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Claremont Academy, Freedom City

Early November

Just Past Midnight


The room was dark, illuminated only by the flickering of the screen. Mia rested on her side, dressed in a sleep-shirt and comfortable pajama pants. Normally, she just went with the t-shirt, but it was colder in Lulu’s room than it was in her own. Danica had to maintain a fairly warm temperature, after all. It was normally tolerable, but it was good to get out of it sometimes.


Normally, the sound coming out of her laptop would have been Japanese, but she had been forced to agree to use the dub this time. It was a concession she was not entirely happy about but she agreed to it anyway. Not everyone tolerated her weeb trash, and besides, the screen wasn’t the biggest anyway.


After a few moments, though, a thought passed into her head. She turned on her side, and looked over at Lulu. They had been through a lot. Even though the Black House had, externally, only had them in there for an hour or two at most, the interior made it feel longer. A lot longer. It had helped her build a stronger bond with the girl, and honestly, she liked hanging out with her even if they did seem to occupy really different worlds at times.


“So,” Mia said. “You wanna go get high and maybe get a pizza or something?” she asked Lulu. “No class tomorrow or anything.”

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For her part, Lulu was on her phone, sitting with her knees up as she did a deep dive on one of her favorite websites, Atlas Obscura. She was dressed similarly to Mia, but in a Critical Role t-shirt and a knit hat from Judy. When her teleporting friend made her nonchallant suggestion out of the blue, the redhead looked for her and blinked for several seconds before she responded.


"Yeah, alright."


Swinging her feet off the bed, she swapped her sleepy pants for a pair of sweatpants she grabbed off the floor, and then pulled on a hoodie that was casually draped over the back of her study chair.


"Where are we goin'," she asked as she pulled her hair through the neck hole. "Up on the roof?"

Edited by Heritage
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Mia grinned, and sat up. "Eh, they definitely have cameras on the roof, but I got a spot," she said, rolling up onto her butt and pulling on a pair of slippers. She was glad that Lulu had agreed so readily, she kind of wondered what the girl would be like stoned. Probably not all that different, in most situations Lulu seemed pretty chill so probably not a lot would change. Not much changed for Mia, all things considered.


"So," she said. "Do you wanna sneak up or should I just be teleporting us both together?"


She figured teleporting would be okay, but she wanted to make sure. Some people got pretty tetchy about the idea of hurling themselves through time and space like Mia did. She knew that Lulu had some concealing powers of her own, but she had no idea if they would work on her, so her own vote was definitely for teleportation, but she would respect the telepath's decision.

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"Uh, we can teleport," She stated matter-of-factly as she laced up her black Hi-tops that matched the rest of her dark clothing . "Shortest distance between points A and B, right?" Lulu felt a little weird, but not in a bad way; it was the first time she felt like she was back in Alabama in a long long time. Since living with the Harrows and at Claremont, she'd pretty much been on her best behaviour; now she felt like she was sneaking out of a convent.

Edited by Heritage
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Mia grinned, and took Lulu by the arm. "Okay, just hold on, and just so you know, it gets a little disorienting when I take people along, so just take a moment to get your bearings after I teleport us over." With that, time and space bent around them, and for the briefest of moments, Lulu got to experience what it was like to exist in two spots at once, something Mia had long ago gotten used to. 


Then, with a crack, they found themselves in a secluded area near the main building, out of the line of sight of any possible cameras to form a veritable blindspot. A tree hung overhead, swaying slightly in the cold air. In the distance, lamps lit the area around them, but it was relatively dim here. The air was chilly as November nights were wont to be, enough to make Mia's skin raise in goosebumps at the sudden temperature change."


"Brr," Mia said. "Alright, let's just..." With her powers, she created a blanket large enough to wrap around both of them before she began to summon up the requisite ingredients from her pocket dimension. Soon enough, she had a joint. She looked over at Lulu, eyebrow raised as she held her prize up to the light. "Do you want to be the one to light up, or should I get us started?"


