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Second Coming


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Kord Dormitories, Second Floor

Claremont Academy, Freedom City, New Jersey

Saturday, September 5th, 2020


Move in day at the Claremont Academy was best described as controlled chaos.  New students and usually their parents carried luggage and boxes across the quad while returning students dashed about meeting up with friends and relishing the freedom to let some of the weird out in the relative safety of campus after a long summer of keeping things under wraps.  The dorms buzzed with excited and nervous students trying to find rooms or wondering who they might be roomng with this year.  While every effort had been made to pass introductory letters on to prospective roomates they were perpetually late arriving as last minute additions required yet again adjusting the assignments.  Even with out such delays rare was the modern teen that would reach out in written word or even e-mail if text or similar contact wasn't passed on.


Utsuwa Ranaga had avoided the rush of course as his host was also the Headmistress of hte institution in question his meager belongings were already neatly stowed in the wardrobe on his side of the room.  He'd spent the prior evening while the Headmistress attended the last minute preparations for arrival day getting his room exactly as he liked it.  Which was to say he'd carefully dismantled the bed on his side of the room and neatly stacked the parts in a corner.  In it's place lay a simple tatami mat more in  keeping with what he was accustomed too in his prior home.   His desk was spartan aside from the still new laptop carefully set  to the side and his textbooks neatly set along the back shelf.  The walls remained bare of distractions his bedding monotone almost institutional and neatly folded at the foot of the sleeping mat.  


Utsuwa himself stood leaning against the propped open door to his room.  The importance of social engagement had been made clear to him both by his host and the friendly former student he's encountered in his wandering the city.  Thus he made sure to make himself available and approachable.  He leaned casually on the door nodding greeting to passing students and parents.  The tight fitting black tank top leaving the intricate tattoos of his forearms visible crossed across his broad chest.  The flat grey basketball shorts left well defined calves visible above simple sandals.  His hair hung loose, to be approachable, though it mostly left him looking like he was cosplaying his favorite anime villain as he tried to fight his resting scowl and appraising look at each student as they passed.

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"Oh, hey!  Don't think I've seen you around!," a welcoming voice called out.  "Is this your first time here?  Need any help getting around?"


Utsuwa did not see the speaker at first, but as the new voice continued addressing him, he realized the speaker was an unspeakably plain-looking student that was slowly approaching him from the other end of the hall.  He looked to be about as tall as Utsuwa (though his poor posture might be concealing some height), with medium length shaggy hair somewhere between dark blond and light brown, dull gray eyes over a pleasant smile all set in a round face, and white skin that had not seen much sun during the summer months.  His outfit practically blended into the surroundings: a simple shirt the same color as the walls, boots that matched the floor, and khaki pants that somehow slowly transitioned between the two colors.


The figure extended an open hand, "hey, I'm Davyd.  Ooh, nice ink!  Have you had that long?"  Utsuwa's tattoos reminded him of some of the business associates his Uncle Sasha had dealt with, though those meetings always seemed so tense.

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Privately reprimanding himself for letting his guard down Utsuwa shook his head.  "Not exactly."  he replied and rolled his shoulders, "I mean, it is my first year here but I did some tours over the summer."  it was a half truth at best but he had spent most of the summer living with the Headmistress so he was familiar with the layout.  It took the new student a few minutes longer to realize this offer was more an excuse to introduce himself than a suggestion Utsuwa needed his aid.


Once he put this together the tattooed teen looked down at his arms and nodded, "Ah yes, something of a family tradition."  he explained and extended a hand, "I'm Utsuwa"  he introduced in kind as he looked the startlingly unremarkable student over.  He paused a few beats starting a bit too intently at the fellow student, "So anything fun to do nearby or are we confined to the compound?"  he asked 

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A flurry of green movement, and a young red headed man was by them, quickly holding on to Davyd's shoulder, a wide grin playing over his admittedly very pretty lips. Dark grey shorts, an emerald green t-shirt with scattered white silhouettes of birds and a wide grin was really all that Pan needed to introduce himself, was it not?


