Tactile

Admission

Clark studied the readouts in front of him, eyes flicking from the data on the consol's screen to the unconscious boy bobbing slightly within the solar-matrix. The Fortress of Solitude was really the only place on Earth equipped to offer any version of real medical aid to a kryptonian. The infirmaries on Watchtower and in the Cave tried, and Clark even supplied some equipment to them for that specific purpose. But the Fortress would always be the better option. So it was the Fortress that the Superman rushed his young clone to when the boy went into crisis shortly after a battle that –on any other day- should have been a nothing skirmish.

It was a good thing he had. Number 2 seemed to already know exactly what the problem was the moment Kal-El arrived with the unconscious Kon-El. The android flew to the infirmary. He and Number 12 already had the matrix up and running and just waiting for the boy by the time the Superman drifted through the door. Once the demi-kryptonian was safely marinating within the slightly egg-shaped golden glow, that was when Clark began demanding explanations.

"Physical symptoms are attributed to the udoliv-stimulant." Explained Number 12. "Kon-El began taking it shortly after the completion of his last mission prior to his leave of absence from the Team."

Clark glared at the robot. "That compound wasn't designed for him. Why did you let him to take it?"

"Kon-El was warned numerous times that taking the udoliv compound might have adverse effects on his hybrid-physiology." Answered Number 2. "He insisted on taking the compound anyway. Verbal warnings were all that could be done within the set parameters of our programming."

Clark sighed. That was his fault. He's had to many robots turn rouge in the past because he gave them to much free will. Limiting them like they were now ensured that the Earth wasn't terrorized by mad Super-bots, but it also meant that their responses to situations such as these would be limited to impotent nagging. There was no such thing as a perfect artificial intelligence. But that was a problem for another day. Right now he needed to deal with the issue of this little brother. "But, why was he taking it in the first place?"

"He would not say." Both robots choired in mathematically perfect unison.

The Superman groaned. "He seems to do that a lot." Clark jabbed a finger at the matrix's readouts again, specifically indicating the anomalies not explained by the boy's drug use. The unusual alterations in his brain-wave patterns. "What about these?" He asked. "The udoliv couldn't have caused this."

"Causes for irregular neural activity have not yet been ascertained." Number 12 informed him.

Clark looked back to his clone bobbing in the solar-soup of the matrix. He was no Batman, but if he had to hazard a guess, the Man of Steel would attribute Kon-El's altered brain-waves to the accumulated physic abuse he's underwent over the past five years. He had no concrete evidence of this, just a gut feeling, and he was by no means a great detective, he could figure simple things out well enough, but one of the bat-clan would be better. Speaking of the bat-clan… how had Dick not noticed Kon-El's drug usage this whole time? He was leader of the Team, after all, and Kon-El was a squad leader.

Canary knew something was troubling the boy. That was why she had recommended he be placed on sabbatical. Come to think of it, why was he taking a stimulant when he was supposed to be on vacation? Clark would understand Kon-El using the udoliv compound while he was still on active duty, but during a leave of absence… there should have been no reason for it.

The Superman frowned. "Translate all the data on Kon-El's symptoms and condition into English and print out hard copies, please." He commanded the robots. "Bring them to the scenic lounge when you're done. I have a call to make."


Gamma Squad was not always comprised of Blue Beetle, Lagoon Boy and Robin. But they were the three newest members of the Team and so the rosters just sort of fell into place that way. Since they worked together most often, the three decided it would be best to train together in their off-hours as well. This is exactly what they were doing at the Cave when Black Canary zetta'd in.

She waited for the boys to finish the maneuver they were working on before interrupting. Offering some constructive feedback (she couldn't help it, since combat training was her job), before she asked to see Robin alone. Dinah waited for the obligatory question of, 'Did I do something wrong?' But the Boy Wonder only nodded.

When they got to the counseling lounge, the Robin turned around and asked flat-out, "Is this about Superboy?"

The Black Canary did a double take and blinked at the boy.

Robin only shrugged. "The guys talk." He explained. "Lagoon Boy told Beetle and I that you were asking around about his break-up with M'gann. If you're wondering whether or not he confided in me about it since we became friends, I can tell you: He did not."

Dinah sputtered for a moment. In retrospect, the Boy Wonder was a detective so it shouldn't have come as a surprise to her that he already knew what she wanted to ask. But she hadn't expected him to be so forward and blunt about it.

