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Friday, May 26th

3:40PM Main Lawn, Claremont Academy


Team Industrial Light and Magic were under a tree, reading and studying.  Besides her book back, the tall blonde had brought a bag of snacks as well as her hedgehog Percival, though he was curled up in a pocket.  She was sprawled, wearing a a vintage AC/DC 'Thunderstruck' t-shirt under her acid washed coverall shorts, and a pair of floral tights underneath, her sandals off to the side.  A book in hand, as the other held an apple that she was munching on.  She had recently dyed her hair, making it an admix of faded blonde and pink.


After some time she sets the book down, carefully on her chest, over the pocket where her hedgie was, and she lifted her head up to look at Hannah.  "Do you ever look at the science textbooks, and just say 'Well I violate this law.  And this law, and this law... Are they just guidelines more than rules?'  Because I am having that right now."

Hannah's roomie was often taking these little asides.  And she was still fulfilling her efforts to drag Hannah outside as often as their schedules permitted, even if it was just coffee or smoothie runs.

Edited by TheAbsurdist
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"Comin' down." Riley dropped the line first - then slid down it to join the girls at ground level. He hadn't made his presence known when they'd approached the tree, not really caring who was underneath. Without comment, he tugged on the length of climbing rope he'd dropped down from the branch he'd occupied for most of the last half hour, a frown on his face, then began the slow, methodical process of winding it around his free hand. The new gauntlets were working out fine, the leather and tough ceramics around the fingers were enough to cut the friction of fast descents enough that he wouldn't burn his hands off. He shot a look at Hannah and Corinne, realized he had no idea who these girls were, shrugged, and went back to work. 


Riley looked out of place among the heroes of Claremont Academy - short and wiry, but with a muscular build that suggested much more intensive workouts than super-people typically got, he had on faded blue jeans and a loose, baggy denim shirt. Vaguely androgynous in the way some young men are, the strongest clue to his gender was the beginnings of a mustache and goatee on his darkly-complected face. 

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"OH, um, hey." Hannah gave a little wave. She recognized him, vaguely. "Thanks for the heads up." She definitely sounded sincere. She had probably seen Riley before. He was cute, tough looking, probably totally uninterested in her. The fact that he was climbing down a tree from a rope barely fazed her. Claremont was full of enough weird where she learned to let things slide, even if questions itched at the back of her head. Like, why was he in a tree?

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She slide her book off the side, and flashed a brilliant smile up to him, "Hi there!"  She lifted a hand to shield her eyes, "I got some snacks if you want some."  With that, she gently cradled the pocket occupied by the most steadfast Percival, and then she pressed her feet to the treetrunk and pushed, rolling up onto her shoulders, and she carried through into a crouch, and she crab walked to the big satchel purse, and started to go through the objects there.  "I have apples, some water, ooooh!  Brownie.  Sweet!  Like, totally forgot I had them."


She crane her head back to look at Riley, before she nudged the bag towards him.  "Help yourself!"  And with that she bounced to her feet and held out her free hand, the other still making sure that Percival was protected from her movements.  "I'm Corinne, I am pretty new here.  Like... two weeks?  Yeah, that sounds close enough."  

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"Jussec." Once he had the rope down, Riley wrapped it up and hung it on his belt, then slid off his gauntlets. "Thanks." He took an apple, juicy and red, and pulled a small folding knife from his belt - the sort of thing that would probably get a boy in a lot of trouble at a regular high school. But here there was seemingly no issue, and he began to peel the red skin right off. "Riley. Didn't want to startle you," he said, pointing up to the tree to what had evidently been his perch. "People get jumpy." When he had the peel off, he slipped it into the breast pocket of his shirt and began to eat the apple proper. "Been here a while. Where you from?" 

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"Oh, um, I've been here since last year. I think same as you." She had seen him before, a few times, out of the corner of her eye. But, she figured she herself was a lot less noticeable. "Oh, sorry, you, probably weren't talking to me." She blushed and buried her nose in a book for a few moments, trying her very best to be even smaller. Gah, open mouth, insert foot.

