Chapter Eighteen

The clean up after they drove off was a bit difficult, but Doug managed to fix what he could before nearly passing out.

“Those collars… They aren’t developed by JARGON, but they do use them. It halts the magical properties in the body, and zap the prey of energy. Those ones are specific to dragons, but I bet they use others as well.” Skyler explained, helping Doug stand, in human form now.

“They don’t work on me because JARGON played with my DNA too much. It doesn’t know what to do.” Oscar joked, but there was a flash of pain in his eyes. He shook it off. “Now, Zoey, I afraid I’m going to have to step in and take you home. Doug is out of commission for tonight.” He told her, getting the car keys from Doug and heading in the direction Zoey pointed.

She felt a little awkward since Doug was leaning on Skyler for support, but she leaned forward and pressed her forehead against his. “Feel better.” She whispered.

“I do.” He replied quietly, and she took off after Oscar.


When Dominic walked into the homeroom classroom, Zoey glared at him, pointedly turning away. He rolled his eyes and walked over to his desk, leaning forward to try and talk to her.

“Although it is my job to do that, I am sorry you probably injured your knee. Even though you hit me way more times. In fact, I don’t think I hit you once.” Dominic told her, sounding a bit tired.

Zoey barely turned around. “Well, if I was kidnapping your boyfriend, you might have wanted to hit me too.” She sniped, and crossed her arms. Dominic rolled his eyes again and went to say something else, but she interrupted, saying, “You don’t understand any of what’s been going on in this town. Hey, I didn’t either. But they’re people, they want to live like people. Don’t treat them like monsters.” She hissed quietly. Then she added in a slightly louder voice, “You’re probably going to sit with Brie now, aren’t you? Are you the one who has been feeding her information?” she queried.

“Okay, firstly, they have far too much power to not be considered a threat, and two, you are in far more danger than Brie, but I doubt we’re going to sit together at lunch. Finally, I didn’t feed Brie any information. She has no idea what’s going on. I put the last pieces together just recently myself, but whoever told her what she knows, didn’t tell her much.” He sniffed, as if he was insulted by the thought. “The whole idea behind our group is to not put citizens at risk. I would never involve Brie.”

It was Zoey’s turn to roll her eyes, but before she could get in a jab about him acting high-and-mighty, Ferris strolled into the classroom. The bell was going to ring in mere minutes, but he sauntered right up to Dominic and sat down on his desk, pulling his feet up and peering down at him in his normal glaring way. Luckily the teacher hadn’t arrived yet, as they would probably yell at him to get off the desk. Even now, people were looking over and staring. They were too scared to say anything, because it was Ferris, and he was normally seen with Doug, or silent. He didn’t come in and sit on desks, staring people down.

Dominic looked uncomfortable, and leaned back, finally asking, “What do you want?” in an annoyed tone.

“I want to know why you’re being an asshole.” Ferris replied plainly, as if they were discussing homework. Dominic looked up and met Ferris’ eyes, who returned a Cheshire cat grin, but paired with dangerous eyes. “If you try anything like that again, I’ll be even less amused.” Ferris warned, trying to not let onto what happened to the listening ears. Dominic went to push Ferris by the legs, to get him off of his desk, looking angry. Ferris jumped back, hitting Zoey in the back of the head with his back, and then scrambling over her onto her desk. “Don’t touch me.” He spat.

Dominic looked confused for a moment, but still angry, finally turning in his chair to not face Ferris, who slid off the desk just as the teacher walked in.

Zabrina had driven Zoey to school this morning, and she knew that Doug and Zoey had had a fight with Dominic but wasn’t sure about what. Zoey hoped Doug had recovered enough to be back in class, but hadn’t heard back from him other than to hear he was okay. She guessed he had fallen asleep right after getting home. Zabrina was still trying to figure out what was going on, and tried texting her friend, and probably Dominic as well, during class. Zoey pretended to be focused on writing notes, feeling a bit guilty for doing so, but she couldn’t think of a good excuse for why she was fighting with him. She wondered if he had been speaking to Zabrina, and almost wanted to ask what the cover should be for this whole ordeal. Admitting he tried to kidnap/kill Doug seemed a bit extreme considering everything else that had been happening lately. Another lie upon another lie, thought Zoey sadly. She felt like she was in over her head, and really wanted to talk to Doug about it. She could always talk to Ferris, but she felt like he wouldn’t give the same advice really. The bell rang, and she jumped, and knowing if Zabrina had seen her, she’d be narrowing her eyes in suspicion, she raced out of the classroom in the least inconspicuous way she could.

