Tuesday, 21 November 2023 01:00

Turkey Day Tragedy (Part 3)

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A Second Generation Whateley Academy Adventure

Turkey Day Tragedy


Wasamon, based on conversations with NeoMagus


Part 3: Red Letter Day


---Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

In theory, the girl known as Jenifer Chalmers, a.k.a. Scarlyt, a.k.a. Oh Hell Not Her, had a roommate in Room 347. In practice, Scarlyt spent most of her time, and especially the evenings, in other people's spaces. For those times when she felt like being alone and unbothered in the dorm, it was never a problem convincing her roommate for that term that they'd be better off finding elsewhere to room up for an evening. Most of the time, the roommate came to that decision all on their own. There were plenty of hidden apartments tucked into random corners of the Whateley underground, perfect for a long weekend with a boyfriend, and she knew who to contact for a quick discovery and lease. If she didn't live down there herself full-time, it was because Glam and her crew kept her busy up here. Those times, she wasn't alone but she wasn't asleep, either.

So it was kind of a novelty to wake up at 6 in the morning in her own dorm room and bed, fully clothed, the day before Turkey Day, and remember she wasn't alone this time.

Becca, the green girl with the hair that got her called Sterling, was passed out on the bed with all her clothes on and a line of drool down the side of her mouth. She'd fallen asleep in Scarlyt's arms the night before after bawling her pretty green eyes out for ages with the usual tragic backstory. Looking her over now, Scarlyt kind of wished there'd been an excuse to get her out of those clothes and into nothing more comfortable than her own green skin, but the girl had all the jumpiness of a baby bunny. If she was gonna benefit from this surprising bit of windfall, she was gonna have to play it slow and safe.

First, to check. Fingers stroked silver hair away from a green forehead as Scarlyt focused on the feel of a thing that lay only in her head--or maybe her soul, if she still had one. It was there, small and twinkly, as well as stronger than she'd expected. One time last year, Karel had hypothesized that she could do this, use her copycat power through simple proximity rather than simply fucking around till things clicked inside her, and of course the Bohemian Lion was never wrong.

Jenifer much enjoyed the fucking around part, though. Perhaps in time... Little Sterling here was desperate for attention and eager to please. At her old high school, in her old life, the one now called Scarlyt would've made a semester project of breaking the girl in properly.

That could come later. She had what she needed now, and it was time to test it.

"Hey," she whispered in the girl's ear. "I'm gonna get us some breakfast to go. You like flapjacks and grits?"

A happy mumble answered, and then she left the little princess to her slumber. Grabbing her phone and her ear buds, Scarlyt set out to test some limits.

The halls of Whitman Cottage would not do. She was largely avoided in there, and any girl willing and able to get in her face was either leaving for vacation soon or already gone. Nor did she feel like tempting fate with Mrs. Savage just yet. Sterling'd said that the dorm mother had means at her disposal to see through the various glamor and psi effects the students might have, and until she knew more about that, Scarlyt wasn't gonna try.

In any case, it only took half the distance to the Crystal Hall for an opportunity to present itself.

Spend enough time in and around Melville and you learned who the real bitches were. Sure, she was with, and often under, Glam and Knock-Out much of the time, and those two were the biggest bitches in their grade year, but there was stiff competition for the title. Some of them came with ready-made grudges.

Like Raylynn Meade, code named Scarlet with an E. The reason why she had to go with the Y spelling, herself. It wasn't that she particularly cared either way, except that Raylynn cared enough to rub it in at every opportunity. The Melvillain had her candy-apple hair in the usual rat-tail down the back, and it was a sore temptation to grab the thing and make the girl beg for it on her knees. Scarlyt held her peace, though, like she'd promised Karel. There'd be a time and place for everything. Anyway, it was easier to be aggrieved when the other girl started it.

"Why, if it isn't Miss-Y Scarlyt. Did they leave you all by your lonesome?"

"Go take a hot shower, Ray."

That got her a glare. The dimorphic shifter didn't like people being overly loud about her particular shift-trigger, dumb as it was. That sort of thing was all in the head, anyway. "And here I was about to say something nice." The girl sniffed.

"Well, you're outta practice. Better let Raymond do it instead. When was the last time you let him off his leash, hm?" Practice kept her from smiling as she watched the girl with the E fume.

"You know we're the... ahem. So where did your boss bitches run off to this time, Bermuda?"

"Antigua. They said they'd buy me a tee-shirt or something."

"Aw, poor widdle Miss-Y, all alone for the holidays..."

She actually preferred it that way. The Bohemian leadership was fun times but terrible people. That was why they got along so well, but the occasional break from them was a welcome thing. "If I get lonely, guess I could always invite Raymond over for a private party, then."

"Why, you..."

"Or you, I guess. I'd invite you both, but I'm not sure how that'd work out. Oh, that there's a good question for our Philosophy class round-table topic next week..."

Raylynn's face was not quite the same color as her hair right then. "Now see here, you cheap... you..."

"Though I guess it also begs the question of how y'all define a threesome..."

"You slut!" The shout was loud and sharp, enough to echo off the nearest building and draw the attention of everyone in a hundred yards.

Perfect. Time to test a limit.

The copied power fluttered in its little space that was somehow inside and outside and q-side at the same time. It felt the attention of others and didn't like it, inasmuch as it liked anything. More likely it was mirroring her own distaste at being watched, being seen. But now, all she had to do was reach out with her brain and stretch...

There was a clink as something extra-material fell into place in her head, and then everyone stopped looking. Eyes that turned their way kept on turning, passing over her without notice as the students went on their way. As for Scarlet-with-an-E, the wannabitch stood there stupidly, mouth hanging open as her brain tried to reconcile her recent shout with a lack of anyone to shout at. With a confused shake of the head, Raylynn pivoted on one foot and headed for the Crystal Hall.

Now Scarlyt grabbed that rat-tail braid and gave it a good yank that pulled the other girl right off her feet. Some helpful bystanders came to her aid, and the last thing Scarlyt heard was Ray's bitching about weirdly slick spots in the frost-touched grass, all the while rubbing the back of her head where the scalp got popped.

Okay, so this power might be fun after all.

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Breakfast to go was two warming boxes of flapjacks, another for sausage and biscuits, and a medium soup cup of grits with butter. Two lattes, extra sugar and cream, had their own little bag. Scarlyt had disengaged the no-see-um while she ordered, picked up the to-go boxes at the far end, and walked out. The morning crowd as noticeably thinner than usual, and her glare and general reputation served to move kids out of her way.