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Corinne furrowed her brows as the saving of the apple peel, though it reminded her of her apple, and she idly, used a foot to kick it up to a waiting hand.  It wasn't too amazing a display, but she lifted it up and resumed munching between her words, a bit messily.  "Hm, Los Angeles.  Hannah is from Chicago.  We're studying and stuff... um, I gotta ask, why are you keeping the apple skin?"


She didn't really hold back, of course, she was new to this part of the world and was going to blunder across the currently accepted social mores without much thought.  Like, asking for people's backstories.  It was a weird enough thing she might do some art about just the image of peeling the apple.  Though... she'd need new water colors, as a lot of that was left back in California.

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"Yeah, I know," said Riley, "You weren't born in the dorm, though." Or was she? You never could tell with supers - and this version of Claremont was old enough that at least one alumni's kid was probably on the student body. After Corinne's explanation, he guessed that probably wasn't Hannah. "Make tea. Maybe vinegar. Could make wine, but nobody's gonna make wine at a high school, right?" He winked at Corinne, in between bites of the apple. As he spoke, he slipped the peel into his side pocket. 

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Hannah was...confused. Curious. She wasn't a chemist, but wine at a high school seemed a bit problematic, and from an apple peel, not all that good. She'd had wine, once. At her brother's wedding. She didn't get in trouble and it was only a sip. She didn't say anything to that, but she did listen. Was this guy flirting with her? She wondered at that. Hannah was no expert at flirting, though.


She did speak up, though. "Wow, that's interesting. Um, like cider?" Cider was made from apples, right?

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"Yeah... like I said Los Angeles, got here two weeks ago."  She knitted her brows together as she looked at Riley, more than a little confused by his behavior, or something akin to that.  She rested her hands on her hips as she looked at him then, and frowned a little, trying to figure him out, then she shrugged.


"No, I am new to this, everyone here, it seems, has a magnitude in the order of more experience than I do."  Though the frankness of the wine answer was a bit much, and she looked to Hannah, and then jerked her head towards the other girl, as her question was pretty valid, as apart from a little, she hadn't drank much if at all.

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"Mm." When he had the apple eaten, Riley put the core away too. Cores made good compost. "Yeah. Lotta people here who've seen stuff. Lotta supers who've been around too." He folded up the knife and put it away on his belt. "Yeah, I do some home brewing on the side. Cider, that kinda thing. My friend Fred and I do all kindsa chemistry stuff." Leaning casually back against the tree, he inquired, "So, what's your angle?" he asked of Hannah and Corinne. "Invisible and, uh, stretching?" Damn, she really is tall! There were not a lot of people that tall where he was from - especially not girls. 

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"I'm a dancer."  She answered directly.  To Corinne she was that first, and foremost, the power thing was maybe tertiary at best.  "Well, I can paint and draw some too."


Though somewhere in there the apple core, that she had devoured down to just the part holding the seeds, was gone.  "Oh... powers... I um, do stuff."  She nodded a little bit, and then sat down on the air, and crossed one long leg over the other.  "Hannah's is cooler than mine."  Which she felt was true, and her little display was really all she wanted to display.  There is no screaming this way.


"But my most important power is my license, so there is that."

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At that, Hannah blushed a bit. She didn't really disagree, though. Mostly because, well, her powers were cool. Shapes in all sorts of colors, whatever shapes she wanted. Hannah shrugged and smiled.


"I, uh, I make shapes, of crazy colors." She said, most unhelpfully. "Like, I could make a box, a wall, a chair, but the colors are all crazy, shifting and different." It sounded...wrong, when she said it. She groaned at herself. She was smarter than this, more articulate than this, and here she was being incredibly, outrageously unhelpful in her explanation. Smooth, Hannah. Good one.

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It helped that Corinne didn't have the language to explain what she could do.  Stuff.  Stuff was accurate.  Also things.  It worked, shut up.  "Her stuff is just pretty..."


