One on One's... And only that! discussion

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ONE X ONE > | Jaz and Tabi No. 3 |

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message 1: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments And here we go again ^.^


message 2: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments



                                           | Elliot Langdon |

                                                  | Ellie |

                       | Age | 17                           | Birthday | September 9th
                       | Gender | Female              | Sexuality | Heterosexual
                       | Height | 5'7                     | Weight | 116 lbs
                       | Hair | Chestnut brown     | Eyes | Ice blue



                                               | Powers |

Mind Reading is something that Elliot has always been able to do. While she's able to delve deeper into a person's mind when she tries, it's usually more of a bombardment of the superficial, current thoughts of the people around her.

Telepathic Speaking is pretty much the opposite of mind reading. Elliot has a lot less experience using it and has only really used it on accident but it's her ability to speak to others in their mind.

Illusions come in multiple forms for Elliot. She's able to project images, sounds, smells, tastes and even physical feelings onto people. It's only something she's ever really used on one or two people at a time but she has the ability to stretch it, she's just never used it.

Mind Link is a sort of imprinting, a mental bond formed if you will. It's permanent mental bond that Elliot can form with someone when she develops a certain closeness with them. It's involuntary and not something that Elliot has ever formed with someone before. It allows her easier access to their mind and memories while also allowing them to get snipets of her thoughts and feelings.



                                               | Personality |

Elliot has always been a solitary person. She has a tendency to act weird, mostly during the times when she accidentally references something or responds to something that they hadn't said aloud. A lot of the time, she doesn't mean to. Sometimes she just can't determine what was actually said and what was thought instead. Unfortunately, it has left her friendless and deemed 'that weird girl'.

She has always felt like an outsider. Even though she grew up in a house with two parents who provided for her, it just never felt all that right. Everything was so normal except her. A cute house with a white picket fence and two parents in love and she happened to be a weirdo who could hear what people were thinking and was never sure whether or not the thing she was seeing was real.

Ellie was never an outgoing type of person, though she never really had the opportunity to be. She was quiet, introverted, always covering herself up and trying to blend into the background. Friends never stuck around, always leaving her as soon as they found out her tendencies to reply to things only going on inside their minds or the strange sensation of hearing her voice in their head.

Despite her introverted history, Elliot has always wanted to do more but her personal insecurities have always kept her back. Travelling, finding herself, learning what the hell was going on with her abilities that no one else seemed to have.

She has always doubted herself, doubted what was going on in her head and her ability to connect with other people but her ability to get into another person's head has never turned her into a moral high ground.

In fact, her abilities have only spurred on an insatiable curiosity she had. Some thoughts were unwanted but a lot of things she picked up on only had her curious to delve in where she could or pushed her to snoop when she wasn't eager to continue searching a not-so-innocent mind.

Knowing so many secrets and having no one to tell them taught her how to keep a secret and appreciate the trust needed when someone knew something you wanted no one knowing. But, not a malicious person, she was never swayed by the odd thought here or there to use the secret to her advantage. Though, she did appreciate the sentiment 'knowledge is power'.



                                               | History |

Elliot was born to parents she didn't know and was adopted by a lovely couple, Janice and Paul Langdon, who raised her, never telling her that she wasn't their biological daughter. She was always a strange child. Always over intuitive, Ellie usually gave parents an odd feeling and her piercing eyes didn't help that fact. They cooed over how adorable she was and then laughed awkwardly when she made a comment on things that they hadn't said aloud.

As she got older and she started spending more time with other kids, she started realising she was more strange than she had originally thought. She heard voices that other people didn't and as the people around her pushed away, she pushed away right back.

She didn't know what was going on with her and the one time she brought up her problem to her parents, they shut her down with questions of mental stability that had her terrified to bring it up again in case they sent her to a hospital where they would fix her because she was broken.

This idea that she was broken was something that she grew up with and as she grew up, it all got worse. She could hear more voices from further away, voices that wouldn't go away. She could see things that other people couldn't and sometimes, people around her had an experience that was either impossible or that no one else had and things like that only seemed to happen around Elliot.

While the voices got louder, her tolerance got smaller. It was hard to handle everything and she turned to meditation, long runs and walks in the mountains around her town. She started spending more time on her own because being around so many people for too long gave her headaches and often had her confidence waning as it made her realise that she was so strange compared to everyone else.

Despite how she didn't fit into her world, it was pretty normal. She went to school, did her homework, had family dinners.

But there was always something off with her life, something that had her feeling disconnected. It was a silence that always encompassed her parents, a constant hounding of teasing words and judging looks, it was the feeling of being in the wrong place.






message 3: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (last edited May 29, 2017 11:42AM) (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments description

description[[TANNER JANSON]]

description //Nickname(s)//
descriptionnone


descriptionAge//20descriptionHeight//6'3"
descriptionBirthday//October 4thdescriptionWeight//183 lbs
descriptionGender//maledescriptionBuild//lean; athletic
descriptionSexuality//heterosexualdescriptionHair//dark chocolate
descriptionStatus//singledescriptionEyes//soft gold


description


description[[Powers]]

Transmutation: Tanner can shift the cells of his body to be shadowy or shadowlike, giving the illusion that, in darkness or shadows, he is invisible. He is still quite tangible and corporeal. But this ability of his comes from the fact that he has wings that he can make appear and disappear at will into the bones of his shoulders and arms. These are always shadowy in appearance, but still tangible and powerful. Combined with his mild levitation skills, this gives Tanner a firm grasp on the power of flight.

Pyrokinesis: This is Tanner's strongest power. He can control and create both the large and small amounts of fire. His first revealed power appearing when he was three years old and burned down his caretaker's tent, and still the one he has the most trouble maintaining a normal facade with. His body temperature will always read at high fever levels, but that is simply how he is. This power shows during strong emotions, usually anger and frustration. He has tried to keep this from injuring anyone, but he is not above mildly burning people who give him the most annoyance.

Levitation: His weakest power, but it does give him a graceful way of moving. He can hover several feet in the air by levitation alone, but he usually uses his wings when needing the power of flight. He can also levitate other objects and people, but this is more of a strain for him and tires him faster than he would by levitating himself.

Telekinesis: Another small, generally useless power except for tricks like his knife-throwing act. He can direct the path and trajectory of objects in motion, but never for long periods of time. It's more like, as he says, throwing a punch. It will impact something, but he can't maintain it for more than a few seconds.


description


description[[Personality]]

Tanner is, on average, a very easy-going kind of person. He doesn't take slights easily and is more prone to laughter than anger. He enjoys practical jokes (though he doesn't take them easily towards himself as he does in pulling them on someone else) and always has a sly, sarcastic witticism or two at the ready. He doesn't mind holding a conversation, especially if it is a new or fascinating subject, but he doesn't readily strike them up himself. He carries a dangerous vibe with him as part of his pyrokinesis and keeps to himself, as he makes acquaintances better than he does friends. This is in part due to the fact that he is busy as the second-in-command, but also that he does not easily connect to people on a deeper level beyond average friendship.

As the second-in-command, Tanner is firm but still approachable. He is logical in any part of his life, but this shows the most when he is in his official role. He doesn't hesitate in his decisions, but he doesn't rush hastily into them either. But he will not sway on something once he has made a decision or a judgement. This doesn't mean he is unforgiving or compassionate, merely that he is not a weak leader. And he has done quite well in this position, earning himself a good reputation as being trustworthy, loyal, and strong. There is a certain type of aloofness that comes with the position, but this suits him just fine as, again, he doesn't care for many relationships of various kinds.

This doesn't mean he has never had romantic entanglements before - no. He was, in his middle-teens, moderately involved with an acrobat who use to work with him in his levitating and knife-throwing acts. But when she left for someone more open and not as reserved, Tanner was hurt but not deeply. That was only his longest relationship; he is more of the passing fancy kind of person, and usually only with guests or visitors. However, he doesn't break hearts intentionally as he is more than vocal about where his attachments and heart lies, even though these situations are few and far between. He generally keeps to himself, preferring the ease of solitude.


description


description[[History]]

Raised in the carnival life, Tanner never had to hide his powers from the people who cared about him. He was abandoned to the carnival as an infant, which then gives the common assumption that he was given to the carnival so that he would have a place to grow up without fear of retribution for his extraordinary status. Raised by almost the entirety of the carnival population, he knows everyone and everything about the carnival intimately, raised on skills like tightrope walking (from which he first showed his levitation skills for keeping his balance) and gymnastics (like scrambling about the tent rigging and framework - where a fall revealed his shadow wings and saved his life).

