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holdinginpee

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  1. Once upon a time, there was an idyllic little kingdom. As many kingdoms do, this one had a king; the king had a palace, and the palace sat in the middle of a charming little town, and in that town there lived a girl named Ella. Little Ella lived a happy life with her mother and father, running and playing and doing all the other things little girls do. But, of course, this was not to last. When Ella was ten years old, her mother took ill, and shortly passed away. This was very sad for Ella and her father, but Ella was nothing if not resilient, and her father summoned the strength to go on for the sake of his daughter, and together they recovered and moved forward. And after a few more years, Ella’s father fell in love once again. Ella’s father’s new love was a very pretty woman, almost as pretty as Ella’s mother had been, and brought with her two very pretty daughters - one older than Ella, and one younger. This new presence filling the empty spaces her mother had left behind was a bittersweet thing, but Ella chose to look forward to getting to know her, and to befriending her new sisters-to-be. Unfortunately, her hopes did not come to pass. The woman was at best uninterested in Ella, and at worst cold and dismissive; her daughters were mean and insulting, cruel and vicious, more schoolyard bullies than treasured sisters. But they all three of them put on kinder faces when Ella’s father was around, and they made him happy, and Ella could not bring herself to deny him that; and so the woman became, in time, his wife. In so doing, she took on his title, for Ella’s mother and father had been minor nobility in the king’s court. She and her daughters remained kind and charming in Ella’s father’s presence and wicked away from him, and Ella continued to endure it for her father’s sake. And then, after long enough to not appear suspicious, Ella’s father too fell ill, and died of what might even have been natural causes, for all anyone could prove. And so Ella was left alone with her wicked step-mother and cruel step-sisters, who no longer needed to pretend kindness even occasionally. The first thing they did was take all of Ella’s belongings, picking out whatever they wanted for themselves from among them and selling the rest. Then they set Ella to work; she was to cook and clean, to fetch and carry, to sew and darn, to fuel the furnace that warmed the house. The furnace, too, came to be her source of warmth at night, one of her step-sisters having laid claim to her room; she slept on the sooty floor beneath a threadbare blanket, and when that soot inevitably dirtied her skin they took to calling her Cinder-Ella. And in this way did all the years of her teenagehood pass and beyond, until she was a woman of her mid-twenties and the life of a poor mistreated servant was practically all she had ever known. One day, Ella’s step-mother came home in a flurry of excitement. She called her daughters into the room, and then called for Ella, and sneered at her when she joined them. And she explained that the king had announced that the very next month there would be a ball; he had a daughter, the princess of the kingdom, for whom he was seeking a bride. Ella’s step-sisters, their mother announced, would be attending the ball, in hopes of catching the princess’ eye. Ella, of course, would not be there; her job was to create the beautiful dresses her step-sisters would wear. And so Ella’s days were consumed with designing and measuring and cutting and sewing, on top of all her normal chores. It was long, tiring work, made worse because her step-sisters were terrible subjects; they were uncooperative at every turn, frequently demanded she change this or that on a whim, and twice decided they wanted something completely different, forcing her to abandon a dress half-finished and start anew. Still, she lost herself in the work, enjoying the feeling of something coming together under her own hands; and when the day of the ball came and she applied the finishing touches, she could look upon her work and feel proud. “Are you finally done?” asked her elder step-sister, quite spoiling the mood, and snatched the dress away forthwith. The hour of the ball was almost upon them, and even Ella’s step-mother was too tense with anticipation to harass her; she had a rare chance to relax as her step-sisters prepared to leave. Finally they emerged, bedecked with jewelry and make-up and the products of Ella’s hard work. Their mother looked them up and down, and nodded in approval. “You look beautiful,” she said approvingly. “The princess will surely be enchanted. Now, come, let’s be off; we mustn’t be unfashionably late.” She bustled them out of the door, turning a final look behind her at Ella. “And you, finish your chores,” she said. “I want this house spotless when we return.” “Yes, step-mother,” said Ella, and she hmphed through her nose and left, closing the door behind her. Ella listened to them as they descended the stairs, exited the house, and took off down the street with the sound of hoofbeats; safely alone, she sat down in the sewing chair, stared at the mannequins adorned with her unfinished dresses, closed her eyes, and sighed. “Oh, I do wish I could go to the ball as well,” she murmured to herself. “Is that so, dearie?” Ella yelped and jolted upright, her eyes flying open to behold a very strange sight: there was someone in the room with her. Befitting her voice, she looked like a kind and matronly old woman, with grey hair in a bun and a smile on her wrinkled face. Unlike any old woman Ella had met, however, she wore a glittering yellow robe, measured perhaps three feet from head to toes, and hovered above the ground on a pair of enormous butterfly wings. “Wh-who are you?” Ella asked, bewildered. “Why, I’m a fairy godmother, my love,” the woman replied. “I’m here to grant your heart’s fondest wish! The ball, you said?” “I - yes,” said Ella. “The princess’ ball, it’s today, and I worked so very hard - I’m sorry, did you say fairy godmother?” “I did!” said the fairy godmother cheerfully. “And not to worry, dear, I can most certainly get you to the ball! Just follow me, oh, bring that lovely dress, and we’ll get you on your way - do you have a kitchen, by any chance?” “We do, downstairs,” she said, habit driving her to do as she was told. “This isn’t finished, though,” she told the fairy godmother as she lifted the dress off of the mannequin. “Oh, not to worry, my love, that’s quite all right,” said the fairy godmother, bustling out the door with Ella in tow. “We’ll get it finished in no time. You certainly can’t go to the ball without a dress, after all!” “Of course not,” Ella agreed weakly. The fairy godmother led them into the kitchen, and promptly busied herself rummaging through the cupboards. Into the smallest pan she tossed an assortment of ingredients and water to stir them into; this mixture she set to boiling on the stovetop, stirring continuously, and mere minutes later, far more quickly than it should have cooked, she scooped out a spoonful of smooth, even liquid. She tasted it, hummed consideringly, and then offered it to Ella. “Here, dearie, you try this. I’m sure it’s missing something, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.” Ella leaned down to taste the - soup? - and considered it. It was quite delicious, but the fairy godmother was right; it tasted incomplete. “Perhaps,” she decided, “just a hint of ginger?” So saying, she fetched the ginger root, cutting off a small piece to offer; the fairy godmother nodded approvingly, so she dropped it into the pan. Another few stirs, and the fairy godmother sipped it again; this time she nodded in approval. “That’s it exactly,” she said, and took the pan off the stove. Drawing a tiny glass vial, barely larger than a thimble, from somewhere in her robe, she poured out a little of the… stew?… and briefly closed her hands around it; when she opened them again it was emitting a soft golden light. “Perfect!” she said, delightedly, and held it out. “Here you go, dear, drink this and we can have you on your way.” Taking the vial, Ella marvelled, “This is magic? Why, it was so simple!” “It’s mostly for the taste, truth be told,” the fairy godmother admitted cheerfully. “I find it helps the medicine go down in the most delightful way. Drink up, dearie!” Obligingly, Ella tipped the liquid (broth?) into her mouth. It was, indeed, perfect; rich and creamy and smooth as silk in her mouth. It almost seemed a shame to swallow it, but then, that was what it was for; and it produced a most curious sparkling feeling as it went down her throat. She wasn’t entirely certain what she expected to happen, but whatever it was, it did not. After a few moments, Ella glanced around herself, confirming nothing had changed. “Um,” she said. “…What now?” “Why, now we get you ready, of course!” The fairy godmother flitted over to the dress, which Ella had draped over the back of a chair. “First things first, my love, you’ll need to get changed. It’s a good thing you had such a lovely dress; you’ll be the belle of the ball!” “It still isn’t finished, though,” Ella protested, but under the fairy godmother’s enthusiastic direction she nevertheless stripped off her worn and ragged clothes down to her underwear, then went through the complicated process of donning the dress. The sparkling feeling of magic ran over her skin as, with the fairy godmother’s help, she struggled into it and fastened it securely. “There, you see,” she said, turning to face the fairy godmother. “I’m not -” She stopped talking abruptly at the sight. The fairy godmother had acquired from somewhere - perhaps deep in the pockets of her voluminous robe - a tall, rectangular object it took Ella a very long moment to realize was a mirror, for within it was- “Is that… me?” The woman in the mirror was almost completely unrecognizable to Ella. The dress, for one, was complete, and then some; not only had the missing parts been brought to life just as she’d intended them, the whole thing was decorated and detailed beyond anything she’d dreamed, and yet every stitch was one she might have made, if only she had had the time. It was also, she realized belatedly, fitted perfectly to her size, even though she had sewn it for her step-sister, who was a head shorter than her and distinctly curvier. And there was more. Ella’s skin was clean and clear, a far cry from the permanent grubbiness she was accustomed to. Her hair was bright and glossy, curled into elaborate ringlets about her face; and her face itself was made up for the first time in her life, subtle but masterful work that completely transformed it. Even her nails, usually short and rough, were manicured and painted a deep green that complemented the look perfectly. “I look… beautiful,” she murmured, a tear welling up in her eye. “Oh, my love,” the fairy godmother said softly. “The magic only brought out what was already within you.” She fell silent briefly, and then suddenly clapped her hands together, abruptly breaking the mood. “Well! Now we only need a carriage, then we can see you on your way.” A carriage, it seemed, could be made from a pumpkin; or at least the fairy godmother took one in her arms, and asked Ella to lead her to a mouse trap. Ella did so, and in the cage she found three mice. Normally, emptying the cage would have been her job, but she had been too busy with the dresses for the past few days, and - “Oh!” she realized. “Oh no, fairy godmother, I completely forgot - I can’t go to the ball, as lovely as it sounds. My step-mother told me to clean while she was away, and she’ll surely be furious if she returns to find I’ve shirked my chores.” “Not a problem, dear, not a problem at all,” the fairy godmother replied. “Open up the cage and hold out your hands to them, if you please. Don’t worry, they won’t bite!” Ella wasn’t sure how the mice would help her, but the fairy godmother had yet to lead her astray. She knelt down to the cage, placing her hands flat in front of the little door as she opened it; the mice politely scurried out and arranged themselves on her upturned palms, balanced upright as though standing to attention. “Oh, aren’t you well-behaved!” she gasped, delighted, and stood carefully, trying not to unbalance them. Much to her surprise - although she supposed she ought to be getting used to surprises by now - the mice turned in unison and dived off her hands. As they fell, and as she gasped in startlement, they expanded, transforming before they hit the floor into full-grown - if a little short and round - human men, one in a chauffeur’s uniform and the other two in plain but serviceable clothing. “Hold this, will you?” said the fairy godmother, handing the pumpkin to the chauffeur; he took it with a vaguely affirmative squeak, revealing prominent buck teeth. “You see, dearie? This little fellow will drive your carriage, and the others can clean while you’re away.” “My goodness,” said Ella, “you really have thought of everything, haven’t you, fairy godmother?” The fairy godmother beamed at the compliment. “Very well then, gentlemen, if you don’t mind the work. Do be sure you’re out of sight by the time my step-mother returns, though; I don’t know what she’ll do if she sees you, but it will surely not be pleasant.” The paired men bowed to her, then scurried out of the room together, off to start cleaning. Ella watched them go, then turned back to the fairy godmother. “Well, then, let’s go… make a carriage of this pumpkin, I suppose!” She giggled. “If you’ll pardon me for just a moment, I should use the lavatory before I go, and then I’ll meet you in front of the house.” “The lavatory?” For the first time, the smile fell from the fairy godmother’s face, replaced by worry. “Oh no, dear, no no no, you can’t do that, not before you even have a chance to enjoy your wish!” “Pardon?” asked Ella, quite confused. “What does the lavatory have to do with my wish?” “Oh goodness me, did