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Comparing Notes [Ep. V Side Fiction] [Ensemble]

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Posted (edited)

Sean had slapped Devin's pointing finger away from his face, giving his former bully a scowl, but in his two-toned eyes, there had been a reluctant sympathy. There was more had wanted to say, but not to everyone - not to anyone, really - especially not now when there was more to discuss. But it might help Devin. Devin had felt his phone vibrate.
 

Spoiler

<I do know what it's like. I've know the fear, the struggle to get up and face it, day after day. Going to school when there were people like you and your sister and Courtney and Chet to greet me everyday. And that wasn't even the worse, by far. It wasn't a monster with a vage for a face. It was a redneck bigger than Cade who found a freak in a bathroom in a diner in a town bigger than Shelly, who put hands like fucking catcher's mitts around my neck and started to squeeze. I didn't have any superpowers to fight back with, only all my 5'4'' girlish glory to flail at someone as big as The Mountain, and I fully believed it was the end as much as you must've. And when I went to report it, found out the fucker was a deputy. I know what it's like to think there's only one means of escape, what it's like to really contemplate it.

Friends make it worth it to continue. I doubt we'll ever be best buds, but you aren't alone. Also, and I'm serious, get therapy, or at least someone to talk to deal with this. Otherwise, it'll just fester and eat you up from the inside. It isn't fair, you just went through what you went through, while I at least had years, and we're asking more of you. But as you know, life isn't fair, we can but try to make it a little more so.

And yes, while the lightsaber thing was joke, I meant the things I paraphrased from video games. Like any kind of art, they can convey truths of the human condition and the human experience.>

The top-heavy teen hid a reticent squirm under retrieving a pair of clementines from his cooler bag and packing away the remnants of his lunch before. He had something he could add to the discussion about the thing at Site B, but he agreed with Autumn that it would just be a distraction from the Cody situation. He just didn't agree for the same reasons. He wasn't as good a dissembler as, say, the Jauntsens, and he was afraid if he started to talk about what Dr. Cook had told him, it would inevitably lead to why he had to go to Site B, and he certainly didn't want to make it about him. There was so much danger to go around, not only to him, but to the rest of the Fellowship, and possibly their loved ones too, it felt entirely conceited.

Sean narrowed his eyes in thought, trying to puzzle out the pieces. Cody had always been a shit to him, so he found it hard to feel much sympathy for the monster he had apparently become in actuality. Though he supposed it they could pull him back from the Dark, it would be a genuine victory over it, and it might even weaken the Dark, if it fed, was strengthened, but the misery it inflicted and urged others to perpetrate.

"We're going to have to circle back to these Aliens and Site B later - if these aliens are so scared that we would develop psionic powers that they put some sort of shield over the entire planet, why didn't they just destroy the life-bearing capability of the planet instead? Or the planet itself? If they can do one, they should be able to do the other."

Sean waved the thought away with a shake of his hand, and started peeling his clementine before he continued on the tangent, as intriguing and irritating it was. He nodded at Charlie and Autumn, and tried not to think if what he was going to ask might be a possible solution to his own problems.

"But, if destroying this, skull-spirit-entity-thing does release it or the Dark's hold on Cody... Charlie, Autumn, do you guys think if you linked your respective powers, you might be able to, er, restore him to something like Cody Classic? I know, it's thinking ahead, but if there is a chance to do something like that, it'll change how we go in to engage him."

Edited by Sean Cassidy
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Devin supported her as best he could, offering a few comforting words to her to remind her she was still on the bleachers and safe with the rest of the Fellowship.  With his currents distractions he was certainly a different person; warm, comforting, almost a decent guy without time for quips or unwanted advances on his peers.  He held her hand and gently rubbed her back as she regained her senses allowing her time to compose herself.  A small part of her considered maybe peeping into Devin's Shine to see what alien had possessed him so she could properly worn the others that something had taken a hold of their fun loving and annoying pervert.

When she covered her mouth her hands and stopped talking enough to begin composing herself on her own, Devin uncharacteristically stopped comforting her.  No quip, no squeeze, he didn't even try to cop a feel or keep his are around her.  When his phone beeped he checked it and decided that Sean's mental texting was simultaneously both the coolest thing and the most annoying thing at the same time.  He inhaled, visibly annoyed by whatever Sean had text him.

