RP Sayonara


[div style="margin:0 auto;max-width:100%;background-color:#000000;color:#ffffff;padding:1%;overflow:hidden;font-size:8pt;"][div style="border:2px solid #ffffff;padding:1%;"][div style="border:2px solid #ffffff;padding:2%;"][div align="center" style="margin-bottom:2%;"][img src="[URL]https://www.creativeuncut.com/gallery-35/art/sm-peter-parker-apartment.jpg[/URL]" alt="IMAGEONE" style="border-radius:8px;"][/div][div align="center" style="border:1px solid #ffffff;margin-bottom:1%;"][/div][div align="center" style="border:1px solid #ffffff;margin-bottom:2%;"][/div][div align="left" style="overflow:hidden;font-size:1.25em;font-family:'Courier New';"]A small click with the turn of a key in the lock of the door before the handle twisted. A small beam of light from the hallway cut through the dark interior of the apartment like a knife while the shadow of a young man overcast the light. Opening the door partially before slipping through easily and closing the door behind his back, the lock twisted shut as he leaned backwards resting against the door before regretting his decision as a sharp pain emanated in a series of jagged lines across his skin along his back. [font color="8b83c2"]Ouch. Ow. Sunnuvagun.[/font] His hazel eyes glanced across the room from one side to another. An organized mess. Just how he left it. The clutter hiding the real mess he made as his other identity unless one knew how and where to look. The maps and the photos, the notes and tools, and the wires and circuit boards sitting on a workbench for a small project of his.

Items of his double life hidden under the mess that was Benjamin Woodrow Carpenter. Or just "Woody".

Running his right hand over his face as he lifted himself forward off the door and trudged forward across the room before sitting down in his swivel chair, dark bronze fingers cracked open his laptop sitting on his desk. It booted to life from its sleep mode before fingers began typing away at its keyboard. Ignoring the dull ache running up and down his arm along with the sharp occasional drumming of pain at his elbow, hand, and forearm, he continued typing. A few moments pass and a link on google is selected before his eyes trailed over a series of articles. A click on one video was all he needed before lifting the wired headphones to his ears. As the video played its way through different stories, a kick and a push against the floor slid him back away from the desk as he sat hunched over, fingers and hands interlaced and raised in front of his mouth and elbows sitting on his legs. He tapped the nails of his thumbs against his lips every so often.

A small glance through rounded rectangle glasses followed with a look at his phone sitting with its screen facing down before he closed his eyes. Later. He could look at it later and see what messages he missed.

For now, he simply listened.

"Our other top story of the hour, the string of disappearances in Duskburg have come to an end thanks to Millennium Law Enforcement and perhaps a helping hand. A recent upheaval in abductions lead to a public outcry within Duskburg. Men, women, and children taken from their homes with no explanation have been returned safely after law enforcement received an anonymous tip as to their location."

[font color="8b83c2"]Anonymous. Good.[/font]

"The perpetrators behind the attacks appeared to be an organized group of Nosferatu. Currently, these infected individuals will be harbored away at an undisclosed location for quarantine. The official law enforcement statement as to how they worked so quickly . . . "

Nothing of interest there besides knowing anything they said would be an attempt to cover any potential incompetence on their part. Not to say they did a bad job, but they were not exactly looking in the right direction. Woodrow tuned it all out. His eyes closing. Another splinter group of Nosferatu. Had this been part of a larger scheme or to draw him out? Perhaps distract him long enough for something else to go down while his focus was elsewhere.

All the Nosferatu were supposed to be underground in hiding. Supposed to being the key words. Every criminal had its stranglehold on Millennium and even more so Duskburg with the eternal night hanging over its head. That district seen as a cancer and unsavable until he began poking hornet nests. This entire week had been so busy.

". . . Sensation . . . "

[font color="8b83c2"]What?[/font]

Kicking himself forward closer to the desk, he wheeled forward before hitting rewind a few times.

