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Everything posted by Jaunt

  1. Devin offered the the redhead a quiet 'no problem', comfortingly rubbing her shoulder while she was near them. His smile told her that he had her back anytime she needed it. "No need to thank us," Marissa's voice was a soft series of whispered, treating Jason like he was asleep when he wasn't. "After last night, this was a cake walk. Together, we can handle anything. Things are just going to get weirder around here, I have a feeling. We have to stick together." In typical bestie fashion she hugged Autumn, letting the fragrance of her body lotion and lip balm adopt the energetic redhead's orbit as she stepped out to speak with her dad. "Speaking of," she backhanded her brother's arm. "We need to get going and at least get to school at some point. We still need to change to get you your bike, so with the crowd, it might be a good time to vacate. So," she looked to Ellie and Cassie and saw an opportunity to be, well, her. "Say goodbye to your girlfriend or, girlfriends... or however the three of you are working this out." With that she stepped out of the room, surprisingly devoid of her usual clacking heels, her soft-soled Chucks were virtually silent on the hospitals floors. "She's right," he said looking to Ellie. "I do have to get to school, but after I'll come visit you and we can get you those clothes we were talking about, okay? Sorry I can't sty longer." Ellie nodded in agreement of clothes shopping. The concept of a 'makeover' didn't sit well with her, as she felt she was fine how she was and what could they possibly make her into? "I understand. Later then, I look forward to seeing you again, Devin." "Hey," he said softly to Cassie as he moved in behind her on his way out. He leaned over her shoulder slightly, to talk in her ear, and the way he placed his hand on her hip in passing seemed far more than friendly. "Hell of a morning, huh? I'll get you spun up later, I know you have ten thousand questions." His words were a tickle on her neck, dancing along her until it finally sent a faint chill down her spine. "Call you later, okay?" The way he slid his hand across her lower back, letting his fingertips glide all the way across so as to not have to stop touching her until the last possible moment. The shiver down her spine became a jolt of electricity that woke up a few sleeping parts of her brain. She hadn't ever really had a crush on a guy before, but... Devin (of all people) was certainly making a strong argument for candidacy. "Jase, we're heading out," Devin pointed at his friend, and as always, he was loud. "Only shots I wanna hear about are the Jell-O ones you're doing from the cleavage of these hot nurses, alright?" Just then an attractive nurse was passing by the door and she smirked at the young mans statement. He noticed and pointed to her, smirking. "Yeah, I'm talking about you. You know I am. She gets it! Later peeps." He stepped out with his hand in the air to bid farewell to everyone. "He's incorrigible." Jason said as shirtless Devin faded off into the hospital halls. "Yet," Ellie pointed out. "The body language of the females he's addressed so far have all shown signs of their attraction to him. There is something to be said for boldness."
  2. Adventure: “I don’t know, you know? I can’t live like Sean. I can’t spend my life in imaginary worlds when I have this one, right here to explore with like, unlimited experience credits or whatever they’re always trying to collect. South Island, New Zealand. Paris. Bora-freaking-Bora! You ever seen that place? Holy crap! To me there has always been something alluring about the forbidden and exotic. I’m a ‘why’ guy. When I see a closed door, I always ask myself ‘what’s on the other side’? Don’t even get me started on if it’s locked. That simple example sums up a constant internal drive I have to just be in the middle of things where all the interesting stuff is happening. From climbing a mountain – okay, I don’t actually have to climb anymore, but you get it – to celebrating holidays around the world to even trying to sneak into Site B, bruh if it keeps me moving, I’m down. Life is too short to pass up the chance to get out here and see everything, do everything and be a part of every little or big thing you can, right?” Assessment: Jaunstsen, D. (heretofore referred to as Subject JAUNT), possesses an intrinsic desire to, as he put it, ‘be in motion and stay that way’. With his unique powers (teleportation, see reference b.) Subject JAUNT appears to entertain a constant desire to be on or in the middle of some manner of ‘adventure’ where he seeks to keep his attention span engaged. It is possible he has minor Attention Deficit Disorder. Recommend: full medical and psychological screening. In the meantime, engage him with anything that will hold his interests, such as travel, or ‘secret’ assignments and he should be manageable. Autonomy: “Dude, like… I like people, I do, but there’s just something about being alone. (I) Felt alone my whole life, so I guess I just don’t think about needing other people. Woke up, did what I had to do, watched our parents go do their things and leave us in the hands of a nanny, which was cool, I guess. We had this one (nanny), Debra, who was so hot. She got fired for getting freaky in the hot tub after hours. There was so much yelling, but I got to see her naked though, so that was cool. But, yeah, (Subject TEASE) and I have been doing things for ourselves for so long, that we just feel like it’s our default setting. We’re just doing our thing waiting for the people in this chapter to fade away. It’s what people do: they show up for a while, make you happy, talk about forever… but there’s no such thing. Y’gotta be ready to take care of yourself, y’know?” Assessment: Obvious obsession with women (see notes, too many references to list) aside, Subject JAUNT exhibits signs of a deep desire for autonomy yet can’t do so without including the importance of his twin sister, Marissa (refer to, Subject TEASE [Analyst Comment: Who came up with these objective names?]). Despite bracing for the end of attachments Subject JAUNT obviously ears for and craves attachment, consistently placing himself in a position for emotional vulnerability, even though he has no faith in the permanency of such relationships. His sister, Subject TEASE, is the key to securing Subject JAUNT's order and discipline. Recommendation: Interview with Subject TEASE. Excitement: “I’ve always been addicted to that high that comes with streaking down the road on my motorcycle. You are aware that when I’m not traveling to other dimensions and battling demons, I’m curb stomping para-military security forces, right? See, you’ve never used my powers; you’ve never felt your mind in connection with everything around you and then? You do the impossible. Dodging bullets, streaking through intervening space so fast that we don’t even have a number that high, so we call it ‘instantaneous’. The beat of the heart, the anxiety and tension of the moment… and the adrenaline? Oh, god, girl, you don’t even know and I’m sorry that you never will. I can totally see why Taggart’s dudes love what they do, are addicted, and often go to therapy for it. As soon as we go hot, I go from six to midnight. Plus, have you ever had sex after almost getting eaten by an otherworldly demonic vagina worm? It’s… primo, I’m telling you. I’m pretty sure I need this in my life, I’ve found my niche. Y’know?” Assessment: So much to unpack here. From a strictly 30,000-foot view, Subject JAUNT is an adrenaline junkie and displays borderline traits common to those who’ve found themselves in numerous violent skirmishes and can dissociate themselves from the value of their own life or the lives of others (Analyst Comment: Possible PTSD). This further backs up the assessment that Subject JAUNT requires a full psychological screening. Inner Harmony: “I’m a dick. I’ve always been angry at the world, my parents, everyone around me, I guess. I’m not really sure the reason why, I guess it’s because I’ve felt it’s not fair that other people have gotten to live their lives normally while I’ve been a prisoner in my own upbringing. Practices, auditions, acting gigs, more practice. There was no time for me or [Subject TEASE] to ever just be ourselves, you know? We got bullied really hard at home and that just made me angrier I suppose. When we moved, we thought we’d get back at everyone and be the predators instead of the prey, but that never really sat well with me either. Still, I went along with it until I just couldn’t anymore. Ever since, something has just felt out of balance, I guess? I don’t wanna be ‘that guy’ anymore, but I’m still so pissed. Hmm? That’s just it… I don’t know. A friend once told me: ‘[Subject JAUNT] if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.’ I feel like that’s my everyday now, I’ve no clue where I’m going, so… I suppose it doesn’t matter as long as I’m here, right? Walk any road long enough and it has to lead somewhere, that me: always walking and hoping to see that souvenir shop that’ll make the whole journey worth it. That thing that’ll balance me.” Assessment: Subject JAUNT only seemed to appear lucid and focused during this portion of the session where he reflected on the sort of person he felt he was now, compared to the destination of the person he’s trying to become. Unsurprising, like most teenagers around his age, he’s found himself in a conflict of self as he searches for an identity. This is common as the brain develops and we stop acting from our emotion center and begin relying more on our logic centers, which fully develop in most adults somewhere in their early to mid-twenties. This was also the only portion of the session where Subject JAUNT did not directly attempt to seduce [SESSION LEAD]. Pleasure: “I mean… work hard, play hard right? The workouts, the movie nights, the traveling all over the world… it what makes all the madness in life worth it in the end, right? You can't do this everyday and not expect to, at some point, take some time for yourself and unwind? Hiking, food, snowboarding, chilling with the Fellowship… man, that’s what life is about. We’re not here for a long time so we might as well have a good time, right? Bali, Tahiti… you ever been? No? Shame, they’re are gorgeous. Hey, uh… what’re you doing this weekend? Why is always my age you ladies bring up first? I don’t see a ring on your finger. I mean, those places don’t have the same laws, we do here, and I wouldn’t tell if you didn’t. But, hey, it’s cool, I get it. If you change your mind, let me know. You, me, this weekend, could be awesome.” Assessment: Subject JAUNT possessed more neurosis than can be detailed within the scope of this project and his forms of decompression and relaxation seem mostly involving spending time with his friends and try to sleep with any woman he finds attractive. It is the opinion of this Analyst that Devin could not function without this down time and a lack of decompression in high stress, high tempo operations would result in his insubordination or violation of good order and discipline in order to seek it out. While that’s not necessarily a destructive behavior, it does leave him open for possible poor decisions or manipulation form internal or external operatives. Follow-up Secondary Core Values associated with Subject JAUNT: Challenge, Cooperation, Friendship, Health, Leisure, Recognition, Time Freedom, Wisdom ---===[Tear Line]===--- To: Garret Q. From: Katie F. Subject: Subject JAUNT Garret, You’ll find the Subject JAUNT session material is attached. The guy means well, but like most his age he’s a mess of emotions and he’s overwhelmed by the world at large. He has a ton of issues, but I think his intrinsic measure of personal pride and desire to defend ‘us’ and the world at large don’t make him any major security risk. That said I recommend a full psychological evaluation. We did three polygraphs, and he passed the first, failed the second and the third using all the same questions. The kid knows how to lie, the machine didn’t even register so much clammy hand when he said his name was Seventy-two. He’s either sociopathic, pathological, or honestly believes his name is Seventy-two. -Kait F. Discloser Liaison, DIA (Intern) P.S. Thank you again for approving my leave on such notice. Something came out of nowhere and I need to handle it. Should only take the weekend, see you Monday!
  3. "Hey," Devin smiled big as his eyes fell on Ellie. He seemed genuinely happy to see her and approached the lovely blonde alien. "'Well' is a relative term, everything hurts. We got beat up pretty bad, but we made it. What're you doin here? I was planning on coming to see you after school today. And yeah, totally true, I talked you up, like... a lot. In the bed there, that's Jase. He's not much of a people person, even when he's not going out of his way to ruin my shirts, and I think Cassie and Sean are on the way, so you'll get to meet them soon, too." "Yeeeaaah," Marissa's head cocked slightly to put her brother in her sights. "Deej? The hell?" "Oh!" He suddenly remembered that he hadn't really explained much aside from an introduction. "This is the girl I was telling you about. The Teulu from the void who helped me and gave me the bracelet when I was hunted in the Upside Down Thunder school. She followed me here for sex, duh. I mean look ant me, right?" He gave Ellie a quick appraisal. "Speaking of traveling... uh, I think this is all she has for clothing, Em, you think maybe you could do something with her later? Maybe you and the girls hook her up with more than one outfit? We're not sure how long it's going to take to get her home, so, she's kinda gonna need some sisters to lean on while she's here." "Well, she appears to be the culmination of how 'boring' evolved', but I suppose the Fellowdiva's and I probably have more than a few cast off lying around." Marissa shrugged. "But I'm going to need more than good faith to go on... what's her story? Why is she here?" She looked to Ellie, realizing she was addressing the wrong person. "Why are you here?"
  4. The Fellowship... they also seemed tougher, harder than one might expect from the typical youths of Shelly, Montana. Neither of the twins particularly worried, not after the loss of Charlie and the nightmare they battled the night before and... well, just Shelly in general. Marissa offered Autumn a silent nod in acknowledgement and watched as she walked off down the hall to to get his water. Together the twins walked into Jason's hospital room and took their first looks at the recovering telekinetic. Jason's eye followed them as they walked in. Devin rolled his shoulders and pulled his blanket tighter around him as the cold of the hospital offended his delicate Californian comfort level. Marissa tapped out one last text on her phone before sliding her phone into a back pocket on jeans that were baggy. It was the first time he'd ever seen her as just a plain, young, teenage woman without the mask and costume that made up her daily regalia as Shelly's glamourous Ice Queen. He could decide which version was lovelier. "You owe me a shirt," Devin quipped as he leaned against the footboard of Jason's bed and injured young man knew that was the closest the 'bro' was going to get to an 'I'm glad you're safe' sentiment. "Pants are a freebie, I'm throwing those in because they were old." His sister approached Jason, she was almost predatory in her silence without the loud clack of her heels to betray her position. His her typical disapproving look and unimpressed expression she gave him a once over to see that they didn't need amputate anything in order to save anything else, and when satisfied her lips relaxed into a slight smile. She bent over him and pressed her lips to his forehead, a short, gentle kiss and although she wasn't wearing any makeup she wiped it away with her thumb afterwards. "You look like shit," she chastised him, finally. "But I'm glad you're safe." "Aww," Devin taunted her and she offered him a reply of a single digit and unamused expression. "Dude, don't do that shit again, I'm serious." "Yes, I know," Jason smirked sarcastically. "Because this was in my itinerary right next to 'learn Mongolian' and 'order more of the good coffee'. Nice to know you care, though." "Oh, we don't," Marissa was quick to correct him. "But we lost Charlie already and..." she inhaled and exhaled in a rare moment of her shattered composure. As always she was swift to recover and the cracks in her social exterior mended. With those mended cracks, like clockwork, a bitchstorm was in the forecast to blow away any remnant of her feelings. "Well, frankly, I don't have time to be ordering a ton of funerary skirts. It's bad enough your name has to be in every conversation that takes place in this town, do you have to steal someone's funeral thunder too? Christ, give someone else a day for a change, Lord knows he earned it." "Yep, she missed you." Devin smirked. His sister's faced scrunched up as she shot her brother a look that said a number of insulting things. "No. I didn't. And piss off, go get shirt or something." "I am," he smirked. "I'm waiting on that hot nurse to comeback with one of those disposable scrubs tops they have around here. "I think she's a first year learner-doctor-thingie, whatever they call those. Wish me luck."
