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Gizmo

No Man's Land IC

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It had already been more than a month since Ellie Espadas had enrolled at Claremont Academy under the pseudonym 'Jill Pique', thanks to some creative records altering by Vince, the Interceptors' gregarious AI. He'd had some concerns that his efforts had been noticed, but come September the headmaster, Duncan Summers, had welcomed her without comment, and so far everything seemed to be going according to plan for her senior year, and her first with super powers.

Unfortunately, the plan hadn't actually specified that she make any friends, and so far the coltish teenager had managed to drift through her classes largely like a ghost, unnoticed for better or for worse. Part of the problem was that unlike many of the prestigious private school's students, she didn't actually live on campus, and had found little opportunity to socialize outside of the classroom. Which was why, despite her natural inclinations, she'd decided to wander into the dormitories' common room after her last period that day, hesitantly brushing her dyed black hair behind her ear and feeling a bit like a trespasser.

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Seated in one of the corner chairs, Eve sat with her legs folded under herself, absorbed with the book in her lap. Eve still found it difficult to open up and be social with the other students, but on advice of her counselor she started to frequent the common room, a suggestion made all the more easier since the weather has started to turn. But even the common room had its moments of quiet and tranquility, and this was one of those moments.

Eve glanced up from her reading to take a drink of water from the bottle on the table next to her when she noticed a new face in the common room. The telepath had noticed the tall, dark haired girl on campus and recognized her as an upper classman, though one of the few that lived off campus which made her presence in the dormitory a departure from the routine. The senior's posture and hesitant motion stirred feelings of empathy within Eve, and so setting her book aside she smiled and gestured at the seat next to her.

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"Uh, hey," Jill greeted the petite, white haired girl with a minute wave from the elbow before sauntering into the room with her thumbs hooked into the belt loops of her faded jeans, the collection of overlapping bangles about her wrist clattering lightly as they settled. She wore a light grey fitted vest over and oversized dress shirt, the sleeves rolled up past her elbows. Sitting down heavily into the proffered seat she looked about the mostly empty room before turning back to her diminutive companion. "I'm Jill. Place is, ah, quieter than I was expecting."

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--You have arrived at the moment I call "The Cusp,"-- Eve responded, a faint trace of amusement accompanying her telepathic projection. --Or perhaps "The Eye" is more appropriate? In either case, a moment of quiet and calm surrounded by noise and activity.--

Extending a hand, Eve's faint smile broadened slightly. --I'm Eve.--

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One of Jill's eyes squinted while the opposite eyebrow raised in a look of bemusement. "Aaand you're talking in my head." The taller girl's cheeks coloured slightly as her expression turned chagrined. "Er, sorry. Still getting used to... stuff like that." Shaking the proffered hand, she offered Eve a wry smile. "It's like, I'm sitting in class and listening about the Civil War and then I'm all, 'oh hey, that guy is moving his pencil with his mind and that girl's head is on fire and she's totally cool with it'. Doo doo doop."

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--I apologize if I am making you uncomfortable,-- Eve murmured, a faint frown flickering across her face. --That is not my intention, but you looked as though you wanted to talk to someone and this is the only way that I may do so.--

A serious look formed on Eve’s face as she looked into Jill’s eyes. --If you want me to stop speaking to you like this, I will.--

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Jill raised her hands in front of her, shaking them back and forth in a mild panic. "What? No! No no no, I just- I snark. It's a thing. Deeply genetic." Inwardly the coltish girl groaned, reprimanding herself for not only offending her new acquaintance but coming across as a total super-newbie. "Seriously, this is like the longest conversation I've had with anyone here since the semester started." Leaning back in her seat, she gave Eve and awkward, sidelong glance. "So... sorry, this is probably super rude, but you only talk, y'know, telepathically?"

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Eve shook her head, her serious expression largely replaced with her faint, ever present smile. --It's not rude; chances are you would have found out sooner or later. I'm mute. Not sure how it was with you when your "gifts" manifested themselves but for me, well it stole my voice.-- The white haired telepath leaned forward, lightly resting her hand on Jill's forearm, a subdued aura of friendliness emanating from her.

--I didn't think you were snarking. I just... well some people are really nervous around telepaths, and understandably so.-- Eve shifted position in her chair, sliding her legs out from under her and crossing them at the ankles. --So, you're new here.--

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The surface of Jill thoughts was like well-oiled plate mail, guarded and concealing but jointed for flexibility. A heat permeated the armoured shell from within, but Eve couldn't sense any more without intruding deeper. "Wow," the taller girl stated flatly with a sympathetic grimace, "that is balls. Obviously." She didn't see any of the telltale signs she's associate with vocal chord trauma on the white haired girl, and her powers suggest a mental cause, which unfortunately fell outside of her own abilities. "Ah, yeah, I didn't exactly 'qualify' until pretty recently, but my brother pulled some strings to get me transferred."

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Eve nodded, turning her attention away from Jill as she settled back into her chair. --It was, it is, as you say, balls.-- Eve shrugged as a thoughtful look crossed her face. --In any event, it helps to have family capable of pulling a few strings.--

--How are you adjusting?--

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"Oh, y'know, good," Jill responded reflexively, brushing her bangs away from her eyes in a self conscious tic. "I mean, not crazy awesome or anything, but fine. Just settling in." In this case 'settling in' was a euphemism for 'keeping to herself and not talking to anyone' but given her company, complaining seemed to be in poor taste. "It's different, definitely. Lot to get used to."

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Eve tilted her head to the side as she regarded Jill. She had a feeling that the taller girl was holding back a bit, as a telepath you learn how to read people regardless of whether you're using your talent or not, but Eve wasn't going to pry. That'd be rude.

