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  • Salt and Burn It

    Calista Burke

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    Feb 22, 2018


    ...just an obscure skin bar



    Cig was perched behind her ear, the sleek ponytail still meticulously in place from a performance that had left her more than a little sore. It was taunting her like a lit libido and a willing partner that was just two sultry blinks away from a romp. Damn cigarettes. It made it from her ear to lips that were wiped clean of lipstick some time ago, unlike the coaled eyes that retained their wickedness even in the dark, taste of cherry enough to appease her for now. Hawk eyes had found the jerk she was waiting for a few days ago, the Meta visiting her favorite bouncer once a month like clockwork to buy him a drink and catch up. The man nudged her in his direction, knowing exactly what the woman did with dickheads that brought junkie talent into the place. An interesting little in-the-dark side job to such an elegant daytime persona.




    Chest lifted, fingers plucking away the cigarette to breathe in the fresh cold air as it swirled upward, the black with a mind of its own flaring to life in anticipation of the adrenaline rush of every drop. Crests rooster tailed for a moment, calming when the air ceased moving. Things had a mind of their own, an extension of her psyche to the world, as expressive as eyebrows in happiness or frown.


    Maybe he wasn’t coming, iridescence flickering when sight changed direction or followed someone from her rooftop perch. Effectively hidden next to another sculpture on the roofline, she’d dressed for the occasion. Next to nothing mesh had been shed, replaced with polished cotton black bootcuts over a particular pair of favorite feminine Harley’s. Dark purple waistcoat corset was barely overbust, a moire scarf of the same color wound around her neck. Elegantly flared leather coat stopped at the knee, the sleeves slim fitting and almost to her fingertips, covering a polished set of brass knuckles that were already in place.


    This was not going to be a conversation.


    Cig returned to her lips, the dark twist of ponytail rolling between her shoulder blades on another updraft. She reached behind her and undid the buckles at the nape of her back that gave the coat its shape- they also kept it a bit too constricted for what she was about to do. She’d learned her lesson, her tailor was pissed the last time… no excuse for tearing his work. She liked him, he was one of the few that called her out on her sass.


    Cigarette case snapped from her inner pocket and she returned the cigarette and the case, snapping it shut. She learned long ago to make sure she had pockets that closed, she’d lost too much shit, becoming more impatient the longer the idiot stayed at the skin bar. A hot bath was sounding fucking amazing right at that moment. This guy was taking too long. He just had to leave the back door, like Nicco had told her he did every night. He would meet up with his girl, beat the shit out of her and then go home. Hence, her visit.


    Finally… finally… the sliver of light warmed the alley and the man stepped out, lighting up a cigarette and waiting at the bottom of the steps for his girl to join him. Nicco was going to hold her. Lips pursed in a tight Grinch-like curl, and she spun on her heel and gracefully swan dived into a twisted freefall from eight stories up.


    It was amazing how fast the human form picked up speed as it fell, the dark figure completely silent in its bulleted free fall save for the snap of paneled leather at her thighs. She wanted to break his neck, go home and have a margarita. But… this one was a message, not a death sentence this time.


    Feathers flared open with tremendous force a moment before the pavement became reality, one tucking to give way to the back of her knee that wrapped around his neck and swung him into the air like an ice-skater tossing their partner into a spin- she also had momentum and they spun in the air for a split second before she let go… the sack of crap rolling uncontrollably across the cracked pavement and slathering up with road rash along the way. Wings flared open to bring the viciousness to a graceful hover before tucking to drop her to the ground. She was already stalking toward him, fist reeled back before he could get up to spray a graffiti of his teeth and split lip over the concrete.


    “Like to hit your girls?”


    A heel slammed into the back of his neck as he gasped for breath, producing a knife from a sheath somewhere under his coat to reach behind his head and swipe at her leg. She was no longer there, the ass rolling over to his back to weather another punch that cracked his nose. She snatched the knife, landing on the balls of her feet on his gut just below his sternum, crouched, perched… like a bird, as he regained his bearings. It was hard for him to breathe with her weight on him. Good.


