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Dave ST

IC: SE: "The Dance!"

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Austin took the lead and let Fisher handle Nadya.  He offered Evelyn  a polite smile and nodded.  "Yes ma'am we did.."  then he saw Rachel come out, and Nadya took her picture.   He was abit shocked, Rachel actually looked female for once, then he looked away because he really didn't want to get hit by her before the dance.  He'd reflexively turned and now faced Yokiko who looked at him and tried quite hard to mask a tiny smile at what happened.  It was abit of comedy that must have been planned, if only by a deity of mischief.  


She in turn stepped up to talk to Evelyn.   "We've all come to ask for your help in making the Dance one to remember."   Austin, who still had his head turned smiled, as Yokiko had perfectly summed up why he'd accepted the ticket, and he was happy to hear she wanted it to be a special night too.

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"Speak for yourself, Yo," Nadya said brashly as she uploaded the pics of Rachel to the cloud. "I'm the one who's gonna make it a night for Niles to remember. I'm just here for a dress and a pair of shoes that will make his nose bleed on sight." She pulled her own golden ticket from... somewhere and flashed it about between a pair of fingers. "Got me a ticket right here."

Her silver-grey eyes widened at the golden motes emanating from the ticket, then she looked at Evelyn - more specifically, what she was wearing - then deeper into the shop. Trained to case a place in a moment, at her first step into the shop, she'd noticed the disparity between the size of the interior and the exterior. She stifled the urge to run through the shop to see how far it went and what all it contained. She shuffled a bit then flashed Evelyn a wide smile.

"And I totally came to the right place." Nadya shot Darci an arch little grin. "Victorian Hot Topic sounds awesome to me! Any day can be cosplay day, if you want it to be. 'Sides, Niley seemed to like it. But now, I'm lookin' for something, uh... more..." Nadya waved at the red-faced Rachel, her smile widening once more, "... That - Go with the red, Rae-Rae, but get some racier underwear. I want something elegant, y'know, but way sexy." Her hands pantomimed a feminine figure closer to Mercedes than either hers or Rachel's. "And darker, definitely darker. Blacks and midnight blues or deep green."

She couldn't but think about Niles, think about how she'd wow him and everyone at the Dance. She'd thought she'd only get to Evelyn's later, but well... it had been Niles' first time getting to second base, let alone further. Her grin deepened to one of private amusement. When she dropped him off at home, his mother had given her such a look of disapproval, she'd yanked Niles into a long, deep, tongue-tangling, breath-stealing kiss. As she'd  driven away, she'd seen his mother's dumbfounded look go from her to her son, and heard her ask, 'Is she Jewish at least?'

Nadya glanced at her Band and their plus-one's, arching a coy, questioning brow at them, clearly telling them that she was surprised they had brought others not 'in the know' while she herself had had the good sense not to. And they were questioning her ability to be circumspect? She sniffed.

"I'm surprised you guys all skipped out early," Nadya said with wry amusement. "And that's not the only thing I'm surprised by."

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Rachel's eye widened as her cheeks flushed.   She screamed in horror and embarrassment, clutching both dresses to her chest in an attempt to preserve what modesty of her remained, she covered herself and fled back into the dressing room.

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"Nadya!" Darci fumed, "She's in her underwear, not cool..."

Nadya shrugged, "What?"

Darci stepped forward towards the dressing rooms.  "She was obviously embarassed by," She pointed to Austin than Fisher. "Tweedle Dumb and Dumberer over here seeing her in her underwear.  You don't snap a pic of her!"

Fisher pointed to himself.  "Why do I have to be Dumber-er?"

Darci sighed, "Because I don't know Austin as well as you guys, I'm trying to be respectful with my insults."

"I appreciate that," he smiled kindly at her.

"Yeah, no problem," she smiled back and set off for the dressing room.  "Rae?  It's Darci... I'm poking my head in, don't flail wildly..."  Fisher and Austin decided to chase the rabbit.  Every man knew of the ritual women had where they spent ungodly amount of hours together in a bathroom or dressing naked or at least nearly so for reasons completely unknown.

Evelyn, after the antics approached Nadya and cupped her chin, twisting her head from side to side making her lips pucker.  "Oh... oh, you poor dear...," she released her face and folded her arms, looking at her attire.  "No, sweetie... this," she pointed a digit and waved it up and down to signify everything that was... well, Nadya.  "Is not what love looks like.  No.  Not at all.  You need to get your house in order, girl.  Come dear, and you too little awkward Japanese girl."

She pointed down the way to a narrow hallway.  "Go speak with Sylvia, she's a sylph, can't miss her.  You wan't black?  Oh, I specialize in black, honey.  For you," she pointed at Yokiko.  "Something a little more traditional, she'll get you taken care of."  She spun about and glared at Austin and Fisher.  "You two... are mine.  Go find Tweedle Dumbest and meet me in the men's section.  By Dagda's Cauldron... you're bumbling around outside of your league, you don't deserve these women, but that's not for me to judge... least I can do make you look... less like you are now and something resembling 'presentable'.  Well, go," She shooed them away.  "Men's section, after you've found little Angel Face Billy."

"Hmm, perhaps the champagne," Evelyn said to no one in particular.

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Fisher blushed, then had his eyes bug out when Rachel screamed. Circumstances or not, that was so the last thing one would think of her doing. Then the awkward moments subsided and he followed Evelyn's instructions. He spun on a dime, completely turned around and marched away, like Orpheus leading Eurydice out - and he knew far better than to look back at all.

When they found Billy: "Hi, Billy. Evelyn wants us going straight to the Men's Section, Billy." Before Billy could make any comment: "She's in that 'Compliance is Mandatory' mood, Billy."

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Austin was right there with Fisher in both surprise, and embarrassment.  He didn't care for Darci's insult but it's honestly not like they intended to see what they saw, and he did look away.  Once Fisher finished speaking, he nodded.  "He's right.  This was more an "Order You Don't Refuse."   with both of them there, Billy asked "What was that scream about?"

 "Nothing that concerns you man.  Nadya did something really dumb, let's leave it at that and get a move on."  came Austin's quick and utterly credible reply.   Without another word, the only normal guy there fell into step with the two young heroes, making their way to the men's section.

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"Un-freaking believable." Rachel said to her reflection in the mirror. She was angry now. Angry at Evelyn and Marius, at Mr Syracuse for not solving her problem, at her dads for grounding her, but mostly at herself for ...reasons." She drew her fist back and was about to slam it through her own face in the mirror and by default through the wall beyond, but she stopped, fist clenched so tight  her hand was  white from the restraint of the blood flow. Slowly she dropped the fist and unclenched as she took deep breath after deep breath.

She could here her friends outside. "This is stupid" she muttered as she proceeded to get dressed back in her jeans and t-shirt.

A few minutes passed and Rachel exited the dressing room and went to find Evelyn where she was helping Nadya. "I'm going with the Champagne dress, please" she said  as she handed the dresses to one of the helpers, "We're all here now. And the dress is beautiful and I am very grateful, but I want to know why. Mr Syracuse said that most likely it was you that instigated all of this. Why? And why have Marius whom we consider an enemy, make the invites? Why didn't you do it yourself?"

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Nadya squirmed as Evelyn cupped her chin, long nails prickling her skin. She could out-bench anyone on the football team who didn't have a God's blood running in their veins, but Nadya had the distinct impression that if she tried to jerk out out of Evelyn's grasp, she'd be leaving her jaw behind.

Who said anything about love? Nadya privately replied to Evelyn, then asked herself, Who said anything about love? "My house is just fine, thank-you!" Nadya muttered, voice slightly slurred by Evelyn's hand mildly squishing her face. "Sure, it's a bit messy, but I know where everything is."

