[WARNING/REMINDER: This is an ACRAPHOBE Imprint. It ain't warmfuzzies.]

Blue Light Productions presents

______  _   _   _   ____  _     ____  _____  ___  _     _____ _____
|    |  |   |  / \  |   | |     |   |   |   |___| |     |____ \___
|BLiP|  | _ | |   | |   | |     |   |   |   |   | |     |         \
|    |  | | | |   | |---  |     |   |   ~   ~   ~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
|#15 |  | | | |   | |\    |     |   |        (An ACROPHOBE Imprint)
|    |  |/ \|  \ /  |  \  |     |   |
~~~~~~  ~   ~   ~   ~   ~ ~~~~~ ~~~~         FEATURING: Faq Boy and
       [The cover is a close up of Faq Boy and Perdition kissing
        on a mountain side, while an avalanche threatens overhead.
        It might be the freshness of the cover, or something, 
        but there appears to be two Paytans superimposed onto one.]
                        Dedicated to loves lost.
[NOTE: This issue is best read when playing Madonna's _I'm Breathless_ in 
the backgroud. Especially track 9.]
                    "MOUNTAINS AND MOLEHILLS."
"What can you lose?
Only the blues.
Why keep concealing everything you're feeling?
Say it to her, what can you lose?"
The van appeared to move slowly under the hot sun, but that was more due 
to the lack of a reference point in the featureless landscape than the 
van's true speed. Its dusty brown was a tribute to the land around it, 
a sandy coating giving it a shell that hid its true colouring.
        Inside, the occupants were feeling as worn as the van. The metal 
around them didn't do much to defray the heat, and where there had been 
conversation before, now there was an impatient silence.
        The driver shifted gear once more, and pushed the pedal down, 
keeping an eye on the heat gauge. He was a little under six feet tall, 
with short dark hair and glasses. With his current grim expression, and 
the fact that people could actually see his eyes, not many people would 
have guessed that he was the dimensional twin of the Alt.Rider known as 
the Net.Elementalist. He was, though. His name was Barry Allen Knewbee, 
but he usually went by his second name, Allen.
        He was also known as a member of the Legion of Net.Heroes, going 
under the name of Faq Boy. Powers: to answer Frequently Asked Questions 
and Keeper of the FAQ of the LNH reality.
        He was also in love.
        Next to him, staring out into the bleak desert, was a woman of 
medium height, with shoulder length brown hair, glowing eyes, horns 
sprouting from her head and an air of determination. She was also a 
member of the Legion of Net.Heroes, Perdition by code name. However, she 
usually went by her own name, Paytan Valkalian.
        She thought she might be in love.
        The van continued on, finally nearing its destination: the 
Rec.ky Mountains. The great natural structure rose majestically off the 
horizon, but even they looked bleached by the heavy light.
        The van left the road and drove along, not quite parallel, but 
definitely heading away from the normal road over the mountains and into 
more rugged territory.
        It stopped inside a natural cavern, and Allen switched the 
engine off. It sat there, cooling in the shade, the quiet ticking of 
slowly shrinking metal the only sound in the silence neither of them 
felt like breaking for the moment.
        Allen pushed a door open, but did no more as he let the cooler 
breeze in the cave wash over him. The world was still, at rest, which he 
empathised with after the long drive.
        Paytan finally kicked her door open, and jumped out, her need to 
do something, anything, driving her on. "Come on then. You invited me 
out here. Let's get some climbing done before the sun sinks on us."
        That was true. Allen had invited her to climb the Rec.kies with 
him. Neither of them was fully certain where their relationship was 
going, and he wanted to be alone with her so they could work it out. 
There was no way that was ever possible in the chaotic surrounds of the 
LNH Headquarters, where if enemies didn't blow it up, the heroes tried to.
        Paytan slammed the door shut, and headed for the back of the 
van, Allen following.
