South Station - Track #9
December 24, 2011
South Station - Track #9
'-old prototype of the current Viewliners built back in 1988. They needed sleeping cars so badly that it was in revenue service as #2301 until 2001, when they renumbered it to #62091 to match the production Viewliners and named it
Eastern View. It was retired in 2002 and sat on a siding for three years; Mother somehow managed to get Amtrak to part with it for pennies on the dollar, and had it gutted and completely rebuilt to suit our family's needs. There's an office for her, four real bedrooms and a tiny spare one, the lounge area here, the same wireless Internet rig they use in Amtrak's
Northeast Regional cars, and-' 'Yo Phoebe, I'm wicked happy for you, I'mma let you finish, but alls I want to know is… where's the kitchen?'
Faith looked around as all attention turned to her, raising her hands defensively. 'What? You said the
Nor'easter was pretty much your mom's version of an RV. RVs have kitchens. And I haven't eaten in like… an hour and a half.'
Tara Maclay let out a soft sigh at that before shaking her head. 'And this is why there's no such thing as 'leftovers' in a house with a Slayer. If anything survives a meal, it usually becomes a snack an hour or two later.'
Frowning, she thought back to the few times they'd passed through South Station at this time of night for patrols. Even in Boston, there weren't many options after midnight… or at least not many options that a bunch of teenage girls could take advantage of. Except maybe… 'Didn't we pass a McDonald's on the way in?'
Perking up at that, Faith looked first at Esme and then Celeste, both of whom shook their heads vehemently. 'Oh come on. I'm not asking you to eat anything from there. Just come with me.'
The two blondes shook their heads again at that and Faith rolled her eyes before grabbing Esme and Celeste by their wrists, tugging them towards the door that led to the car's rear observation platform. 'Stop arguing. We all know you're going to come with me, because if you don't? I'm not kissing either of you again. So-' 'Well if you taste like Big Mac, I'm not kissing you again.' 'Me either. So-'
"Wait, 'again'?" Ivette's words seemed remarkably loud to Tara after spending so much time talking telepathically, but she was quickly distracted by the incredulous look that was mirrored on Sophie and Phoebe's faces. Faith had warned her about their telepathy when they'd met up at the Park Street Station, but to see them emote in sync was… fascinating. It made her wonder what would happen if she poked or tickled one sister; would the others flinch or giggle too? "Don't you need to have done something at least once before you can do it again?"
That wasn't a very sensible question at all, at least in Tara's opinion. After all, none of the three girls who'd supposedly been involved were disputing that it had happened. Why bother asking for further affirmation that it had? No, the real question was… if all five girls were telepathic, then how had the three not involved missed out on what was happening? Whenever it had happened? Had she been there for that? She didn't remember seeing- "Does it only count if you see it or something?" Faith grinned as her attention bounced back and forth between Ivette and Celeste, surrendering her grip on Esme's wrist so she could use both hands to pull Celeste towards her. "Cuz I can do that."
Ivette opened her mouth, closed it, and then opened it again as she rethought what she was going to say. "Okay, different question. How did you manage to kiss… evidently two of my sisters without the rest of us knowing about it?" Huh. Wasn't that what she'd just been thinking? Almost like Ivette was reading… her… mind…
"With my lips." Faith smirked as the comment earned her two snickers and three exasperated groans. "Whatcha want from me? S'not my fault that you were so busy talking to Glinda that you didn't notice me playing tonsil tennis with your sisters." Tilting her head to one side, she looked thoughtful. "Oh, and they took turns doing this 'psychic white noise' thing while I kissed the other one. Guessing that helped." As Ivette and her sisters processed that one, Faith swept Celeste up into her arms and began carrying her towards the door. "C'mon. Food. We can argue about how you're not coming in with me on the way."
