A Psychonauts Fanfic by Digitaldreamer
Chapter One: Murky Waters
Hello, hello, and welcome to my fic!
Please note that this is not in fact the original author's note that was here at the beginning. There used to be some stupid whiny rambling about how you shouldn't leave and I have cookies, but that is past. If you're reading this now, either you've been in this fandom for awhile and you already know me, or you're not and this is your first time.
At any rate... hello, my name is Digitaldreamer and this is Cursum Perficio. The name is Latin for "I finish the course", "To bring to an end", or simply "I finish what I started." This fanfic is, to put it plainly, my baby, and has been quite a bit of work over the years. To give you an idea of how long it has been in the making, let me explain: I first started this fic at the end of the summer before my junior year of high school. I am now starting my first year of art college. That's over two years, even taking into consideration that the last year was a hiatus. I originally planned on seventeen chapters, I currently have twenty and the plan is currently for either twenty-two or twenty-three very long chapters by the end.
Suffice to say, it's been a long journey and it's still not over.
I suppose I owe those of you whom are new an explanation as to what this psychotic, two-hundred-something-reviews monster is all about.
The fic is set six years after the game. Thus, this means Raz has been a Psychonaut for six years, and is at this point sixteen, along with Lili and all the other campers. This entire fic is centered around my theory about the whole family feud between the Aquatos (Raz's family name, as decided by fanon law and a few posters in the Meat Circus) and the Galochios, my idea as to how the whole fighting has gone down over the generations, my ideas over the curse, why Raz's dad treated him the way he did, why Raz is a prodigy... everything.
In short, this fic is centered around Raz. He and Lili's relationship also plays a major part, as well as his relationship with the other characters in the game, but above all else, this is Raz's story. I did my best to include the other characters, however, so even if Raz isn't your favorite character, I hope you'll give this fic a try anyway.
Now when I first wrote this, I'm not going to lie, it was ridiculously over-the-top angstwise. Looking back, I don't like how I did it. It's so over-the-top it's painful, hence my revising it. Yes, I've gone and revised every chapter. I plan to tighten up everyone's characterization, add some things here and there (which is the reason I think old readers might want to try looking it over, as they may find some new tidbits of information), and just plain old smooth over the writing. No, it probably won't be publish worthy, but... well, this fic is a big one, and I want to do my best to make it worth reading.
Those of you whom are old readers are of course, quite familiar with this whole thing. You're also familiar with how very long and angsty this is, and many of you have dealt with my overdoing of things and clichés and have been waiting a very, very long time for the latest chapter and I can't even begin to thank you enough. Thank you all for supporting me and reading... and I hope you'll appreciate the revisions and the final chapters to come.
New readers... I will warn you now that this fic is long. The first chapters are about twelve to fifteen pages in length... and then suddenly it goes nuts and chapters are around twenty to thirty pages. The last time I put every chapter into one file, it came out to be two hundred and twelve pages, and that was before I got into the chapters that were thirty pages at least. So yes, this is long. It is also essentially Psychonauts: The Anime. It's long, ridiculously dramatic, and riddled with clichés. I try to break things up with humor and keep some of the spirit of the game in there, but this isn't really like the game. I was also warn you that it is angsty. I beg you to try to be patient with it and consider the fact that in the game the characters were honestly pretty flat, it's up to the fans to put themselves in their shoes and try to make them 3-D while still remaining true to the characters. Realistically, the things I put Raz through, there is no way he wouldn't end up the way he does. I do my best to remain true to him, but keep in mind that Raz is older and I put him through some serious crap. There is angst, there is torture, people die. It's a very dark fic. However, in my opinion it's also just a fun read if you enjoyed the characters as much I did and wanted to see more of them.
So... in spite of all that, I really hope you'll give it a try. If you hate it after the first few chapters, you can always quit. You can always review and tell me how much you hated it, even. But at least give it a try, alright?
Oh, also, if you like to listen to music while you read, I put together a bunch of songs. It's a "soundtrack" of sorts for CP and I think the music really helps the fic, so check out the download link in my profile and give it a try!
And I do believe that is enough TL;DR for one author's note, so... well, on with the fic!
