Closed RP Musically Inclined

This RP is currently closed.



Samantha Walsh was new to the city. Not necessarily to cities, but to this city, to Pittsburgh. The biggest city near her had been Columbus, but after all the trips she had made out there with Alice, well. She couldn’t bear to go there when she finally left the small town she’d grown up in behind. So she’d crossed the state line and found a home in Pittsburgh. Her apartment was over the gym she had bought, which was where she was just then, locking up.

She finished locking both the door up the staircase to her apartments, and the front door to the gym before she took off down the street. Her backpack shifted on her shoulder and she shrugged it back into place. It jostled the hammer inside and she heard the sound of it tapping against her police scanner. Even though she had no intention of fighting tonight, she couldn’t bear to go anywhere without the bag and the hammer. They had become a kind of extension of herself, and she felt naked and exposed without them.

That was a completely silly thought because she could beat the shit out of anyone who tried to start something in her vicinity without the hammer. She just felt underdressed if she left home without it.

“Home”. That was such a strange word to her, all these years later. It had been eight years since her “home” was taken away from her, and she was still trying to recover. She pushed the thoughts away before they could take purchase and make her spiral into a fury that could only be helped by the swing of a hammer and the crack of bone.

That wasn’t the purpose of that night. That night, she just wanted to go to the record shop she had seen. It was about a thirty-minute walk away, but she managed to catch the bus on her way out. She still didn’t know all the routes and the times, but a quick Google on her phone had provided her with the route that led to the shop. She stepped off the bus about two streets down from the shop and walked the rest of the way there.

As she approached from up the street, she saw a man shuddering the shop up. She must have just missed their closing time, then. She crossed the street anyway and walked right up to the man, with no fear in her posture or voice as she asked, “Hey, did you guys just close? Could you tell me when you open again, maybe what your hours are? I’d like to try to swing by some other time.”
"Man, what a day..."

Kosuke yawned to himself, stretching his arms out behind his head and picking up his coffee from the table. They were closing early, that day, as had been posted up on the windows- something about training new staff during those final few hours, or whatever the lie ended up being. In truth, he had just sent around a poll. Most people wanted to close a little earlier on a Tuesday, which was fine. They weren't the most profitable days for late-hours guests, so the trade-off was minimal; a small sacrifice by a generous employer for the benefit of his grateful employees, as he would dramatically announce before them, before inevitably being reminded that he didn't really give much of a shit about... well, about anything.

By this point, the customer request playlist had finished, which meant it was, once again, his choice- and, since the store was empty, he wouldn't have to explain himself. Not that people minded, of course. Regulars would lap up whatever shit he played over those speakers, and newcomers would probably just assume this is what hipsters liked listening to these days. Technically, they were right. The speakers turned off with a faint, static pop.

He did a final visual sweep of the store, making sure everything was in order, then swiped his coffee from the counter and walked outside, whistling quietly to himself as he pulled down the shutter, making sure to do it extra slowly so that-

"Come on, Carrie-San." He snapped his fingers at the darkness, "Come on... don't make me forget you again, you stupid-"

Oh? Someone was there?

A stranger approached him as he was closing up- a bold move, certainly. Anyone else would've told her to fuck off before she could take another step, but not Kosuke. He turned around and leaned against the half-closed shutter, waving casually at the stranger as she approached, and actually--shockingly--let her speak.

"Yeah- just now, I'm afraid." He shrugged, "We try to open at eight, but- gotta be honest, eight-thirty's probably your best bet if you're coming in on a weekday. Or any day, for that matter. Y'know how it goes."

He laughed, gesturing to the coffee in his hand.

"Hey- if you have any questions, I'm just waiting for a colleague to come out. She, aah... she takes her time."

There was a short concrete wall a few feet in front of the store, which Kosuke promptly sat down on, stretching his arms out once again. He seemed friendly, inviting- though, he always did.
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Sam made a small face like she was displeased, but in the end, responded with a polite tone, “Ah, well, maybe I can make it by some time.”

