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Aberrant: Children of Heaven - Chapter One: All Together Now

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"Moira! Are you here? It's Zoey and I've brought two friends." She tried the door and found that it wasn't locked so she opened it and headed upstairs with the boys in tow. "Moira, it's Zoey."

Moira had turned on the TV for John to watch if he wanted, and after flipping a few channels, he had gotten excited at some old Bugs Bunny reruns and she had left it there. So when she heard voices in the store, instead of the knocking that she had been expecting, she jumped a little in surprise. Then she took a breath, and opened the door that led to the staircase downstairs. She stepped out into the stairwell, looking a bit less composed than her usual self.

"Zoey? Lass, I'm sorry, Maria must've left tha' door open. I'm afraid that I had ta' close fer the day, somethin' unexpected came up. I'm sorry, but I have ta ask ye ta' come back another-"

Moira stopped for a moment, as she seemed to finally register the faces of the two boys behind Zoey. She looked Valentine over briefly, but her eyes narrowed for a minute when they rested on Sebastian, and she tilted her head slightly before recognition dawned on her face.

"Ah, yes.. Sebastian, isn't it, lad? Didn' think I'd be seein' ye back here." She ran a hand through her hair, and smiled at them, looking a bit frazzled. The last time the lad had come to her store, it was with a purpose in mind.

"Did ye three have somethin' ta' ye needed in particular? If it's quick, it may be that I can help ye' out."
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Zoey grinned at Moira, it had to easily be the happiest the woman had ever seen the girl. Then she blinked in surprise as she realized that Moira knew Sebastian.

"You know Sebastian?" Zoey was very nearly flabbergasted. Skins, the jock farmboy knew Moira?!? She knew the world had just gone crazy, but fuck. This was really weird. "Sebastian, you know Moira?" Finally she closed her mouth and raised her eyebrows. "Wow, now that's a small world."

She shook off the surreal feeling that had come over her at how weird life had just gotten and returned to her grin. "Anyway, Moira, I have got to show you this. I can open holes in reality! We just stepped from Vancouver into your reading room in one step. How cool is that?"

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"And she is telling the truth, I can testify that - unless you're part of the trip Ms. Moira.", Valentine said with unusual easyness. This was just too awesome to not go all bonkers about it. Valentine smiled at Zoey and said a lot more serene, "This is so much cooler than what happened to me. You can actually do something extraordinary and useful."

Valentine was excited even more so for Zoey. She sure had deserved a better time after her break up with Ted. He hoped he could be part of it and even if it was just for a mere seconds then he'd treasure those seconds till his dying days. His eyes were full of compassion and admiration for Zoey as he got absorbed by her.

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"Hi Moira...ma'am" Sebastian said blushing. Having never expected to see her again, he suddenly felt very guilty for all those morning-shower fantasies.

Turning to Zoey, if to break eye contact with Moira than anything else, "I told you back at Arby's I knew her, you're just too hyper."

"Now, before I pronounce myself legally insane, and call the Vatican for having witnessed miracles, or demonic activity maybe you could explain why Zoey here can create trans-dimensional portals...and don't say she's an angel or a witch, because that is such a cop-out answer." He said, glancing back at the Irish beauty.

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Moira listed to Zoey and Sebastian's claims, and ran a hand over her face for a minute, drawing in a deep breath. Then she looked at the three again, and stopped for a minute - really looking them over. Her face paled a bit, and her tongue darted out and moistened suddenly-dry lips.

"I don't know, lad. But yer not not the first ones showin' up t'day on th' doorstep. Come with me. An' be nice ta the man in the livin' room.. he's vera nice, but.. a bit slow."

She turned around briskly, and hurried back up the stairs, into the apartment. She opened the door, and walked back in, smiling warmly at John as he turned and waved at her.

"John, these are some friend's o'mine. We're gonna take a look at my book, and yers too, alright lad?" She picked up the two books off of the coffee table, and laid them both on the dining table she had in the same room. First, she opened up her own book to the page in the back with the picture of the seven of them. Then she opened up the binder with John's drawings to the portrait of the same seven, and laid it next to the picture of the book, comparing the two. After a moment, she hesitantly laid her fingertips on the pages of her own book, and.. waited.

"Lemme see if.."

Click to reveal..
(13:43:15) Trying to get answers from the book.. ChatBot: (Moira) rolls 3d10 and gets 1,3,6 = 0 suxx/botch. Faaaantastic.
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John looked over at the youngsters from where he sat on the floor five feet from the T.V, leaning towards the animated shennanigans on the screen with evident glee. On seeing the three teenagers come in, his goofy grin faded to a shy smile and he reached for the remote, his huge hand closing around it and gently thumbing the television to 'off'. Mother had told him it was rude to ignore people, especially for teevee. In an attempt at surreptitious behaviour, he looked away for a moment whilst making sure he didn't have pizza all over him, then satisfied he slowly and delicately got his feet under him, standing up... then up some more.

"He-Hello." He said uncertainly to Zoey, Sebastian and Valentine. "My... name is John." His speech was slow and deliberate, as though he would get partway into a sentence or concept then have to pause whilst some invisible typesetter lined up the next handful of words. But his light brown eyes were alert and curious as he stepped over to the table, patiently waiting to see whatever Moira was looking for. He offered a large hand to the teens. "Pleased to meet... you."

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Moira's eyes rolled up into her head and she collapsed to the floor, the strange-looking book clenched in her hands.

