The Miracles: Reborn



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Roxie1563

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Claire woke up as soon her alarm clock went off and hit the snooze button to prevent the sound from echoing throughout the apartment building where she currently lives now just mere months after her High school graduation. Glancing at her clock which shows 5 A.M in the morning and with a quiet moan coming out of her, the brown-haired young woman got off her bed while sliding on her slippers then proceeded to make her bed set for the late evening when she returns later on.

Once the bed was settled with, Claire made her way to the bathroom to empty her bladder then took the quick but hot shower for a nice moment before the water went tepid. As it hit her, she turned it off and got herself dried and dressed in her usual jeans, a nice shirt that just barely covered her naval and wore her Nike shoes then made her way to the kitchen where she usually fall into routine by making breakfast consisting of salad, toast with butter on it and some orange juice to down with.

"Ahh!!" She gave out a sigh as her stomach became full with her breakfast while cleaning the dishes. Once done, she grabbed her keys to her apartment and purse as she made her way out to the door then locked it behind her and went down three sets of stairs that eventually led her outside where she glanced up to the sky, glad it was going to be an nice day with no chance of storms that evening.

Grabbing out her Ipod and plugging her earbuds in her ears, the radio already set into the song for the morning, she quickly made her way down the street then turn right and up the stairs to the train that would eventually take her to her place of job: Anvil's Gym, the place owned by her grandparents for a long time. Taking a quick glance at her phone to see what time she had left beforehand when the train arrived.

At least it's on time, Claire thought to herself as she stepped in, the door closing on her. As she made her way to the bench and sat on it, glad she was the first to do so. While she sat as she listened on to the song, she realized it would take some time to reach her job. Claire just shrugged her shoulders to herself, content to be where she was.

It would make apparent to herself that she would not be alone soon enough as she awaited for the next visitor, namely the dude who always seem to read some sort of book every time he gets on and her noticing it. She could tell he was just newly-born arrival in Arcville, MO.

Claire pursed her lips; Maybe today she would take the initiative and make a new friend out of it. After all, it was the same thing when she was way younger as a child and having to learn everything as time went by.

Here's hoping it all works out as Claire looked outside the window straight ahead as the train bounced by, the sun making its way to reach the sleepyheads that lies everywhere in town.
 

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[The previous day]
[7:45AM]
Kyle sat on a backless public bench, surrounded by a small crowd of people. He was one of the lucky few who had managed to snatch a seat as the group of strangers waited for the train. He had his nose deep into a historical journal, frantically looking for information. One of his associates had asked Kyle to bring him a report of the discussions from The Marshal Gathering of 1901. Kyle had admitted the old west wasn't exactly his area of expertise and that he, in fact, had never heard of The Marshal Gathering, but eventually agreed to the task. That was yesterday and he still hadn't found a single hint of the Gathering.
"Damn thing's always late," he heard a woman say out loud.
"Tell me about it," someone else said, "I don't know why I ever come here earlier. You know my first time using the dam train I got here at 7:20?" 20? Kyle blinked.
"7:20?! Damn, how long were you waiting?"
"Nearly an hour, I think. Felt like a freaking idiot." The twenties... The Roaring '20's. By then technology was nearly wide spread. Telephones had taken over and radio was the dominant king of household entertainment. In the old west, such a luxury was impossible. There was no way they would be around in the nineteen hundreds, nor would the leap from the lack of widely available telegraphs to household radios be possible in the span of twenty years. This would mean they cowboys were gone before 1901, which meant he was on a wild goose chase. Kyle loudly slammed the tome closed.
"The Marshals are dead," He hissed loudly. The crowd around him stared at him in surprise at his sudden outburst but the only emotion he had time for was the annoyance and slight anger that washed over him. At that moment the train pulled in and opened its doors, saving him from an explanation he was never going to give anyway.

[8:00-8:35AM]
The train interior wasn't as crowded as Kyle had first expected it to be. It never really was. He easily found a seat and watched the scenery for a few minutes before returning to the thick book he nearly threw away earlier. It was obvious his coworker--Rick--had set him up but Kyle still needed to make sure. The old west never interested him and as soon as he finished the classes involving them, the information about them quickly escaped his brain so there was a slight chance he was mistaken. Kyle had to be absolutely positive about this before going after Rick, or he would seem like an idiotic young jerk who was too hot-headed for his own good. He didn't need the other employees to have more reasons to hate him. Kyle flipped the page he was on as the train rolled on.

[11:12AM]
Having not seen Rick at all the entire morning was a surprise. Kyle had expected his smug face to appear as soon as he opened the front door. Instead he placed a few books on his open desk by himself. The whole area was deserted, actually. Not that that was too big of a surprise, most people were more than happy to do research at home thanks to the internet. This didn't bother Kyle too much; his job here was secure. The library itself was considered a landmark and its closure was an impossibility.
"Kyle?" A woman's voice came from behind him, "Would you like to have lunch with me?" Kyle turned around and smiled.
"No thank you, Mrs Reed."
"Why do you always turn away my lunch dates?"
"Because you're twice my age." Maggie Reed was definitely pushing her forties. The roots of her brown hair was already becoming grey with age and she had more than a few wrinkles across her face.
"How rude. Maybe if you socialized with others you'd be a happier person."
"I'm the happiest person I know, Mrs Reed."
"Just Maggie is fine, dear." It really wasn't. Kyle always felt like calling her by her first name was disrespectful. "Besides, if that's true then it's the saddest thing I've heard all week."
"I appreciate the offer, Mrs Re--Maggie--but I've got a good rhythm going with my work right now. I can't stop now or I won't be able to get back into the swing of things when I get back."
"Alright, alright. Have it your way. Just remember that I was kind to you."
"You always are, ma'am."

[2:30PM]
After finish his own lunch, Kyle made his way back to his desk. He sat down and popped open another book, marking notes in his own smaller journal. About twenty minutes later, footprints approached him.
"Hey there, Kyle," the male said.
"'Sup?" Rick was the only other employee in the library anywhere near Kyle's age, besides the few that worked out front with the open public. Maybe it was because of this that Rick always seemed to despise Kyle. He ran his fingers through his slick back hair.
"Did you get me the report I asked for?"
"You mean the one about the Marshals?" Rick smiled easily.
"That's the one, yeah."
"I sure did. Here you go." Kyle opened a drawer and pulled out two sheets of paper stapled together. The first was only a cover page titled 'The Marshals Gathering of 1901.' Rick took the papers, surprised, and flipped to the second page. His face dropped.
"Very mature."
"'One good turn' and all that."
"I could take this to the higher ups you know."
"And tell them what? That you wasted company time by making me look into a false event when I could have used that time to work on something real? I pushed back Mrs Reed's request for this, you know."
"If you were a better historian you would have realized it was a farce in the first place."
"Maybe, but I trusted you. Hand me that spreadsheet, would you?"
"You did what?"
"The spreadsheet. Please."
"You trusted me? You're a moron."
"Thanks for the input, I'll place it under 'unimportant gibberish from a madman.' Now give me that spreadsheet." Rick picked up the clipboard sitting near him and dropped it on the floor along with Kyle's 'report' before walking away. "Hey Rick! Remember that time you weren't an asshole?" No response. "Yeah, me neither!" Kyle stood from his desk before picking up the clipboard. His false report had landed on the second page and Kyle smiled as he read the three words printed on it. 'Go diddly yourself.'

[8:52PM]
Kyle stepped out of the shower. He hadn't made any plans after work and was listless. He didn't feel like reading any more and just wanted to shut his brain off. It was far too early for bed though. After drying up, he made his way to living room and turned on the television. The news flickered to life and he decided this would be how he spent the next hour. Or at least, that was the plan until he dozed off.

[Present Day]
[7:43AM]
Kyle skidded around a corner, his book bag painfully crashing against his side. How could he have overslept?! He went to bed earlier than normal for Christ's sake! He nearly made it to the train's platform as he heard the rails rattle, signalling its arrival.
"Are you kidding me?!" He gave himself an extra burst of speed as the train pulled in. Thankfully there was a person on a wheelchair entering, meaning a train's employee had to help them in, giving Kyle more than enough time to reach the train before it departed. Thank god you're disabled, he thought to himself before realizing the implications of his statement. Well, maybe not 'good,' but...damn, glad I didn't say that out loud. He entered the train, out of breath. "The one time I'm late is the one time the train's early," he huffed. "Figures." Without another word he reached into his bag and pulled out a faded journal. He had stumbled across it a few days ago in his closet and stuffed it into his bag without thinking about it. Now that he looked at it closely he realized it was the same journal he had first read when he was a child. He smiled warmly as he opened the book up and began to read the first page.
 

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tRe: The Miracles: Reborn

~- Probably Making A Mistake -~

"--on, it will be fun. They are talking about different books on mythology, including Shades of Darkness by A R Kahler."

Tyler leaned his head against his bedroom window, listening to Jack's continuous chatter about how he should go to that book party. Cerberus was curled up next to his feet, quite clearly trying to tune the blonde out so he could sleep. If he was honest, Ty wished he could have that kind of luck. Shooting the blonde another look, Tyler watched him for a second before focusing back on the scene outside. He didn't have to look to know that Snow was leaning against his closet door, not even bothering to help him out.

"You know I don't do parties Jackson, so please stop asking." Tyler commented again, being as polite in his refusal as he could be.

"I know you do not do parties, but this is not just a regular old party. I think you will enjoy it, so come on!"

Tyler wanted to smack him for being so insistent. Closing his eyes, Tyler pressed his forehead against the pane of glass and counted to ten in his head. It was clear that Jack really didn't want to take no for an answer, but he didn't feel up to socializing today. Not after the rough day in class, it was way more nerve wracking than it should have been. "You will have fun tonight, I promise!" Jack chatted, his blue eyes bright with mischief even as he frowned a little.

No, no, no, no, no, no....

