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#the defectives
marauders4evr · a day ago
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A heartwarming excerpt from The Defectives 3:
"Your love for Ryleigh is about as subtle as your love for chocolate milk," Frank teased, handing her a bottle of the nectar in question.
Juniper's cheeks burned but she gratefully took a sip. This caused the couple to laugh, but she didn't really care. She only needed their approval for one thing: "Is that okay? Ryder adopting me?"
Frank smiled, sitting down on the coffee table. "Did you know, when I first wanted to interview you, he pretty much hunted me down? He barged into my favorite coffee house, came up with a damn good haiku, dragged me into the alleyway, and threatened genuine physical harm, if I ever hurt you. It was sweet. It still is."
"Yeah, no, I know that Ryder loves me," Juniper said. "I love him, too."
"Oh, okay, so you are just saying it, now?" Frank asked.
She hastily moved on. "I meant, is it okay with you two? Especially you, Rylynne? I mean, given everything, I don't want to---"
"You don't want to what?"
She stared at the bottle, flushing even harder, as she mumbled, "I don't want to replace you."
"Yeah, you do!" Rylynne snorted. "You've been competing with me for years and you've been winning."
"Yeah, it hasn't been much of a competition," Frank agreed.
Juniper was so nervous that she began to rock her wheelchair back and forth. "That was then. Things have changed. I've changed. Ryder's changed. The world's changed."
"Yeah, everything's changed," Rylynne admitted, crouching down, when Juniper refused to look up at her. "I love my father a lot more than I did, before you ever came into our lives. I spent thirty years hating him, thirty years without Ryleigh Ryder in my life."
Juniper miserably nodded.
"So, don't make the same mistake I did."
Her head flew up and she found herself looking into a pair of familiar silver eyes. Rylynne gave her a smile that was mixed with grief and love; in that moment, she had never looked more like her father.
"If you have a chance to finally have a family, for god's sake, take it!"
"You're a superhero," Frank added. "You should know how important it is to seize every opportunity you have. Why do you think Ryder's seizing this opportunity?"
A puzzled Juniper said, "I'm the one who wants him to adopt me."
"The adoption form takes two signatures, Juniper."
---
There are so many themes and revelations in this scene, let alone this book, but Juniper slowly realizing that she means just as much to Ryder as Ryder means to her is probably my favorite.
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marauders4evr · 3 days ago
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An excerpt from The Defectives 3:
Juniper supposed that wearing her mentor's trench-coat was weird, but she had done weirder, and had faced worse consequences. In the end, it just made her feel safer. Ryder had wrapped it around her shoulders, multiple times, whenever she had been scared or upset. Now, it was around her shoulders, all the time. Even in class.
She was in class when she made a shocking discovery. Professor Hakim was next to the chalkboard, lecturing them about two cities and the tale they told. Slumping down in her wheelchair, Juniper instinctively shoved her hands into the deep pockets. Realizing that she hadn't fully examined the contents, she began to feel around, abruptly freezing when her palm passed over something.
Trying not to panic, Juniper ran her fingers along the edge of the item. She eventually swallowed, knowing that her eyes were wide.
"Juniper?" Professor Hakim looked over. "Is something wrong?"
She yanked her hand from her pocket and squeaked, "Nope."
---
Any guesses?
(Also Grammarly's telling me that this scene is 'Anxious', which is 100% what Juniper's feeling, so well done, AI!)
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marauders4evr · 8 days ago
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As much as I love the years of excerpts featuring Juniper and Ryder avoiding the subject, I also just love this shite:
An excerpt from The Defectives 3:
“Okay, I’ve got one,” Juniper said, through a mouthful of marshmallows. Staring through the campfire, towards the rest of her friends, she said, “Would you rather wheel up a ramp or wheel twice as far on a flat path?”
“The rest of us aren’t in wheelchairs,” Crimson pointed out.
“That’s your problem.”
