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Bus C, Day Two

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Bus C, Day Two

Post by Admin Space on Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:30 pm

The coaches rolled out of the rest stop after only a few hours, with the transferring patients safely aboard, segregated by ward once again. The staff had been able to rotate between them if they chose, though the security personnel stayed put. The plan was for the buses to drive through the night, and while there would be quick fuelling stops, there would be little chance for the kids to get off between now and their destination. Securing more sites like the first had proved difficult, and it had been decided that making best speed would be the most effective course of action. With that in mind, the convoy sped off into the night.

A brief fuel stop and driver change once the sun came up, and the buses were off again.

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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Talon Rogers on Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:21 pm

The rest stop, for Talon, had been all too brief. Getting to spend time with Michael had been wonderful, and he would keep the feel of his little brother's arms around him for quite a while. At first he had thought, as they parted to remount the buses, that they would see each other in a few hours at another rest stop, but his spirits sank when he overheard a security guard tell the driver that the students wouldn't be allowed off of the bus for a while. Apparently there were security concerns. Feeling slightly unhappy, he had snuggled into a throw blanket, tucked his feet under himself, and read until he nodded off with his head against the window.

He jerked awake when he felt the comforting thrum of the motor stop. At first, he thought they were being allowed to get off the bus, so he gathered his things quickly and stood up, but then he realized that they were just fueling the bus, and a security guard was standing casually but obviously blocking the door. With a sigh, he slipped to the very back of the bus to use the bathroom.

After emerging, he spotted the driver coming back onto the bus--a new one. The motor gunned back into gear, and they were off again. Talon made his way back to his seat, feeling more miserable than before.

Abruptly, he decided that he needed some kind of change or he would drive himself crazy. Grabbing his book, his bag, and Jesse, he made his way up the aisle and selected a row, more or less at random, where someone he didn't recognize was sitting. "Hi," he said, his voice perhaps not as cheery as usual but still as warm as he could make it. "Can I sit with you for a while? Any more 'alone time' and I'm going to jump out the window."

He tried to insert a humorous tone to his voice, but he wasn't really joking.
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Kohaku Honda on Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:10 am

Kohaku was Bipolar. So, naturally, even though he was usually bouncing off the walls in mania... he was bound to sink into depression too. But because he was predominately manic, these moments didn't happen very often. It was like his brother Yuto becoming suddenly energetic and euphoric- when one was up, the other was down. That's how it had been their entire lives.

Kohaku, like Talon, missed his brother too. In addition to Yuto being in Colorado, he also had a family to think about. He wasn't watching over just Kohaku anymore... but now Téa and their soon-to-be baby boy or girl. He was almost just as excited as Yuto was about the baby. (If HE were to suddenly have a child, he'd probably panic) He was going to LOVE being that weird uncle... but for now, the Honda's were in Boulder... and Kohaku couldn't visit them. At least not at the moment.

The usually zany, sociable Japanese man had taken a good depression-snooze for most of the ride. He didn't even have to ask questions to himself about the sudden change- once he noticed that he was VOLUNTARILY not talking, he knew he was shifting. He also knew that if he kept... not talking or doing anything for any longer, he'd just stay where he was and then he'd take longer to revert to his normal self.

His eyes were on the road, but he heard a voice to the side of him. Despite being caught in the depths of a feeling usually foreign to him, he smiled:

"'Course." He shifted to the side a little more to give the kid room to sit before laughing- something he needed. "You and me both, man. I didn't even bring anything to amuse myself with before I left for the facility- everything's in boxes again, but I didn't really need to pack very much because I still hadn't fully unpacked since coming to the island. How sad is that? Once when we were kids, my brother said that my living space looked as if the Tazmanian Devil was given a triple shot of espresso and let loose on my side of the room, but his side of the room was always spotless. Seriously- one sock on the floor is a sin to him. He's probably OCD or something in addition to the disorder we share. But anyway- I was bored and I hate being bored, so you saved my ass. I seriously need to find a hobby- well, other than working out, playing piano and driving people crazy. A new hobby, I guess."

Kohaku's voice, with every sentence, steadily increased to the speed and volume that it normally contained, which was enough to bring him out of the depression! He owed this kid big time...

"So- whoaaaaa!" Kohaku's mouth dropped in childish awe as he tried to make sense of what Jesse was. "What is that? Is that... an octopus? Made out of... duct tape? How'd you make that?"

Once he reminded himself that he was almost thirty years old, Kohaku cleared his throat and looked at his new companion, smiling again. "I was going to ask your name before, but I got distracted. That happens a lot."

Kohaku cheerily stuck his hand out for the teen to shake. "Kohaku Honda. I'm not a car, but I will be your history teacher in a few days."
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Talon Rogers on Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:01 pm

It took about two words out of the man's mouth for Talon to realize that, of everyone on the bus, he had picked the best person to snap him out of his mood. With a smile of thanks, he took the seat next to the man and listened to him talk. It made Talon feel better already.

"But anyway- I was bored and I hate being bored, so you saved my ass. I seriously need to find a hobby- well, other than working out, playing piano and driving people crazy. A new hobby, I guess."

Talon brightened at that. "You play piano? I do, too! I've been really into music since I was a little kid...I'm pretty good at piano, and I play trumpet, too, but singing's my favorite. Easier to do that on a bus, I guess...not that I've been doing much of that on this trip."

The sudden flurry of excitement over Jesse made him grin--not just a smile, but an honest-to-goodness grin. "I didn't make him--my 'adaptive adoptive' little brother--his name's Michael, he's in Ward A--made him for me as a present. It's kind of a long story why...bit of an inside joke between the two of us. But the octopus' name is Jesse."

