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[IC] One of those Days

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Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Common Room, The Dorms, Claremont Academy

6:20 PM

 

 

 

It was one of those days. School had been quite average, the lessons as bland as ever. But now, school was over, and people had retreated to the dorms. Some spent their time studying for the upcoming tests, some simply relaxed, others pursued their hobbies. Everything was business as usual, some people had left the dorms to do stuff in the city, some were in their rooms, usually sitting at their desks, while the average crowd had gathered in the common room. Some played darts, some watched TV, a few were gathering around the pool and ping pong tables that had been set up too.

 

Jake Cross had just finally been able to leave the school building and return to the dorm, after some slight troubles he’d gotten into. He entered into the common room, being greeted by a crowd of “oh”s and “ah”s, most of them coming from the group that had gathered around the Pool Table. The people behind it, a group of students, some of them a year older than Jake, others in his class. They were not very notable in any means, had various powers and average grades, only stood out due to being a clique. The noises were something Jake had started to grow accustomed to, it happened quite often. But, today was not a usual day, and his patience had already been tested.

 

Worst of all, one of them, the closest thing they had to a leader, moved away from the pool table and looked at Jake. He was a 17-year old guy, average looks, blond hair. Jake had no idea what his powers were, all he knew that this guy had started the entire thing, and was the one that did it the most.

 

“Hey Cross. What’d you do this time? Another one of those little incidents they want us to forget?”

 

He turned around to look at his clique again, speaking loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. A few people, both from the clique, but also others in the room, began to smile a bit, a slimy smile, one that proved they knew exactly what they were doing here.

 

“I’m telling you, it’s only days before he finally does it. Powers like his corrupt, one day he’ll just do it, I’m telling you.”

Edited by olopi

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One of those days, yeah.

 

One of those days where, after life kicked you square between the legs, you stopped by the cafeteria and got yourself a jumbo Tupperware container of chili, a bottle of rooster sauce from the tuck shop, and a bag of corn scoop chips. One of those days where an appointment with that, a laptop, and binging Netflix would have made your life so very, very much more tolerable. Probably the new Marvel series - he hadn't really sat down and watched that yet on the whole, with homework and studying and oh what the hell.

 

His attention was drawn fully from dreams of chili, chips, and binge TV, by the smug tone of a guy who had long earned a particularly special place in Jake's most inventive daydreams of vengeance, suffering, and...sigh. Be cool, man. Stay cool. No reason to get hot under the collar. Bad things happen when you get hot under the collar.

 

Jake quietly turned his head to give the clique leader the lazy eye, shifting his groceries to the other arm. "...depends on your definition of 'do it', Harper. If you're talking about your mother last night, then she says hello."

 

Okay, maybe not too cool.

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GM

 

Jake’s statement was met with the room suddenly going silent for just a moment. Then, pretty much immediately afterwards, the snickering started. Generally, most people that hadn’t participated in the earlier greeting were now snickering, and a few of Harper’s friends had to pull themselves together. One of the guys sitting at the couch, a senior, begrudgingly handed a dollar bill to his buddy sitting next to him right after the remark. A few just continued with what they had been doing, but more and more people started to look at the scene, fuelled by interest or simply seeing something change for once.

 

Meanwhile, judging by his expression, Harper certainly hadn’t expected that. He looked a bit stunned, some anger forming on his brows. His body language told that this had come out of nowhere, and he was no trying to figure out a comeback. But, he simply relaxed again, and began to clap slowly.

 

“Hey everyone, Omega-Boy’s learned something! Won’t just go and burn down another place all willy-nilly.“

 

He left the pool cue he had been holding on the table, and took a few steps, moving slightly closer to Jake.

 

“We all know it. You’re dangerous. You shouldn’t be here, you should be locked up. One day you’ll snap, and after that your stupid quips won’t do anything. You’re not some guy like us. You’re a monster wai-”

Edited by olopi

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Just then, a silver dart bolt whizzed past, only about one feet in front of Harper’s head, before getting stuck in the wall next to him. All eyes went towards the origin of the dart, the dartboard in the corner of the common room. The Triple 20 section of the board had enough darts sticking out of it to hide the actual board, and two of the dorm’s inhabitants were standing behind the marked line, a few darts in hand each.

The one currently waiting was Scope, a second year who was not very notable if not for his power, the ability to be incredibly precise and accurate. Standing at the line, the only thing that could be seen was a naked arm, and two wings, black and white. It was Jake’s roommate, Jann Fa-Re. His throwing hand was empty, which said enough about the dart’s origin.

