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Katherine Mac Niadh

I am who I am. I am not yours.

0 · 260 views · located in Portland, Oregon

a character in “Hero Service”, as played by blondehaired

Description

KAT MAC NIADH
I am not yours, not lost in you

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THE BASICS
CODENAMExxx.xArtemis.
ALIASESxxxxxxxxanything other than Katherine Anna Mac Niadh is good.
AGE/ZODIACx.xxeighteen, pisces.
SEXUALITYxxxxxhomosexualt.
HOMETOWNxxxxCarmel-by-the-Sea, California.

THE APPEARANCE
EYE COLORxxxxxlight brown.
HAIR COLORxxxxlight brown.
HEIGHTxxxxxxx.x5'6"

THE ABILITY
TITLExxxxxxxx.xxguardian manifestation
DESCRIPTIONxxdraws heightened abilities from otherworldly spirit
NEGATIONxxxxxwhite gold



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Not lost, although I long to be


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FASHION STYLE
Kat was much more feminine as a child, as are most girls when their parents are the ones choosing their clothing. But she hasn’t changed much, often adding masculine elements to her feminine fashion. A sundress with a leather jacket and combat boots, a soft sweater and skirt with a corduroy jacket and baseball hat, she wears whatever fits her fancy for the day. A lot of her clothes are thrifted to find unique items without a high price tag. But heels are usually not an option as she’s never mastered the concept of walking on her toes so gracefully. For formal events, she may dare a small heel to match elegant dresses, but will often wear a dressy jumpsuit or even a suit. She’d rather be somewhere cold, where she can layer up and keep herself warm with a steaming up of hot chocolate.


HERO UNIFORM
The base of Kat’s uniform is a black leotard with a hood attached, the inside of the hood being a white gold color. The leotard is made of a durable fabric that cushions some physical attacks, and reaches down to her upper thigh. She layers a pit of white fishnet tights on her legs and white fishnet fingerless gloves that reach to her elbows. Her boots come over her knees and are padded with some light armor, with the laces being the same white gold as the inside of her hood. She’s also requested white gold gauntlets that enhance her combat and wears an oversized leather jacket with the symbol of the spirit on the back in white gold.


SPECIAL OBJECTS/MARKS/SCARS
she has a few scars from bullying as a kid but nothing that a few layers of makeup or clothes can’t hide. Especially a long white scar down the middle of her back.


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Lost as a candle lit at noon, lost as a snowflake in the sea


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LIKES
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cherries, small lap dogs, singing in the shower, yoga and meditation, romance novels, buying new clothes, training with her brother, learning new recipes, the smell of peppermint, oversized button up shirts, cute nicknames (except for the ones her brother comes up with), dressing up for dates, reading stories of female heroes, journaling, long boots



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DISLIKES
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the smell of charcoal, any period of silence, those who don’t accept abilities, throwing away clothes, late nights, microwaved food, overwhelming loneliness, her childhood hometown, those who don’t forgive, any hot weather, strangers, those who fear her or her abilities, losing control

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You love me, and I find you still a spirit beautiful and bright


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ABILITIES ⟶ GUARDIAN MANIFESTATION
Kat has the ability to draw power from an otherworldly spirit that has attached itself to her and her brother Kip. While Kip uses energy-based weaponry, Kat draws physical condition and combat from the spirit. She can summon martial arts skills from the spirit’s knowledge, and it’s energy can enhance her endurance and her physical condition. It can even wrap it’s energy around her at various points to shield her from sustaining damage. Her hand to hand combat skills are unmatched when she uses the spirit’s gifts. Her eyes glow in the white gold energy and can even push back some of the fear and nervousness when she lets the spirit in more.

With this comes drawbacks. Serious damage to the spirit’s energy armor can cause her physical pain even if the attack doesn’t hit her directly. She also has to give more of herself when she uses its combat skills, which leads to a higher risk of the spirit possessing her body and doing as it pleases. There’s a chaotic, sinister energy from the spirit that scares her, along with the loss of control. It’s the same reason she has the long white scar on her back, from giving too much of herself to the spirit to have its superhuman condition.

