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Claremont Academy Campus

May 15, 2017


It was a strange feeling, walking aimlessly about the campus. It would be another hour and change before the next meeting Corinne Conrad had with yet another member of the Claremont Academy faculty and she'd been told to take the time to familiarize herself with the facilities. In the middle of the day, however everyone she came across was hurrying to their next class or making good on lunch period plans with their friends, an active bustle which made the Los Angeles transplant feel a bit like an intruder.


Even at a leisurely pace her long strides quickly took her away from the main building and out into the pleasant spring weather until she came across the well-tended zen garden. In most places in Freedom City the carefully raked sands might have seemed a bit ostentatious but something about the shade of the surrounding trees and the way it nestled into a slight hill in the grounds made the spot of tranquility feel perfectly at home.


"Sorry, are you Corinne?" a voice called from behind her with a distinct British accent and a faint lilt. Two girls approached from the way she'd just come, the speaker giving her a small wave and a smile. A lavender hijab framed a warm expression and fashionably complimented her light jacket and dark skirt. Despite the uneven ground leading up to the garden her steps had the sort of grace Corinne associated with dancers. A step behind her was fit girl with a more neutral expression beneath round sunglasses and dark hair pulled back. She wore a sleeveless black top which clearly revealed powerfully athletic muscles, flexing slightly as she hooked her thumbs into the belt loops of ripped jeans.


At a guess the new transfer would have said the pair were a little older than her, close to wrapping up their junior year. "I'm Faiza," the first girl continued, smile widening as she met Corinne's eyes, "and this is Sofia." Her companion raised one hand in a muted greeting.

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She was free to mingle, more or less.  To explore, while her parents were talking with administration regarding her placement here next year.  Corinne, or Ceecee, or Rin, or... well she had nicknames.  She had things.  Now though... that was all changing, and that was uncomfortable, as it spiraled quickly and sharply about.  Corinne was trepidatious and so finding a place like this, reminding her of the Zen at her home, though a bit more expansive but that made sense.

The tall blonde stood there, in a pair of teal sneakers, wearing a dress of varying shades of reds, purples, and blues, mottled and going down to just above her knees on those long limbs, with a denim jacket over that, and a bit of a bucket hat over her hair, and a pair of dangly earrings.  She was fashionable, in that retro 80s sort of style, and she stared at a rock, because it seemed interesting, and the desire to reach out and see... well it was there and strong.  The voice caught her by surprise, and she was blinking and turning towards them, "Hm?"  And a moment to register, before she blinked brilliant blue eyes.  "Oh.  Hello."


A beat.


Then it registered a big, and she offered a small, warm expression.  "Sorry, a bit distracted.  Yes, I'm Corinne Conrad.  It is nice to meet you both.  Are you the welcoming committee?"  She reached up and brushed her hair from her face, tucking strands behind her ear.  Her voice smooth, not so confident as she might be, given how things were for her at the moment.

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Faiza's laugh was surprisingly resonant for her slim frame. "Well, unofficially anyway! People here are mostly lovely, really but they can be a bit standoffish at first." She placed one hand on her hip and pursed her lips slightly. "I suppose that's most high schools, really but we're a bit more of a community here, I like to think. It seemed like it might be strange coming in right near the end of the school year so I thought we ought to make a point of saying hello!"


"Jesus, you are a tall one, huh?" Sofia observed apropos of nothing, titling her chin up as she gave Corinne a once over, sizing her up. She had a carefully clipped way of speaking that did a little to counteract an accent that pointed south of the border. Even behind her sunglasses there was something analytical about her gaze.


"Sofia!" Her friend looked aghast, shooting Corinne an apologetic look before turning back to Sofia with an expression that made it clear who the 'mom friend' was in their circle.


The Mexican athlete shrugged. "What, like she hadn't noticed?" She tilted her head very slightly while meeting the blonde's eyes. "Not a martial artist, though, yeah? I'd say dance. Ballet?"

