Other shops in theory he knew how they worked, you got the item, you payed for the item and you left. Though Connor had a habit of forgetting to do the second part, more than a few times he'd seen something he thought was interesting and simply walked off with it. No one had tried to stop him, so he'd figured at the time he was allowed to don that. It took a while for him to realize they likely didn't try to stop him because they were terrified of him and didn't think there was anything they could do.
Todd had said this place was ran by a friend, so Connor was determined not to steal from him. He stuffed his pockets full of random assortments of cash, trusting that it would be enough for some music. One music? Two? Connor realized he didn't actually understand what he was buying, or what he wanted to buy. He questioned why he was even here... people, right, he needed to practice talking to people. And music, he wanted to understand music, Todd listened to music, Sam probably did too, and Lapis. People listened to music. It was a people thing to do. Animals did not. Buying and listening to music made him a person.
He was caught up in his thought that he didn't realize that the front door to the VULTURE cafe and music shop was locked, he twisted pushed through the door without even thinking to a series of wooden cracks! and snaps! Connor stood there in a moment just inside the store. It took him a moment to realize that the store was dark, that he's just cracked the door out of it's frame and snapped the lock almost completely - because the store was closed, and he'd just broken in.
"Oh dear-" Connor said, tensing in place for a moment expecting an alarm to sound.
Due to his enhanced hearing, Kosuke was a particularly light sleeper. Earplugs, white nose, ten-hour ambient rainfall noises- he had tried it all, and none of it really helped. The only thing to get him to sleep soundly was to tire himself out enough during the day that he had no choice- and, even then, it was often interrupted. He kept the noise in his house to a minimum; never ran laundry over night, kept all his fans off, left Carrie in another room. Still, it often wasnt enough. Though it never slowed his cognitive processes, the physical effects of tiredness were... annoying.
All of this meant there wasnt really much difference in where he actually slept, when it came to the quality of sleep. Kosuke could sleep at work, at home, in the studio; hed have the same level of vague morning malaise regardless. So, that night, feeling too lazy to pack his stuff into his bike and drive to his apartment, he decided to sleep in the cash office.
The hand on the lock was the first thing he heard. That familiar click, muted by the distance, carried to him by the open door in the otherwise soundproof room. Then, a louder click. Then, a crack- the door being thrown off its hinges. Kosuke sat up. He wasnt alone.
There was no alarm system in VULTURE that night. Well, there was one, but Kosuke never left it on when he was still in the building. His hearing was enough to alert him to any intruders, and an alarm system would bring the attention of anyone in the surrounding area. Considering the way he tended to deal with intruders, that was the last thing he wanted. Better to sort these things out quietly, no? Better to sort them out... unheard.
He turned to the computer, loading up the sound system, connecting to his remote, and queuing a sound to play on a button press. Disquiet, he called it. Imperceptibly low, as all his tones were, but by far the most effective for a situation like this. To hear it meant fear; intense and growing, enough to disorient and eventually paralyse whoever it managed to reach. With a quiet hum, Kosuke slid out of the chair and clicked the remote, playing the poison note through the shop floor.
He waited a few beats before leaving the office.
The intruder, from where he stood, could see a figure begin to approach, cloaked in the darkness of the staff corridor. It approached the open doorframe, stopping when it reached it, leaning casually against the side with a smile faintly visible on its face. When it spoke, its voice was calm, and quiet, and undeniably malicious.
Connor was expecting an alarm, loud and sharp, he wasn't prepared for the low tone which vibrated through the air. For a moment he was just confused, in another moment his entire body began to vibrate. He felt his heart drop, he sucked in air like he was drowning. His hackles were raised, his entire body grew in size; not in anger no it was attempting to scare off whatever threat was now attacking Connor. But there was nothing, nothing but this palpable thick feeling which crumbled Connor's legs from underneath him. He squeezed his hands over his ears hard, as if trying to squash the sound out of his mind. He felt alone, he felt chains weighting him down, a locked cage around him; as a smiling face with red eyes leaned down and branded him like an animal. A loud yowling sound escaped escaped his lips, a pathetic cry for mercy from a wounded animal.
