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Mutants & Masterminds: The Indigo Children - Catching Up

z-Isaac Ward

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Some guys might have been nervous as they set down the computer. They might have given themselves a pep talk to get ready for this particular conversation. They might have rehearsed what they would say or checked the mirror in case she wanted to chat with the webcam. Isaac prepped himself by turning on the computer.

Twist leaned in, as if peering at the screen, only to spread his wings and take off a moment later. As the Kestrel settled in on a thick stick that served as his perch, Isaac logged into the Indigo Network. He didn't scan the topics as he usually did; instead he went straight to his private messages and pecked out a post.

To: Kitsune

From: MadDog

Subject: You OK?

Kitsune, haven't seen you here since the emp a couple of days ago. You out there? I know that the GiB were hunting some of us. Let me know if you're ok - otherwise, I'm coming to find you.


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He didn't have to wait long. Kitsune must enjoy lurking on invisible mode, because no more than a few minutes passed before a PM appeared in his inbox.

To: MadDog

From: Kitsune

Subject: You OK?

I had to buy a new computer, and a new phone. It BLEW. Literally, I mean, they both blew up. So I'm fine, but it's cool you asked. smile Two things. 1) What's a GiB? 2) Coming to find me? Awww, you must really like me! ...or else you're a stalker. wink

Anyway, looks like you got through the Big Blackout okay. I figured you would. You're kinda 'off the grid' except for this board, aintcha? I googled you, but nothing came up. Mysterious.


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Usually, Kitsune would have to wait several hours for a reply. However, he was still lingering on the site, reading another thread when she hit reply. His return came quickly - relatively. Isaac was not a fast typist.

To: Kitsune

From: MadDog

Subject: You OK?

I do stalk when necessary. The GiB is what I call those paramilitary guys trying to capture us. They're the Goons in Black. And yeah, they're real. I've seen them. I pounded one into oblivion, too. Be careful, they have some information on us and had a device which causes powers to go crazy. That's where the EMP came from - one of us affected can do electro-magnetic stuff like that. He put off that EMP thing when the machine made him lose control and fried NY.

I'm not on Google. I'm only on the net because of IN. I prefer talking face-to-face. Speaking of, don't look for me at my old place. I got jumped there and I moved the Pack somewhere safe. The guys that jumped me are probably still around so just avoid that area.

And yeah, I like you. I wouldn't have bothered to worry about you otherwise. Glad you're safe.

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A few more back and forth messages yielded a time and a place. Isaac knew of a place where they could meet semi-privately; Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan was far away from their usual digs. Also, it would give him a chance to check up on Zelda.

Isaac arranged to go to the mainland, promising to pick everyone up something at various stores. He had the servant - which was freaking him out just having access to someone who had that job title - drop him off at the docks just off of the park. Today, Twist and Raucous were his companions, and between the two of them, Isaac was able to find the turkey and chat with her, making sure that no one was bothering her or trying to capture her.

Then he found the bench where they'd agreed to meet at the edge of the park and settled back to wait.

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Isaac became aware of her smell first. Kitsune...he remembered that smell very well. Adrenalin fixed it into his memory, right alongside bullets and cars driving and the other events of that night. A breeze off the harbor and docks wafted it to him. He looked around expectantly, but only an old woman pushing a walker along in front of her was in sight. She could, he recall, be invisible though.

Before he called her name, the old woman came straight over to his bench and beamed at him with a glint in her rheumy, glassy eyes.

"Mind if I have a seat, sonny?" she creaked at him. "These old bones aren't what they used to be, let me tell you. But I suppose a big strong man like you wouldn't know anything about that."

To his consternation, the lady, somehow both withered and plump at the same time, reached over to touch his shoulder. On pure reflex Isaac found himself grabbing her hand.

A normal human, dependent almost solely on sight, might not have noticed what he was feeling. Isaac listened to all of his senses though. He realized immediately that the hand he'd grabbed wasn't thin-skinned and wrinkled and bony...but rather soft and smooth and young.

For an instant, the old woman's eyes were yellow-irised; a fox's eyes staring out of a human face. "Well, aren't we a rapscallion?" she wheezed, and Isaac realized that the voice was someone's imitation of an aged voice. Only his relative lack of experience listening to old people talk had let it fool him at all. "But it is nice to meet you," the old woman rambled before she slyly added, "again."

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Had Isaac not scented Kitsune, he probably would have broken the old woman's hand. He didn't like being touched by strangers. But Kitsune wasn't a stranger and so escaped unscathed. "So, what's with the grandma disguise?" he asked her, tilting his head to the side. The old woman looked annoyed at him, though Isaac wasn't sure why.

"I'm meeting you in secret," she pointed out, "which is harder when you won't play along."

"Uh. Oh." Isaac blinked, looking unsure. "Why?"

Kitsune sighed and stood up, looking a little frail. "Come on, let's move," she said, grabbing his arm and tugging on it. "Pretend you're escorting your grandmother home."

"Uh, sure." Isaac didn't have a grandmother; his caseworker when he was in foster care had searched for his mom's parents but couldn't them. Since his dad had skipped out on them, he didn't know about his family.

Kitsune's fox eyes looked right through him and seemed to read his mind. "Never walked your dear old gran anywhere?"

"Never knew her," Isaac said. "And foster grandparents don't count. At least I don't think they do, based on how they acted."

"You were fostered?" Kitsune asked, those animal eyes seeming to soften.

"From six to eighteen," Isaac said. He didn't look upset or uncomfortable with talking about it; he was seemed to be reciting facts. "My mom was killed and there was no other family. That's what happens." His gray eyes became distant as he added, "My baby sister was adopted; I wasn't. They had a hard time just placing me anywhere; finding someone willing to sign on with me for life was impossible." He glanced at her suddenly. "You weren't in the system, were you?"

"I could have been," Kitsune said, semi-playfully.

"No, you couldn't," Isaac said bluntly. "You're too happy for that."

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Using his male identity - which he often did for simple, necessary chores around town - Jordan finished bringing in the weekly grocery run, then round Jaime up to help put it away. Seeing Jordan looking like a guy again felt a little weird, even if he was really her brother. It was a female Jordan who had become her legal guardian, and it was almost always a female Jordan she saw around the house. Really, the only time she saw Jordan as a guy was when he was bringing in any heavy loads, since it was less conspicuous than if she was a woman slinging around the weight as easily.

"Okay, that's done," Jordan said when they finished putting every thing away. "I'm going upstairs to 'change', you want to give Isaac a call, sis, to make sure he didn't forget about dinner? Then you can help me with the potato salad."

