The Saga Continues:
For the Children
-St. K. Campus.-
[The school is clear once again.]
[A few kids have arrived early and are waiting outside at their benches, which double as planters for trees. At the seventh grade bench virtually at the end of the campus, some students are waiting for their friends to arrive. Bongo, Pat, and Emelina are the first of the Circle members here.]
Bongo: Oh looks, it's the lovers. How was your weekend?
Pat & Emelina: BONGO! [Both of them slap his arms.]
Bongo: Ahhh!! I had a nightmare like this! Except everyone was Kevin.
Kevin: [Turns.] What about me?
Bongo: EVIL CHINESE BOY! [Points at Kevin.]
Kevin: !? What'd I dooooo?!
Bongo: [He readies his lunchbox to throw at Kevin.] BAD! BAD BOY!
Emelina: ...Pat, Bongo is very strange.
Pat: [Sweatdrop. She watches Bongo chase Kevin around the planter.] ...Yeah...
Emelina: So! How was your weekend? Did'ja do anything?
Pat: I was so bored! I wish we could've gotten together.
Emelina: Me too... So much homework and not enough fun. I barely got on V.
Pat: I wonder if everyone else got to... Oh well. One more week until winter break!
Emelina: Whoo! [She gives Pat a high-five.]
Bongo: [He stops for a moment.] Oh look, it's the lesbian handshake.
Pat: [Takes Bongo's lunchbox and throws it at him.]
Bongo: [Catches it as it hits his face.] Ow! Heeeey!
Kevin: Serves you right.
Bongo: !! WAS I TALKING TO YOU, HUMAN SHIELD?!
Kevin: Not directly!
Pat: ...Oh... hey, didn't Cruce mention his cousin would be starting today?
Emelina: That's right... I wonder if he's cute.
Bongo: I thought you were--
Emelina: Shut up!
Pat: I hope he doesn't end up with the popular group...
Bongo: If he's anything like Cruce, I think he'll hang around us. Maybe he'll become a member.
Kevin: That's not fair! I always ask to become a member and you end up making my head hurt... in more than one way...
Bongo: [His response is a very strange noise and facial expression.] Mleeehhaa.
Pat: ...What the heck was that?
Emelina: You sounded like a koala with the flu...
Kevin: I'm pretty sure they don't make any sounds when they're sick.
[Cruce and Topher approach the benches. Cruce points ahead.]
Cruce: Heh, see 'em? That's some of the Circle... and Kevin. Kevin's always annoying us about joining.
Topher: Why don't you let him join?
Cruce: The boy is frustrating. Uber. Bongo's a little on the weird side. Pat's easy to make laugh. She's fun. Emelina... I don't know enough about her. She seems cute though. She'd like you.
Topher: In which way?
Cruce: Wha--...Oh... Right... She'd eat you up. She likes gay boys.
Topher: Oh... [Giggles.] Okay~.
Cruce: ...Also, I didn't want to mention this in front of Mom, but I'm sure she noticed... You're wearing my sister's perfume, aren't you?
Topher: Wh--no! ...I'm wearing my own.
Cruce: Right. Should've known you two might collect the same crap. [Rolls his eyes.]
Topher: Oh hush. You love it.
Cruce: Well, it does smell nice...
Kevin: [Facing the two.] Don't look now, but I think Cruce has a girlfriend.
Emelina & Pat: WHAT?! [They both push Kevin out of the way.] ...
Pat: Is that his cousin?
Emelina: Oh, he did tell us his cousin was a guy, right...?
Bongo: What what what, is she hot?
Pat: I... think that is a guy...
Emelina: [Her eyes sparkle a little.] Oh... my... God...
Cruce: [He waves at his friends.] Howdy folks. This. [Turns to Topher.] Is my cousin, Topher.
Topher: [Scoots closer to Cruce's side, holding his lunchbox with folded hands up near his chin. He speaks nervously.] H-hi...
[A few moments of silence as they seem to scan Topher over, almost vexed at his appearance.]
[At this moment, Ivan and Nic arrive together, stopping and staring at Topher.]
Ivan I sense a new one.
Topher: Oh, um... hello...
Cruce: Hey guys. Look! It's Topher! I told you he was real.
Ivan: Oh, I knew he existed. I just didn't know he was... um...
Topher: [He tilts his head.] Wha--?
