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Ep. V Intermission: Devin

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Wednesday 28th August

School had gone by pretty fast, aided by flirtatious texting with Lona and promises of a makeout session afterwards.  But as Devin headed towards his bike his phone started chiming ‘You Got a Friend In Me’ – Tawny’s number.  But when he answered with his customary “S’up?”, it wasn’t Tawny on the other end.

“Devin?”  Tawny’s mom sounded tense, which was unusual for her.  She was usually the chillest mom Devin knew – didn’t give her daughter any flack about boys, didn’t kick up a fuss over curfew, didn’t mind that Devin took her daughter riding on his bike.  She was pretty cool, for a mom.

“Hey Mrs R.  What’s up?  Why’re you on Tawny’s phone?”

“I found it on her desk.”  Mrs Roberts said, her voice filled with concern.  “I got a call from school – she’s not been there since Monday.  And she’s not been here.  And now I’ve found her phone just laying here-“

“Right.”  Devin said, his mind whirling.  Tawny, one of the Project kids.  Scared of her power, according to Cook.  Who had seen members of the Fellowship pull all sorts of weird shit in the equipment storage room like it was no biggie.

“Devin.  You’re her best friend apart from maybe Laurie Cassidy.  I already called her – she hasn’t heard from Tawny.  Have you?  Do you know where she might be?”

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"Um, honestly, Mrs. R, I don't."  He admitted.  He'd been preoccupied with his own life problems at home and Avalon that'd really hadn't checked in with Tawny at all.  That pang twisted in his stomach as he chided himself mentally for being a horrible friend.  "I've sort of been on lock down by the parental units after the hospital thing the other day." He lied in fluent 'manipulate parents' speak.  "I kinda feel bad now, I didn't even realize she wasn't around, I'm sorry, Mrs. R.  She's my best friend, I dropped the ball."

"Don't beat yourself up sweetie," Tawny's mom replied.  Devin couldn't ever recall his own mother calling sweetie, it seemed nice to hear.  "Do you know where she might be?  Do you two have any secret lairs or drug dens you frequent?  I know how you teenagers are."

Devin laughed, after three years of having him over dinner or movie nights, his brand was humor was pretty well known.  Her dad didn't appreciate it too much, but her mother always understood that they were always kidding.  He always was looking out for their daughter and they knew, one day, those two would find love and make a perfect pair.  "Well," his tone was flippant and obviously he wasn't being serious. "The meth house got raided, so that's out.  She was selling my body to fuel her growing heroin addiction, so I could try a few dives and see."  He took a deep breath and got serious.  "Look, we have a few secret spots, sworn on friendship, so I can't tell you unless I'm positive she's in trouble, but I'll give them a look."

"Please, Devin, that's all I'm asking."  Her mother was desperate, like any mother would be.  She didn't want to say it, but everyone knew how weird Shelly was, especially when it came to disappearing people.

"Hey," he consoled her in the best charm he could muster.  "She's okay.  Don't worry, I'll find her."

He ended the call and threw his back pack over his shoulder as he ran to where Marissa was near her car, talking to Cade and actually seeming to be smiling about it (yuck).  The dude couldn't possibly have any game, how was she enjoying talking with him?  "Hey," Marissa smiled and greeting him as he approached, quickly noticing the serious expression.  "What's up?  Everything okay?"

"Hey guys," his hands were occupied but he elbow bumped Cade as a greeting as he approached.  "So, either of you seen Tawny in the last couple days by chance?  Her mom called and she's not been home and her phone was left on her desk in her room."

"Sorry, I haven't seen her," Cade shrugged as he suddenly felt the same guilt Devin did a moment ago.

Marissa shook her head and shrugged.  "Me either, she seemed a little out of it the other day, I assumed she needed space.  Do we need to start making calls?"  Marissa may have acted like she hated Tawny on all levels, but the girl was the closest thing to a sister she'd had her whole life.  Having actual friends like Autumn, even if only for less than a week, was already seeming to bring some positive changes in the resident mean girl.

"No," The teleporter raised his hands to stop any of those sorts of thoughts from gaining traction.  "No, not yet.  Let me look first, and I'll keep you guys apprised of the sitch.  Don't go all neighborhood watch on me."  He rolled his pack off his arm and held it out.  "Can you run this home for me?  I'm gonna go look and see where she is."

"Yeah, sure," his sister took his bag and immediately handed it to Cade who accepted it with a slight eye roll.  "Keep us posted!" She yelled as he ran back to his motorcycle.

---===[]===---

It didn't take him long to find her.  He has a close connection to her and like him, she had Shine.  By focusing on that, mingled with his connection to her and the bond they shred as friends, he knew she was about six miles away and three hundred or so feet higher than the elevation of the school parking lot.  Crockers Hill.  The map in his mind immediately told him where the location was, just not where she was in relation to it.  It didn't matter though, it was one of their spots.  One of their most important spots, because it was where she kissed him and he broke her heart by rejecting her affections for him.

The grass was tall and swayed in the dusk of Summer's visit to the countryside of Montana.  There were still numerous flowers still as tall as the grass, although far less now that season was waning.  He remembered the day they had their picnic here and they rested in a sea of white flowers with not a single blade of green anywhere to be seen.  Tawny was there, sitting in the spot they sat earlier that summer, looking on over all of Shelly, silent with a distant look in her eyes.  "You're Mom's worried about ya."  He said calmly as he approached her from behind.

She spun about starteled and stood up swiftly.  "Jesus!  Deejay, you scared the heck out of me!"  She clutched her chest, wrinkling her white tee shirt that had some logo for a place neither of them had ever been.  "You were quiet.  Where's the pop?  I though you always made a popping sound when you... that thing... you're jaunting thing..."

He laughed.  "I walked, beautiful.  'Jaunting?'  I like that."

"Is that what they call you?  Jaunt?  Short for Jauntsen?"  She nervously pried into his secret covert life of powers.

He laughed again, shaking his head.  "You know, I don't think any of us made that connection, Tee.  Good catch."  He took a few steps forward and he noticed the way she stepped away.  She either didn't want to be bothered, which made sense, or there was something about her best friend she didn't trust anymore.  "So, tee, you gonna tell me what's going on?  Your mom is worried sick.  It isn't like you to do something like this.  What's up?  I'm your best friend, whatever it is, I want to help."

"Best friend?"  She scoffed.  "Am I?  Am I really?  Because, it took you two days to even notice I was gone and let me guess, my mom reminded you I even existed.  What's wrong?  Lona keeping you occupied with make out sessions?"  This level of venom was not something he was used to from Tawny, in fact, he didn't recall her ever being anything less than polite and sweet in all the years he'd known her.  He'd never even heard her swear before.  "Well, enjoy it while you can, because she's moving.  Whole family.  Yup, bet you she cared so much that you already knew that thought, right?"

He didn't know, and if it was true it was a discussion he'd have with Avalon later.  Right now his friend was obviously hurt and needed him.  "No.  No I didn't know, but I'm not here for updates on Lona's Facebook status, Tee.  I'm here for you.  Okay, maybe I've not been the best of best friends lately, but none of us are perfect.  I'm here now because I love you Tee, and something isn't okay right now.  So please, talk to me, let me help you, okay?  I'm trying here."

