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Gifted

Gifted

0 INK

New York City has always had a thriving underground community of powered individuals. Prejudice has long been their biggest rival, until a recent string of deaths has made a small group of young Gifted aware that their peers are being targeted.

4,169 readers have visited Gifted since fivehours created it.

Cloud are listed as curators, giving them final say over any conflict & the ability to clean up mistakes.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/jessica_jones_(tv_series)

Introduction




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XXXThe metropolis known as modern day New York City lives up to its famed title as the concrete jungle, as it has come to flourish under the influence of the bustle of its occupants. Time being measured by the construction of every new skyscraper, echoed calls for wandering taxis, and early morning coffee runs, the people of New York go about their day to day business with little acknowledgement of their contributions.

XXXYet, as the ordinary citizens of the urban borough live out their ordinary lives - for lack of a better word - the public is aware that there is a small percentage of their population who possess abilities that are anything but customary... or natural. It's impossible to tell just who may possess these superhuman abilities, powers, if you will, for there's usually no true outward indication. They blend into the masses. Like singular grains of sand on vast beaches, they easily slip into the guise of the common man, integrating themselves into the accepted society so that they too can go about their lives. This chameleonic strategy has ensured that the discovery of these individuals does not occur without difficulty.

XXXSince the discovery of these such powered people approximately four decades ago, the politically correct term of Gifted has been bestowed onto them. However, a modern slur has replaced it as the adopted epithet and taints the very idea of them. From hushed tones to fearless bellows, the name 'Miscreants' tumbles from the lips of those who recall an incident that has forever warped perspectives, thinking the Gifted as those who may use their powers for evil intentions. Of course, this perception of the Gifted does not apply to all members of the present-day society, but one cannot deny the social stigmas that have come to pollute ideologies.

XXXThey attempt to conceal their powers for fear of their marginalization. After all, who wants to be thought of as a potential terrorist? When your co-workers denounce the Gifted name during water-cooler gossip and grade school students are told to be nice or else a Miscreant will come after them late at night, you find it less of a heartache to conform. But should there be a time that the Gifted be looked upon in a better light, the hidden population would rejoice.





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XXXWhile a relative peacefulness - the term being utilized loosely - has come to fall upon New York City and its Gifted inhabitants, most spending their days attempting to stay out of the limelight and avoiding the possibility that they be listed in the Gifted registry, a malignant force has come to threaten their harmony. Rumor has it that a murderer is in their midst. While this killer seems to have a penchant for offing those who are on the bottom of the food chain, or rather, the people who fall through the cracks of society - the homeless, the drunken fools, the unknown teenage runaways, and otherwise - it becomes very clear that there is a common element that links them together. Every single victim is a Gifted.

XXXRecently, the appropriate entitlement of serial killer has been accepted by even those such Gifted who carry themselves with skepticism. All corpses left behind by the killer share the same gaunt and cadaverous appearance, as if their souls were drawn from their very bodies, and the autopsies that return to authorities do little to help pinpoint the true cause of death. Like a ghost in the night the killer comes and goes, playing Grim Reaper, stealing the last breaths of the innocent, and leaving absolutely nothing behind. Not even one measly fingerprint. Though, what's it to police and media? After all, the killer isn't harming the good people of New York City, but rather, the unimportant.

XXXUndeniably imperiled by the sudden appearance of an agent of evil, the Gifted find themselves in a predicament where they can only rely on their own kind. With no one else willing to stand up for a trivialized peoples, a small group of particularly brave Gifted, most members young, determined, and debatably foolish, has stepped up to the plate. These individuals, fed up with the fear that has come to lace itself into the hearts of faultless Gifted, come together on their own accord, seeking others with the same goal to eliminate this threat. However... whether they succeed is in the hands of fate.

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xxFrances de Vries | 18 | Power Replication | Luca Hollestelle | taken by Cloud
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xxCasper Temple | 18 | Invisibility & Healing | Lucky Blue Smith| taken by Cloud
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xxAi Xue-Hua | 17 | Psychometry | Zhang Xin Yuan | taken by Layla
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xxBast Kipling | 19 | Cyberkinesis | Matthew Daddario | taken by fivehours
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xxKina Qadir | 19 | Aerokinesis | Goldshifteh Farahani | taken by katyisaladybug
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xx Jack Lacey | 17 | Animal Manipulation | Matthew Clavane | taken by Cloud
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xxDylan Ashe | 22 | Shapeshifting | Devon Bostick | taken by Summer in the City
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xxEugene Park | 19 | Inhibition Elimination | Kim Woo Bin | taken by SuperfluousBuns
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xxFelix Ueda | 18 | Electrokinesis | Vini Uehara | taken by fivehours
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xxRika Yamada | 19 | Portal Manipulation | Im Jinah | taken by Layla
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xxToby Kipling | 19 | Sorcery | Matthew Daddario | taken by Cloud
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xxGrace Fogle | 18 | Chronokinesis | Dakota Blue Richards | taken by SuperfluousBuns
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xxLucien Verlac | 20 | Corrosive Touch | Tim Borrmann | taken by Layla
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xxMaria Ikeda | 18 | Illusion Manipulation | Sayo Yoshida | taken by RubyTuesday
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xxPercy Wren-Lewis | 19 | Mirror Manipulation | Reece King | taken by fivehours
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xxScott Carter | 19 | Intangibility | Caleb Landry Jones | taken by iCat
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Below is a simple character sheet, feel free to edit it as you see fit so long as the appropriate information is present.

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[img]CharGif/Pic[/img]

[size=140][i]"QUOTE"[/i][/size]

[url=SongUrl]Song Title[/url] | Artist || [url=SongUrl]Song Title[/url] | Artist || [url=SongUrl]Song Title[/url] | Artist

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[size=125][b][color=#HexColour] [/color][/b][/size]
Answer Here {17+}

[size=125][b][color=#HexColour]  [/color][/b][/size]
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[size=125][b][color=#HexColour][/color][/b][/size]
Answer Here {Where they're from}

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Answer Here {Their ethnic background}

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Dialogue: [color=#hexcolour]#dialoguecode[/color]
Thoughts: [color=#hexcolour]#thoughts[/color]
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The powers which your Gifted can command. Please keep a cap on powers and describe any limitations that apply to them, any OP characters will be asked to reduce powers.

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Answer Here - Height/Weight/eye and hair colour etc

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(Optional) Their general appearance, clothes, tattoos, etc

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[justify]Answer Here {At least three paragraphs. Include the good with the bad.}[/justify]

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[justify]Answer Here {Please give a description of your character's family.}[/justify]

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[justify]Answer Here {Please give a brief/detailed history of your char. Explain how your character gained their power? Mutation, accident, radioactive spider bite etc.}[/justify]

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Answer Here {Anything else to add}[/font]

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Toggle Rules



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XXX1. This is a mature roleplay, meaning that themes of violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language will most likely make an appearance. If you are offended by such elements, or feel discomfort encountering them, participation is discouraged. All original rules of the website are to be followed accordingly.

XXX2. We're after literate roleplayers who will remain dedicated to the roleplay; that being said, don't be surprised if, and we can't stress this enough, the GMs refuse entry. We have seen roleplayers join a roleplay, only to disappear moments into the roleplay, time and time again. "Auditions" will be held in which you can submit a character, but acceptance is not guaranteed. You have been warned.

XXX3. A character sheet has been given, feel free to use this or construct your own. However, if using your own, all the information requested should be present. You will be given four days to complete your character from the time you make a reservation. Extensions may be given with a valid reason.

XXX4. No one is asked to write novel length posts, of course, but there is a 500 word minimum that is expected to be met. Don't hesitate to describe every sight, scent, sound, thought, emotion, etc. that your character(s) may experience!

XXX5. Don't be that guy- you know which one we're talking about: the guy who creates Mary/Gary Sues, god-mods, and power plays! It's the quickest way to, quite frankly, become disliked in the roleplaying community. Any OPs will be asked to reduce powers, and Mary-Sues asked to add flaws.

XXX6. Interaction is encouraged both in and out of character! Make sure that everyone is included within this roleplay and remember that communication is key. We want a roleplay in which everyone is invested and feels involved.

XXX7. What the GMs say is law. We know that it's a tough pill to swallow, but when we make a decision we expect it to be followed. If there is some sort of conflict or problem, don't hesitate to PM either of the GMs and we will address it accordingly.

XXX8. We are most definitely open to some creative input! If you feel that you have a good idea that could turn into a fun plot point, hit up one of the GMs!

XXX9. Just have fun! We want everyone to have a great experience with this roleplay. Be creative overall! Within reasonable boundaries, let your imagination flow and don't limit yourself to the mundane! Stir up some trouble, create a little drama, have some witty banter- you're entitled to originality!

XXX10. If you're still interested in the roleplay after reading all of the above rules, please provide your FC and your character's power in the OOC. Include the password: Jewel is a stripper's name. Face claims should look older than 17. We'll ask you to pick again if we believe your FC is too young or your power is not suitable. If reserving multiple females, you must take a male too.




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IMPORTANT: Absences, Withdrawl, and Cessation


XXXThe two GMs of this roleplay have worked for months to configure a story-driven experience, having taken the time to form and debate various aspects of Gifted so that a sense of quality may be achieved. We want more than anything else to see players enjoying an intimate setting in which you can explore this wonderful form of a creative outlet. That being said, we regard every accepted player and your characters as a fundamental part of what drives this very roleplay. With this, myself and Cloud feel the need to relay the following facts to you.

XXXAbsences are normal. God knows that life catches up to all of us and we can't always be expected to prioritize our hobby over real time events. If you know that there will be a period of time which you cannot tend to your characters, please leave a message in the OOC to let everyone know that your character will be MIA. On the other hand, in the event that you find yourself wanting/needing to withdraw from this roleplay, we require that an explanation be given to us, as the GMs, as well as an extension of this explanation to the players who may have characters who are dependent on yours. This is just a reminder that as soon as you join this roleplay, you become an important integration. A sudden, unexplained disappearance on your behalf will be taken seriously. If you see yourself as one of those people who cannot commit to a long-run roleplay, please think twice about joining Gifted. In the event that you find yourself losing inspiration - I, myself, being occasionally guilty of this - I encourage you to perhaps check out the Gifted playlists and OOC games, or if you'd like, ask the GMs to administer a writing challenge to you about your character!

XXXLastly, whereas you, the player and important member of this roleplay, retain the right to withdraw from Gifted for whatever reason, the GMs retain the right of expulsion. Should we find that an act of infringement be taking place, complete termination of your involvement may be one of the consequences.

XXXOverall, we hope that you have a good time!



Taking place in...

New York City our primary setting

NYC, the thriving metropolis that plays home to a small group of young Gifted, determined to make a difference

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 9 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
Tag Characters » Add to Arc »

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  ,   

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It's no secret that the New Years is no mere passing holiday in the eyes of those living in the metropolis of New York City, the name itself enough to set its rambunctious populace abuzz in anticipation for what is to come. The citizens of New York? They know how to party. The dawning of a new year comes a new excuse to pull out all the stops, along with an alarming amount of second-rate booze which may taste like cat piss in the beginning but become more bearable once one hits the third or forth drink, as many acknowledge that it is the one night of the year that is truly meant to paint the town red. Whether it be a small house party among friends who had preparing weeks in advance by buying party decorations, a gathering of lonely souls at a local bar who just want to get away from the worries of life, or families of all types who condensed within Time Square to watch the famous dropping of the ball, people were out for blood and looking for a good time. The feeling of elation rippled along society and enabled an atmosphere that was shared among all.

On this night in New York City, minutes inching ever nearer to a fresh stretch of time, alcohol was overflowing from the cups of the masses and there wasn't a soul whose eyes weren't occasionally straying to their clocks, watches, and cell phones, checking to see how much longer they would have to wait until midnight. With baited breaths, there wasn't much else to do other than enjoy the chicken wings that were on for cheap because of the New Year special or keep an eye out for that possible other who might want to share a kiss at the peak of the evening- neither of which was really a tragedy. For those willing to brave the slight chill in the air that came with the winter season, they were able to experience the wonder of bright, exploding color, light illuminating a sky that would have otherwise been dark, dreary, and full of smog. The fireworks displays alone were enough to leave those who had witnessed its splendor, breathless.

There was one specific individual who was breathless for an entirely different reason, however, not a single firework bright or colorful enough to catch his attention. No, his heart was racing in such a way that could only be the result of not happiness or jubilation, but rather, the feeling of becoming helpless prey in a scenario that was not in his favor. The blood that coursed through Lionel Lee's, a man who was unfortunate enough to call the dirty city streets his home, veins ran an icy cold as he stopped to catch his breath. He was in desperate need to stop running, to allow his screaming muscles a moments rest and his pounding heart a chance to steady itself. Lionel Lee could only press himself into a crevice of a red brick wall and attempt to suppress the scream that wanted to rise out of the back of his throat.

The Shadow was still after him; it was lurking somewhere in the alleyway with him, an alleyway that had been transformed into a labyrinth when Lionel became a mouse in a maze riddled with cats. The dark figure was out to get him- it was out to kill him, Lionel was sure of it. It was a dark, tenebrous shape that loomed over even the tallest of walls and buildings, overwhelming the area with an aura of power and dominant so staggeringly potent. The Shadow was nothing less than a natural-born predator with a lust for blood.

Lionel had been living on the streets for years now, and with that in mind he knew the very culture that coupled with that lifestyle. He knew that some of the best places to sleep were in playgrounds and beneath bridges, places deemed safe enough to spend the night and warm enough to evade the bitter cold. The schedule of the local soup kitchen, when was the best times to ensure that Lionel would get a hot bowl of soup to eat, was permanently engraved in his mind. Lastly, but most importantly, he knew how to steer clear of the potential dangers. There were some people that could not be trusted, places that he would never intend to visit, and conditions that he would avoid out of his best interest. But those were dangers of the earthly sort, mainly defined by the dealings of the black market and gang movements. They were unlike the kind of The Shadow: an unearthly danger.

Suddenly, rapidly, something darted out of the corner of his eye, a black shape that moved with speed and agility that could be dubbed inhuman. It was a movement enough to draw a loud whimper from between Lionel's lips and cause his shaking hands to push him away from the wall, springing the homeless man into the middle of the alley. As his feet thudded against the ground and his body seemed to turn from corner to corner to corner of the maze, it was pure instinct that overtook his mind and flooded his thoughts of run, escape, and survive. He could pay no heed to the patch that slipped out of his pocket and drifted to the ground, a singular beam of moonlight shining onto the words "SGT. Lionel Lee."

He didn't want to run any more, he was tired and consumed by fatigue, but he had to. The Shadow was everywhere all at once. It dashed and flew, scampering out of the corner of his eyes and disappearing before he could truly construe it. Finally, it would be the way The Shadow swiped along the length of his spine that would send Lionel tumbling to the ground beneath him, a scream ripped out of him as he scurried to pull himself up and face the demon. As he did, Lionel squeezed his eyes shut and felt the tingle of vapor at his fingertips, water from a nearby leaking pipe collecting on his palm. It was a sensation no longer familiar to the man, as he had long since abandoned the use of his abilities. On an occasion like this, however, it was his second nature as a Gifted individual to try and preserve his life.

Flinging the water in the direction of The Shadow did nothing. It was a pathetic attempt that portrayed the weakness of the prey, a mist of water that only seemed to send The Shadow into a hoot of joyous laughter. It was if the thing was equal parts pleased and mocking at Lionel's little display of Adam's ale. The Shadow knew that he had won.

In the darkness of the barren alleyway his screams had not been heard or attended to as The Shadow overtook him, and instead the cheers of nearby party-goers could be discerned in the far distance. While people laughed merrily, kissed enthusiastically, and roared with delight at the strike of midnight, they would not know of Lionel's demise on account of a battle lost. Nor would they care.

On January 1st, 2016 Lionel Lee would die a homeless veteran, his legacy having fought in wars smothered, and lines and scratches marring his arms would show that he had been driven to drug use and addiction. He would be a man forgotten. A man murdered.



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  ,   

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Anyone born in the last few decades can attest to how revolutionary the creation of the internet was. Its development since has created a whole new method for obtaining information. Suddenly anyone with a home computer could cruise the web, information was only a mouse click away. Chatting with friends halfway across the world, or meeting like-minded people on anonymous chatrooms was easy.

One such chatroom, entered only through a password, has had a steady stream of patrons for the last month or so. It was originally created as a safe space for Gifted kids to communicate, those individuals who felt they couldn’t speak with anyone face to face about the many problems they might face day to day. Recently, the chatroom has been dedicated to the disappearances that have been plaguing the homeless youth of New York, and the ineffectiveness of the local police.

’This is bullshit.’ KidBig66 writes, breaking the momentary silence that had hit the board after the most recent disappearance had been announced. ’How come no one’s looking into it??’

’Same excuse as last time, I reckon.’ Lucky_Lady types back, ’Police say it’s not suspicious. Claim he’s probably just on some drug binge or moved cities.’

’Basically, they don’t fuckn care about any1 hu doesn’t ‘fit’ into their picture of society.’ The_Alpha8921 types.

He wasn’t far off the truth too. For several months now there have been losses, street kids disappearing, homeless men and women vanishing without a trace. Bodies have been rare, only a handful have been found and even then, it’s hard to identify the remains. Yet, the police have remained largely inactive. Their excuses? Not enough evidence, or not enough resources to investigate the disappearance of individuals who are prone to moving without word. After all, who would spare an officer when the victim in question is one of those who have fallen through society’s cracks, whose ‘home’ moves depending on the weather and the good grace of others?

’Fucking hell! They’re gonna sit and do nothing while some psychopath picks us all off.’ KidBig66 writes, the anger evident even across the internet.

’We do it then.’ The response comes from renegade777, one of the quieter presences in the chatroom.

’Do what?’

’We find and stop this killer.’

The words are read across the city, fingers stilled against their keyboards as pros and cons are weighed. Could they? Could they do this themselves? Do what the police won’t? It was a mad idea, and yet
 who was to say they couldn’t? A stream of replies come at once, some for the idea, some vehemently against it.

’You’re crazy.’,
’FUCK YES!’
’How could we do anything? We’re just a bunch of nobodies.’
’I’d rather do something and die trying than watch as more are killed.’
’Screw u, im nt dying for shit.’

’We can do this, guys.’ Renegade777 explains, gaining the chatroom’s attention as they continue, ’Think about it. We’re all gifted, we’re strong and powerful, and we know the city better than any police officer. Together, we can do this.’

’Not all of us can control our powers.’ Someone points out.

’Then we’ll train. We’ll share information and tips, help each other out. We can do this!’

While some refused to be part of this supposed madness, there was enough of a consensus that a date, time, and place was picked. Word spread, radiating out from the chatroom by word of mouth and rumour. As the time drew closer, an exact week after Lionel Lee’s disappearance, the meeting had grown from the handful that frequented the chatroom to more than a dozen individuals. Some came with the intention of doing good, others out of pure curiosity. So it was that, on the 8th of January, as the sun was about to set across the City that never sleeps, a small gathering of Gifted young adults was assembling.

Outside the weather turns from chilly to cold, a blanket of white snow turned to discoloured sludge as pedestrians and vehicles crush it beneath feet and tires. There’s no sign of snow at the moment, though thick, heavy clouds hang low in the sky, sunlight catching the underside and offering a crisp winter vision above the city’s skyscrapers. For those with the option, it would be a perfect evening to watch the sunset from an insulated and heated penthouse apartment, but for those forced out into the biting air, it would be best to wrap up tight.

