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Kina Qadir

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

0 · 1,800 views · located in New York City

a character in “Gifted”, as played by katyisaladybug

Description

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"If I am worth anything later, then I am worth something now. For wheat is wheat, even if people think it is grass in the beginning."
X~ Van Gogh





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๏ผฎ๏ผก๏ผญ๏ผฅ
Kina Qadir

๏ผฎ๏ผฉ๏ผฃ๏ผซ๏ผฎ๏ผก๏ผญ๏ผฅ/๏ผณ
Kina Q is the only one she's got.

๏ผก๏ผง๏ผฅ
19

๏ผค๏ผก๏ผด๏ผฅ ๏ผฏ๏ผฆ ๏ผข๏ผฉ๏ผฒ๏ผด๏ผจ
March 25th, 1997

๏ผฎ๏ผก๏ผด๏ผฉ๏ผฏ๏ผฎ๏ผก๏ผฌ๏ผฉ๏ผด๏ผน
Afghan

๏ผฅ๏ผด๏ผจ๏ผฎ๏ผฉ๏ผฃ๏ผด๏ผน
50% Afghan, 50% Iranian

๏ผณ๏ผฅ๏ผธ๏ผต๏ผก๏ผฌ๏ผฉ๏ผด๏ผน
Heterosexual, although she might be open to experimentation.

๏ผค๏ผฉ๏ผก๏ผฌ๏ผฏ๏ผง๏ผต๏ผฅ ๏ผฃ๏ผฏ๏ผฌ๏ผฏ๏ผต๏ผฒ
Dialogue: #CC6600
Thoughts: #7F5217







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๏ผก๏ผข๏ผฉ๏ผฌ๏ผฉ๏ผด๏ผฉ๏ผฅ๏ผณ
{ Wind/Air Manipulation ; Aerokinesis }
Some people take air for granted. As humans, we breathe it in and out, seemingly unaware of the fact that every time it enters our lungs, it gives us life. For Kina Qadir, not only does air provide survival in a broken world, but also the strength to fix it. Using motion, she is able to generate, manipulate, and shape gusts of wind. Not only can she use these gusts to push things back, but she can also use them to propel herself upwards, as well as shoot herself forward at rapid speed. This comes in handy whenever she needs to jump a tall fence, scale buildings and trees, or even when she's running late for something and needs to blast herself forward in order to make it on time. Although not particularly dangerous or large, she can create twisters. She can also use her aerokinesis to levitate a few feet off the ground. However, this only lasts for a short while, as her hands and feet need to constantly be in motion in order for her to stay airborne, and that can get tiring. Because wind and air is fundamentally invisible to the naked eye and cannot be seen by conventional methods, neither can the attacks or forms she creates by or from it, therefore making it an invisible, versatile, and resourceful weapon that might pose a threat to anyone who tries to get in her way. After all, it's hard to block or dodge something you can't even see.

Nevertheless, Kina's powers have limits and weaknesses. She cannot conjure wind herself; she must use motion and kinetic energy in order to 'stir' it. Once the particles are moving, she can use her powers to strengthen them, keeping them flowing and creating currents of air in the process. Fires are tricky. Using her wind powers over flame will only make the conflagration stronger, as oxygen strengthens it. This can be either a curse or a boon depending upon the situation. She couldn't imagine having to escape from a fire, or even worse, having to deal with another Gifted capable of pyrokinesis. Worse than that would be facing someone with electrokinesis, as a Gifted with that power could use electrons to detonate the various compound molecules found within the air, therefore overwhelming her. Until then, Kina isn't looking to pick a fight with anyone. She uses her powers for day-to-day tasks, and that's it. And for the most part, they make life easier.






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๏ผก๏ผฐ๏ผฐ๏ผฅ๏ผก๏ผฒ๏ผก๏ผฎ๏ผฃ๏ผฅ
Besides her light Pashtun accent and humble height of 5'3'', she really isn't that extraordinary. Curly black locks frame her oval face, which is adorned with dark brown eyes, full mauve lips, and a slender nose. Her cheeks naturally glow a rosy hue whenever she grins, and her cinnamon-colored skin, although dry and baggy underneath her lids, seems to glow in the sun without a blemish or freckle to be seen. Her thick brows are quite expressive, allowing perceptive friends to read the insides of her mind like a book. Although her smile is bright and somewhat dainty, her top teeth are slightly crooked. She doesn't mind this, however, as old acquaintances have testified that the imperfection gives her more character. Although she is short in stature, her body is quite long and lean; almost boyish, if you will. Her arms and legs are known for their innate scrawniness. However, in recent weeks, she has started to notice these parts grow wider, as her daily jogs and workout sessions are beginning to pay off with much-needed muscle. Her weight is a meek 105 lbs, but with the protein she's inhaling and larger portions at dinner, it will increase in due time. Although Kina has a great figure, she also has a tendency to slouch, so don't expect her to be showing off her body with high esteem. Except for a few scrapes and bruises on her knees, back, and elbows, she doesn't really have any marvelous battle scars worth displaying. Although she is considering getting a tattoo, she currently has none. Not only does she need money in order to purchase one, but Kina feels that a purpose must also be present in her decision. She won't get an aesthetically pleasing design inked upon her skin just because she wants it there. To her, a tattoo needs to mean something. Until a forceful event occurs within her life, her skin will remain clean.

