At the End of the Masquerade [IC]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Xindaris, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. "You want some breakfast, honey?"
    "Sure, mom. Thank you." It was 9 before Ann was out of bed. She hadn't slept much last night; she was still upset; and her mother knew it. But she wasn't about to press the issue. Her parents trusted her enough to let her wait until she was ready to tell them, even to decide whether they needed to know. She didn't know what was going to happen today, only that it would be difficult. She had turned off her phone after getting home last night and it was still off. It would stay that way until she got good and ready to take a call or text. This needed to be handled in person.

    Last night was June 10th, 2010, not a remarkable day by any standard, much less by comparison to three days prior. Politicians and the leaders of the vast array of hidden kinds alike were still reeling from the shock; everyone else was already talking their mouths off about it. In front of thousands--if not millions--of human witnesses, it had been conclusively proven that magic existed, and that those who knew about it and used it as readily as a human uses an arm or leg were numerous. Already Ann and her friends were a little sick of hearing about it, so they went to see a movie.

    The contents of the movie weren't important. Their conversation before and after was important, but none of it had anything to do with what had made Ann upset. While crossing through an alley shortcut that had been perfectly safe for them numerous times before, especially with their numbers--five in all--they had nearly been mugged. Perhaps they had even nearly been killed. It wasn't any sort of conspiratory act, just a desperate punk with a handgun and the guts to pull the trigger on it. It had all happened so fast that Ann reacted before thinking about what she was doing.

    To save her friends, she had used her magic. She could imagine it well enough now from a third person's perspective: Her body had shifted slightly toward its more animalistic form, her teeth sharp at best and at worst most of her body might have been covered in fur. A spark of miniature lightning had shot from one of her hands, through the metal handgun, and shocked the would-be mugger's hand. The gun clattered to the ground, and he ran away screaming. Ann, realizing only then what was going on, quickly shifted back to human form, but the look on their faces had told her she was too late.

    Before anyone could react or say anything, she was already gone, running as fast as her legs could carry her back home. It was nearly midnight already, so any visitors would be unreasonable. After locking the door behind her, she had gone into her room and spent a few hours to think, try and work out what had just happened. Sure, she had seen it and experienced it, but she couldn't wrap her head around it. After being taught for years that exposing herself as a werewolf was perhaps the greatest crime anyone knowledgeable in magic could commit against humanity, she had simply and reflexively done so. Now she was going to have to face the consequences...but that wasn't what troubled her the most.

    After breakfast, Ann left her home and headed for the town park. More times than anyone could count, their little circle of friends had met near a certain bench, rarely all of them but always some of them, to talk things out. It was as close to a universal meeting place as they had, and if any of them expected to see her again at all, they would expect to see her there..or maybe at home, but nobody had come yet this morning. So off to the bench it was. What exactly she would tell them, Ann didn't know, but she was confident of one thing: It would be the truth.

    Ann didn't like lies or deception. She had long held the belief that whatever one is, they should be it fully; hiding one's true nature always led them to trouble. But when she thought such things she was referring to emotion, personality, wishes, dreams..never one's species. Now that she thought of it seriously, though, she couldn't justify to herself the fact that she had been lying to all of her best friends since the moment they left. Granted, she couldn't recall a time anyone had asked her if she was anything other than human, but if they had the answer would have been automatic, and even without that simply not telling anyone something so basic as what she was passed as lie of omission.

    She reached the park, their bench, and sat down. Nobody else was here yet. She was still a little dazed by the events of last night; maybe this was a terrible idea. Maybe she should have actually communicated and asked everyone to come if she wanted to tell them. It didn't really matter now, because she was already here and in her mind, someone would come if she had to sit here for a week beforehand.

  2. How that man's voice made his skin crawl...

    June 7th. That was the little calendar square Maru kept glaring at from across the room. He was fully dressed and had been for the past hour. He'd wasted that hour loathing June 7th, seated on the edge of his bed like he'd done for the past three days. His only break was when he was dragged out to a movie last night but even then, he was unnaturally silent and gloomy.

    Four days ago was June 7th and possibly the worst day in his whole life. It was the day magical folk had exposed themselves to the human population. Now there was speculation and a bit of hysteria. Everywhere he went, the conversation topic usually had something to do with that day. It was unnerving for someone like him, who never ever wanted to be exposed. How happy he would be if he could live his whole life without ever telling anyone what he really was...