His eyes were like daggers and for a moment Sean thought Devin might pounce like he did on Chet and break his nose too.  "I don't need therapy, Cassidy.  Sorry, Doctor, the reason I'm all messed up is because interdemensional demons nearly tore my leg off and I blew myself up to prevent myself from being consumed by one of them... good thing Bobba Fett was there to inject me with nano machines to save my life."  He gave Sean that look of sarcasm that questioned if that's what he wanted Devin to say to the therapist.  "Dude, I know you've had it rough.  Close minded fuckers are everywhere and assholes like me didn't make it easy one you, and I can't say I'm sorry enough for that, but this isn't the same.  When you have to decide to blow yourself up to keep one of those things from disemboweling you then you can try and relate to why I don't want to be responsible for being the guy who sent everyone there.  What if one of us doesn't make it?  Aside from Jason, the rest of us have to live with looking at their parents and sibling grieving a missing child who will never be found and live with that guilt and pain and secret for the rest of our lives.  You don't think of those things.  None of you seem to be thinking like that.  This is life and death shit and... we've been treating it like it's just another video game or some shit.  I was too, honestly, it was all shits and giggles... now I see my leg in the mirror every time I take a shower and... I can feel it.  I can feel it all over again.  I don't want any of you to go through that, I don't want to be responsible for opening the door that got any of or all of you killed."

"Fine," Marissa shrugged.  She completely dismissed her brother and his issues.  "You want to stay here and be a little bitch, that's on you.  'What' can fuck off and 'if' can blow me.  Sean makes a fine point: if we can save Cody, we try and save him, but saving all of Shelly takes priority over him.  You guys might not want to here it, but I dare someone to argue the point.  It sucks that this duty was put on our shoulders, but here we are.  We'll need weapons and a game plan.  When do we do this?"

"No," Devin said flatly.  "You're not going."

"Excuse me?"  Her neck craned in response to the personal insult.  The normally composed Marissa slipped straight into a defensive posture.  No one had ever seen the twins disagree like this before, they were usually inseparable.  "I do not recall asking for your permission, Devin.  Nor needing it."  Her lack of use of his nick name was certainly obvious.

"You're my only sister, your not going there without me," he shook his head.  "I'm not arguing this with you, Marissa."

"You can't stop me," they were beginning to get loud, people from the field were starting to look into the bleachers to see what the commotion was.  You talk all that inspiring shit and then you pull this?  Fuck you, Devin.  You want to be a little bitch, that's on you.  The rest of us have shit to do."

"You want to open this can of worms, bitch?"  Yep they were going to war.  They'd never the twins this intense on each other before.  Tensions were obviously high, but for the twins to loose their composure, at school of all places, was a dire portent of what could lie ahead of them.  "Fine, let's fucking do it-"

"Enough." Jason said, barely raising his voice but the wave of cold chilled them to the bone.  "I don't care what problems you two currently have.  What ever wild hair is currently up your asses, consider it plucked.  Marissa is right.  We need a plan and a time.  Whether or not either of you will be present is not relevant.  You have from now until then to fix yourselves.  This, however, is not the forum for the two of you to hash out your problems.  Exercise some discretion, for once."

"Those things are going to fucking kill you," Devin's eyes panned the collected Fellowship.  "You want to run off to die, that's on you."

Edited by Dave ST
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"If we don't face it, we die anyway."  Jason said in that calm, matter-of-fact manner of his.  "It wants to eat us, Devin.  We are being hunted.  If we fight it head-on, at least we will be together, eyes open and on the opponent, and it will have to work for it's dinner.  Personally, if I am going to die, that's the death I choose.  You-" and he indicated the male Jauntsen "-have no right to make it for me, or any of us, whatever your fears."  His eyes were still chips of green ice, his voice still that quiet, level tone.  He didn't raise it - he seldom, if ever, raised his voice.

"But I don't plan to die.  I plan to kill the thing that wants to kill me.  I plan to make it suffer for daring to think it can treat me as prey."  A feral glimmer kindled in the depths of his gaze as it moved from Devin, to Marissa, to Autumn, to Cassie and so on around the group.  "It's true that I am... different.  But you- all of you - are my friends.  If I could slip away and kill the thing that threatens you without endangering you, I would."  He shrugged eloquently, spreading his slender hands.  "But I can't.  I need you.  You need me.  We need each other.  As Marissa said, it's perhaps unfair that it falls to us, but it has fallen to us.  And fairness is not on the periodic table.  The universe is not composed of hydrogen, carbon and justice."