    Immense wings were flared above her, catching the alley draft to leave her precarious position on his chest possible. Tip of the knife was placed on a button to his coat, spinning under her finger lazily as she turned it a few times before tucking it in the back of her waistband.


    “Hit your girls again I will drop you in front of a bus.”


    He spit on her. Honest to god spit his blood on her face. Both hands grabbed his coat and the massive feathers snapped once.


    One story. Then two… by the third, he stopped flailing, realizing how high he was and fingers cinched around her wrists to keep her from dropping him- becoming deathly still, nodding viciously.


    *npc* no more… no more… I promise…


    Her features were stern, bringing them back down on top of a nearby parking garage. She let go, brushing off his coat and pushing him away from her. He stumbled a bit, wiping the clotting and freezing blood from under his nose.


    “Good talk, real come-to-Jesus moment,” she blew him a kiss and stepped off the edge into the darkness.


    Returning to the back door, she finally pulled a cig from the case in her pocket and patted herself down for a tissue, knocking gently and sliding it behind her ear.


    “Anything else?” words were quiet, a clipped wad of money passed off to Nicco. “Tell her to get a place to stay, let me know if he’s any more trouble.”


    Nicco nodded, handing her a tissue from his back pocket, *npc* “it’s clean.”


    “Good,” she smirked, brows upward in a mock. “I know what tissues have to put up with in this place.”


    He chuckled, she winked, and was alone in the darkness as the door closed and she hopped down the steps and removed her brass wedding rings. It was rare she got to walk the streets without being a curiosity. She enjoyed they emptiness of the dark alley for a moment, wiping the blood from her features and tossing the kleenex into the dumpster to pause and finally light her cigarette.

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    There were two ways a man of this sort could react to something like that.

    First, they could slink away, accept their defeat. What they did after that was a tossup, really. No doubt the shame and the rage - impotent in most senses, both against himself for losing the fight to her and against her for sneaking up on him, for catching him off guard and suckering him, oh there was going to be a lot of anger building in him after that. Maybe his blood had been chilled to ice by fear, some realization of what would have happened if she had let him fall, but the shame and the anger would heat it to a boil in time. If it happened slowly, this would be the option - he would get back in his car, drive away, hating himself and the world. He would probably boil over at some later date, exploding on who knows what or whom.

    Second... well, the same thing would happen, only sooner.

    He lay there for a few seconds after she left him, heart pounding as though trying to escape his chest, tongue moving along his teeth and sending another spike of pain through his nerves as it found the sharp, jagged edge of broken enamel. That pain was clarifying in a way. It stabbed through the fog of adrenaline and fear, gave him something to focus on. She had no right to treat him this way. No right to sucker him into shit this way. He rolled onto his stomach and pushed himself up to stand. His legs were still shaky, adrenaline raging through his system starting to peter out and leave his body on the comedown. As the fear was replaced by anger however, it started to return... evening him out again, stilling the tremor in his hands.

    He could not let her go so easily. Couldn't let her take his dignity and walk away scot free... that winged bitch, she had no right. [npc]No fucking right...[/npc] he snarled to no one, bloody lips pulling back over broken incisors as he started toward the stairs. Hand darted into his pocket, fumbling for a moment with the key fob until he smashed his thumb down hard on the trunk release, stalking with a slight limp toward the black sedan to throw the trunk open. Whatever she had taken... he was taking back. No one lifted a hand to him like this and got away with it. Especially not some jumped up whore with wings.

    Down on the ground floor again, the door into the alleyway slammed open, the man shouldering hard through the exit and stepping into the cone of illumination provided by one of the few lights still working in the alleyway. He didn't see her at first, but he saw the cigarette... saw the way the light shone off her feathers, and his blood-streaked face turned up, locked in a mask of rage as the shotgun in his arms began to lift up. Stock against his shoulder, shell already pumped into the chamber...

