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Sawyer, You're Going out a Youngster
Oh she'd said some thanks after all. Paris thought that was pretty cool and interesting, and then a second later he thought of something else. He thought of her expression being pretty nice and easy on the eyes.

"You have a nice smile."

Then he thought of something else, that Sophie was continuing to strum. C sharp minor, Paris was positive so that's definitely what Sophie was playing. She was doing a really good job, so Paris allowed himself to be compelled to follow along the song the way he knew how. The harmonized vocal dubs that echoed the main parts were what he chose to sing quietly to himself. He held the words 'California Dreamin' as many times as Sophie repeated 'On such a winter's day', up until the last one where he harmonized with her.

The he clapped with the rest of the crowd, powerfully raising his arms over his head and pumping them. Huzzah. Paris kept on clapping ferociously, getting a little quieter and quieter, until Sophie was next to them and then he stopped.

"It was awesome, Sophie."

He then remembered that he already knew that he hadn't actually signed up for any slots. He'd already performed a few days ago and he remembered nobody from school had been around. Today he'd wanted to hear Sophie and he didn't really want to hear the rest of the people.

"Oh, but I realize I promised my Ma I'd meet her in a bit. I think I should bounce, Mister Armstrong." Paris then remembered something interesting. "What did you think of Sophie's performance, Nate? Have you two already met?" Paris insistently gestured for Sophie to look Nate's way, and also gestured at an empty chair right by Nate. "Have fun with the rest of the performance, you two!"

And he kept his guitar case right by his side as he scooted away and out of there. He didn't know where he was going next, but he'd probably meet some more friends or something like that.

((Paris Ardennes continued in The Trees and the Bramble))

Sawyer, You're Going out a Youngster
Paris stood there and the both of them were silent. Silent was the exact thing both of them had been the last time they'd met, but that time Paris had initially been speaking until he had stopped. Nate had been equally quiet from start to finish. Paris then realized that it all made sense. It was the way Nate was, and that was cool.

Paris almost forgot Sophie until he heard the familiar tune of the final chorus. So he waited for her to be done and then he clapped as much as anyone else in the bar did. He didn't clap longer, and he also promptly missed on Sophie saying something or another and then playing and singing more. That was because Nate had dropped her paper in the process of dropping her pen.

He went to the next table to pick it up without another word. No one said anything, and then he was face to face with the man of the couple sitting there. He didn't actually need to bend down to pick up the paper, he just needed to try a few times. Make the motion, and then the dude would also make the motion, and then there would be embarrassed smiles. Eventually after all of that was over with the other person would actually get the thing. Paris was always sure to nod gratefully after that part.

He returned the paper to Nate while some nice soothing sound of some vocals diffused into the background. But he still didn't feel the need to say anything, and he wondered if she'd feel the same. He was pretty sure she wouldn't, probably not even a thanks.

Through the Dreamers, We Hear the Hum. They Say “Come On, Come On, Let’s Go.”
"... Yeah!

We don't really do this sort of thing often."

Erm, ever. Rachael couldn't remember a time that she'd even glanced in the general direction of a free-range teenager party, let alone walked through the doors of one. Glancing. Glancing blows, like two jousters lances bouncing off the faces of well-weathered shields. Daniel staring at her staring at him staring at her and her face felt so hot, like runny eggs on a pan and she just had to look away so she was looking up at the grandly bare canvas of washed out grey and red hues and the gentle stars above peeking innocently out of their cloud blankets. Beautifully evocative, just like

Daniel was saying something, and Rachael's eyes were arrested by gravity, from heaven to earth. She couldn't help it, she giggled. She was painfully aware that he hadn't even said anything particularly funny, the pain became sharp knives to her chest, but she couldn't help blowing a speech bubble out of her hapless laughing.

"Y-yeah! We shouldn't keep him waiting, that's right."

Yet waiting was exactly what Rachael seemed inclined to do because she felt like the soles of her pretentiously reach-for-the-skies heels had sunk into the fresh asphalt of her million year old home driveway.

Petition to Allow MOAR v6 Characters
^ That's an interesting opinion... But haven't the packs of kids from other versions already been split up by the relatively diverse source of kids so far applied? V4, V5, PV2, TV2, and so on.

Petition to Allow MOAR v6 Characters
I personally believe we've already seen plenty of non V6 interest in SC2 (primarily in that I have no idea who the vast majority of the people getting applied are) and I'd support extending the right to apply more recently killed characters. Maybe there's a compromise to be had? Something like only allowing one V6 character per handler or the like.

