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Jan. 27th, 2015


The way things are supposed to be (Charlie)

Ted made his way to the house that he shared with Charlie, Lucy-Belle, The Horse, Jake, and sometimes Jennifer. He was hoping to see somebody there that he knew. Hoping beyond hope that he might get some news of Jo that was contrary to what he'd discovered in his phone. He needed to shake off the tea he'd sat at with Eddie, and maybe warn Charlie about that guy.

The door was unlocked as it always was, and Ted discovered the living room a little in disarray. As if somebody had been looking for something and then put everything back without caring much what it looked like.

He saw the envelope immediately. It was a flowing script that spelled out his name. Not Charlie's handwriting, nor Jen's. It was thin, so whatever was within couldn't be more than a page long. Ted opened it and sat down to read.

Dear Ted,

I'm terribly sorry about this, but you were never supposed to return. I'd sent you back to your home in California because it was time. Because you needed to go back. You don't have a place here in The City anymore. I suppose you accidentally got scooped back up when I was running my other errands. Perhaps you hadn't made it all the way back yet and I intercepted you in transition, or maybe I pulled too hard when I was trying to net the others. Any which way that it happened, it wasn't intentional and it can't stand as is. I'm afraid if you stay, something bad will happen. You'll be used up, or perhaps killed. You stumbling upon Edward Nigma just proved this to me.

I really am sorry. I'm going to have to send you back again.

This time, though, I'll let you say goodbye to Charlie. You have until 4:30 pm today. Then you'll be going home. I can't wait longer than that, unfortunately.


Thomas Townsend.

PS - I'll let Beauty know as well.

PPS - I want you to know that Jo is back where she belongs, too. As is Maxine.

PPPS - What does PS stand for?

PPPPS - I really am sorry, Ted.

- TT

"Post script." Ted sighed. The letter in hand, he sat on the couch and looked at his watch. It was currently three thirty. He had an hour left within the walls of this strange place. He hadn't been meant to come back. The City was going to send him home to California, which didn't feel like home at all anymore.

He pulled out his phone and found Charlie's number. He wasn't quite up to talking, so he opted for text. His fingers played over the buttons for a moment before he keyed out the words telling Charlie that he should come home, that it was important and a little urgent, but not an emergency. And to bring a pastry from that one shop that they knew about.

Ted didn't suppose he'd ever get a pastry like those again, so he might as well have a final taste.

Jan. 24th, 2015


Back? Again? (Open)

He had found himself in his above-garage room in Charlie's house, and it had been very clear to him that the situation had been that. His stuff was there, and Charlie's bullet-riddled car had been outside. Which was not the place he'd been. He'd been with Jo. In her little house. There had been a little girl in the next room, sleeping soundly. He'd been content. More than that, he'd been happy.

Ted's heart had sunk to find he was back in California, but he'd gone back to his life the best that he could. There was a Charlie here, of course, just not... Charlie. This Charlie knew nothing about the City or what they'd done. This Charlie didn't have a Jennifer at his side, he was still wrapped up in his ex wife. This Charlie commented occasionally about how Ted didn't seem very Ted-like recently, but Ted just shook it off as flu symptoms.

So when he opened his eyes this time and saw the morning sun streaming through the silly lacy curtains that had been hung in Jo's slightly ridiculous little perfect house, his heart rose.

Of course, it sank again when he found no sign of Jo at all. And no Jo in the contacts of his phone. No little girl with special powers, either. Ted realized that the City had brought him back, but it had taken everything from him that he had loved. He was where he wanted to be, but not who he wanted to be with.

He knew that he couldn't stay in the little house forever. It would be too painful. But he would stay for a while at least, until he found somewhere else. Which... well, he wasn't going to do that right away, he didn't think. For now, well. Ted was going to check up on things around town.

Coffee first, he thought. Yes. Ted went looking for his favorite shop, finding it almost immediately. His face did not show that pleasure, though. It showed only his loss.