๏ผณ๏ผด๏ผน๏ผฌ๏ผฅ
If someone were to describe Kina's clothing style, they'd use words like simple, modest, and presentable. They'd also say that she has a penchant for flowy skirts, sandals, tank tops, and the color black. However, if Kina herself were to describe her manner of dress, she'd use adjectives such as radical, disgraceful, and showy. This is because she was raised in Shia Islam, and according to the Qur'an, women must cover all of their hair and body with the exception of their face, hands above wrists, and feet below ankles. Tight-fitting clothing and glamorous outfits are not to be worn, as it is a sin to show off the body, and/or give in to societal pressures. Kina used to abide by these honorable guidelines as a child. However, as she's assimilated into Western culture, adapted to a new lifestyle, and learned of the prejudice surrounding Muslims and Gifted, she's made a decision to discard her hijab and dress like a typical New Yorker. Her reasoning for casting aside her religious garments is twofold. Firstly, there is so much prejudice surrounding Muslims in America today that she couldn't imagine what it would be like if the public found out that she was also a Gifted, let alone an unregistered Gifted and technically an illegal immigrant. Clearly, speculation into her gentic and religious background would possibly lead bigoted officials into concluding that she is a terrorist, and although the chance of such a wild proclamation is a slim one, Kina doesn't want the chance to exist regardless. Secondly, after being exposed to the wider world and cultures outside Afghanistan, as well as horrible tragedies and a greyer method of thought, Kina is beginning to doubt her faith. She has enjoyed her freedoms as both a Japanese and American citizen, and is unsure about turning back. She still practices Islam, but she does so loosely. Kina is at a stage in her life where she needs to think for herself, and knows that in order to appreciate her heritage more fully, she needs to break away from it for a while. Perhaps she'll wear her hijab again in the near future, but until she knows whether its a larger sin to return to the garment after not wearing it for a long period of time or disregard the covering completely, she'll keep it in a safe spot within her suitcase.







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๏ผฌ๏ผฉ๏ผซ๏ผฅ๏ผณ
In order to keep balance in her life, maintain focus, and work on her flexibility, Kina practices both meditation and yoga. She's been working hard enough on the latter that recently she has been able to perform headstand poses with moderate success. Jogging is another physical activity she likes to undertake on a daily basis. She goes for a run every morning, sometimes bringing her music along for the journey. She prefers tea over coffee, her favorite flavor being jasmine. If you ask Kina what her favorite place is, she will always tell you that it's the beach, as she finds euphoria in jumping over waves, building sand castles, and just lying in the sun. She's just recently gotten into gardening. She loves it so much and will become so engrossed in growing her plants that sometimes she'll have full-length conversations with each one and give them silly names, too. For some reason, she has a fascination with insects and feels conflicted whenever someone asks her to kill a fly or spider. It may sound a bit cheesy because of her power, but Kina also loves the sound and display of wind chimes. She keeps telling herself that when she moves into her own house someday, wind chimes will be the first thing she purchases.

๏ผค๏ผฉ๏ผณ๏ผฌ๏ผฉ๏ผซ๏ผฅ๏ผณ
Kina was born and raised in the hot Afghan sun. She is used to dry, cloudless climates. Therefore, she is unable to stand either rainy days or cold weather. She hates the taste of soda, as the fizziness and artificial sweetness of the drink makes her lips pucker in revulsion. Although she is a lover of all music, the sound of bagpipes disgusts her. They are much too shrill and loud for her sensitive ears. On a much more serious note, Kina is unable to tolerate liars, cheaters, and racists. If someone lies, cheats against, or shows prejudice towards her or someone else, she will refuse to show respect towards that person. She doesn't have a reputation for forgiving those kinds of people either.







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๏ผฑ๏ผต๏ผฉ๏ผฒ๏ผซ๏ผณ | ๏ผจ๏ผก๏ผข๏ผฉ๏ผด๏ผณ
Chopsticks, due to her time in Japan and the demands of her roommate, she tends to eat with nothing but chopsticks. Most of the dishes she makes allow her to use the utensils with ease, however, there will be that awkward occasion where she'll cook a steak and grab chopsticks to go with it, realizing too late that she needs to cut the meat into pieces before she can actually eat it.
Fingers, whether or not she's using her aerokinesis, it always seems like her digits are in motion. From tapping on tables, to swishing them along to the beat of a tune, to balling them up into fists whenever she's anxious, her fingers can almost be compared to a dog's tail in the sense that they indicate her emotions and mood.
Doodling, she's not really an artist, but whenever a pen and paper is nearby and Kina is bored out of her wits, she'll start drawing whatever comes to mind. She tends to scribble a lot of spirals, as well as eyes, butterflies, and various cartoon animals.

