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September 4, 2018

(Takes place after School Daze and Out For A Spin)

 

After finishing Danica's tour, Pan had decided that it was finally time for him to actually find his room. He had a roommate that he was supposed to meet. As he walked through the hallways to find his room, his thoughts began to drift to a certain revelation earlier that day. Someone in this world had written a book called Peter Pan, and it had someone like him and someone very much like the Hooked Man. Pan wasn't sure why, but the thought of the book's existence disturbed him.

 

Pan pushed the thoughts away. That was for later, not for now. For now, he had someone new to meet. His roommate. One Micah Roebuck. Great! Another new friend. At least he hoped so, otherwise it could be a long year in the same room together, but Pan was confident that he'd be able to win his roommate over if that was the case. So, showtime! With his back of few belongings slung over his shoulder, Pan pushed the door open and got ready to greet Micah if he was in the room.

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Well, there was certainly someone in the room, anyway! He was just unlatching some kind of oddly-shaped piece of luggage from a large, but ordinary, suitcase. Another, smaller such suitcase joined a backpack and a messenger bag on the floor next to one of the beds. The young man turned, his brown eyes showing surprise. He finished unhooking the rounded luggage, lifting it carefully, and setting it to one side, before dusting his hands on his pants and offering his hand and a hesitant, but genuine, smile.

 

"Uh. Hello. Hi! I'm Micah. Micah Roebuck. Are you Pan Barrie?"

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Pan readily accepted Micah's hand, shaking it vigorously while he returned Micah's smile. "Hello Micah, I'm Pan! Nice to meet you!" Pan let go and looked around at their small room. Micah had clearly already chosen a bed, but it wasn't like Pan had any special preferences, so he quickly dropped his bag on the other bed, then sat down to test it, bouncing a bit on it. It was nice. Not too hard, not too soft, but much better than what he had been used to. Pan was curious, though. And not about the bed. "So, I've seen a lot of people with great powers here today. What can you do?"

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"Pleased to make your acquaintance."

 

Micah's smile wasn't as high-wattage as Pan's, but it seemed genuine. The young man went over to his largest suitcase and was just tipping it over when Pan asked his question. For a moment, he froze, then finished lowering the case to the ground and stood up straight. For almost a minute, he just stared at the wall, before he took a deep breath. Micah turned around, his face entirely serious. 

 

"My powers allow me complete control over things like ionic charges and temperature fluctuations in the air, at a moment's notice. Basically, I can control the weather."

 

The sunlight outside dims for a moment as a cloud passes in front of the sun, and Micah looks outside, pensive.

 

"Even if I don't want to. Look, Pan, I.."

 

Micah stopped for a moment before going to the door. He checked the hall for any passerby, then closed the door and returned to lean against his bed. He ran a hand through his hair. 

 

"I'm honestly only mostly able to control it. I have trouble, some days. And I have to wear these special bands at night. I want you to promise me that no matter what, you won't take them off if they're turned on. I don't care if I wake up from a screaming nightmare and beg you to take them off, do not help me remove them. I can control my powers, for the most part, when I'm awake. But when I'm asleep, I'm basically a ticking weapon of mass destruction. Imagine a super-hurricane spawning right over the city, then spitting out a blizzard run through with tornadoes. That's the risk we run if I don't have the bands on. One day I won't need them, but right now, I do. Nightmares make it worse. The bands stop anything bad from actually happening."

 

He dropped his gaze to the floor.

 

"If you want a different roommate, I'll understand."

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Pan listened as Micah told him about his powers. So far, most everyone had seemed excited about their powers. They loved them, being able to fly, make things fly, disappear, have magic turtle shells, whatever they could do. Not Micah, though. And Pan could hardly blame him as he went into details about his just what his powers were and the risks they posed. To be honest, Pan's first thought about weather control was about how awesome that was. You could create sunny skies whenever you wanted, or you could make it rain on whoever you didn't like. Being able to control the wind would have made anyone rich on Neverworld. 