Click to reveal..
The world was a wash of grey cinders, the smell of fire and sulfer everywhere. Blinking through the fall of fine ash, Moira found herself in some alien landscape. The sky was patched with clouds of black ash and a sickly orange sky, the sun above blazing a far brighter yellow-white than her native one ever had. She was standing on a cliffside above a great plain that was crisscrossed with deep trenches that hissed and coughed in dying gasps as the crust of the planet groaned beneath her feet. Out near what she assumed was the center of the great plain was a great ring spinning in the air. It was golden in color and looked both metallic and manufactured, the large links of the ring spinning and sliding over one another in a dizzying dance. Heat radiated from it, the earth their scorched into waves of dark glass cresting outward from the giant artifact.

It came to her, as knowledge does in dreams and visions, that this was not a plain, it had been an ocean. With that came the knowledge that this was not some far distant world, it was home, and it was in the final throws of planetary death. The ring was slowing down, the parts slipping out of alignment and losing whatever quality it was that had kept it weightless in the air. Each crash into the glass beneath it shudder hundreds of miles of tortured crust, sending tremors even to the cliffs she stood upon.

A hand touched her shoulder, turning her from the horrifying specter of Earth's final moments. The man attached to that hand was too perfect to exist in a place like this. He stood before her nude and entirely without shame; his presence radiated a cool power and sorrowful kindness that made her weep. Only his eyes gave away his inhuman nature, blue light shining out from his face without any hint of an actual eye. His voice was strong and resonated within her, imparting his meaning even if, like the book, he spoke in words she did not know.

"This has not yet come to pass. There is time, however short. Gather your siblings to you. You are the guide, but they are the actions and the choices. Do not seek to reach so far again, child, or it will be the death of you. You are still mortal enough to perish."

And then there was darkness.

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Sebastian's eye's widened as he watched her open the books, "Is...is that us?!" he said in shock as he pointed down at the table.

He didn't have much time to ponder the implications of all this, and the mass confusion running through his mind as Moira collapsed.

Dodging John's outstreched hand, he darted to the the woman of his wet dreams, quickly making sure that she was breathing. Even as he was checking for a pulse with a clammy, shaky hand, the temperature in the room dropped dramatically from a comfortable 72 degrees to a rather chilly 54.

"What on God's Green Earth is going on?" he pleaded.

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Moira groaned a little, and her grip on the book relaxed. It feel out of her hand and hit the ground with a "thunk". Her eyes fluttered open, and she grabbed onto the hand Sebastian was holding to take her pulse, using it to pull herself up with so that she could lean against the wall.

"Oh, fuckin' gods.. Zoey, lass, could ye get me some Tylenol or somethin' outta the cabinet in the bathroom? I think m'head's gonna split open here in a minute.."

Her words sounded a bit faint. She took a deep breath, trying to manage the throbbing in her head, but she was in pain, and it was obvious. Her eyes flickered hazily at the group, and she pointed at Valentine.

"You.. lad, go int'a the office an grab a notepad from the top drawer o'the desk, would ye?"

Moira wasn't ever sure she'd be able to burn that vision out of her mind, or the words the man had said. But she'd better write them down.. just in case. It never hurt to be well documented.. especially if you were responsible for making sure the world didn't end in fire and ash.

Gods almighty, I'm losin' m' mind if I believe all this nonsense..

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Sebastian instinctively helped her sit up, jumping in surprise a little when she woke up so fast.

Originally Posted By: Moira Fitzgerald
...I think m'head's gonna split open here in a minute.."

He backed up a little to give her space, savoring the feeling of her touch, but at the same time, watching and waiting for her head to actually split open.

"Anyone else notice that it just got really, really cold?"

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Valentine's mind was racing with possiblities - whatever happened to him had also at least happened to Zoey which was extremely cool in his book. He was still too engrossed with what was going on when Moira suddenly dropped to book and fell unconsciously to the floor. Before he could muster the thought and initiative to help Sebastian was already all over her and checking her out.

The red haired woman quickly regained her consciousness while Valentine was still wondering why on earth it has gotten so cold of a sudden. As if Sebastian read his mind he asked just the same.

Valentine didn't have the time to answer though - Moira wanted her notepad and the way she asked him to get it left no doubt of how important that was to her. Moving seemed to be a good idea anyway given the sudden drop of temperature so Valentine left and returned as fast as he could and gave Moira the notepad.

He didn't say anything and just waited moving closer to Zoey with imploring eyes. If she was feeling cold he would offer her some body warmth... only if she asked, though.

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Zoey shivered as she witnessed the events of those few seconds. She definitely was not the only one to have received unusual gifts. She was starting to wonder if everyone on Earth had been changed when Moira asked for Tylenol. She rushed into the bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet. Sure enough there was a bottle of extra strength in there. She rushed back to hand Moira the opened bottle and handed her a the Arby's sprite she had in her other hand to wash them down with. "Uh, what just happened Moira? Something very weird is going on. Very cool but very weird. Did everyone get super powers or something, or is it just us?"

Even with everything that had just happened she noticed the looks that Sebastian gave Moira and breathed a sigh of relief. It was cool having two guys like her but damned uncomfortable too, especially knowing that Sebastian wasn't really interested in her just needing someone after the breakup with Laura. He obviously had a thing for Moira though at least a crush. Him knowing her was almost as weird as everyone developing abilities. What were the chances that two teens from Vancouver would know a store owner in Portland? Two goth kids maybe. She could see that even buy that kind of coincidence, but farmboy jock and Moira? Either there was more to Sebastian than she thought or something was bringing them together.

Not waiting for Moira's reply she looked to Sebastian, "Ok, you told me you knew Moira back at Arby's, but I didn't think you meant 'this' Moira. I mean we live what 500km from Portland. I don't mean to be nosy, but how do you know Moira? This is just too big of a coincidence to believe."

