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A Touch of Magic (attn TatlTails)

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by _BB_, May 18, 2018.

  1. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    So rehearsal tomorrow was probably going to be cancelled.
    Callie's hands clenched into fists, still humming with a swirling hint of something barely tangible. She resisted the urge to slam her back against a wall and slip away into the shadows. It was a combination of years living in the city, and years watching cop shows. There was nothing more conspicuous than running away. And besides, those dark corners she wanted to hide in were likely already occupied by people she certainly did not want to mingle with.
    So instead she forced herself to walk slowly down the main street with her hands shoved into her pockets. She had to keep her heart rate down. She had to keep her breaths calm and even. She had to ignore the prickling on the back of her neck and the fact that she'd forgotten to bring her coat. That would be conspicuous if it got any colder than this. She should go back and get her coat. She couldn't, of course, but she should. There were a few others things she needed to pick up from home as well. She couldn't. Maybe the shops would still be open in the morning.
    She walked. Silently. Alone.
    None of this made sense. She didn't get it, yet. Was there a punchline in here somewhere? Was there some trick to this where she had the power to get herself out of this and not just power to get herself evicted from her family? Some version where she could just go home and get into bed and read comics and go to sleep?
    But no. That wasn't what was going to happen tonight.
    She walked.
    Idly, she noted that she had no idea where she was going, but frankly, it didn't matter. She just knew she couldn't stop moving. Her eyes were wide, drilling into the pavement ahead of her, her head down so no-one saw the absolute shock and blind panic. That would probably be suspicious. Her hands, clenched so tight, still felt as though they were grasping at the air, like she couldn't close them properly, like she was trying to squeeze mercury. And they still shone. Just a little. Momentum was pushing her forward, her feet moving without her telling them to do anything. She just knew that if she stopped, she wouldn't get started again. She didn't know where she was going, but she couldn't stay here. They'd find her soon, if she didn't keep moving.
    Who would? Oh, right. Police. Anti-magic sorts. There were plenty of them around, and with her hands glowing and the story going around town, that was enough.
    Of course, maybe they were right. The story was true, after all. Callie had just nearly blown up her own home. She'd nearly killed her mother. Not on purpose, of course, but it had happened. She'd been scared, startled, by...something. She couldn't remember what. She couldn't remember much. She really should go back and get her coat. Her feet turned her halfway around before she remembered again that she couldn't.
    She stopped.
    A ragged intake of breath launched her backwards, scrambling for something to support her as her legs fell out from beneath her. Her hands met something rough, and solid, and she didn't have time to figure out what it was before her back slammed into it, and she skidded down it to the ground. She couldn't go home. It wasn't even hers. She had never belonged there.
    Angry shouts, faces screwed up with rage, terrified wide eyes in tiny faces, they all pressed down on her, all to the backdrop of the air around her singing a symphony, lights and beauty and magic dancing in every corner of her kitchen while her mother pulled herself up with the counter, blood dripping from her head.
    "Get out! You tricked us, you magical whore! You have never been my daughter, j ust changeling trash that wormed its way into my home! Get out of my house!"
    Callie knew she wasn't breathing right. Her breaths were coming too fast, or too often, or not enough. Something. Her head was spinning, as though the ground she'd fallen onto was trying to tip her off it, and tears were flooding her face entirely unbidden. She gasped as a particularly violent sob tore through her, biting her hand to stifle any more noise as a passerby glanced over at her. They grabbed their partner, pulling them away from her, and Callie vaguely saw why as she realised she was glowing. An aura of something slippery and hard to maneuver was radiating from her skin. It wasn't just her hands.
    But she couldn't do anything about it. She couldn't even get her lungs to get air in and out properly right now. She scrambled to the side, moving deeper into the alley, deeper into the shadows, despite knowing it made her shine all the brighter. She fell around a corner, bringing her knees up to her chest and curling as tight as she possibly could while her chest heaved. Her body was out of her control, and the light was flowing off her now, becoming more angular, more violent as she panicked, each sob accompanied by a dancing spear of light that shot into the darkness.
    How had this happened? She was a perfectly average person. She wasn't made to defend herself against magical attacks from her own body. She didn't know how to run from the cops she didn't even remember her sister calling. She had rehearsal in the morning. How this all gone so badly, so quickly?
    "Well it's good to see you already know where you belong."
    Callie's head shot up. Three dark shadows loomed above her. Older than her by a decade at least, bigger than her by double. Grinning. Drunk. Leering. Callie didn't even think about it. She scrambled backwards, screaming. She had never been big. She was a ballerina for god's sake. She wasn't meant to be big.
    A laugh, and a shadow shifted, rushing towards her. Callie had scrambled as far as she could. Slamming her eyes closed, she cringed into herself, and was met with silence.
    Her eyes snapped open, something in the air around her telling her something was wrong. The shadows were still there, but they weren't shadows anymore. Just men. Men blinking around the alley, brows furrowed, shaking their heads to clear them, clearly trying to figure out why they couldn't remember what they were doing.
    Callie pulled back on something she had never pulled back on before, pure, primal instinct sending all the light dancing through the shadows back into her, like a jolt of adrenaline. She ran, stumbling as she sprinted out of the alley, into the open street.
    She'd walked here plenty of times. This was her hometown. She didn't exactly make a habit of walking the streets at night, but she knew the seven eleven on the corner and the bar across the street. This was her town, but tonight it could have been from a storybook. Every person, every shadow, was suspect. She ran madly up the street, sprinting blocks, energy filling her from god knows where. Well, she had her suspicions where it was coming from, but she didn't want to think about that right now. Instead, she took shortcuts and back ways and ended up a long way away from where she'd lost those creeps. Head pounding, breath coming even wilder now she had none of it, she doubled over, coughing, eyes squeezed shut.