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"Love me?"  Tawny's voice rose slightly,  a dangerous quavering on the final vowel sound like the noise a pebble makes right before it becomes a rockslide.  She raised her hands as though to ward him away.  "Don't.  Don't you say that to me, here."  Her hazel eyes brimmed with tears which she angrily dashed away, then sniffled.  "How can... can you love someone and not... not tell them 'Oh hey, I can teleport, and my friend can reshape his head to look like Rachel Maddow, and my other friends all have weird p- p- p-"

"Powers?"  Devin ventured, earning himself a heated glare.  "Hey, Tee.  Fair's fair.  I wasn't the only one keeping secrets, was I?"

Tawny froze, colour draining from her sun-kissed features.  "What do you mean by that?" she asked through lips that barely moved.

"You know what I mean." Devin stepped a little closer, hands out to the sides.  "It's okay, Tawny.  Really, it's cool.  These powers, the Shine... it's not a bad thing."

For a moment she stood there, staring at him, her face pale with surprise and fear.  Then she started to speak.  Her tone was perhaps the hardest thing for Devin to take - it was a flat, brittle tone of voice, the tone of voice someone uses before they jump from a ledge.

"I wake up and my things have moved around my room.  I'll be in the bathroom and think 'okay, now to brush my teeth' and my toothbrush will be floating next to my hand. Last week, I got upset and yelled at my mom about some stupid shitty teenage thing - I don't even remember what - and the kitchen table flipped over.  Just... flipped.  Like a frog jumping and landing on it's back.  It almost hit her.  I had a bad dream last week about some horrible fish-monster-thing chasing me through a burned out forest, and when I woke up all my clothes were scattered across my floor."  She took a deep, wavering breath.  "And the doctors, they say I can learn to control it, but every time I try I just feel so scared, Devin.  It feels so weird being able to feel things around me like I've got a million fingers.  I can't ever do the exercises they want, and I don't want to anyway! What if it gets stronger and I can't control it still and- and I wake up and find that I've hurt my dad, or my mom."  Tears started to flow down her cheeks now.

"Doctor Cook said he'd help me, but he keeps trying to get me to do more, not less.  Last week he tried to get me to light fires with my mind.  Light fires.  That's all I need, Deej, right?!   All I need is to wake up and find I've burned the house down."  Tawny was sobbing gently, taking soft gasping breaths around her words.  "And when I couldn't, and I said I didn't want to anyway, he got mad.  He called me useless, and said I was holding myself back because I have a small mind."  She looked away for a moment, then back at Devin.  "And then... on Monday.  I see all of you.  Jaunting, making things float..."

"Gumbying heads into news anchors."  Devin added, grateful to see Tawny smile, however faintly.

"And healing, and who knows what else.  And I realise that he's right, I am a failure.  I'm a freak whose not even good at being a freak."  She buried her face in her hands.  "He's been working with me for a year or so, and I thought I was the only one, and now you guys are pulling stuff he never even talked to me about."

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"Because he didn't we existed," Devin said calmly.  "Tee, our powers are new, only a few months and we're freaks too.  The things we can do, I can do, aren't even documented by Cook and his cronies.  We need help too.  We need help understanding what it is we can do and why it's happened to us."  He stood his ground, not trying to come any more closer to her than he had.  He wasn't afraid of her so much as afraid of continuing to push her emotionally.

"So, I sleep naked, right?"  He started, gesturing with his hand to help tell his story as he paced back and forth.

"Yeah," she nodded, not wanting to recall the day when she learned that little tidbit of information.  "Believe me, I know."

He smiled and continued.  "So, I crash one evening, and Tee, I'm tellin' ya, I love my powers.  Out of all of us I adapted faster to my abilities than anyone, I reveled in them.  The reveling didn't help me when I woke up in Thailand, butt naked."  She tried to conceal a smile but the attempt failed.  "I was so wigged out I panicked and until I calmed down I couldn't... jaunt out."  He used her words.  They were starting to grow on him.  "I'm pretty sure it was over some dream I had.  So, you see, even I'm having problems with all this too, sometimes."

"You're not throwing things around and setting things on fire, Deej."  She wiped her eyes but it was obvious she wasn't done crying.

"No," he shot back, a little more terse than he intended because there was so much more to his powers than jaunting about.  "I make cars and people and things disappear, Tee.  If I don't have focus they fall from ten thousand feet up, or end up stuck in a mountain or the ground.  Just the headline I want to see one day, right?  'Dump truck lands on day care, possibly fell from transport plane.'  Sign me up for that.  Let me have that on my conscience, please."  He vented a little, sure.  Devin was a lot like his sister when it cam to the 'woe is me' department of human behavior.  He certainly understood all of her concerns and they were all valid, but Devin didn't run from things, he charged forward and usually ended up causing more harm than good, but that was neither here nor there at the moment.

"Look, screw Cook."  He waved his hand as if to brush him aside.  "Tee, like you, the others and I are still earning so much about what we can do.  Let us help you.  No labs, no ass hats like Cook.  You're not useless, you're afraid and you have every right to be."

"You don't seem afraid," she observed in the way he casually flaunted his powers.

"Tee," he approached her and wrapped his arms around his best friend.  He held her tightly.  "You know me better than anyone.  I'm scared shitless.  All my bravado, my jokes, my quips... they're a mask to keep everyone else going so they don't see how impossibly lost in the sauce I truly am.  But I face my fears head on.  I'm an adrenaline junkie, I need that rush I get from owning my powers and not letting them own me.  I've made mistakes.  These powers though, Tee, I'm telling you with all the love I can muster girl, they are as horrible, or as beautiful as you make them."

He knew she was scared, and he knew it was a risk, but he slid his perceptions off and with a shift in the atmosphere and a vacuous 'bamf' they were somewhere else.  In the blink of an eye they were overlooking a gorgeous mountain valley in somewhere, overtheresville.

Spoiler

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She knew they'd moved, it was an obvious sensation to feel the ground shift under your feet.  He was waiting for her reaction, and just took a moment for the scenery to set in.  "Dr. Cook can't help you, Tee.  He doesn't care about you.  We do.  I do.  Let us help you learn, but the first step is to let go of all your fears.  Our powers respond to our emotional outbursts, stress, fear, anger, desire.  When my parents are yelling at me and all I want is to be somewhere else, I have to stop myself from not just disappearing right in front of them.  It's a discipline and it take some time.  But, constant fear, though, Tee.  That's no way to live.  Anywhere in the world is my gift to you, if you just give us a chance to help you out."

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Tawny had clung to him as he'd shifted space around them, her arms wrapping tightly around his waist as her eyes screwed tightly shut and a small stifled squeak of fear was buried against his chest.  When the moment was over, though, she slowly cracked open her eyes and looked up at him, her gaze liquid and her lips parted as though she wanted to say something - and then she noticed where they were.

"Oh.  My.  God." she'd breathed, still holding fast to Devin as she craned her head around to take in the view.  The valley stretched out below them, and the snow-capped giant peaks in the distance were unearthly in their size and beauty.  "Oh... My... God."  It was wondrous.  Tawny's fears, her lovelorn sorrow at Devin picking another girl, the panicked despair she'd felt about her own gifts were all washed away by a sense of incredulous fascination.  "Is this even Earth?"

