Jump to content

Leaderboard

Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 10/04/2021 in all areas

  1. The funeral was weird for Cassandra. For one, it was only her...second? Third if you counted the one she'd been practically a baby for way back when. She didn't count it because she had no real memory of it. So second. Why did that make it weird? She wasn't sure, it just felt weird. Everything felt off, like a room where all the furniture had been shifted two inches to the left since the last time you were there. Nothing was quite right. She felt hyperaware of the feeling of her clothes on her, and snippets of whispered conversations kept leaping up out of the buzz at her, like crazy fish trying to escape a net. And yet, when service was about to start her mom had to nudge her elbow to get her attention. Cass was lost in the weeds. She hadn't even KNOWN him. Not really. Why did that make it feel worse, somehow? Maybe because now she never would? Okay, sure, but...were you supposed to grieve for people you hadn't bonded with? Could you grieve for the potential of a friendship? Was what she was feeling grief? Cassie had grieved before, not even that long ago. Her dad, back when she'd thought he was dead. This wasn't like that. That had been a howling abyss in her heart that had expanded like a black hole gobbling stars, threatening to hollow her out. There were still radioactive places in her memories that she couldn't walk for fear of feeling echoes of that time, right after his funeral. This wasn't like that. It was...tighter. More focused. Something in her skin, not deep inside. It made her feel prickly, embarrassed. It was a sour, sullen emotion, stern-faced. Reprimanding. So she knew this one after all. Hello, guilt, my old friend. The service went on, Cass barely hearing it. The moment she identified what the feeling was, it seemed to rear up and whip off its mask. Immediately Cassandra realized why this was happening. When we went to fight the Dark, he was already gone. When we made our plans, talked it through...when we pulled together and got ourselves through it, he was dead. The Dark just creeped in, grabbed him, and took him out. And we barely even noticed. She took a deep, shuddering breath. It got worse. It was my job to see things coming. I was supposed to be the 'eyes.' But I was all tunnel-visioned on the fight. I didn't even TRY using my abilities before it happened. We all just assumed the Dark would wait for us to come attack it. But it's worse for me, because I didn't have to assume. I could have checked us all, every day. It might not have been perfect...the future is kind of hard to work out sometimes...but I could have saved him. At least maybe I could have. And what could she do with this now? Shrug and call it a lesson learned? Is that what Jase would do? Was that what she wanted? What would Devin do? Sink deeper into misanthropy, playing victim and aggressor at the same time; trying to have his social cake and eat it too? Autumn? Cade? She felt her mother lean towards her a little and put an arm around her shoulders, and Cass realized she had tears coming down her eyes. After a moment of hesitation, she let herself slump against her mother's shoulder. It made her feel a little childish, but...she was a little childish, wasn't she? And that had cost one of her friends his life. And it had cost the Fellowship one of their friends. Then she realized her mom was humming something, some old song Cass barely remembered. She sat up a little, and Teresa moved her arm to give her some space. "You doing okay?" she asked softly. Cassandra nodded. "Yeah." She was surprised at how dry her mouth and throat were. "I'm...going to get some water. Then...then lets go. Okay? Ugh, is it too soon? I just don't..." Teresa leaned forward to give her daughter a hug. "It's totally all right. Plenty of people have already left. You've been here for a little while. I didn't want to interrupt you." So Cassie went to the little table at the back of the place, where a few pitchers had been set up with cups nearby. The questions she had were still there, but they didn't have to be answered right away, she thought. All she could do now was try to grow up, so it wouldn't happen again...and when she did, she could remember Charlie and what he meant to her. Just because he was dead didn't mean all of his light had to leave the world.
    2 points
  2. It was hard not to be caught up in the emotional current of the service, to be aware in a very tactile way of the swelling tides of grief and hurt through the squeeze of her father's arm around her shoulder and the gentle pressure of her mother's cool fingers laced through her own. She could feel the sting of tears pricking at her eyes, the taut ache in her throat, the knot coiling in her stomach; all normal physiological responses to seeing Charlie's mother, pale and drawn, teetering on the verge of collapse, and to hearing the sound of quiet sobbing and murmured prayers among the onlookers. Intuitive empathy, her scary-smart boyfriend called it. But these weren't, Autumn knew, her own feelings, generated from some place of deep friendship and rapport with Charlie Cole because that... hadn't really been a thing, had it? She could probably count the number of facts she knew about him on one hand, even after several years of living in the same town: his parents were separated, he did something with the drama club, he had just started dating Sophia, and he was- had been, she corrected with a mental wince- touched by the Dawning Light. Or Radiance, or Shine, or... what-the-fuck-ever. And, really, if it hadn't been for that last part, she and Charlie probably wouldn't have ever really interacted at all. It was weird, and kind of uncomfortable actually thinking about it, but standing there looking at the huge spray of flowers on the lacquered casket as Devin spoke, the redhead didn't feel any overwhelming sorrow, or pain, or any of the things she was absolutely sure she was supposed to be feeling at a funeral. What she felt, instead, was the warmth of the sunlight on her face, and the reassuring presence of her family, Nathan and Jacob included, and, maybe... Maybe a little guilt, for not feeling more? Because as much as it sucked that Charlie was gone, a part of her kept insisting that they were all still here. Tawny and Sophia were still here. They'd survived to bury him, and that was important. And... There had been other families who'd grieved, and wondered, and lost over the years, the names of which were scattered throughout the journals she'd inherited. Was Charlie Cole any different from those others swallowed up by the Dark? The image of a small white shoe, forlorn and forgotten in the corner of a basement, flickered briefly through her mind's eye, and despite the weather, Autumn couldn't help but shiver a little. Dana's grip on her daughter's hand tightened briefly in response, a tactile check-in that the young vitakinetic returned in kind: Are you okay? ... Yeah, I'm fine, went the unspoken exchange, both women watching with red-rimmed eyes as Hannah Fuhrman struggled to keep her composure and Lucius Cole attempted a polite smile, taut as piano wire as he murmured his thanks to someone offering condolences. And there was that twinge of guilt again, because she was fine. They'd never know what happened to their son, and he'd never finish the school production he was working on, and they were- all of them- changed after what had happened... ...And as she and her parents trudged quietly away from the gravesite she caught sight of the Jauntsens in the little parking area, and Gar and Jase heading back, and a few of the others mixed in- probably on their way to the reception, to talk about shared memories and convey regrets. She wasn't sure she wanted to deal with all of that, the awkward conversations and teary reminiscing about someone who had equal space in her memory as an awkwardly artsy guy and a monstrous biological weapon against the Darkness. But all that wasn't really for her benefit, anyway; the sun was shining, and she was alive, and there was always coffee at these things and she was kind of hungry and that was... fine.
    2 points
  3. She was neither wroth nor ravaged by grief. The petite French girl watched, distant, and listened, attentive to the grieving family and friends of the departed. She felt rather calm, and truth be told, still a tad bitter. Kat had not been given much time to create any other sort of bond with Charlie than that of two teens sharing a similar, stressful situation - with its lot of perils, as the past days had shown. Today was a testimony to that very fact. However, no matter how little she knew him, he was - had been - she mentally corrected, one of them, and that itself justified the faint, but creeping sadness she could sense growing inside, fueled by the aching maelstrom of feelings twirling around the coffin, very much in contrast with the actual weather. The least she could do was to stand here, today, next to his, her friends. She winced and sucked on her own cheek, wrestling for control over her restless self. If she had to name one very unpleasant thing to her, it would have been to stand still. Her enhanced emotional radar was not helping at all. Fortunately, Devin's kind words provided her with a welcome, but barely adequate distraction. She swallowed, the saliva barely making its way past the now tight lump in her throat. Her distraught eyes stopped on a familiar face. Courtney was standing slightly apart from the bulk of the small crowd, humid eyes over the thin cherry line of her lips. Whether it was the ambiance, enhanced by their senses, or actual grief, both telepaths were holding it together, but Kat wasn't far from losing it, growing paler by the minute. The petite French girl squeezed her father's hand. "I'm... not feeling so good," she whispered with an unsteady voice. Josh squeezed her hand back, and they both turned away from the burial toward their car, one leaning on the stalwart frame of the other.