She leaned against the wall, eyeing the man’s cup of coffee. It was like seven thirty at night, and that seemed rather late to be drinking coffee. Maybe the man had an addiction. Not that she was one to judge. Her own inclination toward jasmine tea was rather bad, with it being almost exclusively what she drank. She looked at the half-shuttered shop and then looked back at the man. He had the air of someone who owned the shop. She thought for a moment and then shrugged. Talking to someone wasn’t going to kill her.

“Well, I lost my copy of the Crosses album in my move out here. I think I left it with my parents, so I was looking to buy a new copy. Don’t suppose you guys have any serious alternative music in there, do you?”
"Well, we're open all week. Plenty of time to come back, yeah?"

He took a sip of his coffee.

"Ooh, alternative... I don't know, sounds a bit too underground for a place like this..."

If his tone didn't make the sarcasm obvious, then his appearance certainly did; a black button-down with what appeared to be red veins embroidered on the inner arm, torn skinny jeans tucked into heavy black boots, and sunglasses, outdoors, at seven-thirty. Well, that and the fact that- oh, did she not know who he was? Well, she did say she just moved...

Kosuke laughed.

"No, don't worry, you came to the right shop. I'll look for a copy tomorrow and keep it behind the counter for you- and, if I can't find one, I'm sure there's something else that's to your taste. I've been like a- ah, what's the word..."

He snapped his fingers a few times, trying to summon the thought.

"Drill sergeant! I've been like a drill sergeant, training my staff to give good recommendations. It's just about the only thing I'm strict on."

Well, if Kosuke wasn't picky with them, then the customer base certainly would be. They had to be prepared for the type of hipster who shopped at Vulture- it was his image on the line if they failed to live up to expectations, and those expectations were usually pretty fucking high.

"So, how are you finding Pittsburgh?" He leaned back, "Man, I remember my first couple weeks here- didn't know a damn thing about the scene over here. You pick it up pretty quick- hell, it picked me up practically overnight!"

“Plenty of time, of course. I’ve just been busy getting the gym set up, and then I’ll be the only one running it for the first few weeks, you know? But I think I could swing by tomorrow if you can find it for me. Or whatever your recommendation ends up being.”

She looked at his face and paused. Something about him was familiar, but she couldn’t quite place how. She cast out the thought in exchange for a polite laugh at his drill sergeant joke. She nodded as she thought about how she was finding Pittsburgh. Initially, it was just meant to be a stop on her way to Philadelphia, which had a much higher crime rate per capita, but that had been before her car broke down and she found the old gym. She immediately felt– well, not at “home”, but a sense of belonging there.

So she had stayed, there, in Pittsburgh, and started working on recovering the run-down gym. She had sunk a great deal of her savings into the place, and had even renovated the upstairs apartments herself. There were two, and she wasn’t entirely sure what to do with the second one yet. Either way, it was a nice one-bedroom now, with its own bathroom and kitchen.

“It seems busy. I’m from a kind of small city just outside Columbus, so I’m not entirely used to the big city, if that makes sense. What kind of scene do you mean? The music scene? I imagine that must be what you– oh! You’re that guy, aren’t you? The one who was in the news recently, aren’t you?”
"Oh, I get ya, I get ya." Kosuke nodded, "Moved here from some small town outside Kyoto, way back in- fuck, was it six years ago now? Seven? Took me a long time to get my bearings, 'til I found my saviours in a shitty basement venue downtown. PREMORTEM."

His smile wavered. He looked away from the stranger and down towards his coffee, swirling it around in the cup for a bit. His hand tapped against the wall- too fast for it to be idle drumming, it seemed like he was trying to focus on something, or calm down from something. It was purposeful.

"That name probably sounds familiar as well, huh."

He shook his head and sighed- deeply and heavily. It was clear, now, that the reason he wasn't looking at her went beyond mere distraction.

