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Jun. 20th, 2014

Nakego Sporks: Digimon 02: Fun at the Beach - Chapter 1

Alternate Title: Horror at the Beach! Everyone is Asshole!

It's been a while, but I am going to start chapter 2. It was this chapter I realized this fic was going to be bad. Weep with me.

Summary: Tai is having difficulty getting over Sora. A day at the beach should help in a major way. Michi or maybe a Taiora I havn't figured this out yet.
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Disclaimer: Okay I do not own Digimon or any of the characters in this story.
And thank fuck for that.
 They are the intellectual property of Ban Dai Ban. Dai. and Toei Animation Company. However I am the supreme ruler of the Andromeda Galaxy, Galaxy M33 (I'm going to have to get that one a better name) You're not amusing. I hope you know this. and I am now pleased to say 8/9's of the Magellanic Clouds. The Zartrian resistance is slowly being removed from existence by my mighty Imperial Battle Fleet and Interstellar Marines. Oh get ON with it already! Exalt my greatness and fear my wrath. Ha ha ha! Now, on with the story! Finally.

The hotel room Mimi woke up in was just great. It had everything a girl could possibly want. What does it have, Mimi? Chocolate? Manga? Portals to other, better stories? She was going to have to invite all the digi-destined over to see it. Wow! It's a hotel! Surely none of the Digidestined have ever seen one of those before! Golly-gee! Thinking of the people she loved Mimi sighed knowing that her parents could not be there with her. Because why? It was really cool of them to let her stay in Japan with Michael and his dad while Michael's dad filmed his latest movie. Keeping in mind there hasn't been any establishment of how well her parents know the  Barton family. I highly question if it's enough to let their daughter travel to Japan with these guys. Michael's dad even got Mimi her own room and the studio was paying for it. Why would they pay for a room for a girl that isn't even part of the movie's production? Why couldn't you say Michael Sr. paid for it? It's not like he isn't rich or anything. What's a few hundred dollars to a wealthy hollywood actor? Unlimited room service! Heh heh heh. Why are you laughing at that, Author? Tai, Davis, and all the Digimon will be so jealous. Remind me again why the DIGIMON would the jealous? Perhaps if they knew they could get as much food as they could possibly eat maybe. But other than that. Man, it's a good thing the food will be free; those guys could really pact it away.

Mimi started to pick out what she was going to wear to the beach. She found her favorite sun hat and placed it on the bed. Mimi then dug out her new sun dress.. Then she took out her sun sandles and matching sun bathing suit and the sun swimming goggles they came with. Then the sunscreen that would go on her sun kissed skin, which she'd get the perfect suntan on her sun towel beside her sun umbrella...  It was blue with cute little pink and yellow flowers. The dress however was to cover the new swimsuit. What? Really? You mean dresses cover underclothes? NO WAY! Oh this swimsuit was an eye popper. I can tell. Mimi knew her parents would never allow her to wear such a thing so she kept it hidden until she arrived in Japan. Classy, Mimi. What, is it made out of a single strip of cloth? Mimi even bought a second swimsuit to hide the first one in case her parents looked in her bags. The other suit was nice but it wasn't her style. Maybe she would give it to Sora. How thoughtful. Giving your friend your hand-me-downs that might not even fit her. Mimi smiled as she thought of how Tai would appreciate the swimsuit on Sora. Of course Tai loved Sora so much that he would think mud would look good on her.. He probably does. They play soccer. Soccer means getting dirty. Also way to diss your friend for saying he has no standard of beauty. The suit was nice but Mimi's suit was going to make the guys' jaws drop, especially Matt's. I'm going to give my less attractive friend my less attractive bathing suit. Don't want her to outshine me, after all!

'Oh Matt, my golden haired beauty,' . Since when does Mimi - or anyone for that matter - talk like this? Well, maybe except Helga.

Clearly these two have been exchanging romantic tips. They met through their mututal love of pink. thought Mimi, 'you will have no chance of escaping me clutches once you see me in this suit. I just know things will work out between us.' Pretty presumptuous aren't you. You know that's just setting yourself up to disappointment.

Everything was going to be perfect today, except the gas charming. Mimi was having due to the airline food. Before Mimi left for the States she and Matt were becoming very close friends, almost as close as Tai and Sora. Although Mimi never saw them doing it  WHAT she was sure those two had sneaked off while they were in the Digital World to exchange kisses. THEY WERE FUCKING TWELVE. YOU WERE TEN. NONE OF YOU EVEN REACHED PUBERTY YET APART FROM JOE.  Mimi felt a bit of jealously stab her heart, here Sora gets a great guy like Tai without even trying and while she gets dragged off to the US just as she is about to find true love. America: Only women are there. Even the men are women.

"It's not fair!" yells Mimi as she throws the pillow across the suite. I yell into empty rooms for no reason because my inner dialogue becomes outer dialogue halfway through the thought process!

Mimi hears a knock at her door and Michael's voice asking, "Is everything okay Mimi?" See, even your friends think you're crazy.

"Um, yeah sorry. I, ugh, just stubbed my toe."

"Oh well if you're okay then I'm heading over to Davis' before I head to the beach. I guess he made some sort of bet with his sister about knowing me or something." Why would he make a bet about knowing you? You're not important. Your father is. He should be making the bet about knowing Michael Sr. not Michael Jr. Unless you are Sr. Jeeze, Author! Specify!

'Yeah that sounds like Davis.' thought Mimi. "Yeah okay, I'll see you there Michael."

Mimi then continued to get dressed, packed her towel; sunscreen and purse into her beach bag put on her sunglasses, sunhat and left her room.Totally necessary. While Mimi was in the elevator her stomach began to protest the airline food Mimi had eaten the day before. Please stop. This isn't funny. After a few anxious minutes on the elevator Mimi made it to the lobby were her insides seemed to calm down. Once in the lobby Mimi spotted Michael's father.

"Hey there Mimi. Sleep well?"

"Good morning Jake. Ah I see. You were too lazy to do a 3 second google search to see if his father even had a name. Which by the way, he does. And Jake isn't it. Yes I did. How are you?"

"Oh, I'm well enough. I guess you and Michael have a big day planned at the beach."

"Yeah. We're meeting all of my friends here in Japan for a party on the beach."

"Well I might drop by later after I finish touring the placed where we will be filming the movie."

"What's this movie about?"

"Montana Smith uncovers an ancient Japanese scroll and has to rescue his daughter from a clan of ninjas who want the scroll for their evil plans."

"Sounds exciting." Sounds cliché.

"In all honesty Mimi I would rather do Shakespeare Quick, what is considered classy and is known by even five years olds and would require zero effort to think up for him to mention? but these Montana Smith Also a really obvious expy of Indiana Jones. Boy you're a 'clever' one, aren't you. movies pay the bills. Well I best be going. Have fun at the beach."

"See you later Jake."

As Michael's father left the lobby to be taken to the movie sights a bellhop approached Mimi and said, "Excuse me miss but there is a phone call for you at the desk."

"Oh. Thank you."

Mimi's mother was calling the hotel to make sure Mimi was alright, that no monsters had been attacking Japan, that Mimi wasn't talking to strange men and that Mimi wasn't going to go out into the sun without wearing sunscreen. Useless padding! Hooray!

"Yes mom. Yes mom. No mom. Yes mom. Of course mom. Its right here mom. UV 30 mom. I love you too mom. Bye-bye." Congratulations. This entire moment was utterly pointless and added nothing to the story.

"Excuse me miss but you dropped your sunglasses."

"Oh. Thank you." but as Mimi bent over to pick up her shades disaster struck. Through out the lobby everyone heard a loud 'Pprrffffrrt-t-t-t!' emanating from Mimi.."Gia danced around a little, shaking her peaches for show. She shook it hard. Too hard. In the middle of a shimmy, her stomach cramped. A fart slipped out. A loud one. And stinky."  Horribly embarrassed Mimi did the only thing she could think of. She quickly pointed to her left ad declared "He did it!" and ran out of the hotel jumped into a cab and headed to the beach., leaving a bewildered crowd in the hotel lobby trying to figure out why Mimi thought the plastic tree in the corner had farted. Beautiful writing. I have a medal for you at the end of this spork.

Sora stood looking into the mirror wondering why she seemed to have all the rotten luck in the world. The day of the beach party and guess who shows up to ruin all of her fun, her period. Her period is her fun? Or are you just overly masochistic toward commas? Now Sora can't wear that new swim suit she bought for the occasion. See Mimi, Sora doesn't need your "charity". Despite being a poor unfortunate soul she can buy her own damn swimsuit.

"It's no fair!"

Sora's mother sticks her head into Sora's room and asks, "What's no fair, dear?"

"I got my period today and now I can't wear my new swim suit." Use a plug instead of a pad.

"Well Sora this might not be what you want to hear, but I'm glad to hear that."


"Well since you are having your period then that means you are not pregnant." Wow. Points for being an awkward parent.


"Well you are growing up into a beautiful young lady Sora and I worry about you when you are off with Matt." After all, boys only want one thing, right?!?! AMIRITE! TELL ME I'M RIGHT. TEENAGERS CONSTANTLY ONLY EVER THINK ABOUT SEX ON A 24/7 BASIS. THEY WILL DO IT 100% OF THE TIME EVERY CHANCE THEY GET IF YOU DON'T WATCH THEM PROPERLY.

