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Presence Known

Page's grip was tight...tighter than Crispien had ever felt it since the two boys have known each other...and this included the times when they were supposedly "playful". He was actually...helpless...and blacking out. His breath, much to his chagrin, was growing thin...just as if life was, all because of this grip.

Shit, what happened to this guy? He didn't remember him being so damn strong. He didn't remember him being like -this-.

"It's been a long time since I've tried to kill you link this, King," Page whispered huskily into his old pal's ear. "I remember whn I couldn't do anything like this to you. I was weak, as you use to call me...I could have easily died under your grasp. You were so much stronger...a true Dark Knight. Not to mention, your head was farther up your ass than mine."

"Bull...shit!" Speaking, even in a hoarse whisper, seemed like a handicap or a hated obstacle right now. Then again, that's what happened when you were being brutally strangled. ""

"You?" The white-blonde boy chuckled. "Why should I? It's not like I'm trying to kill you, King."


"Such language, King. It isn't becoming of you. After all, I'm just being playful."

"..." Crispien was growing weak now...the darkness was abundant, night wasn't providing all of it. And was feeling sleeping...disconnected. ""

"Say please." After another moment, Page tossed his victim carelessly to the ground with a sickening thud. A loud chuckle escaped his lips, almost taunting, mostly playful in nature. "You'll live. I wasn't going to let you die, King. Not yet anyway."

Crispien thrashed all over on the ground, coughing violently. He wasn't going to die tonight...and he didn't know whether to be thankful and walk away, or to use those dark powers of his to kick Page's lily ass.

"What, no 'thank you Page, for not killing me?" He asked, beguiled. "You are so ungrateful, King..always full of yourself. People give you a name that reflects your status as Gaia's knight, and you still are cruel. I suspect that's why people don't like you very much."

"Fuck you." Crispien knew he wasn't in the position to curse. Not only was his voice hoarse, but he wasn't at full power, and Page proved to be dangerous right now. Then again, he really didn't give a damn.

"I would, King, but you aren't my type," Page chuckled.

"What are you doing here anyway. If you recall, we..."

"Now," Page interrupted, "before you give me that fiercely cliché 'we got rid of you a long time ago' speel, don't. You know me all too well."

"Fine. Then I'll ask you how you went from zero to hero. I don't remember you being this strong."

"Ah yes, I have grown, haven't I? I must be eating my Wheaties." Page chuckled, relishing the joke he made. "Anyway, it's nothing you'd want to worry about...besides, I don't feel like telling you the story. All that matters to me is that it seems that I seem to be the one that's brought you to near death, instead of vice-versa, King."

"I noticed. Very impressive, Page. I'm shaaaaaaking in my boots. Ooh." For a near-death experience, he found it easy to be a twit.

" just love to be a little shit, don't you? Even after I almost killed you. Heh, you have cajones, advisor. You always were a heartless bastard."

"Whatever. Just get the hell out of here. Since I won't tell you why you were thrown out in the first place, I will tell you that you are trespassing."

"Trespassing? We aren't on school ground, King." Page's smile faded as fast as it came. He approached Crispien, who watched him intently. He changed...but then again, he didn't. He still looked to be 6'0, just like he was. He still had those electric blue eyes, which shone through his dark, Men in Black-type sunglasses Will Smith made so famous. He also had that white blonde hair, which complimented his eyes so well. He still wore a leather jacket, black jeans, and a black shirt he wore when he was out of school...people could have called him a "Stoner".

He was the same...but he seemed to different now. He could see his muscles...muscles that Crispien thought didn't exist, and he was quick to tell him. And his much more detectable...and so very strong. Damn it. Kara was right. Someone was giving off vibes last night, and it -had- to be Page.

Crispien stood still has his former protegé kneeled before him. "And besides, I wouldn't do it anyway. I can't do it. I'm going to be at Madison more often, King, and I want you to -feel- me there." In a swift motion, he took off his glasses, blue eyes staring into brown eyes full of hatred and malice. "The way I see it, King, I've got something to owe you. I've got to repay you for all the shit you've pulled on me. You weren't good to me, King. You you harmed more than helped? Well, now you're going to reap what you sow."

"As if that will ever happen, Page," Crispien said defiantly. "Lund House -knows- about you. They aren't going to let you get away with -anything-. And we've got new recruits...once they're briefed about you, you'll wish you hadn't choked me."

"Ah yes...the new students. Your little pawns...and you are their King." Page stood gently, putting his sunglasses back on. "I don't have anything to worry about. If you are their advisor, I bet they hate you with a passion right now. And they should hate you. You're a jerk, a fool, and asshole that only cares about himself. You only mess up whatever you touch, just like you messed up me. In fact, I bet they'll be so happy when someone finally gets rid of you. And from what I heard...especially with one of the students, you don't stand a chance against what I have planned."

"Try me. If you think you're messed up now, wait 'til I really mess you up."

