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TheAbsurdist

Empty Threat

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A couple days before Graduation.
Claremont Dorms.

It was almost over this national nightma- ha ha ha ha, I'm funny! Corinne thought to herself, or as much as one could in this place.  Someone was probably listening, or something.  She let her hair grow to an even chin length, blonde with a hint of faded pink throughout, but tucked under a bowler hat.  She always looked a little different each time, and today she was a little bit late 80s, given the Pat Benatar t-shirt she had on that was cropped just a little above the high waist acid wash jeans, and a pair of calculatedly battered white sneakers.

She moved through the hallway dancing, as she tended to do.  Heading towards Judy's room, to sweep up her friend with a bit of her joy.  Well her own happiness, she knew that others might not feel that way.  Rapping knuckles on the door, she settled back into a running man with vigorous swinging of her arms backwards, keeping elbows tucked near her torso.

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"Hi Corinne!" Judy threw open her door - and to Corinne's surprise, invited her friend inside. "Come in! Are you excited?" She hugged her, bright-eyed and fever-hot. "I'm excited for you!" The mystery of what exactly lay inside Judy and Ashley's dorm room turned out to be rather disappointing on closer inspection. After all, they'd had time to pack. Inside the room were several packed cardboard boxes, a battered Library of America hardcover Judy had bought at the thrift store, and Ashley. The latter worthy was sitting on the bed and in the process of rebuilding a pistol-shaped weapon Corinne didn't immediately recognize. She gave Corinne a grunt, but her eyes twinkled just a bit as she went back to work. It had taken her a while to warm up to the kid, but Corinne honestly had her head on pretty straight compared to a lot of the students here. "We're ready to leave ourselves, just another couple of days and we're off to see the wizard!" 

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"Hi Judy!"  She caught the shorter girl in an embrace, and then let her go as she edged back, and she was allowed was in the dorm room.  Corinne read the room, because she did try to do that, and she glanced about.  She had a small smile on her face as she moved her arms back and slide her hands into her back pockets as she looked at her.  "Hi Ash.  Wizard, huh?  Goin' Ruby or Silver?"  She lifted her brows as she looked between them, her smile having changed to a big, cheesy grin.

She noted the tinkering, but honestly, that wasn't the weirdest thing she had seen being worked on in a dorm here, and she couldn't really fault Ash for working on her gun.  "Just wanted to see if you were doing anything, or if you wanted to.  I mean, I am only going to NYC, and that's close, still, it's a bit of a thing." 

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"Oh Ah might go fight the Nome King, who knows." Judy was very familiar with the works of L. Frank Baum - and Laura Ingalls Wilder, for that matter. "Ah'm not really doing anything right now," she added, shooting a glance at her sister. Ashley looked up at her and a silent communication seemed to pass between the two. 

 

"I'll keep my distance," Ashley promised, as usual her tone considerably softer than it was with anybody else. She slid her grapple gun back together in one smooth motion, slipped it inside her jacket, and stood up. 

 

"Ah always wanted to see New York City," said Judy. "Ah bet it's loud there, but Ah mean there's probably so much to hear." She sighed a little wistfully, then said, "Are you still gonna live in that place you were talking about?" She was dressed down in a white T-shirt with gold and red rings at the cuffs and neck, and jeans that had seen better days - it wasn't the first time Corinne had seen her friend dress out of the bargain bin. 

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"Oooooor, you and Ash could got all Wise Donkey over the summer."  Her lips tugged into a crooked smile, as hands balled up and rested knuckles on her hips, as she also dropped a deep cut from Baum.  If there was ever any appraising of Judy's attire, it never showed on Corinne's face, of course a good portion of her attire was vintage, or thrift shop.  Admittedly, she had a sartorial sense far outside of her peers.  "I do read Judy,"  dropping one hand from her hips, she lightly gave Judy a check with a swing of her hips in a friendly manner.

"We'd break curfew if we skipped up to New York tonight, buuuuut, I think I can get us into a show down here.  I mean, Freedom City isn't a little place."  She looked to Ashley, and she shook her head and clucked her tongue.  "I dunno, I was thinking someplace loud, with fast, bad music, and we can dance.  Or, I dunno... what do you feel?"  She lifted her brows as she looked between Judy and Ash.

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Judy hesitated for a moment, her brows furrowed, as it occurred to her that it was entirely possible she'd never see Corinne again after this summer - or, worse, that the next time she saw Corinne her friend would know she'd been lying to her for a whole year. This is my last chance. "...okay," she said suddenly, "Ah'll do it." She shot a glance at Ashley, as if expecting her plans to come to an abrupt end. 


