Search your soul, take control, you will win.
Two forces intertwine.
You just need the guidance of an open mind."
I think I know what kind of Power Trio we are now. We're the Comic Trio.
No, seriously. Nick is the one who comes up with the
Somehow, I am perfectly okay with this.
Hey guys. As you may have noticed, we're all alive and back in our proper dimension. Would have written something Friday evening, but we were all flat-out exhausted. As it is, it took us until late in the day on Saturday for us to sit down and say, "Okay, time to inform our fellow victims of stalking and mindfuckery of our continued existence." Nick finished with his pretty quickly; I think he just wanted writing it out of the way so he could investigate a bit more. Kay started writing her's earlier, but then decided to turn in early. I don't blame her one bit, because I wound up doing the exact same thing.
Really, really tired. So now it's Sunday. Well, Monday morning, if you wanna get technical, but I'mma call it Sunday anyway.
As useless as I've been feeling lately, you can imagine my surprise when Nick told me my role would be the most important. I was the... well, the "fulcrum" was how he put it, but it actually felt more like being a foundation. He was right too though, it's just... I really can't describe it all that well. Everything that happened was more or less only happening in our mind's eye, with a few notable exceptions. But I'll try to get everything down as linearly as I can. You never know what I'll need to remember down the line.
I was ecstatic when I saw Kay's post revealing she was alive. Nick was less so. Not because he was any less happy or any less worried for her safety, but because he was under considerably more pressure. As mentioned above, this was all his plan. When it's down to the wire, he's the one who has to pull a miracle out of his ass. I worry about him sometimes. He knows it too, the bastard, which is why he's always cracking jokes and telling me he's okay when he's not. But then again, when are any of us actually okay?
Once he broke through to whatever fog world Kay was stuck in, he was over there almost constantly, getting used to the way it felt there and tracking down Kay's signal. Meanwhile, I was back in the real world, setting up for the finale. Nick hadn't given me any specific instructions on how the circle should go, actually. He said it was down to my intuition on this one, to use whatever pattern made my job easier in my own mind.
I wound up using a sort of spoked-wheel pattern, only instead of the spokes dividing the wheel into sections, I left them as small spikes pointing inward, to sort of point everyone's focus into that one spot. Candles marked out positions and, though I've never been one for incense, I had grown fond of the lavender, so I lit a few sticks of that.
The entire setup would have felt utterly ridiculous if I didn't have this growing sense of impending doom. You know that weird silence you get right before an earthquake? It was kind of like that, only it had been going on for a couple of hours now.
Remember how I said Plan B was going to be unpleasant?
Well, the air felt tense because there was tension. Nick and I had spent all Friday morning and afternoon screwing around with the energies of the place, to the point where even I was getting a headache. I'm not nearly as sensitive to this stuff as he is, but even allowing things to be pulled that far out of whack, much less helping it along, is so contrary to my very nature that I had to fight off the urge to vomit a few times. Mostly, I achieved this by concentrating on my part in this whole plan: thinking.
What I was thinking about was Kay. That was my role, apparently. Nick explains who had what job better than I can. Basically, once Nick put Kay in the right position, I was the magnet back here that she was drawn towards, all the way through the softened Veil.
Essentially, I reconstructed her in my mind. Everything I've learned about her, everything she had yet to learn about me. All the successes, failures, and broken promises. All the compassion and all the fear. I built the Kay I had come to know, the Kay who belongs here, and more or less told the universe to make it happen. This is where this woman should be, and it is where she will be.
Thought, belief, action. With enough people and/or power behind it, it does work (trust me, there have been studies on the subject), but only if you believe it does.
I'm not entirely sure how long I just stood there, pulling. Eventually Nick (real world Nick, the one who was currently spaced-out while his mind and spirit were elsewhere) made a gesture and a sort of choked noise, so I took that as my cue that we were almost there. I was still fighting nausea, but it was quickly forgotten in light of the tremendous mass of energy that suddenly surrounded me, hedging me in, but not in a bad way. Sturdy, not confining. And then... um...
Okay, picture a kid at karate class, trying to chop a block of wood in half. He can't do it if he's the one holding it, and neither can he do it if the block is just hanging in the air on a string or something. No matter how quick or strong he is, if he applies force to the block, it will simply move and compensate rather than break.
Nick was applying the breaking force. I was holding everything else steady. It's not the most accurate metaphor in the world, but it's the only one I can come up with to describe what the whole scenario felt like.
But. Long story short.
