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Generated: Jan 17, 2021 9:34 PM
Post last updated: Jan 17, 2021 9:34 PM
Chasing Katur
Twiwolf!Scott needs to learn that sharing is caring
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Fernanda didn't feel sufficiently confident to start the conversation the day before and they have been busy. The topic just hung in the air like a dead fish waiting to start to smell bad. But she sit downs with Katur and Felicia for a talk before bed.

They have a long discussion.

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Katur, after some prodding admits that he is insecure.

It feels hard to compete. Scott appears to be tailor-made to fulfill everything that Fernanda needs.

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What? No! For one thing, Fernanda needs Katur too.

Both girls spend a time providing reassuring snuggles.

Fernanda then admits that... Scott's situation feels like a mockery of perfection. She admits he is attractive, sweet, hard-working and might be the solution of a lot of problems. He is even extremely devoted to her, and Fernanda is not immune to that.

But the circumstances sure sour the thing.

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Permanently?

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Fernanda doesn't think so. But she doesn't know. It shouldn't stop them from trying. She just doesn't know how.

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Katur will support her in whatever decision she makes.

(They reassure him some more.)

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Fernanda wakes up Scott the next day.

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There's the familiar jolt of pain. 

Fernanda is here, though, and that's enough.

"Morning. What do you have for me today?"

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Fernanda is there, yes, dressed in a bathrobe. She notices the pain and looks concerned, but decides not to comment on it.

Instead she will... caress Scott's hair. That's good right?

"More sorcery to research. Do you still want to work on the garden and make us breakfast?"

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"I think it'll be good to form a routine..."

Caressing seems to be pleasant, but perhaps not ideal for productivity.

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Fernanda nods, she stops the hair-caressing after a moment and takes Scott's kitchen-wards by hand.

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"Are we still doing experiments? If werewolves are as useful as it looks, I don't want you to waste your time teaching me."

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"I mean, yes we will. But a chunk of those should wait until you're more stable. And how werewolves being useful would make teaching you sorcery wasteful?"

Here is the kitchen.

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“We won’t be able to do everything equally, right? Sooner or later, I’m going to be useless to you guys.”

He waves at Felicia and Katur absently.

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"We will get you back to your pack before it gets that bad," Fernanda reassures.

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Katur waves back a bit self-consciously.

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"I am going to run back to town and call our grandparents. That should speed things up well-enough."

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"Do you want me to meet anyone around here? If we can connect Elsewhere to home, I'll be the one having to mediate."

He retrieves the ingredients for breakfast.

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They have plenty ingredients: fruits (some recognizable, some not), jam, oatmeal, honey, yogurt, cheese...

"Maybe later, after we have sorted things out. There is non-zero chance that we might move somewhere more convenient. And I don't think there is anyone here that's the right kind of influential. But thank you."

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Most of the interesting options would need to be prepared overnight.

“How does everyone like their eggs?”

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They offer preferences. "...Scrambled. But you don't have to if it's too much trouble."

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“No problem. I like cooking for people.”

He does so, seemingly quite content to distract himself with the process.

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It is kinda of adorable. They make small talk and discuss plans for the day.

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Small talk it is!

Scott asks everyone what they like to eat, and what they do with their time.

He seems particularly curious about Fernanda, of course.

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Hiking (or the flying equivalent for Fernanda). Swimming. Practicing sorcery.

They all like to read. Fernanda has the most stringiest taste about fiction. She reads a lot about the different worlds' cultures, politics and the like. Felicia and Katur favor fiction. Sometimes Felicia drags them both to be social at people.

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Scott can get pretty enthused about fiction. He chats with Felicia about the classics of his Earth and hers, comparing how similar they are. He also happily discusses the cultures of his world, as much as he can. He's uniquely placed to talk about some of them, and he's read quite a bit of politics, philosophy, and history.

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The fiction and history is nearly identical between Earths. Fernanda is quite well-read in Earth politics and history, but she does lack Scott's specific point of view. Which is bound to be important for all of them in the near future.

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(That does light up the table.)

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"How much does this change? Now that you have the pack, what can you do differently?"

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"It depends a lot on how werewolves work. But I think at the bare minimum I can spin it into getting the attention of a sorcery teacher with far better connection's than Annabeth Rose."

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"Henry and Gabe's aunt," Felicia interjects in case Scott does know." She was not our first choice," she continues, in the diplomatic tones of someone meaning she was a last minute option.

