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Nathan raised a brow as soon as Jherrichho spoke, but did his best to listen to the presented offer nonetheless. There was something off about the way he spoke compared to usual. Did Nathan get the wrong idea about him before, or was there something off about this person he had thought to be so simple? The lack of warmth from him this time around was also noteworthy, or was the kind face just a facade? He had too many questions and not nearly enough answers.
The offer if it was valid was a decent one. Though it could easily be something simple that would provide no real value to him. Especially with how Jherrichho's behavior had changed. Still, Nathan could possibly press if necessary to glean the information that he actually sought from the offer that was on the table. It might not work out well with how the other man was acting though. Everything would depend on what it was that he was being requested to do, but Nathan would at least agree to hear him out for now.
It did not take long after that for Molly to make her appearance with a quiet announcement of her intention to help. Nathan gave her a nod in greeting that was reciprocated as she made her way to his side. That was the easiest position for them to have their meeting as it allowed the two groups to face each other. Which was an important fact in Nathan's eyes as he was still hesitant to trust this Jherrichho. Not to mention his distaste towards working with Chrysanth after that cold look she had given him just a short while ago.
Molly noticed the difference in tone as soon as Jherrichho spoke as it lacked the simple kindness that she was used to from the young man. She had interacted with him often enough when they were helping out with things. He was usually volunteered for them given his physical attributes, and unlike some of the other gifted members of the school he rarely deserted them. Despite the difference she kept her mouth shut. This may not be the kind young man that she was used to, but the man that stood before her requested her help and that was enough for her.
Eyes widened and a gasp escaped from one of them as Jherrichho explained why he had asked them for help. One could do a tremendous amount of damage with that material and both of them were well aware of it. Nathan especially knew that there were some potentials out there that could do some terrifying things with that kind of information. Just the idea of conspiring like this would provide more than enough rope for them all to hang. Molly's record was good enough that she could probably get herself pardoned for it, but Nathan's rapport with authority was not so good. If they got caught he would certainly suffer for it.
That thought made him hesitate as he looked at Maurica since it was not just his own position he had to be concerned with after having invited her. He would normally jump at the opportunity if only to find out what motivated it. This time was different though as not only did he have Maurica to worry about, but there was also something off about the person requesting his help. If it were the usual Jherrichho that would be one thing as his motives should be pure. The Jherrichho standing before him though was not such a simple man, and that was before taking into account the fact that he was with Chrysanth.
His hesitation was shared by Molly despite her being in a better position to help them. She could just as easily go back inside and alert one of the security personnel to what they were planning out here. If they needed it that badly the security guard should help them out, right? And if they were just trying to do something bad he would be able to figure it out. If not for Nathan having demonstrated a lack of trust in authority she probably would not hesitate to do that, but she knew her trust in the Legion was not shared by everyone.
Her hesitance was wiped away though as Chrysanth made a passionate plea for help. Even after spending over a year in class together; this was the first time that Chrysanth spoke up to ask her for help. The woman that warned of the world being a carnivorous plant was going out on a limb to trust her. That tugged at Molly's heartstrings enough to make her eyes misty as she nodded along to her explanation.
While Molly's hesitation was being blasted away by Chrysanth's request it only served to make Nathan more hesitant as he remembered the troubling look that she had given him. If not for her mention of the two strange individuals and the tremor he would have walked away. Those events were enough to get the gears grinding though as he looked at the ground in contemplation and absentmindedly adjusted his scarf. Perhaps his skill as a witness would come in handy after all. Although it meant that he would need to be one of the ones to see the security footage to confirm his suspicions. That should be easy enough to arrange given his talents though.
[b “I'll help. I can only get us into the faculty area, but it's a start.”]
Jherrichho made a good choice in requesting Molly as she had more than enough connections to make getting into the faculty area easy. Even her connections would not get them right into the security room though. That would be the hard part, or it would be if not for the fact that they lucked into a particularly good candidate for a break in. Nathan had contemplated breaking into the security room in the past as part of his job. Although he never did as far as anyone is aware; he still had the tools available to him, and with Molly's help it would be a much easier accomplishment.
[b “If it's today's footage you want we'll need to do it soon. I'll work with Molly so I'll help out too, but only if we're going to go about this the smart way.”]
Nathan paused at that statement as it made something else click into place though. He cast a glance at Chrysanth before focusing his attention on Jherrichho and giving a wide smile that was only visible by the effect around his eyes. [b “Molly and I will handle it. We'll have the footage for you tomorrow and we can meet in the newspaper room. Nobody's going to be using it for a while anyway.”]
Nathan's declaration drew Molly's attention to him, but she was quick to throw her support behind him. [b “It's a promise.”]
/ 1y 123d 10h 56m 18s
[+teal [i He IS like me,]] Chrysanth realized as Jherrichho spoke, eyes widening slightly.
[+purple Interesting,] the voice in Chrys’s head purred. The girl shrugged it off, focusing on what was being told to her.
[+teal “It can be scary to have another side of yourself that you don’t understand,”] Chrys whispered back, vibrant blue eyes locked on the boy. She wanted to say more, but couldn’t because that was when Nathan walked up. Chrys straightened up, but took a step back to allow herself to slightly fade into the background. She knew she was the person that everybody was going to trust least just out of virtue of the fact that none of them knew her and only saw the cold persona she put on for them.
Once Dark Jherrichho started speaking, annoyance slowlynstarted trickling into her. [+teal [i At least [b try] to sound like the normal Jherrichho. These guys are going to be suspicious of you now,]] she thought in exasperation. The voice in her head luckily remained quiet, knowing that it was just as unsubtle as Dark Jherrichho.
Chrys’s eyes shot open when Jherrichho offered to show Nathan what his Potential did to his arm, instantly alert. [+teal “What the hell are you thinking?”] she hissed softly, worried. She snapped her jaw shut at the wink he gave her, rubbing her forehead and deciding just to let him go through with his plan. Maybe he knew something she—
The steam she had seen when Dark Jherrichho has taken over. Chrys’s eyes shot up to land on her friend. Could the arm be healed?
[+teal [i If it’s healed... oh you are one tricky sonofabitch,]] she thought slyly, working hard to keep her amusement off her face.
When Molly showed up, Chrys went back to being as stoic as possible. She listened to the plan, she’d mouth slightly twisting downward. Molly was very much a do-gooder, someone who always followed the rules. She wouldn’t agree to do something so blatantly against the rules like stealing security footage unless there was a really, really good reason.
Looks like to was up to Chrysanth to provide that reason. Her eyes shot to Dark Jherrichho when he spoke to her, and she nodded before crossing her arms. She bummed out loud in thought for a moment.
[+teal “I know that what Jherrichho is saying sounds ridiculous and dumb,”] she said, clearly not caring about how harsh she might sound. [+teal “Asking you to take security footage is a huge, huge deal. But he isn’t being overboard here, he’s... he’s missing chunks of his memory from [i today]. And...”] Chrysanth’s mouth turned into a full frown, her eyebrows slightly furrowing in worry. [+teal “I know it doesn’t sound like much, but while he was in the office I felt as if something was [i wrong]. I was about to leave to ditch the rest of the day because the feeling was too heavy to ignore, and I saw a man and a woman I had never seen before leaving the school. The way the man felt... that wasn’t natural. I don’t know if he has anything to do with what is going on with Jherrichho, but something tells me that we need to figure out who that man is if we want to figure out what’s going on,”] she knew that she was most likely catching Nathan and Molly off guard. After all, Chrysanth hardly ever spoke more than a sentence unless forced to by a teacher. Hopefully her little speech would show her how important this was.
