A Whateley Academy Fan-Fiction
Casey Steele – Whateley Dazed
Disclaimer: it's fan-fiction taken from role-play, yes it is based on the Whateley Universe, no it doesn't affect it. Some of the characters are of course in the WU. But well, I am an author I cheat. J Also it may not entirely match up with role-played events. It's that creative license, point of view thing. J
As posted on Crystal Hall Fan-Fiction Forum
Thursday 17th January 2008
First post at 17:41 Last post at 18:01
Monday September 4th, 2006
Dear Mom and Dad,
I still think this is a Bad Idea. Why couldn't I go to school with all my friends!?!?!?! Just because you had to be superheroes is no reason to punish me for your mistakes! Besides I am perfectly fine and the nightmares are fading, its not like anyone would make the mistake of kidnapping me -ever- again!
Also thank you ever so much for putting me on a red-eye flight, the breakfast sucked, I nearly had coffee spilled on me and the fat lady next to me kept trying to spill over into my seat. Yes I know 'secret identities', but sheesh, next time you send me on a plane ride to hell, I want to fly first class!
In any case, I figured out I can still reach my room at home from anywhere. Though I have to use my other 'room' as a hallway. So you won't be paying a fortune to ship me stuff when I need it. I know, I promised not to run home every day, and only to use it if I really had to. But it was an emergency! I was hungry and like I said the plane's food sucked, not to mention the toilet at the train depot was 'not' clean enough for me either. On the upside the cookies were appreciated.
I am holding your credit limit hostage Dad, just like Mom said I could... and yes Mom I promise to keep it 'conservative' and to not dress like cousin Jenny. I do have some semblance of modesty! Seriously, if Jenny's parents were oh never mind, you know what I mean. However I do need some unmentionables, I seem to have grown a tad... again. Yeah I know It should settle down but sheesh, the Boob Fairy could wait a week or three between visits! I mean really Mom, just because it is normal doesn't mean I wanted to stand out! I mean really! Old man Johnson is a freaking perv! Not to mention some of the guys are like, Ewwwww!
Don't go crazy with my room, I still want it back! I'll try to remember to not wear dirty shoes when pacing the walls anymore if you decide to repaint it a lighter shade of green. (Hint!)
Well the bus is here, so I suppose it is time to send this.
I gave the letter a last quick look and then shoved it quickly in the envelope before dropping it into the mailbox. Mom had made sure I had enough stamped and addressed envelopes to where I could send one every day if I so felt inclined. Mom's a bit um, OCD, I suppose... but she means well. It makes up for my father who is mister can't find his socks! It's not bad for the most part, but well, it can be annoying, especially if you feel like leaving the dirty laundry on the floor for a day.
I did my best to ignore the headache that was winding its way though my skull, and all the nervous emotions of the kids getting on the bus. Not to mention the odd waves of depression, lust and unbridled joy. 'My life is hell.' I thought as I quickly moved to the back of the bus, away from the overly projective types. Once there I took up my throne of power and 'pushed' at people who looked like they wanted to sit near me. I wasn't feeling sociable.
Dad says I am likely a Package Deal Psychic, with other fun bits. But since he wasn't about to take time to run more tests when the 'Good Folks at Whateley' could do a better job of it. I think it was due more to the fact I still freaked him out somewhat. I mean really, one loud argument that turned ugly... well the living room really didn't need that wall. I sighed, and rubbed the bridge of my nose trying to make the headache move on. I'm still kind of foggy on the details of how the room got wasted, but Dad and I decided we needed to set up a new rule, no arguing when angry...
"Auto tinting windows... Cool!" said one of the excitable types. I gave the speaker a quick glance, white hair, mop for a ponytail, and wearing an expensive t-shirt. I tagged her immediately as a Future Preppy and wished my seat was more comfortable and further back. Though the girl next to her could have been her twin, expect for having black hair, her mind quickly shifted into a buzz of numbers and half formed thoughts. Her I quickly pegged as "Ms. Strait A's..." It didn't take too much effort to pick out the Preppy was Prudence, or Pru as she preferred, and her darker haired sister was Betsy. Both suffered from having been rich and were now on a ten thousand dollars a month allowance, Betsy was not taking that well.
"Can someone turn up the heat?" asked a voice and I could feel her semi-freezing from where I sat. Frankly I was not sure how she could be cold all bundled up in a heavy overcoat like that. From what I could tell she was going to be a Goth, if she wasn't already. The girl could seriously use some sun and a tan. She was Vivian or Viv, she seemed to have a sense of humor that wanted to go nuts, so I reclassified her as Goth-Prankster-Girl.
I suppressed a giggle as the brown haired boy a few seats up from me murmured "Thermal paraplegic." Ok so he probably didn't know I was able to over hear him mentally, but not like I wanted to. Way too moody, I tagged him as the resident Angst Monger. It took all of a second to pick out his name, Murphy, Kid Emo was seriously brooding.
Evidently the bus driver did something about the heat as the other overly dressed girl of the group quickly ditched her coat. Then she did something odd that made her glow green before she turning into a winged cat girl. "I am glad that spell is gone it itched!" she said with a smile, I could feel her looking at everyone for signs of disapproval when she did it. Though Ms. Preppy seemed slightly surprised. Miss Outgoing Social Achiever's name was Katherine, but you could call her Kat, one of those types that 'just' has to break the ice.
I had a slight fit of giggles when the Goth not quite screamed, well to me it seemed like she screamed, "Not TOO weird." Though the other girl merely gave her a quick raspberry in retaliation.
Not far from the girls was Hayden Reid, he had long white hair from what I could tell, and a fascination with Biker Gear. You know the type, someone who thinks James Dean was a motivational clothing God... He seemed to be interested in everything, which I suppose is a good thing, but noisy.
The bus driver, well apart from the 'Your village called, their idiot is missing...' T-shirt seemed to be a mixture of anger and amusement, as evidenced by his announcement when someone asked how long the ride was.
"All right folks, we're off, we'll be arriving in Whateley in about a half-hour." He paused a brief moment, "My name's Mr. Wilson, and I'm one of the teachers. As one of you has figured out the windows are tinted, so the norms can't see us. Relax and be you, but no blowing up my bus."
I picked up the fact that he was serious about the no blowing up the bus part. Though for a brief moment his thoughts had strongly projected a bus that looked like its back end was a twist of metal. He seemed to think it was funny, and then it seemed like someone had gut punched me.
Quickly I backed away from his mind and in a spate of sudden 'act casual, say nothing,' I started to hum the Bus Driver song loudly. I gave it a good showing and did my utter best to present a 'I'm bored out of my skull' presence. Evidently it worked as the bus driver seemed focused on the road, rather than looking in the mirror at me... Score one for me.
Ever since I had been rescued from the Screwball Seven, I had powers. Ok that wasn't their real name; supposedly it was the Satanic Seven. Take four parts geek, add some mystic powers and a penchant for heavy metal and role playing games and you had a group of thugs that never grew up. So I woke up at home with some really freaky memories, a really bad headache and able to hear and feel my parents.
Then the fireworks started. I found out in short order that Mom and Dad had been lying to me for all of my life! Not only were they Super Heroes, and they were Republicans! Yes, so they actually had jobs with the County, but jeeze, every time they were supposed to be at a play or party of mine and were not, they were out breaking heads. I mean seriously, what is more important?!?
Discovering I had powers evidently was not a big shock to them, discovering that they had no privacy was another. So I got to pawned off on Dad's Brother, Uncle Herb for a few weeks. Uncle Herb did the mind bit and stuff, so he got stuck with teaching me how to not read minds all the time. It sort of worked too, sort of. I could not shut off my mind stuff like he could; so even when I slept I could pick up on stuff or worse yet send stuff. Like nightmares. He was not amused.
So after a few strained weeks of lessons, visits to a shrink, many headaches and no few periods of sullen silence, I was sent home. Only to find out I was not going to be going to school with all my friends. No I was being sent “away". I did not take it well at all.
Which brought out yet another problem, evidently when I get ticked I turn into a monster. That discovery did not set well with anyone. One smashed wall later, and no few odd doctor visits I admitted to myself that maybe going away was a good idea, but I was not going to let Mom and Dad know that bit of information. Black Mail is an important skill, and all that guilt of theirs was good for something.
I more or less ignored the flood of information the other kids were bombarding me with basically filing away the salient bits as they broadcast and babbled. Betsy was a tech geek, Pru was a lizard girl on speed, Viv was some sort of mage, as was Kat Though Kat was hung up on flying, I guess having wings would do that to you. Haden was into pryo and had torched his house with his powers, and Murphy had some odd shadow power.
While they babbled cheerfully I pulled out a sack of chips and then a bag of sandwiches, and worked on sating my post jet lag hunger. Which of course lead to others wanting some and the usual mooching. Not that I minded, mind you. Though I could have skipped Pru's wave of hunger that I picked up from her. Her I bombarded with sandwiches in the hope I would not gorge.
I did give into a moment of humor when Murphy saw the sandwiches popping out of mid air trick of mine and said. "You know, a few weeks ago, that woulda been weird."
So I sent to him, or tried rather , ~:You have not seen weird yet.:~ Evidently I overdid it as I got a few odd looks from folks. Along with the sudden paranoia, fear, shock and of course a bit of envy. A quick mental hello to Kat was not received very well either, go figure.
Fortunately the mood and conversation shifted to something other, as evidently Betsy had not read the school's broachers and chosen a 'Codename' yet. Not that I blamed her, I had read the packet of stuff only because my parents had foisted it upon me by fiat. One side effect of my going powered was that Mom and Dad just had to fill me in about powers, secret lives and stuff, like Whateley. Whee. Though it did explain why Dad thought Sky High was so funny.
Dad had said to hold off on picking a codename until after powers testing on me had been completed. You would think in a city like Detroit we could have done the powers testing, sorted out codenames and all of that crap. But no. The Steel City Irregulars had their own rookies to deal with, or so they said, so I had to wait to learn all I could do. That and my curriculum was up in the air too. Though I was going to end up in a Cottage called Whitman, of which Mom had waxed cheerfully about, for many, many hours.
I was a bit relieved when the burs ride was over; not that I am claustrophobic, I was bored. I have never been one to enjoy road trips, even short ones. Yes the country side is green, the corn is growing, yadda yadda, are we there yet...? So it was with pleasure I got off the bus. Though I was not exactly enthused about the prospect of campus life.
Getting off the bus, of course meant claiming my luggage. I well, I cheat. I have this really cool and handy trick where I can pull things out of this odd room I created. So luggage is not an issue for me. However in keeping with the 'Secret Identity Crap' I had to have a bag. Mom and I went round and round on the size of the bag, she wanted a monster trunk for me to lug around. I of course wanted a backpack, so after much wailing, and gnashing of teeth we compromised on a small suitcase. If anyone asked, my trunk was being shipped to me. The other fight was when she wanted me to put things into it. Reluctantly I had allowed her to put one change of clothing in it, and some books.
Baggage claim was amusing, as Betsy had enough baggage for four people and of course she was looking for a valet. When one failed to appear she looked rather lost until Kat did some funky trick with a parachute and cords to life them along. I of course made it appear like my bag was entirely too heavy for me to lug along. The rest of the group seemed to have a mixture of bags, though I got a mixture of envy and amusement from Hayden. Evidently most of his stuff was vaporized in the fire at his home. I quickly chased his emotions from my mind, and did a few quick mental exercises to push all the people out of my head.
~:If you can hear this, you need to speak with a Psi Department Counselor,:~ intoned a not so serious male voice.
I took a breath and sent back, ~:Funny ha ha.:~
~:Hi, you would be Casey Steele, correct?:~ the voice asked.
~:You are the mind reader,:~ I quipped at him, ~:you tell me.:~
I could feel him buzzing happily with a chuckle, then he seemed to back off a bit, "I'm Louis Geintz, one of the teachers in the Psi Department.:~
~:Hi Louis, so you do the Psi stuff?:~
There was an odd pressure in my head, ~:Yes, well I can see we have to get you in a class pronto. You are quite the power house, if not a bit loud, and frankly my dear your shields are a bit frayed.:~
~:Gee thanks, I've only been psycho for a month...:~ I meandered after the group as they collectively wandered towards a large domed structure.
~:Well yes, I did get “that" information. You've had a rough time of it?:~
~:Eh, I have my moments, and an anger issue or three. Or so the shrinks say.:~ I paused and stepped out of the way as Pru scented food and charged off ahead of us.