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Corinne squared her shoulders.  She was used to this, as she was coming down in size from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts to this place... this freak sho-...  There was a blink of those luminous eyes, and a flicker of something, as she looked back at Sofia.  Throw expressive brows knitting together, bemusement?  Annoyance?  It was hard to say really.  Though there really wasn't anger showing on Corinne's face.


"Uhm, yeah, s'pose I get it from my dad... apparently he's pretty tall or something."  Came the shrug, as she trailed off into a mumble, then a topic was shifted, and so did she from foot to foot.  "Yeah, yeah.  Ballet, jazz, not cheerleading or gymnastics, anymore.  Too tall."  And then she lifted her eyes up and away, maybe in the non-challenging predator on the veld sort of way.  Of course, she left like a small pond, like you could know everyone here.  Though this place didn't feel like LA, or California at all, and she was clearly a child of that place.


She frowned a bit shrugged again, holding up her hands as she looked towards the ground and ducked her head a bit.

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"Cool. Takes discipline," Sofia replied with a nod, evidently choosing to ignore any hesitation on Corinne's part. "I can respect that. School's got beefed up equipment for gymnastics if you want to get back into that, though. You want a real workout, the Doom Room's got sequences for parkour training. I bet you've got a killer long jump."


Faiza let out a small sigh. "I'm sorry, Corinne. Sofia's got a bit of a one-track mind when it comes to training. She's a martial arts specialist, if you hadn't guessed. Her parents are both heroes as well, from Mexico City." She paused a moment before gently adding, "Gossip gets around quite quickly, of course but we can have a word with everyone, to make sure no one asks about your birth father if that's still a difficult topic." Her expression was reassuring, palms upward in an open gesture.


Finally catching on, Sofia made thoughtful noise in the back of her throat. "Oh. Yeah, lo siento. I didn't mean 'tall' like it was a bad thing." She rubbed the back of her head, jostling a black ponytail and looking properly contrite. "Uh, I heard your mom's a stunt person, though, yeah? That sounds cooler to me anyway."

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"Well... LA,  Both my parents... erm... yeah, both of them are in show biz.  I am not a good singer, or really wanting to act.  I like dancing."  She searched Sofia's face, and then Faiza's.  Except for a little around her face, and her height, she did not look like her father, though her mother was shorter than she was, and curvier.  The gymnastics had been her.  "Oh... no.  No, I never stopped doing gymnastics, I just didn't do them competitively.  I mean, with the dancing, recitals, all of that, it's tricky to fit the other in."

Then came the comment about her birth father... "Well... that I don't know much about.  I've met him a couple times, I mean... I have a dad, and I knew I wasn't his birth daughter."  She brushed her hair away from her face again and turned her head a little, surveying around them.  "I mean, I probably wont get upset unless someone sells pictures to the paparazzi?"  She arched her brows, and then blew out, puffing her cheeks in a expression of 'that would just be the worst.'


Slowly a crooked spread on her features, before she blinked and looked back to Sofia, "Hm?  Oh... it's okay, just don't ask me about basketball or anything, mean... been to a lot of Laker's games, but that about it."  Another shrug, but this time with her smile still there, as she focused a bit more.  "So... um, like...  Yeah, I grew up around it.  I mean, its normal for me, but with her and dad, I've gone to a lot of award shows.  Been on movie sets, I wish I could say it was cool, but they're working.  I mean, you guys have met heroes, that's crazy for me.  The Freedom League?  Just... whoa..."  She said while spreading her hands, with her palms facing each other.

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"Meant punching people and doing cool stuff professionally more than the award show stuff," Sofia corrected with shrug that suggested that her priorities often failed to line up with those of others. "Don't worry about paparazzi, though. There's kids here, if people knew who's kids they were there'd be international assassins showing up, that sort of thing, so everybody's careful. Not even somebody like Sanderson would risk messing that up."


"Not that you need to worry about assassins, for goodness' sake!" Faiza cut it, giving her friend a light punch in the shoulder. "The point is that everyone is very discrete, yes. As for the Freedom League..." She laughed again, looking a bit rueful. "The 'community' isn't quite that small. Gaian Knight does come by every few months along with the dragon woman, Tiamat. His lectures are, ah... a bit dry?"


