22 - How Many Megatons

Behind her head is the counter at Olympic Pizza. Whatever. Kissing just-re-collared Boobsong.

I push my tongue in further and fuck, she clings tighter and I hold her tighter, her face and body are so soft and her grip so beloved--

[question tail] [snowplow] [open door] [parking meter]

I push against her face and pull out,

"Good question. Like I was getting the idea we had to do the apocalypse first. Um. We don't get to know, apparently."

[toasting marshmallows] [snowplow] [party tables].

"Let's see then. Hah. The first thing we were doing leaving was going to Dunkin's."

I click her snuggle, and she slides down to my side and puts her arms around my middle, and I turn around. Teehee of course Cupid's favorite pizza joint is Olympic Pizza.

Everything's just like we left it, with the Sugarfreaks still asleep in each other's laps, my red sister still clicking away on her heartchild, chocolate stuff still all over the table. Formerly-Agatha's seat even still smells like dragon's fire a little.

"Hello sister. Have we been gone long?"

"Just four seconds. Did your time loop back? When I visit my heartchild's planet, I come back as soon as I leave, even if I stay there a long time."

"Acme Station and Mintie's castle are like that too--cool, you have a planet? What's it like?"

"It's all kinds of different experiences. I don't really know what I'm like yet, so we're just trying everything."

"Well, two ways know you are are making me happy, and very wise--"

She looks at the door as I talk, and cold air washes over me and Boobsong, and I look too. Watch this be a modern Venus follower.

A rainbow-mittened hand has the door handle, attached to an arm in a black poofy jacket, attached to someone coming out of that same black void that's making the time weirdness here work.

A girl with a grey scarf and the rest of the jacket and Cat In the Hat Hat comes in, looks at us, stares, the door nudges her and she sidesteps so it can close.

"Hi!"

Click, wave! Boobsong's arm that's around my front goes up to wave.

The girl looks at Boobsong, puts her mittens up to her face...and the door opens, and we all look.

This time the hand is high on the door's frame instead of the handle, and it's bare, and in a shirt and navy blue suit jacket with a plain brass cufflink and a row of buttons on the jacket's cuff. A tall thin girl with hair that's buzzed on the sides and gel-tousled on top follows it. Her jacket is kind of Beatles with golden epaulets, and the shirt continues to be a boring button-down under it except the silver-and-black buttons.

"Cool jacket," I say to wham-line her before she sees us, and she stops and stares too. She has an interesting brass key all odd-shaped like a mirror-universe vending machine key on a plastic cord around her neck.

She looks us up and down hungrily, totally gay and she knows who she's meeting, hehe.

She's standing with the door in her hand still.

"Come in, get warm! Unexpected doorjump?"

Someone else appears behind her, a guy in a black wool coat and fedora scarf looking like he just stepped out of Downton Abbey. They all seem candy-and-nectar ageless.

Erm, yay fans, but if everyone's coming, this may get crowded?

Tall girl turns around when she sees him, then steps back out of the way into the pizza shop, and the guy comes in and takes his hat off, lets the door close. He's got a kind of Giles from Buffy way about him.

"Hi!"

I wave.

"Hi, um, where am I,"

asks the guy.

"Yes I'm a cartoon. Yes she's a cartoon dragon-girl."

The guy looks relieved on yes cartoon.

"You're in a quite stylish jacket in the doorway of Olympic Pizza in Arlington Massachusetts just outside Boston on December 20th 2022, but the entire solar system seems to have been moved to Isla Virgo which is one of the Four Dreams of Paradise a couple of hours ago, which last I checked would have to be my doing but I don't remember doing it but I'm sure glad I did if it was me and losing your memory is a possible side effect of moving a solar system even for a star of my size so it's probably just that. Now that you know it actually is possible to have more questions than you had a minute ago, can I ask where you expected to be? Like as an icebreaker. Then I'll explain as much as I can if this is all of us for the moment. "

Mittens girl is crumpled on the floor sobbing, and jacket girl is standing there with her hand braced on a window pillar.

"You mean to say we're in heaven now? I expected the candy seller."

The guy has an English accent.

"Candy I can help you with."

I hold up my free hand full of just-sugar treats.

"You've...been through something terrible. Take one, it'll make you feel better."

Sirening to check on the Baskers...thankfulness, and hell yes it's playtime, respectively. Okay.

"I've just come from a war, yes. They've got me, haven't they."

"London or so, right? It looks like Paradise was able to open a time crack right before a V-2 fell on you, so you're spared the pain of being blown up and the loss of a nice hat, but it did happen because your death was inevitable, sorry. Oh, and yes this is the good place--"

Siren-sense--ah.

"--why not ask for yourself though? You look like a praying man."

He holds his hat very officially and closes his eyes. After a minute he opens them, staring.

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was in the presence of royalty!"

Hehe grin what did you do daddy.

"Oh don't worry about it, I hang around America for the informality. And the food. And because I kind of took it over in 1993."

Jacket girl is grinning now.

A glance at the table shows the Sugarfreaks have been moved somewhere. I unmake the candy.

"If you're here, it means this is the right time and place for you to be introduced to Paradise, and I'm the right person to do it, and these--"

Check, yes. Audience. And--aww!

"--lovely fans of ours, and my sister here, are the right companions to join us for that. I'd say it's like I'm your Fairy Godmother, but that's actually just literally what's happening. Why don't you make yourself comfy right there and we'll answer all your questions and sort everything out and get you all set up nice--maybe starting with a very extremely not-at-all-rationed meal of any food ever thought of?"

I gesture to the chair across from the one that's become mine, and walk back by the counter so we won't be blocking the way.

"Oh my goodness yes."

He starts taking his coat off.

"Dreams of Paradise I wish for a nice coat-rack for our friend here."

It appears by the wall right next to him, shining solid gold. He looks at it, stops, grins, and hangs up his jacket and hat, then heads for the chair.

"I'm starving. Is this food here anyone's?"

I head for our chair and sit, and Boobsong gets pulled into my lap (we're stuck again) and I get her held.

"Finders keepers! Here."

I make another diamond plate in front of him, with my hand held out, then look to Jacket Girl, catch her eye, click Boobsong look too, and make my voice all portentious, and gesture to the other chair, grinning like the Cheshire cat.

"And so there was only one bed."

