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I got into school a little later than I should have.

There's kind of a problem when one of your teachers was sleeping with your Dad, with plans to move in. It was going to make the hustle of dipping out for my super hero antics that little bit more difficult.

Luckily I'd decided to take a small break from crime fighting. After everything with Ayesha, her getting abducted by Houndmaster with a whole ass building getting blown up around my ears, I could use a break. Going a week without picking up a new scar would be a nice change of paces.

It would be nice if life would let me lie down. Unfortunately now I was involved with some freaky magic stuff involving my upstairs neighbor. Who could have expected Mr Green, blind and losing his mind, was an actual real-deal wizard.

A wizard who was a whole lot less Dumbledore and a whole lot more HP Lovecraft. Maybe it had been stress and an over-active imagination, but last night I'd dreamed...something...had come into my room. A kind of evil presence I couldn't fight. The specifics had slipped away when I woke up, but it had left me with an uneasy, disturbed feeling.

There were more evils in this world than I'd imagined, and I had a decent imagination.

Coming in to home room I slung my back off my chair, sliding in next to Ayesha.

She looked as out of sleep as I did. Who could blame her. The fact she was back at school after everything she'd been through....because of me....she was stronger than I was. She some how found a smile for me, which made my own smile feel fake.

"Hey buddy, what's the haps?" Zeke said, swinging into the chair next to me, "Winter Ball tomorrow, you got a date?"

"Do you?" I asked.

He pulled back defensively.

"I'm working on it," he said, then leaning past me, "Hey Yesha, you going to the dance?"

She gave an uncertain nod. "Malcolm's taking me."

Her boyfriend, her college aged boyfriend. It wilted Zeke bad, the torch he carried for her starting to gutter out.

"Are you going?" Ayesha asked me.

I thought about it.

>Yeah, could be fun
>No, its not really my thing
>>
Previously on With Great Power Quest: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=With%20Great%20Power%20Quest
>>
>>4862429
>Yeah, could be fun

gonna have to go make up with Kay tho
>>
>>4862429
>Yeah, could be fun
can't wait to see Ivy getting all lovey dovey with our friend whose name I honestly can't remember right now. still gotta live a normal life sometimes though and this could be a fun part of that.
>>
>>4862429
>Yeah, could be fun

Disregard Kay, Misfit best girl
>>
>>4862442
>Kay
absolutamente asqueroso
>>
>>4862429
>No, its not really my thing
Real sad boy shit
>>
>>4862456
I mean, you wanna go dateless? Ivy and Ayesha are both taken, so even the most ardent of Kaylee haters have to admit we don't have much choice.
>>
>>4862471
you don't go to a dance with your ex, other girls exist too man. also we can go dateless too.
>>
>>4862471
>I mean, you wanna go dateless?

YES
Worst case, we hang out with Kemal
>>
>>4862442
>>4862447
>>4862451
locked in
>>
"Yeah, it could be fun," I said.

It might help to do something normal for a change. Take a weekend off from some powered up gangster trying to kick my head off.

"Oh yeah?" Zeke said, "You going to ask someone out or are you a solo act?"

"Well whoever you ask, it won't be me," Kaylee said, taking the seat the other side of Ayesha. "I already have a date." I'm surprised she was even talking to me.

I had thought briefly about asking Kay. Even if we were broken up, I still thought about her. A lot. Especially right now with her wearing her cheerleader outfit.

"Yeah, who?" Zeke said past me, at her.

"Daphne and I are going together," she said, "Platonically. For now."

She said it like it was a warning or something. A deliberate needle. But I didn't know how to take it.

"You don't need a date to have fun," Ayesha said.

Well...maybe.

>I'm going solo
>I was going to ask... (write-in)
>>
>>4862559
>I'm going solo
>>
yo bullpen does misfit even have a secret identity? she's the only one of the four girls we know who isn't already going to the dance
>>
>>4862559
Oh god Kaylee has a date, what do we do? Do we even know any other girls? Annie?

>I was going to ask... (write-in)
I don't know. Someone. Anyone!
>>
>>4862573
I'd be down to ask Misfit but I thought she was a lesbian.
>>
>>4862573
her real name is Natalie Rodriguez, which she's told Eric
>>
>>4862577
Does that stop us form asking her out? I mean we would be going as companions/friends not romantic partners.
>>
if you guys want you can ask Ayesha or someone to set you up with a random girl
>>
>>4862559
>I was going to ask... (write-in)
my friend Natalie
>>4862577
She's bi, she wanted to bang Eric after the highway mission. Just realized almost every girl is at least sort of bi in this quest lmao
>>
>>4862559
>>4862615
Let's do that, misfit is cool and all but Pendy could connect the dots and learn misfits secret identity if she's hanging around Eric
>>
>>4862559
>I'm going solo
>>
>>4862615
Yeah on second thought this sounds safer, >>4862631 makes a good point
>>
>>4862559
>>I'm going solo
>>
>>4862559
>I was going to ask, ayesha

May as well go with all the girls (Even is platonic) And it would be a good time to check on her and have a good time.

Also, I need my fix of highSchool gala drama romance.
>>
>>4862696
>>4862634
>>4862572
>going solo

going solo wins, locked in

kind of a shame, writing Misfit at a high school dance would have been fun
>>
"Figure I can go solo," I said.

Zeke wrapped my shoulder with his arm. "You and me both pal," he said, "Two lone wolves at the dance, hunting for prey!"

"That doesn't make sense, if there are two of you you can't be a lone wolf," Annie said from up the back.

"Mind your own business!" Zeke threw back at her.

"And hunting prey? Kind of creepy Zeke," said Kaylee with an uncomfortable frown.

I untangled myself from Zeke and his tortured metaphor.

"What are you nerds talking about?" Ivy asked, striding in. She pulled off her purple jacket, tied it around her waist.

"The dance, I think," Chad called from up the back. He waved to me.

"Everyone's going to that thing?" Ivy said with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah, but Eric doesn't have a date," Ayesha said.

I thought I saw a spark light in Ivy's eyes. "That's a shame," she said.

"You can come with me and Malcolm," Ayesha said, "It'll be fun." I doubt Malcolm would be jumping for joy at the thought of a third-wheel.

"Why y'all talking about some dumbass dance?" Rufus said, "Get your head in the game, Eric, we're balling tonight. We need the win, and you've been slipping at practice."

"Who made you team captain?" Ayesha said, sliding to my defense unasked for.

"I'm ready," I said. I was looking forward to it. Mr Nfume had organized a bus to take us out to the school we were playing against this afternoon. "Who're we playing again?"

When Rufus said my guts dropped in shock. Jimmy Green's school.

Sometimes I felt fate's hand held over my head, pulling at strings to make me spin and wheel to music I couldn't hear.

I just hoped the universe didn't crash some cosmic trouble into my school life. Not after everything I'd been through. Give me a place to myself, a safe space away from insanity.

"You okay?" Ayesha asked.

"Huh?" I'd been staring, "Yeah, yeah I'm cool."

No way in hell did she believe me. She laced her fingers through mine and gave my hand a squeeze. Smiled through her own exhaustion, trying to give me some warmth, guessing at what was going through my mind.

She still didn't look right. I could see her smile was a front. I don't know how to put it but...I could see through her lately. After what we'd been through. I could tell what she was hiding in the way she sighed when no one was looking or the slip in her smile when she turned away. The only other person I could read like that was...Ivy, I guess.

Only wished it was good things I was picking up. Or that she'd stop pretending all the time.

Like I said, when my other life crashed into this one bad things happened.

>maybe I should skip out on the game
>no, I'm definitely going
>>
>>4862745
>no, I'm definitely going

They'll have to start calling him Jimmy Blue when we're through. Because he'll be so sad his team lost.
>>
>>4862745
>no, I'm definitely going
>>
>>4862745
>no, I'm definitely going
Is it too late to ask misfit?
>>
>>4862745
>no, I'm definitely going
>>
>>4862710
Well bummer, then I'm all for just bailing early on the dance to hook up with Misfit and I don't know, mope? vent? be depressed? get pity sex? if she's down for it.
But maybe shit goes down at the dance... man I just wish I found this quest earlier if only just to get Eric with Ivy or Misfit.
>>
>>4862755
yeah fuck it let's ask her
>>
>>4862755
I mean if enough people write it in, sure. Its not as if the dance is in a few hours. But I won't have a full revote on it so if anyone doesn't want to invite Misfit, say so
>>
>>4862745
>no, I'm definitely going

Please can we ask Misfit, pretty please?
>>
>>4862745
>>no, I'm definitely going
>>
>>4862745
>no, I'm definitely going

Kayfag thoroughly btfo as he should be.

Talking about going to the dance with gtfo of here
>>
>>4862774
Come on boys we can do it!
>>
>>4862774
I'd be ok with it as long as we tell her Penderose suspects us and suspicion may fall onto her as well by association.
>>
>>4862774
Agreeing with >>4862832
>>
okay locking all that in
>>
>>4862768
I'm still not giving up on Ivy, we barely see her these days and she's hanging out with Dane or whatever but I'm pretty sure there'd be a good chance with her if Eric was honest and straightforward with her about his feelings
>>
Actually, I did have someone I could ask to the dance.

Maybe it was Zeke's lone wolf comment, maybe it was everyone else having a date, but I figured why not give it a chance.

"Actually, there's somebody I was going to ask," I said.

"Yea, who?" Ivy said, a bit too quickly.

"You don't know her," I said, "She doesn't go to this school."

The others started snickering. "Oh yeah where's she from, Canada?" Rufus said.

"Nah, no, she's real," I said, "Her name's Natalie." Or Misfit as I'm used to calling her. I don't think I'd actually called her Natalie until right then. It felt weird.

"Sure, Eric," Ivy said.

Before I could say more the bell rang out sending us out into the school. "She's real," I insisted as my friends streamed out. "Come on!"

I guess they'd have to find out tomorrow.

Mean time, I had a game to get ready for. School kind of whipped by, I wasn't really in the headspace for it. I got chewed out by a couple of teachers after class for my slipping grades. I was back down to getting Bs after clawing my way up to straight As. I guess teachers cared more when a good student started failing, since I never got the kind of flack when I was sitting on a comfortable B-.

Fact is I wasn't the only one, though when they talked to Ayesha about a slipping grade they were a whole lot more gentle.

"We just want to make sure you get back to being you," one said with a kind of self-pleasing smile made me want to spit. Ayesha took it with her best smile though.

"Trying to get there!" she said with a forced wave, but the smile didn't last.

If I had more time to help her out I would, but Mr Nfume had me helping stow the equipment in the bus. It wasn't a lot of work, it was mostly about supervising Howie.

Of course, Howie was distracted by all the cheerleaders coming up to congratulate him on doing such a good job. I know he wasn't faking, you couldn't fake what Howie had, but sometimes I think he's aware of the crippled puppy thing he had going with some of the girls. It left me with all the workers, the bus driver slurping coffee as I stowed the bags, Mr Nfume chatting with Principal Wrightson.

Light punishment for missing practice. The rest of the team started gathering up.

"Ready to kick some ass?" Hunter said.

"I heard off Mr Sack if we get another win and this'll be our best season yet," Tim said, "The footbal team can eat shit!"

"Yeah, they've only won literally every game of the season, and we got half our wins through forfeits," Rufus added, "Doing better than before still isn't doing good."

"Don't worry Roof, you got the Hunter back on the court," Hunter said, puffing out his chest.
>>
We piled in, a busload of chatting, joking teenage boys all ready to fuck shit up. Then the cheerleaders got on and what we were feeling, the excited buzz, spiked. There was something really primal about it. I'd always laughed it off before. But the whole being an athlete cheered on by a pretty girl just built something up, something big and horny that wanted to impress everyone watching. It sharpened the competitive edge.

I'd like to say I was more mature than that but with Kaylee kicking her legs up on a seat, leaning on Jessica, no way was that true.

Mr Nfume blew his whistle to kill the chatter. He was a tall black shadow, bent forward, holding onto the back of seats to keep from being rocked off his feet as the bus drove down the Chicago streets.

"Okay boys," he said, "Sit up and listen. We're going into enemy territory. This is a gang of rich kids but don't think that means much. Rich kids means private lessons, means time and equipment you all didn't get." He was talking like we were south side bangers, a complete lie, but it was working. The others were getting angry. "Some of these kids have parents in the NBA. They think they're due a win because of who they are and where they come from. They think they have legacy."

"Well they haven't played you boys yet. Show them all the lessons in the world don't mean shit next to real grit, real determination. Take it to the paint. Teach their gentrifying, white collar, ten dollar milkshake asses what real basketball is all about."

"Hoo-ra!" Hunter yelled.

"Show them what time it is," Mr Nfume said, "What time is it?"

"Game time!" we yelled together. No time for irony. This is serious.

>not serious enough to use my powers though
>maybe use a little bit, to give us a winning edge
>>
>>4862986
>not serious enough to use my powers though

Not very sporting, shooting fish in a barrel
>>
>>4862986
>not serious enough to use my powers though
>>
>>4862986
>not serious enough to use my powers though
not worth it
>>
>Ivy and Eric both acting all jealous toward each other and lying about it
lmao good show bullpen this is that real teen drama shit. Ivy's still best girl so don't go too far here with misfit fellas. I guess I'm confused about what Ivy was doing with Dane to begin with, especially right after we borderline confessed to her before the new years day gang war
>>
>>4862986
>not serious enough to use my powers though
>>4863018
Borderline is the operative word there, if anything we should've gone all in. At least from her point of view. Plus Dane's a nice guy.
>>
>>4862986
>maybe use a little bit, to give us a winning edge
>>
>>4863048
>>4863006
>>4863005
>>4863000
locked in
>>
I'll post this update tomorrow.

see you guys then
>>
>>4863100
Thanks for running
>>
>>4863018
Oh, I'm living for theses mtv teenage segments
>>
you guys ready for some basketball?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nendMLrpI-s
>>
you all don't know but this is actually a basketball quest
>>
>>4864101
>>4864103
You've tricked me into reading a sports quest you machiavellian bastard
>>
The sun set early and the cold climbed up by the time we got the school. I was breathing mist on the sunset, shivering in my jacket. Bright lights lit up the academy's court, pretty much a mini-arena. Cars were parked down the street and in the car lot like half the school and most of their families had come out to support the home team.

