I'm just your sweet next door neighbor
I do what I'm told,
And I never cause any trouble...
I'm so much more than meets the eye
But there's something that I'm keep hidden deep inside
Don't mess with my kind
Don't play with my mind
I'm only a girl,
but I can move the world...
Bayville Sirens Only A Girl
October 9th, 2007
Loophole's Student Lab, Whateley Academy Tunnel System
“Alright,” Tansy declared as she took a step back to take in the costume that Kayda had just finished putting on Elaine's mannequin. The buckskin mini-dress hung as it would on Kayda as Lanie had adjusted the mannequin to her measurements. Tansy opened her satchel and removed a number of papers with pictures printed on them. “So, I brought some photos of traditional Shaman garb as a reference,” she said, handing both girls a small sample while she laid the rest out on Elaine's work table. “You'll note, all of these outfits contain pants.”
Kayda reached over and began to pick some of the photographs. “This is Navaho, that's Creek...” One she balled up angrily. “And this one is Crow,” she hissed in anger. “I refuse to dress like some back stabbing, murderous...”
“Cuwe,” Lanie interrupted softly, but strongly enough that it interrupted the tirade. “Tansy is trying to help.”
Kayda glanced from the red head to the surprised look on the blonde's face and sighed. She threw the destroyed photograph into Lanie's trash can with a bit more force that was needed. “Sorry,” she said, but loudly enough to be heard and obviously meant it.
Tansy put a consoling hand on Kayda's shoulder. “I'm sorry, I didn't realize.” Tansy sighed and put the stack of pictures still in her hand on the table. “I thought that because of the White Buffalo thing you might want to have a bit of every tribe...”
Fearfully, Kayda looked up into Tansy's face. “Who...who told you...?”
“Nobody,” Walcutt replied. “You're a female, Native American with a white buffalo spirit. Hello, welcome to the Google age. Two plus two equals four. Since you are going to be the Shaman for every tribe, the...the...oh, I can't pronounce it, but I guess First Shaman would be closest in English, right? I just thought...” Kayda impulsively hugged the senior, catching her off guard.
“Tansy, I'm sorry, you are absolutely right! While the Ptesanwi is of most significance to the Plains Tribes, I am here for all the People.”
Tansy smiled, and it struck Kayda how natural and lovely the expression looked on her face. “Well, I'm glad I could help. Now I thought...”
She was interrupted by a knock at the door of the lab and both girls watched Lanie walk over to it and open the door. Filling the doorway was the imposing bulk of Wyatt Cody. “Hey baby!” Lanie exclaimed, jumping up into her fiancee's arms to kiss him. Wyatt entered the room and allowed Lanie to close the door before giving Tansy a kiss of greeting as well. Kayda felt her cheeks burn as the display of affection made her think about what her friends did when alone. “What brings you down here?”
Wyatt grinned. “I figured you three would be hip deep in planning something and not hear the announcement. There is some kind of emergency with the steam plant and since a cold front is coming through, they canceled all the classes and want everybody to go to the Crystal Hall.”
“Cold front?” demanded Kayda.
Cody nodded. “Yep, first blizzard of the season evidently. It's snowing like gangbusters out there and the temp is down in the teens and falling.”
“Oh no!” exclaimed Kayda. “I was in the middle of prepping one of the copper spikes at my shamanic lodge! If it gets too cold the working could be ruined!” Wyatt shrugged expansively.
“Well, can't be helped,” he opined philosophically. “Come on, ladies, I'll walk you...”
“No!” Kayda declared sharply. “I have to go...”
Wyatt frowned. “No one is going out in that storm, Kayda,” he said with some finality. “I'm from Alaska, remember? I don't use the word 'blizzard' lightly.”
“I got that spike from defeating a major demon!” Kayda shot back. “It's irreplaceable! I can't just whistle up another one and I can't let that working fail!” She elbowed her way around Lanie as she headed for the door. “I'll take the tunnels to Holbrook arena, the lodge is only a hundred yards from it and...”
Cody caught her elbow and held on. “Kayda, were you not listening when I said emergency? This storm will kill people caught in it.”
“It's just a hundred yards!” Franks snapped back. “I'll run out, suspend the working, grab the spike and run back. Two minutes! Five at the most!”
“Baby,” Lanie interrupted softly. “Ah'm immune to cold now, just like you, Ah could go with her...”
The disapproval on Wyatt's face dripped off and formed a metaphorical puddle at his feet. “You will do no such thing!” he declared with all the finality of a grave. “You are still getting used to Grizzly and you're from Georgia. Three snowflakes and they close the schools down there. This storm is serious, girls! I can't...”
“Kody, I have to!” shouted Kayda.
The big Alaskan closed his eyes and counted to ten. “Fine. If you're so intent on this foolhardy outing, Lanie, you and Tansy will go to the Crystal Hall. I will go with Kayda. And if we aren't there in thirty minutes...” He trailed off. “Well, don't send anyone, I don't want to be responsible for that. I'll bring her back. Promise.”
“Don't lie to me, Wyatt Cody,” Lanie told him fiercely.
“I promise.” the big man repeated. He hugged both of his girlfriends at once and led the way out the door. They parted company once they were on the main level of Broadway, Wyatt and Kayda moving against the stream of students walking towards the Crystal Hall. Lanie and Tansy watched him go for a moment with the slight Lakota girl with him.
“Ah have a bad feeling about this,” Lanie mumbled.
“Wyatt is with her,” Tansy said as she hugged her lover. “Come on, I'll buy you a cup of coffee.”
Lanie smirked at her as the girls began walking towards the Crystal Hall. “Ah hope you realize Ah don't love you for your money. Ah'm pretty well off mah self.”
Tansy leered at her and whispered, “No, you love me for...”
Elaine's peaches and cream complexion flushed as the blonde whispered in her ear. “Yes,” she admitted finally. “Ah definitely love you for that.”
October 9th, 2007
Computer Crime Division, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta, GA
The clock on the wall refused to get to five so often that Joey Campbell was certain it was stopped or perhaps being affected by some kind of space time anomaly. He frowned after looking up at it, verified that the clock on his computer had the same reading and sighed. It wasn't that he had a particularly hot date, in point of fact, it had been months since Joey had gone on a date, a fact that was beginning to bother him. It was simply the surveillance operations he had been assigned to were so mind numbingly dull. He had joined the GBI with visions of traveling all over the state, sneaking into criminal lairs and living a life like some kind of action adventure TV show.
