A Chip Off My Plate

Big Bear Diner 
#1
Finn was finally graduated from high school! That meant real life was kicking off soon, but for now, he was going to enjoy the summer and all it brought. He’d packed his old used backpack with a journal, some snacks, and his trusty camera.

There’d been a bunch of baby elk born recently and he wanted a good peak at how they were doing. It wouldn’t take long to get to the Kelby Campgrounds, but he wanted to stop to grab lunch before venturing out. So, parking at a local stop, he made his way in ended up sitting out on the porch.

Sandwich ordered and before him, Finn’s attention drifted to a tiny chipmunk skittering over the wood nearby as he took a bite. Maybe it was hungry? Carefully so as not to draw attention, he broke off a piece of fry, clicking his tongue, trying to draw its attention. Throwing the piece towards it, the chipmunk dashed forward after a moment of whiskery consideration, gobbling it up in one mouthful. Braver, the rodent got closer and climbed up a pole to the railing before he sent another its way. Even braver still, it dashed suddenly onto the table and tried to snatch the entire piece of bread off his other sandwich half. Startled, Finn let a confused yelping noise while aiming to stop it from taking off with half his food, smacking the table down with a hand a bit too loudly so as to keep it from teetering off kilter with the rush up to feet. ”No!”
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#2
Zachary hadn't been out much. Things at the ice cream shop had taken a turn with not one, but two new employees leaving the same week. Worse, they failed to mention any growing animosity between them and rather then let their manager, a.k.a. him, deal with the issue, they decided to duke it out on break and rage quit in a tornado of teenage hormones and passion. Yeah, guess who had to pick up those shifts until replacements could be found. Why the manager of course, a.k.a him!

But he persevered, posted job offers on the nearby college's Facebook page and he landed two fresh, hopefully more mature, employees that would start Tuesday. As it was an excellent show of managerial prowess, Zachary deserved to treat himself. At first, he wanted to try something new, maybe visit a place he'd never been, but familiarity and comfort won out, which was why he was sitting at the diner perusing the menu. Finger tracing down the page and silently mouthing the name of each dish, Zachary made a decision. He folded the menu, hoping to see his server nearby, but no luck. His eyes did land on another table however, the one right across, with some young guy also eating alone (it's okay buddy, Zachary also lived that single pringle life.) He couldn't quite make out what the boy was doing at first, looking intently at something in the near distance. Then in a blink, a blur of color darted onto the table. Oh, the boy was feeding a... mouse? Hold on, no, it had a furry tail, so a small squirrel or chipmunk perhaps.

He watched with rapt attention as the chipmunk bravely scurried toward the guy's plate in short bursts, nose held up and wiggling vehemently. It was going straight for the food, no fear. The boy tried scaring it off and Zachary jolted back by the hearty smack given to the table.

"He's a brave little critter isn't he?" He called out, interested to see if the chipmunk would go for round two.
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#3
The noise, the move, everything contributed enough so that the chipmunk skittered out of reach down the porch siding, successfully having grabbed a half of the bread it had intended. Finlay watched it quickly inhaling the food with a bit of a glower. Not cool dude!

A voice spoke up nearby and he looked over to see some guy seemingly amused by what’d just happened. ”I didn’t expect this one to be so greedy.” Turning back towards the animal that Finn sincerely hoped that was that, but in fact it was on its way for more, scurrying quickly with its mission in mind: more sandwich.

”Oh no you don’t.” Finn lifted his plate of food up high just as it got to the table again. A successful grin shot down that immediately dropped as the chipmunk vaulted onto his clothing. WHY, GOD, WHY? Quick jumping steps, he got away from his table and tried to shake it off without losing food int he process. ”Let go, let go, let go. Let go,” he yelled in a panic at the brave lob of fur grasping to the fabric of his shirt on its mission for more food that was way up high as Finn carried on his jumping dance. And it did let go, thunking to the floor with a flickering tail as Finlay’s eyes brightened to yellow for just moment.
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#4
Undeterred, the chipmunk snatched his prize and scurried out of reach. Zachary chuckled behind a balled fist, this made for an interesting pre-meal show. The boy paid him a short glance, verbally agreeing before snapping back to the chipmunk. Except, the critter wasn't done, glutinous little beast. It charged in for another attack and up, up went the boy's plate as he valiantly played keep away with a wild animal. The chipmunk wasn't having it and Zachary now wondered if it might be domesticated or possibly rabid. It went full kamikaze on the boy, defensive instincts out the door as it latched and began climbing up the boy's shirt.

