-Cursum Perficio-

A Psychonauts Fanfic by Digitaldreamer

Chapter Five: D'artagan

--

Annnd another chapter down.

This is yet another one I like, if only because... well, yeah, it has D'artagan, also known as Dart! How can you not love Dart? He's adorable and he has a stocking cap! For those of you who don't know, Dart is the original main character of Psychonauts. They ended up changing him to Raz because his cap was too hard to animate, but he still exists in concept art, a little cameo at the end of the game, and in the hearts and minds of the fans.

I just had to include him because he's awesome.

So um... yeah. That's about all I have to say this chapter. On to the fic!

Suggested listening music is first For The Reunion from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (Track 5) followed by Freshman again (Track 2).

--

"You little wench!"

A slap echoed through the cavern, followed by a soft cry of pain.

"How is it out of all your selections, you managed to choose the child most likely to be taken home?"

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I didn't know, I'm sorry!"

Another blow, another cry.

"Don't apologize! You should have known! Foolish girl!"

A pained whimper.

"I'm sorry, really, I am! I'll try harder next time!"

"Damn straight you're going to try harder next time!" Pale fingers reached out to snatch dirty, matted blonde hair and tugged upwards, eliciting a cry from the hair's owner. "I cannot have you failing me like this, Inoue! Do you understand why?"

A dry, quiet sob.

"I have waited many years for this time to come! We cannot afford to wait any longer! The world can't wait any longer! It cannot wait another week, another day, another minute! The time for salvation is now, don't you understand that? Yet you continue to hold it off with your pathetic mistakes! Our sisters and brothers are paying the price for your carelessness, Inoue! They experience torment, ridicule, they suffer while you waste away their precious time! You foolish little girl!"

Things lapsed into silence, filled only by slightly-labored breathing after such a rant and the occasional sob.

However, even in the silence, he barely caught the mumbled words.

A sharp yank on the tarnished gold that was still woven within his pale fingers, drawing forth another cry. "What did you say?"

"I, I didn't--"

Another sharp slap rang through the air, the sound of a tiny body hitting the steel floor echoing through the room.

"Liar! I heard you! What did you say?"

"I...I..."

"ANSWER ME!"

"Stop! Please stop! When you act this way, you're no better than father!"

Silence. More sobbing.

"...What? Inoue... you don't really think... Inoue, my sister, you have it all wrong!" Long, thin arms came up to embrace the tiny girl they had just beaten. "My poor, misguided sister... do you think I speak this way because I enjoy chastising you? Do you think I enjoy punishing my own flesh and blood?"

A tiny, barely visible nod.

"Oh, no, Inoue! I could never do that!" Bruises were caressed by the very fingers that dealt them, soothed by words delivered by the same mouth that gave curses. "My poor sister... clearly, you mistake my discipline for cruelty. Do you remember what things were like back then?"

"...He ...he yelled at me. For my powers... because I didn't have any."

"Very good. But you do have powers, don't you?"

Another whimpered sob. "Y-yes... but father didn't like them. S-said I wasn't supposed to use them... was supposed to serve--"

"Shhhh. No need to reflect on the bad things anymore, sister. That was a dark time. But he is gone now. At long last, he is gone. The rest of the family was corrupt in thought and deed, the teachings tainted. But I have eliminated those unpure ways. Now whose teachings do we follow?"

"...Big brother's."

"Very good. You don't need to worry anymore, because I am going to use those talents for what they were truly meant for. They are no longer a sin. I will show the world that. In return, all I ask is that you follow me... I will show you my way to paradise. Now isn't that a wonderful thought?"

A final sniffle. "Yes... but... sometimes, brother--"

"Inoue, darling, I love you. You are my messenger, my angel. However, sometimes you mistakenly take the wrong path, and I must guide you back. I know these lessons are hard for you, love, believe me, they are not easy for me either. But I do this, not because I enjoy punishing you, but because I love you. Do you understand?"

"...Yes."

"Excellent." Pale fingers untangled themselves from golden hair as their owner stood fully upright once more. "Now then...are you prepared to try again, my sister?"

"Yes, big brother. I will not fail you again...I promise."