They trail in alone or in pairs, pushing aside rusted metal fences and entering through a door that’s on its last breath. Graffiti decorates the walls, while empty beer bottles and the evidence of furry inhabitants litter the floors and corners. In the middle of the warehouse’s hall a patch of blackened floor remains as evidence to when some miscreant attempted to start a fire within its four walls. The walls are rusting, the ceiling looks set to cave in, and yet miraculously it still lives, as if the abandoned building has been imbued with an unnatural ability to survive whatever dangers is thrown at it, natural or not. Decrepit and lonely, a shell of a building that once held the industrial hopes of the neighbourhood, it now offers the ideal set for a meeting of concerned youth.

They take up places around the edge, or huddled in small groups in the middle, waiting for someone to start the affairs –renegade777 perhaps? Yet, the chatroom member doesn’t step forward, assuming they’re there yet. Instead, it is another member of the chatroom that kicks things off. The back door squeaks on its hinges as one individual pushes through. To those from the chatroom, he’s known as The_Alpha8921, while in real life he’s Garth Holden, a troubled twenty-one year old with the power of super strength – fitting given his internet pseudonym. He comes to stand in the middle of the room, glancing around at those already there, a cursory gaze that is at once judging and cocky.

“Well? Are we going to do this thing or not?” He asks, cracking his knuckles out of habit as he eyes up his peers. “What’s the plan? We go round an’ tell what we can do?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey
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#, as written by Cloud

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hσmє - wαrєhσusє
hex: #7e868c

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Evening in New York finds Frankie at home, a textbook open in front of her and a scowl across her face.

“Will you shut the fuck up, Sam?” She yells, banging her hand against the wall that separates Frankie’s room from that of her twin brother’s. All she hears in reply is a laugh and the music gets turned up another notch. It’s loud enough that her grandparents, downstairs presumably, can probably hear it, yet they’re less likely to be concerned about the noise given their declining hearing. Plus, they have the advantage of two storeys between them and her twin brother’s obnoxious attitude.

With a growl, Frankie pushes herself to her feet and stomps into the hallway and around to Sam’s door. It opens with a twist of the knob and Frankie is able to glare at the lanky youth who she calls her brother. He lays spread out on the bed, a hand brushing against the volume control of his stereo as a lazy grin gets turned on his sister.

“Something the matter, Frank?” Sam teases, knowing full well what is troubling her.

“Yeah, smartass, your fucking music is too fucking loud. Turn it down before I push that piece of shit out the window.”

Sam just looks amused, “As if you could, it’s been years since you could take me.”

Frankie frowns, cursing once again the fact that puberty left Sam towering over her. As young children she had been the stronger one, and had often smugly won wrestling matches for the remote or the last treat. Now, well, that was a lost cause. So, instead she decides to change the subject.

“Are you coming to the meeting tonight?”

Sam pushes himself up into a sitting position and shrugs, “I guess. I don’t have anything better to do than piss you off.”

Frankie rolls her eyes and leaves Sam to his own devices, determined to get at least a bit of work done before they leave for the night.

January in New York is cold, colder still when venturing outside at night. The sun is still in the sky, barely, as the twins leave their home, yet its rays are weak at this time of year. The long shadows of the buildings standing either side of the street hinder what little warmth those rays have to offer, and a light wind sends icy daggers through any exposed skin. Frankie pulls her coat tighter around her as she steps outside, her breath misting in the air before her.

They live in a different neighbourhood to the meeting place, their grandparents and father’s fortunes making the de Vries twins members of the upper-middle class. They're lucky, Frankie knows, to have such a comfortable home. It's far from the opulence of the extremely wealthy, but also better than many others have it too.

The redheaded twins tramp through the sleet towards the nearest subway. Frankie let Sam be in charge of navigation, able to admit only to her brother that if she were in charge of mapping their path, they’d likely end up lost. Thankfully for the twins, Samuel de Vries was born with the sense of direction that Frankie lacked, and they soon find themselves leaving the subway and trekking through darkening streets towards the warehouse.

“Your buddy’s coming.” Sam mutters as they jump over a puddle of icy sludge.

“Fuck off.” Frankie replies, knowing from Sam’s tone that her ‘buddy’ is more likely to be someone she dislikes rather than a friend. Sam just laughs in reply, slinging an arm around his sister and pulling her down a street which he claims is a shortcut.

“I thought you’d be happy to hear that, you and Casper used to get on so well at school.” Sam continues, his grin growing as Frankie’s glare intensifies.

“Oh, fuck you Sam. Don’t you fucking
” Frankie shrugs out of Sam’s arm and shoves him away, wagging her finger as her twin laughs. “Of course, Temple’ll be there. Of-fucking-course.”

Sam’s retort die on his lips as his gaze catches on something further down the street. Frankie follows his line of sight to find two figures crouched on the side of the road. One is that of a teenage boy, the other a scruffy street dog. The halo of a street-lamp surrounds the boy, illuminating a head of thick curls and, oddly enough, bright pink mittens warming his hands. The boy, who Frankie thinks can only be a year or so younger than herself, is staring intently at the canine, nodding and occasionally muttering back to the dog as it barks in reply. It’s as if he’s talking to the stray, and at that thought a memory strikes Frankie


“Hey, do you remember that kid at private school
?” Sam mutters, his thoughts apparently having gone in the same direction.

“Jack.” Frankie replies as she recalls the name.

As if hearing his name spoken, the young boy glances up, wide eyes alighting on the pair of redheads watching him. The boy straightens until he’s standing, only pausing to thank the dog – which then trots away – before he’s smiling softly at the twins. It’s clear now, with the teen facing the pair, that he’s the boy they remember from school, albeit several years older. He has the same wide eyes, same wild curls, and an identical way of holding himself.

“Jack, right?” Frankie repeats, waving a hand in greeting, “I don’t know if you remember us, but we went to school with you for a few years.”

Jack’s eyes study both of the twins, a light crease signifying a frown as he struggles to remember them, before, “Samuel and Frances?”

“Frankie.” She corrects at the same time that her brother says,

“Sam.”

Jack nods happily, a look of relief crossing his face as he takes a step forward, “Are you going to the meeting? I was trying to get there, but I kept getting lost. Diggle-
” Jack waves vaguely in the direction the stray dog had left, “
was showing me, but he didn’t know which warehouse I meant.”

While neither twin had ever been entirely certain that Jack was gifted, they had had their suspicions growing up. For one thing, no one they’d known had had such a connection with animals as Jack. Another clue came after Frankie had touched Jack, thereby replicating his powers temporarily and causing Frankie to spend an afternoon cursing at every pigeon that flew by. While the latter was fairly conclusive, given the general lack of control Frankie had – and still does - possessed, she’d never been entirely sure that it was Jack whose power she had replicated. Now, of course, there is little doubt in their minds. Especially not after Jack answers Sam’s next, inane question.

“You got directions from a dog?”

“Yes.” Jack replies, blinking in surprise, “Diggle knows this area quite well.”

“Ah-uh.” Sam responds. Sam’s eyes seem to glide down Jack’s body, landing lightly on the pink mittens that cover the younger boy’s hands. An eyebrow is raised, and Jack, following Sam’s gaze, holds up his hands with a small laugh,

“Oh, I took Anna’s mittens by mistake.” He answers the unasked question, waving his younger sister’s mittens slightly as if to emphasise his point before dropping them to his sides. Frankie bites back a smile as she makes out sparkles on the gloves. “They’re really warm.”

“They’re cute.” Frankie grins as a flood of memories regarding the curly-haired boy wash through her mind. Really, for all that they haven’t seen each other in years, it’s like Jack is still the same ten year old boy she once knew. “Now come on, or we’ll be late. Sam knows the way.”

Jack falls in with the pair, a smile on his face as they continue on their way. The intervening years fall away as the trio trade tales of what has happened in their lives since they had last seen each other. Jack is still the sweet, naïve boy that Frankie remembered, and she is still the smart, confident girl that Jack remembered, so it’s no surprise that, by the time they reach the rusting warehouse, all three are laughing quietly at one of Sam’s jokes and they enter the building with broad smiles on their faces.

The trio aren’t the first to arrive, though none of those already gathered in the room are faces they recognise. So, nodding at the strangers already in wait, Frankie leads the two young men towards a place against the wall. Others filter in, and occasionally recognition causes a smile to creep across Frankie’s face. There are some people she expects to see, close friends such as the Kipling twins whom she knows to be gifted, yet Toby and Bast haven’t arrived yet. Then there are those that she recognises, but never though she would see here – individuals that Frankie didn’t realise were Gifted.

“What do you think everyone can do?” Jack asks quietly, his eyes curious as they glance from person to person. He knows even less people than Frankie, one of the reasons why Jack had been relying on a dog to get himself here, and then later happily fallen in with the twins. It is curiosity and a desire to help in any way he can that has propelled Jack out of his warm family home this crisp, winter’s evening.

“Well, I’m hoping that someone can speak Russian fluently, because I have a test coming up at college and I’d really like to ace it.” Sam replies, not entirely answering Jack’s question. Frankie rolls her eyes and attempts to elbow her brother, though he jumps out of the way.

“That’s cheating, Sam.” Frankie tells him, though after many years of repeating the same phrase, she’s sure that it has lost an effectiveness, if it had any to start with. Seeing Jack’s look of confusion, for he surely had no idea of the twins’ powers despite their guessed knowledge of his, Frankie explains, “Sam can replicate people’s skills. Like, if someone can speak Russian, he just has to touch them to be able to temporarily speak it too.”

“That’s neat!” Jack replies, eyes wide before he asks Frankie, “Can you do that too?”

“Franks can copy gifts.” Sam interjects, grinning as he teasingly adds, “And not very well either. Clearly I got the talent in the family.”

Frankie is about to reply when the warehouse door is flung open and a hulking individual steps forward. Call her prejudiced, or perhaps reacting to the way the newcomer’s eyes travel up and down the room’s inhabitants appraisingly, but Frankie’s immediately none too fond of the young man that cracks his knuckles as he addresses the room. He asks to start, inquiring whether the group should compare what special abilities their status as Gifted grants them.

Frankie pipes up, her voice easily carrying across the space, “How about, before we start comparing powers, we introduce ourselves?”

Garth Holden sneers at her, “What? Don’ wanna show off your gift? Scared you’ll be the weakest here?”

Headstrong, stubborn, and probably more than a touch proud, Frankie is not one who is likely to step back at the first sign of conflict. Instead, as Frankie barely holds back an eye roll, she takes a step forward, arms crossed stubbornly over her chest and says for the whole room to hear, “My name is Frankie, I’m eighteen, and my gift is power replication.” Her eyes fall back to Garth and she smiles coldly at him, “Which means, I can do exactly what you can do.” Of course, what Frankie doesn’t mention is that she has little to no control of her gift, being unable to control which powers she replicates and then, once replicated, that she has no way of knowing how to use the power.

Garth looks set to reply with some snarky comment, and perhaps if he had had the chance, tensions might have grown further between him and the female de Vries twin. Yet, before Garth can respond, the curly-haired boy standing with Frankie steps up beside her and says with a happy smile,

“Hi everyone. I’m Jack Lacey.” The usually quiet boy waves at those gathered, “I’m seventeen and I can talk with animals.” Jack smiles, dimples appearing on his cheeks. The previously building tension further dissipates as Frankie lets out a light laugh and playfully nudges Jack with her shoulder. Whether intentional or not, Jack has provided the perfect distraction, and while Frankie is sure Garth is still glaring at her, she’s not that upset to have the other warehouse occupants' attention shifting to the sweet boy beside her.

“I can make them do things if I wanted, but usually I just ask nicely and they’ll help.” Jack continues, before his warm, brown eyes glance around at the others, “What about you guys?”

A discontent muttering echoes after Jack's words, just low enough that not everyone might have heard, and yet pitched just right so that Frankie catches every syllable. "So we have a girl who rips off other people's powers and some kid who likes playing Disney princess." Garth heaves a heavy breath through his nose, nostrils flaring much like that of a savage bull. "Aren't we off to a great start." Garth adds as he prowls towards the corner, apparently deciding for the moment to stew alone as he waits for more powers to be revealed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac
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#, as written by Layla
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song; i guess you’ve been fading XXX hex; #566D7E XXX outfit; winter

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    XXXXXThe wind knocked on his window, shaking the murky glass half-latched to its chipped wooden frame. He'd been meaning to fix the old hinges since he'd moved in but never got around to it. Now he couldn't imagine sleeping without the rattle and hiss of the night air sifting through the open gap, if one could call the paralysis of the body and roving of jade eyes beneath sealed lids sleeping.
    XXXXXNo, Lucien did not sleep. He half-existed.
    XXXXXHe set his book down on the single coffee table that occupied the space, sunset spilling into his room and bouncing off the white lettering - Kafka on the Shore. It wasn't the genre he usually read but it had come with the pile his boss had wanted to get rid of last week.
    XXXXXMiguel had watched him with the greatest hint of suspicion when Luca had asked to leave work early today.
    XXXXX"Well, there's really no need since what you're really asking is to leave work on time," he'd said, and lifted a bushy brow. "I didn't realise you had a life outside of this job."
    XXXXXIronic, considering that's what the staff at the Bellevue Hospital exclaimed regularly. Clearly he had not one but two things occupying his time. Miguel might've fainted if he'd known.
    XXXXX"What're you doing?" Miguel had asked.
    XXXXX"Plotting a murder," he'd answered, wiping the grease on his brow with the sleeve of his shirt.
    XXXXX"I never know when you're joking, kid." Miguel said after a moment, shaking his head. "A young man like you should be drinking and getting himself a chamita. What're you doing here?"
    XXXXX"Easier to hide a corpse in your garage."
    XXXXX"Ah, better off without you here. Go. Have fun."
    XXXXXHe didn't know if fun was the word to describe the strange meeting he was about to entertain, but he said nothing else as he left. After half an hour of cold water and a lot of soap, he somewhat resembled a member of civilisation. At least, he didn't smell like car parts.
    XXXXXMiguel and the other man they had working today grunted a farewell as he left. The streets were quiet in the way horror movies were quiet before a demon leapt from the shadows this side of New York City. He was known well enough that they left him alone. A certain incident involving a street gang and black veins spilling from their boy's throat had made sure of that.
    XXXXXLuca kept his head down.
    XXXXXFlashes of red eased into his periphery. A dog prattled past him. Luca leapt back, his chest constricting before he reminded himself it was safe. He tugged on his gloves and stuffed his hands into his pockets. The stray watched him. Luca allowed himself the slightest softening around his eyes until took a step forward. He took a step back, then two, three, until he was almost jogging away from the animal. He told himself it was fine, that the layers and layers of Winter clothing would keep those around him safe, but still the panic settled in, reminding him of the dark marks that swallowed skin and turned Spring leaves to ash.
    XXXXXSoon the warehouse appeared, its debilitated frame a bruise against the skyline. He stepped inside.
    XXXXXThe space was crowded. Luca clenched his teeth, a vein at his jaw flexing with the movement. Pinpricks of his curse coalesced on the surface, shifting with his adrenaline. It felt as if it might leap off his skin. He begged it wouldn't. It wouldn't.
    XXXXXThis was a terrible idea this was a terrible idea this was a-
    XXXXX“How about, before we start comparing powers, we introduce ourselves?”
    XXXXXThe voice rose from the cacophony of noise, easing him from his thoughts. He peered at its owner through his curtain of lashes. It was the redhead he'd seen before. He saw her clearly now - close enough to see the freckles that peppered the slight upturned point of her nose.
    XXXXX“What? Don’ wanna show off your gift? Scared you’ll be the weakest here?” asked a stocky man. He observed from the whispers that his name was Garth Holden. An appropriately obnoxious name for an equally obnoxious person.
    XXXXXAnnoyance lanced across his vision as Luca watched the exchange. The vein at his jaw twitched. He learned the girl's name was Frankie. "I can do exactly what you can do," she said. His lips twitched.
    XXXXX"So we have a girl who rips off other people's powers and some kid who likes playing Disney princess. Aren't we off to a great start," said Garth.
    XXXXXLuca's gaze followed the sulking figure to the corner he found himself in, his eyes cold and assessing. Garth looked up.
    XXXXX"Whatcha lookin' at, pretty boy?" he barked, his voice loud enough to reverberate against the walls and carry across the distance.
    XXXXXLucien turned his head, not deigning to respond.
    XXXXX"Hey, you deaf?" Garth taunted. "Hey! I'm talkin' to you." A yelp of pain rose as he knocked a person aside in his rage. He seemed either entirely oblivious of his own strength or more likely, wholly dispassionate about any harm he might inflict.
    XXXXXLuca knew what was about to happen before it did. After all, he grew up with a man not unlike Garth. But he was helpless then, or at least as helpless as someone who could not bring themselves to give up and leave. He was not so helpless anymore.
    XXXXXGarth stopped right in front of him, his lips pulled back from his teeth.
    XXXXX"You challenging me? What's your gift, huh? Let's see it. Come on. Let's see it."
    XXXXX"Jesus, already? Take me out to dinner first," Luca deadpanned.
    XXXXX"You little-" Garth grabbed the front of Luca's jacket, jerking him forward so their noses were nearly touching. Luca felt his breath against his face, hot and irritated. "Think you're so good, you smartass? You won't even tell us your power. Bet you're all bark and no bite."
    XXXXX"I mean, if you want me to bite."
    XXXXXGarth roared, swinging his elbow back. Luca had no doubt the Gifted could break his nose, amongst other necessary body parts. But he was not so helpless anymore.
    XXXXXLuca slipped off his glove, and wrapped his hand around Garth's fist.
    XXXXXHis roar of fury turned into one of pain. Garth jerked his arm back, holding his blackening fingers to his chest. Slivers of black emanated from where their skin had met, its dark hue already fading to grey from their brief contact. He gritted his teeth, sweat beading at his temple.
    XXXXX"That's my gift." The word left a bitter taste in his mouth. It seemed a horrible thing to describe what he could do as a gift. He felt sick at what he'd done. Luca lifted his gaze from the figure curled on the floor. A hollow circle surrounded him. It seemed to him that everyone was equally divided between fear and disgust. He supposed there was some benefit to this performance. At least they would all give him a wide berth.
    XXXXXHe settled himself in a corner and did not look at anyone else again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Scott Carter
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xxSCOTTxCARTER
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xxxspeech: #79abb3 xthought: #b38179

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xxx"there's a war we can't ignore
xxxwaging silence on our lives
xxxwe will overcome
xxxlet the cowards run and hide."

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It was nights like this that Scott was immensely grateful to be off the streets. Not so long ago, these nights would have been spent in a potentially unsafe shelter or a definitely unsafe position a few inches from a fire. Personal space had gone out the window- they slept pressed against each other, sharing the little body heat they had. Sometimes, volunteers from charities would give them blankets and hot drinks, which made the nights infinitely more tolerable.

It was for that very reason that Scott left the house an hour earlier than needed for the meeting, carrying two bags filled with blankets and flasks of hot tea. He'd been lucky enough to end up with someone that could give him a warm winter coat, scarf, and solid shoes. He'd been so extraordinarily lucky in so many ways.

Out of habit, he checked all of the places where he and his friends had spent the cold days. There were people there- but no familiar faces. He felt guilty for feeling relieved at that- after all, what made his friends any more deserving of a roof over their heads than these people? Just like him, they'd just gotten lucky. They'd all nearly been killed in the process, but they'd made it out alive. The same couldn't be said for everyone in their position. Hadn't the man that had been killed only a week earlier been homeless?