    He was interrupted by the flat crack of a bullet hitting concrete, followed by the sharp but dampened report of a rifle. Between those sounds was the chaotic pattern of blood spatter issuing forth from his chest, a spray of fine crimson and pink droplets interspersed with strings of muscle and sinew, chips of bone from his ribcage and the shoulder blade the bullet had pulverized on its way into his body. A bullet didn't truly have the force to knock a man over, that was only for the movies, or else no one would be able to fire the rifle. It was still a hell of an impact however, and the man was driven forward a step, right leg moving to catch himself before he fell.

    His eyes widened in surprise, uncomprehending, wondering who had just hit him in the back. Wondering what all the droplets on the concrete in front of him were - in the dim lighting, it was hard to see the color, to know it was blood. The crash of input from the nerves was too much for his brain to understand, too much to sort through - what had just happened couldn't have happened, no way to process that into pain in such a short time. He tried to lift the shotgun, but his left arm wouldn't move, was falling where it should have lifted, further confusing him. After all, he didn't know that the round had shattered much of the bone that was supposed to support the arm that supported the shotgun. Didn't know that the reason his breath was caught and he couldn't seem to draw one was that a significant portion of his left lung was shredded, the source of the foamy pink that had flown out amidst the red of arterial blood... and the pieces of his heart.

    Now that he was still and in shock, the second shot - which entered through the back of his skull and destroyed nearly a third of his head with the same ruthless efficiency with which the first shot did his heart - wiped away any chance he would ever have of finding that out. Along with the man himself, of course.


    Across the street, on the rooftop of one of the taller buildings that overlooked the scene, a man's silhouette was briefly visible against the backdrop of the moonlit sky. He would normally have drawn back while prone, avoided shading himself so visibly, but there was only going to be one witness at this time. If she saw him, that was good. It would save speaking to her later. Push pulled his rifle back from the edge, drawing back the bolt once more and ejecting the spent brass casing, which fell silently onto the padded case off to his right, rolling until it clinked softly against its predecessor, gleaming in the moonlight.

    He set the rifle down against the case, leaving the bolt open for now. If she saw, and came up, well... it was no good in a close situation anyway. One of his pistols sat on the case next to it, as usual, his hand resting nearby.

    Annoying situation. He had needed to observe, killing the man had not been part of the plan. Now he was going to have to arrange for disposal. It was fine. Not like he had anything else to do during the night. For a man who never slept... well there were more hours in his day than that of most people.

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    Movement was always heard- the Meta enjoying a world of silence in her stone prison before the world ended- the whisper of prayer, shuffle of layers of clothing and gentle shoes.  The old world was hushed and solitary, not the consistent barrage of senses that battered her psyche now.  She noticed, everything.  Used to formerly believing heaven above was always watching and now thousands of people gawking -or appreciating- her talent was how she knew she was being watched, by more than just an asshole that had the shit beat out of him by a “stripper”.  The needled prickle at the back of her neck had begun before she’d dropped from the first height.  Oddly, the attention was neither seen as threatening, nor concerning. She’d learned to keep serenity in the most impossible of situations, and this wasn’t near what she had been through in her brief life so far.


    The footsteps she also heard, the curdling, wheezing blood as it hissed in a battered nose, smelled between the puffs of cherry flavored clove; heard the door at the bottom of the parking garage.  Funny thing about big damn wings, they hid a lot.  What some would see as an extremely well dressed hooker taking a smoke break near a dumpster, was actually now an armed bitch that had made the decision to kill him if she heard so much as another peep from the bastard.  She highly doubted he was returning to apologize again.  It meant two things; he would try to sneak up on her, and he was most likely armed with a gun this time.


    Cig flicked and was extinguished with an elegant twist of toe, left hand already tightly gripped on the ASP that had been quietly snapped from its holster beneath the cover of coat and wing.  Not yet extended, the martyr in her turned to face the intent with stoic calmness as he began to exit the door.  If he was going to shoot her, she would not run, or flinch.  She would look him in the eye, and he would miss. Why?  Because she would not die today.  She was no religious nut thinking the world could save her; it was something in her gaze- her refusal to look away in the face of brutality.  The countenance had brought about her second chance at life, and would someday be her death.  She would not run.


    Plus, she knew how to kick a man’s ass that was holding a gun.