Me, I saw Dad and Miss Flores drive by looking for a park.

"B-b-b-basketball!" Howie sang as he unloaded the bus. We all pitched in to give him a hand.

Rufus eyed the stadium like it was the den of a vicious beast, Mr Nfume made some notes on his board. Our joking on the bus had died leaving us quiet but focused. We were here to win.

Tim stretched with Hunter. I hopped on the spot, throwing a couple of punches, shadow boxing.

"Miller," Mr Nfume said.

"Yeah coach?" I said.

"You're a little badass," he said, "If the other team starts throwing stray elbows, I want you to check them, get it? Show them they can't out tough us."

"I thought goons were a hockey thing, coach," I said. He frowned at me. "Will do coach," I said with a salute.

So I'm the team goon, huh? It's not a role I wanted for myself, but if its what the coach wanted...

The cheerleaders came out next. Kemal came bounding over, bag over his shoulder.

"Good luck tonight," he said with a big grin, "We'll be cheering you guys on, but you're the ones on the court."

"Thanks dude," I said. We knocked fists then elbows.

Okay. Time to put some work in.

Walking through the doors of the stadium into the court, we were greeted with something wouldn't look out of place on ESPN or a proper NBA game. The floor of the court glistened with polish and wax, immaculate, practically glowing under the bright lights. An electric score board showed red letters and over the PA boomed some trap house mix. The stands were filling up, mostly for the home team. They could pack maybe thousands in here.

Money went a long way.

Did we have any supporters here?

A wave from the left caught my eye. She was five rows up, Ayesha, standing over the person sitting in front of her, waving, Malcolm sitting behind her with her parents.

The other team was getting set up. But there was something different about them almost...

"Ah shit are we playing a girl's team?" Rufus said, throwing up his hands.

"Gender intergrated," Mr Nfume said, "Don't slack just because they have a couple of girl on the side."

"Coach, that ain't right," Hunter grumbled.

Jogging over with jordans squeaking on the court came one of those girl players, a bandaid over the bridge of her nose. I recognized her right away but I doubt she remembered me. Ashe, Jimmy Green's science partner. She had a light tan with freckles showing through, dark hair shorter than most of the boys, and a wide easy grin.

I kind of liked her right away.
>>
"Yo!" she said, offering out a hand, "Welcome to our school. You guys ready to ball?"

The others gave her dead eyes. Me, I reached out a hand.

"Hell yeah," I said, "And we didn't come to lose."

"Great! Neither did we," her handshake was firm, "I'm Ashe, Ashe Givens. You?"

"Eric," I said.

"Good luck out there Eric," she said, walking away backwards, "Watch out for the cross up."

"You too," I said.

"Man, don't be friendly with the enemy," Rufus muttered.

If Ashe was here I wondered if Jimmy was too. I didn't wonder long. He was sitting up on the bleachers looking down glum and tired. I waved but he didn't wave back. I got the impression Jimmy didn't like me.

Seeing him though took me out of the game. The temperature dropped and I shivered, remembering yesterday, catch a half-memory of my nightmare. Something lurching out of the dark.

I swallowed.

"So this will be my last game, sorry," I heard Kaylee say to Peyton, her team captain. The pony-tailed blonde nodded. "I'm just so busy with the production." I lingered to watch the cheerleaders stretch. Kaylee had her leg up on a bench, bowing over it, while behind her Jessica did the splits, long tan legs stretching out.

I swallowed again.

It really did add an edge. It was only a little bit ruined by Kemal doing the same.

The ref was taking the court, calling over the coachs for a word. The other team had a tall red head woman as their coach, kind of imposing. Intergrated teams, huh?

It only mean three girls as far as I could tell, most of the rest were skyscrapers looked ready to throw down. Maybe the boys over there didn't like this intergrated experiment either. Maybe the girls made an easy scapegoat if they lost.

"What are we going to do today, boys?" Rufus asked.

"Fuck shit up," said Tim.

"That's right, no going easy on them because their girls," he said.

As someone who had been put in hospital by a woman, albeit a woman who could kick fireballs, I was going to agree.

"Game time," he said.

The game was on.

I was a starter today. Hunter had the center. He came to the middle with the biggest guy on the other team, ref between them. Ref threw up the ball, blew hard on his whistle.

Hunter launched up, slapped the ball out of the other guy's hands, landing spun and shot the ball to me.

A nervous clutch in my chest went 'squish' but as soon as the ball hit the court I was moving.

Then Ashe slid in front of me, keeping low, defending.

>roll 3 x 1d100+10 dc 75
>>
Rolled 17 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4864155
lesgoooo
>>
Rolled 47 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4864155
Time to job
>>
Rolled 62 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4864155
>>
not a pass but Eric doesn't fall on his face.
>>
File: 1623340267479.png (157 KB, 600x600)
157 KB
157 KB .png
>>4864166
Now that's rough, so close yet so far.
Better we fail at something low-stakes like this rather than something important and life-threating Who am I kidding we'll fuck up that as well
>>
I bobbed one way she came with me. I went the other she was stuck, the grin staying in front of me.

God damn. I faked a pass to Tim and she went to intercept then swerved around her, closing in on the three point line. "Cross up," I said. She wasn't the only defender though, and I had a rush of long arms and elbows coming at me.

I went for a three point shot right as he crashed into me. The ball went high while I went down, bounced off the backboard and into the enemy's hands. I slid down the waxy court. I wasn't hurt but the crowd went off as if I was. Picking myself up before anyone could give me a hand, I went back in.

The ref didn't call a foul or anything.

So it was going to be like that, huh?

Tough it out then.

Ashe was open and signalled for the ball but her team mate ignored her, passing it closer just for it to get snatched by Rufus. I closed in behind Rufus, blocking up a guy trying to run up behind him. I threw a lazy elbow in his way. If it hit it hit, right? Rufus took a jump shot and we got on the board, the cheerleaders spelling out his name.

But it didn't last like that.

A pass got the ball in Ashe's hands. She had to be the shortest player on the court but she made it work, so low to the ground she was practically lying on it. I got in front of her right by the three-point line, matching her movement. The ball went one way then her body the other and the next thing I knew I was fumbling as she passed the ball between my legs and caught it up behind me. Some bullshit.

"Cross up!" she said and went for a layup where Tim was supposed to be.

"Close those holes!" Mr Nfume said, waving his board, "Come on boys!"

Ashe winked at me as she jogged by.

I'd like to say we did what Mr Nfume said, but five minutes later they shot a three point, then the guy who'd knocked me down got a dunk.

Despite being the first one on their team on the board, they sure didn't pass to Ashe much.

We were behind when Mr Nfume called time, but we weren't done.

"Remember, defense," Mr Nfume said, "Close up those holes. Take possession and drive it deep, but don't leave your ass hanging out."

We nodded.

"Okay, take them to the dance boys," he said with a nod.

"Woo, go Eric!" I heard from the crowd. I looked back. Dad and Miss Flores, Carmen, had finally made their way inside, sitting up the front behind the cheerleaders.

Miss Flores (Carmen) waved.

Rufus slapped the back of my head.

"Focus up," he said.

"Yeah," I said, jogging out behind him, taking my position.

Let's try and turn this around.

>roll 3 x 1d100+10 dc 75
>>
Rolled 28 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4864200
>>
Rolled 83 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4864200
>>
>>4864209
oh hey I actually got a pass this time around
>>
Rolled 37 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4864200
NAT ONE BABY
>>
>>4864209
there we go

>>4864221
it will happen one day
>>
>>4864209
Nice!
>>
>>4864222
I'm just hoping it will in the slice of life part
>>
They had us in the first half.

We weren't going to give them a second.

"Eric," Mr Nfume said, "Elbows."

I nodded.

We went to the court. Hunter stole the ball, shot it down court to Tim, who shot it to Rufus, who drove hard through the defenders with me running protection.

"Shit, sorry," I said as I 'stumbled' between Rufus and the guy who had run me down earlier. Rufus took it on the rebound.

"Raise the Roof!" Hunter said with a high five slap.

It became a back and forth of squeaking shoes on their nice polished court, but we could feel the momentum starting to swing back to us.

They got the ball and drove in, Ashe ducking under Tim and swerving around Hunter. She went up for a shot but a large hand slapped down knocking the ball out of her grasp and the girl on her ass. She brushed it off.

Tim had the ball. We drove down the court, cutting through the defenders. We got to the three point line and he faked a shot but passed to me.

I ducked under a sharp elbow, dipped around a driving knee. I came up and sprung.

There wasn't much in life more satisfying then getting a dunk, specially when you got half a time on your ass. The ball swished through the net and I hung from the rim, hanging off it as a cheer went up from our friends in the crowd and the scoreboard ticked up.

"Slick," Rufus said as we passed back.

We were ahead, feeling confident. Feeling like we had this. The other team was starting to look tired, had the thing in their eyes where they knew they were in trouble.

It was a look I'd seen on hard case cornerboys who didn't want to admit they were outgunned. Too proud to back down.

"Don't get cocky, we haven't won yet," Mr Nfume said, "Miller, you're off. Take a knee for a minute."

I jogged over to the bench, tagging in Ramon. The Latino kid flew in, glad to finally be off the bench.

Howie handed me a water bottle and a towel. He hopped on the spot with excitement.

"Thanks boss," I said, swirling water in my mouth before spitting it in a bucket. His focus became fixed on the game.

"So what the fuck are you doing here?"

Looking back Jimmy Green was glowering down on me. For a big porky dude he was quiet, but with all the noise going on I guess it wasn't hard to sneak up on someone.

"Playing basketball," I said.

His glare didn't ease up.

"Hey, you know this guy Eric?" Peyton said, the head cheerleader coming up with Kemal. Despite being barely five feet tall Peyton sure could command a space. It was weird being 'protected' by a petite cheerleader too. Kemal was all smiles behind her.

"I know him," I said. She backed off a little, but Kemal kept an eye out. Behind us someone scored. "How've you been?" I asked.

From the bags under his eyes I'd guess not well.

"You get any sleep last night?" he asked.

A chill went up my back. "You want to talk about it here?" I said.

"We should talk about it," he said.

I checked how the game was going. We were still ahead.

>okay, let's talk
>can it wait until after the game?
>>
>>4864244
>can it wait until after the game?
>>
>>4864244
>can it wait until the end of the game?
>>
>>4864244
>okay, let's talk
>>
>>4864244
>can it wait until after the game?
>>
>>4864244
>can it wait until after the game?
>>
>>4864244
>can it wait until after the game?

BBall is life
>>
"I know you're having a crazy magical start in life, but if I don't get my basketball fix every now and then I'll literally go crazy man"
>>
>>4864301
>>4864283
>>4864275
>>4864249
>>4864248
locked in
>>
"Can it wait until after, you know, the game?" I said, gesturing to the court. Rufus took a bad fall. Tim helped him up.

"You like this stuff?" Jimmy said.

"Yeah," I said, "What, you don't?"

"Sportsball isn't my thing," he mumbled, his eyes tracking Ashe down the court.

Okay, he had a crush. Fair enough, she was cute in a tomboy kind of way. She could ball too.

"You want some advice," I said, "You've got to make boxes out of your life. Put all the shit you want to talk about right now in one box, put this stuff in another. Try and keep them separate, it'll be good for your sanity."

"Compartmentalize," he said.

"Yeah."

I shot up to my feet. "Oh fuck you!" I yelled as Tim went down with a bloody nose, "Foul, that's a fucking foul!"

The ref blew his whistle. Tim limped off wincing, pinching the bridge of his nose.

"You good to take a free throw?" Mr Nfume asked him.

"I can barely see," he said, eyes watering, blood thick on his upper lip.

The ref came over and confered with the coaches. Instead they gave up possession.

"You're in Miller," Mr Nfume said, "Get the ball to Hunter and watch his back."

"Yes sir," I said, "Talk to you in a sec Jim."

I ducked out onto the court.

"Let's get this done," Rufus said, ball in hand, looking for a pick.

>roll 3 x 10d100 +10 dc 75
>>
Rolled 36 (1d100)

>>4864324
i assume it a 1d not 10d
>>
>>4864329
yes, that's correct

sorry my bad
>>
Rolled 90 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4864324
>>
>>4864333
oh shit I'm on a roll tonight
>>
Rolled 71 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4864324
>>
>>4864333
good shit anon!
>>
>>4864333
pass

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Pnl1ulaG5k&t=73s
>>
Rolled 85 + 10 (1d100 + 10)

>>4864324
Look at my 100?
>>
>>4864333
Noiceee
>>
He shot the ball to me, I shot the ball to Hunter.

The asshole who fouled Tim and knocked me down moved in looking for a three-peat.

Fuck outta here. Hunter drove in deep with me off to his side. When the gangly asshole looked about to run him down I stepped through for an intercept. Hunter passed me the ball, stepping out behind me letting the asshole swing past. I took a shot, bounced it off the backboard, only for Hunter to spring up and rescue it with a slam dunk.

"Nice," I said.

"Hunter-Killer in the zone," Rufus said.

Whatever the rest of the team was doing in the offense it boiled down to the three of us, working the triangle plays we'd been drilling. If there's one thing boxing ad basketball shared it was the importance of position. We made this shit look tactical, even dipped in sweat.

