Truly, Madly, Darkly
Roleplaying Log: Truly, Madly, Darkly
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

An attacked child leads to a moment, and sharing of pain.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: September 03, 2019
IC Location: NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 04 Sep 2019 06:17
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Running. Panting for breath, gasping. Got to get away, don't want to get hit again. Blood on my hand, where did it come from? My head hurts, oh, that's what's bleeding. I'm bleeding. Alley, can hide in there. Dark, might have lost them.

Dead end. Too high to jump over. Sounds behind me. Don't turn around, don't look…

The tiny redheaded girl, bleeding from a cut on her forehead, leans against the brick wall at the end of the alley. Looking out of the dark, as the gang who's been chasing her peer in. "Little mutant…come on out and play. Come on, kid, ya can't hide."

"She's in there." "Good." ONe cracks his knuckles, another holsters his gun. Won't need that. "Heh. She's tiny. Maybe we can have some fun with her first." "It's a mutant. Kill it."

one lifts a crowbar and steps into the alley.

Rahne screams, stifling it quickly with her hands. Terror.

*

Trying out this coffee stuff that always smelled bitter and weird, one of New York's more puzzled and puzzling residents brings the hot liquid to her lips, feeling already the scalding nature of it before it touches, and deciding that's probably a terrible idea. Why drink burning things. The sound of a head being given impact with a heavy but hand-held instrument is one that draws attention for someone like Starfish. The sound of someone running after that sound, that's definitely unusual. Both sounds are, really. Then the sounds of a gang homing in on prey… that she knows. Sort of. Her versions have been much less injurious and more limited to verbal, but there was the one time that was physical.
'Group of them,' Starfish's thoughts berate her for moving toward the sound of screams. 'What are youg oing to do against a group of the mindless? Does that one have a gun? You can't…no, wait… you can.' Starfish's mind is made up. She can, she will. With a whip of her hands her light jacket unfurls out to a trenchcoat. From beneath it, an assault rifle. She draws back the thingie (her word) that makes it ready to let a spray of bullets and points the rifle at the group of bullies.
"Hey uh… you guys. Does this look loaded to you?" She gets a glimpse of someone in the alley. She brings the rifle up to aim at the one she saw put the gun away.

*

"&#!*" says the first one who spots Starfish, her long coat an elegant statement that's only highlighted by the heavy weaponry. Scrambing for his pistol, he's the first to draw attention away from the alley, the child inside. The little girl who's in trouble, one ganger already having vanished in after her.

The rest turn to see what's got their friend's attention, and suddenly survival instincts kick in and people are diving for cover! Apparently they don't really want to answer the nicely phrased question that Starfish brought forth. Rude.

Two of them are flat-out running, basically instantly. The third has his gun out and he's hiding behind a dumpster, sweating bullets. "Jim, get out here! Jim? Jim! Jimmy!" Don't kill me lady, I just want to get away, it's not even loaded. Why am I holding a pistol?

So apparently Starfish won't have to use the gun if she doesn't want to. This time. Though in the alley…

The guy with the tattoo on his face, Jim probably, is looming over the redheaded girl. He's alone now. One man, one girl. She's in a fetal position, peering up at him from between her fingers.

"Change to a wolf again, kid. Fight back." He kicks her, then again. She doesn't. "Come on, mutant. Change."

*

"Lose the gun, run," Starfish calls out to the one with the stubborn decision to hold on to his weapon. He hears the sound of a single shot fired. But she is definitely being sindere. He can feel it. No one else, not the girl, not Jim, none of the others hear the shot fired from the AR-15. The gun comes skittering out from behind the dumpster and its previous owner takes off as fast as he can, getting out of Starfish's line of fire at earliest opportunity.
Starfish looks a little amazed that actually worked. So… real gun on ground. Starfish is really hesitant to even touch it. Could hurt someone. Or herself. That's what all those videos taught her. Also they're pretty much useless against real threats. That's what horror movies taught her. She kicks it back to the dumpster hiding spot that was being used, cringing momentarily as she expects it to go off accidentally. "She's disappeared, Jim!" It's Starfish speaking, but it sounds exactly like it isn't. It also looks exactly like it isn't. The AR-15 is gone. Starfish wearing the look of Jim's friend comes up beside him in a hurry. "Let's get out of here! The mutie's got freak friends! One's got a rifle!"

*

The guy in the alley, Jim by name, holds a crowbar. He nudges at Starfish, the thought of it being anything but the obvious not even coming to mind. "I want to hurt her, I'll just bash her head in," he says, taking a step closer. "We got two seconds."

The girl's nose screws up, something about the situation making her act a little odd, but she still doesn't protect herself. As Jim raises his crowbar to try and smash her skull in, right there on the alleyway's concrete floor.

"Get away," she says, to Starfish. Looking right at her. She knows. And she wants HER to be safe.

*

At first Starfish doesn't quite get it. Then some simple signs come to her attention. The stillness rather than trying to move away or put up a fight. The words suggest there is absolutely no way Jim is the one in control here. Jim's friend takes a few steps back. "Your funeral, Jim!" But then Jim's friend stops looking like Jim's friend, and starts looking like another teenaged girl, moving out of the alley. She's not sure what Jim is going to experience, but she gets the feeling it's likely to be very unpleasant. So there Starfish leans, wwaiting at the alley mouth, looking within by mirror and keeping eye out for… more trouble. Nothing to see here but perfectly average-seeming young woman.

