Amir turns his attention to Mist. "And the next time you wanna talk down to me —no fighting or insulting, okay?—" Amir mocks "—I won't hesitate to eviscerate Halo."
With that, he shoves past them to disappear into the house after Adora and Jennifer. Jennifer is sulking near the door while Adora inspects her nails.
"Well, I told the outsiders I was gonna punish you, so now I have to do that. Go and put some shorts on then come down to the kitchen," Amir says. He looks irritated but tired. "You grew up in the south, right?"
Jennifer nods slowly. "Yessir," she says.
"Right, hurry up then," Amir says shortly before making his way over to the kitchen.
Jennifer rushes upstairs and changes quickly. She already has an idea of what Amir has planned for her, and while it's not the worst punishment he could've come up with, it still makes her stomach churn with anxiety. She lets her hair down, too, pulling it back into a ponytail, and she feels a hundred times more like herself.
When she gets down, there's newspaper laid down on the ground and over the paper, a thick layer of grits.
"You get fifteen minutes, then you can go play with your little friends," Amir says, getting the timer on the stove ready.
Fifteen minutes? Not so bad. "Yessir," Jennifer says, kneeling down on the grits.
Amir stands around with Adora, and they talk quietly about nothing in particular. It's almost nice, except for the stinging pain in Jennifer's knees. By the end of her fifteen minutes, it's painful but not unbearable, and she's relieved when the timer goes off.
"Alright," Amir drawls around a cigarette. "Clean up your mess and go."
"Yessir," Jennifer chirrups as she gathers up all the grits and newspaper. "And … thank you, sir."
Amir glances at her. "Hmm?"
"I— For— For not hurting me much," Jennifer says, feeling a bit silly.
Amir snorts. "Punishment is proportionate to the crime, or whatever. All they did was talk back a bit, but we don't need them to get into the habit of it, least of all with us." He looks her up and down. "Go on. Next time you'll be picking your own switch."
Jennifer pales. "Yessir! Sorry for the trouble, sir." She rushes out, nearly smacking into Morgan as he's just stepping down the porch steps. "Where were ya?"
"I … went to go get some medicine. Where were you?" Morgan asks softly.
"Kneelin' in grits," Jennifer pouts, glancing down at her swollen knees.
Morgan looks confused, but Jennifer shakes her head.5/3/2019 #121
Mist curls into himself, trying to appear smaller than he already is as he replies softly, trembling with terror, "Y-yes sir..." Then quickly step aside to allow Amir to pass him, staring down at the ground.
Both Shades and Mist remain silent, petrified, stomach turn into knots as bile begins to build up in their throats before they quickly swallowed them back down, taking in shaky deep breaths, trying to stop their trembling frames.
Shades has no shame showing how he really feel but he quickly rub his eyes from the tears that rolled down his cheeks by the edges of the sleeves, still staring down at his feet. Feeling horrible for the punishment he put Jennifer through and to witness it...it was agonizing. Shades wanted nothing more than to crawl somewhere and die himself. Shades takes a wet shaky breath, sniffling while wiping his eyes away. He will never get her or anyone hurt ever again.
Mist licks his lips, now not feeling hungry anymore and more scared than anything at the moment as he reaches back to his braid, wrap his arms about his frame with the braid tangled in his embrace to self sooth, self comfort. He needs to calm down. He has to be stable for his own as well as Shades, Halo and everyone else's sakes. He doesn't want anyone getting hurt because of him.
Nick watches before straightening, walking over to where they stand but says nothing as he gives them his silent support but also give them space. Comforting them at all at that moment would only make things worse.
Finally taking a deep trembling breath, Mist loosen his arms, looking towards Shades with great worry and shame. Shades in return continue to tremble like a leaf in the wind, still wiping his face of any evidence of his near break down just seconds ago.5/3/2019 #122
"'Scuse me," Jennifer whispers, voice paper soft. Her cheeks are flushed a pale pink.
"Is everything alright?" Morgan asks as the pair step up to the group.
"No, everything is not alright," Halo snaps, teleporting between them. "Amir is never going to do me any other again. Thanks." He glares unhappily. "All I wanted to do was hold Shou, and you guys had to go and be jerks about it. I told you he wouldn't do anything, and he didn't."
"It was just an illusion, a glamour," Jennifer explains quietly, staring down at the ground. "He didn't hurt me none."
Confusion flickers over Morgan's face, but it clears up a moment later. "Oh…"
"Great. Thanks. Thanks so much," Halo spits out, turning and stomping up the steps and into the Farm House, frost spreading over his clothes.5/3/2019 #123
Startled at the sight of Jennifer alright and fine place so many emotions running through both Mist and Shades but mostly Shades since has no idea whether if he should be relief, happy, scared, guilty, confused, hurt... He has no idea what to feel at that moment when Jennifer softly announced her presence.
So before Mist or Nick could respond to their questions, Halo abruptly appears between them which startles both Mist and Shades though more so than it should.