    Pulse of vibration was felt along every feather at the sound of a crack on the concrete, impact fluttering heavily painted lashes, the scene unfolding bringing no motion from her.  Death dealing an odd gift from an unseen savior.  Eyes suspiciously looked toward the sky under crinkled brows. 


    She was already moving.


    Agile and insanely acrobatic, the launch to the dumpster and rebound off the wall sent her into the air and night alley gloom without the heavy and often slow pump to get her airborne.  Shadow and movement had caught her attention after her companion’s head had been made into canoe.  ASP was snapped back into its holster as darkness was sluiced through silently, very aware her head could suffer the same fate if she confronted the shadow in the sky.  She didn’t bother ascending past, there was no reason to.  She had no need for momentum, didn’t plan on snapping anyone’s neck, cupped appendages collecting the updraft to hang for a moment, long promary feathers twisting and dancing with the rush before tucking and dropping her softly from the air.  Toes barely on the edge of the ledge, heels bounced lazily on nothing but stories of air below.  She supposed her thoughts should have been racing… who, why… what.


    They weren’t.  She’d seen hurt.  It didn’t scare her anymore.  She stepped forward off the "perch" and hopped down.


    Head cocked slightly as she studied everything about and around him with the unnerving iridescent eyes.  Reaching into her coat pocket without hesitation, she snapped out another cig, running the filter along her lower lip to taste the cherry before sliding it behind her ear and replacing the case.  Had she seen him before?  Couldn’t say.  Maybe somewhere between Lucky’s good times and business whispers she was supposed to ignore when she was “busy” being nothing more than an exotic decoration on his arm?  Or when she was pretending to be “incapable” of any other rational thought than what color to paint her nails she might have caught a glimpse.  Probably not, but he smelled figuratively of Bakkhos.


    “Guardian angel?  Or a useful stalker?” it wasn’t a sarcastic joke at her own expense, it was gentle- a serious question.  She had no reason to hate him.  She had no reason to hate anyone, unless they hurt those that didn’t deserve it.  Cheek turned to the wind, enjoying the scent of cold air, watching him again after a long sigh... waiting for a shoe to drop.

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    Huh. That was reasonably impressive. She had made it up quickly, and she had an interesting way of moving about her. The marine recognized the predatory nature of her motion as she landed and watched him. The ability to be perfectly still one moment, then move with frightening speed and precision at any given instant. It was something a human like him had to train hard for, but it came more naturally to other creatures. No, that wasn't quite true. For them, it was a necessity from birth. For humans, it was only the need to kill other humans that made it so.

    Well, if nothing else, Push was a master of his own craft.

    He regarded her for a few seconds while she studied him. Where her eyes were intense, searching, Push's were cool, blue-green and bright enough to stand out in the dim lighting, but calm to a fault, studying, almost disinterested. Jaded, perhaps - too much seen to be surprised or worried. Or simply very, almost inhumanly, even. He was ready to roll with anything that happened, anything she did, and none of it worried him. He might have been 'just' a human, at least but for some alterations to his metabolism, but it didn't matter what came to the city, what the target was. This man was the hunter, not the prey, and he knew it. It was up to everyone else to figure that out.

    She spoke finally, and he watched her for another two seconds before looking back to his rifle. Moving smoothly but quickly, with economy born of long experience, he snapped the stock of the rifle closed, unlocked the barrel and removed it, then began packing the components into the black soft case that he had left on the surface beside him.

    [push]Insurance policy. Sooner or later, one begins to wonder if your extracirriculars are going to pose a problem.[/push] he responded. His voice was quiet, gentle even despite his size. He never spoke much louder than he absolutely needed to, which meant people tended to have to listen hard to catch everything he said. There was a very slight Louisiana accent to his words, but one faded - it had been over a decade since he'd last been to the Bayou.

    He was also, as it turned out, not one for wasted words. Though he supposed by some standards he had 'improved' over the last couple years.