    2 points
  4. Cade stood with his family, listening through everything, all the words said to mourn his friend, who'd been taken from them by a malevolent force who'd possessed another child from the town, and forced yet more children to take that child's life to halt the spread of the evil that was growing here. It was so surreal, but Cade knew it to be true, he'd fought the horrors, alongside the fellowship. He'd seen the other world, had seen the horrors there, and had attacked Cody with the intention to take his life. There was a part of them that wouldn't let that go. He listened as Devin spoke, and allowed the ghost of smile to curl his lips. What Devin had said was completely true, and Cade envied the ease with which Devin expressed his feelings, letting go of the facade he wore the rest of the time, and was just honest. It was refreshing, and he made a mental note to thank him for that later. Everyone was there, standing with their families, and he felt a hand on his back small, gentle,almost like it wasn't there. That was his mother's, and he looked down, and she was trying to hold back her tears. Seeing one of her son's friends being lowered into the ground, after learning that this really could have happened to any of the children, that she could have lost her own son, it was very hard for Miyakko. her other hand was wrapped around Haruka's shoulders, and his sister held her mother's hand. He felt a larger hand squeeze his right shoulder, and knew that was his Father. Never one for a public display of affection, Some of the same thoughts were going through Ian's mind. He'd known about his son's activities since the hospital attack, and still, he hadn't stopped him. He could have lost his son, any number of them could have died, and there was nothing he with his training, his skill, could have done to prevent it. He felt the gaze of some in the crowd, knowing they sought answers for how this happened, why he as Sheriff hadn't prevented it. He couldn't have, to hear the kids tell of it. Even they didn't know until it had happened, long after anyone could have saved his life. Cade reached up and squeezed his dad's hand reassuringly, before dropping it to his side. They would keep fighting, keep training, and keep Living. The Fellowship had lost one of their own, and each mourned Charlie in their own way. Outwardly, Cade's face had returned to an imperturbable neutral mask, even if inwardly, he cursed his inability to protect his friend. If anyone bothered to look, they'd see the hint of resolve in his eyes. "Nobody Else." He said softly, so much that Even Ian had only barely heard it. Cade knew he didn't really have powers like the rest of them, but that wasn't going to stop him from doing whatever he could do to stand alongside his friends.
    2 points
  5. He didn't feel nothing. When compared to the emotional, mercurial Jauntsens, to his warmly passionate girlfriend, even to the very humanly logical Sean and Cassandra, it was easy to glance at the unperturbed, grave features of Jason Bannon as he studied all the graveside mourners and assume him to be untouched by this moment. It was not the case, but only those that knew him would understand that he did register the loss of Charlie, that his perfect recall was replaying every moment spent in the other teen's company. Every word, every inflection, every smile and laugh from every gaming session or movie hangout at Sean's house flickered before his mind's eye like a movie reel. He'd never been close to Charlie - never really had the chance to be. Most of their association had been with the mask that Jase had worn for the last eight years between him and the world. He'd spent the most time with Sean, and the other young genius might have perceived more to Bannon just from proximity, whereas Charlie had spent at most a few hours a week in his company. Only after the summer break, when everything had gotten weird, had Charlie ever really interacted with Jase, and despite the chilling, off-putting manner of the lanky teen, Charlie had tried several times to understand. Perhaps he, like Autumn, could have been a bridge to Jase understanding the strangely erratic behaviour of those around him. And now he was gone, murdered, his spirit devoured by a for-real monster. Jason didn't grieve, but he did register the loss, did regret the waste and the weakening of his circle. As when he'd heard the news of Charlie's murder, he acknowledged that he should have checked on his friend when he'd not answered his calls, should have driven over there and knocked on the door the way he'd done when Sean hadn't turned up. Perhaps if he had, Charlie would be alive. Or perhaps not. There was no logical way to know the truth of that; the only truth Jason knew was that he'd left his friend alone with their girlfriend for a weekend, and now they were dead. That was another thing, too. Charlie, next to him, had possessed perhaps the most combat-capable power set, and yet was dead. He must have been taken completely unawares, perhaps frozen for a moment from fear or indecision. The parallel was not lost on the young Teulu. He, too, had almost been killed without even understanding what was happening. And yet he had survived, and Charlie was dead. Luck, perhaps - his assailants had been mortal human beings, Charlie's an undying elder wraith. How would he, Jason, have fared if Cody/Arawn had come to the farmhouse that night, or even upon him and Autumn the prior night in the woods? Pride told him that he would not have died easily... but perhaps that was merely pride, or his instinct to fight speaking, and not logic. He listened as Devin said a few words, head cocked. The male Jauntsen seemed utterly sincere, entirely at odds with his usual flippancy. Why should he not be, though? Devin likely felt as responsible as Jase did for not checking on Charlie, or not doing something sooner - he just lacked Bannon's detachment from the immediacy of grief. A wry internal observer wondered if such words would have been said if the rogue marshal's bullets had placed him in the ground next to Charlie. It was hard to know with the Jauntsens, though he was reasonably certain Devin at least would not have wanted him murdered. Green eyes sought the pale, freckled face of his girlfriend next, standing nearby his father and himself with her own family, the Keanes and the Crockers both having turned up together, the adults likely feeling a mixture of relief that it was not their child in the ground, and - very humanly - guilt for even thinking such a thing. The idea prompted Jason to look at his own father, sober and grave in his dark suit, his eyes fixed on the coffin. Was his dad also experiencing that sensation? Probably. Likely most of the parents were, just like most of the other children would be glad it wasn't them. As the service ended, and the knots of people broke up, Jase gave his father a brief one-armed hug, prompting the burlier older man to respond with a rough bear hug of his own. "You okay?" Gar looked into his son's face, noting again the pale scar of the assassin's bullet. He didn't know why he asked - of course Jason was likely okay. Gar, on the other hand, really wanted a drink. "I'm fine." the lanky youth reassured his dad calmly, frozen jade eyes intent on the older man's face. "Are you?" "Need a drink. Will settle for a coffee though." Gar replied, quirking a smile. Father and son turned, heading away from the grave in step, taking their time and each deep in thought.
    2 points
  6. Marissa was overjoyed that it wasn’t raining. The cloudless sky and slight, worm breeze made her even more photogenic in the stunning dress she’d purchased just for this one event and her heels weren’t digging into damp, muddy ground and threatening to break her ankle with every step. It was no surprise that the Jauntsens turned up like it was a fashion of show, but unlike the residents of Shelly, they possessed style and class, money and refinement. Devin and her father, Carl, were in black suits. Three-piece Panama-style to best match the summer season. Clean shaven, with product in their hair and a well-cut suit, the two men looked great as single women and students, and some not-so-single women and students, would attest to in their DMs later all over Shelly’s social media circuit. Those same DMs would contain mostly spite and vitriol hidden carefully in back-handed compliments towards the Jauntsen women. Misti had decided on a knee-length leather pencil skirt with a blouse and suit jacket that complimented the ensemble perfectly. Marissa specially ordered an off-the-shoulder sweater dress, similar to the one she wore the evening before, that hugged her body so tightly in may as well had been brushed on using paints mixed from the jealousy and envy of the assembled onlookers. Her makeup was impeccably flawless, with her trademark dark maroon lips. She’d opted for her hair up in a tight bun, to better show off the curves of her bare shoulders. Marissa wasn’t really feeling the funeral. That’s not to say she didn’t mourn for Charlie, she did. His death was a tragedy and served as a stark reminder to the Fellowship that the stakes they were playing for were very real and the price they paid could be the ultimate one. Still, she didn’t know Charlie, not like Devin did. Devin and Charlie has actually talked, shared a joke or two; had at least bonded on some level. The one, and only, time Marissa had tried to bond with him (she did find him kind of attractive) he’d just simply stopped talking to her all together, resulting in her leaving their breakfast date in a confused and very frustrated state of mind about him. He passed on shortly after and they’d never had a chance to resolve their issues, and now they never would. Unlike Devin, she didn’t see that a negative. It wasn’t her fault he ghosted her in the middle of their breakfast date. His loss, not hers. Although still fighting with him, she hugged her brother as he returned from his kind words. When Charlie’s mother looked at her, as if to ask if she had anything to add, Marissa replied with a rather heartless, “I’m good.” With a dismissive raise of her hand and a stiff frown. She’d already cried her tears over Charlie’s loss and had ample time to recall how he’d behaved and frankly, she was already over it. It was tragic and sad, yes… but she didn’t know him at all. The whole service felt like one big stranger telling her their grandparent had passed; all she could do was say she was sorry for their loss and get on with her life. She knew her brother was sincere, she, on the other hand, could have mustered a kind word to save her life right now. What would she say? “He was weird, awkward and mercilessly sliced people apart under the responsible guidance of Jason Bannon without any compassion. He’ll be missed.” She didn’t want to lie though. He wouldn’t be missed. Here she was, at his funeral, already having moved on and thoroughly bored. Maybe if he hadn’t ghosted her, he wouldn’t be one right now. That was unfair. She breathed in and slowly and softly sighed, trying to clear those sorts of thoughts from her head. Charlie was a decent guy, she guessed, and she knew that her anger towards the Fellowship and her brother were just making her spiteful for the sake of spite, and why did Tawny show up without any makeup on? She thought she taught the girl better than that. After a few more words from other people began to clear out for the gathering of free food and pointless conversation hosted at Mr. Cole’s home. No one wanted to be in Mrs. Cole’s kitchen once they discovered how Charlie’s body was found. She was considering moving since the event, finding it hard to even be in that room of her house now. Way to go, Charlie. It had to be in the kitchen, right? Not the guest bathroom, or the attic? Some room no one ever goes into. Even now, she couldn’t help but chastise him. The twins were walking away from the service when Tawny approached them. Her complexion still carrying the palette of weariness and near-death tirelessly. “Devin?” She asked, noticing the way he didn’t even bother looking at her. “I-I was hoping we could talk.” “Well, hold on to that,” Devin said softly, not wanting to let their drama spill into the services. “Because it’s all you have left.” He turned to walk off then paused, turning back to her with his finger bobbing as a thought hit him. “And Jacob. Go talk to him. Let him tell you how none of this is your fault and I’m just immature and a waste of your time. Let him be your hero, because after fighting and bleeding and almost dying to save you, it’s obviously not me. Just pray he’s there the next time Darkness comes calling.” “You know he can’t hurt them,” tears began to well up in her eyes as the guy who had been her best friend for years, her first love, her love still, now spoke to her like she wasn’t even a person anymore. “Sounds like a you problem.” He walked off without another word and before he had to listen to any of her excuses or apologies or accusations. Marissa was an expert on cruel but watching this made her visibly wince. She’d never seen Devin so callous and cruel except to those who undoubtably deserved it, like Chet’s cousin when he black mailed her earlier that year. She would never admit that she had romanticized about Devin and Tawny finally getting their chance to be together. Whether it worked out or not, no one could deny that as far as couples went, they were an adorable pairing. That dream was going up in flames quickly, like Autumn in a weed field quickly. “He hates me.” The blonde’s tearing eyes met Marissa’s and all she could do was exhale softly and put on a faux smile. “Give him time,” she said, not really believing herself. As a fellow Jauntsen twin, she knew how proficient they were at holding, and enforcing, grudges. “We’ve all been through a lot. I’m not trying to minimize anything you’ve been through, but we’ve gone and are going through quite a bit too. We’re all a mess.” Wiping the tears from her eyes with a tissue she’d been given at the service, it barely helped. “Are we?” “Yeah, we’re fine.” Marissa deciphered the code of the unasked question of Tawny wondering if Devin hated her, did that mean she hated her too? “As long as I’m not some gateway for you to see or repair things with my brother. This one is between you two, I’ not getting in the middle of it.” They both knew that was a lie, but still traumatized blonde Marissa had called a neighbor and friend for years threw her arms around her. Marissa managed a genuine smile, her first in days as holding Tawny reminded her that she was still alive because of what she and her brother and the others accomplished together. The world was certainly falling apart if her line of thought was to suddenly act as a voice of reason. Swiftly she caught up to her brother. Neither stopped, they just walked as she talked. “That was shitty, and you know damn well it was.” “What do you care?” He shot back, never even taking his eyes off the path that led to their car. “Just one more body on the pile as you climb to the top, right?” “Fuck,” she huffed, pausing for effect. “Off.”
