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Silberman's Books: Reprise (IC)

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Date: 8/21/2015

Taylor paused in front of the bookstore, tipping her head to look up at the sign for a moment. She'd heard about the grand opening but avoided the crowd. It would be just her luck that there'd be some cross dimensional entity looking for a magic trinket and needing a smiting. After all the history here, Taylor would rather not get things off on the wrong foot by throwing some demon through the storefront window. Sure, she could fix it but that wasn't the point.

She took a deep breath as she stepped through the door, pausing to admire the entrance. Taylor had always enjoyed a good book store, especially those of the more esoteric variety. It was nice that she could dovetail catching up with an old friend and browsing for new additions to the library at the same time.

Taylor looked like she hadn't aged a day, which was the literal truth. But for the fact that her hair had grown, Taylor looked exactly like the last time Lynn had seen her; fresh faced and dimpled and dressed in worn jeans and a tank top with the incongruous amulet glittering in the hollow of her throat. "Hello?"

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Huang had been loitering that requisite distance behind his mother that all teens seemed to master as she approached the bookstore.  His disgruntled grumbling at being drug out faded as he saw the displays and book lined shelves and he perked up.  Sure most of it was new age nonsense but there was the tell tale tingle of real magic.  

With a hurried flurry of lanky strides he brushed past his mother to begin perusing the goods.  He flashed a quick smile in the proprietors direction and a casual wave, "Hey Lynne."  he greeted too excited at new books to remember this Lynne didn't know him yet really, and was off looking at books like a kid in a candy store, "Is that a first edition? Cool."  In some ways at least the apple didn't fall far from the tree, "I thought the last copies of these burned in the-"  he paused for a moment, "Heh must be misremembering." and he dug his face into the latin text murmuring under his breath.

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The new arrivals found the store to be very welcoming; the smell of old books and fresh-brewed coffee, the hiss of a milk steamer, Velvet Underground playing over the sound system and sunlight streaming through the windows. Books were everywhere, in neat rows in the bookshelves that lined every wall, artfully arranged on small tables, and most importantly, in the hands of people. Those few sections of wall that had room to spare displayed old movie and magic act posters, and there were odd bits of bric-a-brac tucked in any spare corners. The clientele seemed to be a mix of old Jewish men from the neighborhood's past, and young interracial couples from its future.

 

This particular Friday morning, most of the staff was present; Kiki was in back working on next week's schedule (Lynn was increasingly shift more of the day-to-day function of the store over to her, at her assistant's urging) Lance was working the bar as per usual, Gretchen was on register/searching the internet for recent criminal activity, and Lynn was working the floor. The whole place hummed like a well-oiled machine.

 

Gretchen was the first person to notice Taylor; she sat up slightly on her stool and smiled, not a super-warm smile but they were getting to be more genuine every day. Her accent bore a hint of the Northeast, and she spoke like someone who was still getting the hang of it. "Hi, welcome to Silberman's! Books are what we do; what can we do for you?" She was pretty, with brown hair and dark blue eyes; she wore a loose lavender top under a dark vest, several silver rings on her fingers, and her ears were encrusted with various piercings. In addition, bars of music were tattooed on the inside of both forearms, and there were more tattoos on the fingers of her left hand.

 

For her part, Lynn was a bit thrown off by the young man's casual greeting. "Oh, hey. Hi! Uh..." Though only three years had past since Taylor had last scene her, it looked like the young changeling had matured a lot; no longer the teenage pixie stick, Lynn now had more womanly curves, and she wore her hair curly and shoulder length. There was something vaguely Southwestern about her colorful T-shirt, knee-length denim skirt and rugged sandals, and something hung from a leather thong around her neck, out of sight under the T-shirt.

 

The store owner paused and sniffed a few times as she approached the young man. "Are you...are you JJ?"

Edited by Heritage

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"Maybe you can find something for your dorm room while we're here," Taylor suggested, a smile dimpling her cheeks with obvious maternal affection as the lanky teen shot past her to begin perusing the books. Teenagers, you had to love them because they couldn't just be smothered in their sleep. Especially this teenager as like his parents, he had no need of oxygen. "Nothing infernal, though."