~:Receptive, projective, and... sarcastic. In any case I'll have to likely visit with you in semi-private.:~ There was a pause as a map appeared in my head, ~:This is the Kirby Complex, I have an office there, think you can find it?:~
I gave it a moments review and then glanced around looking for land marks, ~:Yes, so when should I stop in?:~
~:I will give you a 'call'.:~
I responded, ~:Cool beans,:~ in my best I am bored tone.
~:What don't you like telepathy?:~
~:I'd druther not have the headaches because of it.:~ I shrugged indifferently, ~:It's only cool if you don't have to listen to everyone and try to figure what emotion is actually yours, rather than someone else's.:~
I felt that odd pressure again and he seemed to nod, ~:Yes I can see that. No worries, we can help that. Now if you will pardon me, another 'fun' person is saying hi.:~
~:Fun as in psi type?:~
~:Ok off I go, until later.:~
~:Until then.:~ Then I felt Louis fade out of my head. Cool but creepy.
Not really hungry I watched as Pru and Kat both overload their trays with food. Myself I selected an apple, more to be sociable than any thing else. Well that and I was having to keep from grabbing plates and loading them up like the two girls. I intuitively knew I was not that hungry, but the ravenous hunger I felt from them was saying otherwise. Once they were seated at a table, I lugged my mostly empty suitcase over and sat it down before sitting at the end of the table, away from the 'appetites from hell.'
Once I didn't have to worry where I was walking I closed my eyes and went back over how to block people out, and did it again. "Much better," I muttered after everyone slid further out of my head. It took a few moments for me to regain a sense of who I was, that and to push off the budding headache again. I was going to have to buy stock in a pharmaceutical company and soon it seemed.
Opening my eyes I could see that Kat and Pru were still gorging and that the others seemed to be still over-sharing about their powers. Betsy was going on enthusiastically about talking to computers, 'talking' mind you. Though I was much relieved to learn Betsy was not doing magick stuff along with building self-destructing objects. Frankly I picture her being way to scatterbrained for that to not happen.
Kat for some reason wanted to perch in the trees that were inside the cafeteria. Frankly I was a bit relieved when the others talked her out of the idea, I mean if she had bird parts, did she have bird reactions? If so I did not want to be seated anywhere under her. Though she did wear clothing, so I hoped she didn't have that sort of problem.
As I turned my focus outward from inward, I noticed everyone at the table looking at me, "Yes?"
Pru gave me an odd look and seemed to be repeating herself, "So what's up with You Casey? I think I missed it when you told your story?"
Mentally backpedaling, as I was sure I had not gave any story, I thought about it quickly. I shrugged and gave them my best dry delivery, "Not much to tell, I went to school one day, was kidnapped by a Satanic Cult, sacrificed to an unnamed deity, yadda yadda, I got better." I shrugged again letting my words sink in and finished up by adding, "Stuff." My companions gave me a mixture of disbelief, shock, and no few odd looks.
Pru was fairly succinct as she said, "Ewwww. Sorry Casey, but a Cult? That's... creepy!"
Kat on the other hand wanted to know what deity. Her I filed her under the too nosy category and ignored the question. After all, I knew, and didn't want to know, as it falls under 'things not to be discussed... ever.'
Betsy all but shouted, or so it felt to me, "You were sacrificed! And you are still around?"
I silently snickered at her expression and added, "I got better."
Kat laughed and said, "Regen for the win!"
As her sister all but fell of her chair laughing Pru looked at me with surprise and asked, "Are you a regenerator?"
Shaking my head slowly I smiled and said, "I don't regenerate."
Blinking furiously in confusion Pru asked, "So how did you survive?"
Betsy stopped laughing for a moment, "So, Casey, did that unnamed deity get indigestion or what when it tried to eat you?"
As I didn't want to explain all the half foggy details I simply rolled my eyes and said, "Nothing that fancy. It decided to exact vengeance on the people offering me to it... Evidently it was in the shower or something."
That of course seemed to amuse them greatly so I let their laughter wash over and past me before finishing up. "Needless to say Mom and Dad are not handling the whole, 'Kidnap their daughter in a bid for ultimate power ploy. So I got shuffled off to here, out of harms reach." 'Oh lucky me.'
Pru nodded, "Daddy shuffled us here because apparently we're troublemakers."
"I'm a legacy. I'm happy to be here," supplied Kat, quickly, maybe too quickly.
Considering Kat was all but bubbling with anecdotes, extra information and what not, it was all I could do to simply say. "You don't say."
After attention finally shifted away from me, I gave a mental sigh of relief. I try not to think too hard about that night; as it is disturbing. So I did my best to nod in all the right places, tease Kat about memorizing the brochure, but not the map, and generally keep my thoughts my own.
I was deep in mental inventory making sure my emotions were in fact mine, when the other girls at the table started to radiate lust. Opening my eyes I could see the object of their attentions, well one of them.
Evidently Whateley had some sort of ROTC, as the boy in front of the table was in BDU's and while well built, didn't really catch my eye. But he did catch Betsy and the others. I was good, I didn't get out napkins and pass them around, nor did I hold up a sign that said 'Mating Season.' I mean really, as cute as some of the guys on campus were, why throw yourself at them?
As the rest of the group blathered on about guns, ranges, and things. I worked on shutting out the extreme flood of lust, hope, and the other emotions that go with them. I mean seriously, there are times I wished the deity in question had just used me as a snack and departed.
~:You are strong in the force, but not so much in shielding,:~ said Louis as he poked his proverbial hand in my face and waved in mentally.
~:I don't suppose you are going to try and convert me to the Dork Side are you?:~
~:No but we might work on making your shields a bit better. Busy?:~
I gave the group thin smile and stood up, "I've got to go." Of which I could have simply skipped saying; as they were still smitten and gabbing up a storm. So I picked up my bag and let my self be someplace else. Teleportation, just one of my many tricks; handy, quick, safe and best of all: Hard to stop. I was so not going to be a helpless prisoner ever again.
It took a few quick hops to reach the building that was grandly labeled as the Kirby Complex. It seemed like a newer building compared to the rest of the campus. Well most of the campus, there was a huge gymnasium that looked very new. Though I thought it odd that some wag had drew a line through the word Complex and had wrote under it with glowing green paint, 'Hall.' The odd graffiti artist had continued tagging the building outside and inside with seemingly callous abandon.
I found it slight amusing that the word Psi had been lined through and the word Nut substituted, on the sign that pointed the direction to the Psi Department. As I wandered by a poster that told of a welcoming party, I had to wonder just what sort of chaos was going on; as a separate piece of poster board seemed blank one moment and covered in green lettered the next. "If you can read this, please report to room two-twenty-seven for Magick curriculum counseling."
Shaking my head I ignored the poster, 'Magick, no thank you. I have enough problems with out hokus-pocus baloney.'
A few left turns and a long corridor later I discovered an office area marked 'Psychic and Extended Mental Faculties Department.' The same loon that had marked the signs 'Nut' had made its way here and had added in a lazy scrawl underneath the sign: 'Danger! Mental Aberrations Here! Turn Back!'
A few lazy paces and I stood in front of one of those long counters, the kind whose only purpose is to make the persons behind them official. The girl behind the counter had a much put upon expression on her face as she stood there listening to another student complain about forms. She was a bit thin I thought, but pretty in a fairly understated manner. Her long blonde hair was kept back by a red ribbon, and her eyebrows bespoke much boredom from under a skirt of bangs. A tag on her shirt read, 'Chandy Robbins, TA, PSI DPT'.
"But I filled all these out once already," stated a boy with a hint of a whine in his voice.
"No you filled out form zed-zed-nine-plural-zed-alpha, the application to join the Magickal Department Team Room Society." She paused and sighed, "In other words you got pranked, this is the correct form."
He muttered with a scowl, "I am in the hell of bureaucrats where all forms must be correctly stamped."
"I am afraid so," she admitted to him with a grin, "But you can blame the idiots in the Magick Department.
"Oh geeze, what did I do to them?" he asked as he scowled at the forms before him.
"You were born with a IQ above three and are gifted in a real art." She grinned at him as he smirked, "Besides in time you can prank them, it works out."
"I see," he sighed dramatically, "I don't suppose there anything to do about it but to re-do them is there?"
"No, but look on the bright side, some mentally deficient sort has a bright spot in their otherwise dull, miserable and deluded existence." She paused and smiled wickedly, "It may be the only fun they have for the rest of the year."
He seemed to consider that and nodded, "I see."
She pointed an empty desk out to him, "Why don't you use that before we get swamped?"
As he nodded and ambled over to the desk she turned to look at me expectantly. "Hi I am..."
"Casey Steele," Chnady quickly said with a roll of her eyes.
"And I am here..."
"...To see the Louis Geintz," she said with a bored look on her face.
"No, well not exactly," Chandy said with a rueful grimace.
"Well it's not that hard to pick what you are about to say, you are projecting your thoughts fairly loudly." She shook her head and grinned, "Fuub said you needed some quick lessons in improved shielding techniques so you would not have a meltdown or cause one."
"Hmm," I glanced around quickly as the boy at the desk gave me a nod and a shrug. "Am I that bad?"
"Well it is not your fault, Fuub said you had rudimentary shields in place but they were not up to snuff." With a smile Chandy pointed to the end of the counter, "Come on back and I'll put you in a lab."
"Do we call Louis the Fubb?" She paused and shrugged as a wicked grin eased into place, "I suspect you will learn in time."
"Well that and a lab?" I asked feeling a bit perplexed.
"It's just for a few Psi type tests." Chandy paused and then chuckled, "Louis wants to get a rough idea where you stand Psi wise, before unleashing you into the general population."
"Wonderful, sounds like I am in a prison," I sighed and rolled my eyes at her as I added, "thank you ever so much mom and dad."
"It's not that bad here, at least you are not bleeding over on 'everyone' like poor Frank." Chandy said as she lead me through a maze of cubicles and then into what looked like a mad scientists laboratory. "Frank's not even out of junior high and he's stuck here."
"Why?" I asked as she indicated a chair.
"He's an empath and well, considering he's not even out of seventh grade... Most likely he is going to be an uber powerful one by the time he gets a grip on it." She smiled thoughtfully, "Most of the time he is stuck in a shielded room or wearing a helmet to keep from 'washing' people out emotionally."
"Fun," I muttered envisioning a similar circumstance.
"Oh you are not that bad. Like Fuub said, you do have some shields already," she stuck her tongue briefly out at me and then smiled, "otherwise I suspect you'd be wako by now."
"Could have fooled me," I said as I sat down at the table she indicated.
"You have to watch that sort of thinking, as a Psi you really don't want to create inner demons to bog yourself down with later." Candy grinned, "Remember: You are what you think you are."
"Inner daemons, joy," I said as half remembered moment from my captivity washed up in my mind.
Chandy's smile faltered and she paled slightly, "Wow, you've had a bit of a go of it haven't you?"
I quickly tried to banish that memory, as it seemed to make her uncomfortable. "Yes, its part of the reason I landed here."
"Yeah, Fuub's right you really need some work," She seemed to gaze off in the distance, "Look I have to go back up front, but Doctor Percy will be along shortly to start you on the tests."
"In other words, sit tight and think happy thoughts?" I asked with a smile.
"Precisely," she grinned, "no stinkin' thinkin' as it were."
"I see," I said to her as she made a quick exit.
~:I'm just a thought away if you need something Casey,:~ there was a brief pause, ~:you'll find we tend to be rather gabby out of class... the rest of the time they like us to keep our minds shut and speak like norms.:~
~:Non-Teeps, err Non-Telepaths... you'll catch the lingo soon enough. Now I have got to remove the pranked forms before more students end up suffering from writers cramp, so if you will excuse me...:~ and with that I felt her attention shift off elsewhere.
Seeing how I was left to my own devices for a few minutes I got up and walked around the room looking at all the odd equipment. The walls were not quite covered with motivation posters with cheerful positive statements on them. One shelf held and array of puzzles and books, ranging from simplistic kid puzzles to complex structures of rope, steel and wood. Though the real oddity was the combination of a dentist and optometrist chair. I was giving it and all the wires and odd attachments that consumed a corner of the room a wide berth.
"Don't mind that," said a voice causing me to startle a bit. Turning I saw a wizened looking old lady who was wearing a paisley dress under a crisp white lab coat. Her white hair was tied up in a neat bun and her horn-rimmed rimmed glasses gave her the vague aspect of an owl.
