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May, 2010... Fantasy became reality. Worlds overlay for the briefest moment. Outworlders became stranded on earth as more than half the human populace vanished. Our World, our universe, was transformed.

Fiction is now reality. Humans and those now bound to this world will either learn to coexist, or battle for supremecy.

JUNE 13, 2019 - Family emergency  took a bad turn so had to stay away but now things are finally calming down. Hope to get going again shortly. Thanks for understanding. ~ZEPH

Rorye Shannon-Kearney

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381 Bringing Sexy Back

About Rorye Shannon-Kearney

  • Rank
    Nicely Seasoned


    Gemma Arterton (Olga Kurylenko as Red with permission)
  • AGE
    Early thirties
  • RACE
    Altered Human, Physical
  • JOB
    Owner of The Book of Kells; ARMA Informant
    New York
    Rorye has unique features. Dark chocolate eyes are set in a porcelain complexion with a light spatter of freckles, strong jaw complimented by an exotic gentle nose. Long hair is mahogany smooth, sometimes in curls, usually worn up or braided in a single thick plait.

    She is slightly above average height for a woman, the extra height able to carry her curves well. Shoulders are squared and powerful, muscles toned and visible. When standing still, the striking resemblance to a Greek statue with a Valkyrie temper is hard to miss.

    Dress is mostly relaxed and gauzy fabrics mixed with jeans and comfortable slip-on shoes while in the the shop. In public, the 'raised in Hell's Kitchen' edge is evident. She clings to a worn but well cared for hip length fitted black leather jacket, sleeves to her knuckles and narrow when zipped. Leather, low heeled black boots under jeans add slightly to an already formidable height. On rare occasions she does dress up nicely, also having no qualms about donning utilitarian clothes to get work done in her greenhouse. She prefers comfy casual with a bit of romantic flair, not above a gauzy shirt over a cami and jeans to work a day in her shop.

    Most of the time she has little to no make-up on. If she does, it's usually lined eyes and a neutral lipstick- her features are so unique she rarely needs any.

    Her spine is painted in an incredible artistic display of woad colored mandala Celtic knotwork tattooing; a stunning homage to her British heritage and fondness of the Morrigan mythology.
    Rorye has been affected unusually in several regards by the Nevus event. Since an encounter with a vicious botched possession, an entity she’s dubbed “Red” has latched onto the energy field of her unique Enhanced psyche. Trapped from ancient magic, it was released instead of going up in flames with its prison. Its soul, has set up residence in her psyche. She feels its emotions and speech- most of the time in its native tongue and a mixture of Latin. She can allow it to channel her, able to tap the skills and fighting expertise of the ancient warrior for a short time before she burns out; unfortunately taking on Red’s personality, mannerisms and hot temper during the episode- which are a more aggressive form of her own. The longer she is able to channel her "shadow" and allow control, the longer the personality traits linger and physical manifestations of the entity's appearance can be seen; bruising where Red's scars are, some delightful feudal personality traits and even a slight color change of her eyes. She has never attempted to banish the presence, who feels much like a shadow, or the darkness inside a mind that is fractured with another personality.

    At night, especially when the rift is visible in the sky, she can feel the pull on her blood; as if the strange tear in the fabric of time and space is trying to yank Red back into her rightful place and world. Perhaps it is Rorye who is out of place, or maybe they were never two separate people at all. What is not understood about the Nevus, keeps her questioning her duality every time she stares into the night sky; finding unusual calm in gazing into the unknown.

    Rorye is a tremendous fighter. It doesn’t matter how she comes out on top, only that she survives and any that she calls friends are safe. Exceptionally loyal and protective, she is patient to a point; if friends are observed to be exhibiting behavior detrimental to their well being or survival, she will intervene without question in whatever means necessary. She has no problem bringing violence, brutality and death to the table if she perceives a threat to herself or those she loves- even if putting herself in great danger to accomplish it.

    Most of the time, she is quiet and rational with sharp wit made memorable by a smoky, gentle voice. She can be abrasive if she’s annoyed or perceives ignorance; intolerant of stupidity and carelessness. Her business savvy is evident in her work, remarkably knowledgeable and resourceful to acquire necessary items for her shop. That business savvy is most put to use in the ‘trafficking’ of information. Since her business is at a crossroads for many faction needs, she sees a lot of counterbalanced customers purchasing things to strengthen themselves against one another. She is a trustworthy and sought after source, and if she likes you enough she just might give you a nugget of information you could use. Information is never bought and sold, she is a trusted "gun-runner" in the metaphysical "weapons" community; but, she doesn't see the need to hide there may have been a run on a particular fetish or spell ingredient in recent months.

    Personally, she struggles with the emptiness left by her husband’s death. There is no remorse for killing him; she did what she had to do to save her life. However, he was her soul mate and the betrayal of his attempt on her life still haunts her; reluctant to trust anyone too quickly. Always having been close to her family, she now fights the loneliness it has left behind. She does not wear her wedding ring, instead leaves both of them tucked in the eye-sockets of his skull kept behind the counter of the shop.

    Red is the Boudicca of Celtic legend. History often written by the “winners” of the conflict, the actual truth is somewhere between the legend of the goddess Morrigu, and the Roman history of Boudica. Thrust into the spotlight after her sister and nieces were raped and striped by the Romans, she stepped forward when her brother-in-law Prasutagus failed to uphold their honor and led a bloody rampage against the empire.

    The spirit’s image is identical to that in life; covered completely with vibrant cobalt blue woad tattoos in intricate whorls and knots. The only clear flesh is her hands and feet, face, neck and the center of her chest and her breasts. Her forearms are feather scarred from a captor’s attempt to burn the tattoos from her skin. She is also heavily marked from battle, especially her upper arms. A long red line extends from her left ear across her collarbone. Another large almond shaped scar is a through and through over and behind her heart. An enormous scar encompasses her right side from her navel to her kidney, and another large puncture to her left shoulder blade is also visible. Her hair is a scarlet torrent of hundreds upon hundreds of tiny thigh length braids tipped in copper beads The apparition is seen dressed in leather breeches, thigh high boots with dozens of strapped buckles, a sleeveless hardened vest burnished with Celtic knotwork over a battleworn tunic. Two hard leather bracers are laced tightly to her forearms with multitudes of leather belts crisscrossing her hips and twin sheaths.

    Red is also an incredible double handed swordsman, a conglomeration of tradition, training and desperation. In a fight, nothing is sacred and she will strike a deathblow in whatever way possible, preferring to incapacitate first to savor the death and prolong suffering. Her hand to hand combat is also substantial, as well as her bowmanship, horsemanship and grasp of military tactics.

    She is a towering, striking woman with a white hot temper, insatiable libido, sinister humor and the fortitude of an army.
    Business; "The Book of Kells; Tea, Reads and Occult Shoppe" and three inconsequential NPC's that help run the shop (Nina- an artsy elderly woman that runs it when Rorye is not there, Jesse- a college age young man that keeps everything neat/stocked and running smoothly, and Beau- a middle-aged mom that manages the tea house). The shop is in Manhattan, close to Central Park and the art museum. It is a bi-level, old Victorian storefront that resembles a turn of the 20th century house with a complimentary utilitarian front addition. To the left of the entrance a small teahouse up five steps that specializes in personal blends as well as other apothecary needs, forward is the eclectic book collection on anything and everything history, mythological and metaphysical and to the right the general occult shop. It's a warm place to relax and meet with other altered peoples as well as shop for needed items to meet any magic and altered needs. Accepts currency of late, trades and bartering. Above it is her personal home and an attached apartment she sometimes rents out. On the roof is her greenhouse and "Observatory Cafe", a small private place for special regulars to meet and watch the rift sky through multiple elaborate telescopes- the observatory accessed only through locked door from the tea house.

    Michael Kearney's skull mounted with an antique brass chamberstick; which unfortunately happens to be an 'artifact'. The face of the skull faces the wall, hiding the fact that it indeed does have vampire teeth. Only her employees know it's an actual vampire skull.

    Greenhouse on the roof of the shop where she grows food and many of her herbs year round.

    A pair of custom made light knives the length of her forearms with custom forearm sheaths,

    A pair of antique short swords similar to Wakizashi, with matching hilts and a binding ring that unlocks Red's expertise when unsheathed.

    Dragon-made karambits.

    A Ducati 848 in primer black.
    Rorye stays close to her neighborhood, seen as a pillar of the community and owning the place "to be seen". She has casual acquaintances with members of ARMA; Cassandra Greene and Alec Walker most notable after a brief relationship with Alistair Greene until his disappearance. She is connected to the underground relic and artifact trade and keeps her contacts confidential, one of her favorites being the resident dragon.


    Rorye’s ability for extreme speed and agility has begun to show signs of mutation attributed to a recent collision with the very people she trusted and does business with. Unclear whether it was repeated exposure to her chamberstick artifact or the result of a botched possession, the results have been significant. Formerly unable to engage her enhanced speed effectively due to deficiency of stamina and mortal level bone strength, she has discovered this is no longer the case. Skeletal strength has found equilibrium with her speed and agility, making her a deadly hand to hand fighter enhanced with boxing/kickboxing training. Adding a bladed weapon to the mix is stunningly lethal. Using brute force will burn her ability levels quickly to a limit of a half hour, with recharge periods of hours. The freedom of movement and lack of impact allowed by blades extends her usage to an hour, with the same recharge time needed. As she refines her skill with blades, her potential is staggering.

    Channeled Consciousness; Rorye has been affected unusually in several regards by the Nevus event. Since an encounter with a vicious botched possession, an entity she’s dubbed “Red” has latched onto the energy field of her unique Enhanced psyche. Trapped from ancient magic, it was released instead of going up in flames with its prison. Its soul, has set up residence in her psyche. She feels its emotions and speech- most of the time in its native tongue and a mixture of Latin. She can allow it to channel her, able to tap the skills and fighting expertise of the ancient warrior for a short time before she burns out; unfortunately taking on Red’s personality, mannerisms and hot temper during the episode- which are a more aggressive form of her own. The longer she is able to channel her "shadow" and allow control, the longer the personality traits linger and physical manifestations of the entity's appearance can be seen; bruising where Red's scars are, some delightful feudal personality traits and even a slight color change of her eyes. She has never attempted to banish the presence, who feels much like a shadow, or the darkness inside a mind that is fractured with another personality.

    At night, especially when the rift is visible in the sky, she can feel the pull on her blood; as if the strange tear in the fabric of time and space is trying to yank Red back into her rightful place and world. Perhaps it is Rorye who is out of place, or maybe they were never two separate people at all. What is not understood about the Nevus, keeps her questioning her duality every time she stares into the sky; finding unusual calm in gazing into the night sky.

    "Chamberstick" artifact. This Victorian, antique brass chamberstick was a gift from her husband in a set of two shortly before the Event. Oddly enough, only one exhibited any type of atypical power. When it sits near her husband's skull, the nub of a candle lights up at her presence in a strange quiver of iridescent light on the wick where the flame should be. It responds to her voice, changes color with her mood, and alerts her to danger by lighting up and flickering gently before siphoning out. Seeing the relationship between the two items, she had the thing mounted on the skull to keep others from playing with or separating it. It sits behind the register counter in her shop.

    In Game Update: Towenar bound Rorye's "shadow Red" to a ring she wears. Instead of manipulating her, it can be used in short bursts of expertise in two enchanted shortblades (longer version of karambits) that are "connected" to the entity in the ring, effectively unleashing what before would take over Rorye completely-now only present in the blades. Think a lock and a key idea. The ring is the lock, the karambits are the key- unleashing a sharper control over the wild child. She can still 'hear' the entity, she just has more finite control over fighting skill when she draws the blades and unlocks Red's expertise. The blades can withstand the force her speed can unleash when it hits. So now, she has the strong set on her forearms from Ali's guy, and a long karambit set on her spine from Johann. She can no longer draw on Red's expertise without unlocking it with the karambits. It does not transfer to other weapons. No one is really sure what happens when she takes the ring off, so she never does.
    Exceptional knowledge of all things occult, mystic affiliations, alternative and traditional religions, mythology, history, healing traditions, and natural magic. Pre-Resonance, her knowledge base centered specifically on what was understood to be “true” of the known metaphysical, religious, and magic practices. After the world changed, this has understandably been expanded to the new rules of existence, or lack thereof, as her business was sought out to provide items to those with newly discovered abilities. She now caters discretely to unusual needs, as well as continues to supply survivors still practicing pre-Resonance alternative religions and traditions; a trusted businesswoman with a finger on the pulse of the new and old metaphysical.

    Rorye is a prolific boxer and kickboxer, still refining her kickboxing skills several times a week at the local gym. Her boxing skills are rusty, but still useful.


    Green thumb.

    Business savvy and organizational skills.