The memories of that news story sent a shiver down Scott's spine as he handed out the last of the tea and blankets. He'd lost count of the amount of similar news stories he'd read. All about Gifted people. Some homeless, some not. He still wasn't safe. None of them were. So, they were going to do something about it.

Scott shoved his hands deeper into his pockets as he went down the steps into the subway. He'd left the bags with a family who had managed to escape with most of their belongings, but who were constantly terrified of their belongings being stolen when they were out on the street. He'd also given them some money and directed them to a Gifted-friendly shelter that catered for families. There were hard enough to find unless you had spent a night in one already.

He found the warehouse without too much trouble- the fact that people were actually going into it was a bit of a tell-tale sign. He slipped in the door just as the introductions begun. He didn't recognise the guy who spoke at first, but he did recognise the redhead who spoke next. Frankie De Vries. His family was friendly with hers, so they'd met a couple of times. Well, not so much met as been shoved together at the "young people" table. Luckily for everyone involved, they got along relatively well, so it was bearable for everyone involved.

The curly-headed boy who spoke next was also familiar. It was only as he mentioned his gift that it clicked who he was. Scott had left a couple of injured strays into the vet during his times on the streets and had also been in with the Carter family cat, Theodore, known as Teddy to all. Rather ironically, Teddy was a vicious creature to everyone that wasn't a member of the Carter family. Scott still had some scars from his first few weeks. The boy worked there, but Scott couldn't honestly remember if they'd actually had any dealings beyond saying hello.

The ringleader- who didn't appear to be the nicest of people- then took into a boy who was standing in a corner. Just as Scott stepped forward to intervene, the boy revealed his sharp tongue. Scott stepped back, smirking to himself. He had always liked wit and sarcasm. Things escalated from there, though, and before Scott was fully aware of what was happening, Garth had swung a punch. The smaller boy grabbed his wrist, and Garth pulled away with a howl of pain. Even from where he was standing, Scott could see the grey on the bully's wrist. Scott glanced at the other boy, who was now back in his corner, avoiding everyone.

"I'm Scott," Scott announced. Everyone turned to look at him instead of the boy in the corner, something that gave him a little satisfaction. "And my ability is... Well, uh... I'll just demonstrate it, it'll be quicker and easier for everyone." He knew that just shoving his hand through the beam beside him would suffice, but phasing his whole body would be easier, with a lot less potential for embarrassment. He turned and stepped straight through the beam, stepping cleanly out the other side. "It is still solid, by the way. You can come see for yourself if you want," he said, shrugging a little as he folded his arms again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Scott Carter
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xxxx"You look like a cartoon character," Gracie has to crane her neck slightly to look up at the taller gentleman walking with her. It's worth the strain, however, to toss him an expression complete with a wrinkled nose and a completely non-threatening jutting out of her chin. At 5'2", with small bones to boot, Gracie has no hope of ever looking like the smallest shred of intimidating. This is probably why he just snorts at her expression, and makes a point of briefly quickening his pace to a normal, easy speed such that she must work double time to catch up with him. It's a subtle taunt, but one she quickly registers. Still, she puts in the work to keep up to speed. Falling behind would be a stab at her pride.

xxxx"Not that there's anything wrong with it I guess, it's just an interesting impression to make on a group of new people," he adds, mercifully slowing his pace once more such that she can catch her breath a bit. Short legs aside, Gracie is hardly an athlete ad physical exertion isn't her cup of tea for the most part. They'd taken the metro for part of the trip, as they live in a part of town that's a bit further from here- a ritzier part of town, truth be told. Eugene may not have grown up with luxury, but he's currently shacking up with a silver spoon baby.

xxxx"I-it won't be all stra-stra-strangers. B-b-bast and T-t-t-toby said the-they were going I thi-think, and Ja-jack and Sc-sc-scott and Ri-ri-rika," she finally speaks, although her slightly out of breath state makes her words even more of a struggle to force out. The way her stutter peppers through her words makes it clear that she is slightly more nervous than she's admitting, besides. Eugene quirks an eyebrow- he and Gracie may not be bosom buddies, but living together for nearly a year does make you familiar with many of their little tell-tales on mood.

xxxx"Among others, sure. It'll be fine," he adds the last in comfort. Though he can be prone to arrogance and occasional meanness, Eugene is at heart a good guy and doesn't want to make Gracie more nervous than she already may be. He wouldn't want someone doing that to his own younger sister, wherever she is. Besides, she is the owner of the room he stays in, and thus not a dragon to wake. They turn a corner, and the warehouse comes into sight. Now it is Gracie's turn to pick up the pace and spur Eugene to walk a bit more quickly. She glances at the watch on her wrist, which seems almost too sensible given the rest of her outfit. She's wearing a bright red skirt and a denim-colored sweater with a patchwork squirrel on the front and heart-shaped elbow pads. Pair this with polka-dotted tights and Keds with a pink seahorses on them, and it's easy to see Eugene is right- she looks like she has just stepped out of an early morning Disney cartoon intended for small children. Hardly the person you want to recruit into a cause as serious as this one.

xxxxEugene is dressed in a far more subtle manner- dark jeans, a dark green sweater with a white colored shirt underneath, and a thick winter coat. He can't help but wonder how Gracie isn't always freezing. Like a child, she seems to always exude heat. He doesn't needs flashy clothing in order to stand out, of course. Even on the subway, he always attracts a few looks- and takes far more pleasure in this than Gracie, who pretends she isn't with him when this happens.

xxxx"We're only a minute late, don't stress it," he tells her just before the two of them walk into the meeting, where introductions seem to have already begun. This earns them a reproachful look from the man who appears to be in charge at the moment. Uncaring, Eugene gives him a nod and saunters over to an empty chair which he quickly fills, long legs stretching out with all the ease of a cat in the sun. Less self-assured, Gracie ducks her head slightly and rushes over to the seat next to him, keeping her legs tight together and trying to be as small as possible.

xxxx"So-sor-sorry," she murmurs, hardly noticing the rest of the room as she focuses squarely on the imposing man's shoes.

xxxx"Go ahead and introduce yourselves, since you like the attention so much," this is pointed squarely at Eugene, who doesn't bat an eye. He smiles, charming as you like, and stands. There are people he knows here, and he gives them little smiles before speaking. "I'm Eugene Park. And I can make you lose control. You'd probably prefer no demonstration, I'm afraid- just take my word on it," he winks at Garth, as though they are in on some private joke, and takes his seat once more. Before Garth can react to Eugene, Gracie shoots up. Better to get it over with before the group grows, as she's certain some are still to come.

xxxx"I'm Gra-gra-Gracie. I sto-sto-stop t-time," and suddenly everything is still, Eugene is caught in the middle of running his hands through his hair. The clock hands are still, and everything is completely silent. The only noise is Gracie swallowing, ever so quietly. She takes a deep breath, and scans the room for familiar faces. Jack and Scott, of course, two of her favorite people, though perhaps in different ways. And a girl who is familiar such that it scratches at the back of Gracie's mind. Is that. . .?

The clock moves forward once more. Light sounds of adjusting and murmuring continues, Eugene brushes his hair down with his hand. Gracie firmly returns to her seat and takes to clasping her hands together in her lap.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Scott Carter
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In a matter of ten simple minutes, the course of her life had been changed yet again.

Six hundred seconds ago, Kina Qadir waited in a line with three other impatient New Yorkers, hands in her pockets, spine slightly curved. Her frizzy black hair hung from her scalp like dark curtains, shielding everyone else in the café from the worry present in her round brown eyes. She tapped her boot-clad toes in anticipation, contributing to the busy rhythm of caffeinated concoctions whirling in half-broken blenders and the scratching of Sharpie markers writing names upon empty coffee cups. She wasn't there to buy anything. She just wanted to converse with the cashier, and that was all.

One minute later, the line moved up two places. She gazed about, uninspired by the monotonous color scheme of the maroon and white walls surrounding her. With the sleepy stares other customers cast as they sat at their round tables slowly downing hot beverages, Kina could tell she wasn't the only placid-minded patron in the joint. Frankly put, this was a boring place to work. There was no friendly music playing overhead, no vivid decorations or informative chalkboards inside or outside the shop advertising daily specials. Just scuffed hardwood flooring, whitewashed wooden shelves and employees that didn't give a rat's ass whether you left a tip or not. It was an absolute dump, but Kina didn't care. She just needed to talk to the cashier.

Another minute later, she finally made it to the front of the line. The stick-figure woman with a name tag reading 'Abigail' cracked her gum as she eyed the girl up and down, wasting no effort glaring at the threadbare scarf cascading down her neck, as well as her chapped lips, wind-blown hair, and bare hands that still shivered from the January chill. Kina's appearance seemed to fit in with the flavor of the establishment: impoverished, pathetic, and in desperate need of repair.

"Hello," she spoke after clearing the knot in her throat, trying her best to don a polite smile. "Are you hiring?"
The tired woman shook her head at once, attempting to end the conversation as soon as it began.
"No we aren't. Sorry," she replied, an uncaring scowl plastered upon her face. The air became more stale than the pre-made sandwiches displayed in the case just a few steps back.

The swift denial lit a fire within her. Kina refused to accept that a two-mile trek had been spent in vain. This was one of the only businesses in the neighborhood still open, as most establishments situated on the idle block shut their doors at five. Kina had tried every one, only to find dark windows and locked entrances. This woman was holding her back from peace of mind. Desperately, she spoke again, her voice raising an octave.

"Well, in that case, do you have any applications I can fill out? Is there a number I can call? I just need to-"
"Like I said, miss," the woman boldly interjected, "we're not hiring. We have enough staff already. The boss told me not to let anyone else apply, and that's what I'm doing. I'm sorry. Can I help whoever's next!"

Kina slowly turned and stormed away, grimacing over the fact that the woman's apology held no genuine empathy.

The next three minutes were spent in soft contemplation. The howling wind added to the frustration in her head, and her balled fists shook ferociously as they continuously searched for the warmth that her frayed coat pockets could not provide. The streets were grey. Dull. Unexciting. New York City was such a contrast to Tokyo, where the smell of fresh ramen, pretty paper lanterns, and beautiful, majestic shrines such as the Sensoji Temple sat on every street corner. Kina was expecting the same sort of flashy display from the Big Apple when she had accepted her mentor's offer and decided to start a new chapter of her life in America. She now came to the disheartening realization that her assumptions had only been half-true. While there were places like Times Square and Central Park that proved to be popular tourist attractions due to their well-known names, the Lower East Side was as bland as it sounded. Only Memorial Park served as a contrast to the lackluster buildings that drearily loomed above the streets like half-inflated balloons. Most people who lived in this part of the city just barely got by. There were some days when the sidewalks felt more like prison yards than pathways. Some days, they felt like nothing at all.

If only Shigeru were here, he would have a piece of rough advice to offer that would help her swallow the discontent. He had been missing for two weeks now, no information regarding his whereabouts except for a torn-out piece of notebook paper stating that he was off on another business venture. No matter how many times Kina read over his intent, she still didn't believe its authenticity. Shigeru Ishamoto was enigmatic. His words were just as unclear and abstract as his demeanor. He seemed more like a work of fiction than a man, and his backstory was one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the world. Even the smartest men Kina had encountered in Japan could not piece together the bemusing puzzle that was his former legacy. Surely there were secrets he was hiding. There were always secrets.

Now, Kina paid a price for those secrets. Because Shigeru was absent in her life, she had no source of income. She spent her winter days cloistered inside his small apartment trying her best to keep warm. It wouldn't be long until she'd have to pay monthly rent, as Shigeru wasn't there to cover it himself. Therefore, she needed a new job, and she needed one fast. She would take anything, even if the job she received entailed disgusting tasks or exhausting hours. Kina had survived on the streets during warm-weather months, but she couldn't bear to think what it would be like to take shelter in the cold. The thought made her shiver even when she was swaddled up inside a thick cocoon of blankets.

She shuffled forward, the sharp wind freezing every crevice of her exposed flesh.

The next minute, something curious occurred.

Three kids her age, two boys and a girl, ran past her in a pure rush of adrenaline. The girl was leading the pack, breathlessly yelling back to her companions, "hurry up! We're going to miss the meeting!" At first glance, this ragtag group would seem like your average reckless band of teenagers that swept the streets on a daily basis. However, Kina noticed that one of the boys had some sort of compressed light blazing through the lining of his thin fingers. As he turned the corner, she got a better look at the glow. Her heart stopped. He was creating a ball of fire, most likely to keep his hands warm in the biting cold.

He was a Gifted, no doubt capable of pyrokinesis.

Perhaps they were all gifted, as this boy wasn't afraid to reveal his powers in such close proximity to his friends.

Her monstrous curiosity, the kind that made reckless decisions and didn't care about her own safety, piqued.

Soon enough, Kina was running along with the three of them. However, she remained out of their line of sight. She didn't want to draw attention to herself. It was outside of her interest to rake suspicion. Realizing that she was trailing behind them by more than a few steps, she looked both ways, making sure that the coast was clear. Satisfied by the desolate appearances of the sidewalks surrounding her, she removed her raw hands from their respective pockets and began to swirl her lanky wrists around in quick, powerful motions. Her palms pointed towards the ground, she shot herself up to the nearest fire escape, then continued to gust herself skyward until she reached the top of the building. The glare of the setting sun blinded her for a while, but after running across the rooftop and catching a view from the other side, she spotted the sprinting kids again. From the safety of the parapets above, Kina followed them for the next three minutes until she reached their destination: a decaying warehouse that sat like a shadow in the midst of shiny apartment buildings.

Her frozen skin now shedding beads of sweat, she watched like a hawk as the trio tumbled inside the seemingly vacant building. A small crowd eventually followed suit. Something was going on in there, and she had to know what. She was just about to find a way down from her elevated position when suddenly, a question popped inside her head. What if she wouldn't be allowed inside the warehouse? She had the disheveled appearance that matched the Gifted entering the building, but she had no reputation. She didn't know anyone, and no one knew her. Perhaps she wouldn't be allowed through the front door because she wasn't a member of the 'club'.

Still, that didn't stop more questions from gushing through her brain like a merciless flood.

She took a hard look at the gap that separated her from the roof of the warehouse. It was wide, but not entirely impossible to leap. Her jaw locked. She'd have to take a risk. But was the risk worth it?

It was too late to know.

"Jump," she instinctively exhaled to herself, a cloud of carbon dioxide dissipating along with her hesitation.

She positioned herself as far away from the gap as she could, then bolted with all her might, her arms flapping forward at the last possible second. The wind blasted her upward as though she were a rocket swirling through the sky. For a second, she floated above it all. If she had taken the opportunity to look down, she would have noticed the pedestrians and taxis leagues below her, scuttering like ants at the bottom of a forgotten pit. The sight could almost be called peaceful. However, after her moment mid-flight, she landed upon the slanted roof with a loud thud, producing a thunderous blow that was anything but peaceful. Her take offs had always been rather majestic, but her landings were in need of much work. She laid there for a moment, a pained groan escaping her lips until the pressure of the impact seemed to melt away. She was concerned about the kids inside hearing or feeling the vibration of her collision, but somehow, she could hear the distant boom of a man's voice, and she noticed his drawl hadn't stopped upon her sudden intersection with the building. If she hadn't caught his suspicion, then she hadn't caught anyone else's.

After her muscles were freed from paralysis, Kina carefully picked herself up, spotting a small hole that offered a clear view inside the warehouse. In a matter of ten simple minutes, she had gone from being an unemployed millennial down on her luck to the world's most fortunate spy. Adolescents with crossed arms stood at every edge of the scrappy room, and from the safety of her spot on the roof, Kina saw it all. She saw the arrogant leader who boldly cracked his stiff knuckles, pressuring individuals in the cramped space to state their names and abilities. She watched as the fiery-haired girl named Frankie shot him a cold smile, silencing the room as she proclaimed that her supernatural skill was that of power replication. She listened as another boy with a cheerful smile went next, stating that he could talk to animals. The arrogant twenty-something then mocked their responses, and Kina's lips parted ever so slightly as a young man with a chilling visage confronted him, making the tyrant wail in pain with a single touch to the wrist. Her eyes were wide in awe and intrigue until a ginger-haired boy broke the tension, announcing that his name was Scott. She couldn't help but silently chuckle as he made an awkward yet charming display of his power, which seemed to be some sort of phasing ability. Next up was another young man by the name of Eugene, who produced a witty response even more entertaining than that of the gawky ginger's before him. Kina was sure that the rest of the introductions would soon turn into parodies of themselves, but she was proven wrong when a swan-necked girl with a prominent stutter nervously shot up, revealing her name to be Gracie. In a quietude that seemed to interest the Afghan girl watching from the roof, she stammered that she could "stop time." Kina's brows rose. In all of her years serving in her mentor's garden and meeting Gifted with diverse abilities, she had never heard of a power more interesting. She wished to see it in action, but was disappointed when the innocent girl chose to shuffle back to her seat instead, clasping her hands between her lap as she slunk into the shadows. However, unbenownst to Kina, Gracie actually had demonstrated her abilities of slowing down the clock. It was simply a difference of perspective. For the Gifted below, many long seconds of silence and stillness had passed, but for the Gifted above, Gracie had gone back to the couch after what seemed like a mere blink of time.

Kina shifted a little, making sure to maintain her crouched position. A part of her wanted to join the group in show-and-tell, introducing her simple name and displaying the manipulation she had over the air. However, there was another part of her perfectly content with where she was. The arrogant ringleader didn't seem to be causing any more trouble, and she was having a grand old time watching and learning of all the new powers she had never seen or heard before. In the past, many acquaintances had told her that America was like a melting pot where cultures and skills collided, creating a society incredibly divergent and interesting. It was in this moment, watching these talented, strong, funny, and charming Gifted introduce themselves, that Kina finally understood the analogy in her own way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda
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The most annoying part of winter isn't anything you'd expect, the inconvenience of your vehicle not starting on account of the engine freezing over or having to listen to an endless amount of cheesy Christmas music weeks prior and subsequent to the holiday itself but rather, that feeling of the bottom of your jeans after the clutching snow melts and the newly-formed water acts as high-grade adhesive. The sensation of damp denim clinging to your skin, heavy and stiff, only serves to act as an annoyance, the consistency of the sodden material freezing your ankles. At least, that's what Felix thought to himself as the cuffs of his own trousers dripped fat droplets of water onto the floor beneath his feet and the chill of the evening air penetrated the moistened threads. It didn't exactly help that the crumbling dump of a warehouse provided little to no chance for heat conservation given its shoddy state.

If Felix had to pinpoint the saddest part of his current situation, however, it wouldn't be the fact that he could feel snow melting through his socks and a toe-numbing puddle form in sole of his shoes. He'd take it upon himself to instead show the nearest interested viewer to the complete and utter gong show of a meeting that unfolded around him. Though, it's true that the cynical side of Felix had lowered his expectations to a manageable degree; call him a pessimist, or at least blame his sizable lack of faith in humanity, but he imagined the gathering to be much like that of the current American congress- with a definite deficiency of structure and in complete fucking shambles. The only upside was that all of the old, white men were replaced with people who looked to be less old and white, but just as disorganized.