Devin chuckled.  He couldn't help it - the wide-eyed sobriety of Tawny's question was as funny as it was endearing.  "Peru.  Those are the Andes - I think."

"You think?"  Tawny turned wide eyes back up to his face.

"Hey, I don't just know."  He protested mildly.  "I saw this place on Twitter or something and thought - 'that looks really fucking cool, I have to go there someday'."  He smiled at her.  "So I decided today was the day."

"Wow."  she looked back at the view, drinking in the majesty of it.  "Makes you realise Shelly is pretty small, isn't it?"

"You've always got to have somewhere to come from, and to go back to at the end of it all."  Devin replied, wondering where that had come from even as he spoke the words.  "Like, I form connections with a place, and that lets me jaunt back and forth easier.  It's tougher if I've not been somewhere before.  Shelly is a place I can find no matter where I go, cos - and if you tell anyone this I'll deny it - pretty much everything or everyone important in my life either happened there or lives there."

She squeezed him tight again, burying her face against his chest once more.  "I'm sorry I blabbed about Lona, Deej.  I only knew because my dad's friends with Hubertson the realtor, and he was talking about how the Wrights had quietly put their house on the market."

"Don't worry 'bout it."  Devin patted her back.  "You were pissed.  It's okay to be pissed, Tee.  It's okay to be scared, or mad, or freaked out, or ashamed.  It's part of being human."

"You think you can help me?  With my-"  she left the word unsaid, hanging in the air.

"Halitosis?"  Devin teased.  "Split ends? Homework?  Virginity?"  Tawny blushed and laughed.

"You're horrible."  she told him, still hugging him tightly.  "I meant with my- what did you call it?"

"Shine."  Devin said.  Tawny smiled at the word.

"Shine.  Yeah.  That sounds better than 'freaky powers'."  She looked up at him again, hazel gaze filled with trust and hope and something close to adoration.  "So... will you?"

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"Of course," he held her close and tilted his head a bit to rest on hers.  He kissed her hair gently, then stepped away from her.  "Okay, girl, the first thing you need to do is loosen up.  Stop thinking in terms of good or evil, bad or good.  The Shine simply is.  It's what you do with it that's important.  You are in control, but remember, there is a learning curve.  You have power, you want to use it.  It's like sitting down too long, eventually your body want you to get up and move, right?"

"Yeah."  She agreed, not really sure where he was going with his analogy.

"Well, you're shine wants to move.  You have untapped potential and it's trying to escape.  Like a puppy, it's adorable and really wants you to notice it, but you keep walking past the kennel."  He held out his arms and danced about with them held high.  "Look around!  You have nothing and no one for miles.  Now, we both know, deep down, you've wanted to know exactly what it is your capable of.  So?  Cut loose."

She shook her head nervously and Devin approached her.  "Hey," he said with caring in his voice.  "It's okay.  I've seen powers like yours used before.  Trust me, they're awesome and you will be able to do amazing things with them.  I know it's hard, Tee.  It's hard to be a bright light in a dim world.  That's why I shine.  So I can help and protect and keep people safe.  The first step,"  he scoped up a few pebbles from the ground near a boulder.  He held them up to her and took her hand, tipping his own he filled hers with the pebbles.  "Is wanting to.  Cut loose.  Have some fun with it.  We're all friends here, no judgment."

He swiftly did a rapid series of jaunts, popping all over the place at least a dozen times in the span of a moment.  "Let's see whatcha got, Blondie."

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She looked doubtfully at the pebbles in her palm, then at Devin, her eyes wide and small white teeth nibbling on the corner of her lower lip as she considered protesting, saying she couldn't, that it scared her...

But this was Devin.  He had come for her, like a rough around the edges but way hot version of a knight from a fairy tale, and held her and taken her to this wonderful panoramic place that she wished she had her phone with her so she could take a picture...   Not that she could show it to anyone because they'd either say it was shopped and they could see the pixels, or else she'd have some 'splainin' to do as to how she got to Peru without a passport.  He'd seen powers like hers before.  He wasn't scared.  So she wasn't scared.

Right?  Right.

Just a plain ol' farmgirl from Montana, dressed in sneakers, jeans and a t-shirt, about to make rocks fly.  She focused on the topmost pebble in her palm, lifted her other hand over it and then reached out and touched it without using her fingers, feeling the surface of it with that weird, extra-sensory sense of touch.  She felt the grain of the pebble, it's temperature, and then very gently she willed the intangible fingers to lift.

For Devin it reminded him of standing in Jase's vehicle barn once more, back during the summer, watching a wrench slowly rise into the air and realising that he wasn't nuts, that there really was weird shit happening to him, to them.  He grinned at Tawny's expression of intense concentration that made her look almost cross-eyed as she slowly gestured with her empty hand, making the pebble rise until it stood on air a foot above the rest of them in her palm.  Slowly, she spun her fingertip in a circle, and the pebble followed her gesture, picking up speed and the circle widening as she sped up the twirling of her finger.

"Whoo!"  Devin cheered, and Tawny looked away from the pebble and at him, an adorably hesitant smile breaking out over her face-  and then the pebble shot off to the side like a stone from a sling.  The two teens heard it clatter as it bounced down the rocky slope.

"Fudge!"  Tawny stamped her foot.  "I lost my concentration."

"Tee, you don't need to look at it.  You can feel where it is.  You could close your eyes and count every pebble on the ground around you by touch if you wanted.  We're talking serious Zen archery master shit."

"Yeah, I can, but-  wait, how do you know?"

"I told you, I've seen these powers."  Devin stood up and approached the girl, stepping behind her and reaching around to cover her eyes with his palms.  "Guess who!  Now..." he went on as she giggled a little.  "Don't use your eyes."

"But it feels weird not to look at the pebble!" she protested, quivering a little from anxiety- and his proximity.

"Feels weird to ride a bike without training wheels too the first time, right?  Comes a point they just hold you back."  Devin right now was a paragon of patient, gentle encouragement that would have amazed most of the Fellowship to see, a veritable Tawny-Whisperer.  "You're at that point, girl.  Can't keep pedaling in the slow lane.  You can feel the pebbles in your hand, right?  Lift one."  She took a deep breath, feeling the reassuring presence of him there behind her, and once more gestured over her palm with her free hand.  Devin reflected that she'd outgrow that too, as Jason had - that instinctive need to make Jedi-like gestures, kind of a magic feather to get the powers working.  But one step at a time.  Right now, he grinned as once more a pebble rose into the air and stopped after a foot.

"Aight.  You got it."  he said reassuringly.  "Now, keep it there and lift a second one."

"Two?"  Tawny almost squeaked.  "I've barely been able to move a single coin reliably before."  The pebble in the air bobbed and wavered.

"Cook and his doctor goons don't know shit about Shine."  Devin reiterated.  "Steady now.  Just fix the pebble where it is in your mind... Now lift another and stack it on top the first one."

Slowly, a second pebble rose from her palm to float alongside the first, Tawny sticking the tip of her little pink tongue out of the corner of her mouth as she 'juggled' the two small stones.  Tentatively, the second pebble rose a little higher then drifted across and, with a faint 'click', stacked on top of the first rock, balancing there as though a hand were keeping both in place - which in a sense was what was happening.  Devin grinned wide and slid his hands from Tawny's eyes. "Take a look, Michelangelo.  Your first TK sculpture."