you not know? I should have realized - has nobody ever told you how magic works, my love?” “I don’t think anyone knows how magic works, fairy godmother,” she said. “All I’ve ever heard were fairy tales and children’s stories; I didn’t even know it was truly real until this very day.” “Oh dear, oh dear,” said the fairy godmother, wringing her hands together. “I suppose I should explain, then. You see, dearie, we fairies are magical creatures; our magic is a part of us, as natural as our blood and bones. Humans, on the other hand, are marvellously mundane; you have no magic of your own, and though you can take it into yourselves, it always seeks to escape. Your breath is too light to carry it away, but anything else - if you pass water, or vomit, or bleed - will let it free, and everything the magic changed will be undone. Your dress, your pretty hair, your charming manservants - they’ll all disappear as though they’d never been.” “Oh my,” said Ella. “Well, but couldn’t you cast the spell again afterwards? Or perhaps I could make another wish, so that I don’t need to go until after the ball?” “I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that, dear.” The fairy godmother sank low in the air, clearly dejected. “We can only grant a person one wish. If you let the magic free before the ball, there’s nothing more I can do.” “Really? How unfortunate.” She shook her head regretfully. “I suppose I’ll simply have to do without, then. I’m not going to let a silly little thing like that keep me from the ball.” The fairy godmother perked up immediately, wings fluttering in excitement, though she still looked worried. “Oh, but are you sure you’ll be alright, dear? It’s not too terribly urgent, is it?” “Not at all,” she said, giving a reassuring smile. “It was only a precaution. I should probably stay away from the drinks in any case; it would be a terrible shame if I were to make a drunken fool of myself in front of all the guests.” It was only partly a lie. Ella had not relieved herself since shortly after waking, before the sun had even begun to rise - hours ago, now. But she had been allowed little to drink as she worked, and in any case, she had long practice holding her waters. Her step-mother and step-sisters did not trust her near their rooms except under supervision, so she was not allowed to go upstairs - where lay the house’s only lavatory - on her own. Unless she was willing to risk annoying them, a risk she only took under dire circumstances, she habitually did her business only once a day, when in the morning her step-mother escorted her upstairs for her five-minute scrub in a tub of cold water, or - once a week - a practically luxurious slightly longer scrub in cold water, so that she was clean enough to tidy their rooms. So, while she could feel that she could use the restroom if she went to, it was far from what she might describe as terribly urgent. “Oh, wonderful, wonderful, you’re going to have such a lovely time, dearie,” the fairy godmother said, delighted, and darted towards the door. “Do come on, my love! You haven’t even seen your carriage yet!” Ella glanced, grinning, at the mouse-turned-chauffeur, who looked a little surprised at the attention but returned a small, polite smile of his own, his cheeks twitching. He hurried after the fairy godmother first, Ella falling into step behind him, and together they exited the house. The chauffeur carefully placed the pumpkin down in the street, and at the fairy godmother’s bidding Ella leant down to brush her fingers against its skin. It glittered as she stood, and then expanded all at once into a rounded golden-orange carriage harnessed to a mighty horse. At this Ella could only let out a gasp of wonderment, and even the chauffeur gave an admiring squeak. And then they climbed into their places aboard the carriage, Ella and the chauffeur, with the fairy godmother hovering alongside to see them off with some final well-wishes. The horse took off immediately and smoothly, carrying them through the streets as though floating on a cloud. Bystanders turned to watch the carriage as it went; once, Ella waved at a group of wide-eyed children, and giggled delightedly as they enthusiastically waved back. Finally they reached the palace, riding in through the wrought-iron gates and up to the main entrance. Ella got out of the carriage, thanked the chauffeur - he gave a proud squeak - and turned to climb the stairs to the front doorway as he rode away behind her. The guards by the doors looked her over once she reached the top and, whether due to magical persuasion or simply the obvious finery of her clothes and vehicle, stood aside to let her in. Up a flight of stairs and down a hallway she went, at the polite direction of the servants inside, and there she found the ballroom. She had to stop for a minute when she first entered to absorb the sheer sight of it all. Such finery and expense, so much of it all in one place; it was unlike anything she had seen before. Her parents had been titled, certainly, but not nearly so highly-ranked that they were afforded personal invitations to the palace, let alone with their young daughter in tow. The elaborate decorations covering the walls, floor, and ceiling; the enormous sparkling chandelier; the hand-carved, gold-embossed furniture; all of it together felt like something out of a fairy tale. But then, Ella herself was there at the behest of a fairy godmother, in a magical dress that rivalled any of the other guests’, so who was she to judge? Buoyed by the thought, she strode confidently into the room, realized she had no idea what exactly one did at parties, and made her way to the snack table. It was full to overflowing with a tremendous array of foods, some of which she hadn’t eaten since she was a child and many more of which she had never had at all. She found a plate, and set to filling it with samples of as many things as she could, popping one into her mouth as she went. It was, of course, excellent - probably, she thought, even by the standards of someone who hadn’t been fed only leftovers of her own cooking for years. It was partway through this task that Ella first caught sight of the guest of honor. Princess Charming II, firstborn daughter of King Steadfast IV and heir to the throne, naturally outshone everyone else present - both metaphorically, as she was the most beautiful person in the room, and literally, with small glittering jewels scattered through the locks of her hair. Her dark skin was smooth and flawless, and her smile arrested Ella on sight. Ella, in fact, had stopped in place, her mouth hanging open in distraction, a fact she realized and corrected with some embarrassment. Though she dearly wished to go over and talk to the princess, Ella restrained herself. She would probably just make a fool of herself, having barely talked to anyone but her step-mother and step-sisters in years; and anyway, there was already a crowd of people vying for the princess’ attention. In fact… yes, there were her step-sisters, near the outer edges of the throng, failing to get any closer or to mask their frustration with that fact. Better not to try, Ella thought, and returned to filling her plate - though not without the occasional princessward glance. Though the fairy godmother’s warning echoed in her mind, keeping her conscious of the still-manageable pressure in her belly, she nevertheless took a glass from amongst the drinks, knowing she would need some fluids to keep thirst at bay. She hovered about the table for a while, not quite sure what to do with herself, and worked her way through her samples; most of them were delicious, and even those she disliked were pleasingly novel. She overheard hushed but gleeful gossip of some faux pas committed by somebody she’d never heard of, and was briefly invited in to a conversation that amounted to everybody bragging about their outfits. She held their interest briefly due to her “mysterious” tailor, but then quickly lost it when she proved neither willing to be prodded into revealing her secrets nor interested in their game of verbal oneupsmanship, and so found herself quietly pushed out of the conversation until she simply took her leave and left with it. Even trying to nurse her drink, between the talking and the food she found herself emptying first one glass and then a second, to the increasing discomfort of her bladder. Just as she was picking up her third, plate once again filled with her favorites so far and others she hadn’t yet tried, a low, velvety voice addressed her, sending an immediate shiver down her spine. “Are you enjoying the festivities?” Ella looked up like a startled rabbit, and immediately her heart seemed to stop in her chest; the speaker was none other than Princess Charming herself. She was, it turned out, even more radiant up close, especially when she was talking directly to Ella. Ella glanced about them; though the princess had managed to escape the crush of the crowd, many eyes were watching intently, clearly awaiting their chance to swoop in. “I - uh - yes, your majesty,” she stammered. “‘Your highness’ is the proper address,” said the princess, and her smile widened as Ella blushed deeply; “but don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. ‘Princess’ works too, if you prefer. I might even offer you ‘Charming’, if only the familiarity wouldn’t cause such a terrible scandal.” Well, now Ella was blushing for another reason entirely. “My deepest apologies, your highness,” she said, lowering herself in a curtsey and wincing slightly as the motion disturbed the dull weight in her abdomen. “I’ve never had the honor before.” “The honor you may have, but the pleasure is mine,” the princess replied. “I could hardly pass up a chance to talk with such a lovely guest - though it seems not everyone agrees with me, with you all alone here. Or is that by choice? I can leave you be, if you’d prefer.” “No, it’s - I did join a conversation, but it was a little… dull, so I - left. And now I’m… here.” She gestured awkwardly with her plate. “Well, it’s their loss; I dare hope I can do better.” She glanced down at Ella’s plate. “I gather the food is to your liking, at least? I’ll have to congratulate the chefs.” “Yes, it’s - Everything is lovely, your highness,” said Ella. “Oh, come now, you can be honest,” said the princess. “I won’t be offended, I promise you.” “Well,” said Ella, caught between her instinct to remain polite and agreeable and her desire to do as Princess Charming bade her, “it’s just - it’s all a bit much, don’t you think?” The princess burst into a beautiful, delighted laugh; Ella felt her mood instantly buoyed by the sound, a smile forming on her lips. “You know,” said she, “I’ve thought that exact thing! My father won’t hear it, I’m afraid - Grandmother didn’t name him Subtle.” She laughed again, and Ella with her. “Oh, but isn’t this an excellent sign! I do believe we’ll get on wonderfully.” Princess Charming was as good as her word, and as good as her name. She was a fantastic conversationalist - entertaining, funny, and capable of keeping it moving smoothly even where Ella, still shy at the centre of so much attention, fumbled. Though she couldn’t give Ella her full attention - it would, after all, have been terribly rude to ignore all her other guests - she kept her by her side, managing to make it clear without words that she was the favored guest. Ella, for her part, found that, once her shyness had been worn away, the conversations flowed far more easily than her first attempt; it helped, too, that the other guests were now much less inclined to dismiss her. There was only one problem, one Ella could not share with the princess. With all the unaccustomed talking, she frequently found her mouth becoming dry, forcing her to keep drinking. Several more glasses of fizzy liquid made their way down her throat to add to her burden, a servant practically replacing the glass in her very fingers the moment she emptied it. Eventually the princess noticed her trying to draw out her latest glass by taking only tiny sips; her excuse that she was starting to become tipsy was met with a request to take away the fizzy drink, replaced with a non-alcoholic fruit punch, and she had no choice but to keep drinking. Ella’s situation was starting to become dire by the time the sun fully set. The nagging urge was unceasing now, a constant throb as the strained organ sought relief. She pressed her legs together beneath her dress to aid her tiring muscles, and had to fight all the harder when she needed to part them to move. Had she the option, she certainly would have begged the princess’ pardon to leave for the lavatory, but of course she did not, and so she held her tongue and kept her difficulties concealed. Shortly after the clock rang out eleven times, just as the conversation found a natural lull, the band came to the end of their piece and started another. “Oh!” said the princess, glancing to that end of the room, “I love this song!” She clapped her hands together in delight and looked to Ella. “Milady, would you join me for a dance?” Ella did not know how to dance, but an unaccustomed confidence told her that would not be a problem. She had no such reassurance, however, that she could avoid disgracing herself in so doing. She most definitely should not accept, she thought, even if it might mean disappointing the princess. “I would be delighted, your highness,” she said, because she was a besotted fool. The princess beamed. “Wonderful!” She raised her voice to address the crowd, continuing, “thank you for coming, everyone, it has been a delight to see you all. I’m sorry to say I will be stepping away shortly; please, stay as long as you like and enjoy the festivities. They will continue until dawn.” A disappointed susurration ran through the crowd. Ella’s own feelings were mixed; certainly she did not want so soon to leave the party, to return home to her life of servitude and never again speak to Princess Charming, but on the other hand, at least it meant she could make a