It had been an early morning - try late night turned into early morning - escapade that had lead Felix to gain insight to the meeting that had listed those who were Gifted as the very important people. The tips of his fingers had adorned themselves with an ugly red glow, a silent protest to being unprotected to New York's unrelenting coldness, while he threw most of his energy into keeping shaking hands steady. After all, temperatures dropped to an ungodly temperature as day turned to night, the warmth of the sun hidden behind a blanket of star-riddled darkness, and only the foolish ventured outside of their houses when nightfall came. Felix wouldn't say that he and his friends were foolish per se, for their little lustful hearts only craved a bit of creative representation.

"What bunch of fuckin' amateurs." A billowing wisp of white followed the words of the speaker, catching Felix's attention as it dispersed into the night. Tearing his own gaze from the task at hand, Felix side-eyed the boy, taking in the way the other stood crookedly while he eyeballed the brick wall with an expression of disapproval, and maybe even slight disgust. Powaw, a friend Felix had known for years now, motioned with the nod of his head and the flopping of a thick beanie. Ever since Powaw had made the decision to shave his lengthy locks, ridding his head of not only a thick mane but remnants of his preserved Native-American heritage, leaving his ears uncovered for the world, he couldn't stand how the wind would nip at his ears.

Felix studied his point of distaste, allowing a sigh to leave his lips as he spoke, "Ink based markers."

"Ink based markers!" Powaw agreed. "Look at how it looks all... streaky and shit. Who's dumb enough to use markers in winter? When the tips start freezing you stick to spray paint, plain and simple." Either the efforts of the renegade were proven to be fruitless or they simply didn't care much for aesthetics, but the lines and edges of the piece, jagged and mangled at best, pointed towards faulty equipment.

"I guess you live and learn." Felix responded, jiggling his own can of spray paint and listening to it clatter about noisily. Upon feeling the weight of the can, Felix muttered a curse under his breath and moved to slip the thing under his jacket. He hissed as the chilled metal met his bare skin. "Fucking thing is getting thick on me." Powaw grins crookedly.

"The struggles of a no-good vandal, right? I mean, all we want to do is make some beautiful graffiti together under the moonlight and piss off some cops." Powaw fluttered his eyelashes in Felix's direction, rousing a small laugh out of Felix. With a snort, Powaw looks back to the ruined tag. "Not like they have better things to do. Like catch that guy that's out offing us." At the mention of the killer, Felix's mouth twists into a frown.

"No," He said bitterly, "I suppose they don't." Powaw hummed.

"You going to that thing?" He asked.

"What thing?"

"You know, that thing. That whole meeting they got planned to try and stop that guy."

Intrigued at the sudden news, Felix scans Powaw's face, "Who's 'they'?" Powaw initially answers the question with a loud sniffle, russet hand reaching up to swipe at the tip of his pointed nose.

"Dunno. Some Gifted guys who wanted to get together and take matters into their own hands. At least, that's what I heard. The Pigs obviously aren't going to do anything about it and a lot of people are pissed off." Powaw shoved his hands into his pockets and shifted from foot to foot, snow crunching crisply beneath his feet. "I'm surprised you haven't heard about it yet, figured the grapevine would have gotten to you at some point. Thought it might be something that you'd be into because it kinda seems right up your alley, Fee. You're the poster boy for vigilante justice or whatever." Admittedly, Felix's interest was piqued at the notion, having followed along with the cases as they continued to stack up. Powaw was right about one thing: the cops could give a rats ass about the fact that there was a serial killer out there with a blood-lust for the Gifted. It seemed like every new death was a new stack of papers to fill out and toss into the trash. It was natural that a group of people, frightened by the concept that their very lives could be at stake, would want to do something about it.

"Are you going?" Felix asked, a question innocent in itself. However, Powaw only spends a moment staring at Felix blankly before bursting out into a fit of laughter. The boisterous sound rings loudly into the otherwise silent area.

"Are you fucking kidding me, dude? You know what my power is!" The other said, eyes dancing with amusement. "Yeah, right! Sure, they definitely want the walking, talking Etch A Sketch. Fee, I have the power of indentation. If you're going, you're on your own, dude." And at that comment, the conversation had ended.

But Jesus Christ, now that Felix was actually present, standing amongst his peers, he was starting to seriously doubt that this group of people had any sort semblance of what they were doing. Wandering about looking nervous and shifty-eyed, gazes flitting from one individual to the next, voices equal parts hushed and strained, the air had turned stale with nerves and confusion. A fucking fight had even almost broke out between two people, some steroid-pumped gym nut and potential Abercrombie and Fitch model, but it was quickly put to an end when Abercrombie did some freaky shit and quoted 'that's my gift' as if he were a b-list actor in some movie.

If Felix could roll his eyes any harder they'd roll right out of his asshole.

He quickly tuned out when people began introducing themselves along with their powers, almost feeling as if he suddenly entered an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, or something of the sort. "Let's all just stand in a circle and introduce ourselves." Felix thinks to himself. "I'm Dan and I'm addicted to tequila." I'm Felix and I have the power of electricity. Cue the chiming chorus of the simultaneous 'Hi, Felix.' With a sigh, Felix had been more than happy to continue hugging the wall and not speaking to anyone. At that point he knew that there were really only two options: they ended up figuring something out or this whole thing was just a massive waste of time. It was just a matter of waiting to see which it was.

In fact, that's how things would have turned out had it not been for some other guy, one who clearly thought that it was "make friends time" with Felix, that seemed to pinpoint the singular person in the room that didn't want any sort of human interaction. There had been a slight moment where Felix had nearly welcomed his attention. He was tall and classically, well, hot, bronzed skin showcasing a number of attractive features such a strong, masculine jawline and dark, intelligent eyes. A gentle smile graced his face and when it stretched into a grin, the soft pink of his gums had been revealed.

But as the saying goes, good prospects are ruined as soon as they open their mouths. And although it sounded as if his words were heavily influenced by an English accent, something Felix could definitely get behind, especially in bed, Felix wouldn't have minded if he stopped talking.

You're here to try and stop that guy too?

Clearly.

It looks like a good lot showed up! It only goes to show that people really come together in times of need.

Yeah, Team Gifted.

So what's your power?

Er- electricity.

So you can... mate, that's reem! You on the register?

Uh.

Oh! Here's our chance to introduce ourselves.

Normally Felix wouldn't be so opposed to hot dudes manhandling him, but then the guy threw a friendly arm around his shoulder and pulled him right along to one particular group that seemed to be gaining the most attention. He grins around at the group. "I'm Percy. I can control mirrors and reflections. Unfortunately, I don't have much to show you without a reflective surface around." Percy takes his other hand and pats Felix on the chest. "And this is..." His voice trails off as Percy's gaze turns to rest on Felix's face, an expectant look shaping his countenance. Great.

With an inward groan, a moment of silence passes before Felix speaks. "Felix. Electricity."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda
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The meeting had been planned and organised the the chat forum, with a long line of insistent 'hush hush' vibes that promised the secret location and the even more secret purpose of the meeting would remain completely and entirely confidential.

So naturally, everyone was gossiping about it.

Maria sat at the bartop, sipping on an on-the-rocks whisky with a thoughtful expression on her face. "So, are you going?" "No." "But you're Gifted!" Maria grimaced. "Jesus, I hate that word. A good runner is 'gifted'. You know, they use the word 'talented' now. To describe smart kids. God forbid anyone think they mean the other 'gifted'."

The bartender opposite her -a woman named Gwen with tattooed arms and a penchant for atmokinesis- shook her head as she sighed. "I think you've had too much to drink. You've gone all deep and angsty, again." Maria shrugged, pushing the glass away from her.

"What's their game plan, do you think?" "What do you mean?" "Are they just gonna go hunt it down, and beat the shit out of it?" "I'm sure they'll describe it with a bit more nuance, but yeah, I guess."

Maria laughed grimly, "Well, good fucking luck." "So you're definitely not going?" "Why would I?"

Gwen shrugged, downing the rest of Maria's drink. "Well, I don't know about you, but seeing as there's a murderous psychopath running around, I reckon being surrounded by a bunch of superpowered freakshows sounds like a pretty good idea."


Maria wasn't sure whether it was Gwen's pensive remark or her own gut feeling that had ultimately convinced her to make her way to the warehouse, but whatever the case, that's where she had found herself. Walking beneath grey-black clouds along a rain-dampened sidewalk, with her ebony locks flickering about her face in a chilled breeze that paled her lips and bit her cheeks. Her frosty-fingered hands found shelter in the pockets of her inky blue jacket, and her feet in thick combat boots, but nonetheless, it was really fucking cold.

As a result, stepping into the warehouse, her first thought was not 'wow, there is a heck of a lot of Gifted here', nor was it 'my, I wonder how exactly this delightful group of youths plan to take down a soul-sucking serial killer?' but rather a somewhat relief-stricken anecdote regarding the considerably warmer temperature of the establishment.

Building insulation-related thoughts aside, Maria wasn't sure what to think as she examined her surroundings. Left and right, Gifted were showing off their powers, expressions ranging from enthusiastic to embarrassed. Walking through the throng, a dread-locked twenty something to her left exuberantly cut off his own finger. Tasty.

Finally, she made her way to the most collected group at the center of the room, where the most attention was being held. "I'm Percy. I can control mirrors and reflections. Unfortunately, I don't have much to show you without a reflective surface around. And this is..." "Felix. Electricity."

Well. If I do die doing this bullshit, at least I'll be surrounded by hot people.

Her nose almost collided with a heavyset chest as a rather beefy individual stepped into her path. "You. What can you do?"

Maria took in his unabashed obnoxiousness with an intentionally oily smirk and, in a tone that clearly wasn't talking about superpowers, replied, "Oh, baby. What can't I do?"

Nope. Apparently he didn't find her sarcasm-induced sleazeball persona even mildly attractive. Funny, that. The meathead only deepened his scowl, and a scoff escaped Maria's lips in amused response. Dropping the slime, she addressed the group as a whole. "Maria. Illusion manipulation."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda
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#, as written by Cloud

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CASPER TEMPLE
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More than once in Casper's eighteen years has the blonde been told his aversion to the cold is borderline ridiculous. His distaste for the icy temperature is, to his own mind, completely logical and reasonable. After all, who has the patience to battle numb fingers when attempting to send a cheeky text to a booty call? Who wants the embarrassment and annoyance of being unable to light a cigarette thanks, again, to the fumbling of frozen digits? Senseless toes, shattering teeth, shivering arms, no. Just, no. There's a very good reason that so many people live their lives in the tropics, where winter is something only seen on television. Casper will tell you this for free, if he had the chance to marry a wealthy someone with a house in the Bahamas, you can bet your ass that's where he'd be every day of the year. Or, at least when winter enveloped New York.

"F-fuck the cold." The lean blonde stutters, his teeth chattering as he pulls the layers of clothing even tighter around his body. There's no one to hear his curses, nor would he likely find any sympathy had an audience heard his words. But, his small rebellion against winter makes Casper feel slightly better, and the solid smack of his boots against the dirty snow littering the pavement is another source of comfort for the teen. No dribble of melting snow will slither its way into his shoes, they are brand new after all, a gift he had managed to coerce his last 'friend' into buying him before the inevitable break up when Casper's interests had waned.

He can still remember the man's face, a barely contained smile of amusement as he'd watched Casper covering up his bare skin with layer upon layer of winter-proof clothing, only to then pull on a pair of shoes that had seen better days.

"So, your body's a sauna while your feet freeze?"

"If I had better shoes I'd wear them." Casper had replied, tying up his laces deftly before straightening with a coy smile and adding, "Though, sure would make walking to meet you easier, if I had a pair without holes." Slender arms had wrapped themselves around the older man's neck, and Casper had given a bat of his lashes. The rest of the story was obvious, a pair of boots had been bought, and then a week later Casper had left with a lazy 'thanks for the fun' and that was that.

And god, they are good shoes. Nothing that Casper would be able to afford on his own steam, thanks to a current lack of employment. His aunt had stopped giving him pocket money when he was ten too, severally depleting his income to a grand total of nothing per week. Good thing he was pretty.

Pretty isn't helping Casper much now, as he shivers his way down the street, wishing he could somehow get a sleeping bag and fashion it into a onesie. His feet may be well protected, and the number of layers weighing down his frame numerous, but still the smallest breath of wind managed to make its way through the protective layers and embrace his skin. It was either ridiculously cold, or Casper was being a baby, and Casper wasn't willing to admit the latter.

Luckily for the blonde, his destination appears in all its derelict glory. Casper pauses briefly, letting the fog of his breath dissipate as he takes in the momentary sight before him. The warehouse is dilapidated, life-threatening, falling apart at the seams, and an ugly smear in an equally ugly neighbourhood. Someone sure knows how to pick a meeting place where no sane person would surely visit. As Casper's feet once again begin to move, he can thank his lucky stars that he was born with the ability to heal. Should the warehouse collapse in on itself, as it will inevitably at the first faint breeze, at least Casper's body will slowly be able to heal from an otherwise ugly death.

The interior is no less inspiring than the exterior, nor is it much warmer, at least not to what Casper would prefer. But, at least inside Casper's interest is able to be piqued by the many youths gathered around. He slips through the door, the only sound of his entrance the shuddering scream of the rusting door, and lets his eyes glance over the faces there. He's missed something, obviously, for the group appears to be part way through introductions, as evidenced by a small redhead standing and stuttering her way through a greeting. Casper doesn't catch her name, his attention instead pulling his eyes first to the pretty boy sitting next to her and then around the room in search of any familiar faces.

Casper spies Samuel and Frances de Vries standing together, a curly haired boy beside them. 'He's pretty, I suppose.' Casper thinks to himself, even as he judges the curly-haired boy to be too innocent - those wide eyes and overly-excited smile - and writes him off. Next, Casper's eyes are drawn to another redhead, one he vaguely recognises. 'Hello, isn't he the guy I...?" Casper's gaze falls down the redhead's body, wishing he could see the skin beneath because Casper is sure seeing him nude would help jog his memory. Freckles perhaps? The name comes to Casper in a jolt and he grins, attempting to catch Scott's eye and wink at him.

It's only the reluctant words of one 'Felix. Electricity' that has Casper's attention once again diverting. Lazily Casper's eyes rove across the taller boy standing beside Felix, who had introduced himself as Percy only moments before. Well, this pair weren't particularly hard on the eyes. He'd never seen the Brit before, and though his eyes were definitely enjoying the pleasure of those full lips and that gorgeous skin, it was to the teen standing beside him that Casper's attention finally fell. As 'Maria. Illusion manipulation' finishes her quick introduction after an impressive show of sarcastic humour that Casper fully appreciates, the blonde, still mentally undressing Felix with his eyes, steps up.

"And here I was calling you brown eyes." Casper murmured, barely caring who hears so long as he catches Felix's attention. He sends a smirk towards the electric Gifted before an exasperated sigh has Casper's gaze pulled towards Frankie, whose irritated expression has him ready to push her buttons further. "Nice to see you too, Frances." He drawls, biting back a snicker as Frankie spits out,

"It's Frankie, asshole."

Frankie's twin brother, and all around easier guy to get along with, merely laughs at the pair's exchange before nodding a greeting at Casper and adding, "Nice shoes, Casper."

"Cheers, Sam." Casper grins at the huff Frankie exhales and chooses that moment to grab any attention not already directed his way by formally introducing him. "Yo, I'm Casper for those of you who want to know-..." and here Casper darts a glance at the individuals whom he wants to learn his name, "...-I’m Gifted with multiple abilities. The first you'll have to take my word for, I heal myself. Shit still hurts, but maiming myself won't be permanent. Not that I've tried cutting off anything, mind." Casper stretches slightly and his eyes flick back to Felix, "Second one is this-..."

Without warning Casper disappears from sight, his body completely invisible despite still physically being present. His steps, soft from years of practice sneaking in and out of places he shouldn't be, make barely a sound as he rounds the group. Frankie lets out a cry of annoyance as he lightly tugs a strand of her hair, but Casper darts away before she can smack him off. Then he's rounding Percy and Felix, a hand lightly trailing across the small of Felix's back before the invisible blonde comes to a stop beside the other gifted. Casper turns visible without preamble, his hand innocently back at his side and his smile smug as he looks out at the group, "And that's me, who's next in the parade?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda
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“Fuck, fuck, fuck, shit, fuck!”

A booze-fueled hurricane barreled down the crowded city walkway. In a flurry of half-hearted “excuse me”-s turned “fucking move”-s turned even less sincere over the shoulder apologies, Dylan’s wiry body powered through the throngs of busy humans. Regardless of where you’re going in New York City, there are about a hundred thousand other people trying to go the opposite direction. And that number increases exponentially alongside the urgency with which you need to arrive. Times like these it paid to have height on your side. Between the smell of alcohol, the unwashed hair, and the shabby, hole-ridden jacket, he could’ve very well passed for a bum, which at the very least got people out of his way a bit faster.

”I’m gonna be so late - shit, shit
” he muttered in what might’ve been a whisper if he was sober, but instead earned him a sharp glare from a thirty-something mother with her hands over her kid’s ears. ”Shit, I’m sorry – shoot! I mean shoot!” he yelled at her as she picked up her pace.

Dylan checked his wrist for the time and realized he didn’t wear a watch. He squeezed his way between a couple holding hands as he rummaged his jacket’s many pockets for his phone, which upon finding he promptly dropped and watched as a black Louboutin came down on the screen with a crack! that sounded just like one hundred and twenty-nine dollars he didn’t have. Scowling, cold, drunk, and late, he picked the phone up off the ground. ”If this isn’t the best goddamn meeting I swear
”

Trolling internet chat rooms had become a hobby since he’d been either too drunk or too tired to get into his art for awhile now. He’d just been lurking when the plans for a meet up actually started getting tossed around. Normally quick to shit talk and derail any serious conversation, something about this one kept his fingers hovering gently over his keyboard instead. Cloaked in a soft old blanket and the harsh light of his laptop screen, he watched it unfold. Every couple of lines, he’d type something snarky out, mash backspace, and repeat. Eventually he found himself groggily peeling his face off the keyboard the next morning. Unable to help himself, he scrolled back up through the chat and caught up on the rest of what he’d missed. ”January 8th
” He opened a small planner on his desk, as though someone were watching and he had to make like he had just so much to do, as though he didn’t see “2014” in embossed gold letters on the front.

He still wasn’t quite sure why he was going anyway. He’d never been one for social justice
 he’d never been one for being too involved in anything really. Though since his mother’s relapse, he hadn’t met any other gifted individuals. Maybe he missed the camaraderie in sharing the secret. Maybe he just wanted an opportunity to actually put all that practice to use. Maybe he missed his mother. Maybe it was just an excuse to get out of that lonely shithole apartment. It was cheaper than another night drinking at The Crown anyway. And after the last time at his old haunt, he’d need to come up with another new disguise to have any chance of getting in there. Getting that drunk on a Wednesday was a mistake anyway. Kinda.

While Dylan contemplated his life and continued his shuffle toward the warhouse, the sun sank under the horizon and let the city night sparkle to life. It was always such a relief as storefronts lit up and streetlights cast their yellowed glow along the avenues. The bluish dusk that settled on the city beforehand always struck him as sad. Nothing worse than an empty bottle of twilight.

Dylan’s breath, visible in the frigid air, was running out as quickly as his will to even show up, so he leaned himself against a street sign with his arm stretched out and watched several taxis pass by him anyway. He sighed, took a quick look around, and slipped into a dark alley. A busty young woman in a form-fitting little black dress stepped out of the shadows and nearly directly into the back of a cab.

