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    1. Jessikka 10 yrs ago


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Angeline watched as Ellen stood up and left, presumably to go get help? She sat with the man and sighed “I wish there was more I could do for you..” She sighed and looked around, suddenly her vision went black. She shoved her hand on the floor so she doesn’t fall. Angie looked around panicked but saw a faint glow coming from the window, she pushed herself to her feet, wobbling awkwardly. From her standing position she can see a few plants glowing dimly. In her confusion, the spell dispersed and her vision came flooding back. “What…” She muttered. Not yet able to put the pieces together on what exactly was happening she looked back down at the hurting man. “That was weird,” she commented and stepped back, leaning against the wall.

“You alright?” Brooks asked, squat down on the opposite side of the wounded man.

“Uhhh” she started and rubbed her forehead with the back of her hand, leaving a slight smudge of blood. “I think so, I mean my vision went black and I could see something glowing but before I could really figure out what was happening my sight came back to normal.” she started “I guess it’s probably like a spell or something? But I don’t really know exactly what it does yet..” She admitted, defeatedly.

Brooks furrowed his brows, “Keep working on keeping the man alive. I’m going to check up on the rest and then i’ll be back to help move him in the van, alright?”

Angie nodded “I’ll do my best, better be quick-” She held her hand up beside her mouth, as if that were going to stop the dying man from hearing what she said next “Not sure how long he has left..” She went back to squatting down beside the man and dabbing away any blood left on him gently.

Brooks put a hand on his knee and hauled himself up with a grunt. He turned to head outside the house, giving the holes embedded in the house another once-over before returning to the van with the others. He caught the tail end of Ellen speaking to the others and interjected: “We ain’t going after them unless Goodnight specifically tells us to. Last thing we’re doing is sending a gaggle of unarmed recruits after armed enemies. I’m going to go back to help Angie with the body, everyone else start making your way back outside of the basement, and for the love of god don’t stand where the teleporting happens...We’ll talk to whoever they send what the plan is from there.”

He paused, looking at Abigail and then Siobhan: “You two find anything worthwhile in the cabin? You’re both in relative one piece so I assume there wasn’t someone hiding in a cupboard.” he waited for their response but didn’t stay for a conversation before hastily pointing back at the basement and everyone to hurry before rushing back up to the house with Angie, refusing to waste time. “Alright, where’s he bleeding from? We’ll be real careful.”

Angeline looked at Brooks “Well, the surface level bleeding has subsided a lot, I think… Lord only knows what’s going on in there.” She gestured vaguely at his core. “What are we doing?” She asked but could gather by the way Brooks was setting himself up by the body. “Ah, I see.” She took the head side, but picked him up from the side, as if she were cradling a child or something of the sort as to not stretch the wound open by hooking her arms under his arms. “Okay this is probably the best way to move him, you take the opposite side and we’ll go nice and careful…”
Angeline couldn’t wipe the sickened grimace off her face as she inspected the dead bodies, which she had just confirmed they were. The gruesome scene was enough to make her feel sick as she walked back to the van and sifted idly through the first aid kit until the others would come back. She decided it worthwhile to familiarise herself with what they had as she waited for an update from the others. An idea occurred to her to sit around and try digging up some of the shrubbery around. It was the only ‘trick’ she knew to patch someone up quickly and if anything happened to anyone she may as well have some on hand.

After a few quiet moments she noticed Matthew hurry her way, looking rather urgent, she stood up promptly and listened as he panickedly described the situation inside. She grabbed what greenery she had and was about to go before, as an afterthought, she scooped up the actual first aid kit, since it would probably be useful. She ran over to the house and stepped inside, hit with the warm scent of blood for a startling moment, she gathered herself, she was told briefly what room they were in but it wasn’t too hard to decipher the trail of residual blood was where she was supposed to go. For another fleeting moment she wished she had a different magic, one that didn’t send her elbow deep in blood and gore, but she supposed the person who had let all this blood out was probably in a worse situation than herself. She saw Brooks about the house who merely glanced in the direction she was supposed to go, which she followed promptly.

