Burning Rubber Oracle
#1
Ted had been thinking a lot lately — about powers, their capacity and their range, their nature, their source. From very small concrete points, he would extrapolate in a half-dozen directions, following and following a thought until it ended in five-dimensional bloom of mystery. He wasn't thinking about it to find answers, really. He didn't expect answers to come in his lifetime. But he did want to expand his thinking, to find a way short of dropping acid to unlock a part of his mind, or his destiny, and to become more of a psychic than a man who could land a coin on tails for a half-hour straight.

He took himself to a lot of places, looking for the right inspiration. Maybe he should have thought of the race track sooner, but a warm, sunny day was a good excuse to drive out to Las Almas. He ate nachos and spent an hour people-watching, race-watching, learning the basics of the track's routine. The engines were deafening, and as the bikes lined up before a race, the noise became hypnotic. He stared, feeling the dozen mechanical heartbeats reverberating in his chest, feeling them rattle and pulse; in a kind of trance, his eyes unfocused and lightened in color, and he, he saw—, felt—, sensed number 88 winning, number 12 winning, number 12 winning. Then the race started and he sucked in a startled breath; he looked around for anyone near him to share this revelation. "Twelve's going to win. Watch!"
#2
This was not an activity Catriona Wood was a particular fan of but she was spending time with her dad and it was his turn to pick the activity for the day.

At least it was a nice day outside. A decent distraction from semi-recent events.

She was not a gambling person by nature, so when she took a seat on one of the bleachers, each hand containing a soda and some nachos, Cat glanced at the wild-haired man next to her and gasped.

Holy shit. It was That Guy. Whose house she went to! Uh. Tom? No. That was another psychic she met. Ted? YEAH! TED!

"Oh shit, it's you! I've been to your house!" But like he just said something about number twelve winning, so her eyes were drawn to the track, and she set her nachos in her lap.

Number eighty-eight seemed to be in the lead with number twelve close behind, and she laughed. How absurd this situation was!

Good thing her dad was still placing his bet for the next round.
#3
Oh! Ohh!! Ted realized as she was talking that this was not just some random motorcycle enthusiast, and not even some random acquaintance or friend from the last ten years! It was a fucking...party psychic! Incredible. He grinned at the appropriate energy level, sorting his brain for her name. "Plant cat!" Shit, was that right? "Jesus, what a weird...hang on." He needed to watch the race. 12 had muscled past 88 and was now maintaining a small, steady lead. He had time to doubt himself while the race finished, but...there they went, with 12 taking first. He had known it, hadn't he? How was he supposed to know for sure?
#4
Hey, he remembered her name!!! And her power!!! That brought a grin to her lips as she nodded and directed her gaze back to the race. She supposed it was sort of exciting. Number twelve, huh? What was Ted's power again? Could he tell the future?

Sure enough, twelve sped ahead, ending in first place, and Cat looked at the man with wide-eyed awe.

"How did you do that?!" She bit into a nacho.
#5
Ted looked back at her with his mouth hanging open. Plant cat seemed impressed, because...right, he had been all sure before they started, he had felt it lock in. Comparatively, forcing an outcome felt like forcing a lock yourself. "No idea. If I did do something, I...I was just messing around out here." His eyebrows dropped. "You can't tell when someone is using a power, can you?"
#6
Mainly, Catriona meant how did he guess the right competitor would win. But did he really use magic to guess? Huh.

"Sort of! I think typically people's eyes change colour when they use their powers." She hadn't checked his eyes before but now she searched his gaze, trying to see if anything was happening. Probably came across as sort of weird so she looked back at the track, stumped. "What's your power again?" Catriona couldn't remember his! Sorry, Ted!!
#7
That was fair. He rubbed at his beard, watching the track as well and thinking, he could try again at the next race, right? That would just take, like, half an hour. "That's true. Mine go kind of orange-colored...I need one of those little pocket mirrors." Compacts? His mom had definitely had one of those, a little mirror and face powder with a little cotton-foam disc. Anyway, not relevant. He glanced back at Cat with a slightly un-Tedlike look, unsure of himself.

"So it's...odds manipulation?" Probably he should check no one was listening in, huh. "Like, flip a coin, I can make it land on heads. That sort of thing. Only, I don't...think I made that bike win. I dunno. Esoteric powers!" He threw his hands out to each side, making light of his frustration.
#8
A compact mirror would help if he was still unsure if he was using magic or not. Cat's powers were a little more obvious, she assumed. Easier to immediately see the results of using them.

Odds manipulation, huh? Cat raised an eyebrow, intrigued as she dunked her nacho in some melted cheese. She smiled sympathetically because it honestly seemed frustrating not to know if what you thought you were experiencing was true. Catriona had second-guessed herself a lot in high school when she first discovered her ability to manipulate plant growth.