"Ah, hello I am Casey Steele," I said cautiously.
"Why yes, yes you are, and I am Doctor Percy Montgomery," she said with a joyful cackle as she thumped the floor with her cane. "How does that make you feel?"
"Excuse me?" I asked feeling a bit puzzled by the question.
She chuckled and shook her head, "It's a psychologist joke, but don't worry I'm not a shrinker of minds, no in fact you could say my job is quite the opposite. I help others like you to expand their minds."
"If you say so," I watched as she used her cane to limp to a chair where she sat with a relieved smile.
"It's these old bones, nothing so terrible as you might imagine," she explained with a smile, "when you reach the young age of two hundred and thirty six, you may be as spry as I am."
Blinking I looked at her as she nodded, "Really?"
"Yes, now come sit dear Casey and let Granny Percy take a look at you." She pointed to a chair across the table from where she sat, "In class I force young minds like yours to call me Professor Montgomery, but outside everyone calls me Granny."
"All right ma'am," I said as I took up my seat.
"Granny, not ma'am, are you trying to make me feel old?" she asked with a cackle.
"No ma'... Granny."
"There, much better." She paused to look into my eyes and I felt an odd flowing sensation roll right through me, "Dear me, you are a spry one."
"Beg pardon?" I asked as my eyes refocused to briefly see a younger lady sitting across the table from me before she seemed to age rapidly.
"Tell me what did you see just then?"
"Umm, you were younger, much younger." I looked at her suspiciously, "Magick?"
She laughed then shook her head, "You are only as old as you think you are, what you saw was my mental perception of myself."
"Ok... I think."
"Not to worry youngling, you'll learn in time, and no doubt you will hear it frequently; 'You are, what you think you are.'' She shrugged her shoulders slightly, "Its true for us more so than many others, though it holds true in other facets of powers."
"Why?" I asked feeling a bit confused by the odd vibe she was giving me.
"Self perception and awareness play a key role in keeping you as you, when everyone around you is thinking, feeling and being themselves." She studied me from behind her glasses, "For instance; knowing you were not hungry in the midst of a feeding frenzy."
"Ah, yeah. Umm, how did you know about that?" I asked.
"Louis told me," she smiled, "I try to avoid eating there during regular hours myself."
"Yes it was a bit overwhelming," I admitted.
"Not to mention feeling all the boy and girls lustfully envisioned things," she added casually casing my face to heat up in embarrassment.
"Did he say that too?"
"No, I guessed that." She smiled and then added, "I had to deal with it in my time as well."
"And the dishonesty?" I asked.
"What dishonesty?" she asked as she gave me a smirk.
"Where people say one thing, when they are not quite shouting another?" I asked hesitantly.
"Ah yes. Well youngling you will find the bulk of humanity to be self centered and self deceptive bastards or bitches." As I must have had a shocked look on my face she added, "Shocked you did I?"
She cackled and took a moment to look at me, "Sorry to break it too you Casey, they are human, most of them don't know how to be self honest." Shaking her head she tapped the table, "I'm not talking about the lies or deliberate falsehoods, their sense of self is all mucked up, if you will pardon my French."
I blinked as she rolled her eyes at me, "And Psi's are not?"
"Heavens no, we all have our problems." Shaking her head she added, "Psi's have all their own problems and sometime everyone else's." She paused and reached over to pick up a deck of cards, "You have to learn who you are and remember that so you don't get lost in a crowd if your shields get blown."
"Don't worry youngling, if you didn't have a decent sense of self you would have gotten lost during the feeding frenzy..." She quickly shuffled the deck of cards and sat it in front of me, "Can you tell me what card is on top?"
My Uncle had me do the same thing so I quickly searched through the deck of Zenner cards with my mind. "Star, two squiggles, box, another star, and a Joker... Why is there a Joker in the deck? I thought there is supposed to be only five kinds of cards."
"My dear, there is always a joker in the deck... Knowing where it is or who it is, is always something to keep in mind." She paused and lay out the handful of cards to unveil the Joker, "I can see that playing poker with you is out." With that she smiled and reshuffled the deck, "Now how many cards down is the joker?"
I looked at the deck and frowned after a long moment, "It's not in there."
Beaming she crossed her hands and then the joker appeared in her fingers, "Why there it is!"
"Another test?" I asked with a smile.
"One of many youngling, one of many."
I could tell my 'instructional times' with Louis were going to be odd as my mind unbent from the info-dump he had walloped me with. As he smirked from across the desk at me I gave his semi-transparent body a whimper. "Ow."
Louis was not a ghost or so he said, but rather he presented a pseudo-body as not to: 'Send us mortals running in fear.' Evidently he was 'the thing in the tank' down in the bowels of Hawthorne. Personally I figured he was playing up his being a monster, but I was willing to humor him.
"Give it a minute to percolate in Casey, basically I just gave you a weeks worth of education in thirty seconds." He smiled as I groaned, "It's more for everyone else's peace of mind Casey."
"Ow... dare I ask why?"
"It's about like making sure you've had a tetanus shot." He paused and nodded slowly, "Granny says you are in the top ten percentile of Psi's on campus power wise, and on the bottom rung skills wise."
"Wonderful," I closed my eyes against the slight headache that was curling up from my toenails.
He chuckled, "If it is any consolation we all start off in the same boat, trying to keep people out, ourselves in and of course trying to remain sane in the process."
"You had to go through all this too?" I asked as my mind unbent.
"Yes, though Granny had the joy of teach me how not to turn everyone on campus into my puppets." He seemed to sigh, "that and other fun bits."
"So Granny taught you all about this stuff?" I asked as I was finally able to open my eyes.
"Yes, she offered to work with you, but we need her working with Frank more." Louis smiled and I had a sudden mental image of a kid much younger than me in my mind, "Frank's only now starting to gain the barest thread of rudimentary control. Something your Uncle helped you achieve."
"Some help he was," I said with a sour look at him.
"Well you have to give the man some credit Casey. From what I remember he was barely what we call and Esper Two. Where as you are a high-end Esper Three, a whole magnitude of difference." Louis shook a finger at me, "More than likely he learned more from teaching you, than you gained from him; as he would have had to work hard to keep you out so he could teach you."
"It was not a happy time for either of us, I assure you."
"It never is." Louis smiled thoughtfully, "Though look at it this way, he allowed you to get here mostly sane and whole of mind."
"Mostly sane, is that like saying the glass is half empty?" I asked with a sigh.
He tapped his desk soundly, "Ah pessimism, no not really. One thing you will have to work on Casey is maintaining a positive mental framework. I am sure you have seen all the motivation posters and such, yes?"
"Yeah, really cheerful."
He paused and gave me a bland smile, "We have to work to avoid being 'gloomy gusses' or it tends to leach out and really drag others down." He pointed a ghostly finger at me and added, "Especially since you can receive and send emotions."
"So what? Am I supposed to pretend to be happy when I am pissed off?" I asked indignantly.
"Well it would help," he said and I was rewarded with what felt like a thump on the head, "but no. Depression is a subtle emotion, and if you were to find yourself next to say Frank, he'd become depressed, feeding back that emotion to you. Which would make you more depressed, until you both melted into a puddle of mewing slime."
"Ok now I know you are being sarcastic," I said with a smile.
"Just a bit, but considering that sort of thing has happened, and it required Frank and the other empath to be sedated just so we could pull them out of it" He trailed off with a shrug, "It's a hazard, not to mention the other boy was suicidal for a time afterwards; we take steps to encourage positive mental thinking."
"Wonderful," I said as he gave me stern look, "I've got issues ok? I didn't ask to be sacrificed you know."
"Yes, no one in their right mind would, but that was then and this is now." He tapped the desk with one hand as he pointed outward from the room, "We don't know exactly what that sort of 'jump start' did to your mental processes, the fact that you are functional is a small miracle."
"Gee thanks, I thought I was merely mental."
"Quit that," he rolled his eyes at me, "no negative self talk allowed." With a smile he added, "Most people after what you have endured, would be in a psych ward and drooling, if not dead."
"Rather than only partly crazy?" I asked with a smirk, of which earned me another thump on the head from something.
"I can see we're going to have work on that with you."
"What, I can't make joke and cracks about the incident and the results there of?" I asked sarcastically.
"No not exactly that, you're still having trouble with it and the 'humor' you are using to mask it is not helping you much. Is it?"
I sat there for a moment, "No not much, but then talking with the psyche types didn't do squat for me either." I rolled my eyes, "All they wanted to talk about was abandonment issues, did I hate my father or mother, was I really a closet lesbian and so on."
"Not very helpful then?" he asked.
"Hardly," I scoffed, "I would have gotten better help from watching Dr. Phil."
"Very likely, in any case you and I will be working together for some time." He chuckled, "One of these days I'll have to have a face to face meeting with you."
"What? You want to see which of us is the biggest monster?" I asked with a grin.
"You might be surprised," he seemed to smirk for a moment. "Now what can you tell me about Waldo? From what little I have in the way of notes, you used to have an invisible friend as a child and now he's not invisible?"
Sighing I sunk in the chair, "I so love my parents."
Rather than dredging trough all the childhood emo crap, I took a moment to 'call' to my friend and bring him out to me. With a few snaps of my fingers a dark spot in the air opened and out 'stepped' Waldo.
Waldo stood just a few inches taller than me, when he was out in a human form. He had close cropped blonde hair and very calm features, though his cool green eyes seemed to burn with intensity as he took in the room. He was as usually dressed in a dark tan suit, a pale white shirt with burgundy tie, and very shiny brown shoes. Personally I thought he was over dressed half the time, but he liked it that way.
"Ah this would be Waldo?" asked Louis sounding thoughtful.
"I see they have found a tutor for you who actually is stronger than you are," Waldo stated with a nod towards me, and slight bow to Louis.
"Waldo this is Louis Geintz, Louis Waldo," I said quickly giving introductions.
"Is Waldo your real name?" Louis asked as he seemed to study Waldo.
"No, but then I doubt you could pronounce my real name, not that I would give out." Waldo smiled and nodded towards me, "Unlike my young friend here, you don't need to know."
"I see, so you would be a daemon?" Louis asked and I could sense the curiosity not quite rolling off of him in waves.
"No, I would be an extra planar entity," he paused and looked at me. "Seriously Casey, why is it just because someone lives on a wholly different plane of existence they are suddenly a daemon?"
"So not a daemon?"
I rolled my eyes at Louis, "No not a daemon, just a cool person."
"One who happens to come when you want?" Louis sounded skeptical.
"Well yes, I am rather like Bob from that quaint show and novels, The Dresden Files." Waldo smirked at Louis, "I just do not however, live in a skull."
"So you are a mentor for her?" Louis asked cautiously.
"You could say that," Waldo gave a rather theatrical sounding sigh, "I don't have a nack for the mental powers, so it has been rather hit and miss for helping her in that area."
Louis paused and took a look towards his office door, "Hello Mrs. Chulkris, you can relax, we're not under attack here."
I turned to look and found a very large and scowling lady striding purposefully into the room. Mrs. Chulkris seemed to be fond of greens and leafy style prints, though she seemed rather spry. A pair of blue eyes peered at me then her scowl seemed to fade slightly, "You summoned a daemon here?"
"I am not a daemon, if you please, as I was just explaining to this gentleman who is not quite here; I am an extra planar entity." Waldo gave me a resigned sigh, "Is everyone on this planet so ignorant?"
She closed her eyes and appeared to look from me to Waldo, then she opened her eyes with a faint frown, "That isn't your true form."
"No, I happen to take on a form that is set by my friend here." He shrugged, "Most of the time due to her parental strictures, she has me show up as, well, a spider monkey." He gave me a rather abused and long suffering look, "Something harmless."
"Well you didn't want to be a toy poodle," I rebutted.
"Parental strictures?" asked Mrs. Chulkris with a wary glance to me.
"Yes, my mom wigged when she found a boy in my room." I explained with a shrug, "Its not like he was naked or anything, geeze."
Mrs. Chulkris smiled and then nodded, "I think I can understand her reasoning." She turned and gave Waldo a measuring look, "As a guiding familiar, there are precedents for your being on campus. Though I expect the 'parental strictures' to be upheld when the young lady is in her dormitory."
"Yes, I rather expected that," Waldo rolled his eyes, "her mother was most adamant."
