were right and I was wrong."

Okay, that part was easy. You knew it wouldn't be a problem.

She took a deep breath, forcing herself to look her in the eyes. But umm, that's... not all. I know we just got through telling each other how much we value our friendship, and how we wouldn't let this get in the way or anything, and I mean it and I meant it, but uhh... I have feelings for you.

And if you don't feel the same way I totally get it, and I'm sorry if I freaked you out, but I just - needed to tell you 'cause I knew if I tried to not tell you, then one day I wouldn't remember not to just kiss you, 'cause let me tell you, you're really really kissable...

Oh my God. I'm sorry. I was just gonna tell you I liked you, and not say anything about how beautiful you are or anything, but... She put her face in her hands, then slowly uncovered one eye, "Help. I'm really bad at this."

"Really? You mean..." <She kisses Bron> [b]"Oh. Wow." <vice-versa> You mean... you...[/b] she put her arms around her, you...
She leaned in, "I guess that means we can..." they kissed. ***Needs rewrites***

"Oh crap! I like just told you how to ask someone out better than this. Stay here for just a... No that's too far...

"I got it! New plan." She ducked down and scooped up Shayera into her arms, and took off running "Okay, your turn to hold on"

***

No, of course, I get it. And don't worry, I won't make things weird. It's just a crush, I'll get over it like that. **snap**

***

So? No one's born knowing how to dance. I'll teach you. We'll start off with something nice and easy - salsa! Okay, the basic steps are two quicks and a slow - three steps for every four beats. Listen to the rhythm and watch my feet. da da dun da da dun. Wow Okay, good, but you should move your hips more. She rested her hands on Shayera's

Poetry Slam:
It seems to me to be equal to a god, That man,
That fellow, if it is proper, to surpass the gods,
He sits opposite you
sees and hears

sweet laughter, something which takes
All senses as soon as I see you
Lesbia, nothing is left to me of the
voice in the mouth;

That's... enough for now. May I recommend the Perseus Project if you aren't going to do the translating yourself? Google translate

He stands among the gods an equal, indeed
He surpasses them in my eyes,
He who whenever sitting with you
Can listen to and look upon
your laughing smile time and again.

For such a deed strips
Me of my senses - Whenever
I have seen you, Lesbia,
My voice is overtaken by silence.

My tongue falters, a subtle flame
Flows down my limbs,
My ears tingle and ring,
The light of my days is covered over
in a twofold night.

Inaction, Catullus, is what brings you distress.
Inaction is your cloak, and you revel in its charms.
Inaction has brought cities and blessed kings before you
To ruin.
Very good, Bronwyn, an interesting interpretation of the last stanza in particular. Your parsing seemed a bit loose in some portions, but a lovely translation nonetheless. One quick note, the cities are blessed; it's a feminine ending to the word. Unless you have some reason to think the blessed kings are secretly women of course.

[spoiler=In the Lab]**Description of Bran's Entrance/initial beatdown from Shayera's perspective**
"What-- Bran?!? What are you doing here? Get out! You're messing everything up!"

His voice was hard and blunt. "Shayera, I am not leaving." Bran uncurled his fist, and the hapless labtech dangling from it dropped to the ground in a shaking heap, already scrambling for the new exit. "Go. Do not disturb us."

The rest went.

His body a mass of tension, he walked a brief circuit, stabbing Gae-Dearg into the security cameras and the lights in the outer hall, before dispersing their stored energy into a security door to jam it shut.

Then in a flash, the helmed behemoth was gone, and Bronwyn stood there red-eyed and waiting.

"Have you gone nuts? This is my dad's facility! He's helping me! He's helping –" "How could you do this without telling me?" Her voice was quiet, but cut through Shayera's protests as if they weren't there.

"Bronwyn?? What are you talking about?"

"He came to my house, Shayera. He told me a lot of things. Some of it seemed like what he knew from their experiments. But he said that you thought you weren't capable of love. That you'd gone to him to have him root around in your head until you loved me. He tried to sell you to me in exchange for Bran's secrets. "

"I know you don't like Dad, but that's a low blow, Bronwyn. Not while he's trying to find out more about how I was made. And you said I wasn't built for love."

"I said you hadn't been raised in love, Shayera. I said it would be harder for you. I never said I thought you couldn't."

"Yeah, I want to love you. So why not go to the one who I trust? It's not like I'm going back to the actual lab."