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Fernanda nods at Felicia. "Anyway, with that we can do ritual development. Our hope was to someday to figure out the magical equivalent of uploading brains into a computer, leading to immortality and resurrection. But that's far off in the future, on a more immediate level. Well, it depends on the pack. Sorcery could help with vampires, sorcery might help vampires, and it's a generally a great resource for problem solving. ...I don't know a lot of the specifics, but I know that native Americans are more likely than the American average to have problems to solve." She waves her hand to indicate vagueness. "And, the pack also has the option to move to another world too. Elan and Elsewhere are nearly as developed as Earth and an easy place to make money off having as much lifeforce as you do. And our grandparents coordinate efforts to settle the other worlds if the pack is feeling like making their own place."

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There is a pause. But Fernanda decides to let herself smile. "There are lot of options to improve the worlds."

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Katur forgets that Scott is around and actually sighs happily at Fernanda.

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Of course he does. They all seem to work really well together.

“Things are okay on the reservation, but it would be nice to move somewhere that’s not Forks. Should we get back to experiments?”

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"Finish eating first, but alright."

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After breakfast, Scott eagerly follows Fernanda.

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Fernanda leads. With some conflicted feelings about the situation.

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Katur leaves for work.

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Felicia leaves to find a phone. She does not dither about, but timezones mean that she isn't in that much of a hurry.

Maybe she is dithering a little, but superspeed is no reason to hurry up everything. Or to be rude and not talk to people. Or not to check for produce.

 

Okay, that's enough dithering. She calls and waits until the secretary gets one of her grandparents in the phone.

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"Hello, dear. Calling again so soon?"

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Felicia tries not to read too much in her grandmother's tone of voice. Not productive for a diplomatic conversation.

"Yes. Something extremely extraordinary happened."

She proceeds to explain Scott, werewolves, vampires, imprinting, the packlessness and the possible lifeforce benefits. And how they check everything. She is just a tiny bit anxious over the toneless silence from the other end of the line.

"So, we really need to get a portal to Scott's Earth and figure you and grandpa would be interested in helping," she concludes.

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There is a long pause.

"I see. I can't say I believe the story just on your say so. But I am willing to use our time to perform some tests. You would need to come to us, though, we can't just leave the temple in such a short notice. Do we need to arrange the trip for the three of you?"

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They are on the phone.

There is no reason to force herself to smile politely. She does it anyway.

"We have our own means of travel." She does not correct the assumption that Katur isn't coming. "How fast can you get a portal once things are proven to your satisfaction?"

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"Remember Almy? She is going to be in town for the next while. So how fast we can help Scott depends how fast you can get back to us."

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Was that a threat? Felicia asks herself.

No. She concludes immediately. Not grandparents' style. They wouldn't do that to a bystander like Scott.

So, just a subtle jab, maybe. Her grandmother probably didn't even notice the word choice.

Maybe.

"Thank you. I will call again once I can give you a time of arrival."

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"It will be good to see you two again and meet Scott."

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Katur is a great boyfriend. Felicia does not shout at the top of her lungs.

"Of course," Felicia says dryly.

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There is a pause.

"I am curious about your mother's reaction to this."

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"We didn't get around to telling her yet. We got kinda busy all the sudden."

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"I am sure you two are going to get around to it very soon. Now, if you excuse me is that all?"

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"No. Thank you for helping us with Scott. Talk to you later."

There is a pause and then dial tone.

Felicia dials again to call her parents. Her grandmother wouldn't do something like calling her parents right away, she is mostly sure.

But her grandmother's transparent attempt at making her feel guilty did succeed, because it ultimately it boils down to a reasonable point. Their parents should know.

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Her mother picks the phone sounding sleepy. "Hello? Who is talking?"

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"Mom! Is Felicia."

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And of course she can read the worry in her daugther's voice.

"Felicia? Why are you calling at this hour? Is everything alright?"

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"There is nothing to worry about."

Felicia regrets saying that as soon as the words leave her mouth. In hindsight, there is a lot to worry about, with a second Earth, new species and Fernanda getting a permanent companion. Their conversation causes her father to wonder why his wife is up at this hour, and he joins in. This complicates the communication in a lot of ways, but it simplifies in other ways.

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Finally, there is a sigh from the other side of the phone. "I really hope you manage to add Scott to your arrangement. Katur really doesn't deserve this."

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"Neither does Scott. I would say 'neither does Fernanda', but she is doing well. I promise."

