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Autumn Keane last won the day on February 9

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  1. As the fabric of space began to twist and fold around Autumn in ways that defied her rudimentary understanding of physics, there was a moment of primal terror, an inkling that if this didn't work- if her hand slipped, or they'd miscalculated, or Devin was distracted, or any of a hundred other possible disasters- she would be unwoven from the tapestry of existence, a lost thread cut from the whole. Would it hurt? she wondered, her fingers tightening reflexively around the wrists of the two nearest her as they all clasped hands, waves of violet and indigo tugging at them in irresistible cosmic tides. Would she even be aware of it, or would she just... not be at all, anymore? Almost simultaneously, a separate thought occurred: what if it did work? What would that kind of freedom be like, to move through the world without regard for walls, or highways, or artificial borders of any kind? And, suddenly, a kind of wrenching queasiness contracted the muscles of her abdomen, and there was no more time for thinking. No more time. No more thought. There was no sensation of movement or inertia; she was standing in the loading bay with the others, head swimming with vertigo and feeling for all the world as if she was about to be physically ill- And then she wasn't. Wasn't travelling, wasn't holding anyone's hand, wasn't worried about her parents. Just... wasn't. Until, just as suddenly, as if the laws of reality were so repulsed by the group's defiance they simply flung them back into the world again, she was. Was in a storage room. Was lying half under a collapsed shelving unit. Was absolutely miserable, her ears ringing from the concussive shockwave and every muscle complaining loudly that this had not been the best decision she'd made this week. "Fuuuhuhuck meeee," the redhead groaned, briefly opening her eyes to blearily assess the situation and immediately regretting it. The demolished room swam, spinning dizzily in her field of vision, and she lowered her head again, waiting to either pass out or for the world to right itself. There was movement nearby, voices she vaguely recognized, but Autumn felt absolutely zero compulsion to process them at the moment, instead just concentrating on reorienting herself in her body and quietly taking inventory of the assorted contusions and scrapes she'd received in their violent expulsion from... wherever they'd been. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to think. Beneath her cheek, the floor felt oddly warm, although not unpleasantly so, and whatever cleaning chemicals they had in here smelled kind of nice. Her nose crinkled slightly as the athletic young woman shifted uncomfortably atop the debris she'd landed on. Kind of like... I dunno, body wash...? Cologne, maybe? That couldn't be right. Frowning, she tried lifting her head again, reaching up to push the hair back from her face, and froze as the "debris" under her stirred. Charlie was nearby, slowly getting up to his feet. Devin was in the corner, giggling like a crazy person. That only left two other options, and with a creeping sense of dread, she realized she could see Jason a little further away. Process of elimination left only Mari's- Cora's- somebody's boyfriend. Fuck, she mouthed silently, squeezing her eyes shut in a grimace. Gingerly, Autumn shifted her weight, resolutely ignoring the fact that just a few seconds before, her hand had been way closer to Cade's Louisville Slugger than possibly even Marissa's had at that point; if she didn't extricate herself from the awkward tangle of limbs and wire racking real fucking quick, this was going to become another "Friday Snapchat" situation. Her face hot enough to ignite kindling, the red-haired teen began the cringe-inducing process of trying to crawl out from under the shelving and from on top of Shelly High's star athlete. ...And then into a dark, deep hole, if she was lucky.
  2. "Yeah, sure, rescue Clara's boyfriend. Got it," Autumn replied distractedly, reconsidering her initial plan in the wake of Typhoon Jauntsen. She'd planned to just ask Cook outright about what she and Cass had heard in the hall, but with so many distractions and interruptions, that didn't really seem viable. Besides, it wasn't like she had Marissa's ability to manipulate people, or Devin's bravado, or Jason's capacity to inspire fear, so coaxing answers out of the doctor was going to be a lot harder for her. Even if she could come up with a convincing lie, it'd still be all over her face, and intimidation wasn't exactly one of her strengths, either. As she chewed on the inside of her lower lip, part of the Jauntsens' conversation with Bannon caught her attention, and she turned in her chair to watch the trio. Wait. Hang on a sec. ...I might not be intimidating, but Jase is. He'd already put the fear of Bannon into Cook, as well. She wasn't sure if he'd be willing to help, but it was kind of hard to gauge what he was thinking anyway, so it couldn't hurt to ask. ...Right? Well... Autumn glanced surreptitiously back in the doctor's direction. Probably not. She'd helped Jason out, not deliberately provoked him, and they'd talked a lot yesterday, and he'd been really cool about answering her questions and all that. He'd even said he was her friend, and shown her that incredible garden, which was why there was still something else she wanted to ask him- but, that could wait. Rising from her chair next to Bannon senior, she walked over to the three bristling creatures nearby. "Hey, listen do you have a minute?" the redhead interjected quietly, glancing at the twins before turning back to Jase and frowning a little as her gaze travelled slowly over his features; he'd had a concussion, and even a mild one was reason for concern. "I saw you lying down earlier, and I've never tried helping someone like that before, so I wanted to check... Everything good? All parts still in the right place, and all that?" The expression in his eyes was still one of cold, reptilian amusement as he looked from Devin to her, his lips parting for a second to deliver some offhand reply - then he paused as he studied her face, his eyes narrowing slightly before the surface layer of frost, at least, thawed a little. "I'm fine." he said quietly, his hand still resting on Sean's shoulder. "I was collecting my thoughts." His lips twitched in a more genuine smile, the corners of his eyes crinkling. "And my parts all seem to be functioning perfectly normally. You did a good job." His gaze examining her blue eyes, he added. "Thank you." Autumn exhaled, the concern in her expression dissolving into a smile of relief as she