“Carol-” Lady Photon spoke, her voice gentle.  “Take it easy.”

They stood in the mist of a ruined neighborhood.  Amy had stepped outside within a minute of their arrival, blocking the door with her body.  There was no resistance in the girl, though.

Ahh, I guess she doesn’t want them to go in and see Victoria’s, uh, cocoon?

It was more like the obstruction was a way of running, of forestalling the inevitable.

It’s this kind of thing that makes me compare Amy to Lapis Lazuli. The sense that the bad things are inevitably coming and all they can do is run away. From their enemies, from their friends, from themselves.

The girl hugged her arms against her body, her hands trembling even as they clutched her upper arms.  Her teeth chattered, as if she were cold, but it was a warm evening.

Was the girl in shock?  Carol couldn’t muster any sympathy.  Amy was stopping her from getting to Victoria.

But if Victoria hasn’t left after chewing out Amy, why is Amy like this? Or rather, why was she like this already when the rest of the family arrived?

What happened between her and Victoria just before this?

Victoria, who she’d almost believed was dead.

“Amy,” Lady Photon spoke, “What’s going on?  You won’t let us inside, but you won’t explain.  Just talk.”

If it wasn’t clear by now, I like Photon Mom (or Photon Aunt in this case) Sarah a lot more than I like Carol, even if Carol’s struggles are painfully understandable.

Amy shivered.  “I… she wouldn’t let me help her, she was so angry, so I calmed her down with my power.  She’d been hurt badly, so I wrapped her up.  A cocoon, so she could heal.”

And then?

“That’s good.  So Victoria’s okay?”  Lady Photon coaxed responses from Amy.

Of course she’s not okay, Brandish thought.  What about this situation makes you think she could be okay?

There were options that would have Victoria being okay, but Amy’s behavior suggests otherwise.

“I… I had to wait a while before I could let her out, so I could be sure she had healed completely.  I-“

Amy stopped as her voice cracked.

Alright, past tense, so we have gotten to that point.

“Keep going,” Lady Photon urged.

Amy glanced at Brandish, who stood with her arms folded, stone-faced.

If I change my expression now, if I say or do anything, I’ll lose it, I’ll break, Brandish thought.  Her heart thudded in her chest.

If you lose it, try not to take it out on Amy, please?

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