Taylor added that last, probably to rolled eyes when she turned her attention to Lynn and her question for Huang. Her dimples flashed again, "Well, yes, and no. He's going by his middle name, Huang, at the moment and he's had a time skip forward. JJ is still only five and is at home with Jack. So, I, more or less ended up with twins that are about ten years apart. Because of course I did. Doesn't he look like his dad?"

Taylor offered Lynn the short, short version, glancing over at the teenager in question before her gaze went back to Lynn and took in the latest changes. She offered a friendly smile, "You look great! How have you been, Lynn?"

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Huang turned to blink at Lynn for a long moment at her apparent confusion then realized his hiccup with timelines. "Uh yea, that's the short version."  he agreed this whole distimed thing was alot harder when people looked almost exactly how he remembered them.  Stupid immortals stupid unaging faces. Huang sighed as his mother forbade the fun stuff, "I'll stick to necromancy don't worry."  he promised.

As teens were wont to do he turned back to the books grumbling about the injustice of it all only to glance back at Taylors explanation, "And theres the longer version." he sighed witht he kind of disdain only a sixteen year old could muster for a parent.  He stared blankly at her for a long moment, "Don't make it creepy mom."  he scolded then vanished down one of the aisles as something caught his attention with the kind of familiarity one would not expect of a first time customer, of course to him he wasn't, which was, complicated.

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Gretchen's faint smile froze on her face and went cold as Taylor breezed past following her impetuous teenage son. "I don't know why I bother having a Cloak of Invisibility when no one sees me anyway." Shaking her head, she returned to scanning police reports on her Macbook.

 

At the sight of her old teammate, Lynn's jaw dropped slightly and her eyes went big, "Oh my God, Taylor?! You look amazing! And weirdly unchanged!" She deftly manuvered around a stack of books, arms out to give her friend a hug, but then stopped herself. "Wait, are you huggable right now," she muttered under her breath. "I'd hate to pass right through and knock something over." Once the hug situation was resolved (firmly, if she had any say in the matter), she ran her fingers though her hair, shrugged and sighed.

 

"I've been...I've been up and down, to be honest. Mostly good lately, though." She thoughtfully moved the conversation to a less populated part of the store. "Talking about time slips, i just got back from Bill's...from Colt's dimension last year, after being away. For eighty years." She lifted the iron band out from under her T-shirt by its thong, and her voice broke a bit. "He's gone now." She gave the ring a quick kiss, then dropped it back under her shirt as she smiled with a hint of effort. "So how's our broody Jackvenger these days?" Her face went suddenly pale as she rested a hand on Taylor's arm. "You guys are still together, right? Nothing bad's happened?"

Edited by Heritage

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"Huang, don't just... I'm sorry," She gave up on talking after the lanky teen as he vanished, apologizing for his manners. "I swear he has better manners than that. He's just mad at me today. Well, in general at the moment."

Having apologized for her moody offspring, she turned back to Lynn with a light laugh at the last question. She had totally ignored the poor clerk, indeed. Normally, Taylor was more polite but with the chance to catch up with an old friend, she'd unintentionally shut the young woman out. Unaware of the unintentional slight, she turned a dimpled smile to Lynn, "We're still married, still together. Trust me, it takes a united force to deal with that."

She gave a little wave of her hand towards Huang's wake and gave Lynn her full attention, "Despite all the odds, we're good. Jack's good. He's not exactly retired but between his, ah, political efforts and being a father, he's not keeping up with his former night life as much these days. I can sometimes coax him out for an adventure but he has a lot of demand on his time. We both do. Maybe when the kids are a little older."

Taylor's tone turned a little wistful, her fingertips twisting the wedding band on her ring finger absently. She had fond memories of their days dealing with Freedom City's underbelly and missed those, in many ways, simpler days but his vampiric duties weren't exactly the sort of thing one stepped away from. "But he's good, over all. Just busy."

Moving the topic away from her family, she offered a small, sympathetic smile, "I'm sorry to hear that about Colt. That can't be easy, I know. I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope those decades were happy ones."

At least of all people, Taylor was not going to blink an eye about having lived a full life in a different dimension, and could understand what it was to outlive a mortal life span, even if her immediate family were all like Taylor, un-aging. 