    "You'll make good trade in the Third Circle."
    Callie tried to shoot straight to standing, but didn't quite manage it. One hand kept her balance against the wall, the other warding away the stranger. She knew she couldn't run this time, and to her dismay, light began pooling in her outstretched hand, slipping across it like mercury.
    The stranger, now lit by her light, held his hands up, making no move towards her. He smiled. "Just telling you what they're going to be saying."
    Callie panted, silent, breath still coming erratically. The light kept pooling, and she could see his features in it, round face contoured by shadows thrown from her hand. He had a scraggly sort of beard, warm, hazel eyes, and a far too comfortable way about him. He was squatter than she had thought, not very tall. His hair was dark brown, a little curly at the ends. He looked a little unkempt, as though he had been up all night in an office job, his loose tie and hefty coat helping that image. All in all, he wasn't the most imposing figure.
    "What who are going to be saying?" Callie asked.
    The man smiled at her again, and against her better will, Callie felt herself relaxing, just a little. It was a good smile. "You're fresh off the presses, aren't you?" he asked, but thankfully didn't seem to want a response. He held her gaze, hands still in the air, but moved a couple of easy steps closer, bringing himself into the street with her. Out of prying eyes. Callie tensed, the light in her hand flaring, but the man stopped once he was out of sight of the next street, within easy talking distance. He didn't seem scared of her. Well. He did. He was obviously wary, but he wasn't...scared. That was novel. Callie didn't exactly have much experience with this yet, but thus far, abject terror and disgust had been a pretty key reaction. This man didn't seem inclined towards either of those. So either he was stupid, crazy, or a very good actor. Still, the light in Callie's hand dimmed down just a little. Back from its flare-up.
    "You just find out about this?" he asked.
    Callie gave a single, tense nod. She knew she shouldn't be talking to him, but the panic was rising in her, compounded by the knowledge that panic would send that magic flaring up and away again. And she desperately wanted help. And really, how much worse could the situation get?
    "Your parents kick you out?"
    Callie paused, but nodded. She'd already committed here. "How-" she started, voice cracking. She cleared her throat, swallowing, and tried again. "How did you know that?"
    He spread his hands out, still holding her eyes. "Just a guess. Another guess, if you'll let me," He paused, eyebrows raised, waiting for Callie's nod. "You're a changeling?"
    Tears flooded Callie's eyes, dropping straight to her chin without the bother of her having a chance to stop them. She nodded, and a sob escaped into the night, but she held her stance. Her hand wavered, and her light flickered and flared, but she held it.
    The man winced, taking another step closer. "That's rough." In her light, Callie saw his eyes. They hadn't left hers this whole time. And they were devastated. There was a deep sadness there, all for her. Even in her panic, she saw it, and against her will, her shoulders relaxed. Her breath came a little easier. There was every chance he was here to harm her, but maybe, just maybe he was here to help. Not everyone could be against her.
    "They call the cops on you?" he asked, and Callie nodded. "How long ago?"
    Callie shook her head. "I don't-I-I don't-"
    The man nodded, stepping closer and taking his coat off. "That's alright. You're in shock, there's no way you could know."
    Callie shot back into defence mode, but the man just took off his inner jacket and handed it over.
    He glanced at her face and shrugged. "What? You're not getting my coat. I like this coat, and it's like, twenty sizes too big for you."
    Callie blinked. Was he really offering her his jacket?
    The man smiled again. "I promise it's not booby trapped."
    Why the hell not? Callie took it, forcing her slightly shaking arms into it.
    "Try not to burn it with fairy magic or whatever it is you've got going on there," the man added.
    Starting at the casual mention of her magic, Callie nonetheless did as she was told. Magic. She had magic now. Apparently she had always had it. She didn't want to think about that. The jacket hung down almost to her knees and she had to roll the sleeves up, but god was it warm.
    The man shrugged his coat back on and held a hand out. "I'm Leo," he said. "I was leaving work, and spotted you doing your little light show. Thought I'd come say hello. So. Hello."
    "Callie." Her name couldn't do that much damage, right? Still, Callie felt reluctant to give it away so easily. It was all she had left. "Hi."
    Leo nodded. "You got anywhere to go?"
    Swallowing past the hard knot in her throat, Callie shook her head. Her breath was evening out, her trembles subsiding as the jacket leant her warmth. It had come to her pre-warmed. "No. I don't have any money or..." she trailed off. Anything. She didn't have anything.
    Leo squeezed her hand before he let go. "That's alright, Callie. You aren't the only one this has happened to. I'd like to take you to the others, if you want that."
    Did she want that? On the surface of it, it seemed like she was being given some kind of golden chance. But there was every possibility that Leo was just going to take her to some magic trafficking ring. "How do I know you aren't a bad guy?" she asked. As her panic was fading, exhaustion was setting in, and she lacked the energy to even wish she'd said that a bit more like an adult.
    Leo smiled. "You really can't. I can give you my word on it if you want, but I'm a journalist, so most people don't bother."
    Callie smiled a little despite herself.
    "Besides, if you panic, I'm pretty sure we both blow up or I end up mindless in a ditch somewhere, so I'd say that's pretty good insurance."
    Well. She couldn't argue with that. And frankly, even if he was a creep, maybe she'd get to sleep in the car on the way to his horror mansion or wherever it was those guys lived.
    Leo shoved his hands in his pockets and jerked his head towards the street. "Come on. You're about to fall asleep on your feet. Let me drive you into the creepy woods and I can lecture you on magic rights until you pass out."
    "Why not," Callie said. "At least I'll get a nap."
    Snorting, Leo gestured the way out. "After you then."
    Ten minutes later, Callie was on her way to the edge of the woods outside the city, fast asleep in the passenger seat of a stranger.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  2. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    Something was wrong.

