Amongst the Shadows
A Whateley Academy Tale
Amongst the Shadows
E. E. Nalley
You took your time with the call
I took no time with the fall
You gave me nothing at all
But still, you're in my way
I beg, and borrow and steal
At first sight and it's real
I didn't know I would feel it
But it's in my way
Carly Rae Jepsen, Call me, Maybe?
October 11th, 2007
Room 210, Poe Cottage
When Tansy woke up it was night and a look at her Rolex showed it was also after curfew. “Aw, shit,” she muttered and made to get up, but she was hopelessly entwined with Elaine in her bed and there was no way she would be able to rise without waking her. Tansy looked at the girl in her arms, from the soft Irish sun kissed face to the wayward strains of her crimson hair, Elaine looked like such an angel it made her heart melt.
Yes, Mustang opined in her mind. This is what love feels like.
“Tell me we can make this work, Mustang,” she whispered, one hand gently caressing her lover's cheek, feeling her mind so effortlessly it would have worried her if she didn't enjoy it so much. She saw Elaine's dream of a mid summer's picnic, a little gaggle of children playing, red head, brunette, blonde, without care of who was whose mother as she and Tansy lay against the man who had fathered them. “Tell me this dream is our future.”
I am not a prophet, the spirit replied in a lazy voice. But if I had any sway with the Creator I would use it to make it so.
Tansy gently pushed her mental mind's eye to her spirit and found him on a little hill in a grassy plain, watching over the mares of his herd and his foals at play. He grinned at her and gave a mental shrug. Of course I think it's natural! What did you expect?
“Am I being greedy?” Walcutt asked, one arm encircling the long head of her spirit.
Only in the sense that the longer you delay your departure, the more trouble you both will get in, the Spirit replied.
The blonde pouted for a moment, then sighed and kissed her lover's forehead. “Baby, it's almost midnight, I've got to go.” Elaine signed and hugged her a bit tighter.
“Let's just get detention,” she murmured, her eyes stubbornly closed.
“We're probably there already,” Tansy told her as she started to rise. Lanie only offered a token resistance before releasing her. “See you at breakfast?”
One emerald eye opened, almost glowing in the darkness and what little light from the lantern by the front door of the cottage came in the window. “Ah don't want you to go,” she pouted.
Tansy smiled down on her for a moment, then thought the better of it, leaning down to kiss her. As their lips parted, she smiled and said, “I don't want to go, baby, but I have to.” She ran her hand along Elaine's cheek and projected her thoughts. I'll be in dream space as quick as I can.
Ah'll be waiting.
The blonde smiled again as the emerald eye closed and almost immediately Elaine was asleep again. Tansy stood and stretched, nude and completely unashamed, before she bent over and began to sort her clothes from Elaine's that were scattered all over the floor. Dressed, she put Elaine's things in her dirty clothes bin and turned to leave. As she did, her eyes fell on the newspaper, still on Elaine's desk and let herself smile a cruel smile. Her lover was avenged, a monster brought to justice and despite the pricks of her conscience, Elaine was a little awestruck that Tansy had felt the need to do something so outrageous just for her. She would need to send something nice to Mr. Lewis and his men to show her appreciation for his artwork.
So, we can fuck over bad people? Old Tansy asked sullenly from the cage in her mind she was kept in.
Yes, New Tansy told her. We can fuck over all the bad people you want.
Old Tansy's smile was malevolent. Good.
Don't go overboard, Mustang cautioned her, but Old Tansy sniffed at the thought of being caught. She opened the door and was startled to find Rosalyn Dekkard waiting for her in the hall. See? The spirit chortled.
“Rosalyn,” Stammered Tansy, “I...”
The brunette raised a hand and shook her head. “Don't worry, I'm not here to bust you. You aren't the first girl that needed reminding there's a curfew. I called over to Shannon Pruitt my fellow fixer in Dickinson, who assures me Tansy Walcutt was in her room at lights out.”
“Th...that's uncommonly generous of you, thank you.”
The green eyes narrowed under that raven's wing black hair. “That one's free. I told Mrs Horton it was a mistake to let you in on our cottage secret, but I'm not so much of a bitch that I can't admit when I'm wrong. That class you've been giving the changelings has seen some real results. New Girls I thought would never pass last month are giving me solid make up advice.”
The two girls began to walk to the large open lobby that had been made in the space of the old building. Rosalyn led the way into the elevator and pressed the basement button. “I'm glad to help,” Tansy told her, a bit confused by her manner.