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"Neither does Scott," she agrees. "Neither does Fernanda," she adds. "Is there anything we can do?"

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"You two can keep not being mad when I call you at unholy hours."

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Her father's snort can be heard through the phone. "That we can do. Don't abuse the privilege. Please, keep us updated. You already know we don't like the idea of you moving to different worlds, but we at least want to know."

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"Of course. I promise to keep you udpated."

They exchange goodbyes. Felicia runs back home.

Talking with her parents helped in a lot of ways. But still...

She grabs a pillow and screams into it.

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Then she remembers Scott is in the house.

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Scott is indeed in the house. He and Fernanda perform several important experiments. He tries not to admire her too obviously.

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If it helps Fernanda at least tries not to visibly react to the admiration. But she doesn't look particularly bothered.

The experiments are a bit boring. They are definitely important, but they involve a lot of fine measurement and repetition to give credit to their claims.

However, Fernanda does hear Felicia and calls for her.

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Felicia promptly shows up. "Hi. Talked to grandma... talked to our parents."

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"What did they say?"

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"Our grandparents are going to want to check Scott magically, but that shouldn't take long and then we can find the way back to his Earth and his pack."

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"That's good to hear. Did you want to stay while we do experiments?"

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"Of course!"

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"What about our parents?"

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"They hope everything works out."

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If Fernanda’s not going to push for more, he won’t.

Experiments! They are not particularly interesting, really, but they’re important, and Fernanda is there.

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And Felicia can speed up experimentation.

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But eventually, how about a lunch break?

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Lunch!

"Does anyone mind if I don't cook lunch? I'll make up for it with dinner tonight."

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"Of course? It's not your obligation."

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"I'm a guest, I should be doing something. Is Katur going to be joining us?"

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"He should, unless something comes up."

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"And guests are not supposed to do anything."

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"Cool. I've been wanting to get to know him better."

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"That's sweet of you."

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"Yes, it is." Pause. "Thank you, Scott."

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"...no problem. I'm going to sit down. With Felicia. Let's sit down together, me and Felicia."

He sits.

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Well, that's not concerning at all. Fernanda can take hint.

Felicia sits down. "Do you need anything?"

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“I’m good. It’s just weird, I guess, getting used to the imprint. I want to talk about something other than me.”

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"Sure..." she says invitingly.

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"What do you think you'll do if we can connect the worlds?"

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"Me in specific? I don't know. I would like to stay with both Fernanda and Katur."

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"What do you think they'll do? Fernanda seems really...ambitious. I don't know what she'll be doing by then, and I don't know if I'm at a place where I can just ask her questions like a normal person yet."

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"Like a normal person? She is ambitious, but mainly she is someone that wants to solve problems. She doesn't have anything more specific set in stone. ...But so far, becoming good at sorcery is her long-term goal and that can be done through books. Katur will want us to be happy, I am sure."

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"She's my imprint. I don't want to say the wrong thing. But I want to be useful, and I don't think I have the right skills for that. I think I can read, though. As long as I focus. Do you think learning sorcery is the best thing for me to do?"

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"You might not be a potential sorcery researcher. I am not sure. But I think learning how to transfer lifeforce is very important and acquiring gifts would be potentially useful. You can be casual about rituals, plenty of people are. But you don't have to do anything."

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"Okay.

How are you really doing? Is everything alright with your family?"

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"I am alright," she says knowing he heard her screaming. "But everyone is fine. It's just... family can get complicated."

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"Okay. We should probably have lunch with the others."

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"Okay, just... leave me to worry about that. Okay?"

Lunch?

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Lunch!

Scott recounts the first time he tried to cook for his friends, and how badly it went.

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That's an adorable story!

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The twins can then tell the time they tried to surprise their parents with breakfast in bed. It was a surprise, at least.

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"My mom never lets me cook for her. I did make dinner for her once, on her birthday, but it turned out I didn't know how she liked her eggs. I tried to pay more attention after that, but it didn't matter. She's fine if I make breakfast, but otherwise she thinks it's a waste of time when we can just get takeout."

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"We grew up with a lot of take out too. Mostly because our parents never learned how to cook properly. We did learn when we got old enough."

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"My mom never really learned to cook, either. She didn't get a lot of practice before she got married."

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"People have different trade offs," Felicia says with a shrug, "our parents didn't grew up with the ingredients they had available on Earth. Your mom doesn't have three times the energy of a regular human."