"I was going to ask your name before, but I got distracted. That happens a lot." Kohaku cheerily stuck his hand out for the teen to shake. "Kohaku Honda. I'm not a car, but I will be your history teacher in a few days."

At that, Talon couldn't help but laugh as he shook the man's hand. "Talon Rogers. I'm not a hawk's toe, but I will be seventeen in a couple of months. It's nice to meet you, Mr. Honda." His smile broadened. "Sorry, I have kind of a weird sense of humor. My older brother Jackson--he's my real brother--says it's a defense mechanism from growing up gay with Super-Christian parents."
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Kohaku Honda on Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:08 am

“Do you really?” Kohaku exclaimed excitedly. He was debatably as excited as Talon.

“That long, huh? That’s pretty awesome- I started up in… er, I want to say fourth grade? That’s when my brother Yuto took up violin and I wanted to compete with him, I guess. I wasn’t a prodigy or anything, but I pushed myself because Yuto excels in practically everything, including music… and I fell in love with it that way. Trumpet too? Damn- you must be disciplined. I’m jealous,” He laughed. “But most excellent! Another piano player- I’m really gonna like the student body of this place. And you say you haven’t been singing? Let’s change that,”

Kohaku flashed a mischievous smile as he said: “I want your opinion on something. I’ve been writing this song- it’s a love song through the eyes of a stalker! It’s like, jazzy and slow- okay, so I’m gonna have to air-piano this. But,” Kohaku normally paused sentences to start whole new ones. His hands hovered over an imaginary piano, making fluttering motions to the right, where the higher keys would be. “It has this like, stereotypical love song-y thing towards the higher notes, then kind of a cutesy motion with the fingers. And then, it slows down…”

He tried not to start laughing as he cleared his throat, his fingers moving expertly around imaginary keys. He smiled as his face became engaging with the performance of the air-piano song, expressing all of the emotions that were infused in the lyrics. Kohaku’s larynx needed a little dusting off, as he hadn’t actually played in a few months because he was too busy working out and wandering, but his baritone voice had somewhat of a softness to it:

”I don’t know your name… or what you like to do,
I don’t know if you have kids, or your favorite food,
I always see you turning… the corner down the road,
I keep lists and records… of every street you’ve strode,
But I still can’t help but toss and turn… ‘cause
All I know is youuuur…”
The note was intentionally drawn out. “…address,”

Kohaku started making more flicking motions with his hands and fingers, a sign of a more upbeat rhythm… a motion Talon would be more than familiar with. His voice never lost its loving tone, which was intentionally ironic:

”I don’t need their laws… I don’t need correction,
My heart would bleed and cry… if you got protection,
When I see your reflection, I get a—really pleasant feeling in my pants,


Of course, since when had Kohaku cared that he was being inappropriate? He couldn’t help himself from laughing as he admitted:

“That’s all I have so far. Do you write songs? Even if you don’t- let’s hear your voice. Out with it boy-“ Kohaku nudged Talon’s shoulder playfully as his last sentence was made to satire a father’s deep, commanding voice.

He leaned back as he put his hands lazily behind his head. “Adaptive adoptive little brother? Mind explaining that one? And dude, I know lots of people with his name, but I wouldn’t recognize him anyway- I was actually supposed to be a teacher at Drayton Academy, so I would’ve only known the Ward C’s and the ‘normal’ kids.” Kohaku made finger-quotation marks with the word ‘normal’. “But I’ll see him around- everyone has to take history. What grade is he going into? I could keep an eye on him for you.”

He laughed in response to Talon’s explanation of Jesse, putting one of his tentacles between his thumb and forefinger as a way to ‘shake his hand’, adding a badly-done English accent: “Pleased to meet your acquaintance, Sir Jesse the Octopus.”

Kohaku gave Talon’s hand a firm squeeze. “Talon Rogers? That’s an awesome name. Like, the name of some kind of super detective or, or! I could totally see your name being used for one of the characters in X-Men or something. I wish my name was Talon Rogers…”

"Sorry, I have kind of a weird sense of humor. My older brother Jackson--he's my real brother--says it's a defense mechanism from growing up gay with Super-Christian parents."

“Hey, I’m all for weird senses of humor- if you couldn’t guess that one already. Jackson, huh? What’s he like? And yeah, that would definitely mess someone up…” Kohaku touched the back of his neck, trying not to imagine it. “But at least you’re drawing humor from it instead of letting it destroy you. There are lots of kids out there who wouldn’t have stood up strong from that. Good for you,”

He smiled reassuringly at that.
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Talon Rogers on Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:22 pm

Talon smiled ruefully. "I'm not disciplined--unless you count physically. I liked goofing around with the piano and singing, and my parents decided to push my music as far as they could. They picked the trumpet for me because it was the manliest but churchiest instrument they could come up with. Personally, I wanted to take harp lessons. Dad hit the roof when I said that." He smiled, but it wasn't a joke. "Anyway, I kind of let it slide since I've been here--almost a year now."

His eyebrows raised when Kohaku described the song...and then the man started to sing. Talon started to laugh. He really couldn't help it. The man had a soft, husky baritone that was completely at odds with the words he was singing. And the song itself was hysterical. It was a theme he'd never considered before, with a lyrical melody that belied the measure of the words.

"That was great!" he gigged as Kohaku finally finished. "Worthy of Tom Lehrer or Weird Al Yankovic. I'd buy your album."

"Do you write songs? Even if you don’t- let’s hear your voice. Out with it boy."