"That sounds both really cool and really frustrating, mate," She replied, also wary of her dad returning at some point. He didn't know about Cat, and she preferred it remain that way. For now.
#9
Ha, ha! Ted laughed in a way that meant he agreed and was sad about it, kind of. He leaned on the guard rail and wrung out some of his psychic angst on this young female acquaintance. "Yeah, I mean, it didn’t used to bother me before I got to know all us other special people. Now I just want to…grow.". Too bad Cat couldn’t sprout a little magic-seed in him. "D’you just have the one power?"
#10
Catriona nodded, understanding a little even if her first power was less nebulous. She had felt similarly after meeting so many talented psychics but she had grown within a year.

Cat shook her head at the question. "I can do like a force field type thing? And I, uh, just discovered a new one. Poison control, I guess."
#11
Damn it! What kind of loser psychic only had one power! And poison control sounded insane, but psychic force field? That ruled, sign him up. He gazed thoughtfully into her nachos (not a euphemism).

Her powers were more interesting than his angst, actually. "What one’s your favorite?"
#12
Cat considered his expression and wondered what he was thinking. When he asked her a very good question, she hummed a little in thought.

"Plants, probably. It's been with me the longest and I have the most control over it. Plus the side effects aren't... horrible." As helpful as the force field was, passing out sucked. Made her more vulnerable than she needed to be when it came time to use the power for self-defence.

"I mean... migraines are horrible but it could be worse?"
#13
Huh. "You get different side effects for different powers?" He was so used to the sort of…aptness of his own side effect, he forgot that they weren’t always related to the power.
#14
Cat nodded with ease at the question. "I pass out with the force field and poison control seems to come with hives." One was far worse than the other. Passing out was inconvenient as fuck. Dangerous too in the wrong circumstance.
#15
"Huh!" He blinked hard at the track. "I dunno why I expect it to be intuitive, but it's sure not. What can you do with the poison power?" It took really a lot of concentration to not dive on some kind of Poison Ivy joke. But the red hair!!! It was a nice distraction from his own ailing abilities.
#16
Cat smiled ruefully at Ted as he stared at the track before her eyes followed his gaze. She shrugged her shoulders a bit, wondered what was taking her da so long but didn't yet seem probable cause to go off in search of him. He was probably getting more food. Maybe he ran into someone he knew as well.

"So far, I've nearly poisoned myself with death camas? Which is, uh, a deadly plant that looks like wild onion. But I managed to expel it through my pores, I guess? It was sort of gross. Anyway. Then I also got wasted off one sip of whisky at my, uh, boyfriend's place." God, it felt weird to say that. Made her feel like she was sixteen. My BoYfRiEnD. Anyway.

"So I guess I'm a major lightweight till I learn to control it." A joke! But also kind of serious.
#17
Fucking weird. "That would be…a great power to have for foraging mushrooms." God, he wanted to know what expelling poison through your pores looked like! What if it was harmful to your skin, even! "That’s interesting, though. Do you wanna…stick around for a minute, ‘til the next race, and help me see if I’m using a power?" He paired the request with a big, hopeful grin, rocking on his feet.
#18
Foraging mushrooms. Right. Yeah, Cat could envision it, sort of. How would it work? Could she pick out a poisonous substance over a non-poisonous one? Was it only things that were toxic to humans? To her specifically? How the fuck did it even work?

Ted asked her if she wanted to stick around and Cat nodded. "Aye, can do." She smiled, happy to help. "Want me just to stare at you and you focus on your power however you go about it?"
#19
He nodded, chewing on his lip and looking generally unsure of himself. "It's a little weird, like? I know I could try to make one car win," they were motorcycles, Ted, "but I don't think that was what I did. I'll try it, though." Exciting!

Eventually, the next race started to form at the starting line, and Ted squinted at them. How early was too early? And let's see, what had he been doing when the last one happened? He supposed he had...let his mind wander. So he tried to do that. A few minutes passed, and, concentrating further, Ted closed his eyes.
#20
Oh, that was curious! Catriona leaned back a bit and tried her best to understand what he meant. Also, cars, motorcycles, they were all the same to Cat.

She glanced briefly at the track when the next race began before her gaze drifted back to Ted’s face. Cat felt a little weird just staring, like, intently at him, but he asked for her help! Then he shut his eyes, and uh, Cat wasn’t sure what he was doing, if he was doing anything.

"Are you doing it now? Who are you focusing on?" Realized belatedly that she was probably messing up his concentration. "Oh. Sorry, I should probably be quiet, aye? Aye. Probably. Shh, I’ll shhhhh now." ShhhhHHHHhhhh Cat!
#21
Oh, fuck! His eyes popped open, all concentration lost as he tried to figure out why Plant was interrupting him?? The entire notion of eye change = power used had fluttered away somewhere while he was grasping at probability. "Gosh darn it, okay. Let me see if I can still get it before they start." And he squinched his eyes closed, unhelpfully! Focus on the drivers!!
#22
Uhhh, Ted? Ted, Plant needed you to open your eyes!

"That's uh. Good. Sorry about interrupting before. And now." Sheepish smile. "But, uh, can you open your eyes, Ted?" Please?
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