RP Topaz



Obsidian was angry, but above that, he was heartbroken. The fury he felt could only barely compete with the sorrow. He walked in the door to the housing above the Emerald. They had long since converted the original apartments above it into a single “family” home. The top floors were open rooms and bedrooms connected via hallways and the first floor was the heart of their home. He dropped his keys into the dish on the entryway table as he passed it, moving on autopilot. In his arms, he carried a large cardboard box.

Inside that box was Malachite.

His hands shook as he put the box gently down on the counter. He swallowed, trying to hold back the tears. He sat down in the chair right in front of the box. He opened it back up, and from the top, he removed a piece of medical-grade plastic. A heart valve, just like the one that rested in his own chest. Across the top were fracture lines, from where it had been cracked. And dug deep into the plastic were teeth marks. He looked down at it, sitting still as a board.

Pain radiated through him, physical in its realness. It suffocated him. It filled his lungs with air that had nowhere to go, air that filled his lungs to the brim as he breathed in a harsh breath. He was paralyzed, the piece of Malachite’s heart held in his hand. He felt his lungs begin to scream as he choked on the tears he was holding back, as his throat began to swell.

Soon enough, the emotions inside him began to spill over. He tipped his head back and screamed before dissolving into tears. He tasted blood in his mouth as he tightened his grip on the heart valve. He clutched the piece of plastic close to his chest, the edges digging deep into his gloved hand. Full body sobs wracked his form as he cried, his head falling forward. He reached up and removed his glasses, setting them to the side on the table.

Then, when they were out of the way enough that he wouldn’t hit them, he slammed his hand hard into the table with another scream. This time, he heard footsteps on the staircase, feet running down. From the sounds of it, it was likely every one of his family members.

He sat up straight, his breath coming in fast as he tried to stop crying. The sorrow, the pain, the rage in his chest demanded nothing less than tears, however, and so they continued to slip down his face as he stood from his chair. He turned to see the others all stepping into the room. Sulphur had been the first one down the stairs, followed closely by Rhody. Next had come Lapis, hand in hand with Topaz. Hematite had brought up the rear, and was holding onto the banister on the bottom step of the stairs.

There was a variety of expressions looking back at him, but he couldn’t meet anyone’s eyes. He looked at the ground, his heart pounding in his ears as the tears slipped down his wide-eyed face. He held the piece of Malachite’s heart up, and in a soft voice that trembled with rage and pain, he said, “Mal is dead. Malachite is dead. Someone ate him.”

He passed the valve off to Sulphur, whose face had frozen in a wide-eyed look of shock. It took a moment before everyone started to move, starting with Rhody. She ran straight over to Hematite and started to cry, burying her face in his chest. The man swooped her up in a tight hug, trying to soothe her even as his expression fell into one of anger and shock. Sulphur started to closely examine the bite marks on the piece of plastic in his hands.

Lapis was the first to speak, her hand tightening around Topaz’s as she started to shake. “What do you mean? He’s dead? But he just went to spend a few days with Katherine. How did this happen?”

“I don’t know, Lapis. I… I don’t have any answers. His phone was missing. All that was there was the keys in the Jeep and this box full of– this box.” He whipped his eyes with the palm of his gloved hand, trying to stem the crying. He failed, and it continued. He finally looked up to everyone, and the first person he saw was Topaz.
Topaz's nostrils flared, the whiffs of flavour filled them and his lungs. His breathing came in deep and heavy, he squeezed Lapis' hand hard near to the point of pain before letting go. He walked towards the table, where the box lay, his eyes fixated forward with the pupils dilating massively. His breaths came out as growls now, as he reached into the box and pulled out Mal's white long sleeve shirt. It was stained red with blood, and brought it to his mouth, inhaling the scent deeply. His tongue came out, and he dragged it along the bloodstain.

He saw Mal, metal, his cologne, cedarwood, cigarettes, he was beaten, bloody, afraid. He was restrained, and injured, and talking. There was another, a dark presence which moved in a way that made the beast within Topaz churn. Long dark curls, wrapped around a twisted face, sharp teeth not unlike his own, dark eyes. And mint, spearmint, mixed with blood and flesh.

