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Go-to-bed_Good-Night t1_jea9qz2 wrote

It had really crept up on me. The numbness had come over me like a tide, slow moving and rather undetectable until it starts to whisk your things away from the beach. I hadn’t thought much of it when I stopped brushing my teeth, when the water brushed my toes. I barely even noticed when I started skipping breakfast, when my beach towel got wet. When I stopped reading, a daily habit of mine, I knew something was wrong, when I saw my things drifting off into the water. I was simply too drained to enjoy my favorite pastime. I was too drained to stop the waves as they carried me away from my life’s work. My hero work. That was all I had cared about, bettering the lives of the people around me. But now, I barely cared at all. I floated around my apartment like a ghost, plagued by apathy. I added a cereal bowl to the growing stack of dishes in the sink. I hadn’t gotten to the store lately, so my Frosted Flakes had remained dry on my reused spoon.

I had just sat down on the couch and swaddled myself in a pink blanket that really needed to be washed. The door bell rung and I strongly considered not answering it. I wasn’t expecting any deliveries and I most certainly did not feel like dealing with a salesman right now. I had almost made up my mind, pulling up The Bachelor on demand when I had to reconsider as the person at the door began being rather persistent. Several knocks rattled through the door way as I made my way to the door. Great, just what I needed. A broken door. I briefly considered looking through the hole before opening the door, only to decide that it wasn’t necessary. What’s the worst that could happen? Some serial killer comes to murder me? I laughed at the thought.

I was met by a man with shaggy black hair, who sheepishly pulled his raised hand from the door, clearly poised for another knock.

“Whatever you’re selling I don’t want it.” I turned to slam the door in the man’s face, only to be spun back around by a strong hand on my shoulder. The guy seemed to take in my appearance then, my rats nest of a head and my stained clothes. What? They were comfy! I mustered up my most annoyed look and waited for him to speak.

“Annex?” He asked questionably.

“Yes?” I answered, annoyed, before I realized what I had just done. Annex was my hero persona. I had just confirmed my secret identity to this random guy. Great. Just great.

“I don’t mean to scare you but, I wasn’t sure if you were ok? I mean you haven’t been around to fight recently and…” He cut off his ramble and scratched the back of his neck as I gaped at him.

Maze?! Maze, my nemesis, was standing in the doorway to my apartment. And he knew who I was. Where I lived. And more importantly, this supervillain was socially awkward. Guess that makes two of us.

I didn’t muster up an answer, and it seemed I didn’t need to by the way Maze’s eyes were fixed behind me into my apartment. Probably noticing my collection of pizza boxes. I couldn’t bring myself to be embarrassed though, and strangely found tears coming to my eyes instead.

My body leaned forward, and he seemed to understand by the way his eyes flickered and his arms accepted me into a hug.

“I’m just so tired,” I sobbed, probably transferring my tears and grime onto his clean shirt. “I know,” he mumbled, hesitantly rubbing circles into my back. Slowly he led us inside and we sat down on my couch. It didn’t occur to me that confiding in my nemesis might be a bad idea. He’d never hurt me before, why start now?

“I know the city needs me, but how can I save them when I can’t even save myself. When I can’t even drag my feet out of bed in the morning?” My sobs came back full force, and Maze pulled me against him again.

“I’m here, Annex. We’ll figure it out.”

I may have had to still wait for the tide to recede, but I wasn’t treading water alone anymore.


SpeaksYourWord t1_jedh0rx wrote

Excellent post.

My only critique;

>"What? They were comfy!"

This does not fit with the rest of your narrative style.

You go from addressing a wide audience to addressing a 1 on 1.

I get what you were going for, and I think you would find better reception if you described why the protagonist didn't care and maybe gave a brief description as to why their attire was comfortable enough to escape embarrassment.


Go-to-bed_Good-Night t1_jee3iux wrote

Thanks for this! I was definitely struggling with the style here, so your critique is much appreciated.


PenHistorical t1_jeb69v1 wrote

I stared at the woman on the other side of the door, wondering why she was there.

"Hello? Edgelord? Anyone there?" Viper waved her hand in front of my face.

"It's Blademaster." The words sounded dull coming out of my mouth. For the first time, I couldn't summon the anger her usual taunt roused in me.

"Same difference." Viper crossed her arms and looked me up and down. "Back up. I'm coming in."

"Viper, I'm really not in the moo-." I was not given a choice when she got tired of waiting and shouldered past me, stepping into my apartment for the first time. "-d." I shuffled back to the couch in defeat and flopped onto it, barely able to muster the energy to tuck my feet back under the blanket and readjust the pillow behind my head.

"This - right." Viper pulled out a phone and dialed. I vaguely watched her, my eyes drooping, really not able to care that my nemesis was in my apartment, apparently calling someone.

"Yes, hi Dr. Tamlin!" Viper sounded way too cheerful to me. And Dr. Tamlin? Why would she call him.