Come to find out the girls in the crime lab didn't dress or look like Hollywood models, and the ones who had tattoos he had no desire to look at. He didn't even get a badge to flash around, just an ID card that even had NON-ENFORCEMENT POSITION stamped on it. It was insulting, like being seated at the kids table at Thanksgiving. Still, his own inner sense of ethics pricked his conscience as he owed another thirty minutes of work, he should provide another thirty minutes of work.
He sighed again and called up his email program and saw one of his Trojans had discovered something. He started up the keystroke logger on the laptop he was using for that particular investigation which would be turned in as evidence when the investigation finished and carefully accessed the computer of his target. The Trojan had discovered a hidden directory with a large cache of files.
The manner the directory had been hidden was consistent with the off the shelf 'privacy' program the target used and so Joey gave it the back door encryption key the software's developer had been forced to provide law enforcement. The directory was predominately image files and various video formats. He clicked on one at random and reached for his coke can.
The video came up on the screen and all thoughts of the pause that refreshed left Joey's mind. For a split second he was titillated by the sexual act on the screen, until he realized just how young the girl was and how horribly, unmistakably real her tears were. Joey's stomach heaved and he nearly threw up when the scene changed and he couldn't close the file fast enough.
“Mr. Howard!” he shouted, standing in his cubical and drawing every eye of his co-workers onto him. His supervisor, an annoyed look on his face, came out of his office.
“What is it, Campbell?” he demanded as he arrived. Joey clicked on the file again and turned to face his boss so he couldn't see the screen.
“This is off the computer of...”
Mr Howard was removing his cell phone from its keeper on his belt. “I can see, Joey.” He swallowed, his face pale. “Jesus how much...? Never mind, turn that off and copy all of it.” He quickly consulted his list of contacts and dialed a number. “Get me the SWAT commander. I'm issuing an alert for a raid to commence as soon as I have a warrant.” He snapped his fingers. “Julie! Get Judge Franklin on the phone! Tell him not to leave until I get there!”
October 9th, 2007
North Access Door, Holbrook Arena, Whateley Academy Tunnel System
The wind was a biting cold, like the teeth of a hungry wolf that even the skin of Wyatt Cody couldn't turn away. The gusts of driving snow made looking out the door like staring at an old television set that wasn't tuned to any station. It was just a driving wall of white that made seeing anything beyond a few feet impossible. “There's no way...” he started, beginning to pull the door back shut, but Kayda squeezed past him and rushed out into the storm. “Kayda!” he shouted, but while he heard her voice, the words were snatched away on the wind.
Get her and get back inside, son, Kodiak whispered in his ear. No magic toy is worth risking this!
Wyatt charged forward, buffeted by the gusting winds and trying to keep his bearings. Within several strides he could no longer see Holbrook Arena, nor had he caught up with the little Lakota girl like he should have. “Kayda!” he shouted again, and her voice seemed to come from off to his left. He fought his way into the wind, trying to shield his eyes as the snow pelted him like a thousand knives. “Kayda, forget the spike!”
“...Almost...” He thought he heard her and with all his might surged forward into the wind in the direction her voice had come from.
“Kayda!” he roared, drawing on his spirit to amplify his voice over the wail of the storm. He strained, focusing everything on hearing, but there was only the wail of the wind. Without a thought, Wyatt let his form go and flowed into the terrifying image of his spirit. The fur he was suddenly covered in helped against the driving wind and the stinging snow. He inhaled deeply, and at once his nose was filled with the smells of the cafeteria of the Crystal Hall, so teasingly close and yet invisible in the storm. His belly rolled in protest and it was hard to smell anything other than the food that was on the breeze, but Wyatt focused with all his training and there! Just under the scent of cooking beef was the spicy, floral smell of Kayda. She was nearing her fertile time and her scent was just enough stronger that he could pick it up.
She was close, much closer than the Crystal Hall and then adding to the wholesome smell of young, healthy girl was the rank, bitter tang of fear. Wyatt shoved against the storm, forcing his way through the wall of snow, following the growing stronger scent of fear that was becoming terror. “Wyatt...!” the wind teased him, swirling the sound all around him, but the nose of the Kodiak knew better.
He shoved and shoved and finally he found her, three-quarters buried in the snow. “Kayda!” he roared, but she only shivered and balled up tighter. Her face was completely pale, gone was the dusky tan of her Lakota ancestry and her lips were blue with cold. “I'm here!” he soothed her as he knelt and picked her up. Her shivering was faint and she was barely moving.
Wyatt looked over his shoulder in the direction of the warm smells of the Crystal Hall. He knew he'd never find the door into Holbrook Arena again and even if he could find the Crystal Hall by smell it was over a half mile away. It would probably take him twenty minutes to fight his way through the storm to it.
He looked down and realized Kayda did not have twenty minutes. He needed shelter immediately. He inhaled again and just at the edge of his senses was the smell of chemicals and leather. The Teepee was close. It would have to do. He lurched forward again, holding the slip of a girl against him, desperately trying to shelter her from the storm. He would get to the Teepee and call for help from one of the other cold immune fliers to bring a hot box or something to protect Kayda to get her to safety. “Hang on, Kayda!” he shouted, but she only shook a bit more.
Finally, out of the driving, blinding white the shape of the Teepee the Nations Club had erected near the sweat lodge loomed up out of the storm. There couldn't be more than fifty feet from it to the lodge, but it was no where to be seen and Wyatt wasn't sure which direction it should be in. He fumbled around the structure for the opening flap and scrambled inside.
Snatching furs from the pile, he wrapped Kayda up while, thanking a forgiving God, he spied the fire pit, standing ready with kindling, wood and even a bow and friction stick. “Been a long time since the boy scouts,” the half man, half bear creature said to himself as he quickly prepared the tender and began to work the bow, desperate to start a fire.
October 9th, 2007
Leased Access Site Cell Tower 2247, Just West of Laird Hall
The steel truss frame of Tower 2247 was actually colder than the wind and the driving snow had begun to freeze to it nearly instantly. As the wind continued to howl, this created a layer that was built upon by the storm and soon every surface on the tower and its guy wires and the antenna and signal equipment. Every snowflake added to the load of the tower as it fought to stay vertical against the gale force winds.
The Berlin Microwave Repeater failed first, a defect of a retaining bolt caused by poorly cast steel and the intense cold caused it to fail in the wind and snow and it snapped like a gunshot. But instead of falling free, the remaining bolt held, making a fulcrum the three-hundred pound horn shaped C-Band antenna pulled against the mast in the wind. Its balance now changed, the mast groaned against its moorings and as with every passing second the snow load increased as the wind hammered at the mast.
Finally the abused structure could take no more and with a groaning wail lost to the wind it collapsed, crashing to the ground and creating a hole in cell coverage nearly four miles square as every student in the Crystal Hall found out as all of their cell phones instantly lost signal and dropped calls.
