Jan 18, 2021 5:37 PM
asher, lev, imrainai, draconis, & king ben in animorphs
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"OK," she says quietly. "Good luck and stuff."

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She wished him good luck!!!!!

"You too."

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"We should meet after school to talk about things."

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"Sure. Fine. I'm gonna go home too."

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Karen sighs heavily and puts her notebook away.

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"Hey. It could be worse."

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"We could all have been found and killed, I guess?"

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"Yeah. We could have been interrupted before we got the shapeshifting, or before the Andalite had the time to explain as much as he did. The Yeerks could be spiders. You could have tripped over a brick at the construction site and smashed your toe. Think of all the horrible things that didn't happen."

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It occurs to Karen that she's actually been way more - capable, or less dumb, or whatever, since she stopped having to worry about some unspecified terrible thing happening to her and started having to deal with it. This aspect of everything could probably be less convenient.

"Yeah, I guess. Spiders aren't so bad, though. ...I'm gonna go home."

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"Cool. I can wait with you while your parents come to pick you up?"

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"I'm just gonna walk home, I think. Take care."

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"You too!"

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Levva goes home, tells his parents he was late because the teacher disappeared while he was in detention and he waited until ten o'clock before going home on his own, and endures their ambient disappointment. 

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Dennis calls his parents and gets his grandmother to come pick him up and has a long but very vague discussion with her about what to do when friends from school drag you along in making bad decisions with them. He gets home and can't sleep. He pets his cat and thinks about what he would even do with the ability to turn into a cat, and at some point the cat goes very still and he has the sense that he's gotten something from it.

He morphs a cat. It's an incredibly weird experience, sort of being himself and sort of being a cat with cat priorities.

He morphs back after a few minutes.

He makes a list of animals that would be useful to have, and a different list of animals that he can easily access, and ends up getting like four hours of sleep and only a little bit of his homework done.

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Karen walks home. It's an unreasonably long walk, almost an hour. Her parents and sister are sitting up waiting for her. 

     "Where have you been?" her mom wants to know. 

"At school," she says, lamely. "There was a - I got detention and the teacher left and by the time I realized he wasn't coming back the whole school was locked, and I tried coming home alone but I got, like, super lost until I finally found a Wendy's with someone in it who happened to know where this street was?"

     "Where were you really," asks her mom, deadpan.

She flounders for words. Concepts. Anything. " - I dunno, selling drugs, probably?"

     "Karen, this isn't OK, we were so worried - "

There's more in that vein. More attempts to get her to say where she really was. More hammering home the idea that this isn't OK. She is grounded for three weeks and is not to be alone for any reason unless she's at school or at youth group. She is given reheated stir fry for dinner.

She curls up in a ball on her bed and surprises herself by not crying. Her sister knocks on her door. She's wearing one of her Sharing T-shirts, to remind everyone that she is cool, responsible Azalea now, that she has her life turned around and is going to be a great role model for everyone from now on. But she's still her sister, and she still remembers what it was like to do dumb things and not be able to say why you did them, and she wants to let Karen know that she still thinks she's a good kid, and if she ever needs to talk about anything, she's here.

Karen wants more than anything to tell her sister exactly what happened. To tell her about the dead alien prince and the spaceships and the possible invasion of Earth and the fact that she has no idea what her first step in dealing with any of this should be. To admit that she kind of wants to be a bird and fly away and never have to deal with being grounded or disappointing people ever again.

She doesn't. 

She sleeps.

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Lev takes out a piece of paper in homeroom and draws pictures while he thinks.

Fact: if the salvation of the earth from an alien invasion comes down to four teenagers, they're fucked. Either there's someone competent handling it already, or there isn't and the're all doomed, but either way four teenagers with the power to turn into animals cannot fend off an invading army.

Fact: he can't rule out the possibility that he's gone insane. If he had been thinking he would have had them all write down what had happened, separately, and see if it was the same, but human memory is fallible and what Asher said happened has probably overridden all the details of his memory. 

Fact: if he tries to fight off an alien invasion, either he'll tell his parents and they will point out Fact #1 and be very disappointed in him (if they aren't Yeerked already), or he won't tell his parents and they will be disappointed in him because his grades will drop and he'll have to quit all his extracurriculars.

Fact: if he turns into a raccoon permanently, no one would be able to track him down, and he would be able to live on raccoon food, and he will probably still be able to read books, although he should probably check that last thing before he deliberately gets stuck as a raccoon. 

Fact: fighting aliens is an excuse to hang out with Karen. She probably doesn't actually like him but maybe there will be a reason for him to hold her hand again and maybe she will smile at him. 

Fact: he wants to know what's up with the aliens.

He tries, in the interest of good judgment, to think about the first five facts and weight them appropriately, but he knows as soon as he sets pen to paper that the last one will win.

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Karen has actually not figured out what she's going to do about the whole being grounded thing by the time she makes it to school. She decides she's gonna sit by Lev in art class and, like, pass notes.

Parents grounded me for three weeks. Any idea where we're supposed to meet up after school today?

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Note from Karen!!!!

Asher says outside AP Calc, because he and I are in the same class.

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Makes sense. Does Dennis know?

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Asher says he can talk to him. Do you think we should try to meet up at lunch instead because you're grounded?

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Yeah, that would actually be really good.

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Awesome. I'll tell him.

 

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Thanks.

You decided whether you're going to stop having anything to do with us at some point?

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He bites his pen and thinks about how to phrase it and finally says:

I'm in.

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Oh good. :)

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