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Limerence. [closed] Read 1257 times

Pride

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Limerence. [closed]
« on: August 03, 2015, 05:55:48 am »
“...So we grew together
Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
But yet an union in partition,
Two lovely berries moulded on one stem...”
- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream


“-come to you live from downtown Sky City, where a fierce battle still rages between the colossus and the heroes that have allied against it-“

The television droned on quietly in the small apartment, the running commentary of the battle in sync with the figures zipping around the towering monstrosity on the small screen. It was just loud enough to be heard over the slight clinks and clanks of porcelain under running water and close enough that the flashing lights on screen of various powers in use stretched across the living room and into the kitchen, dancing across the man in jeans and a long-sleeve shirt rolled up his elbows that stood cleaning the final dish lingering in the sink.

Adam Greystone’s hands moved with thoughtless efficiency, scrubbing the plate to a shine that had surpassed being spotless almost fifteen minutes ago. It was the mechanical action of a distracted man, born more from a desire to do something beyond sitting uselessly on the couch rather than any need for clean plates. His stare and his attention was lingering somewhere between the up-close-and-dangerous broadcast provided by the infamous SCN and the large window on the far wall, offering a spectacular view through dusty blinds of the Sky City skyline. From each, he had a view of the monster that was making a mess of downtown – from each, he had the chance of catching a flash of blue and a half-second of relief knowing that his world was still okay. For the moment.

The dull thrum of vibration against wood drew Adam’s attention away for the first time since the battle had begun. His phone blinked white at him from the low coffee table in the living room, the envelope on screen informing him of the message awaiting him. The brunette gave the most polished plate in existence one final scrub over before setting it among its colorful fellows on the dish rack and drying his hands on the pretty, floral towel hanging nearby.  It took him only a few long steps to move bare feet beyond the cold tile of the kitchen to the carpet of the living area, suspecting long before his thumb tapped out the unlock code exactly what he would see.

“?”

A single question mark from an unknown number, but Adam understood. He frowned at his phone, calloused fingers hesitating over the screen, and considered. The rent for this month had been paid in full, even if it was a day or two late. Their bills were paid, the A/C fixed, and he had enough set aside for at least a half dozen take outs…the tall boy scratched at his cheek contemplatively, glancing up at the rest of the apartment space. A worn, but comfy couch opposite of a decent TV, separated by an old and slightly unbalanced coffee table. A tall bookshelf about three quarters filled with books, all his, and one quarter movies, all hers, stood adjacent to the large window giving a beautiful view of the Sky City skyline. Their bedrooms, down the hall and separated by the bathroom they shared, were about the same – nothing fancy, but filled with all of their familiar, comfortable things.

Green eyes, soft and washed out like a favorite sweater worn too many times, lingered on the closet door at the edge of the hallway. Adam chewed his lower lip, running a mental inventory of its contents more out of habit than any necessity; he already knew he was running low on supplies. Restricted surgical-grade equipment could be difficult to obtain when he technically didn’t have a license for it - anesthetic was particularly pricey in underground markets, if he wanted any sort of guarantee it was good quality. He returned his gaze and his frown to the phone, fingers drumming lightly against its back as he considered. It wouldn’t hurt to just hear what kind of job it was, right? If it paid enough, then maybe…

A bright burst of blue from the television caught the Greystone boy’s attention, green flickering back just in time to see the explosion that sent the monster crashing to the ground. A shadowy figure floated above it, glowing an ethereal azure in the settling dust from the monster’s collapse, the apparent source of the creature’s downfall. Adam’s grip on his phone tightened, watching the familiar female shape materialize more clearly as the debris dissipated.

“Woah! And the colossus is down for the count folks, the whole city must have felt that impact! And the hero of the day is the blue beauty herself, the-”

He didn’t remember moving for the remote, but didn’t regret how easily his finger found the power. With half of its light gone, the small apartment was left only with the streams of gold and red of the sun settling behind the skyline, twisting with thickening shadows on the carpet floor. Green lingered on the blank screen for a few seconds longer, seeing the shape of her still in its black glass – the tears in her uniform hinting at lacerations beneath, the colorful distortions of skin that promised future bruises, her smile as other heroes rushed to congratulate her on a job well done. He glanced at the message again, cursor blinking readily in anticipation of his reply.

“No.”

It chimed as it sent, a quiet bell of confirmation, before he swiped and deleted the conversation from his phone. He probably wouldn’t get another message for a week – she didn’t like people turning down her job offers and could be remarkably petty about it – but that was fine. He had a strong feeling he’d have more important things to focus on tonight. And one of those things required a phone call to the number two on his speed dial.