Evelyn gave the Romani girl an exasperated glance as she let her go and just pointed down the hallway again. Nadya gave her a look of bemused and completely feigned innocence then trotted off down the almost cramped hallway. She eyed the racks and displays of clothing and shoes with interest and want, hands reaching out greedily before she pulled them back.

Sure, she had a golden ticket, but there was a lot in this place that was catching her eye and likely Evelyn wouldn't miss a piece or three. On the other hand, Nadya wasn't sure what the property taxes were like on a Tardis-shop.

When the hallway opened up into another area filled with dresses, Nadya stopped and stared. She wasn't entirely sure what a Sylph - she should probably read more of the old Greek books Archie kept suggesting - but there was not missing Sylvia, presuming this was her.

Pale as milk, hair the colour of snow, with lips a faint shade of lavender and eyes a light shade of grey, Sylvia was quite the sight, almost as tall as Rae-Rae, but Abercrombie & Fitch thin, dressed in black, ripped jeans and tanktop. From what Nadya could see, she was inked in tattoos of black and dark blue all over her arms, legs, midriff - and likely more - and she swore, whenever she looked away and back, the tattoos were slightly different.

Oh, and Sylvia must've had five pounds of metal piercing her face - and definitely not only there. Nadya had a nose-stud, a small eye-brow ring, and several piercings in each ear. Sylvia had more than that just in the bridge of her nose. She looked like Heroin Hellraiser Barbie.

"Yeh?" Sylvia said in a bored, disinterested voice, arching a doubtful brow that chimed with all the metal in them. Her accent was sort of a mix between something Irish or Scottish and a Southern drawl.

"Evelyn said I should speak with you," Nadya replied with a wide grin as she swaggered forward to the countered Sylvia was slouched behind. "She said you could help me with a dress - and shoes! - for Prom. Black."

Sylvia made a show of straightening from her lackadaisical slouch, giving Nadya a contemptuous, smirking once-over, then sighed. Her snow white hair seemed to move more than it should, as if gusted by a light breeze that touched only her hair. "Ya nid tha'elp'."

While Nadya tried to parse what the Hades the supposed sylph had just said, Sylvia snapped her arms over the counter and grabbed her pigtails, giving them a sharp yank. There was a puff of pink and blue sparkles from Sylvia's hands. Nadya reached up and pulled her pigtails into view - which seemed a good deal longer - then stared at Sylvia again.

"Did... did you just pull my highlights out?" Nadya stammered.

"Th'all dinnae doin' ya any favors, girl," Sylvia drawled, walking around the counter then circling the shorter girl, looking down her nose at her. "Lessa sea wha wi be havin' ta work wit'."

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

When Rachel found Evelyn and the girls, she found Nadya out of her ridiculous Harley Quinn getup and wearing a revealing, gossamer dress. There was a distressed look on her face as a tall, pale, stainless steel pierced woman behind her had a vicious, delighted expression on her face as she tightened the integrated corset.

Spoiler

Dress looks like this:
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But has an integrated corset that looks more like one of these two (both dark blue instead) - if anyone has a suggestion
a4717dbf7d1c3aa49fd0ba3c9d89bef8.jpg

3d8e345ae38be73553228fe826e1d08a.jpg

"Oh-ergh!" Nadya gasped/grunted around a smile. "Hey, hey, Rae-Rae," she greeted her friend. There was something like a twang that she hoped wasn't one of her ribs. "I was just teasing - you'll look great in either dress. And I would never post pics of online."

Not without a good reason. Sylvia finished torturing her and Nadya flipped her ponytail over her shoulder - a single tail, smooth and straight that almost reached her ass - and glanced at herself in the tripartite mirror. Her trim waist looked almost half again as small while her boobs looked half again as big, and her legs looked nearly as long as Rae-Rae's or the sylph's. Okay, not really, but with the strappy, spikey high heels, they still looked hella long.

Niles isn't going to know where to stare. "Awesome," Nadya murmured, twisting on a heel, to quirk a curious brow at Rachel when she questioned Evelyn's motives, then shrugging. "Who cares why, if we're getting sweet swag like this, Rae-Rae."

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On 1/24/2019 at 10:54 AM, Rachel Cooper said:

A few minutes passed and Rachel exited the dressing room and went to find Evelyn where she was helping Nadya. "I'm going with the Champagne dress, please" she said  as she handed the dresses to one of the helpers, "We're all here now. And the dress is beautiful and I am very grateful, but I want to know why. Mr Syracuse said that most likely it was you that instigated all of this. Why? And why have Marius whom we consider an enemy, make the invites? Why didn't you do it yourself?"

Evelyn's lips twisted into a smile as Rachel began firing the questions at her.  "Ah, see, now there is that spitfire and bravado I've heard so much about.  It's about time if a I dare say.  You're such a big ball of collective, pent up emotions.  You're going to break something, dear.  Either yourself or something you love if you don't get that under control."

She broke off from what she was doing, assisting the gentleman with finding an appropriate suit for the evening, to now face Rachel so they could have a proper conversation.  "Mr Syracuse thinks I started all of this?  Well, I won't fault his logic, but I'm afraid I did not.  Despite all the black and leather and cleavage, I am, believe it or not, one of the good ones."  She looked away with a roll her eyes and a dismissive wave of her hand.  "Well, I'm not one of the bad ones, we'll go with that."  She chuckled.

"Your last question second," she shook her head at Fisher who presented a blazer that was totally Fisher... so it was totally not stylish.  "Sweetheart, no, just no."  She motioned for one for the Sylphs to help the poor guy out and looked back to Rachel.  "That answer is simple: because I don't have to.  Look at all this dear, I have a business to run, I've orders to place, clients to assist.  Frankly, I'm swamped.  It's far easier for me to reach out to you, than to approach you in person.  I'm not really the 'go out for coffee' type.  Well, not the swill that passes for coffee in this little town, rather."

"Hey, we make damn good coffee at the Drip, lady."  Darci chimed up.  She'd been standing there ever since she'd been passed up by Rachel outside her changing room, then passed up by Nadya, then passed by Rachel a second time.  She was starting to feel a bit invisible but the last thing she  was gonna let slide is someone insulting the pride of her workplace.

"Of course you do, dear," Evelyn passively blew her off like she was invisible.  "Of course you do.  Now, on to the lesson, hmm?  Austin, your father, the Earth Shaker.  He tsunami's an island while rocking it with earthquakes.  A hundred thousand people die.  Is your father good, or evil?"

Being put on the spot, Austin looked from his clothing selection and pondered a moment.  "Why did he do it? I don't think the Gods are these perfect paragons of virtue. They have their flaws, but I want to believe that if any God would do something of that scale, they have a good reason to do so. My own biased opinion based on what I do know of him, is that my father is Good, that he'd not do something like that without cause, though I do admit to not truly knowing him."

"Ah," Evelyn smiled and continued on.  "So then it's a factor of personal justification?  Providing he sees the act as 'good', then so it is?  Or belief?  You don't know him, but as long as you, or he, believe their deeds are good ones, then so they are?  So then the opposite would also be true, would it not?  Providing we believe one's actions to be evil, so then they would be?  Whether or not they actually are or aren't, it's all about perception and belief."

"Well, no, I mean... I guess."  Austin wasn't really struggling with the answer, it was just one of those topics that was riddled with circular logic.  "It's complicated."

"So it is," the black clad Demigod agreed.  "I didn't ask because I expected an end all, be all answer, sweetie.  I asked because there is no answer.  'Good' and 'evil' are man made concepts of morality that help them cope with and attempt to understand the way people think because it's mankind's strongest desire to understand.  It's because man knows so little despite all their 'science'.  As Scions you must come to understand that not all things are as black and white as you've been brought up to understand.  People who live 'good' lives have enough sin in their closets to qualify as what would be 'evil' by your very same narrow definitions.  It's all very confusing."

