Fantastic Four

Avondale Woods 

 This whole thing required a particular formula: everyone having the same day open, while other people were likely to be at work, meeting up somewhere remote, so that they would be less likely to be noticed. It had finally come to fruition! Today was the day! Minerva was practically buzzing with excitement, a restless energy that had started buzzing through her the night before, making it hard to sleep. That, of course, left her no less energized this morning.

 Minerva had left a discrete trail from the parking lot all the way to the narrow clearing she had found, in the form of little maroon fish tank marbles. She would text this information to both Karim and Zachary accordingly.

 The clearing was not completely clear: it was freckled with trees of various age and size, and a few mossy stumps and oversized boulders. She didn't know what else to call it, though. It was unimportant in the face of what lay ahead! Learning about magic! Real magic! And getting to know people with magic! Or super powers, or X-men stuff... whatever. It was still a little surreal.

 The young woman sat on an old stump, booted feet knocking gently against the aged bark as she waited. In her hands were a pair of snake magnets that she twirled around one another aimlessly - a few more metal trinkets rested in her pocket, just in case. Waiting patiently was proving to be quite a challenging task, but she did her best, ears straining to pick up footsteps in the relative quiet of the woods. Only the birds chattered in the morning stillness.

@"Zachary Ellis" @"Karim Abdulrashid" @"Cassidy Morgan"


Agreeing to meet in the woods in the winter with a bunch of powered people was a silly enough premise to put Karim in good spirits. His hospital stay over, he was left with a sick Lichtenburg scar along his leg and lower torso. And there was the deafness in his left ear, and the fact that he had to somewhat rely on a cane to get around because his leg sometimes fell into spasms.

He'd fallen into a ritual of going outside to a clearing by his home and doing his best to spark out before carrying on with his day. It wasn't always perfect; he couldn't always make it happen. But it helped alleviate the fear that he might electrocute himself during a shower, or badly shock his one remaining goat pet.

And then, a thing he hadn't mentioned to Cass yet, was that sometimes when his fingers sparked particularly terribly, he would go into a seizure from the brightness. It had happened twice so far. Hopefully, it wouldn't be happening today.

He'd arrived with Cass. Just felt safer to be around an off switch.

He'd spot Minerva first and wave. "'At's her," he said to Cass. "Hey! S'me and Cass!"

"Cass" almost sounded like "gas" but not quite. His speech was doing its best to get consonants right again.


The weather had taken a nicer turn today, allowing the sun to come out for longer intervals. A clearer sky meant a clearer mind and that saved Zachary from trying to do something monumentally stupid, like trying to teleport to a location he'd never been before. Driving, while slowly becoming more tedious, was much preferred than getting lost, injured, or dead in the woods.

He'd found the small parking lot with little trouble and after a false start was able to start down the designated trail. A quick check of his phone had his eyebrows rising and his body stooping low, searching for the first colored marble. The memory of another white marble located on his nightstand put a halt in his steps. Ah, he never did see Ellie again did he. Time had passed long enough that he'd stopped wondering if she'd ever come visit the shop. A shame. Somberly, Zachary leaned down and pocketed one of the red marbles, it could join the other at home.

The small clearing was a good choice on Minerva's part. Loose gravel crunched under his boots as he broke through the densest part of the trees. He spotted her quickly, a hand raised in greeting that lowered as the other two came into view. Strangers didn't often give him nerves, but this could be considered a meeting of higher stakes.

It didn't stop his feet though and Zachary's steps made enough noise to alert them well in advance. He raised the hand again, this time waving. "Hey there! I'm Zachary."


"This is a fucking terrible idea." Morgan grumbled at Abdul as they followed a trail of marbles deeper into the woods. There was sense in keeping this meeting from prying eyes, but deep in the woods? Fuck's sake. She hunched her shoulders and pushed her hands deeper into the coat pockets, chin sunk into the charcoal scarf.

"Should have never let you talk me into this." The scarf muffled her complaints. It felt like they were walking into an ambush. And she wouldn't have entertained the meetup if it hadn't been for Abdul. He vouched for these other freaks, or at least one of them. The other was a rogue element, but at least she carried.

Cris had been her gateway into the supernatural and with her out the picture… well, she needed to step up. Curiosity drove her forward; curiosity and guilt. She eyed Abdul using a cane to walk. What the fuck had he done to himself? Morgan shouldn't have felt responsible, but she did. He dragged her from Wonderland… saved her life. And this was how she repaid that gesture? By not even knowing Abdul zapped himself into the hospital? She huffed.

Then they broached a clearing in the woods and Morgan got the first look at 'her'. Abdul waved, Morgan didn't, her hands firmly in her pockets. She twitched at the use of her name however; how much did this bitch know about her? Young… a fucking kid really. Cute, in an innocent way, unlike a lot of the kids Morgan had the misfortune of knowing professionally… like she had been at that age.