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Moira took the drink from Zoey gratefully, and swallowed three of the Tylenol before handing it back. Then she took the notepad from the shy boy, and smiled a little wearily at him.

"Thank ye, lad. He's been in the shop once b'fore, Zoey lass, nothin' major. Now give me a momen', I want ta write this down b'fore I forget."

Moira took a moment to breathe, and glanced at Sebastian briefly. It was a simple glance, but he could tell by it that she would leave the reasoning he had been at her store for him to divulge. Moira understood secrets. Then she scribbled something down in the notebook. It took a couple minutes, and they saw her do some quick sketches of some sort of landscape as well, with something floating in the sky, and then a face with glowing eyes. They weren't the best, and looked more like something that was meant to jog her memory than anything else. Then she sat the notebook down and looked up at the anxious teenagers with a little sigh. She could hear the voice echoing over and over, like a song that gets stuck in your head.

"You are the guide, but they are the actions and the choices.."

"I wish I had answers fer ye, lass. At least, better ones than I do. All I know is that this mornin', some fella delivered this here book ta me.. Oh, Hades below, I dropped it again, didn't I?"

She muttered something quietly under her breath, and reached for the book. She hesitated for a brief moment before touching it again. Then she picked it up carefully with the piece of acid paper that had been wrapped around it before, and stood up slowly, trying to ignore the fact that the room was still spinning. They saw her waver a bit, but she placed the book carefully on the table and accepted the chair that John carefully pulled out for her, and patted his hand gently. She could tell the whole incident has startled him, and that the gentle giant seemed worried, and a bit scared.

"Thank ye lad. Now, as I was sayin'.. this got delivered ta' me this mornin'. The thing might be older than the bloody Pyramids of Giza, so it would probably be best if I stopped droppin' it like a hot potata, now wouldn't it? At first I thought it some kinda prank.. but it looks old, even if it ain't as old as tha', it might still be some kind of occult reproduction or somethin'... but tha's not the weird part. This is."

She opened the book again carefully, this time handling it through the acid paper. She motioned to the white cotton glove, and one of the teenagers retrieved it for her. She carefully slipped it on, looking for all the world like an archeologist or museum curator instead of a pagan occult store owner. Then she gently, gently turned the pages until she found the picture. She opened it, laying it out for all of them to see, John included.

Description Recap, from Moira's Intro Fic: The sketch reminded her of a family portrait, although she certainly never belonged to such a family. But there she was, slightly to the right of center, wearing her usual corset and skirt. On either side of her were two men, one Asian and dressed in the classic samurai outfit she remembered from a trip to Japan during Golden Week. The other was dressed in denim overalls and looked like someone lost a greek god in a field in Iowa. Behind her and leaning down as if he was whispering into her ear was the most beautiful (sketch of a) man Moira had ever seen. Her heart fluttered when she glanced at him and she tried to memorize every detail from way his eyes seemed to gaze past her in sketch to the hand on her shoulder and the cuff of an expensive suit that could be seen beyond that hand. In front of the four of them were three teenagers, posing like the picture was some yearbook spoof. Two of them looked like the goths she had in and out of her store every day, and the other was wearing a football jersey. He looked lost.

As they looked, she took John's binder again and opened it. She hesitated for a moment at one of the drawings. She recognized it now as the same scene from her vision, bound and protected in plastic. She swallowed slightly, then flipped over to the other drawing of the same group, in a more casual pose, and drawn for a more child-like mind, though not with any less quality. She laid it down next to her book.

"I'd say a couple hours or so after I got tha' book, John here showed up. He said someone had brought this to him in the hospital. He got hit by a meteor las' night, an' I know 'e ain' tellin' a tale cause when I called the hospital an' told 'em I had a lad here that got hit by a meteor, and we needed ta' talk ta' his Ma, so she didn' worry, they knew exactly who I was talkin' about. Nobody shoulda' been able ta survive tha'. An.. an when I touch the book, sometimes.. I keep seein' things. Like visions, or somethin'. I dunno. I soun' like a bloody hippie new-ager now, don' I? Visions."

She laughed sharply, and a little bitterly, running a hand across her face.

"I don' even know why I'm tellin' ye kids this, excep' fer the fact that there ain' no reason fer a book tha' looks ta be th' oldest artifact I've ever laid eyes on ta have our picture in it. Maybe this is all some elaborate April Fool's Day joke, an' I'm just losin' m' mind.."

She shivered slightly, and wrapped her arms around herself.

"Good gods, it's bloody freezin' in here."

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Sebastian was speechless, truly speechless. Scared to death too, God had managed to throw him yet another loaf pass and it was all he could do to hang on.

"I dreamt the tornado," he whispered, his gaze far off, "I wanted to hurt them, I made it destroy the school."

By the time he was done, he was barely audible and silent tears were running down his face. He collapsed into the nearest chair, burying his head into his arms in embarassment on the table and he quietly cried, trying to ignore the world.

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Zoey's heart went out to Sebastian. He was obviously messed up over what had happened even if she didn't understand why. Now that she thought about it wasn't there some talk about how you could predict the weather by Sebastian? Maybe he could control weather now? That certainly wouldn't be any weirder than Moira's visions or her own traveling. She still wanted to know what Valentine could do, it had something to do with singing...

She put a hand on Sebastian's back rubbing gently and looked over at Moira and gave her a look and jerked her head in the boy's direction. The look said 'do something, I don't know what to do.' She also figured it would be better coming from Moira since he seemed to have a crush on her or something.