Suggested listening music is (what else?) Cursum Perficio by Enya, aka Track 1 on the OST.
Disclaimer: I do not own Psychonauts, since if I did it would probably be way angstier and probably not nearly as awesome as it was. Please don't sue me, DoubleFine, I love you guys!
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Child's bedtime prayer - 18th century
It had started out so normal. That was how it always started, after all. Perhaps it was occasionally a bit insane and silly, but in the dream it always made perfect sense since it was, after all, just a dream.
In this case it did indeed seem fairly normal, a field of flowers spread out as far as the eye could see. Blades of grass swayed, a sea of flowing green, while brilliant-hued flower petals floated away in the breeze. A young boy was laying on his back in the field, green eyes half-closed in bliss as he gazed up at the endless, azure sky. A gloved hand absently threaded the stem of a daisy through it's fingers.. All was peaceful.
But that was where everything changed, and the dream did not become so normal.
The field, the sky, everything vanished. It was as if the happy dream had simply fallen away to reveal an inky black backdrop. It was dark, so dark, like being placed in an empty, windowless room. He couldn't tell how far away the walls were or even if they were right in front of him, just beyond his reach. To him it seemed no matter which way he turned and grasped, there was nothing there. Just darkness, suffocating black that wrapped its way around his senses, robbing him of sight and and comfort, constricting him. To be in the dark was to not see, and to not see was to be helpless to whatever may be within that darkness. To be helpless in the dark is to fear the dark, which is a primal fear every human possesses whether they wish it or not.
It was also silent. So silent, silent as the grave. He opened his mouth to speak, but no matter how loudly he yelled, it was if the darkness simply swallowed it up. It was as if he had been rendered blind, deaf, and mute, which was a deprivation of three senses now. To have loss of those meant the loss of being understood and understanding, and to not be understood meant not to find what lay beyond that blackness or how to escape it.
-You filthy child...-
Dark, silent, and cold. It was cold, painfully so. It hurt to breathe, hurt to suck that frigid air into his lungs. He reached up to rub some warmth into his arms, but pins and needles had already set in across his tanned skin. His body was numb, oblivious to the sense of touch. To lose that meant to lose his last means of perceiving the world, which was to cut him off completely and leave nothing for him. Nothing but the dark.
-Why are you so frightened?-
He could not see, he could not hear, he could not feel. Not that there was anything to see, hear, or feel, because there was nothing here. It wasn't the kind of darkness that things lurked within, it was simply empty. An endless, empty sea of black. And this, somehow, was worse than the darkness where he could not know what lay within it, because with this knowledge came the fact that he was completely, undeniably alone, without any way to sense anything beyond this fact.
-This is what you deserve...-
The boy stood there for a few moments, feeling fear creep over him. He wanted to see! He didn't want to be stuck here in the dark! He didn't want to be stuck here all alone, unable to see or hear or feel or anything! He was scared. So scared. He wanted something to hold onto, someone to see and feel and hear, someone to prove that he wasn't completely and utterly alone. Someone, anyone.
-This is where you belong...-
But there wouldn't be anyone here, because there was nothing here. The boy wasn't sure how he knew this, he just did. It was as if his brain couldn't seem to move past it.
It was so cold, so quiet, so dark…
-You disgusting child...-
He was calling, calling for them, but he couldn't even hear his own voice. And as he called and stumbled, he slowly began to realize that there was nothing there. No one here to listen to him, no one here to keep him company, nothing. And with this thought he slowly began to lose the fight to keep his hope, felt that tiny light die as he sunk to his knees and clutched at his head, locks of reddish brown hair peeking between numb fingertips.
-Filthy psychic. Murderer, cheater, liar.-
And when his hope finally began to flicker away it gave way to cold fear, the demon that stood at his side whispering horrible doubts into his ears that made his skin crawl and the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Without hope there was nothing to chase the demon away, and there was no one there to help bring back hope. And without hope, he quickly went from fearful to terrified, completely and utterly terrified.
-Don't you see what you've been doing? What you've done?-
Slowly, however, even the fear left. Everything left, any form of feeling or fleeting thought. He was nothing, just a tiny boy cowering in the dark.