A sickening smile. "Good."

--

"It just doesn't make any sense..." Sasha murmured, the sound of his pacing echoing through the cavern that made up Ford's Sanctuary.

Ford watched him with a raised eyebrow, hands behind his back as he stood a few feet away. When Sasha was in one of his moods, it was best to ensure some space. "I think we pretty much got that the other night when the boy showed up, Sasha."

Sasha sighed, pausing in his pacing and raking a gloved hand through his hair. "Yes, I am aware of that, Ford. But it seems we have even more questions than we did when this started. Reoccurring dreams is not abnormal for psychics, particularly telepaths--"

"And I'm sure you're speaking from experience, am I right?" Ford asked.

The German stared at him stonily for a moment. "Yes. And if they were just simply nightmares connected to his phobia, as he seems to be hinting--"

"You mean the curse."

Sasha paused again, giving an exasperated sigh. "Ford, for the last time, Razputin is not cursed. There are no such thing as curses, as curses have no scientific explanation. He is not cursed, he simply has a very acute phobia stemming from him being fully convinced that he is 'cursed'," He snapped. Sasha liked Raz, truly he did. He just honestly found the entire curse thing quite ridiculous, and was fully convinced there was a proper explanation behind the whole thing that Raz just wasn't willing to listen to.

This time it was Ford's turn to sigh and roll his eyes. He had already been over this with Sasha when Raz had explained his "curse" to the two of them and Milla. He and Milla had been willing to buy it (and Milla had been sympathetic to the point of nearly smothering the poor boy) but Sasha seemed fully convinced that the curse was nothing more than Raz's own fear. The two had eventually had a great argument over it, which finally ended with them all agreeing to disagree.

"Alright, fine, whatever. Go on." Cruller muttered, waving his hand dismissively.

Sasha shook his head and mumbled something about how they were all "gullible idiots" before continuing. "As I was saying... if they were as simple as regular nightmares things would be different. Granted, reoccurring nightmares are not exactly normal... but I've never seen anything like Razputin's case before."

Ford frowned. "What do you mean?"

The German Psychonaut glanced over to him as he drew a cigarette out of the packet in his pocket. "Well... for one thing, after he fainted on the first night I decided to try recording the waves of energy he gave off from my lab. People's auras waver as they rest, they change depending on the dream and what happens within it, as well as what cycle they are in. I thought perhaps if I spotted any abnormalities it would help me get some sort of insight into what exactly is going on... but the energy he's been giving off is completely irregular."

"Hm... well, couldn't he just be getting someone else's dreams and thoughts? Again, that's pretty common with telepaths," Ford pointed out, his brow furrowing.

"I know that," Sasha sighed. "And I also know it's definitely not the case this time, I know from personal experience. The psychic pattern for that sort of thing is very distinctive, regardless of whomever is being effected. No, in this case it's as if he takes on an entirely different aura all together."

Ford's brow furrowed. "But... that's not possible. A person's psychic signature cannot change, it's unique from person to person and it stays the same throughout their entire life . There's no way to change that."

"So I thought. But in Razputin's case, his signature seems to completely change, and then return to normal and back again," Sasha murmured as he stuck the cigarette he had taken out between his lips and lit it via pyrokinesis. "It's possible it could be due to some sort of outside interference... but if there is any, my equipment isn't picking it up. It did the same thing when he went into the brain tumbler as well."

Sasha glanced back to Cruller, the light from the floating television screens reflecting off of his sunglasses. "I'm not sure what's causing this, but it's certainly abnormal. Add this to the sudden spikes in latent psychic power and the incident in that little girl's mind, and it seems we have more questions than when we started with."

The German took a long drag from his cigarette as Ford digested this new information, the only sounds in the cavern coming from the beeps and whirs of the various machines within it. "Didn't you also say he was attacked in his own head?" Ford finally said.

"...Yes. And ordinarily one would take this as a sign of insanity, but I've run tests, and Razputin doesn't appear to be insane. Aside from the mentioned cases, he seems perfectly normal, or at least normal by his standards. If I didn't know any better I'd say nothing was really wrong... but I know that's not right. There's something we're missing here, but it seems to be just beyond our grasp, and no matter how much I study it seems to only provide more questions!" As Sasha spoke he began to pace again, clear evidence of his agitation.

