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Snippet #2792323

located in Portland, Oregon, a part of Hero Service, one of the many universes on RPG.

Portland, Oregon

None

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sunhi Na Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Leonida Armel
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LEO ARMEL & KAT MAC NIADH & NA SUN-HI
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As the room started to fill with the rest of the team, Kat tuned out the bickering between the teammates and joined the company of her thoughts. Something big was happening, considering they were in full gear and Agent Alvarez had been mentioning the start of field work coming soon. Being out there, where no one knows them other than another uniform trying to protect them, it was nerve-wracking and unbelievably exciting at the same time.

The moment Agent Alvarez mentioned that Kip was on another team, it made Kat worried. As much as she trained to be her own hero, she worked best when Kip was by her side. Even if he could be a bit bratty at times, he was her rock and she wanted nothing more than to be on the same team. But this is how it would be and she wouldn’t always have Kip with her.

She noticed him mouthing at her as they left, wishing her good luck. She mouthed the same back, smiling and winking back at him as they parted ways.

That didn’t mean she was disappointed in the team by any means. The full team covering the West Portland area were people she got along with well, and once they were separated further, the two she was paired with were the greatest luck she could have.

Kat and Sunhi hit it off from the start. The technology girl had taken a liking to her and was an adventure just to be around. She was chatty and clumsy, but also impossibly intelligent and a brilliant strategist that gave Kat tips to improve her combat. Kat found herself protective of the other girl, especially now when there was a chance of enemy attack at any moment. And Leo… well, she couldn’t lie at the fact of being almost alone with her teammate made her heart skip a beat. Leo was someone she looked up to, and wanted to be around all the time. Kat didn’t know the words to describe how she felt about them, but the appropriate actions were usually a blush and giggle when anyone asked, not actual words.

If she was going to brave her first mission without Kip by her side, Leo and Sunhi were the best partners she could have asked for.

Leo’s eyes couldn’t be pulled off of Alvarez if someone tried. The words coming out of his mouth were like music to their ears. It took all of their willpower to not react like Kip, bursting with joy. Instead, they did their best to contain it, rerouting their happiness into a wide grin and bouncing on their heels. They did want to at least try and be professional in front of these professional heroes. I’ll be there one day. The possible visions of their future were positive and exciting just to think about. And today would be the first step of many, many steps.

As Alvarez kept talking, Leo kept getting more and more drawn in and excited. The people on their team were awesome, and they’d heard a few good things about the West Portland Warrior. And now, they’d be able to train under him, a professional hero, with some really cool people on their team! But Alvarez continued to talk, and things just kept getting better. They would be split into small groups, and who was in Leo’s group?

Sunhi and… Kitty? Leo’s heart jumped into their throat. It was so suddenly pounding in their ears, they were sure people could see their eyes as wide as saucers. But they shook their head, pushing past it. Leo glanced over at Kat, almost suspiciously, before realizing that looking away suddenly would have been even more suspicious. So instead they smiled at her, giving her a short playful salute. Smooth, tiger.

Sunhi’s eyes darted between Kat and Leo. Leo was looking at Kat with the sort of intensity Sunhi had only ever seen in movies. Sunhi herself had never looked at anyone so closely, partly because staring was rude, but mostly because eye contact was a skill she’d never mastered.

Sunhi wiggled her way between Kat and Leo, wrapping her arms around Kat’s elbow. She stuck her chin up, and gazed at Leo with what she hoped was a look of defiant suspicion. Sunhi was unsure why Leo was smiling at her best friend, but she had read in a book of animal psychology that predators often bared their teeth before striking. Sunhi would not allow them to coax Kat into a state of false comfort.

Though Leo was as extraordinary as everyone else, Sunhi would not let her respect and awe of them to shake her guard. Though Leo’s face was awfully symmetrical.

Sunhi would have glared at Leo for longer, but she needed to blink, and the eye contact was getting uncomfortable. Her eyes watered with the intensity with which she was staring at Leo, and a tear trickled down her cheek. Sunhi blinked rapidly, and looked away with a huff.

The first person Kat caught eyes with was Leo. Her teammate smiled at her, sending a salute in her direction. It made her giggle, waving shyly back at Leo. Then she felt hands latch around her arm, and looked slightly down to see Sunhi at her side and smiled. ”Don’t worry, Sun. Leo and I are good fighters, so you won’t need to throw any punches,” Kat reassures her, believing her teammate’s sudden attachment to be caused by nervousness toward being out in the field.

And if Kat was honest, she was terrified. More of the citizens rather than the criminals. Miami had been a lot kinder, but she still worried of what people would think when they saw her in uniform. When they saw what she could do.

