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Casper Harpert

"I've probably got at least a month on me right now."

0 · 1,293 views · located in Room of Reason

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Curtsive

Groups

A faction of vampyric creatures who reign over the Cursed Wood. "Expect from thy blood no more than thy blood expects from thee."

Description

Name: Casper Harpert
Species: Human
Age: 18
Gender: Male
Height: 5'6"
Weight: 120 lb
Family: Mother: Veronica Borchert, Step-Father: Adam Borchert, Legal Mother: Casey Delancy

Starsailor wrote:My wandering soul found solace at last,
I wanted to know how long it would last.
She's losing control, she's coming down fast,
The heart that I stole, I'm not giving back, never giving back.

So begins...

Casper Harpert's Story

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His fingers clenched tight around the elbows of his hoodie and pulled inwards. Maybe he was trying to make himself smaller. Maybe he was trying to keep his hands from shaking. But, the boy that accompanied her in the garden had kept his eyes to the floor and his shoulders lined up with his toes as he walked. Sure, it looked strange, but if you asked him, he would say that walking is boring, and he might seem like a delinquent but he doesn't like breaking backs. Not at all.

It was the first time he'd come through that section of town. The sliver where it was peaceful, and the sound of birds chirping and hedges rustling broke up that overbearing ringing that he'd get in his ears every time it'd gotten quiet. Didn't even have to listen to anyone speak, and it could be quiet, and that ringing would be gone. Nature was a blessing, and god knows silence is unnatural.

In the brief times that he looked up from the yellowed toes od his sneakers, it was to make sure he rounded the right corner. It was when he decided to stop walking in circles that he'd seen her.

And, well, he didn't make much of her. Not at first. He didn't make much of a lot of people. That's how the game worked. It took a few moments of realization and a few more feet until he realized just who was sitting on that bench, doing god-knows-whatever.

"Gabby?" he said, his voice a stringent hardness the same that the pills that rustled in her hands were.

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Casper laughed, but it was strained and short. His brows were contorted inward with slight worry, and his mouth was pulled into a small grimace as he spoke. When he did, he'd finally unclenched his fingers from his hoodie, and brought it up to his neck.

"We thought you died or something. Jeremy went harder. He ended up in the hospital, and then rehab."

The boy seemed to bear the same nauseous feeling that she had, but at the same time, a weight had been lifted off his chest. He stepped forward as she stood up, then suddenly halted in his path, afraid to make an intrusion.

"Where the hell did you go? Why do you look like you're gonna bolt, Gabs? Did you get yourself in some sorta shit? Because, you know, that's not permanent. We got you out of shit before."

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"And you just... didn't tell us? You thought we weren't important enough for that? Or, is it that bullshit where you should just cut contact with all your junkie trash friends and make new clean ones, because we're just disposable anyway?"

His face contorted into a mixture of anger and disbelief. He stepped forward, though the two were still very much apart. His hands wrung on whatever they were laid on, so much so that he'd been quick to make a red mark on his neck.

"Is that the bullshit they fed you? If you would've told us, Gab, you know we would've understood it."

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"You're sorry you bailed? Honestly? You should've said something? God, that's a piss-poor excuse. You know, I knew we were expendable, like trash, but at least we were fucking expendable together. You left us all alone, 'cause you wanted to make a change in your life and we'd only ruin your chances, right?"

A painful throb grasped the front of his head, and he turned his eyes to the floor. Still yet, he pressed a palm to his face, and finally broke eye contact with the girl.

"Blackjack no takebacks, right? You're clean for keepsies? Just disappear, and you come back a better person than the rest of us. Fuck off with that, Gab. You were part of our family, but it turns out you're just like the rest of them."

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"We were fucking shitheads, I get it, Gab. You think I'm dumb? We knew what we were doing with our bodies, alright? You knew, I knew, Jeremy knew, and Kellie sure as hell knew." he spat, just as venomously as she had.

"And, yeah, I'm pissed. We thought you were dead, Gabby, dead. No, fuck if I'm happy for you. You know the shit that put us through? It was Jay, Kel, you, and me. Yeah, I'm pissed, because you just threw me and them away without even giving a shit. Now Jay's half dead, and Kel's full-dead. You ran away, and that leaves me. Fucking sue me if I'm pissed that I have one less person to be miserable with."

For a moment, he withdrew a hand from his face, before pressing it hard into his eye. He stepped away from her, and pressed his heel into the pavement beneath him.

He was different, then, and it was far past unnoticeable. His hands shook when he took them away from himself, and sweat lined his brow. He was angry, which was a stark contrast to anything he'd been before.

"And - it wasn't easy, finding people like you guys. I can't anymore, Gab. I just get laughed off, like some fuckin' sideshow."

