Vestige needed a new host, well not needed wanted, he didn’t really need anything anymore after his original body had been blown to kingdom come back in the twenties. But being an amorphous blob of sentient shadows got boring fast. Sure he did all the things a teenager would do if they could go anywhere, but strip clubs and girls changing rooms got boring fast when one no longer has any blood. Over the years after so many hosts Vestige no longer really identified with either gender, and the no blood thing really got in the way of physical attraction.

Anyway his last host died of a heart attack five years earlier after having been retired for six years, so it was about time to get back into the game. Vestige didn’t really care about what side he ended up on, in the long run the good guys always won. Well not really, if a bad guy got too close to winning in any meaningful way the villain community would sabotage them to prevent them from making everyone else look bad, or accidentally blow up the world. Mostly the bad guys never won because none of them wanted to live in a world dominated by another bad guy.

So Vestige was looking for a new host and it wasn’t going well, the best hosts were young and interesting. He couldn’t just chose that kid that had everything figured out, they would end up as one of those boring heroes. No someone with issues, someone that could be pushed to greatness, someone with desires. Fortunately the freshman class at a college was full of people like that, the real problem was finding one that wasn’t a complete asshole. Also preferably one with powers or the potential to get powers. Vestige didn’t really like advertising that he existed preferring to choose a new name and power set every time.

Eventually Vestige did manage to find a girl that just might fit the bill. She was one of those sixteen year old geniuses that got into college early, and was soft-spoken, polite and never had a bad word to say about anyone. She also carried two knives on her body at all times, that was enough to get Vestige’s attention. After seeing her quick healing demonstrated during an unfortunate knife throwing accident and her less than ethical computer practices. The most important thing was of course to find a way to get her to agree to the contract, Vestige had few rules but full disclosure was one of them.

If Vestige had learned anything about forming a good contract it was all about the first meeting. A little bit of drama, a little bit a awe and just a dash of fear would lead to a very healthy relationship. Above all timing was everything. So he chose the time and place, time being at night and place being her dorm room. Vestige decided to go for the classics, slowly building himself up into a massive hulking shadow, slowly sending out tendrils to cover the lights in the room making it dim. It really was the perfect setup the girl would turn around see him and scream, then he could give her all the details. So when the girl didn’t turn around, scream or even react he was mildly disappointed; until she spoke.

“If you are going to do something horrible to me could you just get on with it, I don’t have all night.”


Grace never really got along well with her family, not that they really were much of a family. Her parents had always been gone on business trips, well what they said were business trips. When her brother manifested his powers their parents told them the truth. They were MajestiX and Manticore, two B list villains, or at least when they weren’t C listers. Her brother jumped for the chance to join in the family business. Her parents had wanted Grace to join in on the villainy too, at their level minor healing and perception powers were actually useful. But fuck that, they could wallow in obscurity; so minor that the cops didn’t even bother to arrest them after the heroes were done most of the time. No Grace wanted to do something grander.

When she first noticed the shadow she thought she was imagining things. Eventually she saw it enough that Grace realized it was real. The thing was hanging out around the freshmen orientation events and showing up at some of the parties. As far as she could tell it was either some freshman’s power or someone was doing some reconnaissance on the class. It got worse over the course of the week as she started to see it more often, a certain paranoia said it was after her. That paranoia paid off too when it showed up in her room, Grace noticed as soon as the lights started dimming. She watched it grow in the reflection of a glass on her desk.

“If you are going to do something horrible to me could you just get on with it, I don’t have all night.”


“Are you not here to maim me horribly?”

“No, of course not.”

“Then why are you here?”

“To offer you a deal.”


“In exchange for becoming my host I will grant you access to my own abilities, augment yours and give you new ones.”

“Define host.”

“I take up residence in your body, gain access to your thoughts and senses. Mostly I just enjoy the ride.”

“Can you influence my thoughts or actions?”


“How powerful will you make me?”

“Enough power to make it into the major leagues, if you get there is up to you.”

“Ok, I’ve always wanted to be a hero.”

“Seriously, you want to be a hero?”

“Does that surprise you?”

“You are currently stealing the banking information of everyone who uses the campus wifi.”

“If they didn’t want me to steal it, they should have used a secure connection. Will me being a hero be a problem for our relationship?”

“Not at all.”



Continued in Dancer



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