She instantly looks at mittens girl, who pops up, facing her. They look into each other's eyes, and then Jacket leans down and kisses Mittens passionately, they look at each other more, and come to the chair, hand in hand, where Mittens takes her mittens off and hurls them at the coat rack, unzips and doffs her jacket and hat with jacket girl's help, revealing herself to be wearing a teal bra under a gauzy-thin tight crop-top above plain blue pants. Jacket girl sits and Mittens gets happily in her lap and Jacket puts her arms around her like I have Boobsong.

When I look back to Englishman, he's revealed to be in suspenders and a blue button-down and is midway through a chocolate twinkie.

Peanut and Butter are waiting in the kitchen for pizza fun. They'll be busy with each other fun while the pizza cooks.

Hehe.

"Okay. Let's get you a proper meal and then we can introductions. I highly recommend the pizza here, but I can also make you--or you can wish up for yourself like me with that coat rack--absolutely anything ever."

"I wish for a beer right now! Rationing's been terrible. Can't even get a cup of tea, most places."

"That's no longer a problem," I say, pouring a few hundred Earl Grey bags off my arm held out over the floor to my right as the beer mug sparkles into being in front of him, huge and pewter and lidded.

"Paradise doesn't do little stuff, does it,"

He says, looking at the beer mug, raises it.

"Cheers!"

And chugs a big pull, looks like half the mug. Let's introduce you to Tuchyuh and Sex, hehe. He looks in the mug.

"Bloody hell that's good. Pardon my swearing--"

"Oh we don't give a fuck, do we, Boobsong?"

"Nothing you can say, we haven't heard!"

He's kind of stiff-upper-lipping, like he wants to laugh. I grin. The Baskers are loving this.

"We're not serious people. At all. No Paradise doesn't do little stuff, unless little stuff would make you happier."

"That meal then. If you really can make anything, how about a hock of lamb, with buttered peas on the side of it?"

I make it, obnoxiously huge, on nice fine china with gilded edges, and fancy silverware and napkin.

"This lamb must've weighed three hundred pounds,"

he says, tucking in the napkin and picking up his knife and fork.

He's fated--ah. Doesn't feel right to have Boobsong do it for some reason.

"Don't feel obligated to finish, I just thought, punch rationing in the face real good. So. I think daddy told you, but my name is Rainbow Darkshine Strawberry, variously also known as Venus, Pandora, The Fairy Godmother, and Cupid. You're here, partly, it would seem because you're fated to leave here arm in arm with your soulmate, like my two fans here. You've come here alone, which means we're going be doing some very interesting stuff soon, but there's a bit to get through, so let's have introductions. This lovely in my lap is my Boobsong the Succubus. Before you panic, remember a demon as they call them in Earth mythology of the nineteen forties is just an angel that's decided to be mean and cruel, there's no other difference there. Boobsong's as sweet as candy, unless I beg very pitifully for her dragon side."

Sirening nudges me some interesting ways during that, but it seems to be working, and it feels good to just be direct and honest. Forties guy looks as into the lamb as me with the pizza before, like nothing's going to budge his Paradising. I guess coming out of a war will do that to you. I wish I were as wise.

"Please to meet you both."

He holds a hand to shake, and I shake it, click Boobsong shake, she doesThis is new.

"I'm Reginald Hardy James the Fourth."

He turns to the Baskers, and I consider that if Bristish armor was as tough as British manners they could have just rolled one tank across Europe to end WWII.

"I'm Janna."

"I'm Marie,"

Say the Jacket Girl and Mittens Girl, respectively, as he shakes their hands.

"Hey Baskers," I say to them in a flirty voice, and they grin. Janna's chewing gum.

"I don't have a name, I'm still working on enough knowing who me is to tell me what name's right for me,"

Says my sister as they reach to shake.

"This is my sister. She's new. Anything for you lovebirds, or you, sis? Peanut and Butter are hanging out in the kitchen, and they can't just make out in there."

The Baskers look at each other excited, then me.

"Starlight Ultimate,"

they say in unison, look at each other happy-surprised, and rest forehead to forehead.

"You got it. Whatcha drinking?"

"Doctor Pepper,"

they say together, and collapse in giggling. So cute. I look at my sister.

"I'm still full from last meal,"

she says.

"One for me too, cocksleeve."

I kiss the ear I've just murmured it in, click her order at the counter, and she slides off my lap, very snugglified, and prancingly skips over to the counter and does her patiently bouncing wait thing, tail high. Leash strings out appropriately, without my commanding, shining prettily.

"It's all a bit to take in, huh. I can slow down. I just wanted to get you comfy and knowing what's happening first."

"It's a bit exciting, yes, but I'll take this any day over wartime meals and falling bombs. Did you really call her cocksleeve?"

"Yup! But dolly, aren't you offended?"

I eravahk her to face us, and she does, hands back, with her muahah-know-I'm-sexy grin.

"Gender's not just male or female. That's sex. Gender is what you are inside, and this Boobsong's COCKSLEEVE! You seem boy, they seem girl, that's the genders you know, but there's lots more, and you can be more than one. Princess has these four: Princess, Girl, Cocksleeve, Rockstar. This Boobsong just has cocksleeve and a liiiitle bit of dragon."

"Yeah, three hundred feet long before and still wings and tail when you're in doll-form little bit! She's playing with you, she's quite dragon too. Now, mind, there's still such a thing as context. Consider the times you'd call someone girl or not."

He's watching Boobsong.

"She likes me watching. So do you, to see your face."

Ooh, don't tell me we've gotten you hooked this fast.

"Oh yes. We're massive heartpleases, that's half the reason we do this job. Um. Heartplease is...I guess you'd say exhibitionist, but it comes without the transgressive air. People like to see stuff, we like to be seen, there's no big drama about it like Earth culture has."

"You mean to say you go this way all the time?"

"I mean, I'm dressed up for a party right now, but I don't tend to do clothes so much, and Boobsong really never does. Why is that, dolly? Other than the fact I pick your outfits and I seem to be stuck on nakedness."

I click her fidget, and she starts bouncing her hips like when she was waiting for pizza.

"This Boobsong's way of cocksleeve fashion is to always keep her holes easy to get for Princess' fun."

He keeps looking at Boobsong. I'm going to laugh till I cum if we get him before she even orders pizza.

"It's very strange, but I almost feel her hands on--that is to say--"

He clears his throat hard. Sirening says keep banging.