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"One assumes."

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"Sometimes she acts like it. Nursing is kind of hard on her, since she has to everything herself. Speaking of magical amounts of energy, should we get back to that?"

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"Of course. Me and Felicia just going to go have a talk for a moment, okay?"

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"Sure. I'll be in the garden."

He goes, leaving them to it.

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Katur follows him after a moment. There is a moment of quiet awkwardness. "How are you doing?"

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"I'm fine. Just a little worried about their parents. Is it always like this?"

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"No. I mean, I am pretty sure everything is fine with their parents. But the relationship between the grandparents and the rest of the family is... complicated."

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"Yeah. I know a little bit, but not the details. I guess it'll come out in time, if she wants to share it."

There isn't much he can do here before he introduces new plants, so Scott mostly pretends to be busy. It doesn't work very well.

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"I am sure she will. I think she doesn't want to upset you. And you can ask..."

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"It's a little personal. Do you think I should bring it up? I don't need to know, if she's not ready to confide in me about that stuff."

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"Yeah, the thing is personal. Enough, that I am not straight up telling you, but I can't see Fernanda objecting you to ask questions."

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"I don't know. She doesn't seem like she'd do something just because she felt pressured because I imprinted on her, but everyone's trying so hard to be nice about it. I just want to talk to someone who I can just talk to. It's usually easier than this."

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"We are just... worried about you. But I can see how that wouldn't help." Katur holds his arms up, offering a hug.

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Hug.

"I think I can see why they like you."

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"Honestly, the fact that they did leaves me confused but thankful everyday."

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"I hope they get along with the pack. I know Felicia will try. Fernanda doesn't seem like the type to make nice if she doesn't mean it, though, and I don't want anything to go badly."

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Slow nod. "Fernanda is not the type to not make nice either. And she wants nice things for people as much as Felicia does, which is... a lot," he says this like he has given up on properly describe how intense the thing is.

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"She does. I always worried my imprint wouldn't care about making people's lives better, but I guess I got lucky. We might be able to help people in more than one world! I always figured I'd work in a hospital. This is something else."

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"I can relate to the feeling. And you can still might end up work in a hospital. It will just involve less needles or scalpels."

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"Sounds like a plus. How different is medicine when people can do magic?"

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"Once you learn the technique you can just dump Health on them and that fixes a lot, but that is inefficient. Most sorcerer-doctors do a mix of using rituals and herbal medicines, uh, Elan's Herbal medicines are tinkered with and far better than Earth's so it's a fairly efficient approach."

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"That's good. Once we connect the worlds I should talk to somebody about doing that."

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"We will gladly help."

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He thinks, briefly, that Fernanda has been gone a while. He squashes the thought. He can't just hover over her shoulder constantly, no matter how right that feels. 'What do you think they're talking about' is the wrong question to ask their boyfriend Katur. He can't think of anything else to ask, though.

"Am I keeping you from anything?"

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"Not right this moment. I do have work later, but I have been trying to keep my hours flexible." Pause. "I will understand if you don't want my company, but it feels... like terrible hosting just leaving you alone."

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"I can stay. Even if I can't be helpful, we should all get used to each other."

So he'll spend some of the day with Katur. It's fine. If he hadn't imprinted, Scott probably even would have liked him- he's just generally a nice guy, and that's more than you can see for most of the guys on the rez. It's all just a little more complicated now, though, like he's thinking through a layer of cotton. It's fuzzing every thought with his new priority- Fernanda, Fernanda, Fernanda.

They can spend a while hunting for mutual interests- there's usually something to bond over.

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Of course, Katur has watched some Earth media cultural cornerstones, like Robocop and Star Wars. Katur likes Star Trek and space-based science fiction in general.

If nothing else they can talk about, Elan's recent trend to create Elanized versions of stories from Earth. Anything from The Tempest to Matilda, got an Elan adaptation in the past few years.

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Scott has seen Star Wars! The pack made him watch it. He liked them! He'd kind of managed to avoid all the big spoilers, though, so there were some awkward moments. He thought Luke and Leia would have been cute together, which gave his friends a lot to make fun of him for as soon as he got to that part of the movie marathon.

He's kind of curious about Elanization. What usually changes in those adaptions?