"I was someone before the attack, you know- arrogant as that sounds, I... am more than this." His voice was quiet, "I mean, I'm grateful people are helping me rebuild- fuck, I don't know if I even deserve it, given how I just... I just ran in the middle of it all, I-"

He cleared his throat.


Kosuke took a sip of his coffee, then finally looked back at Sam, staring at her dead-eyed behind the sunglasses.

"Bit of a heavy thing to unload on you like that, my apologies."

He bowed his head slightly.

"I'm normally a lot more fun than this, I swear..."

Sam listened patiently to the man as he spoke, trying to remember the name that had been attached to the face. Kosuke? That sounded right. And he was right, PREMORTEM also rang a bell. She didn’t remember paying close attention to the news when it had aired, but then she couldn’t remember if it had been when she was packing to leave Ohio or if it was when she had arrived in Pennsylvania and had been cleaning up the gym. It had been recent though. Recent enough she had remembered it, anyway.

“You’re fine. Kosuke, right. I’m Samantha. I’m sure the last while has been rough after that. I don’t remember all the details of what happened, so I’m not entirely sure what you mean by ‘running into the middle of it’. I don’t pay the news too much attention.”

That was, of course, a lie. But this man didn’t need to know she paid an obscene amount of attention to news broadcasts specifically for the purpose of picking out patterns, trying to identify where other metahumans were, or where there was a high concentration of crime. She subconsciously pulled the sleeves of her hoodie lower, making sure she maintained her heat output at roughly the temperature of the air. Sam usually didn’t care about monitoring it all that much, especially when she was emotional as it was heavily influenced by her mood, but right then, she wanted to play it safe. She remained as neutral as possible.​
"No, I ran, as in- sorry, my words- I speak a little imprecise when I'm nervous."

He shook his head, looking back up at her.

"I ran away."

A sound escaped him- a sigh, perhaps, or the beginning of a laugh. He smiled nervously.

"Though, I guess you can't blame me for that, right? Not much else I could've done, given it was one of those, ah- meta--humans."

The word still sounded unfamiliar coming from him, like it was newly-learned, something he wasn't quite used to saying yet. It hung there, cleaved in half, too much space between the parts- meta and human, like the distinction was more important than the combination- or, perhaps, like it was one of those English words he had only seen written down, and had to guess how to pronounce.

Regardless, he didn't seem quite as nervous anymore.

"No, seriously, I'm sorry about this- baring my soul to you, and all. I mean, we only just met- you just wanted to know about a fucking album." He laughed, "Talk about a bad first impression, eh? Not doing much to advertise my business here, am I..."

Samantha adjusted her hoodie.

"Cold?" He asked, untying the jacket from around his waist, "You can take my jacket, if you need- just make sure you bring it back tomorrow, yeah?"

He laughed- though it was still fairly temperate outside, Kosuke also ran cold. The ever-present turtleneck was a symptom of this, as was the ability to stand wearing that thick leather jacket on his bike in the summer.

"There's about six bucks in the side pocket- I won't be checking to see if that's still there."

He offered her his jacket, and she shook her head, gesturing to her own getup of a grey hoodie and back leather jacket. “No, I’m fine. Just a nervous habit. Thank you, though, for the offer. As for bearing your soul to me, and all that, you don’t need to worry about it. I don’t mind the talk. You’re the first person I've talked to for longer than five minutes in about a month.”

She stuck her hands in her pockets, shrugging softly. She was more on guard now, knowing this man seemed to have a negative outlook on metahumans. She would have to be *very* careful about her powers now. She shrugged again, this time a little rougher a movement, almost a jerk.

“I don’t know, man, some of them are pretty dangerous. I’ve seen there’s been a rise in, uh, vigilantism in response to it. I think they’re doing good work.” Of course, she barely considered herself among the ranks of those who were actually helping. No, what she did sometimes was actually illegal, and could be seen by some to fall into the realm of criminal. She viewed it as a necessity sometimes. Torture got someone’s mouth working, and sometimes, rarely, but sometimes people needed to just be gone.