"What's cookin', good lookin'?" Of course, the glare only went so far, and some reputations did the opposite of what she wanted. There were days she really regretted ever fucking Macarthur Price. As useful as his powerset might be, handy access to it wasn't really worth him having handy access to her. It wasn't that he was bad-looking--she'd definitely been with weirder guys than Mac's generic examplar goods--but he was the worst sort of lay, lousy but convinced he was fucking Adonis. The corny pickup lines were just part of the whole asshole.

"Not in the mood today, Mac," she told him without bothering to turn around.

"What, that time of the month?"

No, actually, though it was none of his business. One of the perks of her base regenerative trait was that she didn't have that issue near as bad as most girls. "Yeah," she told him instead. "Don't make me cranky. Y'all wouldn't like me when I'm cranky."

Any fool with half a brain to think with would back off then, but Mac had less than half of a half's worth, situated solely in his pants: "Sounds like you could use some help washing up, maybe."

"Back off." To hell with subtlety; Scarlyt was not in the mood for that, or for him. She faced him straight on, scar plain across her face as red eyes glared. "Maybe some other time this month, but not today."

"Ungh..." The boy choked on his own words. "Um, your..."

"Yeah, what about it? Glam's outta town, right? No pretty-pretty for the moment. Y'all got a problem with that?"

"Well, I..."

A sharp snort cut him off. "Nah, don't say it. Bless your heart, but y'all might actually give the dumb-fuck truth. Yanno what? Let's forget this ever happened." The borrowed no-see-um fuzzed in her soul, and suddenly everybody around them, the kids who'd studiously pretended to ignore their little quarrel, they really ignored the two of them. Macarthur had a woozy look on his face for a second, eyes unfocused and grin somewhere in orbit, before he turned around and made a beeline for the flapjacks.

It was potent, this power. Sterling hadn't been able to tell her much about it--researchers couldn't measure what they never noticed, after all--but the girl said she'd been told it was some flavor of psionics. Maybe it was, in part. The feel of it as her soul gripped in, that told her something different. Scarlyt worried at the puzzle as she walked back to Whitman with breakfast in her arms. After three and a half terms at Whateley, she'd had a chance to clandestinely sample a wide range of powers. She knew how certain types felt in general, even if the specific flavors were as mixed as that crazy ice cream machine in the Crystal Hall. This power, she felt, was as much warper as it was psi. There was a cutting edge to it that excised the user from notice, and not just people's. Hadn't Sterling mentioned something about not showing up well on cameras? That was another thing to test. If she was going to be borrowing this ability on a regular basis, as she intended, then she needed to understand all of its ins and outs.

But first, breakfast.

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In the time she'd been out, Sterling'd managed a shower and a change of clothes. Some attempt had been made at dressing up, but the girl was woefully out of practice. The black jeans slapped, but the top was a busy mess of colors, like something out of a mid-90s year book sent through a blender. A more eye-catchingly awful...

Ah. That was the point. "Interesting blouse," she said to the girl as she laid out the breakfast boxes. "Where'd you get it?"

Sterling blushed a deeper shade of green. "Um, the Cool Thesis store at the Mountain View Mall..."

"Oh, that place." She'd known girls back when who liked that store, but she couldn't ever figger why. "Hope you got it on discount."

"Five-finger," the girl admitted. "I, I needed something, but money wasn't... um, and no one ever saw..." A hug was administered, awkwardly on her side, but the girl leaned into it with a happy little moan of contentment. "Th-thanks. Ain't proud of it, but..."

"Do what'cha gotta do to survive," Scarlyt confirmed. "And what'cha gotta do now is eat."

The flapjacks somehow never got in the way of the words. Once the motor got revved, Sterling's mouth never stopped. She had to wonder if the girl was this talkative with her roommate or anyone else who gave her attention. Or perhaps Scarlyt was just special, somehow. Likely not in the way the girl thought. The conversation kept to safer topics, mostly Sterling's wardrobe. The girl didn't have that much, but then again she'd run away from home with just the clothes off her back, instead of being smart and robbing her family blind with her newfound powers. It's what Scarlyt would've done, if she'd had the ability and also hated her own family more than she did herself.

It did lead her to a good next thing to talk about, though: "Wanna do some dress-up?" she asked. "Got the key to Glam's personal closet, and I think you're a pretty close size to her. We can fix you up right."

"Oh, I couldn't..."

"She won't mind," Scarlyt promised. "She and Karel and Jane are down in Antigua right now, anyway. But even if she were here, Glam's always good for a favor like this." Almost as good at calling the favor in, she didn't add.

Sterling pondered her way around a mouthful of pancakes. "I mean, if she doesn't mind..."

"She won't." For a freebie like this, the Bohemian's lead recruiter certainly wouldn't mind at all. "C'mon, finish that up and we can go have some fun."

Another hug happened, and she wasn't the one to initiate it this time. Sterling was shaking, quivering, quaking with happiness, and all Scarlyt could do was hold her and pretend she knew what she was doing as she whispered kind words.

In its little corner of her soul, the borrowed power was renewed off the vibes. Normally, it would've run out by now, especially on a first borrow, but this cuddling method had its merits. The research wonks would've had tons to hypothesize over if they ever knew she had the capacity to do this.

Still, she wanted to use the tried-and-true methods. Soon, she promised herself. Test the limits, probe carefully, but keep it subtle. Soon enough, her little lamb here would be in too deep to run away.

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Glam's wardrobe was tucked away in a side-tunnel in the underground between Whitman and Melville, one of a dozen little apartments that the Bohemians administered for clandestine rentals and occupation. Just how these individual spaces had come to be, Scarlyt had never bothered to investigate, but no sane school would've had so many, and no normal cross-section of space and time would've been able to fit them all together the way they were. The Whateley underground was a place where geometry went to die, which was what made it such a great place to live the high life.

The wardrobe, for example, was a full suite with kitchenette and toilet, but its main feature was the racks upon racks of clothing. Most items had been worn just once, if at all; Glam was an enthusiastic collector flush with cash, but the junior hadn't the time to enjoy it all just yet.

So it was up to her and Sterling to give these things meaning. "Ready yet?" she called.

From the changing panel in the corner, the younger girl said, "...maybe?"

"Whenever you feel like it," she told her. No pushing, no force, let the girl make the decisions herself and get comfortable until they'd built up enough trust for Scarlyt to suggest something truly daring. Though, she thought as Sterling emerged in a pair of Daisy Dukes and a flannel tied up in front, it might not be too hard. The girl's family'd already done a good job of breaking her in, and no one'd thought to heal up all those cracks in her psyche.

A slow clap and a smile was all she needed to reinforce the desired behavior. "Lookin' good, girlie. Better than Glam would, I think. She may be from West Virginia, but it takes a real Southern gal to pull that look off."

"You, you think so?"

"I know so. What, do I need to prove it?" She grabbed the next pair of shorts off the rack. "Gimme a moment."