They all laughed, throwing snacks at one another. Molly raised her hand and asked, “Would you rather insult Professor Hakim or Ryder?”
“Oh, god, I’d rather die,” Juniper said, her cheeks burning at the mere thought of insulting them. “I’ve done all three of those things and death is better.”
Everyone roared with laughter, giving their own answers, which mirrored the blonde teenager’s. Blue asked if they would rather have arms or legs. Crimson asked if they would rather be superheroes or supervillains. Skorpio asked if they would rather graduate or live at the academy for the rest of their lives.
Skylar’s question was directed at Juniper: “Would you rather be the city’s greatest superhero or Ryder’s daughter?”
Her twin cried, “Sky!” 
“Ryder,” Juniper said. “Every time. Every fucking time.”
A hush fell over the teenagers, Crimson eventually asking, “Did you just swear? You never swear!”
Chouko’s Apparition cheekily added, “Unless it’s in Gaelic.”
Juniper flushed. “I just really love Ryder, okay?”
---
O’ to be that one follower who asked for it to be subtle.
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marauders4evr · 10 days ago
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A late-night excerpt from The Defectives 3:
"I wish I was stronger," Skorpio whispered, wringing the bottom of his shirt. "I could protect her, if I was just stronger."
"I think I might be strong enough," Juniper said, not even remotely bragging, simply assessing how far she had come. "Then again, the cool thing about having Ryder is that I don't need to always be strong enough. He's always strong enough for the both of us; for all of us."
Her best friend smiled in agreement, joining her, as she journeyed across the campus. They had just passed the clock tower when they spotted another teenager.
"Chad!" Juniper cried. "For once, I'm glad to see you!"
He flushed, his reply going unheard. She practically dragged him to her mentor's office, Skorpio jogging after them.
As soon as they entered, she cried, "Ryder, we need your help! Chad, look at me." He did so, and she said, "IncrediBill looks at Skylar the same way Chad looks at me."
Ryder froze before nodding. "All right."
He wheeled over to his telephone and dialed a number by heart. "Hey, Ponytail, remember that time you started World War I? Yes, I will hold that over your head, multiple times! I don't care that Nicolas already grounded you! You won't meet your wife for another seventy years, which means I currently don't answer to any Flamel! Perenelle doesn't own me; she just owns my respect. Ponytail! Good. Listening is good. I need you to listen. I'm a superhero. I can't kill anyone. You, on the other hand, can do me a favor. No, I don't need you to kill Juniper! Yes, I still want to adopt her!"
Juniper flushed, Skorpio smiled, and Chad gasped. The latter reaction caused Ryder to wince. "Ah, shite, I forgot the mayor's kid is here. Don't kill, Ponytail. Killing is wrong. And we're superheroes."
"Are we?" Juniper asked.
Ryder looked shocked. "Well, I think you're super."
"No, I mean, are we heroes?"
"Oh. Debatable."
---
Shoutout to anyone who's following this timeline.
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marauders4evr · 14 days ago
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An excerpt from The Defectives 3:
"Christ, my back hurts," Ryder said, letting go of his handrims to stretch, his chair bumping into the wall. "Don't ever get old, kid. Your body just gets worse with each passing year."
Juniper spun her own wheelchair around. "What?"
"What?"
The two cripples stared at each other, the younger one whimpering: "What?"
---
Potentially the shortest excerpt I've ever posted, but by god does it say a lot. Isn't that right, Grammarly?
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*Chuckles* All right...
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marauders4evr · 15 days ago
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An excerpt from The Defectives 3:
"So, you don't think cripples can be superheroes?"
Birdwell hesitated, her wings fluttering, her voice cold: "I do not."
Juniper continued to wheel forward, feeling the tug against her chair, feeling Ryder's eyes digging into the back of her neck, feeling the heat rise up in her cheeks, feeling the weight of an entire group of people who had never asked her to wheel, but hadn't stopped her.