 "It has been too long my friend! How have you been, how was your summer?" Then, he seemed to actually recognize that he was not alone with Davyd, that there was actually someone else there. "Oh, hello! I am Pan, a pleasure to meet you!"

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With a soft clack of mechanical components something greenish-blue bounded down the hallway to land near Utsuwa's feet. Roughly palm-sized the little robot had the form of a cricket rendered in chunky shapes. It craned its head upward in the direction of the number on the open door and bounced up and down excitedly. "Chirp!"


"Cyan, wait up!" A teenager doing his best to jog under the weight of a large cardboard box rounded the corner. Tousled strawberry blonde hair, a patterned button-down in black, goldenrod and lilac over a white t-shirt that had been splattered over time with a spectrum of pigments, faded blue jeans repaired with mismatched patches of fabric and nails painted in bright candy colours combined to make a veritable kaleidoscope of a figure. His reprimand for the robotic insect was half laugh, a broad grin dimpling his cheeks slightly.


The contents of the box shifted noisily as he caught up to Cyan. "Hey, 206! That's us! Good job!" He gave the group of young men congregating around the door a smile that managed to be even brighter and tried to balance the box in one hand so that he could offer the other. "Hi! I'm Ryder!"

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Davyd's smile grew a bit wider, "nah, we're not confined, really, though they do want us on our best behavior while we're off-campus.  Don't do anything to make the school look bad, be careful when using any extranormal abilities, don't allow vampires to follow you back to the dor- hey!"


He greeted Pan with a quick hug, "eh, summer was okay.  Got a job at the Freedom Aquarium.  Didn't get to see as many critters as I would've liked," he frowned a moment, casting his eyes down, then looked back up again and now had a mischievous grin, "but I did get to see a lot of people!  What'd you get up to?"


A flash of greenish-blue movement Davyd's eye, and he knelt down to get a better look.  An alien, maybe?  "Hello, friend!  Are you a student here, too?  My name's Davyd."  When Ryder made his presence known, Davyd stood upright and offered a hand to shake, "hey!," then held both out, "looks heavy, you need any help?"

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Benny was already settled, as a ward of the state-ish, specifically a priest in the local parish he really didn't have a home life to speak of.

Well that wasn't in a timeline scoured from existence entirely that was something like sixty years ago. But, details.

He saw he was was with Herod again, which worked for him, as he really got along, or at least there wasn't friction between them, and he stepped out from his room, still in the brightly colored spats and rash guard from his earlier practice, with some basketball shorts over them in a more sensible black, themed on some video game fighting thing he wasn't really sure on. Someone had tried to show him video games, and really he was just keen on the colors. It showed off the barrel chested body, and clung to tree trunk limbs. He listed by 214 for a moment, his head swivelling on a bull neck, before he his scowl-y lookin' mug split into a big smile at odds with Biff Tannen-like features as he moved towards the other guys. "Hey youse guys, how ya doin'?"

He lifted a big mitt to wave at them, and made his way towards Davyd and Pan. And the others he wasn't familiar, and the big lug just dropped his hand and held it towards them, "I'm Benny D'amato."

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"Utsuwa."  the tattoo'd teen replied to the round of students arriving.  Sizing them each up in turn his gaze lingering on Ryder for a long moment before he nodded down at the robug, "I assume that is yours then."  he noted and stood to clear the doorway.  "Looks like we're co-habitating." he offered maybe it was a language barrier thing.  


"It's pretty spacious."  he suggested with a nod at hte room then looked at Ryders burden and the helpers following behind, "Ah, more than I'm used to I think I have some spare space in the wardrobe if you need it."  He was a bit baffled by a person having so many personal belongings but trying to take the colorful, literally and figuratively, crowd of students in stride.  