"Because love isn't about crazy shortcuts!"

"This isn't about a shortcut! This is about actually figuring out what's wrong with me and fixing it!!"

"Shayera... Is this for me or for you?

"Bronwyn, you deserve to love someone who can love you back. If I can't, I'm willing to change. To get fixed so that I can." Shayera starts yanking out the wires embedded in her skull. "I'm supposed to be calm for the brain mapping. I've probably messed everything up. I hope Dad'll let me try again."

"Shayera. If you want this for you, that's one thing, but I'm telling you now: I don't want this. Look, He said you were asexual. Is that how you feel? Is that why you think you can't love me?"

Shayera looks at Bronwyn with an expression of hurt, then quickly to shock. "He said?? No! No, that's not... I mean, no. I'm... gay... I'm sure... I mean, just let me fix it! Don't think about that! Just forget that! Please!!"

"Shayera, love and sex aren't the same thing. If you don't want to have sex, that's not wrong. If you really are asexual that's fine, and I love you anyways, and we'll make it work." I hope

Shayera presses her fists to her eyes. "STOP IT!!! I want it! I want it! I want it! Don't listen to him! Don't listen to anyone! Please stop saying that!"

"Why do you want it, Shayera? Because you can't love me if you don't trust me. You can't love me if you can't be honest with me about how you feel. And you can't love me if you don't understand that I'm not wrong to love you."

Shayera looks up, eyes welling with tears. "Why wouldn't you want me to be like you? Why? I've been made the way I am, and if I can be changed, then let me do it!!! I've told you how I feel, and you don't believe me!"

Bronwyn visibly rocked back. "You're right. I'm.... I'm being unfair.” But it's still wrong to change who you are. ”Shayera... can you tell me one thing?"

She wipes her eyes and nods.

"You said I was wrong about how you reacted when you saw me in the bikini. You said you weren't afraid when you were in my room. Did you really go Fight or Flight on me? I don't have your super nose, I can't smell your adrenaline. Is that what happened? Because, if all of this is crossed wires, or if the idea of caring about someone scares you, and that blocks you off, then maybe there's something to fix. But if it's just you, really you, I'd be the monster your Dad thinks I am to go along with this."

It's Shayera's turn to rock back in surprise. She thinks back, and tries to put her thoughts into words. "I... I tried to find you sexy... and I was analyzing your body closely. I let my mind wander, and it started analyzing you as a threat, in case we had to fight. But I snapped out of it! I wasn't going to attack you!"

"Okay." Bronwyn reached up to fiddle with one of the straps of her dress, a demure one she normally wore to church. "Tell me what you're thinking. You don't have to focus or analyze, just look at me, and talk to me." And with that, embarrassment spreading across her face, she slipped the straps over her shoulders, and began to disrobe down to her underwear, pausing slightly before she pulling off her sports bra to see how Shayera was responding.

Shayera blinks nervously. "I... like... it? I mean, I like it! I like you. I like you being... naked." She looks around helplessly, then gestures at her. "I mean, you're pretty! You've got good muscle tone, denser than normal, with a stronger tensile strength than most weight lifters. Good reach--" She pinches her brow and squeezes her eyes shut. "Dammit."

"Shayera. Please. You have to be honest."

Shayera looks up, tears in her eyes. "I see you. I see my best friend. I love you."

Despite all her good intentions, she had to force the disappointment not to show in her voice. I really thought that... I was just fooling myself. "I love you too. What are you feeling- what do you want right now, Shayera? You don't seem scared, or angry, or stressed. I thought maybe... I thought maybe when you saw me like this, it was getting crossed over to weapon-stuff. That's not what's happening though, is it?" But she doesn't fight mad... "Or is the cataloguing just how that manifests for you?"

"Weapon stuff? No! I don't want to fight you! It's just... I dunno... second nature to assess someone in case they make a sneak attack against you."[/b]

"I know. I know you don't want to fight me, but when you see me like this, do your instincts make you think about it more?" Despite those same intentions, Bronwyn's voice was picking up notes of excitement. "Or is it always the same?"

Shayera thinks about that some. "Uh, I don't know. Maybe? I hadn't really thought about it that much. I've only seen you this way... really only that one other time."

"Well... how often do you think about fighting me? Now that we know each other I mean. I know you looked at me like this when we first met."

"Well, that was just a quick glance. Most people I only need a second to figure out how to take them out."