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"So I can just fuck you up again?" Cas added, taking a step backward. "Or 'cause you want to make me not expendable anymore, is it?"

His eyes fell to the ground, where he stared at the tips of his shoes again. "I'm 2 days off, but that doesn't mean I want to be like you. I'd rather die than do what you did, even if I'd only be leaving an empty house behind."

That was when he'd heard the footsteps of others behind him, and he turned around to find the Italian man with the poor leg nearly in-between the two of them. Comparitively, Casper had looked like any other street rat, with how closely he hugged himself, and how red the brims of his eyes were.

"Who the fuck are you?"

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Casper thrusted out a hand to Viktor. It shook in it's place. "My name is Casper Harpert, and I abuse opiates like 50s man with straps on his shoulders on a not-so-hot homely housewife. Guess we share a friend. Are you one of her clean friends, Viktor? We were narcotics buddies, for a while, there."

It was obvious that, through and through, the boy's instant hatred for the man was fairly evident in his newfound goal to make him as uncomfortable as humanely possible.

"We were just kickin' shit and stones. You can stay, if you like. Don't think it's going any further than shit and stones, though."

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"Oh, wow." Cas breathed, and turned his eyes to Gabby. Almost accusingly, his gaze rested on her for a while. For someone who had seemed so anxious beforehand, his motions seemed to cease, if only for a little while.

"Careful, Gab. Don't want to get sucked into that life again, right? God fuckin' help you if you get near some H and Viktor doesn't stop you. We aren't real family, after all."

His eyes went to his feet again, and a distinct scowl had come to his face. "Well," He started. "I fuck around in the same slump that we used to, Gab. If you care since you left. Best get back, 'cause I'm getting a little too nauseous for my liking and I feel like snowing myself into oblivion."

He pivoted, and looked to Viktor. An open hand shot up, and gave the man's arm a pat. "Good luck with the haunt."

Then, the boy turned, and made his way to leave.

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Cas sucked in his bottom lip, and pivoted to look to the both of them. For a moment, he clenched his teeth behind his lips, before giving a sigh.

"Guess I'm just the snake in Eden, Julio."

His fists were balled at his sides, and they rubbed against the sides of his legs anxiously.

"Sorry then, too, Gabs. Should've just pretended I didn't see you, huh?"

He raised both hands and turned to leave again. That time, he hadn't hesitated, and made his way out of the Gardens.

The setting changes from Wing City Gardens (South) to Side Alley

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But she found a familiar face, apparently looking for another vice, judging by the tendrils and puffs of smoke that rose from both the orange-white stick he held between his knuckles and the smoke that came between his parted lips. As soon as that familiar figure set eyes on Gabby, though, he'd clasped his lips shut and extinguished the cigarette on the grimy wall behind him, as if it were his very own mother coming down the corridor, and he, a boy.

Again, a breath rattled through his chest, and escaped through his mouth in a sigh directed upward, as if he were damning the gods rather than praying to them. The puff of smoke that he'd been holding in floated to the top of the alley.

Then, Casper looked to Gabby as she'd passed.

"Should I pretend I don't see you this time? I figure that would be awkward, since this alley is cramped as hell and I can't divert my head like the exorcist."

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"I'm not acting like an asshole. I'm serious. You made it pretty fuckin' clear you'd be way better off if we just pretended we didn't see eachother every time we did last time we spoke. I took you not coming to the slum as the infinite 'yes' to that question." he said, a hand reaching up to rub at his neck. He was wearing purple gloves. The kind you bought at Wal-Mart because you tore a hole in your nice cotton white ones.

"And as far as I'm concerned, I've only seen you once. You really think that's anything to base an average off of?"

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He narrowed his eyes still, and crossed his arms, but gave a weak nod nonetheless. "Fine, then."

His stance dropped, and his fingers laced togethers. They touched the backs of his hands gingerly, and he looked up to Gabby. "You don't have to stick with me, you know. I'm not a pity case. You said something about not being around people like me. Or I mighta."

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"I'm trying to quit, you know, because I got nothing better to do and no one to do it with. But I'm not getting on one of those programs. Every time I get close, though, I keep going back. Close to giving up."

He shrugged, briefly. Still, his fingers were on the backs of his hands, rubbing erratically on the purple strings of his gloves. "But I'm gonna run out of money soon."

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"And then do what? You think my parents are going to want me to live with them?" Casper asked, turning his eyes to her. "I'd kill myself."

He unlaced his hands to reach up and scratch at his head.

"I don't have anything planned out, but it looks like I'm fucked if I keep doing it, and I'm fucked if I don't."

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"Thinking like what? I'm thinking pretty damn reasonable. I'm going to be forced to quit pretty soon, unless I start dealing the drug my goddamn self, and we always know how well that ends in movies," he said, and crossed his arms again.