“We Posies look out for each other,” Rosalyn replied, leaning against the side of the car as it descended. “So, in the spirit of that, I'm gonna say this. Elaine has been through a lot, Tansy. More maybe than you know about. Stuff that I am uncomfortable telling you about to be honest, some of it is none of either of our business. She's been hurt, and back stabbed and betrayed damn near her whole time here. She may have decided to bump uglies with Wyatt, but she'll always be a member of the Sisterhood. And you, Tansy Walcutt, are the whore of this school. I'm not even sure you know how to not hurt someone.”
“Shut up and listen,” Rosalyn growled as the car came to a stop and the doors opened. “Don't think your little apology tour and a couple of kind turns buys you out of what you've done. Lanie is a big girl, and she for what ever reason let you into her life, and if you hurt her, Tansy, well, we're all plant food eventually...”
After a moment of trying, Tansy decided not to suppress the smile her lips wanted. “Roz, that was almost sweet,” she purred, holding the doors open. “And I'm going to take that in the spirit of you wanting to help Elaine and say thank you. I know nothing I can say will change your mind, and yeah, I'll admit sex was my weapon of choice. But honey, you and I have the same shoe size for that glass slipper.” Rosalyn bristled, but Tansy stepped forward menacingly. “As for whether I've turned over a new leaf, well, lets just say the bars on the cage aren't for the tiger, and, sweetheart, you aren't the tiger. Don't you ever threaten me again.”
“If you hurt her...”
“I won't,” the blonde replied quickly. “So we don't have a problem, do we?” She stared for a moment, then nodded. “Thanks for the solid with Shannon. I owe you.”
Walcutt left the elevator and walked with her head high to the door to the tunnel system and disappeared through it just as the elevator doors closed over a very confused Rosalyn Dekkard. For a long moment, she stood in the car, the wheels of her mind spinning at red line. Finally she pressed the button for her floor and scratched her chin in puzzlement. Could Tansy Walcutt really have changed? And, if so, what was that information worth?
October 12th, 2007
The Fixer's Patio, Schuster Hall
After the excitement of the storm, a morning rain had washed all of the snow away leaving muddy fields and Friday had been a day of dull classes for the school and getting back into its routine. Conversations began to speculate over what would happen for Halloween this year, with wide eyed freshman being regaled of the battle that had taken place the year previously. There was talk of costumes to be made, dates asked and preparations for the party the school would host.
Now that the school day was over, Marty Penn was content in the arms of her beau, leaning against him as he sat on the top of the table and used the bench as a foot stool so as to better wrap his arms around his girl. Marty had shed the school's uniform for a nice pair of jeans and her favorite NYPD T-shirt while Stephen was looking very studly in a floral printed Hawaiian shirt he wore open over a red T-shirt that clashed with the colors of the Hawaiian to an interesting effect. Marty was laying her head back on his shoulder while his oral attentions to her neck would have not been out of place on a vampire. They were in good company in that regard as the Fixer's patio was a perennial make out spot between classes getting out and dinner.
While there were a few teachers making a show of doing their grading with a cup of coffee, everyone knew they were there to keep the hormone addled teens from getting beyond first base. This was all being tolerated with a somewhat pained expressions as the Fixers plied their trade in what little table space was left. Stephen and Marty were waiting for the rest of their club to arrive after the initial rush of returning to their dorms to get into 'real' clothing.
Through the haze of pleasure, Marty spied a group of teens down by Hundred Year Oak glaring in their direction. The little clutch of Freshmen that had gravitated around Dump Truck had taken to calling themselves the Bad Boyz, and normally freshmen could be ignored, but the fact that they had linked up with David Archer bothered her. David was a senior and stooping to recruit freshman was looked down on generally as poor form. While David had always been a prick and a bigot, suddenly it seemed like he was throwing away what social cachet he had left as fast as he could. The part that wasn't wishing she was alone with her lover wondered why.
She saw Dump Truck glaring as she reached up with one hand to run it through Stephens thick, somewhat wild red hair to encourage his amorous attentions as she gave him the solo finger salute with the other. He returned it with both hands, grabbed his crotch and purposefully turned away, flashing that ridiculous motorcycle gang vest he wore everywhere.
“Don't feed the trolls,” Stephen muttered into her neck, once again shocking her with his somewhat uncanny awareness of what was going on around him.
She turned her head slightly to whisper into his ear, “Why not? Pissing him off is so much fun.”
“God, I love you,” he chuckled as he came off her neck to kiss her mouth.
“Let her have some air, Casanova,” Hippolyta commanded with a chuckle as she arrived and laid her book bag on the table. She was dressed in jeans, black leather knee boots and a blouse that set off her decolletage to good effect, signaling she was in a rare good mood. From the bag she removed a pack of cigarettes and a lighter and lit one, adjusting herself to be down wind of Stephen and Marty.
“You trying to get detention?” Marty asked, noting the glares of a few of the teachers at nearby tables.
