Death of a rose garden

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The four Musketeers

Ariana was the first to show up. It took her about twenty minutes from the time she got her message to the time she rang the doorbell. She was obviously no stranger to Ricky's house as it was hardly five second after the door bell rang to her opening the door and letting herself in uninvited in a sense.

"And where's mine?" Were the first words I was greeted with, just as I had taken a very large spoonful of ice cream.

"In the fridge." I managed to mumble around the brain freeze.

"What? Speak English please."

I gave her a very nasty look in response to her sarcasm. "Fridge!" Still not able to pronounce the word properly around the ice cream.

"Say again?" Accompanied this time with a smirk.

I just gave a huff and pointed in the direction of the fridge as Ariana just laughed and gave a small sigh as she realised she'd have to help herself. "Looks like you two have been at this ice cream already." She stated, not really looking for an answer. A good thing too because I decided to take another mouthful of ice cream and sink lower into the couch.

She joined me on the couch while we smiled like idiots to each other, trying to gross each other out with the ice cream and chocolate sauce in our mouths. At that moment Ricky walked into the lounge and looked up from his phone towards the scene. The pure disgust he was experiencing was obvious on his face. "You two are like disgusting toddlers, you know that?" That sent us into a laughing fit, fueled by the sugar from the chocolate sauce.

"You two are completely useless..." He said, accompanied by a sigh of defeat, and sat on the floor with his legs crossed. "I see you've also laid claim to the ice cream, was there any left after Lu got a second bowl?"

Ariana's eyes just widened in surprise, mouth full, as she slowly turned her attention on me. "How dare you!"

I took another mouthful and looked at her with a blank expression. "How dare I what?"

"Have more ice cream than me?" Her hand shooting to her chest as if she'd just been shot.

"I'm an emotional eater, shut up." And carried on eating.

Her glare was colder than the ice cream. "It still isn't fair!"

I just grinned at her, teeth covered in chocolate sauce, and both of us were rolling around with the laughter again. Ricky just sighed again, obviously accepting that he had befriended idiots he could not get rid of now.

While Ariana and I were trying to calm ourselves down the doorbell rang, and Ricky hurried over as it became a song from the impatient person on the other side. "Hold on!"

He didn't realise I had caught him straightening himself up before answering the door. I just giggled as he coughed away his embarrassment and opened the door to Joey, finger mid-air to blasting at the doorbell again. The finger slowly lowered as Joey himself tried laughing away his embarrassment.

"So nice of you to join us!" He said with a smile that seemed a little too eager, even for my taste. "But the fact that Ariana beat you here and you literally live down the road baffles me." At last Ricky was back to himself. Cool, calm and collected.

Joey just flashed him one of his 'pretty boy' smiles and sauntered past him into the lounge, claiming the single couch and placing his over sized feet on the coffee table. "All that matters is that I'm here now. The world may continue." Another flash of teeth and I was already in the mood to throw my bowl at his head.

"So," Ricky clearing his throat and trying to find composure. "You all know I'm not about the theatrics..." We all started coughing 'lies' at the comment. "But regardless of you neanderthals, we have a very serious situation to handle. Lu here started all the problems..." I started protesting but was quickly cut short. "Lu, don't interrupt me, it's very rude. So where was I? Oh yes! So don't blame me, it's all Lu's fault." He stood there looking very proud of himself, nodded when he was happy with all that he had said and pointed to me. "You're up." And he took a seat near Joey's feet.

I suddenly felt very awkward, not like my usual awkward self, but uncomfortably awkward. I sat there twiddling my thumbs, unaware that I was licking at the imaginary sauce on my lips. I could feel the heavy weight of responsibility tugging at my shoulders again. I need two more sacrifices. I thought to myself, and unfortunately it can't be my enemies. "Can I rather just do rather than say? I have a feeling I won't find the right words." Ariana and Joey just gave me quizzical looks, whereas Ricky gave a sincere smile and a curt nod.

