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Carmen

 

Carmen didn't smile back, instead looking at him more passively. Animal eyes, with the hint of humanity that showed that she was still human, looking him over, "Carmen. It's also my first year as well" she responded. He didn't seem all that bad and he was just as new as she was. If he was a first year as well, it likely he was going to be attending the orientation, and maybe in the first class as well.

 

It took her a bit to stop herself from refusing the offer, letting him grab some of the books even if holding them barely made her break a sweat, "Sure, if you'd like to help me. Are you attending the first period orientation?" she asks him, fiddling with the varsity jacket that she wore. Even if she was mostly black furred, the jacket seemed to cover over her body, as if trying to hide it away, out of view. To whom however was unsure. It was plainly clear what she was, but for Carmen, it was all for self-assurance.

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Noel

 

He smiled brightly. Someone who was going to the same place! Maybe this disaster might actually be a blessing in disguise. "Yes! I mean, yes, I have to go to first period orientation.

 

"I like your jacket. I'm still waiting to get my uniform. Waiting on a lot of things, actually." He let her lead the way towards orientation. "Feels like my feet have hardly touched the ground since I left home. I get the impression a lot of strings were pulled to get me in for this year." He glanced over at her, conscious of her reactions towards him. "I hope this ain't a rude question but, like... what's your deal? What do you do, I mean. This school being what it is, and all."

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Carmen

 

"Strings?" she asked slightly puzzled. She wondered if he didn't have some sort of strange power or something, maybe a criminal record. She didn't know what really would stop someone from attending this place outside of those sorts of things as she had never been told fully why. Her own predicament for being here was simply just to say on her best behavior and show decent to good grades. A simple enough task even if she was a little bit behind, the summer period helping rather a lot.

 

She fiddled with her skirt a little, walking with him to class, "Well... if you can't tell I'm special, I know it's hard to see why but I am," the black furred cat girl attempted to joke, "Claremont is all about using those special gifts I guess to be better. To help people, self-mastery and all that."

 

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Noel

 

"Yeah, like... To get everything arranged. This time last week I didn't even know this place existed, now here I am taking orientation. A lot of people worked hard to get me here, and I don't want to let them down. Does that... make sense?" He truly didn't want to disappoint anyone, and besides which it had been a condition of him avoiding any charges from the revenge he'd exacted back home.

 

"No, I mean... obviously I can see that you're different. But the world for all I know you could be a mutant like me, an alien princess or a cat that a witch cast a spell on. There must be more to you than just what's on the surface, if you know what I mean. I know a thing about appearances not being anything."

 

With his free hand, a glittering green stem grew out of the unbroken skin of his upturned palm. The stem grew and bloomed into a carnation with petals of glittering black jewels. Its facets were perfectly detailed and even had a faint floral scent. and it sparkled in a way it should not have under the soft lights of the school. Then it disappeared, an ephemeral puff of smoke. 

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Carmen

 

Watched as he formed some sort of flower in his hand before puffed away into smoke, all the while silently seething. There was one word that she didn't like being used in terms of describing her and he had said it. She'd stop him there, standing still for a few moments with her slitted feline eyes, "Don't you ever again call me a cat, you understand..." she spoke with a slight growl in her voice one of her hands had been kept back by the other, restraining herself as she began to slowly calm herself down, "I'm not any of those things and don't use them to describe me again."

 

She would take a deep breath before letting them continue forward, "I guess it does make sense that you have to work hard to be here."

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Noel

 

And there it was, he thought. He knew he'd find it eventually, the conversation topic that would crush this budding friendship into the dirt. "I'm so sorry." The blush rising to colour his pale cheeks. "I was just trying to... it doesn't matter. I'll be quiet." 

 

He walked on quietly. It was all he could do to not have just dropped the books again and ran, but that would have been another thing he'd doubtless pay for later in one way or another. The comment that she then gave about him working hard felt like the perfect finishing move to his monumental disaster. 

