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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Counselling session...and secrets to tell (Attn Mat and all) (Open)


xilanin
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Destiny Bernes walked across the room to where the young boy sat in a chair. She smiled to herself as his face looked up to her, defiant. She had been a school counselor and psychologist for a long while, and this had proved fruitful in the past.

 

Through her connections to these students she had made fortunes through their parents. Unbeknownst to the children, she had planted seeds in their minds…she had a certain, you could say, Flair, for getting into the minds of young people. They always left feeling more well adjusted, more able to cope, and, when she needed them to, they felt a compulsion to give her name to their parents when it was beneficial to her and her financial status.

 

Now mere finances were not the only thing she was concerned with. She wanted more than the façade she had created here in the school. The children were just the first step in this. She had picked this school purposely, based on the type of students who lived here. Here went the sons and daughters of high ranking government officials, of CEOs and other Men and women of power in the world.

 

With a nudge here and a push there, she had gotten into the minds and lives of the children of influential people. This would cement not only her bond with their parents but would also give her future opportunity when these kids had grown into their own wealth and power.

 

She mused for a moment at how fate had put in her hands the power to do this. She found, when she was younger, that she had been able to “Push” people into doing what she wanted. At first it was a fun game, though with a couple of messy casualties. Later she knew that she needed to keep this well controlled…a secret. She started studying the human mind and knew what she needed to do. She had found other things that she could do as well, but this…the power of the mind, was her favorite. She had gently nudged and pushed her way into her current position and was well on her way to gaining the power she had craved since she was a young girl, living with her broke and broken parents.

 

This would not be her life, she had determined then, and her newfound powers were a way out of that life. She nearly laughed at the fact that her “Parents” no longer knew she even existed.

 

Until now, Her power over the mind had worked unfailingly. But she looked into the face of this defiant boy in front of her, perplexed. Touching his mind was like walking into a sand storm and then hitting a brick wall. There were things she could do with the boy, but she could not quite push him the same way. She looked at him and listened to what he said about his insignificant life and troubles. Like she cared. But what she did care about was why she could not fully penetrate his mind.

 

“Damon…you know you can talk to me. I want you to know that what you say to me is held in the utmost confidence.”  She sat in the chair next to him and smiled warmly at him. “I want you to tell me one thing that you don’t think you can share with anyone.” She entered the sandstorm of this boys mind and pushed…she met the brick wall, and in her mind, felt around…looking for…for a weakness. She could feel the sand wearing away at her mental strength, but still she looked. She was curious…frustrated…and she pushed harder. As she pushed that sandstorm blew harder and harder still. It wore away at her. She felt as if the very skin was being peeled from her flesh. And then, as she pushed again, spikes sprang from the wall, piercing her…

 

Damon sat there looking anywhere but at Ms. Bernes. He didn’t think he could trust the lady. Nothing against her personally, but most adults he found didn’t do anything but lie. They told you they could be trusted and then you found yourself being hurt or in trouble.

 

He sat and rubbed his temples, He was starting to get a headache. He wanted to tell someone…wanted to be able to trust, but he couldn’t even bring himself to talk to his friends. He was afraid they would look at him like he was a freak. And he could not bear to think of them pushing him away.

 

“I…” He so wanted to tell her. “I …” He started talking, now he had to say something. But he decided. NO. He could not talk to her about this. He could not let her know about his power.

 

Suddenly, She fell off her chair, a pained expression on her face. Damon jumped up off the chair he was sitting in.

 

“Ms. Bernes! Are you OK?” She turned an intense, piercing look at him, her Silver Blue eyes boring into his. Then, as suddenly as it was there, it was gone. She gave a weak smile and stood.

 

“Sorry. I lost my balance.” She said. She picked up her notepad she always used. And brushed off her dress. “You were about to say something.”

 

But the moment was broken. Damon told her some story about sneaking out of his house one night, but nothing he didn’t want her to know. He left, again, feeling kind of dazed.

____________________________________

 

Destiny watched the boy walk out of her office…she could actually feel his presence as he walked out of the building and onto the grounds. She tapped her finger to her lips, thoughtfully going over her encounter with the boy. He seemed unaware of her efforts to gain attendance to his thoughts, but his resistance was nothing she had ever felt before.

 

She was intrigued. There was something different about the boy and she wanted…no, needed to find out what it was. She still had another week and a half of sessions with the boy. He would trust her in time…she would just have to do this the old fashioned way and gain his trust. Reading her notes, she could see that he was the type who wanted to trust…needed to trust someone. He trusted his friends, but was still guarded around them. He had something to tell and she would gain his confidence. She would find out what he was hiding and hopefully find out why she did not have direct access to his mind.

 

She sat at her desk and rubbed her skin, knowing there were no cuts, but feeling, still as if those granite spikes had pierced through her.

_____________________________________________

 

After the session with the counselor, Damon walked out onto the school grounds. He had almost went home when he remembered he was going down to the football field to see if that new kid was any good. Tryouts were in a couple days and, though he had always wanted to tryout for the team, had always been ridiculed for saying so. Even his friends told him he would be squashed if he tried. Most of the players were like Tex (Damon called him this instead of Mat...though Mat send to find it funny), big—all muscle and about two tons. Damon was small and light weight. He was an amazingly fast runner, but he had been convinced, both by enemy and friend alike, that playing football was a bad idea. So he decided to go and watch instead.

 

The new kid seemed pretty cool, Damon would see what he was made of on the field. As he walked to the field, he could tell the new kid right off. He was fast…and big. Damon sat on the bleachers and kicked back, hoping that maybe some of his less favorite people would get the hard end of Mat’s helmet.

 

The counseling session was but a distant memory.

 

OOC: Thought I would start up with the counselor as bad guy bit…then see where the thread goes with everyone else.

 

Damon

Kid Rock

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

OOC: sorry it took so long for me to get a response up.

 

For the first time all day, Mat wasn’t the least bit nervous. As he climbed the long hill to the fieldhouse to get dressed for football practice, he knew exactly what to expect. And he was confident that he’d be up to the challenge.

 

Throughout his first day, he’d been a bit reticent, just trying to check things out before he became too involved. As his grandpa always said, “Before I dive in the creek, I want to know how deep it is.” Mat figured that was real good advice, so as he’d searched out his classes in the giant labyrinth that was his new school, and sat through the various lectures, he’d had to overcome a little nervous tension. But now, with football practice so close to hand, his anxiety faded away. He knew that he’d have to prove himself, and it was likely that whoever was the big dog on the team would challenge him since he was the “new guy,” but here he would be able to cut loose. Grinning devilishly, he couldn’t wait to get started.