As she burst through the door she saw Ellen kneeling in front of the bloodied man and a sudden wave of calm washed over her as if she knew what to do, which she didn’t, but it looked good to pretend. “Ellen, move-” she ordered, sternly as she stepped forward “-please..” She added in the end, no need to be a dick about things. As she approached her eyes scanned over the bloodied cloth, he was cradling his core so she could be pretty confident that’s where the problem was. She settled herself beside him, somewhere in the back of her mind said she was kneeling in someone else’s blood, a quick flash of nausea struck her but she swallowed hard to try and settle herself. “It’ll be okay, I got you.” She said, almost automatically, though it was hard to tell from her face if she herself believed that, she was too busy concentrating on the task at hand.

Angeline pulled her sleeves up, placed the shrubbery down on the side for a moment, gently reaching around his clutching hand to tear at the shirt fabric while he maintained pressure around the wound. With a sharp tug she revealed the flesh beneath and could see the blood seeping out from between his fingertips. She instinctively reached to the first aid kit, fingers already slick with blood. Her fingers slipped over the smooth plastic as she took a moment struggling to open it, tearing off some bandage which she used with some water that dribbled over her fingertips onto his core. “Don’t move your hand yet, keep putting pressure on it.” she instructed as she wiped away some of the blood so she could get a better idea where the wounds exactly were. As she mopped up a good amount washing away the worst of the surrounding blood she grabbed a big pack, which she tore open with her teeth, releasing a thick pad of gauze. With her other hand she moved his hand, and took just a second to register where the wound was before pressing the gauze on it, hard. She gently helped the man into a laying down position, gravity should in part keep a little of the blood in if the pulse is weakening. “Ellen-” She summoned the woman “I don’t know how good you are with blood but can you hold this down as hard as you can while I uh… Do my stuff.” She asked, while holding the gauze hard against his gut with both her hands. “Press pretty hard, like… Like lean on him fully if you can.” She looked to the man “This will hurt.” she said, her voice tinged with sadness.

Ellen was relieved when Angeline stepped in. She came in with the perfect level of authority--making the demands she needed in order to tend to-- this guy, whatever his name was again. Hopefully she would be able to do something to stop the bleeding. The fact that it hadn’t clotted over the last two hours while he sat around in the kitchen wasn’t a great sign. Granted, the fact that he hadn’t bled out over the last two hours meant something as well, but Ellen couldn’t quite put her finger on what.

He had recalled how a half-dozen guys had attacked the group. He mentioned a rifle but Ellen didn’t have a great grasp of what one weapon did over another, apart from what she had seen in occasional action flicks. Fortunately, she was usually unperturbed by blood, having seen and experienced a few injuries over the years she spent on fishing vessels. Sure people tried to be safe, but mistakes happened, especially when people were working quickly, on a wet deck, with wet equipment.

She hadn’t moved far when Angeline told her to move, and she stepped quickly to the other side when summoned by the medic. “Can I control blood? No. Am I going to pass out? Don’t think so.” Ellen grinned at the woman and pressed hard on the gauze against his gut.

Instantly, the gauze was soaked. Blood rushed up like a tiny red flood from the wound as his whole body tensed in rigor, through the bandage and up between Ellen’s fingers, and he gave a harsh, agonised scream against closed teeth. In the moment, Ellen withdrew the gauze in shock - just for a second - and she saw a great clot stuck to its underside, pulling away from the wound like glue.

While Angie turned away from the man she bustled together the shrub, tearing off bundles of leaves and branches, trying to separate the foliage from the dirty roots as much as possible. Last thing this guy needed was an infection. As soon as she has a good amount, enough to cover the whole wound she turns back “Okay… This is going to feel and look pretty weird.” she braces both of them for what’s about to happen. She gently placed a hand on Ellen’s arms to move them away from the wound and peeled off the soaked gauze, laying the plant matter over the wound. She laid her bloodied hands over the plant matter and furrowed her brows in concentration. In the tense silence of the room, aside from the man’s pained breathing, the gentle rustling of branches and leaves knitting together into a cohesive ‘border’ sounded from beneath her palms. The sensation can only be described as something burrowing into the edges of the wound, though not in a way that feels stabbing or painful, but in a way that feels as if the branches were just melding into part of the flesh. After a while, as she eventually felt comfortable enough to pull her hands away to check her handiwork, she revealed a complex intertwining of branches and leaves woven together to seal the surface of the wound shut. The blood painted the plant and most of his body red. Angeline slumped back onto her shins and surveyed her handiwork, reaching to the first aid kit and tore off another patch of bandage and wiped up the blood around his stomach, clearing away the worst of it before pulling out a little antiseptic wipe, tearing open the pack and pulling it out. She sighed, it was pitifully small, so she focused the wiping around the new seams of his stomach, the wipe catching a little on the rough surface of the branches. She wiped down her arms and hands as much as she could and pushed herself away from the man, gaining a distinct dehydration headache from all the water she’d used earlier.