I took a deep breath and stood up, my smile a little more than shaky. "So who wants to be first? Anyone? Anyone?" Ariana, still unsure of the situation, raised her hand slowly. "I guess I'll go first." And she stood up next to me. I suddenly felt dizzy and had to take another deep breath just to steady myself. "Give me your right hand." Ariana was still unsure of what was going on, but sceptically stretched her hand towards me. I just looked at her hand, it was still so smooth and unblemished. "This might hurt a bit, okay?" She nodded, smiling at me with her energetic smile. As I raised my hand to meet hers, it was shaking uncontrollably. Half of me wanted to pretend like this was some twisted joke, whereas the other half knew I was only trying to fool myself. Ariana obviously saw the internal struggle play across my face and touched my hand to reassure me, and yelped at that very moment. I couldn't help but laugh at her as she went tumbling into the couch, and almost over the back.

"You shocked me!" Disbelief clouding her eyes. "Why do you always do that to me?" She got up, matching my laughing and raising her hand to push me, and stopped dead in her tracks. She just stared at her palm, a blank expression on her face.Ricky and I just hung our heads, realising what had just happened and almost feeling guilty for it.

Joey on the other hand was clueless. "And now? What's wrong? The Duracell bunny lost its' mojo?" We all just kept quiet. "What is happening guys?" Joey sounding serious for a rare moment in his life. I looked up at him, fighting back the tears, and held out for his hand. He was reluctant, but eventually gave me his hand. I cradled it in both hands, his palm facing up. I watched as a single tear drop fell on his hand, and used it as a distraction to touch his hand while I wiped the tear away.

I felt the shock pass through his hand, but he didn't flinch. He just stood there silently, never taking his eyes off of me. I finally looked up at him and we just stood there, staring at each other. Suddenly it was my hand cradled in his, and it felt warm. It felt safe.

"Are you okay?" He seemed genuinely concerned, I couldn't help choking on a laugh. "You're the one who got hurt, I should be asking if you're okay." He flashed another annoying smile. "Yeah but I beat you to it." And ended it with a wink.

Ricky cleared his throat, and we immediately took a step away from each other as reality hit some sense into us. "Now that you two are concentrating," You could almost hear the acid dripping from his words. "Lu if you don't mind explaining this little ordeal." He had raised an eyebrow, an obvious sign he was seething.

"Oh! Right, well. Let's see what we've got." I took the opportunity to step away from Joey and stood in front of Ariana. She didn't seem to be processing anything as she showed no emotions, no sign of shock either anymore. I beckoned for her hand and she held it up for me to see the symbol. I was taken aback when I saw her palm was decorated in black swirls, finishing into what looked like a tombstone in the middle. her swirls were a little edgier than what mine or Ricky's were, but it still flowed in harmony. "Woah." Was the only word that came to mind. "Woah."

"Damn, that looks so depressing Ariana, even evil. Are you sure it's safe to stand around her?" Joey's comments coming in, sounding a little brash for the moment at hand. Suddenly his eyes went wide and his face drained of all colour. "Joey? What's wrong?" Ricky already back to his general concern for Joey. Joey just stood there, rigid and bleak. It wasn't fear on his face, it was something more unusual. He looked almost like a corpse, just standing there, as if he had actually died of fright.

It hit me so suddenly I almost hit Ariana in return. "Stop! Arrow, look at me! Stop it!"

She looked at me, blinking in bewilderment, not sure of her surroundings. She looked around the room trying to get her bearings straight, rubbing her temples like a headache was creeping up on her.

Joey on the other hand wasn't so lucky, and Ricky was just too slow to catch him as he collapsed into a heap on the floor. "Come help me Lu! He weighs a ton!" We both grunted under Joey's weight as we dragged him onto the couch, trying to look for any signs of life. Ricky ran to go get a glass of water for Joey, while I tried coaxing him out of his state. "Joey? Jooooey? Come on, this isn't funny anymore. Please just wake up, I don't want to have to do anything I'll regret." Ricky came back with a tall glass of ice water, trying to worm his way around me to give Joey some TLC without it being too awkward.

