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Ozoe

A new year IC

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Tap... tap... tap...

The sound repeated itself repeatedly as the slight silver blond haired girl walked down the path to the main entrance of the Claremont Academy. For each step she took, a staff as tall as herself swept in front of her tapping on the ground and continually searching for obstructions. She barely heard the noise of the staff as it continued it's metronome like tapping, having grown used to it long ago. While she could not see, wisps of visions danced in front of her, things which had and had yet to occur. As always they teased and wheedled her with information she didn't have the context to understand. Yet what seemed amazing was rich tapestry of experience in this place and the feeling that this was indeed where she was supposed to be.

Tap... tap... thunk...

As he staff rapped into something solid, she moved forward brushing her hand against the large main entrance to the administration building. Feeling along the edge until she found the handle, she stepped through, letting her senses and visions guide her to the place where she felt she needed to go. School was starting soon, and as a handicapped student, she had shown up early to make sure that she could navigate her way through the campus.

Tap... tap... tap...

"Hello? Can I help you?" came the voice of a woman, perhaps middle aged if her voice was anything to be believed.

"Yes," Tasha replied, "I'm Tasha Williams and I'm here to register as a new student. I think my parents have sent along the required paperwork."

"One moment," the woman replied. Tasha heard the tapping of keystrokes and for a moment she could see the screen as multiple futures converged together, "yes, I see we have your records right here. Hmmm... seems to all be in order, although you're a little early."

Tasha smiled, "I know, I need a little more time than normal to get acquainted with things."

There was a pause as Tasha guessed the woman finally realized Tasha's predicament, "oh, I'm very sorry. I didn't realize."

"It's no problem, I'm used to it and should be able to get around just fine. I just like to have some extra time to get familiar with things. Makes life a lot easier."

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Mike was glad for an excuse to make a graceful exit from Marks tragic 'Noooooooooooo!' practice when the call from the office came that there was a student there needing a tour. He arrived moments later and flashed a quick smile to the receptionist before he turned to the student extending one oversize hand with a friendly grin, "Hi and welcome to Claremont, I'm Mike Harris." he said as the Receptionist added, "Mr. Harris can give you the tour to help you get familiar with the campus." as she pointed out the staff to Mike who's eyes went wide for a moment as he retracted his hand awkwardly.

"Yea um..." he prevaricated for a moment, "So ... do you need me to ..." the tall boy awkwardly ran a hand through his hair as he tried to figure out how to ask how to escort her when she clearly couldn't see him not wanting to assume she was less capable than she was but uncertain of the normal way of doing such things.

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Tasha turned her head in the direction of the voice, a boy's with a nice tone to it. With a vague sense of his size, which seemed far greater than her own, she tried to look up to him. Long ago she had realized that even if she couldn't see, turning her head to 'look' at people made them feel more at ease. Picking up on his hesitant question immediately she flashed him a wide bright smile, knowing enough cranky blind people to understand his reaction completely. Thankfully, she was not one of them. Life was what it was and there was no sense in making everyone else miserable about your own problems.

"Well it would make it easier to follow you, if you don't mind," she said holding out her left hand. "I'm Tasha and thank you very much for the welcome, I'm really really excited to be here!"

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Say hi, don't say hi. Say hi, don't say hi.... Screw it. Eddie had seen Mike walk into the entrance hallway from a side hallway. He was on Claremont campus for one of his summer training sessions, if you could call them that. They were more like parole meetings to tell the truth, but he grinned, and bared it. He had to find some way of moving on.

That's why, he finally decided to say hi to mike. They hadn't talked since prom night.

"Hey Mike," Eddie spoke with a casual wave, sauntering up to the two kids and the administrative officer. "Long time no see, huh?" He nodded to the secretary, and then turned to the girl with the stick. "Who's your friend? Hi, I'm Eddie." Though Eddie still smiled, Mike noticed that he wasn't the chipper spaz that he remembered. Eddie had become a lot more subdued lately. This change was made more obvious by the fact that the two hadn't spoken in so long.