“Nothing they can do about it,” the amazon replied, exhaling a plume of bluish smoke. “I'm eighteen now.”
Stephen turned to look at the older girl. “You're in a good mood, was there good news about Sara?”
A cloud passed over her face as she took another drag on the cigarette. “No, and they've made it pretty clear they've stopped caring.”
“I don't think that's true...” Marty started, but Anosha shook her head.
“Circe said last year she had no sense of Sara at all and Mrs. Carson said that when she was finally able to contact Gothmog he didn't seem to care she had gone missing. Gave her some cock and bull story about how he wasn't worried, and Elder Beings get summoned or captured all the time, and then went on this tangent about how he was imprisoned in a bottle in England for twenty years in the eighteen hundreds and was responsible for inspiring this guy Granville to invent the vibrator. What a crock of shit.” She turned and spat angrily onto the patio.
Stephen chuckled. “Hippy, I swear I can't decide if you're the manliest woman I know or just confused...! You get all dressed up nice and then carry on like some of the grease monkeys my dad employs.”
Another plume of smoke billowed into the air. “I'm a dyke, leave it at that,” she replied gruffly.
“Hey, I wasn't trying to harsh your good time...” Hippy waved him off.
“You're alright, Steve.” She sighed and shook her head. “My councilor says I should resolve myself to not seeing Sara again. Even Mrs. Horton says beings like Sara just don't operate on the same timescale mentally that we do. I can't imagine Sara just forgetting about me, but nobody can sense her, her own father doesn't seem to care, and I don't have the skills to go look for her.”
“Kayda's a good mage,” he started. “I could ask...?”
The golden haired amazon actually smiled and rubbed out the cigarette before disposing of the butt. “Better than her have already, Steve. Hell, I wish more men were like you and Sayyid.”
“Hey, we're not all assholes. Some of us even remember birthdays.”
Anosha chuckled as Erin Manly walked up. “Whose birthday is it?” Waving off her question, Hippy locked her gaze on the Bad Boyz down by Hundred Year Oak.
“What are those reprobates up to?” she wondered out loud.
“I was just wondering why Archer is slumming with Freshmen,” Marty pointed out.
“Easy to shove around,” Powerhouse opined as he arrived. “Not that Archer is a mental giant and into deep political maneuvers.”
Erin rolled her eyes. “Pot? This is kettle, about that black thing?”
Completely unphased, Powerhouse just grinned. “Hey, I never claimed to be a mental giant either, who needs to be when...”
“You're hung like a horse,” the women at the table chorused in a nauseated tone. “Could you find some other catch phrase?” Marty demanded.
“Besides,” drawled Steve, “If you were able to make the stable dwellers envious, who needs to brag?”
Powerhouse started to retort, but Marty's expression merely changed to the cat who got the canary and she rubbed her ass against Stephen's crotch. “Damned right,” she purred, causing the other women at the table to break out in laughter.
For a moment, it looked like Powerhouse might take offense, but Sayyid walked up and with a hand on his shoulder guided him down to the bench. “Let's see if we can keep to a higher standard of conversation, if that's alright? So, before Johnny made us all aware of his short comings again, what was the issue?”
Hippy pointed with her chin. “Wondering what the Losers are up to and why Archer is hanging with them.”
“Aren't The Losers the Don and his rapidly shrinking circle of friends?” Erin asked.
“No,” Stephen replied. “They're The Rejects. The Losers call themselves the Rat Patrol. Archers' Bitches call themselves the Bad Boyz. With a Z, so you know they're all virgins.”
“Let's not get back on sex,” moaned Sayyid. “Though Hippy makes a good point about David. He was always an ass, but I wonder why he's so open about it this year?”
Stephen shook his head. “You should have heard my sister bitch about him at her Gadgeteer Trials last year.”
“Her what?” demanded Johnny.
“Evidently the Gadgeteers have a secret society,” Stephen told him. “At the end of the year, they all brag about what they made and get graded on it before some kind of board or something. Anyway, Lanie said Archer was on the board last year and she almost got into a fist fight with him because he was giving her shit about...uh...well...”
“Also liking girls,” Anosha finished for him. “Steve, sorry you're the last to know, but yeah, your sister is a Sister.”
The young man from Georgia blushed a bit. “Well, it's not my business who she likes,” he managed around his embarrassment.
“Man, I wish I was Kody,” Johnny muttered. “It's so not fair he gets her and Tansy...”
“Remove mah sister from your fantasies, Johnny,” Stephen growled, his accent peeking out. “Before Ah feed you your spleen.”
“Knock it off,” growled Hippy as Wallflower walked up, wearing her black and white 'hero' costume. “What's with the spandex?”
“Were we not doing a simulation this evening?” she asked, confused.