        Allen helped Paytan to unload the back area of the van. Sleeping 
bags, a tent, food plus utensils and cooking equipment, and a few days 
changes of rugged outdoor clothing. Everything a casual mountaineer 
        "I know we couldn't get a flight.thingee," said Paytan, leaving 
that conversation dead after thrashing it too many times, "but you could 
have at least brought along something more useful than a van." She gave 
it a light thump. "What if we get stuck or something? A Kid Kirby car 
would enable us to get help easily, if not rescue us itself," she added, 
        "Image is half of everything," said Allen, distributing the 
gear, and helping Paytan on with her pack. "If we had a car.thingee, 
would we really have felt away from everything?" Allen didn't want to 
actually admit he didn't know how to use .thingees.
        "No, I suppose not," agreed Paytan, still wishing that Allen let 
her bring a com.thingee if nothing else, but he had insisted.
        "Right. Help me on with my pack, will you? You said we should 
get climbing, so off we go." As Paytan did so, her mind wandered to 
another topic that had been thrashed. What if she were summoned again? 
And this time without Dirmarw... Allen assured her he wasn't going to 
let anothing happen to her, but still...
        She shook the thought out of her head as Allen locked up. She 
was here to enjoy herself, not delve into the self-pity that lay waiting 
just beneath the surface to trap her.
        Giving Allen a dazzling smile, Paytan asked "Ready?", then moved 
off without waiting for an answer, leaving Allen to stumble in his hurry 
to catch up.
        Outside, the ground near the cavern was fairly broken up, making 
for an easy start to their climb. As he helped Paytan up, Allen looked 
back across the desert that they had spent over a day getting to and 
over. He really hoped it was worth it.
        The first hundred meters were easy enough. Plenty of foot and 
hand holds allowed them to rise quickly, getting into trickier goings 
almost immediately.
        Looking up, Allen saw the mountain rising steeply above them. 
While the going would be possible lower down, as they got higher they 
would be forced onto more diversionary tracks to find places to scale. 
While both of them had rope, neither of them had any other proper 
mountain climbing tools (or experience either). They had come for a 
break, not to endeavour to reach the peak.
        The ground dropped away, and so did the sun. Allen's stomach was 
growling, and he could hear Paytan's as well, before they decided to 
stop for the night. They had come across a wide stretch of rock, about 
100 meters across, and 20 meters spare before they would plunge to a 
painful and gruesome death. Both of them stared over the edge at the 
horrifying sight for a few minutes before either of them could tear 
their gazes away to set up camp.
        While Allen got the dinner ready, using a portable hot-plate 
(while they were 'roughing it' to some extent, they could afford such 
luxuries as a small round metal element the size of a frisbee that 
heated itself, courtesy of Kid Kirby), Paytan tried to set the tent up.
        Like the hot-plate, the tent had also been designed by Kid 
Kirby. With some sense of dignity, they had asked for the model that 
they had to assemble themselves, but Paytan was having difficulty 
working out how to do just that.
        She had managed to get the base laid out, and the frame work 
assembled, but was having trouble with the expanding walls. They were 
small square sheets that stretched whenever the user pulled on one side 
of them, but these weren't expanding no matter how much Paytan pulled 
        "Hey, Allen," she finally called. "Could you come and help me 
with this?"
        Allen looking up from his cooking (baked beans, simple yet 
boring) and saw her stuggle. He walked up behind her and put his arms 
around her, grabbing the sheet from behind. Paytan was a bit startled by 
his appearance, but didn't move away.
        "Here," he said, his voice buzzing pleasantly in Paytan's ear. 
"Pull them gently. Like this." Demonstrating, he pulled two opposite 
sides apart, slowly but firmly. The sheet expanded in his grasp, and 
continued to do so, even when Paytan took over.
        Allen stayed where he was, looking over her shoulder, and 
brought his arms closer to snuggle her. She let him, feeling 
comfortable, but her uncertainly rose, and she twisted slightly 
indicating that they should get on with their chores.
        Allen hugged her tightly once, kissed her neck, then let go, 
leaving Paytan feeling happy, yet kind of sad and alone. She turned to 
watch him go back to the meal for a moment, before returning to her task.
        After the tent had finally been erected properly, and after their 
meal, neither of them went inside to sleep. Instead, they stayed out 
under the stars, Paytan falling asleep in Allen's arms, Allen stroking 
her hair, and horns, softly.