"Marius is a bastard, trust me, I use to be married to him."  She said with a sneer.

"Wait, what?!" Austin, Fisher and Nadya all said in unison, sharing the same tone of surprise.

"Oh, yeah, by the way,"  Rachel motioned to Evelyn with a 'what she just said' gesture that followed up her monotone perfectly.  "Surprise." She feigned shaking her hands in a surprise gesture.

"Adorable." Evelyn said, unimpressed.  "Point being that for all his faults, he's not evil.  He's just bitter and filled with resentment over something the Gods did to punish us.  And no, what certain something was is not up for discussion."  For just a moment her perfect demeanor collapsed and she wore the slightest hint of an emotion in her expression.  "That's not to say that he isn't going to attempt something monumentally stupid, and he must be stopped.  Whatever it is my ex husband is planning, he must not come to pass, I just needed you little Scions to understand 'good' and 'evil' before you ran out into the hills frothing at the mouth to exact righteous vengeance for reasons you are, frankly, not mature enough to understand yet.  The world is not black and white, good and evil.  You're Scions.  You're above those concepts now."

Darci stepped into view, looking at everyone.  "Guys, what the hell is going on?  What's she talking about?"

Billy nodded.  "Yeah, this is really weird.  This whole trying to figure things out has really snowballed since you," he pointed to Rachel. "Ripped a tailgate from a truck and Fisher took a grenade to the face and it grew back."  There was an awkward silence as Darci winced at Billy exposing their investigation into the Scions.  "His face grew back... not the grenade."

The wicked smile of a woman who thrived on drama traced itself across Evelyn's cheeks as she looked at Rachel.  She took her dress from her and walked around the counter.  "I'll get this ready for you sweetie."

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Rachel had gotten an annoyed look on her face as Evelyn talked, that look shifted to anger by the time she had finished and Rachel was about to give a blistering retort when Darci blurted out her question and then Billy followed up with his and a revelation.

Rachel's head turned slowly towards Darci then Billy. She raised her finger and opened her mouth to speak then looked at the other stunned Scions. She started again when she heard Evelyn's voice and the humor in the way she said i she was going to get her dress ready. She turned back to Billy, started to say something stopped, started to say something else finally she just shrugged in exasperation and said, "Billy, one of the others can explain it, if not, we will talk tonight okay." As usual Rachel didn't wait for a reply but spun on her heel and went after the elder Scion, Deity, whatever she was.

Catching up to Evelyn, Rachel who had lost her anger at what the woman had said but still wanted, needed to know called to the Owner of this fantastic shop.  "Ma'am, I hear what  you say but not only do I not understand but I don't believe  you. You say that Good and Evil don't exist that we are above such concepts," She points at herself, then taps her chest for emphasis, "In case you hadn't notice I am that concept! Right and wrong, good and evil, if they aren't real then what the heck am I supposed to be?"

 

 

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Evelyn chuckled exactly in the condescending way Rachel expected.  "We've covered 'belief', dear.  Christianity dominates religion, no one believes in the old gods anymore, yet, they exist.  Truth is simply the truth, regardless of what you, or I, or the world believes.  The Earth Shaker does not tsunami an island and crumble it into the sea because he's bored," she rolled her eyes and shrugged lazily.  "Okay, maybe once or twice, he has, but by and large he does it because that's his nature.  Your father, he's not a guardian, he doesn't protect and he's hardly just.  He's Vengeance personified."

She paused for a moment and offered her a smile that was just as matronly with no signs of condescension. She sighed softly.  "Dear, do not allow your father to make you an instrument on his vengeance here in the World.  Should you ascend to godhood, there can not be two gods of vengeance.  You will need to, between then and now, to define who and what sort of example you wish to set, but do not fool yourself into thinking you are good simply because you did the 'right' thing.  A time will come, as it does for us all, when 'evil' is the only choice left that to you... and that revelation will destroy you if you still cling to foolish man-made sentiments."

"You are, child," she took the dress and held it up, looking it over and eyeing between it and Rachel.  "Whatever you choose to be.  By the nature of your very existence, the child of a god, you may aspire to be whatever you wish.  And in the days to come you will be a powerful force of nature, a Scion, a Demigod!  Neither good, nor evil... simply a force that is exactly what the World needs when it needs it.  A guardian, a tsunami, a plague..."

The dress exploded in a glittery plume of magical motes that spiraled about Rachel and danced their way back to Evelyn's hand where they slowly condensed themselves into a ball of solid, champagne colored magical energy.  Rachel had never seen anything like it.  With a glimmer and a flash in true Disney-style fashion, the light faded to reveal a simple glass bead no more than the size of a marble and Rachel could see the champagne colored magic swirling in the tiny orb.  Evelyn leaned on counter and presented the bead pinched tightly between her perfectly manicured, blood-red talons.  "Hair, make-up, dress, shoes... everything you need is right here.  When you're ready, simply stomp on the bead and wait for the magic to happen... but don't do it barefooted, I know it goes without saying... but you'd be surprised how many people come running back in here mad at me because they didn't think before stepping on a glass bead."

As she reached for the bead, Evelyn drew it back.  "Now, go talk to your boyfriend, because what he needs to hear should not come from your friends.  Grow up for crying out loud."  She presented the bead once again to Rachel and this time did not prevent her from taking it.

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Austin looked to Darci and Billy, and was preparing an explanation, but caught himself.  Lying to them wasn't going to really help anyone, and telling them the truth was just as dangerous, even if they didn't believe it.  He was glad he didn't have this problem with Yokiko.   Both of them had fathers that were sea gods, and both known for not having the best of temperaments.  

Instead he thought on what Evelyn had said.   Marius being her ex husband, and how she thought he wasn't evil, well he wasn't high on his list of people to trust, he had tried to kill all their mortal families after they refused to join him.   That wasn't something that would so easily be forgotten.   Thing were as she said, it wasn't always going to be black and white, and a part of him knew that was true of the mortal world itself, so of course the world of legends would be the same.

He paused his ruminations to look over to Fisher, a little surprised about the whole "grenade to the face" topic.   "Well at least it got better."  he said quietly.  

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A little bit of the anger came back the fire was stoked, Rachel snatched the bead, "Your wrong," she said to Evelyn. I'll prove it she said to herself, spun and marched back to the others.

She walked right past them all and grabbed Billy by the hand, "Come with me," she said to her boyfriend.  She looked back at fisher as she led Billy away , "Tell her Fisher, she deserves to know." 

Rachel led Billy by the hand to a corner away from everyone there she sat down and pulled Billy down beside her. She still held his hand. Rachel Looked at his face at his beautiful eyes and felt a longing she couldn't define.

"Yeah we did those things, but you weren't supposed to see them and you shouldn't have been investigating, whatever that means. I'm going to tell you everything. You are not going to believe me, I didn't when I learned, but it is true. All of it."

Rachel began telling him, the boy she once hated and now loved, told him the truth.

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When Evelyn brought up the discussion of Godly morality or lack thereof, Fisher at first wanted to tell her not to talk about this where Darcy or Billy could hear. Then he had to pause that thought in favor of correcting Austin in his naive assumption that his father was good, or that Poseidon must have a good reason. Fisher had actually read the various mythological stories, and to the precise extent that they were true (which was admittedly up in the air)...

...Well, the consistent threads for the Greek pantheon said it all. Put up against Evelyn, Austin definitely seemed like someone whose knowledge of the tales started and ended with Disney's Hercules. And Fisher knew well his mother was Izanami, the Goddess of Death whom killed a thousand people per day because of Izanagi's impatient intrusion into Yomi and reaction to her decay. The Gods were not good people by any regular definition.

Then Evelyn went on the whole spiel of amorality for Gods, which was one thing, but claiming Marius was not evil? Did she not know about the whole sadistic 'send assassins to your families and inform you just too late' scheme?