"I see," Mrs. Chulkris said with a smile, "so Lois is this one of you students?"
"I suspect I may be sharing her with you at some time, but yes." Louis gave me thoughtful look, "Since she seems to be consorting with Waldo here, she must have more than one gift."
"So who is this doubly talented girl?" Mrs. Chulkris asked in a hinting tone of voice.
"Casey Steele, and her associate Waldo." Louis rolled his eyes at me, "Casey this is Mrs. Chulkris, one of the Magickal Arts Instructors."
"Hello Casey welcome to Whateley," Mrs. Chulkris gave me an amused look, "did you get in trouble already?"
I could tell she was teasing, "I've not yet had time," I said with a grin, "I've only been here a few hours."
She chuckled and nodded towards Waldo, "So how long have you been doing magick?"
"I've never done magick," I said with a shrug.
"Never done magick..." she looked at Waldo, "then how do you explain being able to summon him to you?"
"I guessed that it was a consolation prize from being an unwilling sacrifice to an unknown deity, and waking up hearing everyone's voices in my head." I gave her incredulous expression one of my own, "Doesn't everyone who has that happen to them get one?"
Mrs. Chulkris gave Louis an odd glance and then slowly she sat down in a chair next to mine, "I think I need to hear this story."
"If you don't mind, I would like to wander back home and take care of things," Waldo directed at me.
"Sure Waldo, no sense in both of us being bored." I shared a grimace with him, "I know it bores the heck out of me."
"Thank you," he said, and with that he winked out.
Mrs. Chulkris shook her head as if responding to an unknown question then she gave me a direct look, "So tell us your story Casey and don't skimp on the details."
Somehow I escaped the Kirby Complex with no more than three repetitions of my story. Needless to say if you have told the same story countless times to adults who don't get the idea that it could happen like you told it, it's boring. Having to tell it three times to adults who believe you and are excruciating inquisitive is another. I was feeling more than a bit emotionally drained, and it started to leak out over onto folks. Of which ended the fourth repetition before it even started.
Personally I just wish the whole thing would never come up in discussion. I'd much rather be able to say, 'I just woke up one day with my powers.' I suppose I could, but it feels too much like lying, and well after a few long, lengthy lectures from my uncle on lies etc. and telepathy, I just gave it up. As my uncle put it, 'Lying is nearly impossible mind to mind, so why try?' Well the real clincher was when I started to sort out that way to many people were lying their asses off.
My uncle says its normal and that you get used to it in time. That the 'Politically correct society' thinks it is acceptable, even if it is a crock of shit, or so he says. My mother has issues with my uncle's vocabulary, but even she admitted that he was likely right. She also thinks my uncle is full of it considering he is a used car salesman. Though she also admits he's been good for the community as a car sales man... Parents, go figure.
"System of barter for your thoughts," said Waldo as he showed up in simian form on my shoulder.
"Penny for your thoughts," I absently corrected, it's a game we play, he mistranslates idioms, I correct him.
"Why thank you," he said with a soft laugh, "I thought you never would escape from there."
"I was beginning to wonder that myself," I muttered dryly as I looked at the map in my head, "feel up to a burger?
"Ah, a slab of charred bovine flesh, some vegetable matter of dubious composition and of course some stale flour with yeast. A meal fit for a king, how could I refuse?" I felt him give a slight hop and then he was walking next to me in his preferred form.
"I'll take that as a yes," I grinned at him as he nodded, and then I walked in the direction of the Cafeteria, with luck it'd not be as crowded. "So did you learn anything?"
"I suspect you might actually be academically challenged here." He smiled and appeared to think, "I've been trying to interest you in magick for several long weeks now."
"I know, you go on about it, it sounds ghastly," I said with a bland smile.
"With due reason my most apt and astute of friends, you have magick," he chuckled, "as Mrs. Chulkris realized as well."
"Joy," I gave a gaggle of students a wide berth as their guide recounted the vast and detailed account of Noah Whateley, his prior school and then some.
"At least you have not had any accidents with magick as of yet." He paused and cocked his head off to one side, "I hear there is one girl here that generates multi-colored squirrels when she makes a mistake."
"You've been snooping," I said with a grin.
"But of course," he pointed off to a building that looked more like a hotel, "Melville, coed, a hive of wretchedness and villainy, be wary."
"According to who?" I asked.
"That ever so delightful girl who helped you earlier," He paused and smiled approvingly, "I do like the scenery around here."
"Letch," I muttered at him.
"True, but unlike your friends I can keep those thoughts and emotions to myself."
"Of which I love you for," I said as I gave him a quick brief hug.
"Now, now, we are not of the same species you know, but I might be willing to dally," he said with a grin.
"Pervert," I countered with my own grin.
"Seductress," he said with a chuckle, "alas that sort of dalliance is impractical."
"That and my mother would have a cow," I said with a shrug. She had assumed I had sex with Waldo, admittedly he is rather handsome but well we didn't click that way.
"Yes, that too," He paused as we entered the line in front of a small hut-like building that was labeled 'Burger Factory.'
"Being a virgin is over rated," I muttered at him, "it makes you a target."
"Yes, but the opposite does in another manner," he pointed out.
"Yeah I noticed," I had run into a friend of mine who was more than bit preggers. That meeting had been an intellectual eye opener, in more than one eye.
"Pity that she will not likely rise above that sort of behavior," he shook his head, "a welfare based society does not make sense."
"Well her mother was the same way..." I said with a shrug.
"True, though the fruit of such does not always fall close to the tree," yes he was being charitable when he said it.
I collected a few burgers from the smiling face of a boy who was solely focused my chest, I ignored the wash of lust from him and paused to replace my shields that Louis had helped me with. Wincing I rubbed the spot between my eyes that was aching, "Please tell me you have found a quiet spot on campus in your wanderings?"
He nodded and pointed to a building and a series of turns unfolded in my mind, "It's a bit of a walk, but it should suit your needs."
"Just someplace quiet for a bit," I said with a sigh.
"Follow me then," he said and took my hand leading me onward.
"Nice place you have here," I said as I walked around Waldo.
"Well it should suit your needs, it is bit dreary I suppose," he paused to take a bite from his burger.
"Ok what gives about this place?" I asked him as I did the same.
"Well it has been used for magickal activities before," he paused to gesture at the walls and they flashed a dim green. "Admittedly nothing earth shaking it seems, but there is a prior taint of magick here."
I walked to the wall and 'opened' it to get a folding campers chair out to sit in. It was yet another side effect of my 'awakening.' Since that night I have been able to make a room or space in another dimension or plane, one that I can access anywhere and connect me to places I have been to before.
"You could always fix that space up, make it a real room you know." Waldo pointed out rather emphatically for something like the sixtieth or so time.
"Yeah so you say, I am not convinced it is a good idea," actually my mother is convinced of that, me well Waldo said otherwise.
"I know your mom was worried about you but has anything vanished from there? Has it collapsed into a black hole?" he asked and pointedly supplied the answer for me, "No."
"You are right," I admitted.
"Ah, a ray of enlightenment sinks through!" He clapped once, "Bravo."
"Smart ass," I said with a smile and walked into the space.
The room beyond 'the veil' as Waldo puts it, is roughly a ten foot by ten foot cube. Why it is exactly that big, is well as he puts it, 'Unimportant.' The room is illuminated or not depending on my will, as warm or as cool as I want it to be and for the most part, boring.
"A trifle cluttered," he noted with a chuckle.
"Mom insisted I have everything in here," I gave my watch a quick look, "they should be out so I can stuff things in my closet at home."
"Not to worry, just 'will' the items you want there, to be there." He smiled and made sweeping motions, "You've done it before."
"There is difference between putting thing in here than putting them out..." I paused as he shook his head. "Or is there."
"When you are in this space, it opens where you will it, and whatever is in it goes where you want it." He tapped his foot impatiently, "With of course the limitation of your having actually seen or been where you want it to go."
"Yes I know, you want to go to the moon, but be practical for the time being." He paused and smiled, "It is possible to get there from here, if you have been there or can get a real image of there soundly in your mind."
"Rather than learning to fly by accident?" That had not quite been a fortunate error, as I did not end up on the moon sans space suit, but rather a half-mile above ground. Flying of course was a surprise; not hitting the ground was a better one.
"Teleportation, yes that was a surprise, I had rather the shock to find us both way above ground."
"You had a shock, I peed myself!" I scowled at him briefly then sighed, flying had proven fun once I got past the fear of falling bits.
"True," he shrugged, "not that I would have let us face an unwelcome demise like that."
"I am such a mixed bag of tricks, some of which I can lay at her feet." Ok, so she didn't like me to use her name aloud. She had said it might give folks the wrong idea, allow idiots to interrupt her tea and so on. Waldo said it was impolite to use her name on a Neutral Plane, wars had broken out over that sort of thing, in general it was just 'bad news.'
"Yes, walking on walls, the shape shifting, magick, webs and so on, yes you can likely blame her for that." He paused and smirked at me, "The rest you can blame on your parents."
"Fucking cultists!" I screamed and Waldo nodded, he was used to me doing that when I was sure I was alone.
"Feel better?" he asked.
"Not really," I said with a sigh as he clasped me on both shoulders, "how the hell could some D&D geek reject get her name, much less a working spell thing to summon her?"
"I don't know, she suspects someone was deliberately try to provoke something or one of the neutral powers of this plane." He paused and shrugged, "She rather pointedly admits she made a mistake in killing that idiot out of hand, rather than sucking out his mind first and then killing him. But at the time it was a logical thing for her to do."
"Hey I am still alive, even if I did get a new religion out of the deal," I half joked at him.
"Suddenly feeling the need to be holy or something?" he asked with a knowing smirk.
"Hardly, she rather pointedly said to 'zip it,'" I rolled my eyes, "I'm not cut out to worship anyone anyways, much less her."
"Yes I suppose you would be a poor priestess, it takes a certain mindset to suffer fools gladly." He chuckled and pointed at me, "You are not that type."
"Yeah, lucky me." I gave my watch a look as it blipped at me, "I suppose quiet time is over for now."
"Yes, back to the milling throngs of minds." He paused and I nodded reluctantly, "A hermit only grows spiritually or grows moldy."
"Ha, and you would know this how?"
"You are not the first mind I have had the pleasure of guiding." He chuckled and made a rude noise, "Vrk'dea was a plodder, you my dear are at least interesting."
"I'll take your word of it."
~:Ah, there you are.:~ said Louis in my mind as I walked out of my 'space'.
~:Sorry is something wrong?:~ I asked wondering if I had broken some screwy rule.
~:No nothing like that, as far as I know there is no rule about hiding in a dimensional pocket."~ I felt him chuckle, ~:A bit hard to reach you there though.:~
~:It's quiet, I can think in it.:~
He sighed or seemed to, ~:I can envy you in that I think. I can't exactly escape from here.:~
~:Never mind,:~ there was a pause, ~:in any case your room is number one-eighteen in Whitman.:~ There was a few images and a path to get there presented in my mind, ~:I had Chandy secure your bag there, and you can pick up your room key from her.:~
I stopped and turned around, heading back towards the Kirby Complex, ~:Ah thanks.:~
~:You are welcome, so how are you holding up?:~
~:I could have skipped the interrogation I can assure you.:~ I rolled my eyes, ~:Seriously I do my best to put all that crap out of mind. Any nightmares I have tonight are their fault.:~
~:Nightmares? Ah yes I see, well what comes, comes.:~
~:Remember that when I have them...:~ I suppressed a shiver and I think he got the hint as he didn't intrude on me for a moment or three.
~:Sorry, I don't mean to be snappish.:~
~:It is understandable, just remember you have a long ways to go...:~
~:... and a short time to get there. Yes I had gathered that.:~ I snorted in annoyance as I skirted a horde of students who were marveling at a boy suspended from a flagpole. ~:Gee such a nice school."~
~:What oh, yes that... It happens, there is always someone taking someone to task. It's childish, it's high school,:~ I felt a wave of amusement from him. ~:He actually deserved it... as he was trying to bully the wrong person.:~
~:Wonderful,:~ I sent dripping the word with sarcasm.
~:I don't suppose you would be willing to help get him down?:~
~:What? Embarrass him more?:~ I rolled my eyes, ~:He's already embarrassed, and pissed. Thank you, but no thank you. Mom and Dad are the heroically inclined, not me.:~
~:I see, you resent them for it?:~
~:I am a bit transparent there I suppose.:~ I shrugged angrily, and glowered at the boy who thought I was cute, along with the images of what he though I looked like naked.