Watching as Faith used one foot to tap the pressure pad that opened the door to the observation platform, Tara giggled softly as Esme shrugged before turning and giving chase… before abruptly going silent as she realized that she was now stuck in a somewhat unfamiliar place with a bunch of unfamiliar people. "S-so… now what? And where did everyone else g-go?" And great, her stutter was back. She already felt like a country bumpkin compared to the Frost girls with her faint accent and thrift store chic attire. Now she couldn't even manage to speak straight. Maybe they could go back to communicating telepathically? Her mind didn't stutter…
The three sisters exchanged looks before tilting their heads back slightly, eyes taking on a faint blue glow. When the answer came, it was from three mental voices 'speaking' in perfect synchronicity. 'Mom and Mother are in Mother's office right now catching up on emails and having a drink. Well, Mother is. Mom doesn't approve, but Mother says she's earned one after spending a few hours with Faith. And Rachel is…'
The trio trailed off, tilting their heads even further back. 'Well that's just cheating.'
A vague sense of curiosity was all Tara needed to project in order to receive an answer. 'The headmaster of our school doesn't get to travel much anymore, but there are a number of students who do leave the mansion for familial obligations that take them all over the world. Every three months, he gives out a prize to the student who brings back the best photograph. Rachel's going to try and win the winter competition with some pictures of Boston at night taken from a thousand feet up.' 'Oh. Wow.'
Tara tried to picture herself doing something like that before shuddering. While she knew of a few different ways to fly using magic - ranging from structured spells to more freeform, will-guided applications of magic to enchanted objects - she doubted she'd ever try any of them. With her acrophobia as bad as it was, she didn't even like flying in airplanes. It was still a fascinating concept to her, though. 'Can a lot of mutants fly?'
Either Phoebe or Sophie - Sophie, a murmur in her mind supplied followed by a chuckle - reached out, grabbing the strap of Tara's bag. Tugging it off the shorter girl's shoulder, she passed it to Phoebe before helping Tara out of her winter coat. 'We know… do you mind the first person plural? We try not to use it around strangers because it makes them uncomfortable, but we tend to slip back into it when we're focused on the same thing.'
Tara shook her head. 'It's who you are.'
Or rather, she amended, she'd be fine with it as long as they didn't start referring to themselves in third person. That was just plain weird. 'Faith's memories said you were pretty accepting, but we wanted to be sure. And no, we stick to first person.'
Setting Tara's bag down next to one of the three white leather couches in the room, Phoebe perched herself on the arm as she shrugged off her own coat. After tossing it to Sophie, she began ticking off points on her fingers. 'As for flying… I wouldn't say a lot. Rachel can. Mom barely can; Rachel's working with her on that. Rachel's friend Betsy can. For all three of them, it's an application of telekinesis. Then there are at least three magnokines that we know of, and they can all fly by interacting with the Earth's magnetic field. Two reality manipulators who… we don't know how it works. They just fly. Our friend Warren has wings growing out of his back and flies with those. So I guess… it's not rare, but it's not common either?'
Transferring her armload of coats to Ivette and then adding her own to it, Sophie made her way over to where Phoebe was sliding off the arm of the couch to settle onto a cushion, taking a seat at the opposite end. A few seconds later, a coatless Ivette strode past Tara, nimbly hopping over the coffee table in front of the couch before lowering herself to sit on it, facing her sisters. Taking the hint, Tara walked over and took the remaining seat on the couch between the pair of identical girls. After a few seconds, Ivette 'spoke' up. 'We've never met someone who wasn't human before. What's it like being a demon?'
Tara frowned at the question, leaning back as she thought. It wasn't as if she had anything to compare it with, did she? She was a demon. Always had been, always would be. 'I don't know. What's it like being a mutant?' '…okay, maybe that was a stupid question on our part.'
All three of the sisters giggled softly at that and then Phoebe reached up, gently brushing Tara's hair back so she could examine the pair of short brown horns protruding from the younger girl's temples. 'So you're a lesbian… but you're a succubus? Don't you need to feed on men to survive or something? Which would then make you either bisexual or a really horrible lesbian?' 'Actually, I can only pull and feed off of women. So I'm either a lesbian succubus or a girl incubus.'
Tara shrugged; she and her mother had debated it several times after Tara had proven herself capable of manipulating the fairer sex with her powers. They'd never reached a definite conclusion and, well, 'girl incubus' sounded pretty dumb in her opinion. 'I'd go with succubus, personally, because my mom's a succubus and I'm definitely my mother's daughter. I've got her eyes, her cheekbones, her wings…'
All three sisters perked up at that, exchanging interested looks, making Tara wonder what she'd said. Then she realized that while they'd admitted to raiding Faith's memories for information about her, there was one thing that wouldn't have known without pulling it directly from her own mind. 'You have wings?'