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Moira's eyes met Zoey's, and they shared a brief glance of feminine empathy for the young man. She reached forward, and placed her hand gently on Sebastian's arm.

"Come on now, lad.. why don' ye tell us what happened - exactly, that is? Ye said ye dreamt about a tornado? Does this have somethin' ta do with what ye came ta talk ta me about before?"

Zoey looked at Moira, and murmured quietly.

"Our school was destroyed by a tornado last night."

Moira nodded at her a little, taking a little breath, and ran her fingers through his hair gently. The touch was soothing, almost motherly in a way, and when she spoke her voice was gentle and caring.

"Was anyone hurt, then, d'ye know?" Zoey shook her head, and explained that no - no one had been hurt that she knew of. Moira nodded again, and turned back to Sebastian. "Ye hear that lad? No one was hurt, an' even if they had been, ye' canna control what happens in yer dreams. 'Twas not a thing ye could've done about it. The only thing ye can try and do is move on, now, if there's someone yer angry at, and let it go."

Moira continued to try and soothe Sebastian, her fingers running through his hair until he finally looked up at her. She brushed the tear streaks from his cheek lightly, and there was no pity or ridicule in her expression.. only understanding. She glanced up at Valentine, looking at him curiously now.

"What about ye, lad? Ye've been awful quiet, but yer in those pictures too. Is there somethin' ye'd like ta tell us about?"

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He'd settled down a little since Moira seemed to be okay, but the big blond giant was sitting nearby with a worried expression on his face as he tried to follow what people were talking about. He smiled a little shyly and nervously as Moira mentioned him being hit by a meat-ee-ore-ite and seemed relieved when the others seemed to take that in stride. He'd been hit by lots of things before. Once he'd been hit with a falling baseball, *thwack* right on his forehead. That had hurt too, he remembered.

Then the boy had started to cry and John stood, clearly upset himself and shuffling nervously from foot to foot as the girl in black and Moira spoke kindly to him. As Moira dried Sebastian's tears the same way Mother had dried John's so many times, John had an idea. Whenever he'd been hurt, or people had been cruel and made him cry, Mother would give him something nice to eat. His brow furrowed as he looked around, then cleared as his honey-brown eyes settled on the last few slices of a pizza. He picked two pieces up, put them on his plate, then held the plate out to Sebastian.

"Pizza makes... it better." He told the young man earnestly, nodding and smiling as he urged Sebastian to take it.

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Sebastian felt a little uncomfortable at the girls sympathy, he wasn't plying for attention, he just couldn't hold it back anymore. He turned back to staring at the table and nodded in agreement to Moira's advice.

Originally Posted By: Big John
"Pizza makes... it better." He told the young man earnestly, nodding and smiling as he urged Sebastian to take it.

He couldn't help it, the audacity of the offer and the genuine intent behind it broke the cloud and Sebastian laughed. "Yeah John it does." The rumbling in the young athelete's stomach confirmed that maybe John was a little more insightful than his exterior implied. Or maybe it was just the fact that aside from a couple curly fries, Sebastian hadn't really eaten much today.

As he accepted the proffered plate, the temperature in the room seemed to lose its edge as the furnace's efforts seemed to be finally making a difference. "Thanks big guy." He took the food as a reason to avoid dealing with the issue of two attractive women coddling him while he broke down. Or that, deny it all he wanted, the temperature flux was irrefutably because of him.

His gaze still haunted by last night's vivid nightmare, he took a bite of pizza and looked at Val, waiting for his response.

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Originally Posted By: Moira Fitzgerald

Moira continued to try and soothe Sebastian, her fingers running through his hair until he finally looked up at her. She brushed the tear streaks from his cheek lightly, and there was no pity or ridicule in her expression.. only understanding. She glanced up at Valentine, looking at him curiously now.

"What about ye, lad? Ye've been awful quiet, but yer in those pictures too. Is there somethin' ye'd like ta tell us about?"

Valentine stared at Moira for a few seconds struggling for words. He didn't feel like he belonged here. Things were happening fast - almost too fast for him. The young boy has gotten used to his secluded life-style. No one ever asked him anything.

As he tried to answer that simple question he felt impotent to answer while his mind raced. He wanted to pour it all out but it was too big. His eyes danced wildly while his mouth was half agape.


Click to reveal..
Is there somethin' ye'd like ta tell us about? The question was as simple as it was terrifying. Of course there is! But where should I start? For example - why did my parents break up? Why do I have to keep my mom from killing herself? Why can't I be just one of the guys? All I want is to be loved. I've got soo much to give but there is no one around who cares. Why can't I simply say how I feel? Whenever I try to speak up I feel nothing all of a sudden. I go numb as the world collapses around me. Nothing really makes much sense - except for the music I keep hearing. It never stops - I can't make it stop. I feel through it - I live through it. Sometimes it's the only thing I think. I wish you could hear what I'm hearing right now, then you'd had an idea of what is going on inside of me. I wish I could cry, I wish I could stop this madness. I wish someone loved me. I wished I knew what all of this means. Will anyone remember me when I'm gone? Can I make my heart stop beating because it aches too much? Do I make any sense?

"I... I can't...", he managed to stutter and his shoulders slumped forward defeated by his inability to share.
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Zoey Black moved back to Valentine's side and put a comforting hand on his arm.

"It's ok, you don't have to say anything right now."

Valentine looked at Zoey, still unsure what to say or what to do. Moira nodded at the boy, looking a bit sorry at the response her question had caused. Zoey glanced at Moira, and spoke up, explaining a bit.