Good News: We did it. Realities were warped enough that we could punch through with our combined effort. I'm pretty sure there'll be consequences for this somewhere not too far down the line, but I'll take it.
Bad News: We were... kinda-sorta followed.
Even now, we still haven't figured out exactly what it was. The whole thing is just really confusing and weird, as you'll soon see.
I felt it coming before I saw it; sort of familiar, yet not. When I did see it, it was... enormous. Some kind of enormous shadow that might have been cast by all the candles around, except there was nothing else there. But then it got up and it had... some sort of vague, lupine shape? Like I said, it was sort of familiar. I don't want to think about it now, because it gave me something akin to the same heart-stopping, world-crashing panic attack that I usually only get from It, only... not quite as intense? I don't know. I don't even freaking know.
And just as I was about to drop everything and run, I felt an even bigger rush of energy... and just like that, it was gone. And Kay was standing in front of me, breathing hard and holding her hands in front of her as though she was holding an invisible weapon. I later found out that Nick had given her something to work with - he had seen the shadow coming too, but wasn't able to multitask quite that hard under the conditions, so he left it up to Kay. And... holy christ, did I ever smile when our eyes met. I almost dropped everything again, but this time to go hug the life out of my friend. But I remembered we still had a job to do: closing the rip we had created.
...Heh. See, it's the closing-the-rip part that actually has me the most astounded. What took literally days to do the first time around with just me and Nick, the three of us did in under an hour. I tell you, Kay's absolutely right. There's something about this... something about us. There's an unconscious system of checks and balances, strengths and counter-strengths, that's been in place since the moment we all met. We simply work well together. I dunno know if Maduin knew about this or not, but... I think I'm beginning to understand now.
And then... we were just there. All together, all where we belong. There was hugging, and probably some crying, and... it just felt like the best sort of triumph.
Saturday night, once we had all recovered sufficiently, Kay made good on her promise of a home-cooked meal. I'm not big on pot roast, but by that point, I didn't even care. This wasn't about the food, this was about time with my friends. It was relaxing, simple, and very fun. And I had left my EVP recorder going for most of that day, so they both agreed to having a few highlights posted. Particularly the bit where Kay somehow found an opening to ask Nick exactly why he never mentioned that his astral form was, in fact, female.
As it turned out, he had no idea of this fact, and his reaction was... amusing, to say the least.
Nick: I... wait... really?!
Kay: (Stares at him) You didn't know? Aren't there freaking mirrors on the astral plane?
Me: Or look down and see... y'know, boobs?
Nick: ...The astral plane is weird. You can't see anything that you don't allow yourself to see. The hardest thing to learn is how to see what is, not what you're expecting or what you want to be there.
Kay: Well, apparently you want to be a woman.
Nick: And yet I see myself as a man?
Me: While I find this a bit funny, is it really that big a deal?
Kay: Well, it would have helped to know a chick was coming to get me when I was expecting a guy... I almost pitched my backpack at him... her... whatever.
Nick: Val, it actually is a big deal for me. I've got a lot of bad history, all of it connecting to a past life that I don't... really remember at all. What little I do remember makes this completely insane, if only because... I mean, does this make me a lesbian? Very strange.
It was clear he was very uncomfortable at that point, because he kept shrugging noncomittally and looking anywhere but at us during the silence that followed. So... Kay and I both helped, each in our own way.
Kay: Sweetie, much like the sorceress, you can't be a lesbian. You just don't have the tits for it.
Nick chuckled in spite of himself. So I moved in with my own thoughts on the subject.
Me: Nick, listen. You of all people should know that there's already nothing you're not. That's the way it works. We've talked about past lives and reincarnation before. Just because you currently identify with a male body doesn't mean you've never had a female body. Besides, you never even noticed it before. Why should it bother you now?
Nick: Maybe because of the billion-odd people who've tried to kill me before because of something I did before I was born? For better or worse, that form has a history."
Me: So that form has a history. So what? You've been trying to figure out your own history anyway. Now you have another lead. This is a good thing.
Nick: (Thoughtfully) This does explain some very odd dreams... memories... odd moments in the past...
Kay: Well if you think it's important, after dinner we can grab a notebook and I can tell you what you looked like. (She frowns a bit) The fact that that sentence came out of my mouth is almost enough to induce a migrane.
Me: (I snerk) Believe me, it's not all that weird.
Kay: Well, I suppose comparitively to the past few months, no, not that weird. Comparitively to my last 31 years on this planet...
Nick: Love the way you cut the giant shadow-spider in half, by the way.
Me: (I blink at him) Spider?