" 'Ey Yo!  Bros comin' throoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooough!"  And such entered Entourage, with two of the Brohort, as Bro Squad wasn't cool enough.


And behind him where two other, chanting along with Entourage. "GI Brooooooooooooooos!  Real American heroes!  GI Brooooooooooooos are there-ere!"  Subtlety was not a strong suit of that group in the slightest, and they marched and chanted, and made their way towards Corinne, Hannah, and Riley.  Because of course they would.  

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The off-key chanting drew the attention of Sofia Torrez, causing her to pause in the middle of the push-ups she was doing on the paved area closer to the building and mutter something darkly under her breath. Celeste le Faye, seated cross-legged on her teammate's back looked up from her book and tilted her head to one side. "We are allowed to hate those guys, yes?"


"The toxically macho meatheads going out of their way to be obnoxious?" Sofia grated, supporting herself with one hand while using the other to wave Celeste off of her back. "Yeah, I think you're good." Climbing to her feet she dusted off her hands and scanned the campus lawn. "And they're heading right for the hobo nut job, speaking of meatheads. Come on, there's no way they don't tick Smith off enough to start a fight and Hannah Cooper and that new girl I was telling you about are going to be stuck right in the middle."


"Well, that should be interesting!" Celeste perked up as she followed the more athletic girl's gaze. One way or another Riley was always fun to play with but she realized the girls he was talking to would probably be less enthusiastic about a little impromptu scuffle. She flapped her butterfly wings a few times, stretching them out while she retrieved her purse. "Let's go save the day!"

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Riley stared at the new arrivals for a moment, his face expressionless. "Right." He knew these guys a little - enough to know that they weren't malicious, even if he couldn't stand to be in the same room with them. So he didn't do much as twitch his hand towards the hatchet he wore at his belt, though he did think about the crossbow still hanging up in his dorm room. His dorm room sounded pretty great, now that he thought about it, and he was just turning to leave without a word to Corinne and Hannah when he caught sight of the oncoming Sofia and Celeste. 


This time his hand did twitch towards his hatchet, ever so slightly, even though his face stayed tight. He considered a moment, then leaned back against the tree, snapping open his belt knife to make an ostentatious point of filing his nails. "Boys," he commented towards the Bro Squad, before he turned to Corinne and Hannah. "Well, ladies, you're about to see a collision between what they like to call'n irresistible force and immovable objects," he went on, jerking his head towards Sofia and Celeste. Sofia was the one who couldn't stop putting on airs when she was around Robin and Celeste was the one who had mind-controlled a monster to attack Robin


Real pretty though. 

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"Riley, Brobushka!" Came the deep voice of Bombastic (or Robert Johnson), a big barrel chested redhead, matching the aesthetic of the other members of Brohort.  The largest of them, he was generally affable, behind the cheap black plastic shades, neon green tank top, and black athletic shorts, complete with a pair of flip flop sandals.  He was tanned, sufficiently enough that it made his seem more like a mass of freckles.  "... annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd hello ladies," came the attempt at sledgehammer flirtation, as he tilted his glasses forward to sweep his eyes over Corinne and Hannah with an exaggerated wink at both.

For his part, Gains (or Ryan Farrell), hung back.  The shortest of the three, with thick glasses, one might describe him as a bit nebbish seeming.  Barring the big heavy earrings, and the most imposing physique, of the three wearing sweat pants, white sneakers, and white t-shirt that strained against someone that seemed to be made of stone and steel cables.  His expression was locked into a semi-scowl, once the chanting was done.  Like the other two he was tanned, darker than the others owing to his Asian heritage, though it wasn't a point he discussed.  He kept his lips zipped regarding a lot of things, as he seemed skeptical at the approach of the others, or amused, and giving glances about as if he fell into the role of look out more naturally.