graceful exit instead of bowing out early, leaving for the bathroom and never returning, or wetting herself in the middle of the ball. She would simply have to make the best of the time she had left, she decided. The princess took her hand (setting a flutter in her chest) and led her to the dance floor; there she kept their hands clasped, turned to face Ella, and placed her hand at her waist. Ella moved her free arm hesitantly, and found it naturally falling into place; just as naturally, they took one step together, then two, and then they were dancing, moving about the floor as one while the music played on. Every step Ella took that parted her legs from one another wore away a little more at her control, the weight on her tired muscles inching ever closer to overwhelming them, but she held tight and pushed away the feeling. It could wait. Occasionally, as she turned, she caught a glimpse of a familiar face in the crowd, her step-mother or a step-sister. They looked deeply frustrated, as they had ever since her step-sisters had made it close to Princess Charming and clearly made little impression, quickly being jostled aside by other guests. Ella had been right there beside her at the time - it had been an effort not to react, but they apparently failed to recognize her, not least because they barely took their eyes off the princess - and had taken a deep satisfaction in seeing them fail so entirely in their purpose here. It would certainly put all three of them in a foul mood for who knew how long, but Ella felt it was well worth it. Eventually the song drew near to its end, and Ella decided to make a bold move. As the final notes began, she gave a mischievous smile, shifted her arm, and drew in close; the princess’ eyes widened in surprise, and at the dramatic final moment Ella swept her into a dip. Murmuring sprang up around them immediately, and Ella ignored it - she was never going to meet any of these people again, not like this. The princess’ surprise gave way to a smile, looking up at Ella’s face above her. “Oh my,” she said, delighted. “This is a first; I’ve never been so thoroughly swept off my feet.” They hung there for a few seconds longer, as Ella fought the urge to do something bolder still; there were limits to what she could get away with, even anonymous as she was, and a kiss would be well beyond them. Finally the moment passed, and they stood, and parted, both flushed and still smiling. And then, suddenly - “Ah!” gasped Ella, slamming her thighs together and clenching her muscles with all the strength she could muster, fighting a terrible wave of need as all the water in her body demanded its immediate release, as though all the feeling she’d let the dancing distract her from returned at once. She bent at the knees and waist, hands balling to fists against her legs, face screwed up with effort and breath tight in her chest - every part of her clenched at once. And it still wasn’t enough. Slowly, agonizingly, a drop forced its way out of her, all the strength in her body unable to hold it inside, and became a tiny, burning-hot wet spot in her underwear that tingled for a moment before fading to normalcy. It took mere seconds for the wave to pass, but each one seemed to last an hour. Unfolding a body that felt like a wrung-out towel, Ella realized the princess was looking at her with an odd expression. At least they were close together, and the crowd was held back by the edges of the dance floor; the partygoers had definitely seen her movement, but only the princess had had a clear sight of her. “My goodness,” said the princess. “Are you alright? I can call someone to help, if you need-” “No,” said Ella, too quickly, voice shaking. “Your highness. Thank you, but I’m quite fine, I assure you. My legs protested all this activity, but it’s passed now.” Another partial lie, such as she’d told the fairy godmother all those hours ago; the wave of irresistible urgency had subsided, but her bladder was no less full for it. That would not pass until she finally made it to a lavatory or, failing that, a secluded space where she could pull up her dress and - Even the thought was almost enough to force another leak from her, and she made herself focus on the princess, who was about to speak again. “Ah, of course,” she said. “Actually, I was just about to go out onto the balcony, to sit for a while and enjoy the night before I retire. Would you care to join me? You can rest your legs, and I would love to keep your company a while longer.” No, said Ella’s better judgement. She certainly could not join the princess on the balcony; she would be lucky if her fraying self-control could last even minutes more. The only possible thing she could do was to politely decline, find the nearest restroom with all due haste, and sneak out of the castle when she was done. “I would be delighted,” said Ella. A strand of hair escaped the hold of the styling, drifting down to hang at the side of her face. A servant opened the large glass doors ahead of them, and Ella followed Princess Charming out onto the balcony. Her dress was warm where it covered her, but her arms, neck, and head were exposed, and the bite of the night air sent a shiver down her spine and into her bladder. She all but collapsed into one of the chairs set out for them, freeing her legs to twist together beneath her dress and very slightly lessen the immediacy of her impending disaster; the princess sat down more calmly beside her. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” said the princess, looking out at the starry sky hanging over the lavish castle gardens, all in the stark light of the full moon. Ella was not as able to appreciate the sight as she might otherwise have been, but even so she couldn’t deny the princess’ words. “It is.” Behind them, the doors clicked open again; another servant emerged and placed a half-empty pitcher of fruit punch on the little table situated between their chairs, followed by two glasses. The princess thanked him politely, and he bowed and returned inside. Then she picked up the pitcher and a glass to pour herself a drink. The sound of the punch splashing caused Ella’s desperation to surge again; she jerked forward in her seat and tightly gripped the sides of the seat rather than let her hands do what they naturally wished, which was to bury themselves between her legs in hopes of physically holding herself closed. Perhaps, if she had allowed herself that, she would have held firm for the moment, but instead another drop escaped her, and with it a little more of the magic. “Milady,” said the princess, and Ella’s gaze snapped to her, “are you quite - should I call you an escort to the facilities? You -” “I’m fine,” said Ella, quite implausibly. The princess continued over her, ignoring the interruption. “- needn’t endure on my account, if such was your concern; I would be happy to wait for you.” “I don’t need it, your highness,” she said more firmly. “Please, put it from your mind and let us enjoy our time together.” “…If you’re certain,” said the princess, skepticism and something Ella couldn’t identify mingling on her face for a moment before giving way to a smile. “And I told you already, I won’t hold you to formality. Indeed, we’re all alone now; you can call me by name and nobody will be any the wiser.” Ella blushed, flustered by the implied intimacy. “Yes, your - Ch - Princess Charming,” she stuttered, unable to bring herself to be so familiar and meeting the princess halfway. Princess Charming giggled. “Well, that will do,” she said. “So, milady, do tell me a little about yourself. Do you have a pastime you enjoy?” Ella and the princess whiled away the night together, the conversation flowing between them. She had to avoid talking about herself too much, lest she give away that she was only in the most technical sense a noblewoman, but she was able to deflect and change the subject with unexpected ease; she suspected the magic was helping. Their time together set a smile on her face and a heat in her chest that seemed to bleed out through her limbs, making her feel warm even in the night air. All the while, though, her time was running out, and she knew it full well. An ocean sat between her legs, crashing against her weakening resistance with all its force. She ached for relief, the dual burning of overstretched and overtired muscles ravaging her, and was very aware that she could simply choose to take it at any point. The princess kept giving her sidelong looks, clearly aware of her plight but declining to push her on it. Ella half-wished she would; she suspected that she would give in. Despite the knot of her legs - crossed over one another beneath her dress not once but twice - the prior slips in her control were not the last. Every new cramp and spasm squeezed a little more out to dampen her underwear, the fabric clinging cold and wet to her skin; and worse, they were becoming more severe, every leak a little harder to stop than the last, a little slower. And, of course, every one sapped a little more of the magic from her. She could feel it happening; little things, barely noticeable, slowly building up to some catastrophic faux pas. Her hairstyle continued to unravel, her makeup stiffened and cracked on her face; decorative elements on her dress began to fray and unravel. Once, she lifted an arm and felt stitches tearing; thereafter she tried to keep that arm still. It was to the princess’ credit that she was willing and able to keep the conversation going, even as Ella’s ability to participate stretched thinner and thinner. It was becoming impossible to think of anything else, desperation filling all the space in her head, as though she had run out of space in her bladder and started filling up her skull instead. But eventually, even Princess Charming reached the limits of her charm. Ella had barely spoken a word in some minutes, her replies dwindling to single syllables and grunts and vague noises, and the princess came to the end of a sentence and fell silent. Seconds passed while confusion slowly penetrated Ella’s thoughts; she turned to look at the princess in confusion, meeting eyes full of confusion and that same unknown something from before. “Oh, dear,” said the princess, and reached out to Ella, leaning over in her chair. “You’ve got…” her fingers gently brushed the side of Ella’s face, taking up the hairs that had come loose and tucking them up behind her ear. “There,” she said, her voice tender, gentle. She maintained the tone as she continued, as though trying not to spook a skittish animal. “Milady, please, I can see how you’re suffering. I beg of you, leave me and take your relief; the pleasure of your company is not worth your pain.” It was the sensible decision, Ella knew, but there was little room left in her head for sense. She opened her mouth with no idea what she would say. “You aren’t suffering,” was what fell out, a petulant retort - or perhaps a plea, as she continued, “You didn’t leave the ball in all the time I’ve been here, and you had more to drink than I - how are you so composed, and I so weak?” “It is not your weakness,” the princess told her firmly. “As princess, I am expected to remain composed regardless of circumstance. Many a dull audience did I sit through in my childhood, learning to conceal my boredom; this I began to practice on my own initiative, some years later. By now, I suspect, I could hold my waters ‘til I died of it and still give no sign.” Whatever Ella might have said to that, she did not get the chance. Another desperate cramp wracked her body, as they had been doing since coming outside - but this one made all the rest feel feeble by comparison. Her muscles failed her instantly, urine not leaking from her but gushing uncontrolled; she made a hideous noise and lurched forward in her seat, pressing her hands between her legs as hard as her dress allowed for even the slightest extra stopping power. The handful of seconds before she stemmed the flow were the longest of her life, and when she did it was only by the barest of margins - in fact, it was not wholly accurate to say she did stop it, as tiny drops continued to leak from her like a dripping faucet. This was it; she was at the limit of her control. “You’re right,” she sobbed, “I must have relief, I can’t hold it any longer. I’m so sorry, your highness, I need - please -” “No, shh, you need not apologize,” said the princess soothingly. “Come, follow me, I’ll lead you to the lavatory-” “I can’t!” Ella cried. “I’ll never make it - if I even stand it’s going to come out!” “My goodness,” the princess murmured. “I ought to have spoken up earlier, if only I had realized it was this dire. If you truly cannot last, perhaps you should simply let go; I promise I will think no less of you.” “No!” The idea was tempting, near-irresistible, but as long as Ella had any strength left in her she knew she couldn’t do it. The indignity of wetting herself in front of the princess aside - “Everyone would see.” Not only through the windows as it puddled beneath her, but when she then had to run through the room in a soaked dress. “There has to be something else, anything.” “I don’t know if there is.” The princess glanced about herself, worry writ on her face. “I could send a servant to fetch something for you to use, but that would take too long. I don’t think - oh!” Ella’s gaze snapped to the princess, heart lurching with hope at the realization in her tone, and followed her gaze to - “The pitcher! You can lift the front of your dress to hold it in place, your body and the chair will block it from view! I can have it disposed of later with the utmost discretion, milady, nobody will ever know.” Pissing herself in a pitcher of fruit punch in front of the princess was still a humiliation Ella could never have imagined, but at this stage it seemed all other options were worse. “Okay,” she decided. “Please, yes, that.” “Lift your dress now,” the princess said urgently. “Then you can go as soon as I hand it to you, instead of fumbling one-handed.” With a