"Now, we could all walk away.  We could run from Shelly.  Put the work of the Man In Black to bring us to this point to waste.  Perhaps the parasite will not grow strong enough to pierce the walls of our world in our lifetimes."  His lips twisted in a sardonic smile.  "It won't be our problem if, after a few more cycles of pain, death and terror, it breaks through and eats every living thing.  Hell, even our children might be dead by then."  He narrowed his eyes at Devin.  "But I am not fleeing.  Just like you did not flee when we fought that monster in the woods on Friday.  You stood with me, I stood with you - and we made it hurt.  We - all of us together - frustrated it's purpose.  Yes, you got scars."  He leaned forwards, eyes hard.  "Own the scars.  They are yours.  They are on your living body because you survived.  And then, in the hospital, you kicked some Dark-spawned monsters to death wearing expensive sneakers.  You - we won that fight.   All of us.  Kids coming into our power, becoming warriors."

He jabbed a finger at Devin from where he sat on the fringes of the group.  "You don't have to be afraid of the Dark, Devin Jauntsen.  It has to be afraid of you.  Of all of you."  He smiled then, a wry quirk of humor.  "Of all of us.  So:  let's set aside the 'do we, don't we?' question.  Because we definitely are going to have to face the Dark, and it might as well be on our terms.  What we need is the next steps - gearing up, reconnaissance, and deciding what the battle plan will be when we get in there.  It seems the skull-entity is our actual target, but I don't think that whatever Cody has become is going to let us walk up to the skull with a hammer."  He glanced around.  "Thoughts?"

Edited by GDP_ST
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Posted (edited)

"I don't walk."  Devin said cooley, processing Jason's speech.  "No barrier can stop me, get me there and I can break it.  Distract him, keep him off me, and I can make a play for the skull."

He looked at the Fellowship, except Marissa, taking them all in and considering each of them with a scrutinous appraisal of their individual talents and powers.  This was suicide, but he'd survived it once, he could do it again.  "Maybe the project can help?  I mean, they live here too and certainly have a higher bank roll than we do.  If we need weapons, let's plead our case to them."

"And if any of you die, I'm just saying, right now: I told you so."

Edited by Dave ST

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"Well I've still got the rifle I picked up off that guard, and the clips."   He could feel several sets of eyes turn to him.   It was a gun unlike anything they'd seen outside a scifi shooter game, there was no way Cade  should have been able to keep it.   "How..Where..."   he wasn't sure who asked.

"It was chaotic, and with so many others taking the attention off me, I just sorta got away with it.   "I learned it could fold up, and got it in my backpack.  Currently, it's at home, well-hidden."

He just looked at them almost innocently.   In truth he wasn't totally sure how things lined up for him to keep it, but he was glad.  It was better than a baseball bat or fire extinguisher.  

"I wouldn't mind some armor or something though.  We don't all have defensive shields."  he shrugged.   He was on board.  "So three questions, First,  how are we going to get to where Cody and this skull entity are? Second,  who's on the team to serve as a distraction, and who goes with Devin to smash the skull?  Third, when do we go?"

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Kat had followed the conversation with growing fright. Things were not looking good for the seventeen years old redhead. She didn't know how her powers worked yet. Hell, they even randomly activated if she wasn't focused enough, which was... sort of a once-in-a-lifetime event for Kat. She crossed her arms, hands clamping on her elbows. Her brains were working at maximum speed, as usual, devouring the sensory input surrounding her, the idle chatter of other groups of students lunching together on the bleachers,  the heavy steps of someone running across the field, the surprised gaze on everyone's face as Cade announced he had a rifle, with its ammunition, the tense atmosphere growing between the members of the Fellowship, her stomach barely satisfied by the ridiculously small amount of food she had eaten, the uncontrollable shake of her breath in the perspective of actually fighting more horrors straight coming out of a horror movie, Sean's slight hint of worry in his eyes as she took a deep breath and he glanced at her, and so, so much more.

"How the hell did Cody get into another dimension ? I don't get it. I thought only Devin could be yanked in there when he doesn't wear the bracelet, and that's because poofing in and out of places is what he does. So how ?"

She quickly glanced at the others before adding : "And pardon my French, but... what is Homecoming ?"

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Autumn half-turned from Cade and the others at the sound of the seemingly-delicate newcomer's accent, bringing one knee up onto the seat as her other foot swung idly in the open space below the step. There was a suggestion of sympathy in the freckled girl's smile, warming slightly as she considered the fact that, less than a week ago, she too had been thrown in at the deep end and told to swim; the fact that Kat was still here after everything that had happened on Tuesday, even reluctantly, spoke volumes in the young vitakinetic's estimation of her. 