"A meta," Topaz growled. In his mind he sees him, his face, he knows his scent now, he sees him tearing and ripping into Mal, his friend. There was anger, yes, at someone taking Mal away from him... his Mal, his Mal, with no right to. Some upstart predator, some opportunistic scavenger who got the drop on him somehow. Topaz twisted the shirt around his hand possessively, he had been stolen from, a theft in the night most cowardly and lowly. He put to memory every detail of what he could see of that thing.

"I have his scent" Topaz's eyes snapped to Obsidian, his face black with rage.
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There was a moment when Obsidian didn’t say anything. He simply watched as Topaz did his thing, watched him lick the blood off the clothes. He met the man’s eyes again and saw all his rage and fury reflected in Topaz’s eyes. At that moment the rage overtook the grief, and he gave the sharpest, widest smile he ever had to the bigger man, tilting his head forward as he shook.

“Topaz. Tomorrow, you’re hunting. Find this fucker and bring him back. I don’t know what we’re going to do yet, but we’re not letting him get away. Not now, not ever. We’re going to break this man, and if he doesn’t give us any other choice, we’ll kill him. But you all know how I feel about killing other metas.” He stopped speaking and turned to the rest of his family, taking in their rage, their grief, their disbelief.

Rhody still clung to Hematite, but finally, her soft voice spoke up, trembling. She had always been their voice of reason, their grounding voice, and now that Malachite was gone, she would have to figure out how to center them. “They– they couldn’t have known. They couldn’t have known what he was to us, not unless this was an intentional attack on us. We should, we should figure out everything we can. Before we kill him. Before we torture him.”

Lapis’s silvery eyes flashed with fury and she stormed forward and toward her mate, looking into the box and shuddering. She looked up at Topaz, her eyes glittering with tears. “Baby, you get this motherfucker and you fuck him up. Do what you do best and get this– get this–”

She choked up and leaned into Topaz, her hands wrapping into the front of his shirt as she started to sob. Lapis and Malachite had never been as close as he was with Topaz. She had never been as close with any of them, but that was because she had never known how to connect with people. It wasn’t until Topaz had arrived that she had formed deeper bonds with the family, and she and Malachite had worked out their differences and gotten as close as any brother and sister ever had. And now, now he was gone and they were left with pieces.

“I’ll begin preparations for the trip. Topaz, provide me with a list of what you need tonight and I’ll have everything in the Rover for you by morning. I’ll. I’ll do what I do best. That’s all I can do now. That’s…” Sulphur looked down at the heart valve in his hand with a distant look, a dissociated energy about him. It was as if he had disconnected from his body entirely, and in his departure, tears slid down his face and onto his blazer.

“Let me help. Let me go with him. I can fight too, I want to help Topaz.” Hemie took a step forward, his hands still interwoven with his newlywed wife’s. His green eyes had an intensity about them, that same rage and grief flooding them. But instead of falling apart like the rest of them, Hemie seemed to grow sharper, sturdier, steadier. He looked ready to fight. Which was why Obsidian’s answer came as a surprise.

“No. Topaz will go alone. He works better by himself or with Lapis, and I’m not risking Lapis. Whatever killed Mal would be able to kill Lapis in a heartbeat. Topaz is the only one I know won’t go down. He always gets back up and so far nothing, not human nor meta, has been able to take him on except for Mal. This meta who killed Mal, he got the drop on him. He won’t be so lucky with Topaz.”

He looked back to the man, to his monster, to his hunter and gave him a sharp nod. He knew he could trust him. He could rest knowing Topaz would do what he did best.
Topaz wrapped his arms around Lapis, pulling her close to him and squeezing her. His hands found gaps in her clothing and his claws dug into her flesh, he could taste her pain, and smell her fury, and he gave his own in turn. It was as if he was embracing a live telephone wire, and electricity was arcing out throughout him. His breath came out hot and steaming as his fangs grazed her neck. He could taste blood, Lapis' blood, Mal's blood, that bastard's blood. Ge growled, his whole body rumbling, his muscles grew, and his whole body seemed to bloat in size. It seemed like he would rip Lapis apart, or snap her in two. Yet he didn't, and his voice softly spoke to her with all the care of a lover yet an edge that could cut through bone.