As he grew older, Tanner began to see how the world outside the carnival was much, much different. Dangerous. His powers were frightening, not wonderful. He was labeled as a freak, not a wonder. This caused a short period of bitterness towards outsiders, but then he decided that he would not let ignorance and prejudice rule him as it did with so many people. He was different, and he owned it . . . but he also didn't rub in other's faces it.

It was this fact (along with his unique set of powers) as well as that he was a favorite of the carnival Master's family, that earned him his position as second-in-command. Also, being raised in the carnival gave him a certain sense for it and others, such as who would fit in, who could be trusted, etc. True, there were mistakes made and feathers (metaphorically and literally) ruffled, but Tanner quickly proved himself an excellent choice.

Now, a headline act with his flight act and knife-throwing, he is a well-recognized figure in the carnival. All new arrivals are brought to him first, and he is the main assignment manager.

description Anything else: TBRP'D


description


message 4: by Jaz (last edited Jun 09, 2017 10:29AM) (new)

Jaz | 415 comments There was a forest at the back of town, huge and isolated, filled with trails up their claim to a mountain. It was tranquil, serene and the place that Elliot visited nearly every day. It was silent, void of invasive thoughts that she wasn't able to escape. There were so many days when she wasn't able to keep up, when her walls just weren't strong enough and started to crumble, leaving tears in her eyes as the headaches built and built until there were black dots flooding her vision. A daily trip around the mountain was a piece of personal therapy, self-prescribed mindfulness to try and keep her mental walls strong.

Only, that night, as she trudged to the field that led to her favorite forest trail, she found something in her way. There, in the middle of the field, swarming with people, drowning in music and flooded with brightly colored lights, was a carnival.

Elliot had heard about the carnival in passing, those were thoughts and whispers that she skipped over. She wasn't interested in going out of her way to a loud, boisterous carnival filled with too many people. But, as she stood there, her hands in the pockets of her denim jacket, she felt curious. Too curious to turn and walk away or continue on around the carnival.

So she pushed forward, mixing in with the streams of people who chattered on about their excitement.

Her chestnut hair nearly covered her face as she attempted to blend in as much as she could. She didn't like standing out, didn't like attention around her. She'd had plenty of attention on her in her life and none of it had been good so she tried her best to avoid all of that. Besides, Elliot preferred the background. It was easier to eavesdrop on people there, though people never knew when she was eavesdropping on their thoughts anyway.

It was disorienting, all of the sounds, the smells, the colours. She kind of loved it. It was different. It was a sensory overload and it distracted her. Distracted her enough that she didn't realise she was following a group into one of the large, stereotypical tents for a show. She climbed the bleachers, sitting on the cold metal, her hands folded underneath her legs, her shoulders hunched over.

The man who stood in the center of the circular stage was interesting, holding the audience captive with his words and magic..? Ellie wasn't quite sure what it was, she wasn't paying that much attention to him. She was more interested in the rapt, undivided attention the audience was paying him, how their thoughts swirled around him, consumed by his show. It was enthralling.

A hand nudged her arm, a harsh, hushed whisper urging her forward. Her eyes snapped to the woman next to her who was motioning to her with wide, muddy green eyes. Another girl, around her age, maybe a little older, grabbed her hand, tugging her forward, off her seat and down the steps behind her.

What?

Read their minds, that's all she needed to do, that's all she needed to figure out what was going on. But she couldn't. She was frozen, her mouth opening and closing as people spoke to her, no words reaching her ears as she stood, paralyzed.

A piercing scream tore through the air.

The tall, pretty blonde girl who had pulled her down to the stage with her was on her knees, her eyes filled with tears as she screamed about someone dying.

One by one, the four other 'volunteers' of the magic act broke down in gut wrenching, terrified screams that had the audience fidgeting. Children started crying, adults shouting at the performer who seemed just as confused as another person in the front row joined in on the petrified screaming. He slapped himself, swatting at imaginary bugs that were swarming him.

That was when Ellie realised what was going on.

She hadn't meant to do it. She had just been scared. It wasn't on purpose, it was never on purpose. Her heart was just racing, pounding in her chest so loud she could hear it in her ears, feel it in the tips of her fingers, pushing her lungs so tight she could hardly breathe. Her chest was heaving, the world around her swirling, like she was watching a scene from a movie, like a dream she wasn't in control of.

Panic attack. They happened more often than she would have liked. She needed to calm down. She had to calm down. The illusions wouldn't stop unless she made them but all she could think about was gasping in air to stop herself from drowning.

((That was a lot longer than I realised XP))


♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments In Tanner's opinion, traveling was one of the best parts of being in the carnival. Nothing lost its appeal, no street grew too familiar; it was always new, always exciting, always different. Even towns they'd visited before had some detail that wasn't the same, like a new fence color or the loss of a building. And one could find themselves one day surrounded by tall steel structures and bustling streets, and the next by quiet, sleepy woods and sharp-eyed, judging small towns.

It was kind of addicting, this life. And Tanner was absolutely in love with it, which was a plus. He couldn't really leave this life. None of those who found their way into the carnival could, not if they wanted a chance at the kind of normal people like them could find. Outside of the carnival, you were on your own; in the carnival you had a family.

That morning they had arrived in the pale, early hours before sunrise in a town they hadn't been to before. There was a lumpy range of mountains on one side, and a flat, coin-silver lake on the other. It wasn't too small of a place, but neither was it very big - it was an in-between town, an almost-city, and those were some of the best kinds. Here, people believed without too many doubts or logical explanations, for magic seemed real without the bothering presence of technology to get in the way. Here was where the carnival could really be fun.

Tanner did his fair share of work, helping with the tents, sorting out last-minute wrinkles in performances and road-weary relationships. By the time outsiders started trickling into the sprawling, twinkling booths and tents, he was already exhausted . . . but there was also that energizing sensation of a performance that lay heavy in the air. It sparked through his bones and sent his blood racing; made his gold eyes spark and dance.

And for a while, everything went perfect. Sure, there were always the regular hiccups, but that was show life for you. It wasn't clockwork.

Until the screams.

They weren't the normal I'm so excited! or Yikes, that freaked me out, haha! kind of screams. These were raw and terrible - fear given a horrible, shrieking voice. The panic was coming from the second-biggest tent in the carnival, the one where the current show was taking place . . . or had just been attacked. Tanner didn't know. All he did know was that it was his family there and he needed to be with them, to protect them from attackers or from ignorance.

When he burst into the tent, adrenaline hot and jittery in his veins, lighting his fingertips with fire and making his feet light and barely touch the ground, he came face to face with something terrible. And the strangest part of it was that he didn't know exactly what it was, only that it was terrible and there and absolutely real. Or . . . was it?

Tanner was no stranger to illusions; half of the carnival was one illusion or another. That was what magic was, to make you think something else was this or that, that what was unreal was real, and vice versa. And after his first, stunned moment of doubt, he realized that thing in front of him was an illusion. It wasn't attacking him, not really, but he thought it was.

"Go away," he snarled at it, or whoever was conjuring it, and darted past it and deeper into the tent.

There were more of the things, in varying sizes and shapes, and undoubtedly the source of the screaming. But why were they here and who was creating them? It couldn't be one of the carnival folk, Tanner thought, running through a quick mental list of the faces and powers that he knew of. No, it must be someone new. And so he scanned the roiling crowd for someone that didn't fit, someone who was new and stood out, someone quiet with concentration . . .

There.

It was a girl, and she stood with hunched shoulders in the middle of the chaos, her eyes squeezed shut. It wasn't a look of the same mindless, confused terror as the rest of the people; it was a look directed towards some internal working inside her head. Tanner was well aware of the expression, having grown up with different kinds of it around him his entire life.

Pushing the crowd aside with short bursts of his telekinesis, he made his way to the girl. When he reached her, he got in close, ready to disarm her should she prove to be more dangerous than mere illusions. Though the illusions were panic-inducing enough, as the chaotic crowd was proving them to be.

"Hey," Tanner called above the noise. He would reach out to her, but he felt the heat of his touch thrumming under his skin. He would have burnt her. "Hey! You're doing this, aren't you?"


message 6: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Fire.