As Angeline worked, Ellen felt like she needed something to fill the strange silence, and maybe distract him from the pain. “You know, the last time I was holding a guy down like this, we had some nice mood music going.” She said to the bleeding man. “What about you? Ever have a girl on top of you like this, or two? Why don’t you tell me about it?” She raised her eyebrows suggestively, playfully. Okay, that was probably not the right thing to ask him about, given everything going on. But… at least he would be distracted?

“Fuck. You’re fuckin’ insane, chick. Fuckin’ insane. That’s… pretty hot.” He forced through gritted teeth. “Two girls at once?” the man added after a moment, with a hollow chuckle. “Yeah, one time. Weird night. I’ll, maybe tell you later. Weird night.”

"You idiot. In trying to get you to talk so you don't pass out." She would have punched him in the shoulder if she had a free hand. But both of hers were holding the blood soaked cloth. She was reminded of when one guy, Kyle, got hurt on the boat during a rainstorm, and all of the water made the bleeding look much worse. The blood was diluted with water and looked super thin. "I dunno. Tell me about Alex, or Nikki, or... How long you've been working with the Underground."

Angeline had hardly been paying attention to the conversation going on while she’d been focused. At the very least she was relieved he was talking “That wasn’t an offer, by the way.” She added, appreciating the lighter mood.
Angeline looked to Matthew as he settled into the van and felt a bit more comfortable, “I suppose that’s a good point.” Though she was more comforted by the fact this guy seemed to know a bit about beaten up cars and gave it, at the very least, a passing grade. She wafted away the dust he kicked up with her hand, it was certainly the most unpleasant part of the experience. At Brooks’ prompt she looked around to locate the first aid kit, she was hardly ‘qualified’ but she did know a bit about first aid, having to patch herself up a fair few times after her own injuries from over-exertion. She supposed she had become the designated one to know about these things so she’ll probably end up being real familiar with it’s ‘ins and outs’ real quick.

As the van… Struggled into life Angie tensed, waiting for some awful ‘pop’ and maybe their little excursion had to be delayed? But eventually it sputtered into an even purr and though she didn’t respond to Billy, the look on her face blatantly displayed that she did, obviously, underestimate him and his rust-mobile. As they started their journey she found it certainly wasn’t the ‘road trip’ she was anticipating. In fact it was a lot of sitting in the dark until an uncomfortable shiver passed through her whole body, a feeling she unfortunately remembered. After another passing moment, Billy stepped out and flicked on a torch, revealing the location had, as she expected, changed, though it wasn’t until the garage door opened that she could really get her bearings in this new area.

As she looked around, before she noticed the bodies, she noticed the flash of light and heat from the young girl. Again a passing thought as to why this girl was qualified to come passed her mind. Although before she could do anything the girl referred to the dead bodies and she immediately craned to look out the window and, well she wasn’t sure what she was expecting. Perhaps she hoped they weren’t actually dead, but Ellen herself voiced the confirmation. As the teen sputtered and stammered and aligned herself with Angeline, Angeline was distracted by the red mark on the girls wrist. As Brooks delegated their tasks Angie looked at the girl sympathetically saying “Doesn’t look like that’s happening just yet, but I can have a look at that for you?” She offered, getting out of her seat and awkwardly shuffling over to where the girl is and taking her arm into her hands. “I mean… Not much in the way of plants around here but I can stop it blistering.” she clarified. She cupped her hands out and they started filling with clear, cool water, like a cup, as if it were coming out from between her fingers. She furrowed her brow as she manipulated the small pool of water to wrap around the burned area and sit for a short while to halt the progression of the burn. Although, once Ellen started getting out she supposed it was ‘get to work’ time and as Angeline herself got up to leave the van the control of the water slipped and it would pour over and off Abigail’s wrist onto the floor. She gave the girl one last sympathetic smile and followed Ellen out of the door.

