Quite a few things happened after that.

“What?” he asked, thinking he heard her wrong. Rae swallowed.

“Would you like to go out with me?” she asked nervously. That was when the light show happened.

Everett started by glowing tie dye as he teleported a few feet away. Then he flashed purple, the wings sprouting and lifting him a few inches before dropping him to the ground again. Then he flashed a mix of different colors, in no particular order, yellow, orange, pink, white with black swirls, grey, before finally settling on periwinkle.

“Sure,” he said, eyes squinting slightly.

→ ←

Rae had been watching his reaction with both concern and pleasure. “I promise I’ll still be your friend if you don’t want to and I won’t hurt you or anything,” she reminded him, feeling like she needed to say it. So many guys had always been afraid of her.

“No, I want to,” he added, making her stomach do backflips.

She turned away, a smile on her face. “How about tomorrow then? I won’t make you skip anymore classes during the week.”

He chuckled. “Sounds good to me.”

“Then I’ll meet you at the armory tomorrow morning,” she said, an idea forming for their date, but she wanted to think about it somewhere he wouldn’t be privy to her thoughts.

She got up, leaning on her crutches as she started to leave, a big grin on her face.

“Don’t forget to wash your hands,” he called out behind her teasingly.

“Not a chance,” she retorted.

→ ←

The door opened in front of him. Not taking notice of who opened the door, Everett walked by in a nervous daze and grabbed Austin’s arm before dragging him back out the door. Once they were in the empty first floor hallway, Everett turned to him.

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” he said swallowing.

“Um…” Austin trailed off confused. Everett started pacing back and forth shaking his head.

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” he muttered over and over again, until he felt a hand on his arm. He looked up at Austin, eyes wide. “What am I doing? I’ve never been on a date.”

“Wait,” Austin said with an entertained smile. “Who are you going on a date with?”

Everett blushed. “Rae.”

For a few moments Austin was silent. Then, slowly a smirk grew on his face, until he burst into a fit of laughter. Everett’s blush deepened.

“Wait,” Austin said panting. “You’re telling me that you and Rae are going out on a date?” Everett nodded slowly in response. Trying to smother his laughter with his hand, Austin murmured, “That’s just great.”

“No, I don’t know what I’m doing. That’s why I came here, you’ve been on dates right? Like with Avery. They are sisters. They have to have some similarities,” Everett stuttered out. Austin put a hand on Everett’s shoulder.

“Calm down, dude. First tell me where you’re taking her.” Everett shook his head quickly.

“N-no,” he stuttered, “I-I didn’t-”

“Oh!” Austin said as it dawned on him. “She asked you out.” Everett nodded and swallowed, trying to get rid of the taste in his mouth. “Okay, so where is she taking you?” Everett shrugged his eyes going everywhere as thoughts ran, no, sprinted, through his head.

“Okay, so she asked you out, and you don’t where she’s taking you. You’re right. This is bad.” Everett nodded. Austin sighed. “So is that what you’re wearing?” Austin asked as he looked down at Everett’s outfit. From the bottom going up he was wearing his old and only pair of navy blue vans, a nice pair of jeans, a nicer tee shirt, though that was covered by a school sweatshirt, and on his head sat his normal hat.

“Yeah…” Everett drawled nervously. “Please don’t tell me that it’s bad, this was the only thing I was sure of this morning.” Austin chuckled a little.

“Your outfit is fine, and you will be fine as well. Just stay calm and keep talking. If Rae and Avery are any similar the second that neither of you are talking, they’ll start thinking that you don’t like them. But besides that both of those Khione girls are special and you should be perfectly fine. Now take a deep breath and have fun,” Austin paused as Everett inhaled and exhaled. “But not too much fun,” he finished with an eyebrow raise.

→ ←

Rae was leaning back against the armory wall, bouncing her good foot up and down. She had put on her dark capris, comfortable tennis shoes, and a dark blue long sleeve shirt. She fiddled with the ends of her curled hair which were pulled back at the top to keep the strands out of her face. She had tried to look casual for the date, especially considering where they were going.

