AN: This is my NaNoWriMo offering. I made it over 50,000 words, but barely. It's not finished, but I'm starting to upload to FP now in any case. (Also, OMFG a prologue, I feel special). Enjoy.
Miranda Harrison loved her job as a daycare assistant. She loved children, and spending all day with them, five days a week, was wonderful. The daycare center was often used by busy executives and the like for a dumping grounds for their children as they worked. Such was the case in the latest little boy to join the group.
His name was Zoë Lazule and he was one of the most adorably shy little boys she'd ever taken care of. He had a mop of floppy brown hair that constantly fell in his wide blue eyes, and the cute habit of sticking a thumb in his mouth whenever he was nervous.
The other children didn't really like him, sadly, and Miranda hadn't the slightest clue why. Her group was normally one of the most friendly, but after the first day Zoë had joined them, they wouldn't go near him. Even now he was sitting in the corner, idly playing with a few building blocks, restacking them over and over again.
Miranda detangled herself from a little girl who wanted to play with the Barbie doll another girl had and wandered over to Zoë's corner.
"Zoë?" She asked, kneeling down. Zoë looked up, wide blue eyes solemn. "Why aren't you playing with the other children, sweetie?"
"They don't like me." Zoë answered, his thumb finding it's way to his mouth.
"Did they say that?" Miranda asked, gently.
"They think I'm a weirdo." Zoë answered, the words mumbled around the thumb.
"I'm sure that's not true." Miranda soothed, smiling at the little boy. Zoë just looked sadder, the corners of his mouth turning down around his thumbs.
"Is too." Zoë mumbled, his eyes starting to water and Miranda reached out, attempting to soothe him before he started crying. Zoë let out a whine, ducking his head before she could soothe back his hair.
"Zoë? Are you alright?" Miranda asked, ducking her head to try and see Zoë's face. Zoë shook his head, looking up at her with pale green eyes that were leaking tears down his face. Miranda frowned. "Zoë." She sat back slightly, folding her hands in her lap. "Did something weird just happen?" She asked sternly, in her no-nonsense tone.
Zoë nodded, his face crumpling a bit. "The kitty got out." He mumbled. Miranda sighed and stood up.
"Okay, just stay here, Zoë." Miranda instructed, walking across the room to the phone on the wall. The number for the hotline was posted near the phone. It had only happened once here, and it was before Miranda had started working here. Her hands shook a bit as she dialed the number, glancing back over to the quiet boy in the corner with his thumb in his mouth and mousy brown hair hiding his eyes.
"Psychic Education and Research Institute. How may I direct your call?" A smooth young woman's voice came over the line.
"I have a young boy here, his eyes changed." Miranda answered, looking away from Zoë, who was wiping at his face with a wide yawn.
"Is he dangerous." The young woman's voice lost it's cheerfulness in favor of a more serious mien.
"No, he's just a little boy." Miranda answered quietly.
"Alright, where are you?" The woman asked, and Miranda could hear the shuffling of papers.
"Crestheights Daycare. It's on the fifth floor of the Crestheights building." Miranda answered.
"A team will be dispatched within the half an hour. Don't let him leave the room, and keep him away from everyone in the room in case he turns dangerous." The woman instructed.
"Okay." Miranda whispered, catching the eye of her co-worker. She hung up as Shelly walked over, raising an eyebrow.
"You look like someone ran over your cat." Shelly said, quietly so the children playing nearby wouldn't hear her. Miranda frowned, remembering Zoë's words about 'the kitty'.
"Zoë did something strange, and his eyes changed color." Miranda informed Shelly sadly.
"Oh." Shelly shrugged. "When are they coming?"
"Half an hour." Miranda answered. Shelly nodded.
"Let's put the kids down for a nap, then." Shelly determined, walking over to the nearest group of four who were playing together with a set of cars and trucks.
In reality it only took the government men fifteen minutes to get to the daycare. Miranda opened the door and let the two men in, both of them flashing the specialized badge, with the stylized and polished raven in the center, the bright letters PERI across the front.
"Where is he?" The first man asked, wearing slacks and a jacket. Miranda pointed wordlessly to the corner where Zoë still sat, though he was playing with the blocks again as Shelly herded the last few children over to the sleeping area.
"His name is Zoë. Zoë Lazule." Miranda informed the second quietly. "What should I tell his parents?"
"Someone will be in contact with them." The second man, wearing jeans and a pea coat informed her, with a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, we'll take good care of him."
Miranda smiled back, feeling less worried. The man took her hand in his. "You did the right thing. He'll be better off now."
"Thank you." She smiled back, charmed as the other man returned to the doorway, Zoë trailing behind him, thumb securely in his mouth.
"Hi, Zoë. I'm Emial." Emial gave her another small smile before kneeling down to be closer to Zoë's level. Emial held out his hand, but Zoë just stared at him, wide-eyed. Zoë tucked his free hand under the elbow he had bent to fit his thumb in his mouth.
"It's nice to meet you, Zoë." Emial smiled. "Follow Greg, okay?"
Zoë blinked big blue eyes. "Am I in trouble?" He asked, the words mumbled around the thumb in his mouth.
"No, sweetie, of course not. You just get to go on a special trip." Miranda soothed. Zoë stared at her with wide eyes. "You just have to follow Greg and Emial, okay, hun?" Zoë fidgeted uncertainly before nodding, looking up at Emial distrustfully.
"Let's go, Zoë." Emial smiled again, pale green eyes bright in the light from overhead. Zoë took a step forward but didn't take Emial's proffered hand.
"No touching?" Zoë asked, taking his thumb out to wipe it on his shirt before sticking it back in.
"Alright, if that's what you want." Emial smiled. "Just follow Greg out, okay? I'll be following in a minute." Zoë looked at Greg before looking back at Emial and nodding slowly. Greg stepped out the door, meeting Emial's eyes above Zoë's head and nodding. Emial just smiled, standing as Zoë followed Greg from the room.
"Thank you, Miranda. You've done your country a great service." Emial smiled again, shaking her hand before following Zoë and Greg out the door. It wasn't until Miranda turned back to the children did she realize that she'd ever given Emial her name.
That night, she went home to find that her cat, Clara, had escaped through the fire escape window.