 

Jann turned around slowly, revealing him to be wearing a white sleeveless shirt, his usual outfit. He looked over at the dart, before meeting eyes with Harper, who looked rather outraged.

 

“Sorry. I slipped. “

 

Jann casually strolled over to the bolt, while addressing Scope.

 

“Can I throw it again? Let’s not have a mistake like this end our competition”

 

As Jann reached the wall, standing just outside Harper’s reach now, he picked up the dart again, before casually throwing it towards the board again, in a way it whizzed past Harper once more, and then hit the Triple 20 section, knocking a few other darts out of the way, onto a pile on the floor that began to add up. Scope looked on, both amused, but also just slightly frustrated.

 

“Come on. At some point one of us has to fail, right? We’ve been at this for hours. “

Edited by olopi

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He'd heard worse, but the name 'Omega-Boy' tapped one old, sore nerve. For a split second, a spark lit in his eyes, along with the slight scent of burning plastic (his grocery bag!) - right up until the dart whisked by Harper's nose. With a nonplussed expression, Jake followed the trail of flying pointy things back to Jann's hand - where Harper looked furious, he just looked surprised.

 

Accident? He couldn't figure it was purposeful - he hadn't shared more than a few words with the flying teen outside of a "Good morning." and "Good night." once or twice a day. Still, either way - the slight scent of scorched plastic bag handles wafted past his nose, and he looked down at his hand; willing it to cool off before it actually started smoking. Stay cool, Cross. Just stay cool. No reason to get heated up.

 

He shook his head, and tugged his hat down a bit. "Wouldn't keep jawing, Harper. With - ah - fumble-fingers there, next one might go right into your mouth."

 

The lowered hat-brim let him hide the slight wink he shot Jann from the hoi polloi.

Edited by Quinn

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Harper looked slightly angry now, with the two darts having gone past his face at high velocity, and the Avian, who apart from his constant contests with people was rather insignificant, standing almost next to him. A few of his clique moved next to him, standing slightly behind him, some still with their pool cues in hand. Harper’s mouth opened once more, sounding less calm than the last few times. He turned towards Jann, probably the main point of his anger here, and began to go onto a tirade of ranting.

 

“So what. You’re protecting that … thing? Don’t know if you have any idea where you are, featherface, but our experiences with his kind have been pretty bad in the past. They almost blew the entire place up last time, and they’ll probably come again. And that time, we won’t have the Centurion to protect us. “

 

Harper took a step closer towards Jann, pointing a finger at him.

 

“Any idea why we wear these colours up there in your little birdbrain? Let me spell it out, maybe even you’ll comprehend it that way.  HIS. KIND. KILLED. THE. BIGGEST. HERO. OF. ALL. TIMES. “

 

Then, the blond teen turned away again, once more addressing the entire room, but looking at Jake. By now a few of his friends had taken steps backwards, intimidated, while others had taken some forward, and were not very clearly backing Harper up, almost defending him in a way.

 

“Omega’s gonna return one day. And Cross over there’s probably gonna cause it. And once Omega’s here, who’s gonna defend us? You saw what happened last time, you all know it. He won’t care, he’ll be out there, fighting the last few heroes of earth. “

Edited by olopi

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This time, the sizzle and scent of burning plastic filled everyone's nose. And the sound of a bag filled with stuff hit the ground - it's carrying loops melted.

 

Despite his history of problems, Jake Cross had worked hard to make it difficult to get under his skin. Really and truly. But sometimes, sometimes someone just said the right words, at the wrong time. Centurion was his hero. His idol, growing up - nearly as much as his parents were. The invasion, and everything that happened - that he shared blood and power with the things that killed...he hated being reminded of that. Every time he heard it, it pushed and bit and clawed and Jacob Cross. Saw. Red.

 

Heat shimmered up his arms, and sparks popped around his fingers - black sparks - as he took a step forward. His hat lifting just enough for Harper and his cronies to see black burning behind his irises. His fingers opened and closed, those sparks now flying around, landing on the carpet, crackling and popping.

 

"...say that again." A slow, hard tone - coming from between grinding teeth. There came a light hum from the limiter vest over his shirt. "Say. That. Again. See what happens."

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Whether Harper spoke or not, there was no sound emitted. In fact, all sound in the entire dorm seemed to have vanished. This was the point where Harper’s entire vision was filled with a profoundly annoyed Naomi Suleiman. In her hands was her notebook. [Stop talking. Right now. You jerk.] She spun around and face Outlaw, flipping up to the next page. [Calm down. This will NOT help.] Then she glared at Harper some more, and the entire floor seemed to vibrate, but just for a second. She flipped one more page [Go away, and take your jerk friends with you. Or I'll keep your hearing.]

