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Lee visibly relaxed when Zimmy assured him that she was fine. He was of course still somewhat tense due to the situation they were all in, but the situation felt a lot more under control now that he knew that everyone was still ok. In fact, he felt loose enough to roll his eyes at her last sarcastic remark; it was classic Zimmy, which meant there wasn't anything to worry about for now. He felt compelled to fire back a joke of his own, but the second he went to open his mouth all hell broke loose as Setzer and Galahad finally pried open the escape pod. At first there seemed to be nothing but another concentrated Mist pocket in there, but in a flash Setzer was pinned to the ground as a woman held a magic trench knife to his throat.

Lee felt like the knife was held to his own throat as it tightened in fear. Not much ever scared him, mainly because he never gave enough energy and commitment to care about much in the first place. He could straight face many of the more perilous drills and simulations back at the Citadel, and he'd been infamous for displaying a humorous outlook towards his training at the worst of moments. But this was a very real threat that he was now facing, and his squadmate and friend that he'd known for years was very much in danger. Setzer was one hell of a tough bastard, and for him to be taken down so easily...well, it was a wake-up call. The past decade's worth of training hadn't been for shits and giggles, they all being prepared for war and all of them could die once deployed. And Lee was now realizing that he hadn't really acknowledged the reality of that until this moment.

"He's not dying," Lee muttered as he kept his eyes on the knife held to Setzer's neck. He wasn't saying that to anyone in particular, if anything he was just saying it as a self-affirmation, or perhaps even a promise. Instinctively he rummaged through a mental list of spells and effects that could possibly help here, but due to the woman's knife appearing to be magic-based he doubted he could affect her weapon so easily, at least not directly. He did have a spell or two that could protect him, but the others were trying negotiation tactics first and he didn't want to set the woman off. The best he could do for now was be prepared to step in as backup in case the confrontation went south, and so he focused with a spell in mind so he would be available to cast it on a moment's notice.

"Hang in there Setzer," Lee told him, keeping his voice calm as the others tried to communicate with the woman, "And for fuck's sake please don't pull something stupid and flirt with her. There's a painkiller with your name on it if you manage to think with the right head."
Oh right, gotcha, I'll have him hold her arm.
Sorry about my silence as well. Been dealing with a lot of life issues that decided to happen all at once and when I'm not busy I've had no motivation to write because of it. Gonna try to force my way through this slump and be more active.



Hillview High - Mason Square


Scott Reese was dead. It was finally over. Jasmine took the time to finally catch her breath and allowed the others to deal the finishing blow as she watched on in morbid disgust. The monster before them had reverted back to his previous form, and he looked absolutely pathetic. A tinge of remorse and guilt pulled at her heart, and she had to remind herself that she'd been unfairly dragged into this mess because of this now-mutilated kid. Reese had tried to kill her, and only because she'd been in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the end...it was payback. Whether he wanted to kill any of those people or not, he still did it, and would have continued to do so had he not been stopped. And for that, Jasmine had no regrets. She was safe, her brother was safe. It was over.

But of course, it wasn't actually over. Supernatural bullshit appeared right in front of everyone and began to do things she couldn't even comprehend, and even as she looked at the strange orange light and a form solidified, she still couldn't figure out what it actually was. Everyone had vaguely grouped up as this went on, and for whatever reason it seemed that none of them could force themselves to look away.

"Grant...get behind me and run," Jasmine told her brother as apprehension and fear built within her. Britney was telling them all to run, and while it was hard to trust her she felt that she didn't really have much of a choice. So she wanted to at least buy Grant some time and have him get away first. But he didn't run, of course he wasn't going to leave without her. She was about to start yelling for him to just get away when things went from crazy to absolutely insane. Tendrils grew from the supernatural figure's body, and were poised to attack everyone all at once. There...wasn't anything anyone could do to deal with that. Sweat dripped down Jasmine's forhead, she couldn't deal with that! With this Glutton!

She felt Grant grab her hand, a terrified expression on his face but one that nonetheless said he was ready to do whatever it took to get out of there alive. He in turn was also holding onto Paige's arm, having decided to follow the current plan everyone was screaming about and linking everyone together through touch. He nodded at her, having accepted that this plan was all or nothing, and after a moment of hesitation she nodded back in return as she tightened her grip. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw the tendrils were closing in fast. This was it, there wasn't any time left, this plan needed to work, whatever it was.