The burning smell of smoke seared into her mind, coating her throat and nostrils and somehow making it easier to breath. She could focus on the fire.

But where had it come from?

It got closer, stronger, more potent, right until she heard a voice. A voice that cut through the terror that surrounded her, pulling her eyes open just a fraction until she could see him standing in front of her. His words seemed to disappear as he said them, dissipating in a cloud of smoke that curled like a ghost around the dark mess of his hair.

She could focus on him, focus on the ember glow he seemed to have, the way his thoughts tasted like scorching days at the beach and his mind left her with a warmth in the center of her chest.

The monsters started to disappear, each going up in a poof of smoke and crumbling to a pile of ash that was whisked away by an imaginary breeze until all that was left was an echo of emotional trauma that seemed to follow Elliot around like her own stench of smoke. The screaming subsided, replaced with relieved sobs and the pattering footsteps of people running in any direction that would help them get away.

Her bottom lip trembled, the cloudy blue of her irises returning to the sharp, icy color they usually were. Her hands shook, her palms sore from the indents of her nails that she could already tell had broken her skin. And all she could do was gape at him, at this stranger that had inadvertently helped calm her down.

"I'm so sorry."

The words were trembling, her voice soft and broken, but she didn't have time to internally scold herself. Instead she ran right past him, towards the tent's exit and as far away from the persecution she was expecting as she could.


♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments It was like hearing his voice broke the spell she was under, and thus broke the illusions, too. The girl glanced up at the same time as the illusions flickered and crumbled away, leaving nothing but the memory of their presence. Tanner wouldn't have been sure that she was the one doing it, not one hundred percent, except he saw her eyes drastically change color. One moment her gaze was cloudy and distant, like the sky full of wispy clouds; the next it was sharp and bright, a blue so vivid it seemed unreal.

When she went to bolt out of the tent, he instinctively reached out and caught her, keeping her next to him. He didn't think she was particularly a risk, but he didn't want to, ha, risk it. And with such an action, he saw more fear in it than guilt. He knew the look, the feelings; a lot of the new arrivals to the carnival were like that, having lived most of their lives dreading discovery.

With the loss of sudden danger, Tanner's fire died down so that he could touch the girl without burning her. And he made sure to put his hand on clothing, not skin, since even without his fire ready to come surging forth, his touch held an unmistakable, startling heat. Especially to those who didn't know him. With his bright eyes and hot skin, he was easily suspected of being in the fierce throes of a fever, as some visiting girls had fussed about, asking after his health and whatnot.

He'd let them do so for a little bit, basking in their attention until they left back to their lives and he to his, moving on to the next town.

"It's all right," he told the girl, his hand steadying on her shoulder. She looked perhaps more shaken than the rest of the quickly disappearing crowd, though some brave souls had lingered and were now offering quiet applause like the whole thing was a part of the show they'd come to see. "I'm not going to hurt you, all right? None of us are, okay?" He leaned away from her, took a step back, and let flames flash briefly over his fingers, leaping over his knuckles before he extinguished them a moment later. "See, I'm like you. Just . . . try to take deep breaths. In. Out. Like that. In and out."


message 8: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments A hand grabbed her, stopping her fleeing exit before it had even began. That was it. She was caught. She didn't know what to expect, probably a lot of shouting about how she was a freak and a weirdo before throwing her out. She'd never been very good at shouting. Whenever she got mad, she started to tear up and people usually thought she was upset which only spurred them on.

A lot of the new arrivals to the carnival were like that.

Her eyes widened, her head snapping towards him. She didn't know if he'd said it out loud or not; judging from the way he held her shoulder and spoke to her, it had been in his head. But his thoughts only sparked questions. Were there more people like her? Was the carnival made up of people who had different abilities like she did?

The question was answered before she even had the opportunity to delve deeper and find out for herself. Flames flickered over his knuckles, answering yet another question she had been eager to find the answer to. It saved her a dive into his mind but she was still tempted to see what else she could find out from this supernatural stranger that was telling her to calm down. She followed his advice, taking a couple of deep breaths as she tried to respect his privacy a bit more than she usually would and allow him to speak to her rather than finding out everything before he'd been able to introduce himself.

Tanner

I was a nice name all the same.

"I'm really sorry, I didn't-I didn't mean to. It just happened and I tried to stop it but it just wouldn't stop and I'm really sorry," she apologised, her eyes darting around, not focused on him but rather something behind him. She reached out, his fingers reaching past him. "Wings?" she whispered but pulled her hand away before she could touch the illusion in her mind. It had been years since they started but she still had a hard time discerning what was real and what wasn't.

"Can I go now Tan-?" Ellie cut herself off before she could finish his name, hoping that he hadn't picked up on it. Or that he had picked up on it and he would be freaked out enough to let her leave like most people usually did.


♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "It happens to the best of us," Tanner said with a little smile, silently adding Though most of us had it happen when we were little. "It's okay, all right? It was just illusions, so that's good. If it was something worse, like fire or ice or you fried all the lights, that would be a little more of a problem. But it was just ill-"

He stopped when she reached up over his shoulders, reaching for what wasn't there. Not now. And she asked about wings, his wings, a puzzled frown on her features. Was she creating an illusion of wings or did she somehow . . . know . . . oh. Great.

Tanner quickly imagined a thick, white-hot wall of flames in his mind, like a barrier. They had a few mild mind-readers in the carnival who posed as fortune tellers or mediums, so he knew the ways to block them, mostly. There could always be the chance of one powerful enough to fight past barriers and take what they wanted anyways, but it couldn't hurt to protect himself. And if he hadn't been sure about this girl's power, he was when she stopped herself from saying his name before he had the chance to tell her it.

"No, not yet," he said, frowning a little. "Since you're like us, I think you should stay here. We can protect you. This carnival . . . everyone here is like you and me. Different."

It was a replica of the kind of talk he gave all new arrivals: upbeat but firm. He didn't want unprotected, unknown people wandering about the world when there was a place like the carnival for them. And he also didn't want unknown people wandering into the carnival, tearing it apart because they could or they were hired to. There were the good, neutral, and bad kind of supernatural people, just like there were those of the normal ones, too.


message 10: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments A smile quirked the corners of Elliot's lips, despite her efforts to keep herself firm with him. She could feel the heat of the wall in his mind, tickling her with warmth that only had her wanting to reach out and touch it, test it, see if she could throw a bucket of water on it and extinguish it. "No one's ever blocked me out before," she said, her voice distracted as she reached out and brushed against his mental barrier. It was colder than she expected.

She snapped herself back to reality before she could get too lost in his mind, her eyes focusing back in on him and the words he was saying to her.

Stay? She couldn't stay. What would her parents do? Probably nothing. They'd probably be relieved that she was gone. Ellie wasn't even sure they knew she was gone now. But that didn't mean she would just be able to pack up and run away with the circus.

"I-I can't," she answered, her eyebrows furrowing as she looked up at him. "I've gotta go home. I've got my parents," she argued, though even as she did, she could hear the wavering doubt in her voice.

Would her parents even care?

"What is this place?" Elliot asked, forced to actually use her words now that he had put a barrier between them. Though it didn't seem as threatening as he seemed to think it would. She was sure that if she just-

No. She had to focus. He was asking her to run away from everything she knew. She couldn't do that. Could she?


message 11: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "Well, I'm not just no one then," Tanner retorted, the sharpness of his words tempered with a honey-laced smile, the kind that his friend Jo said was a lady-killer. "I don't like people digging around in my head."

He frowned when she mentioned parents. Wait, she was still living with her family? Were they like her . . . or, no, it didn't seem like they were, judging by the way she spoke about them. Quiet. Like a second thought remembered through necessity, not want. And the fact that she sounded hopeful about his offer; she wanted to fit in. He got that. And the carnival gave that.

"What do you think this place is?" Tanner asked, quirking an eyebrow at her as he folded his arms across his chest.

He glanced around the carnival, the scattered crowd now seeming to come to a general conclusion that everything had been staged. Some he saw were arguing with the carnival folk that had appeared to smooth things over - there would always be the disgruntled people, too determined to see everything the way they wanted it to be - but the majority had calmed down and the carnival was back to normal.

