Just an ordinary field trip in Forks, WA. What could possibly be wrong in such a normal life?
Mill Musem, outside Forks, WA
The schools, both the Quileute Tribal School and Forks High School, had decided to coordinate on this field trip, sending their students out to experience some of the "real, local history" of the area. Sadly for said students, this meant that instead of going into Seattle to visit a museum or a planetarium or something else with real educational value, they were now milling--so to speak--around an old sawmill that, years before, had been turned into a museum, dedicated to the more rustic days gone by. The teachers have all but given up on actually keeping order by now, as the group breaks for lunch, so everyone seems to be grouping up somewhat at random.
Jacob Black is, to say the least, moderately annoyed that his best friends Embry and Quil had decided to skip school that day, while he was caught by his father while trying to slip away quietly. Guilted into a promise of not cutting class, Jake now finds himself contemplating the none-too-exciting contents of a brown paper bag and looking for a place to sit. Finally, he settles on a bench near the front of the mill and sits down with a sigh. He's been in a dour mood lately, feeling restless, and he couldn't even say why. Maybe he's just sick of small town life.
Small town life is something that agrees pretty well with the bubbly girl sipping her energy drink. She carries an apple with her too, although she has yet to take a bite of it. "Hey...what's the long face about? At least we're not sitting in a room with foggy windows, listening to somebody drone on about chemical reactions, am I right?"
Alice is beaming, a bright spot in an otherwise dark and overcast day. It hasn't been raining, not exactly, but Forks is rarely far from precipitation of some kind. She takes a seat near Jacob, but leaving enough space to give him a distance. "This place is crazy! That tour guide is really great. I feel like I was there. Like I can remember exactly how they did it!" She widens her eyes, leaning towards Jacob. "Do you think it was like...a past life?"
Seth Clearwater seems to always be in a good mood. So, even on this otherwise boring field trip, he's smiling cheerfully and has been bouncing around a bit energetically. Never very far from Jacob, however, so he comes up to comment to what Alice says, "Maybe. That would be kinda cool, actually."
Some confront boredom quietly. Others are Stiles Stilinski, notorious nerd and socially awkward malcontent. Despite his flannel overshirt, no one would ever mistake him for a lumberjack, and his non-stop stream of voiced irritation at the trip does little to hide why. "...And seriously, who expects us to give a crap about all this?" he's saying to his best friend and frequent co-conspirator, Scott McCall. "'Oooh,'" he says, raising both hands and waggling his fingers, "'I'm so impressed by your environmentally destructive logging practices from a hundred years ago!'" He snorts derisively, indicating his sarcasm, and all but launches himself into a seat nearby, sliding his backpack to the ground and rummaging in it for his lunch. "Would it have killed them to at least let us see one of the giant saws in action? It's not like I was serious when I suggested strapping Greenberg to a log..."
Scott McCall sighed as he breathed in the hissss of his inhaler for the third time that day. Maybe the saw mill was shut down a long time ago. But somehow the ghost of sawdust gone by seemed to be making his asthma go into overdrive. The inhaler didn't even seem to be helping lately. He felt like he was in a medical experiment these days. The placebo test group versus the people getting any real help. The constant chilly weather, warm interiors, and overall damp was likely the cause of it. He routinely dreamed of living someplace further south. Far away from all the wet and cold weather. But he didn't get to pick 'home' unfortunately. With a frustrated sigh he shoved the inhaler back in his pocket and curled deeper into his jacket.
Scanning the familiar faces from Forks high, and not so familiar faces from the La Push reservation school. He settles on Alice Cullen and smiles a crooked smile in her general direction. Distantly he was aware that Stiles was still aggravated that he didn't get to see the saw running. Sighing he looked at his best friend. "Those things are like a hundred years old. They probably don't even work anymore." With a growing sense of where this could go he hastily adds. "Not that we should try and sneak away and find out or anything." He winces inwardly realizing that if Stiles hadn't thought of that he just put the thought in his head. Ahh who was he kidding. Stiles thought of it, and was already thinking of how to get away with it.