Sep. 23rd, 2013


Principal's Office [Ted, then Ted + Jo]

Mrs. Portello was screaming. It wasn't the reaction Maxine had been expecting and the little girl was shocked into a stupor by the grown up's hysterics. It took exactly three seconds for the kindergarten teacher's panic to infect the other small children, most of whom started crying. Many of them ran behind the trusted teacher for protection.

Maxine wasn't the only student in a daze, there were two others. Christi was also very quiet, staring back at Maxine in awe. Rex had his hands on his head, only vaguely aware that the head he was feeling was no longer a human one but that of a very large duck. His fingers were on the bill, reaching into his mouth, trying to find his real face underneath to no avail.

He'd called Christi stupid. He'd made her cry. When Maxine told him to stop he laughed. He said if Christi wasn't so stupid she would do something beside pick her nose and cry. Maxine had told him Christi hadn't picked her nose, but by then the rumor started to spread and the other children were laughing which made Christi cry even harder.

Then, instead of continuing to taunt Christi, he began to quack.

Maxine had given him a duck head.

And that'e when Mrs. Portello started screaming.

One of the teachers from next door rushed into the room, she was equally terrified of seeing a boy with a duck's head. It wasn't until a third teacher entered the room and asked what happened and fifteen tiny hands all pointed at Maxine, that the teacher faked enough calm to tell Maxine to go to the principal's office.

The teachers were terrified of her.

Maxine waited on an uncomfortable wood bench outside Principal Crisp's office. They'd tried calling the guardians listed on Maxine's file. Not even Principal Crisp wanted to handle the super powered child until another adult was present.

Jul. 27th, 2013


Double date night (Jo/Jen/Charlie)

Ted managed to get himself untangled from everything that was going on in the mayor's office. He helped them find a suitable candidate to take the position of deputy mayor so that there would be somebody in the hot seat - that wasn't him - until a full mayor could be elected. After that, he stopped being so helpful. He just directed everybody toward the new deputy mayor. Though, once in a while, he did answer the deputy's questions. It was only fair.

It was easy enough to get Charlie to agree to the dinner for the four of them. Ted said that he'd have stuff brought in, so that nobody had to cook anything, and everybody could just relax and have a good time. It felt weird to throw a get together for four people that was essentially catered, but he figured that if he was going to be the custodian of all Charlie's money, some of it should at least be used.

The dinner wasn't anything formal. Ted just had on a pair of slacks and a polo shirt. He fully intended this to be a completely relaxing evening that got him back in touch with his friends, and his girlfriend. And perhaps ended in the pool.

He stood with the horse in the living room, waiting for Jo and Jen to arrive. The table in the dining room was set - he'd had to buy a table - with nice plates and glassware. The food was being readied in the kitchen. Ted thought that Charlie was still upstairs getting ready.

Jul. 16th, 2013


So much work (Phonecall with Jo)

Ted felt bad that he hadn't been in touch with Jo in a while. He'd missed every call she'd placed to him, and hadn't been able to text more than single word replies to her. He had a feeling that she wasn't going to be very happy, but he could only hope that she understood once he had a chance to explain. He also hoped that she was willing to take his call, that she wasn't so pissed off that she completely refused to talk to him at all.

He'd shut his door and told the staff that he was in an important teleconference, instructing his secretary that nobody was to even knock on his door until he said otherwise. Hopefully he'd get some peace that way.

It wasn't like they were looking at him to take over the Mayor's duties, he just knew all the ins and outs of what had been going on prior to Jack Heart's disappearance from the City. He was the one capable of instructing the individuals who were taking up the puzzle pieces to make the whole.

He listened to the ringing, and held his breath, hoping.

Jun. 13th, 2013


Missing Mayor (Narrative)

Ted was at his usual routine with an automatic drive. He did all the things that normally went on in the day after he woke up. Not one step of it thought about. His goal was to ingest as much news as he could, get coffee into his body, feed himself, and get to his office to start the real day.

