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Todd woke up to the sound of the Roadrunner taunting the Coyote. The trademarked 'beep beep' and the corresponding explosion hinted that the Coyote had just gotten his furry ass kicked yet again. He shifting an arm and squinted up at the vintage cartoon on the TV. He was sprawled amidst a tangle of sofa cushions and quilts on the floor of Jenny's living room. Curtis was sitting in that same tangle, a few feet away, avidly watching the eternal battle between predator and prey.
"God - - what time is it?"
Curtis glanced back at him and gave him a smirk. "8:30. Hannah's making breakfast."
Todd groaned, and dragged a blanket over his head. Being up at eight thirty on a Saturday was criminal. The cloth wasn't enough to muffle the sounds of pursuit on the TV. He'd been dreaming something vaguely disturbing - - but the memory of it had dissipated upon waking, leaving nothing but a sense of unease and a semi-hard boner in its wake. He could have been dreaming of wholesale slaughter of kittens and woken up with an erection, so that wasn't a surprise. He shifted onto his side, so it wasn't quite so obvious and sort of palmed it against his stomach, trying to get it to behave.
"Dreaming about Jenny?" Curtis asked.
"Fuck you, dude," Todd muttered.
Curtis snickered. But he might have been right. Maybe there had been something Jenny related in the dream scenario he'd been having. But not necessarily the good type of Jenny oriented dream.
Jenny had been pretty freaked out last night. A lot more than she'd let on. She hadn't done more than shrug when Todd had insisted that he was sleeping over just in case, and Curtis had seconded the motion. And that was uncharacteristic, a scared Jenny, when Jenny hardly ever let her guard down enough for people to see she had a soft side.
He didn't blame her for being freaked out. He knew from experience how hardcore scary the assholes that had snatched her could be. He was still having the occasional flashback moment himself, when he'd catch himself standing there, heart pounding, unexpectedly sucked back in to that nightmare of a night. The fact that they'd done it to her, made him see red around the edges and want very badly to fuck some bitches up. He just wasn't sure how he was going to go about said fucking.
To make matters so much worse - - well, worse in an embarrassing way - - he didn't even get to be the one to save her. Atticus had done it. Atticus. It wasn't fair.
He shoved the blanket back down, that last thought having gone a good ways to deflating his morning wood. "Jenny up?"
Curtis shrugged without turning. "I think I heard the shower."
Todd sighed, imagining Jenny in the shower right down the hall. His dick twitched again a little in appreciation of the mental image. He could smell bacon frying and other breakfast smells and that first thing Curtis had said to him actually penetrated.
"Hannah's making breakfast?"
Curtis nodded. "Yeah. She chased me out of the kitchen. Said I was more hinder than help." He grinned widely. "You know the last time I had something other than cold cereal for breakfast? Neither do I. She's so awesome."
Todd sat up and ran a hand through his hair. It felt like small animals had been nesting. Then again, maybe small animals had, because they'd been running through the woods again last night, going back to the only place he knew the Satanists had frequented, back by the old burned out nursery. Of course that had been a dead end and they'd all been losing their minds a little when they'd seen Atticus' van pull up outside Jenny's place.
She hadn't wanted to talk about it much more than he'd wanted to talk about his experience at their hands, but then she had a lot less details, having been blindfolded the whole time. She hadn't seen the faces of the guys who'd kidnapped her and didn't know where she'd been taken. Atticus knew though, and Todd figured if they needed to find that house, they could pry the information out of him.
"Come eat, guys," Hannah poked her head out of the kitchen and they got up and shambled in. There was indeed bacon, and scrambled eggs and a whole stack of pancakes, and Hannah standing there looking sort of smugly proud when Curtis gaped and made appropriately appreciative sounds.
"Save some for Jenny," Hannah cautioned when they started digging in, as if she knew Curtis tended to be a black hole where food disappeared.
There was actually food left when Jenny did show up, hair still damp from her shower, in a pair of cut off jean shorts and a little black vest over a white tank top. She grabbed a piece of bacon, folded it between a pancake and sat down next to Todd to nibble at it.
"So - - we gonna do anything about those assholes?" Todd finally asked the question they'd avoided last night, because Jenny hadn't wanted - - vehemently hadn't wanted - - to talk about it.