Unfortunately, she drew the short straw. In many ways. She had to poke at the dead bodies and she had to be on her own. She stood by the van until everyone else had gotten out and decided to take a little charge, herself. “If anyone gets hurt badly, take them back to the van and call for me. I’ll take a look at them there.” It was hardly a good first-aid tent but it was a common location everyone knew and had the first aid kit in there. She turned around to look at the closest body and drew in a sharp breath as a wave of nausea hit her and the memories of her ‘extraction’ came bubbling up to the surface. “Welp… Better get started.” Angeline mumbled under her breath.

Angeline tentatively approached the closest body, the one by the shed. For just a moment she had to take a deep breath and swallow the nauseating sensation in the pit of her stomach. She knelt down beside it and reached out, before she made contact with the body she noticed her fingers were trembling. She gently touched the skin to feel if it was warm... Though looking at all the blood on the ground they probably wouldn't still be warm so she lifts the arm gently, feeling around for any pulse. She was never good at finding it, she had to double-check where she'd have done it on herself a few times while she was poking around looking for it. Still unsure, she shuffled closer to the head of the body and held her hand gently in front of the nose and mouth, feeling for some air to brush against the back of her hand in case they were still breathing. She was a little out of her depth if they would be alive... She wasn't sure how good her first aid or even her healing would be in a place so lacking in rich vegetation. Plenty of dry grasses and shrubs, she supposed.
Angeline looked at the clunky van and was, well, unimpressed. It hardly gave off a visage that filled her with confidence, and the smell was considerably worse. Under the thin veil of fried foods were much more distasteful scents. It wasn’t exactly what she was used to, but nothing was anymore so with as much gusto as she could manage she drew a deep breath and slid inside along with the other two girls, rather upset at the dust that rose from the seat as Abi tossed herself into it. Surely it was nothing she wanted to breathe in too heavily, she carefully slid down into the seat next to Siobhan avoiding disturbing any dust or dirt. She wasn’t much a fan of smoking either but the promise of fresh air of an open window outweighed the potential negatives of a faceful of ash.

“The key term, I believe is ”if” it gets us where we need to go…”

She was hardly an automotive expert but she didn’t know many cars that ran on cooking oil and was, frankly, unconvinced of its efficacy. But she supposed if it did indeed drive there was nothing else to it, there was a vehicle, there was a location. It doesn’t take a genius to figure there aren’t many other options which could hold all these people.

"Although, um, if it does break down I assume you will know how to fix it...?"

She didn't exactly find much in the way of supplies littered about as she directed her questioning towards Billy, or perhaps any members of the group who had any knowledge about fixing up a... Whatever this could be classified as. Meth den? Actually, she hoped no one in the group had knowledge about meth dens... Angeline checked her ponytail, she didn't want her hair touching the headrest, though as she checked the headrest it was partially broken and just propped up wonkily. She was sure a sharp turn or brake would send it toppling. This thought made her rather anxious. It wasn't just the dirt, she didn't exactly feel like the vehicle was road safe anymore, or just safe at all. But maybe life was just going to be dangerous from now on.
Angeline stood quietly, exuding calmness externally, although just beneath that pristine layer on the surface was a chaotic mess of internal compartmentalising. A majority of the information got put into the ‘bottle it up and forget about it’ compartment for things that were, frankly, too difficult to comprehend at that moment so she put it away and would think about those hard things later… Most of which was the sudden realisation to just what she’d agreed to, she was expecting a little office job type, maybe a little bit of leg work but not much but she was very much tossed into the deep end. At first, she didn’t mind the sound of it much, a little delivery didn’t seem too hard, but it was the implication of some kind of attack that made her want to squish it away into a dusty little brain-cupboard never to look at again. Back in the real world, her eyes were glassed over and she was getting a bit of a stress headache dealing with everything so she thought she’d tune back in just in time to hear that lady chime in early yet again. The silence had only hung for a few moments and Angie cringed at the thought of being so excited to get back out there.