nodded, clearly pleased. "Cool, I’m glad it helped. I, um, also wondered if I could ask for a little favor? Super small one, I promise!” She stepped a little closer and leaned up on her tiptoes, silently willing herself not to blush as she raised one hand to block the adults’ view of her mouth, and whispered, “I want to ask Cook something, and I want to make sure he tells the truth, maybe thinks we know more than we actually do. When I mention Courtney’s name, could you just, like… look at him for a couple of seconds?” Settling back on her heels and tucking her hands into her back pockets as she did so, the earnest young woman fidgeted as she peered expectantly up at the stoic telekinetic, shifting her weight restlessly from one foot to the other. To his credit, Jase didn't let his eyes flicker anywhere but the redhead's freckled ivory features. His eyebrows arched as though in mild surprise, and the smile curving his lips deepened a little. "I'd be delighted to." he said softly, the sincerity in his tone as well as the glimmer of mischief in his gaze lending themselves to the impression that she had, perhaps, asked him to go to Bunnees for a shake and burger later. There was no willing away the flush of rose that stained her cheeks that time, despite knowing he was just playing along; the directness of his gaze wasn't a threat to her physical well-being, after all, but to her sanity. Well, maybe to her physical well-being, she decided, conspicuously avoiding glancing in Marissa's direction. "Cool," she was fairly sure she replied, and probably "thanks" as well, though the lithe young outdoorswoman didn't give herself an opportunity to reflect on it, instead turning quickly back to the adults and setting her mind to focusing on what she'd wanted to ask. “So, I said I was holding my questions, but... I think pretty much everybody else is done, at this point, so I’ll try to make it quick. I may not get a chance once the worst spy in history gets here,” Autumn sighed, sinking into one of the chairs closer to Taggart, Cook, and Giles. “So. Dr. Cook. While you were gone, Ms. Giles talked to us a little bit about the test group for the project you’ve been working on, and we know one of them has gone missing and-” She hesitated, lips compressed into a thin line of worry. “And might be in trouble. How much do they know about all of this?” "You mean Cody Sikes?" Cook's expression was wary. "He knew he was special and that a couple of doctors were interested in running tests on him. He disappeared before we could though." The red-haired teen nodded, eyes widening with interest as she leaned forward in her seat. "Yeah, Cody. Did he know about the others, or did they know about him, or anyone else? We think he might have been targeted because he was special, which means the others are all vulnerable, too." Cook shook his head. "Project protocol ruled against letting test subjects know of each other to prevent conflict in the early stages. Cody knew nothing about the others." He hesitated, then added "The telepath, the Adams girl, she found out about the project from my mind. She was the only one that knew of the others." "Perfect," Autumn muttered bitterly, copper brows knitting together in thought. "How much does she know, exactly?" "Courtney knows about the project, the government involvement, the other test kids and most of you - at least as much as I do." Cook admitted slowly, wincing a little. "I was sort of forced to take her on in a more active role to contain and distract her from trying to make more serious use of the information, so she was also keeping an eye on you all at school." "Are you fucking kidding me." It was a question, to be sure, but the flat, uninterrogative tone in which it was uttered suggested otherwise. Even if it wasn't anything she hadn't already considered as a possibility, Cook's admitting the enormity of his failure still came as a bit of a shock. Weren't professional adults supposed to have their shit together? "Jesus fuck," she swore quietly, incredulously as her slate-grey eyes narrowed slightly in disgust. "'Forced?' You gave a vicious teenage nympho with daddy issues an active role in a secret government project to distract her, insuring she'd get even more information and that it would be almost impossible to get her out again?! I don't know which of you is worse at your fucking jobs, Cook, you or the Canadian Casanova." The visibly agitated teen inhaled, counting to four as she’d been taught, and exhaled again, drumming her fingertips on the table in a sharp, staccato rhythm to dissipate some of the angry tension coiling its way through her limbs. "Was that it?" she asked tersely. "Was that all Courtney did? The limit of her involvement?" Cook hesitated at that, glancing reflexively not at his superiors but at the lean, spare form of Jason Bannon... who was returning the gaze with a flat, emotionless stare that pinned the hapless doctor's eyeballs to the back of his skull. He swallowed, tongue moistening lips suddenly dry, and after a false start, spoke up. "Not- Not exactly. She was assigned to test several of you." The words fell into the silence like the crash of broken glass. "She was the one with the best grasp of her powers, you see. And we needed to assess the emotional ties and stability of certain members of your, uh, Fellowship. So she was told to manufacture certain incidents, to test your responses." "You used her as the driver of a behavioural experiment. On us." Jason's tone was frosty enough that people were relieved when their breath didn't condense in the air. Cook nodded, unwilling to meet anyone's eye. "She reported limited success, but then it seems she was focusing on those of you she has a personal vendetta or obsession with. The Jauntsens, the Cassidys, and Jason Bannon. When that became clear we pulled the plug on the experiment." “We.” Autumn repeated pointedly, making a mental note to thank Jason later. Cook was still lying, but now she had a better idea what, exactly, he was lying about- namely, that he had Courtney under control. “Not that I care, honestly, if you had permission or not, or if your high school side piece started misbehaving. That’s their problem,” she jerked her head slightly toward Taggart and Giles, her voice low and slightly unsteady as an angry flush of crimson crept slowly up her throat from beneath the collar of her t-shirt. “My problem is that you’ve been deliberately and actively fucking with people I care about, and now your problem, Doctor Cook, is convincing all of us that you’re competent enough to fix it.” If the cool grey of her eyes earlier had been merely unwelcoming as she regarded the attractive older man, their turbulent depths now held the roiling fury of an approaching tempest.