"I'm doing it..."  Tawny murmured as she opened her eyes and looked, feeling the two stones connecting, feeling her invisible fingers holding them in place.  "TK?"

"Telekinesis.  Or... Tawny-kinesis, p'raps."

"Tawny-kinesis?  You goof."  she smiled warmly over her shoulder at him, then back at the two stones.  A faint air of mischievous concentration furrowed her brow, and the pretty blonde girl blew a kiss into empty air - only for Devin to feel it on his cheek.  She glanced at him, grinning.  "Did that work?"

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He leaned over her shoulder and pressed his lips to her cheek.  "Look at you, thirty seconds and you're already showing off."  Her cheeks flushed red as he kissed her.  She felt as if she could never love anyone like she loved him.  He was just, put simply, her 'perfect'.  He was always there for care and support as her best friend and today from nowhere he appeared once again to help her find the self confidence she needed to harness the surface of her capabilities.  He'd always been so wonderful to her.  Tawny's parents adored him and on more than one occasion she and her mother were up late and she was embarrassed by the innocent prying of her mother's curiosity on when they were going to become an item.

---===[Long back story time...]===---

Her home life was nowhere near as bad as the Twins', but there were still the typical pressures of being raised on traditional, Christian family values.  Truth be told, her dad didn't like him very much, even after three years, well, that's a bit harsh, it was more like he tolerated Devin because in the whole three years he'd known the boy, the snarky teenage kid always treated his daughter with respect and that went a long way.  Her mother was a bit different in that she was married out of high school to Tawny's father and she'd never known much rebellion and excitement in her life until Devin walked through the door.  He was crass, spoke his mind, and just completely lived his life by shooting from the hip.  He was a ray of sunshine in her rather normal and unexciting life.  Every time he stepped through the threshold of their door it was as if she had front row seats at the Apollo and Devin never ceased entertaining and making her laugh.  He just had a charm about him.  As her daughter grew into more of a young woman she couldn't help but allow herself to be dragged into their friendship and began living a bit vicariously through her daughter's stories of their various 'dates' and how he'd made her laugh and feel special and how in love with him her daughter had become.  It was Tawny's mother who really believed the two kids needed to be together and encouraged her daughter in earnest to pursue him.

That day in their spot changed everything for Tawny though.  She couldn't understand what she did wrong.  All the signs were there, the affection, the cuddling on the couch.  She would sleep with him in his bed when she slept over, but that was more of her rebellious feminine angst wanting to get away with something her parents would never find out about.  She read everything on the topic, and watched enough CW.  Wasn't everything they were doing a sign that the feeling went both ways?  She'd told her mother she was going to talk to Devin that day about them and where they were going in their 'relationship'.  Her mother was ecstatic and encouraged her to not be afraid of putting herself out there and making sure he knew just how wonderful of a girl he was getting (within traditional Christian values, of course).  For Tawny, however, 'traditional Christian values' flew out the window the moment she met the Twins from Malibu.  Marissa had been stealing pills from her mother since she was fourteen and Devin excelled at attempting to commit every illegal act the town had a law for and she was positively enraptured by their ability to look and act innocent and get away with it all.  Her moral compass cried to the heavens for Jesus to save her.  So, while not entirely 'traditional' nor 'Christian' (the twins fixed that in a hurry) Tawny held firm to faith, if not in God, then at least within herself, that Devin needed a strong, grounding moral center.

It shattered her world when he rejected her that day.  He was certainly polite about it and nothing short of a true gentleman and even his reasons for doing so were neatly wrapped in the irrefutable packaging of his charm.  It didn't seem real.  Nothing made sense.  All the signs were there, the love was there, they were perfect for each other so how could his answer have been 'no'?  She felt like an utter failure, like no matter what she did, she'd never be good enough for him, especially when Avalon Wilson came along and within a week, a week of hanging out with her she was in his bed.  Tawny could smell her in his room, on his pillow, in the air, on his clothes.  It wasn't fair.  She had no idea what she was going to tell her mother if she found out Devin and Avalon were dating, because as far Tawny's mother was aware that kiss went swimmingly and she and Devin were blissfully in love, at least for the last three months or so, until school started and Devin met Lona.  Tawny never called Devin her boyfriend, however, he was her best friend, and that's how she wanted their love to feel.  Like an ever-perfect friendship.  Her mother found that so sweet, she never bothered to read between the lines or bother her daughter on those nights where she was sobbing into her pillow because her 'boyfriend' was wrapped in the arms of Avalon.

---===[Back in the moment...]===---

Her cheek flushed as she cast out the thoughts of her sobbing in the evenings while Devin made love to Avalon, sure it had only been about a few days, but in the world of a love struck young woman, it may as well of been an eternity.  His kiss was the perfect addition to this, her moment of triumph over powers she'd been afraid of up until now.  She leaned back into him and took his hands, wrapping them around her self, allowing him to embrace her as she lost herself in his presence.  "Deej, I know you don't want to hear this, but, I'm in love with you."

He tightened his hold on her and let his cheek brush against her hair.  "I know," was his reply and it didn't quite come out as he he intended it.

"You know?"  She looked up at him, her tone slightly veering into the lane of annoyed but still rational enough to let him explain himself.  He made sure she had balance and then jaunted away with a violet shimmer that tossed her hair about.  He appeared a few feet away from her.  "Okay, that's going to get annoying real quick."  She pointed at where he was standing now and unconsciously goose necked him to punctuate her point.

He half smiled.  "I get that a lot."  His hands were in front of him, his fingers working themselves at a nervous pace like trying to tie themselves into a variety of impressive Celtic knot work.  "I meant that, 'I know', because, well, I know!  I know you're in love with me, the whole school knows your in love me!  I know your mother thinks we're dating.  If I hadn't started dating Lona I may not have ever known, but when Jacob Crocker approached me and said 'I thought you and Tawny were a thing' and I pressed, he said his dad heard it from your mom, who obviously heard it from...," he pointed to finger guns at her.  "You."

The blonde covered her face with her hands, embarrassed and now completely resigning any possible chance she may of had with him.  "Oh, god," the shock set in on her face.  She was ruined.  He'd never talk to her again.  The pebbles at her feet near the boulders that jutted from the emerald grass began to shake and bounce like over eager popcorn kernels ready to burst.  "Deej, I-"

"I taught you better than that, Tee.  I can't help you run a scam like that if you don't let me in on it.  If you needed a man to get your mom to quit bugging you about boys and dating, you have to let me know what the plan is so I can adapt to the story."

"Wait," she peeked from her hands, looking perplexed as one possibly could.  "What?"

"You think Cade and Marissa are really an item?  Hell no.  She's just lonely and thinks punching her v-card with make our Amazon bill go down and free up more room in her top drawer."

She buried her face in her hands again, now more out of the need to sigh in peace and silently scream where he couldn't see her expression.  Her eyes once again crested the glittery blue polished peaks of her finger tips as she stretched her face downward hoping to peel it off and die on the spot.  "You can not possibly be this dumb, Devin."

"What?"  He asked, now a bit confused himself.