Tyler shook his head in time to his frantic mental protests. Next thing Tyler knew Jack had climbed up on his bed, kicked Cerberus off (upsetting the pit bull immensely) and was right up in his face. A look of panic coming to his eyes, Tyler scampered backwards on his bed until his back whacked against the headboard. Eyes still wide from the invasion of his personal space, Tyler choked out, "W-What were you doing!"

An impish smile on Jack's face, Tyler watched the look that crossed the blonde's blue eyes as he pleaded again, "Just an hour and a half, please? If you are not enjoying the party, we will leave. I will also get you that new book you have been wanting."

Sighing in defeat, Tyler commented half-heartedly, "Get me that book either way, and you've got yourself a deal."

He saw the triumphant look come to Jack's eyes, and he knew that there was no way getting out of the party now. Especially when Jack jumped off of his bed and laughed, "You have a deal, Ty. Now let's go get that book so we can get ready for that party tonight!"

Tyler felt the rock form in his stomach at the mention of the party again, and judging by Snow's mixed expression, the southern boy was feeling caught between his and Jack's enthusiasm for the party. Getting up off of his bed, Tyler gave a quick order for Cerberus to stay put and then followed his two friends out of his room so the tortur...erm, fun could begin.

~- Plans and Berserk Button -~

5:30 AM

Adam had gotten up earlier than was strictly necessary for him performing his morning routine. He enjoyed the moment early in the morning while the rest of barracks were mostly asleep, or at least those that weren't scheduled to be up yet; and what did he do during this point? He was out doing laps so he could wake up and try to figure out his plan for the day. After all, it takes a certain skill and plan to disrespect one's superiors enough to let them know that one isn't happy but still be respectful enough that they can't discipline one for their actions.

It was also one of the few times Adam could listen to his music full blast without getting reprimanded for it. Slowing his pace down, Adam stared at the horizon as the sun started to stain the sky with the first rays of light. He heard the first sounds of the horn to alert all the soldiers they needed to wake up if they didn't want a rude wakeup call. Looking over his shoulder toward the barracks, Adam smirked a little before he dismissed the emotion. He watched the sunrise a little longer, before he turned his back on it and made his way back to the barracks.

7:43 AM

Adam ducked beneath the swing of one of the other guys, he was positive this one out ranked him; but that wasn't the point. Reaching out a hand, he grabbed a hold of his sparring partner's wrist and tightened his grip on them before giving a sharp twist of the wrist, he heard a faint pop sound come from the joint. Yanking his opponent forward, Adam did his best to sidestep the wild swipe, but it did lightly graze him. Clenching his teeth in frustration, Adam kicked out with his left leg in retaliation.

He saw the glare that his opponent sent him before his vision became clouded by a thick red haze. The cause? His opponent shooting his mouth off against him. Don't get Adam wrong, he enjoys a good bit of trash talking but the guy just had to press his berserk button by commenting, "Who do you think you are? Let me tell you, despite whatever you've got in your head you're nothing. How could some idiot that got placed in the foster system amount to anything worthwhile? They can't."

Feeling both his own anger and his opponent's disgust, he lunged forward. Pinning the guy to the floor, he blindly started to throw one punch after another into his opponent's face. He wasn't nothing. He wasn't nothing. He wasn't nothing. He wasn't nothing. He wasn't nothing. He. Wasn't. Nothing! Feeling a couple of the other soldiers grab him by his arms and haul him backwards, Adam fought and kicked out behind him, trying to get loose from their grip. Closing his eyes, he tried to count to ten and calm down; but the barb circled back through his head; reigniting the fire. Eyes snapping open, he glared at his "sparring partner" and snarled, "If I'm nothing like you said, what the hell are you considering you just got your ass kicked by me? I'd say you're worse than nothing. That or you're a liar."

Yanking himself free from his two restrainers, Adam stalked toward the exit for the room and headed outside. He needed to get away and get back under control. He was still probably going to hear about it from General Wells and maybe his old friend, but quite frankly Adam didn't care, he just needed to get away before he lost control again.

~- Don't Want to Go In -~

James really didn't want to be in school.

Not at the moment anyway, because one it's too early to be up. Two, he wasn't feeling well. He kept shivering because it was too cold. Or maybe that was just him thinking it? Rolling over in bed again, James squinted at the door as he heard his mother talking to his father about something, but he wasn't sure what. Shivering beneath the blanket again, the boy borrowed deep under the covers and tried to ignore the slight lightheaded feeling he was getting. He felt someone sit down on the edge of his bed, a moment later Juliet had pulled back to covers to check on him.

Shying away from her, James tried to wrestle the blanket away from her for a minute before he gave up. Rolling over so he was facing away from her, James grabbed his pillow and covered his head with it. He vaguely heard the sigh from his sister, but he didn't care. He felt horrible and his head hurt. Closing his eyes against the dim light, he felt Juliet's hand slide onto his forehead. Welcoming the cool touch, he inched backwards to try and get a little more comfort from his sister.

A twinge of happiness went through him as her hand followed him, only for the happiness to disappear when Juliet called to their mother, "Mom! James is running a fever, I don't think he should go to school again."

Why did her voice have to be so loud?

Shying away from her again, James felt his sister get up and quietly, or as much as she could, leave his room. Cringing again at the sound of the door, James closed his eyes and tried to will himself back to sleep. He just wanted a few more minutes before he got disturbed again. Please? Could he have just a few minutes?

Pretty please?
 
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Roxie1563

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It had been more than an hour when Claire looked up to see the same dude who once again is drowning himself in that book of his, probably from the public library since it looks so old and beaten up from reading all over again. She debated herself if she should go take the plunge and see where it goes or just leave it alone until the next time which is like the evening train as it is for everybody who doesn't have a freaking car.

Taking out her Ipod out of her pocket and glancing at the time which turns out to be approaching 8:00 AM, Claire knew she won't have much time before the train would reach the next platform that leads to her job at Anvil's Gym and who knows what the day will be like for her, she decided to go ahead and see if the guy is willing to talk to her for a moment or two.

She got up and stretched for a bit before walking down to where the bookworm was and made sure there wasn't nothing sticky on the seat, Claire proceeded to sit next to him and for a minute or two, turns around to her right side and clearing her throat to catch his attention and giving her hand to him for a proper handshake.

"Hi there!" She smiled at him, confident in herself to make friends so easily. "My name's Claire; What's yours? I, uh, noticed that you're new around here and I can tell you're looking for a friend, so here am I."

After waiting a beat or two, it became apparent that this guy wasn't much on socializing and so Claire did what she had to do to get his attention and when the train hit the usual bump in the track, she made sure to bump him just enough for him to drop his book then for her to apologize to him while helping him pick up his book, but not before taking a glance at it.

"Nice book; I take it it's not part of the normal Library books, huh?" Claire spoke to him as she handed it over to him, her radiant smile on her face. "Anyway, I work at the local gym, Anvil's Gym, downtown and if you're ever interested in working out, I can be sure to be your partner."

Adding that with a wink, Claire reached into her purse and pulled out the official card for the gym with all sort of information then gave it to him but before whispering in his ears. "I don't bite that easily, my new friend." With that, she waited until the train made it way downtown.
 

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The soft sound of yet another page turning filled the quiet passenger car. Kyle wasn't reading every page, merely skimming along them as he recalled them from when he was a child. The train interior itself was mostly empty, as a large portion of people had recently exited during the last stop. There was movement from somewhere within the compartment, but he ignored it and instead focused on the journal. The cushion he sat on was disrupted as another body sat besides him. There were plenty of seats available so why did this person not take one where they would be alone? Kyle glanced at the person sitting next to him without moving his head. A short brunette with an innocent expression was what he saw, but he wasn't swayed. Was she a salesperson? If she was, most people would be too polite to shoot her down, so trying to get new customers in a train was a solid business strategy. It was also apparent she worked out; this woman was undoubtedly more in-shape than he was. Finally, the girl spoke up.

"Hi there!" My name's Claire; What's yours? I, uh, noticed that you're new around here and I can tell you're looking for a friend, so here I am." She held her hand out for him to shake. The salesman theory was thrown out the window for a more sinister one. She noticed he was new around here? And he was supposedly looking for a friend? That sounded like something a stalker would say while trying to cover their tracks. Kyle closed his journal and cautiously shook her hand.
"...Hey, Claire. I'm Kyle and, despite being a male, I carry mace on my keyring." Ah shit, he used his real name. Idiot. If she was a stalker he should have thrown her off the trail. He left the conversation at that and said nothing else, still on guard at the stranger. ...Though she seemed relatively harmless. Still, it was always the innocent looking ones you had to look out for. He was about to crack the journal back open when the train hit a sudden bump, causing Claire to fall forward a bit, just enough to knock the journal out of Kyle's hands. Are you kidding me? he thought impatiently. Despite being ancient, the actual book was quite sturdy so he wasn't worried about its condition. He was more annoyed at her clumsiness than anything else. ...Wait, was this a trap? Had she planned on knocking his book away and placed a tracker on it? Kyle never considered himself a conspiracy theorist despite his dabbing in history, but the idea struck his mind like a man sitting on a pin. The girl handed him his book back and, for the first time, they made eye contact as she smiled at him. ...Well, if you're going to be stalked, I guess a girl like her would be the way to go.
"Nice book; I take it it's not part of the normal Library books, huh?" She asked.
"You'd be correct. It's an ancient journal from a clan long forgotten that..." he stopped himself suddenly, realizing he was sounding like a crazy person. "It's, err, a journal from a few eras ago. I'm a historian, I geek out on crap like this." He placed the book back into his bag, making a mental note to check it for any kind of foreign devices while Claire informed him of her position in the local gym, offering to be his training partner. "I appreciate the offer but I--"
"I don't bite that easily, my new friend," she had whispered as she pressed her card into his hands with a wink.
"B-but I wouldn't want to accept without inspecting the gym in person. I've been meaning to start working out, so I might just pop in." You are so whipped, he scolded himself internally. Kyle cleared his throat. "A protein junkie though, huh? Didn't see that one coming. You've been working out for a while or was that a sudden change in lifestyle for you?"
 
