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Aberrant: Mutant High - [Fic] Learning Curve


Doryoku
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Private Journal Entry #12

It's been approximately 1 Week and 3 days since the visit to Dante's Inferno and I am still under administrative sanction for my actions during the unauthorized trip.

What is harder to navigate around is the sanctions the student body has placed on me. It has been... uncomfortable to say the least and I feel I am not adapting well to my peer structure.

The Adults have only... been semi-helpful. Telling me this is the only way I could grow as a person.

Quite honestly, it hurts.

Sakurako closes her laptop and secures it in a metal locker she had bought surplus while she still had off-campus privileges. She straightens out the clean-suit she had been using for some of her cleaning duties as well as checked the respirator filter. She had already received a few strange looks from the students just for using it, but at least she felt safer.

After cleaning her rubber gloves in the bathroom it was time for class. So she put on something she still felt comfortable in yet wasn't the Japanese schoolgirl look she had early on. Just a black blazer and skirt with a white blouse and a pink bow. The muted colors she didn't really care about, in fact she hadn't dyed her naturally white hair, so monochrome seemed to work best.

Once she grabs her netbook and the few textbooks she actually was required to have physically, she steps outside her dorm and almost immediately she sees a note taped to the door.

Rat.

She adjusts her glasses. By now she's given up collecting these notes to get a handwriting sample. To her it was a futile exercise. She walks in the hallway with her head down. Mulling over and over in her head why doing the right thing wasn't so received as such?

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Brushing her long, silvery-white hair, Sonja frowned in thought at the way her powerful bicep bulged, stretching the sleeve of her cream, cable-knit turtleneck. She had always been athletic and well-toned, but since her freak growth spurt, Sonja hadn't only grown nearly a foot taller, she was now also undeniably buff.

Uncurling her legs and climbing to her feet off her bed, Sonja sighed watching her thighs straining her pale, stone-washed jeans as she put her brush away and slipped on her pink-laced running shoes, then slung her bookbag over her shoulder. It seemed with being the tallest, leggiest, bustiest, and arguably most attractive girl at LHA, Sonja could now add most muscular as well.

And it still didn't curtail any of the Barbie comparisons, just added She-Hulk to them - which after seeing some pics of her, except for the green, was a closer match. I am so not dyeing my skin and hair green for Halloween, she promised herself. Most guys hadn't noticed - there being a pair of other things for them to focus on - but she wasn't able to hid it in the locker-room.

Sonja liked being tall and attractive and athletic, but she privately began to worry she might have too much of a good thing. She'd already had a nightmare where she kept growing into a giant stories tall, grotesquely distorted by over-sized muscles and breasts. That had woken her up in a sweat. But it was all nothing she could admit to - people didn't want to hear that too much of a good thing could be a problem.

She just had to learn to accept it and who she was. It had never been a problem before and she wouldn't let it be one now. Besides, 'Neca would mock her mercilessly otherwise.

Plastering a cool, confident smile on her full lips, Sonja left her room and headed to class, her long legs eating up the distance. Her lips curved down at seeing Sakurako trudging down the hall with her head down, then noticing the note taped to her door. Yeah, Sakurako was kind of uptight and a bit of a suck-up to the faculty, but Sonja didn't like seeing anyone beaten down.

Despite looking like she should make the ground shake with each step, Sonja was a graceful woman, and with her eyes on her feet, Sakurako first noticed the stunning amazon when her shadow fell over her as she reached over her head and plucked the note from the door. She crumbled it up in her strong, long-fingered hand and flicked it deftly into a garbage can.

"Buck up, Sakurako and don't let them bother you," Sonja encouraged the new girl not unkindly in her low, resonant voice. "The more you react, the more they'll rag on you. Don't worry, they'll find something else to draw their mean attention soon enough." Her lips quirked up, gently teasing, though standing so close and with the disparity in their heights and the impressive thrust of Sonja's breasts, Saku might not have seen it. "Just try to make sure it isn't you again, hmm?"

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When Sakurako first encountered probably the tallest member of the studeent body, she sort of felt like there was a gravitational pull near her.

2.13 Meters, over 120 Kilograms by estimate of body mass index.Judging by her size and mass, she couldn't deftly write those notes...Or move about unnoticed.

"Pink... perhaps I should dye my hair that when I am able to head to the usual place I get hair dye." She says. "And my current emotional fatigue comes from the constant bombardment more than any one word said towards me."

"I've not paid any mind, to be honest, the reprisals have been... probably rather generous considering the percieved injustice perpetrated."