"Lord Jesus help me," she looked to the heavens.  She looked down at herself in self appraisal and looked at him.  She'd been throwing herself at him for months.  They'd practiced with each other on how to kiss.  They fooled around a few times.  Everything they knew about love and lust they'd learned from each other and now he was offering to help her pull off a lie?  She didn't want a lie.  She wanted the man she loved.  Something inside of her bubbled over.  The lid on her pot rattled one to many times and God help her if she didn't feel something rising inside.  "How did you have sex before me?  How did you, you, of all people, as you say, get their v-card punched before me?" She was furious and he'd never seen her loose her mind like this before.  That slight drawl of her Montana accent crept to the surface and then was finally was present in full force.  Tawny had gone nuclear.  "I mean, look at me!  You are dense, Devin Jauntsen.  You are positively clueless or utterly and completely stupid and frankly, at this point, I'm not sure which!"

"I, uh," he offered the Nathan Fillion 'finger of interjection'.  It went as expected.  "I think that's a rather broad brush to be-"

"You are quasar stupid!"  She shouted.  Now suddenly enjoying the fact that there was, thanks to Devin, 'not a soul around for miles', which meant 'no reason to not cause a scene', in female lingo.  "You are where clues goes to die!"  She spun about to walk away from him only to find a ledge that plummeted into a gorgeous and serene valley below.  "I tell you I'm in love with you and you just blow it off..."  she shook her head.  "God, I am so stupid."

"Wh-," he paused to make sure she was taking a breath.  "What does that even mean?  Huh?  'In love'.  How is it different than 'just love' or 'just friendship'?  I love you Tee, you're-"

"Don't say I'm your best friend," her voice came from the lowest depths of her throat as she fumed and shook her head in a manner that helped her to repel any of the words he might use to charm her.  "Don't you dare say that, because I know Deejay, I know we're best friends.  Jesus God, do I know, and it's not fair.  You really want to know what 'in love' is?  Even if I had never met you that day outside of your house... I'd miss you.  Everyone is looking for something in their life, Deejay.  We're all born incomplete and we spend our lifetimes searching for that piece that completes us and makes us whole.  I feel that when I'm with you.  Whole.  The powers may seem to make me glow, but it's you Devin, it's always been you that makes me shine.  That's why I love you, that's why I'm in love with you.  You make me a better person."

The snarky teen collapsed down onto a boulder, letting himself 'plop' as he stared at his hands in silence.  It was so much to take in and that day in the field she certainly wasn't this passionate or fought this hard, she simply looked embarrassed and they awkwardly finished their picnic pretending it never happened.  He really wasn't sure how to handle women when they were like this mad, other than his sister, Marissa.  She was easy when she was this angry.  All he'd have to do was sacrifice Tawny and let her blood fill the tub.  After Marissa had soaked in it for several hours she'd come down for dinner feeling completely refreshed and acting like a whole new woman.  "I remember that day," he settled with memories instead of thoughts, talking quietly as the wavering fumes of memory clouded his vision and took his mind to another time and another place.  "I was standing at the edge of our drive way, holding my bike's handle bars.  I kept looking down the road, one way, then the next.  So confused as to where to start.  It was so quiet in Shelly, it was eerie."

She smiled as she turned to face him, seeming to calm down in the comforting throes of something special; a memory that was just theirs.  "And I came rolling down the road on my bike and I saw you and I said-"

"'Hi, I'm Tawny, where y'goin?" he bobbed his head back and forth as he offered up the worst, falsetto Tawny voice he could muster.  In his mind though he could see her pretty ten and three years face, dimples, blonde pig tails and all, speaking in sync with his words.

"I did not sound like that, oh my god," she laughed, bending down and swiftly throwing a pebble at him.  He laughed with her as he did his best to swat or deflect the pebble onslaught.

"-and I said," his laughter softened through his words as the girl in him mind looked at the scared, ten and three years Devin who replied.  "I don't know."

She took a few steps forward, kneeling down in front of where he was sitting, enjoying this moment between them that no one could steal or borrow.  "And I said?"

"Something I'll never forget," he looked down at her, although the boulder was low enough that they weren't too far from each other.  The young woman in his mind scrunched her face up and looked at him like he was making no sense.  Her little pigtails swayed one way and then the other as she looked down the road ahead of her and then down the road behind her.  "Then what are looking both ways for?  If you don't know where your going, either way is going to get you there, right?"

"Mmm," she nodded sagely at him.  "I was so wise."

"And that Halloween you were Alice and I was the Mad Hatter," he smiled.  "Inseparable ever since.  I don't want to lose that, Blondie.  I've seen how relationships ruin friendships.  I'm scared that everything will just end horribly."

"Where?"  She asked.  "Where have you seen that?  We're in the middle of nowhere Montana, how many sorted love affairs could you possibly have witnessed among friends?"

"Uh, I, uh, watch a lot of CW," Devin replied.  "Arrowverse, I mean, come on.  Vampire Diaries, that was a shit show," he rolled his eyes and shivered.  "Nina Dobrev, though, hnnng!"  She slapped his arm to bring him back into the now and, well, because hitting Devin was always fun and a good idea.  He absorbed the abuse as he had grown ever so used to it by this point and after a decent laugh continued, "I'm just saying that, yes, okay, fine, I've had a crush on you too, there that's out, but I don't want these crushes of ours to ruin what we have as friends.  You're-"

"Don't," she glared at him raising a finger up in protest.  "Say best friend."

"-my everything." he finished.  Tracing a finger across her cheek and tucking her hair behind her ear.  "Friend, bestie, cuddle buddy, movie pal, artistic inspiration, giggle fit partner, the other fist to all my bumps.  If this whole thing went tits up Tee, there would be no 'ba-la-la-la-la-las' at the end of my fist bumps."  His eyes met her and in all sincerity he finished his statement.  "I can't live without my 'ba-la-la-la-la-las', Tee."

Her eyes glinted with the oncoming of emotional moisture. She pressed a smile through her lips as all they wanted to do now was purse and tighten against the tears she felt she couldn't hold back.  "Why are boys so stupid?" she asked him, shaking her head.  "That's why they're called 'crushes'.  If they were easy, they'd be called something nicer."  She leaned up and kissed him.  Devin knew he was still dating Lona and technically this was wrong, but she felt amazing.  Her lips tenderly connected with his own and her tongue teasingly greeted his in a gentle introduction that made him wonder where a good Christian girl learned to say hello like that.  Oh.  Right.  He and Marissa were her sole influences for the past three years.  The teenage hormone factory that was the rest of his body was all for this as she leaned in further and her kiss became more passionate, deeper and more uninhibited with each cycle of their lips greedily collecting the other desires and hungrily devouring them.  He managed to break away, though as guilt swelled in his thoughts and blood swelled elsewhere.

"Tee," he took a breath while she looked at him.  That look in her eyes was pure ravenous hunger and he knew it well; it was his look any time a pretty woman crossed his path.  "Tee, wait... okay, hold on... wait."  He pumped his hands, palms down trying to call a time out, or a penalty... was this even legal in friendship?  "I am am still with Lona.  I have a girlfriend.  Even if I wanted to do this-"

She glanced down and smirked.  "You definitely want to do something," she mumbled loud enough to cut him off.