"He's going to pay for what he took from us, took from me" Topaz's claws drew blood on Lapis's back. Her fingers bruised his flesh in turn. He looked up at Obsidian, and it wasn't Topaz looking back at him, it was a beast. All fury and fire, there was no light left in those eyes, only focused wrath looking off into some distance. His mouth hung openned uncannily large, his long fangs dripping saliva. "I will chase him across rivers and valleys, and bring him here to you, and if he resists I'll eat his guts and chew on his bones, I'll tear out his heart, drink his blood, he took what's mine, so I'll take from him everything"

Then his eyes unfocused and the bastard's face was seen, a building, his scent trail leading not far from where Topaz now stood, He shook, his whole body vibrating with power and energy. He let go of Lapis, and he inhaled deeply through his nose.

"He's near, and he will not get far!"

Topaz through his head back and belted out a long, growling howl that cracked its apex and gave way to a roar which hurt the ears of anyone nearby and seemed to shake through the air for miles around. Dogs and other animals fled from it, cowering in their dens. Topaz was coming, the beast was awake.
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Coyotl’s eyes were closed as he listened to how the wolves grieved.

He sat a building away, back against the ledge nearest the Emerald. The wind carried the strongest scents pulled out of some open window or door that wasn’t closed all the way, and sound flowed better than expected in the short space. He’d followed the red-haired man who took the jeep and the box inside it. As much as he would’ve liked to talk to him directly, the fight with Jasper Torres had led him to take the much more cautious route of baiting a trap and getting the information from a distance. He didn’t want to risk a direct conflict with another metahuman. Two out of three of those encounters so far had almost killed him.

The rage that came from that man was a pungent scent. It had mixed with the black pepper that Coyotl recognized from Jasper’s clothes, carried secondhand along with something like vanilla and expensive cigarettes. The strong, burning scent of anger, overwhelming as it would be at close range, was nothing compared to the first cry that came from inside the bar. The sound resonated through where Coyote’s heart and soul should be; his ears pinned themselves down and back against the sides of his head. A tear rolled from the corner of his eye and ran down his face under the mask. The feeling didn’t fade as the sound died. It was the sound of someone who’d been holding in rage and grief for the entire drive, who’d held his composure until it was safe.

The second scream didn’t sink in quite as deeply, but he could hear the movement that came with it. He took a deep breath, and listened. Not all the words were clear. Most of them were chattering, soft and sad. He understood the sadness without any confirmation from his nose or ears. The grief crept across his skin, sank into his bones that were no longer cold because of the wolf he’d taken from the pack. More tears followed that first as the tension grew.

And then, he felt a chill.

His eyes snapped open, and he lifted his head and pricked his ears. There wasn’t anyone nearby. His eyes flickered across the rooftop, and he took a slow breath. Nobody. No movement, no life. He could’ve sworn he’d felt seen in that moment; like something had noticed him the way he noticed the rush of emotion from the Emerald, from the wolf pack. The murmur of voices continued, the scents of rage and the strong mixed scent that kept him from picking out any one, and after another moment, he realized he could smell blood.

One voice started to rise above the rest, a voice that put Coyotl’s hair on end, that caused him to look over the ledge as if expecting its owner to be looking back. His skin crawled again, he felt seen again, and he felt his hackles raise as he narrowed his animal eyes.

Then, the howl came. So loud it echoed across the city, so deep that his immediate reaction was to hop to his feet and back away from the ledge, from the bar and whatever was inside of it that had just claimed him. Claimed him, Coyotl, claimed him, wendigo, as prey. A promise, a threat, and a challenge. The fear dissipated almost instantly, and in its place came a certainty. A hunt was about to start.