Glaring up at the standers on the stands, she clarified: "So, you think that nondisabled superheroes are foolproof?"
Another bout of hesitation. Another chilling reply: "I do."
"Really?"
"Really."
"So, why am I in a wheelchair?"
The entire gymnasium hushed, allowing everyone to hear Ryder's shout: "Oh, shite!"
Surprisingly, Chad was the one who added, "Oh, damn!"
"Oh, Juniper!" Professor Hakim breathed.
"Why am I in a wheelchair?" Juniper repeated. "Why did the nondisabled superheroes let that accident happen? Why did they let Ryder's accident happen? Why did they let a segregated institution like the academy exist? Why do they let you treat us like complete shite? Why do they let people like you, and my father, and all of the corrupt monsters, exist in this world? Why didn't they stop you? Why didn't they stop my father? Why didn't they stop that truck from shattering my life?"
After a moment, Birdwell spluttered, "Miss Johnson, no superhero, no matter how strong, could stop a moving vehicle."
---
As the author of this trilogy, I can confirm that Juniper Johnson, being infinitely strong, is going to stop a moving vehicle.
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marauders4evr · 17 days ago
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An excerpt from The Defectives 3:
"You do this for me, and I'll sign your adoption papers," Mayor Chamberlain said, with a smile that reminded Juniper of the man whose family she wanted to leave. "You get Ryder. Ryder gets you. Everyone gets what they want. So?"
He held out his hand.
She hesitated, her own fingers twitching.
"Come on," he said. "Why shouldn't you shake it?"
"Y-yeah," Juniper repeated, lifting an arm that felt as heavy as her wheelchair. "Why shouldn't I shake it?"
"Because Ryder's love has never come with any conditions attached, nor should it,"*** Chad said, leaning against the doorway. Juniper whirled around, emotionally exhaling. He entered the office, staring her down. "You deserve to have someone who loves you, unconditionally. God knows my love has always been conditional."
She burst out laughing, her eyes wet. He gave her a genuine smile, which faded when his father snapped, "Chad, you really don't need to be here, right now. This doesn't concern you."
"Juniper concerns me," Chad said, shoving his hands into his pockets, rocking on his heels. "She has an entire army of supervillains at her disposal, who are all ready to murder for her. Or get her a bottle of chocolate milk. Whichever's more important."
She shakily joked: "The chocolate milk."
The mayor was less amused. "Chad, do you really want to fight me?"
"Yeah, I really do." Her heart lifted. "But I won't." Her heart sank. "But like I said, earlier, I called up a few old friends."
With that, Crimson and Ben strolled into the office.
Not for the first time did Juniper realize that the world was as small as a wheelchair wheel.
---
***Absolutely, unabashedly, intentionally the same energy as:
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marauders4evr · a month ago
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An excerpt from The Defectives 3:
Without any hesitation or impulse control, Ryder wheeled in front of the car. Juniper screamed his name, harmonizing with the screeching brakes. He was smart enough to realize that Jane wasn't going to stop in time, and skilled enough to do a barrel roll, landing in a crouch. The convertible bumped into the chair, knocking it over.
"Ryder!" Juniper undid her seatbelt, threw open the car door, attempted to run forward, and fell onto the hard road.
Several feet away, Ryder snorted. "Did you just try to run? You're crippled, kid. We've been over this. A lot!"
"Yeah, I know I'm crippled," she said, crawling towards him. "You're crippled, too. Because we were both in horrific car accidents! Why would you wheel in front of a car?"
"I'm not the first one of us to do that, now, am I?"
She groaned. "I was emotionally traumatized!"
"That's your excuse for everything!"
"Well, what's your excuse?"
"You."
She paused before shrieking, "That's your excuse for everything!"
"And if I was you, I'd be damn grateful that there was someone out there who prioritizes you,” Ryder snapped. “Speaking of, here.”
He raised his hand, telekinetically lifting something from the fallen chair, bringing it over. A shocked Juniper caught it. "Boo?"