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Roxie1563

Actress/Healer in Persona: Icebound
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  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
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Claire glanced at the new guy, Kyle, as he asked her if she had been working out long enough and if she was one of those protein junkie he had heard about. While she practically hated being labeled like one, she decided to correct him before he took it too far with that information.

"Actually, I'm not like those people and what I do are based on my grandparents, whom they are the proud owners of Anvil's Gym." Claire corrected him before he could add anymore mistaken information about her lifestyle as she adjusted herself so she could be more comfortable as the train clanked on. "Beside, those protein stuff only last so long for those people who don't appreciate the true hard work that takes time and training.."

Now by this time, the brown-haired young lady had turned to Kyle and her eyes trained on him launched herself on him about the brief history of Anvil's Gym all the while briefly glancing to be sure she didn't miss the stop that would lead her to her workplace. "It was established sometime ago between 20, 30 years ago and it's the pride of the great city that is called Archville," Claire smiled on as she plugged on. "It's known for among many things, but mainly it's the ethics that keeps the kids from doing stupid stuff like drugs, prostitution and so on. In fact, it's one of the reason I'm living the good life and it's all thanks to them."

At this point, Claire mentally slapped herself as she was sure he didn't need it, seeing that he was wearing one of those well managed clothes that indicted he worked at the public library and he might as well think she was one of those talkers. Shaking her head, she apologized to him for talking his ears off as it was a way to help out some sort of friendship that could be unbreakable then turned to get ready for the stop that would be coming in a few moments or so until she remembered something and so turned back to Kyle.

"Hey, you said this book belonged somewhere some eras ago? I don't know why, but I think you should keep that lock up; it must be invaluable and I'm guessing it must sell like a million dollars or so if you had it appraised." Clare messaged to him as she lend on the pole, her hand on the bar for people that prefer to stand up. "After all, it'd be a waste if someone took it away from you."

Claire realized what she said and hastily explained herself saying she wasn't that kind of person to steal or something like that. "I mean, I wouldn't be very good at it if my life depended on it!" she smiled sheepishly then glanced down to be sure her purse and bag wasn't tangled up.

Good grief, she wondered to herself as she could see the stop sign coming up and hearing the booming voice of the conductor to watch their steps and to be sure to not leave their items behind then the door opened and with a brief wave to her new friend, Claire stepped out into the nice cool weather that will no doubt bring some warmth later on in the afternoon then made her way down the long stairs and onto the concrete she goes on to Anvil's Gym.
 

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~- Cool down -~

The second his feet hit dirt he started jogging, trying to see if the exercise would help him cool off before he faced whichever higher up decided to reprimand him this time. Adam knew he wouldn't be getting away without a reprimand, his actions were pretty out of line. Feeling his emotions slowly return to a calm state, Adam heard the birds chirping in the near-distance (if that makes any sense), his pulse becoming a steady rhythm from the rapid beat that it had been after the initial sparring confrontation.

Or it had been calming down until the thought of that match got his blood pounding again, pushing himself to run faster; Adam sensed the emotions that hung in the air. They coiled around him, tightening their grip on his throat until he felt as if he'd pass out due to lack of oxygen. Shoving the feelings aside, Adam pushed himself to run fast, breathing in and out to try and get to an even keel. He heard his heart pounding in his ears with each step, and the sound was giving him a headache; but he just kept moving. He had to keep moving if he hoped to stay sane. A dry laugh escaping him, Adam shook his head a little bit. What was he talking about with being sane? He'd lost his sanity sixteen years ago. All that remained of it was tattered remains that Adam clung to like a lifeline.

The sunlight grazed his skin, warming it where it touched, and a promise of the warmth to come this afternoon. The idea of it was enough to bring a smile to Adam's face, it was something he'd be needing today if he hoped to keep the tattered pieces of sanity. He didn't start to slow down on his pace until he was several miles from where the sparring match had taken place, and even then he didn't want to stop but his lungs were screaming at him to stop. Slowing down to a leisurely walk, Adam put his hands on his knees and tried to get his breath back. His blood hummed in his veins, and his ears were ringing from the pounding of his heart.

Looking out over the barracks, Adam took in the sight of the military base. It was in such an orderly fashion, running like a well oiled machine. It was bound to be a fairly smooth day today in terms of orders, and nothing like the other day when the day started off as a chaotic mess (no, he did NOT have a hand in that; some idiotic new kid didn't do things properly so it lead to everyone getting busted). Adam flopped down on the grass, a smile on his face as his mind wandered to who knows where. Leaning backwards, he stared up at the blue skies, contemplating one thing or another about life.

Honestly, he could probably use Livvy and the others for this. They always knew just how hard to push him to get him to chill out.
 

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General Ellis Wells rubbed between his eyes in frustration.
"Yes, I'm fully aware of what this opportunity could mean for us, sir." His voice was even and calm, but his uncharacteristic body language told the whole story. He tilted the black lined-phone upward and away from his mouth while keeping his ear close enough to listen to the response.
"If you truly understand then you would have already gotten us access to the accelerator," came the response.
"I am working on it, sir. With all due respect I cannot complete what I have started with these constant phone calls interrupting me." The sound of an automatic elevator door opening behind him caught his attention, and he turned in place. The room was well lit, though the many computers and servers blinking in various colors added a slick and sterile appearance. If a random person were to see a photo of this place they might just think it was Area 51 instead of a simple military base. A woman entered the room, saluted, and stood in place, awaiting permission to speak.
"Work faster, general. We want access to it as soon as it is activated, if not sooner."
"I understand, sir. I will talk to my brother and make arrangements."
"Good. We only want what's best for our country and the information we can gain could prove vital."
"Yes, of course. By your leave."
"We're counting on you, General Wells." With that, the phone went dead. Wells sighed and hung the phone in place before confronting the woman.
"At ease," he ordered. She instantly brought her arm down in response. "What can I do for you, Lieutenant Birde?" Heather Birde was a dark skinned soldier who had easily made her way up the ranks. She had plenty to learn, but it was obvious she had potential. Her biggest problem was her mouth. More specifically, she didn't know how to keep it shut.
"It's Jiang, sir."

A shade of light just barely penetrated through the small vent-like window near the ceiling. The new room was dim and dank, the place someone with something to hide would nestle into--like rouges in stories. A small 'ding' noise filled the room as an accompanying light flickered to life on the adjacent wall of the minuscule window. Two metallic doors slid open, and Wells rose an eyebrow at his dusty surroundings. Though largely unused, this bunker housed an extra elevator to the lower levels known only to certain members of the camp and it showed. Due to the lack of traffic, the bunker was filled with dust. "This isn't the first time an incident like this has occurred, sir," Birde continued. She had explained--in great length--what had transpired only a short while ago."
"I am well aware, lieutenant."
"If you don't mind me saying so, sir, I don't think he's fit for--"
"I do mind you saying so," Wells interrupted, "as do many others. Your one fault is lack of discipline, Birde. You need to work on keeping opinions to yourself." Birde scrunched her mouth together, obviously ready to retaliate. She managed to bite her tongue and only responded with a simple:
"Yes, sir."
"I'll talk to Adam. Thank you for bringing it to my attention." He held the exiting door open for her and followed behind as she left.
"One more thing, sir?"
"Yes?"
"I... apologize if I'm out of line, but there are many who feel you treat Jiang differently. That you give him special treatment."
"Is that so? And where do you fall in with these people?" Birde smiled.
"Me, sir? I've recently learned to keep my mouth shut in certain situations." Wells almost laughed.
"Atta girl. Well if people here don't like how Adam's being treated, maybe he shouldn't be here."
"Sir? What do you mean?"
"Nothing you need to worry about. Dismissed."
"Understood."

It wasn't hard to find Adam. In fact, it surprised Wells just how simple it was to do so. Almost as if he had a scent on the young man, Wells easily found him lying among the grass near the training track.
"Wasting away as usual," Wells said, a hint of laughter in his voice. It was obvious Adam had just run a few miles--or at least that much. "Don't bother saluting, just come with me," he told him before walking towards the same bunker he had just left from, well aware that Adam most likely wouldn't bother saluting as it was just the two of them. Wells said nothing as they walked until the entered the old bunker. "Still need to work on that temper, boy," he said as he approached the opposite wall, which appeared bare at first. With a simple tap against the white wall, the elevator doors sprung open. "Seems as if everyone here as something they need to work on. That's good. Means we're all human. Though don't think you're getting away from this without any kind of repercussions. We'll talk about that later." Wells stepped into the elevator. "Well? Don't just stand there and gape, get in here." The short ride down ended, revealing the darkened underground room. "I'll explain soon," Wells promised as he approached a large monitor on a desk. He tapped at it and tapped a few times at the keyboard underneath. There was silence for a few seconds until the monitor light up brilliantly, showing a woman in a white labcoat, her purple eyes peering at them. The background showed a laboratory of some kind.
"S.T.A.R. Labs," the woman introduced before stopping suddenly. Her voice was flat from beginning to end. "Ah, General Wells. The doctor is busy at the moment."
"I understand, Ms. Donn."
"We have many final touches to follow through with before we turn on the Particle Accelerator. I assume this is urgent? I will remind you that Dr Wells' answer has no changed."
"I'd like to speak with him. Personally. Face to face, if possible." The woman's expression changed slightly as she looked to the side. There was silence for a few seconds before she spoke again.
"We'll be expecting you today at four. Do not expect the answer to change, however."
"We'll be there. Thank you for your time, miss."
"Good day," was all she said before closing the communications link. Wells turned to face Adam.
"We've got some field work coming up," he joked.
---
Kyle was confused. Did she take the term 'protein junkie' literally and offensively? Was there was an underground ring of black market filled with gym-goers that use 'protein' as a front for steroids. That would be the only explanation he could think of that would make sense. Her outburst would be subconscious and justified if that were the case...Either that or Kyle was thinking far too much about it. Either way he let the woman carry on with her little rant without a word. No point in getting someone heated up over something he couldn't care less about. Her spew on the gym's history caught his attention, though. He was a sucker for that kind of thing and fought the urge to whip his phone out to follow along her ramblings and dot the historical links. Off the top of his head, the gym being founded two to three decades ago would mean it had most likely been renovated lately, as the city has recently changed the saftey standards for public buildings. It didn't take long for her to back off from her monologue with an apology.
"Don't worry about it. I work in a place filled with stories, learning about things that other people would find boring is pretty much what I live for."