[+teal “And that tremor... it couldn’t have been a normal one,”] she spoke softly, barely loud enough for the two people with them to hear. [+teal “A tremor that big would have been felt all across the city if it was normal. My mother would have called me, she always notifies me when a tremor that big happens because it always knocks glass off the shelves that’s i have to repair if we want to be able to sell it, but I haven’t gotten a single text from her. If you guys can at least figure out if that tremor was only felt around the school, that could show you that something weird is going on. Why would only [i this building] shake and there be no announcement about it?”]
Jherrichho smiled slightly at her question, something that didn’t happen often in this state. Of corse he’d relish the chance to speak after being locked away inside for so long. It hit him harder than he had expected, the interest in all of this.
[+purple “A good question”], he said as he buttoned up his jacket. [+purple “If I’m making things as simple as possible I am Jherrichho, but also something else. Something darker, more demonic than he can muster on his own. I am power, yet he sees me as a weakness. Through his releasing of emotions I can tear through the barrier he has in place that holds me back. It’s the way of projection that decides how dangerous he becomes. The purple, on the other hand, is me. If his eyes are like this then it’s me. You’ll tell if he’s feeling it himself.”]
He looked around for a moment before approaching her and standing right by her side. Just close enough to speak in a lower voice yet still have Chrys hear him. [+purple “He’s always filled with fear because he knows me just as I know him. We are the same, yet far too different.”] Jherrichho sighed and crossed his arms. [i [+maroon I’m... not weak... I'm... still fighting...] ] His thoughts pleaded with him, unavoidable and unable to be ignored. [+purple “He struggles for peace because he fears what he might do if left unchecked. Yet he can’t struggle too much or it will force its way out. He hopes for balance but doesn’t understand why his potential is so heavy a burden. He’ll find out soon enough though”], he said as his eyes shot to her.
His cheeks lit up a bright red and he shook his head a bit. [+purple “It’s hard to believe that I can’t keep him from doing that even when I’m in control”], he said under his breath. The quiet didn’t last long though as his ears twitched and a smile stretched across his face. [+purple “Now we’ve got company. Let’s get this over with quickly so I can rest again.”] He stood up strait and looked at the school side entrance to the meeting spot. His eyes sharpened and the purple glow focused on the figure that came around the corner. It seemed that Nathan would be the first to arrive.
[+purple “I wouldn’t say better, but there are no more annoyances”], he started before straitening out his face. [+purple “I’ll make this quick. I’m going to need your help with something. Once Molly arrives I’ll elaborate but for now I’ll give you your incentive.”] Jherrichho lifted his bandaged arm up and raised his sleeve. [i [+maroon Don’t... make that... promise.] ] His thoughts pleaded as a sinister smile overtook his face. [+purple “If you two can manage to help me I will show you what my potential did to this arm. No games, no hidden agendas, just something no one else has ever seen. That’s my offer to you if this works out”], he said before turning to Chrys and giving a devilish wink. [+purple “My potential isn’t something I can freely just show, but this is at least something I can show you.”]
Just as he finished a voice from the end of the alley caught his attention, but it was a familiar voice. A tall figure rose up and a smile could be seen on her face. [+purple “Molly, I’m glad you could come on such short notice. I’ll be blunt. Something isn’t right and I need the resource between the two of you to help me discover what that is.”] He made sure to keep himself between the and Chrys. Although he wasn’t as tall as her Jherrichho wouldn’t allow too much attention to be brought to her. [+purple “If you’re willing to accept I need to see the security footage for the school. I know the room that keeps all the security footage is in the school and I don’t know if either of you have access to their equipment. Either way it would make things much easier with your help.”]
He tightened his scarf and looked around to see if anyone else was listening to their conversation. [+purple “It’s your choice if you choose to help, but I will act on my own if I must”], he said before turning to Chrys leaning in close. [+purple “If you want to say anything now is the time. I don’t know exactly how you feel about the plan itself, but I’m open to any changes if you have suggestions”], he whispered before turning back to the others and leaning against the wall. All he had to do was keep from being too harsh and this would go easily. Simple.
[h3 [center Molly]]Nathan said to keep everything a secret even if it meant she had to lie to do it. Lies were something to be avoided as honest communication had been integral to her ability to work as the president. She knew there were little lies that everyone used everyday, but this did not feel the same. Jherrichho was hurt enough that even Nathan was concerned for his well being and they were meeting outside of the school instead of with the nurse. The nurse even had a potential that could help!
Of course Chrysanth was involved and that muddied the waters. Molly thought well of her given her work ethic, but she had no way to truly judge the woman after all of her attempts at communication were shot down. Nathan said she should be cautious about this meeting. She hated to admit that he might be right that Chrysanth might not be the most trustworthy individual. Maybe she was a part of that carnivorous world she talked about.
The thoughts made Molly sick as she made her way to Mr. Ramirez's class using a less traveled route. She might stick out like a sore thumb thanks to her popularity and her height, but she knew the layout of the school better than anyone. A benefit of having been the leader of multiple organizations throughout the school. Years of maneuvering objects through the halls meant she knew everything there was to know about visibility, and although she would never admit it there were times she had used that knowledge to avoid anyone stopping her during her travels. There were times when even she just wanted to be alone.
She managed to make it to Mr. Ramirez's class undetected and managed to get her bike away stealthily. After that she had a clear path to the meeting spot. It would take her a while to get there that way though as she had to crouch to keep from being seen from a distance. One of the drawbacks of being so tall was that she stood out. Usually she liked that as it made it easier for the rest of the student body to find her when they needed something, but now it just hampered her.
Her slow pace left her with more time to think about what all of this could mean. She had watched Chrysanth plenty during their tenure at the school and today was the first she could remember seeing her talking to Jherrichho. Did he manage to win her over in just a day? That sounded absurd on the surface, but maybe he was just the perfect person to break down the wall that she had around her heart. It was far more likely though that they had just hidden their relationship. Chrysanth was a very private individual after all and so her keeping her relationship a secret made perfect sense. It also explained why she was so closed off at school because she could only be free elsewhere.
Those thoughts calmed her system as she made her approach to the dark place where they would meet. The rest of them were already there, but she knew better than to shout a greeting. Instead she just rose to her full height with a smile and quietly said what she hoped they would want to hear.
[b “I'm here to help.”]
[h3 [center Nathan]][b “That's what I hoped you'd say.”]
He did not get to say another word though as she beat a hasty retreat out the door. She was free to rush if that was what she felt best, but he was going to continue to grab things that could be of importance. They could catch him off guard just not unarmed. That and there was a tinge of something else that motivated him to make sure that he had all the supplies that he might need. Although he could not place it; he just shrugged it off as a lizard brain impulse.
Once he was sure of his supplies he turned back to the door just in time to see Maurica come back in. She may have been quick to make her way to the meeting, but she apparently did not know they school as well as Molly did. It made him smile as he made his way over to her.