    Knife/shortblade defensive and offensive fighting styles.
    Rorye was born and raised in New York City with heavy Scottish heritage. Parent’s lilt was thick; the New York influence seemed thicker. Having a slight accent as a child, the Scot in her verbally lessened over time to be replaced by the hint of a sultry New Yorker. She is a loyal, proud native of the city that never sleeps- with a significant weakness for men in kilts.

    She was married in 2009, shortly before the Resonance to her high school sweetheart Michael Kearney; opening a small teahouse and bookstore together in Manhattan near the art museum. It grew instantly successful in the short honeymoon whirlwind of their marriage, branching out into a more metaphysical market and meeting place. They began to carry fine quality and obscure occult items at the request of patrons. The place was always bustling with warm friends and laughter, their financial needs stable and wanting for nothing. Life seemed perfect.

    When the world changed, both were affected. Rorye appeared at first to be the focus of its ire, sickness and unconsciousness followed for days. Her husband disappeared; Michael oddly had locked himself in the old vault beneath the shop, emerging as something terrible and unable to be reasoned with. Terrified he’d become like the monsters now wreaking havoc in the city she took action, fumbling with new found powers against an incredibly hostile and disoriented lover. He showed no mercy, only a vicious need to kill her. She in turn struck first, stabbing him in the throat with hedge trimmers from her greenhouse and subsequently beheaded him during the struggle.

    Disoriented grieving followed, burying his body in the courtyard behind the shop, a single stone as his marker still can be found beneath the overgrown grass. His head was another matter, left for several days where it had fallen amongst a scattered bookshelf and chotsky during the struggle. The strange light that emanated next to it from a chamberstick he’d given her as a gift kept her from touching the seemingly enchanted thing. She was convinced for a time the skull itself was charmed, only dashing that theory when it became necessary for obvious reasons to remove it. After discovering the chamberstick responded to her and the skull’s presence, she had them permanently fused; a morbid, but necessary act. She keeps his skull behind the counter as a candle holder, and can often be seen telling it to turn itself off; calling it by her husband’s name. Many of her employees often wonder if she is more disturbed by his death than she lets on. Only she knows the thing works under its own power, everyone else is convinced she is doing the trick herself. She is one of the few that knows the secret of the existence of vampires, Michael's fanged skull seen as just another interesting "prop" in her shop.

    She continues to run the fruitful occult shop specializing in any and all things magic supplies, books and her personal favorite teas. The business crosses many barriers and has a lot of connections, supplier to a large amount of magic needs. Rorye can get virtually anything for anyone, which makes her a sought after ally and a crossroads for information from every faction.

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  1. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Walk It Off

    “Sun Tzu once said, ‘The greatest victories are those which require no battle.” Corner of her lips quirked up. She had that book, a few really nice old editions in her shop. For some reason after the world ended people were really interested in learning how to outsmart opponents. The older ones were more popular… revisions to later editions and all that book snobbery as reasons they gave her. “Let’s see if you can even hit me. Then we’ll worry about whether or not you can hurt me.” Great. …another reminder that she’d gotten the short end of the magus stick. It was one of her pet peeves, kindling a bit more volatility behind the narrowing of her eyes before she threw her first punch. She'd suspected he was fast, but damn. The moment she made contact, she knew she was fucked, moving to try and stave the inevitable… not fast enough. The second her foot was swept, a catlike reflex had begun to save her footing to recover, broken by the resulting shove. She always hated what came after, back smacking the mat. It was over that fast. Son of a... “You good?” “I hate you…” she said with deadpan annoyance from her horizontal position, staring up at the ceiling. Every time she increased her speed, the backlash was always her greatest fear. The faster she moved, the harder she hit or rebounded, including when it wasn’t in her favor. It was a flinch response she’d developed from learning the hard way that her newfound abilities came with consequences; namely broken fingers. In the back of her mind she had a trained muscle memory to pull back to avoid injury, something she no longer had to worry about but still lingered. The more she punched, the more the fear subsided, the harder and faster her hits became. She could tap it at any time, the psych-out a serious hindrance in the start of a fight. Sigh was pulled in and let out in a good-natured huff. Kip up sharp, it was obvious she had more skill than she was letting on. Back on her feet and pissed off, she shrugged her shoulders to shake off the sting. Spine tingled, a flicker of anger touching the edges of her eyes at his smirk. The thoughtful, determined quirk to her lips was not going to last long at this pace. Fist bumped, round two. As he resumed his stance, she changed hers. She wasn’t just a boxer; she could kick hard enough to knock a man’s teeth out. What basics she'd learned a long time ago, had definitely been mastered. Gloves metaphorically off, she'd leveled up, completely avoiding the same mistake as before that had knocked her on her ass. It was becoming obvious she was a ridiculously fast learner made even more so by the altered skill; what she saw, she could imitate with a keen spacial awareness sans miscalculation. It was quickly evident why old friends avoided sparring with her. They didn't want to get their ass kicked by a girl. Now, there was also wrath hiding in the wings. Unpredictable, brutal and deadly, it was already tapping on her consciousness to get her attention. The vicious conscience on her shoulder was watching with great interest, beginning to feed off her anger and it was starting to bleed into her movements. They were not fair shots. If she had a weapon in her hand they were intended to be torturous, cutting tendon and connective tissue until her opponent was incapacitated and suffering. Their results were meant to be cruel. Unpredictable, changing on a dime, and powerful as hell, the self control was starting to shed; peeling away to reveal a peek into what was to come.
  2. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    When Has Become Now

    Rooftops. Standing under the fire escape, what she could see she recognized. From where she was, she could get there with only one street to cross. They hadn’t managed to drive with her very far before the situation had turned nuclear; the gym was now roughly halfway back to the shop. One trek she had wanted to take Ryan on when the weather got better was over the rooftops. They were like a network with the historical buildings, seeing the world from above instead of having to bustle through the streets was unique to an old city. Plus, it was fun as hell. In the winter, in a storm? She would have to make no mistakes, and trust she knew the jump points. Staying off the street was worth the risk. A few running steps and she kicked off the wall, fingers catching the bottom rung. One hand slipped off from the ice, her swing backward giving her enough momentum to get her hand back up and pull herself upward. The stairs were steep, breathing in the cold air was taking its toll and dizziness was setting in. Not much farther and she would at least be out of the elements. The way she was going was as the crow flies, pulling herself onto the roof and starting her trek. Ears were nearly frozen, her leather coat doing a lot to cut the wind, but the layers beneath had lost their warmth before she left the accident. Gloves had been pulled back on, but there was only so much you could do when all there was between you and the frigid air was a few layers. Hop up onto the old pharmacy, jump down to the apartments in between, climb up and over the air vents on the next complex over… the locations were being checked off in her mind to keep them straight. Shivering had set in, but she was pushing herself to the limit. Getting her face out of the open was the primary goal. The trek down the fire escape seemed longer than it should have been, realizing she’d stopped moving. The world around her was moving. Too damn cold, everything felt disoriented. Forcing one foot in front of the other to the last landing, she slid off to hang and drop the final distance to the ground. Left hand again gave way, left leg crumpling on impact. Something was definitely wrong. It couldn’t be bone, could it? That was something that had corrected itself when the world rocked a second time… broken bones were still possible under extreme circumstances for her, but it was unlikely. Concussion was more likely. Her aching left side heralded something more at work, no time to stop and think about it. The world was spinning again, worse as she pulled herself up and tried to steady her left side. Her left shoulder had joined the tangle of pain. Only one more street to cross, and the gym would be in sight. Before, the hitch in her step was annoying. It was becoming more profound the further she went. Shoulder leaned heavily on each of the gates to steady herself as she unlocked them and pulled them closed to secure again. Bypassing the breaker box, she made a beeline for the second floor from the foyer, aware of the tingle on her right hand now that the wind was no longer battering her body. She yanked off her glove, it was bleeding. Glass possibly, or the guy's face. Fingers stretched out as she pulled herself up the stairs. A little of both. She shouldered into her small loft room, unconsciously glancing around to make sure nobody was there. Why would they be? Still a habit. In her tiny bathroom, the hot water was sought, adjusting it so it didn't scald her skin. Pulling off her other glove, she let the warm water sluice over her hands, swirling with pink. Shivering had started some time ago, worse now that she was in relative warmth. Squinting into the mirror, a deep cut on her left temple was blossoming into a bruise that had already turned her cheek and under eye purple. The bleeding had ceased for now. Hair was pulled out, seethe sharp as her arm stretched upward to pull it back and secure it into a looped ponytail. Before freezing skin would feel better, it would sting like hell. Warm water was cupped in her hands and run over her face to get the blood off. Hers. Theirs. Who the hell knew? White towel wiped the rest off and she tossed it into the sink. The snowstorm had managed to get some of the blood off her leather coat but it in turn ran off onto her jeans; they were not salvageable. She limped into her room, carefully removing her leather coat and laying it over a chair near the door, discovering she was still dripping blood from her hand. It would definitely need stitches, returning to the bathroom to retrieve a hand towel to wrap it. She wanted nothing more at that moment than to climb into the shower with water on full hot. She wasn’t safe yet, it would have to wait. Several old lockers doubled as her closet. Searching through a few folded stacks of tee shirts, she found what she was looking for. One of her old gray zip-up hoodies would add an extra layer under the leather jacket. She had an old belt knife on top of the lockers, checking for it. Jackpot. It was slid into the hoodie pocket. Gun in her waistband was checked. The other had only one shot left. She should never have taken off her blades, or stepped out of her front door without being armed. But, Stanford was a friend. He was a cop. She still shouldn't have trusted him or gotten into the car with someone she was unfamiliar with. This was a brutal lesson she was already damning herself for, and was not looking forward to explaining to Ryan. It had been a test of her metal, and in her eyes she'd come up short on every level. She pulled the hood up and put her coat back on to keep warm, sudden pain on her left side catching the breath in her lungs. She sought the bathroom mirror and pulled up everything to run her ‘bandaged’ hand over her left ribcage. It was a rainbow of dark colors. Broken? Fingers pushed at her stomach just below her ribs, the pain bringing a nauseous choke. She had internal injuries. Deep bruising at the bare minimum. Slamming into a car door could do that. “Shit,” was said out loud, the same time her eyes snapped to something in her room. There were mementos from her old life in the room, a few old pictures. Same bed, a couple of throw pillows, wool blankets, a few things on the walls; items that deserved to stay in the place where the memories had been made. A shoe box that had been under her bed was now on it, open with items out. She frowned, silently turning in a circle to take stock of everything she'd glossed over when she came in. Things were out of place. Someone had been searching her room. Inaudible footsteps made their way to the bed, picking up the items that were pulled out and rifled through. Mementos and fliers for advertised fights her brothers had been in. Pictures of her and her brothers. Her mother and father. Ryan had keys, but… he wouldn’t do this. She didn’t hesitate. Not spending another moment thinking about who could have or would have, she was moving again. Up the stairs to the balcony access, yanking the red pulls for the roof vent and making her way up the ladder. She was not moving fast enough. Muscles were burning, injuries were taking their toll. Getting to his apartment was a longer trek by far, and the distance was daunting. She would not lose this round, they would have to shoot her first. Pulling herself out of the escape access and onto the roof, the chill hit her like a whip. After a block she would have to go back to the street, on the street she would have to be more vigilant. She could stop in a storefront or two to regain some warmth, but it was closing time for almost everything, and bloody was never a good sign to anyone. She couldn’t trust the cops if they were called. Riding the bus was a more direct route, but it would draw the same attention. Subway. She knew the system backward and forward and could evade as long as she felt it was safe. Train hopping would keep her off the street, and would get her close enough to make a last break for his apartment. Of course, she probably wouldn’t be in one station long enough for Ryan to catch up, assuming he’d gotten the original call. Something was also very wrong; skin pale, nauseous. Thoughts of a concussion were giving way to greater fears. The momentary respite had given her enough recharge to get a few blocks from the gym on foot, disappearing down a subway drop and out of sight. Head down, face under the hood, hands in her pockets as she waited, the sparse traffic this time of night didn’t pay her a lick of attention. Train slid to a stop, sigh pained as she stepped on and made her way to the far corner of the car to sit. Back opposite the platform side, she could see who got on and off. Hood was also up, hiding her features from view even though she could still see and keep track of her surroundings. It was out of the elements, warm, and she leaned her right temple on the back wall, pulling her coat tighter around herself. As the car began to move, there was a small sense of relief. She needed to close her eyes. Just for a second.
  3. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    When Has Become Now