And then that was when Darci and Billy showed up. Not only had they heard, but they'd seen the battle of the truck stop, negating Fisher's attempts to protect her from the start. The net impact: Fisher adopted the expression of an impassive fish until Austin made his lame comment, which triggered a flash of annoyance.

Seeing Rachel take Billy away made Fisher give up and nod to Darcy before finding their own corner to sit. "I guess I should start from the beginning." And so he did. From his mother's return to now.

 

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"A dollar for every time they mention Percy Jackson,"  Yokiko smiled and bumped her hip into Austin who seemed a bit distracted.

He chuckled and waited to see the final result of what telling these two would have on the group.  "I highly doubt Billy know who Percy Jackson is."

"So, like Percy Jackson?"  Bill said, as if on queue.

Austin looked to the heavens, rolling his eyes.  "Seriously, Dad?  Really?"  Yokiko chuckled.  "You can buy me a coffee.  Darci makes a great latte."

Rachel and Fisher went forward with their stories, often tag teaming each others sentences to help with explaining things a bit better.from their visitation to the issues at school to the battle with Spear-Finger.  Evelyn continued to work her magic on Yokiko's dress and despite the explosion of magical motes converging into a tiny glass bead, the two mortal teenagers didn't pay it much mind and focused on what the two Scions had to say.  When they finished a few minutes later Fisher and Rachel looked at each other, that awkward look that said 'they're gonna loose their shit any second'.

"Well?"  Evelyn said, breaking the awkward silence.  "Silly mortals wanted to play Scooby-Doo with the children of gods and now you can't believe what you've found out?  I always love that glossy look in their eyes."

"Do you mind?"  Billy said in a stern, flat tone to Evelyn.  "I'm trying to talk with my girlfriend."  He sighed at Rachel and then smiled.  "Rae, I believe you.  I saw you rip a tailgate of a truck and throw it at a guy who melted into a bug.  I get why you didn't say anything, I do, but, you can tell me anything.  If these... monsters," she could tell it wasn't easy for him to say it, like the word didn't make sense as a viable option for something that needed to be stopped.  "Are trying to ruin the world, and only you guys can stop them... tell me what you need and I'll be there."

Rachel could see Evelyn over Billy's shoulder.  She smiled and winked at her silently mouthing 'I like him.'

Fisher wasn't faring so well on the romantic side of things.  Darci was massaging his face as he awkwardly looked at her through smooshed cheeks.  "How do you do it?  Is it like some kind of healing factor?"  Fisher took her wrists and lowered her hands, not answering.  Seeing she wasn't going to get an answer right away she pursed her lips and slapped him on the chest a few times.  "You should have told me you jerk!  I'm your best friend!  Best friends and significant others are always the first to know about a secret identity.  It's Marvel 101."

Billy smiled at Rachel.  "This mean we're 'significant others'?  It's Marvel 101... or so I've heard."

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"Do you want to be significant others?" Nadya drawled as she went back to checking herself out in her dress.

She had had the good sense not to bring her own SO here in case of what had just happened... happened. Her lips quirked into a smirk. Nadya didn't precisely fault the rest of her Band - and if they wanted to tell them everything, that was on them - but they couldn't say anything about her decisions anymore. With Niles still out of the know, he was safe(r) from the realities of her otherworldly, extra-curricular activities.

"Not to sound like a member of a 'No Normies Club'," Nadya said as she spun around and checked out her behind over her shoulder, then turning her silver-grey eyes on Billy and Darci. "But don't Marvel and DC have a few things to say 'bout SO's and being tied to train tracks and hung-over vats of acid and stuff? This isn't just hanging out with Angry Wonder Woman and Wolverine Nerd, this is real. The danger is real."

Nadya saw the way the others were staring at her. 'Serious' was an adjective rarely applied to her. But while their SO's were all eager to stumble into their 'other' lives, hers wasn't, and she'd protect Niles as best she could from it. "What?! It is. Least my boyfriend isn't caught up in all this. I don't think threads of Fate makes as sweet an outfit as this! They probably make itchy, ugly-ass Christmas Sweaters, judging by the stories of how Gods and Goddesses act."

She ran her hands down her cinched in waist and over her hips with a pleased murmur. Her eyes sparkled as Evelyn did her Fairy Godmother thing. "Can you show me how to do that? It's both awesome and convenient." And would be great for all sorts of fun, too. "Sort of like Nightcrawler. BAMF!" Nadya mimicked throwing something on the ground. "But whole new wardrobe with all the fixings instead of being in a new place."

Darci glanced at the black-clad troublemaker doubtfully. "You read comic books?"

"Nah. Ancient 90s cartoons... Kk, a few here and there. People turn all sorts of stuff in at the Pawn shop."

 

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"This isn't even Marvel," Fisher snapped with a flushed face, "at most, we have a divine version of the Joker running around!" He gave his own gray-eyed glare preemptively at Evelyn. "And I don't care what you say about good and bad, I heard the details of that meeting while Rachel and I were fighting the myrmidons. All that he said and did was straight-up Heath Ledger."

"And it is not a risk I wanted to take." He added back to Darci, voice raised with a building wave of emotion. "My father is an emotional zombie. You know who my mom - no, my patron is. Because honestly? My mother left when I was 4 and I'm beginning to wonder if she's never coming back. I don't want a Fate of always losing the ones I love!"

There. It had slipped out into the open and Fisher didn't need to say oops. His face did it for him.

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Darci wasn't stupid.  In fact, she was one of the smartest students at Salem High.  Sometimes she had a habit to jabber on about nerdy things, but for the first time since he'd known her she was completely stunned into silence.  Her cheeks flushed to red and she averted her eyes in a poor attempt to hide how his words had struck home.  She slapped him in the chest one last time, playfully.  "You're still a jerk."  She pushed him gently.  "And you should've told me... and we'll talk later."

She thumbed back towards the counter.  "I'm ah... gonna go look for a dress... and, process."

Evelyn smiled and pushed herself from the counter.  Her voice was soothing and calm.  "Come on, dear.  I've just the one for you."

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Rae Rae shook her head slowly but smiled and said softly "Yeah just like Pearcy Jackson, just rated R," then she glanced at Nadya, " or X in some cases." She looked back at Billy, into those eyes, "And also yeah, like Marvel 101..."

She kissed her boyfriend.

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Overhearing the others, Austin just smiled, and looked to Yokiko.  "Two cups of coffee, sounds like the beginnings of another date.."  he teased lightly.   "Do you see anything here you like, while Evelyn's helping the others?"   He had the same fashion sense as the average teenage male,  which let him get by, He saw a number of outfits he thought Yokiko would look good in, but he figured she was at least looking around some as the rest of his band dealt with Evelyn, or their own confessions to their partners.  He was glad that so far there'd been no violence,  and for the most part, things were going well.   

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Fisher watched Darci go, and then turned back to find the Sylphs and get their take on formal wear. It was out in the open now, and he had no idea how she was going to ultimately respond. Maybe finding good prom wear could distract him from the feeling in his gut gnawing at him from the inside out.

Yeah, right.

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Everyone had left from Evelyn's with something new to consider or talk about.  Darci didn't seem phased by Fisher's admission and Evelyn had finished Darci's consultation for a dress in private.  She seemed... different.  Bothered.  Like something heavy weighed on her heart.  Still though, she smiled and took Fisher's arm, positively giddy with the glass bead in her hand.  The time they had spent at Evelyn's seemed to fly by and as the early afternoon sunlight and bitter chill of Salem's autumn season wrapped around them as they departed and headed their separate ways.

