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Libraries, theaters, coffee shops, a particular bench in Central Park. These were Roy's usual haunts, places he went to watch the world around him. Almost never a bar, since he didn't really drink. There's no tragic back story or family history of alcoholism there, the stuff just scared the shit out of him. After all, it was possible to be delirious with joy and fun without wasting himself away.
Tonight, he was feeling a little different. Tonight, he was feeling a drink. One so masked by other flavors it was impossible to tell what kind of alcohol was in it. Or would be, if Roy hadn't just ordered the only drink he knew for sure he liked; apple pie on the rocks. Vanilla vodka, Fireball, apple juice (well, apple cider in this case, but who's counting?), and brown sugar on the rim. He accepted the drink from the bartender with a grin and some thanks before licking the sugar off part of the rim and taking a sip. Delicious.
The drink went down quickly. Not because Roy was in any particular hurry, but because he had at least one very firm belief; When presented with apple cider, chug. That, and it was dark outside - at least, as dark as New York tends to get. He figured he'd be safe, for obvious reasons. Still, he had his right hand around his other wrist, playing with the bracelet there. Nervous habit. He dumped some bills on the counter and stepped out of the bar.
"Nice night," Roy muttered to himself, tucking his hands into his jacket pockets and heading down the street.
It was a nice night, by his standards. Chilly enough that the sweat on his brow got cold as he walked against the breeze, full of the sounds of distant cars and nearby arguments. Actually, that last one wasn't so nice, especially because Roy found himself face to face with it on his next turn. He only ever really went down in this alley if he didn't want to walk all the way home. Benefits of being a wanted freak with superpowers, you save a lot on commute.
Roy was hoping he and his kind also saved a lot on gunshot insurance, considering the barrel he was now staring down and the terrified woman the threat was holding by the arm. Fuck.
Elena’s night was going on longer then she had planned. She had been meeting a couple friends at a bar, it wasn’t often she had a chance to catch up with old friends but Maria had been in town for some business conference for a couple days and so they had been able to get out and have a little fun. After a few drinks though Maria got into an argument with her boyfriend on the phone and started sobbing. The night wasn’t so much fun after that and she’d taken her friend back to her hotel.
She was walking down the street, getting a head start on the cab’s fare while she waited to spot one and flag it down. The night was refreshing, for New York. It had rained a little earlier and had managed not to get muggy afterwards. Wasn’t quite hot enough in the season yet but it did seem like they had finally left the winter storms behind. All those ups and downs this spring had been killing her, not to mention allergies had been harsh. She just wasn’t used to this northern stuff.
Taking her phone out of her pocket she checked the time and probably wasn’t paying the most attention to what was going on up ahead but she had only see the one guy walking her direction from further up the block and a quick glance at her phone wasn’t going to put him within her immediate area. She did slip the phone back in her pocket and then wonder just where the man had gone though when her eyes returned to watching the street. Maybe he’d just gone into one of the buildings but having been caught unawares by one mugger not that long ago she was paying more attention now.
Coming up to roughly the are she had seen the man last she did hear a scuffle in the alley just ahead. Slowing down she stepped closer to the building as she approached the alley. Taking careful consideration with her movements to reduce noise. She didn’t know if there was someone in the alley looking to surprise her or if they had surprised the guy she’d seen…
This guy was a mess, let me tell you. He truthfully and honestly looked like he needed a personal groomer, a muzzle, an acid bath, and antibacterial soap in an IV. Roy couldn't really judge him - he'd had plenty of days where he looked just as rough. The main difference is that Roy managed to claw out of that hole as well as clean the dirt under his nails. Comes with antidepressants and a lot of psychotherapy.
Sadly for this guy, he was threatening at least one enhanced individual. The cool, snarky part of Roy wanted to roll his eyes and say "Really?" but the fact was that all he could make himself do was put his hands up. Ultimately, he wasn't some comic book badass. Definitely not Captain America (though they do have a similar waistline). What he did have was a lot of experience in watching crime dramas, and if Michael Weatherly can convincingly deliver the line "Put the gun down", why can't he?
"P-" Roy started, but then the guy interrupted.
"I-If you come any closer, I'll shoot!" He stammered. Roy's spine stiffened.
