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With Black Curtains (IC, open)

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February 1, 2019 

Common room 

Kord Building 

1st Floor 


Even hanging Valentine paper ribbons hadn't solved Judy's tension, so as she and Ashley headed into the first floor common room (the latter first, as always) she kept an anxious eye out for Corinne. I really really hope she is not Zenith tonight because I need her to be here for me and not be up her own butt! I have serious problems! Having never liked a guy before, liking two guys was a problem as serious as anything else she had to deal with on a day-to-day basis. 


While Judy took a seat on one of the couches by the puzzles, Ashley scanned the room - a couple of people playing video games, a couple of people reading, a couple of people pretending like they wanted to study, a couple that was going to get a lecture about fraternization if one of the dorm monitors came in...honestly pretty typical for Friday night. She was looking forward to later when she could settle in with a book. Judy had bought her the book by Paul Chappell for Christmas - it was a nice gesture even if it was mostly good for helping her sleep. 



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Abigail Storm was off to the side, as usual, curled up in a chair with her legs tucked under her and a sketchbook in her lap.  The young mage was dressed warmly, in jeans and an over-sized sweater, her shoes were off and tucked beside her chair while she drew.  She looked up briefly to watch Ashley and Judy enter the common room, tracked their progress for a few moments and then turned her attention back to her book.  She had debated with herself since the start of the school year, even talked it over with Veronica, but this sketchbook was going to be the special one.  A collaborative chronicle of the Claremont year, or whatever anyone wanted to contribute.

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White Lioness

Àjàṣorò was exhausted from a day of school work and another social function as her position of White Lioness, but she wasn’t tired enough yet to sleep. So instead she headed to the common room where she collapsed into one of the chairs. She planned to “veg out” as they termed it for a few hours, but that wouldn’t stop her from being polite to the others in the room.


“So how was everyone's day?” she asked in her more than passable American accent, she didn’t know quite everyone so she fell to her cover identity.

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Reina had a plan for a fresh new start in a new high school. Step One: Meet the other kids. Step Two: Make friends.


It had taken her a couple weeks to muster the nerve after she arrived at Claremont, but Reina was finally up to step one. But step two felt like a mountain of its own. She was nestled into the corner of a couch, twiddling with her phone, surfing the net and trying to get comfortable. It was getting a little easier...Being surrounded by other heroes was intimidating in its own right, but they were just kids...Reina knew people like them back home. In the end, they were just people, like any other.


Of course, people could be scary too, in their own way.


"Um..." She wasn't super familiar with Sara, but she didn't seem to be talking to anyone in particular. "...I mean, Mister Skyler assigned way too much homework, but mostly okay!" Gosh, but she hoped she wasn't overstepping...

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"I hate that class," commented Ashley sourly, crossing her arms over her chest where she sat next to her sister on the couch. "I can't believe I'm failing quadratic equations," she added, with real annoyance in her voice. Ashley was not lying. Goddamned high school math really was stupid and had no goddamned meaning in the real world! She'd been right this whole time! I'm doing worse than people who don't even know what a W-2 is! 


"It's real hard," agreed Judy, "Ah think he's got it in for you anyway," she added sympathetically. "Ah like the new, uh, health teacher, she's nice." She blushed slightly, realizing she was skating from awkward to awkward, then said as she tapped the coffee table and box in front of her "Um, anyone up for puzzles? I've got five hundred pieces that look like, um, Caravaggio's Still Life With Fruit." She pronounced it "Caravaygio". 

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Corinne came in like whoa.  Or, more accurately, looking a level of serene that comes with physical exhaustion.  Wearing her studded leather bomber jacket tended to have on most of the time she stepped in from the cold and into the common room, the rest of her clothes indicating she was just working out, or was back from dance practice.  In her hands was food, as was even more normal for her, devouring tempura and having her avacado smoothie.  She approached the rest, bopping to music she heard, or was playing it out in her mind.  Which was unsurprisingly.  "'lo," she said, or more sort of grunted around her food.

"Puzzle's'good, Caravaggio good."  Noisy eating resumed, and giving Judy a smile.  Being the only one she had a friendship with, kinda.  If Zenith could poke her head out to stick her tongue out to Ashley, she might. But that's a secondary mess.  Dipping the deep fried whatever into the ponzu before gnoshing away, she managed to theatrically throw herself into a chair, sitting side-saddle, with her long legs draped over the arm of the chair.