For how long he was there he did not know, because there was nothing to know.
And then, without warning, there was.
It was light. Pure, shining white light, piercing through the blackness like a needle. A mere pinpoint, but it was light.
Green eyes slowly focused on the pinpoint, then widened, and he slowly stood on uncertain, shaking legs that felt as if they had not been used in some time. He nearly fell once, but managed to rise with some effort, feeling a flicker of warmth rushing through numbed fingertips.
He didn't understand, but he knew. He had to get to that light, to get away from this nothingness, that voice, that hateful voice.
He had to get that light.
So he ran for it, trying desperately for it even as he stumbled over his own feet. He would trip, fall, and then get up again. And as he ran, slowly it began to creep closer, that pinpoint of light expanding, growing wider and wider, welcoming him with open arms. He could feel it's heat washing over him even as he ran for it, fingertips reaching, grasping for it...
And then at last the light enveloped him, becoming all that he could see. The boy brought up his hands to cover his eyes, stumbling a bit, disoriented.
Then it was gone. The boy blinked, slowly bringing down his hands and glancing around. He stood in the middle of some sort of forest. The trees swayed in the breeze, the canvas of stars that made up the night sky visible just beyond their branches. He shivered, rubbing his arms and tugging on the sleeves of his coat. Why was it so cold?
"I just don't get it, Raz... why are things so different now?" her voice whispered in his ear, sending the hair on the back of his neck on end. The boy jumped, a twig snapping beneath his foot as he spun around to meet the amber-hued eyes of a young girl. Her long, reddish brown hair was pulled back into two pigtails, her hands on her hips, a dark jacket pulled over her woven tank top.
The boy blinked again, cocking his head to the side as his brow furrowed in confusion. He opened his mouth to speak, but found no words came, so he cleared his throat and tried again. "Lili? What are you talking about?"
She gazed at him, looking almost sorrowful. "You've changed, Raz. What happened?"
"Changed?" he repeated, sounding confused. "I haven't changed..."
The dark-haired girl shook her head, her pigtails swinging with the motion as she turned away. "Idiot," she muttered before sprinting away through the trees, her pink miniskirt swirling around her pale legs.
Raz's eyes widened, holding out a gloved hand in an attempt to stop her. "Lili! Wait!" he called, sprinting after her, his sneakers pounding against the earth as he leaped over the roots of trees. She was far too fast, however, unnaturally so, and the trees seemed to move out of her way and then back into place, until at least she reached the path that lead through the woods.
As soon as she hit it she began to run along it, leaving Raz behind. When Raz saw what direction she was heading, his eyes widened. "Lili! No, wait, don't!" he cried, his voice echoing through the night as he tried to put more speed into his run, trying to catch her, stop her.
She was heading towards the main lodge, the center of Whispering Rock Summer Camp. And Raz didn't know why, but he knew she couldn't go there. She just couldn't. Something awful was going to happen, he just knew it. He didn't know why, he just did.
He finally made it over the hill and up to the main lodge, eyes widening at the sight he beheld.
The entire area was in flames. Bright orange tendrils of fire ate away at tree trunks and burned away grass in seconds, the picnic tables turned to ash. The main lodge was crumbling, smoke spewing into the sky in thick clouds of grayish black as the aged logs sunk inward with creaks and pops. The bridges leading to other areas were also burning, a glance over towards the kids cabins area confirming that they were also ablaze.
But the worst part was the kids themselves. They were laying everywhere, flames eating away at their camp t-shirts, blistering and blackening already sunburnt skin, melting away formerly recognizable faces of his fellow campers, their hair curling and whithering from the intense heat. Some gazed at him sightlessly, eyeballs bubbling in sockets, while others were long beyond having any form of facial features. The smell of burning flesh joined the crackling roar of the flames in the night air, putrid and sickening.
Raz stared with horrified eyes, his entire body numb with shock and horror. He was dimly aware of his hands shaking at his sides, his knees feeling weak. The Whispering Rock flag burned from the flag pole and drifted into the dark sky, falling to the ground at his feet to smolder in the blackened grass.