"Hey, you said this book belonged somewhere some eras ago? I don't know why, but I think you should keep that lock up; it must be invaluable and I'm guessing it must sell like a million dollars or so if you had it appraised. After all, it'd be a waste if someone took it away from you."

Kyle raised an eyebrow before quietly sticking his journal back into his bag. Was that a threat? Was she really a stalker? As if she suddenly realized what she had said, Claire instantly clammed up and tried to dig her way out of the hole she had dug herself. Kyle let out a short chuckle.
"You're kinda weird," he told her, "but we've all got our quirks I guess. He held up the card she had handed him: "I'll be seeing you around," he said with a smile as her stop arrived. He didn't have to wait too long for his own stop, and stepped outside, card in hand. Without so much as a thought, he held it over a trash can. Weird women inviting him to her gym? Yeah right. That kind of thing never happens, especially not to him. He opened his palm so only his index finger and thumb held on to the card. He could take an earlier bus to avoid her as well. This was the smartest thing to do, lest he be murdered or something. But what if she's legit? Kyle paused. A gym membership, huh? He could at least do some research on the place before tossing away the card. He bit his lip in thought. She was a bit of an odd one, but kind of cute. There was no way he could be that lucky, was there? Magic doesn't exist in this world, after all. Kyle silently chuckled to himself before pocketing the card. Wouldn't hurt to Google the place first.
 

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[12:00AM - Night Before]
Damian sat on a stool in a dimly lit bar nursing a shot between his fingers; trying his best to settle his nerves despite being a light weight drinker. It probably wasn't the best idea to be drinking the night before considering tomorrow's his first day on the job as a resident in Archville Hospital. Wouldn't look too good to be drunk on the job but, nothing could really prepare him for the reality of actually working with real life patients that will rely on him to know what he's doing. Of course, working with real patients with head trauma and stab wounds would be super cool and a lot more exciting than all of those practice dummies and pigs back in nursing school. Except real life patients lives hang in the actual balance with the right dose of medication, the right procedure because, there aren't second chances, and most of all, being reassured by a calm and soothing doctor in a lab coat that they'll be fine- except Damian was anything but calm or soothing. His knees shook at the thought of screwing up on his first day that he threw his head back and awkwardly downed the shot in one gulp. Only for two minutes later to find himself choking and sputtering on his own drink as he thump his chest firmly with his hand, ignoring the onlooking of strangers with concern in their eyes as his lungs burned.

"Are you alright, son?" Someone called out.

"I-I'm fine." Damian repeated, once he caught his breath and stopped coughing up a storm. He was grateful for the dim lighting in the bar because, it hid the red flush of embarrassment crawling up the back of his neck. He was used to being laughed at but, the concern of some strangers was abnormal to him. Someone thump him good naturally on his back that he couldn't help shooting upright from feeling startled, and almost knocked the shot glass onto the floor, but thankfully the bartender had thought ahead and grabbed it up quick. More laughter could be heard around him as the strangers in the bar started offering advice on how to drink properly much to his embarrassment before the bartender shooed his customers away to save him some dignity as he slumped over the bar in utter defeat with his blonde hair hanging over his tired blue eyes. Only to sit upright instantly when something wet and cold came into contact with his skin after being absorbed into the sleeve of his black jacket.

A couple of mumbled profanities left his mouth as Damian shrugged off his jacket and placed it across his lap, then grabbing up some napkins he tried to wipe down the sticky substance of alcohol off of himself and the bar he was previously slumped over.

"That shot demands a do over."

A red rag plopped down in front of him, wiping the surface of the bar clean as Damian looked up to see it was the bartender grinning at him with good will and humor in his eyes. Damian opened his mouth then shut it again. He thought about saying 'no' as a new shot glass sat in front of him. He thought of saying 'I can't, I have work tomorrow' as the glass was filled up halfway with alcohol. Or thought 'I can't afford it' as he reached out for the glass with his nimble fingers and held onto it. Instead of saying any of those things, he tilted his head back and gulped it down, welcoming the warming sensation as the alcohol worked its way into his system. He needed some liquid courage after all.

[7:35AM - Present Day]
Damian sighed in disbelief for the day he was having as he found himself slightly lost on the streets of Archville with a headache. After failing to a hail a taxi driver twice, he thought calling one to pick him up would've been smarter only to realize he was short on cash and his cellphone wasn't in his pocket like it should have been. Somehow in his haste to get ready with a quick shower and a glass of orange juice thirty minutes prior before running out the door, he had managed to remember everything else he needed in his red backpack, but had misplaced his cellphone. Probably lost it in the bar. Good going, Damian. And now, he could barely read the subway map as he stood outside the station with its multi-colored layout with numbers pointing in two different directions that felt like another foreign language to him.

A part of Damian hoped there would be a directory to the hospital because, how hard could that be? It was one big hospital and couldn't be that hard to find! Except Damian was quickly learning it wouldn't be that easy as he looked at all of the tall buildings surrounding him. He could see a crowd of people emerging from the train as he stood there with minutes ticking by of being short of late to the hospital that he knew he didn't have many options left. Perhaps asking someone for directions would help after accidentally leaving the google printed map version of it at home, despite how painful it'd be to work up the courage to ask. Or if he was really down on his luck, maybe an ambulance will zoom by him and save him the trouble of asking by leading him to the hospital. Although, that's highly unlikely.
 
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Dr. Michael Wells had just finished up writing his names on multiple pieces of papers containing important documentations regarding tonight's unveiling of the Particle Accelerator that would start at 9 P.M sharp while the celebration wouldn't really start until well after midnight Central Time Zone in Archville, MO.

Only in his mid-20s and barely graduating college from the University of Missouri south of Springfield MO just well over three hours later, the young doctor himself had discovered the Particles purely by sheer luck and a lack of sleep one weekend during Spring break that would led himself to a life full of busyness while becoming a multimillionaire in a single day. While he was glad to discover it, he also realized the many possibilities that lies ahead of him and almost in an instant knew one day the military would want it to put in use against deadly threats in the future and knowing himself well better than anyone else, Michael decided it would be better to put it for everyday life rather than militarily.

A small 'ding' rang out throughout the lab as he looked up to see his lab assistant, Dr. Donn, coming into his office. Her face was full of concern yet firm as she sat down on a chair opposing her boss, her right hand holding the latest reports of many things regarding the unveiling later tonight while her left hand also held her tablet.

"Doctor Wells," Crystal spoke to her boss, clearly full of concern etched on her face. "I just got a call from your brother, General Wells. He's wanting some kind of meeting face to face with you and apparently, he's just had had enough of the entire thing between you two."

There was a long silence between them as Michael looked at the portrait that laid on his desk facing his right side, a quiet sigh coming out of his lips. The picture was of him and his brother some years ago at a meet for Children's Hospital, helping out children who had many needs to keep on living, their faces smiling. When did the years go by as the two of them had decided to go their own ways, Mike wondered to himself.

Looking back at Crystal, Mike decided enough was enough. If Ellis want a meeting, he'll get it but no way in hell would Mike ever back down from a fight, court or physical.

"When is the meeting, Ms. Donn?" He asked her and she responded back with four in the afternoon. "Fine then. Be sure you get everything prepared for that meeting; I want to know of his exact arrival so I can at least be ready for whatever he has up his sleeves."

Dr. Donn nodded her head and left immediately to tend to his boss's orders, her lab jacket trailing behind her as the clear white doors closed behind her.

Turning his chair around and getting up to stretch the sore muscles from writing so much, Michael looked himself in the reflection noting the clothes he's wearing seems to match that of his mood: Happy yet full of worry on his face. Wearing a light shirt with the sleeves rolling back to his elbows resembling of a yuppie writer from Archville Daily Times and light black pants that allowed his legs to breath. Also to add to it, the shoes he is currently wearing is that of slip-on shoes that also let him breath better. Again looking into his reflection, he could see the uncanny resemblance to a certain actor named Tom Cavanagh albeit younger that seems to boost his already famous background.

Letting out a breath of air through his mouth and overlooking the entire city from his 40th floor while the entire building from the second floor to thirty-nine floor contained many variety of labs that is working to help the future generation reach more heights than ever. While Mike was more content to have a place to work, he decided it would be better to have more space and so he crafted the entire thing to be similar to that as Tony Stark from the movie in 'Iron Man', part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that appeared to be topping itself over the years since 2008. And it paid off big time.

