Promises That Keep

Summary:
September 16, 2014: Two women are hunting Kwabena, both for different reasons. Both end up at his studio apartment, and some mysteries become answers. Sort of.

Shift's Studio Apartment - New York City

A one room, studio apartment in a shitty part of the Bronx.


Characters

NPCs

  • Melody's homeless buddies
  • Melody's would-be assaulter

Mood Music:
"You Shook Me" by Led Zeppelin


Shift has chosen to live here on purpose. It's out of sight, out of mind, not very many cops around this part of town and they only really show up when there are shots fired or more than two calls come in on something like a domestic dispute, or drug dealers doing their thing. Put it lightly, this part of town ain't pretty.

On one run down street corner, there is a fifteen story building. One of those rare mid-rises that combine Section 8 with the usual rent controlled housing seen across New York City. On the eleventh floor, there is a studio apartment, which belongs to Kwabena Odame. The buzzer on the street-facing door simply reads: "K.O."

Music blares from a vintage turntable. Its loud, and it's Zeppelin.'You Shook Me', from Zeppelin I, a record that typically runs about $200 if one is able to actually find it. There is incense burning, an open bottle of whiskey sitting somewhere. Otherwise, it would seem that the studio apartment's single tenant has actually been cleaning.

That's right.

Cleaning.

The place is usually trashed, but Kwabena is rummaging about, singing along to the track, and putting the place in order. He's made some damned fine progress so far, but it's hot in these old places at night, and he needs a break.

The Ghanaian strips the t-shirt from his upper body and climbs out onto the fire escape, sweat glistening upon his skin. He's wearing jeans that were cut off mid-calf and a pair of basketball sneakers. Promptly, Kwabena lights a cigarette and basks in the cool, evening air while the tune carries along inside.

-

This is nothing different, the smell of piss, burning refuse, yelling couples, hollaring ladies of the night don't forget the lightning cracks to silence it all of gunshots - the things that herald a respectfulk silence before life carries on around it uncaring of what those bullets might have dropped.

Ground level would have been best, should have been used, but not for her, it is quicker this way… The silhouette slices through the darkness but no flurry behind her and instead of the normal speed and acrobatics it is kept simple, slow, deliberate but aalways silent. Like a liquid shadow the synthetic fabric only reflects back the low glow cast from windows when she gets close enough, and the instance where she does is when she lands on the metal railing of the fire escape. Booted feet perch her there upon toes, that second skin of darkness winding its way up her form, coveting every contour even to the grip of her hand that holds the above bars where the fire escape winds to the next floor, but her goggle govered gaze flickers from the green night vision shield to clear her eyes level on Kwabena. Her other hand is rotating at the wrist, slowly rewinding her whip like a beloved serpents coils.

"Where's Rant?" The voice is careful, trained, but cutting right to the point, a tracker to emphasise how -pointed- this is showing the blip on the gps to where Catwoman traced her phone.

-

MELODY'S BROWNSTONE:

It had been hours since she returned home after making a trip and leaving Kwabena to his own devices; she had found a fix to her nanotech and as custom, left without a word. She -really- needed to get out of that habit, possibly pick up a book on 'How to -not- alienate people and keep friends.' In which, she was terrible at. But at home? No one was there, the place was clean, sheets washed, left over chinese in the fridge.. so Kwabena turned chick and went maid on her.. fine! She could live with that.

Like all favors, this one needed returning. So she grabbed her baseball cap and tucked her hair beneath, bookbag with not one.. as usual.. but three laptops tucked inside which was hoisted upon both shoulders, leather bomber jacket grabbed soon after just in case there was a chill, and she set out into the town to grab food. It was going to be a total surprise. She had it all worked out.

(Which means, it was going to be boring as fuck.)

The three laptops? They served a purpose, she was going to get him a League of Legends account, start him off with something small. Get him into the feel of his hands upon the keyboard.. yeah, that's right. After that? Explain the mechanics of Warcraft. Yeah buddy, she was going to blood elf that sucker out and put him on girlfriend mode for a while, have him follow her around and pick flowers, as girlfriends do.

Thirdly? They were going to caruse the lovely highways of Netflix, pick up a movie, use her internal programming to stream that shit to a nice television that they just -may- have to go out and steal. Wait.. no. She owns Radioactive. No stealing necessary. Those thoughts made her happy, put a little pep in her step, she would have started doing some tip-tapping weird ass dance down the street if she weren't so self conscious.

-

SHIFT'S STUDIO APARTMENT:

It's unclear whether the tenant was truly aware whether or not a visitor was coming. He does nothing to prevent himself from being pinned as such upon his fire escape, but he doesn't show a reaction to the arrival, either. The way he smokes his cigarette seems to mimic the way in which she twists that whip. Slow, careful, deliberate.

Kwabena slowly looks up from where he's perched, legs bent, eyeing the figure who has alighted upon his fire escape. Eyelids framing silver eyes narrow, but he doesn't say a word yet; not until Catwoman displays the GPS signal for him to see. He takes another drag from his cigarette, then lazily flicks it off the edge of the fire escape.

The Ghanaian rises to his feet, slowly, not to cause alarm. He adopts the opposite of a fighting stance, taking a step back to lean against the brick walls of his building, one arm lifting behind him to toy with some piece of metal protruding from the brick. He eyes it for a few moments, before looking back at Catwoman. There, written upon his face, is a tone that doesn't quite enter his voice. The narrowed eyes, the cut jawline, the dangerous expression that nearly glows from silver irises. She should think twice about her next play.

