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(IC)(Open) Out for a Spin

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(Continued from School Daze) 

 

Danica's wheels hummed cheerfully over the sidewalk as she led the group along at a comfortable walking pace. "Oh yeah, we can visit it anytime during the day, it's just that it's tucked in behind the old chapel and it can be hard to find. I didn't have my wheels then either, so walking around really took a long time!" She led them down the main walking boulevard of the campus, pointing out the administration building and one of the classroom buildings as they passed. "So where are you guys all from?" 

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Forever Boy

Pan followed along, looking at anything and everything that Danica pointed out. His attention kept slipping to her wheels, however, even as he started floating along the ground rather than walking. He made note of walking taking a long time, which he could see. Flying was always faster, after all. He paused for a moment before responding to Danica's question about where everyone was from, but so far, most that he had told about Neverworld had accepted it, so why not share? "Ah, I'm from far from here. Another world, I think. Back home we called it Neverworld. It is kind of different from here. No wheels to stand on like yours, for one."

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That admission apparently caught Elizabeth a bit flat-footed; she stumbled for a moment, gazing open-eyed at Pan before shaking her head and skipping to catch up. "Another world! This is all going to take some getting used to."

 

She shrugged, an exaggerated expression complete with hands held helplessly palms-upward. "I'm from...here, I guess?" she said. "I was born overseas, but I've been here for a while, so I guess I'm basically from here."

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"Oh cool, you're from another dimension?" Danica asked Pan, glancing over without stopping her forward roll. "I knew some kids at Nicholson who were from another dimension but they've graduated now. Is it a nice dimension, or did you have to run away from it?"

 

She interrupted herself as they passed by what looked like a large empty field. "There's the sports field! We can't play other schools, obviously, but people play all kinds of sports, football, soccer, lacrosse, Quiddich, sometimes even just tag or red rover. There's equipment for pretty much everything in the field house over there."  She gestured, then looked to Elizabeth. "It's cool to be from Freedom City, too! I really like it here, except that it's so cold." 

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Forever Boy

"Well, yes. Imagine how I feel." Pan shot back at Elizabeth with a smile playing over his lips. His tone of voice made it clear that he was joking. "But I'm trying to enjoy my time here, at least. So far, it's been fun." He turned to Danica, a wide grin spreading over his lips. He loved to tell stories of his adventures, after all. "It was brilliant! Action and adventure everywhere! I didn't really want to leave, and I don't exactly know how I did, but we were fighting the Hooked Man, and he was winning. Then I cut off his hand and the Crocodile appeared! We had been searching for it for years, and it was gigantic, but then everything went black and I found myself here." 

 

He looked over the empty field, wondering a bit about all the different sports that Danica mentioned. That could be fun to participate in, but it was all such weird names. Only football made sense from the name. Something with a ball that you play with your feet, obviously. He kind of wanted to go over to the field house that Danica pointed out to explore, but he decided to stick with the others, reminding himself to touch down and stop floating again. "It is cool to be from Freedom City! I had never seen anything like it before!" 

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Elizabeth nodded, though she was side-eyeing Pan as if trying to decide whether or not she should address something. "It is pretty cool. There's so much to do! I look forward to doing...well. All of it!"

 

She smiled, but the smile got buried under the side-eyeing again, and it only took her a couple beats to give up. "So, uh, the Crocodile, and the...Hooked Man. We're talking, you know..." She reached out with one hand, pulling from thin air an enormous hat, cartoonish red with a wide, up-turned brim and long, unnaturally puffy white feather spilling off the side. She plopped it on her head, leaving it cocked a bit to the side in what she hoped was...jaunty? "...'I'll get you for this, if it's the last thing I do!', Hooked Man?"

