2010-07-31: Less Support More Superpowers





Date: July 31, 2010


After flyers are posted, the SSG has its first group meeting. It goes… slightly less than the description suggests. But there are donuts.

SSG 1: "Less Support, More Superpowers"


The Manhattan Youth Center on Warren Street is everything one could wish out of a center for extracurricular activities. Pool, stage, gyms, lawn space for outdoor sports. Things are light, happy, and promising.

However, as the obvious scanned and copied hand-written posters declaring "SSG MEETING THIS WAY!!!!" point further and further in, things start looking less like a fun, hip center and more like its less cool storage closet. Still, someone's definitely done their very best to try and make this small rented space into something to celebrate. There's an old stereo system towards the back streaming out what sound — to the child-trained ear — like Disney tunes. Meanwhile, the space itself has been set up with a ring of mismatched chairs. Once the blue plastic ones had run out, a few ratty office chairs were substituted in and then, last person in is probably going to get stuck with that stool.

To the left? The flyer promised DONUTS. Three boxes of them in all, they're already open to display the treats inside — and that somebody already went through and took all the sprinkled ones. Little colorful bits here and there tell of how sprinkle donuts once existed, but are now nowhere to be seen.

A few people mingle about — a teenager in a letter jacket looking quite uncomfortable, a woman whose hair looks not just like a bird's nest but five of them joined together, one or two unremarkable others. Then there's the girl. Annie. The rainbow of her outfit seems to conveniently match the same colorful exclamation marks on the otherwise blank name-tags she's handing out near the entrance. "Hi hi hi! So good of you to come! Have a DONUT!"

Finally escaping from his enforced foster time while recovering from his surgery, Cam's gone looking for Micah. Not getting an immediate response back he's ended up in New York, just in time to find one of the, to him, suspicious-looking flyers. So, almost right on time, he shows up, stepping in and looking around with curiosity as he takes a name tag. "Um, thanks. Not really hungry."

NO SPRINKLED DONUTS?! Why is she even here?! Janet sighs wistfully at the lack of sprinkles before retreating to one of the mismatched chairs. Despite the lack of sprinkles, she's determined not to let it eat her spirit, choosing to make lemonade out of lemons or something! Her lips curl into an easy grin, as she peers about the room. She filled out her nametag when she'd come in— neat curly letters that she'd spent all-too-much time on (a person shouldn't skimp on the details!).

Leaning back in her seat, she crosses her ankles together and silently squees at being here— every feature in her body is virtually smiling— from her eyes to her anxious posture. Her hands are folded in her lap as she shoots each of the people in the room her broad toothy grin. Yup, she's HAPPY.

That seat directly next to Janet is currently occupied as well. But by someone looking slightly less delighted than she— mostly because his head is tossed back against the top of his chair and he appears to be breathing the quiet, settled breaths of the napping. Although Parker got so far as to cross his arms loosely over his chest, he's adopted little more posture than that. His long jeans-clad legs are stretched out in front of him, ankles lightly touching, and the hood attached to the back of his shirt is lifted up to slightly cover that wildly curly brown hair and part of his face, hiding closed eyes. Yup, he's DOZING.

It'd probably cause problems if a high-profile reporter like Charla were seen at this sort of an event- thankfully, Charla's powers give her the opportunity to show any face she likes. So, with a new appearance that she'd just thought up that morning (mostly to fit with the preteen girl's clothes she'd purchased recently), she gets off the bus at the closest stop and follows the signs. She gives Annie a bit of a nervous smile as she takes one of the name tags, adjusting her glasses (she'd even made herself nearsighted to have them, just to see what they were like). She thought for a while about what name she should put… really, no one name fit best. It'd feel weird writing "Emmitt" in a girl's body, and she's not here as Charla either. Eventually, she just puts down "Emma". Close enough.

She takes a chocolate glazed donut, then a seat, and looks at some of those who are around. Oh, it's Janet. She's one of the few that Charla ever revealed her ability too- albeit inadvertently as she was returning to full strength after the eclipse. "Emma" gives a friendly wave, though she realizes that, unless she has some sort of ability to recognize shapeshifters in any form, she won't be recognized.

There's a little extra twinkle in Annie's smile for every person that steps in, making her look rather manic by the time Charla crosses over. As she hands over this name-tag, she leans into the hallway to check for any incoming bodies and then inside again at those gathered. After a moment, the unused name-tags are set decisively off to the side and she strolls into the room with what is supposed to be an authoritative clap of her hands — but really comes off as rather giddy when she claps too many times. "Hey, everybody, hi! I'm so glad so many of you decided to reach out! And use this little gathering as a way!"

Some of the others filter in various chairs. The jock pointedly stares at the floor. Others give nods to those around. The woman with the bird's nest hair flitters to one of the office chairs and flops down with a cloud of dust and white donut powder flying off of her multi-layered skirts. As she blinks from behind bulging glasses, she doesn't seem to quite catch anyone's gaze, even when she's staring so intently.