It took a little longer than a moment to adjust it all properly--her butt was bigger than Glam's, for one--but then she was striking a pose in those shorts and a denim top that was lucky to be riveted together, otherwise she'd've busted it out. It did its job with true professional construction, showing off her abs and hiding the scar over her heart. Some things she didn't wanna lie about till it was absolutely necessary.

Sterling laughed and clapped. "Oh, this is great!"

"C'mon, let's get a picture of the two of us together," said Scarlyt. The suite had a phone tripod for just this purpose, so they could stand together for a timed burst shot. Just before the clicking of the camera began, Scarlyt let her borrowed power out. The girl'd said it affected tech...

Or maybe not, she thought as they looked over the batch of photos. The two of them were off-colored peas in a pod, dressed as they were, and clearly obvious on the screen.

"Gonna use the john," she told Sterling. "You go ahead and pick the next thing to try, 'kay?"

The toilet and washlet were roomy enough for two--or three, as she recalled with a smirk--and it had surprisingly good phone reception. With a tap-tap-tap, she sent one photo out of the set to the Bohemians' go-to guy for image-work. Mocker was a senior this year in Twain, and his ability at examining and manipulating graphics was every bit as useful as his mutant skill of vocal mimicry. She'd made good use of both in the past year and a half.

「Sending a photo」she texted. 「Trying a new scrambling technique. Lemme know if it works」

It would work, she knew. How well? That remained to be seen. None of the pics had looked odd to her or to Sterling, but they'd see through the effect like it wasn't there, now wouldn't they? The girl didn't even realize that Scarlyt was producing the same no-see-um on command. The borrowed power continued to pulse in its place, new and yet separate from the others.

Awake, alone, and aware was she, in that mood that sometimes struck her when the thoughts wandered to dangerous places. There were stirrings in her scars as other borrowed powers reflected her inner restlessness. They were hers; they were she. Now, at least. The no-see-um was merely on loan, and would likely remain that way. Such things were hard to gauge but she felt in the corners of her soul as it was, six places where she could fit a power in, and three of those were taken. She'd taken...

Dangerous thoughts, but frequent ones, common visitors to disturb the illusion of peace in her mind. In the solitude of the toilet, she could take a moment to deal with it.

From within the scar upon her chest, her second power shivered as she reached a hand into the shadows behind the toilet bowl, then through the shadows and into a different place entirely. When it withdrew, her hand held a well-used hunting knife stained a conspicuous brown.

A single line would do, she felt. A brief moment of physical pain to quell the mental. The sharpened edge drew over her left arm, parting the skin and letting the blood flow freely for a moment. A shiver passed throughout her body at the exquisite torture of a body that would never be wholly her own, though she might enjoy claiming it in all ways.

Just the line, and nothing else: the pain kept the bits of her tattered soul in order, and her thoughts remained focused and keen. In the barest of moments, her regenerative power kicked in. The line stopped bleeding, stopped being open, stopped being. When she washed away the blood in the washlet sink, the cut was a pale line already fading away. The knife returned to its place via the shadows, and Scarlyt left to see what they would be wearing next.

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"Oh! Oh! Today's been perfect!" The happy squeal took place in the little burger joint and cafe situated at one corner of the greater gadgeteer and devisor zone in the underground. It wasn't far from the wardrobe apartment, and it had the benefit of not being crowded at all. Aside from themselves and the sole student-employee behind the counter, the only people in the joint were in and out as fast as their remote orders could be handed over. Most of the school's tech contingent saw the five-day weekend as the perfect time to finish every project they'd wanted to start, and none of them were likely to stop for longer than it took to make the physical sensation of hunger quit punching them in the gut.

Also, every student known to be even slightly resistant to Sterling's power would be at the Crystal Hall for lunch, so this way they avoided any questions over what the green-skinned girl was wearing. Because, really, the girl'd outdone herself in Glam's wardrobe. The combination of fluffed pantaloons and a halter top that bared the midriff made Scarlyt think of I Dream of Jeannie, only Sterling filled out that top so well that it'd never have gotten past the censors of the 60s. The girl's bra had proven to be even less than optional, what with the support built into the costume. Silver hair was up and then flowing down like a waterfall, and they'd even found a clip-on belly button decoration.

And it was all Sterling's idea. She hadn't needed to push at all, merely be friendly and affectionately supportive of the girl's decisions as they grew ever more daring. Simple smiles and laughter went a long way.

"Glad to hear it," said Scarlyt. "You really been livening up my weekend, that's for certain. Didn't think I'd be playing dress-up, either." Her own outfit was part of a leather biker set, with long pants to suit the weather and a stupid number of decorative zippers all over like the scars she couldn't show on herself. A flat cap on top kept her bright red hair contained, and at her hip was a riding crop to complete the look. She hadn't even intended to wear that last, but Sterling had been the one to insist.

Oh, she sometimes wondered if the girl even realized how much of a submissive little bitch she could be, would be, with but a modicum of training.

"How's it compare, overall?" she continued.

Sterling giggled. "It's been a red-letter day, like my gramma used to say."

"A scarlet letter, even." Her smile was wide, her lips practically the color in question. The way she bit into her burger, it was like she expected a video camera close-up in an off-brand porn film for foodie fetishists. It was stupefying how much sensuality a woman could put into the flex of her lips, the gape to take in something large and meaty, the subtle play of muscles around her mouth...

That only Sterling noticed all this was a testament to the strength of the no-see-um field, because otherwise she'd've had the attention of the Twainee kid behind the counter, without a doubt, and possibly him as a personal slave for the entire evening. The green girl's own attempts to deep-throat a burger were messy and amateurish, more a sign of hunger than of an appetite for anything else.

The drinks fountain was currently pouring pomegranate fizz, which washed down pickles and burger grease like nobody's business. With a satisfied smack of the lips, Scarlyt finished off her glass. "You need a break?" she asked. "Looking a little, hah, a little greener around the gills."

"Guess I could..." The following yawn was short and petite. "It's been a busier day than I'm used to."

"Well, I've got a pad not far from here. Three or four corridors off," said Scarlyt.

"Really? Why?"

Oh, she was not about to go into details... "Just a fallback," she said instead. "My own little fortress of solitude. You know how it gets, sometimes. Good to have somewhere different to lay your head, yeah? I got some business I should prolly take care of, so let me just tuck you in for a nap and then get to it, alright?"

Very right, to judge by how heartily the girl nodded.

Once burgers were devoured and drinks drained, Scarlyt escorted her little lamb to the spot where the corridor wall hid a door, in that way so many walls did in this fucking labyrinth. She was sometimes tempted to go a-knocking every three or four yards along the wall, just to see who or what responded. Behind this particular door, there was a tiny bedroom. It wasn't quite as large as the average dorm room, though it had its own showerlet. It was comfortably appointed, if a bit musty; she made a point of cleaning it out, every time she brought a boy in, but she did most of her sleeping around at the Bohemians' larger subterranean properties. This spot was for when she needed a particular power at the last minute and wasn't too particular about how.