From where Eddie was standing, Tasha could hear the almost inaudible music coming from the headphones he always wore. He usually kept it low enough that it wouldn't bother others, but it was easy enough for her to hear it with the above average hearing that came from adapting to being blind.

[groove]21718763[/groove]

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Mike was surprised to see Eddie on campus. After prom he had thought he'd be gone for sure. He enveloped tasha's hand in his own, and nodded to Eddie, "Hi Eddie." he said mildly uncomfortably as the social norm for interactions with a guy that slammed a car into you at supersonic speeds was a bit beyond his experience. "This is Tasha. Just showing her around." he said with a nod the new students way, "Tasha, Eddie Ozan, He uhm was a student here?" he said uncertain of Eddies status at this point.

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"Still am, actually. Thankfully." Eddie was almost glad that Tasha was blind. She couldn't see how sorry his face looked.

Eddie dropped the sad puppy dog expression, and brightened. No time to dwell. "Good 'ol Dunc is letting me stay. I just have a ton of detention lined up, essentially. Nice to meet you, Tasha." Eddie settled for a wave, though he knew she couldn't see it. "When did you get here? Where are you from?"

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For a moment Tasha wrinkled her brow as she got fleeting impressions of Eddie. Inwardly she sighed as everything was jumbled and confused, like much of her life. Better to just rely on what she could perceive then try to guess when and how her sight might grant something actually useful. Although, she chided herself, it had it's times and places where it came in very handy and one should never get upset at gifts.

She was a little surprised at both how large Mike's hand was compared to her own and that he had taken her hand. Most people offered an arm, not that she minded, but it seemed to put people more at ease. She had met enough people with hangups about hand holding to last her a life time.

"Hello Eddie," she replied missing his wave and still trying to orient where he was. Frankly she was happy to have Mike standing near by as adding more people to the mix would have made navigation difficult at best. "I'm totally new here but kind of local. Recently I've been living in Freedom City, but I've moved around a lot. What are you listening too? I've never heard that before..."

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"Oh, didn't think you could hear that. It's called "Red Flag" by Billy Talent. Second Self-Titled album: Billy Talent II." Eddie smiled, displaying his encyclopedic knowledge of music. "You like it? What music do you listen to?"

She's gotta listen to music, right? It's not like she can watch TV... He thought as he considered her for a second. She's a little shy, I think, but she seems really nice.

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"I know this is going to sound kind of lame, but really it's been whatever is on the radio..." she said with a wry smile. She had a guess that he liked his music as his eagerness to speak on it tangled with a fleeting vision of him dancing at some crowded event. Past of future... she didn't really know as it wasn't all that useful other than knowing that being forced to listen to the radio was probably close to having his teeth pulled with pliers.

"Until recently, I didn't have anything more than an FM radio," she continued. "However, I really like to listen to lots of different things... they just have to be mainstream or make it to some of the smaller stations for me to have heard about them."

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Mike had no idea what the normal protocol for guiding a blind person around was so he settled in for what seemed natural to him. He laughed lightly as Eddie began the music spiel, "Eddies a big music fan. He'll talk your ear off al day if you let him." he explained with a grin shot Eddies direction. "But he's good to have in your corner for musical jeopardy."

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"Mike speaks the truth. I haven't met the man that knows more about music than I do." Eddie smiled, "Including the Maestro."

"Hold on a sec." He told Mike, "Maybe I can help you out," He had noticed Mike's awkwardness at leading Tasha around by the hand.

"You don't mind, do you?" Eddie approached Tasha. He held his hands next to her ears. He closed his eyes and began concentrating. Within a few seconds, his hands were vibrating at a very high frequency. Acting like tuning forks, they began to hit Tasha's ears with just the right amount of sound waves. Suddenly, Tasha could hear the room they were standing in. She could hear what Eddie and Mike looked like. She could hear all of her surroundings. It was like a strange form of Synesthesia that worked to her advantage. Her ability to perceive colors and things was limited, but she could ascertain the exact outline of people, floors, doors, etc. And it was all because of the sound waves emanating from Eddie's hands.