He couldn’t hunt, or survive being hunted, with his soul weighed down by the grief inside. His blood ran cold still, but he closed his eyes again, and breathed, controlling his monster. He didn’t want them to hear the rage or any returned challenge. He only wanted to share the feelings he’d taken from them. So his eyes opened, narrowed, and he inhaled slowly.

The cry that came on the exhale was high and cold. It was a sound made by the wind in the highest pines at the deepest point in winter, or at the peak of a mountain. Not even the skyscrapers in Philadelphia had heard the sound before. The animals here would not hear this and flee; but anyone with a human body, with a human soul, would feel the cold in their bones. And yet in that tone was the apology, the grief, the sorrow. It was a mournful sound, the high whine of Coyotl to the moon, an understanding of what had been lost.

And what had to come afterward.

The emotions left him, drained him. His shoulders deflated, and his eyes closed. With a thought, his face shifted under the mask, becoming human again. And he turned from the Emerald, and took off at a light jog away across the rooftops. He wasn’t running away, and he wasn’t running from Philadelphia. It wasn’t safe to share territory with wolves he’d hurt, but running wasn’t going to save him from whatever howled at him. It would follow him to the ends of the earth.

He wouldn’t give his predator the pleasure. He would not get far, because he wasn’t going far.

Obsidian had been ready to turn away, to send everyone off to work on getting Topaz set up for his hunt when the man himself declared that the meta who had killed Malachite was nearby. The rage in him spiraled, lit anew by the idea that this creature had followed him home. This cannibal, this monster, had followed him back to the pack. Was it trying to hunt them all? Did it think they’d make easy meals? Topaz tilted his head back and howled, and if the pack hadn’t been used to the deep rumbling of his roars, they likely would have been deafened.

What none of them had expected was when the sound happened, when the house was flooded with the eerie noise that filled them with a chill deeper than any winter storm could ever hope to. It started with Obsidian and ended with Hematite, a collective shiver that they couldn’t help but shake with, passing between members of the pack.

Obsidian heard it, and he felt his rage grow. It was a taunt. That was all he could hear in this heightened state of rage, of fury, unholy and fierce. The creature was taunting them over Malachite’s death. It had heard Topaz’s howl and thought itself such a higher being that it let the air fill with a cry of its own.

When Rhody heard it, it made her heart bleed. It wasn’t a taunt at all, but a cry of the deepest sadness she had ever heard. The cry of something young and already forsaken, of something left alone for far too long. She wanted to take it into her arms and tell it that it never needed to be sad again, that it never needed to be upset again. She would protect it.

Lapis shivered at the threat she heard carried on the windy sound. It was a challenge, a challenge responding to her own monster’s howl. The creature was challenging Topaz, was threatening the pack, and she would have none of it. Her fingers tightened around Topaz’s back, her nails digging deep crescent moons into his back. Her monster would win in the end. She had no doubt.

Hematite didn’t know what to think of the sound. It was eerie, it was unsettling, and it made the hairs on his arms stand up. It made him more uncomfortable than he knew what to do with. The sound was uncanny, like it couldn’t quite be real, and yet was the realest thing he had ever heard in his life. He was unsettled, plain and simple.

And yet, when Sulphur heard it, it made sense to him. It wasn’t a threat, nor was it a challenge, nor was it a taunt. It was none of those things. It was an apology. A mournful apology that it had taken away from them their brother, that it had taken a member of a family so close as to be a pack. It was an apology for the pain it could somehow sense from them, that it knew it had caused. An apology, and an understanding of what the pack must do now. And understanding of what came next.

“Topaz. First light, you leave– not now. You need to rest first. I won’t send you out there without being as sure as possible that you’re in the right shape to fight it. Now go, rest, and we’ll put together a kit for you.”
Topaz’s furry ears perked yo and twitched towards the sound. He tilted his head and growled. Weakness, this was a sound of weakness. The prey had regret, it had sorrow, these were the cries of a lesser beast. One of supple and feeble flesh, whatever cunning it possessed would not save it. Topaz would claim it as a meal. His pupils dilated, his nostrils flared. Only his master's word kept him rooted in place, he almost defied him in his moment of rage, yet Lapis’s trailing hands calmed him just enough and Topaz consented with a snort.