Sofia snorted flatly at that and visibly rolled her eyes behind her sunglasses. "I met the Raven a couple times. The good one, the woman. Once when I was little and she was teaming up with my folks and once before I came here. Not a lot of non-powered students at Claremont so she wanted to make sure I could keep up." Her smirk made it clear she never had doubts about that herself.


"The newer Liberty League, though, most of them actually used to go here," Faiza noted enthusiastically. "The Vanguard is like the Freedom League back home, when my powers developed they sent Ms Britannia to check on things, make sure I had what I needed. Really lovely, she was."

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"Mm."  Was the curt response, and she nodded at their words.


"She can.  Throw a punch, that is."  It felt all very feeling things out to her, and she wasn't sure what she was feeling out.  "Better than me, especially..  I am just trying to learn how to control what I can do, really.  I mean, apart from this."  And she, with a pretty sort of furtive expression on her face as she lifted a leg and pressed a foot to the air, and then stepped up, and stood there.  "Not really that special... not really flying."  She laughed a little bit, and shrugged as she thrust her hands in the pockets of her denim coat.


"Apart from people here I haven't met any heroes... Well okay, my father, but, that was a bit un-heroic.  More awkward.  Super awkward."  She wrinkled her nose, and made a face like she just smelled something horrible.

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"Seems like that would be pretty awkward, yeah," Sofia agreed with a not unsympathetic nod. "Air walking thing's neat, though."


"It's very good!" Faiza agreed with considerably more enthusiasm, broad smile dimpling her cheeks. "You're in exactly the right place for learning to control your abilities. Everyone here is special in come way, I just wish they were all as willing to put in the work as you!" She took a few steps around Corinne so that she could stand next to her while getting a better view of the zen garden. "My own powers revolve around controlling friction. When they first developed I was slipping about all over the house, I can tell you. Now, though, if I just lower the coefficient of friction in that sand..." She raised a hand and narrowed her eyes briefly. On cue the patterns raked into the sand disappeared as the entire surface became perfectly smooth and uniformly distributed. "Simple!"

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"I am pretty sure it was one of the worst Hallmark movie scenarios I could imagine.  He is nice... but, well... yeah"  She made a face as she looked down, and then had her attention drawn away from her feet towards the sand as it shifted, and she walked over it, and sank down into a crouch smoothly. before reaching down to stroke fingertips across the surface of the sand.  "Huh...  I think it's probably hard.  Like, for me, it's been... Uhm, like, a month, but, it's like Oscar Wilde said... We are all our own devils, and we make this world our hell."  So smooth, it's like special effects, but for real, she thought, I am so glad I don't do hallucinogenics.  She stroked the smooth sand marveling at it.  "I gotta admit, that is cool even without the practical part."


Remaining in the crouch she lifted her head and she looked up at them, resting her wrists on her knees.


"Well my father talked about that a bit with me.  But then, he can, like, punch through mountains and stuff.  Apparently he's only broke one car in frustration due to traffic."  She laughed a little bit, as she rocks on her sneakered feet in the air, before pushing to stand there again, as she walked over the glossy sand as she kept moving. "I don't think I'm so dramatic as your abilities Faiza.  The air-walking is pretty much the best one.  Especially with the dancing."  She still stared at the ground, her brows knitted together, "This... do you have to think about it like that?  All... coefficient?  Cause I just... press my feet down like I am walking and... bam.  Walking on air.  Or sunshine, if you like that."


She laughed a little bit, before skipping off of the air, and back to the walk away.

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"Best one so far, maybe," Sofia suggested. "It's pretty normal for second gen's powers to keep developing over time." She titled her head slightly as she watched Corinne dance about, trying to decide whether or not the new girl was being entirely forthcoming. She wasn't an expert in whatever sort of manipulation allowed her to turn empty air into stepping stones but in her experience the powers that couldn't be summed up in a few words were the ones to keep and eye on.