Looking back at the girl, he dropped his arms, sticking his hands into his coat pockets. He probably looked pretty suspicious with his dark, hulking coat and tangled, shaggy mess of hair falling into his features, but appearances weren't much of a worry to Tanner. His coat helped contain and disguise his high temperature, as well as being fireproof to boot. And his hair, well, he just kept forgetting to cut it, opting to pull it into a ponytail for ease instead of taking scissors to the long, thick locks.

"Look," he said, trying for a more persuasive, reasoning tone. "No one believes what you can do, right? And when they do, they're freaked out. Well, here that's different - everyone has something different about them. We watch out for each other because of that and" - he spread his arms out to encompass the carnival - "what better place to hide than out in the open?"


message 12: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Tanner was fascinating, that much Ellie knew. He had wings, though she wasn't sure whether she had read his mind or whether it was just an illusion she'd created because of how the rich smell of campfire seemed to surround him. Though that could have just been her mental impression of him as well. After her panicked freak out that left everyone running in terror, she wasn't able to tell what was real and what wasn't, now more than ever.

And then he smiled and she could feel herself melt just a little. That was some smile, the kind of smile that made her want to make him smile again.

"Well I don't know, that's why I asked," she answered with a shrug of her shoulders, her voice naively innocent despite how easily her words could be taken as rude and cheeky. But she meant them how she'd said them, innocently literal. "Are you saying that everyone here is...like this?"

There was no way. It couldn't be. She'd never met anyone else in her life that even hinted that there was something more to them, some ability akin to the one she had. And yet, here he was telling her that the entire carnival was some sort of safe haven for people with powers.

"So...you're asking me to...what? Come with you?" Ellie asked, her eyebrows furrowed. She hated feeling confused but she still wasn't pressed enough to push against the barrier he'd put up. She'd try it later but she couldn't let herself think about that. She had to think about his proposal.

How was she supposed to leave her parents? How was she supposed to leave her entire life? But what kind of life was it? One without any friends, where everyone avoided her like the plague or made sure she knew that she wasn't wanted. Where the only interaction she usually had with her parents was a polite 'how was your day' when they all forced themselves to sit around the table and pretend to be a family.

"Why would you want me here?" She was genuinely confused. The only interaction she'd had with her so far was when she completely ruined her show because that was what she did. She ruined things. It was her entire life, just one mistake and one mes up after another.


message 13: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments Tanner's immediate thought was that she was being snarky with him, but then he heard the confused innocence in her voice. He tilted his head at her a little in a confusion of his own, though it wasn't really surprise that she was like that. A lot of the lone supernaturals were ignorant of the size of their metaphorical family.

"Yeah, almost everyone," he said, his tone subdued once he had realized that she wasn't going to try and create trouble. Well, not right off. She could be a good actress and he a duped audience, but he highly doubted that. He'd been here long enough to know to trust his instincts, and his gut told him that she could be trusted. "There's a few humans because true love or something like that, but the carnival is made up of and run by people like you. And because we're all of the same kind of cloth, we help those who don't have a place like this. A place they can be safe in. So that's why I asked you to join up."

((Sorry it's so short =P ))


message 14: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie nodded, trying to take it all in. It felt as though the rug was being dragged out from under her, sending her sprawling as she tried to reconcile the world she knew with the one she was being presented with as true. Her entire life, she'd believed that she was crazy, or at least some part of her was certifiably insane. People avoided her, ran from her, mocked her, and each insult built and built until she felt sure that the problem was all inside of her head and she just needed to be checked into an insane asylum.

"Do you want to know now or can I think about it?" Her voice was soft, softer than she'd expected it to be. Perhaps it was her body rebelling, trying to make her consider what she was leaving behind if she tried to leave. She was being pulled in two separate directions: one telling her to be safe, stick with what she knew, the other pushing her to embrace who she was and try something new as she'd always wanted to. A smaller voice was urging her to push back against the mental wall that Tanner had placed just to see if he was hiding anything but in that moment, she ignored her curiosity to respect the privacy of the person who was offering her an out.

"I don't know if I can give you a real answer without thinking about it at least a little." There. She'd said it. She'd told him she was considering it. Though, he probably knew already because as much as she'd tried to conceal it, she'd always been told that her eyes were dreadfully expressive.


message 15: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "You can think about it," Tanner said, shrugging, "but you should probably have an answer by tomorrow morning since that's when we'll be leaving."

He wanted her to say yes right now because that was one less paranormal human in danger and one more addition to the carnival family. Which mean one more of their kind protected from the rest of the world. For while Tanner didn't know first-hand of the dangers that paranormal humans faced, he knew those who did. And the tales they told . . . he didn't know if he would ever wish those fates on anyone.

"So, I guess I'll maybe see you around," he said, taking a step backward. She was intriguing, yes, but it wasn't that he never met new people. In the carnival, he was constantly meeting strangers. "In the meantime, I've got stuff to do and you've got an invitation to mull over. And, if you decide to at least stick around for the rest of the shows" - Tanner flashed that devastating smile at her again, but this time with a touch of teasing mischief to it - "try to keep your powers on low, all right?"


message 16: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments ((Do you want me to post once more and you have another one or do you want me to skip to the morning in my post as well?))


message 17: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments With a relieved sigh, Ellie huffed a whisper of a laugh, nodding in response. Without another word, she turned and walked away, twisting around as she did to offer him a small wave, trying to ignore the dread in her stomach.