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"I'll help you with quadratic equations if you want," Danica said from her seat on the floor. She was wearing a sweatsuit and doing stretching exercises, the sort of phys ed she could do and still keep up with the class. She was surprisingly bendy for someone with a hard shell. The seated forward fold she was in now did make her look a bit weird, like a turtle with all four limbs sticking out the front. "Once you get the factoring down, they aren't so bad. But somebody please tell me I'm not the only one blowing off the history paper for next week? I need to get to the library, but that's far away and it's cold out!" 

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Monica had been in the common room most of the afternoon, which came with a significant benefit. Namely, what probably was the best spot on the couch. Dressed in her usual outfit of black hoodie and jeans, she half sat, half lied on the couch. She'd been slowly working her way through what appeared to be a fairly battered version of a massive biochemistry book, pulling up her phone pretty regularly.


Both to look up things in the book, and to take the occasional break or play a few levels. It was Friday after all. Speaking of which, now that more people had arrived, one of said breaks was perhaps appropriate. "Yeah, explaining stuff isn't his strength. I think I managed to work it out though. "


"I managed to get in most of the required reading already, but I really can't be bothered with actually writing it right about now. No idea how to approach it either, any of you got one?"

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"History's stupid," said Ashley with Watchdog's confidence. "People should give a crap about what's going to happen in the future, not about what happened to a bunch of idiots in the past. But, uh, thanks, Danica," she admitted, looking a little abashed. "Maybe we can stop by tomorrow night." 

"And history is not so bad," said Judy over her puzzle, having shot a grateful smile Corinne's way when her friend joined her. "You just have to find something y'all care about. Like me, Ah'm doing my paper on the first country station in Freedom City, luckily there's a whole book on it and everything. They had country and gospel singers, and people who sold fake medicine, and the guy who ran it was a Nazi supervillain who was planning to turn everyone into goats!" 

"Keepin' it weird since 1943, that's Freedom," said Ashley, rolling her eyes affectionately.

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"You know, Danica, if the cold's the problem, you could just, uh, ask nicely for some help?"


Micah, shockingly, not only speaks of his own volition, he almost sounds sarcastic! Ever since the Incident At Christmas, he's had a little bit more fire in his belly, at least from time to time. He'd wandered in a few minutes ago, going to a far corner with a large, lumpy black case of some kind. Now he plopped down on one side of an empty couch near Ashley, Judy, Danica, and the others near them. The people he knew best and was most comfortable around.


Oh, and he was holding an acoustic guitar. 


"I haven't started writing it. Still wrestling with whether to write what I want to, though. Something about..."


He strums once.


"About the Trail of Tears. Just...I dunno, something about it's been cropping up in my head, but it's a bit big."


He starts softly strumming the chords to a faster-paced song


"And Ashley, I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. History's important. If we don't remember what happened, what mistakes were made, we're doomed to repeat them. And if we forget the wisdom and lessons of our elders and our ancestors, we dishonor everything they worked to give us, whether they're here or with the Lord."


He plays for a moment more, gaze looking nowhere, before shaking his head.


"No, that's too big for this paper. Need something smaller. Hm. Judy's idea is good, it's more local, more focused...Anyone remember who the first Native American superhero was?"

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She lifted her brows then as she looked up from her food to Danica, "I got a car now, if you want I can drive you over," she offered as she closed her food carton.  Shifting in her seat, she turned and put her feet to the floor, before she leaned forward over the puzzle pieces, and flashed a smile to Judy, before resting her elbows on her fleece legging clad knees.  

"Then you're going to hate calculus, Ashley.  I am doing mine on Charles Ives, or Gloria Steinem.  Oooh, edge pieces, helps.  My family did these all the time when we're not busy.  So like, once every third month?"  She laughed and shook her head as she hunted for a corner piece.  "Ha!  There you are!"  she barked out with glee as she positioned it, and then started to work at the edge, though she was familiar with the painting it depicted

"I mean, I got to head up to a gym in New York to test for my silver glove, and I told my mom I'd do it before I graduated, just got busy."


She frowned a little bit, "One sec Judy."  She sprung to her feet whipcrack quick, before she dashed, and vaulted over the sofa like someone who probably did way too much gymnastics and saw things as stuff to leap onto, or off of, and she headed to Abby.  "Heeeeeeey Aaaabbyyyyyyyy!"  She exclaimed singsongly as she skidded by her squadmate, "You're detail orientated right?  Can you help with the puzzle?"