"However, there have been rumors of Sensation possibly being involved. While law enforcement denies this statement, there is speculation as the vigilante had been earlier seen at one of crime scenes . . . "

[font color="8b83c2"]Damn it.[/font]

Running a hand through brown strands of hair, a scoff escaped his lips before shaking his head pulling his eyes away from the screen and looking at the window before hitting the spacebar offhandedly. The video paused. His teeth grinded together for a moment before catching his tongue between his teeth. Of course, they would deny his involvement but the one time he had been trying to be stealthy about his involvement, speculation and rumors had to come into the mix.

Not his fault he caught one of the slimy monsters trying to pick someone off from their own home before having to let him go. Like rats running back to their nests, it led him back to where they set up camp. The rest was history, and he bore most of the ache from that encounter.

Careful to let his left arm and hand rest on the armchair, Woody rubbed the bridge of his before a heavy exhale escaped his lungs. It used to be easier and hurt less with . . . everyone else. Everyone he hurt. And there was nothing to be done but say his apologies and goodbyes. All he could give them was peace and the offer he would help them if needed, if it may make up for a little of his sins. Distance was the best way to protect them if he relapsed. If he failed to be simply better.

He had been trying so hard. Staying low to the ground, listening and watching. That's what fighting in Duskburg had been about. Yet he knew the ugly truth as his right fist balled until his fingers dug into the flesh, nearly cutting blood flow. His eyes closing as his face contorted, seething through his teeth. Nothing he did would make up for the pain. Nobody needed his false hope, his help, or him. All he could do was his best and hope it was good enough to at least see himself as good once more, even for a little bit in his own eyes if no one else's.

All he could do was keep trying, keep going forward. For how long . . . perhaps as long as he could before his run was over. Or until someone or something kills him. What a bright future ahead of him.

[font color="8b83c2"]What a joke.[/font]

A brief thought of looking at the old pictures of his friends crossed his mind. Each photo framed and stacked away out of sight and out of mind. It always crossed his mind every once in a while. On days like these. No, that was a temptation he could never give into. It would only make the ache worse seeing how happy everyone was then. How simpler times were back then.

A weary blink of the eyes caught him off guard before settling further into his seat. Maybe he could rest this once. Just a little. All he needed was a few hours and he would be right as rain to continue his sad little crusade. Maybe he could get to the bed before his exhaustion took full hold of him, force his body to move one more time. A brief movement of one shoulder off the chair was as far as he got before settling back down.

[font color="8b83c2"]"I'm so tired."[/font]

His head leaned fully back into the chair as his eyes closed. For once he wished he could sleep in his own bed. But his muscles would not respond even at the idea of greater comfort. No, this would have to do.

This would have to do for now.[/div][/div][/div][/div]

It feels like years since they’ve seen him. Maybe it has been, if you tally up all the time spent non-linearly. They left him… alive, but not in the best shape, last time. It’s about time that Lark remedies some of that regret, before the window on it closes in a too-permanent fashion.

Speaking of windows, they’re pretty sure this one’s Woody’s. They know it’s his apartment building at least, and it was easy enough to wander around on the fire escape and peek into apartments until they found his. It’s nearly as messy as their own.

Maybe some would say that this isn’t the most ethical or respectful of practices, but Lark is long past the point of caring about little things like that. It looks like he isn’t in at the moment, so they settle on the fire escape to wait for him to return. Their feet dangle off the edge, legs between the bars.

This isn’t precisely their time, but it’s close enough that they can almost feel Time’s insistence pressing at their back, making them hunch closer to the bars. It’s getting more and more difficult to return, or not to return, or to spend any time at all just doing nothing. Just for a moment, they rest their forehead against the railing and close their eyes.

Time skips forward around them with a faint fizzle, depositing them an hour in the future. Green light flashes along the wall and through the window, still as neon as ever, and they linger for another second before getting to their feet again and rapping at the glass.

While they set to rap-tap-tapping at his chamber… window, they lean down to look inside again. The apartment is much the same, with the addition of Woody sitting at his desk. They can’t see his face from this angle, but the slump of his shoulders is more pronounced than they remember. Maybe he’s tired. Well, they aren’t one to judge. They aren’t exactly the picture of well-restedness themself these days. Or ever. Maybe before, but-

Eh, it doesn’t really matter. The memories are too distant to bother with. They aren’t going to fall asleep on their feet, despite all appearances to the contrary. And they aren’t going to stop knocking until he lets them in. They’ve already committed to this.

