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The Caledonian Sleeper, Just Outside London. Monday, June 6th, 2021. 9:25 pm

Cabin 2: Judy and Lulu

The overnight train to Inverness had left Euston at precisely 21:15, right on time. Everyone was getting settled in for the eleven hour journey, and Lulu was stuffing her carry-on bag under the lower berth. She'd handled all the arrangements for this part of the Claremont graduates' trip, including booking two Classic cabins with a connecting door for herself and Judy, with Davyd and Micah next door in Cabin 3. 


Up until this point, she'd been both excited and anxious about the trip by train across nearly the whole of the UK; this included a lot of worrying about tickets, luggage and getting the whole group to the station on time. Now that they were safely on board and the train was under way, she could finally relax a bit.


"Okay, that's everythin' squared away for now!" She turned around to take in the rest of the cabin. "Huh. Boy, these rooms are a lot smaller than the ones on Amtrak. Ah suppose it makes sense, on account of how small the UK is; no one has to spend two nights in this little thing." She put her hands on her hips and sighed. "Ah'm gonna go check on Adam, see how he's settlin' in."


She went out into the corridor and knocked on the open door of the first cabin. "Hey, hon. You decent in there?" The redhead grinned as she poked her head into the room. Tonight she was very casually wearing an oversized Harry Potter t-shirt, khaki shorts and a pair of light hiking boots. She'd packed a jacket and some pants in case of cooler weather up north.

Edited by Heritage
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Adam took a deep breath. He was excited, and somewhat nervous. He had never been this far from home. He grinned at his wonderful girlfriend, who had managed everything admirably. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a short sleeved shirt. If anyone noticed the scarring on his arms, they said nothing. 


"Thank you, sweetheart, for making the arrangements." He gave her an appreciative hug. "It's times like this that I wish I was a bit...shorter."  He was grateful for having his own cabin, considering his height. The bed looked comfortable enough. He had brought his Switch, his tablet, his laptop and enough clothes. Of course he could carry all of his gear effortlessly, so it didn't matter, much. 


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Judith Claudia Cahill was one of the most famous women in the world - and probably would be for the rest of her life, however long that wound up being. So she'd entered the train, once her ticket was purchased, by discreetly disappearing into the ladies room at the train station and then reappearing in a shower of rainbow light in the cabin she shared with Lulu. "Well aren't the two of you sweet," she commented with a smile from behind her dark sunglasses. "And he's right, Lulu, thank you so much for all of this." She gave Lulu a hug too, her skin noticeably warm. 



Over in the other cabin, Eira was sitting on her bed, talking to a holographic display of her parents. "I told you we would make it safely to the train," she told them in Swedish, sounding only a little annoyed, and mostly affectionately. "The new body handled the flight in an hour and a half, and I never even dropped below 75%." She was plugged into the train's power as she spoke, her dataspike driven deep into the car's outlet. "Everything is going to be fine." She put her other arm around Pan's shoulder. "So do you not need to call." Eira's new body was slightly taller and fitter than her previous teenage one; her sweater fitting tightly but discreetly. 


"Hmm," said Eira's father, who for his part looked content with his daughter's words. "And you, Pan, how was your trip out?" 

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"Oh, almost entirely uneventful. A lot of blue above and below. Went by in a blur."


Pan was lying on the bed, wearing a pair of black shorts that reached just below his knees, combined with an emerald green sleeveless t-shirts. He was fiddling with the air in front of him, drawing neon glowing shapes and figures with his fingers. He paused to wave at Eira's parents on the holographic display.


"Don't worry! I'm sure this trip will be just as uneventful and nothing exciting and unplanned will happen at all!"

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Micah was floating a couple of feet off of the ground as he fiddled with the top bunk in the cabin he shared with Davyd. 


"Thank you again for letting me take this one, man. Been having more trouble sleeping through the night lately, but I should be able to leave pretty quiet so you can get your Z's."


He glanced around the cabin for a moment, then picked up his duffel bag and stuffed it into one of the closet spaces.


"Probably best I didn't bring the guitar though. Bit crowded as-is."


He landed, and patted his friend on the shoulder with a smile.


"Be back in a minute. Need a bite."


He stepped to the door, then turned around, blushing with embarrassment.


"Do you want something? I'm sorry, that was super-rude to step out without offering."

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"Oh, sure, no problem, yeah?" Davyd replied from the bottom bunks.  "Better I'm down here, in case I start, uh, dripping in my sleep."  He had reminded them all that he reverted back to his 'default' form when unconscious, so they wouldn't be too freaked out if they saw he'd turned into a vaguely humanoid mass of muddy, protoplasmic flesh.


