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Jaunt last won the day on April 3

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  1. It shouldn't take long after Devin and Tawny's blow out on September 4th for the rumors to begin as to the reasons why. More than likely it will center around Tawny finally dating someone (which is in line with Marissa finally dating someone too), so there's no telling what the student body will come up with. Fellowship shouldn't have any trouble getting word that Devin and Tawny had an apocalyptic blow out and are no longer friends. Especially with Tawny currently dating Jacob, Autumn's life long friend. Whether they care or not, is on them.
  2. New Divide I remembered black skies The lightning all around me I remembered each flash As time began to blur Like a startling sign That fate had finally found me And your voice was all I heard Wednesday, September 4, 2019 Marias Medical Center. Evening. Hospital staff stood behind their stations and patrolled the halls on their rounds as Devin made his way through the white tiled passageway within Marias Medical Center. He recognized a few of the faces from the secret base in the sub-basement levels beneath the complex, the ‘security’ here were sometimes swapped out with military personnel to better keep an eye on everything going on both above and below ground in the strange town of Shelly, Montana. The plastic wrapping in his hand crinkled as he held the several flowers wrapped therein tightly. Roses, her favorite. White, pink and red petals offered a contrast to the bland white walls and doors and the ugly woodgrain handrail that split the hallways down their center. The familiar scent of all the sanitizers assaulted his senses while in the back if his mind he mused that with all the time he’d been spending here recently that they should give him a job. He tapped three times on her door before letting himself in. With a nudge of his shoulder, he rolled along the door and into the room Tawny had been calling home for the last few days since her abduction and assault by the Not-Cody creature. She was still in bed, IV running and heart monitor still beeping away despite her being in relatively good health. She was tapping something away on her phone as he entered and her face lit up, her smile a panacea for the all the negativity in his life lately. “Heeeeey,” she beamed as her phone dropped into the roiling folds of the fluffy blanket her parents had brought her from home. She leaned to face him, holding her arms out wide expectantly for the hug he owed her. Tightly he held onto her, the plastic crinkling like a bag of chips with a very low chance of surviving an upcoming movie night. “Are those for me?” She asked when they finally broke their embrace. She already knew the answer, but like most people, didn’t assume. “Um, y-yeah,” he replied almost breathlessly. He didn’t understand why he was so embarrassed or anxious to be delivering flowers to his best friend. “Hope you like them; I got your favorite. Figured some color…” he paused and looked around the room where a variety of floral arrangements from her own family and the families of the Fellowship along with what everyone at the school had sent her and realized that, maybe he thought too small. He hesitated with his next words, something uncommon for the normally flippant teenager. “Oh, uh...,” he chuckled. “Guess you kinda got the hook up on color. My bad.” “They’re beautiful, thank you.” She smiled back, punctuating his chuckle with one of her own. “Guess all it takes to get people to stop treating you like a bible thumping freakshow,” she gestured at all the arrangements. “Is to get kidnapped by a demon. Who would’ve thought, right?” Devin smiled, but he didn’t say anything. His eyes seemed lost in all the arrangements and as he looked at them, he seemed to look past them. “Hey, you okay? I know that face. What’s up?” “I uh,” he approached the other arrangements strewn all over the room in front of her bed. They covered the stand under her television, they were resting in the chair, on the windowsill, everywhere. “I just have a lot on my mind. Not sure how it all fits together or what I should do about it all.” He placed the roses with another arrangement, resting them gently alongside the one the PTA had sent her. He saw the small card his mother had signed with a few words of well wishes. His stomach tightened at the thought of dealing with his family after he’d left Marias. “But, it’ll work itself out or it won’t right?” “In time,” she said cheerfully. “Anything I can help with? I’ve been out of the drama for all of forty-eight hours, I’m famished. Oh, how’s Em?” “She’s okay, I guess.” He shrugged and approached the foot of her bed. “We visited you yesterday, but you were still pretty tired. We caught you sleeping. Look, um, I know Marissa can be a pain in the ass, Tee, but,” he paused, taking a breath to collect his thoughts. Here he was, fighting with his sister and the two of them weren’t talking and yet still, he couldn’t help but defend and protect her. “She really does care about you, you know? It broke her heart to see you hurt, Tee, like someone had gone after family. I just wanted you to know that… she does love you.” She gave him a confused look as if to say ‘why are you telling me this’ with nothing more than her expression. “Devin,” her voice wavered as her confusion found its way into her words. “I know that. Marissa’s mean girl act hasn’t worked on me since I told her about my Chris Evans dream and she told me about her Mathew Daddario, Zac Efron and Emeraude Toubia four-way fantasy.” Devin tilted his head slightly at that revelation. Tawny just shrugged, seeing the ‘WTH’ wrapped tightly in his expression. “I know, I know, the girl needs Jesus. Like, for real.” “No,” he shook his head, managing a half grin. “She’d probably sleep with him too.” A snort escaped Tawny before she covered her mouth and then face in mild embarrassment. “I shouldn’t laugh at that.” The corners of her wide smile were escaping along the edges of her delicate hands. Still, he hesitated, despite the ice breaker his mind was still wrapped up on all that had happened, how he felt, what he’d gone through and the revelations he’d discovered in his, and the Fellowship’s, venture to rescue her and Sophia from the Hellscape the Not-Cody was hiding in. Still though, how was he supposed to come to terms with feelings that he didn’t even understand. Last week he was telling Tawny, and getting yelled at for it, that he couldn’t or didn’t, rather, love her the way she loved him and now here he was… trying to tell her how he felt, and he couldn’t even get the first sentence out. Christ, dude, come on. Just tell her. He mentally chastised himself. “So, um, I came to realize something too,” nervously he picked at the footboard of her hospital bed. “I, uh… I uh, know that we kind of talked about this last week, but uhh…” She chuckled, finding his bashfulness to broach whatever subject he was trying to touch on. “Deej, come on. It’s me. You can tell me anything. We talked about a lot of things last week, be specific.” “I want to be with you.” He said with more conviction and honestly than any words he’d ever spoken in his life. “Something changed when I felt like I would never see you again Tee. My heart, I guess… realized I am wasting an opportunity to be with that someone.” “You loved Lona two weeks ago,” she countered in a tone that told him she was not finding this joke at all funny. “Yeah, I know, I know…” he raised his hands to his head, shaking them as if to clear his mind from a fog. “Look, Lona and I didn’t last long, and I care a lot about her. She opened my eyes to the fact that I could, maybe, possibly be wrong about overlooking people superficially when they are, in fact, truly wonderful on the inside. So, yes, she holds a very special place in my heart, no doubt.” He sighed deeply. Resting on the footboard of her bed he leaned in on the support of his arms and looked at her. “But when you were taken, something in me Tee, something in me just woke up. For you I could overcome any fear, fight when I have nothing left, for you I’ve literally walked through Hell and would do so a thousand more times.” She shook her head as the anxiety goblins began tying her gut up into knots. “Devin, no,” she said calmly. “Don’t. Don’t do this.” She’d just been told she could go home in the morning; she was looking to getting her life back in order, she’d been talking all morning and afternoon with Jacob: her new boyfriend. Her first boyfriend… and in came the whirling dramanado that was the Jauntsens. If she swore, then the Devil would be blushing with the thoughts in her mind that were swirling into storm clouds. “Do, what?” He shrugged. “So, we’re from ‘you can tell me anything’ to ‘anything… except that?’ I can’t help it Tee, it’s been eating me alive and with all the other crap going on in my life I just wanted to come and get it off my chest, to tell the one person in my life who understands me better than anyone that I get it now. I was an idiot, I know that, but you were right. I was blind and being stubborn and I was letting the greatest opportunity in my life get away from-” “Let.” She corrected him. When he stopped to process her reply, she looked at him with serious eyes. “You let me walk away. Deej, I’m sorry. I’m with Jacob.” “For Homecoming, yeah, I know. I’m taking Cassie. It’s no big. I’m not saying right now, Tee. You’ve been through a lot and I’m not trying to push or anything, we both have plans for Homecoming. To not make it weird we just go about our lives, and we can maybe talk later, after afterwards, you know?” He shrugged with a weak smile on his face. She’d never seen Devin unable to muster his iron-clad composure veiled behind quips and sarcasm, yet here he was, barely able to argue his way out of a hole he’d dug for himself. “Lord in Heaven, Deejay, you’re not listening. No. Not just for Homecoming,” her cheeks reddened as the blonde bit her lips and shook her head in frustration. She bordered on furious, and her day was going so well too. “You destroyed me that day, Devin. Ruined me.” The redness in her cheeks began to swell into moisture in her eyes. “I quit pining for a guy who was never emotionally or mentally available for me, let alone mature enough to think that maybe, just maybe that if he wanted to be loved he had to try and love me back. You don’t love me, Devin. You love the idea of me: pretty, fawning all over you, willing to just do anything and everything while I hang on your every word-” “No, Tee, it’s not like-” “No, you spoke, it’s my turn.” She practically snarled at him as the first tear ran down her cheek. “And now that I’m with someone, now that I’ve gotten over being that stupid obsessed girl who’s been in love with you since the day I met you, now… now you want to come in here and ruin that for me, too? How petty are you? You don’t want me Devin, you just don’t want me with him.” She’d not gotten over him and she knew it. The thought of Devin being in love with her and them being together was something she’d dreamt about for years, but there was just too much hurt now, too much drama. She knew the moment she ran to him it’d be great for a few weeks until he got bored and ran off to some new crush. It was Devin, after all. “No.” He argued. “I don’t care that you’re with him, I don’t. I dropped the ball, I get that. Tee, I’ve never been surer of anything in my life, and we have years of friendship. You’ve been seeing him for what? Less than a week? All I’m asking for is a chance, I swear to you I’m not the guy I was-” “A week ago?” Her lips pursed in doubt and she goose-necked like she was straight outta Harlem, were they pulling girls aside in school now and showing them how to scold dudes? “You managed to find some life affirming guru on a mountain summit who’s totally made you rethink how much of an unfaithful, immature, emotionally unavailable jerk of a man-slut you are who, after three frickin’ years still doesn’t even know my favorite flowers are daisies! Daisies, Devin! My best friend of three years would have known that, but I suppose it’s hard to hear me talk about my favorite things over the sound of your own inflated ego whistling one-liners and balloon-farting your ‘oh-so-cooler than everyone else’ macho bull crud at decibels only you can’t hear! You don’t care about anyone but your own selfish, arrogant self!” The words escaped her lips before she thought about what she was really saying. Maybe it was the pain meds she was on that had dampened her usual bright and cheerful filters or maybe, she was just mad at him, and the drugs helped her finally speak her mind to the man who’d kept breaking her heart and making her a love-drunk laughingstock. Either way, what she said wasn’t intended and she certainly felt, now that she’d heard it out loud, that it was far harsher than it needed to be. “Wow,” all he did was nod slowly nod his head. Sobriety came swiftly after words uttered behind anger and fear. She cupped her mouth briefly to collect her thoughts and finally, as she lowered her hands, calmly tried to make amends. “Devin, I didn’t mean it like tha-” “Like what?” He backed away from her bed, arms splayed out, putting himself on display for more judgements. “How many other ways can that be meant? What guru on the summit are you talking to that can make ‘you’re a shit human being, Devin’ come out sounding like ‘wow, I’m so glad we’re friends, bestie’.” Now it was Devin whose eyes seemed to moisten as anger and embarrassment mad their home behind his eyes. “It’s all good though, Theresa.” Like an angry parent, the use of her given name told her that he’d taken what she’d said really personal. “Better the truth is out there to avoid confusion later. So, you have Jacob, cool. Enjoy. Sorry to bother you with all this petty bullshit I call ‘my emotions’. It’s just me being immature, I guess, but don’t worry, it won’t happen again.” “Devin, I didn’t mean it like that.” Truer words were never spoken. Tawny loved Devin, she knew she always would and knew in her heart that she never wanted them to be apart. Even if they never ended up together, and realistically most high school friends didn’t, she just wanted him to always be in her life even years from now when they both had families of their own, meeting up for a weekend barbecue or horseback riding. She was not a hurtful person, she didn’t entertain negative thoughts about people but when it came to her best friend, the love of her life… well, he just got her so dang gum mad. He was everything she just said he was, but also wonderful and loving and compassionate… and the hospital drugs really weren’t helping. “I’m just angry and overwhelmed. They have me on som-” “No. You spoke. It’s my turn.” He tok’d that back at her with the skill and grace Serena Williams going for a gold. “You see me in the halls? Keep on walking to Jacob. You walk past my house? Keep walking to Jacobs’. I’m sorry to have bothered you with all my petty, immature bullshit.” He turned to walk away and made it three paces before he suddenly turned back to face her. “You know… I don’t even know why I bother with people anymore. You’re all the same. I’m done with you. All of you. You and Jason and Autumn, Marissa and my parents… I mean Jesus fuck! You think I don’t know how I am? You think I don’t know? I invented me, and I can reinvent me. So, keep on seeing whatever person gives you the best reason to make whatever excuses push you through the day just so long as you, and everyone else, do me a favor, Theresa… just keep. Fucking. Walking. I’m already tired of protecting a world that can’t even protect itself.” “Devin!” She raised her voice above his raising up to her knees in the hospital bed to assert a measure of control over the situation. “Lord in Heaven, calm down! I said I didn’t-” She winced, her eyes squinting at the sudden blast of violet energy and displaced atmosphere. She sighed and collapsed back into her bed, choking back tears as her best friend just literally broke up with her before teleporting away with the last word. “Oh…” she sniffled, wiping her cheek. “That is getting so dang annoying.” The night air was bitter and cold, but Devin didn’t feel it. He was numb from pain and emotional anguish. He shuffled down the residential street, he wasn’t sure which one and he didn’t rightly care, his arms slouched, and his head seem to hang lazily on his shoulders like it was too heavy to be supported by his lack of caring anymore. Cars were parked on either side of the road, shadowed by the dull white light of the streetlights that bleached the road in a slick sheen. His breath danced in the air as the Montana Autumn was swiftly gaining traction in the small northern town. The streets were empty and the silence in the air was almost deafening when one was left with nothing but their own thoughts. A thousand things danced through his mind like a parade of mad demons in the narrow hallways of his headspace, opening every door they passed screaming loudly and stepping in long enough to trash the place and then move on. His mother was a roving nightmare and anger and selfishness on par with his sister. All she wanted was control over her children and their abilities, possibly in some scheme to profit from the stardom that could come from them being some new manner of ‘super beings’. His father put up a good face in public and he’d play the