Zabrina cornered her in the hallway, preventing her from heading to her next class. “You’re going to tell me what’s going on. Why is our friend group trying to pull itself apart?” She demanded, looking more serious than she ever had. Zoey tried to make up and excuse of having to get to class, noticing Melanie standing behind them, looking… scared.

This is why there were secrets. Not for herself, but to protect them. It was their burden to bear, and she couldn’t take away their safety because she felt uncomfortable. As she opened her mouth to try and lie her way out of it in a semi convincing manner, Dominic stepped in.

“I dented Doug’s truck, and then I tried to pretend I hadn’t.” He told her in a dry voice, causing Zabrina to spin around.

“Oh! well, no wonder he’s mad!” She exclaimed, and Dominic did a fairly good job at looking sheepish.

“It was silly and I should have just owned up to it. I’m sorry, Doug.” Dominic said, looking behind Zoey. She hadn’t realized Doug had walked up behind her.

“It’s fine. I thought about it, and you really didn’t mean it. Let’s just get to class.” Doug replied, good naturedly, but strained. He had a high collared shirt on, probably trying to cover up marks where he had been dragged.

Zabrina visibly relaxed, smiling. “I’m glad that’s over. If only I could find out what’s bothering Brie, things would be perfect. I was afraid nobody was going to sit together at lunch!” She told them jovially, heading into her classroom. It was good she left, because otherwise she would have seen both Dominic and Doug pull fairly sour faces. They glanced at each other with animosity, and Doug gave a sharper smile than what Zoey thought was possible from him.

“See you at Lunch, Dominic.” He told him, voice even. “I’ll tell Ferris to kick a large dent into my truck.”

“Good plan. I guess I’ll just head to English class with Zoey, then.” Dominic replied snidely.

Before either could say anything else, Zoey stepped over to Oscar, who was walking to class. “Will you walk with me before a fight breaks out?” She asked quietly.

“I doubt one’s going to be instigated by Doug, but certainly.” He replied, and they headed off.

Dominic kept pace behind them sullenly, probably trying to figure out if Oscar was about to eat Zoey right then and there. He was overly stressed about this whole thing. He had to find out who else had these powers, and why.

When they sat with Zabrina for lunch, Ferris openly glowered at Dominic while he gave a stiff smile back. Rebecca was nearly vibrating she was so tense, and her fork clattered against the tray she was eating from a few times. Dominic probably felt badly about this, as it wasn’t like she was the intended target, but couldn’t say anything in front of Zabrina. Also, hearing “Oh, I’m just trying to kill your boyfriend, not you.” wouldn’t help, most likely.

“So how is your essay coming, Dominic?” Zoey asked, trying to keep up the pretense that they hadn’t had a physical fight the night before.

He snapped a carrot stick in half, receiving another glare from Ferris as Rebecca jumped. “Pretty good, I decided what theme I’m going to go with; Tradition versus Modernity.” He said calmly, trying not to look at Ferris.

Zoey was a tiny bit scared Ferris was one second away from leaping across the table, and from the look on Doug’s face, he was scared of the same thing. Zabrina, of course noticed that Ferris’ regular glare had been replaced with an angrier version.

“Come on Ferris, Doug and Dominic forgave each other, it’s all okay.” She coaxed, glancing at Rebecca for support. She was quiet, too nervous to notice.

Ferris didn’t stop glaring, and his voice was dry when he replied. “I don’t know, it was a pretty big dent.” At this, Doug shot him a quick look, probably thinking, what did you do to my truck, Ferris? I said add a dent not a crater.