The locker room was quiet and empty.  Rachel always got ready alone in the women's locker room, for obvious reasons, it was only after everyone was ready that she entered the male's locker room for the pep talk from Coach Fingers (if it could ever be called a pep talk).  Sure, the blood of divinity pumped through her veins, and she was confident that she could mow down every mortal on that playing field, but that was no way to win.  Like Eric, she strove to use only a fraction of her abilities, or none at all if she could manage it, but it wasn't as easy as it sounded.  Denying herself the power and greatness that thrummed through her form was like denying herself food or water or oxygen.  The harder she tried to keep it in, the more and mroe it pushed at her being, roaring, screaming, demanding to set free.

It had became a ritual for her to stand in front of the mirror, wet her face a few times and calm that roiling anger that roared inside her.  She leaned over the sink and splashed some cold water on her face.  If she wasn't clam and focused, she could kill someone out there.  She raised her head, exhaled and her hands clenched enough to slightly bend the edge of the metal sink with a creaky complaint.  Her eye's narrowed at the reflection in the mirror.

Bridgette.

The Loa Scion leaned against the corner of one of the row of lockers, tipping her flask back.  She finished her drink and smiled at the irritated look in Rachel's eyes.  "'Lax, girl.  Were I in the mood for a round two this place would already be a heap of rubble."

Rachel couldn't argue that.  The logic was pretty sound.  "Then, why are you in here.  I'm really in no mood to-"

"I said, relax, damn." Bridgette said coyly.  She pushed off the lockers and slowly approached the blonde Scion.  "Been a long time since a I took a right hook the way you dole em out, Rae.  If there's one thing I can respect, it's a right hook hammered down with fury and unapologetic rage.  There's a passion to that simple poetry..." she closed her eyes and shivered.  Now, she was less than a step from Rachel and it was enough to make her uncomfortable.  "Won't lie, it's a bit of a turn on."

Rachel's glare would have been enough to kill lesser men in a heartbeat but Bridgette wasn't intimidated in the slightest.  Throttling the Scion was always an option, but she was already on the thinnest ice she could possibly be on, both at home and at school.  If she got into a fight in the locker room right before homecoming... oh, the fall out would be epic and historical.  A part of her wondered if Eric had sent her in here to goad her into a brawl.  When the Loa leaned in and Rachel could taste the whiskey on her lips a voice within her cried out for her to move, to get out of there.  The kiss though.  Bridgette sure knew what the Hel she was doing.  IT was passionate, electrifying, and it send a chord through Rachel's body that hummed one exciting tune.  Before she knew it, her eyes were closed and she rolled with the thunder until the storm that was Bridgette pulled away from her.  By the time Rachel opened her eyes the daughter of Samedi was already walking away.

"G'luck out there, sugah," she tipped her flask back and left Rachel to catch her breath.  "Kick their ass an... don' be a stranger."

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The game was a disaster.

Oh Salem High won, really with godlings and who knows what else playing they would have had to try to lose and try really hard. No it was just a disaster for Rachel Cooper.

She had kissed a girl.

Despite what people apparently said or thought Rachel had never been attracted to girls, but then until Billy she had never really been overly attracted to any guy either.

A girl had kissed her. And she had liked it.

Billy, Bridgette, Gods, Evelyn. All of these thing vying for her attention in her head. Football not so much.

She made so many mistakes in the first quarter, Coach Fingers benched her, shaking his head in disgust.

She had sat on the bench cursing herself for her lack of focus. She saw billy in the bleachers, smiled at him then found her eyes wandering looking for Bridgette and not seeing her anywhere. She was relieved at that and disappointed too.

Yeah the game had sucked.

The ride home afterward hadn't been much better. Her dads, because of her grounding, hadn't let her drive herself to the game opting to drive her themselves. Both were disappointed in her, probably for different reasons and Rachel thought that the two of them had been arguing as well so the ride to the game had been uncomfortable, the ride home unbearable.

Sitting up in her room she had considered calling Billy and telling him not to come over like they had discussed. The idea of having their own little dance had been romantic but Rachel wasn't feeling very romantic. Then she saw the little glass bead sitting on the dresser.

I don't quit, she thought, I never have. If I fall down I get back up and do it again. I. Don't. Quit!

Billy would be here soon and dammit they were going to have a good time. She loved Billy, she didn't know why or really care but she knew that that was a truth. She loved Billy. Bridgette, she didn't even know really but she didn't have any feeling for her the kiss had been surprise, an ambush, really. Rachel felt the anger smolder. Maybe the bitch had planned for her to mess up the game all along. NO! Stop that. I am not going to blame someone else for my actions or my failures. I'll figure out Bridgette later. Tonight it's billy and I. And my dads I need to talk to them. Rachel stood, stepped to the dresser and pick up the glass bead.

 

Micheal was sitting in his chair looking over case papers a small stack of which sat on the small table beside his easy chair, Robert was in his own chair watching a TV show, drinking a beer trying to distract himself from the disappointing day and evening so far. Neither of the two men had said much after they brought their daughter home. Rachel had gone straight upstairs without saying much of anything. The had been arguing over their daughter, Mike had thought that the punishment for the fight had been perhaps too severe in light this being Rachel's first and now likely only homecoming dance where she could have been a football hero. He had thought that, while punishment for public brawling was due it could have been handled after the dance on the weekends or something. Robert being the cop had steadfastly stuck to his guns.

Michael was the one who noticed when Rachel came down the stairs. The gown was radiant her hair perfect. She was beautiful and glowing like, like a goddess. Michael was gay, had been gay and known it all his life. He had never been attracted to women but could recognize beauty when he saw it. This, this took his breath away. So much so that he gave a little gasp of shock. That was when Robert noticed.

Rachel came down the stairs, she felt beautiful, confident, righteous. She saw the look of astonishment on their faces and it did make her smile inside.

She walked into the living room and stopped. “I know I'm grounded and can't go to the dance...”

Both of her father's spoke at the same time, “My god Rachel you look incredible..”said Michael. “Where did you get that dress,” asked Robert awestruck?

“Don't worry the dress didn't cost anything it was gift from a sponsor. And thank you dad. I”m wearing it because my date, he was going to be my date to the dance, is coming over and I wanted to take some pictures.”

“Your Date?” Who, you didn't tell use you had a date.” Michael said as he stood.

“”Um Billy Troup.” Rachel left that hanging there without elaboration. Robert was still staring at his daughter and the name had apparently meant nothing to him. But Michael he recognized the name. “Billy Troup? The boy you beat up in fist grade?” That got Robert's attention as he remembered that incident.

“Yes the same Billy Troup, he's grown up now and he's changed he isn't a bully anymore.”

The two men stared at their daughter then themselves.

“But that's not all, I need to tell you something else before Billy gets here. Dad you might want to sit back down.” She said and moved to the tv and turned it off, then faced her fathers, the two her were in the room.

“Dads, you have both always been honest with me about everything and taught me to be honest and always tell the truth.”

“Oh god your pregnant...”

“No! Just listen please.”

“You two are my dads. You will always be my dads for as long as I live. Every since this summer I have been hiding some thing from you two, I hid it because it was supposed to be for your safety and because I wasn't supposed to tell you. But you have a right to know and I can't be myself by keeping things hidden from the people I love.”

“Who told you you couldn't tell us,” asked Robert?

“My real dad. I met him this summer and I need to tell you about it.”

Rachel began to tell her dads what she had told Billy this afternoon.

 

 

 

 

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Austin smiled even as he drove up to Yokiko's home.  He'd spent time after school cleaning his jeep the best he could, and even made arrangements that should he need it he could borrow his mother's Navigator for later, since it was much newer and nicer.   Still, the Jeep he felt was what suited him, so he went with it for now.   