  5. "Just got a txt from him, omw there now w my dad. Meet us there, please? Not sure exactly where he is. Trying not to freak out." Marissa's console spoke to her as he silently cursed to herself and made a three point turn in some random Montanan mouth-breather's drive way and sped on back in the direction her brother flew off in on his motorcycle. Devin's wheels laid a patch of black as he squealed to a halt. With a few seconds he was off his bike and running to Jason. "Hey, I know you," was all he said as he leapt over Marshal Marshall, and knelt down at Jason's side where he was leaning against his Charger. Bloody and wheezing and slumped over, Devin did the only thing that came to his mind first... He slapped him. Jason opened his pain strewn, weary eyes and glanced up to see Devin. He managed bloody smile. "Dawg, what is it about you that makes people wanna be all up in your guts?" Devin huffed, using his limited knowledge of basic (very basic) first aid to take a look at his friend. Prevent further harm, prevent infection, save life... the three core fundamentals of first aid and here was Devin using them for the first time on freaking gunshot wounds. "S'car," Jason wheezed and coughed. "Chicks dig the car." "Very funny," the bruised teleporter-on-hiatus looked at his friend and gave him a sarcastic look. "Shut up, dickhead. I'm trying to save your life before my sister shows up and vetoes the idea, and considering I already have blood on my seventy dollar jeans, I'm just saying... things aren't looking good for you my man." Jason was trying hard not to laugh. He knew what Devin was doing: keeping his attention on him, not what he was doing as he tore open Jason's shirt and began to inspect the wounds. His world was getting hazy. He was losing blood, not fatal amounts, yet, but it was surprising how much a single hole in the torso could just pump out until there you were... getting drowsy and watching your breathing increase. Devin pulled his own shirt off and with a tug it ripped and provided him with rags with which to apply pressure to his head and try to clean the area around his ribs to see the wound better. "Dude... I know this hurts. I can see the bullet bro, but if I pop it out of there, you could bleed to death." Jason winced as Devin placed the rags on his head and applied pressure, while wrapping around the remains of his shirt and tying it tightly. It wasn't pretty, but he didn't have a lot to work with. Marissa, thankfully, squealed to a halt directly behind her brother's Ducati. She slid open her phone and popped a pin at her location for Autumn to follow. Her door swung open and like her brother made a mad dash to the scene... only to stop at the Marshalls who were lying on the ground in what science would later quantify as a metric fuck-ton of pain and oodles of regret. She knelt down beside and Marshall Marshal and cocked her head smiling. She patted him on the chest and said, "See? Should have called. S'wahtcha get." "Em! Emjay," Devin called for his sister, trying to lie Jason down and keep his head turned up to the blood had to fight gravity. "Help me out, Jason isn't looking good." "Nooooooope," her lips popped on the 'pe'. She stood from Marshal and walked to his partner, smirking evilly at the sight of her roasted little giblet arms. "Sounds like an Autumn problem, oh, brother dearest. She wanted him, so she gets all the drama and bullshit that goes with his psycho ass." She turned to face her brother, opening her arms wide to indicate the mess. "I mean, fuck Deej, we just saved the world. Like just, just saved it... what? Twelve hours ago, if that? He couldn't go twelve God forsaken hours without pissing off or attempting to murder someone? I mean, what the fuck, dude! Like we don't have lives!? Are we even going to address just how inconsiderate of him this whole fucking mess is?" She waved at the bleeding telekinetic. "Hi, by the way." "Keep them open dude, look at me," Devin glared into Jason's emerald eyes, seeing the way his wounds were fading the light behind them. He smiled and chuckled with fading confidence, slapping Jason's cheek a few times to rekindle his attention. "Bro, believe it or not, she doesn't want to see you like this. This is her playing hard to get." "What?" Marissa huffed, looking up from Marshal Dale at the sound of her brother possibly talking shit about her. She looked back at Marshal Dale, smirking. Silently she started treating her for shock, which, thankfully wasn't too hard. "Wow. Bet when you woke up this morning you weren't thinking about this cluster fuck right here, were you? Noooo, of course not." "Tourniquet!" He shot back. "I need, and don't have a tourniquet. He's bleeding pretty bad." She grunted and rolled her eyes at how Jason's problems were, once again, inconveniencing her. "Get my gym bag! It's in my trunk! There's towels in there." "Go get it, then! I have my hands full!" He yelled. "No!" She shook her head and yelled back while she elevated Marshal Dale's legs. "I'm busy too! Let Autumn go get it! It's her fucking boyfriend. You think if you brought Lona home ODing on heroin, and don't look at me like that's a stretch, that I'd make it my problem? Her dumb ass wants to OD let her fucking OD... Jason can't go twelve hours without trying to kill people, chances are he prolly had this coming! Have we even stopped to consider what he did to provoke them?" "You're such a bitch!" Devin gently rest Jason's head on his hoodie, which was also, like Devin's hands, sticky and crimson. He dashed off to Marissa's trunk to get her gym bag, pissed but realizing that for all her faults she made sure the trunk was popped by the time he got there and sure enough, there were three towels, one for the work out, one for her and one for her hair... like clockwork. "Fuck you," she yelled back. "You deal with him while I, once again, play accomplice to, and once again, cover up a Jason-Fucking-Bannon crime scene. Yaaay..." she sarcastically clapped like she was happy then stopped, looking suddenly ashamed as she looked down at Marshal Dale. "Sorry, that was insensitive of me." She looked to her brother, who was now making copious use of the white gym towels. "So, remind me again just how lucky we are to call him a pal?" "Not now, EmJay," Devin grunted, his hands working swiftly and meticulously to save Jason's life. "I've got shit to do and you're seriously pissing me off right now." He didn't listen for a reply from her, if she even offered one. Problem was, she wasn't wrong. Besides not having all the facts, this was beginning to be a common problem for Jason: leaving bodies mangled in the streets. Still, they tried to off him in his car, he could tell that, at least. It was his life or theirs so Devin wasn't questioning the choices made. Marissa though, she just had that irritating way of whispering dissention in his ears and she was hardly, if ever, wrong. He tapped Jason again, getting his attention. "Bro, I can't wait, okay? If Autumn doesn't get here soon, dude... I have to get you help. Jason!" He smacked him again, keeping the teens eyes focused as best he could as they lazily started closing. "Jason... she has a minute... you? maybe thirty seconds. You come first bro, I don't think she'll be pissed about that... stay with me..."
  6. Everyone had herd it at least one in their lives: 'you think it hurts now, wait until tomorrow'! Well, screw those people, Devin had thought all through the morning as every bruise and small injury he'd endured the night before was alight in throbbing pain. Every movement caused a wince, standing was a chore, walking hurt, sitting for some respite form the pain was an exercise in masochism because all it did was remind him that the moment he stood, it would all flare up again. It had taken him ten minutes to put his pants on, another five for his shoes and somewhere in the neighborhood of 'I'm so done with today, already' to realize that he was already running late. His sister was no different. Today, the Queen of Mean had discarded all semblance of regality as she leaned against the island in the kitchen lazily sipping her coffee as he entered the kitchen on foot. Teleporting was too painful for him at the moment and he was taking it easy. Chucks, loose-fitting jeans and a faded t-shirt earned her a second glance but when he realized she was wearing zero in the way of makeup, he couldn't help but wonder if he was actually dead and never survived the fight. Perhaps this was his purgatory... to live with normalcy for all eternity. "Uh, Emjay... the hell happened to your face?" "Blow me, Cocksmear," she grumbled from over her mug, glaring at him from narrowed dagger slits that currently hid her eyes behind them. "Marissa," their father, who was stirring up some scrambled eggs on the stone while their mother was at the table on her phone, scrolling through websites centered around normal people suddenly acquiring abnormal abilities. "Don't call your brother a cocksmear." "Thank you," Devin said while opening the fridge and grabbing the orange juice. Carl slid some scrambled eggs off from the pan and onto one of the plates waiting behind Marissa. They already had the toast and a couple slices of bacon and were just waiting for the final touch. What was it about finding out your children were super heroes that made parents finally want to parent? "It's about time I get the respect a god deserves around this place." His father slapped him in the back of the head. "Shut up, cocksmear." Marissa choked on a laugh, spurting up coffee bubbles onto her nose. "Eat your breakfast." "Marissa, sweetie, I'm not finding anything on the internet." Misti approached her daughter, phone in one hand while her other took her daughter's arm and began turning it over, inspecting it along the forearm and wrist where the night before Marissa had numerous minor abrasions and lacerations. "Perhaps this resistance you have to things is also accelerating your healing? You look eighty percent better than last night, most of your minor injuries are fading away... this is amazing. I just can't believe any of this." She glanced up at her daughter, sans makeup and horrid choice in attire for the day and sighed with a shrug. "Well, forty percent better, at any rate." "Yeah, well," Marissa sipped her coffee again, "Everything hurts. Muscle aches, head hurts, I can tell the wounds are fading, but it still feels like I got ran over by a damn truck." "Amen to that," Devin grumbled, fork in hand and eggs in mouth. His phone began playing 'ki ki ki, ma ma ma' from Friday the 13th and with a smirk he glanced at the screen. His fork hit his plate without a word and began moving with purpose out of the kitchen to get his coat and keys. "What?" Marissa asked, knowing her twin better than anyone. "What is it?" She walked away from her mother and chased after him. "Is everything alright?" Misti asked. "It's Jason." Was all Devin said as his keys rattled and he tucked his phone in his pocket. "What, he finally kill someone?" Marissa mused with a sarcastic smirk because it was way to early for murder to be happening. Right? Her brother looked at his phone again, then back to her. He tapped out a reply, supposedly to Jason, while he spoke to his sister. "Possibly. He used the word 'neutralized' so... in Bannon speak they're in several pieces and he's pro/conning which stumps to have sex with first... or they're chained up in his basement slowly turning over a spit roast while he masturbates with a pile of his own feces." He chuckled and shrugged, faking a confident smile. "You know how crazy people are." "I'm going." She said sternly as her pocket vibrated. "Fine." He blew her off. "Meet me there." Marissa grabbed her keys and and left after her brother, checking her phone once her parents were out of view. *// He's hurt. Go get Autumn, I'll pin the location so you can find us easier. She silently cursed while she was both driving and texting her parents to assure them Devin was just being an ass and making fun of Jason while also texting Autumn... *// Jason needs you. He's hurt. On my way to get you, send me a pin.
  7. Carl had left his OHSSV (Off-Highway Special Service Vehicle) at the hospital, calling another ranger to come and collect it for him so he could ride home with Misti and the kids. He didn’t feel his wife was in any shape to drive and he was right as the interior of her car exploded into an immediate argument between her hysterical points of view and the twins’ constant ability to argue as a collective force. He’d even swerved more than once by the time they’d arrived at the house because he had to try and keep an eye on the road while also trying to referee World War III happening right next to him. He couldn’t believe what he had heard though, the crazy adventures and high school drama his children had been involved in over the seven weeks or so. Monsters, demons, dark gods, secret military organizations and mad scientists, the whole thing seemed like it couldn’t even be possible, but here were his children raving up and down about ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Coyote’ and ‘The Dark’ like they’d just gotten out of a movie theatre for the greatest show they’d ever seen. They refused to talk about the woman, Annette Giles, but swore that she was on their side, for the most part, and she could be trusted about as much as any other government employee, which to Carl meant ‘not at all’. The moment they got into the house Marissa was on her way to her room to collect what she would need for a long, hot shower. Devin disappeared, literally, and they could hear him rummaging up in his room until they heard the shower in the downstairs apartment turn on. “Well?” Carl asked his wife as he twisted the cap off a beer and handed it to her. In an unladylike display that heralded back to her college days, Misti chugged half of it in a single pull. “What. The. Fuck.” Was all she added as she caught her breath. She frantically shook her head and shrugged, completely at a loss for words. “S’all I got.” She gasped before she tipped her bottle back again, finishing it off and gesturing for another. Carl laughed quietly, handing her a second and getting one fore himself. He handled changes to order a lot easier than his wife, he was adaptable, dynamic, chaotic whereas Misti preferred things to be ordered, static, hierarchical. They’re children had turned out just like them. “Fair.” He added as the fridge door closed and he leaned against the counter. “Chelle, you gotta get your shit together if we’re going to get ahead of this. They already hate us, that’s not news, but this? Powers? Babe, we push them too far and they won’t be like Bannon kid they told us about in the car, folding kids up like paper and assaulting students with farm implements. We know our children-“ “-god, it’ll be totally anarchy.” Misti massaged the bridge of her nose. “We raised sociopaths whose greatest strength is their ability to work together.” “No.” Her husband shook his head and took a swig of his beer. “We didn’t raise them at all. That’s the problem.” “I know, I know,” she dismissively shook her head. “Carl, Devin is classic attention deficit, his mind is always in a thousand different places.” Water cascaded over Devin, cleansing the stain of blood from his skin leaving only a body that seemed to be a road map of pain. Dark blotches of blackened/purple hued bruises were littered across most of his body in most of the common nerve and blood vessel clusters. The head from the shower caused his whole body to be wracked with a comforting sort of pain and he remained unmoving, winching in pain and embracing the rewards for his heroism. “All he knows how to do is run away from responsibility.” “I guess that explains his particular ability,” Carl mused with a tip of the bottle to his lips. “Carl, have you seen how angry he is? No matter what direction his mind is pulled in, at the center of it all is anger. He hates us and seeks forgiveness from others because he’s unable to forgive others, notably, us. People are accustomed to not forgiving those who have hurt them; instead, we tend to seek revenge so we can return on them what they have committed towards us.” Devin winched in pain, collapsing in pain and bracing himself in on the tiled divider of the walk-in shower and clasping his side with his other hand. Everything hurt, blind teleportation had, for the second time, made his organs feel like they were turned into jelly. He stood there, quietly for a moment and just let the pain wash over him until he finally stood and tried to wrap the towel around himself once more, this time with better success as he didn’t make any sudden movements that would aggravate all of his bruises and torn muscles. “We don’t forgive because we’re weak, but because we are strong enough to see that we need to close the door on our past. It’s not about agreeing with or even accepting the action that others have committed, we don’t have to understand, or support, or even approve but because although we continue to bear it in mind, we no longer need to keep in our hearts or minds. If he doesn’t learn to let things go Carl, with powers like his, he could make mischief on a global scale, and that is in part, on us.” “Marissa balances him out,” their father, still resting against the counter, crossed one foot over the other. “Devin’s just mad, all teenagers are pissed about something, Chelle. He acts a fool, sure, but he’s a good kid. We both agreed that Chet kid had that one coming, it’s an isolated incident, not an established pattern of behavior.” “And I’d be inclined to agree, were our daughter not a borderline narcissistic sociopath.” Red slowly dissolved into pink and Marissa inhaled the thick steam, letting it clear her bleeding sinuses. Droplets of blood hit the floor of the tub mingling with the pinkish swirl of blood from victims unknown. The adrenaline and endorphins had left long ago, her inhuman metabolism devouring the high and numbness to the pain she called life but here in the shower she could feel the Black Beauties kicking in and jumpstarting her senses again, giving her that euphoria she desperately needed to cope with the strangeness of monsters, evil and crush-thieving redheads. “She ticks off seven of the nine DSM-5 criteria for a fair diagnosis of a narcissistic sociopath, Carl. A doctor only needs five before demanding further testing be done. Those I’ve dealt with in the past who’ve had NPD had trouble handling criticism, stress, and change, and easily became impatient or angry if they didn’t think they are being treated correctly, and you can’t tell me she doesn’t have trouble regulating her behavior and emotions, feels easily slighted, and has relationship problems.” The pain was almost an intoxicant as this point as hot water splashed onto her open cuts and numerous nicks and scratches. Where her brother collapsed from the pain, his sister convulsed and shuddered under the bombardment of searing pain across her body until the swelling red of her freshly created wounds numbed themselves to the effects of the heat and contact. She couldn’t explain the feeling, like an itch being scratched or a trouble some mosquito bite, the longer she let the water sear her the better it felt until she just couldn’t stand it any longer and had to step away. “I’m afraid she’ll become depressed if she falls short of what she feels is ideal. We already know she secretly feels insecure, vulnerable, and has fragile self-esteem. That’s why she tries to escape the pain through drugs and promiscuity. Now, put Devin’s abilities into the ‘balance’ of Marissa’s selfish hands and either they’ll end up dead, or a lot of other people will.” “Woah, woah,” he waved his beer bottle back and forth to slow the conversation. “Since when is our daughter promiscuous?” “Christ, Carl,” his wife shook her head. “I work at her school, I’m gorgeous, and I wear low-cut tops, do you honestly think the boys there don’t share rumors with me? They told me she was hanging out with guys from Great Falls, so I’ve been tracking her phone for, Jesus… since June? It checks out.” “Her texts were coded with possible drug deals,” Carl shrugged. “I never thought to look until she had that little run-in last month.” “It was an overdose,” Misti said flatly. “That much hydrocodone washed down with that much bourbon is either a suicide attempt or plain stupidity, and we both know our daughter isn’t stupid.” “It wasn’t a suicide attempt,” Marissa said with all the emotion of Wednesday Addams. Both of her parents jumped with a start as they looked towards their daughter as she stood in the entrance to the kitchen in a black sports bra and revealing booty shorts, her hair was in a series of wet strands that formed a ponytail. Her legs, abdomen, neck and back were a series of reddened lines of aggravated tissue where thin scratches were trying to heal and the larger cuts, all claw and teeth marks, were already an unsightly blackish red of developing scabs, a few were so deep they were forming glistening deposits of clear white blood cells as her body struggled to repair the damage caused to it. Barefoot she padded to the fridge and slid open the freezer drawer and her parents caught the cute pink letters on the back of her skimpy booty shorts that read ‘Spank Me’. “For fuck’s sake, Marissa,” Carl scolded her, averting his eyes, pushing off the counter and walking away from her to stand by Misti. “Put some damn clothes on, and what the hell are you doing with clothes with shit like that written on it?” “Cade got them for me,” she lied with an appreciative smile, like he knew just what to get her to make her happy. “I figured you’d be proud of this,” she motioned down her body. “I mean, you helped make it. Seriously, though, look at me right now, everything hurts, even baggy jammies… I finally said ‘fuck it’ and just came down in my underwear.” “Hey,” her father pointed at her with the hand that was gripping the neck of his beer bottle. “Language. You’re a lady.” Devin appeared in a violet shimmer in nothing more than a pair of workout shorts, his bare body revealing the myriad of bruises and contusions just under his skin, and without missing a beat the loud sound of a hand on an ass echoed through out the kitchen enough to make Carl’s shoulders wince, Devin smile wide, Misti to smirk evilly, and Marissa to scream out in pain with both hands on her ass. “Don’t mind if I do.” “Moooooom,” Marissa was almost in tears as she looked at her mother, pleading for parental intervention. Misti ignored her, sliding her phone up as she scrolled in search of something. “What? Honestly dear, you were literally asking for it.” The twins broke into a fight, a shouting match of who was the bigger asshole/cunt and which of the two were more likely to sell sex for crack. Somewhere in the middle of it all the large bag of pizza rolls Marissa had recovered from the freezer were being meticulously set upon the cooking sheet by the two of them. Even while fighting they were always working to achieve a common goal. Carl leaned over to see what Misti was scrolling through, and she tilted her phone so he could get a better view. “Seriously?” He smirked and looked at her after taking his eyes away from the booty shorts, she’d found online that read ‘Spank Me’ across the back them. “What?” She smirked. “They’re adorable. I’m getting them in red.” “As I was saying, before,” Marissa said loudly, feigning to make a strike at her brother standing next to him, the sudden movements of his flinching made him hurt enough so she didn’t press an assault. “Somehow, it seems I have an enhanced metabolism. I eat a lot. Like… a lot, which seems to have the secondary effect of things like drugs and alcohol filtering through my system faster than normal. Our powers don’t come with instructions, I was testing my metabolism to see what’s limits were… I grossly miscalculated. Yes, I overdosed, no I was intentionally trying to end my life or be irresponsible. It was simply science gone wrong. Lesson learned,” she lied while she turned to pre-heat the oven. “So, what?” Carl asked. “You can’t get drunk?” “No, I can,” as the judgmental glare of her parents fell upon her, she quickly adjusted her answer, lying yet again. “Not that I have, of course.” “Of course,” her mother and father said dryly, not buying a word of it for a second. “It’s just, if you drank three beers in an hour, you’d be over the legal limit, because there would be too much alcohol in your blood in such a short period of time. I’d more than likely be alright, or at the very least still be able to drive.” She explained, keeping behind the island in the kitchen, to keep her parent’s mind at ease over the little amount of clothing she was wearing and to keep her mother’s judgmental glares at her laceration-ridden body. “And, you just go wherever you want?” Misti directed the question to Devin, who was poorly attempting to juggle pizza rolls. “Pretty much.” He shrugged, losing a few that tumbled down onto the cooking sheet. “I can take myself, or others, or anything, anywhere I want. If I’m being particularly lazy-” “-which is not a stretch, at. All.” His sister smirked and tried to realign the pizza rolls that he kept knocking out of place. As always, she was bringing order to her brother’s chaos. “Oh, look,” Devin handed her the cutting board sitting on the counter. “Cade came by to see how you were doing. How sweet. You two run along, adults are talking.” She threatened to hit him with it, but he stood his ground, wearing a victorious smirk on his face. She settled for putting it back on the counter and simply taking the pizza rolls and placing them in the oven as it beeped, letting them know it was ready. Thankfully, with her family present, she couldn’t mess up something as easy as pizza rolls. “Like I was saying, lazy, yadda, yadda, I can bring the objects to me instead. Or just open a portal everyone can walk through, or drive through, or fly through… whatever.” “Y-you guys can fly?” Carl asked, not sure why his voice wavered in disbelief at this point. The oven door creaked closed, “Just Devin and Jason. So far.” Their parents looked back to their son. “It’s not really flying. It’s more like a series of microportations.” When they looked like they had no idea what he said, he elaborated. “Basically, I blink, or jaunt as I like to call it, so rapidly that the human eye can’t even keep up so to those looking on, I’m essentially floating or flying, if I shift the distance. My real power is getting takeout from Italy.” “Oh, god, yes.” Marissa groaned ecstatically. “That tagliatelle alla Bolognese was to freaking die for!” “Y-you get takeout from Italy?” Carl knew than answer, but asked anyways as he chuckled to himself, positively impressed by the capabilities of his children. “Well, not at the moment,” Devin gestured to the numerous bruises across his body. “Short jaunts only until I recover a bit. Blind teleporting isn’t easy, it makes my insides feel like they’re being liquified. Escaping from the Void was a blind shot and it about did me in. So, yeah, short hops for a little while, while I’m on the mend.” “Our son can get takeout from Italy,” Misti laughed with a twinge of hysteria to it as she tipped back her beer. “I can’t fucking even right now.”