    Breath was ragged, everything quiet, back of her hands wiping the snow from her eyelashes that had turned pink from someone else’s blood. She could hear sirens… that moment between death and salvation when help was so close, yet so impossibly far away. It seemed to have made them pause in their trek around the car. *npc* “She called the damn cops.” Sirens suddenly went silent as if someone had flipped a switch. Maybe they had. Her detective was real. Fields? Unsure. If they’d compromised him, who knew who was calling the shots here. Wind shuffled snow around her in a sudden gust, heavy realization stopping her breath. Help wasn’t coming. They had backtracked slightly, now returning to finish their snatch and grab. Crowbar hit the hood again, muscles tensing at the sound. *npc* "C'mon, just make it easy." “Right or left!” The ferocity of her question from her position demanded an answer, she was shifting her weight to get her feet under her, listening to their movement. They stopped. The guy on her left was still closer. *npc* “The fuck?” “Right. Or. Left.” tone was fierce. “You choose which knee gets blown out first when you turn that corner.” *npc* “Shit.” Fear and intimidation were valuable tools, especially when you were bluffing about being armed. *npc* “You go get her, we gotta go!” “Where are we going gentleman?” They were quiet. *npc* “Somewhere to talk.” “About what? Maybe you’ll walk out of here without a fucking hole in your kneecaps if you tell me what’s going on. You could have asked nicely, you’re not inspiring a lot of trust here killing my chauffeurs.” *npc* “Well… can we call a truce? ...we'll fill you in.” They were communicating non-verbally, their pause in answering her was telling. Muscles coiled, running through her entire scenario in her head like a dance. She saw the tip of the crowbar first over her left shoulder; the idiot didn’t realize it was visible to her before he was. As she grabbed it right over left and pulled it toward her, he came with it, stumbling forward as she yanked it out of his hand. His downward momentum and her push upward from her right foot brought his face straight into the metal. The swing worthy of a home run cracked audibly against his nose, right hand letting go of it as the left followed through in a graceful arc, right fist slamming straight into his sternum. His head hit the bumper as he went down, metal flipped to the other hand and she launched it at the other as he was aiming. Several gunshots rang out, aim skewed as he raised his hand in front of his face to save his teeth. She was already behind it, the combination she’d practiced until she was too sore to move effectively disarming the asshole, crumpling his wrist and smashing the side of his knee. She secured his weapon and stuck it in the back of her waistband, punches until he was unconscious afterward pure fury. Unnecessary. Heated. Angry. Fury. Chest heaved for a moment as the silence fell around them all. Car sputtered and died, lingering hissing and popping for a few moments until even that was quiet. It had taken less than five seconds. She had to go. Now. Cell phones collected from everyone, she stuffed them in her jacket pockets. They were both alive but down, the first’s survival was questionable. Two dead in the car. Hastily reaching through the window and finally retrieving Field’s gun, the grunt was sharp at the pressure of the windowsill into her side. Standing up, leg buckled, hand on the sill to stay upright. She wasn’t hit… but something was wrong, steadying again to get the fuck out of there. They were the ones in the truck that had broadsided them. The truck was useless, they had to have called for a ride out of there. She had been that close to the “second location”, unsure if Stanford had helped or hurt her cause. Hurt. He'd tried to help, and his clusterfuck of a decision to accelerate was just now revealing its consequences. Back of her hand wiped her nose, it was bleeding? Hand was bleeding? Maybe. She wasn’t sure which was hers and which was the detectives’ or the other two. She had to go. Into the dark, into a storm. She scaled the chain-link fence, dropping to the other side with an audible cry of pain. She wasn’t hit, but her legs buckled again, catching herself with fingers through the links. After a few steps it was fine, hand under her coat on her side to begin to pick up speed. It was tender, but tolerable. Bruises definitely. She was almost certain she was fighting a concussion, maybe a cracked rib from the door when all came to a stop. Maybe. Evade and get to the gym. She had to put distance between her and this. Someone was coming, and it wasn’t friendlies. Pushing herself to move forward faster, hand pawed through her pocket to find her phone among the others, pulling it out. Screen was cracked, she’d landed on that side when she pushed out of the car. Damn! Keep moving. Keep out of sight. Slowing to evaluate how far to the next block and pause under a fire escape between two buildings, she was breathing harder than she should have been. Reaching up to stifle a cough brought on by trying to choke in frigid air, fingers drew back blood from her lip. Shit.
  4. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Broken Bones and Shattered Pride

    The back of her neck prickled as she waited for the elevator. Someone was watching her. Not Ryan, his door hadn’t opened again. It wasn’t threatening, caution needed nonetheless. Eyes burned, not from crying… fuck, she didn’t cry. She hadn’t cried since she fell and broke her arm as a kid. It was exasperation, fatigue that bled into feeling powerless. Her stoicism sometimes broke when nobody was around, allowing the overthinking to set in about what she’d said. Frustration had spilled from her in retort to his self-critical remarks, and then she’d simply lost control. He was the sea she was beginning to drown in... and damn it, she should never have admitted it. It fell out without thinking and she couldn’t take it back. It’s not that she didn’t mean it, it was just… she was just… exposed. The world always found a way to rip her heart out when she let her guard down. Eyes moved away from the call button, she’d been staring at it so long her eyes burned. Someone else was in the hall now. Looking up, smile was warm at an older woman that was returning to her own apartment from the other direction, her body language seeming to want to overshoot it and head to the elevator. Rorye knew when a conversation was about to happen, the businesswoman did it all the time to build relationships and make sales. The older woman wanted something, and more than likely it was information. She had one on her block just like her. Nice old guy and everything was his business. Rorye was the new face on the floor. Shiiit. It dawned on her abruptly. Was the older woman curious because she and Ryan were THOSE neighbors? The ones that could be heard through the walls when angry and otherwise? The otherwise. Bloody hell. Ears burned again as she suddenly looked at her phone, she wasn’t THAT loud… ish. Was she? She didn’t think she was, not exactly focused on that in the moment, but... Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ… He had an apartment. These were apartments! Her place was its own floor. No neighbors. Would he have said something if it was a problem? Eyes widened slightly and immediately shut down the thought process, rubbing the back of her neck as she squashed the impending horror from her immediate attention. She would have to ask him, not really sure how to breach THAT subject. Thumb hit a contact, holding the phone up to her ear to stave off any conversation. The woman slipped into her apartment, but the door remained cracked. Stealthy, she was not. They never were. “Cecily, hi. Yah, good morning. The box you’re holding for me, I’m going to swing by and pick that up today.” The doors opened and she stepped on, hanging up and hitting the button to the lobby. Once in, an enormous sigh relaxed her shoulders and she stared at the floor. Exhausted. Emotionally singed. It was a terrible idea to come, which was why it was absolutely necessary to do it anyway. Including him in her family circle meant that she was not the only alpha anymore. Burdens could be shared and they needed to learn to navigate the conflict. She ran in a small pack, he was a lone wolf; the sharing thing was new. No regret was in her tired stance. She wouldn’t have done anything differently. He obviously needed to get his head straight after a devastating blow, physically, emotionally, professionally. Being singularly focused for so long only to hit a wall was crushing for him. It was obvious. He had to learn to trust she wasn’t there to judge, only make certain her alpha was safe. It was the rejection that bothered her the most. He didn’t think she was strong enough to deal with his injuries. He didn’t say it, but she knew. Like misfortune to a family member or withholding information of a loved one’s passing until and important event was done, it felt like he’d tried to spare her. Taken her choice away to make that decision herself. Doubted her strength. That hurt. She was not green to conflict or danger. Her methods were unconventional, sure, but she was unshakable. Unbreakable. She’d held her hand to Jesse’s throat as he was bleeding to death, staring down the vampire only feet away and still managed to survive and kill it. Triaged dozens of critically injured people after the explosion that rocked ARMA and the city to the core, pulled them from rubble and rallied her contacts and resources together to house them until EMT could take care of them. Protected her home and patrons against a Were during the Bloodmoon and the resulting fire that nearly destroyed the shop. Just because she couldn’t sling magic didn’t mean she was weak, the bitterness a lump in her throat yet again. Of course, nobody knew that. She never talked about any of it. Therein was the problem. As the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened she prepared herself for the cold, phone springing to life in her hand as she pushed through the exterior doors. It was Ryan. She refused the call and stood on the sidewalk with the phone at her side. Icy wind licked a lock of hair into her face as she stood there, knowing she needed to go back. She wanted to go back. She’d said she would come if he called, jaw setting to turn around and head back up. Round two was in the making it seemed, the guy in the lobby nonchalantly watching her come back through. “Forgot something,” she gave him a tight smile. The. Fucking. Elevator. She poked the button multiple times and it opened. Finally. Someone had gotten in with her, getting off on the next floor up from the lobby. Really. Really? You had to be on at least the fourth to take the elevator, wasn’t that the unwritten rule? Asshole. Phone jumped to life again with his call as she reached his floor, the less than subtle notes of ‘Back in Black’ silenced with her thumb as the doors opened and she shoved her phone in her pocket. She blinked at them both, the pair an unusual sight. Something had happened, and it looked as if Ryan was strangling the woman in his thoughts. “Hi,” she said a bit suspiciously, a blur of motion catching her eye and immediately leaning down to scoop something up that was zipping into the elevator. “Oh no no no… that is a disaster in the making.” It was a cat making a break for it. She wasn’t overly fond of cats, more of a dog person. Not yippy skippy dogs. Big dogs. Big. Always wanted a dog, never had the time. Pale gray ears were scritched as she stepped into the hall, the insanely fluffy thing making itself comfortable and sprawling across her shoulder, batting at a lock of hair on her cheek. Curious little old ladies that left their doors cracked ran the risk of losing pets. Cats could be awful like that. They would and could get anywhere if you weren’t paying attention. Fast. “Yours?” Rorye asked the older woman she'd seen in the hall just a few minutes prior, the businesswoman switch flicking on to become the most charming person on the planet. Soft glance and smile was cast to the woman’s rough and tumble escort, letting him know she had this. The older woman smiled and nodded “She’s beautiful,” she smiled at the fluffy jail breaker that had rolled into her arm like a baby for tummy scratches, playfully trying to capture her gloved fingers. The little killing machine still had its claws. Death on four paws, adorable. “No, I’m not falling for that murder button trick. No tummy rubs,” she laughed quietly, looking toward the woman. “Not a meser, but definitely some there? Lilac point maybe?” The woman seemed delighted that she knew as they meandered back to her apartment. People loved to talk about themselves and the professional knew exactly what to ask. The two expert conversationalists were playing each other; Rorye getting her back into the apartment, the matriarch of the floor attempting to glean information. Probably gossip. Rorye gained the upper hand effortlessly, the cat with a toddler-like sprawl stretching backward over her shoulder to try and bat at the bruised warrior, meser blue cat eyes demanding his attention. Dropping the woman off at her door, she positioned herself nonchalantly so the feline's owner would go in as she passed off the murder cat. It barely weighed anything, all fluff. Deceiving evil little imp. “Your name is?” the older woman asked “Cora,” Rorye said without skipping a beat, obviously thought about for some time before this if she was ever asked. It would be stupid to have her real name floating around if Ryan wasn’t using his. It was sort of her real name. Shortened middle name. She hated it, that name only good for when you were in trouble. Moms did that, especially when they spoke with a brogue and could hammer the hard consonants to strike fear in your ass. Rorye Shannon didn’t have nearly the same sting to it as Rorye Machora Shannon did. It got her attention and when she heard it she knew she was screwed. “Mrs. Hanson,” she introduced herself in return, dropping the fluff bomb behind her that had managed to single handedly cover the front of Rorye’s black coat in gray wisps. “What do you do?” Damn. She was sneaky. “Barista,” she replied easily, it was easier to build a lie when you didn’t lie. The truth in a different way. “I’m due in soon though, so I need to go. Better close your door… don’t let..?” “Nemo,” she responded. Oh dear God. “Be careful not to let Nemo slip out again. She’s watching you right now from the couch to attempt another escape.” Mrs. Hanson nodded as if returning to her apartment was her own idea, closing the door to a crack as she eyed the battered man near Rorye, “keep him away from motorcycles.” “I will,” she smiled, helping to gently close the door to the woman’s apartment the rest of the way. “Bye now.” After the latch clicked, she turned and came to a slow stop by his door. "Motorcycles huh?" One hand came up to rub the back of her neck, awkward silence as she was let back into the apartment. “Please tell me the walls are not thin enough for her to have heard us,” she whispered, not just referring to their argument. Pale freckles that spattered her nose were unusually dark; she was honest to goodness blushing. Glance upward at him was quick and a bit self-conscious. “Never mind, I don’t want to know.” She went for the coffee again, if only just to hold the warm cup, she was chilled to the bone. Brows came down, brushing the front of her coat. She had to clean off Nemo’s wisps. Great. “You called, do you need anything?” words were incredibly quiet as she continued in vain to brush the fluffs off. “Would you settle for an ‘I’m sorry’ gift? I... was a bit harsh, I'm sorry. It’s not flowers and a teddy bear… it’s more shiny and pointy and pisses off vampires.”
  5. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    When Has Become Now