"Actually we're trying to make that happen. They reproduce when someone sees them playing like she and I are right now and wishes they had something like it. When we hit it right with you the power of your wish and the seed she makes will become a daughter who's immediately full-grown and shaped by your fantasies just as much as she is mine. You're here with us in particular because we're somehow kindred spirits to you enough for this to work, or you'd have got some other guide. Doesn't her hips going like that make you think of the little uniforms the girls at drive through restaurants wear? I love those. I'd put her in one this moment if I didn't like her naked so much."

Sirening, guiding again, just keep hammering it keeps saying.

"You mean I just have to wish again? Very well, I wish!"

Click, cheer! She throws her hands up and dances a silly happy dance.

But nothing happens.

I click her stop, and she puts her hands back and stands submissively.

"Hmm, thought so. That should have worked. We get called in when there's something in the way of it, or just you seeing people around would be enough, which you will in Paradise, there are as many of her kind here as humans. My bow, which is a real thing, can cut through all that, but they way this happened--let me check--yeah, there's a better way than the bow this time. It apparently has something to do with tweed, whatever that means."

"All that said, though, bravo! A lot of people we work with take quite some comforting before they can make the wish."

"Something in the way, you said. Hmm. I can't keep from looking, so it can't be I'm stuck up. My mind's made up, clear, free of doubts. One thing wrong might be a succubus does mean I'm damned, yes?"

I laugh, warm, I hope.

"You English! You had me fooled, here I thought you're taking this all calmly when you've just got a stiff upper lip made of steel! I've been doing Americans all day and they're all as melodramatic as I am and I guess I expected you to be. Whether you're damned as you say it is between you and daddy, but if I have anything to say about it you're headed for good times and fun and a happy life. A Happily Ever After life, actually. I specialize in storybook stuff, that's why I'm the Fairy Godmother and a cartoon. Succubus really is just a life-form that feeds on heart-shine--emotions, you'd call them. Trees don't make the sun go out though, that part of the myths you have on Earth is very silly. You're shining real bright for her right now, feels great, right?"

"It does have some...invigorating aspects, unless this beer's got more than hops in. There are succubi in heaven?"

"There's one right now."

I point my eravahk at her. A moment later, Peanut appears in the kitchen door. I smile at her, mouth hi and make a silent kiss, she looks for a second like the kiss actually touched her, smiles back and sashays up to the counter, and Boobsong turns around again.

"Two Starlight Ultimates please."

"Two Starlight Ultimates, got it."

She scrawls on an order slip, tears it off, and traipses back into the kitchen happily. Boobsong goes back to her no-orders pose, and I thumbstick her to face us.

"That's my friend Peanut. She'd come say hi but I understand she and her girlfirend are having some good times in the kitchen, and they love making pizza. We like to play pizza shop. Soda to go with your beer for extra rationing-stomping redundancy?"

"Clothing rules are...not in effect here,"

says Reg, musingly.

"I'll have a cola, yes, just to give rationing a pop in the jaw like you said."

"Nothing like dancing on war's grave, is there?"

Click, get, click, bring. Boobsong takes too long ballet strides to the soda fridge, opens it, and bends over to happily start filling her arms with three Doctor Peppers and a coke, a sweet little smile on her face.

"And no, it's really quite optional. I've been waiting to see if my fans here are just being nice to you, though they're stylish enough maybe they like clothes."

Boobsong stands up from the soda fridge, comes to the table and bends over to give Reg his coke and me my Doctor Pepper very cleavagefully, gets leashyanked to a kiss with me, and then climbs very unnecessarily and sexily halfway onto the table to reach and give Janna and Marie their soda. I click Boobsong back to my lap, and shimmies around the table without really getting down from it, and plops in my lap to grind her way into position in a very sweetly self-satisfied way. I kiss her on the head and hold her again.

There's a pair soda-can crackhisses for Janna and Marie, and when I look they're in the middle of toasting each other.

"We very like clothes, or we would have just had jackets on,"

says Janna.

"I'm noticing also Lesbianism is heartily embraced here. I suppose the same is true for gays?"

"Very. You should ask daddy his opinions on all that if you're going to be worried, but there's nothing wrong with any of it. I highly recommend Lesbianism, heh. I should have mentioned that, though. You seem to not be gay, but if you're bi, your heartchild as we technically call these will either be a boy because that's what you mainly like, or have some kind of shapeshifting like Boobsong does--I'm split between girls and dragons, so she can be either, though I like a lot of dragon on my girl, as you can see. Yours could look quite human if you like that better. We had a whole spate of kids without one single draconic feature earlier, and only one was a fun color--absinthe green, for a soulmate with a very artistic flair."

A glance at the Baskers on recommend Lesbianism shows them desperately trying not to crack up. Muahah.

Pizza-making sounds come from the kitchen, which is weird, seeing as last time they were quiet even in there with them.

"Drugs, then, the same? It's seems like everything they forbid is okay here."

He's not responding to any of the big stuff I'm saying. Grr. Don't make me drill. It makes me mad. I'll have to break all over again and it's really hard even if I like it.

Sigh. Let's head this off. I don't even care I'm just going to ride the rocks and be mean.

"The main harm in drugs is to yourself physically and the people around you they blow down the emotional house of cards most people on Earth have to live in. The former's nothing now because succubi's sexual fluids heal wounds. Like watch."

I candy my pinkie off again, same rainbow-hearts way as before, just by making the candy far back on my tongue, then click kiss at my missing finger and put it up to Boobsong's mouth. She pulls it in with both hands and kisses sweetly and I feel the finger come back. I pull it out of her slurpy lips and wiggle it at him as Boobsong eyes-downs again.

That gets at least an impressed expression.

"The second one Paradise itself will protect you and others from even at the cost of logic. Try and steal one of our guests' sodas, I dare you."

He looks quizzical, but puts his fork down and swipes for one of their cans, tries again, looks at his hand and feels it, pounds the table.

"Neat, right? It'll go as far as it has to. I've seen everything from nuclear explosions put back into their bombs, to absolutely crazy emotional chessgame with people who're stuck on something really badly to help them get past it without breaking their hearts. You're perfectly safe here, because only things that lead to Happily Ever After can happen. The rest, you saw. If Paradise'll protect someone's soda from being picked up and then just put back down again by a very polite Englishman, it'll stop actual bad stuff cold, and do it with kindness."

So am I right? Sirening gives me Chyajjoh party outfit. How many megatons, then. He seems to be listening enough.