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The little robot hopped about excitedly at the attention and Ryder laughed, shaking Davyd’s hand while balancing the box. “Ha, Cyan’s with me! This isn’t that heavy it’s just—“ The contents shifted noisily again and one of the flaps popped open. Another mechanical insect, a mantis in white and saturated pink, crawled out from within and perched confidently on the edge of the cardboard, clacking her forelimbs together. “Magenta?! Well you weren’t even supposed to be riding in there!“ This excuse did not appear to impress the mantis.


He set the box down and Cyan hopped up to join Magenta. “Roomies! That’s awesome! Your tattoos are wild! Have you met Tori yet? She’s going here too, has like a whole body Celtic thing going.” He gestured around his own face as though tracing swirling patterns in the air.


A booming laugh came from down the hall. “Remember to breathe, Ryder!” A barrel chested man with black hair pulled back into a bun and a luxuriously thick moustache ambled over time the door carrying a large suitcase in one hand and balancing a veritable tower of takeout cups in the other, three trays of four each. He wore a red and yellow pineapple print Hawaiian shirt with khaki shorts and comfortable looking sandals. He gave the teens a beatific smile. “What a set up! What a group!” Bringing up the rear was a young woman with her hair shaved on the sides, the hair on top pulled into ponytail and poofing up in front, wearing a light blue sundress belted at the waist. A robotic black beetle walked near her feet while a yellow wasp buzzed about over her shoulder.

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"Benny! And new person! Hello!" Pan was ecstatic. Friends, old and new, all coming together at once! He did like the first day at Claremont! He disentangled himself from Davyd with a wide grin, and quickly made a small flourish and a bow to first Utsuwa, then Ryder. "Hello, Utsuwa, hello Ryder, I am Pan, the Forever Boy!" 

Standing up fully again, he turned his head slightly to Davyd, a wide grin on his lips. "Oh, the usual. Adventure, romance, meeting Eira's parents and retrieving her ashes."


"And who are you adorable little guys?" He couldn't help himself, his eyes drawn to the Robugs before being interrupted by the man and the woman with the black bug and the wasp. Well, they were obviously with Ryder. "You should see us all in costume, then!" he greeted, the excitement clear in his tone.

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"Mikey, that sounds like your roomie!"

"Don't call me that, Janet!"

"Oh hush you two. Micah, go ask them about cookies."

"I'm going, I'm going. Janet I swear if you mess up that poster-"

"Geeze bro it's fine don't worry, I know how important this one is to you."


Three voices drifted out of the room Pan had left. The owner of the second voice, a teenage boy with slightly messy dark hair, emerged first. He was wearing jeans and a slightly dirty (somehow) white t-shirt. If not for the fact that his skin complexion showed his Native ancestry, he'd probably look like the lead singer for a half-dozen modern bro-country bands, especially with the red-mud-stained boots on his feet. His face wore an expression of amused exasperation. He stopped a few feet away from the group, which now included a man Micah was sure weighed exactly two of him, and spoke. Behind him, and older woman who had the same eyes and the air of a doting mother leaned out of the door to watch.


"Uh, hi. I'm Micah. My mom made a bunch of cookies because she was sure I was too skinny or something-"

"You're still growing, dear!"
"And told me I have to share."

"It's only polite!"

"We've got a couple stacks that don't have any nuts, and made a pile on a different table with the good ones with chocolate and peanut butter."


He leaned to one side a bit and eyeballed the stack of smoothies.


"Probably not as healthy as those though."



Another woman, looking to be in her late 20s, with hair down to her shoulders and a pair of aviator shades perched on her head, leaned out of the doorway with a confident smirk on her face.

"Just as tasty, I bet."

"Janet! Be polite, the nice man brought everyone drinks. All we brought is some regular and soy milk. Even if it is a bit chilly for iced drinks."
"It's only chilly for us because we come from a sun-blasted field of red dirt, Aunt Amelia."
"Hush now."


Micah gave Pan a look that screamed 'when does it all end?'.