Zachary gripped the edge of his table, prepared to get up and....help somehow? If the chipmunk was rabid he'd honestly rather not. A few seconds of flapping around and with the boy's voice rising in volume, the chipmunk flew off, smacking down flat on it's belly. It happened so fast, Zachary's gaze kept hold on the boy, fortunate enough to catch the flicker of unnatural color. "Whoa, your eyes." He blurted. "Might wanna be careful with that." Zachary slid to the edge of his seat and planted his feet on the ground. He smiled like he had a secret. Apparently the boy did too.
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#5
The guy said something about eyes and he turned his head away from him, focusing on the chipmunk that was getting to its feet. Nope, he was going to play this off. Some stranger didn’t see anything. ”Careful with what?” There was some chittering happening and Finn gripped his plate a bit tighter just in case. Instead, the animal seemed to have oriented itself at the same time as realizing this was too much work, as it turned and zoomed off in fast spurts.

Relaxing with a long drawn out sigh, Finlay lowered his arms and made to go back to his table. Setting the plate down, he shot another look at the guy with one cocked brow before sitting again. Maybe, if he didn’t look at him that’d be the end of it. Getting back to food, he shuffled things around so it wasn’t all on the cusp of falling apart before taking a few fries and promptly shoving them into ketchup before making their way to his mouth.
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#6
Zachary knew what he saw, but he knew the terror of discovery all too well. The boy's nonchalance was wise and with those instincts he might even be more deserving of his gift then Zachary could ever hope to be.

Shoving aside his outburst, Zachary relented to turning his legs back into the booth, spinning the menu with a finger pressed to a corner. Shrugging, let his eyes flicker to the patio door. No server still, but at the moment it was best they didn't have unexpected company. "Hey no worries, there's no one else here. " Zachary lowered his eyes, pushing his power out to assess the boy before him. His eyes faded to match white of the irises and as predicted the kid was definitely some type of magic. How did he keep running into so many?

He let out a small laugh, thrilled, placing a fist against his chin and leaning on an elbow. "Abnormal eye color sucks, but luckily if you're caught most people accept a simple brush off." It occurred to him then that he might be forcing the issue. Zachary could respect wanting compete discretion. Waving his other hand in an 'eh' fashion, he allowed for the topic to be dropped. "It's cool if you don't want to talk though, sorry for the interruption." No harm, no foul as far as he could tell.
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#7
Even though he had sat down and was currently trying to just play all this off to some crazy thing a guy had seen, the guy was quick to bring up the subject again. Letting out a small frustrated breath, he took another bite of his sandwich, missing any eye things going on at the other table.

There was a sudden laugh that had Finn finally looking back over. But, he hadn’t expected this and slowed his chewing, color draining from his face a tad. He let there be a moment of quiet to sincerely gather himself. This guy knew too much, need to stop talking so loudly, but also it opened doors wide into the possibility it wasn’t just him.

Before he knew it, Finlay had grabbed his plate and marched himself over to the dude’s table. The food was too hard won to just leave out in the open in case the chipmunk came over again. Dammit, he needed info. It was set down with all the finesse that allowed a hunk of lettuce and a few stray frys to fly off onto the wooden surface with a clunk. Sitting in a free chair, he sent him a bewildered expression. ”Why didn't you just say yellow?” The question was loudly whispered, but it was better than shouting across the aisle between them.
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#8
He had contented himself to an awkward lunch, avoiding eye contact with the other psychic until one of them left, desirably with the boy first because Zachary still wanted to eat. Sadly having already chosen his lunch, picking up the menu to hide behind felt more than pathetic. Stupid, why did he have to open his big mouth?

The sound of a chair sliding back told Zachary that maybe he wouldn't have to wait, the boy could be fleeing the scene, therefore making the decision for both of them. He trained his gaze on the salt shaker against the wall, helping squash any temptation to watch the guy leave, but the noise suddenly got closer, a tray slapping down against the table.