"Who's asking?"

-

Catwoman knows that look, she knew it was writ upon his face before she even looked at him fully, his body language sang enough to her ears that her eyes did not need to even see the look bordering on a bladed leer.

What Shift does not know, is her. She doesn't think twice, and right now there are a few reasons why but she will do nothing to give them away to a stranger and she remains right where she is , precariously perched along the edge of the fire escape railing.

Small at first the smile begins, though with her words it seems to grow to near cheshire proportions. "Catwoman. A friend. Her employer… And if I check my sources…"

Reaching up her whip is set across bent knee and then within her tac belt she pulls out a couple 'little black books'. Deliberately she raises her finger to her lips, parting them to stroke finger along a single digit, and just as the tip of her tongue curls at the tip of her finger that metal hooked claw protrudes forth. Lowering that finger she stares at Kwabena narrowly while she uses that claw to slice-turn each page until she holds it open to his location as well.

Turning it and holding it out to him for him to see her voice now borders on a hiss. "I got her from a warehouse, doped beyond scope, and ironically… Your address is there as well. Now. Both points bringing me here."

Slowly now, like a primordial ooze one leg drops from the perch upon the rail, followed by the other and the eased flow of her body, standing upon solid ground. "I am a fall 11 stories down if one of us is not careful."

-

TONY'S PIZZA:

Stepping out of the resturant, she had -way- too many bags for just -two- people. Those bags were soon reduced down to two, as she gives her three favorite bums dinner.

"Charlie, Monk, Stranger Danger.." She offers the bags up in order, crouching just a little to watch as they admire their every other week gifts. "You know guys, you shouldn't really sit around here. At least get to a shelter, its starting to get cold."

One of the men busts up laughing, his head shaking as he takes out the pizza puff. "Naw man, there's snakes and shit in there. You know, they be all up in peoples faces and goin' in their noses, and their eyes be all black.. not goin to dem places kid. Not goin!"

The other man rolled his eyes. "I was a goddamned vet, I'm too good for that shit."

The other one just eats.

"Well, it's just a suggestion, don't want you to do something you're not comfortable with."

"You're good people kid. Get me a pizza next time, ya dig?"

"Sure Charlie, sure." And she stands and is on her way.

-

SHIFT'S STUDIO APARTMENT:

Kwabena seems… nonplussed. Not by the claw, not by the whip, and surprisingly, not by the woman herself, even her name. He's been in this situation before, after all, and the Ghanaian possesses a will strong enough to blot out what allure this woman may be throwing at him. That, for one, might suggest something about the woman's would-be opponent.

Something, however, does surprise him. It's a revelation thatinvolves Melody, and where she is concerned, recent developments are simply too fresh for him to maintain his poker face. There's a possibility that this is all a bluff. That he's being set up; that Catwoman has been sent here to take her back. After all, Melody never mentioned anything about her 'employer'. Alluded to it, perhaps, but well… right now, Catwoman isn't the only person who feels protective.

"Dat son of a bitch," he hisses. "You want hah phone?" asks the accented man. Eyes narrow. "Come and get it."

Without moving an inch, Kwabena suddenly transforms into a cloud of black smoke. Even while the jeans and basketball shoes fall to the grated steel beneath, the tendrils of living gas go bursting through the open window and back into his studio apartment. Robert Plant's voice serves as a backdrop to when the man reforms inside, bare feet planted firmly upon the old, hardwood flooring, now wearing what might appear to unsuspecting eyes as a simple pair of gunmetal gray, spandex-like shorts. His frame is adopted into a combat stance, and fingers flick toward him as if egging her on.

-

Every movement is deliberate, trained, and puposeful. His shift to a mist as well as retreat to inside only has her Mona Lisa smile painted deeper. It belonged in its restful ease upon her features. She was no mist, had nothing as flashy, but every step is in silence and even as she walked into his abode she seemed at /home/. There is no challenge in her posture, nothing that at least shows outwardly though the confidence and airs she walked upon could tell far more then her demeanor letss on.

His fighters stance is looked over, but her reaction remains as is, and for good reason, but one she does not speak of. "I do not want her phone. I want her. I have already put up enough of a fight for her well being thus far and I won't stop now. But I won't bear claw for a phone. If she is not here, my business here is done. Just tell me she is okay."

With those words her eyes narrow upon him, assessing and guaging targets that set crosshairs upon his body language, piercing the veil of a fighters stance to find /truth/ if she can even garner that much.

-

THE BRONX:

"AY baby! Whatchu gat in dat BAG?!"

Melody walks quicker, her gaze casting back towards the man and to the front again as she continues on that speedy stride.

"HEY BITCH! You hear me talking to you! What's in the fuckin' bag!"

Melody turns, hoisting her bookbag tighter upon her shoulders, her jacket tuck in between the loop in her body, two bags full of food hung with a tight grip. "Nothing!"

The guy was a big one, one of those cigarette smoking thugs that perch upon the corner, probably a drug dealer, most definitely a gang banger, used to getting what he wants, when he wants. He moves from his perch and begins to follow, long legs beat out short one as the distance closes considerably.