“If you ignore me I reserve full rights to break your window,” they call, their voice tired but carrying. They could not give less of a damn what the neighbors might think.

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[div style="margin:0 auto;max-width:100%;background-color:#000000;color:#ffffff;padding:1%;overflow:hidden;font-size:8pt;"][div style="border:2px solid #ffffff;padding:1%;"][div style="border:2px solid #ffffff;padding:2%;"][div align="left" style="overflow:hidden;font-size:1.25em;font-family:'Courier New';"]A subtle sensation ran along his spine, traveling up along his back and through each of his limbs before a faint buzz of anticipation resounded inside his skull. His eyes snapped open immediately to catch the faint light hitting through the window and onto his left peripheral. An exhausted air wracked his body before culminating in a sight, slouching further for a moment as he blinked his eyes closed for a moment too long before opening them fully. All before staring forward fully awake and lifting himself off the chair and turning around to face the rapping on the window. The pain had dulled to a creeping pain along his arm and back as his skull on dealt with static and phantoms of a migraine. Grey hair and green hoodie were the first colors to strike the mind while the sound of their heartbeat rang true and clear, even through the glass pane window.

He should have lowered the blinds. What was Lark doing here? Especially after everything that happened.

Slowly, carefully, Woody stepped through his room closer to the window before sliding a stack of boxes away from his foot. His hands settled into his jacket's pockets before leaning in forward and lowering his upper torso and head to peer through the window straight into Lark's green eyes. A raised eyebrow and a smirk languidly stretched across his features.

[font color="8b83c2"]"You break it . . . you buy it,"[/font] Woody spoke through the window, gesturing his head slightly towards the door, [font color="8b83c2"]"Also, I have a door for a reason."[/font]

Should he open the window? Why was Lark here? His hand rested on the lock but made no move to open it. Not yet as a steady hesitance and patience took hold of him.

[font color="8b83c2"]"You keep trying to climb through my windows, and people will start thinking we're having a secret rendezvous,"[/font] he closed his eyes tiredly for a moment and rubbed the temple of his forehead, [font color="8b83c2"]"Or a break-in."[/font]

[font color="8b83c2"]"Why are you here, Lark? What do you want?"[/font]

[font color="8b83c2"]If it is more time troubles, they should find someone else. Pretty sure I made one of them cry.[/font]

The same day he found out he was terrible with kids. It should have been a sign he was terrible with people too, for all the worse reasons.

[font color="8b83c2"]"Oh, and, uh, hi."[/font]

See? Point proven. Even forgot to say something as simple as hello.[/div][/div][/div][/div]

Woody looks like hell warmed over.

Hypocrite, some part of their mind whispers. Lark tosses their hair over their shoulder, fingers catching in tangles that they haven’t bothered to brush out in… too long, and they mirror his smirk tiredly. Their hair is buzzed short on one side, now, though it’s already passed the threshold of ‘slightly overgrown’ and veered straight into shaggy.

“I can afford it,” they snipe lightly. In a familiar jumpcut-blink, there’s a glove on their right hand made of dense material. They curl their fingers slowly, placing a fist lightly against the glass and meeting Woody stare for stare.

“Hello Woody.” Their voice is flat, but it rises into something friendly as they smile. It’s an exhausted smile, the bags under their eyes deeper and darker than ever, but it reaches their eyes. It’s the expression one might have when seeing an old friend for the first time in a long while. “I want to have a secret rendezvous. I want to talk.”

Lark lowers their hand. It was an empty threat. They’d never have to break his window if they wanted to get in.

Green light flashes in the apartment behind him, another Lark appearing inside. They meet the current Lark’s eyes and flash a peace sign before folding their arms.

“It’s rude to keep a guest waiting, you know.” The new Lark comments, looking at the detritus scattered around the room. Despite their remark they don’t seem offended. They nudge a shirt out of their path and take a step closer to their friend.

“It’s been a while.” Their voice is soft, and if they were anyone else it might be easier to excuse the muted undercurrent of guilt. Did they wait too long? Has he found new reasons to dislike them, in the time they’ve let slip by?