    2 points
  7. He wished it was raining. All those in attendance kept commenting on how gorgeous the days was and how God had cleared the skies so Charlie’s soul could find its way to heaven and all that nonsense. They kept saying how tragic it was and how such a bright light had been taken from the world far too soon. Okay, that part he could agree with. Charlie’s passing was too soon, and funerals weren’t for the departed, they were those left behind. Guilt ate away at his insides as he stood there, listening to the speaker, who obviously knew nothing about Charlie aside from what his parents had written on a few index cards. He hated that the most. Devin barely knew Charlie and yet still seemed to know more about him than this guy who was stammering and stuttering between kind words in a vain attempt to make parallels to bible verses and God’s word. It felt so disingenuous to Charlie’s memory. As stood, the sun in his face, he couldn’t recall where he was that night when was murdered. No matter how hard he thought about it, he just couldn’t remember. Was he with Tawny? At home drawing? The more he thought about it, less clear the events leading up to Charlie’s death became. He had tried to fill in the blanks so many times that now he didn’t know which his memories were accurate anymore and that just made him feel even more guilty for not being there. Logically he knew if he had been there, he’d more than likely be dead too, but he was grieving and felt like being there, even if he’d died too, would have been better than not being there at all. As the preacher preached, and the people cried, one by one he watched family and friends say a few words in remembrance, paralyzed by his guilt that he should have been there. He should have had Charlies back, they all should have, but how could they have known? That wasn’t what he wanted to tell himself. It was logical and there was no way any of them could have predicted that Charlie would be hurt; this wasn’t their fault. Inside though, he didn’t want to accept that answer either, not after last night. His fight with Tawny had left his world as bleak and dark, full of hopelessness and the harsh reality that dreams don’t come true. The angst and rage of teenage depression knew no bounds. Tawny had come to the funeral, too. Not far from him she stood silently next to Sophie. They’d been released from the hospital earlier that morning and as the whole would say, repeatedly for the next several weeks, they were so brave and courageous to drop everything and come to Charlie’s funeral so soon after all that had happened to them. Yeah, because they did so much, right? A war was raging across the cosmos, Devin now had the scars and bruises to prove it, but it was Tawny and Sophie and who were so brave because they managed to get kidnapped, cry and pass out. Great job ladies. She hadn’t put any effort into her appearance today, just a black summer-style dress that went to her knees and her long, blonde hair was worn loose over her shoulders brushed, but that was about it. Even while fuming mad at her Devin entertained more hot blonde goth fantasies than was healthy for any teenager, which he mentally blamed on her for looking so goddammed amazing. The poet in him blamed this perfect day on her, telling himself the world could never weep when a heart as warm and a smile as bright as hers could still bringing joy and warmth into the world. God, even mad at her she was still able to captivate and mesmerize him. It wasn’t fair. Nothing was fair, though, right? Life wasn’t fair. People weren’t fair. That’s why it was futile to waste time trying to make things better for everyone and he just needed to worry about himself. No one else cared, but since that was the case, he knew there was still a world to save, and he’d do it alone if he had to. He shook his mind from Tawny and straightened his jacket a bit as the last speaker finished. Devin stepped forward, approaching Charlie’s parents and silently asked them if he might go next. They both nodded, Charlie’s father seemed puzzled, knowing that Devin wasn’t apart of Charlie’s close friends. Still, neither saw the harm in it. He cleared his throat and again adjusted his jacket. The Jauntsens appeared at a formal event the way it was intended, not in jeans and boots like most of the mouth-breathing, ham-fisted residents of Shelly who showed up. Like everything in this small town, the Jauntsens made this funeral look good, classy, even. He stood and addressed those assembled. “I’m uh, Devin Jauntsen, although most of you know that already. I’ve never really lost anyone before, and this sort of thing is a new experience for me.” He took in a deep breath and sighed before continuing. “I’ve heard it said a lot today, that these services aren’t for the departed, that they’re for us. So, let’s make this about us for a moment.” Charlie’s father took a soft step, as if to ask Devin to not speak anymore and step down, fearing he might ruin the service in accordance with his reputation. Charlie’s mother, however, pinched the sleeve of his elbow, signaling to let the boy talk. “Look I, uh, I don’t really feel like I deserve to be here.” He chuckled half-heartedly. “In case some of you aren’t in the know, I picked on Charlie at school, a lot. For years I made his life at school difficult, and yet this summer he and I and some others all came together and started hanging out,” he looked shocked, like the thought of hanging out with Charlie was still something his mind couldn’t process. “None of us expected to become friends, but here we are, friends mourning a friend.” “Long and short of it, Charlie had every right and opportunity to call me out. To hate me with every fiber of his being, but… he didn’t. No matter what he was always in the moment and treated me like he wanted to be treated. He was kind, forgiving, respectful and he showed me how much of a better person he was, than I am. He set a bar that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to live up to.” Devin coughed into his hand, as he choked on those last few words. The moisture lining his eyes wasn’t acting or some prank. “It was like the past was never as important to him as the present. Now. What was happening then and there in that moment was all that mattered to him and if I was trying to not be a jerk, he made a bigger effort to see the person I was trying to be instead of the person I was, and sometimes still am.” He swallowed down the lump in his throat and stared at the coffin, closed because there was nothing more than a bucket of memories after Not-Cody got done with him. “I never had the chance to tell him that I considered him a friend after all our hang outs and debates and even our disagreements. He was great guy and he shined brightly enough that he burned some of our darkness away before he left us.” He looked to Charlie’s parents offered them a soft smile that pleaded of some measure of forgiveness and knew the Fellowship would get the reference. “He was a great guy, and I couldn’t be sorrier for your loss.” He stepped to the casket and his next words weren’t for the gathered, but for Charlie, wherever he might have been. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there, Chuck. See you on the other side, bro.” Clearing his throat, he composed himself before walking back to where his parents and sister were waiting for him in black within the sea of black that comprised all of those Charlie knew in life. His parents and sister hugged him gently. “Well said, son.” Carl haled him tightly with one arm, trying to comfort him as well as he was able.