"Hey Joey, buddy." Ricky eventually pushed me off the couch so he could sit by Joey, shooing me away when I tried to protest. "I've got a nice cold glass of water here for you. I know it's not your favourite, but it's good for you." He sat there smiling like an idiot through the whole thing. I eventually got fed up and grabbed the glass of water from Ricky, and tipped it over Joey's face. It seemed to have done the trick, as he started flailing around like a fish out of water, knocking Ricky in the face. Ricky went rolling on the ground, howling in pain, while Ariana and I stood there howling with laughter.

"That's not funny!" Muffled by his hand covering his face. "I think he broke my nose!"

"Suck it up Ricky." I said, trying to get my giggles under control. Ariana had to go to the bathroom to splash her face, the tears running down her face as she left the room laughing.

Joey sat there, very confused and befuddled. "What happened?"

"You broke my nose!" Ricky said, lying in a fetal position now, his hands still covering his face.

"I don't see any blood," Joey said, almost shrugging off the accusation. "so you're good. Stop being such a wuss, dude." Ricky rolled over onto his other side away from us so we couldn't see him blush. "Hey isn't that supposed to be mine?" He asked, motioning to the glass of water in my hand. "Nope." I said, took a sip from it and smiled. "Technically I own it, as most of it is all over me." Joey tried, a mixture of teasing and pleading on his face. "No." I replied, still smiling while I sat down next to him, handing him the glass. "Thanks." He said curtly before downing the water.

"So, care enough to explain what the hell just happened?" Joey very clearly back to his old self. I sighed, bringing myself reluctantly back to a serious mode. "Let's wait for Ariana, I don't want to have to repeat myself with this."

"I'm here, you may continue." Ariana chirped in, but not in her usual chirpy way.

I sighed again, turning where I sat to accommodate the two who needed to hear me. I cleared my throat before speaking. "So, there's this myth that goes on about a group of teenagers, five to be exact, that every century comes about bound by their situations to each other in order to banish some evil thing."

"What evil thing? Is this about Ariana's weird and sudden tattoo?" Joey asking in an unintentional rude way. Ariana just gave him the death stare again and he crept a little closer behind me.

"Well yes and no." I continued, smiling at the two of them, "But she isn't the evil one. All of the chosen ones, for lack of a better word, have certain affinities bestowed onto them which are then portrayed on your right palm." I lifted my own hand to show them. It was given shocked looks in response. "My affinity is power and control, and I guess that in turn is what made me the leader of this group of misfits." Joey just scoffed at that, "How come you get to be the leader?" I lifted an eyebrow to him, trying to keep my sarcasm in place. "Because that's how it goes. So anyway, as I was saying, each person gets a different affinity. Ricky, if you wouldn't mind?"

Ricky nodded and cleared his throat, but instead of speaking used his telepathy skills. My affinity is of empathy and telepathy. Ariana squealed at this, "Since when did you become so good at ventriloquism?" Ricky smiled proudly, obviously enjoying the attention, "It's not, I'm able to project my thoughts onto others as well as read theirs. Not only that, but I can control anyone's emotions. For example," Ricky turned his attention to Joey, quite predictably. "Tell me how you're feeling Joe?"

Joey's face was buried into a frown, but not of concentration, and he slowly started inching away from me again. "Why am I suddenly annoyed with Lucy?" He asked, confusion obviously contradicting his actions. Ricky gave an evil little smile, "Because I'm making you feel like that." I gave him an annoyed look of my own when he turned to me and replied with a shrug. Immediately Joey was back to himself, making himself comfortable once again next to me. "Well that was weird, but you didn't tell us how your power works?" Joey bringing attention back to me.

"Well to be honest, I haven't tried mine out yet. Mine's a little more complicated than Ricky's." Ricky gave me a death stare at this, obviously not enjoying his powers being belittled. "But that's just because I haven't had the chance to get used to mine yet." I tried to calm Ricky down a bit with some reassuring words, and it seemed to have done the trick. "So try something now?" Ariana urged, obviously excited by all of this.

