Chapter 63

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“So Jack can counteract my powers?” Lilly asked.

“It might not be him,” I said, “But whoever it is… we’d better watch out. I don’t know how they managed to push you out, but…” I stopped and stared at Lilly’s toes, which were tapping out a very nice rhythm against the floor.

“Sorry.” She stopped tapping. “It’s just… for them to force me out like that… they would’ve needed to get inside my target’s mind, too, right?”

“Oh. Crap. That means–”

“They have mind control, too,” Flutter finished.

“And it’s probably stronger than mine.”

Great. Mind control is disturbing enough when it’s on your side. When the enemy has it…

“If that’s the case…” I said, “We need to learn to protect ourselves. If they take control of us…”

“Yeah.” Lilly nodded. “We can’t let that happen.”

“Not really sure what to do, though.” I sighed. “I can’t stop you from controlling my mind–I’ve tried–and if we’re up against someone even stronger…” Seemed like we were pretty much screwed.

You haven’t been trying very hard, The Doctor said through the TV.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I glared.

You trust her. Though you may resist on the surface, deep down, you want her to take control. And you let her in.

“What? No.” I glanced over at Lilly. “I–I mean, I trust her, but… nobody should be controlling me except me.”

You’re blushing, Alex.

I growled at him.

Tell me, Aleister. How much is your freedom–your life–really worth to you? You seem awfully keen to give it all away for her. Why is that?

“She’s my–my friend.”

Your friend? You expect me to believe you’d risk so much for a mere friend?

“She’s–” I looked at Lilly. “She’s a really good friend.”

Just a friend? Why not more? You happily let her control you, turn you into her little puppet, but you’re afraid to take your relationship to the next level? Why is that?

“That’s enough!” Lilly came to my defense. “Don’t taunt him like that! He–he has his reasons, I’m sure.” She gave me a look. Questioning what those reasons might be.

“…” I opened my beak, but no words came out.

You’re afraid. Afraid of what she’ll do when she finds out what you really are.

“No. I–I know she’d never–” How did he even know these things?

Lilly grabbed the remote and clicked the power button.

Then tell her, the screen said as it shut down.

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