Closed RP A Small Happening on the Corner of Sixth and Liberty

This RP is currently closed.


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Welcome.” A bored cashier called from overtop his magazine at the sound of the door chime as Eli entered. As far as corner stores went, there was nothing really too distinct about Mini Stop compared to any other generic convenience store. It smelled of coffee, onion, and whatever mystery meat slowly spun in its own juices beneath the heat lamp. The shelves were tightly packed, food to the right and sundry household items to the left, and there was a hum but it was hard to tell if that hum was from the white lights above or the section of refrigerated and frozen items in the back.

The cashier who sat to the left of the entrance did not look up from his magazine as Eli ambled past and stepped into an aisle that had seemingly been designated for snacks. She moved with an aimless gait, as one often took up in fine establishments like these when one was on the lookout for something salty and incredibly unhealthy but not really sure what sort of unhealthy thing they wished to partake in.

She plucked up a bag of chips, set it back when a different bag struck her fancy before that one too was returned as her aimless indecision took her to the end of the asle where various flavors of popcorn sat puffed and waiting to be munched upon. The sodas sat cooly behind slightly foggy glass, and for the first time, perhaps in her whole life, Eli realized there weren’t any adults around to tell her she couldn’t have a soda as well. Which was, for her anyway, a rather exhilarating thought to have.
It didn’t matter where in the country you were. Stop’N’Rob corner stores did not give a fuck about vigilantes coming in costume. The Cryptid, in his Halloween-slasher mask, long black coat, and combat boots – with his very slight limp and barely visible shiver, from the condition he’d let himself get into – with his clawed knucklebracers – got the exact same bored “Welcome.” from the exhausted teen behind the counter as any other customer.

It was a good thing that the cashier was to the left of the entrance, though. Otherwise he might’ve seen the blood on Cryptid’s right arm, from a wound that was closing too slowly for his taste. He really needed to get something to eat, and stop putting it off.

But he didn’t go down the aisle with snacks, even as his body began to faintly tremble, even as he realized just how dull his senses felt, even with how slowly the bleeding was slowing down. He passed the only other customer by with a wide berth, so she didn’t see his injury too closely. Instead he went a few aisles down. His list was completely first aid: water, bandages, disinfectant, painkillers. Just to tide him over enough to drive back to the gym and actually patch himself up, get a good night’s sleep.

Oh. And a pack of smokes. Yeah. That’d take the sudden edge off the hunger, most likely. He would have to remember cigarettes.
Eli glanced up at the sound of the front door jingle, though her curiosity was only really rewarded with an excellent view of the sour cream and onion Pringles. Which wasn’t really keeping an eye on her surroundings was it, unless she was expecting a can to fall on her head. Which one of them did have a little bit of tube hanging over the edge so maybe she was in danger. The other customer, less busy with concerns over salted potato products, appeared at the end of the aisle and the blond girl’s gaze snapped very quickly away. She pretended to be busy while she kept him in the corner of her eye as she approached which she thought was very smooth (and most certainly was not).

He… looked like a man really. Favoring one side that was clear but she couldn’t really tell if that was a woke up after sleeping on your arm wrong favoring or has a gun favoring. They both seemed to be really similar really. The man walked past, which was a normal thing that normal people did in the snack aisle, and Eli’s shoulders relaxed which was probably less normal. With that sort of silly feeling you always got when nothing happened despite your own imagination, Eli plucked up a bag of chips and rested it in the crook of her arm. She turned away and — was that blood? Just a little drip of it on the ground.

Eli turned, a hand vanishing into her bag as she followed after the man. She poked her head around the corner of a shelf, and after a moment of hesitation she pulled in a breath.

Uhm, excuse me? Are you okay, sir?” She asked.
Cryptid felt the pressure of the other customer’s gaze and, quite frankly, didn’t care. He was in costume, after all. His identity was hardly in danger, and it wasn’t like he was doing anything illegal here. He noticed her in passing, although he couldn’t quite seem to catch her scent. Young. Blonde. That was all that really stuck, to be honest. He was a lot worse off than he thought, if a gunshot wound was doing this to him.