"Several of us have been pulled from here to there," she explained, letting the rest of the conversations filter into so much background noise, "or been around when there came here. Like at the hospital. I don't think anyone knows exactly how yet, though... And..." Her fingertips drummed quietly on the aluminum of the bleachers, wide eyes speculative as they darted fleetingly in Devin's direction. "He didn't always have the bracelet. I somehow managed to miss the drama that day, but I heard about it after. You're better off asking him, or Jase, or Cassie, honestly. I mean, it's Devin's story. When we get done here, maybe he could tell you about being trapped..." She shook her head, reaching up to tug at the end of the braid Marissa had just finished moments before as she remembered how he'd broken down in the conference room. It had seemed like just a momentary lapse, but... Maybe not? That wasn't something she was equipped to deal with, not right now, and Cass had already tried the hug tactic so Autumn was fresh out of ideas. "...wherever it was, alone. Fair warning, he's a prick and a fuckboy, so basically just ignore the game he'll probably try to run, but he seems to be..." With a long-suffering sigh, the tallest of the trio of redheads rolled her eyes skyward. "I dunno. Trying, or something. Anyway, we can catch you up on the Homecoming thing in study hall. Right now we need to plan."

Glancing over at Cade, she shrugged, leaning back on her hands. "We go to the Town Hall, see what's actually there. I was planning to ask Cass to go with me Saturday night, if she's not busy, since we had so much fun on Tuesday." Cutting her eyes at the pretty blonde, Autumn grinned again, a little crookedly, as if to suggest that it had not been a good time at all. "Once we know what we're dealing with on this side, we can worry about what's over there. I'm... not really sure about the whole distraction thing, to be honest, but..." Her smile faded by degrees, and she drew in a long, tremulous breath before slowly letting it out again. She could feel her power humming, very faintly, just beneath the surface of her skin, skimming along her veins in restless, sanguine streams. "I think I probably need to help deal with Cody. Maybe what Sean suggested is an option, maybe it's not. If I can get my hands on him, we'll find out one way or another."

"As far as 'when?'" She glanced over at Jason, then at Marissa, and set her jaw. "As soon as fucking possible. There is literally zero point in waiting. We find out what we need to know and we go after it, before it can come after us. Like he said, if we don't, we're dead anyway. Fuck that."

Edited by Autumn Keane

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Charlie absorbed the conversation along with Sophia, who seemed to be trying to make sense of it all. Made sense, this was getting into extremely complicated territory. But the course was clear. Yes, going after the Dark was a tremendous risk. But Cassie's observations made it clear they were on a time limit before another atrocity happened. And besides, there was one thing nobody had directly addressed before.

"I agree. Besides, Devin, you went in alone and unprepared. We won't do either of those things. And we aren't going to die." He turned and kissed Sophia on the cheek. "Well, I'm not going to die. I just got a girlfriend."

"It so doesn't work like that." Devin scoffed. Charlie gave him a look that said, 'says the one without a girlfriend now.' "It does." Marissa agreed, with a look that contended Charlie's principle was perfectly sound and since she was the best (fake) girlfriend possible, Cade would be immortal.

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"Yeah, we'll see."  Devin said with the eerie calm of a serial killer.  They didn't understand him, and that was fine.  They didn't know what he went through and he wasn't about to force it on them.  Those monsters were something else entirely in the Thunder.  Relentless, intelligent, and built like tanks.  They were going to need more than three magazines of ammunition, a rifle, and honeyed words.

"Hey, Cassie," Devin turned to Cassie in the middle of all that was going on.  "Would you like to go to Homecoming with me?  Like be my date for it?  Strictly friends, if that's what you want.  I'd just really prefer to go with someone and I can't think of anyone else who's lovely enough to make the cut."

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Cassandra blinked, trying to catch up to the abrupt shift. "Wow, really? Just gonna go straight into Homecoming?"

Fortunately, it wasn't that hard a question. Devin could be a jerk, but she'd seen another side to him as well. Given the situation with Lona, it was possible he was rebounding, but that was okay. Cass didn't have romantic aspirations with him. Maybe he just needed a friend, which she could relate to. And it wasn't like she had a lot of other folks asking her to the dance. And...yeah she was officially starting to overthink this.

She grinned and shook her head at herself.

"Sure. I mean, we may or may not be at the dance, if Cody and the Dark are acting up and we have to get all action hero to stop them...but one way or another, we'll be at Homecoming together. Just don't make me regret it, okay?"

Then Cassie looked at Autumn and nodded. "First though, sounds like me and Autumn have a date on Saturday."

Edited by Cassandra Allen

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"Seriously, Deejay?"  Marissa scowled at her brother, whom she was still livid at, before leaning forward to see past him and on to Cassie.  "Okay, yes, you definitely need to see me because you are not showing up on my brother's arm looking all hobo-licious."  She shook her head dismissively.  "Wow.  Way to rebound."