Faiza smiled at Corinne's play on words shaking her head. "Different physics manipulators will tell you different things but in my case it's more about focusing on the way I want the world to work and giving the world a little push until it's true." She raised an index finger to emphasize her next point. "Studying the science teaches me what I can do, if not the how. This is a school, after all and knowledge is power."


"You're speaking in inspirational poster quotes again, Fi."

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She straightened, and put a hand down to the air, and then slowly did one arm hand stand than had her arched, the hand still on air, as her feet were on the not frictionless ground, before sweeping up to stand tall.  Then she shrugged at the suggestion that it would get better.


There was screaming.  Hers?  Her mothers?  Dissonant thoughts, then everything became so very clear.  Crystalline.  Sharp.


Corinne blinked a bit, a slight shake of her head and she looked back to them, her eyes narrowed a little.  "Haaaauuummmm..."  She trailed off, her expression twisting into a slightly off-kilter coquettish grin, though it seemed to be an expression that fit her.  Where her demeanor was at odds to the stately, almost regal countenance of her face.  "Well, it assumes I have aspirations to be a hero.  Not everyone has the mentality for it.  I think a pan-dimensional nematode god-thing will make me run in the other direction?"  Then came the sunny sort of smile, and another shrug and a duck of her head.  


"I still intend to get into Julliard, that said... like, I totally get it.  Know thyself.  Muscle memory.  Applied practice of theory.  You guys should read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell."  As she spoke she slowly shifted into arabesque, her torso slowly leaning forward, as her left leg was brought up, her arms held wide as she looked at them, as if this was a normal way to hold a conversation with people.


"Does the cafeteria serve dec-"  She closed her eyes and sighed, her shoulders sagging, and the tall, confident girl flagged a bit.  The joke, the distraction was left unfinished.  "Ten years.  Ten years chasing a childhood dream.  To go to one of the best conservatories in the world, with an acceptance rate of seven percent, and some stupid fluke of... of... stupid just ruins it.  Ruins all of it.  And then I almost... I almost killed my mother!"  The air thrummed, as shifting distortion and white light twisted and played with the space between her and them, looking a badly corrupted video file, crackling, and digitizing.


Then she breathed, realizing that her hands had balled into fists unbidden.  "I understand control.  I know what it takes to internalize it all.  To not make mistakes.  I get it."  Her voice going quieter, but harder, like silken steel.  "I still want my dream.  This... is just..."  But her certainty faded as quickly as her anger did, one hand rising to rub at the tricep of her other arm, looking at the sand, and then she made a motion with her free hand.

It started to merge together that distortion effect shimmering around the sand for a moment, then it exploded upward, spiking outward, though avoided others into a riotously colored shape in varying hues of the dawn until it was a crystalline latticework that wrapped around her like vines, and coming to a stop as the tips of one such 'vine' pressed delicately against her open palm and fingertips.

"This is what I can do."

Edited by TheAbsurdist
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Sofia dropped into an undisguised combat stance as the construct erupted up from the sand, expression wary but Faiza seemed far more concerned about Corinne's distress than any immediate danger. "Oh, honey!" The friction manipulator moved forward but stopped short, clearly trying to figure out how to give the younger girl a hug with the colourful spike in the way. "It's all going to be alright, I promise! You're in the very best place for learning to control your gifts, the very best." She looked over her shoulder to Sofia and gestured meaningfully with her chin.


The toned martial artist paused awkwardly for a few beats before observing, "It's... kinda pretty? Like with all the colours and shapes and stuff." Sofia rose from her stance once it was clear that they didn't have much to fear beyond an emotional outburst and rubbed a hand over one shoulder. "You could probably use that for performances or whatever, once you've got it down? While you're dancing, yeah?" She gave Faiza a shrug, obviously not in her element when it came to being supportive but giving it a game effort all the same.