  8. "Well," Carl started, speaking over the emotional silence that befell the room. "I think it's safe to say that none of us in this room really know the others as well as could, considering our children all go to school together." The act was on. Carl Jauntsen carved out his own little space near his son where he could pace and address the other parents, the similarities with his son was evident, as Devin would do the same thing: move about, clear people away, and become a center of attention when he had something to say. "I think we all have a lot to unpack, right? If the texts I'm getting from my wife, Misti, are any indication, she's out in the parking lot trying not to have a mental breakdown." "Little late for that," Marissa murmured. Pizza MRE's were gross, it was just a fact, you had to pace yourself. Edible, but not particularly flavorful, but there she was almost finished with hers while Jason, who'd started before the others, was close to about halfway with his. Like most things edible, pizza MREs did not survive once it came in contact with the gravity of Marissa's celestial body. Her father shot her a glare that said 'later'. "Sorry, please, go on..." "My children tried to tell us earlier about all this and your daughter is right, Carolyn, it was so absurd we didn't, we couldn't believe it." Carl gestured to Sean while speaking to his parents. Devin snorted back a laugh. "Sean's a boy, dad." Carl's expression drained completely and looked to his son. "Seriously?" He asked deadpan while Devin just nodded. Ever the salesman and quick to recover, he continued on, nonplussed by the revelation. "Well, okay. So, that's a thing. See? Lot's of unpacking. We're all on unfamiliar ground here, so why don't all of us, parents and children, all gather at our place tomorrow night and let the kids explain everything to us and get us caught up to speed. No judgements, completely open minds and we can begin to tackle this incredibly weird series of events with all of us starting on the same page, hmm? I think opening dialogue is the best place to begin." "Dialogue?" Jack Cassidy retorted, the large, well fed and hard working blue collar man chortled under breath like he'd been insulted. "You want dialogue, Jauntsen, let's dialogue about how your two little monsters have bullied our children for the past few years. They sent our kids home in tears and fearful to even step foot in school. Let's 'dialogue' about that." Concerned, Devin's father looked at him with that stern look that all fathers had. "You two bullying kids at school?" "In our defense dad, they let us keep doing it." Marissa said casually, like there was nothing wrong with that statement and making no attempts to deny it at all. She happily chewed her pizza MRE, thrilled to have something to munch on. Jason and Autumn both just slowly turned to their heads to look at Shelly's High reigning aristocracy. She was chewing contentedly, picking away at the food with her nails, when she stopped and looked at them. "What?" She shrugged. "You did." "Yeah." Devin admitted while shrugging like it wasn't a big deal. "But we're all cool now, it was a phase." Carl smiled, and also shrugged like it wasn't a big deal. IT was like looking into a mirror with Devin and Carl standing next to each other. "And there you have it. Just a phase, Jack. 'Everything's cool'. Like Fonzie." He smiled, pleased with his Pulp Fiction reference. So with that settled, Carl moved on. "See? All done. Proof that this can work." Devin groaned and rolled his eyes. "Don't bother, dad. Trust me, these people can over complicate boiling water." "Be that as it may, arguing or spitting venom, assuredly isn't going to solve anything." Carl stated. He looked to his son, then to his daughter. He paused and winced his face slightly trying to discern what it was she was over there picking at. "Marissa, Monkey, what are you eating?" Marissa huffed, irritated and launching a volley daggers at her father with her glare. "Don't call me Monkey, and I don't know, daddy, Jason gave it to me. It's not bad." "See?" Devin outstretched a hand towards his sister, looking at his father with vindicated righteousness. "I told you. Any guy offers her something and she just sticks it in her mouth." Some parents attempted to hide their smirks while others looked at the twins with some measure of being unamused by their behavior. Carl's had shot up the back of Devin's head, making a 'thump' sound that some may have argued sounded hollow. "Stop trying to embarrass your sister. Christ Devin, we're in a hospital for crying out loud." He turned to the others seemingly with no loss of his composure. He looked to Autumn and grinned slightly. "I'm not sorry you had to see that, however." Meanwhile Marissa made a nasty face at Devin like she's gotten away with murder while her brother rubbed the back of his head.
  9. Tawny tried to wipe away some of the blood on Devin's cheek, but she only smeared into a redish-black blob. She chuckled, as best she could, trying to find something in all the craziness that felt normal. "Sorry." "It's okay," he shook his head dismissively as he gave her a warm smile. "You went through Hell to save me," her eyes seemed to study him, seeing something in him she'd not seen before. Perhaps it was the man she always had faith was hiding under his immaturity or something else, but he seemed different, more intense and, she hated to admit it, sexy. This version of Devin was outside the boundaries of anything she'd experienced with him before, the warrior, the hero... the good guy. None of those things she'd ever really attributed to him before, she'd just known he was capable of it in the good heart of his. "In a heartbeat." Devin's tone was far more romantic than he intended it to be, but his eyes were locked on hers as she studied him, biting her lips as struggled to wrestle with her thoughts. Marissa tapped Cade and nodded in Devin and Tawny's direction as their world bled away and they only saw each other. Before they knew it the area had grown quiet and the Fellowship were looking on in anticipation. Would this be the night, after all the heroics and fighting that Devin finally wised up and just settled down with the woman who obviously loved him. Pulled by their unconscious wills their lips drew closer and closer. 'He's going to kiss me' Tawny thought as only a half an inch remained between them and the Disney ending Tawny had always dreamt of. Kiss? He's going kiss me. Jacob! She pulled away suddenly, startled by the last memory she had before waking up in that hell. "Oh my god, Jacob! Hewaswithmeanditcameoutofnowhere-" "Jacob is fine," Autumn's hand on the blonde's shoulder calmed her down. "He'll have a headache tomorrow, but he'll be fine." Tawny pressed her hands to her heart and sighed with relief. "Oh, thank God." "Whelp," Devin grunted as he struggled to stand. That moment was shot to shit, so no point in sitting there like a puckered up idiot. It would figure. About to finally get some romantic time for uber heroics and she's thinking of someone else. Par the course when it came to his luck, he supposed. "I think it's time we call the parental units to come a reclaim their misbegotten progeny." He looked to Sophia and offered her a comforting, warm smile. "And maybe get her to the medical center." Sophia wearily looked up to Devin. "Sorry I tried to kill you." She groaned. "Sokay," she shrugged. "You're not the first to want to, or try." The Fellowdivas all quickly mumbled and shown their agreement on the fact that she would also not be the last. Despite the hell she'd been through, she managed a very tight but faint smile. "Hey, mom?" Marissa, like Jason, was limping pretty bad and her. Her voice was combination of adrenaline-excited spotted by patches of extreme pain that made her wince. Her outfit was shredded, at this point it barley protected her modesty and how the spaghetti straps of her halter top were still in one piece was a small miracle to be examined at a later date. Her legs and arms seemed covered in claw marks, along with her abs and back which were also littered with puncture wounds from teeth. The diva had never looked so rough and still her unique gifts of desire made her rock the whole look like she was some Valkyrie bad-ass who'd just survived Ragnarok. Nonetheless, she was in bad shape and it was hard to tell how much of the blood she was drenched in was actually hers. "Yep, saved the town and stuff," she nodded to the mother she couldn't see. "Not doing this with you right now." She slowly tried to sit down, wincing and sucking her teeth as her knee refused to bend. She decided to stand instead of persuading any of her wounds to open further. "We need a ride, and bring a lot of towels, but only the ones you don't want anymore, like those nasty green Ralph Lauren ones that Grandma sent us for Christmas? Hmm? Oh, because we're all covered in blood." Marissa glared at her phone, then placed it back next to her ear. "Mom?" The barrage of curses and yelling that could be heard as Misti gave Marissa an earful was epic in and of itself as her crimson-coated daughter held the phone away form her ear for a moment as she vented. She sighed and tried again after the yelling abated. "Done? Yes, mom, blood. Some of it is, yes. I don't know who all else's blood it might be, they're all dead, Not-Cody didn't exactly keep detailed files of his meals. I'll explain later. No. No. Yes, he's fine... for his definition of it, anyway." Devin gave her a middle finger and a smile for which she returned the smile. "Yes, mom, I know the Sheriff has called a lock down. He's with us, he's in the know. Yes, we know Sophia is missing. Well, was missing. We have her here with us. Yes, with us." Marissa inhaled and sighed loudly. "Mom! Would you and Dad just come get us? Christ! Fine. I'm all kinds of amped up on adrenaline and excitement. If you don't come get us I'm going home with Cade and we are going to get so nasty tha-" Marissa smiled and pressed the button her phone to end the call. "They'll be here in ten." "Y-you're not looking so good, Emjay." Devin approached his sister, sliding an arm around her to assist with her balance. "Everything hurts is all, I'm okay." Her smile did little to comfort him but still she tried to relax and wait for their ride to arrive. She looked to Autumn and grinned. "I get the sarcasm now, yeah. Next hellscape, wedge heels, totally. Although I think I took something eye out though..."
  10. He held Tawny close, feeling a bit guilty for thinking whatever powers might be listening that what happened to Sophia didn’t happen to his best friend. Not-Cody was fanned into a state of berserk rage and fire and bullets didn’t seem to be slowing him down, just pissing him off more. Devin wasn’t powerful enough to stand up to that beast, he knew that, but Marissa needed him, and Tawny needed him, and now… Sophia needed him. So, intend was the young boy at seeking his redemption and help every keep it together that he barely noticed the way allowed himself to fall apart. Perhaps it was guilt at not being there for Charlie or blaming himself for what happened to Cody… but he felt deep down that he needed to be there for everyone, be everyone’s hero, and then, maybe then, he’d feel like he’d left his troublesome behavior behind him. Everything was happening so fast… or was it? Not by a long shot. Very few could have understood how Devin perceived the world. Everything he did was instantaneous, calculating a jump was a complex series of equations accounting for distance, mass, trajectory, velocity… and his calculated it all faster than anyone. Not because he knew how, but because it was part of his nature now. After Sophia collapsed, that’s when the thought occurred to him and the world around him slowed down to a halt… He moved faster than the eye could see. Faster than science currently had a word for and he decided where he’d be able to do the most good. He appeared and knelt beside Sophia, looking up to Cassie and Autumn. “I’ve got her, ready to move if things go poorly. You two worry about the skull. Smash that damn thing.” Autumn looked back to Tawny as Devin appeared near Sophia, and saw that Devin was still holding Tawny tightly, ready to escape with her if anything happened. Devin grinned at Devin and fist bumped as they approached Not-Cody. “Bix,” he said to his phone as he pressed his F9 earbuds, activating them. “Gimme something to dance to…” Devin looked at himself and smiled wide, nodding enthusiastically as the music started to play. “Aww, yeah.” They two broke into a sprint and simultaneously disappeared, reappearing at the same time, one Devin up high to kick Cody in the face, while the other appeared low, smashing his foot into Cody’s ‘knees’. Then they were gone again, and so it went on at what seemed like light speed, or something out of one of the Japanese cartoons where the monkey-vegetable-people would fight as super speeds. If only they knew that this was still 'slow' where Devin was concerned. Cody lashed out in anger, slicing, and flailing at the two Devins but they were simply too fast, disappearing the moment an attack was too close, and even helping the other out by pushing or pulling them away from the flailing assaults. It occurred to the others very quickly that Devin wasn’t trying to hurt Not-Cody at all… he was distracting him! He was the proverbial hornets nest being dropped on Cody’s head to lure the assaults away from the others so they would have time to keep the pressure on Cody or seek cover if they needed it. “Y’done goofed,” Devin shouted. Other-Devin smirked and kicked off Not-Cody’s leg into a back flip and disappeared, reappearing to land on his shoulders and vaulted off backwards (pushing Cody down and off balance), and disappeared again. “A-A-Ron!” “C’mon Cody,” Devin held his arms out wide, T-ing up against mighty daemon. “You said wanted a piece of this… get you some!” Back at the throne, Cassie noticed that Devin (who was holding Sophia) wasn’t blinking… all of his concentration was being used to teleport so fast that he was able to literally duplicate himself. “Devin?” “I’m okay,” he smiled. “This is just, really trippy.” "Understatement of the century," she huffed.
  11. His sister was buying him time. He knew that. As the monster that had been Cody was assaulted from all sides by the teenagers, every part of him wanted to join in the fray and vent all his anger on the creature that had killed his friend and stolen Tawny from him. Tawny. They were doing their part and Marissa had bought him the time he needed to do something that only he could do. He didn’t always have to be on the front line to be a hero. Everyone had a part to play, from Cassie and Autumn to Devin, who now needed to make sure those who were taken were safe and kept from further harm. Taggart wouldn’t have believed it. These kids whose minds were on everything from sex to video games to food and Homecoming, but never on the now, were doing it. They were working as a team. One cohesive unit to form a beacon of light in the roiling darkness of shattered hope and despair. “Keep the pressure on!” He shouted. He turned to dash towards the throne, to where Cassie and Autumn had run. In mid stride he disappeared and reappeared at Sophia’s side, where he knelt. He looked up to Tawny, being pulled in towards the giant tree by its animated limbs. “C’mon,” he mumbled to himself. “Please work… please…” he reached out his senses and felt the noetic connection between himself and Tawny. It was faint, but there, the darkness and corruption of the mangled branches working to dim his connection and ability to pull it’s prize away from it. He pulled with his mind, breeching the boundaries of space and the distances between two or more things… and the Dark was there. A part of all things and all places, even in the pockets of the in between, and it refused to relinquish it’s hold on the lovely blonde. He reached up, he didn’t need to, but the somatic gesture helped his focus. Purplish energy illuminated the veins along his arms, his hands and forearms seemed to glow from within, as he pulled with everything he had to tear his best friend from the grip of the menacing avatar. And then, she fell into his arms, appearing in an instant to collapse against him, and he swiftly clutched her tightly and breathed heavily with relief and weariness. He lay her against the side of the throne. “Tee!” He yelled, sliding blood-soaked strands of hair off of her already crimson smeared features. “Tee! C’mon, girl… c’mon… be okay… Tee! C'mon you two. Sophie, Tawny... one of you wake up for me, c'mon girls, this is not how I pictured my first threesome going.” Tawny was in his arms and his temper was already abating slightly. She was cold to the touch, but still possessed a blush in her cheeks. It scared to consider for a moment if the creature had siphoned her Shine from her, leaving her powerless against it. "Dee-j?" She managed to rasp, opening her eyes just barely. He couldn't help her, not here. Not now, but she was alive and to him that was all that mattered. Devin managed a faint smile as some measure of hope was restored in his the grim palace of his mind. "It's me, Tee. We came for you. We're all here for you. I'm here for you."