Will they have to let this regret follow them to the very end?

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[div style="margin:0 auto;max-width:100%;background-color:#000000;color:#ffffff;padding:1%;overflow:hidden;font-size:10pt;"][div style="border:2px solid #ffffff;padding:1%;"][div style="border:2px solid #ffffff;padding:2%;"][div align="left" style="overflow:hidden;font-family:'Courier New';"]A glance and a raised eyebrow met the flash as Lark transposed a glove onto her hand. Whether this was simply Lark breaking the rules of space instead of time, Woody had no real answer. Besides, his attention fell to the remark and Lark's knuckles pressed against the glass.

"Time-travel is a real moneymaker, huh?" Woody returned his gaze back to Lark. Of course they could afford it, especially if they could go back and stop their younger self from making any poor financial decisions.

Or steal anything they liked.

He began to rub the bridge of his nose, "Lark, look. Unless it's an emergency, you really shouldn't be here. It's-."

His sixth sense sent a tantalizing chill up his spine. Someone was behind him. Someone was going to be behind him and soon. The green flash across the walls around his window and the glass itself reflected the same light back into his eyes. Spinning on his heel, Woody turned his body before arching his neck towards the new Lark inside of his room. How did they do that?

"It's rude to arrive unannounced," Woody parried back Lark's remark. The lack of amusement written across his face carried into his voice, "And guests have to be invited."

This was not like before where he could be carefree or he would be carefree, and everyone ran around thinking he was alright with every little thing because they all happened to be superpowered friends. The wisecracking days had been mostly put behind him, and his exhaustion settled across both mind and body as every instinct told him to kick Lark out.

At least until they know how to knock on his door like a normal person. Barely anything was normal for him nowadays.

"Last I checked," Woody began as he sidestepped around Lark and picked up the shirt, "You can't time-travel into my room unless I let you in."

His hand roughly tossed it into a small bin before standing tall, shoulders squared. "Or you picked the lock."

Finally, his exhausted frame leaned with his back against the wall with both arms crossed, keeping that physical guard up as he anchored himself to the wall. His eyes briefly flitted between both Larks before settling on the one inside of his room.

"Which was it? Because neither of you tried knocking on the door, and my window remains yet to be broken."

A physical boundary must have been broken somehow for Lark to get inside. As far as he was aware, Lark did not possess the ability to bend space quite as well as bending time. That would be more Kore Smith's specialty.

Then there was the fact he put up other kinds of boundaries, but he could dive into that after this brief question. It had been a while since he had talked with Lark, but there were reasons it had been so long. Good reasons. Safe reasons. The only reasons that mattered.[/div][/div][/div][/div]

The Lark inside Woody’s apartment shrugs, a flash of hurt on their face for a too-literal split second. There and gone without so much as a by-your-leave. They meet his gaze with a grin that doesn’t reach their eyes, mirroring his movement as he steps around them.

“Option three. It’s very simple, really.” They spread their hands, the picture of showmanship except for the sadness in their eyes. In a blink of skipped time, they’re at the window. The lock clicks open. Another blink and they’re midway through helping the other Lark through the window and into the room.

“Did you forget I can pause time?” The original Lark asks as they find their footing.

For a moment both Larks wear the same expression of wry amusement. Then the future Lark turns to their younger self and their smile falters. They close the window again as the younger Lark strides forward a few steps, returning to the spot they’d apparently “materialized” in a couple minutes prior.

“I’m a time traveler, not a vampire.” The Lark by the window watches as their younger self vanishes. Off to complete the loop. The green afterimage lingers behind their eyelids when they blink. It’s been doing that lately. They’ve started to hate having too many of themself in the same room.

“I thought my announcement was pretty good, all things considered.” They circle back to his original line of grievances. Their habitual grin falters again and they let it drop. “I didn’t mean to start this on a sour note, but I didn’t think you’d let me in if I tried the intercom.”

They don’t intend to end things on a sour note either, but that isn’t entirely their choice. They look up from where their gaze had drifted to his desk, studying his face as though searching for the man who was once their friend, who could be called upon at any hour, who they could talk to without all these hoops. “Was I wrong?”

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