When she saw him walking down the path in the distance, she stood up straight and practiced her smile. She didn’t want to appear over excited and scare him, but she didn’t want to seem disinterested either.

“I was wondering if you were gonna come,” she said casually, but it was the wrong thing to say.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be late,” he said embarrassedly.

Rae quickly backtracked. “Oh, no, it’s totally fine.” They stood there for a moment, neither saying a word. Rae toed the ground and tried to think of something to break the tension, settling with, “I guess we should get going then.”

“So where are we going?” Everett asked, falling into step with Rae as she hobbled down the path. She was still fairly quick, even with crutches.

“That is a surprise,” she said with a smile.

“Oh. Do you need help?” he asked, motioning towards her crutches.

“I’m fine,” she insisted. She wanted to appear at least some what capable for the beginning of the date. In truth, Rae had no clue what she was doing. She was never much of a charmer.

They strolled into the woods, going at an easy pace as Rae took care to duck under branches. She didn’t want to mess up her hair.

At last, Rae stopped in front of a cluster of trees. “Here we are,” she said suspensefully, then pushed back the branches to reveal a small clearing in the middle of the woods. She had risen early in the morning to set up a picnic blanket with brunch foods and board games. It wasn’t overly romantic, but it was at least classier than the Mess Hall.

“So, what do you think?” she asked nervously.

→ ←

Everett looked at the small picnic Rae had set up. It was a really cute idea, and it brought a smile to his face.

“Oh gods, he doesn’t like it. What was I thinking!” he heard Rae say, but by the way she worded it he knew that it was her thoughts that he heard.

Remembering Austin’s advice, he quickly turned to her and grabbed her shoulders, turning her so she was facing him. “No no no, I like it,” he said. “I like it a lot.”

Rae swallowed and seemed to calm down. As she hobbled over to the blanket, Everett followed awkwardly and waited for Rae to sit down. When she didn’t sit down and just stared awkwardly, he quirked an eyebrow.

“What?” he asked.

Rae’s eyes widened slightly and she sat down quickly. “Nothing,” she said abruptly.

Everett swallowed. I really don’t know what I’m doing, he thought.

→ ←

Rae plopped down on the blanket with a huff. It was all incredibly awkward and she felt less than graceful at the moment. “Hungry?” she asked him.

“Sure,” he said, letting her serve him a plate.

They ate in silence, her thoughts precariously close to screaming from embarrassment. Or she just might start laughing. Or crying.

“Want to play checkers?” she offered, her mouth still full. She quickly swallowed and set up the board after he nodded.

They started playing, but Rae’s thoughts were far from the game. She was incredibly distracted by the littlest things: a bee that flew by, Everett’s glasses, a bird in the tree, the tendons in his hand as they moved a piece across the board, the glare of sunlight shining through the trees, his hair, an ant crawling over the blanket, his soft periwinkle glow.

Rae rubbed at her hand. The paint had started to fade and rub off, to her dismay. If today didn’t go well, then the picture on her hand would be the only consolation she had. She really liked him, and she didn’t understand how that was possible.

Everett was quite focused on the board, contemplating his next move. On a whim, Rae’s hand darted out, snatching his glasses right off his face.


“Wow, you really have terrible eyesight,” Rae stated as she put his glasses on.

“I can’t see a thing,” he muttered. “You’re just a blur.”

“Oh, really?” she asked as her hand stealthily moved to replace one of her stolen pieces on the board.

“Rae,” he said scoldingly. “I can read your thoughts, remember? I know you’re cheating.”

“No fair,” she said, sticking her tongue out as she returned his glasses.

As the game went on, Rae chewed her lip, not noticing when he stole her last piece until he announced his victory.

“You cheated!” she accused.

“What? You were the one who had been cheating,” he debated.

“You were reading my thoughts. You must have known every move I was going to make.”

“I promise, I really don’t pay attention to stuff like that. I only listened in when I thought you were trying to cheat.”

Rae crossed her arms. “How dare you,” she breathed, a playful smile on her face.

Everett chuckled at her, leaning back on his elbows, the sun shining in his hair. It made Rae blush and she looked away, only this just seemed to make things awkward again.