--You're new here, and to what "qualified" you to attend Claremont,-- Eve started. --And unless my observational ability, and memory, has completely failed me, a senior here.-- The white hair telepath paused for a moment, considering her next words, --You also don't live on campus, and you were nervous entering the common room. From all that I imagine you haven't really had much time to get to know the other students.--

Eve smiled at Jill, a faint aura of understanding and sympathy radiating from her. --It is a lot to get used to. So let's take it one step at a time. What's the hardest part, in your opinon?--

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"Heh, is this where you reveal that you're not actually psychic, you've just got mad Sherlock Holmes skills?" Spreading her hands, Jill conceded to Eve's observations. "Euh, it's not that bad," she excused with a shrug and sardonic half-smile. "I'm a roll with the punches kinda gal anyway. But, for the sake of argument, I guess I'm just not great at, y'know, 'making friends'." She framed the words in finger quotes, well aware of the hackneyed sentiment.

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The smaller teen shook her head at Jill's Sherlock comment, a wave of amusement washing out from her. --Oh please,-- she demurred, --Holmes was British.-- The telepath shrugged and glanced away from Jill for several long moments.

--Being able to roll with the punches is good, being able to punch back is better. Letting other people in, allowing them to get close to you, just gives them more power to hurt you. It's better, and easier, to just keep people at an arm's length, not only can they not hurt you where it's hardest to heal, but you won't inadvertently hurt them either, which would make you feel terrible, knowing that your words or actions caused someone you cared about some measure of unhappiness. Why bother trying to make friends when you don't need them?--

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Jill blinked for a moment, mouth opening slightly, before breaking out into laughter, a strong, brassy sound. "Maldito, girl. Either that was some serious reverse psychology or you are just one stone cold crazy badass." The coltish teenager placed her hands behind her head and reclined further into her seat, looking considerably more at ease. "Either way, I think I like it. So, what's there to do around here, besides school?"

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Eve shrugged. --I spend most of my time running, working out in the gymnasium or relaxing in some quiet out of the way spot so I can avoid some of the obnoxious 'mouth talkers' that attend this school.-- She leaned back in her chair and cast a sidelong glance at Jill. -- You would not believe some of the things they think. This is a place where most of us are learning not only how to get our powers under control, and become functional members of society, but how to be heroes. But some of the thoughts that just leak out are the most petty and juvenile things I have ever heard.-- Eve made a sour face. --Not to mention all that hormonal stuff.--

--Besides, I'm fairly new here myself. I only arrived in country a month or so before school ended.--

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Jill snorted, splaying out her fingers exaggeratedly. "Well, excuse my vocal chords, princess," she drawled with a smirk. "It's a high school. People are generally jerks, and you're catching at the most self-absorbed point in their lives. Some of them might even grow out it." She returned the telepath's sidelong glance. "So, is that 'every six seconds' thing really true?"

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--Princess, huh?-- Eve leaned back in her chair, musing. Flashing a wry grin at Jill, the white haired telepath practically purred. --I like that. My family did establish both the French and German monarchies, after all.-- Eve's grin transformed into a wide smile, a bubble of laughter escaping from her lips as she considering how to answer Jill's last question. After a brief pause she simply nodded. --You can almost set a watch by it.--

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It took Jill a moment to figure out if Eve was kidding about her royal lineage or not, simultaneously taken somewhat aback by the petite girl's non-verbal vocalizations. "Uh... wow. My dad's actually French, but that side of the family is less 'monarchy' than 'mystically enhanced foot soldiers for a secret society'. Still!" She absently tucked her hair back around her ear, a few of the bangs almost immediately falling back out of place.

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Eve waved her hand dismissively. --It's no big deal, only part of the family was monarchy. The rest of us were concerned with more important things.-- She shrugged, --Not like the monarchy is still relevant. Times changed and we changed with them.--

The telepath's posture had changed during the course of the conversation, appearing just a little bit more relaxed and open. The young Martel couldn't put her finger on it, but there was just something about Jill's attitude that she liked. --Getting back to your question, Jill, there's a lot to do around here, but I don't know what you like to do. So what is it you do for fun?--

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"Uh... huh." Jill tilted her slightly to one side, her dyed hair slipping out from behind her ear again. "That's actually a pretty good question. Keep pretty busy most of the time; studying, volunteering and... part time job slash internship thing." She shrugged and rubbed the back of her neck for a moment, thinking. "Don't really just hang out much. Man, that's kinda weak when I say it out loud."

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--Well that's kind of surprising to hear, coming from someone like you. Tell you what, if you're not too busy over the weekend I'd like to invite you to our home in North Bay for brunch.-- Eve smiled at the older girl, --You can invite someone to come with you, if you want, we've plenty of space.--

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Did she just...? No, don't be dense, she's just being friendly. Hiding her momentary unbalance well, Jill quirked an eyebrow upward. "I'm going to take that 'someone like me' thing as a compliment," she grinned wryly, brushing her hair back with her fingertips once again. "I, uh, don't really have anyone to bring, but yeah, that'd be cool. The brunch thing, I mean."

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--Wonderful!-- Eve exclaimed, beaming a smile at Jill. --If you prefer we can send a driver to pick you up, unless you would rather drive yourself.-- A thoughtful look crossed the telepaths face. --I hope you don't mind my asking but what gift, as it where, made Claremont the right school for you?--

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"I possess the astounding genetic quirk," Jill explained in an melodramatic tone of mock seriousness, "of being slightly above average height for my particular demographic. And so I took to the shadowed streets as Wears Flats To Events With Dancing Girl!" Raising a fist in front of her, the coltish teen nodded decisively. "And the criminal element quaked with fear." Leaning back in her seat, she unclenched the fist and waved her hand vaguely. "I guess I've got magic healing powers, force fields and the ability to make people puke all over themselves with a touch, too, but whatever."

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