The Other Kind of Roommate

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:45 pm

She'd said 'please'.

Xander was gone. Everything was silent. This was what it was going to be like when Alex got his body back. He wanted to say he liked it - and he did, mostly - but it was too quiet now. His ears were ringing. And his face hurt. And his hand hurt. And his toe hurt. He considered stopping by the hospital at some point, but for now, he had to finish this.

So what was he going to do? This was his decision. What did he think of Gwen? Did he trust her?


He had no idea. This wasn't his 'thing'. He knew she was trying to have him trust her. She was trying to get information out of him. That wasn't happening if he had her marked for an Agent or some other kind of threat, maybe one he couldn't see coming. The faint pinch of paranoia bit at him again. The hairs on the back on his neck twitched. But otherwise, he felt great around her. He remembered the last time he'd spent this much time talking to someone. It'd be wonderful. It'd reminded him that, yes, he was still a part of society. And to do that again, with someone like her... Okay, it hadn't only been Xander who'd been looking at her. His eyes had dropped once or twice, too. Or four.

"Alright." He'd decided. "Alright. You can buy me coffee." He took a breath. He thought about it. Then, for shits and giggles, he added, "It'll cheer him up."

Was that all he wanted to say? It seemed like he was going through with this. Even if it was for today, even if it was only for the morning or the hour, he'd be pulling her into his world. In that case, he had to prepare her for the two most obvious mistakes he could: walking into her trap, or dragging her into his.

"I'm not trying to scare you," he said, but he got the feeling that he absolutely was. "Xander's... well - 'emotional' never sounds like the right word, but you saw how he is. He attracts attention. There's a lot of attention I don't want, but there's some that stands." Another breath, bigger this time. He ran both his hands through his hair, ruffling it, bothering the cuts on his hands - which still had some slivers of glass in them that he'd been ignoring - and doing nothing to help him relax. "There's some people after me. They're dangerous, definitely, but I've never had a problem taking care of them. I don't think anything's going to happen -" But he'd seen three in the past six hours. "- so you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Still, in case something does turn up, you might have to run."

This was where Xander would step in, laughing at him for being so over-dramatic. Hell, he'd probably ask her if she wanted to be bait for a little while, to see if he could get enough of them together to beat his 'top score'. But he still wasn't saying anything. Either that was a fantastic sign or horrific.

"I can handle myself. And I can protect you, if I have to," he said. He tried smiling too, trying to at least the small one she'd given him. "And if I really, really have to, I can try forcing Xander to step in." Nothing. Not even a skeptical snort. Alex was a little unnerved. "You know... when he comes back."

For the third time, he sucked in some air. Finally, he felt better.

"So that's that. You can come with me, you can buy him coffee, we can... talk..." Not a word from his friend. "We'll see what happens. But it's up to you."

He shrugged.

"I guess I trust you then," he finished. "If Xander likes you, that's good enough for me. And I'm happy that you haven't run away yet." He laughed quietly. "That's a new record. Congrats."

Join date : 2010-07-10

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:54 pm

It took him a few minutes to decide and think it over, obviously still paranoid by her behavior before, but finally when he agreed, she smiled brightly and nodded, uttering a small amused "Hm," when he mentioned cheering up Xander. It was something private that they shared now this knowledge of his other self and she felt strangely attached to him because of it. After all, they'd both suffered Xander's insane ranting now and she had a better understanding of where Alex was coming from having to live with it day in and day out.

Then his tone grew more grave and for a moment her expression became serious. At his warning and explanation of his situation, her eyes narrowed a bit, but she nodded in understanding. Well, that's unsettling, isn't it? she thought a little nervously. After seeing and feeling Xander explode over a minor irritation however, it did not surprise her and she did not feel too worried. "Okay," she said casting a quick look at her shoes which were black, sandal heels, the bottoms flat and wider than regular high-heel pumps. Not necessarily running shoes but they were manageable and her skirt was loose enough around the bottom to facilitate longer strides.

If anything should happen, she would be alright, and the thought of such filled her with a small hint of adrenaline. Being with him was a bit like being in a movie or something, not that she was eager by any means, but the possibility of things happening was exhilarating. Nothing ever happened around or to her. She'd had a freak stalking her for a while at one point, but the worst she'd gotten was that he kept on showing up everywhere she went and left her semi-threatening and intimate gifts. It had been scary at the time but after he got several warnings from police, he seemed to go away and the situation was resolved. Hardly anything worth reading about or seeing in theaters.

So, more than the possible drama and action being around him presented, Gwen felt herself drawn to Alex himself. The more he talked the more at ease he became, his voice coming out with the calm resignation of one who was used to living within constant threat and sharing a body and mind with someone he didn't apparently like. Even though she'd pushed her desire to write him as a character for her book out of her mind, she couldn't help feeling that familiar fascination with how they worked together within the same form. Based on what he said, the other was "away" or asleep or something right now, and she searched herself mentally and found the feeling of energy she usually felt in his pause and silences was absent. How very interesting...

At his offering of trust in her, she smiled gratefully and blushed a little, his smile even though not as practiced and without the dashing flair that Xander had, still made her feel warm and she automatically returned it. "Believe me," she said with a wry grin. "I seriously considered sprinting home for a moment there."

Again, she started walking with him and she found herself hesitating, unsure of how to move on. Deciding to not ask him too many questions right now, she thought it would be better to offer him some information about herself. "This neighborhood has really changed since I last lived here," she said as they walked together, her eyes wandering around idly. "All the old shops and restaurants my mother use to take me to have shut down or been replaced. They were old though so it's no biggy, but I moved back here because I didn't like where I was living and wanted to return to familiar ground. I come back and they've renovated it to the point I don't recognize it anymore." She smiled at him and shrugged. "Funny how things like that work."