~:Temper, temper, you are not allowed to mind-blast someone for thinking you are cute.:~ I could tell he was mostly serious as he said it.
~:My life is hell.:~
~:No not really.:~ he paused and I felt an info dump coming on, again.
~:Ah jeezus Louis, not more...:~ I whined at him.
~:Yes more, I forgot to give you these earlier.:~
I quickly skimmed the list of 'thou shalt nots,' ~:Krok me! You may as well say 'Thou shalt not fart in pubic' Louis. Seriously, I have never been one for rules.:~
~:Well this way when you fry some poor guy or girl that thinks you are cute, you will know how much trouble you are in.:~
~:Thank you ever-so-much for the vote of confidence.:~ I snapped back at him.
He sighed, ~:You are way to angry for someone so young.:~
~:This is tame, you don't want to see me angry.:~
There was a slight pressure on my mind and he seemed to nod, ~:I see, well try to not get that angry.:~
"Hi Casey, be right with you!" Chandy seemed a bit harried as a huddle of students all tried to hand her forms at once.
I gave the bunch of students a glower, "Ever hear of a single line?" I asked the lot of them pointedly.
Chandy and the huddle of students seemed to be a bit stunned by my question, "Ow Casey, shield."
I sighed and closed my eyes for a moment reconstructing the stupidly annoying shield. "Okay," I opened my eyes to see them blinking at me worriedly, "sorry, I guess."
"Gee what is she ranked as?" asked a boy at the counter, as he seemed to be screaming the question at her.
"Upper E3, you need to work on your shields too Phillip." Chandy rolled her eyes, "Even E1's scream to a person that is a E3 and having trouble with shielding, like Casey is."
"E3, wonderful, I suppose your nightmares are going to be everyone else's too?" he asked as gave me a dirty look.
"Don't mind Phillip, his sister is a E3 too and well, Mindstorm lived up to her codename." She gave him a significant look, "You should know how rough it is to come out fully active."
"Erg, yeah," he actually looked slightly abashed, and with a what can you do shrug he added, "Sorry Casey."
"Phillip on the other hand outshines his sister when it comes to TK," Chandy chuckled as he seemed to radiate smugness.
"Yes, she can only lift five hundred pounds, I can lift a ton," he smiled and wiggled his fingers, "And pick up BBs."
I must have looked unimpressed, as Chandy quickly supplied, "Usually Casey, the higher the pounds of force the less TK's can do with it. Having a ton of force and that much control is very impressive."
"I see," I shook my head and smiled, "at least you know what you can do, so far they'd just slapped a E3 tag on me and said practice shielding more."
"Speaking of which, Granny left a book for you and an appointment card." Shandy gave the group an apologetic shrug as she reached under the counter as she produced it and my key, "First floor, Whitman, one eighteen."
"Ewww, poor girl," I gave Phillip an odd look, "Mixed habitation, and you are the normal one."
"Phillip, that's crap talking and you know better," scolded Shandy.
I thought of Pru then Kat and then scowled, "For all you know, I am the freaky one."
"Casey, shield please," advised Shandy quickly.
"Sorry," I quickly picked up the book, card and key, "let me get out of here before I inadvertently break a 'thou shalt not.'"
"Oh, yeah, I should have warned you, Fuub loves his little info-dumps."
"I'm not sure it would have helped."
"Yeah, but it should get easier," she chuckled as she eyed the neat line of students, "thanks too."
"Eh, its good for something," I said with a shrug as I turned to go.
"Why am I not surprised that the loudest mind in the building is attached to an attractive girl," asked a boy just as I turned to go.
"Sorry," murmured working to get my shield to actually stay in place.
"No, no, not to worry we all start with this sort of problem." He said as he looked around at the others before looking at me thoughtfully, "So you are Casey Steele, please tell me they have you in proper dorm?"
"I'm in Whitman," I quickly said as he stepped closer.
"Gods, I swear there is something wrong with the administration of this place at times." He shook his head, "Hi I'm Donald, but everyone calls me The Don."
"Hello, I'm sorry but I really need to get my stuff unpacked."
"I am sure we could find a room over in Melville for such a flower as you," he seemed way too concerned for where I was living... not to mention Waldo's earlier warning.
"I think I like to see just where I am living before I can judge that." I rolled my eyes, "My mom was 'enthusiastic' about where I was going to be living."
"Parental stress, always fun." He smiled, and inclined his head, "Well if things get intolerable, just ask for me or where the Alphas are. Perhaps you should come hang out with us?"
"I'll think about it," I held up the book, "though right now, I really need a quiet room and to read this."
He gave the book a glance and then grimaced, "Well if they think you need that for guidance, I am not one to argue." He rolled his eyes and smiled, "It's dry as hell reading wise, but it helped me immensely." ~:Also its more advanced than what the other kids will be reading... this semester. You really should come meet the rest of my friends.:~
~:I'll think about it,:~ I quickly sent.
~:Please do,:~ he winked once and stepped aside. "You really should start with chapter six, advanced shielding techniques."
"Thank you Donald," I said quickly and made a hurried escape.
Once outside I was rejoined in mid-step by Waldo dropping onto my shoulder, "I think I smell a rat."
"Yes, call me a paranoid fool, but that one is trouble, big trouble," Waldo said as he clung there.
"He seemed nice enough," I said and then added, "and he didn't bleed all over me either."
"Yes, because he was shielding very damned tightly, like he had something to hide." Waldo seemed to shake himself slightly, "Or I could be misreading his aura."
"Or it could be he was trying not to get blown away by the loudest mind in the building," I suggested in annoyance.
"Don't let it drag you down Casey, I am sure there are others who are much louder and have bigger issues some place on campus."
"Thank you ever so much for the vote of confidence," I reached up and scratched his head for a moment, "still it would be nice to discover I was not the biggest noise on campus."
"Oh I suspect you will discover that isn't the case soon enough."
"Lovely, tell me again why I put up with you?"
"Because unlike most denizens of this plane I actually have a clue as to what you are going though?" Waldo asked as a boy blinked at me then him.
I gave the boy a bland look, "Yes it is a talking monkey. No it is not the strangest thing you have seen on campus. Trust me on that."
One eighteen in Whitman turned out to be a corner room, with two comfortable sized beds, two sturdy looking desks, a mini fridge, mirror, matching closets and a pair of dressers. All in all it didn't seem to lack much, though the one thing it seemed to lack was a decent view. I located my bag easily as it sat predominantly on a bed. My roommate's luggage occupied a large chunk of floor space, in fact it reminded me of Betsy's luggage pile.
Which meant my roomie was either a clotheshorse or rich. Having seen how ditzy Besty seemed to be, I was hoping for clotheshorse. I placed the key of the room in my pocket and climbed up on 'my' bed, well the bed, it really didn't matter which one, to read.
Waldo peered over my shoulder as I opened the book, "There might be some merit in examining chapter six."
"Yeah, I get the hint, am I blasting you too?"
"Not so much, but then I am different from most of the people on this plane." He hopped off of my shoulder and bounced across the room exploring it. "What a dreary hole."
"What?" I asked as I looked for him briefly.
"It's very utilitarian isn't it?" he asked as he hopped up on the refrigerator before scampering around again.
"I think it is to ensure we actually study," I shrugged as I thumbed my way to chapter six.
"All very good and noble, however all work and no play makes Casey a very dull girl," Waldo said as he bounced onto the other girl's bed.
"Is this a hint?" I asked.
"Well yes, it is. While you have been cooped up and forced to study via a mass cortical infusion of knowledge, everyone else has been out enjoying themselves." He paused and rolled his eyes, "Even if you read and memorize that book, it will still take time to master it."
"So in other words I am boring you to tears?" I asked.
"Not is so many words," he bounded back to me and said, "but you have done nothing in the way of recreation since you have arrived here."
"Ok, I hear and obey oh most beneficent one," I said as he looked like he was getting ready to vanish on me, "running off?"
"Yes, for a time, they do have a library here, and I intend to explore its depths." He chuckled and then reappeared in his well dressed form, "Though less furry." With that he winked once and vanished.
"Cute," I murmured and gave the book a bland look, one chapter would not kill me.
I had managed to get most of the way through the chapter and into a few of the exercises when several loud voices announce their presence in the adjacent rooms. Sticking my head out the door I could see Pru and Kat directly across the hall from me. Since they were in the process of unpacking I figured I was safe from invasion. I had considered unpacking from my space briefly and shrugged, that could wait.
Stepping out in the hall I checked to make sure the door was locked, and tried to make a quiet retreat down the hall. Only to not quite bump into an older woman whose name tag read, Mrs. Savage. "Ah sorry," I stepped out of her way.
"You would be Casey Steele?" she asked as she studied a clipboard.
"Is your baggage all here?" She looked ad me critically, and smiled, "All I saw the girl bring in for you was one small bag."
"Yes, that's it," I smiled and then shrugged non-committaly.
"Ah, I see, you will be needing to purchase things in town?" She looked at me again, "Surely you do not have everything you need."
Well dad did give me his credit card, "I do have enough things for a few days, though my dad wanted me to purchase school uniforms and such in town."
"Oh, you will be fine for a few days?" she asked quickly.
"Yes," I wasn't sure she wanted to see everything I owned.
"Oh, well that is certainly a relief, we've a few young ladies who urgently need to go into town and a shortage of drivers." She sighed, "How their parents could send them off like that I will never understand."
"Well I don't think there will be a problem, there was as slight mix up on the plane, but my Father assured me he would fix it." I shrugged, "So if I can get into town later on, all should be well."
"Ah the ever fun game of where is my luggage? I always hated that bit about traveling," she sighed and tapped her list dramatically. "They have you temporarily listed as a Esper three with Empathy and possibly Magick?"
I shrugged casually, "They had me do some tests today, but they said I would have to do a full work up later in the week."
"Typical," she rolled her eyes and sighed dramatically, "did you make it to an orientation tour in all of your testing?"
Considering Louis had given me 'his' version of a tour, I nodded.
"Well that is certainly a relief." She paused and made a check mark on her clipboard, "I have to go check on the seniors, so if you will excuse me?" she half asked before wandering off.
Considering that she was caught up in her workload, I ignored the odd barrage of thought from her as she worried about linens, nests and salinity. Shaking my head I turned to see Kat smirking at me from in her room.
"She got you," Kat said with a grin.
"Eh, no biggies, that was the Dorm Mom I take it?" I asked her.
"Yup, evidently Pru and I are the exception for the week." She grinned and flexed her wings, "We get to be roomies, rather than the usual odd and normal to a room pairings."
"I've not met my roommate so I have no idea if I am the odd one or not," I grinned, "I am betting I am the odd one."
Kat grinned and then shook her head, "You don't have any GSD, and that technically make you the normal one."
I snorted indelicately, "Riiigght, they don't know me yet."
"So where have you been all day?" asked Pru as she wiggled out from under her bed.
"They drug me off for testing in the Psi Department, that and a few classes." I shrugged and sighed, "Boring."
"Did they give you a rating?" asked Kat quickly.
"Yes, I am a mushroom," I smiled as I could feel her consternation, "they plan to keep me in the dark and feed me shit."
As Pru laughed Kat pestered me further, "Oh come on, give, what did that really say?"
I sighed and said, "Esper Three," I didn't quite wince as Kat was both thrilled and suddenly worried at the same time.
"Oh cool is that good?" asked Pru.
"It means Casey here more or less could read our minds at will," Kat gave me a tight smile, "right?"
I internally sighed at Kats odd fears and shrugged, "I've seen your mind."
"And?" asked Kat nervously.
"I am amazed you can think with anything that small," I smirked at her for a moment as she slowly caught on that I was messing with her. "Gotcha."
Kat gave me a dirty look for a moment before grinning, "Don't you Psi types have rules about reading other peoples minds?"
"Rules, eh, more like guidelines," I quipped at her then smiled at Pru. Pru for some reason kept giving off an odd mental vibe that all but screamed 'I have a secret, don't look.' Kat on the other hand, well she almost hoped I looked and was worried I would. This whole Esper shit sucked rocks in my book, why is everyone so edged about mind-reading.
Kat gave me a frown, "In other words don't get caught doing it?"
