NVAE, HALLWAY (Otso, Tamati, Violet; NPCs: J.R., Mouloud, Newton, Vlad)
“Who are you fighting over?” Newton asked, knowing what had caused this.
“The lovely Rebecca Graves,” Vlad said as Mouloud said, “My Rebecca.”
The headmaster sighed just before the sound of an explosion shook the floor beneath his feet. “I have to imagine numerous battles are unfolding inside the cafeteria,” he said. “Violet and J.R., bind whomever you can. Tamati and Otso, restrain and incapacitate whomever. We need to put an end to this violence.”
Otso looked over the pair of would-be suitors before them. “Mouloud, Vlad,” he told them as Violet iced herself up, “you don’t want to do this.” Jack, Tamati, Violet, and J.R. darted past him and hurried into the cafeteria. The Finn would deal with things here: he widened his stance to brace himself for the coming attack.
As he readied himself for the brawl, Dennis appeared in the corridor bringing news from the others: knocking the afflicted unconscious ended the infatuation.
NVAE, CAFETERIA (Jack, Tamati, Violet; NPCs: Benedikt, Derryl-731, Doug, Herta, J.R., Kas, Kelly, Kira, Larrikin, Lexus, Mickie, Nicole, Rebecca, Rose)
Bursting through the double doors, the foursome were hit by a sight unlike anything they were expecting. Together, they had seen their share of chaos. Jack had battled Laputa; Tamati had fought the Zoo; Violet had rescued her boyfriend from a church were zealots wanted to castrate him; J.R. had fought the Vindicators of his home dimension…
This was different, though: here, Derryl wasn’t trying to kill them because of some vast conspiracy; rather, wanted to kill Larrikin because the Australian was between him and Heidi; there was no dogma driving Mickie to sterilize them; she was simply in her metal form, throwing vending machines and tables at an airborne Doug, who was carrying Nicole away from this madness; Rose wasn’t seduced by a mastermind’s silvered tongue, but was desperately trying to pin Kelly’s tongue with her own.
Benedikt’s arms were around Kira; the Finnish freshman’s arms were around him. “All that speed,” the Icelandic boy was telling Herta, “but you can’t get anywhere near her.”
“&$#% undo it,” she hissed. “Do it, before I snap your $&@% neck.”
“You can’t get anywhere close to me—not so long as I’m with my Kira.” Benedikt looked deeply into the newer student’s eyes. “I love you,” he told her.
“I love you,” she told him before pressing her lips to his.
As they began to make out, Herta screamed. She grabbed a bottle of juice and hurled it at them.
Not much further off, Jack spotted a shirtless Lexus. He watched as Kas licked up the other boy’s chest.
NVAE, MAIN OFFICE (Dennis, Lex, Martin; NPCs: Beatrice, Dwight Kowalski [unconscious], Kirstie, Lillian Murphy, Roger Murphy [snared], Steven [snared])
Kirstie stood up and turned to Martin. “Martin,” she said, “Steven’s back to normal. It may be knocking them unconscious, or maybe the jolt Lex gave him rewired something!” This revelation needed to be reported to the others, she realized: “Dennis, you need to tell the others! If anyone else is infected by the love potion, the others need to know how to snap them out of it!”
Dennis wasted no time in hurrying after the group Newton had taken with him. Kirstie watched as Martin moved to knockout Lex’s father. “Better not do L-Lillian.” She had almost called the woman ‘Lex’s mum’, but Kirstie felt that the woman wasn’t fit to be called that now. A mother loved her children—protected them. Lillian Murphy had hurt Lex.
Lex had buried Alina. Lex had been shot and got better. He had raced across entire continents to save his friends when the school he had saved countless times had exiled him to Tokyo. Lex had endured not being able to touch his girlfriend because her powers had gone wonky. Lex had been counted among the dead, lost fighting the Armada. Lex had been through the ringer and yet, he could smile. He kept going. He kept fighting. He was one of the best men she knew—second only to her father—and his indomitable will was one of the many things she loved about him… but this—this woman—had hurt him like none other Kirstie had ever seen.
Kirstie would never forgive the woman for this.
“We need her infatuated with Newton.”
This all seemed to evoke something in Lex. He rounded on the door dividing him from his mother. “Why?” he rasped. “You know, that’s the part I don’t get: why? Why would you sell out a bunch of kids? Why would you sell out the people who took you in? Why would you betray the man who saved your life?”
Lex’s fists pounded on the door as hard as he could. He slumped forward to rest his head against the door… and instantly felt Kirstie’s arms slip around him. She was behind him, resting her head against his back. She was crying. He could hear her sniffling as she just held him.
“Do you really hate me that much?” he muttered.
“Oh, Alex,” Lillian said from inside the headmaster’s office. “I remember the day you were born. You tried to come out ass-first. They tried to turn you, but you just weren’t having it. The doctor told me that they were going to have to do a C-section. They went to move me and your father… Your father stopped them. ‘This is our second child,’ he said. He doesn’t like to talk about it—our first one, I mean. Stillborn.
“I’m B-negative. The baby was positive. Back then, the blood mixed. My immune system saw her red blood cells as an infection and began producing antibodies to eliminate them. Your father was the only person in the room who realized that if you were Rh-negative, my immune system might try to kill you. The doctor gave me a shot and… that was it.
“I love you, Alexander. You’re my son and nothing is ever going to change that… but ever since I found out what you actually are? When I think about the hell that you’ve put our family through? A woman put a goddamn bomb in my stomach! I can’t go back home! Your brother can’t see his friends! We live in a goddamn school where we’re the only normal people! For God’s sake, Lex! You’re always hanging out with a boy who threatened to make sarin gas!
“Crux isn’t about killing you or your friends, Alexander: we just want to make sure that this insanity ends! Crux will sterile you and the others—keep any other Neo-Sapiens from being born! Then we can be a family again! Honey, let me take you to them. They’ll fix you. They’ll fix your girlfriend. My body knew what it was doing, but your father…”
Too late, Kirstie understood what Lillian was saying: she wished she’d never given birth to her eldest son. “Shut up!” she roared as she let go of Lex. She tried to push past him—to put herself between him and the door. “Just shut up, you heartless bitch! You think Martin is bloody terrifying!?! You ever say another word to him and I’ll show you a monster! I’ll give you and all your friends in that cult a posterchild for your cause! You say one more thing to hurt Lex and I will personally hunt each and every one of you nutters down and bloody castrate you with a spoon!”
Love Potion Victims
- Royce Brown > Patrick Brown
- Rose Caspain > Kelly Walsh
- Mickie Daniels > Nicole Mucciante
- Doug Droll > Nicole Mucciante
- Kas Flaegler > Lexus Rauf
- Derryl Isaacson > Heidi Lancaster
- Benedikt Jónsson > Kira Salo
- Larrikin > Heidi Lancaster
- Nicole Mucciante > Doug Droll
- Lilian Murphy > Isaac Newton
- Roger Murphy > Stephanie Yavorshak
- Steven Murphy > Kirstie Arnett
- Mouloud Poundstone > Rebecca Graves
- Herta Radikovich > Kira Salo
- Vlad Radikovich > Rebecca Graves
- Lexus Rauf > Kas Flaegler
- Kira Salo > Benedikt Jónsson
- Kelly Walsh > Rose Caspian