"Sure!" Jaime said with barely constrained enthusiasm as she plucked up the cordless phone from its cradle. Apex was interesting and cute, and sorta seemed more her age, but Isaac was Isaac, and saving her that night had left a deep impression on her... Though she felt she was too mature to be all gushy about it, of course. Jordan smothered an amused smile. Jaime gave her older sibling a suspicious look. "Oh, I meant to ask, what did you do to your face? You sorta look like... Isaac, like you've been in too many fights."

"Oh, this?" Jordan asked, running a hand down his jaw as he glanced at his reflection in the stainless steel door of the fridge. "I decided to try something new. When I went out with Nico on our first date, I met Sal The Slab - a complete gentleman, by the way. He wasn't an attractive man, but he certainly had character. I wanted to see what it was like, how people reacted. I think-"

"Okay! Okay, I get it!" Jaime protested, voice choking with a giggle that was both amused and a little disturbed. "Go 'change', it's a little weird hearing you talk about guys like that when you look like one. I'm calling Isaac now. Can I ask him about maybe helping us get a dog."

Jordan chuckled as he took the stairs two at a time. "What's the problem, sis? How do you think gay men talk about men-"

"I know, I know, it's just-"

"I understand, Jaime," Jordan called down the stairs, his voice rising into a sultry, feminine register, tone still full of lightly teasing amusement. "Yes, you can ask Isaac about a dog. Not a small, yapping dog that fits in a purse. If we're getting a dog, it's gonna be a dog."

"'Kay." Jaime dug out the carefully folded scrap of paper with Isaac's number on it and dialed. It seemed to take long time before it started to ring, but New York was still dealing with the after effects of the Pulse and some systems were still sluggish.

Waiting for - hoping - that Isaac would answer, Jaime flipped open the cookbook on the counter to the marked page and began pulling out the ingredients for the marinade. Finally, there was an answer.

Feeling the vibration in his pocket, Isaac pulled out his cellphone and glanced at the initials displayed on the screen. He had the phone up to his ear before he looked back at Kitsune, or at least the illusion of the old woman concealing her. "Give me minute," he said by way of apology before half turning away from her and answering the phone. "Jaime? What's wrong, are you okay? Where are you?"

"Nothing's wrong, I'm at home," Jaime answered quickly to the growled barrage. "I - we - me and Jordan - were just wondering if you were still coming to our place for dinner. And we were hoping you could help us out with choosing a dog."

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Isaac shook his head at Kitsune; his expression gave her no clue to whether that was "no, not my girlfriend" or "not now." "Oh. Dinner? I thought that was Friday."

In unison, Tomoe and Jaime said, "It is Friday."

"Oh. Sorry. I made plans with a friend." Isaac clearly had no clue what to do and Jaime jumped in.

"Bring him."


Jaime paused, blinking. "Her?" she asked, feeling a strange emotion roiling in her gut.

"Yeah another one of... us, like me-us," Isaac said. "Lemme see if she wants to come over." Without giving Jaime a chance to figure out how to politely rescind the invitation, Isaac put the phone against his thick chest. "Want to meet another Indigo? Her and her sister invited me to dinner. Her sister - Jaime is in my pack, so I'd like to go, if you don't mind."

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Tomoe tilted her head, considering. There was a whole world of subtext here that Wolfboy wasn't getting, she realized. Number one, of course, was 'what the hell does she's in my pack mean?' Just friends? Protector/confidant? Casual sex? 'Like a brother?' Number two was that HE'D been invited, not her.

The polite thing to do, of course, would be to wish him well and take a raincheck. He wouldn't understand...but this 'Jaime' would no doubt be relieved.

The old woman 'mask' smiled a sharp-toothed grin.

"I'd love for us to go," she purred. "I think it sounds like great fun."

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Isaac picked up the phone and told the waiting Jaime, "Sounds great. We'll be over soon."

"Do you need the address?"Jaime asked, rolling her eyes and scowling at the side of the fridge. Sure, bring the tramp over...

"Nah, I know where you live," Isaac told her and hung up.

"You... do?" Jaime asked the dead line, then shouted up the stairs, "Sis, did you give Isaac our address?"

Turning to Kitsune, Isaac said, "It's a hike. I'd walk it, but you probably want to take the subway, right?"

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"You wish," Tomoe replied. "Let me just find a ladies room to change in, and I'll race you there."

Fortunately, the park had a small, squad stone building that housed public restrooms. Tomoe ducked into the women's room...and a moment later came out as someone much closer to her real form. Cute young Japanese girl with a black t-shirt with a grinning pumpkin on it, short skirt, jacket tied around her waist and a backpack. Perched on her dainty little nose was a pair of oversized sunglasses.

She gave Isaac a cheerful wave and went over to him, offering her hand for the dogs to sniff as she came to a stop.

"What do I get if I win?" she asked.

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Isaac grinned at her suggestion, nodding when she said she needed to change. His recent associations with women had taught him that they had clothing for every occasion and tended to change into them at their whims. But the idea of a run was fun; he liked to run with his pack. Indeed, Raucous' ears perked up at the mention of the R-word. He was also grateful she didn't want to take the subway. The dark, enclosed space packed with people made him nervous and he hadn't relished the thought of trying to remain calm with Kitsune around. She tended to make him a little jumpy just being near and combining that with his usual unease in subway was probably a bad idea. He didn’t want either of their faces to end up on the GiB’s to-watch list.

When she came out of the bathroom, he was underwhelmed by her outfit. She didn’t look like she was ready for a run, but he reminded himself that she was an Indigo, and unsuitable clothing never bothered Jordan when she was fighting. He didn’t remark on the clothing; instead he was confused by her question. “Get?” he asked. For him, the run was enough.

“Like a prize for winning,” Kitsune said, fighting giggles at his expression.

“I don’t know,” Isaac said, shrugging. “What do you want for winning?” That could have been a loaded question, but his expression was devoid of any innuendo. As usual, he was missing all the subtext and responding to the question as literally as he could.

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Tomoe pursed her lips as she stared up at Isaac, trying to decide. It was kind of weird trying to flirt with someone like Isaac...someone who simply had no idea of what it was. But he wasn't socially stupid...he wasn't a nerd or autistic or a jerk. He was just different.

She wondered how far that went.

"A kiss," she said at last. "Winner gets a kiss from the loser." She grinned. "That's pretty easy, right? Nice and informal...no money involved."

"So! Where are we going? You have to tell me, or you have an unfair advantage."