First aid aisle. He stared at the different bottles of pills ahead of him, skimming names. He knew what worked on him, and what didn’t. Aleve was strong. It’d take a handful with his metabolism, but the naproxen would be good enough until he could dig the bullet out of the bone that was trying to mend around it. Then the big first aid kit. He didn’t check the price on it, he had enough cash.

He felt something crawl up his spine, and shuddered violently, like someone had walked over his grave. His bones throbbed. Something in his chest tangled in knots. Something was wrong. Something was –

A voice interrupted his moment of panic, and he looked up. The girl from the snack aisle, the blonde. She looked worried. He wasn’t in that bad shape, but – oh, right. Bleeding arm. His borrowed, black eyes glanced up at her, sharp and intense, but the expression in them was devoid of aggression.

“Hey. Yeah, this? Just a, uh. Just a scratch,” he said, with more confidence than he felt.

It was clearly a lot worse than a scratch. Under the skin, it was starting to feel warm. Feverish, even. Almost like the bullet was still hot, like he could feel it moving in there. Like his body had stopped trying to repair itself. He felt… dizzy. Nauseous. When was the last time he felt nauseous? He looked down at his hands, and realized how badly they were shaking. He took a deep breath, to try to steady himself. This was embarrassing, to say the least. He hadn’t been injured that badly.
Oh, uh, are you sure?” Eli asked, a scrunch in her brow and a faint waver in her voice. She did not raise her eyes to meet his heavy gaze, though she did wiggle uncomfortably in place like a bug under a particularly hot close glass. She plucked at the shoulder strap of her bag, trying to work out a word that felt plastered to the back of her throat. Little scratches didn’t leave trails of rusted pebbles along the floor. Shock was it? She didn’t really know, but she thought she knew which Eli felt was worse than not knowing. At least with not knowing you knew you were wrong.

‘ve got a first aid kit in my bag.” She offered, a touch of something like confidence creeping back into her voice. A bit like a child tiptoeing through the front door later than they promised.

Welcome” the word never escaped the cashier with any gusto, but this one squeezed oddly at the end as the door alarm jingled. Some hushed quick words followed, the sort that held the shape of words but none of their substance. That soon ended by a pop that roared in Eli’s ears.

I said hands stay on the fucking counter.” A voice hissed into the silence left by the pop. “Rud, go check the back.
Cryptid was having trouble focusing on the girl’s face. She seemed sweet, and young, but he couldn’t… none of her features were really sticking, like his brain couldn’t process what his eyes were picking up. As she offered her first aid kit, Todd took another deep breath – and realized he couldn't smell her. She didn’t have a scent. He then just stared in confusion, swallowed gently, and opened his mouth to give her some excuse to refuse when the bell on the front door rang.

Voices followed, unclear from this distance. Todd blinked again, distracted enough that he didn’t notice the shift of his eyes from sharp black to clear, round blue, as easily as a muscle relaxing. He realized something. It wasn’t that the girl didn’t have a scent. His nose had stopped working. Both his nose and his ears. To the point that he jumped at the sound of the gunshot. It sounded so loud in the muffled quiet.

Then, when the adrenaline finally started to kick in, his brain shifted gears to process the part of the conversation that followed.

A robbery. He wasn’t in any condition to stop a robbery, not with how bad the cold had gotten. Cold, but he could feel a sticky sweat under his coat. Was that the layers? They’d never affected him before.

Focus. Focus.

Robbery. Civilian count: two. The teen at the register, and the teen here with him. He looked back at her, and raised a finger to his mask’s grin.

“Stay here,” he whispered, and he didn’t seem to hear the change in his own voice, no longer borrowed from the dead.

Then, he ducked. His limp was much worse as he slipped down the aisle, away from her. He tried to hone his attention on the front of the store, concentrating. The Stop N Rob was small enough that it only took a couple seconds to get what he felt to be a safe distance from the girl, safe enough to poke his masked face up over the shelves where it could be easily seen. The grinning head tilted, and he raised his voice so they could hear him.

“Y’know, Rud? I don’t think that’ll be necessary.”