Davyd's family had been reluctant to see him go so far from home without them, but they knew he had powers, and knew the friends he'd be traveling with also had abilities, and this put their minds at ease.  A bit.  His father made the most fuss, but since there was a chance the teens would be going near Kiev, where his own parents were, he could hardly deny his son the chance to see them.  Uncle Sasha was very excited for his nephew's trip, regaling the youth with tales of his own teen adventures in Europe (which drew many embarrassed looks from his brother, and irritated looks from his sister-in-law), and he slipped Davyd a few hundred Euros just before they left Freedom.  Davyd's grandmother rained kisses down upon him, while her daughter, Davyd's mother, tried to be more stoic and practical, and had given all of his traveling companions a mildly threatening look, as if to warn them not to let anything happen to her son.


He wore what appeared to be a simple outfit, soft brown leather boots, brown khaki cargo pants, and a forest green tee shirt.  He'd brought a few other changes of clothing, as insisted on by his family, though his abilities meant he didn't need to worry about such things.  Best not to argue, put their minds at ease.


He grinned and waved off Micah's apology, "heh, no worries, yeah?  Though I think I'll come with you, stretch my legs a bit, see what all is here."  He rose and prepared to follow his bunkmate.

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The call with Eira's parents was rather painless as such things go. Pan had witnessed, and heard about at length, much worse between the Katastroffs. When it was done, Eira nodded in satisfaction. "Excellent. My father and mother actually approve of you, do you know?" She smiled and kissed Pan on the cheek as she reached down to pull her trousers on. "I do not know what has come over them." She stood up to finish pulling up her trousers, a custom-fitted pair of black slacks that hugged her new body like a glove. She was just a little taller and certainly a bit denser now, though with a careful aestheticism to her frame that bespoke many hours of labor. "Come on," she said, reaching down to take Pan's hand. "Let us see what the others are doing, yes? If we must spend our time riding this silly thing, we should do it in good company."




"Micah!" The moment she spotted her sometime boyfriend coming out of the door, Judy ended weeks of long-distance romance by running up to him and giving him a firm hug and peck on the lips. Then she stepped back, keeping a safe distance between them, and declared, "Well howdy there cowboy." She smiled, adjusting her sunglasses for a moment, and said, "Fancy meeting you here."

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"Are you kiddin'? Ah love mah mountain of a man!" The redheaded telepath stood on tiptoe to accept his kiss. When Judy joined them in Adam's cabin, Lulu grinned. "Hey there, stranger! Welcome aboard!"


As more of her friends began to appear, it occured to her that the accessible room, with it's extra space, would naturally become a gathering place for the group. However there was only the double bed to sit upon. Then an idea popped in her head.


"Be right back, y'all!"


Slipping out into the hallway, she scampered back to her cabin, returning shortly with a folded travel blanket.


"Don't mind me, y'all, just doin' a lil' magic trick."


Lulu unfolded the blanket, showing both sides of it for dramatic effect before snapping it up into the air.




She then allowed it to float slowly downwards until it draped over an entirely invisible sofa in the middle of the room, created out of one of her telekinetic forcefields.


"There we go, have a seat! If anyone asks, just say it's inflatable; they have 'em, ah looked it up."

Edited by Heritage
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Davyd & Micah were in the corridor, headed towards the lounge car, when they saw Lulu scampering back to Adam's room with a blanket.  Davyd patted Micah on the shoulder, "hey, I'm going to ask if those two want anything to eat, yeah?," then slipped past his roommate.


His round face soon appeared in the doorway to Adam's room, "hey you two, you want any-- whoah!"  He walked around the 'sofa,' looking at it from several angles.  "That looks great, Lulu, you're really getting good at these!"  He reached out with one hand to touch one of the back cushions and gave it a gentle squeeze, then snapped his head around to face the two, "oh, sorry, uh, Micah and I were headed uptrain to see about getting a bite to eat.  Do you two want anything?"

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"It does seem so," Pan agreed, while he floated up to stand, while still holding Eira's hand. "I suppose I must be doing something wrong." He made an exaggerated sigh and shook his head, as if to signal that he was giving up. His feet touching the ground, he led Eira out of their shared cabin and into the hallway.


"Oooh, magic tricks!" 


Pan was already by the couch, poking at it gently, before looking up and around in the somewhat cramped cabin. 


"What else do we need? Do we need hammocks? I think we could use some hammocks."


While he was speaking, hammocks in a multitude of colors began to appear around them, gradually fading into being with golden dust falling from their edges.


"Yes, yes, some hammocks would be good. A bit more floor space."


"So, where will our first stop be? Somewhere exciting?"