"Like what?" Curtis asked warily, and he knew Curtis would back him on anything he tried. But he also knew Curtis was more of a waiting for trouble to come to him and trying to deal with sort of guy, over a hunting down trouble and nipping it in the bud before it got the chance, one. Todd honestly vacillated on which method he preferred himself. But he was feeling particularly motivated today.
"Like nothing," Jenny said. "We've already established that there are a lot more of them than there are of us and that they don't play by the rules. You're just gonna get your ass kicked."
"Yeah, well, we don't have to play by the rules either." He was offended by her prediction. He'd kicked major ass last year and the vast majority of it hadn't even been human.
"Don't be a moron. I don't need you playing white knight for me. I can take care of myself."
"Apparently not very well."
"They kidnapped you before they kidnapped me."
Todd glared. Jenny glared back.
"Guys," Curtis laid hands on both their shoulders, and Todd hadn't even noticed him getting up and walking around the table. "Let's take a beat, huh?"
"I think we can all agree, that precautions need to be taken," Hannah said, still in her seat across from Jenny. "And I think from what we already know, that Jenny's correct in assuming that there are a lot more of these new Satanists than there are of us. More than you and Curtis could reasonably deal with, Todd. All you'd do was probably get hurt - - or worse - - and then where would we be?"
"You know I've got your back, dude," Curtis said. "But she's right. I'm not too keen on the idea of getting my ass kicked just to prove a point."
"What precautions?" Todd asked sullenly.
"I was thinking a little tactical self-defense," Jenny said with a cold smile.
"What, like learning martial arts?" Todd asked. "Last time I tried to teach you some ninja moves, you wouldn't have anything to do with it."
"You don't know any ninja moves," Jenny said dryly.
"I beg to differ," He said airily.
"We took karate when we were nine," Curtis backed him up.
"And how many sessions did you last through?"
"Uh - -" he exchanged a look with Curtis, who stuffed a piece of pancake in his mouth and shrugged. "Okay, we lasted three lessons, but it was a lot more boring than we thought."
"And then we got kicked out for sticking fireworks in the instructor's gym bag." Curtis rounded out the story.
Jenny rolled her eyes.
"But we've played a lot of kick ass martial arts video games, " Curtis said.
"And you pick up moves," Todd finished up.
"Don't you love it when they finish each other's sentences, Hannah? It's like they've got a whole brain between them that they're sharing."
It took him a second to get the insult and he narrowed his eyes indignantly.
"Todd you should repair Sand Dragon," Curtis went right on, not getting it at all. "Or make a new one."
Which distracted Todd from the insult, because that wasn't a bad idea. A three-foot sword went a long way to making assholes of any variety- - human or supernatural - - think twice before fucking with you. Yeah, he'd feel a lot better if he had a fully functioning sword at hand.
"I was thinking," Jenny said dryly. "Of getting a taser. One for me, one for Hannah."
"Cool," Curtis whispered.
"What, just for you girls?" Todd asked indignantly, thoughts switching off of awesome bladed weapons to sweet little purveyors of mega volts of electricity.
"Well, if you have a sword, you wouldn't need one, now would you?"
"Yeah," he mumbled resentfully. "But it would be cool."
She didn't say 'idiot', but he saw it in her eyes.
As it turned out, the rest of the summer passed uneventfully enough that the only time the newly acquired tasers got use were the two times Curtis accidentally tasered himself - - well, once was accidental, once was the result of Todd daring him to do it and after that the girls refused to let them play with them again.
Other than Curtis having to endure smug, nasty looks from Randy Savage when he attended summer school, the new Satanists didn't go out of their way to harass them. The Book was on suspiciously good behavior, only popping up in a way that drew attention a few times during the last month and a half of summer break. Only once where they were actually able to intervene and break the curse and of course the Book flapped away before they'd been able to grab it.
Even though Todd very badly didn't want to actually touch it again, and possibly get sucked in by the lure of its power - - they'd sort of decided, as a group, that it was better if they had it, if they could contain it somehow, than letting it run free. Hannah had been doing a lot of research trying to come up with a method of restraining it. Todd didn't care how they managed to lock it up, as long as he wasn't the one having to force the issue with it. He wasn't sure he could again and he didn't want to accidentally do something if he did try to subdue it, that might hurt Hannah. That was assuming that he could, with what the Satanists had done to him.
A lot of ifs.