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Some things related to cultural gaps and some things are just common tropes. Elan's stories often have on-screen narrators that are not characters, just "the storyteller voice". With some actors being typecast as narrators. They also don't have the same ethnic groups as Earth's, and those change - often being subject to criticism that is too intellectual for Katur to follow. Oh, and on-screen kisses. At least in the hemisphere Katur is from it's considered... something private, people are mindful of contacting each other's saliva because it's considered gross. Mind, couples do kiss, and Earth sounds... prudish about matters beyond that. But usually you imply that the couple is kissing, through shadows or distant camera angles. Or it cuts to the narrator making a tongue in check remark. They sometimes do that with Earth media too, Luke and Leia didn't kiss in the Elan-edited version.

And even if the adaptation is set on Earth, they might add this or that cultural element. In the Tempest, the Prospero was a sorcerer, and the story is presented as something plausible for their kind of magic. Ariel was another sorcerer, instead of what he was in the original (Katur doesn't recall, but apparently not-human). Caliban was a part-animal augmented based on folklore. And so on.

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So they talk about that. Scott starts to relax. Being around Katur is easier than being around Fernanda, in a lot of ways. As long as he knows she's safe, he can just enjoy this. They talk about their taste in fiction- not quite overlapping, but Scott is willing to be introduced to new things. He quotes some poetry: Neruda, because he wants to see Katur blush. He could try in Spanish- he wouldn't be surprised if Katur is multilingual, now that he thinks of it- the twins might even have mentioned something like that, for a while there the subject of Katur went in one ear and out the other- but he thinks it's safest to start with English.

"...and this one is my favorite. It wasn't always, but...after meeting Fernanda, it has a whole new meaning.

I have named you queen.
There are taller than you, taller.
There are purer than you, purer.
There are lovelier than you, lovelier.
But you are the queen.

When you go through the streets
No one recognizes you.
No one sees your crystal crown, no one looks
At the carpet of red gold
That you tread as you pass,
The nonexistent carpet.

And when you appear
All the rivers sound
In my body, bells
Shake the sky,
And a hymn fills the world."

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Katur listens very impressed. "Yes, that is... Fernanda." He smiles at Scott very fondly, like he understands where he is coming from.

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They probably shouldn't just talk about how great Fernanda is all day!

Okay, he spends a little while longer talking about his impressions of her- she's so matter-of-fact about everything, it's refreshing to have in an imprint. Trying to look for hidden meaning constantly is a problem the other guys have had with theirs, but with Fernanda he doesn't have to worry about that. Her priorities are great, and she's trying, which- he knows this could have turned out a lot worse if she didn't care about him.

"Has she ever- no, scratch that, I don't need to hear about her love life. I guess I could use- tips, though, on how to talk to her? She's different than most people I've ever met. It's like she has one speed, and I can barely keep up with it."

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"Man, I know the feeling, her and Felicia have a decade head start on what they do, so don't worry too much." He thinks about this seriously. "Uh, the first thing is being honest. In part because of the imprint thing, but also common. She kind of... feels very strongly about knowing the correct information, to figure out what to do? People think she is uncaring and judgmental, but she cares a lot about the large scope, and her judgment is always 'this person deserves better'." More thinking, about more practical advice. "She is very disappointed at people that deceive themselves or just not follow their stated morals? But you can... just ask, for help? From any one of us, she cares if you are honestly trying for the better."

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"I feel like I should be taking notes."

Now he feels ready to move on to other topics. He asks Katur to explain a little bit more about what his work is like.

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They can talk about that, yeah. Katur considers it rather boring, but important. Mostly figuring out how much of stuff to get, from and to whom.

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Eventually, the twins swing by.

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With a visitor in tow. "Hey, there."

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"Henry wanted to check on you. Because of your similar faces."

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"That's a good reason," he says lamely.

He's a bit more filled out than Henry, but otherwise they look identical.

"Have you ever seen anything like this before?"

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"Well... I tried to make a few calls, but it turns out to be hard to make people believe this sort of thing. I got like, one anecdote about someone who met a doppelgänger who claimed to have a similar name and similar life, except the doppelgänger was from Earth and the teller was from Elan. But it could be a case of a shape-changer messing with someone."

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"Have you tried to look into the obvious options? Twins happening in different worlds seems kind of- scientifically impossible, but it could be something like that. Do we have the same parents?"

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"Mine are called Jim and Liliana, but I was raised by my aunt Rose, who is my mom's half-sister. They died barely after I turned one."