    2 points
  8. Autumn, Weekend following Labor Day/Ep. VI: Off-Camera: Autumn will be working on the tree house, trying to get it finished before the weather turns. She will also be reviewing the journals from her grandfather’s study, and working on If possible, a return visit to Browning to actually go through the museum and have a long, non-plot-related talk with Joe about her grandfather will also be on the agenda. Thursday: No school. Charlie's funeral. Later: Boarding school with Cassie. Friday: First date with Jase? Available after school. Saturday: Autumn will be paying a visit to the Project facility to try to help repair some of the damage done to the smilodon and assist with the extraction of the cranial implant. Saturday night, Marissa will be coming to the Keane house to discuss current events. Sunday: Open. Autumn will be working on personal projects like the completion of the tree house, and studying Chemistry and English. TBD: As discussed in Discord, a story or scene involving Cass and Autumn talking to Sean about the physiological and sociological realities of his unique, uh... "circumstance" would be awesome. Autumn can basically, at present, flail wildly in an actual fight. Some specific efforts at improvement in this area would be advisable. Following up with Sophia to see how she's doing. Talk to her parents about the weird tension with them over the last year or so. Chat with Nathan Crocker about his role. Talk to Mari about Homecoming, make awkward conversation. First date shenanigans with Jason. Birthday planning with Carolyn Cassidy and Gar Bannon. After Site B?: Propose the camping trip. Ongoing: Attempt to normalize things with Jacob- or at least start things moving in that direction. · Specifics will be determined by player input and interaction, and all of this is subject to change!
    1 point
  9. Thursday, 5th September It wasn't raining. Odd that it wasn't, at least to some of those attending the Shelly Cemetery to pay their respects to the departed Charlie Cole. Funerals should happen with the sky itself mourning, the rain helping to hide tears. They should only take place on dreary Fall days, not with a blue sky and the ebbing warmth of summer playing it's radiance over the brasswork on the coffin. Of course, the wiser heads knew that death was rarely convenient, and this - the violent murder of one little more than a child - was downright tragic. Perhaps the warm sunshine was more appropriate, given how Charlie had died at the hands of the Dark. As though the sun's rays purified him on his journey from this world. Coyote watched from a distance, his hands thrust into the pockets of his black jacket, ageless and remote sorrow in the dark forests of his gaze. It looked as though most of the town had turned out - Charlie had been well-liked, getting on with most of his peers, and even those who weren't necessarily his friends lingered around the edges of the cemetery, beholden to witness by curiousity and a strange sense that this fate could have befallen any of them. The dead boy's estranged father and mother stood on opposite sides of the coffin each with their own circle of support, each pale and stricken-looking, their eyes on the dark polished wood. The Ancient breathed in slowly, feeling the slow dissipation of the miasma that hung over the minds and souls of Shelly's populace. Some might have believed that the second death of Arawn, and the banishment of the Tree, would be all that was necessary to heal the blight on this town's soul. Not so, the Trickster knew. This was the final seal on the defeat of the dark, corrupt force that had infected Shelly since before history began. This simple, sapient act of coming together to grieve, to pay respects to the fallen. Not just Charlie Cole, but the thousands over the centuries who'd fallen prey to the Dark's avatar. The town was burying more than just one murdered child, coming together like this - it was burying all of them. Perhaps now healing could begin, and the scars could start to mend. Not just in the town itself, either. Coyote's eyes, preternaturally sharp, sought out the familiar faces of the Fellowship in the gathering, as the priest wound down the eulogy to the accompaniment of the quiet sobs of relatives and close friends. Some close friends of the departed, some more distant - but they were all here. The Trickster grunted, huddling in his jacket as though to ward off a chill, though the late summer air was warm. The cold was from within, he knew. "Not long." he murmured to himself, almost absently, watching the future unfold beyond his ability to control or steer it in the dynamics of the Fellowship and what waited for them. "Make better mistakes than we did..." he whispered to them, a plea more than an instruction. Or perhaps a prayer? He wasn't sure. He had rolled the dice, and that had taken most of what he had left. All he could do now was watch, and hope. After millenia of life, steering the course of bloodlines and nations in perhaps the best trick he'd ever played, wouldn't it be hilarious if the trick was as much on himself as those he'd intended it for?
    1 point
  10. Sean's stomach churned, and it wasn't just hunger after still being in the process of turning his new morning workout into a habit. He stood in a knot with his family, his father's hand a firm pressure on his shoulder, his mother and sister standing on Jack's other side, both in dark dresses with wan faces. His left leg tingled with pins and needles up to his hip, as though it was asleep, and his hands were balled into fists. The sun beat down, hot, remorseless, almost accusatory in the clear blue sky. His slacks, years old, were tight across the hips and under the black button-down he'd borrowed from his dad - the sleeves rolled up several times so they didn't cover his hands - there were trickles of sweat, back and front. Sean's jaw was clenched, eyes squinted to slits in the effort of retaining a stoic expression, but it was obviously a thin façade. With all his issues, plus a father who endured everything with blue-collar aplomb, Sean had learned early not to cry in public, and ingrained as it was, it was still a near thing. He's shed his tears in private. As a boy who looked like a girl, and had only grown more so with puberty, growing more curvaceous than most, he'd suffered. But he hadn't ever suffered much in the way of actual loss. The Cassidys were a small family in Toole County. Now anyway, generations past, there had been many more. Sean had an uncle on his dad's side he'd never met and knew next to nothing about, and his mom had a sister who visited once a year with his two cousins. His mom's parents had passed away before he'd been born and he could barely remember his grandmother on his dad's side. The only funeral he'd gone to was his grandfather's, when he'd been ten. But his grandfather had been going senile for a few years before, and his passing had, in some ways, been a relief. Charlie's death hurt. A link ripped out of the small circle of friends Sean had been surprised and blessed with finding himself with. Charlie had been there when he'd first started DMing RPGs. Always interested in the story and developing his character, Sean could always rely on Charlie to engage with any plot hook he laid out to get things going when the game started to wonder or go completely off-track. With his interest and training in drama, Charlie had helped Sean expand his storyteller's voice, as well as how better to structure the narratives of his games and campaigns, even if it was to go against convention. Now Charlie's life story was cut short. As were all the stories of the lives he might have played on stage or on the screen, all the characters he might have played in their shared games. It wasn't one life, one friend, gone, but the multitude he could have been. With learning about their powers, and the secrets buried in Shelly, an unconscious part of Sean had still seen it as a game, fighting monsters with psionic powers, where bad things could happen, but they weren't ever final. Until they were. Life wasn't a game, but both eventually ended. They had found the Dark, but one of them had lost before they had even fought. It wasn't fair, Coiled through the hurt and loss was a nauseating shameful guilt. Not-Cody could have taken any one of them, and the result likely would have the same - one of the Radiant going dark under terror and violence. Forcing himself to look at it logically, with his lifespan cut dramatically and uncertainly short with an equally uncertain recourse, if one of them had to be sacrificed to the Darkness, it should have been him. But shortened life or not, Sean was relieved, relieved, it hadn't been him. He wouldn't wish it on any of his friends, but he wasn't ready to die yet either. And it felt wrong, it felt perverse, to be standing here, watching Charlie's casket being lowered into the ground and covered with dirt and being grateful he wasn't one the in it. Devin spoke and more guilt piled up on Sean's hunched shoulders. He just couldn't bring himself to. What if he broke down in front of everyone? Charlie certainly deserved it, especially as the embarrassment would be only in Sean's own mind. And even if it wasn't, so what? But what if they saw his guilt, his relief, that he was still alive when Charlie wasn't? No. With the service coming to a close, the Cassidys went to pay their respects to Charlie's parents. Eyes downcast, he murmured a few awkward words of condolence with Charlie's father - Lucius Cole had never been comfortable around his son's intersexed friend. Sean was more at ease with Hannah Fuhrman, who'd always been kind to him when he'd gone over to Charlie's place, to just hang out before gaming or working on something for school. His mouth dry, voice ragged, Sean didn't even hear his parents' or Laurie's words. The Cassidys ambled disconsolately towards the parking lot. Sean took a deep, scratchy breath to collect himself, giving his leg a surreptitious shake every other step, trying to jostle it awake. His mother stepped up beside him, giving her odd son a one-armed hug. "How are you doing, hon?" Carolyn asked sympathetically. "Fine," Sean claimed, then immediately amended, "Not good. It cou-" ld have been me. "I'll be okay. I just need some time, mom." His mother gave him a look like she could read his thoughts. It didn't help that Sean knew there were people who could read thoughts. "It's not wrong that you're still alive, Sean. And it's not wrong to be grateful that you are." She smiled sadly at his sullen frown of disagreement. She nodded towards her Corolla. "You want to come with us? We can come back for your car later, or tomorrow." "No. No, it's okay," Sean assured her, reluctantly stepping out of her embrace, making a small flicking gesture towards the dark green Grand Cherokee parked a ways down the other lane of the lot. "I'll drive myself. I... need a bit of time alone. I'll meet you guys at the reception." Jack and Carolyn watched their son shuffled down the lot towards his vehicle. Laurie watched him too, then her parents. "I'll go with him." Before she'd taken a step after her brother, she was stopped by the outstretched arm of her father. "Give him this, Laurie, time to work things out after the service. We'll catch up at the reception, and if he needs us for more, we'll be there for him at home. He might fight monsters for real - and God knows I wish never expected to say that - but the ones inside are just as dangerous. And in the end, no matter how much support you offer, those ones, you have to fight alone."