Cruce: Heh, as you can tell, that one is Emelina.
Emelina: [She giggles a bit.]
Pat: I'm Pat. They call me Zazoo though.
Kevin: Hi Topher. I'm Kevin. I'm the--
Bongo: NO ONE CARES! I'm Billy. Bongo's what I go by though.
Ivan: I'm Ivan
Nic: Niiic. [He sets his things down on the planter.]
Cruce: I'm Cruce. But you knew that. So yeah. This is the Circle. And guys, as you can tell by the jacket... I want Topher to be a member so that he can have an easier time getting acquainted to you. [He mumbles under his breath.] Though you already have gotten along nicely.
Kevin: Whaaaaat? But that's no faaaaaaaaiiiiir!
Cruce: Come on, man. He's my cousin who just started...
Kevin: But stiiiill...
Bongo: Topher, this is what we call a Kevin. Watch out for these.
Pat: And Topher, this is what we call a Bongo. Look out for these.
Ivan: Oh, and this is a Nic.
Nic: Watch out for them.
Topher: ...Hehe... [He smiles nervously.] Oh... Heh... Wh-what about them? Are they just some other students? [He points at the others standing off at another section near the bench.]
Ivan: Yeah, they're not really a part of the Circle.
Pat: This is basically all of the group.
Bongo: Minus him. [Points at Kevin.]
Kevin: Heeeey, I'm part of it too...
Topher: I thought there was one more. Wasn't his name Al?
Cruce: [He shoots a glance at Topher.] !!
Pat: How'd you know about Al?
Topher: ...Oh... Um... Cruce told me. He's the one Cruce always visits.
Cruce: (Phew... The only way Topher knows Al is through that collision with Chronic and Safa...) [He crosses his arms.] (Good call, Tophs.)
Ivan: Al doesn't hang out with us much. Only Cruce.
Cruce: Well, that's 'cause of V.
Ivan: Which I still need...
Cruce: I'll help you guys get it! Gosh...
Topher: Did you all... um...
[They all turn to Topher.]
Cruce: What's up, Tophs?
Emelina: No need to be shy~. We won't bite.
Kevin: Bongo might.
Bongo: Case and point. [He starts chasing Kevin again.]
Topher: Heh, um... Did you all hear about that new Virtual Disneyland that was recently finished?
Nic: I did.
Cruce: Oh yeah, you told me about that...
Emelina: Oh God, that's both a good idea and a bad idea! It's cool to be in like a real magical land where the characters are real and stuff, but the theme park is a classic!
Pat: Yeah, it's where memories are born! And with the Virtual Disneyland, the real one's gonna lose business.
Cruce: We're going to Disneyland soon... I wonder if it'll be as crowded as it once was.
Ivan: I doubt it. Sure, it's around Christmas. But that Virtual one is going to be big.
Topher: Oh gosh, I know! I was looking into buying passes, but they are soooo expensive.
Cruce: [He looks off to the parking lot.] (Virtual Disneyland... I'm not too sure I like that. It won't be the same... I just don't know how to feel about it.)
Emelina: I wanna try to get the passes, but I hear you can get a discount if you have theme park passes and you're at Disneyland. Their V system is really top-of-the-line.
Topher: I was reading that. Oh gosh, Cruce's sister and I are gonna try that.
Cruce: (Hm... I know it sounds cool, but I want Topher to experience Disneyland before that Virtual stuff. I'm all for V, but... Since that collision... Ugh..)
Bongo: [Stops chasing Kevin. He greets Al, who has just arrived.] Oh. Hey Al. Sorry, was chasin' an Chinese boy.
Al: I noticed. [He sets his things down and greets another.] S'up bro?
Shaun: [Shaun is a surferish blond-haired boy who resembles a punk rocker in a way.] 'Ey. Whassup?
Al: Not much. Finish that book report?
Shaun: No. [Chuckles.] I'm gonna try to in class.
Al: Good luck with that. [He looks over to Cruce and Topher.] ...Oh, the new kid's here. Cruce's cousin.
Shaun: I saw. I think he's gay. I couldn't tell if he was a girl or a dude from a distance.
Al: I can't even tell from here. One sec. [He approaches the Circle members.] 'Ey dudes and dudettes.
Ivan: Oh look. Al.