There were small changes, of course, Honour was in the house, so he moved around quieter to make sure he didn't wake her at this early hour. He also made sure to clean up after himself a little better so that she didn't feel like she had to earn her keep by being their maid. And now the horse was more in the way than he usually was, trying to stay as close to the girl as possible.

The office was buzzing by the time he got there, but Ted didn't pay attention to any of it right away. There were any number of reasons the ants could be stirred up. From somebody having a baby, getting engaged, or Mothra was on top of the building.

He passed a door and his subconscious picked up on a difference that didn't register until he put his things down on his desk. Frowning, Ted popped back out to the common space and looked around.

"What do you mean the Mayor is gone?" He asked the crowd.

May. 5th, 2013


Breakfast for two (Ted, then Beauty)

They had gals. They had jobs. They had money and lives. It seemed that they were set.

Charlie wondered if they were. If they were truly set.

Rather than keep wondering, the City detective left a message for his housemate join him for some dinner. They hadn't talked much lately, and he wanted to revisit how life was going, where it was going. He wanted to know that Ted was doing well.

Unfortunately, as it was bound to happen, the plans were ruined by a crime. It wasn't a difficult one; Jennifer and Charlie had discovered the truth, solving the case in record time. The butler actually did do it. The case kept Charlie away from one of his longest best friends, and Charlie wished all the other cases that came across the desk he shared with Jennifer were solved as easily and cleanly.

The detective stood in the kitchen and stared into the refrigerator. What did he want for breakfast? Should he see if Ted was around to have the conversation over breakfast instead? Was that milk fresh? What did 42 really mean?

Mar. 25th, 2013


Refuge (Ted)

A long, black town car pulled up to Ted's driveway, and two grim men in grimmer suits stepped out. In the night, they nearly faded from existence, but for their faces and their hands.

"Thank you," Beauty said sincerely, squeezing both hands of the beautiful woman who rode in the back seat with her. "I'll never forget what you did for me, Christine."

And then it was the long stretch of driveway, the crunch of gravel under boots, and a strong rapping on the door before her. The bodyguards stayed with her, flanking either side, while Beauty waited. Pale and miserable, she realized that the plastic bracelet was still on her wrist. It said her name in reverse order: BELLAFORTE, HONOUR

She was in the process of tugging at the band when the door swung open.

Mar. 1st, 2013


Adventures in Babysitting [Ted/Jo]

After the first day of total darkness, Maxine started to fret. She used the internet to look up when the sun was supposed to rise and set. Then there was the alarms. Maxine set every single alarm in the house, all for different times. Without the sun, the animals wouldn't know when it was their bedtime. Maxine had to fix that.

As obnoxious as it was, the owls and crickets were only heard during the nighttime hours. The rodents and other creatures only ventured out during the safety of the dark days. With or without the sun, the animals continued the best they could under Maxine's ernest direction. To the untrained eye, however, Maxine was a nightmare of a house guest -- waking up at all hours and going out into the yard, concentrating with all her five year old might.

It was a strange sight in the least.

Getting up at all hours of the night meant sleeping at all hours, too. Maxine had curled up in the living room with a blanket. When sleeping deeply, she didn't hear Jo coming or going. She did, however, hear the knock on the door. Her hair was comically disheveled. Maxine rubbed the sleep from her eyes when she looked up at the older man at the door.

"...Are you Jo's dad?" she yawned.

Dec. 13th, 2012


Really? (Open)

Ted stood out in front of City Hall, looking at the building.

He had seen the news spot about it being burned down and rebuilt. He knew that the City was capable of a lot of things. He shouldn't doubt that it would be able to restore a building almost as soon as it was taken out. But he did. He was looking for differences. Flaws. Changes. Anything. Even a window that was cracked.

Either this was some other building that the City had moved to replace the old City Hall, or the fire had never happened. He was sure of it. Okay, so he wasn't sure of it. But he didn't believe that the whole thing had burned down and nobody inside had noticed. Not one employee had witnessed it. Not one. Even his office was perfect, and nothing smelled of smoke. It bothered Ted more than many other things about this place did.