"I don't quite get it, Bahaar-Sempai, I did everything in accordance to my concience in regard to our personal safety, yet I am the proverbial black sheep." Sakurako said, scratching her head. She honestly, and regrettibly, didn't understand teenage, or even peer dynamics among minors. She expects people to act like her.

"Thank you for your kindnesses, Bahaar-Sempai." She says, bowing out of habit. Her naturally white hair slightly unkempt, more from her situation induced fatigue and some depression.

"Perhaps... at lunch we could share a table?"

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Bahaar-Sempai? Sonja fair brows crinkled in puzzlement for a moment, the term meaning absolutely nothing to her. With the bow - which was also a bit discomfiting, it seemed meek and submissive to her - Sonja nodded and smoothed her brow with a smile, figuring it was a Japanese thing or something.

"Please, Sonja is fine," the enormous blonde assured, arching a brow at Sakurako's attire. "You know, we don't have a uniform or strict dress-code. You can dress casual or pretty much however you want." Her lips tightened sourly as she muttered under her breath, "God knows, 'Neca does."

Accompanying Sakurako down the hall for a bit, before needing to split for their different classes, and shortening her stride so Sakurako didn't need to jog to keep up.

Sonja often ate with mostly the same people. Kia and Alex wouldn't have any problem with Sakurako. Aradia might tease her or pull a prank, but there would be nothing mean in it and it would help Sakurako realize not all teasing was cruel. Daniel was still mad at her, from the little she heard, but he'd remain civil in a group and might give Sakurako a chance to make amends.

The one thing that concerned Sonja was Morri. Sakurako and Morri had gotten off on the wrong foot and while she though Morri was hardly aware of it anymore, it might be trying for the one many others were called Mouse. On the other hand, Sakurako couldn't just keep avoiding everyone she ever had a disagreement or other issue with either.

"Yeah, sure, I don't mind if you join us at lunch," Sonja offered, glancing down at Sakurako with an intent look in her deep indigo eyes and a wry curve to her lips. "Just a warning though, I often eat with Morri. I'm not trying scare you away or anything, just don't want you to be surprised, 'kay?"

Sonja pursed her lips in thought as they continued down the hall, absently reaching low to give the three foot tall, blue skinned Smurf a high-five in passing. Sakurako might still have gotten looks from the other students in the hall, but no one said anything with Sonja at her side. It wasn't that towering Valkyrie was innately threatening, precisely - she was actually quite nice, in fact - but she was awfully big and tall and it seemed the prudent thing to do.

It was obvious Sakurako was clueless about the social dynamics of teenagers, which kind of sucked for her since she was surrounded by them now. At an intersection before they separated to head to their own classes, Sonja glanced over a broad shoulder to offer Sakurako a bit of advice.

"If I can give you a bit of a head's up, Sakurako?" Sonja asked, barely pausing before continuing. "Your... problem with the other students... think of it this way: Think back to any cop or gangster movie you've ever seen or one of the seventeen Law & Orders. When a group commits a crime and say one of them commits a murder, they're all charged as accessories to the crime. Except maybe for the one guy - or girl - who sells out the others for a reduced sentence. And who's one of the most hated in prison? The snitch."

Sonja smirked wryly and shrugged, the light in her eyes not accusatory, but asking Sakurako to look at the situation another way. "Now, I'm not saying I know all the details - I've heard some of 'Neca's no doubt biased account and Daniel's version - and I'm not saying School is Prison, the Faculty is the Law and we're the inmates with an us-versus-them dynamic, buuuuut...

Maybe try to work things out with your fellow students before calling in the Faculty-Hammer and everyone losing, eh? Even if it means staying silent for a bit so you get chance to talk with your classmate without the 'Cops' listening. Just something to think about."

Sonja waved her fingers over her shoulder as the turned left and headed towards her Geography class, stride lengthening and hips swaying, a surprisingly feminine and girlish gesture for such a huge and amazonic girl, flashing Sakurako a smile. "Ciao, Sakurako, see ya at lunch."

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Sakurako nodded. "I really didn't see things like that." She straightened her suit, smoothing out a wrinkle. "Unlike my tirade I unleashed against my 'compatriots' when we went to Dante's, I don't see us as criminals. This is a ship. There is the command staff, and the crew. My duty is to this school and those within because as a member of it's crew I must see to my duties and to my fellows."

"Unfortunately our unauthorized leave put our captain in... a bind. Although what I did ensured we didn't get into worse trouble than we were in."

She blinked realizing she might be splitting hairs. "Umm... Lunch... sure." She said with a sheepish grin.

