B2 — 11. Miracles of the Immaculate

Update:  So, I accidentally skipped by 2/3 of Maria’s chapters.  Last week I was half delirious from sleep loss and was releasing the chapters on my phone (a freaking pain).  I didn’t realize it until I started thinking about a few comments I got asking about Maria and what she did during the daytime.  Once I realized it … I facepalmed.

I plan on trying to release the next chapter sometime tonight or tomorrow, but I first need to finish Chapter 18 for the Patrons (it’s only fair).  I’d like to get back on track with the chapters, though.  So, expect Chapter 12 sometime in the next few days at most.  ^_^7

Maria followed Bree through the halls, ignoring the looks people have her.  Why does healing someone’s fatigue require more energy than healing some bruises?  Is it because Rachel’s a Mythickin and it’s easier because of that? It doesn’t make any sense.

Reaching an elevator, they took it to the first floor; she glared at a flustered looking woman standing as far away from her as possible in the back corner of the box.  She swapped to English with an annoyed tone. “What’s your deal?”

Bree looked back at her with bunched lips, speaking Spanish.  “You can’t blame people for being cautious, Maria.”

“Is that what you’re being?”  She asked the woman, turning her body to face the stiff woman.  “You’re being cautious of me? To me, it looks like racism. You a racist?”

The woman shook her head, a lump dropping down her throat.  “N-no—I just…” The door opened, and she darted around her, almost tripping on her way out.

“Tch,” Maria glared after her retreating back, several agents waiting to get in hurrying out of the way.  She flipped back to Spanish as she followed Bree out. “I’ve seen those looks before.”

A few men and women shifted to let them by; Bree sighed, glancing back for a moment, “C’mon, Maria.  She’s not a racist; she just doesn’t know how to treat you guys, and you guys did kill a bunch of people.  Even if they were murderers and rapists and the like, people normally have a hard time with murder.”

Most of the people in the halls moved out of their way, eyeing her and Bree with questioning looks.  “What? You guys kill people all the time; they don’t give you looks like this.”

“Yeah, well, we do it within the confines of the law…”

“What’s the difference?  They’re still dead.”

“Ah, well, hmm,” Bree went silent for a second as they went straight; the front entrance seemed right in front of them down a long hallway, through some metal detectors and guards on-duty.

After a moment, Bree continued.  “People want to feel safe, and if normal citizens start going around killing everyone that gets on their nerves, then it freaks them out.  Especially when they have crazy powers that belong in superhero movies.”

“That’s what you call killing children and kidnapping teens?  We don’t cry when cops kill a molester where I’m from, and that’s if we don’t handle it first.  Cops don’t come around our neighborhood often anyways; we gotta take care of our own.”

“Wait,” Bree slowed, looking back at her with a serious expression.  “You told us you never killed anyone before The Oscillation?”

“I haven’t; not before The Oscillation or after.”  She stated, looking at the closed doors to her left; several people hurrying past them toward the elevators or down different hallways, clearly very busy with something.

“Right … I guess you would know people that have murdered.”

“Hey, I know Patrick Crusius was a racist and shot up a bunch of Latino.  You telling me all these people don’t see me as a Mythickin and just hate me for that?  There’s some messed up Mythickin; I’ll say that. It’s not like there aren’t crappy White, Black, or Asians too.

“Crap … you going to blame every person of a race because of one person?  A man in Texas pops some mass shooter, and he’s treated like a hero; we take out dozens of terrorists, and we’re treated like Hannibal flippin’ Lecter.”

Bree seemed like she wanted to drop the subject.

“Anyways—where do you want to go?”

“I don’t care,” she sighed, looking to her right at the back of Bree’s blonde head.  “Hey, look, I’m just a little tense, aiight. I hate it when people look down on me. Freak, I hate it; it’s like I’m a wild animal or something.  But what, you’d rather someone lie to your face and play all nice? That’s that crap I don’t like, and I ain’t about to play a punk. I hate fakers—if someone’s got something to say, then say it to my face, and get over it.”

