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Breella

Don't Stop the Music (IC)

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August 23rd 2011

5:30am, Inside the Greenhouse.

The grounds were dark, the sky full of stars because the moon had already set. It was indeed twilight but the sun would be up in about Forty-five minutes Gwen noted. Sleep had eluded her for the most part, she had nightmares again and after barely not waking Jeena with her sobs she couldn't think of anything to do but come down to the Greenhouse. She might as well get some tending done if nothing else. She wore a plain black tanktop, a pair of grey yoga pants and her Teva Sandals. Her hair was loose and hung around her body like a cape. The vines were all retracted into their baseflower and its petals were closed over itself so it looked like a normal henna tattoo of a bud and its leaves. The bud sat on Gwen's exposed shoulder, the red of the henna dye sticking out against her skin. Her complexion may have been darker than the ink but not by much to begin with. Gwen's time in non tropical area was starting to show as she lightened a few shades over the past month.

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Gwen reached the main door to the greenhouse and pushed it open. She took off her Teva's and left them in the foyer hanging on a post meant for book bags and jackets. She tiptoed to reach the button for the radio system she had installed in the greenhouse. She knew that plants loved music and she plugged her new iPod into the jack. Vicky had convinced Gwen she needed one on a shopping trip and Gwen had found she enjoyed the convince of having music around all the time. She walked barefoot into the main area. The building had gone well and those who had helped erect the building had, in Gwen's eyes done an amazing job. She felt the cool of the paving stones beneath her feet. The stones made a winding path around the main floor and to the spiral stairs that led to the catwalk. Gwen diverged from the path and headed to the first of the compost containers to check on the worms.

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Gwen raked the surface of the dirt gently with her fingers and laid some molding bread from the container there for the worms. She knew that they liked that. She repeated the task for the other seven containers scattered around the grounds. Summers had liked the idea of having a better organic matter recycling system for the cafeteria and Gwen liked the idea of having fresh compost available for the newly turned dirt, it needed quite a bit of enriching. Gwen stood up from the last box and pranced around the bare dirt to the stairs. She seemed to be dancing to a Shakira song and was belting it out in Spanish along with the woman. Her red hair flowed up and out with her twirls and jumps across the bare dirt. "Oye a tu dios y no estarás solo-- Gwen took a step and twirled. Llegaste aquí para brillar y lo tienes todo Gwen swung out her arms and tiptoed on one leg and lept a few paces. La hora se acerca, es el momento, Vas a ganar cada batalla, ya lo presiento" Gwen bellowed out as she went, thankful that the greenhouse was soundproof.

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Nothing had yet gotten planted on the main floor but she had quite a few planters hanging from the ceiling around the second floor. Her first stop was two giant pots about seven feet apart from each other with thick wooden trellises between them. They were large grape vines that Gwen had gotten from a business downtown. She watered them, taking their large leaves in her hands and caressing each of them. A soft green glow passed from her hands to the leaves and the plant seemed greener. Gwen brushed her fingers over the other planter and the same soft green glow passed. It was so faint that it might not be noticed in daylight. Gwen continued her routine, going from planter to planter, all the plants on the catwalk got the same glowing green treatment from Gwen's touch. Gwen began to sing again, this time Katy Perry's Firework. "JUST OWN THE NIGHT LIKE A FIREFL--" Gwen was cut off as she pranced and danced her way across the catwalk and stopped dead in her tracks. She could hear something or someone else in the greenhouse with her.

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Brian Harris prowled the grounds of Claremont Academy, restless. He'd awoken before his roommate today, a virtually unprecedented occasion, though if he was being fair he had never properly fallen asleep through the entire night. He'd tossed and turned in bed for a few hours, then given it up as a bad job maybe thirty minutes ago. The young man had taken a shower and thrown on an undershirt and a pair of loose shorts with the logo of the Freedom Blades (gold skating blade on a royal-blue background) printed on them. Now he was walking across the grass, barefoot, seemingly uncaring about the wet grass or the lumpy ground or the cold pre-dawn air.