"No, it's not for me, it's for Amanda."

Viper knew my normal name. Did I know Viper knew my normal name?

"Yes, Blademaster."

I mean, I knew her normal name.

"Well, you see, I'm literally in her apartment, and she's not trying to kill me, and there's what looks like a month of trash piled up around here, and it smells like something died in here. Honestly, I'm really worried about her."

It doesn't smell that bad. I almost wanted to argue with her, but I couldn't dredge up the energy, and she was right about the garbage.

"Yeah. Do you want me to bring her to you, or do you want to come here?"

I don't need Dr. Tamlin, but I can't care enough to argue.

"Yeah, I can stay with her. Can I clean some of this shit up, or do you want to see it first?"

What, she's going to clean my house now? That's not what a nemesis does.

"Yeah, I can take pictures for you, though," she kicked at a pile of takeout boxes, "honestly this place might be a biohazard at this point."

Really over-stating things there, aren't you. It's not that bad.

"I can stay with her, yeah. Might want to get one of the emergency apartments prepped though."

I think I would be offended if I could bring myself to care. Instead, I was almost drifting to sleep, at this point perfectly willing to leave everything in Viper's hands.

"Yeah, I'll pack a bag for her. Hopefully she's got some clean stuff tucked away, but if not it's not too difficult to run a load of laundry. Might even get a rise out of her if I ruin her favorite shirt with the wrong heat setting."

"Jokes on you, I don't deal with that bullsh*t." I muttered.

"She speaks." Viper retorted in amusement. "Are you telling me you don't wash your clothes?"

I just waved my hand at her.

"Yeah, I'll keep an eye on her while I pack her stuff. Alright. See you soon." Viper hung up the phone and looked over me. I vaguely met her eyes.

"Do you have a bankie you want me to pack for you?" She asked. There was a surprising amount of compassion in her voice for all the snark of the statement.

"Whatever." I closed my eyes.

"Have it your way." I heard her go into the bedroom and start rummaging around, muttering about the smell.

I'm not sure how long I drifted before Dr. Tamlin arrived. Viper had both my big duffel bags stuffed and waiting by the front door along with shopping bag full of stuff from my bathroom. He and Viper discussed by the door, and then I was wrapped in a blanket from my closet and walked out to a car. Viper rode with me, and took me up to one of the emergency apartments usually used by civilians whose homes were destroyed by people like Viper.

In the apartment, Viper took me straight to the bathroom and handed me the bag of cleaning products.

"You can clean yourself, or I can clean you." With those words, she left me alone.

I managed to get the water on and hot and step into it. Somehow it helped, and I was able to fish out my soap, shampoo, and conditioner.

I got halfway through washing when I ran out of energy and just sat down in the tub.

"I heard that. You okay?" Viper poked her head in, and I looked towards the door through the frosted, steamy glass. A moment later, Viper slid the door back and looked down at me, then sighed.

I can't remember ever being bathed by someone else, though my parents must have when I was very young. Viper's hands were gentle on me as she helped me get clean and detangle my hair. There was none of the venom she usually spat in my direction, none of the sarcasm, or ire, or disgust.

Viper bundled me out of the bathroom when I was clean and into the bedroom, where she'd already put out some clothes for me to pick from. One outfit was the kind I usually wore out, and the other was a much comfier outfit. I went with the comfy one, and she stayed with me to make sure I got changed and didn't space out.

In the living room, Dr. Tamlin and I talked for a while while Viper waited in the lobby of the building. Before leaving, Dr. Tamlin gave me a prescription bottle with antidepressants in it, and set up an appointment for two weeks. I wasn't surprised that he'd come already prepared - I've been seeing him at least once a year since I was put on the superhero register.

A few minutes after Dr. Tamlin left, Viper walked back in carrying a bag full of takeout. She poked me until I sat back up on the couch, and pulled two folding tables out of a tall cupboard near the tv. She put one in front of me and dropped a box and a soda on it, then put the next table right next to it and put another box and soda on that. Then she flopped onto the couch next to me and grabbed the remote.

"You can pick what we're watching."

"Viper -"

"Victoria." Viper turned towards me, catching me off guard with the compassion in her eyes. "Here, I'm Victoria, and you're Amanda. We can go back to Viper and Blademaster when you're feeling better."

"You really don't have to do this." I said.

"Apparently I get really bored when you're not around." Victoria shrugged. "Besides, if I annoy you too much, maybe you'll get better faster to get me away from you."

I sighed and reached for the box in front of me. It had everything nachos - my favorite comfort food.

I looked back at Victoria. "Thank you."


vert3432014 t1_jecfroy wrote

>"Apparently I get really bored when you're not around." Victoria shrugged. "Besides, if I annoy you too much, maybe you'll get better faster to get me away from you."

And we have a winner for cutest selfishness ever.


Cooky3000 t1_jec3k9q wrote

This made my day so much better. Thank you.


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