Sam was good at making people disappear, she’d found out.​
"You sure?"

Whether he was referring to the jacket or the word-vomit was unclear. It didn't seem like it mattered.

Kosuke sighed again. Though Samantha seemed tense, he noted, his own posture was noticeably more relaxed- almost the way it was when he was working in Vulture, minus the part where he'd fall asleep mid-shift. It was odd; the subject hadn't changed much, but it was like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Perhaps he just needed the chance to vent.

"Yeah, I've been reading about that."

He sipped his coffee and nodded.

"Man, I'm just worried about the poor bastards- the thing is with meta-"-that pause, again-"-humans is they're... ah... inherently unknown, right? You don't know what they're gonna do- you don't know what they can do."

He raised his hands in front of him, making a series of nonspecific gestures.

"I mean, a maniac with a gun- you know what he's going to do when threatened, right? So you prepare for it- bulletproof vest, ducking for cover, shooting first before he shoots you, that sort of thing. With a meta--human, you don't have that kind of warning. You can't. It's like- how do you prepare for the impossible? What sort of measures should you put in place to prevent something that shouldn't be able to happen in the first place?"

A laugh- unsteady.

"Man. Hurts my head just thinking about it. I mean, why even bother, at that point?"

His smile faltered.

"Why not... let them win?"

Sam tensed for a second when he said “let them win”. She didn’t quite know how to respond to that. She tucked her hands into the pocket of her hoodie and thought for a second before replying, “I don’t know, I mean. Some of them aren’t good people, but like, I don’t think it needs to be all or nothing, you know? Maybe we should, I don’t know. Employ the ones who want to help. Make them official.”

She shifted on her heels, looking just a tad bit uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation. Her hair fell forward in long rivers over her chest, and she pushed it back with both hands. She knew that she sounded a bit bitter, but she couldn’t quite help it. Phoenix and Witch had been trying to convince law enforcement in Columbus to employ them when Alice had died, thus killing their dream. And that wouldn’t have happened had the police just agreed before, instead of making a big deal of it. They would have had backup, long distance back up.

She shook her head and she tried to smile politely. She’d lost control for just a second, a brief second, and a small wave of warmth rolled off her as she thought of Alice. Her boiling rage came back to the forefront of her mind.

“I don’t know, maybe. Maybe they should be. Who really knows these days.”
Kosuke kept an eye on her as she spoke, drinking his coffee all the while. Man, she was tense- almost as nervous as he seemed to be when he spoke about MYTHOMANE, though she seemed more intent on hiding it. She hid it well, he'd give her that, but Kosuke knew discomfort better than anyone- he knew when he'd hit a nerve.

Interesting place to have nerves, this was.

Kosuke perked up a little.

"Yeah. I mean, when you put it like that..."

He sighed heavily, bowing his head again, before tilting it back to finish the rest of his coffee. His posture became tighter again- more closed-off, more nervous, more guilty.

"I guess... the best thing to fight a meta would be another meta, right?"

He laughed nervously.

"I mean, you must've seen it in the news, yeah? The people who actually... who actually did something during that Valkyrie attack I- I witnessed... well, they were meta-humans as well."

(A shorter pause...?)

"I mean, they had to be, to really stand a chance against something like that."

He grit his teeth, and his voice became quieter.

"How the fuck could I forget that?"

“I don’t think law enforcement is… ready to fight them. Not really. They’re trying to make it look like they are, on all the news broadcasts, but it’s like you said.” She stomped one of her heels a little like she was trying to dislodge mud or dirt from her shoe. She looked down at her black fuck-off combat boots and then back up, her hair slipping back over her shoulder like a snake that didn’t want to remain in its cage.

“I don’t think there’s anyone better to fight a meta than another meta. Not really. I don’t know, Maybe I’m not qualified to say.”