"Don't you trust me?"

"I do trust you dear and I know that you are a good person, but good people can make mistakes. You are becoming an adult Sora and your body will want to do adult things. Some of these things can have negative consequences on your life, but I want you to know that no matter what you do, and no matter what you decision is I'll love you and I'll be there for you." Why is this such a preachy fic? Did we really have to sit through and watch Toshiko giving Sora one of 'those' talks?

"Thanks mom, I love you too. You have to worry. So, you're outright telling your mother she has reason to worry. Spellcheck. It's a good thing. Matt and I are not ready for that sort of thing." Sora smiles, "You can trust me not to make you a granny, yet" Ask me in three months though and I'll say to start shopping at Kid's GAP.

While Sora was picking out the shorts and t-shirt she was going to have to wear to the beach Matt admiring himself in the mirror. Matt's a pretty guy. That means he must be a narcissist.

Matt was wearing swimming shorts and a Hawaiian shirt with the buttons undone. Mmm. Palm tree tourist shirts. Sexy. Donning his sunglasses he looked into the mirror and said to himself. Nothing. Because you cut your sentence in half and stuck a period on the bloody stump. Which holds double connotations considering the scene above.

"You're one sexy beast baby. Yeah baby! I am going to drive all the girls wild today. I already have Sora wrapped around my finger, and after today I'll have Mimi, Yolei, and Kari following my every whim just like proper little groupies. I know that I can have Mimi anytime I want, but I guess Ken and T.K. will just have to learn that alls fair in love and war. A harem? I'm sure you'll get far treating your childhood friends like cock sleeves with legs, Matt. You know Matt old buddy Tai would say the same thing, but only in reference to the war he will declare on you for going after his little sister.Question: Why does everyone make Tai a super protective older brother in terms of Kari dating? This just some really weird coincidence or some fanon thing? Don't worry Matt old chum Matt talks to Mattsself in third person. Matt are great speecher.  Tai is nothing to us, we can take him and he knows it. Heck he was even too afraid to fight me for Sora and you know how much he loves her. It's called being mature. Something you obviously don't know how to comprehend. Then again, clearly seeing Tai's state of affairs in the previous chapter, I'd probably agree to an extent.  Its funny the way he wanders around looking like someone stole his puppy. That dude is pathetic." Kinda agree with you there, sorry to say. Tai blows things way out of proportion in this fic.

Matt stops talking to himself when he hears a knock at the door.


"Your mother and T.K. are waiting for you down stairs Matt."

"Okay thanks Dad."

And with that Matt left his room to go to the beach.

FINALLY. Chapter 2 is over and done with. Holy hell that was awful. I'm not sure if this person is trying to write a comedy or not but... making everyone douchenozzles and inserting bodily functions humour makes me think they should be highly ashamed of themselves. Speaking of which... 


Jun. 2nd, 2014

Nakego Sporks: Digimon 02: Fun at the Beach - Chapter 1

Alternate Title: Horror at the Beach! Everyone is Asshole!

Well now, this is going to be interesting. It's been a while since I've done any kind of sporking. An introduction is in order, I think. I'm a writer, and have been more or less in the fanfiction writing (or at least reading) business since I was 12. Most of my fics went unpublished, partly due to various rewrites since I have high standards for myself. Digimon and Pokemon both captured my imagination when I was a child, but growing up it was Digimon that better aged. These characters have stuck with me and influenced me and I'm proud to say I'm still in the fandom. I have my own digimon fics in the works, and love to read them myself. That's how I ended up here, I suppose. As a multi-shipper, I like a myriad of ships in the fandom, which is where I found this doozy.

Well, let's get started, shall we?

Summary: Tai is having difficulty getting over Sora. A day at the beach should help in a major way. Michi or maybe a Taiora I havn't figured this out yet.

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*Chapter 1*: Draging Tai out of bed

Fair enough. A simple title that basically explains the entire chapter.

Beach Party
By the way, should I mention this guy made this story K+?

Disclaimer: Okay I do not own Digimon or any of the characters in this story. They are the intellectual property of Ban Dai Ban. Dai. and Toei Animation Company. However I am the supreme ruler of the Andromeda Galaxy, what Galaxy M33 (I'm going to have to get that one a better name) and 3/4's of the Magellanic Clouds. What. Exalt my greatness and fear my wrath. Ha ha ha! WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?! I thought this was Digimon! Now, on with the story!
Well it's about time.

It was a bright warm summer day.This isn't a promising opening. Birds were singing, children playing, and Tai was lying in bed staring at the ceiling. Either Tai and Kari switched bunks again since the first movie, or Kari's bed is see-through. Awkward. Although Tai wasn't sick he didn't feel like getting out of bed today. In fact he didn't feel like doing much of anything since Christmas, except play soccer, and maybe to yell at his friends.

Soccer gave Tai a release from life. The world stopped existing when he played. It was just him and the ball nothing else mattered when he was on the pitch. This new attitude had an up side and a down side. The new aggressive style of play led Tai to score more goals and lead his team to more victories. Everyone on Tai's team was willing to accept this flurry of offence from the young man, but for every silver lining there is a big black cloud in the center. Tai also led the league in cards, both yellow and red. I don't know what this means. I have no knowledge about soccer. Just go with it. Tai wasn't currently playing today because of a recent red card, and month long suspension, he got for kicking one of the opposing players in the face and breaking the kid's jaw. Yikes.

Tai's other recent behavior, yelling at his friends, had no silver lining, unless you count alienating your friends as a good thing. On some days Tai did look upon this as a blessing. Without his friends around he wouldn't have to lead them, Lead them where? You're not in the Digital World, and even if you were, the story is set in 02 where the six older kids get the sideline boot. think for them, Wow. How narcissistic of you, Tai. save them, watch Sora and Matt make out like horny rabbits. The only member of the digi-destined group who Tai hadn't lost his temper with was Kari. Kari was the beauty who could sooth the savage beast. I admit when I first read this I was squicked out. I mean ew. It sounded like it was going to go off into incestuous undertones. Ick. Izzy and T.K. accepted Tai's behavior and understood the source of his limitless anger. Why? Have they been through the same thing he's going through? What makes them empathize? Davis did not understand the reason Tai seemed to hate the world but he was willing and able to withstand Tai's verbal assaults. Mimi never faced Tai's wrath because she was in America. Sora and Matt, the source of Tai's anger and pain, never faced the consequences of Tai's moods. So really you're only a jerkwad to like four of them. Tai was afraid that he would lose Sora, whom he desperately loved if he unleashed his feelings onto her or Matt no matter how much they deserved it. They don't deserve it. And if you told her how you felt in an adult, calm manner she'd still be your friend. The others felt hurt by Tai and began to keep their distance, unless it was an emergency or a special occasion. I don't see what kind of emergency would need Tai being there. Like I said, 02 shoved the older kids to the side and made them practically useless. And special occasions? Don't invite him.

I should also mention that this chapter is actually quite good. Tai is in a depression, albeit for a bit of a silly reason. But a lot of fanfic authors when writing about Tai being upset about Sora and Matt getting together do often have him messed up for quite a while about it, to varying degrees. It's how this author sucks you into the story.

Today was one of those special occasions. To celebrate the digi-destined's victory over Myotismon Why is that event particularly special? Unless they're talking about BelialMyotismon. five years ago Which if that's the case that would make Tai 19 years old. Dude. Grow the fuck up. all the digi-destined, and their parents, were going to the beach to have a party. Mimi and her parents and her parents. were even flying over from America to join the festivities. Tai had been planning to be away on a road trip with his team this week and had hoped to miss the event. Unfortunately Tai broke some kid's jaw and now he had to go to the stupid beach party, unless he could think up an excuse not to go. Just tell them you don't want to go. It's not that hard. Jeeze.

"Hey Tai, are you going to get up already?" yelled Kari threw the bedroom door, "You don't want us to leave without you, do you?"

'Yes Kari I do want you and mom to leave with out me. Why couldn't I be out of town like dad.' thought Tai, "Kari, um ... I'm not feeling well. You and mom go without me."

"You know Tai you are a really bad lair." Commas what are those?

"Shut up, and leave me alone." That degraded fast.

"Tai I'm your sister. I know you are in pain, and I know why, DO YOU? DO YOU KARI?! but I have a feeling that if you do not go to this beach party something bad will happen."

"You think I'm going to kill myself while you and mom are gone." Wow. Just... wow.

"No, but I know that you have thought about it. Don't deny it Tai; you know I know these things." WOW. Holy shit Tai, I know it's Sora and I know you love her, but get over it. You're just making yourself become more toxic by not letting it go.

"Yeah I know. So what will happen if I don't go?"

"I don't know, but I do know that things will improve for you in the long run if you do. Please come to the beach Tai, for me." That's... not a very good motivator, you know.

"But how is my life going to get better by watching Matt and Sora make out on the beach?" There's plenty of beach. And I'm sure if you guys are getting together, there will be other activities than just sitting on your asses and making out, Tai. Chill the fuck out.

"You know I just get feelings about things not insights into the future. What are you psychic? Please tell me the author isn't making her psychic. If I could do that I would be really, really rich. Hello winning lottery numbers," said Kari as she rubbed her hand together greedily. Kari doesn't act like this. Author, what are you doing?

"Will you share your winnings with me if you win?"