[b “How about I just lead the way?”]
While they made their way through the school Nathan went through his backpack to make sure that everything was secured. He also got out anything that he might need for the time being. His scarf went around his neck again, a few tools made their way into his pockets, along with one of his drinks. After that he secured it to his back and made his way out of the school with Maurica.
They were only feet from the door when Maurica called out a name Nathan didn't recognize. It was enough to slow him down, but even Maurica was quick to say they should move to help his 'friend'; that was going to be a fun explanation. Just another step away from the door though and Maurica apparently spotted Jason. A calm black rat that casually walked out of the bushes before she made an attempt to scoop him up. Something that he resisted enough to irritate her.
[b “If you're sure.”]
Nathan hesitated for a moment longer as he remembered her having to come back to get directions to the meeting spot, but made his way forward once she sat down. He cursed that there were bigger problems at the moment as he would have liked to stick around. She had definitely turned out to be interesting enough to be worth talking to though and it made him glad that he had invited her on this little excursion. Even if she might not actually make it to the meeting.
It did not take Nathan long to find the two even in the poorly lit area. A benefit of his good eyesight was that he got to see a bit more than most, and it made him quick to notice the shape that Jherrichho was in. He definitely had something interesting to share and Nathan would be sure to find it out. There would be no benefit to the rest of the public as his days as a journalist were over, but Nathan had his own motivations for wanting to learn about potential. Especially as he had yet to unlock his own.
[b “Feeling better?”]
It was more a statement of fact than a question at this point, but Nathan kept a smile on his face as he said it. Just for good practice as his scarf should block their view. Of course either one of them could have a potential that included x-ray vision for all that knew about them at the moment. Best to be polite all things considered.
/ 1y 128d 18h 5m 13s
Chrys noticed almost right away that Jherrichho seemed to be thinking pretty hard about something, so she left him alone as she got them into place. The girl’s vibrant blue eyes never left him though, concerned about his new silence and everything that seemed to suddenly be happening during what was supposed to be a normal day. Chrys kept an eye out for him when he leaned up against a wall, staying aware of their surroundings for him. When he spoke again, she looked over at him with wide eyes. Nothing to lose?
[+teal “... I trust you,”] she admitted softly, surprised at her own admission. When was the last time she trusted somebody? Her mother, maybe. That was the only other person that came to mind that Chrysanth truly trusted, her Mom being the person she trusted [i least] in comparison. And she had only known Jherrichho for one day. One. The fact that she already trusted him was something she had never even imagined as being possible for her, but there was something about that boy that called to her and made her feel comfortable.
It was terrifying.
The girl watched as Jherrichho pushed st his own bruises, alarmed but willing to watch as he did something that was clearly planned out. The new voice made Chrys blink, fighting bac surprise. It sounded... familiar.
[+purple That kind of sounds like us] the voice in her head mused, sounding slightly curious. It wasn’t the exact same voice, but they were definitely similar. Chrysanth’s mouth suddenly felt dry. Was he... was Jherrichho like her?
Luckily, the blush on his face when he looked at her made Chrys relax. It was still him, though maybe a different aspect. It wasn’t a completely new person. The anger in his eyes did not even make her nervous, simply curious. It was a side of him she hadn’t seen yet, and despite the anger being foreign she was not at all afraid of it. Anger was natural, healthy, normal. She could deal with that, emotions being something she knew better than anything else and was comfortable with.
Slowly, Chrysanth felt herself grinning. Her eyes glinted in soft amusement and pleasant surprise as she watched the boy... her newest friend, in front of her. [+teal “You’re full of surprises, aren’t you?”] was the first thing she said, amusement coloring her tone. [+teal “I was worried about the trust, but it seems like you have things under control now. I have to admit, using their connections to gather information is pretty clever,”] she told him, clearly approving of the plan. [+teal “As for questions...”] she trailed off, observing him quietly for a moment.
[+teal “Who... or what, are you?”] she asked softly, unable to hold back her curiosity. [+teal “You aren’t the same Jherrichho, that much is obvious. A different side of him? Or a different personality in general?”] she mused out loud, shifting her position as she voiced her guesses out loud. [+teal “calmest form... no pain... then this purple state is part of his— or your, I suppose— Potential? He said it harnesses emotion to go past his body’s limits, so would that mean that you don’t feel pain right now?”] she kept her voice low enough so only he could hear her the whole time, her eyes still scanning around every few seconds. Their company would be arriving soon, but hopefully not before she got her two answers.
The more she learned about Jherrichho, it seemed, the more she liked him. He was different, new, pure and innocent yet filled with mystery. It was refreshing and... and she still felt comfortable around him in a way she never felt comfortable around anyone. It was odd, and scary, but somehow also fun and exciting. She found herself eager to see what was going to happen next if she stuck near him.
As they walked he smiled slightly from her words. There was harshness, but he knew there was truth to what Chrys had said. [+maroon “I think you’re more of an angel than you think. It’s not about what’s seen as good, it’s more so about doing what must be done.”] He reached down and presses his hand on his stomach, the pain shooting through his body. [+maroon ”I make mistakes all the time and if I’m being honest I wouldn’t know if I’m making the right choices. I just have to trust in others and hope it works out.”]
[i [+maroon That part of you will destroy us, everyone who trusts in you will fall due to that heart of yours. You’ll learn soon enough.] ]
Jherrichho bit his lip softly before frowning. He couldn’t help but be silent for a moment as they reached their destination. He looked away from Chrys as he let his mind race. Was he putting her in danger? He would keep her secrets beyond all things, a promise would not be broken. [i [+maroon I won’t put her in danger, I refuse to do that. Yet you so eagerly involved her with yourself. You betray your words with actions. Wanting to be better for others does not betray what I have decided. I’m not so easily swayed and everyone knows that. And everyone is who exactly? Who have you shown your hate? Who have you shared your pain with? Who has seen your sorrow? Who has experienced your fears? Who knows how your love feels? You want things to work a specific way, yet you know it’s no longer in your control the way you want it to be! So what are you doing?] ]
His eyebrows furrowed and his breathing sped up slowly. He could feel his heart rate rising as the pain in his stomach significantly rose. [i [+maroon You feel it don’t you? That pain, it’s just at its limit. You’ll see just how much trust people have in the you that’s always hidden away.] ]
He stepped away from Chrys and leaned against the nearest wall, a worried look on his face. It was quiet, no one else had made it there yet. No one would be making their way here other than those he had requested, so for now he had to do this before anyone else could see. [i [+maroon So you aim to prove me wrong do you? Don’t think it’ll be me, it’s all you. These emotions are the incarnations of your feelings, your insecurities. So in a way it’s the real you... well, only part of you. That’s what your potential has become, separation and snuffing out. But can you really snuff me out?] ] He turned his eyes to Chrys and smiled for a moment. [+maroon “I trust you, so please trust me. If things go south I’ll take care of it. After all I don’t have anything to lose.”]