"Was there anything else you wanted?" He asked.

"I guess not." She had to admit. "Was there anything you wanted to discuss? Since we're here."

"No, I'm good." Robin shrugged.

"Alright then."

"Okay. I'm gonna go back to training with Beetle and Lagoon, now." The Boy Wonder brushed past her and back out of the counseling lounge.

The Black Canary heaved a sigh as she followed him out. As with speaking with M'gann, La'gaan and Garfield, this had been an exercise in futility. It seemed like she finally exhausted her short list of people who were close enough to either Conner or M'gann for him to have confided in. Well, not everyone. Dinah made an appointment to speak with J'onn tomorrow. But on Conner's side, at least, it seems like all her options were exhausted.

Nightwing walked up to her almost as soon as she stepped out of the lounge. "Hey, Mal's got a call for us waiting in the private briefing room."

"On my way." Canary nodded.

"Mission?" Robin asked.

The Nightwing shook his head. "No, just Superman calling about something. Go back to training with the others."

The three birds parted ways in the corridor, with Nightwing and Canary heading to the private briefing room and Robin heading towards the hangar in the opposite direction. He did not return to his Teammates, however. Instead, he ducked into the first empty room with an available terminal and hooked in his computer-glove. The holo-screen appeared above his wrist, ready to hack the comm channel.

A bust of Superman was already projected on the briefing room's main screen when Nightwing and Black Canary entered. Mal gave the birds a nod before leaving them to their conversation. Once the door was firmly shut behind him, Nightwing offered an easy smile.

"Hey, Supes, what's the problem?"

The holographic image of the Man of Steel glared back at them. "Nightwing, Canary," he began, voice vibrating with control, "I'm going to ask you both one question: Why has Superboy been taking stimulants when he's supposed to have been taken off of active duty?"

"What!?" Dinah exclaimed.

"Wait, what?" Dick echoed.

There was a beat of silence in which the three did nothing more than stare at one another.

Then, Clark said, "You two had no idea." He let out an exasperated sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose in a vain attempt to stave off an on-coming stress headache. "Honestly, I don't know what I'm gonna do about that boy." He fixed his crystal-blue stare on Dick. "I don't suppose you could maybe hazard a guess as to why he might take drugs?"

"I…" The Nightwing sputtered. He was a detective for cripes sake, and yet he didn't have the slightest inkling. "Do… do drugs even work on him? I mean, since he's kryptonian and all…"

"Half-kryptonian." Clark reminded him. "Half-human. The compound he's been taking is something I designed for myself, it's meant to be used on a full-blood kryptonian. It wasn't meant for someone with his unique bio-chemistry."

There was another beat of silence.

Then, Canary asked, "Clark, where is he right now?"

"I put him in the solar-matrix to recover."

"So, he's at your Fortress." She nodded. "May I come over and speak with him?"

The Superman nodded. "I have some data I want you and Nightwing both to look over and there's more I want to discuss. I'll send Numbers 5 and 7 to pick up you at the Cave. Dress warmly. The high today was nineteen degrees."

The Superman clicked off. The screen went dark.

The Nightwing heaved a sigh. "I swear, there's always something with that guy… from the first moment we rescued him."

Canary deigned not to reply to his comment. While she begrudgingly had to admit that his statement was true, there did always seem to be one melodramatic catastrophe or another centering around the Superboy, that did not meant that they should treat this latest of issues lightly. Drug use was a serious issue, one that had serious consequences and needed of be handled with care. She opened the door to exit the briefing room…

…and nearly tripped over the Boy Wonder.

"Robin!" She exclaimed, catching herself on the doorframe before she could fall. "What are you-?"

"I'm coming too!" He announced. "Superboy's my friend and I wanna make sure he's okay."

Nightwing just hid a proud smile behind his gloved hand. He should have known Tim would hack the comm channels. He was a chip off the old Robin block. Dick made a mental note to give him a mission where he could hack some motion sensors –purely for nostalgia's sake.


Clad in well-insulated uniforms in shades of white, gray, and blue, the trio was admitted to the Fortress and lead through the corridors to a scenic lounge. A wide round coffee table sat in the center of the room, a semi-circle of very comfy looking armchairs around it, each positioned so that the person whom sat in it could both access the table as well as easily gaze out the wide window that made-up the majority of one wall. It looked out over a barren landscape of white and blue –a land in eternal winter.