She waved her lighter, a little bic, enticingly.

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"Boy, you sure scouted out this spot," Lulu drawled as she peered around. Just in case there were any security guards wandering around, she wove a mental illusion around the two of them, hiding them both as well as the fragrance of weed that would soon be wafting up into the chill night air. "Why don't you get us started on that doobie," the telepath said with a wave of her hand; she'd heard the rather outdated drug slang from her father, who was known to partake. "Ah'm just as likely to cough and spit it out."


Lulu was both excited and nervous to light up; she'd had a wide variety of experiences growing up involving 'the herb', and was unsure where this path would take her. Mia was definitely a bad influence (Mrs. Harrow wouldn't be pleased)but she didn't see this as the first step into a life of crime, or anything else so dramatic.

Edited by Heritage
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Mia shrugged her shoulders, and held the joint up before beginning to burn the twisted paper at the tip before putting it in her mouth and starting to puff. Taking a deep draw, she blew it out of her nose. She had heard that it made the stuff work quicker, but she never actually followed up and checked out whether that was true.


Being a seasoned veteran, she only made a few slight coughs before she handed it over to Lulu. “It’s cool that we can hang out like this. At my old school, girl like you would never agree to smoke with someone like me,” she said. “Which kinda stinks. I mean, yeah, I’m poor and a little scuzzy or whatever but they didn’t have to treat me like that.”


She looked over at Lulu. “Honestly, people sucked back at my old school. One kid would always make fun of me because when my mom was a waitress she served their family occasionally, and I guess that was enough to make fun of her. Joke’s on her, though, the cooks totally spit in her family’s food because they tipped like crap.”

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Lulu chuckled as she gingerly took the joint from Mia. "Well, we ain't all that different; my family is 100% genuine white trash." She carefully held it to her lips and did a long, slow draw. "Our house is right next to the Chattahoochie River," she croaked as she did her best to keep the smoke in, like she'd seen her older brothers do. "It's pretty much the whole backyard." She tried to let it out slowly, but burst into a coughing fit, which gave her a major head rush. "Ooh, Lord have mercy! Anyway, that damn river pretty much floods every year now; had to keep all our clothes in plastic tubs, but they still end up smellin' like swamp water. And that stink hung over mah whole family. Hell, mah dad got fired from Piggly Wiggly for stealin' steaks out of the deep freeze; you can't get more white trash than that!"


She sighed and looked down at her nice clothes. "Only reason ah look this is good is ah got lucky; got hooked up with a wealthy foster family. Ah can finally afford nice shampoo and soap, and mah hair ain't cut at the Delacroix Beauty Academy for five f###in' dollars." She took a smaller, smoother toke before handing the joint back, still holding the smoke in her lungs.

Edited by Heritage
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Mia cackled as she took the joint back from Lulu. “Oh my God! The cheap haircuts, yeah. Okay, so one time my dad decided he was going to go ahead and try to cut my hair himself. What came out of that made me cry for days. I got called mushroom-head at school. I tried to get my mom to get me hair extensions to cover it up but I just had to let it grow back in. And that is why, by the way, my hair is so long. I refused to get a haircut after that for like forever.”


She sighed at the memories, wriggling in the blanket to get more comfortable as she flicked off some of the ash and took another puff. “I suppose you’ve probably heard from Ash or Danica… or someone about my whole… ish. If you didn’t… My mom was a super-villain, didn’t complete high-school. So options were pretty limited, you know? The most frustrating thing though? I could have fixed it. I could have made all the stuff we needed but she didn’t let me. She was afraid my powers would draw attention or something.”


Handing the joint back over, she looked at Lulu. “I… That’s why if I seem like… super eager to use my powers? It’s because I didn’t get a chance. I just… Can you imagine what it’s like? Knowing you could fix everything and not being allowed to? It drove me crazy! It still does. And of course my mom freaks the hell out when I get caught shoplifting, like… Well, if you’re not going to let me make nice stuff, I should be at least allowed to have it. I can’t keep getting all my shirts from f###ing goodwill and eating McDonalds or whatever.”