Returning back to his seat and back to work, Mike was already ready for Ellis and it wouldn't be easy to step back in the fighting field again since their peaks in college.

~~~~

As soon as Claire got her first step into concrete, the first thing she does is to look around and see if anyone requires her services since people, especially newcomers to this city, would find themselves lost and confused and it would be up to her to help them which she did, considering her background.

Sure enough there was a guy who seemed to be totally lost and wearing what appears to her to be an uniform for the St. John Hospital here in Archville. Preparing herself mentally for whatever this dude might or might not do to her while she's trying to help him, Claire walked up to her, smile on her face and spoke out to him.

"Hey there. I, uh, couldn't help but notice that you're new around here. Maybe I can help?" She said to him in the most earnest way she could muster. While she didn't mind helping out people, she was sure to get some flacking from her grandparents for being late (which they didn't mind from time to time!).

She quickly glanced at the piece of paper that he held in his right hand and putting her mental skills to work was able to figure out that he was looking for a way to his apparent new workplace. But it wouldn't be right to show off like that until he asked.

And so she waited for the question that she knew would appear on his lips of this clean-shaven man in a hospital outfit.
 

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~- Someone Isn't Alright -~

James was wrapped up like a burrito. How that happened was he'd twisted and turned until the blanket had achieved the desired image. He kept his head nestled under the blankets, trying to block out the light so he could go back to sleep. Feeling someone sit on the edge of his bed, James grumbled a bit as a hand gently pulled the blanket down and then the whole hand touched his forehead. Opening his eyes, he stared up at his mom, her blue eyes worried even as blonde hair framed her face. His lip quavered a bit, biting it softly to stop it he listened as his mother cooed, "Are you okay mo stoirin (my darling)?"

James puffed his cheeks out at the nickname, only to whimper softly in response. Closing his eyes tight, James swallowed the bile back down; scorching his throat as it went. He heard the surprise noise that escaped his mother, even though he wished he hadn't. Feeling the blanket removed, James felt his mother wrap him up in a hug as she spoke urgently, "Sweetie, I need you to get up. We're going for a little drive."

Shaking his head, he opened his mouth to protest only to shut it again. He heard his bedroom door open, he heard his father say something and his mother respond. He didn't understand the words though, he shivered in his mother's grip as another wave of nausea rolled around in his stomach. His eyes opened again, and he instantly regretted it as the light assaulted his eyes. Closing them tight once more, James felt something cool touch his forehead, after reaching up to touch it he identified it as a cold, damp wash cloth. Dropping his hand to his side, James felt his dad pick him up and carry him out of his room. Something that he hadn't thought was possible as of now, squirming a bit in his dad's grip while still keeping his eyes shut. "Dad put me down." James begged, even as he buried his face into his dad's shoulder to try and block out the light.

"Sorry kiddo, we're going to the hospital. You're sicker than we originally thought."

James didn't complain as his father put him in the car, nor when there was a sudden blast of cold air. Snuggling down in the backseat, James kept his eyes closed as his father drove the car. He could hear that his mother was in the car too, but since her voice was just a whisper, he couldn't be sure where she was...never mind, she was in the back seat with him. The slightest touch of her hand as she brushed his bangs out of his face alerted him to this fact.

He didn't know for how long they'd been driving, but eventually the car stopped moving (sure it'd stopped before, but that was only for a few minutes). He heard the car door open and shut, followed by the car door closest to him being opened. He tried to move away from his dad, but it didn't work out well. Squirming James felt his dad pull him out of the car. Opening his eyes, James started to cry when he saw they were at a hospital. Looking over to his mother who had just climbed out of the car, he pouted a little bit when his mother smiled encouragingly and said, "It'll be okay I promise."

Shaking his head, James was about to back up into the car when he started trembling again. Panic widening his eyes, James collapsed to the ground and heard his mother's panicked words. He just wanted to sleep, was that so wrong? Slipping into unconsciousness, James didn't realize it when a hospital worker came running out and asked his parents what was wrong. He didn't feel it when his dad and the hospital worker both picked him up and carried him into the hospital.

~- Assignment Questions? -~

Adam had almost fully calmed down by himself, only to be startled back to reality. Looking around him, he felt a smile flit across his face when he saw General Wells approaching. Sensing the emotions rolling off of his commanding officer, Adam felt his stomach clench at the sight. "Wasting away as usual." General Wells said, the hint of amusement in the higher ranking soldier's voice setting Adam at ease.

Scrambling to his feet, Adam was about to snap a salute given his earlier altercation with a fellow soldier when General Wells told him to not bother. On one hand it was a relief, especially since he hadn't wanted to do it anyway since it was just them. On the other it set Adam even more on edge, because he wasn't sure just how much trouble he was in. Quickly falling into step behind his guardian, Adam stared at his commanding officer's back, trying to think of what to say but not wanting to say anything and risk getting General Wells to reprimand him where someone might hear.

It was only when they reached the bunker that General Wells spoke, "Still need to work on that temper, boy."

Adam cringed at the phrasing, he stood just inside of the door and watched as General Wells crossed the floor to the back wall. Hanging his head, Adam felt ashamed at his earlier actions even as Wells softened the scolding by saying it meant that everyone there was human since they all had something they needed to work on but Adam would still have to pay for what he did. Looking around him while still keeping his head bowed, Adam heard a ding and he looked up to see an elevator that wasn't there before. Surprise made his eyes widen, and Adam couldn't help but stare at it in open awe.

"Well? Don't just stand there and gape, get in here."

He snapped back to attention at the light scolding, Adam quickly jogged over and took his place in the elevator. On the way down, Adam sneaked a look in General Wells direction and asked, "Sir, if I may, what is it you need to work on?"

Adam wasn't sure what to think when his guardian said that he'd explain it later, or even what he was talking about. Focusing his gaze back on the floor, Adam mumbled a quick, "Yes sir." before falling into silence once more. Stepping out of the elevator a moment after General Wells, Adam stayed back and listened to the phone call that was had. He couldn't explain it, but the mere idea of possibly meeting Dr. Wells had Adam feeling sick. Quickly covering up his fear and nausea before General Wells could turn and see it, Adam forced a slight smile as he was addressed again by General Wells, "We've got some field work coming up."

"Yes sir." He intoned, zero sign of amusement showing in his eyes.

Looking down at the ground again for a moment, Adam lifted his eyes to meet Wells and said, "My apologizes for what happened earlier sir. It wasn't my intention to let it occur, although I do understand that I'm going to have to face some sort of repercussion for my actions. Also, I'm sorry if you've been given a hard time because of me."

He didn't know why he was talking so much. Looking around the room, a bit of wonder crept into his eyes and Adam found himself saying, "What is this place exactly, sir?" Looking back at Wells, Adam stared at the older and higher ranking officer in open curiosity. He also wanted to know what Dr. Wells was working on, but he figured it'd be best not to ask that question.

~- Now what? -~

Tyler was wandering the streets of Archville with his two friends, having parked Jack's flex in one of the parking lots and then going for a stroll. They'd gotten the book that Tyler had wanted, and then came the brilliant idea for the walk. He heard them talking about classes, and it made him smile a bit at the irony of the situation. Shaking his head a bit, Tyler listened as Snow asked Jack the question he'd been wondering about. Jack cocked his head to the side, an inquisitive look on his face as he answered, "Oh, the academy decided to give us today off." A mischief glint coming to sky blue eyes, Tyler could tell what the other boy was thinking before the blonde could even ask it.

Raising his hand to stop the question, he shot back, "No Jack, we're not going to do it."

Jack looked at Tyler, a strange look passing over his face as he asked, "And why not?"

"Because, it'd be a bad idea to get a bunch of squirrels together and turn them loose in a church." Tyler shot back, knowing that Jack was about to retort again, he added, "Do you really want to get grounded by your father again?"

Jack huffed in annoyance, before he got walking again. Even so, Tyler smiled a bit at his friend's mood. It also helped that instead of just one book, Tyler had been able to convince a certain blond to let him buy a couple more. The bag with the books were back in the flex, safely locked away in backseat. Looking around him, Tyler tried to think of what else needed to get bought before tonight; but having never really been to any kind of party before hand, he wasn't entirely sure what was and what wasn't needed. Looking to his two friends, he asked reluctantly, "Okay, what's needed for the night?"

Snow looked back and smiled, before reaching back and grabbing his hand. Before Tyler could react he was being dragged into a store to get some more supplies, including a new shirt and a pair of jeans. It was really going to be a long day.
 
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"Hey there. I, uh, couldn't help but notice that you're new around here. Maybe I can help?"

Damian tore his eyes away from his frustrating map to see a woman standing right in front of him. Words were coming out of her mouth that he almost couldn't believe she was talking to him, let alone smiling at him either. Quickly looking over his shoulder, Damian was relieved to see nobody was standing right behind him because, it would've been embarrassing to answer her if she was speaking to someone else. Wouldn't be the first time that's happened. Letting the tension fade away from his shoulders, he adjusted the red bag on his shoulder and cracked a smile at her as he asked, "Oh? What gives me away that I'm new?"

Originally, Damian wanted to ask her, "Didn't anyone ever tell you that a beautiful woman like yourself shouldn't be talking to strangers?" Except Damian knew by the way she looked with her muscles sticking out beneath her clothes that she she could probably handle herself just fine. And she probably got asked that on a daily basis. Instead, he was grateful that he met a friendly face around Archville since moving here. Not counting the taxi driver, who he thought would've likely stolen his stuff. Or the bartender, who he got the feeling was only after his money despite showing some amount of kindness to him, despite being treated like a kid. Not letting himself dwell on those thoughts too much, he rubbed his forehead to relax the crease beginning to form right there on his face as he checked with his free hand to make sure the quaker bar was still in his pocket. He'll need a snack later when he get a free moment at the hospital because, he was beginning to feel hungry after skipping breakfast.

Knowing he was delaying the inevitable and that the woman in front of him probably had better places to be, Damian finally bit the bullet. "I'm Damian by the way. I don't believe I caught your name? And if you don't mind telling me where I'm at, or what block the hospital happens to be on this map, I'd really appreciate it."
 
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Roxie1563

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"Damian.." Claire mumbled inwardly, the name rolling off her tongue. Sounds like a name off from a certain DC Comics character, she thought to herself. But that was for another time as she dismissed it away from her mind as she smiled back to him.

"I'm Clarisse, but I prefer to go by Claire." Claire said to Damian, her hands on her purse/bag as she moved from her right hip to the left to relive pressure on it for a minute. "I can tell you're new because of your map and they have this confused look on their face like Peter Quill did when meeting Rocket Raccoon for the first time.." She smiled at him, the film popping up in her brain.

While she wasn't sure if he got that reference or not, she helped him out anyway as she gently took his map and wrote down the directions for the hospital of St. John and made sure to add the card for him in case if he ever wants to work out.

"Here you go! And the card thing.. I actually work at Anvil's Gym here in the city. So if you ever need a place to stay healthy.." She smiled, her tone close to flirting as she handed him his map back.

Claire made sure to remember his name and face in case he did decide to visit the gym as she made a mental photograph of him and stored it inside her brain. With a small wave to him, Claire left past him and walked onto her day job just a mere couple of blocks away.