“A teddy bear?” John asked.
It only just occurred to her that her siblings were surrounding her, pale and shaken, as if they had just seen something get hit by a car.
“You nearly killed yourself to give her a teddy bear?” Jane hissed.
A thoughtful Janet said, “Well, when’s the last time anyone bought us a teddy bear?”
“Oh, I didn’t buy it,” Ryder said. “Where did you get that thing, kid?”
Juniper didn’t answer, at first; she was too busy hugging the stuffed animal to her chest. When Ryder put a hand on her shoulder, she jerked back to reality, mumbling, “The nurses gave it to me, right after my accident.”
“Okay, that is sweet,” Jane admitted. “I didn’t know they did that.”
“How could you have?” Juniper said. “You never came to visit.”
She proceeded to ignore her siblings’ splutters, throwing her arms around Ryder, her teddy bear still in hand. “You didn’t have to go through all the trouble, just to give this to me.”
“Well, who else are you going to hug, at home?”
---
No one:
Absolutely no one:
Ryder:
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marauders4evr · a month ago
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So I was talking to my friend about how I (a wheelchair-user) have dreams about walking/running, and then I thought, 'Didn't I have Juniper go through that, once?', and then I remembered:
Not only did I have Juniper go through that, that's how I opened up the first chapter of the second book:
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Because I am 100% that cruel of an author.
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marauders4evr · a month ago
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Re: The Defectives 3:
For years, I’ve written excerpts where Juniper clearly wants Ryder to adopt her, but doesn’t vocalize it for a variety of reasons (including embarrassment, her hesitancy to admit it to herself, her hesitancy to curse it, and it’s fun to mess with you all). But obviously, she has to admit it at some point. And not on the day they sign the damn papers! Which begs the question: who’s the first to receive the confession? After thinking hard about it, I have the perfect solution:
"I want Ryder to adopt me." The room became so quiet that she briefly wondered if she was going to have to learn sign-language. She then realized that she should learn, anyway. She then took a chance and glanced upwards. The entire table had frozen. John's cheeks had puffed out. Jane was overfilling a glass of wine. Janet had dropped a piece of garlic bread. Her mother's fork was halfway to her mouth, strands of spaghetti uncoiling from the perfect ball she had formed. She looked so horrified that Juniper found herself looking away. The teenager focused on her bottle of chocolate milk, taking a sip, before saying, "Just thought you should know."
Yes...yes, that could work.
[The context is that her mother invites her home for a family dinner. Juniper takes the opportunity to say what's on her mind.]
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marauders4evr · a month ago
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A relevant excerpt from The Defectives 3:
“Ryder! Ryder! Ryder! Ryder! Ryder!”
With each utterance of his name, Juniper slammed her wheelchair into his, until he shouted, “Yes, you! The annoying one who smells like chocolate milk! Surely, you have something to share with the class?”
She grinned. “Do you know what day it is?”
“The day you pay for a new wheelchair handrim?”
“You took all of my money, when we played poker, last weekend,” said the teenager, turning around to wheel backwards. “No, today’s Friday! Tonight’s Friday! It’s now, officially, the weekend!”
Her chair tipped backwards and he telekinetically caught her, preventing her from falling back into the pond. “Thank you!”
“You should,” he said. “What’s so special about the weekend?”
“I get to bother you during the day.”
He chuckled and said, “And, again, I ask: ‘what’s so special about the weekend?’”
“I get to bother you, during the day, without having to worry about the other professors wondering why I’m not in class.”
She followed him into the Administrative Building, wherein he barged right into his partner’s office. “Hakim, we need to start letting these crippled kids go home, during the weekend.”
“Ha! Too late!” Juniper cried, wheeling in circles, around him. “You already convinced me that I don’t have a home, anymore!”
“Christ, kid, when you say it like that, it’s depressing.”
“Have you ever told me anything that wasn’t depressing?”