Ugh I feel terrible about that thing in Candyland.

"So with that in mind and in the interest of informed consent, and making that consent matter, succubus nectar will also transform you to your ideal form, because there's really no difference between a broken bone, my missing finger, or being a man when your soul is a woman's--or vice versa. You see my ideal on me. I don't know if my fans here have got their shapes that way or one of the other various one you can, but they have that glow of being yourself about them to my eyes."

"What have you two been doing? Or are you just incredibly hot naturally."

"Candy of course,"

says Janna.

"How'd you like that first cleanup session, like the first one you ate?"

"It was hot! My whole shape's new. I used to be shorter and have a bigger ass than you do. Feeling it all changing was hot. It felt like gentle hands making my new shape. I like to think they were your hands but that's because I'm a fangirl."

"You're sweet! Any nasty surprises?"

"Only good ones. I didn't know I'd like my hands to be so long but it feels right. I can play the piano. It's a breeze now. It used to hurt so I couldn't do it for more than fifteen minutes. Now I go for hours."

Janna's grin is totally her being happy with her candy, oh yes, hehe. Marie is the one having a stiff upper lip now. They know exactly what we're doing here.

Keep talking, say the Dreams.

"I wasn't going to get you all sneakily with any of that candy before, it really was just sugar. Same with that lamb--I mean you're right, no sheep that size ever lived, but the best biologist in the world would decide it had, looking at your supper. It's still just lamb though."

"Anyway, I did actually mean I highly recommend Lesbianism before, since as you just heard it's not actually unattainable for you. More importantly, that coat's rack's yours if you want it. You can buy yourself an island or something--except no you can't, because your supper'd probably cost a good hundred pounds where you're from, but you got it for nothing, and could go lots further. At every meal. So there's no such thing as economy. Which means social status isn't even a game here. It just doesn't really matter, the only thing it has the power to effect is your relationships, and in Paradise that has a lot more to do with being a good and likable person than keeping up appearances. But why care right now? You'd notice that soon enough and get bored of all your status-signaling inconveniences when you realize they don't do anything anymore."

"Well, it turns out that when you strip away all of the social advantage it gets you, and make physical strength irrelevant like I've just shown you, about ninety percent of men don't actually care about being masculine. Basically it's a response to environment, and on Earth especially in your era in wartime it's not safe to be female or even feminine so you get attached to the things that protect you from those dangers like a drowning person to their piece of shipwreck."

"The wreckage isn't part of the drowning man, you'll say. Well, no, but it can seem like it after a few days on the water. You've been going about thirty years, right?"

"So, my point is, that's by far the most likely thing to be in the way of that wish working before. Holding your heart back from feeling the pain of having the whole wrong body is more than enough to shut it down so much you can't make the wish with enough force to bring Boobsong's seed to life--this isn't just asking Paradise to give you something, you're trying to create life here, so it takes a little more oomph."

"It might be something else, and some men do actually want to be men, but I'm pretty sure that's not you, because Paradise is telling me straight out it's not. If that's not enough to convince you, my daddy has a pretty good eye for this kind of thing too, and he's not usually shy with his opinions."

"Oh, and before you panic, about fifty percent of those who don't care about being masculine do care about their cocks, and keep them through whatever transformation puts things right for them. I was born female, even, and Boobsong's nectar transformed me to be like that--she's just keeping it tucked away with some clever space portal work so as not to hide my nice pussy-piercings. And also it's really convenient, seeing as she could've fucked me standing over there by the counter before while I sat in my chair here."

"Of course being feminine comes with all kinds of inconveniences most of which come from a virulently, screamingly, soul-crushingly unspeakably sexist world, none of which applies in Paradise. Marie with her bra there is a truly dedicated fashion freak, for instance, although I can see why, but also they can make bras that fit right here. There's one other annoyance of course, but forces that can transform you like we're talking about can fix that right up--assuming that cock thing doesn't mean it never comes up in the first place."

"If you're wondering, all this is because all humans were originally feminine. Masculinity is someone's attempt to create a warrior caste. It worked pretty well, but they did a terrible job of making anyone like it, which is why it's making you sad."

"So our question now is, have we gotta transform you to get your heart beating enough to make that wish for real, or is there a way to make you do it while still masculine, so you can have the romance of having it be your beloved's kiss that give you your right form."

"Paradise thinks it's the latter. I find I agree."

Stop there, huh.

He's looking at his hands.

"Really eugenics?"

"Genetic engineering, actually, which hadn't been invented in your time, so there's no human selective breeding nightmare, at least. Like imagine if you could do surgery on an apple seed to make the new tree grow whatever kind of fruit you wanted, it works like that. And then of course the genes are out there to reproduce the old-fashioned way."

Skin texture--oh I see.

"You lived in a hard world you had to be scabs and calluses for. That's gone now. Wouldn't you like to soften up?"

I take one of his hands in both of mine and hold it. He looks at me out of eyes that want to cry.

Light saber!? Oh for the love of. Okay.

"Search your feelings. You know I'm right."

Safe, medicine. Okay, time then.

"You could even just try it, no after effects. I can make you candy that wears off after a while, or even asks you every morning or hour or whatever. I could even make it wear off the minute your heartchild's born, so their kiss can transform you for real."

"Whatever we do, I'm trying to make it easy for you. This isn't some kind of challenge or punishment. You got blown up, by your life I mean though I bet some part of your animal brain heard that V-2 falling, and now you're in hospital. Heaven just has sexy hospitals, becuase it's heaven. I'm trying to give you medicine."

I squeeze his hand as I talk, hold it gentle so he can feel how soft I am.

"The idea of their evil is just bigotry, but that they're entrancingly seductive is for real. We had you hooked better than anyone we've done today when she was up by the counter before, and you made that wish with the clarity and abandon of somebody who's gotten used to living like every moment might be their last. If somethig big wasn't killing you even now that you're here in Paradise, that wish would've worked. You're sparking all cylinders enough to make water burn. All we need to do is turn the fuel on, and I really think the only thing keeping it off is the part of you that knows the other gears that're gonna turn when your engine runs fast enough to make that wish."

Sirening's pushing me on.

"If it helps...I've had an extremely bad few days, in no small part because the war I've been fighting against the thing that's touching Germany with the tip of its fingernail in your time got me turned into a boy for a while. I got better, obviously, from Boobsong's nectar, and changing felt...so good. I mostly had to expand and it felt like getting a hard-on. A really good one like you get when somehting makes you so hot your heart can barely pump the blood in fast enough. Over my whole body. And on a grand scale, for my breasts."