~~~~

As soon as she reached her grandparents' gym, Claire unlocked the front door for the customers that had milled over the first hour or so and let them all in first before herself. Once they all made it inside, the young woman turned on the lights and set up equipment for the early birds whom eagerness seems to hold no bounds.

Within a hour or two, it was all humming along as Claire established her simple routine as she waited for afternoon rush hour as it was the best way to earn some tips. Staring off with some stretching as warm-up and onto jumping jacks, push-ups and so on, her entire body screaming and her muscles bulging beneath her clothes which she replaced before coming out of her private locker room.

Claire was focused and will be until the moment she would finally take a break when the afternoon rolls in.
 

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Save the cheerleader, save the world. Damian thought automatically at the sound of her name. I watch way too much Heroes in my spare time. Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, he felt his stomach rumble again that he wanted to stuff his face full of his quaker bar and wash it down with something to drink. But that'd be rude to do in front of company. Or in front of a girl he just met. And that'd leave a bad impression. Don't worry stomach, we'll find something more filling to eat later. I promise. I just got to get through this day first. Then it's just you and me, buddy.

"Claire, that's a nice name." Damian replied awkwardly, hoping he hadn't taken too long to answer her. After a moment, he cleared his throat and tugged the collar of his jacket, hoping to cool off a bit because, it felt a bit stuffy. Even though, they were outside. And it probably makes me look suspicious. Damian let out a sigh only to perk up after hearing Claire mention a Marvel reference, something he couldn't but to appreciate with a huge smile. "A girl after my own heart. Guardians of the Galaxy is a great movie."

Feeling the map briefly slip out of his fingers then returned after a minute or two, he couldn't help feeling grateful for her help. The irony of it was that he was only a block away from St. John hospital after all. He could make up for lost time if he sprinted the rest of the way there. "Thank you! I won't forget this, Claire. I mean it!" Damian said hastily, stuffing his map into his backpack only to pause when a sleek card fell out and onto the pavement. Embarrassment colored his cheeks red as he picked it up and held it in his right hand. Please tell me she didn't see me drop it. God, I'm a mess today- Damian looked up to see she was already gone and felt suddenly relieved.

Stuffing the card into his pocket, Damian held onto the straps of his backpack as he took off running. After turning down the corner of the street, he went into a slow jog as he took in the sight of St. John hospital. It certainly wasn't a hospital to turn up your nose at with its four floors, if not more. The doors slid open as he stepped onto the mat, maneuvering out of the way of an ambulance beforehand, and spotting a few intern residents already changed into their uniforms as they followed doctors around. Crap. Damian watched one of the intern residents catch sight of him, jerking their head to the right of what appeared to be a locker room, and threw his stuff into the nearest cubby as he fumbled into the right clothes.

Once he was dressed in the standard blue uniform with his white coat over it and stethoscope around his neck as he spotted a hospital worker needing help keeping a patient upright. A woman stood nearby with a panic look on her face and crying out 'James' a few times that it didn't take much to connect the dots of the situation. Quickly coming to the hospital worker's aide to help hold the patient up as a doctor got a gurney. Together all three of them put the boy on top it as the doctor pulled Damian aside. "You're a resident! You're not suppose to be here with me but with the other residents!" Damian swallowed hard, watching the nurses take the boy into the nearest room and started putting an IV in him.

"All due respect, Sir. I think I'm the last thing you should be thinking about right now." Damian pointed out as he followed the doctor into the room. Watching the doctor check James vitals and wrote a few things down on a clipboard with a stern look on his face, Damian couldn't help but want to do something. As if sensing this, the doctor looked up with a frown. "I don't got time to babysit you. Go make yourself useful and find out what the parents know about their son's condition! And don't screw it up!"

Damian nodded as he twisted on his heel, ushering the lingering parents out of the room their son occupied and led them to the waiting area. Thankfully, it wasn't hard to find. Turning to face the parents he put on a gently smile. "Hi, I'm Damian. Your James parents, right? What can you tell me about him? How long has he been sick? I know this must be a lot to take in, but right now it's important I know everything you can about him so we can make him feel better."
 

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It was only an hour or so after Claire finished up her exercising and cleaning her face with a towel she picked up, wiping off the sweat as she took a deep breath to gain air into her lungs, her eyes on many other people whom had many different reasons for joining up at Anvil's Gym.

As she threw away the towel into a local bag filled with other towels that would be washed by the end of day, Claire made her way down the steps and into the large wide area filled with MMA stuff. While the building itself was huge and recently renovated for safety reasons, things hardly hasn't changed one bit as the young woman made her way into the ring, her hand wrapped up in heavy bandages and into boxing gloves.

A few minutes later and already sweating, Claire and her sparring partner went around a few rounds while waiting for the afternoon to come since the self-defense class for women is what makes the money go around here in the gym. Blocking a punch from the man named Joe, Claire lifted her other arm to protect herself as another punch came through then followed through by giving a fake out and delivering a one-two jabs following up with an uppercut that ultimately knocked Joe out.

'Oops!' Claire thought to herself as she offered a hand to him, a sheepish smile on her face. The man just smiled back as he accepted her hand and with a grunt, she pulled him back up and using her mouth to snap the binding off then used her armpit to pull out, freeing her right hand out. Following that and ripping off the other glove out, Claire exited out of the ring and made a quick trip to the water fountain close to the restrooms.

Grabbing a small bottle and gaining some water which she drank rather quickly then throwing it away in the garbage near the stairs as she made her way up to get ready for the class that would soon start, her eyes glancing up at the clock above her desk.

It was almost time as Claire sat on her high chair, the sound of squeaking air when she sat down on it and waited for the hour to hit upon her.
 

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The slight static left behind from the monitor behind Wells left his ear buzzing. He ignored like he always did, and made yet another mental note to have the monitor replaced entirely. Something else he always did. The General listened on as Adam explained himself but waved away his concerns about Wells' wellbeing.
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, don't you worry."
"What is this place exactly, sir?" Adam asked. General Wells placed his hands behind his back before responding.
"Consider this your briefing, soldier," he winked. "You are standing in the underground facility of the Archville Base. Widely unknown to the general public, here we have access to some of the highest tech available. From this location we can monitor activities around the world." The general tapped at the monitor that had been active just a few moments ago. "We also have access to various communication links including S.T.A.R. Labs. All of this is here for the sole purpose of protecting the citizens of the United States from outside and domestic threats when things get too heated for the police force. Thankfully we've only needed to observe and report so far. Let's hope that doesn't change any time soon.

"Naturally, I'm telling you all this because I'm bringing you down here with me. The other troop will think you've been placed in a permanent disciplinary. You'll still have reign of the compound as always, but your meals and lodging will be located down here. Now, as for the actual briefing..." The General tapped at the screen once, bringing up an image of S.T.A.R. Labs. "As you no doubt are aware, Dr. Michael Wells, my brother, has been developing a particle accelerator. Due to our blood bond, I've been tasked with gaining access to his machine and research. With that information we hope to increase our own technology, as well as our weapons. With this, we'll be able to more easily defend ourselves. Unfortunately, my brother does not share these views and refuses to allow us access under the pretense that his information should not be used for war. It is frustrating , I'll admit, to had a narrow minded genius brother. But that's why we're going to S.T.A.R. Labs today. To try and talk some sense into him. The young lady you saw was Dr Crystal Donn, one of his assistants. Depending on how today goes, we might come back as heroes. I'm giving you a choice if you'd like to join me, so you have the option to decline if you so choose."
 

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~- The Bardens -~

"Luiseach, he needs you to calm down. It's the only way we can get him feeling better."

"He's sick! My little boy, he wasn't like this yesterday. Or was he just sicker than we realized and we've failed him as his parents?"

"Lucy, calm down. James needs you to remain calm."

"Hi, I'm Damian. Your James parents, right? What can you tell me about him? How long has he been sick? I know this must be a lot to take in, but right now it's important I know everything you can about him so we can make him feel better."

Mrs. Bardan's eyes instantly found Damian, concern and tears making them shine brighter than was normal. She looked at her husband at the question, wondering if he knew when it'd happened exactly. Although seeing his own puzzled expression made her feel even worse as a parent, looking at Damian she answered sadly, "I don't know, he'd been fine yesterday. Sure, his throat was sore and he was tired, but that's because he'd had a long day at school the other day. Or at leas that's what I'd thought, whatever's wrong with him came on suddenly from yesterday. Irial, can you think of anything else?"

The man that was addressed could only possibly be James's father. He had jade green eyes and dark blonde hair, the hardness on his face (a clear sign of his concern) almost gave him an elf-like appearance. He was toned from whatever his job was. He had dark pants and a dark grey t-shirt, his shoes were a white pair of sneakers and the look in his eyes seemed only a fraction softer than the hardness of his face. There was a frown on his face, and a sigh escaped him. It's not that he was annoyed, he wasn't, it's just his stomach was doing flips and trying to eat itself with how concerned he was for James.

"Luiseach, you know I'm about as in the dark here as you are." He answered, then focusing on Damian, he added, "Like my wife said, other than being tired and a sore throat, James was basically fine yesterday. He'd also got sent home from school the other day because of a migraine and he'd felt like he'd been about to puke. Today, the sore throat he had was even worse and he had a high enough fever that, my best guess, he had a seizure in the parking lot so he passed out." Irial's fingers curled into fists, the nails of his fingers biting into the palms of his hands in an effort to quiet the shaking.

"How's that information coming? I need it for this patient!"