She hated decisions.

~~~

The forest had always been her solace, no matter what time of day it was. As long as Ellie needed some time away from the buzz of the world, she went to the trees. Be it the afternoon, late at night or during the dewy haze of the morning.

She would trudge across the overgrown grass of the field and clamber over the rickety fence that did nothing to keep any creature in or out of the wood. Perhaps her parents knew where she went when she sneaked out of the house at all hours, perhaps they didn't even realise that she did so. Or maybe years of practice had turned her into a ninja who could scale down the trellis on the side of her house in thirty seconds flat.

Whatever it was, it hadn't stopped her from returning to the field that led to her beloved woods, the trailers and last remnants of the canival all that was left in the center of the open space. Unconsciously, she reached out, drifting through the dreams of residents still asleep in their beds, the to do lists of those making final preparations for their departure and for the second time in her life, coming across those minds who had learned to put up a barrier against those capable of reading minds.

Now, all she had to do was find Tanner, before she changed her mind and decided to run back to a house that hadn't even realised she was missing.

((Sorry it's so short...))


message 18: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments ((Meh, it's fine as always, darling. I do apologize for the length of my absence on this thread!!!))

Tanner was a heavy but short sleeper. He only needed a few hours to feel rested, which was why he was one of the few early risers. Most of the carnival folk slept in, seeing as they had late nights running the performances and cleaning up after the visitors.

This morning, as he wandered through the silent, fog-covered carnival ground, he felt a wandering touch brush across his mind. It was a fleeting sensation, but enough to cause him to throw his mental barriers up and be on the alert. Mentalists were the hardest to detect and block, their powers those of subtlety and persuasion.

Tanner had caught enough from the soft, exploring shiver to know that the intruder was on the outskirts of the camp. And so he prowled through the fog, his footsteps silent as he hovered just above the ground. Every sense of his was on the alert - sight narrowed to catch any moment through the blur of the fog, ears pricked for any odd noise, and his muscles tense with the possibility of a scuffle.

But when he saw the figure gradually slip into focus, his feet lowered onto the ground and his wariness dimmed. It was the girl from last night, arms wrapped around herself as she watched him approach.

"Couldn't stay away, could you?" he asked, his voice quiet in the silence of the lightening morn.


message 19: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Even though Ellie had watched him as he approached, she still jumped when he spoke to her. It was nice to hear something aloud when everything invaded her mind, but it still wasn't something she was expecting. He left her in awe, even without the dizzying hum that the liveliness of the carnival brought. There was something about him, a dark mystery masking a warm comfort. She wasn't quite sure how she felt about it.

"Well, I, uh, just need..." She trailed off as she took a deep breath, steadying the shuddering anxiety that was threatening to make her light head pass out. "I can't do this anymore. I can't stay here anymore. I need to know what I can do and I think you're the only people that can help me. I've hurt people. I don't want to do that anymore."

Squeezing her eyes shut, she took another breath, curious at how she'd just managed to get through all of that. But she'd made it here, she'd already taken the leap and made that first step. She was stronger than her parents gave her credit for. She could do this. She had to do this.

"You can do that...right?" Ellie asked, brushing a piece of hair behind her ear. "You can help me? Help me to stop doing things like what happened last night?"

She gulped, knowing that if she was ever going to be accepted here then she was going to have to open up and share herself with them. "That's not the first time that something like that has happened. I traumatised a girl once. She was in a coma for two weeks. When she woke up, she wasn't the same. I can't do that anymore. I can't-"


message 20: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "We can certainly try to help you," Tanner replied, recognizing the desperation in her quiet, hesitant voice. "Every one is different, their power unique to them, but at least here you'll be around your own kind -- the freaks." His mouth curled up in half-derision, half-acceptance of the title, and not in a taunting way in either tone.

He then listened in his open, understanding way which made him one of the best qualified to welcome new members into the circus world. The girl's story was one of many sad ones that he had heard over the years; none of them had easy backgrounds. But what stood out about it was the strange, immense power she held inside of her. She was nowhere near any mental powers he knew of, though the base delivery of them was the same.

But the effects? He could barely wrap his mind around them. Perhaps, in time, as she understood her powers and the extent of them, she would be able to be understood herself.

Suddenly, he sensed that her desperation had heightened and that she was seemingly pushing herself to prove herself acceptable for the circus, when in cases like hers, that wasn't the point. He didn't view her as a danger, not the kind that would worry him in letting her into the tight-knit community of the circus. But it seemed that perhaps she saw herself as a danger, and the years of living under that weight had made her careful to hide the darkness she deemed wrong so deep inside of her that bringing it up, talking about, was a fierce struggle.

"Hey," he said, interrupting her shaky voice. "Hey, it's all right. You don't need to read anyone your autobiography, okay? We've all struggled with our powers, each one of us. There's nothing wrong with you, okay? Nothing."

He stepped forward carefully as he spoke, hands outstretched in an open, inviting gesture. With less-volatile people, he would have moved forward and rested his hand on their shoulder and wrapped them in a comforting embrace, but he had seen enough of this girl to realize that she wasn't the sort for such unexpected contact. And he merely sent the invitation and waited for her response.


message 21: by Jaz (last edited Feb 15, 2018 10:03AM) (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie nodded, feeling the crushing pressure on her chest ease some, enough to make her breathing easier. It would be okay. They'd let her come with them and she could move around and see the world and never have to return and her parents would never see her again. There was a voice in her head that worried about how her parents would feel but the more logical part of her knew that her parents probably wouldn't even bother calling the police.

He was holding his arms out. It was for a hug, that much she knew. But her brain didn't register that before she reached out a hand to shake his.

The awkwardness hit her like a truck.

"Thanks."

She pulled her hand back, running it through her hair, pushing it out of her face before letting it fall back to cover her face again. It would be okay. She would be okay.

"I wanna figure it out. I wanna learn how to use it. I know I can do it, I just don't know how. You'll help me, right?" There was more conviction in her voice, more of a confidence that she constantly pushed away, that was drowned out with worry.

((Okay, it's crazy short and I can/will edit it. What's our next step with this? Where are we going? I was thinking the most fun thing to do was have them get on the road, maybe have her try out her powers so they can have some chats and then introduce her to other people?))


message 22: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments ((We were, if we’re still on?? I had a few things to do but I’m still here for the next five or so hours?

Maybe skip to the circus on the road? I really like that idea, I think having a casual stop off would be perfect!))


message 23: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments ((Awesome XD))


message 24: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments Tanner grinned as she reached out and took his hand, giving it an awkward shake instead of leaning further into his offer. He wasn't disappointed or amused, but rather relieved that she was allowing herself to accept his offer of understanding encouragement . . . and, by proxy, the circus itself as a whole and community.

"We'll certainly do our best," he replied, turning slightly and beckoning her to follow him. "C'mon. Wheels are rolling in about an hour."

~~~

After hours of stretching highway interspersed only by two gas stops, the lengthy caravan of the circus vehicles rolled into the empty lot of a campground. This time of the year as well as being in the middle of the week meant the place was theirs alone. When Tanner floated out of the small camper he'd been driving, stretching his limbs after hours of sitting, he smiled at the relative silence. Oh, there was the mingled shouts and tiny squabbles that always arose when they stopped and camp was being thrown, but it lacked the raucous clamor of strangers flooding through and around circus tents.

He went to look for the girl, Ellie she'd introduced herself as this morning, and found her standing by herself next to the van he'd found her a seat in.

"Hey, you made it," Tanner greeted, giving her an approving nod. He then swept a hand out at the people milling about, beginning to set up tents and preparing campers for the night. "We're going to be here a few days, I think. Get some new acts sorted out, plan our next line of show stops, and let you" - he reached out, meaning to tap her lightly on the nose, but awkwardly stopping himself and then drumming his fingers against his thigh - "stretch your wings a bit. Well, unless you've got wings . . . do you?"


message 25: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments These people were weird. They were so utterly and amazingly strange. Tanner had found her a spare seat in a van and she was crammed into a middle seat because no one wanted a middle seat and they said she was small enough for it. She was, she didn’t mind. They were letting her in, taking her in, even if she did, she couldn’t really mind.

And they were weird. She’d never seen people so loud and confident and free. They laughed and joked and teased, behaved how she had always believed a family should behave. Her family was never like that. The three of them were awkward and quiet and distant.

Ellie wanted weird. She wanted interesting and individual and extraordinary. She loved it.

Hours and hours she listened to them until she started laughing and they turned her teasing to her. It didn’t last all that long, they noticed her hesitation and respected it. She became a part of it and it made her feel something. It was this stirring in her chest, something that made her want more and to be more.

When the car eventually pulled to a final stop and everyone fell out and flew away to find others, Ellis stayed. She had no where else to go. So she lingered, listening to the thoughts of those around her, picking up on those things that they let slip, mostly accidentally.

Then Tanner arrived, making Ellie jump softly as he pulled her out of the day dream state she had fallen into.

“No,” she said with a soft laugh. “I don’t have wings. But you do. They’re cool.” She could see it in his minds eye, in the image of himself that wasn’t covered by the block he had on her.

She tilted her head, prodding a bit more, testing the strength of his block tentatively as she decided that if she tried, she could certainly break past the wall he had built to protect himself from her.

“So, what can I do? To help, or whatever, I guess,” she offered, feeling slightly guilty that she was just standing there while everyone worked. Freeloaders were notorious in people’s thoughts, even the best people judged them, even if they didn’t mean to and shot those thoughts down.


message 26: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "Yeah, I do," Tanner agreed with a roguish wink, letting his wings flash out for a moment before tucking them away into the space between shadows. "They're very cool."

He frowned a little as he sensed her probing, but didn't speak up about. Perhaps it was unintentional, as seemed the most likely explanation. She herself had admitted to being out of control, so he didn't think much of it. But if she started to gain a grip on her powers and the probing still continued, well, then he'd give her a little talk about mental etiquette and boundaries. It wasn't that he didn't have any dark secrets to hide, but he didn't know very many people who appreciated others poking around inside their head. It was the highest and most intimate invasion of privacy.

"Oh, don't worry about that tonight, or even the next few nights," he reassured her, shrugging the offer aside. "You're new, so the best help you can give is learning how things work around here. Ask questions -- most won't bite, I promise, and the ones that do, well, just bite them back and they'll leave you alone -- and observe. When we next stop, then I'll get someone to teach you some of the basics and we'll go from there, okay?"


message 27: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie could feel when Tanner tensed, aware that she was pushing against him. Part of her was aware that it was probably an invasion of privacy but she wasn't really trying to do it. She was curious and it seemed to happen without any effort. Perhaps, if she ever got her powers under control, it might be something to try and work on, to try and erase the mental footprint that she left when she was looking through the mind of someone.

Tanner's answer gave her no comfort. What was she supposed to do? Just, stand there and watch? She didn't know what to do. There was a strong part of her making her regret her decision. What had she been thinking? She had just left home and run away with the circus. She had hardly anything with her and it was all with the hopes that this group of stranger would be able to help her to control her mentally mutilating ability.

"Okay..." she said to herself, turning her eyes to the sky, trying to get her thoughts in order amid the voices clamoring around in her mind. "So, what do I do?"


message 28: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments Tanner quickly realized that instead of finding freedom in being left adrift, Ellie floundered even more. And while he had tons of -- oh, wait! He mentally smacked himself, blaming his slow thoughts on the hours of driving and exhaustion he always found in the dimming haze of evening, right before he caught his second wind of energy.