  3. Skrrrrrnnnggggkkk. The dissonant sound of a chair scraping awkwardly over the floor cut through the tension with all the elegance of a dull kitchen knife as Autumn brushed a few stray crumbs from her chest and pushed back from the table, getting slowly to her feet and glancing speculatively around the room. Kat's speaking up was a reminder that there were quite a few people present who knew even less about the current situation than she did, and even Friday- when this madness had all started for her- seemed like a lifetime ago, now. Apparently, as she'd wondered back then, there really was no maximum threshold for impossibility, no upper limit on the number of things that couldn't happen in a single day. Sometimes multiple days in a row. There was so. freaking. much. she wanted to say to Jason, to the twins, to Cade, to the poor bystanders and the new girl who'd gotten dumped in the middle of things the way she had, and the conflicting thoughts weren't doing much for the dull ache behind her eyes, but none of those thoughts were exactly helpful either... and if they didn't get their shit together as a group, they were going to completely waste this chance to get the information they needed. "So, hi," she began, in a voice that was surprisingly steady despite the awkward little wave that accompanied it in violation of Basic Public Speaking 101. "If we haven't been introduced, I'm Autumn, nice to meet you. I hope it's cool that I'm interrupting, because, hooo. This is, um..." She spread her freckled hands briefly, indicating the room as she winced and shook her head, nose crinkling slightly. "This is a whole lot, and it's definitely been a bit of a day. So. Before anyone storms off, or any declarations of war are signed in blood, there are just a couple of things I want to bring up, and then I think we need to give Dr. Cook a chance to answer Cass before this crazy train goes completely off the rails. First." Her gaze moved first to Jason, and then to Devin and Marissa, and though it lacked the frigid incisiveness in the eyes of the former or the imperious challenge in the mien of the latter, it was clear, direct, and unwavering. "Bylaws and accountability, right? 'Order.' We deal with our own. That means nobody who isn't one of our own needs to be involved, so all of this..." She gestured again, more expansively, as if to encompass the incomprehensible vastness of the growing rift between them. "Needs to happen at some other time and place than when we're exhausted and sitting in a secret government facility with reps from secret government projects- and the freaking Sheriff who knows all of our parents- hours after having nearly been eaten by whatever the hell those things were from some... messed up Wes Craven mirror world." Pausing to actually inhale, the animated redhead ran her hands back through the tousled mess of her red-gold hair, holding them there for a moment in frustration as she continued. "Look, we can do all the yelling and threats and all that on our own time, and if you guys want to strip down and go at it bare-knuckle in a field somewhere, I promise I'll split the ticket sales, but Cass gets the media rights." Glancing over at her plucky counterpart, the redhead managed a slightly crooked grin that just reached her eyes, and quickly faded. Her voice was almost imperceptibly softer, all the levity dissipating as the earnest young woman regarded the twins, hands dropping back to her sides. "But if you two don't want to be here right now, cool. I feel that. Seriously. Things are pretty fucked right now, and not likely to be any less fucked any time soon. Marissa's got my number, I can fill her in later. Go home, take a shower, light up...." Autumn paused, eyes darting warily in the elder Allister's direction, "...a candle, do a sheet mask, align your chakras, destroy someone's hopes and dreams, y'know. Self-care. Whatever you need to do." "Second. I'm holding my questions until we get some answers from the doctor here, because not all of us are freaking savages," she glanced disapprovingly around the table in a reasonably accurate imitation of her mother before addressing the officer present, "but... Major Taggart? I wanted to say thank you for earlier, for at least trusting the two of us enough to let us help. You took us seriously, and you didn't have to. So, thanks." "And, third. I didn't say it before, and I know we're not all friends here, but I'm really glad everyone's okay. Okay? Okay. Cool." She didn't give anyone time to respond, instead just nodding and moving ahead as if her cheeks weren't burning from the admission. "That's it. Dr. Cook, you have the floor," the restless young woman stated tersely, the warm blue of her eyes fading to an unwelcoming grey as she sat down again, the chair once more screeching into place. "Let's try this again."
  4. "Yeah. No pressure," she murmured, more to herself than anyone else. "Just let me know if anything starts to feel worse, or uncomfortable, or... weird, I guess. All right?" He nodded, and Autumn took a deep, steadying breath and leaned forward, gingerly reaching up to rest her fingers against Jason's temples. She didn't need to remind him to keep still or stay focused; if anything, composure seemed to be his default state. He watched her eyes, so near his own, go strangely distant, pupils expanding slightly as she looked not at him, or through him, but into him, her awareness extending from the gentle pressure of her fingertips through the glittering pellucid framework of his being. There was a growing awareness of his shine interacting with hers, the refractive precision of his focus helping to direct and shape the essentially restless, eager intensity that was immediately recognizable as Autumn. “Okay.” The redhead drew in another breath, then exhaled slowly, half-conscious of the cool, pale green of his eyes, their clarity oddly soothing- fixed points by which she could keep herself grounded amid the wash of unfamiliar sensations. She had a fleeting impression of winter, the vague sense of standing atop a frozen lake etched with crystalline fractal shapes like splintered glass, beneath the surface of which- fathoms below, in the shadowy emerald depths- something unseen and unknowable moved with predatory vigilance beneath her feet. It lasted only for a moment before she was once more aware of the physical presence of her friend, his essential vitality, and all the imperfections and flaws mortality entailed. As she concentrated, she became conscious of the rhythm of his breathing, of his heartbeat as faint echoes beneath her own, and, then- more keenly- of the jagged edges of pain that interrupted the otherwise smooth flow of energy through his frame. The colors and textures weren’t truly visible or tactile, but nonetheless seemed and felt very real to Autumn’s enhanced perception. Her mind recoiled from the injuries as she brushed against them, the near-physical experience of shared discomfort a reminder why she was doing this in the first place. Refocusing, she directed her thoughts to the connections between them, the open pathways forged by the contact of her fingertips against Jason’s brow, and allowed the power that shimmered in restless streams through her veins to flow through them. It wasn’t like the fight in the hallway- there was no sharp blossoming of sanguine energy in response to a threat, no vicious hunger uncoiling in scarlet ribbons beneath her skin, but rather the warm red of the sun at the horizon, the flickering edges of smoldering golden flames, the visceral glow of life itself that stretched outward and into the very marrow of his bones, the heart of the cells that sustained him. And then, for a brief, terrifying second, it waited, humming through the pair of them in a single current of potential, and she realized that this power came with a choice. His injuries and frailties, his strengths, the workings of his very corporeal existence were laid bare, vulnerable to the inexorable suffusion of vitakinetic energies throughout his body. In that instant she knew, somehow, how to relieve or exacerbate his pain, to further rend the bruised and lacerated tissues or encourage their mending, to alter the course of chemicals or the functioning of synapses to suit her intentions for good or ill. She’d never felt anything like it, the sense of being so intimately and fundamentally linked to another person on an almost cellular level, and as her focus wavered, the redhead blinked, finding Jase regarding her with that same incisive stare he’d worn the day before. She swallowed hard as a ripple of uneasiness passed through her, unsure how to proceed- before, everything had been almost automatic, but this was different. She’d been hurt, afraid, and instinctively lashed out to protect herself. Now, she was trying to deliberately use that same power not to hurt, but to heal. Breathing in, the uncertain redhead centered her attention on that implacable jade gaze and again got the sense of something inescapable and vast rushing towards her, around her, through her, an almost audible sensation this time- the susurration of wind through leaves, a river surging around stones, blood coursing through veins- -and that energy, the essence of Autumn extending within him responded, gently drawing the pain and fatigue away as discomfort ebbed and a sense of ease replaced it, coaxing greater efficiency from his body’s own inherent ability to heal itself. A slow smile of almost childlike wonder spread across her lips as she felt that shift, and yet, for all that she’d done what she’d meant to do… It wasn’t quite enough. They had no way of knowing how the Project would respond, and they couldn’t afford to be at any less than their best. Regardless of her own residual discomfort around him, or how others within the group perceived him, there was no denying that Bannon’s intellect and abilities