    [push]The wise businessman always keeps track of his assets.[/push] he said then, affecting a slightly different tone that suggested he was quoting the words of someone else. [push]Or so I have been told.[/push] he added, confirming it. Rifle now stowed away, casings tucked in a pouch along with it, he worked a surprisingly quiet zipper to close the bag, and looked back up to her, waiting for a response.

    No one was ever going to call him chatty.

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    • 4 weeks later...

    Sleek boots finally stepped forward, stepping down lightly to the roof proper, the masses of iridescent black lowering to become almost a shadow behind her.  Fingers slid into her pockets to keep out the chill.


    "Insurance policy. Sooner or later, one begins to wonder if your extracirriculars are going to pose a problem."


    His words were interesting.  A ghost, the timbre of his speech a gentility that was most often lost in the world as it had become.  It was a refreshing reminder that not everything was a crass, boisterous nothingness.  It was only then his words were digested.  Extracurricular activities.  Smile was light, reaching to her eyes.  The glint of tiger’s eye shifted as she scanned the shadows of the skyline.

    "The wise businessman always keeps track of his assets."


    Focus shifted back to him with a flick of lashes.  It was the one thing that could ruffle her feathers, per se, the only thing to get under her skin.  As if on cue the appendages rose slightly from the shadows at her back, feathers rooster-tailing before smoothing as if they had a mind of their own.  She may have given her loyalty to those that had saved her life, but she was owned by no one.


    "Or so I have been told."


    “Slaves are made in such ways,” her own voice was just as quiet, retrieving the Kretek from behind her ear and lighting in finally as he packed his wares, a fine stream of smoke escaping her lips at the snap of a silver top on her lighter… sparing him the interesting scent by knowing which way the breeze was carrying it.  She pondered her own words.  Ash flicked gently, rolling on the rooftop before becoming dark.  The Bishop had said the same thing to her once, before she found out he was shipping altered off to who the fuck knows where….


    “Which I’m not.  You have your job I suppose.  I have mine… which doesn’t always involve shaking my ass.”  Kretek was finished, tongue flashing to lick her thumb as she pinched the embers out with a sizzle and returned the filter to her cigarette case.  “Sometimes it involves paying back debts.”


    She didn’t elaborate which debts, or for whom… eyes shifting to the sky a moment and the odd swirling clouds that stood out against the black velvet.


    “Never know who’s watching,” an observation, as well as food for his thought.  There were higher eyes watching sometimes than rifle scopes on tops of buildings.  “Have a nice evening, friend.”


    She stepped back onto the ledge, the updraft curling wisps of tendrils against her cheeks.


    “Thanks for the conversation, and the bullet… but I have some unanticipated cleaning up to do.”


    With that, she stepped off the edge, a bit more of a leisurely descent than before.  She hated cleaning up.  Not that she had an issue with splattered brain and bone.  It was the blood.  Long come to terms with the brutality that had left her almost dead, the scent of blood was a trigger she couldn’t shed.  Hence, the cigarette.  Coated in the sultry smell of clove, it made the job a bit less traumatic.  Shoes touched down softly.


    “Asshole,” she muttered, kicking the shredded back of the leather jacket slightly.


    Long fucking night ahead.

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    Push paused a moment at her retort, considering with a slight frown. That hadn't been what he meant, and her implication wasn't one he'd considered. [ian]Didn't stop you from doing what you wanted.[/ian] he pointed out, rather reasonably he thought. She was hard to replace, was all he had meant. Made making sure she didn't get killed in an alley good business sense, in his opinion. More importantly, and more to the point, that was the position of the man who had given him his orders.

    [ian]Don't really care.[/ian] he deadpanned, entirely honestly when she started to talk about what her job entailed. More like her extra work, really. He had a pretty good grasp on what her 'official' job in the organization was. And also that what she was doing now was not a part of that. He didn't think it would come as much of a surprise to Lucky, but then again it was hard to say. If he hadn't known something like this was going on, applying the Marine to the situation was probably more than a bit excessive. That meant Push was leaning toward thinking the old man did know.

    [ian]You do-[/ian] he started, but she had already flown, and he let out a breath. Impatience... he hated that in people. But then he supposed not everyone could sit on a rooftop for days at a time, waiting for the right man to glance out a window so he could lose his head.