"Sure we'll get a huge mansion with an indoor pool and soccer field, a concert hall for the ballets I write, soft ice cream machines, a greenhouse for the Digimon, they're not plants... Well, most of them.  a..."

"You know Kari I thought you would give all the money to charity." So would I have. After saving a reasonable amount for school, college and stuff.

"Oh shut up and get ready already we're going to be late, and you don't want to miss your opportunity to rescue all those swimsuit models." What? You're bringing swimsuit models to a celebration reunion for the digidestined? Look, I know the English dub had puns and jokes and sassy remarks and stuff, but they at least mostly made sense!

With that Kari closes the bedroom door and goes to eat breakfast. As Tai gets ready to go to the beach he wonders if he will really have to rescue some swimsuit models. He certainly hoped so.

Next up the swimsuit models. Please read and review and please be gentle it's my first time. Oh a sex joke. Funny.

Believe it or not this was the good section of the story. It just goes downhill from here.

Apr. 1st, 2013

Just to See Him Smile

Can I really tell the moment when I fell in love with him? To reveal the exact hour or day or even week. No, that's an impossibility. Should it be more appropriate to ask the moment I realized it? Yes, I remember that moment perfectly in my head.

He was fighting, as was the only time I saw him most days, at times. Usually no one saw me hidden up on those buildings. That was where I usually stayed most of the time. Ever since I summed up the courage to join the group I found myself always on top of various things, whether buildings, ledges or such.

However I ended up in one of those peculiar places, I was safe. Except for that day. That day the men went after me. The building was being torn out from under me. Everything happened so quickly I was left in a daze. All I saw was the desperation on Gabriel's face as he struggled with all his strength to reach me in time. He wrapped his arms around me protectively and held me even after the danger passed. I could hear his wildly beating heart.

His warm body felt so secure and safe, a strong embrace that made me feel comforted. His breath was shallow and ragged in my ear. For a brief moment he tightened his grip on me before hesitantly letting go and helping me up.

I never noticed until that moment, but he was always there for me. Even if he didn't know it. Perhaps it's not smart to do things so instinctively. Before that time all that was on my mind was I wanted to help him. Before I knew it my mind was filled with thoughts of him.

Even back then I suppose they were. It was just a suggestion from a classmate to go down to the cafe. There I saw him and immediately became artistically infatuated with his aesthetic appeal. His grey hair despite the youthful appearance and golden eyes made him easy to pick out from a crowd.

I had seen many people with white or grey hair, bleached from the tainted waters that caused the catastrophes in the city today. But it was the first time I had been so close to them. Champion was a place not for the faint of heart, and well, I am horribly timid. But social anxiety be damned, he had such a warm, inviting smile.

There was something about his smile. It made me want to take a chance; talk to a stranger. I was also incredibly lonely. I chose Champion City's Art Institute because it had a good program and at the time I thought my relatives still lived in the city. They moved and I had to adjust, find a place to live through the student housing program and come to terms I was in a dangerous city where there wasn't a single person I could connect with unless it was through school. It wasn't the smartest of choices, so at the first sign of a friendly face, I guess I clung to that.

Finding out he was Eagleheart was a shock, and only made me afraid he would no longer want to see me; that I lost a potential friend so soon. Leading me to his apartment was also an experience. I only met this man a few hours before and already I was alone with him in his apartment with the door bolted shut. Naive as I was I still knew that was a dangerous situation for a defenceless girl. Vigilante crime fighter or no, I still knew nothing about the man behind the mask, or the extent of his moral compass.

He needed my support as a regular citizen. I was both flattered and terrified. He saw me as a normal person. I wasn't, but how could I tell him this now? He would be angry at me if I did, essentially betraying his trust. With the amount of backlash there were against mutants, gaining the support of normal people was essential to keeping authorities off their backs. To learn the person he trusted to be his support was supportive because they were actually also mutated would essentially ruin that.

So I stayed silent with my secret. I was of better use to him pretending to be normal, wasn't I? My powers were useless after all. I couldn't do combat. Even as he gained companions they still struggled. So did I, with the feeling of uselessness and that I was living a lie. Being on the sidelines and watching my friend get hurt was painful. Still, I would only cause more problems than I'd solve if I tried to do anything, right?

It took a bit of time, but eventually I sprung unto action. Slow action, but nonetheless I did something. I trained myself in baton use and that of swinging on rope. Obviously that baton work came easier. Dawning a costume Yukari was working on and a mask that seemed to appear out nowhere I entered the battlefield.

It was the most foolish thing I have ever done. But something in my unconscious mind told me I could make a difference. Perhaps I did know what I was doing on some deeper level than my conscious mind knew. Everyone could tell I was new at this. Still, Gabriel seemed happy to see someone new. Eventually he caught me and I joined his group. It was only later that we learned my powers affected his.

At first I was upset. After all, he wanted me to use my powers to help him become stronger when fighting. Essentially I was to be his personal tool for use. A power amplifier. It took a while but eventually I accepted my role, and even embraced it. After all, I was rather useless in every other aspect. If I was to help, I was glad it could be at all. I was determined to make sure I filled my role as the object he needed.

My powers were changing, or rather part of my abilities were awakening. Things were changing around me so fast. I barely knew anything that was going on half the time. The only constant thing was him. Supporting Gabriel and protecting him and the friends I made was the important thing. Keeping up my grades was also important, for if I failed my classes I would be brought home to Vancouver.

I became more active on the team, and the changes stressed me out. I had gotten used to being the tool, but now I was no longer the tool. Thinking I found my place gave me comfort, but there was no comfort in the constantly changing positions I was being put through. Focusing on Gabriel was what got me through that stressful situation.

After I realized my feelings for him things didn't change much other than I was more aware of my desire to be around him. That was a little difficult considering he was dating a fellow teammate. A much prettier and more confident woman than me. She was more outspoken and challenged him at times. She could joke around with him and call him out when he was wrong and be intimate in ways that I wasn't confident enough to do herself. They were the perfect match.

I kept silent. Even though such a thing was difficult considering my powers allowed people to feel my emotions as my own. Victoria confronted me about it and unknowingly at the time Gabriel was with her. As usual she was blunt at getting to the point.

“Do you have feelings for Eagleheart?” She asked, her voice crystal clear over the phone, unfortunately. My heart felt like it was about to jump into my throat when I heard those words.

“Wh-what?” I asked weakly.

“Are you in love with Gabriel?”

I couldn't answer. Gabriel's girlfriend was asking if I was in love with him. Was this some sort of cruel prank to make a fool out of me? Why would she do that? We were friends, or at least I considered us to be friends. Whether that was the truth of the matter or I was in a fantasy world remained to be seen. But because we were all friends, I couldn't make things awkward between us.

I was glad this was over the phone. I am not exactly a good actor despite lessons in drama class. I did my best to sound carefree and cheerful. Perhaps too cheerful? My words were rather clumsily spoken and perhaps a little overdone. In the end, my feelings don't matter. Not that he would never see me as anything more than a friend, not that he was with someone else and not that I could never find peace with all that was transpiring around me.

His happiness was all that mattered. As long as he was happy that was good enough for me. With the best voice I could manage I denied it. He was a precious friend. Anyone who might have been there at the time watching me would know it was a complete lie. My body said it all. Trembling. Reddening face, tears threatening to spill from my eyes.

Still, I guess you can't fool an actress. Only, she kept that between us. She only mentioned that she thought he returned my feelings. In that one instance my world shifted. How could she, with just a few simple words, utterly obliterate my resolve like that?

I nearly fell into despair. When Gabriel was near I kept myself distant. His feelings for me weren't genuine. They were my feelings being projected as his own back at me. I was ruining his relationship with Victoria by being near him, tainting his feelings by invading my own into his heart. I thought about it for a long time. I would probably always be alone. There was no way that I could possibly with a comfortable tone of confidence say that anyone cared about me on their own. Not when I could force them to feel things for me that they didn't actually feel.

Somehow that felt right. It tore me up inside thinking that I'd never find someone, but at the same time it felt like that was how it should be. After all, I wasn't really deserving of that. But as long as I could never be sure... I don't know if I could accept someone's declaration of love. Just the possibility that I might be manipulating them for my own selfish desires of being with someone, it was too risky.

I will pull through. Just to see him smile, I'd do anything. To be close to that smile would be enough to give me courage to get through anything.

Dec. 31st, 2012

I Wish

We plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it were a riddle, and fulfills the dream in ways we couldn't have expected.
-Ben Okri
For anyone else, there were no complaints about the weather today. Anyone out and about would see the nearly cloudless blue sky, the sun shining humid heat down upon the small town of Sweet Amoris. It was nearly summer now, and the usual bustle of the daily commute home from school or work had already died down. There were children running to and fro, chasing each other in carefree bliss.

All but one boy, a teenager no older than fifteen. There was panic written on his face, brow twisted as far as the muscles would allow. His actions were twitchy and quick, mimicking a hummingbird in urgency. He'd stop, look around and dart elsewhere, his chest heaving with his efforts, mouth open to pant properly as he willed his body to continue.
Despite the mild weather, his short dark blue hair was plastered with sweat to his face, his tanned complexion moist with perspiration and the slightest hints of a burn forming. Anyone who spared a glance his way would see nothing particularly amiss. Perhaps curiosity would cross their mind at the unfamiliar youth but take no further course of action. The boy would be off again before most would think to ask.