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"Oh, if you guys like that, you should see the gym!" Danica nudged her handlebars in such a way that she executed a quick 90-degree turn down another sidewalk. "It's got all the regular gym stuff for regular people, but it's got all kinds of crazy stuff for the physically enhanced kids too. You fly, right?" she asked Pan. "You're gonna love the aerial obstacle course above the basketball court. Sometimes I go over there just to watch the upperclassmen working out on it cause it's totally sick." The way she said sick indicated that this was probably a good thing. "They've got the simulator for real combat training, but the gym is more fun. Are you guys going to try and get onto hero teams?" she asked. 

 

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Forever Boy

 

Pan blinked a bit at Elizabeth's comment about the Crocodile and the Hooked Man. Did she konw about them? How could she possibly know about them? And then she pulled that hat from out of nowhere. The color was wrong, it should be a darker shade of red, and it seemed too new, but otherwise, it looked just like the Hooked Man's prized hat. Oh, he had gotten so mad whenever Pan had managed to steal it from him or had otherwise thrown it away. Pan's surprise were visible on his face. His eyes were wide open, and his mouth felt dry when Elizabeth said that line. Oh, that horrible line that he had heard so many times. 

 

He remained frozen for a moment, before blinking and shaking his head. He did not mean to ignore Danica, but Elizabeth's knowledge was simply baffling. "How do you know that?"

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"I heard something about Gym..?" Came a deep and thick Russian accent from behind the group and Jack made his way casually along. He was a tall bear of a teen, standing taller then most of the group, but with a somewhat disarming smile.

 

He hadn't really planned on meeting anyone today...he had simply gone for a walk on the pleasant day it had been. The weather was always to his liking and being outside made him feel wonderful as it always did. The breeze against his mostly bare chest sent pleasant tingles up his spine and the grass had felt good under his bare feet.

 

He felt a bit bad about interrupting the group, but his curiousity had been piqued. He hadn't had much of a tour his first time around...or better said, he didn't remember much of the tour. He had been distracted by his tour guides at the time, as well as others he had met. There were lovely young ladies in this group as well, he noted. He bowed his head respectfully to the group in an attempt to atone for interrupting their conversation and introduce himself.

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Elizabeth wasn't sure what to make of that response, and she wasn't sure how deep she wanted to step into that on her very first day; a new regret at the new school, maybe. Jack had made for a good distraction, at least - saved by the Russian.

 

She tipped the hat at the newcomer, then flipped it away - it dissolved into nothing before it got too far from her person. "Just a question!" she defended, smiling uncomfortably. "If, um, if they have a library you should probably check out a book called Peter Pan, or a movie named Peter Pan? The cartoon one's got some problems but it's mostly still pretty good. You...might find them interesting. And hello!" she greeted, turning properly to address Jack. "Danica here was just talking about the gym, yes! No real hero teams for me, I think, I'm still getting used to things. Wouldn't want to drag anyone else down, you know? But that gym sounds great, I have some exercises I'm supposed to be doing every day."

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"You should not talk down about your self melady." Jack said softly, with a small bow of introduction as the girl turned towards him. "You do not seem type to drag anyone down." He said with his usual smile. He finished walking to the group in two large, easy strides and stood by them. "If you need gym partner just let me know, I am quite fond of the gym and excercise." He continued to the as yet unnamed girl, trying to put her at ease, as he could sense his presence might seem awkward, as they had just met. He looked towards Danica. "I do not mean to intrude, melady, but If you happen to be showing ones around school, I would appreciate it if I might be allowed to go with?" He asked politely.

Edited by Jack

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"Peter Pan's a great story!" Danica added helpfully. "He lives in Never-Never Land and fights Captain Hook at the pirates! I dressed up as Tinkerbell three years in a row when I was little!" She turned her attention briefly to the new guy. "Sure, you can come with us! I'm Danica, this is Elizabeth and Pan. I'm a sophomore this year but I've been here a couple years already so I mostly know my way around. I'm probably not going to join a hero team either," she confided to Elizabeth. "I have powers that make it so I don't really get hurt, but I don't really know that I could help anybody, you know?" 

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"You may call me 'Jack', Melady Danica." Jack said with a small nod. "And Da, I can understand that. Ve all must find our vay in helping others. I am good at fighting, but that not be only vay to help. I suppose that vhy ve are here at school, no?" He looked from Danica to Elizabeth and Pan. "Also, I Iagree Peter Pan is good story."