"Who did this? Why?" he finally choked out, the gave a heavy cough and clapped his hand over his mouth and nose in an attempt to not breath in any more of the fumes.
"I don't know why. You tell me."
She stood there among the flames, her dark pigtails and clothes billowing around her unnaturally , her amber eyes meeting his as he turned to stare at her.
"What do you mean?" he asked, his entire body tensing. Because somehow he already knew the answer.
"You were the one who did this, Raz. You tell me," she repeated in that cool, emotionless tone she had regarded him with when they first met.
Jade green eyes widened even more and he took a step back. "What...what are you talking about, Lili? I didn't do any of this! I wasn't even here!" he said, feeling a bead of sweat slide down the back of his neck. It was hot, so very hot.
Lili just continued to stare at him, eyes narrowing. "Liar. You did this. You know you did," she hissed, her voice becoming accusing. "Why have you done this, Raz? Why did you kill them?"
"I didn't do it!" he insisted, shaking his head.
Her glaring, accusing eyes stayed on him. He couldn't escape her gaze, so much more searing than the flames that swirled around her like a raging storm. "You did this, Raz. You killed them."
"No, I didn't!"
He shook his head again, trying to keep her gaze, pleading. "Please Lili, you have to believe me! I didn't do this, Lili! I didn't! I never... I..." He reeled back, clutching at his head, gazing down at the smoldering flag a few steps away. Finally he looked back to her. "Please... Lili, I didn't..."
She flashed him a sad smile, hugging her arms around her lithe form. "You did this, Raz. You killed me."
And then the flames finally closed in on her.
"No! Lili!" he cried, dashing forward, trying to make his way through the flames, anything to get to her, anything to save her, anything. But as soon as he tried to get close, he was met with a solid wall.
The boy stumbled back, disoriented. His eyes then widened as he reached out to press his fingers against the wall of glass before him, it's gleam just barely visible in the firelight. "What?" he gasped, gazing through the glass at the swirl of flames that had consumed his girlfriend.
He had to rescue her. He had to save her. He had to tell her he didn't do this, because he didn't! He hadn't!
Raz gritted his teeth, then tried desperately to go around the wall... only to run into a second one! Baffled, the boy reeled backwards, feeling a stab of horror as he found himself pressed up against a wall from behind as well. The boy's eyes widened and reached out wildly with his left hand to find that he was boxed in on all sides. A frantic glance upward revealed that yes, he was even blocked from above.
He let out a shuddering breath, looking back to flames. "Lili! Lili, hang on!" he pleaded as he slammed his fist against the pane of glass separating them. The boy winced at the wrenching pain that resulted through his upper arm, but the strike did nothing more. "I'm going to rescue you, okay? Just hang on!" he called as he struck it again, these blows once again doing nothing. He let out a frustrated cry, beating on the glass, growing more frustrated with each failed strike. However, it seemed no matter how heavy a blow he landed, the glass could withstand it.
And as he fought the flames grew higher, the main lodge finally collapsing inward with a great rumble, becoming nothing more than a pile of smoldering logs and ash.
After several minutes of pounding Raz paused, panting as he gazed at the flames that had begun to recede at this point. They left nothing in their wake. The camp was nothing more than a smoldering, charred landscape now.
And she was gone. Lili was gone.
"...Lili..." he choked, pressing his forehead against the wall, the pane of glass warm from the flames surrounding it. With another anguished, dry sob the boy sunk to his knees, still beating his fist hopelessly against the glass. The fire that had destroyed Whispering Rock Summer Camp slowly began to die away, embers floating away into the clear night sky, the only other sounds coming from the crackling remains.
-Poor, poor Razputin...-
He jumped. "Who's there?" he asked, glancing around at the dying, smoldering landscape for the source of the voice.
-My poor little murderer...-
His eyes widened and he shook his head violently. "I didn't kill them! I didn't do any of this! I didn't!" he insisted, his voice beginning to go hoarse from all the yelling.
A low, terrible laugh.
-Oh, but you did. This is all your fault, every last bit of it. You killed them all, every one of them.-
"Shut up! I didn't do it! I didn't!"
-Now now, lying will get you nowhere... especially to yourself.-
"I didn't! I didn't kill them! Shut up, shut up!"