“You must have not gotten my email,” Sayyid told her. “When I went to book the simulator, I found out Ms. Hartford has it booked out for the whole weekend.”
“What?” demanded Johnny. “They can do that?”
“Evidently,” Sayyid replied with a shrug. “I wonder who she's going to put through that wringer?”
October 12th, 2007
Jericho’s Private Lab, Doyle Medical Center Tunnels
“You want what now?” the blind young man demanded, scratching around one of the course dreadlocks on his scalp. Tansy was on the other side of his lab, her eyes on the frets of the guitar she had picked up off the stand so she would not have to look at his nauseatingly horrific clothes. He was currently wearing a T-Shirt that had four different US Navy Dazzle camouflage patterns under a plaid vest that Tansy was pretty sure was the Black Watch Tartan and a hot salmon pink neck tie festooned with cyan blue polka dots.
The blonde wasn't sure what was the greatest crime against fashion and general decency: the colors, the horrific mixing, wearing a tie over a T Shirt or the burnt sienna corduroy pants he was wearing. Really! Corduroy! Where in the name of all that was Holy did he buy corduroy pants? She was glad she hadn't eaten yet and quickly gravitated to the guitar so as to have something to look at in self defense.
Peeper was dry heaving into his trash can, causing Tansy to wonder did his power make Jericho's clothing worse?
“You heard me,” Tansy replied as she strummed out the entry solo of Metallica's Enter Sandman on the guitar. “Peeper wants some kind of device that will deny or deactivate his power, and I am willing to pay for it.”
Jericho rubbed the scruff of hair on his chin he was trying to grow into a soul patch. “Well, it's theoretically possible, I guess. I'd need to isolate the radiation that Peeper is sensing that allows him to look through everything and then finding something to block it, but let visible light through, shouldn't be that hard. I may have to consult with Granite because she has learned to manifest all kinds of interesting materials.”
“All I ask is a working device and an itemized bill,” Tansy replied. “How long do you think?”
“Depends on how long it takes to isolate what it is he is perceiving.”
“It burns,” moaned John from the waste basket.
“The real question,” Jericho continued, “is why?”
“Does altruism need a justification?” Tansy fired back. “Peeper wants it, and I am doing every female on this campus a solid for funding it and you get the undying gratitude of all of those women. Assuming you make a...subtle...change in your wardrobe so as to not induce projectile vomiting, I image that gratitude could be parleyed into all kinds of...interesting...expressions of gratitude? What more could a teenaged boy want?”
A grin split Jericho's face. “And give up show business?” he demanded.
Tansy made a dismissive gesture as she made a slight adjustment to the guitar's tune by ear. “However you choose to spend the laurels of your charity are your own affair. I choose cash. Do I need to provide a down payment?” Jericho shrugged and looked around his shop.
“Prototyping isn't cheap,” he admitted. “And my materials budget gets eaten into pretty heavily.”
The blonde opened her purse and placed a strap of hundred dollar bills on the table. “Ten grand sufficient?”
“You are serious,” he admitted, taking up the bills and smelling them. “Yes, the lovely odor of new money! I'll get with Dr Tenant and schedule some tests for Peeper. Once we have a better idea of how his power works, we'll do better in stopping it.”
With a sigh, Tansy returned the guitar to the stand. “A pleasure doing business with you.” She gathered up her purse and started towards the door, but was stopped by him reaching out and touching her elbow.
“I didn't get a chance to tell you, at the picnic, that was pretty rad what you did,” he said earnestly. “Not just showing Danny, but above and beyond just exemplar learning, you have a real talent for guitar. You enjoyed it, I saw you.”
“I thought you were blind?” Tansy asked with a smirk, controlling her stomach with an iron will to look the boy in the face. Jericho's pure white eyes were a little off putting, but they were actually set in a rugged, moderately dark-skinned face that was wide, open and honest. He was actually quite handsome and it seemed he was desperate that no one notice.
“Some things you don't need eyes to see,” he replied softly. “Music speaks to you, it was your solace when you were lonely, wasn't it? Let your imagination take you to better places when this life got to be too much. And I bet it comforts you while you walk this road back to humanity, doesn't it?”
Tansy gasped at being laid open so bare and so completely. It was a piercing look deep into her soul of the kind that even surpassed sessions with Mr.Geintz. Jericho's smile broadened. “I thought so,” he declared. “You should nurture it, not many have that gift, to feel the music and not just hear it. Music is the back door to the soul, and what kind of person would I be if I didn't encourage it? Take the guitar.”
He waved the strap of hundreds. “It's just an old pawn shop buy, nothing special. This more than covers it, anyway. Call it a gift of my appreciation of what you're doing.” He walked past her and took the instrument off the stand and presented it her. “I insist.”