→ ←

Everett sighed. He liked it when they talked like that, the playful arguments. He was thinking about them when he realized it had gotten silent and awkward again.

“So what are we going to do now?” he asked, desperate to make things less tense.

Rae sat up stiffly. “Oh, well… My plans are pretty flexible.”

“Is that Rae speak for I don’t know?” he asked jokingly.

She cringed. “Maybe…”

Everett giggled. “We could color,” he suggested nervously.

“What would we color?”

“I have some coloring books back in the cabin,” he shrugged, trying to sound nonchalant.

Rae shrugged. “I like to color. But I should warn you, I’m not a color inside the lines kind of person. That really bugs some people.”

Everett smiled. “I don’t always color inside the lines,” he said with a little smirk on his face before standing up and holding out a hand to help Rae. “Shall we?”

Rae smiled and took his hand. When she stood up she reached for her crutches.

“How about I just carry you instead?”

→ ←

When Rae ceded to him, he stood and bent over to pick her up bridal style. Her hands went around his neck, but she glanced away nervously.

“Why are you nervous?” Everett asked her as he started walking. “You’ve been nervous pretty much this whole time.” Looking at him, Rae saw just how clueless he was, as if the white with black spirals glow wasn’t enough of an indicator.

Feeling her cheeks warm, Rae said, “I don’t know. I guess I just don’t want to mess this up. I mess up a lot and usually roll with it. But this time… I’d like to get it right today if that’s at all possible.”

Everett shrugged and Rae felt his strong shoulder muscles flexing under her hands. “It’s been pretty fun so far, in my opinion.” Suddenly, his glow flared tie dye for some reason unknown to Rae. “I guess we’re here,” he mumbled as Rae looked around to see they were deep in the woods now, the cabin only a few feet away from them.

“That felt… funny,” Rae said, not really used to the sensation of teleporting yet.

“You okay?” he asked, setting her on the couch after carrying her inside.

“Never better,” she insisted. “Now show me the supplies.”

Everett knelt in front of her. “Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked again, noticing that something was off with her today.

She looked into his eyes, something she had been afraid to do all day, but suddenly her thoughts calmed and all she could think about was how beautiful his eyes truly were. “I’m great,” she said with a smile.

The boy smiled back at her, glowing a cheery yellow. “Great,” he said as he stood to collect his Harry Potter coloring books with assorted pencils and markers.

Rae shook her head, trying to shake off the overly giddy feeling in her stomach, but to no avail. “What’s your medium? Pens? Markers? Pencils? Crayons?”

“All of the above,” he replied, handing her a book of her own and a handful of markers.

Flipping through the book, Rae stopped and started filling in the Ravenclaw crest with a blue marker.

“I’m guessing that’s your house?” he asked.

“What do you think?” she retorted in her head.

“It’s nice,” Everett said aloud, not noticing that they had just communicated telepathically.

Smiling with no small amount of pleasure, Rae said through her thoughts again, “I think I’m going to like this mind connection we have.” She was starting to feel okay with the idea of him knowing her thoughts.

“Hmm?” He still didn’t realize she was speaking through their thoughts.

Giving him a sidelong glance and smirk, Rae saw that he was only half paying attention and decided to take her chance. She reached out and bopped his nose with the blue marker.

His nose scrunched up. “What was that for?” he asked with a smile on his face.

“You make it too easy,” she said, starting to laugh.

He shook his head as he asked, “You didn’t answer my question. Are you a Ravenclaw?” His voice cracked uncharacteristically on the syllable raven and he began to blush.

“That would be a yes,” Rae said. “What about you?”

“Oh, I bet you know. You Ravenclaws always know.” As he spoke, he stared at her forehead.

“I’m guessing a squib,” she joked.

“How dare you!” he gasped, feigning surprise.

Rae chuckled. “You’re too cute to be anything other than a Hufflepuff.”

He colored slightly again. “See, you Ravenclaws always know,” he said bashfully.

Rae smiled again. Something about just being close to him was making her happier and almost… docile. For once in her life, her fingers weren’t itching for a catapult lever… they were longing to run through his hair or feel his hand in hers.