She eyed Karim as he limped along and she stalked closer; this was a terrible idea. Then another voice cut through the clearing and Morgan snapped a glance towards the newcomer; Zachary. This one looked older, thank fuck for that. She halfway entertained this to be an episode of Highschool Muscial… that was still what the kids watched, right?

"Cass." She offered once they drew together, chin still in her scarf.

 Minerva would find she did not have to wait too long, after all. She could hear the crunching of pine needles and dirt beneath their feet just moments before they came into view, and her face split into a mile-wide grin. Karim called out and she bounced off the stump with an enthusiastic wave. "Hey, me and Cass!" She called happily. She took a few steps closer, but would let them come the rest of the way into the patch of nature. Somewhere close, someone else was crunching through the grass in approach. That must be Zachary.

 And so it was! She saw his hand waving, and lifted hers to return the gesture. She! Was! So! Excited! Ahh! When they were all closer together, and names were beginning to be exchanged, Minerva would introduce herself to the one unknown and fellow lady. "I'm Minerva. Nice to meet you!" She piped to the woman. Then, to the boys, "It's nice to see you guys. I'm so pumped for this!" Except now, she didn't really know what she was doing. Jesus take the wheel.

Oh, Cass. She was the least cheerful person here, and it had him wondering sometimes why she liked being around him. He was perpetually doing his best to cheer her up.

Anyway, they were here, and soon enough so was everyone else. Including Zachary! Karim smiled at him, and Minerva too.

"Hey! Karim," he said, again his name kind of sounding like "Garim" but not entirely. But he extended a hand whenever Zachary neared, and once they were all gathered, he agreed. "So... I guess we could say what we all do? Like high school introductions. I do, uh. Elegtricity," he introduced with a sheepish laugh. "Lightning and stuff. Which isn't fun sometimes, but it can be cool. Oh! I can also charge phones with it, if any of you need a charge."

Keep it light. He'd spare them the electricity scar on his leg. He looked to whoever wanted to go next.

So he wasn't the only one! Not that he'd ever doubt Minerva, but finally seeing another male magic person in the flesh was such a relief. Woman deserved all the power, yes, he did not want to go down that wormhole. Still, batting at a eight to one average was enough to give a guy a complex. Kudos to Karim for contributing positively to the ratio. Unless his friend, Cass?, cancelled him out. Ah well, whatever. Somehow Zachary won the proverbial jackpot on having powers and he'd be forever grateful.

"Uh, I can go next? I can do things with ice." He held both hands aloft, unsure if they required a demonstration. "And recently I figured out I can teleport?" His added carefully, voice rising in pitch to form a question mark. Ugh no, that's wrong. He can teleport. He know this.

"No, I mean, I have two abilities. Ice and teleporting. Nice to meet you guys." A stellar introduction. Zachary wanted to smack himself.

Minerva and Zachary. Despite Morgan's reluctance to share her last name, she needed theirs. Minerva sounded unique enough to narrow down the background search, but Zachary here was a lost cause without a last name. How much did Abdul know about the girl and her friend… she'd ask later.

"Nice to meet you too." Morgan parroted, but didn't share the woman's exuberance. This was fun and games to Minerva; she eyed Zach. He was harder to read. Surely Abdul understood this was more than some mutant afterschool club.

Abdul was first to dive in and explain his power and Morgan smirked in her scarf. He wasn't getting near her phone. Zach was next. Ice and teleportation? Her eyes widened. He could fucking teleport? Morgan bit back a curse and shook her head, marking her luck. Also… also… AND. Bastard had two fucking powers, and she just upset powered people. Asshole.

Morgan felt eyes on her, next in line, and she drew in an annoyed breath. This was it. She took the plunge when every instinct said keep quiet. "I'm the reason none of you can use your powers right now." Lips pressed into a thin line, she shrugged and slipped further into the scarf's folds, waiting for someone to try.

 Minerva listened raptly to each of them. Karim could charge your phone, or... blow it up, but she would keep that potentially mean joke to herself, grinning privately. Zachary went next, and her grin grew some as he stated his abilities, then went over them again in a different way - more confidence, maybe? Yes, he could freeze your cat toys and take you places in such a way that could save you lots on gas money! Her eyes turned to Cass then, who spoke with a dry sort of humor as far as Minnie could tell. The proverbial off switch, and she seemed to be a little shy about it. Maybe just a shy lady in general! That was okay!

 It seemed it would be her turn now. "I can do things with metal," she piped with a little bounce on the balls of her feet. "I just don't really know how to make it happen when I want it to." A sheepish laugh, her hands squeezing together in front of her, the little magnets rolling against her palms. "So I'm kind of hoping to figure out how to like. Make that happen today." She shot a grin to Zach and then looked at Cass, eager in her curiosity. "Have you had your power for a long time?" Maybe she would be the most experienced among them?