He was the perfect candidate for Ellie to trail after, since he had his fingers in so many parts of the circus, and learn the basic overview of their community. But he also didn't want to become her crutch, as he thought might happen since she seemed to brighten whenever he came near her. That was definitely because he'd been the one to offer her a place in the circus, sure, but he also suspected there was a little more to it. Nothing too bothersome, but he certainly didn't need someone clinging to his every footstep. Anything like that he abhorred with a passion, and was perhaps the reason he never settled down in any circumstance, always needing to be free to flit wherever he wanted.

"You know what," he said, tilting his head in the direction of his camper, "why don't you tag along with me? I can show you the ropes and stuff." He tacked on a charming grin edged with sass. "Might as well finish the job I started bringing ya into here, right?"


message 29: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie didn't mean to but she could feel a flicker of apprehension and confusion. It was completely unintentional but he seemed to give off strong emotional auras, enough that as she tried to focus on not listening to him, she still managed to do so. But he was giving her something to do so she chose to ignore that.

"Oh-okay, yeah, alright," she answered with a nod, feeling a bit of relief that she wasn't going to be left stranded when socialising with strangers gave her heart palpitations. Maybe it was rude to have always expected him to bring her around. It just seemed like a natural progression that after inviting her to join, he would show her around and help her find a place. She didn't even know what it was that she was supposed to be doing there. She had been given an opportunity to escape and taken it.

"So, what is it that you do around here?" Ellie asked, hitting two birds with one stone, both needing to satiate her curiosity and try and drown the voices she couldn't silence.


message 30: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments He nodded when she followed after him, keeping his footsteps weighted to a normal degree. This meant that he made a cringe-worthy amount of noise, much more than he was used to making since he preferred to hover just above the ground. But it allowed him to stay with an easy pace to keep up with, as he generally skated about with his levitational powers, coat flapping behind him.

"Oh, this and that," he replied airily and most definitely noncommittally. "Kind of a jack-of-all, well a lot of people are, but I'm the one who keeps tabs on pretty much everything and everyone. Have since I was wee thing bobbing about this high off the ground" - raised his hand chest level, indicating the height he'd preferred to float at before his mid-teens - "but this time it's official."

Tanner really didn't want to say the level of his standing in the circus, didn't want to intimidate her, but he also wasn't about to downplay it much, either. For newcomers but really anyone in the circus, they showed lies but lived truths. Falsities were strictly frowned upon, because this was supposed to be a place where they were safe and a lack of trust made such a thing impossible.


message 31: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Somehow Tanner managed to be the most boring and interesting person that Ellie had ever met. She could tell that he was an interesting person and yet the fact that he told her nothing, gave her nothing to go on and blocked her out had her terribly bored. She was hoping that being with a circus would erase the boredom she felt with her life but she was still too afraid stop being a spectator.

That was the problem, she knew that. She was the problem, not those around her.

"That sounds like a lot of work," Ellie replied with a low whistle, letting her eyes wander around the humdrum of everyone getting set up. The people were fascinating, that was for sure. It made her yearn to be interesting too. She was sure there was a part of her, deep down, that was. But mostly it was ordinary. "Why do you do it?"

People were chatting, their voices mingling with the noise in her head. It made her wonder what it would be like if she had a show, an attraction of her own, a way to entertain and entice.


message 32: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "Mmm, it keeps me busy," he replied with a shrug. "Otherwise I'd probably be the worst problem around here, always getting myself into trouble to keep myself entertained. I have a hard time staying still, you see, so a job where I'm always moving about is prime."

As he talked, he lowered the supports for the camper, switched the generator on, and frowned at two kids who were perched atop the ridged roof of the wheeled house. He didn't mind them clambering about, but not on his vehicle. They skittered off with giggles, one drastically faster than the first, limbs moving with effortless speed.


message 33: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie watched the people around her in fascination, her attention divided between everything as her senses were assaulted. The people around her were all talking and chatting while their thoughts formed a white noise that Ellie had to make a severe effort to tune out. Each of them showed different powers, from the woman with lightning sparking off his fingers to the mam sitting down and talking with a deer.

"Did you used to get into trouble often?" she asked, her voice sounding slightly distant, even though she was giving him a sizeable amount of her very divided attention. She'd had to learn very early on to not only multitask but to multitask within her brain, otherwise she was she that she would have gone crazy, anyone would have if they were constantly being assaulted with voices that roared louder every time she tried to silence them completely.


message 34: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "Oh, all the time," Tanner said, though tossing the reply over his shoulder before he stepped into the camper and kicked the heater into coughing life. "Couldn't stay out of it."

He didn't mind the cold, but those who bunked in his camper - his long friend Jez, an ice-powered girl by the name of Frosty (no one remembered her real name much), and the slim acrobat twins who Tanner usually shared his act with - weren't as immune to chilly nights as he. Especially Frosty, who always felt cold and loathed weather that heightened that feeling.

Tanner then poked his head out of the camper door, his shoulders almost completely spanning the narrow entrance. They had enough room in the camper for one more occupant, though she'd be stuck in the narrow, low-ceiling space of the overhead loft.

"You want to get settled in here or wander about a bit?" he asked.


message 35: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie shrugged in response, returning her wandering gaze to Tanner as he stood in the doorway. "Honestly, I've nothing really to settle into. I couldn't bring much with me," Ellie confessed, fiddling with the strap on her backpack. It wasn't as though she cared, she could make do with whatever she had, it was never a problem for her.

Someone was talking about her.

She could hear it, her name spreading through thoughts like ripples in a pond. She didn't like it.

"So...you know more about this than me," she started, trying to avoid automatically pushing out to read. "How terrible is it to actually listen to someone's thoughts?"

She had supposed that it was an ethical issue before but considering no one else could do it, it wasn't as though it would ever be a problem. Now she was around people who could do what she could do, so maybe the ethical question was worth a return.


message 36: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments Tanner smiled at her question, though it wasn't a derisive one, merely of relief that he would not have to bring this touchy subject up. Perhaps she had managed to slip past his guards - he wouldn't put it above her; she was still very much a mystery as far as exact skill level - but either way the topic had been broached in a very non-confrontational way, and that was for the best. And, it showed that at least she cared about learning the proper ethics of her powers, as everyone here had to one day or another.

"It's generally quite frowned upon," he said pointedly. "Since you're still learning control, I don't think many will see it as a large problem, but mental invasion isn't something anyone takes lightly, so I highly suggest that be the first thing you focus on controlling."

He was going to say more, comparing control of fire to that of thoughts - in his mind they were pretty similar, since the two were tricky and flighty and prone to getting out of hand if not managed properly. But he'd just gotten so far as to open his mouth when Jez loped forward, his back-hinged legs giving him a twisted appearance but enabling him to cover distance with speed and ease. He also had a pair of nubs sprouting from his forehead, but that was where the satyr-like aberrations of his ended; the rest of the way he was put together was normal, and he was a mutation in body not in ability.

"Hullo, Tanner," he drawled, his glance sliding over to Ellie. "New girl. Just coming over to let you know that whatever Kally says, I did not lose her glitter-moth. Moron must have left it behind last show-site, as you know how scatter-brained she is and always leaving things about."

"I see," Tanner stated, though his tone proved how much he really didn't see, or care much, about the situation that Jez had rattled off. "Noted."

"Hi," Jez said, now turning to Ellie after his initial reason for returning to the camper had been accomplished. He stuck his hand out, the nails painted a bright, cherry red. "I'm Jez."


message 37: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments So she wasn’t supposed to listen to people. That was boring. It was definitely the wrong attitude to have about being able to dig around in people’s heads but the act had came so naturally to her that she’d begun to lean on it as a source of comfort. She may be in an unfamiliar place but at least she didn’t have to be unfamiliar with the people.

So it was another thing added to the checklist.

Now that she knew she wasn’t just crazy, she could start trying things. That had been one of the main reasons why she’d avoided getting it under control.

Step one: learn how to control the voices, how to block them out and pick and choose whose thought she would let jump at her.

Step two: learn how to dig around in people’s heads without them feeling her presence.