were critical to their success… and, she reflected, feeling more than seeing the actual injuries he’d suffered, friends should be willing to do whatever was necessary. Whatever they could. Her smile faded by degrees, the line of her jaw hardening with resolve. She could do more. Autumn’s fingers slid into his hair as she exhaled/gasped with the almost instantaneous response to the thought alone, as if whatever power was contained within her had only been waiting to be freed. Heat and almost-light flowed out of her until she was dizzy with the sensation of being emptied, the rushing surge of energy swelling, rising as it poured through her fingertips. It swirled and eddied through his skull, spiralling beneath his skin in ardent lines to seek out the damage the two seniors had done, then expanding to envelop the wounded tissues, knitting them together again with a precision no surgeon’s tool could be fine enough to match. Nerves and capillaries, muscle and tendon and bone all stirred, resonating with the warm currents singing through every atom of his frame: loosened teeth tightened obediently in their sockets; the ugly split in his lip sealed neatly, leaving only a faint pink line that would be gone by morning; the swelling and bruising evaporated as blood vessels were woven delicately back together, and a dozen other tiny hurts and ailments were simply erased, carried away on that current as if they had never been. It was intoxicating- there was no other word for it- like the perfect buzz, the ultimate high, hovering just on the edge of being totally obliterated and incoherent, and... ...She could do more, which didn’t seem possible. It wasn’t, was it? Jase was fine, he was whole, he- No. He could be better. She could make him better, she realized, perfect those little mortal frailties and improve on them. She could do so much more- Reality wavered in front of her eyes and she felt her hands drop, unbidden, to her lap as a vaguely uncomfortable tingling fizzed and bubbled through her face and fingers, a weird, fuzzy feeling that drained the color from her features and- -Oh. Fuck, the suddenly exhausted young woman thought dimly as a wave of vertigo rolled over her, carrying her bodily backward onto the cushions with the force of it as it passed. Maybe I shouldn’t have skipped lunch? Her field of vision shifted as the room tilted and she saw Jase's eyes, no longer bruised or tired but bright and sharp, focusing on her as a gentle force she remembered from the training day grasped her body as she fell, lifting and steering her so that she didn't sprawl gracelessly on the seat cushions or slide to the floor, but instead came to rest sitting back on the couch, head back and unfocused eyes staring at the ceiling.
  5. "Be there for us? Are you fucking kidding me?" Her reply was an incredulous near-hiss, the faint flush of rose beneath Autumn's freckles having deepened to a bright, angry scarlet that only served to accentuate the livid bruise on her cheek. She stared at Devin for a long moment through narrowed eyes the color of ocean-born storms, had been staring since Cass addressed him in her own diplomatic way, frustration graven into the tense outline of her frame; it wasn't enough that he'd actively worked to make her life hell, now he was criticizing her for not calling him? What kind of fucking joke was this? The irate redhead inhaled sharply, resisting the urge to whip her water bottle at his stupid, entitled face only because she knew he'd end up teleporting out of the way, and someone else would get hit. "Jesus fuck, Devin," she breathed, half-disbelieving the sheer enormity of his ego as she raked one hand through her disheveled hair and glanced briefly skyward. Did he seriously just not understand that maybe there was a reason his name didn't spring immediately to mind when people- when she needed help? When neither answers nor a well-aimed lightning bolt seemed forthcoming, she sighed, her sharp grey-blue eyes once again fixing on his. "You-" she began fiercely, fully prepared to tell the obnoxious teleporter exactly what she thought of him and wipe that goddamned smug, smarmy expression off his face... but stopped short. It took a moment to register that right then he wasn't being arrogant, that the familiar broad, sweeping gestures and bravado were different somehow- more fragile, more brittle- forced, it seemed to her, almost desperate. Autumn recognized that look: the wide, darting eyes, the pallor of his skin and the tiny beads of sweat forming across his forehead, and the shock of that recognition left her momentarily stunned, dissolving the self-righteous fury she'd been ready to unleash and leaving in its wake an uncomfortable, less volatile emotion she'd never consciously associated with a Jauntsen. "You're really not okay, are you?" she asked quietly, wonderingly, and before Devin could respond, almost before she realized she was doing it, Autumn closed the distance between them. A dozen alarms went off in her head, shrilly screaming that he didn't deserve to be treated kindly- that he'd just laugh in her face and humiliate her, or make some stupid joke like he always did, that he wouldn't appreciate it- but her body was already in motion, arms sliding around the gymnast's waist as she pulled him wordlessly into a hug. Nervous as she was, she could feel his heart racing, pounding against the confines of his rib cage in remembered panic as her hands pressed gently, insistently against his back; there was the vague impression of movement, flickering energy and expansive spaces beneath her fingers, and she realized that what she was feeling was something intrinsically Devin. It was the second time she'd voluntarily hugged someone who wasn't a relative in less than a week, and both occasions involved someone she hadn't especially cared for, but... if someone was suffering, and she could help, wasn't she supposed to try? Even if it blew up in her face, it still felt, as she held the taller boy silently, like the right thing. She felt Devin freeze, sensed the coiling of confused tension in his body as he hovered on the threshold of pulling away or bamfing to another part of the room, or another part of the country, maybe; all he had to do was want to be somewhere else, anywhere else, and he'd be gone... but this was Autumn, who hated him, and the shock as he tried to process that fact was enough to delay his retreat. He wasn't used to being touched, not casually, and for a moment he just stood there awkwardly, arms hovering uncertainly at his sides as if he had forgotten they were there. It was an odd experience for him, to be embraced with compassion but not desire, to feel the quiet, grounding presence of another person transmitted through physical contact- a connection, of sorts, that hadn't existed a few minutes before. Slowly, and somewhat uneasily, he gingerly returned the hug, his arms going around her shoulders, and, for the first time all afternoon, Devin Jauntsen had nothing clever to say. ...for all of ten seconds. "You, uh, know I have a girlfriend, right?" he quipped, unable to tolerate the stillness any longer. The redhead holding him sighed audibly, drawing back to regard him with a rueful expression that almost, almost suggested a smile, or was at least the closest to a smile he'd gotten from her thus far. "Yeah, and she has a better chance with me than you do, so don't get it twisted, DeeJay," she retorted, pulling away with a huff and taking another drink of water as the fact that she'd just hugged Devin Jauntsen in front of everyone started to sink in. Eventually, they were going to need to have a conversation, at least if he was serious about wanting people to rely on him, but for now he seemed a little calmer, and he wasn't hurt- at least not in any of the ways she could do anything about. Focusing on that, rather than the surreality of what she'd just done, Autumn took a few steps away, putting physical and metaphorical distance between them as she allowed her awareness of the people around her to shift- an exercise that was gradually getting easier as she put it into practice. It was still... Well, weird, to be able to touch someone, or look at them and see the energy that animated them, the dynamic almost-light that moved in scintillating currents through their bodies, but it was fascinating, too, and kind of exciting. As she glanced around the room, it occurred to the restless teen that there really was a difference in how brightly its occupants "shone:" the new student, Sean's elfin friend, seemed vibrant to her altered perceptions in a way that, say, Sophia did not. Gareth Bannon and his friend, the infamous Hank Graskle, were likewise only faintly luminous, their pale incandescence as candle flames next to the brilliant flame of Cassandra, or even Jason himself, but there was still an undeniable brightness suffusing their physical being, a radiance whose ebb and flow she intrinsically understood as their essential vitality. With a slight frown creasing her freckled brow, Autumn returned her attention to the tall, quiet youth sitting alone on the other side of the room, her clear, sea-colored eyes re-assessing his condition; she wasn't Lona, and didn't have the other girl's gift for making people whole again, but if she could inflict pain, as she had on the two seniors in the hallway, maybe it was possible to also take that pain away...? As the others discussed plans for the future and relayed the events of the past to those who needed catching-up, Autumn herself focused on the present. With a crinkle of plastic, she finished off the last of her water and set the empty bottle on the table before heading to the couch where Jason was resting. "Hey," she offered by way of greeting as she took a seat next to him, lips curving into a faint smile that didn't quite erase the worry from her eyes. "How're you holding up?"