He was a shaking near-sobbing mess when Kosuke walked in, Connor didn't even notice him, he just remained on the floor.
He tended to take things slowly, when he could afford to. This seemed like one of those times. It took a few moments for Kosuke to walk towards the would-be robber, even after he watched him collapse to the floor- and, when he did move, his steps were slow and rhythmic, rocking from heel to toe, listening as the muted thump of rubber on worn-down carpet mixed with the note he was certain only he could hear. His smile, despite having reason enough to grow, remained faint and static. Emotionless. Except, once he reached the heap before him, there was a moment of... recognition.
This wasn't an unexpected guest at all. This man- he was a friend of Todd's, wasn't he?
Kosuke clicked the remote again, stopping the sound immediately, before hastening his approach. The sound the man had made- yeah, yeah this guy was definitely weird, definitely the guy in question. His own smile had faded, replaced by perfectly moulded concern- worry, panic, guilt. He reached out, arms trembling, then pulled them back, as if out of respect for this man's personal space.
"Oh, fuck, u-uh-" He stammered, "Y-you okay, man? You, uh- you hit your head on the way in, or something?"
He waved his hands in the air in some frantic, meaningless gesture, before stepping away towards the coffee bar, digging through the cupboards for a plastic cup he could fill with water- cold water, this time. Not like the last robber he had caught in the act.
The last real one, anyway.
"You're- you're alright, okay? You're gonna be alright- I'm not mad at you or anything, I'm not gonna call the cops. I'm just getting you some water."
He laughed, a little drier than he should have.
"Then we can have a talk about why you're here, yeah?"
Connor's fingers clawed the floor and dug burs into the carpet that lined the floor, as if he was holding on for dear life. The sound had stopped, but the fear remains for a moment, as if Connor's body couldn't quite accept that the danger was gone. She shook like a leaf, and his hair mattered over his face in a sweaty heap.
There was a voice, one that projected concern and worry- or was trying to, this was a different sound. There has been another voice, once that had spoken during the fear, full of malice and danger. This was not that voice; but neither was this voice being honest with its intention. Connor smelled coffee on the man, stale old roasts soaked into every inch of him; disinfectant, chemical, artificial, too clean. He also smelled a liar.
"I..." Connor stared at the water cup, unwilling to look this man in the eye, he didn't know what he was, or what he wasn't. "I was looking for music?"
He didn't seem alright- and, unlike most, he didn't try to convince Kosuke that he was. He remained on the ground, clawing up the store's carpet like Carrie did when she was stressed, or bored, or just wanted to piss you off. The cat in question was asleep in the break room. Hopefully, she would remain asleep.
Kosuke tentatively handed the man the cup, slowly crouching down to his level as he did so. It was something he did with animals, sometimes- stray cats, and the like. Making himself appear small, appear harmless. Despite his unimpressive frame, he knew he could be intimidating sometimes- fuck, he used it sometimes, but this was absolutely not the right situation for that. Not at all. So, his posture was relaxed, his movements were slow, and his stature reduced. He was crouched, knees tucked into his chest, next to the man- too awkward a position to attack from, certainly. Surely that would make him seem harmless.
"Music." He smiled, "Well, our opening hours are- were on the door, but- yeah, I think I can help you with that."
He rocked back on his feet, to the point where he was almost sitting on the floor.
"Wait, you're- you're Todd's friend, aren't you? He told me to keep an eye out for someone..."
Connor was left in a state of terrible confusion, just a moment ago he'd been bombarded with... something, fear, sound, it didn't feel natural whatever it was; and a sense of malice from this man that spelled his end. Yet in a moment everything was fine, he lowered himself down as a sign that he wasn't a threat. Was it really a mistake? Something in Connor's gut told him that wasn't exactly the case. He took the cup and drank the water.
He suddenly felt very vulnerable and weak, this didn't happen often where someone was able to get a hand over him this quickly; espcially someone who as far as Connor could tell wasn't a predator like him. If a flash of desire to regain some semblance of control he stood up, slowly rising to his full height and allowing his large frame to fill out the space as much as he could. It wasn't a threat, it was a display. Though part of Connor doubted it was very impressive given the display he'd given just a moment ago.