*

That's when the crowbar lands on the redheaded girl's side, cracking something audibly. It only pulls out a whine of pain, but the kid moves a hand to try to protect herself. She watches the odd smelling person leave, internally glad it's getting away. So it'll be safe.

Then looks up as the guy's foot comes in and breaks her nose, sending her into a semi-unconscious state. She just lays there after that, as the guy laughs. "Coming, I'm done here." One more swing and he will be anyway.

*

"uh…" Starfish watches with a baffled expression. Nothing's happening to Jim. Something should definitely happen to Jim. The only question is, which of the two things should happen to Jim. Okay. The one that isn't nice. And just in case the one that isn't nice makes for insufficient to stop him from doing more harm to the girl, the crowbar feels like it's just been pulled out of a steel foundry. Hot is an understatement. Jim feels like his hand is melting. He's fine of course.
It's the next part that might change his mind about what he decided to do today. That which he absolutely dreads, fears the most in life, comes true. At least in his mind it does.

*

The fact that he was inches away from murder is likely a balm for Starfish, given the screaming that Jim begins doing. He's howling like his own greatest horror is coming true, holding his hand like it's on fire, his eyes unable to close. It's a deep abiding terror, something primal, visceral.

And it's no less than he deserved, given the bleeding person who lays at his feet, having done nothing more wrong than simply to have been born.

The truly, deeply odd thing, is that the howling horror and screaming wakes her, her face bloody, and the girl does something ..ridiculous. She tries to help, reaching out for his face as if wishing she could make him better.

Her own pain won't let her even do that though. So she instead calls out, her voice limited. Hurt. "Please…come back." That's all. It's not much.

*

Starfish returns into the alley, passing Jim without really thinking of him as a potential threat. "Hey," she utters as she crouches, at Rahne, mostly facing the side, but looking at the girl. "um… we should go…somewhere else." She feels a strange emotion. It's so rare for her that she can't name it, and naming how one feels used to be a part of her daily routine. Her hand is offered anyway. "um..if you need help, you can lean on me. I…study enough."

*

"Ah…wouldnae mind some help," the girl says, her accent clearly not from around here. She's small enough that there's not a lot to support, but she's up with a bit of assistance. "Dinnae…did ye do thet tae him? I dinnae want 'em hurt. Nae for me," she says, softly. Pleadingly. Not for me.

Even after the crowbar to the ribs.

But she doesn't push too strenuously. Wincing in pain, she's happy to be led away, and steadied. Literally anywhere. She looks about eleven, but no way an eleven year old is that mature.

*

It takes Starfish a second to grow accustomed to the brogue, sorting it out quickly enough to not need a repeat. "He's unhurt," she promises. Despite the screaming. "You uh…sound like home's way far… across an ocean far. So um…" She reaches into an open trash can, draws out a soft looking blanket, or comforter. Thick and pristine somehow. "…fancy that." She wraps it around Rahne and moves with her.
"I uh…not really…knowing places…" So she heads for a restaurant. They might be not as concerned. Especially since Starfish now vaguely resembles Rahne by look, as though familial, and sports some visible injuries but nothing that seems serious. All to distract so police aren't called or something. "…oh yeah. I'm called Starfish… parents' fault."

*

Not really tracking what's going on, Rahne blames it on the concussion and not the fact that Starfish is literally changing shape in front of her admittedly blurry eyes. She lets herself be led, the restaurant not so far away that her legs won't hold her. Though they are getting really rubbery before a seat appears under her bottom, the outside area good enough for her to be seated within.

And frankly her tongue seems a little slow as well. "I didnae ken anything ye jis said," she admits, offering an honest smile. Easily, but a bit wobbly, as she clutches the blanket around herself. She mouths a thank you, a bit belatedly, and assumes Starfish will know it's related. "Ah be Scottish. Thes is a dangerous city!" She noticed! Woo! THen, "Thank ye. Again. But ye shouldnae put y'self in danger faur me.."

*

"I…shouldn't be …out at all," Starfish counters. "Um…you uh… okay with yourself?" She speaks quietly. As someone comes to visit the table and take notes regarding an order, Starfish slides a hand into her pocket to examine something, then flips the thing over, and then draws out six $5 bills. "..that's our spending limit, whatever…you can um… think of… oh, plus um.. Tip." She vaguely understands the concept of tip. That's where waitresses have to beg and plead for money from customers because their employers are legally allowed to operate a slave ring. She shows a smile to Rahne, shrugging, and leaning in to whisper, "Don't worry. I got lots."

*

That has Rahne leaning in closer. She doesn't order, save to quickly ask for water. Then she's looking at Starfish, very closely. Peering, her nose still bleeding, but not much. She winces at the action squinting moves her nose, her ribs from the lean, but she does it anyway.

Then she whispers, "Are ye all right? Ye be nae lookin' good either…" Not that she's any great shakes, but she's at least noticing the stammered speech, the bruising. She looks worried.