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Lynn sighed and then smiled wistfully. "Oh yeah, they were great years, filled with kids and grandkids and great-grandkids..." Then her smile got big as the memories flooded over her. "We fought in the War of Martian Independence; I ended up on a frickin' stamp! Me, the skinny little Jewish girl from New Jersey! Who'da thunk it? Had a really nice day school named for me, too."

 

Turning her focus back on Taylor, she grinned warmly. "I'm so glad you two are still together, with the kids and everything; it's just the best, isn't it?" She swept an arm over the store, in Lance and Gretchen's general direction. "This is my family now, as much as they hate when I say it."

 

Lance waved his latte knife behind the bar and grinned. "Thanks, mom!"

 

Gretchen, on the other hand, had been keeping her eye on the young man poking around the magic books, her eyes slightly squinted; working in this store for a year had made her leery of anyone interested in the more esoteric stuff. Sliding gracefully off her stool, she made her way over to the back of the store, where Huang lingered. Clutching her right arm with her left hand, she cleared her throat and asked flatly, "So what are you looking for?" Customer service really wasn't her thing.

Edited by Heritage

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"It's a little surreal, honestly. It's not the life I pictured," Taylor admitted, her gaze still straying towards where Huang had disappeared, automatically reaching for the sixth sense that told her that he hadn't blipped out when turning the corner. It wasn't an idyllic life, honestly. Taylor was still herself and Jack was still himself and, although she loved the man to all distraction - and was confident in its return, their life wasn't without its ups and downs. There was laughter in the Farretti household, but arguments too, and the constant worry about how people might react to the kids was never all that far from Taylor's mind. "We've been tucked away for the last year because, you know..."

Demons. Or possibly vampires. Or perhaps a cultist. Pick any of the above threats.

"It's always something. But the kids need some structure. School, all of that!" Taylor added, turning the question away from Jack, not because things weren't well but the Farrettis had always been rather private about their relationship, especially considering some of the early reactions to their union. The slight smile, however, was a contented one and the touch that lingered on her wedding ring was affectionate, rather than wistful before she dropped her hands to her side once more and tucked her hands into her jean pockets. "But it's a good sort of surreal. That's quite the extended family. Are any of them on Prime?"

That might have been a loaded question, considering what Phantom did, but Taylor seemed relaxed as she asked it, certainly much more interested friend then scowling inter-dimensional cop. 

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Huang was already deep into the shelves perusing crusty tomes for anything of worth, or better yet danger.  Thus far while many of the folios were of fine pedigree and in good condition it was not of hte sort he was searching.  

Looking to Gretchin with his head tilted slightly to the side he sized her up with an unintentionally preditory gaze.  A small smile crept to his lips flashing a hint of the elongated canines he could not retract as she asked her question. He shrugged slightly, "Nothing in particular."  he deffered airily, "My reading list is pretty easoteric you probably haven't heard of most of them."  he shallenged as much to test the patience of the hipster clerk as because in all liklihood it was true.

He did however put down the early edition he'd been examining to face her more fully looking her over eyes lingering on her knuckles for a moment as he whispered under his breath, "Don't we wish."

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At Taylor's question, Lynn covered her face with her hands, took a deep breath, then slowly pulled them back and through her her hair. "Uhhhh, no. No, there all back on Otherworld." She shrugged. "I don't know what the official designation for it is; I always just called whatever world I'm not on 'the other world', and the two words just mushed together." The changeling leaned back against a bookcase for support. "After Bill died, I...didn't have a life of my own anymore, y'know? I'd lost the love of my life, and I didn't want my kids to ever have to go through that. So, I kinda went into overprotective Jewish mother mode. I tried to micromanage their lives, protect them from all harm." She shook her head and snorted. "Y'know, typical mom s###, really." Then her face clouded over. "But actually what I was doing was smothering them; manipulating the world to make their lives easier, fighting all their battles for them, forming this...impenetrable shield to keep all the badness away."