"Sure you you hallucinations." He turned away from him. "I remember when we used to play chess on Saturdays...especially when you beat me...your white pieces would take all my black ones, and I had now way to recover them. Well, this time it'll be different. This is my game of chess, King, and in my game...I take all. You'd better hold on to those chess pieces of yours...becauseif you aren't careful. You'll lose them all." He chuckled once more. "Be seeing ya, King."

Crispien didn't dare stand. He knew that if he did, it'd be a suicide mission...he'd be begging to die. And he was still weak and shaken...he was in no position to fight. But...damn it, that man knew how to win a mind game.

No matter. So what if Page had gotten stronger? So what if he'd held a grudge. He wasn't about to let Page have his way again. He was going to let him have it.

And he was going to show him why he was named "King".

"I don't want to ruin anyone's reverie," Jack began the next morning, "but we didn't have a meeting this morning. Crispien simply left this morning. And from what I heard, he looked pretty pissed."

"Good, let him be pissed!" Kara said harshly. "Let him be dead in a ditch somewhere, as long as I don't have to see him."

"Oooh...looks like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning," Jack cooed. "Lemme guess, Crispien was being himself toward you?"

"Damn right he did!" Kara's face turned bright red, and swiftly she was speaking in a torrid of Spanish (her third language). "¿Cómo el atrevimiento él me insulta como eso?! ¿Cómo atrevimiento él? Él incluso no me conoce! ¿Cómo el atrevimiento él me trata como un niño?"

"Oh no, there she goes again!" Jack whined. "Why does she have to speak in a language I don't understand?! Maria!"

"I shall try my best to translate, Jack," Maria said in her soft voice. "Umm...she is saying how Mr. Sill insulted her last night..."

"Ouch! No wonder she's pissed."

"Indeed...umm..she is saying how Mr. Sill said something that upset her. Something about..being a bad...umm...what's that? Auraist?"

Kara stopped dead in her tracks, realizing what she just allowed to slip. Damn it! I'm so pissed, now look what I've done... "No...I didn't say auraist...Crispien...he...he said I was a bad student."

"Student?" Maria frowned slightly. "That is estudiante. I heard you say auraist...I heard it distinctly."

"No, you didn't! I'm pretty sure I said student," Kara said nervously.

"Wait a minute, what is a auraist anyway? Never heard of it before in my life...not even in Spanish class."

"Is that a new word for student...or did you mix up languages, Kara?"

I can't allow this to go on...I can't let them know why they are really here. "Will you stop attacking me?!" The southern belle yelled in a fueled range. "It's bad enough Crispien's on my back, I don't need you two to be!"

Jack and Maria looked her their friend, bewildered. Had they really made a mountain out of a mole hill? Was Kara that stressed? Whatever the cause was, it was really affecting her.

Of course, Crispien had a role in this. She had every right to be upset. After all, Crispien wasn't the nicest person in the world. He'd taken a freash, promising, and potentially life-changing experience and molded it into a nightmare. It was a stubborn, incouragable, and just plain cruel.

He was suppose to help with the transition, not hinder it.

"I'm sorry, Kara..." Jack said softly. "I didn't mean to cause you any harm."

"I apologize as well, Kara," Maria added. "It's none of our business. And you don't need to be stressed any further."

Kara stood there, her face still red, and boiling with angry...until it relaxed, the tension fading and the color dying out, replaced with eyes misted with tears. "I...I'm sorry. I...I didn't mean to snap at you.'s just's been so hard here...and I can't handle it." She looked down, not wanting to let her friends see the tears that streamed her cheeks. They only looked at her silently, sympathizing with their friend, knowing all to well how she was feeling. "I thought I could...but since Crispien is around...I can't..."

Her voice trailed, replaced with quiet, bitter sobs and endless tearfall. She simply walked away from her friends, paying no mind to them, but to her sadness and grief. Jack and Maria said nothing. Kara had every right to cry and to be upset. After all, Crispien was capable of bring even the most robust fighter down to his knees.

"She's pretty upset...we're going to have help her, Jack."

"Can you blame her?" Jack groaned, somewhat angry. "After all, excuse my language, but Crispien is a low-life, selfish asshole."

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"When the hell did I give you permission to upset my daughter?!"

Caroline Meacham stared fiercly into the eys of Crispien, anger glazed all around them. She was furious-her daughter Kara was too upset to remain in her classes today. Of course, she knew who the cause of her daughter's pain was.

"Your job at Lund House is to be advisors to the new students, not some army general!" Caroline continued. "I will not tolerate you belittling my students like this. How would you feel if I did this to you?!"

Crispien sighed, leaning back into his chair nonchalantly. "I don't think I would like it, Headmistress Meacham. Then again, I find myself adapting to even the harshest of situations."