Slowly, he removed his hands from her ears, though the effect remained. "Did it work?" He asked hopefully. Tasha heard him smile.

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For a moment Tasha lost all of her balance and sense of perspective as waves of sensory input washed over her. There was no way to explain what had happened other than she had a clear idea of what was around her. There was an odd ringing that permeated everything, but jumbled with her visions was a fairly clear sensation of her surroundings. She held on to Mike's arm, able to hear where it was to keep from falling over. Reaching out with her other hand, she touched the desk of the admin, then her own hand, 'gazing' at them with a newfound wonder.

"How do you do that?" she said. "Will it last forever? Can everyone do these things?"

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"I'll take that as a 'yes'." Eddie smiled. "But unfortunately, I never actually really know how I do anything. I just know that I'm good at controlling sound. Sound makes waves, right? I figured if you can see with light waves, why can't you see with sound waves." Eddie shrugged, like it was no big deal.

"I don't think it will last forever, though. I'm currently vibrating myself to interact with your ears. Think of it like echo-location. Because the sound waves from my body are bouncing off everything around us, your ears should be picking him up in such a way that will allow you to see. If I stop vibrating, you stop seeing. At least I think." Eddie held out his arms, and presented himself to the girl. "Well, how do I look?" He smirked.

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Mike didn't budge in the slightest as she grabbed on to orient herself with the new sensations, "Yea not everyone. Eddies powers have to do with sound and music." he explained once he was sure the experience wasn't too overwhelming as Eddie had been known to overdo things in the past. "It'll probably fade if Eddie wanders off."

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Alex sent a questioning thought to Mike before she headed into the room. She'd sensed his discomfort and consternation from her dorm room and headed down quickly. Mike didn't need her as a social shield any more but that didn't mean she wouldn't step in when he was uncomfortable.

The moment Alex stepped into the room, she glanced around and quickly stepped into the awkward space between Eddie and Mike.

"Hello, I'm Alex. Alexandra Albright." She said to the girl before she touched Eddie's shoulder, projecting a soothing sort of serenity into the room like a normal person would adjust the temperature on a thermostat. "Welcome to Claremont."

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"Oh..." Tasha said to Mike as she held on to a world that seemed both more in focus and also more disorienting. Still it was amazing to have some kind of normal sight, even if it wasn't perfect. "Well thank you both, I can't say this is what I expected at all... but it's what I hoped for."

Just before Alex entered the room Tasha turned in her direction, visions danced among the sound structures and she blinked sightless eyes several times trying to comprehend what she was seeing. Still holding Mike's hand she saw enough to hope that Alex wasn't jealous and that she understood the gesture that many mistook for some kind of intimacy. She didn't think so, at least that's what her sight showed, but seeing the future was like trying to look into the ocean, constantly shifting and unpredictable.

"Hi Alex, nice to meet you. I'm Tasha and Mike was going to give me a bit of a tour of the campus... it kind of helps..." she finished wiggling the staff she always carried with her.

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"Yep, that's the general idea." Eddie confirmed Mike's comment. Then Alex entered the room. "Hey, Alex. Been a while." he said, somewhat awkwardly. When Alex laid her hand on his shoulder, and used her own powers to calm the room. He felt a lot better. As always, his brain told him that they weren't really his emotions, but as usual, he found he didn't mind them.

Eddie had been staying away from his old group of friends almost as much as possible with the exception of Warren, who still practiced with him when they had the time. But now it seemed like they were coming out of the woodwork. He wasn't so sure he was ready for a full scale reunion, yet.

"So, about that tour?"

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Mike nodded and moved to lead the way out of the admin building going slow just in case tasha was still having trouble despite Eddies trick. He gestured to the quad and surrounding buildings naming them off and paused to ask, "Uhm should we walk you past each one so you get the feel without eddies help?"

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"That would be wonderful," she said smiling in his direction and actually confident she was turned to look at him.