“Alright,” Tansy replied quietly, taking the guitar a plain white electric with light brown fretwork marked Ibanez. “Thank you, Joseph.”
“You're welcome, Tansy,” he replied. “Welcome back.”
“Back to the human race.”
October 12th, 2007
Conference Room 'A', Schuster Hall, Whateley Academy
“There is no question now that the demon which attacked the school was the same entity that Mrs. Carson saw bested by students Elaine Nalley and Tansy Walcutt in the March of Dreams,” Circe declared to the room. Between nearly the entirety of her own department, Mrs Carson, Ms Hartford and the Trustee Fredrick Coveanu, the conference room was quite full. If measured by force of personality, it was over flowing. “Indeed, the Spirit Coyote did us a tremendous favor, if he is to be believed that he engineered the girls encountering and defeating the entity there. The destruction of the astral portion of the demon weakened it so severely it was forced to abandon its attack and flee.”
“To where is the question,” Lord Paramount declared pointedly.
“Somewhere it thinks it won't be found,” Elyzia Grimes told him. “Demons are bi-dimensional creatures and not native to this plane. By killing its Astral Form, Elaine and Tansy have made it vulnerable to complete destruction in the Prime Material Plane. It will be desperate and exceptionally cautious.”
“Isn't there some way to track it down?” asked Ms Hartford.
“Steps are being taken,” Circe replied. “We hope to be able to track it quickly enough to take advantage of Lord Paramount being here.”
The Prince smiled thinly. “Do I get extra credit for helping?”
“I'm willing to entertain an alteration to your transcript,” Mrs Carson shot back with a grin of her own. “Though I doubt it will stand you in much good stead.”
“On the contrary! My thirty five year class reunion is coming up and the bragging rights alone would be devastating...”
Circe continued from her end of the table. “The good news is this demon was not able to defeat the school warding, though unmolested, I am quite certain it could have, given enough time. Given the amount of energy it expended trying to reach Kayda, I feel certain it is not likely to leave the area and will make another attempt at Kayda if possible.”
“Parents day and Halloween are coming up, both vulnerable times,” Mrs Carson said, only partially to herself. “I'd like a list of recommendations of extra precautions we can take from your department, Circe. I don't want a repeat of last year.”
“In that vein,” Paramount said, catching the eye of the Headmistress as he did so. “With your blessing, Elizabeth, I will remain until after Halloween. Just in case.” Mrs. Carson nodded.
“Thank you, Fredrick, that's very generous of you.”
October 12th, 2007
The Crystal Hall, Whateley Academy
“I'll have one of those,” Wyatt declared to Maria, doing his best not to drool at the sight of the grill full of thick cut steaks she was grilling. “Medium Rare,” he added, holding out his plate for her to drop the steak onto it. The Senior Emeritus had no idea how the school managed to afford the incredible selection the Crystal Hall offered, but he frankly didn't care. He was actually glad to have an extra year at the school to learn to use the magical abilities the Kodiak had granted him; if for no other reason than he had never had a better steak than what the Hall offered up Friday nights.
Friday was a big date night so attendance to the hall for dinner was lighter than normal. There would be lines to The School House Restaurant and the Bistro, so the Hall tended to step up things a bit for the kids who did come in. It was great to be out of Doyle Medical Center and back to something like a normal rhythm. Of course it wouldn't be Whateley without some strangeness and the normally laid back, low maintenance girls he found himself the significant other of were ever so slightly distant.
Not that anyone besides him would notice, but both Tansy and Elaine were just a bit put out about how he and Kayda had survived in the teepee. They'll be a whole lot put out if they find out she offered herself, boy, his spirit warned him as he selected a foil wrapped baked potato he cut open and filled with a glob of butter and then a small mountain of sour cream.
“If that's what she intended," Wyatt whispered back to his spirit. "We were both cold and tired, and ... it'd be easy to misunderstand." He shook his head to clear his mind. "No need to go borrowing trouble by assuming that's what she meant, nor telling the girls what I think she might have meant ” He spooned on a lion's portion of green beans and paused for a moment. “Still, it never hurts to be preventative. I should do something special for both of them.”
They're both worth more than you, Kodiak reminded him. I don't think things are going to...
“Not things,” he countered. “And I'm not doing too shabby in the provider department,” he reminded the spirit. Wyatt's bank account actually the most full it had ever been with fifty thousand dollars left over after paying his tuition from the first spell royalty check from McGraw-Hill Medical. The spell Fungi perfecta imago Kodiak had taught him was taking the diagnostic medical community by storm, being hailed as the most significant step in diagnosis since the invention of the X-Ray. “At least they'd rather all of us be together than having to balance one at a time,” he murmured, heading towards the 'pay' island and snagging a roll as he passed the bakery cart. His card beeped and he was headed towards the elevators.