"Maybe it shows,
She's had clues, which she chose to ignore.
Maybe though she knows,
And just wants to go on as before.
As a friend, nothing more
So she closes the door."
They had reached a small ridge, and where taking their first rest two 
hours after starting out, when Paytan decided to question Allen's motives.
        "Why did you invite me out here?" she asked. "What exactly do I 
mean to you? Or are you just trying to get into my pants?"
        Allen was a bit taken aback with the directness of the question, 
but he didn't dodge it. Didn't want to face the consequences if he did.
        "Yes," he replied. "I do want to get into your pants." Paytan 
raised an eyebrow, but let him continue. "I also want you to get into my 
pants, but," he held a finger up to reenforce his next point, "only if 
you want to as well."
        Paytan pursed her lips. "And what is exactly is that supposed to 
        "What you want is important to me," Allen explained. "You are 
important to me. This may sound corny, or cliched, or whatever, but I 
truly want you to be happy. And I want to do whatever it takes to make 
you happy."
        "That's quite a line."
        "It isn't a line. It's the truth."
        Allen gazed into Paytan's glowing eyes for so long, 
unblinkingly, that she had to look away first.
        "Let's go on. I want to think about this," she said quietly. 
Allen nodded understandingly, and followed her as she made her way up.
"What would you do for me?" Paytan asked. It was late afternoon now. 
Lunch was over long ago, and their thoughts were slowly turning towards 
a place to stay for the night.
        Allen shrugged. "Whatever you want me to."
        Paytan shook her head. "Too easy. Try again. What limits would 
you go to to achieve what I ask? What wouldn't you do for me?"
        Allen thought about this. Paytan bit her lip as she watched him, 
half wanting to yank an answer out of him, half wanting to choke him to 
keep the answer inside.
        Allen looked up at for. "I would die for you, but I won't die if 
you tell me to."
        Paytan frowned. "What?"
        "I would give up my life if I could save you, but I won't throw 
it away stupidly. You could order me to jump off this cliff," he said, 
looking down the bank to the dizzying depths below. "But I wouldn't jump. 
I would do anything for you, but not that."
        "Why not?" Paytan asked, half jokingly.
        Allen answered, still fully serious. "If I kill myself now, I 
won't be able to give myself for you later."
        Paytan winced. Such selflessness. Could she really deal with 
that? Abruptly, she turned away, and continued along the ridge they were 
currently traversing.
        She wasn't sure just how serious he was really being. Being 
Fan.Boy's twin, he did have the ability to come back to life after he 
was killed, so even if he did jump off the cliff, would it really be 
that bad?
        Not that she really had any intention of asking him to jump off 
the cliff for her.
        Dirmarw came back into her thoughts. He'd be laughing by now. 
Paytan didn't know if she could blame him. She'd probably be laughing 
now if everything wasn't so serious.
        If Dirmawr was still here (and that was a completely different 
idea she didn't want to approach), he'd ask her to take Allen's soul. He 
had once before. Paytan had refused, why should she? Dirmawr admitted he 
was just testing. She had let it go...
        But her magic cost her a terrible price. She had to take lives 
to, ultimately, save lives...
        Unbidden, a reminant of the tests Dirmawr would put her through, 
an image arouse in her mind. The world depending on her, her out of 
magic, only her and Allen left, only one place to get magic from...
        Paytan stopped, making Allen pull up short. "Paytan?" he asked. 
"What's wrong?"
        Paytan didn't turn around. "Nothing," she whispered, continuing, 
but keeping herself carefully from looking back at him.
        Allen frowned, but followed.
        The image stayed in her mind, however much Paytan tried to 
banish it. The question resounded again and again to her. Could she take 
Allen's life to save others?
        Paytan didn't know the answer, and that terrified her.
"Beans again for dinner," Allen said. They had found a cave, too small 
to set the tent up in, but large enough for them to be comfortable.
        "All we have are beans," replied Paytan, a smile twitching her 
        "At least you wont be getting any nasty surprises then. Perhaps 
I could kill something for you," he said, miming shooting a bow and 
arrow. "Just for a change of diet. Care for an eagle's egg?" he asked, 
in a somewhat posh voice, pretending he was a waiter in an expensive 
restaurant, handing her an exquisite dish.