Finishing his search in the immediate area, he moved to the next pair of houses, checking under porches and any other dark hiding places. Desperation had already set as the boy picked up his pace, nearly falling to the ground as his knees wobbled and threatened to collapse under him.

Calling was useless. She wouldn't answer if he did, and knowing her if she heard him coming she would only run away again. With how tired he was, there was no way he could catch her if that happened and he'd lose her again. She wouldn't be found if she didn't want to be. She was good at hiding like that. Despite her few years of life, she had a long time to practice.

She was going to be in so much trouble when he got his hands on her. He'd been looking all afternoon and still couldn't find a trace of her anywhere. He had to miss all his afternoon classes because of her.

He debated calling home. His parents had no idea what was happening, and when he got home there would only be scolding for him for skipping school. He was only thankful that he told them in the morning of his plans to go to the park, his little sister in tow right after school. That would at least buy him a little bit of time to find her. Hopefully.
The brat better be thankful he was going through all this trouble for her. He didn't have to be running across half the suburban area for her. The more he thought about it the angrier he got.

In truth he only found out she ran away when going over to the elementary school to check up on her during break. That was when some classmates told him they hadn't seen her all day. It didn't take much to figure out what she had done. Usually it wasn't this hard to find her.

She usually didn't go this far. He'd been so vigilant in his search but came up empty handed and he was already seven minutes from the school, driving! Why the heck did she  come out this far, anyway?

He wondered if going off the roads and into the forests would be better. She wouldn't go into the woods, would she? She loved to go into the trees and bushes, but she wouldn't risk getting lost, would she? What if he never found her?
This spurred the tired teen on despite his exhaustion, stopping only when something of interest caught his eye. The stop itself was less than graceful; a sudden motion that almost sent his body collapsing on the ground. It was a long shot, but it was a hiding place that most kids would love, right? He licked his dry lips, taking in a deep breath before pushing onward.

The tree house obviously belonged to a family. It was in someone's back yard. Cautiously moving closer he could see that, thankfully, the house had been empty of people for at least a few days; judging from the empty driveway and corners of bent mail sticking out of the box, anyway. That would at least have him avoid the uncomfortable motion of asking complete strangers if he could check their tree house for his little sister.

He jumped the fence with only slight difficulty. It was only after he landed hard on the ground, falling to his knees that he realized he should have checked for a dog. The family wouldn't just leave a pet behind, right? They'd take it with them or have a neighbour care for it or something. If there was, Lina wouldn't be in there. It didn't seem like anything was coming after him to bite his face off, though.

Cautiously, he proceeded, warily keeping out for anything alive. Stopping at the base of the tree house he took in a deep breath. He shouldn't get his hopes up too much on this place. After all, there seemed to be a million places this kid could end up. Even so, he climbed with his breath held.

Poking his head over the edge, he saw a mostly empty wooden playroom, a few scattered toys about. There were pictures, crayons and a couple of small chairs and something in the far corner, huddled beneath a blanket.

The mound moved in response to his voice. At once he could see the face of his little sister, the blanket casting a red glow on her face. At once he opened his mouth to yell at her for running away from school, but stopped.

Her normally bright blue eyes, easily the most striking feature on her face, were swollen and red. A few strands of her fiery red hair were plastered by dried tears to the side of her face.


He hoisted himself up into the tree house, and noticed immediately something was off. The red on her face wasn't from the blanket, but half-transparent hairs. Inching closer, he took the blanket away, with only mild resistance from Lina.

Triangular fuzzy ears poked out the top of her head, a shaggier mane of fur sprouting from around her neck, and her fingers were padded, nails long and curled unnaturally. She even had a bushy tail. Lina sobbed, her body shuddering with the contraction of her lungs. Anger that welled in his chest, threatening to spring up in screams of blaring frequency at her instantly diminished.

He couldn't scold her when she was so broken up like this.

"I'm sorry." She said, her voice shaking. "I can't change back."

Corte exhaled and held his hands out. Lina leaned away, but didn't stop him from pulling her into his arms. Instead, she welcomed the embrace, berrying her head into his shirt. "What happened?"

"Nothing. I was just walking to school and this dog came over. I went over to pet it."

"You know mom and Brandt don't want you touching animals." Corte said.

"I know. I thought it would be okay, though. But then I started feeling funny and I started to change." Lina was clinging to him now, her voice muffled as her head was still in his shirt.

"You have to try, Lina. You can't stay up in this tree house forever. Eventually the owners will be home and mom and your dad will be worried."

"It hurts." She whispered. Corte looked down at her, his expression twisting in alarm and worry.

"Hurts?" He repeated. "How does it hurt?" Lina didn't answer, merely shaking her head. She didn't know how to explain? Corte wondered if he should find someone to phone a hospital. He didn't know much about shape shifters, but he was sure that it wasn't supposed to hurt.

"Let's get you home, Lina. We'll get someone to help you." He said softly, trying not to show the panic in his voice. Slowly, he inched his way backward, struggling for a second until his foot finally slid out from under him and over the edge of the opening. Testing, it took a further few seconds until his foot found the slab of wood hammered into the tree.

Lina nodded and followed, waiting until Corte was halfway down before starting her descent. She was slow, and her movements were shaky. Corte wondered if he should jump down and be there in case she fell. This tree house was ridiculously high. Even with a kid her age she'd be afraid she'd fall.

Watching his progress, he got two metres from the ground before jumping the rest of the way down. "Alright, Lina. I'm down. I'll be here to catch you, alright?"

He could see her head move in a nod. She was still shaking, her knuckles on the steps white from how hard she was gripping them. It was  a long three minutes before she finally descended to a distance where he could grab her. He lifted her off the ladder and started to make his way to the fence.

Corte was glad that it looked as though the hairs on her face were starting to disappear. Lina had only began to shift her body at the start of kindergarten. This, naturally, shocked both parents when discovered. It surprised him as well. Shifting was in the family, but he was told that it wasn't since his great-grandmother on their father's side that anyone in their family had been born with the power. Their mother's family had always been mundanes, so naturally none of them knew how to handle Lina's uncontrollable shifts.

There was one way to keep her from doing it, though. It seemed she only started to shift after touching some kind of animal. They used to have a dog named Tiggy running around the house. Lina loved him. When she started shifting into Tiggy, however, they had to get rid of the dog. It wasn't a happy situation for anyone. Lina didn't know how to shift, or for that matter, how to undo it. For now, her parents wanted nothing to do with the shifting. Classes for abnormals to learn how to control their powers didn't start until the third grade.

Lina loved being around animals, though. It was one of those things that would be hard, they couldn't just stop her when she wanted to pet a puppy or something. It also didn't seem fair that Lina had to limit herself just because no one around them knew how to teach her. It wasn't as though shape shifting was extremely common or anything, nor was it straight forward. He heard there were many different types of shape shifting, and depending on what type there were different ways to go about teaching them.

They were mostly silent on the long trek back to the house. Corte had been worried at first but it seemed like the dog features were progressively dissipating as they walked until she was finally back to normal. Ultimately, Corte would have to tell his mother and step-father what happened.

Immediately after walking in the door Lina ran past Corte and her parents, running up the stairs to her room. Corte sighed and turned to his mother and step-father, awkwardly explaining why he hadn't been at school that day. Unbeknownst to them, Lina had come out of her room again, and was eavesdropping on the conversation.
"She can't just be running off every time she pets something and starts to shift, Brandt!" The children's mother hissed.

"I know, Mary. But there's nothing we can do about it. She has these abilities and needs to learn to use them." Brandt said. He looked to his son, then over at the stairs. Lina shifted herself, hoping she couldn't be seen. She stood with her bum in the air, knees on the second top stairs, hands propped two stairs down and she peeked past the rail near where the stairs met the ceiling of their downstairs.

"I regret moving out of New York." He said with a sigh. "If I'd have known that my child would be born with shifting abilities I'd have stayed in a town with more resources."

"You couldn't have known, Brandt." Mary said. "You told me that neither you or your father had powers. It was unlikely Lina could inherit something from your grandmother."

"I'm just afraid she'll hurt herself. She doesn't know how to shift or to de-shift. She might end up running into serious problems."

"Ah, that's another thing." Corte said. His hand rubbed the back of his neck. "Lina did have trouble getting back to normal. She said... she was in pain." His eyes turned to his mother, watching the look of horror on her face.
"All the more reason she shouldn't be around animals and wait until she's older!" Mary said. "My poor baby... She shouldn't have to go through something like that."

"It would be a different story if one of us was a shifter." Brandt said. "However, the fact still remains that all of us are largely ignorant and new to all of this. We can't wait for her to start classes in the third grade."

"I have a friend at school who knows something about shifters. Or at least one that lives in the area." Corte said. "They said she is actually an authority and has videos on it and stuff. If we can get tapes for her, maybe we can help her learn on her own."

"I'm not comfortable with Lina only learning this stuff through some old tapes." Mary said, shaking her head. "Can't we just call this woman? Perhaps arrange some sort of meeting where she can teach Lina in person?"

"We could try. Until then, it shouldn't hurt telling Lina that she shouldn't be afraid of her powers or feel she's different from the other children. Her peers will be getting their own abilities around this age, or around puberty, if they haven't already."

"I can run over to the library and see if any of her videos are there." Corte suggested.

"Do you know her name?" Brandt asked.