  6. Things were kind of totally fucked. Autumn sighed, her head resting on the back of the couch as she stared up at the ceiling, mechanically drawing the knotted cord back and forth through the hood of her faded red jacket. She'd learned a long time ago to sense an impending storm by the way the wind changed, the way it smelled and felt on her skin, and the air had begun to shift around them in tangible ways. Events were in motion, invisible currents redirected in ways they couldn't see and patterns they couldn't yet grasp- the fact that they had all ended up in the same place just before the Dark descended seemed to be proof of that. But how did it know to strike there? If they were right, and it was just this... force without a real physical presence, where were its eyes? How did it see them? Where were its limbs? How was it acting against them, unless it was acting through other people? Lifting her head, she glanced in Cassie's direction, eyebrows knitting in concern; if one of their group could see its movement in the world, track its path, was someone doing the same for the Dark? If so, could they find that person and blind it somehow, even if they couldn't eliminate it completely? With a quiet huff, the redhead leaned forward, propelling herself adroitly off the couch and onto her feet. "Okay, so," she interjected, her thoughts falling into place more readily as she started moving again. "Question. What is 'The Dark,' exactly? Because if it's just energy, or an idea, or some big black cloud of misery somewhere, that's a whole lot harder to fight than a bunch of nightmare-world hellbeasts we can hit with things until they stop moving. ...Regardless of how many of us there are, or who we're working with, or whatever. How is it finding us?" she asked, sea-colored eyes intent as she scanned the faces of the group, pacing over to the table to grab one of a few lukewarm bottles of water and cracking the seal. "How is it actually doing anything? A bunch of just, I don't know, mystical bad intentions can't see, can't touch anything, can it?" Autumn paused, taking a few more steps around the central table as she downed a quick gulp of water and shook her head, addressing everyone and no one in particular. "You guys keep talking about how huge and powerful it is, how much time and work it's going to take to deal with it. Look, if we can't get rid of the Dark in one fell swoop, we find the parts we can, and take it apart piece by piece. Start with the eyes," she suggested, taking another sip as she continued her slow circuit around the waiting room. "It's harder to defend against something you can't see... Which," the energetic teen added with uncharacteristic solemnity, "means we need to take good care of Cass, because she's seen it and can track it where it hides." Jason, from his seat on the couch at the far end of the room, nodded in agreement, his expression inscrutable as ever. "And if it does have someone or something acting on its behalf, they've probably had the same idea," she finished quietly, realizing she'd interrupted their discussion and turning the plastic bottle in her hands as her cheeks grew warm.
  7. Under Marias Medical Center - Team Pluck Autumn blinked at Cassandra as, without preamble, she suddenly started describing what none of the rest of them could see- and after a couple of seconds listening, it clicked that the pretty blonde was referring to the hellbeasts and the influence of the Dark. It was different from what she had experienced, but they could discuss the finer points and details of their respective perceptions later, when they'd dealt with the threat; everything else was trivial by comparison, and the information Cass had given them on numbers was useful, with or without context. Still... All of downtown? Jesus fuck, she reflected, aghast, the painfully livid bruise on her cheek only emphasizing her uncharacteristically grim countenance. But for all of those...ugh, things to be here, when it's spread so far... That's pretty goddamn weird, isn't it? Super weird. Unless... Maybe it started here. But how? Why? By the time she turned to face the intrepid teen journalist, Autumn realized the movement was only necessary because she'd been pacing, impatience and neurochemicals spurring restive muscles to action; she'd told both Cassie and Jason earlier that she wanted to do something, wanted to help somehow, and this was a chance to do that. It was important. Okay, sure, she didn't know exactly what she was going to do yet, and, yeah, the thought of getting her face eaten before she graduated high school was terrifying in a very visceral, trapped-in-a-horror-movie-franchise kind of way, but... Inhaling, she laced her fingers together atop her head to stop her hands from shaking, the movement pulling her faded Lewis & Clark Trail t-shirt taut over her chest as she forced herself to focus on what she could do right now, rather than what might happen in the next few minutes. Fuck it. Whatever. "I'm going," the redhead announced decisively, arms dropping bonelessly to her sides. "I'll help." She glanced over at her classmate then, who looked pale and not a little shaken, and laid a tentative hand on the other girl's shoulder. "Hey, listen," Autumn added a little more gently, concern and nervousness vying for control in the wide, grey-blue eyes that regarded Cass speculatively. "If you want to stay here, it would probably-" "No, our friends are fighting up there, and I want to help!" the oracular young woman insisted, her voice firm despite the tremor of nausea and unease that lingered in the wake of her reaching-out through the aether. Maybe if she stayed there in the ops center, she'd be safe, and it might give her a chance to learn more about what was really going on in the hospital, but she couldn't just sit there while other people were getting hurt- or worse- on her behalf. Autumn's lips compressed into something that was probably meant to be a smile, and she nodded. "Yeah," was all she said, and then glanced back at the Major, untying her hoodie from around her waist and pulling it on. "Tell us what we need to do."