"...I'm not going to stop you, Judy," said Ashley, removing the scowl from her face by sheer force of will. "But if they serve drinks, you're getting your hand stamped. And if I see anybody dealing or getting high, we're gone. That goes for you, too," she added to Corinne, "we're not getting in trouble over something stupid when there's a war on crime to fight." 

 

"Well...all right then!" said Judy after a moment's hesitation. "Ah don't really have any clothes that are good for dancing, though..." she said, looking down at herself. 

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Corinne rolled her eyes at the over protective Ashley, but then it felt a little perfunctory.  "Aw, c'mon, I have't had any... in like two weeks. But I didn't think either of you two would do it."  She flashed a cheeky grin at Ash and skipped to her, making eye contact as she leaned towards the other girl, "I am going to miss you mom."  Her lips twisted into that crooked smile and it was almost flirty, though hard to say as she did enjoy teasing. 

Straightening before turning to Judy, "Well, just some broken in jeans, or some shorts, a light t-shirt, and comfy sneakers.  I am dancing in this, except maybe the hat."  She shrugged a little and took her bowler off, and spun it between her hands.

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Ashley gave Corinne a familiar "Ugggh" but it seemed like Judy's watchful big sister's heart wasn't really in it today. "I've got clothes that can pass for what normal people wear to clubs. We'll be fine." 

 

"Okay, well...when do you want to go?" asked Judy, breaking out in a big, nervous smile of anticipation. "Ah mean, we have to be out of here in thirty-six hours if we're going to catch our flight," she gave Ashley  a look that said she'd heard that particular countdown frequently in the last couple of days. "But Ah'm free all through the night. Maybe around eight? That's when the sun goes down. We can even take the-" she shot a look at Ashley who rolled her eyes affectionately and said, 

 

"The Dawg." 

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"Please, I just hope I have no more growth spurts... the only common good thing about powers is that I can fix my clothes."  The other stuff was cool, or good, but she really didn't overmuch think of it.  She was casually thoughtless, frequently, but she also caught herself.  She had kenned on her and Judy's friendship was predicated on the fact that neither loved their powers.  

Hands still on her hips, she smirked a little bit.  "The Dawg?"  She arched a brow as she looked between the sisters, amused by this.  "I am going to have see this... I mean, I didn't expect Ash to let me drive my car, even if it is Volvo."  She was amused by their reactions, both the snort from Ash, and then the silliness.

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"Used to be our home away from home before the Raven locked us up," growled Ashley. "Now we just get to take it out for day trips to the mall.

 

"Oh you have a great time driving that thing," said Judy cheerfully. "She's a real good mechanic too, Corinne, you'll like it. Why don't we all go down to the garage and take a look at it?" she suggested with a smile. "By the time you're done making the tour, it'll probably be about time to go." 

 

"Fine," said Ashley. "but you take her down most of the way. I've got to make sure Summers doesn't give us any bull when we're back.


"Well okay, but first Ah have to change! Most of mah good clothes are packed..." 

 

Judy's eventual 'costume' for the club, which she revealed as she stepped out of the suite bathroom, didn't really match Corinne's - but it wasn't like anything would have. She wore a white T-shirt over a torn denim jacket and jeans, her dark hair cascading down her back. It wasn't exactly a sexy outfit, but it did show a touch more skin than she usually did. "You look nice, by the way!" she said to Corinne as they headed out. 

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"My folks got me the car with the highest safety rating so... uh, I mean, I can change the spark plugs.   But, four to six hours of dancing or tumbling plus school a day means I don't get to do everything I want."  She waved a bit, and shrugged as she waited, clearly neither upset with Ash's demand, or waiting.  "Don't worry about good, in fact stuff you aren't concerned about is best."

She waited then patiently, before Judy came out in her simple attire, and she nodded a little bit to a beat she heard in her head and she smiled and whistled appraisingly.  "Good, good, let's see this... Dawg."  She smirked a bit, shaking her head at it, as she moved towards door, "Also, Ash is gonna need to dance too.  Because we're having fun tonight!"  She giggled a bit to herself, clearly giddy.

 

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"Oh, well, Ah don't know if she'll be interested in that," Judy allowed as they headed down the corridor. "But it would be funny to ask." It occurred to Judy that she really didn't know much about what her 'sister' did when she wasn't working - maybe she'd have to ask before they parted for summer break. "Ah don't even know how to drive," she admitted, "but Ah suppose it's about time to learn." She smiled tightly. "You know, Ah don't even think Ah could do drugs if Ah wanted to," she said with a nod back in the direction they'd come - "but Ashley worries about me." Outside, it was warm and sunny, but Judy didn't seem to notice one way or another. 