For a few moments, she said nothing, just staring off into space. "Then one day, my two oldest took me aside and said, 'Ma, we've gotta talk.' And what they told me was that I couldn't protect them from everything. That I shouldn't, and they needed to have the freedom to make their own mistakes, to fall down and break their noses. They were older now, with kids of their own, and as much as they loved me and always would, they needed the space to...have lives of their own. I had to...step aside..."

And then the tears began in earnest.

- - - -

Gretchen looked down at her knuckles, where the words of Joe Strummer were tattooed on the fingers of her guitar hand: 'The Future Is Unwritten'. She frowned for a moment, then crossed her hands behind her back as she peered down her nose at the boy. "I know what you want," she began dryly. "You want the scary s###; you want the real deal, not the stuffed bunny stuck in the bottom of the top hat." She took a step forward, and her grin became rather unpleasant as she whispered, "You want magic."

Edited by Heritage

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Taylor's expression of alarm grew as Grim talked until it turned to one of horror as the tears started. Taylor loathed crying in front of other people. Emotional vulnerability was so very much not her strong suite but she reached out hesitantly to give Grim's shoulder an awkward couple of pats. 

"Oh, hey. It's okay," She offered, her voice dropping as she continued to stand there, giving Grim's shoulder what she hoped were soothing pats even as her gaze scanned the store for someone that might be better suited to comforting the upset pixie. Alas, no one materialized so she continued onward valiantly. "Look, everyone deals with things their own way... It's normal to want to protect your kids and being, well, what we are - we probably see more bad guys than most but just because they need a little more room doesn't mean they're rejecting you or anything."

Taylor offered a hesitant smile, "With Colt's - Bill's - death, its pretty normal to wrap yourself up in the kids. I'm sure all they want is for you to be happy again, you know, find a life again after your spouse rather than burying yourself in them instead. It's just because they love you."

Those were all guesses on Taylor's part as she'd never met any of the children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren in question but she hoped she was somewhere in the right ballpark. "And it seems like you're doing that here with the bookstore... right?"

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Huang smiled a bit at the theatrics of the reveal, no child of The Phantom and The Avenger could claim not to be a bit partial to theatrics after all.  He looked over the shelves for a long moment and slowly nodded, "That would be one way of putting it."  he admitted candidly, "Most are more skeptical of such things."  he probed carefully.  If she was a fellow practitioner best to find out sooner than later after all.  On the other hand this store was run by a creature with at least ties to Avalon so the more run of the mill employees were not unlikely to have passing knowledge of the arcane.

"Would you know where such librams might be found?  Or is that as yet otuside the baliwick of this establishment?"  he queried curiously if somewhat quietly.  No telling if his mother was lurking about ensuring he didn't get anything interesting.

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Gretchen crossed her arms and shook her head in disgust. "I knew it; you people are all the same! Do you have any idea how dangerous that s### is? People end up dead when they mess with magic, innocent people who didn't do anything wrong. Everyone wants a shortcut to power, and they really don't care who gets cut!" Her vehemence on the subject was surprising, and seemed to come out of nowhere.

 

Meanwhile, Lynn was nodded as she tried to fight back the tears. "Yeah, yeah, I know; it still hurts sometimes, y'know?" She rubbed her eyes with the heel of her hand. "I mean, I tried to stay away; I created a new identity for myself, put a few thousand miles between us, but I still meddled. Ruth finally tracked me down and called me up, and said, "Mom, we know it's you." She laughed at the memory of her offspring outsmarting her. "And then we all agreed that I should come back home, reconnect with my family back here. Which has been great, I'm not gonna lie." The changeling shook her head and looked around at the store she'd reinvigorated. "I've loved this store since I was a little kid, and running it's been a dream for most of my life." She shrugged happily. "It's not the people I imagined I'd have around me, but they're all good, solid people. Oh, did you meet Gretchen? She's my...well, she's my new sidekick."

 

"Personal crime-fighting assistant!" Gretchen called out, rolling her eyes; she was not partial to the 'S' word.

Edited by Heritage

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The fact that time continued to march on in Colt's home dimension, Taylor left unspoken but her expression was sympathetic. Hopefully the kids had inherited their mom's longevity but there was never any telling and doubtless, over the generations the fairy blood would be diluted. One hand came up to play with the pendant on its chain absently, her fingertips twisting the Eye of Heshem in what had always been a nervous gesture. She nodded agreeably with Lynn's choices and was mutely grateful for a change of subject.