Ryder thought about it before saying, “It’s the weekend!”
“Yeah, it is!”
---
It is, indeed.
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marauders4evr · a month ago
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An excerpt from The Defectives 3:
Juniper yawned as she wheeled across the campus, briefly closing her eyes, regretting it when she crashed into a trash can. A chuckle caused her to turn. Ryder was sitting behind her, fighting his amusement. “Where have you been?”
“The supervillain pub,” said the underaged teenager.
He stared at her before saying, “Yep, I’m gonna ignore that.”
“Thanks!”
“Don’t mention it. How’d you get back to the campus?”
“Oh, John drove me back.”
“Which John?” Ryder exclaimed. “Your father?”
“The supervillain.”
“So, your father?”
She smirked and said, “The other supervillain.”
“You intentionally got into the vehicle with the person who caused the crash that paralyzed you?”
“Hey, I wasn’t riding with him, the day I was paralyzed,” Juniper said. “He just sort of---showed up.”
“Yeah, that’s putting it lightly,” he muttered. “Hang on, you came from the supervillain pub?”
“You said you were going to ignore that!”
“You drove with a drunk-driver?” Ryder roared. “Kid, you and I are literally proof of why vehicles and alcohol don’t mix.”
“John didn’t have anything to drink,” she said. “Well, he drank water, but he didn’t drink. He stayed sober, so that he could drive me home.”
“And how much did you drink?”
“They have a whole refrigerator of chocolate milk, there,” Juniper bragged. “They really are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
“Supervillains are some of the nicest people you’ve ever met?”
“Yeah!”
“Your life is tragic.”
“Yeah!”
---
Sometimes a family is a crippled girl, a crippled guy, Professor Hakim, and, like, fifty supervillain uncles.
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marauders4evr · a month ago
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So, in The Antagonists: Book Seven, I finally have Minnie meet Juniper (from The Defectives Trilogy). There are many reasons why I wrote this crossover, the main one being that I love these two characters and wanted them to interact. Another important reason is that Minnie empowers Juniper, as evidenced by this excerpt from The Defectives 3:
Ryder telekinetically threw the barred door open. Sitting with her wheelchair squashed between two supervillain-filled benches, Juniper looked up with a meek: "Hey. I can explain."
"No, I can explain." He sighed, wheeling into the jail cell, throwing her a bottle of chocolate milk. The supervillains nodded and murmured in approval. Juniper took a sip before glancing at her mentor, who looked uncharacteristically tired. His voice was also much softer than its normal grating texture: "Sweetie, I need to talk to you."
"What's going on?" Juniper nervously asked, no less than four supervillains grabbing onto her shoulders. "Is Porkchop okay? Did the academy burn down? I assume Hakim's perfect."
"Everything's fine," he said, before hesitating. "Unless you count the overall society, which is completely fecked."
The supervillains all roared in agreement.
"Juniper—kid—Jude—sweetie—" Ryder gently said. "You're not a superhero, anymore."
Juniper blinked. "Wait, what do you mean?"
"According to the official government definition, superheroes and supervillains are labels given to people with superabilities," he said. "You had your abilities taken away. Ergo, you lost your official status."
"Oh." Juniper took a swig of chocolate milk.
Her mentor tilted his head. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"Are you gonna cry? 'Cause it's okay, if you do. I'm in my 'hugging Juniper' mode and I'm sure every supervillain in this jail can say the same. We're here for 'ya, kid."
"I appreciate it, but I think I'm okay," she honestly said. "I mean, I'm just like Minnie, right? Everyone thinks she's a supervillain, but we all know she's the real superhero of her time."
"You're right and wrong," Ryder grunted. "Minnie is a superhero, with the label of a supervillain, but you're neither. You're not a hero or a villain, not according to the government. You're just...normal."
Juniper looked from him to the wheelchair and back again. "Are you kidding me? Now is when they're going to call me 'normal'?"
