The Chosen One.
The Bard twisted the knob on the end of his Shadow Axe, plucking the g-string until it sounded right. Nearby, Anakin helped Harry and Ness levitate a large folding table into the middle of the empty house while Link attempted to improvise seats for everyone. A stiff ocean breeze blew in the missing back wall.
The Bard watched the new kid as he sat deep in thought on the couch, largely ignored by the others for now. He looked alright, to be sure, probably still processing everything he had just been told.
A litany of names scrolled through the Bard's head. Ogun. William Hatcher. Mere children, the same age as this one, lied to during their idealistic youth, just coming into manhood where they felt they had nothing to lose and everything to prove.
All decoys for The Bard himself, and they had served that evil bitch's purpose for them: The Bard had found far more dead "Chosen Ones" on his quest than live ones he could talk down.
He shook his head. "Gods damn you, Calleigh, wherever in Hell you are..." He plucked the g-string with a horrific off-tune Twanngg.
And then, Ms. Jameson's voice by the door. "Alright, it's here!"
The Bard looked to the door. Ms. Connor took the stack of pizzas as Ms. Jameson began to filter through some cash. They paid the Mach Pizza deliveryman and shut the door.
Ms. Connor set the pizzas down on the table and opened the top box. "Alright, we got half peperoni, half mushroom and black olive." She handed that to Harry. "We got half canadian bacon and pineapple, half sausage and mushroom." She handed that to Paul, who motioned to Aang. "We got half veggie-lover's, half anchovy."
Link reached, but almost immediately, Harry lunched with an alarmed look on his face. "No!"
The pizza levitated under the impulse of Anakin's gesture. Whhhhhh pahhhhhhh "Got it. It's alright." Link reached, but grasped only air as the pizza floated gently over to Ness and Paula.
Aang squinted. "What?"
Harry looked at Link seriously. "No anchovy pizza for Link."
Link looked sullen. "You remembered."
George blinked over the top of Ness's couch. "Link can't have anchovies?"
Paul smirked. "He had a thing."
The boy made scare-quotes in the air with his fingers. "He had a thing?"
"Yeah." Paul patted link on the shoulder with a better luck next time squeeze. "It exploded."
Link sat down, arms crossed. "In my defense I hadn't slept in a few days."
Harry looked at him in almost parental scorn. "Well I warned you not to stay up watching the history channel."
Aang handed Link a slice of Canadian bacon and pineapple. "It's alright. We all have our...things." He smiled big.
"Yeah, but let me reiterate," Paul said, sitting down and taking a slice of anchovy off of Anakin, "His exploded." He took a big prominent bite and chewed victoriously.
"Alright, I got it!" Link took a defiant chomp of pizza and chewed it menacingly at Paul.
George watched the exchange with a bemused nod. "Oooookay then."
The Bard chuckled, offering him a slice of something random. "You get used to it, mate."
Whhhhhhh pahhhhhh "You really ought to be nicer to Link. He's very good at what he does."
"Alright, enough." Ms Connor sat down at the table. "We need a plan. George, your mother tells us you have photographic muscle memory."
He shook his head. "No. I just learn to do stuff by watching people."
Paul snorted back a laugh. Ms. Connor blinked in confusion.
Harry squinted in thought. "That's..."
Ms. Connor waved him down. "Okay. You learn to do stuff by watching people. What do you know how to do already?"
George shrugged. "Everything my dad taught me. Plus whatever it is Bruce Lee does. I watched a bunch of movies. Some olympic sports, football, baseball, guns, whatever Arnold Schwartzenegger was doing in the Conan movies, Karate Kid, some Capoeira, parkour--"
Ms. Connor went wide eyed.
"--I can drive my mom's van, and a tractor, and a semi--"
Ms. Connor raised her hand. "Okay. I think a better approach to this is what don't you know how to do."
He shrugged. "Well there's lots of stuff you guys do I don't know how to do."
Link raised one hand. "Don't get too caught up in combat-related skills. They're useful, but they're not everything. Sometimes simple things can save your life."
Aang smiled. "Like dancing!"
Paul smirked. "Or changing a tire."
Whhhhhh pahhhhh "Singing karaoke."
Harry nodded to Paul. "Lying by telling the truth."
The Bard stood up, smirking studiously at George. "Know how to play an instrument?"
