Required Reading

I don't own anything Star Wars, Star Trek, The Dark Knight Rises, The Fantastic Four, or Ninja Assassin. Characters you don't recognize belong exclusively to me. I tend to pair male protagonists with women of color, specifically black women. If this poses a problem with your ability to suspend disbelief, then this fanfic blog isn't for you. Otherwise, do enjoy.


Otherside of the Game (4)

4:  "Call My Name" --Prince

Victor woke her up at some point for early morning sex, which she sleepily obliged until he did something incredible that woke her up.

"Mmmmn, you're spoiling me with all this, sweet thing..."

"I'm a man with a plan, beautiful..." he murmured, lifting her leg up over his back.  "I need to go deep."

"Go deep," she replied.  "And then let's go back to sleep..."

Hours later, she made them a late breakfast; fresh fruit, brioche French toast, bacon, sausage, eggs and hash browns.  Victor stumbled out of her bedroom, naked as a jaybird with more morning wood and bed head.  Nedra stood in the kitchen, wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt and blue shorts with fuzzy blue claw slippers on her feet.  She was singing in a low voice and he caught the end of a verse.

"...they can bug my phone and peep around my home; all they'll see is you and me making love inside..."

When she saw him, she smiled.  “Good morning, Victor.”

“It would have been a better one if I could have made another visit to the Promised Land.”

"That first trip wasn't enough for you, Victor?  You were all over me."

"You make it seem like I can get enough of you.  Knowing you, it may be weeks before you let me have you again.  You know, with that whole Where's Waldo thing you got going on at work."

"You found me, though," she said, plating food.  "And you really are a nudist, aren’t you?”

“Nobody’s looking and even if they are, I don’t care.”

“Come eat.  Then you need to take a shower.  It’s after one and I have things I got to do today.  So do you.”

“Can we shower together?  I’d rather do you,” he said, sitting down at the table just as Nedra plopped a huge plate in front of him.

"Of course you would, but then that would take time I don't have.  We tend to...linger.  Sorry, baby."

He stared at his plate.  Nedra tended to give him a lot of food and he always cleaned the plate.  “How am I ever going to go back to Yang’s after all this?” he queried as he tore into his eggs.

“Simple.  You don’t.”

“I don’t cook.”

“There’s thousands of restaurants that deliver quality food in your area, Victor.  Quit being a lazy slob and eat like a man.”  She sat next to him with a plate nearly equal to his.

For a while, there was nothing but the sounds of bending elbows and creaking jaws.  Food was the most important thing.  When they were finished, Victor actually cleared the table and beckoned her into the kitchen to help him clean up.

“Shit, have I actually domesticated you?”

“I put my clothes in the dryer before we went to bed last night.”

Nedra wiped the counters and stove while he stacked the dishwasher.  "Maybe I should keep you around," she teased.

Victor frowned as he tried to fit everything into the dishwasher. “You’re a great cook.  Is there anything you can’t do?”

She pursed her lips and didn't look at him.  “Have a baby.”

Victor reached out and touched her cheek and she patted his hand.  “It’s okay.  I’m past it.  I probably would have made a shit mother anyway, what with my hobbies and dedication to my research.  Plus I'm spoiled as hell.  Look, I need to do a quick workout and I’m sure you want to shower and get dressed.”

“I guess,” he said, wishing he could hole up in here with her for the week.  He could make her feel better about her inability to conceive.

Nedra walked down the hall to a room where the door had been closed all weekend.  Victor cocked his head to one side.  He’d been in every other room in her house except for that one out of respect for her space.  Curious, he followed and once he entered the room, a huge smile broke out on his face.

Nedra had a pole in the center of her room.  There were small weights in one corner, an exercise mat, a jump rope, and a set of speakers.

He couldn’t shut his mouth.  “You pole dance?”

“Dancing is my preferred form of workout when I have time.  Pole dancing is just one of many kinds of dance I do.”

He leaned against the doorframe.  “Do tell.  What are the others?”

“Bellydancing, hip-hop, African, Brazilian, and my current interest: burlesque.”