๏ผด๏ผก๏ผฌ๏ผฅ๏ผฎ๏ผด๏ผณ | ๏ผณ๏ผด๏ผฒ๏ผฅ๏ผฎ๏ผง๏ผด๏ผจ๏ผณ
Trilingual, capable of speaking Pashto, Japanese, and English fluently. She tends to cuss in Pashto, as it is her native tongue.
Observant, while preferring small details over the general picture has its disadvantages, it also has its upshots from time to time. Kina is one of those people who can notice things from a mile away. It makes her nitpicky and meticulous, but it also allows her to perceive pieces of information which others overlook. Combined with a great gut sense, she can immediately tell whether something is fishy or not just by a quick glance and a few calculations in her brain.
Fighting skills, by no means is she a karate master or an expert MMA fighter. However, Kina has been taught a few tricks that would allow her to easily defend herself if she were ever in danger. She's even dabbled in swordplay, however, it's best to say that she's still a beginner in the art.
Cooking, it's not her favorite hobby, but for some reason, every recipe she tries somehow turns out great. She loves her udon noodles with mixed vegetables. She also likes to create her own soup dishes, and is a sucker for curry.

๏ผฆ๏ผฌ๏ผก๏ผท๏ผณ | ๏ผท๏ผฅ๏ผก๏ผซ๏ผฎ๏ผฅ๏ผณ๏ผณ๏ผฅ๏ผณ
Curiousity, we all know the famous saying about how curiosity killed the cat. Even though Kina's curiosity has metaphorically killed her about a million times over, she still refuses to back down from her pursuit of the truth. Some say that she's nosy, but considering she wears her heart on her sleeve and maintains an inability to lie, some could also say that she just has a natural inclination towards honesty and straightfoward facts. Her thirst for knowledge is a kind of thirst that can never be quenched. Because of this, she doesn't always know when to back down from asking questions, and in certain situations, that can become a problem.
Messy, although she is meticulous, she's not really a neat freak. Much like the inside of her head, her bedroom tends to be a wild cluster of random items spread apart and laid out for her to rummage through and occasionally trip over. She makes an effort to clean every other week, but she could still improve.
Back pains, even though her posture is still quite terrible, it was far worse as a child. She suffers from mild scoliosis, experiencing aching sensations in her right shoulder from time to time. Sometimes it gets so bad that she needs to sit with a hot pack pinned against the back of her chair in order to relieve the pain.
Doormat, because she has a strong sense of moral obligation and a difficult time saying "no" to others, she can get unwillingly taken advantage of, working long hours and exhausting herself just so she can keep a promise or keep herself stable.
Unaware, not being in tune with her own emotions puts a dent in her perception of other people's feelings. Kina has difficulty "reading between the lines," so unless you tell her straight up how you feel, she's going to remain gullible to your problems, desires, and needs. Because she takes her own efforts for granted, she will occasionally forget to give others a pat on the back for their hard work. Frankly put, sometimes this flaw can end relationships as soon as they begin.

๏ผฆ๏ผฅ๏ผก๏ผฒ๏ผณ
Her secrets exposed, putting all pleasures of living in a new country aside, Kina is technically an illegal immigrant and an unregistered Gifted. If someone important were to find out about her dishonorable status, she'd have a lot of trouble on her hands that she isn't capable of dealing with right now.
Thunder, the monstrous cracking sound, the rumbling of the earth, the unexpected and unpredictable timing - it all frightens her. For some odd reason, the sound of thunder absolutely terrifies her, and when there's a thunderstorm outside she will oftentimes bury herself deep within a blanket fort and pass the time with a book until it's over.
No family, it's the fear of not having a group to call your own - of having no one to trust or lean upon during desperate times. She used to have those kinds of people in Afghanistan; people she could call family. Now that they're gone, she doesn't know if she can ever find anyone to replace them. Although she hates to admit it, she has a very foolish hope of being reunited with her parents someday. There's a part of her aching to find them and have her childhood wishes fulfilled, and yet there's another part of her which knows that the fanciful idea is absolutely unrealistic. It tears her heart to pieces, and she doesn't know how to piece them back together again without eliminating the problem. All she wants to know is the fate of her mother and father after they abandoned her nineteen years ago.