In fact, the last time she'd brought anyone in would've been towards the end of the spring term, to borrow a talent for preternatural accuracy from Ike "Popgun" Callahan. The Twain upperclassman'd been a good, fun lay who knew what he was doing. It was a shame he wasn't around this season.

The scar along her left arm itched, and she scratched it absently as she presented Sterling with the room's amenities: the localized temperature controls, the showerlet, the stuffed animals and quilt on the bed. The girl's ignorance of the room's history made it all the easier to impress her with its coziness.

"Um, if you could..." Sterling was suddenly shy as she motioned for Scarlyt to turn around. The junior humored her, not seeing but certainly hearing the belly dancer outfit slipping off, and then her little lamb slipping into bed. "Okay, you can look now."

Goddamn, but the girl was adorable with the quilt pulled up like that. The contours of the covers revealed more detail about what was covered than Sterling likely realized, and Scarlyt wasn't about to inform her. Instead, she finished tucking the girl in, then gave her a kiss on the forehead. "You have a good nap, y'hear?" she said. "I'mma check up on you in a few. We can see what else we can do before dinner then."

"Sounds good..." The words arrived through a heavy yawn. "You're so... so nice, Jenifer. Not at all like, yawn, like they say..."

Oh, if the girl only knew... She held back a chuckle to say, "We all got our good points and bad points. Got a bit of a temper, myself."

"Ain't seeing that..." murmured Sterling. "You.. you been so good to me. Like a real big sister. Thanks... thanks for..." The words of gratitude ended on a light snore.

Scarlyt waited till she was one hundred percent sure the girl was out, then pocketed the canister of Cuckoo Channel's Knock Out #1, now empty. The most basic of its series, Knock Out #1 was slow-release, slow effect, but lasted hours unless the target had significant resistance, exemplary immunities, or strong regeneration. Scarlyt hadn't felt even a touch drowsy, but Sterling was safely out for hours. The canister and their lunch boxes went in the hideaway's trash chute, from there an almost-direct course to the school's incinerator.

"Aw, lamby-kins," she said, returning to stroke the girl's face. "The things I could do to you right now... but I won't. Not yet. It'll be more fun when you beg me for it."

Like a real big sister. Honestly. The girl didn't know what she needed, or thought she needed, but Scarlyt was nobody's big sister. From what she was hearing, that Tanya girl did a better job of it, but that included making Sterling do all the stuff that was good for her but she didn't like.

Scarlyt could be the girl's dream of a big sister, though. Right enough, she could do everything to make her little lamb happy and content, and dependent on her for that happiness and contentment. All it would take was a spot of luck and a lot of prep, but...

Her phone buzzed. Only she heard. "Hello, Mocker," she said into the receiver end.

"Hey yourself, Scarlyt my lady." The young man on the other end had the most mellifluous voice, thick and rich with baritone notes fit to thrill a girl's pants off. She wondered where he'd found it. "You sent me a real challenge this time."

"What, the great graphics guy couldn't see?" she teased. "And I made it extra special, just for you."

"Well fuck me, now you've got me feeling down, my lady. No, I haven't been able to confirm there's even anybody in those pictures, except that the base meta-data analysis insists there's got to be someone there. I tried every filter and de-filter I know, then invented a few more, and all I can get is the outline of some clothes, all blurry and shit. Something cowgirl style?"

"Close," she said. "But not quite."

"Shit, and I love cowgirl."

"I know you do. Thanks for testing."

"You're not going to tell me what it was you did, are you."

"Nope. A girl's gotta have some secrets, sugar-pie." Her giggle was even genuine, this time. "Tell you what. I'm looking to be busy the next day or two, but let's you and me get together on Saturday or Sunday for a bit of fun. Sound fun?"

"Oh hell yeah."

"Great. I'll mail you later this week. Talk to you later."

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Mid-day in late November, with the skies clear and the sun bright overhead, New Hampshire still wasn't anyone's idea of a good place to picnic. This didn't stop kids from trying, if only as a general middle finger to the chill of the season. Southern girl that she was, Scarlyt didn't like the cold one bit, but she wasn't gonna cry about it. The school store sold really good coats and jackets, some of them with locally sourced materials like nothing that could be sold on the open market. Her friend Jane "Knock-Out" Chorley, for example, owned a leather jacket that'd been grown in one piece and had the tendency wander off if it wasn't fed once a week.

She could do without that sort of fashion statement. It was part and parcel with this fucking school, though, the weird mish-mash of the perfectly mundane and the hideously weird. It was what made the place so dangerous. If you weren't careful, you'd let the weird bits become the mundane in your head, and that was when they gotcha. They'd have you thinking it was all safe and normal and nice when it was anything but.

So Scarlyt liked to keep alternative viewpoints on hand, or on smartphone as the case may be. She had her podcasts lined up and ready to listen, and would probably have been through two already today if she hadn't had funner things to do. At the moment, the phone was playing Irving & Ira in Illinois, an old favorite from way back when. The profile photo showed an avuncular old fart with a classic ventriloquist's dummy for a partner. Having watched a live-stream or three from their studio, Scarlyt knew Irving was an old pro at making his 'partner' Ira come alive. With just the sound on, it was easy to pretend they were two regular people having a regular conversation.

Irving: "Hey, Ira. Yanno what?"

Ira: "What?

Irving: "They're telling me some pissant pansy is adding another color to the frickin' rainbow. You heard that?"

Ira: "No!"

Irving: "Yes! I meant it. They already got Lavender, Green, Blue, Turquoise, um... what was that fifth one... Ira, what's a color that starts with Q?"

Ira: "Ain't none. It's a conspiracy, they tell you! Q for conspiracy!"

[laugh track]

Irving: "Yeah, it is. The L, the G, the B, the goddamn T, even the Q--whatever the hell that's supposed to be--and they tell me they wanna add an M on there, and guess what that's for!"

Ira: "It ain't marshmallows, that's for sure!"

[laugh track]

Irving: "Damn straight it's not. They're gonna add mutants in there like it's the same sorta perversion--and let me tell you folks, it ain't. I known my share of the gays. Can't be helped, working in show business. But lemme tell you, those gays know how to work hard when they gotta get a head. And as for them lez-bee-enz, they're mostly alright, too."

Ira: "Yeah, I seen your browser search history."