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There was a shy, sad smile on the lips of the tall dancer.  "Oh.  It's more that that..."  She withdrew her other hand and then tapped at the crystalline structure, and it twisted a moment, then showered down into water. around her, though it didn't make it to the ground.  As it collected onto itself, and became a rough cube that was seemingly composed of maple burl.  Corinne frowned a bit, and pressed a lifted a foot up and pressed it down on top of it gingerly, before she moved and rather elegantly sat down on it, crossing on leg over the other.


"So, yeah, apparently I can do a lot.  But screaming match with mom, 'cause the Fresh Prince was right, and... then I turned the kitchen into a cage of glass daggers...  I don't even remember doing it."  She frowned as she looked away, and without the smiles, or the ambling between topics, she seemed almost a different person.  "So, yes, I am hoping to get back to something resembling... something..."  She trailed off there, still searching elsewhere with her eyes.


I could go for some nachos right now.


Edited by TheAbsurdist
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The older girls watched the display of matter rearranging in nonplussed silence until Sofia finally made a flat sound of consideration. "Huh. Yeah, makes sense to be a little scared of all that, then." Faiza shot her a look and was about to say something when her friend raised her hands to forestall the comment. "It's just smart. She could really mess somebody up with that." She turned back to Corinne before continuing, "So you learn to get it under wraps. You couldn't do that ballerina thing where you walk on your toes right away, right? You come here in September and you learn from the best teachers for this stuff and you put in the work. Nobody's saying you have to use it, even. If the dancing is what you really want to do, that's all you, no power or anything anyway."


Faiza pursed her lips. "Well, I think it would be a shame to deny a part of yourself like that but she's correct. That's all up to you. If you need any help all you have to do is ask. Sofia and I will be seniors next year and we're part of the Next-Gen squad." It seemed to take a beat for her to realize that might not mean anything to Corinne. "It's sort of like being in an advanced placement class but for, well, heroics. Helping people! Part of it is keeping an eye out for younger students who'd be a good fit after we graduate so if that ends up being something you want to work toward, you just let us know. No pressure, though!" She beamed at the blonde, intending the offer as the highest compliment.


Sofia nodded in agreement. "Even if you're not planning on going that way after school it's good to be part of team, hang out with people who take all of this seriously." Her expression soured a bit as she added, "Not everybody takes responsibility for putting their lives back together after something like that, with your mom. So you're already ahead of some people." She blew out a breath and banished that line of thought. The martial artist had just about expended her capacity to be emotionally supportive for the day. "You wanna see more of the campus or get something to eat or anything?"

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"I guess I am starting here around the start of summer... this semester kind of got tanked.  So I need to do regular classwork catchup, so I am a Junior in September"  She said with a small frown, as she stood up, her head tilted to the side, before kicked the cube back onto the sand, where it crumbled back to what it had been previously.


"I am going to control it, I mean... like, I don't need to wake up from a nightmare, or something, and have turned my bed to... gold, or uranium, or fluff pastry..."  She paused a bit, and there was an audible grumble from her gut.  "Okay... puff pastry I can live with.  Still, I mean my dad... uhm, Harry, talked about hiring me for special effects."  Corinne laughed as she tried to move past the particular memories and realities that her powers brought up in her mind.


"Food.  Food and sightseeing, not the kind they give the folks and such.  'Cause that isn't so helpful, and other tidbits.  Like no people in the wrong dorms, right?  Though, I imagine with some people..."  and she couldn't help but glance to Sofia, "With... um... skillsets?  They'd take it as a challenge.  Though I will have a roommate, Hannah Cooper? So, not gonna be that rude.  Not that I am sneaky... I mean..."  And then she abruptly pantomimed Frankstein's monster, with an awkward stiff-legged gait, arms held up and parallel to the ground.  "Corinne crush!  Corinne smash!"  And then she laughed a little bit, trying to inject some levity.

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"Well, ah..." Faiza coughed awkwardly into her hand while trying to come up with the politest way to answer Corinne's question. "There's the girls' dorm and the boys' dorm, of course though they're connected by a common room at each floor. It's not that anyone isn't allowed anywhere during the day really but there is a reasonable curfew. If someone were to be, ah, active, so to speak then I ought to say the nurse's office has everything they'd need to be safe about it?" The last bit of advice came out as more of a question than she'd intended, steepling her fingers together to give her hands something to do.