Cruce: Hey man, how's it going?
Al: I'm good. 'This your cousin?
Cruce: Yeah. This is Topher. Topher, Al. Al, Topher.
Topher: [He stares at Al for a few moments, seemingly in some sort of trance.] ...Oh... [He blushes.] ... [A small smile forms on his lips as he waves.] Hey there~...
Cruce: ... [Looks away, scratching the back of his head.]
Emelina: [She whispers to Pat.] This week is going to be so interesting.
Pat: [Whispers back.] It so is.
Al: [He blinks.] ...Erm... Oh, Cruce, you doin' anything this weekend?
Cruce: Chillin'. [Smirks at Al.] We will be getting ready for Disneyland though.
Al: Oh, that's right. I forgot... Hey, you heard about the Virtual one?
Emelina: Mhmm! We were just talking about that!
Al: Really? I want to try to get a pass. It looks cool.
[As they talk, Cruce seems to be staring off again.]
Cruce: [He can't shake the thought of the voice from earlier.] (Hmm... That voice is bugging me... The voice I heard when I woke up... I didn't even get to hear the name. It sounded like it said... Aturn...? No, there was more... I wonder if whoever it is lives on a world that I supposedly created, just like Safa... And they'll collide with the Disney world! ...Hm... It sounds legitimate... It would follow the pattern, but I can't even really say there's a pattern. It's only happened once.)
Cruce: Mm? [Looks at Topher.]
Ivan: Well, somebody's head is in the clouds today.
Cruce: Uh... Sorry... just thinkin'.
Topher: Everything alright up there, Crucie?
Bongo: ...[Snickers.] ...Crucie...
Ivan: I... never thought I'd hear it...
Emelina: That is so cute...
Cruce: [Rubs his hands over his face.] ...Topher, you'll fit in so well here.
[A few more minutes, and they are led into the classrooms. The teacher introduces Topher as the new student of the class. His nerves get the better of him when he is placed at quite a distance from his cousin and the other Circle members. And Al.]
Topher: ... [Sits, paying attention as best as he can.] ... [His mind drifts a bit. He spots Al sitting back in his chair.] (...Mmm... I only saw him when he was a Pokémon... He's so much more handsome than I imagined... Cruce sees him a lot... m-maybe I can come over his place too sometimes...)
[Topher forces himself to return his attention to the teacher. He does so, though he can't completely shake the thought of Al from his mind. Meanwhile, Emelina finds herself watching Topher.]
Emelina: (Ohhh, he's such a femboy. He is -sooo- a femboy. I wonder if he has a boyfriend! Ohgosh, I have to know more about him. Cruce is so lucky to have a cousin like this...)
[She, too, has to force herself to pay attention...]
[After a bit, they move to the next class. Luckily, Topher gets to sit near Cruce in this one.]
[The next class, Topher sits next to Emelina. Emelina finds this as a sort of treat.]
Emelina: Oh, hello Topher.
Topher: Hi Emelina!
Emelina: We get to sit near each other~!
Emelina: So, how do you like the school so far?
Topher: Things are going a little better than I thought. Cruce told me not to worry, and... it's going good.
Emelina: You're so lucky you didn't have to do that book report. It was awful.
Topher: Oh gosh, Cruce told me all about that...
Emelina: I bet he did! [She giggles.]
Topher: Hehe. Hey, so... um... D-do you know if Al has a--
Emelina: [Her eyes widen. She replies before Topher can finish.] Nope! He's free! And he's all yours~!
Topher: [Inches back a little.] ...U-um...
6th Grade Teacher: Emelina? Listen up~. We don't wanna get the new boy in trouble, do we?
Emelina: Nope! Sorry, sorry! [She whispers.] Talk to ya at lunch, Topher.
Topher: [He nods.]
Cruce: [Looks over to the two, smiling and shaking his head.] (Oh God, Emelina... Saw that coming from a mile away.)
[At lunch, Topher now joins the Circle's table.]
Topher: Oh, so this is the famous table?
Cruce: If ya wanna call it famous, sure! [He sits down. Topher sits next to him.]
Pat: You get to sit here now! It's really open to anybody though. Even people who aren't members.
Bongo: Like him. [Points to Kevin.]
Kevin: I don't have anywhere else to sit anyway!
Bongo: Big surprise!