 

Even with his thoughts on the upcoming practice, Mat couldn’t help but notice the facilities as he made the trek up the hill. They were incredible! “It’s almost like a college campus,” he said out loud, though no one else was around to hear him. The field looked to be a verdant carpet of lush green grass, and the top-of-the-line weight room was like nothing he had ever seen. It was nothing like the pit that he had played on at BTW. Wow! was all he could think of.

 

Most of the locker room had cleared out by the time he walked in, but it didn’t take him long to find his name taped over “his” locker. He had talked to the coach over the phone and knew that today was just shorts, shoulder pads, and helmet. Full pads wouldn’t be worn until after try-outs for first time players, which came in a few days. Everything is so different here, he thought as he tied his cleats. Especially how much they stress the “school” part of school. Laughing to himself at the thought, he shoved his shoulder pads into his practice jersey before pulling them over his head. At his old school, they only attended the minimum number of days required by the state. It was normal to have a month’s worth of practices before the first day of class, but here school started much earlier, and instead of having a game the first week, it wouldn’t come for at least a month. It was cool, but it definitely would take some getting used to.

 

He jogged onto the field with his helmet in his hand just as the coach called everyone together to get started with calisthenics. As he went through the motions of the various drills, Mat scanned the team looking to get an idea of what his teammates were like. There were certainly some big ol’ boys, and it was easy to spot the starting quarterback. I wonder if they all go to peacock school, the way they preen, he thought to himself with a smile. Every high school quarterback he’d ever known thought he was God’s gift to the world. Sometimes, they were actually that good. Sometimes they were…

 

The head coach walked up to him as he was on the ground stretching. “You the running back I’ve heard so much about?” Looking up into the burly face of his new coach, Mat responded with a cheerful, “I don’t know, coach. I am a running back, though.”

 

Laughing and hiking up his shorts over his very large belly, the coach snorted, and replied gruffly, “You’ll be on defense today until I can get you a playbook. It’ll let me see what you’re made of, at least, and maybe let you get a feel for how our offense looks. Think you can handle that?” A simple “yes sir” sufficed, and Coach blew his whistle. “Alright! Let’s get started!”

 

The first half hour of practice went smoothly, they mostly just ran a lot. But it was when the coach said, “Offense line up! Let’s get a defense over here!” that Mat got excited. He stood on the sidelines as he watched the starting offense, at least they were the preliminary starters, line up and run some basic plays against the defense. The sounds of shoulder pads hitting made the practice finally seem real to him. And, of course, the Abercrombie & Fitch model playing quarterback bitching at his offensive line. Seems like we’ve got ourselves a prima donna here, Mat thought as the quarterback laced into yet another lineman for no reason at all.

 

Spying Mouse sitting in the stands, Mat walked over to the water cooler so he could talk to him. “You’re a little early, aren’t you Mouse?” he teased. “The first game’s not for another month.”

 

Damon laughed, but before he could answer, Mat asked him, “Who is that guy?” 

 

“Who, the quarterback? Matthew Connolly… the Third,” he added with an odd blend of animosity and awe, as if the quarterback was some sort of hateful campus god.

 

“Adamson!” his coach yelled in what was apparently his normal voice, snapping Mat out of his reverie, “Don’t be shy. Get in there, son!”

 

Slamming his helmet back on, Mat quickly said, “If you like football so much Mouse, why don’t you try out for the team?” before sprinting onto the field where he lined up on defense at cornerback.

 

The offense ran a fake hand off - quarterback sweep toward his side on the first play Mat was on the field. He didn’t know if Mr. the Third didn’t think he was fast enough to get there, or he just didn’t see him, but either way Mat didn’t care. Mat crashed down from the outside and hit the quarterback with a resounding CRACK and the ball went flying as the Third was crushed.

 

The field reverberated with an awe-struck “Ooooh…” at the big-time hit.

 

Standing astride the prone prima donna as the coaches’ whistles blew, Mat offered him a hand up and said, “I’m Mat. It’s nice to meet you.”

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They were done with warm ups and Mat came by to get a drink…

 

“Who is that guy?”  Mat asked

 

“Who, the quarterback? Matthew Connolly… the Third,” Damon said, barely containing the contempt in his voice. It didn’t help that Connolly was good at it either.

 

The coach yelled for Mat to get back in the game and he left with a parting shot… “If you like football so much Mouse, why don’t you try out for the team?” And then Mat was gone.

 

This one comment sent Damon spiraling. he wanted to be a part of the game…to do something he knew he would be good at. But it also brought up all the arguments against it. His friends telling him he was too small. Connolly and his gang telling him he would never make it. Not that he listened to Connolly, but it made him doubt himself…and that sent waves of frustration and irritation through him. He sat there Brooding for a moment when…

 

CRACKK!! Connolly went down hard. Tex had come from nowhere and laid the boy flat. It was perfect…it was beauty in motion.

 

“Yehheah!!Whooo! Nice Moves!” Damon yelled out as Mat helped Connolly up. Damon shook his head, that boy was too nice for his own good. But, man, he was good on the field. A strong runner and quick.

 

He watched a few more plays go by and Mat was in on both of them. He could tell that Connolly was getting mad. He started yelling at the linemen to guard better. He was talking to his cronies, David and Richard, while they were in huddle. This was not good. “Watch yourself, man.” Damon said out loud, though Mat couldn’t hear, Damon hoped he knew what he was up against. They may be rich kids, but they knew their game too. And Connolly the third did NOT like to be made to look bad.

 

Damon looked at the coach. The coach was looking at Tex and nodding his approval. Giving him instructions. A few more plays went by and Mat was in on another one, this time intercepting right out of the hands of Richard. The whistle blew and Mat stopped just as David ran full bore from behind and took Mat down hard. Before he realized it, Damon was up and running onto the field. The coach came running too and was checking on Mat.

 

“What the hell, man!” Damon said pushing David. David, Richard and Connolly were congratulating each other, but now they each faced him.

 

“Get off the field, punk!” David said towering over him by a good foot or so. But Damon was never one to be intimidated.

 

“I’m a punk? That was a totally lame play! What? You couldn’t take that someone was playing  better than you?“ Damon didn’t know why he was getting so angry. He knew it was part of the game. But seeing someone he considered…a friend smacked down ignited something in him. He had that strange feeling sweep over him, again. He was trying to fight it. He knew doing anything like he had done in the shopping mall would not be something he could ever explain. So he just clenched his fists and, probably for the first time in his life, tried to control his temper. The three boys walked right up and got in his face.

 

Before they could say anything, though, the coach came up.

 

“We have a problem gentlemen?!” he shouted.

 

“No Coach.” The three said back in unison. The coach turned his gaze to Damon.

 

“Jord?” The coach said

 

Damon looked past the coach and saw that Mat was fine. He was actually chuckling at Damon as he gave a little wave.

 

“No problems coach.” Damon said as he turned to walk off the field.