good dad role for a few days at home, but soon it’d be right back to the bottle and not caring what his son or daughter was doing or whose lives they were ruining. Marissa was just typical Marissa, unwilling to accept her part in any of the fiasco around her but quick to remind everyone of their part. The Fellowship was a mess. They didn’t want leadership or oversight to make sure they were going to perform their duties of protecting the world responsibly, all they desired was the free reign to act with impunity on the off chance they screwed up and could shrug and pull a classic ‘my bad’ and go on through life ignoring that it ever happened. Yet he just couldn’t bring himself to care. Maybe Jason was right. Maybe life was just as easy as he made it out to be just do whatever you want, hurt whomever you please and just shrug and say ‘I did what I did, oh well’. After all, no matter what Devin did or how hard he tried no one was going to see him as anything more than the wise cracking, afraid of commitment, smart ass, right? Being tasked with protecting the world, seemed like a waste of time. Sure, Cassie deserved to have her father back and that… other kid deserved to be home with his family, but… why was he fighting to protect a world that didn’t want peace or happiness? All the people of the world just wanted to fight and judge and cast stones at everyone else. He should know, he did it all the time. Maybe Jason and the Fellowship were right: no leadership, no rules, just everyone doing as they please shrugging off the responsibility. He stopped and inhaled, letting his breath clear his thoughts. Yes, the world was a stupid place and didn’t make any sense. Yes, The Fellowship didn’t make any sense either, but they didn’t want leadership and oversight, so they weren’t his problem to deal with unless they threatened the world. It would have been so easy to simply pull a Joker and have a ‘wait til they get a load of me’ moment, but that just wasn’t him. Let the world and everyone in it see him as the selfish, quipping, smart ass. With a shrug he could remind them ‘yup, oh well’ and get onto important things. Let the Fellowship stay stoned and keep dealing all the drugs and sit about playing all the video games and doing airplanes in the yard until they were blue in the face. They weren’t his problem. He exhaled softly, relaxing. He’d told Tawny how he felt, and he meant it. They were done, sure, and just because he didn’t want anything more to do with her didn’t mean those words were hollow. Love didn’t die just because friendship did. He knew what she thought of him now, and that was fine, it was certainly her right to do so and he couldn’t say, honestly, that he was blameless. Whether he was at fault, in whole or in part, wasn’t the issue, the issue was: sometimes the hero didn’t get the girl, sometimes the hero didn’t get the happy ending he was hoping for, but he still had a job to do. She was with Jacob now, and Jacob would protect her while Devin protected the world and that’s just the way it would be. Let them stay stoned and wasted. Let them play their video games and waste away. Let them love and be happy. Let them be. Devin Jaunt had a job to do.
  3. Devin, Week of Labor Day/Ep. VI: Off-Camera: Devin will dedicate a lot of time to recovery, giving his self time for his injuries from the fight with Not-Cody to heal. He will continue his usual workouts, but at a lighter pace as to not aggravate any of his existing injuries. School and After-School Vignettes: Wednesday: School. After school he will go visit Tawny in the hospital. Thursday: No school. Charlie's funeral. If Cassie’s player is around and able to commit to the time, Devin and Cassie could get together later that evening. If Cassie’s player is not available, Devin disappears right after the funeral. Friday: Devin will be gone. Saturday: Devin will be gone. Sunday: Devin will be gone. TBD: Devin will approach Taggart about proper training. Devin will need more that +1 Harsh Language and Witty Quips to defeat The Dark and if the military isn't smart enough to realize that, then he'll come to accept that they are fucking retarded and seek out Cade's grandfathers in the hopes they will train him in the ways of Murder, Death, Kill. Get the plans for Site B and begin reviewing and memorizing the lay out and working with the other specialists and officers on a plan for breaching the facility. He will also perform distance recon to survey the site and understand it's exterior. Co-Op/Multiplayer with Marissa on the Library of Shadows side-quest.
  4. Devin had barely said two words to his sister after the arguments from the night before. Marissa and their mother were shouting at each other for a couple hours and when that was over the younger twin retired to the upstairs and started on her brother. It was probably the loudest they’d been with each other since they were, ten? Twelve, maybe? They didn’t fight often but when they did it was obvious in the telling behavior that both seemed ‘off’ in some way. The usual ‘synched’ nature by which they, as twins always seemed to move in, think in, talk in, just wasn’t there and they seemed like two totally different people let loose from a hive mind; confused and overwhelmed by the world around them, alone and exposed. That was how Devin felt now, alone and exposed as he walked down the halls of the school towards his locker taking in the gossip about the week’s events. He was a hero in one tale, Jason and Autumn were the hero in another and somewhere in it all he just stopped listening… or caring… he wasn’t sure which happened first but by the time he got to his locker he felt like the only person in the school, just alone and uncaring. “Wow,” Courtney’s voice broke the melancholy silence and deepening void of his empty locker. “So much hate and anger. Are you going all darkside, Devin? You would be so hot as a goth. I will personally buy you your first pair of leather pants and mesh shirt, I swear to God.” His shoulders slumped and he sighed, rolling his eyes as he turned to face her. “What’re you talking about?” She waved her palms in circles all around his space. “This, dude, woah. You are all kinds of out of whack. What the hell happened?” The lovely redhead meant his aura, the emotional state that she easily read from people that only her and an exceedingly rare few others could read. She saw emotions like colors and waves of heat or coolness that wafted from an individual. “Are you okay? C’mon, it’s Courtney, talk to me. I even have black eyeliner if you want to borrow it.” “Nothing to talk about, I’m fine.” He lied with the select choice of words that told the listener everything was far from fine. “And I don’t want any eyeliner, Christ. My parents had a meltdown after the meeting last night. Marissa and I are not to be involved in any thrilling heroics and can only,” he paused and looed around, noticing that they were really the only two in ear shot. Still, he lowered his voice and leaned closer to her. “Use the Project’s facilities to test our abilities to make sure there are not physical or mental drawbacks.” Courtney raised an eyebrow and looked at him like he was delusional. “Seriously?” “Yeah,” she thinks we’re going to teleport to Fiji and get cancer from the trip or something, I don’t know.” He turned back to his locker and began setting his things for the day inside. “I don’t know, she’s crazy, hon. Probably just looking for some way to turn royalties from us, who knows?” “Shit.” She curled her nose pouted her lips a bit. “Sorry, Deej. Wish there was something I could do. Hey, cuddle therapy later?” She gleefully giggled in his ear. “Always works for me.” “I’m not sleeping with you, Courtney,” he smirked, shaking his head at her persistence. She shrugged and backed away, grinning herself. “Today.” She corrected him. “I’ll wear you down.” She nudged him with her elbow. “Kidding… kinda, but hey if you need someone to talk to, I’m here. Where’s Em?” “Dunno,” he shrugged, still placing his books in his locker. “We’re not talking right now.” “Oh, shit,” she took a step back and placed her fingertip on her chest to express her shock. “God damn, what the hell is going on in this school? You two are thick as thieves.” “After the fight with our mom last night she came in and started on me. We fought.” He didn’t look at her but stopped his organizing of the day and shook his head. “Like, really had it out. We’ve only done it a few times in our lives, but we’re getting older. The words are harsher, the buttons we’re going for are easier to press. It was bad Courtney, I mean bad.” “You want me to go talk with her?” She showed more care and concern in her voice than usual. With the excising of the tree and the cancer