    Silence. Silence so loud the pain was all she could feel first, a pressure that felt like thundering whitecaps against saturated surf and she was churning within it. Disoriented. Drowning. Then ringing. Ringing so loud it was nauseating. Her heartbeat finally was there. Her breathing. Fingers were already unconsciously working the door handle, it wouldn’t open. It was the horn from the other vehicle that broke through the din as it sputtered and went silent. Broadsided, her car had spun through and buckled into a light pole on the passenger side. The other, was in the middle of the silent intersection. Airbags had deployed, everyone seemed to be breathing from what she could see. Stanford was unconscious, as was Fields. Fields had taken the brunt. Broken bones on his right side likely. Gasp of pain brought a sharp hiss as she unbuckled, hand on her left ribs as she kicked the door. Son of a… Get out of the car. Get out of the car! They were probably being tailed, or meeting a pass-off and she had minutes if not seconds; no idea how long she'd actually been out. Reaching for her cell, she scrolled through it with a quivering thumb as she fought with the door. Fucking gloves! Teeth gripped the leather on her middle finger and tore the glove off. She couldn't get it to work, her hands were too cold. Forgoing the door, she leaned back with an audible clench of pain through her teeth and kicked the window, thumb pressed the emergency call button as hard as it could. 911, but it was something. The call went through. Location was spilled out to someone on the other end as she kicked the window again. Fucking bulletproof? Seriously? Now? It had to be now? Location would send people. People would be witnesses. Sirens would bring attention. Call dropped, kicking the window again and breathing on her fingers to warm them up, thumb hit Ryan's contact and it dropped. "C'mon!" she growled. A crack erupted in a bright flash of light, raining sparks down on the car, the streetlight had just given up the ghost. The headlights to the other car were out, hers had the only light other than the pale glow from the city. It was an industrial area. Warehouses. Shipping. Everywhere she didn’t want to be. She hit it again, it connected. A gunshot froze her blood, the spatter across her cheek making her instinctively slide off the seat and onto the floor out of sight, holding her breath. Eyes dared to peer up at Fields. He was dead, shot taken through the broken passenger window, the warmth of his blood across her cheek. Calm. Think. She could hear the phone ringing, forced to shove it in her pocket as a second gunshot ripped through the passenger window, and Stanford. Controlled breathing. The muffled ring was still in her pocket. It hadn’t disconnected. She couldn’t place where the shots had come from, the steam of the engine, snow of the storm, fog on the shatter-cracked windshield and her rear compartment windows making it almost impossible to see. Her car was miraculously still running, sputtering as fluid bled into the street. The sudden crack against the back window was terrifying as someone hit it with a crow bar, followed by the passenger side that she’d already almost shattered. They didn't break. That meant the front window might come out in one piece since it was buckled. The window she'd cracked was hit again from the outside, finally breaking through. She pulled herself over the front seat as someone reached in the back passenger window. Fields’ gun was on the floor, too far away. She searched for Stanford’s gun, turning quickly, back against the dash she fired two shots through the driver’s rear window before it jammed. A string of profanity from outside the car was vicious, coupled with her own choice words. No idea if her phone was still on in her pocket, she kept repeating the intersection in a quick mantra. Hoping someone heard it, trying to focus her thoughts. She had a fucking concussion. Head was fuzzy, streaking with pain as she pushed at the shattered windshield with her shoulder. One of the corners pushed out in one crumpled piece and she slid down the hood and onto the street with a pained grunt, immediately taking cover behind the front right fender to try and figure out where to go. A chain link fence was behind her and traveled as far as she could see in either direction. A building across the street. *npc* “Just stay put. We aren't going to hurt you.” One. *npc* “I'll fucking hurt her, she fucking hit the side of my coat, I think I’m bleeding.” Two. *npc* “She probably grazed your ass, stop it with the sissy shit. Button this up and let’s go. It’s one person. This has already been a fuck-up.” Two, there were two. She could hear the crunch of feet on snowy glass, the slam of the crowbar against one of the fenders as they attempted to roust her out of hiding. Leaning down, she could see feet through the hissing steam of a dying car. They were coming around from opposite sides. The guy on her left was going to round the corner first. *npc* “C’mon rabbit, don’t fucking do this to yourself.” She'd been called that before. Remy's. The magus. This was a lead. She could give herself up and see where it led. She knew too much to kill. Then again they could be getting rid of loose ends. She could vault the fence. If they chased her, they weren't going to kill her. If they shot her... well, question answered. She could confront and take out one before the other took cover and it was a standoff again. Compromised. If compromised go to the gym. She could lead these jackasses right into a kill zone without giving up the gym, IF any of her information had gotten through. Could Ryan track her from here? Would he go there first? For all she knew the phone could still be connected and one word could give enough information to bring these guys and whoever came to their aid right down the middle of Ryan's sights. A decision had to be made. Now.
  6. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Walk It Off

    “Are you sure no one knows of this place?” Eyes wandered over the large space fondly, her daredevil self once upon a time had scrawled her name on some of the beams that could be reached from the balcony railings. “I have it listed as a derelict property and owned by the bank. Even if anyone knew it was here, they don’t know I own it. It would only become a problem if someone wanted to buy the block and develop it, which I don’t see happening in the near future.” “Alright then, if the shop is compromised, we’ll meet here. If this place is compromised, then we’ll meet at my apartment. If my apartment is compromised… then ARMA H-Q is probably the safest bet.” She nodded and made her way toward her corner to change, eyes peering up at the vent on the ceiling. After a few moments the red ribbons started moving. Old fans were still kicking. She worried about the day they wouldn't work, unsure if she would be able to fix them. Time brought age and the place would either have to be let go if it began to wear out or be brought back to life by someone that could afford it. “Well first, we won’t need those today” Sigh was light as she looked at the sheaths. She was hoping for at least a chance she could explain how… everything… worked. It was always a worry, especially with Chris the day before. Frustration brought anger, anger brought problems. Ryan wasn’t an enemy though. She’d never had an issue with anyone other than someone that was threatening her. A warning might be needed, it wasn't a good idea to provoke something without at least a warning. “On the off chance you get lucky and actually land a shot, I don’t need any more stitches.” Eyes narrowed at him. Smartass. “We won’t be needing those ratty old boxing gloves either” Balled up hand towel from her bag was launched in his direction. She had a pretty good aim. “I’ve had those for years,” she quipped, brows down as she caught the pair he tossed at her. “Those should fit you. Oh, and make sure you have a mouthguard. Don’t want you losing any of those pretty teeth when I knock you on your ass.” Smile at him was sarcastic. She had a brand new one somewhere she never opened. It wasn’t like she was doing anything here except by herself. Thinking a moment if it was upstairs or down there, she got up and opened a locker that had obviously been hers for a long time… it may or may not have had boy band pics in it when she was younger. She’d never admit to that. Several candid actual photos were still stuck to the inside, before the onset of digital had made everything poof. The larger of the two was of her and her older brothers in the center ring that was no longer there. They had stopped their sparring to take a selfie with her, her bright purple braces under a wide smile next to their stupid sweaty mugs. She’d been eleven, twelve maybe? The other was a little more damning, the summer after high school graduation. She sat on the tailgate of a truck, four others with her in the photo in various stages of laughter. Some had beer bottles in hand; she was one of them, wearing the leather jacket she still owned. Hair had been exceptionally long, pulled over one shoulder in a cascade of waves. A man’s arm was around her shoulders, temple pressed to hers, the dark gaze now haunting as it smiled out from the picture. Eyes gave it a longer glance than it should have as she pulled on the gloves Ryan had given her, the fuel for so many things in this life captured in that one photo. Peering up on the top shelf, she pulled the mouthguard case down. Check. Locker was closed. “Ready? Let’s warm up, then we’ll see whatchu got. Can we get some music going in this place?” Brow cocked at him, she actually did have something hooked up but it definitely wasn’t that high tech. Was he serious? “I prefer to work out to music. Ya know, some ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or something.” “Smartass.” She was a runner, so the laps were a great warm-up. Push-ups were a strength as well, moving business stock wasn’t an easy job, and here she’d been pushed by her pops in upper body strength. She’d boxed some boys her age when she was a teenager, proud to say she’d done fairly well until they said they didn't want to hurt a girl. Almost through however crazy many push-ups he wanted to do, she pulled back to sit on her heels, stretching the back of her arms. Damn. Finishing the rest after a stretch, she was pissed at herself. Furl of her brow evident. Sit-ups… the pause for a moment before she started was filled with a bit of apprehension. She would push herself through it, not really wanting to explain why. Slower than the push-ups, her form was impeccable and pace steady. She got up, still pissed about the push-ups. Hands on her hips, she squinted at the bag. Hitting things. She needed to hit things for a minute to burn off the annoyance. “As hard and as fast as you can until I tell you to stop” Nod was quick. Instead of getting weaker as she tired, hits became more powerful; almost as if the recoil was feeding off its own kinetic energy. Her ring stung under the glove, buzzing with the bite of something that should definitely not be on her finger while she was hitting something. She had no choice. When he said to stop, she shook the offended hand once. Fuck. “Alright, that’s enough, Let’s get started.” Breath heaved once, hands at her sides. “Make sure you take off your socks and shoes before you come up here.” She quirked a doubting expression at him. “Trust me, you’ll see why.” She obliged. Toe pulled the heel off one foot, then repeated for the other. Socks were pulled off and stuffed inside. “I feel silly,” she grumbled quietly, wiggling her toes and picking up her mouth guard from the bench in time to watch him flex. That broke a laugh. “You are such a smartass,” she accused lightheartedly. Hand ran across the mat affectionately, it seemed like some kind of ritual to pace the side before getting in. Hands gripped the bottom rope for a moment, looking up at him as his attention was elsewhere. She did it more often than she would admit, catching his small inflections of personality when he was with his own thoughts. Small facial expressions, the brilliance of his eyes. He was incredible to look at. “Showing off, is that part of the lessons?” voice was quiet, the laugh had soothed the grouchy mood. “Distract the opponent, got it.” She pulled herself up to the mat and went through the ropes. She was aware she was graceful, and the agility doubled down on it. Knowing it was there and what it looked like in motion were entirely different. The way she carried herself seemed effortless when it was moving, a natural momentum that lead into the power to change direction on a dime; missed by most when she was swathed in a loose sweater or normal clothes if one didn’t know what they were looking for. It had been so long since she'd been in the ring. Hands found her hips again, eyes on the mat before looking up at him. Mouthguard in, exhale was long, the glove touch bringing a glitter of excitement into her chest. It always did. Now, over a decade later, something darker lived with it; anticipating the violence that followed. “Alright girl, show me what you got.” Focus was intent for a few seconds. She straightened suddenly and put her hand up, “I’m sorry… I just…” Both hands leaned on her thighs as she breathed. Pulling out her mouthguard and padding over to him, arm slid around his neck to pull him toward her and press her lips against his cheek briefly. “Thank you for this,” she said quietly and returned to her spot, putting her mouthguard back in. Eyes narrowed as she shook herself out and set a fighting stance. “So… I just hit you? Like, you’re the kid from sixth grade that tried to kick the crap out of me? I hurt him. I don’t want to hurt you.” After his response, she pulled in a large breath and released it. "Okay, school bully. Got it." Focusing on the blue, she was unaware her pupils changed, flushing out wide to engulf the dark amber almost completely. She had an incredible ability to center her balance and stay on her feet, and an almost preternatural sense of motion. Eyes never looked where hits were sent, they were focused on his, her ability to judge the distance and deliver an accurate strike still exact. As with the bag, it was like an avalanche, the more motion she generated the faster it became and the force increased. Perhaps inhibition was being lost, or something else was taking over as her aggression escalated. As it intensified, strikes began to shift purpose from tentative defense and take-down, to something much more powerful. It was becoming very clear she was not the 'broken', altered human that she thought she was.
  7. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    When Has Become Now