    That's one of the easier thoughts to be made clear to a person right as they're ripped out of sleep for seemingly no reason. A sudden interruption of anything usually means DANGER or SOMETHING NEEDS YOUR FULL ATTENTION RIGHT NOW. Even if you're just trying to sleep. Which Madi was. She'd just had a pretty long day making a shitton of potions to restock her supply, so she was happy to turn in early and sleep off the drain that that much spellcasting put on her system. But she couldn't, because something was wrong.

    By the time she got through that stream of consciousness, she was aware enough to try and figure out what it was. Her room looked fine, no immediate threats. Cat was awake, but only barely and only because she'd shot up in a panic upon waking. She'd apologize later, but for now he could just keep his stink-eye to himself. She had something bigger to worry about.

    OK so the threat wasn't physical, so it had to be magical. Not in the house, or she'd be able to feel it without even trying. Besides, everyone in the house knew she needed to sleep tonight. They usually all agreed to keep the flare-ups to a minimum on nights like these (they were doing great by the way wow thanks guys). So the source was farther out...

    And it still woke her up? Holy crap, she really needed to figure out what it was. Good thing meditative states don't drain a lot of energy, cause she didn't have all that much to spare. She even needed to give her cat another reason to apologize later, by dragging him onto her lap before she started. He'd be fine physically, even after the day they'd had. He wasn't the one actually doing any of the magic, after all. He just didn't like his naps getting interrupted, but he could shove it right now. His partner had work to do...

    It took too long to find what she was looking for. It was farther than it had seemed, even in the half-asleep barely-sensed glimpse of power she'd felt before. It was all the way in the nearest city, fading and flaring but nowhere near as strong as the initial burst. Whatever it was, its magic was new, untainted by good or bad desires. Erratic, there was no real pattern to the flare-ups that she could pick up on. Fae, definitely Fae. The magic had the distinct sense of promises and mushrooms and sunlight and dust, no mistaking that for a witch's power. But magic came innately to the Fae, it wouldn't be so unpredictable here unless...