"It's just... there is one I will probably not mend relations with. Daniel... I... He was a gentleman at the club but... what I did has... ended any potential of any other meetings outside of scholastic affairs." Her grin faded, realizing what she lost. She changes the uncomfortable subject.

"As for Morrigan, I have been interested in trying to start a dialogue with her again. In... better circumstances."

"I... Don't want to hold you up. See you soon." She says, after taking one final note of Sonja's figure measurements, then dashing to her Computer class.

The next few classes for her were run of the mill and at least to her, nothing more than a useful review of skills she already had. Physical education though was something she always took keen interest in. Although she was of average stamina, she was surprisingly in good condition for her pedigree.

Then, Lunch came. Sakurako stood in line, waiting for her turn for the cafeteria buffet. The typical chatter of goings on and what not Sakurako took note of, not for the interest in gossip or who is dating who, but for intel on potential threats or interesting things going on. No one would speak to her normally, not now. She was a spy for the "enemy" as Sonja sorta put it. But some looked at her slightly differently. The more nerdy ones. The misfits. But they kept their distance for now.

Sakurako thought of the earlier conversation, then thought of what she could do if she got her hands on some time in the industrial lab. Sadly this also made her oblivious in her daydreaming.

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Daniel sat alone at the table he normally ate lunch at, along with Sonja and the others. He was the first, seated with his tray and picking apart lunch as he often did. He needed to talk to Sonja and arrange somewhere neutral to work on the report they'd gotten paired up again for. He didn't know why Miss Drieson put them together for every report, but at least he could count on Sonja to do her part. Milton wasn't one of his favorites, so he was hoping she'd have more knowledge.

Still he sat their his backpack by his feet, waiting to see who would arrive next. Though they shared a room, he didn't share a lunch period with Diana, so that wasn't going to happen. Thinking of her made him smile, she'd changed, and to him, it was for the better.

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Sakurako takes her lunch, while unusually loaded with greens, there was a similar overload of different meats. She had a healthy appetite, and every flavor and spice was something to treasure.

She sits at the only logical spot Sonja would sit... at least the one with proper leg-room. The lighting was recently fixes, makign it perfect for reading as she started her meal. She pulls out a couple of books the librarian reccomended. Although the books on teen culture seemed, at least to her highly inaccurate for the era.

"7th printing, 1991..."

She sighed. "Bloody hell."

She looked up and noticed she completely didn't see Daniel there... she quietly looked back down to her book.

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The big blonde on campus stalked into the cafeteria, stomping into line and looming with a disgruntled look on her face as she glared at the book in her hand. Paradise Lost?! Really? Why can't we read something that wasn't written hundreds of years ago for class? I hope Daniel knows anything about this - it looks long and so bo-o-o-ring. All about Hell and Satan and stuff - 'Neca would probably love it...

The elementary school kids further up the line were inching away from the intimidatingly irate Sonja, though the boys couldn't help but stare at majestic feminine attributes they were just beginning to grow aware of hovering above their eyeline. Wincing at seeing their fear, Sonja flashed them a scintillating, apologetic grin, waving her school-copy of Paradise Lost at them before sliding it into her book-bag.

"Sorry, kiddos, I'm not angry, not really. Just... stupid homework, y'know?"

The younger kids nodded sagely, going back to chatting about whatever they were chatting about - Sonja wasn't sure if it was a cartoon or a video game or something else. All except the shortest boy - ten years old and he'd be lucky if he was as tall as her hip - who couldn't help but stare at her in fascination.

"How do you stand up with girl-humps so big? They're as big as a camel's humps. Are they like a camel's humps? Did you know a camel's humps..."

Sonja sighed in defeat as the boy regaled her with the awesomeness of camels learned via Discovery Channel. She filled up her plate with a meal high in the carbs and protein her size and build demanded, then sauntered over to her habitual table, already occupied by Daniel and Sakurako.

She circled around them, taking a seat on the opposite side of the corner table, her back against the wall. Her knees brushed their legs as she slid into place, leaving a spot next to her for Morri. Her book-bag slapped against the table, followed by the rattling thump of her heaping plate.

"Finally! Lunch! I'm starving," Sonja groused cheerfully, digging in right away. "So, can you give me the Cliff Notes on Paradise Lost, Daniel? Hey, Sakurako, glad you joined us at the table, without me having to drag you here." She arched fair brow at them in inquiry, lips curved wryly, chin propped on a hand. "A pair of chatterboxed, you two are. I hope you're playing nice."

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Sakurako blinked.

"Actually, my books provided the necessary distraction, Sonja." Sakurako stated with a flustered sigh.