"I know, I get that it was quick, but Shayera, how often do you think about fighting me? Please just tell me? I trust you, and I know you wouldn't hurt me. But I think it might matter.

"Well, not too often. Just sparring and stuff. For practice. And when Whippoorwill is training me., I sometimes wish you were there. And the times I dream... we're sometimes fighting... a bit..."

Puta madre... Do I tell her that's how some of my dreams start? ”Really?”

"Well, I think you could get really good! You're like a young Whippoorwill, without all the scar tissue!

”Did you ever think about fighting Bran or, umm, Skuld?”

"Well, at first, yeah. In case I had to. But that's about it... I guess... Wait. What is this about?"

Oh Shayera, I hope I'm right. God, please, please don't let me hurt her.”I don't think you're asexual, not really. I think they screwed up your wiring."

Confusion wars with frustration on Shayera's face. "What? What does this mean... for us?"

"Well... We'll see." Hastily she began tugging her clothes back on. "If there really is something they did to you that you want fixed, then of course I want to help however I can, but... The sex stuff isn't everything. I'm still hurt that you kept all this from me. Like, you didn't choose to share any part of this, and I think I deserved to know before you had someone shove wires through your skull. "

Shayera gets quiet for a moment, feeling guilty. But she shakes that off and a flash of anger appears in her eyes. "You're hurt? Bronwyn, what was I supposed to say? You took off in a panic when I said I wasn't into you! So I'm supposed to share that I don't find girls attractive!?! Or is it supposed to be okay because I don't seem to feel that way about boys, too?” She pounds her breastbone. "I don't want to be this way! I want to be in love with you, and your body! So I didn't tell you!! I didn't think that was wrong, but I guess it is, since I still apparently can't love right!”

”Shayera, I'm sorry I ran. I was overwhelmed. All of a sudden, all these feelings I'd been having and lying to myself about since I first met you just burst out! You kissed me and I was certain that you had known the whole time. That you knew I wouldn't stay trapped as Bran, that I would come back to you. And if you knew that, if you could tell... then the way I felt about you was real.

“But then just WHAM! That wasn't what you meant, and you were laughing and joking about how you didn't feel that way, and you knew that of course I didn't and I just felt so stupid! Like this idiotic little girl who had no idea how she felt about anything. And I ran.

“But Shayera, then I told you what was happening. Yes, because I thought you might feel the same way, but also because no matter how you responded, I wanted you to understand what I was going through.

“That's the problem Shayera. I know you care for me, and I know you'd do... anything for me. But I need you to want to do things with me. If we're going to be together, it's about us, not just me and you.”

”I'm afraid there'd be no 'us' if I'm not gay! So, fine! You know. So, are 'we' going to try to fix this?

”Shayera... Before we do that, I need to know. If this doesn't work, if you aren't able to change the way you want... Would you still want to be with me?”

Shayera blinks in confusion. "Wh-- well, yes, but you wouldn't want to be with someone not... you know..." She rubs her shoulders and looks away. "Aroused."

Bronwyn gave a guilty blush, "Honestly, it'd make my life easier for a while." She quickly waved her hand to show she was mostly joking. ”Shayera, as much as I value our friendship, I want more. She took a deep, measured breath, "Even if there's nothing to fix, even if nothing changes, will you help me find out what that more could be?"

Shayera throws up her hands helplessly. "Please, I don't understand. Yes, yes I want to. But I still don't get why you don't want me to change! Why can't I make myself into everything you want?"

"Shayera, there might be something to fix, something that was done to you, but... Don't you get how wrong it would be for me to change who you are?”

She shakes her head vehemently. "No! I'm doing this! You didn't ask, you're not doing it to me, I'm doing it for you!”

”Shayera, would you want me to change?”

She shrugs. "I dunno. You could get better at fighting, maybe? I mean, 'if you're not getting better, you're getting worse.' That's what Whippoorwill says sometimes about practice.”

”I mean, would you want me to change so that I wasn't... attracted to you. So that we could just be best friends?”

Shayera looks almost sick. "Of course not."

”That's how I feel about changing you from who you are, or who you're meant to be. That's why I want to go slowly with the idea of changing anything in your head. But if it's what you really want for yourself, I'll help you do it as safely as we can.”

"That's what I'm saying. I want this. I don't know why you don't”

A heat is burning in Bronwyn's eyes as she says quietly, "Shayera... I want it so much. I just don't want you to only do it for me. I couldn't live with myself...