desperate wordless sound, Ella pulled her hands from between her legs, the continuous leaking immediately becoming worse. Unable to bend to reach the hem of her dress, she gripped it at the knee and slid it up until the bottom was in reach, then hiked it up all the way, exposing the entire front of her below the ribcage to the princess’ eyes and the cold air. She thrust out a shaking hand towards the princess, and was not immediately met with the handle of the pitcher. “My goodness,” said the princess, surprised. “Is that all your bladder? It’s even bigger than mine!” Ella looked over to her in confusion, and then down at her own stomach where the princess was looking, and instantly understood her surprise. Her stomach, normally flat, was swollen out as though she had swallowed a pumpkin whole - and if that pumpkin had then expanded into a carriage, it would almost match how it felt inside her. “Please,” she groaned. “Oh! I’m sorry, here -” The princess snapped out of her distraction and moved to proffer the pitcher, but then abruptly stopped again and pulled it back. “Wait -” “Why,” she cried. She was so full, more desperately full than she had ever thought she could be; her body sang with pain from waist to groin and only by the barest thread of self-control was she keeping her unstoppable release slowed. How could the princess deny her now? Did she mean to torture her? “Just a moment longer, I’m so sorry,” said the princess, grabbing her glass and, to Ella’s horror, pouring punch into it. “I fear you will overflow the pitcher,” she explained as Ella hunched into herself and tried and failed to block out the sounds. “I’ll empty it -” she interrupted herself to raise the full glass to her lips, gulping it down in a matter of seconds that felt like an eternity. “- as fast as I can,” she gasped, hurrying to pour another, “just be strong a few moments more -” she downed that glass too, panting too heavily to speak as she poured the third. There was still more punch in the jug than the glass could hold; the princess filled it to the top and kept pouring, spilling the rest onto herself until it was empty. She thrust the pitcher wordlessly at Ella, who desperately grabbed it, tugging on the princess’ hand as she tried to let go. Ella shoved it beneath the dress still held up in a white-knuckled grip, pressed its lip to her sodden underwear without even a thought of pulling it clear, and instantly, completely lost control. The sheer relief of relaxing all the muscles she had held tense almost knocked her over with sudden lightness; let out an involuntary moan and swayed in place, having to catch herself before she toppled over. Urine shot from her with tremendous force, the sound of it spraying against the glass of the pitcher deafening in the quiet of the night. The bulge in her stomach deflated slowly, approaching its normal flat shape. As the level of yellow liquid drew higher, Ella realized that holding the pitcher at an angle meant it would overflow more quickly. Careful to keep it pressed against her - she could not have stopped if she had tried - she shifted forward in her chair, until she was perched on the very edge, hanging out off the front so that she could hold it upright instead. In this new position her stream seemed to come even harder. The jug filled closer and closer to the rim, and she began to worry that even upright it wouldn’t hold all that she held. Finally, though, her release slowed to a more casual intensity, and then to a trickle, and finally she was empty and the jug was filled almost perfectly to capacity by pale yellow urine sparkling with, if one looked closely, a faint golden glitter that faded from view in seconds. In the distance, the clock chimed twelve. “I’m sorry,” Ella murmured. The princess, when she turned her head to look, was staring at her, her mouth hanging slightly open; her face showed pity, astonishment, and that thing Ella still couldn’t identify. After a moment her mouth snapped closed as she visibly collected herself. “No,” she said, “you needn’t be. I’m only glad you feel better, now.” “No,” Ella said, tears welling up in her eyes. “I am sorry. For… that - the indignity - and for this.” And she stood on trembling legs, stepped carefully over the jug she had set down on the floor, turned, and ran. The glass doors opened to a hard shove. A hubbub stirred amongst the crowd as she ran through, hair slipping loose as she went. Stitches tore in her dress as she pulled the door open, and halfway down the hall she nearly fell headlong as the heel snapped off one of her shoes. She slowed long enough to slam the other foot down hard, snapping that heel too, then bolted for the exit. The carriage, of course, would have long since reverted to a pumpkin before she could wait for the mouse-that-was-no-longer-a-chauffeur to bring it to her. Her dress falling apart around her, shedding stitches and flakes of makeup, she fled out into the streets. Over two months later, Ella’s step-mother and step-sisters were still in a foul mood. The princess’ search for a bride had been halted. She had - reading between the lines of invectives and indignant offense - given a perfectly polite goodbye to everyone at the party, but had not chosen a suitor from among the guests. The kingdom was abuzz with talk of the mysterious woman who nobody recognized, who had so captured the heart of the princess before fleeing into the night. There was a reward for anyone who could bring her news. Ella supposed it would go unclaimed. The fact that she had not terribly offended Princess Charming was a relief, even if it did tempt her to go back to the castle and reveal herself. Surely the princess would never want her as she truly was, the grubby and soot-stained servant Cinder-Ella. It would have to remain a pleasant fantasy, nice to imagine but impossible in reality, just like the thought she couldn’t shake, that in hindsight she knew what that expression had been on the princess’ face. It was in this fantasy she was immersed, distracting herself from the tedium of her chores, when her step-mother stormed into the room. “You,” her step-mother barked. “Stop what you’re doing, don’t make any noise, and stay here. Do not enter the front room; her highness the princess has graced us with her presence and we will not sully her with sight of you. Do you understand me, girl?” “Yes, step-mother,” said Ella, her heart racing suddenly in her chest. The princess was here! Had she figured out who Ella was, somehow? No, of course not, she would have asked for her if that were so. More likely she was visiting her guests in person, perhaps looking for information, perhaps for some royal purpose. Ella rarely disobeyed a command, but as soon as her step-mother left - rather, as soon as it was clear she would not return - she snuck silently out of her room, through the kitchen, and into the hallway, coming to stand next to the door to the front room. She made no move to enter, just stood and listened. “…the delay, your highness,” her step-mother was saying, simpering and sweet. “Here are my two lovely daughters, whom you doubtless remember from your magnificent ball, before that… enigmatic woman joined the festivities. And to what do we owe the honor of your presence, if I may ask?” “Ah, precisely to that enigmatic woman,” said the princess. Ella’s stomach flipped over inside her at the sound of her voice; it was as lovely as she remembered, and just as expressive, the little smile on the princess’ face clear in her mind’s eye. “It seems nobody knows who she was, and so I have begun to search for her myself. Fortunately, I have a single lead.” There was a brief pause before her step-mother spoke again, sounding confused. “A pitcher, your highness?” Ella flushed with embarrassment. In the room, the princess replied, “Indeed. This pitcher is my test; if need be I can visit every woman in the town, and my hand in marriage to the one who can fill it.” “That’s all?” her step-mother asked. “They need merely fill a jug? Seems simple enough. Girls?” “If it please your highness, I could make a number of drinks,” said the elder step-sister. “Lemonade, perhaps, or sweet tea - maybe a cocktail, if you’d rather something stronger?” “I believe those pitchers held fruit punch at the ball,” said the younger. “Is that the answer?” “I’m afraid not,” said the princess. “Is there anyone else present to ask? If not, I will see myself out, with apologies for taking up your time.” “No,” said Ella’s step-mother in a tone she recognized as cold fury. “But-” Ella made a decision, and stepped into the room before she could talk herself out of it. “I believe I know, your highness.” All eyes in the room turned to her. “What do you think you’re doing, Cinder-Ella?” the younger step-sister sneered, while the elder hissed, “How dare you speak to the princess!” “Girls!” snapped her step-mother, causing them to meekly subside. “My apologies, your highness, she’s just a servant. I didn’t think her worth mentioning; obviously, she couldn’t have been at your ball.” The princess looked Ella over; their eyes met, and hers widened in recognition. “Could it be?” she murmured. “Princess Charming,” said Ella with a smile, lowering herself in a curtsey as her step-sisters gasped in indignation. “If you’ll join me in the kitchen, I can fill it as you’d like.” Ella’s step-mother took a furious step toward her, raising a hand. “Guards,” said the princess, stopping her in her tracks, “please stay here and ensure we are not followed.” And then, to Ella again, “After you, milady.” The two large, uniformed men behind her loomed obediently, one moving to block the doorway behind the princess as Ella led her to the kitchen. As soon as the door closed behind them, the princess tossed the pitcher aside on the nearest surface, surged towards Ella, and clasped her hands over her forearms, sliding down them to take her hands. “Is it really you?” she asked wonderingly, staring into Ella’s eyes. “It is, your highness,” said Ella. “My apologies once more for leaving you like that, and for the embarrassing display -” She was cut off as the princess threw her arms around her in a hug, heedless of the soot and dirt no doubt besmirching her expensive clothes. “How?” she asked from the vicinity of Ella’s shoulder. “If you’re a servant - those women did not decorate you, clearly; how were you at the ball?” “It is a long and fantastical story,” said Ella. “One might even call it magical.” “I see,” said the princess, releasing her and taking her hands again. “Is that fantastical story also why I never thought to ask your name?” “Most likely,” she said. “But with my secret known, I can tell you now, my name is Ella. Cinder-Ella, to my step-mother and step-sisters, because, well…” she gave a wry smile and glanced down at herself. “Hm.” The princess’ mouth tightened to a thin line, expression darkening. “Well, you need not answer to that any longer. If you so wish, I will take you with me this very day, and you may never set foot here again.” “I would be delighted, your highness,” said Ella, a smile spreading across her face. And then, again before she could lose her nerve, she continued, “But should I not first prove I am who you came here looking for?” “I believe you,” said the princess. “You have changed much, but looking into your eyes, I could not mistake you - and in any case, you clearly know me, or else are an excellent bluff.” Ella’s heart pounded in her chest. She thought she had interpreted this correctly, but if she had made a mistake, she could be about to humiliate herself again - deliberately, this time. Surely then Princess Charming would change her mind, leave Ella here and find someone of proper dignity. “Even so,” she said, allowing a mischievous edge into her smile. “You said the pitcher was the test. I would hate to make a liar of you; it is only right that I prove myself, that you may watch.” The princess’ face moved through confusion and then understanding before reaching the enjoyment, the desire, Ella had only recognized in hindsight. “You make a compelling case,” she said, and stepped away from Ella to pick up the pitcher. “Very well, then. Show me.” Ella took it from her, slipped down her old trousers, and positioned it between her legs. She met the princess’ eyes, and gave an exaggerated sigh as she relieved herself once again. “I should warn you,” she said, blushing slightly as she spoke over the sound of her own stream, “there will not be as much as there was at the ball. I was truly at my wits’ end that night.” “Of course,” agreed the princess, her gaze fixed upon the space between Ella’s legs. “There will be time enough in the future for that, if you so decide.” “Perhaps I will,” said Ella, still peeing. When her stream tapered off, the pitcher was only two-thirds full, though the princess hardly seemed disappointed. “I didn’t think this through,” she realized, suddenly finding herself stuck in the kitchen with a jug of urine. “Do you have anything with which I might clean myself?” “Oh! Yes, I have a handkerchief.” The princess withdrew the cloth from somewhere in her outfit and handed it to Ella. Ella considered asking if she would like to do it, but decided that even by the standards of what she had just done that would be too bold, too fast; instead she simply took it in her free hand and wiped herself dry. The cloth she threw in the garbage, and as they clearly could not take the pitcher with them still full, she opted to empty it down the sink, rinsing it out thoroughly. And, after making sure she was presentable, the princess took her hand, and together they walked out of the house in which Ella had served for so many years, never to return.
  2. in an amusing coincidence, i'm currently halfway through writing exactly such a story myself.
  3. i haven't done anything to them, but it does seem they're no longer on here. the moderators have been deleting a lot of old threads recently, as noted in this thread; i would assume they were casualties of that. both works can still be found on my archiveofourown.