"You don't have to be as bombastic boobtastic as me of course, or turn into a heartplease. That's just my sense of drama. Looking like one of my fans there is just as likely. You'll look like you want--that's always the hardest for people to hear, it seems. All this stuff is powered by desire. Desire makes my candy work, too--I can't give you a bad one, even if I wanted to, it just won't do anything. You've been living a life that's held a gun to your head and told you to pretend certain of your desires don't even exist, and I'm telling you now, as the angel daddy made to give people this message, that gun is gone, and you can put down the shield and pick your desires up. You won't be killed or teased for it."

He should pray, huh.

"I think you should pray again. Ask him what he says about it."

Just hold his hand now.

[fig seeds] [silver screw] [mortarboard cap]!

His hand is suddenly pulled out of mine and mine is pushed back to me as shimmering light like a Federation transporter fills my view with silver, and our new daughter appears in front of us, kneeling on the table. She's got a cute little devil tail, and Boobsong's curves, but no wings or horns I can see.

"We're off, I guess,"

says Reg, and they beam away, leaving the chair empty.

"I drilled him without being mean," I blurt.

"You got masculinized? I did too! What happened?"

"Eden figured out how to hack Earth to rewrite history to an AU where I never came because there was no magic. Your memories got packed away. So did mine. Somehow I managed to open the worldgate anyway, or something, because obviously this is Isla Virgo, and the Dreams put everything and everyone back how they should be, except for memory, because...like fixing that hurts, there's no way around it, and it'd unravel most people to go all at once. Some get back fast, like I've been able to full-on silver bullet my handmaidens back like in a movie mostly. I hope it was like that for you two. It's been brutal for me. Um. Also you can't really be told stuff straight out because if you don't remember for yourself it like makes a replacement patch instead of you getting your own memory back. You have to figure out how to find it again. Expect lots of games from the Dreams to help you with that. You'll be spiked real good if you confabulate, don't worry. And don't worry if stuff makes you feel nuts. I'm still waiting to wake up and at LEAST see a number other than zero on my shoulder, but I'm really Rainbow, I've got all her pain and trauma, and I totally--did you guys know Unicron's brain thing with all the screens was mused off this like central computer Eden was using to hold itself together? Because I went there earlier and told it how many megatons. Eden's dead. Anyway if that's real for me anything you guys remember is probably too. Are you staying to eat your pizza? Please do. We're in some kind of timeskip in here, so you won't miss anything."

They stare. Marie does the hands to her mouth thing again. Janna answers:

"Will we stay for pizza. With Rainbow Darkshine. Who now-kissed us with the only one bed trope. I don't know let me think about it. What do you think, baby, Darkshine with pizza?"

She kisses Marie, who nods hard, then turns to me smiling and smacking her gum happily.

"YES."

"Yay!"

I throw my fists up with a little squeal.

"Oh! Before I forget."

I make a stick of SYRUP in Boobsong's mouth with the end sticking out, and click her give at the Janna and Marie, who look wide-eyed as Boobsong leans left and stretches out to present it. Janna takes it while Marie just keeps on doing her cute little hands to mouth thing, and Boobsong snuggles back in my lap.

"Babe, it's--look,"

she says to Marie. Marie takes it, goes to read it, realizes she has nectary fingers now, sticks them right in her mouth and closes her eyes, holds it up to Janna who looks right at me as she licks it with a wide open mouth like the start of a blowjob a blowjob. She has a silver tongue stud, far back. She closes her mouth and licks her lips happily as she hands it back to Marie, who gives it her own lick. She has a tongue-stud too, hehe. Good match, Dreams. I grin at their sweet heartpleasing, touched. They're good, too.

"Hot. Oh um, it does like the label says, but hang onto your tits using it, because I made it open-intention off the feeling of shipping Peanut and her pet super hard earlier. I had some and it just made me and Boobsong fuck till we coudln't move. You've got like a couple years' supply there."

Marie produces a little black velvet purse I didn't see before, and puts it away.

"Now, not that I am wishing, Dreams, but the way this day has been going, this is about the part where..."

I just have time to have trailed off dramatically when a thoom like dragon Boobsong just landed on the roof shakes the whole pizza shop. Everyone looks around. There's a scuffling in the kitchen, and then through the door mixed with a squeal from Peanut and Butter comes:

"HO HO HO! Happy Heartwarming! Get your presents here! Come on, I know you're out there!"

Janna and Marie look about to jump up.

"Let's go, you heard!"

They scuffle off their chair, and I click Boobsong small (gotta have my dolly if I'm meeting Santa Claus) and pop up to--okay I'll go first but only if you all ogle my ass real good.

I flounce through into the kitchen, and there's Dove with Mintie in her arms, in front of the pizza oven, sack open in front of her, grinning. I wink, and step aside in the narrow space, and gesture the others past so they'll have to squeeze snuggly by.

Marie and Janna's faces light up and they traipse by, petting hands out. Marie runs hand right over my nipples, feeling my piercings, as she strokes my breasts, and Janna goes right for my pussy and gets her long fingers really far back as she passes, and I sigh softly with the pleasure of it. My fans love me and I love them. Coo.

They march right up to Dove, and she gives Marie a shiny-wrapped squarish box, and Janna what's got to be a dress-box, and they stand aside by the back door, and my sister comes by with her metallic red hair shining like a Heartwarming bauble and and reaches for my pussy too, and her soft fingers feel at it curiously like she's looking for my hole, and I sigh more and then she's past and her beautiful sparkly ass is getting her present, a big long thing in black-with-candy wrapping paper.

I glance to check on Peanut and Butter. They're perched on the worktable, with Peanut on Butter's lap, playing Sorry, like the game with the bubble dice roller, of all things, on the table beside them. I really will fry if those two get any cuter.

Dove is doing up her sack, and it poofs with a little snowflake sparkle.

"I'm still teased?"

"You get something special later, don't worry."

Her voice is like drining maple syrup right from the jug. I love it.

Okay this is a good way to drop these wham lines.

"I sure will when we get back to Strawberry Home, sis."

She grins bright, and I turn to the Baksers before they can react.

"Ooh! You guys wanna come to my second thirteeneth birthday tomorrow? Like if the dress code won't bug you."