I shrugged at her and figured she could sweat it, either she'd tell me her big dark secret or she wouldn't. Considering how much smut waffled across the surface of her mind during lunchtime, I could pass on digging for it.
"So do anything else interesting?" asked Pru in the sudden silence.
"Had a burger, read a chapter of a book, and did a bit of exploring," I paused and considered not telling them about the room Waldo had led me to.
"Find anything cool?" asked Betsy as she made her presence known behind me.
Turning I shrugged, "Just an abandoned room off the beaten path in the tunnels."
"Oh good, the guys were wondering if we wanted to find a place to hang out." Betsy grinned and I suddenly had a suspicion the room Waldo had found would be co-opted, "Shall we collect them and see this room of yours after dinner?"
At the mention of food Pru all but bolted past us, I inwardly nodded, "It's a bit of a walk, and dusty."
"Oh lighten up Casey, it'll be fun," said Kat as she ushered us out of her room.
Somehow I thought my definition of fun differed radically from Kat's.
The boys were enthused about the 'spelunking expedition,' as Betsy put it, personally I thought it was a bit forced myself. But I put on a brave face and led them merrily through all the twists and turns that guided them to the room. Kat had an appointment with some Doctor, I read 'shrink', and might join us later.
When we got there, to me the room was four walls, illuminated by a single dimly burning bulb. To the others it was evidently a real find. As they wandered about poking in the dust and at the odd scraps I reached into my space and pulled out a folding chair.
"Well here we are..." I more or less announced as I unfolded my chair and started to sit down.
"Where else would we be?" was Murphy's observation.
"Have another chair?" asked Betsy as I shrugged and pulled another out of my space.
"Nice," said Kat and well I ignored the odd undertone of envy.
I was going to offer one to Murphy, but he did something with his powers to make a hammock and then he climbed into it.
Betsy, don't ask me how she could carry it in her back pack, with all of her other stuff. Produced an odd grey cube, of which she poked and tossed it to the floor. As we all watched it unfolded and seemed to inflate into a real recliner.
As she declared it was hers, and settled into it I gave into envy. Since I had a beanbag chair in my space, I elected to fetch it.
I did so only to turn around and discover Betsy in my space as well. Briefly consternated, I toyed with the idea of stranding her in Detroit. Sensing no really malice; in her I chalked it up to her being too nosey for her good, but I didn't bother to tell her that. Once she was out I made sure my space was closed, and that I made a definite plan to discuss keeping folks out somehow with Waldo.
"I think we have a club house here," said Betsy as she reentered the room. I internally cursed my rotten luck, but I smiled and sank into my beanbag chair.
Of course Kat had claimed Betsy's recliner while she was ruminating about my space, and if it was scientifically duplicatable. "That's my chair!" Betsy protested at Kat.
"It is?" Kat asked while doing her best to look like an innocent cat.
About the time to two girls had acquiesced to sharing the chair an odd musical exchange wandered into the room making folks go silent. To me it sounded like someone had beat on a bass guitar and made it depressed, a lazy thought from Kat identified at as blues and 'good.' I wasn't so sure.
As the two girls settled back into deciding who owned the chair I ignored them and closed my eyes, I figured I could practice tuning them out. Ok so it seemed a vain hope at the time but well I was there; they were projecting all over the place, it seemed a logical reason to practice.
Conversation wobbled all over the place around me, I did my best to seem interested, or at least semi-human. Mostly I was doing my best to not have a headache, and losing. I was slightly relieved when Pru discovered us, as the conversation shifted away from music and movies, and into codenames. Evidently Betsy was still nameless, though they had evidently been at it while I was away.
Pru giggled and said, "How about Misfire?"
As the rest giggled I could feel Betsy's indignation, "No besides you already said that one."
"I know, but I still feel it was worth repeating," Pru said along with a giggle.
Kat paused and suggested, "Tangent?"
~:Having fun are we?:~ asked Louis quietly.
~:Eh some, I'm trying to filter them out but it's really difficult.:~ I sent back.
~:Practice makes perfect.:~
~:Less platitudes more helpful suggestions,:~ I whined back at him.
"Tangent, I like it, any other suggestions?' Betsy asked.
~:Can I make her like something silly?:~ I pleaded with Louis, ~:It's be funny, really!:~
~:Making someone chose a moronic code name, is funny, but wrong Casey. Funny but wrong.:~ I could feel him grin as he chided me though.
"Hoarse whisperer," suggested Kat.
"Keeper of the Red Goo," suggested Murphy, of which a quick scan showed an ominously bubbling beaker.
~:Digging for answers?:~
~:Oh no, hardly, I don't have to dig with this lot.:~
~:I see,:~ I had the impression he was shaking his head, ~:not the best of habits to get into Casey.:~
~:What I should pretend they are not there in plain sight?:~
"Can we skip the stupid names?" asked Betsy as she projected a mild case of indignation.
~:No, but you will have to learn to not let them color your impressions.:~
~:Right and end up as a sacrifice again? No thank you.:~
~:Ah so it is a defensive trait or just paranoia?:~ he asked somberly.
~:Either, both, I don't know.:~ I sighed, ~:I just want to not ever have to deal with that again.:~
~:Understandable...:~ with that he faded out again. I wasn't quiet sure if he was blipping in on me intentionally or if he was bored.
As I mused upon that I felt a tiny but curious spark alight on my arm, looking down I spotted a spider. I have not been creeped out by spiders, well since the kidnapping fiasco. I gently picked it up and studied it as it scurried around on my hand, lowering my hand to the floor I smiled at it and softly said, "On your way little miss."
"Huh? What was that Casey?" asked Betsy and I looked over see her looking at me oddly.
"Nothing, to worry about," I replied with a grin, "just a small spider."
About that time I was greeted by a flash of total fear from Betsy as she screeched for people to kill it. ~:Fuck! My head!:~
~:What?:~ asked Louis as he popped back. ~:Oh my, a phobic reaction, just raise your shield tightly,:~ he advised.
As a wall of fear and pain railed across my head, I did my best to just sit there and not let any of her fear become my fear. Which was much harder than I wanted it to be.
~:Just ride it out Casey, don't let it flood back on her or you will send everyone in the room into a fear echo,:~ Louis advised urgently.
Just as I thought I was about to pop from the eternal pressure, there was a horrific wash of heat and a burst of light that made me happy my eyes were closed. As Betsy seemed to calm down somewhat, I opened my eyes to view a dully glowing spot on the floor. Looking up I saw Betsy standing on her chair waving her big freaking gun all over the place nervously.
~:Think calm happy thoughts, not anger not fear, just calm happy thoughts,:~ interjected Louis as my outrage leapt up into my throat.
~:Calm? She about vaporized a spot on the floor near me and you want me to be calm!:~
~:Yes, she is still freaked, you have to keep your emotions yours and not hers.:~
I took a few slow breaths and did an exercise or two from the book silently but rapidly before speaking. "Ummm, Over-kill?" I asked aloud as I did my best to not protest the death of my calm, and the harmless spider.
Kat blinked at me and nodded, "Yes. Over-kill."
I felt a wave of uncertainty from Murphy, who seemed to be solidifying or something, "Is it safe to come out?"
Taking another breath I quietly remarked on the odd dichotomy of Betsy's actions as she seemed to be calming down rapidly. ~:You doing something?:~
~:A little,:~ Louis replied and I could feel his puzzled frown, ~:Ah her sister is here, I suppose she has a calming influence as well.:~
~:I'll give her calm if she nearly vaporizes me again,:~ I protested silently.
~:You were not the target of her fear...:~ There was a pause and he not quite grimaced in my head, ~:You shape-shift to a large spider-like form? Never mind I can see that you do.:~
~:And who is digging now?~ I asked sarcastically as I looked around the room at the stunned faces looking at Betsy oddly. Then I spoke aloud, "New rule, no guns in the club house, all in favor?" I then raised my hand enthusiastically.
As everyone else raised their hands including Pru, Bestys stood up. "Exception! Guns allowed when spiders show up! I hate spiders!" Betsy interjected fervently.
"Hate them with a fly swatter," I countered quickly.
"All in favor of vetoing the exception?" said Kat as she led both hands up, prompting more hands in the air.
Murphy was making a placating movements with his hands, "Maybe the plasma cannon is a bit over-kill with spiders Bets?"
Betsy gave him a 'you must be nuts' look, "You think?" she asked not sounding convinced otherwise.
"Yes," was a resounding chorus as we all replied at once.
"You stomp them when they show up, otherwise," Betsy said as she shook her gun meaningfully.
I looked up to see Pru wobbling back in, "What was that about?"
"Spider," said Kat as she made a semi-apologetic shrug.
"Where!" said Betsy as she nearly swamped me with a wave of fear again.
~:Jesus, can I wallop her?:~ I asked painfully.
~:Technically you can, but only to prevent her from injuring others... and no, you can't just wallop her for being a bit edgy about them.:~
~:Oh great, I can wallop her if she is a threat to others, what about her blasting me with fear!?!:~
~:You have shields, in time that little outburst won't jar you.:~
~:Little! Louis I think you are bit insulated in that world you live on. Down here on planet Earth it damned near wrung my bell... and my head still hurts!:~
I could feel his amusement, ~:You will live, but if you gave into your impulses you might have killed her. Or damaged her to where she might be a vegetable afterwards.:~ I felt him sigh, ~:You could do that, just by lashing out in anger you could have killed everyone near you.:~ I took a breath as he added, ~:Right now you are more dangerous than one psycho girl with a gun... if you lash out blindly.:~
~:Wonderful, so I just get to suck up the punches?:~
~:They are unaware that she even did something to you, as is she. They can't understand what happened to you. They don't have a frame of reference for it, and getting angry over it won't help you to deal with it.:~
~:So essentially I am fucked? Is that what you are saying?:~ I asked incredulously.
~:No what I am saying is that once you have sturdy shield it becomes a non-issue.:~ He sighed, ~:This happens to every Psi in the beginning, call it growing pains if you like.:~
~:Well crap!:~ I sent as he seemed to duck out of mind.
With a frown I noticed that events had passed me by and that folks were back on the code name kick. Again.
Betsy was glowing at her sister, "I am not a disaster area!"
Hearing that, I gave the scorched spot near my chair a grimace but I kept my mouth shut.
"System failure!" crowed Pru.
"Tangent," Betsy indignantly countered.
"But she needs a name that fits her, come on guys, you don't know her like I do, she's dangerous." Inwardly I agreed with Pru, but I figured I should keep out of it unless I wanted everyone to know exactly how I felt, much less let them feel it.
"Tangent!" Betsy said with a definite pout, "and it does fit."
"Whatever, I am still calling you Miss Fire," Pru said with a smirk.
I caved into a moment of weirdness and sent directly to Pru, ~:Off on a Tangent... it does fit, sorta.:~ though I may have overdone it as she blinked a few times before ginning at me.
Pru snickered once and then appeared to shift the topic, "Anywasy, the school seems to be filling up like mad. An if you have not noticed the teachers and upper classmen seem irritable? Not to mention all the eye candy?"
"Boy or girl?" asked Kat with a grin.
Pru briefly seemed to blush, "Do I have to pick?"
"Nope," said Betsy with a grin.
They jabbered for a few moments on and on about the various 'hotties.' Not to mention swamping me with various lusty emotions while they were at it. My life as ever, was hell.
"So Casey," asked Pru as she not quite bounded on top of me, Pru's like popcorn that pops around, and pops around, and pops around. It takes some getting used to. "Are you a warper too? I saw you teleport out of lunch."
"Me warper, no. As far as I know that is all mental." I blinked up in to her face, "Its all in the mind."
"Oh cool," Pru actually seemed pleased by the idea, unlike the wave of fear and envy from Kat.
"She's a mind snoop," Kat said with a sniff of distrust.
I ignored her and smiled at Pru, "I got a real mixed bag of stuff."
"That's neat," Pru grinned and not quite flopped down next to me.
I did my best to ignore the sullen flow of smutting thought from Kat. All I did was say hello to her on the bus with my mind and this is my repayment? I sighed and gave Pru a shrug as she seemed distracted by a beetle.
"Is that a spider?" asked Betsy as Pru picked it up quickly, her fear giving me another sharp jab.
"No! It's a beetle. Wanna see?" asked Pru.
The wave of relief rolled off of Betsy was amazing, 'How did people not feel this?'
"No, that's fine," said Betsy with a smile.