"Oh, I think I saw her when we came in," Taylor said as the disembodied voice floated over the racks. Her smile kicked up then at the correction that floated back, her cheeks dimpling, "I'll say a proper hello not bellowed over the bookstore, I think."

Her gaze flickered over, once again mentally casting out her senses to ensure that, yes, the teenager was still back there looking for magic tomes. Oh, Taylor was well aware that he was off looking for magic books rather than light reading but in that, at least, she wasn't disapproving. The study of the mystery of cosmos was more or less mandated in their house hold. It was at the very least encouraged. 

"So, doing the super-hero thing now that you're back? How's that going?" Taylor added as they started to move towards the hidden voice. "How goes training the next generation?"

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Huang blinked impassively at the vitriolic response.  Being the child of a vampire king and a dimensional supercop didn't win one many friends to start with mistrust was part and parcel.  

He cocked his head to the side slightly as he waited for her to finish and nodded, "I doubt very much I am the same as any of your other customers."  he replied coldly.  Raising a brow as he set his shoudlers a hint of a smile graced his youthful features with just a hint of fang on display, "As for knowing the danger I am fully aware fo the dangers, well enough to know that not but fools think magic an easy path to power."  he intoned in a rumbling building tone, "If you want an easy path to power get a gun, you'll be endangering innocents in half the time at least."

His piece said he turned to return to perusing the books under the assumption her tirade had been her final word on aid in finding the tomes of more arcane lore.  He smirked at her shouted response and shook his head, "Hey now hero support is a noble tradition, say it loud say it proud sidekick."

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Lynn chuckled and shrugged. "I gotta admit, I've been a little rusty; back on the other side, it was mostly bounty hunting and freedom fighting. Not crime-fighting and heroics. Plus I got used to having my kids as a support group. Coming back has been like-" She chewed her lower lip as she searched for an analogy. "It's like...going to your fiftieth high school reunion, and finding out that no one's changed; they all look exactly the way you remember them, and because you look pretty much the same, they're all like 'Oh, there you are, great to see you! You remember Phil, right?'"

 

She shook her head again, then smiled and looked off in Gretchen's general directon. "Gretch has been great because she calls me on my bull####; she's got no time for the pity party at all. She's like, 'Yeah, you're old and sad. Now shut up and look at this weird story I found; I think this guy killed her.' Which to be honest is exactly what I need right now; someone to keep me focused on the here and now, and keep my head in the game. She's still got a lot to learn about crimefighting and using the Gifts, but the foundation, the passion to make the world a better place? That was already there."

 

- - - - 

 

Towards the back of the store, her assistant was frowning at Huang, her arms still crossed; he was a cocky little s###, but she suspected he was right about not being like their other customers. He also had that air of 'the biz' that many of Lynn's friends had, which probably meant he could fly, eat whole cars or shoot lasers out his nostrils.

 

Ugh; more super people.

 

"If you want the hard stuff, you have to take it up with Boss Lady; she keeps the real McCoy off the sales floor. Ever since I was shot." Slowly pivoting on the heel of her Doc Martens, she strode over to Lynn and Taylor; she stood there for a few seconds, head cocked to one side as she clinically eyed the newcomer in that impassive style of her's.

 

Her employer finally cleared her throat. "Uh, Gretchen, this is Taylor, a former teammate of mine. Taylor, Gretchen."

 

The barista made no move to shake hands, but did manage a nod and smirk. "Hey." Then she looked back over her shoulder. "That kid's gonna be trouble one day; mark my words."

 

Edited by Heritage

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"He's trouble already. My kid is precocious, what can I say," Taylor said with mingled pride and exasperation in her erstwhile offspring. She fixed Huang with a penetrating stare when he rounded the corner in Gretchen's wake. Not for the first time, Taylor was somewhat grateful that the brunt of the vampiric half of Huang's bloodlines had been somewhat repressed. "It's very nice to meet you, Gretchen. I hear you're keeping Lynn grounded. That's quite the task."