At Evelyn's both he and Yokiko had ended up trusting in her evaluations and style choices, he liked how he looked, and imagined that Yokiko did too, as she'd been smiling when they left.  For the game though, they were just going to be like any other pair of teenagers, enjoying the festivities of a Homecoming game.   It wasn't his first choice, or hers, but neither of them felt they could leave their bands there without some sort of mediating or stabilizing influence.


He was dressed casually for now, in jeans and a school-themed T-shirt, since it was Homecoming.  With a calm and graceful stride, he made his way up to her door and rang the doorbell once, waiting for her to answer, and hoping silently that it would be just a normal game, with no need of them to do anything save enjoy it.

Yokiko opened the door and slipped out without opening it fully allowing Austin only a glimpse inside before his view was cutoff.  She was dressed in pressed jeans a white button down shirt and a pullover sweater in the schools colors. she had a small purse slung cross wise from her right shoulder to her left hip, her feet nestled into a clean pair of Mary Jane's which looked brand new but ween't. Yokiko simply took care of her things. She also carried a gym-bag that contained those things she hoped she would not need this evening

Her usually serious face broke into a smile when she gazed upon her fellow water scion, she couldn't help but feel a sort of kinship with him since their fathers although nothing alike were still more similar than any of her own band-mates parents. "Hi, ready," she asked?

Austin was a little surprised that her guardians hadn't come to the door.


He nodded,  "You look good, Yokiko."  He meant it, too.  She seemed abit relaxed, and that smile definitely set him more at ease.  Clearly she was taking this much the same as he was, which meant they had similar expectations.   He went to open the door for her, which drew a look.  "Getting a little practice for later."  he answered her look with a smile.  Though he'd not seen the dress, he couldn't imagine it wouldn't be easier with someone helping her in and out of the vehicle.  He wanted everything to go well.

Once in and buckled up he drove to the school, finding a parking space near the edge.  It was more so they could leave quickly than anything, and he knew efficiency was always a plus.   Besides, he enjoyed walking with her, so when she smiled and got out, he knew his decision was the right one.  They met behind the now locked jeep, and and walked in together.  The crowd was starting to show, and he nodded.  "Would you like anything to eat from the concession stand?  It's gonna be crazy busy later, so I figure I'd ask now."


Immediately Yokiko thought Ugh eat from the concession stand, but another thought came to her something her father had said and lived by, "live life, that is why we have it."

She spun and faced Austin so fast he feared he had angered her, her yes were wide as she looked at him and said excitedly, "Yes I want to try a hotdog. With mustard! And nachos I have never had nachos."


Austin smiled and nodded,  "Alright, then you're in for a treat."   he turned back and head for the concession stand, getting drinks, a couple hotdogs, and two orders of Nachos.   Anyone else would have been utterly unable to carry it all, but he managed with real aplomb, and returned to her with a smile.  "Mind taking the drinks?" They were in a holder hanging from his wrist, so she had to take the hotdogs first, then the the drinks and he took the hotdogs back.   Carrying their food, they took a seat in the bleachers which was fairly in the middle, since their bands tended to sit on opposite sides.   They had to climb some steps, and he smiled.  Thankfully, there was still a little room, so they could manage to get the food to the right person, and he took out some napkins, splitting them between them.   "It's probably pretty different than you're used to, but these are a traditional meal at a football game.  They're pretty iconic in their own right."

The food at the concession stand was normally fairly cheap, surprisingly, and cooked well.  Still it wasn't a 4 star or even 3 star eatery, and certainly not what he imagined they'd be eating on a first date.  He was waiting for her to try it before digging in himself, he preferred ketchup to mustard, so at least it had been easy to tell their hotdogs apart.


They made a little small talk while they ate and waited for the game to begin. Yokiko, while not adverse to eating meat like so many of her ethnic background did not like the hotdog, the nachos however, she found delightful.

Once the game started Austin took it upon himself to explain what was going on on the filed not realizing that due to her bands cohesiveness she was often in the stands when  Eric was at practice and therefore was knowledgeable about the game. For some reason she did not disabuse Austin of this fact. The game itself was typical except for one thing. Rachel Cooper was not playing well indeed she was playing poorly.

"What is wrong with your warrior," she asked Austin just as the Coach Fingers sent the one in question to the sideline.
 

"Could be she's thinking about tonight, since she's supposed to be grounded, and going out means going against her dads." Austin offered. He had noticed that Yokiko hadn't been enjoying the hotdog, and had thought to trade his nachos for it, but she powered through and ate it despite that, before he could.

"She's been dealing with some personal issues lately, alone."  There was some annoyance in his voice, since he knew they were all stronger together.  Still some decided to tackle it all alone, and as such they weren't as cohesive as they could be.  He was guilty of it too, as he well knew.

He was disappointed when she didn't return to the field, his silent promise to cheer her on left undone because of it, and while they won, and Eric had worked his usual magic, and both of them cheered, he'd wanted to cheer for Rachel making big plays too.  He hoped she'd still go to the dance,  After the day's revelations, he was concerned,  but there was nothing to be done now.
The game went fast and the two scions from rival bands seemed to be enjoying themselves and each others company, it was doubly gratifying that no trouble broke out due to either of their friends behavior.

All to soon it was over and while Austin had wanted to go and see if everything was alright with Rachel, he didn't instead focusing on his date. As they walked back to the jeep  and Austin was about to tell her he would take her home so she could change she spoke up first. "We have an hour before the dance, let's drive out to Winter Island, I want to show you something."

To say that he was surprised would be an understatement. Winter Island, while not an actual island, was a large public camping ground that offered the best access to the sea in Salem which despite its popularity and its public nature still offered the many remote and private locations for a rendezvous, both romantic and otherwise. Austin often went there to be with close to his fathers domain. He figured that maybe Yokiko did too. Another thing they had in common.


The drive out to the island took about twenty minutes and they filled it with small talk as if they were normal teenagers although Austin still felt that Yokiko was being more reserved than he, but he put that down to her traditional Japanese upbringing. Following her directions they parked on a maintenance service road and walked down toward the deserted beach in the distance they could see the Fort Pickering light house. They stopped at the edge of the beach the sound of the surf music to both of their ears even though each heard a different tune being played. Yokiko searched the ground and found a good sized rock which she picked up and studied for a few seconds before setting it down.

"Step back and watch this. It will amaze you." She slipped something out of her pocket and set it on the rock. Austin couldn't see what it was in the desk. Then she grinned at him,  and stepped on the rock.

There was the sound of breaking glass and a burst of sea colored light which enveloped the young Japanese scion. The light danced and shimmered around her before finally coalescing into an incredible dress transforming the Yokiko into a true goddess.

She spun for him showing the dress and her perfectly coifed hair, "Well what do you think?"

"Your beautiful," Austin said more quietly than he had intended.

Yokiko stared at him for a fraction of a second those two words reverberating between them, then she laughed and spun again. " Evelyn has the most remarkable clothing and it's all magical. Expensive though, I could never afford this without you. Thank you"

"Your welcome, even if I ddin't really do anything " He said smiling and digging his own glass bead out of his pocket and placing it on the same stone before stepping on it and crushing it disappearing in a swirl of navy blue only to emerge a moment later in prefect gentlemanly visage.

Yokiko clapped her hands in front of her mouth a hug smile lighting up her face, "Dashing and Handsome."

Austin smiled back, Then looked out at the sea "This place is special, even more so now," he glanced at her, "I come here a lot to be close."

Yokiko stepped up beside him following his gaze out to sea, close enough to touch but not. "Me too."

They looked at each other as the sea sang in front of them, both smiled.

"We better get going the dance will start soon."

 Austin said nothing, his hand simply taking hers, and his genuine, carefree grin firmly in place.   It was a moment of true contentment for them both, though neither said anything more.   Surrounded by their father's realms, just the two of them there, listening to the eternal song of the sea.  

After a little while, they turned and left there, he helped her into his jeep, and they headed to the Dance.   