Edited by Jack

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A story called Peter Pan? There were stories that could be about him in this world? All of Danica's comments just hit spot on. Never-Never Land was too close to Neverworld. Captain Hook and the Hooked Man. And he did indeed lead a band of pirates that pillaged the entire world, if they had the chance. And Tinkerbell? Pan knew a pixie named Tinker. It had been one of the pixies that had helped him out as he grew up. It had had followed him to the Lost Heroes and was there when they managed to summon the Crocodile. He wondered where it had gone. 

 

Pan was knocked from his shock when he finally managed to notice Jack's presence. He was, quite frankly, way too tall. Looking up, Pan blinked for a second before regaining his composure, the smile returning to his face. He would have to look into this Peter Pan, but not now. Now he had to return to reality for a moment. 

 

"Ah, hello Jack. I am not quite sure what I will be doing once I finish here at the Academy, to be honest. I'm kind of here to learn about this world and figure all that out. Nice to meet you, my friend." He turned back to Danica. "Sorry for my brief... moment. The gym sounds interesting. I think I would like to try that aerial course at some point."

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"Ah, man, jealous." Elizabeth threw her hands up in a shrug, shaking her head. "I can do some stuff, but I can't fly. It always seemed like it'd be pretty great - very freeing. But I guess everyone gets different stuff, if they get anything. Like not being hurt!"

 

She poked a finger at Danica, shaking her head again; so many people with such cool stuff that would have been so useful. "You can do more than a lot of people, getting hurt or not! Plus, 'not getting hurt' sounds like it could be...really useful sometimes."

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When Elizabeth poked her finger at Danica, she made it within about six inches of the other girl's arm before her finger sort of... bounced. Not painfully or anything, just as though Elizabeth had poked something both firm and invisible. For a moment the air around Danica wavered and a large dome was suddenly covering her, tall and round in the back, broad and flat over her front. It was definitely a tortoise shell, black with vivid gold starburst pattens running all over it. As soon as Elizabeth withdrew her hand, the image disappeared. "Whoops!" said Danica, just as cheerful as before. "I usually have control over that, but sometimes it pops up when I'm surprised. Anyway," she confided with a grin. "I definitely cannot fly." She wheeled onwards in the direction of a large square building, obviously considerably newer than the buildings at the front of the campus. 

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"It is pretty great to fly, yes." Pan almost beamed with pride. He was understating the feeling, really. He loved flying, and he was doing everything he could to stay rooted to the ground right now. He was brought out of the thoughts when he saw Elizabeth's finger bounce off Danica, and then a tortoise shell appeared around her. Pan stared with open mouth a the design that appeared on it, quickly memorizing them. Golden starbust patterns everywhere. It was amazing. For some reason, it just made him feel safe. Then it disappeared. 

 

He hadn't even noticed that he had started floating, flying up on the right side of Danica and leaving a shimmering golden trail that quickly faded behind him. "That was awesome!" He kind of wanted to try poking her to bring it up again, but he stopped himself. "That was a tortoise shell, right? I've seen them before, but I've never seen one with a pattern like that!"

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Jack watched as the boy Pan rose into the air excitedly, amused somewhat by the entire exchange. He loved people, they were rarely boring if you gave them half a chance, and he decided that he would get along with this group reasonably well. "Da flying is the best..." Jack said softly to himself with a nod. He wasn't sure exactly what had happened but he felt the field surrounding Danica and made a small mental note somewhere that she would be a good defense against an opponent.

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Having pulled her finger back immediately, Elizabeth held it to her chest long enough to make sure she'd caused no offense before letting out the held breath, gathering her wits back into the smile and sense of cheer that had sustained her this far. "That's pretty neat, yeah, and makes sense - with the tough thing," she admitted, pondering. "If you're really tough, though, I bet you could fly - Jack's pretty big, he could probably lob you pretty far. Or, I guess, that's not technically flying?"