that it brought to Shelly, she’d felt like a haze had been lifted, a weight from her shoulders, so to speak. She could think clearer, and generally had felt better about her mental health in the last forty-eight hours than she had in years. “No, it’s fine,” finally he turned to face her, his tone was still barely more than a groan. “She needs a day or so to calm down, I do too, I think. Things are just,” just then another redhead approached. Laurie Cassidy looked rather basic and plain by comparison to the fiery goddess of fashion and popularity that was Courtney Adams. Her jeans didn’t stack up to the expensive skirt Courtney wore and her tee shirt was laughable in the presence of the designer red top Shelly’s second-hottest student was wearing… and she wasn’t even going to consider the designer push-up lingerie underneath it all that made every curve of her body pop and got her into all the college parties. Devin offered the new arrival a nod to acknowledge her. “Messed up, right now, you know? Probably best to leave it be for now.” “As you say,” the beautiful redhead said with an uncaring shrug. She side-eyed Laurie and permitted herself an evil smirk at the sophomore’s expense. “Seems someone wants to talk to you, so I think I’ll go find your sister and do the exact opposite of what you suggested.” “Thaaanks,” he replied with a slow drawl. “Appreciate that.” “Cassidy,” Courtney smiled to Laurie after her acknowledgement and offered Devin a ‘mwah’ before strutting off. “Adams.” She shared her brother’s dislike of Courtney. After years of bullying and torment from Shelly’s equivalent of aristocracy, she harbored no positive opinions of her fellow redhead. Still, a part of her was anxious and even envious of the entitled little tart. She was good friends with Devin and was an example of the sorts of women he hung around with. Although she hated to admit it, over the last few weeks Laurie had found herself developing a small crush on Devin and despite knowing how ludicrous that sounded (even in her head), still, she knew what an attraction felt like, and this was it. It sucked too. Now she couldn’t help comparing herself to all the other women Devin hung around with and keep making comparisons of them to herself. Courtney was beautiful and although lacking in kindness possessed a link with Devin on flirtation level that made her uncomfortable just listening to. She knew they weren’t serious, but also knew she could never flirt with him, or any guy like they did, oh, and she was beautiful. Tawny? Although very down home like Laurie was also so beautiful and was so alive and had a connection with Devin on an emotional and personal level that seeing them together laughing and joking it was almost impossible to think they weren’t already dating. Autumn, Lilly, Cassie… the list went on and Devin always around attractive women and no matter the forum was always carefree and unphased; always capable of being himself and owning a room. He was handsome, charming, athletic (God was he athletic…) the list went on and, in the end, like most times she’d thought like this her brain eventually reminded her of the very simple truth: he was out of her league. Men weren’t the only ones who went through dating anxiety when is came to those were attracted to being ‘better than’ or ‘out of their league’, and when it came to Devin, he was on a level she couldn’t hope to reach, and, in part, some of that anxiety was the fault of her own insecurities. Laurie, however, wasn’t any of those things. She wasn’t beautiful by the standards Devin surrounded himself with, she certainly did not have superpowers, save being invisible to the guys she was attracted to, and didn’t possess that connection to him that the other women in his life did. Like his sister had pointed for the last several years: Laurie was a nobody. A saving grace in her favor was: it was Devin. Crush on him or not, attainable or not, Devin wanted to hook up with any woman who gave him more than half a second’s notice, making him not the sort of guy she should, or would want to date anyway. It would end horribly so it was fortunate that he was so far out of her league. Still… he was certainly good looking and being seen with him did wonders for her popularity at the school. Win, win. Hey, the Twins weren’t the only one’s who could play The Game at Shelly High. “S’up, Red?” Devin asked her. He’d noticed the way she seemed lost in thought in as Courtney was walking away and felt she needed a jostling into the present. He looked at Courtney as she walked away, her hips swaying in that practice manner Marissa taught her, and then looked back at Laurie. “She’s trying. I know that’s hard after all she’s done, but she’s trying.” “What?” She asked, suddenly realizing Devin was talking to her. “Oh, no, I’m not thinking about that. Still, it is kind of weird, her being decent to me and Sean now. Her and Marissa are trying, so I’m willing to be civil.” “I think Marissa is done with people for a while, so don’t expect too much.” She couldn’t help but notice his dispirited tone. “You okay?” “Not really,” he shrugged, blowing off her question with an answer that just begged for more questions. “But no amount of talking is going fix it. IT’s one of those things you just have to ‘get through’, you know?” “Yeah,” the sophomore nodded through pursed lips. “I won’t interrupt your brooding for too long then,” she managed an awkward smile that seemed bolstered slightly by Devin finding that amusing and smiling along with her, though it was short lived. “I just wanted to say thank you for the text last night. Sean filed me in everything, but still, it felt nice to be included. You guys have been really chill with me, letting me in on all the secrets and I appreciate it.” “No sweat,” Devin offered her a compassionate smirk. “I’m glad he filled you in too. Secrets are like cancer around here and all those older and wiser than us seem to think they’re protecting us from ourselves by making sure we’re kept in the dark about things we need to know to protect them. It makes no sense to me, honestly, but look, we’re all in this together so don’t ever hesitate to come to me if you need to, okay?” “Thanks,” mentally she scolded her brain, absolutely forbidding it from making her cheeks redden, but it didn’t listen, and she could feel warmth flush her freckled features. Why did he have to be the nicest jerk in the world? “Um, probably not my business… but, uh… things were pretty heated in there last night. You guys hash that out? You all cool with each other again, or…” she used ‘or’ as some used ‘so’ as punctuation, hoping he would fill in and end her sentence for her. “How many guys on the football team are you friends with?” he asked. “Uh,” taken off-guard by the question she simply shrugged out her first thought. “None, I guess. They’re all immature assholes. Compounded that my brother and I are kinda on their shitlist at the moment hasn’t help my opinion of them much either.” “But for an hour you’re legion. Dedication and motivated towards victory because you’re a team. Your personal issues are put aside because winning is more important than pettiness.” He stated. “That’s kinda EmJay and me with the Fellowship. All of us were chosen to do a job, so we’ll be there, we’ll be legion, and we’ll win, because what’s at stake is more important than our differences. That’s what a team is.” She frowned. That wasn’t exactly the answer she wanted, but she heard hope somewhere in all of that. “Sorry to hear that, but surprisingly deep coming from you. I’m impressed.” “Yeah,” he managed a smirk. “I’m…” “I know, I know,” she rolled her eyes, giggling. “’All kinds of impressive’. Legend in your own mind, more like.” She managed a laugh, but noticed he didn’t do more than smile and seem to silently agree with her jokes. He must have been in a bad place, she thought. Devin was supposed to be the happy, go-lucky, comic relief… how bad were the issues with the Fellowship, she had to wonder. “Hey, um… walk me to class?” “Yeah, sure.” Her crush’s morose tone didn’t instill much confidence in his willingness. “Come on,” Laurie huffed. “Quit being so glum. Walk with me, talk with me, and I’ll try to boost your popularity a bit. Y’know, given what I have to work with and all…,” she shot him a smirk. “Oh, well,” he swept his arm out for her to lead the way. He seemed accommodating and open to the humor, but his voice and body language told her that his heart really want into it. “By all means, lead the way. Whatever I can do to repay such a kindness, do let me know.” “Oh, I will, no worries.” Freckled cheeks flushed as the enamored sophomore led Devin down the hall. She did most of the talking while they talked and they did their best to ignore the inane rumors and hushed whispers of typical high school politics…