Angie lent the lady her attention as she let loose a string of questions, Angie herself stared sort of blankly. Her own brain was still trying to get over the fact they were supposed to go to Australia, she’d never been before, while this girl had already thought things through and had questions to boot. She rubbed her forehead, that stress headache taking over her thoughts for a moment. The discussion sorted wafted around, catching scraps of it, the important parts, talking about what we can do, who should load and who should watch, talks of leadership. She cleared the fog behind her eyes long enough to watch the girl shimmy her way out of the conversation before she levels her eyes with Simon long enough to stare disapprovingly. The first thought she had to bring to the table was “You really want to get a child involved in all this? None of you guys in administration could see the problems with that?” She rubbed her forehead between her eyebrows and sighed “I mean - doesn’t really matter how powerful she is or whatever - she already has a tendency to run off, you want us to babysit as well?”

Running a hand delicately over the top of her hair, smoothing down the fly-aways and taking a moment to take a breath. Angeline ran her eye over the papers on the tables, maps didn’t really speak to her, so she tried to recognise some key features on it. She ran her eyes over the gathered group of people and rolled her shoulders back. “Well, I don’t know anything about being a leader, it’s kinda hard to say who would be good in that kind of situation… Was anyone particularly good at making quick decisions on their pick up uh ‘adventure’?” She fiddled with her hair again, hiding the tremble that came from thinking about her own pick-up… “Oh - and as for what I can do, I think I was mentioned earlier, I ‘healed’ some withered hand. It was something plant-like… Can’t really explain it very well and well a distinct lack of injuries around here means I haven’t been able to practice much but yeah that about sums it up.” Angie was quick to change the subject, or at least to stop thinking about everything that happened. At this rate, she was bound to have plenty more memories to go in the ‘bottle it up’ compartment.

“Ah - I nearly forgot.”

As she scanned the room there were only a few faces she could give a name, and it was just as likely the same anonymity was associated with herself. “To all those I haven’t met yet, my name is Angeline and, well, it’ll hopefully be a pleasure working with you all.” Her smile was genuine but her eyes betrayed the nervousness of the nature of the kind of work, if it was even half as dangerous as the trip into Goodnight, could she trust these strangers with her life? Could they trust her with theirs? How many others could do what she could do, how much of the responsibility of patching them up was on her shoulders alone? She couldn’t shake the thoughts and it made her headache throb all the more.
Angeline had taken to some kind of routine, some semblance of normality. Every morning she woke up, freshened up in the bathrooms, tied her hair into a bun and did some early morning yoga and conditioning, and then dance practice. It wasn’t particularly useful anymore but a good time-wasting hobby. She’d easily waste hours practicing old ballets she was part of or the ones she’s always wanted to be part of and by then it would near lunchtime where she would clean up, take her hair down and eat her rationed meals. She hadn’t really made many friends aside from a few conversations here and there, she was happy to talk with whoever was about. In the afternoons she would sit by some greenery and see what she could do with it, experiment around with trying to control the ‘magic’ she had been gifted. For the most part, it was trial and error and a lot of staring at plants wondering what to do next. Was all her magic to do with plants? This early on it was hard to tell…

When she was approached she was just in the middle of her morning stretches when someone asked her to follow them. They seemed like they were important, staff or something, so she packed up her stuff and followed suit.

As she was taken into the, unfortunately chilly, headquarters she was met with some haggard-looking man, along with an assembly of staff in the background. She untied her zip-up hoodie from around her waist and pulled it on, promptly zipping it up as well. She wasn’t the first to arrive and not the last either. She recognised a handful from the beginning and a few yoga sessions where they had joined for a while though for the moment most of the names escaped her… It wasn’t so important, for the moment she would listen to his short speech, or proposition more like.