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"The most interesting person in this country left years ago...er, if we would just have gone to Sweden," said Eira with a smirk, recovering from what seemed like a real emotional bobble. "But the trip will be pleasant enough." She slipped her arm around Pan's waist, then said suddenly, "Race you to the dining car! No cheating!" she bolted at that, dodging past the boys and girls alike and only slowing for a moment as she made her way along the walkway to the other cars. After two years among the super-teens at Claremont, she was back among human beings again. 

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Micah and Judy had been "official" for a fair bit of time by now, but he still blushed to his roots when she pecked him on the lips. He was an awkward young man, when all was said and done. 


"Howdy yourself, ma'am. I reckon we were gonna stumble into each other sooner rather than later."


He gave her a wink; he seemed to be able to at least settle down that surge of nerves he still felt at PDA with Judy much more quickly than early on. 


"Mom says hi, of course. Janet wants lots of pictures."


Then Eira started racing to the dining car. Micah reacted without thinking, and pulled Judy to one side of the hall to help her get out of the way. This ended up with her practically tucked up under one of his arms as they stood pressed against the wall, and perhaps more than a bit against each other, until finally Micah relaxed.


"Ah. Sorry about that, Judy. Hate to get in her way, though. Feel like she's been in a better mood lately."

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Adam chuckled. "I would love a snack, and I would really appreciate if you grabbed something for me. I, um, don't feel comfortable walking around the train much, as I'm sure you can imagine. While I don't mind getting close to some people." He gave a sidelong glance to Lulu. "I don't feel as comfortable doing so around other people. I can pay you back as soon as you get back with it, but, erm." He shrugged. He stretched out a bit on the bed and sighed. 


"This is going to be an interesting trip." 

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"Well our first stop is Inverness," Lulu replied to Pan. "Momma's side of the family comes from there way back when, and ah've always wanted to see it. There's a few castles near there, and Loch Ness; also maybe we can get in a hike? Lots of hills and moors and such."


When the topic turned to food (and Adam's reluctance to move about the train), she sat on the bed next to him and shrugged. 


"Y'know what, we don't have to go anywhere." She reached over to the folding tables near the window and picked up a menu"We can just order room service and stay in. Hell, we can order booze here. Legally!"

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"Ah, yes, food! And exploration!" Pan called out, pumping an arm into the sky. Where his girlfriend barelled through, he let his feet simply let go of the ground, denying gravity's hold on him for the moment, a glittering trail falling behind his feet as he slid across the floor at blinding speed, holding his arms out to the side to balance.


"Cheating? Whatsoever do you mean?" he quipped as he moved besides her, turning around and putting his hands in his pockets, keeping pace with her while grinning mischievously.

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"Loch Ness?!" Davyd exclaimed, his whole face lighting up.  "Oh, I've got to take a swim in that, yeah?  Maybe see if I can find Nessie."  His right arm and had smoothly shifted into a plesiosaur's neck and head, with grey-green scales and bright blue eyes, which looked around Adam's cabin as Davyd spoke.  He turned his head and put on a look of exaggerated shock, "oh!  There she is now!"  He reached for the "neck" with his left hand, but the dino-limb ducked out of the way.  He tried again, and a third time, but it kept dodging out of the way.  After a few moments, though, he stopped the act and the dino-limb rested its "head" on his left shoulder.


"Say, Lulu," and he used his left hand to give his dino-arm head-scritches until it shifted back to a normal arm, "you've got family ties to Scotland, so do you have a clan tartan?  Or coat-of-arms?"


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"Oh yeah, Clan Mackintosh of Inverness!" 


Lulu stood up and held out her arms, and her clothes appeared to change to a  beautiful white blouse and tartan dress. Enchanted by her own illusion, she spun around a few times, allowing the dress to billow and whirl as she giggled with delight.


"Ooh, ah gotta buy me one o' them before we leave. Ah mean, look at it!"


Then she waved her hand and the Mackintosh family crest appeared floating in the air.


"Here we go. 'Touch Not The Cat Bot A Glove' means 'don't touch a cat 'less you're wearin' a glove'; sort of a fancy way of sayin' 'Don't Tread On Me', know what ah mean?"


The Alabama gal shook her head and chuckled.


"Yep, you sure can see the Scottish influence on the South!"

Edited by Heritage
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Adam considered the menu for a moment. "The adventurous one in me wants to try the skirlie, but I'll probably just settle for the macaroni and cheese." He gave Lulu a grateful smile. He truly did feel lucky to have such a wonderful girlfriend. She definitely made the dress look good. 


"The sheer history is just breathtaking, you know? I know my family name comes from England, but my genetics?" He looked down and gave a halfhearted shrug. "I'm not even sure how human I am, physically. Ah well." He took a deep breath and looked around at his friends. 