He pressed his hand against the bruise on his stomach and pushed against it as hard as he could. Everything turned a deep purple for a moment before going black, but once his vision returned to normal he looked at his arm to see the steady stream of smoke rising from underneath the bandages before fading away. [+purple “Well, now this is awkward. I haven’t felt this way in almost a year but I have to say it feels much better than it did before”], he said as he lifted himself up onto his feet. [+purple “I’m going to cut strait to the point. He plans to use their connections to do some digging and research. If I can find out what happened, or at least who I saw in that period of time that I don’t recall then I may be able to figure out what the hell is going on.”]
Not much light reached them in the location he chose and it kept it just dark enough for distant people to have trouble noticing them. There was more anger in his eyes than he had shown all school year, yet the look seemed more natural than his smile. He wasn’t showing any signs of pain and his posture was more stoic than it normally was, yet it didn’t stop him from blushing when he looked at Chrys and started to speak again, the center of his pupils now a glowing purple. [+purple “Look, I’m not very used to talking like this... I find myself more in your debt than I realized. This boy sees something in you that gives him just enough feeling to give in to those feelings. So, thank you”], he said before tightening his scarf around his neck.
[+purple “Pain has a certain threshold that he’s keen to avoiding, but at least now I’ll be able to take his place in this meeting he set up. Trust can only go so far, and I am going to make sure these people understand where I stand.”] He threw his jacket back over his shoulders and sighed. [+purple “If you have any questions for me feel free to ask. It’s the least I can do for all you’ve done, and I know he won’t answer any questions that go too deep due to the fear of his potential going to far. To his luck this is the calmest form his potential has, and I feel nothing. No pain, no suffering. So fire away.”]
Maurica mentally chided herself when the girl told Maurica her name. Molly! Of course. She knew that, she totally did. Well, maybe not [i knew ] knew exactly, but she had at one point. [i And ] now she was beating herself up about it.
Maurica turned her attention back to Molly, who was standing near her, examining her work. She was quite pretty, and not just in the superficial way she had previously noted. There was real beauty lying there too. It unsettled her, somehow.
It was then that Molly started gushing about Maurica's project, which unsettled her even more and filled her cheeks with hot blood. Sure, she thought it was pretty good, she had spent about a month and a half on the original, but this was just a lame recreation. She hadn't spent much time on it at all, and, to top that she wasn't even a very good artist. And she should know, her mom was an amazing artist. Her dad used to joke that art was her mom's potential, since hers still hadn't officially came about. Maurica was starting to believe that her dad might not have been joking as much as she had thought. Her mom had a way with art, the paint, the wood. She always told Maurica to let the supplies do what they wanted, instead of forcing them to try to do what she wanted, but Maurica always ended up with a terrible mess.
Maybe it was paper that she was good at. She had always thought that books felt alive, and books were made of paper, so maybe it was the paper arts that were her calling? Or perhaps Molly just didn't know art well enough to know what was good or not, not that there was any such thing as "good" art, though there is a generally accepted consensus that some art is better than other art, and hers was closer to the "bad" end of that spectrum. So Molly just had a wildly different idea of what was good art than most people did. Or she was just trying to please her guest. Or maybe Maurica actually was quite good, but didn't think so because she had been subjected to so much of her mom's art, which was absolutely gorgeous.
Maurica was just about to explain to Molly why, no, this piece of paper with other pieces of paper on top of it is not great art when the door slammed open and raven boy, of all people, burst through. Seeing him again she realized how distinctly raven-y he was, and how wrong she had been on her first judgement of him. Well, you can't always hit the nail on the head the first time.
He seemed in a hurry, which did not seem at all like him, though she really didn't know him very well and he could have just been in a hurry for the sake of getting there faster. It still felt like something was off. Very off.
He shouted Molly's name, and then her own, and then he said something about someone and someone else being hurt and Molly needing to come help and then Molly left with a stupid worthless apology and suddenly Maurica was in the room alone with raven-thing and had no idea what just happened.
Flustered was the first word she retrieved from her flustered mind. It was a good word, too, she thought. Bit by bit, things started to piece themselves together. Once she had the a word, any word, it was easy to sort out the jumbled mess of meanings. She really thought animals could benefit from something to attach their meanings to, but almost every animal she had mentioned this to retorted saying that the meanings were already attached to the meanings. Maurica blamed herself for not knowing how to ask the question properly.
Raven had been raiding the room for supplies while Maurica had been trying to figure out what had just happened, probably staring blankly at the table the whole time. A few moments later he asked if Maurica would like to come along. And he mentioned their date. Their [i DATE.] Had the situation not obviously been so dire she would have had something to say about that. Or perhaps she'd just get all flustered again, but now was not the time to get flustered because he was telling her something else!
Dangerous. He was telling her it might be dangerous. Nope, correction: He was telling her [i they] might be dangerous.
She still didn't know what was going on. She [i had] to know what was going on.
[+olive "Are you kidding? Of course I'm coming! Nobody knows what's going on!"]
Maurica got up and rushed out the door, only to realize that she was probably a little too excited about this, as someone might be dying, but then again, someone might be dying, and nobody knew what was going on! A couple more steps out the door and she realized she had no idea where she was going. Some back alley...or something? It infuriated her that Molly knew where to go and she didn't. She sheepishly walked back into the room to face a most likely startled raven.
[+olive "Hey, uh, sorry, for running out like that. I don't know where we're going. Something about an alley?" ]
They had just left the school building when Maurica realized something.
[+olive "Jason! Oh, crud, I told him I'd be here to pick him up after school, he won't be here for a while." [i I'm useless without that rat.] "Ack! it doesn't matter, your friend's in trouble and there could be people chasing us or something--oh good, you're here!" ]
The black rat had just slunk out of the bushes, looking much more placid than usual. Maurica bent down, stretching out her arm so he could climb up onto her shoulder. The rat didn't move.
[+olive "Ugh, come on Jason, I don't have time to explain to you why I don't have time for this!"] Maurica glanced up at Raven. [+olive "Sorry about this. You can go, I'll just be a minute."]
Maurica sat all the way down as she figured it would be safer for her if for some reason Jason wanted her to take control. She stared at Jason and her eyes deadened, the irises dulling substantially. Her body froze.
Maurica channeled her mind to hit the same frequencies as the rat's and entered. It was open, wide open, somehow feeling more open than it usually did and she entered easily.
She was quickly overwhelmed by whirling thoughts of pain and fear and stupid angry people who looked stupid and weird, even weirder than most people did, and blood--lots of blood--and a boy?
Suddenly she was spat out of the rat's mind, though whether this was Jason's doing or hers she wasn't sure. What she did know was that the force of the exit had knocked her backwards, leaving her sprawled on the ground. She wanted to curl up in a ball and cry, but she couldn't, because she wasn't Jason and those weren't her feelings and she had bigger, more important things to attend to, like raven's problem, although the more she thought about it, the more she figured that Jason's and raven's problems could be one in the same.
[+olive "Goddammit Jason!"] Maurica hissed through her teeth.
[h3 [center Nathan]]Nathan's eyes widened at the sudden change in the woman's expression. He did not expect to be welcomed by his fellow loner given what he knew of her, but he was caught off guard by just how cold her expression was to him. It took effort on his part to keep from letting his smile falter any. She already did not like him despite having never shared a conversation with him and so he wanted to do his best to not make things any worse. Especially as he was having trouble recalling her name as the only thing that came to mind was flower.