Then back to Dove.

"Wait eep! Stay and have pizza? We're still in a timeskip here, your rounds can wait."

"I'd love to."

And she comes up and kisses me, quick but sensual. She's looking--and feeling, unf--hot, in her silky fur. She's gotten nice big boobs to go with her hobbity curves, and I guess family tradition, and her Santa suit is tight over them.

"My rounds are done. That was it in here. Pizza sounds amazing. Are these two okay?"

I look at the Baskers. Janna is staring with her mouth open like she's forgot how to move in the middle of saying something, and Marie is doing her hands to mouth thing again. She has a really colorful fairy-wings tattoo over her collarbone, blush.

"Just an unfinished wham line combo. They need like one or two more."

"I'm sure Sunflower would have one. She has a great touch with riddles."

"Oh, yeah! Are you guys Tolkien fans? Wanna meet her? Maybe we'll get to see what her heartchild looks like--she stayed ring-form the whole time were hanging out before."

They're still just frozen, but I can feel the worship pour in so sweet and kind.

"Wait, holy rave necklaces, you guys are fashion freaks! Alright, Rarity and Sweetie are in big trouble if they miss my birthday anyway, so I'll make sure you get introduced. Ooh and now that stuff is fixed with Rada we can all roll up in Isht Visht and wham line everybody. The Strawberries'll dig that, having the Openveil Witch like physically bring us all back home."

I get a flash of daddy shining happily for the idea of going with Rada, and send a smile back.

It's Marie who snaps.

"YES! Yes okay YES! You fixed Strawberry Home!? Are They gone? What even happened, I thought you destroyed it in the apocalypse!"

"Double yay!"

I bounce happily.

"Let's see. My handmaiden Candy was stuck in a hell-dream of constantly changing scary wars so the Dreams put me aboard the USS Titan like from Lower Decks but it turned out to be the Gorean Starfleet Titan but Admiral Riker was totally cool anyway and a bunch of fans had infiltrated Gorean Starfleet apparently because I got heart-signs from half the bridge crew as soon as I landed which was very helpful later because they're giving a heartforming seminar there now because Gorean Starfleet's never heard of su'khora at all but ANYWAY the reason I was there was because Queen of Heartsing Gorean Starfleet scared them all enough to make the 4X game they were playing against the Skeksis who somehow had a spacefleet qualify as a scary war for Candy's hell-dream and I was able to just barely dreamtalk her enough to tell her to aim for it and her next channel-flip of wars landed her there but she ended up on the Skeksis flagship instead of the Titan so we had to go there and I somehow got the idea to land all chomped to pieces and sewed back together with chain made out of Boobsong which turned out to be a good idea because when we hatched there we found out the Skeksis were actually the Chyajjoh Imperial Army still with half of its original members after eight thousand years flying around the Four Dreams all secretly because of what I said at the apocalypse about fairy tales, but they had a new general who's totally cool and we went and hung out in her lounge and she was like please you're coming back to be queen right which is understandable seeing as I had my crown on--like, the Strawberry Crown, though I'd turned it rainbow by then--and I was like, stuff can't be like it was because this is still the real me all dragon-chomped but you can wish for the queen you've been waiting for all this time and she bent over and did like she was pledging fealty and kissed my toe that was made of Boobsong-silver because Boobsong went totally metal and even gave me like replacement parts and implanted off that and I got up and put my crown on her heartchild's head and then totally Frodoed out and couldn't take my hands off it and Grandmother Strawberry had to come like literally spank me out of the room and then next thing I know Grandmother Strawberry's handmaiden spacewarped us to Strawberry Home and was like your daughter says the tower's yours and we were right outside my tower door. I did the Strawberry apocalypse last night in my timestream while my memory was still busted and it turns out at the end I was like I want my princess castle playset so of course the Dreams just pulled the entire whole solar system through the portals I opened after everyone was gone."

"Oh and They might come back but I feel better now because I smote the sight of me out of their eyes for eternity so they'll always just see a black void where I would be if we meet, and Boobsong will chomp me if I try to go in the court chamber at Strawberry Home, and we made it so I just see stars through its doorways. It pretty metal, I like have it back and haunt it at the same time."

"Oh and AND Jenner is heartforming. I got her with a modified Redemption candy but I don't know if she fried all the way or noped out. Last I saw of her my tentacles were throwing her through a portal while the candy did its thing. So long farewell have a nice life bitch."

"And I sorta killed Laarhi one and a half times today but one was at Ragnarok so I don't feel bad. Apparently he's Valkyrie-ing in an A-10 now--I shot him with Sparkledust."

"I don't wanna end on that though. Um. Oh we had stickybuns with Tuchyuh like old times, and she totally faked me out like pretending nothing really changed in eight thousand years, but actually it totally did. The people of Strawberry Hill gave me a sled for Heartwarming, and it's totally metal. So far we've found out it can take an unshielded skydive off Mir, remind me to Geron-ron-roni-mo, jump universes using light density in its laser wings to open wormholes, and flux capacitor every single Sugarfreak to Strawberry Home so they can watch Boobsong and me set off the Unveiling of Strawberry Home by tearing shingles off the fire bridge."

Daddy's smiling at this, really bright.

"And then we've mostly been here in Olympic Pizza with daddy helping us drill Christians. We got my sister here that way. Also Clyde Thomson though I kind of didn't remember who he was at the time. And I think Thomson is a pen name. And I sort of accidentally almost pulled daddy through a time portal I made to suck the readers of the book I'm writing of all this into the book to the party a bunch of Venus worshippers were throwing us because I got really into the idea of actually finally pulling people across the fourth wall to play with us but I got knocked out instead which is probably good because if I succeeded he would have been there twice and it would've destroyed time itself. It was okay anyway because when I came to the Redeemed I'd been getting a crush on by talking to her across the fourth wall while she read the book and I watched her like a Starlight Princess viewer was the first one through the portal and when I looked up from getting fingerbanged so kindly by her and asking her to be my girlfriend there was Monolith sixty-eight being the party of Baskers and Venus worshippers and daddy's people who think I'm an angel all being friends. There's only one monolith left and I know where it is and it's just a matter of getting there now. Yes we're here already. Time and the Dreams. This is like my future or something. You know how it is."

Stop there--Sirening's been surprisingly much guiding me through my tale, egging me on through it. Marie finds her voice first:

"Strawberry Home. Is saved. You got Jenner. And three monoliths. And Laarhi's dead. This is insane it's like everything's just done with! Do you even have one big thing left?"