She was thankful that at least Leo and Sunhi were by her side, if she couldn’t be with Kip. So she put on as much of a brave face as she could muster as they made their way to West Portland. It would be her first time meeting a professional hero, and the first time they’d really be able to wander out Portland, even on professional business. Portland was a tundra compared to Miami, and she activated the internal heaters inside her uniform’s hoodie and boots. ”Man, I don’t know how I’m supposed to kick some criminal ass when I can feel my hands?” Kat makes the joke toward her two teammates as they hit the streets in their few blocks of patrol.

Kat responded to Leo’s little salute with an adorable wave, and it made Leo’s smile only grow wider. As they approached her, Sunhi inched in between them. Her expression made Leo stop on their tracks. She seemed almost… defensive. Is she crying? What in the world? Leo retained their smile, not wanting to upset Sunhi further, but their eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

As they were all wrangled up and shoved out the doors, Leo’s whole body buzzed with excitement. They pushed their mask up over their nose, covering their eyes but highlighting their golden-brown irises. The sharp, cold air bit at their cheeks. The first few minutes in the cold were the worst, but Leo entertained themselves by puffing clouds of steam from their nose as they walked down the street. Although their high-tech heavy boots and padded armor kept their feet and body warm enough, their hands were left to fend for themselves. However, the possibility of needing to react quickly kept Leo from following the instincts to put their hands in their pockets. Instead they balled their hands into fists, hoping people wouldn’t perceive them as angry.

As if she was reading their mind, Kat made a comment about the cold and their hands. Leo let out a curt laugh, turning their head to look at her as they walked. “Hey, that can be a good thing though! If you can’t feel your hands, you can hit harder, right?” They joked, keeping their eyes on Kat as they continued down the street.

Sunhi didn’t like the cold. She also didn’t like the heat. She liked eight days of the year, when the air straddled the narrow sliver between cool and warm. She breathed into her gloved hands, a fog of condensation wafting from her lips.

“You could try head-butting them,” Sunhi told Kat seriously. The hyperbole had flown right over her head. “Low temperatures actually cause your artilleries to narrow, which would reduce the force of your strikes.”

Sunhi rummaged through the giant backpack she carried on her and extracted bottles for each of the trainees on her team. The bottle was small and slick, and filled with a violently green liquid that no doubt tasted awful. “Here, they’re edible nanobots that will warm you from the inside. They’re also full of electrolytes and essential vitamins. I flavoured them with apple extract.” She sniffed the bottle and wrinkled her nose. “I think.”

Sunhi tapped the circular disk at her temple and a hologram floated over her right eye. Her eyes darted across the map. The faint lines that peppered nearly half her body began to glow and shift, like a living tattoo. Sunhi read their assignment on the screen. Her eyes widened. This definitely didn’t seem very safe.

Kat giggled again at Leo’s comment, wanting to kick herself for acting like a school girl any time Leo was around. She was about to reply back when Sunhi suggested other means of attack, which made her laugh louder. ”Sun, I’d get a concussion by the second hit. But the logistics team made me these cool gauntlets so I’ll be fine,” Kat replies proudly, pulling the gauntlets from her pockets and striking a pose with them before they continued to move down the street.

Sunhi still produced two vials from her backpack, offering them to Kat and Leo. Kat took one of the bottles, sniffing it at the same time Sunhi did. ”This smells like death. Are you sure this is edible?” It was partially a joke, but the horrid smell made her wonder how much Sunhi had actually tested it.

She didn’t get the time to ask. They stepped past an alleyway and a man shot out at Kat, knocking her to the ground. ”What the-“ Her exclamation was cut off by a hard punch to the jaw. He gave her no choice but to spit at him, flipping him off of her and scooting back enough that she can hop back up to her feet. ”You’re some of those hero kids, aren’t you? I need the insignia on your uniforms.” The man growls at Kat and her two teammates, getting back on his feet as well.

Kat held her fists in front of her face, ready to fight and forgetting their protocol to notify their team and request back up. Her fear was consuming her, causing her fists to shake and her thoughts to cloud her from proper judgment. ”That’s right, so you better back off! Kat cries out, her voice laced with uncertainty that this would end in their favor.

Leo took the vial that Sunhi handed them, hesitantly putting it up to their nose. It smelled pretty dreadful. However, being the idiot they are, they went to take a small sip before being rudely interrupted. A thug shoved Kat onto the ground, striking her, and immediately pointing out their outfits.

