Continued from yesterday:
“Good thing I’m not allergic to calamine,” Sara muttered. A quick visit to the medicine cabinet and, after locking her door, she was typing one-handed and patting pink sludge onto her back.
TheTallest: As long as Dr. doesn’t come w blue police call box, I'm happy.
FrogPrince: Um. What?
TheTallest: Sorry. PBS joke.
FrogPrince: OH! Dr Who. I get it.
TheTallest: Surpriste! No offence, but most don’t get NE refs.
FrogPrince: Got roomie who watches TV. Lots of TV. Seen a few eps.
There was a pause.
FrogPrince: What’s with those pepper-shaker things?
“Are you playing around on that internet again?” Mom called.
“Just doing some research, Mom!” Sara shouted back. She had a few windows on project topics open for a quick Alt+Tab to pretended innocence. Not that Mom often wanted to struggle past Sara’s bookshelves to get a glimpse of Vincent’s screen anyway.
She resumed her chatting.
TheTallest: They’re called “Daleks”, dear. They’re actually cyborgs of a sort from the planet Skaro. Inside those pepper-shakers is a globby, ugly mass of mutated flesh.
FrogPrince: Yummy [/sarcasm]
TheTallest: Oh aye, they’re dead sexay.
TheTallest: Please forgive *that* mental image.
FrogPrince: Too late, yo. Just pictured mutant blob in bed w drumstick and Sarah Jane Smith.
Sara couldn’t help laughing, but she tried to keep it under her breath.
TheTallest: ROFLMAOAPIMP! That’s just *too* funny. Race U to conceptualize.
FrogPrince: RU kiddin? That’s *sick*!
Drat. She’d offended.
TheTallest: Sorry, dear. Sometimes, sick things strike me as funny. I’ll bin it if U think its bad.
There was a long silence. Sara winced as she patted calamine over her welty flesh. Maybe she’d scared him off.
While she waited, she storylined her site’s featured animation. Once she had enough money to pay for another month of being homepaged, she'd take off the teasers and let the people see the whole episode.
This month’s feature would show a certain overtall and androgynous character turning slowly into Godzilla.
TheTallest: M going 4 hot chocolate. If Ure gone by the time I’m back, I’ll understand. Shall stick to technical questions in future.
Sara thought for another minute.
TheTallest: I meant it about the gallery. U R talented.
She crossed her fingers and went to the nearest kitchen for a cuppa. It was past ten already. A good thing, since Mom hated the idea of the help seeing Sara in her underduds and calamine. Sara made a big mug and watched the storm whip about outside. Perfect atmosphere for her projected animation.
 Most first computers are named “the Beast”. Sara just took it one step further. And yes, one of her PC guardians is a dolly modelled on the character played by Ron Perlman.
“FuckfuckfuckfuckFUCK!” came grumbling down the hall, accompanied by the sound of running water.
“Hold still, Todd. Second to last one.” Lance pulled the bloodied shard of glass out of the younger boy’s inner arm.
Fred stepped out of Todd’s room with a tray full of glass and wooden splinters. “I knew we shoulda cut that branch back earlier.”
Watching Todd rinse off his arm, Lance sighed. “Well, no use crying over it now. You’ll have to sleep downstairs tonight, Todd.”
“Man, but it’s cold down there too!”
“It’s better than a room with a busted window.”
“True. I gotta see about Sara, though.” Todd struggled one-handed to tie off the gauze until Lance helped him.
“Stuffed animal?” the older teen smirked.
“No!” snapped the now red-faced amphibian. “My *girl*, yo. She's probably worried about me!” Todd made a show of puffing out his chest and hopped down the hall to his room. The window had been covered with tarp, but Todd’s room was still more or less a vacuum. The door slammed behind him, startling a squeak out of the boy.
“Sorry!” he called unhelpfully toward Pietro’s room where the speedster had retired earlier with another headache.
Todd sat down at his computer, opened Sara’s window and scrolled up to see what he’d missed.
“Aw, shit yo…” Hurriedly he typed an explanation.
FrogPrince: Yo, I’m back! Sorry for my silence, but it’s nuts here. Window got busted by a branch an’ the storm and I got the cuts on my arm to prove it.
FrogPrince: Yo, you forgive? Still there sweetie?
_Please still be there? Please?_ He didn’t know how long it had been since she’d gone for chocolate. He didn’t get an away message, so perhaps he still had a chance.
 They aren’t that deep. Don’t worry.
Sara chugged her third cuppa and panted for breath. _Damn. He wasn't kidding about being thirsty…_ She made a mental note to ask the good doctor about hydration per bodyweight while she mixed up some hot chocolate in her undertow mug.
It was half-empty by the time she got back to her room. And so was the economy-sized bottle of calamine lotion.
Todd was back.
TheTallest: Cuts? U sure Ure OK?
FrogPrince: Yeah, they’re pretty shallow. Just bled everywhere.
TheTallest: U *did* vacuum the area, yes? Nothing worse than finding glass bits with tender portions.
Todd read that and boggled. The lighter portions of his crap were blown all over the boardinghouse and the heavier stuff was vacuum-proof… but all the same, the concept of cleaning his room alarmed him.
Then he thought about getting glass in his itchy, sensitive skin, and decided that cleaning wouldn’t be *that* bad under the circumstances.
FrogPrince: Good thought, yo’ Be five minutes.
Sara chuckled. Men.