Glancing up at Alice when she speaks, Jacob manages a faint smile, but there's not much emotion behind it. "Great," he says, halfheartedly snarking at her, "you're starting to sound like my dad and the tribe elders, going on about past lives and all that." He rolls his eyes just a little, but he keeps the smile up to take the edge off it. Withdrawing a peanut butter sandwich from his bag, he eyes it unenthusiastically, then shrugs and looks over to Seth. "What'd you bring, anyway? I hope you did better than me." It's a little weird, maybe, being friends with a kid several years younger than he is, but Jacob's been treating Seth like a kid brother for so long that half the time he forgets he isn't. The arrival of Scott and Stiles leads him to raise his eyebrows some, and he says a bit more loudly, "Only a complete idiot would play with the equipment here. You guys don't look that dumb." Finally, he turns back to Alice, shrugs, and says, "Anyway, guess it could be? I haven't got a better answer, anyway." He bites into his sandwich, chewing... and somehow manages to make even that look surly and downcast.
Alice lifts her free hand and waves to Scott as he approaches, smiling to him. The cheerful sentiment is only slightly dampened by Stiles and his dour disposition, but it doesn't really slow her down much. "It's important that we know where we've been, so we can know where we're going. Right?" At this, she turns to Seth and Jacob, ostensibly to back her up and probably mainly due to the fact that they're the other people there and seem to be on her wavelength.
The comparison to the elders clearly pleases Alice. She enjoys being praised for her foresight or insight. It's something she's always valued. But more than that, she works hard to keep a bright mood. "You can have my apple, if that would make it better." With that, she holds it out to Jacob. "I'm not going to eat it. I don't really know why I brought it...I'm not hungry." A little shrug, and her smile widens slightly. "I'll just eat when I get home." It's only a couple of hours, after all.
Seth Clearwater looks up curiously as Stiles and Scott approach, hearing the conversation quite easily. A little too easily, perhaps, but it seems natural to him. He looks back to Jacob a moment as he pulls out his own sandwich, and says, "Ham and cheese and mayo. That's pretty good." Looking back to Stiles and Scott, he opens his mouth to say something, but then pauses when Jacob says it would be stupid to play with the equipment. "Yeah, I guess, but still would've been cool to see the saw." He shrugs and takes a bite of his sandwich.
Stiles seems to mellow a little at Scott's words, though he shoots a look vaguely toward Jacob at the reproach. For a moment, conflict plays out across his face as he considers whether to rise to the bait, but then he shrugs it off and takes a faux-vintage Batman lunch box out of the bag. (He actually has a real original at home, but it's safely hidden in his closet where it won't be harmed by daily wear and tear.) Opening it, he produces a BLT, grins in an I win lunch! sort of way, and bites into it. Without even seeming to stop to think about it, he places the box between himself and Scott, silently inviting his friend to raid the goodies inside: chips, cookies, and some of those peanut butter filled pretzel things, plus a couple of mandarin oranges. Stiles usually buys lunch, but since he had to pack one today, he made sure to bring at least a few goodies.
Flashing Seth a grin, he says, "Definitely would be cool." As for trying it out, he files it away in a not now, but maybe someday soon folder in his brain. "Anyway," he says, shaking his head, "even the hospital would've been more interesting than this place. At least there we might get to see someone get cut o--" He pauses, coughs almost delicately, and amends, "I mean, y'know. Something actually happening." Of course, it's totally a bluff. Scott's mom works at the hospital, and Melissa McCall has never put up with Stiles' shenanigans for long.
Scott McCall's eyebrows pull together in a slightly confused manner. Why the hell was this guy interjecting into their conversation anyway? Did he buy into this entire 'shared' experience crap? Scott vaguely recognized the guy from one of the trips they had made to First Beach to try surfing. Yet another in a long line of attempts at some sort of sport that ended badly. Wheezing and trying to catch your breath underwater, turns out not so healthy. Who knew. Not for the first time today Scott felt a bit moody. Look at that guy, he looked like he could bench press Stile's jeep. Even the little guy looked ripped. Must be something in the water at the reservation. "Look, Nobody is playing with any equipment. Stiles only said it because it would have made this a lot more fun. Thats all." It is all fun and games after all, right up until you see a body ripped in half...sawed. Sawed in half.
Scott thought about his own lunch, some cold pizza left over from last night. He had packed it himself this morning since his mom was working a double at the hospital. Shrugging off his well worn backpack he retrieves the somewhat clumsly wrapped pizza and fumbles with the saran wrap before freeing it and taking a bite. Though the unspoken offer of those peanut butter pretzels soon has him munching some of those as well. "Hospital would have been cool, yeah. But you know my mom wouldn't let us fool around and wander away or anything." Momma McCall didn't play that way, she ran a tight ship.
