O Brother, WTF

Cedar Creek 
@"Joaquin Heartgrove"

 He was in a hospital, he was capable of texting, which meant he was okay, right? He had said he was, and he was being taken care of and he was alive. These were all good things. Minerva reminded herself of all these things during the whole drive to the hospital in Cedar Creek. It was not a great looking place, but there were worse ways for him to be. Like dead.

 Obtaining his room number from the information desk, Minerva walked briskly through the halls, fidgeting in the elevator, anxious to get to him. She hardly knocked on his door before barging in, and was at least somewhat relieved to just see him in person. "Hey," she breathed, coming to hover against the side of his bed. "What happened?"

Joaquin was all wrapped up and x-rayed and all that. At this point he was just. There. In the bed. Feeling pretty dumb. And even dumber as his little sister flew in and he could see her very very worried face.

"Hey," he smiled, all Hollywood style weak and shit. "S'my fault. Went to a fight club and got clubbed."

Grimace face!

 A fight club.

 Minerva wasn't really mad, just. Her mouth hung open a little, her expression now one of mild confusion as her brain processed the information. It was hard to imagine Joaquin in a fight club. He was an adult, he could do whatever he wanted, right? But.

 She sort of laughed as she spoke. "Why?"

What did she mean why. He did something between a frown and a pout at her laugh and honestly that was kinda mean.

"Because I... I dunno. I was just gonna watch and then I kinda wanted to get in there."

He would have shifted in the bed but a break in the torso meant he literally couldn't move.

"Why does anyone do dumb stuff."

 He frowned at her, and Minerva experienced instant regret. Oops :( He explained, and while she didn't really understand, she guessed... she kind of did. She hummed at his rhetorical question, nodding her head softly and moving to grab a chair, pulling it over to sit close to him. "I'm sorry," she said softly. "Must have been a tough guy to break your chest. Did they put screws or anything in there?" A question with a point, really.

Normally he wouldn't need an apology, but considering the moment, he'd take it. Joaquin turned his hand over in the bed next to him, if she wanted to take it.

"No, thank God," he murmured. "They had to monitor in case it... got my heart, or whatever. But it's mostly just gonna take a few months for things to be back to normal. Ice and painkillers and stuff's gonna be my life for a while."

The pain was the worst part, the feeling that he had to suffer through any deep breaths he wanted to take.

"Sorry I worried you though."

 No screws was a good thing for more than one reason. Minerva smiled weakly for it, grabbing his hand, leaning against the cheap hospital mattress as she did so.

 "Yeah. It's okay. I'm glad it's not worse," she said with a little nod. "Are we not telling mom and dad about this?" Jeez, she couldn't imagine mom handling it well. Keeping secrets from them wasn't ideal, but it was a habit she had gotten into a lot lately. Joaquin was quickly becoming her family confidant.

There were two routes to go about this. The good way and the smart way.

"Absolutely not a word. I'll go underground if I have to. Imagine dad's reaction when I say I got this in a fight?"

He'd send him back to the military, probably.

"Just tell them I walked into the mailbox or something."

 She nodded grimly for his response, her free hand drawing an "x" over her heart as a symbol of her oath to secrecy. His excuse made her grin, though she did bite back another laugh. "I don't know if they'd believe that. Maybe... a horse kicked you," she offered thoughtfully, one shoulder rising in a physical display of her uncertainty.

That was like a billion times more believable. He huffed a little laugh and then groaned because surprise that hurt.

"That was so smart. You're like. The smartest out of all of us. You know that, right?" he asked, squeezing her hand a bit and looking at her. How'd he get such a smart sister?

Or, more like, how'd the whole family get him? It wasn't like his dad was particularly dumb. Joaquin just did all the dumb things. Probably for attention, ugh.

 He laughed, then groaned, and Minerva would cringe a little for him, face scrunching up in sympathy. Then it was her turn to laugh, giggling genuinely at his words. She didn't think so. He was definitely smarter than her, even if he got punched so hard he broke a bone she didn't know could be broken and then planned to blame it on the mailbox. She looked away, shaking her head with a grin as she squeezed his hand back.

 "I have a secret for you too," she sighed heavily. If she stopped and waited for a response she might never spit it out, so she barrelled forward. "I found out I have a magic power and I can control metal." It came out fast, all her words running together, and it was only after she'd stopped speaking that she would look back up at Joaquin again with a wide-eyed look, lips pressed together against her teeth.

Oh. Well. That was definitely. Something.

He was some kind of hypocrite, lying there, letting this knowledge hit him in the face and being stunned that she'd managed to hide it from him. But he was even more stunned that his sister was... magical. And that word was not meant in a very light-hearted way.

"Oh," he managed, not sure where to go on this. He chewed on his lip, looking up at the ceiling as if maybe there might be an answer written on the tiles. "That's."

Something. Well. Don't say something.

"How do you know?" he asked very stupidly, as if she'd just make that up on the spot out of nowhere. Maybe ten years ago, but this was not ten years ago.

 Oh? Minerva immediately began to regret her confession a little bit. Joaquin didn’t like vampires or werewolves - maybe he also didn’t like this. Would this make him not like her anymore?