"I think Valentine got a power related to song... I can't say I blame him for not wanting to demonstrate in front of a bunch of people for the first time."

Moira nodded slightly, tilting her head as she looked at him. Valentine shook his head, and Sebastian continued eating the pizza, content to let himself settle down and come to terms with himself. After a moment, Valentine finally spoke up, though hesitantly.

"When I woke up I didn't realize what was going on until later... but I'm still not sure if it has anything to do with what happened to Zoey. I only managed to play one part on my keyboard which I've been practicing on for months - it sounded flawless to me. Maybe I was still dreaming?"

"I don't think it's just me, I think it's all of us. That picture has to mean something. I don't think you were dreaming."

Valentine looked at the picture again. He still seemed to not want to believe it was him. Moira saw the expression, and her face softened.

"Well sure, lad.. I'm sorry, I dinna mean ta put ye on the spot. I coulda done without Sebastian's demonstration too, I imagine.." She smiled playfully at the other boy, her words obviously a jest meant to make the other young man feel more at ease. "Ye can talk ta us about it, if ye like, an we can try ta help ye figure it out, but.. ta be hones', I dunno know what good it will do us. I dunno what to do with all this, whatever it is.."

Moira waved a hand at the book again, and sighed a little, trying to block out the images it had shown her. Zoey murmured quietly to herself for a minute, not noticing the turn the conversation had taken.

"Do you have to be playing an instrument?"

Sebastian, on the other hand, looked straight at Moira and replied.

"You deal with it, like I have my whole life."

Valentine gives Sebastian an inquisitive look, though Zoey looked hopeful, still murmuring to herself.

"Maybe we can find you an instrument."

Valentine finally spoke up, and it seemed to snap Zoey out of her reverie. She paid attention to what the boys were saying.

"I don't understand, Sebastian..."

Zoey nodded, looking sadly back to Sebastian.

"I haven't known you for all that long, have things been bad for you for a long time? I thought it was just your recent problems that were bad."

Moira looked at Sebastian, wondering if the boy was going to give more details. He had been fairly vague the first time he had spoke to her, and she waited with a bit of curiosity herself to find out more. Sebastian scowled, but answered their questions.

"If you're talking about Laura....then yeah, recent. But the freak show crap has been going on since I was born, I met Moira two years ago when I was here, still looking for answers."

He hated sharing all this, they could tell, but they were all apparently in the same boat as he was, or at least least now they were, so it seemed. Moira sighed, and rubbed her hand across her head, trying to push back the headache that they Tylenol didn't seem to be doing much for.

"I wish I'd had more ta give ye, lad.. I've kept looking, I hope ye realize tha'."

Zoey thought about it... it was true there were rumors around the school that you could predict the weather by what kind of mood Sebastian was in. She'd never really believed it, but now... who would've thought? Sebastian glanced at Moira, and muttered quietly.

"I don't blame you, never have. I'm the one that causes natural disasters."

Zoey couldn't help it, the thought ran through her mind briefly that that was nearly as cool as her own ability. Valentine, however, looked compassionately at Sebastian. There was something he could relate to - especially since his break up with Laura.

"I never knew that, Sebastian. Up until a few days ago I hardly participated in any of this. People just passed me by..."

Zoey's enthuasiasm showed in her voice though as she spoke, accidentally cutting Valentine off.

"I think you are being too hard on yourself. Couldn't you just as easily use your gift to do good or something. End droughts or put out forest fires or stuff like that?"

Sebastian's eyes flared angrily, and he half-stood out of his chair, yelling at Zoey.

"Yeah - If I could fucking control it!"

Zoey Black flinched a little, but spoke quietly.

"Maybe you could learn to?"

Moira had watched the three interact for a few moments quietly, her gaze thoughtful if a bit distant. Sebastian's yell brought her back to reality though, and she saw John pull away, looking a bit scared at the young boy's outburst. Moira stood up, and put a comforting hand on his arm.

"It's alright, lad.. Sebastian's just havin' a hard day."

The blonde giant nodded, understanding, but he looked a little sad that the pizza hadn't cheered the other boy up the way he'd hoped it would. Moira turned back to the others, and the look on her face was patient, but firm.

"I know yer havin' a hard time, lad. I'm sure it's been hard, dealin' with such a burden. If I can help ye with it - I swear to ye, I will. But first ye need ta learn, I think, ta get a handle on yer emotions. It sounds like that's where yer troubles stem from."

"I didn't come here to get my head shrunk." he said, still irritated, "I want all this to go away and leave me the Hell alone, I am so tired of it."

Zoey nodded slowly but then again emphatically, paying more attention to Moira's speech than Sebastian's response.

"Yeah! Moira you may be right. The first two times I used my power I was frantic to get somewhere. I was definitely emotional. First time I was late for school and had missed the bus and still half asleep. The second time I was nearly hit by a car and did it reflexively to avoid being run over."

Valentine spoke up, having been watching Sebastian as the girls spoke.

"I'm really sorry what happened to you, Sebastian - honestly. You and Laura..."

He didn't dare finish that thought. Sebastian looked defeated as soon as Laura was brought up, his shoulders sank and he leaned back into his chair as he put his hands over his face. Valentine always thought that Sebastian and Laura where the perfect match. They represented so much he wanted to have - wanted to be.

"Can we please not talk about her."

It was a statement, not a question, and Zoey, seeing Sebastian's reaction, belatedly realized she wasn't being very compassionate.

"Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Sebasitan, It'll be alright really. If you want I can take us all somewhere safe for you to practice. I know you don't want this, but pictures of us in some old book and all of us developing these powers now, there's got to be a reason..."