Practically shaking with energy, Topaz picked up Lapis and put her over his shoulder, to very little protest from her. He carried her to their room and expended as much of his rage as he could for the rest of the night. Mating with her savagely and without restraint. When he emerged early the next morning, he was covered in scratch and bite marks and a few bruises. Lapis was too exhausted to even get up, let alone show her face. But Topaz left her marked up and even bloody in places. He would have gone further, but decided to keep much of his rage for different prey.

The members of slate circled Topaz as he stood still for them. He wore a padded leather jumpsuit, which they then carefully strapped individual steel plates onto which fit together into a comprehensive suit of armour, much in the style of a medieval knight. Over his chest and organs, they placed Kevlar pads strategically. His helmet had to be clamped and bolted into him, drilled secure, so there would be no easy removing it. It was installed with a radio and other equipment.

At their insistence, Topaz also accepted a pistol to be strapped to his thigh. A Coonan .357 semi-automatic. But Ethan came in with his true weapon, forty inches of Damascus steel formed into a double-edged longsword. Razor sharp and lovingly oiled. The soft leather grip was moulded to Topaz’s clawed hands. His bushy tail, left out on his armour, twitched in anticipation for his blade to bite into the prey. The scabbard was strapped to his back and he sheathed the blade carefully.

Topaz stood over Obsidian now, fully transformed into a weapon. He lowered himself to his level; having to go onto his knees. And he met his orange eyes with his green ones.

“Command me,” Topaz said.
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His hound was ready to hunt. Obsidian knew him well enough to see it in his eyes. The man’s rage was there, present and prominent. The same rage that Obsidian now held in his heart, in that blackened and broken organ. Topaz was ready to kill for him, for Malachite. For Jasper, their brother. His teeth were ready to tear, his hands ready to break. There was no mistaking the fury for anything other than what it was. And as the Pack all stood around him, but out of his way, Obsidian met Topaz’s eyes.

His yellow eyes burned orange with his own rage. He raised his hand, the black gradient on his palm broken only by the thin line of grey from where his scar lay. He placed his hand on Topaz’s head, and with a smile, ruffled the other man's hair, giving him small, soothing scratches. Then just as smoothly he withdrew his hand and tilted his head to the side.

“Fetch, Topaz.”

He stepped out of the way of the door and made room for the monster of a man to pass him. He would return with the meta who had done this to their heart, their center. He would return with the creature they would be breaking. Obsidian trusted Topaz to complete his mission. He had absolute faith in him. Then, his closed lips pulled up into a soft smile, that coupled with his narrowed eyes made Rhody and Hemie shiver where they stood.

“Try to bring him back in one piece.”
Philadelphia was a lot like other cities Coyotl had patrolled over the years. Too big, too loud, full of life that was all too willing to consume itself. Most nights he’d be watching that life, waiting for the chance to pick off the ones who thought they could control that chaos. But not tonight.

Tonight, there was a hunt on.

Coyotl moved through one of the older districts, where the buildings were still low, uniform, square, and brick. Areas like this were best for his mobility, which was his biggest benefit in a chase involving someone much bigger and heavier than himself. Well, almost everyone was bigger and heavier than he was, but the point stood. He didn’t start on the rooftops, though. Keeping to the ground, keeping a clear trail – either his predator would hang back, overthinking how obvious its prey was, or it would act rashly and meet him exactly where he wanted it.

The howl from the previous night had rattled his bones. A head-on confrontation was not in the cards for him tonight. He couldn’t risk taking too much damage right after eating – especially at the cost of his last meal. His heart still ached as he remembered the other cries, but now, the grief pushed him forward instead of weighing him down. This was how it had to be, the natural course of things. Two monsters in the dark. And he wouldn’t let the other one scare him away, even if he still felt its eyes on him when he was alone.