Jherrichho took him up on his offer despite flower lady's icy reception. That was not so much a surprise to him as he knew the boy to be better at going along with the group than her, and Nathan was quick to take a step to offer him a shoulder. The surprise that stopped him was when he was instructed to recruit Molly. He wanted them all to get together at a spot behind the school that connected to some of the alleyways the lead to town. To request the two of them to skip school with him was enough to pique Nathan's interest.
[b “Consider it done.”]
Nathan gave a nod at the offer of something interesting, but he was off and running at the instruction to hurry. The chance of an adventure got his mind to race as he made his way to the student council room. There were plenty of potentially poor possibilities given their meeting place. None of them were bad enough to make him hesitate though as he prepared himself for the worst that they could bring to the table. He doubted they were going to try to jump them, but he was ready nonetheless.
Despite his lack of participation in any of the athletic clubs he was still able to maintain a reasonably fast pace thanks to his own effort. His interests put him in danger on enough occasions that he had trained with Molly some to properly run. He was not as fast as the athletic superstar that was the president and his editor, however it was more than enough to get him to the student council room in a timely fashion. Thanks to his working relation with Molly he was not an uncommon sight there.
[b “Molly's not here?”]
All the heads in the room turned to him and it was clear that Molly was absent from the room. She stood out by her presence alone in most rooms and that was before you took into account the fact that she towered over the average person. Especially in the boots that she was wearing that day. Still the fact that the council was getting things ready without her was a surprise.
[b “She hasn't shown up yet.”] Her vice president did not sound worried about it, but there was an audible sigh from some of the other council members at their statement. Nathan was quick enough on his feet though to counter it.
[b “Well if she's not here there has to be a good reason for it; this is Molly we're talking about. If I figure it out I'll let you know.”]
There was a collective nod in agreement and a lone saying of thanks before Nathan made his way out of the room. If she wasn't there then she could be just about anywhere. That said there was one place that he knew was a good possibility as he had seen her there not that long ago. Just as any good detective would he made his way to her last known location.
[h3 [center Molly]]The woman declined her additional offers of help, but seemed to take to the work in front of her well enough. She clearly had an idea of what she wanted to do with it. So once Molly was sure that she was all set she left the woman to her work and got back to what was left of her own. Even with the declined offers there was still a visible visible smile on her face as she sat at her computer.
While she was done with the editing work on the last edition of the newspaper there was still work that could be done. The first being outlines for the decorating work that would go into the graduation. Proper planning prevents poor performance after all, and since this was her last work as student president she wanted it to serve as a proper sendoff to all of her classmates. They had all put in so much work these past few years. After all of that they deserved to be celebrated as they started the next chapter of their stories without the structural support of school.
The work needed to map out the decorations was easy compared to the work required to proofread a newspaper. It was flying by when she felt a sensation similar to an earthquake. Not that rare an occurrence in the moving city, but an unusual one given the lack of any surrounding symptoms around the tremor. While it did not damage her work any it did bring her out of her groove. Before she had an opportunity to find out just how long she had been focused in on the work in front of her though; she was interrupted by her lovely guest.
Maurica. Molly had forgotten the first thing about politeness and not bothered to introduce herself! Sure she could expect that Maurica might know her given all the positions she filled. That did not excuse the rudeness of having not referred to her by name though, and that was ignoring the possibility that the young lady had any memory problems. She couldn't help but blush as she realized the error. Although she shook it off with a smile as quickly as she could to keep things from getting even worse.
[b “It is a pleasure to meet you Maurica; I'm Molly Coleman. Sorry about the belated introduction. I would love to see what you made, but I have to warn you I'm not the best at artistic projects.”]
It was the only subject that she actively avoided throughout her school career. She did well enough when it had to do with the written word, but when it came to the visual arts it was as though she didn't have a dominant hand. The best project she had ever made was a sketchy comic that the public believed involved animal characters. They were meant to be human. That was what prompted her to focus her efforts where the results were better.
Her lack of artistic skills did not stop her from being able to appreciate the fruits of others labor though. It also would not stop her from offering what assistance she could. Especially as the advice Maurica requested related to the organization of the piece, and organization was an area where Molly was confident. She was the one that organized the newspaper room and the student council room after all. All a part of her belief in the adage of proper planning preventing poor performance, and admittedly something that carried over to her home life as her own room was frightening organized.
All of her confidence in her organizational skills waned though when she saw the piece in question. It was not what she had expected. Maurica had put together a far more clever concept than Molly would have ever come up with for the piece herself. That made her hesitate in giving any advice on it. What do you say as a layman when someone as talented as Michelangelo asks you for advice?
[b “It's good. I would have never thought to use the paper that way, and you did such a good job on it. Honestly it makes me hesitant to offer any advice. You've done such a good job so far I don't want to risk ruining anything by running my mouth.”]
Molly said it all with a smile as she took in the picture and deliberated. Just getting to enjoy a nice piece of art was worth it and so she made sure to smell the roses so to say. It did also give her more time to map the layout of the scene in her mind. She might be hesitant to give advice, but it was something that Maurica had requested of her. So with the forewarning of her skills there she would do her best to help. She barely got a word out of her mouth though when she was cut off by the door being thrown open.
[h3 [center Joint]][b “Molly! Maurica?”] Nathan was surprised to see both of them there, but was quick to literally shake it off with a shake of his head. [b “Pardon the intrusion. Jherrichho needs your help Molly, and asked for us to meet him behind the school. That woman in your homeroom with the flower name was helping him out already, but he seemed to be in pretty bad shape.”]
He made sure not to include mention of the offer of something interesting, but the smile on his face probably betrayed his interest. Molly had known him long enough to know what made him happy after all. Maurica could probably see it on the other hand by virtue of the unique contents of their early morning conversation. Still he gave more than enough to pique Molly's interest as well. She recognized the name Jherrichho as the man that Chrys had been with during lunch, and if they were asking her for help she would do everything she could to help them.
She was already helping Maurica though. Her indecision was visible as she looked from Maurica to Nathan and the artwork that Maurica had put so much work into. It took only a few seconds for her to come to a decision despite the difficulty. Maurica was important that was true, but she was asking about art and Jherrichho was apparently in physical distress. There was a simple difference of scale.
[b “I'm sorry Maurica, but I promise to help you out another time. If Jherrichho's in as bad of shape as Nathan says I need to hurry to help him out. I'll be back as soon as I can though.”]
Nathan stopped her when she got to the door though and whispered a few more things to her before she left. After she left Nathan made his way to the storage on the back wall to raid it for materials. He may not have the same belief in the adage as Molly, but he still wanted to be prepared for any possibility those two might present. Especially after that look that Chrysanth had leveled at him.
[b “I'm glad you're here Maurica. Jherrichho told me to meet him in that back alley, but I'll admit I'm not sure what's going on. Since I'd hate to miss out on our date you're welcome to join me now.”]
He may not exactly trust Maurica given they had just met this morning, but he trusted her a whole lot more than he trusted Chrysanth. There was also the fact that she seemed to trust him if what she said was true. Even if he was just reading too far into things he wanted to be sure to do right by her nonetheless. She had been kind to him in a moment of difficulty and that was enough to warrant kindness in turn.