    For a moment, his mind was drawn back to reality and his glare intensified when he heard his step-father downstairs, proclaiming to the tv that the recent event was nothing but a hoax. Of course that man would think so. He had no clue about Maru, after all. How many other parents were clueless about their child's abilites? How many families, friends, and lovers?

    Instantly, Maru's thoughts turned to Ann and the event that had transpired last night. He wasn't certain, because it happened so quickly, but he wondered if he'd actually seen her do something strange as she attacked the man trying to mug them. The thought of Ann being like him, being magical, was a small comfort but he wasn't about to go confronting her. What if he was wrong? What if Ann was like his step-father; a person with obvious disgust for the unnatural? What if they all were?

    "I just...want to be normal..." he muttered, burying his face in his hands and closing his eyes. Again he heard that old man's annoying voice and his jaw clenched tight. If I stay here any longer... Maru knew he'd probably explode with anger. He forced himself to his feet, his legs stiff and almost uncooperative. He was hesitant to leave only because every moment he was outside, he risked being discovered for what he truly was. "This is stupid. No one is gonna find out," he said out loud and grabbed his sidebag, slinging the strap over his head so that it rested across his chest. As lightly as his feet would take him, he headed downstairs in silence, slipped on his jacket and boots at the door, and left before either parent could stop him.

    There was no real plan in his head; he just started walking. It was the weekend, so no school, and he didn't work today so he was thankful that he wouldn't be forced into another conversation about magic and the supernatural. Perhaps today would be another day he spent alone. Let the others deal with Ann, he told himself, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his jacket. His fingers touched his iPod and he smiled. Music would help him cheer up for sure! He took the cord for the headphones hanging from his neck and plugged it into his iPod. The moment music filled his ears, he felt a wave of calm wash over him. He couldn't help but smile a little.

    It wasn't until he had arrived that he realized where his feet were taking him. There was the bench and on it, Ann. "Uh... Hey..." he mumbled, tugging off his headphones to let them hang around his neck again. "You look like crap..." Like she hadn't slept well at all. "You okay?"

    So much for letting the others handle this.
  3. "I've been better," said Ann, but she gave a bit of a smile all the same. Maru's presence had so often meant being cheered up that it was hard not to think he wouldn't at least give it a try now, in spite of his recent mood. He'd been unusually gloomy since the event, and last night was at least in part an effort to help him cheer up. It wasn't clear exactly what had upset him, and Ann could easily think of too many reasons why that might be to narrow it down properly. It definitely gave her no evidence to determine whether he knew about magic before or not.

    Her own response, she realized, had been at least as inscrutable. Surprise wasn't hard to display, since she had indeed felt it, but after the initial shock she gave off a kind of indifference. Sure, everyone suddenly knowing about magic was going to make the world different, but it was still something that had to be taken one day at a time. It wasn't because it was as simple as that; it was because it was simply too complex an issue to work out all at once. In part it was because of the attitude taken at her home: Wait for word. The high alpha, who her parents and the pack they came from still regarded as leader, was still deliberating on what to tell the werewolves who still listened to her to do.

    What did that matter? These were Ann's friends, and it had never been expressly forbidden to tell individuals close to one the truth as long as they were just as responsible for keeping it a secret. Now she didn't particularly feel like she had a choice, but Maru hadn't come right out and asked about what happened last night, either. Even given a choice, the decision had already been made last night, and the only question was whether to say it to one person at a time or wait until she had everyone together. Either way the subject would have to be approached carefully...

    "To be honest, I was hoping someone would come along sooner or later. I just don't feel like I can talk to anyone over the phone or the Internet right now. You want a seat?" Her own place at present was already as far to one side of the bench as physically possible, half her weight leaning on the armrest.
  4. Amara woke up and hastily rubbed the sleep from her eyes. She sat there and stared at the wall for a moment, letting the events of the last few days catch up with her yet one more morning. It was really far too much to be asked to get used to so quickly. Especially when it was revealed that one of her own friends, her best friend even, was one of these magical beings.