“But still, shouldn’t we forgive and forget? Things have been pretty hectic here lately, and we could all do with a little compassion towards one another. We’re all just tense over what happened with Blythe, and Rebecca’s rescue.” Zabrina told him, trying to persuade him.

He shook his head. “This is beside the point. If someone had wronged Zoey, wouldn’t you still be mad, even after she forgave them?” He asked, still not taking his eyes off of Dominic.

“Well, probably not over something serious, but over a dent in a car, then yes.” Zabrina told him honestly.

He smiled without sincerity, and then turned to his lunch. Dominic relaxed and started in on his as well, still having been holding the carrot pieces like tiny swords while Ferris glowered at him.

“How is that mystery novel you were reading, ‘Brina?” Zoey asked, changing the subject.

Zabrina looked as if she was about to launch into a huge discussion on it, but then she paused. “I can’t tell you about it, that would ruin the mystery!” she exclaimed, almost looking crestfallen. She looked up at Zoey with pleading eyes until Zoey replied,

“You can tell me anyway, I won’t read it. Tell me the story.” In a dry voice, allowing Zabrina to plow forward with the entire story. The story itself was pretty exciting, and it managed to take up the rest of the lunch period with only minor glaring across the table.

The dent that Ferris had so lovingly placed in Doug’s door, had in fact, maybe been placed with a bit too much force. It looked as if he had kicked it twice, as hard as he could, and even ground a rock against the paint for good measure.

“Did anyone see you do this?” Doug asked as Ferris nonchalantly made his way towards his own car. “I should have specified the size of the dent.”

“No, Rebecca was on look out duty.” He replied confidently. She nodded, and then looked a little sad.

“I was trying hard to make sure nobody could see him, since it would look really odd, but… I forgot to check and see how much damage he was actually doing.” She admitted.

Doug shook his head, “He was just doing as I asked. I guess it really does make it reasonable for me to have fought him, even if it does make people question what the heck he did to my truck in order to damage it so badly. Let’s just get home. I just want to watch a movie and probably fall asleep halfway through it, today was exhausting.” He replied, looking weary.

Ferris and Rebecca left, and Zoey took Doug’s book bag and her own, worried he was going to fall over. She wondered for a moment when Blythe would be returning to school, and hoped she was safe. She was on everyone’s mind, and she didn’t know if Atlas would return without her. Doug had mentioned earlier that she was pretty shook up and he wasn’t sure if she could return easily. Especially without control over her powers yet. They continued to make up excuses for her parents and siblings, and Ferris was set to start going over there in order to help her gain control over the rocks.

Doug pushed open the door to his house with some difficulty, still exhausted, and Zoey stepped through, only to be met by Perrin, holding a box, halfway down the stairs.

“Hi Doug, heard what happened. How are you feeling?” She asked, rolling her shoulders. He looked at her in surprise.

“I’m fine, we’re all more concerned about Blythe right now… I hate to be rude, but what are you doing here?” He asked, still a bit startled.

Vikki poked her head around the corner and smiled. “Hey bro, we’re moving in for the foreseeable future. Since all this shit has been going down, Skyler asked that we all stay close to home. Sinley is currently at Oscar’s place. We’re taking the bedroom downstairs.” She explained, taking the box from Perrin and disappearing again.

“Well, alright then.” He said, getting used to the idea already.

“I’m going to order a pizza, what do you guys want on it?” Perrin asked, heading towards the phone, as if nothing was wrong.

Zoey had to admit, she felt better knowing someone else was here with Doug, especially during all of this. She also felt better for them, as staying closer to home would probably be safer for them as well, with more people in their ‘family’ to protect them. She was also slightly excited to get to meet Vikki, Perrin, and Sinley in a calmer atmosphere than had been present at the dragon meeting they attended. She knew them a bit because of that, but hadn’t really gotten to speak to them much throughout, and wanted to get to know everyone better. It made her feel better about the future, knowing there were more people on their side. When looking at the immense size of JARGON and all its workers, including the unknowing but bought-off forces in the town, it was easy to feel overwhelmed. She guessed that Rebecca was feeling that way, and Blythe as well. With the addition of Dominic and his team as a new obstacle, they needed reinforcements.

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