Ellie was sure there would be more added, but for now there was two and she was determined.

She’d start with Jez.

“I’m, uh, Ellie.” She reaches out her hand and shook his quickly, pulling back with a fleeting smile.

His thoughts were screaming at her. He was a loud person, confident, flamboyant. He was the type of person that thought for the world, not just himself. His thoughts screamed. He didn’t have any powers per se, just his physical appearance that allowed him some greater strength.

But she had to stop.

“I like your nails.”

Asking him why he painted his nails probably would have been too rude even though that was what she wanted to know. She’d never understood the whole concept of painting your nails, it seemed redundant to her.


message 38: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "Thanks!" Jez chirped, casting an appreciative glance Tanner's way. "She's got good taste -- I like her."

"Yeah, but does she like you?" Tanner shot back, leaning a shoulder against the doorway, his head just brushing the top of the frame. "That's the definitive thing."

Jez rolled his eyes and then turned in a way that was obvious to show that he was ignoring the taller figure, instead focusing on the girl in front of him. She was quiet but that seemed to cover a mysterious depth, something that both caught at his curiosity and wariness. There was also something else, a tickle in the back of his mind, but he chalked it up to a memory or fact he couldn't remember.

The tickle, however, was felt by the white-haired girl who walked cat-quiet up to the camper. Frosty was nowhere near a powerful mentalist, she was more like a satellite dish, able to catch mental waves if properly aligned with them. But she could usually always sense when mental energy was being projected or manipulated, which was why she came up to the new girl with a frown.

"Get out of his mind," she murmured, her voice slippery like black ice.

"Be nice, Frosty," Tanner said, while at the same time Jez yelped in surprise as he stared in a betrayed manner at Ellie.

"Not cool!" he said, shaking his head.

Tanner sighed, stepping down out of the doorway to stop next to Ellie, facing his two friends alongside her. So, things weren't off to the greatest start with their current camper-mates, but he didn't blame Ellie . . . not really. She was still learning her powers, and he said as much to the two standing opposite of them.

"It's still not cool," Jez muttered, his gaze focused on his nails, searching for invisible flaws in the sleek paint.

Frosty merely shrugged and then disappeared inside the camper.


message 39: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie felt about ready to puke. She hadn't meant to do it. In fact, she was trying to do the complete opposite. She was making an effort to steer clear of his thoughts but then it seemed like everyone pounced on her for something that she didn't know how to control. Tanner tried to defend her but they didn't seem to care.

She tried but she still wasn't good enough and it was already pushing away the people around her.

Dark tendrils snaked into her mind, furthered her panic. Not now. She couldn't deal with that. She couldn't do it.

Deep breath, in and out. Can't make it obvious.

"I'm sorry." Her voice was strained, she had to stay in control. She couldn't panic. "It's really not on purpose. I'm not trying. It's just really loud and hard to ignore. I'm not trying. I'm sorry."

It was difficult to swallow past the lump in her throat, to get past the urge to run back home, to somewhere safe. But the darkness was at bay, the fear under control, her emotions under control. That was the key, she'd learned. Her emotions controlled her when she wasn't on top of controlling them, and when they did, nothing good tended to happen.

She didn't look at Tanner, she couldn't. She was honestly too afraid of seeing judgement from the one person that had taken her in as though she belonged. So she kept her eyes studying her bitten down nails, glancing up at Jez.


message 40: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments While Frosty and Jez seemed either oblivious or apathetic to Ellie's rising panic, Tanner noticed it right away. When she glanced at the ground, he made a curt shooing gesture to Jez, who took it in sour humor, following after Frosty into the camper . . . and slamming the door in a statement behind him.

"Hey, it's all right," Tanner said, once again fighting the urge to reach out and touch her as part of his comforting. "They'll get over it, trust me. It's just . . . when you asked about if it was wrong or not to read minds, this is what I mean."

He considered adding Frosty's scarred past as a reason for her sharp iciness towards Ellie's mistake, but then quickly remembered that wasn't his story to tell. And if he did a shadowy version of it, it was still close enough to home that Frosty would learn of the betrayal of her trust in him . . . not to mention that Tanner would never do such a betrayal in the first place.

"You want to sleep somewhere else?" he suggested.


message 41: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments It wasn't alright. Tanner was trying to comfort her, she knew that, but he was wrong. This was how it happened every time. She was broken. She couldn't control herself and all it did was drive people away. Her parents didn't like her, she had no friends, and when she left everything she knew behind with the hope that she'd finally find acceptance with people who were peculiar too, even they didn't want her there.

"I don't think this is a good idea," she told him, past the point of worrying about what he thought of her. Everyone else seemed to hate her pretty much immediately, what was one more? "I think, maybe, this wasn't a good idea."

Ellie ran her fingers through her hair, still fighting the darkness she could feel invading her mind. How was she supposed to tell him she had to leave? They didn't like her already. How would they feel if she lost control? If things kept going the way they were, it was more a question of when she would lose control.

"I just...I thought this would be a place where people would understand because no one wants anything to do with me. But I've met three people and two of them already hate me. I don't-I don't want to cause trouble and I feel like I'm about to lose it and I don't know how to stop. I think it might be best if I leave," Ellie admitted, feeling the pain ease off a little as she got the worry off her chest.


message 42: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "Hey, hey," Tanner said, this time reaching out and resting his hands in a gentle, but still firm manner on Ellie's shoulders. He meant it as a grounding reassurance, nothing more or less. "Look, don't base things around here at first look, okay? I mean" - he grinned a little - "we're the circus, for Pete's sake. A lot of stuff is smoke and mirrors, including first impressions. Frosty will get over herself, I promise. And, if she doesn't . . . well, then that's her problem, not yours. Got it?"

Tanner wasn't one-hundred-percent sure his transition from soft comfort into more along the lines of tough love would be taken very well, but he wasn't going to let Ellie walk away so quickly. He was the one seeing both sides of the picture, more clearly on Frosty's side because he actually knew her as opposed to Ellie, and so he couldn't just let this go. Even if she didn't believe it just yet, Ellie needed the circus. She needed a group of people with the same kind of problems like she had. She needed a safe place, and Tanner knew that the circus was just such a thing.

"Besides," he finished, his expression softening once more, "thank God the circus isn't composed of just three people, yeah? I promise you that Frosty and Jez are an exception to most, okay? Obviously, do try to keep the mind-wandering to a minimum, but you're still learning, and as long as you keep trying, the people here will respect that."


message 43: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie jolted when Tanner put his hands on her shoulders but she didn't move, she was just unused to the gesture. With a lack of friends and parents who very much avoided all sorts of physical contact, Tanner's actions always confused her. Not because she didn't see other people hugging and doing stuff like that all the time but because she wasn't used to people doing it to her. His attempt at 'tough love' was cute though because that was something she was used to. The way he looked at her, he almost looked nervous about how he was speaking to her but it was a lot nicer than the pep talks she usually got whenever they came about.

He was right though, she needed to get over herself. Sure, he'd said that about Frosty but all she'd heard was that she needed to get over herself. There was no point in whining a sob story to him. If she was going to leave, if she honestly thought that it was the best thing for her and for the circus, then there was no reason in giving him a way to stop her. She would keep the thought in the back of her mind and when she truly decided that it was best she leave, she would do it quietly in the middle of the circus so the cover of people would disguise her departure.

"Yeah, okay," she answered with a small shrug. For someone who felt the constant emotions of those around her, she had never been the best at expressing her own. "I mean, I'm trying but I can't just switch it off. If I could I would have done that a long time ago, that's for sure. It's not very fun knowing everyone's secrets. It makes you feel guilty even though you didn't mean it. I'm trying."

Her eyebrows furrowed as she looked around. "There's gotta be people here though, right? Who can do things like I do? They should be able to help me figure it out, right?"


message 44: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments Tanner wasn't really convinced of her agreement, but he let the matter drop. He'd been firm enough for now, but he would take care to keep an eye on her until his worries were allayed concerning her possible disappearance. Not that he'd physically try to keep her here -- no. Not even manipulate her, merely convince her that anywhere she went would not be as safe as the circus. He cared about her safety the same way he cared about the safety of everyone like those who lived in the circus. The world was a dangerous place for their kind.

"I'm not asking you to switch it off," he said. "And I believe that you're trying, I really do. It will take time, I know, so all I'm asking is that you be patient with both yourself . . . and others."