"Hey, I don't know what your plan is but we need to do it now!" Jasmine called out to Nate in a panic, "I figured out my power, and I can either send that thing flying or us flying out of here! But I've only got one shot, so we need to make it count! Give me the word when and I'll do it!"
Lee had looked on in vague disinterest while Gideon dealt with the Marshalls once they arrived. He was glad to see that the others were willing to handle the situation, and didn't even bother with a pretense of offering to talk it out himself. He stayed right in his seat and simply watched and listened, both to the "adult" conversation as well as the topic the squad had already been discussing. Though all conversations ended up getting cut short once the sky lit up with hues of red and orange in the distance. Above anything else, that was what caused Lee to jump to his feet, eyes wide mouth slightly agape in awe as he and everyone else watched an airship go down in flames and audibly explode once it crashed.

He could hear the others around him talking and making plans, but he didn't add anything. He was uncharacteristically quiet, hardly even nodding in affirmation when addressed about any roles he might need to fill during this impromptu mission. Zimmy had zipped ahead and relayed reconnaissance back to the Squad, but the details he heard only made him feel further unnerved. What the hell was going on? Why had an airship been shot down right in the middle of peace talks? He knew battles were still going on out on the front, but this was supposed to be safe territory. They were supposed to be away from all of the war and violence and death. This was their one and only chance at getting away from it all and being normal people for once, or at least pretend to be normal, but it was ruined by a reminder they were all trying to ignore. They weren't normal people, even if for a moment Lee had felt like his former self from ten years ago, there was still no denying the fact that he and all of his squad mates were trained killers who were supposed to be prepared for situations like these. And now they were all heading over to the crash site, and he doubted they would be able to return without a hitch.

"What a goddamn bitch of a situation..." Lee groaned under his breath as everyone minus Zimmy clambered onto the truck. Having reclaimed his seat next to Lori, his attention swapped at random between watching her perform a maintenance check on the gun she borrowed from the Marshalls, to staring out the window at seemingly nothing, to the water bottle in his hands that he'd brought along but had hardly sipped. His mind was playing out dozens of possible scenarios, each one increasingly crazier than the last. He was in a mood he had not been in for a long time, and it was only when he felt Kitty run her nails down the back of his neck that he was finally able to break out of it.

"What the- damn it, Kitty!" Lee complained with a shiver, "You know you can send shivers down my spine any time you want, but now is...oh wow, now is not the time." Halfway through his sentence, he'd felt it. The pull of the Mist here was palpable to an almost absurd degree; he hadn't felt this put off by the Mist even during training exercises. This was something else entirely, and it made him feel like he wasn't meant to be there in that exact spot in that exact moment, and that perhaps he wasn't even actually there. His sense of reality felt skewed, but his grasp on the world around him didn't fade, it just threated to do so.

He slowly took in a deep breath, then just as slowly let it out. He would be fine, he told himself, and nodded when Kitty ordered him to stay close. Chills or not, he usually listened when she told him something, and his trust in her was usually on point. He senses took in his surroundings as he followed along with the group, watching in interest as Mist Pockets distorted reality in quirky little contained bursts, and further looked on in disgust when they ran into the bodies of the deceased. It really seemed to be that there weren't any survivors, as far as anyone could tell at least. That was, until they managed to find an escape pod. Though it was around this time that Zimmy had finally landed and rejoined them, though it was very much a harsh landing.

"Wait, did you seriously already Burn yourself?" Lee asked in surprise, and looked ready to launch a sarcastic remark but was beaten to the punch by Zimmy herself who knew to tell him to shut it ahead of time. Judging by her tone, she really did seem to have some excess Mist buzzing around her, which caused Lee to feel some legitimate concern. She hadn't seemed to hit any of the dangerous stages yet, but even the slightest amount of Mist Burn was absolutely horrendous to have to deal with and horrific to face if left untreated. All of them had gone through it at least once; his own experience with it had been a humbling one, as he'd always been one of the first to roll his eyes any time one of his peers went too far in their Mist usage, but once he'd went through the same thing he was finally able to understand it. Worst part about it for him was that he almost actually liked the feeling of it, despite how unpleasant and torturing it felt. Bringing himself to the brink of reaching the first stage almost felt like hitting the perfect buzz when he drank. It wasn't something he could explain, and it definitely wasn't something he'd ever admitted to anyone, at least while sober.