But it was not the view that their eyes focused on when they were shown into he room. Instead, all three focused their attention on the red and blue figure already seated and poring over stacks of papers; what looked like medical charts, wave graphs, and affidavits. The Superman looked up when they entered, it looked like he was ready to sit down to a serious meeting, but upon seeing the third member of their party the Man of Steel paused.

"Robin? What are you doing here?"

"Where's Superboy?" Demanded the Boy Wonder.

A full beat passed before the Superman answered. He seemed to be considering reprimanding Canary and Nightwing for bringing him when the little bird had nothing to do with this issue, or thanking them for dragging him along since it might be nice for Kon to see a friendly face when he woke-up. Clark seemed to finally settle somewhere between the two options and said, "Number 5 will show you to the infirmary. I suppose it's pointless to ask you not to touch anything? Just don't play with any important looking machinery."

"Robins don't 'play', we investigate." The boy grumbled.

"Well, don't investigate anything to the point that it breaks -or blows-up."

Number 5 reappeared by his side and the Boy Wonder followed the super-robot down the corridor and around a corner. Clark then turned his attention back to Nightwing and Black Canary –the Team's leader and the Team's councilor. "You two come in and sit down."

If either of them noticed how brusque the Man of Steel was with them, they did not show it. They all sat down and Clark passed each of them their own copy of the papers he was studying when they walked in.

"Since neither of you had any idea about Kon-El's drug usage, I'm gonna tell you what I know. According to Number 2, Kon-El began using shortly after returning from his last mission. The compound he was taking is an energy drink I designed for myself. For me, it's equivalent to drinking a Red Bull. But for someone who's half-human, it has a very different, more adverse affect. What you're holding in your hands are the results of a thorough and complete examination and diagnosis of his symptoms."

In unison, both Black Canary and Nightwing glanced down at their papers.

"Anxiety, sweating, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, upper body pains, chest pains…" Canary read. "These are…"

"These are symptoms of a heart attack!" Nightwing finished for her. "Do… do kryptonians get heart attacks?"

"Apparently, half-kryptonians do." Answered the Superman. "I've cut him off from his supply. I've reorganized my medicine cabinet to make it harder for him to find and added new security protocols to the door lock. With enough sunlight, rest and time, I'm confident his heart-condition will recover. What I want your opinions on are these charts here."

From his own copy of documents Clark pulled out a series of wave-charts and number stats to show them the ones he meant. Canary and 'Wing flipped through their own packets until they found the ones he'd indicated.

"These results can't be explained by the stimulant." Explained the Superman. "I've had Number 12 run every conceivable scenario and none of them could show a correlation between the drug and this odd brainwave activity. Do either of you have any idea what could have caused this?" He paused. When neither of them said anything, he continued, "Canary, earlier you broached the idea of a possible build-up of mental stress in Kon-El from all the psychic tampering he's gone through over the past five years. Could this be a result of that?"

Dinah pursed her lips in thought.

Outside the wide window it began to snow lightly.

"I don't know." She said at length, running a hand through her thick golden hair. "Maybe… I honestly don't know enough about neural science and telepathy… or whatever."

"Wait, what?" Behind the whited-out lenses o his domino mask Nightwing blinked. "What psychic tampering? Nothing's happened to him since we rescued him from Cadmus. Hasn't it…?"

All three of them were silent for one… two… three beats.

Then, Nightwing began slowly, as if talking through his mental processes; "Supey's treatment at Cadmus over-sensitized him to telepathic influence." He began. "So… so, every time something happened that was the slightest bit similar to the G-gnome's control…"

Superman and Canary nodded.

"Gold star for the detective." Said Clark.

"Since I recommended you put Conner on sabbatical I've been going over his old mission logs for the past five years –among other things." Canary explained. "Since leaving Cadmus, he has had his memory erased, underwent false reality scenarios, artificially induced dreams, mind-control through key-words, mind-control by Queen Bee, synthetic hallucinations… I could go on. Each time it happed I'm sure he got a little worse, not enough for us to notice, but just enough for the strain keep building."

"That's why you recommended I pull him from active duty." Nightwing ruffled a hand through his hair. "I'm not a neural scientist either, but I guess something like that could explain these brainwaves. Except…"

"Except?" Clark and Canary prompted.