    Changeling. A changeling must have been outed, that was the big flare from before! Okay, they had to get someone out on this-

    Goddamnit Leo, stop being so good at your job.

    That thought was the last one Madi spent in meditation, the witch then reeling herself back to reality like a tape measure that you're trying not to snap your fingers on. Let it go all at once and holy shit migraine. And she had a call to make, she could not afford to use up all her leftover energy on a botched reentry.

    The moment Madi was fully back in her body, she grabbed her phone off her bedside table and started dialing Leo's number. He may be annoyingly good at recruiting for a pure human, but that didn't mean they should just not talk to each other about new developments like this. He was probably bringing that changeling here and she wanted to be prepared!

    Now let's just hope she can actually get through an entire phone call this time.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  3. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    The drive was pretty peaceful, all things considered. Leo wasn't a guy who liked too much adventure. Oh sure, he'd stir things up and go hunting through the sewers if it got him a good story, but a peaceful night? It was a good thing. Leo was good with words, but he saved the best ones for his column inches. These days, it wasn't like he had to look far for his stories anyway. Since telling gossip fairy stories and taking a position as a lorist, it was easy to churn out a story about some celeb who everyone suspected of being a siren or telling everyone how magic worked. He even got to get up on a soapbox for magic rights sometimes, if he spun it right. But that was really just his day job, these days. He had far better things to be spending his valuable investigative skills on.
    Glancing to the side, he smiled at the changeling passed out in his passenger seat. She'd conked out almost as soon as she'd sat down. She was pretty young, probably still lived with her parents, but old, for a changeling. There was no real age they switched over at, but usually it was before they hit college. This one had made it pretty close. No wonder her big coming out had been quite so spectacular.
    Leo had told her that he had just spotted her coming out of work, but the truth was, he'd heard about her as soon as it had happened. He wasn't stupid. He had a police scanner. Fortunately for Callie, he also had far more experience dealing with terrified witches and supernatural creatures who'd run away from home. Callie had done well. A lot of them were snapped up before he got to them. But she'd managed something, even as unfamiliar with her magic as she clearly was. She must have been terrified. What she'd done had been no small thing, and by the sound of it, her family was pissed. The family never reacted well to changelings. Still, it had been a while since Leo had met one. It was his first time with a new one, and Leo didn't have too many firsts left. He was good at what he did.
    Pulling off the motorway, he turned into smaller streets. Lights were further apart out here. The trees started looming. He hadn't been lying about the creepy woods. But hey, this was the closest safehouse he could think of. At least, the closest with space, anyway.
    As if on cue, his phone buzzed. Glancing to check if it had woken up Callie-it hadn't-he thumbed the button and the Bluetooth kicked on. "Hey Madi," he said. He hadn't checked the caller id, but it had to be Madi. "I thought you were supposed to be sleeping?"
     
  4. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    "I w-was." Madi did not hesitate to reply, not even her stupid freaking stutter able to hide the annoyance in her tone. The reminder of the precious sleep she should be getting was not doing much to encourage her to keep doing her job and not get said sleep. "Got w-woken up. Ch-changeling g-got outed. You g-got 'em, right? D-details."

    Words were often short with Madi, especially over the phone where there were no visual cues or other people to make communication easier. Adding on the obvious fatigue, she was not going to try any harder than this to convey her point. The last thing she needed was to get tongue-tied and stuck before the conversation was finished.
     
  5. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    Leo grinned to himself. Madi was pissed. Probably fair. A magic blast like that would have woken her right up. Dag probably wasn't loving it either, but Leo didn't have to deal with Dag right now, thank god.
    "Yeah I got her, Madi. Don't have many details for you I'm afraid. Her name is Callie. I'm assuming you felt her coming out."
    He waited for her confirmation before barreling on. Leo knew phone conversations were hard for Madi, but fortunately he could make up for that with the breakneck speed of his dialogue.
    "Yeah, well she's in my passenger seat, probably sitting on some old drafts and chip packets, though she didn't seem to notice, and we're about twenty minutes away."
    He waited again for a response.
    "I dunno what you want from me, Madi. Parents booted her. She had the cops called on her, I think she got attacked by some amateurs, and she still made it out. I picked her up. She's not exactly trusting, but I got her in with the promise of a nap."
    Leo glanced over at Callie again. She hadn't moved, head wedged at an awkward angle between the headrest and the window.
    "You have space for her, right? I know some of the others are home at the moment, but there's space?"
     