Nothing more really needed to be said just then, because they both knew, and felt the same. 

(credit to Nina, for helping me by writing for Yokiko)

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Nadya drove away from Evelyn's in her lemon yellow - a very ripe lemon, perhaps - '69 Mercury Cougar, surging with excitement and pique as music blared from the speakers, currently the sugariest of pop. She had a slamming dress she couldn't wait to show off to Niles, but Evelyn hadn't shown her how to do that Fairy Godmother Bead Tricktm, hadn't even mentioned it and Sylvia Sylph had just smirked.

But she knew where Evelyn's was now... if it didn't disappear in some Hogwarts bullshittery. Maybe she'd be able to take a look around some time, maybe find a book on Sweet Conveniences 101.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

"No way!" Todd exclaimed.

"Way!" Niles countered, nodding animatedly. "It's all real. You can see it in her eyes, she's not pretending or faking or anything. She really loves me. And when she dragged me back to her car..."

"Did you nail her, Nails?" Todd asked as Niles trailed off in remembrance, a silly grin on his face.

Niles shook head, collecting himself, though his face went deep red. "Everything but. She... she manhandled me. Nadya doesn't look it, but she's like, crazy strong. And I'll tell you something else - they do NOT feel like bags of sand."

He knew it wasn't gentlemanly and he was embarrassed talking about it, but Niles couldn't help but give Todd some of the details and highlights of his encounter with Nadya in her car. And he ended saying too much probably, judging by how sweaty Todd was looking. "And she promised tonight was going to be even better. She had something planned."

"Dude! You have to let me use the Book!" Todd pleaded, eyes wide in yearning behind his thick glasses. "You went with Nadya and that's fine - she's hot, has a bit of an edge with the thievery and slight gothiness without being scary enough that she might kill you as soon as kiss you like Bridgette. But I could get, like, Lexus or Caprice, or the head of the Pink Slips herself, Mercedes."

Niles saw the dreamy look in his friend's eyes, but hesitated. He had something that Todd didn't, something that impressed Todd and others at school. He liked that feeling, and wanted to keep it for a while before possibly sharing it. "I dunno, man. Nadya wasn't with anyone, but Mercedes goes out with Eric. He'll break your face if Mercedes suddenly starts going out with you. Maybe you should make a pro and con list of the other girls in school," Niles suggested to distract Todd from asking about the Book. "It's a big decision - you don't want to mess it up. Unforeseen consequences and all that."

Todd took the bait and Niles let out a private sigh of relief. Todd was at it for a while, with Niles occasional input and suggestion - he couldn't help himself - when there was a soft knock at his bedroom door.

"Niles, your... friend is at the door," said his mother, disapproval strong in her voice.

Niles almost stumbled down the stairs in his haste, Todd right behind him. They found Nadya standing by the front door, dressed in tight, black jeans and a faded band t-shirt, rocking on her heels in anticipation. When she saw Niles, her silver-grey eyes gleamed and her lips curved in a wide grin, which turned just a touch cynical when she saw the lumbering Todd behind him.

"Hey, Niley!" she squealed, pulling him into a hug and making a point of giving him a kiss in front of his mother and Todd. Nile's mother harrumphed and walked into the kitchen with a scowl. Todd stared, still disbelieving the clear evidence of his eyes. "I thought you'd want to come with me to the game, watch Rachel kick some ass."

"Uh... oh, yeah, sure, sure, we can do that," Niles stammered, flashing Todd an uncertain grin over his shoulder. "Can Todd come, too?"

Nadya gave Todd a scathing once over. "I'm sure he does, often and preemptively," Nadya drawled. But when she noticed how much it mattered to Niles, she relented with a roll of her eyes and nodded. "Fine." Then she leaned in, her lips close to Niles' ear. "Just to be clear, we aren't going to the game to watch. It's to show off that you have a girlfriend. A girlfriend that cleans up real nice for the Dance. Niles blushed again at her words, then deeper when she pinched his ass and chuckled. "Let's go, dweebs."

They headed out the door to Nadya's car, Nadya stopping to point at Todd then a side table. "No drink or food in my car."

Todd looked down at his super-sized triple thick milkshake, still half full if runny, then back at Nadya. "I see you with food and drinks in your car all the time."

"My car, my rules, and I'm the one who cleans it," Nadya countered firmly. "The drink stays, you do, Todd."

Todd was going to mention when she and Niles were up to in the backseat earlier this afternoon and that one dripping milkshake wasn't going to make the difference. But seeing Nadya's glare daring him to say it, he wisely swallowed and set down milkshake. Nadya's smile was as sharp as a razor blade.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

Nadya and Niles (and Todd) sat in the bleachers, way up at the back, none of them paying attention to the game.  Nadya had pulled out a thick blanket from the trunk of her Cougar and she and Niles huddled under it, only their faces showing, cooing and fawning over each other. Todd couldn't only imagine what they were doing under the blanket, and from the look on Niles' face, some of what he was imagining had to be true.

Todd wasn't the only one who noticed, but Nadya seemed immune to snide comments, and while Niles wasn't, Nadya got in her own cutting remarks in his defense. Todd really needed to get his hand on that Book. Nadya still seemed like the same girl - mostly - just with an ardent devotion to Niles.

Nadya was coming back from the concession stand, having grabbed some snacks for her and Niles. She was passing behind the bleachers when a schoolmate was suddenly looming over her. He had a name, she was sure, but everyone called him Biff. He looked way too old to be in high school and even if he wasn't balding, it still seemed like he was. He leered down at her.

"Mercedes must've told everyone you're a slut, but this is the first time there's proof," Biff growled, his eyes hungry. "How much is Niles paying you, Nadya? If I beat the shit out of him and throw him in a dumpster, can I take his slot in your slot?"

Nadya carefully looked around, making sure no one was in sight, then set aside her snack and drinks. Then smiled up at Biff, her eyes glinting dangerously. Biff didn't notice, his eyes on her sleek curves shown up in tight clothing. "Biff, poor dumb, fugly Biff," Nadya cooed, emphasizing her faint accent. "You might have a foot and a hundred pounds in Niley, Biff, but you aren't half the man he is."

She'd been surprised by that. Niles might be thin and barely taller than she was, but he had nothing to be ashamed about down below. Then she kneed Biff in the balls. He collapsed to the ground with a whimper, but Nadya picked him with a single hand around his throat so that he was eye-to-eye with her. Through his pain, Biff's eyes widened when he found a point of a curved knife a bare hair from his eye.

"If I hear you've touched Niles, looked at him funny, or even if your shadow crosses his," Nadya said in fierce, harsh whisper, "they'll never find your body. Now, fuck off, Biff."

Biff blinked and Nadya was already striding away, an extra swing to her helps, snacks and drinks balanced in her hands, humming brightly, ignoring the voice in her head saying she'd gone too far.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

Todd came back from the bathroom and found Niles and Nadya gone. He peered up over the top of he bleachers, but couldn't spot Nadya's yellow car.

"Dammit!"

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

Nadya finished helping Niles get ready for the Dance, straightening his jacket and brushing his hair to give it a bit of flair, instead of just being slicked back. When he'd mentioned his suit being green, she'd been afraid it was going to be a mint-green travesty, but it was a dark forest green that fit him quite well. He didn't look half bad - with her on his arm, he'd look almost debonair... if he didn't have the bowtie she couldn't talk him out of.

"Now it's my turn to get ready," Nadya said with a wink. "Don't worry, you've lucked out. I'm a girl who doesn't take forever to get ready. I'll be back in a minute."

Niles looked around, not seeing a garment bag or anything, just Nadya's small pack that couldn't hold a pair a shoes, let alone a dress and other accessories. "But, um, how--"

She silenced him with kiss, then waggled her fingers as though casting a spell. "Secret. You'll see."