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Yet I am I, who long to be lost as a light is lost in light.


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There are pieces of herself that make up the woman she is today. The past of a girl hated and feared by her town, the present of a girl trying to find herself, and the future of a hero stronger than anyone ever thought she would be.

The Kat she presents herself now is a fiesty one. She and her brother have similar traits of mischief and needing to be involved with others, but she is more toned down. She can be chatty on the right subject, and always tries to make people happy. That’s all she really wants, a smile or laugh because of something she said or did. She is fiercely loyal to those she can make happy, and the ones she cares about. Those few who make into her tight circle of people she cares about, she will go to the death for them. And may come off as a clingy friend at times, but she doesn’t want to lose those who make her happy in return.

She spent a lot of her childhood unhappy, for fear of being bullied then the self-hatred of being fear for what she was. For what she couldn’t change. She has anger for those who choose not to understand her, but also a deep sadness. It is what drives her to train, when she is angry, to be a good hero. To be good. When she finds the sadness within, it is not uncommon for her to stay alone or only with Kip. It can consume her with anxieties and loneliness and she’d rather just be alone. These times are few and far in between, she usually craves the company of others.

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Oh plunge me deep in love -- put out my senses, leave me deaf and blind


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HISTORY
Superhumans were few and far in between in the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. It was small California town with a little beach and a lot of people who gravitated towards the peace and quiet. That was what drew the Mac Niadh couple, who had no powers to speak of and wanted a little town to raise children in. They were gifted with twins on their first try, a boy and a girl. Kieran and Katherine Mac Niadh. And then their children became gifted.

That was how they saw it. But they feared for them too, because this was not the town to be gifted in. Kat and Kip manifested powers early, attached to a great spirit that could provide them with chaotic abilities. Due to Kat’s timid nature as a child, she was an easy target for constant bullying. Usually it was more words than physical, but the more confident the bullies became, the harder they pushed. Kip, being the protective brother he is, came to her rescue. There was an incident, when both of them were running high on emotion, the spirit took over.

Their parents had always told them not to use their abilities, out of love. They needed to protect them from their neighbors, but they couldn’t stop the aftermath of the incident. The bullying didn’t stop, it almost became more physical and Kat couldn’t stop it because she would almost shake with fear at the thought of using her abilities. They eventually moved to Miami, after basically being forced out of the town. Miami was kinder to them, with superheroes galore working and celebrated by the news. It was here that Kat decided she would follow Kip into the hero service, years of wondering if she should just negate them squashed the moment she saw a female hero flying through the air right above her head. She was determined to become a hero just like her, and become someone that wasn’t feared. Someone good.


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Swept by the tempest of your love, a taper in a rushing wind.


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CHARACTER'S CREATORxxThe Writer's Voice
SHEET CREATORxxThe Writer's Voice
DIALOGUE CODExx#E2A76F
THOUGHT CODExx#000000 (can be same as dialogue)

So begins...

Katherine Mac Niadh's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sunhi Na Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Lucas Halloh Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Leonida Armel
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Kat’s body hit the ground with a dull thud, drowned out by the taunting voices in front of her. “I didn’t push you that hard! Get up, freak, I’m not done with you.”

”Get up.” Lucas stood above Kat, both slightly panting as she offered her hand for him to help her up. Lucas looks at the hand, then back at her as he folds his arms over his chest. Kat huffs, pulling herself to her feet and charging at him for another attack.

Kat holds her shaking fists in front of her face, wide eyes moving frantically to each of her classmates surrounding her. Their laughter was cruel and deafening. “You’re not gonna use that little ghost of yours, Katherine? You’re too weak to fight us alone.”

”Use your abilities. I want you to fight me at full strength,” Lucas barks as he catches her fist, only letting go when she made the spirit’s armor cover her fists and it burned him. He pulls back, and waits for her next attack towards the edge of the training room. She’d made the first move for most of their training this morning, and would wait for him to strike first.