  5. "Always," Devin replied to Teresa. Again it wasn't that he said it was in the how he said it. Devin could make anything sound like he was any girls next Prince Charming. He turned his attention to Cassie, that million dollar, child-star actor, smile looking handsome as ever on his features. "I'll, um, give you a call or a text, kay? If you're up for it, I could really use a shoulder to vent on." Whish she knew he meant 'neck to hickey on', but it was Devin so you had to take it for what it was worth. "I uh, I gotta get going," he looked towards the door where his parents had already filtered out in pursuit of the furious Marissa. "I have a feeling things are about to go nuclear when we get home, so... y'know... if you've been saving some dank memes to lighten my mood, tonight would be a good time." "Keep us posted, okay?" His homecoming date asked with some concern in her voice. "Sorry again." "No, it's fine," he shrugged in an attempt to maybe shake off the invisible monkey on his back. "Had to happen eventually, so... sooner the better, right?" He smiled at them both. "G'night Mrs. Allen, Cass."
  6. As the Jauntsens stood they produced business cards, much like Annette. Why an administrator at a school would need a business card wasn't particularly clear, but then, the parents didn't know that Misti, despite being a total bitch, was a PhD in Behavioral Sciences with a Masters in Psychology. "We're going to make sure the rest of these people have our information since Mrs. Giles made it abundantly clear that her organization in completely inept at keeping its assets safe and incapable of providing us any measure protection, it appears we are all we have." "No, Mom," Marissa sneered as she collected her large designer bag and stuffed her phone and note pad back in it. "They are all you and dad have. We're done with you. And if you think for a second you're going to find some way to profit from our abilities, you're gravely mistaken." "Marissa," their mother glared at them, keeping her voice low. "You and your brother are already on thin ice tonight. Don't push your luck." "Or what?" Her daughter glared back. "You'll send me to a military academy? Do it. In eighteen months they have to let me go and I'll not only have my abilities, but I'll have the rest of my life to dedicate to ruining yours." Misti seemed taken off guard by the sudden hostility but was also fully aware that her own daughter was a borderline sociopath, after all, she (sort of) raised her. "I'll meet you at the house, let me know if I need to start packing." With that their daughter simply scooped up her bag, tossed it on her shoulder and stormed out like one would expect and angry teen to do, her heels thumping on the carpet before clacking loudly and echoing in the hall outside. Misti sighed. "Unreasonable, as always. Devin, talk to your sis-" "Nope." Devin chuckled and shook his head. "This is your mess. Like she said, we're done. We put up your bullshit all our lives. Controlling us, trying to profit from us. Never once letting us just be kids and now this? You clean it up. Excuse me, I have something I need to say to someone." He was still an obscene amount of pain, like every muscle was pulled and aching all at once, but he felt he could he might be able to pull off one good, short distance hop. Besides, all the parents were in the know now and Devin loved to show off. Before his mother could enact a reply his eyes shimmered purple and his form broke down into lavender and purple motes of millions of atoms and... he was gone. Popping out of sight of his mother and reappearing in front of Cassie and her mother in a violet shimmer and soft, audible *bamf*. Mrs. Allen jumped with a start, even Cassie flinched, closing her eyes and flexing her fists tightly until her nails were digging into her palm. All the parents, at least those who'd never seen what Devin was capable of, couldn't help but stop and just stare in silence for a moment, unsure of what to say or even do after seeing something like that. Fists clenched, Cassie took a breath and glared at Devin. "I hate when you do that." His shit-eating grin didn't calm her mood at all. "Just wanted to catch you before you left," he said, dismissing her complaint and dodging her being mad at him like he usually did. "Hey Mrs. Allen," he nodded and smiled at her. She didn't say anything, just awkwardly smiled and nodded back. "Look, Cassie... I know you're mad at me and you're right, you totally should be." The son-of-a-bitch went and turned on his charm, taking special care to make sure that anyone could hear him if they were interested in listening could hear him paint himself as the cavalier willing to swallow his pride and apologize to his Homecoming date without a care as what others thought about him. "Things got heated earlier and I was a complete jerk. I just wanted you to know that I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I was wrong and I'm sorry."
  7. “Well,” Misti’s voice rose after Lilly’s with that ever present, condescending sneer. “That’s a very impressive speech, young lady, but rest assured my husband and I will keep our own counsel as to what manner of activities our children will be participating in.” “Hostage rescue is best left to those with proper training and authorities,” she looked at Cassie’s mother without a single expression of compassion in her features. “It is regrettable that your family is going through this sort of experience, it truly is. As Ms. Giles already pointed out, these people already opened fire on soldiers, once. What do you think they’ll do when your daughter is in their sights?” She looked to the other parents and continued. “Or your son, Miyakko. Or your son,” she looked to the Cassidys. “Regardless of how confident they believe themselves to be they are still children. Whether they choose to accept that or not is not the issue. The actions of the Bannon kid alone and his blatant disregard for the law is proof enough that they are not responsible enough to bear the burden of these abilities. The boy is a high functioning psychopath, and you want to turn him lose on people? American people at that?” “This is, without a doubt the most difficult thing to process in all my years, and I’m not saying I don’t believe it. I’m saying that until Devin and Marissa are eighteen their welfare and well being are our responsibility, and I’m permitting them to run off into some dank mountain cave to fight demons or monsters or whatever the hell-“ she rolled her hand a bit, over and over, to express her uncertainty. “That we simply just cannot allow.” “Mom!” Devin protested. Marissa craned her head, fuming. “You can’t be serious! We’ve already-“ “Enough,” was all she said as her glare reminded everyone who Marissa’s mentor was in the Evil Queen department. They way the twins lost their fire in a heartbeat made it obvious that despite all their rule breaking and do-a-they-please mannerisms, they were still beholden to the rule of their parents. “This is bullshit.” Devin raged with enough attitude to remind his friends that he was the guy who tackled Chet and broke his nose for no apparent reason. “Another word,” she rose her finger to silence them. “And I will have you both in a military academy by weeks end.” Both of her children glared and squirmed like they wanted to burst with expletives. “Try me.” “That out of the way,” she composed herself and continued as her children stared daggers at her. “Mrs. Giles your facility seems to be the only in existence that specializes in these sorts of phenomenon and so I’m willing to let the past be the past, since it’s obvious no one really seems to be aware of their children are doing or where they are.” The slight jab she took at the competency of the other parents didn’t go unnoticed. “These abilities do need to be understood as well any possible detrimental effects they could have on their bodies in the long-term. We can arrange times for them to meet with your staff and assess their potential and an any possible side effects, but they are, under no circumstances, to take place in military, or para-military endeavors they may place their lives or the lives of others at risk.” “If you truly wish to help our children understand these strange new abilities, then prove it by helping them, not sending them off to be slaughtered.” Misti and Annette locked eyes and it felt like a comic book where both parties were shooting eye lasers and the strength of the beams just kept shifting slightly in the favor from one of them to the next, but neither said anything at first, they just stared and postured as they prepared their next argument.