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"Oh, hey, Corinne," Abby said brushing her black hair away from her eyes and, with a deft twist of her wrist, tucking it behind one year.  She made one final touch to the piece she had quickly drawn--the common room and it's current occupants, just rendered as cats--before setting the sketchbook and pencils onto a nearby table.


"To your first question, yes I am detail oriented," she affirmed.  She sighed, gave her squad mate a small smile, and leveraged herself to her feet and went over to take a look at the puzzle.  Which also answered question two.


"My parents had mixed opinions on the study of history," Abigail quietly offered, eyes sweeping across the puzzle pieces, snapping piece after piece into place in an almost mechanical motion.  "It was my father's life," her voice hitched slightly when she mentioned her father.  "But in my mother's opinion history was unimportant, superfluous."

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Ms. Thursday


Astrid had only woken up about an hour ago and she felt it. Even Asgardian fortitude had its limits after all and she brought to its breaking point last night. "Helsike," she mumbled to her as she made her way across Kord.


She had spent most of the late hours of last night cramping for a test she was going take today. It was a history exam on American expansion into the West and although Astrid usually found learning about historical factoids to be oddly interesting, studying for it felt downright miserable. Part of the reason had to do with her having a sneaking suspicion that the exam was glossing over some unsavory parts of the time period, but having to constantly drop everything to deal with an Agent of Midgard problem out in the world didn't make things easier either. By the time she finally let her body rest, Astrid was battered both physically and mentally, and couldn't help but won. 


And so, after walking up and realizing that she still felt Hel, Astrid decided that a happy distraction from said test and her lot in life was in order. She eventually found it when she saw that a bunch of Claremont students were using one of the common rooms. Astrid saw her teammates Abigail and Cornnie and gave them a hail as she made her way towards them.


"Hey, guys. What's happening?" She managed to yawn out.

Edited by Cubismo
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Nicole drove through the entrance, took one look inside the common room and almost headed back the way she came.


Corinne, Ashley, and Judy in one room would have sent sirens off at any time of the day, especially this late at night. She had circles under her eyes from detention, counseling, and another  berating from Summers she was dejected from doing any of her work and now she was late in her production timetable. A thermos rested in a pouch on the side of her wheelchair, ready to be used for the all-nighter she had planned.


A better use of her time than staying here.


She turned to leave but her eyes caught Reina sitting in the corner and she froze, memories coming unbidden to her of yesterday. Slowly, a mask of calm rested on her face as she breathed in deeply.


Memories of memories, but she was still so stupid to go about that as she did.


Micah's song playing in the background, she drove towards Reina. Aja was just a few feet away and would likely hear what was being said, but she didn't care. Aja was good people anyway.


"Hey," Nicole said to, instinctively folding her arms. She fidgeted in her seat and her nose itched but she resisted the urge tk scratch it. "About yesterday, I didn't have a chance to say it but... I'm sorry."


"So yeah."


She sighed, turning her gaze and ears towards the rest of the room to avoid looking at the sophomore. Trying to change the topic she said, "Seems like all of you are all up in arms about History exams. I'm pretty good at history, barely think about it."


She unfolded her arms, one hand nearer to Reina, palm exposed. She was offering to help, in her own awkward way.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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"Puzzles are good..." She smiled, happy for the excuse to not worry so much about eye contacted and looked down, hunting for the edge pieces. "...History can be cool, but the dates on the tests are hard to remember, and the names..." Aurora preferred the story part, but when the time came for tests of rote memorization she wasn't great at studying for it.


Nicole's voice made Reina stiff, her face paling and eyes darting suddenly up to find the other girl. "No, um..." Reina looked away, crossed her arms and looked back at the puzzle, wishing she could just disappear. "...Its okay..."

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Lips pursing a tad with something resemblind dissaproval, Nicole stared at Reina for a few seconds then shrugged.


"Suit yourself."


She'd made her apologies and if the other girl didn't think she needed the help then it was fine. It was fine and it wasn't a rejection, wasn't Reina ignoring her or her apology by crossing her arms and refusing to make eye contact.


She could think it like that.


"... But I'll be around if you, um, need anything."


She drove away towards Aja and waved at the Dakanan princess with a strained and tired smile.


"Hey, can you do something for me? As in, do something with her. Maybe?" And she threw a thumb back to where Reina was sitting with her puzzle. "I think I need to get more coffee."