October 9th, 2007
The Crystal Hall, Whateley Academy
A collective wail echoed through the Crystal Hall as dozens of phone calls were dropped all at once. The hubbub of curses of the storm picked up as the students found that while the WIFI network was still operational, not a single cell phone in the building had service. Tansy was still wandering through the serving line at the Salad Bar, building an eclectic blend of vegetables into what she called her 'splurge' salad.
Despite the odd couple of days, Tansy was in a very good mood. Her greatest fear, coming out to her mother, had gone better than she had dreamed possible and the blonde was basking in parental love and unconditional acceptance for the first time in a very long time. Ms Hartford was happy with her progress and while she was worried about Wyatt and Kayda being out in this storm, she was confident she would see them, probably soaked in snow, coming into the hall any time now.
If Kayda was safe with anyone it was Wyatt.
As she reached for the spoon to sprinkle chopped black olives onto her salad, a voice at her elbow asked, “Tansy, can...can I talk to you?”
Tansy turned to find the diminutive, slightly pudgy form of John 'Peeper' Martin standing next to her. She curled her lips in annoyance and was half way to an angry out burst when she noted that the young man with X-Ray vision was staring at the salad bar, purposefully not looking at her. Somewhat taken aback, she continued putted the olives on her salad and tried to salvage her mood. “What do you want, Peeper?”
“To...to say, “I'm sorry,” the boy managed, his body tense in expectation of a coming blow that he wanted to flinch away from, but wouldn't. “I...I didn't...I didn't put the camera in the girls dressing room, but...but I...Greasy....Adam...Adam found it from the frequency it...” He swallowed nervously, obviously confused he hadn't been struck yet. “I mean...I knew about it, and we...we saw... and,,,I should have told you, or the school, or...I'm sorry.”
Tansy set her plate down on the tray with a clatter that made the boy flinch. “Look at me,” she commanded, and slowly Martin turned and lifted his face up. Peeper's was not a tall boy, Tansy was head and shoulders taller barefoot, and she was currently wearing four inch heels. Her breasts were about even with the boy's eyes and she knew it. Reaching down, she removed the dark glasses Peeper wore and found his glowing blue eyes were also red and bloodshot. “Why are you doing this?” she demanded. “Are you trying to provoke me?”
“No!” he said quickly, obviously afraid; for a moment he looked as if he might flee. Tansy cupped his chin as though forcing him to keep eye contact with her and her power immediately reached out and shuffled through his thoughts, “I...I...know it was wrong, I just...I...please, Tansy, please help me! You...you changed! I...I don't, I can't think... I...how?”
Tansy withdrew her hand, and her power, satisfied the boy was not under some compulsion or someone's guile. She had seen the talk Mr. Filbert had given him, a brutal, honest and blunt summation of his faults and the not quite command to get his act together. Old Tansy started to whisper about opportunity in her mind, but with a sudden, vicious, fierceness was told to shut up by New Tansy. New Tansy surprised herself by feeling sorry for the campus creep and realized if she had any hope of redeeming herself, she had to answer such a pitiful cry for help. “What can I tell you that Mr. Filbert hasn't?” she asked.
Peeper flinched as he realized she had read his mind and admitted to it to his face. John sniffed mightily to try and clear his sinus and turned back to the table. “Mr. Filbert just told me I'm a fuck up,” he said quietly. “He didn't tell me what to do to not be one. I...I've watched you, from last year when you started hanging around Loop...Elaine...and then this year with Danny Franks and Prue and...”
“How do you know about all that?” Tansy demanded, startled. The boy shrugged his shoulders.
“I'm a journalist. Watching is kinda what I do.”
“Why did Mr. Filbert talk to you? Why now after all the crap you pulled last year?”
“Gre...Adam...Adam moved out. Because he didn't want to be around me anymore.” John's lips trembled and he forced himself to add, “Because he didn't want to be used by me any more.”
“You won't like what I have to tell you,” Walcutt said after a long moment of soul searching. “There isn't a magic cure for being an asshole. You eat a lot of crow and even then most people won't think you've changed.”
“Will you introduce me to Elaine?” he asked quietly. “I did some research. I found she has never had a failure on a gadget. Well, I want a gadget to stop my power. So everyone will know I'm not being a creep.” He shrugged. “For the rest, I guess I'll eat crow.”
“I will introduce you,” Tansy replied. “After you tell Ms. Hartford you knew about that camera in the Venus, Inc. Locker room and any others you know about.” John winced, but nodded.
“Then you'll tell me how to change?”
Tansy sighed and put a hand on her hip. “Well, a Jedi can't become a Master without taking a Padawan first. I guess I have to.”
John's glowing eyes looked up at her with an expression that actually touched her heart. “Really?”
“Really,” Tansy replied. “Now go see Ms Hartford. You have some explaining to do.”
Marty only just got her tray out of the way of a running Peeper's path in time to save her dinner. The boy kept running towards the stairs, tossing a “Sorry!” over his shoulder as he did so. Marty shrugged and chalked it up to Whateley Weirdness. Despite the extra space, with the entire student body in the Hall, it felt rather busy as she weaved her way through to the FSA table. Steve was already there, in the process of giving a punch line that had the table roaring with laughter, even earning him a vigorous slap on the shoulder from Anosha who was sitting next to him.
Marty felt the older girls eyes on her as she and Stephen shared a kiss of greeting, he even rising to hold her chair for her as she sat down. “Anyway,” Steve continued, turning to his teammates at the table. “Hippy, Sayyid, I appreciate you guys jumping in this morning and I am sorry it got you in dutch with Mrs. Carson...”
Hippolyta made a rude noise and a dismissive gesture. “Sit down, Nalley, you are a teammate. You stood up for Marty, and for a male you aren't so bad. I could almost like you.”
Sayyid rolled his eyes from the head of the table. “What Hippy is trying to say is that we look out for our own. What you did was noble, Stephen and I for one will be proud to shovel shit with you.” An Earthy laugh and round of applause worked it's way around the table as Steve sat back down.
“Well, I appreciate the help, Sayyid,” he replied. “Anosha...”
“Hippy,” the other barked.
“Hippy,” Stephen amended. “I may be doing quite a few stretches from what Marty told me. She said that Pendragon was primarily who was keeping David in line so Archer is feeling his oats and pushing to see what he can get away with. I intend to smack him down every time he tries, so Mr. President, sorry ahead of time.”
Before Sayyid could answer, Hippolyta cracked her knuckles loudly. “You won't do it alone,” she declared. “Like I need an excuse to pound on that gay basher!” She thought for a moment, then turned to Sayyid. “In point of fact, Mr. President, I formally move that the Future Superheroes of America should make bringing the gay bashing on this campus to heel a formal priority for this year.”