Everett looked up then, startling Rae as she wondered if he had heard her thoughts that time, but then she saw that he was just trying to show her his completed page.

“What did you color?” she asked.

“Don’t laugh at me,” he began. “I just… I thought it needed embellishment.” He turned the book to show the fully colored Thunderbird with stormclouds obviously not part of the picture but still meshed perfectly.

“It looks better like that,” Rae said after studying the picture. “You’re really amazing at this.” Her eyes travelled up to his face where the blue dot was still on his nose. She couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of it.

“I thought you liked it,” he said, misinterpreting that she had been laughing at the picture.

“Oh, I do! Very much,” she said, biting her lip as she looked at him before turning away. “I like your face a lot too,” she said in her mind.

This thought provoked a laugh from Everett. “I like your face too.”

Rae was feeling more and more pleased by the second that he could read her mind. She was going to have fun with this. “Okay, smart one. You can read my thoughts when they’re in sentences, but can you read them in images?”

“I guess. I didn’t really know I was reading your thoughts to begin with,” he said, rubbing his lower arm timidly.

She started to picture the first time she had seen him. As she had crested the hill to glance him standing nervously by the gate with his bag in hand, her first thought had been that he looked like a blue version of Where’s Waldo with his glasses, hat, and white with blue stripes shirt. Even then she had thought that he was adorable.

But Everett seemed to struggle to pick up on her purely image based thoughts. “All I see is a blue blur that I assume is me.”

“Oh, well… That adorable blue blur was you.”

Everett laughed nervously at her words.

“So… how come you’re nervous now?” Rae asked, noticing his color change from periwinkle to a light grey.

“Well, I guess I haven’t been called adorable in a while,” he stated, staring at the coffee table. “I don’t really have the best memories associated with that word.”

Her concern rising, Rae asked, “What do you mean?” She wondered if she had said the wrong thing.

His next words were quiet, his glow turning blue as he spoke. “Well, before I came here I was bullied a lot at my old school.”

Setting her coloring book aside, Rae spoke gently in her mind. “You can tell me.”

Before her eyes, Everett turned lavender as he leaned back on the couch, clutching a pillow to his chest. “I’ve only ever told one person before.”

“Take your time,” she urged.

“Um, well, I was always picked on for being emotional. Like the older guys would… well… they would beat me up after school. They taunted me and asked if I was going to cry or… just things like that. And sometimes the girls would call me adorable and that became another insult the boys used against me.”

Rae’s hands clenched into fists. I would have rolled over them with my catapult, she thought angrily, white hot rage coursing through her. But calmly she said to him, “I think you’re perfect. I know that might not mean much, but… I… I’m a bit of a violent person myself, so you probably don’t really like that about me…” The more she kept talking, the more Rae realized that she was just as bad as his bullies were in his mind.

“Eh. You’re all right,” he said with a straight face.

Rae suddenly felt incredibly self conscious and felt her icy powers tugging at her.

Quickly backtracking, Everett grabbed her hands. “I didn’t mean it like that, I– Ah! Your hands are freezing,” he exclaimed as he dropped them.

“I’m sorry. Sorry,” she stuttered, flinging her powers outwards and away from herself. Inadvertently she caused it to start to snow outside around the little cabin.

Everett’s head turned to admire the snow outside the big window. “Woah,” he breathed. “That is so flippin’ cool!”

Slowly, Rae’s smile returned. “Avery is better at making it look pretty, but I can manage a little snow or some snowballs.”

“Snowballs?” he questioned, his yellow glow surrounding him.

“Yeah,” she explained. “They’re my specialty… weapon…” Once she was on the track of talking about how violent she was again, she retreated inside herself.

He seemed to suddenly think of something, because he sat up and declared, “Speaking of weapons, I think I left my sword at the training arena.”

“Oh,” was all she said.

“Do you mind if I run and get it? You know, at least while I’m remembering it now.”

She waved her hand at him. “Go right ahead. I’ll wait here.”

“Okay, I’ll be right back.” He rushed out the door, a cool breeze blowing in as he opened and closed the door.