"Alright, then," taking her own designated seat, Annie pulls her knees together primly, tugging from a nearby bookbag a giant and clearly well-crammed binder decorated on the front with puff-paints and what is probably several unicorns. "I thought, since this is our very first meeting, we should start by laying out some ground rules…"

Cam ends up taking a chair where he can see both Annie and the door, after writing his name on the tag. He grins a bit as he sees the binder but he listens as Annie starts to talk. He looks occasionally to the door, still a little wary, but otherwise he stays quiet so Annie can talk.

Janet waves back to Emma because, well, it's friendly to wave and EVERYONE should be friendly and waving to everyone else! She leans over to Parker and gives his shoulder a little nudge. "Parker," she whispers. And then shaking her head, decides it's not adequate so sings, "Parker~" The song is followed by a small off-tuned whistle. She may be chipper, that doesn't make her whistling anything like a songstress. "We're starting!!!" like a kid in art class (or some other class that they love, for Janet this would've been science growing up or computer class), she snaps to attention, her back straightens, and she leans forward.

Immediately her hand flies into the air at the notion of ground rules. "Can we have like a positive rule?! So like if someone says something we all have to like affirm them. Ooo! We could give snaps!! There was this one place I worked where we all had to write something nice down about everyone else and then we gave snaps!" she snaps her fingers almost like most people would when clapping. "OR!! Can we have like a no-interrupting rule?! And a no sleeping rule!" Pointedly she glances at her best friend, but she's still smiling, "Because this is exciting!" She stands from her chair for a moment before quipping delightedly, "I'm so pleased to meet all of you!!!" before she sits back down. Yup, Janet is excited.

"Mmmmmmrrfff," is the enthusiastic accompaniment from Parker as he slings his arms tighter together and pretends for a moment longer not to be fully aware that he's being nudged. As his BFF gal begins to take the floor, however, he straightens with an unabashed stretching of his arms — just incase anyone missed that he was previously napping — and looks a bit more like he's listening. He doesn't stay still, though, giving an idle brush here and there to his also unique but much better arranged outfit. At one sweep of his hand, a sprinkle falls away to the ground. When Janet flattens into her seat again, he raises a palm in her direction for the obligatory YOU GO GIRL high-five. And possible secret handshake.

Emma just stares at Janet for a while. She was like that when they met in the park, too. "Those sound like good rules," she says, looking a bit surprised at the sound of her voice, because, in fact, she is- she wasn't sure how it was going to sound before she tried it. It was certainly different from the voices she was used to using, mostly because she'd never been an 11-year-old girl before. "Though… snaps seem a little… poetry slam," she adds, with a slight giggle.

For the man striding down the hall of the Youth Center on his way to the meeting in-progress, displaying his wrinkled, striped green golf shirt (with sunglasses tucked crookedly over the neck) and ultra casual jeans with too much pride for looking like he just rolled out of bed, it's a good thing there are directions. He'd probably get lost like a small child who wandered from his parents without the help. He's already late as it is, not that he seems to care in the slightest. Or notice.

Russ's phone is to his ear. "Dude, live on the edge a little! Did I not show you the flyer? It was clearly created by a chick. There are going to be desperate girls there, desperate girls who think they have super powers!" His animated exclamations sober up as, gesturing to thin air, he adds: "What if their freaky delusion of a super power is super flexibility, Lindsey. Plus, they advertise free donuts. I have a moral obligation. Are you kidding me right now?" Stopping several feet from the rented room's entrance (hopefully out of earshot…) he brings the phone in front of his face. "Captain Lllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaame."

And back the phone goes to Russ's ear and he keeps on walkin'. "Okay okay quick — help me think of an ability. Fire hands! Too much? No! Pyschic powers. No! Overdone. No! X-ray vision. No! I can shoot milk from my nose up to two meters. What do you think. Too true to life? Gotta go. Peace, loser." By this time, he's at the door, which he waltzes through, pausing only to stare at the gathering and to pluck a nametag from the box. He busies himself with sticking the blank tag to his chest while wandering to find the donuts.

Another young man is heading in, right on Russ's heels. Currently, Aiden is decked out in blue jeans and a black 'Tool' shirt, complete with black hiking boots; his messily styled hair is kept out of his eyes by a pair of sunglasses today.

He makes his presence much more silence, his hands tucked in his pockets as he walks behind the man. Blue eyes stare at the other man, a frown present on Aiden's face; luckily, for Russ's sake, he doesn't say a word. Moments after Russ walks in, Aiden makes his enterance, pausing to peer over the gathering.

Spotting Janet leaves an almost dopey smile on the boy's face as he picks out a nametag and writes his name out. After a moment, he sticks the tag to his chest, before quietly making his way over to the rest of the group, shooting Russ a strange look on his way.