Valentine swallowd hard and nodded quietly, murmuring an apology. He backed off and waited, deciding to not say anything stupid anymore. Moira sighed, and looked at the three of them, shaking her head.

"I don' think we'd better be messin' aroun' like that lass.. at least not yet, anyway. The.. well, we've got some time, I think.. an maybe there are more comin.."

Zoey glanced quizzically at the book again.

"So what's with that book, is it real? It's got to have been around before we were ever born right? How could our pictures be in it?"

Moira glanced back down at the pictures with a sigh. Valentine looks at Moira and raised an eyebrow at her.

“Are you sure I'm part of this? I'm not sure I belong here right now..."

Moira looked up at Valentine, and her face was gentle, but it held authority to it.

"I dunno lad, you tell me. Yer part of the picture, tha's for sure. Spittin' image of ye. I understand yer shyness - ye don' have ta show us anythin' if ye don't like. But leave yer feelin's about yerself, or yer own worth behin' fer a minute, an' just answer me one question.. has somethin' odd happened to ye? Cause if so, then ye seem ta be right where ye belong."

"Define odd... My whole life is odd."

"You telling me your mood this morning wasn't out of character?" Zoey smirked at him, remembering his excitement this morning before Sebastian's arrival. Moira however, kept pressing the point.

"Out of the ordinary, lad. Inhuman. Like portin' people through space, or creatin' tornados, or survivin' getting hit by a meteor, or seeing things when ye touch a book, like someone plugged ye inta a laptop and streamlined an bad fantasy movie inta yer head."

Moira's lips twitched slightly in amusement. Zoey grinned and squeezed his arm comfortingly.

"It's ok, you don't have to talk about it if you don't want, but I think something happened to you this morning."

Valentine nodded.

"Something – yeah. But nothing as spectacular as you seem to experience. Although I never felt so happy before just before I went to Arby's."

"Arby's has that effect on people."

Sebastian chimed in, finally sounding calm, though a bit droll. Valentine looks at Zoey though, his eyes searching hers. He wanted to tell her so much but this wasn't the right moment nor the right place for it. Moira seemed a bit less inclined to let him off the hook, however. She was gentle, and compassionate about it - but her tone reminded him of a doctor - someone with his best intentions at heart, who didn't brook a lot of foolishness.

"Well then.. spit it out, lad. Let us decide if it's spectacular or no.. ye don' seem ta have a very high opinion o'anything comin' from yerself, so we might be a bit more straightforward about it."

"I've never shared any of this with anyone before. I'm not even in the school orchestra."

He tried to dodge the subject, but Moira merely arched a brow and looked at him patiently. It briefly reminded Zoey - a Harry Potter fan - of the kind of look Albus Dumbledore might have given Harry Potter. Zoey had a hard time keeping a straight face for a moment. As Valentine spoke, his voice had definitely changed, though only Sebastian and Zoey could hear. His whole demeanour was a bit different, although he tried to fall back to his old habits. Finally he gave in.

"Do you have a guitar here? Acoustic... preferably."

Moira hesitated for a minute, her mind rummaging through the instruments that she carried in her shop.

"Lesse.. I've got a small harp, some zills fer bellydancin', plenty o'drums.. chimes.."

Zoey chimed in enthuasiastically.

"I can open a gateway to the music store in Vancouver if you want and you can grab one real quick."

Valentine glanced at her a little stunned.

"Isn't that stealing?"

Moira turned to Zoey sharply, and shook her head.

"No ye don', lass.. not aroun' me."

Zoey Black blushed a little at their reactions.

"You don't have to steal it. We could pay."

Sebastian Knight rolled his eyes as the 'weird kid' became the center of attention and wondered how long it would take before he could back to the farm. Valentine thought over Moira's suggestions for a moment.

"I think I could tune a harp to sound like a Guitar."

Moira turned back to Valentine, and shook her head.

"No guitar lad, I'm sorry - but I do have a keyboard downstairs, fer the man who comes every week ta play soul music.. willl tha' do?"

Valentine nods at the offered keyboard, and Moira stepped back over ta the door, hurried down the stairs, and grabbed the keyboard and stand. She brought it back upstairs, plugged it in, and set it down.

"Alright, then.. go ahead, lad.. show us what ye've got."

“That'll do.” Valentine nodded as he looked at it, murmuring quietly, but he looked at it hesitantly for a moment, until Moira spoke up.

"Pretend we're not even here, lad. Just.. go on an' play."

"I've never played this before. I'm doing this from memory - That's the truth."

Zoey waited but looked expectantly to Valentine. She susptected that she was about to be amazed. Valentine slowly layed his hands on the keyboard and closed his eyes. His breathing became slower, and then he started to play. As the music filled the room it seemed to come not only from the keyboard, but from all around them. Halfway into the song they began to hear violins start to play. It took them a moment to realize that should have been impossible – he only had a keyboard, after all.

Sebastian shook his head, the same thought running through his mind over and over.

I must be dreaming, this can't really be happening...I just destroyed the school and Dad is still yelling at me, come on, wake up, wakeupwakeupwakeup...

Suddenly the lighting in the room began to change as the images of Valentine's mind started to manifest. The whole setting began to blur into a scenic landscape. The other three people found themselves on a green meadow, staring at a beautiful snow-covered mountain in the distance. They could even the chriping of birds through the music.