Don't run Melody. Don't run.

"You shole got somethin', wit yo fine ass! C'mere bitch!"

"Nope!" Melody turns upon her heels, eyeballing the building that she means to go into, and keeps going. Her stride picks up to a half jog, occasionally looking behind her until she ducks off towards the side of the building.

"Awe you dun fucked up!"

But she didn't, she leaned against the building to tap into the mans phone.. and as soon as he rounds the corner…

*POP*

*SHZZZLZZZ!*

His phone explodes right within his pocket, pants lighting a fire as he begins to scream like a stuffed pig. Melody laughs, ducking through his swings and grabs for his pocket, then heads into the building proper, sure that he didn't see her. With the door closed behind her, she lifts a hand to ring the buzzer. K.O. She may not have had his entire name but, she knows exactly where the apartment is due to that well placed nanite in the hitmans phone.

-

There seems to come an incredible level of wariness with each of Catwoman's words. "Cleared out Gotham's East End, did you?" Oh yes. Kwabena has heard of the woman now standing in his apartment. "Fah what? Pahhaps you saw fit to cleah de road? Lot of money to be had in smooth dese days."

The fighting stance is slackened just so. For a moment, Kwabena casts silver eyes over the body facing him. In the background, Robert Plant croons away, You know you shook… me… baybaaaaayyy! Kwabena gauges her weapons, what toys are visible. What he finds casts a doubtful expression upon his face.

"She's safe," he guarantees. "And I'll see to it she stays dat way." He gestures toward the fire escape. "I'll tell you dis. If you have any intention to harm her…"

BZZZZZTTT!

You shook me all night loooooooooonnnngg!

Kwabena glances toward his buzzer, then back toward Catwoman. He smells… a trap. Seems he's still not convinced that Catwoman isn't working for Dackleman, himself. "I told you she was safe," he says, before bending his neck to the left, causing it to -crack- a few times.

-

Catwoman does not move now, she shifts and leans against the entry/exit to the fire escape, arms slowly come to fold across her chest, one hip thrust outward in the slight shift of weight to adjust for the posture. There is not threat in it, the felinistic woman simply looks far too at home, as if she'd eventually stir and claw up the arm of his couch with the same pleased expression.

The accusation of her doings in east end does bring a return of the narrowed gaze, as if he woke her from that daze and laze with being too damn noisy. "I cleared East End years ago and keep my people there safe. I promised. Rant is one of them." While we're tossing assumptions…

Now she rolls her shoulder and moves from her lean, advancing on Kwabena slowly, not bothering to even take defense or offense, she's heading for the front door and the response buzzer to allow the one buzzing, entry. "Safe with someone whose name was at the warehouse, the very warehouse I took her from doped beyond belief. Do tell me why I should believe you when you can go walk East End and see for yourself. /Listen/."

If he does not cut her off she is going to push the buzzer.

-

Kwabena stands very still, before padding across the room. He slips next to Catwoman, reaching over to press the buzzer first. He doesn't lay a finger upon the 'visitor', not just yet.

The Ghanaian turns toward the intercom and asks, "Melody?"

-

*BZZZZZZZZZZZT*

She lays upon that sucka like it was going out of style, until she hears that click and Kwabena's voice. It.. actually was a bit loud and made her jerk a little.

"Hi!" She sounded -really- chipper, for a girl who gave someone third degree burns on the ass. "Um. Can I come in? I got a couple of pizza puffs, chili cheese fries, a few laptops.. well not a few. I don't think three constitutes as a few, and I got like a week free of Netflix so I figure we can like, just hang out or something."

She shifts a little, feeling rather awkward, her hand lifting to rub at the back of her neck.

"I mean.. it'll be -totally- okay if you don't want me to come up there. I mean, honestly? You shouldn't be living out here, there was this guy that was down the street trying to get my backpack and all, and I kinda think he was a gang banger. And plus this hallway kinda stinks. Like, you ever opened up a bag of Fritos and actually take a sniff? It smells like feet out here with a bit of boo boo." She sniffs slightly, then looks around.. maybe she was talking a little bit too much to get a word in, but she was starting to feel the rejection.

"I.. I think that guy is still out there.." She sounds a little sad really, bottom lip trembling. "I mean, I know he's not dead or anything but.. I'll sit on the stairs or something or inside the elevator or whatever. I don't -gotta- come up but.. I don't wanna go back outside til the morning."

-

Still not convinced of Catwoman's intentions, Kwabena keeps the intercom held down. Oh, he fights hard not to smile at Melody's voice, to stifle a laugh without showing it. Perhaps the woman standing so close might feel the heat from his skin, or hear his breath catching a bit at Melody's voice.

Kwabena keeps the buzzer depressed, and gestures toward Catwoman indicatively. Looks like it's her turn to speak. He does, however, roll his thumb to depress the button that unlocks the front door, letting Melody into the building proper.

-

Catwoman does not have anything to say when it is her turn after hearing Rant's spiel. It's enough just to make her laugh, but not outright, just a curl of her lips and a small sniff outward with a shake of her head. "If he touches you, I'll fold him 5 ways and make him my cat /toy/." The final word is almost purred out in the way it rolls from her lips, her glance cast sidelong towards Shift and his responses to Rant as well as her very presence.