    Shrugging it off, she jumped out of bed and started preparing for the day. Coming out of the shower, she dressed in her favorite pair of jeans and pulled on a random tee. It didn't matter to her what she wore. Nor did it matter what her mother had cooked for breakfast. She wasn't in the mood to eat. She needed to see Ann.

    Pulling on her shoes at the door, she yelled that she was heading out and left before her mother could ask where she was going or tell her to come back and eat something. Facing her mother was the last thing on Amara's mind. Ann was more prevalent.

    Arriving at the one place she thought to look for Ann, Amara was surprised to see Maru there as well.

    "What's happening guys?" she asked as she approached.
  5. Zoey's eyes snapped open so suddenly it seemed inhuman. She was on her feet out of bed in mere second staring into her room, eyes darting from bookshelf to chair to socks on the floor. She didn't always wake this way, but of course her phone had made a loud sound when it had fallen from her hand onto the floor so she woke in a wonderful fashion, by nearly jumping out of her skin.

    Once her pulse slowed down a little she sighed and shook her head, touching her messy hair and bending down to pick up her cell phone from the floor beside her bed. Yes, she slept with her phone in her hands or on her bed, she just hated missing texts from friends. She stared at the dark screen of the phone for a second before pressing the hold button to wake it up. No new texts or calls. "Damn." She mumbled quietly to herself. If there was ever a time Zoey wanted to see a message on her phone it would be right then but after the events of the night before she knew that would be highly unlikely. She really didn't want to be the one to reach out to the group. She was scared. She was worried.

    Zoey opened up the contacts on her phone and scrolled down to the Ds. She knew out of all of their friends she wanted to talk to Darius first to ask him how he was (and maybe to rub it in his face a bit that something crazy and supernatural had happened right before his eyes.) She started to text him, her thumbs moving quickly over the keys. The final message read: "Hey D, I haven't heard from you since we parted last night, I figured I would shoot you a text, see what's up. Uh. Call me or something, I don't know." She hit send and the awkward text message was sent. "Time for clothes." She said out loud to herself. It wouldn't be appropriate to go out in undies and a tank top, no not at all.

    Once dressed Zoey went downstairs and stood in front of the open fridge for a few moments. It was going to be a long day and she knew that. It was going to be a long life if she decided to expose herself for what she really was. She stood in a daze, her mind racing, the cold escaping the fridge. "Shit" She squeaked to herself, reaching into the fridge and grabbing a water bottle. She didn't know if she could tell people what she really was. She didn't know if she was brave enough to "come out" so to speak. Water bottle in had she shuffled back up to her room to lay in bed and stare at her phone. Zoey wasn't leaving the house until she had made some form of contact with any one of her friends. She was just not up for facing anything alone.
  6. It was obvious that Ann was distressed about the recent events. She wasn't usually one to frown, unless it was at something stupid Maru had done, but at that moment her smile looked so forced...

    The two of them weren't exactly close. In fact, Ann was probably the most distant of the group when it came to relationships with Maru. Usually they were awkward around each other and even today couldn't change that, obvious by the way she spoke to him and how he chose to sit on the very opposite end of the bench as her. An awkward silence followed while Maru wondered what to say. He was usually the one to cheer someone up when they were sad, but right now, he had his own issues to deal with. He frowned visibly, disappointed with himself for how selfish that thought seemed.

    It felt like hours had ticked by, in reality only minutes, and soon it grew too warm to wear a jacket. Maru got to his feet to shrug out of the piece of clothing, sighing softly. "So why do you have to talk to us in person? Being mugged isn't something to be traumatized over, right?" He folded the jacket and drapped it over the back of the bench. "Besides, you saved our wallets, and possibly Darius' virginity, with...uh...whatever it is you did."

    No, he wouldn't come right out and say it but he wondered if anyone else would even show up. Were they afraid of Ann now? If that were the case, then he'd never breathe a word of what he was. All that mattered was being accepted.

    As a reason to refrain from eye contact, Maru retrieved his phone from his bag and hit the screen with his thumb to see if anyone had called or left a text message. He sat back down on his end of the bench, folding one leg over the other, reclining with his free arm drapped along the back of the bench. And that was when Amara joined them. Eyes lifting from the cellphone screen, Maru flashed a smile at her. "Had to get out of the house... Somehow ended up here."
  7. When Maru was finished talking, Ann added: "Yeah, something similar. It's kind of silly, but I was hoping some of you would show up." She paused and looked down at the ground in front of her feet, stuck in thought. When she finally looked up, turning to face both of them as much as possible, she said, "There's something I want to tell you, but I don't know how to start. What I did last night...I wasn't supposed to ever do. For the good of everyone. Or at least, I thought so." She stopped again, more of a hesitation to continue than in thought this time. Then she abruptly seemed to change the subject.