  4. notifications (as displayed under the bell icon in the top bar) seem to have a tendency to show up hours or days after the content being notified about, e.g. a notification for a post made on sunday only coming through today (wednesday). is this expected behavior?
  5. i've hardly seen any stories with such a premise, which is unfortunate, so here's hoping this thread works. i can provide at least one: my most recently posted work is a cw supergirl fanfic which fits the bill. if the physical plug is negotiable, there's a few others on my profile that could also fit. i'll also link to this pixiv tag, for anyone who might be looking for images and who has not yet seen it. do note however that the tag covers the scat equivalent as well, so some tag filtering and/or cautious viewing may be necessary.
  6. 701897008_Pornstardesperatelypissesafterfinishingshoot-ThisVid..mp4.a1e0547aba8570e42bb19c171c4ce1b1.mp4
  7. omonipotence. you can do anything, as long as it would be on-topic if posted to this website.
  8. as others have noted, around two litres seems to be the highest reasonable volume, and even that is a feat; volumes in the 1-1.5 litre range are more commonly achievable, and someone who hasn't practiced holding it a lot might reach their limit sooner still, in the 500-800ml range. higher volumes - from three litres all the way up to eleven - have been recorded, but such cases typically result from chronic urinary retention causing the bladder to stretch over time and are usually accompanied by a variety of resultant and other health issues. i've never heard of anyone reaching three litres under their own power (beyond random claims with no evidence), so while i don't know if it's strictly impossible i'd consider it highly unlikely.
  9. makes sense. here's hoping someone does show up holding beyond 100% at some point, really push their limits. i have to wonder just how high that number could possibly go.
  10. to quote a tumblr post, "you can do whatever you want forever". asexuality, like just about everything else, is a category which contains plenty of variance; all it really consistently requires is a reduced or absent tendency to experience sexual attraction. there are asexuals who don't engage with anything sexual, and there's also asexuals who will intentionally go out and have sex, and everything in between.
  11. if someone can lose control prior to reaching 100% (as it seemed like she was on track to even if the orgasm hadn't decided it), one wonders if it isn't also possible for someone to hold past 100% with sufficient effort/determination/pee-shyness/etc. that would be fun to see, no doubt.
  12. a few different responses i could give here: i don't think i portrayed it as pleasant for her, per se. some people disagree with you; urethral insertion is a niche fetish but it is one that exists. sometimes things happen in stories and/or pornography that would not be pleasant in real life. perhaps if you were a kryptonian, and thus physically invulnerable, any unpleasantness would be mitigated. probably won't be more, i'm afraid; i don't tend to do sequels, at least so far. it's not impossible, but certainly i have no current plans or ideas for it. glad you liked it, though.
  13. Kara Danvers had a secret. Well, actually, she had a few. Who didn’t have secrets? Everybody had something they weren’t going to admit to - maybe they’d snuck out of the house when they were a teenager, or impulse-bought something way too expensive, or stolen one of their sister’s good shirts and never given it back. As a few totally hypothetical examples. But none of those were the big secret. Besides, Kara was pretty sure Alex already knew all of those without ever being told. A lot fewer people could say they spent their time as a caped superhero, flying around the city to blow out fires, help cats out of trees, and save civilians from dangerous aliens. In fact, there was only one other person on the planet who fit that description, and he just so happened to be Kara’s cousin. That wasn’t the big secret either. Alex knew, and so did Director Henshaw, and a handful of other agents at the DEO, and obviously Eliza and Kal, and Winn too, for good measure. Heck, her secret identity was actually less secret than a lot of the little stuff. It was related to the big one, though. When Kara had first landed on Earth, she had no idea what the light of its sun would do to her. No idea that as she soaked in the energy over the following days she would become impossibly strong, blindingly fast, able to see through walls and hear for miles and shoot lasers and breathe ice and fly. Not until a stranger wearing the symbol of her house found her and explained it to her in an alien tongue. If she had known, she probably would have guessed without needing to be told that those extraordinary powers would come with their own hardships. Her new senses were far more than her brain was accustomed to, leaving her with crushing migraines, not to mention the awkwardness of seeing people around her suddenly naked and the visceral unpleasantness of layers of flesh peeling away into invisibility. Her strength and speed, suddenly so much greater, needed to be brought under control; it took weeks before she could so much as touch her new family, terrified that a single twitch might break them to pieces. There was, though, one problem with her powers that she wouldn’t have anticipated, one for which Kal did not prepare her. So it came as a complete surprise to her when, in the morning of her fourth day with the Danverses, she suddenly felt something hot and wet spreading out down her legs. Whatever noise she’d made had drawn Alex’s attention, making her look up from her book, and then her scowl wrinkled up in disgust. “Ew, gross,” she’d said. “Did you seriously just piss yourself?” Urge incontinence, she’d learned it was called; she’d known of a similar condition on Krypton, but her pod’s linguistics packets had prioritized getting her conversant in every language over complete fluency in any one. She also learned that it was perfectly natural, and normal, and nothing at all to be ashamed of. To a teenage girl who had never previously considered that a failure of the body could be something to be ashamed of, Eliza’s reassurance merely reinforced Alex’s scorn to tell her that she definitely should be. Kal hadn’t warned her because he’d never had this problem, apparently. Eliza and Jeremiah had a number of theories as to what might have made the difference, from Kal’s more gradual sunlight absorption to Kara simply being a little bit more susceptible to it, unnoticeable under normal circumstances. Either way, it was just another thing she had to deal with that nobody else around her did; another thing marking her as weird, outsider, alien. As soon as she felt even the slightest urge to use the bathroom, the Super-sensitive nerves in her bladder would simply take over and void everything, whether she wanted to or not. Diapers, Kara had learned, were also nothing to be ashamed of. Alex and, when they inevitably found out, the other students at Midvale High School did not share Eliza’s opinion. The unofficial, understood-but-unspoken cover story was that Kara, the new girl who avoided touch and didn’t talk to people, who flinched from sounds nobody else could hear and had bags under her eyes because everything was too loud to sleep, who wore diapers so she wouldn’t wet herself, was traumatized by whatever mysterious fate had left her with neither home nor family. It was probably more than a little true, even. And while some students had the decency to not make fun of her for that, others… did not. None of that was the big secret either. It wouldn’t be much of a secret, considering the better part of the entire student body knew. The big secret was something only Kara knew; not a single other person on Earth, nor any other planet. As far as Alex knew, or Eliza, or Kal, or the Midvale High student body, Kara had gotten over her continence issues, escaping the shame of diaper-wearing by finally gaining control of her bladder. The big secret was that that was only half true. Perched on a roof’s edge on one of National City’s tallest buildings amidst the sound of the city, Kara watched the setting sun. That high up, everything felt like it was held at arm’s length; not so far away that it could reach only her super-senses, nor in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, but a liminal space in between. It was peaceful, being up that high. Relaxing. For the most part. Her hearing spanned the length and width of the city, a cacophony of mingled sounds pouring through the part of her mind that processed the senses coming from beyond her body. Most of it passed beneath her conscious attention, her focus on listening for crimes, accidents, or anything else that would benefit from her involvement. You had to learn to filter it, with senses like hers; otherwise you ended up hearing people’s secrets, embarrassing moments, sinks pouring, intimate… activities, water rushing, interpersonal drama, private conversations- “Hey, hang on, I need to head to the bathroom before we go, I’ve been holding it for like two hours.” “Yeah, no problem. You know what, I’ll go with you, I kind of have to-” The urinals in the men’s room chose that moment to flush, water splashing in the bowls and gurgling through the pipes- Kara grimaced, shaking her head a little to try and drag her focus back; her hand went to her stomach, rubbing gently to ease her discomfort. Two hours, she thought to herself. Rao, I wish. People often wondered how Kara - Kara Danvers, CatCo Employee - could handle her job. Cat Grant was a busy and demanding woman, and her demands kept her assistant just as busy - more so, in some ways, though Kara would never have said Cat had it easier. Of course, it helped to have powers to lighten the load (even if she couldn’t use them openly), but at the end of the day, there was only so much one person could do. More than a few times, she’d been asked - by coworkers, clients, guests, Ms. Grant’s condescending peers, and more - “How do you do it?”, and once or twice she’d even overheard someone wondering, “When does she even have time to go to the bathroom?” The former question, and others like it, she would simply laugh off and give a canned response - It’s not easy, but nothing important is, or something to that effect. The latter, though, she’d never answered; in part because Kara Danvers, CatCo Human wouldn’t have been able to hear it, in part because a lot of the employees were almost as afraid of her as they were of Cat due to simple proximity, but also because the answer, though simple, wasn’t something she was going to admit to: I don’t. Which wasn’t to say that she couldn’t have, of course. Ms. Grant didn’t work her so hard that she couldn’t even take breaks; that would have been illegal, if nothing else. She had time to eat lunch, to get a drink, to take a few minutes to relax. She just didn’t use that time to go to the bathroom. There would hardly have been a point. Not when, without the key-tool she left in the safety of her apartment, the thin metal tube in her urethra would remain closed, blocking so much as a single drop of urine from escaping. And so, from the moment she left her home in the morning to when she returned in the evening, she went without the slightest relief. Just as she had all through college, and for years at Midvale High before that. Normally, she would have at least used her own bathroom between arriving home from work and heading out to patrol as Supergirl. But she had gotten home hungry and prioritized eating over using the bathroom, a decision she made often and one which only occasionally backfired on her when, like today, she overheard some emergency in progress and had to rush out straight away to deal with it. All of which led to her here, on the rooftop watching the sunset, not having relieved herself since sunrise. Her bladder was certainly making itself known, but with the ease of long practice she kept it pushed to the back of her mind and continued to listen. Perhaps if nothing happened by the time the sun finished setting she’d go home and - A scream rang out halfway across the city. Never mind, then, Kara thought to herself, dropping off the building and accelerating instantly into flight, to the displeasure of her bladder. City blocks sped by in seconds and she arrived in a cramped, isolated alleyway with such force that the gunman’s clothes flapped in the wind. Behind her, the screaming continued for a second before abruptly stopping as her arrival registered. “It’s okay,” she said, calmly and clearly, projecting reassurance to the woman who had been held at gunpoint. “You’re safe now. Did he hurt you?” No answer. This wasn’t Kara’s first mugging and that wasn’t unusual; panicked victims weren’t always up to answering questions right away. What was slightly more unusual was the way the gunman barely reacted to her arrival either; she couldn’t see his face, but his body language as she pried the gun from his hand didn’t suggest fear or alarm, and he made no motion to fight or run. Kara was just starting to get the feeling that something was off when something struck her on the side of the head and exploded into a cloud of glittering white-green powder, and suddenly her powers were gone. “My hero,” the woman drawled as Kara dropped several inches to the ground, and then her knees gave out beneath her and she collapsed the rest of the way. What? she tried to ask, but her body was suddenly made of lead and not listening to her brain, so it came out as an inarticulate groan. “Huh,” said the man, nudging her with his foot. “It worked.” “As much as it cost, it damn well better have,” the woman replied. “Come on, pick her up and let’s get out of here.” “Yeah,” he said. He bent to pick up his gun, presumably put it away somewhere she couldn’t move her head to see, and then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her up with a grunt of effort. “Jesus, what’s she made of?” he complained once he had her crudely, painfully slung over a shoulder. “It’s like hoisting a sack of bricks.” The woman said something in reply, but Kara couldn’t make out