[laugh track]

Irving: "Aw, put a sock in your wood-hole, Ira. Just saying that none of that's got anything to do with being a mutant, and vice-versa. So why try and connect 'em like that, put another initial on a long list of letters? Cuz they know the LGBTQ-whatevers're winning the culture wars and they wanna piece of that. Sneaky bastards already stealing our deoxyribonucleic acids to make themselves all weird-ass, but they gotta go steal the thunder from real people, real homo Homo sapiens who've been working their asses off for a better life? Buncha genetic moochers! And what do we say to crap like that? Gimme a Hell No, Ira!"

Ira: "Hell no!"

Irving: "Damn straight. Look folks, we can't lie to ourselves here. We can't stick our heads in the sand like some retarded ostriches. These freaks are out there and they're trying to wave their freak flags, and what do we say to that?"

Ira: "Hell no!"

Irving: "Right! Seriously folks, it's gotten to the point that I don't even care who you sleep with. Men, women, whatever the hell's left after those two, whatever, as long as you're keeping it to your own species. But while you're doing it, at least have the best wine in the greater Springfield area. That's right, it's McLetchie Farms' Red, White, and Blue Rosé for all your romantic evenings. Go to the Irving & Ira homepage right now to get your online coupon for a five percent discount this week. Now, let's have a break for our other sponsors."

Scarlyt nodded along to the jingle for Nixit, the newest product from DevonCorp on the west coast. While she wasn't certain what exactly it did--some sort of skin treatment, it sounded like--she figgered she didn't need it. High-level regeneration and a BIT almost made up for the whole mutant experience. The rest of the products were likewise from companies with verified NMT-2000 certification and compliance, a fact loudly and proudly exclaimed to high heaven at the end of the commercial segment. She wouldn't put any good money on them all being one hundred percent no-mutant-tech, simply because her economics class last Winter term had dedicated two days to diving down that rabbit hole and determining it just wasn't possible. She still bought NMT-2000 products when she could, if only to support the cause.

In normal circumstances, Scarlyt would've listened to her podcasts in a private spot via her earbuds, but today was a day to push the limits. And to do that, she'd hooked her phone up to a wireless speaker, the gadgeteered one with volume controls going up to eleventy-one decibels, and set it in the middle of the quad. She wasn't about to crank it up that high, but she still listened and enjoyed from a safe distance. She knew from experience that eardrums were finicky things to heal up right, especially when it was a blow to the head that popped them.

It was a perfect test of the no-see-um, this time the no-hear-um, and not one she could do while Sterling was awake. There should've been no missing the start of the podcast with its patriotic opening theme, and if anyone'd heard the content of the words, then a lynch mob would've been the least of her worries. But she exercised the power, felt it flex and send the no-see-um wide, and nobody'd come around to investigate. A few students had stopped in their tracks and flinched from the volume of noise, but it was soon forgotten as they walked a wide circle around the speaker. Most kept clear of the central quad entirely without thinking about why.

She might've gone into the second half of the show, but there was a wobble in the no-see-um that told her she was gonna lose her grip on it soon if she didn't hold back. So it went. She was surprised to have held on to it for so long, especially on the first day. Even with experience, most borrowed powers fizzled after six hours. Wobble though it did, this power didn't crap out on her as she closed the podcast app and retrieved the speaker. People still ignored her, and would so long as she didn't push the limits any further.

Ah, well. What to do before she went to check on her little lamb... Out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of a familiar face. Not a friendly one, at least not for her--no, the Dickinson girl Valentina, a.k.a. Eurydice of the Amazons, had long since given up on giving her the business. Scarlyt honestly wouldn't've minded going a few rounds with Val, just for the fun of it, except that politics got in the way. Val's politics, not her own. She never let her personal views get in the way of using her body the way it deserved.

But what was Val up to? The Colombian queen dyke wouldn't give two camel toes about Thanksgiving, so Scarlyt would've assumed she and the other Amazons were holed up somewhere being all thankful to each other instead.

A couple yards behind Val, another girl followed. Scarlyt only knew this one by description, from Sterling's tearful moments the other night. Kinda tall and gangly in that half-expressed exemplar way, with pale hair and eyes, the girl was the stereotype of Nordic, and so Scarlyt knew her as Sera, code-named Einherjar, the one who was totally oblivious to the green girl's existence.

Sera was definitely following Val into one of the little sheltered areas along the campus paths, where bushes hid benches for private conversations. Interesting...

There was another flutter in her chest as Scarlyt exercised one of her secondary powers. Clairaudience, the ability to hear from afar, was a power that seemed weak on paper--and it was, if all you cared about was fighting. It was damn useful, though. Once she had a seat of her own, well away from the private spot with her phone in hand for camouflage, Scarlyt let the extra ear in her soul wander.

"...so how is it faring?" That was Val in full recruiter mode as Eurydice of the Amazons.

"It is awful." The Nordic girl's mood translated perfectly into her head. "I am paying attention to her all the time, giving her the compliments, trying to be in her life as much as I can, and she... she..." The sobs carried perfectly as well. "She does not even notice."

Ah. Easy enough to see what this was, even without the big clue of Val being Val. Girl problems. Specifically, would-be girlfriend problems. And good old Val was there to give advice and coach Sera along, even if it sounded like the girl was going after the straightest arrow in the quiver.

She chuckled, nodding her head as if her current podcast had said something witty. No doubt Val knew it was hopeless, too. That wouldn't stop the junior from Dickinson from egging the Nordic girl on. The experience would only help get the recruiter's claws deeper into the new recruit. Scarlyt had seen Glam use similar tactics before.

"We're all cheering for you," Val was telling the girl. "We''ve all been there. The hardest part is getting noticed, making her realize how good a friend you are and what she could have with you. Perseverence is key. Eventually she shall come around."

Scarlyt wondered what the Amazon would say about a male following that same advice in pursuit of one of her 'sisters.' Actually, she didn't need to wonder; the Amazons averaged one clandestine beatdown a week for just such offenses. It was their little clique's reason for being.

"Unfortunately, she's already gone for the weekend," said Sera. "She might not be back for some time. Oh, I miss her already."

Val tutted. "No, now. Use this time to your advantage. Go around acting like the two of you are practically a couple, like it's a matter of time before you move in with her. Since she's not here to say otherwise, you can convince the other girls on your floor that something must be happening, even if you tell them nothing definitive. Let rumor do the work for you, and by the time she is back, you will have the full force of peer expectations encouraging her to give it a try. And once she does..." The Amazon bitch practically purred. "Well, once a sister has found us, found herself with our assistance, she shall be happy to stay."

There wasn't much point in listening further. Scarlyt had heard the sales pitch before, and she still wasn't interested in what the Amazons had to offer. At least the Bohemians were honest bitches and bastards, in their own way. Val and her 'sisters' were lost in their own fantasy land of imagined grievances and petty power harassment. If she cared at all, she'd sent that Sera girl an anonymous text on the subject of poor Alloyette and that clusterfuck the previous year. But for now, it was more interesting to watch this current clusterfuck play out before her eyes.