He stared at her, mouth still open. "Burlesque?"  His mind filled up with fantasies and ideas and he thought about the next bag of toys he was going to bring to her house next time.  Nedra would be a fantastic girlfriend to have.  He was convinced.

“Close your mouth, sweet thing…you’re drawing flies.  I love to dance.  I prefer to do that than 1000 crunches and pushups.  Had enough of that shit in the Corps.  No, I get my workouts on with an hour of dancing like no one’s watching.  And yes, burlesque.  You didn't see everything on my Amazon wishlist.”

“You’re going to give me a lap dance in that latex outfit next weekend,” he said, deadpan.

Nedra leaned against her pole and adjusted the crotch of her shorts.  “What am I going to get in return?”

“A stiff dick, a long tongue, and I’ll even make it rain for you.  Hundred dollar bills.  What do you say?”  He was going to destroy her when the dance was over…right on top of the pile of money he was willing to give her.  The latex outfit was crotchless.

Nedra grinned.  “So it seems like you've got a latex fetish.  I can work with that.  I don't turn down anything but my collar, so I’m game if you are.  And you better bring a fat ass wad, bigger than both your fists.  My dances aren't cheap.”

“Deal.  Now I’ll go get cleaned up, because unfortunately, I do need to go by Baxter.  There's some last minute calculations I want to go over.  Are you going there as well?”

“No.  I have some errands to run and I’m going to work here when I get back.  I do all my research writing at home.”

“Okay then,” he said.


A little while later, he was back in his clothes.  Nedra put the velvet bag in the back of her closet and assured him that its contents would get used soon.

He stood in front of her closed front door, staring down at her with a myriad of emotions in his expression.  “I’m nuts about you, Nedra Nix.  You say I’m crazy and you’re absolutely right.  About you.  I needed this weekend; needed this kind of time with you.  You shouldn't be mad—or surprised—if I start courting you for real.”

Nedra’s hands were on his chest and she couldn't look him in the eye.  What was in them was more than she could handle. “I said you couldn’t do that, Victor.  I’m in love with another man.”

“I can do better,” he said.  “There is something to be had with me, Nedra, and you know it.  You do.  You feel it too.  You can't even look at me”

She nodded and stubbornly looked in his eyes.  “This is a good foundation to build on, but I am in love with Jon, Victor.  We have a history.  We’ve been together since the Corps, and that’s 18 years.  My heart belongs to him.  You can't compete.”

“I don’t care,” he said.  “We can make our own history.  It can be done.  I know what you need, and more importantly, I'll never deny you.  And don't ever tell me what I can't do...that's dangerous.”

“You don't know everything.”

“You’ll teach me.”

To shut him up, Nedra pulled him close and planted a fat kiss on his lips.  Never one to turn down her lip love, Victor pulled her into a bear hug and damn near sucked her face off.

“Here’s my number,” he said, and rolled off a string of digits.  "Use it."  Nedra typed them into her iPhone and called him so he would have hers.

Nedra caressed his ears.  “Please think about what I said, Victor.  Please.  I’m not convinced the transporter is safe.”

“Don’t worry about me, Nedra.  I’ll be fine.  I'm going back to the lab to check the science, but I know it works.”  He kissed her forehead and enveloped her in his arms.  She hugged him back, closing her eyes, and they were like that for several moments.  Emotions filled her mind and heart and she knew this would pose serious problems if she didn’t get her shit together before Jon came back.

“So,” he said, running a finger over her lower lip, “if I come by the lab tomorrow evening, will you let me in?”

Nedra smiled at him as he opened the door.  “Of course.  But no nookie.  I must preserve the sanctity of my lab.”

"And if I decide to come by here later on, will you let me in?"

She ran her thumb over his lips. "Do I have a choice?"

"That'd be a nah," he said.  "You're going to have to deal with me now, but I won't do anything you don't want me to."

"Okay," she replied.  "Come over if you want."

“See you tomorrow then,” he said.

“Goodbye, Victor,” she replied, hugging him again.  Victor kissed her forehead twice and rubbed her back, holding her tight. "Nedra," he said.

Once he closed the door, she put her back up against it and slid down, holding her knees.  Unexplained tears dotted the corner of her eyes and she made no attempt to brush them away.