"And, you know, the slum got taken down. That's why I wanted you to come by. It was getting renovated, into some place where homeless people can't hang around and shoot themselves up with shit. They barricaded the place now, so I've just been sleeping around wherever I can find a place. And I made a decision."

"I think I'd rather stick a gun in my mouth and shoot it off than sleep in a fucking alley every day of my life."

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"Somehow, I doubt a cop would want to help me out, Gab. Unless, by help me out, you mean arrest me. I'm not off H, Gab, and I'm pretty sure just having it on you is a crime," he said, and a sneer came to his mouth. "I've probably got at least a month on me right now."

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He dipped his hand where she'd gestured, and pulled a closed palm out. He was a creature of routine, and that much was obvious when Gabby had pointed to the pot of gold. He didn't want to toss that little bag of snow anywhere. It costed him a few burns and the near-to-last of his money.

But maybe it'd earn him more than wasted bills and burned nerve endings.

So he tossed it to the drain, where it unceremoniously fell into the sewer system beneath and resounded the faintest plop of water against the alley. The frown on his face and his tightly shut eyes indicated that he probably didn't enjoy that sound.

"Happy?"

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"And she's going to willingly give all these resources to a druggie, no charge?" He asked, his eyes trailing behind him, to where he'd tossed his bag. "I'm sure your life has gone uphill since you quit hanging out with us, but I don't think it's that easy."

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"It was actually kind of hypothetical, but if you want to flip shit, go ahead. I didn't say it was about our friendship. I was talking about your cool cop friend taking me in like nothing's up. You know that's not going to happen."

He heeled backwards. "And you know I'm not going to be able to quit cold turkey on a promise just because your cool cop friend might promise me a place to stay if I do. I'm barely past stage one and I've already bought myself a packet of cigarettes to deal with all the goddamn anxiety."

"And for gods sake, please stop explaining that it was the lifestyle. I've heard you a million times and more by now and we've only talked twice. I get that you don't like drugs. Do a PSA about it."

Frustrated again, he turned to walk away.

The setting changes from Side Alley to Main Street

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"Bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch," he murmured.

Cigarette out of the pocket.

"Bitch. Bitch. Bitch. She was a bitch. Yeah, I bitched too, but god damn."

As he trounced away from that alley he dug right into his pocket for another one of his vices. Then he had two. Two cigarettes. He had no need for two. One fumbled to the ground and crunched under his food, and he dug in his other pocket for the lighter. The pink and white polka-dotted one that he'd taken from a lost purse in the subway. But that's all he took. The lighter.

And then he left it there.

And, "Ugh." He was getting sweaty again, and the cap on his head wasn't helping it. His hair was acting like a mop for it all. He could use a bath. The moment that angelic albino babyhair on his head started to mat was the moment he planned to pick up the gun from his drop-off spot and blow his brains out. Which, admittedly, seemed like a silly thing to base his last line off of, but...

He figured, once his hair started to mat, he wouldn't have bathed in months. People who didn't bathe in months didn't have homes in years. People who didn't have homes in years, well, were pathetic.

So he was stuffing the cap in his jacket pocket and the cigarette in his mouth. He hadn't quite gotten used to the taste, but the smoke did what everyone had told him it would. Calm him down. That didn't stop the sweating. Or the stomach aches. Or the tiredness. It was around that time where he bounced back to not kicking the habit. To finding his dealer, paying in the money, and getting a fix. It was about that time.

Or, it would be, if he hadn't thrown his last allowance down the sewer drain a moment ago.

For no reason, it seemed, because it didn't earn him any real favor, did it? He walked away. She didn't stop him. He could have started by throwing that shit down the sewer, she said, and the nightmares were worth it, she said also, but what was convulsing, shitting your pants, shaking violently, and severe depression when he hadn't earned a place to stay by throwing that little baggy down the sewer drain?

"Four day withdrawal on the street is what that earned me. I'm going to die. I'm going to be found in an alley with shit in my pants, starved to death, convulsing. Fuck me. Fuck her. I'm going to die."

He crossed out of the alley, his steps taking him across the street. It was night. He had only crossed the street and turned left when he'd felt hands grasp the back of his jacket. The only expensive thing he'd worn on himself, other than the drugs that he'd tossed into the sewer beforehand. There wasn't much thought behind it, before the endearing Cas felt his heels drag backwards and his vision darken a little as he was pulled into the alley.

The same hands that grabbed his jacket let go, and relocated themselves to the dirtied suede collar on his front. The assaultee had raised his hands in a 'don't-shoot-me'-esque manner, and narrowed his eyes to adjust to the relative darkness.