Even better, it gave her some opportunities of her own to capitalize upon.

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The general antidote for all the Cuckoo Channel's line of knock-out gasses had a pleasant fragrance to it, something lemony and faintly spicy. It lingered in the air and the nose for a few precious moments, only to be forgotten when the sleepyhead woke up. Sterling blinked herself awake. Silver cascaded down her shoulders and over her front as she sat up and stretched.

Scarlyt was given the briefest moment to enjoy the view before the green girl yelped and pulled the covers back up and across her chest. Little lamb prolly didn't get naked in front of anyone, ever, even when they couldn't see her. It wasn't hard to imagine her picking the quietest possible times to use the floor's communal washroom in Whitman.

She should've won an Oscar for her performance then, pretending not to notice the half-naked beauty before her. Obvious interest just then would scare the girl off. "Got'cha a new outfit from Glam's closet," she told her instead. "And the bra you had on earlier. Figgered we could use some time up and outside, nice day like today and all."

"Th-thank you." A valiant effort was made to dress while staying under the covers, but Sterling gave up after a bit. It was then her duty to turn away so's to give the girl some privacy. "Ah, this, this is..."

"Not too big, is it?" Scarlyt risked a glance now. The red turtleneck sweater wasn't the most complementary color for a green girl's skin tone, but it was bright and cheerful. "You did remember to put a shirt on under it, right? Could get itchy..."

Privacy was needed a second time as the girl fixed her clothes around better. "This okay?" came the shy question.

It was more than okay. The turtleneck hugged the girl's figure well enough to tell she had a figure worth hugging, and Sterling didn't seem to mind as long as all was nominally covered up. "Lookin' good," she confirmed with a wink and a thumb's-up. "And now that we're all awake and ready, shall we go for a walk?"

She offered an arm, which Sterling took without hesitation. As they walked the corridors to the nearest exit aboveground, Scarlyt could feel her hold on the girl's power gaining strength once more. As for her hold on the girl, that was never in doubt. Her little lamb wasn't going anywhere without her.

Mid-afternoon on a New Hampshire autumn day was about as good a time to go for a walk as they were gonna get until next April. The snow had mostly cleared, though patches remained in the shadow of buildings, but no doubt more was on the way. For now, the sun was warm, the wind was not too chill, and what trees still had leaves were a lovely red-orange in the background. With the green girl in red warmly glommed to her arm, it had all the feel of a proper date. Sterling'd never stated a romantic preference either way, but the way she snuggled into Scarlyt's side now suggested that the girl at least had a preference for elder sibling figures.

Idly, Scarlyt wondered if Sterling had a similar crush on her roommate, strictly unrequited, and whether the green girl even realized. It would explain a lot.

In any case, she led her little lamb on a pleasant, quiet walk, arm in arm and otherwise unbothered by the world around them. She led the way; her steps set the pace and, though she was careful not to go too fast, Sterling was tacitly required to keep up with her.

And like a good pet, the girl did so without complaint.

Throughout their tour of the campus, Scarlyt kept a firm mental hold on her borrowed power, but did not let it out. Instead, she observed it pulse in time with the real deal, the no-see-um effect direct from Sterling herself. The area of the effect appeared to cover both of them equally, as no passersby reacted to the sight of her. On an outing like this, she'd've expected at least a few startled looks, some glares from those who didn't like her, and knowing leers from those who did. Today there was nothing at all from either side. She was as cut off from outside attention as Sterling, and it was just the two of them in the bubble of solitude.

This gave her something to consider. If the no-see-um could remove other things from notice automatically, was it possible to remove the memory of those things on purpose? A good question it was, and one she would need to test as soon as she thought of a good way how. It tickled her to think that, in the space of half a day, she'd done more to define Sterling's power than any researcher in the school, and yet only she was aware of it. A chuckle escaped her throat.

"Oh, is there something funny? It's not me, is it? Oh, it is me. I did something..." The words petered out as the green girl leaned her face into the palm of a gentle, sisterly caress.

"No, you didn't do a thing," Scarlyt reassured her. "Just a passing fancy, that's all. You are as adorable as always. Now, should we be thinking about dinner yet?"

"Um, maybe?"

A maybe was as good as a yes, so onward they went to the Crystal Hall. The grand dome was at well below capacity, as almost half the student body had vacated for the holiday weekend. Those who were left had their spots at the tables well staked out in the first floor cafeteria territories, while on the second and third levels, the clubs and the cliques lived it up. She could be up there, at the Bohemians' table on the third level, but it'd be a lonely meal with no major benefit. It made far more sense to take seats at the edge of the Whitman Cottage girls' territory, near enough to hear every conversation but not so near as to dodge oblivous teens.

"Let me get a tray for you," she told Sterling. "Anything you won't eat?"

"Um, eggplant?"

"I hear you on that one." Scarlyt let her face say the rest before she continued. "Okay, I'll be back in a few. You relax and let me take care of you."

"Thank you..."

"Never a problem, lambykins."

The nickname came naturally by now, accepted by the girl with a smile. Just how long that smile would last, Scarlyt wasn't about to guess. She'd chosen this spot precisely for who was in earshot. It took a short stop to and from the buffet line, her tray laden with salads, mashed potatoes, a pair of neat little steaks, and dessert. When she was back, it was to find Sterling in tears.

Good thing she'd grabbed some to-go boxes, just in case. The meals were packed, the cups of coke sealed with handy straw-lids, and four servings at random from the crazy ice cream machine tucked in a chiller-box, all in record time, and then she was walking the girl past the tables where Sera lobbied for support in her quest to become Tanya's roommate.

Tanya's roommate leaked out the eyes all the way back to Scarlyt's little hideaway. The two of them shared a meal on the pull-out table and then the ice creams: mint julip, sweet persimmons, mangosteen, and purple sweet potato. The debate over which was the least weird calmed the girl down enough to move on to the stressful topics.

It was as Scarlyt had thought--had planned, actually. The Nordic girl couldn't've helped running her mouth off to the girls in their year at Whitman, because Val had pretty much ordered her to. Not that Sera would've seen it that way, but the Amazon recruiter could make simple requests quite forceful, once she'd got inside your head. It didn't even take telepathy to manage that, though it likely helped.

Sometimes she regretted never having the opportunity to sample the Colombian dyke's power. It would've been fun in all the right ways. Alas, even if she'd been in the good graces of the Amazons, something about the combination of physical and emotional trauma in her head made telepaths want to be around her even less than usual. It was too bad; that power would've come in handy right about now. She'd just have to do it the old-fashioned way.

"So what're you gonna do?" she asked.