  8. Under Marias Medical Center - Team Pluck Autumn exhaled slowly, willing her hands to unclench and counting to four as she bit back the angry retorts and refutations that sprang to her lips; she needed to focus right now, which was hard enough without the sarcasm of the 1st runner-up in the Queen Bitch pageant. She took another breath; the athletic young woman could practically taste the adrenaline flooding her system, bitter and sharp on the back of her tongue, even as it elevated her normal level of restless energy to a near-visible vibration in her limbs, a noticeable tension in her posture just on the cusp of motion. Whatever had happened down there was apparently happening upstairs too, where Jason- where her friend was still injured... and, the plain redhead of Shelly High reasoned that if Cook and Courtney had made it down the hall from the elevator unscathed, whatever she'd sensed on the other side of the doors hadn't come through them yet. She hoped that was good news. Glancing at the Major, and then back toward the departing Captain Williams, Autumn hesitated, weight shifting on the balls of her feet. Did they know what they were walking into, the repulsive mockeries of life that were waiting for them? Would ten people, even well-armed ones, be enough? Maybe, if they'd dealt with them before... Fuck. How the hell did this even happen? At the trailer, it had seemed like the teenagers themselves had been transported when they'd adjusted that radio-or-whatever-the-hell-it-was, but what would it take to move an entire hospital? What the fuck did they do?! "Excuse me, sir?" she turned, her gaze direct and alert amid the flashing blue lights as she addressed the man who seemed to be in charge. "I don't know if this will help them, but there were about a half-dozen... things on the other side of the fire doors." With a sidelong look at Cassandra, she added, "Maybe more."
  9. Marias Medical Center: Team Pluck What the fuck. What the actual- No. No no nonononono. This is not happening again, oh fuck me, it is not happening, Autumn insisted silently, as if the simple act of refusing to accept the unfolding nightmare could somehow stave off the madness and horror it brought. But the alarms going off in the hallway were just as loud as the ones in her head, and for all their screeching, neither drowned out the short-lived scream of someone on the other side of the doors who could no longer hear them. And suddenly, the redhead realized she couldn’t think of it as just a nightmare anymore, because she had just... ...listened to someone die. “Fuck,” the terrified young woman breathed as hot tears rolled down her cheeks, her back pressed to the wall near the fire doors. She wanted to throw up, felt her stomach knotting in revulsion at the oily sensation of diseased corruption in the air, at the faint, sickly-sweet smell of burnt-sugar she recognized from the woods, at the sudden realness of what couldn’t- shouldn’t be real, but that would require time she didn’t have. Through the wall, she could sense… something moving. Several somethings, things that she instinctively felt didn’t belong here, and every impulse and instinct she possessed pushed her away from the wall, propelled her forward- first at a jog, and then a dead sprint toward the door Cassie had entered. She couldn’t explain the shift in perception any more than she could explain the rest of what was going on, but she wasn’t about to question its accuracy, not if it helped keep them alive. There was a momentary, irrational pang of regret as she bolted away from the doors and the unearthly terrors behind them, as if she were somehow abandoning people- but the men and women on the other side of those doors had guns and training on their side, and the two teens did not; if they couldn’t hold their own, there was nothing she- unarmed and inexperienced- could do to help them. Survive. Whatever it takes, just keep going. Autumn barely slowed as she neared the office, instead grabbing the door frame to shift her momentum and skittering, breathless and wide-eyed, into the room just as the elevator chimed softly down the hall. “We need to get out of here,” she gasped as she tried to catch her breath and slow the frantic pounding of her heart. Cassandra could see genuine, bone-deep fear in the other girl’s pale features, her eyes a strange green-grey in the unwholesome light as she glanced quickly around the room. “Like, right now. And we can’t go through those doors.”
  10. Tuesday Afternoon - Marias Medical Center Directory, directory... Okay, seriously? she grumbled inwardly, pressing the ice pack to her bruised jaw and grimacing as two of the facilities staff rolled past with a cart of cleaning supplies, chatting about the previous night’s episode of “Mindseeker.” It was more or less the same tone the orderlies and deputies had used when talking about the “Bannon kid”- I have no personal investment in this subject, and don’t really care what happens, because it doesn’t affect my life in any real way. It stung, a little, that until recently she’d thought of Jase that way herself, and the realization was enough to quench the nascent flare of indignation on his behalf. Maybe she’d get a chance to check on him before she left, say hi to his dad or something… Jason was in pretty rough shape, and based on their talk at the farm, Gar might not handle it all that well. Autumn mulled that over as they walked, her sneakers quiet on the polished floor. The two girls had been wandering the hallways for several minutes without running into either a reception desk or someone they recognized, and while that meant no one had stopped or questioned them yet, it also meant there was no clearly-designated person to ask directions. It seemed a little odd that, despite the number of people in uniforms busily milling about, no one had offered to help them thus far, or done more than give the teens a cursory glance. Were clueless-looking teenagers such a common occurrence at the medical center that no one noticed them anymore? Maybe everyone was just crazy busy, or just super uncomfortable interrupting someone who was on the phone; for all Autumn knew based on the rumors she'd been told, they were being monitored from a closet stuffed full of computer equipment somewhere, so nobody who worked there cared about underage trespassers. Under the circumstances, it's not that she particularly wanted special attention, but the pointed lack of it seemed either rude, creepy, or both. "Oh, for crying out loud, did they design this place to be confusing, or what?" Autumn muttered under her breath, restlessly scanning the signs and pinboards that occasionally interrupted the otherwise sterile, featureless walls. The whole place was immaculate, clean and contemporary, and if she'd never heard anything about Dr. Cook or the sinister-sounding "Project," she probably would have been impressed with the setup. "Deeefinitely a possibility," the pretty young journalist next to her replied airily, rolling her eyes for dramatic effect and miming a talking mouth with her free hand. The redhead grinned at that, in spite of the twinge of pain it caused, and returned her attention back to scanning the hallway for anything that might help them navigate the maze of white corridors. There was something compelling about Cass's improvised performance, a certain degree of confidence, as well as the aforementioned "pluck;" even if the inquisitive blonde wasn't sure what she was going to find, exactly, she still needed to look, and that was a sentiment Autumn could definitely appreciate. As they approached another intersection, a large, glass-covered rectangle caught her attention and she paused, tapping Cassandra on the shoulder. "Hey, ask if three o'clock is okay," she suggested, meeting the other girl's gaze before darting a glance in that direction: just around the corner was a directory of the ground floor and quick reference of the other areas of the medical center. Holding the ice against her cheek, Autumn took a deep breath and walked over to examine the names and numbers listed there, feeling a tiny knot of anticipation coiling eagerly around itself in her stomach. She was nervous, sure, but it was like the feeling just before getting on a brand new roller coaster, or leaning out to rappel down a ledge- once you started, you were committed, regardless of what happened. And, there it was, near the top of the list, in crisp white plastic letters on a grey background: Dr. J. Cook. Diagnostic Medicine. East Wing. And, conveniently enough, a little further down, Vending. “Think he’s in there?” she asked, slate-colored eyes scanning the board for other useful points of reference as Cass appeared next to her and covertly snapped another pic. “One way to find out,” the intrepid reporter grinned, and the two girls wasted no time heading further into the complex.