The teachers never stepped in. Her other classmates never stepped in. The torture never ended until she couldn’t get back up. She curled into a ball, shaking as the bullies surrounded her. “Maybe if we hurt the freak enough those powers will go away-“

”Alright Lucas, Jesus!” Kat finally spits out when he has her pinned to the floor, her stomach pushed into the mat as he held her armor-covered arm behind her. The energy faded once her arm dropped to the mat and she pulls herself up into a seated position. ”Would you stop kicking my ass please?” Kat grumbles as she rubs her arm that he was just holding behind her.

Lucas scoffs, holding out his own arm this time to help her from the floor. ”When you stop making it so easy,” Lucas replies, earning himself a deadly glare from his fellow teammate.

Sometimes Kat didn’t know why she wanted to train with Lucas so much, he only gave her negative criticism and she hadn’t won a training match against him so far. But when she woke up around 3:30AM, drenched in sweat from a never ending nightmare, she needed a good sparring partner that would go back to sleep the moment she woke them up. That didn’t mean she would take his comments lightly.

”Okay hotshot, you’ve been training with two professional heroes. Cut me some slack,” Kat grumbles, grabbing a little towel to throw around her neck so she can wipe the sweat from her face. Lucas rolled his eyes as he walked out the door, calling behind him, ”No villain will cut you slack and neither willI.”

He was not too thrilled when he heard the incessant knocking at his door, waking him up from much needed sleep. The offer of training was never one he gave up, so he dragged himself out of bed without Kat having to ask twice.

The training session didn’t last as long as he thought and Lucas had plenty of time to ready himself for the day. Standing in a steaming shower, he closed his eyes and tilted his head for the hot water to hit the sensitive skin on his face. One month of the Hero Service and he’d been pushed harder than he ever thought he would. Kat was right, he’d been training with his brothers Dom and Rory since he could hold up his fists, but even those on the team without a hint of training before now were giving him a challenge.

He was out of the shower and almost pulling on his usual training clothes when Alvarez’s voice boomed throughout the facility. His uniform had been neatly kept on a special rack in the corner of his room, his mask laying over his boots. The only thing that was slightly disheveled was the bandages he just used in training, thrown on top of the rack before his shower.

Lucas ended up being the first person in the room, even Agent Alvarez came in just moments after him. ”Do you even sleep, kid?” The older man chuckles, tipping his coffee at the young trainee. Lucas smirks back in reply, folding his hands behind him in a proper stance to greet his superior.

The next to come was Leo, who made their place beside Lucas and made a comment similar to the one from the agent. ”I just plan accordingly. I even trained with Kat and got here before you,” Lucas answers matter-of-factly, slipping his mask off once he started speaking with Leo.

He felt a bump at his legs that threw him off balance, stepping one foot back as he looked down. Kibble, little machine that ate sharp objects to give to Lucas as gifts during his boarding school days, was still alive and rolling around as usual. And just behind the little machine, its maker had tripped over her own feet and hit the ground before he could try and catch her fall. ”Sunhi, there wasn’t anything for you to trip on, how did you do that?” Lucas asks in a scolding tone, helping her back onto her feet.

”Chill, Mr. Perfectionist, Sunhi’s a brainiac. So what if she gets a little clumsy?” Kat strolls into the room in full uniform as she speaks, grinning at Sunhi as she makes her way towards the pair.

Kat laid on her bed for a while before she finally pulled herself up for a shower, but there was only about half the team there when she arrived in her own full gear. She notices Leo’s already made it in, and waves as her fellow teammate with a shy smile. The two were already becoming close in this short month, and just being around Leo made Kat more confident overall.

Jordan and Riley were already here too. She was friendlier with Jordan, but smiled towards them when she took her place in the control room. It was no surprise that Kip hadn’t made it yet, sometimes he would sleep through half of their morning briefing before finally gracing everyone with his presence. It was a surprise that he’d made it before their mandatory 5:30, but that quickly changed when Kip came in barefoot.

The second appearance wasn’t much better, considering his shirt was inside out and his clothes looked like they’d been left on the floor. Kat butted in before Lucas could make any sort of comment, ”Hey Kippy, your tag is showing. Did you even put your shirt on right?”