 

She paused, making a hand motion like the arc of a marginally-controlled trajectory. "More like...falling, but with style. This place has to have a great engineering group or club, maybe they could make you some wings or something. I think I saw that in a cartoon once."

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"Yeah, it's a shell," Danica agreed, looking a little bashful at Pan's enthusiasm. The shell shimmered back into existence, much easier to see this time, and large enough to cover Danica's back from neck to knees and elbow to elbow. "It's a radiated tortoise shell, they're my favorite," she explained. "I'm pretty tough without it, but when I'm inside it there isn't much that can hurt me. But I still don't think I want to fly that way," she added with a laugh. "Sounds like a bumpy ride!" Summoning her shell had changed the look of the rest of Danica a little as well, her skin had gone a more grayish green and looked almost leathery, and her eyes were suddenly bigger and darker than they'd been. 

 

Turning her Segway abruptly, she led the way down the sidewalk to the large rectangle. "And here's the gym!" she announced with a flourish. "You can go in and look around if you want, there's gonna be a big gym orientation thing later in the week to tell you all the rules and show you how to use things and stuff." 

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Having forgotten everything about even trying to stay grounded, Pan floated around Danica as she explained about her shell. He had bent his legs at the knee and pulled them up under himself, and he was slowly starting to turn around, trying to get a good look at the shell at some different angles. He grinned at Elizabeth's idea of flight, while quickly looking over Jack. Yes, he could probably pick Danica up, at least without the shell, but being thrown wouldn't be flight. Not proper flight, at least. 

 

Letting go of his legs and remembering to stop flying, Pan set down again and followed closely as Danica took them to the gym. He was a bit torn. He kind of wanted to go in and see the gym, figure out how everything works, try and fly, but if there were going to be orientation for it later, he could probably just spend the time actually having a look around the campus. His curiosity won out. "How about we have a quick look?" He stopped himself before he floated over to the door, instead taking a few quick steps and opening the door to look inside.

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"Ah, Danica, hello," called out a tall and slender young woman walking toward the group from the collection off buildings to the southeast.  She would have waved, but one hand was holding her shoulder bag steady and the other held a couple of thick books.

 

She gave the Segway riding girl a friendly smile and picked up the pace a little to close the distance, her long black hair flowing behind her as she moved.  "Oh, new faces," she said, hesitating a little and suddenly looking a bit shy.  "Uh, hello, hi."  She raised an eyebrow in Danica's direction, "Tour?"

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"Abby!" Danica caroled happily,  tilting her Segway into a running pace as she zoomed towards the newcomer. Abby was tall enough that Danica did not have to disembark to give her a hug. ""Wow, I haven't seen you all summer! Did you have fun? What did you do?" 

 

Beaming, she half-turned to show off Abby to all her new friends. "Guys, this is Abby, she is my friend all the way back from Nicholson, and this year we're in the same grade and everything! Abby, this is Elizabeth and Pan and Jack, they're new! I'm taking them to see the place." 

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Pan turned to the new voice, his right hand already rising in a happy wave. It was clear that she and Danica knew each other, so Pan waited with a smile while Danica did the introductions. He made a slight bow, attempting to mimic the one that Kam had used earlier. "Hello Abby, nice to meet you." Standing up straight again, he offered his hand to shake. "I'm Pan." He decided against telling about Neverworld, he had just gone through that with the others, after all. And he still had to try reading that book.

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"Hey there!" Elizabeth flashed a smile, turning to size Abby up as an addition to her list of new friends. "Yeah! A bunch of us showed up around the same time, so when we got a chance to have Danica show us around, it seemed like a great idea."

 

She'd stuck her hand out for a shake, too, but paused to glance at her hand, at Abby's full hands, and at Pan's, before pulling her hand back with a small but non-zero amount of awkwardness. "I'm Elizabeth," she added, sticking the offending hand in her pocket where it could cause no trouble. "But I'm betting you figured that out yourself, since I'm too short to be a 'Jack'."

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