 

As they walked, Judy kept her hands in her pockets, her face thoughtful. "...is anybody going to be drinking or doing drugs where we're going?" she asked. She didn't sound offended by the idea, just a little concerned. As she and Corinne cleared up what lay inside their destination, she listened with interest, asking a few questions. She led the way towards the garage, used primarily by older students and faculty, stopping to take a call. "Well, Ashley got permission to go! She says we can meet her down there. She does like to sneak around!" She laughed nervously. 

 

The "Dawg" turned out to be a decade-old cherry red Cadillac DeVille. The front of the car looked like a snarling dog with headlights for eyes and snarling teeth around the grille, and when Ashley revved the engine from inside, it sounded distinctly like the growl of a large pitbull. "Isn't it great?" said Judy cheerfully. "Ashley worked real hard on it too." As Corinne watched, the car seemed to subtly shift before her eyes - the headlights shifting down, the grille rearranging itself, until at last it looked like any other older, high-end car. "Ah think it looks better this way," she confided cheerfully to Corinne as the doors opened. Inside the car, the doors and glass were thick - so much so it was briefly difficult to see outside. The seats were leather and reclined at Corinne's touch - and Judy pointed out the massage feature. 

 

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"Probably wont like it," she agreed to her, but she wasn't trying to force the matter really.  And then she gave her a sly smile as she said those things, "Well, like my bio-father drinks a lot on camera, but if you ever hear about him being drunk it's an act.  He just can't.  It might happen to me too, I dunno.  It's kinda hard to say something, like no two people seem to follow the same rules for these things like, I got my powers a little before my sixteenth, but Mr. al-Mirsi got them when there was an accident around him when he was like forty.  So this stuff doesn't make sense."

She made a face as she laughed then as she saw the Dawg.  "Cheesy Petes..."  She made a strange face as she saw the dog themed front end and then she watched it change to a more traditional looking car.  "I mean... it's an aesthetic.  But, it's okay... hey, Judy, mind if I spice things up for you tonight?   I mean the shirt, and your hair, just a little..."  She pursed her lips as she looked at the girl, before looking at the inside of the car, "Okay, this is nicer than I thought it'd be, is it an Autobot? Or a Decepticon?"

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"Well...all right, but nothing too racy," said Judy with a nervous laugh. She was warm in the seat next to Corinne, as usual downright fever-hot. "Ah don't want to, like, show my navel to everybody or anything." She'd come a long way from the girl who'd flinched a little every time she saw something other than human. "Should Ashley pull over? Ah mean, Ah don't want you to turn me into mah pants..." she continued, a little doubtfully. 

 

"Luckily this asshole in front of us is gonna make sure we're not going anywhere for the next couple of minutes," said Ashley who'd pulled out into Bayview traffic just in time to get stuck behind a slow-moving obvious tourist in one lane and construction in the other. She said a bad word, then another, thinking about their rendezvous schedule. At least this gave the backup team time to scramble. "You can go ahead and spice her up, then tell me where we're going." 

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"Honey, friends don't let friends have rave face.  Gotta trust me."  She grinned as she reached out to touch her ring and middle fingers of each hand to the corresponding temple of Judy's head, as she projected her image onto her, changing her hair just a little, keeping the length but add some subtle color, a bit of red that didn't really contrast against her skin too much. 

She kept the glow down, as she let it fall down and changing the shirt, darkening it to a heather grey, and adding a logo from a band, printed across the front of it.  Wolves at the Gate, specifically.  She pulled her hands away and looked at her work.  "There, there.  That works.  Lincoln Youth Center, it happening there, Ash.  I can't promise it will be good, but it should be loud and fast, and enough groove to move."  She rocked back in her seat as she looked back at the road.

 

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"Sure, sure," said Ashley, absently tapping at the phone mounted into the middle of the dash. "Just hitting the GPS now..." 

 

Judy, meanwhile, was very impressed with her new outfit. "W-wow! This looks great! Thanks, Corinne!" She smiled, really big, and gave her friend a long, impulsive hug, burning hot like hugging a heated sock stuffed with sand. She pulled back, pulling the shirt open far enough to actually read it. "My sister likes Wolves at the Gate, but Ah never actually-" She tensed briefly, shooting a glance up front. 

 

"Hey, I don't tell them about you and what's his face with the hair, you don't tell them about the Wolf," teased Ashley. 

 

Relaxing again, Judy looked out the window for a moment as they went. "Did you do something to my..." She reached up, pulled her hair over, and her eyes lit up - not literally, not yet. "Oh man Ah wanted to go red! Thanks, Corinne. You're a really good friend.." 

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"Well, I am magic.  And, I've had to be decent at styling because I've had to my makeup for dances, which can be really aggravating."  She giggled and grinned at Judy, "But the big trick was finding a Christian metalcore show on short notice that wont be serving booze.  Well, just a Christian show.  Everything else was dance pop, or EDM, and I couldn't really reliably count on those places.  There was an indie thing, but... a little too political.  And tonight is about fun."