-You foolish child...-
Raz grit his teeth, gripping at his head with gloved hands, his entire body spasming. "Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!" he screamed.
As his screams faded away, there was silence. The boy slowly began to sit up, blinking as he gazed around at the charred area. His brow furrowed as he slowly allowed his arms to fall back to his sides. He took a deep, shuddering breath.
And then the world dropped out from beneath him.
It was as if the ground beneath him had turned to liquid, leaving nothing to support him. The boy let out a cry as he suddenly sunk beneath the ground, reaching out desperately to grasp at anything to hold himself up. But no matter how much he clawed at the charred dirt around him he continued to sink, until at long last the smoldering camp was left behind him.
He fell. He fell and fell through an endless black pit, the darkness reaching out to him. The wind whistled past his ears, sent his hair flying away from his face, limbs flailing wildly as he fell.
And then he felt it snatch at his ankle, the hand he was so very familiar with, having seen it beckon at him so tauntingly from every body of water he got anywhere near. He felt the hand, that cold, slimy hand of fear, grab hold of him. For a moment he hung there in midair, feeling his stomach drop. And then it tugged him down.
The water welcomed him into it's icy, cold embrace.
First came the shock of the cold. It was impossibly cold in that water, like thousands of knives stabbing at his body. It was a cold that seized his breath, stopped his heart. Raz instantly stiffened in agony as the water burned, filling his nose and ears. It was like being encased in frigid ice, the water's icy fingers squeezing the warmth from him.
-Can't you see? This is where you belong...-
Then came the panic. He flailed desperately, trying to pull himself up, but his clothes only seemed to drag him furthur, weighing him down. And then of course there was the hands, the touch of that damned curse, keeping its iron grip on him and pulling him deeper, tugging him downward to his fate. And no amount of fighting would free him, no amount of writhing and tugging and desperate cries that sent little bubbles of air free to float to the surface above would save him.
-You foolish child...-
His lungs were burning as he fought to keep his lips sealed tight, fought to keep his last breath within him. But no, he needed air, and he couldn't have kept this in forever. It felt as if his insides were on fire, screaming for the oxygen he so needed, but there was none. Just water, water everywhere, swirling in his ears and chilling him to the bone.
-Why do you fret?-
There was a voice whispering in his ears, saying things that seemed so familiar, but he had never heard them before in his life. Everything was fading, going fuzzy, the feel of the water, the liquid world around him, the burning in his lungs ...was this what it was like to die? No, he couldn't die here, he couldn't...
-It's only fitting that things come full circle this way, with the curse once again.-
Finally, instinct took over. He let out his breath, the precious air fleeing from his lips in a burst of bubbles, and--
-You can't escape fate, Aquato.-
Razputin Aquato bolted awake, sitting up straight in a flurry of bed sheets. The teen sat upright, panting, his entire frame shaking as if he had just been plunged in ice water. His deep breaths echoed throughout the circus caravan, the only other sound being the heavy snore coming from his dad on the bunk across from him.
Soothed just a bit by the familiar surroundings, the boy sighed and reached up to run a hand through his reddish brown hair, which was soaked with cold sweat, pushing back his bangs from jade green eyes. There were dark circles beneath them, clear evidence that he had not slept well in some time. He gazed at the wall at the end of the alcove that held his bunk, not really focusing on the blank old wood.
"Another nightmare," he murmured, letting his hands fall back to his lap. "That's every night now for weeks..."
He shook his head as he twisted the sheets in his fists absently. "But I can't remember it. I know they're all the same... but I can't remember what actually happened," the boy gave another sigh and flopping back onto the bed. The old, beat-up mattress gave a loud squeak, his pillow now damp from his own sweat. He lay there for awhile... but he couldn't seem to close his eyes. He just lay there, staring up at the ceiling, listening to the old caravan creak every now and then.
In his six years as a fully-fledged Psychonaut, he had heard of cases like these, but he had never experienced it himself. Night after night of the same horrible nightmare, hinting at something that seemed just beyond his grasp once conscious. Now that he was the one enduring it, he had a new respect for the people he'd seen it happen to. He honestly hadn't been able to catch more than a few hours of sleep in the past few weeks.