    1 point
  11. Before... The bell rang, heralding the disgorging of classrooms full of students into the halls at the end of the day's fourth period. Lockers slammed, chatter filled the corridors as Jase made his way to his own locker, stowing his biology text- and notebooks and retrieving his laptop. A flash of coppery hair spied out of the corner of his eye brought his head around to see Autumn a bit further down, spinning the dial on her own lock and pulling the door open. He paused, studying her as he shut his locker and leaned against it, his scarred features outwardly expressionless - at least to those who weren't familiar with reading them. His cool green gaze ran over Autumn's features, lingering on the tilt of her freckled nose, the curve of her lips, the clear sea-blue of her eyes, all framed as they were by the riotous curls of gold-tinged copper that, as ever, seemed unconstrainable by the simple ponytail holder she used to tie it back. He was aware that he was staring, of course. Self-awareness was very much part of his makeup, and so he knew that this reverie as he gazed at his girlfriend was quite deliberate, and unashamedly so. What wasn't so deliberate was the slow rush of heat, of delightful tension, that he felt coursing upwards through his nerves as he watched her turn her head to one side in consideration and distractedly brush her hair back, exposing the slender ivory of her throat in a gesture that was entirely unconscious, yet seemed to him in that moment to be wholly erotic. His eyes trailed down the curve of her neck to where it met her shoulder then disappeared under her t-shirt, his keen memory reminding him of the smell and taste of her skin under his lips and teeth as though it were current sensory input rather than a memory of last night, under the fireflies in the long grass. Chemistry, or English? Pursing her lips, Autumn considered both options as she hauled her Environmental Science book out of her bag and slid it back into place amid the neat-ish row of texts and multicolored folders. She was a couple of days behind on reading for first period, but she also hadn't started looking up potential topics for her English paper yet, and they were supposed to have at least three sources by Monday. Hmm. Half-consciously tucking an errant curl behind her ear, the vibrant redhead swayed indecisively back and forth in front of her locker. Kat was in her class... Maybe she could talk to her in the next couple of days and see what she was planning to write about? With personal dramas and the whole 'saving the world' thing cutting into study time it was going to be hard to get an 'A' in either subject at the rate things were going, much less in both. ...Not that she was particularly upset about being distracted by non-school-related activities, at least in principle. It would just be nice if more of said activities involved things she actually wanted to do- things like going camping, for instance, the idea of which conjured up mental images of the last time she'd gone. Cleaning up the campsite, splashing in the creek, eating mouthfuls of steak next to an open fire, and sweet, fierce kisses under the stars. A little thrill of remembered heat ran through her at the memory, warming her cheeks as she grabbed her Chemistry book and slid it into her bag; maybe they'd be able to go again soon? The giddy little smile curving her lips broadened as Autumn pictured the way the firelight had sparked glimmers of gold in Jason's eyes, and a shiver of anticipation danced down her spine at the thought of seeing that again. Easy, girl, she reminded herself, exhaling as she closed her locker door and turned to head toward Study Hall. You'll see him this afternoon. ...Or now. Blinking, a renewed flush blooming in her cheeks, Autumn stared at the long, lean figure relaxing against his locker, limbs arranged in that near-boneless slouch he'd perfected. At the pale green eyes she'd just been picturing. At the shape of his mouth, the faint line of the scar etched into his skin, the outline of his shoulders beneath his shirt... Swallowing the sudden, unaccountable rush of nervousness, she hazarded a smile and focused on the fact that they were at school, in the hallway, in front of basically half the student body, and he was not a tree to be climbed. Now is good. This really wasn't the time or place, a fact which seemed wholly unimportant to Jason as their eyes met. The slamming of locker doors faded away, the bustle and chattering throng became indistinct, formless and colorless, all meaning, form and color instead seeming to be drawn into and contained within the lithe shape of the redheaded girl before him. Under his scrutiny she flushed, pale rose and ivory blooming under the bronze dusting of freckles, and the young Teulu was aware of a keen and above all hungry sensation uncoiling down his spine, something primal, bordering on savage that welled up inside him as his eyes devoured her. She saw it, too, Jase realised as Autumn's blush deepened, her clear gaze widening, her lower lip indented by her teeth as her breath seemed to catch. On some level, on the edge of conscious thought currently awash in hormones, pheromones and simple vibrant passion, she could see the burning hunger for her that flickered and danced, a consuming flame, in his eyes. To his heightened awareness of her, a barely perceptible tremor that owed little, if anything to fear vibrated through Autumn's body. He didn't want to wait until after school, he realised suddenly under the awareness of that need evoked by simple proximity to her. He didn't want to wait until such time as was socially acceptable to plunge his fingers through her Titian mane of red curls, to graze his teeth against her lips until they were reddened, to drink kiss after kiss from her as she gasped his name and clutched him close. And with the thought came action, motion, as he pushed himself away from the locker on which he leaned and approached Autumn, his eyes never leaving her. "Hey." he said quietly as he stopped directly in front of her, looking down into the sparkling blue of her eyes. Such a short utterance, yet murmured as it was it contained so much more than a greeting. "I burn for you. I miss you. I want you," all contained in a simple exhalation. Damn it, she swore to herself, feeling that intangible magnetic pull as her effing boyfriend- the Effing Boyfriend, in fact- drew closer. It was unfair, somehow, unreasonable that someone she'd spent years avoiding had suddenly become one of the people she most wanted to see. How was she supposed to think about studying, or class, or people, or... or anything when he was looking at her like that? And yet despite any lingering misgivings about their relationship, his nature, or whether any of this even made sense at all, the tentative smile curving Autumn's lips only grew at his approach, warmed by the firefly flickers of pleasure sparked by his very nearness. "Hey," she breathed in response to what was quickly becoming the habitual greeting, keenly aware that he was right there, that she could just reach up and touch him if she wanted to- and oh, how she wanted to. The fingers of her free hand practically twitched, tingling faintly with the urge to pull him close, to toy with the ends of his hair, to trace the curve of his lower lip or the line of his collar bone through the cotton of his shirt and watch those pale green eyes darken, to feel that clear, crystalline energy burning bright beneath his skin, beneath the press of her fingertips- But, that annoyingly contrarian inner voice derailed her train of thought. School. Right. School. Adjusting the strap of her book bag on her shoulder, Autumn willed herself not to close the remaining distance between them, all but digging her heels into the gleaming composite floor tile. "So." As soon as the word passed her lips, the red-haired teen realized she didn't really have much in the way of a follow-up. What could she talk about? She'd seen him at breakfast and in first period, so there was no point asking about his morning. Lunch, maybe? Her nose crinkled slightly at the thought. No, she'd save that for Study Hall, or even after. It wasn't like she didn't have plenty of time to talk to him, so... why was it so hard to come up with anything to say right now? "Chemistry," she murmured thoughtlessly to herself, gazing up into those glittering jade pools, and immediately regretted it. "I brought my book," Autumn added hastily. "To catch up on the reading from Chem that I missed. That's all I meant." Blushing furiously, she waved a hand near her face, trying simultaneously to cool the rising heat beneath her skin and dispel any thoughts about any other possible meaning- largely unsuccessfully. "Not the... you know," she added, exhaling. "The other thing." Frozen jade, thawed by fires that were anything but cold, roamed her features as that tantalising flush of rose flooded through the ivory that lay beneath the freckles. "The other thing?" he murmured, as his eyes studied the curve of her mouth. A hint of a smile curved his lips. "Ah, yes. I kind of want to explore the other thing, too." He reached out, running his touch down from her elbow to her hand, his fingers curling around hers before gently taking her hand in his. And then he was tugging her, gently but insistently, his eyes cutting back to meet hers now and then as he started to walk with her down the hall. It dawned on Autumn, through the haze of pheromones and hormones and the hypnotic and anything-but-cold gaze of her impossible boyfriend, that she was walking hand in hand through the halls of school with him, their fingers entwined, his darker olive with her freckled ivory. She should be embarrassed, should be mortified and imagining people snickering, expecting whistles and jeers even though nobody, realistically, seemed to be even noticing. But all she could think of was how warm his hand was in hers, and how warm she felt - that delicious sense of anticipation as she divined his intent making it hard to breath evenly. For Jase, there were no considerations for how others might view this thing. His focus was on his intention, and on the warm-hued girl whose hand was in his as he led her towards their destination. Every glance back at her was another snapshot in his memory, taking in the fire of her hair and the warmth of her blue eyes and the adorable crinkle of her nose. All else was, if not precisely meaningless, then at least temporarily irrelevant to the tall youth. There was a brief moment of confusion as he led her away from the lockers, away from the hall that led to the library and the classroom where they were meant to go, where she really-definitely-probably needed to focus on the reading she hadn't done... But that ever-present inner voice seemed quiet for now, its chiding drowned out by the dull roar in her ears, the featureless waves of background conversation and footsteps and locker doors as they moved, hand in hand, through the throng. Clearly they were going somewhere, Jason's