Edited by KnightDisciple
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"Hey, Benny," Davyd greeted, slapping the pugilist on the bicep before stepping aside so he could get better access to Utsuwa.  "If you're looking for someone to spar with, Benny here's one of the best!"


The booming laugh of Ryder's associates made Davyd's head turn, faster and further than a normal human's should.  He was about to offer help lighten their load -- make a good show for the parents of the new kid, put them at ease -- but then something Pan said snapped his attention back.  "Romance?  So the rumors I've heard are true?  Oh, we must talk later, my friend!"


"Davyd!  What are you doing?  You'll have time to see your friends later, we've got to get you moved in!"  The speaker was a woman with short hair, wearing jeans and a white tee, all marred with grease and oil stains that would not quite come out.  Behind her, trying to keep up with her determined stride, were two men, one with a full beard and ponytail, wearing brown jeans and a blue tie-dyed shirt, the other balding, with sunglasses and a brown-and-white tracksuit.


"I'm going, I'm going!," Davyd protested.  He gave a shrug to those around him before heading towards the stairs, giving Micah a high five as he passed by.

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Ryder's father gave another resonant laugh. "Good for the soul is good for the body in my book! Speaking of which, I've got just the thing here." He pulled the top tray of drinks from the stack and somehow balanced in the crook of his opposite arm while plucking free a drink from the tray below it, still balanced atop the bottommost set of cups. "Cocoa and chili, that'll take the chill out of some bones longing for home." He handed the drink to Micah's mother with a broad wink and laughed again; laughter appeared to be his natural state. "Now, don't tell me! I'm going to say... classic egg cream shake with a protein shot for Mr. Workout here! Strawberry and pickle juice to go for this one -- don't ask questions, just try it, ha!" He handed cups to Benny and Davyd respectively, sausage fingers dancing with uncanny dexterity as he practically juggled the trays. "Matcha and super greens for the roommate! Jenny, hold this for me!"


The sister took the tray thrust in her direction with a look of long suffering acceptance. She gave the woman with the aviator shades a nod and the smirking equivalent of the dimpled smile shared by her family members. "Hey, how's it going. I'm Ryder's sister, Jenny," she introduced for the sake of the group at large, "and this is our dad, obviously."


"Call me Shawn!" Mr. Fujioka insisted, continuing to hand out beverages with dizzying speed.


"And these are the Robugs!" Ryder chimed in in response to Pan's question, making a sweeping gesture as though welcoming performers to the stage. The little robots grouped up accommodating for inspection. "So this is Cyan and next to him is Magenta. The shy one is Yellow and that's Black!" He turned to Utsuwa with a serious look. "How do you feel about insects? Any phobias or anything? Sorry, I totally should have asked that first."

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For his part, Pan grinned at Micah and gently slapped him on the back, shaking his head in response. There was some things not even he could help with.


"Hello, hello, a pleasure to meet you all! I am Pan!" Pan quickly said to Shawn and Jenny, eyeing the drinks briefly, before returning his full attention to the Robugs. He poked at Magenta, kneeling down like one would for a dog. "They are absolutely wonderful!" He pulled his finger back, cooing over Magenta, barely even looking over his shoulder.


"Some kind of robots? Did you make them, or find them?" 

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Benny lifted his brows and he looked down at Davyd's hand hitting his bicep with a dull thunk, and he snorted a little bit, and moved his arms, resting his closed hands on his hips. "Ya ma is right Micah, youse wastin' away. Okay, who needs to help?" He was not slender, or cut, he was more beefsteak given human shape.

And then he was given a shake, his expression bemused, "Thanks Mister. Ah, Shawn." He moved and set the drink inside his door on a table near it, because, he was serious regarding helping. Once relieved on his small article he was immediately setting to fretting over assisting people. He waved towards them and he nodded a little, as everything seemed in hand, though he looked at Davyd, "I do other things too Davyd, like study, read, a lot of running." He shrugged a little, which on those broad things was impressive.