Zoey had been expecting to be impressed, but this went beyond her imagination. "Wow." That was all she could think to say, she was at a loss for words. Moira gasped silently, her fingers resting on Sebastian's shoulder and John's arm unconsciously. She stared at the scenery around them as the music drifted through the air. Her face turned up to the sky, and she almost imagined she could even feel the sun on her skin. Sebastian, however, closed his eyes against the scenery, refusing to acknowledge. He started to sweat profusely with nervousness. Moira let out a little breath at the end, and then sank back down into her chair, letting go of the two boys. After a moment, she murmured softly.

"I think that counts as amazin, lad.."

After a moment Zoey impulsively moved over to Valentine's side and hugged him and whispered quietly to him.

"I think that was amazing."

"I think I'd like to go home now."

Zoey turned as Sebastian spoke, startling her out of her reverie. She was caught between trying to build up Valentine's self-esteem and breaking Sebastian... She let the hug end and glanced to Moira, giving her an imploring look to do something. Moira glanced over at Sebastian, and fought back a little irrational wave of panic at the idea of letting the boy leave. She rubbed a hand across her face, and then jumped a little at the sound of someone knocking at the shop door downstairs. She sighed, a little impatiently, and glanced at Sebastian and the others.

"Well, I suppose I understand that, lad, but do ye mind waitin' in my office fer a few minutes first, while I deal with John's Ma? Then if ye'd like, I'll give ye a ride back ta yer home.. unless ye'd rather step back through space ta get there?"

Her voice had a bit of a sharp edge that she didn't intend, but her head was still throbbing despite the Tylenol, and something that sounded like the voice whispering to her from the book seemed to be urging her not to let him go. And to top it off, now she had to deal with the hospital, or the police, or whoever John's parents might have brought with them.

"Zoey can get me back to my truck. At least I hope so.”

Moira watched him as he spoke, and then stood up with a sigh, and walked to the door.

"Alrigh', lad.. you go ahead an' keep ignorin' it. Surely it'll go away.. I mean it's only been, what.. seventeen years or so now, right? Any minute I'm sure it'll be gone, and ye won't have ta worry about it any more, will ye? Or ye can wait in my office, and we can try an' figure somethin' out. Yer pick."

She motioned for John, and he walked over to her, seemingly relieved to be out of the tense situation that he didn't quite understand. He knew he'd enjoyed the beautiful flowers and mountains and birds and music, though he didn't understand how it had happened. But afterwards, everyone had gotten all upset again, and John didn't know what to say. So when Moira motioned, he followed, and they shut the door behind them, hurrying down the stairs and leaving the teenagers to their own awkward silence.

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Eddie hated airplanes. They were full of people. Worse, the ones that he usually boarded lately were full of Americans. But today, it was easier. He was calmer, his mind less prone to jumping around or shying. He was almost able to relax sometimes.

He landed safely in Portland and caught a cab. It took less time; usually, cabbies ignored him, but tonight they didn't. He wasn't sure why; was it his strange new grace that caught their eyes? Eddie didn't have any way of knowing it was a quiet confidence in what he was becoming.

He pulled up to the shop's address, peering up at the building to take its measure. The neighborhood was quaint, somehow fitting the shop neatly. It was an old-style shop with several stories above it. Eddie guessed that there were apartments above the shop, and while the shop was dark, there were lights on in the upper levels. His target would be there, he was sure. He paid the cab fare, took his bags and considered how to get the attention of the inhabitants.

Something was wrong. His eyes trailed up and down the street, lighting on the police car parked on the street. It was noticeable because it was the only car on the street. Eddie put his bags in the shadow of the shop's door, trusting that they wouldn't easily be seen. He stepped forward and approached the car, noting that it appeared empty.

A middle-aged Asian woman was slumped in the backseat; she was dead or unconscious; it was too dark to tell. Eddie took a glance in the front seat and found the officer. He had been crammed into the floorboard in the front seat. His position had to be painful and might be fatal. The second Eddie thought that he might be in danger, something change in his mind. It lost its hesitant, fuzzy focus, and he acted.

Pulling on the door handle didn't yield results. With a short ki-shout, he drove his elbow into the window, feeling a surge of power as he did so. The window shattered and an alarm sounded. Eddie winced at the loud noise, but he unlocked the door and reached in, pulling out the cop. The radio was calling, but Eddie ignored it for a moment. To his relief, the cop was still alive.

He ducked back into the car. Grabbing the radio, he keyed it and said, "There is an injured officer and woman here. Please send help."

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The button on the radio pressed in, but he never felt the click that would switch it over to live mic; the cut cord dangled into view.

Inside, the sirens sounded dimly in the apartment followed by the staccato of boots coming swiftly up the steps.

Click to reveal..
I need perc+awareness rolls from everyone, as well as initiative rolls.
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Click to reveal..

Eddie, his senses on hyper-alert, noticed a couple of very important things. First, his bags had slumped against the doorway and were pushing it inward, revealing that it had been forced. Second, he saw forms wearing black rushing up stairs inside the building.

Eddie expected to be frozen with fear when faced with modern ninjas. Instead his mind said, do this and he did it. Now, it was telling him to follow them quietly, to ambush them before they could use the weapons he saw them carrying on innocents. So he did, trailing them decisively and without fear.
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Joani :

Click to reveal..

Joani - I've rolled for you because of time issues. I need to move this along.

Valentine's Perception: 2 suxx

7d10 → [7,1,1,10,5,2,5] = (31)

Valentine initiative: 15

1d10 → [9] = (9)


Click to reveal..
I'm not posting up my rolls for the badguys as I don't particularly want to tell you guys what their die pool is and posting up a whole bunch of die rolls for me is tedious. Let me know if that's a big issue or not. We're going to go ahead with the story even though John's been a bit awol; I'll llama his character until he gets back.