Bree rubbed the back of her neck, hair shifting with the gesture as a low hum left her throat.  They were closing in on the exit. “I get it; it’s just a bit complicated. People are scared; I mean, when I learned that you could heal wounds instantly, my first thought was if you could even be killed with bullets after hearing about the Seattle incident.”

“That’s messed up, but at least you’re honest,” Maria mumbled.

She shrugged.  “Hey, all I heard was that you guys killed dozens of people, and I was worried about how to stop you.  Give people time, and they’ll come around; they don’t know the full situation yet; the Military are keeping a lot of the details.”

“Like I said, playing both sides, I don’t like.  I’m not going to just take crap from people to make them feel better.  If they don’t like me, screw’em.”

Bree put all of her metal objects in a tote, unholstering her gun to put it through as they approached the checkout area.  The agents fed into the machine and let them by; the detector didn’t go off as they went through, and Bree recovered her items.

Humming thoughtfully, Bree looked left at her as they exited the building.  “How did you end up like that? The whole gangster thug life thing?”

Maria let a low moan slide through her throat as the weak morning rays struck her skin; all her fatigue vanished with a bit of her irritation as a slow warmth oscillated within her body.  Yeah, it’s going to take a while to get charged, but man this is real.

Putting her hands in her pockets, keeping her thumbs out, Maria bunched her lips to the side.  She for real?  “You wanna know why I keep it three-hundred?”

“Eh, what’s three-hundred mean?”

“Dang, I thought you were a part of Vice?”  Maria chuckled; the air pressure changed around them, making her pull a lock behind her left ear that blew out of place.

“Yeah, well, there’s a lot of odd street language; a lot of it comes from rap, right?  There’s a lot of rap slang…”

Maria shrugged.  “I guess. Keeping it three-hundred means you’re three-hundred percent real and honest; you ain’t no punk or a gangster that turned out to be a fake.  If you want to know, then I’ll tell you how it is.

“Understand, where I come from, every day you wake up—every day you leave the house, you’re takin’ a chance on going to the penitentiary and gettin’ done over.  You know … all my closest friends are done.

“You understand what I’m sayin’?  They’re doin’ a whole bunch of time, or they’re outta here.  You gotta be real or else nobody’s got your back, and you know, we all tryin’ to get outta the hood, right?  But not because we’re afraid of it; that’s not an obstacle. Na, it’s the mentality; never weary, never stoppin’—we aren’t poor, we’re just broke, and the hustle’s necessary for the bread.  For that, you gotta be real.”

“The mentality…”  Bree whispered as they turned a corner.  “And all the gangster killing talk is a part of that?”

“Look,” Maria muttered.  “It’s not about the killin’ stuff, but about takin’ action; if a dog runs up on you and knows you’re a punk, then he’ll walk all over you, steal your crap, and mess you up.  It ain’t that simple as just be nice—that crap doesn’t fly when someone’s tryin’ to put bread on the table; you gotta get it how you live, and that’s dirty.”

“Hmm, alright, well—I guess I don’t fully understand how it’s like living where you’re from.  Anyways, what do you like to do then? You mentioned that you’re a Christian? You go to church and everything?”

“Heck yeah,” Maria smirked.  “What, you don’t think a gangster needs God?”

“I just never got how it fit?”  Bree muttered as they split down another walkway.  “I mean, isn’t it against Christian teachings to be a gangster?”

Maria shrugged.  “Hey, we all got stuff in our closet; else why’d we need God, right?  No one’s perfect; you tellin’ me you are?”

A grumble rumbled in Bree’s throat.  “No … I guess not; I’ve got my regrets.”

“Look, I believe what I do, and that’s that; ain’t nobody going to tell me nothin’ when they haven’t walked in my shoes.  God’s got my back; at least, that’s how I feel. He’s been there with me from the start. More than any of these other fakers can say.