She realized she was getting animated. “Sorry.”

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"It's all good," Lulu said with a shrug as she accepted the joint back. "Ah'm sort of on the other end of that equation; once mah folks figured out ah wasn't goin' crazy, they were all too keen to let me swim around in people's heads. You know, provided ah came back with their credit card numbers..."


She took another slow drag, finally getting the rhythm of it, then handed it back to Mia as she waved a hand and held her breath; she was good for now, content to let the drug do its thing. After letting her breath out slowly, she smiled and gradually floated a few inches off the ground.


"Uh oh," she whispered in mock horror. "Ah think ah'm high!"    She then shook her head and burst into a giggling fit.

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Mia giggled again, watching as she blanket rose up with her. "Hey, hey now! You're stealing my blanket and it is cold out!" she half-whispered. She puffed again, before stubbing it out. She would save the rest for later. Now, she would simply ride things out as she hung out with Lulu. She smiled contentedly to herself. This was the sort of situation she could find herself in more often.


"That does sound rough," Mia admitted. "Look, I... I'm sorry I misjudged you."


She looked around. "Do you still wanna get pizza, by the way, or is that too risky for you? If it is, I probably have some snacks hidden up in my pocket dimension."

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Lulu frowned comedically and attempted a casual wave, but it looked more like she was trying to sway away an invisible moth. "It's fine; we're all judgemental sumbiches on this bus! Ah thought you were some surly punk rock b####, and it turns out...well, you are one, but you're also hella cool! Hella cool!"


The telepath began slowly floating back down, accompanied by hilarious fluttering hand movements and off-key humming. "Mmm, pizza sounds good, but we should probably sober up a spell." Weird psychedelic images and blobs of color began to pulse and throb across Lulu's face and chest, and tiny rocket ships and planetoids orbited her head. "Ah mean, look at this s###!"

Edited by Heritage
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Mia snorted. "I'm not surly! I'd say I'm pretty friendly all things considered," she said with a smirk. "But thank you. I do appreciate being cool. That said, I have no idea what you think you're smoking because that psychadelic stuff is from LSD, not what we're smoking." There was a teasing hint to her tone at Lulu being so dramatic about it. 


"That said, I wouldn't mind sobering up a bit. This stuff really goes to your head," she said, feeling the effects of the drug running throughout her body. "It was like... 18%? I don't remember exactly. The stuff my mom smokes is pretty strong too but she doesn't let me have that because she 'read some studies'. I think she just doesn't want to share." She giggled. 


"Do you wanna go back to your room? I'm willing, but I am kinda worried I'm gonna pass out if I go back to a bed right now."

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"Hey, this is mah first time gettin' properly high," Lulu retorted with a slight frown. "Let me freak out in mah own way." Then she looked around a bit and tried to figure out what she was in the mood for at the moment, which was kind of everything. She tapped on her lower lip for a few seconds, then held up two fingers.


"Alright, ah got two ideas-" She paused, then held up a third finger. "Three ideas! Okay, the one for sure is we go to New York for pizza, 'cause they got the best pizza. But before that, we do one of two things." She dramatically held up one finger. "We go for a walk in the woods. Nothin' crazy, maybe just Wharton. Or two, we go swimmin' in the Gulf. Night swimmin' in warm water is the best, but we can't go too far out, 'cause we're high as f###."

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Mia thought about it for a while, considering the possibility of going down to the Gulf, but immediately a problem came to mind. "Gonna tell you right now, swimming in the dark while high and asthmatic is a recipe for ending up at the bottom of the ocean. But sure, I could bring us down to the forest. You gotta promise you're not going to tell anyone we did this though because I am still completely on the hook for Mexico, and they're gonna flip if they find out I jumped off to New York, even if it is a weekend, okay?"