Restraining herself from rolling her eyes, Sofia gestured towards one of the main buildings. "C'mon, cafeteria is this way." As she led the way she continued, "Look, it's a bunch of pretty physically active teenagers away from home and dealing with some maybe stressful stuff and some of them can walk through walls or whatever. The teachers aren't stupid, they just expect all of us not to be stupid either, right?" She shrugged. "All that relationship drama is just noise anyway. Cooper's alright, kinda mousy. Probably make a good roommate."

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Corinne broke her Frankenstein impersonation, and she started to laughed a little at the interplay between Faiza and Sofia.  "Like I said, dancing, Julliard.  I suppose that is like you trying to get me to understand what it's like growing up in a Mask family.  I never had time for much of that, and I probably wont now either, five am to eleven o'clock most every, hell, I got passed over for the Romeo and Juliet ballet even if I was the best dancer because... I had a good half foot on Romeo.  Even if this is pretty much the Olympic village.  Though, I am on birth control... does that do anything with powers..."  Corinne trailed off.


She blinked and turned around sharply towards them, it was impressively quick, made more so by her size.  "Wait... do we have special doctors and dentists and such we got to go to now?  I mean... like, do I have to put 'plays with stuff like physics is just a suggestion' on my intake forms?"  This, this was the stuff they weren't mentioning, there was no 'day to day life and the real world' orientation here.  Really, none anywhere.  She back pedaled slowly, moving along with them toward the destination of food, she already had a five thousand calorie diet a day, it was probably only going to ramp up.  Wait... are my powers making hungrier?



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Faiza had clearly been pleased to hear the subject changing and looked unmistakably embarrassed when Corinne mentioned birth control. "Um. Sofia...?"


"I don't even have powers," the more muscular girl pointed out, not working very hard to conceal a smirk as they continued toward the cafeteria.


Her friend pulled a face but clearly her sense of responsibility to leave the new student properly informed outweighed the awkwardness she felt for the topic. "Honestly? It might but there's no sense worrying until the office has had a chance to run some tests. That sort of thing is what they're best at! Some of the girls are too sturdy for regular needles or their metabolisms are different so the dosages need changing. It's all about learning what's normal for you." Faiza felt very strongly about using certain words when it came to metahumans and their needs.


"They test all that stuff," Sofia agreed as they passed between several tables where students were enjoying their lunch outside. "Like, they wouldn't want to put you under to take out your tonsils if you're going to subconsciously glass the room."

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"Oh... yeah.  Sorry.  I... Like I got the special talks over this, pretty early... because... ah.  Um."  Corinne frowned a little bit then, "Anyway..."


She was trying to avoid the awkwardness for the other girl, though it was clear that Corinne didn't understand it.  It was a topic to her, and her family had been fairly open.  Of course an irreligious household in Hollywood, and she was the product of a drunk night between her mom and Amir al-Misri...

That talk... god, that awkward. 

And her mum was a lot of things, but shy about that sort of thing?  Not at all.  She knew the business, and she made sure Corinne was aware that there were the kind that would try to exploit her.  Thus far she had not experiences that way, mostly people using jerk behavior to try and get into her pants, but honestly the height had largely elevated her out of the taste for many.  Largely her social woes had been more from competition for sports and cut throat rivalry. 


"So... okay.  That makes sense."  She was frowning a little bit, that wasn't the part they didn't tell her, she imagined Amir, her mum and dad were getting that info now.  "Makes a lot of sense... So who's Sanderson?"

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Sofia arched a brow as she opened one of a pair of double doors and ushered the other girls inside. "What do-- Oh, I guess I mentioned her earlier. Ugh. She's a @#$%."


Faiza made a disgruntled sound at the coarse language but didn't immediately disagree. "It's... complicated. There are people from all sorts of places and situations attending Claremont, Corinne and some of those situations are... unfortunate."