"They weren't so bad at first, but now... it's like every time I close my eyes it happens..." he muttered, fists twisting in the sheets again. "It's like it's getting more urgent now."
What could he do? He didn't have any idea how to get rid of this, and it didn't seem to be getting any better. His dad was getting worried, but it wasn't as if he could help, his father had enough problems as it was... no, this was something Raz would have to deal with himself. He was a Psychonaut after all, he could handle it.
Perhaps he could just get himself to go back to sleep, he was so tired. Raz gave a sigh and squirmed under the covers. He forced himself to close his eyes, breathing deeply and trying to clear his mind.
It didn't work. He was wide awake, his mind abuzz with thoughts and guesswork. Finally after a few more minutes of trying the boy sat up again with a groan. "No, this definitely isn't going to work," he grumbled, running a hand through his hair again. "I need to figure this out... what was in the dream?"
The boy closed his eyes again, concentrating. He knew the memories were in there somewhere, he just couldn't find them. But maybe if he tried hard enough he could find something.
What did he remember? He could vaguely remember Lili... but she wasn't like the Lili he knew. She had been saying something to him... and whatever she had said hadn't been like her at all, but in the dream he never seemed to notice how un-Lili-like she acted.
Lili. The boy's thoughts trailed off, a faraway look in his eyes as he played absently with the old, frayed green friendship bracelet tied around his wrist. He still kept it, even after all this time. He never took it off. He didn't get to see her very often, sometimes when he went on Psychonauts missions and on the rare occasion that his circus was preforming in an area close enough that she could travel to it without much difficulty. She was, after all, Truman Zanotto's daughter. There were also those wonderful weeks at Whispering Rock Summer Camp, but they were both too old to be campers there anymore. Thus, for the most part their only contact was through letters and phone calls, something they both made a point of keeping up.
But lately... things had been different. She seemed a bit more distant in her letters and phone calls, and he would be lying if he said he was any different. No, something was definitely changing... in all of his six years together with her, Raz couldn't remember anything like this. Sure, it could be said that it was natural, their relationship could have just been considered "puppy love". After all, who knew who you truly loved at the age of ten? But it had been so long now... it didn't feel like it had just been puppy love... no, there had been more.
But why were things different now? What was changing?
It bothered him, it really did.
To add to this matter, there were these dreams with her, appearing as she had when they had met so long ago...what was that all about? And why did she act that way in his dream? It didn't make any sense.
And then there was the only other thing he seemed to remember about these dreams... a darkness, and a voice in his head. Neither could he quite place, but they both seemed so familiar for some reason. They actually reminded him rather vaguely of the times he had been pulled into the water and barely escaped...
There was a connection there, he knew it, he just couldn't place it. And then there was the sensation of danger, that something close and familiar to him was in grave danger and he had to do something, but he just couldn't seem to figure out anything beyond that!
He just had to figure it out... these nightmares had to mean something. But he just couldn't seem to grasp it!
Raz let out a hiss of frustration, raking his fingers through his hair. Why couldn't he remember!? There was something important about these dreams that he just wasn't getting! He had to figure it out, but he just couldn't seem to get it. It was as if the answers were all hidden behind a gray curtain, just beyond his grasp, and he just couldn't reach them! If only he could get in contact with Sasha or Ford or someone, but they were all at Whispering Rock and--
The teen's thoughts all suddenly skidded to a halt, jade eyes widening. He allowed his arms to drop to his sides. "...Whispering Rock. That's where it's taking place," he gasped. "That's what's in my nightmare."
He knew what he had to do.
With barely a sound Raz rolled off of his bunk, his stocking feet hitting the caravan floor with barely a thump. He then reached under the bunk for his trunk, which was marked with the words "R. Aquato" on the front in red. He tugged it open and rifled through his clothes, finally settling on a black turtleneck. Raz tugged it on without a word, the long sleeves extending to cover his palms, and he tugged on a pair of tight, dark blue jeans as well. He then knelt down to pull on his boots, lacing them up with slightly clumsy fingers.