The ball cut through the air, nothing but net from the three-point line.

"Yoo, Eric!" Ayesha cheered, voice cutting over the crowd.

The gap was widening and it became obvious we had this. We could run out the clock.

But that's not my style.

We drove in for a last play. Ashe came in for an intercept. I tried for a cross-up but she wasn't falling for it this time, her sweaty face keeping match with mine. I wasn't getting past her so I passed back to Rufus. Rufus passed forward to Hunter. There was an opening by the hoop. I moved in to fill it. Hunter saw me going, racing with Ashe on my heels. He shot me the ball and I rose up, springing up on limber legs.

I caught it mid-air, and brought it down in a slam dunk.

The buzzer screeched.

I dropped to the court, only to get wrapped up in sweaty arms, the team on top of me cheering in my ear.

"That's how we do it!" Rufus spat, "That's how it's fucking done!"

Glory, glory hallelujah. It felt dumb to say but I had trouble breathing. I was shaking. And winning under my own name, under my own power, no cheat codes.

It was the best feeling.

If the other team was sour they hid it. We shook hands.

"You got some moves," Ashe said. Her jersey was soaked through and she looked about ready to collapse.

"You too," I replied, flushed and grinning.

I backed up the benches, drenched in sweat. However tired I was, winning made it easy to wear.

Mr Nfume wasn't a big smiler but he was smiling now. "Well done gentlemen," he said.

"Yo, there an after-party after this?" Hunter asked, looking around all hopeful, "Kemal, can you throw us one? You got that dope sound system."

"And a hot tub," Jessica said.

"Sorry dude, parents are back from Qatar," he said, "Sharia is back in effect my brother."

"Come on, we've got to celebrate!" Hunter said, "Rufus, what about you?"

As much as I wanted to join in, Jimmy Green was lurking by the stands, waiting for me. I told the others I'd catch up before jogging over to him.

"Sorry I kicked your girlfriend's ass," I said.

He squirmed. "She's not my girlfriend," he said.

"What do you want to talk about?" I said.

He looked around. "Not here," he said.
>>
He dipped into a corridor. I followed.

The school was empty after hours, the sounds of the stadium ringing down the abandoned hallways. Our shoes scuffed loud. Schools at night, like any place that normally crowded, became strange when they were empty. Everything at a tilt, not quite right. We went by a trophy case, the glory of years gone by gleaming behind a glass screen. Posters warned of the dangers of STDs, crack-rock, and self-harm. Clubs were advertized, everything from the LGBT+ society to a Gardening 4 Fun group. My attention lingered on a poster for the Committee for Community Vigilance.

'Be alert for paranormal activity. Call now.'

Hate mob bullshit, I was tempted to tear it down.

Jimmy stopped by a board with the names of the Honor Roll put up. His was there in golden letters near the top. The sounds from the stadium had fallen away, the heat with it.

The light was gone and we stood in the dark.

"I had a dream last night," he said, "Only...I don't think it was a dream."

Goose pimples rose on my arms.

"He was there, in my room," he said. Mist wisped out from between his lips. "Standing there. Looking at me."

"He talked to me," Jimmy said.

"What did he say?" I said.

Jimmy rubbed his forehead. "I don't remember."

I shivered and it had nothing to do with the cold. The joy of victory fell as a memory dredged up, a dark and sticky blackness in my mind.

"Did you have a dream like that too?" he said.

I didn't want to say 'yes', my throat was too thick, so all I could was nod.

"The Stranger," Jimmy said.

An animal thing kicked in my chest, and fire woke up. I grabbed his hand.

"Don't," I said, "If you talk about them-"

"They notice," he said, "Yeah, 'The Shadows of Arinae'." He pulled a yellowed paper back out of his pocket, held it up. 'Robert C Green' in faded red letters over a buff black man with a curvy Asian girl looking helpless behind him. "One of the old man's books. Pops really did write all this down. In it he calls them the Shadows of the Greater Dark. They come to dreamers 'touched by fire' to draw them to the sinister path. They can 'step inside' if they're invited in."

"Sounds...not good," I said.

"There are protective charms and spells against them," he said, "But I don't know if these will work. I don't know..."

"You sound a lot less skeptical now," I said.

He adjusted his jaw, rolled his tongue over his teeth. "Maybe I don't know everything," he said.

>you want to try them out? can't hurt to try
>maybe we should ask your grandpa first
>let's save this for another day
>>
>>4864414
>you want to try them out? can't hurt to try
>>
>>4864414
>you want to try them out? can't hurt to try
>>
>>4864414
>you want to try them out? can't hurt to try
>>
>>4864414
>you want to try them out? can't hurt to try

inb4 instead of warding against evil he attracts it
>>
>>4864414
>you want to try them out? can't hurt to try
>>
we going to magic land now
>>
>>4864417
>>4864421
>>4864428
>>4864436
>>4864442
locked in
>>
"Want to try them out?" I said, "Can't hurt to try."

I knew the words were stupid as soon as they came out of my mouth, but Jimmy had the book open, flipping through.

"In the uh, in the book its said the spells are made in the 'first language'," he said, "The elder tongue of the early men, who rose with the dawn and set til to earth and made green things grow."

"Imagine speaking a language where every word is a magic spell," I said.

"It's not," Jimmy said, "It's...the words need to be spoken by a Magi, one with a clear mind and pure intent." Aged paper rustled under his fingers. "So, is that me, a Magi?"

"Your uncle called you a Red Wizard," I said.

"Maybe the specifics are in another book," Jimmy said.

"You're a..." I started.

"Don't," he gave me a hard look.

"You're a wizard, Jimmy," I said, trying to joke through the creeping dark building up in my mind.

My sweat cooled to a deep chill. The shadows of the school hall were still, a throbbing silence in the air. The throbbing silence of electrical currents. A heavy sound, my own breathing. Jimmy's breathing. With the flick-flick-flick of paper.

The Stranger. Just thinking about him. About it. It made the shadows deeper.

A gray tongue licked out in my mind. White teeth.

Was it a memory, or something calling?

Jimmy stopped on a page, finger tracing along with lips puckered.

"A night charm," he said, clearing his throat, "Sister Blue casts it to protect the foundling prince while they travel through the Valley of the Shadow-Men."

"Yehg-yajna-asi-," he said. was he pronouncing them right? "Mehr-srosh-rashna."

If anything had happened I couldn't feel it.

"Is your mind clear?" I said.

He glared at me over the book.

"What about your intent?"

He thumbed through the book.

"Does this have a pronunciation guide or..." he muttered.

"Maybe you need to..." I started, but stopped.

Something was happening. The throbbing silent pulse was becoming more present. More an atmosphere than a sound. Growing. The pulse of a heart, all around us.

"You feel..." I said.

He stared at the book, breathing hard. Closed his eyes.

Nothing changed. The walls. Nothing changed. They throbbed.

Something pushed from inside the wall. But the wall didn't change. Nothing moved but something pushed.

Breath quickened. Fists clenched. My inner fire roared.

Something reached out.

Not to me, to Jimmy.

To the Red Wizard.

Whispers, barely more than spit. Church whispers without words.

I wanted to grab for Jimmy. I couldn't move. I wanted to shout to him. I couldn't speak.

All I had was my heart beat, pounding inside.

How far away was the stadium? How close?

Another world.

A groan from under my feet.

Fire roared useless inside me. I drew on it, as much as I had. Drawing it up.

It was enough. Enough to unhine my door.

"Jimmy," a distant hiss, barely a thought. Was I really speaking? "Speak."
>>
The book crumpled in his grip. He shook, a whimper from between his lips.

"Speak."

His jaw tightened, his face tense. His eyes sealed shut. The fat belly, his second chin, trembled.

"Sssss-peak," I said.

The book became a knot in his hand, sweat crawling down his fat cheeks.

"Go," he croaked, "Go. Away." the words snorted out, "Go. Way. Go. Away! Go! Away!"

The whispers rose in unrthymic chittering all around us. Words slipping through. 'Jimmy. Jimmy. Jimmy'.

'Don't be scared.'

'Jimmy.'

Then, as if whispered just to me, 'Eric.'

Mom.

"Go away!" he yelled and lurched forward a step. He lost his balance, slapped his hands on the glass case, catching his fall. "Go away, go away!"

The chittering settled to a distant chorus. Then it whispered away, taking the pulsing atmosphere with it. The walls.

My gut dropped out and I slammed my knees into the ground, heaving, a harsh acid rising in my throat.

"Jesus," Jimmy cried, "Jesus Christ!"

And he was crying, thick tears down his face. He dug into his cheeks, digging in finger nails as he couldn't stop crying.

Whatever that had been it wasn't para-shit, no way. Not something I could punch. I don't know how to fight something like that.

"What's wrong?"

I looked up. Ashe was still in her jersey, a towel around her shoulder.

"Jim?" she said, and with a gasp ran over to his side. He curled against her shoulder where she cradled him. "Hey, you. Eric, right? What happened to Jim? What did you do?"

>Nothing! It was nothing!
>I...I asked him to do something stupid
>It's none of your business
>>
>>4864553
>I...I asked him to do something stupid
>>
>>4864553
>I...I asked him to do something stupid
well at least we confirmed that we aren't just both crazy. gotta get Jimbo here trained properly
>>
>>4864553
>"We need to go, Now."
>Grab Jimmy and have him lean on us.
>"Back up into the stadium and stay out of the dark."
>>
>>4864553
>I...I asked him to do something stupid
Shit man.. what the fuck was that? I'm used to just winging it and figuring shit out on my own. That was a bad idea.
>>
>>4864553
Oh yeah, and
>I...I asked him to do something stupid
to this at the top of the list>>4864564
>>
>>4864553
>I...I asked him to do something stupid
>>
>>4864564
Support
>>
>>4864554
>>4864558
>>4864564
>>4864566
>>4864567
>>4864573
>>4864578
locking it all in
>>
"I...I asked him to do something stupid," I said.

"What did you do?" I don't know if she was asking me or Jimmy.

"Come on," I said. I grabbed Jimmy around the side. Big guy was heavy, nothing I couldn't manage. Ashe took the other side. "We need to go, now. Back up to the stadium, and stay out of the dark!"

"The dark?" Ashe checked the shadows as we walked Jimmy down the hall.

The electric buzz overhead was normal, right? It was a faint stirring in the air. Nothing to it. The squeak of our shoes on the floor. No louder than ever. And the shadows were shadows.

Right?

"They reach out through the door, they want to come in," Jimmy mumbled, "Keep the door locked."

"He doesn't sound okay," Ashe said.

"Keep moving," I said, "Keep moving."

Up ahead there was a spot of light, a long way down a corridor. Sounds coming down there, the left overs in the stadium. I picked up my feet, the big guy sagging between us.

"Can't go where they aren't invited," he mumbled, "But lie...lie...lie about who they are. Lie. They are the lie. Everywhere."

"Keep talking buddy," I said.

The glow of the light against the dark, calling, welcoming. Home was in the light.

Home was just ahead. 'Keep a fire in the window,' I thought, 'find our way home.' Something old folks used to do. Candles in the window. Hard about it in stories, old movies. It made sense now. You could get lost in the dark.

"All around us," Jimmy sighed.

We stepped into the light. It was so bright it was blinding. I had to cover my eyes.

"Eric?" she stepped into the dark to help us, warm hands helping pull Jimmy through.

Ayesha. She took my arm. She blocked out the blinding light and I saw her eyes wide. Was she scared? I looked behind me to see if we were being followed, what was scaring her. Nothing there.

She took my arm in hers. Out of the dark and into the light of the stadium.

Moving out into the light we broke apart. Ayesha and me going on way. Jimmy and Ashe the other.

I went to a bucket and puked up, guts roiling hot. It was more spit up than vomit but it left me dizzy.

Nearly everyone had left. Ayesha's parents had hung around, so had Malcolm. Kaylee was talking to them when we came stumbling out. Dad and Miss Flores were waiting by the exit. Bunch of people I didn't know hanging around.

Thought I might vomit again. Ayesha stroked back my hair.

"Eric," she said, "Are you okay?"

I nodded. If anyone had anything to say about how we were or what had happened they didn't say anything. Malcolm stood really close though, sticking by Ayesha. He looked concerned, kinda. More a front, 'cause it twisted to something less pleasant when I wasn't looking. He kept closer to Ayesha when she ran a cloth over my chin.

Kaylee was watching too. Frowning.

"You're okay," she said.

I nodded but I was lying.

It had spoken to me. It had said my name. In Mom's voice.

"Come on Jiminy Cricket," Ashe said, "Breathe in, breathe out. It's a little panic attack, I get them all the time."
>>
He gave an exagerated nod, looking like he was going to be sick too.

"You know him?" Ayesha asked.

"Yeah," I said, "He...his grandpa lives in my building."

"Will he be okay?"

I shrugged, getting up from my knees.

"Better already," Malcolm said, an arm around Ayesha's shoulder, "Slick moves out there, champ. Really impressive stuff."

"Thanks," I said.

I wanted to go home. I wanted to go to sleep with the lights on. I wanted Mom to tell me it was just a nightmare.

"Eric," Jimmy said.

"Yeah?"

He stared at me for a sec. "I really, really don't like you," he said.

I sighed.

"Yeah."

And I really couldn't blame him. It was nobody's fault but mine.
>>
(I'll pick this up tomorrow)
>>
>>4864630
Fuck you too jimmy, we're going to be great friends one day but you gotta get trained first.