  12. The group all pulled up outside the old Town Hall in a matter of minutes. The streets were bare due to people retreating back to heir homes on a the Sheriff’s orders. Shelly looked like a ghost town after what was a festival and celebration not just an hour before. The eerie quiet of the Silent Hill-like town was enough to rattle their nerves. They all gathered one last time outside their vehicles. Devin was needed to wrench open the portal to… wherever, so they all huddled close making small talk as he situated himself. Tee? Don’t know if you can hear me, but we’re coming for you. He set his helmet on his bike, threw his pack over his shoulder after one last go-through of its contents, even Marissa’s stuff because he knew she’d forget everything important in lieu of makeup and a spare set of shoes in case the scenery changed, and her outfit suddenly clashed with it. Devin approached Cassie and his sister and offered the blonde a reassuring wink and he rubbed his sister’s shoulder. “Hey, Blondie,” he greeted Cassie while giving his sister a once over and nodded. “Not bad. It’s a little CW, but it states bad ass.” She forced a smile and then admitted bluntly, “I’m scared, Devin.” He continued to rub her shoulder, forcing a smile of his own. He thought of something that couldn’t sum up of the Fellowship more clearly in a million years, and it was Marissa that had taught it to him years ago. “How did that go? Though much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven-“ “That which we are, we are,” She stood a bit taller as the words of Tennyson’s Ulysses rolled off her tongue. She knew that what he’d said was all he’d remembered of the poem that she had ran throughout the house reciting when she was younger. She’d found the prose beautiful and the words back then so inspiring. Now, here, he’d returned to her a part of who she was that she’d locked away in order to become the Queen of Mean. He always knew what to say. “One equal temper of heroic hearts made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” “Not to yield,” he softly repeated his sister’s words. “Amen to that.” ”It’s okay do be scared.” Devin said loud enough for everyone to hear him. Anger and rage swelled in his chest as the thought of Not-Cody hurting Tawny haunted his every thought, action, and step that he took. Words were always Devin’s weapon of choice. He was a master at deflecting his feelings with a joke or a quip, but now his mind couldn’t find any joke that fit this mess. There were no quips to make any of this seem ‘okay’. Words gave him comfort, kept the demons in his ears quiet long enough for him to collect his thoughts, and so… he talked. He let his eyes lock with his sisters for a few moments more before he turned to face everyone. “I’m scared. None of us asked for this, but here we are. Sophia, Tawny? They didn’t ask for this either, but they are out there somewhere, and we’re going to find them and bring them home.” He had no idea if Sophia was still alive but he they didn’t need to hear that right now. They needed to hear that she was alive, and they were going to find her. They needed that. He needed that. “Coyote? He sees something in us. He knows that each of us are dealing with something in our own way; loss, self-loathing, being different, identity, closure, redemption,” he looked to Autumn, Marissa, Sean, Jason, and Cassie respectively and gestured to himself last. “Individually we were broken but together we’ve managed to start putting ourselves back together. Sure, we’re still not perfect, but it’s a start and I for one am no longer afraid of all the little fractures that run along this twisted path through the darkness we’ve been set to walk upon.” He walked, circling to walk to past each of his friends and let them meet the intensity behind his eyes. “See, I believe that all those little fractures in the darkness are what let the light in so that we could find our way to each other. That’s a powerful statement from the Powers That Be that we were never meant to walk alone.” He passed by Cade and raised his fist, the large quarterback bumped it. He gave Jason a nod and a light pat on his shoulder as he passed him. He stopped and met Sean’s eyes for a moment and continued. “This isn’t about us, our differences, our personality clashes or our griefs with one another. Right here, today, now, we are bigger than all that. We are a Fellowship. Coyote sees something in us, kindred spirits that were destined to inherit great power, but he is also the God of Mischief and a little of that beats in all of us,” he pressed his hand to his heart and bowed slightly. “Some of us more than others.” For a second everyone was able to smile without forcing it past doubting convictions or fear of any numerous possibilities. “It’s in our blood, guys. We were born for this. Now, let’s go rescue our friends, stomp the Dark in the chubby, and go get our mischief on.” He walked away and they reflexively followed. They had a mission, and it was like a math test or a book report… they didn’t want to do it, but they had to, so they got to it. Lives were on the line though, and there were no make ups or extra credit if they failed the first time, this was it. It was go time. The eight of them stepped into the dark alleyway that led into the old building. Debris and brick and rust littered the small passageway and the shadows after the mouth of the alley seemed to grow deeper and more constricting. Sean held out his hand, palm up as they moved with purpose and were undaunted by darkness as long dimmed light fixtures exploded to power in a shower of sparks that rained down on them as the electrokinetic breathed life into them once more. The padlock on the old door twisted and knotted on itself as an unseen force telekinetically rent it asunder into metallic shards as the door opened itself in greeting. Cade slung his rifle up onto his shoulder while Marissa slid on her leather jacket, pulling her hair out to fall over the collar. Cassandra checked her battery power on her phone and camera, sliding one into her bag the other into her pocket. Autumn nervously rubbed her bracelet before tucking her hands into the pockets of her hoodie. Kat looked about everywhere, her eyes darting from shadow to shadow with nervous energy as they entered and approached the distortion. No one could see it, not even Devin. It wasn’t something that could be seen, only felt. For a long moment that’s all Devin did was just feel it. It was nothing, and he never quite understood how nothing could have a feeling to it… but it was like emptiness, like one of those days when he wanted to do something but no matter what he considered that one thing he’d chosen just wasn’t it and on and it went. He would search all day, but nothing was good enough and he just felt bored and like he’d wasted a whole day by the time that day was done. This feeling was like that. It was hungry for something, but it didn’t know what, so it just ate and ate and drank up all the good and decency and joy looking for that one thing to sate its hunger. Cade tapping Devin on the shoulder snapped him back into the real. “You’re up.” The monster that chased him through the halls of the school flashed in his mind. He twitched visibly. “Y-yeah.” He stepped forward a few steps and clenched his fists at his sides, he closed his eyes focusing on the distortion. He could the difference in his power compared to the essence that formed the distortion, almost like pure malice had found a way to smash though reality. His mind made his thoughts a reality. As he focused, he could hear the thumping, hollow like something banging against something thick. He opened his eyes and saw the distortion opened, its iris spiraling outward to show the vast expanse of nothingness in the form of a mirrored wasteland of their own world. His gut tightened as the creature from the school, the one that had spent hours stalking him and hunting in the corrupted hallways of his school. It loomed there in the threshold of the gate, drooling, and hissing as its form slithered in place to keep its balance. It hissed which soon mingled into a screech that could make ears bleed and it lunged for him only to slam against the portal, like a pane of glass was keeping it from crossing over. It slammed against it a second time and the barrier cracked, and a third with blinding speed and all Devin could do was stand there, paralyzed as the barrier shattered its massive jaws closed the distance and everything went dark. Devin’s snapped open and took a step back, almost staggering and falling into Cade and Cassie who were directly behind him. Cassie managed to brace him and noticed the droplets of cold sweat coating his brow. “Woah. Devin, you okay?” “Y-yeah.” He lied. “Just, uh, feedback. The distortion is made of some pretty foul stuff. Dark shit. Scary shit. Wasn’t ready for it, that’s all.” His smile was less than convincing as he stepped forward to tried again. He could lie to them, but he couldn’t lie to Autumn. His heart rate and brain chemistry had spiked so high he was on the verge of shock. Still, he stepped forward for another try. She silently watched him, monitoring his health as he stubbornly made a second attempt. He closed his eyes once more and tried to focus through the fear. He still had dreams from his time in the Void, as Ellie called it. IT was only a few minutes in his world, but it was a few hours there when a demonic horror had hunted for him and on several occasions, had almost killed him. He’d been putting up a good front, but the experience had left him with nightmares and terrors about ever having to return to that place. His world faded away again, and he focused on the distortion. His eyes tightened shut and Autumn could feel his heart rate increase. Chemicals flooded through his body as his senses extended outward and into realms beyond their own. The creature slammed against the barrier of his senses and once more it cracked the protection in his mind and lurched back for one final strike that would shatter his confidence. Forward it lunged and… …he was standing in a field of tall grass, a field he knew, and he remembered. "Don't say I'm your best friend!” Tawny’s voice was low and seemed come from the lowest depths of her throat as she fumed and shook her head. Devin stood stunned for a moment, he remembered this! This him and Tawny during the summer when… when he was an idiot. "Don't you dare say that, because I know Deejay, I know we're best friends. Jesus God, do I know, and it's not fair.” She sobbed. “You really want to know what 'in love' is? Even if I had never met you that day outside of your house... I'd miss you.” Tears welled up in Devin’s eyes. He shook his head in a vain attempt to apologize to this phantasm for not understanding then how much he was hurting her. His fists clenched at his sides and he shook his head in defiance that he was about to give up on her. Not yet. No way. The valley turned dark, the grass shriveled and died. Tawny, along with the field faded into a colorless grey and dissolved like ash only to be blown away on a sudden wind. As the breeze cleared Devin stood only a few feet from the giant snarling creature that terrified his dreams. Slime-like saliva dripped down from its jaws as it lowered its head to meet its prey eye to eye. “Jason,” Autumn looked up at her boyfriend, worry in her eyes and voice. “He’s not well. Whatever he is doing to open this thing, it’s killing him.” “He can do it.” Jason said calmly. “Jason.” She glared at him through gritted teeth as if his name were suddenly entire conversation to convey her disagreement with his appraisal. “Everyone is looking for something in their life, Deejay.” Tawny appeared, fading into view like a ghost now clothed in a virginal white dress with white satin ribbons and sash that chaotically danced in the breeze. Her very presence was the brightest thing across all the landscape. She stood in the space between him and the great creature. “We're all born incomplete and we spend our lifetimes searching for that piece that completes us and makes us whole. I feel that when I'm with you. Whole. The powers may seem to make me glow, but it's you Devin, it's always been you that makes me shine. That's why I love you, that's why I'm in love with you. You make me a better person." Gold spun itself with Rumpelstiltskin like magic through the violent violet energy that slithered down his arms and coalesced into his palms. It swirled and danced in a fervent unbridled rage within his eyes, and gateway to his soul and at this moment, Devin’s soul was on fire. “You will not keep me from her.” He snarled at the great demon. The landscape crumbled and collapsed around like a poorly made movie set that was no longer needed. As it crumbled the room, he and the others stood in were left behind, fear was replaced with rage. Sorrow replaced by hope. In a great bellow Devin cried out and the mighty demon that only he could see was hit by the power of his battle cry and exploded backwards like smashing ash with stick. The room exploded with power and the iris of a portal collapsed in upon itself. Sweat mingled with blood as Devin collapsed to one knee. His nose dripped crimson with the toll of crossing between worlds, but he’d done it. The way was open. Courtney collapsed over the sink in her bathroom and coughed up blood in an unladylike matter. Her nose dribbled blood and rivulets slowly slithered their way from her ears. Every capillary in her head felt like it was fire but still, she managed to look up at the massive mirror and Tawny, clothed in virginal white, faded from her sight as the awakened memory from Devin’s mind faded as her link was broken, her power stretched to its limit. She collapsed onto the soft, comfortable rug upon the bathroom floor and she stared at the ceiling. Her breath was shallow and weakened but still she smiled, her teeth blood stained as it ran down her cheeks from her nose. She’d done all she could. She'd given Devin the push he needed. “Go get him, guys.” She closed her eyes and left herself rest.
  13. "Okay," Devin walked with Cade and Marissa through the crowds of people and he couldn't help but have that uneasy feeling of 'I know something you don't know' as he passed by the oblivious families trying to enjoy what little of summer they had left. Charlie filled his thoughts as they moved, his stride determined, his mind elsewhere. The talks they'd had, the small frame of time in which they had to build memories and now... that was it. There would be no more opportunities for the two to build a friendship. There would be nothing else from Charles Cole and all that kept flashing through the young teleporter's mind was Charlie sitting at the breakfast table in the morning at school, laughing and smiling and... his phone spoke up with the voice of Queen Elenore from the movie Brave scolding the young, fiery haired Princess Merida, 'Don’t just play with your haggis!' she cried out, alerting Devin that it was Autumn, the Fellowship's own fiery haired princess trying to get a hold of him. "You know where to go, right? Don’t waste time getting there." He told the other two as he fished his phone out of his pocket. "What about you?" Marissa asked. She was unconsciously holding Cade's hand tightly, finding some measure of solace, warmth and protection with the two men she trusted would take care of her. She was no fighter, and outwardly appeared to be holding together. Inside, the Queen of Mean's emotional and mental stability was a winner take all game of Jenga and the tower was wobbling more and more with each new strange they got word of. "Devin, we've already lost someone, don't go playing hero." "I'm not," his smile did nothing to reassure her. "Hermes gotta do, what Hermes do, right? Texts or no, I'm the fastest. I can help make sure we're all safe and message traffic is getting relayed. You'll be safe with Cade," Devin glanced to the six-foot-four tower of muscle and Cade knew that look silently told him that he was trusting his sister’s lover with his world. She wasn't just his sister, but his twin sister. Losing her would be like losing half of his soul. It was a twin thing. "If he's crazy enough to sleep with you, he's crazy enough to punch a dragon for you. I'll meet up with you guys soon, okay?" She mustered a smirk at his bad joke and punched him in the arm playfully. "Okay, jerk. Love you." "Love you too, sis." He disappeared into the crowd as Cade tugged Marissa's hand gently to spur her back into motion. Stoically Cade moved through the people and towards where his Jeep was parked. "How can you be so calm?" Marissa asked the Terminator she was not dating, just sleeping with because they didn't want to put a label on it. "I'm not. I'm afraid, angry, and unfortunately for whatever squares off against us, determined. I will mourn when there is time. I will laugh at the memories, offer a moment of silence for the fallen, and if need be, cry tears that refuse to be kept in any longer. For now, though, Marissa, none of those things will help us or bring Charlie back, so I will place our enemy in my sights, and I will slowly squeeze the trigger of my fury until whatever took Charlie away from us is no more." “I’m so turned on right now,” she said out of nowhere. “Just thought you should know. So, you know… the faster we get this shit done...” ---===[@]===--- "Devin!" He'd barely made it thirty paces, his phone in hand, before he heard someone cry out to him. It was so cool being so... well, cool. He turned his head, looking towards camp Cassidy as his parents packed up for the day. Families were starting to take notice and their expressions read that something seemed 'off' about the direction the day was going. He ran over to the lovely redhead, the youngest of the Cassidy sisters, Laurie. "Hey, been awhile," he greeted her, and she tried to force a smile at his never-ending sense of humor in even the most trying of times. He'd just been over here talking to her just a couple hours prior. "Sean, is he-" "Yeah, yeah... he ran off to wherever it is you guys are supposed to go, I'm um, doing what I can, I guess." she thumbed back to her parents and the camp. "So, is it, uh... is it happening? He told me about Charlie... and Sophie." "Something is happening, but whatever it is, we're going to stop it." It wasn't intentional but he delivered the phrase with the confidence of a superhero. "Charlie, yeah... he's gone. Sophie? We don't know a hundred percent yet, but if she's alive, we'll find her." Neither teen noticed the Cassidy parents approaching from behind Laurie. Perhaps it was the chaos encircling their thoughts or the momentary meeting of their eyes that tore their attention away from anything going on in the world around them. It was Jack, Sean's father, clearing his throat as they approached that brought the two teens out of their silent reverie and back into reality. "Devin," Jack's voice was a firm, but fair greeting. Neither of the Cassidy parents approved of Devin spending time around their children, not after what he'd done to them for the last three years. The stories of his torture and abuse of the Cassidy siblings were cause for more than one argument in the household about going to the school and reporting him. Carolyn offered him a false smile forced through tightened lips. "Mom, dad," she looked to Devin, pleading with him silently and he offered her a slight nod of approval. "It's okay. Devin's one of them, like Sean." When they both sighed and offered a roll of the eyes in a silent curse to the heavens, Jack shook his head. "No, no..." she pleaded with them to understand. "He's okay. He's