[b “Full disclosure I have no idea what will happen, or how dangerous this might be. They might just jump us as soon as we go out the door. Whatever waits outside that door though; I'd be happy to have you along for the adventure.”]
Chrysanth nodded when Jherrichho spoke, grinning slightly. [+teal “You’re no burden, and I agree—“] she was cut off by an unwelcome voice, her face immediately going stony and cutting off any of the warmth that had been present there. Her eyes, cold and icy again, swerved to land on the newcomer. Nathan.
Oh yes, she knew [i him] by name, despite never speaking to him. She made it her personal goal to avoid him, considering his position in the school newspaper and the fact that he specifically reported on and investigated Potentials. He, just by that hobby of his alone, was high up on Chrys’s never-trust list, and even on her much shorter use-force-if-necessary list. She frowned when Jherrichho actually accepted help from the reporter, not pleased at all.
[+purple [i This boy...]] the voice in her head growled in disapproval. Chrys couldn’t help but find her self agreeing. [+teal [i He is much too trusting,]] she thought. [+teal [i I don’t want to ruin his innocence, but I can’t stick around if he continues being naive like this.]]
Chrysanth waited until there was no chance of being overheard, but still spoke in a whisper just in case. [+teal “You can’t just trust some right away, especially not someone who puts everything he discovers in a public record,”] she scolded gently, careful not to sound mad but worried instead. Oh well, at least she knew she could turn the situation in her favor again if need be—but using her Potential was out of the question. Especially around two people she didn’t trust— Nathan and Molly, if she came. Knowing the do-gooder, Chrys suspected she would.
[+teal “But you’re right, something has to be missing from your memory. Everything you just said makes no sense,”] she admitted softly. [+teal “You said your potential is strong, right? It has to be, to destroy your arms...”] she frowned and thought back on the minutes after he had disappeared, when she had been chugging water. [+teal “There was a tremor not long after you went to the office...”] she thought out loud. [+teal “That could have been you, if you’re ability is as strong as we think. But there’s no rubble, no damage to anything that I saw. Something strong enough to make a tremor like that would have left a mark, we should at least be able to smell dust from the ruined plaster or brick walls, but nothing,”] she told him, voice still a whisper. [+teal “Something really isn’t right. We’re missing something. I don’t have a memory tea though, I’ve been trying to make one...but it doesn’t quite work that way. I can’t just poof up a tea to solve any problem I want,”] she confessed, sighing. [+teal “If you think getting help is a good idea, I’ll stand by your decision. For now. But if I think either of them is going to put us in danger, I won’t hesitate to knock them out and leave them in the dust.”]
With that said, she began to lead him down the path he had mentioned before. [+teal “I know it sounds harsh, but this world will swallow you up if you don’t protect yourself. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for you, but I’m not an angel.”]
Jherrichho turned to see Chrys approaching, visible concern in her eyes. How long had she been nearby? Either way he wasn’t happy about worrying her in the slightest. He had to make up for this somehow.
[+maroon “Thank you”], he said as he leaned on her. [+maroon “I’m sorry I’ve been such a burden. Maybe it would be best if I weren’t here, something just doesn’t feel right.”] He watched carefully as Chrys used her potential to remove the blood from the area. The risk that came with that was high, but she didn’t seem to be worried about it at the moment. [+maroon “Lets leave through the back. I wouldn’t want anyone to see.”]
Before they could even move a voice halted his chain of thoughts. His eyes focused on the direction of the voice where he quickly spotted... Nathan? [i [+maroon Of all the people he might be the best one right? You can use this, but how much has he seen?] ] His thoughts questioned him before he decided to speak. He knew Nathan, well not really knew him, but was well acquainted with him. They had worked together when he was asked to help with certain projects in the past, but they never really spoke. Either way something was wrong and he’d need help to figure out what it was.
[+maroon “I actually could use some help”], he said with a smile. Jherrichho felt he could trust him and that was enough. [i [+maroon You’re giving that boy too much credit. They will always betray you, but using them... that’s a different story.] ] The thought caused him to tighten his grip on Chrys’ arm without realizing it, but he relaxed himself quickly. [+maroon “Slight change of plans Chrys”], he whispered to her before continuing with Nathan. [+maroon “I need you to go and get Molly for me. Tell her to meet us behind the school. There’s a spot there that connects to the alleyways that lead to town, I have a favor to ask the two of you.”]
[i [+maroon You’re too naive. That trust will ruin you.] ]
[+maroon “I won’t ask for your help for free though. I might have something that can interest you. We can’t wait for long, so please hurry if you could.”] He looked at Chrys and gave her the same honest smile he always did. [+maroon “Let’s start going, I’ll explain on the way”], he said slightly nervous with the situation. He had been so frazzled and focused he hadn’t realized just how close he had been to Chrys the entire time. [+maroon You’re as clueless as ever. You feel so much without realizing it, you’re oblivious to your own self.] His thoughts were strait forward yet sincere. He had trouble understanding his own feelings and it had only gotten harder once his potential was unlocked. Was he really that clueless though?
He waited until they started to move before he began giving his explanation. [+maroon “I’m going to need their help. I don’t know what happened, but I feel as if something is missing. They said I had passed out when I reached the office, something about me looking exhausted”], he said before blushing slightly. [+maroon “I remember spending lunch period with you, but after that it’s just a blank. I don’t even remember being called to the office, and now I have this.”] Jherrichho lifted his shirt just enough to show her the bruise. [+maroon “Although I’m not proud to say it, something damaging me this much would activate my potential yet I don’t remember anything like that happening at all.”] He lowered his shirt and sighed as ran his hand though his hair. Everything was so confusing it was difficult to get a grip on what was going on in the slightest. [+maroon “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but something just doesn’t feel right.”]
[i [+maroon It’s about time you begin to question things a little. You won’t grow stronger expecting things to stay the same.] ]
Maurica was taken aback by the girl's sudden mood change. It was clear she was glad for the company, which surprised Maurica. Sure, she had supposed that none of the girl's friends would want to hang out in a newspaper room during lunch, but she had also assumed that that was the way the girl had wanted it. A break from the all the attention. It had never occurred to her that the girl might have not realized how lonely the job would be. Which brought along another realization: What if the girl was popular by accident? Maybe she was just super friendly because that was what she was, just like Maurica was avidly against being anything simply for the sake of following social norms. Maybe she had misjudged the girl. Or perhaps she was, yet again, finding things that weren't there.
Dolphins came to mind. Most were inherently playful and kind-spirited. She figured she'd brand this girl as dolphin until she got to know her better. If she got to know her better.
The boy from that morning, which she had initially branded as wolf, seemed more and more to her as like a raven, though she wasn't entirely sure why. Though he had seemed very puppylike when she first encountered him, she was starting to think otherwise. Though raven didn't seem quite right either. Ravens were dirty hoarders, intelligent sneaky creatures with a loud screeching voice. The boy was more regal, like a cat perhaps? A feral black cat who feels like the king of the world and must use his wits to survive, only giving love to those who give him food, or in the boy's case, interesting things. Yes, cat seemed about right.
