Outage by J.M. Snyder
Matt diLorenzo's coworker Roxie Johnson drags him to a boring, day-long workshop on office administration. Of course, the winter storm the weatherman's been predicting for the past few weeks decides to hit the same day. Matt's only consolation? The workshop is held in one of the high-rises downtown, and whenever his lover Vic Braunson's bus route brings him near the building, they can communicate telepathically for a few moments.

The wintry storm hits harder than anyone anticipates, downing power lines and taking out electricity to most of the surrounding localities. When Roxie learns that the gym where they work has closed due to inclement weather, she convinces Matt to ditch the workshop. They duck into the elevator moments before the building's power goes out, trapping them inside.

The next time Vic's bus brings him near the building, Matt calls out to his lover for help. Vic's current superhuman ability is an electromagnetic power that should allow him to recall the elevator to the lobby. But the street is blocked off by fallen power lines and the building's concierge won't let Vic near the mechanical room to work his magic.

And then there's Roxie, who doesn't yet know of Vic's powers or how he gets them ...



Matt was still sitting on the floor of the elevator, banging his head back against the wall in time with the mantra of his lover's name that scrolled through his thoughts, when he felt Vic's presence flood his mind. With a jerk, he sat up straight, his heart pounding in relief. "Vic?"

Across the small car, Roxie eyed him warily. "No," she said, cautious. "He's not here. You okay, Matt?"

He shook his head and closed his eyes to shut her out. ::Vic?:: he called out mentally. ::Oh God, Vic, we're stuck in an elevator and I'm about this close to losing it, I swear. I hate these things.::

The sensation of strong arms enveloped him, a psychic bear hug that chased away the fear that gnawed at the edges of his sanity. ::I'm on my way.:: Vic sounded so reasonable, so sure, that his confidence helped stave off Matt's anxiety. ::Where are you exactly?::

Matt didn't know. He tried to picture the office building they were in, but he hadn't seen very much of it while driving this morning -- he remembered a dark awning with a street number on it in ornate gold lettering, then he'd passed the building and drove into the underground garage. He wasn't even sure where he had parked now. Before panic could set in, Vic tamped that emotion down with his own psyche and asked, ::Is Roxie there? Does she know?::

"Hey Roxie." Matt roused himself to find her looking at him, distrustful. "Where are we?"

Her eyes narrowed as if she couldn't tell if he were being serious or not. "In an elevator," she said, speaking slowly. "Are you sure you're okay?"

"I mean ..." Matt sighed, exasperated. "The building. What building is this?"

With a frown, Roxie wanted to know, "Why?"

"Roxie!" Turning into himself, he told Vic, ::God, she's being deliberately mean today.::

::Then tell her why,:: Vic countered. ::It'll knock her down a peg or two.::

Matt gasped. ::I can't. Vic, I couldn't even tell you --::

::You did eventually.:: Matt felt his lover's smile warm him up inside. ::Hell, I found out myself anyway, and she's going to find out, too, when I ride in there like the cavalry. You might as well tell her. What's the worst that could happen?::

What indeed?