Where at first Annie's neck seems to twitch oddly at the notion of someone else speaking first, she quickly warms to Janet's suggestions. "Y-Yes! Great!" She declares, repeating herself somewhat in her own excitement, "That's exactly what I was hoping for. Input from everyone!" Because Janet is now everyone — but she does gift the others in the circle with encouraging nods and a pointed smile that has an edge like it could go dangerous in a second if her dream of contributions is not fulfilled. "And this is exciting, but — oh! Yes. I nearly forgot, silly me. Meet everyone. We haven't, really, met— "

As she's beginning to fuss and flatten and make pretty the name-tag planted to her own chest, there's that bustling movement that is THE LATE COMERS. Eyes immediately narrow in on HIM. "Umm, yes. Hello." A little hand wave is instruction for Russ to come on over to the circle of sharing. "Please join us…. we're just about to introduce ourselves." Humming with the anticipation that comes with this, she lays her hands across her lap, her back straight and proper as she announces, "Group, my name is Annie. But I hope you'll all call me friend when this is over. Let'see… something about myself… well, I have a special ability, of course! Duh." She gives a mock-ditzy head-shake, "What are we all here for, am I right? But I also enjoy a few hobbies. Mondays, I have horse-back riding. His name is Diamond because of the— " A gesture to her own forehead, drawing out a diamond shape there falls back into her lap. "Tuesdays is choir and piano. Wednesdays, I volunteer here. Which, topically, is how we were able to use this space. So, if anyone wants to write thank-yous card after this, I have markers and— "

"Seriously?!" From the jock, who adjusts himself uncomfortably in the chair and stuffs his hands in his pockets. The wind sucked out of her sails, Annie hovers in posture for a moment before pointing an almost accusing finger at Cam and forcing a chipper voice a touch too loud. "You go next!"

Cam, unlike the jock, is starting to relax, laughing a little not in any mocking way, but just like perhaps he's picking up on the cheerfulness of Janet and Annie. When he's pointed to, though, he gets perhaps a little nervous, and nods just a little, "Um, ok. I'm Cam. Love science, history, comics…" He shrugs a bit, as if not sure what else to say just yet.

Aiden is given a small three fingered wave of recognition. Yay! Person she knows! Cam is shot a very large grin as Janet shifts in her seat. It's her turn next. "Hi Annie! Hi Cam!" Her upbeat personality shimmers through every nuance. Eyes gleam with a kind of refreshed hope, as a dimpled grin occupies her face. "I'm Janet! I'm a doctor and I like ponies and Superman ice cream, and eating Superman ice cream, and video games, and long Sundays with nothing but Parker, his keyboard, and a lot of fun— "

She recrosses her ankles but continues to talk with a steady stream of consciousness, "— I also really like going for walks and until recently I was in this wheelchair except a friend of ours like touched my back, and I TOTALLY thought she was like coming onto me, which is fine but I don't bat for that team, ANYways, so she touched my back and it's all better and ever since the whole world smiles with me ALL the time— " she gasps for breath, but it doesn't stop her storytelling, "— other than that I like long walks on the beach, azaleas, singing aloud, hanging with my BFF… " Clamping her mouth shut she takes a more significant pause now, "…and I talk too much." Her cheeks flush. "Sorry."

"Don't worry about it, sugarpuff, you talk just the right amount for you." Parker is seamless in picking up immediately on the tail of Janet's voice, and with similar inflections, so that they could nearly be twins for a second. Or longer. "What are we… oh, yeah. Parker," long fingers point back at himself, tugging at the grey and purple scarf around his neck. Then the gesture switches to point at Janet, who he reaches out to eventually poke in the arm. "I'm with her. Fun, my keyboard, Sunday when I remember that it's Sunday, games, eating the ice-cream, getting ice-cream, ponies that don't kick you in the face. But that doesn't really make a difference because I'm just here for her, and to, like, learn and stuff."

There's a small adjustment in his posture, as though he means to sit up straighter, but he just ends up slumping a bit more instead. "But, you know, neat-o to the rest of you for whatever it is you can do. Has anyone said yet? Because, correct me if I'm wrong — but isn't most everybody here sitting in, like, extreme antici—- pation over getting to hear what else it is that people can do. Sure, we can all bond over the unicorns, who doesn't like a good unicorn, but I could go outside and play on the swing-set for that. Let's hear about how you," he gives a vague gesture over in Charla's direction, "Can spit fire out of your nostrils or something. Because, really, that is likely just as inconvenient as it sounds and that's why it should totally be what we're talking about. Fire. Your nostrils. Terrible. This one time," another nudge over in Janet's direction and then his hand ends up patting her on the knee, too lazy to apparently return to his own lap. "I made Janet spit Pepsi out of her nose. So, if you need someone to relate. To the fire…."