“Second!” announced Marty around a mouthful of spaghetti. Saladin raised his hands defensively. For a moment he considered trying a parliamentary trick to point out they were not in an official meeting, but that would be too easy to be countered. He decided instead to try reason.
“Now, wait a moment, guys, you heard Mrs. Carson. We are supposed to set an example! If we go around beating up the haters, we could get in serious trouble! Maybe even have our charter revoked!”
“Isn't fighting for those who can't what being a superhero is all about?” demanded Stephan passionately. “So they pull our charter? So what? We can take the detention! And if they take our clubhouse I can get my sister to rent us a new one from Jadis, or Ayla or one of the other real estate fixers. It's high time we did something about this crap! Mr. President, I call the matter to question!”
Sayyid sighed. “We are going to regret this. All those in favor...?” It wasn't unanimous. Both G-Force and Iron Star kept their arms folded across their chests, obviously unhappy with the way the vote went. “Motion carried,” he said quietly, regretting once more that he let Pendragon talk him into taking the lead of the FSA.
October 9th, 2007
The Nations Teepee, North of Holbrook Arena
"Kayda, you're going to freeze to death!"
The Lakota girl looked over her shoulder, over the furry buffalo-skin blanket wrapped over her shivering, cold shoulders, at the big senior. "No, I'm not," she said through chattering teeth. "I'm okay."
There was only the tiniest of fires in the center of the Nations' tepee, and its flickering orange light did little to dispel the darkness or the bitter, bitter cold, and nothing could overcome the howling, insane, banshee-wail of the wind as it whipped snow around outside the buffalo-hide shelter. Though appearing flimsy, the tepee was a very tough shelter, easily able to withstand gusts of fifty miles-per-hour driving stinging, frozen snow before it in the sudden blizzard. Once he had the fire started, Wyatt had filled a cup with snow, melted and boiled it, and while it was still hot had Kayda drink it. It had her sitting upright and coherent, which was a good sign. As soon as she was she had immediately gone over to what he had taken as a collective of junk and begun chanting over it. Evidently the spikes they were risking their lives for had been saved.
Now she was sitting catty corner to him by the fire as they both struggled to stay warm. "I ... I'm sorry, I thought we had more time...that I could make it... Before," Kayda apologized to Wyatt, but the big senior emeritus waved it off.
"Oh, I love playing in the snow," Wyatt said with a playful tone. "Reminds me of home!"
"I know," Kayda replied slowly, trying but failing to keep from shivering. "But with the sim, and ...."
"Which makes me wonder," Wyatt asked, his curiosity piqued, "why you aren't in the sim! I'd have figured you wouldn't miss a chance to fight the Grunts."
Kayda chuckled, or rather, tried to, but her chattering teeth made the sound odd. "I never was into 'Cowboys and Indians'."
"I still don't get why that copper spike of yours is so important," Wyatt said idly to make conversation. Once they'd gotten inside and the burly senior gotten Kayda somewhat defrosted than she moved to a complex series of stones and scratches in the dirt around one of the Mishibijw's copper spikes.
"It's ... irreplaceable," Kayda said, repeating what she'd hastily and incompletely explained in Loophole's private lab. "And it's very powerful magic. Very powerful. Once the ritual ends, it attunes to the will of the first magic user that holds it. It can amplify magic if it's used right." She looked back at the tiny flickering fire.
Wyatt scratched at the side of his jaw and looked over at what he had taken as a collection of junk and animal markings. “If it was so important, why was it out here unattended?”
Kayda rolled her eyes. “I h-h-had it warded,” she replied gruffly. “I'm not a c-c-complete novice, and I had... other things out here that would have taken issue with someone pilfering. But there's no such thing as perfect security. They're very powerful and dangerous, that's why I couldn't risk not coming.” She shuddered and gave the objects off to one side a glance. "Imagine if someone ... like Hekate ... got a hold of it."
"She's dead, remember?"
"But ... that guy Tansy talked about? What if he got it?"
Wyatt couldn't help but wince. "I get your point. But you used up a lot of essence, and for some reason, it's not being replenished."
Kayda shivered involuntarily, mostly from the bitter cold. "I know. But ... I had to k-k-keep it out of the wrong h-h-hands." Her trembling had increased noticeably in the last few seconds.
The big senior leaned to the side, slipping a heavy buffalo blanket off his own shoulders and onto Kayda's. "Here."
"You'll freeze!" Kayda protested sharply. "I ... can't let you ...." her lips were almost colorless and trembling, "you've got to stay warm, too."
"Alaskan, remember?" Wyatt laughed, but the laugh rang a little hollow; it was extremely cold outside - possibly ten below, and the tepee leaked air and heat. "I promised nicuwe ki that I'd take care of you."
Kayda spun toward the big man. "When?" she demanded. "And when did y-y-you learn Lakota?"
"When you were in trouble," Wyatt said with a smile. "I know how much you and Lanie mean to each other, and I promised her I'd protect you."
Kayda's eyes widened at those words. "Even after we ...?"
Wyatt decided to change the subject. "You wouldn't be so cold if you hadn't gone out to find the 'stones' from the sweat lodge," he admonished her. After she had stabilized her working when she had drunk the hot water and gotten control of herself, she realized they did not have much wood for the fire. Kayda had insisted on retrieving the artificial devisor stones the kids in the Nations used to heat the sweat lodge, which was only about fifteen to twenty yards from the tepee. She had ducked out before Wyatt could scramble to his feet to stop her. It had taken him six or seven minutes - which would have been plenty long enough if the snow hadn't been whipping about them, reducing visibility to less than a foot – for Wyatt to find her again and haul her back into the Teepee.
"I would have f-f-found them," Kayda protested stubbornly, her pride wounded slightly. “I had my warmth spell, so I wasn't in danger...”
"You would have frozen to death," Wyatt interrupted, shaking his head. Only his bear form, with its incredible sense of smell, had allowed him to track the girl, and drag her, nearly frozen, back to the tepee where Wyatt and Kayda now hunkered down to wait out the storm. "You're the one who said that your essence wasn't replenishing itself in your well, remember? Without your magic, you'd have frozen. Didn't you study history about the Blizzard of 1887 in the Dakotas?"
Kayda started to speak, but her shivering was increasing in intensity, and the burly senior knew she was in serious trouble. Despite that, she tried to put one of the buffalo robes back on Wyatt's shoulders to help him stay warm.
"Kayda," Wyatt said hesitantly, knowing the subject he was about to bring up was very sensitive to the girl considering how abused she'd been, "we ... we're going to have to share the blankets to stay warm enough."