Dude next to him could do things with ice? That was probably pretty sick in the winter, Karim thought, and also pretty useful in the summer if you could just make ice and keep yourself cool all the time. Goals.

But then he could do something else?! Karim's eyes bugged in surprise. Teleporting! For real! What the heck, that was amazing!

Karim's jaw kinda dropped, and he slid in a "Nice, dude!" like a total bro. Cass was next, and he was glad she contributed, even if she was being a bit of an ornery teenager about it. But she was in good company for youngsters anyway, so hopefully she'd warm up. He offered her a smile. She was the reason he wasn't lighting up like a tree, too.

Minerva was last, and he already knew about her power. Super metal. The next bit was a good slide into why they were all here.

She asked Cass directly, so he was quiet for that, scooting a little closer to Zach kinda and really wanting to ask so? "How'd you get two?" he murmured kinda low voiced but not completely inaudibly.

His hands lowered as the rest made their introductions. The other woman (Cass? She hadn't confirmed), threw everyone a curveball by revealing she could somehow turn off other powers? What on Earth, he had to see for himself. Curling his fingers, he tried to bring up a small amount of ice to coat his fingertips, but to his surprise nothing came. He could feel the tell-tale signs of the power collecting under the skin, but it failed to to ever breach the surface.

How incredible and terrifying.

Zachary shook his hand to play things off and attempted to join the conversation again. It was then he noticed Karim had moved closer with a question. He'd also like to know why the two powers, considering they had nothing in common. He brought his hands back up and looked at them like maybe they held the answers. "It's a funny story actually. I know someone else with electricity and she caused a power outage that freaked me out so bad I disappeared on the spot and reappeared outside." Zachary scratched at his forearm, offering a tentative smile. "As to why though, I'm completely in the dark."

Metal. Ice. Teleportation. Electric. Quite the rag-tag group of powers. Morgan didn't know how to make sense of them, didn't even know if there was sense to it. This was uncharted territory and Morgan was already out of her depth. She envied their excitement and their willingness to confess to complete strangers. That level of trust wasn't in her.

But if Minerva intended to make it happen today she'd have to do it at least six feet from her. Morgan smirked at that, already feeling on the out with the group.

"Six months or so." Her best guess all things considered. For all Morgan knew this ability was hers to own since birth and just another memory claimed by vampires. Maybe it had an off switch has Cris insisted, and she just forgot how to use it. Perhaps a call home would have settled Morgan's questions, but her and Wendy weren't on speaking terms. But then when her power manifested or even how didn't figure into the equation. Knowing wouldn't change what she was.

One of them tested her and Morgan felt pressure thrum like a low guitar chord behind her eyes. The pressure ebbed almost immediately and Morgan only noticed because she'd been waiting for it. She glanced between the three. Doubtful Abdul needed any more proof.

As Abdul and Zach forged on with their side conversation, she felt obliged to continue talking with Minerva. "So yours is new then?" Stupid fucking question.

 Six months or so! Well, Minerva was only very slightly disappointed - she realized somehow she had been counting on this woman to have been the most experienced out of them, but that was what she got for making assumptions. She grinned all the same, glancing at the boys as they talked. Zachary had some interesting stories! And apparently he would be the most seasoned among them. Her attention snapped back to Cass at the question she was asked, grinning brightly. "Brand spankin' new," she confirmed happily. Tentatively, she added, "So, how does your... off switch work? Can you like. Turn it off? Is that something you're wanting to practice today?" A glance at the men again. That, or she guessed... they wouldn't be practicing at all? Wow, she felt really bad for thinking that.

Oh. Oh! That was more than funny, it was an intense story.

"That's gra- crazy. Maybe the elegtricity... gave you a new power? I'll try zapping you and see if you get a third."

Except that was a terribad idea. Karim smiled to shake his head.

A glance to Cass and Minerva. "So how long have you... done ice?"

"Hah, I think I'm good with just the two." Even if Karim's joke turned out to be true, Zachary would rather not have the experience of electrocution under his belt. He got all squeamish just thinking about it.

The other ask, he could answer confidently. "God, it's been four years now." He loosened his crossed arms, trying once more to call up the ice. Nothing again, but he expected it this time. "I still feel like a novice though, which is why I'm excited for the chance to practice."

Zachary kept most of his attention on Karim, but moved to turn slightly towards the girls. He'd caught the tail end of Minerva question, one that he was also curious about.

Three questions came in quick succession and Morgan stared wide-eyed for a moment. Morgan didn't realize when she took Abdul up on his offer there would be an inquisition involved. No answers came. Pensive, she spared the boys a glance. They continued to chat amongst themselves and Morgan turned back to Minerva.