She stood up, stretching out. "I'll make an exception for Adam, but if he blabs, he's gonna have to watch out for me turning whatever he eats into sewage. If they don't suspend me, anyway," she said, looking out and around. She dropped her pajama bottoms. "Don't look at my butt," she said, before pulling a pair of jeans out of her dimensional pocket, along with some boots and a jacket. She changed quickly, and tossed her bottoms into the pocket. "Thank God for your concealment powers, Lulu."


"Alright, I am ready to head out when you are."

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"Well, ah don't want to get you in trouble," said a now somewhat concerned Lulu. "Ah mean, any more than you already are. Ah'm sure there's a late night pizza joint here in Freedom. Hey, maybe after we eat, we can take a few more puffs and watch some kind of trippy movie? Mah brothers love to watch 'stoner movies' after they get high, like The Big Lebowski or Ernest Scared Stupid."


It was true; the Beaumont boys had stack of DVDs in well-worn cases, smudged with peanut butter and Cheeto powder, that they referred to as 'inspirational viewing'.

Edited by Heritage
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Mia considered it for a moment, then shrugged. “Nah, New York’s still in the USA, so there’s no border crossing stuff so you know, going downtown late is no different than New York. It should be fine. Besides, I’d really like to get a genuine slice, you know?” She grinned at Lulu, and Mia hooked her arm around Lulu’s.


“And I have the perfect movie in mind. It’s called Paprika, and you’re gonna love it,” she said, before the world began to bend around them, and then there was a crack, and they were standing in an alley not that far from Times Square. People were hussling and bustling about, even at this late hour. The streetlights were on, and the air was crisp, each breath producing a blast of fog.


“Alright, Lulu, now you gotta find the pizza place.”

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"This is so cool!" No matter how jet set-y her life had become living with the Harrows, at her heart Lulu was still a small town girl, and being in the heart of 'the greatest city in the world' nearly took her breath away. "Oh, right, let's have a look 'round." Her eyes went unfocused as her senses quickly scanned the neighborhood, taking in so many wonders. At last, she squeezed Mia's arm.


"Ah think ah found the perfect place! And we get to walk through Times Square to get there!"


With an unusual confidence for a first time visitor, the Southern gal led her friend down Broadway, pointing in delight at the giant posters. "Oh my Lord, they've got the Frozen musical! And Aladdin! And Beetlejuice?! Oh, we have to see that, Mia!"


Soon they arrived in front of a very New York-looking pizzeria known simply as 'Joe's Pizza', and Lulu rushed up to the counter and grinned at the middle-aged man behind it. "Hi! It's our first time in New York!"

Edited by Heritage
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Upon entry into New York, Mia was happy to be lead around by Lulu. She was familiar with New York, both parents had taken her on visits. Her mom on delivery stuff, her dad just because he wanted to take her. Still, there was something inherently impressive about New York, especially Times Square. It had achieved a near-mythical status in culture, much like Freedom City, albeit in a very different way.


When Lulu said it was their first slice, Mia scoffed. “It is not my first slice of New York pizza, thank you,” she said indignantly but with a grin. “My mom’s from Newark, I’ve been here a few times!”


The man at the counter mostly just seemed amused, and Mia decided to put up her order first. “Alright, I’m looking for something with green olives and sausage if you have that. What about you, Lulu?”

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  • 1 month later...

"P-p-p-p-pepperoni," she said with an exaggerated nod before holding up two fingers. "Two slices, pleeeeze! Oh, and a Mexican Coke, they're the best!" The redheaded telepath was seemingly dancing to and singing two completely different songs as she jerked around. "'Rollercoaster! Of love! Say what?' Oh, can we see the Statue of Liberty? Is it still open? It's probably not open. 'Say what?'"


It was kind of adorable.

Edited by Heritage
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