"Well, you're still a defective."
She grinned. "Good!"
---
They've come so far. So far, in fact, that the question, 'Why are you in a jail cell?' hasn't crossed Ryder's mind, yet.
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marauders4evr · a month ago
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I’ve said this before, but one of the drawbacks about constantly posting about my books, on here, is that there are very few character-twists that I can implement. Sure, I have plenty of plot twists, thematic twists, which I think I’ve written well. Wait ‘til you find out what the thematic twists are in The Changeling. You’re going to cry. I’m going to cry. It’s going to be great. But when it comes to twists that involve specific characters’ actions? As in: “Oh, I wonder which character did this?” Completely pointless! Because by the time you read that scene, you’ll know damn well which character did it, because you’ll have seen so many posts, that even before you pick up the book, there’s only one possible way that the story will end.
Or maybe you won’t see the twist coming. Maybe I’ll still be able to get a few people. But, c’mon, the very end of The Defectives Trilogy is going to have everyone being like, “Oh my god, who paralyzed Juniper’s father?” and every character and the narration, itself, will be like, “Is it Ryder? He was going to kill Ryder, so it makes sense that it’s Ryder. Golly gee, I think it’s Ry-” Of fucking course, it’s Juniper! Of course, she would save Ryder by sacrificing her biological father! And Ryder would save her by trying to take the blame. It’s the only possible outcome to their entire character arcs. Of course she would crash a car into her father, she doesn’t even hesitate. And when this is finally revealed, all of the characters are shocked, but I’d be shocked if any of you were shocked. 
But I’m gonna write the twist anyway, because Drama.
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marauders4evr · 2 months ago
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But wait, I just thought of an adorable excerpt from The Defectives 3:
“We took little Ryleigh to the toy store,” Rylynne cooed, passing the infant to his grandfather. Ryder bounced him up and down, so preoccupied that he almost missed his mentee’s confused expression. 
Sitting up on the couch, Juniper asked, “They have a store just for toys?”
Ryder and Rylynne exchanged a long look, the former grunting, “Every day, I get a little closer to murdering John Johnson.”
“What’d my brother do?” Juniper gasped.
“No, your father.”
“Oh.” Sliding into her wheelchair, she asked, “They really have a store just for toys? I didn’t know there were that many toys.”
“I’m going to regret this, but where did you buy your toys?” Ryder asked. When she stared at him, he groaned, “Please don’t tell me you grew up without toys, because I swear, my superhero status is one drunken car-ride away from being shattered like my back.”
“Oh, is it your back that’s shattered?” Juniper asked, resting her chin on the desk. “I can never remember if my back is shattered, or if it’s just my legs. I mean, either way, I’m not walking. Still, it would be nice if doctors would just tell me about my body. It’s 1958.”
“Name three toys that you had,” Ryder said, not even delaying the topic, by pointing out how she was avoiding it.
“I got to dress up dolls,” Juniper retorted.
“So did your mother.” Ryder reached out and pulled her ribbon down over her eyes. “Name two other toys. Hurry up; a life’s on the line.”
“If you didn’t kill him for shattering my legs, and possibly my back, you’re not going to kill him for this,” Juniper said, pushing the ribbon back up.
“Ohoho, watch me.”
“Okay, no threatening to murder, when the baby’s in your arms,” Rylynne chastised her father, taking the infant back.
“And now, he’s not in my arms, which brings me back to ‘murder’.”
Juniper rolled her eyes. “Stop trying to be as cool as Minnie.”
Her mentor went to object before conceding the point. Juniper gave Rylynne a quick hug before heading to the library. She was halfway through an essay when Ryder barged in, the librarians not even bothering to sigh at the expected intrusion.
“C’mon,” he barked. “If you’re gonna be a superhero, you need weapons.”
“I feel like that’s sort of counterproductive?”
“And I feel like I don’t know what that word means,” Ryder said, putting up his hand to deny the librarian who was trying to hand him a dictionary. “Let’s go!”