Taylor's voice was low and a little husky naturally and dimples flexed in her cheeks when she talked or smiled. Standing shorter than Lynn, she looked about as imposing as a fly but, in their business, having a mild mannered alter ego could often be an advantage. 

"It's always hard adjusting when you've switched between worlds. It'll take a bit. Sure, you'll never be the same - but you wouldn't want to be. Eventually you'll find a new rhythm for life in Freedom City and while it won't be what it was like before, it'll become the new normal." Taylor finally offered her words of advice to Lynn. Her smile flashed then, brief and bright, "Or at least that's what I tell myself." 

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Huang merely rolled his eyes at Gretchens assertion of his looming 'trouble' though smirked slightly at the irony of her shooting being reason to hide the 'good stuff' given his previous comentary but being raised in teh Farretti houshold did not give one normal reactions to things like shootings, or really anything for that matter.  

Beaming despite himself at the vieled praise from his mother he studiously looked at the spine of an older edition of Walden as he schooled his features into a more apropros sullen boredom.  He glanced at Lynn and shrugged, "Or not, normals overrated anyway."  he countered with a small nod, "Gotta mix it up keep the world on its toes,"  Lie to your parents for years that you're nearly a decade older as you try to find your way back to your own time before you destroy it on accident or get deported by the time cops...

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Lynn scrunched up her face and shrugged. "Well there's 'normal normal' and there's 'normal blah'; being stuck in traffic will suck hard on any world in any time, but folding laundry on the couch while you watch an old movie on a rainy day? That's kind of awesome; that's the kind of stuff you miss."

 

Gretchen turned slightly towards her boss and grew very serious. "Wait, you miss folding laundry? Why was I not informed of this? I'd have brought my laundry over months ago."

 

The changeling rolled her eyes. "The point is, yeah, traveling to other planets and blowing s### up will always be cool, but as you get older, a lot of the stuff that seemed like such a waste of time turns out to be....well, maybe not the highlight of your day, but a welcome opportunity to just slow down and be in the moment." She laughed. "Old fogey talk, I know, but it's still true."

 

Her assistant shrugged. "Well, you are a grandmother, so I guess we can't legally stop you from offering sage advice and folksy sayings."

 

"Damn skippy! Lynn turned to the teen and looked him up and down, hands on her hips. "So Huang, what's your area of expertise?  I take it you're a caster of some sort?"

Edited by Heritage

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Huang blinked at Lynn and looked ot gretchen with a distinct, 'did she actually just say that' look, "Yea laundry, riviting stuff Lynn."  he replied with a plastic smile and glanced around with that uniquely teen need to be anywhere but there hearing advice from his parents friends about stopping to smell the roses, or fabric softener.  It was lost on him, there were specteral servants in the mansion to do his laundry.

As Lynns more direct question landed he fixed a stare on her almost as if he was looking through her and let out a slow breath, "I walk a path betwixt the worlds of the mundane and the far reaches of the aether,"  He intoned his voce rissing to a familliar hollow sibilance as Phantoms when acting more officially, "I study the ebb and flow of the arcane and bend it to my will by word and gesture."  he declared haughtily, "So yes you could say I am some sort of 'Caster'.

Yea the fruit hadn't really fallen far from the tree for this one.

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Taylor had opened her mouth to reply, only to snap it shut when Huang began to intone hollowly, his chin snapped up in the spitting image of Jack - when her spouse was at his most affronted. The non-plussed look on Taylor's face was one she rarely wore, her lips pursed and her gaze thoughtful. It was always so blasted hard to tell if she ought to try and reign him in or if these things were better ignored. Not for the first time, she wished there was a way to figure out exactly how she and Jack had been parenting their erstwhile teen before he'd sent himself back through time. 

"Hrmm..." his mother temporized for a moment as she watched Huang through hooded eyes at his dramatic speech, "He has a natural knack for it - unsurprisingly - but he's going to be going to Claremont this year to get a more rounded education that Jack and I can give him through homeschooling. You're only sixteen once... theoretically, at least. Being sixteen should involve friends and school clubs, not almost getting eaten by a magic-eater or touring the sixth circle while getting lessons on demonic hierarchies. That's what the weekends are for."