Before he could get there, a voice called out, “Wyatt?”
He paused to give the young man time to leave his table and walk over. “Adam, what can I do for you?”
“Let me walk with you, this will take a while,” the other replied. Again Wyatt began walking towards the elevator, allowing Ironknife to press the call button for him. “I need your advice, Alpha Male stuff.”
“That's your problem now,” Wyatt returned affably as he entered the car and pressed the button for the top tier. “And welcome to it.”
There were not many that were taller than Adam, and the young man regretted that Wyatt was one of them. He tried not to be petulant as he scowled up at the older man. “Come on, Wyatt, you can't tell me you don't have an opinion on how you'd handle something?”
Cody shrugged expressively. “What's your problem?”
“The Capes,” Adam replied as the doors opened and he followed Wyatt around to the Alpha Dais. “While you were camping out, Mrs Carson had the whole school practically in here.”
Wyatt grunted as he sat down his tray and went over to the condiment cart for a bottle of steak sauce. “I bet that was fun,” he said, shaking the thin, square bottle as he returned to his seat.
“Not as bad as you'd think,” Adam replied as he slid into the seat opposite Wyatt at the still mostly vacant Alpha table. “A couple of dust ups, but the problem was what happened with Danny Franks and the Capes.”
“How much trouble can a freshman cause?” laughed Wyatt as he poured the thick, black sauce over his steak. Adam blinked in surprise.
“You haven't heard? Dump Truck saw Franks shape shift into a girl and made a huge stink over it. I figured Danny would laugh it off, I mean, what shifter hasn't walked the other side of the street, am I right?”
“You forget about Drag Queen?” Wyatt asked pointedly and Adam winced. Drag Race had been a senior Adam's freshman year, and Wyatt's sophomore. A Gearhead Gadgeteer, his only other ability was he was a shape shifter notorious around the campus for being bisexual and spending long periods of time in his female form. He had gone well past 'mastering' his ability and was probably the most 'out' young man on campus that year. When he began to be harassed over it, he very publicly named names of all the boys who had had sex with him; male form, female form and a handful in between.
The fracas it stirred up had fast become something of a legend at the school. Two boys got a week of in school suspension, and a small record of detention was handed out. It brought down Jeff 'Goldwing' Planter as Alpha male and nearly got three other students expelled. It had led to Freya gaining control of the Alpha's and there were whispers that she had engineered the entire affair specifically for that.
Drag Race had been beaten so severely in retaliation he had been transferred to ARC for extensive care and healing.
Adam nodded. “That's the problem,” Ironknife told him. “Danny had a meltdown. Burst out crying, didn't shift back, or say anything! Then Mega-Girl picks a fight with Dump Truck over it, right in front of the teachers, hell the whole school! And the Capes all back her up and her boyfriend, Stronghold throws down a challenge that the Capes will beat up anybody gay bashing.”
“Good for him,” grunted Wyatt with approval as he cut a triangle from the steak and started chewing. “Are you upset somebody is taking issue with the amount of homophobia on this campus? Because I'm missing the problem here, Adam.”
Ironknife blinked in amazement. “Missing...? Wyatt, the Capes are talking about going on the war path and you know how some of the worst kids are wild homophobes!”
“Nothing a good ass kicking won't cure,” Wyatt replied. “Why are your panties in a twist over it, Adam? Seems to me it's high time somebody reigned that crap in.”
“Oh, you don't care because you're banging a pair of...”
“Don't finish that sentence unless you want a really large dentist bill,” Kodiak growled and Adam was reminded just how perfectly Wyatt's spirit fit him. He held up his hand in apology.
“I don't mean anything by it,” Adam said quickly. “Ya lucky son of a bitch! But I have a war on my hands with some of these...” Ironknife trailed off as Wyatt shook his head.
“Adam, this is your problem if you make it your problem,” Wyatt told him sagely. “You're not a member of the faculty and student discipline isn't in any way one of the duties of the Alpha Male. If the Capes want to throw down over something, that's between them, whoever they throw down with, and security. Admin will hand out the punishments, not you. Your job is to set an example and have enough stuff going on that kids are too busy to mix it up with each other. You get all the issues, and none of the power. You make this your business, I promise you, you will have a miserable year.”
Ironknife sat back, a confused look on his face. “What? I just ignore...?” Wyatt sighed heavily and leaned forward.
“Look, Adam, you've been a security helper for so long you're thinking like you work for security. You don't, brother. The Capes beating up the gay bashers aren't your problem. So don't give yourself an ulcer over it. You want to do something? Pick a side and set about making it the cool side of the issue. If I were in your place, honestly, I'd do everything I could to make homophobia the most lame, has been, so last century thing on campus. No one would be caught dead without a gay buddy. I'd get the most out, Sayyid maybe if he wasn't head of the Capes. Last year? Banned Aides. I would have picked Banned Aides to plan the hip party of the year. Cause everybody knows Gay guys have the coolest parties, right? Make Gay Bashing unhip, nobody goes gay bashing and the Capes aren't fighting anybody. Get it? Go plan the Halloween Party, that is your problem.”