"Yes, I'm Todd's..." Friend? Were they friends? Friend seemed like the wrong word. Brothers? No, packmates? No. "... I'm Todd's friend." Connor briefly considered apologizing for the door, but his inner desire to not show any further submission wouldn't allow it.
The man stood up to his full height; substantially taller than him, which wasn't the case that often. Satisfied that he had taken the water, Kosuke followed suit, stretching his back a little from the ache that crouching seemed to have inflicted. His posture was slouched- sleepy and casual. His eyes were safe behind the sunglasses, half-open and friendly. He smiled, and he nodded, and he seemed like an entirely different person than the figure in the hallway.
What he didn't seem, at all, was intimidated. Despite their difference in height, difference in build, and the fact that this man had broken into the store with his bare hands, the lazy shopkeep didn't seem all that concerned. In truth, he never did. It was part of what made it work when a customer was being particularly aggressive- something about seeing this unimpressive, somewhat lithe musician standing as still as he would if he weighed a hundred pounds more tended to put people off, like they knew he didn't have to fight them in a way they could comprehend.
They usually interpreted this as legal threats, rather than infrasound hypnotic suggestion, but it got the point across.
"Ah, that's good!" Kosuke noddded, "It's nice he has friends, since moving here- god, I sound like his dad, or something. Or maybe a weird uncle. I feel like- Cass told me I'm like a weird uncle. Not in a creepy way, which- I mean, I'd hope so, I'd never-"
He raised a hand to stop himself, as if physically trying to push back his train of thought.
"Anyway, how's he doing? Have you seen him recently? How's his, ah... hiking accident healing up?"
He wasn't intimidated, he didn't even seem to be phased. Connor was beginning to wonder if everyone in Pittsburgh was out of their minds. How did this guy even know Todd?
Hiking? Todd went hiking? And got injured? Hiking? Connor thought back to when he'd visited Todd's shop. He had been limping, but Connor had figured it happened during a hunt, and Todd had all but confirmed that was the case. So either Todd had lied to Kosuke, or he was lying to Connor. It was hard to tell when the whole things stank of dishonesty.
"He was... doing okay... I'm Connor by the way," He found himself unable to decide how to act, was Kosuke a predator? Prey? A threat? Not? He had no idea what was going on anymore.
"Kosuke." He responded with a smile, "It's nice to finally meet you, Connor."
Finally? What on Earth did he mean like that? Kosuke would let Connor think over the question, perhaps to wonder how much Todd had talked about him. In truth, he didn't know much about the man at all- just that he was new, odd, and interested in music. All three of which, Kosuke could do. He could do very, very well.
"So- music, you said. Any reason why you had to, ah... break into my store to get it?"
He didn't sound angry, per se, but the veneer of customer-service fineness was audibly fragile. Shockingly, he didn't want to have to deal with a would-be burglar- especially not in a non-violent way.
Still, thin as it was, the smile remained- though, perhaps that made it worse.
Maybe this was a mistake. Connor did take the time to wonder why Todd would specifically send him to the establishment of... whatever Kosuke was, how were they even friends? Then again, Connor reasoned, he did just break through his front door; that was bound to make any social interaction awkward.
"I didn't... mean to," Connor said. "...sorry? I didn't realize you were closed."
Well, the door was closed and shuttered, it was long past midnight, and the opening times were quite clearly posted on the window. Somehow, this bizarre man had missed all of that- or maybe he didn't care. Kosuke was no strangers to customers who didn't care when their opening times were, but his main experience with those usually came in the form of people banging on the door before they opened, or stragglers saying they'll just be a minute, they only want a few things. This wasn't that. Connor wasn't acting like an entitled customer. In fact, Kosuke wasn't sure whether the man had ever been a customer at all.
"The door was closed and shuttered," He said, patient as he was confused, "It's long past midnight, and the opening times- never mind."
"You broke my door, man. I'm gonna have to pay for a new one."