It was certainly an uncomfortable truth that the organisation designed to keep her, and many others, safe was falling apart and even more an uncomfortable idea that she would have to try and be one of the threads holding it together. The interruption had caught her by surprise and only just registered a woman she had seen around on occasion, though never spoken to. She stared in rather blatant surprise, perhaps after the trauma she’d initially experienced with getting to safety she wasn’t so… Eager to put herself in harm's way again, in fact, the idea had made her feel rather sick. On the other hand, if the organisation that was protecting her crumbled apart then she would be a goner for sure...

Frankly, it sounded like a lose-lose on all fronts, though her hopes were that her particular skills would be out of the ‘action’, she hadn’t yet found any sort of magic that was very offensive, she doubts she’ll be much use in the ‘field’. Perhaps her safest route was helping them out… At least then she’d be safer for a little longer than if she didn’t volunteer. “Um-...” Although, actually speaking and saying she’d do it seemed much harder, her throat seemed to dry up immediately although this was hardly the most pressure she had been under. She took a moment, rolled her shoulders back, and drew some composure before speaking, she had to be a calm, level influence if she was to be useful at all. She drew in a deep breath to steady herself before speaking, “I suppose I can help in any way you can find my services useful.”
Angeline started to look a little nervous as yet another person approached. It’s not that she was nervous about stretching in front of people, she’d done much crazier stuff on stage but she never considered herself much of a teacher. “Hi - Yeah of- of course I mean I’m not exactly the best at explaining stuff but I guess if you look at what I’m doing and roughly can replicate it it should be alright… Does martial arts take a lot of flexibility?” she asked, looking actually curious, she supposed it was a little like dancing, high kicks and a lot of control. Lost in her thought, she looked around, there wasn’t any mats or anything to comfortably stretch on, she hadn’t even brought her own, regrettably. Supposedly though, this new life wouldn’t be exactly as cush as she’d been used to. “Oh I’m getting distracted - But I can tell you whereabouts you’re supposed to feel the stretch so you know if you’re doing it wrong if you don’t feel anything..” While it wasn’t exactly instructor level, it definitely helped her in her conditioning classes.

“I was just warming up, anyhow so I guess just sit down with me and stretch out your hip-flexors like this-” She sat, pressing the bases of her shoes together, pulled them close toward her crotch and folded herself over “The aim is to try and get your forehead to rest on-...” She looked at her shoes “Like the sides of the balls of your feet?” She leant down “Usually someone pushes my shoulders down so I go deeper, but well my muscles ache enough so I’m just going to do these solo. Oh and hold each pose for roughly twenty to thirty seconds.” Her voice is slightly strained as the ache in her legs is being stretched out. After a while she sits back up “Or, well, as long as you want really don’t push yourself too far.” Angie added, trying to think of her relaxingly-voiced instructor, if only she could sound so carefree and chill. “Um - and then just to keep relaxed on the floor here just, uh, put your legs into a straddle position-” She stretches her legs out in front of her then moves them apart “And like… Try and touch your toes with one hand, and reach the other one over your head? It should be stretching like the back of your knee? Like your hamstrings and the arm over your head should just let gravity pull your obliques out so along your ribcage and the opposite side of your body from the leg you’re touching..” She can easily wrap her hand around her shoes, focusing more on the stretch on her obliques and shoulder joint.

When she straightens herself up she gets a blank look on her face “I’ve just realised I never even introduced myself.” she laughed, a little embarrassed at how flattered she was at being asked to demonstrate some stretches. “Um, right well my name is Angeline Harrison - I’m uh - I was a ballerina so I’m not like a professional yoga instructor or anything” She switches to the other side, holding the base of her foot and stretching her arm over the top of her head, aiming to try and touch her toes with her other hand.
Angeline was right in the middle of stretching out her hip flexors, curled over, pressing the bases of her feet together and leaning to rest her forehead on the shoes before she heard a voice come from above her. She slowly lifted herself back out of the stretch and looked at that scruffy kid she gave lady’s products to. Unfortunately down-wind she caught a whiff and started to wish she’d offered other products to her as well… Would it be rude to-... Yes absolutely, she’ll politely ignore it. “I’m uh- well I’m just stretching out a bit I guess, the floor wasn’t the comfiest bed I’ve slept on and I guess I wanted to shake off that fresh-floor-feeling.” She joked and stood up dusting herself down and eyeing her over.