Taylor did not, exactly, appear to be joking about that last part. 

"As to laundry, raining or not, it's really never been my ideal Sunday," Taylor admitted, this time with a small smile. There was, after all, a reason why their house had laundry ghosts. "A nice book and a rainy afternoon though... It's always nice to have a quiet day now and again."

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Gretchen had returned Huang's look with closed eyes and a nod, clearly a veteran of similar pep talks. But when he went all echoey and mystical, her eyes went just a bit wide as she made what could be best described as an 'Excuse me?' face.

 

For her part, Lynn was doing her best to not bust out laughing; it took all of her willpower and considerable control of her glamour to lock her face into one of pleasant surprise. She knew how much boys hated to be laughed at, but she couldn't help it. Because for one moment she saw her little Jon-Jon puffing himself up all badass when he was ten, and coming into his own power as a dark fae; if only things hadn't gone so badly after that...

 

When it was over, the crime-fighting duo nodded in approval and golf clapped together as if on cue; clearly, they were in sync as a team.

 

"Wow, alright, cool! Take after your mom with the dimensional stuff; I like it!"

 

Gretchen made a chopping motion with her hands as she addressed Taylor in her usual deadpan fashion. "Drama camp. Every summer, eight weeks, intensive program. Best money you will ever spend." Her specific meaning was somewhat unclear.

 

When Taylor mentioned reading,  Lynn visibly perked up. "Oh, hey, former teammates and Claremont students always save fifteen percent! On top of any other deals."

 

Her assistant scowled and punched her in the arm, pretty darn hard from the look of it. "Everyone you know saves fifteen percent; that's my commission you're giving away!"

 

"Ow! That hurts with the ring!" Rubbing the sore spot on her upper arm, Lynn eagerly looked between mother and son. "So we should get together sometime! Do dinner or a movie, beat up bad guys or something. I need to see the little one, and maybe Jack,  sometime...maybe."

 

She flicked her fingers, and two store business cards appeared. "Here, take these; they're mystically linked to me."

Edited by Heritage

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Huang fixed the ladies a nonplussed look.  If he felt embarrased or belittled by the display it did not show more than anything it was that vague air of disappointment those who knew his father were all to familiar with.  He glanced to his mother and sighed, while the temptation was to try and better illucidate the intricacies of hte mystic realms he understood there was only so far one could go with the uninitiated, and these were his mothers friends at least half of them.

 

With a smile showing just a hint of unretractabel fang he moved on rather unceremoniously, "Speaking of books I hear telly ou are hiding away the good stuff these days."  he inquired with a raise of his brow.  Though his chances of finding something interesting when his mother was sure to have veto powers was questionable the effort could pay off.  Huang took the offered card and tucked it neatly into his corner of the void, or at least flung it in the general direction of the antique desk he'd secreted away in there.  "hrmmm." he intoned much in the familiar manner of his mother as he considered the mystical link Lynn spoke of.

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Taylor gave her son's smile a dubious look. If there was one thing living with the Farretti men had taught her, it was that their smile was often just a socially acceptable way to show off those nice, white teeth of theirs. She, too, however took the card with a smile, pulling her gaze away from Huang to look back at Lynn and her sidekick. "He's certainly got traits from both of us but in the magic department, he's taken a bit more after my side of the family."

Of course, that was probably helped along by the fact that Taylor nudged his studies away from the necromantic. There was plenty of time for that later when he was less impulsive. You know, less like a reckless teenager.

"That would be nice, dinner, movie... beating up thugs," That was said with a white smile of her own. "If I can coax Jack to come be sociable, I'll let you know. He keeps pretty busy these days, really. JJ, however, is easier to produce upon request."

Still chuckling, she turned her gaze back to Huang then and the questions of 'real magic' for a long moment before offering, "If he can afford the books, he knows enough - or should - to get into the more esoteric without trouble. I don't mind him buying books but if I could trouble you to let me know what he's purchased?"

Kids these days, it was better if they got their magic books from a reputable source. Taylor knew her son, he was resourceful and she'd rather that he went looking for magic at a trusted bookstore rather than down some back alley with potential charlatans. It was just like having safe search on the internet, right? Right!

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