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๏ผฐ๏ผฅ๏ผฒ๏ผณ๏ผฏ๏ผฎ๏ผก๏ผฌ๏ผฉ๏ผด๏ผน
"Plan for our lasting preservation rather than our temporary pleasure."
xx~Augustus Caesar

_________________________________

Kina's demeanor can be compared to that of a bee's: diligent, dutiful, and concerned for the well-being of society as a whole. She has a healthy dose of both optimism and pessimism, allowing her to judge situations realistically. Her mindset is that of an inspector's, making sure underlying structures that keep her world together remain unbroken. Therefore, she is partial to tradition, loyalty, and justice. On the other hand, she's ignorant to fads and trends. Some might say she's an old soul, but honestly Kina just enjoys the simple pleasures life has to offer and doesn't want to make her experience on earth any more complicated than it already is. Because of her thirst for knowledge and need for factual information, she is defined by her almost childlike curiosity. She is able to store everything she learns inside her brain quite nicely, easily pulling out the morsels of knowledge she's accumulated whenever she faces a new situation. You can say that she's intelligent, but not really in a scientific, book smart sort of way. After all, in the nineteen years she's lived, she's never received a proper education.

Kina bases her ego and choices off of prior experiences, and because of the specific experiences she's faced in her life so far, she tries to maintain a reputation of being an introverted, careful, "good" civilian. She is interested in security, peaceful living, balance, and structure. Breaking the rules frightens her, but fortunately, she's not so anal that one can consider her a stick in the mud. She knows exceptions must be made every now and then. If there's a good enough reason for her to step outside her natural mode of living, then she'll support it. However, her motto is, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." She grimaces at the sound of change as though she were swallowing children's Tylenol. Kina doesn't want to reinvent a wheel when it's already functioning properly, keeping herself and others happy, safe, and healthy. There's nothing she hates more than letting people mess with good structures and systems, causing damage in the process. She'd rather have a plan and stick to it than use improvisation. In her opinion, a risk is much too risky. After all, there is a slight sliver of her brain that dabbles in perfectionism. When everything goes wrong and she is not prepared for it, she can't help but think that the whole green world will burn alongside her shortcomings.

But all-in-all, she's a dependable, serious type that enjoys fulfilling promises and working towards a goal. Interestingly, she has a great sense of humor and a penchant for pranks, and while she may seem business-oriented at times, she does have her fair share of secret quirks and innocent hobbies. When it comes to participating in social situations, she's not bad, but she's not entirely good either. On the one hand, challenging, lively conversations enthuse her, and while she prefers to work alone, she can become a valuable member of the team when a situation calls for it. On the other hand, it seems as though there is a barrier separating others from entering Kina's innermost thoughts and emotions. For some people, talking to her can almost be like talking to a brick wall. Albeit a spry, good-natured brick wall, but a brick wall nonetheless. This is because Kina is actually more sensitive than she lets on. She has sentiments, and is aware of the fact that dwelling on them can destroy her. Therefore, she is afraid to be in touch with her emotions, and is fearful of becoming too intimate too soon. Because of the lack of empathy towards herself, she struggles to empathize with others.

However, despite the imperfections surrounding her sensitive side, Kina is still generous, hopeful, and full of integrity. She believes in what's good, and will do anything to make sure that the wheels of her world, as well as the world of others, keep turning without a hitch. Sometimes, this desire to do what's important prompts her to make decisions some would consider brave. However, Kina doesn't consider herself brave in any way. In her eyes, she's just an ordinary young woman trying to do the right thing.









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๏ผฆ๏ผก๏ผญ๏ผฉ๏ผฌ๏ผน
All members of immediate and extended family unknown.

๏ผจ๏ผฉ๏ผณ๏ผด๏ผฏ๏ผฒ๏ผน
The year was 1996 when the Taliban invaded southern Afghanistan, forming the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and establishing control over 90% of the country. Women were banned from attending schools or working outside of their homes. Hundreds of civilians were massacred in barbarous attacks, and those of Shia religious or Hazara ethnic backgrounds were especially targeted. The country was in ruins. No one was safe.

In the midst of it all was a woman with a bright idea. Her name was Ameena Imam, and because she was a young widow, she had a house all to herself. Due to her compassion for children and desire to practice what's right, she decided to establish a secret orphanage for girls. She led little girls with no place to call home to her abode so that they would be safe from the hands of the Taliban. Eventually, enough word spread about the private place that on March 25th, 1997, Ameena found a newborn baby crying on her doorstep. The wailing child was wrapped up inside her mother's black half niqab. A piece of paper was pinned to the fabric, and on that paper was written the name Kina Qadir.

Her earliest memory was the sound of American cruise missiles falling from the sky. Kina was about four years old when Operation Enduring Freedom commenced. There was a long period of just sitting inside, waiting for the fighting to stop. She remembers her orphan sisters crying in the dark, hiding in secret compartments within the house whenever dangerous strangers showed up for inspection. The darkness seemed to last forever. Then suddenly, in 2002, it was safe to go outside again.

Kina found pleasure in watching the streets become more secure, the crumbled buildings grow taller, and the morale of the people blossoming back to happiness. She was a like a little ball of fire in her youth. She loved exploration, excitement, and play. As she grew older, there was more work to be done. She didn't mind this, however, as she loved to prove to Ameena Imam that she was as independent and responsible as the other girls in the orphanage. Although she had a reputation for being slightly bossy and petulant, Ameena understood the girl's willingness to succeed, and treated Kina as though she were her own daughter.