  6. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    As soon as Leo had mentioned being only twenty minutes away, she'd gotten out of bed (her confirmation to the man that she'd heard it being a reluctant groan as she did so) and checked the halls to make sure there was enough space for a new addition. Things were a little tight, with Luke being a permanent resident and two immortals who were taking their sweet time to rehabilitate, but there was definitely an open bedroom to give this 'Callie'.

    "Y-yeah, we can f-fit her." She made sure to tell Leo, trying not to yawn directly into the phone. Okay, coffee would be a good idea at this point. She was clearly not getting to sleep any time soon, after all. Plus, it might make the house feel more welcoming when Callie got here.

    She didn't even wait for Leo to start talking again before she made her way to the kitchen, even though she still obviously listened when he did. A vampire hanging out in the kitchen as she worked didn't help her concentration, though, especially when said vampire kept giving her these looks that practically demanded an explanation when she was clearly still on the phone oh my god.

    Wow, she really did need coffee.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  7. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    "Hey, that's good to hear," Leo said. It was good to hear anyone had room. True, if they managed to find every witch in a bad situation, they'd never be able to fit them all, but knowing that there was space in the rooms they had? That was a positive. It meant some of them were getting back out there. "I know there's some space out west too, but I figured you'd be awake anyway. Besides, you're closer."
    Leo grinned at the kitchen clanking noises from the other end of the phone.
    "I was going to stop off at the station and grab some coffees and a sandwich or something, but she's fast asleep and I don't really want to wake her. You guys can sort us out though, right? We don't know anything about this girl, but breakfast probably won't go amiss, even if it's more of a midnight snack at this point."
    Leo glanced at Callie again as he pulled onto smaller and smaller roads, further and further into the woods. "She's young, Madi. Old for a changeling, sure, but still too young for this."
    He turned the heating in the car down a little, pulling his collar out a bit. Callie had been cold.
    "Anyway, anything else you need from me? We'll be there soon."
     
  8. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    "N-no, just g-get here." Madi sighed, pulling out a pan and continuing to ignore Clarisse. That should be enough of a hint to hold her off for a minute, and the food should be another one.

    She would have whipped something up with or without Leo's 'request', though just picturing the look on his face as he made it almost made her not want to do it. It's what he'd get for just assuming she'd make him food. But she wasn't petty enough to bring an innocent into the crossfire, so eggs and toast it was. It was the usual for new refugees, 'cause the eggs were good for carnivores and the toast was good for herbivores and it felt normal enough for anyone still adjusting to the magical world.

    Which reminded her of the other thing Leo had said. 'Too young'. For all his joking, Leo did really have a bleeding heart. Madi was a bit more pragmatic about this side of things, though it was probably because she'd been at this job since she was like 9 and her opinions were skewed. In her mind, if one person was too young, they were all too young. Even immortals deal with their own traumas, after all. It was just a fact of life for magical creatures, and as much as she really did want to help anyone who was struggling with it, the reality of living with magic was something one just had to live with in the end. As much as Leo was empathetic to the cause, that was something he could never truly understand.

    But hey, he did his part and he actually cared. That was all they could ask for in the end.
     
  9. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    "On our way," Leo said, and hung up. He stepped on the gas.