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Davyd approached Adam and gave him a pat on the shoulder, stretching his torso and arms up to reach the much taller teen.  "Hey, man, a lot of us here aren't exactly human, not completely.  I've got Grue DNA in me, Eira doesn't have DNA anymore.  And I don't think Judy does, either...." he trailed off, being not wholly familiar with the details of her changes.  "And Pan's from some sort of storybook world, so who knows what he has down at the cellular level, yeah?  And while Lulu," he nodded to her, "and Micah might be 100 per-cent Homo sapiens sapiens, they can control some of the most fundamental forces of nature!"


"But with everything we've been through," he extended a hand to Adam, to Lulu, and to anyone else still in the cabin, "and all the challenges we've faced, I'd like to think that we've all proven that it's not what we are that matters.  Or even what we can do.  It's what we do with what we have that matters.  And we all," he nodded, "have been doing good, and will continue to do good."


"But, for right now," he withdrew his limbs and clapped sharply, "who's hungry?"  He stretched an arm over to the window and picked up a menu, "oh, I definitely want to try the haggis!"

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Judy hmmed. She had talked privately with Lulu about how if Eira was going on the trip, she definitely was going to find a way to do it, because she didn't trust that girl unsupervised around Micah for a second. "We don't need to worry about her," she said with a smile to Micah, "we can make our own fun." When Davyd spoke up, she echoed him warmly. "That's right." She took the Grue boy's hand with a smile. "It doesn't matter what your body is made of. What matters is that we're all God's creatures." She looked at Davyd, considered offering a friendly joke about how some of them were more creatures than others, then decided she didn't know the boy quite well enough to say that. "You order whatever you like," she told Micah seriously. "Ah promise, it won't bother me." 



In the dining car, as was her usual custom, Eira was a perfect guest in the presence of the staff, smiling broadly and settling down in a seat by the window. She looked over the menu, asked seriously about vegan options, and wound up ordering cucumber salad while she looked around the room. As soon as the waiter was gone, she smirked at Pan and said, drawing her words out with a wink, "I know a seeeecret...." 

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Pan got to the dining car first, of course. Gliding past Eira, he had dismissed any errant golden dust before they made their way inside, where he was of course absolutely perfectly behaved and did not in any way make faces at any kids they passed along the way, before they found the seats by the windows.


For his part, Pan let his finger glide across the menu at random, until he finally settled on the haggis. With a comment about never having tried that before, he made his order. 


With the waiter gone, he raised an eyebrow in response to Eira's wink and drawn out words.


"Oh, do you now? And what do you suppose I must do to learn your secret this time?" he leaned forward on the table, resting his head on his hands while he spoke.

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"Hmm." Eira's smirk curled into a smile. "I have made you a present," she said, reaching across the table to stroke his hand. "I can show you later, back in our cabin...or you can try and guess..." She looked inordinately pleased with herself, which was not an uncommon expression on the android girl's face. "It is a very special thing that you do not have. And I know, because I have looked everywhere.

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Lulu sighed; part of her really wanted Adam to herself right now, but perhaps now was not the right time. There would be lots of other times for privacy on this trip. Right now she was here with friends, and she should enjoy it.


She pressed the call button for the sleeping car attendant, and when he arrived she placed the order for anyone who was hungry (she was eager to try haggis herself), including a bottle of Chardonnay. Anticipating possible remarks, she held up her hand.


"Hey, it's completely legal here; drinkin' age is sixteen. 'Sides, it's not like ah ordered whisky or somethin' really strong!"

Edited by Heritage
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"Oh? A present for me?"


Pan's grin shifted into a larger smile, as he tilted his head slightly to the side. 


"Something that you can show in the cabin, but not here?" 


He looked around, before leaning in to whisper.


"I could make it so no one else could see, if you simply cannot wait." 

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Micah blushed at Judy's comment about making fun, but nodded. He gave a more comfortable smile and a nod at her encouragement to their shape-shifting friend.


"What she said."


He then busied himself with the menu for a couple of minutes until the server came by. A small part of him felt like they were intruding on Lulu and Adam's space, but they had not verbally objected, so he didn't push. He hummed thoughtfully when it was his turn to order, then spoke up. He made sure almost no trace of his accent was present while ordering, hoping to avoid any confusion. 


"I'll take the charcuterie platter, and then for the main course I'll do the mac and cheese. I'll just have peppermint tea and a Strathmore still for now."


When the server was gone, he gave Lulu a shrug.


"Not gonna judge you about it, Lulu. Not my thing but go ahead. I have personal reasons for avoiding, that's all. The platter's free game for anyone who wants a few bites, I just want to have a bite or two of all the things if y'all wouldn't mind."

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