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For his part, Jann simply stood there, leaning against the wall. His expression did not change one bit as Harper proceeded to yell at him. His face, showing no emotions, his body in a relaxed stance, with his wings slightly off to the side. Jann continued to simply look forward, even with a finger pointed at him, and even when harper then turned around to go off about Jake. Only when, in the middle of the boy’s rant, Scope made his shot, Jann moved his body again, looking over to the dartboard, to see the same result as the last few dozen shots had had, it was still just a draw.

 

Then, Jake began to show his powers. Jann turned his head over, but other than that, looked as calm as ever, as he shuffled the few darts still in his hand around absentmindedly, before throwing one in the board’s general direction, right as the girl he’d met before appeared right in front of Harper. Jann took a step backwards, to also see the notebook, but other than that, remained steadfastly neutral expression-wise.

Edited by olopi

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GM

 

Jake’s movements made Harper and a few of his friends move forward, closer. A few of them were gripping their pool cues, while others looked like they were ready to unleash their powers at any time. The rest of the people in the room generally took a few steps backwards, a few hiding behind furniture. If it had come down to it, most of them would be able to fight, but none of them really wanted to get involved further. Harper looked as if he’d achieved something, and extended his arms outwards as he began to speak up once more, only to be met with a complete silence, and a notebook stuck into his face.

 

Naomi’s sudden appearance made most of the crowd that had formed and was moving towards Jake jump backwards in surprise, looking on in amazement, but also in curiosity. Harper only sneered at Naomi, but judging by his face, was unsure what to do, looking around the room, trying to figure out something. A few of the people meanwhile decided to turn around and leave, making Harper’s clique standing there a few people smaller, only about a handful remaining now.

Edited by olopi

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...someone had come in on his side.

 

Someone had come in on his side.

 

Someone. Had come in. On his side.

 

For several heartbeats, it simply did not compute. Jake stared at Naomi's paper, then at the back of her head, in just sheer incomprehension. He even shot Jann a look, showing that incomprehension. Still, that sneer - that bastard was giving her that after she'd been the first person here at Claremont to stand up for him?

 

Jake's hand, resting down by his belt, twitched - and a small tendril of smoke curled up from the side of Harper's shoe. Followed by a lot more smoke. Followed by an intense burning sensation. A slow smile of satisfaction curled across Cross's face - before good sense beat out good fun, and a look of realization crept across in turn. He picked up his bag and stalked out, silently cursing his anger.

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Naomi had no idea Jake had left, but from the expression on Harper and company’s faces she realized he wasn’t there anymore. Then Harper started hopping around on one foot, and she knew exactly what Jake had done. She spun on her heel and raced after. The fire controller got a grand total of five feet from the front door before her hand on his wrist spun him around. She didn’t have anything written for this. All she did was point at the hopping Harper, letting her disappointed expression do all the work. He had to be better than this, or he was just proving them right.

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GM

 

Harper’s reaction was not unexpected. His mouth moved, clearly indicating shouting together with his body language, before hopping around on one foot, trying to put out the other one by stomping onto it. Meanwhile, various friends of his moved forwards, unsure, but ready to follow after Jake. A few more had left, intimidated, and only a few remained now, most of whom looked rather unsure about this, but went through with it nevertheless.

 

Other people in the room had for the most part cleared the area entirely, hiding, having gone into one of the bordering rooms, or simply doing their best not to attract any attention. The eerie silence continued, not a single sound heard by anyone. After hopping around for a few seconds, the fire not getting smaller even with a few stomps, Harper did the next best thing, slipping off his sneaker, and grabbing the not-yet-on-fire end with his hand, throwing it after Jake and Naomi.

 

The shoe, now half burned up, flew through the sky at a reasonable pace, spinning across its axis. Then, only shortly after having left Harper’s hand, it was knocked off its trajectory, still spinning, with a silver dart impaling it through the inner part and through the soles, before getting impaled into the wall by said dart.

 

A quick glance over to Jann revealed him, unsurprisingly, having thrown the dart, before shrugging, looking over to the Dart Board and Scope, who was the only non-involved person in the room that had not yet hunkered down.

 

Harper lost whatever had still remained of his cool. In one single step, he turned towards the Avian, who was still standing right there, next to him and in front of the wall. He yelled something from the top of his lungs once more, once more not causing anything but complete silence, before launching a punch aimed directly at Jann’s face, albeit a sloppy one.