long legs covering the distance with purpose, and she had a pretty good idea why they were going there. The thought sent another little surge of nervous anticipation zinging through her, a combination of all those glorious neurochemicals she was still learning the names of and the taboo nature of the presumed tryst. "Where are we-?" she asked urgently, the last word catching in her throat as Jase looked back at her and she caught that flicker of heat in his gaze. And then the 'where' didn't matter as much as the 'when,' her fingers tightening around his as she walked a little faster. At this time of day, the gymnasium was usually empty - after the last period, the area would flood with students turning up for various extracurricular sports and practices, but right now the large, spacious hall was echoingly silent, the retracted bleachers against one wall presiding over the smooth polished floor and racks of equipment as Jase and Autumn, hand in hand and casting glances at one another, crossed the chamber. The faint thud of Jason's boots and the squeak of Autumn's Chucks on the floor were all but drowned out by the thundering in their ears from two heartbeats racing from that surge of hormonal desire and anticipation. Empty, also, was the equipment locker, the door of which was set in one corner of the gym, where the larger equipment for gymnastics and the mats for wrestling were stored, amongst other things. It was locked (to prevent exactly what Jason had in mind - the school authorities still hadn't forgotten the time Rebecca the preacher's girl had been caught in here with two of the senior football squad), but locks weren't really a concern for the young rogue whose fingers were interwoven with Autumn's. As they approached the door, he pulled a small roll containing a rudimentary lockpicking set from one of the pockets of his combat pants, then paused as a thought occurred, and slipped the roll away again before focusing on the padlock. There was a faint 'click', then another, and the lock sprang open obediently as though the key had been used. Jason made a small sound of satisfaction and swung the door open and pulled Autumn inside. Immediately as the door closed behind them he turned to her, moving close as he gazed down into the storm-tossed blue of her eyes. His jade gaze was far from hard for her to divine, no matter how composed the olive-tanned features, that pale scar still fresh on his cheek, were. And then his lips descended to hers as he cupped her face in his hands, and the world dissolved into liquid fire. There had been thoughts, moments before- nervousness about being caught, curiosity about what'd been in the little rolled-up kit, surprise that the door had been left unlocked followed by a brief flash of insight that Jase might have used his power to open it from the inside- but in the instant his lips touched hers, that all evaporated, dissolved in the sweet, heated thrill of kissing him. Some dim, distant part of Autumn's mind registered the soft thud of her book bag hitting the floor, and the unerring kinesthetic awareness granted by her Shine told her that she was reaching up, rising onto the balls of her feet, but the lithe redhead was wholly unaware of the soft sound she made against her boyfriend's lips, or that her faintly freckled eyelids had drifted closed. In the absence of sight, all other senses seemed sharper, from the texture of his hair sliding between her fingers to the crisp, somehow green fragrance that lingered on his shirt and skin, along with the faint sweet-smoky aroma of the tobacco he grew, and some indefinable underlying scent that she recognized as belonging to Jase alone. The pounding of her heartbeat seemed deafening as it beat a mad cadence within her breast, and as the young vitakinetic's fingertips traced Jason's jawline, exploring the familiar features rendered mysterious in the shadows behind her eyelids, she could feel the echoing thrum of his own pulse, a strong, sure counterpoint to her own. "Did you miss me?" she murmured breathlessly into the kiss, a hint of mischief in her smile as her fingers trailed lower, following the sharp line of Jase's collarbone out to his shoulders and down the flat, hard plane of his chest. It was a ridiculous question, of course, but even if Jason Bannon himself didn't (or couldn't) make special note of her absence, well, she mused... At least parts of him could. "Always." he breathed back, softly kissing the delicious curve of her lower lip and then, because he had made a decision to always be forthcoming to her - not just honest in an exact way, but also volunteering truth - he added "I always feel your absence keenly..." his lips trailed along her jaw to her ear, his breath warm as he inhaled the scent of her hair and skin "..and always anticipate seeing you again." he finished, his hands finishing their slide down her body, caressing her back, waist and hips before sliding comfortably - and possessively - onto the curves of her ass, where they didn't seem inclined to move from. His mouth opened against the side of her neck, letting her feel his teeth graze her pale skin and his tongue taste her with a delicate brush before he moved further down, craning his head down so his exploring sense of taste and smell could savor the juncture of her neck and shoulder. Small freckles there each received tiny touches of lips and tongue as he attempted to kiss them all with uncharacteristic playfulness, and he was aware of Autumn's soft breaths and sighs as she pressed herself tighter to him, unbidden and not needing the pull of his hands on her rear to seek that closeness hampered only by the clothes the two teens wore. Jase raised his head, turning it and capturing Autumn's lips in another, fiercer kiss, his teeth nipping at her lip. That always present wry observer that was part of his mind noted the elevated levels of arousal he was feeling, the unusual primal drive and draw towards the ardent young woman in his arms, the fact that aggressive instincts were being repurposed almost as though a gear had been shifted from 'fight' to, well, 'mate'. And it had to be her - always her. He knew this deep in the blazing, molten core of his being that, no matter what transpired, no other female could move into the space she now occupied. Something in his inhuman soul chose Autumn, and whether it was pheromones or simple compatibility, he wanted no other. Autumn... was melting. Or at least, that's how it felt when Jason's teeth grazed her lower lip: that she was melting from the inside, dissolving outward from the very center of her being as the sparks shimmering beneath her blushing skin flared suddenly into living flame, consuming conscious thought and reason. It didn't matter that they were at school. It didn't matter that someone might catch them. It didn't even matter that he was supposed to be coming over later, or that there were things they needed to talk about, or that she wasn't going to be able to catch up in Chem if they didn't get to Study Hall, like, right now. The only thing that mattered in that instant was that he made her feel like the white-hot core of a star, like the center of his universe. The only thing that mattered was that he made her feel like she, Autumn Rae Keane, was the only thing that mattered. "Me, too," she whispered against his mouth, delighting in the warm firmness of his lips and the teasing brush of his tongue against hers as the kiss deepened. "I missed you, too." Murmurs of pleasure and soft, hmming sighs filled the quiet equipment locker between playful nips and slow, sweet expressions of desire, her lips tingling with even the faintest contact, the gentlest whisper of his breath. Her hands, trapped between the press of their bodies and clutching the fabric of his shirt, fumbled blindly with the folds of lightweight cotton, tugging the hem upward until she could touch the warm skin beneath, and with an exultant squeak Autumn splayed her palms flat against his stomach. This wasn't the time, and definitely wasn't the place, but... Fuck it, she decided, for neither the first nor last time in her adolescent life. Why not? Her pale fingertips slipped just below the waistband of his belted combat pants, circling round to the front and seeking by touch alone the buckle impeding her exploration. It was easily found, Jason making no effort to impede her progress and, indeed, trying to step back a little to allow her more access, only for the energetic redhead to slip her spare hand around the back of his neck and pull him closer with all the strength of her athletic young body, refusing to allow his lips to part from hers. She could read the patterns of desire and arousal in his aura, as tangible as the hardness she could see distorting the line of his zipper when she broke the kiss with a gasp and glanced down, biting her lower lip. Oh yes. He wanted her - No. That wasn't sufficient to communicate the sensations she was experiencing. He. Wanted. Her. would be a better way to put it. The want was tangible, and she was the focus of it, and it reinforced that sensation she had of being the star at the center of his universe, intensified it to such a degree she thought she would forget how to breathe. Was this how it was for him? she had to wonder, getting a clearer feel of the deeper fires that composed Jason Bannon, fires she had seen in his eyes but never felt in this immediate way that made her melt and catch fire herself. Something in her lower belly went liquid at being so wanted even as something in her soul exulted in the knowledge that it was her who was desired to that level of heat and passion that made everything that had come before Jase in her young life seem tame by comparison and, she knew deep in her heart, would likely never be equaled again. How could it be? What human being could desire so... so... wholly and unreservedly, without moral compunction or civilised tenderness? It was like being desired by a force of nature. Jason moaned softly as Autumn's hand flipped open the buckle and the top button of his pants and slid inside both pants and shorts, her freckled fingers curling around his already thickening length as the girl made a cooing sound of pleasure into their kiss. He had not had release since their camping trip, and the ache for her was overriding his caution and logic. Every touch, every kiss, every noise of pleasure or murmur of her voice made him feel as though the flames he wielded so devastatingly were under his skin. It was too hot in this room, his senses told him. Too much confining clothing. And so he broke his lips from hers this time, breathing heavily, peeling off his shirt over his head and casting it on the vaulting horse before cupping her face in his hands and giving her another soul-felt kiss. Yes. This. More of this. It wasn't so much a conscious thought on Autumn's part as a sort of biological imperative driven by adolescent hormones and the illicit thrill of what they were doing: a need/desire to feel more of his skin on her skin, more breath-stealing