  11. Tuesday Afternoon - Marias Medical Center "Yeah," Autumn replied, nodding distractedly as she watched the glass window in the exam room door. Her feet swung idly from her perch on the paper-covered table, heels softly tapping the metal base. Ever since the fight, she'd been thinking about what had happened- what Jase had said about the Dark manipulating Mark and Curtis, which was creepy enough on its own, and... whatever it was she'd done to them. What the hell was that, anyway? It definitely hadn't felt like the meditation exercises at the farm, that was for sure. She was still aware of it too, a not-quite physical sensation that seemed stronger, more real when she focused on it; here, though, it was different, the odd impression of color and reactivity more subdued. Maybe it- the Shine, or whatever- was just responding to the threat, or maybe to her emotions... Which might explain why it changed...? Could it do that? "Let's see if we can find an ice machine," she continued after a moment, shoving complicated questions to the back of her mind to focus on the current situation. If nothing else, Cass might have some answers since she'd been dealing with the whole thing longer than Autumn had, and she felt kind of trapped in the tiny sterile room anyway. "We should probably make it quick, though. I know they've called my mom already, and if she has to track me down, I'm gonna need more than an ice pack to recover." The redhead's grin was slightly strained from discomfort, but genuine as she slid down off the examination table with a sigh of relief. The moment her sneakers hit the floor, she was in motion, headed toward the door and the hallway beyond.
  12. Autumn Keane Autumn Keane and Jacob Crocker broke up because they found out they're related. Gross. Autumn has a crush on Lilly Pryor. She broke Curtis Denicott's leg or something because he was messing with Jason Bannon at school. No, there's no punchline. She's only making friends with Marissa Jauntsen so she can get back at her. Autumn's addicted to Adderall. Seriously, the girl can't sit still for 10 seconds. Autumn is either a witch, or part of some weird military training project. Nobody spends that much time in the woods "just because." When society collapses, Autumn and Cade Allister are going to be the last ones from Shelly High to survive. RIP humanity. Her parents were going to buy her a car, but she turned them down. Who does that? She used to party a lot more, but after the Halloween bonfire last year she was up for three days straight and quit taking designer shit completely. Autumn's dad is gone all the time because he has someone on the side, probably another family. Autumn's mom has been sleeping with Nathan Crocker while her husband is away. Nathan is Autumn's real dad. Nathan is Autumn's Daddy. Autumn's grandfather had a secret prepper bunker on his property, which is why her family won't sell it. The Kavanagh and Crocker families are part of a cult going back to the founding of Shelly. Caroline Kavanagh's stroke was a cover-up for the fact that she was murdered. Yasmeen, the movie theater manager, sells Autumn weed at a discount in exchange for "favors."
  13. "Why is it I always get hit in the head when you guys are around?" Between the clamor of the assembled crowd and the incoherent moans of Curtis Denicott, all the sound in the hallway had merged into a featureless wave of noise, rising and falling in patterns that seemed completely meaningless to the shaken redhead; if her gaze hadn't been drawn to Bannon as he moved, laboriously, to retrieve the lunch he hadn't gotten to eat, Autumn probably wouldn't have realized he'd spoken at all. She stared at him for a moment, some of the choleric tension in her expression easing into concern, and turned wide eyes on Cassie as if to say, "Is he serious?" It was an absurd question in ridiculous circumstances, and despite the grimness of the situation (or perhaps because of it), she found herself laughing somewhat dazedly in response as she pushed carefully off the lockers and took a few tentative steps toward him. "Are you okay?" she asked, smiling faintly, then blinked down at the tall, well-thrashed young man seated on the floor, and blinked again, eyes stinging as she processed how very not okay he looked. What kind of fucked-up question is that? He just got his ass kicked by two guys a hell of a lot bigger than he is. He's pretty fucking far from okay, Autumn. Jesus. "No," she amended, cautiously sinking to her knees on the blessedly cool floor in front of her friend, settling so that her face was roughly level with his. "That was a stupid thing to ask, wasn't it? Can I-" Gingerly she reached out, still trembling from the adrenaline rush, and rested her palm on the back of his hand in what she hoped was a reassuring gesture, concentrating on steadying her voice as well as her nerves. "I'm just gonna check you real quick, is that okay?" The reserved youth nodded once, very slightly, pale green eyes- brighter, sharper somehow in contrast to his bloodied features- considering her in the same focused, eerily attentive way he had at the farm the day before. Even with all the other distractions, she could still feel her cheeks growing hot under the intense scrutiny, and silently prayed to any gods listening that nobody would notice in all the chaos. Reaching up with both hands, his new friend brushed the hair from his face, lightly running her fingertips over the brow bone and resolutely ignoring both the audience and the proximity of the sharp, glacial eyes she was studying. She couldn't feel anything unusual there, or across the top of his cheekbones, although his left pupil was slightly larger than the right, which she was pretty sure they'd told her in first aid could be a sign of concussion... With a sigh, Autumn remembered what they'd worked out on Sunday, focusing for a few moments on the faint, icy thrumming of Jason's energy beneath his skin, beneath her fingers, and allowing it to resonate with her own- and grimaced, suddenly, as she became acutely aware of all the injuries he'd sustained. Bruising around his ribs, but nothing broken, lacerations, and oh goddamnit a mild concussion- "You got hit." The redhead blinked, startled at the sound of Jase's voice. It wasn't quite accusatory, she thought, but maybe something similar, and not quite a question, though there was a hint of that in the tone, as well. It was almost... childish. Maybe he was having trouble concentrating? "Yeah, I know, so did- Hey," she protested as he reached out, carefully nudging Autumn's chin to one side to regard the angry red and faint purple that had slowly begun to obscure the freckles on the side of her face. "So did you. A lot," she added, gently tugging his arm back down and away, glancing briefly over at Cass to confirm she was making- or, hopefully, had already made- the necessary calls. "So try to stay focused for me, okay? We can't both do this at the same time. If you wanna look me over later, O Impenetrable One, fine, but let's concentrate on you for now."