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Isaac frowned. "You want the prize to be... a kiss?" His voice sounded both disappointed and confused, as if she'd asked for the strangest thing in the world.

Tomoe flushed at his reaction but nodded firmly. "Yep," she said with conviction. "That's the prize."

Isaac shrugged. "Ok," he said, as if it were no big deal. And to him, it wasn't. If she wanted something as weird as a kiss, then Isaac would play along. What Isaac didn't know was that his idea of a kiss was worlds apart from what Kitsune was talking about. After all, she'd kissed him once, on the cheek.

"They're on Staten Island," he said, turning and leading the way to the ferry. "So we'll start the race from the St. George Terminal on Staten. It's 10 Cheshire Place." Tomoe nodded and whipped out her phone, mapping it out on the small screen.

As they approached the ferry station, Isaac pulled a roll of twine out of a pocket and looped it through a ring on Raucous' collar. The dog seemed to sigh as Isaac held both ends of the twine in his hand. Kitsune looked at him and Isaac shrugged. "Leash laws. I can get away without them running around if Raucous behaves, but they'll demand them on the ferry."

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Originally Posted By: Jaime
"Sis, did you give Isaac our address?"

"What? Just a minute, I'll be right down," Jordan called back, and no one would doubt the gender of someone with a voice like that. A few minutes later, Jordan strode into the kitchen, as beautiful and female as ever, looking both sophisticated and casual in jeans and a button-down shirt. She joined her sister at the counter, getting the skillet out to fry the bacon and onions for the potato salad. "What were you saying about Isaac? I was still fixing my ears."

"Did you already give Isaac our address?" Jaime repeated as she continued halving the potatoes, giving her sister a quick glance. Sometimes it was hard, having Jordan for a sister. Then again, she wouldn't have traded her for anyone else in the world. Maybe mom...

"No..." Jordan admitted, lips frowning slightly in thought as she gave Jaime a level look. "And I didn't give it to anyone else either, though I'm sure Contessa could have found out if she really wanted. We'll ask him when he gets here."

The two of them moved around the kitchen with long familiarity. Jordan was a pretty decent cook - after some trial and error when she had first gained guardianship of Jaime - and she almost always tried to get Jaime's help, with varying degrees of success. This time, Jaime had insisted on helping with dinner. Maybe I should invite Isaac, and maybe Apex, over more often. Maybe Rob too, Jordan mused with a faint smile.

Leaving Jaime to keep an eye on the salad, Jordan went out back to make sure the grill was clean and scrubbed and that there was propane in the tank. After a few licks with the brush, she came back in and got out the dry-rubbed ribs she had left marinating over night out of the fridge. Seeing the heaping tray reminded Jaime of something she had forgotten to mention.

"Oh! Almost forgot, Isaac was with someone, so I said his friend could come too. His friend is like you guys, y'know?" After a pause, where she peered intently at the potatoes, she added. "A her friend."

"You don't say... Well, Isaac is just full of surprises." Jordan picked up the heavy tray of ribs and began heading back out to the yard, tossing her sister a look over her shoulder, arching a deep red brow. "We have plenty of ribs and there's still the steaks too. It'll just mean less leftovers, so I don't mind. Do you?"

"No! Of course not! I'm sure Isaac has other friends, other than the animals I mean." Jaime quickly went back to preparing the German style Potato Salad, hiding her face in the refrigerator as the took her time pulling out the drained sauerkraut.

Jordan shook her head, smothering her chuckle. She was hardly one to condemn who Jaime decided to crush on. She just hoped her younger sister didn't decide to do as much as she did about her crushes. "I'm sure he does," she replied, as she went to smoke the ribs on the grill.
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Tomoe just shrugged at Isaac's revelation and spent the ferry ride at the ship's rail, gazing out at the view in silence. She seemed unusually withdrawn, even pensive compared to how she usually was. But then as they neared shore she came out of it and started stretching...somewhat theatrically, with sly looks back at Isaac to see if he was watching her bend over to touch her toes.

When they reached shore she found a starting position and waited, fidgeting from one foot to the other while Isaac took the dogs off their leashes. Then he was off. At a long-legged, but comfortable pace...one born from years of experience running for exercise and for the pure joy of it.

Right out of the gate Tomoe was struggling. She kept up gamely enough but Isac noted how much faster she had to move her legs just to stay abreast of him. She'd tire quickly at that pace, he decided.

And yet she didn't. As the run progressed she actually crept ever so slightly ahead of him. He stepped up his pace...and she sped up too. As the address neared, Isaac saw his chance and lunged forward in a sudden sprint! ...only to have Tomoe speed up to effortlessly stay ahead of him, throwing an impish grin at him back over her shoulder as she stayed maddeningly out of reach.

The address came up too fast, even if Isaac was feeling the burn by then from pushing his limits. Tomoe, despite staying ahead of even his best, wasn't even sweating as they came to a stop.

"You owe me a kiss," she informed him triumphantly. "But not now. I'll tell you when. And it can't be a lame kiss, like a peck on the cheek. It has to be a good kiss."

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The run started as just a run. Raucous beside him, Twist flying with them, and Kitsune just behind him was just fun. He loved the glory of his body working with ease while he ran with his pack - even if it was pack plus one right now.

But when she surpassed him, something changed for Isaac. She was strong and faster and it wasn't a blow to his ego; that wasn't what took away the fun and turned it into something serious. No, it was the deep desire to catch her.

He was human enough to think And then what? There was nothing more for him; it felt like there should be, but he was lacking the next step. There was something he wanted/would do/should do if he caught her, but Isaac had no idea what that was.

It was that uncertainty that kept him from pouncing on Tomoe at the steps of Jordan and Jaime's home. When she stopped, it wasn't over for him; he wanted to pounce her and finish what she had started by darting past him. Instead, he stopped, as Raucous dropped to the ground, panting heavily and looking pleased. The big man was quiet as she spoke, his face as expressionless as hers was triumphant.

Just as Kitsune was getting annoyed about what seemed to be a macho 'I don't care that you won, silly girl' expression, he shrugged and said mildly, "I have no idea what you're talking about." He walked up the steps, rang the doorbell and added, "I don't know what makes a kiss lame or good."

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Jordan was in the back checking on the ribs and Jaime was in the kitchen, cutting the veggies for the dip they had made earlier when the ding-dong of the door bell echoed throughout the split-level home. Jaime pulled the fresh herb dip out of the fridge and the crackers from the pantry and quickly arranged them on the party tray before poking her head out the patio door.