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"Huh. Different names. Rafael and Melissa. I do have an aunt Rosa, but that's not a super rare name, and my mom has three sisters. Could it be some kind of- magic thing?"

He says this with all the certainty of someone entirely new to magic things.

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The people who are supposedly more versed on magic things don't look like they have a better explanation either.

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"Rosa Valentine with a son named Gabriel? Or similar. ...I don't want to sound accusatory, but any chance at all that you could have been kidnapped and there is just one Earth where we were both raised?"

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"He is definitely something else than a regular sorcerer. It could be the case that you were the one kidnapped, but I am unsure if twins would show near each other."

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"Uh, his Earth and yours... have different dates," this came up while they were talking about fiction.

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"...yeah, so it's more complicated than just twins. I'm not sure what it would mean if it was random. I guess if it was- the same Rosa but different parents, it could still be some kind of family resemblance? I'm not sure if there is a way to make sense of it with anything I know about how the world works."

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"Yeah, this is the kind of thing that is either unknown or an obscure research topic."

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"Or a very well-kept secret." Pause. "That does sound like a conspiracy theory."

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"Anyway, I do want to figure out. Do you mind if I come visit, are you planning to stay around for the next few days?"

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"I can probably do a few days. We were thinking I should get back soon, since I need my- friends back home."

He's not actually sure how much detail they've already given Henry. He needs to keep better track of what all the people here know- it was kind of easier back home, where there was the pack, who knew, and everyone else, who didn't know anything.

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"We kinda of want to leave as soon as possible, but maybe Henry should come along?" Felicia suggest, peering around everyone for a reaction to this suggestion. "Maybe not all the way, but I think one authority figure or another will be interested in this too."

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"It's up to you, Henry. If you're looking to learn about the pack, you'll be the first person to really study us."

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"I really want to figure out the underlying reason at work here. Because, magic already made me realize that the laws of physics are not what I used to think. But this," he points between himself and Scott. "Being a coincidence, is something so unlikely, that figuring out how unlikely it is, would be a long term research project of its own."

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"Those numbers sound staggeringly complicated to figure out. But worth to taking some time to look into it." She takes a long pause to look at Scott, then she takes a few steps closer to whisper. "Are you comfortable with this?"

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"I'm fine. Talking about this is a nice distraction. I'm curious too. We can do something else if you want to."

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"No. I am curious too. And it's good it's distracting you." She whispers to Scott, but then turns to Henry. "We are likely to leave very soon, to Scott's Earth, but don't have a fixed timeline yet. Are you able to leave on short notice?"

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"Maybe? How long are we talking about here? I wouldn't want to leave on Gabe own for more than a week."

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"Scott and Fernanda might stay on his Earth for a while, but you could follow them to some urban center that knows how to investigate this and go back in that timeframe. Or ask emergency replacements."

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"I should warn you that people on my world don't know about shifters or vampires, but there are a lot of weird things going on around the rez and the neighboring county."

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"More weird things?"

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"Maybe. I think it's just more vampires, but the M.O. is different so we're not all agreed about that. You can talk to the other guys when we get there and we can try to collect more evidence. I'd rather not get into it when I can't actually check the news to make sure we have the full story."

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Felicia comes over to pat Scott on the back. "We will be able to get back to the pack soon enough. And help with any situation."

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"Worst come to worst, our parents and grandparents are in fact quite capable sorcerers. And also our uncle."

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"Uh... since we are offering, magical help. I have an anti-magic gift. I don't have any idea what it will do with a vampire, but I doubt it will make weird things worse."

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"Um, I think wolves are kind of- always magic, because of the eternal youth thing and how fast we heal. Could that mess anything up?"

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"It's sort of automatic, but it doesn't mess up with things that I wouldn't want to?'

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"Also, a gift that messes with something so intrinsic to another's being nature would be very rare and highly sough after to neutralize criminals. And something only reserved for Health or Youth."

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"It is a Health gift," Henry says uncomfortably, "uh, but no one mentioned it being that strong? So it probably doesn't have lasting effects. And It shouldn't activate unless a werewolf tries to bite me or something."

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"I can keep them off you. Thanks for the help, Henry. I really appreciate it."

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"Oh, you are welcome, but I want to figure this out for myself too. It's not like you meet a doppelgänger every day." He looks between the twins. "At least not for most people."

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"Ah, that reminds me. Gabe made me promise. That I would mention that you are a good-looking dude." He rubs his temples.