With her sisters, Kina prayed to Allah that peace would remain in Afghanistan. Sometimes he delivered. Other times, they would have to stay inside, burqas covering their heads. Ameena let the girls cover their hair with normal hijabs, however, whenever shadow governments reminiscent of the Taliban swooped by, she forced them to wear the full-body coverings so that they wouldn't get hurt. That was what the Taliban wanted for women in the old days. Kina learned at a young age that people of her sex didn't have the same opportunities, the same voice as men did. She daydreamed of the world outside her country. She longed for a world without corruption. There were some days when that dream seemed possible.

And then one day, it became irrational.

When she was fourteen, the orphanage was invaded by members of the Haqqani network. Everyone was taken as a hostage. The brave ones were killed instantly. Kina and her friends were transported to a compound in the middle of nowhere. They discovered that not only were their captors allies of the Taliban, but also part of a major slave-trading ring. Just like in her early childhood, she remembers a long period of just sitting inside, waiting for her friends' and Ameena's screaming to stop. She followed orders without question and kept her head low. However, her complicity was not enough. One day, a small group of men dragged her outside and tried to strip her clothes, as well as remove her hijab. She struggled and flailed, using whatever willpower she had left to defend herself. It was in that moment the power over wind became hers. Miraculously, she was able to summon a furious twister, flaying every man's skin off his body before they could kill her first.

Before she could comprehend what she had just done, a mysterious Japanese man appeared from out of nowhere. He took care of the other subordinates, liberating Kina and her friends. Even Ameena was saved. Before she could return back home to her village, she approached the man and asked for his name. He was wise, curt, and strong. He was Shigeru Ishamoto, and he was the one who told Kina about her status as a Gifted.

Shigeru offered her a deal: if she would come and work for him, he would teach the girl how to manifest her abilities. After many days of reluctant contemplation, she agreed. She took her mother's half niqab, (the only possession she had at the time), exchanged tearful goodbyes with her sisters and guardian, and approached Shigeru's stead. When she told him that she was ready to go, he touched her on the shoulder, and instantly, they teleported to a leafy garden in the Japanese countryside.

Shigeru was the most enigmatic person Kina had ever met, but every day she learned more about him. He was a Gifted capable of teleportation, as well as many styles of martial arts. In his youth, he had served as a vigilante under the alias of "Suitchฤ", or "The Switcher." Now he scoured the world for undiscovered Gifted. He had a prestigious school where he taught others with supernatural abilities how to hone their powers. Sometimes he'd have mysterious meetings with men of high reputation. They were Gifted, too. Kina was just the humble cleaning lady working behind the scenes. For about four years she tended to Shigeru Ishamoto's home, doing domestic work as well as work around his beautiful gardens. He paid her for her services and trained her on the weekends. His tutelage was cruel, but not inhumane. Besides how to use her Gifted abilities, he also taught Kina both basic Tai Chi and Baguazhang (which helped with her powers), how to speak Japanese and English, and even amateur swordplay with a katana whenever he was feeling generous. Sometimes she would have to fight him as part of her training. He never showed her mercy, but this only helped her grow.

He told her not to put his instruction to waste. She still refuses to accept the deeper meaning behind his words.

Because Shigeru had the ability of teleportation, they could easily travel to places like Tokyo and Osaka. Kina loved to tag along on his business trips, as she would get to experience metropolitan societies she had been absent from for many years. She learned of the wider world, of Western culture, and was naturally curious. As her time with Shigeru went on, the two of them began to form almost a father-daughter-like relationship. About a month ago, he offered Kina the chance to go to America and stay in his apartment in New York, as he had some "business matters" to attend to. She was nervous, but ultimately agreed.

For the most part, she's adjusted to life in the Big Apple. There are still some slang terms and customs she doesn't understand, but she's never been afraid to ask others for help in understanding them. As she explored Shigeru's old apartment, she realized that he once lived in America, but left for some strange reason. About two weeks ago, he went missing, leaving her a note saying that he was off on a business venture and he'd be back. He still hasn't returned, and now Kina is worried sick. While she searches for him, she is also looking to find a job. Her next goal is to save up enough money to go to college, and finally receive a proper education. However, other influences may pull her from her aspirations, as anything can happen in the city...








ImageImage
๏ผฏ๏ผด๏ผจ๏ผฅ๏ผฒ
Face Claim: Golshifteh Farahani
Time Zone: EST
{ Playlist to come eventually }
Character dedicated to an old friend who, in the short time I spent with him, possessed the same intelligence, bravery, and loyalty as Kina Qadir. xxx

So begins...