Sakurako starts picking up her books and lunch again, preparing to change tables.

"If I would have known this was just a forced attempt to try to patch things between I and Daniel I would have reconsidered my request earlier."

Sakurako looked uncomfortable, even a little scared at this point. Like she was about to run.

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Daniel looked up from his food, Sonja was hard to miss when she entered a room, or sat down. He nodded. "Haven't said a word."

He looked over at Sakurako. "I highly doubt Sonja would do something like that, Sakurako. We always eat together, you so happen to choose our regular table." The aura of heat around him felt no different than normal, Sonja's presence was at least helping him.

"And Sonja, I was really hoping you knew Milton well, as its not one of my favorites. I guess we'll get through this like last time."

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Sakurako adjusted herself, and sat back down.

"Milton? Although this is... your assignment, I am a bit aware of many different authors. John Milton, civil servant in the Cromwell administration of the Commonwealth of England, and wrote the Areopagitica, a treatise condemning censorship and espousing freedom of speech. Although I wager this assignment is in regards to his more famous work, Paradise Lost, correct?"

She adjusts her glasses and starts on the turkey and ham sandwich she had on her plate.

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Around a big bite of her second of three hamburgers, Sonja gave Sakurako a blank, blue-purple stare. "Um... Paradise Lost, yes," she agreed uncertainly. "Maybe you can give us a hint where to look? There's Wiki, but the Prof will want more than that."

As she began to consume burger number three, her vacant expression changed to one unrepentant but encouraging. "But we can talk about homework later. Saku, I'm not trying to force anything, just providing an opportunity. Just take it, instead of bolting, hmm? It can't get worse, can it?"

Sonja turned her attention on Daniel, lips tightening with darkly wry amusement. "And Daniel, how 'bout you cut her a bit of slack?" She shrugged her strong shoulders, making the contents of her ribbed, cream turtleneck bounce in an eye-catching display, reminding Daniel of when he had seen said contents in the flesh. "It's not like she's the only who made a mistake after doing something she hadn't thought was wrong at the time, right?"

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His eyes locked with hers and narrowed. He was one of a few men that could look above her bust, and that had taken both practice, and several threats of having his arms removed. "I'm still sitting here, aren't I? " he nodded. "No she isn't."

He shrugged and ate. "That is the correct Milton, Sakurako."

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Sakuurako adjusted her glasses, looking at Daniel and Sonja. "Alright... if you need my assistance, I will help. No matter what you are my classmates."

She nodded. "Unfortunately we can't head to a larger library, but the library here at least has 'Paradise Lost'. Knowing the reading habits of the students here, I doubt it is checked out."

"I've actually wanted to review it myself, although if only to take some understanding of things. Milton was ahead of his time..."

She sees she was losing an important opportunity as her table-mates were wondering if she was made of circuits than flesh and blood.

She adjusts her glasses again. "We... have time. This though is a far more limited temporal window." She says with a smile. "I'm hoping things have been... easier, Daniel than I feared for you. At least in terms of what your duties are compared to mine."

She adjusted her suit. "I have to clean the pool today, although that isn't to me a punishment since I want to join the swim team here at some point. And I was going to make a video report on the principles of buoyancy as well for science class. Seems a more visual demonstration helps things."

She adjusts her glasses. "I digress... what are you doing today?"

There was a bit of sweat on her brow... socializing wasn't her strong suit. By any measure.

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Daniel nodded. 'Thank you for the offer Sakurako."

He shrugged. "I don't like being confined to quarters, as it is, but thankfully, I have friends who can go get anything I need in town as I have need of such."

"It's definitely helped both my grades and my money situation, being stuck on campus, and in some ways has been a sort of blessing. "It's allowed me to spend more time with Diana."

He didn't discuss the additional duties he had to do, they were routine and onerous, but not so much that they merited discussion.

"I have no plans yet after classes today." He looked to Sonja. "Unless you want to get started on this today."

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Sakurako adjusted her glasses. "Well, my cleaning of the pool takes roughly 1 hour, 45 minutes and I will be doing it practically immediately after classes end. That will leave precicely, with walking, and grabing a late-afternoon snack 4 hours of unassigned, at-will time before my curfew is in effect for the night."

"Thus, those 4 hours will be open for any sort of activity that is either for your academic benefit or our psychological hygene, such as an entertainment option? Although the project would take precedence if that is what your endeavors are."

"Also, once our punishment time period has ended, Daniel, perhaps even though you are happy with Galacia, perhaps that would not disqualify us from sharing time together as classmates? Or perhaps even with Galacia and others?"