A middle-aged man with a thick, oriental accent answered after only one ring and was already going strong through a list of his restaurant's specials before the brunette managed to interrupt him.

“Li, it’s Adam.”  He paused, listening to the boisterous greeting and follow-up question. “Mm, no, sorry - not tonight. We’ll swing by later this week though, okay? Mind sending the usual to our place tonight instead?”

There was a loud guffaw followed by the sound of shouted orders before Li returned to their conversation with another question. Adam glanced from the dark television screen to the medical closet, then to the clock near the bookshelf, guessing how much time he might need.

“Half an hour’s fine.” Another laughing reply made Adam smile a little, nodding thankfully to the man who couldn’t see him. “You’re the best, Li. Thanks.”

The phone founds it place back on the coffee table next to the remote and an open book. It was the latter he picked up as he sat down on the couch, something to hide the fact that he had made a serious effort at breaking the world record for cleanest dinner ware. The brunette glanced once more at the clock as he settled – it wouldn’t be long now, he guessed. There was nothing to support his hunch but that smile he’d seen on her face in the half-second before the TV went blank, but he was as certain of it as anything in his life. He knew her as well as he knew himself. Maybe even better.

She wasn’t interested in congratulations and interviews, in praise and adulation. That smile wasn’t the look she gave when she was proud or bashful. It was an eager thing, an excited twist of the lips, anticipating what came now that she’d finally put an end to the monster’s tantrum.

“Were you really craving it that badly? You better hurry home then.” Adam murmured quietly to his vacant twin, flipping a page of his book without any real interest. “You’re not getting any Chinese until I look at those wounds, no matter how much you complain.”

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Re: Limerence. [closed]
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2015, 02:12:51 pm »
The only thing stopping Sarah from bleeding through her shirt was the pad she was now trying to hide by buttoning her collar up.   The girl could only imagine what her brother would say, when he saw it.

It had been a long day.

The summons came during lunch.  Sarah had been in a brightly coloured classroom, then: small and worn but cheerful all the same, the walls bright yellow and currently covered in giant paper butterflies, all haphazardly decorated and coloured.  She'd been overseeing the Froglets meal prep - it was important, at Jacob Andrews, that the children enjoyed the hands on experience of preparing something and eating it.  Which today, for Sarah, meant helping a motley group of eight-year-olds make their sandwiches, the room smelling of bread and fruit. 

This wasn't a new thing for the kids, and they'd done well, their tables covered in bright plastic bowls that held all the things they could use.  Everyone was polite, but especially Robbie, which Sarah was proud of.  He was quiet, withdrawn and tended to lash out violently when upset, but today he'd stayed calm, readying his baloney sandwich and even helping tiny, sad-eyed Kiara when she couldn't decide what toppings she wanted.     Together the pair created baloney, cream cheese and strawberry jelly monstrosities, pressed with a giant cookie-cutter into perfectly round circles, each.   Sarah, trying not to laugh, helped them make their sandwiches into faces: shaved celery on top for hair, raisins for eyes and wide, apple-slice mouths, cut thinly.

It was this she enjoyed.  This had been the good part of her day -- watching the kids enjoy food and not have to worry about it, like Sarah knew a lot of them did, outside of school.  This was the part she wanted to protect.  So when her hip pocket began to buzz steadily, the brunette knew what she had to do. 

Monica appeared at the door for the Froglet classroom before Sarah could even stand.   Her friend and her workmate, Monica was shorter than her, with round glasses and a round face to match, impassive now as Sarah nodded to her, slight.

"Okay guys,"  Monica called out, moving into the room to take action.  "Have you got your sandwiches ready?  Go pick out a cup and we'll decide what juice we wanna start with."

There was a scramble as they left their chairs to rush to the cupboards that held their cups -- only Robbie lingered, watching Sarah as she slipped past the door, smiling at him as it closed.

Her day only went downhill from there.

The Colossus - that's what they were calling it now, Sarah noticed faintly, on her way home - had been tearing up the docks, too-close to the multi-million dollar Waterfront.  Prime real-estate, high-end shopping, popular recreational areas with jewel-like pools set amid fake, safe jungle-like greenery...   the Mayor had panicked, and in response the Council had sent out the call to five of them - though only three had answered.   