"Stop, okay?"  He shook his head, visibly irritated.  "Just stop.  I asked her because I want to go with her to Homecoming.  She's sweet, and nice and... she seems to be the closest thing to stable I can think of right now.  My girlfriend leaves Tuesday and I'm never seeing her again.  I don't want a rebound, I don't want a replacement or a fling, or quickie or a friend with benefits!  I want to take a hot date to the dance.  I want to dance with her.  I want to laugh and joke, and not be alone in a world that's trying to tear my legs off and kill me every other day.  And when it's all said and done I want to take her home, kiss her hand and thank her for a nice evening.  I want a few fucking hours of normal.  Is that okay with you?"

"Wow," Marissa's face contorted into pure snark.  "Chill.  I was just fucking with you, Jesus."

He inhaled and buried his face in his hands before brushing them up and back through his hair.  "Well, I'm not in the mood to be fucked with right now, okay?"  He shook his head in a manner that hinted to him attempting to just shake off the last few moments.  They'd seen Devin irritated, he was an angry teen who'd ruined a few of their social lives on numerous occasions.  Even Cassie had never completely dodged his abuse in the past, but now he just seemed to be on a tangent.  Something was eating away at him and he didn't seem too keen on sharing what it was.  "Look, let's just get back on the whole Cody thing," He looked to Cassie, then Autumn.  "If you guys are going to recon Cody, do I need to be there?  You said I could help you see better.  Can you pierce the world barrier without me?"

Edited by Dave ST
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Cassandra thought about that for a moment. On the one hand, having Devin on hand could be really useful. He could pull them all out at a moment's notice if they ran into trouble. His powers were also a damn sight better than say, her own, in a fight. Again, if it came to that. Then again, the bigger the group, the harder it was to stay quiet and hidden.

But he was also completely irreplaceable. If anything happened to him, the Fellowship was sunk. He was their only way across to the other side.

"You do help me see better. I was able to see across the barrier when I looked at Cody though. It's just really hard."

She looked at Devin, not sure what the best thing to say was, so she just laid out what was in her head.

"So here's the thing. I think having you there could be good, if we get into trouble. You can get us all out, or if we have to fight, you're good at that too. It's just...I'm worried that you're our only way of getting across to where the Dark lives. It must know that too, which means if it can get you, it will. And if you..." Here Cass could only shrug, not wanting to say it. "We don't have a backup plan, is all. If you can't do it, no one can. You know?"

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"Okay."  Devin grudgingly allowed.  "It's not like I don't have plans on Saturday...  But!"  He leveled a stern glare at both plucky adventuresses.  "I want updates.  I want to know you're okay.  If it gets to 1 AM Shelly time and I've not had a text saying 'Checked it out, home safe, eww I smell of rat shit and spider farts' then I will blow up your phones before teleporting everywhere I think you might be - and I'll wake up Bannon and drag him along so you'll have both our asses dropping into your bedrooms pissed at you.  Deal?"

"Alright, alright."  Cassie exclaimed with a slight smirk, raising her hands in mock surrender.  "Jeez, agree to go to Homecoming and all of a sudden we're living in 'The Handmaid's Tale'."

"All hail the patriarchy!"  Marissa snarked.  Devin glowered at his twin, who returned the glare with an outwardly cordial smile with just a hint of 'kiss my ass' about it as Jason spoke up.

"So we have a plan going forward, then?  Autumn and Cassandra will scout the Old Town Hall, putting carefulness ahead of curiousity."  His green eyes didn't glower the way Devin's did to punctuate his point, they simply rested on the two girls like jade-hued ice cubes.  "Just remember, none of us is disposable.  If you feel it's too dangerous, there is no harm in backing off and coming back with extra hands."  He moved his stare to the others.  "Cade, let Sean have a look at that rifle.  We don't know how it works, or what the ammunition does - but if anyone here can work it out, Sean can.  We cannot afford an unknown resource.  Work out with him meeting up so he can check it - and soon."  Both the athlete and the tech geek nodded slightly in response.  "Once Autumn and Cassie have had a closer look at the situation, we can meet up and plan an actual attack on our target.  Sunday afternoon or evening might be best for the planning."  His pale eyes pierced Kat's.  "We need to figure out how exactly you Shine and how best you can support any efforts we make.  Sunday afternoon, powers familiarisation and training at my place - same goes for anyone who feels they need it, but Kat has had her Shine all of two days and is currently just a packed lunch for the Dark."

"Oof."  Sean winced, but nodded as well.  "Yeah.  It's a good idea to get you up to speed as soon as, Kat.  Don't worry - Jason's training method isn't to throw wrenches at you until you can catch them with your brain."