"Okay," I sat thinking for a bit, biting my lip slightly until an idea came to me. "Okay Ricky, I need you to scare Arrow for me." Ricky looked confused, but the connection hit him and he smiled eagerly, Ariana however was not so convinced. "Ricky? Scare me? You do realise that can't happen right?" And just like that she started panicking, her eyes widening both in shock and fear. "Make it stop! Make it stop!" I took a deep breath and concentrated on keeping my voice in control. "Arrow look at me, look at me. There we go. Okay Arrow you need to listen to me, no no, concentrate only on me. You can control this, this isn't real, take a deep breath. You're going to be fine." And with that Ariana was back to her old self, breathing heavily in relief. Ricky stood there with confusion all over his face, but smiled up at me eventually. "You've done it Lu, I can't get through to her thoughts anymore."

Joey was still not impressed. "Whoop-te-do, so you can calm someone down, big deal, anyone can do that." I smiled sweetly to him, already two steps ahead of him. "Joey, stand up." And immediately he was on his feet, about to protest but his confusion kept his mind busy away from speaking. "Touch your toes." He doubled over, obviously not any close to nimble, and we all chuckled at the sight of this tall person trying to touch their toes very unsuccessfully. "Okay guys, this isn't funny anymore, Lucy you can stop now." Still laughing I obliged to his request, "Okay you can stop now." He was obviously upset that he had to be the joke for a moment while he straightened himself up. "Are you convinced now?" I smirked towards him and got mumbling back in return.

"So now that we have that out of the way," I began, trying to get the topic moving again, "I think I've figured out Arrows affinity, not too sure about it but I have an idea." Everyone turned their attention to me, Ariana looking a little nervous at that. "That little scene earlier with Joey earlier, What were you thinking?"

She looked down, her sign of thinking deeply at something. "Well the first thing that came to me was 'You're dead to me', literally word for word."

Ricky and Joey just stared at her, mouths gaping. Joey was the first to speak. "But... Isn't it Lucy's job to be so gloom-and-doom?"

Ariana smiled sadly, more to herself than anyone else. "You guys don't know much about me. I've seen enough death in my life to be familiar with it, you could say I have a tinged soul already."

I moved next to her and put my arm around her shoulders, giving them a slight squeeze of encouragement when Ariana looked up to me wondering if she should continue. Suddenly she lost her smile, "You guys probably didn't know that I'm actually an orphan." Ricky's hands immediately went to his mouth and Joey seemed to go uncharacteristically still. "I witnessed both my parents' death, a typical break in that went wrong. The robbers obviously didn't realise we would be home earlier than usual that night. My dad tried body blocking us from the attackers and got shot in response. The guy with the gun obviously couldn't believe what he had done and threw the gun to the ground. My mom tried reaching for it to try use it to protect my sister and I but the second attacker was two steps ahead of her. At least she died next to my dad..." She started choking up, and I just held her closer. She took a shaky breath before carrying on. "My sister and I were held as hostages when the neighbors came running to see what was going on. By the time the cops got there, they had already slit my sister's throat for their demands not being met. When they started getting desperate for their demands to be met they started cutting me up, threatening the cops that they would keep torturing me until something was done. Eventually the cops were able to storm the house and get me out there with my life, but not before I saw those two men being shot down." She looked up from her own thoughts and into the eyes of the two boys in front of her. "So now you know."

At that point I just wrapped Ariana into a hug, letting her calm down from reliving her nightmare. Ricky was on the verge of bursting into tears, and Joey just put an awkward hand on Ariana's shoulder for some sort of sympathy. Ricky looked at me, trying to see how I was taking it and almost adopted a betrayed expression, "You knew about this?"

I smiled sadly to him, "I made a promise not to tell anyone. Besides, it wasn't for me to share." But it was obvious that he wasn't too happy about it.