Thanks for starting this, D/N!

Through the Dreamers, We Hear the Hum. They Say “Come On, Come On, Let’s Go.”
Oh.

And, she'd been so worried she'd completely missed the carful of Daniel that had been right in front of her. She ceased walking at once, ceased breathing even. And yes, she recognized his clothes like they had come out of her own closet. Every year the band played for graduation. Their Freshman year she'd actually been too flayed by nerves to keep waiting for him outside the event hall, and unfortunately he'd only learned that after the fact by text. She replayed that moment in her head sometimes, regretted it, she really

“Hey, Rachael!”

He waved, and she felt her hand almost depart Earth's orbit before she asserted herself and forced a gentle wave in turn. Oh, why did she feel so light and hollow and like someone had papered over her blood vessels with electrical wiring?

"You look beautiful."

Shock.

It tickled, that was the oddest thing. She would have imagined that getting blasted and fried by lightning had to hurt more than this. Daniel smiled and held himself with a very poised, confident steadiness to his gait and while that was definitely a bit unfamiliar it was utterly arresting of both Rachael's gaze and lung and she didn't understand, she didn't understand why this alien sensation felt so familiar and comfortable and

But how... how should I respond?



She had no answer for that errant thought, her head was just empty yet leaden with weights and static but she did have to say something or she'd look so silly and weird especially since some amount of time had awkwardly slipped by, maybe one second, maybe five, maybe the rise and fall of civilization?

"... I- I'm not! It's just... the usual?

... You know."

That probably hadn't been a particularly inspiring response. She wouldn't be leading armies into battle against ultimate evil anytime soon, with that tone of voice. She was now suddenly waiting for a response, faster than she'd expected to be waiting for one and that sudden eager anticipation was a nail-biter if she would have been the sort to bite her nails at all. Rachael cast her eyes about, and then realized with a tense extension of her nervous crooked smile that she'd temporarily forgotten their third.

"How's, uh, Johnny?" She dared to wave his way.

Torn Jeans and Prom Queens
Miss Shirley was smiling pleasantly at her, and Rachael parried with her best attempt at a smile of her own. It was a bit tense, Rachael couldn't help that. Then Miss Shirley was offering help, and oh yes that was a very welcome thing to hear, a better sort of melody than the one dully polluting the dance floor even. Rachael could palpably feel the vise clamped over the meat of her lungs relax some, her chest fell a bit so that she wasn't about to wind up like a spring until she exploded into her best jack-in-the-box approximation.

"Oh, Rachael, sweetie, you need some help? Anything?"

"Um," and Rachael needed a moment for her thoughts so she could respond as pleasantly as she could

"I think we're fine, Ramona, thanks."

And then Rachael was flanked on both sides by singular points of humanity and where had Mister Baxter suddenly come from? Rachael had always known he was that sizable and strong of presence a man but it was further exaggerated with this sort of inferior vantage point, how was anyone else going to be able to grab the punch on the table and what if he could crush her like a bug? Okay, Rachael had to relax. Both Mister Baxter and Miss Shirley were perfectly good and upstanding folk. Or, at least as far as she was aware.

Rachael struggled for another moment, then she nodded demurely in a direction pointed at neither of her companions.

"Um, yes. I am fine, I'm just enjoying the party. I, uh, guess."

Rachael's mewling tone fluctuated in volume a bit as she conscientiously, nervously tried to find the sweet spot between 'too quiet' and 'even quieter than that'.

"... How about you guys?"

Hopefully that lets them take over the conversation?

Future Concepts
Colonial mentality and innocent patriotism.

Sawyer, You're Going out a Youngster
Paris winked back, with a smirk and a thumbs up. Then he silently hummed the first few lines with a bit of a delay as she began to sing. She sung 'of me' and Paris sung 'little dream'. Polyphony, that was the term for it. Then Paris slowed down more and his singing tapered off.

Sophie sounded nice, Paris mused. Then his eyes began to wander away from the stage as she meandered through her verses. While he searched the room he noticed a familiar face of some sort. Her name was Nate, if he recalled. An odd sort of girl who was quiet and difficult to talk to, almost. He liked her though, because it was also easy to talk to her in a sense. It might have been months since they'd last spoken.

He was a bit curious about her now that he thought about it.

He stood up from the table, and carried his guitar case with him. He walked close to Nate, close enough to be standing right over her. But he didn't look at her, or say anything. He went back to watching Sophie instead.