While he kept his ears pinned close to his curly black hair, blending together in the darkness, he was listening for another howl, for the sign that he’d been found, or at least that the wolf was on his trail. His nostrils flared as the breeze eddied between alleys, while he kept close to the walls with their ancient iron fire escapes and bricks roughened by the passage of time. He’d need a quickest way up once the predator closed in.

He moved almost awkwardly in his big boots, at his easy, loping walk. Not awkwardly enough to make him clumsy. Even with their weight, though, he moved in absolute silence, and apparent confidence, despite the air of wariness he carried around. He was faster than he looked, and much stronger. He kept his hands so his bagh nakh remained hidden between his long fingers, and his black-rimmed eyes scanned the dark ahead for any sign of an ambush.
He smelt like prey.

Like a deer, innocent and white, bounding through the woods. It didn't know its days were numbers, after all, why would the prey contemplate its own morality? This own did though, he had smelt like fear, like regret, but this was no normal prey, was he? No, this prey could kill, no innocence in his eyes, he smelt of blood. Mal's blood. Blood that did not belong to him, it was not his to take, not his to claim. Malachite belonged to Slate, belonged to Obsidian, he belonged to Topaz.

His claws dug holes into the ground, he dodged buildings like trees, following the scent trail like it was a map. He saw his prey, hugging the walls, he had a plan, or he thought he did. A trap, a clever trick. He thought his cleverness would save him, that he could avoid the unavoidable. He made a good show of it, twisting and turning there, double backing, swiftly enough that he delayed Topaz truly catching up to him for as long as he could. But Topaz could do this for days. His prey didn't have days.

Eventually he ran out of options, of corners to turn, of ways to escape. And the prey came to a dead end, and there stood Topaz at the entrance of it. His breath steamed out in great clouds of heat, his eyes shone brightly in the dim light. He made no move towards his weapons, for the beast desire to rend flesh only with tooth and claw. He growled lowly, watching. Seeing what the prey would do.
Coyotl looked up at the wall the way some people looked at paintings. He didn’t show any stress, though there was enough adrenaline in his veins to kill a horse from dragging the hunt out. He knew how to avoid a predator, after all; he knew how to backtrack and rewind and circle around. He’d gauged what sort of predator he was dealing with by persistence alone, and he was rewarded.

Persistence predators were a problem. Once one was on a trail, there wasn’t much hope to get them off without something particularly inventive. Raccoons handled it by climbing out of reach, while rabbits dug into the ground. As an ambush predator himself, Coyotl knew he should hide. But he’d spent enough time on this trap that he wouldn’t waste the opportunity.

The scent of his predator washed over him, borne on heavy breaths, radiating off under the smell of sweat and canine fur. He felt his pulse quicken, but focused the energy from it into his own predator, letting it unfurl into his calm body language as he finally turned to the monster that had chased him halfway across Philadelphia.

He whistled when he actually caught sight of it, the low, impressed whistle of someone seeing a racehorse or a wolfhound. Behind the whistle, however, there was the soft deer-cry breath, a gentler echo of the sound he used to scatter prey. He’d let this predator interpret what it meant. He scanned the creature from the ground up, and only stopped moving his black-rimmed eyes when he met the beast’s face – catching its eyes in a full lock. A full challenge.

“And here I thought Jasper was big,” he said, coolly, though between the jaws of the canine skull mask, his mouth was twisted into a smile that just barely displayed his uneven, carnivore teeth. “Do all of you have this much meat on the bones? I might have to pace myself.”

He rocked back onto one leg, the other boot still flat on the ground, his back to the wall. Clearly baiting, telegraphing between his words and body language, that he wanted the lunge to come. That he was ready for it. The rage that rolled off the bigger monster in waves.

Time to see how smart Slate’s hound dog really was.
The prey thought he was clever, smart and swift, he thought he could outsmart the beast. Presumed that his guile and wit would save him, arrogance; arrogance and cowardliness. He should accept his fate graciously. This arrogance only made the fire burn hotter, but Topaz reigned the beast in, he refused to give this parasite the satisfaction.