"I knew I smelled /sex/ and candy." From toe to head she scans Kwabena and the smirk gets smug, backing off one slow step at a time to give all of them some time, all of /this/ some time to sink in when Rant walks in the door.

-

The sound of the voice that comes from the other end of the intercom made her heart sink. Not because she didn't and wasn't happy to see Selina, but the -way- she left the club. Convincing Keith to keep mum even she knows damn well he didn't. His loyalties were always and forever with the Cat. No. That Woman. So affectionately called; not out of ire. The Woman was the one who continuously was one step ahead of Sherlock, Melody saw Catwoman that way. Smooth words, beauty, brains to boot. Caring yet awesomely vindictive.

Who has a whip.

Who's not afraid to use it on Melody the first chance she gets.

"Oh god.." She finally let out, she was happy she was there but.. "Oh god.."

Melody ascended the steps, one by one, her pace quickening as to not keep them waiting. So much happened going into her drug fueled haze, and out of it, and back in again.. and withdrawl, that she hadn't had time to even see or speak to Catwoman, and if she did, she did not remember it. Cause drugs.

Once she was finally at the door, she lifts a shaky hand to knock. That knock was followed by a slow push over the door to peek her head through, glancing towards Kwabena and Selina both.

Hey, that rhymed!

"Hiiiii…" She draws out, then steps in, door closed behind her.

-

Kwabena offers no response to the intercom, save shutting it off when he can tell that Melody is out of earshot. Catwoman, however, she gets the brunt of the Ghanaian's response. A long breath is released, a breath of relief, for Melody and Catwoman's responses both tell him that his suspicions, however admirable, were moot.

The door is unlocked, and he pads across the room. "Excuse me," he quips drily, before gathering up a few articles of clothing from beside his bed and disappearing into the tiny bathroom. He emerges a moment before Melody arrives, her knock on the door coming as he walks across the room, now dressed in the full breadth of gunmetal gray. Melody might be familiar with it; his other visitor, not so much. He makes for the window, snatching up his jeans, which he promptly begins to tug over the uniform as Melody peeks her head in.

"Come on in, we're having a pahty." Kwabena enters the room proper, looking between Catwoman and 'Rant' with a smirk. "Do you have any idea how close I came to fucking up yah boss, here?" He gestures toward Catwoman while eyeing Melody with a steadily growing grin.

Sex and candy. Yes, there's a bit of that floating around here. An indescribable softening of the eyes passes through, and Kwabena pads quietly across the room to reach for Melody's hands. "Where de hell did you go?" he asks. "I left a note." She probably didn't find it. "Riots in M-Town."

-

The exchange of glances is all around, no one isspared it seems in that awkward moment where tension that can be cut with a flimsy spork now dissolves down to just a weirdness. While Kwabena gets suitably dressed Catwoman remains standing where she was, the clear lenses of goggles showing the shift of her eyes to land upon Rant when she comes in. No malice, not joy, a hint of relief and then one of annoyance as Kwa returns to greet and add in unnecessary tidbits of end note posture.

If she had real ears they would be laid back, flattened against her head with the sigh that emits from her lips followed by a roll of her eyes as she shifts the goggles back to perch atop her crown. A swollen cheek bone revealed, the split and bruising healed by ony a couple days of typical healing and repair a body can do. Tolerating it all is handled by pain killers. The rest remains unseen beneath the body suit, but 3 broken ribs, a shattered clavicle as well as a punctured lung all lay beneath, braced and neatly hidden not only by her body suit but her purposeful posture.

That air of confidence remains, the untouchable /feel/ steadfast permiating from her very being. Catwoman has pride despite standing there as a broken statue, waiting for the next wind to shake that already cracked foundation and bring it to ruin.

"Get in line, but you'd have less to brag over being as you'd get someone elses /leftovers/. Try again later and I'll glady test your boast." The smile bears something of a promise to him all the while she still does not stand idly, her words mean to -cut- truth and a future yet to be held. Looking now to Rant, Catwoman tilts her head and weeps one more deciding gaze over her and offers her a slow nod. "At least this time you slipped out to get better this time. I need your help and I will leave you to him." Cutting to it now she will not get in their way, there's no need, and the sight is not something she seeks to share. Not now.

-
Phew! At least his place wasn't as junky as hers. And at least there were no signs of a fight. She steps in with confidence now, seeing as how they both made nice without her there, an awkward smile crossing her features as she looks to the both of them and.. quietly.. in a shrill voice that probably wasn't meant to be heard: "Thiiis is awkwaaard.." Yep. She's feeling better. She's a real captain obvious.

Her eyes dart towards Kwabena at the mention of a fight, a deep frown appearing across her features. "You wouldn't have." It wasn't an attest to Catwoman's fighting style, cause that whip.. ow. It also wasn't a denial to Kwabena's own skill, she's seen his work first.. no, third hand through the screen of an I-Pad. It was an appeal to his better nature, the one that she's seen first hand.

He takes her hand and smiles though, her fingers squeezing his, but.. face wrinkling instantly. "You really need to sit down somewhere. You're doing too much. And.. in the middle of the night a message came through with an offer to help. I got my nanites back in order.. see?" She pulled her hands away to shrug off her bookbag and coat, resting it upon the ground to show them both her arms, then takes off her hat to show her face. "I don't look like I am infected by the plague anymore." Glee!