"It just… stops them. Powers just don't work around me." Morgan shrugged then felt the pressure behind her eyes thrum again and ignored it. "Haven't found a way to shut it off yet."

Morgan eyed Abdul when considering the final question. He convinced her to come. She hadn't bothered to ask why he wanted from all this. Was she here to practice? It didn't sound like a bad idea. Understanding how this worked felt important. "Yeah. I guess. That… and curiosity." She said, facing Minerva again. "Haven't met too many others."

 Minnie would not miss the slight widening of Cass's eyes as she fired off a round of questions, feeling a little sheepish despite being really curious to know the answers. The woman was, as she had been so far, calm and reserved as she responded. Her answer did at least inspire a feeling of kinship - she knew what it was and what it did, but she didn't really know how to manage it. At any rate, Minerva figured she should reign it in a little bit for the other lady's sake. A watched pot never boils.

 "Yeah, me neither," she said with a small smile, angling her body a little so that she faced all three of them somehow. "You three are the only ones I've met. I mean, that I know of, anyway." Who knew how many others she had met and it went right over her head? That could be said for a lot of things. She looked at Zachary then with a bright grin. "So? Should we get started? Do you have any tips for us, oh icy wise one?" He'd been "gifted" longer than all of them combined. Maybe he had a trick or two up his sleeve.

Four years. Jeez. Dude was a grand master compared to the rest of them. Karim nodded to the last bit; right, let's get to it.

Minnie led the way, and he took his place by Cass to let Zachary be the teacher.

They all turned towards him and Zachary didn't know what to say. It would never be inspiration or exactly what they wanted to hear, so he swallowed back nerves and went with complete honestly.

"I'd love to have all the answers guys, but everyone's power and how it affects you varies." He had personal experience with this. Kaylee's teleportation instruction rocketed his own understanding with his power, but not because she gave him a step by step guide, he simply got a chance to stop and listen to his own triggers.

"I think it comes down to accepting the power as a part of you and not just an unfortunate addition. It took me years to be comfortable with the ice and now I rely on it." Zachary let out a breath, hand moving to scratch the back of his neck. "I say we use today to get more comfortable with just trying the power out and seeing what we're capable of. Make challenges for each other, try having fun." A small smile appeared, as he eyed each of them, hopeful they agreed.

Accept the power as a part of you and not some unfortunate addition. Morgan frowned as she considered it. Hearing Zachary say that he relied on his power made her scowl. This wasn't something Morgan intended to rely upon, or knew how to. These powers weren't a crutch to get through the day or a party trick to chill your beer. They were…? Well, she didn't know what they were, and that was half the problem.

Cris seemed comfortable enough with all this, enough to talk openly with strangers on the topic. She would have liked this mutant mishmash; so many powers for her to play with… as long as Morgan was at least six foot away. She rocked on her heels and listened to the task, but the thoughts in her head were louder.

Morgan blinked and realized Zach had stopped speaking. He wanted them to have fun. Only one thought came to mind just then. They would have more fun with their powers without her. More and more this felt like a mistake. Morgan considered bouncing, but fuck… Abdul had driven and they were in fucking Avondale. Uber was too expensive, and she wasn't about to demand Abdul take her home.

Well, if they were going to do this... "May as well make this easer." Morgan smiled wryly and took three long steps backwards, hands slipping from her pockets. She gestured for them to begin.

 Minnie was quickly coming to realize that there was no big secret rule book on how to wield one’s magic powers. She had hoped that one of these people would be able to unlock some kind of key element that would make her an instant master of metal, but alas. She simply nodded for Zachary’s advice and suggestion, then turned to watch Cass as she began to step backwards.

 The girl frowned, a genuinely sad sort of look as the woman talked. She didn’t want her to feel left out, but... she also didn’t want to force her into doing something if she was already seeming uncomfortable. "Aw. Well. If you wanna look for that off switch." She left it at that, giving a forlorn little smile. She wished she could help. For now, she would focus on herself she supposed, turning away to go and put the magnets in her hand down on the stump she’d been sitting on. Then, she would stand there and stare at them with an open hand, trying to will them into her palm.

He listened raptly as Zachary spoke. Dude sold himself short, but... four years trumped six months, every time, so he might as well just own it.

The instruction came with a set goal — getting comfortable. And no lie, after his experience with shocking the shit out of himself, he was not very comfortable. And it felt worse as Cass started moving away, trying to isolate herself; he felt the familiar buzzing feeling in his fingers, telling him to let out whatever had built up under her nullification.

Gravitating towards her enough to keep himself back in that safe bubble, Karim spoke up after Minnie.

"Yeah, let's... I don't really wanna shock myself again," he laughed. Besides that, Cass was so eager to not include herself, and he wanted her to stop it. "So let's work on seeing if you can turn it off first."