"Well, its just… Okay, you guys know how Batman likes to collect and hoard information, right?" Yes, everyone who had ever worked with the Dark Knight knew that about him (among other eccentricities). "Well, Bats has got this archive of random info on the Justice League, Team and other heroes not affiliated with anyone. In this archive he's also got all this research of different powers and stuff, how they affect people and what not. Well, these readings look kinda like people with psychokinetic abilities."

"What?" Clark blinked. "Psychokinesis is not a kryptonian ability."

"But Conner's half-human." Canary reminded him.

"And humans have been known to exhibit psychokinetic abilities." Nightwing finished. "Supey could be developing a new power as a side-effect of all the mental tampering he's gone through."

"I have a question." Dinah raised her hand as if in school. "We've all figured out a lot here that we didn't know before, but I just found out Conner was taking drugs a few hours ago and no one has given a reason why. Why has Superboy been taking drugs since his last mission? You say it's a stimulant, but he wouldn't need any extra energy since he was put on sabbatical, and the way you described it, it doesn't sound recreational. So… why?"

"I don't know." Clark had to confess. "That's a question we'll be able to ask him when he wakes up."


Clark was right, Tim decided, it was pointless to ask him not to touch anything. The young Robin's eyes darted every which way, determined to take in and study everything he could in the time he was here. It was unfortunate that his first visit to the Fortress of Solitude was under such unfortunate circumstances and he worried after Kon. But at the same time, both Bruce and Dick had been admitted to the Superman's sanctuary before, it was finally his turn.

Everything was a wash of white and blue, white stone and crystal. At first, Tim thought everything was carved of solid ice, but it was to warm within the Fortress for that to be possible. Taking a glove off, the Boy Wonder ran the back of his hand over a wall as he walked behind Number 5. It was not cold; it was room temperature –neutral. It wasn't ice; it was crystal. But not any terrestrial crystal Tim knew about. It wasn't a mineral found on Earth. The walls of the Fortress of Solitude were erected from kryptonian crystal. A little piece of Krypton on Earth.

But the infirmary was even more fascinating!

The door was a solid metal panel set right into the white crystal of the wall. It slid to the side to reveal a large, wide, circular room with a vaulted ceiling paneled in what looked like inverted solar-mirrors. Against the sidewalls were placed several alien-tech consoles, the functions and purposes of which, Tim could only guess at. Most of the center of the room was taken up by a single machine.

At first Tim did not notice Number 12 or the consol he was studying. The Boy Wonder's attention was immediately captured, instead, by the vaguely egg-shaped glow of golden light in the center of the room. It was as if light had been bent into the center of the room and everything else was designed around it, a mini-solar system orbiting an artificial sun. As he stared at the egg of warm light, the Robin realized that there was something inside it, a humanoid figure. Coming more into the room, drawing closer to the thing, he realized it was Kon. Kon floated naked, suspended in a field of what looked like liquid light.

Fascinated, Tim stretched a hand out. He wanted to touch that field of light. Liquid light… bent light… It shouldn't be physically possible, at least, not how he understood physics. Tim stretched his arm, reaching for the warm light. It felt so warm, even through the thick insulation of his glove.

"Please do not touch that." Said the obnoxiously polite voice of the robot working at the solar-field's consol. The shield on his chest sported the numeral 12.

"Sorry." Tim drew his hand back. "Will it mess him up?"

"Unlikely." Replied Number 12. "But you would receive a fourth degree burn."

"Oh." And Tim quickly realized that it should not have felt as warm as it did through the insulation in his gloves.

"Your cheeks are already beginning to turn pink. I'd advice stepping back before you burn."

"Oh, okay." The Boy Wonder stepped back. A sunburn from the light field, interesting. It really was like a mini-sun in the center of the room. He logged that information in the back of his memory. It might become useful one day. Like Bruce, Tim believed one could never know to much. An abundance of knowledge was the bat-clan's true super-power.

Within the field of light, Kon stirred. His eyes opening slowly. He drifted forward a bit, placing his hands on a membrane or sorts, a detail Tim did not notice until the Superboy placed his hand on it. "Did I just hear –Tim!? What are you doing here?"

"Oh, ya know… I was in the neighborhood, investigating a hit-and-run case involving a reindeer. Why do you think I'm here!?" Behind the whited-out slits of his of his domino mask, Tim's eyes narrowed at his friend. "What the hell, Kon!"