Ford watched him for a moment before speaking again, softer this time. "You're really worried about him, aren't you?"

Sasha paused in mid-step, his back tensing slightly. "Of course I'm worried. Perhaps it's foolish, to get so attached... but he reminds me of myself when I was his age." He muttered after a few seconds of silence had ticked by. "That's all well and fine... but I would rather not see Razputin go through some of the things I've had to endure, if possible. But that won't be if I keep running into things like these."

Cruller watched him for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah. I know what you mean."

The German chuckled bitterly as he raked a gloved hand through his hair again. "And as if these unexplained issues aren't enough, there's one more... and this may be the most baffling."

"Try me," Ford said, folding his arms before him.

"Well... when we were in the child's mind the other day, Razputin... he mentioned that it reminded him a bit of the happenings with the Ferrowbrooks case."

Silence for a few seconds.

"...The Ferrowbrooks case?" Ford finally gasped out, his eyes wide. At Sasha's nod the wrinkles in the old man's forehead became more pronounced. "But... how...?"

"I don't know. That's the thing," Sasha muttered as his cigarette floated about his head. "And given the fact that we've been busy running tests and teaching classes, both Milla and myself haven't been able to approach him about it."

Ford's expression visibly darkened. "The Ferrowbrooks case... not many Psychonauts can boast memories of that, for sure. But why would Razputin..." He trailed off again, frowning and rubbing his chin. The elder Psychonaut glanced back to Sasha, whom was watching him from behind his shades.

"Has Razputin... has anyone ever really taken a good look over everything since then?"

Sasha shrugged. "I doubt it. The agency seems fully determined to act as if Ferrowbrooks never occured."

At this Cruller gave a bitter snort. "Oh, of course they are. That's not exactly surprising. Looks like those unanswered riddles from two years ago are coming back to bite us in the ass," He muttered.

"So it would seem."

The two lapsed into silence once more, lost in their own thoughts. Finally Ford spoke again. "I think it's time that we took another crack at that case. The agency may be willing to try and forget... but I think this makes it more clear than ever that there's still more to the whole mess."

Sasha nodded. "I agree."

"Good. Now, not that I mind dusting off the old skeletons in the agency's closet with you, but don't you have a class to teach in er... Nein minutes?" Ford asked, a wry grin coming to his wrinkled face.

If looks could kill, Cruller would have been six feet under. "Ha ha. Very funny." Sasha ground out in monotone before spinning on his heel and stalking away.

"When you get old you start to learn to appreciate the simpler pleasures in life, Sasha!" Ford called after him, his chortles echoing throughout the cavern.

Yet even with the sudden change of the atmosphere, both Psychonauts were hardly distracted from their previous discussion. Ferrowbrooks had been a complete disaster. Few remembered it, and those that could Did. Not. Talk About It. But they were going to, because evidentially there were still some pieces remaining to the dusty puzzle.

After all that had happened two years ago, to the Psychonauts Agency, to them, to Raz, it was the least they could do.

--

"Alright, that's enough for today. Everyone get out okay?" Raz's voice rang through the trees that made up the forest near the GPC, sounding only a bit tired as he adjusted his goggles out of habit.

The campers around him all gave groggy nods, most clearly not quite used to the jolt that came with returning to one's body after being released from his mind. Some had fallen flat on their butts, dizzy, while others managed to recover after a few shakes of their heads. Raz couldn't help but grin as he studied them all. He remembered that feeling well, that was for sure.

"Well, great job everyone! If you guys keep what you all did today up, some of you could have your telekinesis badges by the end of the week!" The teen declared, his hands going to his hips. Several of the kids gave excited gasps at this and exchanged glances, clearly thrilled by the prospect of being able to toss heavy things at each others faces without actually lifting a finger.

