Well, - She watched as the four groups glared at each other; technically it was only three since the last one was more wary than annoyed. - this could have gone better.
It had been innocent enough. Lisa had hoped to ask Kali for advice and had been eagerly awaited for his visit. With his visits being so infrequent, it was hard to tell when he would show up and she couldn't bring herself to bother him to ask. What if he was busy? No, she would wait. It wasn't like she wasn't busy. Between meeting potential tenants and integrating the new family that had moved into her home, she never got a moment's rest. Phrynosoma seemed determined to scare off any interested parties because of his concern that they might be dangerous while Pain and Amanda were determined to give as much trouble as possible.
It was partly her fault too. She hadn't thought it through when she had tried to register them for school; they needed to continue their education. Many were wary to let children of unknown origin into their school especially since she wasn't related to them. In fact, they had concerns that she was housing runaways and the authorities were called in, but those thoughts were quickly shut down when the kids explained they didn't have any family. Any attempts to get them to explain further failed and she had an uneasy feeling about the whole situation.
The police couldn't find anything on Pain who claimed that the only thing he knew was that his name was Pain, a name he had given himself. Amanda Davis, on the other hand, had no family to speak of. Her parents had apparently been murdered years ago and no living relatives to claim her. They had wanted to take the kids in and possibly charge her for not informing the authorities about them - they had originally planned to charge her for harboring runaways. Things got more complicated when it was revealed she was still underage.
Technically, she was close to being of legal age that they could try to charge her as an adult. She nearly fainted at the thought of being prosecuted for trying to help. It didn't help that the two had reacted violently to the idea of being taking away from her to be put into foster care or an orphanage. That's exactly when she learned how wrong she had been to assume they were just regular human children.
Amanda wasn't as sweet and innocent she appeared to be. Apparently, she was both a sankai and baobhan sith which explained a lot. Most species (except humans for some reason) avoided mixing because of how badly the child would turn out. Usually, they would not be able to conceive a child. In the rare chance it did happen, one of three things happen. One is where the child only takes after one parent. Another is the child ends up dead. The final case was where the child was so messed up that it would be a mercy to kill them. In this case, it looked like she probably killed her own parents the moment she had been born and fled - how she did that was unclear.
She was afraid to admit that she had been scared of Amanda and avoided her. Lisa could see the hurt in her eyes, but it was hard to not be scared of her. No one could honestly say they weren't afraid of being killed and eaten by a baobhan sith. That is unless you had a few screws loose and she was certain she was mentally stable.
Pain was just as bad. The police officer that had wanted to take her in and grabbed her by the arm had suddenly caught on fire. She had freaked out and pulled away as everyone converged to put out the fire. None of their attempts worked and they watched helplessly as the man screamed in agony. She had been quick to notice how pale Pain was and the way he shook with wide eyes and mumbled to himself. When she placed her hand on his shoulders, he flinched and the fire went out.
At first, they thought he had pyrokinesis, but it turned out to be something else. He was a wizard with strong pyro like tendencies. In fact, some of the scars he had were actually burn marks from when he couldn't control the flames he had accidentally created which ended up burning him. That had opened up a whole other can of worms.
Neither were fit for a public setting. They were simply too dangerous to be allowed other children their age. However, all attempts to convince them to go with the proper authorities to get help only resulted in more hostilities. Fortunately, no one else was hurt, but everyone was too afraid to approach them. The only person who seemed to be safe from their wrath was her. She wasn't sure whether she should be flattered or worried about their attachment. It was clear that they hadn't had any parental figures in their lives until Phrynosoma had come along.
Speaking of Phrynosoma, she wasn't sure if she should be glad or annoyed he wasn't there. He had taken her words about how he needed to avoid the authorities unless he wanted to be taken in to heart. She didn't need the other kind of trouble he would bring to be added to the mix. The children also kept his name out of the conversation so he probably had told them about the consequences. Still, she was bitter with having to deal with mess he had given her. He should be the ones talking to the police about the kids since he was the one to find them.
The whole situation just left a bad taste in everyone's mouths.
In the end, she somehow ended up having custody over them and only had to pay a fine. She figured that she would at least get a misdemeanor, but decided not to question her good luck. However, she failed to get them enrolled in school and was expected to either homeschool them or get private tutors. Either way she was stuck with keeping them at home when she had hoped to keep them out for at least a few hours.
Luckily, she already had someone offer. Officer Nicholas Thompson, a police detective, had apologized for what happened and gave his number to her so she could call him anytime if there was a problem. He had plenty of experience dealing with troubled children - he even had some teaching experience - and would gladly help. Thank god for small favors.
She made sure to impose on the kids and Phrynosoma that they were not allowed to scare away the nice police detective whenever he showed up to help. They, of course, didn't like the idea of sharing their new "mom" - she was only a year or two older for crying out loud - with someone else, but didn't want to risk upsetting her. At least when she was around. Whenever she had something that needed to be done and left them alone, she had a funny feeling that they were up to no good. Mr. Thompson never said anything except he always seemed exhausted afterwards.
It was a bit surprising that Mr. Thompson didn't question Phrynosoma's appearance, but, then again, Phrynosoma rarely made an appearance when he was around. He probably thought he was just another tenant of hers. Speaking of tenants, Mr. Thompson made sure to call her parents to find out what was going on because, no matter how you looked at it, it was strange for her, a minor, to be the landlord. Perhaps that was why he was so insistent on coming over as much as possible to check up on her.