  14. What the actual fuck?! Before Autumn had even managed to cross the few meters between them, before she'd had time to register movement or shout a warning, Jase disappeared behind a wall of man-shaped muscle and rage, and for a moment it felt like all the oxygen had been sucked out of the air. The sound of his body hitting the metal lockers, the shouting, the impact of knuckles and elbows on flesh, the frenetic thudding of her heartbeat in her chest- it was all a dull, strangely distant roar, as if she were hearing it underwater. Stop. STOP IT! She couldn't get the words out, couldn't force them past the almost painful tightness in her throat. It was like a nightmare, trying desperately to scream when she could only manage a whisper that was quickly swept away by the tumult and chaos, the vicious currents of violent geometry. He can't fight them both off, not at the same time! ...And yet, the memory of what he could do- what he had done at the trailer, what he had, by all accounts, done to Liam- blazed into life at the forefront of the terrified redhead's mind as her friend, her friend hit the floor. She had the vague sense of something moving, a torrent surging not behind her this time, but through her, and realized she was running. "Knock it the fuck off!" The lively young woman's voice, choked and angry, was almost unrecognizable in her own ears, and as Mark glanced up, the heels of her hands struck him solidly in the chest, sending him staggering back a couple of steps. The surprise in his eyes at having been hit, having been moved at all, lasted only an instant, being quickly replaced with an unrelenting malice that seemed utterly alien within the structure of a human face. Autumn had just enough time to process that, shock registering on her own freckled features, before he grabbed her wrist in a meaty hand and twisted. A jagged lance of pain shot up her arm and arrowed down into her fingers as she gasped, instinctively moving to alleviate the pressure, but the older boy just grinned and turned it farther, until she was almost on her toes, a sudden wash of tears brightening her eyes. "Mind your own fucking business," he ground out through clenched teeth, and the redhead whimpered, clutching his arm with her other hand as if she could somehow stop him from snapping her wrist through sheer force of will. With her newfound awareness, she could actually feel the strain on the delicate bones and ligaments as they approached the breaking point, the sensation drawing a tortured cry from her lips; just when she thought they would snap, a sudden rush of crimson bloomed in her mind, deep and intoxicating as any wine she'd ever tasted. It sang through her veins as it spread, hot and eager, racing furiously, gloriously, through her fingertips and into the thick forearm of the brute holding her. The sound was quiet at first, lost in the chatter and whooping of onlookers, but gradually grew louder, more intense until it was all she could hear: a quiet, almost girlish moan transmuted into a guttural howl of anguished rage as the nerves in Mark Belcher's arm shrieked in protest and failed, his primitive brain temporarily overwhelmed by its own capacity to experience pain. Flinging Autumn aside, he stumbled, nearly losing his balance as he shuffled, disoriented, across the blood-spattered floor. Dizzy and disbelieving, the redhead regained her footing and blinked down at her hands: apart from some redness that might turn into bruising, there was no perceptible difference, but she could sense it, whatever it was, just beneath the surface of her skin. She glanced in Jason's direction to confirm he was all right, when a flicker of movement out of the corner of her eye reminded her with sickening clarity that there had been two aggressors. An explosion of blinding white agony filled her consciousness, obliterating any sense of coherence or equilibrium the freckled teen possessed as Curtis cold-cocked her solidly in the jaw, his fist nearly large enough to cover the entire side of the young woman's face. She hit the ground, hard, sliding backward on the waxed tiles as the brief moment of silence resolved into a chaotic chorus of distant voices. Her hands scrabbled dazedly for purchase on the cold floor, every survival instinct in her brain warring with the almost total loss of spatial awareness. Get up! it hissed/screamed in some primal, wordless demand, but her vision was all swimming light and dark and smudges of color, and there was no "up" to get to. There was no conscious thought, no plan or consideration when his shadow loomed over her- only impulse, bright and sharp as the taste of blood on her tongue. The lumbering darkness in front of her deepened in warning, and, desperately blinking away the tears clouding her eyes, Autumn planted her palms on the tile and kicked. The first time her foot met with his shin, she was rewarded with a grunt of pain, but little else. Vague shadows resolved themselves into the shape of a face, an arm, a fist- Gritting her teeth, the redhead screamed in defiance and kicked again, her vision washed in scarlet as the sole of her shoe connected with something that shifted unnaturally under her heel. In that split-second, Autumn knew, intimately, the fragility of ligament and bone, felt the upwelling of crimson exhilaration humming through her, and- I want you to know how proud I am of you, the wasted, parchment-skinned figure whispered urgently up at her from his hospice bed, a terrifying whistle beneath his words. Don't ever forget that. Curtis shrieked, a haunting, agonized wail echoing through the crowded hall as he crumpled to the floor not far from his intended victim. As he writhed, howling in helpless anguish and clutching feebly at what he knew were the shattered remnants of his knee, the dishevelled teen's freckled features tightened in grief and anger. Choking back the sob that clawed at her throat, Autumn slid backwards, bracing herself against the lockers as she slowly worked her way back up to her feet.
  15. It was impossible for Autumn to both focus on the conversation Cass and Bannon were having and "review" the section she had totally already studied over the weekend in between all the other things that had happened. Fortunately, she was pretty sure Jase was gradually working his way through the entire catalog of the Library of Congress, and since they were just getting into the introductory chapter, it was probably fine. ...She hoped. The scuffed toes of her grey Chucks tapped arrhythmically on the floor. Maybe they weren't just waiting, after all. "So," the redhead interjected quietly, chin resting on one hand as she stared at the space between two paragraphs. "I've never really been into the Sherlock Holmes stuff. I mean, it's interesting, and the movies were cool and all... I'm just-" Autumn paused, catching her lower lip between her teeth as her brow furrowed, and the faint, percussive sound of her shoes on the tile slowed. "If you guys are doing something, I want to help. Ever since last week, it's been like... Like things are happening to me, or around me," she continued, her tone underscored by a growing intensity despite the low volume, a frustration so vehement it was practically a vibration humming through her body. "I hate it, feeling like I'm just being carried along. And I'm tired of waiting for the next thing. If you can give me more info on the cat, my mom's a vet. I can try to find out what's up. If you need somebody to watch your back with Cook, say the word. Done deal. I just need to fucking do something, y'know?"
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