Um Hello? There was an unexpected guest sitting across from him now. Eyebrows raised high on his forehead, Zachary froze briefly in place. The boy sent him a largely confused stare, although his tone was demanding. "Yellow? For unusual eye color?" Zachary tilted his head, not fully understanding the question. Did he think yellow was universal to psychics? "There are other colors. Although, I don't think I've seen yellow before."

Checking the door, he weighted the changes of their server reappearing at a most inconvenient time. It was all clear for now and satisfied they weren't going to be bothered in the imminent future, Zachary felt comfortable continuing. A tiny uptick graced his lips as he leaned forward, he really did enjoy this part. "Mine are white." He spoke softly, eyes shifting to demonstrate.
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#9
The reiteration of what he had just said had Finn rolling his eyes a tad. ”Yeah, you-,” but quieted as the dude mentioned other colors. Excuse him? Other colors meant for sure other people and that it wasn’t just constrained to yellow.

Finlay followed his gaze towards the door and then turned back. Yep, they were still alone, which was good because he had quite a bit of questions to lay down now. Gaze narrowing as brows scrunched together as the stranger got closer with a weird smile, Finn waited for some kind of info or punchline. Instead, he got told his were white which was promptly graced by a demonstration that had goosebumps playing up his arms. Hand coming up to point at the eyes and then holding his own face, Finn stared at him in disbelief. ”Y-y-you…. Eyes! Too,” was all he could string together for now. Hands coming down to the table, he patted it with both quickly in excitement. ”I’ve never met anyone else.”
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#10
Well then, the kid had a little attitude. That's fine, Zachary did too at that age, but only when the person had safely turned their back.

The color shift had its intended reaction, the boy's expression turning comical as he stuttered out a string of words. Hands rose to point and shake, banging against the table in a form of jittery excitement. Zachary could relate well to the feeling. He viscerally remembered the first time he met another like him, Ellie by the fountain. She had looked so unassuming, a quiet spectator among the crowd, he might have passed her by on any other day, but instead decided to be friendly and in a way she opened up a flood of new, thrilling information. Goodness, had it already been a year since then? They had never met again although he had hoped. She could be anywhere now, perhaps having long left mountainside, disappearing back into obscurity like a silent little dingy drifting into the fog. A small part of him felt that to be the case. Still, he hoped where ever she landed and anchored herself, she'd find some form of happiness. That sadness in her eyes would always stay with him.

The thoughts faded away, gone before they could take root or creep onto his face. White eyes going back to their natural hue, he lifted a hand to scratch the back of his neck. "Yeah, I hadn't either until I moved here. There must be something in the water in Mountainside." An amused huff at his own joke brought on a smile. Zachary set his hand down and smoothed down his jeans. "If you don't mind me asking, do you know your power...or powers?" He asked encouragingly.
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#11
And then they turned back and damn that was creepy to see on the other end. The joke about the water had him a tiny bit worried it was true. In that case it made them like some kind of superhero of some sort, but that was far from the truth he imagined.

Finn had a lot of questions, but it seemed the dude was going to go first, which by all means please help while he tried to get his own thoughts in order here. His brows scrunched at powers being used so openly as a word. That’s not really what was going on here though, right? ”I uh, it’s not really a power. We just kind of communicate with animals, right?” It was an affinity towards animals, that was it, so why was this guy acting like it was anything different? Surely, he didn’t need to ask what he had if it was the same thing.
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#12
First of all, animal control sounded awesome as hell. If he could control his two cats at home, maybe he could finally win against those little devils and their constant quest to keep him on the couch or bed for naps. Second, ooh no, this kid had wrong idea. Not that Zachary could blame him. Having no one else and feeling isolated with your power created a lot of interesting theories. Assuming there was only one power though? That was an usual take, at least to him. Maybe the kid lived more of a sheltered life, one without exposure to comic books or television shows with superheroes. Or maybe Zachary had a more selfish thought process for believing he was the only one with his power before ever considering humans shared the same one.

No worries. Zachary would help set the record straight and potentially blow this kid's mind. "Actually, there's quite a few different ones. Some do overlap too." He held up some fingers, ticking off examples. "There's stuff like water, fire, and electricity. And ones that are related to other powers like copying powers or stopping others from using theirs." He didn't mention his own yet, wanting the guy to ask so Zachary could hit him with the life changing 'you can also have more than one.' Not to mention the psychic radar thing. Listen well young padawan, master Zachary has much to teach you.
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#13
Hey, what. Finn was ready for something and this surely threw whatever he’d been expecting out of the water. Leaning to the very end of his seat, he listened intently as the guy rattled off various powers and capabilities that were currently all blowing his mind.

