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January 21st, 2019, 10.16AM


Claremont Library, Claremont Academy, Freedom City, NJ, USA


The perfect place, to take revenge...


The plan was simple, the actors known, the steps clear as the surface of the Moon. 


"You'll all split into groups of three, and you'll all try to put yourselves in the shoes of someone without powers or special training or technology." Jesse Perry had said, English teacher and an inadequately-disguised giant owl of a man who paced and burbled with the excitement of a flowing inner life one moment before becoming as stiff and dour as a tomb when he hit a roadblock. Right now was in the burbling phase, the tubby and lightly-bent middle-aged writer trotting and weaving deftly through the library's expansive writing desks. "Try, really try to capture what someone without your experiences or life would see if they met you. Not necessarily while fighting, just some situation where your powers or other gifts are unleashed and unmistakable."


"After writing, discuss with your classmates whether what you've written is plausible and true to life. Are you trying to be frightening, mysterious, reassuring? After that, write a short scene about someone seeing one of your table-mates and their reaction."

Circling back around, he pushed his glasses back up his squashed nose, wagging a finger warningly "Remember, nobody is normal, everyone is unusual and has a story to tell. This is a way for you to step back and imagine yourselves not as the main characters in your own story, but as guest stars in someone else's!"


"I'll be grading the essays from yesterday in the reference section, don't be a stranger if you're having any trouble at all." With remarkable speed on someone his age and weight, Perry spun and vanished around the corner.


A little slowly at first, but with steadily increasing volume and pitch the air around the desks began to vibrate with whispered conversation, scritching of pens on paper and creaking wood.


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Sun Dragon & Dio


Drumming his slender fingers on the hard wood, Leroy Ransome-Conte smiled warmly at each of the others in their little group, leaning on their desk to bend closer. He was swathed in a loose blue robe patterned with hummingbirds of brilliant pink and yellow thread. Always glittering and elegant, the boy with the scarred face flicked his shining golden eyes back and forth as his teeth sparkled in a perfect grin. "Well met, strangers," he purred in a soft, carrying voice "before we start, what say we introduce ourselves? My name is Leroy, a prince from Earth-2. This desk we are about to write on is my dragon, Dio. Would you say hullo, my blood comrade?"


The desk seemed to stir and ripple, and a deep, rumbling voice murmured from it "Yo. Dio, acolyte of the Stormlord and dragon extraordinaire. I'm doing some meditating, so keep it down."


 Stifling a giggle, Leroy whispered "We are both so delighted to be here! what manner of people are you planning to depict? I have been extensively researching modern literature," from one voluminous sleeve he produced a well-worn paperback of the 43rd Dragon's Daughter novel, Secret of Sunryse(the one where the hero had to leave her closest friends and lovers for the greater good(for the fifth time)), "and have been considering how a writer on Prime would see me. Strengthening the narrative metaphor by making myself the object of someone else on several levels. What do you think?" 

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Forever Boy


Pan was, as ever, barely contained in the classroom. Everything in him screamed to start flying, but he tried to keep it down. He liked Mr. Perry well enough, but sitting still, having to actually do homework and group work like this, when he could be out flying, exploring and getting into adventures? So boring! Still, at least this would be an interesting exercise, though he honestly had little idea how to put himself in the shoes of an ordinary person from Earth Prime. 


Sitting in the same group as Leroy, he was in a bright red t-shirt, with a large black logo on the front, a stylized depiction of a sword. He wore a slightly darker red shirt with a zipper over it to keep warm, and a simple pair of jeans. His hair was, as ever, standing in every direction. "Hello Leroy and Dio." He winked at them, and the last member of their little group. They had seen plenty of action together already, had they not? Still, if they were to present themselves... "I am Pan of Neverworld!" He eyed the book that Leroy produced slightly, somewhat amazed at how it was produced from Leroy's sleeve, but shrugged at the question. "Honestly, I am not quite sure, both on what to think or who to place myself as! I am not really used to ordinary." Pan emphasized the last word a bit, with a bit of a questioning tone. He was honestly not quite sure. "Perhaps I could play into the literary references? The general reaction in this world seems to be to compare me to the book." 

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Reina hadn't been entirely sure what to expect from Dio, but writing on a dragon wasn't quite what she'd imagined. Wasn't it, like, rude to use a dragon as a table?! While Pan and Leeroy seemed to jump into this like it was nothing, she stayed standing, dressed in a purple hoodie dress, school bag slung half over her shoulder eyes darting between Dio and her fellow students like an alarmed cat staring at a vacuum cleaner. "...Um...Hi..." She scratched a hand behind her neck and looked away. "...I'm Reina..." It felt like she she follow up with some kind of title, but she didn't have anything. Mr. Perry might have said they were all special, but it was hard to see it that way.


"...You're both from other worlds..." Reina shook her head torn between insecurity and awe. They didn't even know how to start to think 'normal.' "...Was going to pick, um..." She fiddled with her bag's strap. "...A-an ordinary schoolgirl? Maybe its too similar..."

Edited by Curious Key
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"Compelling, Pan. How did you see that playing out? I know people believe fiction much more readily than reality here, do you suppose they'd look past your differences with the book-Pan and fix on the similarities?" 


"No such thing as 'ordinary', Reina!" Leroy said to his schoolmate with a returned wink at Pan, "After all, I am nothing like my fellows on Earth-2, and Pan has lived a life as the regular sorts of Never could scarcely dream, let alone realize. But neither of us could truthfully say we are more than our reactions to those environments. In this fashion, all are alike yet distinct. The Sun means something different to you sitting in this room than to someone dying of exposure in the Sahara, yet neither perspective is false or unworthy of understanding." 


"So when you say 'ordinary', I must ask: to whom? What has she seen, done, ignored, believed in, that someone like you finds a common heart?" Perched fully on the transformed dragon, his robe sliding gently off one powerful shoulder, Leroy's golden gaze was almost menacing in its intensity, even while softened by an earnest and kindly smile.


"Oh, and please, sit," he added, gesturing to the chair closest to the nervous neophyte, "Dio will not bite. Something about ritual purity and needing to abstain from 'bestial instincts'." 

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"Also, if Dio were to try, his breath would probably give him away first," Pan added to Leroy's mention about Dio not biting, a mischievous grin on his lips, before he returned to the task at hand. "But, I agree. Ordinary is such a boring word, is it not? It implies that everyone is just the same, and really, that is not quite the truth, is it not? I believe it would be more accurate to say it was simply from the perspective of a one that does not posses the abilities or experiences of ourselves, no?"


Yes, they were not exactly the common kind of persons from their worlds, were they? Pan had yet to hear of anyone else from Neverworld that had followed his experiences. The Lost Heroes came close, but only at a certain point. And then, there was the other thing, about the number of experiences. But this was neither the time or place for that, and he felt little reason to go and tell everyone at Claremont about his own secrets.


"But yes, returning to me, for a quick moment, that is exactly the issue, Leroy. From experiences so far, they have no looked past the difference. I have read the book many times by now, and there are similarities, but, we are not exactly the same. I do not mind when children are excited to see this Peter Pan, but it also puts on certain expectations. Perhaps that could be a good angle?"


He turned to Reina, not really taking a pause to breathe, in his attempt to include her as well. "But, then put yourself in the shoes of a schoolgirl from this world, Reina!" he announced, drawing a few stares from those around them. "What would she think, seeing you flying through the sky much like a star? Risking it all, to keep at bay a villain seeking to sow chaos?" 


And finally, he turned to Leroy yet again. "Then, how do you believe an author of this world would see you?" A valid question, he believed.

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