The Imp

The Imp
Emitter: Lovelace
Who: Proton, Arcane, Dusk
When: September 09, 2010
Summary: When a nearby gas compression station explodes, secret identities are revealed!

Aleksei's invited both boys over for a celebratory day of video games and goofing off before they are forced back to school in the upcoming week. Alek, the oldest, has the largest and most remote bedroom of the kids, taking up the floored attic level. It's broken into a sleeping area and a play area by an archway, and it's well away from snooping brother and sister.

Derek brought his backpack, of course, and a small selection of cameras, because he never goes anywhere without a camera. While being led up to the room, he lets out a low whistle, shaking his head. "Yo, Alek, how come you never told us you were loaded?"

There's a change to get away, and Linus takes it. He's brought some sodas in bottles to share with the others, and raises eyebrows as he sees where Aleksei's living space is. "Nice," he says. "Though in the US, saying we have a kid in the attic usually has more dire implications." He lets out a chuckle, indicating he's joking. "Looks peaceful."

Aleksei knew his family was pretty well off before but he has no real standard of comparison for here in America. He's pretty sure that Americans don't all live in half-million-dollar homes like they do on TV, but Derek's comment gives him pause. "I.. do not know, really. Father is a professor with a high position, but I do not really know how well that really pays. We had something smaller in my home town but things seem bigger here, in general." He has a small fridge to store drinks in, and shows that to Linus, then flops on one of the beanbags in front of the TV. "It is, «Thank goodness»! With my brother constantly trying to hack into my journal and my sister thinking about building an x-ray machine… they drive me nuts."

Derek bugs his eyes a bit. "Your sister's trying to build a what?" he asks, not really sure if Alek is serious. He settles into one of the beanbags as well, stowing his backpack nearby. "And why's your brother trying to hack your journal? Got some really juicy stuff you right about?" His eyebrows waggle at this, a wicked little grin on his lips.

"I dunno," Linus says, handing out the sodas and twisting the cap off of his own. "I have three older sisters, the youngest is college age. Maybe younger siblings would be better." All the better to boss around, my dear. He gives Derek a glance at the journal question, but doesn't voice his own thoughts. That he was wondering the same thing, for one.

"An x-ray machine, like you take pictures of insides of things with," Ale answers Derek. He shakes his head at the journmal question. "No, not so much, just.. everything I think about and stuff. He just wants to prove he can do it, and I think to have future blackmail material of course. Rugrat."

Derek gives Linus a nod of thanks, twisting off the cap of his soda. "Yeah, but if there's nothing interesting in your journal, how's he gonna blackmail you? And how old is your sister, if she's building an x-ray machine, for crying out loud? Those things're…like, complicated and stuff."

"Well," Linus says, settling into that beanbag chair but quick. He closes his eyes and just relaxes. "Hey, if she wants to build one, let her try," Linus replies. "I'd be curious to see how far she gets. It makes for a better story that way."

Aleksei gives Derek a wry smile. "She's ten. Yes, it's complicated but she's a genius. They both are," he says. "They got the brains in the family."

The sound of an explosion in the distance shakes the windows ever so faintly. It doesn't have the sharp crack of thunder, but rather that muffled enormity that can't really be mistaken for anything else. A smudge of black smoke can be seen three or four blocks away.

Derek boggles at Alek again, and he's about to say something, when the muffled sound of the explosion draws his attention. "What was that?" he asks, automatically grabbing one of his cameras, as he rises and heads to a window to peer out. "One of your neighbors blew up his barbecue?"

"Okay," Linus replies, sitting up before standing and slipping over to the window. "Alek, don't sell yourself short. And if it was a barbecue explosion, even…no way, that's too far off for an explosion like that."

Aleksei starts up and goes to the window, shaking his head. "That was way too big to be someone's barbeque. That was a house, or worse," he says, clearly antsy, pushing up the window to see if he can hear anything else. "If we can see it from here.. it was big.." he says, looking to the other two quickly. He should look at this, needs to.. but…

That smudge of blackness in the air is growing darker, thicker. MUCH thicker.