Also goddamn are we idiots, messing around with magic shit when we barely understand our own power
>>
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>>4864630
>"Eric," Jimmy said.
>"Yeah?"
>He stared at me for a sec. "I really, really don't like you," he said.
Sorry, Jimmy, but we had magical trauma adventures together. You're stuck with us until someone inevitably dies a tragic and dramatic character-building death.
>>
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>>4864630
So begins the adventures of Hotspur and his new wizard friend as they lose their shit against eldritch forces beyond their comprehension
>>
>>4864630
We should switch to learning KungFu, if magic is real, Kung Fu soul magic should be too, and we NEED, something like that to help us. Brute force with boxing isn't gonna cut it anymore.
>>
>>4864911
I think you need to be magically attuned like Jimmy to do kungpow moves, we got our own powers and are weak against magic, every superhero needs a kryptonite and I think we found ours
>>
>>4864932
Magic and Kung Fu magic are different, we got the soul stuff, he's got the magic blood, we need to switch regimen's.
>>
When I went to bed that night I slept with the light on.

It certainly robbed the joy of a win.

Pancakes for breakfast the next morning made on okay consolation prize. Dad fried up the bacon til it was all crunch.

He'd be spending the day helping Miss Flores pack her stuff and move it in.

"But I'll see you tonight at the dance," Dad said.

"Why?" I replied, stabbing the pancake.

"I've got chaperone duties," Miss Flores said, "Maybe you shouldn't come, Joe. It might be embarassing for Eric. No one else's parents will be there."

"I'm not embarassed," I said, a little embarassed.

Dad shrugged. "So, you got a date?" he said.

I blushed. "Yeah." It was still a maybe, I hadn't asked Misfit yet, but I was going to ask today. She was crashing at Queen Rat's place with Thunderchild. I couldn't talk about any of that with Miss Flores around though.

"Is it the blonde or the black girl?" he asked.

"What? No, neither," I said.

Dad pointed with a syrupy encrusted fork. "This kid," he said, "I swear to god. I love him but I don't know how he does it. Feels like he has a dozen girls hanging off him."

I blushed. It wasn't like that. Miss Flores smiled.

I felt something brush my leg. "Speaking of," Dad said, as Mangy wrapped her fluffy tail around my leg. She just wanted a piece of bacon. She stalked over to Miss Flores and sniffed her toes before rubbing her chin against her foot.

"She must smell my cat," Miss Flores said.

"Anyway, I've got to go," I said, sliding back a half finished breakfast. "See you guys...whenever I see you I guess."

Miss Flores waved with her fork while I stalked out, still burning with embarassment. So I had a lot of female friends, so what? I wasn't some kind of player.

Since I was swinging down to Queen Rat's I went to my hideout to change. It had snowed again last night. The flurries were growing lighter the deeper we were getting into the year though. Most of it had melted with the sunrise, making everything wet and miserable. I passed Hector the Junkie digging through a dumpster, crossed over to say good morning to Smokey and D-Mark hanging outside Luis shop, then hurried to get changed.

It was good to slip into my costume. Made it easy to forget last night. Well, not forget. There was no forgetting last night. But it made it easier to carry. When I leapt into the sky, tumbling around til the world was upside down, it made it a distant memory next to the joyful rush of the wind ripping around me. The hard thump of landing on a roof top was the good shock I needed to remind myself I was alive.

Pigeons scattered from roosts as I trecked down to the south side, bounding through an open sky under a cold winter sun.

I saw the trouble before I got there. A thicket of protestors, a woman out the front on a megaphone. A couple of patrol cars were parked behind them, cops watching, making sure it didn't get out of control.
>>
"-ILLEGAL! UNWANTED! WHO KNOWS WHAT IS LIVING INSIDE! ARE WE WILLING TO RISK ANOTHER OOZE? WE NEED THESE FREAKS OUT OF OUR COMMUNITY *BEFORE* MORE PEOPLE GET HURT!"

I'd seen the woman before. Her daughter had been killed by the Ooze. She'd talked at other protests, leading the charge. I couldn't blame her, she wasn't wrong for being scared or concerned. She'd brought a crowd but the crowd was growing as she talked, more people from the neighborhood.

"WE ARE NOT A HATE GROUP!" she bleated through the megaphone, "OUR ORGANIZATION HAS MEMBERS FROM EVERY WALK OF LIFE! WE'RE A PUBLIC SAFETY GROUP! THE FACTS STAND, PARA-FREAKS ARE DANGERS. VIOLENT CRIME IS AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH AND PARA-FREAKS ARE RESPONSIBLE! WE HAVE MEN IN THE SKY THE POLICE CAN'T CATCH! NO ONE IS SAFE UNTIL EVERY PARA-FREAK IS KNOWN AND REGISTERED, OR FORCED OUT OF OUR CITY!"

She was a firebrand, spitting into the megaphone. Most of the crowd agreed with her, but the locals at least looked doubtful.

A couple of Queen Rat's men, hard looking guys with durags and low slung jeans, kept guard at the front entrance to the community center. Slurs had been tagged up on the wall, not only just anti-para slogans but racist stuff too. Nothing I wanted to repeat, but most of them targeted at Queen Rat herself.

The crowd had been organized by the Committee of Community Vigilance, but a couple guys on the fringes looked a few degrees harder. In ray ban shades with hard glares, they looked ex-military and angry about it. A couple still wore combat boots in desert camo. I had a feeling they were with the Humanity First Militia, the militant arm of the Committee. A couple were talking with the cops.

Great.

Not why I was here though.

Bounding over the center I got a few gasps from the crowd before I was gone.

I landed in the back, near the loading bay.

Misfit had her bike on a tarp, music playing from a speaker, going over the engine.

Grease smeared her chin, she hummed along as she turned the wrench. 'Doot-doot-doot' she muttered. She was done in a white sleeveless shirt and black jeans, her jacket hung over a stool.

Meat Loaf, not what I'd expected.

"But I just won't do that, no, no," she crooned badly as she inspected a nut, checking a washer. She flicked it away, pulled out a fresh one.

"Sup Fit," I said, landing behind her.

"Huh?" she looked up. A bright grin opened her face. "Hey, 'Spur! What's good? Long time no see."

"Sorry about that," I said, "Been busy. How you been?"

"Clearing my name, yeah, I owe you," she said, "DPA even gave me some cash-money. Kind of a bribe, right? But I figure, hell, I'll take any motherfucker's money if they give it away." She fixed the new washer in, tightened the nut. "Sorry, just giving the old girl some love."
>>
"Child put in a good word for me with the boss lady," she said, "I'm kind of providing security, you know, keeping the peace. It's a pretty good gig. Real nice folks here."

She went down under the bike, working away.

"That's good," I said, "Hey, you know I was wondering."

This shouldn't be as nerve racking as it was. Misfit was a pal. This should be as simple as asking if she wanted to get some fries or whatever. But my throat kind of stuck, watching her work. Her top peeled up to show just a little bit of tan belly, flexing with every grunt. For some reason I couldn't look away.

"Do you want to uh, go out tonight?"

"Go out?" she said, waving her spanner at me from under the bike. "Shit yeah dude, I could cut loose. Who you want to fuck up? I got some Russians I been eyeing, and those Outfit jerks could use a head kick or two."

"Nah, no, not like that," I said, "Uh, I mean, uh, there's this dance at school, right? The Winter Ball. I was wondering if you'd like to go...with me."

She popped her head up. "Huh?"

"Yeah, its dumb," I said, glad to be wearing a mask.

"No man," she said, "It's just...you know I dropped out in like, middle school right. I never done no school dance thing. Best I got is half a semester at this shelter I was crashing at last year."

"If it's not your thing..."

"No, no, no-no-no Spur, no, that's not what I meant," she said, then broke into a grin, "I'd love to go! Shit, thanks for asking. Gives me a chance to see what I'm missing out on."

"But you know," I said, "We can't go as Misfit and Hotspur right?"

"Okay, I'll be Natalie," she said.

"And I'll be Eric," I said.

She giggled like we were planning a caper. "Fuck yeah, this is going to be dope," she put out her fist.

I bumped it. She grinned. Covered in grease and sweat, unwashed and kind of smelly, she was still...you know. Anyone could see she was pretty. Rough, but pretty.

"Meet you there or pick you up?" she asked, getting back to work.

"Uh," I said, "Meet me there I guess. I'll text the address."

"Awesome," she said.

I swallowed, watching her work, her face hidden under the body of the motorbike.

It was then a kid burst around the corner, spilling over onto his hands.

It was the lion faced boy, panting hard.

"They grabbed Jenny!"

Misfit burst out from under her bike.

"What?"

The kid was panting hard, his shirt torn. "Back alley, Militia types. I barely got away. Quick, hurry, they're hurting her!"

Me and Misfit exchanged a look. She snatched up her mask, pulled down the grinning skull face. Clutched her spanner.

"Let's fucking go!"
>>
We dashed around the corner, the lion boy leading us back the way he'd come. It was a block down from the community center. They'd gone down to a corner store. To pick up candy.

A couple of those guys, big, beefy militia guys, had a four-armed girl held between them. A third had an electric razor. He was clipping away her hair. chopping it down. The girl, Jenny, a skinny girl maybe ten, sobbed. Her lip had been split and an eye was closing up with an ugly bruise.

They were big guys, much bigger than the skinny kid, with pot bellies and beefy arms. Their eyes were hidden behind their raybans.

One of them was watching the other three. Either keeping an eye out or giving the orders.

She was helpless, locks of hair falling from her scalp.

"A freak should look like a freak," one of them said, twisting her arm hard.

She screamed and got a hard slug in the face, then a glob of spit. One of her pigtails sprung free, dangling from a fist.

A murderous roar went through my skull.

The look out, or maybe the boss, saw us coming. He put a hand to his side. He had a gun.

He had a badge too.

Cop.

>put her down!
>fuck this, put them down
>>
>>4865611
>Tell Misfit to get a camera on them
>Tell them they got 3 seconds before they find out what prison does to "men" that hurt kids after going to the hospital
>Drag them to the inciter and ask if she is fine with grown men beating children.
>Kick ass and take down names so they can go out to the public.
>>
>>4865611
>put her down!
>>
>>4865611
>fuck this, put them down
>>
>>4865611
>put her down!
we can't afford to be violent here, it'd just fuel their narrative. last resort only
>>
>>4865611
>fuck this, put them down

Inmovilize the most threatening and intimidate the others (not bone breaking plz)
>>
>Put effort into write in
>Nothing.>>4865611
whatever.
>put her down!
>>
>>4865644
Are you an idiot? These are guys that would require bones to be broken. Do you think not making a proper write in or plan would overwrite base votes?
>>
>>4865656
Brain small
Hit someone but not too hard
>>
>>4865665
Write it in then, because otherwise its default smash Spur smash.
>>
>>4865644
>>4865615
Changing vote to this
>>
>>4865611
this>>4865653
if my write in doesn't win. Put my vote to my write in if it does>>4865615
>>
>>4865617
>>4865633
>>4865653
locking in 'put her down'
>>
>>4865611
>>fuck this, put them down
>>
"Put her down," I said.

A flash-bang grew in Misfit's fist, hot light streaming out from between her knuckles.

The guy with the razor looked to the cop, backing up a step, Jenny's pigtail swinging from his hand. The girl sobbed hard between the two men.

It was a sight would make anyone sick.

"Let's just fuck these guys up," Misfit said. I held out my hand.

The cop chewed his tongue, hand on his gun.

"You like beating on little girls?" I snarled.

"No little girls here, just a freak," he said.

"I'm giving you a chance to walk away," I said, "You draw on me, you're going to have a problem."

He sucked on his tooth, sizing me up. The hand rose up from the holster, away from the gun.

Then something bright and shining streaked past me.

The cop's arm came off at the elbow with a spray, so fast he didn't have time to scream. The blade lodged in the knee of a man holding a girl, splitting it open. The handle of the tomahawk stood out from his leg, the carved wood flecked with blood. The cop slumped to the ground, staring at the leaking stump beneath his elbow.

"In older times, the hands of a thief would be cut off as a warning to other thieves."

I looked back. Dallas Parker came walking down, flanked by a couple of people I didn't know. He wore a green tactical vest, his black hair pulled back in a Native style braid.

"For one who attacks a child, a sharper lesson should be taught," he stepped and shimmered and I felt him move past me, fast with a fluid grace. He grabbed the handle of his tomahawk, sliding past the man, wrenching it from his knee.

"Christ," the leg came half off.

It wasn't speed exactly. I don't know what to call it. But it had been fast, graceful, and terrifying. The man with the electric razor ran, while Jenny kicked at the guy holding her prisoner.

Dallas' bloody tomahawk blade touched the back of the last man's neck.

"Dallas," I said.

"Don't worry Hotspur, I won't kill them," he said.

The two with him, his flunkies stepped forward. One was a black girl with silver eyes and a pouty mouth, her hair in twin braids corded around over her shoulders and tied together at the tips. She wore a dark tactical vest and carried some kind of sword on her back. The other was a white guy with wild brown hair, missing half an ear and a chunk of a nostril, face scarred up like he'd lost a fight with a dog.

Dallas grabbed the last militia guy by the hair, pulled his head back. Jenny broke free and ran to her lion-faced friend.

"In older times," he said, "I would have taken your scalp. But we have more," His eyes flicked to me, "Civilized ways now."

The militia guy pissed himself in Dallas' grip.

"We are the Vanguard Army," he said, "Go tell your people."

He let go and the guy ran, abandoning his wounded friends.
>>
"Pyrokine, War-Wolf," he said, "Make sure those men don't bleed to death."

He holstered his tomahawk, stepping over the man missing half his leg.

Rage tightened my fists.

"I was talking them down," I said.

Dallas looked thoughtful.

"Maybe," he said.

He walked back the way he'd come.