Raz chuckled, shaking his head. It was his first class, and he had to admit it hadn't been so bad. Since he had such a wide variety of skills and Whispering Rock was so understaffed, Oleander had decided the boy would simply be teaching whatever needed to be taught at the moment. Today had turned out to be, obviously, telekinesis. Raz hadn't exactly had much of a plan, so he tried to just teach them like he'd learned the skill himself; suck them into his mind, make some old circus trash cans appear, and have the kids chuck them through hoops. While the kids had a bit of trouble at first, most of them had gotten the hang of it fairly quickly, and the class had passed with virtually no incident.

"So anyway, that's all for today, so you can all--" Raz suddenly paused, frowning as he sensed a small, bright red telekinetic hand trying to close around him. He then glanced over his shoulder, telekinetically lifting a scrawny red-haired boy up into the air by his ankle. "Two can play at that game, Todd!"

The boy, after getting over the initial surprise over suddenly being hoisted in the air by his ankles, laughed even as his face became about as red as his hair, gravity tugging his camp t-shirt down to reveal his pale stomach. The rest of the campers quickly followed suit, and before Raz knew it he was laughing as well.

He had to admit, he loved his job.

After a few minutes everyone's giggles finally subsided enough for Raz to speak again. "Okay, okay, whatever! Class is over guys, get out of here!" He said between chuckles. The gaggle of kids all gave a chorus of cheery goodbyes, then made their way towards the path that lead back to the main area of the camp, ignoring Ranger Cruller's yells about how the forest was off limits as usual.

All but one. As Raz allowed himself to let out a sigh and lean against a rock with a tired smile on his face, he glanced back to the clearing to see a small boy had remained behind in the grass. His yellow and green stocking cap blew in the breeze as he sat there, his dark brown eyes glazed as he stared up at the sky.

Raz frowned. He remembered this kid, rather vaguely. "Hey... um, class is over," He called, trying to get the kid's attention. "You can go."

The kid remained sitting there, staring up at the sky, probably daydreaming.

The teen's frown deepened and he approached the boy, a few fallen leaves crunching under his feet. "Hey, um..." He trailed off for a moment as he glanced down at the clipboard in his hand, searching for the kids name. "D'artagan?" He tested out, brow furrowing. How the hell was he supposed to pronounce that?

The boy glanced up, blinking. "It's Dart. That's what everyone calls me," He said, his voice so quiet Raz barely caught it.

Oh, right, Raz remembered this kid, barely. He just didn't stick in his mind as much as the other campers did, mainly because while most of the campers were loud, obnoxious, and enjoyed setting each other on fire, Dart seemed content to just sit somewhere and watch the clouds. He had never seen Dart utter more than one or two words to anyone else, or even smile.

"Well, alright, Dart it is then," Raz said with a smile. "Come on, class is over. You can go now."

Dart blinked again. "...Oh." He stood, brushing a few leaves and some dirt from his baggy brown shorts and dark blue button-down shirt. "Right... I'll go then," He turned and made as if to walk away. However, after a few seconds he paused, sighing.

Raz's frown deepened, and in a few strides he caught up with the boy. "Is something wrong?"

The boy let out another sigh. "It's nothing. I'm just not getting this, that's all. All the other kids are really good at everything they do... but I barely even passed basic braining, and that's the only merit badge I have. Everything else I can't do at all."

Raz chuckled, shaking his head "Dart, it's okay if you don't get everything right away. Not everyone does. That doesn't mean you can't do it, it just means you need more time. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it," He said, offering an encouraging smile.

Dart shook his head. "No I won't. I don't even know why my parents sent me! I barely have any sort of psychic powers, the only reason dad wanted me to go is because everyone else in my family is a talented psychic! I'm the only one who can't do it!

"Come on Dart, you know that's not true," Raz said, placing a hand on the boys shoulder.

"Yes it is!" The boy said, shrugging off Raz's hand. "I can't do any of this, and I'm probably never going to be able to! The only reason my parents sent me was because they were hoping I'd show a sudden burst of talent, but I don't have any talent! It's not like I'm going to be a Psychonaut at ten years old!" Finishing his rant, Dart lapsed into silence, panting and glaring up at Raz, small tears of frustration forming at the corners of his eyes.

Ahhh, there was the problem. A bout of little self confidence, parental pressure, and one too many stories.

