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Sticks and Stones

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Outside the Main School Building, Claremont Academy

Morning, 5th March 2016


In the cold overcast light of another day a little group of students reluctantly gathered outside the building waiting for a teacher to arrive to deliver there punishment for the morning. For these were students who it was thought a simple detention wasn’t enough, they needed to learn to get on with each other. Each group would get a little patch of ground to clear of trash and hopefully learn to work together.


The teacher for the day was a relatively new who whenever seen was always impeccably dressed in a suit her hair tied up into a bun, rumors swirled if she was a super or now as she hadn’t displayed any hint of obviously powers. One by one she assigned each couple their assignment, in her soft local accent, and handed out the equipment to gather the few trash.


“And finally we have Ms Morningstar and Ms Clouston.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Phaedra sighed and gave her partner a surreptitious glance before stepping forward to collect the equipment.  For the young half-demon, nothing had really gone right at Claremont since that Halloween party, and she found herself a virtual pariah at the Academy.


It took a few months, but eventually the redhead's temper got the better of her, and now she was paying for it.  And the worst thing, the half-breed thought to herself, is that she lost her temper with the girl she was about to spend to rest of the afternoon with.


"Here," Phaedra Morningstar coolly said, handing Cathy her set of equipment.

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Despite what some might expect Cathy had been in trouble a few time before, she was still a teenage girl, though rarely so physical as those at her previous school had been a little scared of her using her powers. Still she was a little embarrassed by what had happened, she was sure it would only reinforce some people view of her misbehaviour. She had the hood of her parka pulled over her head, and pair of borrowed sunglasses, to hide her black eye and split lip that she’d been unsuccessful in totally hiding with her limited makeup skills.


“Are you sure that’s a good idea Ms? That kind of why we’re here in the first place.” She felt embarrassed almost as soon as she started talking, trailing off a little at the end.


The teacher gave her a not unkind look and carefully explained the situation.


“The aim of this is not just punishment, it to help you work out you problems.” Apparently this was as much explanation as she was going to get


Cathy looked at Phae not quite sure how to talk to the teenager

“Shall we then?” She mumbled grabbing the gear and shuffling towards the assigned area hoping that Phae would follow.

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Phaedra didn't immediately follow after Cathy since the last thing she wanted was to look subordinate to one of Raina's friends.  At least, that was her initial reasoning, but another part of her liked watching the strange looking human move.  There wasn't a whole lot of time for that when they were engaged in their little scuffle, but from what she saw now she certainly missed out.


Eventually she realized she was staring, and with a quick glance at the teacher she trotted off after Cathy, a little color on her cheeks.

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For a few minutes Cathy began to work clearing rubbish, trash, from the a small clump of trees. She worked in silence with the occasional sly glances over at Phaedra, the other woman interrogated her as much as she irritated her right now. And there were rumors going around, not that they weren’t going around, that she was struggling fitting in around here.


And really despite everything Cathy wasn’t to try and help people whenever and wherever she could, despite their disagreement.

“So... erm... how are you?” She finally thought to say, rather feebly.

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"Irritated," Phaedra responded spearing a piece of trash as if it angered her, while demonstrating a surprising proficiency with the spear like trash picker.  She glanced over at Cathy and studied the other girls face for a moment before turning back to her work.


"I have a temper," she said after a moment, sounding apologetic.  "And it got away from me."  She paused then looked back over at Cathy.  "I just don't understand humans.  And that vexes me."

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Cathy was just about to question the use of the word human, when she remembered how she’d first met Phae literally descending from the heavens. Her split lip told her that she should still be mad with her, but if Cathy had one weakness it was that she sometimes cared a little too much.


“If it help’s I don’t think any human really understands humans, even the really clever ones.” She paused not sure if she should really continue


“As much as enjoy everything Freedom City has to offer, I miss the stark quiet beauty of my home village. And sometime when it get’s too much I take to the air and just sit up in the clear air. I guess I’m saying that sometimes you just need a place to relax and work thing out.” She paused and looked a little guilty

“Sorry I guess I tend to ramble a bit sometimes, if you want I can shut up and we can finish our punishment.”

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"I'd rather not finish this punishment," Phaedra muttered under her breath, quiet enough for Cathy to hear.  She flashed the other girl a faint smile before looking back over her shoulder at the supervising teacher.  "Most people don't talk to me at all," the half-breed admitted when she turned her attention back towards their task.


"I think, maybe, it's due to how I arrived at the Academy," she said.  "But I'm glad you are... even after.. well you know."  Phaedra's cheeks heated, and she seemed a little embarrassed by her actions that landed the two of them in detention.  "You're different," she added quietly.  "I like that."