Emma shifts a bit in her seat. This is going to be an interesting introduction. "Well," she begins, "First I'll say, I can't spit fire out of my nostrils. Not that I've tried," she adds with a smile. "Actually, I'm a shapeshifter, so I don't really have one real name, but you can call me Emma," she adds. "I know I've seen a few of you in one form or another… This one's new, I wanted to try out something different." She laughs a bit, knowing that it sounds completely ridiculous to people who don't know that such things can really happen, and runs a hand through her red hair. "Hobbies… hm, exercise… TV… reading, things like that," she says. "Oh, and Sudoku." She grins vaguely in Aiden's direction at this.

After being blinded like a deer in the headlights by the chipper creature that is Annie and waving to the rest of the group, Russ goes back to what's more important. "Aw man…" he mumbles and sighs under his breath as he looks over the donut selection. No sprinkles? This meeting isn't off to a good start. Still, he plucks a powdered donut from the mix. It's questionable whether or not he even hears the babbling behind him, especially when he digs a pen out of his pocket, ducks his head down, tucks his chin into his neck, and squints down his nose while shakily writing his name on himself.

The shapeshifting Sudoku player makes Russ glance over, though, and squint at her instead — which is when he clues into the fact that it might be his turn or something. Or not, but he claims it by strolling over. "My name is— " A glance down. " — R U Double Backwards Squiggle." Writing upside-down is hard, okay. "But my friends call me Russ. Or Russ 'Rusty Nails' Nielson," he says, a lazy nonchalance to everything he goes on about, however theatrical it is. "And, sometimes, Mr. Wonderlove… but— " An disappointed shake of his head. "Too soon. Too soon. I, uh… I like long walks on the beach," he may or may not glance at Janet, "and wine-tasting in my underground fortress… uh…" He scratches the back of his head with his pen. "…I see dead people?"

There is silence from Aiden as he listens to each introduction; aside from offering an almost sheepish wave to Janet, the boy remains silent as he listens to the others speak; Emma is given a strange look as the man apparently files through his head who she might be; Russ is given a glare. He has a strangely…intense look on his face the rest of the time. However, when his turn comes along, his features brighten into a smile, and he sits up straight. In a distinctly southern accent, the young man speaks. "Aiden Lee Calcasieu. I come from Avery Island, Louisiana. Real deep South. Home of Tabasco sauce!" He pauses, blinking around for a few moments, before resuming. "I like the outdoorsy kinds of stuff. Huntin', fishin', campin', hikin', muddin', any of those things are great I came to New York to make a good life for m'self." He laughs to himself.

Then, the young man glances around, his demeanor becoming much more calm than normal. "Then of course, there's my ability." He idly fusses at the mop of curly hair atop his head. "I can see and feel your nerves, in a strange way that ain't quite seein' and ain't quite feelin'…and I can do things to influence them. They'd call me a neurokinetic, I suppose." The young man offers a sheepish smile.

"Neur— n. e. u…" Annie glances up from what has been copious amounts of note-taking when somebody next in turn clears their throat pointedly. "Oh!" Her head bobs up, "Sorry, I write everything down. Just a little bit of a— you know, a thing. I don't have to." The excuse is given tightly, a bit of a fervor pitching her voice up. And she does nothing to let go of the pen in her grip. "This is really good," she says after a second to finish off a swirling letter in her notebook. As she's finishing the form, her eyes drift up to glare quite angrily at Russ' name-tag. As though its messy upside-downness offends her in some personal way.

Meanwhile, it's the birds' nest's turn and she gives her head a regal lift, presses bony fingers to her throat, and declares: "Naturally, I knew what all of you were going to say already, but I try not to the spirits of knowing overwhelm me. It's a burden I bear at all times, but, don't worry, children, I am yet its master and I will never betray your dark secrets, despite that I have intimate knowledge of them." She doesn't move for several seconds. Which… is generally presumed to mean she's done. It's some generic looking dude's turn. He fiddles anxiously with his pants legs before starting, "I'm— Ja— ke…"

"— ke. Jake." Echoes Birds' Nest, as though she meant to say it at the same time but is just a tad slower speaking.

"Umm. I'm here to talk about my ability to see— c— "

"Children— "

"— cah— "

"— cake—"


"Colon cancer."

"Colors— in a different way. I— that's it." Birds' Nest continues to nod sagely. Yes, yes, she knew. You poor soul.

Cam grins again, relaxing a little again as people start talking about their abilities. When it comes back to him, since he didn't say on his original turn, he almost opens his mouth to say something. Then, with a look towards Birds' Nest, he stops, and holds out a hand. A baseball sized ball of ice forms in his hand, out of thin air, and then he tosses it from one hand to the other. "I do that." The cold of the ice doesn't seem to bother him at all.

"Hey! I like long walks on the be— " Janet opens her mouth to be agreeable with Russ only to snap it shut as she remembers she just said that. "And it's too bad no one breathes fire out of their nose, I totes could relate, Pepsi hurts like the dickens! That's a phrase people don't use enough— when things hurt like the dickens. Or when they're like swearing instead of pseudo-swearing because they're in polite company. The world would be a happier place if we all pseudo-swore instead of real swore, don't you think?" She leans over towards Parker, to whisper something. She leans away after doing so and, delighted with herself, sits up just a little straighter.