 He asked a question that didn’t make him seem disgusted or anything. She released his hand in favor of trapping her own between her knees, fingers interlocking nervously. "Well. A guy came into the shelter and said he was magic - he can control ice - and that he could tell that I was magic too somehow. And then I... I've noticed when I have strong emotions, metal things move or break and stuff. I don’t know how to control it yet." She looked at him imploringly. "It’s not a bad thing, is it?"

He was silent a few seconds after she spoke, mouth opening once as if to say something and then... closing again.

Was it a bad thing? She wasn't a vampire. Or a shifter. Just.

If anything, he wondered if he was mostly hurt that she had kept it from him all this time. Or. Well.

"When was that?" he asked carefully, favoring his own question instead of hers for now.

The absence of her hand felt weighty, and his fingers twitched against the feeling belatedly.

 No confirmation or denial was disconcerting. Instead he just went in for another question, and Minerva took a moment to keep herself from tearing up, even though a steady lump of worry grew in her throat already. "Like. December," she said, her voice a little squeaky. She left it at that, staring at him intently.

It felt like she was shrinking, for all that he was the one broken on the bed.

December... hmm. "Well," he started, trying to figure out what the hell he was supposed to feel about it, and the fact that he was a goddamned hypocrite. Sigh.

Sigh, Joaquin. He even sighed out loud.

"Just... don't freak out, okay?" he asked, and then his face started to just... melt. And. Reform. Into...

...A very similar likeness to Chris Pratt.

 Well? WELL?? Minerva’s little heart might as well have grown arms and started shaking her ribs like prison bars. Then he was asking her not to freak out, putting her in the beginning of a tailspin, her face crumpling into a look of confusion, and then.

 He said not to freak out! But it was hard not to. She choked on air, holding down a shriek of surprise, clapping a hand over her mouth. Eventually, when the transformation was complete, her hand would drop to reveal a big goofy grin. As the shock fell away enough to speak, all she could manage was, "Oh my god that’s crazy. How long have you been able to do THAT?"

She did her best. He tried not to kind of laugh about it, if in part because laughing really did hurt :( "Ahh... try three years," he answered, and his humor kind of became a grimace and really he was a bit too tired to keep this up, so he... stopped.

"Yours seems cooler, though."


 Three years. Wow. Minerva, feeling comforted by all of this and rolling away from her fear of being disowned on the spot, leaned against his bed again. Watching his features melt and shift back into his own face was weird, and a little hard to watch but also impossible to look away from. She laughed a little at his words.

 "No way. Equally cool, just in different ways." Very different. She had a lot of questions for him. "Does it hurt when you do that? Do you know what you're making yourself look like or do you just like. Wing it?" She put her chin in her hands. "How'd you find out about it?"

"Feels kinda... weird. It's like, it really happens, you know? And I feel all the sliding around and filling out or whatever. And bone structure changes, sometimes."


"I kind of was just..?— oh, oh no, I remember," he huffed, trying again not to laugh. "My drill sergeant. Everyone started calling me by his name one day. And I was so confused? Did some Freaky Friday deal happen? And then I... looked in the mirror. And definitely had a freakout. And my eyes were all red and... I thought I was a monster for a while. Kept trying to pray it away until I realized it was just... something I could do."

 Her eyes would widen perceptibly as Joaquin spoke, describing the feeling and the likely terrifying manner in which he had discovered his own unique power. At the mention of red eyes, she first thought he’d meant bloodshot, but she remembered the way Zach’s eyes had turned white when he made ice. She rubbed a hand over her face in wonder before dropping it to hold her brother’s hand again. Idly, she wondered what color her eyes changed to.

 "I guess we keep this from mom and dad too, huh," she offered softly. It felt like they might handle it barely better than Joaquin breaking his sternum at a fight club. It was scary.

A "heh" left him. It still hurt. "Maybe they're hiding magic powers from us too," Joaquin sighed thoughtfully. "But just in case... probably not."

He looked at her with a slight quirk to his brow, face entirely innocently curious. "So should I call you... Metal Minnie now?"

She might smack him, but hopefully not since he was already broken. :3

 Minnie laughed at his suggestion. Not that it wasn't possible, it was just... hard to imagine, and what a wild twist if would be if they were. His suggestion for a new nickname made her grin toothily, wrinkling her nose at him. "So metal," she whispered playfully, using her free hand to raise "rock on" fingers toward him, then sighed softly. "You know how long you're going to be in here?"

"So metal." Joaquin didn't even like metal, but he did love his sister, so. "They'll probably let me out in the morning. Just gotta make sure it didn't hit anything vital and then..."

His fingers made a walking motion which was pretty dumb upside down. "You might get caught with driving duty."

 It was definitely nice that nothing vital had been hit. She nodded a little to him. It totally could have been so much worse, and what a catalyst it had been for truth. Minnie grinned at his fingers. "I've always wanted to be a chauffeur! That's what I'm actually going to college for, surprise." She patted his arm with a smile. "I'll definitely be here." Who knew what kind of pain meds they might give him. He shouldn't drive if they did, but she kind of hoped they would make him funny if he did get a prescription.

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