Rae spent the first few minutes looking around the little house, peeking at his sketches and paintings left out before curling up on the couch with a blanket and three pillows. It would have been too easy to fall asleep in this cozy cabin.

The door swung open then. “I’m back,” he announced. Rae glanced at the snowflakes in his hair that accentuated his blue-green eyes. “As much as I love the snow, it sure is cold,” he said as he shook off the snow. “I should’ve worn a coat.”

Rae chuckled, lifting up the corner of her blanket to invite him under it with her.

Once they were both settled again on the couch, Rae let herself nestle somewhat close to him. She fiddled with the pills on the blanket as she said, “I’m sorry about how your bullies treated you. I wish I could heal those scars, but…” She didn’t now. She didn’t know if she was capable of being that good for anyone.

“How’d you know I have scars?” he asked with a defensive tone.

Sighing, Rae said, “Because everyone I meet here has them. Even me. It’s a sad truth about this supposedly happy and safe institution.”

Tears were welling up in his eyes as his glow transitioned to blue. “Oh. I didn’t k-know that.” He sniffled as he spoke.

Rae reached up to wipe away his tears before they could float away.

“You don’t need to do that,” he said, snatching her wrist gently.

“Sorry,” she mumbled.

“Sorry,” he said quietly. “This is probably ruining our… Are we still on a date,” he asked.

Laughing lightly, she answered, “If you want to be.”

“Do you want to keep it going?”

Rae nodded, trying not to appear too eager. “That is, if you like this.”

He shrugged at her and started to glow lavender. “I like hanging out with you.”

She didn’t know why she thought it, but she did. And she couldn’t take it back. She started to wonder about how and why he could like her. No one else did.

“You’re different from other people,” Everett stated. “Oh! Did I just read your mind again?”

“Yeah,” Rae said. “But I don’t mind.” Her thoughts drifted again, dwelling on his initial words that she was different.

Obviously having read her thoughts again, Everett said, “You’re stubborn and maybe pretty violent, but you take action and are confident about almost everything. That’s why I’m noticing how nervous you seem today. I just hadn’t realized it was me you were nervous about.” He laughed to himself before continuing. “I was really stupid for not realizing that, wasn’t I?”

“Oblivious, yes. But not stupid,” Rae said with a smile. “Can you blame me for being nervous around you? I’ve watched my friends fall in love left and right.” she paused, sighing, but not waiting for an answer. “I’m actually kind of lonely from time to time, so meeting you… I feel weirdly noticed and not in a she’s homicidal way.”

Everett laughed, his glow flaring yellow before dancing between light blue and pink. He looked at Rae, really look at her, and he smiled.

“What are you thinking?” she asked him.

He turned a deep red color in his cheeks. “You’re really beautiful. You know that, right?”

Rae looked away, biting her lip to keep from grinning too widely. “Well, you’re flippin’ gorgeous,” she said in her thoughts.

→ ←

Everett didn’t know what exactly came over him.

“Nah,” he said, grabbing her chin to make her look at him. “I’m just flippin’ adorable,” he finished as he kissed her. Everett’s heart did backflips, and he could tell that Rae’s heart did the same. He could have melted right there as Rae gave in and let him kiss her deeply. When he finally pulled away, he was glowing a nice, soft pink.

“I guess this means you’re mine now,” Rae said with a goofy smile on her face when she saw the pink glow.

“Am I glowing? I didn’t notice,” he said, giving her another quick kiss. He looked out the window at the cozy, gentle snowfall. His heart jumped when Rae snuggled into his neck and inhaled deeply.

“I could get used to this,” she said, sighing contentedly. Everett wrapped his arms around her.

“Me too,” he exhaled, smiling. When he looked down at Rae, he saw a faint pink outline surrounding her. Rae burrowed into him and the blankets.

“You realize you’re stuck with me now?”

“Kinda figured,” Everett said smiling. “But I’m cool with it.”

Rae smirked at the word cool, tempted to put an icy hand on his chest in her thoughts, but she just let her hands wrap up in his shirt as she held herself as close as possible. Getting a little handsy, he thought, but he shook his head at himself.