The girl dumped the stuff Maurica had requested on one of the desks. Maurica walked over to her. She said something about moving one of the desks to accommodate for the large project, but Maurica politely declined. She starred boggle-eyed at the paper, wondering what it was she had gotten herself into. The plan had been to get a white sheet of paper so she could sketch out where the wolf--now cat--might fit on her painting, but the list of colored papers the girl had said in response had sparked her imagination and now she was making a collage with the paper, a completely different art project modeled off the first.
The girl said some more things, but Maurica wasn't really listening. She did note that the girl said "listening ear" and would probably be more than willing to talk about nonsense, so that was great. She guessed.
Maurica sat down at the desk and drew a couple blobs on the colored paper that resembled the creatures that she was trying to make them resemble, but only if you already knew what they were. She figured she'd make them look nicer a bit later. Not that they necessarily needed to look nicer, as this was just a sketch. However, even sketches deserved love.
Maurica went back and cleaned up the blobs a bit to look more like the animals they were trying to portray. She stared at the huge piece of cardstock for a moment, contemplating, then cut a few inches off the sides to bring it down to a more manageable size, hopefully one that would fit in her backpack. She cut out the blobs and positioned them on the paper where they were in her painting. The big ghost moose in the very center in the back, the wildcat who was sitting down and facing slightly to the left, looking down happily at the sparrow who was sitting just beneath her head, but to the right a little so she was very much underneath the protecting body of the cat, and the rat who was underneath her, being a good boy. There was a bit of empty space to the left where a cat could easily fit, but she could also put him up higher, sitting on a shelf in the background or something. She could probably get the girl's opinion. It wouldn't be that hard.
[+olive "Uh, hey,"] she said, her voice piercing the quiet that surrounded them. [+olive "I was wondering if you could come over and look at this. If you aren't too busy. It isn't polished by any means but I could use some advice. I was thinking of putting a cat, and maybe a dolphin in, but I wasn't sure where."
"I'm Maurica, by the way."
[h3 [center Molly]]Molly noticed that the other girl did not take her up on the invitation to sit down, but shrugged it off as matter of preference. She had known a few people who preferred to stand for one reason or another. So long as they were comfortable with their decision that was all that mattered as far as Molly was concerned. That and if she changed her mind the offer would still stand.
She mentally cursed herself though as she realized that she had fallen into one of her usual traps and troubled the girl in the process. Molly knew she was used to trying to do too much too quickly, but she did it anyway. There was just so much that she wanted to accomplish, so little time in the day to do it all, and she also wanted to do her best to help others do just as much. That was no excuse for her overloading the poor girl though. So she maintained her friendliest smile as she let the girl take her time deciding what she wanted from her.
It did not take her long to catch up and once she did she was off to the races it seemed like to Molly, however Molly was up to the challenge and got out the supplies just about as quickly as they were listed. Black, brown, and orange colored papers all in eight-and-a-half by eleven were easy enough to provide thanks to certain holidays. A thicker sheet of white paper was a tall ask, but they had it on hand as backing for posters. Molly made sure to throw in an extra sheet just in case as she had personally struggled with the material in the past. Once she set all the paper on top of the drawers the scale of the project became clear. Still she was happy to help with it and moved as swiftly as she could to get her everything she requested in a timely fashion.
In addition to paper the girl requested a pair of scissors and some glue. She was just about to ask whether the girl would prefer a bottle, jar, or stick when the girl asked if she could just stay in the newspaper room for the rest of lunch. Molly could not help but beam at that request. That sudden improvement to her mood might scare the poor girl away, but Molly did not think of such a possibility. Happiness was what it was after all.
[b “Of course! You are always welcome!”]
After the girl made the request Molly was quick to make things easier on her by loading up everything she asked for onto one of the empty desks. Since the girl would not have to carry it out she made sure to include all three available types of glue. She did not want to give her too heavy a burden. Even if she had been the one to request all of the items it would be rude ot make her carry all of that just to avoid asking for further clarification on one of the items. They had encountered enough trouble from that already.
Given the scale of the project Molly made sure to provide her the largest of the empty desks, but it still seemed small compared to what the girl had planned. [b “This looks like a pretty big project, if you'd like I can move one of the other desks over to give you more space to work.”]
[b “Maybe you prefer to just get into it and see what you can do now. If you need anything more just let me know. I'm happy to provide anything else that you might need, even a helping hand, or just a listening ear if that is what would help. Even just the quiet room if that is how you focus best.”]
While the wide smile on her face betrayed her feeling it did nothing to reveal the struggle inside as she tried to resist hugging the shorter girl. She was just so thrilled to be able to help someone new this late into the year. After all of her attempts throughout the year to get Chrysanth to open up to her she counted this as a major victory for herself. Although to be fair the shorter girl being as cute as she was was also part of the motivation. All of those deeper thoughts were well hidden though by the excitement that was visible on her face at the prospect of having some new company for the lunch period. Even if it was just for the one day.
[h3 [center Nathan]]His inspection of the area done; Nathan sat back down to secure the contents of his backpack. Despite the fact that they were almost certainly innocent individuals Nathan made sure to do it out of sight of the two strangers. Technically he wasn't supposed to be on the roof after all. Whether they were good people or bad did not matter much if they were going to report him for breaking the rules.
All of his items safely secured he made his way back inside. He made sure to stop just inside to lock the door to the roof just as Miss Godwin had instructed when she gave him a spare key. The odds of him getting in trouble for it now were slim, but to slip up in the last few days would bother him. Caution was too important to get careless.
After all that he was free to head downstairs as he pondered the possibilities of those two strangers that appeared after the tremor. They were definitely unique individuals. That did not mean much though given just how strange the average citizen was in the moving city that he called home. Especially those that had ties to the school as he had learned in his time as a journalist.
He could hope that there was something of interest there, but after running through all the possibilities he was confident that there was a mundane explanation. There were a few more interesting possibilities for sure. They were most likely just some parents though that came by to discuss something before the school year was officially over. Given how many students were in the school he was sure he didn't know all the parents. Even if he knew most of them through work.
Those thoughts continued to entertain him though as he bounded down the stairs two at a time just as he had climbed them earlier. He stopped hard just a few steps from the bottom though at the sight he saw. The wounded boy was one he recognized from their work together after getting roped into helping with projects. Him being injured did nothing to surprise Nathan as he had known that to happen. It was the fellow loner that was helping him that had surprised him enough to stop him dead in his tracks. This might have been the first time he had so much as seen her mouth move.
[b “Uh, you need some help?”]
This was the exact kind of thing that could interest him as it was public knowledge that Jherrichho had awakened his potential. That potential might even have something to do with this situation. He would be happy to help for those reasons since he was always keen to find out more about people with unlocked potentials. On the other hand he knew the fellow loner was unlikely to welcome him. She had done a good job of avoiding Molly all these years and he was far less skilled in social situations than his editor. There was also the fact that he was not that interested in doing actual work to help.
All things considered he still made the offer with a small smile on his face. His visibly red face thanks to the the cold from having spent his lunch break on the roof, but whether that would influence their decision he did not know. Since he was coming down the stairs they could probably put two and two together if they were sharp. If it meant they would turn him away he would walk away comfortable with the fact that he had at least offered help, and if it meant they would take him up on his offer he would begrudgingly help out.