“Gotta… Keep the cogs oiled n whatnot.” Angie added a sort of quasi-explanation as to why she was just randomly loosening up. She fished out one of the water bottles she’d retrieved the day before from her bag and took a sip “Why, what are you doing?” She enquired. From her experience, this girl was a little rough around the edges so she tried to keep her questions as gentle as possible as to not make them feel accusatory.
Angeline, after laying painstakingly awake all night in a room filled with other people trying to sleep, had basically pretended to be asleep all night, keeping still and now her muscles ached from the effort. Light was spilling into the room, she really wasn’t sure what time it was but now it would be socially acceptable for her to escape, so escape she shall. She got up and looked at her sleeping back, did she have to take it with her or leave it there..? She opted for leave it there and took her big duffel bag with her to the bathroom to freshen up.

Grateful she’d brought deodorant and perfume she dressed herself in the mostly private space of the girl’s bathroom, save for a few weary eye-d people wandering in, keeping their eyes mostly closed as to not wake up too much so they could go and reclaim what little sleep they had. Speaking of, she leaned into the mirror and gently ran a finger over the dark circles under her eyes. She patted on some concealer and sighed at her upsettingly low stash, she had intended to buy a new one next week but that probably wasn’t going to happen now. She changed into some leggings, her sports bra, a vest and a hoodie and carefully crafted a neat little ponytail at the top of her head. She looked in the mirror and at the very least was satisfied that she looked like a normal person. Carefully re-packing her precious bag, all she had left to live with, she exited the bathroom.

She had cast her gaze around the hall, small bubbles of activity were starting up and she didn’t want to take up too much space on stretching out her sore muscles. She found a large-ish alcove, where perhaps a seating area for a cafe had once been and sat on the floor, starting with some warm up stretches, just relaxing her muscles a little from the tension of the night and the days prior. It felt good to do something that was typically so routine to her. A semblance of normality.
Angie waited for a moment for a reply before quickly excusing herself “Uh- Actually before we chit-chat I’m going to go find some people to find out a bit more about what exactly I’ve gotten myself into. It’d be nice to have some gal-pals about so maybe I’ll see you later!” She pushed her way out of the girl’s bathroom and back towards where everyone had gathered. She caught the tail-end of a conversation, only the last few words about Mike’s hands.

“Oh- That was me, actually.” She cut in and waved briefly at Mike to catch his attention before looking around, spotting Mark disappear into the crowd. “Aw, I was gonna try a little like… ‘Heyyy M&M’ joke, you know… Like the… like the chocolate?” She trailed off a little awkwardly and laughed half-heartedly, the joke wasn’t exactly her best work but the whole situation was so strange she wasn’t sure what else to do at the moment. “Uh- anyways I actually wanted to ask a few questions, you know about everything. I mean I probably should have talked more on the drive, but you know… Shell shock I guess. Now I’m here though it’s like everything’s been thrown in my hands and all I got to work with is some trail mix and water-” She laughed a bit more genuinely this time and pulled out the trail mix packet and wiggled it around until one of the m&m’s came forward. “Hey, haha, m&ms…”

Mike and Míra stared at her for a moment, slightly dumbfounded by her sudden appearance and rapid fire barrage of confectionary based jokes.

“Uh… yeah, that’s funny.” Mike nodded, good naturedly, though it sounded a bit more like he was agreeing to something than amused. “Yeah, that’s a good joke. Míra, this is Angie, she fixed my hands.”

“That so?” Míra raised a dark eyebrow at Angie. “That’s quite the talent, you know. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who can do that - even if his hands look a bit like my abuela’s garden now.”