"Don't act fresh with me, young man!" She snapped. "I'm not a student, and I'm not dumb." Could have fooled me... Crispien thought with a silent chuckle. "You are a student, just like the rest of them. You are not mightier than them, and you are NOT holier than they are."

Crispien cleared his throat. "I understand that. However, sometimes a point has to be made strictly, which is what I must do most of the time, otherwise they will not listen to me."

"How do you know that, Sill? You hardly give any of those students a chance. You drive them insane. You do more harm than good. Your actions are totally unjustified."

"Says who, Headmistress Meacham? After all, those I have advised since my junior in this place have become strong figures in Lund House. Even Kara is with one of my previous students, Nora Harris."

Caroline chuckled lightly. "From what I've heard, they've become good students from other things here at Madison. Isn't Nora, or Audi as you might call her, president of the National Honor Society right now?"

Crispien was confused as to where this was going. "Yes, why?"

" good reason...just bringing it up because she once told me that those whom you once "trained" became bigger people, not -because- of you, but to -go above- you." Caroline crossed her arms over her chest. "You aren't very popular in Lund House, are you, Crispien?"

Oh, she's just asking for it, isn't she? Crispien thought, calmly angry. "No, I may not be popular. I will be the first one to admit that. However, I do know more than you about the "residents" of Lund House, Headmistress Meacham. Except for your daughter, what do you know about being a Child of Gaia?"

Crispien had lit the fuse. Caroline's fist pounded into her desk, the sounds of rages echoing throughout the room. "Don't you -ever- undermine me again! Or I'll have you expelled from this school so fast, your head will spin." She recoiled, stepping away, but never allowing her eyes to leave his. Her voice had become softer, but still laced with anger. "I may not have been born with the abilities like you and the others, but I do know what it's like to be human! Just because you have these powers, does -not- mean you, or anybody else in that house, or anyone else on this campus, is human!"

Crispien simply stared at her. He didn't say another word. After all, he didn't wish to be expelled.

"Now you go and you send Kara a written apology by 6 p.m. tonight, or you will be given twenty-five demerit points, Crispien. And I suggest you do it fast because you're already above average with DP points. You may go now."

Crispien slowly arose from his chair, not bothering to say good-bye to Headmistress Meacham. After all, she'd pissed him off. She dragged him in there for a dumb reason. That human stuff? Garbage. So what if her daghter cried? That so-called "lady" didn't have much of a backbone anyway...even for an auraist.

Even if her suspicions were right.

Kay sucked in a breath as Crispien passed by her, praying that he wouldn't pick up her presence. She's been listening the whole time, getting to goods she needed. She found herself smiling throughout the heavy, maybe even troubling conversation.

After all, she'd gotten exactly what she needed to please her love today.

Kay watched him walk down the hallway and turn a corner before she exhaled fiercely, relieved. She was homefree. She'd gotten what she wanted, and no one noticed. Like a cat after a mouse, she sneaked away from her corner, making sure that no one else was around.

"Love..." she whispered to herself, "wait 'til you hear this..."

"Audi, I need to talk to you!" Crispien said, bursting into her room later that night. "And don't say you have anything else to do, because I'm not buying it."

Audi growled. She didn't exactly make it a point to be in the same room with Crispien...she tried to avoid it. "Oh joy...what do you want, Crispien?"

"I don't know if you noticed, but I'm rather pissed off today."

"Naaaaaah...really?" Audi said with a giggle. "Anyway, what is it? I'm eating dinner with Sa in ten minutes."

"Yeah, well you may lose you appetite when I tell you this." He sat in front of her, his eyes burning into hers. "I'm just going to come right out and say it. I got attacked last night."

Audi stared at him, some sympathy in her face. "I'm sorry to hear that."

"I got attacked by Page, Audi."

Silence. Audi's expression went from sympathy, to surprise, to fear. "P..Page? He...he's back?"

Maria found Newberry Park to be a refreshing atmosphere. There was so much flora about...barenaked ladies, lush grasses, and an assortment of autumn colors. She knew she wouldn't experience anything like this for a while, so she enjoyed it while she least before dinner.

Pretty, isn't it? 'Tis a beautiful place, Newberry Park. I used to come here a lot...because I was always alone. Weren't you alone?

Maria's attention focused. Telepathy...she'd heard the words so clearly in her head, as clear as the words her brother often sent to her. But this voice wasn't that of her brother's...far from hit.

Confused? As well you should be. Just like all new students...just like I was before I lightened up.

Maria slowly arose from the bench, turning to her right. Don't leave...we were just getting aquainted.

"Maybe so...but you aren't my brother. He only speaks to me this way. And you are not him." She closed her eyes. You are in front of me...please show yourself.

As you wish. Maria watched as a figure stepped from the darkness. Her eyes never moved as his white hair shone against the lampost, rays of white light streaked into her eyes. His blue eyes kept her fixated, never letting her go.

"Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Daniel...but you can call me Page..."

Chapter 3