Thusly, he did not pounce. He stepped, slowly, towards his prey. He extended his arms, long sharp claws glittering in the light, they dragged across the surface of the walls burrowing deep gouges and throwing up the occasional spark. Topaz's eyes dilated to near blackness, foaming saliva dripped from his jaw which now unhinged and grew open to show his ling fangs and rows of dagger-teeth. His breath came out heavily, carrying a manic excitement that it almost shook with furious humour. With each step Topaz's tail swished in agitation and his ears perked through two slots in his helmet towards the prey.

"Your flesh is weak, lesser, it belongs to me; a debt owed, and I shall reclaim by dues. No matter what words you spin, no matter how loudly you shriek. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine..."
The rage that rolled off the predator to fill Coyotl’s lungs with every breath kept trying to trip his prey instincts, which was really fucking annoying. And the fact that it didn’t really respond to his threat or bait added to the irritation that started to cover up his fear. “Smarter than ya look, I’ll give you that.”

He didn’t move, now. Not in a way that changed his body language. There was a shift to his weight, preparatory, and his breathing steadied, but for the most part he stayed. Stayed to prove he wasn’t afraid enough of the thing in front of him to turn tail at the first sign of danger, though he was sure he had the mobility to make it to the fire escape on his left and do just that as soon as the beast made his move.

“In terms of flesh, that’s mine, actually, and I don’t really have all that much to spare. Hardly enough here for myself, really.”

His eyes shifted. Blue and black-rimmed, to a beautiful chocolate brown.

“That’s why I had to borrow your buddy’s.”
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Topaz knew those eyes.

Those eyes had looked at him with the first look of pride and affection he'd ever seen, those eyes crinkled at the edges when he laughed; which was often. Those eyes had looked at him without fear, only understanding. Those eyes. Those eyes. Those eyes did not belong to him.. Topaz's hair fluffed up, his body swelled and shook in a great cascade of fury, the armour he wore audibly creaked and groaned against the muscled which grew underneath it. Topaz's jaw hung open, dripping saliva and foaming.

"I'm going to feed you your own heart," he said, deadly calmly. And then he pounced.
Coyotl waited. He couldn’t make his heart stop racing as he felt the rage erupt from the predator before him, but he could keep steady. He was an ambush predator, after all. Patience was his virtue, and his alone.

He was the predator. A predator, at least. Wentikowa. Wendigo. There were others like him, starved winter thing that he was. There were others much stronger than him, and others whose lives could give him strength when taken. That was nature. That was the life cycle of all creatures. It began with birth, forced its bloody way through time, and then stopped.

Coyotl wasn’t a major predator. He was a scavenger, half-dead at any given time. But he wasn’t going to let his time end here. He felt his heart beat under his skin, and breathed in the monster that wanted his life. He took the anger as reassurance in the long second that it took to spread throughout the hound’s body.

Time stilled, leaving room for doubt as the enemy pounced.

He remembered another time when the world stopped spinning, when he waited, cornered, for something so much larger and so much angrier than him to come too close to turn back. Arlo flashed through his mind, deadly horns pointed, eyes devoid of everything that made him love, that made him human. This thing in front of Coy had never had those things in the first place.

That made the doubt go away faster, at least. Fast enough for the energy in his legs to finally release, for him to move his so-much-lighter body and avoid the waiting claws and fangs. As he moved, the affected eyes and throat shifted back to his natural self, feral and fierce.

He made for the fire escape. Another lure, another bait. Stairs would be too slow to get away from something this big. The wall to either side of it, however, was scuffed and rough. While his claws were kept short to pass as human nails, they were still tough enough – and just long enough – to serve his purpose. He pounced at the wall, and wasted no time scaling it.

He didn’t look back to see if the monster followed. He knew the answer. There was a hunt on, after all. He would either escape and live, or he’d be caught and die. As much as he’d prefer the first – he really didn’t want to find out what his heart tasted like – those were the only options. He was prey, now. The only edge he had was to know how a predator thought – and even then, a monster like the one at his back wouldn’t hunt the same way he did.

He knew enough, though. And if he didn’t… it’d hurt for a while, sure. But then it’d be over.

He just had to put it off as long as he could.