He was in a good enough position that they wouldn’t see him favoring his leg, or the shaking of his hands as they clenched. Or the knives between his fingers. A show of confidence even as his body betrayed him, all of that hidden out of sight, just begging them to turn their gunfire his way. The adrenaline was already helping; once the fight started in earnest, he was sure he’d get over whatever this momentary shock was. Then he could try to figure out what was going on with himself.

Right now, he had a fight on his hands. He had to hope he might be able to scare them off before it came to anything actually dangerous, or before one of them thought to use the teen as a hostage.
There wasn’t much time to contemplate the dawning realization that the man was some sort of vigilante, which would normally be followed by an ’or maybe’[/b] had there not been a gunshot. Eli didn’t panic at that, it had been drilled into her for about as long as she could remember (which really wasn’t all that long was it?) that she needed to remain calm at the sound of gunfire. So, as soon as she heard the pop the girl dropped down into a crouch that was very different and distinct from panicking.

The wounded maybe-vigilante was quick to tell her stay put, which she thought was smart. He was also quick to go and confront the two robbers which Eli also thought was less smart. Robbery was also not very smart, so she could cut him a little slack. But not too much because he was bleeding. Which was part of why she didn’t listen.

Ey, bud, hands up high and this’ll be quick.” Rud said. His voice was high, a little tinny with a touch of nasal, which definitely didn’t sound as intimidating as the sound of his gun cocking he used to punctuate his sentence.

Eli carefully rolled the hem of her skirt up to her knee before she slid her pack off her shoulder and placed it to the ground. With a careful step Eli retreated back and using the shelves for cover she made her way towards the cash register. Hopefully the maybe-vigilante had the attention of both men. It wasn’t a long walk to get to the other side of the store, even crab walking, and a peek through some bottles of detergent gave her a look at one of the two men, he was tall and broad and his lips under a half pulled ski-mask were twisted in irritation.

No need to play the hero, yeah? Wallet and watch and we’ll be off.” his voice did not match his appearance, Rud, but it seemed he had a big gun to compensate for that. The second robber she couldn’t see, but the guy behind the counter looked pale as he held his shoulder.

Just empty the register kid.” The first voice hissed, seemingly content that Rud had the interloper handled.
Cryptid met the robber’s eye without hesitation or fear. But there was something in his steady blue eyes, something grounded; too cold to be amusement, too serious to be amusement. The adrenaline had warmed him back up, and his nose seemed to be functioning again. The scents of blood and irritation filled the air. The grinning head tilted – not like a fox tilting his head at a shotgun barrel, but a cat watching as a mouse bared its tiny fangs and claws trying to scare off the predator.

With his hands positioned loosely to hide the bagh nakh, Cryptid made a show of patting his pockets and solved wrists, then hissed regretfully. “Oops. Looks like I left them at home. Guess we gotta handle this the old-fashioned way.”

There was no other warning than that before he moved. He relied on speed, not to outrun a bullet, but to outrun Rud’s aim. He moved in a loose zig-zag to finish closing the gap. A bullet scraped his side for his trouble, but the Kevlar prevented anything worse than bruising. Once in arm’s reach, he caught the gun by the barrel and yanked it, then used Rud’s off-balance position to kick the robber’s knee in. He went down like a rock, and Cryptid adjusted the big rifle in his grasp to turn his attention to the second robber.

Fear was more effective than violence, after all. And Cryptid now had the bigger gun.

There was a hungry smile in his blue eyes and low voice as he let his head tilt languidly to the remaining robber. “Watch and wallet. Then you can be off.”
The shotgun spat and Eli cringed against the ringing in her ears, followed soon by the sounds of a scuffle, a sick crack and shout of pain, that was the tinny voice doing the shouting, which Eli assumed meant that Rud was down. The girl took in a breath and willed her quivering fingers to steady. That mostly worked, other than it didn’t quite work at all and it left her joints feeling all gummy with adrenaline. She released her breath slowly through her lips, and drew her skirt up her thigh until she could reach her knife.

She gripped the handle of her knife too tightly at first, so she made her hand relax again before she slid the knife free. Softly she stepped out into the aisle and crept forward towards the cashier. She caught sight of the second robber, a wiry looking man in a leather jacket and a black bandanna over his lower face. The man clucked his tongue, his eyes locked with the barrel of the shotgun. Eli lifted a finger to her lips as the cashier’s wide eyes turned to her.