Derek shoots several photos, rapid-fire. "I'm gonna get a closer look," he says, turning away and heading for the stairs. "Somebody oughta call 911." He doesn't wait for a reply, nor for the others to catch up, should they also want to check it out.

"Jeez, be careful," Linus says, as he starts to head down the stairs as well. He's moving a bit faster than usual, but he's thinking out loud. "I can get better phone reception outside, and…something." He's not good at it, apparently. Even if and when he gets out of doors, his eyes are focused towards the rising dark cloud.

Aleksei's eyes widen as he looks at the smoke grow thicker. "There.. wait, there aren't any houses there. But.. there is a natural gas station there. If it goes, it could touch off every house in the area!" he yells. "Sorry, guys, I have to stop it.." and he pulls out that bit of amber he wears around his neck and grips it tight. There's a flare of light, whirling arcs of light around him like a classic 'atom' depiction, and then he's .. replaced by a man in a costume. Taller, older, and definately caped. Without hesitation, he flashes out of the window, rattling the shades and dropping the air pressure in the room momentarily.

Derek freezes mid-step at the flash of light, blocking the stairway as he turns back around. "What was-" He just manages to catch Proton streaking out the window, eyes widening. "Holy- Did you see that?" he asks Linus. Too late, he thinks to bring his camera up for a shot.

Have to stop it? Linus turns his head, just in time to see the transformation, and out of all things, he manages to laugh. "That…" He looks older, Linus thinks. Geez! "Oh thank God," he says, turning on a wicked grin before he starts mumbling under his breath. The pendant under his shirt, hanging from the chair around his neck flares into life, emitting a pair of flying tiny somets of energy that swirls around the young man, leaving…a costume and mask on underneath. "Talk later," he says, and launches himself into the air.

"Crap," Derek mutters under his breath, stumbling down a step or two. Shaking his head, he checks to make sure there's a shadow nearby large enough to touch, and then he vanishes, leaving only his clothes behind.

The Natural Gas station is set in the middle of a grassy clearing, a twenty yards clear all around the station. Beyond that is woods, to shield the utility from the sight of the wealthy in the neighborhood. Who, of course, want their natural gas ranges for cooking. A truck is burning, as is part of the station, but the fire hasn't reached the pipes yet. And in the flames is something small, flickering, and vaguely human like. It cackles to itself, dancing in the leading edge of the fire, urging it towards the pipes.

Proton flies in and hovers over the area, surveying the site and trying to see where the problem lies. First thing: save any civilians. Second: try to stop whatever is going on here. The caped man drops lower, and narrows his eyes when he sees the figure in the flames; he lands, and inhales. And inhales. Ears might pop as the local air pressure heads for the basement, then he exhales through pursed lips, frost riming the nearby pavement as he tries to extinguish the fire in the building before it reaches the main pipes. That would Be Bad.

The flames vanish in the whirlwind of frozen air, nearby metal coated with ice, leaving the small figure in a ball of flame about the size of a beach ball. The caped figure's gloved hands close into fists as he watches the small creature become visible.

"That," Arcane is a slower flyer than Proton, and doesn't try to match that kind of speed. "It's a fire imp," the young mystic says as he flies past. "Not too bright, but total pyros. They're usually summoned; one wouldn't appear at random. Keep it contained!" He sees the fire spreading further, and raises a single hand as he starts to chant, hanging in midair. A bolt of mystic energy erupts from the guy's hand to pick up the truck and move it away from the woods. "Crap," Arcane says as he gets a closer look. "We got a body."

Dusk materializes in the shade of the trees, though he doesn't solidify. He takes a few moments to assess the situation, then decides the dancing fire-guy is probably going to need to be taken out before the fire can be dealt with. "This is gonna hurt," he mutters, streaking through the air at the imp, gloom-wrapped fists held forward for a killer punch. And what a punch! The imp goes CRUNCH! But instead of crumpling under the blow, the creature…shrinks to the size of a bug, surrounded by a flame the size of a marble. Dusk continues forward a few yards, turning in an arc to return, though he looks puzzled by this odd turn of events. "I think it's out cold," he calls to the others. "No pun intended."