 

The lack of control was troubling. Pan's smile had all but disappeared as Micah went into deeper details and showed him the bands on his arms. So, he would be sleeping next to a ticking weapon of mass destruction, in Micah's own words? Pan frowned at the thought, but probably not for the reasons that Micah would first guess. When Micah finished with the last, sad statement, Pan stood straight up and quickly approached him. He had considered giving Micah a hug, because quite frankly, he sounded like he needed one, but they were probably not quite there yet. Instead, he settled on a hand on Micah's shoulder and a broad smile. "If you create a storm, I'll ride it out!" His smile was warm and triumphant. There were no doubt or hesitation in his voice. He was far from home, further than he even knew, but Micah was here, and obviously, he needed someone to trust him. "I've flown through storms and tornadoes before, and I'll handle this one too, so don't worry, I'm staying right here. And I swear I'll help you stay grounded when you need me to!" 

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Micah looked up at Pan, and blinked for a few moments. It seemed he'd expected his roommate to politely accept the offer to try and change rooms. Instead he had...a promise to help.

 

"I...thank you, Pan."

 

Those were definitely tears in his eyes. Micah reached up and swiped them away, a smile growing on his face. He reached over and awkwardly patted Pan on his shoulder.

 

"Seriously man, thank you. I appreciate it. I just wanted to get that out of the way, because otherwise it would come up at a super-awkward time, or you'd take the bands off and think you were helping me or whatever, and that'd be bad. So!"

 

He clapped his hands, then winced at the volume.

 

"Let's move on to something slightly less depressing. Beyond the 'basic' class stuff, I'm going to try and join a shop class, because I like working on cars. I also, uh, have a guitar, but I can play somewhere else if it gets on your nerves or keeps you up."

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Pan didn't mean to make Micah cry, but at least it was good tears. Still, friends were important to Pan, and he were quick to decide when someone was his friend. He took a step back when Micah clapped his hands, his smile broadening into a grin once again.

 

And something slightly less depressing, then! Pan could do that! "I love music, so why would I ask you to play elsewhere?" He wasn't sure quite what a guitar was, but if Micah was good at it, it would probably be great. He had seen cars, though. They were just about everywhere, after all. Interesting machines, and Pan was almost instantly in awe at Micah being able to work on them. It had to mean repairing or changing things about them, and honestly, Pan thought that nobody that didn't work exclusively for something like that would have been able to. "I honestly don't have many plans for what to do. I only got signed up a little while ago, when I stumbled into some trouble. I'm not really from around here, so for now I think I'll just go wherever fate decides to take me. I'm sure there'll be many adventures at a place like this!" 

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Micah shrugged at the question about playing elsewhere.

 

"Some folks don't like music as much, and I didn't want to just start playing one night without warning. That seems rude, yeah?"

 

He smiled and laughed a little at the mention of adventure.

 

"Heh, maybe. This city does tend to get a bit crazy! I might go looking for adventure one day. Right now, I just want to, like, master myself,  yeah?"

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"Yes, it is! There's just so many people!" Pan couldn't contain himself. He started floating off the ground, just a few feet, but it was noticeable. The golden dust fell from him, disappearing before it hit the floor. He drifted to the window and looked out at the city. It was getting dark, and the lights were on. He could the call to adventure, just waiting for him to join it, but he had promised to behave when he was allowed into the Academy. He had to try to last at least a day.

 

Pan nodded to Micah's comment about mastering himself. "Makes sense. It sounds like you're rather powerful. It is great that you're trying to master abilities like that. I have seen people with great power and little mastery create great tragedies before."

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Micah's eyebrows rose at the golden speckles floating down. He reconsidered his roommate's name again, and tilted his head in curiosity. 

 

"Pan...where is it you come from again?"

 

He blinked, then winced.

 

"I'm sorry, that came out poorly. I just...your abilities kind reminded me of something, that's all."

 

He smiled again at his roommate's ongoing encouragement.

 

"Yeah, I...look, this is all kind of new to me, but I have a...a relative, who's got really similar powers. Maybe it runs in the family? Anyways. She's got a lot more control already, though some of her egghead friends say we'll probably show more diversity in our powers later on. She's a hero now. I...I do want to go out and help people. I think my powers can do a lot of good. But only if I can really control them. I want to help people, not, create tragedies."

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Pan shook his head. He honestly didn't mind. He liked telling about Neverworld, and he missed his home. Still, no reason to let that show too much. More important things in the world than home sickness. Like friends and adventure!