Kevlar? Love to meet your supplier.” The man said, lifting his hand non-gun hand and sliding it slowly into a jacket pocket. It reappeared after a moment with a billfold, leather and beaten, and tossed it into the air. His gun hand twitched, and Eli slid out of cover. She caught his wrist with her free hand as she brought the knife up to his neck. He was taller than she was, so she had to stretch, but knives tended to make people a little more cautious.

Drop the gun” Eli said, doing her best to sound a little more threatening.
“I’m sure ya would,” Cryptid quipped, as the wallet went into the air. He already had the nose of the shotgun aimed at the man’s hip, his finger set to wrap around the trigger, when several things happened.

He saw the blur of the girl in his periphery, materializing from behind the shelves and closing the space between herself and the robber in a second. As she did, the world suddenly spun. The gun dropped out of his hands, and the next thing Todd knew, he’d stumbled to the shelves and was using it to support all of his weight.

All of his muscles were full of a sharpened ache, but that did nothing to counteract the cold in his body. There was a pain in his abdomen, and at the back of his throat, he felt his gag reflex – like he was trying to throw up, but had nothing to do so with. The world wasn’t spinning anymore, but whenever he tried to raise his head, everything went blurry. He shut his blue eyes tight, and tried to catch his breath. He was panting. Why was he panting? He had just been… just been standing.

He wasn’t standing. He’d slid down the shelf onto the floor, his legs unable to carry him, his body suddenly racked with shaking. His eyes couldn’t focus on anything, now, and the tightness in his chest was – was nausea, real nausea, the first time he’d felt it in… in…

He tried to stop thinking. He wanted to curl up and die. Was he dying? Had he finally pushed his body too far? That… didn’t make sense. He’d completely skipped the huntsong. When he pushed himself this long, the hunt should’ve taken over – not that he was complaining. Wait. Wait, had it taken over? Was this just coming down? It felt way worse than he remembered, and there was no lingering euphoria.

He was on the floor, on his side, and all he knew was that his body burned, and he was too weak to even consider why.
For a moment, it seemed like things were under control. Rud was down, and judging by the angle of his knee it wasn’t the sort of down he would be getting up from for the next three months. The other robber was doing the sort of calculations you do while staring down a shotgun with a knife at your neck. Then, things weren’t.

The shotgun hit the ground with a metallic clatter as the vigilante suddenly dropped, dragging down half the contents of the shelf with him. Eli could feel the gunman relax, a quirk of a smile appearing on the edge of his lip.

Rud. Your gun.” The robber said, with a coolness to his voice. Eli’s grip tightened.

I said to drop the gun.” Eli repeated, which might have been threatening, if her voice wasn’t quivering on its edges. With a low groan, Rud moved, using his good leg to squirm his way towards the fallen shotgun. A cold spike of panic skittered up her spine.

Lose the knife before Rud gets his gun, and I won’t shoot you, kid.” The robber said, his voice low and almost hissing.
The world finally stopped spinning enough for Todd to open his eyes. The lights were too bright, and everything was blurry. He felt warm, way too warm. Somewhere under his coat, he was sweating. When was the last time he’d actually sweat? He was shaking like he was cold, but he felt almost feverish. He…

Someone was moving, across from him, a wiggling scramble. There was something between the two of them that the other man was trying to get to. His limbs were locked up and ached, but he forced himself to move, to stretch out his complaining arm and wrap his fingers around the barrel of the gun. He felt his claws grate against the plastic, and the sensation put his teeth on edge, but he pulled it in and rolled over onto his back and propped himself halfway up. Blearily, he looked into the space he was facing, and saw the rough shape of the man standing nearby. He didn’t waste energy thinking too hard about what exactly had happened. The scraps he remembered weren’t good. Two men, both bad guys.

That’s all he really needed, as he adjusted his awkward and numb fingers to wrap one around the trigger in the general direction of the man and the girl he could see behind him.

“Back off, Blondie,” he said. His voice was low and raw, and every breath shook, but he kept the humor somehow. “Can’t aim real good right now. Wouldn’t want you getting questions when the cops show up.”