With difficulty, Talon got his giggles under control. "I don't write songs, actually, but...sure, okay." He quickly flicked through the songs in his repertoire for one that wasn't inappropriate, showed off his vocal range, and wouldn't annoy too many of the other people on the bus. Finally, his eyes lit up as the right song came to mind, and he began to sing in his soft, warm tenor.

"Come on along and listen to
The lullaby of Broadway.
The hip hooray and bally hoo,
The lullaby of Broadway.
The rumble of the subway train,
The rattle of the taxis.
The daffy-dills who entertain
At Angelo's and Maxie's.
When a Broadway baby says 'Good night,'
It's early in the morning.
Manhattan babies don't sleep tight until the dawn:
Good night, baby,
Good night, milkman's on his way.
Sleep tight, baby,
Sleep tight, let's call it a day,
Listen to the lullaby of old Broadway..."


Clearing his throat, he shrugged, a little embarrassed. "It's from 42nd Street. One of my favorite actors had that role in the original cast."

Blushing a little, he toyed with one of Jesse's tentacles as he tried to explain. "He's not really my little brother, and he's not technically adopted into my family. I sort of adopted him myself. You know what I mean? I think of him as my little brother, and he thinks of me as his older brother, but there's nothing biological or legal there. It's all on us." He smiled as he thought of Michael. "His last name is Courtenay, and he'll be a freshman this year. You can't miss him--he's a little smaller than most kids his age, he could probably pass for twelve, but he's got the sweetest smile."

Talon laughed as Kohaku shook his hand and enthused about his name. "I always thought of it in a fantasy-type setting myself. You know, the sorcerer's apprentice or the knight's squire or whatever." He tilted his head slightly. "If you were an X-Men-style mutant, what would your power be?"

He returned the man's smile, but there was a bit of a wistful look in his eyes as he thought about his brother. "Jackson? He's--actually, now that I think about it, you'd probably like him a lot. He's totally unique. Here..." He reached into his back pocket and pulled out the photograph he had shown Michael on the day they met, of Jackson dressed in some bizarre punk attire, standing with Skylar. "That's him, the one that looks like a reject from a Daft Punk concert. The one who looks like an Oxford scholar is his boyfriend, Skylar. Jackson's bi. He doesn't...get out much these days, though. He and Skylar have been together almost...gosh, three years now."
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Kohaku Honda on Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:04 am

"Ha! That would have been cool- lots of people play the trumpet, but I don't know anyone who plays the harp. Yeah, I can imagine how your male parental unit reacted though-" Kohaku puffed out his chest and stuck his chin up high, while awkwardly looking passed his cheeks with a strained neck, trying to sound as angry as possible: "'Harp?! The harp is for Greek mythological forest creatures that wear floral wreaths around their heads. And that's not manly OR Christian!' How'd I do? Accurate portrayal?"

Kohaku laughed, even though he really didn't know a thing about Talon's father other than him being Christian, strict and controlling, just from hearing the boy talk.

As Kohaku sang his stalker song, he couldn't help but grin in between verses- he enjoyed making people laugh and the song was meant to do exactly that! It meant that he was having fun listening to it. Kohaku's voice and the lyrics of the song were supposed to clash- he sang it so pleasantly. Of course, if one looked at it through a literary perspective, the stalker probably didn't know that he was a stalker, but more of a... cinema-esque distant lover of sorts.

"D'awwh, stop," Kohaku faked bashfulness at Talon's praise, but he really wasn't faking the feeling the compliments gave him. He thought he was awesome all the time (Well, most of the time...) and flattery was a sure-fire way to win him over. In most ways, he was full of himself, but he probably wouldn't have been that way if mania didn't have its grip on him all the time. Of course, he enjoyed mania, and everyone who thought he should change his personality could go fuck themselves. At least, that's how he saw it. "When I get signed, I'll send the album to you fo' free. With a bag of your favorite candy attached to it. With a really nice note."

Kohaku, in truth, sucked at writing really nice notes, or being sincere in general. But hey- it was the thought that counted... and wasn't that the point of writing sincere letters in the first place? Not to make sure your grammar was correct or how many pages it happened to be?

Kohaku was instantly excited that Talon agreed to sing, and shut himself up so that he could listen- a phenomenon that rarely occurred unless he was forced. But he was stunned by Talon's voice- he didn't expect him to be bad, but he also didn't expect him to be that good! By the end of it, his jaw was hanging low and the only way he could bring it to its normal position was if he started talking, completely wow'd: "Dude. When you get signed, you can send me an album with my favorite candy attached to it- sour gummy worms, remember that! - But seriously! You've been singing your whole life. I can tell. Never give up on that."

The man listened attentively to Talon speaking about his brother, and couldn't really grasp the concept completely, though he did know that listening to the kid talk about it gave him the warm fuzzies... and that never really happened.

"Hmm. Interesting," The words sounded cold and dismissive, but his voice was warm and he couldn't help himself from smiling. "Well, I bet the kid's lucky to have you. Courtenay, huh? And he's a baby-faced freshie, okay. Got it." Suddenly, Kohaku exploded into shameless giggling before explaining himself: "Since you guys are family and all, I'll let you know if he's struggling... or if he's nervous. Is he nervous? Anyway, I'll keep an eye on him for you."

"If you were an X-Men-style mutant, what would your power be?"

"OHHH the superpower question... hm... I would totally LOVE being invisible! Do you realize how much fun I'd have with that? Or I could fly, but everyone does that. OR I could have some kind of kick-ass power that could mess with other people's powers, like power mimicry or power negation. Yeah, power negation would be the most plausible, but I'd REALLY like being invisible, and both of them suit me because I'd use both to mess with people... hmm... I think it's a tie between the two of them. What about you? You get two as well, obviously."