        Paytan snorted, and then gave in to giggles. Allen did as well.
        They collapsed by the element, now changed to produce fake 
flames, laughing harder now than the joke deserved, releasing pent up 
emotions. Eventually they stopped, and regarded each other solemnly 
through the fire.
        "Do you love me?" she asked.
        "Yes," he replied.
        They made love that night, for the first time.
"Well, if she does
Those are the dues.
Once the words are spoken, 
Something may be broken.
Still, you love her.
What can you lose?"
They awoke clasped together, surrounded by small rocks. As Allen groped 
for his clothes, he saw the debris scattered around the cave.
        "Guess the earth really moved for us last night," he said, 
throwing a shirt to Paytan.
        She grabbed it and put it on, getting a good look around 
herself. "Wow. We must be in an unstable area or something."
        "Well," said Allen, a twinkle in his eye. "You were pretty loud 
last night."
        Paytan threw an empty baked bean tin at him, then they both 
descended into giggles again.
They were passing through a crevice when they heard a roar. Throwing 
each other worried looks, they continued slowly, looking for the source 
of the sound.
        Paytan, in the lead, saw it first. A bear, trapped down a shaft 
off the crevice.
        "Bloody hell," said Allen, when he saw the problem. "It looks 
        "Thank you Albert Einstein. How are we going to get it out?"
        "Get it out?" asked Allen, incredulous. "That's a bear down 
there. You know, big claws, ferocious temper. Stop me when you see the 
same problems I do."
        "It's also an animal in pain. It's stuck in here, no hope of 
ever getting out," Paytan could feel her own misery when she was trapped 
in Hell before she met Brittany coming to the surface. "If we don't 
help it, it could die down there."
        "And if we do help it, we could die down here."
        Paytan slammed Allen against the crevasse wall. "You said you'd 
do anything for me. You made love to me, or did we just have sex last 
night. Does none of that mean anything to you? Am I just some FUCKING 
CONQUEST?!?" Paytan's voice rose in anger, disguising desperation. It 
couldn't be true. If he had lied to her, betrayed her...
        "Shush," said Allen, motioning with his hand. "If this area is 
unstable, you could cause an avalanche."
        "Fuck that," said Paytan, although she did lower her voice. 
"What do I mean to you? Did you make some bet with the boys back at 
LNHHQ? Get into my pants by Friday? Was that it?"
        Allen's face winced in pain. "That hurt."
        "Good. You're a jerk, Allen. A real fucking jerk." Paytan turned 
away, looking straight at the bear, trying not to think of her 
self-esteem which was ready to come crashing down around her.
        Paytan's eyes misted over. Don't you dare cry, she told herself. 
Don't give him the pleasure.
        Something snaked passed her, and she turned in surprise to see 
Allen lowering a rope down to the bear. "Can you help me please?" he 
asked without looking at her. "I need to tie this around the bear's 
chest. We can then hoist him out."
        Paytan still had to fight back the tears. "Give me that," she 
said, her voice husky, indicating the other end of the rope.
        Allen held the end out, and when their hands touched, Paytan 
looked up to see Allen's eyes turning red. Neither of them said anything.
        Paytan held the rope firmly, wrapping the rope around her waist, 
and bracing herself against the walls, as Allen slowly climbed down.
        "I think one of its paws is broken, the front one. That just 
leaves his other paw and his mouth," Allen said. Due to her position, 
and the position of the bear, Allen was half out of sight, and she had 
to go by his comments.
        "I'm going to try to stand on the other leg, gently, as well as 
the head, then try to pass the rope around it." Paytan heard grunts as 
Allen attempted what he said. "Stop that! I'm trying to help you. Geez, 
times like this I wish Barry was here, and had his stunning power still."
        Paytan heard a gasp of pain, and turned her head away, the tears 
finally escaping. What the hell was she doing?
        The next thing she heard was Allen climbing back up the rope. He 
was holding his side, with had a large gash in it. There was a lesser 
wound on his leg.