Wouldn’t want you getting hurt had other implications altogether, and he didn’t want to bring those to the bad guys’ attention. But one wrong move from the standing one, and the finger on the trigger would pull and let God decide what it hit.
Oh, she had a shotgun pointed at her by a man who couldn’t hold it steady, which wasn’t ideal. Was it more ideal than if Rud had gotten his hands on it? Wasn’t really a useful thing to think about, even as the downed robber seemed to be trying to decide if it was worth trying to make a grab for the shotgun. She could feel the gunman’s tendons twitch in his wrist as he slid a finger to the trigger of his pistol. He blew a breath that smelled of cigarettes.

Hey, we can talk through this. No need to be rash, yeah?” The man said, his weight shifting as he tilted to the right.

Now!” Eli cried. She tossed herself to her left, her knee catching and sending a wire rack of cleaning supplies tumbling. She pressed her hands to her ears as she scrambled backwards, trying to get further into the aisle before th boom of the shotgun could catch her.
Todd smiled, under the mask. It would show in his eyes, blurred and hollow as they were. It would show in his human-tight jaw under the mask, teeth grinding painfully together. Rud would see it. The unnamed schmuck would only get a glimpse before the monster-turned-man twitched jos own trigger.

“No thanks.”

A non-lethal policy hinged on a guarantee of survival. Todd killed by necessity, to eat. He wasn’t soft enough to spare a man when he felt his own mortality biting him in the ass.

Todd no longer knew where the human heart was by instinct. Now, it was experience. Memory that leaked to the surface like blood spurting from a bullet wound as the deadly device struck home, dead-center. He had a feeling that the bad guy’s brain would take a second to realize he was a dead man, but hopefully stopping his pulse would keep his hand from tightening on that pistol trained on Todd.

The recoil hurt. Even through his Kevlar, he felt how delicate his body suddenly seemed to be. He still had no idea how he’d bypassed the huntsong so completely. That wasn’t how the world worked – not for him. Not unless he’d gone too long without it, maybe… maybe. Maybe his brain just had so much of a wall between his waking mind and that thing inside of him that it didn’t trigger anymore.

God, wasn’t that a nice thought.

He swallowed. His throat was dry. His tongue was swollen. His ears rang, his shoulder ached, his other bruises throbbed. But, he realized, he was starting to think clearly. He took a deep breath, and used his core to pull himself up to a sitting position before turning his ice-blue eyes on Rud. Just behind the fuzzy surface was a sharp glint, sharper than the fluorescents on the gun barrel that was slowly turning toward the fucker with him on the ground.

His voice was hoarse and inhuman as he gritted out, “I suggest you run. While I can’t chase you.”
The sound ripped through the tight space and Eli released an involuntary yelp. The gunman’s body twisted as he fell, crashing into a drink stand by the window and sending its contents spilling down in a clatter. Her ears still ringing, Eli pushed herself up onto her arm first before rolling herself up into a sitting position. She could see the cashier also moving beneath the counter, a cell phone pressed to his ear and a hand squeezing his shoulder as he spoke in an almost frantic voice.

Eli got her legs under her and after a quick search she found her knife which had rather neatly embedded itself into a box of detergent. She pulled it free with a tug, flicked excess granules off, and taking hold of the shelf above her head Eli pulled herself up to her feet.

She poked her head past the shelves as the vigilante growled at Rud to run, which seemed to her, given the angle she had last seen the man’s leg in, a somewhat unreasonable ask. The gunman was still.

Hands on the back of your head and don’t move. Do that and Mr Mask will keep his finger off the trigger until the cops arrive.” Hopefully.

Everyone just stay where they are and I’ll grab first aid supplies.” She added, as she retreated back down the asle.
The girl’s voice cut through the haze, and Todd let himself relax a little. Rud couldn’t move. He’d broken his knee at an angle; he’d never run again. The feeling of hunger was fading back from a racking pain to a soft throb as she went to get the first aid kit. He pushed himself the rest of the way into a sitting position, loosening his finger from the trigger but watching the robber closely. As the ringing in his ears subsided, he listened to the clerk’s hurried phone call.