"Hey, did you get yourself a physical injury there too?" He asked as he approached. With Gideon supporting Zimmy she was having an easier time standing, yet Lee had still noticed her limp. "Can't really do anything about it now, but if you get through the Burn I can at least kill the pain."

He knew the others were more focused on the escape pod at the moment, but he would turn his attention to that once he knew that Zimmy would be ok. He may have been acting overly cautious at this time, but all he wanted was to make sure everyone got out of the crash site the same way they'd gone in.



@Surtr Inc @Ciaran @FernStone
Hillview High - Mason Square


Jasmine could feel the strange energy within her once again when she stopped Reese in his tracks. It seemed whenever she froze something with her power, the feeling would return. It was weird, but it didn't appear to cause any negative effects so it wasn't a concern for now. But could she do anything with it? That was something that she had been wondering about ever since she first learned of her power, she was sure there was more to what she could do but understanding how it worked was already enough to make her scratch her head.

But that wasn't important right now, she needed to focus and find the right time to strike. Everyone was letting loose on the abomination before them and beating him down as hard as they could with their abilities and makeshift weaponry, but Jasmine couldn't quite do the same. She knew she couldn't just keep using her power, there was some sort of limit to how it worked and she couldn't risk wasting a freeze in case a more opportune moment came up. Which, actually came up fairly soon, as Reese began to power up and tank his way through hits that had just previously staggered him. His transformation was so bright that it caused Jasmine to avert her eyes and put up a hand to shield against the impossibly bright light emanating from him.

That was when Maddie was thrown right at her, flying at breakneck speeds and giving Jasmine very little time to react. Her eyes widened in surprise, knowing that she didn't have enough time to even attempt to leap out of the way, and just braced herself for the inevitable impact. She was almost certain she was about to die, but instincts drove her to save herself once again as the second aspect of her power was finally activated. The second arrow sigil on her abdomen glowed, and the momentum within herself was released, with her own self as the target. Faster than if she'd attempted to dodge on her own, her body was suddenly thrown off to the side and roughly landed on the floor, barely managing to avoid getting hit by Maddie's body by mere milliseconds.

That wasn't to say Jasmine wasn't harmed. The sudden movement and impact on the ground dazed her, which mixed with her confusion at what just happened about as well as one would expect. Her body ached, and she was certain she'd accidentally hit her head when she fell, but she was still at the very least alive. Her mind tried to process what she'd just done, but the ongoing battle in front of her kept her from actively thinking on it and she simply accepted it as a part of her power for now. As she attempted to stand back up (and failing, having to resort to resting on one foot and one knee as she tried to regather herself), she turned to look back at the potentially gruesome aftermath of Maddie's landing, but Reese caught her eye instead as she saw him charge at Paige and...Grant!?

The mute young man had seen Paige Awaken and begin to use her newfound power, and though he wasn't sure what exactly she was doing it still seemed to have an effect on Reese. Not only that, but he could feel a draw towards this power of hers. Even though he had no combative powers himself, he wanted to help everyone fight Reese in some way; whatever Paige was doing, he could feel that he, along with everyone else there, could affect it. So he ran over to her side, narrowly evading a cart that was kicked into the crowd, and offered aid to her side of the light show battle going on between the silver-haired girl and the masked murderer. With the strength he added, more projectiles were added to Paige's side, giving her more of a chance at winning.

But now those two couldn't move, and Reese was barreling right towards them.