what it was; the ringing in her ears was getting too loud, and the way the world was spinning and going dark didn’t help either. She managed to hold onto consciousness approximately long enough to see the woman opening the doors of a van at the end of the alley, but before they could throw her inside, she was out. It happened more than a year after Kara moved in with the Danverses. Kal had been making occasional, half-hearted suggestions that she visit his “Fortress of Solitude”, clearly uncomfortable around her but feeling obligated to maintain some presence regardless. She had refused every time, the wound too raw to poke by seeing a single remote operations outpost as the last surviving patch of Krypton in the universe, but finally she gave in - partly just to stop him suggesting it, and partly because she’d had an idea. So they flew to the Arctic, Kara still wobbly and uncertain in the air, and Kara stifled both the pain in her heart and her engineering sensibilities to keep them off her face as she saw the “Fortress”; it had been deployed improperly, crystal growth running wild with no programmed shape to constrain it, and there were no covers or casings anywhere - as if someone had torn out all the walls and plastic and metal in an Earth house, leaving circuits, wires, and pipes to bloat up like tumors. The only parts that looked remotely sensible were the likes of the central console and the Kelex drones, the things that didn’t benefit from adaptability enough to not be automatically deployed with their casing. Rao’s light, Kal just walked on the exposed crystals; only the fact that they were so overgrown saved him from seriously damaging them and probably his own feet too. Or maybe not. He was invulnerable, after all. There at the console, hovering awkwardly an inch off the floor, Kara put her plan into action. She didn’t know specifically how to make what she had in mind, but not for nothing was she a child of the Science Guild; it wasn’t difficult to create a schematic, especially considering it was really only slightly more complicated than a tube and a small standard screwdriver. She sent it to the fabricator, and then modified the system’s files to change the record of what she had made. She had a cover story already thought up, about it being a piece from the last project she and her father had been working on, a memento of her lost family. Kal didn’t ask. She regretted addressing the system in Kryptonian as they left, because that made Kal feel like he had to do the same, and the words - the language she’d spoken over his cradle, not too long ago - came out of his mouth stumbling and heavily accented. The Kelex couldn’t notice, couldn’t care that one of the last of their people could barely form the phonemes, but Kara could. Kara did. Kara fell out of the sky three times on their way back to Midvale, which felt about right for her mood. But, if nothing else, she had what she’d come for. Consciousness hurt. She didn’t so much wake up as realize she was already awake, a number of sensations registering all at once. She was lying on something soft; her body ached, down to the bones; someone was running a jackhammer in her head; and she really needed to pee. She hissed through her teeth and tried to get herself upright, wincing when opening her eyes let the light punch her directly in the brain, but quickly ran into an issue as something on her left wrist arrested the motion with a jerk. She turned to look at it, waiting for the world to resolve into something comprehensible. Was this how humans felt when they got hung over? Why did anyone drink? Her arm wouldn’t move, she realized, because there was a handcuff on it. The other end of the handcuff led to… the head of an old metal bed frame. Atop the bed frame was a mattress, and atop the mattress was Kara, so that explained the softness, at least. She gave the handcuff a harder tug, hoping it would simply break. It didn’t, just made her arm hurt more. “Don’t do that,” said a voice from off to her right. She looked around to see who had spoken, and immediately regretted it as the movement nearly knocked her over with dizziness. There was a man in a chair next to the door, his face covered by a cheap-looking white plastic mask. “Wha- where am I?” Kara asked, stumbling over the words as her lips and tongue refused to cooperate. And then, at an urgent throb from her bladder, “How long was I out?” “A few hours,” he said, ignoring the first question. “Try and get comfortable, you’re going to be here a while.” Kara frowned and shifted in place, getting her hands under her to try and push herself the rest of the way up. “What? No, I’m not going to just-” She stopped, going very still, as he drew a gun from his belt and pointed it in her direction, though not directly at her. “You’re going to stay right there. If you try to escape, I’m going to shoot you. I’ll try not to hit anything vital, but no promises. Got it?” “Got it,” she said, her heart racing. In this state, she was as vulnerable to bullets as anyone else. With forced calm, she asked, “Can I sit up, at least?” “Sure.” He lowered the gun. Kara pushed herself awkwardly and painfully into a sitting position, glancing around the room as she did. It looked like an ordinary, small, somewhat bare bedroom. Her bed sat in one corner, a TV on a chest of drawers directly opposite; beside the drawers was a window, covered by thin curtains. The walls were a noticeably faded blue, with several darker shapes presumably marking where pictures had been recently removed. “Why am I here?” she asked. Given that her captors had gone to the trouble of bringing her to this room and removing anything identifiable and/or throwable, she guessed they probably didn’t intend to kill her, which narrowed the possibilities down somewhat; the fact that she still had her clothes on, she hoped, ruled out some of the remainder. “You’ve been kidnapped,” the man said, which Kara had already figured out. “You’re going to stay here for a few days, and then we’ll see how much the people of National City will pay to get their Supergirl back.” Kara’s bladder throbbed again, and she pressed her thighs together to try and quell the urge a little. “You’re ransoming me?” The man shrugged. “We’ve all got to get paid somehow.” “You won’t be able to keep the money,” she pointed out. “You’ll just get arrested and they’ll take it back. Even if you don’t get caught right away, someone’s going to track where the money goes and find you that way.” “Thanks for the concern,” he said dryly, “but it’s handled. I know a guy who can arrange the hand-off and the financials. We get our money and disappear without a trace.” “Is he where you got the Kryptonite, too?” He shrugged. “He knows people too. It’s always good to have a network.” “And that doesn’t seem suspicious to you?” Kara asked pointedly. “He just gave it to you, when he could have used it himself and kept the money? Did he even-” She stopped talking, jaw clicking shut, because he’d brought up the gun again. “Time to be quiet now,” he said. “I know what you’re doing. It was a good try, but stop trying.” “I-” she started. “No,” he said, wiggling the gun for emphasis. Kara, for the moment, stopped trying. The next few hours passed mostly in silence, at least between the two of them. Kara made occasional attempts to say or ask something, but every time she did, or moved too quickly, her guard would just make a threatening gesture, keeping the gun close to hand at all times. It wasn’t complete silence, though, because after a while he got bored enough to turn the TV on, switching to some sports game on low volume. From that, Kara learned that it was shortly after four in the morning, meaning the “few hours” she had been unconscious was closer to six. That was, frankly, more worrying than the gun. Kara shifted and shuffled around on the bed, trying to get even slightly comfortable, but between the handcuffs and the general pain and the fact that she had almost a full day’s worth of liquid in her bladder it was a futile endeavor. Days, the man had said. They were going to hold her here for days before trying to make an exchange. Alex and the DEO would be looking for her, of course, but what would happen if they couldn’t find her? Even with her powers she wasn’t completely invincible, and without them she was relying solely on the strength of her own muscles - except, of course, for the critical few her powers ironically weakened. She didn’t know how long she had; she’d never had reason to learn how long humans could survive without peeing, let alone to find out her own limits. Even at her most optimistic, though, she couldn’t reasonably expect to last even another full day before her bladder simply burst. Or perhaps her kidneys would fail instead - a slower death, one that might even take long enough for her powers to return. She could heal that, almost certainly; Kal had survived worse. But it wasn’t a gamble she was eager to make. If it came down to it, she’d have to explain her situation to her kidnappers. Tell them a deeply embarrassing secret she’d never told anybody else in the world, and hope they valued their payout enough to do something about it. Let alone the question of what they would do about it - Kara didn’t exactly think “let her go and hope she comes back once she’s used the bathroom” was on the table. She did not want to do that. And by about eight o’clock she was feeling a little more hopeful that she wouldn’t have to. Whether it was the weak sunlight filtering through the curtains or the Kryptonite she’d been hit with finally starting to wear off, she could feel a tiny fraction of her powers slowly building back up. Given a few more hours, if she could find a moment where she wouldn’t get shot for it, she might have a chance to try to escape. Kara’s bladder ached at the thought of waiting a few more hours; it had already been more than twenty-five and it was more full than it ever had been, sitting heavy as a cannonball in her gut and radiating pain. It was so full, in fact, that her abdomen had been noticeably swollen beneath her suit for several hours. She was used to a slight bulge at the end of a long day, but she had never seen it this big, and the fabric of her suit stretching over it only added further pressure. But unless she could come up with a better plan, she would just have to endure it. Eventually, there came a knock on the door. The guard muted the TV, stood up, and stretched, stiff from sitting there too long. “Stay put,” he told her, and left the room. There was a brief conversation in the hallway, quiet enough that she could only catch a few words, and then the door opened again and a new man entered. He was dressed differently, but had the same mask - or an identical one, Kara was pretty sure they came in packs at arts and crafts stores - and the same gun. Kara didn’t say anything as he sat down. Her plan at the moment mostly involved staying still and quiet until it seemed like a good time; striking up a conversation right away seemed as likely to put him on the defensive as to achieve anything useful, and the first guard might have specifically told him not to talk to her. It would be better to wait for a while until his guard was down, or else until she decided waiting any longer would be too dangerous. He didn’t say anything either, though he did keep glancing at her nervously and quickly looking away. He flipped through channels on the TV, eventually settling on a show about the manufacturing processes of various products that Kara recognized, having seen a few episodes in the past. She didn’t seek it out particularly often, but it was relaxing, and she did like seeing the machines people had built for such specialized tasks. And, for the moment, any distraction was welcome. Watching the creation of Swiss cheese, roller skates, and colored pencils gave her something to focus on other than her desperate need to pee. All too soon, though, the credits rolled, leaving Kara with nothing else to think about but herself. Her arm was cramping - she’d been sitting in one position too long, and there was no comfortable way to hold it given the handcuffs - and her bladder was worse, the pain periodically spiking as her muscles seized, fighting in vain against the catheter immovably sealing off the exit. She had to readjust herself, settling into an awkward semi-reclined pose that took a little pressure off her bladder and crossing one leg over the other, and not a moment too soon; the strongest cramp yet wracked her, forcing a grunt of pain from her as her legs twisted together. The sound drew her new guard’s attention. “Huh?” he asked, looking over at her. “You okay?” “Fine,” she said unconvincingly, instead of I’ve been kidnapped and handcuffed to a bed and my bladder’s going to explode, which would have been more accurate. Somehow, this did not convince him. “Wait, do you need to pee?” “No,” Kara lied reflexively. “Shit, have you not had a chance to go?” He straightened up in his chair. “Hang on, I’ll - fuck, I can’t let you out of the room… I could get a bucket or something and you could go in that?” “No,” she said again, deliberately relaxing her posture despite the protests of her body. “You don’t need to do that, I’m fine.” Internally, she cursed her habit of leaving the catheter key at home. Sure, it meant she couldn’t be tempted into running back and forth to the bathroom all day, but this was not worth that benefit. “Look, I know it’s not great, but it’s better than pissing on the bed, right?” “No, I - It’s an alien thing, okay? I can go longer than humans without eating, sleeping, that kind of thing.” It wasn’t even completely a lie; Kara could indeed operate for an extended period without sleep. Even now, with her powers disabled, she wasn’t any more tired than a human would be by mid-afternoon. “Huh.” The alarm left his posture, reassured that he didn’t have to avert an imminent mess. “I didn’t know that. Never met an alien before. I think there’s one in my kid’s class?” “Not all aliens,” she clarified. “Most species don’t have my powers. A lot of species don’t have any special powers compared to humans.” “Oh. I figured you were all, you know,” he gestured at her, “like that. I mean, you