 

“What the…?!” He heard behind him. He looked and found David leaning on the other two and the coach staring at the ground, a confused look on his face.

 

David’s feet were buried in the ground up to his ankles. The ground was not soft, there was no mud, no holes; His feet were just there...stuck about 5 inches underground. Feeling the blood drain from his face, he turned and walked back out to the bleachers and watched them dig the David out.

 

Damon

 

 

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Erik normally took the opportunity afforded to him by football practice to get the hell out of the area.  However, he noticed a lone figure sitting in the bleachers, and there could only be one person that fit that image.  A light breeze tugged at his trench coat as he climbed the benches to sit next to Damon, squelching a giggle as he did.  Doubtless, his friend knew of one of the possible etymological sources of his name: "daemon," another form of the word "demon," as far as Erik could tell.  However, it was just as likely to be wrong as not, so he had no intention of pointing it out.  "You're looking quite chipper, Jord," he said as he settled himself onto the bench.  Damon didn't reply.  Frowning slightly, Erik followed his friend's eyes to whatever it was that had their attention... and laughed out loud.  Somehow, Dave-Dave had managed to get himself buried in the solid ground past his ankles.  Too bad it isn't up to his eyes, the bastard...

 

A tap to Damon's shoulder startled him out of his daze.  A smile barely playing on his lips, Erik said, "So, what happened with him?"

 

OOC: Short, but it gets things going again

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OOC: alway like to have things move along :)

 

-Oh man!- Damon thought as he watched  coach dig out David’s feet from the ground.    –What if they find out about me? What if I didn’t stop at his feet?-

 

Thoughts of talking to the principal, explaining this to his parents…his Dad, ran through his mind. Something like this could mess up his life forever. Damon’s imagination exploded with mobs of government agents tracking him down like a dog and throwing him into some facility where they study freaks. In the comics, people with powers were heroes, but in real life he could not see that happening. He stared on as the coach got one foot loose and then started on the other.

 

A tap to Damon's shoulder scared the crap out of him.  He looked over to see Erik, a big grin on his face, saying, "So, what happened with him?"

 

“Nothing! I didn’t…I mean…he, uh, was just standing there and, uh, then his feet were stuck. We were yelling at each other and…I don’t know he musta stepped into a hole or something.”

 

-Lame, Jord!- he thought to himself. Usually his mouth could get him out of any jam, but this just threw him completely off balance. Hoping Erik didn’t notice. He kept silent until they worked on getting the other foot unstuck. Without looking, Damon could feel people looking at him. Mat from the field…Erik beside him. Shaking his head he looked over at Erik.

 

“So, What’s up? I didn’t think football was your thing.” Damon said, hoping to change the subject into a totally different direction. “ I was actually thinking, again, of, um, trying out…”  -Take the bait, man.- Damon thought. He would much rather face his friends about joining the team, instead of explaining that he was...weird. No matter how much he wanted to tell them.

 

Damon Jord

Daemon, huh…Check out the meaning of jord.  8)

 

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Mat stood there with his helmet in his hand. “What the hell?”

 

In the midst of the strange scene of Mouse “defending” him by running out of the stands, and the uproar that followed, including the bit where the coaches shouted everyone down, somehow one of the linemen's feet had become firmly lodged in the soil of the practice field. It was very, very strange…

 

Wiping his sweat-drenched hair out of his face, he looked up into the stands to see Mouse being joined by another boy, this one in a long trench coat. It seemed Mouse was totally lost to the world, because he nearly jumped out of his skin when the other dude patted him on the shoulder.

 

It seemed as if they were friends, because Mouse seemed to relax a bit and started talking to him, but it was a very strange scene. Could Mouse have had something to do with the lineman's being buried? he thought to himself. Nah. He’s probably just rattled from the fact that he ran onto the field and had everyone yelling at him. He couldn’t possibly have done something like that. It would be…

 

“It would be what?” a little voice in the back of his head that sounded strangely like his grandfather’s said. “Like something from a comic book? Like a boy who can set himself on fire without getting burned?” Stamping out the voice in his head, Mat admitted to himself that anything was possible. But it certainly wasn’t likely.

 

Looking back to the stands where the strange little guy was sitting, Mat decided to take the opportunity to get another swig of water and make sure Mouse was okay. Trotting over to the sidelines, he grabbed a water bottle, and squirted a long stream of high quality H2O into his mouth. Several other players joined him while the digging out of the quarterback continued. He took the chance to ease over in front of where Mouse and Trench Coat were sitting.

 

“You okay, Mouse?” he asked. “Thanks for watching my back out there, but I think I can handle those guys.” Smiling broadly, he went on, “Still, thanks. I appreciate it. Hey, did you see what happened with that dude's feet? Weird, huh?”

 

He might’ve missed it if he hadn’t been watching closely, but he was paying very close attention to Damon. Without a doubt, he flinched when he mentioned it. Maybe he has a secret, too, thought Mat. Several whistles called an end to the unexpected break before he could follow that train of thought any further, and the coaches returned to yelling for everyone to get back to work.

 

Strapping on his helmet, Mat said before he followed his teammates. “Hey, Mouse. If you aren’t busy after practice, maybe we can hang out.” Turning slightly, he added to the other guy, “Nice coat, man,” then sprinted back to take his place on the field.

 

OOC: edited to correct my mistake. whoops!  :P

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OOC: just an update on your post Mat. I sank David into the ground not Matthew Connelly the third. :)

 

Eric had taken the bait and as they talked for a moment about the mortality risk of Damon joining the football team, Mat had made his way over to them.

 

“You okay, Mouse?” he asked.

 

“what?  Oh, them? Psh, no worries about them, I can take anything they can throw at me.” Damon said laughing it off.

 

“Thanks for watching my back out there, but I think I can handle those guys.” Mat smiled  “Still, thanks. I appreciate it. Hey, did you see what happened with David? Weird, huh?”

 

Damon winced. “Yeah, crazy.” He was going to say something else but the coaches called the players back to the field

 

Mat said, “Hey, Mouse. If you aren’t busy after practice, maybe we can hang out.” Turning slightly, he added to the other guy, “Nice coat, man,” then sprinted back to take his place on the field.

 

Damon nodded and watched the players line up to continue practice.

 

-Did he notice?- Damon thought. –Should I care if he did…maybe…maybe I can tell someone. Maybe my friends wouldn’t think I was a freak.-

 

He looked at Erik “You can come with us if you want.”Erik gave shrug that Damon thought meant yes.

 

Soon practice was over and Mat was running out of the locker room, showered and back in regular clothes. They started heading out.