  8. "Seriously?" Marissa head dipped in absolute wonderment that Sean waited until now to bring up the Todd information. "Christ Sean, that would have been nice to know around the same time we decided Site B needed to happen." She raised her hands up in surrender. "You know what? Fine. I-I don't even care. I can't even care at this point. We are going to end up dead, or worse at this rate. We're an absolute hot mess." Devin sighed deeply, obviously irritated (some more). He just shook his head and like his sister raised up his hands in absolute surrender. "Just tell us what your plans are for Todd and we'll work them into the rescue, I guess. Now, instead of infiltrating and locating one individual, we need to scour the facility for a second one, which Cassie could have been doing already, and hope we can make it to them. Great." He chuckled as he leaned back. "I give up. I just... I plain give up. Maybe I just don't comprehend the intricacies of your dizzying intellect, but you win. You guys officially win. I have given up."
  9. "Lilly," Marissa said calmly, her tone almost enchanting. "Enterich is a fear demon, he got to you and me as well. I know it couldn't have been easy, and we're all here for you, but there is no lack love within the Fellowship. I literally went to bat for these nerds and I'll do it again in a heartbeat. But we don't agree philosophically, morally-" "Ecumenically." Devin added. His turned to him and just shook her head. "Stop helping." "What?" He shrugged. "I thought you were doing a 'thing'. A pirates 'thing'. Fine... go ahead, whatever, man." She sighed and continued. "Look, we might like everyone the way you'd prefer we did, but that doesn't mean we're not a team. We have to be because we're the only ones who can do this. People don't like us because we're domineering and opinionated, we get that, but we're decisive and results driven. A few of you are about as useful as a glass hammer when it comes to getting things done in a manner that won't have us lying to authorities or racking up a series of felony charges. Like blowing up a bridge, for example. We're not directing our ire at a single individual, although a single individual is responsible for a majority of the poor life choices." "We are concerned about how other's actions reflect upon us," Devin chimed up, helping his sister out properly. "America is hardly the land of tolerance and understanding and we are freaks, mutants. Unlike some whose opinion is to burn and decimate anyone who comes at them, we'd prefer to not have the CIA, FBI or our neighbors trying to kill us because one of you decided to get retarded. You want freedom to do as you please, so we're giving you that freedom, go nuts. You're Annette's problem now, we don't know what else to do." "Uhh..." Carl raised his hand. "Smilodon? Implants?" The twins just sighed and shook their heads.
  10. "I've one, yes," Misti rested her arms on the table, allowing them to lend her support as she leaned in a bit in her chair. "Precisely how many times were our children used to perform covert raids on terrorist cells? That you or this Taggart are aware of, of course." Marissa rolled her eyes while shaking her head but went directly back to swiping on her phone. She didn't let is escape her that she'd left some finer details out, but that wasn't on Cassie. Devin noticed too, he just was done caring. The the teleporter rolled his eyes as well and allowed his head to collapse into his arms on the table. After a moment there was a 'thok', 'thok' sound as he tapped his forehead in frustration on the hard wood. "Christ, Mom," he complained. "Do we trust them? Not really. But no one made us do anything. We chose to go after Etienne on our own. These guys," she gestured to Annette, since she seemed to representing all the 'they's' this evening. "Couldn't have stopped us if they wanted to." Carl also leaned into the table, cradling one hand into his other. "Wait, wait, wait..." he shook his head. "This Etienne guy is who now?" Marissa didn't look up from her phone and the tone of her voice couldn't sound anymore bored than she actually was. "He's some Canadian guy, kinda hot, sexy accent. I guess he was some prodigy who graduated high school, got a degree and managed to get through spy school all in before he was twenty three, twenty four? Anyway, despite all those skill he decided to work for cook so he could sleep with high school girls." Her mother's gaze slowly panned and fell upon her. Marissa was unwavering thought and simply shrugged while meeting her mother's stare. "I know. I didn't understand it either." It was Carl's turn to roll his eyes and he exhaled softly while shaking his head. He plucked up his bottled water and smirked to Annette. "You wouldn't happen to have anything stronger, would you?"