Todd wasn’t in good shape. He was bruised, and not healing; he felt sticky under his coat; and while his senses were coming back, he wasn’t sure why they’d abandoned him in the first place. Still, he couldn’t exactly let that show. He pushed on, the rest of the way to his feet, and let himself sway as he found his center of balance again. All the while, he kept his eyes on Rud, and his hand on the gun.

Then, after a few seconds, he trusted himself to walk over to the counter. He set the gun on it, meeting the kid’s eyes. A first aid kit wasn’t going to do him any good right now. What he needed was space to rest. He pointed behind him, to the man on the floor, and spoke clearly but softly.

“If he moves, aim for his other kneecap. Can’t rob anyone in a wheelchair.”

He didn’t wait for the kid’s response. He breathed deeply through his nose, and as he passed the dead man, he felt the allure of blood mixed with the acrid stench of gunpowder. Not edible. However, he did reach down and pick up the pistol. He examined it for a second, then switched the safety back on.

He smiled a little, at Rud. If the creep moved, Cryptid wouldn’t need a gun. His hand hung limp at his side, claws loosely concealed behind relaxed fingers.

He turned to the door, more than happy to leave before the cops arrived.
Rudd for his part mumbled something incoherent that might have been an apology, might have just been a groan of pain or might have been begging if it wasn’t simply all three. Eli didn’t really care to know which it was, it didn’t really matter as long as he didn’t move. Eli scooped up her shoulder bag as she went by, and as she went she picked up a pack of gauze and some sterile absorbent pads. She contemplated pulling off the plywood shelf to set Rudd’s leg with, but getting to the gunshot was more important so she left it.

Eli stepped back into the front of the store, and she froze. Claws poked out from the vigilante’s finger tips, and the man seemed to have regained some composure now that she had some distance from him and the fact she only just noticed he had claws —

Oh.” Eli said as she hopped back into the aisle. Right, okay, right this was a problem. Or — she was the problem. Right. “Excuse me, uh, Mr Vigilante, this is a little weird but uh…” She poked her head out from behind the shelf. Right the cashier was bleeding so she just needed to spit it out, right?

Sorry, are you a meta?” She asked, quickly.
Todd paused with his hand on the door as another wave of crippling nausea hit. It wasn’t fully incapacitating, at least, but it definitely wasn’t pleasant. He gritted his teeth and let his weight fall against the doorframe, then looked back behind him as the blonde girl emerged from the aisle carrying… something. His eyes were blurring a little bit as he tried to focus on her.

She retreated again just as the nausea faded back out, and he pushed himself back to his feet. He needed to get out of here, to figure out what was happening with his body. He didn’t really have time to chitchat. But – he followed her eyes to his hand as she asked her question, and realized she’d probably seen his claws. He smiled a little, tried not to look as pale, and nodded.

“I am. Advanced healing. Not these, though.” He flexed his hand so she’d be able to see the bar of knives slipped over his fingers. “Indian weapon, I think. They’re called bagh nakh. Pretty cool, right?”

He kept the semi-chipper tone while talking to her. She seemed to be taking the robbery really well, but the shock could come on at any time. There was no point worrying her about his condition now that the danger was gone. Maybe he could afford to take a few minutes while she bandaged up the clerk, and take her home before the cops got there. That was probably why she’d asked in the first place.
Oh, advanced healing, that was nice. The not working part probably wasn’t nice though and was most definitely her fault. Guilt dropped into the pit of her stomach, and Eli rocked on her heels just to put the energy somewhere. But, did you just like, tell other metas about what your power was? Well he had hadn’t he? It wasn’t like he had known she was a meta too, was it, so did that make things different?

Oh, is that what they’re called? They do look very cool and uh, sharp.” Eli said as she was prompted. “Really sharp, it uh, must have taken a lot of time to learn how to use it.” She offered up as she edged her way out of the asle. She took a few steps, trying to maintain a healthy enough distance between the two as she made her way to the cashier.

And, uh, how are you feeling? Still woozy from before?” Eli asked, hopeful she wouldn’t have to bridge the subject at all if she didn’t need to.