    February 21st 7pm New York, Unknown Earbuds were something she rarely wore. Her focus had to be so precise when she was working on her glass, somehow this evening the sounds of cellos playing heavy metal made her more intent. Hair was pulled up and piled high on her head, a small lock was tickling her cheek. Narrowed eyes were trying to ignore it, a whiff of breath from her lower lip trying in vain to get it from her skin. Spacers were set aside and she sat back, pulling her hair down to re-twist and pull it back again. The project was coming along, spending time at her work table was not something she had done a lot of in the last month. She’d been meaning to finish the stained glass repair from the café door window for a while now, tonight had given her the opportunity. The shop was slow, after Valentine’s day. Quiet, evening rush over. Perfect. Heels of her black ballet flats hitched up on the rung of her stool. Elbows on the workbench, her chin came to rest on her hands as she stared at it, deciding what to do next. Eyes flicked up at the light that signaled the front door had opened, going back to studying all the colored pieces laid out. Fingernail played with one of the aquamarine studs in her ear, sliding down to twirl the long pendant with her finger. Jesse’s head peeked in, *npc* “Detective Stanford stopped in.” She looked up, pulling out the earbuds. He wasn’t a stranger. Sometimes he checked in just to make sure things were okay and get free coffee, which she was fine with for any law enforcement types, sometimes he was following up on shoplifters and such. Nothing like that had been an issue of late. Just saying hi probably. “I’ll be out in a sec.” She slid off the stool, black worn button up cardigan sleeves pulled back down and wrapped around her a bit closer. It was chilly for some reason, and the deep aqua blue cami wasn’t doing much to help even though she’d layered it over a black one. Earbuds were popped out of her phone and she wound them up and dropped them on the work bench. Phone in her back pocket. He was rifling through one of the leather bound blank journals she sold as she stepped out. The older gentleman had been around for about five years or so, he knew her and the area fairly well. Was a cop somewhere else in the city before this position, but she didn’t know where. *npc* “Sorry to bug you so late, was gonna call but then remembered you don’t drive so thought I’d save you the trouble.” “Coffee?” she asked. He set the journal down, shaking his head. *npc* “Not this time, thanks.” “You pick that up every time you come here. I think it has your name on it.” He smiled, then nodded. *npc* “Sorry to bug you in the evening. We arrested a guy a few days ago, had some interesting things on him. Found one of these tags in the bunch.” He held up the journal and tapped the price tag with the store name on it before putting it down. *npc* “Think he might have been stealing from here, thought you might want to come down and take a look at the stuff.” Brow furled. Great. She hadn't been in the shop as religiously since the holidays. Not as many eyes to watch the place. Jesse was closing, and it was unlikely to pick up. She could do that. “Sure, as long as I get a ride home.” Cars had been elusive. What she wanted and what she could afford seemed to be two entirely different things. Ballet flats were slipped off and replaced with an older pair of black biker boots. They were more feminine and the older they got, the softer the leather became and they had begun to slouch. They were easier to wear over tighter jeans, and they were comfy. Leather jacket. Scarf… she was so fucking ready for winter to be over. Phone was pulled, a quick text to Ryan, just because. “Hey, I had a Detective Stanford come by to take me down to the local precinct. Happens once and a while when they find stolen items, he's our usual guy. Shouldn’t be long, he’ll bring me home so I don’t have to catch the subway… see you soon.” Phone back in her pocket, she checked in with Jesse and went out the front door. There was someone else in the passenger seat, a face she didn’t know. *npc* “Rorye, this is Detective Fields, apparently I’m getting old and I have to train my replacement,” he said as he opened the passenger rear door for her and then slid into the driver’s seat. She rubbed snow from her eyelashes as she got in and he closed the door. It was getting bad out. “Nice to meet you Fields,” she held her hand over the seat and he reached behind and shook it. “You’re not old Stanford, maybe they just have more money to hire more help.” He laughed. Settling back in, she fussed with the seat belt. She hated the fucking things, but she hated cars too. Stifling. She felt like she was in a cage, and she was getting one. Joy. From the limited driving she’d done, it was a little different when you were actually in control of the thing. *npc-Fields* “I’ll get the heat up.” Stanford was playing with a Cantigo as he drove, taking a long drink. They didn’t even make those anymore. Lucky bastard. Traffic was light, the snow was managing to keep everyone home. She recognized the shortcut, looking down for several moments as she discretely pulled out her phone. It just didn’t… turning the screen brightness down all the way, she hit the text with her thumb. *Another detective in the car. Fields. Doesn’t feel right. Will send location.* She looked up, trying to find the streets, not able to read the signs that were coated in ice. Shortcut had become somewhere she didn't recognize. No immediate traffic. She turned in the seat to look out the back window, forearm wiping the condensation that lingered in between the defroster lines. Stanford looked at her in the rear view. *npc-Stanford* “Rorye, just relax.” She sat, muscles tense. “Stop the car,” her voice left no room for argument. *npc-Fields* “Relax. You’ll be fine.” Seat belt unlocked and she slid to the center of the seat. “Stop the car,” it was the only chance she would give them. Everything spun through her head at once. All the training, all the work, all the advice... and the mantra every girl had drilled into their brain from birth screaming through her thoughts. Never let them take you to a second location. *npc-Stanford* “Rorye, it’s okay. They said they just want to talk.” She spun in the seat, kicking the window until it cracked. Fields turned in his seat, the muzzle of the gun very real. *npc-Fields* “I will not hesitate to shoot you in the fucking face. Sit. Down.” Standford looked panicked. *npc-Stanford* “This was not the deal.” She slid next to the rear driver’s side door, putting the seat belt on. His gun stayed trained on her. She knew exactly how to disarm him, but there were too many variables. The weather. The streets. The traffic. She would have to plan this. “Where are we going,” she asked quietly. Her eyes were on him, but her attention on the traffic. She'd absorbed the way he held it, where it was aimed. Slightly over her left ear. He had trigger discipline. She was faster than this man's ability to fire an aimed shot, but she couldn't bank on Stanford's reaction and she'd be the only one not in a seat belt if they crashed. They were going too fast, and she wouldn't risk getting hit with an airbag unrestrained. If she was unconscious it would be for nothing. Headlights on the passenger side and a lone intersection were coming up, readying to kick the back of Standford’s seat as hard as she could. She finally knew this intersection, she knew where to go once she was out. Stanford looked up at her for a moment as if he almost knew, and that was all it took for the world to spin out of control. He blew the stop sign on purpose, Fields and his gun turned away from her at the sound of the horn blare. The nauseating sensation of weightlessness that she knew would end in pain spun through the car as the other vehicle slammed into Fields' passenger front door. The sound of glass and metal erupted, reverberating through her bones. Then silence.
  8. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Broken Bones and Shattered Pride

    She’d always wondered if empathy came with whatever mojo the giant rip in the sky had smashed her with. Her “powers” had always been pretty much useless up until recently, and it caused an enormous rift between her and all magus, especially ARMA. She wasn’t good enough, fast enough, experienced enough to be of any use to anyone except to fetch cool toys. Perhaps it was just learned business savvy, being able to read people; know what they were thinking by their body language and expressions. Maybe she just wasn’t a self-centered bitch and paid attention to others. She could thank her dad for that; he’d refused to let her develop that princess shit and her brothers had taught her not to play the victim or back down. Ever. Whatever it was, she could feel electricity just radiate from him, so unbelievably powerful she could feel it on her skin. His words of welcome were hollow, and he absolutely did not want her there, and that was exactly why she needed to be there. This inevitable car crash of wills was something she knew was eventually coming, and it would be a test to make sure they both weathered it. As she made quick work of what she knew needed to be done, his glass slamming onto the counter punctuated her thoughts. Game on. She wasn’t sure what he thought he saw when she looked back at him… there wasn’t a person in the world right now that could ever imagine what she was thinking. Whatever it was, he was angered by it and she refused to be goaded. Business mode kicked in and she at least made things a bit easier for him other than sitting in a kitchen chair and getting stumbling drunk and being an asshole. He’d taken a moment to retrieve what she'd been looking for in his bedroom, the rattle of pills heard tossed back into a drawer. Probably his nightstand. The damn git was behaving like a sullen wounded puppy. Her patience was eternal, but shrugging her off a second time? He was pushing it. She knew not to poke a bear unless it needed an ass kicking. She offered no judgement, yet he continued his silent maelstrom. After he refused to look at her, it was the only answer she needed. He thought he'd failed. It was clear as day and she’d done all she could do. He would drink and wallow, even though he was sitting there alive. He would never see it unless someone hit him over the head with it. To do that, he would have to calm and that didn’t seem to be coming any time soon. She would leave him to his irritable mood. Errands, and then home. “You want to know what happened last night?” “No,” she answered quietly as she put on her coat. She had a feeling he was going to tell her anyway, unsure if it was the best scenario. This was not going to go well. She wasn’t going to pick a fight, but she’d damn well finish it if he did. “I don’t need to know.” She patted her pockets for her gloves, watching him stand up. Shit. “I did exactly what I told you I would do, I took the fight to them. I tore their organization apart. I followed a trail of bodies that led me directly to the O-F-L.” Hands slid into her pockets, slow sigh exhaled as her chin dipped toward her chest and she closed her eyes. She kept telling herself she was not a verbal punching bag… assuring herself he just needed to be smacked on the back of the head after he got it out of his system. She was more than happy to be the one to do that. “Until eventually they realized, the men they’d hired to protect them couldn’t. Until they realized, the men they’d hired to kill me couldn’t! So those fuckers gave up on you, and they gave up on their hold of these streets!” As his tone escalated, gaze came up to meet his, and hers was fierce. His fury had met an unbreakable wall. Everything he said was absorbed, but she refused to be intimidated by his anger. She had faced down her own death, and no one could ever strike that threatening fear in her again. Rorye weathered it because she knew he was not angry. He was bleeding frustration and pure pain. That was a crucial difference most missed. “And do you know what they did? They set a trap, and they murdered all of their own people to do it. Anyone I had any intel on, they killed. They contracted a pro. The kind of assassin you can’t buy with just money! You must have influence and connections to even find a guy like this! He was trained, well equipped, and he was ready for me. He knew exactly what I was going to do, and I walked right into his fucking trap!” This was not fine. This was not a need to be alone. This was the weight of every night for the last six weeks when he’d come in and been nothing but calm crushing down all at once. He’d weathered it in every quiet minute, every laugh, every cup of coffee, every private moment when she didn’t have to share him with anyone else. It was there all the time and the burden of it was now buckling and crashing into the closest thing that was in the way. Her. She didn’t move. She wouldn’t move. If he could bear the weight, so could she. When he pointed at her, her stoic expression darkened. She hated when he did that. “But I killed that son of a bitch! Because that’s who I am! I won’t be beaten by some shady fucking Order offshoot, and I certainly won’t be killed by some two-bit vamp!” If she’d been shot in the chest, the feeling wouldn’t have been any different. She was unaware she’d stopped breathing until her lips parted and she drew in a breath. The world around her had quieted. He’d quieted; the words he spoke after drowned out by the one word that had hit her with so much force it was like her soul had been ripped from her body. It was drowning. She was drowning. Again. A vamp. A vampire did this. His words finally were put back together in her conscious thought as she pulled her soul out of the deep. “Wait, did you just say you love me?” She blinked at him. Her eyes were unreadable. She didn’t know how to answer, afraid at that moment that the fucking universe would hear it. It seemed to already have; every damn thing in her life had been taken by that scourge. It was like she was cursed. The initial shock a vampire had nearly killed him started burning. Fingers started buttoning up her father’s coat, coming to a slow stop somewhere in the middle. The temporary quiet doused the anger only to lose, swinging it back like a pendulum. As his anger cooled, hers blossomed into a furnace that couldn’t be contained. She took several steps forward toward him, fingers lingering on the button as words finally formed and unleashed, breaking the silence. “You think you failed… you honestly think you failed?” her words were sharp, no louder than a whisper with the full force of a wicked Scottish temper behind them. “I’ll tell you who you are,” she hissed, resisting the insatiable urge to poke him right in the sternum. “You are Ryan Harker. You are a fucking leader. A protector. A God damn fighter! And you’re what, going to piss on all that because you came home with a limp? Bruises heal! Bones mend! You are whole when so many others aren’t, alive when so many others don’t survive! You are strong enough to dust your ass off, get back out there and finish it. You are not a failure,” she snapped up the collar of her father’s Navy pea coat and pulled her hat on down around her eyes. “If you wanna sit here and drink ‘til you’re stupid you dumb jackass, fine. When you’re done, call me because I have something you need. I’ll be damned if another fucking vampire hurts or kills someone I love, and now I have the tools to stop it. I’ve lost too many and I'm not losing you,” there was a break in her voice, a lump in her throat that was building and making it hard to choke out words. The fire was running out of fuel and anger was turning to frustration. She hated vampires. Hated them with all her soul. They’d ripped her heart out repeatedly. Leather gloves were being pulled on rather roughly as she left him where he was and moved to leave, grabbing the doorknob but not turning it, “…and God help me Ryan Harker if you ever point your finger at me again in anger, I’ll break it.” Hand lingered on the doorknob as the room finally fell silent, seeming to ring with fury until that too went away. She’d said her peace and met his anger head on. That was all she’d promised herself she would do. Eyes closed as she settled into the calm and leaned into the discomfort of his last question. She didn’t need to answer it, it wasn’t the right time. Maybe it was. In any case, she would and she could feel the damn tips of her ears burning. “Yes, that’s what I said,” she barely spoke, eyes on her hand. “Just… remember even though you are broken, you are alive. That was the first promise you made to me, and it’s the only thing I’ll ever expect from you. If you need anything, call me.” Door opened, and closed quietly behind her as she left, taking two steps before the heels of her hands pressed to her eyes. God damn it. He was right, she shouldn’t have come. She would never have found out about it. A fucking vampire. Anything but a fucking vampire. Sniffle sharp, her footsteps moved toward the elevator, back of her hand wiping the incredibly hot, tired, frustrated tears from her eyes. Now she had a mission, and it would take a day to pull it all together. The cost, considerable, but she’d been prepared for a while to make the barters and it was time. Time to complete her arsenal and give it to someone that knew how to use it.
  9. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Walk It Off