Edited by Griffalo
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Neko took the art from Leon and blushed, her cheeks coloring in distinct lined patterns. "Thank you, Leon." She smiled shyly, looked from the pretty boy to the pretty work and back again, and took his hand. And unlike so many times in her mind when she'd pictured a moment like this, she didn't even weep.

 

Smiling, Neko walked along with Leon, having pressed the latter into service of carrying the small sack of money she had swapped out with Owain back at the cash register of their little impromptu business. She'd intended to give Carmen and her new friend a wide berth as they went, but suddenly she stopped, ears pointing forward as she picked up on the tension between the two. She hadn't caught all the words, but she knew a difficult moment when she saw it. 

 

She glanced at Leon, then walked towards the duo, tail swishing behind her. "Hiiii!" she said cheerfully, drawing on her best 'American manners' to give them both a big smile that showed just a little bit of pointy teeth. She was as much girl as cat, wearing a bright red kimono over blue jeans. "Welcome to Claremont," she said, yellow eyes wide, accent heavy. "I am Neko Musume, and this is Leon." 

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Carmen

 

"No, I'm sorry... you didn't know, it's alright, I didn't mean to," she says realizing how bad that she just sounded like. For her, another friend may have now been likely lost. So much for a good first impression, it appeared like Carmen had once again been far too rough in demonstrating her dislike for being called a cat and likely should have been far nicer and calmer when refuting her loathing for such a horrid description to be called a cat.

 

She was going to say something else, to further apologize when she showed up. It was Neko, alongside Leon as well. What was she going to do now that she was there? It wasn't already hard enough to apologize, now her unseeming mortal enemy was there before them both, likely fully having had overheard what had occurred in some capacity. Carmen wasn't sure exactly what she was going to do, standing her ground as her eyes narrowed at towards both of them and taking a slight step back.

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Noel

 

"Truce." He managed to say with a smile before Neko and Leon arrived. The tension was palpable, and that only intensified with Neko's enthusiastic greeting. People that chipper when they met you had bad intentions towards you, as often as not.

 

"Uh, hello. I'm Noel. I'm new here and... Carmen and I were just on our way to orientation. I'm not sure if we have time to talk..." His voice rising slightly, a hint of a question. Whether she wanted to linger or move on was up to her. It seemed if this was going to be a fight, he'd picked Carmen's side

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Leon

 

Neko’s smile had his heart skipping a beat. And his temperature rising when she took his hand. That was it… he was twitterpated.

He showed Neko how his gift could be used as a hair clip when she liked.

 

Letting her lead him back to the little stall, the irony of being asked to keep money safe not escaping him. Leon happily held Neko’s hand as the two headed back towards the dorms. This was the perfect chance for some alone time.

Then they happened upon Carmen and a new kid Leon hadn’t met yet. The two seemed to be having a tense moment and he wasn’t sure if they should step in when Neko took the initiative.

 

When she introduced him, Leon gave Carmen a friendly smile and a nod, he gave the new kid a friendly smile as well and short wave.

“Hey. The late arrivals are slipping in, so you probably got a few minutes before it starts.”

Leon glanced between the two.

“Is everything cool?”

He asked noticing Carmen’s tension.

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"Yeah okay," said Neko too easily to Leon, "I am saying hello to Carmen's friend." She was nervous, wondering what her own new relationship (is that what it was?) would mean for this encounter. "Hello and welcome to Claremont," she said, tail twitching nervously behind her. If Carmen was more cat than girl, Neko was more girl than cat, but their mutual feline nature was obvious. "Are you from here?" 

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Carmen

The more cat than girl young woman kept relatively silent as the exchange continued, wanting to ease up on the more hostile nature that she was feeling towards Neko and still reeling from having to apologize for her aggressive outburst before the two showed up. It was still a curious thing that both of them seemed to be constantly walking on nails with each other, even if their contact with one another was rather mild for all things considered. Maybe it was just the nature of cat like behavior that had become just instinctual for them, who exactly knew was questionable.

 

"It's cool," she says crossing her arms tighter, looking rather ice cold as she didn't seem too pleased. She didn't protest and seemed to back off saying anything more.