Gadget had been the only one she knew well - they patrolled the same area when they weren't on call, and always seemed to end up helping the other.  He was short, shorter than Sarah at least, with a broad, brown face under an oversized pair of goggles that didn't show anything underneath, shinning metallic.  When he grinned - and that was often - he showed his chipped tooth.   Gadget's thing had been mechanics, technical marvels that usually worked well.... when they weren't backfiring.

Crack.

"Mags!"  Dazed, her powers flickering around her protectively, Sarah could just hear Gadget over the ringing in her ears, clutching her fingers in the debris under her hands.  Plaster crumbled around her -- the idiot's octo-suit had thrown her straight into the roof of an abandoned factory.  Above her, peering down from the hole she'd smashed through, was Gadget, the mechanical legs of his latest suit poised around him, like a spider.  His goggles only added to the bug-like look.  "Mags! Shit - can you hear me?!"

There was a giant, metallic groan, almost distant, like something metal being pulled over - and then a loud, piercing roar.  The Colossus.  Sarah sat up; everything was numb.  "I told you not to call me that!" She shouted back.   

Gadget grinned, relieved - and then the ceiling was crumbling away as his steel legs pulled at the hole to make it bigger, clumps of dust-like grain falling down, gently.  That better not be asbestos, Sarah thought.  Her powers - a bright, flat blue in the daylight that shone down - shielded her hair as she rose up, the coat-tails of her jacket flapping like wings as she reached the outside.  From where they were, Sarah suspended mid-air and Gadget raised up by the octo-suit, they could see the Colossus tearing into a shipping yard, a green blur darting around him:  Bullet.

"What we really need is the Saint." Gadget complained.  He had a glass screen in front of him, apart of the suit, lighting up white where his fingers touched it.  "He's the only one that has the strength to pull this bastard out to sea."

Under her mask, Sarah frowned.  Her shoulder was starting to sting, but she ignored it.  "He's in the middle of another mission, with Edge - besides: it's not like we can't do it."

She didn't have to see his eyes to know the look Gadget was giving her now.  "What's your weight limit?  Five tonnes?  Maybe seven?  I don't like our odds, is all."

Her hands glowed, her hair whipping out behind her.  "Well, we're about to see, aren't we?"

For a genius, Gadget had been pretty dumb about their chances - Bullet had managed to wrap a steel cable around the creature's legs while Gadget distracted it and Sarah - after being smashed into a crane, winding her so badly she was nearly blinded with the stars - managed to call on everything within her and crush it.  First with a barrage of shipping containers, rising together - and then the crane the damnable thing had tossed her into, bending it so that it choked it.

"YEAH MAGS!" Gadget was hollering, the octo-suit hoisting itself up over the creature's corpse to rush to her.   

"Don't call me that."  She reproved him, mildly.  Everything hurt and she was starving, and that meant only one thing to Sarah.  "It's not Mags, it's - "

MAGICIAN SAVES CITY

The newsfeed on her phone was already up-to-date, fresh video automatically playing as Sarah scrolled down, trying to walk quickly.  She'd returned to the now-empty Jacob Andrews Centre for Homeless & At-Risk Children, no one but Jesus there, the vacuum he was using loud.  She left her uniform on the floor of the abandoned janitor closet, knowing it'd be gone when she returned again, and left work in the Centre polo, blue and yellow stark against the run-down grey of the neighbourhood the centre stood in.   

Her walk wasn't long, though she was well-aware of the period pad she'd wedged in her shirt to stop the bleeding -- a man catcalled her as she crossed the street to their apartment and she didn't spare him a glance, needing to be home already.

The lift was busted - had been, for about a year now - and hurriedly she thumped up the stairs.  I just want to sit down and eat, she thought.  If she were lucky, her pad trick would mean Adam wouldn't notice anything was wrong until after she'd stuffed her face with egg rolls.

Sweeping her hair over her shoulder, Sarah opened the door to their apartment, letting it bang open as it hit the wall.

The room already smelt like dinner.  Thank god for Li.

"You're a lifesaver," She said, walking into the apartment.  The curtains were still parted, the last of the setting light spilling across the floor, nearly reaching Adam where he sat, book open, takeout bags in front of him. 

Sarah smiled, unable to help herself as she let her bag drop to the floor, wrapping her arms around his neck as she bent over him, her hair falling around them like a curtain.

"Hey dorkus.  You would not believe the day I've had, today."

« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 03:20:10 pm by Jill the Ripper »

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Re: Limerence. [closed]
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2015, 09:36:16 am »
His twin blew in like a summer storm, the opened door a crack of thunder announcing her arrival and her greeting a warm breeze carrying away the stagnant peace that had settled over the apartment. Adam’s anxious fingers that played with the edges of the book’s pages, a guilty companion to green constantly checking the clock, were finally laid to rest as warm arms encircled him from behind and a shower of golden brown hair removed him from a world of anything but him and his other half.

“Hey yourself, Snaps.” He greeted, a hand rising through the hanging strands to touch a familiar smile, sliding his palm to rest against her cheek. “I don’t know, I’ve had a pretty crazy day myself. Would you believe I almost got a paper cut reading? I just barely managed to avoid it, thanks to some fancy finger work. Think you can top that?”

Adam closed his book and titled his head back slightly to peer up at his twin, a lopsided smile meeting the one she gave down at him, pretty face dusted with the few rays of light that managed to dance between through her hair. When the back of his head grazed her collar bone, he did not miss the reflexive wince Sarah made as her mouth twisted in the brief pain. A flitting memory of her form on the television, uniform torn at the shoulder and red visible beneath, muted his smile into something a little more reserved.

“It seems you got a bit of a paper cut yourself.” His hand left her cheek to gently free himself from their personal world and rejoin the real one, where his medical supplies waited to be used. “Lay down on the couch and you can tell me how your day shaped up compared to mine while I take a look, okay?”

He stood and turned to face her, his book tossed to a free edge of the occupied table, but she was eyeing the food longingly instead. A forlorn look turned to meet his breathy chuckle. “The food will still be there when we’re done, Sarah. It only got here a few minutes before you did, so it’ll still be warm, don’t worry. But unless you’re interested in sewing a bit of yellow into your skin tone, you should probably remove that shirt.”

The journey to the closet was a short one, the Greystone boy crouching to loosen the false panel on the back of the wall where his kit was hidden. He called back to her as he gathered everything, a question distracted and curious in equal measure. “I'm guessing Jacob Andrews wouldn't be too fond of their uniforms getting a new splash of color. Did you wrap it properly before you got here to keep it from seeping through?”

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Re: Limerence. [closed]
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2015, 06:49:55 pm »
"You could say that," Sarah admitted, reluctantly.   Morosely, she poked the closet bag to her, the promise of grease seeping through the paper.  Everyone knew the egg rolls were only good when hot.  With a huff, she turned, wincing as she stripped off her shirt, her back to the hallway.

There was no blood on the inside of her work polo, and Sarah clutched it to her, one hand reaching up to gingerly touch her makeshift bandage.  The pad was wedged in, under the strap of her bra -- it bit in deeper near the cut, and she tried not to make a face as she let the strap slip, pulling away the pad.

"I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure that's not how they're meant to be used."

Turned away from him, Sarah snorted.  "Same difference."  Despite herself - despite it just being Adam, who was now putting something down on the coffee table, the rustle of plastic telling her he prepping to clean up her mess - Sarah clutched her work shirt tighter to her.   The couch made a poor surgical table, but she perched on the armrest, still turned away from him, staring blankly at their bookcase.  All those books - all his.  She could imagine her brother clearly pouring over them, pleasure and schoolwork alike, hickory green eyes burning through the pages. 

The brunette blinked, and turned her head so that she could see the silhouette of the city, jewel-lights in a black cutout, the dying sky behind it finally darkening.  Sky City.  It was beautiful, when it was peaceful.

She could feel Adam behind her, readying himself to play doctor.  Sarah lowered her face into her hair, now slipping over her injured shoulder, and said, "One of the machines at work malfunctioned."  There was a tiny pause, as she weighed how best to talk around what she really wanted to say.  They never, ever, spoke directly about her other life.  "I got surprised."

All she'd ever wanted, Sarah thought, a little sad, was to be able to share it with him. 

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Re: Limerence. [closed]
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2015, 09:46:34 am »
Deft fingers hesitated at his sister’s careful admission, muted green glancing sidelong at the gentle curves of her back and the expression hidden from him by the same curtain of hair that had caught him only minutes ago. It didn’t take much to read between the lines and take his part in this delicate dance, waltzing along the dangerous line that separated her world from his; a step too far in either direction and they’d both get hurt by what was sure to follow.

Adam despised every little reminder of just how far out of reach Sarah had become, but he hated the idea of his twin being unable to tell him things even more.

“I thought that mechanic friend of yours was supposed to be pretty smart?” Adam questioned as his gaze returned to the coffee table and the neatly lined tools. His fingers found their original target, a cool, damp cloth, and stood from his crouch. “Maybe you should see about finding someone a little more reliable.”