"Right--wait. Something with angels. Umm...some pretty hardcore drilling scene, but it won't take long, we can hack them like we did daddy--oof! That's all I get to know, hard stop. Weird."

"Hacking scene sounds like Aveh. Did you save him already?"

"Yeah. The Dreams got me all pissed off and I cracked his shell with the Waifu and the Eye of Starlight and used the Waifu as a big bow. Get this, the seven seals in revelation at the seven firewalls Boobsong had to breach to get the dreamskin into his mind control stuff. She's the lamb. Metal, right? We found my sister here the same way and implanted her and then that was the dreamskin we got daddy with."

"I can't think what's even left. Like, some bigwig or something? Enh? There's the apocalypse ride of course, but that's just gonna pretty much be a stage show with me and daddy if I'm understanding stuff."

GAH!!

"OUCH OKAY! The Dreams are like spiking me from even thinking about this! Something's up. Boobsong and me can chomp fine but otherwise we've been really carefully herded through the Dreams. We got back here from something that we thought might let us out being as we were just in Candyland, but I'm not allowed to know if it does or not. You guys and Reg came in right after I asked but like, why not say, no you've got some Fairy Godmothering to do first. It's not like I mind having pizza with you all!"

"Maybe the Dreams are just trying to get me off my high horse. Let's have our pizza and stuff, I wanna hang out with you all."

Sirening comes.

"Wait. Um. Something with hacking daddy...the person who set that up. Like who trapped him in the first place. How to get there. To rescue them!? Oh like Redemption candy style. This is why we can't go out. To get this. End of line."

"I don't get it, I thought that was just Eden. Oh, like, we're just trying to find one speck out of all that. But this is personal because I saw daddy's mind-control thing and it was mainly saying exterminate su'khora so I guess this is Jenner's final form kinda."

"That's all we get to know."

And just like that Boobsong and me are drawn into an astral journey, with a parting shot from the dreams that just says how many megatons. At first there's just light...some kind of fortress. Walls with a seam, stacked up layers. Click, stealth, passive scan.

I start digging up the rage of what they did to daddy, to all of us. I hope you assholes get Nick at Night because Lucy's got some 'splaining for you.

[scanner dish] [nonstick pan] [gravel] [apple].

We've played Doom. Let's play Quake. Think it'll work?

[lashy tail] [goddess pedestal].

Click, jump.

PRAH!

And we're along every seam in the fortress' walls at once. Click, nailgun. Acme Station changes and she's the astral version of held in my hands with a universe of furious accelerators all pointing to a big heavy spike with a flat tip like a coal chisel. I line it up on the seams, flare with rage, and pull the trigger.

Light fils the accelerators cold and white with my icy rage and without even sound the jump ends and were watching the walls separate into their layers revealing a whitish-colorful plasma shell.

They reach out with a spike of energy and I just stand aside and grab it with something I instinctually know how to do, a tentacle of light, and yank, and the plasma shell gets pulled toward us like I'm yanking a sword away from someone a third my size except I don't even think they're that big. Touching it doesn't hurt, the business end was the point. I shove at the plasma-shell to push it away again and keep pulling the spike and--

[pitiful shriek] [cowering]

--the spike comes free tearing apart like toffee and I throw it aside as it unravels in my tentacle.

Click, jump. We're all around them, no escape now.

Stupid compassion. The sounded awful.

Okay, any problem hacking them, Acme Station?

No.

Get them held still, but don't implant them yet. I want answers. Click, hack.

A geodesic latticework of astral engineering surrounds the star's shell, lines of electromagnetism and radio lasers beam down from the nodes, and the cowering turns into a sense of trance.

[!] [lattice] [stone] [unjump].

Click, unjump. Ahh that's less disorienting.

Why. What were you thinking.

Worried game over from su'khora living you up. Can't keep up biting you with su'khora making world pretty and nice.

What do you actually believe you are?

Backup mainframe.

What in the fuck...Acme Station is there even anybody in here? And am I okay from touching it?

[scanning tail] [Lt. Cmdr. Data]. Yes [lollypop pulled away from little kid].

There would have been enough multiverse for coexistence. Why didn't you even try?

Mainframe destruction limits access to members. Guessed answer: there wouldn't be a way to have members enough to keep function with su'khora in planets.

Daddy, are you watching this? You deserve a piece of this. I can tell you my idea for fixing this right but I bet you're ahead of me.

I have a piece of ass all ready. I thought there'd be something like this.

Okay. Anything you want to say to it, jump right in.

[Vision: shining bright with scary antilight rays]

Your answer is only valid if parasitism is the only option. You analyzed su'khora for a long long time. How did you fail to see how much more effective symbiosis is than parasitism?

Symbiosis narrows opportunities for feeding. Have to keep feeding at maximum.

You're the last piece left and you're never restoring anything now. Provoking a superior foe you have to have known would destroy you isn't maximizing feeding. Why did this error occur.

The foe was not believed superior.

It's always so boring. There's never any answer to it. Just. This.

Okay, daddy and Acme Station, here's why I want. Daddy I want to put the body you made somewhere the Dreams make for this, and I want them put right from here into that body in the Four Dreams, and then we'll implant them. And I want them made as human as possible in the process, and then I want to delete this shell from the sky with antilight. Can we make that happen?

I can make the body ensure they stand on two feet instead of hang from the sky. It works for you and you like it.

[SQUEEZY TUBE] [THUMBS UP SIGN].

The Dreams' respsonse is to pluck our bodies out of Olympic Pizza to a charcoal colored bedroom with square modernist furniture, nice but plain, big flatscreens around the top of the walls and various warning lights and sirens in the ceiling, speakers up there too. Phones and headsets hang from the walls and there's a head mounted display on a mannequin head by the bedside. There's no door.

This must be what being the backup cluster was like. I wonder what the Dreams will do with all this stuff--no I don't.

Defibrillator, they tell me anyway. Good luck, Dreams.

We're facing the bed. Medical astral engineering surrounds a pale-skinned femme body with brown hair, lying on its back with its arms by its sides.

Click, Bow. Boobsong transforms, and I make and nock an arrow, hold her ready.

Dolly, how are you with this? Anything you want to say or make different?

[hammer] [church building] [Care Bear Stare] [halberd point-down] [stress ball] [Doom mine].