The words from the doctor instantly got Lucy's and Irial's attention, it was clear the doctor had left someone in charge of looking after James. Looking to Luiseach, Irial lightly touched her arm before he wandered off to answer the doctor's questions. Luiseach wrung her hands together, trying to think of what had been going on with her youngest child before this morning. After all, her husband was right, if she was going to be any sort of help to James, she had to remain calm. Looking at Damian, a sudden thought smacked her upside the head.

It'd make sense, there'd been a recent out break of strep throat in James's school and it set on fast, they just hadn't been paying attention because his hay fever had been acting up at the same time. "I'm not sure if this will be of much help, but I think James said there'd been an outbreak of strep throat recently in his school. Matter of fact, one of the kids had to leave school early about three days ago because of it." She looked at Damian with pleading eyes, hoping that maybe he'd be able to help them out with the little bit of information she'd been able to give him.

~- Play On the Safe Side -~

"Consider this your briefing, soldier."

He didn't know what to make of the wink, but the slightly easy air surrounding Ellis did help Adam relax. So, even though it was proper, Adam's stance was relaxed compared to Ellis. Listening to the debriefing, the rhythm of the words was a balm to Adam, washing away the rest of the negativity that had taken hold of him just a little while ago. He appreciated the rundown of the faculty, and he even felt mildly honored that he was being trusted with its location. Only for one tiny piece of information to capture his attention and refuse to let it go: This was basically his new quarters.

Adam really didn't know how to react to the idea of being moved down here. Yeah, sure, he'd be able to wander around the compound but still...what? He stared at Ellis, trying to process everything that this room was used for. What finally snapped him out of his daze was the offer to skip the trip to see Dr. Wells, and yeah, he couldn't lie, he didn't want to go. There was something about Dr. Wells that freaked Adam out, not that he'd really "met the good doctor" before this opportunity. There was maybe one time when he was younger, but he wasn't sure. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Adam was surprised when he caught himself saying, "Sir, if it's alright with you, I'd like to go. I think it might be useful to have a more...neutral...party there tonight. Or at least someone who can understand both sides of the argument for, uh, the particle accelerator discussion. Um, sir."

He dropped his gaze and kicked the floor with his boot, the nervous energy that buzzed in the air of the compound moved through him. The energy's fingers were lightly curled around his throat, reminding him of its presence but not to the point that he couldn't breathe. He tried to push it away, only for the rumors that had been spread around his qua..erm, former quarters drifted back into his head. Eyes hardening, he lifted his head until he met Ellis's gaze and he asked, "What's this about me supposedly getting a new "handler", Wells? The others have been talking about it, something about a general's son?" He didn't want to acknowledge it, but he'd felt a flare of hope strangled by bitterness at the idea. Hope because if it was who he wanted, maybe he could explain things; only for the bitterness to take over because of their treatment to him when they were children.

It wasn't his fault. He hadn't realized that would have happened, if he'd known he wouldn't have begged his friend to get the horses. Or, at least he would have made sure his horse would have been the one that had been spooked and he'd been the one that had gotten hurt.

Clenching his fists again at the memory, he felt the hot, boiling rage and nausea roll through his stomach. He wouldn't let it consume him, not this time. Taking a couple of deep breaths, he closed his eyes for a couple of moments and counted in his mind. He wasn't sure what number he counted to, it was just to one high enough that the consuming fire had quieted down for the time being. Opening his eyes, they were a fraction softer than they'd been a moment before. Wandering around the room, Adam took in the sights until he was standing next to Wells and his fingers were hovering just above the keys. He stood in that position for a few moments, before he focused back on Ellis and added, "How long am I supposed to be down here, sir? Also, when did you want to head out for S.T.A.R. Labs exactly? I understand it probably won't be for a few more hours, but still..."

Adam looked around the room again, noticing that for the most part it was empty expect for the computer. A slight smile coming to his face, which softened his eyes even more, he commented, "Thank-you for trusting me enough with this type of information, especially since I know I'm not exactly the easiest kid around here." A sheepish look coming to his eyes and the smile becoming a shy one as Adam met Wells's gaze again, and for a moment, a younger version of Adam stood there. One that would have still been fairly gentle, only for the slight buzz of static to destroy the illusion.

Adam decided to focus on tinkering with the computer, having powered it up by touching a key, he dropped the volume down on it so now the static sound wasn't even noticeable. Turning the monitor off, he couldn't stop the train of thought that went through his mind, Will would have been able to do it faster. He was always better with electronics compared to me. The thought of his old friend felt like a stab to the heart, but Adam was fast to dismiss the thought. He already knew he could comfortably get his four border collies down here, which did help to ease his nerves even as he waited for Ellis' answers to his questions.
 
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~- Distractions -~

"You know you're supposed to wash your hands in the sink, right?"

Juliet just laughed at Cyrus, her laughs growing even harder as he tried to rub the charcoal off that she'd smeared all over his face. It was the last ten minutes of their basic drawing class, and the class was supposed to be using this time to clean up. Cyrus really wanted to get done quickly so they could leave just a bit early; even if it was just an extra five minutes, it gave him time to walk Juliet to her music class before he had to get to creative writing.

She was still laughing, but Juliet reached up with a damp paper towel, wiping the smudges off his face as something of an apology. "But it looks so much better on you, Cy; nice and dangerous. It's quite the seductive look."

Cyrus took the paper towel from her, scrubbing the last of the charcoal off as he muttered, "Not in class, it's not. You just about ready?"

Juliet pouted, the effect ruined somewhat by the glimmer of laughter still dancing in her eyes. Behind that laughter though, was a slight touch of concern, and Cyrus knew what was bothering her, even though she tried to hide it. A smile lighting across her face again, the goth said, "Yeah, I'm ready, I just need to grab my violin case and art kit. Are you?"

"Ahead of you!" he called out; he was laughing already, all traces of his "bad mood" forgotten. Stopping by their desks, Cyrus flipped the cover sheets down on their drawings, careful not to smudge the white pastel drawings against the dark background of the papers. The class was supposed to be putting the finishing touches on the still life they'd been assigned in the following class period; Cyrus didn't feel like setting either himself or Juliet back an hour by messing up their lines, especially since Juliet had practically perfected the cat sculpture in hers. Cyrus still wasn't happy with the cat in his, to be honest; he'd had to move it on the paper because the composition hadn't been correct before hand, but he hadn't been able to get the cat quite right since then.

Oh well. "It is what it is," Cyrus said softly. Picking up their drawings, he put them in the drawer with the rest of the unfinished projects, leaving the drawer open for the student right behind him as he returned to his desk. Reaching the desk, he stooped down, lifting both art kits off the floor with quick, easy grace as Juliet slung her backpack across her shoulders, her violin case already in hand. Swinging his own backpack into place, Cy reached out, threading his fingers through Juliet's own as they walked out of class.

Juliet squeezed his fingers gently, but a slight bit of excess tightness told Cyrus that she was still worried about James. Jule's little brother had been sick that morning, a fact that she'd alerted their parents to, but Juliet still had her own classes to go to that day even though her parents had decided to keep James home. It probably wasn't anything serious, but Cyrus knew that wouldn't keep Juliet from being concerned about James.

An idea popping into his head, Cyrus said, "Hey, how about we stop by that smoothie place after class later? We could pick one up for James too; I'm sure he'd love that idea!"

Juliet looked up at Cy, some of that light he loved so much back in her green eyes as she said, "That sounds great. But there's just one problem with that thought."

"And what's that?"

"We have to finish with class for the day," she said, drawing an amused laugh from Cyrus. She picked up her pace, a pace that he was still able to match quite easily with his own long stride, and then she added quickly, "So, let's get going!"

"Sounds good to me!"

~- Book of Jealousy -~

You've got to be joking, right?
He's a colonel?

He's barely more than a kid...​

It's because of General Paragon, you know that...​

Ain't nobody got enough skills or balls to shoot for that high a rank at his age otherwise...


Will brought his arms together in a cross block, just barely keeping Gizmo's foot from slamming into his chest. Will knew Giz wouldn't have gone through with the strike, and the Private was pulling his punches... erm, kicks, in this case. It was just a private sparring match between the two of them in the machine shop, one that had been set up by the lower ranking officer using the code system that Will and Gizmo had worked out between the two of them. It was just a sparring match, and neither one of them was trying to do much more than have a little fun and unwind.

Even so, the almost kick to his ribs reminded Will to get his head back in the game, and away from the whispers that had followed him for the last four years and two stations. Will pulled his left arm against his side, using his right to make a grab for Gizmo while the younger man was off balance. However, Giz was quick, slinking back and away from Will as both of them readied themselves for the next round.

Feeling in rare form, Will took the initiative, and lunged at Gizmo. Suspecting the attack, Gizmo jumped to the side, but Will went into a slide, pivoting on his left leg as he brought his right out to sweep Gizmo's feet out from under him. Taken by surprise from the unsuspected direction of the attack, Gizmo stumbled, then got tangled up in Will's kick, causing Gizmo to lose his balance and land square on his ass while Will quickly regained his feet.

Barking filled the machine shop at the same time that Gizmo sputtered, "Yielding; I yield to your superior skills, Paragon!"

A slight smile crooked the corner of Will's mouth as he shot back, "Private Marco Giovanni, on your feet! Now!"

The Private shot to his feet immediately, a scowl on his face as he barked, "Sir! I prefer Private Gizmo if it pleases you, Sir!"

That smile spreading further across his face, Will said, "At ease, Gizmo." It was a small, private revenge, and one Will knew Gizmo would forgive him for quickly; Gizmo cared for his name about as much as Will liked his, which wasn't much. They both thought there names were too pretentious for the men they were attached to.

Having gotten his revenge for Gizmo's "insubordination," Will turned to the source of the barking, a German Shepherd with a rather unusual, tri-colored coat and blue eyes. Reaching out a hand, he let her come to him before he rubbed her head, saying softly, "Easy, Starset. Easy, girl."