"Casper the friendly ghost, who buys 3 bags in advance, tells you he's quittin' the habit, and then rubs from you every goddamn time he sees you. Casper the fuckin' retarded tweenager, who hangs out in hotspot alleys waitin' to get his neck broken."

"I'm broke. You can twist my pinky and pull my finger all you want, money isn't gonna come out of my ass, Price."

"Then give me back the god damned material you're not using, you fuckin' joke! Kickin' the habit my ass!" Price screamed, releasing the boy's jacket and backing up. He jutted his jaw out and bit his upper lip. He seemed to calm a bit, though his fists were very well clenched. "Where is it? You shouldn't be using it anymore, since you're breakin' out into sweats. So, you either pay me back the money or you give me back the stuff you're not usin'."

The moment Price seemed to stop in his place, though, the kid took a run for it. The alley was compact enough for Price to catch a quick lead on him, catch him by the back of the collar, and pull him back. Whatever grotesque, slick liquid that was on the ground worked well with what he was trying to pull, and the angel-locked boy had fell flat on his back with a thud.

When his dealer had knelt next to him, though, and opened his mouth for the dreary 'one last time' question... And he'd seen the slightest vignette to his vision, like the time his dealer had taken a lit cigarette and burnt it into the back of his hand? Well, he couldn't help but feel at least a little bit angry. That purple cotton glove balled up whatever was beneath it, which happened to be a bunch of gravel, snow salt, and a liquid substance that smelled like a strange combination of dirty dishwater and human feces.

And he lobbed it at Price's open mouth.

That caused a pretty volatile reaction from Price, who had the same, if not worse in degree, anger issues as Casper. After wiping his face, spitting the remnants on the assaultee below, and shouting an expletive in a foreign language, he pulled a gun from the back of his waistband and promptly shot Casper in the shoulder when he'd brought his arms up to block his face.

It rung through both their ears, the alley, and the streets outside. The dealer stood up to run.

"Hands in the air!"

Detective Foster, who was no stranger to these kinds of altercations, stood at the head of the alley with the gun in her hand, pointing it directly between the attacker's eyes. Her hardened, grey gaze was narrowed on the man, her lips pressed into a thin line as she advanced two steps. If he so much as twitched his gun hand she was going to shoot.

"Drop your weapon and get your hands against the wall!"

"Sweet baby jesus this fucking hurts!" screamed the adolescent on the ground, who had since rolled over and clasped a then-ungloved hand against his shoulder.

Price, however, didn't intend on getting shot. He stopped as soon as he'd seen the suit and gun, and raised the weapon in the air, before it unceremoniously dropped to the ground. He slowly staggered to the wall, before hesitantly placing both hands on it. His eyes turned to Casper.

"Screw the drugs, kid. I'm going to fuckin' kill you for this."

"Yeah, not likely. Do yourself a favor and keep your mouth shut. It's one of your rights." Casey said as she approached, whipping out a pair of handcuffs and snapping Price's wrists into them. "Now sit your ass down and don't take your forehead away from the wall."

Waiting until he'd done just that, Casey then turned on Casper, her brow furrowing a moment as she stepped over to the young man and took a knee at his side. She wasn't dressed in her blues, or anything particularly fancy. Just a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. Her jacket she'd left back in her car. She gingerly touched the young man on his good shoulder.

"Hey, lay on your back and let me see." she instructed, her voice oddly gentle.

"Is this what shock feels like? I think I'm going into shock. Or having a panic attack," Casper breathed, still holding onto his shoulder. "I really wish I was addicted to painkillers. I wish I was high on painkillers right now. That would be great."

He rolled onto his back, and with hesitance, released the wound. It tinted his dad's suede jacket with blood. His left shoulder was going to be particularly chilly, these next few weeks, he bet.

"I don't like hospitals. If you call an ambulance, I'll run, or punch you in the stomach with my good hand, or something."

Casey quirked a brow. "Can you walk?"

"Do I look like I got shot in the leg?" he retorted.

"Your mouth works just fine. Get up. We'll go to my car." She stood, holding out a hand for his good arm and bracing herself so he she could balance his weight.

"I'm not riding with him in the back seat. He'll do the handcuff thing where he'll slip his hands under his legs and then choke me out." Casper said, nodding toward Price. By then, the man had since been watching the two with an air of impatience and disdain.

He raised his good arm, and clasped his hand into hers, before pulling himself up. Again, he used the hand to hold onto his shoulder, that of which wasn't relaying the most pleasant of feelings to him right then.

Casey helped hoist him up, checking to make sure he wouldn't collapse before she turned to grab Price roughly by the back of the shirt. She lifted him to his feet rather powerfully before encouraging him forward, a thoughtful expression on her face.