        "Right," he said, bracing himself beside Paytan, still not 
looking at her. "Now we pull."
        On the count of three, they both heaved. A roar of pain came 
from below, but they kept pulling.
        "Move.. back.." Allen gasped, and Paytan backed away, still 
holding onto the rope. The bear rose higher, and finally it was able to 
get own grasp on the crevice. With only one more tug from Paytan and 
Allen, it was able to pull itself up.
        The bear turned to them, and Allen stayed in front of Paytan, 
defensively. "Get away. You've got your chance so get away before I have 
to do something," Paytan heard him mutter.
        The bear swayed slightly, then limped away in the other 
direction. Allen let the rope drop, and it trailed off behind the bear.
        "He'll be able to bite it off, or claw it, or whatever, later," 
he said.
        Paytan hugged him tightly. "I'm sorry."
        "No, don't be. Please," said Allen. "You were right. I was being 
a jerk."
        They kissed lightly, and went to retrieve Allen's pack that he 
had dropped when he got his rope out.
They continued walking for a while, looking for some place to set up 
camp and let Allen rest. His wounds looked worse than they really were, 
although the one in his chest still bled slightly.
        Finally reaching a kind of plateau, Paytan put the tent up while 
Allen lowered himself to the floor.
        "We'll start back down in the morning," said Paytan.
        Allen nodded. "I should hopefully feel better then."
        Paytan paused in her work. "I'm sorry," she said, her tears 
getting the better of her again.
        Allen hobbled over to her. "No, no," he said softly, but then he 
became more commanding. "No. I don't blame, or fault or anything you. 
Don't do this to yourself."
        "You were right, it was dangerous. You got hurt-"
        "Yes, but it had to be done. You were right from the beginning. 
You've always been right. So much better than me," he said softly.
        "Oh, Allen."
        That night, they were more tender in their love making.
"But what if she goes?
At least now, you have part of her.
What if she had to choose?"
They started back down, going slowly for Allen's sake. They also paused 
briefly at the beginning for Paytan to get a small rock. She had 
promised Brittany a keepsake.
        It wasn't too bad. Despite Allen's stiffness of healing wounds, 
they still made good progress downwards. By lunchtime, they had covered 
what they did yesterday, and set out to gain ground covered the day 
        They were sidling back along a ridge when Paytan slipped. Allen 
quickly lunged forward to grab her, but his side shot pain through him, 
stopping him.
        Paytan managed to twist and grab some of the ledge that still 
remained. She kicked her legs around, but was unable to grasp any 
        Allen lay out along the ridge, and grabbed Paytan's hand, but 
couldn't pull her up.
        Paytan felt even that slender grip going. Oh shit, oh shit, I'm 
gonna die. "Help me!" she screamed. "Help me!" Tears of panic and 
helplessness coursed down her face.
        "Take your pack off," Allen told her. "It's weighing you..."
        Paytan mentally screamed at him to go on, to save her, to stop 
her from dying, but Allen looked up, fear creeping onto his face.
        Paytan's eyes crept upwards, not wanting to see whatever it was.
        She saw a rock tumbling down straight towards her, more piling 
up behind it. Shit! Avalanche! SHIT!
        Allen twisted back around, and had time for one last desperate 
lunge before the rock smashed into Paytan's shoulder, eliciting a scream 
of agony, and causing her grip to fail.
        Allen watched Payton drop.
        "PAYTON! NOOO!" Allen wailed. His mind whirled. What the hell 
could he do this time? What the hell-
        Got it.
        Reaching out with his powers of FAQ, and protecting his head 
with one arm, Faq Boy called the FAQ into existence in the other hand. 
He scrabbled through it, looking for the right part. There it was!
        "Who is the most powerful LNHer?" the question ran.
        Faq Boy disregarded the answer and concentrated on making the 
words appear. It was hard, so hard. The natural inertia of the FAQ had 
to be overcome. Based as it was in an outside reality, imprinting a 
change on it required a tremendous force of will. To save Paytan, he 
forced himself to have the will.
        "Paytan   " hard.. so hard.. "  has  " do it... DO IT.. 