Chrysanth waited for a while, her adrenaline slowly fading until it was out of her system. It wasn’t long afterwards that she heard the faculty area’s door open. She stood up, peeking around the corner only to see Jherrichho fall and cough what looked like...
[+purple It’s blood. [b Blood]]
Gritting her teeth against the voice she worked to suppress on a daily basis, Chrys surged forward just as the boy managed to push himself up. Her pupils were wide in her concern, and she scanned him quickly. [+teal “Shit,”] she muttered, offering him an arm. [+teal “Come on. Do you wanna ditch? You wouldn’t be much help to the graduation committee in this state anyway. I might have some stronger healing teas at home...”] she frowned, not knowing if she did. And even if she [i did], that would be his third. He wouldn’t be affected by any of her teas after that for six hours, which was manageable but...
Still a long time.
She could make him a healing tea on the spot of course, like she had in the library earlier. But, just as before it would be weaker than the stuff she took longer to brew. Her eyes darted down to the blood on the floor, and she frowned. [+teal “Hold on a second, we can’t leave this here. Too much is possible with blood,”] she said softly, letting a thin trickle of tea rise from her hand. It smelled of only lemon, and with only one swipe against the ground it erased the blood from the tiles. Weaving the small glob of tea through the air, she sent it into a bathroom where it would slide down into the drain. Turning her attention back to Jherrichho, she stood up straight and put on a soft frown.
[+teal “Where do you want to go? I don’t like the idea of staying here.”]
“I’ve done my part, his thoughts regarding all of this should be a blur. All you need to do is your part Chessi. Just don’t mess this up.”
[i [+maroon What a shame. I expected better, but I guess a heart filled with fear will always be weak. When we fight, we fight. When we flee, we flee. And when we die, we die. There’s no use in fearing what you’ve already dedicated yourself to. Fear from that point on is just pure weakness. You will continue to fail time and time again until you accept the stipulations of our power...] ]
Jherrichho jumped up quickly. Short, quick breaths escaping his lips as he scanned the area around him. His eyes stopped and focused on the counsillor for a moment before he shot up onto his feet, [+maroon “what’s going on? What am I doing here?”] The councilor stood quickly and eased him back into his seat.
“Don’t worry, you’re alright. I called you for you and you showed up looking very irritated. You seemed rather exhausted and you just passed out for a moment. Has everything been okay?”
He looked at her for a moment before dropping his head down and running his hands through his hair. It wasn’t till this pint that he noticed his scarf and jacket were hanging from a hook propped up on the back of the office door and his bandages had been changed to brand new ones. [+maroon “I’m fine, thank you. I must have just imagined something”], he said as he stood up and quickly wrapped his scarf around his neck. [+maroon “Thank you for the bandages Ms. Chessi, but I can take care of it myself next time. I’m pretty used to doing it myself now.”]
The woman smiled brightly as she moved back to her seat. “Nonsense”, she said with a laugh. “Think of it as a gift on your last visit. I won’t be bothering you anymore this year so rest easy. Oh, and keep your jacket off for a while so you can cool off. You were pretty warm earlier.”
Jherrichho smiled and gave a slight bow and wave, a sign of respect he had given to many of his teachers on his last visits. He turned and walked towards the door, [+maroon “alright, I’ll keep it off for now. Again, thank you for everything.”] He opened the door and stepped out, closing it shut behind him as he threw his jacket over his shoulder. At least he wouldn’t have to worry about troubling the school faculty for now.
He walked until he got out of the faculty area and wouldn’t have to worry about any of the school staff hearing him before loosening his scarf and falling to his knees. He let out a cough and raised his hand to his stomach, trying to ease the pain that afflicted him. [i [+maroon This pain, it’s insane!] ] His thoughts rang in his ears as he coughed again, this time noticing spots of blood on the ground beneath him. [i [+maroon You’re too weak. Of course something like this would hurt] ], he thought to himself as he stood up and stumbled to the wall. He leaned against it and slid down so he could sit for a moment. [+maroon “This isn’t right. Something is wrong here. This random pain, it’s not natural.”]
Jherrichho lifted his undershirt, a light gray long sleeve shirt with the right sleeve rolled up to keep from disturbing his bandages. It was then that he noticed the bruise on his abs. He could barely even touch it without a stinging pain shooting through his stomach. He lowered his shirt back down and relaxed himself as much as he could before forcing himself up on his feet. [i [+maroon We can figure this out later, for now we’ve got to move.”] ]
Maurica followed the taller girl into the newspaper room, like a puppy would obediently follow their master. For a brief moment it seemed she was a dog, almost mindlessly following orders, but instead of spoken orders, they were unspoken social niceties, the orders of politeness. Maurica hated that. She hated the girl for being so shallow and pretty and nice.
But most of all, she hated that she didn't know whether she hated the girl because she genuinely thought popular people were stupid and shallow, or because she was still bitter about that kid who had dumped her a few years ago. She had a sneaking suspicion that it was the latter, and was not happy about that at all.
Maurica suddenly remembered that this girl was the class president, and felt a bit stupid for not realizing it sooner, though why should've she? It wasn't like she paid attention to these things. Despite this, Maurica still felt the need to rack her brain trying to find the girl's name.
The president offered Maurica the choice to sit down--no, that wasn't right. The president offered Maurica the choice of what to sit upon. These were the sort of polite statements that Maurica truly admired. To, through politeness and grace, basically tell someone they're going to do something, in this case, to sit down, was genius. The person, who most likely wasn't going to do the thing, now thinks they were planning on doing it all along, and has a choice of how they want to do it. Even if they do realize what's going on, it's not like they really have a choice. Social order and stuff like that. You can never do what you really want because you're always following some unwritten rule of formality.
Maurica made a point of not sitting down.
The girl bent down and opened a few drawers that Maurica couldn't quite see into. Hypothetically, they were full of paper, but who knew? Maybe the paper was in a different place entirely and they kept the list of where things were in that drawer, to make finding things easier. It sure was neat. Not the sort of artistic neatness that she had first witnessed in her art class, where everything had a general place where it was supposed to go, but because things were sloppily put away, it made things easy to find and use, nor the sort of neatness that her mom employed, which most people wouldn't call neatness at all, but once you understood the system it was ridiculously easy to find things. No, this was the sort of sterile neatness that you'd find in a doctors office, everything in it's place exactly where you would expect to find it. Ironically, this was often the hardest sort of neatness to find things in, for Maurica at least. It seemed so unnatural.
The girl turned around and spewed a bunch of nonsense about colored paper that froze Maurica's brain in a confused [+olive"eh?" ], and then apologized by asking if Maurica had just wanted paper that wasn't lined. Maurica wasn't quite sure what she wanted anymore. Her mind raced.
[+olive "Uh, well, I'll take a orange and a black and a brown--wait, but you said rainbow, does brown count as rainbow?--um, smaller ones of those, and uhm, one of those white pieces of paper that are thicker than normal paper but not as thick as posterboard...cardstock I think--If you happen to have any, and I guess I'll need scissors too, and glue? Actually, do you mind if I just stay here for the rest of lunch?" ]
She could play that game too. There was no way Ms. President would say no to that!
It took a moment before Maurica realized that that meant she'd be spending the rest of her lunch period trapped in a small room with a popular girl. She wasn't quite sure how she felt about that.
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