With the support of the rest of the Brohort, Entourage (a.k.a Tommaso Bianchi) bounced back nicely, in some obscenely colored peach and yellow monstrocity, having the most traditional Guido look.  They were his bros after all.  "Yoooooo!  Bro-Bomb, these ladies ain't hearin' it," He started off almost sounding reasonable, before an oily charming smile spread on his face, "Not that we wouldn't want them too!  Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"  And then came the leap up against Bombastic, and the thudding chest bump, before he wheeled about and connected with a fist bump with Gains.

They then pulled back making appropriate explosion sounds, as they jerked their hands away, waggling fingers.  The force of this... brosplosion was enough to knock Bombastic off his feet, and onto ground.  And then all three started laughing.

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Corinne groaned, and pressed her face against her palm.  She had run into them a few times on campus, they weren't bad bad, in that there was no malice in them.  But... God, they were groan worthy every time.  She rolled her eyes, before sliding his hand down, as it pressed forcefully to her features, mashing her face a little.


"I... right.  Ok.  Like, guys, I am flattered at the attention," and as she continued Entourage moved to talk some more, but she jerked up an arm, a finger help up and she made a quick noise to indicate no talking from him  "But, like, totally not mine or Hannah's scene, kay?  Just weird energy and vibes and such."  And with that, she glided up to her feet, and then she moved between Riley at the Brohort, placing her field of view so she couldn't see the two other girl's join.  Hannah had seen this before the last time they dealt with Entourage.  Corinne flipping from a ditzy sort of all over the place, to focusing down and being quite different.


"So thank you, no.  Practice a different track, and we can do coffee when you can ask me in a way that makes me want to go to coffee with you." She was calm, level, and her eyes swept from each one in turn.  Of course she didn't know there was a massive nineteen car pileup careening towards them as ever growing speeds.

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"Hey, free advice from someone who knows how it is. Girls like it when you tell 'em the truth, man," said Riley. "You want to ask Hannah here out, you say something like, "Hannah, yer real pretty, you wanna go out on a date?" That sort of thing had always worked out well for him, not that he wanted to share the details of his relationship with Robin with these guys. "This just makes you seem like Bullshit Guy, and nobody wants to go out with Bullshit Guy." Riley glanced towards the still-oncoming Next-Gen ladies and felt his spine stiffen. He'd been speaking in a low, quiet tone before now - and even as he raised his voice to greet the new arrivals, he wasn't speaking above a stage-whisper. "Course, some girls like the taste'a bullshit..." 

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Hannah knew Riley wasn't talking to her, knew he was just throwing her name out there, but she couldn't help but raise her book to her face to hide what was probably a blush as bright as her constructs. She took a deep breath. She didn't hate those...bro guys, they just weren't her type. Not that she knew what her type really was, of course. Just whatever they weren't, because they were, well, idiots. She wished she could become invisible or something, sometimes. 

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"Stop making Hannah uncomfortable, short, dark and psycho," Sofia demanded with a scowl that suggested she'd heard the survivalist's last comment but was pointedly ignoring it. The imposing athlete turned to the three larger boys - she refused to use either of their squad names on principles of good taste - and continued, "You morons stop making everyone uncomfortable. Why is that such a difficult concept? Ugh. Just try to ignore them, Corinne. They don't seem to understand the meaning of 'no'."


Celeste circled around to put a supportive hand on Hannah's shoulder while the brunette hid behind her book. "If you stood up for yourself more this sort of thing wouldn't happen so often," she murmured in a sympathetic tone before turning to the Brohort with a distinct smirk, locking eyes with the quietest of the trio. "Honestly, Ryan. You know better than this."

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Ryan's response, such as it was, was a small smirk and a snort.  Which was typical of his behavior, under most circumstances, before he rolled his eyes and blew Celeste a kiss.


"Ohhhhhhh.  You wound us!  Slings, arrows, ab envy!"  Was Robert's response, dropping to his knees in another over-enthusiastic display, jerking his shirt up to display chiseled abs, his expression nothing less than a grin, as he looked at them all in turn, though he stopped to look at Riley the longest, "I mean seriously, don't you wanna be Axe-Bro?  Your cardio's great, bro.  Even if your random hunting of small varmints would mean we get kicked out of parks, but, it happens, yo."  Releasing his shirt and laughing as he rocked up to his feet and spreading his arms wide.