  11. "Leapfrog ahead?" Devin said while Cassie reached for her water whet her throat after part one of the Fellowships epic tale. "You left out the part where you came to my house that evening and totally went all handsy on my abs." Cassie's cheeks swelled like a chipmunks when she choked on her water and her mother turned her head a shot her a look of pure 'excuse me young lady'? Devin flipped his finger about his mouth, calmly advising Cassie. "You got uh... a little something... um, yeah... you two hash that out..." He nodded to the ladies while Devin earned himself baleful glares that demanded blood and pain from Cassie while a few others from the Fellowship, well used to his antics by now, tried to suppress a grin. Devin may have been an irritating guy most times, but he was never short of entertaining, especially in these rather tense moments. He produced his phone and showed it to everyone then looked at Sean. "Dude, you mind?" He then slid his phone into the center of the massive table. "For those of you who don't know, I'm an artist-" "-and here we thought you were some punk who whose only talent was running his mouth and torturing our kids." Sean's father Jack interrupted him. Whatever temporary truce had been struck between them before the Not-Cody battle seemed to have dissipated at the news of Devin jaunting their daughter half way around the world to do God-knows-what, at God-knows-where. Through pursed lips Devin nodded and soaked it up. The Fellowship could tell, just form his poise and tensed nodding that Devin wanted to go balls deep and run a train on Jack's attitude, but instead, he composed himself and smiled politely. "Fair. I do talk a lot. So, I'm going to let that go because your daughter kinda has a thing for me-" "NoIdon't!" Laurie swiftly intercepted the conversation and then looked at her parents like she'd been accused of something she didn't do. She shook her head at her parents. "I don't." "-and," his glance across didn't go unnoticed. "Redheads are all the rage right now." There was an audible 'thump' from under the table as Marissa suddenly shifted, but never allowed her attention to be pulled away from the table. Devin grunted and tensed to one side, the side closest to his sister. "You were saying, Deej?" Marissa asked him, her lips curling into a smirk that falsely told how she was hanging on his every word. "Anyway," he grunted, collecting himself from the stabbing fist that met his side just moments prior. "Sean, you find it?" "I've found a lot, dude." Sean said, his eyes glossed over as a terabyte of data flowed through his mind in a series of 1s and 0s. "Is there any girl at school that hasn't sent you a selfie?" "There's a few I wish hadn't..." Devin added with a hint of sarcasm. "Me too. This whole phone needs to be set on fire and tossed into a volcano afterwards." Sean added with a grin of his own. "I think this is what you meant." From Devin's phone there was a brief upside down pyramid of light that encompassed nearly half of the the table itself. All the angles were visible, though see-thru as in its center Sean pulled the images from Devin's phone and in two dimensions, like large playing cards, the artwork Devin had drawn of all the monsters they'd faced rotated there in the center of the table. Sean's mind manipulated the data while simultaneously manipulating the light waves in the room to turn that data into floating holograms. "I've drawn dozens of them," he continued. He pointed to the one Sean was rotating, a blackened cloud of ink and tentacles with a gruesome jaw of sharp, stiletto-like teeth. "That's what came after us in the forest that night." The artwork scrolled and rotated, lingering long enough for all of them to see. It wasn't just the monsters that Devin had drawn, he'd illustrated entire scenes he was present for, providing a still frame visual of everything the Fellowship had gone through, like a story book others could follow along to as Cassie talked. Every argument was drawn in detail, the Fellowship around the table fighting like cats and dogs, Clara and Devin yelling from opposite sides of the room at one another as Lilly stormed out in frustration. The creature they battled not far from the old trailer, the one that nearly tore Devin's leg off, was brilliantly displayed in a scene where everyone was doing their best to not lose their shit as it's barbed and mouthed tongue was wrapped around Devin's leg as he screamed and frantically tried to crawl away. He'd captured the essence of The Dark wondrously with graphite and charcoal, a monochromatic testament to the visceral beauty of horror. "These are what keep me up at night, Mom, Dad. The night terrors, the insomnia, me spacing out and staring at nothing for minutes on end. We've asked all of you here today because despite our differences we've all managed to do what needs to be done to protect Shelly and it's people. Were you to ask me a month ago if I were to be hanging out with Sean, or Autumn? Hell no. I'd probably be beating up Sean in a bathroom or tipping Autumn's books out of her arms so I could watch her bend over to pick them up." Her glare told him that she was not ammused. "What? You might have been a pleb, but girl, you still got dat peach, hnnng." He flexed his fingers like he was squishing something soft. "Ah, the good ol' days," Marissa added with a smirk as she reminisced. "But we can't do this alone," he continued, shelfing his antics and soberly addressing everyone once again. "We can't carry this burden on our own, we need help and lying to all of you doesn't help us or anyone else. We need you to understand that a few weeks ago we were all punk kids, sure, but now... now we're friends." He chuckled. "Horrible friends who still don't trust each other, but we're getting there... slowly but surely, I think. So watch," he motioned to the pictures then to Cassie. "Listen. And while you may not trust us at first, I think we'll get there, slowly but surely." Annette surprised a smile behind her steepled fingers. There were times she wished she could bottle whatever it was the Jauntsen children had in their words. At only sixteen, they had a knack for working a crowd and she hoped that between Cassie, the twins and the testimony of the others, this night would end on a positive now.
  12. "Far as I know, ma'am," Devin answered Cade's mother with one of the first times any of them had heard him sound respectful to an adult. "Apparently, blindly opening a cross-dimensional portal and pulling nine people through it ruptures every blood vessel in my body." He shrugged nonchalantly and chuckled. "Who knew, right? I feel like went an entire practice against everyone on the football team without any pads on, but aside from that I think we're okay." "I'm not sure whether it's stubbornness, our powers or pure tenacity that keeps up all stitched together, Mrs. Allister," Marissa added, looking up from her phone. "Physically, it seems I'm healing faster than I should, so there's that. Mentally and emotionally, however... well, I was almost swallowed whole and torn to pieces by Lovecraft's illegitimate children. But respectfully, how does the medical profession define the term 'healing as it should' after one is almost torn apart by other-dimensional monsters?" "It's a bit stressful," Devin cut in, before his sister's words got to scathing or had a chance to be sharpened to a fine edge. "We've a lot on our plate right now and we've barely slept, let alone had a chance to rest or recuperate for days now. There's always something everyday we have to do or someone we have to save or somewhere we have to be..." "It's called growing up, dear," Misti happily cut in with a honed edge of matronly sarcasm. Marissa rolled her eyes as Devin's narrowed. "Is it?" Davin asked. "Just out of curiosity how many ancient dark gods have you and dad had to take on your professional, adult lives? Hmm?" He leaned in like he was listening for something he wasn't hearing. "Is that a 'none'? Yeah, don't confuse being in the bleachers with a lost of good play ideas for actually being on the field. We're not pulling down nine-to-fives, Mom-" "-we're almost being bitten in half. We're being shot at, we're damn near killing our selves every time we push our abilities because everything out there," Marissa pointed to the door. "Is ancient, powerful and evil and we're a bunch of high schoolers who by all accounts shouldn't even be out there having to do it... but we are," her words were hiding the growing flood of emotions she was keeping in check behind her robust levy of composure. "And we're doing it to keep you and everyone else safe. So please, stop with the patronizing 'growing up' crap." "It's not 'growing up', Mom," Devin's words were calm and compassionate as his voice emulated the caring tones of someone trying to make another understand. "It's duty. We were born for this. We're the only ones who can do it. We don't like it sometimes, sure, or even each other... but if we don't hold the line no one else can. There won't be anyone else who can protect you or Shelly or the rest of the world. It just," he shrugged. "Is what it is."