Kina Qadir's Story

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
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โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

๏ผฎ๏ผฅ๏ผท ๏ผน๏ผฅ๏ผก๏ผฒ๏ผณ ๏ผค๏ผก๏ผน, ๏ผฎ๏ผฅ๏ผท ๏ผน๏ผฏ๏ผฒ๏ผซ ๏ผฃ๏ผฉ๏ผด๏ผน

โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

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.



โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

๏ผฏ๏ผฎ๏ผฅ ๏ผท๏ผฅ๏ผฅ๏ผซ ๏ผฌ๏ผก๏ผด๏ผฅ๏ผฒ, ๏ผฎ๏ผฅ๏ผท ๏ผน๏ผฏ๏ผฒ๏ผซ ๏ผฃ๏ผฉ๏ผด๏ผน

โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

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 couldnโ€™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.

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

โ€™Same excuse as last time, I reckon.โ€™ Lucky_Lady types back, โ€™Police say itโ€™s not suspicious. Claim heโ€™s probably just on some drug binge or moved cities.โ€™

โ€™Basically, they donโ€™t fuckn care about any1 hu doesnโ€™t โ€˜fitโ€™ into their picture of society.โ€™ The_Alpha8921 types.

He wasnโ€™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, itโ€™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 societyโ€™s cracks, whose โ€˜homeโ€™ moves depending on the weather and the good grace of others?

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

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

โ€™Do what?โ€™

โ€™We find and stop this killer.โ€™

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 wonโ€™t? It was a mad idea, and yetโ€ฆ who was to say they couldnโ€™t? A stream of replies come at once, some for the idea, some vehemently against it.

โ€™Youโ€™re crazy.โ€™,
โ€™FUCK YES!โ€™
โ€™How could we do anything? Weโ€™re just a bunch of nobodies.โ€™
โ€™Iโ€™d rather do something and die trying than watch as more are killed.โ€™
โ€™Screw u, im nt dying for shit.โ€™

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

โ€™Not all of us can control our powers.โ€™ Someone points out.

โ€™Then weโ€™ll train. Weโ€™ll share information and tips, help each other out. We can do this!โ€™

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 Leeโ€™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. Thereโ€™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 cityโ€™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 thatโ€™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 warehouseโ€™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 โ€“renegade777 perhaps? Yet, the chatroom member doesnโ€™t step forward, assuming theyโ€™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, heโ€™s known as The_Alpha8921, while in real life heโ€™s Garth Holden, a troubled twenty-one year old with the power of super strength โ€“ 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.

โ€œWell? Are we going to do this thing or not?โ€ He asks, cracking his knuckles out of habit as he eyes up his peers. โ€œWhatโ€™s the plan? We go round anโ€™ tell what we can do?โ€

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 cafรฉ 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: [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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โ€œFuck, fuck, fuck, shit, fuck!โ€

A booze-fueled hurricane barreled down the crowded city walkway. In a flurry of half-hearted โ€œexcuse meโ€-s turned โ€œfucking moveโ€-s turned even less sincere over the shoulder apologies, Dylanโ€™s wiry body powered through the throngs of busy humans. Regardless of where youโ€™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 couldโ€™ve very well passed for a bum, which at the very least got people out of his way a bit faster.

โ€Iโ€™m gonna be so late - shit, shitโ€ฆโ€ he muttered in what mightโ€™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 kidโ€™s ears. โ€Shit, Iโ€™m sorry โ€“ shoot! I mean shoot!โ€ he yelled at her as she picked up her pace.

Dylan checked his wrist for the time and realized he didnโ€™t wear a watch. He squeezed his way between a couple holding hands as he rummaged his jacketโ€™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 didnโ€™t have. Scowling, cold, drunk, and late, he picked the phone up off the ground. โ€If this isnโ€™t the best goddamn meeting I swearโ€ฆโ€

Trolling internet chat rooms had become a hobby since heโ€™d been either too drunk or too tired to get into his art for awhile now. Heโ€™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, heโ€™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 heโ€™d missed. โ€January 8thโ€ฆโ€ 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 didnโ€™t see โ€œ2014โ€ in embossed gold letters on the front.

He still wasnโ€™t quite sure why he was going anyway. Heโ€™d never been one for social justiceโ€ฆ heโ€™d never been one for being too involved in anything really. Though since his motherโ€™s relapse, he hadnโ€™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, heโ€™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.

Dylanโ€™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 wouldnโ€™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 โ€œthe right place for a pretty little thing like youโ€. The vacant buildings felt like forgotten corpses under the browned slush of half-melted snow and ice.

โ€Iโ€™ll be just fine, thank you so, so, so, so much sweetie!โ€ 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 Dylanโ€™s old jacket. Her face widened and roughened and her hair slipped back up into Dylanโ€™s brunette mop. He stumbled forward as quickly as he could manage, already hearing voices coming from inside.

โ€Shiiiiiit.โ€

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.