"I… don't have any dark secrets," Janet considers aloud after the nest-hair lady speaks. "Not a single one! In fact, I'm pretty much known for speaking my mind… and we should actually HAVE cake next time. Just because someone mentioned it and doesn't have an ability surrounding cake doesn't mean we can't eat it, right?" Griiiin.

Parker has gotten around to checking to make sure his nails are clean — they're not, he has to pick out some donut crumbs — when he leans quite naturally into Janet's whisper without even seeming to have noticed her lean first. His gaze stays straight forward as she talks, but he does snort something loud and joke-like when she's done. "Not like my all-natural hunnybun." When his hands fall in between his knees so he can address the room with more attentiveness, he catches Cam's little trick with a whistle of appreciation. "— O M — J. Janet, Janet. Do you see that? Doesn't it just immediately remind you of that crystal ball thing that David Bowie has? He does this, like, thing with it." He swerves his hand in the air gracefully, imitating that great Labyrinthian trick. Then, to Cam: "Can you make this cake we're talking about or… should we just put you on cold drinks and sculpture duty?"

Emma stretches her arms and legs as she takes in everyone's stories. She's intrigued by Cam's demonstration in particular- though some of the others seem a bit nuts. Birds' nest in particular sounds like she took a wrong turn on the way to an audition to play Professor Trelawney in a new Harry Potter movie. She crosses her ankles, feeling a bit less interested in telling all her big secrets to people who don't *really* have superpowers- then again, the crazier ones probably wouldn't be believed, except possibly by the tabloids. She smiles a bit at the Labyrinth reference. "That was a *great* movie," she says. She'd always liked fantasy stuff- it helped a young Emmitt escape his drab, wretched life for a bit.

Russ, who gives Aiden an unabashedly funny look — yeeeah, sure you're a neuro-something-or-other! — and Annie an innocent shrug finally sits down. The only seating left is a pathetically small stool, but he claims it like a throne, shifting about this way and that trying to cross his legs without falling over backwards on the thing. By some miracle, he stays upright. The guy's too focused on devouring his donut (giving one side of his face a light dusting of white powder) and staring at Birds' Nest's hair to notice Cam's trick (or much of anyone else). He leans forward, squinting. He stage-whispers conspiratorially: "…I think the dead birds in your hair are talking to me… they're saying they're afraid your cats are going to attack them."

Aiden's eyes find that pen on the paper as Annie writes this down, a frown forming on his face as he shakes his head to indicate that he'd rather not have anything written about him. Bird's Nest…is offered a bit of a scowl, as well. Serious Aiden is serious, apparently. After all, he would've rathered the inhabitants of this room be actual super-powered humans, like himself. Otherwise, the man stays stony-silent, choosing to scowl at the wall above everybody's heads, rather than glare at anyone in particular.

"Excuse me." It's been Annie's alarm clock call ever since Janet's detour into swearing etiquette. One person after another talking. "Excuse me."
Birds' Nest and her binocular-esque glasses squint right back at Russ, her slight lean towards him motivating the entirety of her hair in that direction, briefly making it seem as though the one in danger of being devoured is him. "… The spirits tell me you don't have many friends."


Someone who looks most probably this is the first time he's been in a clean, lit building in the last month crosses his arms. "Man, you guys are crazy. You really should get off the alcohol."

"Excuse me!!!." If there was someone in the room capable of superhuman hearing, Annie's voice may have quite possibly killed them. "This is not AA." The shrill squealing is followed by a gasp of breathlessness as she aims for control, her hands slowly easing off their death-grip on the sides of her chair as she tries to fold them ladylike in her lap again. "Ahem. Ahem. This group is for support and non-judgment and I used up all the extra money on the donuts so SORRY if you're so big on CAKE." Ahem. Breathe. Her hands follow her smooth inhale then exhale and then rest. She opens her eyes serenely and crisply turns her head towards the only person who hasn't really spoken up for a while — the jock. "If we could get through all the……." Emotion wipes off her face. The jock is on his phone. Slowly, Annie's mouth forms into a thin line that's lost just about all of its patience. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"

"Jesus!" The jock jumps, nearly dropping the beloved Blackberry as he glances around to notice that he's been singled out by the tiny white woman's fury. "I-It's just that fortune telling website. Like, way more legitimate than anything here. You want to see something cool?" And he angles the screen towards anyone nearby to see if someone baits to looking. "Here, take it. Try your name."

Cam blinks at the chaos, not caused by his own display but by just the general nature of people present. He keeps hold of the ball of ice, and answers Parker, "Just ice, that's all I can do. And, not really any detailed sculptures or anything." He quiets then, again, glancing back to Annie.