"Sis! Isaac and his... friend are here. At least, I think it's them," Jaime called out, but Jordan was already waving the tongs at her and pointed at her ears. They were sharp today and she had heard them approach and their voices.

"I heard," Jordan confirmed with an enigmatically amused smile on her lips, then took a sip of her hard lemonade. "It's them. Why don't you go show them in, I'll be right in after I take the ribs out of the foil."

Jaime narrowed her eyes suspiciously at her sister's smile, then sniffed. "'Kay, fine." Jordan chuckled as she listened to Jaime's feet thump through the house, then hummed as she managed the baby back ribs.

Isaac and Tomoe could hear a muffled voice claim she was coming, then the front door was yanked open, revealing a slender, wiry teen girl wearing loose jeans and an oversized NYU sweat shirt sliding off a shoulder. Brown-haired and blue-eyed with a dimpled grin, and if not a stunning beauty, she was certainly cute with future potential.

"Hey Isaac! Glad you could make it." Jaime give him a quick, tight hug, the bird on his shoulder flapping its wing in brief agitation, then scratched the dog behind the ears. "You too, Raucous."

After a slight, wary hesitation, Jaime brushed some of hair behind her ear and turned to Tomoe, stretching out a hand, her smile honest, if almost edged with feminine challenge. "Hi, I'm Jaime Cavanaugh. Come in, come in, it's nice to meet you...?"

Raucous immediately took the invitation, padding inside, Isaac following after him. "She's Kitsune." Jaime stifled a protest as Isaac stepped inside the house, Twist on his shoulder, instead her eyes sparkling, thinking about how Jordan was going to react to a bird, and not a small either, in the house.

"Kitsune?" Jaime seemed unconvinced, but shook her head and waved Tomoe in too. "C'mon, Jordan is out back, cooking." Jaime led her guests through the suburban home, neatly furnished and well maintained, a bit of clutter scattered here and there, but otherwise, very clean. Jaime pointed out the various rooms in passing.

Reaching the kitchen, they found Jordan already there, a fantastically gorgeous woman, tall and curvaceous, in her early twenties with sun-streaked, rich auburn hair in a pony-tail and dressed in tight, designer jeans and a deep, vibrant pink, button-down shirt, several buttons undone to reveal a fair, but not crass, amount of cleavage. She bore only the vaguest resemblance to Jaime, but still, there was no doubt they were related. Jordan's smile was smooth and warm, vivid cyan eyes twinkling. She suppressed a wince at the sight of the bird on Isaac's shoulder.

"Isaac, it's a pleasure to have you here, finally." She gave him a hug too, and if not as exuberant as her sister's, still, any man would have wished for as much. The ravishing woman turned her welcoming smile on Tomoe. "And where have you been hiding this little, peach, hmmm? I don't think this one is a stray. I'm Jordan - Tiresias on the boards - and you really must tell me how you two met. Oh, have we spoken on the network?" Jordan offered Tomoe her hand as well, her stance offering an acquainting hug as well, if she wanted it.

"We have some veggies and crackers and a great herb dip to start - I can probably round up something else, if you prefer, chips or trail mix - and I have the baby-back ribs on grill now, though they'll still be a while cooking, but the German style potato salad will be done soon. I also have some marinated steaks I'm going to toss on soon too, for those who want one. I had two for you, Isaac, but you'll have to share."

Jordan gestured down the hall then to the sliding doors. "Juice and water are in fridge, pop and other drinks in the garage. Glasses in those cupboards, plates over there. Shall we move this to the patio? it's quite a nice day today and I want to keep a close eye on the meat."

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The moment Tomoe saw Jaime, her mouth spread into a Cheshire grin. She shook the younger girl's hand with a vigorous pump; dismissing the 'edge of challenge' instantly. Isaac was practically impervious to female wiles to begin with; a girl not even out of high school still had problems with -regular- guys.

Some of that relieved energy faded on seeing 'onee-sama' though. The big sister, Jordan, was threatening in all the ways Jaime wasn't. Unthinkably gorgeous, confident and poised...but Tomoe didn't detect any hint that she was interested in Isaac, which was a little surprising. Maybe she already had a boyfriend? But then where was he?

Abruptly she snapped back to following the conversation. Did she just call me a -peach-? As Tomoe shook Jordan's hand, not blind to the other girl's body language suggesting a hug, it occurred to her that there might just be another reason that Jordan wasn't expressing interest in the guys. The idea made Jordan seem exotic...like some strange alien fallen to Earth.

"Ish...I mean, Tomoe's fine. You don't have to call me Kitsune. That's just my online handle, really. It feels weird hearing people say it out loud." Some of the mischief returned to her eyes as she glanced at Isaac and his entourage. "How we met, eh? Yeah, that's a pretty interesting story. He got shot you know."

"Anyway, patio's fine. Wherever. What do you think, Isaac?"

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"Patio's fine," Isaac grunted, his eyes roving around the room. It was the first time he'd been here, so he was curious, looking around the room and taking it all in. It was nice, a lot nicer than anywhere he'd lived. There were a few oddities, but he couldn't put a finger on it. It certainly wasn't enough to bother him or stop him for now but it wasn't forgotten.

It wasn't until he was dropping into the deck chair that he realized the thing that was nagging him. There'd been a stranger's smell in that house; some male who he didn't know at all. "Who else lives here?" Isaac asked and his voice had hardened with suspicion.

"No one else," Jaime said, blinking. "Just Jordan and I."

"I smell a man." Jordan and Jaime both jumped and flinched weirdly and Isaac narrowed his eyes at them. "Jaime's part of my pack and if you have someone living here, I want to meet them. For her safety."

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Originally Posted By: Tomoe
"How we met, eh? Yeah, that's a pretty interesting story. He got shot you know."

"You don't say?" Jordan said with a dry smile and sparkling eyes as she took a sip of her hard lemonade. "Funny that, the first time I met Isaac, he was taking care of Jaime and her friend Izzy when they were drunk and fleeing a busted rave. I had to dig a bullet out his shoulder. It was disgusting. So, unless he makes a habit of getting shot - which might be the case - we must've met-"

Originally Posted By: Isaac
"Who else lives here?" "I smell a man. Jaime's part of my pack and if you have someone living here, I want to meet them. For her safety."

THe two siblings shared a look, then Jaime looked away, fidgeting and refusing to meet anyone's eyes. "Oh! Uh... that's... that's my- I mean Jordan's... er, boyfri- "

"That's enough, Jaime," Jordan interrupted smoothly. She recrossed her legs with a practiced motion then faced her guests with a proud elevation to her elegant jawline. "You saw me, what I could do, the night of the Pulse, Isaac. Think about it." Jordan sighed and flicked a tress of rich auburn hair from her face. It was remarkably satisfying, and felt not a little daring, to reveal this much of herself to someone else. Only Jaime and her friend Pete really knew about her.