"Anyone need any help getting stuff from the ground floor, or the car or anythin'?" He raised his voice a little, pitching it low to get attention.

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"Yes, Roommates."  Utsuwa agreed with nod as he withdrew a bit in the face of the crowds of family helping the other students with move in.  Having moved in early offered some excuse but he didn't really have good answers for why he was on his own.  


"I've not met any Tori,"  he admitted with a shrug, "certainly not anyone so, ah, memorable."   He eyed Ryder for a moment and inquired quietly when they were both in the room out of clear earshot of the families, "full body?"  curiously testing the waters if his roomate already had found, companionship.


The moment was quickly over however as Micah spoke up about cookies and Utsuwa started to make his way across the hall, "You want any?"  he asked Ryder who had his hands full with both supplies and family.  He watched the robugs line up with a bemused smile, "I don't scare that easily."  he assured Ryder and accepted the smoothie thrust his direction more reflexively than with intention.  He took a sip and looked down at the drink in hand, "very sweet."  he noted seemingly surprised, "But not too sweet."  he took another sip and nodded with satisfaction distracted it seemed from the other offer of food at least for the moment.


"Not local then?"  he asked Micah with a raised brow and nod to the commentary about red dirt fields.  "I guess a school like this must recruit from all over."  which was an odd thing perhaps for the clearly foreign student to only now be picking up on.  


"Not I"  He added off hand to Benny, "Host family moved me in early, they uh, had to work today."  Which was technically correct the best kind of correct.

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The young woman smiled and nodded at Jenny.

"I'm Janet; Micah's my younger cousin but we're basically brother and sister."

She sipped her drink and raised an eyebrow.

"I didn't think someone could make strawberries and banana mixed with mint taste good, but kudos to you lot."


Micah's mother smiled broadly at the man handing out the smoothies. 

"Well thank you, Shawn. You can call me Amelia."

Micah's back was turned and he was trying to keep everything straight, but Janet saw Amelia blush slightly. She quirked an eyebrow up but didn't react otherwise. 

"Hm, this is good!"


Micah, meanwhile, was giving hellos and handshakes and trying to keep things straight. He shied away just slightly from the robo-wasp, but the magenta-colored mantis drew some of his attention. 

"Nice to meet you, Ryder. These little critters are somethin' else."

He sipped his drink and looked down.

"Huh. Cinnamon, apple, and blueberry. Nice. It's like a super-pie in a shake."

He looked over at Ryder's taciturn roommate.
"Nice to meet you, Utsuwa. And no, we're not from Freedom City, or this state. We're from Oklahoma. Janet helped get some of my stuff out here sophomore and junior years, but Mom's big on "memories" and whatnot and since this is my senior year, she wanted to be here in person. We ended up getting here earlier today because we made better time than we thought."

Edited by KnightDisciple
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"Oh, yes, Claremont has people from everywhere," Pan added to Micah's response to Utsuwa. "Other countries are pretty much the school's backyard, it seems." He paused to count on his fingers while he continued: "Other times, other worlds, alternate realities, and, my personal favorite, different dimensions."


He smiled widely, holding up his hand with the four fingers and thumb showing, the back of his hand turned towards Utsuaw. "It is all very exciting. You never know what kind of people you are going to meet or what adventure you will find." Another brief pause. "Everyone here has their own story, so what is yours? A host family? What brought you to Claremont? Something incredible, no?" His interest sounded genuine, at least.

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Utsuwa nodded with surprise at the revelation of Micahs origins, the boy did not match his internal image of the state which briefly registered on his features before the more outlandish claims from Pan quickly overwhelmed the surprise.  "Well I suppose it's natural that a school like this would see a lot of that with all that goes on in the city."  he acknowledged with a shrug.


He looked at Pan for a long moment then deadpanned his reply.  "Nothing so spectacular, the usual raised by a murderous cult of assassins to be the vessel of their fallen leader."  he glanced to Micah with a small grin, "This is my year abroad."  playing off the mostly true story as a joke.

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