“You know I have classes, right? This is a school?”
“Let’s go!”
Moments later, she was following him through the Ace City streets. Having been his mentee for years, Juniper knew him enough to ask, “Is this the part where you try to convince me that the toys in the toy store are valuable weapons?”
He slowed his chair, giving her an amused look, before saying, “Well, that saves me a lot of pretense. Let’s go get you some toys, kid.”
---
One day, I’m going to scroll through every post made about this trilogy, find the person that sent me that ask, begging me to make this dynamic subtle, and send them a personal apology.
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marauders4evr · 2 months ago
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An excerpt from The Defectives 3:
[While using their mobility aids as sleds, to go down an icy road, that’s closed off for construction]
Juniper recognized the street. Oddly enough, she didn’t feel an overwhelming sense of panic. A strange calmness swept through her, as she threw on her brakes, so that her wheelchair was teetering at the top of the hill. She stared down the long road, watching as the cars drove through the intersection, below. It looked a little different. There weren’t traffic cones or diamond-signs, the last time. Of course, these changes was why they were able to play; they could be there without being hit.
The others, realizing that she wasn’t going to slide down after them, hurried back up towards her.
“June?” Blue prompted. 
When she didn’t reply, Skorpio wondered, “Are you all right?”
“I will be,” Juniper said.
They reluctantly accepted this answer, continuing to play. She sat there, in the road, bringing her knees up to the edge of her wheelchair seat. When the others were ready to collapse, they limped back over, pushing Chouko’s chair, flushed with excitement. “Ready to go back to the academy?”
“I think I’m going to stay here for awhile,” Juniper said. “Actually, when you get back, can you find Ryder, and tell him to come here?”
Her voice sounded much older than her seventeen-years.
“Yeah, of course,” Chouko’s Apparition said.
“What should we tell him?” Skorpio wondered.
“She just said,” Crimson hissed.
“I mean, what should we tell Ryder to get him to come here?”
Blue donned a small smirk. “You’re acting like he wouldn’t wheel, just because Juniper asked.”
“He’ll wheel,” Juniper said. “But, if you need to tell him something, tell him that I found the place where the chandelier fell.”
The words made no sense to the teenagers, but it was obvious that Ryder understood, wheeling past the group without an utterance. As quick as he was, they were still able to see the fear on his face.
There were very few times when Ryder wished he could run.
Ryder wished he could run.
As it was, he wheeled his chair with record speed, reaching the top of the hill mere moments after he had heard the message. Juniper was sitting beneath the starry sky, the halo of a streetlight revealing her sad smile. He slowly wheeled over, resting a hand on her shoulder. They didn’t speak. They didn’t need to. They merely sat, until the sun rose.
---
In the first book, when Juniper finally tells Ryder what happened on the day of her car crash, she says that it was like a chandelier falling, only all of the glass was coming towards her.
Juniper and Ryder are sitting at the spot where that happened.
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marauders4evr · 2 months ago
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Lads!
I ordered some Italian food and check out this bottle!
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I like this bottle!
I’m keeping this bottle!
(It’s not as cool as the Juniper chocolate milk I found a few years ago, but I still like it!)
(Context: My main character in my original book series is Juniper, and she’s only named that as an homage to my old fanfiction, Gin and Tonic! It’s the perfect fusion! And it’s delicious!)
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marauders4evr · 2 months ago
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It’s midnight but there’s a loud alarm, and an echoing seagull, outside my hotel window. Not sure what that’s about, but as long as I’m awake, have an excerpt from The Defectives 3:
“That’s my husband,” Juniper said, pointing to the thirty-three-year-old man. “He wants to divorce me. Beat him up.”
Ryder looked from the teenager to the man and back again. “What in the name of wheelchair-inaccessible hills are you talking about? You’re a seventeen-year-old girl who’s openly admitted that she never wants to date anyone.”