"I cannot isolate myself forever, as my roomate said to me, I cannot be a hermit here."

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She sounds like a robot or an alien pretending to be a human, Sonja thought, looking askance at Sakurako as she finished up her meal. She's really bad at small-talk and just relaxing.

"I already got the school's copy of Paradise Lost," Sonja said, patting her book-bag. "But I got my car back, so I was thinking of heading over to the book store to see if they have the Cliff Notes or one of those copies with the explanations on the opposite page, like in some copies of Shakespeare's stuff." Her eyes twinkled playfully. "If you guys promise not to get into another brawl, I could try sneaking you guys out. I have an X6 - even with me in it, there trunk is a hatchback, kinda roomy."

Sonja sighed, then shrugged, stacking her plates. "As for this evening, yeah, we can start on the project, but only for a bit. I have plans tonight - I got some episodes of Top Model and Project Runway to catch up on. You two are free to join me, if you like."

Seeing their startled looks, Sonja sniffed, folding her arms beneath her breasts as her lips twisted in cute scowl. "Yeah - I'm as big as the Goddamn Incredible Hulk now, but I'm still a girl too, y'know! I watch them and I like them. Before... before," The giant blonde's brisk gesture took in the school full of mutants, "I was even thinking of trying for America's Next Top Model. But then I... developed, and, well..."

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Daniel looked at her and shook his head. "Much as I'd like to go Sonja, I think it best if both Sakurako and I didn't. There's no need for you to get in trouble by association." He gave her a warm smile. "Thank you though, for the offer, being cooped up on campus has not been particularly fun."

He chuckled. "You know, I'm not too surprised. You always look great Sonja, always have, that I've known you." He nodded "If you were on that show, i would definitely watch. You'd be a great model. Much better than all those little anorexics." He forestalled any surprise at the fact he knew about it with a raised hand "Diana's watched it at times too, that's how I know anything regarding it."

"Maybe one day you could do it."

He wasn't much for watching the shows, but still she was a good friend, and it wouldn't hurt to hang out, besides they had the project to work on. "

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Sakurako adjusted her glasses. "Well, if it was an academic matter, they could perhaps send a responsible adult to accompany us if this is for a project."

"If not, my internet is still active, Daniel. If your privilege to the internet was cut or curtailed, I can let you borrow mine."

She oddly had a tired look on her face. She was hiding it well up to this point.

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"Hey everyone!"

The voice had the exact opposite of Sakurako's fatigue in it. What might be called 'pep' or 'zazz' or just 'annoying perkiness.' Kia had arrived.

She sat down across from Sonja with her cafeteria tray piled with salad and various toppings. And two cupcakes. God only knew where she got them...maybe from the student store. They were both chocolate frosted and cake, with a DNA strand of white icing bisecting the tops. She pushed one over to Sakurako, and the other to Daniel.

"So how's everyone doing with the reading?" the asian-hawaiian girl asked happily. She produced her copy of Paradise Lost; it had tons of little colored tabs poking out of the tops of the pages. "I thought it was kind of interesting, but not really how I see the Devil, you know?"

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Sakurako focussed on the cupcake like adrowning sailor focuses on a life preserver. "This... This is..."

She delicately holds the cupcake. "Such a wonderful work of caloric decadence!"

She was enraptured... she's never had one of these before and now, a once denied piece of empty calories will now become hers...

She looked to Kia and smiled. "Thank you. If only my first contact with one of those Apple Pies was from friendly hands... Umm... I never got your name... I'd hate to refer to you as "Hey, You." and stuff..."

Could it be Kia managed to get Sakurako out of her plastic and carbon fiber shell?

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Daniel took the cupcake and nodded. "Thank you Kia." He looked at her with a somewhat less exuberant expression. "No, the reading's not gone too well. Today after class we're going to meet up and work on it though."

He shrugged. "It's certainly not my sort of thing, not even close to the novels I like reading."

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An indelicate snort erupted from behind Daniel as Oneca swept along the table, a tray of food carelessly balanced in one had. "That's because it's actually interesting for once, Danny-boy." She grinned with that almost-but-not-quite edge of both flirting and cruelty, "I'd think with your...hotness...you'd rather like a story that shows demons as freedom fighters instead of angel-fodder. It's, like, the story of every teenager, anyways."

She shugged and glanced around at the table, giving Sonja a non-commital nod and then glaring at Mouse once she spotted her. "Kia," she started mildly, acid rising with in tone with every word, "don't feed the rodents. Then they'll think you want them here and you'll never get rid of them. Imagine what the health inspectors will say."