As he walked, Brian noticed a strange light coming from the greenhouse. It was so faint that the teen was almost convinced that he'd imagined it, but on the other hand he didn't have anything better to do so he turned his feet in that direction. When he opened the front door, he winced at the sudden blast of loud music that leaked out. Suddenly worried about being caught outside of dorms after lights-out, he slipped inside and secured the front door, completely missing the sandals hung by the door.

The young man prowled around the glass building carefully, unwittingly circling in the exact opposite direction Gwen had taken earlier. When he noticed the glow again, he realized it had come from the second level. The teen wrapped his power around himself and a soft, ruddy glow began to leak from his skin; in another moment he was airborne, floating up over the lip of the level. He was surprised to find Gwen there and hung in the air, blinking stupidly. "Gwen? What are you doing up so, er, early?"

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Gwen nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of the voice. She turned, ready to pummel the person but her eyes rested on Brian as he floated above her. Gwen's encounters with Steelshank, Targeter, and the shark things had her on edge and she lowered her hands, suddenly and painfully aware that without the vines awake she couldn't actually DO anything to Brian, or anyone who sneaked up on her. She flushed red, wondering how much of her silly behavior he had actually seen. "What in goodness name are you DOING in here!?" Gwen shouted at Brian.

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"I think this is the part where I say, 'I could ask the same of your, Ms. Barr,'" Brian replied, hovering in the air for a moment before touching down on the catwalk, "but I guess the greenhouse is kind of your domain, isn't it?" The crimson glow subsided slowly rather than cutting out all at once, and Brian stopped talking to watch it, frowning. That's new, he thought to himself, then shook his head and pushed it from his head. "I couldn't sleep," he said, "so I went out for a walk. And saw someone -- you, I guess -- glowing in here." He cocked his head and eyed Gwen. "I didn't know you could glow. I'm going to have to start a Nightlight Club on campus, or something."

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"I had ni--"Gwen started to talk but noticeably changed her words. "I couldn't sleep either." She pushed some of her hair behind her ear, the motion almost subconscious, but she was suddenly aware of how 'home-girlish' she looked. "I thought I could better spend my time tending to the plants than laying in bed sobb-- she cut off again. "Staring at the ceiling." she finished and she folded her hands across her chest. Gwen looked at Brian, as he continued talking. Confusion played across her face. "Glow?! I didn't glow." Gwen choked it out as she unfolded and started looking at her hands.

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"Maybe it wasn't you glowing," Brian allowed, stepping closer and taking one of her hands in his. "Maybe you're growing radioactive potatoes in here on the sly." He grinned and tilted her face up until he could look her in the eye. "Or maybe Shakespeare inspired me and I'm being all metaphorical." He moved slowly, giving Gwen plenty of time to pull away. He held his breath as he kissed her gently, slowly. When he pulled back his heart was thudding in his chest and his head was full of Gwen's scent. He hand moved from her face to her hair, stroking the long locks. "You really came out here just to be with plants?"

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Gwen melted at Brian's touch. She really loved the way he made her feel, almost like she was the only girl in the world. She laughed out loud at the radioactive potatoes comment. When their lips met Gwen could feel excitement well up inside her. When his head pulled back she slowly followed it, and started biting her lip. "Yeah, Most of them are asleep still, but they'll be waking up soon with the sun. Music and talking is good for them." Gwen smirked. "It's like medicine for them." She shrugged and her hand let go of Brian's as she moved to the next pot. "Someone was trying to get this orange tree to grow outside, here in Freedom..." Gwen rolled her eyes like it was stupid idea. She put her hands into the small branches, caressing them, avoiding the thorn like projections. She looked at Brian and smiled. "See, no glow. Just kind words." but there was that same pale green glow from Gwen's hands.