As Halo snaps at them, Nick was about to explain to Morgan what happened but he sees the male quickly catches on of what occurred.
Mist set his gaze down at his feet while Shades does the same. For an illusion, it sure looked real.
"We're sorry...," Mist apologizes but Halo already left before he could get the words out of his mouth.
"I'm s-sorry...," Shades repeated, looking away with great shame and guilt.
Nick's eyes behind the blinds followed Halo before he disappeared into the Farm House before returning to the group.5/3/2019 #124
Jennifer and Morgan watch Halo go, and Jennifer flinched when the door slams shut.
"Amir is … part djinn," Morgan explains. "He can … manipulate reality — create things, essentially, like the person he's based off of, though nowhere near to the same extent, and it's much more taxing for Amir— but his specialty is illusions."
"All he made me do inside was kneel in grits, and not even for a long time," Jennifer mumbles, bringing her hair over her shoulder and combing her fingers through the long caramel tresses. "I've done that plenty'a times back when I still lived with Mama and Daddy, for a lot less, too."5/3/2019 #125
"Illusions...," Nick comments before side glancing at the two feys who continue to gaze down at their feet, shoulders hunched. Though that threat to Halo's well being wasn't an illusion, he thought but he kept that to himself.
"I'm sorry," Shades says in a whisper but loud enough for her to hear. "I'm sorry..."
"We're sorry...," Mist corrected Shades before picking at his braid, unraveling it to loose strands while they stood there.5/3/2019 #126
Jennifer doesn't say anything as she stares down at her knees, red and swollen and still stinging.
Morgan shakes his head. "It's okay," he says softly, glancing at the House. "It's just … our usual…" He scrunches his nose up a bit in thought. "Well, Gabriel and Shiro and Wren usually supervise us, but … they weren't feeling up to participating today, so they left … other pieces of themselves in charge for them. Gabriel left Amir and Halo, Shiro left Emil and Shoko, and Wren left Petra and his twins, Opal and Onyx. They're not exactly like their … bases, so of course they're going to do things differently, and Amir and Emil and Onyx in particular have what you might consider mean streaks. I just hope…"
Morgan trails off, going quiet with a small frown. "Well, I'm sure it's fine. Amir took care of things in the way he saw best fit. It's taken care of. It's done. Nobody is in trouble anymore, and Jennifer is perfectly fine."
Jennifer nods quickly, still fussing with her hair. "Halo ain't happy though."
"Halo is perpetually ill-tempered, that's true of all of them," Morgan says matter of factly. "He'll settle once Amir does."
"I guess so," Jennifer mumbles.
Morgan nods, reaching out to pat her back gently.5/3/2019 #127
Mist nods, sighing through his nose at Morgan's words while Shades couldn't help but gaze at Jennifer's knees before looking down at his feet again. Mist continue his habit of unbraiding his hair, separating small braids into loose strands, making it look messy but also wispy since his hair it slowly turning into mist.
Shades wants nothing more than to blend in with the shadows, his form and features loosing stability, appearing more close to a shadow than human but he quickly caught himself, focus hard to keep his form solid.
Mist takes another shuddering breath before nodding once more. "Okay...," he responds, still unbraiding his hair in self comfort, taking another steady breath.
Nick hums softly before glancing at everyone. "Well why don't we just sit down and take a breather?" He suggests.5/3/2019 #128
"Sure, just let me get some ice for Jennifer," Morgan says.
Jennifer is quiet as she leads them back to their table. She sits, staring down at her lap, not saying a single word.
Morgan returns a few minutes later, talking to himself again. "Not a very good one, that's for sure… I don't think they will, especially since—" He quiets when he reaches the table, sitting and patting his lap. "Here, put your feet up," he tells Jennifer. Jennifer does just that, propping her sneaker clad feet up on Morgan's lap, and he leans over a bit to settle a baggie of ice over her knees. "How's that?"
"Alright," Jennifer says quietly.5/3/2019 #129
Nick nods with a hum. "Alright...," then follows Jennifer.
Mist nods quietly as he and Shades follow Jennifer before sitting down in their seats with soft or muffled sighs.
Mist lost his appetite long ago, staring down at his fingers, watching how each small braid becomes unraveled into a loose strand.
Shades curled into his seat but he tries to straighten up, at least look like he understood what he done wrong without acting like a whimpering coward.
Nick sits in his own seat looking around: Shades gazing up over at Jennifer before ducking his head, looking shameful and guilty while Mist sucks his lip, fingers fly away as each braid comes undone.
"Shades...," Nick calls out to him which cause the shadow look up at him, his red eyes sunken in, nearly losing their color. "You're hands' cold... With your permission Jennifer, Shades can ease that a bit for you..."
Then there was a spark in Shades' red eyes but they look uncertain though. Will this action only cause more trouble than good? Even Mist doesn't look as confident as he once was earlier.