"Yeah, that’s why we’re divorcing,” Juniper said, staring straight ahead, her arms crossed. “Beat him up.”
“What, did he steal your chocolate milk money, or something?”
"Will you beat him up if I say ‘yes’?”
“I’ll beat him up if you give me a good reason!”
She sighed before relenting, “He’s Rylynne’s ex.”
“Rylynne?”
“Your daughter.”
“Yeah, no, I know who Rylynne is!”
“Then act like it,” Juniper shot back. “Beat up her ex-husband.”
He was too busy looking indignant. “What do you mean ‘act like it’?”
“Well, it’s no secret that you don’t really like her.”
“Oho, look who’s talking! I’m not the one who hit her with a steel ball, I’m not the one who repeatedly insulted her, I’m not the one who started a pissing contest because I wanted to be my own daughter. Okay, the sentence got away from me, but still. You have some nerve!”
“I do want to be your daughter,” Juniper said, “but so does Rylynne.”
“At some point, you’re gonna realize what you just confessed.”
“At that point, I’ll be embarrassed,” she said. “For now, I just need you to help Rylynne, okay?”
“Why do you suddenly care so much?”
For a moment, she didn’t answer, the only sound coming from their hair brushing against their ears, as the wind pulled different strands.
“I had a nightmare last night,” Juniper finally relented, “and you were in it. You said something, which honestly made that dream worse than the dream where I’m running. Actually, the running dream isn’t bad; waking up is what’s bad.”
Ryder cut off her rambling: “And what did my dream-self say?”
It took her another moment to answer, and she had to look away, to do so: “I guess I just realized...if Rylynne thinks that you don’t want her as a daughter...that would probably really upset her.”
“Jude.”
He put a hand on her shoulder and she leaned into it. In one fluid motion, he used his other hand to telekinetically raise three steel balls, sending them flying at the man. Juniper’s smile shone brighter than the police sirens.
---
Juniper competing with Rylynne is out.
The Ryders being a whole family is in.
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marauders4evr · 2 months ago
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A late-night excerpt from The Defectives 3:
Remember, my goal is to combine fantastical elements with real-life representation you didn’t know needed representing:
“Ryder, Ryder, wake up! It’s urgent! Ryder! It’s urgent!”
All of this came out in one breath as Juniper burst into the office. In the adjacent bedroom, Ryder and Professor Hakim sat up, the latter grunting, “Ah, shite, this does sound urgent.”
He slid into his chair and wheeled out. Professor Hakim went to follow, only for Juniper to close the bedroom door with a cry: “Not you!”
Ryder threw his hands into the air and Juniper meekly shrugged. He then spotted the brown powder on her wheels. Another confused throwing of the hands. Another meek shrug.
Juniper jerked her head and raced away. He quickly followed the teenager across the campus, through the dining hall, and into the kitchen. She threw out her arm, causing him to screech to a halt.
“So, um, we wanted a midnight snack,” Juniper said. “And, well, this isn’t the worst accident that’s ever happened to me.”
“It’s at least in the Top Five,” Ryder said.
An industrial box of chocolate powder had spilled out onto the kitchen floor. Blue and Chouko were both trying to clean it. However, this was proving to be tremendously difficult, as the armless girl kept fluttering her wings, sending the powder flying, and Chouko was an apparition whose body was still in the dorms.
“Why don’t you just clean it up, Jude?” Ryder wondered.
In demonstration, Juniper grabbed the nearest broom and began to sweep; her wheels went right through the powder, streaking it across the clean section of the floor, until she was trailing the mess behind.
“Oh, christ, we’re gonna be here for awhile,” Ryder grunted. “Okay, listen to me and listen carefully: nobody tells Hakim, nobody gets hurt.”
---
Snow/slush is the worst. You’re just constantly trying to clean up after yourself while streaking the mess behind you. But I figured it would be more amusing if Juniper dealt with chocolate powder.
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