>stop him
>let him go
>>
>>4865720
>let him go
>>
>>4865720
>let him go
Even if we win, what then? Call the DPA and give that black site some fresh test subjects? Also it's not like we haven't dismembered anyone before. This isn't going to end well though.

Call him out for subjecting an innocent child to that level of violence, if he keeps it up kids like this won't have any choice but to become soldiers in his war.
>>
>>4865720
>let him go
>>
>>4865720
switching>>4865733
to this write in>>4865730
>>
sorry guys had to deal with something on my end
>>
>>4865730
locking this in
>>
"Dallas," I said.

He stopped. "I don't want to fight you, Hotspur," he said.

I didn't want to fight him either, but I couldn't do nothing.

"You didn't have to tear them apart, not in front of kids," I said.

Jenny sniffed against the lion boy, half her hair shaved down to bristles.

"They'll see worse before long," he said, "And I won't hesitate to defend my people. It's to your credit you tried to talk them down, but thugs only understand the language of thugs. Now they know any attempt to hurt the innocent in our number will be met swiftly and decisively. They'll tell the story to their friends."

"And come back heavier," I said, "Then you'll get the war you want."

"I don't want a war," he said, "But I won't be blind to the one coming."

Behind me Pyrokine, the shaggy haired white guy with the cut up face, pressed a hand to the stump of the cop's arm. The cop howled as smoke rose from where the hand was clamped. "You jus' settle down now," Pyrokine said in a thick Cajun mush-mouth while cauterizing his wound. Further down the black woman Dallas had called War-Wolf made a tourniquet for the man with the half-missing leg. She tightened it hard until the blood slowed to a near stop.

Sneering down, her pouty lip drew back to show long bright fangs.

Soldiers of the Vanguard Army.

"And as for Dallas Parker," he said, "I have a new name."

"Yeah?" I said.

"From now on you can call me 'Nemesis'," he said, "For I will be our retribution."

And Nemesis strode out of the alley, a cold wind howling after him.
>>
It was a bad way to leave things at Queen Rat's but what could I do? More and more I found myself in helpless situations.

Misfit took the kids back to the center. She was good with kids, she got Jenny to stop crying right away. The Lion Boy, who everyone called Owen, was trying to cheer her up too.

"Your hair looks like my tail!" Owen said, pulling out his tufted tail and swinging it around. It got her smiling.

Before I left I took Misfit aside. "Keep an eye on things down here," I said, "I don't trust these Vanguard guys."

"On it chief," she said. We arranged to meet at school around six.

Put me in a fight and I could take it to the ground. Put me against the evils men do, and I became what I am, a fifteen year old boy on the cusp of sixteen, with few answers and no clear way to act on them.

Somethings were too big to fight head on.

Nemesis, Dallas Parker, wasn't entirely wrong. Neither were the Committee. Para-folk were dangerous, I'd seen enough of it to know it. They had a right to be scared. But Nemesis was right too, there were plenty of innocent people with powers, harmless kids who had become the target of psychos like the Humanity First Militia.

And over them both hung the sword of the government, ready to fall.

I was trying to walk a line but the longer I walked it the more crooked it got.

Whatever the trouble coming, at least I had something to take my mind off things. The dance tonight.

Getting home I got changed.

Was this a date? I know Misfit likes girls, but she once said she was only about 80% gay or something. I don't know what that meant. She was older than me but not by a lot. Close to eighteen, I think. She was pretty too. Did I like her? As a friend, yeah. I trusted her with my life. More than a friend, a comrade, a blood brother. Blood sister. Uh...

But did I 'like her' like her?

I swallowed, checking my hair. I'd definitely, you know, noticed things about her. Not just the physical stuff but...she was kind. A lot kinder than she wanted to admit. She was goofy too. She wanted to be a badass and she kind of was, but not in the way she thought.

She was weird, weird in the way I felt weird.

It was weird thinking about her.

"You going to wear a tie?" Dad asked.

"It's a dance not a job interview," I said, pulling on my denim jacket.

"Put on some cologne at least," he said. He got out one of his, had a smokey, whiskey scent. "Dab it," he said, "On your wrists and your neck. Trust me!"

"Kid, you need a shave," he said. I was getting whiskers at the corner of my lips, the start of sideburns. "And a hair cut." He played with my wavy hair. It was starting to become a mane. He leant me his razor. The hair cut would have to wait. He put some styling gel in my hair to tame it a little. I don't know, I didn't like how stiff it made my hair.

He checked me in the mirror, squeezing my shoulder.
>>
"You're becoming a man," he said.

The scar on my cheek was bright, the bags under my eyes heavy. If I looked like a man it wasn't in a good way.

"You ready to go?" he said.

I shrugged. I guess so.

My palms were sweaty. I rubbed them on my legs.

"Come on heart breaker," he said.

Miss Flores was waiting for us downstairs.

She was in a purple dress and crop jacket.

"Looking good, stud," she said to Dad.

"Looking better, babe," he said, pulling her in for a kiss.

Oh God. This was worse than what I went through with Jimmy. Please let Salamander show up looking for a fight. Please God.

But God doesn't answer my prayers.

We got into her car. Our living room was now home to boxes of her junk, our bathroom housing her cat until it and Mangy could learn to get along.

"Let's hit the road," she said, and put on some kind of prog-rock.

Great.

A great start to the night.
>>
>>4865859
There's always time to say we're no longer comfortable with the Florinator moving in.

Also if we had taken those guys down Dallas wouldn't have maimed them.
>>
The school was dark but the hall lights were bright.

Cars parked up and down the road, kids getting out giggling all nervous.

Mr Getty manned the door, stamping hands. Dad and Miss Flores went in without me. I'd hang out here, waiting for my date.

Come on Misfit.

There were a lot more students in my school than I had realized. Most faces I only half recognizd but then I'd been missing a lot of school.

"Yo Eric!" Rufus waved. He had a black girl with him, I didn't know her. Must have found a date. She was cute. "You know Shonique, right?" he said.

"Maybe, kinda," I said, shaking her hand.

"Your date here yet?" he said.

"His date doesn't exist," Zeke came out of the dark with Hunter. A 'pair' of lone wolves. "Hey Shonique, you gave this guy a pity date?"

"He just looked so sad," she said with a mocking pout, punching Rufus in the arm.

"You guys seen Ivy?" Hunter asked.

Ivy. My belly tightened.

"Nah, not yet," Rufus said, "Dane neither. Maybe they decided to skip the dance and go straight to the, heh, you know."

My fist tightened.

"Yo," Dane came up the path alone, "Someone say my name?"

"You seen Ivy?" I asked a bit too quick. Dane snapped his fingers and pointed inside.

"Helping set up," he said.

We didn't wait long before Ayesha showed up with Malcolm, and Kaylee with Daphne.

"Looks like the gang's all here," Kaylee said, holding Daphne's hand.

"We're just waiting for Eric's 'date'," Zeke said, "Five bucks says he gets a DM saying she had to cancel last minute."

"Yeah?" Kaylee looked too happy about the idea.

I was about to say something when the roar of a motorbike ripped over the night. Instead I grinned.

She didn't look for a park, she came up right over the grass, engine revving. The others went back a step as she came to a stop in front of us, motorbike rumbling. She kicked out the stand and planted it in the grass, switched off the engine and stepped up, pulling off her helmet.

Under her motorcycle jacket she wore a white dress shirt and skinny black tie, tight black leather jeans and combat boots. She'd slicked her dark hair back and cleaned her face until the cheek bones glowed.

"Eric, damn, you clean up good," she said, slapping her helmet down on the bike seat.

"Natalie," her real name was marbles in my mouth. I almost slipped up and called her Misfit. "You too, hell people might start thinking you're a chick."
>>
She roared with laughter, hooking an arm around my shoulder. She smelled good too, she'd gone to the effort of wearing perfume.

"So who are these jagoffs?" she said, sweeping a finger over my friends.

"Guys, this is Natalie," I said, "Natalie, these are the guys."

Misfit grinned. Zeke swallowed his tongue.

She saw Kaylee and leaned closer. "Hey," she said, smiling sly.

Kaylee blushed, eyes wide, while Daphne's face dropped. "Nice to meet you," Kaylee mumbled.

Misfit tightened her arm around my neck. "So we going inside or just going to stand out here jacking each other off?"

"Let's get inside," I said.

She took my arm in hers. "Lead the way sir!"

And we stepped into the Winter Ball together.

-

Music played from the sound system. We stepped into a segregated room, boys on one side, girls on the other, everyone talking in groups but too nervous to cross the divide. Equipment was being set up on the stage.

The football team had the snack table, big ass Bryan Kusich with a cup of punch in hand. A couple of teachers were keeping watch. Miss Flores was doing a bad job though, too busy talking to Dad.

Misfit whistled. "Fancy," she said, "Man, food too. This place has everything. I'm a get a bite."

She swaggered over to the table.

"So," Ayesha broached the silence, "She seems...nice."

"Very real, very existent," said Rufus with an elbow in Zeke's ribs.

"Yeah, yeah," he muttered.

Malcolm watched her walk away, nodding in approval, then gave me a look of respect.

I smiled. She was pretty real, yeah. She stuffed her mouth with a pretzel while stashing more in her jacket pockets.

One of the football player's girlfriends frowned at her.

"Sup," she said, keeping on eating.

"Hey, you want to dance?" Daphne said to Kaylee, pulling her away.

"Um, music hasn't started yet," Kaylee said.

"Then let's start it!" Daphne said.

Kaylee looked to us for help as Daphne dragged her to the dance floor.

I looked around for Ivy, but if she was inside she wasn't in here.

>maybe I should keep my focus on Misfit
>look around for Ivy
>>
>>4865899
>look around for Ivy
>>
>>4865899
>maybe I should keep my focus on Misfit
>>
>>4865899
>maybe I should keep my focus on Misfit
Ivy probably isn't dead or anything (yet)
>>
>>4865899
>maybe I should keep my focus on Misfit
>Let her know there may be trouble if Ivy doesn't show up
>>
>>4865899
Suppin' >>4865905
>>
>>4865891
Misfit's chad energy is out of control

>>4865899
>keep focus on Misfit
Would be a huge douchebag move to ditch her right away after inviting her to her first school dance.
>>
>>4865870
My write in would have worked.
>>
sorry for dumping all that text before getting to a vote
>>
>>4865905
Guys Ivy is here. Calm the paranoiaboner for one sec. The vote is more likely about how hard we're gonna keep simping for her all night.

Misfit seems cool and all but doesn't seem like the type to go for a "serious high school relationship" like Eric. I think she's a good friend and para ally but anything else wouldn't work out. Just my opinion. I also think she's just happy to be here and wouldn't mind us talking to a friend for a bit.

Ivy and Eric obviously like each other and would probably go well together romantically but I'm tired of Eric always thinking about her without ever actually interacting with her. If she's wanting to go the Dane route I just wanna find out so Eric can finally move on and quit raging whenever someone mentions her and Dane. Hopefully there's some kind of resolution to that tonight.
>>
>>4865905
+1
>>
>>4865919
That's fine, large updates are good.
>>4865921
And Ayesha was just on the way to school, Houndy isn't the only one out there.
Irrelevant, it would be rude as hell to ditch her without giving her a heads up, hell it might not be supers but gang bangers or the rich punks coming for some payback after handing them their asses.
>>
>>4865901
>>4865902
>>4865905
>>4865911
>>4865922
locked in
>>
I'm sure Ivy would be okay.

I'm sure everything is fine.

It isn't like I'd already had one friend abducted by my enemies and tortured for it.

Still, better not to worry. I went over to where Misfit was eating. I ignored the football players, Bryan Kusich glowering at me.

"Thanks again for the invite," she said.

"No problem," I said.

"Asking me on a date," she said, her grin getting a little goofy, "I don't think I've ever been on a 'date' date before."

I poured myself a cup of punch, took a sip. It was mostly sugar but I wasn't complaining.

"The red head," she said, looking to the dance floor, "She a friend of yours? She, you know, does she prefer hot dogs or tacos?"

That was a weird metaphor.

"She's my ex, Kaylee," I said, "And if you're curious she's bisexual or something."

"Oh ho?" Misfit raised an eyebrow, "I'll back off then. Don't want to make things awkward. Cute though. You know why it didn't work out?"

I shrugged. "It's fine, we're still friends," I lied.

I didn't want to talk about Kaylee.

"A friend of mine hasn't turned up," I said, "There might be trouble if she doesn't show."

Misfit drained her cup. "I got your six," she said. Then with a snicker she pressed closer to me, hip to hip. "Hey, maybe we can make your ex jealous."

Oof. I had to admit, she felt good pressed up right against me. And Kaylee did keep glancing over our way. I don't know if it was for me or Misfit. It felt kind of good too, seeing Kaylee's eyebrows twitch.

"You can put your hand on my hip if you want," she said, helping me find it. Resting my hand right on her hip, rigt on the tight black leather. "Yeah, she saw that."

I don't know how serious Misfit was. I don't know how serious I was but couldn't ignore the pressure building at the front of my pants.

Great. I swallowed nothing but a nervous lump.

The divide between boys and girls was starting to close, mingling starting with friends then with pairs starting to split off. The music hadn't really started yet. A lanky Mexican guy carried a keyboard onto the stage. A microphone stand set up.

"Check check, mic check," a teacher said, his voice crackling over the speakers.

Ayesha came over, smiling, Malcolm following, frowning. "Hey, I'm Ayesha," she said, "So Natalie, how do you know Eric?"

"Uh," Misfit said, "Through...stuff..."

"Oh," Ayesha said, smile curling, "Yeah, I know about his 'stuff'." She gave me a look, telling me she knew who Natalie must be.