    "When you guys think of a monster, what do you see? Something with a lot of power and no control?" She didn't wait quite long enough for any real response to be made. "I used to think, that was the worst kind. But, what about someone who has power and control, but refuses to use it...even when it could save lives?"
  8. Darius looked at the scrap of paper in front of him. Then to the one under it, and the one under it. His entire room was littered with them mostly crumpled and lying in heaps. A mug that had seem a little too much use the previous night Darius hadn't slept. His phone sounded off and he looked up with a start. He watched the screen to back to black before he picked up the phone and two buttons later was reading the message.

    He shook his head. Of course Zoey would take it at face value, you believe what her eyes had told her. But they had been punked, played. Sure Ann didn't seem the type to pull off something like that but they had seen what she had wanted them to see.

    It was only seeing the time on his phone that he realized it was morning. He groaned before getting up from his chair and pulling him himself towards the shower he let the warm water wash over him easing the tension built up from a night spent trying to work out how Ann had done what she had seemed to do. He wouldn't worry about it until he got to the park, and got a chance to ask Anm.

    Toweling his hair dry he reached for his phone and dialed Zoey's number, he was running late but that was normal, and could dress himself one handed. "So you really thing you saw what you think you saw?" it was a surprisingly usual question coming from him, usually when he himself had just done a trick. "Well Zoey let me tell you you're been tricked, It was an impressive stunt I'll admit but really..." He didn't feel like completing the sentence and the tone of his voice changed. "So.. suff in the news..."
  9. Zoey had been laying in bed with her phone placed on her chest when Darius called her. She gasped as she felt her phone vibrate and lifted it to see who was calling. Another gasp and the beep of her pressing talk came once she realized who it was. Not even one moment into the conversation and Darius was already doubting and trying to rationalize what had happened the night before. "Are you...kidding me?" Zoey peeped once Darius trailed off. "You're actually kidding, right?" She sat up in bed,holing the phone to her ear with one hand, the bottle of water she had gotten earlier in the other. "How exactly are you going to try to explain this one away, Darius?" She asked, genuinely interested in his answer. "I mean...really?"

    She fell silent so he could reply and her mind started to race. How could she ever tell him who, and not to mention what, she really was? He would laugh at her. He would find excuses and try to find out how she was creating such illusions. Zoey's eyes were stinging when she came out of her head rush. She wasn't crying, but it was a possibility if Darius kept on the way he was.

    Her grip on her water bottle loosened until she simply let it go. She watched it roll off the bed onto the floor and into the middle of her room. Things were getting messy and Zoey wasn't ready for it.
  10. He closed his fist around the paper, crumpling it in frustration.

    "I.. I don't know." he looked around the room... "Zoey, I know you want to believe, you've always been a believer, its one of the most endearing things about you but..." the phone hissed at he let out a breath. "Theres just no way I saw what my eyes, my mind tells me I saw. If magic and everything thats been on the news is real... then I'm just a fake, a clown playing pretend aren't I?"

    He fell silent throwing the wadded up paper at the bin next to his desk. "Look we're running late and theres no way we'll get to the bottom of this over the phone, why don't we meet up and we can talk more then." He looked out the window at the sky, "Would you really want to live in a world where you're suddenly surrounded by people you don't understand and know they've been there all along and have no idea what they can do? Its like X-men, only the mutants were hiding this while time, and theres no heroes to keep the balance."
  11. A monster... It wasn't about power and control. That wasn't what defined a monster in Maru's opinion. It was about demons that feasted on human flesh, not because they knew right and wrong, but because that was what they were created to do. It was about incubi and succubi who did what they did not because they saw their deeds as trickery and enjoyed it thusly, but because it was hardwired into their brain the steps to creating a spawn of evil. Monsters knew nothing about good or bad, strength or weakness, control or loose cannon. They knew only to stay true to their nature and Maru never wanted to be mislabeled as one.