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That tray is misbalanced... just one slight tap andshe'll look like the real fool that damn juvenile delinquent...

Sakurako grimaces. No... that... girl would make my physical health not to optimal preference... consider an alternate course.

"You know, if you spent more time studying and thinking rather than making the lives of students here a living hell... you'd probably get on better."

She grins, eating her cake. "You really aren't subtle, Oneca... leaving those notes. Last I read of the student handbook, harassment has a zero-tolerance policy... looking to dig a hole to the 9th level of hell with your sentence?"

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Daniel gave Oneca a noplussed look. She had no grounds for her statement regarding his reading habits. Her comment aimed at Sakurako made him chuckle inwardly, but he didn't actually do so. Sakurako once again retreated into her robotic form of speech, and he sighed. She's really got to learn to not feed the Trolls.

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"Little rat, I start in the 9th circle, thank you very much. And I don't leave notes. If I'm going to fuck with you, it'll be right to your face. But unlike you, I do have friends. And respect." If she was lying, she was well-practiced at it.

She shook her head and gave Kia a mock-helpless look. "See what I mean? Fat little rats with swelled heads running amok in the cafeteria. Stick to strays like Morri. At least they have some redeeming value."

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"Now you insult those that aren't around to defend themselves? A Stray?" Saku says, starting to tremble. "I don't know what's worse... the fact that you're emboldened to see yourself superior over others or the fact that you don't appreciate your freedom was ensured by having Drumm arrive when he did. I'm soooo sure you'd look lovely in a Department Of Corrections orange jumpsuit..."

"Admit it... I saved our skins." Sakurako said, grinning to hide the fact that Yellowstone was about to erupt in her heart. "Say it... or do you have too much pride to admit I'm not the villain... the one you want to project yourself upon."

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"Oneca," Kia reproved gently, "You're being really mean. I get that you're mad, but this isn't helping anything."

She gave Sakurako a similar look. "And I know you're just trying to stick up for yourself, but in this case I think an apology would be a good place to start."

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Sonja gave Daniel a non-committal snort. She was well aware she was attractive, but a fashion model, she was not, nor ever would be... Unless the average female height spontaneous increased by over a foot and breasts swelled by at least three cup sizes. I wouldn't be opposed to that, Sonja mused wryly seeing the cute - and tiny - Kia arrive.

Sonja couldn't help but grin as the adorable and exuberant Kia. With a cupcake and a cheerful nature, she was already making more progress cutting through Sakurako's socially awkward shell than she had trying to explain things since this morning.

Things were going well for all of two minutes, then the Mistress of Nightmares showed up - her younger sister. Sonja sighed in aggravation. If she hadn't known 'Neca all her life, she say her mutant power was igniting social explosions by opening her mouth (and sometimes, it didn't even take that).

And of course, Oneca didn't disappoint. However, she was irritated, especially after their talk before class, Saku's immediately mentioned telling Drumm about their escapade. Really? Three minutes with 'Neca, and she's back to that? Let it go, take the lumps, and move on.

As Kia tried to gently defuse the situation, Sonja stood up to add her not-so-gentle voice to hers, slapping her tray on the table with a sharp rap. She might still be feeling oversized, but sometimes, she felt like the only adult around, surrounded by squabbling toddlers, the feeling made more intense by the size difference. She almost wanted to grab the both of them by the scruff of their necks and give them a shake. But that would go very poorly, for everyone, herself included.

"Enough!" Sonja rumbled in annoyance. She jerked one finger at her smirking sister, her amber eyes glinting dangerously. "You! Stop baiting her! Saku's almost as socially stunted as Morri is. And as brown-nosing at is looks, her telling Drumm probably saved you from getting into even more damned trouble."

Sakurako didn't escape Sonja's annoyance either, a finger stabbing her way as well. "And you! Stop falling for it! 'Neca would say to the same to Morri's face too. And for the love of God! Stop falling back on the whole telling Drumm thing, kay? Be honest, whatever the outcome, you didn't do it save everyone, you did to cover your ass."

The enormous blonde took a deep breath, putting her hands down and knotting them into fists, trying to calm now. "Now. Let's let this go, huh?" She glanced at Sakurako. "You think you did the 'mature' thing." Her deep, indigo eyes focused on her sister and Daniel. "And you guys call her 'rat'. As someone who wasn't even there, I say there's merits for both beliefs. Just call this a foul ball and move onto the next pitch, 'kay? Grow up! The game isn't over because of one bad at-bat."