Kohaku took one look at the photo of Jackson and Skylar, and couldn't help but laugh. "Pfft! They look like COMPLETE opposites, but yet, you can tell they're a good couple. You know what I mean by that? Well, actually, I don't know what I mean by that. But Yuto, he's my fraternal twin brother, and his wife Téa completely clash in terms of personality too. He's kind of submissive, modest and meek, and she rules the house with an iron fist! She definitely wears the pants. Ahh, I make fun of him soo much for that..."

Of course, Kohaku couldn't keep a steady relationship for more than two weeks, but that was besides the point...
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Talon Rogers on Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:04 am

Talon had to smile wryly at Kohaku's imitation of his father. "Not quite accurate. After all, David played the lyre, and angels traditionally play harps. But Father did think it wasn't manly enough. I'm sure he quoted scripture, but I can't remember for the life of me the actual quote he used...just that he told me I could play the trumpet and herald the Way of the Lord."

The smile turned into a full-blown grin when Kohaku promised to send him a free copy of the album with a bag of his favorite candy attached. "Even better. I like caramel cremes. Although I'll probably appreciate the album and the note more. I don't really have much of a sweet tooth," he confessed. "I'll eat it once in a while, but I don't actively seek it out or anything."

He turned scarlet as Kohaku complimented him on his singing. "Thanks," he said softly. "I don't know that I'll ever be quite good enough to get a record deal, but...thanks. I really just sing for the joy of it." Without really thinking about it, he sang out the first, lilting verse of an old Shaker hymn:

"My life goes on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations
I hear the real, though far-off, hymn
That hails the new creation.
The beauty of the earth around
God's gift to us is bringing;
His glory shines within my soul--
How can I keep from singing?"


It was one of the first songs he had learned on his own, and it was one of his favorites. He had sung it at a church concert once, thinking it would please his parents since it was about God, but he had been severely taken to task for daring to sing something from a religion so close to the dreaded Pentecostals. He still didn't understand his church's dislike of the Shakers; from everything he knew about them, they were good, simple, God-fearing people who held many of the same beliefs that the Church of the True Light espoused. He guessed it was probably because they believed in speaking in tongues and dancing during services, both of which the Church of the True Light regarded as signs of demon possession (along with a number of other things, including homosexuality, drug abuse, and prostitution).

The talk then turned to Michael, and Talon was pleased to see that Kohaku seemed to understand what he was saying, and he was especially thrilled that the man promised to keep an eye out for him.

"Since you guys are family and all, I'll let you know if he's struggling... or if he's nervous. Is he nervous?"

A tender half-smile tugged at Talon's mouth as he thought fondly of his little brother. "Is the Pope Catholic? He's a sweet kid and anxious to please, but he's got an anxiety disorder, I think, and he's prone to attacks." The smile faded abruptly and he looked up at the history teacher with something akin to pleading in his eyes. "If he has an anxiety attack during class, you'll come find me, won't you, Mr. Honda? I promised him I'd be there for him if he needed me."

He rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he pondered the question. He was about to travel very deeply into geek territory, but he didn't care. "Hmm. I'd actually kind of like to have memory manipulation--you know, like Professor X has. A body could do a lot of good with a power like that, especially around here. Think about how many kids are here because of incidents in their pasts that triggered their problems. If you could change or erase those memories, you could fix the problems and they could go home. I think I'd want power mimicry, too...that kinda covers all the powers I don't have on my own." He grinned.

Talon laughed along with Kohaku at the picture of Jackson and Skylar. "Actually, I do know what you mean. They balance each other out, you know? Jackson's an extreme extrovert, always coming up with some madcap scheme or other. Skylar is steadier. I've never actually met him--Jackson had moved out when he met Skylar, and for obvious reasons they couldn't come home to visit me. But from what I've gathered from their letters, they really bring out the best in each other." He didn't know why, but he kept talking, wanting--needing to tell someone. "And Skylar's always there for Jackson. He--I've never told anyone this, but--Jackson has AIDS. He got it protecting me." Tears welled up in his eyes, and he looked away for a moment, fighting the powerful tide of memories threatening to overwhelm him. After a few seconds, he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, took a deep breath, and returned his gaze to Kohaku. "Anyway, Skylar takes real good care of him. When it was just HIV he tried everything to keep it from progressing, and now that it's the full-blown disease he looks after him even better, making him take his medicine and all that."

Shaking his head for a moment to clear it, he refocused on what Mr. Honda had said. "You have a twin brother? What was that like growing up?"
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Kohaku Honda on Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:42 am

Kohaku shrugged. “I tried. I wouldn’t know about your old man, or about religious stuff either. I wasn’t exactly raised religiously- my parents are die-hard atheists. So I guess your dad and my dad shouldn’t meet. Ever.”

“Caramel crèmes, eh? How old are you, sixteen or sixty?” He jeered. “Nah, I’m teasing. I can’t even say anything. My preference for candy is all stuff that kids eat- at least when they’re old enough to know how to swallow properly. And it’s a good thing you don’t have a sweet tooth- I have a huge one. I wouldn’t last long in the Army because they don’t let you have anything sweet during basic training, that and I’m terrible at following directions.”

He patted Talon on the back rather hard after his performance. “No problem, man! You’ve got yourself a gift. Seriously.”

Kohaku listened for the next song and didn’t recognize it, but clapped at the end anyway. “Which one was that?”

When the two started talking about Talon’s ‘technically-not-blood-related and technically-not-adopted’ little brother, Kohaku actually thought it was quite touching and heartwarming. If the Kohaku Honda from ten minutes ago saw that, he would have made fun of himself. He liked to think of himself as macho, or macho enough to not get the warm fuzzies over hearing about kids who made life-lasting bonds with each other in mental hospitals. But hey, he wasn’t going to question it. It felt kind of good to not instantly judge something for once.

