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Scion: Living Legends - [LLSUB] Yearly Rituals


Dave ST
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The Coffee Time Bake Shop was a nice cafe on Beach St. and contrary to Gabe's belief, entering did not entail having to drink coffee. Surprisingly the shop had other beverages from soda to water, to all kinds of stuff. Seriously though, aside from the coffee, the food there was great, and terrible for you if you were trying to diet. Devenne didn't really have to worry about diets, she seemed to possess the metabolism of a rabbit hopped up on coke.

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As always the cafe was busy, mostly with kids hanging out after school and a few business types bumming he free wifi. The radio was set to the local Top-40 station, WODS. The pretty brunette bobbed her head slightly as Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse' played. She was well into her first days home work by this point, but thankfully there wasn't much, just the typical 'What did you do over the summer?' stuff to write up and turn in.

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She smiled and read the text Gabe sent her, informing her he was on his way. "It's cool. We have all night. I'm not going anywhere."

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It wasn't a belief of coffee only as much as the association with coffee that Gabe held. Water or hot chocolate was his usual drink of choice there. In any case, he was weighed down with thoughts more than his overstuffed backpack - for yes he always had the binders for every class in there - after the meeting in the library.

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In retrospect, it seemed too unbelievable - yet the mind-reading and flame.... were too real before his eyes. Gabe shook his head and continued marching on despite tired legs. If it turned out to be just not true, no harm had been done really, right? Right.

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Gabe stepped through the door, it swinging shut behind him. It took a moment or two to pick out Devenne and the pair of sofas she had reserved for the two of them. Gabe made his way over and dropped his bag, slumping into the sofa exhaustedly.

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"Sorry, Mr. Syracuse asked for some help and I said yes."

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"It's all good." Dev said with a smile. "I figured he kidnapped you for some diabolical plan to combat some evil overlords of the universe I trashed that idea in lieu of the possibility that it could quite possibly be he just needed some books cataloged. The whole you being an ace with numbers thing..."

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Gabe flushed slightly until the realization that she was just kidding had a second to set in. He was on edge, that was for sure. "So, I vote that it's muffin time, and we eat and talk about how different everyone is from last year. Half the people at school I didn't even see all summer. Which I was thankful for because it took Mercedes all of twenty seconds to find me and remind how big of a loser she thinks I am." Tactfully Dev made a funny face and accented it with a 'jerking off' motion. "Please, I'd rather be a smart loser than an air head witch who has to buy her friends. God, she's been on such a warpath since her brother was sent away. Oh! And did you see Allison Patel? She looked gorgeous."

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Ian would've had no way of knowing but Allison Patel was never the prettiest girl in Salem High. As a kid her house burned down and she was left with severe burns along one side of her cheek and neck. It caused her to retreat inside a shell which she rarely chose to come out of. Although a sweet girl, she was never very talkative, or popular. Her disfiguring scars had left her rather ostracized, especially with people like Mercedes and other bullies always making her feel bad. "She must have had some successful skin grafts or something, because her face was perfect. You can't even tell." She picked at her muffin and nibbled as she spoke. "Which is wonderful, she deserves a break. I'm happy for her."

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"So, what about you? Anything exciting happen on Day One?"

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Gabe smiled a little. "Well," he raised his own muffin, "a muffin toast... to Allison's good fortune." Then he nibbled at his own, trying to keep his eyes off the movement of Devenne's lips. "Nothing really special. The new guy Ian is a bit... off. But I'm sure he has his reasons."

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If anything Mr. Syracuse had said was true about Ian's growing up, Gabe thought that perhaps he could forgive Ian his behavior a bit.

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"So, just so we're clear." Gabe raised his eyebrows and bugged his eyes comically. "Mercedes actually thinks?"

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Devenne laughed. "Well, even the simplest of creatures is capable of thought." She covered her mouth and looked around, laughing as she spoke. "I need to stop, I'm terrible today." As if to help herself shut up she ate more muffin.

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She closed her book and stuffed it in her pack as she chewed before starting up again. "Ian? Ian... oh! The new kid whose uncle..." The thought depressed her. "Yeah. He seems like he has a lot on his plate. I saw him leaving the office this morning, he's kinda cute, in that bad boy sort of way. Not my type, but hey, some girls like that sorta thing." She shrugged, slightly flushed at the admission of saying Ian was attractive. "Oh!" She slapped Gabe's leg, thankful for a thought that would change the subject. "Corbin Black knocked the wind out of Ronnie Shalk this morning right before classes started. One punch," she jerked her fist forward. "POW, and he buckled. That's what I heard anyway. Principal Toaka didn't suspend him though, then he almost got into a fight with Eric Donnar after lunch, I don't know what about though. My money's on Eric, Corbin needs an attitude adjustment."

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Wait, why the heck would she find Ian attractive? Why would she be embarrassed to tell him? Would she think Gabe would be jealous? Did that mean she liked Gabe? ...Did this day throw all his thinking into serpentine tangled patterns? Devenne's own shift prompted a blank blink from Gabe.