 

“Those were some nice moves out there, bro.” Damon said. “I especially like seeing Connelly taken down a peg or two. You were totally on fire, man. Though…you weren’t trying to catch me. That would have been a completely different story.” He laughed

 

They walked off the school grounds, Damon following the new kid. He didn’t care where they were going, so he just let Mat lead the way.

 

OOC: Lead on…let's share some secrets!!! Erik, I kinda left this open for you to come with us.

 

Damon Jord

 

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“On fire? Man, you haven’t seen anything yet!” Mat teased. You REALLY haven’t seen anything yet, he thought, but then he doubted anyone would believe the things that he could show them…

 

Since he didn’t have much homework, and more importantly now that he lived in the city, no livestock to tend to, Mat had plenty of free time this evening. He didn’t know what Mouse’s schedule was like, and Trench Coat still hadn’t said two words to him, but on his ride in to school this morning he had seen some basketball courts nearby at a park. Even though he was still wearing jeans and his old boots, he figured chilling out and shooting some hoops would be a good way to get to know Mouse a bit better. Mouse had mentioned that he liked to play basketball, something Mat enjoyed as well, although truthfully he was more of dunker and athlete than a skilled hoopster.

 

“I thought we could go shoot around a little bit on those courts over there,” Mat pointed in the general direction of the park. “That is, unless you guys have something better to do.” Hefting the backpack he carried slung over his shoulder, “I asked the coach if I could borrow a ball.”

 

He suddenly paused, though, and looked at the big, silent guy in the trench coat. “By the way, unless you want me to keep calling you Trench Coat in my head, do you got a name?” Smiling he offered his heavily callused hand to Mouse’s friend. “I’m Mathurin. My friends call me Mat, except for Mouse here. He calls me Tex.”

 

Grinning, he looked at the disparate pair of companions he was walking with. The three of them couldn’t have been much more different from outside appearances, and Mat wondered if they had enough things in common to become real friends.

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Erik didn't answer Damon directly, merely giving a noncommittal grunt.  There was something odd going on, and it was making him uneasy.  It didn't help that the "something odd" in this particular case had nothing to do with him.  Erik found himself looking into the sky, watching the clouds.  It was actually a lovely afternoon, the clouds white cotton balls drifting across the sky.  The only breezes that Erik ever felt were the ones he stirred as he moved.  He was no actor in the traditional sense, but Erik loved to create an atmosphere about himself whenever he could.  The new guy had come back, he saw, signaling that practice was over.  Damn, I waited too long.  No doubt, the football players had seen him in the bleachers, and there would be a few waiting for him.  Damned bastards, why did they have to torment him so?  Erik's eyes went hard as they surveyed the football field, stopping on a discarded football.  It seemed to taunt him with its inaction, almost as if it were saying, "Here we go again, wimp.  Your betters await you at your leisure..."  Angrily, he lashed out at it with his mind, and was only half surprised to see it go flying across the field.  He was more surprised when it stopped in midair and tore itself in half.  However, he could feel it in his mind, knew that it was him doing it, and...

 

“By the way, unless you want me to keep calling you Trench Coat in my head, do you got a name?  I’m Mathurin. My friends call me Mat, except for Mouse here. He calls me Tex.”  The jock offered him a hand, calloused from hours of work doing something or another.  Another not-so-rich kid, then.  Erik's family could afford to send him here, though why they did was beyond him.  He would have been happy in the public school system.  However, that was not pertinent to the situation.  Making a show of eying the jock up and down, Erik nodded to him, pointedly not taking his hand.  It was the same thing he'd done to everybody else, and even a friend of Damon's was not going to get special treatment. 

 

"Hello, Mathurin.  The name's Erik Benoit, though you can go ahead and call me whatever you want," he said with an air of indifference.  "School freak, literary mind, and public punching bag.  I'm sure your friends on the squad will be showing you that little pastime soon enough, though, so we'll be seeing quite a bit of each other."  Let him make of that what he would.  There was no such thing as the benefit of the doubt; let him prove himself the way that the rest had.  However... here was a chance to avoid being beaten, bruised, and bloodied for once.  Maybe if he delayed long enough, the jocks would leave him in peace.  "I guess I'll tag along, if for no other reason than to see Jord get his rear end handed to him."

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Damon gave Erik what could only be construed as the evil eye. “Don’t mind Erik…he really is OK. I think his dark jacket just gets the better of him sometimes.” Damon said smacking him on the arm and giving him a “look”.

 

He knew that when it came to the sports crowd, hanging around always led to Erik getting the tar beat out of him; but that was no reason to be completely rude. But Damon shrugged it off. At least Erik was coming with them, it meant that he was at least giving Tex a chance.

 

Damon took the ball from Mat and was rolling it from hand to hand as they walked to the court. He could feel, for a moment, that the ground was moving in the same way as the ball. A shift in the ground actually made Erik stumble, so Damon just held the ball in his hand the rest of the way to the court. The other two were very quiet and Damon didn’t know if it was that they were eyeing each other or if it was because they were suspicious of him. He still couldn’t believe he stuck David into the ground. He looked at the other two, Erik apparently in deep thought and Mat looking between Damon and Erik. The silence was too much to bear. Damon wasn’t one for silence or deep thought…he liked the noise, talking and action.

 

So he started to talk. “ I got to talk to Dr Evil today.” The other two looked at him ”Ms Bernes, the counselor. She tried the whole ‘I’m here for you’ Thing. Totally lame. But she seems nice enough. Not to mention, she’s completely Hot! It’s a wonder she’s single. She’s good too, I almost felt like talking to her, but…” He thought of the whole incident and his thoughts were a bit fuzzy when it came to the session. He shrugged it off ‘Pssh, whatever. What were the girls all talking about today, they were acting very exclusive. Tex you wait till you meet Jenna and Ella, they’re pretty cool. I’m surprised I haven’t seen Jenna around this afternoon, She is usually getting out of swimming by now.”

 

They arrived at the courts and Damon tossed the ball to Tex. “You gonna play in those?” he said pointing to the boots he had on. Tex laughed and started dribbling. Football may have been Mat’s game, but the court was Damon’s field. The faced each other and Tex did the same thing most people did with Damon. Tex thought his height would be a handicap to him. He could tell in the way people played. But Damon was fast, and  after stealing the ball from Tex a couple times, he could see Tex shift his playing style…take him a bit more seriously…Game was on.

 

Damon was smiling. “I thought you were good at sports, Tex.” He said and then drove in and went to lay up, but a hand came from nowhere and stuffed him.  Tex walked back half court with the ball…

 

“I’m Ok.” He said with a smile. Then he drove in and dunked the ball.

 

“OK now that is something I may never be able to do. Damon said. He got the ball back and went to drive in when Tex said, “So what do you think happened to Dave?”

 

Damon tripped on his feet and skidded to a halt under the basket. He looked at Tex and then to Erik.