”Whoah, for real? Are you serious?” This was the most exciting thing he’d heard in, well, years. Looking for any chance that he was being punked, Finlay waited all of about three seconds before barreling into questions. ”What do you have? Is it related to eye color? Is it really the water?”
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#14
Understandably, the boy had a slew of questions ready. With many nuances to cover and plenty to share, Zachary chose to work his way backwards to give the desired answers. He settled into a comfortable position, still checking the door every so often with a flickering glance. "Well, the water thing was mostly a joke. I had a power before moving to mountainside, but since coming here I've met around a dozen others." If it wasn't the water, then maybe it's some kind of mystic energy calling everyone here.

"As for eye color, I used to think it was related, the white describes mine fairly well. Far as I know, everyone does have a color, but I've met people with either similar powers or eye colors and they don't follow any pattern. Seems more a coincidence." He slid a hand under his cheek, lopsided smile in place. "Sometimes I do wish for a more discreet color, like blue or brown." Zachary's eyes slid to the boy's face, yellow eyes was a new one to add to the list. He really should start keeping track.

The desire to ask more about his power sat on the tip of Zachary's tongue, but they had to stop there, as the waiter had finally stepped onto the patio looking a little haggard. The waiter barely blinked at the new seating arrangement, likely having seen far stranger things already today. Zachary rattled off his order, accepting the inquiry about a refill. The waiter disappeared soon after back into the restaurant without taking any empty trays, the lunch rush rearing it's ugly head. It didn't bother Zachary as now they had bought a little more time to continue talking.

He drummed his fingers on the menu, also left behind, picking up where he left off. "As I was saying, my eye color does match my power, my first one. I have two." Touching the rim of his water glass, he pushed it forward. A fine line of ice crystals formed down the side, making soft crackling sounds. "I've been able to control ice for a couple of years now. More recently, I found out I could teleport." He waited, eyes moving up to the boy then as his fingers began absentmindedly picking at the ice flakes.
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#15
Okay so it wasn’t the water and he didn’t have to start worrying about his dad or Angus suddenly becoming superman. This was still a just him thing in the family, something to stand out in a way and that was reassuring. The fact that there were dozens of others was currently blowing his mind. Child meet the X-Men Are Real Edition.

Onto eye color weirdness and he rubbed at his forehead, pushing back hair with both hands, holding it and some skin up as wide eyes took in this guy. This was up in the air it would seem and he was just randomly lucky? unlucky? to be blessed with yellow and this guy with white.

A waiter finally arrived and Finn put his attention to the current proceedings and haphazard mess that was his plate. Taking another bite of the sandwich, he was given his cup with a refill which he gave a lunch filled mouth thanks to. Once she was away off with the man’s order, attention was brought back to across the table.

If it was anymore possible, Finn was at the very edge of his seat a bit more, all but truly crouching at this point instead of sitting. Looking at the cup pushed forward he was about to ask what the big deal was. OH THAT WAS ICE! And just like that verbally confirmed along with teleportation. What in the living heck? ”So you’re like Frozen meets Jumper? That’s so cool,” Finlay exclaimed, honestly wanting to pinch himself to make sure this was real and not some ridiculous dream.

”So we can have two? Is there a limit?” Could you hear the sheer amount of question marks in his voice, dude?
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#16
Ah yes, the Frozen reference. He loved Disney otherwise, but their ice princess would forever hang over his head, taunting him. The jumper movie one was nice though. "Thanks." He smiled in reflex, soaking in the guy's enthusiasm.

He did hear the many question marks the boy threw back. They hit exceptionally hard since Zachary didn't really know the answer. "Not sure if there's a limit." He said regretfully. "And getting a new power also seems to happen at random." Who knows, maybe you could keep manifesting powers, although he was plenty happy with just the two. More powers, more problems, that's what Zachary had found, but he didn't want to rain on this kid's parade. He did offer an observation he recently made. "Some people might have a power they don't even know about. I mean, ice or fire is pretty hard to justify as anything else, but subtle powers could probably go undetected for years."
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