"Your mom sounds smart," Jacob says, mellowing a little. It's hard to stay too grumpy around Seth and Alice, even if he's just been... restless lately. And the weird dreams he's been having don't help much, either, but the less he thinks about those, the better he'll feel. So, putting on a slightly more sincere smile, Jacob accepts the apple from Alice. Once he's finished off the PB&J, he shines the distinctive red fruit a bit against his tight black t-shirt and says, "Our last field trip was to a drum-circle. Would've been cool, but we basically go to all of those anyway, since it's kind of a tribe thing. But for some reason, the suits who come and tell us how crappy our school is think we need to do more 'Native American culture' stuff. Like they've got any clue." He rolls his eyes, but at least he's smirking now instead of sulking.
Looking to Alice, he says, "So, you're hooked on that 'Lifeblood' stuff, too, huh? I tried it. Tastes like sh--uh." He pauses, slightly sheepish, and shrugs. "It wasn't my kinda thing. But I don't even like Red Bull, so don't look at me."
Alice delicately hands off the apple. Though she frowns just a little, very mildly, and just kind of looks in Stiles's direction. "You're a little different, aren't you..."
It's not really a judgmental statement. It's probably the gentlest way it's ever been put. She's not trying to be unkind, but Stiles really is...different. Fortunately, she's easy enough to distract from the Down On Life Duo by talking about her energy drink.
"Oh, but Lifeblood is all natural ingredients! I mean...most energy drinks taste kind of nasty to me too. I don't know...I just think this tastes like...life! Like a sunny day! Or...um, a very pleasant rainy one?" Alice tilts her head, laughing a soft, pleasant laugh. It really is kind of hard to stay in a bad mood when she's around.
Seth Clearwater brightens again -- not that his mood got anywhere near dark to begin with -- as he hears what Scott says. "Your mom works at the hospital? So does mine. She's a nurse there." He laughs, nodding in agreement with Jacob, "Yeah, those suits don't really know a thing about it."
Stiles leans back in his seat and stretches out his legs a little, reaching for his thermos and opening it up to take a long sip of the chocolate milk inside. He follows this up with a cookie, then turns to Scott with a slightly pinched, thoughtful look. "Well, it doesn't matter. I finally got Dad to give me back my police scanner, so we'll be able to find something interesting to do, sooner or later. Even a town like this has to have some excitement sometimes, right? Like that one summer when we found that lost dog in the woods and returned her to her family. You'd think they'd be more grateful." Looking to Alice, he adds with eyebrow-raised appeal, "I mean, how were we supposed to know there were bears in the area and that they'd get all pissed? But hey, at least we all got out okay, right? And they put the bears back in their cave, or zoo, or... whatever you do with bears."
Scott McCall's face screws up in that slightly confused way again. His eyebrows stitching together slightly. A little different? Stiles? he was about to rise to the defense of his friend when the topic shifted yet again. Well at least he could agree with Jacob about that Lifeblood crap. That stuff was seriously nasty. Swallowing a peanut butter pretzel he looked over to Seth. "Yeah my mom works there, maybe they know one another?" he shrugs some but finally relents and smiles a little. Scott was proud of his mom, and always happy to talk about her. Even with everything in life that might be wrong, his mom was always one thing that was right. "Wow, he let you have it back?" Let him, or did Stiles somehow simply reacquire it? Either way really. "Yeah that could be fun. But lets not run away from any more bears okay? In fact maybe lets stay out of the woods." But in the back of his mind he knew, somehow they always ended up back in the woods.
Jacob takes a bite of the apple and holds it up after, nodding to Alice in a Hey, thanks! kind of way. After he swallows the bite he says, "Good apple. Also? Staying out of the woods is a smart move, kid. I've seen you around the beach before, right? Didn't catch your name." From his manner, you'd think he was several years older than Scott, not just maybe a few months. Jake continues to munch on his apple, peering into his lunch bag, and reaches in to pull out a bag of mostly crushed potato chips, which he eyes with a mixture of contemplation and disdain. For not the first time, he reflects that they should probably stop keeping so much junk food around the house. It's not healthy for his dad, after all. He drops the chips back into the bag and concentrates on the apple for the moment. "So, think they'll actually let us go outside after lunch? The best part of being a woodsman is probably the woods, right?" And here he just told Scott and Stiles not to go into the forest. Go figure. He idly offers the bag, chips and all, to Seth, as if to see if he wants it. Jacob hasn't felt much like eating lately, though he gets hungry enough that he makes himself do it anyway. It's all Bella's fault. Not that he likes to think about her. Is she even on this field trip? She's probably off letting her creepy boyfriend nibble her neck. Probably come to school tomorrow covered in hickeys.