Leaning forward on the couch, Tara nodded as she reached back over her shoulder with one hand, rubbing at her shoulder blade self-consciously. 'Faith doesn't know about them because I've never let her see me with a shirt off. They're not big enough to be useful, like a planar succubus's wings. They're just… there.' 'Planar succubus?' 'A succubus who lives outside our dimension and only crosses over to feed. They're much more demonic than succubi like me and my mom.'
Rubbing her finger back and forth over the membrane-covered radius of her right wing through her sweater, Tara nibbled her lower lip nervously. 'Do… do you want to see them?'
Realizing how the offer might be taken, especially given Faith's earlier behavior and what she'd mention about concealing them, she quickly amended her offer. 'I'm wearing a tank top under this. You can see them if I take my sweater off; I'm not going to-' 'Strip for us? Aww. Why not?'
The Frost sisters jerked as one before exchanging uncertain looks. 'Wait, why are we suddenly channeling Esme? Whose thought was that?' 'Sophie's.' 'Liar.' 'Why would I lie?' 'To cover for yourself?' 'I've been against date-like behavior all night. Why would I be-'
Ivette reached out, swatting each of her sisters on the leg. 'I don't care whose thought it was. Next time one of you wants to try your hand at being Esme, use the first person singular and leave the rest of us out of it.'
Rather than lean back, she continued on to place both hands on Tara's knees. 'We're definitely curious, though, if you do want to show us.'
Did she? Tara thought for a few seconds before shrugging and scooting forward on the couch. In for a penny, in for a pound, she reminded herself. The girls knew her wings existed now and could poke through her mind to see them if they really wanted. At least this way, they'd get a proper look… and wouldn't be seeing her standing in front of a mirror in one of her dowdy, plain white cotton bras. Pulling the back of her sweater up and over her head, Tara leaned forward and pressed her cheek to her knee as she took a deep breath and slowly unfurled her wings. 'Wow. They may not be good for anything, but they're a lot bigger than we were expecting. And the pattern on the membranes is really interesting.'
Several hands worth of fingers began to trace over her wings delicately, making Tara shiver and bringing the inspection to an abrupt halt. 'Oh. Do you mind if we..?'
Figuring that one face was as good as another given who she was dealing with, Tara turned her head to the left so she could see Phoebe staring down at her in concern and shook her head. 'It's fine. Can you stay away from the joints, though? I'm a bit ticklish there. And where they meet my back is kinda, um, sensitive.'
Hanging out with three pretty girls when she hadn't fed in a few days was bad enough; she refused to be held responsible for what happened if they started rubbing back there…
The fingers continued to poke and prod for a bit longer, and then a pair of hands grabbed Tara by the shoulders and slowly eased her upright. Ivette shot a look at each of her sisters before sighing. 'Phoebe and Sophie have some questions about how you feed and such, but they're too scared to ask and I'm not going to do the hard work for them. So until they remember where they left Mother's genes… let's talk about magic. Can anyone learn it? Or is it like in
Harry Potter, where you have to be born into it?'
That was an interesting question to be certain, and one that Tara wasn't sure there was a right answer to. 'I'm not sure. I mean, there are some who are born into it while others learn it through studying, practice, and sheer willpower. I hear there's a sorcerer in New York City who wasn't born into it but is so powerful, I'd look like a street magician next to him. I've never grabbed a random person and tried to teach them, though, so it could be that only certain people who aren't born into it can learn it too, or-' 'We're asking because we've seen you levitate things in Faith's memories. We want you to teach us how to do that.'
The demand came from all three girls; the elaboration solely from Sophie. 'Professor Banner compared our X-gene to Rachel's and says we have the genetic potential to be telekinetic too. But it won't manifest no matter what we try… and Mother is still rather upset with us about that time we dropped that Baccarat crystal vase off the third floor landing onto Esme's head and she got a concussion because she couldn't catch it with her mind. So fine. If our genes won't play nice? We'll cheat.'