"Though we call each other sisters, I'm technically her cousin. Jaime also has a brother, who coincidentally enough is also named Jordan. When our mother died, we discussed it and Jaime decided she wanted a woman for a legal guardian." Jordan's captivating cyan eyes were firm and direct, boldly daring Isaac or Tomoe to make anything of it. Then they glinted with mirth, lips smirking as she spread her arms and sat up straight in her chair, shapely figure on full display.

"So, I assure Isaac, you've already met the man of the house. He's just not around as much as the woman of the house." Jordan chuckled richly, hiding a slight fluttering in her chest. Last time someone had found out about her unexpectedly, her father had nearly pummeled her to death then run out on his family. Jaime blushed bright red, but her jaw tightened stubbornly and she met Isaac's and Tomoe's eyes this time, supporting her sister-and-sometime-brother. "Let's just say, I had a very... eventful adolescence."
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"You fixed his shoulder?" Tomoe asked, surprised. "That was the same night we met!"

She quickly lost that train of thought though when Jordan gave her strange answer to Isaac's accusation. She wrinkled her nose, trying to work it out. So she and her male cousin, Jaime's brother, had the same name, but Jaime had chosen her to watch out for her. She could see how having the same name would be awkward, but it didn't seem to merit the self-deprecation that Jordan was piling on. And what's more, hadn't she said 'our' mother?"

"Wait, I'm confused," she finally admitted. "Did you mean YOUR mother, or Jordan and Jaime's mother? Because you said 'our,' but if you're their cousin, you'd have a different mother." She shook her head. "And you could just say that the guy is Jaime's brother, who visits sometimes. Why all the drama?"

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Jordan giggled, ending with a delicate snort. "It's a bit of a confusing situation, Tomoe. To put it bluntly, I'm both. I was born Jaime's brother, but as I was entering adolescence, my... abilities manifested. To help me adjust and to help prevent any awkward questions, I managed to... hmm, acquire the identity of a distant cousin who lived over-seas. I spent high-school on both sides of the gender divide, along with other shenanigans available to me."

Jordan uncrossed her legs and stood up, giving Tomoe a crooked grin, but her eyes were very intent. "Here, I'll show you. And of course, I'd prefer you kept this to yourself." Jordan closed her eyes and fisted her hands at her sides. Tomoe watched open mouthed as Jordan's very skin began to ripple, bones warp, and clothing slither, altering in colour and texture.

Seconds later, where a most feminine Jordan had stood, there was now a muscular, ruggedly handsome man, a little taller than the former woman, maybe a little younger. He had dark hair brushed back from his face, a little bit of scruff, and was dressed in a sleeveless top and a pair of shorts. Other than the wry, engaging expression on his face, the man held little resemblance to either Jordan or Jaime.

"Heya, Tomoe, pleased to meet'cha," Jordan said in a smoothly rumbling baritone, reaching across the table to shake her hand. His hand was firm and strong and warm, fingers and palm slightly rough with callous. "I'm Jordan Cavanaugh. You've already met my cousin, Jordan Johansson, right? She's hard to miss." He glanced at Isaac and gave him a sharp nod. "Dude, do I smell familiar now?" Jordan arched an brow the two of them, mouth curved slightly in a manner far more suited to his previous appearance then went back inside to get the steaks. He put them on the grill, checked on the baby-back ribs, then sat back down, slouching in his seat.

"You two satisfied now?" There was an edge in his tone that warned them about doing anything that made trouble for him or his sister. Several long, interminable seconds later, before they said anything, a poised and gorgeous, and undeniably female, Jordan sat before them once, legs crossed, cyan eyes studying them behind half-closed lids, an enigmatic grin on her lips. Tomoe wasn't sure if it was her imagination or the contrast or what, but Jordan's shirt seemed slightly more revealing, her curves somehow more prominent.

"As I said, I had a very eventful adolescence."

Jaime's face was a terminal red. It was embarrassing enough when Jordan spoke frankly of her sex-life - if also wickedly intriguing - but having her speak and shift like this in front of others was much worse. "I'mgoinginsidetocheckonthepotatoesalad," Jaime said in a rush before dashing inside.

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Isaac listened to the discussion; his frown deepened as he struggled as much as Tomoe to figure out to what Jordan was alluding. It took him longer and required Jordan to do the demonstration before he figured it out completely. His eyes narrowed as he mouthed, “She’s a dude?” to himself.

However, gender switches weren’t an alien concept in the natural world. Isaac accepted this announcement with a slight shift in his chair and quite a bit of relief. It explained a lot of things that had been confusing him about Jordan. “Explains why I only smelled one bleeder in the house,” he grunted, taking a drink of the water he’d snagged from the fridge.

“Isaac!” Tomoe squawked in shock as both women turned red.


“You can’t just say stuff like that!” the Japanese woman insisted to the baffled man.

“Apparently, I can,” Isaac told her with a rare grin.

“I mean, you shouldn’t!” Tomoe tried again.

“Because it’s rude? That’s what everyone says to that,” Isaac said. “It’s also true. Jaime’s the only one on the rag around here.”

At the exit, the teen stopped, her face turning beet red. It was clear to all three she’d heard Isaac’s last remark. Without saying a word, Jaime turned around and walked back into the house.

“Yeah, you’re going to yell at me for that, too, aren’t you?” Isaac didn’t have any social graces, but he seemed to sense when he’d stepped over a line.

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Tomoe rolled her eyes, sensing that she'd have to pick her fights. "I won't bother to."

She eyed Jordan, suddenly curious about several things. Jordan, by 'her' own admission, stayed in female form...so why wouldn't she menstruate? Also, her clothes had changed.

"So you look like a girl," she surmised, "but you really aren't? And...you're really naked right now, right?"

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Jordan's delicate nostrils flared and the look in her eyes was severe as her blush quickly faded, but her lips twitched as she glanced towards the patio door. "That was crass, Isaac. Admittedly, I've heard worst, and by men who meant to be rude, but still... I'll like it pass. This time. Jaime on the other hand... You are going to apologize to her, Isaac," Jordan said firmly.

Isaac looked back at her, completely bewildered. "Why?" he asked bluntly. It was a natural function, mammalian females menstruated, that was a fact, there was no point in being embarrassed by it.