Alice finds, somewhat oddly and a little distressingly, that she actually remembers that time when the bears were going through the woods in large number, in summer. She can't really put a finger on it, though -- how she knows, she's not sure. "Didn't they talk about that on...the news, or something? Maybe it was in natural science."
It's not something she prefers to dwell on, so when Jacob compliments her apple, Alice easily shifts to the new topic. "Yeah! They're really sweet and perfect. We get them from this farmer who sells by the side of the road. He really takes pride in them! They're best in the fall, though. When...when the trees are all pretty, like they're on fire or something..." As she finishes saying that, she seems to sort of trail off, and she frowns again. She's not sure why, but even the memory of autumn doesn't feel quite... kosher.
But then she's smiling again, shrugging her shoulders. "Sorry. I haven't exactly slept too well lately. It's like I close my eyes and relax, but I just...don't feel like I'm resting. Probably cause of exams, am I right?"
Seth grins, and says, "Yeah, they might! It's not like it's a big hospital. Her name is Sue Clearwater. I bet they do know each other," he adds optimistically. He grins to Stiles, and says, "I know the stories about bears around here, but I go out in the woods all the time and never see one. You must be really unlucky to find a lot of them." He looks back to Jacob, and grins, taking the bag, "Thanks." He looks to Alice, then, as he opens the chips, and says, "Maybe. I've kind of been getting weird dreams keeping me up, lately, too."
"Tests are a known source of undue stress upon the teenage mind," Stiles states confidently, snacking his way through lunch as he talks. "And of course he gave it back! There was only a small amount of Burger-King-related blackmail involved." He flashes an evil grin. "I threatened to make sure he got nothing but carrot sticks and kale to eat while on the job, and he caved." He decides to let the subject of the woods drop, for now, and instead seizes upon an earlier thread of discussion. "You know there's all kinds of crazy claims about that Lifeblood stuff, right? Like, some conspiracy blogger thinks it's made of actual blood, like from pigs or something." Smirking to show just how seriously he takes this (despite the article pinned to the cork board in his bedroom, connected by a red string to a 3x5 card with a bold "?" drawn on it), he says, "Oh, and the other prevailing theory is that it's actually made from unicorn pee."
Scott McCall is feeling a little more sociable now that the proverbial ice was broken some. "Scott McCall, my mom's name is Melissa. Yeah we've been out to the beach before, and out in the woods. Probably end up there again." After all, police scanner. he actually wants to go out in the woods again now. They can take care of themselves after all. It sort of puts Scott's hackles up that anyone would think they couldn't look after themselves. That he couldn't defend the people he cared about. He was about to say as much when a familiar tightness in his chest left him reaching for his inhaler again. Wheezing out a incredulous "unicorn...pee?" before coughing some more.
Through a door across the room a tall figure dressed in black stalks into the room, a cell phone held to his ear. He doesn't appear that old, maybe a few years more so than the gathered students. But there is an air about him of someone older. "I don't care. Make the offer. No I am here now. Bunch of the local kids are here on a school trip, or something. I said I don't care, make the offer anyway. I'll tear this place down and make a animal sanctuary out of it. If they don't accept, double it. If they still don't accept. I'll meet with them personally." The last part sounded, well very much like a threat. His voice carrying a edge. He scans the faces in the room, in an absent manner. But his gaze lingetrs a moment longer on one particular group. Head canting ever so slightly to the side and eyes narrowing slightly. Then the moment is gone and he sweeps back out of the room again, still speaking into the cell phone. "I have another call. Make this happen, or I will."
Jacob gives Scott a faintly sympathetic look and says, "Careful, Scott. Sounds like you might be allergic to unicorns." It's a weak joke, but he's trying to play nice and cover the awkward. He's stuck, though, on things Alice and Seth have said. "Huh. You guys not sleeping well, either? I keep having these really weird--" And he cuts off as the new figure arrives, blinking in surprise, and his jaw even hangs open slightly for a moment. "Whoa, weird. That's... some serious déjà vu. Who... who was that guy?" He looks again to Alice and Seth, too surprised to bother hiding it. "I'm not even kidding, but I had a dream about that guy. He was giving a press conference or something, and..." His brow knits, and he rubs his forehead a little. "And some other stuff. It's kind of foggy." It's all very strange to dream of a stranger, but what he doesn't say is that there's something about that guy. Just seeing him made Jake's pulse quicken, made him feel like jumping up and shouting about something. Was it just that animal sanctuary stuff? Sure, Jacob's as pro-environment as the next guy, but... c'mon.