“Now, do I believe everything some preacher tells me?  Heck no; I read and figure that crap out for myself, but like I said, I’m not perfect, and I don’t know all everything.  So I live as best I can. Ain’t nobody but God above me; understand?”

“Not really,” Bree muttered, “but I can respect your honesty.  You still believe all of that after changing into a Mythickin Unicorn, though?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Well … it just,” she paused, looking left as they turned right on a concrete walkway; there were still long lines of cars moving slowly along the road in front of the building.  Agents were now keeping watch to make sure nobody trespassed onto the property. “Do you think this is God’s doing? All of this?”

Maria chuckled, causing Bree to frown and look back at her.  “Believin’ in God and believin’ he did all this are two different things, chica.”

Bree sighed, looking up at the nearly cloudless sky.  “I suppose you’re right.”

“Though, could God have done it?  Sure, I mean, it’s not like he lacks the power, but there’s tons of other things it could be too, you know?”

“So … you believe in aliens and stuff—and in God?”

They both made it to a walkway around a large pond area that seemed to have a concrete running track around it for FBI employees, and Bree led them onto it.  The glass windows along the massive FBI building next to them reflected the rising sunlight, and further ahead the freeway could be seen through some trees. The area was nicely groomed with palm trees, cut green grass, and several different groups of chirping birds flying around the area.

“Hmm,” Maria looked ahead of them toward several agents and office workers already jogging down the track ahead of them.  “I mean, do I think that we’re the only special planet out there? I believe God could have made other planets with other creatures on them, why not?  I don’t think scientists have a time machine to look back and know everything that happened—it’s all just guesswork. Could some of it be true? Sure, but that doesn’t mean there’s no God either.

“It’s not like I believe God pulls back His arm and blasts every evil person too; look, if He did that then where’s the choice, right?  There’s judgment and the like for that, and we got our agency; we make our own beds in the end. I ain’t about that speak the name, and all is forgiven crap, either.  It’s not what I’ve read anyways. James is all about those works, but you can’t be fake about that either.”

“I’m a little surprised,” Bree giggled.

Maria frowned, silver eyes following a few birds cruising around in the pond.  “About what?”

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“I’m just a little shocked that you are talking about things in the bible, but if you said you read and study yourself, then you can’t lie about that.”

She scratched her neck with a slight huff.  “Like I said, I keep it three-hundred; it’s not like I don’t have my own questions about it too, but that’s different than doubts.  What about you? Why do you think all this is happened?”

“The Oscillation?”

“What else?  Seems like a pretty big deal.”

Bree went silent as she took out her phone.  “So, umm, apparently one of the office workers I know saw Rachel with a four-star general … you know anything about that?”

She grunted.  “Changing the subject?  Fine, whatever, you don’t have to tell me your theory.  Eh—Rachel, and a four-star general? Nope, but it wouldn’t surprise me; that girl’s as crafty as they come.  She’s probably working out some deal; she’s more of a hustler than she knows.” She chuckled. “What’s a general doing at the FBI anyways?”

“I don’t know,” Bree mumbled, shooting back another text.  “Apparently she’s heard some talk about people saying the military’s butting heads with the FBI?”

“That’s some bullcrap; isn’t there still all sorts of bad stuff happenin’?  Why are y’all fighting when people need help?”

“Yeah … I have no clue.  It might not even be true; office gossip can be taken out of context.”

They both went silent for a moment as the sun continued to fill her; she turned on Diagnosis since they’d moved past the crowds.  After ten minutes of walking around the track, a group of joggers passed them, giving them questioning looks.  Maria was a little preoccupied, though.

After several minutes, Maria cleared her throat.  “So, eh—do you want me to heal your womb?”

Bree stopped in her tracks, body stiffening.  A lump dropped down her throat as she turned to stare at her.  “Umm … what—when did you notice?” She asked, tone defensive.

Maria pulled her hair back as a breeze blew it in front of her vision; she turned her head toward a bench to their left and tilted her head.  “Let’s sit.”

