Furud pulls onto the road and almost unconsciously heads for The Hole. With his free hand, he pulls out his iPhone and taps Heka's number.
Heka picks up. "Hey Wade, what's the sitch?"
Furud "Heka, we have a problem... can you meet us at The Hole? Don't tell anyone where you're going." His voice is tense, and he glances back at Maia, who is pale and sweating from the burns.
Antares In the back seat, Antares has her arm around Maia. She doesn't look at Furud, staring out the window instead.
Maia hums quietly to herself.
Heka "Sure. Bring anything?" Heka puts down his Wiimote and goes digging through the laundry to find a clean-ish shirt. Wait. Not too clean, it's The Hole.
Furud "Remember last night? I just need... your hands."
Heka struggles with a mixture of alarm, hilarity, and confusion. He bites back a joke. "Right, see you then." Click.
Furud drives along in silence until they reach the path, parking on the gravel shoulder. "Can you walk?"
Antares "We'll be fine," says Antares, shooting a look sideways at Maia and shifting to help her out.
Heka lives closer to The Hole so he's already there, sitting on the roof of his car and trying to look nonchalant.
Maia leans into Antares.
Antares keeps her arm around Maia's shoulder, looking at Furud and then Heka like she's daring them to say something.
Furud looks at the two for a second, his eyes darkening, before he shakes himself and moves to help them. "Heka, we need your help."
Maia glares at Heka, but in a pretty exhausted way.
Heka gets down from the car, looks at the huddled figure and notices it is Maia. "Man, I love you and all, but you owe me one for this."
Furud "She got hurt helping me out."
Antares shifts a bit, putting herself a little more between Heka and Maia.
Maia "What, exactly, is Heka going to do, here?"
Maia "Because I don't mean to be difficult or anything, but, he's a prick and I hate him."
Heka "Right, it's cool. Let's go climb down the Hole a little...it's hard to do this in daylight."
Maia glances at the edge of the Hole with some trepidation.
Heka reaches into his car and pulls out a brown paper bag.
Furud 's lips thin into a line. "Just come on, Maia. Trust me."
Maia sighs. "Okay."
Antares Once Maia gives her approval, Antares starts walking her to the edge.
Maia clutches Antares as they walk to the edge, only occasionally looking at her.
Heka comes up beside Antares and Maia. "Hey, I don't think we've been properly introduced. I'm Heka. You're not from our school, are you? Cousin or something?"
Maia snaps her eyes to Heka, smouldering suddenly.
Furud fetches his backpack out of the car and walks a few paces behind the others.
Heka "Maia, I am NOT trying to chat the new girl up. Asto and I are very happy thank you."
Maia "How pleasant for you both."
Antares "Just transfered," Antares says in a voice that's slightly rusty but trying to be normal. "'M friends with Maia and Furud from back when." Still, hopefully.
Maia reaches the edge and hesitates.
Antares bends forward a bit, wordlessly offering to carry Maia.
Antares "You're, uh, the football star, right?"
Maia awkwardly allows this to happen.
Heka "Wait, it's dangerous carrying someone yourself."
Furud sits on the edge of the crater for a minute, staring out at the wide expanse.
Heka rearranges them into a two-man fireman's carry.
Maia stiffens as Heka touches her, but doesn't say anything.
Heka "I play a little ball, yeah. Pleased to make your acquaintance--" Heka cuts off, as he has no name to end his pleasantry with.
Antares "Antares." She looks at him a touch suspiciously, like she's not sure she believes him, then manages a crooked smile. "Furud, we going down or just enjoying the view?"
Furud looks up, startled, then slides down the path to land ahead of them. "Come on, this way's the easiest."
Heka When they reach the centre of the crater, where one of the rocks around the rim casts a tall shadow that blocks out the sun, Heka and Antares set down Maia and Heka pulls a cluster of tomatoes-on-the-vine out of the bag.
Antares "So what's the deal?" Antares asks, watching Heka but directing the question at him or Furud.
Heka "I'm gonna fix Maia." He looks at her. "If that's cool with you, of course."
Maia "With tomatoes?"
Furud "We all have things we can do, right. Heka can fix people."
Furud 's gaze lands searchingly on Antares' "I'm not sure how it all works."
Heka "Just gimme your hand. Heka extends his left hand, sitting down beside Maia with the tomatoes dangling as far away as he can reach to his right.
Maia reaches out and touches Heka's hand slightly.