 

She settled back in her chair as she looked at at the back of Ash's head, "Norma Jean and purple for you Ash."  She nodded, satisfied with her, "Unless you wanna have a slow fade to ombre, with a whole metal Wednesday Addams look."  Those blue eyes fill with mirth, and a little bit more complexity than her Bitch Queen persona might indicate.

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"No thanks, I already look like a badass," said Ashley with a smirk for Corinne. "The pink tips and I have been through a lot of crap together. You look nice, though, Judy." The two sisters shared a smile in the mirror. "Traffic's slow, but we'll be there twenty minutes, a half hour tops." 

 

"What kind of political?" asked Judy, sounding more curious than anything else as she leaned back in the seat, admiring the red in her hair with a mirror from her purse. Ashley had turned on the radio as they went; the local country-western station something of a contrast to what they were on their way to hear. 

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She rolled her eyes, and smirked a little at Ash's words, "I dunno, an undercut, and some stuff with leather and studs.  Kinda stick out with how you dress like it's a decade or so ago.  Buuuuut, this show wont matter.  I do like the pink tips, I just wanted to play Fairy Godmother to my little Cinderellas."  She giggled a little at her joke, imagining her power running rampant to do that, but really not dwelling too much on it.

"Ahm, like pretty to the left.  Not like... ahm, complaining about redistricting or nothing.  But angrier than 'peace and love'," she stated, not quite admitting that she was trying to shield Judy from some of her leftier leanings, because... well she didn't really feel a need to have a conversation about it with either of them.

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"Well, you are a dancer, so that makes sense," said Judy with a nod, not sounding at all surprised at her friend's words. Ashley swallowed back a chuckle at her sister's comment, not wanting to get into what could potentially be a long conversation in front of Corinne."Lots of people at Claremont are like that." Judy, Corinne had been able to pick up on, was decidedly not like that - and it had sometimes been an obstacle for her making friends. 

 

They drove around the city for a while, Ashley occasionally cursing when traffic or a wrong turn lengthened their journey, but soon they were pulling up behind the venue for the concert Corinne had picked out. Ashley finding them a decent parking space in the middle of the small lot. 

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"What..."  Corinne doesn't answer so much as barbed, but more confusion, as brows lifted and knitted together in artful expression.  Then Judy continued, and she settled back in her seat as they crossed her arms over her chest.  "Judy, like, really I am apolitical.  Because I don't have time to devote energy to think about it at a high level.  This is like asking be about upper order math or like, molecular biology.  And realistically, I am not, like...  a continental European Socialist, or something.  But I am probably more left then the rest of kids at Claremont, I dunno, I mean I have a raging anarchist b^^^^ who pops out, but neither of us are very... well read?"  She shrugged a little bit.

"But... in the arts you are probably gonna work for people who have the money.  Especially true for dancers.  The impoverished masses probably wont be able to afford a ticket to the Met."

When the car stopped, she let herself settle there still a moment, "See, I respect your privacy enough not to pry.  I get that, I get not wanting to share something.  Or maybe you can't.  I don't know, you could be alternate universe Princesses where the Merovingians never lost power and somehow took over the New World..  Or, Aliens, or something.  I dunno.  But you're both kinda stand offish, and I get that.  I know I am, because I don't take kindly to people working my buttons like they're trying to hack on NCIS.  But if the outgoing B**** Queen of Claremont doesn't care that you're more religious, or conservative, than she is, then..."

She lifted her arms as if beseeching something.  "Like, are those points of difference something that matter?  I don't even hate Nicole, and she is a colossal jerka**.  Just be willing to try something new.  And go up to people and be all 'Hi I'm Judy, I'm super nice, and super awesome,' or 'Hi, I'm Ash, if you touch my sister, I will make sure you can lick the back of your own knee.'"  Corinne looked at them both in turn, and while Judy might miss it, she was reinforcing to Ash at least just how canny the tall teen was with people

 

"So let's go do as our honky forefathers did, and Jump Around."

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The place was packed, but having "called ahead" Ashley wasn't too worried about that. Luckily most of the crowd here was fairly young and fairly well-behaved, within certain limits. Because going to a Christian concert means you're going to behave yourself in public. She treated herself to some mental laughter about that one while scoping out the situation, flashing her fake ID at the door with the scowl that probably meant she was going to grow some lines on her face. Once they were all inside, she let the way through the crowd, scanning as they went. 

 

"We are a little standoffish," Judy admitted to Corinne in the noise of the crowd, "but that's just because things are so different here. Back home Ah had...well Ah thought I had friends anyway, but that didn't work out very well at all!" 

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