These kids amused Agent Alvarez. All of them had a unique personality and powers that influenced how they interacted with their other teammates. Some looked like they’d been dragged out of bed, namely Kip, but others looked like they’d already been up for hours, like Lucas. Some could brighten up after a few minutes, like Kat and Leo, while some would gripe at the early hours, like Jordan. Either way, they managed to report mostly on time and respected him as their instructor. This team was greatly different from his previous teams, but there was something special about these kids that would set them apart from the rest of the heroes.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lorenzo de la Riva Character Portrait: Riley Schofield Character Portrait: Willow Forst Character Portrait: Sunhi Na Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Lucas Halloh Character Portrait: Anouk Vervloet Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Leonida Armel
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”All members of Hero Team Zeta 422 will be in the control room at 5:30 sharp, full gear required."

From the comfort of a bed never made, Anouk groaned and rolled onto her other side. Now awake, she was instantly bitter, having been plucked from a lucid dream. She had spent most of it flying, and, to her delight, she had neither required wings to do so, nor experienced any such pain in the process. Suffice to say, she was far from eager to return to consciousness, where both factors were quite the opposite.

After several minutes of lying in tired reluctance, she clamoured out of bed, dropping her pyjamas to the floor in what had now become an act of lazy routine. For a brief moment, she stood naked in front of her mirror, face sleepy and sheepish. Then, she sighed, and with a grimace, put on her 'uniform'.

It never didn't hurt, but she had grown used to the pain of the scales by this point. They emerged, piercing and sharp, from beneath her skin, and folded to tuck flat against her body. Dark like deep water, they interlocked into what looked like a catsuit of navy crocodile skin. It kept the warmth in, for the most past, but nonetheless she threw on a hoodie before wandering down to the control room, as the morning chill lingered a touch too heavily. Her feet walked bare and scaled across the polished floors, and she winced at the cold, and then winced further, as she allowed the scales on her soles to thicken.

she arrived just in time to hear Kip offering what was, undoubtedly, something both insincere and unconvincing. She smiled at the first, and potentially last, amusing moment of the morning, before sidling over to Kip. In the midst of a stifled yawn, she nodded at Alvarez, concurring with Kip.

"Me too, Al. I've been up hours. 'Rise and grind' and all that."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jordan Reyes Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Lucas Halloh Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Leonida Armel
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xxxxxxxxxLEO ARMEL & JORDAN REYES
#FFD201 || #794044


“I just plan accordingly. I even trained with Kat and got here before you,” Lucas’ response was curt, as it usually is, and he said it with a twinge of boastfulness. Although Leo didn’t appreciate that, that wasn’t what their attention was drawn to. For a moment, something flashed in Leo’s eyes as they looked, no, glared as they met Lucas’ gaze. Leo likes to be aware of what they feel; it helps them keep control of their emotions and appear more calm and pleasant in general. But for a second there, they had no idea what had happened. They had no idea what they were feeling. They blinked, and their stare was reverted, returning to the usual relaxed smile with a mischievous gleam in their eyes.

“Damn! Without me?” They chuffed, putting on a fake and exaggerated pout. “Invite me to the party next time.” The pout faded back in a wide grin.

Before seeing what Lucas would say in response, Jordan entered the room, and all of their attention went to him. He closed the distance between the two of them quickly, resting his head on their shoulder before whining, “Leeeeooooo it's too early for this,” and pulling them into a hug.

Without hesitation, Leo wrapped their arms around Jordan and hugged him back. “I know, I know, mon coeur.” They cooed, stroking the back of his head with one of their hands. Leo cared greatly for their friends, and Jordan was one of the closest and most precious to them. There was something about seeing their friends in distress that brought out their inner guardian. “Did you get enough sleep? Did you make sure to eat breakfast?” They asked, their voice full of genuine concern.

There was something about Leo’s presence that always instantly made Jordan feel better. Or maybe it was just their amazing hugs, the type that were the closest thing you could get to hugging sunshine. They were the perfect thing for a too early morning and Jordan felt better the moment Leo wrapped their arms around him, let alone stroked his hair.