    As was his wont, he didn't hurry. He finished packing up his rifle, made sure he had both the shell casings, and slung the pack over his shoulder before standing and leaving the roof through the access stairway he'd entered it by earlier in the night. The Marine exited the building a short time later, walking directly across the street, tiny flame announcing his Zippo as he lit a cigarette, then flicked the old battered steel lighter closed when he made it to the alleyway.

    [ian]Cleanup is part of the service.[/ian] he said, pausing a moment to see where she'd gotten with it, tapping something into a phone he held in his free hand without ever quite looking at it. [ian]Have some experience with that.[/ian]

    It was, being fair, probably more experience than she had with body disposal. Unless she was far more prolific a killer than her demeanor about the whole affair suggested. Though who knew? Finding that she really enjoyed that sort of thing would also be an interesting result.

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    “Nobody stops me from doing what I want,” she said quietly through the corner of her mouth as the cigarette was lit and thin stream blown out away from both of them.  She was steadfast with Bakkhos, and would be hesitant to say that there were conditions.  There weren’t.  But, she had her own missions, and they knew how important it was to her to follow through with them.  Waging a personal war against the factions?  Of course not.  Helping who she could get out of shit situations and find a better way of life?  Absolutely.


    "Don't really care."


    “Good, because work stays at work… and I don’t peg you for a guy that likes off the clock lap dances as payment for silence.” Slightly cocked brow hung in the silence, “I don’t do those.”  Shoulders ruffled audibly in the shadows behind her to unconsciously emphasize her distaste in the cheap entertainment.  Neck stretched to one side, the irony a private one,  “…things would get in the way anyway.”


    ..and then she was gone.  Thankful for his intercede sure, completely capable of cleaning up her own messes.  Not impatience, in fact entirely the opposite; taking care of her business no matter the consequence.  Being wholly responsible for the chaos one made, even if it went awry, depths of which very few in existence could truly understand.  Sense of justice, now tightly twisted with an unflinching predator’s DNA was more trouble than most realized.  The landing light, she still had to resist the temptation to rip him limb from limb even though the bastard was dead.  Pointed anger.  She struggled with it, always.  A kind gentle hand leading the astray to a place of safety, the devil on the other side casting judgment.


    Scent of cigarette smoke preceded his presence.  She hated it... reminded her how much of a shitty habit it was- and that she needed to quit.

    "Cleanup is part of the service."


    “I don’t make messes I can’t clean up,” eerie gold flicked to him before fingers snagged the back of the prone idiot’s collar, rolling the mess over to pluck anything from his pockets that could hint of an identity and tucking them into hers.  This wasn’t her first rodeo by far.  Nobody would care one way or the other who he was, but the resurgence of some sort of law might make it an issue.  Leather groaned under her grip, the perceived expediency mistaken for ‘impatience’ gone again into the night sky with a tremendous flux of air.  It wasn’t an agile grace this time, the severe power of the appendages snapped outward and pulsed until she and the bleeding corpse were into the oblivion.  This was not a rarity either.  She had promised to drop the fucker in front of a bus.  If it had been just her, maybe she would have… not intent on leaving someone she didn’t know taking care of the blood and bone in the alley.  Easiest and quickest it would have to be. 


    Headwinds a bit unstable, the twisting of muscles in her shoulders were more than this shit was worth, dropping him into the lower bay.  From this height, the dangling parts would blow apart further… the man in several pieces on several shores if whatever lived in the water didn’t get to him first.  She fucking hated the water.


    Feathers blew outward like a parachute as soon as the weight was gone, hovering in the misted darkness until she heard him hit the water.  The way back was a test of speed, a hundred pound bullet sluicing through the darkness before flaring open and dropping back into her alleyway to see what was left to finish.


    “Fish food,” comment was quiet, another cigarette pulled and slid behind her ear.  She hated the smell of blood.  “Promised I’d drop him in front of a bus.  He doesn’t know the difference.”