Nic: ...Yeah, those two do that a lot.
Topher: Oh, heh... Hey, where's Al?
Caleb: Al sits at the other table. Over there.
Topher: [Looks back. He spots Al sitting with Shaun and other friends.] Oh... How come he doesn't sit here?
Cruce: He's not a very active member of the Circle. He kinda thinks it's a silly little thing, that Mudkip... (Funny story.)
Topher: Mudkip--Cruce!! [Gently moves one hand over Cruce's mouth.]
Cruce: [His eyes go wide.] !!?
[The rest of the Circle members stare at this.]
Topher: ...[Looks at them.] ...Uh... [Lowers his hand, accidentally falling on Cruce.]
Cruce: [He catches Topher, holding him up.] You silly little thing, you. What, are you royalty now? Do you want me kissing your hand or something?
Topher: [Sits back up.] ... [He gives Cruce a strange look.] Dude!
Nic: I don't get it, is Mudkip a curse word? We always called him that because... well, it's an inside joke. You'll get more of 'em now.
Topher: Oh... Hehe.... Heh...
Cruce: ... [Shakes his head.] (Forgot about that. He actually was a Mudkip... I should've asked what the story was behind why Grovyle acted so weird around that. Celebi too. I think they said they actually knew an Al? That this one was Al in another dimension or something? ...Hm, Dimension... The weird blade I can call... Maybe that has something to do with it? Deity, too? I've never gotten to figuring out what was up with the weapons... They're hella awesome though.)
[As they finish eating, they go back down to the benches.]
[Cruce throws his lunch box at the bench, but it gets caught in the tree.]
Nic: This is why I buy lunch.
Cruce: ...Shut up. That's not the reason. [Chuckles.]
Nic: It is now one of them.
Nic: Just throw Kevin at it.
Bongo: I GOT IT! [He chases Kevin again.]
Nic: ...Ooookay... Here, I'll get it. [He stands on the bench, attempting to pull the lunchbox off of the tree. He ends up ripping a smaller branch off.] Ooh... oops. Here you go.
Cruce: [Takes the lunchbox, staring at it.] ...Thanks.
Emelina: [Walking with Topher, she sits down at the 8th grade bench.] So, Topher... What's this about Al?
Pat: [She sits down near Emelina also.] What?!
Topher: [Remains standing. He blushes.] Uum... I-I just think he's... h-he's kinda cute...
Pat: [She gasps.] Whoa!
Topher: Yeah... H-he's just so... [He looks out at the parking lot, watching Al play football.] ...Mm, he's probably not gonna be into me...
Emelina: Oh, you just need confidence!
Pat: But Emelina, I don't think Al's ga--
Emelina: --Go get 'em, Topher!
Topher: ...I dunno. I-I still need to get to know him better.
Emelina: True, true~. Just talk to him! Cruce sees him a lot, so you'll get to.
Topher: [He smiles at Emelina and nods.] Okay! I'll try!
Emelina: Good! Tell me how it goes. O-oh, and record it if possible! Eeek, this is so cute.
Topher: Heheh... [He lowers his head, still blushing and smiling.]
[Lunch ends. Everyone returns to homeroom. The day from there is essentially boring to Cruce, as it consists of presentations for book reports. Topher finds it interesting. Before too soon, it is time to leave. After their daily concluding prayer, they head outdoors, free for another day.]
Topher: Ah, wow!
Cruce: [He pats Topher's head.] You are officially done with your first day here! How does that make you feel?
Topher: I feel good! I'm ready for tomorrow already!
Cruce: Heh, well slow down there, cowgirl.
Topher: You know I'd make a good cowgirl.
Cruce: Mhmm, that you would. [He brings his hand down to Topher's back.] Alright, let's get up to the lot. Mom's probably gonna be waiting.
[The two head up through the parking lot.]
Topher: You know, it's funny... seeing this place without those Nightmares all around.
Cruce: [He looks around him. People are plentiful, but they most likely can't hear the conversation.] It is. I'm all for it, honestly.
Topher: Me too! Those are just my first memories of this place...
Cruce: That's... true. That's kinda weird, eh?
Topher: It is...
[They walk up to the higher lot... but no one is there.]
"'Wonder where Mom is."
"She's usually here early."
"How long does it take her, Cruce?"
"...Not this long..."
--E n d i n g--