"I'm sure you don't even have a permit for that weapon." she mused, her car sitting at the ready in the street. It wasn't your typical cop car, but there were small runes inscribed on the doors and the backs of the seats. Price wasn't going anywhere.

"So, you can either climb into the back or I'll shove you. Definitely your choice." She said to Price, even as she opened the front passenger door for Cas.

"Never felt more manhandled in my life, and that's sayin' somethin' considerin' you're a lady, lady." he retorted. She would have to shove him the first few times to get him to walk, but as soon as he'd found himself nearly looking at the ground, he was keen on walking to the car all by himself. "Funny story about the gun, actually. I know this is all, 'you heard it all before', but it ain't what it looks like. Wasn't even my gun in the first place."

"This is getting desperate." Casper chimed, from the back. He loaded himself into the passenger seat, though hesitantly, and not until he'd seen Price take his place first.

"It's all circumstancial, anyway. That's what cops like to call it, don't they? There was a struggle, jefa. Angelboy is tougher than he looks."

"Yeah, but you did end up shooting him." Casey replied as she slammed the door shut on both of the young men. Casey wasn't so old herself, possibly in her mid twenties, and in good shape. She made her way around to the driver's side and climbed in.

"So, really, regardless of where the ownership of the gun really lies, you're the one at fault here, and Angelboy is bleeding all over the front seat of my car as a result." She smiled rather sweetly back at Price.

"You're dealing with a very unusual kind of cop, so I'd probably suggest keeping your mouth shut until we get to the station."

That said, she glanced at Cas, demanding he secure his seatbelt before pulling off into traffic.

He buckled his seatbelt.

"I'm actually getting kind of lightheaded, here. I think if I don't die from the bloodloss, I'll at least pass out from it. Soon. I'm seeing after images." Casper said, rather dismissively. "And, by the way, that's a dealer you have in your back seat. He probably has drugs on him. Big ones. Double H. So if you want to put him in for a longer-term, for that, that would be great too. I'd like to make it past my 27th birthday, if I don't die in your car."

Price wrung his hands together, and leaned forward to place his head in his lap. "I'm going to murder you, kid. Any leeway you got from me is gone."

"What did I say about shutting your mouth?" Casey told Price in the backseat. Her eyes slipped sideways to Cas. "And I think we'll let the courts decide what to do with your buddy here." She wasn't an unsafe driver, just a daring one. Got it from her mother, she figured.

"But if you're going to keep whining about blood loss I may as well take you to the hospital."

"If you start toward the hospital, I'm gonna jump out of the car at a red light. Or unbuckle my seatbelt and punch you in the stomach. Or something like that. I just figure that if I'm bleeding from the shoulder that we can do something to stop that. Other than going to the hospital." he groaned.

Being shot in the shoulder wasn't exactly a pleasurable experience, apparently. By the way he was gripping onto the wound and complaining about it, it seemed just as such.

"How far away is the god damned police station?"

"It'll be farther if you keep it up." she warned him. Actually, it was only a few blocks down. After a left, then another left, the Wing City Police Department came up in all its refined glory. Casey parked, walked around to the back, and grabbed Price out of the backseat.

"Fortunately, I just get to write the reports. Someone else is going to search and interrogate you." she informed him as she lead him up the steps.

If Cas tried to get out of the car, he'd find that he wouldn't be able to. That, and the car would simply refuse to start for him. Casey adored certain kinds of magic.

"What am I, your date?!" Price bawled, as she'd taken him out of the car. Getting caught hadn't rung well with him. Then again, he hadn't planned to shoot Casper. He hadn't planned to get a mouthful of gravel, and he hadn't quite planned to get hauled down to the police station either.

Casper slid over to the driver's seat, and hit the button to unlock the passenger's side.

To no avail. And to his confusion. He tried once more, and when that didn't work, he had ultimately ended up slamming his foot into the passenger side door.

The woman had locked him in.

It wasn't long before Casey came back outside, with a med kit in hand. She trotted over to the driver's side, climbing in easily, and plopped the med kit into Casper's lap. For a moment, she glanced at the door he'd kicked, noticing the dirt smears on the interior.

"Oh, hah. Forgot the child lock." she said with an intentional wink. Putting the car into drive, she pulled out into traffic once more, this time heading towards the residential districts in a relatively nice part of town.

"You can bunk at my apartment while I fix you up, ok? What can I call you? Unless you want me to refer to you as 'Angelboy'."

Casper had given her a tight-lipped sneer, but took the medical kit in-hand. He bent over it, and thrusted a hand into his hair. It was damp with sweat.

"Casper Harpert. Cas or Casper. I guess I should ask you too, since I'm staying at your house. Apartment."