  13. The Juantsen family met at the medical center. The twins meeting up with their mother and father after they had spent some time speaking with Tawny and Sophia, both of which were still tired and frazzled from the previous day’s events. They didn’t press any issues with the two victims of Not-Cody’s violent kidnapping of them and were, thankfully, still unaware of the full extent of the suffering Sophia had endured. Still, they had an opportunity to at least make an appearance and remind them both that they were in their thoughts before leaving them to rest. They hadn’t spoken much to their parents about what powers they possessed or any of the Branch-9, Project/Crossroads, although they had given vague explanations, so they weren’t walking in blindly. Still, as they entered the room it seemed more like a setup for government head hunting than it did an opportunity for the families of the children to speak openly and honestly amongst themselves. The room was bugged, the government lap dog was sitting patiently and professionally at one end of the table, and she even offered false platitudes in her greeting and spouted the obvious ‘I’m just here to observe and mediate’ garbage. The problem Annette faced with the Jauntsens was that they were all very intelligent and proficient manipulators, and to them, this was seen for exactly what it was: an opportunity to observe, collect, and produce intelligence work on the families of the children who possessed extraordinary powers so that could disseminate across the various government agencies. “Thank you all for coming,” Annette said as the Jauntsen family took their seats. She noted how Misti, Devin, Marissa and then finally, Carl, sat, sandwiching their children in between them, a classic ploy to allow the to deliver looks, gestures or even a touch without having to move to far. They weren’t the best of parents, but they were here thinking of the best way to keep their children from saying of doing anything that might be used against them. “The others will be here shortly, I’ve word they’re on their way.” “So, this Proteus organization… you’re what?” Carl asked, craning his head a bit to imply a measure of distrust. “Research, Special Ops?” “Perhaps it would be best if we saved questions for me until the end, after the ‘Fellowship’ has had their opportunity to say their piece.” Annette’s smile was textbook, her words carefully chosen, and she noticed the way Misti seemed to be paying less attention to what she said so much as how she said it, reading micro expressions, measuring the flush in her cheeks, her pattern of eye movement. “Afterwards I’ll conclude with a few words to help alleviate any concerns.” Marissa sighed and rolled her eyes. “Christ. Crossroads and Proteus are essentially the same thing, they look for people like us, study us, find out what makes us tick and-“ “-essentially put a collar around our neck to make sure we’re jumping through the hoops that benefit their agenda.” Devin chimed up to finish his sister’s thought. “The difference is Proteus at least seems to have some manner of moral compass, so in the end, they’re not so much our allies as they are business associates and the lesser of two evils.” “That’s not entirely accurate,” the beautiful liaison said calmly but with still a hint of frustration in her voice. “And a bit unfair.” “From your point of view,” Marissa’s reply was like a swift razor blade seeking a throat to cut. “We did battle with an ancient demon who kidnapped our friends and where were you and Proteus and Branch-9? We had baseball bats and tire irons, where was Proteus and Branch-9? Jason was almost killed today in retaliation for my spying on Enterich at your request. Where was Proetus and Branch-9? We wanted to have a calm meeting of the families to sit and discuss everything that’s happened to us up to this point and tell our parents what we could do and how we wanted to apply these new found talents-“ “-oh, wait… here’s Proteus and Branch-9!” Devin expressively held out his hands placatively towards Annette, feigning trying to convince her of what he was saying. “‘Don’t have it in the comfort of your own homes, please, allow us to escort you to an isolated wing of the hospital by way of military escort and feel free to make use of our most-certainly observed meeting room. Please. All we want to do is help’.” The twins did not seem at all pleased with Branc-9 or Proteus and the hard gaze they both gave Anette spoke volumes beyond their initial appraisal. “I’ll tell you what unfair is, Ms. Giles: when it’s easy not to believe in gods and monsters until you wake up one day and realize you are one. Then spend two months trying to figure out which one you are all-the-while trying to piece together which of these factions wants to be buddy-buddy with you now simply because you can make their lives really complicated if you're not on their side." Annette sighed and cast a glance at their parents while trying not to say any more than she had to. “Don’t look at us, Ms. Giles,” Misti offered a cold smirk. “I assure you, we’re the least of your troubles this evening. Secret installations, meeting with our children without our consent while willfully placing them in danger… irresponsible at best, outright negligent at worst, but as you said, we’ll discuss that later.” “Wait,” Carl interjected, raising a hand while leaning to face his daughter. “Jason was almost killed today?” “Yuuup.” Marissa’s lips popped on the ‘p’, but she didn’t look up from her phone. “Huh.” He nodded. “Well, damn. Poor kid. Glad he’s okay.” Misti rolled her eyes and rubbed the bridge of her nose in frustration.
  14. Devin took a couple steps in chase of Cassie. "Cass, wait. All I was saying was...," but she was already gone. He thought of following her but, like Jason and his sister, and even him at this point, it seemed like everyone needed a bit of time. He sighed and fell back into the counter's edge, leaning there as he sighed in frustration. “God dammit.” "I already went there, guys." Devin shook his head, raising a hand to halt further venture down that line of thought. "According to Marissa, Coyote told her that he arranged for us to come out to Montana. He needed us here, so he cooked up the whole issue that relocated us. And yes, we know what it is: my dad is an idiot. My dad is a genius with money and investments. When he realized that the company, he was working for was embezzling money from their customers, he had the great idea to embezzle it from the company, but instead of giving it back the customers, he laundered it out of the states, set up untouchable accounts and essentially made the money disappear. He got caught, he turned evidence on the company to save his ass, we got relocated to here... and then he made all the money reappear and invested back into the businesses of the very same customers whose money he stole... it's complicated." He shook his head and waved away the numbers from his mind as they blocked the view of Cassie's butt in jeans walking out of his kitchen a few moments ago. "I know she’s difficult, guys, but Marissa, like me doesn’t spell things out for people. She’s expecting you to pay attention. This morning when I got Jason’s text and said something had happened to him she had he keys and was following me out the door before I could even consider trying to stop her. If Jason needed a hospital, what was I going to do? Take him on the back of my bike? Guilt, spite, dislike… regardless of her feeling for Jase, she was ready to drop everything and be there for him.” Devin looked at the two that were left, he nodded in Sean’s direction. “She’s already working on fixing the problems you have at school after the cheerleader uniform stunt. You didn’t ask her to, and you don’t have to, she’s going to fix it because, try and keep up here: that’s what friends do.” “What’s she been given lately? Her and Autumn might be up there hating on each other right now, but it at least it’s something. Relationships are built upon and improved by conflict and understanding… Autumn at least tries before she tells my sister to fuck right off. You said it yourself, Sean, you’re not trying… so what do you expect? My sister wants actions, not words. She doesn’t want you to tell her you’re her friend… she just wants you to be her friend, dude. She’s already got your back at school, bro. You expect my sister to do all the work while you piss in her Cheerios?” Devin chuckled and shook his head. “That’s gonna be a hard check to cash there, buddy. Let me know how it turns out.”
  15. "She needs friends," Devin said with no hesitation in his voice. "But, what do I know? I don't have a one-thousand I.Q., or an icy-jade stare, so obviously I'm not qualified to tell you how to set personal standards for yourself, so I could be wrong." "Stop coming to me for the answers guys." he sighed and shook his head. "Either step up to the plate and figure your shit out, or don't. Either way, stop wasting both hers, and your, time." A moment later his phone vibrated, so he'd obviously turned the volume down, and he glanced at it, sighing again. She'd sent him something, considering she was still listening through the homes monitoring network, but he clicked his phone off and tucked it back into his pocket. "Well, feel free to hang out until the meeting. We can head down into the basement. Pizza is on the way, we have the consoles down there so we can get Smash or Mario Kart action going. Your call guys. Also, waiting out in the car or going home is an option too if you need to shower or just don't feel like being here. Not my circus, so you guys just do what you feel, no one's feet are nailed to the floor."
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