Jordan sighed, refraining from pinching the bridge of her nose. He has the social skills of a wild animal, you knew this, he's not doing this on purpose. "Jaime's only fifteen, Isaac and any talk of this type - actually, most natural functions - is simply mortifying. Just... please, if not for me, for her?"

Isaac shrugged, not seeming convinced, but he nodded. He had crossed a line, and if he didn't have a clue where it was, still, it was better to have harmony in the pack. "Fine," he grunted.

Jordan stared at Isaac for a moment, hiding the twinge of uncertainty she felt then nodded and turned to Tomoe, lush lips curved in a droll smile, a shapely brow arched. A slight shift of in her seat emphasized her figure.

"I look like a woman, and am one, Tomoe, every bit as much as you are. I have all the bits and pieces, and they are all fully functional. My metamorphosis isn't merely superficial," Jordan informed her, slightly insulted. "You seem to be under a misapprehension. It doesn't take me effort to maintain this form, or any form. It takes me effort to change, and once I do, that's my natural form until I change again. I didn't have a natural growth pattern, you know? I had to consciously determine how I grew and matured physically."

Jordan's smile widened with a teasing edge, and she reached across the table, a manicured brushing lightly along the back of Tomoe's hand. "I was born a boy, but spent, say 60-75% of my teen years female. I'm attracted to both men and women, and my tastes can vary depending on if I'm an innie or an outtie. So, what am I? A man or a woman? Both? Neither?" Jordan's nose scrunched up at that description. "For the time being, I think of myself as a woman, but it's subject to change. Whims, you know."

Jordan's cyan gaze took both of her guests in, and she waved hand dispelling one of their concerns. "As for the...um, scent of a single menstruating female in the house, the reason isn't because I'm 'not really a woman'," Jordan explained, hooking her fingers to make air quotes. "It's simply because whenever I switch genders, or even make very drastic changes while staying fully female, my biochemistry takes a few weeks to settle into something resembling normal. It usually takes me about three to four weeks for my cycle to reset, provided I haven't been 'dangling' in the meantime or do something else to mess around with it. I have menstruated before, it's been several months since the last time." Jordan snorted, though a shadow darkened her eyes, so quickly Tomoe wasn't sure she had even seen it. "I can even get pregnant, as the gynecologist informed me, the first time I went to one."

"And you think I'm naked?!" Jordan exclaimed, grimacing and making a disgusted sound as she plucked at her clothing. "You think this is my-my skin? That's just gross, Tomoe. Here." With smooth, deft movements, Jordan pulled her arms inside her shirt and with distinctly feminine skill, took off her bra without taking off her shirt and tossed it in front of Tomoe. It was a black, silky under-wire with scrolling lace on the seamless cups and a front-closure.

"It's as real as any of my changes. Like my appearance, I can alter my clothing, and to a limited extend, some of my accessories as well. I love clothing and shoes, it's probably one of the reasons I spend more time as a woman than as a man." Jordan sighed fondly, finger her fingers across the smooth texture of her bra. "This ability is the only reason why my closet is full of Louboutin, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, and more. I have a few authentic pieces, but the vast majority I made myself."

Pondering the ramifications of this revelation, Tomoe looked from the bra sitting on the table before her to the woman it had come from, gears turning in her head. "How does it-"

"Bahp-bahp-bahp!" Jordan interrupted her, holding up a hand to forestall her question. "No, I don't really know how it works, other than I concentrate the same way as I alter myself, nor why I can only change what I am wearing and not something held in my hands." Jordan's engaging demeanor grew adamant. "And I'm not dwelling on it. Last time I did, my clothing options became... sparse." It was obvious the beautiful woman wasn't going to expand on the situation.

"Enough," Jordan claimed, putting her bra back on, though this time, she turned away from them so she could undo several more buttons without flashing them. "I've told you pretty much everything about me. What about you guys? What are your Indigo gifts?"

From the patio door, Jaime peeked out warily, listening intently on which way the conversation was going. Not hearing anything that would cause her to die of embarrassment, Jaime came out with bowl of hot, German style potato salad topped with sauerkraut balanced on her hip and plates and utensils on the other. She placed a plate in front of each person and the bowl in the middle of the table, against the pole of the patio umbrella.

Jordan thanked her, served herself a decent portion then looked at Isaac and Tomoe inquiringly.

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"I...uh..." Tomoe said, at a loss after Jordan's long and somewhat mortifying rant. It took a lot to put her at a loss for words, but that had been enough.

She broke out of it though when she realized the implication of Jordan having 'designer' clothes in her closet that she'd created via shapechanging.

Does she even know what she's sitting on?!

Abruptly Tomoe's voice came from behind Jordan, speaking with an amused tone. "Don't bother with her for a bit. She's busy thinking of all the ways you could abuse that power of yours."

On looking around, all present could see Tomoe standing behind Jordan's chair with a smirk on her face and her arms folded over her chest. She grinned and added, "Assuming she's there at all."

And sure enough, the Tomoe sitting at the table was gone.

Click to reveal.. (Isaac)
Isaac, and canines present, know that her scent hasn't moved, or changed. The Tomoe behind Jordan has no scent, and her scent is still coming from her chair strongly enough that she could still be in it.
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“Jaime.” Isaac’s voice caused the teen to freeze in place. She warily looked at the hulking man, already blushing from a perceived onslaught of horrifying words. “I’m sorry for what I said.” His voice was soft enough that the other two could continue talking though both could hear the conversation. Jaime, less wise in the ways of the world, relaxed a little, but Tomoe and Jordan could see that his mouth was still moving.

“Jordan told me that teen girls don’t like to hear ‘bout bleedin’, even if they do it all the time,” Isaac went on. “I mean, it’s natural, and it’s the truth. It’s what happens and we all know it. Why is it embarrassing?” He shrugged and Twist squeaked at the disruption. “I really don’t get it, but Jordan says it’s important to you and so it’s important to me. So, I’m sorry.”

His sincerity could not be doubted. His smile was real and not even cynical for once. It made him look younger. It did not help Jaime’s rebounding mortification.

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I don't believe it! I'm really gonna die of embarrassment. He doesn't even hear what he's saying! Jaime felt like her face was going to melt off from her blistering blush and she didn't even realize the Tomoe standing behind her sister had just suddenly appeared there even as the Tomoe sitting in the chair had disappeared. Sifting her fork through her portion of potato salad, the teen swallowed several times before she could manage a retort.