"That is amazing!!" Janet agrees about Cam as she leans forward in her seat. 'AND YES! You should make us a cake! Obviously Parker and I can't bake… I keep dishes in our oven. Sometimes sweaters, it depends on where things are at in my closet space at the time we adjust it depending on what we need. The point is— someone ELSE needs to make the cake!" With a firm nod and a shift in her seat, her gaze turns to Aiden, her eyebrows furrowing with concern at his obvious distaste… her ability must be broken! With the smallest frown she crosses her arms over her chest indignantly for several moments until the jock interrupts her thoughts. "Ooo! I wanna do it! I wanna dooooooo iiiiiiiiit!"

Being the assertive ray of sunshine she is, Janet peels herself from her seat and reaches for the phone. Quickly she types in her name and then she reads, rather authoritatively, aloud, "When you're happy, the world is happy because — to those around you — you are the world. Keep these flowering friends, but watch out for weeds with wrong intentions." Perplexed, she furrows her eyebrow and returns to her seat, still holding the phone. "Parkeriffic? Who are the weeds in my life? Do I have any?"

"Ohh…" Parker's face falls in some measure of lazy disappointment at Cam's admission. "Don't you have any free time? That's awful. You should get some. Then learn to make sculptures."

"— pltures."

"Cause, I mean ("— ean") when it snows everybody's got an ice ball ("hal — ball") and those hurt more than the regular ones. Actually… there are those ice sculpture ("festivals!") — dis— festi— displayfestivals, too. Hmmmmm…. what?"

His concentration rerouted to the phone and Janet's careful dictation of her own fortune, Parker comes to squint at the piece of technology with some interest. "Oh, that's lovely. I think. Hm. I don't know, Janarama." His head flops absently in her direction, like he's just too gosh-darned lazy to hold it up straight. "Is it your boyfriend?"

Wow, Emma thinks, that Annie doesn't mess around. She just watches everything going on around her, noting that Parker and Janet have some pretty weird nicknames for each other. She doesn't comment on the fortune either- she's never been too much into fortunetelling. "Making sculptures would be nice," she finally muses. "I haven't really thought much about what I could use my power for," she adds. "I've been trying to have a normal life really… but since it stopped working a while back I started to think, maybe I've been wasting my potential. I mean, sure, all I can do is look like different kinds of people, but…" She thinks for a while. She already has a job on TV… the only work she could think of where her power would be useful would be as some sort of spy, and she doesn't think that's for her…

Russ is licking jelly from the donut — which has vanished, maybe as a testament to his true super power: eating donuts — off his hand when he's forced to leeean backward in fear of Birds' Nest's nest. "Hey, that's like fundamentally— " He's cut off by the insistence of Annie, and brings his hands to his ears to poke them shut against the high-pitched shouting. When it seems safe-ish, he drops his hands and eyes one, then touches his ear again, coming away with raspberry jelly and giving it a half-heartedly disgusted look. Classy. " — untrue," he finishes belatedly before letting his attentions wander around the group with increasing boredom. "Dude," this is offered off-handedly to "Emma", "you could change your face you could totally impersonate anyone. A Day in the Life of Angelina Jolie or the Pope? Sweeeeet." A shrug. "I like a tall hat. Don't judge."

Aiden offers a small smile in response to Janet's concerned look, offering a small wave. It's okay! However, his eyes roll up toward the ceiling toward…well, all of the other inhabitants. Other than Janet. She's okay, and the babbling is adorable. Slowly, he raises to his feet…and suddenly, he clears his throat. At the same time, he reaches out with his ability…and just kind-of tries to make everyone close their mouths, in the most literal sense of the phrase (attempting to make their jaws effectively lock). Everyone except for Annie.

Regardless of the effects, he begins to speak in a loud, clear tone. "Excuse me, Ladies and not-so-gentlemen." He makes a motion to indicate that he doesn't seem to include Parker in this generalization. "I believe that Miss Annie has some things to say to all of us. As she was kind enough to arrange this meeting and provide these delightful refreshments for us, I believe we should hear her out." He casts a stern look around.

Battling — and batting her big brown eyes to go with it — the choice between shrieking again and this deep forbidden curiosity she has about the website, Annie is somewhat startled to notice the formerly quiet Aiden now making himself known. Initially unaware that he has anything but deep authority in his voice to keep everyone quiet, she just sort of glances nervously around and gives her hair a quick tuck behind the ear. "W-Well, thank you. That's very nice…" her voice lowers warily, "I guess…"

It's the jock, inching his chair closer to Janet while she checks out his— phone — that notices his inability to do that thing where he opens his mouth and girls crumple into his letter-jacket wearing arms. He needs that thing. It's his thing. With no small amount of alarm, he leaps from his chair. Instead of crashing to the floor, it… sings. Like. It really sounds like a chorus of string instruments as it skids backwards. Musically. The accusing finger at his unmoving mouth is fierce — and a trumpet. As soon as this one reaches his ears, the young man's eyes widen even more and he reaches out as though to throttle the air in front of Aiden. Which would be more intimidating if it didn't sound like his threat of violence was written and accompanied by the high-school bass section.