How can a building burn with nobody to see it?

He wondered if Charlie would turn it into one of those trees falling in an empty forest questions.

It wasn't that Ted was afraid to go inside. He'd been in already. He'd been in a lot, actually. They'd only just found out about this fire, and they'd gone into work the next day as if everything was normal. All of them.

Ted made a bit of a face at the building.

Sep. 26th, 2012


We Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts (Ted)

Jo hadn't seen all that much of Ted over the past few weeks. Mostly, she'd been busy trying to figure out what the hell she was going to do about the bar situation. She also wasn't quite ready to tell him that she was staying in a motel or explain the reasons behind it. But she thought she might have some ideas as to how to make sure that the situation didn't turn into a bloodbath, maybe.

So now that she thought that she might be able to get things under control, she'd left Ted a message inviting him to meet her for coffee. They never had gotten around to that second date, after all. Coffee wasn't exactly the most original date, but it would be nice to do something normal for a change. Spending two weeks together in an alternate reality that was even more bizarre than the City didn't exactly count as normal.

Unfortunately, while she was waiting at the coffee shop, she got a call. The voice on the other end of the line was a little hesitant and vague about how they'd gotten her number, but seemed to really need the help. Something about a rental property that kept scaring off and sometimes even killing off its tenants.

Jo had promised that she'd look into it, but she wasn't going to simply leave and stand Ted up. She waited to see if he'd get there soon. Maybe she could still squeeze in time for a coffee before she went ghost hunting.

Aug. 23rd, 2012


The Answer That You Endorse (Ted)

The entire day felt like a weight. Once the books were properly shelved, the rest of her hours at work stretched impossibly long. Errol was up in front, researching something... a topic too familiar for her tastes. Honour retreated to the rare books room - which was as far away from the front of the store as she could get - and spent the rest of the day pacing or restlessly changing positions in one of the bookstore's upholstered chairs. There'd been only one chime from the door, and she'd avoided coming out for that. She tried reading, but ended up going over the same two paragraphs again and again. Nothing was sticking, and she couldn't get her thoughts straight.

Something gnawed at her ruthlessly, and she was doing her best to hide it -- or at least hide away until she mastered it. When it came time for the end of her shift, Honour uncharacteristically rushed through closing duties and hurried out the door with hardly a word to her colleague. It shouldn't have been so difficult to be around him, she reflected, but she'd stopped meeting his eyes when they happened on her.

The warm early evening felt like a blanket around her. She hurried home and went to the room that felt the most comforting - her new library. Again, nothing seemed to take her mind off things; nothing helped at all. It was useless, all these attempts to distract herself. But maybe...

30 minutes later, Honour knocked on the beautiful doors of a friend. Over one arm she carried a basket filled to the brim with apples and carrots. When she dropped her hand to her side again, she tried plastering on a smile, but it felt so awful that she let it slide almost immediately.

Aug. 20th, 2012


The suit (Narrative)

There were rooms and closest in the house that nobody used. The house was just too big for two people to actively inhabit all the space. Ted had a bedroom and an office, Charlie had a bedroom, Lucy-belle had a bedroom downstairs, as did the horse. And still there was a lot of room to be had.

So when Ted opened his closet and discovered the suit hanging there, he knew it was for him, and hadn't been accidentally left by or for somebody else. He didn't think his partner would do something like this. Not that it was too elaborate, but Charlie had other sorts of jokes he liked to play. Nothing about this had his friend's name on it.

The thing was fairly ugly. A deep purple color with black boots and a pair of little black... over... underpants... it also came with a belt and a cape which were an almost-forest green. On the chest in a color similar to the cape and belt was what could only be called a logo.

Ted frowned on it. Aleph essentially measured sets of infinity.

