Posted on Wed Apr 16th, 2014 @ 11:18pm by Unawakened Jana Rotherbridge
Date: March 22, 2010
Time: 8:30 am
Location: Basement at party house, Lake Texoma, Texas
“Down here,” said Tommy, beckoning to the group following him with a Coleman lantern as they went down to the basement. They were up early on a Saturday morning, and the power had gone out somewhere around 5 am, hence the lantern. Even if any of them had laptops, they wouldn’t be able to use them, anyway. “Be careful, don’t make too much of a mess. And please don’t break *anything*...”
Cole and Conrad were right behind Tommy, with their friends and several other nerds that wanted to escape whatever the ‘cool’ kids were doing with their time. At least they all got their shirts back, a minor miracle. As they descended the stairs, Cole thought back to when he woke up.
He woke up to pokes from Conrad. Quietly, freeing himself of both Jana and Gabe’s arms, he left the room with his friend and they rounded up the rest of the group. The places they found them would best go unmentioned. He would find his brother and sister again later.
“We’ll be careful, “ said Conrad, following Tommy to the bookshelves. “Don’t think we’ll be moving around much.”
The basement was mostly one big rec room, with water toys stowed on shelves and chairs and tables everywhere. The room became a living thing as the boys (and some girls who were curious) started to move furniture around to accommodate everyone around the makeshift table. Cole was pushing in the last chair when he heard Conrad’s voice over the din.
“D&D 3.5!?! How old is your brother?”
Cole looked at Tommy as he sighed. “I didn’t know. He might have taken the newer stuff with him.”
There were grumbles all around, but not another word was said about the version they were playing.
“Geez, we gotta use *paper*.”
“Yeah, you have to use your vaunted math skills. Boo hoo.”
“Is this a 6 or a 16?”
“I miss the dice roller on my laptop already.”
“Yeah, virtual dice never wear down.”
“No, they freeze instead.”
“Why you gotta rain on my pity party?”
“I’m not. Mother Nature is.”
“And now we’re back to the reason we’re playing with an outdated system.”
Tommy escaped while he could, leaving the lantern after finding a desperately needed flashlight. Cole barely noticed as they set up their gameplay. Conrad had already claimed his spot at the ‘head’ of the ‘table’, and appointed Cole as his right hand. Cole was still unclear as to why, but he went along with it.
Setup took a little while, not only because they had to pass the books around and find a Sharpie to remark the dice, but because the few girls who had joined them needed to have things explained to them. Most of them decided to be Clerics, anyway, so it wasn’t too bad, but it did slow things down a tad.
Around the ‘table’ were four girls and nine guys, most of them Cole’s friends from the night before. The other three boys, at least, knew their way around a set of dice. The girls, not so much.
“Why does this one have all these sides?”
“You mean I have to roll for all these boxes?”
“Do all the names have to start with ‘A’?”
“Can I at least make her pretty?”
“That,” said Conrad under his breath, “is why I wanted them on that side of the table.”
It took a while, but they finally had everyone set up with their characters, and Conrad set up the campaign. Since he decided that 13 was unlucky for their game, under the circumstances, he was going to just be the GM for the game. Which turned out to be a good thing, since the girls needed help, and some of the guys couldn’t concentrate on the game.
"Okay, Mitch, your rogue has entered a new room. Roll perception."
Mitch fumbled, "Shit, so much paper.” Silence.”What, I usually keep everything on my laptop! God, people..."
"Mitch," Cole prompted. The girl next to Mitch, a pretty redhead, was awfully close for a Cleric.
"Okay, um, +8 perception, +1 for Guidance... I still have the Guidance on me? Okay, good," He rolled and pumped his fist, "Yeah, I got a 27! What do I hear?"
The pretty redhead applauded.
And so the game went on.
Tommy, being a good host, sent people down with food and drink to make sure the group was well-supplied. Which was nice of him.
Cole was keeping to things like cans of soda, which couldn’t be tampered with easily. And made sure they were clean. While being high had been its own kind of fun, he wanted to avoid doing it again. It had upset Gabe and Jana.
A lot of things upset them. And Cole did his best to avoid what upset them. He had to be honest, though. The biggest reason he didn’t want to be high again was because he liked being himself. He hadn’t realized how much of it he had lost after the accident, but he’d been doing a lot of hiding.
Hiding from the foster parents.
Hiding from well-meaning aunts and uncles.
Hiding behind Jana and Gabe.
That last pricked his sense of independence. He never used to hide behind them. But he had hidden. Claimed ‘sanctuary’ in Jana’s room, hiding behind her hair. Their mother’s hair.
He couldn’t even remember the last time he’d traveled by himself, or picked up his skateboard.
He wanted to be himself again. He wanted to have his own life again.
Last night was the first night in a long time that he’d gone to sleep without sniffing Jana’s hair. It might be disloyal to Jana, but he’d liked that. Maybe… maybe he didn’t need her that much. Maybe he could stand on his own again. And let them live their lives, too.
The next load came down, and Cole recognized Simon from last night, but the older boy just nodded to him. Like he was his age and everything. Cole smiled, and gave him a nod back, taking a package of cheese and crackers. Real food would be a good start.
He felt a nudge, and looked at Conrad. His friend was holding dice out to him.
“Your turn, friend.” He handed the dice to Cole by cupping his hand over his, letting all the dice fall into his palm at once. “Roll your paladin.”
Cole looked at the dice. Then shook them, deciding to let them fall where they may.