"Her parents are literally cult leaders," Sofia jumped back in, blunt where Faiza was attempting to be diplomatic. "Dark magic, blood sacrifices, secret meetings, all of that. The good guys finally caught them a couple years back, busted up the whole cult and the way I hear it Sanderson was right there, trying to fight off the heroes so they couldn't take her pony away."


"Her family was quite wealthy," Faiza clarified, mouth pressed into a thing line. She didn't care for talking about people when they weren't around but it was only fair to warn a new student. "Obviously that was all illegal so she wasn't left with much when her parents were imprisoned. Evidently none of her other relatives agreed to take her in so..."


"So we get to deal with her. She still acts like she's the most popular girl in school but literally nobody likes her apart from a couple mean girl groupies." Sofia snorted. "I bet she hates that you're taller than her."

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Corinne lifted her eyebrows in response to that, "So... like, she's from L.A. too?"  That was her immediate response.  Knowing that there was magic and Satanism (or rough equivalent) out there, among other things she assumed that there was some people there that did horrible things.  Though, even she got the 'disconnected from reality L.A. denizen,' after all her mom was a gauche-uppity stunt woman.  How dare she?!


But that wide eyed way the tall girl said it meant that it looked like she might be joking, or being completely serious, and it was hard to tell which was which.


"So her family was bad?  And she was a rich, privileged girl, but now has nothing of that left?" She hummed then, not casting aspersions, she was trying to see more into the picture.  Though she stopped dead in her tracks to dwell on the last bit of that.  She giggled then, unable to help herself at that.  "Are... hm, not I guess you wouldn't know.  Like once I really started to do recitals and shows, and compete for spots in prestigious dance schools, I was pretty much always hated.  I grew up around the entertainment industry.  Vapid and soulless, probably even borderline evil, is something that I, like, totally have seen."


Of course, she couldn't accept that someone was truly bad would be allowed here.  Right?

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"Huh? I don't know, I think Chicago or something," Sofia as they entered the cafeteria. With lunch periods staggered slightly it stayed fairly busy throughout the afternoon, some students grabbing a quick snack on the go and others hunkering down with heavily laden trays. Accommodating the dietary needs of the diverse student body meant a wealth of options for the adventurous.


"I think that was a joke," Faiza noted, trying to hide a smile. "The 'queen bee' sort is unfortunately a universal phenomenon, I'm sorry to say, Corinne. Fortunately you won't find many people here who'll fall for that sort of thing so you don't have anything to worry about where Raina is concerned."


"Apart from listening to her complaining nonstop," her taller friend grumbled. She paused before adding, "Or how she sets things on fire given half an excuse."

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With a sunny smile Corinne added, "Or I am drawing a self-centered conclusion based my limited life experience juxtaposed against the Los Angele persona stereotype!"  She stops, and looks a bit more serious realizing that maybe she went a bit meta.  "Also, that was a joke as well... I mean, if she was legitimately a threat, there are way to find that out right?  Like powers or machines or things...  So she is a moody teenager with literal firepower..."


She stopped walking to allow them to walk ahead of her a little bit.  "She might be a b****, and that's, like, less excusable... But I had the tires slashed on my mom's car before all of this happened, so that someone could get the lead in a part."  She shrugged a little bit, and then skipped ahead, and started surveying the food.  "Aw, I was craving a Bánh mì too..."

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  • 2 weeks later...

"That's awful," Faiza sympathized just before a notification sound pinged from her phone. She looked down and with a soft tut quickly tapped out a reply to the message. "Sorry, Corinne, our friend Madison needs us to meet her over in the library to study for our physics exam." It would have been more accurate to say that she needed Faiza's help specifically but Madison could be prickly about asking for help and a small study group was easier on her pride than one-on-one tutoring would have been.


Sofia made a sound of acknowledgement, scanning the cafeteria for something she could quickly pick up and eat on the way. Fishing out her own phone she looked to the new girl. "Here, I'll text you our numbers. If you need help finding stuff or getting settled or whatever just give us a shout, yeah?"

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