He looked forward to taking a nice, long, hot, shower. He hoped she didn't pay for utilities. Regardless, he looked up to her and raised an eyebrow, as if he'd already asked the question.

She gave him a secretive wink.

"Foster, for right now. And whatever you might need is open and available for your use. I'm afraid, however, if your thoughts were on possibly taking anything that doesn't belong to you, I have nothing of value that I don't keep on my person."

And she broke out in a smile. "If you weren't, then that's fabulous. We're going to get along splendidly."

"I think I'm legitimately offended. You live in an apartment, anyway. I wouldn't have guessed you keep monets and gold watches on diamond pedestals." he retorted. "Just because I don't use Garnier Fructis or wash my hair doesn't mean I plan on robbing you blind."

He sighed.

"And, I guess, letting me bunk and what I assume you'll eventually be doing is helping me fix my shoulder earns you a few 'no-steal' points."

"Sounds like we've got an accord, Cas." Casey replied, her smile never faltering. This was amusing the hell out of her, even if her car upholstery was ruined. "You look more like a Suave guy, anyway. So long as you don't mind coming out smelling like a chick you're welcome to use what I've got."

The apartment was coming into view. Casey pulled into the parking lot, turning off the engine and climbing out before coming around to the passenger's side and opening the door for Cas. Her brow knit, just slightly, and she reached in to get him under the arm.

"You're going to feel a bit dizzy." she told him as she guided him up the first set of stairs towards what was assumably her apartment.

"Dizzy doesn't compare to what my shoulder feels like right now. First aid kits don't include morphine in them, do they? Whiskey? Aspirin? It's legal for minors to drink on private residence, you know." he chimed.

And dizzy did he feel, albeit moderately. The stringent pain that connected itself when he used his other shoulder hadn't helped the process. That, and his head throbbed. Comparitively, sitting and griping was far easier than standing and making his way to her apartment.

But she made him march, her own steps enthusiastic and strong next to his gait. As she lead him up to the apartment, she easily slipped the both of them inside. Her two-bedroom was well kept, clean, and nicely furnished, but not so nice that it made her look as if she was living above her means.

She deposited him on the couch, plopping the medkit down next to him before walking into the kitchen.

"Take off your shirt, Cas." she instructed. She was starting to heat up some water.

"Might have to flip your cushions."

He did as instructed, though the articles of clothing clung to the inside of his wound like loose tape. Vaguely, he hissed at the pain, and discarded the ratty clothing to her floor. He tucked both of his hands into the pits of his elbows, and waited cross-legged on her couch.

"I'm not going to have to wear your blouses too, am I?"

"I do have a washing machine." she pointed out, coming back into the living area with a few hot towels slung over her forearm. She plopped a few in his lap. "Clean up what you can. When you're done, I want to look at your back."

His chest was stained with blood. This, she noted with a small frown, but not because she was worried about her furniture. "So, what were you doing with Price anyway? All off the record, just so you know. I can guess, but I'd rather hear it from the horse's mouth."

"I was getting jumped in an alley."

He took his hands out of the pits of his elbows and showed them to her. Needle marks. He didn't want to admit to it, even though it was pretty much blatantly obvious to the woman anyway.

"I had a deal with him, back when. We did three in advance, but I've been wanting to kick the habit. I couldn't pay three in advance anymore, and I was in debt, so he was working his ass off to find me and twist my arm, like that was gonna make money magically come out my ass or something."

He took the towels, and began to clean up.

"Change your mind about letting a druggie stay in your house yet?"

"Don't get too excited." Casey replied, sitting down next to him and taking a glance at his back. Huh. No exit wound.

"I've got bad news, Cas. Bullet's still in there." she murmured, her brow furrowing. "Sure you don't want to go to a hospital?"

"Absolutely, positively certain." he replied, eyebrows raised and lips pulled into a tight smile. "I'll go to the hospital once my arm starts rotting off."

"That means I'm going to have to take this out myself." she replied, her lips pursed tight. She looked around, making sure that Cas was looking her in the eye.

"We are about to get very familiar with one another." she warned him. "Can you lie down on the floor for me? Easier vantage point."

"I don't know if I trust you to get inside my shoulder, lady. I'm already topless in your apartment." he said, with narrowed eyes.

He twisted his neck to try and see his back, and when that didn't fly, he used his good arm to feel for where the bullet would've exited. The general area was sore and reddened, but there certainly was no exit wound.

In all honesty, he just didn't want to have a bullet dug out of him.

He rolled onto the carpet, and tucked a hand under his head.

"Seriously. No alcohol?"

She paused, looking at him from her perch on the couch. "Probably not a bad idea."

She jogged over to the kitchen, pulling out a bottle of jack from on top of the refrigerator before walking back. She handed the bottle over to him and grabbed the medkit.