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Mr. Syracuse's mention of Eric and Corbin being additional demigods did not register as connected, nor that Gabe had any normal interest in brawling shenanigans. Nor, usually, did Devenne...

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"I thought that wasn't your thing." He reddened a little at the way it sounded. "Caring about the jocks and loners getting into fights."

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"I like Eric, he's always been a great guy. I mean sure, you and I fall into into a different clique than him and the others he hangs out with, but despite being 'Football God' of Salem High, he's never lorded it over people. I'd never consider us friends with the guy, but he's always been respectful enough that I know if my car broke down he'd be kind enough to offer me a ride, y'know? He's good people." She sighed and relaxed then nodded towards on of the far booths. "Speak of the devil."

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There was Eric and a few of his friends talking and hanging out. It looked like Bridgette and Yukiko this time. Yukiko was Japanese but not very traditional, she rarely spoke a word, but she seemed to be speaking now, to Eric and the dark skinned girl from New Orleans. They were planning something, he knew it. If what Mr. Syracuse said, they were planning Demigod stuff. "Anyway, Corbin is just a jerk. It's just unlike him to go off and punch someone like Ronnie though. I've known him as long as I've known you, and he's not the violent type, just quiet and broody. Ronnie must have provoked him, but I've no idea what him and Eric were fighting about, they used to get along really well."

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"It's not really 'my thing'," she continued. "It's just... have you ever noticed how messed up our school is? How often kids tranfer in and out of the system? Move in the middle of the year, or just go missing? There seems to be cliques underneath the cliques... like Corbin and Eric getting along... why? They have nothing in common, they never did... then one day they hate each other. No one ever speaks about it, but I've noticed it since day one. I mean, seriously... Mercedes and Bridgette, practically best friends? At school they avoid each other, outside school they're connected at the hip most of the time. What world are we living in?"

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Somehow, in that instinctive, anecdotal way, Devenne was providing more evidence to support Mr. Syracuse's claims. Because you'd think Eric and Corbin would have nothing in common. Much less Mercedes and Bridgette. At least Eric generally speaking was yes, a charitable, tolerant individual.

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What would make them hold together. Shared commonalities? What pulls together people more than a common enemy? What greater source of unity than standing against the chtonic beasts of terror?

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Where did that spring from? It seemed like a poetic thought if Gabe was playing around with a fantasy idea, but it was just there in his head. "Fellow warriors." He didn't realize he'd said it, when Devenne was quirking his lips at him, and they were just.... NO BAD BRAIN UNACCEPTABLE THIS.

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"Huh?"

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Gabe forced a chuckle and cleared his threat. "I dunno, just throwing it out. I mean, this is the World. Truth is stranger than fiction." Again, he missed something, how unconsciously the teen nerd had emphasized the capital without notice.

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She glared at him skeptically, one brow quirked up in that cute way that drove him nuts. "Fellow warriors? Against what? Rising gas prices? Unfair homework assignments? What to wear to Homecoming?" She giggled.

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"YO, GABE MEADOW!" Eric shouted across the cafe as he and his entourage were heading towards the door. "The man of the hour! What's up, bro?" Eric raised his hand for a high five and a stunned Gabe found himself just miming the same gesture as the jock. *slap!* Eric gave him some skin without hesitation. "I heard the news, man, congrats. Welcome to the family! If you need anything, I'm here for ya bro, just ask!"

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They kept going as Devenne just stared on in absolute shock. Bridgette smirked at Gabe and gave him a lustful wink, but he was sure she did that to everyone. Compared to Bridgette, Nadya seemed chaste. Yukiko said nothing, she simply glared at Gabe and passed on silently. Just as swiftly as the greeting had been shouted, the cafe was silent and they were gone.

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Devenne blinked before cocking her head in Gabe's direction. "What was that? I... I don't even."

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Ok, did another piece of evidence have to present itself quite at this time, place and manner? And Gabe couldn't think straight. Devenne was giving him that look, and she smelled nice, too nice, and he could swear he could calculate the angle of the curves of her lips....

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"Well," Gabe muttered, sweat breaking out to find an explanation, "Maybe they heard us and decided to mess with us... because...."

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Helplessly he coughed. Not enough time to think through his thoughts and answer properly.

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"Pass?"

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Skeptically she raised a brow and her grin stayed wide. "Alright... alright. Pass. If your on the Eric Donner bandwagon that's your business. I'm laying down the intervention rule though. If I catch you raiding his underwear drawer or sniffing is jersey, I'm stepping for a rescue. I'm just saying."

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She took a break to eat her muffin, "Oh, and I will pester you about it until you tell me. The pass is only good for today." Her head nodded stiffly as if she were mentally putting her foot down and she sipped her coffee.

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"I get it." Gabe was recuperating his wits now, he thought. "It's projection. Don't worry. Your cries for help have been answered. I'll help you if you slip too far into the fan club ranks."

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Devenne stuck her tongue out at him and Gabe laughed. "Besides, I will be the Joker of explanations. If I have to know the reason, I'll want it to be multiple choice."

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"Me?" She looked at him skeptically, pointing to herself. "Oh, no, no. You won't see me on the Donner bandwagon. That guy has enough hangers on, I'm content to be in the bleachers, trust me."