She leaned her head gently against the window, enjoying the reprieve from the night air, even if the cab smelled like cigars and B.O. and the driver wouldn’t stop talking about how she looked just like his high school crush. She smiled sweetly and nodded with a laugh where it seemed appropriate as they slid through the traffic. A few potholes had her stomach in a dangerous spot, but she kept it together until the driver was letting her out and asking if she was sure it was “the right place for a pretty little thing like you”. The vacant buildings felt like forgotten corpses under the browned slush of half-melted snow and ice.

”I’ll be just fine, thank you so, so, so, so much sweetie!” the woman bubbled, leaning forward to show a healthy dose of cleavage before she slipped out of the cab and into the night without paying.

As she made her way toward the warehouse, her pumps gave way to beat up, snow-soaked sneakers, her dress falling into dark jeans and Dylan’s old jacket. Her face widened and roughened and her hair slipped back up into Dylan’s brunette mop. He stumbled forward as quickly as he could manage, already hearing voices coming from inside.

”Shiiiiiit.”

He reaches for the warehouse door, pulling it toward himself. The old door clangs and squeaks in protest as Dylan shakes it, miserably trying to get himself inside to no avail.

”What’d they fuckin’ lock me out?” he mumbled to himself against the racket of the stuck door. As he goes to knock, he leans forward against the cold metal – realizing all too late it’s a push, not a pull door. He comes tumbling forward into the room of young gifted, who are now all staring at the pile of man on the floor.

Dylan stumbles to his feet, nearly falling on his journey to standing again. ”Uh
 Hey.”

No one seems too impressed. Garth Holden releases an audible groan. “Great, this one can’t even use a door. What the hell kind of power could you have?”

”Hey, take it easy Hulk Hogan, damn."

Hell if he was going to come all the way out here and then get talked down to. He checks out the room around him, unsure exactly what he had expected. It just looked like a warehouse full of people. He looks down, feeling a little stupid and a little guilty, like he’d expected to walk into a room full of movie characters or a carnival freak show. But they were all just the same as him. Well, save for the muscle head trying to start something with him already.

The room still quiet from Dylan’s entrance, he shoves a hand into his pocket and takes a sip from a dulled silver flask.

”Well, uh, my name’s Dylan. And if ‘Roid Rage over here can hold on to his shriveled balls for a second, I’ll show you guys what I can do. Check this shit out.”

Dylan closes his eyes and pauses, half to build the tension, half because he’s too drunk to move too much quicker. He hiccups gently.

”What the hell am I getting myself into?”

Dylan’s body begins to morph. He feels his body folding in on itself, shifting, his atomic composition and very being deconstructing and reconstructing itself all at once. It slides into his mind he’d never done this directly in front of anyone but his mother before. She’d seemed happy. As happy as she got when she was that high, anyway. It was back when a simple transformation could take Dylan as long as five minutes to complete. Now, nearly as quickly as it had begun it was over, and Dylan’s body had been completely bent to his will within seconds.

A teakettle appears, hanging briefly in the air where Dylan had been standing, and falls with a thud to the ground along with the little silver flask.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
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The day had been a beautiful one, for wintery New York, and yet neither Kipling twin had been able to witness the colourful hues the heavy clouds took, or the way the sun’s faint rays had cast breath-taking shadows across snow drenched streets. Instead, Toby Kipling had been confined to his room, head bent over his desk in an attempt to decipher the latest book of ‘spells’ that he had managed to acquire. Sighs of frustration had escaped his lips, his fingers aching from the intricate movements he’d put them through, and all for nothing. The book was a dud, one of those new age magic tomes that simply stuck irrelevant words and ingredients into its pages in the hopes of duping modern day ‘witches’ out of their income. Well, the book was either a fake or Toby was just terrible at this magic stuff. It could be either or, really. Toby didn’t have much faith in his abilities.

With another irritated huff, Toby pushed himself back from his desk. He had wanted to master at least one spell before the meeting. Something other than the cheesy mini-fireworks display that was currently one of his only mastered spells. As pretty as the little exploding lights looked, he doubted that it would impress anyone. Though, as Toby glanced at the time he realised with a start that his spells wouldn’t matter if he and Bast missed the meeting entirely.

Jumping to his feet, Toby strode out into the living room, “Bast! You ready for the meeting? I almost forgot.” He called, searching for the pantless sod he called a brother. Sure enough, Bast was still sitting on the couch, controller in hand, probably battling some fourteen year old on one of his games.

"Bast! Pants!" Toby cried, exasperation clear in the tone of his voice. His feet stomped into the younger twins’ room, stepping over empty packets of cookies and random doritos strewn across the carpet in search of the item of clothing that Bast refused to wear within their own home. “We’re going to be so late.” Toby continued as he searched through Bast’s drawers for a pair of half-way decent trousers. There wasn’t much that wasn’t dirty or crumbled on the floor, yet luck was on Toby’s side as he pulled out a pair of jeans that had no stains on them and weren’t five years old.

“Put these on now and turn off the game, or I’ll
 I’ll hide the console.” Toby threatened as he returned to the living room, throwing the pants at his twin. He wasn’t very good at threats, and Bast knew Toby well enough to understand that Toby’s words were hollow.

There was nothing more difficult than being the self-proclaimed king of the technological jungle when your title was constantly being threatened by new opponents; they were opponents that had little to no chance up against him, no less, but the occasional reputable foe dared to step out onto his turf. But listen, if this was an analogy, you know, like, one of those thoughts that have another thought's hat on, Bast would be the lion, the very king of the jungle, and everyone else would be the lambs or the squirrels or whatever sort of weak, defenseless animal who lived in the same niche. Because Bast? Bast had the most limber and controlled thumbs than anyone else on this Earth, and that much he knew he could claim with the utmost amount of assured confidence.

But as Bast was saying, living life as the main man was no easy, breezy walk in the park when it required his attention in it's entirety, thus resulting in his current position on the couch for the past couple of- few- er, however long he's been there for. Everywhere his graphically-rendered cartoon self turned, a new challenger appeared to attempt to shoot him down and demand that the title of high-score holder be given to them. To that Bast says that they can drop dead (and to that they respond by saying some pretty mean things about his mother and his sexual orientation) because there was not a chance in hell that he was going to give anything up. He was going for gold.

They could kiss his godly tushie.

Needless to say, he didn't exactly notice when one hour had turned into two and two had turned into a shit ton, and he may have, in his trance of concentration, only recognized the semblance of Toby's voice saying something to him at one point. He was probably saying something like Bast, pick up your clothes. or Bast, did you take out the garbage? or Sebastian Isaiah Kipling, what the hell did you do to the laundry!? Did you, or did you not, separate the lights from the darks because all of our whites are now pink!... he was kind of like the adults off of Charlie Brown when they talked.

It wasn't until Toby charged into the room full speed ahead, like a cute little extra off of Thomas the Tank Engine, and tossed a pair of pants at his face did Bast startle and break from his very deep, video game-oriented tunnel vision. But in that moment it wasn't like he could actually see anything now that the legs of the pants were wrapped around his head and blocking his vantage point, so he could only begin to flail and sputter as he pulled the article of clothing off of his face.

"Toby! What was that for?" He could only whine when his twin came into view. Looking at Toby was kind of like looking at himself, devastatingly handsome and the picture of perfection, only less adorable and looking very stern with his hands on his hips. "I swear I didn't do it! I don't exactly know what I didn't do, but I didn't do it and that's the important part! There's no need to go put pants on about the whole thing."

Exasperation was a default setting for Toby, at least when dealing with his brother. He pinched the bridge of his nose, taking a calming breath in order to steady himself before replying, with some measure of patience, “Bast, we’re going to be late to the meeting. Put your pants on so we can go.” Honestly, Toby’s ability to remain patient in the face of such
 Bast-ness, should mark him for sainthood. He supposes, that when you’ve shared a womb and a troubled childhood together, dealing with your twin brother’s inane nonsense isn’t the worst.

For a moment Bast struggled to comprehend what Toby was talking about, his head swimming with images of his top title being taken away from him as more time ticked on. In the corner of his eye he could see his character lose a life, red filling the screen along with the current player scores, and his fingers itched to grab the controller and keep playing. Hand twitching, his gaze turns back to Tobias "Grumpy Gus" Kipling, and Bast takes in the look of exasperation that etched his handsome features. For a moment Bast considers telling him that his face will get stuck like that if he keeps on looking so ruffled at the feathers, but before he could open his mouth the memory hits him.

Oh, that meeting.

Bast paused, gaze flickering between the screen and the pair of jeans in his hands and... well, Bast is kinda busy right now, so maybe if he gives Toby the puppy eyes they could stay home. He might have been the one to bring it up to Toby after coming across the forum, but things change! Plans change! That being said, Bast fixed a look upon Toby and he doesn't need twin telepathy to know that his message of let's-just-stay-home is being relayed quite well.

Of course, just because the message is being relayed, doesn’t mean that Toby is in anyway likely to agree with it. In fact, instead of a happy nod, Toby bites his lip and rolls his eyes. “Pants, Bast! We’re going in two minutes.” Toby replied, even as he was turning and making his way back into his bedroom to collect his wallet and phone. One might wonder why the pants-wearing twin didn’t merely go to the meeting on his own. Certainly, at the age of nineteen Toby was old enough to hold some independence from his twin. And yet, the shy boy didn’t quite find the idea of addressing a room of strangers a happy one. So, he would wait for his brother to dress and hope that they weren’t too late.

Grumbling at his brother's relentless response, Bast feels himself drooping in disappointment as he turns off his gaming console and begins to pull the pair of jeans on over his legs. In an instant the freedom and liberation that he once felt was stolen from him, the legs of the pants oppressing not only his appendages but his will, sovereignty, and birthright to uncovered limbs. Alas, Bast can only do so much to please the public and he doesn't want to get charged for indecency, nor does he want Toby to give him the 'I'm not mad, just disappointed' look because it rouses the worst feeling ever. With the pants now on, Bast meets one Toby by the front door and he sulks. "The pants are on. The console's off. My will to live on is dwindling. Let's go."

Shrugging into his coat, Toby fights back another urge to roll his eye and leads the way outside. Their little house quickly falls behind as the twins slog through melting snow towards the nearest bus stop. Despite Bast’s earlier protests, Toby is sure he’s appreciative of the extra layer between his bare skin and the cold outside, and as they wait for their transport Toby’s sure the temperature drops as the sun’s rays become masked by the surrounding buildings. The bus arrives late, the driver smells like old cigarettes, and an old woman glares at the two boys as they take a seat across from her, but at least it’s warmer in the clunking metal vehicle than outside.

Their stop leaves the pair with a little over a block to walk, which they do quickly to avoid the creeping cold and because Toby is well aware that they’re definitely late. “Is that it?” Toby asks, squinting up ahead at the ramshackle warehouse. The neglected building looked more like a death trap than the meeting place to a group of Gifted vigilantes. With the sun setting all the lower as they approach, Toby is even keener to get inside, yet he pauses momentarily as his eyes catch on what he thinks is a figure crotched on the roof. Toby blinks, wondering if it is merely the light playing tricks on his eyes, or his eyes playing tricks on his brain after straining for the whole day to read his book.

“Is that
” Toby starts to ask his twin, before noises from inside the building catch his attention instead. Shaking his head, Toby puts it down to tricks of the light and then heads towards the entrance.

It was Toby's questioning voice that had called Bast's attention, eyes flitting over to see that his gaze was fixated on the rooftops, and soon he was following Toby's line of sight to see... nothing in particular. "What is it?" Bast asks, only to receive a shake of the head as Toby ultimately brushed off his original statement in response. Shrugging, he pulls his hands out from the depths of his jacket pockets to reach for and open up what seemed to be the entrance of the warehouse; it was a bit worse for wear, he had to admit, but what else did you expect from this area of New York? Bast could accept the chipping paint and crumbling walls as aspects that added a little bit of rustic charm to the whole building, and rustic charm was totally cool.

Having decided to take the lead, Bast was able to enter the warehouse and survey the area before Toby could peer his head in, taking into account the small crowd of Gifted gatherers that stood within it. It couldn't have been more than a couple of dozen people, but still, it was more than Bast thought would show up to this meeting... all knowing the intentions. Perhaps a few Gifted were simply curious and wanted to know if anyone was going to do something about the recent murders, for peace of mind, and perhaps some were hot-blooded and eager to play hero, but there was a sense of nervousness and disarray that made the whole crowd seem unorganized. There was a particular group of individuals that everyone seemed to be fixated on- a couple of people Bast recognized instantly and wanted to pick his hand up and wave to as if he were a first grader waving hello to his mom after his first day of school. But there's a time and place for everything.

Suddenly, the appearance of a boy stepping up to the center of the group caught Bast's eye; he was a bit mousy in stature, small and skinny, someone who looked like his heart beat too fast for no real reason, and his facial features were soft and Asiatic. There was a blush high on his cheeks, giving a rosy hue to ivory cheeks, while there was a slight moment of silence as it looked as if the boy was attempting to build confidence. The voice that tumbled from his lips suited his meek, boyish appearance as it rung shaky and unsure. "I'm... Sunny. Sunny Ahn. A-and I'm from here. In New York." Sunny stuttered over the words and he couldn't maintain eye contact with anyone for very long. "I-I... my power isn't very... like your guys'. But I want to help."

A loud scoff sounds from a large, beefy-looking man who reminded Bast much like a bull in stature. "So what is it that you can do then? Get it out! We already have someone who turns into a fucking tea kettle." He motions to another guy standing near him. "Your power can't possibly be worse than that."

Toby’s eyes dart around the group as he enters, finding comfort in the sight of familiar faces – Frankie, Sam, Grace – while taking in the many new individuals who had come seeking justice, or merely come out of boredom. The twins are late enough that they had missed the earlier introductions, which apparently included an individual with the ability to turn into a tea kettle. Toby absently wondered if that was the only thing they could turn into. Yet, before he can contemplate it too much, his eyes are drawn up to witness a bulky young man growling at an obviously intimidated boy.

“Clouds.” The smaller boy mumbles, his cheeks turning a bright red at the scrutiny being directed his way. Sunny’s head ducks further at the scoff pulled from the bully’s mouth.

“Clouds?” Garth repeats, glancing around with an incredulous look on his face, “What, you mean you can create storms?”

“No, I-
” Sunny swallows, looking decidedly more nervous by the second, “I can just m-move them, slightly.”

“Oh, well that’s going to be useful against a fucking killer!” Garth spits in return. He looks ready to blow, anger seething from his bulky body as his small eyes glanced around the group. His gaze lands on the twins, his lips forming into a sneer as he spat, “What about you two? You gonna contribute a power that’s actually fucking useful? Or join this pathetic lot?”

Having all of the attention placed upon them without warning suddenly made Bast feel as if he was connecting with Sunny, the boy having turned pale at the bigger dude's response. Startled and rendered clammy at the large group of people who looked at the late pair with interest, it takes Bast a moment to collect himself before he can respond to being called to. Out of the corner of his eye, Toby was already making himself small, shoulders bunching and head ducking, in an obvious tell of his shy nature. "Uh." Bast manages to spit out. "I don't- I mean, Toby and I just came here looking for a good time and this atmosphere is pretty weird, dude." And alright, maybe that wasn't the right thing to say because a vein throbbed on the guy's forehead. Quickly, Bast rushes to add. "I'm Bast and the handsome devil beside me is my twin brother. I do computery things and he does magic."

So sue him if he's not good at introductions, but he didn't expect the guy to let out a frustrated growl and bark out a, "You've got to be fucking kidding me!"

"No, on the way here Toby said he made baby fireworks using his magic! He's pretty good, if I do say so myself." Bast's arm comes around Toby and he squeezes the other with pride.

Toby’s cheeks turn a light shade of pink as attention jumps between him, his twin, and the angry troll currently glaring daggers at the pair. He wishes he could take a step behind Bast and disappear, but at the evident anger in Garth’s eyes he feels he should make some sort of addition to Bast’s introduction. Anything that might make that anger evaporate slightly.

“I’m still learning, but I-
 we want to help.” Comes Toby’s quiet reply. Apparently, however, they’re not the words that the red-faced man wants to hear.

“You want to help?” Anger surges from Garth Holden, and it’s all Toby can do to not take a step backwards, away from it. “I thought this meeting would bring together people with actual, fucking fighting powers! People who can do something about that killer. And instead I find little shits who can manipulate clouds or make baby fireworks. How the fuck does anyone think those powers are useful?”

“Hey asshole, we didn’t come here to judge everyone’s powers. Lay off.” Frankie’s voice was the first to stand against Garth’s rant, though it only caused the brute to round on her instead.

“Of course we fucking did! If someone doesn’t send the useless kids home, they’re going to end up getting themselves and anyone forced to rely on them killed.” Garth’s words ring out around the warehouse, and Toby can’t help but notice that a few of those gathered around – those individuals hanging around the outskirts of the room – were nodding in agreement, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on being murdered because some little shit starts playing Disney princess instead of fighting, or can’t back me up because there are no fucking mirrors around.”

"I think we came at a bad time." Bast whispers to Toby at the explosion that was suddenly released out of the human equivalent to actual testosterone. His words are soon drowned out by Garth's impassioned statements, but it seemed as if Toby was too caught up by Garth's rant himself, leaving Bast's words unheard. The man began breathing heavily through his nose while he spoke, chest heaving, and a crazed look in his eyes sparked while he looked about the room.

"So does anyone here actually have a useful power? Or better yet, a fucking plan as to how we're going to take this guy down?" Was is just Bast, or was everyone's ears popping at the sound of the dude's voice? Nevertheless, it didn't really matter because at the questions, it seemed as if no one was willing to speak up, a silence settling within the warehouse while people began to look at one another. Did anyone actually have a plan? Did they have a power that might be useful to take down a serial killer? Those were the questions that danced among the members of the meeting. Biting his lip, the young, mousy boy, Sunny, looked to finally break the disturbed silence.

"I'm s-sure that if we all put our heads together and think we could-"

"Oh, what, so we have nothing!? Come on, we all gathered here because we're getting hurt. Some motherfucker is out there trying to kill us and-" Garth's bellowing voice is reeled back in when he stops abruptly to suck in a breath. His voice is lowered when he speaks next. "It's clear that this is all a joke. Clouds? Magic? Mirrors? What's the use of fighting when we don't have a God damn fighting chance. Listen, I don't know about you all, but it's pretty clear to me that we're in over our heads." There's a ripple of chatter that courses throughout the room, most muttering their agreement. "So what I say is that if you're smart, like me, you're going to pack up your things, walk out that door, and go home. Because if not we're going to risk our lives and never get anywhere." Garth looks around the room. "I'm leaving. And anyone else who knows that leaving this shit to the authorities might be the best thing after all can come with me."

And with that, Garth walked out the door. What a small group of rag-tag teenagers weren't expecting was that he'd take almost everyone with him, leaving a fraction of the original meeting on their own. The kids who still wanted to make a change.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
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The rest of the introductions were lackluster, but not entirely uninteresting. Even as names and powers were being showcased, there were still a few late stragglers sweeping the streets below, charging into the meeting place with beady strings of sweat lining their brows. Kina could swear that one of the Gifted entering the warehouse had his eyes on her, but before she could so much as meet his gaze, he turned away. Her lips fell into a straight line. From his angle, he had surely attained a clear view of her position. If he had spotted her, she hoped that his mind would persuade him otherwise. In some cases, she found that the most intelligent minds were the easiest to trick. Stagnant brains barely challenged anything, and leaped into accusations with blind courage. Garth Holden seemed to possess that kind of judgement. Shrewd minds, on the other hand, held skepticism. Shigeru had taught her the pattern: skepticism leads to questioning, and questioning leads to doubt. If the boy who had noticed her held any shred of intelligence, he would dismiss the mysterious figure he had seen perched upon the roof. With the sharp expression he exhibited, Kina assured herself that he would take what he had seen with a grain of salt. After all, the exciting shenanigans inside the ramshackle building would surely guide his thoughts elsewhere.