George smiled. "Yeah! I been to lots of concerts."
The Bard handed off his Shadow Axe. "Show me."
George took it with a smile.
Harry raised one hand. "Bard, are you sure he should be using--"
"Here's a theme from one of my favorite movies!" He played a quick, adventurous set of chords. Almost immediately, a bright circle of light appeared in the center of what would be the living room.
In it stood a seven foot tall velociraptor. It lowered its head right to George, who froze in terror.
Harry nodded in defeat. "Yeah, that's...rather what I was afraid of."
Paul immediately drew his wrist module, but Aang grabbed his arm. "No! It's okay." He picked up a slice of pizza and moved toward the monster, who snorted a blast of steamy breath right into George's face.
Aang held the slice of pizza out. "Heeeeere monster monster monster...good monster..."
Harry pulled his wand. "Aang, I think you need to get clear."
The Velociraptor turned to follow the scent of the pizza, watching it with an intensely singleminded focus.
Paula and Ness began to circle, baseball bat and iron skillet in hand. The Bard thought he felt the air get ice-cold again. Ness raied one hand. "We got this."
"The hell you do." Ms. Connor pumped her shotgun and raised it, drawing a bead on the monster.
And then, it happened. The Bard was certain that once he got it all sorted out, he was going to be laughing his arse off. It started when the beast bit the pizza. And Aang's hand. And most of his arm. It's jaws were latched onto the young monk like a bear-trap.
BOOM! The shotgun went off like thunder. "PK FREEZE!" "SAAAAA SA!" Paul dropped into a low stance and let a shot fly. "PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!" A bolt of magic flew from Harry's wand. With a gutteral shout, Link let fly his boomerang. Anakin extended his hand in a gesture of using the Force.
And knocked the monster back as it ducked under the startling blast of the shotgun, releasing Aang, and knocking it clear of Paula's spell, which hit Ness instead, freezing him solid with his baseball bat raised for a strike. Aang tried to recoil, but jerked right into the path of Harry's spell. He might have stayed on his feet, but for Paul's stunning shot, which knocked him over like a book-case.
The raptor took off out the back wall. The Bard sighed, and shook his head.
Harry grumbled a blasphemous curse and pointed his wand at Ness, thawing him out.
Paula ran to Ness. "Are you alright?"
Ness shivered. "We have to catch that raptor. Onett is a peaceful town."
Link raised one finger. "Ness, you should--"
The boomerang, on its way back, caromed hard off of Ness's head, sprawling him to the floor of his own house.
The Bard smirked, clapping his hands together slowly. "Good job, everyone! Way to show the newbie how it's done. This is why we were so good at changin' that tire this morning."
Harry glared at him. "I didn't hear you offering any helpful advice."
The Bard matched his glare. "You didn't? Oh my! Well maybe that would be cause I didn't offer any helpful advice."
Ms. Connor rolled her eyes. "Oh for God's sake..."
Ness struggled up, one hand raised. "I think now would be the time to show the newbie how it's actually done." He put one hand on Harry's shoulder, and one on The Bard's. "Right?"
The Bard Maintained eye contact with Harry, but only for a second or two longer. It didn't take long for the wizard to remind him why he was such a charismatic leader back in his own world. Behind those green eyes was the power that brought down a great evil in the unseen depths of England.
Of course, that same boast was behind almost every set of eyes in the room right now. Sarah Connor had it by virtue of the existence of her son. Aang did it without killing. Paul regularly told quarter-mile long sandworms that could swallow buildings where they were going to take him and his friends. Link? Link had been around the block more often than any of them. Even Anakin, behind that black mask of his, told you by his posture that he had wiped out races, blown up planets, and finally threw a powerful old wizard down a maintenance shaft to save his son. There was some real power in this room.
That was the company the Bard kept, and he knew it. He had put Calleigh in her place, and set right a world gone horribly wrong. Jaded he may be, cynical, in some situations even downright malicious, but he was competent, and powerful.
But The Bard knew when to give. By his own choice, he was the first to look away.
They all three looked to George.
George looked down at the Shadow-Axe, then up the Bard, wide-eyed. "Holy sh--"
The Bard smiled. "We'll work on it." He reached for the Axe. "Let's go chase down a monster, ay?"
George beamed. "Alright!"
The Bard led the way, not caring who followed him.
But he was not surprised when they all did.