"Uh, well, kinda. It's like Grace... something-or-other. If she wrote any books I can check those out, too."
"Corte, dear, would you like a ride?" Their mother asked. "You still look a little tired. The library is so far."
"Sure, mom."

Lina leaned down more, watching as her brother and mother gathered their things and made their way to the door. Her father looked up at the stairs, chuckling when he caught her attempt to hide herself.

"You're not in trouble, Lina. You can come down." Slowly, Lina righted herself and took the steps at a delayed pace. Her eyes still itched from the tears and she rubbed them a few times. She ran into her father's open arms, squeezing his neck as tight as she could.

"You know this is normal." He murmured into her hair, petting it lightly as he tried to comfort her. "Nothing's wrong with you."

"I know."

"So you'll tell me why you ran away from school?"

"I thought you'd be mad. I went to play with a dog." He nodded, walking over to the couch and set her down.
"How about we have a snack while we wait for Corte and your mother to get back?" Lina smiled and nodded enthusiastically.

"Can I help?"


Lina jumped off the couch and ran into the kitchen area, Brandt following behind her. He checked the cupboards and fridge, trying to look for some ideas. "How about a cheese and pickle party?"

"What's that?" Lina asked.

"Well, we can slice up some cheese and pickles. Then dunk them in the pickle juice and see who can make the funniest sour face. We can open a can of oysters, too."

"Oysters, cheese and pickles." Lina said. "You're weird, daddy."

He chuckled. "Perhaps. But I'm sure it doesn't taste as weird as it sounds, right?"

"Dad?" He looked down at Lina.


"Will I have to stop eating meat if I become animals all the time?"

Brandt thought for a moment, turning back to their snack as he placed the food on a plate. "No, I don't think you'd have to. Why do you ask?"

"Well, I turn into animals every time I touch them. I thought I might if I ate them, too." He chuckled.

"No, I don't think it extends to you eating animals, Lina. You don't have to do anything like quit eating meat unless you want to."

The next hour was spent preparing their little food party. Lina fetched the ingredients and Brandt cut the cheese and pickles. Lina wanted to help with that as well, and was instructed to hold the food while he cut. They sat in the living room and made kabobs with toothpicks. The house was filled with laughter by the time Corte and Mary returned. Brandt stood up when they walked into the living room.

"Did you find anything?"

"Yeah. They actually had a couple of her videos and a few books on shifting." Corte said happily, holding up the plastic bag.

"Well, let's stick one in the VCR and watch it, then." Brandt said, holding his hand out for the tape, which Corte promptly gave him after fishing in the bag for one. The TV was turned on, and the tape pushed in. The family sat on the couch, waiting for something to happen.

Lina was sitting inbetwen her father and brother, leaning forward, eyes glued unblinkingly to the TV. The tape started and a pretty woman started talking, introducing herself as the scientist Grace Kincade and introduced the audience to the topic of the episode. She was a little awkward, a bit monotonous in her tone at times, and often misspoke or paused, using filler words until she found what she wanted to say. That is, until she finally did reach the point when she became comfortable with the situation and became more flowing.

A sigh escaped their mother's lips. "Oh Corte, this is far too technical for Lina to understand." She muttered quietly under her breath. "She won't be able to get anything from this."

Her mom was right, of course. Lina didn't understand a lot of what this woman was saying. But she was talking about changing into animals, and that was all Lina needed to be interested. The woman was also really pretty, and her voice changed at various intervals when the woman picked up steam on the particular part of the lecture. That at least kept things somewhat interesting.

There was very little she understood even though she tried her hardest to. There were a lot of words that were unfamiliar to her. Lina was a little upset that she couldn't, wondering that if she was just a little older, if she would understand.

The tape soon ended and her brother and parents stood up from the couch. Corte gave them a look, glancing down at the bag with the remaining videos and the few books.

"Should I take these back, then?" Corte asked. "They're not much use to us if she can't understand. But maybe if we studied them and taught her..."

"I want to watch the next one." Lina said. All three of them looked at her.

"She can watch them, but I still don't want her shifting. Not if it causes her pain." Mary said. "We should wait until she's older, or find someone to teach her properly."

Brandt sighed and nodded. "Alright, Corte. Put in another tape for her. We'll start preparing dinner."

Corte took another tape out of the bag, taking the finished tape out of the VCR and putting it away. Instead of going up to his room, he sat back down on the couch as the new tape started playing. With a big grin on her face, Lina ran back to the couch, leaped on the cushion beside him before plopping down.

Lina watched all of the tapes. When she finished the last one she took the tape she liked the best and put it back in, rewinding it over and over again. She fell asleep on the couch that night, the tape running for the eighth time.
Over the next week watching these tapes was the only thing Lina seemed to do. She ate her meals quickly to get back to them as quickly as possible, and did her homework on the coffee table, as long as she didn't stare at the screen instead of doing her addition. At night Corte read her a chapter of the books before bed. She always laughed at him when he struggled on one of the words.

Eventually the tapes had to be taken back to the library. It wasn't much of a problem when the most played tape was found while on a shopping trip among a few of the others. They were immediately bought.

It was only a matter of a few months that Lina had been having issues with the emergence of her powers. But it felt like years to her. It was something she never realized could happen to her. Or like one of those many things mom or dad promised to explain to her when she was older. It seemed like that was how it was going to be again. But Lina felt dissatisfied with the underlying answer that seemed to be in their cautious words. They didn't speak honestly in front of her.

She didn't mind when she was forced to go outside and play instead of spending countless hours in front of the TV, playing the same group of tapes over and over again. She would run into the backyard in an area away from the windows. The more she watched the tapes the more she thought she understood. She was glad Dr. Kincade made it easy to understand the parts where she actually taught how to shift. It was all about concentration.

Lina wasn't sure if it would work. At first nothing happened. But by the end of the second week she felt something happen. She saw the transparent hairs on her arms grow dark and thick, growing all over her body. Her bones softened one by one, shifting, growing or shrinking. Her spine lengthened, growing a bushy tail behind her.

It got easier every time. She always had trouble shifting despite everything  Dr. Kincade said or demonstrated on her various tapes. Lina never actually finished a shift before. She would always run into some kind of problem. Often she would be stuck for a little while until she felt something ease up. If her parents ever found out she would often get stuck halfway between they'd probably freak out.

It wasn't easy keeping what she was doing from her family. They always liked to keep an eye on her. The only time they didn't was when she insisted she walk alone to the park. Her parents were skeptical at first, but she was happy that Corte stood up for her. After all, he often went alone to the park at her age. After a few close calls with her mother almost catching her, Lina opted the park a safer place to practice.

She was alone. None of her family members had the same abilities she did. She was like a pioneer; an explorer delving into uncharted territory. Fraught with danger - whatever fraught meant - and at the end would lead to fame and untold riches. At least make a game out of it.

Being a pioneer was lonely, she thought as she looked around in her little hiding place. It seemed like all her life revolved around lately was her goal, and secrets. She wanted to run up to her mom and dad and tell of her accomplishments, get showered with praise of a job well done for her achievements. But none would come.
More like being grounded would be the end result. But that threat didn't stop her. It was actually fun to imagine getting her congratulations from Dr. Kincade instead of her parents or brother. She was a professional. She knew pretty much everything about shifting. Getting a compliment from her would be something worthwhile. Even if that were possible she was a long way off from actually getting that.

She looked around her pitiful little hide away. It was a concrete tunnel. That was it; just a plain concrete tunnel with no paint on the inside, and just big enough for someone of her size to fit comfortably inside sitting down. It reached a ways across in both directions, spanning halfway across the park. It was a toy, like any other. But it was also private, to a degree. No one cold see her unless they went to one of the sides. The far right end reached almost to the bushes, meaning if anyone came looking for her from the left, she would at least have an easy getaway. But then she'd just be in more trouble.

She recently found out Dr. Kincade had children. Both were around her age. Lina figured both of them were shifters like her. She wondered what it was like; having a parent that could shift, or a brother or sister that could. It must have been so easy for them.

Tears welled in her eyes, only wiping them away when they began to sting. They would never get grounded for touching animals or trying to shift. They would always have support from someone who knew what it was like, or had been through it before.

They were around her age, though. That meant if she ever got to meet Dr. Kincade she could play with her kids. Lina didn't know their names, or at least couldn't recall them; still, the thought of playing with them made her a little giddy. Her parents bought some more media about the woman, and a few of them were less technical. They made a few guest appearances. That was how she found out about them.

The boy and girl both looked strikingly like their mother with thick golden locks of hair being the most striking feature of each of them. The girl had large green eyes, but the boy had a golden amber shade.

Both of them seemed so happy to be around their mother. Well, why wouldn't they? Their mother was Dr. Kincade. She could teach them everything they wanted to know about shifting, and Lina bet anything she was a really nice mom, too. Not that she thought her mom wasn't.

They would probably be fun to play with, though. The boy seemed to be closer to Lina's age than the girl did. That was kind of unfortunate, at least in her mind. She was sure if they were they would be the best of friends. The boy had a wild and energetic look to him. He was probably like any other boy in her kindergarten class: Loud and disruptive and always picking on girls.

Lina never liked wearing dresses at the end of the week. There was always the custom of getting your dress flipped up if you did. She was sure just because he was a boy he did that at his school. Well, maybe he was a nice brother like Corte, just more willing to play in the dirt and get all muddy.