Angeline, blissfully unaware of the good-natured politeness of the response simply smiled until she was addressed again. “Oh gosh, yeah sorry I never introduced myself, Angie, like he said, or Angeline, whatever…” She looked at his hands “Oh, yeah haha I dunno… He looked like he was in so much pain that I was desperate to try anything… I don’t know, maybe if I try fixing them again they might get more normal? It’s far-fetched but so was the initial idea… It just seemed like a good idea at the time.” She ran her hands over her hair, smoothing down any flyaways as she contemplated her ‘work’ “At least the other ones a bit less… Plushy.” She decided. Shifting her weight from foot to foot she looked rather uncomfortable thinking about it, What if his hands stayed like that forever? It was a thought she couldn’t get off her mind but she was never going to say it aloud. It was like she was some evil witch who cursed him or something…

“Oh right! What I came over here for… Um not to sound impatient or anything but well what do we do now? I get this is like a safe haven or something for people who can… Do things like that but is that like it?” Angie wrung her hands together nervously, feeling her dry skin from dehydration, making a mental note to chug that water later. “We just sit around and hide and hope no one finds us?”

“Well, the general idea is that we’re gonna keep everyone housed here for a little while, just ‘til the heat dies down ‘n’ what not.” Mike replied, rubbing the moss hand idly.

“Yep. A few weeks at most. Then we’re going to relocate people to more permanent hiding spots and boltholes, where the population density is a little lower.” Míra added.

“An’ of course, if people are wantin’ to give the Underground a helping hand in a more active sorta way, we’re always lookin’ for more manpower. If you were thinkin’ of volunteering, trust me when I say that a person with your unique skillset,” he held up his hands, “is oh so incredibly welcome.”

Míra shuffled on her feet a little, taking a step closer in to the conversation.

“Mike, cool it, will you? The poor girl’s only been here for half a fuckin’ hour.”

“Ah, yeah. Beg your pardon. What I mean to say is that we have a sort of general policy of shelterin’ everyone - there’s no need for you to provide any sorta service or skill that you’re not completely happy providin’, is what I mean - and of course we ain’t hardly gonna kick you out if you don’t wanna take a more active role or anythin’. But we do also have a big shortage of folks who can provide vegan prosthesis.” He gave another big, cowboy grin.

Míra sighed.

“As for your magic, yeah. From what the few mages I know have told me - Mike included - that’s basically how it starts. You have this subconscious epiphany, you have an urge to do something that doesn’t really make sense, but makes sense to you - that kind of thing.” Míra gave a glare in the vague direction of Mark, who had finally produced a coffee out of thin air and was talking to some guy in hushed tones across the hall. Eventually she refocused on the conversation. “Eventually, more things will start to come into focus in your mind, you’ll get more of those ‘good ideas’ and most of them will work - and then, once you have a grasp of the basic principles of what you in particular can and can’t do…” she waved her hands in a particularly emphatic shrug.

“Then you start experimenting.” Mike’s grin broadened. “First time I did that little jump thing you saw me do back then, I just sort of instinctively leapt from my office into a toilet cubicle. I was darn lucky it was unoccupied, let me tell you.”

Then, he had a sudden realisation. His face lit up, and he thrust his hands in the direction of Angie.

“Hey, I meant to show you earlier, look at this!” He used his more solid hand to sort of push the moss on the other one aside, and-


The beginnings of it, at least. Sinewy and thin, not enough to provide real structure yet, not enough to use… but it wasn’t a plant.

“I reckon your plant magic is even better than we thought!”

Angeline looked incredibly nervous at the thought of getting even more involved than she already was, but she supposed if she was stuck here already… Well what else was there to do? If she really could help then surely that is the best thing she could do with her time here… It was something she would have to ponder over a lot more, really.

She nodded along slowly with the explanation of ‘magic’. It did seem pretty much exactly what she experienced. Angie supposed, like anything, that practice made perfect and if she were to be at the impressive level of Mike and probably most of the other mages around here, she’d have to put her Botanics to work, chuckling at the story, things were a bit tense around here and a little laugh was much appreciated.

At the exposure of some quite raw looking flesh, Angeline looked genuinely surprised, before catching her expression and apologising “Gosh - I’m sure that look doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence but- well wow… I mean I guess it’s kind of like a skin graft with moss?” She leaned in and looked at it curiously, she supposed the magic worked over a period of time to replace the skin lost. “So you think after a while your hands will be back to normal again? Oh- Well I guess I’m supposed to be the expert but wow I’m just glad you won’t have plant-hands forever. It’s not exactly subtle…”
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