The Imp is indeed unconscious, curled up it its little flame. A vast improvement over its earlier shrieking. Of course it's still burning, that's what fire imps DO. And most of the flames in the area are out, though there's some hot spots here and there in the grass.

Proton whips around as Arcane says this, noticing the young mage for the first time, and nods quickly. "Got it," he says. Strange, in this form he has almost no trace of his normally thick accent. He frowns at the announcement that someone has died, and the other thing Arcane says. "Is it's summoner nearby?" he says, as he takes to the air again to get a better picture of the damage, dropping again to deal with the fires in the grass before they can spread. "Good job," he says to the other new guy that took out the imp itself, and looks to Arcane. "Can you send this thing back to where it came from?"

Once the truck is out of the way, Arcane uses his abilities to create a bubble of force around some of the fires, trying to cut off the oxygen supply to put them out. "I can see if I can trace the summoner," he says as he finally touches back down. "The imp…I forgot if they could talk or not. Probably not. But I want to find out who set him loose and why," he adds, resolute. "Witch hunter and all," he explains, and crouches down to get a better look at the Imp, but not too close. "I have a spell to drive evil spirits out of possessing folks, but it takes a while and I'm not sure if it will work…"

Dusk toches down near the tiny imp, frowning. "Did you say a guy is dead?" he calls toward Arcane. "Or just wounded? I can get him to the nearest trauma center." He tries to catch sight of the wounded or dead man, but most of his attention is still on the little flame.

No, the man is most definately dead. It honestly resembles a maniquin made of charcoal more than a human being… though you can see some white shards of bone where an arm fell off. But the bone is cracked from the heat and the bone marrow burnt.

Proton swallows. "No, he's definately dead. No life signs," the young man says, looking at the body from fifty feet away. He stands still for a second, breeze snapping his cape, turning his head slowly. His telescopic vision catches a strange glint in the road, and he nods to the other two heroes. "What's this?" he says, moving to the area where the fire appears to have started. He points out broken glass in the road: very, very purple broken glass. "That's not beer or cola," he says.

Dusk sticks close to the unconscious imp, not willing to let the creature out of his sight. "What is it?" he asks, straining to see. "Anyone got something to put Candleboy here in? Something glass, maybe, so he can't burn his way out?" He scans around quickly, looking for any fires Arcane might have missed.

"Heck no it's not," Arcane says as he gets a close look at the glass. "Where did you find this, and how much can we get of it?" He considers distance, time, and other things. "I bet this was the bottle whoever released the imp was holding the little guy in." He lets out a breath. "They're…slightly evil. But they run more on instinct. They are Fire, so they burn. It's their nature more than malice." He shakes his head at Dusk. "I don't, but I can send it back where it came from." The mystic starts to hover in the air, his fingers flicking through multiple gestures as he starts to chant.

Proton nods to what Arcane says. "Good, once it's gone.." the caped man says, rubbing his chin in thought. "I'm Proton, by the way," he says to the others. They might have read about him helping to stop a bank robbery a few days ago.

Dusk holds up a hand. "Hang on, don't go mumbo-jumboing it away yet! We haven't interrogated it. Maybe it can tell us who set it loose here. Unless…." He turns his attention briefly toward the corpse. "Unless that's who did it." He shoots a look toward Proton, muttering softly, "Nice codename…Alek."

The floating, chanting kid continues in his ritual, glowing sigils surrounding the imp. Arcane takes his time, taking a full minute to ensure he has the banishing ritual correct. Is this what his ancestor warned him about, he wonders. A hole opens up underneath the unconscious imp, a pinprick between this dimension and the plane of Fire itself. The hole widens, the imp falls through and Arcane drifts to the ground as the hole closes and the sigils go out. "That…" He chuckles a little. "I'm Arcane! I can actually say it out loud now! And…" He turns as the shadowy man speaks up. "No, no way…"

Proton's eyes widen behind his mask and he shoots a quick look at Dusk, his super-hearing insuring the Derek might as well have screamed it out. He keeps quiet as Arcane banishes the thing, then smiles at him. "Arcane is a cool name." He looks to Dusk. "And you are..?"