Heka grips her hand tightly for a second, and redness washes across his skin in unsettling shapes. Then the tomatoes begin to blacken and sizzle, and Heka drops both his hands. "Ow. That hurt like hell. You shouldn't have moved her, guys."
Maia blinks, and glances down at herself.
Antares swallows as she watches Maia's hurt pass through Heka's hand.
Furud "We had to."
Maia "It's kind of a funny story, actually."
Maia "Uh...thanks. Thanks a lot, Heka."
Heka just nods. "What happens at The Hole stays at The Hole, okay?" He's addressing the girls.
Maia "Your secret's safe with me."
Maia "I guess." She frowns.
Heka "It's cool, Maia. I guess."
Furud rubs his forehead wearily, the adrenaline rush having worn off. "Heka's file was small, at least. I don't think Johnstone knows yet."
Heka snaps his head around violently. "Johnstone knows things? Cockwhore!"
Maia looks uncomfortable.
Furud starts back at Heka's outburst. "Uh.. yeah."
Antares squeezes Maia's shoulder lightly.
Heka tries to lighten the mood. "No offence to present company intended."
Antares begins selecting pebbles and throwing them at a nearby boulder. "What else?" she says to Furud.
Furud looks directly at Maia. "He's been gathering information on us for a while. Even hired someone to watch us and take surveillance photos."
Maia looks away. "He didn't bring us all here for no reason, after all. He's got a plan."
Furud "What kind of plan?"
Maia "I dunno. An evil one?"
Furud "If you had to guess," he adds.
Heka "That kid Zavi's like us right? He's kinda...missing..."
Maia "I don't have any idea what he's up to."
Maia looks up. "For how long, missing?"
Heka "I haven't seen him in like a whole week."
Furud frowns. "Now that you mention it, I haven't seen him since... Monday."
Maia "Maybe we should check on his family?"
Maia "And by we, I mean you, because Buffy and I have to keep slaying vampires."
Heka "Done that. They were...evasive."
Furud raises a brow at Maia.
Heka "I called to ask if he wanted to, uh, 'join our study group' and his mom was like, 'er zavi can't come out to play'... and he didn't really call back or anything."
Maia "It was a JOKE," Maia explains to Furud. "You know, because on Buffy, they'd always split up and stick their noses into stuff that isn't really any of their business?"
Heka "Who says their kid can't COME OUT TO PLAY? I said STUDY GROUP?!"
Maia "And nobody would really do or say anything?"
Maia "You HAVE seen Buffy, right?"
Furud "Yeah, well. I wasn't sure what you two have been up to when I'm not around."
Heka "I thought you were making some unlikely euphemism for, uh, dildo use."
Maia "You know. Rocking out with our cocks out." She glances at Heka. "Figuratively. It just means we rock really hard."
Antares keeps throwing pebbles, gradually relaxing back against the boulder as the conversation washes over her.
Furud "Yeah. Okay." He leans back and looks up at the sky, rubbing his finger against the edge of his torc until it hums quietly.
Maia squints at Furud in concern.
Heka "Scuse me? It just means you are rock hard? But they're not out? Is that what you said?"
Maia "Uh, anyway."
Furud snorts at Heka
Maia "So that's weird that Zavi is missing."
Furud pushes himself up again and pulls his backpack into his lap, unzipping it and digging through the thick stacks of paper. "Maybe there's something in his file."
Furud pulls out some papers and lays them down on the ground in front of him. Yearbook photos, grades, then several papers with his name across the top, written in a precise hand. Lastly, a dark photocopy of a photograph of Zavijava, dated last Friday.
Antares "Hope there's something in there that's worth it," Antares says, watching him unpack.
Maia glances away from the photo, and smiles at Antares.
Antares smiles back at Maia, a little uncertainly. "How you doing?" she murmurs, while the boys think of the next penis joke.
Maia "Good as new." She wiggles her fingers. "Glad, too -- I was worried about the concert tomorrow."
Heka leans over the folder with Furud and looks through papers, pointing out things and making comments in a low voice.
Antares "Good," says Antares to Maia, though she winces a bit. "So, uh, you probably want me to stay home from that one."
Maia "I need you."
Maia "I mean, the band needs you."
Maia "We've been practicing with you all week."
Heka "Hey, what's this, Zavi went to some camp last summer...but the names are all blacked out..."