kisses, more of his fingers gently curving around her flushed, feverish cheeks and sliding up into her hair, just... more. It was dizzying, this sense of connection created merely by touching him, so that she could almost breathe his breath and feel his heartbeat in the too-quick thrum of her own pulse through her veins, her senses implausibly alive with the reciprocal hum of shared Radiance. Leaning up, the lithe redhead steadied herself with a hand on Jason's shoulder as her lips met his in a series of brief, hungry kisses, each one lasting until the threshold of what felt like fiery dissolution before she drew back again, and again, and again, squeaking softly in surprised delight as she felt him twitch against her palm and the gentle caresses of her warm fingers. "Is it hot in here, or is it just you?" she whispered giddily, breathlessly in the stifling heat of the charged air, and then gasped aloud as Jase lowered his mouth to the curve of her throat, his hands tightening in the loosened mane of burnished copper curls that framed her face. "Just you," came the quavering confirmation as she shivered at the graze of lips and teeth and tongue just above the collar of her shirt, the heat of his breath drawing a flush of vibrant rose from beneath the pale skin there as she reached down with her free hand, fumbling with his zipper. The sound of the metal teeth separating was soft, barely audible above their breathing, the quiet gasps and deep, heartfelt groans of need and pleasure, but she could almost feel the torturous slowness of their parting around the distended fabric, and with a little huff of frustration she withdrew her other hand to hasten the job. The next few moments were a blur of motion and pheromonal intoxication: nudging him back against the tall stack of folded mats, opening the fly of his combat pants, trailing her hands down his chest, his stomach, the leanness of his frame etched in her mind as a physical representation of mathematical precision and efficiency. And then she was kissing him again, and then tugging her own t-shirt off and dropping it, forgotten, at her feet, the heat from their bodies shimmering in almost palpable waves as, slowly, her lips traced the downward path her hands had followed moments before, marking the tactile geometry of point and line and plane in their descent. He groaned softly, his fingers loosely buried in her thick copper curls as she sank downwards, glancing up at him as she kissed lower and lower, the softness of her breasts and the faint scratch of the cloth of her bra, pressing against his skin, brushing tantalisingly over him Autumn dropped to her knees. Her blue eyes studied the challenge he presented, though less daunted now and more determined, even anticipatory as they flicked up to meet his burning green stare. Her hands gently moved on him, the touch exploratory at first yet firming, fingers grasping him as she leaned down- The door to the equipment locker opened, and with a squeak of mortified alarm Autumn froze for a second, not moving. The stack of mats Jason was leaning against hid her from view - but the tousled head of her boyfriend was clearly visible above them, his eyes narrowing in annoyance as he turned his head towards the door. Of course he was annoyed - not scared, not alarmed, not worried about getting into trouble or videos going up on the internet: annoyed. "Alright, you two." The crisp female voice wasn't familiar to Autumn - wait... it wasn't..? She risked a peek around the edge of the mats and saw the blonde hair and pale blue eyes of Ms Forster, the new Biology teacher and, oh, yeah, Jason's totally-an-alien mother. The girl repressed a groan. Bad enough to be caught by a teacher. Worse that it was Jase's mom. "Whatever state of undress you're in behind there, get it corrected and step out here." Ms Forster went on, her piercing gaze not missing the red-faced redhead as she peeked. Jase locked eyes with the older woman, but decided that, here and now, she had the authority of a teacher at the very least, regardless of how he viewed her maternal authority. He beckoned his shirt from where it had been cast aside and pulled it on as Autumn likewise picked up her top and shimmied into it, still crouching. Then he bent down and pulled his pants up, re-zipping them carefully and not without some difficulty. "You're both due in Study Hall ten minutes ago." Ms Forster told the two of them as they stepped out of the equipment locker, Autumn red-faced and Jase... well... Jase, apparently unperturbed, only the faint flush of passion darkening his features any indication of what they'd been up to. Autumn felt like she had it written all over her expression. "Get there right now and no more needs to be said." Was she trying not to smile? It was hard to say - though Autumn was aware that Jason's mom was not exactly like others of her kind, she still had an excellent poker face. Fuck. What had been an exhilarating sensation of warmth and anticipation was suddenly an uncomfortable stinging heat beneath the scarlet surface of her skin, each freckle a burning pinprick etched there by the point of a red-hot needle- or at least, that's how it felt to Jase's much more expressive girlfriend as she shouldered the strap of her messenger bag again and tried, vainly, to straighten her t-shirt and pretend what had almost happened... hadn't. There was no pretending, of course; Autumn wasn't a theatre kid, and didn't have Marissa's perpetual poise, and no matter how she tried to finger-comb her hair back into something like a normal ponytail, it wasn't cooperating. Her heart was a jackhammer inside her ribs, and a knot of nervous tension twisted itself in her belly, verging on nausea. What if her parents found out? What if Ms. Forster, or whoever she was really, decided to use this against her later? Fuck, fuck, fuck. Even the occasional subdued squeak of her sneakers on the gleaming tile floor seemed to be mocking her, and she couldn't shake the feeling that- Wait. As the two teens exited the storage room, the only actual human among them had a sudden idea, and the soles of her Chucks made a plaintive sound of protest as she stopped almost mid-stride: if she'd helped Lilly counter the fear and anxiety Enterich had inspired in her, why couldn't she do it to herself? Jase's mom wasn't exactly a demon... probably wasn't a demon, she amended with a heavy dose of mental snark, but the whole biological response to the situation was similar, right? Elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline, diminished cognitive function, all of that fun neurochemistry stuff she sort of half-understood from an academic perspective, most of which was from Googling it the previous night. It was so much easier to just feel/intuit what was going on, and the frustrated redhead could've kicked herself for never thinking of it before. Ignoring the Biology teacher's disapproving glance, Autumn reached out and took Jason's hand in her own- partly out of pique, as an act of defiance, and partly from the desire for the stabilizing clarity of his Shine, a cool counter for the tempestuous energy currently running hot through her veins. With a thought, just a quick re-centering of her awareness on that vibrant internal world of visceral systems and electrical impulses, the young vitakinetic reached within for once, marvelling for a moment at the bizarre experience of actually feeling the coordination of every cell and nerve and bundle of muscle fiber... and within all of them, a tiny spark, an impossibly microscopic glimmer of light and life. Her fingers twitched, eyes widening slightly as her vision shifted and the tension in her athletic frame slowly dissolved, the furious blush visible from hairline to collar dissipating on the slow exhalation of her breath. It's fine, she repeated to herself, less a habitual glossing-over of a bad situation now than a mental decree, an exercise of will made manifest with the application of her powers. And, with a little start as her initial panic subsided, she realized that it actually was fine; she didn't feel like crying or throwing up, and the fact that other people in the school, in her class, might know she was making out with her boyfriend instead of going to Study Hall... kind of didn't matter as much? It didn't completely not matter, but there was also a worrisome little notion in the back of her mind that she didn't really want to find out what that was like, either, so she pressed no further. "Sorry," she breathed, squeezing Jase's hand a little tighter for just a moment and refocusing on the world outside herself. "We must've lost track of time." Jase's lips twitched as he felt Autumn take his hand, her Shine brushing against his as her color settled from furious beet red to a faint hint of pink while the redhead took a deep breath and let it out. This close, his expanded awareness could tell him she was doing something, but not what, though logic could provide possibilities. Some manner of self-regulation: controlling the chemistry to control her panic... yes, that would make sense. And he was impressed that she'd reasoned that out herself whilst under stress, communicating this by giving the ivory fingers entwined with his a gentle squeeze in turn. Then he glanced at his mother, head tilted faintly as he watched her. Ms Forster had also taken note of how quickly Autumn had gathered her composure - and her handclasp with Jason - though it was hard to discern how she felt about either, her only visible reaction being a flick of her gaze to their joined hands, then their faces, followed by a faint sigh. Disapproval? Resignation? Frustration? Concern? Autumn wasn't sure what that look meant - Jase's mother was more expressive than he was, but still a hard read. "Yes. I guess you must have." Forster shook her head slightly, gesturing to the two of them to move and following along, the three of them headed for the library. * * * * * The other students in the study hall session hadn't noticed Ms Forster slip away, but when Autumn and Jase wandered into the library with the blonde Biology teacher behind them like some sheepdog it wasn't hard for two and two to be put together. Some snickered and smirked, there was a faint buzz of muttered conversation and sending of DMs speculating on what the disheveled pair had been up to, but the novelty of this gossip-fodder would only hold the attention of the most dedicated chatterers for long. Under Ms Forster's watchful eye, the two of them crossed the library and slid into chairs across from Cassie and Beth, nodding greeting as they pulled out their books. Autumn shared a faint shrug and rueful grin with Cass, a faint pink tinge still in her cheeks as she pulled out her Chem textbook, and Jase... Well, he was as composed as always, despite the glitter in his pale eyes as they glanced at Autumn, then met the gazes of the two across the table. "So..." Autumn murmured brightly to Cassie and Beth as she attempted to head off any comment or inquisition. "What's up, guys?"