Raz sighed. "Dart... listen up," He squatted down so he was at eye level with the boy. "I hate to sound cliché, but I know what you're going through. Dealing with pressure from parents can be tough... trust me, I know. But they only want what's best for you... and that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to become a Psychonaut at the age of ten," He said with a small chuckle. "Not everyone's going to get things the first try, but that doesn't mean they can't do it. They just have to keep trying, and sooner or later they'll get the hang of it... and that goes for you too. You just need a little self confidence, that's all."

Dart gazed up at him, sniffling. "...You think so?"

"You bet." Raz said even as he inwardly winced. God, he sounded like an after-school special! "Look, you couldn't have gotten into this camp if you're not psychic, so obviously you are. You just need self confidence and practice, and sooner or later you'll get it! So just believe in yourself and keep trying... trust me, as long as you do your best, I think your parents will be proud."

By this point Dart was staring up at him with wide eyes, and Raz was inwardly marveling that the stuff ripped straight from his old Saturday morning cartoons was working. "Really?" Dart gasped.

Raz grinned and nodded, standing up straight. "Yup. You just gotta keep practicing."

Dart shuffled his feet for a moment, looking thoughtful. Then, slowly the corners of his mouth lifted into a tiny smile. "Hmm, I guess you're right. Wow Raz, you sure are smart!"

Though Raz had been planning to head back to the counselor's cabin, he found himself chatting with Dart for two more hours. He told Raz about his family, about his school, and even shyly mentioned what a big fan he was. Raz hadn't minded listening, and had in turn been willing to share some of his own stories with the boy. He was just glad to see Dart opening up and talking, really.

Finally around midafternoon Raz had the mind to glance at his communicator to check the time. "Whoa!" He gasped, jade green eyes widening. "Looks like it's nearly time for Milla's class. You'd better run, wouldn't want you to be late!" He said, glancing down at Dart.

"Really?" Dart's shoulders slumped slightly. "Guess I'd better go then..." He muttered, making as if to walk down the path back towards camp.

"Hey, Dart!" Raz called after him, bringing the boy to a stop once again.

"Hm?"

Raz grinned and punched his fist into the air. "Just do your best! Believe in yourself and keep trying, deal?"

Dart blinked. Then his somber face lit up in a grin. "Deal!" He called back, throwing his tiny fist up in the air. Then he spun around and began running down the path, the end of his stocking cap billowing behind him.

Raz watched him leave, then shook his head and grinned as he turned away, stuffing his hands into his pockets. "I think I'm beginning to see why Sasha and Milla come here year after year. It's not a bad job, that's for sure," He murmured as he began to make his way towards the counselors cabins.

He only made it to the beginning of the trail, however, when a loud, bloodcurdling scream stopped him in his tracks.

Jade green eyes widened. "Dart!" Raz gasped as he spun around, his scarf swirling behind him with the movement, hearing the sounds of rustling trees and dozens of fluttering wings as a flock of startled birds took flight.

He was down the path in a flash, using levitation in an attempt to go faster. Trees whizzed past, branches speeding just over his head as he ducked to avoid them, fallen leaves fluttering up into the air in his wake. Finally he came to what he believed to be the source of the scream and skidded to a stop, glancing this way and that as he panted for breath.

"Dart!" He called out, his voice ringing through the now eerily quiet wilderness. "Where are you?" Upon receiving no answer, the teen let out a frustrated growl, his aggravation still failing to mask his worry.

What if what had happened to Kiki had happened to Dart as well?

Raz took a deep breath and let it out, forcing himself to calm down. "Come on Raz, focus. That kid needs your help," He muttered as he pressed two fingers to his temple, his other hand reaching out blindly in front of him as he closed his eyes and concentrated.

There he was.

His eyes flew open and he turned, leaping over the wooden rails and off of the beaten trail. Leaves crunched beneath his feet as he weaved around trees, trying desperately to follow the signal he had only just barely caught. At last he came to a small clearing the wilderness, his eyes widening at the sight before him. Dart was floating a few inches off the ground, his clothes covered in bits of old, dead leaves and dirt, his stocking cap floating limply beside him like some sort of cloth serpent. He was glowing with a soft greenish blue light, the color wavering like water, his brown eyes wide as he stared sightlessly up at the sky.