    January 17th 5pm Book of Kells The moment was rare; letting the world take care of itself for a few short minutes absolute heaven until her phone went off and she had to retrieve it. Lips smirked at his ringtone question. “Yours is Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” she quipped, answer laced with sarcasm as she slid back into bed on top of the covers with her phone. Obviously something else, her grin was still teasing. Business as usual again, dealing with the mundane was welcome compared to everything that had come in the last few weeks. She watched him as she spoke on the phone, looking up at the blues that were always so expressively thinking… or lethal. She found both moods insanely attractive. Fingers reached up and lazily brushed his jaw, eyes narrowing for a split second to let him know he could stop over analyzing. She knew he was and it had kept her alive over the last few weeks. “Sometimes people are just people,” she whispered with her rum-rich timbre as she hung up the call, rolling up to provoke him with her ass-kicking ultimatum. She could when she tried. “If its anything like last night… then sure, I’ll go another round with the champ.” “Oh really?” Apparently he wanted to go there. Brow quirked, leaning in to whisper something in his ear that would make a sailor blush, nipping his earlobe to get her point across before she took her agile leave to get things together. “Don’t think I’ll go easy on you” “I’d be disappointed if you did,” she was aware he was now up and moving. Silk robe fluttered slightly as she strode barefoot with an armful of clothes out the bedroom door, plotting an ambush and snagging him around the neck into a languid kiss as he came through the doorway. Game on. "I thought nobody could catch you off guard... clearly I won this round," she quipped. Leaving would have to wait a bit longer. +++ January 17th 8pm The Harbor, Blue Collar Business District It was dark, eyes quickly up at the sky as she locked her door. Snow flittered around them but the sky was clear, the city did that sometimes. Quick by car, it was usually a half hour walk or so if she took her shortcuts. Normally she would have taken him on that adventure, but given recent events it was more prudent to have the access to his car in case something came up. It was a quiet neighborhood. Mostly old industrial type storefronts with a few neighborhood bars dotting the blocks. At night, no reason for any businesses to be open anymore except the glow and echoing conversations of good old fashion pubs. Getting out to unlock a gate that led to parking in between the buildings, she pulled her coat closer around her and crisscrossed her bag over her chest. She kept security extremely tight, especially in the winter. When it was cold she couldn’t go as often because she had to heat the place. Firing up the old boiler to warm-up the building cost money, and it was either keep the heat on in the shop, or there. It was left just warm enough for the pipes not to freeze and then she cranked it when she went. It was a special place, as was her shop and her home. The gym was special in a different way. She adored going there and reveling in the one thing in her life that didn’t change with the chaos of the world. Bringing him there brought a genuine smile to her lips as she waited for him to park and catch up. The main entrance was no longer visible from the street, once she locked the gate behind him they were alone. Parking lot had been surrounded over the years by other buildings built without aesthetics in mind, so now it was essentially hidden from the world. She took the padlock off a chained gate at the entryway, and then the wire mesh door that protected the glass on the old windows. Built in the late twenties, it was a brick goliath that spanned a considerable amount of the block. Carved sandstone decorated the outside separation of floors like molding, corners and peaks also carved. What was once probably a glowing buff color sandstone against bright red brick was now grayed with time, recesses antiqued darkly with the age and dust of the city. Arched, tall windows went all the way around the roofline, decades ago bricked in and replaced with “modern” tilt-ins in attempts to be energy efficient. “If something happens and we need to bolt, there is a fire hatch on the roof,” she was clearly now used to evaluating everywhere she went for an escape route. It had become necessary. “Far right corner of the gym. Stairs to the balcony, ladder up, lever pushes it up and out. Emergencies only… costs a thousand bucks for the fire marshall to come out and close it again.” She was locking everything behind her as they went in, also a precaution, finally keying into the entry-way. The floor was dark jade colored flagstone, to either side were small windows for tickets; wrought iron still in place to “protect” the ticket-takers like an old bank. Above, a substantial globe light hanging from decorative chain was dark, blue glass with white stars. Keying into the foyer, she stepped to the left and unlocked a dark wood door to one of the ticket booths, a breaker box creaking open as she flipped several switches. The foyer came to life in a dim antique glow. It was stunning, deep wood wainscoted walls, more glass globe lights that even unlit could still be identified as a moon, the earth and a sun. Sconces on the walls that she'd turned on were clearly art deco. “This was the place to be until the late forties. Boxing matches, basketball games. There are some old framed pictures inside of people dressed in suits and formal wear,” her voice echoed gently against the walls. At one time, the place had been magnificent. It still was, just more dusty. A vibration under their feet was acknowledged with a glance. The boiler had just kicked it up a notch and the blowers had turned on. “It doesn’t take long to warm up,” she was taking off her scarf, opening the main door to the castle and letting him in first. Only a few service lights lit it up, but it was vast, straight up two stories minimum to open beams. The floor was beautifully planked wood, wide enough for two basketball courts side by side or a boxing ring in the center. They were surrounded on three sides with a balcony where several rows of benches gave spectators more places to sit. Under the balcony overhang, several boxing rings had been added at a later time. Punching bags still hung between them. Lockers on the walls. Old fashioned pull-up and climbing bars lined one wall. Climbing ropes. Everything was still intact. Walking toward the closest ring, she clicked on the lights that lit up just that area a little brighter. This was her hideaway. A private stairwell in the corner went up to “offices” on the second floor over the foyer. “I lived up there until after high school, we can crash there if we or you ever need to. I keep it up. Other than my banker, nobody knows this place is here. Could be a rally point if things ever go south,” again the planned foresight. “I can get you keys made.” She tossed her coat over a bench, dropping her bag and sitting to remove her sweater and pull off her boots, peeling off her jeans to expose the black jogger's leggings she didn't use nearly enough anymore. One foot up at a time onto the bench tied up her favorite old pair of tennis shoes, also not used nearly enough anymore. Henley off, a close fitting grey tee shirt was beneath. Hair was wound up tight at the base of her neck in a twisted tie out of the way. “At the very least, I need to be useful, not just defend myself. I know taking me out to Remy’s was a huge risk… I don’t want to be a risk.” She sat and lifted her sheathed weapons from the bag and put them on the bench, forearms leaning on the tops of her thighs as she looked at them. She hadn’t intended on bringing them at first, but he’d said… pushed hard. He needed to see everything, even though she was reluctant. She kept telling herself he could handle 'her' at her worst. Doubt was lingering and clearly on her features. “I want to be able to hold my own, without any help,” she was chewing her lip unconsciously. Meaning, she was ready to consider getting rid of her shadow. For good. “Tape, gauze, practice gloves are in that locker over there. Don’t know how you want to start. I'm at your mercy and expertise coach. Don't pull your punches.” Looking over toward the locker, her brows went down slightly. Now that the air was being circulated from outside, a scent that had lingered in her memory at the shop from the night Remy’s went down was back. She’d picked it up unconsciously when she got out of the car to unlock the gate. Now, it was circulating in the room. She’d figure it out, or it was going to drive her crazy.
  10. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Broken Bones and Shattered Pride

    Sigh was unconscious, swiping through her phone to the next number. Why was Nina always the one who was available? …because she was like a mother to her. She was always available. Lips quirked softly, a bit morose about how angry she’d let her get lately. Rorye needed to sit down with the woman and clear the air. Soon. Jesse wouldn’t be coming in until later because of his late night, so he wasn’t an option. Lisa was already there. She would need to catch public transit. Random coffee shop first. Grab a cup of coffee, warm up, and then head back home after a short stop at a friend’s shop in the area. It had been on her mind for a week or so, she needed to strengthen ties with all the orbit shops in New York. They were friends and she needed to make sure they knew she had their back and they would have hers. In person would be more powerful than a phone call. Plus he had leads on cars and might as well talk to him while she was in the area. She needed a car. It was her birthday tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, which had always been interesting growing up. She’d been thinking about the car issue a lot lately… she was going to ask Ryan to go with her to find one. She had no idea what to look for; cars were supposed to be a reflection of the personality right? Fingers rubbed under her eyes to avoid smudging what had been so carefully applied the night before as she waited for the elevator. Eyes hurt, that point when fatigue was so strong the world seemed brighter, more surreal. Sniffle was quiet as she scrolled again through her numbers, what she wouldn’t give for a hot bath at that moment. Elevator ding was peripheral; the doors opening as she almost ran into someone as she took a step forward. Recognition took a moment after recovering from her distraction, the face that wasn’t supposed to be in front of her throwing her off. “Rorye” A short breath escaped her as the severity of what she was seeing was comprehended. She said nothing, not moving. Shock maybe. Not surprise. The kind of shock that stopped one’s breath and halted their thought process; made skin numb. It drained everything personal from the present to prepare to fill the emptiness with whatever was deepest in one’s worst fears. The reality of his injures fell into her consciousness like dominoes. The screen on her phone going dark was what brought her attention back, blink cooling the tired burn of her eyes. Phone slid slowly into her coat pocket. “I told you everything was fine. You didn’t need to come” She said nothing as he walked past her. He was in pain. He was in pain even after he’d been to HQ. With all their resources, and healers, and… Silver doors closed in front of her, leaving her looking at her distressed reflection. To get the drop on him, a creature… a Were. Mage? Something worse? Had this happened after he called her? No. She was certain of that. Was he injured when he called her and told her he was all right? Damn him. Damn it! “Come inside and get warmed up, you look absolutely freezing.” “Winter sucks when you don’t drive,” voice was soft, not addressing the obvious as she turned to follow him. “I was in the area on errands.” The normally warm timbre of her voice was tender. It was the truth, as true-ish as his insistence of being fine. Footsteps were soft, keeping her distance, waiting patiently for him to open the door. She didn’t offer anything, he said he was fine. The visual reminder that he wasn’t was breaking her heart. Stepping in, she removed her coat and layers, hanging them up and left him to his. If he wanted help, he would ask. She pulled out a chair at the kitchen table for him to sit, which wasn’t a suggestion. Unless he was ready to sleep, it was the best place he could be. Coffee on, she pulled out his favorite bottle and glass, pouring him a drink and placing it on the table for when he chose to sit. The coffee was for her. Walking quietly to the bathroom, she retrieved a tissue to quell her runny nose from the cold. After washing her hands, she picked up several hand towels and returned to the kitchen. ARMA healers involved would mean he was past the 48 hour point on his injuries, heat would be best now. Both towels were saturated with water from the sink and rung out, then placed in the microwave. It seemed like the longest twenty seconds of her life, one hand on the handle to pull it open when it was finished, her other on her hip. The moment was taken to close her eyes and just… be calm. One thing she knew well was how to take care of cuts and bruises, or at least make them more comfortable. Being around boxers had given her that particular skill. Serene exterior, the initial shock had become anger. She was so angry it felt like her skin was on fire. She was a businesswoman absolutely calm and collected in the face of anything. If she let it slip she would leave this place and go tear ARMA apart to demand why this had happened. But she wouldn’t, it wouldn’t benefit anyone. She would make sure he was comfortable, and instead go find out who the fuck had done it and tear them apart. As soon as the timer went off she folded one carefully, the other rolled. The squared towel was placed on the table, the rolled one held between her hands to warm up her fingers before she touched him. The less that muscles tensed, the better they would feel. Tilting his face upward with warmed fingers, she picked up the squared towel and held it gently to the worst of the bruising. The rolled one was placed across the back of his neck to balance on its own. “When you’re set-up and comfortable, I’ll go,” words were gentle, as if the more she spoke the more he would hurt. He was so proud; she suspected that was exactly why he’d told her to stay away. People also needed their space, and she understood that too, but he was definitely not fine. “I know I didn’t need to come.” Thumb caressed across his cheek, the beautiful blues that had drawn her in seemed so full of turmoil. “You need to understand I’ll always come,” fingertips brushed his forehead, pressing her lips there a moment. “…and even if you have to limp home. Just come home,” words were almost inaudible, leaving him to his drink. She gathered some things to place on his nightstand. Towels. Folded tight and rolled. It seemed silly, but she remembered they were important when she’d broken her arm as a kid and her dad later at work in the factory. The smallest support or prop to position an injury was excruciatingly imperative in order to sleep, and just general comfort overall. She turned down his bed and moved pillows from the opposite side to within reach. She didn’t know where or if he kept anything for pain, so there was nothing she could do there. Returning to the kitchen, she poured herself a quick cup of coffee, drinking while she pulled her scarf around her neck. “If you’re angry I came, I understand,” she said quietly, getting ready to leave. Her own anger hadn’t dissolved, she was just exceptional at hiding it. She warmed her fingers on the cup, drinking it as quickly as she could. “But I’ve been there. Wounds heal, the mind...” Nobody knew this. Nobody knew this except Nina. “The days after the first Event were chaos here. Hospitals overwhelmed. Horrendous things happened to me and in turn my son that only I physically healed from.” Eyes found a spot on the floor, she’d stopped. Brows down. Hip leaned on the counter. “Mentally,” she took a quick breath, blinking finally and taking a drink. “I didn’t. Nina came when I told her not to. That's how I got through it.” She drank the rest slowly and rinsed it her cup, setting it down in the sink quietly. “I don’t know what happened last night and I don’t expect you to tell me. But don’t be afraid to ask me to be here, even if it’s just to sit on the couch and read a book. What are we all fighting for if not for the opportunity to be safe and with those we love?” Lower lip was rolled through her teeth, pushing off the counter and leaving the coffee pot on. Maybe he’d want some. She lifted her dad’s old worn Navy pea coat and started to pull it on. “You need anything else before I go find myself a car?”
  11. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Taking Inventory