โ€Whatโ€™d they fuckinโ€™ lock me out?โ€ he mumbled to himself against the racket of the stuck door. As he goes to knock, he leans forward against the cold metal โ€“ realizing all too late itโ€™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. โ€Uhโ€ฆ Hey.โ€

No one seems too impressed. Garth Holden releases an audible groan. โ€œGreat, this one canโ€™t even use a door. What the hell kind of power could you have?โ€

โ€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 heโ€™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 Dylanโ€™s entrance, he shoves a hand into his pocket and takes a sip from a dulled silver flask.

โ€Well, uh, my nameโ€™s Dylan. And if โ€˜Roid Rage over here can hold on to his shriveled balls for a second, Iโ€™ll show you guys what I can do. Check this shit out.โ€

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

โ€What the hell am I getting myself into?โ€

Dylanโ€™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 heโ€™d never done this directly in front of anyone but his mother before. Sheโ€™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 Dylanโ€™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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โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€
the wฮฑrั”hฯƒusั”
hex: #9BA9B4
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T O B YXK I P L I N G
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โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€
the wฮฑrั”hฯƒusั”
hex: #99A894
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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 sunโ€™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 โ€˜spellsโ€™ that he had managed to acquire. Sighs of frustration had escaped his lips, his fingers aching from the intricate movements heโ€™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 โ€˜witchesโ€™ 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 didnโ€™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 wouldnโ€™t matter if he and Bast missed the meeting entirely.

Jumping to his feet, Toby strode out into the living room, โ€œBast! You ready for the meeting? I almost forgot.โ€ 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 twinsโ€™ 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. โ€œWeโ€™re going to be so late.โ€ Toby continued as he searched through Bastโ€™s drawers for a pair of half-way decent trousers. There wasnโ€™t much that wasnโ€™t dirty or crumbled on the floor, yet luck was on Tobyโ€™s side as he pulled out a pair of jeans that had no stains on them and werenโ€™t five years old.

โ€œPut these on now and turn off the game, or Iโ€™llโ€ฆ Iโ€™ll hide the console.โ€ Toby threatened as he returned to the living room, throwing the pants at his twin. He wasnโ€™t very good at threats, and Bast knew Toby well enough to understand that Tobyโ€™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, โ€œBast, weโ€™re going to be late to the meeting. Put your pants on so we can go.โ€ Honestly, Tobyโ€™s ability to remain patient in the face of suchโ€ฆ Bast-ness, should mark him for sainthood. He supposes, that when youโ€™ve shared a womb and a troubled childhood together, dealing with your twin brotherโ€™s inane nonsense isnโ€™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, doesnโ€™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. โ€œPants, Bast! Weโ€™re going in two minutes.โ€ 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 didnโ€™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 didnโ€™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 werenโ€™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 Bastโ€™s earlier protests, Toby is sure heโ€™s appreciative of the extra layer between his bare skin and the cold outside, and as they wait for their transport Tobyโ€™s sure the temperature drops as the sunโ€™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 itโ€™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 theyโ€™re definitely late. โ€œIs that it?โ€ 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.

โ€œIs thatโ€ฆโ€ 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."

Tobyโ€™s eyes dart around the group as he enters, finding comfort in the sight of familiar faces โ€“ Frankie, Sam, Grace โ€“ 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.

โ€œClouds.โ€ The smaller boy mumbles, his cheeks turning a bright red at the scrutiny being directed his way. Sunnyโ€™s head ducks further at the scoff pulled from the bullyโ€™s mouth.

โ€œClouds?โ€ Garth repeats, glancing around with an incredulous look on his face, โ€œWhat, you mean you can create storms?โ€

โ€œNo, I-โ€ฆโ€ Sunny swallows, looking decidedly more nervous by the second, โ€œI can just m-move them, slightly.โ€

โ€œOh, well thatโ€™s going to be useful against a fucking killer!โ€ 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, โ€œWhat about you two? You gonna contribute a power thatโ€™s actually fucking useful? Or join this pathetic lot?โ€

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.

Tobyโ€™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 Garthโ€™s eyes he feels he should make some sort of addition to Bastโ€™s introduction. Anything that might make that anger evaporate slightly.

โ€œIโ€™m still learning, but I-โ€ฆ we want to help.โ€ Comes Tobyโ€™s quiet reply. Apparently, however, theyโ€™re not the words that the red-faced man wants to hear.

โ€œYou want to help?โ€ Anger surges from Garth Holden, and itโ€™s all Toby can do to not take a step backwards, away from it. โ€œI 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?โ€

โ€œHey asshole, we didnโ€™t come here to judge everyoneโ€™s powers. Lay off.โ€ Frankieโ€™s voice was the first to stand against Garthโ€™s rant, though it only caused the brute to round on her instead.