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Devenne relaxed back into the cushions of the couch. She sipped her coffee, stirring it a bit before suddenly coming to the realization that it cold enough she didn't want it any more. Time for another. Like more coffee these days it was coffee in name only, it was usually so loaded down with whipped cream, caramel swirlies, and a ton of other sweeteners it was more a like a cup o' desert than a beverage.

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She motioned for the server and a new one was on the way. She was in here enough that all it took was a motion and a polite smile and they were on it. "All I was saying was that Eric doesn't say anything to you in the history of, oh, I don't know... ever and now all of a sudden, first day of sophomore year and you guys are, how did he put it... oh, 'family'."

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She quirked a brow at him and gave him an 'I don't buy it' expression. "See where a girl might get a bit curious?"

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"It's just a joke," Gabe insisted. "In good humor." He grabbed his water bottle, unscrewed the top and drank. The cold but refreshing liquid helped at last when he had gone through some strange stuff today.... and he hadn't had water in a bit. "So."

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Gabe quirked a eye. "What shall we talk about other than school, cliques and people thereof?"

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Devenne shrugged. She was hesitant to bring up the subject, but she figured with Gabe being evasive and all, it was better than nothing at all. "Well... have you considered Homecoming yet? Because you know in a week or so we're going to have the rush of people planning for the big game and the dance afterwards."

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She brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear and sipped her now warm coffee. A wry grin crept over the rim of the cup. "Or, are you going with Bridgette or Yoriko. You know... now that you and Eric Donner are like this." She held up her crossed fingers to punctuate her jab at him.

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Oh..... right. Gabe paused, as inside factions clamored and jostled to make their opinions heard. Honestly, at this point, Occam's Razor said that the simplest option was to solve the question and ask Devenne out for it. No, you dunderheaded buffoons, the other side said: if she says no, she'll catch on and that's that. And Gabe, you ain't got the head to spin this right.

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And both metaphorical debate teams proceeded to throw their heads skyward and let out a big 'Euuuuurrrrgh' at the complete blockheadedness of the dissenters.

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"Or.... it could be you." It slipped out, and the way Devenne raised her eyebrows in that excruciatingly cute way said she heard him again. Gabe put up a smile against the anticipatory watchers inside his brain. "You, going with me. Would you like to?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Devenne quickly realized her joke had backfired. She was just poking fun at him, trying to get a laugh at Gabe's expense since he was refusing to tell her what was going on in his life all of a sudden. The last thing she expected was for him one-eighty on her and ask her to homecoming. When did he get so confident?

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"Um..." She manged, her face reddening while she tried to casually brush the same loose strand of hair behind her ear that had been falling all afternoon. "I-I mean... why me? Eric would easily hook you up with way more popular and," she paused, looking solemn, before continuing. "Prettier girls than me, why would you wanna go to Homecoming with your best friend when you could have a, y'know... a date?"

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To hell with dancing around it, Gabe decided. The cute blush was just demanding he out with it. "I like you, Devenne. Emphatic sense, if you catch my drift."

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Shock was the first expression that rose to Devenne's face. This was not the direction she expected her joke to take. One moment she was picking on Gabe and now all of a sudden after several years of friendship he was asking her out and professing his attraction to her? She was sincerely flattered, but she couldn't let Gabe know that, it'd be too embarrassing.

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"Okay... okay..." She raised up her hands and closed her eyes to slow things down a bit, both in the conversation and in her mind. "Are you asking me to the dance... or asking me out? Like, out, out?"

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"Both. Either. Or just to the dance as friends if you'd prefer." Gabe said, wincing at the thought that it was just the latter she wanted. "Never cared about popular, I'm not Glinda. And you've always been far prettier than anyone else, to me."

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Red face, check. Awkward glances, check. Hands flapping? Yes, that tic was in force, check.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Devenne tried to hide the flush in her cheeks, but it didn't work so well. Admittedly Gabe was the last guy in the World she expected to flirt with her, but was elated to learn that he found her attractive.

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"Both? Either?" She quirked a brow, looking at him skeptically and then she finally laughed. "Wow, you seriously need to work on your 'that's my final answer' skills. I'll tell you what: we'll go to the dance together. We'll see how it goes and if you've made up your mind by then, maybe you can try this whole..." her finger was pointed down and she spun it about like it was circling a drain. "...asking a girl you like out, later."

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Hard to get. It's like every knew how to play instinctively, even the ones who'd never really been asked out before. Devenne was no different it seemed. She'd never admit to Gabe that she wanted to say 'yes' right then and there, but if he was going to be all unsure about it... might as well let him stew for a bit.

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.......And all was well in the cosmos. If Gabe could see the silly smile that emerged from her assent, he'd die of embarrassment. "It's a deal then." She said yes!

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You were out of my league

all the things I believed

you were just the right kind

yeah you were only just a dream

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"Ahem." He cleared his throat, and suddenly wondered about the time. Yeah, from the phone's point of view, he ought to be getting home. "Well, this was a fun first day of school... and I appreciate you agreeing to go with me... so, so long?"

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