"Jesus, woman, what has gotten into you?"  He stood up and backed away.  Trying not to laugh.  Not-so-innocent Tawny was kind of fun, but holy shit was she scary.  "Okay!  I get it, message received, bulging erection aside.  I have a girlfriend though, Tee.  I'm dating someone.  We can't..." he tried to find words but the lack of blood to his brain just made his hand swirl in a motion that simply indicated the now that was happening in his immediate proximity.  "...all of this."  He pointed a finger at her both his gesture and tone were akin to a parent scolding their overly horny daughter.  "And you know what this I'm talking about."

"Deejay," she stood and smiled.  "I never asked you for anything more than a chance.  Not a yes or a no, just a chance to see what could happen.  Lona is moving, she didn't even bother to tell you she was leaving, you had to hear it from me."

"Well played, by the way," He nodded to her, knowing the tricks and tactics to successfully destroy relationships.

"Marissa doesn't say much, but she does make for one hell of a teacher," Tawny smiled.  "Look, just..." she stepped to him and gently kissed him again.  "Forget about her.  She'll be gone soon."

He stepped back again.  "Tee, were it you, would you be okay with that?"  The spark of Christian embers in her cheeks seemed to be rekindled by Devin's ethical fire and her expression shifted to one ready to listen instead of act.  "Now, I get it... you're a little fired up, I am too.  That kiss was, on my top five," she looked at him and tilted her head, raising her brows to indicate she was mildly insulted.  He back peddled.  "Top three, top three... but look, Tee, I'm not saying 'yes', but I'm not saying 'no' either.  I'm just saying that a week ago I was single and fooling around and now I'm suddenly knee deep in pussy and my girlfriend is leaving me and you obviously want the 'D'-"

She scoffed and half chuckled.  "Don't flatter yourself."

"-I'm just asking you, please.  Please.  Give me some time to figure shit out, okay?  I can go anywhere in the world with a thought, Blondie, and I have never been more lost in my life than I am right now.  I owe it to Avalon to not let her leave here betrayed and hurt.  I'm not the best of guys, but I'm better than that."

Tawny sighed.  She hated it, but he was right.  He was always right, for a guy who was so stupid, he sure was right a lot.  "So what about fist bumps and sleep overs after movie binging?  Making me breakfast?"  She angled her head in politely asking in a sweet, almost apologetic tone to put the last few minutes behind them (for now).

"Are you kidding?"  He looked like she had just asked the impossible.  She lurched back in solid surprise as if he'd just jammed a spear in her heart.  Then he smiled wide and she fumed the he'd let her trick her yet again.  "Of course!  Can't live without my 'ba-la-la-la-la-las', baby."

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Posted (edited)

The response was a sudden jump and a tackle-hug that drove Devin back a couple of feet as Tawny clung to him with her arms squeezing so hard it felt like Cade had been giving her pointers on how to snap a bear's neck or something.  The blonde farmgirl buried her face in his chest, breathing him in for a moment, then relaxed the grip enough to look up at him a little tearfully, albeit with a smile.

"You really are the worst sometimes." she told him, the look in her eyes giving the lie to her words even if the fond tone hadn't done so.  " Ba-la-la-la-la-las'."  She snorted then, a most unladylike sound of amusement before breaking into laughter.  Devin patted her back, then gently hugged her in return.

"We good?"  he inquired after it seemed a suitable time had passed.  Tawny sighed, then reluctantly unwrapped her arms from around him and stepped back a couple paces, wiping her eyes a little.  Wordlessly, she offered him a fist, and grinning, Devin bumped, and the two fluttered their fingers in the air, chorusing  "Ba-la-la-la-la-la."  They shared a smile.

"We good." Tawny affirmed, then her gaze took on a heated overtone and she cast a glance down at his pants.  "For now." she added as she turned away with a flirt of her head.  Devin blinked, blowing out a soft breath at the second glimpse he'd just seen of the fire inside the wholesome girl-next-door.  Tawny wandered to the edge of the slope, peering at the dazzling snow-capped mountain at the far end of the titanic valley for a moment  before speaking again.  "Can we practice more?"

"Sure."  This was safer ground.  He talked Tawny through a few exercises that came to him.  It was a little stop and start at times.  He had only Jason's sparse descriptions and his own observations to go on for what was possible - which seemed to be a lot at times.  And Tawny, though more calm and centered now she wasn't terrified of being a freak, still slipped up occasionally.  The progress was steady, however, culminating in a floating handful of pebbles that hung suspended and slowly orbiting around the blonde's head as she walked twenty paces, then stopped and caused the pebbles to form a tower in mid-air for a moment before separating and drifting slowly down to the ground.

All but one, which she reached out and took in her hand before putting it in her pocket.  "A memento."  she grinned at him.  "I'm never going to forget this day."  Her smile faded then, as a pensive air came over her expression.  "Deej, I know that you and the others probably have some secret club thing going on.  And you probably can't tell me what you can all do, at least without asking them and stuff..."

"Buuut..."  he prompted as she hesitated.  Biting her lip, she went for it.

"But if you guys have, like, training sessions and stuff, do you think they would help me too?  Whoever has powers like mine, I mean?"  she hesitated a moment.  "Wait, you don't have an underground base with a danger room and laser-shooting robots, do you?  That seems a bit hardcore, is all I'm saying."

Devin snorted.  "Blondie, we have a field and some junk.  We're strictly low-tech.  No bald old English dudes making us wear spandex... which in the case of the girls is a real shame."

"Pig." she grinned at him.

"Oink." he grinned back, unrepentant.  Then his grin faded a little, his eyes turning serious.  "I think the gang would be totes cool to help you, Tee.  And if they have doubts, I'll make 'em go away.  Now we ain't exactly a tightly-knit well-oiled machine.  Me and... uh, the person whose got powers like yours 'specially.  I got their back, and they got mine - I think - but we got some air to clear between us before you come round for playdates."  He frowned a little, his gaze distracted for a moment as he considered what was on his mind.

"Is it serious?"  Tawny asked, drawing near with concern on her face.  Devin re-focused on her and shrugged, smiling lopsidedly.

"Might be.  Might not be.  It's one of them Nerdlinger's Cat things.  I dunno till I open the box."

"Schrodinger."  Tawny corrected with a giggle.  "It's Schrodinger's Cat.  Goof."  Devin cocked his head, frowning at her.

"You sure?"

"Yes!"

He considered for a moment - or appeared to consider - and then shook his head.  "Nah, this is definitely a Nerdlinger's Cat situation, Tee.  You're gettin' your cats mixed up."  He tsked, shaking his head slowly.  "Can't be doing that, not if you want to join the X-Men and wear spandex."

"You don't need to get me in the gang for me to wear spandex for you."  Tawny almost-purred, arching an eyebrow at him.  Devin coughed.

"Aaaand that's our cue for me to get you home.  And me to get me home.  And we can both take a cold shower, separately, which is healthy and Christian and not at all tempting."  He reached out and took the giggling girl's hand.  "There's no place like-"

And space folded, and they were gone in after-echoes of purple-tinted ripples, leaving behind almost all of the majestic valley and Cyclopean peaks.  Almost all, for they carried with them the small stone in Tawny's pocket and, more importantly, their shared memories of the place and what it meant to them.