"Women bleed regularly, not all the time," Jaime countered in a prim, though faint tone. Desperately seeking something, anything, to get off this topic, Jaime leaned forward in her chair and gave Raucous a vigorous scratch. "So, uh, Jordan says we can get a dog, Isaac. What are we looking for when we pick one out? We want a big one, something like a German Shepard or Husky or Lab."

Jordan gave the 'repentant' Isaac a flat, hooded look, though despite herself, her lips still twitched with the absurd bluntness, but her look was brief as she was still distracted with Tomoe's demonstration. Jordan's sense of hearing and smell were currently quite keen - she was sure Tomoe was still in the plastic patio chair across from her, but she couldn't take her eyes off of the very visible, very solid-looking figure standing behind her.

"How do you do that?" Jordan asked, intrigued. She smoothly stood up then slowly circled the image (?), which grinned impudently at her. It was accurately detailed from any angle. Impressive, or well practiced, if Tomoe had to envision her effects in the same manner I have to focus on the details of my shifts. Jordan stood, head tilted to the side and a hand resting on a cocked hip, her studious gaze switching between the image and where the real (?) Tomoe presumably was, though her eyes were aimed somewhat off-center.

Barely telegraphing her intent, Jordan gracefully went to swat Tomoe's pert behind... and her hand passed through the image without even a ripple. The only sensation was a slight prickling on her silky skin, as if a high-intensity flashlight was focused on her. "Neat. Some sort of photon or light manipulation, I assume." Jordan lips curved with a teasing smirk in the vague direction of the seated Tomoe. "I'm sure you've already thought about all the ways you could abuse your power, hmm, Tomoe?"

With her sharp nose and a deft cook's sense of timimg, Jordan determined it was time to check on the meat, though she kept glancing over her shoulder at Faux-Tomoe, who was lingering at her side. "So, can you 'see' through your images too?" The was a sizzle as she flipped the meat, flames flaring for a moment. "Ribs are just about done. How do you guys take you stake? Jaime and I prefer medium-rare- Wait! If you are using super-light-tricks, how are you throwing your voice like that?"

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The illusion-Tomoe grinned a Cheshire grin, her face distorting disturbingly to accommodate far, far more teeth than any human mouth could hold. Another Tomoe suddenly spoke from Jordan's other shoulder, this one dressed in black biker leathers and sporting a pair of little reddish nubbin horns on her forehead.

"Looks like she figured you out Tomoe-chan." The devil-Tomoe then casually reached down to the barbecue, grabbed a rib, and turned it over before Jordan could flip it. Her eyes met Jordan's, brimming with mischief. "Or maybe not -everything-."

The weirdly grinning Tomoe's eyes turned yellow, and a pair of fox tails started swishing around behind her.

"Not only that," fox-Tomoe said, "But what's the real power? Illusions? Or teleporting and turning ghostlike? We DID beat Isaac here in a footrace from the ferry. Was that Indigo powers? Or am I just fast on my feet?"

Devil-Tomoe sighed theatrically. "She thinks she's so cool."

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Isaac was nodding, pleased to see that the topic was moving on from the unfortunate gaffe toward something that he could deal with better. "Sure, I'll find a member of the pack who wants to live here," Isaac said. "Should be easy; not all the members of the pack want to live on the island anymore."

"Island?" Tomoe perked up immediately.

"Yeah, I moved to an island," Isaac said without bothering to elaborate further. Since he'd already been living on an island, his statement became less than helpful. He turned back to Jaime and continued, "What kind of personality are you looking for? Outgoing? Playful? Sedate? Would you prefer a dog more like Raucous or like Gandhi?"

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"Don't touch..." Jordan began, swatting at Devil-Tomoe's hand... and passing ineffectually through it, "... that," she finished lamely, giving the new image of Tomoe a faint, narrow-eyed scowl, which faded into a wry smirk. "You know, if I made a face like that, it would stick that way."

Jordan finished grilling the meat as she listened to the two Tomoe's and their banter. Fox-Tomoe did her have begin questioning her guesses however, so she ramped up her audio and olfactory senses even more. Jordan could still smell Tomoe sitting at the patio table, as well as her neighbor's son Steven beyond the thick foliage separating their yards. Trying to sneak a peek again, are you?

"Kitsune, nice," Jordan said with a grin as she eyed the two swishing tails. "I did that one year for Halloween. I can tell you, soda on fur, bad!" Her grin widened teasingly. "Beat Isaac here, did you? If your slender, little figure is really you, I'm gonna call shenanigans on your win. I'm a reasonable judge of what the human body is capably of."

With deft grace, Jordan balanced the various plates of ribs and steak on her hands and forearm, giving Devil-Tomoe a quite shake of her head to indicate she had it. "Thanks, but I think a neighbor is trying to sneak a peek at a certain red-head barbecuing. So if you could... We do live here and I'd rather not have to explain certain things that might be seen... Besides, I don't have enough to feed three of you."

Jordan walked back to the table, hoping Tomoe would take the hint, and served everyone, including the empty setting where Tomoe had (was) sitting. "Dig in, folks," Jordan extolled, adding a good helping of potato salad to her plate. "Okay, I give. How do you do that, Tomoe? Some sort of semi-solid clones?"

Though Jaime was far more interested in talking to Isaac about a dog, she couldn't stop from glancing at Jordan being harassed by the two halloweenesque Tomoes. "Huh-whuh? Oh, a fun, playful one, Isaac, more like Raucous. Though Ghandi was cute and warm when he was hiding with me and Izzy. And I want a puppy." Jaime's face lit up with girlish glee, but remembering the GiBs in Time Square made her grow more subdued as she placed some ribs on her plate.

"And a dog that we can train to guard our home from strangers." Jordan glanced at her sister, covertly hiding a hint of melancholy, sad that Jaime had to consider such a thing. Home should be refuge...

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When warned about the possible peeper, the two Tomoes evaporated instantly, and Tomoe reappeared in her chair, leaning back and lolling her head around to peer at the fence. After a second she looked back at Jordan and shook her head.

"I change how light works. Bend it. Make it. Snuff it out. Whatever I want. I can also move things around by concentrating. That's how I make my images talk. Voices are just..." she wiggled her fingers, "...little flaps moving air around, after all." She seemed a bit uncomfortable talking about her powers...hesitant.

Tomoe quickly looked at Isaac. "What about you? We already know you're not bulletproof."

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Isaac shrugged. "I'm tough and strong. I can talk to animals and... I can make them do things," Isaac said, his voice becoming tight at the last statement. "I don't like doing that. It's wrong.