Though, once the goggles come off of Catwoman, Melody's gaze turns.. yep, you guessed it. Worried. She didn't like seeing the one person who she'd call best friend that way, and had the real mind to shake a finger at her and tell her to sit down too. But she knew better, some cats, when hurt.. are easily angered and quick to lash out. Maybe she should get Selina drunk.. and then cry about it.

"No." She says. "You're not leaving anyone to anything. C'mere." She reaches out to try to lightly take Selina's hand, she wasn't forceful. "Shift.. this is my lady Catwoman. I don't know if you got her name or not. But, can we sit and stay a while? And grab the bag? She's going to need to eat when I'm done. There's a Dr. Pepper inside too, can you put it in a glass?"

-

Melody should have seen his place an hour ago.

"I didn't," he answers, clearly seeing that she's doing better. Curiosity and an unspoken query flashes across his face, but that unspoken question is answered quickly. An offer to help. From whom? Eyes narrow a touch, but Kwabena doesn't press. He merely squeezes Melody's hand in response and releases her.

Selina is not the only one suffering from pain. Kwabena's is a different sort; he bears no broken ribs, no overtly obvious wounds, but the riots in M-Town had ended with his barreling a hole in the ground to sufficiently extinguish his most terrible plasma phase. He can still feel it burning inside of him, a tension he's yet to truly release, like a body with far too much energy wound up inside. He'll need some sort of release soon, else it might do him more permanent damage.

Must explain the cleaning.

The Ghanaian spares a coy look in Catwoman's direction. "Leftovah's," he quips. "I'd ask if some few thugs need dere heads busted in, but something tells me you handled it." He's not one to easily extend his trust, but Melody's arrival has proven that Catwoman wasn't bluffing. His loyalty, shall we say, is sufficiently extended.

Rant's healthier look brings another degree of warmth to the traditionally dispassionate mercenary. He goes straight to work, snatching up the bag, retrieving the Dr. Pepper and carrying it the short distance to his small kitchen. It's a studio apartment, after all. There's a bed upon one wall, a decently sized television next to it, with the turntable beneath. A closet on the other side. At the foot of the bed, a two-person couch, two plain chairs, and the kitchen and restroom lie opposite the bed along the other wall. Nothing impressive to speak of. "Yeah, I caught hah name," calls the Ghanaian. "Like she said; call me 'Shift'." His trust may be extended, but he's not necessarily on a first name basis just yet.

-

Catwoman would inquire, but M-Town is of no concern of hers, she is already fighting for too much as it is and she overextended herself once, landing her here, dragging herself through a strangers window lest she push too far and drag herself under a porch. Some days…

When Rant goes to take her hand she withdraws, nothing snappy, just a slow slip of grip that a thief is good at, freeing herself to follow to the side of the seating where Rant sought to guide her, but not claim one. Hands even were sore from dislocation of thumbs to escape from cuffs. It's been hell, one that Catwoman does not elaborate on too deeply.

"Sarah's dead, but so is the killer… Maybe. I left him pinned and hanging by his neck while where I found her, burned." Oh there's more. Pausing she looks at /Shift/, several heartbeats passing and while she continues speaking she slides her gaze back to Rant. "I clear one danger to my streets and now there's another and it is hitting too close to home. I do not have time to stay."

The final sentence is firm, and yet there's an exhaustion to her tone, but it is not all just physical. People have obviously done what they can to help her, but in these instances it is not enough - she's not superhuman and has a /need/ to not feel and be so… Broken.

Though she does reach out to grab Rant by the chin, gentle and yet firm, something a mother would do to a child in need of a firm reprimand, mingled with that affection you only see in the eyes. Tough love as she snaps her head from side to side and approves, releasing her, though something else goes unsaid as she looks at Shift again, her lips coming to a thin line. "Why was your name in their possession?"

-

She tried, she really did try to lead Selina by the hand towards the couch, but once she withdraws, she frowns. The woman was a stubborn one, and so was she, there were few people who get affection like this, and two of them were standing in the room with her. She was comfortable now. "Sarah's dead?" Rant asks, sadness in her town. She knew of the woman, always thought that she was gorgeous. She even freaked a little when Sarah said hi to her.. and that was the extent of their interactions. Her head shakes a little, glance cast down, moreso at the realization that she herself, with her leaving without words, warnings, or notice, could potentially put Selina in this sort of situation. Needing to be healed, or worse, killed.

Guilt, where none could be had.

She was just about to turn for her backpack until her chin was gripped, her eyes widening as she was inspected, soon crossing to take away the awkwardness of the situation and a little smile. Once she was let go, she held that medium of silence to retrieve the backpack, which was soon placed down upon the ground nearest to Selina which put her upon her knees the next.

The thing about Melody is, she comes prepared. Three laptops, sure.. they were packed in by themselves, but the other stuff? She leaves in there. Her Tin Roof gear.

Because she has shifty contacts, she packs an entire motley of of syringes and capsules, even a blood transfusion kit with rubbing alcohol, bandaids, and a sterilization kit with gloves. A large beaker was removed from the box in her bag, the glass soon placed upon her knee as the gloves were slipped on, alcohol pads rubbed along the outside and in to make sure it was clean and ready to be filled.