Tommaso laughed as well.  The Brohort, seemed impervious to efforts to get them to become self-aware.  He rested his hands on his hips, as he kicked at the ground, though seemed to glower a bit at Sofia and Celeste, "He wasn't making anyone uncomfortable chica loca," said as he lifted his hands and waggled his fingers at her.  Without even really thinking, it seemed the Brohort rather quickly leaped to Riley's aid, a dubious distinction as one could imagine.  "You and the Goblin Queen ova there can go back to the stick store to get more to cram up yo asses!"


Corinne just... groaned.  Pressed her hands against her features and rubbing at her face, before she let them slide away.  She glanced to Hannah, and screwed up a bit, straightening her back to her full height, "Hey... hey, hey!  Stop, guys, stop.  This isn't helping!"


She didn't want this conflict, she had a feeling this would not help with getting Hannah out, plus this seemed to be an already existing issue that was bubbling over onto them. Corinne did not like conflict, she wasn't entirely adverse, but... this was not looking good, as the jabs were getting personal fast.  She was feeling backed in, and Hannah noticed the tell-tale rippling tear through the space between her and Corinne.

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"Riley isn't making me feel uncomfortable." Hannah said, quietly, but insistently. It was mostly kind of true. Generally speaking, while what he said did make her feel slightly uncomfortable, it was close to an actual compliment from a cute boy. Some things were worth being a little uncomfortable for, she thought. 'short dark and psycho'. That word, 'psycho', she didn't like it. She saw Corinne starting to do, whatever it was she did. She didn't care what those girls and those boys wanted to do, they could argue and fight all they wanted. Corinne, though, was her friend. 


"Those guys are harmless." She said to her friend, one person who sincerely appreciated her for what she was. "Everything's okay." She was talking to everyone but wanted Corinne to hear. She didn't know much about Riley, but he seemed okay, unlike the immediately combative girls who inserted themselves into the situation. Maybe he was 'psycho', but she questioned the wisdom of picking on a 'psycho'. 

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"Fuck your racist ass, Sofia," said Riley before spitting on the ground at her feet. "Show you dark and psycho." He wasn't yelling the way some of the other boys were, but somehow the hiss in his voice was more menacing than if he'd screamed it. Maybe the girls had interposed themselves into the conversation but Riley was meeting and matching their hostility. He was acutely aware of the crowd and acutely aware of the noise - he reached out and laid his hand on the side of the tree as a way of steadying himself. And making sure that no one was behind him. And that his hand _wasn't_ near his hatchet. "Better watch yourself, Hannah, that one'll throw you t'the wolves soon as look at ya." It occurred to Riley in a distant sort of way that probably no one else here had actually seen that happen --- stay calm, Smith. 


"...so if you want friends, you're better off with these guys, even if they think they gotta be somebody they're not to be cool. C'mon, bros, be men. Ladies dig it." The grin he shot at the Bro Squad wasn't exactly hostile - but it wasn't terribly friendly, in that way that young men testing themselves against each other can be. 

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A look of shock with a flicker of uncertainty crossed over Sofia's features before Celeste chimed in, "I'm pretty sure she meant 'dark' as in 'constantly threatening to hurt people'." The shorter of the two girls didn't seem particularly bothered by Riley disparaging her; he wasn't do anything to make himself seem like a credible character witness after all. Besides, she was much more interested in whatever was happening in the air near Corinne.


Sofia's scowl returned twofold and she crossed her arms. "Forget it, Celeste. He's always got some way to twist things and make everybody else the bad guy just so he has an excuse." She snorted and pointedly turned away from the survivalist. "As if anyone honestly believes Jay is the one who started that fight."


"I'm sure we can all just have a nice, calm discussion about Tommy's fixation on cramming things in certain places," Celeste breezed serenely.

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