Edited by GDP_ST

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After about an hour of sitting with Tawny's mom he'd calmed the entire situation, a simple misunderstanding between love birds and their first actual fight, really.  It was bad, they both feared it would be all over for them but in reality it was just them worrying needlessly because it was all just pettiness and nothing washes away frustration like letting the Lord's forgiveness guide them to renewed love.  Tawny had never truly witnessed Devin's ability to lie like a champ and the wider her eyes got as he wrapped her mother around his finger with more Bible reference than even she knew, she wasn't quite sure of she'd fallen deeper for him, or just wanted meet the Devil Himself and thank him for the bountiful gift he delivered, named Devin Jauntsen.

Her mother was overjoyed to see them back together again all the while Devin couldn't help but wonder what he had just gotten himself into.  When he finally left and made it back home for that cold shower (which he did take), he changed his clothes to get the scent of Tawny's perfume and shampoo off of him and he went for one last ride of the day.  He skipped down the stairs taking care, like every teenage boy, to make sure he sounded like a whole herd of buffaloes.  He spun his bike keys on his finger as he rounded into kitchen where his mother was drinking a glass of wine and Marissa was sitting in the ajoining dining room table having a mother-daughter gossip session about what seemed to be Cade considering how they clammed up as he came into view.  "S'up," he said more as a statement than a question.  "Headed out, be back in an hour or two.  Got my phone."

"What is up.  Devin, I told you to stop talking like that.  You just got back, where are you off to now?" Misti, his mother asked.  Her arms were crossed and the wine glass was set just inched from her lips, from which she sipped as she finished her question.

Great.  Quality time with mom.  "Doooo, you even care?"  He asked, drawing it out with a tad of snark and hold out his arms as if to be ready to intercept her reply.

"Of course I care," she snapped back, looking at him like it was a dumb question.  "And your attitude is going to earn you a grounding."

"Yeah, okay," he smirked shaking his head.  "Okay, fine.  See, one upon a time not long ago, myself and a few of the people I call friends now, discovered we possessed psionic abilities and that triggered the awakening of a dark, misbegotten and long forgotten entity of evil, so we are trying to battle this evil, but his demons are everywhere.  Autumn is our healer now, but before Autumn was our healer, Lona was our healer and now she is moving away so that leaves us with only one healer to support our tank, Charlie and our main DPS Jason while I'm running support, but it is not that east see?  Because ever since the whole mess started the evil beasties have been jungeling us from cover and striking when we are not prepared, so I'm going to head over to Lona's and wish her well before she moves away."  Thank you Sean for all the nerdspeak, he grinned internally.

Sometimes the truth is the best lie in the world.  Devin stood there, letting her absorb all that although he knew she was probably on her third glass of wine already and had never cared a day in her life about them, why would today be any different?  "Okay, whatever, do not be too long.  I have a meeting tonight and I will be out late.  You two are on your own for dinner, okay?  Order what you want."

"Yay," Devin cheered in a mocking tone.  "Like yesterday, and the lifetime before.  Oh, Marissa is pregnant, it is Cade's."

"Motherfucker," Marissa fumed, standing from the table to punch her brother in the arm.  "Mom, I'm not!"

"Marissa!  Jesus Christ, we just talked this morning, you said," After she processed Marissa's reply she looked at the two of them.  "This is serious, are you or are you not?"

"No!" "Yes." The twins offered their answer.

"Oh, Jesus Christ, you two!"  She yelled at them, they smiled.

"Mom!  Calm down!" Marissa pleaded, standing next to her brother.  "Cade and I are fiiiine.  No pregnancies.  Strictly by the butt so we don't end up with a kid."

"Oh, thank God, I thought I was going to have a heart attack," she clasped her chest and took a few breaths.  The twins crossed their arms simultaneously and counted down in perfect sync from three, to two, to one.  "Marisssa Beatrix!"  When the twins fist bumped and collapsed into fits of laughter she composed herself and yelled at Devin to leave and Marissa to stay put for 'the talk' (again).  Last time Marissa taught it, her Powerpoint presentation was on fleek.

---===[Lona's House]===---

His bike purred into the white driveway.  He cut the engine and made hi way to the side of the house where the gate was that took one to the pool.  It was locked, it was always locked and the family had the key.  It never stopped him though, with five swift strides to gain speed he leapt up, kicked off the house, pivoted his weight in the air and back flipped over the gate like he was vaulting.  On the other side he straightened his riding jacket with a sharp tug and walked to the pool house.  He'd thought about teleporting, but jaunting about a family home was risky, since you never knew where the parents were.  At least Gar and Hank knew, that made going to Jason's easier a least.

It was still sunny out, and Clara and Lona were still grounded as grounded could be.  Lona was lying out by the pool, Clara was swimming laps or something.  She seemed like the only person in the world who would never use a pool for what it was intended for: sex and showing off to women so they'd have sex with you.

"Deej!" His girlfriend looked in his direction and got up from her seat to greet him with a hug.  She tippy-toed a kiss with her arms draped lovingly around his neck.  "I have an new riff I've been practicing, I want to run it by you."

"Hey, gorgeous." He smiled after stealing a second kiss, which made him feel a bit guilty after having just been kissing Tawny a couple hours prior.  Those were the small lies the world told itself everyday.  That what people didn't know couldn't hurt them so they'd just go on omitting the truth and say they were doing the right thing by sparing the feelings of those they betrayed.  It didn't sit right with him.  He felt wrong although he'd argue as the day was long that she kissed him, and he broke away and set the playing field level, still it left him with guilt. "Where is everyone?"

"Out, grabbing some stuff from Gray Falls," she smiled and wrapped her arms around his waist, sliding her hands under his shirt to feel the toned body it covered.  "Not everyone's as fast as you, some of us still have to drive places."

He smiled a traced his thumb over her cheek.  "Stuff for the move?"  She slid he hands out from under his shirt and glared at him wordlessly and Clara finally stopped swimming.

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"I'm going to, uh... Yeah."  Clara ascended the steps from the pool, wrapped a towel around her one-piece swimsuit.  She hesitated for a second as if wanting to say something, then decided better of it and not-quite-ran to the summer house that the two friends lived in.  Lona watched her go with a mixture of understanding and envy, then turned her brown eyes back to Devin.

"You found out, huh?"  She crossed her arms over her stomach and half-turned away.  "I was going to tell you."

"When?"  Devin asked immediately.  "Cos I heard it from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from the Wright's realtor, Lona.  So when were you going to say something?"  His tone wasn't harsh, but there was a sense of reproach and hurt in there nonetheless.

"Soon!  I think!  I don't know!"  Lona squeezed her eyes shut to stem the tears.  "I found out yesterday, after school  I wanted to tell you when you came by after the hospital thing, but... I wussed out."  She sniffed, then looked round at the guy she'd fallen for, at least a little bit.  The guy she'd given her virginity to.  "It's not fair, Devin.  We just got together, for fuck's sake.  I wanted to pretend that we were still a thing, for a little while longer.  I wanted us to have a bit longer together.  Does that make sense?"

"So when's the move?"  He supposed he could see the reasoning there.  The small lies, the omissions to keep things happy on the surface.  Odd how that played both ways.

"Next week.  Two or three days after Labor Day."  Lona looked down at the edge of the pool, arms still folded defensively.  "Clara's folks got offered a big funding grant at the University of Western Ontario genetics department.  They were impressed with their paper on the indigenous Blackfoot tribe's inherited traits and want them to do something similar with Canada's native peoples. And my mom..."