Through the Dreamers, We Hear the Hum. They Say “Come On, Come On, Let’s Go.”
((Rachael Langdon: prepare))

Rachael ambivalently considered her made up appearance in the clean and shiny, only recently cleaned mirror of the downstairs bathroom. Sis had done a great job with the makeup! Rachael really hadn't ever expected that her eyes could pop like this, gently shimmering like dew under lashes thick but not heavy. Her slightly longish face was balanced by contour, the sort of convoluted brush strokes of different shades of flesh tone that Rachael couldn't make heads or tails of. She looked amazing, but even as she admired Bridget's handiwork she also had to frown. Lips bared wide shut, so she could glare pensively at her own teeth and count the number of split rift valleys and angles that made each tooth look crooked as a criminal.

"Hey, Rachael! Tell your friends I'll have their butts if they dent my Civic!"

"Dad!" Rachael fired back, protesting in slight amusement that failed to turn her frown to a smile. It was Dad, he was always good at the somewhat kitschy jokes and always good at making Rachael feel a bit better. That said, she still felt anxious. Her mind jumped the gun, flew into the path of the bullet, and she was suddenly wondering about the possibility of her Dad actually getting annoyed with Daniel and Johnny- or, heaven forbid he actually started to disapprove of them and then what would she do if her family didn't like her friends and there was tension and

All the anxious energy went into the one part of her body not stock still, her tongue, and she probed and lashed at her teeth so furiously she swore she was starting to bleed. As she had many times in the past few month she found she was dreaming of the day scheduled for an otherwise innocuous upcoming July weekend, when she'd happily find herself in an orthodontist's chair. Well, maybe happily was a strong word.

((Rachael Langdon: begin))

They'd found her house, and Rachael was glad of that because she had been worried she might have given the directions wrong. She might have said 'turn right' when she really meant left or maybe improperly translated and transposed a digit in her address and sent poor Daniel and Johnny to the abandoned lot down the street. Oh, that would have been so embarrassing, if she'd started off her prom night with one of her best ever friends by inadvertently trolling him and wasting his time. It hadn't happened, so at least that particular disaster in waiting had been averted!

Of course that left potentially the rest of them, but Rachael kept herself breathing easy as she could.

It was odd to think that it was happening at all, really. She certainly hadn't been able to comprehend it when it had actually become a thing, herself and Daniel being on a... no, no, date was not the right word and she was very fortunate she hadn't manged to let that slip into the vernacular of a conversation! They were just friends having fun and hopefully Rachael wouldn't do anything stupid and that was all there was to it.

She suddenly realized he could see her now, looking so very different with an uncensored face full of makeup, uncharacteristically teased hair, and even a few unfamiliar inches due to heels that dug into the balls of her feet with painful bluntness.

The real pain was the stab of butterfly knife fluttering to her heart. She nervously clasped her hands before her, then redid it so they were behind her, than in front of her, and oh no what if she tripped and landed flat on her face because she wasn't used to heels she'd look so stupid and Daniel would regret ever having asked her with all those nice amazing things he'd said to her way back when when the springtime moon had been waning over the awning of her unlit honeysuckle scented porch

Sawyer, You're Going out a Youngster
"Bible study, for me." Paris said that in a sort of response thing when Sophie mentioned not having something to get up for the next morning. Then suddenly the manager had announced open mic had begun. And then Sophie looked happy, probably because she was going up there first. Paris nodded to himself.

"Good luck, Mister Armstrong. You're gonna do a great job."

She was gone for a bit, doing her thing whatever that happened to be. While time passed he glanced at a phone that came from his pocket, then up at her at the right time to catch her eye so she didn't see him not watching her.


Sawyer, You're Going out a Youngster
"That's true," Paris nodded. "The only problem is that if they have to keep it going for too long past the expected end time the audience might really shrink." He shook his head, "that wouldn't be fun for the people who happened to sign up for later slots."

He shrugged.

"Well it's whatever. I'll sing shorter if I have to, so thanks for the advice!" He smiled with a gracious nod. Sophie's demeanor sort of reminded Paris of that one girl he sometimes texted when he was bored who really liked it when he put spaces between the letters of his words, for some reason he didn't know. They were both reliable. Cool girls, and that sort of thing.

"I really appreciate it. Do you think you'll be able to stay the whole time?"

Sawyer, You're Going out a Youngster
Sophie did something with her shoulders but Paris didn't really pay attention to the gist of it.