 

He shrugged “I dunno.”

 

Damon

Very Inconspicuous

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

“Dr. Evil, eh?” he laughed at Mouse’s critique of the school counselor. “I’m supposed to meet with her tomorrow… I can’t wait to hear all the ‘Are you having any trouble adjusting?’ crap.” Laughing at the thought, Mat added, “She is good looking, though. She reminds me of a naughty librarian. You know, the one who looks all innocent by day but has a dirty secret after hours? I don’t know why, but in the brief time I spoke with her after I moved here and had to register, she seemed to not exactly be the guidance counselor type for some reason.”

 

Shrugging, he smirked. “Or maybe it’s just because I never thought to see a sexy school teacher in a mini skirt on my first day.”

 

Once they got to the courts, Mat finally got to see Mouse in his element. The little guy was much better than he looked. Just as the one-on-one game was starting to get a bit more serious, Mat asked, “So what do you think happened to Dave?”

 

Oddly, Mouse fell down as if the question had alarmed him. Very strange… Mat thought, as he offered Mouse a hand up. “You okay, Mouse?” He’s acted oddly every time that incident comes up. I wonder… Any talk of secrets wouldn’t happen with anyone else hanging around, and looking over at Erik standing there all moody and aloof Mat didn’t say anything more about it.

 

Shrugging aside the thought for later, Mat tossed Damon the ball. “Okay, Steve Nash. No more freebies. A game to 15, by ones. Win by two. Let’s do it.” With a grin at Mouse, the game was on. Damon was quick as a hiccup, and just like Steve Nash he more than compensated for his lack of height with clever ball fakes, a great jump shot, a quick first step, and the ability to put the ball in the basket from ridiculous angles. The little guy was good, and for the first time since enrolling at VLA, Mat considered joining the basketball team. He could envision running the fast break with Mouse at the point guard spot lobbing him alley-oops like Steve Nash to Shawn Marion. It would be a blast.

 

The game was tied at 10-apiece when Mat paused before he checked the ball to Damon. “Hey, what happened to Trench Coat?” Looking around, he couldn’t see the guy anywhere.

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Damon looked over at the bleachers and then around the park. Erik had gone. Damon was a little irked, first Erik usually stayed around, even if he was not much into sports...but today he seemed to be really on edge. Damon was actually a bit worried about him.

 

Wiping beads of sweat off his forehead, he dribbled the ball and shrugged. "He gets moody sometimes, especially around people he doesn't know. Not the trusting type exactly. Don't take it personally. Once he gets to know you he may open up...a little at least. He really is pretty cool you just have to get to know him a little." And with that Damon tossed in a three pointer.

 

"11-10. I'm not wearing you out am I?" For someone who was playing  after two hours of football practice, Damon was impressed with the level Mat was playing at. Mat just smiled that goofy smile of his and tossed his own shot in off the backboard.

 

"11-11. And nah, I'm just getting warmed up."

 

The game continued that way for a while until they were 18-18. Damon could not keep ahead of Tex. He was fast and tall and was really good at defending his hoop. It didn't help that he was right on almost every time he shot.

 

19-18

19-19

19-20

 

Tex was driving in and Damon was right behind him. tex leapt to take his final blow by slaming the ball, but Damon ran up behind him and jumped. He could feel it again. the surge of thought and power, a lift from beneath his feet that brought him higher in the air than he could possibly have achieved himself. ask the ball was speeding toward the basket, Damon swiped his hand and smacked the ball out of Mat's hands. They both landed, mat with a look of surprise on his face, Damon with a mixture of power and dread. They looked at each other for a moment and then both turned toward center court.

 

Rising up from outside the key was a miniature sheer mountain about 4 feet high and about 2x2 width.

 

Mat looked back at Damon. Damon just felt...exposed. He gaped at the mountain that he had created...that had come from him. Fear...fear of what his new found friend would say, gripped him and the urge to run like hell out of the park and back to the safe confines of his bedroom was almost too much to bear. But...He couldn't. Damon looked up into Mat's face and found the boy smiling...almost laughing.

 

Damon Jord

Exposed Rock Freak

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It was amazing just how quickly Erik could get bored with things like basketball.  Sitting back against the fence, he pondered possible escape routes.  Obviously he couldn't leave the school through the front door; they'd be watching it.  He could see some people waiting for him out the back gate.  Offhand, Erik could recall another eleven doors out of the school that he could use, but they'd likely have people at all of them, just waiting.  It was well-known that he didn't drive, so they'd be able to stop him long enough for the rest to arrive.  Finally settling on a course of action, Erik took another look at the game before him.  The way the two were playing, it seemed as if they were in a dead tie.  No need to trouble them with his presence; they seemed to be having fun.  Standing slowly, Erik began a slow walk away from the court, hoping that the two would not see him depart.  With this Mathurin as a friend, Damon would most definitely have fewer problems with the school bullies.  However, that left Erik alone to deal with them.  And after the last time...

 

Stepping through the shop door at the back of the school, Erik felt himself tackled roughly to the ground, his jaw tightening reflexively with the pain.  The bastards had been waiting for him, as he'd expected.  Damn!  As the first kick landed in his belly, Erik cried out in pain, earning him a punch in the face.  Would they ever just let him be?!  Vaguely, Erik was aware that the wind was picking up, and that the sky had gone quite dark all of a sudden.  He soon became aware that he could feel the changes, could follow them.  He was the source of them.  Even as another vicious kick landed in his stomach, Erik smiled a smile of sudden knowledge.

 

He could control it.

 

The rain started lightly at first, a simple misting that nobody noticed.  As he struggled to stand, though, the mist became rain, small and stinging, driven by wild and angry winds.  The beating slackened some, and Erik found his feet.  He was surrounded.  He was outnumbered.  He had no real fighting ability.  He knew that this was going to hurt.  They had no idea what was coming.  "What's the matter?  Afraid of a little weather?" Erik asked tauntingly, a bolt of lightning arcing across the sky as he spoke, the thunder punctuating his question.

 

Erik should have felt angry, should have felt rage, pain, anything.  He only felt the rising storm around him.  He could hear feet shifting in the growing puddles of water on the concrete.  Behind him, a few sudden smacks of feet against pavement were all the warning that he had.  Spinning on his heel, his coat throwing off a spray of rainwater, Erik hurled his mind at the oncoming foe, throwing him off his feet.  Then down went another.  And another.  They kept coming.  They were getting closer with each advance.  Finally, there was nothing for it but to cower and wait for the blows to come.  None did.  Confusion blurred across Erik's face as he looked at his assailants.  They were all staring at him strangely.  One took an experimental swing, striking something solid, but invisible.  And again, a smile broke on Erik's face.  He could do this.  He could stop them all at once, but it would tear down this shield he'd... created.  Vaguely, Erik was aware of exhaustion, but that didn't matter.  Closing his eyes, he concentrated on an outward push all around him, then forced his eyes open, and forced his mind to flex...