"The Psi stuff really isn't that cool Pru." I gave the ceiling a glare, "Most of the time I have to work to keep from feeling or knowing things from other people, take Betsy's panic attack for example."
Besty looked at me oddly as I nodded at her, "What you all missed in that episode; was me trying to keep my emotions mine and not feeding them back to everyone else."
"I'm sorry Casey I didn't know..." Besty started to say and I shrugged at her.
"It's not your fault, though I will say it doesn't help when folks are deliberately trying to show me just how much their mind is in the gutter." I paused and gave Kat a deliberate glance.
"But you said hello on the bus..." Kat blinked.
"I thought I was allowed to say hi, jeeze, everyone else was showing off. I thought since you were all cool with other folks stuff it would not be an issue." I looked away from her and back up to the ceiling. "One of the reasons I was gone most of the day was to get a mental breath of fresh air."
"Oh," Pru looked down at me, "that must suck."
"Well they say once I get shielding perfected that I won't have as much of a problem with it." I shrugged and rubbed the sore spots of my head, "Not to mention fewer headaches, supposedly."
~:Laying it on a bit heavy?:~ asked Louis.
~:Well you were not helping!:~ I countered, ~:What, you expect me to just suffer silently?:~
He seemed to sigh, ~:It may help if they understand what you are dealing with, they are good kids after all, including little miss libido.:~
I had to pause a moment to keep from snickering aloud before I resumed speaking aloud. "It's not like I can just turn it off. It's not magic or tech, it doesn't have an off switch, in my case once it went on, it stayed on."
"Oh." Pru sighed, "I'll try to not make as much mental noise Casey. Mind you I don't know how to do it."
I shook my head, "If it's not there I can't learn to shut it out. Louis, the guy who is stuck as my mentor, gave me some exercises to work on it with."
Kat sighed, "Yeah but there is work and there is relaxation. Would it help if I could come up with a no psychic zone spell, for here anyways?"
~:It might,:~ prompted Louis.
"I'm willing to try anything Kat, my head hurts too often for me to say otherwise." I shrugged, "Or I could do what I did at home, hide in my room where nothing can get in."
"You do what you have to do to relax Casey," said Kat as she seemed to think furiously. "And we'll try to help."
"Yes, this is our place." Betsy nodded, "We should all feel relaxed here."
"Well if you all can make it quieter here I won't complain." I motioned upwards, "As it is I can feel everyone up there, as they scurrying around."
"Ugh, that must suck," Pue looked at her sister and then asked, "Can you make a Psi blocker to help?"
"I just offered to do that," said Kat with a frown.
"Yes," Pru smiled at her, "but we can hedge our bets that way.
Murphy rolled his eyes at me, "Subject change!"
Pru giggled, "I vote for a holy subject change. Did any one get a schedule yet? I did."
"Schedule?" Pru asked me but I shook my head.
"They have me taking either some survival course or a combat class," Pru said in an odd tone of voice.
Kat beamed, "Combat cool."
Pru shook her head, "I don't want to fight."
I looked over at her, "You need it so when some group of thugs tries to grab you off the street, so you can get away without getting sacrificed..."
"But I don't have anything worth sacrificing!" protested Pru.
"It's magick stuff Pru. The stupid ass wipes like Hive or other cult idiots would use you..." Kat sighed and shook her head.
"But I don't know any magick!" Pru countered.
"You've seen the movies? Is it ever the sacrifice doing the chanting before they get killed?" Kat asked sarcastically.
"If they do they are a willing participant," noted Betsy.
Kat nodded, "So the sacrifice doesn't need to know anything, it may even be better if they don't."
Pru looked at everyone worriedly, "Um why are we discussing human sacrifice?"
"Right," I added, they just need to be 'Pure' or specially or related to someone you want to get power over or... Virginal."
"Or someone the police will not look to hard for," added Kat as Pru made overly dramatic puking sounds.
"Thus you need combat classes," I said with a grin.
"Virginal?" Pru blinked and looked at me worriedly. I nodded, as Kat looked amused by Pru's reaction.
Kat grinned and looked over at Betsy, "You look concerned."
Betsy seemed briefly flustered as she protested, "Um, no I am not concerned!"
"Is it time for another holy topic change?" Kat asked Betsy with a grin plastered on her face.
"Considering the course of this conversation, I think it'd be an Unholy topic change," Murphy said with a chuckle.
"Roomates!" said Betsy quickly.
"I got a smoking Lizard Girl," said Kat quickly.
"And I got a high flying kitty girl," added Pru.
"I have bunk in one eighteen," I said with a shrug.
"I'm in Dickenson," added Besty, "Roomie wasn't there yet."
Kat looked over at me, "Are we running light or has your roomie not shown up yet."
"I think she had to speak with a guidance counselor, all I saw was large a pile of luggage in the room." I gave Betsy a look, "For a moment I thought she was my roomie."
Kat looked over to Murphy, "Well?"
Murphy seemed to debate on wading in before speaking, "Got my schedule, got my room, got my roomie."
Kat smiled at his hesitation, "The lone boy among all us hotties, sure you are not hating life?"
Murphy sighed and added, "Art, Math, Science, History, Powers Theory and Combat."
"And..." encouraged Besty with a grin, "details we crave details!"
Giving the air of much suffering Murphy looked at the girls, "First floor room, with a window and one guy called Tusk."
Kat seemed to deflate slightly, "So he's not a hottie?"
Murphy snorted in amusement, "I'm in Twain, and I got paired up with a heavy GSD kid, poor guy." Shaking his head he added, "He's about eight feet tall and growing, now carnivorous rather than omnivorous, skin like rhino hide... you can't miss him."
"Ugh, yeah that's rough," said Kat as she looked away.
"That's not the worst thing, I walked in on him and he was crying."
"Why," I asked.
"Home sick, and well next month is his birth day... he'll be thirteen," at that pronouncement of his, I felt rather than saw everyone wince.
"Just pat him on the shoulder and tell him to get over it," said Betsy in a distracted tone of voice.
"That's what I am there for, evidently..." he said sounding odd as he did so.
"Bets!" exclaimed Pru loudly as if to grab her sisters attention and drag her down to earth.
"What, what did I do now?" she asked suddenly.
"You were being insensitive..."
"I was?" Betsy asked uncertainly.
"Ah geeze I did it again, stick my foot... in it." She looked over to Murphy, "I'm sorry, I get distracted... and my mouth wanders off."
He chuckled, "So I see."
"I wonder if I'm the weird one for my room, if that is the case," I mused aloud.
"No thinking nasty thoughts about my sister!" said Pru as she scowled at Kat.
"What, I didn't say anything..."
"She didn't Pru..." I said quickly, "relax."
There was an odd tense silence before Murphy asked, "Betsy, Pru, so which of you is the evil twin?"
Betsy quickly pointed at Pru, "She is! I am just misunderstood."
Kat and I traded an unconvinced look of amusement.
Pru countered, "She's the evil, or at least demented one. I am completely innocent of all wrongdoing!"
"She lies!" said Besty with a loud giggle.
"Maybe they are both evil," suggested Murphy.
"That would mean there is a missing triplet somewhere," pointed out to Kat as she tried to look suspicious.
"Nope, Besty ate the other one in the womb," said Pru with a wicked leer in her sister's direction.
I laughed and added, "And there was much rejoicing, consider if you will, three of them."
Pru smirked at me, "Nope. Two twins is perfection. Triplets is overkill."
I had to agree with her there, as the two of them seemed a bit much at time. As the topic wandered back to schedules and classes I closed my eyes, and worked on tuning them out of my head. That lasted all of a few moments before I felt a poke in my leg.
"You, you are tooo quiet," said Pru with a grin.
"Me, I am not quiet, if you asked the other Psi's. I was just doing a few exercises." I shrugged, "Or trying too."
"So classes?" Pru asked.
"I have to do powers assessment first. Evidently my parents want me to have a proper ed-u-mak-cation or something." I shrugged with a grin, "But I should wander off a bit, give you all some space before my brain melts."
"Does it get that bad?" asked Kat as I stood up and picked up my bean bag chair.
"Like a migraine, just worse." I gave them all a wave, "I'll see you at brunch."
"Night Casey," said Pru.
"And to you all," I said and let myself sink into my space, it looks cool and it freaks my parents when I do it. But is at least a cool exit.
As I stepped out and into my room at Whitman I discovered that my roommate had arrived. I was semi-relieved to discover that she was mostly unflappable in that she didn't just jump out of her skin when I 'arrived.' "Hi, I'm Casey Steele," I offered in greetings.
She gave me a slight frown, "You are not the maid I requested?"
"Sorry, no." I shrugged and studied her briefly, "I'm not even sure they have a maid service here. One of my friends had trouble getting her stuff moved without a valet."
She frowned and then rubbed the dainty silver horns on her head and then seemed to flap her wings in agitation. Then with a resigned sigh she moved over to her luggage, "I'm Rebecca Clause, of the Santa Monaco Clauses."
"Sorry, never heard of them." I had the vague impression that I was doomed to be stuck in an episode of 'Brandy and Mr. Whiskers.'
With a disdainful sniff she rubbed her long ears, "I suppose you are supposed to be the beauty among the beasts?"
Laughing I placed a dryer towel on my bunk and sat on it, "Sorry to disappoint you so much, but I assure you I can be quite monstrous."
Her silver eyes studied me for a moment, "You don't say."
Considering the amount of arrogance she was exuding, I let it go, "So do you fly?"
"What, the wings clued you in on that?" Smirking she opened them up to fill most of the room, "I am descended from dragons, of course I can fly."
"Ah, and do you breath fire, horde gold, and eat men who clunk around in armor?" I asked trying not to sound too sarcastic.
"No," she turned to look at me as she refolded a yellow top, "armor tends to stick in my teeth."
I blinked at that, "O-kay."
She stopped and looked at me before starting to giggle, "Sorry, I've been awful haven't I?"
Shrugging I relaxed slightly maybe it would not be so bad, "Not too much."
Sighing as a wisp of smoke drifted up from her delicate snout-like nose, "I don't mean to get that way, it's just, well. I'm an avatar, and sometimes it forgets who is hosting whom."
"So you get a bit washed out by someone else's mind?" I asked sympathetically.
"And then some, I was a vegetarian before Snooty moved in," as she said that I could feel a strong hint of revulsion from her. "I still want to barf after every meal."
Covering her mouth as she seemed to blush slightly, "It's what I call her, when she gets on my nerves."
"That sounds healthy," I said with a grin, "You have to keep a sense of 'you' in such things."
"Oh are you a avatar too?" she asked radiating hope.
"No, I'm an Esper," I said with an indifferent shrug.
"Ah... you read minds?" she asked hesitantly.
I ignored the sudden wave of suspicion from her, "Why do you ask? Do you have some deep dark secret you really want to tell me?"
"Um, not really," she shrugged a wing, "I was just expecting you to wear some sort of badge or sign saying you were a Psi."
"Should I be?" I asked feeling slightly confused.
"Well in Santa Monaco, it would be expected of you... Otherwise you would be breaking the laws." She seemed to roll her eyes, "And wear gloves to keep from incidental contact."
"Sounds awful," and vaguely familiar I thought.
"Well, not really. Psi's are a large part of the police, education and medical fields, so they fill a useful function." She smiled benignly, "We have very little crime in Santa Monaco."
"I bet the MCO loves that," I muttered.
"MCO, well they have no jurisdiction in Santa Monaco, the King is most adamant about that." She shook her head in agitation, "Though they definitely made it difficult to come to America, petty minds with petty authority tend to abuse it."
"Well supposedly the MCO doesn't have any authority in America either," I said with a shrug.
She gave her bags a sigh, "I suppose some of this can wait, did you chose a closet yet? I didn't see anything in them so I waited."
"You can pick the one you want," I said lazily, "my stuff will be arriving later."
"Well I don't need the mirror so much, so you can have the closet near it." She seemed to wilt somewhat, "I hate not having real hair."
"Why not use a wig?" I asked.
"Oh my hair is growing back in, slowly. An its well, a vanity thing..." her wings seemed to droop, "I look stupid in a wig."
That explained why her silver hair was almost boy-short, "So you've not been part dragon that long?"
"Barely two months, though I had odd skin for months before that." She seemed to shake herself, while giving off waves of self-loathing, "It was dreadful."
"Well it seems like your skin suits you now," I said as I pushed my shields back up.