What was truly shocking, however was the girl knelt over him.

She was thin, impossibly so, as if she hadn't eaten anything in ages. A dirty, tattered white dress hung off of her small frame, which was just as dirty if not more so. Her greasy blonde hair was messy and tangled, hanging off of her head in uneven clumps as if she hadn't had it properly cut or even brushed in months. It hung over her face, overshadowing it. She was holding her hands just above Dart's chest, her soft, chilling whispers filling the air and sending the hair on the back of Raz's neck on end, though he couldn't understand her.

Raz stared for a moment, his jaw going slack. What was that girl doing? He had to stop her! But the light... her words... there was something about it that made him feel as if he shouldn't interfere. The teen shook his head, fighting off the trance he had been going into. No! He had to help Dart! "Let him go!" He cried out.

Instantly the blonde's head shot up, her bangs falling forward to cover her left eye. Her right eye, which was a haunting, frigid sapphire, widened at the sight of him. The glow around Dart vanished almost instantly, and with a light thump the boy fell to the ground as the girl shot to her feet.

"Dart!" Raz cried out, falling to his knees at the boys side and sending fallen leaves and sticks everywhere. The boy was still breathing, but just like Kiki his face remained frozen, brown eyes fixated on something Raz couldn't see.

"Damnit..." The teen murmured, biting his lip. He then glanced up to the girl, whom remained standing there, gaping at him. Raz's eyes narrowed. "What did you do to him?"

That did it. The girl, whom couldn't have been more than ten, turned and bolted.

"Hey!" Raz cried as he leaped to his feet and followed. There was no way he was going to let Dart's attacker get away!

Unfortunately for Raz, for such a tiny little girl with seemingly no muscle, she was fast! She zipped through the trees, blonde hair flying behind her, tattered dress swirling around her thin legs. Raz could barely keep up as he lept through the underbrush, branches slapping at his face and chest, twigs snapping under his boots.

"Damnit, I don't have time for this!" Raz finally snapped, trusting forward his right hand. Orange energy flared around the girl and snatched her up, eliciting a high-pitched cry from chapped lips.

"Ha! Gotcha!" The teen exclaimed with a grim smile. "Now let's get some ans--"

He was cut off as he spun the girl around, eyes widening as her blonde hair moved with the motion to reveal her other eye. It was jet black like the night sky, the pupil itself a glowing a soft white. A thin, black scar ran along her face from the outer corner downward, a perfect arch marring her pale skin.

Upon being revealed the white center of the eye widened, Raz's own pupils dilating at the exact same moment. The trees vanished, the soft chirping of the birds vanished, the girl vanished, and all Raz could see was that blinding whiteness. Then with a groan he crumpled to the forest floor, the telekinesis holding his captive up vanishing as he slipped into unconscious.

And all Raz knew was black.

--

"Razputin? Razputin? Sweetie? Come on darling, wake up!"

Raz groaned, cracking open one eye to see a blurry mess of swirling bright colors and chocolate-brown above him. "Milla?" He mumbled, his voice coming out foreign to his ears.

"Oh, thank goodness!" Surprisingly strong arms pulled him into a hug, drawing another groan from the boy. "I was so worried!"

The teen gently pried the gloved hands from his shoulders and moved back, blinking. A few successive blinks finally managed to clear up his vision enough to reveal that the multi-colored blur had in fact, been Milla. It also revealed that the sun was once again going down, meaning he apparently been unconscious for some time.

The hell?

"What happened?" Raz asked as he glanced around, blinking groggily.

"We're not sure," Sasha spoke up from beside them. "We simply found you and D'artagan here. We were hoping you could tell us."

Raz frowned as Milla stood, brushing the dirt and leaves off of her skirt. What had happened? He remembered talking to Dart for awhile... and then when he left he had heard Dart scream and had come to investigate. And then...