Edited by olopi

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Jann did not flinch. In fact, he did not move at all, his shoulders still raised from shrugging, and his attention still turned towards Scope, who was by now cheering not only internally, but still looking at Jann, with a sense of questioning in his expression. Then, as Harper’s fist moved ever closer, Jann, in one smooth motion, raised his hand, and moved it towards the side, pushing Harper’s hand out of the way, and making him almost stumble into the wall. Jann followed this up by exchanging another few glances with Scope, trying to communicate somehow, before casually walking off, pushing through the clique that were now helping Harper get back up, none of them mustering enough courage to attack Jann, even with his back turned towards them.

 

Jann continued walking forwards, moving at a reasonable pace, towards his roommate and the girl that had helped him. He mustered both of them, before stopping and standing there, looking back into the room.  Harper by now had stood up again, and was still as angry (and probably loud) as ever. Jann still held a few darts in his hand, but stood there, motionless.

Edited by olopi

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When she turned him around - he didn't see her disapproving stare, sadly.

 

No, Jake saw a fist get swung.

 

He didn't like seeing a fist get swung.

 

When Jann then redirected that fist that got swung, a smile creased his face; though his hand shot up to conceal it. When Jann then came over to stand beside him - he stood up just a tiny bit straighter. His shoulders just a tiny bit more loose. He let his arms hang, then; resting at his sides - reminiscent of when the Bird Of Arms had first met the Outlaw, when they were counting stars. Wasn't quite a gunfighter's stance; but when he closed his fists, leaving two fingers hanging, well...

 

He stared at Harper, shouting in silence, and at his clique. A slight jerk of the chin; a silent message. Either put up or shut up.

Edited by Quinn

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Naomi looked around at what was happening and threw up her hands. Metaphorically, anyway. BOYS. GOD. She dropped her anti-sound field. Let them scream at each other if they wanted to. She didn’t care anymore. To firmly make that point, she stepped entirely to the side, folded her arms, and looked about as annoyed with the entire male gender as it was possible for a teenage girl to look. She gestured with the same level of annoyance, as if to say Well go ahead. Fight. Get it over with. She was not, however, a complete idiot. She turned on her force field. First person to strike it was losing their lunch. BOYS. GOD.

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When the sound reappeared, Harper was just in the middle of a volley of expletives, both related to Jake, Jann and Naomi, but also towards those members of his clique that had left, and the world in general. It took him a second to realize everybody could hear him again, and he stopped, before silence set in again, this time because nobody really knew what to say.

 

“Screw this.”

 

And with that simple sentence, he turned around and walked towards the door, his clique looking at each other with questioning looks before proceeding to follow him. The others in the room left their hiding places again, one senior dropping down from the ceiling, and at least two cancelling their invisibility. None of them really said anything, but the nonverbal communication was there. And it was not friendly, neither towards Harper, nor towards Jake.

Edited by olopi

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Jake's eyes followed Harper 'til he left - better safe than sorry. He trailed them over the seniors - taking in their unfriendly looks, his face turning into a snarl. Just fair to radiating the concept of don't touch me. They didn't know him, they didn't have to deal with his problems, and they sure as hell didn't back him up when Harparse pounded every button he had in the hopes of getting his face cooked off.

 

Screw 'em. Just...screw 'em.

 

He looked at Jann and grunted - could have been a "Thanks.", could have not. Even Naomi got a...less harsh look - even softened one. He looked...abashed, now. Hid it well, but maybe a bit of shame there too. Mighta been that's what made him stop. 

 

He looked at her notebook. Looked at his hands. And for a moment...

 

A slight twist of the fingers - and like a sparkler at night, she saw the word Thanks writ in the air with the point. She saw him grunt, then shuffle out the door, shoulders hunched.

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Naomi sighed. Good. There wasn’t going to be a fight. She deactivated her forcefield. But…Jake was leaving in a bad mood. Harper could go screw himself. She wasn’t one of Claremont’s psychs. But she’d fought beside Jake not too long ago, and…well…she didn’t think he deserved to have his today ruined by his own temper or Harper. So, tossing a farewell wave to Jann, she jogged to catch up to Jake. She didn’t touch him or enter his sightline, just kept on walking behind him. Waiting to be noticed. Because oddly enough, she didn’t know what else to do other than keep him company.

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She saw the door to the staircase swinging, when she came out - following in and...there he was. Just inside the door; just out of sight. Thumping his head against the wall. His hat was hanging in his hand, his other holding the half-melted plastic bag; smushed chips visible, along with a slightly cracked Tupperware container. Just thump. Thump. Thump.

 

"...stupid. Stupid. Stupid."

 

A distinctly frustrated look - a familiar one to everyone who knew him - was across his face. His head thumps intensified for a moment, before he outright punched the wall; eyes sparking again. "Damnit!"

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