CHAPTER FOUR: DEAR GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE
Prodigy was in a small sitting room with Cyrus and Hayden when the news hit. She was right in the middle of explaining some of the Movellians’ recent exploits when Mystique Iris came running in, out of breath and panicked. “She knows,” she panted, her blue eyes alight with fear. “Prodigy, she knows.”
Hayden’s head snapped to her. “Who knows? Did they find out about Mari?” It had only been a little over two days since Mari joined the Trump Team, and she was just getting close enough to suggest a press conference. Hayden grabbed Cyrus’s arm, picking up on the panic and tension in the air.
Prodigy was not in any state to give reassurances. “No,” she snapped. “It’s arguably worse than that. Mystique, barricade the doors. Maybe we can hold her off.”
“Who?” Cyrus asked.
Ignoring him, Prodigy helped Mystique move a cabinet in front of the double doors. She pressed her ear to the door, listened for the moment, then whispered, “She’s coming.” Mystique let out a little squeal.
Straightening, Prodigy turned back to Mystique. “And the others?” she asked.
Mystique just shook her head. “I only escaped ‘cause Myrah managed to shove me out of the door before she came into the training room.”
Prodigy acknowledged her with a tense nod. “Let’s hope Sparrow doesn’t think to teleport in here.”
Cyrus and Hayden were standing now, shoulders pressed together and hands still intertwined. “Who’s coming? What’s happening?”
“They’re all coming,” Prodigy said, her voice and expression grave.
“Why?” Cyrus demanded. “Who found out about what?”
Prodigy turned to him, finally delivering the news with all the solemnity of a police man reporting the death of a loved one. “Jess found out. About you.”
As if they knew the gravity of that situation, Cyrus and Hayden gave a joint shiver.
Within seconds there were footsteps outside the door. Those quickly turned to shouts, then pounds on the old oak. Prodigy stood as still as column of steel. “Brace yourselves,” she said as the cabinet began to slide.
“Uh,” Hayden began, turning to Mystique. “What are your powers, exactly? Can they help us?”
Mystique frowned. “Not really.”
“Are you sure?”
Mystique closed her eyes, brushing her long hair back from her shoulders. As if a wave ran down her body, starting at the crown of her head, her skin turned a purplish blue. She opened her eyes. “That character in X-Men was named after me.”
Cyrus and Hayden stared. “So you can make yourself look like whoever?” Hayden asked, forgetting all about the danger they were in. “That’s so cool!”
“Well, not exactly,” Mystique said, fidgeting. “I can just turn purple. That’s all. They kind of… embellished for the movies.”
“Oh,” Hayden replied, trying not to sound disappointed. He didn’t have to fake it long, because a that moment, the Fangirls broke through the doors.
Jess led the crowd, of course, and her powers were such that the others respected her, moving away to form a half circle around her. She squealed, “CYDEN, OH MY GOD!” before gathering them both in a bone-crushing hug. In such close proximity, Cyrus and Hayden began to feel the effects of her powers too, and the moment she let go, they began to ship themselves.
“Hey,” Hayden whispered to Cyrus, ducking his head a little and running a hand up Cyrus’s arm.
“Hi,” Cyrus replied, grinning. “That shirt looks amazing on you.”
Hayden dropped a kiss on Cyrus’s lips. “Thanks,” he said, an arm wrapping around Cyrus’s shoulders.
That arm was Jess’s.
“AHHH YOU GUYS ARE ADORABLE!” she shrieked, hugging Cyrus again, then shoving him towards Hayden and saying, “Hug!” They did. There was no protest. She smushed their faces together like a mother trying to get two kids to pretend like they at least like each other for one picture. Lucky for her, Cyrus and Hayden did like each other, and didn’t mind at all. They were getting a little freaked out by the audience, though.
“Um,” Cyrus said, glancing around at all the faces peering at them.
“Oh, right,” Jess said. “Um, Myrah?”
Myrah stepped forward, raising her voice and saying, “Get back to work, guys! If you don’t, Prodigy might close the library again, and we don’t want that.”
There were nods all around, and almost everyone filed out of the tiny room. Jess stayed, of course, as did Prodigy and Raven, for some reason. Oscar Wilde hung back, hurrying up to Cyrus and Hayden and shaking their hands. “It’s an honor to meet you two. I’ve heard so much about you from Jess here,” he gave her a look, coughed a little, then continued, “I feel like I know you already. I’m Oscar Wilde.”
Cyrus’s eyes widened. “The Oscar Wilde? The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde?”
Oscar grinned. “Ah, it’s so nice to meet a fan.” He looped an arm around Cyrus’s shoulder and led him off. “Come, let’s go talk about… whatever, really.” Just as they were leaving earshot, Oscar muttered, “Really, I just need some time away from Jess, you understand.”
Jess didn’t seem to hear; she was too busy fussing over Hayden. “Ahhhhh, Hayden! This is all my dreams come true! When you took Cyrus to that record shop - ugh, I think I died. SO cute. And when he chased you all the way here to North Carolia, just-“ She made a face that was the equivalent of “!!!!!!!!”.
Hayden looked a bit taken aback. “How do you know so much about our lives?”
“Prodigy wrote it all down in her books.”
“What?” Hayden asked, sending a glance at Prodigy.
Prodigy smiled. “It’s a completely normal thing to do, and I knew you’d be totally okay with it, right?”
Hayden nodded, accepting this without protest.
“If Cyrus has any concerns, tell him to talk to me, and I’ll get them straightened out,” Prodigy promised. “You won’t believe anything he tells you about brainwashing or anything; you’ll just reassure him that everything is totally normal and maybe he’s the one who’s getting a bit paranoid.”
Hayden nodded again. Prodigy stopped smiling, and Jess resumed fangirling. Raven tapped Prodigy on the shoulder, and jerked her head to the corner. With a sigh, Prodigy followed.
“Prodigy, don’t you think brainwashing Cyden is a little… wrong?”
Prodigy shrugged. “I created them. I’m the reason behind everything they have done or will do. Is it really brainwashing, then?”
“Well, it’s certainly still manipulation,” Raven replied, frowning.
Pretending to think for a moment, Prodigy said, “You know what? You’re right. This is wrong. Just about as wrong as your powers, but, you know.” She raised her voice, “In fact, why don’t I just send Cyrus and Hayden home right now?”
Faster than Prodigy could blink, Jess was across the room, pinning her against the wall. “Don’t. You. Dare.”
Calm, Prodigy raised her brows at Raven as if to say “See?”.
Raven conceded her point with a sigh. “Whatever. Just know that you’re in moral gray area.”
Prodigy grinned. “Raven, I live in moral gray area.”
Only a few moments after Jess released Prodigy from the wall, a voice spread through all their minds. Attention Movellians. I’ve just received word from Diego that Plan Oompa-Loompa is a go. The press conference is scheduled for tomorrow at seven PM. Prepare yourselves. There was a pause, and then Lia continued, Diego also says to please stop clearing away the rats and small rabbits he leaves in the corner of the training room. He was saving those. Lia out.
Hayden swallowed. “Anyone, uh, know where Cyrus went?”
Jess gasped. “Aw, you guys need to comfort each other in the face of impending doom? AWWW! I’ll help you find him, come on.” She dragged him from the room.
Prodigy and Raven looked at each other. “Well,” Prodigy said. “This is it.”
“This is it,” Raven agreed.
They were right.
This was, indeed, it.