“Pfft, that anxious, huh?” The joking ceased, however, once Talon mentioned this kid Michael’s anxiety attacks. He didn’t think that was funny, nor did he stop to think that the boy’s ailment could be that serious. Then, he remembered what kind of facility he applied for- they apparently took the ‘worst of the worst’. The ones who ordinary therapy did absolutely nothing for.

Talon then looked at him with begging eyes, as if he was about to ask for something pretty important. Once Kohaku heard what the request was, he threw his hands up in a ‘Slow down’ fashion while smiling. “Dude, calm down. If that happens, I’ll just ask a security guard to go looking for you or something. I’m sure if anyone could calm him down, you could. It’d do more good than sedating him and locking him up in isolation, I’d imagine.”

Kohaku’s mind instantly flashed back to when he was hospitalized, and sighed. “Staff really shouldn’t over-use the whole needle-makes-zombie thing. I was tranquilized once, and for a bullshit reason too! So once I start working at this facility and I get into a situation like that, I’m really going to try to listen to the hysterical kid if I won’t get attacked for it. I mean, everyone has a reason for flipping out, right? People suck.”

He leaned back against the seat again before popping back up. “Oh yeah! I didn’t even tell you why I was tranquilized, did I? Well, here’s the confession- I have Bipolar Disorder. Most of why I’m so weird has to do with mania, which is like a state of euphoria, and that coincides with depression. Yuto and I both have it, but I’m predominately manic and he’s predominately depressed… so I guessed I got the bigger end of the stick. Everyone likes being manic, but no one likes being depressed. Anyway, I was hospitalized too when I was… your age, actually- sixteen. Sometimes, if someone doesn’t control their mania, they can fall into psychosis. I started seeing a huge, black dog move in and out of the walls of my math classroom. I completely freaked in the middle of class, and then they sent me to the hospital… where I was tranquilized. But luckily, I wasn’t in there for more than a week and half and I learned my lesson about emotional moderation to some degree.”

He smiled distantly. “I think that’s why I applied for a job like this. I can relate to highschoolers in mental hospitals because I was one too at some point. That, and teaching ‘normal’ kids was too easy. I live for challenges.”

To the X-Men power answer, Kohaku’s heart sank a little bit. Talon was right- there were plenty of kids who were traumatized in the facility, and if those memories were erased, they wouldn’t have the problems that landed them here. To drag himself out of sadness he could do nothing about, Kohaku smiled at the power mimicry comment.

“So like, if you and I did battle, I could become invisible and then you could become invisible. And then once we’re both invisible, we’d bump into each other. I’d try to negate your power, and then you’d mimic that and negate my power… and then… I guess the only thing left to do would be to erase my memory and run away.” He laughed.

Kohaku smiled warmly when Talon talked about Jackson and Skylar, then stopped dead at the boy’s revelation. He didn’t understand the ‘protection’ part, but he didn’t have to. Talon’s brother had AIDS, and it was eventually going to take his life. His heart took a deeper plummet when he saw that Talon was desperately trying to keep himself from breaking down. For once in his life, Kohaku really didn’t know what to say. He felt the same when Ace told him about his demons. These kids, his students, had been through more than enough.., and for once in his life he doubted himself- he doubted if he actually had what it took to help them. To crawl out of his own shell and help them like he swore he would.

He nodded slowly at Talon’s last string of words and started to rub his back gently. The action practically spelled out ‘I don’t know what to say, but I feel horrible that you’re going through so much’. Talon then tried to turn the conversation onto the now-speechless Kohaku, who decided to talk about Yuto for two reasons- it would make him feel better, and it would probably make Talon feel better too just because it would distract him. He was good at that, he decided. He’d be a distraction. Kohaku smiled and slung the arm that was rubbing Talon’s back around his shoulders.

“Well, it’s like this- Yuto and I shared a room willingly until we both moved out of the house. That’s how tight we are. We both balance each other out- he’s moody, sensitive, thoughtful and somewhat anxious, and I’m energetic, insincere and not afraid of anything. We look out for each other- he’s always trying to get me to think rationally, to take others into consideration and finish my sentences before starting new ones. Meanwhile, I try to get him to have more fun. But I mean, passed all that mushy stuff, I’m horrible to him. Okay, weird story time.”

Kohaku took his arm off of Talon’s shoulders to talk with his hands. “So, Yuto and I are both lactose intolerant, but he was lactose intolerant all his life while I grew into it. I used to tease him about it all the time, like I teased him about his chronic awkwardness with girls. I even ate ice cream in front of him- I was horrible.” Kohaku laughed. “But when I was fourteen, I found out I was lactose intolerant too… the hard way, and Yuto came barging in the bathroom with a gas mask on banging a frying pan with a soup latel, dancing around me and screaming gibberish as I could do absolutely nothing because I was on the toilet. It was awesome now that I look back on it! Brilliant revenge plan… Oh! And this other time, I think we were seventeen, and Yuto dragged me to some stupid poetry reading because he’s a dork and he wanted me to teach him how to pick up girls. So, we get there and he’s freaking out- he was trembling and babbling to himself and everything. I didn’t even start with the lesson yet and I thought aloud, ‘You know, black goth girls would make the best ninjas.’ And Yuto was so anxious he thought that was a pick up line! So he sat down with a girl and said that… and her friend was a black goth girl sitting right next to her! He got punched in the mouth.”