changed. Really, he's trying to be better and... that's saying a lot coming from me since I was seriously considering setting his motorcycle on fire a few weeks ago." Devin offered her a WTF glare with hurt in his eyes. "Don’t glare at me. You were a total jerk and had it coming." "Uh huh, still going to do it?" He jokingly asked her. "Might settle for slashing the tires," she said honestly. His joking expression faded fast as that was not the answer he was expecting. She shrugged innocently. "What? I've a lot of pent-up anger towards you." He barely noticed her playful grin as Jack spoke up. "Then, you'll be with my boy tonight?" His fatherly gaze settled on Devin, indicating that the time for jokes was done. "All of you. You'll see him safe?" "Sean," Carolyn's worry was evident in her voice. "Isn't a fighter." "You'd be surprised." Devin said honestly. He shifted back into Devin mode before someone noticed him being too serious. "Mr. Cassidy, Mrs. Cassidy... I'm not going to lie. What we are about to do is dangerous, but I'm sure he's already told you that we're the only ones who can do this. So, I know I'm a horrible influence on your kids, but we’re going to take Sean out tonight and we are probably going to be out way past curfew. There's going to be violence, possibly experimental recreational drug use and most likely, pre-marital sex, you know how us teens and our parties go, and we're gonna misbehave and make all kinds of noise until the job done,” his tone suddenly took the air of unsurpassed confidence. “But we are coming home." Jack stared for a long moment at Devin, unmoved by Devin's humor and unable to let go of three years of torture and abuse that he'd put his kids through. This was his life, his son's life, and if parenting had taught him anything it was that children never stopped surprising him. He offered Devin his hand, which the teenage boy accepted and was quickly locked in the tight, powerful grip of a man who worked hard for a living. Compassionately he spoke as a father, leaving the past in the past, for now. "You bring my son home, you hear me?" It was the most serious he'd sounded in a long time as Devin stood tall, like the man he was growing into and nodded his confirmation. "Yes, sir." "You guys, be careful, okay?" Laurie forced a worried smile as Jack let her friend(?) go. "We will." He turned to leave as Jack and Carolyn stood with their daughter, thankful that there were others more responsible than Devin Jauntsen looking after their son. "Devin, wait," like man leaving to go to war, Devin turned to look back to Laurie. She was already near him, running the distance between them as she called out. Her lips pressed to his cheek gently. It was nothing more than a simple kiss, but it carried with it a weight that said someone would miss him if he didn't come home. Her emerald eyes seemed to capture all that remained of summer's defiant surrender to winter's cold, shimmering with warmth. "For luck." He nodded. "For luck." ---===[@]===--- The air weft briefly, turning a violet hue, before Devin appeared with a vacuous 'bamf' standing not far from where Autumn was. With all that was going on, his sudden appearance startled her, and she jumped, offering him an icy glare. "Fuck, Devin!" "Sorry!" He apologized, matching Autumn's tone and volume. "It's not like I can knock!" He noticed Jason assisting Jacob and immediately he felt he understood why they'd called him. "Shit, Jacob..." he said quietly. "He okay? You need me to get him somewhere, hospital, maybe?" "No, no." With a quick shake of her head the red-haired teen declined the teleporter's offer to play ambulance and tucked her phone back into her pocket. "It looks worse than it is, I promise. We're taking him back to my parents' table so they can get him home and keep an eye on him." Glancing surreptitiously in her childhood friend's direction to see if he'd noticed Devin's abrupt appearance (and hoping he was still too out of it to care), Autumn tugged idly at the hem of her t-shirt. "Thanks, though," she added, as an afterthought. "Yeah, sure, no problem." Since everything seemed handled, he half shrugged and gave them a look. He seemed anxious and, in a hurry, like he wanted to get everyone to 'The Table' and start getting revenge for Charlie. "So... what's up then?" Jase kept them all moving as he supported the half-conscious, mumbling Jacob, eyes pausing their wary scrutiny of the surroundings long enough to look at Devin. "We texted you because Jacob was with Tawny." he said quietly, green gaze holding Devin's stare. "No sign of any violence other than to Jacob. It's likely she's been taken." He didn't say by whom. They all (except Jacob) knew who had taken the girl. He went on into the momentary silence. "We need to act together. That's why we're talking face to face." "And also," Autumn interjected quickly, her fingers twisting in the cotton fabric. "I really wanted to tell you in person. I know she's your friend, and that's not something you should have to read in a text." Devin about faced, cutting onto Jason's path and pressing his hand against Jason's chest to stop any further movement. "Woah, woah... the hell you mean 'likely been taken'? By whom?" If it weren't Charlie that had his guts in a knot a sudden sheen of dread washed over his face. Not her. Oh god, not her... not Tee... Not-Cody didn't seem a likely answer to him. It was broad daylight on a cloudless summer day... the idea of a monster or creature of the dark didn't seem likely to be able to get away with sneaking through this crowd of barbecuers and happy families. "The hell's going on? Who has Tawny?" He looked to the delirious Jacob and they noticed one of his hands tighten up into a white knuckled fist. Neither could be sure if he planned on using it, or if it was just the stress of the moment getting to him. "Jacob! Who has her!? Where is she!?" "I dunno... threw me..." Jacob blearily focused - or rather, tried to - on Devin. "Dev'n? Wh'n y' get here?" "He was hurled headfirst into a tree." Jason explained, shifting slightly so he was between Devin and the insensible Jacob. "Devin? Look at me." There was a note in Jason's voice, an edge of some undefined urgency usually lacking. "Tawny Shines, so we know who's taken her. We know where they are. We are going to get her back. Right after we hand Jacob off. Okay?" "Jesus fucking-" Autumn swore quietly but intensely, stepping in to get her shoulder under Jacob's arm as his balance wavered. "I just got him put back together, could you please not jump down his throat? It's not his fucking fault, Devin. Just-" God, what was with this freaking day?! "Uggghhh," she fumed aloud, an angry flush rising in her cheeks as she tried to keep her voice down. "Look, we thought you needed to know, and since you can fill everyone in faster than we can get back to Gar's table, this is where we're at right now." Jason saw it. That gleam in eyes that spoke to pure rage mingled with the myriad 'what ifs' now running through it. Jason had saw that look in Devin's eyes before, that moment right before he lashed out at Chet weeks ago. He knew Devin, like all beings of reason, had demons of his own, and although they remained quiet were never silenced. Calm as he may have seemed everyday they were always there waiting patiently for a reason to wake, take a long over due breath, and crawl back into his thoughts. In this moment, they were on a party line. He paced like he was consumed by the Dark Side and ready to rampage on anything and everyone. Any attempts he made to look like he was calm didn't fool either of his companions. The air around him warped and distorted, his eyes seemed to shimmer with streams violet and golden energy. His emotional state was quickly approaching 9000. "Whatever this thing is... or was... it's dead. If it hurt her, I swear..." he stopped there, obviously not sure how to follow up that threat. "And I'll help." Jason told him, letting the details of whatever dire vengeance Devin could not or would not articulate be left for future determination. He watched his unlikely friend, observing some manner of kinship in the rage on display, however diffuse it was. "We need to work together, though. All of us. Like Autumn said, best thing you can do right now is go get the others up to speed." He exchanged a look with the redhead. "I think we need to move right after we drop Jacob off. Grab bracelets for those that don't have them and get going." "Yeah. I don't know what I'm gonna tell my dad, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it." She glanced at the other two members of the so-called Fellowship, then back up at Jay. "Listen, if you guys want to go back, I can take care of him and catch up with you once I'm done with my family. It'll be faster, and you two can get everyone on the same page and moving forward." Jason shook his head almost immediately. "No. You'll get Jacob back faster with my help, and we are not leaving any one of us alone and vulnerable right now." "Jase. It's fine. Jacob is my priority, not everyone else's. Making sure people know what's up and coming up with a plan is more important. You're good at that," she stated firmly, then glanced back at the seething teleporter. "And you two are kind of in charge, I guess. So let's get it done." "She's right." Devin said. He was without quips or humor, not even a smile dared to wander to his lips. "Jason, go with Autumn. Cade's with Marissa. Pair up, handle Jacob, meet me at the table. I'll relay the news." "Devin, where's your bracelet?" Autumn asked absently as she noticed he wasn't wearing his. "Ellie has it." Devin took a deep breath. "Good thing too, or we wouldn't be having this conversation. Best if you keep my replacement for now, you can be my good judgement... because I'm almost out." Jason nodded in agreement and coaxed Jacob, not ungently, into motion again. "Let's get going, then. Let the others know what's going on, Devin." Wide blue eyes blinked incredulously at the pair as they either pretended she either hadn't spoken at all, or that she'd said something entirely different- she wasn't sure which. There was no mistaking the expression on her flushed features, though, which translated her thoughts as clearly as if they'd been written across her freckled forehead: What. The actual. Fuck? Jacob groaned softly, and the redhead sighed, her hand on his back. Right. Bigger problems. "I'm right here," she murmured as they started walking again, carefully picking a path out of the trees. "We're gonna head back to the table, okay? C'mon."
  14. Where It All Began July 16th, The Awakening… The apologies didn’t stop coming. Chet was, in one way or another consistently trying to get in contact with Marissa and try to repair the damage he had done. Perhaps it was in some vain attempt to win her back and not ruin his chance with her forever or just his conscience getting the best of him. Regardless of which, Devin was sorely running out of patience with him and pretending everything was okay around him was seriously straining his calm. He knew it was also Marissa’s fault, her addictions and blind stupidity were what opened the door for all of these problems to happen to begin with, and he hadn’t let her forget that. He also knew she was using again and her not seeming to learn from her past mistakes grated on his nerves daily. That’s why she wasn’t here at Bunee’s today with him and Tawny. Before they’d left he and Marissa had gotten into another shouting match about her poor life choices when Marissa came stomping down into the kitchen to yell about Chet sending her another Facebook message begging her to give him another chance. This wasn’t what he signed on for. This grand game they planned on playing with the teens of Shelly was supposed to be just that, a game. Now it seemed to be spiraling out of either of their control and he wasn’t sure he wanted to be a part of it anymore. He felt like everyday he was ripping himself to pieces in order to keep others, like his sister, whole. Now, to top it off, the girl that seemed to understand him and help to calm him down had been called home by her father instead of being allowed to sit with him for a quiet, chill lunch with no drama… Until Chet decided to be Chet and pick a fight with Lilly after harassing Clara. "Yeah? I'll show you harmless." He was over on the opposite side of the diner near a table where most of Shelly’s social rejects had retired to for lunch. Lilly had just told Chet he was harmless after Clara decided to insult him for inviting them to a party. Devin thought a simple ‘thank you, no’ would have sufficed, but she had to go and fling taunts. Of course Lilly swooped in to save Ever-The-Victim-Clara from what Devin considered a fight she started. "Dude, you can't even hit hard enough to make a girl quit. Though it's probably the only time you will ever on top of one." Lilly noted, shaking her head. "Yeah... well..." he said, thinking for a moment, "Good thing you're quarterback. Because you love handling balls." Chet said with a sneer, feeling proud of himself. Lilly nodded and shrugged. "Yeah. Maybe, but dude, you chase after them, all game, with all your might, just wanting to get your hands on them." Lilly countered, still smiling as she gave a 'wassup' nod to Clara, her morning jogging buddy, in the booth. All Devin could do was shake his head and keep sliding through his phone. Chet didn't get too much into matching wits with either of the women, although all of the inbred Montanans were being so loud that Devin could have easily been involved in all their conversations at once. He sighed, annoyed that he was still at Bunnee’s but hadn't quite built up a reason to leave yet. Alone at his booth he just tapped the screen on his smartphone browsing his favorite social media, trying to tune out the local mouth breathing drama sponges. "D," Chet held his arms out to Devin, looking at him like a comrade in arms against the teenagers of Shelly. "Bruh, you gonna let em' gang up on me like this? Help a brother out, man?" Devin had, at one point or another, abused, chastised, emotionally assaulted, sexually harassed, or was just cruel in general to about every person sitting in the restaurant at that current point in time, a few got a bit worried when Chet made a call for reinforcements. Sean knew the depths of Devin's emotional detachment when it came to making others feel terrible. Bannon knew that Devin would rather burn this whole city to the ground than spend one more minute there, Clara knew that while she had a Plan, Devin probably had a Manifesto. He hated Shelly and everyone in it and it was moments like this he cherished and salivated for. Moments where he could just bring their perfect little worlds crashing down around them and remind all the little people how weak and pathetic, they actually were... Several tensed for the abuse that was about to be visited upon the dining area... "Chet," Devin never took his eyes away from his phone. His tone was filled with boredom and lack of caring to an extreme, like a bored prince sitting on his throne when he'd rather be whoring. "Sit down. You're an idiot. You picked a fight you couldn't win, and your insults make about as much sense as Roid Rager over here," he thumbed to Lilly without acknowledging anyone. "I mean, 'you chase after them', really?" He still hadn't looked up from his phone. He was irritated about something; they could all tell. Devin never missed an opportunity to destroy any of them, yet here he was just passively blowing them off. "If you don't want to go to the party... just don't go. It's that simple. You don't even have to say anything, simply don't fucking show up. Look around Clara... no one. Will. Miss you. Put that on your suicide note, and we'll all still try to pretend to cry and act like we didn't see it coming. You're smart enough to know that if you talk to Chet, he'll talk back, it's what children do. Chet... you're a moron dude, sit down, drool, look stupid... that's it. That's your fucking job. Don't come over to the big brains and start shit, you know you're gonna lose. Because this is your future, bro. This town. Nothing more. Not a scholarship, not an 'A'... ever, and certainly not fucking my sister so quit hitting her up on Facebook, because she's lost her voice from all the dry heaving your broken English has induced. And for the record, Dick Snot, 'pretty' is spelled with a 'y', not two fucking 'e's..." It wasn't often Chet got it from all sides like this, and it was unprecedented for Devin to fire off both barrels on one of his own popular, jock clique friends. Something was certainly rotten in the state of Den... Montana. Chet had made a move for Devin's sister, and everyone knew that there were only a few taboos in Devin's world, one of them was trying to date his twin sister Marissa. Chet was on Devin's radar... that meant some people, like Sean, might be able to breathe easy for a week or so while Devin's rage was focused elsewhere. "Shit, Devin... uh, look bruh, I was-" Chet tried to stammer out but his babbling was cut short by a very loud snap of Devin's fingers. He still didn't look up from his phone. He just cut off Chet and with the same hand he snapped his fingers again and casually pointed at the bench opposite to him, inviting Chet to have a seat. Everyone knew what came next: the talk. The warning. The one and only time Devin would ever tell someone to stay away from his sister. They had no idea what had been going on over this past summer and couldn’t guess that this was Chet’s third time of getting on Devin’s bad side. There were rumors (and only rumors, mind) of what he'd done to those who didn't heed that warning. Some were never seen again, others he sold their organs on the internet, in one instance he punched their soul out of their body... you know how kids talk. Either way, no one wanted to be in Chet's shoes today… "As for your sister?” Chet turned to face Devin, walking forward a few steps with no intention of sitting down. He’d decided now, and here, of all times to get cocky. “Everyone hits on her, I just didn't get lucky." Devin looked up from his phone, his eyes angled in up in a serial killer glare that said while Chet currently held the high ground, he was seriously underestimating Devin's power. Like all teenagers Devin was now faced with a myriad of possible choices as to how he could handle the rather tense situation Chet had introduced. He could simply weather the slings and arrows of the big guys harsh words and resiliently allow them to not damage his calm. Or, with a few well-placed words of his own Devin could diffuse the situation with finesse and aplomb. There was also a third way but no well-adjusted person every really chose... Devin moved like a striking snake. Swift, lethal and deadly. He tossed his smartphone to Chet and as the large guy reflexively went to catch it, he let his guard down and caught a fist clean to the center of his face. Okay... so Devin chose the third option. Force. It was always force with him... anger, violence, conflict... these were his tools against a county, population and family life he couldn't stand anymore. On any given day, Chet probably could have taken Devin in a square one on one, but Devin wasn't playing fair. The first punch knocked Chet so far back he lost balance and fell backwards. Devin's phone slid wildly across the floor of Bunnee's and slammed into the side someone's foot at Sean's table. Chet didn't have time to recover before Devin was standing over him, pulling his shirt and bringing the big dumb guy towards him for two more heavy blows to the face... Chaos erupted all around them and the rest you all know.