*

"…yeah, I'm all fine," Starfish replies. She pulls out a photograph, of herself, as she looks now, and then another, identical to the first save for a lack of any injuries, and shows these to Rahne. "If we both look beat up, it's like…I stepped in to a fight for you…which I did. So um… makes them think like…family. I act like everythings…normal. They don't call the police. We get to sit and eat a bit. Then uh… you can tell me if you got anywhere I can bring you. Like… sleeping place." She doesn't use the word home.

*

Rahne smiles. She winces, then tries again. Smiles. Wince. Sighs, then just leans forward and bumps gently against Starfish. "Ah dinnae need help lahk thet, ma'am. Ye dinnae tell me yer name," she says, cautiously tilting her head. "Ah be Rain," she says, her green eyes sparkling with understanding. About the trick being pulled, and maybe a bit more.

"Rain Senclaire." She rolls her 'r's so hard they almost fall out, but it's understandable. Mostly.

*

"You um… really looked like it… need help, I mean," Starfish replies gently. "I…could. Just… wasn't sure how at first… sorry." That feeling again. She muses over it. Guilt? Could be guilt. Research should be done but … that one's not easy to look into. She slowly puts an arm around Rahne as she feels the bump, moving her chair to ease that. "Yeah, sorry," she offers about the name, deciding to let it be on her. "I'm Starfish. I have weird parents."

*

For some reason, that makes Rahne laugh. (Or Rain, as she calls herself, but if you say Rahne with a scots accent it makes perfect sense.) She starts to shake a little, smiling, and laughs just the tiniest bit. "Ow, ow…dinnae make me laugh, et hurts pure sachs." Whatever that meant, she leans against Starfish, eyes closing a little, and just trusts. For a moment, trusts.

Not that Starfish would be aware of the flood of scents Rahne is gathering, of the way she can tell if a person's likely to attack. Of the truth of her words, far beyond even emotion. How Rahne is a lie detector on a scale the CIA would adore getting their hands on. It doesn't matter. She trusts.

"Ye helped. Dinnae get in trouble for me, Starfesh. Ah probably deserved et.." Then she's quiet again. Not ordering food. Though that's partly because she can't stand the smell of burnt meat. Blech.

*

The awkwardness on Starfish is probably plain to Rahne. There is hesitation on her part, appreohension. But she is allowing this to happen. "…they had something else in mind when…picked that one," Starfish goes on, figuring it probably won't incite more laughter. "…they thought of a fish in the stars… cosmic, swimming… so… that's me now." Club sandwiches were chosen by the waitress, Starfish doesn't inquire as to what they are, despite having no idea herself. She just bobs her head in gratitude. "…so…yours if you want. If not um… guess we can uh…bring them…somewhere." She shrugs slightly.
"Nope. Not deserved," Starfish says certainly. "So… what makes you believe it?"

*

"Ye dinnae know," says the little one, the redhead. The werewolf. Her voice is so quiet now. And she pushes up, out of the nice lady's arms. Standing, looking…a little better. "Ah be gonnae get washed..?" She sounds like she's not certain. But the look about is universal, as she tries to find the bathroom.

But before she goes, she pauses. Slips out of the blanket, and puts it on her chair, almost reverently. Something about the way she's moving…she won't be coming back from the bathroom. She's running again.

*

Starfish nods once. Rahne's lie detection comes from her hundreds of subtle perceived things that humans by and large don't pick up on. Starfish just knows a liar when one makes themselves speak. In how they move. The words they choose. The shift of the eye. That tiny crack in the voice as they speak against their own mind. She exercises a power she holds over perceptions even as she takes a sip of water, showing Rahne, as though a dream were unfolding in front of her. On the walls, depictions unfurl like tapestries.
Starfish, but dressed like a patient at a hospital. Alone in a room. Miserable, and younger.
Starfish in the next one, held to a chair, trying to fight futily as injections are made.
Starfish in the next one, looking dreadfully ill, as labcoat-wearing men look on and take notes.
Each tapestry depicts a more stylized version than reality.
The fourth and last tapestry is a collage, many images of Starfish through most of her life in similar settings to the rest. The sense that the tapestries are a dream while everything else feels true is no coincidence. Starfish lets that feeling into Rahne.

*

Staggering a bit under the weight of what she sees, Rahne peers at Starfish. Her eyes beg for peace, that it not be true, but mostly that Starfish show her a tiny bit of happiness. That she didn't live her life that way. That it was alright in the end.

But without that, she takes it in, and nods. As she shoulders Starfish's pain too, and cries. For her, for the girl who she was. The child who was so innocent once.

Maybe, a little, for the girl who she was herself, once. Who was chained in a cellar, naked, and fed in the dark for years. But mostly for Starfish. After all, Starfish didn't deserve it.

"God loves ye, Starfish. E'en if th' world dinnae." And that…was no lie. She truly believes, and it shines forth with a power of its own.

Then she's gone, and the oddest thing is the sound of four legs, not two, fading into the distance. And the distinct impression that the girl had turned into a wolf.

Just before dinner arrived. For two.

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