"The girl!" Raz exclaimed suddenly, getting to his feet, any thought of brushing the mess from his clothes forgotten. "Where's the girl?" He demanded as he looked from Sasha to Milla, then glanced around the clearing.

Sasha frowned, brow furrowing. "What are you talking about, Razputin?"

"Yes, what girl?" Milla asked.

The teen shook his head. "The girl! There was this girl, I saw her! She was tiny and blonde and dirty and she did... I don't know, something to Dart! Where is she?"

Both Milla and Sasha glanced at each other. "There was no girl, Razputin."

"We only found you and Dart, sweetie."

Raz groaned, hands clenching into fists at his sides. "Damnit!" He cursed. "She got away!"

"Language, Razputin..." Milla warned, but went ignored.

"I don't know who she was, but I know she was responsible for Kiki too! I just know it!" Raz stated as he kicked at the leaves.

Sasha and Milla glanced at each other again. "Razputin... are you sure you saw that girl?" Milla asked gently.

"Yes, I'm sure!" Raz cried, sounding insulted. What did they think he was, crazy? "Why wouldn't I be sure? I saw her do... whatever she did to Dart!"

"Well..." The Brazilian trailed off, biting her lip. "Are you sure that perhaps you didn't just dream it?"

Raz's jaw dropped. "You... you think I dreamed this?" He sputtered.

"Well... possibly..."

The teen stared at the two of them, at loss for words. Sasha then spoke up. "Razputin, we ran a scan of the area. We couldn't find any psychic signatures aside from yours." He said.

Silence for a few moments.

"There... wasn't any psychic signature? None?" Raz repeated quietly.

"None what-so-ever."

Raz stood there, dumbstruck. "But... she was there! I saw her! I chased after her! Look, Dart has the same energy coming off of him that Kiki did!" He cried, gesturing to the boy.

Milla sighed. "Well, yes, but sweetie, that doesn't necessarily mean--"

"No, it's from that girl. It has to be. I'm telling you, she was here! She's the one that did this to Dart!" Raz exclaimed, cutting her off, his voice raising as he spoke. His shoulders were tense as he began to pace, sparks of aggressive energy flaring off of him. He was frustrated, first there had been the thing with Kiki and now this, and here he had some answers and no one was believing him. If they didn't listen to him that girl was going to get away and they wouldn't get anywhere, why couldn't they see that!? "She was here, I'm telling you! Why won't you believe me? She--"

"Razputin!" Sasha suddenly barked, cutting the boy off. "Control!"

Raz suddenly stopped, blinking. Upon noticing the sparks he winced, taking a deep breath. Wow, he hadn't managed that in awhile. He let the breath out, his shoulders relaxing a fraction. After a few seconds ticked by he spoke again. "But... she was there. I saw her, I'm telling you..." He mumbled, his eyes meeting theirs, pleading for them to believe him.

If they didn't, it was just one more sign that he was really losing it. And he couldn't have that.

Milla sighed, flashing Raz an encouraging smile. "It's alright sweetie, we get it. We'll keep that in mind, I promise."

Sasha frowned thoughtfully. "Well... it could just be that Razputin really did see this girl, and she is simply very good at masking her psychic tracks. That's always a possibility."

Raz sighed. "Yeah... yeah, that's true."

The three Psychonauts remained in silence for awhile, pondering over this. Then, quite suddenly, a new voice spoke up.

"Wow, Raz. Things really do get more exciting around here whenever you come to camp." Raz's entire body tensed on reflex and he immediately spun around to find the speaker. Upon seeing her, however, he completely froze up.

She was taller now, wearing a black button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, the material fitting to her frame quite well. She had ditched her old skirt for a new green and plaid pleated one that matched her tie quite well, and she had traded her old gloves for fishnet that extended from her wrists to all the way up her arms. She wore matching knee-length fishnet on her legs, a pair of heavy-duty black boots and a choker completing her outfit. Her hair had also grown much longer, though she still kept it in the same long pigtails that she had when they were ten.

But even with all these changes, and even with all the dark eyeshadow smeared upon their lids, Raz would have recognized those amber eyes anywhere.

"...Lili." He gasped.

--

To Be Continued...

Yaaaay, cliffhangers!

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