This would possibly be the first time that Selina and Kwabena both had seen her do this, better yet, seen her with a switchblade that was soon taken out the side pocket of her bag and flicked open. Another alcohol pad was wiped against her wrist.. and soon…

*SCHLICKT!*

Wrist cut. Blood flowing, and a terribly upset Melody. It was a process, and not a pretty one. Safe to say Melody won't be adding any further input, it was Kwabena's story to tell.

-

While Kwabena may only be receiving parts of the story, it's enough for him to understand the heart behind both Catwoman and Rant's struggles. There are details missing, but he doesn't need them. Not yet, not until they become relevant. He keeps himself busy, pulling out all of the food that Melody had purchased, pouring the Dr. Pepper into a glass, making himself a good host. Because, that's in his blood. He may have rejected many aspects of his Ghanaian heritage, but some of it has stuck.

Shift grabs a small table from the corner, lifting it with one hand and bringing it over to settle it between where Rant sits and Catwoman stands. The food is laid out, the glass of Dr. Pepper set on the table. It is then with a curious expression that Shift looks on as Catwoman… inspects Melody. It's an entirely odd gesture, one that he freely reacts to by arcing an eyebrow. He neither approves nor disapproves… it just strikes him as a bit too 'hard-edged-school-teacher' for him.

Maybe it goes hand in hand with the bodysuit and whip.

Silver eyes are cast upon Melody from beneath their dark-skinned shields as he tries to gauge her reaction to all of this. He continues to watch her as she unpacks, answering Catwoman's query without once letting his eyes stray from what Melody is doing. "Looks like I was set up," he answers. "Been tracking a dangahrous mob boss named Richard Dackleman. Been pushing a dangerous narcotic into M-Town. Now it appears he's moved to Gotham and is using de city's criminal undahworld to build a global distribution netwo— HEY!"

The moment Melody cuts her hand, he rushes over to her side. "What de hell ah you doing?" he asks her.

-

There's a lot to Catwoman no one will understand, perhaps it goes (un)hand in hand with the body suit and whip.

It does not matter, in the end it's a double edged sword, like the coil of fingertips as they grasp and release, those slivers of hooked and /nail/ metal flashing and disappearing with the gesture to Rant's chin, but no harm comes to her. The only thing missing is the butterfly kisses upon her brow, something Catwoman is hard pressed to -ever- deliver to anyone. Ever.

Not even Sarah, otherwise known on the streets of East End as Topaz.

Glancing sidelong to Shift as he fixes food and drink she inquires. "Ever hear of a man named Feng Mo? He was running around Gotham breaking necks. Twisting their heads full circle." As she says as much one hand rises, index finger extended and doing a rotation to emphasise the point. "Had the mob running scared. Helped me clean my streets, but got too close to home." Hopefully it wont happen again. Because now, here she sits, now watching as Rant slices her arm wide, the look one that has her cringing.

Catwoman knows her capabilities, never having first hand experienced them until… Now.

When Kwabena rushes to her side Catwoman looks to him and shakes her head slowly, gingerly lowering to be on the level with Rant and make this as quick and easy as possible…

-

Rant hated this part, it always made her cry, but if it was going to help Selina, or anyone for that matter, she'd do it. She would rather be the one to save a life to the one who would take it. No matter what.

"It's okay.." She murmurs quietly to the both of them, and what was the sad thing about it all, she slit her wrist perfectly. She didn't do it from side to side, she followed the think vein beneath and pumped her fist so that the blood easily pooled into the beaker. "I do this all.. all the time.." She whimpers out, a deep frown glancing towards Selina, hoping to give her enough to last the month, she had planned to do this before the smooth.

As Selina slid down, she gives her wrist a final pump.. which was the mental cue for the nanites to begin to work to seal her skin. The blood itself trickles to a slow crawl, and then nothing, only leaving the mess behind for her to clean up in due time.

Latex was switched out for a cleaner version, slapped on with blood bubbling beneath, the syringe taken from it's pack and filled by the thin of the needle, and offered towards Catwoman so that she could puncture herself. Melody couldn't do it, she'd have to use an elbow to keep The Woman still, and it already felt like spaghetti.

"The thigh.. the arm, or the heart. The heart will allow them to travel faster. NO.." She felt a little dizzy, but it'll pass. "..Under your arm. People have a natural aversion to sticking something where their heart is concerned. Tense yourself, hold it, feel the vein, and push."

She settles into a slump now, finishing a bit of Shift's story. "I planted goons everywhere, I build him a beautiful infrastructure.. you know this Catwoman. But what only the three of us know, is that your men are on the inside. And if that Dackleman freak finds out, I'm a dead woman."

-

Lips parted, Shift looks between Rant and Catwoman, the latter of whom has him speechless by the way she shakes her head at him. Gently calling him off. Still aghast, the Ghanaian looks back toward Melody and watches.

Its ironic, the procedure. So similar to the complicated and meticulous steps involved with shooting up. Melody would have that memory fresh in her mind, and though Kwabena is little over a year sober, he can still remember the procedure as if it were yesterday. The mere sight of a needle has his jaw tensing, his face contorting into an expression of pent up frustration. It may have something to do with the gentle burning of his insides, but… that much will pass, sooner or later, all things considered. The memories, though; they sting. They are a firm reminder of just why he's already sacrificed so much hunting Dackleman down.