"Stay away from them!" Jasmine cried out in fury. With the stored momentum spent, she was free to take in more once again. She reached out with her power and begged to freeze Reese, hoping against hope that she could stop him before he could reach them. And just as she did so, a monstrous form erupted from Tuyen and threw itself at him. If everything worked out, it would be able to slam its fist into Reese just as he was frozen in place.
I'm just waiting for an opportunity. Jasmine's power is a bit ineffective if just spammed over and over, but can be really strong with good timing.
"What can I say, I know when to fold," Lee replied to Zimmy with an exaggerated shrug and a buzzed smile, "But now I know the price of admission. I'll be sure to stock up on those coupons for a rainy day, mark my words." He side eyed Lori as she gloated at him, adding, "Something tells me you're gonna be staying well within ear shot for awhile. 'S fine, you know I love a challenge." If there was one thing he could count on with Lori, it was that she would always be within ear shot enough to hear an opinion of his she could argue tooth and nail against for hours on end. Not that he minded, quite the contrary really. He could argue with others any time over their specific issues and qualms, but there was nothing quite like the element of surprise that Lori offered. From arguing the difference between a barghest and a hellhound, to declaring that onions were just sweaty apples, there were very few topics that weren't on the menu when it came to their debates.

A cup was offered to Lee as he reminisced about a particularly rowdy argument of their's, which he accepted with enthusiasm as he could tell it was some of Gideon's fancy royal drink. The vodka was nice and all but he was sure it had stripped layer of flesh off his throat, being the paint thinner it basically was. But this? This drink looked like one hell of a delight.

"Cheers- Fuck!" Lee exclaimed as he raised his cup to Kitty and attempted to down it in one go, only to splash nearly half of it on himself as Setzer hit yet another pot hole. He managed to drink some of it at least, but he stared in disappointment at the stains on his jacket. What a waste of good alcohol. "He's gotta be doing this on purpose," Lee whined lowly to the crew in the bed, "I know jocks like to aim for all the holes but this is ridiculous." Nonetheless, they still had a drinking game to complete. Kitty whipped out a tall can of booze and tipped it for a second cheers, leaving Lee to have to revert back to his previous bottle, which he tipped back at her in return with a cheeky grin of his own. Well, he was definitely going to feel this later.

Which was definitely true by the time they'd finally made it to Sappl Springs.

"We...We did it...woooo..." Lee slurred as he stumbled out of the truck, managing to keep his footing but just barely. He flashed Kitty a thumbs up, meaning to say something along the lines of "Mission accomplished." but felt woozy enough the moment he opened his mouth to speak that he was sure he was going to vomit. So maybe he'd drank a little too much a little too fast...whoops. Wouldn't be the first time, wouldn't be the last. He couldn't help but notice that Zimmy had elected to record the entire drinking game, and had he been more of a hypocrite than he usually allowed himself to be he would've objected to it. But, the tale of the living air-hockey puck known as Blackout Zim had become a legend at the Citadel for a reason; it was a story Lee loved to hear and a video he loved to see whenever the opportunity arose, and that opportunity came around plenty.

Regardless, he was a bit too drunk to function without embarassment for the moment, so he stepped off to the side under the pretense of wanting to appreciate the view of the couuntryside whilst he prepared a spell for his condition. Shockingly enough, he did read articles and journals on medicine even outside of required reading for his studies, but most often it was to find inspiration for spells to deal with daily dilemnas of his. One such journal described a drug that could cure the effects of drunkness with little to no side effects, only problem was that this meant the subjects would just continue drinking and eventually die of alcohol poisoning. The alcohol wasn't being removed after all, so without limits of course the average human would drink themselves to death. Obviously, the drug never reached the market, but that didn't mean its effects couldn't be recreated through magic. And thus, after plenty of research and trial and error, the spell Booz-B-Gon was made. One might think Lee would be irresponsible with such a powerful spell and abuse it. Which he absolutely was and did. Initially selling his talent for profit, it took a major scare with one of his peers to make him take his magic more seriously. Much like his adrenaline spell, he would eventually consider it largely unethical to use and would only cast it sparingly from then on, even on himself.

"Right, better cut the drinking so I don't die in anyone's arms tonight," he muttered to himself once the preparations were complete. With the spell complete, he cast it and let it slowly wash over him as he looked on at the scenery before him.

“Nice view.”