โ€œOf course we fucking did! If someone doesnโ€™t send the useless kids home, theyโ€™re going to end up getting themselves and anyone forced to rely on them killed.โ€ Garthโ€™s words ring out around the warehouse, and Toby canโ€™t help but notice that a few of those gathered around โ€“ those individuals hanging around the outskirts of the room โ€“ were nodding in agreement, โ€œI donโ€™t know about you, but I donโ€™t plan on being murdered because some little shit starts playing Disney princess instead of fighting, or canโ€™t back me up because there are no fucking mirrors around.โ€

"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.

โ€œOh, well thatโ€™s going to be useful against a fucking killer!โ€ 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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โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”
โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”“

song; bang bang XXX hex; #C58917 XXX outfit; nude gown

โ”—โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”›
โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”

    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.

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 themis
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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 gรขtรฉ..." The spoiled brat. "...ne fait rien pour lui-mรชme" 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 trรจs 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.

[ โœ‰ Chris G. โ†’ Atticus ] : Are you awake? Urgent message
[ โœ‰ Atticusโ†’ Chris G.] : I'm awake. What is it?
[ โœ‰ Chris G. โ†’ 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
[ โœ‰ Atticusโ†’ Chris G.] : Edwin Clarke? Why?
[ โœ‰ Chris G. โ†’ 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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wฮฑrั”hฯƒusั”
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 naivetรฉ, 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 naivetรฉ. 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 heโ€™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, didnโ€™t sit well with the young boy. Nor, for that matter, did Garth Holdenโ€™s tone.

Jackโ€™s brows furrowed slightly at the perceived slight to himself and Frankie, yet he didnโ€™t raise his voice in protest. Instead, Jackโ€™s arm came up, his bright pink glove coming to press lightly against his lips as warm brown eyes followed Garth Holdenโ€™s path into the corner.

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

โ€œDonโ€™t worry about him, Jack. Heโ€™s an ass.โ€

Jack nodded, though his eyes still fell back on the bulky young man. He watched, slightly stunned, as Garthโ€™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 wasnโ€™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 wasnโ€™t long before Jackโ€™s attention was shifted away from the pair in the corner. Jackโ€™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 โ€“ 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 Jackโ€™s eye. If Jack wasnโ€™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, Jackโ€™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, Jackโ€™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 โ€“ and how cool did Jack think Cloud manipulation was! โ€“ but for the vast majority of those gathered around. Sunny stepped back, cheeks a deep red, eyes downcast as a result of Garthโ€™s derision.

โ€œI think your power sounds great.โ€ Jack mumbles to the other boy.

Sunny smiles slightly, his eyes taking on a curious spark as he whispers back, โ€œYours does too. Can you really talk to animals?โ€

Jack nods, about to continue their talk before Garthโ€™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 didnโ€™t appear to appreciate Sunnyโ€™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 Garthโ€™s place didnโ€™t dissipate quickly, and Jackโ€™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 โ€“ fall โ€“ 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, Jackโ€™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. Jackโ€™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. Jackโ€™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 hadnโ€™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, couldnโ€™t mistake the comment for anything else. His eyes darted back to the new pair to see how theyโ€™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, โ€œI think you two might have dropped into the wrong party. Like Red said, weโ€™re all about to go home for milk and cookies.โ€ Casper's eyes fell slowly down each of the pair, noting and admiring clothing and bodies, while a grin spread across his face. โ€œThough, seems youโ€™re a far way from your own homes, so youโ€™re welcome to come to mine.โ€ Casper didnโ€™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 wouldnโ€™t be muffled, he offered, โ€œYouโ€™re at the warehouse.โ€ The exact address escaped him, which shouldnโ€™t surprise anyone who knew that he had been partially led here by a dog named Diggles. โ€œWeโ€™re trying to stop the serial killer.โ€ 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. โ€œThe-โ€ฆ the police arenโ€™t doing anything, so we- weโ€™re trying to help.โ€

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

โ€œOr we could skip introductions and get right to the good stuff.โ€ 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, โ€œI only meant, show us your powers.โ€

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 themis
Image


โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”


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.

โ€œYouโ€™re at the warehouse.โ€ 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.

โ€œWeโ€™re trying to stop the serial killer. The-โ€ฆ the police arenโ€™t doing anything, so we- weโ€™re trying to help.โ€ 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. Weโ€™re here to figure out some way to stop the death, because so far the police have refused to take it seriously.โ€ A girl this time, a flash of red hair greeting him as he turns to face her. โ€œWe may not have a plan yet, but like Sunny said, we have enough heads here that I donโ€™t doubt weโ€™ll be able to come up with something. Even if weโ€™re just able to prove to the police that this is a real case, weโ€™ll have done something.โ€

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.

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

โ€œOr we could skip introductions and get right to the good stuff.โ€ He grins, the redhead sighs and rolls her eyes. Atticus stops himself from following her. โ€œI only meant, show us your powers.โ€

"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.

โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”

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.

โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”โ”

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


โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€
the wฮฑrั”hฯƒusั”
hex: #9BA9B4

โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€

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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.