Shayera's shoulders slump helplessly. "Then live with me."

”I'll help.” I just pray I'm doing the right thing.

Shayera almost breaks down. She looks truly happy. "Really? Oh, thank you!!" She rushes forward for a huge glomping hug.

"But we have to tell your... We have to tell Whippoorwill. Even if you trust... your Dad. You know that not everyone he works with is on the level. Maybe we can get Matrix to consult?"

Wingblade looks uncertain about bringing in Whippoorwill. "Uh, You really want her involved?" She looks sick for a moment, then sets her jaw like she's about to take some foul-tasting medicine. "All right. If that's what you want."

"Do you think she'll say no?"

"Eh, I don't know really what she'll say. She not someone you go to for relationship advice."

And it's not like you've told your parents what you're up to... ”You don't have to tell her, I'm sorry I said that. You get to decide who you tell, I just... I dunno, I sorta think she'll know what to do.”

Shayera frowns as she thinks about telling her mentor that she wants to be attracted to girls and plans to undergo an experimental procedure to unlock her sexuality. "I don't know. She probably will say no. She might even get pissed." Her eyes go wide and she stammers, "not about the being gay part! About the..." she reaches up to her head and yanks out another wire as a demonstration.

”It doesn't... it doesn't have to be Whippoorwill. I do want it to be her. But please, someone I trust has to be watching. I would never forgive myself if anything happened to you while you- while we were doing this.”

Bronwyn: Glad you liked it.
Bronwyn: I was kind of hoping we'd be able to grab lunch in the city together, or grab a movie, or go dancing...
Bronwyn: But nooooo instead it's stitches and bactine smell.

[b]"Okay, umm. There's a lot there." Shayera! Why did you tell her?! It's fine. It's fine.

"It can be okay to go on a date with someone to see if there's a connection, but usually you interact some other way first, and then decide that you want your relationship to be romantic.

***
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend"

"Let me see your hand, I’ll tell you your fortune
uh, okay
*tracing lines on her hand* this one is the life line, this is the heart line, and THIS *intertwining their fingers* is the pick up line.

[b]"So... we're gonna stay in tonight."

"Why?"

"Because you have been neglecting your homework. So, we've got you a night without patrols. We've cleared your apartment of 'roommates.' The name of the game is calm and relaxation. So, you, go ahead and grab a comfy robe, I'm going to draw you a bath."

Drove Me Wild by Tegan and Sara -whaaaaaat

"So... if I keep helping people as Bran - as you - what's..."

"Everything happens in cycles, Bronwyn," Branwen qworked, "the shape remains the same, but choices and deeds may change. There is what was, and there is what may be."

"So I don't have to die? I mean, I know I have to die some day, but... I don't have to die like him?"

The raven looked at the head with sorrow glinting in her eyes. "His end is not always this gruesome, but always there is a price to pay."

Bronwyn set her jaw, but couldn't bring herself to respond for a long while. "Well... can you send me back then? Do you know if Alexandra was trapped somewhere?"

"No," Bran whispered. "We did not bring you here, nor can we send you hence. Your allies and talismans might restore you, but you are here by your own choices, and the results of your choices must free you."

Bronwyn's eyes shot open "That's total bull!"

Bronwyn wrote:

"That's total bull!"

Bran's brows grew heavy with anger, and a cold nimbus of light began to shine from Branwen's feathers, but Bronwyn continued nonetheless.

"Look, I get that I chose to help people, and that's true. And I guess I chose to volunteer for that magician's trick. But that's not where this all started. You picked me!"

"Did we?" Branwen qworked.

Bronwyn's eyes were wide, her lips tight.
"Yeah! Back at the museum! The first time, I mean. The first time anything like this happened! Sure I picked up the spear, but what, they'd somehow had robots or something carry it all the way across the Atlantic to Halcyon? Other people picked up Gae-Dearg. Why didn't you let any of them turn into you? Why am I the one who's going to end up dy..."

Slowly she realized that Bran's face was more and more clouded by confusion than by anger, and she stopped.

"Bronwyn," Even this Bran's whisper managed to rumble at the corners of the chamber. "Gae-Dearg is not my spear."

"Yield or die."
"Take it down. To like, a seven"
"Yield or else."