TheTallest: Be sure to get everywhere you’d place yourself.
TheTallest: On the subject of dehydration, just *HOW* thirsty do you get? Usually my undertow mug lasts me some good hours. This time I'm down to a quarter left in under fifteen minutes.
She leaned back and sipped, imagining a bachelor’s vacuuming job. He'd probably go over the bed and the path to his clothes and the computer and the door, forgetting the rest in his haste.
FrogPrince: Yes, Mom
FrogPrince: Um. Undertow mug?
TheTallest: It has such a large capacity that you have to watch out for the undertow.
Todd laughed out loud, his fingers already moving across the keys.
FrogPrince: LOL! I gotta get me one of them.
TheTallest: Hm. When’s your B-day?
 PVP cartoon. I’ll get the exact URL when I find it.
FrogPrince: august 30. brb.
Todd turned from his computer and tread carefully to the door. He went to the hall closet to pull out the ‘free sample’ that the Brotherhood had liberated from the vacuum salesman with the misfortune of being assigned to the territory.
Pietro hazarded a peek at the unheard-of sounds of a Hoover coming from the room next to his. His eyes bugged at the sight of Todd behind the handle. The boy was grimacing as if it was sucking up a piece of his very soul along with every dustbunny. Every so often the crackle of glass and random small objects would sound off. Todd went over every place he could think of which was remarkably close to Sara’s prediction.
Seeing that not very much dirt was traumatised out of place by Todd's cleaning, Pietro got bored with the miracle and went back to lying down.
FrogPrince: Done! *pant*
FrogPrince: you were asking how much I drink when I’m shedding?
FrogPrince: those are some high numbers. Probly about a Gut Bomb supersize cup every hour. I gotta take a bottle to school and fill up in the sink when I can. I’d turn to dust by the time that water fountain pumped out half of what I needed.
The Tallest: Considering that half the fountains at school are either leaky faucets or hoses.
The Tallest: So I should bring water and water holder. Check. What do I do with the um… stuff. That comes off?
Todd bit his lip.
FrogPrince: Usually the shedding happens in a set of three to five days. One day, usually in the middle, is when the biggest pieces start comin’ off. That you wanna stay home for and generally avoid public. That’s when the *face* starts peelin’. The days before and after are for smaller pieces and pieces that generally take longer because they’re not stretched as much.
There was a pause in which Todd hoped he hadn’t completely disgusted her. He hadn’t even really told her about the doctor’s theory of scales yet.
Sara had refilled her giant cup with water and slugged a generous gulp down before replying.
TheTallest: Sounds like all the fun of menstruation without any of the social acceptance.
TheTallest: Though skin peelage shouldn’t involve cramping… right?
FrogPrince: (blush) Er… wouldn’t know. Honest. I ain’t never got no cramps, yo. But I never got skin that changes.
TheTallest: Sorry about that. The whole five days thing got me cross-connected. Shan’t elaborate.
TheTallest: Grammar!Nit - “haven’t ever”, dear.
FrogPrince: Yo, grammar ain’t my style.
TheTallest: Had mine beaten into me. Much fun. Not.
Todd stared at the words on the screen.
FrogPrince: Uh. You don’t mean *literally* do you?
TheTallest: No, thank the Gods above and below… Harshest punishment was writing the rules longhand as lines. For *hours*.
TheTallest: Being bored is the biggest plague ever. Was much encouraged to learn well and learn fast.
FrogPrince: That gale outside is me sighin’ with relief, yo.
Sara giggled, sipping water. She opened up a side-window and sought out the place that sold her undertow mug.
TheTallest: LOL. You’re cute when you worry so.
“I’m *cute*?” Todd boggled.
TheTallest: But I’m hardly worth the fuss. I don’t actually *do* anything merit-worthy.
FrogPrince: You’re Fred’s study-buddy right?
FrogPrince: Don’t that mean you helped him *pass*?
TheTallest: True. But one hardly gains awards for helping people pass.
FrogPrince: Awards, schmawards. You did a good thing. Be proud.
“Not in my nature, alas,” said Sara. She alternated between chatting and clicking in an order for an appropriately froggy undertow mug for Todd.
TheTallest: Sorry, I’m pathalogically incapable (g)
TheTallest: Ugh. I think I’m sweating under the old skin. Ew. I feel all - squishy.
FrogPrince: It’s cool. Don’t pop 'em. Let it ride. U should start some small peeling 2morrow.
TheTallest: O joy unbounded [/sarcasm]
FrogPrince: Know the feeling 2 well, babe. Pie keeps telling me I'm getting warts.
TheTallest: Pie? U have a talking savoury?
FrogPrince: LOL! Short for Pietro. He’s an asshole and I can’t ignore him 'cause he lives here.
TheTallest: Launder his smalls with Ben Gay.
Todd roared laughing, and noticed the time. Eleven already? Yow.
FrogPrince: Just my kind of evil. Watch for future bruising
FrogPrince: It’s much late 4 me. Must go to bed if I want to fake awareness 2morrow.
TheTallest: It’s cool. I have a small project to do NEway.
FrogPrince: School Project?
TheTallest: Personal finance. Check my site in the AM.
TheTallest: And go to bed. I know not everyone is a terminal insomniac like me.
FrogPrince: Goodnight sweetheart.
“Sweetheart,” Sara echoed. “Goodnight,” she whispered, and kissed the little window.
TheTallest: CU 2morrow, dear.