Rising to his feet, he walks around the bed and lifts the needle of his turntable, turning Zeppelin I over to side B. The needle is dropped again, static filling the room before the first chord is struck. Then, he's back over at the window, perching with one leg upon the windowsill, the other upon the floor, a cigarette coming from a soft pack of American Spirit menthol's sitting in the windowsill. The snap of a zippo precedes his answer, which comes drily and dutifully. "He'll be dead long befah dat."

Shift hadn't heard of Feng Mo, but it wouldn't take much for him to ask around. He doesn't offer any insight into what may or may not have happened in Catwoman's turf. He only glances toward the two, watching for a brief moment as the procedure continues, before turning his eyes back upon the 'hood beyond. "Sometimes, dat kind of shit has a heavy cost."

In an almost casual way, Kwabena's left arm transforms into smoke, starting at the fingers and crawling up to his shoulder. The gunmetal gray, spandex-like uniform changes with him, and the living tendrils stretch out to curl around that opened bottle of whiskey, lifting it into the air and drawing it toward him. The arm steadily reforms until fingers solidify around the bottle, which he brings to dry lips for a healthy pull.

-

Catwoman seems to hold her candor, though she is carefully watching, unmoving until Rant fully heals and there is no more fresh flow of blood. Only once that is settled does she look at the syringe and vial, taking them in one hand as the other reaches up to hook fingers through the loop at the hollow of her throat.

There is pride there, no fear or shy modesty, she has done worse things then disrobe in front of a stranger, and Rant has seen it all already, Selina hates /skin/. Tugging the zipper down it reveals the scar riddled flesh beneath the suit, second degree burns are fading into first, where skin blistered and peeled is slowly smoothing over but discolored, pulling one arm out takes time and a slight lean with her fingers clenched between teeth to aid in pulling her arm free of the reinforced vinyl body suit. Suitably covered by a bra beneath gauze and a brace keep her ribs in place, a bloody gauze showing where Harley and Ivy's on hand doctor made a fresh incision to remove broken rib from her lung, the others keep stab wounds covered and salve on other burns. More scars to add to the party of hard knocks.

Raising her uncovered arm upward she takes a slow breath and feels, no not for a damn lump, for that vein that she prompty stabs the needle into, holding nothing back as she depresses the pump and feeds the nanite riddled blood streamlined.

Watching Shift though she comes to a slow realization, recognizing… Her head tilts as she pulls the syringe from her skin and shudders, a visible thing that rises small bumps along her skin, following a path as the nanites make their course.

"When you make promises to yourself or other people… There's always a heavy cost. Because shit changes —-."

Cut off she cringes now and her spine bows, fingers curling inward and nails biting crescent moons into the palm of her hand. Then she tucks in on herself, a kneeling fetal position where she is hiding her face and clenching her teeth, jolting with every crack as her bones readjust… Then heal.

A wave can be seen, a slow motion ripple that takes over her skin and where visible damage is done it is healed, just leaving behind the old scars and a heavily breathing Catwoman.

"He'll be dead before anyone else is lost." Says the voice from the faceplanted/tucked position in front of rant.

-

The beaker filled with blood is soon capped off, tucked tight and placed into a container; all done with one arm. A glance is given to Kwabena, a little smirk and a quiet thought passing through her head. 'Lazy ass.' Is what she thinks, but then that quiet need of.. 'I wish I could do that'.. came ahead. She shook her own head in thought, then slides the bag towards Selina in time for her to glance towards the zipper that fell downward.

Yeah, she's seen it before, almost every nook and cranny, mostly because of her extra outof ordinary activities. But she was waiting, waiting for the time that needle went deep and for her nanites to take to the blood and.. -GO-.

As Selina doubles over, she reaches over to lightly touch the goggle, cause lord knows, if Selina felt her petting her like a cat there -may- be hell to pay. There was pride to consider, and her own hand drew back as she went into herself, shoulders raising with guilt, wishing for a way to make -this- process better. The pain.

But then their words hit her like a ton of bricks; there they were. She actually saw them for who she perceived the both of them to be. Her heroes. How much she aspired to be strong and just like them could have amazed a small child in a park, watching spiderman grab a balloon that the boy accidentally let go, and it being returned. It was a quiet moment of awe that had her nearly rocking in her place, her bottom lip trembling as her good arm reaches up to grasp the other, fingers wriggling to check for normalcy.

The quiet love of her life and the man she just met. Heroes, just for her.

"I love you guys."

Such a weirdo.

-

The subtlety of Melody healing her wound. The exposure of Catwoman's battered flesh. The resulting and sickening crack of forced, violent healing. Kwabena watches it all, his expression numb and empty, until he takes anotherlong pull from that bottle of whiskey. There it is… the burn, the reminder of being real, of being more than a burning knot of internal, chemical struggle. A few streaks of light run up and down his body, his limbs, the remnant burn of plasma deep inside seeking a way out and finding itself in the scalding of the bottle, the charring of the places where his uniform-covered feet touch the windowsill and floor.

Melody's smirk isn't missed, answered with a wry grin of his own. Appparently, being a mutant does have its price, as evidenced by the finger-molds his hand has left in the neck of the bottle when he sets it down, the glass glowing red for a moment or two after it's set down.