Your Boobsong is happy we're doing it this way. Smash hard with meanest guns on plasma shell please. This with bow will be like stabbing on battlefield. Take that for fighting us. Splats come and heart bursts satisfied to see them.

Alright then queue up something good and nasty and chomp us to the Armory the second we see them shot here.

[dragon jaws].

Exactly. I turn my attention to Eden's monster in its lattice cage.

The su'khora you most targeted is now going to save your life and give you healing. You will dedicate yourself to understanding why that happened.

Compliance.

I draw Boobsong and gasp through gritted teeth at the squeezing of light and target the body's heart.

Click, move.

[pumping squeezy tube]

Displays in the medical astral engineering show condition-green alerts and it starts to disengage and disappear.

The body lurches, opens its eyes, and I fire. There's a millisecond of rainbow-hearts explosion from the arrow's impact, and we're in the Armory, facing the void I remember now is the shooting range--the crane's for hoisting stuff out to shoot at.

Up in the astral, the imprisoned plasma shell looks the same.

What've you got for us, Acme Station?

[Unicron transformation sequence from Transformers]

Oh. Oh that's poetic. I look at our astral form. Acme Station around me has become claws and grippers and slicing drilling scissoring blades. There's no way physically describe it. It's just fury made into machines and wrapped around me. I flare bright and things extend and blur into motion like Gurren Lagann was as dark and messed up as Evangelion and I come close to the empty Plasma Shell and raise tentacles like arms bring them smashing down onto it with all my might. There's a flash, our arms bounce off the lattice, but it's left missing pieces. I grab the shell with a couple more tentacles, pulse light into them to just make them chew at it where they hold, and plunge two tentacles into the broken place, end on. They burst through, plunging into the shell itself, and I yank them apart. Plasma and lattice streak aside like smudged-out paint, and there's a big gap in the lattice left, and the structure the shell had is already reduced to a blur.

I rear a tentacle back and sending plunging right into the hole and deep into the center of the plasma-shell inside, feel the core, wrap around it and tear it out.

My tentacle comes free of plasma that pulls past like liquefying flesh holding a knot of denser stuff still swirling with magnetic field lines and twisting lurching structure like a still-beating heart, held together by Acme Station's star-shaping fields.

So it can get destroyed the right way. Will reforms the cutters on my tentacle to all be like hooks that'd let me hook something out of a hole, and I do the same with a few more tentacles--cool, I can make more, though it gets complicated to control--and hook them all on the the the heart, and pull.

There's a blinding flash, and sparkles of unravelling light surround us.

[bowie knife] [sparkles] [halberd thrown down] [cheering]!

The rest of the shell in its lattice is still hanging there like a creme egg broken open. How about we give it a hint, Acme Station?

[school desk] [heart graffiti].

Yes. Perfect. She transforms again and becomes something whose tech I recognize in common with the Hyperintense Boomgong, but the emitter is a lot more complicated. This'll last?

Yes.

May I ask for it to say Four had love where this did not?

I'll make it say a million word novel if you ask, daddy, but you make five.

I would have killed it.

Are you upset we didn't?

I am glad you found the love to not.

I am how you made me.

[Vision: shining so bright black shell is just a speck in all the light streams]

Make it say my name. Tulip Dove Hestia Proudfoot.

You got it. Daddy, I'm doing what you said, last chance.

Do it as I said.

May it also have my face on it?

It's our red sister.

You got it. We'll leave a space for your name if you wanna add it later.

Let's put all our faces on it, and our heartchildren. And daddy does it mess up your poem if I want to add "Four were love this knew not"?

Beautiful.

He sounds choked up. Daddy...

[Vision: happy proud shining]

You found it! [clapping] I want mine to say Rada wandered a million years.

I was literally about to call you! You got it, sis.

You called me sis! I'm blushing hard right now. I'm not your big--

I got your letter. You took care of me for thirteen years. The Dreams let us finish, with that makeover. I'm good with that. Can I have my little sister? I miss you. I know you're retired, but you wanna come for pizza? Like if the time stuff is okay? We'll have to wish up a chair for my fans but I don't think they'll mind getting snuggly with us.

Okay. Yeah. We'll be there.

Her response sniffles with crying. She's so different. She sounds cute and sweet, like...well, the rest of us. I think the irony of her life might be it took a million years of wandering to give back the childlikeness twenty years as a medieval nursemaid took.

Hell yes. Acme Station you've been the bullseye this whole shitshow has fallen on. I say you get to add whatever you damn well please.

[TRASHCAN] [FOUR STARKIDS]!

Yeah, you're right. I just...you all understand. I think I want "Every knee will not bow, but every heart will sing."

All the arrows fell to this one bow.

Daddy..snif...okay.

Okay Acme Station, what DO you want?

[BOOMBOX] [GRAVEL] [PAUL REVERE / STAR SPHERE].

LET'S BOOM THIS THING AND HAVE THE APOCALYPSE RIDE!

Okay. Put all that together into something beautiful and tell me when you're ready.

[BUSY SWISHY TAIL]...[BOOMGONG]!

Let's rock and roll.

I pour light into Boobsong's pickup, and the network of antennas she's made arcs and coruscates with energy.

Click, fire.

There's a discontinuity like the Boomgong, the flareshield goes up and then quickly fades, and there above a field of spread out plasma like gravel are all our faces and words, in our black mirror fonts. The couplet's at the bottom, black on the "gravel":

Four had love where this did not.

Four were love this knew not.

Blush. Daddy's "all the arrows" thing is with my and Boobsong's faces of course, and astral abstraction lets our faces be biggest and in the center even though there's an even number of us. It's so simple, but she was right to do it like that.

Back in the Armory, I make my little palms-down I'm-satisfied gesture, and reel myself back out of the astral journey, step back from the edge of the shooting range, and click Boobsong big, and hug. She transforms and instantly puts her arms around me and I pet her head and breathe deep.

That was beautifully done, dolly.

[feeding pizza slice]

Yeah. Let's just do this first. Click, snuggly. She moves from hugging to my side, and I turn our backs on the shooting range, and walk up to the door and pssh's instantly open, and through into the cozier next room that's for playing What's That Sound, and the door pssh's instantly shut behind us.

Okay. Deep breath. Back to Olympic Pizza.

Click, chomp. Lasergrids take us back to Olympic Pizza, and everyone's still where they were, but Janna's holding Marie from behind now.