 

Bodies were flying in all directions, and none were in a hurry to stand.  However, they were all breathing, which was a good thing.  His vision began to narrow, becoming tunnels, then pinpricks.  Vaguely, he was aware of motion nearby, then the pavement was rushing up to greet him...

 

And unbeknown to Erik, the sky was clearing, the sun already appearing to dry the soaked earth.

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Mat looked at the strange mound of dirt and concrete that emerged from the court under the goal. About four feet high, it was just tall enough to allow Mouse to block his shot if he were standing on it. There was no doubt about it, now. Mouse had a secret, too.

 

Running his fingers through his sweat-streaked hair, brushing it out of his face and tucking it behind his ears, Mat smiled a lopsided grin at Mouse, who was standing there with his mouth agape, opening and closing it futilely like a fish out of water.

 

“It was you. Wasn’t it? At the practice field, it was you,” this time there wasn’t a question in Mathurin’s voice but Mouse, still looking shaken, only nodded, not even a peep escaping his lips.

 

If I were in his position, I’d probably be just as scared, knowing that someone had discovered my secret and not knowing if I could trust them, Mat thought solemnly. Knowing what he needed to do, he reached out to clap Damon on the shoulder and tell him not to worry.

 

“Your secret’s safe with me, Mouse,” Mat said without hesitation. The look of fear on Damon’s face didn’t disappear, but it did diminish. A little bit, it did. “I won’t tell a soul,” Mat continued. “In fact, even though you obviously didn’t do this on purpose, it must be fate. I have someth…”

 

A thunderclap rent the heavens just as Mat was about to reveal his own secret talent. The sudden downpour, like a biblical flood, that followed had them running for cover. As they made a mad dash for the protection of a nearby doorway, Mat with ball and backpack in hand, he heard shouts coming from around the corner of the building. His curiosity piqued, and suddenly recalling what Trench Coat had told him earlier, he ignored the rain and intermittent thunder and strode purposefully around the corner to see what was going on. Almost unnoticed right behind him, Mouse did the same.

 

They turned the corner just in time to see nothing knock down a bunch of boys who were attacking Erik.

 

“What the hell?!” Mat asked, almost not believing what he had just witnessed. But before uncertainty created indecision, Erik fell bonelessly to the ground and Mat burst into action.

 

“We have to get him out of here,” he announced unnecessarily to Damon, as the duo sprinted toward their fallen comrade, splashing through the pools of water from the sudden torrent. They were already both so soaked they might as well have just climbed out of a lake, so a few puddles hardly mattered. Mat reached the scene first, and checked to make sure that the other boys each had a pulse. Mouse checked on Trench Coat. The sky was already clearing up, and without a doubt people would emerge from the buildings very soon.

 

Not knowing what else to do, Mat heaved the somehow completely dry Erik over his shoulder, and said Mouse, “We certainly can’t just leave him here. Where can we take him?”

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OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG! He thought in his mind. He looked at Mat and couldn’t find the words to say…there was no way to explain this, no way to talk his way out of this. He was busted…Big Time!

 

What would happen? What would Mat do? Would he run screaming to the school…to the closest Science Lab?

 

He looked at Mat as he studied the rock formation jutting up from the court.

 

“It was you. Wasn’t it? At the practice field, it was you,” There was no question in Mat’s voice this time. The only Damon could do was nod, He had nowhere to go on this one. He watched Mat to see what he was going to do.

 

“Your secret’s safe with me, Mouse,” Mat said without hesitation. Damon was skeptical. He had learned long ago that you couldn’t completely trust anyone…but Mat was different. He took a breath. He really had no choice but to trust him. The only way to make sure his secret was safe would be to kill Mat, and there was no way that was going to happen. He relaxed a little bit. “I won’t tell a soul,” Mat continued. “In fact, even though you obviously didn’t do this on purpose, it must be fate. I have someth…”

 

The thunderclap blasted anything Mat was going to say (along with scaring the crap out of Damon). Then the sky opened up with a sudden fury of rain and wind. It was bizarre. A moment ago it was completely clear. Damon and Mat ran for cover and entered through a doorway. Immediately, Damon heard noises that were all to familiar. Shouts coming from around the corner. Sudden dread filled him because he thought he knew what he would find around that corner. Rushing to see if Erik was in the middle of another smackdown he found something he had not expected to see.

 

“ What the hell?!” Mat shouted, watching the unbelievable scene in front of them.

 

Erik was in the middle of a circle of half the wrestling team…but they were getting nowhere near him. Suddenly, the ring of boys fell as if thrown back. Then Erik’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and he fell to the ground.

 

“We have to get him out of here,” Mat said as they both rushed forward.

 

Mat checked on the jerks all lying on the floor as Damon rushed to Erik. He felt the side of his neck and was relieved to find a pulse. Suddenly it hit Damon…Erik was dry. Everyone else was soaked (or worse) but Erik had not been touched by any of it.

 

Without hardly any effort Mat walked hefted Erik’s limp form and was carrying him out the door. The wrestlers were just starting to move again as the door slammed behind them.

 

 

As the clouds faded and the sunlight shown on the scene, Mat said “We certainly can’t just leave him here. Where can we take him?”

 

Damon smiled for the first time. “I’ll buy us a little time.” He looked at the door and concentrated. He did not want to bring down the whole building, just move a little rock. He had done very little of this on purpose, but he concentrated. The floor rose in front of the door by a good three feet, effectively blocking the door from opening. With a shrug he looked at Mat. “Can you carry him further?” Damon asked. Mat nodded.

 

“Follow me.” Damon knew of a little room that was barley ever used. The walked down the hall and turned down a dark narrow hall to a door. He opened the door and made room for Mat and Erik. “There is an old sofa toward the back…this has been turned into storage cause no one ever uses it.”

 

Mat took the still unconscious Erik and laid him on the sofa. There was silence…then damon looked at his new friend. “Thanks.” He said. He wanted to say so much more…tell him that in one day he felt like he could trust him as much as the small group of friends he had known for a few years. But instead he just gave a sideways smile and said, “I knew your football physique would come in handy.”

 

He looked down at Erik and felt his neck again, wondering why he hadn’t revived yet…Damon was worried.

 

Damon Jord

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mat took a few deep breaths to help calm himself. After a couple of moments, the frenetic pace of his thoughts slowed, and he was able to think more clearly. Another couple of moments, and he came up with an idea…

 

“Mouse, can you smooth that ground by the door back out?” A confused look was all he got from his little friend, hunched over Trench Coat as he was. “I’ve got an idea, and I need your help. Can you do it?”