With an irritated grunt, Sonja gathered up her cleared dishes and stalked away to dispose of them. At the moment, she was annoyed with both Sakurako and Oneca - hell, Morri was easier to deal with, sometimes - and it was only exacerbated by the fact that the reading she had to do was in a book Oneca seemed to like. This is gonna suck!

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Cover my own ass? You are so damn off base... Sakurako thought... she saw the situation was spinning out of control now... so there was three options. One... Eject. Just run away like she always did. Two... try to recover, defend yourself, perhaps with more tact. Three... Ride this situation into the ground... Let Yellowstone explode and become the paraiah they believe her to be.

Sakurako's face contorts. "Cover my own ass? You are so off base you're not in the ballpark, Sonja! I knew I was in for it, no matter my actions, Sonja. I did what I did to soften the blow to us! You know bloody well that Drumm would have found about that night one way or another. Better it was from me than some District Attorney... or worse, a coroner!"

"But you damn people... sticking to your "code"... That just serves to hurt yourselves. If there is anyone you should be dissapointed in it's yourselves!"

"I don't even care no more!" She says, starting to sob. "You are are nothing more than little monsters!"

She runs off, pushing by a couple students at the doors of the cafeteria back to her room.

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"What a self-serving twit," Oneca mused as Mouse ran past her and out of the cafeteria. Then she shrugged, letting the whole incident just slide off her like silk. "Better a monster than a mouse, anyways."

She readjusted her tray and scanned the room for somewhere to sit, but muttered to herself, "Besides, Warren's the only reason I let them take us in. But she just has to put herself in the center of everything, like some unsung martyr. Martyrs end up bled dry, little rat." Her eyes tracked to where the girl had fled, something with a passing resemblence to concern or pity crossing her expression for the briefest moment. "Hope you learn that before some 'cides to demonstrate on you."

She started to move off, wondering aloud, "I wonder if there are any cupcakes left.....?"

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Kia sighs and gets to her feet. Why did everything have to be so hard? It wasn't so hard to see what was going on here, but all the anger just got in the way.

"I'd better talk to her. See you guys later."

She followed Sakurako, but didn't run. She was pretty sure the other girl was going back to her room, so she just headed that way.

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Sakurako bursts into her dorm and immediately goes to her bed, sobbing as she hugs her fox stuff animal "Mr. Biggles".

It felt so safe here... until the hard dose of reality hit of just how the teenagers here ran things. The Adults couldn't protect her, that would only turn her into the complete pariah that Oneca would love to turn her into.

Sakurako hated Oneca... that was a new feeling... one of contempt.. rage...

She clutched her fox, staring intently at her door.

"I'm angry... that's new..."

She was so enraged she didn't know her dorm was unlocked.

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Kia trotted up the dorm building stairs, with the combination of casual pace and inexorability that Pepe LePew from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons had, though she wouldn't have gotten that reference if someone had made it. She wasn't really trying to plan out what to say to Sakurako. Partly because she didn't really know the other girl very well, so had no idea what tack would work, and partly because that just wasn't how Kia worked. She'd just go in the moment and hope it worked.

She did wonder a little, though, what the central message of Paradise Lost was. Was it trying to say that Evil, as represented by Satan, was in some measure 'good' or at least important in creating the fundamental philosophical possibility of free will? Or was it an argument against the Biblical account of Creation, portraying it through a one-sided and biased lens? Was the Devil really evil at all? Or was his 'evil' just a label stuck on him by the victor?

But then she was at Sakurako's door. She knocked briskly on it and called, "Sakurako, it's Kia. Can I come in?"

Somehow Kia doubted Sakurako would consciously want anyone to come in, even if she really sort of did. This was one of those situations where 'no' would have to mean 'yes.' Troublesome as they were. Saku needed help, whether she thought she wanted it or not.

So after announcing herself, Kia tried the door and found it unlocked. So she opened it and came in.

"Hey."

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The glint off of her glasses showed a slight malevolence. Although more of her anger towards a person not currently in her presence in time and space.

She knew Kia always meant well, although meaning well here just screws up in the end.

"So..." Sakurako says in a strained voice... fighting to try to grab on to her logical side... but still failing. "Oneca hasn't crucified you for actually... caring?"

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Kia grinned. "Last I checked, Oneca's not the Roman governor of Mutant High. She's not even that popular, frankly. She has people who hang out with her, but she's not mainstream." The petite little Hawaiian jabbed a finger at Sakurako matter-of-factly. "You're giving her too much credit."