October 12th, 2007
Room 803, Melville Cottage, Whateley Academy
“I want to come with you to Alderaan. There's nothing for me here now. I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi like my father.”
“I don't get this movie,” Wyatt complained as his massive hand collected a sizable portion of popcorn that he began to munch. He felt the eyes of his two girl friends on him, looking up from where they were both laying against him, one on either side, making a pillow of his shoulders. “More to the point, I don't get why both of you like it so much? I mean, it's an ok Sci-Fi Action flick, and yeah Han Solo is the original bad ass, but...”
“Amazing,” chuckled Tansy as she shook her head. “Everything in that sentence was wrong.”
“I get why you like it, Lanie, but...”
“Oh sure, pick on the nerd,” she retorted with much long suffering. “Do you warm up or stretch before you put your foot in your mouth, baby?”
“Hey, I didn't mean it like that...”
Elaine paused the movie and began to tick off her points on her fingers. “Star Wars is easily the greatest retelling of the mythic Hero of A Thousand Faces, the same story we as humans keep telling ourselves about the boy who takes up his fathers sword, is mentored by a wise old hermit and conquers a great evil...”
“Not to mention it was a complete refutation of the depressing, everyone is corrupt, everyone is a bad guy movies of the 70's,” Tansy replied. “It was a Sci-Fi veneer over America saving the world again, letting us feel good about ourselves after Vietnam and Watergate...”
“It's basically a western in outer space...”
“Han Solo is a Harrison Ford paint job over a pile of John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart characters...”
Wyatt looked down at his two outraged girlfriends and chuckled. “Sorry! Sorry! Geez, who would have ever thought you two would be such ardent supporters of the same movie?” He hugged them both and sighed. “I don't know, maybe I'm a little burned out on the boy fighting a great evil.”
“Ah've got the base up and going,” Elaine said softly.
“I got an email from Poise at Dartmouth,” Tansy added, rubbing his chest in encouragement. “She said she's identified two other mutants who were attending and she's bringing them up to speed.”
“Thanks, girls, I'm sorry, this is just a little heavy on me right now.” He sighed and forced a grin. “I don't mean to spoil date night. Lanie, start it up again...”
“We don't have to watch a movie, baby,” the Redhead replied, moving the tub of popcorn they were sharing off the bed.
“We're both here for you, Wyatt,” Tansy added sincerely. “If you want to talk about it, we'll listen.”
He shrugged and carefully stood after the girls sat up on the bed, making room for him. He ambled over to the fridge and returned with a beer he opened, casually tossing the cap into his trash can. “Sometimes, I guess it gets a little overwhelming. I have to face this thing, this threat to the entire planet...”
“Not alone!” Tansy interrupted emphatically.
“Jesus, girls, I...I'll be honest, I'm still trying to figure out how to be the best man for both of you!”
“You already are,” Lanie replied softly. Sharing a glance with Tansy she leaned forward and took one of his hands. Tansy mimicked her and took the other around the beer bottle. “Ah couldn't ask for a finer man than you, Wyatt Cody. You have grown so far beyond the man I fell in love with, the man I saw inside the Alpha, Ah can't begin to describe how proud Ah am of you.”
“Lanie gave me a second chance, baby,” Tansy added softly. “But you showed me the way. If it weren't for you, God! I shudder to think where we'd be! The Don still lording over the school?” Tansy looked at Elaine for help and the redhead nodded.
“Poor Cavalier and Skybolt would still be catatonic in ARC if it weren't for you!” Elaine told him, squeezing his hand. His arms reached around both girls and he pulled them into his chest in a massive bear hug.
“I don't deserve you two,” he whispered, reaching down to kiss them both. As he did so, he reached a bit further to place the bottle on the far night stand of the bed.
“Just so you realize it,” Tansy told him drolly.
“And keep it firmly in mind!” Elaine added.
Now free, his hands roamed and his fingers began to dig into their sides, causing both girls to squeal in surprise. “As if I could be anything else thinking about you two!” Tansy squirmed out of his embrace, seized his pillow and creamed him with it. Then the fight was on. Not that there was very much aggression on Wyatt's part; in point of fact, it was a 'fight' he was very happy to 'lose.'
From the Astral Realm, Grizzly lay in Kodiaks strong arms and watched their hosts cavort. She wore her Amazon human form and smiled as her off and on mate kissed her neck. “We didn't see this coming, did we?”