His impromptu speech appeared to both succeed and flop. Better than he expected, honestly.

They were moving again, so Zachary waited for someone else's cue. It came from Cass, moving back to distance herself and that left a sour taste in his mouth. Her power was understandably a more challenging one, and they'd need a work around to help her practice. But, it looked like both Karim and Minerva were on board and who knows, they might actually get Cass to crack a smile at the end.

As she had moved away, Zachary's ice had crawled forward to complete its earlier task. He let it build into a compact fist-sized ball. "If anyone wants I can offer up target practice." He wondered for a brief moment if Cass' power could stop a flying snowball.

Her stepping back wasn't entirely disengaging from the group of freaks. It played a part, but largely the distance allowed them to emerge from her smothering presence and do what they came here to do. Morgan was also interested in seeing just what they were capable of, and she wasn't disappointed as a snowball coalesced in Zach's hand. Her eyes widened and she twitched a grin, her mind taking precious seconds to comprehend.

Maybe he'd disappear next and they could go home. Maybe he could teleport her home? Could he send people places? No… unhelpful. Morgan chided herself and Abdul moved closer. She raised an eyebrow at his approach, then felt the pressure behind her eyes. The white encroached by degrees into her iris'. Morgan cleared her throat as Abdul contradicted himself.

"Right. You don't want to shock yourself and you want me to turn this shit off." She smirked, not really getting it, but who was she to argue.

 Minerva listened to the exchange over her shoulder, allowing herself a moment of distraction and smiling a little. Even if she hadn’t felt qualified to press at Cass, it was nice that Karim seemed to know her well enough to do it. Zachary offered target practice, which... sounded dangerous for him, actually. Still, she would acknowledge him with a little "Okay!"

 Okay. Focus. Minerva stared at the magnets with a renewed zeal, and for a moment, there was nothing. Come on, come on, magic. Work! More nothing. She huffed a sigh, wiggling her fingers impatiently, and would be rewarded with a noticeable wiggle from the magnets that made her eyes - purple now, unbeknownst to her - widen. Focus focus focus! She looked at her hand now, the gears in her head slowly turning, then back at the magnets. Her fingers curled inward in a “come hither” motion, and it was like a crazy dream to watch the magnets soar into her hand.

 Don’t scream. Don’t do it. Minerva held a big breath in, but it burst out in a bewildered laugh, a mile-wide grin on her face. She didn’t really know just yet how she’d done it, but she did it. Cautiously, she looked over her shoulder to observe the rest of them. Maybe no one else had paid attention to that.

"I mean like- you know what I mean!" he huffed, hands on his hips briefly. But god, it did feel good to be normal, even as he could note the different color of Cass' eyes.

"I'm uh. I'm trying to dial it down, whatever's trying to happen." Briefly, he glanced back, smiling to Zach and Minnie. Interacting with four people simultaneously was hard. Zach had a fucking magic snow ball in his hand, and Minnie... well, he saw that.

"Jeez!" he called out. "Someone's a master already!"

He looked back to Cass. "Did it... stop?"


He almost missed the performance, face breaking into a huge smile at Minerva's dumbfounded expression. "Whoa!" Zachary never doubted Minerva's power, but holy cow was it still mind boggling to see in person.

Snowball held securely, Zachary moved back into the assumed range of Cass' power, adding a new layer of ice as quickly as possible. A few more steps and the negation cemented in place. No more ice, but the snowball remained. Zachary eyebrows scrunched together as inspected the ball. Huh, so she couldn't stop something already created.

Zachary halted his steps next to Karim, swapping the ice ball from his right hand to his left. A compliment was given to Cass. "Your power's pretty incredible." Then, a request for Karim. "As long as it doesn't hurt you, I'd love to see your electricity in action. From a safe distance of course." He smiled with a bit of humor.

Anyone want a snowball?

More focused on Abdul than the others, she started when he called out. Following his eye, and while she missed whatever it was, Morgan assumed Minerva channeled her ability if the girl's frantic laugh was anything to go by. The pure joy on display thawed Morgan by degrees. It evoked opening gifts on a Christmas morning; or at least that's what Morgan assumed it should have felt like.

Morgan turned back to Abdul as he asked and shook her head. Still taken aback by these people like her and their abilities, she was content to watch and let them do their thing. To her surprise, Zachary approached with a snowball in hand. Frozen layers coalesced along the exterior at a shocking speed. It was amazing and felt like a time-lapse film. He crossed her threshold, and the lamination ceased. Morgan blinked as something plucked deep in her mind. The pressure was greater that time. More color bled from her eyes.

Guess she could try. "Alright, get ready, Abdul." Morgan exhaled and sought the center that eluded her since childhood. Still finding it easier to grasp the heart of her power by focusing inward, Morgan closed her eyes. It took a second and her breath hitched as she found it. Then Morgan squeezed. The field quivered at the border; the interruption syncopated through the nullifying space until it collapsed inward.