Kohaku couldn’t contain his laughter anymore, then sighed blissfully. “But yeah. I wouldn’t trade Yuto in for anything. He’s saved my life plenty of times. Once when we were kids, I wanted to jump out the window because I thought I could fly. Mania does that to you- you think you can do anything in the world and have the energy to try. But you can understand that- you have brothers too, biological and not.”

He smiled, hoping that Talon could set aside his demons for a little while. “You have any fond memories of Jackson and Michael?”
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Talon Rogers on Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:49 pm

Talon did something extremely immature, and stuck his tongue out at Kohaku. "Hey, caramel cremes are tasty as all get-out. I like Cow Tails, too, but caramel cremes are more convenient, that's all." He laughed at the man's assessment of himself. "A year ago I would've said that I wouldn't have lasted long in the Army, either, because I'm too openly gay. But since they repealed the ban on gays serving openly in the military..." He shrugged. "Who knows? If I can get cured in the next couple of years, maybe I'll join the Air Force or the Marines or something." It was actually something he'd never considered before, but it was starting to feel more and more appealing. Maybe he'd join as a chaplain. Or maybe he could join the band, as a trumpet player. Or maybe he'd just be a soldier, sailor, whatever...the possibilities were endless. And after all, he had at least a year to decide.

When Mr. Honda clapped, Talon smiled. "Thanks. It's an old Shaker hymn called 'How Can I Keep From Singing?' Or..." Wait. He remembered the research he had done after his father freaked out now. "Actually, it's usually misattributed as an old Quaker hymn. My father thought it was a Shaker hymn and freaked when I tried to sing it. Really, though, I think it was written by a Baptist." His smile widened. "Of course, they're all heathens according to my father's church--they call themselves the Church of the True Light, if you can believe it--so it doesn't matter."

He listened as the overenthusiastic history teacher explained his own past, and about his bipolar disorder. A mischievous look flickered through his eyes. "I figured it was something like that--nobody would be this happy about being trapped on a bus with a bunch of teenagers without some kind of mental disorder." He grinned to show he was teasing. "Seriously, though, I had a couple of hallucinations myself, a time or two, right before I came to Hadley." He rotated his arm, showing the faint traces of track marks on his arms--they'd been fading slowly over the last year, but it was going to be a while before he lost the scars of five years. "Cocaine addiction," he explained. "I was mainlining. That's how I ended up here...well, that and the fact that I was prostituting myself to feed my habit. Been sober and celibate for almost a year now, though. It'll be a year December fourth. Not that I've been counting or anything..." he added sheepishly. "Anyway, long-term cocaine use can cause hallucinations. I really only had one or two, but they were freaky things. Once, while I was high, I swore my math teacher--who, by the way, was a guy--had suddenly turned into Anne Boleyn and wanted me to tie her severed head to a maypole so that we could play tetherball. No lie. Don't do drugs. It does really messed-up things to your brain."

He tilted his head as though he were actually giving serious consideration to the super power discussion. "But if you negated my powers first," he pointed out, "I wouldn't have my power mimicry and therefore wouldn't be able to negate yours. So unless I could mimic your powers without having to see you do it first--I mean, if I could just mimic any power I'd ever seen in the past, or that I came into contact with--I'd be helpless."

As Talon spoke about Jackson, his pain and tension grew, until he couldn't do anything but tear up and want to cry. Kohaku rubbed his back, though, and Talon felt the tension seep away from him. He was able to relax, to sit up and sit back against the man's arm around his shoulder, to smile again. When Kohaku shared the stories about his brother, Talon couldn't help but laugh at the mental image. "Oh, I bet that was hysterical," he giggled.

“You have any fond memories of Jackson and Michael?”

It was amazing how that question completed Talon's relaxation. Thinking of happy memories made him forget the sad ones. "Michael, not so many...I've only known him for a month. But I think my happiest memory with him is a few days ago--the day he gave me Jesse, actually. I was working on the island, and I stopped at the general store on my way home on an impulse and bought a baseball and two gloves. Michael was a pitcher before he came to the island, and he was good, from what he'd told me. I felt kind of bad that he hadn't played before, so I bought the stuff so that we could play catch. The look in his eyes when I gave it to him made whatever else I'd gone through totally worth it." He chuckled a little ruefully. "'Course, I'd never played sports before, so I threw a truly Godawful pitch at him, and when he threw it back I got caught off-guard--don't ask me why--and the ball hit me square in the chest. I got winded and scared the crap out of the poor kid." Another memory from that day suddenly arose in his memory, and, unexpectedly, he laughed. "I guess you could call it payback, in a weird way. I'd come home from work, and he came running up to the gates and greeted me with, 'Welcome home, Talon! What's a dildo?' I almost choked!"