"Though that would be hilarious to watch."  Marissa smirked. Sean shot her what was supposed to be a withering look, but she merely smiled and went back to tapping on her phone.

"And finally... Autumn mentioned to Cassie earlier that she had something to bring up."  Jason's eyes crinkled slightly at the corners as he looked at the freckled redhead, and he raised a brow expectantly.

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"So." Autumn took a deep breath, letting it out slowly as she twisted on the bench, shifting to get a view of everyone present. She nodded at Jason, flashing him a quick, uncertain smile; she had, indeed, mentioned to Cassandra during Chem that she wanted to steal a few minutes after the main part of the meeting, but in retrospect it seemed... Not unimportant, maybe, but not as relevant? The seer's revelations were of immediate concern to all of them, whereas her own might not be. Hers was definitely more personal, and suddenly she wasn't sure at all what to tell them since most of these people were basically strangers to her, anyway. For the most part, the only thing they all had in common was their Light, or Shine, or whatever they wanted to call it. How much did that entitle them to? With a couple of exceptions, they were people she barely knew a week ago- hell, they were people she barely knew now. Her lips compressed briefly into a thin, pale line, and the Titian-haired teen hesitated, sea-colored eyes scanning the faces of those assembled before alighting briefly on Sophia.

Ah, fuck. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea, after all.

"Okay. So," she repeated quietly, squaring both her shoulders and her jaw as she made a decision. "Sunday, I need to make a trip over to the reservation. If anybody else wants to go, catch me in study hall or send me a text or something before then. If not, and something that affects you guys comes up, I'll let you know." Holding up one freckled hand, the uncharacteristically somber young woman slowly shook her head, forestalling questions. "And before you ask, no, I'm not saying why right now, or who I'm looking for. I just... I have business out there, so I'm going." Turning to regard Charlie and the busty brunette at his side, Autumn's eyes softened slightly as she offered them what felt like an apologetic smile. "No offense, but I didn't expect mixed company when I told Cass this morning that I wanted to talk."

 

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"I'll go with."  Devin said with a shrug.  "My rates are fair, and you do still owe me a make sesh."  He smirked and offered her a flirtatious nod.  "I'm the best ride in Shelly, too."

"And the fastest." Marissa slipped in without even looking up from her phone although the grin on her lips told everyone in was deliberate.  As the Fellowship shared a laugh at Devin's expense Marissa's pone disappeared in a wavering violet distortion.  She turned to her brother and shoved him.  "Give it back!  You are such an asshole!"

"It's in your locker," he laughed.  "Go get it, Slutcicle."

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"I'll come."  Cassie chirped, grinning as she slipped an arm through Devin's.  "I've wanted to look around on the Rez since this whole weird mess started - and besides," she batted her eyelashes comically at Devin.  "It can be our first date."

"Uh, slow your roll there, scarlet woman."  Marissa snorted, plainly in a foul mood since the disappearance of her phone.  "Until Tuesday he's still attached."  She sniffed, tossing her hair as she folded her arms and favored Devin with a gimlet eye.  "Not that it makes any difference to him."  Almost in synchronisation, the twins shot each other the bird.

"I'm going too."  Jason said in his quietly authoritative way before Devin could find a new needle to insert in his sister.  "Since doing my research into some local legends and Sean found those native american artifacts that 'Shone' in Helena, I've had questions that require answers.  And if Devin is transporting us, that means I can get back by late afternoon to throw wrenches at Kat."  This last was delivered deadpan, and Sean narrowed his vivid eyes at his friend, who affected an innocent look that, it being Jason, was ruined by the glimmer of dry, dark humor in his eyes.

"Mmkay."  Autumn nodded, blue eyes studying Devin, then Jase, then Cassie.  "But I think that's close to enough of us going.  We don't need a mob of us turning up there."  Devin was practically a mob all by himself, after all.  But at the same time, there was a sense of reassurance that she wasn't facing whatever awaited on her own.

"Great."  Marissa stood up, smoothing her skirt and giving Cade a lingering kiss on the cheek.  "Lunch is almost over, so I'm going to retrieve my phone so I can stay awake in Lit."  She punctuated this with a soft open-handed swat to Devin's shoulder, leaning across Cade to do so, which incidentally gave him a fantastic view.  Which, of course being a gentleman, he didn't stare at.  Much.

The Fellowship, getting a sense that the meeting was winding down, started packing away their lunch things.  Jason hooked the strap of his worn satchel over his shoulders and stood, stretching his lean form for a moment before extracting a rolled up possible cigarette from a pocket of his many-pocketed pants and heading down the bleachers to the usual covert smoking spot under the bleachers at their furthest end.