    Eyes surveyed what was left, trying to ascertain the lengths of his own skills at making things disappear, and whether he'd been really sent to keep an eye on her.  He set off the weird little predator radar embedded in her soul since the Event.  Protecting assets hm?  Men lied all the time.  All the time.

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    • 2 weeks later...

    The comment about the lap dances was actually sort of on-the-nose, not that she would know why. All the same, it tugged one corner of his mouth up in an odd half-smile, if only for a few seconds. That was how he'd met Suri, actually. Met her for real, to be specific, he'd seen her once or twice before that. Once more than he actually knew, considering that one time she almost killed him during a full moon. It was why he always carried silver rounds during those days of the month, even now.

    Later, when he was on the ground, he shook his head at her comment. [push]Not your mess. Few spots on the roof maybe. Gray matter is on me.[/push] he pointed out, taking a draw on the cigarette. It was a shitty habit, sure. And one he didn't stay attached to - the smoke would be an unforgivable lapse if he was actually infiltrating, or on a sniping mission. But it was also more common than not amongst a lot of criminal elements. As long as he kept his DNA collected, there was almost more danger in being IDed by his lack of smoking.

    When she took off with the body though, he let out a sigh and took his phone out again, sending another text before he dropped it back into his pocket. Well, there wasn't much sense in any of his plans now, if she was absconding with the body. The mess on the concrete could be taken care of satisfactorily with a bit of ammonia to make sure there was no usable DNA - other than that, there was plenty of blood on the streets ever since Resonance.

    When she came back, he'd already disappeared the pieces that were left, as well as spraying the site down, and had repacked his equipment before looking back up to see her. [push]Confident he doesn't care. Still. Remains could wash up. Could have dealt with that.[/push] he said, but then he gave a shrug. What was done was done, and he wasn't the sort to dwell. Not in the physical sense or in the mental one. He shouldered his pack again, looking back to her.

    [push]Don't suppose you have any other plans tonight?[/push] Or, really, that she'd tell him if she did. That second part seemed particularly unlikely. After all, people did lie all the time. He didn't. But he also spent a lot of time hunting down the people who did, for one reason or another. As far as he was concerned, when it came to himself... there just wasn't a lot of point in it.

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    • 3 weeks later...

    Keen eyes never missed a thing, the press of his lip slightly upward at her lapdance comment pulling a visually invisible roll of eyes.  Either he was one of those assholes, or he agreed with her.  Mostly likely the asshole.


    "Not your mess. Few spots on the roof maybe. Gray matter is on me."


    Good grief.  She didn’t accept the passing the buck bullshit.  Whether he’d killed the dick or not, she would have finished the game herself.  Was there anyone in this world that believed someone could be absolutely passive about brutality?  Happy for the help, but this was becoming a pain in the ass.  Nobody did something for nothing, even if it was their job, which meant she wasn’t really sure how much further into this briar patch she wanted to go.

     "Confident he doesn't care. Still. Remains could wash up. Could have dealt with that."


    “Don’t care what the remains do,” she really didn’t, and it didn’t  matter to her if it traced back to her.  The shit didn’t work for Bakkhos, couldn’t be traced to Bakkhos, and she had no problem facing the consequences alone.


    "Don't suppose you have any other plans tonight?"


    It was her turn to barely smirk.


    “Pay a few bills and torture a guy to death.  Why, you want to catch a bite to eat first?  You can watch me pay my electric bill?”  It wasn’t exactly the electric bill.  A few drops to her wards of choice before she pulled a shitstorm out of a confessional and peeled his skin off.  Granted, normally it was an ass kicking, or a simple shot in the chest.  This one?


    This one deserved so much more of her time.  A regular old dumpster fire.


    Feathers low in the shadows shivered slightly, spiking to a flare at the thought of what he'd done to draw her ire.  A barometer of her mood most of the time.  This one wasn't going to get off with a rifle in the sky.  This one was going to hurt.  Bleed.  Hurt some more... and fucking die when she was satisfied.

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    • 2 weeks later...