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"Okay. Tell him I'm flattered but I'm probably not going to do anything about that? Imprint, you know. Does he make you tell people they're good-looking?"

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"Don't worry. I get it. And I might have made the conversational mistake of cornering myself into agreeing that you are good-looking... you had to be there."

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"Well, there is a point where humility stops being a virtue."

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He gazes at Fernanda.

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She notices the stare. Reaches for some conversational topic and says. "When we are kids we decided that Felicia was the prettier between the two of us."

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"I'm biased. Henry, what do you think?"

He says it casually, with the air of someone absolutely confident that of course, the answer is Fernanda but he can tolerate other people missing this obvious fact about reality.

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"I... can't really tell them apart?"

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"Makes sense."

He's pretty sure he could tell them apart in an instant, now. Scott now seems thoroughly distracted by the concept of Fernanda existing in his presence.

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"Huh, if you are really having problems." Felicia tells Scott. "We have this birthmark, in our necks which are in slightly different places." She points at the tiny, but visible, spot in her own neck.

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"It's pretty easy to pick us apart by mannerisms. But we have heard people say that they can identify us, but not sure which is named 'Fernanda' and 'Felicia'."

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"It doesn't hurt to be sure," but he could totally tell.

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"Uh, anyway. Your anti-magic- should we be testing what kind of stuff it works on? Not now, while I'm still cut off from the pack-" he winces, regretting his decision to bring it up already- "but when we get home."

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"It's not urgent." Fernanda says, maybe trying to be reassuring.

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"Yeah... we should do the... It's not a DNA test, but I did stuff for a ritual where we can compare each other's lifeforce in a similar way."

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Katur makes a face. "It's one that they sometimes use as a first pass for paternity testing?"

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Felicia puts a hand on Katur's back.

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"Yeah. Paternity-lawsuit level ritual and the like, is something that they kick to a bigger place than this."

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"We could also use the paternity testing for- actually, maybe that would just cause more problems. Anyway, if it's hard to get, you shouldn't worry about it. Thanks for offering your gifts, Henry. I really appreciate it."

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"No problems. And I am curious myself."

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"I think the paternity test is not necessarily hard to get, but the kind of thing you want to be sure wasn't tempered with? Specially, when a paternity lawsuit is involved."

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"Anyway, you said that you bring stuff for a lesser ritual?"

(Henry nods.)

"Do you want to do that now, Scott?"

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"Sure. Walk me through it."

He tries to get into a more magical mindset, instead of just thinking about Fernanda.

...maybe it'll happen when they start getting into it.

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There is at least reason to be distracted while they set up this ritual.

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(Katur decides to leave quietly.)

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And once the ritual is done, and they cast it, the two of them can see each other's lifeforces like an overlay over their bodies. "Huh... if I understand this right, we are... not identical, but almost a match?"

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"Huh. Cool. Maybe we are sort of related? You can meet my mom once things settle down, and maybe you can compare relatives. I don't really know all of their names or life stories. We only see each other during holidays."

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"Of course, I don't know much about my own family, but I bet there are things to figure out between now and then."

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With the mystery solved, Scott's curiosity isn't enough to buoy him. The pervasive feeling of loneliness returns.

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So he gazes at Fernanda.

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Henry bids them farewell.

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They say that they will keep him informed. While Scott gazes. After their visitor leaves, Fernanda asks if there is anything that Scott wants to do?

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"Whatever you want to do is fine by me."

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They probably should swing by the town and buy things for the trip? Possibly make more calls to the Vaesteri family.

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Scott is happy to make the trip. He spends most of the time gazing adoringly at Fernanda and making small talk with Felicia. He wants to hear about what she thinks of the weather, what her favorite food is, where she would travel if she could go anywhere....if Fernanda feels like answering, he'll of course be incredibly interested in her answers.

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Felicia is happy to engage in small talk! She is also happy to - not actually elbowing, but it's a near thing - encourage Fernanda to small talk.

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Fernanda can provide answers to various small talk topics. She has these opinions on food, and generally prefers cold weather, and so on.

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Katur can drive them there, keeping mostly to himself during the short journey. They better start by waiting in line for the phone call.

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Scott happily makes small talk with Felicia and Fernanda! It makes him very happy to talk to his new favorite person and her sister.