He thought for a minute about his beloved older brother. "Jackson...I've got a lot of fond memories of him, but not a whole lot of funny memories...Wait! I know!" He giggled--he couldn't help it. "Jackson's a twin, too, and they're fraternal, but his twin is a girl--Agnes. He used to pull all sorts of pranks on her. She had all these ladylike suits she wore, but she usually took the jacket off inside, so one day he snuck into her closet, took the suit jacket off of her favorite outfit, and wrote on the back of her blouse. The next time she wore it to school, she took it off and had it hanging on the back of her chair, and when she stood up to do something at the board, the whole class laughed--in huge, black letters on the back of her shirt, it said LEAD ME NOT INTO TEMPTATION--I CAN FIND IT FOR MYSELF. She was mortified. And he was in the doghouse for a month...oh! Best one ever. When Jackson was sixteen, about three months before he moved out of the house, we were just talking about church and he kind of said idly, 'Bet you they won't ask me to join as a full member.' I said 'Bet they will,' and we made a bet. The next Sunday at the meeting, they called out individuals who had 'got de age', as one of the men put it, and asked them if they were prepared to commit their hearts and lives to Christ and the Church of the True Light...and you guessed it, they called out Jackson right smack dab in the midde. I don't even remember what his answer was--probably 'yes'--but he'd lost our bet. The next Sunday he told our parents he needed to miss Sunday School to pray silently and alone about whether or not to take the steps to join, and they were all pleased. Then he turned up for church wearing a strapless, low-cut, fuschia satin ball gown with a huge bell skirt, a pair of spangly gold high heels, a ridiculous floppy lavender hat, and so much makeup that his face was stuck in place--all of it Agnes'. It was her homecoming dress and shoes, and her second-best church hat, and literally all of her makeup. He minced about talking in this high, nasally falsetto and insisting that he was Agnes' long-lost twin sister, who had been living in Samaria for the last sixteen years, and telling people all about her five husbands and the lovely man she was living with now. It was no coincidence that the Bible lesson that day was John 4:1-30." He cited the passage without really thinking about the fact that Kohaku probably wouldn't get the reference to the "woman at the well", one of the lesser-known but still important stories about Jesus' preachings. "The best part of it? Half the church believed him! My parents got berated in front of the entire congregation for hiding this daughter and sending her into sin. I was perfectly innocent, of course, and told the men when they asked me that I'd never heard I had another sister and my parents had never mentioned her. I think they almost got excommunicated before my father grabbed Jackson's arm and ripped off the hat, recognizing him."

Talon laughed at the memory. "Father was the same color as the dress. Mother went dead white. Agnes got hysterical and started hitting him--in the sanctuary--yelling that now she would have to burn the dress, that she could never wear it. I think he said something about looking better in it than she did, and she screamed and grabbed the nearest thing she could to beat him with--which happened to be the altar candles. It is the only time," he added with a small amount of triumph, "that Agnes ever got sent from the sanctuary for being a disgrace to the church and her sex. Jackson did, too, but he told me when I got home that it was so totally worth it."
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

Post by Kohaku Honda on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:14 am

Kohaku made an equally immature face to combat Talon’s- he raised one of his nostrils and dragged one of the corners of his lips downward. Then, on top of that, he put his hands above his ears to form moose ears. “You’re trying to beat me at my own game, son. But well-played! I like Cow Tails too… which is essentially the same thing as a caramel crème. Damn.”

The history teacher usually didn’t like being proven wrong, but it was all good, light-hearted fun. If it were anything else with anyone else, he would have argued with whomever until either they lost or he lost all his teeth. Even then, he would probably still try just to piss them off. He’d gum the bastard to death if he had to.

Talon being gay didn’t catch him off-guard for two reasons, and they both had nothing to do with predicting right. One, he wasn’t thinking about it at all, but if he did, he’d probably guess bi… which would be wrong. Two, he was one to judge, but certainly not about sexual preferences. So instead, he added: “Oh yeah! I forgot they got rid of the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ rule. It’s a good thing- I don’t think being gay has any impact on your ability to protect good ol’ blameless Am-er-ca.” He rolled his eyes after the badly-done Southern accent. “But good for you. Whatever you decide to do- if you have the stomach for that.”

Kohaku, truthfully, wouldn’t have lasted in the Army. Even though he was physically ready from all of the gerbil-like exercise he did, he wouldn’t have been able to get screamed at by a pissed off old guy in Smokey the Bear hat without giving some type of joking or back-sass… both of which would earn him a very dirty toothbrush. That, and if people he cared about to some degree started dying all around him instantaneously, a part of him would disappear- the part that took everything in life as one big joke. And he had no intention of giving that up. But Talon had different views than he did with a different pain threshold. He didn’t have any doubts in his mind that the boy would make a good soldier if that’s what he wanted to be.

“I have faith in you.” He said suddenly. He awkwardly didn’t want to let on that he didn’t have the slightest clue about the difference between Quaker hymns or Shaker hymns, but the name of his father’s church struck intrigue. “The Church of the True Light…? They seem pretty sure of themselves. How come I’ve never heard of them before?”

Kohaku couldn’t help but laugh at Talon’s statement. “I wouldn’t be so sure… I mean,”

He leaned in to whisper in the boy’s ear: “Bjorgen’s a whack job, and I don’t think a mental hospital is his idea of a fantastic middle-aged getaway. I don’t think there’s a correlation.”

Anxiously looking side to side even though he knew the administrator was on a different bus, he leaned back. “Yeah. Bad-mouthing your boss before you start work? Not a good idea. But seriously…”

He was taken aback by Talon’s revelation, and by his scars. “Mainlining cocaine?! That’s like, asking for death. Hm, you know, if I was going to guess your issues, drug addiction and prostitution really wouldn’t be on my list. Well, okay, drug addiction I could see because once you take away the drug, you’re completely normal. If you had a disorder, I’d be able to sense that something was at least off. Prostitution though? I would have gone through the entire list of things they admit people for before I came to that. I don’t know- I’ve never been ‘solicited’, but you really don’t seem like a former prostitute to me.”

He listened to the hallucination story and cringed. He thanked his lucky stars (He’d believe in those before he’d believe in God) that he only had one hallucination and it wasn’t that bad. Not that he was one to say that his life was so hard (which it wasn’t), but damn.

“I’ll be sure not to do drugs.” He promised. “This is pretty funny actually- sixteen-year-old boy telling twenty-eight-year-old man not to do drugs. Usually it’s the other way around. But whatever- I give you my word. I tried weed once and hated it, and… well, I drink, but I’m allowed to do that.”