 It had been seen! Minerva grinned a little to herself, glad that there was at least some witnessing to her power, especially from herself. To see it, to know it was really real, solidified her joy. She stared at the magnets in her hand again, willing them to go back to the stump. Nothing, again; she tried flexing her fingers outward instead, hoping that would send them flying back, but whatever she had just grasped moments ago suddenly evaded her again. She would not be discouraged, darn it!

 Cass spoke to Karim, warning him to get ready, and that was enough to draw Minnie's attention away from her own antics again. Zach was right to be wary, even if he was being a jokester. She turned fully, shuffling a few wary steps closer to them, but still a small distance behind the men. Cass was closing her eyes, and while Minnie was tempted to ask if it was working or get closer to see if she could feel a difference, she was somewhat apprehensive. Mostly of getting electrocuted. Instead, she resigned herself to silently cheering Cass on in her head, staring intently at her.

No stopping. Okay. This thing was like some kind of untameable horse or something. Except he had to tame it because honestly electricity had the capacity to kill. He should know — he had nearly died from it.

Zachary came to them and he saw, as the guy stepped in Cass' range, that the snowball continued to exist. How? Though it wasn't like it was still... doing cool formy things.

Get ready. He looked back at her and tell his own hesitation. Truthfully, it was safe here, selfish as it was to give her headaches. But.

He held his hands outwards in the opposite direction from everyone else, readying himself. And then, like the throttle of a motorcycle engine, he felt it surging furiously outwards with the barest chance it was given. A respectably but not insanely overpowered bolt racing out towards the sky. Which probably confused the sky.

"Holy shit," was a thought he never failed to think, but also sometimes said it out loud, like now.

The invisible barrier around Cass fell away, and like before, the excess ice that had been held back bubbled up from his fingers and completed its final layer over the snowball.

He was in the process of tossing the snowball up, a pleased look on his face, when Karim turned away and discharged a shot of electricity straight into the sky. It happened all at once, eyes widening in shock, a jolt of surprise, and then a fluttering sensation running like a current under his skin. "Oh shi-." His body flickered and then vanished, transported away.

The snowball hung in midair before splattering on the ground.

Please skip Zachary for the next 2 rounds. He will return on the 3rd 8D


To those watching, hers was an unimpressive display. Her power was a subtle manifestation without fanfare or celebration. If it wasn't for the stupid face she made reining in the field, none were the wiser. Well, except those close enough to feel Morgan's oppression end and the breadth of their power return.

Abdul was quick to capitalize on the opportunity and Morgan felt the hairs on her arms stand on end as he manifested his power. The air sizzled with static electricity, tingling her skin into goosebumps. Shying away from the thrum in the air, Morgan dared to steal a glance.

And Zachary was gone. The snowball hit the ground.

Standing straighter, eyes open now, she stared at the space Mr. Freeze stood not a second before. Control lapsing, the field rubber-banded back and slapped aside any further displays of power. An incredulous glare pinned the snowball to the ground, her brow furrowing. Pieces came together and she turned in wide-eyed awe, taking in both Abdul and Minerva.

"Did he just fucking…?" Morgan trailed off, unable to say the words. An unhinged laugh burbled up. Lips pressed tightly together to stifle her laugh, she shook her head. Far past rationalizing the supernatural away, the truth still chipped at her sanity. "Sssooo, he just. He can just… did he go…" Morgan covered her mouth.

"And you!" She turned on Abdul. The hairs still stood on end.

 She had been staring at Cass, but she should have been watching Karim. The bolt of lightning startled her enough to make her let out a little shriek, cringing back from the mighty display and sending the magnets in her hand flying off somewhere in the brush.

 It was a lot to process, and once she’d managed to unfreeze herself she would let out a cackling laugh. Karim had made lightning, which meant Cass had successfully found some kind of off switch, and also Zachary was just gone. Disappeared into literal thin air.

 "Oh, my god," she said, clapping as she trotted closer to the two, still grinning stupidly. "That was awesome," she applauded Karim first - he hadn’t cooked anyone or anything, yay! - and then to Cass, "You did it!" Genuine excitement all around. "I hope Zach can uh. Find his way back. I wonder where he went."

"Uh, what just..." was Karim's mumbled reaction to Zach's disappearance, but then as he turned his head he remembered the whole teleportation thing just about when Cass was realizing things and Minerva started laughing.

Sheepishly, he laughed also. "Me! Yeah. I do that sometimes." Alright, cool guy. Let's not talk about the times you zapped yourself and yelped like a little girl about it. Or the mega zap that landed you in the hospital and also the fact that you're probably long term deaf in one ear.

Agreed with a nod about Zach hopefully making it back? Maybe by teleporting? But hopefully not in Cass' bubble, which he could now feel had returned with a vengeance.