Antares Antares, who had been focusing studiously on her pebble-throwing, shoots a look sideways at Maia. "For real? I mean, assuming I'm not in jail or anything."
Furud points to a sentence at the end of the file. He glances up at Maia and Antares for a second, then back down at the paper. He focuses on what Heka is saying. "Weird. Damn, if I had the original copy I might have been able to figure out what they were." He sits back on his heels and sighs.
Maia "What do you mean, for real? Yeah, for real." Maia grabs Antares's hand. "Please come."
Antares squeezes Maia's hand, hard, then looks over at Heka and Furud. "Camp? Does it say where?"
Heka "Not really, but wasn't he at the same camp as Yed and the others?"
Furud "Yeah. Remember, Zavi saved Yed's life."
Furud "It was at magic camp..." He thinks for a minute. "Camp Horsehead I think?"
Heka "Sounds right."
Antares "So if that's in Johnstone's file, who else was watching?"
Furud skims down the list, "Yeah, here's Yed's name, probably."
Antares remembers the conversation at the mall.
Furud "What about her?"
Antares "Yed said he was at magic camp with her."
Antares "And you said Johnstone was going after her next."
Maia "Oh, I remember that. She said that place was really creepy. All the counselors were watching them all the time."
Furud "Oh," He looks down at the list and nods. "I think you're right. Oh crap, has anyone seen her today?"
Maia "And they put her in some kind of special group? With all these nerds. Zavijavi, and Yed, and..." she slows to a halt.
Maia "Well, that's just great."
Maia "So, in addition to having an evil high school, we have an evil summer camp."
Maia "That's good to know, but how is it getting rid of moose and squirrel, exactly?"
Antares "Johnstone leave any notes in there?" Antares asks Furud. "Or are we gonna have to throw this party again?"
Heka "I dunno. We have a Boris but no Natasha."
Maia blinks in confusion at Heka's ostensible metaphor.
Furud flips through the other pages, and frowns. "All it says is "Monday - 2:35. Disturbance taken care of."
Maia "Disturbance? I don't remember hearing anything about that."
Maia looks unusually perturbed.
Furud gives her an unreadable look. "Do you usually?"
Maia raises an eyebrow back at him. "Usually when there's a 'disturbance' at school everybody hears about it."
Furud shrugs. "You're just well-connected."
Antares "You got something to say, fuckin' say it," says Antares, looking over at Furud with a glint in her eye.
Maia glances over at Antares, then noncommittally back at Furud.
Furud glares at Antares, then transfers his ire to Maia. "I want to know exactly what's going on with you and Johnstone. You had no file. NONE. You're in his office all the time. You know where he keeps all the files he has on us. And I bet I know who PJ in your phone is. What the fuck, Maia?"
Maia flushes, but speaks evenly. "I told you I had an in in the principal's office."
Maia "Well, I do."
Furud "That's not good enough."
Antares "He's been blackmailing her," Antares says, hoping to head off the worst if Maia doesn't want to spill.
Furud tosses down a stack of photocopies. Photos of the students. "Was it you?"
Maia "I..." Maia glances over at Heka, who's watching silently, but with a grin, and sighs at Antares's exclamation.
Maia "Listen, Furud. Do you...Are you..."
Furud "What?" he demands.
Maia "Do you trust me? Are you my friend, or aren't you?"
Furud Several emotions make their way across his face before he says, his voice quiet. "I'm not sure anymore. I want to. Just give me something. Tell me what's going on, Maia! Everything is so fucked up right now."
Maia is equally quiet. "I know. I know."
Maia "Let's go...let's get something to eat, okay? We'll go get some pizza, go back to my house, and we'll...talk about it, okay? I promise. I just really need something to eat right now."
Furud stares at her for a moment, then nods his assent, and gathers up the papers. "Yeah, okay."
Maia stands up, squeezing Antares's hand, then looks back at her, and back at Furud, uncomfortably. "Antares already knows. We talked about it, after what happened with Polaris. But if you...I mean." She gropes for words.
Antares shoulders up behind Maia, silent but trying to support her by presence.
Furud waits for her to finish, though he glances up at Antares for a second before returning his attention to Maia.
Maia "I dunno. If you don't want her there, I guess. Then I would understand that. I don't want you to feel like...bad."
Maia "You know. Not good. Bad."
Maia "I don't know!"
Maia "What do you WANT?"
Furud "I just want to know what's GOING ON!"
Maia "All right, then let's just go."
Maia "All right?"