The girl looked up at him, and the senior could see terror in her eyes at the mere thought of having to share a blanket with him, but she fought back the fear and then slowly nodded.
Quietly, calmly, Wyatt eased up beside the girl, slipping under her blanket and then draping his thick, furry buffalo-hide blanket over the both of them. "You're freezing!" he declared as he wrapped an arm around the girl's shoulders to help her stay warm.
"It's n-n-not that b-b-bad!" she protested weakly, stuttering as she shivered mightily.
Wyatt only thought for a moment before he gently eased the girl on her side on the thick fur which protected them from the dirt floor, and then maneuvered the two blankets over the top of her. Then he lay down beside her, wiggling under the blankets and pulling her close to him so his body heat would help her stay warm.
"But ..." Kayda protested weakly, trembling with fear.
"Shhh. I promised Lanie I'd protect you," Wyatt said soothingly. "You're safe with me."
For a while, she lay silently, long enough that Wyatt thought she'd gone to sleep. "I ... I get scared," she said softly, surprising Wyatt that she was still awake. "Around guys, I mean."
"I know," Wyatt said to reassure her. "I can't even begin to imagine how horrible that was for you."
"But ...," Kayda began, her voice barely above a whisper.
"When ... when I'm around y-y-you ... and cuwe ki ... I feel safe. L-l-l ike ... like I don't h-h-have anything to worry ab-b-bout," the girl softly admitted.
"Lanie said you're making good progress on your car," Wyatt said to change the subject. "It sounds like you really like your time in the workshops."
"It's f-f-fun. Mrs. Choudhari is a huge h h h help. She helped m-m-me ... with our p p p patent for making the 'c-c-castings' for my drive train," Kayda replied with a smile. A shivering smile, but a smile.
"Don't ... try to explain it to me," Wyatt chuckled. "Lanie does that all the time, and most of it just goes over my head. And the part that doesn't makes my head hurt!" A silence fell and only the howling wind spoke outside.
October 9th, 2007
Private Study of Lord Paramount, Bran Castle, Wallachia
The man known as Lord Paramount stared at the screen of his laptop, his brows knit in worry. On it was the web page of the Weather Channel and it was full of special coverage over the freak blizzard in New Hampshire. It was a monotonous litany of records, record cold, record snowfall, record accidents, but only guesses that were being proven wrong with increasing regularity as to the storm's scope and danger. “Phone, call my Princess.” he ordered, not taking his eyes off the screen.
“Dialing Dr Amelia Hartford, my lord,” the device replied. This time it didn't immediately go to her voice mail, instead a blasé, artificial female voice answered.
“We're sorry, there are no circuits available in the calling area you have dialed, due to inclement weather conditions. Please try your call again later.”
Paramount frowned and pressed a button on his desk. “Yes, my lord?” his assistant's voice asked.
“Gregor, how quickly can my private plane be made ready for a flight to the United States?”
There was a brief pause before the young man's voice came back. “Four hours, my lord. And another thirteen to the school.” Fredrick smiled as his capable assistant once more correctly anticipated his destination.
“Put the plane on stand by,” he ordered, leaning back in his very comfortable chair. “And have Tomas summoned with his working gear. I have need of supernatural answers.”
“At once, my lord.”
October 9th, 2007
The Crystal Hall, Whateley Academy
Elaine looked out the clear wall of the Crystal Hall north in the direction of the Nations' lodge and ceremonial areas. She had picked the table just off the faculty dais, on the other side of the third tier from the Alpha's where she and Tansy had had lunch with Tansy's mother. Not that it mattered, the storm was so bad the roof of the kitchens, which was just below her, could not be made out. Let alone the Nations area a half mile further on.
The only thing she could be sure of was that it was getting dark.
Lanie looked up as Tansy arrived and smiled at her lover as she sat down. “Any sign?” she asked, but Tansy only made a worried expression and shook her head.
“Have you tried calling...?” Tansy started, but Lanie turned her phone around so the blonde could read the screen and the little notation of No Service in the upper left corner. The blonde pulled out her own phone to find it also could not see its carrier. Tansy laid her hands on the table and closed her eyes as she centered herself. “It's a long way to the Teepee, but let me try...” she started and then frowned.
“What's wrong?” Lanie asked.
“I...I can't see past the Crystal Hall,” Tansy replied. She reached out and touched Elaine's hand and instantly the two girls connected. To Elaine it was like they were still sitting at their table in the hall, and the people around them were quite vivid, but as she looked she saw the people she could see on the second tier were a little transparent, and the folks on the bottom floor were practically ethereal. “My range is really curtailed,” Tansy's mental presence told her. “I can barely feel those people down there, and nothing outside the Crystal Hall. You should see the cottages lit up with emotions and glowing, but I can't even sense the lunch ladies down stairs.”
“Mr. Geintz?” Lanie asked aloud, hoping to trigger the world's most powerful psychic into one of his unnerving sudden appearances, but the dapper man in the immaculate suit didn't appear. Turning back to Tansy, she asked, “Why would a storm restrict your range?”
Tansy shrugged, a look of confusion on her face. “I don't know, it never has before.”
“What?” the sudden exclamation drew the eyes of both girls to the faculty dais where a flinching John Martin was bravely staring down an incensed Ms. Hartford. She continued to berate the young man, but in a much lowered tone that didn't carry to the girls ears.
Elaine was slightly amused and asked, “What do you suppose that is about?” Tansy smirked and explained the mission she had put the campus creep on mentally to her lover. “You are pulling mah leg!” Lanie protested, but Tansy shook her head and withdrew her hand to begin to tuck into her salad.
“Not in the slightest,” she replied. “Evidently, Peeper got the mother of tough love wake up calls from Mr. Filbert. He even wants me to introduce him to you so he can beg you to make him some kind of device to defeat his power.”
Lanie looked between the young man who had the grace to at least look embarrassed as Ms Hartford continued to dress him down. “Ah would hardly know where to start,” she said as she salted the green beans on her plate and took a bite. “Jericho would probably be a better person to ask...”
“Your success rate seemed to be the central tenant of his desired introduction.” Tansy speared some lettuce and chewed thoughtfully. “Maybe Wyatt would be better,” she said after a moment. “Look what he did for Greasy.”
The chuckle that escaped Elaine's mouth was sinister. “You wouldn't believe the amount of crow being eaten in the devisor tunnels that the school Alpha did a solid to Adam using technology.”
“Judging a book by the cover usually leads to surprises,” Tansy agreed. She looked up, her expression almost shy. “I am certainly glad you didn't with me.”