"Charlie?" He called out, but the house was quiet around him. His roommate wasn't home. "Charlie," He said anyway. "I think the City wants me to be a mathematics superhero... Charlie I don't want to be a superhero... And this logo doesn't make sense."

Jul. 31st, 2012


Is that a wolf? ... no... (Lockheed)

Being back in the City after being on that horrible planet made Ted realize just how much he appreciated certain things about his life. Also, how much he'd taken some for granted. Or not even taken the time to explore them properly.

Like the park.

The park was a vast and beautiful place filled with lots of trees and really random food choices. The park had a small lake in it. Or a large pond. Whatever. The park had children laughing and parents watching. Balloons, and grass.

Just in the park were a hundred things that the planet he and Jo had been on didn't even remotely come close to pretending to have. Which was why Ted was there today. Walking around and not caring about work - which he might get yelled at for later, but that was later - and looking at every single thing that he could look at.

A man who has been to prison knows how to enjoy the world outside of the walls. A man who has been to an apocalyptic planet knows how to enjoy the world as a whole. Ted was a man who was both.

Jul. 20th, 2012


Back (Charlie and Jen)

It was fortunate and a moment of relief when Ted discovered himself back in the City. He had had enough of the place he'd been put, and was ready to return to the oddness and moving streets. That he could handle. Apocalypse, he wasn't too gung ho for.

It was unfortunate that he returned without Jo by his side. No way of knowing if she was alright either, other than calling her number, leaving a message and sending a quick text right after. Which he did. Ted knew that in some places where call service didn't work, the short burst of a text would get through. If she wasn't in the City, maybe she could still get it. Of course, if she was back as well, hopefully she'd take it as worry and not him being some crazy stalker.

The only thing he could think to do immediately was to return to Charlie and the horse and the house. He'd learned that he had many things to tell his friend, and he wanted to see if Charlie had gone to the other place, too.

Ted found the door unlocked - as usual - and immediately headed up the stairs.

Jul. 2nd, 2012


Fables (Ted)

It seemed there could be no reason for a woman of her age to be clutching a book of fables, but that's exactly what Honour Bellaforte was doing -- walking down the streets of the City, almost aimless, and clutching a heavily-embossed, slim hardcover full of fables. She'd been walking for an hour, the sun was sliding behind the buildings of this place she now called her home, and she still hadn't settled matters in her head.

The street was winding her in and out of shops; some she recognized, some she didn't. None of them were appealing....but then, she wasn't in a mood to shop. Long shadows traversed the sidewalk in front of her. She stepped through them, eyes focused ahead, but seeing very little.

As preoccupied as she was, Beauty very nearly collided with the far larger man just exiting the shop to her right.

Jun. 27th, 2012


Flowers for my sweet (Dinah)

Ted was good at picking out flowers if they were apology flowers, birthday flowers, Mother's Day flowers or Valentine's Day flowers. He'd never really gotten flowers for his wife after their first couple of months together unless for one of the above reasons. Sometimes she thought the apology flowers were just-because-flowers, and he never felt the need to correct her otherwise during that time. Eventually, she'd figured it out.

What he wanted today, though, was none of those things. He wanted to send something to Jo. He hadn't quite had a crush like this one since his younger days, and wasn't sure exactly what would be appropriate.

Walking around, he kept his eyes open for a good place, and when he saw Sherwood Florist, he was too amused by the name to not go in. And he was very happy he had. The selection was very nice, and none of the flowers looked dead or dying. Even though they technically were. They all looked fresh and nice, and there were plenty of types he couldn't name, but were very pretty.

He wandered to the counter and looked around.

May. 17th, 2012


New Things (Ted, Charlie, Horse)

Fresh from her makeover with Pixie at the helm, Beauty bounded up to the door of the mansion she knew was Charlie's. And Ted's. And the Horse's! Her hair was streaked with pastel multicolors that managed not to clash with the wispy bit of pink and pattern that she liked the most of all the dresses she and her friend selected together. She wasn't completely sure of herself in this new look, but she was determined to try it. She lifted her hand and knocked, pleased with the jangling chiming sound the movement produced. Thin silver, bronze, black and gold bracelets settled back down against the delicate bones of her wrist when she dropped her hand again.