"Oh, whoops. I hadn't realized they'd already opened sign ups," he said. "Hmf, I wasn't paying so much attention. So no, I guess I haven't signed up yet! I should go and do that now." He stepped away from his chair and went to put his name on the list, then he came back with a pen very similar to the sign up pen spinning between the two longest fingers of his right hand. He sat back down.

"Two songs, hu? Do you think the slots will have enough time? They looked a bit short this time around."

HUG ME A SECOND TIME
we gotta collab on island and nearly get shot by one of yugi's characters again, btw

So I come to offer Paris to Jay. Paris could have met Jay by going to his house parties, and be casual acquaintances via that essentially... Actually, yeah, that's pretty much it. Only specific thing I can think of is maybe that if Paris ever heard that Jay wants to travel to explore soccer in other countries Paris might extend an invitation for Jay to join him in touring Europe over the summer along with some other rich assholes, etc.

Aura's SC2 Crew
Hey Aura! Just a few quick opinions here.

Paris - Adonis seems fairly straightforward as a casual acquaintance within the context of parties, probably exclusively really. Maybe swap stories about girls or smth and just do generic dude gossip. Paris would legitimately dislike Adonis to some extent, would be annoyed/disgusted by the hedonism and bullish behavior, but Paris would be smooth/carefree enough to not really let it slip when they're just hanging out.

Rachael - Yumi in the context of writing club also seems to work well to me? Since Yumi's mostly quiet and unobtrusive Rachael can feel comfortable with her without the two actually getting close, and they could do work on editing each others works, brainstorming, and so on.


Torn Jeans and Prom Queens
She was still breathing, in and out and in and out, and she quickly forgot that sensation even as it pounded like some animistic thing stuck in her lungs. Oh, she really and truly had not expected him to actually smile and wave back like he had. And she wasn't sure what his smile was trying to say. It could well have been the sort of smile that people smiled by force when they were angry or upset, and then Rachael's imagination suddenly inundated her with visions of Mister Baxter charging valiantly, brutally striking her down with a bloodied fist and sending her frail corpse into the skies, sailing in an arc over the tablecloth and table, and that was so scary and weirdly specific

It did make for an eerily picturesque idea though. Something she could put to pen and paper maybe?

She was then surprised- more than she already was, somehow?- by another familiar face a step closer than she was immediately comfortable with. Oh. Rachael had always thought Ramona Shirley had such pretty lips with an artisan sort of craftsmanship, and now she was close enough that Rachael could see the details all too clearly even in the dim lighting. And Rachael liked Miss Shirley, they shared a class! But it was almost a bit too much in context. Rachel's eyes went two ways, both ways roads less traveled by, and she almost started unaligning her eyes until the pain became a problem and, oh no, her mind was wandering. Her first instinct was to back up a bit but then her butt slammed right into the rim of the table and she recoiled forward, almost right into both of them.

Lost? Who is he talking to? Me? Miss Shirley? Should I say something? I need to say something, um, I think...?







"... Maybe?" Hopefully she'd been loud enough to hear? Oh, it would be absolutely embarrassing if she'd just opened her mouth without accompanying sound.

Sawyer, You're Going out a Youngster
"Maybe you could, yeah." It was a good suggestion, Paris mused for a really brief second. A self-aware, self-critical sort of suggestion, that sort of thing. He nodded along and then stopped suddenly.

"Something like 'Roundabout' or 'Owner of a Lonely Heart'. Those songs are a bit weird for my voice but it'll be interesting to try."

Paris Ardennes hadn't clearly picked out songs for his set so he spent a few moments of silence musing on it. Then he remembered Sophie was still there sitting with him. He gestured at the drippy condensation of cup of tea next to his arm.

"Weird flavor." He then remembered something else. "Where are you going to put yourself on the sign up sheet tonight, up first?"



Torn Jeans and Prom Queens
Dad was munching on a piece of bread. Some crumbs dropped, he murmured an oath. Right beside him was Mom, she was the one speaking. She watched Rachael carefully. And Rachael, of course, respectfully held her gaze.

“It’s just a thought, Rachael! Your father and I,”

And she swept an arm around Dad. Dad raised a hand in a cute wave.

“We’re not going to pressure you, of course.”

Mom was speaking carefully, reassuringly. The way she usually spoke, and Rachael felt no negative emotion besides the vague static-y sting of foreboding in her chest. Mom and Dad had suggested she bring a group of friends out to a dance. Nothing fancy had been what they had said. Nothing like prom, just something casual.