Cam is caught a little off-guard by the enforced silence, but he doesn't react much at all, nodding a little to Aiden. Then, he blinks at the jock's reaction, and he can't help but grin at the musical performance.

Janet gapes as she's silenced, this isn't exactly something she's used to or comfortable with, especially when she needs to think about the weeds in the garden that is her life. Where she was a little upset before, she's reached levels of gloom. Not being able to talk is pretty much Janet's worst nightmare realized. In fact, her inability to speak is met with a chin quiver, a sniffle, and a lean into Parker, seeking comfort from her floweriest friend, the one she trusts more than anyone, her adopted family.

Parker, meanwhile, is in honest to God throes of agony. Though he spares an arm to throw around Janet in the most comforting way possible, it's really an automatic gesture to the diva-level of panic rising in his face. Eyes widen, the hood falls away from his pristine brown curls — that mouth he can't open struggles against its unfair fate. Everyone else, musical soundtrack to his life included, could be so much specks of donut dust on Russ' cheek. Because that is the man he truly is staring at with unrestricted alertness. This is the source of frustration — Parker really really REALLY BY GOD — NEEDS TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT ANGELINA JOLIE OR THE WORLD MIGHT END HOLY CRAP.

Emma is a bit unnerved by the feeling of having her mouth locked closed- not because she especially wanted to say anything but because she'd gotten used to having much more control over her body than most people, and having that taken away seems wrong. She wonders if she could shapeshift her mouth open- do a little superpower arm wrestling with Aiden, as it were. No good though- he is affecting her nerves, after all. So, she waits for quiet time to be over.

Russ shuts up, too. At least he was done with his commentary anyway — unlike most of the others, he doesn't seem to notice the fact that his jaw is clamping down against his will. Instead, he peers with the most quizzical (or dumbfounded; it's a toss-up) of expressions at the musical jock, trying to figure out where the heck the music is coming from — and, when it becomes glaringly obvious that the dude with the purple scarf is staring at him like he's about to explode from the inside out, he stares back. What gives? Parker is given a clueless and vaguely alarmed lift of his brows and Russ wipes his powdered-sugared face on his shoulder unenthusiastically, wondering if maybe that was it. Gone? Done freaking out, purple scarf dude?

So he's not the most attentive kid in the class…

Calmly, Aiden watches the jock, his expression quite unconcerned. In fact, he even manages to grin a little bit, chuckling softly to himself. The reactions are pretty darn funny. Musical boy is especially funny. After one more glance around the room, he speaks again. "Now, might I ask that you all be orderly and polite during this meeting? Please? I came here so I could meet others like m'self and find out what life is like for others with abilities, not joke around and act like I'm in high school all over again." Slowly, the room will feel the effects of his ability slip away, then disappear completely.

With this, Aiden offers a warm smile to the group, quietly sitting down as if nothing just happened. Weird.

Exercising her freedom to the fullest of its extent, Annie's seen her jaw slowly dropping at all of the upset faces, the strange uncooperative lips. Startled backwards in her chair — hers makes a loud scuffing noise on the floor — at the musical interlude, she fights down a kind of dreamy smile for the horror to echo her eyes. Then… eyebrows begin to dip… suspiciously, steadily… as her head sloooooooowwly turns in a pivot The Exorcist might appreciate as Aiden speaks up again. Aiden. Speaks. Because he can… still speak

And speaks in a manner that has his opponent Jock beginning to strip off his jacket — to… appropriately inappropriate tunes meanwhile — and roll up his sleeves with the determination of a growing drumbeat. Actually this one is kind of uncomfortable as the bass vibrates a bit through the floor, reaching up through Aiden's body like those deep-ground shudders that make your gums hurt.

There's other mutterings — now that they can mutter — Birds' Nest is beginning to flutter her hands and call on the spirits — when Annie once again destroys precious eardrums:

"OH — MY GOD!" Launching to her feet, her eyes as watering as they are fierce daggers that might leap out and DESTROY Aiden and Jock. Not unlikely considering how things are going so far. Her finger jabs at the ground. It doesn't make noise, but it does manage to sort of hold everyone to their place out of sheer wtf-ery. "WE DO NOT USE OUR POWERS AGAINST EACH OTHER HERE— I DON'T CARE HOW BEAUTIFUL THAT MUSIC IS," oh, dreamy — no! Anger! — "S-SUPPORT a-and DONUTS— Eeeh!" Giving a stomp of her foot, Annie suddenly tears away from the chairs and out of the room in the single best example of a girlish tantrum since the 80s stopped making movies about the hard life of the teenage girl who feels invisible. The 80s sort of… stopped entirely. But John Hughes gets the point.