Nevertheless, she was pleasantly surprised to have him. It was nice to have an authority figure she could trust around. While Kali did present himself as a reliable person, he was still a tenant and (sort of) a friend. There was no way she would count Phrynosoma no matter how much he thought he was reliable. She only wished Mr. Thompson could stick around more, but he had a job to do and she didn't want to give him more grief than necessary.
So imagine her surprise when he asked if she had available apartments. It wasn't for him of course. He actually had his own apartment closer to the police headquarters. Apparently, he had a younger sister who was looking for a place while she went to college - he didn't mention the fact his sister was taking online classes and that he hoped that she could act as an older female figure in her life - and he had planned on recommending it to her if there was room. She immediately promised to show them around and let them see if they were interested in any of the places she still had available.
What she didn't count on were several things. One was Zemud finally cornering her to find out what was with the people hanging around where she lived; they were extremely suspicious. Two was that Kali and Shyloh were planning on meeting her later that day to finally have a look at the buildings; they hadn't thought to warn her ahead of time. Three was Phrynosoma and the kids being caught trying to deal justice on a suspected rapist and murderer; it was a regular occurrence.
To say the meeting between the four groups was awkward was an understatement. There was an unspeakable tension between them and she was worried that one wrong move would set them off. She had known that they would have to meet each other eventually since they were all going to be fellow tenants, but not this soon. She already knew that Kali and Zemud didn't get along while Phrynosoma had made sure to keep out of Mr. Thompson's sight. Now the four most troublesome tenants were within the same vicinity.
"I'm sorry. Is this a bad time?"
Lisa didn't recognize the man beside Kali, but she had an idea of who it was. "Sorry, but I wasn't expecting to see you Mr. Shyloh."
"Just call me Shyloh." He smiled at her and she returned an uneasy one in returned. She didn't like the way he looked at her, accessing her. "I must apologize. I had assumed you would not be busy based on what Kali has told me."
"Who the fuck are you?"
She winced at the crass language. Now was not the time Zemud. Rage practically radiated off of Kali who glared daggers at Zemud. Pain looked exasperated while Amanda just giggled at the scene. Mr. Thompson had turned away from looking at Phrynosoma who was still holding onto the criminal to give a disapproving look at him.
"You shouldn't be using such language young man. Where are your parents?"
"What is it to you, you shitty old man?"
He narrowed his eyes. "It's Officer Thompson to you and I will ask why you are here on these premises."
Realizing who he had just badmouthed, Zemud forced himself to not sneer at the person who could ruin his life. "I live here." Turning to Lisa, he said, "Deku, we need to talk. Now."
"I believe she is very busy." Kali narrowed his eyes. "She doesn't have time to waste on small matters."
Zemud couldn't stop the growl from escaping his throats as flames began to flicker to life. That, unfortunately, was the beginning of the end. The sight of flames triggered a reaction from Pain who immediately set the area round him on fire. This in turn startled Mr. Thompson's sister who lashed out with her telekinesis. Seeing a threat to her brother, Amanda pulled out a knife and launched herself at her. Kali reached out with his shadows to pull Lisa out of the fight, but Phrynosoma saw it as an attack against her and lunged at him.
They would never know the outcome though. Fortunately, thanks to Mr. Thompson's hypnosis, they were all forced to stop in mid action. The only ones who had remained unaffected were the ones who hadn't been caught up in the fight: Lisa, Shyloh, and, strangely enough, Zemud despite being the instigator.
"Do I need to take you all to the station or can we have a proper conversation?" He looked tempted to do the former. She was surprised he hadn't done just that.
They grudgingly agreed to act civilized by nodding after having being freed from his control, but no one seemed willing to be the first one to speak. The hostile air around them managed to become even more deadly. Knowing she was the only one who could probably speak without getting her head bitten off (that was not including Zemud), Lisa offered a compromise. Kali and Shyloh could stay in the office, Phrynosoma and the kids would stay in her apartment, and everyone else could come with her. No one liked the arrangement.
Zemud wanted to speak with her in private which she definitely didn't want and having Mr. Thompson around would keep him in line. Mr. Thompson was not comfortable leaving suspicious figures alone. It was quite clear that this Phrynosoma character was acting highly suspect - vigilantism was illegal - and he was concerned about the possible influence he was having on her and the kids. Phrynosoma didn't trust any of them save for Mr. Thompson who would clearly protect her, but he was someone who could get him arrested. Kali regretted not letting her know in advance about their arrival, but he hadn't expected for there to be a police officer around.
The problem was that they couldn't think of any other arrangement that would work. All of them wanted to keep her in their sights for various reasons; however, no one wanted to deal with any of the others. How did she even know the others? Were they all tenants? Weighing the pros and cons of her olive branch, they came to a conclusion. Reluctantly, they followed her suggestion much to her relief. She had been worried for a moment that they wouldn't consider it. If that had happened, she wasn't sure what she would have done. Maybe run and hide from the fallout.
After making sure Kali and Shyloh were comfortable - she got them some snacks and drinks - and promising the kids that she would take them out later if they behaved - they demanded ice cream; she honestly questioned whether or not they were teenagers - she led the rest on a tour of the apartments. Zemud was silent which was good. Hopefully, Mr. Thompson wouldn't ask any hard questions. She wasn't sure how she would be able to answer without getting into trouble.
"So would you mind explaining what is going on here?"
Or maybe not.
Mom, your daughter is definitely going to jail and it's all your fault.