They both moved to the bench and sat; Bree was biting her lower lip as she glared at a duck.  Maria waited for two men to pass them before continuing. “I noticed when I was studying that one guy’s medical conditions.  I can turn it off or on; I’ve been keeping it off because it’s annoying, but I noticed your medical conditions when I turned it back on.”

“That feels … invasive,” Bree mumbled with a heated tone.  “So—you know everything wrong with me—with everyone? No medical privacy…”

“Yeah, and I’ll be the first to tell you how uncomfortable it is,” Maria groaned, flipping her hair behind the back of the bench.  “There was one guy in that crowd that had gonorrhea; I don’t want to know that.”

Bree was hunched over, elbows resting against her knees as she stared at the ground.  After a while, she whispered, “So … what about my uterus then?”

“I know there’s scar tissue on it; probably cauterized; you likely had surgery done on it, right?  I know you can’t have kids because of it, and there’s some kind of defect you have called bicornuate uterus.

“If I ask what something is, then there’s something in my head that gives me an answer; it can be a real punk about it, though, and leave me hanging.  Bicornuate uterus is a defect that you were born with, though, right? I don’t know much other than that, but I can still sense it with the scar tissue on your uterus.”

“Yeah,” Bree muttered.  “When I was a teen, my periods really … you don’t want to hear this.”  She sighed, leaning back with a tired groan.

“Hey, I don’t mind,” Maria muttered.  “I’ve got nothing better to do, and I think I can help.  You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want too; I kind of like you, though, so I’m offering to fix it.  Simple as that—not that big of a deal.”

Maria folded her arms as Bree’s lips curved into a sad smile and a jaded huff shot through her nostrils.  “Not that big of a deal?” She was silent for a few seconds before she ran a hand through her blonde hair.  “It was a big deal to me. When I was a teen, my periods were—difficult, erratic, I always had a stomach ache—it was bad.

“My dad was a return vet from Desert Storm; he got oxy for his back pain, and I’d—I’d steal some just to get through the day sometimes … I felt like a loser, but the pain was just…”  A lump dropped down her throat, and she brushed away a tear. “My dad would always blame my uncle for the missing pills, but I couldn’t come clean.

“After a year of that—I just felt like a freak; none of the other girls had to deal with something like that.  My mom knew something was wrong but didn’t know what it was—thought it was just teenage angst. I finally told her, and we went and got an ultrasound; my mom thought I was pregnant or something at first,” she chuckled sadly.

She scratched her scalp as she gathered her thoughts.  “Turns out I did have bicornuate uterus … the doctor called it a heart-shaped womb, which I hated.  Hearts were supposed to be connected with love and passion … not a painful defect … I was defective—at least that’s how I felt.

“My mom scheduled me for consultations, and one of the options was cauterizing it; it would stop the pain and irregular bleeding.  I just wanted the pain to go away, but it also meant I couldn’t have kids.”

Bree looked up at her with an uncertain expression.  “You’re saying you can fix all of that, though? The defect and the damage done by the surgery?”

Maria shifted a little in the seat, feeling a bit of pressure now.  “I mean, I feel like I can—but you’re making me doubt myself now. That’s a crappy story, though—that would suck.”  Bunching her lips to the side, she looked left at the hesitation in Bree’s features. “I don’t want to get your hopes up, but … I think I can.  I just—want to wait a few more minutes to get some more energy back.”

She looked over at the sun peeking over the treetops; her energy was returning a lot faster than it was inside.  She gauged herself at eight percent, but it was still going up slowly. It would be hours before she was fully recovered.

“I’m at about eight percent, right now,” she mumbled.

Bree followed her gaze to the sun before her vision fell.  “I don’t want to—don’t you kill yourself when you heal people?  What if it takes more than seven percent and you’re on death’s door again, or more and you just die?  You could like … vanish into thin air or something?”

Maria laughed.  “Vanish into thin air … yeah, who knows?  Dang—but, I mean, don’t you want kids?”