"U-um...I don't mind...," Shades stutters quietly. "B-but only i-if Jennifer says it's okay..."5/3/2019 #130
Jennifer doesn't look so sure herself, glancing over at Morgan.
He nods encouragingly. "If you'd like," he tells her.
"If I'd like?" Jennifer echoes. "When has any of this been about what I like?" She doesn't know where the words come from, but they're spilling out of her, hot and wet. "I'd like to have a nice time. But that ain't gone happen now. I'd like to not be touched against my will, I hate that, but it'll just make me a frigid bitch to say no now. I'd like ta not have ta put my feelings aside the way I was forced to for so long, but I'm gonna a have to, aren't I? Or else there ain't no fix in' what the last outsiders broke." She begins crying softly, putting her hands in her face.
Morgan frowns a bit, and for once, he doesn't seem to have anything to say.5/3/2019 #131
Mist and Shades don't know what to say to that other then looking embarrassed and ashamed, feeling that they are repeating exactly what the others did last time.
Nick looks around at everyone, deep in thought.
"You don't have to put your feelings to the side...," Shades says, his voice becoming steady. "I'm sorry I made you feel that way..."
"I'm sorry as well," Mist apologizes softly, his hands going still but still gripping his braid.5/3/2019 #132
"Maybe it was too early to petition," Morgan says finally when Jennifer doesn't say anything at all. "Maybe…" He shakes his head. "That's not a very helpful thought." He glances off to the side, as if peer up at someone standing next to him. "I know but—" His face flushes bright pink, eyes going downcast. "That's— That's different, he…"
"Ghosts rarely have your best intention in mind," a cool voice chimes. It's Gabriel, dressed down in a sweatshirt and leggings under shorts. He's picking at the petals of a white gardenia. "Try not to pay her so much mind."
Morgan's breath catches, and he forces his gaze on his lap. "Of course. Thank you."
"I try not to make it a habit of coming down here, but I hear things aren't going so well — Halo's throwing a terrible tantrum inside. Shame, I hoped things would work out better," Gabriel says, voice soft and even. When he finally looks up to inspect the guests, his gaze is much like Amir's — cold and indifferent. He sighs, moving the ice off of Jennifer's knees to heal the swelling with a press of his hands. "You are guests, and you should act accordingly," he says, tone chilled. "You will not talk down to those who I've appointed to oversee this gathering —or growl at them because you dislike their tone of voice—, and I will not have you forcing my creations to coddle you and your hurt feelings." He moves his hand from Jennifer's knees to her face, brushing her little girl bangs out of her face. "Maybe I should've gone with Declan instead… Hmm… Is it too late to change line up? Probably not, there's no real attachment yet, I could still move things around without a whole lot of fuss… You lot aren't the most excitable or outgoing, I will admit. Halo is particularly difficult."
"So was Jason," a cooler voice intones flatly. It's only Anima, though, with his blank gaze.
"Hmm, yeah, but at the time, it suited Si," Gabriel says, leaning over to prod Morgan's cheek, trailing the tip of his finger up to Morgan's temple. "When it didn't, I changed it. But I'm not in the business of shuffling up my creations personalities for outsiders anymore."
"Oh," Anima says emotionlessly.
"I'll have to catalog," Gabriel says finally. He turns back to the guests, expression less than pleased. "Be polite, this is the last time I'll tell you. And the next time you make someone cry, you will not be invited back until you learn some decency."
Jennifer sniffles, watching Gabriel and Anima go, while Morgan continues to stare down at his lap. "Yeah," he murmurs softly to himself. "You usually are."5/3/2019 #133
Mist and Shades don't know what to say to that as Morgan spoke before their brows begin to furrow as Morgan begin to talk to himself. Now thinking about it, this seems familiar to them...
Morgan has to be talking to someone when he does that..., Nick thought with a hum. He has to be... Then a new voice shakes him from his wondering thoughts to gaze at the new face. Nick only seen or met Gabriel on several occasions but never got the chance to actually get to know him so it was a surprise to see him here when Morgan and Jennifer repeatedly states that he, Wren and Shiro weren't into today.
Mist blinks and looks up at Gabriel as does Shades, seeing the creator of Morgan and Jennifer for the first time. Now seeing Gabriel up close, Amir and Halo do share some similarities towards Gabriel. But quickly ducks their heads as they were lectured and scolded by the other creator, nodding to every word though to hear about Gabriel changing things up while finding them not excitable and outgoing did pierced part of themselves but what could they say or do? Gabriel is right and they really can't do anything about it except be polite and don't make anyone cry.
"Yes sir," Mist responds.
"Yes sir," Shades copies.
"Of course, sir," Nick replies like he was responding to a commander which was not far off from the truth. His mother taught him well to obey respectful authorities.
Once Gabriel and Anima left them, Nick glance at Morgan but withheld his question and just softly sighs through his nose.5/3/2019 #134
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