 

"That's a brilliant way to think of it! Saving people and having adventures is what life is all about, isn't it? And if your relative got control, then I'm sure you'll learn it soon!" He floated around in the room a bit, without really thinking about it. He couldn't help himself, he got excited.

 

"I'm from a place called Neverworld. It's amazing. There's adventure to be found everywhere! Pirates, natives, pixies! Flying ships and roaring seas!" He pauses for a moment, a brilliant smile playing over his lips at the memories of his adventures. "To be honest, I'm not quite sure how I got here, but now I'm here, so I can just as well make the most of it and try to find a new adventure."

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"Yeah. Yeah! If she can, so can I. And I'll earn my wings, too!"

 

He blinked, then smiled.

 

"Sorry, you may not get that reference. My relative is a pilot, with planes. I've dreamed of flying like that since almost before I could walk. I haven't had much chance to try yet; I can work with engines, but that's all been on cars and bikes."

 

He leaned back against his bed as his roommate spoke of his home. For several moments, he remained quiet, his face bearing the expression of someone who was mulling over their words. Finally, he spoke.

 

"I hope this doesn't come out wrong, but...that sounds an awful lot like a story book I read once. I mean...it sounds like it's an entirely different world. That's something we've established here as being very possible. So it's not that crazy. Just...we need to get you a copy. Or maybe watch one of the movies."

 

He mad a sour face.

 

"Let's put a pin in that idea. The older cartoon is....not great."

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Pan did indeed not get the reference, but he just shrugged and smiled. This was just something he would have to get used to. Lots of Earth culture to absorb and participate in. His smile widened as his roommate spoke about having always having dreamt of flying. Now there was a common thread! They should go out and fly together some time! Explore the city and the world, see what kind of trouble and adventure they could find! 

 

Maybe on another day.

 

Micah wasn't the first to mention the book, or the movies. Elizabeth had done so earlier, and truth to be told, Pan was curious. Just what were the relation of those tales? His smile faded for a moment before returning. "I actually just learned about Peter Pan today from some of our classmates. And you're not the first to tell me the older cartoon isn't great." He floated over to his bed and sat heavily on it. "To be honest, I would love to read the book. From what I've been told, there seem to be a lot of things that seem like my world, and not just the name of the title character." He leaned back, lying down on the bed and staring up at the ceiling. "It's weird. I only just got to this week a few weeks ago, and I'm still not sure what happened. But maybe that book will have some answers."

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For just a moment, the wind stirred beneath Micah, and he floated up to his own bed, his luggage forgotten for a moment. His right hand tapped his chin thoughtfully.

 

"Well. Don't take me as an expert, but. I've done a bit of reading on physics, plus our class, and there's stuff on the news now and again about other dimensions. And...my great-uncle once said something...what was it..."

 

He closed his eyes and rested his hands on his knees as his legs crossed, a somewhat meditative pose, even as his back straightened a bit and he stuck his chest out. When he spoke next, his voice had an exaggerated deep quality, and was clearly imitating, but not mocking, someone else.

 

"Many are the dreams of man. Some good, some bad. Some are just dreams. But some, some are echos. Ripples in the river from other stones. Only the blind say that what we see with our eyes is all that is."

 

He slumped a bit and opened his eyes.

 

"Maybe something about your world...echoed over to ours?"

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"Ha! You can fly too!" Pan couldn't help himself. He loved flying, and now he saw that his roommate could fly too? They would have to race some day.

 

He was brought back in the moment quick enough with Micah's theory. Echoes from Neverworld to the Earth? Or the other way around? Were they all just echoes reflected after all? Pan absentmindedly rubbed his chin with the thumb and index finger of his left hand. 

 

"Maybe?" He smiled at Micah, raising a single eyebrow. "I have heard of weirder things in Neverworld, but I don't really know enough about this world to know if it is possible." He didn't want to get too moody over this. He didn't even have the book, or any of the movies that had been mentioned. He stood up straight, gesturing with a pointed finger to the ceiling. "At least there's one good thing about this!" Pan grinned triumphantly. "I'm already famous in this world!"