Dusk solidifies, though he's still pretty shadowy. His costume is far from flashy, a simply bodysuit of skintight black Nomex, with a hooded ninja mask to hide his identity. "Arcane, I like that," he says a bit more loudly, though his voice is still a rasp. "Where were you two when I was thinking up 'Dusk'? I almost went with something like Spectre or Wraith, but I figured that'd be too dramatic." He looks down again, frowning. "Well, that's that then. Guess we better get out of here before the fire department shows up…with the police. Unless you guys really want to answer a lot of official questions."

"I'm not ready for official questions," Arcane says, one hand going out, and another wavering beam of mystic energy snaking out to pick up some of that purple glass. "Mostly because I don't have any official answers yet." There's a half smile that forms on his face. "Arcane seemed to fit. Couldn't think of anything else," he adds, as he rises into the air, the transformed amulet around his neck glowing a bit. "Let's get out of here, and confab."

Proton quirks a quick smile, then kicks off into the air. "Not really, no," he says, about the questions. He looks to Arcane. "Really? And.. go where?" he says, still of course not having made the connection, at least to Arcane. He hasn't had a look at that amulet, yet.

Dusk fades into a shadowy form again, rising into the air. "How about back to your place, Proton? Race ya!" And he zooms off toward the woods again. Once he hits the larger shade beneath the trees, he vanishes.

"Your attic, where we were," Arcane says. "It's the closest place than either of our houses and…" He sighs as Dusk heads off. "I'll be the last one there," he admits, and starts flying away.

Proton's own passage back to his attic is quick and he flashes into the room as a barely-perceptible blue. He waits, seeing what form his new friends show up in. That they're both… wow. The young man leans against his wall, momentarily overcome with the idea.

Derek is already sitting on the top step, pulling up his shorts. "Geez!" he grumbles, jumping a bit. "Couldn't you at least have let me get my pants on first?" He grabs those next, struggling to dress before Arcane shows up.

Arcane is going to arrive after Dusk. However, how he gets there is different, as an attic window opens of its own accord, and the curtains float for a moment before Arcane shuts off the invisbility spell he's learned. "Sorry to be all mysterious like that, but I didn't want to be seen," he says, and makes a quick under-breath chant. The swirling mystic lights transform his costume back into Linus' clothes, and he puts the glass shard on Aleksei's dresser before he flops on the floor, in the beanbag he was in before this started. "So." He pauses. "What do we do now?"

Proton sighs and concentrates: again with the flash of light and the stylized atomic display, and he's once more skinny bespectacled Alek. He falls into the other bean bag. "I do not know. Take over a satellite base?" he says. "That /both/ of you, are.." he shakes his head. "This is incredible," he says, smiling suddenly.

"If this were a comic book," Derek says, leaving his jeans upbuttoned while he pulls on his socks, "we'd form a team, call ourselves the Superfriends, build a Treehouse of Justice, then hang out a sign saying, 'NO GIRLS ALLOWED!' At which point, the company would get dozens of letters about how unfair that is, so then they'd invent two or three girl superheroes. Then, after two or three issues of fighting bad guys, saving the world, and some mild sexual tension, our adult mentors would come along and try to break up our team." And then he pulls on his t-shirt, turning to face the others. "Good thing this isn't a comic book though, huh?"

"So…no treehouse?" Linus almost looks a little down at that. He's trying to calm himself down, and takes a swig of his soda. "And I don't have a mentor…well, physically. It's complicated." He pulls his knees up. "And said mentor sometimes contacts me in my headspace, so if I space out…" He looks to Aleksei. "/That/ is what happened at the Arcade last week, Akelsei. He…" He taps the pendant around his neck. "I have the spirit of an ancestor in here. I found out I'm the newest in a line of magic-wielding witch hunters. What about you two? You get all shadowy," he says to Derek. "Aleksei, you have, like, Super 'Riods or something going on, there…"

Aleksei whistles all low and everything as Linus says this, pointing at the boy's pendant. He quirks a little smile. "I have no idea what happens, really." He hauls out the leather cord and the bit of amber threaded through it. "I did it the first time by accident. There was a bank robbery and the woman next to me was killed, and all I wanted was for a superhero to show up… then suddenly I was one." He rubs his chin. "I… I /think/ it's me, but.. a me if I ate all my veggies and exercised like a demon from now until I'm… um, 20 or so? I mean, as Proton I still have this tiny scar from where I slipped skateboarding last year, and such."