  15. The Evil That Men Do Terry paced about in the darkness, the cherry from cigarette glowing brightly for a moment before it dimmed again when he exhaled a white cone of smoke for his lungs. He was across the street from his house where he usually stepped out to smoke. He had a habit of getting wrapped up in what was going on his phone and wandering off into the forested area just across the street from his house where he’d lean against one tree or another while one cigarette would become two or more as he replied to texts or fielded calls or just plain got lost on the internet in the warm summer air. The white light from his phone moved about as he paced, giving him away in the shadows of the late June evening. He smirked at the screen and pinched his cigarette between his lips and held up his phone to reply to whomever text him or whatever comment amused him. Devin’s stomach was tight and about to wrap itself in knots. Todd and Cody were on either side of him, kneeling in the shadows where Devin had spent the last couple of weeks staking out Terry and learning his patters and habits. He’d surmised that this, while he was smoking, was the best time to get him. His mind continued to chastise his rational brain, screaming that what he was doing was insane, criminal and borderline psychotic. He thought about confronting Terry alone but feared that it would only cause him to tell Chet and they might get uppity and upload that video and ruin Marissa’s future. The three of them, however, could put the fear of God into Terry and make him understand that actions have consequences. Actions have consequences. The though gave Devin pause as he watched Terry. If that were true, him and Marissa had one hell of a reckoning coming their way one day. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The experiment, the game, whatever they wanted to call it, wasn’t supposed to turn their ‘friends’ into devious, deceptive, violent people who reveled in the misery of others. Even Marissa, the longer it went on, got lost in the power and prestige that being the Queen of Shelly gave her. It was like something burrowed into their minds and souls and just made them… off. No one knew his sister better than he did and Devin knew that in the last few years, she’d changed so dramatically that he didn’t even recognize her on somedays. Not that he was one to talk. Here he was in the shadows with two of his goons ready to avenge his sister and the thought of hurting this fool Terry made him feel… good. He was looking forward to this. Did that make him just as messed up as everyone else? Devin stepped from the shadows and approached Terry. The crunching of the leaves on the wooded grounds should have given him away immediately but it took until Devin was almost on him for Terry to be disenchanted enough by the distraction of his phone for him to take notice. “Terry?” Devin asked, lazily pointing at him briefly before letting his hand drop to his side. “You’re Terry, right?” This stranger just stepped from the shadows and casually asked him his name. Everything about the sudden shift in Terry’s evening told him that things were about thirty seconds form taking a sharp decline. “Who’re you?” Terry asked a question with a question. That was one of Devin’s pet peeves. “Devin,” he said calmly. His stomach was on fire, he burned with hate for this guy and what he did to his sister. “Jauntsen. You know my sister, Marissa.” Terry’s eyes darted back and forth as if it suddenly dawned on him Marissa’s brother was in all dark clothing, and he was over a hundred yards from his house in an empty, heavily wooded lot in the middle of nowhere. He kicked rocks. Hardcore. He could tell Devin didn’t give chase as he bolted away from him. The leaves underfoot loudly shuffled like the waves roaring up onto a shoreline on a windy evening. Hearing was almost impossible, and he could barely see, he knew the path so well he usually just walked it absent mindedly. Now, however, he was in a state of panic. He wasn’t calm enough at the moment to consider where he was going or have the wherewithal to stop and turn on his phone’s flashlight. He never saw, and barely heard, Cody come up from his flank and even if he had, the shoulder check Shelly’s star football player leveled onto him sent him flying backward an impressive six to ten feet where he slammed into a tree at an uncomfortable angle and felt to the ground. “This the guy, dude?” Cody laughed as he approached the doubled over Great Falls dealer. He hoisted his victim up easily; Terry was still to dazed to put up much fight. Cody slammed Terry’s back into the tree, hard. With his other hand he pulled long piece of torn sheet out from his pocket and gagged Terry. When he struggled Todd stepped up and slugged him in the gut, the wincing reflexively jerked Terry’s arms back down to instinctively protect his exposed core. He was already in tears, but Cody sure as hell didn’t care. He began to wrap the full length of the sheet all the away around the small trunk of the tree and tied it tightly, binding Terry to the tree by gag. Todd punched him again and lent his own sheared length of sheet to bind Terry’s arms down and his body to the tree. Devin casually approached, hands in pockets like some mob boss. “Terry,” he smirked. “Terry, Terry, Terry… oh, Terry.” He taunted, letting the reality of the situation sink into the man who blackmailed his sister. Terry retaliated with mumbles and muffled screams and while his arms and head were bound to the tree, he valiantly flailed at Devin in fear and anger with his feet. He kicked out at Devin, who was intentionally just out of range, until he felt he was losing his balance and then he’d set that foot down and flail with his other. Laughing, Devin pointed to Terry and looked to Cody and Todd, who were standing behind Terry, on either side. “You seeing this? This guy fucking serious right now?” His goons laughed. “Terry, bro. M’dude. You know why I’m here, don’t you?” Terry mumbled through his gag, it was barely coherent, but he got the point across. “Go fuck yourself. Your sister’s a slut.” Devin inhaled and smirked while he released the breath. “Maybe. But I’m not here because my sister likes to fool around with dudes like you. This isn’t an overprotective brother house call. You know why I’m here, and if you don’t answer my questions, truthfully, then it’s going to be a bad night for you. In fact, it’s going to be a bad life for you, because I could easily hammer on a piece of shit like you for fun and, full disclosure, I don’t mind making this drive once in a while.” Terry looked into Devin’s eyes. While the bound man held no love for this guy, his sister, or his current situation, he could see how serious Devin was. He noticed Cody pick up a thick tree branch and felt him slide it between the sheet and the tree. After a few moments he felt the pressure on his bindings tighten and Cody turned the branch end over end. He winced in pain, trying to tighten his chest to fight back against his bindings but just didn’t have the strength to compete with the football player acting as torturer. “The video,” Devin asked, cupping Terrys chin and cheeks with his hand and turning his face to look at him. “Where is it?” A glance from Devin had Cody loosen the bindings slightly. “Ph…” He mumbled through his gag. In a defiant moment of courage, he giggled with a no small measure of madness in his eyes. He was planning on making this hard. “Fuck yourself…” “Phone?” Devin smirked. “That what you were going to say?” The phone in question was being delivered by Todd to Devin’s hand at that moment. It had fallen to the ground after Cody’s amazing shoulder check. Of course, Devin knew all this information. He’d already broken in and snooped around and knew that Terry, so far, hadn’t made any copies of it. Most people didn’t, not when their phone was a secure and portable form of media, Devin’s only real worry was that he’s uploaded it to sites like 4chan or Pornhub and had spent an interesting amount of time lately watching everything posted on those sites. In the last few weeks, he’d seen some shit. “This phone?” Terry tried to spit at Devin… but the gag. Devin gave him an off-color look that Terry was starting to read as his ‘seriously’ look. Devin swiped the screen and it asked for the four-digit unlock code. Devin showed him the screen and the request for the code. “What’s the code?” He asked. Terry laughed through squinted eyes, flipping Devin off with both fingers. “We can make this look like a bear attack, Terry.” Devin jested. “If that’s how you want it, but I’m still in a good mood, so let’s be civil, hm? I’m going to ask you the code, you tell me with your fingers, and if that doesn’t work, well, my buddies break one. ‘Nine’ is tricky with broken fingers, I hear, so the way I gather you get one shot to make your jokes and play tough guy, or at the very least hope ‘nine’ is nowhere in your code. Ball’s in your court. We’ll wait while you think it over.” Cody twisted the branch and squeezed Terry tighter to the tree to encourage him to think quickly. Within moments Terry was making gestures with his hands, 4-4-4-4. Cody let up and Devin tapped in the numbers, chuckling about how he hated it when it was something he probably could have guessed. He scoured the phone’s gallery, swiping back to the weekend when Marissa was getting her high on and decided that blowing her dealer would be a great idea, because it did wonders for Kim’s career. Sure enough, the video was there. He paced around and followed the directions he’d researched online for how to wipe someone’s Cloud-drive, just in case, then proceeded to scour his texts to see if he’d sent it to anyone besides Chet, then deleted all of those too. All that was left was the video itself, and he destroyed it with a sense of satisfaction but only after he sent it to himself, then deleted the call logs and all his contacts. The entire process took the better part of five to ten minutes and in the meantime Todd and Cody watched over Terry. When he was finished, he approached their captive. “You know why we came here,” Devin’s voice was an almost eerie tone of Batman calm. “You know what will happen if we ever have to come back. My sister? Off limits to you, forever. She says ‘hello’ you turn and run away as fast as you can. Taking videos and using them as blackmail just because my sister won’t sleep with you is damn near grounds for me to roll you down a cliff and break you on the rocks on one of the numerous riverbeds in this fucking state. If you made copies, I highly recommend you delete them, because if they ever surface, my sister might be on blast for it, but I’ll have nothing but rage, time and motive to dedicate my fucking life to ending yours.” He gripped Terry’s throat, slamming his head back into the tree. “Have I made myself clear?” Terry nodded.
  16. It Worked For Kim “Are you fucking kidding me, Marissa?” Devin yelled at his sister as he stormed down the hall from his room into hers. His sock sheathed feet echoed hollow thumps with each angry step he took. “I don’t believe this. I don’t believe you!” He gestured to his twin who was in her room taking off the white mock turtleneck she’d worn that day to school. She spun swiftly about to face him, covering her black lace bra and chest with her crossed arms. “Dude, what the hell, get out!” Her foot caught the arch of one of her numerous heeled shoes and she flung it at him with a kick-like flick of her foot. Devin dodged the flagrant assault on his person as the shoe soared out the door bouncing off the wall and rattling around in the hallway. “Seriously? You swallow everything in a dealer’s sac and now your future is in jeopardy, but ‘oh no, my twin brother might see me in my underwear’ is gaining ground on your Top 5?! Your priorities are shit, Marissa.” “Eat me.” She grumbled and just kept on with getting changed for her visit with Chet. Devin nodded, making eye contact with his sister in the mirror as she pulled on a top with a plunging neckline in the hopes that the cleavage would distract Chet while they ‘negotiated’. “Mmm, yeah. That next on your list? You done sucked and fucked every dealer, junkie, alcoholic and frat boy in two counties, gonna get hopped up on ludes and throw a little incest into the mix?” “The fuck is your problem?” She yelled at him while sliding on a pair of jeans under the skirt she had worn to school. An unzip later let the skirt drop without her brother catching anything more than the black lace triangle of fabric that disappeared down into her jeans, not that it was awkward for either of them. The Jauntsens were a show business family and before they moved to Montana if a day went by where they weren’t changing in the car or in a small dressing room that shared with several others, then something was out of place. Still, strange as they were, they exercised as much modesty as they could... usually. “You’re my problem!” He yelled at her while she zipped up her boots. “What the hell is wrong with you? You told me you stopped all that shit and now you walk into my room and drop a bomb like that and walk off like this shit will be fixed in a day!” “I was done with it,” she said calmly, walking right past him like he was an unseen ghost. She skipped down the stairs and made a left into the kitchen, her heels echoing through the empty house as they met the tiled floors. She twisted the cap off a bottle of water and let the fridge door close on its own as she turned to her brother. “Then, I wasn’t.” The look of disgust on Devin’s face was one for the record books as she slid to halt in his socks on the polished floor. “’Then you weren’t’. Oh, what? One OD isn’t enough for you?” “Devin that was-“ “Stupid! Ignorant! Moronic! Irresponsible! I can go on.” He yelled, cutting her off. “I get it, Emjay, I do. Go out have a little fun, vent the frustrations of dealing with mom’s bullshit and dad… well, fuck let’s face the facts that dad has just checked the fuck out. I get it, I live here too I see it every day, just like you! But If you keep this up Em, you’re going to end up dead! That shit is going to kill you!” “Stop yelling at me!” She yelled back in a rare moment when she rose her voice, usually always at her brother. “I got high and got recorded giving a guy a blowjob, big fucking deal! This is bad, but it’s not the end of the fucking world, Deej! Kim Kardashian got a fucking TV show afterwards and it’s been on for like, ten years! She’s a fucking billionaire after her sex tape!” “Are you out of your fucking mind?! She wasn’t in the video snorting oxies before she had sober, consensual sex with her boyfriend. This is your fucking future, Marissa!” He frantically paced about, his anger making him agitated to the point where he needed to move. The only time was ever still was when he was sleeping, and even then, he tossed and turned. When this riled up, he almost seemed like he was dancing, his movements were so sporadic, and it was like he wanted to walk away but invisible hands kept yanking him back. “We’re not in Malibu anymore, Marissa! The police will ruin you; colleges will reject you! You’re self-destructing! Th-this is getting out of control. You are getting out of control! It was fun at first but this game… these people… it’s… it’s poisoning you.” “Drama queen.” She raised her eyebrow and smirked, mocking him as she took a drink of water. “We set out to run this place until we graduated, and we’re on top still. Chet just caught us off guard, we’ll fix him. It’ll just take time. These idiots are like puppets, Christ, get your shit together.” Her water bottle slipped from her hand and she screamed in shock as Devin swiped his arm across the island in the kitchen, launching the vertical paper towel holder and salt and pepper shakers off to collide with the vertical blinds that covered the sliding glass door that led out to the patio. “No, they’re not puppets, Marissa! Sure, they were idolizing us at first but familiarity breeds contempt! They’re evolving, trying to move past us, surpass us, run shit themselves. Cody blatantly offered to rape Sean’s sister today! He’s losing his fucking mind, getting more unpredictable. Todd said he was outside Bunee’s trying to smash racoons with bricks! We’re convincing them that this deviant, evil shit is okay. Emjay… we forgot to consider that everyone has their special brand of fucked up in their souls. They’re turning on us. We need to stop. We need to fix what we’ve done to these people, they’ll listen.” Glancing at the door and then back she groaned as she picked up her water bottle, casting it off into the sink. “The only one losing their mind is you, you fucking psycho! Jesus Christ, what the hell is wrong with you?! So he’s smashing raccoons, good, fuck them! Gross, disgusting little shits anyway. It’s a public service!” She stepped to the island and leaned against it, looking at her brother with equal parts compassion and frustration. “Devin, these people are too stupid to outsmart us. We’re fucking pros at this. So Chet-“ “Outsmarted you?” Her brother’s cocky observation didn’t do much to calm how pissed she was at him. “Got lucky.” She corrected. “So, Terry was his cousin. Small world, and I didn’t see that coming. Now, we improvise, adapt, and overcome. Divide and conquer like we always do.” “You’re not fucking listening to me, Emjay,” he rubbed his face, burying it in his hands. “For Christ’s sake will you stop trying to be in control all the damn time? If you would step outside the box you would see it’s shaping up to be a goddamned circle that looping around to bite us in the ass! We made them this way! We’ve been telling them for years that this sort of shit is okay… you just gotta be super popular to get away with it!” “I’m going to go talk to Chet,” she said calmly, once again completely ignoring everything her brother said. “You need to calm down. Invite Courtney over, fool around for a bit. You’ll feel better.” She left the kitchen. The echo of her heels clacking throughout the house as she collected her jacket and rattled her keys on her way out to her car. “Love you, bro!” She yelled as the front door closed and she was gone. All he could do was lean against the island seething in his rage. He heard her car pull out of the driveway and all Devin could do was just pick up what he scattered across the kitchen and go up to his room to get ready for his work out. Sweat and pain did wonders for his temper on days like these. It had been a couple of hours before Marissa returned home. Devin was finished with his workout, had showered, made dinner and left her plate in the microwave. Marissa didn’t cook. It was a Jauntsen family rule. He was in his room, reading (if one could believe it), when he saw her pass his door and walk down the hall to her room. She was limping slightly and that caused Devin to sit up from his bed and follow her a moment after she closed the door. Two taps let her know he was there as she sat on her bed and groaned while she lifted one leg up to unzip her boots. “It’s open.” “Hey,” her twin offered quietly. “You okay?” “Oh, yeah,” she chuckled. “Got a cramp in the car. Tightened up on me on my way up the stairs. That’s all. Skip yoga for a day, it cramps you for two.” She awkwardly laughed. “Uh, huh,” he dismissed her excuse. It was feasible, considering all the workout injuries that went on in the Jaunsen house, if they didn’t know how to treat their own sprains, twists and pulled muscles, they’d be broke from the medical bills alone. Still, he wasn’t buying it on solely on her word. IT had been a few hours and he’d had time to calm down. As was typical, the twins didn’t stay mad at each other for long. “So, uh, look…” “I know.” She interjected. “I know and I thought about it… what you said and, maybe you’re right.” Devin entered and knelt in front of her, helping her with her boots so she didn’t have to move anymore than necessary. “I love you. You’re my sister and I swear I would do anything to protect you, but sometimes, Em, sometimes we don’t have control of this. You’re going down roads I can’t protect you from. The drugs, the guys, the drinking… you know I don’t care if you have flings, that’s not the problem, but these dudes you play with, the shit they offer you… one of them is going to seriously hurt you one day and that scares the hell out of me.” “I know.” Quietly her voice cracked, stealing the last part of her words. “I just… I just don’t know how to cope like you do Devin.” Finally, she broke down and tears fell freely from her eyes while she collapsed into her brother’s arms. “This house. Mom. Dad. I hate it here and we’re never going to escape… and… I just want everything to go away, to feel good again, if only for a little while. I didn’t want this to happen.” She cried through her thoughts as they came out as best as she could allow them. Her makeup smeared and in moments Marissa Jauntsen, Queen od Shelly High was reduced to your average looking teenager with no walls to protect her from herself. “We’ll fix this.” He rubbed her back, holding her tight. “Get changed, shower and I’ll heat up dinner for you. We’re all we have, and we’ll figure this out, and get you help. Then, I’m breaking Chet’s legs.” She laughed on his shoulder as best she could. She was his rock to cling to all her life when life was overwhelming her and nothing good seemed to be in sight. As he let her go and stepped out, closing her door quietly she stripped down, sucking her teeth painfully as she slid her jeans down her legs. She approached her mirror and looked at the inside of her thigh where the yellow bruise was getting larger. Wincing through pursed lips she hoped a hot shower would dull the pain. Devin hadn’t noticed that she wasn’t wearing lipstick when she got home. She left with her usual, dark maroon lips, forgetting that Chet had mentioned wearing the color he got her for her birthday. She wasn’t sure if he’d done it to other women before, but he knew exactly where to squeeze that would make it difficult to see a bruise unless she was intimate with someone or willingly ratted him out. He was getting brazen with the video of her in his possession, hurting her was just the start and she knew it. He’d been clear that the next time he saw her she needed to be wearing what he’d bought her, if she was going to hate him, the very least she could do was respect the time and effort he put into making her happy. She’d never seen him like that before and it boiled her blood, but only after the fear in the pit of her stomach subsided. Marissa dried herself off. A pair of leggings and a sports bra later she was feeling like a human being again. Her leg hurt, but the heat from the shower had made it feel a little better. She set the lipstick he purchased for her on her birthday out on her vanity and looked into her own eyes reflected at her in its mirror. “You’re a dead man walking Chet Walker. You just don’t know it yet.”