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Noel

 

"Uh, no. Not from here. Boston, literally just transferred here, so..." The tension so palpable it could be sliced, but a part of him was grateful that for once, he wasn't the cause of it.

 

"Sooooooo..." He drummed his fingers at his sides anxiously. "Anything I should know about this place that isn't in the handbook?"

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Leon

 

Both of Leon’s eyebrows rose as he glanced around the three other students.

“Right.”

Stepping up closer to Neko, he hesitates a moment, before cautiously placing a hand on her back in what he hopes is a supportive gesture. He really hoped he wasn’t overstepping his bounds as he smiled down at her, then back at the other two.

“Boston? Neat."

He gave Noel a smile.

"Not in the handbook?”

He chuckled.

“Well, there are plenty of cuties. The student body is like 99% friendly and will have your back. The classwork’s tedious, but the teachers can be cool. The field trips can be real adventures. And if you ever need to sneak out, you can always find someone willing to help.”

Leon’s smile turned a mischievous grin at the last bit.

“Seriously though, if you need anything or have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Was he actually talking the school up? When exactly did this place start to feel like a home to him? Leon dismissed the thought mentally for the moment.

“Carmen here’s been around for a bit. I’m sure she’d be happy to show you the campus if you like.”

He glanced at Carmen inquisitively.

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Neko had no idea where Boston was, but she certainly wasn't going to admit that - especially not in front of Carmen. Reaching down to take Leon's hand again, she said, agreeing with Leon, "The teachers are very soft. Do not worry about them, no, okay?" There were students she thought deserved a caning, but she knew from her host family that such things weren't really practiced anymore. 

 

"If you want to be a-American superhero, Claremont is a good school. I learn...ed a  lot here." 

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Noel

 

He managed a polite smile for both of them. "I'll try to remember all of that." Finding someone hadn't exactly been on his agenda, but he had been secretly wishing it would happen. Leon was fairly cute himself, although obviously taken with the cat-girl; the one that looked like a Japanese cartoon character, rather than the actual c-word.

 

"Well, I mean I guess being a superhero wasn't on the top of my list, but I figure you got these powers you got to do something with 'em, right?" He gave Carmen a genuinely warm smile. "I don't doubt that people are friendly here. I bumped into Carmen a few minutes ago and already she's been super nice."

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Carmen

For her own part, Carmen was definitely a bit more cat than girl in this case compared to Neko, and while found herself attracted to a few fellow students she had worked with and passed by in the halls of the school during the break, she held back such emotions, only in a few instances finding herself unable to cope with her emotions. For her it was something that she couldn't really grasp the concept, her mind much like a cat being rather too short termed in terms of attachment. In those periods, it usually involved trips to her room, where a certain pillow that was somewhat sturdy would be the victim to violent clawing attacks. Counselors found that she also did this for when she upset or angry, partial to her cat like nature.

 

"Yes, nice," she says, giving a sheepish smile. Here she was, in a school of heroic youths, attempting to not be the bully the best that she could in this situation.

Edited by MoonSimply
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While Luke would have enjoyed hanging out with Gwen and the others a bit more, unfortunately his 'duty' called and the young man had again been pulled away from the rest of the bunch to handle some other 'catastrophic' mishap that unfortunately wasn't that uncommon with first year students who all had superpowers. (At least his dragon hide was impervious to magic or the 'mishap', would have much likely ended with him being froggy-fied as a few unfortunate fellow students)

 

When he rejoined Leon and friends, he noticed that they were together with a newcomer. He gave his roommate a playful grin, realizing that he was in fact keeping company with Neko and that the cat-girl had somehow descended from her perch on the tree. 

 

"Hey what's up?" He saluted the group. "I see you have befriended some of the fresh meat." He teased, giving Noel a playful nudge. "I'm Luke by the way. Aka the Southside Dragon, aka Nightscale. At least until I find something better." He chuckled. "At your service."

Edited by Nerdzul
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