Word spread forth through the Baxter building about the explosion in the basement.  Nedra ran downstairs as fast as she could and found Franklin in one of the outer offices, arguing with other executives and security.  She could see the mess…the big huge, ugly mess…on the lab floor.

She touched Franklin’s elbow and saw his eyes were wet. 

“What happened, Franklin?”  Fear gripped her.

“I don’t know, Nedra.  While I was arguing with Dr. Allen about his decision to bring NASA in—”

“Which is the right thing to do,” she said, her heart growing cold.

“…the boys got it into their heads to get in the transporter and go without permission.  Nobody even knew about it. Sue’s monitor showed that she was trying to bring them back when the entire transporter blew up.”

"With them in it?  Why did you let them think they would get to go, Franklin? They're scientists, they're geniuses, but they do not have the skill set to explore an unknown landscape!  There are protocols and you know this!"

"Nedra, it was a reward for a job well done, and I wasn't going to let them go immediately.  I was going to wait until we'd tested the machine a few times before I would have allowed that.  You know I'm not stupid!  For God's sake, those are my children!"

“Are they—are they dead, Franklin?”  Nedra’s heart felt like a stone.

“No.  For whatever reason, the explosion didn't kill them.  But something happened.  They’re running tests on Sue, Johnny, Reed and some other guy who was with them.  They’re...not okay, Nedra.  It's really bad.”

“Tests on Sue, Johnny, Reed and some other guy?  What about Victor?  Aren't you testing him too?”

“Victor didn’t come back, Nedra.  We couldn't find him in the wreckage.”

Nedra closed her eyes, absorbing that statement. “What?  What did you say?”

Franklin looked at her carefully. “Victor didn’t come back with the others.  When they become conscious, we’ll find out what happened to them and to him.  But now, it’s…they’re…  He pulled out his handkerchief and dabbed his eyes.  "Sue's phasing in and out of the spectrum, Johnny's on fire, Reed has become...extremely flexible, and the young man that went with them...all of it defies logic and explanation."

"Phasing in and out...Johnny's ON FIRE???" She couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"He's under observation.  They all are.  You can't see any of them, Nedra."

"And nobody knows what happened to Victor?"


Nedra could feel her face falling and she didn't want Franklin to see it, so she turned away from him and started walking.  She didn’t know where she was going; she just knew she had to get away from Franklin and the giant pile of fuckshit in front of her.  The entire basement lab had been completely destroyed.  

The next thing she was aware of, she was in her car, driving.  She was on full autopilot, which was good because she couldn’t think of anything or anyone except Victor.

'I told you not to go.  I told you it wasn't safe.'

Tears began to fall and she let them.  In her mind's eye, she saw him in her doorway, holding that bag and smiling at her and he was all she really wanted to see.  

But he didn't come back.

The look he gave her when he begged for her kiss.

Victor didn’t come back.

The warmth of his arms and the feel of his beard against her skin.

Victor didn’t come back.

The way he gave her head...and other things.

Victor didn’t come back.

His smile.  Those beautiful brown eyes.

He didn't come back.

At some point, she became aware of slipping the key into her apartment door and looked down to see a large box next to it.  Stunned, she picked it up and opened the door, holding the box against her hip as she closed it.  She was numb.

Victor didn’t come back.

Autopilot was still on as she tore open the box and found within another box, this one gift-wrapped.  Who’d sent her a gift?  Her birthday was months away and she wasn’t big on celebrating it anyway.  Was it from Jon?

For a brief moment, her mind wasn't on Victor.  She unwrapped the box and couldn’t contain her surprise...or heartache.  It was a glass chess set, done in the style of the periodic table with element symbols as chess pieces.  There was a card.  Nedra opened it and when she read the note, the autopilot turned off and the tears began in earnest.

For the tie-breaker match and foreplay to my latex lapdance.  Love, Victor.

Nedra broke, crumpled to the floor with the note in her hand and screamed his name.  And screamed. And screamed.  And screamed.


A/N: Lyrics to "Call My Name" belong to the one and only Prince, aka Sir Purple Pimpness. No infringement intended.

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