“You're a bad influence on her,” Kodiak replied from his ministrations. Grizzly exclaimed her outrage, but Kodiak was not deterred. The Ancient Physician was determined to complete the treatment he had in mind.
October 12th, 2007
Paths near Poe Cottage, Whateley Academy
The Witch strolled with a smile on her face in the evening air. It was a satisfied smile of well laid plains coming to fruition. Dump Truck's little explosion had left Danny miserable, vulnerable and above everything else, eager to prove his manhood. The Witch had been there, consoling, sympathetic and willing. The body she had stolen was a virgin no longer and while Danny Franks was no Casanova, he had been vigorous and genuinely concerned about her experience. Night and day from the pawing, self centered misery that had been sex with The Don. Her wicked smile got a bit wider, now her claws were into Danny Franks, sex was one of the easiest and best ways to control a boy after all. Before long he'd be positively addicted and then she could really begin to turn the screws. Still, he hadn't been as clumsy as she had thought a boy losing his virginity would be, or as emotionally fixated, but that would come with time.
And time was definitely on her side.
That particular itch scratched, she turned her steps towards the main campus. It was time young Mr. Archer turned things up a notch an he had certainly demonstrated his inability to plan for himself. She sighed with frustration.
It figured she had to do everything herself.
October 12th, 2007
Picnic Clearing, between Laird Hall and Ring Road, Whateley Academy
It should not have come as a surprise to Marty Penn that her boyfriend knew how to put on a stellar picnic, but she had been both surprised and delighted. The thought of a dinner picnic was novel to her, but watching the stars come out over the soft glow from the muted lights of the main campus buildings to the selection of movie love themes playing from the speaker hooked into his Communicator II had been magical.
As she lay back against him as he sat against the tree that had shaded them from the setting sun and kept things a bit discreet, she took a sip of the sparkling grape juice he had brought in place of wine he was too young to buy and congratulated herself on her incredible luck. She had thought she would never want anything as badly as she had wanted to be in the Empire City Guard, and while it was still something she was determined to accomplish, she found that it didn't eat at her the way it used to.
The way just about any time she spent away from a certain red headed young man did eat at her.
“Penny,” he whispered in her ear and it brought a smile to her face.
Reaching up, she ran her hand through his hair and grinned at him. “Enjoying the view, enjoying being next to you and day dreaming about spending my life with you,” she told him as she guided his lips to hers. The kiss was friendly, exciting without expectation, emotion without demand; and it made her tingle all over. She put the plastic 'wine glass' down on the little fold out table that held the remains of their dinner, and rolled onto her stomach to lay her head against his chest. There was a little tingle where her skin touched his telekinetic field.
A part of her made a mental note for this to become a tradition between them.
But, nothing was ever perfect nor lasted forever and as she had become accommodated to, a thought began to nag at the back of her mind. “Steve, wha...what are your parents like?” She felt him shrug almost by reflex and for a long moment she thought he wouldn't answer.
“I dunno,” he said finally, his voice contemplative showing this was not a knee jerk response. “I...I never really thought about it. I mean, they're...parents...I used to get mad that it seemed like they paid more attention to Lanie, but now, I guess... You mean so much to me, and over the summer, I talked a couple of times with your dad and I started to get I guess that men...parents...take care of their women. That daughters...If somebody hurt you...” he trailed off, his voice cold and his muscles reflexively hard.
“I would do terrible things to someone who hurt you,” he whispered in admission and Marty didn't doubt him for an instant. She had come to know the cheerful, easy going young man who was bright and imaginative and she shuddered to think of that imagination given over to his anger. Marty knew Stephen had a temper, that was no secret around red heads, but she also was impressed the way he kept in check and so rarely let it slip around her.
She wasn't so foolish to not realize how diligent he was at keeping it on a short leash. “I feel safe next to you,” she told him gently.
“God willing you always will,” he declared solemnly.
“My dad gets angry,” she replied, trying to help him feel at ease. “And you know I can be bitchy sometimes. Doctor Tenant says I should start menstruating next year, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid of it a little.”
He chuckled. “You wouldn't be human if you weren't a little anxious over it.” He sighed and shook his head. “Mom? Well, I'll be honest she doesn't get angry. You won't ever know if mom doesn't like you, she's old school like that. Not that I'm worried,” he added quickly. “Yeah, I get my temper from my dad and he and mom have had their share of fights, but he always makes up that night. He told me once, and I'll never forget it, 'Never let the Sun set on your Wrath.'”
She looked up into his face to see him lay his head back against the tree and stare off into the night sky. “But, they're good people, Marty. I'm sure they'll like you. And I hope that you'll like them.”
She smiled and laid her head back on his chest. “I'm sure I will.”
* Finis *