“True, true,” Kohaku uttered aloud as he pondered Talon’s superpower debate. “Well, I don’t know. I’d probably not negate your power first, because what’s the point of that? That wouldn’t be very fun. I’d gladly take possible death over an easy, immediate victory. Those are boring.”

Kohaku breathed a tiny sigh of relief once asking about the happy memories of him and his brothers didn’t remind him of the sad ones. It really depended on the person… and he was glad the kid was feeling better.

“You and Michael are that close and you’ve only known each other for that long? Dang… that’s virtually unheard of.” He couldn’t help but smile warmly after that. “He’s a pitcher? That’s interesting- I played baseball for a few years, like every other sport. Name any sport, and I’ve probably participated for a few years then grew bored with it and moved onto a different one. Anyway, I was a third baseman and back-up catcher, because that’s where all the hardest balls got hit. That was the exciting thing. So a pitcher… was he a reliever or a starter? ‘Cuz baseball teams usually have both- unless he was the ace or something.”

“But that’s really nice. I bet it meant a lot to him. But, um, why did he get scared that you got hit?”

Talon’s story at the tail-end, however, almost made him choke as he couldn’t contain himself from laughing.

“Welllll someone’s a virgin!” He announced pretty loudly.

“Nahh, I’m just teasing. He seems pretty innocent, from what you’re telling me. But wait a minute! What’s his… favorite flavor of Kool-Aid, if you catch my drift?” Kohaku was stroking his chin and eyeing Talon questioningly just to be weird, then smiled: “Because if he’s straight, he probably won’t need to know what a dildo is.”

He listened attentively to the Jackson saga, and he was howling from laughter almost all the way through. By the end of it, he was holding his sides because his ribs hurt and wiping away tears from laughing so much. “That… is gold! Your bro must be quite the character… I don’t even think my schemes were that good- wait! Nope. Story time. I have something that could rival even that.”

He excitedly shifted more so he could face Talon. “So, I already told you how Yuto was always the dorky, awkward one. How he got married before me is beyond me, but anyway! My school had a long-standing tradition of a bonfire right after homecoming, and it was also a tradition to have the guy who runs around in the school mascot suit make announcements to the entire school per request. Yuto was in love with this girl Abby Dellabovie. Like, writing her songs, not leaving her alone and everything. I think he creeped her out, but lo and behold, they went on a date to the bonfire together. And he was freaking out before he left the house- he was like, ‘I can’t think straight, Ko! I want to make Gerard read to everyone that I like her, so that I won’t have to.’ And I was like, ‘What do you want me to say?’ He was like, ‘Anything!’ And I’m sure to this day he regrets saying ‘anything’ to me, of all people. So I handed Gerard, that’s the mascot guy, the card and he read this in front of the entire school before they lit the wood:” He cleared his throat. “Abby Dellabovie. Words cannot accurately describe your radiance, but this sorry poet requests that he try: Your voice sounds like a bunch of Native American old men singing harmoniously about how much they love mating buffalo. You are smarter than kittens who run into walls for fun, and people who actually pay their credit card debt right off instead of letting it accumulate over time. I would eat your thighs if you would let me. Your tits are like HUUUUUGE innertubes and I enjoy rubbing them very much. Oh, and I like your personality too. –Yuto Honda.”

Kohaku laughed and recited the whole thing like he wrote that card yesterday. “Everyone was laughing except for them- Yuto was horrified and Abby slapped him across the face and walked off. It was awesome. He wouldn’t talk to me for weeks, even with my poking and prodding. It was probably longer than the cat incident, actually… and there were some other stories that weren’t as outrageous. Like, when we were in middle school, I successfully made all of our not-so-close friends believe that in addition to Yuto and I, there was a triplet named Takaya. And I switched off whenever we were with the group if I was Kohaku or Takaya. Well, Takaya developed his own personality- he was kind of dark, broody and understandably mysterious, so naturally, he became really popular. Literally- girls were under both of my arms all the time thinking I was an imaginary triplet named Takaya. Yuto eventually got jealous and frustrated with himself that he wasn’t as well-liked as someone who wasn’t real, so he eventually assumed the Takaya identity too and played a double-life for awhile. As Yuto was using the Takaya face, I was too, but we didn’t know about each other. I actually got caught releasing lobsters in the teacher’s lounge and to save my own ass, I told them I was Takaya Honda. They weren’t looking and I managed to escape. I was going to warn Yuto that someone was after Takaya, but our dean had already gotten there first. He was like this, massive balding guy who had a booming voice and gave emphasis to EVERYTHING. Anyway, from what Yuto told me, their conversation went something like this:” Kohaku straightened up, then bellowed to the best of his ability: “’ARE YOU TAKAYA HONDA?’ And of course, Yu said he was because he didn’t want to let on that he was lying, so he said yes, trying to not have an anxiety attack or anything. ‘WELL, YOU HAVE DETENTION FOR RELEASING LOBSTERS IN THE TEACHER’S LOUNGE. DOES THE TEACHER’S LOUNGE LOOK LIKE SOME KIND ‘A AQUARIUM TO YOU? HUH?! And he ended up crying and telling him his name was Yuto.” Kohaku laughed despite how horrible it was, then sighed. “Half the girls in my middle school thought that Yuto was some sort of pig, and he’s really not, at all. Most of the terrible stuff he did was my fault. But hey- it was ALL of their faults for not being able to tell Asians apart. Yuto and I don’t even look that much alike…”

((I’m going to change his age to twenty-eight when we move to the new facility, just to give him more of an education. In case you were confused. XD))
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Re: Bus C, Day Two

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