She stooped over again, narrowing her eyes as she continued to watch the meeting unfold through the privacy of her hidey-hole. Another lanky boy with a sparkling grin stepped forward, introducing himself as Percy. He had a cadence about his voice that reflected confidence and good character, and it left Kina more entranced than she would have cared to admit. He pushed forward a mopped-haired teen with an average build, no distinguishable features about him. His expression was pretty average, too. "Felix. Electricity," he seemed to groan. This boy was an absolute antithesis to the last, but opposites attracted, or so Kina presumed.

Garth approached a girl next. She was tall, wore almost nothing beneath her unzipped jacket, and possessed a greasy smirk that reminded Kina of the shady street cons she encountered her first day strolling through the city. Her power was illusion manipulation, and she had no problem addressing this to the whole crowd. Despite the unsettling judgement Kina branded upon the girl, she couldn't help but snort at the quip she punched at Garth before revealing her identity and ability. Maria was such a pure-sounding name. It didn't seem to match her appearance or demeanor in the slightest.

Then came the ghost boy Kina had spotted just before Felix had introduced himself. Unlike the girl before him, his name seemed to suit him rather well. Casper was slick, captivating, and acquired a knack for pissing off others; Frankie the redhead, in particular. Her face scrunched up into a fearsome glower before he could so much as step forward. His tongue was sharper than his attitude, and he made an impressive display of his second power, which, unsurprisingly, was invisibility. He faded from view for a long minute, the panicked expressions of the other Gifted being the only indication of his presence. His footfall was mute. Suddenly, she could hear Frankie squeal in anger, her hair suddenly tugging at the end. Kina's brows lowered. There was a deep, dark history between the two, she was sure of it.

After that, a boy named Dylan turned into a teakettle and smashed into the ground. Cute. He was followed by a small sprout of a thing, stuttering his name and intention. He was Sunny, and he was reluctant to reveal his power, but he wanted to help. Kina respected his wish from afar. Up close, Garth Holden did not.

"So what is it that you can do then?" he growled. "Get it out! We already have someone who turns into a fucking tea kettle."

Her fingers balled into fists as the pressure in the room began to boil. Sunny described that he could manipulate and control clouds. Not create storm clouds or anything ominous in intent, just move normal clouds. Much unlike the mousy boy's impression or warm name, Garth did not take his explanation lightly.

“Oh, well that’s going to be useful against a fucking killer!” he spat, silencing the room.

Killer? So that's what this meeting was about. Everyone situated in the warehouse was prepared to take down a murderer. But who was this killer, and why did everyone want to take him down themselves and not leave the suspicious matter in the hands of the authorities? Wouldn't that be more practical and less of a risk? No one wanted to tangle with Death if the meeting could be avoided. Moreover, what was the morality of the people in the room? Had they done something to provoke the killer? Did they even know of their whereabouts, who they were, why they had killed in the first place?

The situation below was fraught and riddled with murky intents, and in that moment, Kina Qadir decided that she did not want to be a part of it.

As the warehouse became a heated crucible, Kina arose from her crouched position, brushing off the small pieces of wood and tile that had clung to her long black trench. The light that remained on the horizon was slowly being sucked away by the stars and moon. Soon, the sky would blot into an inky ebony color. Although she was curious to learn of the name and power of the boy who had spotted her from below, Kina's full attention was on her stomach, which now growled with the ferocity of an angry lion. She hadn't eaten in several hours, and with all the walking, running, and jumping she had done before, it was about time she rewarded her body for its efforts. When she got home, she would make herself a nice bowl of soup. That would warm her up. Perhaps she'd use some curry in the recipe. It'd make her stuffy nose run like a gushing waterfall, but with the crappy day she had survived through, she needed the favorable kick...

Kina made to leave. Yet, she hadn't judged that the roof she ran upon was in such desperate need of repair, then she would've been more prepared for the spill she took as her legs burst through the rusting ceiling, filling the entire warehouse with plaster, and bits of beaten tile.

She had crashed through the room as soon as Garth had left. The shrill sound of her scream bounced across the walls as she fell. Her mind overcoming shock at the last possible second, she cushioned her landing with a quick blast of wind, which spread to every corner of the warehouse. But even that couldn't prevent the jolt of searing pain she felt as her backside smacked the concrete floor. Bits of tile, dirt, metal, and dust buried upon her as she groaned and grunted. She was locked inside a gravelly tomb, and with the penetrating silence that followed, she wasn't sure if it was appropriate to get up. A part of her wanted to take the pain in privacy.

A slough of Pashto and Japanese curses repeated in her head as she found the courage to rise.

Ignoring the rest of the pain, she burst through the pile of destroyed roof like a straight-spined rabbit peeking from its hole. Her lips tightly sealed together, the girl's brown eyes darted back and forth in fright. Everyone's attention had been focused on Garth as he had departed the scrappy premises. Until now. Now every eye was on her. She was right in the middle of it all, conveniently lying in the center of the circle the adolescents had instinctively created during their meeting. A few seconds ago, she had been hidden from view, invisible like the ghost boy. Now she was the elephant in the room.

She took a second to look up. A hazy beam of afternoon light shone upon her skin like a spotlight. Other than that, there was nothing to be found. She was a trespasser.

To put it simply, Kina looked like a deer in headlights. She blinked rapidly, looking for sympathy. Looking for mercy. She only found cold silence and confused glares instead.

Removing thick locks of black hair from her eyes, she swallowed, trying her best to soften the terrified expression on her face. In doing so, she only appeared more nervous.

She looked at Casper. Then at Gracie, Percy, Frankie, and Sunny. Her eyes finally fell upon the boy who had spotted her on the roof. Glaring at him was the worst feeling in the world.

"Hi," she stated, her voice forcefully calm. "I'm Kina."

[Edited by GMs in absence of writer]

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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song; bang bang XXX hex; #C58917 XXX outfit; nude gown

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    XXXThere were no concrete walls or titanium doors that could keep Rika Yamada out, and certainly not in, not even ones decorated with gargantuan men.
    XXXHer brother's two bodyguards stood stoic by the entrance of her walk-in wardrobe, their eyes averted to provide her with some minuscule illusion of privacy. They knew better than to wait outside her bedroom, the last men having been fired when she portalled through her shoes closet to Atticus' estate. She'd left a signed copy of C. S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on her dresser drawer for a touch of humour. Her brother clearly did not possess the same supreme sense of humour.
    XXX"If you leave me alone, I'll give you a peak of the girls," she teased as she wiggled into her dress. It fell in soft golden hues around her legs, the silk heavenly against her freshly exfoliated skin.
    XXXNeither of them responded with words, although the broader and balder one exhibited what some might mistake to be a lip twitch, but was actually the equivalent of a full-blown laugh coming from the steely ex-navy officer. Rika was certain he weighed two tonnes naked.
    XXX"Fine," she sighed. "Your loss."
    XXXRika lifted her purse from the love seat centred in her dressing room and pushed past her bodyguards. She swayed her hips vigorously as she walked, hoping they might become so entranced by her derriere they forgot that Kenji had ever paid them to keep her safe and bored.
    XXXEver since the mysterious attacks on the Gifted began, her brother had become even more obsessively protective of his little sister than anyone had ever thought possible. Her life had been reduced. Maimed, even, by his paranoia. Murder might have been a common occurrence in the sleepless city but it was not common to the Yamada family. They were warriors. Lucky warriors. They had wealth, health, stealth, mealth meth... Ah, whatever. The point was, there was no chance in a city as big as this that they would be so unlucky. Also she was cute and smelled like vanilla with a hint of magnolia.
    XXXA chorus of greetings met them as the elevators slid open on the lower levels. She had her own suites in the main headquarters of NEXTech, which was a sprawling steel and glass monstrosity automated at the very height of modern engineering's vast capabilities. It was not the worst of places to live, but their vending machines didn't dispense fried chicken. It was very disappointing.
    XXXShe felt a sudden ache in her chest - or stomach, it was hard to differentiate organs situated so closely to each other - for Gracie's restaurant. They had the best food and Eugene. Oh, Eugene. Sweet, beautiful Eugene. She wished he'd let her eat macarons off his pecs.
    XXX"You look absolutely stunning in that dress, my lady," a voice came nervously from her left. She turned to find one of their newest mechatronics interns, only one of the money she conned into calling her all manner of monarchial names. It seemed nobody wanted to question the daughter of their boss' boss - just as she liked it.
    XXX"Thank you, my tiny civilian," she addressed the 5'5" girl. "Bless."
    XXXAnd that was when the idea took form.
    XXX"Ah, actually," she began. "I need someone to help me touch up my mascara. Are you free?"
    XXX"Of course! A-anything!"
    XXX"Great! Let's go." Rika took the girl's hand and power walked quite admirably towards the closest ladies room in her stiletto heels. Her bodyguards took a step to follow her inside.
    XXX"Umm," Rika started. "That's weird? Like, there are other women in there?"
    XXX"Ma'am, we are under strict orders to keep you in our sights," the fuller-haired one replied.
    XXX"Stephanie-"
    XXX"It's actually Nancy-"
    XXX"Stanley here will keep me in her sights. Won't you, Stanley?"
    XXX"Umm, well actually, uh, yeah, I mean, sure."
    XXX"There, easy, bye!" Rika slammed the door shut.
    XXX"That was a little weird-"
    XXX"Stanley." Rika grabbed the smaller girl's shoulders. "I need you to do something very important for me."
    XXX"Oh, god."
    XXX"I need you to close your eyes and count to 10, then hurtle your whole pint-sized body at the two intimidating men out there in a super subtle, 'oh I tripped, clumsy me' kind of way. Break a few bones maybe. Just to be safe."
    XXX"What?" Stanley squealed.
    XXX"Also, take this." Rika pressed her phone into Stanley's sweaty palms. "And run 20 miles North. Tell no one who you are. Who I am. We never met."
    XXX"I don't-"
    XXX"The fate of the universe depends on you," she said seriously. "An ordinary peasant girl who's made some very poor fashion choices." Rika wrinkled her nose at the floral turquoise scarf wrapped around the small girl's neck, clearly it had been made with Stanley's grandmother's distant great aunt's secondhand curtains. "Do this and we'll stuff you with enough chicken nuggets to kill a man. Also a promotion, I guess."
    XXX"I'll do it!" cried Stanley.
    XXX"Atta girl." Rika grinned. "And please forget you saw this."
    [color=transparent]XXX
    "Saw what?"
    XXX"You're learning."
    XXX"No, seriously! Saw what? I don't understand."
    XXX"All will become clear in the fullness of time," Rika whispered.
    XXXThen she swung her arm outwards and made a portal.
    XXXA cascade of emerald, sapphire and ruby hues split through the empty air, gaining momentum until a vortex large enough to fit a 5'7" girl appeared. Wind, mostly from the hand dryer, lifted the edges of her skirt, warming her skin as she stepped majestically beneath the spotlight of the toilet. Distantly, she heard a whimper that might have been awe or Stanley choking to death.
    XXX"Fasten your seat belts." Rika put one foot through the portal, angling her body so her Stanley could see her sculpted calf - golden and moisturised. "It's going to be a bumpy night."
    XXXShe stepped into the vortex.
    XXXRika likely ruined the surprise of her presence by allowing her foot to appear before the rest of her. But she thought she might allow Atticus time to admire her limited edition Louis Vuitton heels. Still she gave him no time to protest as she marched towards him. She threw out an arm, letting tendrils of light to spill from her fingers.
    XXXRika had not told Atticus where they'd be going, or that they'd be going anywhere at all. Or rather he had likely assumed they would be doing what they were supposed to be doing, which was having dinner with Edwin Clarke, one of the wealthiest men in the world. Atticus wouldn't be too furious that his plans for world domination had been derailed. Right? Right.
    XXX"We're late," she said simply, and they certainly were. The meeting at the warehouse began hours ago, as far as the details in the chatroom suggested. She had a vague approximation of where it was, with great emphasis on vague.
    XXXStill, what was worse that could happen?
    XXXHopefully if anyone was getting stuck halfway through a wall, it was Atticus. She needed wiggling room to snapchat his struggle to her thousands of adoring fans. Also he'd kill her. In fact, she hadn't done anything yet and he already seemed irritated enough to kill her.
    XXX"What the hell are you doing he-"
    XXXRika shoved him through the portal.
    XXXBefore she could allow herself to contemplate the intricacies of her plan, she jumped in behind him.
    XXXBad idea.
    XXXIt was often disorientating for those unaccustomed to inter-dimensional travel to experience the vertigo that came with it. It was like being thrown in a meat grinder and spat out the other end. One was never quite the same afterwards. Still, Rika was relatively unfazed by it more often that not, most of the not's having been caused by her trying to portal all the way to California for a tan.
    XXXBut portalling with only a very vague sense of direction procured from Google Maps was something else. Needless to say, being suspended midair was about as comfortable as one might expect.
    XXXThankfully, her Gift did not defy gravity and soon she was in free fall.
    XXXLike a petal floating gently from a branch, she told herself. Like a petal floating gently-
    XXXNever had a girl screamed so loud.
    XXX"My bones! My butt! Death is coming!"
    XXXThe floor was surprisingly comfortable. Perhaps they had a clairvoyant in their midst and they had predicted their arrival by horribly situated portal.
    XXXRika wiggled her toes. Shrugged her shoulders. She was honestly quite okay with all this. There had been no harm done.
    XXXOr at least, that was what she believed until the cushioned floor moved.
    XXXAh, Atticus. Ah. Ahah. Yep. Right. She threw him through some unknown portal against his volition then understandably landed on his spinal cord. That made sense. Yes, this tale felt familiar.
    XXX"Oh, I'd laugh but you could press charges and orange jumpsuits really clash with my skin tone."
    XXXRika rolled off his body and stood, tossing her hair over her shoulder. She smoothed her dress and checked her teeth in the camera of a phone she took from someone because hers was being tracked all the way to Connecticut, hopefully.
    XXXRika looked around the room.
    XXX"Well," she breathed. "Butter my butt and call me a biscuit." Mostly because she hoped they took her demands seriously, Rika thought she would genuinely be okay with any one of these Gifted's touching her butt. Or any part of her, for that matter.
    XXXGlorious, glorious ecstasy. Such beauty had never been seen in one room since the Parisian Fashion Week of 2014. She was in awe. There were twins - twins! Everyone knew despite being identical, there would always be a hotter one and she thought she'd discovered which. Certainly not the one with- was that a dorito in his hair? But the other. The other. She hadn't felt this much love for a living being since that freshly caught salmon died in her arms and became sashimi.
    XXXA red-haired girl caught her gaze, a cascade of ginger hues framing a gentle face. The sweetest freckles dotted her cheeks, each brown mark a punctuation into Rika's pattering heart. Gay marriage was legal now and Rika needed a green card.
    XXXShe was beside another redhead and a very, very pretty boy. A mess of springy curls illuminated a young face, his eyes wide and decorated with a thick wreath of lashes. Boys always had the prettier lashes.
    XXXAnother redhead stood in the dilapidated room, his hair just a fraction darker to the girl's. He had a distinctly tumblr aesthetic about him - the brooding gaze, the windswept hair, the strong arms that said: I could hold you gently as you fall asleep, but also whip out some handcuffs in a way that might be erotic, might not. Rika was intrigued.
    XXXShe saw a familiar face next. Gracie was also redheaded despite the scarcity of gingers in the world, telling Rika this didn't seem statistically possible. Yet it was. It was a pleasant surprise, as competitive eating was when one assumed a girl of Rika's size could not consume 48 hotdogs in 10 minutes, yet she could. Gracie was cuter than a pomeranian being gently trimmed into a ball-like figure. Cuter, even, than a cake shaped like a cupcake.
    XXXBeside her was Eugene and my god, he wore pants so tight she could see his religion. It was too much. She shifted her gaze before he could think she liked him too much.
    XXXAn Egyptian God sculpted of molten chocolate solidified by the light of the silver moon gazed upon the world like a majestic beast observing its lesser prey. He breathed. Rika felt a second puberty stir within her.
    XXXThe boy beside him was equally beautiful though in a manner that was vastly different. His was a beauty found in teen magazines middle-aged women would read just to catch a glimpse of his flawless bone structure. Rika thought he looked like her next best friend.
    XXXThe next was a pixie-like girl with dark hair that spilled down her back. She seemed familiar in the way staring into a mirror might be. Rika liked her instantly.
    XXXA darker skinned girl stood by the window, sunlight illuminating the brown hues in her eyes. She was lovely and still.
    XXXUnlike the small piece of abyss that stood in the corner. Though he had model features, his vibe was that of someone who drank blood as a sport. Rika decided to stay away from that one.
    XXXPerhaps the face - or hair - that stood out most was the one belonging to a silver-haired boy. He was lean and stunning, his eyes crystal blue and piercing even across the distance they stood from each other. They had a glimmer in them that made her think she'd met her match. She gave him lazy smile.
    XXXThen there was a teakettle - weird.

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xxxspeech: #79abb3 xthought: #b38179

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xxx"there's a war we can't ignore
xxxwaging silence on our lives
xxxwe will overcome
xxxlet the cowards run and hide."

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As Scott stepped back from his demonstration, he pressed his back against the pillar. Being in a room full of this many strangers made some part of his brain incredibly anxious. In the way they'd assembled themselves, he couldn't get a direct line to the exit- so his back to the pillar would do. For now.

Although that said, he wasn't in a room full of strangers. Grace was there, along with Eugene, as well as a few other familiar faces. There was one face he knew he recognised, but who he couldn't quite place. Everything in Scott's brain as telling him that he should recognise him- after all, how many people did he know with hair that colour? Scott made eye contact with him, and the other boy winked. It was at that point that everything came flooding back. Scott raised an eyebrow in return but still grinned. Well. Fancy that.

He didn't have much time to dwell on their previous meeting beyond that because a distraction arrived in the form of someone turning into a tea kettle. It was times like this that he was glad his power was so inconspicuous. If his hand went through a table, it could be written off as a trick of the light. If this other guy turned into a tea kettle in the middle of a conversation, it was a lot harder to write off as an illusion or trick of the light.

Just as Scott was starting to write this whole affair as little more than a variation on an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, things kicked off. The ringleader- Garth, wasn't it?- kicked off, writing the whole affair off as a failure. He and the majority of the group stormed out. Scott just raised an eyebrow but stayed put. The people he had seen so far seemed to be pretty interesting, so he was sticking around for a while longer. That and the whole Gifted-teens-banding-together thing was unsurprisingly familiar to him. He was pretty sure that giving up on them just wasn't an option for him.

He had started to scan the room for a more strategic location when the roof literally caved in. Or, rather, part of it. A girl crashed into the middle of the floor from the roof. She'd been watching them. A cold chill ran down Scott's back- one that had nothing to do with the cold metal beam he was still leaning against. How much had she seen? How much as she heard? Why had she been spying on them instead of coming into the meeting?