"How did it feel for you guys?" he asked, figuring maybe they should just... stay here? "Controlling your... powers."

Did Cass' headache disappear?

Morgan stifled a harsh laugh. The implication she just controlled her power was hilarious. If anything, it felt like holding her breath underwater and calling it breathing. Everyone she encountered believed these forces were theirs to wield, tools at their disposal. Morgan never had that impression.

However, she understood their point of view and found it difficult to begrudge. It was easier to believe you were in control when the trigger sat at your fingertips. Zachary made a snowball of the very air, a quintessential demonstration of control. The power was his to bring forth.

Her dullness, however, slumbered until provoked. There was no wielding that. Abdul was at the mercy of his power and so was Zach if his sudden disappearance was anything to go by. Warning signs all around her, maybe being a nothing in this mutant maelstrom wasn't such a bad thing.

Morgan turned on the spot and scoped out the multiple paths that ended in their clearing. She half expected Zach to walk down one of them soon. Minerva's question had her thinking more about teleportation. It baffled the mind and Morgan didn't consider the mechanics behind his power long before a headache started to gather behind her eyes.

The pain would increase the longer she remained, Morgan was sure. She eyed the sources of her discomfort, but didn't distance herself. This was something she needed to endure if ever she was to understand it.

"Does he just…" Her hand waved towards where Zachary had been. "Do this often?" She looked to Minerva for an answer.

 Karim asked how it felt, and Minerva reeled from the question a little bit as Cass laughed. Now she wasn't sure she had been present enough in the moment. "It was cool, I mean, but. I didn't really feel anything different? That I noticed?" Her face sort of scrunched up on one side, adding to the overall vibe of uncertainty that was probably radiating off of her. Sheepishly, she grinned and shrugged, regretting her lack of awareness now.

 "Boy, I have no idea," she confessed to the older woman as she was looked to, laughing and looking around. Poor Zach. She worried about him a little, still wondering where on literal Earth he had transported himself to. She bent to pick up the snowball he had left behind, already softening and losing its crystalline binding, dripping cold water down her hand. "I think he does it on accident when he gets freaked out," she suggested, recalling his discovery story in their text messages.

Not much of an answer from Cass besides a laugh. And Minerva didn't notice anything either. Hm.

He did laugh nervously at the explanation of Zach's teleporting.

"My bad. Well. Maybe he can learn to get that under control too if I zap around him enough."

Maybe he was trying to right now?

"You think he can take people with him?"

Incoming announcement from your premature teleportation spokesperson.

Hello, premature teleportation is a silent epidemic that if not treated properly will result in a high percentage of patients dying of mortification. A quick death, brought on by the circumstance of teleporting directly into the back room of your place of employment and nearly braining yourself on the stock shelves, followed by a series of dizzy spells before attempting to teleport back.

This is a serious condition, of which doctors have no cure. :<

The voice over ended as Zachary touched down beside his car and promptly fell on his ass with a groan. He picked himself up, albeit very wobbly, and walked slowly towards the clearing again. He'd be there in a minute, which should be just enough time to pull himself together and pretend everything was back to normal.

Morgan chuckled at the fight or flight reflex that took you to another area code. It was god damned amazing. She shook her head then stared at Abdul after he asked about whether Zach could take people with him. Her head shake resumed with more vigor. It wasn't something Morgan wanted to try… just turning up a pile of goop or with all your insides on the outside. She made a face. Nope. This all was very unnatural.

She breathed out and watched their surroundings, wondering instead if their teacher would suddenly reappear. After a moment she turned back to the pair, eventually settling on Minerva. "So. Metal… how'd you figure that out?"

 "I think so," she said to Karim with a focused sort of expression, nodding her head. She grinned a little then, realizing how many questions they all had about everything. There must be a wealth of knowledge waiting to be learned about all these different powers. Cass was speaking to her then, and Minnie shoved her hands into her pockets, trying to warm her chilly fingers up.

 "Well. I met Zachary at the pet shelter I volunteer at and he told me he could uh. Feel a magic aura around me, or something, I can't remember his exact words. Then I had a friend tell me he thought it might be metal, and I confirmed that when I broke Karim's watch," she said sheepishly, grinning apologetically at the man.

"Wait," Karim said politely when it was his turn to speak after all previous dialogue had been spoken.

He should probably ask Zach but Zach wasn't actually here right now. (Unbeknownst to Karim, he soon would be.)

"What did he mean by a magic aura?"

Oh thank goodness, they were still there. Maybe he hadn't been gone too long. Zachary could have stopped and checked his phone of course, but he wasn't really thinking intelligently at the moment with the whole dizzy spells and you know, magically transporting himself across town.