On that arm also hung a basket filled with fruit and croissants. Some of it was for Horse. Some of it was for her and Charlie (and Ted, if he happened to be a fruit eater...or croissant eater). The other arm was occupied with hugging Ted's stickered laptop against her side. She shifted her weight in the chunky platform heels she wore, then stared down at her toes. They'd been painted a candy pink. Wriggling her toes again, she speculated just how women had started the practice of painting their toenails. She would have laughed at the notion, back in Paris.

Then again, she'd never heard of bronzer before, either. Beauty sucked in her cheeks, wrinkled her nose, and stared at the door expectantly. Her lips felt sticky and heavy from the almost-clear, pinky gloss. The test, she thought, was how other people would react to what she looked like. If no one gasped, she was going to count it as a success.

Beauty realized she was a little nervous about how Ted and Charlie would react to her new look, under the buzzy excitement she'd felt with Megan. She shifted her weight again. Lifted a foot. Set it down carefully again. Platform shoes. She was getting used to them.


Date Night? (Ted)

Jo wasn't usually the type to wear a dress, except for when she was going undercover for something or other. In fact, she very rarely wore anything other than jeans. Which was why she was a little frustrated with the City (or whomever might have broken into her apartment and left clothes in her closet) for filling her closet with dresses and dressy pants and shirts.

Not that she would have shown up for dinner in jeans and a ratty flannel shirt, but she resented that the choice was being taken out of her hands. She finally grudgingly settled on a flowered sundress that was cute but not overly formal.

She didn't really know what to make of her dinner plans for the night. Ted was sweet, if not her normal type in many ways. All the same, there was something sort of refreshing about that. He wasn't a hunter, which was extremely appealing actually. Most hunters seemed to be loners who didn't do all that well with relationships. Or they just went off and... well, she wasn't going to think about what had happened to her first boyfriend.

While it was all she knew, and there was a part of her that was definitely drawn to those types, the idea of getting out of her wheelhouse sounded kind of nice.

She was more nervous than she'd expected so by the time she pulled her truck into the parking lot of the building that housed the mayor's office, Jo's mind was a bit blank. She had kept the shotgun as well as a few other hunting supplies in a lockbox in the back of her truck. It never did hurt to be prepared and Ted had seemed more than willing to have that extra protection around. There was also a small vial of holy water, a knife, and some salt in her purse.

Once a hunter, always a hunter. She might look like a normal twenty-something woman, but she never really left the hunter side of her personality at home.

May. 3rd, 2012


No more ghosts! (Jo)

Ted had gotten Jo's message about the ghost, and had been about to run over to the house and buy it up when the streets and everything else had begun to move again. Which was also about the time when the coffers had filled themselves back up, and his efforts of looking for investments to tide the City over were nullified.

Partly glad for it, and partly annoyed because of the amount of work, Ted hadn't known quite what to do. He sat at his desk for a while, staring at the top of it. Jo's number was scribbled on the front of his planner, right under his nose. When his eyes floated over it, he made a decision.

He dialed her number before he could talk himself out of it. Listened to it ring, making sure he didn't overthink things as he waited. There was a click that told him either she'd picked up, or her voicemail had, and he just started talking.

"Jo. This is Ted, from the haunted house. Haunted house. That sounds really stupid said out loud. Do you call it something different? Probably. Anyway. I was thinking I'd like to take you to dinner as a thanks, if you'd want to do that. Maybe drinks after? There's this Italian place that everyone in the office keeps talking about. We could go there. Or anywhere you'd like."

Realizing that he'd just spit out a whole lot of words and hadn't any idea if there was somebody actually on the other end of the line, he paused, waiting to see if there would be an answer, or the telltale beep of a message run too long.

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