"  omnipotence."
Paytan dropped, all sense of what was happening to her gone from her 
mind as it reeled from the pain the rock caused.
        Then it cleared.
        Funny. The cliff face didn't look this smooth going up.
        You know, Paytan's mind reeled, trying to find something other 
than the looming prospect of death, you know, it's strange. Sometimes, 
when Allen says my name, he says it slightly strangely, as if thinking 
of someone else.
        I wonder why that is?
        Omnipotence hit.
Allen watched, his head hanging over the edge, as Paytan tumbled down 
below, so far below, him. There hadn't been that many rocks, but there 
had been one too many from the start. Sweat formed on his brow, as he 
fought to keep the FAQ the way he wanted.
        His heart started again when he saw her move out from the rock 
wall. She flew back up to him. Keep the FAQ there, keep the FAQ there.
        She landed beside him, a strange look on her face, but he 
couldn't think of that now.
        When Paytan finally touched down on firm ground, Allen breathed 
a sigh of relief, and let the FAQ disappear. He slumped his head down, 
feeling drained emotionally and physically. He did it. He saved her.
        Paytan hauled him up, but didn't say anything. Allen's side was 
giving him too many troubles for him to do more than concentrate on 
moving. He felt like collapsing, but kept going.
        Finally, the ridge widened, and he was able to sink down and let 
himself sag.
        That's when Paytan smashed him in the face.
        Allen's hand flew to his mouth. "My teef. You bruke my teef."
        Paytan grabbed by the shirt, and pulled him up until they were 
eye to eye. "I should break your fucking neck."
        Allen looked into her eyes, which had until now looked so 
beautiful. People say "If looks could kill...". Allen felt like he was 
already dead.
        "You never wanted me, did you?" Paytan growled into his face. "You
only ever wanted her!" 
        "Her?" Allen asked, knowing all too well who Paytan was referring 
        "Her. That bitch," she spat. "Pay-TON. You called me by her 
name, Pay-TON. Not Pay-TAN. Pay-TON. You bastard."
        Shit. Allen knew this day might come some time, but he never 
thought it would be like this.
        "I was falling in love with you. You made me love you. Why didn't 
you just shoot me?" she dropped him, confusion taking over.
        "Why? Why? Couldn't you have just left me alone? Why did you 
have to make me love you?" She sank to the ground, curling up in on 
        "I... I never meant..." Allen tried to say.
        Paytan jumped up, all anger. She kicked Allen, and he collapsed 
        "You never meant what?" Kick.
        "You never meant to hurt me?" Kick. "You did."
        "You never meant to lead me on?" Kick. "You did."
        "You never meant for me to find out?" Kick. "I did."
        "You never meant for me to be me?" Kick. "I am me. Not her. I 
should kill you." She turned away from him, and Allen saw her hug herself 
        Allen lay there, a mass of pain. But there was something he had 
to tell her. "I saved you," he gasped. "Not her."
        "What?" Short. Sharp. Hardly listening.
        "I wasn't able to save her. You know I didn't. She died in the 
same way, an avalanche. I couldn't save her. Didn't know how."
        Paytan stood there, her back still to him.
        "When I saw you fall, I saw her fall. Yes, it was her I cried 
out for, but she died. I couldn't save her. But, it was you I saved. I 
gave omnipotence to Pay-TAN, not Pay-TON."
        Still no response.
        "Yes, I love her. I can't not. But I love you as well."
        "Stop it!" cried Paytan, finally turning. "I can't take this. 
When we met, you saw her, not me."
        "I love her. I can't deny that. I still do, but I love you now. 
As you. You know I do. I can't stop loving you even if you don't want it."
        Allen could see it in her eyes. Yes, she did know. He wasn't sure 
how she knew, but she did know that he did love her now.
        "Is that supposed to be enough?"
        "Could it ever be?"
        Paytan sat down beside him, staring out to the horizon. "Tell me 
about her."
        "Don't you know...?"
        "Tell me about her... in your words."