Even though she could 'see', she found herself taping the staff in front of her scouring for obstructions. It was so routine it was nearly like breathing. As Mike walked her around the campus she did her best to count steps and try to memorize the way. Later, when her new found classmates were not present, she would walk the paths over and over so she could get from class to class with a minimal amount of fuss. Certainly her abilities helped, but she had a hard time making out details like building names and sometimes entire structures didn't show up. Better to rely on something that she knew would be constant and ever present, like her hearing or sense of touch.

In general, she was full of questions, asking about any details that she managed to pick up and continued to chat happily as long as Mike, Eddie or Alex seemed amiable to answer. However, as they were getting close to the end of the tour she had one question that she wasn't sure how much it was appropriate to ask.

Curiosity won out, "Mike, does everyone here have powers? Do people hide that sort of thing... I mean Eddie didn't so I guessed not, but I wanted to make sure first."

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Alex wasn't upset at all to find Mike holding some new girl's hand. She cheerfully fell into step with the tour, her information about the campus rather encyclopedic. At the girl's question, she smiled and shook her head while adding aloud, "No, we don't hide our powers unless there's an unusual need to do so. I mean, if we have visitors on the campus who aren't 'in' on it so to speak. There's some really wicked games of frisbee that get played on the quad. Its really important to the staff of Claremont that this is one place we don't have to hide for those that aren't public with their identities. Pretty much everyone outside of here knows that I have powers and basically what they are but that's really not the norm for most of the kids here."

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Relieved, Tasha grinned at Alex, the swirling visions where Alex was upset or angry disapated replaced with a far more benevolant vision. In fact, she could feel the other girl's calming influence and felt far more at ease. Any awkwardness was immediately banished in the face of Alex's easy going manner.

"I think I'll have to be content with being a spectator. I don't think frisbee is really my game. I'm more of a softball player really," she said with a self mocking grin. "So just to make sure, it's ok to ask people about it?"

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"Oh sure," Eddie reassured her with a wave of his hand. "The, 'So what do you do,' question's just about as common as, 'where are you from'. I myself had my big reveal a few months ago." Eddie explained, "There was an incident in the park during a concert with the Maestro. I was so angry at him at the time, I didn't even bother changing into costume. I just let him have it. Hasn't been too much of a problem so far, though. Knock on wood." Eddie flashed Tasha a smile. He liked meeting new people, especially since getting a fresh start with his old friends was becoming so difficult.

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Mike nodded agreement, "Yea around the school most of us are pretty open about what we can do." he agreed with an easy smile, "And there's some powers training if you need it too so we get to see other students in action sometimes too." he explained with a nod, "Some people still maintain a secret identity if they do the hero thing but most of htem its pretty easy to figure out even."

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Tasha laughed, "I've been a no one in the foster system for so long that I don't think that I could handle another secret identity... besides, I have a hard enough time being noticed as it is. Trying to be obscure seems kind counter productive for me."

She paused and wished that she could see expressions. While it wasn't usually too hard to guess how someone felt from their voice, meeting new people was always tricky. The future didn't reveal anything too catastrophic, so she guessed that they didn't mind a little humor.

"Ok, so one more major worry... I'm not going to have to wear some kind of spandex suit am I?" she said it grinning hoping it would be taken in the light hearted manner that she meant it.

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"Weeeeell, you might." Eddie shrugged his shoulders. Tasha could see the gesture by hearing the material of his clothes brush together. Not only that, but she realized that because Eddie was the source of the resonance that had provided her the synesthetic vision, he was the most clear. She saw that he had a wide smile on his face. Something in that smile triggered a rush of visions past an future. Tasha got the distinct feeling that it was an ever present fixture upon his face. There had been very few times in the past, and would be few times in the future when he wasn't wearing it. "That is if you are in the training sessions," Tasha realized Eddie was still talking. "Which is like the super version of physical eduaction. Uniforms are required for that. Not sure if being blind gets you out of it or not, though."

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