always hear about aliens on the news and they have powers, right?” “That’s because powers make for big stories.” That was the polite way to put it, but this was not the time for an in-depth explanation of systemic xenophobia. “You don’t hear about all the aliens who don’t have powers, because that’s not an exciting headline.” “I never thought about it like that,” he said. “Makes sense, I guess.” “Yeah,” Kara agreed. She didn’t say anything more for a moment, thinking. “...You have a kid?” “How did you-” he started, eyes flicking to her in alarm. “Oh, yeah, I said that. Yeah. Two, actually, a boy and a girl. My daughter’s the older one, the alien’s in her class.” “What are they like?” she asked, and he visibly perked up. As she had hoped, he was quite willing to talk about his family - eager, even. He avoided giving any names or places, but let slip enough specific details that she suspected it would be possible to track them down once she got out, if she wanted to. She kept enough attention on the conversation to seem engaged, but the rest of her brain - at least the part that wasn’t devoted to the overwhelming pressure in her abdomen - she occupied with thinking through the new plan that had opened itself up to her. Kara was not a natural liar; she liked to think of herself as generally honest and outgoing, and when put on the spot to convince somebody, she knew, she was often less than believable. So, if she knew she was going to have to sell a lie, she would try to prepare for it in advance. And right now, she definitely needed to sell it. Once she was as ready as she thought she was going to get, she waited for a lull in the conversation. Once one came, she hesitated, then started, “Do-” before cutting herself off and looking away as though thinking better of it. “What?” he asked. “I-” she looked up at him, schooling her face into a hopeful expression. “I just thought - Do you think I could call my daughter?” “You have a daughter?” “Yeah,” she said. She injected thickness into her voice, as though choking up. “She doesn’t know about any of,” she gestured at herself, “this, she thinks I’m an executive. If I could just talk to her, even for a few minutes…” “Shit,” he said. “Uh… I don’t know, I don’t think I’m supposed to give you a phone.” “Please,” Kara begged him. “She’s on her own, her dad’s-” she swallowed a sob, “gone - she must be worried, I wouldn’t go this long without at least a call. Please, I just want to tell her I’m okay.” He was wavering, she could tell even without being able to see his face. “How do I know you won’t just call the cops?” “I won’t,” she promised. “I - I can show you, before I call, so you can see I’m not calling 911.” “I…” he paused, deliberating. “Yeah. Okay. Show me the number, and put it on speaker so I can hear both sides.” He took out a cheap phone from his pocket and unlocked it before crossing the room to hand it to her. “Thank you,” she said with relief, taking it. It already had the phone app open; she typed in the number for Alex’s cellphone, then covered most of the digits with a finger and held it up to show the guard it clearly had more than three of them. He nodded, and she started the call, tapping the speakerphone icon and holding it out in front of her. After only a few rings, the call connected; as soon as she heard it, Kara spoke. “Hi, sweetheart, you’re on speaker.” She had put on a slight accent, weak enough that the guard would hopefully assume she was masking it as Supergirl but which Alex would recognize as an imitation of Eliza. Her opening line worked; Alex didn’t say anything, but Kara’s weakly-returning super-hearing could just barely make out the sound of her whispering intensely some distance from the phone, followed by the sound of rapid typing. “I’m sorry I didn’t call sooner,” she continued, “things got really busy and then my phone died, I’ve only just now been able to charge it. I probably won’t be home for another few days, some things came up and they need me close to hand. You’ll be okay on your own until then, right honey? There’s money upstairs in the bedroom, and you know you can go to Hank next door if you need anything.” “Yeah,” Alex replied, and Kara’s heart, which had taken up residence somewhere in her throat, relaxed a little at the confirmation that she’d picked up on the implications. Winn had added a filter to the call, crunching Alex’s end heavily as though through terrible reception, which together with Alex putting on a higher voice let her plausibly sound anywhere from fifteen to thirty. “Good,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll get another chance to call, be safe, I love you.” “Love you,” said Alex. Kara hung up, sniffed emotionally - not terribly difficult, considering she was actually in danger and might never talk to Alex again if things went wrong - and deleted the call from the history before handing it back to the guard. “Thank you,” she said to him. Alex had a lead, now; Winn would be able to track the call. All Kara had to do was wait. Finally, forty minutes later, the sound of several heavy vehicles came in range of Kara’s hearing one after the other, all coming in her direction. Kara breathed a sigh of relief; the guard, who had asked her twice more in the intervening time if she needed the bathroom with increasing and justified skepticism, glanced over at her to make sure she wasn’t trying to escape and/or wetting herself, but didn’t otherwise react. The cars approached, and pulled up nearby. A squad of DEO agents exited, coordinating in low tones; Kara’s heart leapt as she recognized Alex’s voice among them. The agents surrounded the house. As they closed in, the realization struck Kara that she absolutely could not look like this when Alex saw her. Her guard had noticed her desperate state, but didn’t know the full extent of it; her position seated on the bed didn’t give a clear view of her stomach and he didn’t know her well enough to compare. If she stood up and Alex saw she’d suddenly gained several inches at the waist, she would immediately realize something was wrong. And then she’d demand to know what, and Kara would have to explain that she’d been lying about being continent for years and then crawl into a hole and die of humiliation. So she had to make sure there was nothing for Alex to see. Gritting her teeth, balling her hands into fists, Kara summoned up all her willpower and clenched her abs as hard as she possibly could. Her body screamed with pain and urgency, muscles burning as she forced her stomach flat. A constellation of stars burst in her vision; involuntarily, she screwed her eyes shut and groaned aloud. It took long seconds for her to be able to open her eyes again. Her muscles trembled under the strain; her breathing was shallow and rapid, every inhale feeling as though it took up space she needed for her bladder. The guard was looking at her. He opened his mouth to say something. At that moment, the DEO agents made their entry, breaking the door open with a thunderous crash. The guard jumped, his head whipping round toward the noise, and his hand flew to his gun. Kara held very still, both to avoid startling him into shooting her and to use the time to try and bring her body under control. “You don’t have a daughter, do you,” he realized as shouts and heavy footsteps moved through the house. “No,” Kara said. And, because she always felt bad about lying even when there were perfectly good reasons for it, “Sorry.” When Alex and a handful of agents burst into the bedroom, they found Kara at gunpoint, the guard just out of her reach with his weapon trained on her; immediately, they took aim at him in turn. Kara’s heart soared; she’d known she was being rescued, of course, but seeing Alex was when she knew everything was going to be okay. “Drop it!” Alex barked. “Hands in the air!” He did not drop it; the gun trembled in his hand. Kara focused her eyes and looked at him, her x-ray vision slow and cloudy but recharged enough to see through his mask; panic and anger were written across his face. She saw the moment that panic crystallized into a new, much worse plan, and in slow-motion his arm started to move. Operating purely on fight-or-flight reflex, he was going to try and point the gun at the half-dozen armed soldiers who already had him in their sights, and he was going to get shot for it. Kara lunged forward with all the strength she could muster; pain exploded in her wrist and shoulder as her arm was yanked back behind her. She ignored it, straining against the handcuff; the bed shifted several inches before the chain snapped, freeing her to hurl herself forward and grab his arm with her free hand before he could get halfway through the motion, forcing it down towards the floor. “Hold fire!” Alex called before anyone could start shooting. The gun clattered to the ground. “Just a fracture,” Alex concluded. She and Kara were sitting on the bed so that she could examine the formerly-handcuffed wrist; Kara was doing a very good job of hiding her agonizing, unbearable need to pee. At least, Alex didn’t seem to have noticed yet. “We’ll get it splinted for now, and some time under the sun lamps will have you as good as new.” “No!” Kara yelped. “I mean - I don’t want to go all the way out to the base. Not right now.” Alex frowned. “Supergirl, you’re hurt, you’ve been exposed to an unknown form of Kryptonite, and your powers still haven’t fully recovered. You need to recharge, and I need to give you a full checkup to make sure there’s no unexpected side-effects.” That was another reason Kara did not want to go with her. Even if she could keep her desperation under control for the two or three hours all that would take - which was unlikely at best, considering how it was getting harder with every passing second - any kind of detailed examination would reveal it anyway. And she still wouldn’t be any closer to a bathroom she could use. “Alex,” Kara said, letting some of the tiredness she was feeling (mentally, if not physically) into her voice, “I’ve spent the entire day handcuffed to a bed. I haven’t slept since yesterday morning. I’ve been in this suit for almost twelve hours, and I haven’t had anything to eat. I just want to go home, and be comfortable, and relax.” She gestured at the curtains, which were now open to allow sunlight to spill into the room. “My powers are already coming back, and the only thing that felt different about the Kryptonite was that it lasted longer. I’ll be fine. Okay?” Alex looked ready to give a stern response, but wavered as Kara shot her her best puppy-dog look. She visibly deliberated before closing her eyes and sighing in frustration. “Okay. Yes. You can go.” Kara beamed. “But.” Alex raised an emphatic finger. “You’re not flying there. Vasquez will drive you home. You are not going to use your powers until you are completely recovered, and you are going to call me if you feel anything wrong. Understand? If you so much as cough, you tell me immediately.” “Got it,” Kara nodded, still smiling. She leaned forward and wrapped Alex in a tight hug, careful of her injured wrist; Alex hugged back. “You’re the best, Alex.” “I know,” Alex said over her shoulder. The hug continued for a few seconds in silence, and then Alex said, “You really have been wearing that too long. You need a shower, Supergirl.” Kara laughed and shoved her away. She still couldn’t leave immediately. Alex had Agent Vasquez bring up a set of civilian clothes and a splint, and asked Kara to recount the events of her kidnapping while she waited and changed. “...And then you guys came in, and you know the rest,” she said. Her new outfit wasn’t the sort of thing she ordinarily wore - ragged jeans and a band T-shirt about three sizes too big - which was of course the point; she wasn’t supposed to look like Kara Danvers. “Yeah,” Alex said. Her phone was in her hand, recording the conversation to be written down once she got back to the base. “I don’t think these guys have much experience kidnapping people,” Kara said. “The cheap masks, bringing me to their house” - because, as it turned out, that was where she was, the house of one of the gang members, who lived alone - “I saw the woman’s face in the alley, and the people guarding me were watching TV at the same time.” “You think someone put them up to this?” Alex asked, following the same train of logic. “I do,” said Kara. “The contact the first guy mentioned, the one who he said would do the money stuff and sold him the Kryptonite. That’s weirdly helpful for a criminal, right?” “Right,” Alex agreed. “But if the ransom wasn’t the point…” “Experimenting with new types of Kryptonite, maybe, or new methods of delivery. The kidnapping was just - a way to get it to me.” “Yeah,” said Alex, thoughtful. “It checks out.” She grimaced. “So we might have a new group on our hands who can manufacture Kryptonite, or who have a supply of it, and are handing it out to random criminals. I’ll get the word out to our informants to be on the lookout, and have Winn look for leads online, and maybe we can arrange a plea deal in exchange for information on that distributor.” She thought for a moment, then stopped the recording. “Alright, I think that’s everything. Go home, get some rest, and remember, if anything happens-” “Call you, I know,” Kara said. “Good. Agent Vasquez, take Supergirl home.” “Yes sir,” said Vasquez, who had been waiting silently by the door for the informal debriefing to finish. Kara stood up from the bed, and with a Herculean effort suppressed any visible reaction to the pressure the movement put on her bladder. She filed out of the room after Vasquez, and with the Agent walking ahead and Alex for the moment staying in the room, concealed by an overlarge shirt, she allowed her muscles to relax, returning her stomach to a slightly less unnatural shape. The relief of this nearly sent her tumbling to the floor before she caught herself with flight and she had to bite her tongue to avoid moaning aloud; she still had to pee worse than she ever had before, but at least now she wasn’t also compressing her bladder into the space reserved for the rest of her organs. They left the house, stepping out into the sunlight, where Kara had to take a moment to stop and simply feel