The redhead tore off a hunk of her roll and began to butter it. “Tansy, baby, Ah didn't do anything to you, but give you a second chance. You got yourself sorted out on your own. Don't put me on a pedestal Ah don't deserve. Ah can be every bit as much of a bitch as you, just ask mah little brother!”
Tansy rolled her eyes. “Oh, yes, being in-laws with Marty Penn, there's something to look forward to!” The girls sat in silence a bit, then Tansy looked at her watch. “It...it's been more than thirty minutes.”
Obviously sobered, Elaine looked at her own watch and nodded. “Ah guess we should tell Mrs. Carson.”
“Tell me what?” asked the Headmistress as she refilled her cup of coffee from little beverage station behind the girls, causing them both to jump. Mrs Carson pulled out an empty chair and sat down at the table. “Should I be worried?” she asked archly.
“We are,” Tansy and Elaine said at the same moment. The girls looked at each other, then Tansy continued, “We were down in Lanie's workshop, helping Kayda with her costume when Wyatt came by and told us everyone was supposed to come here.”
“Kayda said she was enchanting some spikes out at the Nation's teepee and if she didn't rush out and do something they'd be ruined,” Elaine added, but Mrs Carson's face went pale and she put her cup down on the table.
“Kayda went out in that?” the headmistress demanded with a gesture out the window at the storm.
“Wyatt went with her...” Tansy added, but the air around Mrs Carson shimmered, and she was instantly clad in her Lady Astarte costume.
“How long ago?” she demanded.
“Jesus Christ!” Lady Astarte swore, leaping to her feet and, shouted over her shoulder, “Amelia! I want a head count and every student accounted for!” She then leapt over the rail, flying down through the Crystal Hall and heading towards the door into Schuster. Tansy and Elaine looked at each other, then at Ms. Hartford who had walked over, a much abashed John Martin in tow.
“What was that about?” she demanded, crossing her arms over her chest in annoyance. “What have you two done now?”
October 9th, 2007
Private Study of Lord Paramount, Bran Castle, Wallachia
“I'm sorry, my lord,” Tomas said sadly, shaking his head as he looked up from the silver dish whose center was an inky black to Fredrick Paramount. “This storm is unusually strong. There is an essence element to it as it reacts to the wards and protections of the school. I cannot see through it.”
Lord Paramount's lips thinned into a hard line as his jaw set and his thoughts drifted far away. Turning back to his sorcerer he forced a smile he didn't feel and made a conciliatory gesture. “It's not your fault, Tomas. I appreciate your effort. If you would be so kind as to attempt a general feel for danger beyond the storm? Is that possible?”
“I will certainly try, my lord,” Tomas answered quickly as he stood, echoing his sovereign rising. “But this storm is exceptionally dangerous, it will likely drown out smaller dangers.”
“Contact me if anything comes up,” Paramount replied as he turned to his Assistant. “Gregor, have my valet pack suitable clothes and alert my aircraft crew we will depart the moment they have the plane ready.”
“Your pilot as already assured me they will be ready when you arrive, my lord,” Gregor replied as he followed the Prince of Wallachia's lead to his private apartments in the castle. On his way to the plane Gregor would grab his 'go bag' he kept ready for these sudden impulses to action his Prince was prone to. It had served him well and he chalked up his unsteady lifestyle to the more than compensatory salary he was paid. He had already sent a text message to Lord Paramount's valet with the warning.
“Excellent,” the Prince murmured as he lengthened his considerable stride causing his assistant to trot to keep up. “Next stop, New Hampshire.”
October 9th, 2007
North Access Door, Holbrook Arena, Whateley Academy Tunnel System
Opening the door from Holbrook Arena was like opening a door at McMurdo Station in the dead of the Antarctic winter. The cold bit down hard on Lady Astarte worse than any blow she had ever received in a life time of being a super heroine. It took the breath from her as she leaned into what little shelter the door provided and gasped with the effort of merely holding it open and peering out into this white death. The Astarte Force reached out and told her two souls were in the direction she knew the Teepee lay in and they were still anchored strongly to their bodies, so they were at least alive.
She drew herself up to again try to force her way into the storm, but it was as if the storm sensed it and increased its fury to stop her. The wind howled and shoved her back into door jam. Calling upon the Rod of Astarte, Liz began to project her will upon the storm, seeking with magic to abate it, but the essence was snatched away from her before the spell was fully formed in her mind as if by some supernatural force clawing it from her.
Desperate, she carefully focused her will and committed an amount of essence she would have told one of her students to have been reckless, she thrust the Rod down on the ground, through the snow that was piling up even in the lee of the door, until it struck the Earth. Like lightening, the spell raced out from her, the storm seeming to wail in fury at being circumvented. Having done all she could for her students, Elizabeth Carson pulled the door shut and sagged against the wall of the stairwell, spent.
October 9th, 2007
The Nations Teepee, North of Holbrook Arena
The fire cracked and roared up, brighter than it had been on the pitiful amount of fuel they had to burn. Wyatt had felt a thrill pass through him under the ground and even Kayda perked up. “D-d-did you feel that?”
“Yes,” Wyatt replied, feeling the fire warming considerably, he reached out and collected Kayda in his arms and moved so that she was between him and the fire, closest to it. She started to protest but a stern look in the flickering light of the strangely more powerful fire, told her arguing was futile. It was still bitterly cold in the Teepee, but now it was not like being in a dry ice deep freeze, merely a meat locker. “Any idea what it was?”
“M-m-magic,” she managed, though her chattering teeth were getting better. “B-b-but it wasn't me.”
“Don't look at me,” the big senior said with a chuckle.
"I'm h-h-hungry," the Lakota girl said softly, still spooned within Cody's protecting, warm embrace. Outside, the gale-force wind still howled, driving the stinging snow mercilessly.
"Try not to think about it," the big senior scolded her gently.
"It's hard. M-m-my stomach is c-c-complaining." Kayda lay her head back on the rolled-up fur which the two were sharing as a pillow. "How l-l-long has the storm b-b-been going on?"
Wyatt snaked his arm out from under the blankets, barely suppressing a shiver at the bitter cold that stung his arm. "About an hour," he said, glad to slide his arm back where it was warm.
“Is t-t-that all?” she cried in despair. Wyatt decided to risk a more intimate touch and gently squeezed her shoulder in reassurance.
"The front probably stalled, and with the system over Massachusetts, it's just pumping up moisture to keep the snow going." The cold shouldn't have bothered him nearly as much as it did, which meant that it was a lot colder than he'd estimated. He decided not to mention that.
"I used up all m-m-my essence," Kayda said softly. "F-f-for some reason, I ... c-c-can't get m-m-more. I can't make any m-m-more heat. B-b-but something is feeding essence into the fire."