  17. The Cassidy Issue “How about you go and fuck yourself?” Laurie Cassidy’s eyes smoldered with rage as she glared at Devin Jauntsen. Her back was against the lockers, and she wasn’t in any position to make a break for it, what with Cody and Todd hovering on either side of her waiting for their master to tug their leashes. Still, she remained defiant to the end. “How about you help,” Devin smirked. “Dude, she’s not even a freshman.” Todd laughed. Cody reached out and touched her side. “Close enough. I’d hit it. You free Friday, Laurels?” She pushed Cody away a step or two, but he just laughed harder at her, more amused in her anguish then his infliction of it. “Don’t you touch me!” Evilly Devin just watched letting it all happen until he finally stepped in and Cody and Todd backed off. “See? Laurie, we both know I’m the only thing keeping this school from tearing your brother apart and I ask for so little. My homework done, tech support, and for him to be available when I need to talk with him.” His movement was swift and his speed a surprising shock that caused the younger redhead to squeak timidly as his fist slammed the locker, startling her. He leaned in, closer to her than any guy had ever been to her before. Gently two fingers toucher her chin and he moved her head so she would look at him. “I’m trying to be reasonable. Now. Where is your sister so I can talk with him? Or do I leave Sean to fend for himself against these two?” Her eyes moistened as her glare spat fire into his soul. She couldn’t believe that she actually had a crush on him. Despite how horrible of a person Devin was, she found him to be just, well, hot. Too bad that wasn’t enough to make her not want to collapse his skull with a shovel every time he opened his mouth. Love was complicated like that. “Computer lab. He’s printing flyers, or something.” “See? That so hard?” He smiled at her, his face was a blur as she held back the tears. He was close enough to kiss her and all she wanted to do was slap the spine of one of the books she was carrying up into his throat. “See you in a few months, Cassidy. Welcome to Shelly High.” Devin pushed her forehead, causing her head to slam into the lockers. She heard them laugh and high fiving themselves as they left her in the hallway to hide her swelling urge to cry. “Guys! Guys, no!” Sean Cassidy struggled as best he could against Todd and Cody, but it was a losing battle. His sneakers squeaked on the tiles of the bathroom floor as each of the boys roughly handled an arm and practically drug him as he struggled against their pull. Finally, they simply had enough and threw him up against the wall. Sean slid down it in pain and sat wincing on the floor. Devin casually entered in his customary villainous manner, now that the dirty work was handled, they could talk. “Guys, chill.” Devin motioned to Sean, pointing out to his thugs that he wasn’t pleased at the moment. “He can’t fix shit if he’s broken. Right Sean? Don’t wanna be broke, do ya?” All Sean could do was shake his head. Three on one, typical bully cowardice, he thought to himself. “I-I was going to talk to you in second period. Now… I know you’re pissed, but-“ For the briefest span of a thought Sean felt like he was Solo trying to negotiate with Jabba the Hutt. Imagining Devin speaking Huttese was the only making this whole thing not unbaearable. “Pissed?” Devin chuckled, cutting him off. “Duuuude… what makes you think I’m pissed?” He swiped a hand in Sean’s direction, motioning for Cody and Todd to do their thing again. Swiftly they sprang into action, each grabbing one of Sean’s legs this time instead of his arms. They wrestled for a moment, but it was only a matter of seconds before the local computer nerd found himself hovering over a toiled in the handicapped stall with each of Devin’s hench-douches holding one of his ankles. The intersexed boy struggled with his shirt to keep it from falling and exposing the bra he wore to his tormentors. “See, me? I’m not pissed, Sean. Todd and Cody, they are the one’s who’re pissed. I have the swimming pool, I have parents who are never home, I have liquor for drinking, three spare bedrooms for fucking, and since I’ll be spending June in summer school, Cassidy… that’s a whole lot of swimming, drinking and fucking these guys are not going to be able to do because you didn’t do what you were fucking told to do. I tried to talk them out of this, dude. I did. But you’ve messed up their summer bro, I’m barely keeping them from ripping you apart.” They feigned dropping him, letting him slip a bit towards the toilet before quickly tightening their grip. “Was going to play Mars Attacks with the back of Laurie’s throat,” Cody said while thrusting his pelvis a few times. “Now I gotta wait for July for that. It’s awfully selfish of you Tit-Boy… keeping her from me for another whole month… she like chocolate? I heard bitches love chocolate n’ shit like that.” Todd laughed along with Cody, but Devin silently scowled at the budding sociopath. They were supposed to be intimidating the Cassidy kid, not threatening to sexually assault his sister. There were rules to this game, and Cody generally didn’t follow any of them. “See?” Devin knelt, looking Sean in the eyes as the tortured teens face swiftly reddened. “They’re animals, dude. I’m doing all I can, but… well, we all know the sacred rule of high school, bro.” “Don’t fuck with our summer vacation!” Todd gave Sean a quick jab in the gut, causing Sean to wince. There wasn’t much power behind it and he was pretty sure that was only because Devin was present. Devin was a horrible human being, but he honestly believed that violence wasn’t necessary except as a last resort. Threats, taunts, manipulation, those were his weapons… violence came only after there were no other options. Provoking others to violence first meant he’d already won. “Todd, chill.” Devin held up a hand to calm his cohort down. “I have this. Thanks though, I appreciate the assist. Love the energy.” He turned his attention back to Sean. “So? Fix this. For Laurie’s sake.” As a brother himself, Devin wouldn’t allow anything to happen to Laurie. It was the threat that mattered, that fear needed to build up in Sean’s gut, that unknowing and gnawing ‘what if’ to take a black hold in his mind and cloud his rational judgment. That’s what gave the Jauntsen twins their power: not that they could actually do anything, but the fear of what if they did? It was bully psychology 101, they trapped the poor students in their own minds, prisons of their own makings and let the worries of ‘what if’ make them pliable to more abuse. “M-maybe I can hack the school’s summer school roster,” Sean offered, stammering through the pain in his gut and the reddening of blood rushing to his head. “Sounds reasonable. I like it.” Devin smiled, obviously pleased. He tapped Sean on his cheek Mafia style and nodded for the guys to let him down. The three waited while Sean composed himself and caught his breath. “You really need to get out more,” Devin chastised him. “Workout, do some laps, something…” “Your concern is noted,” Sean lied with obvious sarcasm. “So, do the hacking thing, and we’re squared Cassidy,” The Prince of Shelly folded his arms, glaring at the intersexed kid while he adjusted his bra. Cody mumbled something about him being a freak and Todd just took the opportunity to laugh at the poor kids’ misfortune. “What do you need from me? Money? Equipment?” Cody looked stunned, gesturing to Sean in a half shrug. “Fucking serious, dude? You’re gonna pay Tit-Boy? Fuck him, he works for us.” He slapped Sean on the back of the head. “Freak.” Sean cowered slightly. It was three on one and all he could do was make himself smaller in their presence. “It’s not that easy, Devin.” Cody tensed up to slap him again, but Devin stopped him, silently gesturing for Sean to say what he had to say. “The roster is in an un-editable registry,” he lied, knowing they knew nothing about computer lingo to call him on it. “Meaning that if there are supposed to be twelve summer school students, then there has to be twelve names. If not, they’ll know the registry was hacked and we all go down. Expulsion. No college prospects. If I take your name off, Devin, I need to replace it with someone else’s.” Sean’s eyes moved to his left, where Cody stood. The message was clear. While Devin knew that if he caught fire that instant Sean would watch him burn, there was a certain honor among thieves’ mentality to how the Prince of Shelly did business. Sean was safe from most beat downs because he handled Devin’s assignments, the more difficult ones, at least. That was the cost of his protection. Now, however, as one brother to another, Devin could see the fire in the young man’s eyes that told him he wanted nothing more than to beat Cody to death with the hand dryer on the wall for even hinting about going after his sister, Laurie. He could respect that. For the most part, Sean knew Laurie was safe from Devin… but his goons, well, sometimes he didn’t control them to well. There, in the span of the stare, the two men decided, shook on it, and acted without a single word. “Cody. Put his name on the list.” Devin pointed to his number one goon. “What?” Cody looked at Devin, anger filling his cheeks to the hue of crimson. “The fuck dude!” “Cody, relax.” Devin said, lowing his hands toward the floor like he was pushing down all the rage that was building over at Camp Cody. “Sometimes we need to take one for the team. Besides, it’s only for a few weeks. No big deal.” “Then you fucking do it!” Cody gestured angrily at his backstabbing ‘friend’. “It’s your dumb ass that got summer school to begin with. Fuck.” “I’m gonna let that slide, because I’m in a good mood,” sometimes all one needed to imply they were offended to wake others up to the possibility of things getting out of hand if the disrespect continued. “As I already said, I have the part pad, so I can’t be there letting you guys party if I’m in summer school. Look, to sweeten the deal, I’ll toss in the Heath twins. I’ll hook you up when you get out in July.” “Which one?” Cody narrowed his eyes, suspicious of the offer. “One, the other, shit, both, dude, if you want. I heard the blonde one’s a freak, you and Todd could prolly spit roast her.” Cody’s expression relaxed as he pondered Devin’s offer. Todd’s was twisted in thought as he tried to do the math on Devin’s words, considering both of the Heath sisters were blonde. His eyes rolled about like he was carrying the one to somewhere it didn’t want to go. “Yeah, fine…” he caved after a few long moments of weighing his options. “Fine, fuck it. But I’m serious, Jauntsen, you better hook me up. Both of them.” “Yeah, sure, fine, whatever,” Devin agreed dismissively mumbling his half of the agreement. He glared at Sean for a long moment. Then thumbed towards the door. “Go.” Sean weaseled his way past them and left as swiftly as he could. He knew his side was going to be bruised but at least he avoided getting dunked in the toilet.
  18. Frantically Marissa tapped out a text to the group as fear began to ride her nerves and shake her fingers anxiously. Dead? This was not happening. This could not be happening! With that simple concept now planted in her mind it swiftly sprouted into an all-too-possible reality. Something out there was playing for keeps now. It was hunting them and so far, it was winning. “Hey,” Cade tried to put his arm around her but she swiftly jerked away as the moisture in her eyes became the first tear of many that were going to fall. “Marissa everything-“ “No!” She stepped away from him and glared up at him. “Everything is not fine. It’s not going to be fine, Cade!” She stepped in realizing she was being louder than she intended. “We’re being hunted. It killed Charlie, it has Sophia… bait, Cade! It wants us to go after it. Why leave him and take her? We’re next. It’s going to find us and it’s going to kill us.” She backed away from him again, the panic rising in her mind while she paced, thinking it might calm her down. She was showing her crazy and she knew better, but, fuck, wasn’t there a being stalked by an extra-dimensional demon clause in there, somewhere? Should be. Her lover took a step towards her, but she held up her hand, blocking him from getting any closer. “Cade, I… I can’t okay. I just can’t right now. I don’t need hugs and kisses or a fucking fishing trip, I’m not some cardboard cut out of a girl. I’m angry, I’m scared, I’m freaking the fuck out… I need space. Room to breathe.” She looked down at her phone and read the message. “Delayed? Are you fucking serious? UGH!” She groaned at the sky, rolling her eyes, almost sure they were making a pit stop to sow their oats before the big night. “Those two, I fucking swear!” ---==={@}===--- “You’ll be safe with her,” Devin said calmly to Ellie. They were in the parking lot of Bunnies, a few miles away from the Carousel. Ellie’s mind was still trying to get a hold of how his travel worked and him taking her with him was as much a blessing as it was an honor. He had so much to learn about Teulu culture… “Her name is Annette Giles. She’s a friend.” Annette stood several yards from them, just outside her car at the driver’s side door. She couldn’t hear them but when Ellie saw her looked to Devin and cocked her head. “Have you coupled with her? She is extremely attractive.” “No,” he smirked, stifling a laugh. “At least, not yet. She is a friend and if something happens to me tonight, she can try to help get you home.” “Devin, I-,” she shrugged, not sure how to phrase her next words. “I do not trust her. I wanted it to be you.” “I know, Ellie, but we can’t work on that unless I make it home tonight,” he shrugged, trying not to look worried. “If I don’t, she will be there for you. If I do, we get to work on getting you home. Deal?” “Very well, if there is no other way, then I suppose we’ve little choice.” The blonde Teulu inhaled and exhaled slowly and steeled herself for meeting what was possibly the fifth, or sixth rival of the day? “Devin, I’m so glad you called,” Annette said as a greeting as they approached her. “You must be Ellie, I’m Annette Giles, a friend of Devin’s.” “Yes, the one he claims to have not coupled with… yet.” Ellie once again brought the crimson to the forefront of Devin’s cheeks. “Is that so?” Annette said in a dry tone. “Yes. Poor me, but I’m on the mend. Holistic diet, yoga, the target range. Anything to get him out of my head and bring peace to my loins.” Ellie nodded sagely. “Yes. That is best. Your age mingled with your lack proper respect for such a divine figure makes you an ill-suited mate.” Annette’s icy glare fell on Devin. “Well,” she exhaled. “Isn’t she a gem.” “Don’t look at me like that,” he said with a shrug. “I didn’t rub her lamp. I didn’t call her here. She just… showed up.” He slid the bracelet from his wrist and placed it in Ellie’s hand. “Here. Take this. You’ll need it to get home.” “You will be victorious.” The statement hung in the air with the confidence with which she spoke it. Devin had never really anyone speak with such with a measure of truth and confidence in their voice before, except maybe Marissa, but this really didn’t compare to getting guys to fall for her because of a plunging neckline. “I will get to know this Annette Giles and patiently await your ret-“ Devin looked down to his phone. His eyes narrowed and his expression took on a stern, serious tone. “Charlie is dead.” He said out loud as he looked up to Annette, who was also looking at her phone with a look of sorrow on her face. She nodded, confirming she got the same message. “Jesus, fuck…” Devin stepped away, sliding his hand through his hair in disbelief. “Jesus fuck… it killed Charlie, man. Fucking, Charlie! Dude just got a girlfriend! I mean… who the fuck…” he paced; a bit frantic as he collected his thoughts as the death of his ‘friend’ settled in. “I mean, she really liked him and she’s gone too. Because none of us were believing the cherry popped last year in drama club story. No fucking way. Right up there with I got a ‘girlfriend in Canada’.” “You have a girlfriend in Canada,” Annette pointed out. It was a low blow, sure, but Devin’s new girlfriend called her old and unworthy of him. Him! A snot nosed, loudmouthed, moronic sixteen-year-old… with perfect hair and a charming smile. God, she hated this job sometimes. “Not the point!” Devin pointed out, loudly. “We need to find her. Save her. Anette, I…” “Devin, I know,” she nodded, offering him a caring smile devoid of humor. “I want to talk all of you out if it, I do, but I know I can’t. Something gave these powers for a reason, maybe this is it. Ellie will be safe with me until you get home. Go save the world, hero.” “S'what we do,” he offered her a smile and looked to Ellie. “Be safe.” He turned and ran behind the building as a purplish flash faintly lit up the pavement in the summer sun.
