No one’s POV
The snow was officially starting to melt and the smell of spring was giving everyone a skip in their step as they woke up in the morning.
This particular morning, before Nikolas went to school, Erin had come by with a cat carrier. She’d told Xavier she’d found a possible solution for his weird cat problem. One of her clients might be able to examine the cat for anything odd and magical.
The original plan was to have Xavier just use his magic to find the cat and capture it in the cat carrier, but Nikolas was awake and the moment he’d heard of their conversation he’d jumped in and asked if he could help. When he saw his dad’s hesitation, he’d challenged him to a race to catch it and had sped outside after grabbing his coat.
Nikita had decided to join and watch her brother run. She didn’t have to go to work until this afternoon.
“I think I saw it speed off over there.” Nikita called after her little brother.
Xavier shook his head with a small sigh. “It would’ve gone faster if I’d used my magic.”
“Oh he’s having fun.” Erin said as Nikolas and Nato darted off after the green form whisking into the bushes.
Nikolas had gotten a burst of energy walking up that morning. He didn’t know why, but it felt like nothing could ruin today. It was just going to be one of those days!
Nato had woken him up by jumping on his bed, and then he’d gotten an email from Zac. He’d forgotten his leather jacket in his basement again from the last time. They were probably going to meet up and test out their powers again – to save Zac’s jacket of course.
Nato halted in front of a few bushes and Niko did the same. He peered in them, spotting a different green hue hiding in them. The german shepherd nudged his master gently.
“Yeah I see it too Nato…go over there and cut off its exit. I’ll try and catch it from here.” Niko planned with a smirk.
Xavier turned to his old friend as Niko and Nato began their attack.
“Do you have it?” He asked, pulling Erin’s attention away from her surrogate son.
She nodded and pulled out the flask as proof. It was Edmund’s medicine. Erin came often to drop some off – mostly as an excuse to come see how everyone was doing and chat about her incoming marriage. After all, the snow had melted, it really was incoming now.
Nikolas erupted from the bushes triumphantly, holding up the cat on one arm like a trophy.
“I got it!”
The green cat lounged on Niko’s arm, seemingly unperturbed by this.
Oh boy was Nikolas glad to finally be rid of this cat though, and Nato agreed with him heavily.
Nobody seemed to have heard his shout of victory, apart from Nikita who managed to stop laughing long enough at the leaves in her brother’s hair to give him a thumbs up.
Nato grew annoyed at the adults who were too busy exchanging words about whatever vial they were holding.
He let out a short warning bark at them, effectively catching their attention to which Niko simply held his cat trophy up higher with a larger grin.
“Nato don’t bark.” Xavier scolded with a frown.
“Look dad I caught it! Record time too!” Nikolas smirked.
“That’s great, you can put it in Erin’s cat carrier. I’ll go give this to your father.” Xavier said, clutching the vial and heading back inside.
Nikolas locked the cat inside the carrier, sticking his tongue out at it one last time. “Don’t come back.” He told it.
“Thanks Niko.” Erin smiled. She glanced at the time. “You still have some time before school, perfect! We can talk about my wedding! And what you’re going to wear.” She added, looking pointedly at his bandana.
“Actually I was just about to leave.” He said with a nervous chuckle.
“Oh yes, you have to leave early to detour over to Salanda’s house.” Nikita chipped in from the stairs. Nikolas cast her a glare and she just shrugged. “I’m just saying.”
“I walk with her to school that’s all.”
“You know you can invite friends to my wedding right? I really don’t mind. All kinds of friends, even girl space friends.” Erin said with a smile. Nikita snorted and Nikolas narrowed his eyes at both his sister and his aunt.
“Yeah… I need to head to school, bye!” He said, as Nato sensed the cue and jogged to his master’s side.
Salandra dragged her feet along the school corridors until she found a group of two laughing. Tatiana seemed to have found something funny enough to send her down an uncontrollable laughter path while Kaan just chuckled along.
“Can you even believe this?” She asked as she slapped the wall. Kaan shook his head.
“What’s so funny?” Salandra asked.
“Oh hi!” Tatiana greeted between laughs.