    If she didn't care what the remains did, she was an idiot, and one day she was going to get caught. Someone was going to find those remains, and whether by ARMA's increasingly annoying brand of forensic magic or good old fashioned gumshoe tactics they'd trace it right back to her. It wasn't a strategy for long term success, and Push didn't like people who only saw what was in front of them. She had some kind of plan, and she wasn't stupid, but she was putting pride and frustration ahead of survival. Pride had no place in this sort of work.

    He didn't mind if she wanted to be sarcastic at him, he didn't have a problem neglecting that sort of thing, and he'd never been the sort of man who demanded respect within the organization. Either someone respected him or they didn't, and either he was ordered to kill them or he wasn't. Sure he had to kill from time to time without orders - he wasn't about to let himself get killed, or leave breathing someone who might try, of course.

    [push]You don't want my company. No intention of tagging along any further. Just here to evaluate. Done now.[/push] He seemed to think for another few moments, then he slung the bag over his shoulder again, pulling the strap so it was snug. The rifle was heavy, it would throw him off if the bag swayed too much while he moved.

    [push]What you do affects more than just you. Remember that. Don't get caught.[/push] he said, and with that he turned and strode back out of the light, turning the corner and disappearing down the street without another word. It was the truth - if she was going to work with the Organization, no matter her capacity, then what she did could trace back to them. It could make trouble. And when someone made trouble, he usually wound up being the one to put them down. That was why they kept him, after all...

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    • 2 weeks later...

    Skin was on edge, feathers flickering once and dying low on her back to almost hover over the ground like inky shadows.  She hated the smell of whatever he was using, the feel that the world she created around her was being weighed, measured, stacked and filed for later use- irritating and setting the aura around her ablaze with a tightly coiled anger.

    "You don't want my company. No intention of tagging along any further. Just here to evaluate. Done now."


    “Don’t tell me what I want,” the golden eyes shimmered once as the lashes narrowed and released, iridescent black still hanging low in the darkness.  Innocent advice or not, it would not be let to slide, studying him with a wider awareness than most.  She knew the look, knew the thought process, knew the cryptic bullshit that signaled a holier than thou persona… or a need to metaphorically slide a dollar in her g-string and tell her what to do with it.  She didn’t wear them, and she most certainly didn’t accept petty change.  “…don’t presume you know anything about me, either.”

    "What you do affects more than just you. Remember that. Don't get caught."


    Wings snapped upward suddenly, like the defensive stance of a spider.  If anything, she was unpredictable. 


    “You know nothing,” the haze in her voice signaled what she spoke was true. He knew nothing about her.  Watched her kick the crap out of a guy, assumed she couldn’t take care of the aftermath. Made a mess that she’d had to clean up, even though he offered to.  So then what?  She'd 'owe him one'?  Fuck that. She didn't give favors, she collected debts.  “If you really wanted to know what I'm up to, you’d stick around.  I didn’t ask for your help.  I don’t ask for anyone’s help because I’m always disappointed.  Always.”


    Powerful surge of air put her into the sky.  This was no exception.  She needed to clear her palate.  Twisting a guy’s neck?  Or, spend the evening with her kids?  The choice was an easy one to make.  If he’d bothered to “evaluate” further he might have… nah…  She stopped the thought in its tracks.  If she saw him again, he might end up on her short list of people to off.  It wasn’t fair to apply that kind of hate to someone she barely knew… his presumption to judge though, was enough to snap her tolerance to a dangerous place.  She would not be judged.  By anyone.  Ever again.  If she could slit a Bishop's throat for the same crime, there was nothing out of her realm.  The only reason she wasn't going after him to crush his skull from a drop out of the sky was because he most certainly was Bakkhos.  That was his only saving grace. Stuff that up his evaluation.


    Pushing hard off the edge of a building, the bullet launched higher into the air.


    Her charges it was, the only thing that seemed to calm the beast.  Asshole pimps needing the shit slapped out of them would have to wait for another night.

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    • RESONANCE - 18+ 3/3/3

      • A modern/fantasy, intermediate+ collaborative writer's rp. Caters to an experienced player base (25+) with a slower, more relaxed pace.

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