Kay: What spider?
Nick: The thing you cut in half when we were pulling you in?
Me: Looked like some kind of animal to me. Definitely four legs, at any rate.
Kay: (Worriedly) That wasn't a spider, it was the faceless shithead's shadow. (She looks at me in confusion)
Me: (Very confused) Well I suppose that could be mistaken for a spider, but why did I see a wolf?
We eventually figured out that each of us saw the... whatever-it-was differently. No idea why that might be... okay, that's a lie, I have several ideas as to why that might be. The matter bears investigation. Shadows on the wall are open to interpretation, after all.
After that debacle, the three of us made small-talk for a while. Again, it was glorious. We discussed the many uses (magical, practical, and both) of supersoakers, which was immediately followed by a heated argument between Nick and I about whether or not a water-powered taser would work. The guy actually had one in his trunk, built by some so-called "experts", but the fact remains that you cannot create a continuous stream of water with a supersoaker or any other type of conventional water gun for more than 5 feet or so. Seriously Nick, have you never watched Mythbusters? -sigh- Boys...
Then we discussed our various money issues, what we'd do about Kay's scribbled-on wall, and (believe it or not) shipping. But nothing was more hilarious than Kay and I poking fun at Nick's bug phobia... which he took surprisingly gracefully. But hey, he's always maintained that good laughter is hard to come by, so you should take it where you can. A good policy, I think.
The fact is... I'm probably the only one of us who still has some semblance of a normal life. Before I met Nick, it had been years since I had done a working that was anything even approaching that huge. Nick himself does crazy shit for a living, practically, but he said nothing had ever been so up-close-and-personal. And Kay... she had never used a sword in her life. Today she apparently used a psychic sword, not to mention fought off monster leeches with sea salt and attacked a giant tree of icky evil with some home-made Pepper Spray Of Doom. We all agree: she was the real badass of the day.
You can't make this shit up.
Eventually (and somewhat inevitably), we had a toast.
Nick: Welcome to the impossible, guys. Try to enjoy your stay.
Kay: (Holds up her glass) To us?
Me: (Lifts glass) To friends. No matter how cheesy it sounds.
Nick: (Laughs and lifts his glass) To friends! And friendship, which has proven to have the equivalent power of a nuclear weapon!
We all chinked our glasses together.
Kay: I hereby invoke the Power Of Friendship trope!
Me: (Chuckling) As if we weren't taken un-seriously enough as it is.
Nick: Lady, you think I was ever worried about being taken seriously?
Me: Not even once. (I smirk at him)
Kay: Heh. If I ever cared, I stopped around the time I tried to make magical water balloons.
And that launched us into another round of small-talk and debate. Glorious small-talk and debate.
God, I love my friends.
And now, here we are. Kay still wound up finishing before me, which means she got the dramatic reveal of Nick's... problem. His curious little problem. It still makes me giggle a bit to think of it, but I do stand by what I said: if you subscribe to reincarnation, then it's only logical that some (many, in fact) of your past lives would be of the opposite sex. And he already knew that his astral form did not correspond to his real body, so it could, by definition, be anything. I could elaborate further, but, again - metaphysics. Let's not get into them. I am knowledgable about many things, but psychology is what I'm here to write about. End of story. So I explained my opinions to Nick privately. I think he's taking the news better than he was, but he does have his male pride to consider.
I repeat: boys...
I told Kay to consider hunting for a new job today, since her severence plan is almost up. I said not to consider it as a chore, but a method of taking back control of her life. After all, you only look for long-term occupation when you're planning on living a good while longer, and that's really what all of us should be doing: planning on living, and then living. When you have that kind of mindset, Its job suddenly becomes that much harder. Kay replied that poor coping skills and lack of sleep are going to be an issue no matter what, but as long as she can do things like make an enjoyable dinner for herself and her friends, then she probably has the spirit of the advice down pat.
To be honest, I agree.
We all move on in different ways. Kay spent Friday night sleeping in the same room as me, just to keep herself from waking up in the middle of the night and checking the window in a panic to see if she really was still home. Last night, she slept by herself, and slept soundly. Nick, though I know he's inclined to lie in order to protect us, hasn't mentioned a migrane once, and has been super-cheerful for most of the weekend in spite of his big news. Me? I am relaxed, very very relaxed. Not in a stupor or anything, but I honestly couldn't tense up if I tried. Everything just feels so peaceful right now.
I'll be sticking around Kay's house for a few more days. I dunno about them, but I want to hang on to this good feeling for a while longer.