"Yeah?" Misfit said. Then a light of realization. "Oh shit, you're the girl got kidnapped! Fuck, that was crazy! Heard it on the news dude, that's rough. Man, I've been there. A couple years back these guys caught me in their shop stealing parts and boy did I get it bad. I still got this scar, here feel."

She lowered her head, pointing to the top of her dome. "Check it out, go ahead."
>>
Ayesha poked at Misfit's scalp, through the slicked back here, feeling out a ridge of skin.

"I think I got legit brain damage from that one," she said, "Man, its worse than gettin' raped you know. Shit, they're both bad but I'll take the one you can walk away from, feel me?"

Jesus Christ.

Ayesha's fingers pulled back, horrified by what Misfit had just said.

"So what happened to you?" Misfit said, then in a moment of social awareness, "You uh, don't got to say unless you want to, you know. Me, I don't care about that stuff. You get caught slippin' is all. Bad shit happens but it don't mean nothing. But I get other people can get...weird about...uh...stuff...um, I'm talkin' too much."

Natalie cringed.

Ayesha took her hand. "It's okay," she said, "The guy who...he kidnapped me. He knocked me around a bit and tore up my clothes but he never, well, then he...well, he pumped me full of heroin." She shrugged saying 'how else can I put it?'

"Damn," Natalie whistled.

"I don't think you should be reliving your trauma, Ayesha," Malcolm said.

"It's fine," Ayesha said, brushing off his hand, "It would be nice to talk about it, you know, without it being awkward."

"If you do want to talk, you can have my number or whatever," Natalie said, fumbling for her phone, "Or just get it off Eric. Ha! But only if you want. You know. It's cool."

"Well its nice to meet you Natalie," she said as Malcolm pulled her away.

"You too!" she said, grinning. Then looking to me said, "You know a lot of real honies, Spur."

She winced.

"Eric," she said.

Me, I was still processing the awful shit she'd just casually dropped.

"Natalie," I said.

"Yeah?" she said, warm brown eyes on me. She looked away. "Yeah, I probably shouldn't of said that stuff. Me talking too much again, sorry."

"No," I said, "No, don't be sorry. I'm sorry. What you've been through..."

She smirked. "Don't go bitch on me Eric," she said, "Ain't worse than breaking a leg or something. Don't sweat it. Anyway, it happens to boys too. Most anyone ends up on the street will be ducking all kinds of evil."

It was worse though. I wanted to tell.

But I let it slide. She was getting uncomfortable.

A band was starting to set up on the stage. Bass strings plucked, cymbals struck. Waiting on their lead singer.

She stepped out with a guitar, wearing a red leather jacket over a tight black cat suit, her hair tied up high in a braided tail, swinging down her back.

I forgot about everyone else for a second. goddamn she was a sight out of a rock and roll dream.

Ivy took to the mic.

"Sup," she said, voice cracking over the speakers, "We're the Blisters and we're on a neutered playlist tonight, but we'll get through."

"Sing along if you know the words."

Then a wall of sound broke out.
>>
'God money, I'll do anything for you
God money, just tell me what you want me to
God money, nail me up against the wall
God money, don't want everything he wants it all'

This was not the kind of pop music the school probably expected. Shit its not what I expected.

"Oh shit," Misfit said, starting forward, "This is my jam!"

The rest of the school was well and truly confused as Ivy snarled into the mic.

'Head like a hole
Black as your soul
I'd rather die than give you control
Head like a hole
Black as your soul
I'd rather die than give you control'

Misfit pulled my arm like she was going to start a one girl mosh pit.

'Bow down before the one you serve
You're going to get what you deserve
Bow down before the one you serve
You're going to get what you deserve'

Ivy bit the words off with a snarl, the band thumping around her.

I'd had no idea she was in a band.

"Maybe that's too hard?" Ivy said as the last of the industrial snarl edged out, "Okay, but we got range."

The shock gave way to something a bit lighter, something people could dance too.

"She's amazing," Misfit said, wide-eyed.

"Yeah," I said.

>Dance with Misfit
>Stick back and watch Ivy play
>>
I'll be back tomorrow
>>
>>4865957
>Dance with Misfit
>>
>>4865957
>Dance with Misfit
>>
>>4865957
>Dance with Misfit
>>
>>4865957
>Dance with Misfit

We're here to enjoy ourselves not mope about a girl, fucking ask for a bro job from misfit if you're that desperate for a fix Eric, she'd be cool with it
>>
>>4865957
>Dance with Misfit
>>
>>4865957
Ivy is cool. Now when's the boot dropping.
>>
>>4865957
>Dance with Misfit
>>
>>4865957
>Dance
>>
here's hoping Eric can quit being serious as a heart attack for once and kinda let loose
>>
>>4865957
>Dance with Misfit

This one is winning, but may As well remember our own advice and "make boxes out of our life" we'll deal with Ivy when the time comes and besides may as well dance with our bro with the songs she's singing
>>
>>4865964
>>4865997
>>4866037
>>4866054
>>4866104
>>4866454
>>4866633
>>4866930
locking it in but updating tomorrow

today kind of got away from me
>>
>>4867252
Based
>>
A smooth bass line with the keyboard coming in, Ivy's voice light and high had Misfit dancing.

'You got my heart working overtime
I let you in, let you cross the line
You want my trust, boy you have to try
Give all your love if you wanna keep me'

She danced like a goofball. She was dancing alone but didn't give a shit, riding the vibe. A few people gave her disgusted looks.

Me, I finished my drink and dove right in.

'If you want my heart
If you want my trust
Don't play with my heart
Give me all your love'

Misfit banged her elbow in my gut before realizing I was there then broke into a grin.

I could dance but it was mostly tangos and shit, not this kind of club stuff. She grabbed my hands and started twisting. So I started twisting too. Her grin was infectious, so was her bad dancing. It started just her and me but soon others started joining in while Ivy held down the stage, strutting back and forth in her black catsuit.

'Boy I'm gonna get right to it
I don't know if we should do this
You into something dangerous
cuz i'm little but i'm furious'

I bumped up into Rufus and his date, then Misfit pulled me back and we nearly tripped up Tim and his boyfriend. We were both laughing.

It felt good, real good, to hang with Misfit without someone shooting at us.

The keyboard launched into a blistering solo. My attention was fixed on Misfit, who had her eyes shut, attuned to the music in a way made her face seem to glow.

The song ended in a crush of drums.

Maybe the last song had been to heavy, this one hit right and the crowd cheered.

"Okay kids," Ivy said, "The next ones a slow song. Find someone to slow dance with."

She wasn't kidding, the music slowed way the hell down. The lights went low too.

'Have I ever told you
How good it feels to hold you
It isn't easy to explain'

Couples drew close. I wasn't sure what to do, watching Rufus cradle his girl, watching Ayesha lean on Malcolm.

Misfit decided it for me, planting my hands on her hips, planting hers on mine. It was more swaying than dancing.

'And though I'm really tryin'
I think I may start cryin'
My heart can't wait an other day'

I pulled in a little closer, hands up on her waist, under her jacket. Not as nervous as I thought. Misfit's grin was something sly and a little wild. Ivy crooned on stage like her heart was breaking.

'Oh I'm so glad I found you
I want my arms around you
I love to hear you call my name

Oh tell me that you feel
Tell me that you feel
Tell me that you feel the same'

"I'm having a lot of fun," she said, "Are you?"

"Yeah."

'Baby, I love you
Come on baby
baby, I love you
Baby I love, I love only you'

But it was a little ruined.

I needed to take a dump.

"I'll be back," I said.

"Hey, don't leave me hanging," she said.

I dashed off for the bathroom.

Sweet relief. I hadn't realized how hot it was in there until I was sitting on the cold seat.
>>
Sighing, I rubbed my face. What was tonight even about? I liked Misfit. Natalie. Did she like me? Was I getting the right signals or getting my wires crossed.

I don't know, but I was willing to feel this out.

"You little cross-eyed faggot."

I sat up.

"Jerry-Me," Howie said.

"Can't do anything right can you, H-H-Howie," he said, "The big retard act doesn't get you anything from me. This was a fifty dollar shirt."

"I'm sorry Jerry-Me," Howie sobbed.

"Jerry-Me Jerry-Me, Jerry-Me," he said, mocking Howie's voice, "It's Jeremy you fucking moron. Jeremy. How many times I got to tell you."

"Now stand still."

I heard a zip. Howie started sobbing as piss started running. I opened he stall door to get a look at what was going on.

Jeremy was peeing right on the front of Howie's jeans.

"Little baby peed his pants," Jeremy snickered, splashing down over Howie's shoes.

Son of a bitch.

>All right, Jeremy has this one coming (attack)
>Starting a fight won't help Howie out (wait)
>>
>>4868556
>All right, Jeremy has this one coming (attack)
Jesus Christ dude that's too far. I'll take getting in trouble over doing nothing about this shit.
>>
>>4868556
>All right, Jeremy has this one coming (attack)
Nope, that's it, this little shit had this coming for awhile.
>>
>>4868556
>All right, Jeremy has this one coming (attack)
>>
>>4868556
>All right, Jeremy has this one coming (attack)
Break his fucking spine the fucker deserves it
>>
>>4868580
>>4868589
>>4868597
>>4868619
locked in
>>
>>4868556
>All right, Jeremy has this one coming (attack)
>>
It might be too presumptuous to say it's about us but the content of the lyrics should at least have Eric thinking about how things went between him and Ivy when he was still dating Kay
>>
>>4868686
Maybe but It seemed like Eric was preoccupied with his dance and wasn't really paying attention to the lyrics.
>>
Stop simping for ivy

Focus on misfit as friends

Remember that Eric's just really fucking horny since kay isn't giving us any, it's not love

Misfits not into the whole monogamy thing and would unironically give us a brojob if we asked

Again Eric you're just really fucking horny, misfit is a great friend and the type of girl who would actually do the just friends with benefits thing
>>
>>4868699
Eric's had a thing for Ivy even since he and Kay were together, it ain't about that. Having a friends with benefits thing with Misfit would just make things weird as shit with para work, I'm not into the idea really
>>
I flushed the toilet before stepping out.

Jeremy looked over his shoulder right in time to see my hand grab his collar. Next thing I slammed him into the wall.

"Motherfucker," I said. Howie started crying, pants dripping. Jeremy coughed, kicking at me, but he couldn't do much.

"Eric, Eric wait!" Jeremy cried, but the begging stopped with the first punch I drove under his ribs. He choked up, might have fallen over if I hadn't held him up.

I didn't mean to use my powers but a white hot flare went off in my chest. I ground Jeremy's face against the wall while driving blow after blow into his gut. He coughed up vomit, hot down himself over his fifty dollar shirt. When I let go he slid to his knees. He was bleeding across his cheek, skin torn up and leaking, holding his own belly. I grabbed him by the hair, yanked his head back and drove a fist into his mouth.

Jeremy couldn't stop crying. Howie was crying too.

I shook out my fist. A tooth chip stood out from a bloody gash. Blood washed down from Jeremy's split lip.

He stank, Jeremy. Not from BO but something else. An awful smell I could hardly stand.

"You motherfucker," I said, and whipped him across the face with a backhand.

I was about ready to kick him while he was down. He sobbed on the bathroom floor among the wet clumps of toilet paper.

Howie ran, crying loud as a siren.

Jeremy put up a feeble hand to protect his face.

"Eric, come on, I-I was only goofin'."

Hot rage had me shaking. I drove my foot into his gut. I started kicking and didn't stop until I felt a big hand grab my shoulder.

I turned around. Bryan Kusich's fist smashed into the bridge of my nose. Lights popped in front of my eyes, the bathroom spun. I got a sense of other guys behind him, the football team.

"Get him, Bry! Get the faggot!" Jeremy screeched from the ground.

Staggering back I got my hands up. The big ass linebacker and his friends had me surrounded. Five to one right now but with more showing up, putting curious heads through the door.

Snorting back blood, I grinned a Hotspur kind of grin.

Bryan hesitated.

"Don't stop now," I said, "Let's dance."

Bryan swung.

>roll 3 x 1d100+25 dc 50
>>
>>4868711
>>4868699
We start learning karate, get that spiritual centering shit going on, and we can think clearly.
>>
Rolled 21 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4868712
>>
Rolled 57, 53, 47 + 25 = 182 (3d100 + 25)

>>4868712
>>
Rolled 49 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4868712
>>
Rolled 21 + 25 (1d100 + 25)

>>4868712
>DC 50
lmao I guess he doesn't really compare to soldiers with guns
>>
that's a pass
>>
>>4868716
woops
>>4868717
All good anyways
>>
man we're gonna be rocking the Owen Wilson nose here before too long
>>
>>4868718
yeah, and it's not even for Bryan its for the whole damn team
>>
>>4868711
I ain't talking about ivy, I mean this situation with misfit

Ivy is fucking great and we should go for it WHEN Dane is out of the picture (ntr is trash and Dane is a good guy)
>>
>>4868726
Eric doing the equivalent of the Daredevil one take fight?
>>
>>4868726
Oh geez, we're being careful and discreet with the power use right?
>>
>>4868728
My impression is that Dane is only partially in the picture but I could be wrong. If we don't tell Ivy how we feel ASAP then we might not ever get the chance. That ain't ntr
>>
>>4868730
If we crit, would it have looked like the Raid?
>>
bros this might have been hella dumb
I got no regrets but this could end with getting expelled or going to juvie
>>
yeah no regrets, just taking out the trash
>>
"Well if you take boxing lessons one day you too can take on the whole football team."