Six years had definitely changed Raz's physique. The scrawny ten-year old boy who had snuck into Whispering Rock Summer Camp had grown into a tall, lanky teenager. He was still rather thin, though not incredibly muscular since he simply wasn't built that way, and he was still definitely in shape thanks to all those years as an acrobat. Of course, as he grew older he seemed to have adapted to Sasha Nein's choice in clothing style even more, a fact which often led to his father commenting that Raz really looked more like a younger version of Sasha than him.
Raz was okay with that. Sasha was cool, after all.
After pulling these on Raz snatched two items hanging from his bunk post, his old red-lensed aviator goggles and a light green scarf with darker green stripes. The goggles were something he could never get himself to give up, and the scarf had been a gift from Lili a few Christmas's back. He never left the caravan without both on unless it was for a show.
Raz gave a small smile as he wrapped the scarf around his neck, then reached up to adjust the goggles on his head, strands of reddish brown hair poking out from beneath them.Though you could still see a few traces of the child that had snuck into Whispering Rock, Raz had definitely grown up. Six years of being a Psychonaut did that, after all. He had experience now, and anyone who had doubted his abilties because of his age had long since been proven wrong.
But even after everything he had faced, even with all his experience, there was plenty of Razputin that hadn't changed. He was still, for the most part, the same headstrong, determined, confident and slightly oblivious kid. And Raz was okay with that, because he liked being himself. No matter what he went through, he didn't plan on changing. Not now, not ever.
No matter what the twisted, dream-version of his cynical girlfriend said.
The teen took a moment to dig through his backpack (yes, the same one he had used six years previous, with all his Whispering Rock merit badges still in place and lovingly cared for in spite of their age) and pull out a pad of paper and a pencil. He sat down on his bunk again and paused, thinking of what to write. Finally after a moment be began.
I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to leave for a while. Something's come up, and I need to go right away. Urgent Psychonauts business, you know how it is. Don't worry about me, I promise I'll be safe, and I'll call you when I get the chance.
He paused a moment, frowning. He supposed he wasn't technically lying, but he still felt bad not telling his dad where he was going. He always tried to give his dad as much information as possible regarding these things. But in this case he really couldn't risk his dad knowing where he was going. If whatever he was sensing in his dreams was as bad as it felt, he definitely had to make sure to keep everyone he cared for as far away as possible for the moment. He knew they could help, but, well... whatever was in his dreams, it was bad.
It was for their own safety. They'd understand, he hoped.
Good luck with the show. I promise I'll be be back as soon as possible. Tell Lili she can reach me on my phone if--
He paused again, frowning, then crossed that out. He wanted to tell Lili... he wanted to. But in his dreams... wasn't she always the one getting hurt? He could not tell Lili where he was going, because she was in more danger than his dad was. She was a powerful psychic, but he couldn't afford to take chances, and she if knew what was going on, she'd want to help.
Tell Lili I'll be back soon if she shows up.
Wait...he hadn't said that in years, why was he writing it now? He wasn't ten anymore. But... the boy shook his head and allowed himself a small smile as he scrawled down the final words and placed the note on his bunk.
With this task done he reached out to grab his tan leather trench coat and finger-less gloves. He tugged these objects on as he made his way for the doorway, grasping absently at his jean pocket. The boy paused, blinking, then glanced back at his trunk to spot the silvery, cell-phone like object with the Psychonauts insignia lying there. A soft orange glow came from the insignia, as the object was charged by his own psychic signature.
"Whoops, can't believe I nearly forgot that," Raz muttered, walking over to snatch up the communicator and stuff it into his pocket. "Sheesh, you've think after six years I'd learn..." he added as he made his way to the doorway again.
He pushed it open, then paused, glancing back. There lay his father, still fast asleep, a few old circus posters and pictures adorning the walls of his area, while Raz's was still covered in True Psychic Tales posters, a few of his old comic books still visible in a crate under his bunk. Moonlight streamed in front the little window into the tiny caravan, encompassing it in a soft, comforting blue glow.
It wasn't much, but it was home.
"I'll be back, dad. Later," Raz whispered, shouldering his backpack. He received a snore for a reply, bringing a smile to his face as he shut the door behind him.
To Be Continued...