"Alright, not movin', man," he replied, trying his best (and doing his mediocre-st) to keep his voice even. "I'll go, alright? Forget about this."
Now, Roy wasn't the greatest liar in the world. In general, he liked to think he told the truth as much as he could. At the moment, he was lying his ass off. Forget about this? As if. No, he was memorizing the details of this man's face. The pinch at the tip of his nose, the (approximate) color of his eyes. Kind of hard with the darkness, but, hey. Better than nothing. And the guy just didn't buy it. No, instead, he cocked his gun. At which point Roy just lost his composure. He flipped his hand, palm-up, and just like that, it was full of cold steel. In a panic, he let the gun clatter to the ground.
So the would-be-shooter became a might-be-stabber, and pulled a tiny little knife out of his jacket pocket.
"Y-Y-You're one of them freaks!"
Elena crept up to the edge of the alley and listened. What she heard sounded like trouble but nothing too big. At least not compared to her standards. For the man and woman being threatened she was sure it was plenty of trouble. Having been the victim of a surprise mugging herself a few weeks ago she had sympathy for them but very little for the man doing the threatening.
She didn’t even try to peek around the corner. Sure there was a risk the man would see her head pop out or catch the movement from the corner of his eye and get even more nervous but mostly it was because she didn’t have too. Scouting ahead was usually her job because she was fast enough to get there and get back without being seen and yet while she moved everything else seemed to almost freeze, she easily took stock of situations. It also became very easy to make alterations to situations.
Her eyes rolled at the dialog and as things seemed to heat up she moved into action. In the space of a heart beat Yo-yo sprinted around the corner, taking in the scene in front of her she picked the gun up off the ground, plucked the knife from the muggers hand and used the butt of the gun to strike him in the back of the head. She was back in position around the corner without being seen, no more then a breeze and the mugger was suddenly collapsing to the ground.
She cleared the chamber on the gun as she stepped out of her hiding spot, having already closed the knife and put it in her pocket. ”Apparently he never learned that freaks stick together.”
Roy's heart skipped a beat at the glint of the knife. There had been a point in his life where he'd known quite a lot about knives and other assorted small weaponry. Absurdly, he couldn't help but think about rolling for advantage. The absurdity didn't come, in majority, from the fact that this wasn't a tabletop RPG, but mostly because he most definitely had the advantage on Mr. Bathhouse Nightmare over here. 'Course, taking that advantage would expose his identity and his abilities to the poor woman he had a hold on. A suddenly misplaced gun could be written off as confusion. A 24-year-old man grabbing her by the arm and suddenly being in the nearest Taco Bell? That would be a little hard to forget.
Besides, while Roy was going on this little tangent in his head, it seemed like someone or something else was doing the dirty work for him. The barest hint of a blur - a real blink-and-you'll-miss-it phenomenon - swept from behind him and many things had happened all at once. First thing Roy noticed? The guy dropped like a sack of potatoes. Not a power he had, but damn if he wasn't envious. Second, his knife hadn't fallen to the floor, despite him very much not holding it anymore. Just to be safe, Roy checked his hands. Both clear. Which was when he noticed the not-gun sitting on the definitely-pavement. Huh.
The mystery was solved before Roy could form any theories (intervention from the Fair Folk, supernatural cleanup crew, drugged alcohol, being in a dream) when a woman's voice sounded off behind him. She had a nice accent, and when he turned around, she also had a nice face. There's something comforting about being greeted by pretty people, psychologically. Hence the general successes of Ted Bundy, if you consider homicide and necrophilia to be successes. Which you shouldn't, because that's patently crazy.
"Wha-who are you?" Roy blurted out, void of any other questions. The would-have-definitely-been victim seemed to have found her head, because she was now tearing down the alley like she was being tailed by a gun-toting hobo. Which she wasn't, anymore.
She wasn’t worried about being seen, even if there was a security camera facing this alley she was too fast to be caught on one. If anything it might look like the tape skipped as she moved slightly but since she always bounced back where she cam from it wasn’t like it was a big jump. At least not unless she was thrown back forcefully. That was never pleasant.