    And what about someone who hid their power despite its usefulness? He couldn't keep silent about that question, though he managed to smile softly at Ann in an attempt to brighten her mood. "Super villains only pop up after super heros do." It was a simple reply, though he figured it was enough to get his point across. It was obvious by now that what he'd seen the previous night wasn't his mind playing tricks on him. He'd really seen Ann do something supernatural.

    However, the point he was trying to make was perhaps just his own resolve to keep quiet about his nature. It was stupid that those magical folk had exposed themselves. Now something bad was surely bound to happen. If it wasn't going to be some malicious supernatural 'monster', at the very least Maru expected riots and 'freak exterminators'. Humans were going to get vicious about this the moment they realized it wasn't a hoax and he planned to be one of those freaks they were none the wiser about.

    There he went again, brooding about the recent events. He forced those depressing thoughts away for a bit and for the first time in days felt truly happy. Just having Ann and Amara around him made all the difference. "I'm thankful though," he added after a moment. "For what you did for us..." He leaned across the bench then and ruffled Ann's hair into a mess with a snicker.
  12. Zoey was pouting so hard as Darius spoke to her. "You're not a clown." She murmured. "You just...Daruis what if it is real?" Her voice was soft and quiet now. "If it was real you can't stomp around about it...if it was real Ann is going to need us." Her fingers were fiddling with her hair now, pulling it a bit and twirling it.

    She sat in silence for a few moments, staring at her bed sheets. "Can I head over?" She asked. "You know where we have to go, but I just want to see you first before we meet up with anyone else." She picked at some lint on one of her socks. "Please?" Usually Zoe wouldn't be asking so much as telling Darius that she would be at his house soon, but after the night before she was so shaken. Rambunctious Zoey was feeling a lot like she had when she was younger, and she didn't like it.
  13. He was surprised by her question and almost said no based solely on the condition of his room. But after a pause he replied. "Sure, I'll finish getting dressed and clean up a bit, should be done by the time you get here." As he spoke however he was standing in front of the fridge pulling out leftovers to be eaten as a quick breakfast.

    "Just promise me you're not going believe all this for no other reason than you want it to be true. I don't want to see you disappointed. You're too great the way you are to become yet another jaded teen." he sat down and got ready to hand up the chair moving against the floor easily heard on the other end of the line. "Deal?"
  14. Amara, feeling her friend's anguish even if she didn't understand it entirely, sat next to Ann and put an arm around her shoulders.

    "We're still here for you. We'll get through this," she said softly, a rare moment of her kind nature seeping through as she comforted her best friend. Her eyes sought Ann's, wanting her to say she'd be fine.
  15. Zoey ignored his request for a deal. "Ok i'm heading over. I'll see you soon." She sighed a bit. "Bye." She hung up and hopped out of bed, grabbing one of her favourite cardigans. She peeked at herself in the mirror before pulling on the cardigan and tucking her phone in her pocket.

    "Mom, i'm going out." She called out as she jogged down the stairs and right out the front door. She walked quickly and quietly towards Darius' house, clasping her hands together tightly as she walked. She just hoped she could keep her emotions under wraps for the while. She knew he meant well, but Darius was her best friend and he was really squashing her feelings without even knowing it.

    Her mind wandered as she walked, hands still pressed into each other. What if she told Darius? What if she just...let him know? Just showed him? Her jaw clenched really hard and her hands squeezed. Would he try to rationalize? Would he stay her friend?

    She was so lost in her frightening thoughts that she almost passed right by his house. Catching herself she took a breath and dropped her hands to her sides before heading up to his front door. Another breath and she knocked.
  16. Ann couldn't help but laugh, and batted away Maru's hand as lightly as possible. She looked over at her two friends on the bench, reassuring her...and she couldn't shake the impression they didn't quite understand what she was trying to get across. As far as she could tell, they were acting like the abilities she had used last night had been as new to her as they were to them...which couldn't be much farther from the truth. "'re making this even harder, you know that?" she said, still smiling.

    Then she got a more serious, determined look in her eye, a look honed through the last few minutes of countless sports games. "Okay, look, I'm going to tell you something and I don't want you to interrupt me until I'm through. I'm not sure I'll have the nerve to repeat myself." She took a deep breath, and then took the plunge, speaking as quickly and quietly as she could manage. "I am a werewolf. In fact, I've been one since technically before I was born. I'm not allowed to tell everyone, I've been raised on the idea that I shouldn't tell anyone, but last night made me realize I shouldn't hide what I really am from my friends."