    ---

    "Hey."
    Callie groaned, squeezing her eyes closed again.
    The hand on her shoulder squeezed a little tighter. "Hey, Callie. You gotta get up. We're here."
    What? Who was where? She had to get up. Had someone driven her to rehearsal?
    Groaning slightly, Callie sat up, rubbing her eyes. The seatbelt caught against her chest as she tried to sit up to standing, the foggy windows of the car obscuring her view. The hand on her shoulder helped her up and then vanished. She glanced to the side, and Leo smiled.
    Oh. Right.
    "How you doing there?"
    Callie shook her head, undoing her seatbelt and scrubbing at her face. She had totally conked out. "I feel like death."
    Leo snorted. "Fair enough. There should be coffee inside."
    "I don't drink coffee."
    "You don't like the taste?" Leo asked, incredulous.
    Callie blinked herself a bit more awake, staring at the glovebox. Her limbs felt like lead, and her head was pounding. And she was still exhausted, though the nap had helped a bit. Like she'd finished a show and pulled an all-nighter. "No, I'm just in high school. Don't people usually wait until college to get addicted to the stuff?"
    Leo shrugged, taking the keys out of the ignition and sliding out the side of the car. "Well it'll help anyway. You look like you need the help. Besides, the witch making it makes potions so you know it's going to be good quality."
    Hand halfway to the car door, Callie blinked again. Her head was foggy, filled with cotton from exhaustion and recently waking and who knew what else. At least her hands weren't glowing anymore. "Witch. Right."
    She opened the door and climbed out onto the ground. God, Leo's car was a beater. It looked like it had made this trip through the woods plenty of times. "Wait, we're actually in the woods?"
    Leo grinned at her as he hit the central locking and started down a path. "Yeah. Privacy and all that. You haven't interacted with many witches, have you?"
    Callie shook her head.
    "This ought to be an enlightening experience for you then."
    Callie ignored him, pulling his jacket tighter around her shoulders. She knew she should probably give it back, but Leo didn't seem to need it and she was still cold. She'd been using it as a blanket in the car, so her arms weren't in the sleeves now, instead pulling it around her like a cape, or an over-achieving shawl. She knew about witches. Everyone did. But you didn't expect to meet one, let alone become one.
    Well. Changeling. God, what would the kids at school say?
    "Goddamit I have an algebra exam today."
    Leo glanced back at her. "I would say you're probably off the hook for that one."
    "Well yeah, but I studied."
    "You're mad because you don't get to take an algebra exam?"
    Callie glowered at Leo. "No, I'm mad because I studied. If I had known I was going to be whisked away into the woods by a reporter I would have finished watching West Wing on Netflix first."
    Leo's smile was infectious, but Callie wasn't in the mood. Frankly she was just very grumpy right now. Her mouth was moving half on its own, though Leo was making it pretty easy to keep talking.
    "You're awfully chipper for someone getting whisked away into the woods, Callie."
    She shrugged, speeding up a few steps to catch up with Leo and look at the path ahead of them. "Well if you're going to lock me up in your house and kill me then I may as well get some good conversation out of you first."
    "This is good conversation?" Leo asked.
    There was a house up ahead. "One half of it is," she shot back absently. It was more of a cabin, really. It was decently sized for a creepy cabin in the woods, and certainly a lot more homely than she'd been thinking of. There were some lights on inside, shapes moving in the windows. Didn't look like a house of horrors, so that was promising. The nightmare scenario was still there, still possible, but Callie was struggling to find much concern for that. Other things were overshadowing that worry right now that she didn't even want to think about addressing. "Where are we going, anyway?"
    Leo walked up the main path towards the front door. "It's a good place. Like a safehouse for people like you, somewhere to go when you don't have any other options." He looked back at her, his eyes catching hers again, like he didn't want to miss a detail. She guessed that was the reporter thing. Was he even any good? Had she just been rescued by a shitty reporter?
    People like her. Changelings. Witches. Magical beings. When had that started being her? About seven hours ago when she'd nearly blown up her house with fairy magic, probably. Her stomach hurt, like poison sitting there crawling up her chest. She looked at the front door instead of Leo. It was a little easier. "I can't go home, can I?"
    Leo shook his head. "No."
    There was a lot more they could have said. There was a lot more that needed to be said. But right now, that was all there was to it. Callie nodded.
    Leo gestured towards the door. "Go on then."
    Holding Leo's jacket on with her spare hand while Leo blew into his hands to warm them up next to her, Callie reached up and knocked on the door.
     
  10. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    "I GOT IT!" Was the initial reaction to the knock from inside. The same voice then continued to speak, but at a quieter volume that got clearer as it moved towards the door. "Naw, naw, dude, I've totally got this! You just finish up, I got it."

    The door actually opened halfway through the voice's last sentence, its owner's body turned to talk to someone behind them before shifting focus to the source of the knock.

    The voice's owner was not Madi, and in fact looked absolutely nothing like a witch. She looked more like an MMA fighter, or an anime hero judging by her impressive height and bright blue hair. But she just leaned against the door frame like she was greeting old friends, and grinned a cheeky grin that incidentally revealed a pair of sharp fangs.

    "Hey." She greeted the duo with all the casuality in the world, giving them both a little nod before focusing on Callie. "You the newbie? Come on in, we got food an' shit. Beds, explanations, all that jazz."

    If either people outside could see farther in, they might see a black-haired teenage girl give the anime heroine a deadpan glare.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
  11. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    The door opened on a woman bigger than half the ballet boys Callie had seen in the older classes. Her hair was bright blue, her teeth were far too pointy for comfort, and she was staring at Callie. "Uh..." Callie replied, hand still halfway down from knocking.
    "Ooh, breakfast!" Leo said, moving past both Callie and the newcomer, into the house. "Eggs and toast again?" he shot back.
    Callie swallowed and nodded. "Alright then." She looked up at the woman-vampire?-and nodded. "I'm Callie. I'm a changeling, I guess."
    "You got any questions about algebra, Clarisse?" Leo's said, swinging back around to catch Callie's eye through the door. He grinned and winked.
    Callie glared back. "He thinks he's funny."
    Leo vanished off into the house again. "I am funny!"
    "So, you guys knew I was coming?" Callie said as she stepped forward. She wanted to glance around the house, see where she walking into, but she was struggling taking her eyes off the vampire next to her. She'd never met a vampire before in her life.
     