But she could see her and Dr. Kincade's daughter being the best of friends. They would play dolls together, oh and build blanket forts in the living room or under the stairs, have pillow fights and play house! There were so many things that she wanted to try at least once. But many things she could only do with a girl friend. Corte would play with her sometimes, but he'd often refuse.

But they could go swimming! Or have races down hills and spin each other around until they were dizzy and fell down.
A smile crept to her face as she imagined what it would be like if she played with them. They wouldn't look at her weird if they found her stuck in a shift like she was now. She didn't know his personality, but she could imagine the boy laughing at her, though, and boasting about his own mastery of the craft. Or maybe all of them would stay half-shifted for a while to make her feel better, and Dr. Kincade would help her to get unstuck.

She curled into a ball when the pain started to set in, wishing she could feel the tugging cease, the little snap that would allow her to shift back to normal. She tried not to think about it. Her parents told her that she would be able to start learning how to control her powers when she turned nine, but that was almost two years away. Two birthdays, two grades, it was much too far away. It was easier this way. She could do it on her own as long as she had help from the tapes, books and other such things. Then maybe one day she could ask her parents to see Dr. Kincade in person and show off her skills. The skills she learned all from watching her and following her advice...

The sound of something moving in the tunnel woke Lina. She bolted up to all fours and stared at the far end of the tunnel. It was still light out, so she hadn't been asleep that long. Corte was on his hands and knees, trying to figure out how to get his larger body into the tunnel without wrecking his clothes. He stopped when he noticed she was awake.

"So, you got yourself stuck again." He said with a sigh, letting go of his resistance and letting gravity do the work, plopping his torso to the cold bottom with a slight wince. He propped his head on his hands. "You've been doing this even though mom and dad wanted you to wait?"

Lina relaxed a little, ears, which had shrunken since she fell asleep drooped a bit. "Yeah..."

"It's okay, Lina." He said. "I know this means a lot to you. They're just concerned for you, that's all."

"I know." Lina sniffed, tears forming in her eyes. "But I don't want to wait that long. It'll take forever."

Corte chuckled softly. "Forever is a long time, Lina. Before you know it, you'll be my age."

Lina glared at him, sitting down and crossing her arms over her chest. What did that have to do with anything? That was a lot longer away than third grade. Was this supposed to make her feel better?

"You want me to help you?" Corte asked. Lina looked up at him. "I've been watching those videos, too, you know. At least I hear them whenever I go downstairs."

"You know how I can turn back to normal?" He nodded.

"Just concentrate. One area at a time. Think of your fingers. Then your hand, arm and shoulder." Lina closed her eyes and tried to do what he said. Fingers. They were easy enough to think about. Little wriggling things that she used to touch everything.

Slowly her paws lengthened, the toes thickening with the claws retracting to become more weak and human. The ears on her head migrated down to their original place, the hairs on her skin shrank back to their practically invisible state.
She had done it. This time there was no knotted feeling that loosened. It was just her willing her body to work for her. She looked up at her brother and smiled. "I did it."

"You did." He said. "But Lina, I would rather you didn't sneak out to the park again to do this stuff anymore."
Lina's face fell. "But-"

"Lina, please? For mom, dad and I?" Lina stared at him for a few minutes, lips pursed and eyebrows furrowed. She made so much progress over the last few months. Why would he want to stop her now.

"I don't want to."

"Lina." He tried his best to move forward but Lina jumped from her knees to a crouching position, threatening to run away at any second.

"No!" Her voice raised this time.

"What if we kept watching those movies together? We can watch them until you understand. Then maybe we can get someone to help you with your powers a little earlier than normal?"

She looked at him warily, eyes searching his face. He was usually trustworthy, but he was agreeing more with mom and dad than with her. "Why can't you help me?" She asked finally. His eyebrow raised.

"Me." He said flatly. "You want me to help?"

"You did just now. You said you watched lots of the tapes and you said you would watch more with me." Lina said.

"You help!"

Corte sighed. "I can't make any promises, Lina. Except that I'll try." Lina smiled. It wasn't exactly what she wanted, but it was better than him changing his mind completely and refusing to do anything. As long as it didn't involve waiting until grade three to finally learn how to do anything. She would take what she could get.

Crawling out the other end, she waited impatiently for her brother to finally crawl out of the tunnel. He groaned as he stretched, muttering about how he was getting too big for it. Lina laughed, taking his hand.

"Are you ready for dinner, Lina?" Corte asked.

"It's dinner already?" Lina said, startled. It was far from dinner time when she arrived. How long had she been in the tunnel musing to herself? How long had she been asleep?

"Yeah. You were gone for a long time. Mom was starting to get worried about you."

The next few months flew by for Lina. She got really good at transforming into one type of animal. It was one step at a time, even though she was impatient at times. Corte made sure to not let her get ahead of herself. Tapes and books always kept her satisfied when she got upset.

Lina was highly anticipating a new talk Dr.Kincade was going to have. She didn't exactly know what it was about, but anything new from Dr. Kincade always excited the girl. The expected date came and went, however, without much word. Still, Lina needed to be patient, as Corte kept reminding her. She kept watching the newest tapes, and rereading the first couple of chapters, insisting they be part of her learning how to read along with the regular books. She was getting good at memorizing some of the words.

Lina kept pressing, asking her repeated question more than once a week, and finally down to once a week. Eventually, with looks on their faces that Lina couldn't quite determine, paused after she asked. Her parents exchanged apprehensive looks to one another. Her mother shook her head slightly at her father before turning away to leave her husband to their questioning daughter.

"Lina..." He said, bending down on one knee. "Dr. Kincade... won't be doing that announcement you've been looking forward to."

Lina tilted her head to the side. "Why not?" There was a growing uneasiness in the pit of her stomach. Something was wrong. There was always something wrong when he talked to her like this.

"Well, she... retired, I guess you could say."

"To spend more time with her kids?" Lina asked, smiling. She had been working hard lately, according to any sources on her that her parents or Corte could find. Maybe she decided her family was more important.

"I guess you could say that." He sighed. "It means you won't be getting any more lectures from her anymore. You know that, right?" Lina nodded, her smile fading to a more solemn expression.

"I know. But if she's happier this way I don't mind. She's helped me lots." He smiled, picking her up as he stood to his full height.

"That she has. Hey, how about we go out for some ice cream? I have something to tell you about shifting."

"What? Tell me!" He laughed, setting her down. "Go grab your coat, sweetie." She ran to grab her coat and got her goes on. It took her a few minutes, having initially put them on the wrong feet and having to correct it.

"Well, we found someone from your school who is willing to help you with your shifting a year early." Brandt said, taking a hold of Lina's hand. Corte and their mother followed behind as they walked out the door. "She'll only teach you the basics, but it's better than nothing, right? You'll have a bit of a head start on your classmates."

She smiled. "Do you think if I get really good at turning into animals we can go see Dr. Kincade and I can show her how good I am and thank her? I wish I could be just like her when I become an adult." Her father gave her that same sad look despite his smile.

"Yeah. Maybe someday."

Jul. 14th, 2012

Picture's Worth

     Picture's Worth
  (Half Past Now RPG Fic)

His love isn't blind, it's just stumbling in the dark...
 And like a photograph, love develops in darkness.


School was over for the day, thank goodness. Sweet Amoris had been a little hectic what with all the late students needing attention, exams coming up soon, a few tests that needed to be studied for, and unfortunately there had been an issue last period gym where a few students were horsing around, causing some structural damage to the school. The meeting with the kids, their parents and the faculty to discuss proper punishments and school repairs was long and arduous. Nathaniel Kincade tried his best to diligently take record, preferring to keep his personal opinions or suggestions on the matter to himself lest he heard something that refused to let him stay quiet. Usually this was in the boys' defence. The meeting lasted a total of two hours, and finally, Nathaniel Kincade was off to assess the damage to send in a report that would ultimately determine the total cost.

Normally a task such as this would be done by a faculty member: Principal Hathaway or someone like Sal, but he volunteered to help. He stepped out of the building and into the courtyard out back. The sun was still shining brightly in the sky, though from the Earth's rotation was slowly creeping toward the tops of the treeline, casting a warm glow.

The courtyard by now was long since completely devoid of any lingering students who might have stayed to chat to each other; either just to do so or while waiting for a ride to come and retrieve them. It was empty and wide, filled with a blissful silence. The concrete was clean of garbage and graffiti for once, a perfect square abruptly stopping to make way for a smaller rectangle of grass on the far end from the school. There a beautiful ash tree stood, branches filled with puffy leaves that were in the midst of changing to a brilliant shade of yellow and two benches in front. The yard was sectioned off from the houses and apartment building by a high concrete wall, an old cracking barrier, the bushes to the far end hiding up the lack of maintenance much worse on that end. Maybe after he was done he would take some time to just sit under the tree, maybe take a novel from the library and start reading.

Opening the door to the gym, he looked around for the damage. Thankfully there was no damage to the large windows to the left that brought in the gym's natural lighting, or the beams that separated them. Toward the storage area where all of the equipment was kept was also mostly undamaged, the soccer net looking a little worse for wear, but the basketball hoop was spared. The smaller windows along the far wall were also undamaged with the exception of a crack in the very last one. It was to the right where all the action seemingly took place. The bleachers had been moved out of the way, one so far as to have been pushed several meters from the wall in a slant. He saw the large dent in the wall close to the change rooms, the polyurethane foam padding was completely destroyed, the plywood backing snapped in several places, and even driven in to the drywall and brick behind. Another where the bricks were falling out not far away from the proceeding one, and finally the hole between the bleachers, looking just as mangled and pathetic as the first hole.