"I haven't had any dreams." Alice answers. Which is weird, because she's sure she's had all kinds of dreams, though they're more...daydreams. Really vivid daydreams. She doesn't really understand them, but it's just her mind meandering. Probably from lack of sleep, she figures. That makes sense. At first she seems pretty amused by Stiles, then, before she just stares at him. She doesn't even know what that's supposed to mean. "I...think maybe you saw Carrie one too many times," she gently offers, smile only slightly forced.
But even with the awkwardness that Stiles brings to the conversation, she still rises and twists the cap onto her bottle of Lifeblood, setting it down as she seats herself right next to Scott and reaches over to rub between his shoulders in a way that is remarkably soothing. "I'm Alice," she softly answers Scott. "I know your names. I pay attention in class." It's almost an impish sort of expression that comes to her face then, as if she'd confided something secret and mildly naughty.
Everything gets interrupted by the sudden entrance. She keeps her hand moving in soft circles, spreading and then going back smaller. The frown that she wears this time is neither mild nor distant, but she stays very quiet until the man has departed and Jacob speaks. "That guy...was a total dick." Her voice takes a different tone to it than usual. Her movements don't even become harsher; she keeps rubbing Scott's back as she speaks, but it's like she's a completely different person for just those few seconds. She keeps staring at the man's wake, the way he left the room.
There's just no helping it. When Stiles makes the unicorn pee comment, Seth just bursts into laughter. Perhaps it's his age, but Seth apparently isn't much for being reserved with his emotions. He's busy enough laughing while trying to eat that he doesn't notice the tall figure in black. He calms his laughter, eventually, looking towards the direction that Jacob and Alice are indicating. "What guy?"
Stiles grins widely, pleased that he got such a reaction from Scott and Seth, even if the others were clearly unimpressed with his brand of humor. He does shoot Scott a mild Hey, look who's getting a massage from the pretty girl sort of look, too, but he can't resist jumping on the opportunity to be a know-it-all when it arises. "That guy? Well, he's only been all over the news, lately. Name's Jason Christopher. He's this huge environmentalist billionaire, supposedly sunk more money into fighting climate change and animal extinction than, like, Green Peace. I've even read on some sites that he might be into some pretty extreme activist stuff, like throwing fake blood on people who wear fur or whatever." He looks thoughtful and tugs out his phone, tapping in a quick search. "Yeah! He's even bought some property around here recently. Probably starting up an animal sanctuary or something."
Scott McCall relaxes, the tension leaving him as Alice starts massaging his back. Ok this he could get used to. "Uhh wow. You are really, uhh, really good at that." They call him Scott 'Smooth' McCall everyone. "No man it is just this damp, and this entire place still smells like sawdust-" He is left as jarred as everyone else by the sudden entrance and exit. Well save for Jacob who seemed very rattled and Seth who outright missed it. "He owns that club out on 110 doesn't he?" Scott instinctively looks at Stiles. His best friend likely knows what the guy orders at restaurants, if he is anyone worth knowing anything about anyway. Hell Stiles likely knows what credit card he uses to pay with, and statistically there is a pretty good chance he even knows the number on the card. Scott's faith in Stiles that way is pretty unshakable, and as always he does not disappoint. Looking at Jacob his brows knit together in that Scott way again. "You had a dream about that guy? Wow, sure it wasn't a nightmare?" But there is no staying tense or keyed up with Alice's magical hands working into his shoulders. To look at her you'd never think she was strong enough for such a deep massage. But wow, Alice was just full of surprises. Must be that energy drink. Yeah, thats it. Cold energy drink would explain why her hands were so chilly too. But yes, really a good massage.
Jacob stands up, tossing the apple core into a nearby waste bin. "Huh. Jason Christopher." Then, speaking of names, he looks back to Scott. "Oh, yeah. Forgot. I'm Jacob Black. This is Seth Clearwater. Next time you head to the beach, look for me. I'll make sure nobody messes with you too much." He flashes a grin that's for some reason a great deal more sincere than any other he'd managed so far that day, and then he says to the whole group, "Well, finish up! We don't want to miss the logging trail tour. Starting soon, don't wanna be late!" And then Jacob's heading off to find the main group, and there's practically a bounce in his step. Maybe this field trip is just what he needed, after all. Take his mind off of Bella and everything.
Yeah, that must be it. Clearly nothing else unusual could possibly be going on around here...