She almost forgot that the woman beside her was a Special Agent of the FBI as she stared down at the concrete, a complex swirl of emotions spreading across her face.

“You—you know I’d be lying if I said I never thought about it.  I haven’t even—Jonas doesn’t even know…”

Maria groaned, stretching out.  “Aiight, then let me ask some questions and figure out what this is gonna cost.  I don’t want to die, but heck—you’re the most honest dang person I’ve met here at the FBI.  I don’t know exactly why, but it just feels like … good helping you.”

“Thanks, I guess,” Bree mumbled.  “I don’t think just being honest should warrant you killing yourself for a complete stranger, though.”

“Isn’t that the kind of stuff you do every day?”  Maria asked with a playful nudge. “You go out there bustin’ in doors tryin’ to save random people?”

“I suppose…”

“Right, well, crap—you can pay me back later.  Sound good?”

Bree took a deep breath, vision returning to the ground.  “No … I think you should first heal all those people the Military is bringing over.  You should be saving up your energy for them.”

“Why can’t I do both?”  Maria asked.

“Eh,” Bree clicked her tongue a few times, “because you don’t have the energy?”

“Let me worry about that, okay?  Now shut-up and let me think. I can’t fight for crap as a Unicorn; so, what good am I if I can’t heal?”

Bree’s lips drew into a line as she glanced at her, but she didn’t pursue the topic.

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Alright, knowledge-thing, I want something that will help me heal and not use a ton of energy; got anything like that while I’m in sunlight?  Dang it, just give me something that reduces my energy used in sunlight or … oh, Solar Mitigation. So, you aren’t completely useless! While in sunlight, my Miracles of the Immaculate Branch abilities have a ten percent reduced cost.  I guess that’s something.

What kind of abilities are in that branch … Lesser Cure Defect and Restore Minor Appendage.  Those are pretty specific for this situation … although, I suppose the appendage thing was used for that bunny Beastkin.

A smile broke across Maria’s lips; she had a distinct feeling that she could do it now.  “Well, do you want me to fix it? Yes or no?”

Bree groaned, running both hands through her hair to secure it behind her ears.  “You’re a temptress, but—if you can … it’d change my life—I’d really appreciate it.”

Maria fed the desire, and a white light surrounded Bree as her horn appeared; after a moment, they faded, and Maria felt half her energy leave.  “Huh,” she stretched out her left arm, “four percent is pretty good. Curing some scarring and an organ’s shape seems to be a little costly, but not as much as I thought.”

“F-four percent,” Bree asked, body stiffening.  “That’s half your life…”

“Don’t be melodramatic,” Maria giggled.  “Sure, half my life now, but it’s coming back.  I’m already at four-point-zero-zero-three percent!  My life goes up as I live, not down.” She said with an innocent smile.

“And—I’m cured?”  Bree asked, looking down at her stomach.  “I don’t feel any different?”

“Well,” Maria hummed, looking her up and down.  “I’m not getting that condition warning anymore; so, yup, you’re cured…”

She was a little shocked as Bree lurched toward her, wrapping her arms around her shoulders as tears dripped from her eyes.  “Y-you have no idea what this—this means to me.”

“Woah,” Maria mumbled, awkwardly patting her back; Bree’s holstered firearm dug into her side, causing her to repress a grunt.  “That came from left-field—eh, yeah, okay. Hey, c’mon, let go, we’re making a scene,” she muttered, face turning red as she saw a few agents turning the corner.

Bree took a deep breath before releasing her, quickly dabbing at her cheeks.  “I’m—I’m sorry, but—I’ve been dealing with that most my life … you really are a miracle worker.  You’ve even—you’ve even made me want to believe in a higher power.”

Maria cleared her throat as she scratched behind her long left ear, trying to hide her rosy cheeks by looking toward the sun; surprisingly, the sun didn’t blind her in the least.  “Let’s not get over-emotional.”

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