“Yeah,” Rachael responded with a polite smile.

Other words came to mind, but she wasn’t sure. She wanted to carefully think over a response. Dad was faster than she was.

“Are you nervous about the idea, honey?”

His voice boomed out as it always did. Dad was the sort who was always a bit too loud for the situation. It was the sort of thing that comforted Rachael, at least when it was him. Still, she felt raw nerves gently prickling and curdling.

“Uh, a bit. I’ll be honest.”

A hand found her forearm. She gently brushed the softness of her sleeve down. The momentary urge to avert her eyes crackled through her nervous system, but it was okay. She didn’t need to do such a thing, not here.

“Sorry,” Rachael finished the very next second.

Mom and Dad both carefully nodded, at different speeds. Dad slower, more dramatically; Mom with plenty of energy. They glanced at each other, then smiled at her. Mom’s hands raised a bit. Like a peace treaty, maybe written in three different languages of cheerful wood fey.

“We understand if you don’t want to. We just think it would be fun!”

They were probably right. If Rachael considered it carefully there were no problems. She had ideas, friends to invite. She’d been to Junior Prom with friends. Everything added up neatly. The moment of dull panic abated, and Rachael could carefully nod and consider.

“Okay Mom, Dad. I’ll try my best.”

-----

((Rachael Langdon: begin))

Apparently this dance was to raise money for the cafeteria. That was a pretty nice touch, Rachael thought. Halloween wasn’t the sort of holiday she normally celebrated in an exciting way. It wasn’t exactly scary but most of the events just didn’t appeal to her. This dance, however, had seemed nice. Something simple and easy, but still in the spirit of the holiday. She’d invited Daniel and Kitty on a whim, but she had then realized that she shouldn't need to expect them to come.

I shouldn’t always need close friends around to go to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. The greatest adventures all start with a bit of risk after all. I need to learn to be less of a scaredy cat, just like Mom and Dad are trying so hard to help me with.

That was what she was still telling herself as she strode through the dimly mood lit gym hall. The thought was on repeat just like the melodies and rhythms of the songs they were playing. She guessed they were actually alright songs even if she wouldn’t have gone out of her way to listen to them, but it was a bit odd that they weren't even the familiarly cute bubblegum pop songs she’d listened to before meeting Daniel. They were heavier, more abrasive, the lyrics were sleazier. It was almost frightening to reflect on how things had changed when she hadn’t been paying attention, like meeting an old friend built of childhood memories suddenly made unfamiliar.

Rachael shuffled to a spot by the refreshments table, hands carefully clasped in front of her. She hoped she blended in a bit with her dull black dress, it almost seemed to become backdropping or ambient noise because of the room’s lighting. Now she had to muse on what to do besides lingering around nervously. She casually recognized a few faces from art class! Maybe if she had time to take a few deep breaths and steady her nerves a little…

Suddenly someone caught her eye. She realized with a frisson up her spine that she recognized that face, and that nod, and that smile.

Brandon Baxter, his buzz cut and piercing eyes. He was close with Johnny, and Johnny had mentioned in passing ‘seeing parts of him others don’t get to see’. Paraphrased, but. Rachael had heard a lot of good things about him from Johnny, but she’d also heard really scary things about his temper and he just even looked so intimidating as much as she hated to admit that such a shallow thing colored her opinion of him and

And her first instinct was probably the right one. She raised her hand in a small wave and raised her lips in a small smile as their gazes met. She let her greeting linger a second longer than she had to, desperate and stubborn against her own will.

The greatest adventures...

She reminded herself again and again and again and again

Sawyer, You're Going out a Youngster
Paris nodded to himself in satisfaction. "You're welcome," he replied simply.

His copycat order of tea finally arrived, he took a moment of silence to loudly murmur grace to himself. In his normal voice, not his Ella Fitzgerald voice. Then he took a sip, and it wasn't that bad, though it also wasn't really that good or worth the money he'd paid. He abandoned the glass.

"Oh, that sounds cool. Some of the big names." Paris shrugged a bit. "I didn't do so much research into those particular types of colleges, not the right sort of fit for me!" He appraised her for a second, scanning at her exposed bits of skin. "I bet you'll fit in perfect in that sort of environment though. Cool sorts of folks out there, and I'm glad you'll have the opportunity to continue expanding your musical skills and elevating them, you know. To the next level."

He raised a fist slightly into the air. Solidarity. "I hear you on that. Denton was a nice audience but the rest of the world deserves to hear what we have to say."

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