    There, it was done. She swallowed, leaned back, and watched with a look of concern for their reactions. She was thankful Darius wasn't here yet. He would...well, she had no idea how he would react. But if she could have anyone else on her side before meeting him...
  17. Amara frowned. She had thought, since the incident, that this was the case... but to have it said so blatantly.

    "Friends are friends," she said finally, having sat there quietly for a few moments. "I don't care what you are, just who you are."

    She hesitated for a moment.

    "But.... I think I need some time to get used to this. I mean, this... It just means there are more, right? It's a scary thought, to think that there are... more..." she managed to say. She didn't want to upset her friend, but she didn't want to hide her true feelings just to make Ann feel better. It wasn't even probable to be entirely okay with your world turning upside down in a night.

    "I'll have to... you know... get used to this," she finished lamely.
  18. As if he even wanted to interupt her when she was wearing that kind of expression! It was the same serious business face that Ann often used when Maru's joke was perhaps a little too low-brow. That face could be pretty damn intimidating and having watched a few of Ann's sports games he knew better than to push her buttons.

    The smile on his lips died away as he listened to what she had to say, his face becoming slack and emotionless. A werewolf. He knew nothing about them other than what was plastered all over pop culture, nor had he ever made the effort to learn about them from his shape-shifting teachers. That world was one he wanted to stay far away from, only learning about his own species for the sake of keeping control. But Ann was like him... Maybe, just maybe, he'd be willing to learn a little about her kind for the sake of friendship.

    He could tell, the longer he watched her and listened to her words, that she was scared yet relieved that she was finally coming out to someone. For some, secrets were sometimes difficult to keep. Maru wasn't one of those people but he definitely could imagine what it would feel like, regardless.

    "...I shouldn't hide what I really am from my friends."

    That line bruised his pride just a little. Now he would have to contend with the guilty stinging in his chest for wanting nothing more than to hide what he was and not just from his friends. Sure, Ann would accept him. But what about the others? He almost snorted out loud when his thoughts drifted to Darius, something that would have had Ann completely misunderstand.

    Glancing to his side, he studied Amara's expression and couldn't help but frown when she seemed a little tongue-tied. Weren't those two really close friends? How had she never noticed Ann's condition? Shaking his head, he signed. "This stuff's been all over the news," he finally said. "Guess it prepared me a little for this. And..." He paused, tilting his head back to gaze up at the sky. "I don't really mind. You've been like that since birth, right? So it's not like you've changed in any way." What was he trying to say, he wondered. "You're still you. 'Cept now I can add 'sharp claws and teeth' to the list of reasons why I shouldn't piss you off." Tilting his head back down, he grinned at both girls.
  19. He opened the door and let her in closing it behind her. There was evidence of a hurried tidy up including unwashed dishes in the sink and his hair still unbrushed. Stifling a yawn he stood for a second as upstairs the sounds of his sister waking up began to be heard.

    "Hey again..." he said after his yawn. "So what did you need to say that you couldn't over the phone?"

    Zoey didn't usually act like this and he had to wonder what was up. Was it because her dreams were finally coming true and he was the eternal wet blanket to her dreams of magic. "Can I got you anything, I think we have juice.. or tea.." She could probably tell he hadn't slept, it was a common occurrence when he was obsessing over something.
  20. Zoey shrugged a bit as she stepped inside. "I just didn't want to run into anyone else on my own." She said quietly. "Also I guess...just..." She trailed off for a moment then pouted really hard. "Don't you dare treat Ann like an ass just cause you don't believe!" She raised one small had and gave his arm a swift smack. Zoey hardly put any effort in, it was more playful than serious, but she really meant what she had said.

    When offered something she shook her head softly. "No thanks. And sorry about hitting you." She apologized as if it could have actually hurt him, yeah right.

    "You look tired. You were up all night, right?" She crossed her arms and shook her head. "I know you get yourself all riled up and you forget that you're human and you need're human and you need sleep." She raised an eyebrow. "How many times have I asked you to sleep more!? Come on!"