"What do you mean 'what the hell'?" Kon blinked, bobbing up and down in his egg-shaped field of light. "What did I do?"

"Clark called the Cave today." Tim explained. "He said you've been self-medicating. God! Do you have any idea how pissed I am? I mean, I hang out with you all the freaking time. I should have seen it! Heck I did see it, I just assumed I was wrong because drugs don't work on kryptonians, kryptonians don't need sleep. Some great detective I am… can't even tell when my friend is using."

Kon skipped a beat before asking, "I'm confused. Are you mad at me or yourself?"

"You!" Snapped the Boy Wonder. "I'm angry with you! What the hell, Kon? I spent the whole flight here thinking about it, but I can't for the life of me figure out a reason why you would start using."

"That's something we'd like to know, too."

Both boys turned to watch Nightwing, Black Canary and Superman enter the room.

Kon's crystal eyes glared through the glowing gold membrane of the solar-matrix. Crossing his arms over his chest, he growled, "Go ahead and invite the whole Team over, why don't you."

"Kon-El, this is serious." Clark said by way of reprimand. "We're all worried about you."

The demi-kryptonian shifted his position in the matrix-field so that he was completely facing the three adults, his glare fix squarely at the Superman. Dinah blushed politely at his nudity and averted her eyes.

"Thank you, but you don't have to worry about me. I can take care of myself!"

"Obviously, not!" Tim snapped, drawing the Superboy's attention back to him. He drew a step or two closer to the matrix, offering Kon a glare of his own. That bat-glare of his was getting better. Not quite up to the Dark Knight's level, but he was still only thirteen, after all. "Pumping yourself full of poison is not 'taking care' of yourself."

"And…" Clark chimed in and took over. "Since you seem incapable of doing it yourself, it looks like we have to step in and take care of you instead. I've started by cutting you off from your supply of udoliv."

"You can't do that!" Kon all but snarled, pressing his hands so hard against the membrane of the matrix that it formed between his fingers like a transparent glowing gold glove. "I need it!"

Next to Clark, Canary whispered, "Is this thing habit-forming?"

"No." Replied the Man of Steel. "Or, at least, it shouldn't be." Then, once again speaking to the Superboy, he asked, "Why do you need it, Kon-El? Why'd you start taking it in the first place?"

Kon pulled back from the membrane and averted his eyes. "Its not something you would understand."

"Try us." Nightwing suggested. "C'mon, Supey, with all the stuff we've seen and done together… I thought we trusted each other."

"People you trust can still hurt you." Muttered the demi-kryptonian in a voice so low none but the Superman heard it.

Clark's eyes narrowed at the odd comment and he once again remembered his conversation with Dinah and her theories that M'gann might have used her powers on Kon. Given his history with Cadmus and mental tampering in general, for her to have done that would be the single most ultimate betrayal she could have possibly committed against him, and it would have been made all the worse by how deeply he cared for and trusted her. In fact, it was comparable to a person date-raping their partner whom had once been the victim of brutal assault. Clark hoped to whatever omnipotent powers that would listen that, that wasn't what happened between them. Please, Rao (or whoever), please let it just have been some silly teenage melodrama and nothing more.

"We know." Nightwing was saying. "Believe me, Supey, we all know just how much we risk when we trust other people. We make ourselves vulnerable to being hurt, whether by betrayal from their hands or by having them be exploited against us… Its never easy to trust someone with your secrets when you do what we do. But you've known Canary and me your whole life and Clark cares about you too and Robin… Won't you take a chance and trust us? Tell us what's going on."

The room was silent one… two… three beats.

Then, Kon turned to the robot manning the matrix's consol. "Let me out Number 12. I don't want to be up here on display for the rest of this argument."

For a moment it looked as if the android would protest. The boy might now be conscious, but he was not fully recovered. But Clark repeated the order for him and Number 12 obediently disengaged the matrix field. The gold light reseeded, the membrane melted away, gravity once again took hold of the Superboy and he drifted down to stand on his feet. He hopped down from the solar-matrix.

"The lounge, then?" He asked.

"Pants!" Clark reminded him.

Number 5 presented the boy with a clean set of clothes; undergarments, socks, shirt, fingerless gloves, and of course, pants. When he was dressed all five of them returned to the scenic lounge to continue their polite argument.