And then yet another person- no, people- came crashing to the floor. The girl immediately brought a scowl to Scott's face. She reeked of money. From the ridiculously impractical dress she was wearing, to her mannerisms, she was worlds away from what Scott could every be. And she didn't appear to care at all. Scott knew that he wasn't as bad off as he used to be- but compared to her, he may as well have still been on the streets.

"How nice of you to drop in," he drawled, folding his arms and staring her down. "You missed the big fight, we've just defeated the big bad villain and we're all about to go home for milk and cookies." Somebody had once told him that his sarcasm was a defence mechanism. They'd then followed that up with a request not to answer because they knew it was just going to be sarcastic.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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As even the city that is said to never sleep slumbers beneath the waning moon, he is awake. For it is the only time that New York is free from disturbance, almost beautiful and in complete darkness lapsed only by the twilight glow of the streetlamps. Tonight, however, there is a hum that encompasses the entirety of the lively metropolis, and there are still remnants of the celebrations that occurred only a few hours earlier. The air even holds on to the faint sound of distant music being played, and assorted drunkards roam the city as if animated corpses rising from the grave.

The walls of his home soar far above the dissonant chaos of the city, so much so that if the clouds are particularly low he can lean from the railings and almost touch them. They cascade from the skyscrapers, against the stillness of the winter winds and bathe the buildings beneath him in a wash of soft white. If he listens well as he floats above the water in the infinity pool that covers the right side of the balcony, he can hear but a hushed buzz of miscellaneous cacophony- the occasional siren, the whisper of music played from a large subwoofer, he is the the beekeeper looking upon a hive. Atticus feels removed from what occurs on the streets below him, the backalleys, the criminals and the violence. He exists in a different realm, one of excess and luxury. Perhaps a rather pretentious opinion, yet he pretends not to notice.

His loneliness seems almost tangible at this time, as the night fades to morning. While soon staff may stroll around, fixing him coffee and crepes, ironing his suits, cleaning, family may visit- laugh at inside jokes, look at family pictures, friends may stay over, drink some wine, watch a movie- he knows all of it is fake, and they all want something that he can provide. Money, attention, promotions, favours. We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone, they say. Rather melancholic, yet he knows it to be true.

I suppose the times in which he feels the most free, yet the most lonely are times like these in which he feels the biting cold of the wind across his skin, hair clinging to his face, staring at the view from a balcony so high it makes his head spin. He leans against the railing of the balcony. Whilst not suicidal, he supposes he wouldn't care too much if in this moment, someone pushed him.

"Now you're just being idiotic... why even for a moment would you..." He scolds himself, yet he knows it is an exercise in futility. The words, barely a whisper, are swept away by the wind and disappear into the dawn.


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Atticus sleeps lightly for around an hour, awakening to the aroma of breakfast, the thick smell of pure coffee and harsh words in French. His cook, a rather curt Quebecois man, is currently insulting him. What Jean Laliberte doesn't know is that every affluent family worth their salt forces their child to attend foreign language lessons.

"Le enfant gâté..." The spoiled brat. "...ne fait rien pour lui-même" Doesn't do anything for himself.

Daybreak is when he always seems to feel the most fatigued. It is also always daybreak in which coffee touches his lips, burning his throat and tasting bittersweet against his tongue. He mumbles a slight thank you to his cook as he hands him the expresso, though Atticus' hand becomes purposefully unstable until the cup plunges to the ground. An explosion of scalding hot-coffee and fine porcelain detonates against the floor, waves of the dark liquid splashing against the cook's uncovered skin. He recedes in pain, swearing under his breath.

"Ah! je suis trÚs stupide." Remembering French lessons from his childhood, though stumbling slightly with a morning haze he adds "Je m'excuse." a slight smirk escapes him when he turns his back, gaining momentary satisfaction from his petty vengeance. He's lucky I didn't just fire him. My father doesn't pay him a salary to insult me.

"That's another Cuban expresso, si vous plait.
"


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The sun breaks through thick clouds of grey, the upcoming sunrise colouring the sky orange fading to dull amaranth. He leans back against the chaise, closing his eyes in some attempt for rest. Almost as soon as he attempts this, the phone resting beside him buzzes to life, awakening him harshly- a text flashing against the screen. Something from one of his father's assistants, Chris Grodszinsky. While not entirely unpleasant, perhaps even one of the better assistants his father had hired in a good few years, he had an air of rushed neuroticism about him that caused people to fret.

[ ✉ Chris G. → Atticus ] : Are you awake? Urgent message
[ ✉ Atticus→ Chris G.] : I'm awake. What is it?
[ ✉ Chris G. → Atticus ] : Edwin Clarke wants to have dinner. You, your father and the Yamadas. Are you able? I'm about to book the reservation. Everyone has already agreed. You need to make the decision A.S.A.P
[ ✉ Atticus→ Chris G.] : Edwin Clarke? Why?
[ ✉ Chris G. → Atticus ] : I wasn't told, I'm sorry. I advise you to dress smartly, arrive early. Good luck.

His eyes wander to the text, reading it over. The Yamadas. Rika. Rika Yamada. He prayed silently that this time she would not mention to his father how hot the waiter, Mario, was- and suggestively remark on how she would like a slice of that "Italian-American pie", or tell the CEO of NetBank of their childhood escapades and how Atticus had to wear plastic cleaning gloves and a surgical mask to go play in the woods of his upstate manor.

"She's going to do something stupid again, I know she is. It's Edwin Clarke. This can't happen." Rubbing hands against his eyes in frustration, he tries to think objectively, weigh out the situation . Edwin Clarke, the elusive business magnate, the hedge fund collector, the generous philanthropist. He has seen him on a few occasions in person, before his skin grew a permanent deathly pallor and he had to breath into tubes, before he retreated from the public eye, he was only a child at the time. Only recollecting fractals of memories, he cannot decipher if they are mere creations of his mind or are grounded in reality.

Yet, the proposition somehow off to him, an omen of absurd proportions. Why now? Why them? But of course he hadn't properly seen his father in a while- or the Yamadas except for Rika for that matter- and meetings with the Edwin Clarke are extremely finite and hard to come by, even for those as powerful as his father. Being one of the richest people in the world would cause time to become a valuable commodity, Atticus imagined. Perhaps he may have developed an off-kilter sense of humor in his senility, and would find humor in Rika's... quirkiness. In a perfect world he would've grown so hard of hearing that he could barely hear the words that fall from her mouth.

"Ah," He sighs, the lead in his bones pulling him towards the earth, eyelids closing and opening as he buries his face into his knees, "I should probably leave the house" He knew as he left the door bodyguards would have to accompany him in fear of any sort of danger, yet he just wants to be alone, clear his head, stretch his muscles. Or I'll start to descend into insanity.. It seems like he is constantly around people- yet he feels the loneliest when he's around them.


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The mirror holds nothing of substance.

While refraining from touching the surface in some vacant fear of disturbing the immaculacy, his fingertips hover just above the glass, tracing outlines of himself, the arch of his cupid's bow, the decension of his nose to the angle of his jaw. Half-lidded eyes stare back at him from behind the surface- while they are his own, while they resemble his father's in some superficial way (Joseph Zhao's eyes were said to contain the souls of a thousand men, Atticus' barely contained the soul of one), they are not entirely there. They seem as if they are staring into some great abyss, expansive and ink-black.

"It's probably because you haven't slept more than a few hours for the past week" His voice rests quiet and hushed within the confines of his walk-in closet, more of an extension of his room. He lifts languid fingers to smooth out a dark tie with the tiniest stripes of white. No. No. It clashes with the shirt. It's much too garish. Lifting a second, more conservative black tie from his tie closet he exhales, turning his head slowly to examine each area of his appearance. To Atticus, even a singular strand of hair out of place could mean the difference between sloppiness and sophistication. Dressed in a monochrome suit which costs more than the average car, a watch that would have supplied a family with adequate nutrition for a year, with shoes of fine Italian leather and a newly ironed shirt of crisp white- he feels a slight feeling of contentment quell within the hollows of his body.

As soon as it comes, it leaves.

For of course, from the far side of the room a burst of ephemeral light appears, and from it none other than the legendary Rika Yamada. Or atleast, the legendary foot of Rika Yamada, decked out in the latest limited edition of Louis Vuitton's Winter Collection. It seemed, as soon as he felt the slightest echo of normality she would apparate in front of him and pull him into the depths of adventure. They were mostly likely going to the dinner though- yes? No, he sighed inwardly, of course not, as there is no logical reason as to why she would appear and cause this much trouble if they were just going to arrive at the dinner as planned.

"We're late," She breaks out into a incredibly fast pace, and Atticus realises that running or calling for Jean to rescue him is definitely not an option. They were not yet late for the dinner- he knows that she means something different by this- and he knows that it's probably not pleasant.

"What the hell are you doing h-" A sentence is barely formed before the tail end of it becomes lost against his tongue, as he enters- nay, he is pushed- into the tangled fibers and the blinding light. His skull is cracking open, his brain being destroyed and regrown as each second passes and every tiny cell of his body screaming with whatever kind of unearthly pain he is experiencing. While prone to light seasickness, he feels like he is being thrown as if made with cloth and sewn with thread, lurching against the waves of reality within the infinite expanse of time and space- perhaps he is, he doesn't know the exact specifics of Rika's power. Again, almost as soon as it had begun, it ends. His head hits a hard surface with an audible thump, and he tries to curl into fetal position in some feeble attempt of relief, yet finds himself pinned to the ground by a body- Rika's body. The heels of her shoes dig into him and if he was more than semi-concious at the moment he would have protested. Yet, all that escaped him was a strangled groan of pain as she moved from his spinal cord.

He blinks in an out of darkness, his sight blurred and struggling. The scene around him begins to become clearer, and as it does a feeling of utter confusion brews within him. Here lie Rika and Atticus, dressed in possibly the finest clothes a human can drape across their body- surrounded by a kumbaya circle of- teenagers? they couldn't have been much older than twenty, by the looks of it- with expressions of shock lighting their faces. He focuses his gaze more and the first thing that appears is a person- at least he believed it was a person, covered in what seemed to be bright orange crumbs that laced into his hair. He immediately felt... extremely overdressed for whatever kind of place this was.

Moving his hand slightly he picks up a layer of dust, recoiling in horror almost immediately and shaking his wrist- before reaching into his pocket and smearing hand sanitizer across his skin. He rises to his feet- shakily, staggering almost immediately before his knees buckle against the weight of his own body once again. A feeling of deep embarrassment found it's way to him. Wherever he was... this was his first impression. He imagined in that moment he resembled a fawn walking for the first time. If that fawn was intoxicated and also born with a searing migraine. Nobody seems to want to help him from his feet- a little rude, he muses. Do these people even have basic manners? But he supposes everyone would be fairly shocked by the two people that toppled into existence in front of them, dressed in the latest designer clothing as if their life depended on it.

A slight sigh, and he musters up the will to fake a small smile.

"If you don't mind me asking," He directly addresses the group in front of him, "Where exactly am I?"

Before turning his head to face Rika directly, creating a half-false look of endearing confusion, cocking his head slightly to the right "... and why are we here?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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#, as written by Cloud

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wαrєhσusє
hex: #9c8786

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JACK LACEY
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At the age of seventeen some teenagers have already experienced the harsh truths of the world; the lies, deceit, and scandals. Others, however, remain cocooned within the comforting confines of childish naiveté, where trust is given to strangers with ease and happiness is bought with the simplest of devices. Stupidity has no implication here, for even the smartest individuals can be ignorant to the darker aspects of the world. Jack Lacey, seventeen years and two months old exactly, would easily be put in the latter category, that of blissful naiveté. In the case of the curly-haired boy, it is his upbringing and a kind nature which offers up such an image of childish innocence. Coddled and protected by a close-knit family, attending the same school for the entirety of his education, and barely being exposed to the harsher realities of the world have all combined to make Jack who he is today.

Of course, that innocence is perhaps the reason why he’s standing in a rusting warehouse at a meeting aiming to stop a mysterious killer. Simply put, Jack wants to help in any way he can. It may seem backwards and decidedly out of his comfort zone, but people were being killed and cruelty, to animals or humans, didn’t sit well with the young boy. Nor, for that matter, did Garth Holden’s tone.

Jack’s brows furrowed slightly at the perceived slight to himself and Frankie, yet he didn’t raise his voice in protest. Instead, Jack’s arm came up, his bright pink glove coming to press lightly against his lips as warm brown eyes followed Garth Holden’s path into the corner.

Truth be told he was worried. Had he done anything to upset the other boy? Surely not, they’d just met! And yet, the way Garth had called him a ‘Disney princess’, as if it were an insult, left Jack fairly certain that something Jack had done, had irritated the other. Jack’s eyes darted across at Frankie, and something in the young man’s gaze must have caught her attention, for she leaned in and told him softly,

“Don’t worry about him, Jack. He’s an ass.”

Jack nodded, though his eyes still fell back on the bulky young man. He watched, slightly stunned, as Garth’s anger once again overflowed, this time directed at another young man who, at first sight, seemed just as young as Jack. As Jack watched the exchange he grew certain that such confidence had to belong to someone older. Jack had never been a loud person. Shy wasn’t exactly the word, for he was never reluctant to talk. Rather, he merely preferred to listen and pipe up when a subject of particular interest caught his attention. Like felines, or canines, or really anything in the animal kingdom.

There were so many people in the warehouse, it wasn’t long before Jack’s attention was shifted away from the pair in the corner. Jack’s eyes, wide and excited, jumped from individual to individual as figures stepped forward, introduced themselves and became names and a power. They were an eclectic collection of young Gifted from almost every walk of life, some faces he recognised – Grace for one received an excited wave and a dimpled grin as she entered. Another young man, a red head who walked through a pillar without even blinking, also caught Jack’s eye. If Jack wasn’t mistaken, he had seen him at the veterinarian clinic a few times in the process of bringing in a wounded animal. Other faces were new to the boy, their powers sounding amazing even if they gave no demonstration.

Everyone seemed impressive, and it amazed Jack that most people had come in the pursuit of justice. Slowly, Jack’s mitten shifted from its position worrying against his mouth, and his frown turned into a dimpled smile as introductions continued. Another teenager, who would introduce himself as Sunny, came to stand beside Jack and together they shared a gleeful laugh as a newcomer turned into a teakettle. Then, Jack’s new acquaintance stepped forward, introducing himself with a nervous stutter. It was then that Garth decided to step back into the mix, showing clear derision not only for Sunny and his power – and how cool did Jack think Cloud manipulation was! – but for the vast majority of those gathered around. Sunny stepped back, cheeks a deep red, eyes downcast as a result of Garth’s derision.

“I think your power sounds great.” Jack mumbles to the other boy.

Sunny smiles slightly, his eyes taking on a curious spark as he whispers back, “Yours does too. Can you really talk to animals?”

Jack nods, about to continue their talk before Garth’s loud voice drowned him out. Sunny stepped forward, showing far more bravery than many might give him credit for as he suggested that they could put their heads together to come up with a plan. Garth didn’t appear to appreciate Sunny’s advice, for the next minute he was stalking out of the warehouse with at least half of those gathered around. Jack watched with worried eyes, though his own feet made no move to follow. He was here to help, and he had every confidence in those gathered around that together they could come up with some plan to find and stop this killer.

The awkward tension that had been left in Garth’s place didn’t dissipate quickly, and Jack’s mitten was once again pressing against his mouth in a clear sign of worry. Then several things happened in quick succession. A loud creaking and the sudden shower of small roof particles preceded the arrival – fall – of a girl into the middle of the room. Her scream echoed around the cavernous space moments before an abnormal blast of wind cushioned her downward acceleration. Eyes wide in shock, Jack’s gaze flicked up to the roof and the hole that she had apparently fallen through, before landing back on the girl in question.

Kina was her name, and that was all the information provided before two more arrivals once again diverted attention. Jack’s first thought was that they too had fallen from the roof, at least until he looked up and saw the odd shape hovering in the middle of the warehouse space. It vanished after the second figure fell through, leaving Jack wondering if it had anything to do with one of their powers. The girl was first up, her gaze taking its time to inspect each member of the party. Jack’s own gaze in turn looked on curiously at the new three members. Unlike Kina, both of the new arrivals were dressed for something much fancier than this meeting. A floor length dress certainly seemed like an odd garment to wear to a dirty warehouse, not to mention the suit the boy was in.

Jack hadn’t even gotten his thoughts straight when Scott, the boy who Jack recognised from the vets, responded to the latest arrival with clear sarcasm. Even Jack, who sometimes missed sarcasm, couldn’t mistake the comment for anything else. His eyes darted back to the new pair to see how they’d respond, but all that was uttered from the pair was a clear display of confusion from the male.

Casper, whose smirk indicated that he found all of this very amusing, spoke out next, “I think you two might have dropped into the wrong party. Like Red said, we’re all about to go home for milk and cookies.” Casper's eyes fell slowly down each of the pair, noting and admiring clothing and bodies, while a grin spread across his face. “Though, seems you’re a far way from your own homes, so you’re welcome to come to mine.” Casper didn’t wink, but the implication behind his invitation was clear enough without it. Whether he was joking or serious was another matter not so easily discerned.

Jack, for his part, was more concerned that no one had yet answered the male's questions. In an attempt to be helpful, and lowering his mitten so that his words wouldn’t be muffled, he offered, “You’re at the warehouse.” The exact address escaped him, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knew that he had been partially led here by a dog named Diggles. “We’re trying to stop the serial killer.” Jack continued, perhaps missing the fact that the last question was directed towards the girl. Eyes turned to look at him, and Jack had to hold his hands behind his back to stop himself from covering his mouth again. “The-
 the police aren’t doing anything, so we- we’re trying to help.”

Beside Jack, Frankie stepped forward to support him, her voice filling the space, “The killer that has been targeting Gifted youth and Gifted homeless. We’re here to figure out some way to stop the death, because so far the police have refused to take it seriously.” Her gaze flicked around the standing group, the numbers severely diminished since Garth’s exit, “We may not have a plan yet, but like Sunny said, we have enough heads here that I don’t doubt we’ll be able to come up with something. Even if we’re just able to prove to the police that this is a real case, we’ll have done something.” Her eyes turned back to the three new entrants, “So, if you guys are planning on hanging around, how about you introduce yourselves?”

“Or we could skip introductions and get right to the good stuff.” Casper suggested with his usual grin. When Frankie huffed a sigh of exasperation and rolled her eyes in his direction, Casper held up his hands and added with an innocent bat of his eyelashes, “I only meant, show us your powers.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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Words move past him. He can hear voices speaking, yet they are distant and indirect. A migraine rests firmly against the dells of his forehead, throbbing dully. Finally managing to lift himself to a chair, he rests. The voices become clearer.

“You’re at the warehouse.” Yes, I can see that. He quips within his mind, back resting against the chair, which is completely uncomfortable ergonomically. Surprisingly the speaker, instead of Rika, is a boy with a head of curls. Atticus turns to face him.

“We’re trying to stop the serial killer. The-
 the police aren’t doing anything, so we- we’re trying to help.” Interesting. So Rika hadn't brought him here for some sort of group therapy- which is what he had feared. She kept calling him "emo" lately, and he thought this was the last straw.

"The killer that has been targeting Gifted youth and Gifted homeless. We’re here to figure out some way to stop the death, because so far the police have refused to take it seriously.” A girl this time, a flash of red hair greeting him as he turns to face her. “We may not have a plan yet, but like Sunny said, we have enough heads here that I don’t doubt we’ll be able to come up with something. Even if we’re just able to prove to the police that this is a real case, we’ll have done something.”

