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Who is this sassy lost child
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The light blinded him, but before he could raise his free hand to shield his eyes, Hazel up and punched him in the face.

Jae yelled and took a stumbling step back, but even though the impact set his bruised face throbbing again and might have reopened the gash, he didn't strike back. He pressed his free hand over his face and hissed through the pain, gritting his teeth and himself not to swear or snap at her. Maybe it wasn't exactly what he deserved for all the shit he had done, but it was close enough. He could let Hazel have this.

He had just opened his mouth to say as much when Dorothy reminded him of her presence by elbowing him in the ribs and setting off a whole other collection of injuries stinging. He would have snapped at her, but then she was on Hazel and any coherent words were lost in Jae's horrified shout and no no no no what the fuck was happening-

"DOROTHY!" The crossbow was in his bag and he couldn't see, the flashlight knocked out of Hazel's hand and rolling away somewhere on the ground, but he had the staff and with a swing that might have made Vanessa proud, he cracked it against the side of Dorothy's head.

He dropped his bag and the staff to shove Dot away from Hazel after the strike threw her off-balance. "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!"

He couldn't be sure, but he thought that she might have looked hurt and confused when he shoved her again and something about that made revulsion twist in his stomach. He could have strangled her if she didn't move out of his reach.

"Can I get a thank you?" She spat at him. All she got was a furious screech in reply, and she scrambled away as he lunged for her, leaving him landing on his elbows in the dirt. She was gone before he could gather himself enough to go for the bag and the crossbow, and a pained gasp from behind him jolted Jae back to the more important matter.

"Hazel! Hazel!?" Where the fuck was Jordan!? Jae wheeled around enough to find his bag in the dark and drag it over. He had a flashlight too, right?

"Hey," he said as he fumbled through the bag, finding the flashlight finally and clicking it on. "Hey, you're okay. You're going to be fine."

He saw the dark stain that was beginning to spread on Hazel's jacket and had a feeling that he was a liar.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."

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Gift for the Darkness · Northwest Cliffs