Eric's boxing gym ad or something
>>
>>4868734
She seems to be into older men with their shit together, but looking at us clearly shows that isn't true. Or at least barely. We aren't doing as well in school, while we train at boxing, it really isn't that great for not getting hit, doing almost nothing but running with our heads cut off getting lucky or another friend in trouble. And one of the most important people in Eric's life, whom was unknowingly gushing over him for months, knows we are a ragged mess of scar tissue. We need balance, take less hits, center our mind, because we have been getting pissed easier and easier lately. And now we have literal god damned demons, we need to switch it up, or we're going to burn out.
>>
>>4868736
Yeah...that is also a concern.
>>
>>4868741
>older men
bruh the only older man she's been with is the teacher who raped her
>>
>>4868752
Our dad seemed interesting to her, or a least the college dudes, still doesn't change the fact we need to fix our shit up after we get kicked out if Howie won't back us up on Jimmy's bullshit.
>>
I ducked under it. He swung again. I ducked under it too.

Then I shot a jab into his gut. The look on Bryan's face told the story. He'd never been hit that hard. Poor kid, I was just opening up. The cross on his jaw hit harder. He tried to hit back, but he was slow. So fucking slow.

But he wasn't alone and I got clipped on the back of the head. It barely registered more than a fly-swat. Fire pumping through me good dulled the pain. I turned, ducking under the next punch, coming up driving an upper cut into his friend's chin. Drove my arm into the next one and charged him back into the wash basin. An arm went around my neck hauling me back, choking me for a sec. I drove a hard elbow around and the grip loosened up.

Someone was laughing. I swung around with a haymaker. His jaw crunched and bits of teeth came flying out. I was laughing.

A kick in the back hit hard. I went stumbling out the bathroom door. Then hands grabbed the back of my head, my shirt. They drove me into the wall. There were more coming, the rest of the team. I don't know if anyone could hear. Ivy's band was still rocking, a rock and roll throb down the corridor drowning out the shouting faces.

'I was made for loving you, baby
You were made for loving me
And I can't get enough of you, baby
Can you get enough of me?'

They held me against the wall, kicking and punching. I laughed against the concrete, feeling it tear into my face with a sweet sting.

Then, with one hand, I pushed off. Turning I swung a hook and dropped one, drove into the next with a jab. The top button of my shirt had popped off and I had blood drooling down my face, painting the front of my teeth.

I lashed out and caught a guy on his chin. He grabbed at a poster on the wall as he went down, tearing it off. I stepped under a punch and countered with a right.

There was a lot of them. One of them grabbed me around the throat, pulled me up off my feet, tried taking me to the ground.

"Fuck yeah!"

Misfit came running. She jumped, crashed onto Bryan. Mounting his chest she rained punches down on his head, howling with glee as the big linebacker went down.

I hooked my hand under the arm around my throat and pushed it off. He punched me in the side of the head. I snapped my head back, right into his face. I sprung free and onto a guy trying to pull Misfit off Bryan. I ripped him away from her. Flung him into his friends.

Misfit's back bumped into mine. We stood back to back with our hands in front.

The footballers, the ones still standing, glared as they started circling us.

"Goddamn pussies," Misfit spat, "Don't keep a girl waiting!"

We went at the same time, her one way, me the other. We laughed together, a good fury firing me up.

Boots to balls and fists cracking over scalps, Misfit swung wild in her gutter punk style. Me, I took them apart.

The fun couldn't last though. A sharp whistle split the hallway right as I was pulling Bryan up by the front of his shirt, ready to black out his other eye.
>>
>>4868756
if it means that we won't have to deal with jeremy and his douche crew no more then I'm all for it baby
>>
"What the goddamn Christ?"

Mr Sack stood with curious, frightened faces behind him. The music had died out from live music to a pre-set list over the PA. Half the dance was staring. He was a shade of red away from a heart attack, a swollen hotdog of rage.

I snorted up blood, spat out a glob.

Misfit lowered her fist, looked around confused.

"What," she said, "You never seen a brawl before?"
>>
brb
>>
>>4868760
We need to go to school if we aren't dedicating to becoming a homeless vigilante with no paycheck. A few days from school though could give us a chance to change up our training plan, get our team in order, and set up for some time to get our head together. If we got a little extra time after that, we can start asking our smart people for leads to find the Stone.
>>4868762
K, see ya back soon.
>>
>>4868761
alright I'm sold on Misfit
>>
"You're lucky they didn't call the cops."

Miss Flores padded the cut on my cheek with an antiseptic soaked cotton pad.

"Ow."

Without the pain numbing rush of power the cut hurt pretty bad.

"You think I'm going to get expelled?" I asked.

She thought about it.

"It's not impossible," she said, "But Howie managed to tell his side of the story."

"And they'll believe him, even though he's, you know..." I said.

"If it counts for anything, I believe him," she said. She set a bandaid on my cheek. "There, all better."

"Thanks Miss..uh...Carmen," I said, hopping down from the edge of the stage.

The party was well and truly over, our brawl had killed it. Mr Sack had sent everyone home. My name was probably dirt now for killing everyone's good time. He'd promised me the full fury of the school and to be honest Miss Flores was right, I was lucky he hadn't called the police. Maybe I would get expelled.

I really didn't want to get expelled. Fighting crime might take up a lot of my nights, but school was what kept me sane. My friends were here.

Miss Flores went aside with Dad to talk and I went outside to get some air.

The front of my shirt was half-ripped open, I'd lost the breast pocket of my denim jacket. I had a couple bruises but otherwise I was fine. Same couldn't be said for the others. Frankly what hurt worst was my hand, the knuckle bandaged over where part of Jeremy's tooth had been lodged. People don't talk enough about how fighting fucks up your hands.

Outside was cold. Of course it was cold. Groups were still hanging around in their fancy dress, shivering. Either waiting for a ride or looking for something else to do. It wasn't the end of the night anyone had planned.

It felt good putting Jeremy in his place, but now I felt like a jerk. Not for him but everyone else. Their glares didn't help. No one was going to talk to me after this.

A laugh caught my attention. Following it I found my friends with Misfit. She'd loosened her tie, sat on her bike while dragging on a cigarette. Talking to Ivy. Ivy was the one laughing, Misfit ducking her head to hide a blushing grin.

Ivy should have been cold. Her body was sheathed in the black cat suit I remember from Halloween, a cherry red leather jacket the only thing she had on for warmth.

"Yeah its a little angrier than what I normally like," Ivy said, "But I've been a little angrier lately. I'm glad someone liked it, we've only been practicing together for a couple of months. This was our first real gig."

She saw me coming and grinned.

"Hey," she said, "Enjoy the show? Now you know why I've been so busy."

"We aren't going to talk about Eric beating up half the football team?" Zeke asked.

"Bunch of pussies," Misfit said around her smoke. From the smell it wasn't just tobacco. Worst she had was a little cut on her lip.

"It's about time someone did," Dane said.

"Are you going to be expelled?" Ayesha asked, beaming with concern.

I shrugged. "I'll find out on Monday I guess," I said.
>>
"Fuck that," Rufus said, "As I heard it you were only looking out for Howie."

"I maybe went a bit overboard though," I said.

"You just can't help yourself can you Galahad?" Ivy said.

I blushed.

"Ey, ey," Misfit hopped down from her bike, smoke clamped in her teeth, she put up her fists, "Put up your dukes, sir. I'll give you a jolly thrashin'!"

"Okay, okay," I said.

"Man, you remember the time with the Reapers?" she said, "Now there was a brawl. Or on the '88. Shit, we jus' about-"

I cut my hand across my throat.

"Never mind," she mumbled.

There was only two other people here who knew what I was and I didn't want to make it more.

"We ready to go?" Malcolm asked Ayesha, taking her by the arm. She seemed hesitant to leave. "Come on, I know a college party not far from here."

"Hey, don't steal Ayesha," Ivy said, taking her other arm.

Malcolm smiled. "I'd say you guys can come too," he said, "But its not my party, you know."

"You going?" Ivy asked, wanting her to stay.

Malcolm really wanted her to. "I-I guess," she said, letting Malcolm pull her away.

"See you at home!" Ivy called. Ayesha gave us a wave and a tight, uncomfortable smile.

"I fucking hate that guy," Zeke said once they were gone.

"You're just sore you missed your shot," Rufus said.

"Missed his shot with what?" Shonique said.

"Uh, nothing," Rufus replied.

"We should go too," Dane said, checking his phone, "Mom will be around to pick us up in about five minutes."

"Come on," Ivy said, "It's not like you have a bed time."

Dane looked bothered by what she said but didn't say anything.

"It's still early!" Ivy said, "What about you Eric, are you calling it a night too?"

>I probably should
>fuck it, stay out
>>
>>4868840
>fuck it, stay out
>>
>>4868840
>fuck it, stay out
>>
>>4868840
>fuck it, stay out
>>
>>4868840
>fuck it, stay out

Lets see what kind of wrench is thrown our way.
>>
>>4868840
>I probably should

I'll be the lone dissenter and say with expulsion up in the air we shouldn't be looking for more trouble.
>>
>>4868859
>>4868856
>>4868849
>>4868845
locked in
>>
>>4868864
Not on school grounds anymore, not their jurisdiction to give a shit.
>>
>>4868864
Which is fucking bullshit! we were clearly outnumbered and getting jumped by the schools most prominent group of known assholes.

Everyone knows that they are just as fucking guilty as us and should also be facing punish, they can't even use the excuse that they're school jocks so they can get away with anything because we're also school jocks who should have the same bullshit privileges!
>>
If I was getting expelled on Monday the least I could do was have some fun before then. And I kind of didn't want to go home. It wasn't easy sleeping. Not after the last couple of nights.

"Count me in," I said.

"I'm good to keep rocking," Zeke said. Rufus and Shonique were too.

Misfit slicked back her hair. "If you guys aren't sick of me yet," she said.

There was a party not far. With the dance falling apart a lot of groups had found new places to burn out the night, mostly house parties. This one was at Tim's place, and we weren't the only ones going, Kaylee and Daphne were already there.

"Are you sure you don't want to come?" Ivy asked Dane.

He shook his head. "I've got homework to catch up on."

She snuck him a kiss on the cheek. "Text me when you get home," she said.

The others were going to walk, but Misfit offered me a ride.

"Don't have a spare helmet," she said, "But I don't think there's a road hard enough to crack your head."

I mounted up behind her, hugging her around the waist. We'd done this before but tonight felt a bit different. We weaved through the streets, leaving the others behind.

We pulled up on the curb.

"Thanks for tonight," she said, pulling off her helmet, "I really needed it after the last couple of months."

"Sorry I messed it up," I said.

"Nah, it's good," she said, "Though here's hoping you don't get expelled. You got a good thing going up here, Spur."

"Kinda," I said. Expelled. I couldn't help thinking about it and thinking about it made me think about the future. I didn't think about the future much. "Do you know what you're going to do?" I asked, "Other than...what we're already doing."

"What, like dreams or whatever?"

I nodded.

"Huh, yeah, I want to open my own garage," she said, "Not just repairs but like, make stuff too. Design cars, bikes, even trucks. I've been reading up on EVs and its pretty interesting stuff."

"But that ain't happening," she said, "I'm a dumby, you know. You need degrees and stuff to do that."

"You could get your GED," I said.

"Nah," she replied, "I suck at that stuff. Sitting in a room. Drives me crazy. And reading is hard, its like the words get all criss-crossed in my head. I've always been an A+ idiot. But I can dream about it."

Sounds more like ADHD than being stupid.

"What about you?" she said, "You got plans?"

I shrugged. "Dad wants me to go to college. Mom did too."

"You don't want to go?" she said.

I shrugged. "Back at the school, the fight," I said, "It's like, it feels good fighting."

"Yeah, its a rush," Misfit said.

"No, not," I sighed, "I don't mean like that. It's more...I don't know. It's the only time I feel...real. Like I'm really me. And its not the same as when I'm boxing or playing basketball. When I'm running headlong into danger to stop a bad guy. It's like I...I finally exist."

"What am I supposed to do with that?"
>>
"Damn," she said, "That's pretty heavy."

"Sorry," I said.

"Nah Spur...Eric," she said, "You don't never got to apologize to me. Not after what we been through. Whatever you need man, I'm here for you. Always."

I stared at her.

I really, really needed something right now.

>kiss her
>you're a good friend Natalie
>>
>>4868963
>you're a good friend Natalie
I'm really just getting friend vibes here and I think that's for the best
>>
>>4868963
>you're a good friend Natalie
Hug her
Eric needs to get laid again
>>
>>4868963
>kiss her

fuckin finally i've waited a long time for this
>>
>>4868952
Ah, about the jock privilege thing, it really depends on if there is one coach or multiple. If one coach has his crew of knuckle draggers, and another has their own, then its up to the jocks to get more or at least more influencial teachers, to back them. And that is also colored by the fact of how they get involved. We, as a pressganged member, don't have that kind of protection, especially since we haven't been keeping up with school, or our friends, and spent most of it as Hotspur, or in back alley hospitals.
>>4868963
Hmmmm, this....is a hard choice.
>you're a good friend Natalie
>>
>>4868980
>>4868963
Seconding this>>4868971
>Hug her too.
>>
>>4868963
>you're a good friend Natalie

tempting
>>
>>4868963
>you're a good friend Natalie

Hug time, just Hug! Hope the night bring us others opportunities or is cold shower when we get home
>>
>>4868989
>>4868984
>>4868982
>>4868980
>>4868971
>>4868969


my disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined
>>
>>4868963
>you're a good friend Natalie

Hug time, just hug! Lets hope for other opportunities this night, really don't wanna get weird here with Misfit, really not reading the vibes. (Also think about the cold shower we're taking when we get home)
>>
>>4868990
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

Time for Alternate Hotspur from another timeline, that gets with The cool mexican biker girl
>>
>>4868991
(Just deleting a duplicate QM, nothing shady)
>>
>>4868990
sorry anon, misfit is a cool ass friend and I still hope to see more of her even if she's not the gf
>>
>>4868990
She seems to be into Eric, but until she decides to remake that offer, it's better to let her be a friend. She did spend the better part of a few months lesbo fucking a reporter.
>>
>>4868992
>>4868997
>>4869007
is it too much to ask for a tomboy best friend you can fuck ?
>>
>>4868963
>>you're a good friend Natalie
>>
>>4869013
When she already acts like a lesbian, no, we gotta make sure she asks for the D first. Hell, if we end up with Ivy in the next few days, and she feels like it, she might offer a threesome, even with the probable coming days off, and our reorienting, I think they'd both be down with it.
>>
>>4869013
We truly live in a society.
>>4869019
Isn't that a little too wild? Aren't we like 15? Fck damn, kids theses days.
>>
>>4869029
>Isn't that a little too wild? Aren't we like 15? Fck damn, kids theses days.
We've seen enough shit to qualify as a Vietnam Vet in a PTSD contest. Wild nothing, the man needs it, and he'll hug the shit out of them and hold their hands with caring intent.
>>
locking in 'You're a good friend'

oddly impressed you guys didn't go for it
>>
>>4869041
We love her, but we also fight with her, get a good situation to go for it and we can commit, we'll show her the power of the D when it's used for good.
>>
>>4869041
Was this the right choice QM?