"Is tied to their headboard for the ride to distant Canuckistan?"  Lona glared at him again - she was good at glaring - but Devin was unrepentant.

"Sees no reason to stay in Shelly."  Lona finished.

"And is tied to-"

"Stop being gross for a second."  she turned back to face him more fully.  "So yeah, I'm being taken with them.  Mom's a spazz, but she needs me still and..."  She glanced aside.  "It's safer for her.  Maybe she can heal a bit, you know?  Away from Shelly, where everything reminds her of dad.  She's fragile - and the Dark loves fragile people."

"What about you?"  Devin asked gently.

"Shelly is where the worst stuff in my life has happened."  Lona admitted, then stepped close and wrapped her arms around his waist, looking up at him.  "But it's also where the best stuff has happened, Devin.  I'm never going to forget or regret that.  Maybe I can come visit you guys at times?  It's not like I'm leaving for another planet or something."

"Might as well be."  Devin quipped to cover his hurt.  "They sell milk in bags and eat poutine up there, Lona.  Milk.  In bags."  She smiled, and kissed him gently.

"The big question is this... do we want to try the long-distance thing?" she asked quietly, her expression pensive.  "We're teens - should we just... part ways while we're still friends?"  She smirked a little.  "Or do you want to have a huge dramatic blowout fight at school where I yell tearfully about how I hate you even if you are great in bed and an awesome kisser?"

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Devin smiled that up-to-no-good smile of his and let his hand gently glide down Avalon's bare side.  It tickled her a bit she just moved herself closer into him to escape the the uncontrollable urge to squirm and laugh.  "The fight would be pretty awesome, but, I don't want anyone thinking you and I are anything more that what we are: amazing together."  She smiled and looked away from him.  She usually wasn't able to keep a straight face with him while he spouting his charm and being sweet.  "C'mon Aydubs, we both know the long distance thing never works."

"It's never been tried with a teleporter," she argued, which was as poorly thought out of an answer as it was the most accurate one she could have provided.

"And we do what?"  he asked.  He shrugged his shoulders and held out his hands like the gods of teen angst were going to place an answer in his palms.  "Hide me from your mom and step parents?  How do we explain how I keep getting to frickin' Cananda, Avalon?  How do you explain where you keep disappearing to?  When it comes to people knowing about my powers, I love you Aydubs, but your family is about the least stable group of individuals I want on my 'in-the-know' list."  He turned away from her in frustration, running his hands through his hair as he grumbled and tensed trying to push the irritation out groan.  "Ugh!  Why is shit always so fucking complicated.  We finally get something good in this town and this..."

"I love you too," she said suddenly yet with a confidence that told him she him she meant it.  "I never really thought I would, I mean, especially you of all people, but I find myself thinking of you a lot, missing you when you're not around and... always wanting to share every minute with you.  If that's not love than, I dunno," her smiles was alight with every good emotion a heart could feel and took Devin's hand and gently pulled him back to her.  "I wish it wasn't happening, but it is.  I want to stay, but my mother needs me, I know you understand.  We have a little less than week left.  Can we just love each other until that end?"

He held her close to him, not wanting he to see the roiling mass of emotions he was becoming.  He'd finally found a connection, someone who, like Tawny said earlier, made him a better person, and now she was leaving him.  In the immediacy of teenage thought processes and the narrow scope of their entire lives before them, Devin saw this as something he would never have back again.  In the broader scope, he was right, there nothing ever like that first love and what he felt with Avalon he knew could never be duplicated by life's little sorceries.  "Maybe one day we try again?  When you're a big time rock star and can support me and my lecherous ways?"

"Maybe," was all she said with arms around him tight and loosing herself in the scent of his 'The Man, The Legend'.  "But only if you promise to treat me really poorly and micromanage my career to the point where I really want to leave you but the sex is too good... and all my playlists are on your hard drive."

"Wouldn't have it any other way," he kissed her head.  "We'll have the awesomest toxic relationship in Hollywood."

"You're such a romantic." She pressed her shoulders up in a fit of excitement.  She looked up at him and took a step away.  "So, we just finish it out, and consider the other the one that got away?  I'm okay with that.  How about you run and grab us some food, I'll get dressed,-"

"Do you have to?" He smirked.

"Let me finish," she smirked back.  "And you can take them all off of me again after we eat.  Because, seriously, there is no food in this house.  We're dying here."

Devin laughed.  " I see how it is, temp with sex to get you and your sister fed.  Devious."

She shrugged, "Hey, parents won't be back until at least eleven, maybe midnight, with the drive.  I figure we have time and..." she didn't want to say 'and then it's over', because they both knew that's what it was.  Knowing something was about to end just made you not want to be a part of it anymore in the hopes of prolonging that inevitable, to be defiant and say 'because I didn't see it, it didn't happen'.  Ask anyone who'd binged a show on Netflix.  There were a lot of final seasons out there that just weren't getting watched.  She knew it would be the same for them, but a bit different.  A hand hold, and stolen kiss, a visit or two, but knowing the end was in sight they'd both quietly let it face out into the realm of memory in the hopes that between now and then they didn't ruin perfect little moments like this one.  "...well, I just want to be with you tonight.  If that makes sense."

"I'll be back in a bit," he smiled.

He saved the emotions for the ride, when his helmet would cover up all the things his face would tell the world.  Even Max asked him what was wrong when he picked up the order, not hearing a single inappropriate comment about her bust.  He tapped his bank card on the counter absently waiting for the meals.  He'd also picked up some food for Clara, since, well, she was leaving and he decided he might as well show some sign of good faith that didn't truly despise her.  Max slid over, bountiful cleavage looming over the counter and Devin barely took notice.  "Okay, what's up?  Something bothering you."  She asked.

"Ever been in love?" Was all he opened with, eyes off in nowhere-land seeing what others couldn't hope to notice.

"Couple times," she said.  The gentle curl of her lips told belied the fact that she suddenly recognized that look because she'd worn herself a few times already, like a comfortable hoodie with the string she could pull to close the hood and hide herself from heartbreak.  "So," she tapped the counter.  "Who is she?"

"Avalon.  We hit it off so well.  We hated each other, had nothing in common and then bam, out nowhere we have all this fun together and we laugh and... more then anything we just like being together but... she's moving.  I finally got something good out of this town and it's being taken away.  It's not fair."

"Hey," she warmly prodded for his attention.  "Life is rarely fair, 'D'.  It's not Avalon's fault or yours, or even the town's.  Life just happens.  We just have to accept the fact that some people are going to stay in our hearts even if they don't stay in our lives."  The crumpling of a paper bag had her push off the counter and slide Devin's order to take her place.  She rung it up and swiped his card all the while Devin continued to just look off, lost in thought.  He scribbled on a tip and grabbed the bag, stuffing it into his back pack.

"Hey, Max?"  She looked back at him with a 'hmm' and he offered her a nod.  "Thanks."

"Anytime," she spun about and went back to work as Devin left to return to Avalon in the hopes of finding a few more good things he could hold in his heart until she found her way back into his life... someday.

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Intermission wrapped.  +3 XP for writing, characterisation, awesome dialogue and an entertaining read.  +2 XP for fulfilling 2 Short Term Aspirations:  Take someone somewhere with powers and give mixed signals to an NPC who's totes crushing on him

 

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