In moments of combat, it’s hard to keep control of emotions. Rage bubbled up, mixing with excitement, adding a dash of nervousness. Leo was waiting for this, waiting to try and stop the bad guys and help people, and the first one that pops up roundhoused the girl they like. They furrowed their brows, lowering their stance to enhance balance. The vial of strange liquid had fallen from their hands the moment Kat had been struck; they would need to apologize to Sunhi for that later.

They took a few steps to the side, flanking him slightly, using movement to draw his attention to them. Leo was sizing him up; he wasn’t dreadfully tall or well built, perhaps even a bit smaller than them. “You got a problem, buddy?” Leo asked loudly, their tone firm and steady. They maintained eye contact with him, as if daring him to try anything. Right on cue, he swung at them again, but Leo was ready. They caught his fist in their palm, absorbing all of that lovely energy, and grabbed his wrist. They redirected his momentum, sending him stumbling past them with a turn of their torso. This only seemed to make him more mad, and that was exactly what Leo wanted. “Oh, good try! You almost had me with that one. Wanna try again?” They taunted him, allowing a devilish smirk to crease their lips.

With a grunt, he charged them again with a flurry of attacks. A few punches and some knees, all of which Leo blocked with their hands and forearms. It’s coincidental that someone so cocky had to spend some much combat time playing defensively. They let him do this, charging over and over, and Leo danced with him, utterly relaxed and comfortable. This wasn’t even a fight.

After about sixty seconds of attacks, the man stepped back, out of breath and confused about what was happening. “God damn it, hit me you pussy!” He exclaimed, clearly frustrated.

“Are you sure that’s what you want? Think you can handle it?” Leo almost laughed, their grin never fading. Their whole body felt warm and light; that’s what happens when enough energy is stored within them. He charged again, fist wound up for a wide swing. Instead of redirecting it, Leo ducked, and his fist swung right over their head. With their stance even lower and his middle exposed, Leo planted their own fist right into the center mass of his torso. They stood as they striked, releasing all of the stored energy into that one attack. By the time their arm straightened, he had been launched a few feet into the air. He came crashing down moments later, landing on his stomach on the cold sidewalk. He was coughing, the wind clearly knocked out of him. He tried to get to his feet, but before he got far, Leo grabbed him by the shoulders and lifted him off his feet. They threw him against the nearest wall, their forearm against his throat. “Get lost, and don’t make me say it again.” Their voice had shifted from that playful, almost taunting tone to an intense, vicious one. They let him go, and he stumbled at first but eventually scrambled away.

Leo watched as he disappeared down the street, metaphorical tail tucked between his legs. They turned back to their team, their eyes full of worry and concern now. Leo approached Kat, “Are you alright?” They asked, looking over her face where she had been struck. They placed their fingers gently under her chin, tilting her head up slightly to look over the side of her face. Leo waited a few seconds before tearing their gaze off of Kat and looking at Sunhi. “You too, Sunhi. Did he hit you, are you-” They didn’t even get to finish asking the question before their stomach growled loudly. Boy, were they hungry already. Instinctively, they reached toward their belt and into one of the pouches. Generally, their snack bars were in there. But, as of right now, it was empty. They blinked a few times, puzzled, and reached around in the empty pouch as if maybe it was hiding in there somewhere. It was empty. “Ah, fuck. I thought I put more in there yesterday...”

Another side of Leo came out when Kat was attacked, and she was almost relieved when Leo took care of the attacker. She was frozen, trying to convince herself that she didn’t move for Sunhi’s safety, but she couldn’t make herself join the fight. She was glued to Leo’s movements up until her teammate came up to her and made sure she was okay. She nodded, more for herself than for Leo. She was highly aware of Leo’s hand against her face, her eyes meeting with Leo’s for a moment, and only looked away when they checked on Sunhi.

Kat had put a snack bar into her hoodie pocket, which she remembered at the perfect time. ”Oh here,” Kat rummages in her pocket, pulling out the bar, ”I packed one just in case you needed it- and thank you, for saving me.”

The tightness in Leo’s chest dissipated when Kat nodded. They were so glad that she was ok. But they hesitated to take their hand away from her face. “It doesn’t look too bad. I can ice it when we get back, that should help a bit, alright?” Their voice was gentle, kind, revealing just how much they cared about Kat’s well-being. Their doting was interrupted by Kat holding out a snack bar. Leo stood there, blinking in surprise, before finally saying, “Oh! Oh, thank you, thank you so much.” They took the bar, immediately tearing it open and biting into it. They had eaten more than half of it in a few seconds. They started walking down the street again, waving at their teammates. “Cmon, let’s get going! We’ve got a lot more area to patrol. More baddies to beat up.” They smiled widely, pleased with the food in their mouth and the friends they were with.