"We met for the first time when I was sixteen. I had just signed up 
with the LNH. I felt so proud of myself. I had power. Power that the 
Roster King needed. I saw everything as mine. *Mine*. Well, mine and his.
        "Position was everything in my reality. If you had position, you 
treat everything below you like dirt, 'cos you had backing of those 
above you. With only the Roster King above me, I could pick and choose 
whatever I wanted.
        "When I first saw her, my heart tripped over itself. At first, 
it was lust, pure and simple. I ordered her to be with me. She had no 
choice. She faced death otherwise, and she knew it.
        "I was, as you said, a jerk to do what I did. I took her as my 
mistress. For the first year I used her any way I wanted. That's the way 
I had been taught. Ignorance is always given as excuse, isn't it? And 
it's never accepted.
        "But, over that first year, my feelings changed. I used to... 
shit, I used to let others have her, for their pleasures. That was the 
way things worked. But, after a while, I became... jealous, possessive. 
I didn't like seeing her with any one else. When she was hurt, I was 
hurt. I came down hard on those who left bruises, or treated her badly. 
I was given a lot of joshing from those below me about it, saying I was 
in love. I denied it.
        "But I was.
        "It was everything about her. I started taking an interest in 
what she liked. Getting pleasures from her pleasures. She liked to go 
bare horseback riding in the rain, sing songs under the full moon, make 
love after a ten mile run...
        "I got a cabin in the mountains, a private ski resort, as a 
present when I turned eighteen. I went there a lot with her. She enjoyed 
the snow, played in it for hours. We made snowmen, angels, even had snow 
fights. We were both in love.
        "Three months later it happened. We were at the resort taking on 
one of the harder slopes when too much snow caused a tree to topple 
over. The crash started an avalanche. I managed to get out of the way.
        "She... she never made it... She fell down a ravine. I watched 
her fall. I couldn't save her...
        "And then, when I came here, to this reality, I never thought 
I'd ever be at peace again. Then Barry asked me to do a favour. Go out 
and pick you up after you'd been stranded out at wherever that place 
was, where you fought Brittany's Aunt JoDean.
        "I couldn't believe my eyes. The splitting image. And then I 
heard your name. Paytan. Payton. So much the same. I had a second 
chance. This new dimension gave me back the woman I loved.
        "I fell in love with you as her. But I now love you as you."
 Paytan cooked them dinner, and they ate in silence, then they spent the 
night under the sky, all in silence.
Paytan helped Allen down the mountain, silence still a barrier between 
them. Allen thought he had a cracked rib, so it was very slow going. 
        Paytan said nothing the entire time, and Allen made no attempt 
to start a conversation, respecting her privacy.
        Finally they reached the van, and Paytan opened it up and stowed 
their stuff away.
        Allen got into the passenger seat, and Paytan took the drivers 
seat. She just sat there, keys in her hand, not putting them in the 
slot. Allen merely looked at her inquiringly.
        "Could you do it again," she finally asked.
        "Do what?"
        "Make me omnipotent."
        Allen considered. "I doubt it," he said. "I had some ghosts to 
exorcise. That gave me a lot of power. The FAQ doesn't like being 
changed. No. I don't think I could make any one omnipotent again."
        "Ask," Paytan finally said.
        Allen knew what to ask. "Can you love me?" he asked. "Paytan?"
        She looked at him. "Yes. I can."
        She knew the answer, now. If, to save the world, she had to take 
his life, would she?
        Then she would take her own.
"Leave it alone
Hold it all in.
Better a bone
Don't even begin.
With so much to win,
There's too much to lose."
        -- Madonna & Mandy Patinkin, "What Can You Lose?"
Paytan was created by Jennifer "Mistlock" Whitson. Allen was created by
Payton, even though she's dead, was created by me.
The avalanche was created by loud noise. Remember: Be careful in 
unstable areas.


I've had this on hold for about a year and a half, ever since Jenn left. I
wrote it in a day while listening to the song in the story. It's been
something I've been building to for a while, and there's been plenty of
precursors in _Misfits_. Go back and read the early scenes of Allen and
Paytan, and you'll see Payton there. That's how long this has been

And I've got more ideas yet.
Back to the Index.