    As she lay there in the soft blur between sleep and consciousness, she was acutely aware his breathing had changed. A dream alive, something was vivid in his sleep. Fingers absently touched his hand again, tensing slightly as he sat up, rigid. Reflex response? Had to be. One didn’t go out to the ends of the earth and not be hair-triggered when they had the rare moment of sleep. Staying alert was the difference between either staying alive, or not. She heard something on his nightstand, but couldn’t see what he’d moved, the swaths of pillows and blankets blocking her vision. She lifted her head slightly, fingertips brushing locks from her eyes before nestling back into softness, arm above her head on the pillow. Watching him a moment through barely parted lashes, sorrow was the first emotion that blossomed in her chest. He didn’t know where he was at first when he woke up, or who had touched him. Was there anywhere he could truly rest? Smile was light when he finally looked at her, hoping her eyes wouldn’t betray her thoughts. “Bad dream. Hope I didn’t wake you.” “Was already awake-ish…” hand smoothed over her hair and gathered the cascade of dark waves, twirling her hand to twist it slightly and pull it over one shoulder. Forearm came to rest lazily over her eyes briefly. The sun needed to go down so they could just stay where they were. She resisted the urge to run her fingers through his hair at the nape of his neck when he leaned down for a welcomed kiss. Aw fuck it; fingertips stole a caress anyway. “How’d you sleep?” She didn’t protest being pulled closer, long legs tangling into his and stealing his warmth. Sigh was deep, taking in the simple scent of clean skin. Cheek settled comfortably as she listened to his heartbeat… a bit fast. Bad dream was more than just a bad dream. Eyes opened slightly; there was a gun on the nightstand she could now see. He’d had his hand on it that fast and then set it back down. All from just her touch. Noted. Not something she wanted to ask about, there would be a better moment at a different time. “I slept like I don’t care what time or day it is…” eyes had closed again, answer a bit wistful. “Neither should you. Go back to sleep, that’s an order.” The words brought a playful a smile on her lips, dimples flicking lightly before a final sigh signaled she was fine with not moving. “There was something we had to do wasn’t there…” she murmured almost inaudibly. The sound of her phone interrupted the near silence. It was Jesse, her laugh soft at the ringtone. “They all have their own ringtone,” she said quietly, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man’ intro only lasting a few seconds as she laughed again. “You have one too.” Fuck her phone, that’s why she had employees. After a few moments it rang again, Jesse again. Damn. She rolled toward her nightstand, the stretch baring her back and sending a rush of goosebumps over her arms. It wasn’t there; still in the bathroom. Fuck. She slid out of bed, graceful swipe and swirl of a pale lavender silk robe around her from the hook on her bed post. Tie wrapped around her waist as she moved. Damn it was cold. It took her a moment to locate it in the pile of clothes, padding back to bed and hitting her thumb on the screen. She slid across the covers to lay perpendicular to him, head on his stomach as she looked up at him from her vantage point and took care of the call. “Yes?” *npc-Jesse* “Russel is here.” “No, the answer is the same.” she said, thumb rubbing absently at an almond-shaped scar on her sternum, the cut of her robe low enough to expose it. It was obvious the call was a business-as-usual event. She could hear a soft discussion. Thumb hit the speaker so Ryan could hear the conversation. *npc-Jesse* “He wants to talk to you.” “Of course,” Jesse’s phone changed hands. “Hi Russel, the answer is no.” *npc-Russel* “You sure?” “Absolutely.” *npc-Russel* “Okay.” Russel handed the phone back to Jesse. The conversation between them never changed, the bookworm Russel would come in once a week to drink a ton of coffee, read through her special collections and ask to buy one of the shop's permanent wall decorations. What better way to hide the real thing than as a replica. He wanted a replica, she had the real deal. “Thanks Jesse, everything okay?” *npc-Jesse* “Yah, I gotta order more of the Narwa coffee, it’s almost gone.” “That popular?” *npc-Jesse* “Yah, almost through the entire stock.” “Double the order, we’ll package it for sale too.” *npc-Jesse* “Perfect, see ya.” He hung up. She hung up and tossed the phone on the bed. “Russel comes in once a week like clockwork to check if I’m selling one of my ‘replica’ pieces. Answer is always no. He’s harmless, nice guy, always needs to talk to me directly. Welcome to the more mundane moments of my job,” she smiled, placing his palm on her chest and her hand on top of it. Eyes closed again. Cold. Damn. She was awake now. “Can’t all be double-o-seven business all the time.” She rolled up, moving to straddle his hips to sit and perch on him for a moment. She leaned forward, eyes narrow, looking like she would steal a kiss before getting out of bed for good. “…you ready to get your ass kicked?” eyebrow arched softly. It was playful, teasing. Bare feet nimbly hit the floor and she was searching for clothes. It felt like Christmas morning to her. Oddly enough, she wanted to take him there, a secret hide-out that only he would know about. Everyone in the shop knew about the vault, all the secret hidey-holes. Nobody, absolutely nobody knew she kept her dad’s building. Nobody she knew would appreciate it like he did, and that made all the difference.
  12. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Broken Bones and Shattered Pride

    Fingers leaned on her temple. She was playing with her food, pushing it around on the plate with her fork when Jesse finally turned the light off in the café. He’d been rotating the entire stock in the small kitchen cooler, coffee and tea shelves. Done once a month, it usually was always a late night and he actually enjoyed doing it. College stamina and all. It was after one o-clock now. The café closed at eleven and she’d been waiting over an hour for her ARMA agent to show up, watching the snow get worse out the window. Half the wine bottle already gone, she finished the last of the glass. *npc* “Oh shit, I didn’t know you were still out there.” “S’okay,” she smiled softly, blowing out the candle in the center of the table and getting up with her plate and picking up the other. “I was being quiet because I liked your singing.” He laughed, *npc* “You hear that huh? …need any more help?” She shook her head, “nah. Weather’s getting bad, you should head out.” *npc* “Sure thing.” He pulled on his coat and college beanie, wrapping a scarf around his neck and pawing his pockets for gloves. Even after all this time, the long scar from his ear to his collar bone was still visible. As clean as a razor, it was a deep purple that would probably be like that for most of his life. Fucking vampires. With a passion, they were indeed her most loathed thing on earth. Weres were a close second. Vampires though, were a kill on sight. No mercy. No explanation. It was a sudden and fierce trigger that would never go away. Ever. She never wanted it to. There was no forgiveness for what they’d done. Jesse had barely survived, she’d barely survived. Other loved ones had not been so lucky. *npc* “You look very nice by the way,” he smiled. “You’re not getting a raise,” she smiled back as he laughed at the comment, picking up the bottle of wine. She was going to nurse it the rest of the night most likely. The bell dinged as he left and she locked up behind him. After a day of constant ambient noise, the shop could be positively tomb-like when all was said and done. She cleaned the small table in the corner she’d chosen. Sure, he was probably going to have come in covered in the night’s work like he always did, but it didn’t mean she had to mind. One of these days she would get him dressed up all to herself. Seemed like today wasn’t the day. She simply didn’t care what he came home looking like though, as long as he came home. Pause lingered, her choice of thoughts sinking in before she started moving again. Amethyst colored gauzy silk shirt fluttered slightly at her thighs as she walked, the delicate cream embroidery on the hem reminiscent of waves. She’d done her hair. Something other than a braid or down, the delicate curls in an updo and tracing down her neck… elegant. Nights like this were so unbelievably quiet. Snow did that, muted the world and made her feel like the only soul that existed in her big ‘house’. It could be lonely. She rinsed her plate and wrapped his for later, putting it into the personal fridge in the tiny break room. Dark eyes narrowed toward the shop proper, the twinkle of the candle on her own table in the café had masked the flicker that was filtering in from the dark shop. How long had that been trying to get her attention? Stepping into the doorway, she watched it sputter and go dark. Odd. “What is it?” she asked quietly. The relic was alive. It was the only explanation she'd ever been able to discern. It had a personality, thoughts, foresight. Who it was, she had no idea. It always looked out for her and anyone associated with the shop. A most innocuous security system. Nothing in return. Very odd. Now the entire building was completely void of anyone but her. She wasn’t going to lie and say she wasn’t worried, but she also wasn’t surprised. Plans changed, things went a different route. The logic still couldn’t help the knot in the pit of her stomach that wouldn’t go away. Turning off the kitchen light and retrieving her half bottle of wine, her phone sprang to life as she headed upstairs, the sound of air against the phone evident before she even said hello. He was outside? Maybe? She couldn't be sure. “Hey gorgeous.” “Hey soldier,” her response was always quiet, his greeting still brought a blush on the tips of her ears, sobered quickly by the pause. She stopped on the stairs. Something was wrong, it prickled up the back of her neck. “Hey, so I kinda fucked up some of the paperwork for my last mission.” She kept forgetting he actually did have to do some things by the book. The cough was caught. He was somewhere cold. Outside? She kept telling herself it was hard to breathe outside when it was this cold. Stupid paranoia. “No big deal, but I gotta head over to H-Q and sort it out. Probably not going to make it back to the shop tonight. My place is closer to H-Q, so I might just stop in there for some sleep.” Back to the shop. It was home to her, still just the shop to him. Fair, she supposed. Thumb rubbed her brow, wine sloshing in the bottle. “I’ll have to finish this bottle myself then,” she commented quietly, witty and teasing. “I guess I'll have to find ways to amuse myself too.” “Everything is fine” Ohhhhhhh bullshit. Fine was never fine. She took the stairs to her apartment two at a time, the agile strides already in her room and pawing through clothes before his next sentence. Bottle teetered on her dresser and she caught it, setting it secure on the top. “I just wanted to give you a call so you wouldn’t worry.” She stopped moving. “Okay,” was all she said. She wasn’t going to ask, she wouldn’t get an answer. “I’ll see you tomorrow then,” words were quiet. Say something else. No, not that. Something else. “…be safe.” Changing into jeans and worn pair of boots, she stomped each of the heels to seat her feet and yanked her cuffs down over them. Gauzy shirt off and tossed somewhere, a tight Henley and Irish cable knit sweater was pulled on followed by her father’s worn Navy pea coat and scally hat. Knives… she still needed to get a pistol. Damn it. Leather gloves, scarf trailing from her elbow, she threw open her fire escape door, locking it behind her and vaulting over the railing. Chest seized, cripes it was fucking cold. Landing hard, curls had already torn themselves free as she wrapped her scarf around her neck. Off into the darkness. Hands stuffed in her pockets, she navigated the streets she knew like the back of her hand. She was a runner, but not in this weather, breathing was hard enough as it was. No friends were picking up, two in the morning. Not surprising. Nina was a big no. Jesse was driving. Lisa had kids. To wake everyone up on a paranoid hunch was rude, so subway drop it was. Some were running, some weren’t. Fuck. Transfers. Subway was quiet, the streets were snowy and relatively devoid of cars the closer she got. ARMA headquarters. She’d made this trip before. Even at night, ARMA was alive. Pushing the doors open, it felt weird. Some faces she recognized, smile light as she nodded in greeting, knowing exactly where to go to check in. ARMA headquarters was not her first rodeo, even in the dead of night. They still had her old visitor’s badge. Clipping it on, she assumed the worst and asked for the infirmary, she was sent in the right direction. He wasn’t there, answers to her questions were cryptic. Of course they would be. They recognized her, she had the shiny ‘multipass’, but she was also a fringe member. Fuck it. Charm turned on. It didn’t get her much, but enough to know something had happened. Damn him. It would take her an hour minimum to get to his place, mostly on foot. Early morning, public transit would be running. Slow and sparse, but running. Bus was her preferred method, catching one at the nearest stop and alternating transferring and walking, deciding to get off a block away and walk the rest of the distance. Her teeth were chattering despite her clothing as she crossed the lobby and made her way up. She’d been outside walking and waiting for rides for hours. Cheeks were wind burned, lips stained a berry pink with what was once lipstick. Curls had been pulled into a semi-braid hours before, the frayed locks managing to look effortlessly purposeful. She pulled a glove off and knocked on his door, eyes peering up at the peep hole from under the brim of her hat. They were positively striking with the rare look of make-up. A moment passed before she brushed snow off her jeans, reaching to tap the brim of her hat up to push it up out of her eyes so he could see her face better through the peep hole. “Open the door,” she said under her breath and knocked again. “You forget I have a standing visitor’s badge. Paperwork my ass…” She didn’t specify where she had a badge to, it was obvious… More snow brushed off her coat. “I look stupid in a hat,” she fussed to herself as she waited, starting to feel a bit sheepish for jumping the gun. He was probably asleep, or not there, and she was overreacting on her own worst-case scenario worries. Sigh soft, she pulled the hat off and smoothed her hair, rubbing the tips of her ears with her thumbs a moment to warm them up. If he wasn’t here, where the fuck was he? She couldn't seem to calm her fears. Hat and gloves under her arm, she pulled out her phone and started toward the elevator. Calling for a ride back home... She needed to get a fucking car.
  13. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Rorye Shannon-Kearney