Spoiler

GM note:  I think the thread is pretty much wrapped there.  I will leave it open for any single post conversation or statements of what a character is doing in relation to what has been discussed between the teens here over the rest of the Thursday.  If you're talking with a PC, hash it out in PMs or IC chat, then present it as a whole post.  Or simply confer and have one of you post a short piece narrating what went on.  If it's something longer or more in-depth, create another side fic, please.

XP Awards:  Based on participation, characterisation, proactivity and quality.

Cassandra, Autumn, Devin, Marissa, Kat, Sean, Jason: 2 XP
Cade:  1 XP.
  (This is mainly based on the fact that Jason's words to Devin about facing the Dark should have come from Cade.  He's a leader figure on paper.  A teammate in crisis should be a call to action.  Otherwise, you did well.)
Charlie: 0 XP (There is no award for just showing up)

 

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Kat rubbed the back of her head. I'm gonna get wrenches thrown at. That's humor, Kat. I know. I can't read this guy. That's because you're not looking at his eyes... Fuck you- Fuck me ! She turned to Sean, and asked in a low voice : "Should I be worried ?" She wasn't sure why she asked. She kinda liked the idea of spending an afternoon with Jason. Maybe she'd manage to get to know him better, even though the task might reveal harder than she imagined.

"No, no, Jase isn't going to actually throw any wrenches at you," Sean assured the smaller red head with a dismissive wave of his hand as he packed up the remnants of his lunch into his cooler bag. "It's from a stupid movie that I can't pass up watching when I see it on TV..."

Sean paused, pursing his lips and rubbed his pointed chin with a pair of fingers. "Weeeell... it's very unlikely he'll throw any wrenches at you. He's fine, it'll be fine, you'll be fine." He flashed her a quick smile that Kat was sure was meant to be reassuring, but was a hint of something a little... enigmatic? Mischievous? Doubtful? Something to the grin that gave Kat a shadow of doubt. "It's fine, Jase is a good if uncompromising teacher... so I've heard."

"Ugh..." Kat rolled her eyes and grabbed her backpack. "You can't stop being fun, can you ?" After a short pause, she added : "Don't answer that." Then she began going down the bleachers. "I have Maths, gotta hurry. See ya in Study Hall."

"Seeya then, Kat."

Sean's grin widened as he waved, before getting up and heading to his own class. He'd already passed all the math classes Shelly High offered and so didn't share this one with Kat.

Spoiler

Thank you Sean, for the help !

 

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"Well, if that's decided, great." Marissa smiled, her tone a mingle of faux politeness and hurried uncaring as retrieving her phone seemed to be her latest priority.  "You all go play with the mysterious and mystical alcoholics.  Great.  Sounds like a hoot.  So sorry I'll miss that.  All the dust and dirt and poor people," she shivered.  "Whatever will I do all day without all of you bothering me?"  The fashionista offered up a languid, over dramatic sigh while she stood up and dismissed herself.  "Ciao, losers.  I'll text."  Then she chuckled at a joke only she heard.  "I'm just kidding, no I won't."

She clacked her way down the bleachers, paint-on jeans and all, after she collected her bag.  Devin shook his head at his sister, wondering if she would ever change, until he noticed the way Cade's eyes were looking a bit too intensely at his sister as she stepped down from the bleachers.  He back-handed the giant's arm.  "That's my sister, dude.  You mind?"

"Nope."  Was all he offered, letting himself, for just a moment, try to enjoy something good in his life.

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With the power of Instant travel, Devin was still late for everything in a manner that suited his personality to a tee.  By the time he'd walked all the way to the other end of the school for his next class he knew it'd be one more lecture about timeliness and punctuality from his class' teacher.  Whatever.  He collected his books from the locker, closed it and in doing so gave Courtney a side look that told her he was unimpressed with her attempt to scare him.

"Hey Court," he offered, completely ignoring her 'rah' and slight pounce towards him.  "You're in a good mood."

"And you're being lame."  The redhead offered, half smirking.  "How'd you know?"

"I can sense objects, Hotness."  He tucked his books in his back and yanked the zipper closed.  "At school I tend to 'keep it up' in case some teacher is trying to catch me doing something I'm not supposed to."  They both smirked at that.  "What's up?"

She shrugged and motion drew attention to the sculpted curves of her collar bones, exposed through the wide v-neck of her blouse that teased at cleavage.  Devin assumed she and his sister called each other each morning and organized thier outfits, although low-cut cleavage shirts were really not Marissa's style, as she found them tacky.  But hey, lots of things were changing around Shelly lately, while not glad about his sister going with the flow, he was all for a more cleavage dress code.