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"Yeah, flying's my favorite thing to do with my powers. It's the one thing that doesn't really scare me. I just...when I'm flying, I can concentrate on that, and I just know what I'm doing. There's no math or whatever, even though that's all got its place. When I'm up there flying on my own...it's like walking, but a thousand times better. It just happens."

 

Micah tried not to laugh at the famous comment. He really did. But after a few moments, he just busted out a big belly laugh. He had to wipe his eyes.

 

"Haha! Oh man I needed that! Yeah buddy, I guess you are kind of famous! Shoot, you're gonna be a hit with a bunch of kids! Just think about it, Peter Pan come to life right in front of them. Isn't that just the thing to kick-start the imagination?"

 

He hops down off his bed and starts working on unpacking more, talking as he does so. 

 

"So, anyway, I guess we'll figure out our schedules over the next few days. School is school, but this place seems to really want to lean on 'cut above the rest' even outside of the superpowers thing."

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Pan fully agreed. Flying was an amazing feeling. Back on Neverworld, he had never met anyone else but pixies that could, and the airships of course, but here on Earth, it didn't seem like a rare gift. Of course, it made him less unique, but he felt he had no reason to complain. After all, it could only be more fun to fly around with others than by himself.

 

He grinned mischievously at Micah's laughter, then made a quick exaggerated bow. "That sounds like a brilliant idea! If the name 'Peter Pan' is so famous in this world that it even rival your heroes, then I should be able to put on quite a show for them!" Oh, it sounded like he would get along just fine with Micah. Then he would just have to find that book.

 

Having few belongings, Pan simply sat on his bed while Micah unpacked. "I don't really know much about schools. I never went to one, being raised by Pixies and all. I'm excited to see what it will be all about."

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Micah blinked, shrugged, and rolled with it.

 

"I guess that's not that surprising. Hm. Well, basically, school is how a lot of basic knowledge, skills, and information are passed on to children as they grow. There's all sorts of debates on the hows and particulars, but that's the intent. Classes focus on different subjects. Language and reading, mathematics, history, science, and more. Some people think it's mostly rubbish, but most folks who think that too much didn't do well in the first place. It's not perfect and it can be boring, but there's a lot to learn, too."

 

He looked down at his hands.

 

"My mom's a teacher, so I guess my perspective is different than some people. But I don't think a lot of us appreciate school until we're well clear of it."

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Pan frowned at the mention of the word boring. Learning new stuff? That was awesome! Adventure was all about learning new things and having new experiences! Preferably exciting ones! 

 

"Oh, I was told a bit about how school life would work. They were quite perplexed when I said I had never went." Pan smiled a devilish smile, leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees and his fingers tenting in front of him. "No offense, but sitting still every day and listening and solving problems do sound rather dull. I was promised that we would be doing some more interesting lessons here, as well." He paused for a moment, shooting a sideways glance at Micah. "But I had a wonderful tour earlier! The gym sounds really exciting! It would be the perfect place for you to practice your powers! And flying! We gotta go flying at some point!" He was standing again now, the excitement returning to his voice. 

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"Well, the best schools try to give you hands-on work. And mix in more active stuff. Gym, shop class, that kind of thing. But, truth is...for a lot of folks, school's boring, and then life's kind of boring. Right or wrong, like it or not, the world's got a lot of boring work that has to get done. I think a bit of school is about teaching us patience, but I'm sure many of our classmates would disagree."

 

He half-smiles at the mention of practice.

 

"Yeah. I guess. It's...my head knows I need practice. Part of my heart knows that, too. It's just getting over the hump of fear inside the other part of my heart. It's a process, yeah?"

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So, the truth was that for a lot of people school was boring, and then life was kind of boring? Pan frowned at that thought. Was that how life was like here on Earth? He crossed his arms, while he got into a sitting position in mid-air, his legs crossed under him. Alright, school might be boring. That was fine. A lot of things to learn, a lot of things to figure out. Well, not fine. He didn't like boring, but he would deal with it, somehow. But life after school being boring? No, that he couldn't deal with.

 

"So, life here is boring? Even with all the people that got all these strange and different powers?" He was genuinely somewhat confused. If life here was boring, then it didn't really fit with his experiences here so far. "Or is it just a question of people not going out and actually looking? I mean, I've had a few adventures here already, and I wouldn't exactly call my time here boring so far."

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