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Brian dropped Gwen's hand but stayed close to her, one hand on her back, feeling her muscles move through the thin material of her shirt. The thought of plants sleeping and waking up was faintly ridiculous to him, but he wasn't about to contradict her, for any number of reasons. He watched her handle the tree's branches, caressing them gently. Her care and love for them was evident in every movement, but she seemed to be missing what was right in front of her eyes. "No," he insisted, taking her hand. "Definitely a glow." He spread her fingers wide, moving her hand away from the plant to where it was outlined by the dark sky beyond the glass walls. "See?"

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With every moment that Gwen's hand was away from the plant the soft green glow faded. "No..." Gwen's remark was soft and her voice heavy with hesitation. She looked down at the plant, to Brian, up at her hand, back down to the plant. The disbelief in her voice and on her face. "What is that?" She turned her hands over one at a time. "How can I...?" In Gwen's mind her thoughts raced, was it her, or the Vines? Could the Vines even do something like this, let alone while they slept?

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"Hey, it's alright." Brian took a step closer and slipped an arm around Gwen, gripping her shoulder tightly. "This is the sort of thing that happens at Claremont. Heck, if you knew everything about your powers, this would just be a preppy school that looked good on a resume." He tried to keep his tone light, but his mind kept flashing back to the last time he and Gwen had been at the greenhouse, when she had passed out from stress. Granted, it wasn't nearly as hot now as it was then, but a shock to the system like that could take a person any number of ways. He didn't want to think what Nurse Joy -- or Summers! -- would say he if showed up with an unconscious woman in his arms before dawn.

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Gwen put her hands back on the small potted Orange Tree. She began to run her fingers through the small stunted branches and again there was that pale green glow. Her hands froze and she stared at it intently. "Can you see it again?" she asked Brian without taking her eyes off her hands. The branches of the orange tree began to thicken under Gwen's touch. She removed her hands but the tree continued to grow, slowly but surely. Gwen couldn't wait for Brian's reply. "Help me move this pot down to the ground floor!" She stated, standing up and throwing herself off the railing and landing in a crouch. Her feet pattering across the dirt till she made it to the tool shed. She removed a large spade head shovel and began digging right in the middle of the greenhouse.

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Brian's heart leapt into his throat as Gwen threw herself over the railing and down to the ground floor, but she landed well and didn't seem in pain as she moved to the shed. He shrugged at her sudden excitement, waving a hand at the tree; a red glow enveloped the entire pot and Brian both. The pair of them floated up and over the railing, then down to the floor of the greenhouse. The young hero concentrated and the glow around himself snapped off almost at once, but stayed around the base of the pot. He nodded once to himself; that was more like it!

Brian walked over to where Gwen was digging in the dirt, the tree following along in its pot. He kneeled in the dirt and took the spade from her. "Here, let me do that." As he worked in the dirt, blades of red energy appeared all around the hole, making it wider and deeper much faster than any one person could have. "So what's the excitement?"

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Gwen handed Brian the shovel and just pointed to the now small tree behind him. It was now about six inches taller than before and subtle movements in the bark indicated it wasn't finished yet. New leaves budded from new branches, the trunk was noticeably thicker. I... I think I did something to it..." Gwen's mind ran with the ideas, she had been researching plant oriented heroes since coming to Claremont. "I think... I made it grow? That can't be right..." Gwen paced around the pot, her small feet leaving delicate imprints in the recently overturned earth. She sprinted off to the seedling table in the back corner. She cupped her hands around the sprouts but there was no green glow to them and nothing happened. "No, not Growth." Her scientific mind now in overload.

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Brian finally saw what was happening with the tree when Gwen pointed it out, and carefully lifted the entire thing out of the planter pot. He maneuvered it into the hole and stood there for a moment, supporting the trunk and holding it upright, while he watched roots grow and split in the new plot of dirt. When they connected to the larger pile of dirt all around them, they thickened visibly and soon the teen didn't have to hold the tree upright. He stepped away suddenly, goosebumps crawling over his flesh at the sight of so many wriggling little things. No more monster movie marathons with Morgan, he resolved, using his powers to fill in the dirt.