    1 point
  12. Across the room from Cassandra and Beth, by the back wall, Cade sat down next to Sean, who had graciously once again agreed to help him study in his weaker areas. Cade wasn't dumb, but he wasn't a genius like Jason or Sean. A lot of things came easily to him, and he quite liked history. Mathematics, however, was a weakness, as was chemistry. Cade sighed. "I wish I understood all of this a bit better on my own, that I didn't have to keep bothering you to help me with this Sean." Cade was a bit preoccupied with what had happened at lunch, but it was done. "Thanks for this though. I've got to at least do decently academically to continue with everything else. You've always been able to help me get it enough to do that." There was no boasting, no mocking tone, The big Montana teenager meant it, and as far as guys went, Cade had always treated him normally. "Not a problem, dude," the buxom boy said, glancing up from blithely typing on his laptop to flash Cade a quick grin. "Always happy to help a friend." Sean had set himself up with a semi-circle of electronics on the table. Laptop in front of him, for the day's homework. Wacom Tablet between him and Cade, set up to scrawl equations to help his big friend. And his phone on his other side, discretely keeping track of how ReGenesis was doing, occasionally replying to questions or comments, and sending out his own. Most people would be distracted, but bouncing from one thing to another kept Sean active and animated. Sean TAed a computer class at Shelly High, but mathematics had always come so easily to him that, at first, trying to help Cade with it had been frustrating. Even if he didn't fault Cade not being as swift as he was with working through a problem, or not remembering a particular equation, Sean couldn't see how it wasn't obvious to Cade how to figure it out. It had taken him a while to understand Cade - and most people really - didn't see numbers and equations he way he did, which in part was why the logic and artistry in coding came so intuitively to him. Through trial and error and online research, he'd learned how to teach Cade math, or at least various techniques to figure out what worked best for him, instead of just giving him the answers. Doing so had ended up helping him improve as a TA in Computer Applications too, when his fellow students weren't scoffing at or ignoring the oddest boy in school, anyway. Sean flitted between his own homework and helping Cade with his. He'd broken down the bigger problems into smaller ones, with tiny hints along way, stepping stones for Cade to follow towards the overall solutions. Showing his work had always been tedious, but Sean could see how it helped a teacher see if a student understood how to find an answer. Cade working at his deliberate pace, Sean noticed he was somewhat preoccupied. "You okay, man?" "No, I'm not," Cade said quietly. "I've been thinking about a lot of things. Realizing some truths and my own failings." He sighed. "We've been friends a long time Sean. I know you said not to get involved, but looking back on it, of everything you endured, I can't help feeling that I should have done more to help you out. You've been a great friend to me, always there, and I haven't." It was something that had bothered Cade for a long time. "I am your friend, and I did what you asked, but I still feel I should have tried to stop it." His voice was low, keeping the conversation between the two of them. "You always help me, and I can't really think of too many times where I returned that favor." He had put a stop to a some incidents over the years, ones he just couldn't ignore, but by and large, Sean had said he'd handle things, and Cade let him do it his way. Cade had gone to him for help far more than the reverse. He still was. This was very uncharacteristic of Cade, he seldom admitted when something bothered him, especially like this, though over the years, Sean was perhaps the only one who knew that things did bother him. Sean looked at Cade askance. He was a curious guy, but he didn't like prying into his friends' business, being of the opinion that if they wanted to share something, they would. Probably an outgrowth of his own stubbornness of not wanting to be seen as weak, as less than he was, finding it hard to ask for help, wanting to manage things on his own, if he could, even if he had friends willing and suited to help. You know, if he wanted to inexpertly psychoanalyze himself. He was working on trying to improve himself that had nothing to do with these fantastic capabilities they had found in themselves. "Cade, friendship isn't some ledger where we tally everything up and see if we're even," Sean said, his sweet voice somber. He shifted awkwardly in his seat, guiltily thinking about Jase for just a moment, unable to stop himself from wondering if with his... genetic wiring, that was exactly how Jase saw relationships, and if the ledger became too unbalanced... Sometimes, Sean worried he wasn't actually that good of a friend. "Those are business relationships. I'd be a real dick if I didn't help out a friend with something that was so easy for me. Long as neither side find the friendship completely one sided, that's the thing, right?" Sean took a deep, self-reflective breath, then planted an elbow on the table, chin resting in his hand. He began doodling on his tablet. "Making things unnecessarily harder on myself isn't on you, Cade. We're good." He arched a wry brow at the much larger boy. "I'm one to talk, but you might try not bottling everything inside. Sometimes, let people see that something bothers you, see you angry or upset. In some cases, the squeaky wheel does get the grease, and that isn't always a bad thing." On his tablet, he began doodling a quick football, with lines and numbers, and had to restart when his hand began to tremble, turning it into an indecipherable scrawl. "Let's see if relating a math problem to sports will help with retention." Cade nodded. "Yeah I know. It's just how I've been raised y'know." He smiled "Still, you've been a great friend Sean, and if there is actually something I can help you with, just ask." He turned his attention back to the math problem with a sports theme, and watched. Once he was asked to solve the equation, he did so, in half the time that he would have done so normally. "It's that easy?" he asked quietly Simply changing the approach had seemed to help, even if it did put a slightly heavier burden on Sean, forcing him to think that way. "Why did we never think of this before?" "You didn't play football before." Sean answered him smartly. Cade chuckled. "Yeah, guess I had to go full Jock..." The next few problems saw a repeat of the first, Cade's ability to answer vastly improving if he could visualize it in some way using his sports knowledge. Thankfully Cade played a variety of sports, so there was more options to pull from. The clacking of Marissa's heels (hooves?) echoing in the hollow halls of the school announced her arrival yards before she actually entered the room. Books clutched tightly to her chest, she stormed in like a she was ready to confront the world with a huff and fierce attitude. "Maybe if you weren't such a colossal asshole." "Says Mayor Bitch of Lazy Bitch Town." Without missing a beat Devin strolled in behind her fuming and just as much on fire as his twin sister. "Language," Ms. Forster addressed the two of them with stern look that almost begged them to test her, but there was the faintest hint of a smirk on her lips and a glint of amusement in her eyes. "I understand siblings fight, but there is a time and a place and this is neither... sit down, both of you." Devin rolled his eyes and sighed, giving his books a disruptive toss on the table so they made as much noise as humanly possible. Marissa spun her head so fast in an effort to ignore their being chastised that her hair whipped, and like her brother she sighed and found a table as far from him as she could from her brother and sat down. "Sooo, for Homecoming, you and Maris-" Sean started to say to Cade, but as if her mere name was a summons, there came a clacking, a rapping, on the Study Hall floor. Sean glanced over his shoulder and shook his head minutely. He might bicker some with Laurie, he and Teagan had more or less ignored each other, but he didn't know any siblings who were as contentious and yet there for each other as the Jauntsens. "Hold that thought, Cade, gotta see Devin for a sec." Sean leaned over and fished a stack of papers from his satchel on the chair next to him. With another sheet of paper folded over them to keep them together, Cade couldn't make out what there were, save for some bits of colour at the edges. Rolled up loosely in his hand, Sean hopped off his chair and headed over to where Devin slouched in his seat. Noticing that Kat had come in while he'd been working with Cade, a wide grin spread across his face as he veered towards where she was sitting with Andrew, almost a skip on his step. He leaned in from behind her, and confirmed, "Dark Blue." "Sean!" Kat almost squeaked, whirling around with an almost guilty expression on her face. "Sorry, Kat," Sean apologized, believing he'd startled her. "Didn't mean to interrupt. I can show you later, if you want, 'less you want to keep it a surprise?" He gave Andrew a nod, the other boy once again wondering about Red-Head Sex Cults for a moment. "Andrew. I'll leave you two to it." Sean tilted his head towards Devin. "I was just passing by." Sean sat down at the table across from Devin, laying his sketches flat and sliding them towards him, slim fingers smoothing the edges that had been crinkled by Jauntsen's casual care. "Here's your drawings back, man. Made some good copies with the Faculty printer. Thanks again. When I get around to DLC or expansions for ReGenesis, or a new game, can I fish you for some ideas or concept art?" Cade couldn't help but notice the entrance of the twins, even as Sean had been about to ask about his homecoming plans with Marissa. Watching Sean make the circuit from where Kat was sitting with Andrew, getting a surprised look for whatever he said, and then moving on to Devin. He couldn't hear what was said, and he looked back over to Marissa. She didn't even spare him a glance, and he sighed. He'd fucked up twice already today, and he wondered if a third time would be the charm, or a total strikeout. He didn't know what to say to Marissa, she'd already shot him down, so maybe it was best to just leave her be. He turned back to his work, which he admit he probably wasn't going to be able to focus on. He let out another sigh.
    1 point
  13. First my computer was being freeze and other issues for the past few days, now there's definite evidence I will either need to get it repaired or replaced. So I will be a bit incommunicado, at least with regards to Discord.
    0 points
×
×
  • Create New...