We'll never know, but a lot of MisfitAnons died a little today.
>>
>>4869041
She just feels more like a bro than a love interest.
>>
>>4869019
>threesome
looks like it's 20 years hard time in horny jail for you anon
>>
>>4869063
Yeah i like the idea of 20 years of "hard" time
>>
>>4869066
>Marry Ivy if we live long enough
>Our kids hang out with Aunt Nat's kids too
>Sometimes the three of them go out to pick up "errands"
>Eric loves everyone and takes care of his family and extended family by going to college
>He is given a real "Hard" time by Aunt Nat and Momma Ivy
>He seems happy though
>>
>>4869074
Fck you Anon, don't make me wish for the harem ending.
>>
>>4869074
monogamy is best, throuples get weird and self destruct every time
>>4869088
harem is very cringe, this isn't an anime fanfic
>>
>>4869088
Harem is for those that earn it, or the superhero with more scars than most child soldiers survive.
>>4869094
MMF do.
>>
>>4869107
do not* last*, 4chan ate it.
>>
A hug.

I pulled Natalie into a hug.

"You're a good friend, Natalie," I said.

She hugged me back. Squeezed tight. "You too, Eric."

"I always got your back," she said.

"Same," I said.

The hug broke.

She grinned. "For a sec I thought you were going to go in for a kiss or something," she said.

"You know I'm gay," she pressed her forehead to mine, "Well, most of the time."

"You're an asshole, Misfit," I said with a grin.

She looped her arm around my shoulder. "Yeah, now let's go get a drink. I can't get drunk but I can laugh at you getting hammered. And we can talk about girls because the talent tonight? Goddamn. The little black chick, the cute one with the glasses?"

"Ayesha," I said.

"The peach on her, damn. I could eat her peach for hours if you know what I'm sayin'."

"Come on Misfit, she's my friend," I said, blushing hard.

"Don't tell me you ain't thought about it," she said, the two of us swaggering up to the house party, "And the rockstar, Ivy?" She whistled flicking out her wrist, "Too hot to touch. Shit, melts me with a look."

"Seriously!" I said.

"I am serious!" she said, "Oh but that teacher, one who was taking care of you after the fight? She could nurse me all night, know what I mean. I could get lost in a chica like that."

It was as much to tease me, I could tell. She was taking a real joy in my embarassment.

We went up into the party, where Daphne and Kaylee were waiting on the couch. Misfit grinned, slicked back her hair.

"You know, I got a mind to steal her girl," she said to me, eyeing up Kaylee like she was something juicy.

Kaylee noticed us come in, noticed both of us, and seeing Misfit smile her way buried her face in her cup, cheeks bright red. Daphne scooched closer, protective and self-concious.

"I'll get us a drink," I said, blushing as I went to find an ice box, leaving Misfit to adjust her tie and check her breath.

I passed Kemal and Jessica making out on a couch, the pair of cheerleaders locking tongues deep. There was a horny energy in the air. Or maybe it was just me.

It had been a while since I even kissed a girl.

I got out a beer and drank the first one quick, trying to cool off. Got a second for me and one for Misfit.

By the time I got back the others had arrived. Misfit was now sitting with Kaylee on the couch, talking. More whispering. Daphne sitting aside frumpy and jealous. I drank my second and the one I'd got for Misfit. This was that kinda night.

The Weeknd was thumping from the sound system. Tim slipped upstairs with his boyfriend. Rufus and Shoniqua were starting to get real comfortable as they got a drink deep. It felt as if everyone was pairing up except me, Zeke, and Ivy, Daphne hanging out an unnoticed third wheel while Misfit coyly brushed back Kaylee's hair and Kaylee inched that little bit closer.

My guts squirmed. I shouldn't be jealous. Maybe I wasn't. Maybe I needed to blow off steam.

I downed another beer.
>>
More people were showing up.

"Hey," Ivy said, coming up.

"Hey," I said. We were alone, mostly.

Her outfit really was tight. Melt with a look. Too hot to touch. She smiled.

"Hey," I said again.

Dating Dane. The beers were starting to...starting to work. Heh.

She pinched my nose. "You aren't going to have much of a nose left by graduation," she said.

"Issa risk of the job," I said.

"Shame," she said, "I like your nose."

I liked her smile.

She sighed. "Damn its hot in this," she said, zipping the suit down. Down to show a bit of uh...

I tried not to stare.

"How's Dane?" I said.

She smiled. "He's good."

It was getting hot in here. Hot inside my head. Beer didn't really cool it down but I had another.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

I swallowed. "Ah-ha," I said.

She sipped her beer. "Liar," she said, "We haven't hung out in a while have we?"

No. We hadn't.

"It's been hard," she said, "Between work and the band. But! Good news is its only another month before I can file for emancipation. Then I'll be living my own life." She held the barrel of her beer to her lips. "It's a little scary to think about."

"You'll do great," I said, "If anyone can, it's you."

"Yeah?" she said, then sighed, "But...I really don't want to leave Ayesha. She's...she needs me, I think. We've been sleeping together."

What?

"Not like that you perv," she said, "She's been having nightmares since...you know. She can only get to sleep in my bed. She acts tough but..."

"I know," I said, "I've...yeah, I've noticed."

"And Malcolm," she cast her eyes down, "You ever think you've made a mistake, telling someone they should be together?"

I didn't want to answer that question.

"Waz he done?" I said with a heavy frown.

"Nothing," she said, "Nothing yet. He keeps trying to get Ayesha to...do stuff she isn't ready for."

"Motherfucker." After everything Ayesha's been through he was, what, pressuring her for sex? Asshole.

Didn't deserve her. Didn't deserve her peach. Peach. Goddamn.

Stupid drunk thoughts. Ayesha is like a sister. A sister with a peach. Spend hours eating a...a peach.

Heh.

"You," Ivy said, taking the bottle out of my hand, "Are drunk."

"Yeah," I said.

Drunk.

Drunk and horny.

Maybe I should go cool my head.

Or maybe I should, uh, go find something to do. Someone. Heh.

A lot of people had turned up. The nerds were here, most of the basketball team and most of the cheerleaders. Party was picking up.

"Are you okay?" Ivy asked.

Ivy. Goddamn.

I nodded.

>go find 'something' to do
>go cool off instead
>>
>>4869128
>The nerds were here

seriously?

>go cool off instead
>>
>>4869128
Damn man I didn't want to drink at all. We were supposed to have a serious talk with Ivy
>>
>>4869125
Phew, saved.
>>4869128
Our power burns up hangovers right, not as good as Misfits, but it should help sober up.
>go cool off instead
>>
>>4869128
>>go cool off instead
>>
Eric's really not taking his own advice about putting things in a box these days. Inviting misfit because he didn't have anyone else, using his powers to beat up a bully, etc. I feel like it also sucks that Ayesha found out who he is, she was a big part of what kept him grounded as Eric and now she sees him more as Hotspur. It makes sense that he only feels real when he's being a hero because it's pretty much consumed everything he cares about, and he's becoming more and more unstable by the day.
>>
>>4869163
you're misjudging ayesha a little
>>
>>4869128
>go cool off instead
Since we can't confess to Ivy when we're this plastered go be sad drunk somewhere I guess
>>
>>4869167
We really are just like dad.
>>
>>4869128
>tell Ivy that we need to cool off and maybe take some bad desicions that we'll regret later (?)
>>
>>4869140
I think it just burn up sugar (food) don't know how they work while being intoxicated.
>>
>>4869056
>Was this the right choice QM?
I try not to think of choices, particularly social ones, as right or wrong
>>
>>4869194
Should help lighten the drunkness a little bit at least.
>>
apropos of nothing, I actually have a bunch of fancast/face models for some of the characters
>>
>>4869128
>go cool off instead
So much self denial, when will Eric finally catch a break?
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>>4869226
Let's see em
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>>4869226
Post them. Do iiiiit. Noooooow.
>>4869230
When any actually cares enough to notice and care.
>>
locking in 'cool off'
>>
>>4869226
Being doing fanart and this would be a Godsend
>>
>>4869226
Ooh. Do share.
>>
I was drunk and thinking stupid.

I needed to go clear my head.

Going outside the air was nice and crisp. Too drunk to feel cold.

Too drunk. Thinking dumb things. Getting horny.

A million stars shone overhead. Millions and millions. Billions and billions. Too many to count.

I closed my eyes.

I focused on the fire inside me. Let it run through my body, flushing out the drunk buzz. Clearing my head.

The stars. Seeing the stars made me think of Mom. Would she like who I was now? Would she support me? I knew she wouldn't want me getting expelled. I knew she would want me to go to college. The last of the drunken edge burned out. Everything came back into clearer focus.

Getting drunk. I didn't like being drunk. Or maybe I liked being drunk too much. Maybe I had what Dad had.

I rubbed a hand over my face.

Boxes.

I was a real hypocrite talking to Jimmy about boxes when I can't organize my own life.

And now maybe I'd thrown half that life away.

Great job.

But I didn't feel bad. Jeremy had it coming. Better to give up my life than watch a pure innocent like Howie, as innocent as a person could be, get bullied by a thin streak of puke like Jeremy Kusich.

Maybe this world wasn't designed for guys like me. Maybe organizing my life wasn't the problem. I was built in a shape that didn't fit.

Maybe I'm jerking myself off and I'm really an angry nutcase looking for reasons to beat on people.

Whatever.

The night was cold in the way I liked, bright from the stars and a large silver moon. It didn't feel like a night for devils, whatever devils might be out there.

I wasn't sure which was worse, the devils of the night or the devils in people's hearts. Whatever made guys like Jeremy do what they did. Or guys like Houndmaster, Semper Fi, the cartels and the gangsters and all the politicians marching with them.

I could sort some of them out at least. One at a time.
>>
"There you are," Ivy leaned next to me, leaning on the rail. Still had half a beer. "Sorry, I don't know about you but I don't need to watch my ex make out with your girlfriend."

My girlfriend?

I looked back inside. Kaylee was sitting up in Misfit's lap, eyes closed and tongues locked. Hands sliding over bodies.

I looked back around, blushing. "She isn't my girlfriend," I said, "Either of them."

"Good to know," she said, hiding a smile around a sip. "I mean it Eric, I'm glad you came out. I've missed hanging out with you. We barely see you anymore."

I sighed. "Yeah, I've been busy," I said.

"Saving the world," she teased.

"Please, protecting Chicago is enough work, don't hang the whole world on my shoulders," I said.

"Don't forget you're part of the world too," she said, "Part of my...um, yeah."

Did she blush? I couldn't imagine it.

She smiled.

"I'm a little drunk," she said. Then rubbed her shoulders. "Cold out."

"Yeah," I said, not feeling a bit of it with the fire crackling inside me.

She put her head on my shoulder. Breathed in. Breathed out.

"Come back in when you're ready," she said.

And she left. Leaving me out here.

Alone with the stars.
>>
done. I might be busy the next couple of days but I'll let you guys know when the next session is soon.

>>4869260
>>4869243
>>4869231
>>4869230
fair warning: it's not for any of the main characters/kids
>>
File: michael ontkean.jpg (49 KB, 504x509)
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Michael Ontkean as Joe Miller/Eric's Dad
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File: jessica-lucas.jpg (184 KB, 1200x1737)
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Jessica Lucas as ASA Madeline Grant
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File: Sharlto-Copley.jpg (32 KB, 400x600)
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Sharlto Copley as Houndmaster
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>>4869301
Houndmaster's a little bit based on his character from Elysium
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Eiza Gonzalez as Carmen Flores
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File: weeknd.jpg (638 KB, 1000x1242)
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The Weeknd as Sundowner
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>>4869313
Wow, glad we kicked his ass, his beard will thank us.
>>4869310
God damn dad, nice.
>>4869292
>Carried them naked cheeks
>>4869286
Cool.
>>4869301
Huh...not what I expected.
>>
that's about it

none of them are 1 for 1, but these are the guys I had in mind

there are a few others with face models who haven't shown up yet.
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>>4869277
Ivy best girl.
>>
File: alice eve 1.jpg (548 KB, 4088x3000)
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Forgot one!

Just remembered Semper Fi is partly based on Alice Eve
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Thanks for running QM!
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>>4869301
Pretty similar to what I pictured
>>4869310
Dad is a very lucky man
>>4869400
Oh shit. Semper Fi route when. Jk still an ivyfag
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>>4869313
More accurate after we first met him
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>>4869735
woops forgot image
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>>4869736
Kek
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>>4869400
It checks out.