"This isn't the first time I've done this, if that helps." she told him, turning back after having pulled on a pair of disposable gloves. She was brandishing a long pair of tweezers. She gestured to the bottle.

"Drink up."

"This is the most innocent time I've ever been topless, laying on the floor, and drinking in a woman's apartment before." Casper said. He sat up to grab the flute of the bottle, and put it back. After a few rushed gulps, he pulled it away from his mouth, and violently hacked into the pit of his elbow again.

Then, when he gained his composure, he'd given a nervous half-grin to Casey.

"Think we should wait until that kicks in."

Her lip twitched, and she eased herself down to sit cross-legged at his side. Idly, she took his wrist, turning his arm up so she could look at the needle marks. "Pretty recent." she said quietly, glancing to his face.

"How long has it been?"

He took his wrist back, and placed it in the palm of his other hand. The boy's blue orbs fell to the carpet, then to the needle marks in the crevice of his elbows again.

"16. I threw my last bag into a sewer or I would've given myself a fix."

"For what it's worth, it's better that you did, otherwise I would have left you in a cell for possession." she told him, her tone serious. "But, past is past. We still got some time before shit gets serious." She gestured for him to lie down.

"Come on, sooner we get this thing out, the better it'll be." she said quietly.

"The drunker I am, the less I'll feel. That's how it works, right?" he retorted, and slowly fell backward, with lent support from his elbow. He grimaced at Casey, and furrowed his brow in her direction, the buzz from the bottle only offering a small amount of consolation on his part.

"Hurry up, if you're going to do it."

"Don't hit me or I'll break your nose." she warned him, leaning her knee on his opposite, uninjured arm. Bracing her hand above the wound, she took a deep breath and stuck the tweezers in, digging until she found the bullet.

"Breathe." she reminded him, attempting to slip the tweezers around the bullet.

He might've said something about not being able to if he'd wanted to, about certainly wanting to, or about how he couldn't or wouldn't, but hitting Casey at that moment wouldn't be nearly as satisfactory as taking his arm out from underneath her knee and stuffing his hand in his mouth to stifle his own screaming until he was red in the face and he had imprints on his hand.

"Ifh you don't get thath thing out of me in the nexth fifty seconds then I'll damn well takeh my chances with a broken nose." he said, with a muffled voice.

"Your funeral." Casey muttered, clasping that bullet hard between the forceps of the tweezer. With a heavy sigh, she slowly extracted the bullet, waiting until it was completely out before she reached for a can of bio-foam. She sprayed it over the wound, watching as it began to fill the crevices. It not only provided a sterile seal, but also nummed the wounded area enough to make it comfortable for Cas to lie there. She got off of him, then.

With her gloves covered in his blood, and him lying gasping on the floor, that was about when the apartment door opened, and a certain Italian girl walked in. She stopped and stared.

"CASEY WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"

The cop froze in place, staring at the woman with widened eyes. "I, what... Gabby easy! It's ok!"

"What happened to him?" Gabby slammed the door behind her, taking two steps closer before freezing in place. It was about that moment when she recognized who was on the floor. "Oh, shit," she said under her breath.

Confused, Casey sat back on her heel and looked between the pair. "I...take it you know each other."

Casper was content on staring at the ceiling for a few moments, with one arms tucked under his head and the other's hand tucked in between his teeth. Not to mention that there was blood underneath him and on the couch. It was a questionable scene. It was only until the two had began to banter their last syllables when he arched he strained his eyes to look upside-down and behind him at who had entered the apartment.

He took his hand out of his mouth.

"Oh, shit," he said, in reciprocation. In a moment, he was drowsily (and drunkenly) climbing to his feet, and bracing himself on the couch. His breathing was heavy, and he certainly didn't look like he was in a state to stand.

Just like that, his calves hit the couch and he fell backward onto it.

"Hey, Gabs. I got shot. Is this your cop friend?"

"It is." she replied, glancing to the floor, and to Casey, before coming over and sitting down next to Cas. "Who shot you?"

"His dealer." Casey interjected before Cas could reply. She was picking up her supplies, and the jack, and taking it into the kitchen. Gabby looked at the injury with a furrow to her brow.

"Where is he?" she asked again. Casey was smirking.

"His ass is sitting pretty in a jail cell."

Gabby glanced to Cas. "How're you feeling?"

Casper furrowed his brow, and scooted away from Gabby, as if she were harboring a sickness he didn't want to contract. "Like I just got shot. There's a little gnome inside of me telling me it could've been avoided, too."

One hand was covering his shoulder, and the other was covering the needle mark on his other arm.

"I'd be a little more comfortable if I weren't topless, maybe bathed."