"Aside from that, I'm nothin' special. Just another orphan growing up in the New York foster care system," he continued. "I've been doin' what I can to make ends meet ever since I got lose on my own at eighteen. Bit of pit fightin' here, some knee-breakin' there... takin' care of my pack and lookin' for my sister."

"Your sister?" Jaime asked.

"My mom died when I was six. A stray bullet went through the wall of our apartment. Police never found who was responsible. Becky was adopted and I wasn't." Isaac's voice was thick with pain; he never hid his emotions and he wasn't starting now. His big hands were clenched into fists as he added, "I haven't found her, don't really even know where to start. But I want to find her again." His lips quirked into a sad smile. "Too bad that's not my power."

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Jordan listened to Tomoe and Isaac describe their abilities with genuine interest as she ate her steak and ribs with delicate, whole-hearted bites. It was truly intriguing, hearing what other Indigo Children could do. Some of them mentioned or alluded to what they could do on the Network, but it different hearing it directly from them. Thank God neither of them are mindbenders, just the idea...

Her hidden thoughts were derailed by Isaac's mention of being an orphan and looking for his sister... and Jaime's interest. She knew is was natural, considering, and she really didn't blame Jaime, but still, it hurt. Jordan kept her face smooth and her eyes sympathetic as she reached across the table and patted Isaac's knotted fist.

"You have my full sympathies, Isaac, and I hope you find her," Jordan said with a commiserating smile. She took another bite of her steak then stood up. "Excuse me, I need to get another drink."

Jaime watched her sister leave with a slightly guilty hunch to her shoulders. Only she noticed the stiffness to her naturally sinuous stride, the mask-like quality to her gorgeous face. After the patio door slid closed with a thump, Jaime turned to the others, her expression subdued.

"I'm sorry too, Isaac. I'm... I'm adopted, but I was only a baby so don't remember anything from before," Jaime offered in a low voice, aware of her sister's keen hearing (at least most of the time). There was no need to rub in it. "After the Event, Mom ended up with cancer and couldn't have anymore children, so they ended up adopting me. When Jordan started... er, changing, Dad made a deadbeat retreat, that's when Mom told me." She tried to shrug nonchalantly, but there was a poignancy to the rise and fall of her slender shoulders. "It didn't really make a difference though, y'know? Mom and Jordan didn't love me any less, not sure - and don't care - about Dad."

Jaime's hands tightened around her fork and knife, knuckles going white as she glared at her plate, eyes tight with the effort of not crying like a child. "After Dad took off, then Mom... died, I... I started thinking about finding my birth parents - I love Jordan, I do, she's done so much for me. God! It feels like I'm betraying her. It's just... It's just, I just wanna know, y'know?"

She peeked up at Isaac through her lashes, blue eyes bright. "New York State has an Adoption Information Registry, but it doesn't really help minors. You have to be over the age of majority to register, then they can try to match you up with parents and siblings, if they have registered too. I've been saving up my allowance, and I'm planning to get a part-time job soon so I can hire an agency like OmniTrace that does this sort of thing."

Inside the house, Jordan stood next to the liquor cabinet, pouring herself a second bourbon and tried not to blame Jaime for thinking she wasn't a good enough guardian. With her heightened hearing, she heard every word, despite Jaime's low voice and the intervening walls. Her fingers were wrapped tight around the tumbler, flesh and bone flexing unnaturally as she strove to prevent herself from shifting uncontrollably.

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Isaac was quiet for a moment. "Becky wouldn't be on that registry yet," he said softly, "and I can't be, not really."

"What?" Jaime asked. "Why not?"

"Cause I live off the grid," Isaac said, taking a draw on his juice. "Don't want to be on some registry where they'll need an address and phone number in case Becky does find me. I dunno how, but I'll find her on my own."

"Why do you live like that?" Jaime asked softly.

Isaac sighed and shifted a little. "I do that because I'm not a nice guy. I break the law on occasion and living like this makes it harder to find me. I also have to consider the pack. I can't find a landlord who'd let me have 'em all, and there are laws against having too many even in your own house. So I want to live like this, for my safety and the pack's." He paused before asking, "Ya gonna freak out again?"

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"You know," Tomoe said casually, inspecting her nails. "I could probably help you guys. I have some money...and I can get more if I need to. Enough to hire an investigator, easy."

She looked up, at Isaac, then at Jaime.

"But really, do we want that? Like Isaac said, we all have things we don't want getting out. Why don't we all help each other? I'm sure the four of us working together can find sisters and birth parents. It'll be fun. A challenge."

"What do you think?"

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Jaime scrunched up her nose at Isaac, giving him an annoyed scowl, then sticking out her tongue at him. "No, I'm not gonna freak out. I just don't see why you don't get a job at the Central Park Zoo or something. You'd be awesome at that. That way, you wouldn't have to... uh, do what you do." Jaime nibbled on her, considering. "Dunno about the pack though. There has to be something you can do."

Jaime looked over at Tomoe, giving her a complicated shrug, thanking her for the offer, but not being inclined to take it. "Thank-you Tomoe, really, but I think if I hired an investigator, I'd want to pay for it myself, y'know." Jaime's gaze flicked between Tomoe and Isaac, pondering, still a guilty hitch to her shoulders. "Do either of you know how to look for records and stuff like this? I'm okay with a computer and google, but I'm not a hacker or anything. And... and I'm not sure I can ask Jordan to help with this. It feels, I dunno, not right..."

"It's alright, Jaime," Jordan said smoothly, face composed, walking back on the deck with a Smirnoff Ice in her hand. She took her seat with elegant grace then reached across the table and squeezed her sister's hand. "If this is want to really want to do, I'll do everything I can to help."

"Really? You're not mad or sad or anything?" Jaime piped up hopefully, squeezing Jordan's hand back.

"Really, I'm not mad or sad or anything," Jordan lied flawlessly, a warm grin gracing her full lips as she ruffled Jaime's head.

Jaime jumped out of her chair and ran around the table to hug Jordan from behind. "Thank-you! Thank-you, sis! I couldn't bring myself to ask you but- Thank-you!"

"You're certainly welcome," Jordan replied, reaching up and behind to, giving her sister an awkward hug that somehow managed not to look awkward. "Besides, regardless, you'll always be my sister."

Jordan looked at the others, a crooked smile on her lips, cyan eyes clear, if suspiciously bright. "I'll admit, other than hiring someone who deals with this sort of thing, I'm not sure how to go about this. After our mother passed away, I found Jaime's adoption papers, but I didn't read them. I suppose, we can start at the adoption agency for her. I'm not sure about your sister, though, Isaac. Maybe we could get a look at the police report, to start, through freedom of information or something."

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