The damage was a bit more excessive than he first imagined. Frowning, he took out a pen and a notepad that he stuffed in his pockets and started to scribble down any information that he could. There was a camera hanging by it's strap around his neck.

It was a Canon EOS 60D with a 18-135 lens. He heard it was a good camera to get the small details clearly, which was why they had given it to him. Holding it up, he fiddled with the settings before shooting a few pictures of the damage. As he walked along the sides, snapping up the individual spots of damage from multiple angles he noticed through the top corner of the lens something rather odd.

Scuff marks? No, they were gouges in the wood floor. They seemed to be pointing toward the equipment room. Raising an eyebrow, he wandered toward the nearest one, bending down to one knee and inspecting it. He traced the gash with his fingers, a light powder mixture of wood and something white sticking to his finger.

"Hmm..." He scooted away, still on his knee before aiming the camera and snapping a picture of the marks as well. He couldn't be sure if they were from the fight, but they still could have been.

He tried to trace the fight in his mind. Not sure where the starting point was exactly, he tried to fit in all the pieces together. Not once in any of his scenarios did the scuff marks come in for the fight. This puzzled Nathaniel, and he wondered if the marks hadn't been there previously. He didn't take gym class this semester, so there was no way he could be sure how long they had been there. They seemed like they were fresh, though. Following them, they did lead all the way to the equipment room.

Testing the door, he only confirmed his suspicion that it was locked. His curiosity let the question of what it was that connected the room to the scuffle might have been. Taking a look in there might have shed some light. He'd have to ask Ms. Quinlan for the keys later, if she hadn't already left for the day.

There were still a couple of pictures that he needed to take of the thick of the fight damage. Getting an angle further away would be a good idea to show the extent of it. He walked somewhat sideways as he pointed the camera toward the right wall of the gym, waiting to see the perfect shot to get as much of it as possible. One more step and he thought he could get it all, and maybe a step back.

Something felt soft and malleable under his foot. Instantly he felt the sensation of falling despite his feet being firmly planted on the floor. Slightly disoriented, he dropped the camera, the bulk of it smacking against his chest. He winced more for the safety of the camera than for the tiny ache where the heavy machinery hit.

What happened? Looking around, he saw many long lockers, wooden benches in the space between. The floor was no longer wood, but a cold concrete with splashes of tile to his far right. He was in the shower room.

So this could confirm that Justin had been in the fight as well. Justin Brown being someone who could teleport himself and others, the reality warping leaving a trace that could still be tripped hours after the initial action. Or at least that's what he heard the teen brag once. It seemed he spoke the truth.

Still, there was more evidences of damage in here, as well. A locker door was heavily bent in, and there was a good chunk taken out of one of the benches. He snapped a picture of each that he found, taking great care in making sure the photographs would come out clear.

His attention shifted to his left and he turned, having seen something move out of the corner of his eye. Frowning when he saw nothing there, he wondered if his mind was playing tricks on him. Shaking his head and rubbing his eyes with his fingers, he turned back to his work.

There was little more damage than in the place where he saw, initially. Most likely Justin had teleported him and the other two boys into the locker room area and then almost immediately shifted them back out. Where the second trigger point was, he couldn't quite say. Catching the first one had been a stroke of luck.

If they teleported in and out so quickly then the leaving mark had to be close to the first one. He would just have to wander around until he found it. The change room was locked from the outside, and there was no way of getting out otherwise. He wasn't too concerned that he wouldn't find it, only hoping that he did before the ports faded or he would be stuck the entire night. Wouldn't that be fun.

His attention caught to his left when he heard the sound of running water. A shower had been turned on. Shortly after, a few moments, muffled music joined the steady rhythmic chorus of the shower, loud and eventually engulfing the water almost entirely.

The music filled the change room, echoing off the walls. Who could possibly be in here at this time of night? Nathaniel thought to himself, slightly agitated. Other than himself, of course. He had a reason for being in the locked room.

Nathaniel tried to reason with himself what someone could possibly be doing in the showers. The only logical conclusion would be that it was a teacher who used the gym for a work out, or perhaps a sports club member that stayed behind and with permission from the school could lock up when done. Usually all after school activities finished long ago.

Walking slowly toward the shower, he debated on whether or not he should let his curiosity get the best of him. Was it really any of his business who was using the showers that he would bother them during this time? Couldn't he just leave if the person was here? This meant that the door was unlocked and he could escape without worry, right?

Turning his heel, he walked swiftly toward the front of the change room, his hand stretching out toward the bar on the door. He pushed. The door didn't budge. Peering through the crack, he could see the bolt was in it's proper place for a locked door. He could have swore under his breath as he turned back to face the rest of the room. If the door was locked, then how did this person get in or out? Surely they hadn't been foolish enough to get themselves locked in here. The only option that he had now was to confront this person and demand an explanation and a means to get out.

It was iffy if the second trigger was already gone or not. He couldn't rely on that as a sure means of his escape. The music got louder the longer he walked. Stepping into the shower area of the room now, he smelled the strongly wafting scent of strawberries and the heat of the hot water in the hazy steam being produced.

Nathaniel hesitated in mid step, slowly putting his foot down on the tiles and walking significantly slower from then on. He had a bad feeling about this all of a sudden. He unfortunately couldn't tell what exactly said bad feeling meant. He considered holding back until they were done with their shower, clothed and about ready to leave. An odd thought crossed his mind.

What if this person knew another means of escape? Perhaps the exit he was seeking was in the shower section and by waiting outside in the locker area he would miss the person completely and be none the wiser? If that were the case then perhaps he could find a way out on his own. If it was while the person was still in the shower, then that would be best.

He walked along the occupied shower isle, spotting a pile of clothes sitting on a bench. Walking closer, his curiosity getting the best of him, he slowly started to dread who the clothes belonged to. Not any individual person, no, but a woman. Justin hadn't teleported the three of them - and subsequently Nathaniel - into the boy's locker room, but the girl's. The person in the shower was female.

Now he really wanted to retreat. The situation was uncomfortable as it was without having the unfortunate implications of the Student Body President being locked in the girl's locker room with a girl. If a word of this got out to the general public at Sweet Amoris, he was sure that his existence for a time would be almost unbearable, even with an explanation as to why he had been there.

He looked down at the clothes, mostly piled in a lump than neatly folded. He actively tried to ignore the panties still in the masculine jeans. The shabby-chic goth style was something he was familiar with.

Oh crap, he knew who the girl was. Lina Sternberk.

He didn't know why, but he turned to look at her. Of course, he wasn't seeing her, specifically. It was just her silhouette from the shower curtain. The metal song that was playing had ended. Her iPod was hooked up to some speakers just on top of her clothes and switched to a rather upbeat pop song. He watched as she twisted and danced in place to the music as she scrubbed at her long hair, bunched up on her skull with a few strands dangling. A faint voice unlike the women in the band meant that Lina was singing, too. Nathaniel couldn't help but watch as her curvy body slithered back and forth as she danced, lathering and rinsing her hair.

Her clothes betrayed her, at times. She had round hips and a small waist. She was a lot more filled out than her style of choice would lead someone to believe. That is, unless she wore something that deliberately showed off parts of her curves. But that always was kept rather modest. This was entirely different.

She started washing her legs, placing her foot on the soap holder and bent over to lather her leg up to shave. Realizing what he was doing, Nathaniel cupped a hand over his mouth and turned around. He could feel his face burning hot.

He couldn't believe himself. He had been staring at Lina. In the shower. Naked. Staring at her body through the curtain. What was wrong with him? Not only was that incredibly rude and disrespectful but it was Lina Sternberk. He didn't like having much to do with this girl at all, but lately she seemed to have been intruding rather aggressively into his life. No matter where he turned she was always there. He hated it, and yet...

He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to get the image of Lina's silhouette out of his mind. He refused to think of her like that. She wasn't his type at all, and what's more, despite her constant intrusions and his willingness to deal with her on more friendly terms it did not mean that it was suddenly okay for him to do this sort of thing. Even if it was any other girl in school. Damn hormones.

That's all he could really think could be the reason. He was a teenager, after all. He still got urges like everyone else, but he never let them get the best of him and was usually diligent about not doing something inappropriate. This could be counted as inappropriate, however.

His inner ramblings made him lose track of the time. He didn't realize that he had been standing there, turned away from the showers and mentally berating himself until he heard the water flow cease. Inside, Nathaniel panicked. Turning around, he saw Lina casually ringing her long hair out and reached for the curtains, lifting a leg to step out.

His mind was blank as he wondered what he should do. He couldn't hide or leave the room. She would see him before he could get out of sight. Seeing her towel beside her clothes he snatched it greedily and let it fall open, fumbling with it a bit until he held it in front of him, spread wide open.

Lina stepped out of the shower, jumping and letting out a loud gasp when she saw that someone was in the building with her. To Nathaniel's eyes, her body was hidden by the towel apart from her head, shoulders and half of her cleavage. He turned red as he turned his head away from her.

He felt his the towel get torn out of his grasp. He didn't look back until he heard the curtain close. Lina was wrapping the towel around her waist of all things! Shouldn't she be wrapping it around her chest?