While exiting the infirmary, Tim slipped close to Kon and commented, "I gotta say, I find your lack of Puritan modesty refreshing."

"Uh… thanks? I think."

When they returned to the lounge, the landscape outside the window was a wash of reds and pinks as the sun began to set. It was still snowing, but thinly and each little snowflake became a glittering jewel of color as the sun's light passed through it on its journey to the ground.

"Its beautiful!" Dinah gasped. "No wonder you built your base here in the middle of nowhere."

Next to her Nightwing scoffed. "Yeah, it's pretty and all, but look at the neighborhood. Good luck getting a pizza delivered here."

His joke succeeded in lightening the mood slightly. Everyone cracked some version of a grin –except for Nightwing himself, he laughed outright. Poor Dick, didn't anyone ever teach him not to laugh at his own jokes?

Kon was stone-faced as they sat down and his grim expression brought the mood back down to what it had been a moment before rather quickly. He glared at each of them in turn, starting with Canary, then moving his gaze to Clark, then 'Wing and finally to Tim. Finally, the Superboy began, "Before I tell any of you anything, I need you all to promise me that you'll do nothing. Okay? No matter what you think of what I say, none of you will take any action in response to it –at all! Do you understand?"

In almost perfect unison, all four of them frowned disapprovingly. Their mouths all becoming nothing more than thin lines on their faces. Already they did not like the way this was sounding.

"Why?" Clark finally asked.

"Because I asked you to and you want me to trust you." Kon replied. "If you can't handle that, then you can just go back to ignoring me and pretending I don't exist. See you in another six months."

"Kon-El, please just-"

But Canary cut him off. "Maybe it would be better if you spoke to me privately?" She offered. "Since you seem comfortable opening up to me about other things."

The Superboy heaved a sigh. "Honestly, Canary, yes, I would prefer that. But I also know that everyone else in this room is gonna demand some kind of explanation from me too. So, instead of being hounded for months on end until you all either forget, louse interest or are distracted, I'm better off just telling you all at once."

"You can trust me." Tim assured him. "I'm very discreet and not at all rash or impulsive. If you say 'do nothing' then I won't do anything."

Kon nodded, accepting his friend's assurances. He looked to Canary and Nighting in turn, and then finally to Clark. The birds all gave nods of agreement with varying expressions of displeasure. The Superman, however, grumbled in silent protest. Crossed his arms over his chest. Sighed.

Then, finally, he groaned, "Alright, fine. I want to know, so I guess I have to promise you."

"Thank you." Kon nodded. He took a deep breath. Counted to ten. Closed his eys so that he didn't have to see them, and began, "I started taking the stimulant to stay awake. Sleep is when I'm most vulnerable and have no defense."

"Defense against what?" Asked Canary.

There was another beat of silence before he locked eyes with the blond bomb-shell and said, "What you told me before is right, just because I'm not the only involved in incidents of psychic-abuse doesn't mean they affect me any less. In fact, because of my history with Cadmus they affect me more. …And they build up."

Everyone nodded. This was something they all had already guessed.

"There's no way to fight a telepath." He continued. "Not really. Unless you're also a telepath you will always be outmatched in that regard. But you can attack them physically; cause them break their concentration or whatever. But I can't do that if I'm asleep. So I can't sleep. So I started taking the udoliv."

"Okay." Nightwing nodded. "I understand that. Goodness knows Batman has a whole slew of homemade cocktails for similar purposes. But, he usually only uses them on cases when he knows there'll be a need for them. What I don't get is why you've been taking this drug when you're off duty. There aren't any dangerous telepaths around to mess with you."

Kon's next words were low and grave, but so heavy that they hit each and every one of his listeners like a punch to the gut. "I can think of one."

The lounge was silent for one… two… three beats. Outside, the sun dipped low under the horizon, casting the sky into dark violets and indigo. It was Canary who finally broke the silence. Uttering only one single word, yet carrying with it just as much gravity and consequence as Kon's had.

"M'gann."

Kon nodded soberly.

"But… she's our friend!" Behind his domino mask, Nightwing blinked in disbelief. "She was your girlfriend! You dated her for four years!"

"And I broke up with her because she tried to control my mind."

"What!?" All four gaped open-mouthed at him in horrified disbelief.

"Last year. While I was asleep, she slipped inside my mind and tried to erase my memories."


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