“The teachers asked us to take down the posters in the corridors.” Kaan explained.
“Oh god have you read this Salandra?” Tatiana asked. “Look at this, look at the conditions may apply.”
“Conditions may apply. Supernaturals are not accepted in the context of this experiment. Must have no prior involvement with our company.” Tatiana began reading, attempting not to laugh. “Cannot be over 18. If you fulfill these conditions please contacts us blablabla. Oh I’m forgetting the best part, contact us at ExprimentANewReality@sims.com” She finished before bursting out laughing again.
Salandra bit the inside of her cheek.
“It does seems a little-”
“A little? I don’t see how anyone could get caught up in this scam. What do you mean can’t be over 18? That’s just weird. And banning supernaturals? Practically everyone has supernatural blood or something similar at this point. I mean if they specify they oughta be really including all the weak and weakest. That’s either discriminating or suspicious.”
“Out of us three, you’d be the only one who could even participate Sal.” Kaan chipped in.
Salandra frowned as she made the connection. “You’re a supernatural?” She asked Tatiana. The purple haired girl narrowed her eyes at her fairy friend.
“Yeah, sort of.” She offered as a weak explanation. Seeing Salandra’s furthered frown, Tatiana sighed and dragged up her pant sleeve.
“I have a tattoo right here, but I never actually had it done. My parents thought it was a birthmark when they adopted me. But it’s more than that. It’s magical, I’ve had people confirm it. So, technically, I am ‘kind of’ supernatural.” Tatiana explained, letting her pants cover up her tattoo again.
Salandra looked at it with a thoughtful expression.
The concept of magical tattoos wasn’t foreign to her – not with what happened (and is still happening) to Elvis’ little brother. She felt compelled to ask Tatiana what the tattoo did, but she decided it was better not to pry.
It was still a weird thing to have, and even though Tatiana had said she’d basically had it for as long as she could remember, it reeked of something bigger to Salandra. Tatiana didn’t seem like your normal highschool girl. She had a foot in something that went beyond their school walls.
Salandra considered telling Nikolas what she’d learned. He’d been on a search for anyone who knew anything about Elvis’ brother and his odd new tattoos that were giving him seizures. He’d be grateful for the new possible lead, she was sure.
She saw him later that day, but the occasion didn’t automatically present itself since it was during lunch – and apparently today was a great day for everyone to get together and play cops and robbers. Nobody had played that since elementary school, but Veronica and Nikolas had collided in the corridors and some friendly mocking had led to a competitive battle of cops and robbers.
Veronica had claimed the robbers team and dragged her boyfriend and twin along with her. Niko had gladly taken the cop side, declaring that he was going to catch them all singlehandedly. Just as Elvis and Salandra were wandering over, Jesse, Niko’s cousin, and his friend asked if they could join the robbers side. At that point there was going to need another cop, and everybody knew Elvis couldn’t play tag even if his life depended on it, so Sal was sent on Niko’s side.
“This is going to be easy as pie.” Nikolas scoffed.
“Oh don’t worry we’ll give you some handicaps.” Veronica said. It was no secret that Nikolas could be agile. “The only way to capture us is a wrist tap, you know, like you’re putting actual handcuffs on us. Oh, and if four of us tag one of you at the same time, it’s a corruption!”
“Okay,” Salandra declared, more than ready to play her part as cop. “But, if someone is in jail for more than two minutes they get converted to the good side.”
Veronica considered the suggestion. “Alright sounds good! If you guys don’t capture us all by the end of lunch, we win by default.”
“2 minutes for strategy!” Veronica declared, already forming a small circle with her group.
Nikolas pulled Salandra slightly to the side, leaning forwards to whisper. “So, what do you think we should do?” He asked her.
She glanced at the group. “I’m not quick.” She whispered back. It wasn’t an unknown fact. She and Niko had jogged together enough times to make it clear that he was quicker.
“It’s okay, I am.” He said, practically waving it off as non-important. “I can be frontlines or something.”
“Frontlines? I’d be what, on jail duty?” Salandra asked, trying not to snort.
“Er, that does sound rather lame doesn’t it?” Nikolas said with a half-smirk.