 

Damon hesitantly nodded, then with more determination he nodded again and said, “Yeah, I think so.”

 

Clapping his mate on the shoulder, Mat moved to the door. “Good. Just smooth the ground back out, and then come back here to keep an eye on your boy, Erik. I’ll take care of the rest. Cool?”

 

“Cool,” echoed Mouse, seemingly gaining confidence from Mat’s composure under pressure. I hope this works, Mat thought to himself, but outwardly he didn’t allow any of his doubts to show, just giving Damon a wink before they quickly ducked out the door.

 

In the few seconds it took them to run back to the sight of the weird attack, they saw no one. Just as I thought, Mat affirmed in his head. School let out before we got back, and no one is left to see the trouble those guys were planning. Their bad intentions for Trench Coat are our good fortune. Looking around a corner to make sure no one was going to sneak up on them, Mat spoke up confidently. “Do your thing, dude. Then hightail it back to Erik. I’ll meet you there shortly. Keep your cool, and wait for me.”

 

Mat watched Mouse furrow his brow in concentration, doing whatever it was that his body could somehow do… after a couple of seconds, the ground near the door smoothed itself out, like an invisible hand was smoothing asphalt icing on a ground cake. Smiling up at him nervously, Damon patted his arm and said, “Good luck!” before disappearing around the corner.

 

“Here goes nothing,” Mat said aloud as he strolled toward the door, looking around casually to make sure no one was around. Finding himself alone, he drank in Fire. Blue flames engulfed his hand, looking like lightning in a bottle, and pointing at the building, Mat quickly scorched the surrounding area above the entrance. “One lightning strike, courtesy of the human torch,” he said amusedly, before dousing the flames and ducking inside to check on the boys who were just now coming to.

 

Moving to The Third first, Mat shook him alert.

 

“What the hell, dude?!? Are you guys okay?” Confused looks surrounded him, as the group of would-be-toughs groggily rubbed throbbing heads and sore bodies. “I saw the whole thing! Who’d have thought a lightning bolt could do that! UNBELIEVABLE!”

 

“A lightning bolt?” echoed several mouths at his pronouncement. Not pausing to let them gain steam, Mat went on.

 

“Yep! I saw the whole thing from outside. Got caught out in that downpour, and saw it hit just above the door,” he said, pointing back over his shoulder. “I heard you guys’ shout, and came in real quick. That weird dude in the trench coat looks like he took the worst of it, and they hauled him out of here real quick,” he continued, skimming over a troublesome point before any questions could be asked. “To the hospital, most likely. It looked like he had the shit kicked out of him!”

 

Suddenly, fearful looks passed back and forth among the crew. Helping The Third onto his feet, Mat asked, “Are you guys okay? If you hang around for a few minutes the principle is on his way. He’ll probably want to check on you guys.”

 

The words worked like magic, and sudden claims of wondrous health abounded. “A miracle” was said several times, and the group of guys quickly gathered their things and left before the principal showed up. Of course, he wasn’t coming. But they didn’t know that, and they sure didn’t want to answer any questions about what they were doing, Mat thought, a mischievous grin painting his face.

 

Smiling contentedly at his cleverness, he made his way back to Mouse and Trench Coat. “I hope he’s gonna be okay.”

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ooc: sorry, I thought you or Erik were next to post.  :P

 

Damon left Mat and ran back to the storage room. He wondered what Mat was going to do.

 

What a strange afternoon, he thought to himself. First the counselor, then sticking David’s feet in the ground, completely giving himself away by pulling up the ground over at the basketball courts and now this. It looked to Damon like he wasn’t the only one with a secret.

 

He stood over the unconscious Erik, lying on the couch. “How did you do that, man? Why were you dry and everyone else soaked?” He shook his head “’re you a storm maker?” He knew the answer though, crazy as it seemed. But it was no more insane than moving rock around.

 

He sat on the ground and felt the concrete floor under him…he felt the walls, the metal door…But he could not feel the wooden shelves. ~hm…I guess wood isn’t earth.~ he thought to himself. He lay his hand on the floor, just getting the feel of the rock and dirt mixed into the hardened concrete. He moved the rock around and his hand went under the concrete as if he were playing in a sand box. He scooped a handful and studied it in his hand. He made the rock grow dense and hard then soften to dark sandy grains in his hand. He dropped them down to the ground and then had the grains rise back up and wrap around his hand until his hand was covered. Then he hardened the rock again. It was like a stone glove around his hand, but he could still move his fingers and hand normally. He smiled. This would be nice to have if he were surrounded by a bunch of big guys ready to knock him around. He looked at the stone glove and made them sharp and pointed at the end of the fingers.

 

His smile grew wider.

 

He sat there playing with the earth around him until he heard running down the hall toward his door. He looked at Erik, still lying on the couch, breathing, but unconscious; then he looked back at the door. With a wave of his hand, the floor in front of him smoothed out from his earlier manipulations, though he kept a small fist full of the earth.

 

The door opened and Mat quickly slipped in.

 

“Everything OK?” Damon asked.

 

“Just perfect.” Mat said with an impish smile. “With luck we won’t have to deal with them again today.”

 

He looked around and spotted Erik Still on the couch. “Still down?” he said

 

Damon nodded “Yeah…not a word from him. Maybe we should get someone to take him to the doctor?” He said. He had no idea what would show up if he did really have powers, but he didn’t know what else to do to help his friend. “You still up for carrying him?” Despite the practice, basket ball and hauling Erik all over the place; Mat looked like he could still run 5 miles. He picked up Erik and they left their hiding place.

 

OOC:Erik...you still out there? :)

Damon

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hoisting the still dead-to-the-world Erik onto his shoulder, Mat was suddenly struck by how odd the scene was, and on impulse spoke up loudly, imitating those tv commercial voices.

 

“New! This fall’s must-have for any fashionable teen male! An unconscious man in a black trench coat! It not only shows off how misunderstood you are, it reveals your emotional angst while highlighting your cool outer wear! Coming soon to a store near you! Unlaced combat boots sold separately.”

 

Laughing out loud, he shifted Erik’s weight until his body rode comfortably on his shoulder. “Carry my backpack, will you Mouse?”

 

Together, the three of them exited the room and the school grounds, with Mouse taking the lead and making sure to look around any corners before Mat got there. Carrying Erik’s quasi-corpse wouldn’t be an easy situation to explain, so it was better to avoid being seen. Fortunately, no one hangs around school grounds unless they have to, he thought to himself. This place is like a graveyard. With Erik’s body draped over him like an ill-fitting coat, the imagery was far too apt.

 

The mood had lightened briefly after Mat made his joke, but now he could tell that both he and Mouse were becoming more and more tense as the situation wore on. Creeping down back alleys, and always looking over your shoulder wasn’t nearly as much fun as it seemed in the stories.