She shut down a bit as she realized that she was getting heated, and with that, getting heated. The still-warm air got warmer, a mix of residual warmth and her own furnace’s heat She hadn’t kept as nice a control over it as she usually did, and now there was an overwhelming amount of warmth in the air. Hopefully, Kosuke didn’t notice it or just thought it was a passing warm breeze, maybe from a car or one of the other shops closing down around them.

“I think… you didn’t forget. You just don’t hold it at the forefront of your mind twenty-four-seven, you know? I would know about that.” The laugh that accompanied that statement was bitter.​
There was warmth, from when there was not. It was brief, barely noticeable from where he sat, but it was there, worsening as Samantha continued to speak, continued to work herself up. It wasn't anything to confront her about. The warmth could've come from any number of sources; they were in a city, after all, and the AC in Vulture could be a bit temperamental with its temperature when it wasn't being threatened. Kosuke couldn't go chasing after every oddity he found, but he couldn't ignore them completely. He made a mental note, and brushed it aside.

"Look, neither am I, to be honest." He said, "I just... I worry about things, man. Maybe it's, like, because of what i witnessed, or whatever, but I-"

He shook his head.

"Everyone has the capacity for evil. I just- I think measures should be put in place to stop people who can cause more harm than others, regardless of whether they're, like, on our side, or whatever- because, what if they change their mind? What if they-"

Kosuke stopped.

"Sorry, sorry- touchy subject, I know."

Did he mean touchy for him, or for her?

"I forget a lot of things." He shrugged, "Most of them are fairly minor, but sometimes-"

He frowned.

"Yeah, sometimes we just don't think about things. Sometimes we'd rather not think about them."

Sam was growing more uncomfortable with the way the conversation was going. There was something odd about the way he talked about Metas, and it made Sam nervous. He was either incredibly anti-meta, and was trying to hide it, or he was a meta, and wasn’t hiding it very well. If Sam guessed wrong, she could be in a sticky situation.

Instead of addressing it, she just sort of nodded along to his concerns. “Touchy subject, yeah. I imagine it's touchy for everyone, you know what I mean?”

She shifted again, moving ever so slightly back and forth on her heels. Then, she abruptly swung her arms out in a shrug and smiled, a tight smile that almost seemed like she wanted to say more.

“I’m sorry, I think I should head back soon. The next bus stops in about eight minutes and it's going to take me five to get back to the stop.” If Kosuke were paying attention, he would notice that she had never looked at a watch or her phone, and that she was purely guessing. Maybe it was just an excuse to end the conversation, but Sam was ready to leave before she accidentally gave herself away.

Because that conversation, that conversation was making her heated, was bringing up a rage that she found hard to bind. So with that, she stuck her hand out, a little peak of red showing under the black sleeve of her leather jacket. “It was lovely to meet you, Kosuke. And I’ll be back for those records.”
Except, it wasn't touchy for everyone. Far from it; until recently, most people could go their entire lives without having to think about metahumans, without even believing they were possible. Pittsburgh was the exception, for some inexplicable reason. Perhaps, if Samantha hadn't admitted she was new, then this statement could be dismissed--a local bringing up local issues--but she had. His suspicions had been compounded by nearly everything between them; Samantha was either a metahuman, or had been tangled in their affairs recently enough that it still bore a scar.

Hell of a place to move, if it was the latter.

"Yeah," He shrugged, "I guess it would be."

He watched as she stood up, announcing her lateness for a bus she couldn't have known was coming. She must've had enough, then. He nodded and stood up himself, slinging the jacket over his shoulder. Had he been too much? Or just enough?

"Shit, you better get going- you've managed to land yourself in the one city in America where the buses actually run on time."

Kosuke laughed, then started his own walk back, tossing the coffee cup in the trash as he passed.

"Hey, nice to meet you too, man." He smiled, "Yeah, drop by whenever for the records- I'll make sure they're kept safe for you."

His smile faltered a little.

"And... you stay safe, alright? Alright"

He turned around and waved over his shoulder, disappearing into the night.