"What can I do?" Sterling crumpled into the cushions of the bed. "She just won't give up on it! And, and the others never remember me for more 'n ten minutes, if that, so what she's saying actually makes sense, yanno? Well, mostly. She thinks Tanya could be her, her..." A silvery head shake. "Ain't happening."

"Jealous?" she teased.

"Huh? N-no!" The girl's blush was a lovely darker shade of green. "T-tanya's the nicest, bestest... but she's so obviously straight. I, I... oh, gawd..." Sterling buried her head in the pillow. "I'm a moron..."

"There, there, lambykins." Scarlyt patted her gently on the back. "It's good to have crushes, yeah, but this Sera girl's gonna have it all blow up in her face, see if she don't. Take it from me: sometimes you just gotta walk away and find someone else who'll really appreciate you. And it sounds like this Sera ain't smart enough to do that."

In the air, a different question hung, unspoken: Was Sterling smart enough?

Scarlyt knew the answer to that, knew it before the girl did. She wasn't at all surprised when Sterling excused herself or a few minutes. When you figgered up the exact amount of time it took to walk to Whitman, ascend to the second floor, grab and stuff a bag of clothing, and then come back, Sterling made almost perfect time. And while she was doing that, the southern redhead with the prominent scar tidied up the hideaway, had a quick wash-off, and changed into a pair of red silk pajamas she kept stashed there.

There probably should've been a bra or t-shirt underneath the red material, and it was obvious that she was wearing nothing at all instead. She pretended to be casual about it, like it was the most normal thing ever. Sterling noticed plenty, her eyes gone wide as the girl walked back into the hideaway to see what awaited her.

"So, um, Jenifer?"

"Yes, lambykins?"

"C-could I stay here tonight? With you? And, and mebbe..." That green body positively vibrated from nerves. "Mebe more 'n a night? More 'n a stay?"

The silk of the pajamas made the most wonderful noise as she slid off the bed and took Sterling in her arms. She was hugging; the girl was clinging on for dear life. Stroking silver hair out of the way, Scarlyt delivered an almost-sisterly kiss upon a tear-stained cheek. "Go wash up," she said. "Change into your PJs. I'll be waiting."

Would anything more happen that night? Scarlyt kinda doubted. The girl had pushed herself to the limit already and would need a rest before taking it any further. But she would take it further. Sometime soon, more would happen, and it would be quite fun for them both. Her little lamb, her lovely and submissive little pet, had only begun her training.

The rest would soon follow.

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---Thursday, November 24th, 2016

So, Thanksgiving. Scarlyt hadn't given it much thought as anything but a rest from studies for years now. There never seemed to be much of a point to it. Her old life was gone--parents, friends, school, all taken away by the obvious changes which mutation had brought upon her. Those bridges hadn't been burnt, they'd been fucking nuked into the Stone Age and then devoured by mutant T-Rexes. In the here and now, what did she have? 'Friends' who used her as much as she used them, in an honest if not healthy way. Access to quality education that only made it clearer how fucked the world was. Decent food... yes, that was a plus, but she didn't much like turkey or cranberry sauce, so that was a minus today. Was there a single thing for her to be thankful for?

A vision of loveliness in silver and green lay wrapped in her arms. The two of them were spooned in a bed just large enough for two if they were very friendly, and so they were. Sterling had the oddly mixed innocence of a young Southern girl who'd never been allowed anywhere near a sex ed course, but who was socially pressured to dress and act as sexy as she could. The girl also had a body fit to make porn stars envious, if she flaunted it properly. The cotton pajamas highlighted the innocence, even as Scarlyt's hands itched to run fingers over the body beneath the fabric.

No, not yet. Savor the closeness, relax in the snuggle and the cuddle, and let the borrowed power refresh without the donor realizing. There was still much to do in testing the limits of the ability, and so she left certain other limits in place for now. But if the girl chose to push them from her side...

She buried her face in that mane of silver and sighed the lust out of her system. All would come in good time.

Her little lamb shivered happily in her arms. With a shrug and a turn, they were face to face, chest to chest, and then mouth to mouth for a kiss that did not last nearly as long as it should've. Sterling was still a shy lover, after all. "Oh! 'm sorry 'f I was too forward..." came the mumble of an apology.

"Never apologize for being forward," Scarlyt told her. "I kinda like you from this angle." To enforce the sentiment, her hands found a resting spot on her pet's ass and gave the cheeks a gentle squeeze, just enough to make her bleat.

"Oh! Jen, you're... you're..." The green girl rested her head on the red girl's chest and murmured, "You're the best..."

"I am, huh?"

"Yeah, really." Sterling looked up, past the scar and directly into the red of her eyes. "It's been... well, been so long since I felt this relaxed, yanno? Felt this safe and, and protected..."

Dear lord, if she didn't already know what the girl's family'd been like, she wouldn't've wanted to. She knew a beaten down dog when she saw one, and how to take that poor thing and make it properly hers. About the only thing Sterling lacked at this point was a collar, and gawd, would she look good in one...

"I'm glad you like it." Her arms held the girl in closer. "So, you were serious about what you said last night?"

"Yes! I mean, I... I like Tanya. She's a good big sister sorta girl, but..."

But the lavender dynamo wasn't the sort of big sister Sterling wanted, or felt she needed: one that would hold her closer and dearer, like Scarlyt was doing right that moment. Tanya Wright was right on a lot of things, figgered Scarlyt, but the wannabe hero just did not have a handle on her own roommate's issues.

"How much did you pack over here?"

"Most'a my clothes," the girl admitted. "The good clothes, at least. And my toiletries. Not much more'n that."

"Enough for a suitcase?"

"Yeah... yeah, just about. I could just... yeah, go up, pack up, be out. Just like that." The girl pressed her face back into Scarlyt's chest and mumbled through the red silk. "But my RA... and Mrs. Savage..."

Right, them. The senior underclassman RAs at Whitman numbered among the less susceptible people in the dorm, and the old bag had her pendant, but even they... An idea sparked in Scarlyt's brain. Another opportunity to test... "Okay, so Mrs. Savage and the RAs usually got a pow-wow at the front desk 'round 10-ish on Saturdays and holidays," she said. "We head over about that time, you go up and pack your stuff while I have a little chat to explain some things. You don't even need to speak up if you don't wanna. Do you?"

Sterling shook her head.

"Didn't think so. Don't you worry, lambykins. Your big sis here's got you covered."

As if on cue, or perhaps on a hair trigger, the words sent Sterling into a tight, clinging hug as the girl sobbed into her big sis's pajama top. The fabric was proper drenched by the time Scarlyt kissed all the tears from those green cheeks, and there was nothing to do but remove the soggy article. It landed on the floor with a flop. What came next, a fuller and more passionate kiss, wasn't started on her side, but she enjoyed it and was ready to take over when Sterling committed to it.