She started tucking the gun away behind her jacket, she could turn it in to the armory or something when she got back to the playground. Those boys would know what to do with it. She wasn’t sure if it was the American way to hand the gun over to the police or throw it in a dumpster to be honest and considering the lack of trust she had in her own countries police she wasn’t so interesting in asking to find out.
The woman was taking off down the alley without even a thank you and Elena could only roll her eyes. ”Never grateful but at least she didn’t faint.” Probably for the best, less people that could identify her here the better. Which left the one still conscious male standing there unsure of what question he should ask her.
Her head tilted to the side as she regarded him, trying to figure out how to respond. ”Elena but you didn’t see me here. In fact, probably none of this happened got it?” She put her hands in her pockets, spared the would be mugger a glance as she walked past. The girl had been ok, the guy was alright. No reason to stick around and wait for stinky to wake up. She started walking down the block again.
Roy was feeling all kinds of astounded. Okay, Elena. A name. Good place to start. No last name, obviously, because she was a super. Probably rule #1 of being enhanced, if you get caught using your powers, don't give your name. Unless you feel like registering, which apparently loads of people did. Not a process Roy could get behind, a little bit because he felt like it would involve a lot of poking and prodding in places he wouldn't like. Then again, he could probably be very slippery if he got caught. Just pop over to the next state and sleep the drain off for a couple days.
More tangents slipped through his head while he really should have been paying better attention to what was actually happening.
Of course there wasn't any gratitude. One of the few cynicisms Roy allowed himself was the one that made mention of the fact that there wasn't a single normal human being who wanted to be near a super. They got to be lepers, apparently. And there was no way this ever happened. Not to either of them. But how could he even be sure he could trust this Elena character? What if she was some sort of hunter for any number of organizations after enhanced people? Only one way to find out; bold move.
Elena turned the corner and before she even passed the next building, Roy was standing right in front of her again.
"Okay, yeah, never happened, but-but...can it never have happened in like an hour?" Roy asked, chewing his lip. God he hoped she didn't try to beat the shit out of him. "We gotta talk about that."
Elena was a common enough name, and yeah if the right SHIELD agent heard of this tail from him they might connect the dots. But what was more recognizable and without a doubt was her nickname. Yo-yo would be hard to deny, as far as she knew there wasn’t another powered person using that. Probably because it was a tad silly. She’d gotten used to it though.
She didn’t even ask his name though. She was suspicious, the guy had done something to get the gun away from the man but she couldn’t say what exactly that had been. As someone that wasn’t happy about the accords either, she was taking more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it came to others that crossed her path.
Of course him popping up and making her almost trip over her own shoes in a rush to stop in time certainly made that policy hard to stick too. Just like the request for a chat. Her hands planted themselves on her hips as she stared the guy down.
”Are buying the drinks for this chat?” She could have asked him a number of things, like why, what for, or even if he was crazy but she didn’t. Sometimes people just wanted to talk. And if he was a spy too looking for people not registered then it wasn’t like she’d done anything big… True, it was still a violation but a small one. She might have her doubts about SHIELD lately but she didn’t think Coulson would let them put her on the Raft for stopping a mugging. Besides they could always claim it was a set up.
”Come on then. You don’t want to be near by when he wakes up. They don’t usually nap more then five minutes.”
Roy couldn't help a little twinge of pride in his powers. It was nice to see that three years working on figuring them out hadn't gone to waste. Lots of barely avoided traffic accidents and several unintentional (and unsolved) shoplifting accounts had at least showed their worth. That and it was a little funny to see the look in Elena's eyes when he materialized. For a second, Roy desperately wished he lived in a world where popping up out of nowhere was an acceptable thing to do. Imagine the special effects you could pull off with superpowers.
"I-yeah, sure, why not? I'm buying." Roy chuckled. Suddenly he actually felt like a drink would probably be good. "I actually just came from the bar, might as well go back in, yeah?"
Roy lead the charge into the bar and plunked himself down at the far end of the counterspace. The place was a little busier now than it had been earlier. A handy bit of chatter spread across the room as patrons went about their business. Meanwhile, Roy was withholding a seemingly limitless stream of questions, along with trying to pinpoint which ones were appropriate to ask. "What kind of powers do you have?" seemed sort of bad, current political climate in mind. Despite the logical decision to not ask, Roy was still very curious. She had - at least, he assumed - knocked a guy out, taken his gun and knife, all before Roy had even registered that something had happened in the first place. Christ, where to begin?