Starset gave Gizmo another, hard stare, almost as if the dog was chastising him for allowing Will to put so much stress on his leg. Will knew there'd be a good chance he'd have to pay for balancing the majority of his weight on his left leg later, but he pushed that thought away; there'd be enough time to worry about future aches and pains when they got there.

He reached out for his water bottle, taking a long drink from it as he started walking, Starset close on his left. Will heard Gizmo behind him, water bottle in his own hand, before the twenty year-old Private said, "So, what's on the docket today, Will?"

Will stopped walking, turning instead to face Gizmo as he said, "You're going to look into what's up with that jeep and find out if it's the transmission that's slipping or it it's the engine that's about to go. I need to report in for some orders. Supposedly, I'm supposed to be working with a new Private."

Will turned away again, before Gizmo could see the brittle edges that had entered into his eyes. For a moment, Will let his gaze wander around the machine shop, taking in all of the projects that he was in charge of. For a long time now, Will had found himself spending more and more time working with mechanical things; at least they valued hard work, and didn't judge him for what was seen as favoritism. Machines were amazing, partly because they were silent. It was easy to get lost in his work and let the outside world disappear.

Gizmo cleared his throat, a reminder that Will wasn't alone, before the Private said, "So, who's the lucky candidate?"

"That's what I'm not sure about," Will said. Reaching out, Will set the water bottle down on a bench, exchanging it for his uniform jacket instead. Shrugging into the coat, Will said, "That's why I'm reporting in. Get to work on that jeep, Private, and I'll see you later. Starset, come."

Starset wagged her tail, keeping even with Will's heel as the two of them left the shop.

~--------~

Here's a picture of Starset for you guys. She's what you'd call a panda patterned German Shepherd; and yes, they do exist! XD She's named for Will's favorite band, and she's two years old.

Spoiler Spoiler Show
 
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Being a parent must be rough.

Damian does his best to keep his feelings in check despite feeling terrible about putting James's parents on the spot about the condition of their son. A part of him wants to say it's not their fault. Things like that can be missed rather easily. However it isn't his place. Or for him to comfort James's concerned and frighten parents. Instead he absorbs everything he can like a sponge until he sees Irial leave in his place to presumably say the things he should. Damian moves to follow until his eyes go wide in surprise at the possibility of strep throat also known as mono or kissing disease. "Thank you ma'am! I'm going to tell the doctor this right away! You've been a big help!"

"It's got to be strep throat!" Damian declares, rushing past Irial and into the room. The doctor hums in acknowledgement, using a stick to look closely into James throat to see some minor swelling past his tongue and teeth. Quickly checking his pulse, does he feel his forehead and examine his eyes. Damian takes a relieved breath as he waits for further instructions, hoping he could still prove to be useful somehow, but knows it's likely out of his hands now. Mission complete. As he waits his eyes catch sight of the short, blonde nurse administrating a needle of presumably the antibiotics into James vein on his inner arm. Once the doctor discards the used stick into a nearby trashcan including the latex gloves, he stands up right and takes the chart from nearby.

"Your son will be alright. The antibiotics will help take care of the strep throat and its other symptoms."

"What about the when he passed out in the parking lot? Was that a seizure or-"

The doctor gives Damian a stern look, instantly cutting him off for further comment before continuing further.

"As I was saying, some ice cream will certainly help once the antibiotics do their job to take care of the infection. Which is natural. However, we'd like to run a few tests to make sure there's nothing else we've missed. And with your permission, we'd like to examine his brain for any potential signs of a cause for a seizure, but it's likely the fever was the cause for James to pass out in the parking lot."


After briefly allowing everyone to digest this bit of news does the doctor takes a deep breath. Damian can't help to shift on his feet in slight concern, but knows his superior, perhaps even mentor knows how to handle this particular patient. He takes his leave of the room, hoping things will be alright for now as he finds Mrs. Bradan's still lingering where he left her in a hurry with a concerned look on her face. Doing his best to ignore some of the on looking parents and patients waiting to see the doctor, he takes a moment to calm himself down a bit before he finally tell her some of the good news. Even if it's only a little bit.

"Mrs. Bradan, your son is currently stable. It's likely they'll run some tests to make sure nothing else is wrong, but when he wakes up he'll probably need some ice cream." Damian smiles until he spots some of the other resident doctors nearby, who are following other doctors in lab coats around for the internship program. "I... I uh, I have to go! But the doctor inside that room with James will do everything he can to take care of James! Please excuse me!"

As Damian takes off in a slow jog to follow the trail of newbie doctors like himself, he can't help but wish he could be back in that room looking after James. Instead he takes his forgotten breakfast and starts shoving it down his throat as he listens to the experience doctors telling everyone what to do, who they're assign to, and what not to do.
 

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~- One of My Everythings -~

Lucy didn't know what to think when Damien ran away, seeming like an excited puppy. She did try to follow him, only for him to show up a few minutes later. She smiled a little as he reassured her that James was fine and stable, and that he'd probably want ice cream after he woke up. "Thanks Damien, now please don't let me keep you from your rounds. I hope I get to see you again soon." She said as calmly as she could, a worried smile on her face as she watched Damien go off to his next set of rounds after reassuring her again.

She walked over to the direction she knew James was at, sitting down in a chair, she reached out a hand and placed it on James's forehead. It seemed as if whatever the doctors had done was already working on James's fever. She glanced over to see Irial leaning against the wall, watching his son as worry lines appeared on his face. "Have you told Cy to keep Juliet busy?" Lucy asked softly, her voice calmer than it had been earlier.

Irial nodded his head, not even bothering to say anything on what the message contained. They both knew Cyrus would look after Juliet, so it gave them enough peace of mind to allow them to focus on James. Feeling her son stir a little under her hand, Lucy's eyes focused on her son as he mumbled, "Mom, your hand's cold."

A laugh escaping her, she answered, "I'm sorry, your father through some ice at me to calm me down."

"I did not!" Irial complained, a slight smirk on his face at the joke.

James opened his eyes and looked between his parents, only for him to close his eyes again because of the pain in his head. Snuggling deeper under the covers, James mumbled, "I'm going to get a little more sleep. I'm fine though, I promise." His voice grew more sore the more he talked to them. It was only a moment after he had finished talking that James had fallen asleep. Lucy shared another smile with Irial and they settled down to wait until James was feeling well enough to leave the hospital and go home.

~- Trying to Find A Way Around -~

Tyler looked around the shop, trying to find something that he'd like. Snow and Jack were still close enough for him to hear what they were saying, but far enough away to make it where he had to focus on what they were saying to understand it. He could tell Jack was getting upset based on the contractions that were starting slip into the blonde's speech, and it wasn't too much of a surprise given what today was. Shrugging it off, he walked over and commented cheerfully, "How about we hit up that gym? You know, Anvil's Gym?"

Jack glanced at him, contemplating the suggestion even as a dark look came to Snow's face. He didn't know what the two were arguing over, but any sort of change in conversation was good enough for him. He did purchase a jacket, it was a dark brown almost black aviator jacket and it fit really well. Putting it on as they walked out of the shop, he snuggled deeper into it, taking what little warmth he could from the new coat. He could tell that Jack was concerned on it, even Snow was, but neither of the other boys said anything. Walking back to where they'd parked Jack's flex, he climbed into the backseat when Jack gave the all clear on it being safe to get in the car.

It didn't take long for them to get to Anvil's Gym, but instead of putting the car into park and getting out, Jack kept the car running. Looking at his friend, Tyler saw the pensive look on the blonde's face as he tried to figure out how to go about it. Jack's dad had asked him to check up on Clarie, given that the two had the common bond of having a parent, or Claire's case of had a parent, in the police force. He leaned forward, placing a tentative hand on Jack's shoulder, Tyler waited until the blonde looked at him before he commented, "Don't think about it, okay? Just go in and ask her how she's doing."

It was only for the briefest of seconds, but hesitation and fear flashed through the sky blue eyes. Tyler tried to avoid clenching his teeth, which was a difficult task to accomplish at that point. "Come on Jack, you know what Claire's like." He said encouragingly, forcing a smile to try and reassure Jack.

Taking a deep breath, Jack put the car in park and turned it off. A moment later the blonde climbed out of the car with Tyler and Snow on his heels. Tyler looked at the gym, evaluating it again for a moment before he followed his two friends into the building. Snow split off after checking in to hit some of the machines, which left Tyler and Jack the responsibilities of tracking down Claire to talk to her before her afternoon self-defense class started up.

~- Dog Interruption -~

Adam was really getting antsy as he waited for Ellis's answers, walking around the room again. He listened as a ding rang out through the room, capturing his attention. Turning to look in the elevator's direction, he almost expected to see a person walk out of it, only for four canines to come running out. Three went to Ellis, sniffing around the general and one went directly to Adam. Crouching down, he ruffled the black and white border collie's fur. A smile on his face as he saw her, he laughed as she started licking his face, "Easy Livvy! Easy, girl. I'm okay, Ellis is okay too. Pain, Panic, Famine! Back off of the general, that's an order."

The three border collies that had been by Ellis quickly moved toward Adam, barking happily to see him. Sighing a little, he gave a quick, sharp whistle to get the dogs in line. Looking to Ellis, Adam commented, "Sorry, they're normally better behaved than this, but apparently they're all wired today. So, um, what were you about to say, sir?"

He was aware of Panic becoming more and more antsy, reminding him of why Panic was named Panic. The dog was crouched low, his ears back and tail tucked. Reaching a hand out, Adam wound up scratching Panic behind the ears, his own anxiety starting to climb before he pushed it to the side. He didn't have to look to know Famine and Pain were investigating the room, nor that Oblivion was somewhere nearby playing in the shadows, watching every single person and animal that was in the room. All he could do was wait to see what Ellis had to say. He could also try to avoid shifting his weight from one foot to the other, not that he was having much luck of doing that.

~--------------~

((OOC: Adam's dogs:

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They're siblings and they're all about two years old))
 
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