Inside the sound of boots slamming up the steps became louder as whomever it was hit the tarot-reading landing and started up the stairs to the apartment itself. Moira caught the flash of metal in the hands of one of the figures on the stairs as they raised the gun and took aim up at them. The other figure slipped impossibly onto the wall and continued up towards them, a living shadow chasing the bullets. Moira and John felt the projectiles pass near them, ripping clothes and burning skin but somehow miraculously failing to injure either of them.

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The loud bangs of gunfire and the sounds of what seemed like a SWAT team racing up the stairs had Sebastian quickly to his feet. The adrenaline pumping fast as fear took control of his actions, he ran to the goth-girl and grabbed her.

"Zoey, we need to get outta here fast!"

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Zoey was in complete agreement. This was turning out to be the strangest day of her life and the next closest day didn't come within a thousand miles of as weird as this one. Speaking of a thousand miles, that's about how far she wanted to be from this particular spot right now. She reached within herself and willed space to rip open providing her and her friends with a quick escape. Straight into her bedroom at home. Her parents would disown her if thugs broke up the place...

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Eddie came up the stairs in a rush, still moving with that sure speed that allowed for no hesitation or fear. He felt the need to protect the innocents above, not pound down the shooter. Doing violence should have scared or shocked him, but it was a faraway feeling.

He slammed his shoulder into the man shooting, but didn't pause to see if it had felled him. Instead, he continued up the stairs, seeking the familiar stranger above on the stairs. He came to a light-footed stop next to her, turning to face the shadowy figure above on the stairs. "Go! I'll hold him!"

Some part of him was shocked at the way he was acting but he didn't have time to think about it.

Click to reveal..
Shoulder-checking the shooter (last Mega): 3 sux

1d10=2, 1d10=9, 1d10=5, 1d10=10, 1d10=6, 1d10=10, 1d10=3

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Swallowing the fear of seeing an inter-spatial pathway open in front of him for the second time today, he dove through, fearing the very real bullets instead of his imaginary thoughts of walking himself into Hell.

Exiting into the room, he quickly looked around to catch his bearings, shaking off the mild vertigo from the abrupt transition.

Click to reveal..
Perc + Aware

(22:31:55) ChatBot: (Skins) rolls 5d10 and gets 4,6,10,9,9. [3]

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There were a series of thuds and the gun-wielding assailant lost his balance from Eddie's unexpected attack and tumbled back down the steps to the first floor of the shop. He started cussing in something that sounded suspiciously French about halfway down.

The other shadow figure continued it's impossible progress along the wall, making it's way inside the apartment. As Sebastian made his leap through the wormhole, the shadow detached itself from the wall and because a tall figure also dressed in black and wielding a silenced pistol.

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Zoey didn't hesitate, once she saw that the others were making it through the opening she rush through herself. She waited to make sure everyone invited came through before allowing the hole to wink out of existance. With the way this day was going she wouldn't be surprised if there were ninja's in her house too. She was prepared to open another opening immediately and this one would be further away, much further.

Click to reveal..

Perception + Awareness:

(22:16:49) ChatBot: (Zoey) rolls 8d10 and gets 2,5,3,9,9,1,8,3.

3 successes

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Moira was about to take the man's advice, but the shadow passed them and moved into the apartment. Running in there now would be foolish, it seemed. Moira glanced helplessly between the man at the bottom of the stairs and the door of the apartment, unsure of what to do now.

Click to reveal..
Holding action, if possible.
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Valentine simply rolled with the situation unable to comprehend what was going on. One minute he was playing on the piano and the next all hell broke out. He hoped this wasn't connected to his new found abilities - summoning hell would really suck as a power.

He jumped through the Warpgate more concerned about staying close to Zoey than about his own safety. Somehow he didn't really feel threatened, just confused.

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Moira might have hesitated at the sight of the man manifesting out of the wall, but John had finally decided to act. He scooped up the Irish shop-owner, and putting his broad back to the shadow-assailant he jumped through the impossible hole.

On the stairs, Eddie could see the shadow become a person and follow the odd actions of the others in the building as they rushed into the room with the second gunman. Perhaps there was an exit to the roof on the upper floor? Regardless, he'd seen the woman in the painting, her hair a vibrant red instead of the faded brown on the parchment but her features unmistakable. She'd been picked up by one of the others, one not dressed in assassin black, and taken out of his line of sight into the room with the shadow-man.

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Eddie followed them, coming up the stairs in a rush. His eyes widened when he saw the egress from the room, but he didn't seem to have to stop to process that oddity. Instead, he sought out the shadow-man, moving to grab him in a throw and put him on the ground. That should allow the beautiful red-head time to escape through the... portal.

Click to reveal..
Eddie's Dex+Martial Arts (last mega): 8 sux!

1d10=7, 1d10=3, 1d10=10, 1d10=9, 1d10=9, 1d10=9, 1d10=10

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Moira let out a little gasp as she saw the portal. In her fright, she had forgotten about the girl's ability, and she felt a wave of relief wash over her. She struggled for a moment to get out of John's arms, but they were holding her tight so instead she pointed.

"John, over there lad! Through the black hole - tha's where th' others went!"

John didn't quite understand how the others were able to leave through a hole - he didn't see anything on the other side of it, after all. But Mother had always told him if it was dangerous, he should listen to someone in charge. Moy-rah wasn't a police officer or anything like Mother had mentioned, but she seemed to know what she was doing. So without thinking about it too much right now, he ran over to the hole and straight into it, ducking a little like he would have a doorway to make sure his head went into the hole too.

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