Atticus cocks his head, trying to organize his thoughts. So what have they been doing here if not planning? Of course, you can't expect a group of teenagers to posess any real organizational skills, he looks at the group before him. Mismatched, odd. While not adamant of the cause, something stirs inside him- perhaps it's his love of murder mystery. Perhaps he hit his head just a little too hard, and was on the cusp of a concussion.

“So, if you guys are planning on hanging around, how about you introduce yourselves?” Atticus almost begins his name yet is cut off again, a boy with peroxide blond hair, bordering white.

“Or we could skip introductions and get right to the good stuff.” He grins, the redhead sighs and rolls her eyes. Atticus stops himself from following her. “I only meant, show us your powers.”

"It's Atticus, like Finch" Pausing for a moment to remember his last name, lost in the space between his home and the warehouse he currently occupies, "Last name Zhao, middle name Yanlin, but I suppose that's not important unless you're taking roll-call. Which of course-" You're rambling, stop it.

"Sorry, I'm rambling now." Fingertips grazing the back of his neck, he forces a practiced smile of embarrassment. "My powers?"

Time slows as he recalls first learning of his- "gift"- a momentary lapse in facade, a fragment of sadness, he returns to normalcy in a matter of a seconds. "Are you sure you want me to demonstrate?" He takes the silence as a yes, and lets his eyes fall upon a random member of the group. A boy, his cheeks full with the remnants of childhood and eyes bright with hope.

"Sorry about this, but it's not going to hurt you" His voice quietens so that only those who listen, and the boy himself can hear. "Your name is?"

"Sunny Ahn" The boy smiles, yet Atticus feel the fear hum across his body, the force of it pulling his fingertips upwards. Atticus' wrist circles slowly, his fingers following, each joint tensed and concentration completely focused on the kid. For a while, nothing happens, and the room seems to still in anticipation. A few quiet mutters, wondering if he's some sort of impostor, or someone that insanity has blinded into believing they were gifted. Atticus, however, is scarily calm. His power takes a while to come into full effect, he accepts this. It's often not very flashy until about thirty seconds in.

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In 10 seconds

Atticus watches as brown eyes widen before him, staring blankly into some unknown pit of fear. His thin body freezes, and Atticus notices the boy wrapping his arms around himself as the chill sets in. Sweating, darting eyes.

In 20 seconds

Legs are brought to chests, and he buries his face in between the valleys of his knees. Rocking faster now, more frantically now, he lifts his face. The heart quickens.

In 30 seconds

The screaming begins, it reverberates against the walls, threatening to burst eardrums and causing Atticus to almost cover his ears. One of the loudest, he remarks to himself. This is usually where flight, fight or freeze comes into play. He stumbles from his chair, gasping, falling, sprinting impossibly fast to nowhere, pounding on the walls as if some ghastly monster were to devour him. Flight. Atticus stops here to ensure a speedy recovery.

A minute later

Silence. Sunny returns to normal. "Did I black out? W-what happened?"

"No, no- you didn't. Well not to us. You freaked out." A disembodied voice calls from the group, the rest soundless.

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Atticus averts his gaze, almost embarrassed. He had never shown his power like this for a while, nonetheless a room of entire strangers.

"That's my," He makes quotations with his fingers, "Gift. I don't exactly have a name for it. Truthfully, I've barely used it in years. Something like panic inducement? Fear manipulation, perhaps." He avoids adding the part about being able to sense the worst fears of others by touch. He's never really spoken of that one, and intends to hide it as long as possible. "So that's it"

"Anyway I have somewhere to be at the moment, If you can't tell, but I can come b-" He gazes in Rikas direction, lifts his head and sighs, "I... suppose It's too late now" He tries hard to contain his irritation. The dinner will have started around ten minutes ago, he checks his wristwatch for confirmation Fifteen, actually. For one, he has no idea where he is, secondly, there will be investigations as to why and how they left the house without the guards noticing, he doesn't want to deal with that presently, and thirdly he has no mode of transportation, and traffic is gridlocked around this time, especially in Manhattan. Unless Rika opens up a portal, which he knows she has no intention of doing, they are going to miss the dinner. Cold hands sooth his temple, sighing for what is to be the hundredth time as he speaks once more.

"I don't fully grasp the situation" The words fade and elongate as the sentence trails on, and his forefinger and thumb trace the edge of his jaw.

"However, you've piqued my interest, and as Edgar Allen Poe once said- As the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles. It seems we have a case of disentanglement on hand." His manner of speech is more suited for the eccentric rich who he usually speaks with, who delight in pretentious conversation, classic literature and shameless quotations. He forgets this.

"Logically, the first step to take is to find our first lead. Witnesses, sites of any of the murders, no one has anything at all? In such a large city, someone must have seen something, even if it is not one of us. From there, we find clues. However perfect a serial killer appears, within them is a subconscious need for recognition which causes them to slip up." He pulls his suit jacket inwards, straightening his posture "But that's just my opinion, of course" Another perfectly subdued smile.

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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xxSCOTTxCARTER
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xxxspeech: #79abb3 xthought: #b38179

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xxx"there's a war we can't ignore
xxxwaging silence on our lives
xxxwe will overcome
xxxlet the cowards run and hide."

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So, apparently Scott had a new nickname. Red, as dubbed by Casper. Being familiar with the whole situation already, that was the only thing he really paid any attention to when other people were debriefing the new arrivals. The boy didn't seem quite as irritating as the girl, but even his mannerisms radiated money. He doubted they'd ever even walked past a homeless shelter.

The boy's ability, though, did catch his attention. Fear manipulation. He was somebody they needed on their side- because the thought of working against him was... Well, terrifying. The boy didn't seem particularly proud of it, either. For a moment, Scott sees past the fancy suit and the eloquent words. For a second, there was something more to Atticus- and then it disappeared as he mentioned a previous engagement. Scott's expression shifted from whatever it had been, back to his scowl. Good to know where Atticus's priorities lay.

And now he was quoting famous authors Scott hadn't even heard of. Hopefully, he had more important engagements because Scott wasn't entirely sure he could stand the pretentious behaviour for too long. He then went on to overly simplify the situation, something that Scott could no longer hold his tongue about.

"And enlighten me, sir, on how exactly we are to obtain that information. Should we go around knocking on doors and asking those who answer? Or, how about this, should we ask the police to kindly share their information with us?" He asked, stepping forward and walking towards Atticus, momentarily distracted enough to forget that he was in a room of strangers. Or, well, mostly strangers. He was just hoping that Grace would have his back if anything was to happen.

"And, besides, I'd be willing to bet that witnesses are few and far between. People don't notice u- People don't notice homeless people. Gifted or not. Potential murder victims or not." Had anyone picked up on his slip? Hopefully not. "They're always just there. Even when they talk to people, ask them for help or even just saying hello, they're invisible. Homeless people are attacked all the time, and you don't hear about it. The police don't care about them. The general population doesn't care all that much. If people really cared about the homeless people, the homeless Gifted, don't you think that there would be more general outrage? That things would have been done already?" He asked. "There was a physical assault on a group of homeless Gifted teenagers a few years ago. At least one person was killed." He swallowed, forcing himself to keep calm and to maintain his mask. He sure as hell wasn't exposing his life story to these people. Exposing his back was bad enough. "The police didn't care. They said they'd look into it. They didn't. Did you even hear about that?" He asked, but he didn't wait for any answers.

"If we want information, we're going to have to steal it. We don't even know if the cops took that much information. But they won't give it to us, and the general public won't remember. Any physical evidence will have been logged by the cops and destroyed by this point. Any blood, fingerprints, or anything like that will long have been washed away. The only information available is in some office somewhere. If anyone else has any ideas, I'd love to hear them," he said, somehow making it sound like a genuine question. He knew that they were just trying to help, but... The only reason he wasn't still on the streets or even dead was because he'd gotten lucky. In a different set of circumstances, he could have been one of the victims, or living in fear of being one of the victims. And in that situation, he would sure as hell be hoping that the people trying to help would be going about it in the right way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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#, as written by Cloud


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the wαrєhσusє
hex: #9BA9B4

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T O B YXK I P L I N G
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If Toby thought his entrance, and the subsequent exit of Garth Holden and well over half of those gathered in the warehouse, was dramatic, it was only because he had yet to witness not one, but three individuals fall from the sky. Well, technically one of the newest arrivals fell from the sky, or roof, while the other two came through some kind of portal. If Toby had any doubt that this was a meeting for Gifted youth, it was well and truly squashed at that. Toby's earlier confusion regarding the figure on the roof was also solved, his gaze holding for a moment with the girl - Kina - who had fallen first.

As others in the group sought to find out who these newcomers were, while one of the new arrivals apparently attempted to find out where he was, Toby took the time to inspect those that still remained. He recognised several of them of course, Frankie and Sam, Grace, and their familiar faces eased the nerves that tended to gather when Toby was pushed into a new situation with strangers. Bast, standing beside Toby, was a welcome presence too.

The twins missed the majority of the introductions, but Toby learns one new name as Atticus Zhao speaks his name. Atticus' display of his powers is more than a little... unsettling. Toby watches quietly, anticipation and confusion growing as first nothing happens, and then suddenly Sunny reacts. Toby feels his heart go out to the younger boy, yet he can only watch as Sunny stumbles from his place standing in the circle and hastily begins thumping on the warehouse's rusting walls. Sunny's screams echo around the otherwise silent room, the thuds of his fists making dull thumps too. And then he stopped, confusion apparently setting in as Sunny's fear vanishes.

Toby watches both Sunny and Atticus as the latter reveals that his power is linked to panic and fear. That much was obvious from his display, even though Sunny doesn't appear to know that he just made a mad dash for an exit a few minutes ago. Toby wraps his arms around himself, repressing a shudder as he thinks what he would see if his worst fears were realised. He fights the urge to take a step closer to his twin, instead distracting himself as Atticus continues to talk.

Toby thinks the young man's suggestions show some merit, even if how they were ever going to find any clues was beyond Toby. It was one thing to hear rumours of the killer, to know the police were brushing it off, and then it was another thing entirely to find any potentially witnesses, discover clues, and connect the dots. At least, that was Toby's opinion. Personally, he would feel as if he were drowning if forced to do any of this alone. He guessed that was the advantage of numbers, they could pool their talents and resources to do things they might not be able to achieve alone... Toby just hoped that he had something to offer as help.

Toby's gaze finds another boy, longer red hair, passion shining in his eyes as he questions Atticus' suggestion. He offers his own alternative, to steal the information. Toby gulps, a growing feeling of uselessness overwhelming him. He couldn't steal anything, not because of a particularly strict moral code - though stealing did make him uncomfortable for that reason too - but because Toby knew he'd be more likely to get everyone arrested than sneak in and out of a police station escaping detection.

"We need to do both." Comes Frankie's reply, her voice confident despite her own uncertainty with what she was about to suggest. Toby had always admired that confidence, as he had both admired (and cursed) his brother's. "We need whatever the police have, and we need whatever they've missed. We need to figure out... I don't know, the killer's patterns, if there's somewhere they usually hunt. For fuck's sake, what he even does with the bodies. Anything."

"Stealing police information shouldn't be that hard." Frankie's twin, Sam, adds. The male de Vries rests his arm on his sister's shoulder and flaps his hand from Casper to Scott. "Not when we have guys who can turn invisible and walk through walls." Sam's gaze flicks to the well-dressed female who had fallen through the odd portal, "Or when we have whatever that was." he adds, waving his hand next at where the portal had been.

"Yeah, 'cept I can't turn anyone else invisible. And police stations usually have cameras and passwords and shit." Casper pipes up, grinning as he adds "I'm too pretty to go to jail."

Toby's gaze met Frankie's across the circle and he knew without words that they were both thinking the same thing, that Frankie, technically, could replicate both of the powers and slip in and out of the police station without being noticed... if she knew how to control her power. Frankie gave a small shrug, as if telling Toby she wished she could do more. More than once the friends had commiserated together over their lack of control of their powers. Frankie always told Toby that he'd get it, eventually, but the magician could tell that right now Frankie was feeling frustrated that she couldn't do more too.

Gulping back more nerves and shoving shaking hands into his pockets, Toby takes a tentative step forward. "Maybe..." Toby began, hesitating slightly as eyes fell on him. He can feel Casper's gaze too, and that more than anything has Toby nervous. "Maybe some of us... we aren't all... I mean, maybe for those of us who can't control their powers that well, like me... maybe we could set up some kind of practice. I... I want to help, but I need more practice." Toby's words trailed off, his eyes trained on a spot on the floor rather than meet anyone's eye.

"Good idea, man." Comes Sam's words of encouragement, before a teasing tone sneaks into his words, "I know Frankie definitely needs all the help she can get."

"Hey!" Frankie protests. Toby looks up in time to see Sam give his sister a shrug and a wide grin. Frankie rolls her eyes, shakes off Sam's arm and adds a moment later, still grudgingly, "He's not wrong. I do need some training."

Perhaps boosted by this partial acceptance of his idea, Toby finds himself offering up another, "And maybe... Maybe Bast you could look into the police records? Or... or Grace you could freeze time and if someone is fast they could run in...?" Toby shrugs his shoulders and glances around at the group. He didn't hear what half of them could do, but he was sure that together they would be able to figure it out. Somehow. They had to, or risk letting this killer continue picking people off.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir Character Portrait: Frances de Vries Character Portrait: Jack Lacey Character Portrait: Toby Kipling Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac Character Portrait: Grace Fogle Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda Character Portrait: Eugene Park Character Portrait: Casper Temple Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis Character Portrait: Rika Yamada Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe Character Portrait: Scott Carter Character Portrait: Felix Ueda Character Portrait: Bast Kipling Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
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──────────────────────────────
MARIA IKEDA
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WAREHOUSEXX#a69eb0XXATTIRE
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Maria watched with exasperation as the crowd withered away. Her teeth gritted in annoyance, before forfeiting with a sigh. Damn. Well, if they were that easily convinced to scram, I doubt they'd be much help, anyway. Not an inspiring thought, nor much of a consolation, really, but it was all she could think of to boost her own dwindling morale.

She looked over who was left with growing uncertainty, her loyalty to the 'cause' slipping as she noted who was still present. Oh, thank God. We still have Bambi and the teakettle-

Then a girl fell through the ceiling. And then two more teenagers fell out of a swirling, glowing... thing. Maria wasn't entirely sure what one's typical reaction would be for such occurrences, but everyone else seemed to take it all rather well. Perhaps she should have expected that; this was literally a meeting for super-powered New Yorkians... they'd all likely seen a hell of a lot weirder.

The arrivals added a sense of courage to the air, at least until the young man, Atticus, revealed his ability. Then suddenly, everyone was uncomfortable again. He made up for it, though, by quoting the world's most depressing author. "As the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles." The Murders in the Rue Morgue... at least the guy's got a sense of humor.

She liked a bit of bleak irony here and there, to take the edge of the dully morbid. Which this situation definitely was.

A small smirk touched her lips as the phasing redhead snapped back at Atticus' suggestions. Her eyebrow quirked at his little stumble, unnoticed by the majority of the others. Some skeletons in the closet there, I see.

"Maybe some of us... we aren't all... I mean, maybe for those of us who can't control their powers that well, like me... maybe we could set up some kind of practice. I... I want to help, but I need more practice."

Maria looked to the boy that had spoken. He was quieter, softer, than most of the others that made up their little group. His shyness was endearing, but his idea was actually a rather good one. She could do with a little practice. Practice that didn't involve screwing over well-off assholes.

"And maybe... Maybe Bast you could look into the police records? Or... or Grace you could freeze time and if someone is fast they could run in...?"

Maria frowned slightly, and with a sudden thought, turned to look at the tea kettle still settled near the edge of the group. She nudged it with the toe of her boot. "Or, Mrs Potts does people as well as he does kitchen appliances..." He could just walk in, pick out whatever he wants from the police records, ask a few questions while he's there, and walk out.

Ah, this was better. The more illegal side of the issue -the lying and cheating and rule-breaking. To put it simply, Maria had more... experience, in this particular area.

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New York City

New York City by fivehours

NYC, the thriving metropolis that plays home to a small group of young Gifted, determined to make a difference

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View All » Add Character » 35 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Casper Temple
Character Portrait: Felix Ueda
Character Portrait: Frances de Vries
Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis
Character Portrait: Toby Kipling
Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
Character Portrait: Jack Lacey
Character Portrait: Rika Yamada
Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac
Character Portrait: Kina Qadir
Character Portrait: Eugene Park
Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda
Character Portrait: Grace Fogle
Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe
Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao

Newest

Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
Atticus Zhao

Fear is the curse of the soul.

Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe
Dylan Ashe

"I'm not drunk; you're drunk."

Character Portrait: Grace Fogle
Grace Fogle

"Time doesn't change things. People do."

Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda
Maria Ikeda

"Maybe you're just seeing things."

Character Portrait: Eugene Park
Eugene Park

"That we should, with revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts."

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir
Kina Qadir

"We fly, we fall, and we fly again."

Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac
Lucien Thorne Verlac

"How terrible it is to love something that death can touch."

Character Portrait: Rika Yamada
Rika Yamada

"You aren't very hard to corrupt and you're an awful lot of fun to corrupt."

Character Portrait: Jack Lacey
Jack Lacey

"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."

Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
Bast Kipling

"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night."

Trending

Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
Bast Kipling

"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night."

Character Portrait: Lucien Thorne Verlac
Lucien Thorne Verlac

"How terrible it is to love something that death can touch."

Character Portrait: Eugene Park
Eugene Park

"That we should, with revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts."

Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
Atticus Zhao

Fear is the curse of the soul.

Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda
Maria Ikeda

"Maybe you're just seeing things."

Character Portrait: Grace Fogle
Grace Fogle

"Time doesn't change things. People do."

Character Portrait: Felix Ueda
Felix Ueda

"I change the world, the world changes me."

Character Portrait: Casper Temple
Casper Temple

"If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty."

Character Portrait: Rika Yamada
Rika Yamada

"You aren't very hard to corrupt and you're an awful lot of fun to corrupt."

Character Portrait: Toby Kipling
Toby Kipling

"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Jack Lacey
Jack Lacey

"Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem."

Character Portrait: Percy Wren-Lewis
Percy Wren-Lewis

"If only they all knew what's going on in our minds."

Character Portrait: Maria Ikeda
Maria Ikeda

"Maybe you're just seeing things."

Character Portrait: Eugene Park
Eugene Park

"That we should, with revel and applause, transform ourselves into beasts."

Character Portrait: Dylan Ashe
Dylan Ashe

"I'm not drunk; you're drunk."

Character Portrait: Grace Fogle
Grace Fogle

"Time doesn't change things. People do."

Character Portrait: Rika Yamada
Rika Yamada

"You aren't very hard to corrupt and you're an awful lot of fun to corrupt."

Character Portrait: Atticus Zhao
Atticus Zhao

Fear is the curse of the soul.

Character Portrait: Bast Kipling
Bast Kipling

"A day without sunshine is like, you know, night."

Character Portrait: Kina Qadir
Kina Qadir

"We fly, we fall, and we fly again."


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New York City

New York City by fivehours

NYC, the thriving metropolis that plays home to a small group of young Gifted, determined to make a difference

New York City

NYC, the thriving metropolis that plays home to a small group of young Gifted, determined to make a difference

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