The casual tone came easily now, years of practice at work to mask the frustration hidden beneath. Sarah was in enough danger as it was, fighting the worst of the worst on a regular basis – now she had to be cautious of other heroes' screw ups too? An age old bitterness founds its way to his tongue again, pushing his lips to a brittle line and reminding him of a simple fact: she wouldn’t need to rely on anyone else if he had just been born the way he was supposed to be.

No. He shook his head of the thoughts and turned to his sister, testing the coarseness of the cloth as he went. He wouldn’t go down that road again. At the very least, he could be here for her now, patching her up and listening to her when she wanted to talk – even that was far better than nothing at all. Adam wouldn’t ruin was little role he had left in her life by being petty and pathetic.

He turned on a standing corner lamp as he passed her perch, giving him a steady light to work with as the city slowly flickered to life in the growing darkness out the window. He turned to face her, eyes searching for the offending wound along her collarbone and resolutely ignoring bunched yellow fabric below - it was Sarah for christ's sake, so he had zero reason to be distracted by any of it. His free hand moved forward to brush her hair away before moving to align her head, calloused fingers pressingly gently against her throat in a careful grip and holding it steady once she had it tilted just right.

Adam could feel her pulse like this, thrumming beneath his touch strong and stubborn. And despite all his efforts to avoid such things, it was this rhythmic beat that had become inexplicably distracting, drawing his gaze from the cut and to the curved hollow of her throat instead. If the young doctor wanted to really focus, he’d just have to trust her to remain still.

“Try and hold your head like this, okay? I need to see the cut but we don’t want you putting too much tension on it.” Adam ordered as he used the cloth to clean away the lingering blood clotting around the wound, estimating the cut’s size and how much suture he’d need with his newly freed hand. The cut wasn’t as long as he had initially thought. It traveled down the line of her clavicle at a decently steady depth, only dipping deeper when it reached the upper muscles. Probably just under six inches long and an inch deep on average, critical green estimated as his finger ghosted the wound, meaning he’d only need one forty-centimeter packet.

He returned to the coffee table, trading the cloth for a spray bottle labeled in a neat hand with the word ‘Antiseptic’ and a small glass vial filled with a translucent white liquid paired with a small, band-aid sized package.  He was back in front of her in a few short seconds, giving the spray bottle slight shake.

“This is going to sting a little.” He said absently, more out of habit than necessity. Sarah knew what to expect by now and he was more preoccupied with his own phrasing. “Work seems to be keeping you pretty busy these days. Don’t you have any co-workers who can take a bit of the load off? Preferably ones that don’t have faulty hobbies?”

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Re: Limerence. [closed]
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 03:41:42 pm »
Adam's touch was just like his words; careful and measured, Sarah keeping her head at the angle he needed it to be, as he began dabbing at her cut.  For a moment, she didn't answer him - long enough for the doctor of their family to pick up his little spray bottle, her gaze steadily on the carpet as it stung.

Nothing new.

"About that," She started, the stopped, worried that talking meant she'd move too much.  Worried that talking would fracture them even more.  How could she tell him what the Council wanted? "They - they want to optimize us for more... efficiency."

Her brother's fingers stilled.   Sarah breathed hard, trying not to focus on the anti-septic's icy burn.  "We're being arranged into new teams.  For that workload."  The brunette tried to give a weak laugh, her fingers curling tighter into her bundled shirt.   "It's optional, but..."

Troubled, she gently pulled away from Adam's touch so that she could look at him properly, match those green eyes that were dark, now.  "It's a lot of money."  Her voice was soft.  She didn't know what her brother did, outside of study, but it had to of been hard work to see to their bills.  As it was, Sarah never got paid for doing what she was born to - being a hero.   She'd never wanted to be, it wasn't the point of it.  And her job at Jacob Andrew's -- that was a Council funded charity, albeit, a forgotten one.  That was her only source of income, and it was small: not enough to help out Adam.

She licked her her lips, a nervous habit.  "Like... it's a lot of money.  And the upside is that the Centre would get more funding."  It had been one of her conditons.  "They could use the money.  There's so much the kids could benefit from, with it -- but --"  Hesitating, she blurted, "I just, we'd have a team leader and he's so - " Sarah stopped, then, unable to go any further, unable to think of a better way to say it.  Instead she stared at her brother, pleading.  Please, please don't be mad at me for this.