Her long hair began to shorten. His amber eyes widened. She wasn't seriously shifting, was she? He braced himself, wondering what kind of animal would come storming through the curtains. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest, his eyes following her hand, wondering why it wasn't changing as she reached for the curtains.

She pulled them back, and what Nathaniel saw... was human. More specifically, male. Short blonde hair, dripping wet and plastered to her face, which was more masculine and angular, broad shoulders and a thin torso with no significant muscle. What she had changed into was him.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Lina asked, glaring at him. At least she kept her own voice, but Nathaniel wasn't sure if he was comforted by that or was more unnerved that her voice was coming from his mouth.

"I uh... could say the same thing of you." Nathaniel said. "How did you get in here when the door is locked?" Lina gestured to an open window just short of touching the ceiling.

"I leave it open so that I can crawl in." Nathaniel sighed, now this was opening a whole new set of questions. But first...

"When... when did you get that morph of me?" Lina smirked, playing with the towel, loosening the knot before slipping it up to her chest. His hair on her darkened back to her normal red colour and slowly lengthened. Her features became more feminine and she shrunk shorter to her normal height. The morph was rather short seeing as she was going back from human to human.

"When you kissed me." She said in a low, almost shy voice that sounded so uncharacteristic of her. Nathaniel averted his gaze. Right. Of course it had to be from that. He didn't want to get into that right now.

"So you come in to the showers and use them without permission? Why?" Lina placed her hands on her hips.

"Is this Interrogate Lina While She's In A Towel Hour or something? I come to the school after hours to work out. I didn't think that it was that big of a deal." Nathaniel turned around again as Lina made a move for her clothes. "What about you, Sunshine? How'd you get yourself in here?"

"The fight in last period gym. Justin teleported and left markers. I stepped on one and ended up here. They're probably gone now, though."

"I'm decent." Nathaniel turned around.

"What reason do you have to work out after school in secret like this?" Lina went silent, this time it was her turn to avoid his gaze. "What is it?"

"I don't want you to get the wrong impression. But I'm trying to lose weight."

Nathaniel reeled a bit. What could Lina possibly need to lose weight for? He saw it himself, her body looked perfect - perfectly healthy, that was. He shouldn't be trying to give himself the wrong impression. "Why do you think you need to lose weight, Lina? That could potentially be dangerous."

"It's not. Just an inch or two. I need to fit into some outfits." She said casually.

"What kind of outfits?" Nathaniel asked. Lina sighed loudly, her cheeks flushing.

"Look, my brother is in med school. He holds two part time jobs, but he also does some modelling on the side. Med school is expensive and he doesn't want to be that heavily in debt with his loans, so any money that he makes that he doesn't live off of mostly goes either into savings or goes to pay off student loans. The photographer is kind of taken with me and sometimes gets inspiration for a second... model. He pays both of us, so I can help my brother by giving him some extra money, right?"

She seemed embarrassed by the whole thing. Nathaniel wasn't sure what to make of it, but his shoulders sagged with the release of his sigh and he realized he was smiling.

"It's admirable of you, Lina. But I still don't think it's necessary for you to lose weight. You're perfectly fine the way you are." An image of Lina's silhouette danced at the forefront of his mind. He tried to push it aside before a stupid look of one sort or another could stick to his face. But from what he could see of her through the curtains and when she was just in the towel she at least looked to be of a healthy weight, even on the skinny side, a bit.

Lina shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. "Thanks. But the outfits that he wants me to wear for the shoots are a little small on me. He won't have me model if I can't fit into them so losing some weight has to be done. Plus getting some muscle mass wouldn't hurt, either."

He nodded, understanding her reasons, but still thinking her losing weight was unnecessary. Still, it was admirable that she would do that for her brother. "Are those your scratch marks on the gym floor, then?"

"Y-yeah. Bear, sorry. I couldn't push some of the heavier equipment otherwise." She said, giving a sheepish grin. At least she was cleaning up after herself. He had to wonder just how much she was pushing herself. Lately he noticed that she had been falling asleep in class and looked more haggard than usual. Her normal sarcastic attitude had been diluted. Now he knew why. It was also possible she wasn't getting enough energy throughout the day, and it all went into her efforts. Not losing any more weight would help with her energy levels, but she seemed determined to make the dresses fit for her brother.

"How long have you been doing this for?"

"Two weeks. Actually, today I was going to try on one of the outfits. Care to help me?"

"With what? Getting dressed?" He asked, startled. Lina rolled her eyes.

"Well, yeah. I can't zip it up all the way." Ah, right. Some dresses were hard to zip up. When he and Amber were younger he often help with the zippers on her dresses. Lina gathered her things and left the shower room. Nathaniel stayed behind to give her privacy to change. It was only when she called him over that he moved.

She was wearing a light summer pink dress. It had a band right under her bust, an emphasis that seemed popular in many styles these days. The sleeves came off the side of the dress and curled around her arm more for aesthetics than actual use, or keeping the dress up. The skirt of the dress was very breezy, falling just past her knees. She smiled at him, brushing her hair lazily over her bare shoulder, turning so that her back was facing him. The zipper was only halfway up.

"I think I caught it on something. Sorry." He closed the gap between them, hesitating slightly before resting his hands on the small of her back. He could feel Lina jump slightly at his touch. The tiny zipper wasn't that difficult to grasp, but being caught on the fabric it slipped from his fingers easily unless he squeezed hard. Eventually he backed the zipper up, trailing it all the way down her back.

Her skin was milky white and her back was smooth. Concentrating on the zipper, he slowly ran it up her back. He was careful to not get it caught again on the same piece of fabric, brushing it back into place, then continued to work it up to her upper back.

When he was finished he quickly stepped back. She let her hair fall and thanked him. There was a smile on her face as she tested the dress. She kept her head down, concentrating, checking if there were any problem areas. He just stared at her. She was actually kind of pretty in that dress.

"Want to take some pictures?" Lina asked. "You know, just for fun. I know Corte would love to have evidence of me willingly putting on a dress."

"Uh, well this camera belongs to the school." Nathaniel said. Lina shrugged.

"I have my own." She opened her locker and took out a camera bag. Taking out her camera, she turned it on and began to check it. Or tried to. "Aw. Looks like the batteries have died. But I have a roll of film here. That is, if you don't mind if we use yours."

Nathaniel thought for a moment. Sure, he could take the roll with the damage evidences out and replace it with a fresh roll. This seemed to be something that Lina was enthusiastic about, too.

It took a solid fifteen minutes for him to take the roll out, finding that he had already used up all twenty four shots, and replaced it with the fresh roll that Lina had given him. Grabbing her things, Lina climbed up to the window, dropping her things before crawling out herself. Once again, Nathaniel held back, not wanting to accidentally catch a view of something he knew he shouldn't, but for some reason wanted to.

He soon followed suit, finding it easier than Lina, having only the camera to look after instead of everything else. He saw on the other side of the window that she had a small ladder in which to climb down with. With difficulty, he managed to get himself righted and landed a foot at the top. Lina held the ladder in place for him.

The next half an hour was spent with Lina either picking poses or Nathaniel directing her, and then him snapping up photographs. He was unsure about it at first, but as time passed, he realized he was enjoying himself. The sunset was in full swing now, giving off a beautiful orange and pink glow to everything. Nathaniel checked the camera.

"There's one shot left." He said finally. "What do you want to do?"

Lina walked over, looking down at the camera. "I have an idea. May I?" Nathaniel nodded as she took the camera. She quickly grabbed his arm, wrapping it around her and pecked him on the cheek as she snapped the final shot.

Startled, blushing, and feeling a little confounded and flustered, he held his hand out when she gave the camera back to him. "I have to go. See you tomorrow. Oh! You can develop those, right? Please? I promise I'll pay you. Thanks!" And with that, she packed her things up and half-skipped half-jogged out of the courtyard. He stood there for a few moments, finally letting out a sigh and ran his fingers through his hair. Damn that girl...

Nathaniel had already called home and told his parents that he was going to still be a while. He would call when he was finished. He was in the red room now, following instructions the teacher left him on the table and meticulously following them as he worked to develop both sets of pictures. He was trying everything he could not to think about the kiss. He wouldn't allow himself to do that. Nope. Yet, it was still burned in his memory as much as he could still feel her lips burning on his cheek.

Putting the pictures on the clothes rack, he sighed again, wondering why she had done that. Their relationship was no where near that level, even if he knew that she sometimes acted that way around her friends. Maybe she was just bugging him. Wanted to get a rile out of him before she left. It had taken such a short time to do, he doubted the picture even turned out that well.

Slowly, the pictures were coming out. He watched as the first roll showed clearly all of the damage that had been done to the gym. Thanking his steady hands, he moved to the second roll. The pictures of Lina he took were turning out beautifully. Soon, the room was filled with pictures of small craters and a beautiful redhead. He stared at the pictures, eventually realizing he had a smile on his face.

To his surprise, the very last picture that he produced turned out clear. He stared at the picture, Lina's arm foreshortened as it disappeared out of view to go behind the camera, soft rosy lips pressed against his cheek, bright blue eyes twinkling playfully at the camera, he with wide eyes and a flabbergasted look on his face. His expression softened as he looked at the photograph.

It was a deceptive picture. They looked like a couple; a happy one that were making funny faces and stuff into the camera. However, his relationship with Lina was far from that. Unfortunately.

If anything, she never bored him.