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He does, eventually, notice that Katur hasn't said much during this trip, and looks over at him curiously. If it were anyone from back home, he would probably say something, try to involve him- but if Katur is staying out of this, he probably thinks he's doing Scott a favor, which- maybe he is. Scott still hasn't adjusted completely to the idea that Fernanda is as much Katur's or Felicia's as she is his- moreso, he realizes, though he quickly buries that thought under more small talk-

"-soccer- or do you guys call it football? Or maybe you don't have it? Things keep turning out weirdly similar. Maybe I should just start expecting that."

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"Football is the most common term," Fernanda clarifies. "And I think that a game of two teams kicking a ball into a designated area is sufficiently basic as to not be surprising?"

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"Well, the details are different. And I think football, or their equivalent, is one of the few games where Non-augmented and Augmented play together?" She asks this looking over at Katur.

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"Ah, not in professional leagues, but at schools or entirely neighborhood games they do. At least when the kids have known each other before the Augmented growth spurt."

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"Did you play?"

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"I did, played as a goalie most of the time, which in our version of the game can move around a bit more and directly hand the ball to their team. Has been a while, though."

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Felicia smiles at this interaction.

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Fernanda doesn't smile, but she relaxes marginally from her default seriousness.

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"That sounds fun. I always envied the guys who could play sports. I could now, but it wouldn't be fair to anyone else. Do you like to watch anything? I went to lots of baseball games with my dad, so I still watch when I have time."

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"It has been a while since the last time I had the chance to watch anything live, I used to be really into Ultimate Obstacle Adventure Challenges. I am not sure how to explain that." He looks at Felicia.

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"Oh, it's American Ninja Warrior but with magic. And more of a professional sport."

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"We, uh, don't have that one. I'm probably picturing it all wrong."

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"They are somewhat ridiculous obstacle courses that involve a lot of jumping, climbing and balancing on cushioned surfaces. The Elan version includes some magical wards and effects so it looks more dangerous, but it's safer than most sports."

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"It looks more interesting too." He starts parking the car.

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"I wonder how I would do in an obstacle course now. I spent a lot of time growing up being jealous of athletes, and now I could probably beat all of them at things they've practiced for years at."

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"Does being a wolf improves your dexterity too? Because being able to run laps around other people is a good thing in most sports, but doesn't mean you can aim correctly. Speaking as someone with the most growth spurt here." He opens the door and climbs out of the car.

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"Being a wolf improves my everything. I might not be more flexible than really flexible people? But we move quicker, lift heavier things, react faster...everything physical and anything that uses instincts, we've got more."

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"Boosted reaction and speed," she zips several feet and back, "are great."

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He quirks an eyebrow at her.

"Who do you think is faster?"

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She gives him the most benevolent smile. "Me. By a lot."

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"What she means, is that she is capable of pushing herself further."

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"Losing can still be fun. Race you."

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"Sure, to that orange sign over there," she points, "and back here?"

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"No exhausting your reserves," Fernanda tells Felicia.

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"You're on."

Scott ran at full speed, not trying to hold himself back like he usually did. Maybe he might even lose.

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Felicia generally considers herself a nice person.

This doesn't mean she is not competitive.

She keeps up the same pace as him for most of the race, then in the last leg she dashes away and wins.

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"It was close," he insists, laughing, as he catches up. For a moment, he's just enjoying himself the way he would have before arriving here-

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-and then he glances back to Fernanda to see whether she was watching.

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She was. Noticing his gaze, Fernanda says, "If it helps, it's likely that you can win on endurance running."

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"It helps."

He settles into position at Fernanda's side, where he belongs.

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Then they may go inside the bookstore and wait in line to make a phone call?

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Phone call!

He's a little nervous, but he thinks that's a normal way to feel about this kind of thing.

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There is really no reason for four people waiting on the same line, so Felicia and Katur leave to fetch more things.

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Gabe shows up a few minutes later. "Hey, ran into the other two outside."

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"Oh. Hey Gabe."

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"Hello." Felicia also says.

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"So, getting ready to explore the exotic brave new world of Earth? Or whatever overcautious people feel about new exciting things."

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"The two emotions are not very compatible, but I can't see why one can't feel both things."

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Shrug. "Henry is getting up like he is going to a war zone or something."

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"It's not that bad. Things are pretty tense, and the situation is complicated, but I think we can still find a way to stop the vampires without making things worse."

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"Ah, I think he is worried about things from our side? Being afraid we are going to be kidnapped to be brainwashed or something."

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"That is not likely to happen, but I suppose it can't hurt being extra cautious with wards."

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"I can protect you from vampires."