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Cathy gave Phae a little smile she was happy that she could get through to the other girl


“I’m sure with a little help the others will open up to you. It seems that we’ve all had our challenges in the past, it can make people a little tetchy and difficult sometimes.” Apart from the Rainia getting a little tetchy, and rightly so, about Cathy cooling there room she got on pretty well with their little team.

“I know what it’s like to be the outsider. Since I was twelve I’ve stood out from everyone for looking like this.” She indicated her ghostly pale skin “Everyone treated me well, I was there hero after all, but there was always a little nervousness of some people around me.”

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"I think you look wonderful," Phaedra said.  And she meant it, Cathy to her was rather fascinating and certainly not something to be nervous or frightened of.  Growing up in a Hell does a lot to alter ones perceptions of what is or is not frightening.  Or beautiful.


"I'm an abomination," the redhead said after a moment, her voice dropping.  "The union of my 'Father' and 'Mother' should not have resulted in me.  Their kind aren't supposed to beget.  At times some exception is made and that gift is bestowed, but generally it is not a thing that is done, and certainly not between--" Phaedra said something in an archaic tongue, paused a moment and frowned.


"Demon and angel," she said after a moment translating the words into English.  "Sorry, such terms are so.. limiting."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cathy couldn’t help but blush at the compliment that Phae had given her, an obvious and quite startling effect with her pale white skin, she didn’t have to worry about it for long as the other girls began to open up a little.


There had been rumours floating around the school since Phae had arrived, literally being dropped off by an angel would tends to create a buzz about anyone. But as far as Cathy knew this was the first time she’d know for sure about Phae’s ancestry.

“There a story that when the Norse raiders came to Shetland’s they bought with them terrible Ice Maiden’s that were a menace to all around them. Some figure that my abilities come from a descendent of those Ice Maidens. They might have been terrible people but I’ve used my abilities to save many lives. You can’t choose where you come from but you can choose who you’re going to be. And I believe you have a great capacity to do good.”

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  • 1 month later...

"I hope so," Phaedra said, her cheeks briefly coloring to match her hair.  Tucking a length of hair behind her ear she looked a little sheepish when she asked, "What is a Norse?  A Shetlands?"  Despite the hellspawn's evident embarrassment at having to ask the question, Cathy could see she intense interest lurking behind those grey eyes.


Despite the altercation earlier in the day that Phaedra had come to regret--she knew her temper was volatile, but knowing that didn't mean she could completely control it--Cathy's openness and willingness to talk had certainly lowered the inter-dimensional expatriates defenses.


She wasn't aware of it herself, but her interest was being broadcast in her facial and body language.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Cathy had to stifle a small laugh at how clueless Phae was in everything to do with this world, she had to remind herself that she was just as ignorant of things the others knew naturally.


“The Norse were a people that use to travel the oceans to conquer or settle new lands. And the Shetland’s are the islands where I come from, they’re a beautiful and stark places I can see why the Norse wanted to settle there.” she stopped for a second with an unusual pang of homesickness


She took off her glasses for a second to wipe her eyes only to wince at the bruise over her eye. She tried to hide the pain as she carried on talking.

“I’d like to have a chance to show some of the others my home, but I don’t think they’d quite enjoy the scenery or the weather. Even if the place is more or less treeless!”

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Seeing Cathy wince, Phaedra frowned before setting her equipment aside.  "Hold still a moment," the half-demon said, touching the side of Cathy's face and turning it gently to get a good look at the bruised eye and tender lip.  Phae found drawing on some aspects of her heritage difficult, particularly healing, but she was profoundly uncomfortable with Cathy's current ills particularly because it was the her fault she was hurt.


"I would like to see the Shetlands some day," she said while her eyes closed.  Phaedra's fingers lingered on Cathy's face as she focused her energy, drawing on her infernal heritage to give it a bit of a boost, and Cathy's skin warmed under Phaedra's touch.  That warmth crawled across Cathy's skin and pooled at her cuts and bruises, those on her face and elsewhere, and they slowly healed and faded.


Opening her eyes she smiled slightly, slow to lift her hand away.  "Perhaps some day?"  A heartbeat or two later, she did and reached down for her equipment, nearly stumbling from fatigue.

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Cathy couldn’t help but gently touch her hand to her now healed flesh, returned to its normal pale tones. She didn’t have long to react to it’s as Phae seemed to stumble with fatigue. Also most without thinking she stepped forwards and caught Phae helping her get back to her feet.


“Thank you but you really didn’t need to do that, it’d have healed in time.” her voice was soft and gentle and got even softer as she added “Are you okay? I really don’t want you to hurt yourself on my account.”


She gave her healer a little smile,she was more touched than annoyed at what Phae had done for her.

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