  12. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    Don't worry, Leo, at least Clarisse was snickering at your jokes. Although she also replied to his question with "Hey, I aced AP Algebra! I'm good!"

    She wasn't too into the joke to ignore Callie when she had a question, though. "Uhh, Madi knew. She's the witch." Cue a gesture to the black-haired girl who was currently handing Leo a plate of eggs and toast. "She told me like five minutes ago, an' everyone else's asleep. Guess that's a cool thing about bein' nocturnal, I get to be part'a all the midnight escapades. You can meet the rest'a the crew in the morning though, right now's just the part where ya chill out an' ask questions an' recharge. So yeah, you like eggs an' toast?"
     
  13. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    Callie let out a breath. "Yeah, eggs and toast is great." Right now she'd eat just about anything. Walking into the house proper, Callie nodded at the witch the vampire-Clarisse?-had gestured to. "Madi? Thanks for...this." Callie gestured vaguely around the room and the food. She was far more eloquent than this, but right now, this was all she could get out. Introductions and niceties just seemed so far beyond what was important right now. Taking a plate, Callie looked around for a seat and practically fell into it. Leo was happily leaning against a countertop munching away on his toast.
    "The rest of the crew?" Callie asked, catching onto something Clarisse had said. "How many people live here? And you're all, you know?"
     
  14. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    Madi returned Callie's thanks with a nod and as kind of a smile as she could muster, even though she was aware that in her pajamas and with her unbrushed hair and dark circles she basically looked like The Grudge. (She actually looked like a super cute version of The Grudge but she also had low self-esteem so) Which was part of the reason she just set a plate in front of the changeling and continued to let Clarisse answer the questions.

    "There's like, five." The vampire declared, plopping into another chair nearby and debating for a second before she added "Four an' a half, dependin' on what mood Dagger's in. He's a shapeshifter, not always human. There's him, me, Madi, a mermaid named Jacqueline, an' a werewolf named Luke. You're number six, but you can leave soon as you feel like you could totally handle livin' on your own. I'm hidin' out here 'cause I'm still technically "missing" out in the real world, so I'm leavin' once all that dies down, but like if you wanna relocate soon as you've gotten used to bein' magic, you totally could."
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2018
  15. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    (sorry about the delay over the weekend!)

    Callie nodded vaguely. Ok. A mermaid. She lived with a mermaid now. She glanced over at Leo, who was still shovelling eggs into his mouth, but had that intense gaze fixed on her once more. So this place was a hide out specifically for people like her who had nowhere else to go, and no idea what they were doing. That was weirdly encouraging and depressing at the same time. She was expected to move on from here, to live on her own once she had a handle on her magic. She hadn't even accepted the fact that she had magic yet, but she was meant to leave once she had? Where could she possibly go? Even when she knew what she was doing, when she'd figured it all out, where was she meant to go? She hadn't even finished high school. She didn't have a job, and it was highly unlikely that she was ever going to be get one without a high school certificate or any tradeable skills. She could hardly go back to rehearsal-her family would have told everyone as soon as they saw them what a tragedy they'd been involved in. So what was she meant to do once this place was done with her too?
    She felt Leo's eyes on her, but kept staring resolutely at the table, jaw clenched, swallowing hard. There was time before then. She was in no condition right now to do anything about any of that but cry but she would do that later, in a bed, after food. Right now, she didn't want to think about that, she didn't want to think about her family, and she didn't really want to think about her magic either. Later, maybe. But not tonight, not right now. Taking a bite out of her toast, Callie nodded to Clarisse and Madi. "I thought there were more witches than creatures around."
     
  16. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    (No problem! I get being busy, not gonna judge.)

    Madi was the one to take over the conversation now, since Clarisse's initial answer to Callie's latest question was a slow shrug and shifty eyes. It was easy to forget how new she still was to the magical world, with how quickly she'd adapted. It'd taken her a few weeks, of course she didn't adjust immediately, but especially for a new immortal, she'd bounced back fast. But that also meant there was still a lot for her to learn that didn't directly involve vampires.

