“Here we are!” declares Mum as Leo steps out of the car.
The trip to the Fowler Mansion feel surreal to Leo. Dad driving with Mum in the passenger seat as he and Belinda were sat in the back. It just... well, so normal despite all of the obvious oddities.
It feels like a long time since we had normal.
Indeed. We don’t bat an eye at weirdness and yet, it is the normal and mundane things of life that catch us off-guard.
That about sums it up.
“I’ve been here before Mum,” says Leo as he gets out of the car and holds the door open for his sister, “Probably more times than you.”
“I been here a lot too,” mutters Belinda as she gets out of the car, “Sort of.”
Leo gives his twin a sympathetic look.
I know all too well what it is like to have your life turned upside down with everything being different, yet also the same all at the same time.
Yes, we do.
As do Legacy and Allison.
Not to mention Joan.
We know plenty of messed up people.
As if we have any right to talk.
Besides, most of them aren’t actually messed up themselves, they just have messed up pasts.
“Just think of everybody as being the twin of the person you know with the same name,” says Leo as he closes the car door in an attempt to give Belinda some advice.
“I’m already doing that,” replies Belinda sullenly, “But thanks anyway.”
“Do Legacy and Jaylyn have counterparts in your universe?” asks Leo as he decides to take a different approach to cheering up his sister.
“Well, no,” admits Belinda as she looks over at Leo, “I never built Jaylyn because I’m not a Gadgeteer like you and from what I’ve been told, there is only one Guardian in the multiverse and Legacy isn’t native so it makes sense that she would have a counterpart in my world.”
“So befriend them if you don’t want to hang out with people who look the ones who have at home,” says Leo, “Legacy is a good friend. Just ask Joan about that. And Jaylyn will be thrilled to hang out with you.”
“I suppose,” grumbles Belinda.
Okay, this method of cheering her up isn’t going to work.
Let’s try being blunt then.
“Hey sis,” says Leo, taking Lion’s advice, “I know you got the whole ‘forcible and involuntarily yanked out of your home universe and are now surrounded by strangers who look and act like the people you know except when they don’t’ vibe going for you, but while I am working on ways to get you home, I can’t guarantee you that it will happen anytime soon. So therefore I strongly recommend that you try and build a life here as best as you can. And you can start by accepting what family you have here.”
Belinda stares at him, stunned by directness while Mum and Dad just hang back and watch from afar.
“Now let’s get going,” says Leo as he strides past Belinda, “The Fowlers will be waiting and I know for certain that Joan is looking forward to seeing the two of us Bel.”
“They’re here,” says Bree as she enters Joan’s room mere minutes after leaving.
“Really?” asks Joan eagerly even though she is certain of the answer.
“Yep, Leonard, his parents and some girl I haven’t met,” replies Bree as Joan runs over to the mirror.
“If she is a blonde Aphrodite, it will be Belinda,” points out Joan as she looks at herself in the mirror.
Showing off her new curves is a green silk dress with sleeves that reach down to her elbows and a skirt that does just past her knees. A darker green ribbon is wrapped around the waist of her dress with a cute little bow.
“Right, I forgot about her,” admits Bree.
“Well, she is new and pretty much appeared out of nowhere,” says Joan as she turns around with a slight twirl, “Quite literally. Now let’s get down stairs.”
“Right,” agree Bree and in a flash, she steps forward and touches Joan before teleporting them both of them downstairs into the entrance hall.
“Was that really necessary?” asks Joan as she gets her bearings straight.
“It just seemed more convenient,” replies Bree with an indifferent shrug, “Honestly, I think it would have taken me more effort to do it the old fashion way. Huh, I can hear them talking from back here.”
“What are they saying?” asks Joan eagerly.
“Mostly just Leonard trying to cheer up Belinda,” answers Bree, “Nothing of interest. They are just approaching the front doors now.”
“Great!” exclaims Joan as she darts towards the doors in question.
Joan pulls one of the doors open just as the Gearys are coming up the steps. With the exception of Leo, they look surprised to see her.
Or at least my new appearance. I’m sure Mum told them about Bree’s powers, but they probably didn’t know that Bree used her powers on me. Except for Leo. Jaylyn would have told him.
“Hey Leo!” shouts Joan as she waves at him, “Look at me!”
While he does look at her, Leo gives her that look rather than that look, much to her disappointment. Which is to say, Leo gives her an analytical look rather than one of appreciation.