She looked around for a coffee machine, willing herself to gloss over the Valentine's decorations. It was another bust in that department for her and thinking about it would only lead to Leroy and to Judy, who was here right now.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Danica sat up from her stretch and gave Micah and Corinne an absolutely woeful look before flopping onto her back, a maneuver complicated by the fact that her shell stopped her at a 30-degree angle from the floor. "I can't go out and study," she repeated dramatically, "because it is too cold! Have you ever noticed that there aren't many tortoises living in the wild in Alaska? Or in New Jersey for that matter?" She rocked from side to side a bit on her shell. "Somebody's going to have to carry me. Or at least bring me food so I don't die." 

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"Ah! Nicole! So glad I found you!" Leroy walked into the room, wearing deep blue tunic and trousers shimmering with thin silver lace that formed the shadows of tentacled whales and bull-like fish.  A thermos dangled from his thumb by a ring, swinging steady as a metronome. As he sauntered up to the rune-smith, the air became filled with a rich, aromatic scent of something dark and roasted. "I made some coffee!" he lifted the thermos with a bright, triumphant grin "Sadly I have no taste for it, so I hoped you could tell me how it turned out!" He offered the container, glittering head-to-foot with both actual physical sparkles and also from obvious anticipation.


Catching sight of Judy and Ashley, Leroy waved to them. "Lovely work on the decorations! The pink is especially splendid!"


"I thought about adding some cinnamon," he added to Nicole, frowning slightly at the thermos, "but decided it ought to be simple as can be for a beginner's work." For some reason Leroy had gotten extremely interested in cooking lately, hunting down peoples' favorite foods and trying his hand at making them himself with the school kitchen. After an impassioned plea to the cafeteria staff he was allowed to work there, but only under close supervision to make sure he didn't damage anything with his powers. Unusually for such an open book, Leroy politely demurred whenever asked about why he'd taken such an avid interest in something he'd previously barely known existed. 

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Judy looked up as Leroy entered and smiled. "Thanks, sugar, but I couldn't have done it without Ashley. Why don't you come over here and help us build this puzzle? Ah bet Nicole won't mind guarding the coffee." Her teeth were white and bright, and her hand tightened slightly around her puzzle piece. Turning, she said to Micah, a little awkwardly, "Um, that's real interesting. You know," she said suddenly, "We're looking for someone to play guitar in the chapel. Ah know you're a little nervous about going in front of people but I bet you'd do a great job." She batted her eyelashes at him. 


Ashley shifted uncomfortably in her seat on the couch, looking around at the others before she said, "Math is stupid too. If they really wanted to teach us math we could use, they'd be teaching us how to do our taxes or balance a checkbook or something like that, or at least teach us more geometry for learning trick shots and stuff. And I thought you got a space heater for Christmas, Danica." Discreetly, she reached into her pocket, pulling out a generic protein bar and sliding it to the tortoise teen. She carried those around for when Judy was busy. After all, she still needed to eat.

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She leaped onto a free chair, one leg on the seat, the other pressing her sole to the top of the back of it, and with dramatic showing of movement, she pointed towards the table where Judy was, and the puzzle thereabouts.  "Orange Team, go!  Mission: defeat the puzzle."  Shifting her weight forward, she pushed the chair to tip over, and she rode it down to the ground, smoothly hopping off, and kicking it back up with a practiced movement of her leg, and she flashed that winning al-Misri smile over her shoulder at Abby, "C'mon, consider it a favor,"  said as she pivot towards, making 'follow me' movements with her hands, fingers curling and beckoning all comehithery, "From a most unpowerful, cheeky performing vagabond, who is undeniably possessed of both a jocularly insouciant manner, and a beauty that doth steal the breath and hearts of all who behold her!"

And with that theatrical display, which really made her look like a donkey, or an utter goof, she fell back against, rolling, through, only to leap up and back and flipping up onto her hands in midair to walk through them back to her prior.  A bit grin on her face, and a giggle escaping her, even as her pale skin started to go red from a rush of blood.  Before she promptly swung on her hands, as they gripped... nothing?  And she was back in her chair.  "Now, Danica, my car has heated seats, buuuut... if you give me the book titles I'll get them."

She wasn't pointedly ignoring Micah and Nicole, they just hadn't said anything to her.  Whereas Ashley she was somewhat roped in on, "So, I have personal econ last term, and you gotta get through algebra before you get to geometry."