 

He broke the silence, hoping that it would help him and Mouse to relax, but his voice sounded far too loud in his ears, even though he forced himself to speak normally. His throat was very dry, too. “Do you know where Trench Coat lives, Mouse? If it isn’t too far, I think we should take him there. And if he’s not better by the time we get to his place, we’ll call 911 and have ‘em send an ambulance. What do you think?”

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Damon laughed as Mat joked about Erik's jacket. He could tell taht Matt was one of those who tried to lighten a heavy situation.

 

"I tried that look already. At first when I moved here. Erik...He kinda stuck up for me a few times. It usually ended up with both of us getting the crap beat out of us, but It made me like the guy, y'know. So I went out and found a second hand trench and wore it for awhile. But" And Damon smile at the memory, "I kept catching the coat on my skateboard. I still have a scar from the final time I wore the trench." He said moving the hair off his neck to reveal a wicked looking scar running from the base of his head down to his shoulder. "Kinda ran into a tree with a sawed off branch." Mat winced "Decided then and there that I would leave the trench to Erik."

 

Damon hefted Mat's pack to his other shoulder, wondering what the boy was carrying. The back pack weighed a ton. From what he could gather of Tex...it likely was ALL books.

 

Damon took the lead through alleys and streets, knowing, by experience, how to get to Erik's unseen. Worry started to creep in on Damon. Erik was still uncounscious and He had the eerie feeling that they were being stalked. Every corner seemed to be a great hiding place for someone to catch them.It wasn't like Erik lived close...it was a walk to get to his house, but they were almost there.

 

Mat startled him by saying “Do you know where Trench Coat lives, Mouse? If it isn’t too far, I think we should take him there. And if he’s not better by the time we get to his place, we’ll call 911 and have ‘em send an ambulance. What do you think?”

 

"Sounds good. He lived at the end of this block here. but his parents are going to ask questions. They may be able to help though." In a few more minutes they were at the house. Mouse ran up to the door and tried it. No go, it was locked. He pounded on the door and waited. Soon Mrs Benoit opened the door.

 

"Damon..." She saw Erik. "Wha...What happened!" Quickly they related the story that they had agreed on. They were playing basketball with Erik on the sidelines and then he started walking of and fainted. They had not been able to revive him. She called out for Mr Benoit and in a flurry of raised voices and phone calls, they carried Erik to their car and drove away to the hospital, leaving Mat and Damon standing in their doorway.

 

OOC:Sorry Erik...Damon has a cell phone...call him if you get out of the hospital. :)

 

Damon and Mat looked at each other.

 

"I'll call and check in on him later." Damon said as they started walking down the road. The afternoon...the whole day had seemed just strange. The Psyche lady, burying David's feet in the ground, then completely using his power in front of Mat. He picked up a rock and started tossing it from hand to hand. "So..." Damon said, suddenly feeling the weight of awkward avoidance of talking about his powers...about what happened. He was never one to avoid the hard topic though so he looked at Mat "I know you said my secret is safe...And I believe it. But...d-do you think I'm a little freak, now?"

 

The thought of losing a friend just as he was making one was...irritating. he couldn't see Mat just blowing him off, but having someone just move the earth around wasn't the normal everyday teen angst friends usually had to put up with either.

 

"It's Ok if you do, man... I think I'm a freak...I just like to know where I stand."

 

Damon

 

 

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”Of course I think you’re a freak,” Mat said matter-of-factly, as he continued walking. Damon, stunned by the pronouncement, stopped dead in his tracks.

 

Stopping and turning to look back at his smaller friend, Mat gave him a mischievous grin. “I mean, seriously! A guy who is as quick as you are not playing football? You’re definitely a freak.”

 

Laughing out loud at both his joke and the look on Mouse’s face, Mat couldn’t help but rub it in. “Ha! What did you think I was going to say? I’m certainly not gonna ask you out on a date. Do you need a hug or something?” Snorting at the thought and laughing some more, Mat held his hands up in front of him in mock terror when Damon gave him a friendly punch in the shoulder.

 

Mat shifted his backpack to a more comfortable spot on his shoulder and started walking again, this time with Damon matching stride alongside him. “Dude, I told you. No one is going to learn about your tectonic tap dancing thing from me. You’d be hauled off to some lab and treated like a guinea pig or something. Screw that! Although maybe I should come up with another nickname for you… Mouse is good, but maybe Richter is more fitting…” Damon punched him in the shoulder again.

 

Mat noticed that Damon, despite the laughter and good mood he was in, seemed to take a deep breath at this turn of events. Understandable, to be sure, Mat thought to himself. He doesn’t know me at all hardly, and now he’s accidentally entrusted me with his life. Without a doubt, I’d be nervous about it, too.

 

Laughing, Mat considered the odd situation he found himself in, the strange boy-turned-friend who he’d only met earlier that day, and the craziness life had thrown at him over the last year or so in general. Weird, to be sure. Like something from a comic book.

 

Coming to a sudden conclusion, Mat looked around. Their rambling had brought them behind an old warehouse, and it looked like all the workers had gone home for the day. The only eyes who were around to see them were the birds perched on the roof. Taking a deep breath, Mat made his choice.

 

“Mouse, we all have secrets. Some are bigger than others.” Taking a deep breath, he looked directly into the eyes of his new friend. “Yours is as big as the world, so it’s only fair that I open up to you, too.”

 

Looking around one more time to make sure they were alone, Mat grinned in his typical devil-may-care expression. “I’ve got a secret, too.”

 

Not breaking eye contact with Damon, Mat allowed the Fire that lived inside him to awaken. His eyes, normally a bright blue, began to grow brighter; the blue pupils began to expand until his eyes were entirely, vividly, brilliantly, bright blue. Then his eyes caught fire. Like twin pools of liquid light, his eye sockets crackled with energy, like a synergy of fire and lightning.

 

Not finished, Mat rolled back the left sleeve of his shirt, exposing it to the midpoint of his forearm. Holding his hand up, he snapped his fingers and with a WHOOMF his hand blazed with a brilliant electric blue fire, the same shade as his eyes. Grinning devilishly, Mat allowed the flame to transform back and forth from a regular blue flame to a crackling ball of electricity, like lightning in a bottle.

 

Just as quickly, he quenched the Fire with a thought. His hand and eyes looked completely normal once again. He could still feel the dragon inside him, though, looking out his eyes and wanting to breath again. Ignoring the temptation to show off more of what he could do, Mat gave Damon a wink.

 

“We all have secrets, man. I’d appreciate it if you kept mine.” Clapping Mouse on the shoulder, Mat said, “See you tomorrow at school. I’ve got a lot of homework to do, so I better run.” Without a backwards glance, Mat began the long jog to his house.

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