Nadya strutted into the bathroom across the hallway and pulled out the bead. She gave it a lingering look - she really wished she knew how to make one - then placed it on the tile and crushed under her heel. The magic swirled up and encased her in her prom dress, styling her hair in a long tail of thick ringlets that almost brushed her ass, subtle highlights of colour in the sable curls.

Nadya's mouth opened in a silent scream of pain. Hands closed into tight fists, Nadya barely having the presence of mind to pull them off the sink so she didn't crack the porcelain. After a long moment she closed her mouth, panting. Her ears throbbed and she noted a several new piercings showcasing dangling earrings.

But that was the small pain. Bigger pain came from her mouth and she felt something clicking against her teeth. Nadya opened her mouth and looked in the bathroom mirror. Her tongue now had what looked like a small, ruby stud. The biggest pain came lower. Nadya looked down, then brushed her hands over the cups of the corset of her dress. It didn't show, but she could feel the piercings there too.

That bitch Sylvia Steelface the Sadistic Sylph had added some extra piercings somehow. She'd get her back somehow.

Nadya strutted out of the bathroom, her strappy five-inch heels improbably silent and found herself face to face with Niles' mother. She didn't think Nadya was a suitable friend for her son, but she had to admit to was dressed up impressively for the dance, even if she was showing too much cleavage and leg in her opinion. But on the other hand, she seemed genuine in taking Niles to the Dance instead of making fun of him or taking pity on him.

"You are not who I'd want to my son to go to the Dance with, but if you hurt my Niles, girl, I'll end you," she said with fierce, motherly threat.

"If anyone hurts Niles, I'll end them," Nadya replied, and Nile's mother took a step back with the vehement threat in her tone. Then Nadya smiled and swept gracefully around her. "But now, Niles is going to have the night of his life. Don't expect him back for curfew."

Nadya sauntered into Nile's room and twirled, showing off every angle. Niles could only stare as a vision of a Disney Princess from Tim Burton's most feverish dream. Dressed dark and revealing, her flesh pale and vibrant, her lips a startling deep red, the corset of her dress giving her a distinct hourglass figure.

"Wow!"

Dreams do come true.

Watching Niles' reaction with a satisfied smirk, Nadya didn't see her faint reflection in bedroom windows screaming at her.

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"She what?!"

Fisher and Darci were in Fisher's basement again, as they often did when hanging out. This time, Fisher was telling her stories of the Band's past exploits. "Spear-Finger broke my neck." Fisher patiently repeated, only to be surprised (or was it his plan all along) by Darci frantically massaging his neck the same way she did at Evelyn's shop. "I'm fine. It just hurt a lot. And those bruises you saw that evening were all that was left over."

Darci withdrew her hands, making a small noise in acknowledgement. It was beginning to sink into her head now about what Fisher had said earlier about the reality of what he did and how dangerous it was. Totally non-Disney nastiness.

There was a brief silence.

Fisher knew both of them had their beads with prom accoutrements within. His revelation wasn't going to stop them from going, but... as what? Maybe they could figure it out later.

"We need to leave soon." Darci observed, speaking for them both.

"All right." Fisher got up and offered her his hand. "Shall we?"

She took it. Maybe there was some hope.

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Salem High had won the game (no help from Rachel) so that could only mean one thing: the Homecoming Dance was going to be lit.  Screaming, yelling, cheering and full on celebrating were already cranked to eleven by the time the Scions arrived.  The gentleman of the school were in a variety of outfits, from nice clothes to full on suits while the ladies of the hour were in everything from short skirts to elaborate evening gowns.  One thing was for sure, wit a victory under their belt, this dance was going to be one to remember.

Music boomed from the large double doors of the gymnasium.  Beth didn't just take a look at the sound system she improved it and everyone within several blocks of the school who didn't like loud music was currently hating life.  The Scions met up in the parking lot so they could all go in together and, of course, the ladies had to take a moment to appreciate each others choice in evening attire.  Rachel looked like she'd seen a ghost that was dying to be explained in a flashback in a later post, but her and Billy looked adorable (aww).  Nadya and Niles met Billy and Rachel by the car and they looked like... oil and water, but Niles was living the dream and was currently an icon in the nerd comunity of what they could acquire if they just put their mind to it and went for the gold.  As a result there had been an unprecedented 2,000 percent increase in nerds asking out attractive, out of their league males and females in the school.  The current success rate was also an unprecedented zero percent in accepted offers from said nerds and startling increase in Hagen Das sales and adult anime purchases from Amazon.  Surely they weren't related.

Facts were simple though, Niles unknowingly upset a balance and that upset had to be corrected.  He had taken from Fate and Fate demanded a payment in kind and until She was got that payment... no 'nerd' in Salem would be safe.  Bullying was increasing, gaming servers were crashing, anime streams were failing to load, gaming books were like a magnet for ever food and beverage out there and a natural '20' hadn't been rolled (World wide) from the very moment Niles had uttered the final syllable of the incantation that had made all his desires come true.

Fisher and Darci with Austin and Yokiko met up with everyone and when the entire crowd were together they looked like they were the clique' that owned Salem High.

Spoiler

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Eric's Band of Scions were early.  If they got special beads from Evelynn then the others weren't aware of it, but none were too surprised when Mercedes and her Amazonian bodyguards Porche' and Acadia were walking through the large double doors towards the music walking, talking and looking like a million bucks.  Bridgette, along with Horace and Aaron were loitering by the doors waiting on her and the amazons.  Bridgette seemed to be their version of Nadya and decided that a dress would just be too much the norm and decided on a pair of very short shorts, a corset, fishnets, implausible heeled boots and a top hat... because fuck it, why not?  Horace looked like he just rolled out of bed and landed in a pile of own shortcomings and future failures that he cleverly disguised as disheveled hair, jeans a tee and a flannel.  While Aaron didn't have Mercedes's money he looked like a walking billboard for name brands, from his shoes to the Beats on head.  They all went in together but where was Eric?

When the limo pulled into the parking lot it was obvious who it was.  Laurie Brightman, daughter of the Sun God Apollo, waited for her chauffeur and guardian, James, to circle around and open the door for her.  When she stepped out and cemented her claim as the 'loveliest' of Salem High's student body.  Rachel and her group were certainly happy to know she was on their side and an evil smirk stretched across their faces as they thought the same thing when they looked at Laurie in reference to Mercedes.  All that money that money the Scion of Aphrodite had and she would never be able to buy herself even one sliver of class possessed by Laurie.  When the radiant blonde saw them she politely smiled at them and offered a wave of acknowledgement.  When Eric stepped from the limo, who certainly cleaned up nice, by the way, the sudden sucker punch of confusion found it's way across all of their expressions.  Even Yokiko completely perplexed.  She took his arm and two of them walked up towards the doors.

"I... have no words."  Yokiko stammered in confusion.  "He seems, calm.  Eric is always so, how do you put it?  At eleven?"

"Worry about it later," Nadya pushed everyone out of her way.  "We have a dance to attend people!  Laurie may be a bit of a prude but she is still a woman with needs.  We all know the rumors, Eric is a guy who can certainly 'bring the hammer down', so to speak," she kissed two fingers and raised them to the sky.  "Reference to my boy Thor, big fan, loved you in Avengers.  Now let her do her, and him do her, and let's get in there and do this dance."  She took Rachel by the hand and snatched up Darci's too and while backwards pulled them gently towards her and towards the big doors.  "C'moooon!  Let's wake tomorrow and not have any memory of what to regret about tonight!"

In ever window they passed and every side mirror they ignored as they chuckled and joked on their way to those double doors, Nadya's reflection screamed and rebelled against all reason.  She pounded on the surface and punched at Niles, but no one saw her.  They walked through the doors none the wiser, leaving their friend to be forgotten...

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