With the tree in place, he walked over to Gwen, putting a hand on her shoulder to stop her from running off again. "Are you sure you're okay," he asked. "You already kind of fainted on me once."

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Gwen stepped over to another potted plant, another rescue. This one had several dead leaves and looked quite on its way out. She reached out a hand and it began to glow even before she laid her hands upon it. She looked up at Brian and looked back to her hand. The crumbled and decaying leaves shivered for a moment before they began to turn green again. Gwen's jaw went slack and her eyes went wide. "It *is* me..." she murmured.

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Brian followed a step or two behind Gwen, watching her bring dead plants back to life with just a touch. It was amazing, but he was more worried about her. He had noticed that she tended to go all-out for others. It was an admirable quality in anyone, doubly so in a superhero, and it was probably why she had agreed to go out with him in the first place, but sometimes it seemed like she didn't know her limits. He didn't want to see her slam up hard against them again.

Brian took two steps forward and slipped his arms around her waist, pulling Gwen towards him. "I knew you were something special," he said, kissing the top of her head. "But why don't you slow down for a moment?"

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Gwen looked Brian in the eyes. He had a point. "Yeah..." Gwen's voice trailed off and she walked over to the orange tree. It had stopped about 5 ft tall. "I guess it must have been more stunted than I originally thought." She said as she sat down in front of it facing it and looking at its new bright green and thick foliage. Several white blossoms shown through the green leaves. "I guess now I have to finish those bee keepers for pollination."

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Brian reached over Gwen's shoulder and plucked one of the new white blossoms, then brushed the woman's hair back from her face and set the flower behind her ear. "There we go," he said. "Just about perfect. Here, come here." He sat on the ground near the edge of the plot of grass, facing the revitalized tree. He pulled Gwen down next to him, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. They watched the tree grow in silence for a long while. When Brian spoke again, his voice was quiet. "You didn't come down here just to talk to your flowers," he said, "did you?"

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Gwen let herself be pulled down next to Brian, she tucked her tiny frame up against his and nestled herself down under his arm. She opened her mouth, closed it, and looked deep in thought before she spoke again. "I was in a fire when I was small..." Gwen trailed off and let the silence resume for a moment. "It... it hurt." She went still as a tree for a moment. "Its hard to talk about." She seemed to shrink down deeper into his arm and took a deep breath.

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Brian looked down at Gwen, his mouth pressed into a thin line. It hurt, physically pained him, to imagine such a trauma in her past. To picture her, as she was or even younger, trapped behind a wall of flame, or running through a building building, chocking on smoke... It made him want to strike out, to hit something, to punish whoever was responsible. His eyes flared more brightly for a moment before he closed them tightly. He kissed the top of her head, inhaling the mixed scents of glowers, tilled earth, shampoo, and Gwen.

"It's okay," he said, his voice muffled by her hair. "I'm here. Nothing's going to hurt you."

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Gwen smiled and rocked a little to the beet of the music. The song had changed to an instrumental cover of some pop song Gwen couldn't remember the name of. Gwen crawled forward a little and put a hand on the Orange tree. It had stopped growing and the sun was about to come up over the horizon in a few short minutes. Gwen was worried that it might be shocked by its exponentiation overnight growth. She turned back to Brian. "Have your powers grown or changed since you came to Claremont?" She rested on her knees, looking at him while she embraced the tree with both arms.

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Brina enjoyed the view of Gwen crawling away from him, suddenly wishing that she did her midnight gardening in a bikini. He pushed the pleasant but distracting image away, snapping his eyes up when she turned around. "I do what I do," he said. "Fly around and blow stuff up. Though a couple of the things I've learned under Mr. Archer are pretty cool," he admitted. He leaned back and stretched out his legs, tapping his shoe against her knee. "Heck, I haven't even been doing this a whole year, Gwen, and I'm finding out new stuff." He grinned. "And don't forget, we're teenagers. Puberty, hair, hormones. Makes sense that our powers would change some, right?"

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