Derek works on his sneakers next, mentally grumbling about not having a magic costume. "I was on a field trip to the particle accellerator-thingie. There was some mishap with the dark matter containment chamber, I guess. I don't really understand all the physics and stuff. All I know is, I blacked out, and when I came to…I was a shadow. I don't have a mentor either, really, unless you count Spectrum. He's been trying to show me how to be all heroic and stuff." He flashes another small grin then, tossing his hair from his face momentarily. "And I wouldn't say no to a treehouse."

"Oh, you know Spectrum? Awesome," Linus replies, as he listens to the stories. He makes no mention of the idea of making sure Aleksei does eat all his veggies. Settling laced fingers across his stomach, the young mystic considers. "A base…like for real, would be nice. But, this whole sitch is bugging me now. If the one who released the Imp wasn't the poor guy in the truck, when who and why. We're on our own with this, I think. Just, wow, I've never talked about any of this. I can't even explain how it feels right now."

"I would not say no to the treehouse, either," Alek says with a smile. He gets some soda and returns to the beanbag, sprawling long limbs as he flops back in before popping the can. At what Linus says, he responds: "I know. Sometimes I thought I was going to burst, I wanted to tell someone so badly…" He thinks about the situation they just returned from. "It could be two things. One, an accident. Our mage dropped the bottle somehow and as you said, the imp just did what it does." He frowns. "Or, he set it there diliberately. Which makes him the magical equivilant of a bomber.""

Derek reclaims his soda from earlier, flopping into a beanbag. "You get used to it after a while," he says, taking a long drink. "At least, I got used to it. Yeah, Spectrum helped…uh, bring me back, I guess is the word. Without him, I'd be stuck in gloomy-form all the time." He takes another long drink, then adds, "I'm leaning toward option two. Or maybe an in-between option: the guy was going to set off the imp there at the gas plant, to cause all sorts of mayhem and destruction, but wound up getting blown up himself. We really need to find out who that guy was. If he was just an innocent worker caught in the explosion, then the mad bomber is still out there somewhere."

"And a mad bomber with access to magic, besides." Linus takes a breath. "I can try a few things to check where that glass is coming from," he says. "A scry to see if I can trace it back to where it came from, or see what happened when it was broken. But I need materials I don't have on me right this second. It might be all we have to go on. I'd love to know /why/ since that might give us a clue if, when, and where they'll strike next.:

There are sirens in the distance as emergency workers approach the scene of the fire.

"Man, we need a lab already…" Alek says. "And a magical one, as well." He perks up, listening to the sirens, then settles again. Derek's revelation brings a concerned look from him. "Good thing he was able to do that; man, that would.. um, be bad," the boy finishes lamely.

Derek suddenly frowns, putting down his soda. "Crud. I didn't get any pictures, and now the firetrucks are on their way. Guys, next time, you -have- to pose for a few shots before we take off." Sighing, he settles in more comfortably, shaking his head. "I bet Spectrum would like a lab, too. It's times like this I wish I knew a contractor I could trust."

"We'll see," Linus replies. "I might have to have a little conversation with my ancestor, see if I can get some insight there. Turns out the Salem Witch Trials had some small truth to them the history books didn't write down. But that's…not important right now. We don't even have to trade phone numbers. But we have to keep it a secret for obvious reasons."

Aleksei chuckles. "OK, if you're going to be Peter Parker, then I guess we should help make you famous.." he says. "Hopefully, Linus, your ancestor will not continue to come talk to you when you learn to drive. I wonder if you can make him understand that..?"