"You're tellin' me," Lee snorted lightly in response to Gideon, "It's pretty damn beautiful out here, way better than the Citadel. Reminds me a bit of home." He hadn't meant to say that. Teasing from others aside, it was well known that Lee didn't talk much about where he came from, though he'd been told on one occasion he'd been black out drunk and opened up about nearly everything he could remember about his hometown. Not that he could remember the conversation. He wasn't sure he even wanted to. Thankfully the familiar joke about snakes reared its head and helped to put him at ease.

"You know it." Lee answered as he put on an exaggerated accent, "Cook 'em, skin 'em, make a fancy overpriced shoe out of 'em for you royal folk to wear. Anything for you, Princey."

At any rate, he had to agree that it really would be glorious to sleep out beneath the stars tonight. He felt that tonight would be one to remember, for sure.




Lee sat with the others, at his feet sat a water bottle while a light beer was held in one of his hands. Following through on his promise to himself to stay responsible, he'd only been nursing the beer and politely rejected any offers for anything harder, with the reasonable excuse that he'd already drunk plenty enough but would be up to it in a couple more hours maybe. His eyes lowered slightly as he felt the mood begin to fall when the radio brought up the war, and instinctually pulled his jacket closer to himself both for comfort and for protection from the occasional chilled breeze that made its way through the group. Having cleaned it with a magic touch once he sobered up enough not to screw it up, his favorite jacket was now spotless, and seeing as he wore it pretty much all the time it was probably for the best he often kept it clean.

Thankfully the others began to lighten the mood, and Lee couldn't help but laugh at Kitty's impersonation of Setzer. He would've added to the joke with something along the lines of "That was perfect, all you're missing is a few dozen pot holes to drive through later," but to be honest they'd all already ragged on the poor tank enough that day, and his contributions to the joke might accidentally end up bordering on obnoxious. Plus, with Gideon sleeping outside tonight and Zimmy and Lori already set to share a room, there was a very real possibility that Lee could end up sharing a room with Setzer for the night, and though he wasn't particularly afraid of the guy he didn't want to antagonize him any further if that ended up becoming reality.

"Come on Zimmy, I'm an adult now," Lee faux whined when she called him a kid, "I mean, I won't turn down a free ball pit. But I'm totally not a kid anymore, teenage me obviously would've passed out by now after guzzling all this gasoline down." He simply smirked and raised his hands in innocence when he was accused of cheating at games though. He'd never been caught and wasn't about to admit to it now.



@Surtr Inc @Atrophy
Hillview High - Mason Square


Sharon didn't respond to anything Jasmine had said beyond giving her a look, and while that frustrated her it also reaffirmed her own thoughts on the matter. Sharon had already shown to be prone to outbursts over the slightest bit of conflict, so an accusation of murdering her own father should've caused another one of those...if she had reason to feel offended by it. Jasmine gulped slightly then looked away, unable to keep up eye contact with the girl. To kill your own family like that...she just couldn't imagine being capable of that.

Grant had come to a similar conclusion, but he was unsure if Sharon could be considered an ally now. Where did she stand in this conflict now? Where did they? If Britney hadn't begun to explain just how dire their situation was, he might've asked those questions aloud. Though he was not at all prepared to hear that multiple universes were now at play, Jasmine doubly so. How were either of them even supposed to react to that kind of information? But it did confirm the suspicions that Grant had all along: Britney had been hiding things for a very long time, and he'd been right to be wary of her.

Before anyone could respond to any of that though, Paige gathered everyone's attention to the hall outside the classroom. Once outside, they all witnessed a gruesome sight. Scott Reese had returned, and in his grasp was a young man who he brutally slaughtered in front of them all. It was almost as if he'd done it like that just to show it off to the group, and considering that there were a few of them who reacted personally to it, the two siblings were able to put together that the group knew who the guy was. Likely a close friend to many of them, and now he was dead.

"Grant, stay back!" Jasmine shouted in a panic as she shoved him behind herself, "Keep yourself safe, don't let him near you!" Fury was apparent in the glare she was shooting at Reese, and her arms were nearly trembling. All day long, she'd been dragged around and hunted by monsters and even other people, stuck in a conflict she wasn't even supposed to be involved in. No matter what she did, she couldn't get out of it or make a difference in the situation, and she was absolutely sick of it. She was done being jerked around, and decided here and now that she was going to make the biggest impact in her life; she was going to do whatever she could to kill the abomination known as Scott Reese once and for all.