Then she shrugged and sat down on Sakurako's desk chair, swiveling it to face away from the bed, then sitting in it backwards so she could look at Saku over the back.

"But I know a lot of other kids are on that bandwagon too. Most kids don't really care, you know. They just hear other kids talking, and they join in because that's how things work. Next week, no one will remember, or care. Hardly anyone anyway. Doesn't make it easier now though, I guess."

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Sakurako looks askance at Mia. "What?"

There was a earnest twinge of confusion. "People have far better long-term memory than that... Mine is..."

"Are you so sure that... everyone else has short memories?"

She blinked. Her clutching of her Fox relents as it returns to a gentle embrace. "Oneca then... is nothing more than a aberrant social blip in the school's social dynamic? Nothing more than a outlier?"

Sakurako's verbiage was complex. But that was her neutral state. Somehow... Kia has disarmed her. "You seem... more optimistic... maybe... you are a outlier as well... perhaps even I."

She ruffles her hair in confusion. "Dammit... maybe there is no baseline to the social paradigm here."

If that was her way of saying no one was normal here at the school... That was her way.

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Kia grins, as if sharing an in-joke with Sakurako.

"Sort of. Look, it's more like...everyone in school is mostly obsessed with their own lives, right? So they only care about something if it's right in front of them. This whole flap with you is only important while it's being talked about...and in another week people will be bored of it and talk about something else. Then no one will care about the Dante or you telling the headmaster. It won't be part of their lives anymore."

"Now Oneca will still be mad, and maybe the others who were there, but that's a much smaller group. You can handle them one by one."

She looked at the ceiling as she thought about how to put Oneca in more detail. "She's...well, she's got her own thing, you know? The gothy bitchy thing. So some people like that, and that's who she hangs out with. Most people either don't like it, or don't really care, so they don't."

Her eyes returned to Sakurako. "If you're saying what I think you are, you're kind of wrong. There's a 'baseline'...she made little air quotes around the word..."But it's not simple or laid out like a graph, where everyone fits into a column. It's more complicated than that. So really, we're all unique, like you're saying...but we also all need to sort of fit in with other people. So like with me, there's things that are just me, only for me, and I don't really talk about with other people much...but there's also a lot of things that I try to connect to other people with." Abruptly she brightened. "Oh!"

Kia rolled the chair closer and stuck out her hand. "Okay this is me." She pulled her pinky closed against her palm. "So there's my pinky, which is the unique part of me...but then I have three fingers and thumb that I use to reach out and try to shake other people's hands with. It's like that. Does that make sense?"

This was kind of awesome...it was like having a little sister, or a baby...even if it was kind of sad too, thinking about why Sakurako would be so hopeless like this.

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"It's like plate tectonics... we grind against eachother..." She hops off of her top bunk, and lands on the floor hovering down. "But somehow we all gotta fit one way or another..."

She sets her fox on her chair, then grabs her respirator mask she uses for cleaning. Bothering with a speck on the outside of the spherical transparent face-shield. "This is a hard dance... having to make sure I don't step on toes... I hate it, actually."

"To be honest... I enjoyed my freedom until suddenly I saw what came with it."

She sets her respirator mask next to her black rubber gloves, then looks through one of her foot lockers. "You know, before I came here, more like two years ago, I was in a wheelchair, barely alive... of course I didn't have my mutation active... so things like cupcakes and simply walking around without a oxygen tank is... it just doesn't seem fair, really. I wanna fly around ant tell the world how wonderful life is, you know?"

"Yet the world hates me for what I am... so I have to retreat back to my world... an Ivory Tower. Here I thought I was free... if people were like me, then they'd see things like I did..."

"I'm starting to see that my prior assumption does not match the empyrical evidence."

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"Awww..." Kia awws...it's the sort of vocalization normally reserved for kittens or puppies, or things of that ilk. Kia was much more liberal in her application of it though. And she'd never really known Sakurako's past, but it did put things into more perspective!

"It's no worse for us than anyone else," she assures the neon-haired girl. Then amends, "Well, not here on campus at least. The mutant thing is a whole other thing. But I went through middle school and some high school before coming here, and it wasn't really any different. You just have to find people who like the things you like, and they'll probably be pretty similar to you...at least similar enough that you can get along. And then with other people, you just focus on the things you have in common with them...look past the other stuff."

"And sometimes being with other people means making little sacrifices to keep the peace. It's only as big a deal as you make it though. Like, Oneca sometimes burns this incense, and I don't like it. She doesn't do it much though, and I know she really likes it, so I put up with it. It's more important to me that she have something that makes her happy than it is to complain about a little annoyance, see?"

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