Kwabena waits until Catwoman begins to normalize, until she speaks again. Then, he takes another deep drag from the cigarette, ashing it outside. A quiet fire smoldered in silver eyes that seemed lifeless but moments ago, the smell of blood drifting into his nose. A phantom, to be sure, but he knows just who it belongs to. He'll track it like a dog until it leads him to the man all three of them have come to hate. Quite honestly, the Ghanaian would be happy to end the man's life himself. But here, now, as he looks from the writhing Catwoman to the rocking Melody, he decides that he's willing to share.

He's good people like that.

An arm turns into smoke again, and the bottle drifts across the room, coming to a rest before Catwoman's face. "To Richard Dackleman," he murmurs darkly, offering a toast. "May he rest in peace."

Eyes drift over toward Melody, staring at her, finding his inner hunger settling upon her. And yet he doesn't move from where he's perched upon the windowsill. On one hand, the gloved fingers hold the cigarette with a peculiar sort of grace, the same kind of grace a Navy SEAL uses to hold a sniper rifle. The other hand, however… that one has found the knee of his a jeans, and clenches.

-

It took a moment, one solid shuddering breath inward to realize she did not feel it anymore, that wrenching pain with every breath, that teetering slide as broken bone shifts, wanting to grind back out of place after a doctor reset them with orders to stay in bed. Ivy and Harley tried, they succeeded in one thing…

"I was supposed to be in Blackgate right now, for attempted murder, or murder… I don't know what /he/ put." That one word is hissed, she doesn't need to say who, the listing already leaks malice as she slides her suit back to fully on, rolling her shoulder, rising her arm and curling her fingers in a ripple that once more reactivates the claws.

Zipping her suit back up she pauses at the gesture from Kwabena, glancing to him with a wry and twisted grin, gripping the long neck to take her own long pull and then glances to rant, rising swiftly to help herself to water in the kitchen. No Dr. Pepper until after the water and food.

Returning to rant she stands there, a nail tapping out a caucophany of beconing for her to take and drink. Even standing there she watches the looks between them… Her shoulders slumping slightly.

"I have made too many promises, and put myself in a grave for them." Now her gaze slides from Rant to Shift, remaining there as she heads his way, a slow stride that now no longer has a stiff deliberation, there is a slinking stalk to the predatorial guise. Hand rise and fingers bridge around the rim of her goggles pulling them down over those narrowed eyes.

"Don't make me regret not making one to you." She says to him just before she steps to the side, changing her path just as quickly and easily as she was on it.

Pausing in the door way she glances back over her shoulder at them. "And don't make promises to eachother you can't keep. It's a different kind of death." So much more happened, it says as much in the way her voice is trained and… careful, just as much as she had drug her broken figure in she leaves them together, there's some things nanites cannot fix.

"Death is the easy way out."With no further noise aside from a breeze bearing raindrops across metal, she is gone.

-

Ah, possibly the -other- reason why Catwoman came looking for her. Someone needed their name erased, and who had two.. well one working thumb, who could do that in a jiff? This girl, that's who!

But, she was still a mess of emotion, her gaze falling back to either of them with a slight frown, the look from Kwabena wasn't missed, it made her a little uncomfortable for it was a look that she had never seen.. well, directed at her, anyways.

He's weird.

The tap-tap-tapping of fingers drew her to a rise, staggering a little towards her to reach for the cup to drink. She knew the rules when it came to this: Drink it all down, then go to town on the greasy train! Yeah! That little thought passed away to glance towards the back of The Woman (cause I love that name), a deep frown curling her features yet again as her eyes begin to water. Something was different about her, she could see it, almost feel it. Melody became an emotional leech that day, wanting to follow the woman out of the window and beg her to ask what happened, but yet.. even though their relationship was close enough, the both of them didn't let the other in. And probably for the same reasons they do, and regret it.

"Cat.." She starts.. but she was gone, her head turning back towards Kwabena, noting the charred wall a little too late, and getting angry for no reason about it. It wasn't even her house. Maybe it was that simple word that they both had said to her, Promise, that got her in a bunch.

"What are you dumb?! Why are you trying to burn down this stupid place! Get out of the window and stop being.. being.. a jackass!"

-

Kwabena's attention shifts to Catwoman as she slinks toward him. She couldn't know how many bullets, how many knives, have gone through him. She couldn't know how many rooftops he's leapt from, with neither grace nor acrobatics to save him. In many ways, be was invincible. It wasn't that he carried a death wish, or some kind of daredevil's ante. He simply has a unique perspective on life and death, borne of the blessings his X-Gene has given him.

"Fortunately, a grave can't hold me," he tells her. There's plenty of subtext to go along with it; the stereotypical 'you can't kill me' nonsense that lesser metahumans might lay on a person is there in minor share. But no, what he means to tell her is… if she needs someone to snuff the grave, he's willing to give it a shot. Track record tends to agree that he'll make it.

Much as he might hate to admit it, Kwabena is a mess of emotions as well. He deplores being in such a state, but right now, there's ahealthy equation of Sex plus Candy multiplied by a factor of You-Went-To-Plasma-Phase-In-Mutant-Town. Augment such turmoil by the careful, meaningful warning given by Catwoman in departure, he barely notices her slinking past and leaving them in silence. A silence that is quickly abolished.

"It's not like dat at all," he answers, leaving his perch and flicking the cigarette outside.


Back to: RP Logs

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License