“Thank God for small mercies,” he rumbled, then with the warmer air sniffed again. He wormed his hand under a pile of leather that were too small to use as blankets and came out with a pouch. Opening it, he found several strips of jerky. “Soups on,” he declared, offering a piece to Kayda.
“That was Hardsell's attempt at jerky,” she declared. “Wyatt it was terrible...”
“Beggars can't be choosers,” he replied as he got a pair of cups and carefully filled them with snow, trying to let in as little cold as possible. He put them next to the fire and stuck several pieces of the jerky into the snow filled cups. “Maybe we can make a soup with it.”
"How c-c-cold do you f-f-figure it is?"
Wyatt thought a moment. "Probably about thirty or thirty-five below outside. It's the wind, though."
The girl chuckled softly. "I grew up on the p-p-plains, remember? I know what w-w-wind chill is."
"I'm guessing something like seventy or eighty below for wind chill."
The girl lay quietly for a few minutes, her soft breathing the only movement against Wyatt's body. As close as she was snuggled to him, he couldn't help but smell the jasmine and some other kind of flower scent of her hair. She was very beautiful, in some ways prettier than Lanie and Tansy, in others not; she hadn't deserved what had happened to her. No-one deserved that. That thought stiffened his resolve - he was going to protect Kayda no matter what. He owed it to her and to his fiancée Lanie. He watched the snow melt and the jerky strips fall into the cups as they began to get warm. “It won't be much,” he said as brightly as he could. “But, better than nothing.”
"Wyatt?" her mellifluous voice called out after a few moments, sounding nervous and tiny and even afraid.
"Are you ... you know," she began, "m-m-mad at me ... for what happened ... w-w-with Lanie?"
"I told you many times, Kayda, I'm not mad at you for something that wasn't your fault." As usual, his voice was calm and soothing.
"But ... " She broke off suddenly.
"But what?" When the girl didn't answer, Wyatt decided to guess. "You're still very attracted to Lanie, aren't you?" Her stiffening posture told the senior that he'd guessed accurately. "And maybe you're a little bit jealous that she's in love with me?"
"I ... I c-c-can't be!" the girl cried, her body starting to tremble as she cried. "I ... I love Debra," she wept, "so I can't be j-j-jealous of her!"
"And maybe you're a little jealous of Tansy, too?"
Kayda sobbed. "I ... I ... I have Debra. I ... I shouldn't ... Lanie isn't mine. I ...."
"I think I understand," Wyatt smiled at the Lakota girl. "Lanie has that effect on people; you can't help but fall in love with her. And you two ... had something special. You two clicked. But just because she loves Tansy and me doesn't mean she doesn't love you, too."
Kayda nodded as she thought. "I ... she's ..."
"You love her more than a sister, but less than Debra, right?" Wyatt ventured. "Because I know for a fact that's exactly how she feels about you." For a long time the silence drug out and finally the not quite soup but more than meat tea was as ready as it was going to be. Wyatt didn't know why the fire was hotter than it should be for what little fuel was in it, but he didn't care. He sat up carefully, maneuvering the fur hides so none of the precious warmth would escape then with some leather wrapped it around the mug before giving it to Kayda to sip.
She sat up and took a sip and grimaced. “Ugh, burnt shoe leather.”
“Just like mom used to make,” Wyatt chuckled as he got his own mug and forced down a sip of the awful soup.
“Lanie was supposed to be my wife,” Kayda whispered, drawing the big man's gaze to her.
“Do what now?”
Her eyes were on the soup for a long time, and he toyed with letting it go and chalking it up to their situation before the Lakota girl looked up, her eyes watery. “Coyote told me, told us both. I was supposed to come here as...as...I used to be a...a...boy; Brandon. Last month, when Coyote was playing with us, he told me that Wakan Tanka altered my manifestation, so...so...she could return early. My spirit did this to me and Coyote told me that I was meant to marry Lanie and...and...our daughter was supposed to be the Ptesanwi.”
“Why are you telling me this?” he demanded softly. Tears streamed from her eyes, but before she could work herself up he sat his soup down and slowly reached out to pull her against him. “More importantly, why are you putting yourself through it? Supposed to be? Destined? Evidently not, and at this point it doesn't matter, right? You have Debra...”
“I love her!” Kayda said earnestly.
“And I don't get riled up by 'what if' or 'might have been',” Wyatt teased her with a reassuring squeeze. “Stop trying to come up with reasons to make me mad at you, I'm not! And you don't deserve me being mad at you anyway.” Kayda smiled a weak, pitiful little smile, but the relief on her face was palatable. Wyatt gave her a wink and went back to forcing down the awful soup he had made.
Out side the Teepee, oblivious to the storm, Coyote sat with his tail curled around his paws, untouched, unmoved by the howling storm around him. He watched the two souls inside the Teepee as though the leather of the shelter was not there and smiled to himself at the turn the conversation had taken. “Interesting!” he chuckled to himself as he watched the host of the ancient healer brush aside the Ptesanwi's claim to his future wife. “So you don't believe in what if? Well, how enlightening!”
Coyote growled and a pair of pine trees, thick with branches and pine needles both bent far over in the storm until their bases snapped, giving out against the howling winds. They almost floated, gliding down to land one between the Teepee and the Sweat Lodge, the other on the opposite side of the Teepee, both making excellent wind breaks as the snow began to pile up on either side, further sheltering the Teepee between them. “Let us see what Mr. Cody thinks of this,” Coyote thought to himself as he stood and walked trackless into the storm on other business.
October 9th, 2007
The Crystal Hall, Whateley Academy
“All the students, faculty and staff are accounted for,” Amelia stated as she set a cup of coffee down in front of Liz. “Except for Wyatt Cody and Kayda Franks. Drink it, you need to warm up.”
Mrs Carson weakly took a hold of the cup and got it to her lips to find it exactly how she liked it, Italian Sweet Cream and just sweet enough to not be bitter. She gave her Assistant a brief smile of appreciation and drank a long sip. Gasping, she said, “Wyatt and Kayda are in the Teepee. I sent almost all of my essence to give their fire more energy and their bodies were strong.”
Hartford's lips drew into a thin line. “Even if some of the cold immune could get to them, getting Kayda back would be...” She trailed off as Liz shook her head.
“No one else is to go out in that storm,” she ordered. “It's feeding on essence somehow. We have to wait it out. Wyatt was a good student, they have a shelter; he will survive and he'll keep Kayda alive. We've done all we can for them.”