Jenny worked things out with her mom. Meaning, she'd threatened her with legal emancipation and total control of her dad's life insurance inheritance if her mom didn't back off and let her be.
Hannah tutored Curtis relentlessly enough that he passed summer school and moved on with the rest of them to the esteemed position of seniors at Crowely High.
And bright and early, first day of the new school year, they all not so eagerly slogged towards the hallowed halls of Crowley's premier learning institution.
"Wouldn't you know it," Curtis elbowed Todd in the arm and jerked his head towards the beat up old Caprice parked in the same spot it had always sat all last year and after a summer long absence, sat once again.
"Shit," Todd said in disgust.
The Metal Dudes leaned against the car, idly passing a fat joint between them.
"Look at you, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to start broadening your young minds in this fine educational facility." Brody inclined his head.
"Losers," Eddie sneered.
"Fuck off," Todd suggested, not slowing, but maneuvering between them and the girls, more wary of them now that they'd declared a sort of war on him, than he had been back before he'd known what they were. Not that he knew now, but he had a better grasp than he'd had. Bad new.
"Aw, Little Dude, you wound us," Brody laughed at their backs.
"We'll be seein' you," Rob promised.
"Is that a threat?" Jenny hissed, but Todd caught her arm and kept her moving.
"They're full of shit. Just ignore them."
She sniffed, pulling her arm out of his grasp. The last weeks of summer hadn't gotten him any closer to where he wanted to be with Jenny. If anything, he was more confused than he'd ever been on just what signals she was throwing his way. She'd go from absolute, devastating rejection, to sidling up to him when they were over at her place, watching TV or playing video games - - Curtis had brought over his old PS2 and a crap load of vintage games - - and sort of blowing his mind and sending all sorts of encouraging signals to parts of his anatomy that didn't need any extra encouragement, without even trying. Like she was fucking with him, or leading him on just for the fun of it - - only Jenny had never struck him as being anywhere close to a cock tease. In fact, as far as he knew she'd been sexually active with her various boyfriends since ninth grade. Granted, he didn't have hard proof, just rumor and a few things on the boy's room wall, and the fact that he'd seen her frenching at least three different guys in the hallway in the years before she'd actually realized he existed. It was apparently just him she didn't seem to want to make out with. Which was so unfair it ought to be illegal because none of those guys had cared about her as more than arm candy and an easy lay. He loved her. He'd die for her. And she still wouldn't let him get closer than an accidental cuddle on the couch.
The fact that Curtis was getting more than the occasional sofa action made Todd vaguely jealous. He didn't want to resent Curtis, he really didn't, but Todd's graciousness tended to dry up when was particularly frustrated and desperate. And Curtis had gotten to second base. He'd told Todd, because - - well, they told each other pretty much everything. He'd literally been banging on Todd's bedroom door, dragging him out of a perfectly decent Jenny dream one morning, in his eagerness to share the news.
So Curtis got his hand under Hannah's blouse. Big whoop. Todd had sulked about it for two days, until Curtis had finally come up to him when it had just been the two of them, and asked if something was wrong. And Todd had just flopped down on the side of the culvert where they'd gone to partake of little weed and let it out in a huff of frustration.
"You get to feel up Hannah's boobs and Jenny won't even let put my arm around her without getting pissy. What's wrong with me?"
"Dude. Dude, " Curtis sat down next to him, nodding in sudden understanding. "Jenny's got issues. Hannah says so, too. There's nothing wrong with you. You're massively doable. I'd totally do you."
Todd gave him a skeptical look and Curtis waved a hand and scoffed. "If I were a girl, I mean. Besides which, you've totally had sex."
"Yeah, but I'm starting to think it doesn't count if it was like a set up to get me to turn Pure Evil. And honestly dude, it wasn't as great as I thought it would be."
"That's because it wasn't Jenny. Did I tell you to be patient? You'll get the girl."
Todd propped his chin on his knees and watched a pair of kids a ways down, skate boarding down the other side of the drainage ditch. "I suck at patient."
"I know." Curtis draped an arm across his shoulders. "In the meanwhile, you can live vicariously through my sex life."
Todd rolled his eyes and sighed. Then after a while, reluctantly inquired. "Did they feel awesome?"
"Oh, dude - - the best type of squishy ever . . ."
And that had pretty much been the remainder of summer.
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