Cam gives Annie a moment after she's left, looking around at the others. Taking a guess that things are probably over for the night, he stands and makes his way over to the supplies Annie talked about earlier for thank you cards. But instead of a thank you card, he writes his name and email, and a note, 'I still want to talk.' Leaving the note where Annie will find it, and the ice ball nearby, he then moves to slip out.

By the time she can talk again, Janet is in a fit of tears, that very short few moments where she couldn't speak were harrowing to the chatterbox. In fact, the fit of tears is so dramatic that the brunette is sobbing so hard she hasn't noticed she can talk again. Hiccup. Sob. Gasp. Twitching a little she leans away from the arm and dries her tears with the back of her hand. "I." Hiccup "Don't." Hiccup. "Want." Gasp. "To." Sniffle. "Stay." Sob. "Somewhere." Sniffle. "I." Hiccup. "Can't." Gasp. "Talk." Sucking in a deep breath, she walks to the jock and hands him his phone. Unlike Annie she doesn't exactly storm out, actually, her pace is more of a shuffle, one foot sliding slowly in front of the other towards the door.

"OTOSANDBREAKINGHISHEARTWHICHISACRIMENOWTHATHEDOESN'THAVETHAT — oh hey, cool, my thoughts are outloud again… — TERRIBLEBEARD." Parker gives a bit of a stabbing finger of his own before his automatic hold on Janet, whether she tried to twirl out of it or not he managed to keep a grip, finally stretches even his lanky arm's reach and he's whirled out of his own seat to follow after her like a leashed attachment. Once he has the balance of his own two feet, he wraps that arm tightly around her waist, scooping her up for her next step so that it's more of a swinging dance move than a shuffle at all. I guess a shuffle is also a dance move. But not this time.

Moving on: "It's all good, babykins, I like you even when you can't talk because I already knnooooowwww," he gives her temple a teasing and affectionate poke, "what you're thinking. We'll get some better donuts and pretend I'm not watching what I eat. Or better yet — cupcakes. With the Justice League on them. Those guys knew how to use their powers… most of the time…" Annnnnnd fade as they get around the door.

Emma only now realizes she'd been holding her donut the whole time. She now starts eating it as she stands, giving a bit of a lazy wave with her free hand as she leaves. "This wasn't really worth it," she comments, before nodding to herself. "Good donut though." In celebration of said donut she changes her hair to brown as she walks away. Honestly, she's probably not going to come to another one of these meetings, but it was interesting to learn that Aiden had a power… that explains a lot actually.

The moment Russ can open his mouth again, it opens unconsciously — and opens and opens and opens, gaping wide as he yawns and stretches his arms above his head. He's fairly alert on the happenings, despite this. Maybe not totally aware, but he squints blearily, bewildered at all the commotions: wincing vaguely at all the shouting and the 80s tantrum that flies out the door, and looking a bit like a sad puppy out of apparent concern for Janet and stopping and starting to reply to Parker, blinking at what might have been the girl's sudden dye job…

"Well then!" Without any more warning than that, Russ is on his sneakered feet, slapping his jeans. "This was great," he announces — not seriously, that's for sure, but without the sarcasm as the announcement really warrants. "I'm entertained… I'm feeling really super supported… more importantly, do you think anyone would mind if I took the donuts." Who is he even talking to. Doesn't matter. Russ wanders over to take the most plentiful box before making any kind of move to leave.

Oh my. Everyone's freaking out. It's not as if he expected it. Still seated, Aiden peers quietly up at the Jock, one brow arching high. He…really doesn't seem worried about the big fellow. In fact…he doesn't seem concerned by much, save for the loudness in which Annie shrieks. Once everyone begins to leave, he shakes his head, raising to his feet and making towards the door with his hands in his pockets. He tried…but he's not very good with crowds and loudness and people not taking things seriously. At least, in his mind.

Then again, Aiden certainly isn't the most normal crayon in the box.

So much for the big showdown that was scheduled. Jock has similarly found little to no interest in Aiden, having promptly forgotten the man even existed once Annie began her meltdown. Barely after getting the phone in his hand, he's vanished as well, with a kind of angry blush growing underneath his dark cheeks, and some sort of mutter along the lines of… nobody better tell anybody 'bout this

Not that there's anyone left besides Birds' Nest, Homeless Guy, and Russ Who Makes Off With Donuts He Didn't Purchase.

Once all of these specimens have also exited the building, the room becomes quiet enough for a sniffling Annie to return, rubbing her cheek on the tugged down sleeve of her little button-up sweater. Somehow, "Under The Sea" is still playing merrily along in the background. Shuffling a bit, she goes to depress the 'stop' button, glancing about at the lousy set-up. She's slowly peeling the name-tag off her chest with a dejected sort of slowness when there's a bit of a glimmer nearby. What's that? Further investigation proves it to be… a little ice-ball. Next to a note. Plucked up, those five little words put a smile back in the room.

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