“Mm. Never enough sleep, Leo. But I ate breakfast,” he mumbled back in response. “They had those nice chocolate pastries.” He straightened up and released Leo just in time to see Kat come in and returned a lazy smile at her. Kip’s arrival, followed by his departure, followed by his return managed to lure a laugh from Jordan’s lips despite the early morning. “Long night, Kip?” He quipped with a smirk.

Leo’s smile became more warm as they heard about Jordan’s morning. “I know it can be hard, but you need to try and go to sleep earlier. But it is good that you ate breakfast!” They chirped as Jordan pulled back, scanning his face with the usual gentle gaze.

People started to enter the room, including Kat, who immediately caught Leo’s attention. She waved and smiled at them, a simple act that made Leo’s chest feel light. Without hesitation, they beamed right back at her, giving her a small, playful salute. After doing that, Leo couldn’t stop their stare from lingering on her for an almost awkward amount of time. After several seconds, they blinked, realized what they were doing, and tried to act nonchalantly about the fact that they were staring at Kat.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lorenzo de la Riva Character Portrait: Willow Forst Character Portrait: Kieran Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Naia Luo Character Portrait: Bronwyn Lapointe Character Portrait: Carter Evans
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#, as written by Cloud
It was definitely not Kip's coolest entry, but as he corrected his shirt and grinned at those around him, he shrugged off the potential embarrassment easily. Instead, he sent a wink at Bronwyn, having heard her words.

"Maybe you should lend me a few clones each morning so I can look as gorgeous as you." he suggested with a grin before blowing a kiss at his teammate. It was then that an arm wrapped around his neck and Kip found himself fighting for his dignity again as Carter attempted to ruin Kip's carefully crafted bed head.

"Carter!" Kip complained, trying to push the other boy off. He was a second away from viciously going for a nipple twist when he was released. Kip gave a laugh and elbowed Carter back before running hasty fingers through his hair to straighten it. "I'll get you back for that." he promised before turning his attention to the Agent addressing them.

Kip listened intently all the way up to 'field work', where he let out a cheer and pumped his fist in the air. He was ready to prove his stuff out of the training room and, if he was being honest, he was ready for the attention heroes could get from the public. Dreams of being showered in love letters and signing posters of himself looking heroic filled his head, and we're only broken when he realised that his twin sister had been placed on the other team from him.

Kip pulled a face and glanced at Kat, knowing that he would worry about her more if he wasn't with her. It was stupid, since he knew that she was fully capable of taking care of herself, but the twins were also stronger when fighting side by side. He had no time to complain though, merely having to mouth "good luck" at his sister before leaving with his team.

With a grin, Kip walked up to Lucas and clapped him on the back. "Lucky you, Lu, you've got me on your team to show you how to fight." He laughed and glanced at the others walking with him to the meeting point, "if anyone wants pointers, just watch me in battle. I'll teach you a few things."

Kip's self-confidence was usually what propelled him to push himself, but also got him in trouble more often than not. He wasn't the best fighter in the team, but he acted like it often enough. Regardless, when they arrived to hear their duties for the patrol, he had enough sense to listen attentively, even if he occasionally elbowed Enzo in excitement.

Will, standing behind Kip, had to marvel at his unprofessionalism. She knew he was a decent fighter, otherwise he would have been kicked out long ago, but the boy had a mouth that wouldn't stop. She didn't necessarily dislike him, but she didn't particularly like him either. Whenever something idiotic came out of his mouth, it made Will wonder how two twins could be so different.

The speeches were given and the Echo team were split further. Will moved to stand beside Naia, a friendly now directed at the other girl. She was relieved with her pairing, Naia was more than capable and Will could now look forward to what she hoped would be a smooth patrol.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sunhi Na Character Portrait: Katherine Mac Niadh Character Portrait: Leonida Armel
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LEO ARMEL & KAT MAC NIADH & NA SUN-HI
#FFD201 || #E2A76F
|| #E77471

As the room started to fill with the rest of the team, Kat tuned out the bickering between the teammates and joined the company of her thoughts. Something big was happening, considering they were in full gear and Agent Alvarez had been mentioning the start of field work coming soon. Being out there, where no one knows them other than another uniform trying to protect them, it was nerve-wracking and unbelievably exciting at the same time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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