Casey didn't miss the little altercation. It was rare that she missed anything at all. "The biofoam will seal the wound. You should be able to shower okay." she told him. Gabby kept her hands in her lap, and moved her eyes away from Casper.

"I'm glad you're okay though." she said meekly.

"Thanks." he said, as he stood. "I'll be gone in the morning. Promise. It's just nice to get this crap out of my hair every once in a while."

He bent down, and collected the clothes he'd discarded earlier, with an abrupt sigh. His dad's jacket was expensive, and now it was just tattered. The shirt underneath, not so much, but it did have a catchy design.

But she did offer her washing mashine, at least. He'd have to deal with a draft.

With an exasperated sigh, he looked toward Casey.

"No idea how to use a washing machine. Mom always did that."

"No problem." She said, snatching his clothes out of his hand and disappearing into the wash room to take care of his clothes.

That left Gabby and Casper on their own. She kept her eyes on the floor, before they drifted closed.

"I told you she was great." she said with a shrug.

"She's alright."

He bit his tongue. He'd already done enough damage, and he was already pretty sure she'd gotten the hint of blame from him.

"Sorry for pissing at you, I guess. I probably shouldn't blame you for what Price did, or for leaving, I get it. I just don't like the way you did it. I'll be out of your hair as soon as Foster hits the rock."

"I'm sorry I left the way I did." she replied, her brow furrowing. "On both occasions. I never meant to hurt anyone, or get angry with you when you had a right to be upset with me." She looked at him. "You don't have to go so quickly, Cas. Casey'll keep you as long as you don't cause trouble. It's the agreement we all have."

"Yeah, and what kind of trouble are you going to cause, exactly?" he asked, a bemused sneer coming to his mouth. "And what do you mean, 'we'? There's other people here besides you?"

"Farai." Gabby replied. "They're working on getting their own apartment though, so there's no telling how long they'll be here." She sighed.

"And I think you'd be surprised just how much trouble I can get into."

"And by 'not causing trouble', I guess you mean 'not throwing wild, unmanageable, social parties inside of the house without the landlord's permission' or 'adopting a dog'?" he asked, brow raised.

"Something like that." Gabby cracked a smile.

Casper gave a half-smile, though his seemed thoroughly pained. "I smell like iron, blood, and probably shit, considering I was rolling around in an alley an hour ago. I'm going to get to that bathing bit. You might want to flip the cushions."

He turned down the meager hallway, and began to search for the bathroom, a door at a time. Given it was an apartment, it was an easy task.

He ducked inside, closed the door, and slumped against the wall.

The setting changes from Main Street to Main Street 1

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Farai. That's who those clothes must've belonged to. Either way, they weren't quite his style, but they were his size, and hell if he was going to wear those ratty clothes from inside the dryer if there were fresh ones in the house. And hell if Tide was going to get all that blood out of it.

He'd only stopped rifling through their closet to bend over and grab their stomach. It'd been at least a few hours since then. He hadn't eaten, and the cramps were getting worse. Two slams on the side of the doorframe and a few minutes later, he was rearing to go again.

Sure, he looked like sweaty shit in a can.

But once he'd picked out himself a shirt, he was going to ditch this place and get himself a fix, because there was no way in hell he'd go through four or more days of this and worse.

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"Aha."

Cotton long sleeve, black. It looked more like one of those... underwarmers? It was a little loose-fitting, but it worked, and he didn't have to dip his hands into the pits of his elbows anymore. Then, his hands. He had some particularly nasty, nearly infected cigarette burns on his hands, and it turns out that the purple gloves weren't cutting it anymore.

That's when he heard a voice. An unfamiliar one. And, in retrospect, a bloody apartment didn't quite look like the best thing to walk in on.

He stepped out, into the living room, lifting both palms.

"Not what it looks like. Trust me. You can calm down. You're Farai, right?"

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"Jesus, fucking!" Casper cried. "Drop the firework shit, will you?! That's my blood!"

He covered his eyes with his arm, and promptly shut the door to Farai and Gabby's room. A faint click was heard from the inside. He had locked it, and braced himself against the back while he tried to recover.

And, abnormally enough, Gabby's voice had rung out like a blessing.

"Gabs, your friend is trying to murder me more than I already am. Stop him, please."

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"I don't think I'm the one menstruating all over the apartment! Jesus christ! When does my vision come back?!" Casper screamed, from beyond the door. He reached for the handle, and then slammed it open. "Why would you attack me if I'm bleeding everywhere, anyway?! That's fucking psychotic!"

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Casper had already opened the door by then, and he'd been busy furiously rubbing at his eyes. He'd given up on his search for gloves since then, but Farai would have taken notice that he'd been wearing one of their shirts.

"What exactly were you telling, Gab?" he primed, taking a hand off his eye and narrowing it.