Down on the bottom floor, Danny's head was throbbing. He had fumbled his way through dinner, taking the last three ibuprofen he had on him, but there was no fighting it now. He had resisted being Danica for days and now the pain settled behind his eyeballs and began to become excruciating. He held his head and moaned, drawing a glance from Amelie in concern. “Mon amie?” she asked, but Danny just squeezed his eyes shut and held his temples.
Wihinape, he called mentally through the haze of pain. Can't you do something?
I hurt! The Spirit replied. Can you not shift and let us both relax?
Not here! Hissed Danny's mental voice. Not in front of...!
I HURT! Wihinape snarled.
“Danny?” Amelie cried, putting her hand on his shoulder. It was just enough to break his concentration and instantly his form became molten and he shifted, causing his clothes to bunch in awkward and uncomfortable ways, while also being obscenely loose in others.
Within him, Wihinape sighed in comfort as his hallow become more comfortable for her. As the headache eased from Danica's mind, a startled voice snapped her back to the here and now. “What the fuck?!” roared Dump Truck.
No! Danny screamed in his mind, even as the other boys hand grabbed Danica's arm and hauled her to her feet.
“What kind of freak are you?” Dump Truck shouted, making it impossible that anyone could have not heard. Danny felt every eye in the Crystal Hall on him as his secret was outed to the entire student body. “This freak turned into a girl!” Matthew Thatcher shouted. “This faggot is Danny Franks!”
The humiliation threatened to consume Danny as his soul was laid bare. Danica was so completely humiliated that her body betrayed her and she began to weep. The tears became a flood that overwhelmed her, driving out any thought of standing up for herself, she only wanted to flee, but was kept from doing so by Dump Truck's hold on her arm. Then, just when she thought she might die of shame, a clear, dulcet voice echoed through the Crystal Hall. “Let. Go. Of. Her!” Every eye turned as Marty Penn stood, practically glowing with indignant rage and righteous anger.
“What are you going to do about it, you pole smoking queer?” sneered Matthew. “How many of you fake girls are in this damn place, anyway?”
Marty began to walk towards Dump Truck even as the rest of the FSA stood up from the table Marty had just left. “I'm going to beat you within an inch of your bigoted, homophobic life,” Marty declared as she strode forward with the inevitability of Death itself. “Let her go!”
“You and what army?” Dump Truck shouted.
“This one,” thundered the sonorous voice of Stephen Nalley. The over eager kid with a super hero fixation was gone, in his place was a dangerous, powerful young man, a broad shouldered, heavily muscled avatar of American Manhood, rolling up his proverbial sleeves to take care of business. He led the entire FSA as they left the table and marched over to back up Marty. While Sayyid, the reluctant leader of the group came after the young man from Georgia, he was obviously perfectly ok with what Stephen had in mind. Matthew looked around, but his usual partners in bulling wanted nothing to do with a rematch of the brawl from this morning, especially not with the entire FSA club this time. Marty removed Matthews hand from Danica's arm and hugged the emotionally overwhelmed girl.
“You're a brave man with...”
“Shut, the fuck, up, you...you maggot!” Snarled Stronghold as he got into the other boys face. “You sub human, waste of skin! If you or one of your human garbage friends lay a finger on her or any other gay kid on this campus and I'll pound your disgusting face right through your homophobic asshole!” Stronghold's normally porcelain complexion was flush with anger and his rage was dripping from his features.
Alone, and heavily outnumbered, Matthew made a dismissive gesture. “I don't give a fuck about the fake girl...”
“Close your mouth and fuck off!” Stronghold shouted. Completely cowed, Dump Truck sulked off into the company of the friends who had refused to help him. Looking around at all the students in the hall, Stephen raised his voice and declared, “And that goes for any other bigots hiding in here! The gay bashing on this campus ends today! Or you answer to the Future Superheroes of America!”
“Fighting is against the rules!” someone shouted, but Hippolyta only cracked her knuckles and grinned a vicious grin.
“Do we look like we care?” she shouted back. “We will spend the rest of this year in detention if we have to! But you'll spend time in Doyle! Count on it!”
“Drinking your dinner through a straw!” Stephen added, putting in a damn fine effort at cowing the entire school. He stared them down, implacable, until the voice of the Headmistress drifted down from the faculty dais on the third tier.
“I believe your point has been made, Mr. Nalley,” Mrs. Carson declared. “Now sit down before you land your entire club in a stint of detention I promise you will care about, Miss Ibrahimi!”
With an inarticulate growl, the Future Superheroes of America returned to their table, Danica and Amelie in tow. “Now then,” Mrs Carson continued. “I understand this is an uncomfortable solution to the weather emergency outside, and that tempers will be a bit frayed, but there will be no fighting, in this hall. Neither will there be provocation. Any fighting will land whoever started it two weeks of in school suspension and just in case any of you freshmen are wondering, yes we do make use of those cells you all saw on the tour in Kane Hall! You will all get along for the duration of this, or I will make you regret it.”
Tansy watched Mrs Carson step back from the edge of the dais to the little clutch of senior staff that where sharing it with her before turning back to the pallet she and Lanie were making. They decided to pool their resources of a blanket and pillow each the housekeeping staff had given out, to put one on the floor to lay on and cover themselves with the other. “Was that really your brother?” she asked as the two girls smothed out the blanket on the floor and arranged their pillows.
“Ah know, right?” Lanie replied as she sat down to remove her black sneakers and socks which she stuffed into the shoe. “Ah may have to hack the security feed to send video of that to the folks! They'll swell up to bursting with pride!” She sighed and put her shoes off to the side. “At least they can be proud of one of us.”
“Hey!” Tansy protested immediately. “I may have had my head up my rear for a while but the parents I saw for two weeks last summer are damn proud of both of you! God, I wish I could have had your parents!”
Lanie smiled and hugged the blonde. “You will! Some day, I'm sure of it!”
The main lights in the Hall went out, leaving only the sconces and detail lights, enough to navigate the pile of students sleeping on the floor, but dark enough to sleep. “Lights out, electronics off,” Mr Donner's voice boomed through the hall. He was standing where Mrs Carson had been and the girls noticed several teachers with flash lights wandering around each tier on patrols with flashlights. It was apparent that shenanigans would not be tolerated. “Good night, kids, pleasant dreams.”
Leaving her school tie and jacket around her chair, Lanie joined Tansy on the pallet and got comfortable on her pillow facing her lover. I'm worried about them,she thought as she held Tansy's hand under the cover.
Wyatt is indestructible, Tansy reassured her. He'll pull them both through.
The two girls closed their eyes and drifted off to sleep, expecting to reconnect in their Dream Space, which they did, but in a way neither of them expected, while outside the storm railed just past the transparent wall beside them.