"So..." He said lamely, biting his lip. "How are you supposed to start these conversations? 'Hey thanks for not letting him shoot me, and also, what the hell was that?' Is that how it works? There really needs to be, like...etiquette courses for this shit now."
He wanted to chat, he could buy the drink. Of course there were other places they could chat. A diner. A coffee shop. A book store. But the bar was just up a little ways and at this time there should be plenty of people to help them blend in. The guy seemed to have control of his powers enough that she wasn’t sure what he wanted to chat about though. Unless it was just the novelty of running into someone else that was special. He must not move in the right circles if that was the case.
”Yeah, that’ll work.” She shrugged and followed the curly head of hair up the street and into the bar. The place had predictable dim lighting and a enough people inside to give that buzz of life over everything. There was a tv on over the bar but unless you were right in front of it you couldn’t hear what was being said. Elena only gave it a glance anyway.
He sat the bar and she stopped, shaking her head, ”No, a table.” Bar tenders always had ears and were usually sober enough to them. She turned and instead led the way to a table on the edge on the edge of the crowd. When the waitress came around she ordered a beer, letting the man figure out what he wanted to ask or talk about. Maybe he really hadn’t run into many powered people.
Once the waitress was gone though she turned and looked at him, one eye brow higher then the others as she tried to figure him out. ”Mutant, inhuman or other?” She asked first without answering any of his own questions yet. Not that there was a real question in his babbling, at least not one she could pick out exactly. Maybe it was something lost in translation. ”You had already stopped him from shooting you.” She pointed out instead.
A table. Right. Bartenders hear things, it's a cliche. Roy's cheeks went pink; he really should have thought of that first.
Elena's question was much more organized than his own string of scattered babbling. The real issue was that Roy didn't know how to answer...at all. He had a pretty long list of things he was. Twenty-four, gay, an actor, a cheeseburger enthusiast, superpowered, a believer in magic. Exactly one of those things was particularly relevant, and he didn't even know the source of it. Well, not beyond what actually jump-started the whole thing. A trash bag full of crumbling stone and grossness and an hour on hands and knees in the kitchen. Was that how mutations worked? Just shell up for a few hours and come out shooting lasers out of your eyes?
Okay, well, Roy didn't do that. He popped out of his shell and straight to the top of Empire State. Brooklyn Bridge. Flickered across the city at top-speed, in a cafe for one frame and a sewer in another. Eventually, Roy managed to stabilize and ended up back in his apartment. The whole ordeal had been over in all of three seconds.
"I...took the gun," Roy said simply, and then caved. He couldn't be aloof and mysterious pretty much at all. "It's this thing I can do? Like, take things...I guess. I'm not sure how to explain it, just - " He put the edge of his hand on the table and the ketchup bottle against the wall appeared in it. "I try not to use it, but...better than getting shot, y'know?"
He paused and then gestured to Elena. "What about you, then? I didn't even see you."
”No answer?” she looked at him curiously. Couldn’t blame the guy. With all the ways of getting super powers these days it could get a little confusing. However since the time around the Accords, and really since what happened in NY, all the groups had been getting more press. There was likely just as much trash to wade through looking for facts but a person who was determined could find it. ”Did it start during puberty or more recently?” By the look of him she was guessing he’d been past puberty for more then a couple years now. ”With maybe a rocklike cocoon?” It didn’t cover all the bases from what she understood but it would narrow it down.
”Mhmm, and I took his knife.” If they were just going to go over what had happened she’d had more interesting fights to crow about. At least he went on to explain, saving her from having to play twenty questions. She watched the bottle appear in his hand and nodded. ”Cool. Just items? How big can you move things?” Her English failing with grammar but hey, she was a lot better then she’d been two years ago.
”Yeah, better then getting shot. Or Her.” The waitress came back with their drinks and Elena took her bottle of beer with a polite thanks for the woman but waited until she had moved off before continuing the conversation. ”Inhuman and I’m fast. A cheetah has nothing on me.” she smiled at the joke and lifted her bottle to take a sip.