“A little bit. I get that I’m not the best choice for a cop-” Salandra was easily the last one ever chosen in gym classes, though they always claimed it wasn’t because of her athletic abilities, but because of the party-pooper vibe she gave out, as they called it.
“Still better than Elvis.” Nikolas said, gesturing at the huddled group with his head. Salandra shut her mouth and just stared at him for a few seconds. “Just saying!” He exclaimed, realizing that might’ve been a little insulting. “Look I was thinking more that I’m bait and I lure them in.”
Sal nodded along. “Having us both charge in wouldn’t be smart. They’d overwhelm us.”
“Exactly, and since I’m faster, I zip in there and catch a few robbers. The rest start heading to save the others once they realize they can’t beat me.” Nikolas grins.
“And then I catch the rest.” Salandra finished, grinning as well.
“Well I’d help you, but yeah basically.”
Almost instantly, when the game started, Nikolas ran forwards and tagged both Lucas and Elvis on the wrist. They made their way to the ‘jail’ area without too much protest. They didn’t feel like running around much.
With only four of them left, they all attempted to tag Niko at the same time to convert him to their side.
Nikolas was kind of scary to the boys though. He charged in without any hesitation, reaching for their wrists. Instead of reaching to tag him, they tried to flinch away, but he’d still catch their wrists and send them to prison.
Veronica and Jesse’s friend, Arthur, were quickly the only ones left, so they ran to go save the prisoners.
Salandra was ready however and she managed to tag Arthur, but Veronica evaded both cops and infiltrated the prison. She slapped Elvis and Lucas on the shoulders to get them out…
But the game had stopped for Elvis. He’d received a phone call in the middle of it, and his neutral expression gave everyone the bad feeling that it wasn’t good news.
“Ok.” He said, nodding as his expression grew grim. He closed his phone and put it back in his pocket.
And then he was silent.
Everyone expected him to say something, but he simply stared at the ground, his eyes glazed over.
“Elvis?” Salandra said.
“Dude, is something wrong?” Lucas asked.
“My-” His face contorted with obvious pain. He swallowed. “My brother’s dead. He had another seizure and-and they couldn’t revive him.” He revealed.
“Oh no…” Veronica muttered.
“Are you…” Lucas attempted to ask, but his voice drifted off. It seemed like a pretty stupid question.
“My parents are going to come pick me up. So…I’ll just go wait out front. Continue on without me.” He said, avoiding eye contact with anyone. He gave a small quick nod and headed off.
“Well that sucks.” Jesse said as they watched Elvis drag his feet away. “We oughta get back inside before the bell rings.” He told his friend who nodded.
“I think the mood’s kind of ruined for playing tag.” Joel noticed.
“Yeah…we’ll call him later to make sure he’s not doing too bad.” Veronica said, before heading inside herself as well.
Soon, only Nikolas and Salandra were left.
They couldn’t begin to imagine how Elvis had to be feeling right then, but they both couldn’t in their right minds leave him alone to stew like the others had.
Nikolas didn’t know what to do however.
Was there anything he could do to make his friend feel better?
He wasn’t good at this, and he was frozen in his spot because of it. He was starting to think that maybe he should just head back inside with the others when Salandra spoke up.
“I know we have class soon, but we should go see him.”
“And say what?” Nikolas asked in a monotone voice. He genuinely wanted an answer, but Sal didn’t have one for him.
“I don’t know, but it’s better than standing around.” She said, walking towards Elvis with determination.
Nikolas didn’t follow her. He was afraid that if he did attempt to comfort his friend, he’d just end up making things worse by saying something stupid. Niko didn’t feel equipped to help his friend through this.
So instead he watched as Salandra sat down beside Elvis, and as they exchanged a few words.
Elvis eventually heaved a long sigh, and Salandra rubbed his back reassuringly.
Nikolas realized it then. All Elvis had needed right now was support. Just someone to be there until his parents arrived. To distract him even if only a little bit.
He still couldn’t bring himself to go join them though.
Looking at his friend, Nikolas felt guilty.
As if somehow…it was partly his fault.