  14. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Taking Inventory

    Skin flinched slightly where he touched the tattoos. His hands were fucking freezing. “Afterward, do you ever feel tired? Does it feel like your invincible in the moment, but later it takes time for you to recover?” “Invincible I guess, like I know every response to each punch and hit before they happen. Almost like... I've fought so much I know what they're going to do. Mostly, rage. Just… anger. At everything, everyone. Words in my head I don’t understand, in a language I don’t know. I recognize some Latin, the rest not at all. Then exhausted afterward.” He was being very calm about the whole thing. Everyone else had always been afraid or condescending as they pushed her to secrecy. The conversation was taking a very different turn, she hadn't expected it. He, understood. She was anticipating being made to feel ashamed she'd made the controversial choice to embrace something this dangerous. “I don’t know everything you’ve been through, but I think I know how you feel.” She looked up away from the fading blue on her forearms to him; echoes of a ghostly power finally giving up their hold. Did he really? “You’re not the only one whose lost everything.” Some lost friends, family, spouses. Killed. Murdered. Changed. Hers had been the cruelest scenario imaginable; terrible choices after heart stopping pain. He seemed at the same loss of words; painful things from life shattering moments that couldn’t quite make themselves into words. “You’re not alone Rorye” Whatever was left of the lingering power was doused the moment his forehead touched hers. Eyes closed to enjoy the silence. They’d spoken of this connection weeks ago, oddly enough in a bathroom at that moment too. It had been held in stalemate since then, their own separate ways in their own separate spaces. Passing communication had been privately close, but physically… she was afraid to take it any further again. Afraid of loss maybe, or a fluke. “Neither are you,” she answered softly. “I’m here, and I am not going anywhere.” It had taken her weeks to get over the stubborn need to stand on her own two feet alone. She’d been so livid he’d insisted on “protecting” her. Every fiber of her being bucked the thought. Pride. It was an insult at first, to think she was weak. She wasn’t, and she’d come to realize he never thought she was. She was important. He didn’t protect her because she was weak; he protected her because she was important. To the cause, and to him. She was also the last line of defense; the person that picked up and struck the killing blow if all else had fallen, and the one to save his life if he was rendered incapable of doing it himself. The realization had changed the game, especially now. “We need to test your abilities” Brow cocked. That was dangerous. “We need to push them… hard. I am fast enough to keep up. We need to know if this power will hurt you if overused, and you also need to practice controlling it in the heat of the moment.” She opened her mouth to say something; she was going to hurt him. He would never agree to what she would ask him to do to protect himself against what she could become. She decided against mentioning it for a moment. “I should have time tonight. Yeah, we just need to find an isolated spot, so we’re not interrupted. Just in case you lose control.” She had a spot. Twice… three times in as many hours he’d been exposed to secrets in her operation. Digging closer and closer to pasts and trade secrets was disorienting for her. She was pretty sure it was business as usual for him. She understood it was necessary to get through this. Progress, however small was still progress. Chris had been sent back to his puppeteers, the disappointment from his turn not surprising but still unexpected. To be able to squeeze so many into fear meant the saturation of whoever was masterminding this giant clusterfuck was substantial. Maybe she could reach out to the Order, they’d approached her shortly before the appearances after all. She had an autonomy most didn’t, and it may prove fruitful in some way. Another time. It was time for her to learn to fight. Somewhere. Isolated. “I have somewhere,” voice was quiet. Not even Nina knew. She’d come close though to finding out the arcane dealer hadn’t let it go after the Event like so many others had with old world responsibilities. Several times when she was reviewing the books to make some purchases for the café there were questions. Money going somewhere. It was her home away from home, she’d even snuck out there when Ryan was asleep in the last several weeks. To ground. To think. To just, get away. He didn’t need to know that. Fingers held his, feet swinging gently as her thumbs explored the backs of his hands. “When my mom passed, we lost our apartment. We didn’t have much you know… one income lost, the rest wasn't enough and we got evicted,” God why was she telling him this? “This shop, it was a wedding gift… I built the rest myself, the tea café and these apartments, but I managed my money and was able to keep my dad’s place too. I lived there until after high school. It’s mine, truly mine. Nina doesn’t know, and I can’t open the doors to the public. It just costs too much.” She looked up at him, “I was thinking of letting ARMA officially use it for a training facility until, everything happened.” Smile was quiet, she was proud of the place and oddly excited to show him her gem, “maybe you still can. It’s… it’s big Ryan. My dad was a boxer.” Taking him to her childhood “home” was a game changer. It was letting him in. Her old room was still there, one and only boxing trophy and all. Everything else, ashamedly dusty and unused saved for a small corner where she would go beat the shit out of a punching bag when she needed to. She didn’t have the manpower or the money for anything other than basic upkeep. “We’ll go tonight,” she nodded, curt smile. “…and I’ll knock you on your ass.” Letting go of his hands, she hitched up her heel and unlaced one Tim to pushed it off with her opposite toe, then repeated it with the other as they clunked softly to the floor with her favorite socks. “But, your skin is freezing and you’re going to catch a cold. Your hair is probably frozen too…” she reached up and ruffled it. Sliding down from the counter she padded into her massive open shower, standing to the side as she turned it on to avoid the streams.. “I know you’ve done this already, but you need to warm up or else you’ll knot up. My shower head is a bit more… fancy than yours.” Fresh towels were folded on the bar attached to the glass. She reached into her back pocket, thumbs swiping over the keyboard in her business group to send her employees a message. She was dealing with a client. Don’t bother her unless the world was burning down. “…and it comes with a set of hands to work out the bruises.” Okay, so she wasn’t banishing him back to his apartment and she wasn't interested in going back to work. Phone clicked shut onto the sink and she reached to peel up his shirt, capturing his lips just as they emerged from the collar. Dropping his tee shirt lazily to the floor, she was absolutely going to take advantage of the situation. Finishing the leisurely kiss with a nip on his lower lip, her sweater and everything underneath were pulled off and dropped to the floor. Bashful, she was not. Definitely not the frantic, adrenaline fueled rush of weeks prior, the inevitable still seemed more intense. It was her way this time, nuzzle under his ear as fingertips traced and lingered across cuts on his stomach. Shower first, together… and then she was either going to finish him, or bring him back to life. Maybe both. --- Lazy lashes opened quietly from a heavy sleep. She was on her stomach, large pillow beneath her cheek in her giant bed. Dark tresses touched with auburn had dried in thick waves, always a result of letting them air dry. The sea of white urged her to just close her eyes again. Her down comforters were too soft for their own good, creating the most incredible place to just disappear for a day. Relax, sleep, and ignore reality completely. Long legs slid gently in the warmth of comforters as she stirred, toes tickling against someone else's calf muscles. Fingers lifted slightly, touching a hand to make sure it was not just her imagination. Sigh was long, content, eyes closed again. It was twilight; the sun had swung toward her bedroom window to peer into it in long shadows. They had something to do. Eventually. She sure as hell wasn’t going to be the first one to get up. Not this time.
  15. Rorye Shannon-Kearney

    Taking Inventory

    Thoughts had quieted, focused on the cold at the back of her neck. Breathing. Scent of fresh towels hanging in the shower. Taste of coffee still on her lower lip. The ticking of a clock in a room nearby. Things this life offered her were still bitterly interrupted with fractured flashes of the taste of smoke and ash, sound of crackling wood and scent of blood. They were starting to subside. The more she reached into the unknown to help her own cause, the more tolerant of the darker sensations she was becoming. She was either at the very cusp of controlling it, or haplessly addicted to the power she gained when it was allowed to saturate her. One of her worst fears was becoming numb to it and losing where she ended and the other began. He could protect her from what was outside her doors, but this entanglement with something she didn't truly understand seemed out of his reach to help. She had to help get out herself. Long breath was pulled in, another scent in the mix dousing what was left of the anger like water on a fire. It was unique, still damp with a fresh shower that had been exposed to freezing temperatures. Things so simple made memories, memories had power. In this case, a calming one. Safety. The word always came to mind when she thought of him. “Rorye, I know you’re angry, But I need to know, what’s going on with you?” She was silent. Was this weakness or strength? She’d continuously told herself it was strength. “Is this you, or is this her?” “I’m fine,” the answer came maybe a bit too quickly, reaching to pull the washcloth off and rinse it out to hang on the bar to dry. Another splash of water and she dried her face, sliding the wet locks at her temples behind her ears with an easy smile. “I’ve got it under control.” The sarcastic jokes about her crux had been thrown out the first time they’d met, a coping mechanism perhaps for a very real danger just under the surface. She hadn’t answered his question, and she knew he wasn’t going to leave that doorway until she had. Another glance at him with eyes that were returning to their normally beautiful dark amber hue was absolutely certain at first. She would use whatever she had access to in order to come out on top with this fight, she just needed to secure control over it. Whatever it took, the mission came first. His tone though, chipped away at her certainty. Maybe it didn’t apply here; perhaps only in the privacy of her home lived a rally point where no matter what happened beyond it they could always find each other again in this space. With that came the necessity to tell the truth. “It’s complicated,” she answered finally, quietly. Tell the truth. Tentative fingers reached behind her shoulders to pull slightly at the sweater, hesitating, and then removing it completely to set gently on the sink counter. Cami underneath, the faint markings could still be seen across her shoulders and down her arms. At first glance, dark blue veining… closer inspection they were absolutely reminiscent of tattooing in very deliberate designs. “Happens every time. They’re everywhere,” she lifted the cami up slightly from her jeans to reveal her lower torso. They were indeed everywhere. Glance at him was hesitant, ashamed maybe, or feeling very naked and exposed. No one had seen these. Ever. “I lost everything ten years ago,” this confession was not ashamed as she let the cami fall back down. It was laced with anger and frustration that was truly hers. “Everything.” Heels of her hands rubbed at her eyes, the budding headache severe. “I promised myself I wouldn’t be that weak again, not when I could have prevented it. The Event gave me speed with no strength, it was useless. The world got fiercer and gave me nothing but my wits to be smarter than the dangerous. This 'accident' with a relic gave me the skill to protect what I love until the second Event seemed to complete what the first had started. I can hit things without breaking bones now, jump from crazy heights. But… I didn’t want to get rid of this other part. I didn’t seek it out, it was an accident. I just didn’t want to give it up either.” Back of her hands wiped her eyes, lingering moisture on her lashes hot from frustration. She slid up to sit on the counter, forearms on her knees as she watched her feet. “So I locked it in. I can use it, tap into this incredible skill… but sometimes anger bleeds out. I'm still working on control. Without it, I have no real skill… except what I learned from my dad when I was a kid. I’m too fast for anyone to keep up and I don’t want to hurt anybody if they try to help.” She was silent, the soft sigh final. “…when you’ve lost… the way I lost them... you find a way to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Sometimes at great personal sacrifice.” The words were almost impossible to get out, a lump in her throat that made speaking nearly inaudible. Her losses had almost killed her, emotionally and physically. She picked up her sweater and laid it across her lap. She'd divulged more than she ever had, to anyone. It made her feel vulnerable, and she hated that. It also made her feel like she wasn't alone, and that brought a peace she hadn't felt in a while. “You need to eat, and you need to sleep,” she looked at him a moment, finding a calm smile somewhere “and you’re also on my side of the apartment. So unless there’s something else you need, go eat, and go sleep before you fall down. I'll answer any questions you want to know, after I know you've recharged."


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