  19. "...and that about covers the basics." Devin said as he and his impromptu 'date', Ellie, walked through all the various picnic settings of the other families who had gathered for the Carousel. She'd locked arms with him, keeping close and doing her utmost to absorb all the knowledge Devin was spilling her way. A crash course in 2019 teenage etiquette seemed far more complicated than her first training regiment. And she thought the Teulu had rules... "...what if violence is directed upon me without provocation on my part? Surely I'm permitted-" The dazzling blonde looked at him, her eyes narrowing in curiosity. "No." Devin chuckled. "You are not home, you are on Earth. We don't, or at least, the well adjusted don't just mete out death as a solution to our problems." "How has your species advanced this far?" She shook her head in confusion as she looked around at all the families laughing and playing away their day, oblivious to the fact that an alien from another realm walked among them. "It's like you have nothing to contribute to the other realms besides breeding stock." "Baby Yoda." Devin retorted with swiftly. "That's us. We invented Baby Yoda. Oh, and peanut butter, and French kissing. Pretty sure America invented too." "I'm not very familiar with your culture, but even I know that French things are the product of a place called 'France'." The athletic blonde squeezed his arm in warning that she knew he was trying to put one over on the tourist. "French-Americans." Devin shrugged. "Prolly immigrants, searching for a new life and really like licking the powdered sugar of their toast... and BAM, French toast, French kissing. A total two'fer." "The act you portray of the Fool, Devin, it does not fool me," she said calmly. Like Jase her eyes were never just still. They moved and scanned every person, every object, she was perceiving possible threats from all sides and assessing their surroundings with a trained, heightened awareness. "You are a god, as you put it. Yet you walk among insects. I do not understand you, but I will." "There's nothing wring with these people, they're good and you know, Xena, Warrior Teulu, a little love might do you some good." He fist bumped someone from school as they walked past another group of teenagers their age. They didn't take notice of the stares the the others teens were giving them as Ellie moved among them with fresh eyes drinking in her blonde hair, athletic frame and cheek bones that would give Marissa a run for her money. She didn't know it, but Ellie was swiftly becoming the talk among the male students and in less than the half hour since her arrival people were wondering where she'd transferred from. Small towns. Got to love them. "Not everything is a war you know, Ellie. You're safe here, more or less." "It's when you feel the safest," she said softly. "That you're not." "There you are!" Misti and Carl caught sight of their son as the couple were passing by the Fingleman's picnic area. Devin groaned an rolled his eyes as his mother waved him over. "Of course you know our son, Devin." Swiftly he was snatched up and with her arm around her son she presented him like a display. "I believe he has a few classes with your daughter." The nail digging into the back of his collar told him that was his cue. "Uh, yeah! Mr. and Mrs. Finger-uh ba-uh, man. Fingleman. Sophie's awesome. We get on great." He turned on his 'bullshit' smile as he rolled his shoulders, hinting for his mom to back off. "Well, have you heard from her recently? She hasn't answered her phone today." Mr. Fingleman asked. "Hmm? Oh, uh...," Charlie an Sophie, to Devin's knowledge, were consummating their new found relationship with lots of sex. Like, tons of it. Now, the last thing one did was rat out their homies, so Devin being Devin who was so smart and so slick, he thought up a lie and he thought it up quick. "Honestly, you probably won't answer it for awhile. See, her and Charlie are big time theatre nerds and ol' Chuck got his hands on a preemo rendition of Les Misérables. The whole thing performed live, Charles was going gaga over it. Last I heard they were making a day of checking it out, singing all the songs and taking a lot of notes. He trying to push it as a venue for this years school production. I wouldn't doubt if they had it cranked to eleven and were singing along. It's what los- lovers do. Of theatre. Lovers of theatre. We're all meeting up in a bit, if she's still ghosting you by then, I'll personally see to it she checks in." "We'd appreciate it," Mrs. Fingleman replied with a mother's concerned smile. The one that said she was worried still but she was glad her daughter such good friends. Neither of the Finglemans notice Carl, Devin's father, standing off to one side and slowly moving his finger through the universal hand sign for intercourse. Devin nodded swiftly, yet conspicuously. His father pursed his lips and made the 'I knew it' face. "Who's your friend, Devin?" Carl asked, intentionally putting his son on the spot again. He was overcome with a certain measure of pride that his son was in the company of such a beautiful young lady. Devin turned hi head to where Ellie was patiently waiting and observing the conversation. "Oh! Sorry, uh, everyone this is Ellie. She's um, new to Shelly. I'm showing her around." "New?" Misti narrowed her eyes in suspicion as she'd not heard of any new families moving to Shelly. "Where did you move from? I'd love to meet your parents." "I did not 'move' here," she said calmly. "I ventured through the Void and through a wayfarers portal I found myself here, where I was to begin my search for your son. Teir fa Thunn is where I call home, I seek to return there and Devin has agreed to assist me in getting back there." Had he the presence of mind to do so Devin may have bothered to count the number of blinks in the awkward silence to tally up just how screwed he might be. He didn't mind so much that it was his parents, but the Fingleman's were right there...
  20. And she was crazy. Of course. On the hot crazy matrix she was right on track. 'Hero'? Why in the world would she ask that unless she was one of Sean's weird-ass role playing nerds who couldn't let the game stay at the table or was part of the 'New Strange' that seemed to be his everyday now. "Ellie," he smiled. Her expression, it seemed familiar. She wasn't looking at him so much as studying him. She wasn't speaking like a person who wanted to express themselves, only someone who had something to say and nothing more. A question to ask. A person to find, and that was it. No emotion, no purpose beyond the moment, no drive, no ambition. It was like talking with Jason's sister. "I'm Devin, and I'm pretty sure I would have noticed someone as beautiful as you." "Hero, huh?" He opted out of an eye-roll. He let her go and they now stood facing each other like normal hormonally driven teenagers. "Depends on how you define hero. I mean, some heroes save the day in the simplest of of ways, by just being there for us, or letting us know we're believed in. Others fight fires or police cities. Some heroes aren't even really heroes, they stand and fight five minutes longer than the hero before them. So, what do you need a hero for, Ellie?"
  21. Devin hammered away on his phone, his thumbs moving at near light speed with the practiced proficiency nearly all teenagers possessed. He was texting Lona. They'd been on the road for a few hours now and although they said they would just make it a clean break, that lasted all of forty minutes before she was texting him with pics of the countryside and before they knew it they were on two or three hundred texts by now. It was idle chat; thoughts and opinions on the day, what the other was doing, how everyone else was doing and what they were up to. She wasn't coming back, that much he knew, but he honestly liked that they were talking. His senses were, much like himself, all over the place. He'd grow accustomed to being 'aware' of everything going on around him and like the rest of the Fellowship, on some level, had learned to 'mute' the background or face going mad with twenty-four hour stimulus overload. For the most part he didn't sense a whole lot in his casual everyday life, just enough in his general vicinity to keep him from bumping into things, or pinpointing his balance and acuity, making him look really cool and agile when he wanted to be. Out of them all, Devin was the show-off and he never passed up the opportunity to have a bit of fun with his abilities. He knew she was there after the first few turns he made and she was still on his heels, still he just made his way, monitoring her distance from him and soon enough he realized that she was just behind him for a few steps, she was following him intently. She was a simple arms length or so behind him. He could work with that. He slid his phone into his pocket and swiftly turned on a dime expressing like he'd forgotten something and just like that, they ran into each other. The gentle impact seemed to catch her off guard, and as her hands gripped his shoulders reflexively to keep her balance his hands braced her waist to help her keep her footing. With a still startled look on his face the con-artist teen could have let go, but didn't. "Oh, god! Oh, I am so sorry..." He let their eyes meet and background of his senses went almost completely silent. She was beautiful, more so than he expected and... not from around here. He knew everyone in Shelly and this girl didn't get though being almost his age and not getting hit on by him at least once in the three years he'd been living in Shelly. "Are, uh... are you okay?" He said to her eyes as much as the rest of her.
  22. "Nah," he smiled at her. "You know I got yer back, fam." The teleporting teenager addressed Cassandra's mother with a shrug and a simple tone. "Mrs. Allen, no one can do the things we can do, so it stands to reason that there are certain things that only we were meant to do. I know the truth is sometimes stranger fiction and your daughter is a lot of things," he grinned at Cassie. "Smart, gorgeous, plucky, but she's not a liar. What you hear won't be easy, but every word of it is the truth." He stood up and leaned over to the lovely blonde, "If you need me, I'm a text away." He looked to her mother and offered a wave. "See ya Mrs. Allen. If you need questions answered, I'm... always around, these days." He smiled and walked back off into crowds of park goers well into their barbecue and beers by now. He hadn't made it more than fifty feet before Courtney caught up with him. "Deej," she gripped his arm to halt his meandering. "Do you know where your sister is?" He rolled his eyes and sighed like any good, annoyed brother should. "Courtney, I posses psychically enhanced spatial awareness and omnidirectional acuity." Courtney just looked at him like he was a statue and slowly shook her head, her mouth hanging open in a trapped phrase. "Sooooo..." "Yes!" He chuckled, still a playing up being annoyed. "Yes, I know where she is. I know where everyone is. She's over at Mr. Hendrick's table trying to weasel more chicken out of him. The food is helping her cope with the loss of Autumn." "Wait," the redhead seemed shocked. "Autumn's dead?" "Well, not medically. Not yet, anyway. No, my ever-giving and ever-benevolent sister welcomed Autumn into her circle of friendship... and now now she'd rather just spend all of her time with her boyfriend... who told my sister he loved her and kissed her... and is now dating her 'bestie'." "...that's a bit messed up." Courtney said through a furrowed brow still trying to put all those pieces together. "Eh, it's par for the course around here. To hear her tell they're all monsters. To hear them tell it, I'm sure it all somehow be Marissa's fault. Still, she's my sister and I see left ass-out while those two are running off and having the time of their lives. For two people claim to care about her, I'm sure as hell not seeing it. It'll sort itself, I'm sure. She just needs a few days alone in the woods with her potions and rituals and a little Jase doll while she burns strands of Autumn's hair and bays at the moon maniacally. That always perks her right up." "Right." Courtney expressed little to no interest anything Devin had past 'par for the course'. "Mr. Hendricks' table, got it thanks." She walked off, smiling and waving as she made her way to Marissa. "No problem. Yeah. Gooooood talk. Glad we could have it." He clicked his tongue and shook his head before meandering on...
  23. Devin looked at his phone. Between his sister's angry rants and Cassie's text he seemed to be paying more attention to it than the conversation happening around him. Finally he slapped his hand on the table softly to gather everyone's attention and offered a parting smile. "Well, this has been fun, but, I have to skee-dattle, Cassie needs me for something." He stood up and offered the assembled teens a wave as he prepared to hunt for Cassie and her one lone, leafless-branched tree. "Hit me up in a bit guys, I'll see you then." He set off after thanking the Cassidys for inviting him over for a plate, for which he received a series of suspicions facial expressions and fake platitudes that told him that no matter how they said he was more than welcome, he wasn't. Devin knew false fronts when he saw them and didn't really blame them, he just wished they were more honest with him and themselves. He had been walking across the park, sharing waves with the few people he still 'knew' and even shared a wave, smile and wink with Courtney who was too busy talking with a small group of guys 'admiring' her outfit, when his sister slipped from a throng of people lining up to try someone secret BBQ chicken recipe with a plat in hand and her small, pointy talons poking into brownish-red meat. She sucked her thumb clean with a smack while looked on, shaking his head. "So?" He asked. "How'd it go?" "As well as to be expected," she said, licking her fingertip. "You were right. No one even acknowledges that he even did something. They blame everyone else for it, walk away, or just plain deny it." "I told you." He added with a chuckle. "No one here is our friend. We're the scapegoats if things go south. We already have the three-year history and I'm betting it's only a matter of time before the Liam thing gets put on us too. Best we can do is keep it tight and let them play their games. Jason is smart, smart enough to lie with the truth and smart enough to make everything look like it's everyone else that's to blame for it, so let him be their problem. In the mean time, we work on us." She rolled a few strands of peeled chicken into her mouth with her tongue. "What if he does hurt her though, Deej? I do worry, you know." "Not our problem." He shrugged. "You talked to her, she blew you off. At this point, if winds up broken and in the hospital because him, I wouldn't bother visiting her. Let her piece together why. Look, I know it's cruel, but we're trying our best to be friends with people and we're not good at it, but at least we're trying and so far we're not really making head way, meanwhile he's assaulting people al-la Batman and no one so much as wants to pull him aside and say 'what the hell', they left that job to a us, a bunch of kids. We both know where this is going, so let them handle their own business. That's how they want it, fine." She shrugged as she chewed, nodding in agreement with her twin as they walked. "I spoke with Jacob. He actually seemed alright. I miss something?" "About three years?" Her brother laughed. "It's a surprise what people are like if you peel your face up from your phone and actually talk with them for a moment before you try to destroy them socially." "Yeah," she said with a exhale of realization. "I'm noticing that. So, where are you off to?" "Cassie is about to drop the 'the talk' on her mom." He said while pivoting to one side to dodge a couple who were so into their own conversation hey didn't even notice him. Marissa smirked. "Pretty sure she knows, I mean, she had Cassie, right?" "Yeah, but I figure at the very lest I can lie there while Cassie has her way with me in public," he mused with his own devilish smirk. "Things I do for a date with the hot blonde, right?" "Mmm, you're such a giver," his sister chuckled. "Seriously though, we were just talking about this at the 'Cabin In The Woods' table. She's really on edge about it. Her mom has been through a lot," for a moment Marissa's sincerity rose to the surface and she was thankful none but her brother were there to witness it. "Just, be supportive, okay? Cassie's a good person and she's really been dealt a rough hand, so, be there for her. She needs a win." Seeing that she was being serious and thoughtful he tucked his humor away for a moment and offered his partner in crime a smile. "Relax, she's in good hands. I have her back." "Good," Marissa licked her finger tip again and shooed him away with the same hand. "Now go. Go be a hero or something, I'm gonna find more chicken, this stuff is so good." Hands in the pockets of his hoodie, Devin approached the Allen table. He had noticed them talking from a distance and it looked like stall tactics until he got there, but for the most part they seemed to both be in a good mood. He slowly approached and Cassie braced herself for the witty quip or lewd comment veiled in a greeting and hoped her mom would find it as amusing as Devin no doubt would. Instead he simply just approached with a friendly smile. "Hey, Blondie." He offered his Homecoming date a gentle rub on her back. It reminded her of what it was like to have that 'special someone' in her camp. Mentally she knew Devin was as smooth as they came in these parts, but emotionally she couldn't help but appreciate that feeling of having him there. Something about him just left her mixed up sometimes because she knew all of his tricks and still a part of her considered falling for them. "Mrs. Allen," he offered a nod." No quip, no witticism, nothing, just honest, supportive Devin. Yeah, this whole thing stunk like End Times. Her glare told him that they would have words about what he was 'trying to pull' later, but instead she decided to resign herself to the soft, tender trace of Devin's nails gently scratching her back. He was full of it, sure, but what sort of mad woman denies decent back scratching? "Text said you needed my help. What's up?"
  24. "Eh, well enough," Devin raised one shoulder dismissively. "All things considered it's not been bad, and yeah she did tell me about the metal blow out your mom had. It's to be expected, Marissa gets that a lot. Most the school thinks she's a slut, they just won't say it out loud." "Wait," Laurie interjected. "How can people think she's a slut? She's unattainable. Cade is the only guy she's dated since you two moved here." "It's typical high school," Sean helped his sister out. "She's a slut because she's unattainable. Since she won't date then school logic dictates that her refusal to commit to a relation means it's because she's promiscuous. Plus they hate her so thinking and calling her a slut makes them feel better. Even the bullies get bullied, save that in Marissa and Devin's case were someone to say it out loud to their face, the twins would ruin them, and they know it." Devin nodded, tensing his jaw with a bit of admiration for Sean's pretty accurate appraisal. "That's about the right of it. People have hated us for years, but they're afraid of what we would do if we found out." "What would you do?" The inquisitive junior asked. "Now? Nothing." Again he blew it off with a half shrug and a dismissive roll of his eyes. "My sister? Prolly would at least try to flex a bit on the person to remind them that she's still their better, you know how she is. Honestly though? Neither of us really care. Never have. No matter how much people throw at us at the end of the day we're still rich, hot, and going to a good college after high school. Statistically, Shelly doesn't educate a lot of Masters degrees or PhDs for that matter. We laugh and take solace in knowing that no matter what they say, this town is still full of losers. Plus, now? We have super powers. Even better and it further proves the delineation in genetic superiority my sister and I have been preaching from the get go. We are actually better than everyone else. True facts." "Gee," Laurie rolled her eyes and completely lost interest in what Devin was saying. "Thanks. Good to know." All the rogue Fellowdude offered was a smile. "Some exceptions exist, but let's be honest, everyone at this table couldn't stand me, let alone like me, a few months ago." "Still can't." Cade offered dryly. "Still don't." Sean offered with a honest shrug. "Aaaaaand a big 'screw you' to the both of you." He offered them as they all smirked at him. "I'm all kinds of impressive, there's really not a whole lot about me that isn't likeable..." "Oh, god... what. Ever." Laurie raised her hands like she'd heard enough. "Don't wanna hear it. Noooooope."
  25. "Sup, dude," Devin nodded to Cade as the built teen approached them. "No worries, we were just discussing the disparity of redheads compared to brunettes and blondes in Shelly. You know... brunettes... like the one currently pissed a you." Devin smirked as he rubbed a bit of salt on the wound. "Very funny," Cade offered him a look that was partly him taking it as humor and the rest mostly a slew of swearing silently with his expression. "Chill," his bae's brother chuckled. "Give her a few hours and she'll be over it. Look, if it's any consolation, don't sweat the small stuff. Let her be pissed and shrug it off, she already fumed in my ear and frankly I don't see what the big deal is. Trying to tell your parents is one thing, I get it, now had you just started telling randos at school about it, yeah, I'd be a bit rankled, but don't sweat it. It's not like this is the sort of thing that people will believe anyway." "So, forget all that," Devin shrugged and raised his plate for display. "Have a seat. Sean's offering up his sausage for anyone willing to put it in their mouth." "Oh my god," Kat said as her cheeks flushed crimson at Devin's, not necessarily inaccurate , appraisal of the current situation. Sean did the same, shaking his head and just wishing a rock or something would just land on Devin, or at least his mouth. "Really?" Laurie slapped Devin's arm and looked at him like a scolding mother would any child. "Wut?" Devin mumbled as he took a bite of his lunch, shrugging in protest with a mouthful. "S'troo!"
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