He stepped away then, his hands slipping from her shoulders, and he stuck them back into his coat pockets. He glanced up at the dimming sky; it was almost full dark. Fires had already started popping up into existence, as well as camper lights and somewhere nearby a radio was crooning statically into the cooling air.

"Yeah, we've got a few mentalists with us," he replied with a shrug, turning his gaze back to Ellie. "And no matter what, I'm sure they'd be able to help you, though the percentage of that help is uncertain. Sound good though?"


message 45: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie was trying and she knew that she wouldn't stop just because she felt like it, especially since she'd tried that her entire life, she she could hear the fleeting thought and feel the jump of worry he felt about her leaving. It wasn't as though she'd been extremely convincing but she hadn't expected him to immediately think that he needed to keep an eye about her to make sure that she didn't leave. Though she didn't think he was the type to actually keep her there against her will. He didn't feel like the type.

She nodded, crossing her arms, pressing them tight to her chest. "I'm not expecting a miracle or something," she replied, her eyes taking in the buzzing hum of people around them. "I just want a place to start. I've been trying to control this my whole life but nothing has worked. I just want a place to start. I don't want someone to solve it for me. Just a hint."

A piecing pain shot through her skull, drilling against her temples and the base of her head. She gasped with a grimace, her fingers pressing into her temples as she gritted her teeth against the jarring pain. And she felt it. Another presence, another stream of thought in her head. It hurt, but maybe that was because she was pushing against it.

It wasn't on purpose, it was more like an instinctual reaction, to fight against this person trying to figure her out. But it hurt in a way that Ellie had never experienced before. "Maybe we can start with whoever's trying to get in my head," she suggested, with a sharp inhale.


message 46: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments ((oooh, nice twist!! xD))

"This is definitely the place for that," Tanner said with a reassuring smile, his conviction growing a little the more she talked about staying though not completely rooted.

But then she winced in a way he recognized as a mental attack, a grimace that had him blink in reflexive, remembered pain. His fists clenched as his fingers glowed with defensive heat and his wings darkened into view for a moment before flickering away. He whipped his head towards the camper behind them . . . and the only mentalist he surmised would have reason behind such an attack.

"Frosty!" Tanner yelled, walking for the door in long, gliding strides. He landed on the top step, yanking open the camper door and meeting the cool gaze of the suspected person. "Stop it right now."

"Don't you want to know something real about who you've so quickly invited into our circle of serenity?" Frosty shot back calmly, though her words were tense with effort to maintain her hold upon Ellie.

"Circle of seren--what!" Tanner laughed in furious disbelief. "What kind of bullshit is that? You're the one who got all upset when she accidentally read you, and now you're purposely reading her? That's some real bullshit, Frosty."

Jez stuck his head out from the back room of the camper, taking in the scene. He raised an eyebrow at Frosty's actions and nodded his agreement with Tanner's sharp, barked out words.

"I'm sorry if I can't trust as easily as you two," Frosty snapped, though she lifted her hands in a visible show of stopping her mental actions. She got to her feet and stormed out the door, intentionally bumping against Ellie's shoulder but not meeting the new girl's eyes. "Good luck with your stray."

"Hey, don't forget you were a stray once, too!" Tanner yelled after her.


message 47: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Tanner seemed to understand what was happening, though Ellie was still left in the dark as she fought against the invisible pain in her head. She wasn't used to it, though apparently it was a normal thing if she could understand the interaction between Tanner and Frosty.

So she pushed. She pushed against the invisible presence she could feel forcing its way inside her mind until the pain was subsiding and then all at once, it left. Relief flooded her for a fraction of a second before Frosty shouldered her on her way out.

It was like a dam broke. The final straw breaking the camels back and in that moment, Ellie realised that she couldn't take it anymore.

Her entire life, she'd felt bullied. Bullied by other kids, bullied by people who pretended to be her friends, bullied by her parents when the decided they didn't actually want to show her any love. Her entire life, she'd been pushed around by other people and she'd let them because she felt broken and weird and unnatural.

But there were people like her. She wasn't broken or a mistake or crazy. It was real and it was happening and she wasn't going to take it anymore.

She lashed out in one of her first intentional uses of her abilities, not looking back at Frosty but hearing the girl's cough and wince of pain as she continued rushing off. It was quick and swift but she knew she'd made her mark on someone who saw it fit to do what everyone else had done to her and hurt her.

"Yeah, some really great people you got here. Very welcoming," she remarked sarcastically, her hand against her forehead as she experienced her first of what she assumed would be many, headaches following a mental attack. "She was void. I didn't even read her. I couldn't. She had me blocked too solidly. She was just an empty space. I didn't touch her."

Her parents had been the same, but she'd just assumed they had something similar to her. That or she was crazy. It was usually the explanation of crazy.


message 48: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments When Ellie pushed back as Frosty ran off into the night, Tanner and Jez felt the effects of it, too. It was like a wall of slashing fire and ice raked across Tanner's mind, and though he was able to block before the pain got even worse or lingered, it wasn't something he'd recommend. It was enough to make him stagger slightly, reaching a hand out for the door-frame.

Jez was caught completely off guard, however, and curled in on himself with a strangled cry. He hid the pain as best he could, realizing later than Tanner that Ellie was trying to control her scattered powers, but the damage had probably already been done. And so he left the explanation and soothing to Tanner, who was admittedly much better at it.

"Well, this night hasn't gone very well," Tanner said, shaking the residual pain away with a shrug of his shoulders. He glanced at Ellie, guessing that some silence would be helpful to her right now. "C'mon. Let's take a walk, shall we?"


message 49: by Jaz (new)

Jaz | 415 comments Ellie's eyes widened slightly when she saw both Tanner and Jez feeling the effects of her retaliation. What surprised her more was that she didn't care all that much. That wasn't exactly true, she felt guilty that she'd hurt Tanner when it was clear he was only trying to help her. Jez, on the other hand, had judged her without caring or trying to understand and it hurt. So what if he hurt a little too?

She nodded, dropping her hand from her head as she started to walk with Tanner. He understood, she found it strange. He was just a type of person who cared, who got people and was willing to help them out. Recruitment was probably a regular thing for him. It would have been so easy to find out the answer with barely a thought but she was trying so the memories were an unrecognizable flash in her mind.

"I'm sorry," she apologized, her eyes on the ground. "I didn't mean to do that to you. I just-I wasn't letting another person push me around. I didn't mean to hurt you too though. Or Jez. That part was an accident."


message 50: by ♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (new)

♠ TABI⁷ ♠ (tabi_card) | 1064 comments "You're learning," Tanner said quietly, eyes forward on the dark path they were forging into the night. "When I was stretching into my fire abilities, I pretty much accidentally burned my way through a third of the circus. Mind work doesn't leave visible signs most of the time . . . but me?" He took a hand out of his pocket and flexed the fingers, sensing the heat lurking just under the surface as it always did. "You can always see where I've screwed up."

But then the somber tone of his voice slipped away, much like the lights of the setting camp behind them as they continued into the quiet depths of the forest around them. Fallen leaves crunched only under Ellie's feet; Tanner was gliding an inch or so above the ground, as he normally did in foreign territory. With his height, it wasn't obvious unless someone inspected his feet, which not many people did. The glow of the waxing moon was a weak silver through the dense tree foliage, slicing across their features in milky strips.

Suddenly, Tanner stopped and faced Ellie. They were about a mile from the camp, so if they listened carefully they could hear the faint sounds of it, but otherwise it was silent. All that could be easily heard around them was their own breathing and the soft pulse of forest life scuttling through the night.

He really didn't want to do this, but Tanner figured that Ellie needed a real incentive to stay with the circus and control her powers. And he needed a glimpse into the tangled bit of her mind, and so he took a deep breath, lowered the barriers he usually kept so tight around his thoughts, and spoke.

"All right," he said, "since you've only been used to accidentally poking around in people's heads, why don't you try doing it on purpose. I'm going to let you into my head, but" - he held a qualifying finger - "I am going to block you from certain things, 'cause I do want to keep a certain bit of privacy, y'know?"

Sure, they were still strangers, but Tanner needed her to trust him. He needed her to stay with the circus, to see it wasn't all Frosty and Jez; that there was more to it than smoke and mirrors and protection. There was family. There was hope. There was a home.


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