And then in her best attempt at impersonation, she flashed a wider grin, looking back to Abby, "And in the morning, I'll make waffles!"  Though it was meant for Abby, she swept it over everyone else, with a pass of her bright eyes.

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Nicole visibly perked up as she bumped into the boy, his rich coffee scent filling her nostrils a moment later. It was a weird kind of feeling, head light with the heady flavor, she took the offered thermos and gave Leroy a smile. Tired as she was, she couldn't help but be infected beside someone with that kind of energy.


She took a small sip at first then a larger, longer gulp.


"Oh wow. This is good," she told Leroy, looking up at him, her eyes wide. "This is really, really good. I'm not sure how to describe it. But it's deep. Thick and tangy? And you said this was your first try? Looks to me you've got a bright future as a barista." She chuckled softly.


She wrapped her hands around the thermos, hopeful that he'd just stay and talk but of course Judy had to butt her head into things with that annoyingly sweet voice of hers and ruin the moment. Nicole turned to the sophomore slowly, lips pursed. Her hands wringing the thermos as if it were the younger girl's neck.


"Why don't you ask Micah beside you?" She said, her smile matching Judy's. One eye twitched. "I'm sure you could deal with that puzzle fine with just him, or do you really need him and Leroy for that too?"


Then Corinne, as usual, leaped into the middle of everyone. Literally this time. Friendly and loud but Nicole knew how she really was once she kicked off all the social niceties. An utter *****.


No thank you to the waffles.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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The young weather controller's playing slowed at Judy's question.


"I...I mean, I guess I could try? Can I get a..a trial period? Sorry, I just.."


He stopped playing for a moment and gestured around them. There was a lot going on right now!


"Doing this here is kind of a big step. But...yeah. I can try. Might as well put this thing to use? It's too cold to fix cars and bikes right now, heated garage be danged. Also, I do at least kind of agree about math classes, Ashley, though geometry's handy for flying, too."


Micah huffed indignantly at Danica's insistence on the cold, even as he picked up a new tune.


"I could just give you a tunnel of hot air to the library. Or you could take Corinne's car. Or her offer to get the books."

He glanced at the flighty girl's mention of waffles, slowing a bit.

"Uh. Just classic waffles? Or blueberry?"


And then Nicole and Judy were...Micah wasn't sure what was going on but the hair on the back of his neck was standing up, and he was pretty sure it wasn't his own fault this time. He stayed silent, but glanced toward Leroy, and then Ashley, with a raised brow and confused expression on his face.

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You end up seeing a lot of things when you fight literally monsters by night and go to a superhero school by day. Still, even with all that being the case, Astrid still had to rate a bunch of superpowered teenagers getting hyped to solve a puzzle to be pretty high of her list of weird things she'd seen in her life. 


It wasn't exactly her idea of fun times, but Claremont was a straight-laced school for straight-laced superheroes, and so Astrid causally walked to the growing crowd of puzzle-solvers with her hands in pockets and an amused look on her face. When in Rome do what the Romans do and all that jazz. 


"Ok, what do we have here?" She asked as saw all the puzzles on the table that everyone was sharing. 

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The room started to fill up fast now that the regular school schedule was over for the week. Monica probably shouldn't've been surprised about that, but the amount of people still did surprise her ever so slightly, it had been a fair bit calmer the past few days. Weekend anticipation finally unloading, perhaps.


And with people came conversations, and noise. None that Monica wanted to involver herself in immediately, she didn't feel like puzzles or actively listening to music. Both of those seemed to involve their fair share of potential drama too.


Maybe it was time to add a defusal kit to the conversation, so to speak. They'd have to pick it up themselves, though. Addressing nobody in particular, maybe addressing her roommate who seemed to not be directly involved in a conversation either just a bit nevertheless, Monica brought up something she'd heard a few times earlier in the day.


"Hey, did any of you hear that rumour about a trip? Seems a bit off, it would've been announced already, right?"

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"You could do that?" Danica asked Micah, sitting up as her interest was piqued. "Make like, a giant hair-dryer tunnel of warm to get from one building to the other? Sign me up for that!" She looked pleased at the idea. "I mean, cars are good, but you still have to go outside to get into the car, and the car is cold too, and sometimes it just makes more sense to fall into deep hibernation until spring." Danica had never actually hibernated, but she was getting awfully tired of the weather in New Jersey. 


She craned her head around to look at Monica. "Trip? What trip?" 

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