The clock on the wall said it was 7:30. They had time. Oh, did they have a time...

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Walking up to Whitman Cottage around 10-ish, Scarlyt had concerns about the current efficacy of Sterling's no-see-um field. The girl was practically afloat and aglow, like that firefly PK girl in Poe but from sheer happiness. It had been two hours well spent, and Scarlyt looked forward to many more like it.

"Okay, let me go up first," she told her pet. "I'll get them talking and you just walk right past. Wave if anyone sees you. Don't worry if they don't. Pack all your stuff and leave. Simple as that."

"And you'll..."

"I'll make sure they understand," Scarlyt promised. "Gimme about five minutes to start, then come in."

As expected the little conclave of responsibility was gathered around the front desk. Mrs. Savage was presiding in the big chair, with the underclassman RAs leaning on the counter. The upperclassmen RAs had all just walked off--her own RA giving her a sour expression--but the three that concerned her were still in place: the giantess Sequoa, the feline Telekat, and the roly-poly panda girl, Bai-Yun. TK's grumble of "Oh hell, not her" was echoed in the expressions, if not the words, of those around the front desk.

"Good morning, Jenifer," said Mrs. Savage in her most cordial tones. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"

The fact that the dorm mom could form the question with a straight face was but one reason why Scarlyt respected the woman. "Got a few things to discuss," she began. "Starting with that honey badger girl."

"Oh gawd..." groaned TK.

"Yeah, exactly. Girly interrupted some perfectly legitimate business being conducted by some friends of mine."

"Then you should report her to Security," said Bai-Yun in that thick Bronx accent of hers. "Whatever she did won't be a surprise to them, I wager."

"Heh, yeah. Right. First, that ain't ever stopped her."

The dorm mother's mouth skewed down. "Second, your friends don't want Security involved."

"Hey, I just said it was perfectly legitimate business."

"That does not necessarily mean it was legal," Mrs. Savage retorted. "Not at this school, of all places. However, I shall have another word with her, once she'd back from the holiday."

"My thanks, ma'am." Only she'd noticed Sterling climbing the stairs, just as only she noticed the buzz from the phone in her pocket that told her the foyer cameras were now out of order for the next fifteen minutes.

Like the dorm mother'd said, a lot of things at Whateley were legitimate without being legal.

"Right, now, second item: Sterling."

That got all their attention--even Telekat's, after a blink or two. Mrs. Savage's pendant twinkled as well. "What... How do you know about her, if I may ask?" said the dorm mother.

"We share a sponsor, didn't you know? Serendipity and the Mobile Infantry. Now, she tells me she ain't quite happy 'round here..." The grimaces on the RAs' faces told her they were all aware of that, too. Now, while the girl with the silver hair was at the forefront of their minds, Scarlyt called up the borrowed no-see-um from its nook in her soul and struck. No blanket effect, no shield against attention; in the space between blinks she wielded that power like a scythe, slicing away the thoughts that stood out, the bits brought to mind right then by their conversation. Psionic, warping, what have you, the power was capable of a lot more than Sterling'd ever dreamed.

As for herself, Scarlyt never dreamed, but she could do nightmares. Bai-Yun had the least contact with the target topic, and the giant panda girl's eyes went blank first. Telekat was soon after, her whiskers twitching. Sequoa and Mrs. Savage took most of the blink between them, her borrowed power sweeping with abandon as she razed all memory of Sterling to the base grey matter.

In mere seconds, the conversation ground to a halt as everyone else forgot what they were talking about. At a prompt from herself, the discussion turned to the antics of one Barbara "Pullapart" Barracks, another habitual pest in the freshman contingent. Scarlyt actually liked that one, in a roundabout sorta way. She'd get Glam to recruiting the girl for dirty tricks, maybe. But at the moment, the tale of yet another round of got'cher-nose provided the sort of emotion-laden topic to smooth over any memory oddities of the last few minutes.

Sterling was down the stairs with her suitcase with minutes to spare. No one but Scarlyt noticed her go. The phone buzzed to let Scarlyt know the time was up on the cam-block, and she let the conversation continue for another five minutes before thanking the dorm mother for her time and making her own exit.

She picked up brunch before returning to the hideaway. The two of them had worked up an appetite and needed some fuel before they could work up another.

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It was much later in the day, and Scarlyt was particularly thankful that fate had sent her such a perfect pet. Her little lamb took to training so well that it was likely she didn't even realize she was being trained. Her big sister asked, and she did, because she trusted her big sister in all things. Scarlyt was not about to disabuse her of that rare and priceless notion. Not just yet.

As part of being a good big sister, she needed to provide, which meant she would brave the crowds of the Crystal Hall's Turkey Dinner and bring back dinner for them both. And so, though she wasn't fond of turkey and despised cranberry sauce, she packed plenty of the former and a smidgeon of the latter, alongside stuffing, mashed potatoes, thick brown gravy, green bean casserole, and three kinds of pie slices (pumpkin, cherry, and pecan) into the to-go boxes. The drink, she'd grabbed from a Bohemian stash earlier. The Crystal Hall didn't stock anything stronger than grape juice, and this was a night for a nice, sweet red wine.

The service was mostly a buffet-melee affaire, except for the professional turkey-carvers, so Scarlyt could keep the no-see-um up and herself hassle-free for the entire trip. It was handy how no one could bump into her even when they didn't really notice--

And someone bumped into her. Not hard, not even enough to make her drop anything, but a definite bump, followed by a swift apology as the bumper pushed her way through the crowds. It was a normal, everyday occurence in the Crystal Hall, except that it shouldn't've happened at all. Not with the power in effect. Scarlyt's eyes found the offender, the girl who'd noticed enough to apologize for not seeing her beforehand.

Light purple hair. No, lavender. The roommate who should've been gone all weekend. Settling at a side table, Scarlyt stretched her inner ear to listen in as Tanya Wright told the Whitman girls about her emergency trip home, her own little tragedy, and how Mrs. Savage had sent her right over once she'd arrived back at Whitman.

So the girl didn't know Sterling was gone yet. But she'd realize soon enough, and as a wannabe hero type, she be sure to not leave it alone.

No one noticed Scarlyt's snarl, and none would want to. It was an expression that was wholly hers, one that fit her face better than any other, and it never meant good for anybody. The girl with the silver hair was her pet now, her little lamb to play with as she pleased, and she just knew that the former roommate would raise the alarm. And when that did nothing, the girl'd go look around, herself.

They'd never find her. Sterling was hers, and she'd be the first to call herself a jealous bitch. Let them come and discover how massive a bitch she could be.


To Be Continued

Read 2891 times Last modified on Monday, 20 November 2023 12:31

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