it soaking into her skin, re-filling a part of her that was only noticeable by its emptiness; it felt like lying down in a hot bath at the end of a long day. Her bitten tongue numbed as her healing began to kick in, as did the various aches and pains from her restraint; her wrist, which would be a matter of hours rather than of minutes, at least hurt a little less. Vasquez waited politely for two minutes before clearing her throat to suggest they get a move on. The DEO had arrived with two cars in addition to the several vans; Kara sat down in the passenger seat of one of them. Kara, knowing the seatbelt would press directly on her bladder, did not want to buckle it, but Vasquez refused to start the car until she did. Kara pointed out that she was invulnerable, an argument Vasquez met with a threat to tell Alex why they weren’t moving. Kara buckled the belt. It pressed directly on her bladder. Her apartment was about thirty minutes’ drive away, which to Kara felt like about thirty hours. Now that she was safe and free, she had nothing to distract her from her desperation, and as her powers recharged the sensation became more and more intense. If her nerves had been screaming at her, now they had megaphones and lung capacities to match her own. The desperation seemed to fill her entire body, even a twitch of hand or foot somehow tugging at her bladder, and the hot ball of pain weighing down her pelvis had started to spread up her back. She had moved beyond waves of urgency and into one continuous tsunami, her tireless muscles fighting without cease, but the Kryptonian metal of the catheter was unmoved. No amount of all-day-every-day practice was enough to let her conceal so dire a need; she started the drive with her legs superhumanly tightly pressed together and in short order they were twisted around one another. Her arms were pinned to her sides, hands in white-knuckled fists, and she leaned back as far as the position of the seat would allow to give her bladder even a millimetre more room. At some point - Kara had no way to keep track of time - they stopped at a red light, and Vasquez glanced over to her. “You okay?” she asked. “Fine,” Kara said, which, as Vasquez was neither blind nor deaf to the strain in her voice, was not convincing. “Just wish I’d used the bathroom before we left.” “Want me to make a stop? I can pull in at a store or something.” “No.” Extra delays were absolutely the last thing Kara wanted. “I’ll wait until I get home.” “You sure?” Vasquez asked. “We’re still twenty minutes out. You gonna be okay that long?” “I’m sure,” Kara said. “I can hold it.” That much she was entirely sure of. “Okay,” said Vasquez dubiously as the light turned green. The car accelerated like a punch to Kara’s gut, forcing a whine from her throat; Vasquez seemed to take her situation as a cue to drive faster, though Kara couldn’t spare enough attention to be sure, considering she pushed the limits of city driving at the best of times. As they were closing in on their destination, Kara made an unwise decision. She looked down at herself, x-ray vision piercing through flesh, and saw the cause of her desperation directly. Beneath the enormous bulge of skin and flesh was a bladder swollen to practically to the size of a volleyball by an obscene quantity of urine. The muscles wrapped around it were taut, stretching almost to their limit, and the mass of liquid quivered and spasmed as they strained to right themselves. And yet, even as she watched, her kidneys continued their work, slowly but inexorably pumping more urine into a space that was already more than full. Seeing it made it so much worse, but she couldn’t look away. She could feel her powers straining to keep her intact and functional, and could only watch, legs bouncing, as her body fought against itself. Eventually, after a subjective eternity that took about fifteen minutes, Vasquez said, “We’re here.” Kara’s head snapped up to see they were pulling up to the street outside her apartment. Before the car could even come to a stop she unbuckled her seatbelt, letting it whip away under its own power, and grabbed at the door handle. “Thank you bye,” she gasped, and opened the door; she hurled herself out of the vehicle, and an audible crack came from the handle as it was forced into a position it was never meant to take. “Sorry,” she said, and dithered for half a second with the urge to try and put it right before her body took over and hurled her into motion. The door slammed hard behind her as she sprinted into the building faster than human steps could take her; she tore down the hallway until she reached the stairwell. She could not afford the time to take the stairs. She looked up, peering through the floors and walls to see if anyone was looking; by a stroke of fortune, nobody was, and she rocketed straight up through the gap in the centre of several stories of staircase and then down the hall to her door. Just barely having the presence of mind not to break it down, she pulled the key from her pocket and fumbled it into the lock, leaving the door open behind her as she ran for her room. There, buried in a drawer, was the key to her salvation, and also to her catheter. She stumbled into the bathroom, locked the door, pulled down her borrowed pants and underwear, and dropped bodily onto the toilet. With trembling hands, she tried to slot the key into the catheter; it took three attempts, by which point she was wondering if she was going to falter at this last hurdle and die on the toilet. Finally, though, she managed it; the key slid into place, and with a single turn Kara finally opened the valve. It poured out with a thunderous hiss, but the relief was not immediate. As much as she would have liked to force out her bladder’s contents as fast as she could, that would have been far too much force; she would have power-washed a hole in her toilet, the floor, and whatever was downstairs from her. So she had to wait, producing a stream that was powerful but not nearly as powerful as it could have been, as the overstretched organ slowly returned to a normal size. One minute passed, then two. It was almost halfway to the third before she finally felt relief, and then suddenly it was overwhelmingly upon her, her heightened senses lighting up her body with an explosion of endorphins. She slumped bonelessly backwards with a moan, all the exertion seeming to catch up to her at once, and stayed that way as she continued peeing for almost two further minutes. Even once her stream finally slowed to a trickle and then petered out entirely, Kara didn’t move for some time, just sitting there panting and luxuriating in the blissful feeling of not needing the bathroom. She had to move at some point, though - she needed to get something to eat and drink, and then take a long nap at minimum - so eventually she lifted herself upright with flight. She reached down and turned the catheter key further, folding up the part that anchored it in her bladder, and pulled it out; a burst of heat vision sterilized it, and she slipped it back into place before twisting the key back the other way to secure it and close the valve once more. Kara stood and walked on shaky legs over to the sink to wash her hands, and considered the future. She was going to have to tell Alex her secret, she knew. If she was going to keep being Supergirl, she wouldn’t be able to avoid some kind of physical exam forever, and that would be a much worse way for it to come out. She should probably also start taking the key out with her; this was unlikely to be the last time she couldn’t get home for an extended period, and she needed the ability to relieve herself, even if it meant she would have to rely on willpower to keep herself out of the bathroom in her civilian life. Perhaps, she thought, she even ought to fly to the Fortress and design a new version, one not opened by a separate piece; that way she could preempt the possibility of the key being lost or taken from her. If there was one thing she knew for certain, though - one thing that had been true since that day in the Fortress - it was that this was far from the last time she’d find herself needing a bladder of steel.
  14. currently there are four gender icons for threads which are visually identical: trans female, trans male, androgyne, and non-binary. it is thus impossible to tell which of them the icon refers to without hovering over it unless the information is redundantly included in the thread title or tags, rendering it actively less useful than just having it written as text. i would suggest making each one a separate color. trans female matching female and trans male matching male would be the obvious choice; the current purple would make sense for androgyne. i have no specific suggestion for what color non-binary would be, beyond "not pink, blue, or purple". edit: now that i check, it looks like androgyne doesn't actually display as an icon. i thought i remembered it doing so, but i guess not. in that case, i additionally suggest making it so that it does; it's odd for one and only one of the options in that field not to use an icon.
  15. you know how there's a bunch of different versions of scp-001? well, DSP-001-α Object Class: Perilous Detainment Procedures: Information pertaining to DSP-001-α is to be strictly suppressed from public awareness. An alternative theory (see file DSP-001-α-10 regarding the "big bang" and "heat death") has been successfully disseminated as scientific consensus; it is to be maintained and updated as appropriate to ensure the appearance of ongoing scientific discovery. Likewise, archaeological expeditions and historical research are to be monitored for potential references to DSP-001-α on recovered materials; any such found are to be altered or destroyed. Equipment which could enable the discovery or inference of DSP-001-α will be patented, sabotaged, or otherwise prevented from becoming commercially available. Private individuals, scientific organizations, and any others who may be able to obtain such equipment or otherwise become aware of DSP-001-α will be approached by DSP personnel for psychological evaluation. If they are willing and able to maintain secrecy they may be sworn in and given proper authorization. If they are unwilling and/or unable, they are to be neutralized as a potential leak through the gentlest reasonable means, e.g. discreditation, blacklisting from the field of study, amnesicisation, or, if necessary, termination. At the highest possible priority, research is to be maintained into the nature of DSP-001-α, with a specific focus to preventing a possible release event. All available DSP entities are to be examined for possible utility to such an end, particularly those which cause an inability to urinate and/or increased bladder capacity. Any attempt to apply DSP entities which cause increased urinary urgency or involuntary, accelerated, or immediate urination will result in termination. Description: While references to the concept of DSP-001-α have existed in mythology and culture as early as records exist (see files DSP-001-α-4 through -7 for records and alterations made), it was not widely known or believed, and its existence was only confirmed in 19██, as the advancement of technology made it possible to gather data on the universe at greater distance and fidelity than was previously possible. DSP-001-α was classified █ months later, at which point early infosuppression began (see files DSP-001-α-9 and -10, including "outdated theories" such as the "big rip" and "big crunch"). It was observed at this time that the structure of the universe resembled the interior of a living organ, as observed in Earth animals. With further research, it was determined that this resemblance was specific and meaningful; the shape of the universe does not merely resemble an organ but is identical in structure, barring the material composition, to a human bladder, approximately ███ billion light-years across. The Milky Way is neither centrally located nor "upright" in orientation relative to the bladder; for more information on physical characteristics of DSP-001-α see file DSP-001-α-2. Little is known of DSP-001-α-A, the presumed entity which houses DSP-001-α, nor any hypothetical others that may exist, nor the "universe" in which they themselves exist. It is assumed that DSP-001-α entities are humanlike, albeit on an immense scale, due to the extreme similarity between DSP-001-α and the human bladder - its structure is identifiable as such even compared to the bladders of non-human primates. (See file DSP-001-α-21 for hypotheses on the significance of this similarity.) Likewise, whether other "bodily fluids" or "organs" of DSP-001-α entities contain universes of their own, recognizable or otherwise, is unknown, as are the consequences if DSP-001-α-A "urinates"; it is assumed that such a release event would be highly unfavorable towards our continued existence. Of particular concern is the physical state of DSP-001-α. By comparison to a human bladder, its overall shape and the stretching observed in "muscle fibres" suggests DSP-001-α-A would be experiencing significant "urinary" urge, such that it would demand active and continual focus to avoid urination. The physical state of DSP-001-α-A, including its environment, circumstances, and "urinary" resilience, is entirely unknown; accordingly, it is impossible to tell how far it may be from a "toilet", nor how long it may resist involuntary "urination". Fortunately, it is observed that DSP-001-α-A exists at an enormously slowed rate of time relative to the universe within DSP-001-α; from the beginning of recorded history it has experienced approximately ten seconds of relative time. For the past 2██ years DSP-001-α has been experiencing a "muscle contraction", presumably causing a period of increased urgency; this is likely to continue for a minimum of several more centuries. Experiments on the possible effectiveness of DSP entities on DSP-001-α have proven promising; it is currently believed to be possible to apply their effect to DSP-001-α-A, if a method of replicating them from the inside and at a large enough scale can be devised.
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