I mean sure, but since I generally find you to be a reasonable person... I mean what's the harm? :-p

And if I did think the guy was being reasonable, either

***

I have never had a long-lasting dye job, so I am totally unable to give you a price-check there :-/
Glad you're enjoying it though! I'd imagine that a bright green would go well with pink, but obviously exact hues will be determinative.

Heh, well since you're the recipient of something like 2/3 of the selfies I've ever sent someone, I'm definitely with you on the 'not obsessively taking selfies' thing :-p

Another Sunday meant another drive with Mrs. Browne, another time wearing one of Mr. Browne's old suits, and feeling guilty every time she saw Mrs. Browne's eyes flash with surprised recognition when she caught Bronwyn in the corner of her vision.

I wish Mary-Beth was coming along too. It's lonelier when I'm actually leaving her behind instead of just getting there and seeing that she didn't come...

As soon as she arrived, she beelined for the donation area. She couldn't afford to put anything in the collection plate, but that didn't mean she had to be selfish. So she took the bag of the clothes that Shayera had bought for her with money from her 'father,' and carefully put them into the bin alongside the other, more worn clothes being given away.

She'll understand eventually... Right?
Maybe she won't even notice. And it's not like I didn't take them, I'm just using them differently than she probably guessed.

I wish I couldn't see how much thought she put into picking out really great clothes for me... Maybe it was just her 'wardrobe consultant' though.

I hope she didn't spend too much time on these. But I hope she would...

She sat back down, instinctively slouching in the pew to avoid another embarrassing encounter with her mom. I can't believe they still haven't called me at Mrs. Browne's...

I was sure they'd at least be willing to talk about it. I know they still love me, just... I thought they'd have called.

Her hearing had always been good, and since taking up Gae-Dearg it was only better, but that didn't mean she walked around in a state of constant awareness, or eavesdropping on every conversation at the edge of hearing. But sitting here with nothing to do except worry about her parents coming, she couldn't help but overhear snatches of conversations.

"-wyn. That's right, the Pascal girl. No she's still here, even if her parents can't bear to show..."

"-ght not make our goal this month. I've told the priests that they have to make a special appeal if we're going to keep up the program, but they..."

"Right over there. I'm telling you. I just saw her drop off
a bag full of these lovely dresses and everything - it looks to me like she might be wearing a lot more suits in the future if you know..."

"- has somewhere to stay though, right?"
"-nny! I swear if you don't sit down right now!"
"I'll ask Anna and make sure. She shouldn't be homeless!"

"You can't be that surprised. It's just what happens if you let your child get exposed to homosexuals. Mark my words, she'd still be with Marco if her parents had stepped in to keep her away from..."

She focused on her breathing instead, trying to bring it back under control as she counted ins and outs.

Okay, okay. You knew not everyone would be okay with it. And there were way more people who saw you than said anything bad. The rest are probably fine with it. Father Rotoli was fine with it! Why wouldn't they be too?

***

The service passed in a blur, but at least during it she couldn't see anyone staring, or giving her sad smiles, or just looking right past her...

She rose to take communion, carefully not listening to whispers as she took her place in line, and gradually filed forward.

""The body of Christ." "Amen."
Suddenly something horrible struck her.
""The body of Christ." "Amen."
That night when Shayera was... I mean, I didn't touch anything. Or not anything wrong.
""The body of Christ." "Amen."
But... I mean, I wanted to.
""The body of Christ." "Amen."
And it's not wrong to want to
""The body of Christ." "Amen."
But... I chose to put myself in that position where I'd be... tempted. And when she thought she should stop, **I** was the one who told her to keep going...
""The body of Christ."
Is that lust in my heart? I wasn't **planning** to do anything, but... God I wanted to see her overwhelmed with- Someone prodded her from behind. Ohmygod. She looked up from her reverie at Father Rotoli, who stood there, wafer in hand.
Ohmygod. Ohmygod. Umm. Umm! "Just a blessing today, Father." [smaller]Better safe than sorry. Better safe than sorry. Father Rotoli nodded, placing the sacred wafer in the hands of his deacon to give a lesser blessing with hands unencumbered. "Receive the Lord Jesus in your heart" He traced the sign of the cross on her forehead. "Amen"
How long was I standing there! Was everyone watching me stand there thinking about her?!

She hustled back to her seat, all of her concentration focused on keeping from bursting into actual flames of embarrassment when she saw him. "Papá?"