Derek nods, turning serious again. "Yeah, I'm all for secrecy. You two are the only ones who know who I am, aside from Spectrum, and I'm going to let him decide if and when he tells you who he is. I figure, it's not really my place, ya know? Plus he can totally kick my butt with those laser blasts of his." He looks at Aleksei again, brows drawn together. "So you just…wished for it, and presto, you were a superhero? Have you tried wishing for anything else? Like your own Lambrogini?"

"I wish," Linus replies to Aleksei. "I don't think my ancestor has a concept of real-world time, so he talks to me when he has to. Like. In class." The mystic winces at that. "It's embarassing." He listens as the others speak. "A wishing rock? News to me," he says, flashing a smile.

"Repeatedly. For days," Alek deadpans. "And a dozen different things, besides. It's never responded to anything else. Well.. sometimes it kinda glows, or gets cool or hot. At random, as far as I can tell," he says, taking the small stone out to rub it between two fingers. He looks to Linus. "IS it magical? Great-grandfather did not think so, but.." he shrugs.

Derek quirks a brow. "Is that where you got it? From your great-grandfather?" He narrows his eyes a bit. "Was he a superhero too, in Russia? Like…I dunno, Captain Cossack or something?"

With a few whispered words, Linus traces a sigil in the air, focusing on Aleksei's stone through it. The sigil winks out. "Afraid not," Linus replies. "Whatever it is, there's no magic involved. But, considering what things are like around here, there's bound to be some way to explain your transformations."

Aleksei beams as he sees Linus do magic. "That is so cool," he says. He shakes his head at Derek. "No, he was a researcher. He found this in the arctic and suspected it had strange properties but never could get it to manifest any. He passed it to my father, but took it back years later to try new instruments on it. I found it in his things when I was packing them up for the move."

"In the arctic? It could be alien tech," Linus replies, shaking his head. "I'm starting to conform to that 'we need a lab' idea. I'm winging it." He has to laugh at one bit, though. "This pendant was in a box in my attic…which is not my room. I'm kinda jealous, actually. But anyway, I had gamers coming over, and I wanted to find some old costume plastic jewelry for props. Just for fun, but this?" He points to his own pendant. "It looked cool, and even if it was fake I'd have still worn it. But I put it on, and…well, my ancestor was waiting for someone to put it on. Just happened to be me."

Derek lets out a small whistle as Linus performs genuine magic. "That really is cool," he agrees, then gives Alek a shrug. "Well, maybe it's from Krypton. Stranger things have happened, right?" He narrows his eyes a little at Linus. "Isn't it a little weird though? Carrying your ancestor around on a chain around your neck? How'd he even get in there in the first place?"

Aleksei tosses a Nerf ball at Derek, just at random. "Maybe it's like a condo, or something?" he jokes. He looks back to Linus. "You still need to teach me S&M," he chuckles, as he remembers Derek's faux pas from days ago. "I'll need dice, though. I don't have anything but the regular kind, from other games."

"It's called D&D," Linus says, and actually doesn't get bothered by it. "S&M is something I don't play. As for why Jonathan's spirit is in the amulet, I don't know. He won't tell me. It's…something heavy, I think." He's mused on it a few times since gaining the magic. "He lived in the late seventeenth century. Salem Witch trials, like I said."

Derek tosses his hair forward to cover the fact that he's blushing once again. "Yeah, I need someone to teach me S&M, too," he mumbles, then takes a long drink of soda. "Hey, here's, like, the only thing I remember from history class: guess how many witches were burned at Salem. Go on, guess."

"I have no idea. Our history class on America starts with the Revolutionary War, at best," Alek says. "Maybe it was some kind of curse? Or some witch did it to him?"

"Whatever it is, he's not telling," Linus admits, and he does sound a little bothered by that. He has a feeling it's a secret for a reason, and he has a bad feeling about that as well. "How many witches were burned? Derek, I talk to someone who, under the cover of those abominable trials, was there fighting the real ones. I hate that part of history class because I sit there and take it and can't correct the teacher even if I wanted to."