"Like hell I'm running away!" Jasmine exclaimed at Britney when the taller girl declared a call to arms, and took on a prepared stance with her and the others as she faced Reese. Several of them tried to immediately attack him, with Maddie attempting to stab him with her knife. Jasmine wasn't sure how effective that would be, and being ignorant to her Abstraction, honestly felt that the move was suicidal. Penny seemed to agree, and suggested to try freezing him in place like before.

"I had the same idea," Jasmine nodded, "I'll create an opening for you guys, just hope I can still do it." The energy she'd felt within her from freezing him last time had disappeared by now, so she hoped that meant she was free to do so again. The shield sigil on her abdomen began to glow as she focused on Reese, and as she reached out to him she commanded her power to stop him the moment he tried to move again. Though as she did, she could feel her own movement begin to slow, though she didn't pay it much attention for now.

Grant meanwhile had warily taken a few steps back once his sister warned him to stay away. This was the monster that had attacked Jasmine? God damn, this thing was terrifyingly huge! What...What could he even do here? He wanted to help but he had no fighting ability and his Abstraction wasn't combat-oriented, all it did was kill off sound near him. Unless someone needed to keep quiet in order to make their own Abstraction more effective, he would just be useless at best and a detriment at worst.

Not wanting to get in the way and make things harder on the front line fighters, he ultimately decided to move himself to the back with the other non-combatants. All he could do for now was pray for his sister's safety, and check on the others around him to see if there was anything he could do to help them.
"Oh, even I've got a shot here?" Lee asked Zimmy, a smirk plastered on his face with his cheeks tinted pink, "Why didn't you tell me you'd set the bar so low? All these years spent bickering, wasted." He took a deep swig from his own bottle, one that seemed to contain an expensive-looking vodka (that he no-doubt had swiped from a party instead of buying on his own), and then wiped the remenants from his lips with his jacket sleeve. "An absolute tragedy, Zimmy. Nice to know I'm ranked higher than brickhouse Setzer, at least-"

Yet another pothole was hit, courtesy of said brickhouse, which sent Lee bouncing upwards and causing him to crash his head against the roof of the truck.

"Setzer you fuck- damn it!" He swore loudly, partially due to the pain in his scalp, and partially because the last bump caused him to spill some of the contents of his drink. He grumbled as he gingerly rubbed at the top of his head with his free hand and he offered his drink to Lori beside him with the other. She refused, so he simply shrugged and set the bottle down for now. The two were good friends, a little argumentative, but it was nothing like him and Gideon, which was a special case in itself. Either way, he was more than fine with sitting with her in the back seat of the truck, he'd rather avoid the biting winds from sitting in the bed, and with Zimmy back there it would surely be a recipe for disaster. Though friendship or not, Lee was absolutely heartbroken when Lori managed to make an offer to Zimmy that he couldn't top even if his life depended on it.

"No fair! Insect entertainment is totally an unfair advantage!" He exclaimed dramatically before lowering his head in defeat, "I can't beat that...and I don't even have coupons either. This blows."

He nonetheless chuckled lightly under his breath as he leaned back against his seat. He loved this ragtag group of young drunks, also infamously known as Barghest Squad. They were one hell of a group; even though their personalities didn't all 100% click with each other, they'd all shown they could work scarily well together and had some pretty insane synergy. Lee honestly never felt more alive than when he had to work with these guys, they pushed him to his limits for better or worse and despite his laziness, he absolutely loved the challenge. He couldn't imagine his life without them at this point, so it was no wonder he'd agreed to go on one final trip with them all.

He heard the mention of a drinking game, and an excited grin worked its way onto his face. Twisting his body around to face the bed of the truck, he peered through the back windows and listened as the groundwork for the game was laid down.

"Oh, you're on Kit-Kat," Lee enthusiastically agreed as he reached for a cup to be handed to him, "I'm already a tad fucked up but I'm always ready to drink to shitty drivers." He turned back for a moment to call out to Setzer, "Just kiddin' Setz! You're doing great!" He turned back the threesome in the back and slowly shook his head. "I am fully prepared to die to alcohol poisoning under your rules here. Let's do this shit."
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