After Ariana had collected herself and unwrapped herself from our hug she did a body shake to try physically get back to her old self. She smiled her energetic smile once again, "But I never wanted what had happened to get to me, so I kept looking at the bright side of life, it's what my family would've wanted for me." She looked from one face to another, obviously not happy with the faces she was seeing. "Cheer up guys! Let's change the topic, so what's Joey's gift?"

I stood there stumped. "Oh yeah, I completely forgot to see your marks." I turned towards Joey and beckoned for his hand. He held it out for me, and within the brilliant white swirls an image of a dragon formed, it's wings outstretched. "What...." My voice faded as I stood there, trying not only to figure out what his affinity was but totally freaking out inside at how amazing it looked. "I don't know what this could mean, but that is probably the coolest one out of all of them." I looked up to a grinning face, realising that I was also grinning from ear to ear. "By that expression I'm guessing you also totally love dragons." He wasn't even trying to hide it anymore. "Of course! I wonder what it means though, but knowing it's going to be amazing anyway." He was obviously building up another bit of his ego to fit this new bit of information into his already massive ego.

Ricky just rolled his eyes, "Okay, you guys can break up the fan fit already. We need to get serious here, so please, break it up." The acid was back in his voice.

I just sighed, getting a little annoyed at Ricky's childish jealousy. "Alright troops, I'm actually not sure what happens from here. Guess we wait for Esperar to give us a call."

"Who's Esperar?" Ariana asked, trying to keep her curiosity under composure.

"The old guy who started all this I guess, I don't know what his involvement is in all of it, but I'm guessing he's the messenger boy." I giggled at my own joke, suddenly aware that no one else would understand what I was laughing about. "But the thing is I don't know how to reach him. He was the one who invaded my dreams last night."

Joey started laughing, collapsing into the nearest couch. I just looked at him, "What's your problem now?" Joey, now clutching at his sides tried replying. "Didn't think you were one for the elderly men." I just glared at him, understanding what he was getting at. "Shut up Joey, you're such an idiot. I don't have a thing for grandpa's."

"Tell that to your sugar daddy." And he continued with his laughing fit. I just threw a pillow at him and proceeded to ignore him.

"Maybe we should invite Markus over? Maybe he'll have some fresh ideas." Ricky directed to me, obviously having made the decision already to call him over.

"What does he have to do with this?" Joey switching from funny to disgusted.

I noticed that all too familiar hatred that Joey had towards even the thought of Markus. "Remember I said this whole thing includes five people? Yeah well unfortunately he is the fifth contestant to this messed up game." Joey just scoffed and proceeded to sulk.

"Here." Taking out my phone and handing it to Ricky. "I've got his number. You can call from my phone." Everyone just looked at me in shock. "What? It's not a sin to have a hot guys number, okay." Obviously they were still not convinced with that. "It doesn't matter okay? Just call him already please Ricks, you can explain to him how to get to your house. Knowing me and my GPS skills, I'm going to get him lost." And I went to plonk myself on the single couch.

Ricky just shrugged it off and dialed the number, the call almost immediately answered. Ricky was caught off guard by the very sudden pick up, and moved off to another room to explain the situation and the directions, as if it was meant to be a secret from the rest of us. Ariana moved over to an open seat and made herself comfortable, resuming to her now liquified ice cream. "That looks disgusting." Joey perked up, obviously not sure what she was actually eating. "You won't know unless you try some." Ariana mocked spitting at Joey, and he recoiled so violently that he looked like a T-Rex fearing for his life. I just laughed at the two of them, relieved that harmony was back in our circle again.

Ricky returned soon, tossing my phone back at me. "Well that was quick." I said, pushing my phone back into its snug spot in my pocket. "Yeah well he said he was expecting your call." Ricky said, but with his chin stroking habit this time, obviously something perplexed him. "Then he said he knew where my house was and just put the phone done." He looked at me, trying to get some sort of explanation. I just shrugged, not too sure of it myself.

Joey asked to no one particular. "So what do we do now?"

I looked at him, feeling a little nervous suddenly. "Now we just wait."


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