    "Th-there are." The witch spoke up, her voice annoyingly weak (at least to her) but still holding out alright. Somehow. The coffee had helped, but behind her trained, victim-comforting smile, she was still ready to go back to bed. And judging by the aura around this changeling, her own magic reserves weren't doing so hot either. She'd need to learn how to control that, but for now she just needed the basic stereotypes shut down. "B-but not as m-much as humans th-think. S-sixty/f-fourty? More c-creatures than-than you th-think..."
     
  17. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    "I guess I never really see them." Callie trailed off into silence. No need to ask why. There was a reason creatures and witches had to come to places like this, reasons Callie still didn't understand, but now at least had first hand experience with. "And I'm a...creature, right? A changeling? What does that even mean?"
    Callie waited for answers, letting the questions bubble over before her better sense could stop her asking them.
    "And, if I get mad or get shocked or something in here, am I nearly going to blow the place up?" May as well bite the bullet. Callie was tired, and she wanted to know if she was going to cause the apocalypse. It had gone about as bad as it could go, but it would be nice to know that these people could look after themselves if she exploded with fairy magic. She didn't know what had caused it. She didn't know what she'd done. She didn't know how to stop it. All she knew was that it was here now, and it didn't seem to care if she wanted it around or not.
     
  18. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    Oh god, this was the part Madi always dreaded. The onslaught of questions, which needed answers that she had to provide. They were important questions, and of course Madi didn't want anyone to stay in the dark, but if there were ever a time where she hated having a speech impediment, it was now. And every other time the job fell to her. Which included now.

    "The house's f-fortified." She made sure to say first, to quell the most panicked of Callie's worries. "Used t-to new mag-gic. You'll b-be fine. I'll g-give lessons, t-too. S-soon as I c-can. Not t-tonight."

    "Dude, I don't think either one'a you could handle doin' any more magic tonight."

    "Mhm." Another brilliant observation from Clarisse. Whose interjection reminded her of Callie's other question... "Ch-changelings're f-fairies. Lots of l-locks, p-protective sp-pells. S'p-posed to be s-safe with humans. N-never are. B-but fairies like t-tradition, s-so ch-changelings're made. D-don't have to c-call yourself a c-creature. J-just a t-term."
     
  19. _BB_

    _BB_ Resident Bard

    A fortified house? That made sense. This place must see a lot of new magic. If everyone's was like hers, she could see why that would need to happen. Callie's eyes fixed on the dark haired witch in the kitchen. She spoke shortly, directly, probably due to her stutter, Callie guessed, but directly worked well for her. She just wanted to know she wasn't going to hurt anyone. And magic lessons? That was good, right? Somewhere inside Callie, a flicker of light sparked in the darkness. She would be able to use magic. It wouldn't be like this forever. That was good.
    "Thank you," she said, shaking her head to acknowledge Clarisse's comment. One day, she could be excited about learning to use magic, but that wasn't tonight. Tonight, magic had hurt her more deeply than she'd ever been hurt before. "That'd be good."
    Protective spells? That wasn't what she'd done tonight. But Callie skipped over that for now. She didn't want to think too much about what she could do. There was something else weighing on her far more heavily right now. As the knowledge that she had magic settled within her, it made space for the colossal new reality that she hadn't considered yet to hit home. She wasn't human. "So. I'm a fairy? And-" She cut off unexpectedly, her throat closing up without her permission. Swallowing past it, her gaze briefly hitting the table before bouncing back up to Madi. "And I'm not actually related to my family? Just...clarifying, I guess."
    Callie knew better than to look at Leo right now. She could feel the intensity of his gaze. She could feel the pity. He really was a good guy.
     
  20. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    Thankfully for Callie, Madi didn't have any pity in her eyes. She had a good dose of sympathy, and a dash of understanding, but no pity. She just gave the newcomer a tiny nod, just enough to confirm her words to be true. That was all she needed right now, at least as far as Madi could tell. Family was a touchy topic for newcomers, whether they'd had loving families before coming here or not. It was up to the individual to sort out how they felt about the issue.

    Clarisse still hadn't quite learned that lesson, though. At least not when it came to other people. Leaving her own family was one of the bigger struggles she'd come to terms with, and even now she had a soft spot for the subject. As proven by her wrapping an arm around Callie's shoulders and saying "Hey, just 'cause they ended up bein' magiphobic assholes doesn't mean what you had while you were there was fake. Now you just got the chance to find better family, people who aren't magiphobic assholes. We're all easy contenders for that here, so don't get too lonely, 'kay?"
     

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