Roy almost wanted to laugh. Yeah, puberty was a decade and some loose change in the past for him. As he frequently (sarcastically) said, he was a grown-ass man.
All the terminology still confused him, even being a part of the termed. Mutant, Inhuman, metahuman, superhuman, enhanced, the list just went on and on into a mess of driveling nonsense. Frankly, Roy would have been much happier under a blanket term, but nobody ever wanted to do that. Everything had to be semantics pretty much all the time, always.
But then Elena said what Roy never hoped would be the magic words, and I sincerely hope nobody else wants to be the magic words for anything: rock-like cocoon. Yeah, Roy remembered it pretty vividly. Can a surreal experience be vivid? If so, that's how it had gone. The specifics were too arduous for him to think of clearly, but he nodded fervently.
"Yeah, that, like three years ago," he blurted out, immediately succumbing to humor. "Really messy, and I did not enjoy it at all."
Roy took a second to think. Really, he hadn't tested the limits of his powers too well. Why would he ever need to nab anything much bigger than, like, a basketball? It was useful for disarming whackos in alleys and getting an otherwise unreachable remote from behind the couch, but what else could he practically use it for? And the traveling was much different. That he at least had some soft limits, as evidenced by a date he'd jumped across town for and the resulting headache that ruined what would have been a perfectly respectable hookup. He resolved to shrug.
"I don't really know the limits. It's not something I need to use too much, y'know? It's not like getting almost shot is a daily activity for me." Roy laughed a little nervously.
"Yeah, really, how fast is your mile?" He asked, half-joking. He stuck the straw of his drink in his mouth and took a minute to appreciate water. Cold, refreshing water. God, he was a lame adult.
She nodded as he jumped on the reference. It was hard to mistake terragenisis. ”Inhuman then like me.” There, at least he had the term for what he was now. It might not fix anything or really offer anything more then a label but if he had questions, she might have more answers. Provided he had some for her as well. ”Three years, yeah that was about when it started getting out more. Did you take the fish oil pills or something?” she gave a tiny laugh. Damn fish.
So he hadn’t tested his own limits? Even out of curiosity? She looked surprised at that. Most people were curious individuals and when they found they had a super power they wanted to know just what they could do. ”You didn’t?” He really had been hiding under a rock and from more then just people keeping eyes out for powered people. ”You weren’t ever curious? Knowing your limits is good, if you get in a pinch at least you know what you can do. Its not completely a hail mary.” she shook her head.
Shrugging one shoulder, ”There and back within one beat of your heart.” It wasn’t exactly true but it was close enough for this conversation. She knew she shouldn’t be giving away all the secrets of her powers to a stranger. The more people knew the more likely they were to find her weakness. She eyed his glass, knowing for certain now that he was one odd duck.
Inhuman. Cool. Wait, no, not cool. Roy felt a little bit insulted, actually. Mutant, sure, he could accept that. Mutant means change, it happens in nature. Enhanced, that would also be nice. Enhanced at least sounds dignified. The insult appeared on his face, in a little twinge of distaste and a frown.
"That seems sort of mean," Roy mumbled, pretty much totally inaudible. "...Does sushi work? It happened like three days after I went to a sushi bar with my roommates..."
Now he was just questioning all of his decisions. Maybe he should have been a good Jew and not eaten shellfish, or been so deeply attracted to seafood. God, but salmon steak and cocktail shrimp... Who could live without them? Regardless, there was a whole other decision to question, being the one where he had decided to err on the side of caution and not try and teleport across the Pacific. Then again, maybe he should have seen how far he could go, what he could do. Just about the only thing he'd tested was his new strength, with which he could apparently now lift his fridge without too much strain.
He decided to save his answers for a second, and instead stared at Elena with awe.
"Super speed, huh?" Roy murmured. "God, that's cool. Explains why I didn't see you. Jeez, though, you must be fast, then! How fast is your mile?"
Under all that, he couldn't help but feel a little smug; no matter how fast she was, he had to be faster. Teleporting was instant after all, right? He didn't plan to brag. Or...give her time to answer. He was back on a roll as soon as he'd finished his question.
"Anyway, I just figured it'd be...y'know, safer to not make a spectacle of myself." Roy shrugged. "Not really trying to get probed by government agents, y'know?"
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