He stepped out from the trees, walking directly towards the group exactly as he did earlier today. No one had moved out of the makeshift circle, but he couldn't tell if Cass' power was back online or not.

"Hey guys, took a short detour across town, but I'm back." He played if off as nonchalantly as possible, complete with reassuring smile. A tiny tremor in his hand was the only tell that he was still feeling the after affects. "Like I mentioned, the teleportation is still new."

Morgan blinked and shook her head. Maybe it was the pain nestled neatly behind her eyes, but Minerva's answer made no sense. She tracked through and hadn't misheard. Magic auras reminded Morgan of hippie crystal shit. Were they going to cleanse their chakras next? Morgan grinned at her flippantness, but Abdul pressed Minerva for an answer. She raised an eyebrow, glad he hadn't known about this either.

"Yeah, what about these auras?" Did she have an aura or did her power nullify that as well? Morgan looked at her hands and frowned.

Then branches broke and leaves crunched underneath. Morgan turned and Zachary marched towards them, offering explanation for his absence as he approached. His nonchalance worried her. What if he had a teleport accident while driving? This wasn't something to be shrugged aside.

"Welcome back."

 Karim had a question she couldn't rightly answer, and Cass made it clear she was equally curious. Minerva wished she could enlighten them further, but could only offer a sheepish look as she shrugged her shoulders gently. "I don't really have any idea," she confessed with a nervous sort of laugh.

 With almost serendipitous timing, Zach returned, walking up the path as if he had only just now shown up. Minnie grinned at him - at least he hadn't been gone long enough to incite serious worry. "Glad you found your way back! Can you tell these guys about the way you felt my uh, aura thingy?"

Hey! It was Zach, back for the attack. He chuckled at the sheepishness, and then totally appreciated it when Minerva was ready to turn the question to him.

And so he... waited? Glancing at Cass because she was also curious, it seemed.

Zachary caught up with the rest, eager to put the little mishap behind him. He'd been expecting some ribbing or a curious inquiry about his whereabouts, but the presented question was new.

"I'll do my best to explain." He offered cautiously. There was a slight pause as he pondered the possibility of Cass' power somehow stopping him, but Zachary continued anyway. "It's really similar to calling up my power, but instead I tap just in the underlying energy, that feeling right before you let your power loose. Then I sorta push out that energy." He kept his eyes open, allowing them to see as they bleed heavily into white. "When I meet others like us and release that energy I feel their own push right back. Like a built in sonar." Each of them pushed back against him now, a something extra which loudly confirmed they had a power. He let out a breath and tilted his head, gesturing for them to try.

The feeling right before you call up your power? That would be right before she smothered that inky mass inside her and held it tight. Cass frowned, realizing she would likely need to do the opposite of what Zachary said. Fuck, was this always going to be backwards for her? But what was this underlying energy he pushed out? The frown turned into a thoughtful scowl. She had felt no other energy when delving into the center of her power.

Cass didn't try, not just yet. "What does it tell you… the return signature? It tell you what they can do?" Now that would be useful. Trained operators could tell a lot from a sonar return.

 Zachary said he would do his best, but to Minerva it sounded like a lot of French. She wasn't sure exactly how she called up her power, wasn't really familiar with the way it felt. It reminded her to be more present as she practiced. Still, she kept his explanation in mind - maybe it would make more sense to her later on down the road. For now, she just sort of nodded and smiled, keeping her struggle to herself. She didn't miss his gesture, though. Um. Heh.

 She squinted, trying to... imagine herself moving metal or something. Nothing seemed to happen except for Minerva's face muscles scrunching up in vain, though they relaxed as she looked at Cass. She knew the answer to that question, but remained quiet, letting Zach talk about it. Instead, she took another step or two backwards, keeping close, but wondering if distance between her and the other woman would help her figure out that feeling. Still, nothing.

Karim also was listening. Cass asked something good, and he frowned to himself, thoughtfully.

He'd...well. Sometimes he'd seen stuff around people. Literal auras. And he wasn't sure if that was this, or...

Anyway, it always seemed to happen kind of by accident. Or maybe when he was tired. Or on guard. Or all of the above. And he wasn't sure what it meant.

Karim tried to be... all of those things. Tense. Tired. Accidental.

Nothing :<

Another flop. Two for two. Zachary would be booed straight out of the Apollo.

He signed, eyes returning to their normal color. Everyone would have to find their own trigger it seemed, his unwavering optimism delivering a heavy dose of reality once again. "No, I can't tell another person's power only that they have something." He also couldn't assume that everyone could do it. He knew one, no two others that figured it out.

"I have a friend whose really good at reading others, but even she couldn't tell the exact type, so she just asks you point blank." Cris would be a much better teacher of this whole reading auras thing, or on second thought maybe not. She wasn't really the patient type.

He smiled reassuringly at the others, at the very least they now were aware of the possibility.

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