"As Snooty and everyone seems to say," she picked up an odd nightshirt; it seemed more like a toga and changed into it.
Taking the hint I opened my bag and took out my favorite red sleep shirt. It had a Tigger on it from Winnie the Pooh, and it read, 'Sleeping is what Tigger's do best, next to bouncing that is...' "I didn't mean to keep you up if you were tired..."
"Oh no," she yawned, "I wanted to meet you, and well I was hoping someone would help with all my clothes..."
"Sorry," I said with a laugh, "I don't do that or windows either."
She giggled briefly before looking around in confusion, "What did you do with your wet bathing suit?"
"I ate it," I said with grin, "I was hungry."
"Seriously?" she asked as her eyes opened widely.
"No, not really, I just sent it away..." I shrugged at her, "its hard to explain, so I'll show you tomorrow."
"Ah ok," she walked over to the door, locked it and then clicked the light off. "I do wish that we had a room with a larger window," she said and I watched her walk over to the thin window in the dim light from it.
"Well we can get a few large pictures to make up for the lack of view," I suggested.
She drew down the blind and seemed to nod, "They said you might have a familiar?"
"Yes a small talking spider monkey, I'll introduce you tomorrow, or he'd be gabbing all night at you." I grinned in the darkness; he tended to gab at any girl who would listen.
"Ok, so you do magick?" she asked.
"I don't know really, they seem to think I do," I slipped under the covers and sighed, "I have a slew of tests Wednesday to find out."
"You don't sound like you want to have magick," I heard her struggle with her blankets and I looked over to see her not quite under them.
"Need help?" I asked.
"No, the blankets tend to cramp my wings, that and I can only lay on my side or tummy."
"If it's too cool I can find a small heater," I offered, as we had one at home and I knew where to find it.
"Maybe when it gets colder," she said with a resigned sigh.
"Ok, g'night Rebecca."
The screaming that awoke me from my nightmare, surprisingly was not my own. I had awoken screaming countless times from that particular dream, so the screaming was not unusual. Nor was the shuddering after effects of the fear it sent through me. The drenched perspiration from it was usual too. The unusual aspect of it was that I was getting it all from Rebecca.
I bolted from my bed to turn on the light, turning around I saw her quivering in terror in the corner of her bed. Her back was tight up against the corner and her wings were unfurled and trembling. "Rebecca?"
There was a sudden glow from her eyes and a torrent of flame washed out at me from her mouth, "S-s-st-tay back!" Suddenly I was reliving a part of my nightmare, though it seemed like she was the sacrifice and not me.
Abruptly I was rocked backwards and across the room, ~:Casey! Shield!:~ blasted soundly into my mind as Louis seemed to be slapping me.
As my head throbbed in time with the waves of fear from Rebecca and Louis' slaps I somehow pulled myself back behind my shields.
~:What the hell?:~ asked a multitude of whispering voices.
~:Nightmare,:~ said Louis, ~:a bad one, now back off and give Casey some mental room.:~
~:You might want to do something about the fires,:~ suggested an amused voice and I had the impression of a small blue bird flittering around.
I tracked on that suggestion and opened my eyes. Oddly enough I was not burned, yet a few items were definitely aflame around Rebecca. I quickly reached into my space and pulled out the fire extinguisher dad had insisted I put in there. A few quick blasts from the extinguisher and the fires were out, though the shrieking from Rebecca was keeping time with the small fire alarm in the room.
As the door abruptly opened to show Mrs. Savage in a frumpy robe, curlers and lugging a fire extinguisher in one hand. She took one look at me, the fire extinguisher in my hand and then my still screaming roommate. "What did you do!?!" she half shouted, half asked me.
"What did I, what did I do!?! I did nothing, she woke me up that way!" I yelled back at her over the screams.
Mrs. Savage's eyes unfocused for a moment, and I was rewarded with another wash of fear from both Rebecca and Mrs. Savage. Louis merely blasted me with ~:Shield!:~
"Fuck! I am so not taking this sort of crap from anyone!" I shouted at her and everyone in general. With that I stormed off and into my space, where there at least no one was going to shout at me or blast me with fear.
Once there I dropped on a futon and settled in for a round of self-misery and a solid sulk. Groaning I held my aching head and closed my eyes, just letting my shield vanish completely. "Fuck me, my head hurts."
A pair of arms slowly gave me a hug, and I could feel Waldo's sympathy ease into me slowly, "Bad dream?"
"Not really," I sighed, "the usual, though this time waking up was the real nightmare."
There was a faint warmth from his hands and the tight painful spot in my head eased away, "That should help." For a time he sat silently, "This is rather a surprise."
"Oh?" I asked as I rested my head on his chest.
"I had thought you didn't broadcast in your sleep," he said simply.
"Well my parents sleep at the other end of the house," I said with a shrug, "not like they would notice."
"Perhaps, or it could merely be you are a bit over taxed from the day." He inhaled slightly, "You smell of smoke."
I opened my eyes and looked down at my night shirt, "Yeah draco-bitch tried lighting me and the room on fire."
"I don't think she meant to," he paused, "from what I can pick out from your mind she was hysterical."
"I guess," I sighed and looked up at him, "what am I going to do Waldo?"
"Rest, recover and learn how to not do it," he smiled, "it will come in time."
"I suppose, but I am a bit jittery from it still, and angry."
"Not entirely unjustified, but it is pointless to dwell on it," he tapped my head, "has the pain eased?"
"Yes, thank you," I smiled up at him, "have I told you how much I appreciate having you as a friend?"
"Yes, no few times," he smiled, "now I suggest you take a few minutes to meditate like I showed you."
"Ok, I suppose."
He stood up and smiled, "Darken the room and if you fall asleep it won't hurt. I will go and see if I can mitigate some of the fuss that is undoubtedly underway."
"Sleep perchance to not dream..." I said as I let the room dim, "maybe."
"Try, I will check in on you later," and with that he was gone.
Morning announced itself in with a series of slow but gentle shakes from Waldo, "Rise and shine, Casey. Wakey-Wakey even."
Yawning I sat up, "Do I have to?" I asked.
"Well yes, considering it is about Noon," he smiled and handed me a cup of tea.
"Noon, oh great, am I supposed to be someplace?" I was mildly worried that I might be in trouble, but part of me didn't care if I was.
"Well Louis is concerned that you might not come out of your room. I suspect he is sorry for being so heavy handed with you last night." Waldo busied himself with laying out a set of clothing for me, "Mrs. Savage seems to be in a cheery yet worried mood, evidently such things have happened before."
"Ah so I am not in trouble with her?" I asked.
"Well she did say something about you language being a touch un-lady like," he shrugged. "She replaced all the burned linens and such while you were out, and she is a bit more concerned that you are contemplating running away."
"Ah did they bother my parents?" I had the sudden worry I was in for a real ass chewing from them.
"Well they did call them but as your responsible yet ever so humble servant, I warned your parents first." He chuckled, "I think you mom was a bit irked that Mrs. Savage's initial reaction was to blame you... Your mother was quite vehement about Mrs. Savage needing to apologize to you. Most vehement."
"And my father?" I asked dreading his ire.
"Your father is annoyed, but pleased that you kept your head; and that you were able to focus on putting the fires out... Rather than going off and tearing up the walls." Waldo paused to tap a large fire extinguisher with a large green bow on it, "He sent this and five hundred dollars for new bedding."
"Gee dad, ever the practical one," I said with a smile as I worked on getting dressed.
"Might I suggest you use some of that money on new clothing?" he said with a hint of begging in his voice.
"I suppose, I've been trying to decide on a wardrobe, but well, I've not seen anything on campus I wish to emulate yet." I pulled the beige slacks up and sighed, "Though Goth is dead out."
"I agree, though a few of the styles they wear would suit you." He shook himself slightly, "I did enjoy that era of women's clothing, yet they seem to have drained the life out of it."
"It's deliberate Waldo, Goths suck the life out of every thing," I stood up and slipped on the white sandals he had set out for me.
Turning around he smiled, "As ever you are stunning Casey."
"You just like dressing me up," I countered.
"True, but then I suspect I am making up for having to had endure someone who thought sack-cloth was clothing." He smiled and bowed slightly, "It would be easier if you had more clothing to select from."
"Are you sure you were not a butler in another life?" I asked.
"Possibly, I do seem to have the knack for it," he shrugged "or perhaps I just like to see things neat and tidy."
I took a moment to glance around my room, "I see you have organized things a bit."
"Well yes, I thought since you might have to retreat here on a regular basis, that you might as well be comfortable here." He beamed and then added, "I do have a small list of things you could use here."
I chuckled and nodded at him, "We'll go over it later if you like."
"Indeed, so shall we face the day?" he asked as he reappeared on my shoulder.
"If we must," I said as I raised my shields before exiting into my room.
Once in the room I noted that it still slightly smelled of smoke, even though the small window was open. Rebecca's luggage was gone as presumably was Rebecca. Though I did check the closet she had claimed and the dresser to find they were empty. Her being gone was both a relief and distressing in that I did kind of like her. Both beds had fresh linens on them and had been neatly made up, as Waldo had mentioned.
~:Ah you are back,:~ noted Louis with a relieved undertone.
~:Yeah, is it safe to be back?:~ I asked hesitantly.
~:Yes quite safe.:~ He seemed to pause, ~:I am sorry about last night.:~
~:Really? Or are you just saying that because it is politic to do so?:~ I asked coolly.
~:I see you are upset somewhat.:~
~:Well hell Louis. I wake up from a shitty nightmare, after which my roommate tries to scorch me out of existence. A freaked dorm parent bursts in and accuses me of causing the problem... and to make matters worse I had someone clubbing me vigorously in the head to make me shield. So yeah I am a bit peeved about things.:~
~:Sorry about that,:~ he seemed to be a bit embarrassed, ~:I was a bit heavy handed, though I had to snap you out of the feed back loop you were entering.:~
~:Joy, so do you plan on doing that on a regular basis?:~ I asked indignantly.
~:I hope to not need to,:~ he sighed and I had the impression of faint humor, ~:though it does illustrate the need for more focused training in your case.:~
~:Yes, I've cleared your schedule so to speak.:~ He seemed to radiate smugness, ~:The Headmistress agrees that you need some focused training this week. So apart from the powers testing, and a mandatory assembly, you belong to me.:~
~:Why do I suspect I will be hating my life?:~ I asked as I gave Waldo a groan.
~:I don't think it will quite that bad. But if we can keep from needing to sedate your next roommate or you over the next few days, it will be worth it.:~
~:Ah is Rebecca ok?:~
~:She will be, once it was explained to her what had happened... Surprisingly she is more worried about you, evidently she did her best to vaporize you or thought she had tried to.:~
~:Well I am still here, unsinged even.:~
~:Yes, I expect there is a logical answer for it.:~ He seemed to shrug, ~:If you have not had lunch take the time to eat, otherwise come and ensconce yourself in the lab. Granny and of few witches have some tests for you.:~
~:Witches?:~ I gave Waldo an odd look, ~:Are they green and melt in water?:~
~:Well one of them wears green, but no they don't melt when wet.:~ He chuckled, ~:So no attempting to poor water on them.:~
As he poofed out of my head, I shared a significant look with Waldo. "Ok, what did you tell them."
"I simply made it abundantly clear that if they were going to make it an issue of blaming you for events. That they then needed to make sure you could actually be held responsible for them." He shrugged and pointed at a charred spot on the floor, "I also pointed out that you had prevented a real problem while in the throws of dealing with everyone else attacking you."
"Huh, you think?"
"Yes, also your Father was quite insistent that if they were: 'So hep on making you out as the problem, that they should train you not to be one.'" Waldo chuckled, and added, "Your father has such a quaint vernacular."
"Yes, he does, especially when mad."
"Mrs. Carson however agreed with my and others suppositions that you were here to learn." He beamed and then patted me on the head, "I also pointed out that making life difficult for you while you learned was counter productive, and likely to cause such incidents."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," I murmured as I took us outside with a thought.
"Casey, I can help you with magick and a few other bits, but this aspect of you is one I am untrained in." Waldo admitted softly, "I am learning, as you are learning." He smiled and reappeared to walk beside me, "It's quite interesting."
"Ever the scholar," I said as we walked along the path leading to the Kirby Complex.
"Well yes. If you stop learning, you end up dying," he said with a smile.
"Ah," considering Granny was two centuries and going, the idea had merit, "I'll think about that."