Courtney understood what he meant about 'keeping it up', she did a lot of the same at school too with an almost instinctual scanning of the surface thoughts of those around her.  She could argue she didn't mean it, but she knew she did.  One could not have a power like hers and not want to use it.  She'd tried numerous times to just not do it, it was easy enough, but... her will was weak and she was instantly reading again because it was addicting.  Everyone's mind had became that last slice of cheesecake she couldn't help but not eat despite knowing that Marissa was going to remind her of how fat she was when they first met, years ago.  At least Marissa couldn't calorie shame her on mind reading.

Devin's mind was one of two that had intrigued her in Shelly High.  Most people were open books to her, while those with Shine seemed to naturally resist her talents or cover up the deeper, more more complex patters of thought, Devin and Jason seemed either completely resistant to her scanning or positively brain dead.  Jason was simply a dark wall.  A void bastion that no matter how much she tried her attempts were just shattered against the fortress of his mind.  Devin was very similar in that she could never truly get anything useful from his mind (insert joke here), where they differed however, was that Devin's mind didn't keep her out... it let her in.  The floodgates of Devin's thoughts were like wandering into Oz and it was a paradise world of a yellow brick road and upon were all manner of women in various sensual and erotic clothing.  He possessed no shame and it came through as one traveled his thoughts, well traveled as best she could since no matter where she looked she was running into lewd barriers and sexually suggestive avenues that played havoc with the young nympho's own head.  Was he doing it on purpose?

Various students and celebrity females wandered the open market of his head: Monica, Erica, Cassie, Rita, Tina, Courtney, Sandra, Autumn, Mary, Annette, Jessica... and every time she tried to focus on a thought there was one of them gyrating in a doorway or undulating on a pole, or in one case making very graphic love to one another and while she was curious if Cassie and Autumn swung that way, she had to admit Cassie looked amazing in black with the whole Taylor Momsen look she had going and the cute strawberry patterned thong and bra Autumn was wearing was positively precious.

"Looking for something?"  He asked and she realized she'd been so distracted by his thoughts that she'd forgotten her own.

She blinked and awkwardly smiled as her cheeks reddened.  "No," then she realized what people in the know must think about her and trust.  Her tone changed to something more reassuring.  "No!  Uh, I mean... sorry, look, it's not something I really much control over and... well, your head is a fucking mess, dude.  Although, I wouldn't mind staying for awhile."  She laughed.  "Do you really think about sex that much?"

"I'm sixteen and a guy.  What do you think?"  He motioned for her to walk with him with a tilt of his head.  "So, besides rummaging through my porn collection, did you want something?  We've not talked in months so I didn't know we were at the 'scaring me at my locker' stage of our flirting yet."

"I wasn't flirting," she chuckled.

"Yeah you were," he smirked with confidence.

"Anyway," she laughed again and rolled her eyes.  "Yeah, I saw you and did want to say something," she took his arm and they both slowed and then stopped again.  "Look, I'm not the best with people, but, you and Marissa have always been... well, decent-ish with me.  I wanted to say thank you, for," a shy shrug and the way she was having trouble looking at him, made him aware that this wasn't a confession she was comfortable with.  "You stood up for me in there and welcomed me in.  I know no one wants me there, let alone on the 'team', I guess is the word... except you.  So, thank for, you know... giving me a chance."

"We're in this together, Red."  He smiled at the lovely woman.  "Who we were doesn't define us.  We can all change.  It's who we are now, and who we are working to become that's important.  Some of us just never take that step.  The Fellowship will come around, and until they do, I'm always here for you."

"Thanks," her cheeks took on a deeper hue of rose.  "That was nice, you get that from a book or something?"

"Lona, actually."  He forced a small smile as the thought of losing her twisted his gut.  Courtney could feel the shift in his emotions and his mind was suddenly a conflicting storm of raging seas, lightning threaded the loom of blackened and gray clouds while all manner women-now-mermaids familiar to her wailed and moaned in an orgiastic frenzy beneath the waves and yet, unbroken, Devin steered the ship of his thoughts to an ever distant lighthouse as casually as he might on clear, open waters.  Whatever really bothered him was lost somewhere within the metaphor of his mind as Lona was nowhere to be seen.  "Look, uh, I gotta go.  Gonna be late."  He thumbed down the hall and set on his way.

"I know you call Laurie Red, Devin.  I want my own nick name!"  She grinned as he raised a thumbs up while he ran down the halls.  Without another word she clasped her books to her chest and spun about to get her next class.

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