Derek frowns then. "Why not? I mean, correct 'em. I used to correct the nuns all the time. Of course, they'd swat me with a ruler, but I deserved it. Oh, the answer is, none. New England was a colony of Old England at the time, and they didn't burn witches in England. They hanged 'em. So if that ever comes up on a test, now you know: no witches were burned at Salem."

Aleksei ohs. "Well, the hanging was much cleaner then, at least," Alek says, rolling his eyes. He smiles at Linus. "I know. Same thing when they ask me how many people have walked on the Moon. Of course, they say 'men' and not 'teenagers' but still.."

"Exactly!" Linus exclaims. "I mean, it's one thing if you disagree with a teacher's view, or correct them, but if I tried to say 'There were real witches in the Trials, but they were combatted in secret by mystic witch hunters who also came over during colonization, it'd be right to the Guidance Counselor's."

Derek blinks at Alek, frowning again. "Dude, no teenagers ever walked on the Moon…did they?" He looks troubled by this thought, finishing off his soda and falling silent for a bit.

Aleksei just /smiles/ broadly at Derek, letting that sink in for a second….

Derek suddenly looks up again, eyes bright. "Hey, I thought we were gonna play video games? Or watch internet porn on a giant plasma screen. Who brought the beer?"

"Oh…oh man," Linus says, near bursting with laughter as he seems to figure it out. His laugh is arrested by Derek's sudden outburst, and he just /stares./ Slowly, he turns his head towards the Russian kid. "Aleksei, I think you broke him."

Aleksei snickers. "Derek, you are not broken, are you?" he says. "Alas, there is no porn. But I do have video games," he says, pointing at the cabinet beneath the TV.

Derek hides behind curtains of hair again. "Not broken," he mumbles, and what skin is visible is a nice crimson. "No porn, no beer, no chicks…What sorta party is this?" Tossing his hair away again, he raises his voice to more conversational tones. "You got Lego Batman? I -love- Lego Batman. I totally kick Lego butt."

"You guys play. I'm okay with just watching," Linus sayd. "Besides, I need to do some thinking. My brain feels like it's doing eighty with no steering wheel, and I need to calm down." He's all nestled like a bug in his beanbag chair, just enjoying the company, and the mental freedom to talk openly about some things.

Aleksei reaches and shuffles and then produces the game. "I totally have this, yes. And all the LEGO Star Wars games, too," he grins, popping the game into the console and handing the other wireless controller to Derek.

Derek takes the controller with a grin, then casts a frown toward Linus. "Thinking? Aw man, we're gonna be doing enough of that when school starts. This is s'posed to be -fun-, which doesn't involve thinking." Hard to believe he's single, isn't it? Shaking his head, he shifts around in the beanbag until he's sitting up, saying to Alek, "He's gonna think. Where'd you say the beers were?"

Aleksei's gaming position is as close to laying as flat on his back as you can get in a beanbag, as he fires up the game and starts NEW GAME. "No beer. I don't even like beer," he says. "It smells funny."

Derek rolls his eyes, hunching forward a little. "So don't smell it," he says. "Nobody really -likes- beer, just like nobody likes any other booze. Except maybe wine. I call Batman!"

"I like wine; we usually get some on holidays and weddings and stuff. It can be good. Oooh, I don't mind. I like Robin's costumes on here. And later, I get Nightwing!" Alek says.

Derek flashes a rare, large grin. "Batman's the coolest. I would so be Batman, if I had a magic wishing necklace. He's got the moves, the costume, the toys, the car, the babes, everything. And how cool is the Batcave? That'd make an awesome clubhouse for us."

Aleksei flashes a smile. "It would be very cool. I will see if I can find a cave, then.." he chuckles. "Hey, Nightwing gets cool stuff, too…"

Derek shrugs, clearly getting into the game. "Sure, but Batman's the -man-. He's never had a mullet or worn an Elvis costume. You're not gonna find a cave in San Angeles, dude. The whole city's built on top of the old city. We'd be better off finding somewhere in the Underground, fortifying it and stuff."

Aleksei ohs, nods. "OK, I had forgotten about that.. Undercity it is, then. I.. don't really know anything about it. I haven't gone there."

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