Feeling so relaxed around him she only experienced a little trepidation when addressing him with a question. "What made you move to this part of the city?" She wanted to ask where he came from but decided against it. She would let him lead with what he wanted to reveal this time and keep herself as non-intrusive as possible. "Let me see if I can guess," she said with a knowing smile. "The proximity to coffee shops, right?" Playfully, she nudged him with her elbow before shyly tucking her hair again, most of it falling over one shoulder in spiraled swirls. "Do you mind if I ask you...what you do for a living? I mean, you'd make a great actor, within the roles you've already chosen of course, and you've got quite the drama queen on your hands. But I know that's not what you really do, is it?"


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:26 am

I'm not a drama queen, Xander muttered. It was practically a pout.

Alex immediately felt a wave of relief wash over him. He hadn't been abandoned after all, and even if the guy did immediately return his mind-cave - which he did - it was reassuring to hear his voice again. In small doses, though. That made a huge difference.

Time to answer.

"I'm more of a traveler of sorts," he said. "A transporter, I guess. I'm the one who has to walk around. And I do. I walk everywhere. It's kind of weird thinking there's something you can call home. We avoid that." He stumbled over the word 'we'. "I don't know how you put up with it, coming back and not recognizing anything. Having everything change that fast is too much for me. You're braver than I am."

It was less funny, more disturbing.

"But I guess you want more of an answer than that."

They'd be coming to the coffee shop soon. He wasn't sure how free he'd be to talk in there, so whatever he was going to tell her, he had to tell her now.

"Xander, did you get that?" He brought himself up short and looked back at Gwen. "Uh... Sorry. It's just... I'm used to sort of 'talking' to him in my head." Sure. Talking. Close enough. Xander didn't say anything anyway. He took that to mean he didn't care what Alex told her anymore. As far as his roommate was concerned, he'd already spilled the biggest bean in the bag.

"So - um," he slowly began again, "it's not much of a job. I've got some talents, I guess you could say. One in particular, and it's not exactly a bridge into the noble side of life. But it pays. I'm not a big spender, but I'm always on the lookout for a very specific set of stuff whenever I move somewhere. Yeah, the coffee... Well, I saw four great places before this one, about a twenty minute drive from the closest Starbucks." He brushed back the bit of hair hanging over his ear. She did it better than he did. He admired that. "This thing? This little scar? That was his 'persuasion' for why we should take the smaller one that was closer." Alex shrugged. "Whatever shuts him up."

That was the first part of it. That was his side of what he did for a living, other than baby-sit. He might as well spit out the rest, seeing as how she'd probably get it out of him later. He grinned to himself. He didn't think he was that desperate for conversation, so it had to be Gwen bringing it out of him. This was new. This was nice.

"He," Alex said, "is a little more hands on with his work. He's got the same talent as me, but he uses it more aggressively. Surprise, surprise." He tried not to roll his eyes. "It pays better, but I'd really like to have him retire. Maybe I can get him to write a book. Hey - maybe you can give him some pointers. I wouldn't mind seeing that. Romance novels... Are you working on one now?"

Xander was on the move again. Alex's hand was back inside his pocket, poking at the papers. Great. Now he definitely couldn't read them. She'd probably sue him for copyright-stealing or something.

Last edited by Tartra on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:28 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:21 am

Talking with him like this, Gwen could almost forget about his inner companion. Without the other looming over him, Alex turned into a normal man, unremarkable, but funny and somewhat easy-going. Occasionally, Xander was mentioned or referenced and she couldn't help notice when he was, but it hardly seemed to effect the flow of conversation. All-in-all besides that one thing, Alex was a pretty alright guy. She found it funny because at first she'd thought he was a freak or something with his constant fluctuation of personality and had found his bumbling insecure tone to be somewhat annoying, like he wasn't being sincere all the time. Now, she was seeing that he wasn't really like that at all and was growing fond of his occasional verbal blunder.

The abrupt address to the other in the middle of conversation caused her to blink for a moment, but she found herself smirking as he apologized and explained himself briefly. It would be a wonderful quality for her character to have; the girl in her story might find it endearing, like she did--stop it! Quit studying him! She shook her head a little and focused back on him as he started speaking again, listening with interest to how he and the other apparently chose the apartment they lived in now. Seeing the scar he pointed out, her eyebrows rose a little and she hissed a little in chagrin. "Wow," she murmured. "The guy doesn't mess around." And she clicked her tongue a little while shaking her head.

As he got into how he and the other made money her brows furrowed a little, not understanding but assuming the most extreme. Was he like a hit-man or assassin or something? She bit her tongue however as he started talking about her writing. Guilt filled her to realize how truthful and open he'd been with her and this whole time she'd done nothing but let him assume things that weren't true about her own intentions. All at once, she found herself wanting to tell him about her book but she struggled against it fiercely. No! If she told him that she was writing a novel based on him and Xander it would only make him paranoid again. She wasn't even after that information anymore - mostly - it didn't seem fair to bring it up and have her be punished for spying. Not now after they'd been getting along so well and she was really starting to like him and get to know him.

"Well," she said taking a pause to think over her words, while looking at the ground in front of her feet. "The idea I'm working on right now... I have a feeling it will be a big hit. It's kind of..." She waved her hand loosely in the air, anxiously searching for how to describe it so he wouldn't know it was about him. "..a psychological thriller type thing. Has some drama and occult stuff thrown in and...uh, a chance meeting and unlikely romance."

She nodded quickly, the words coming out in uneven bursts as she thought of what to say right before she said it. Looking at him, she smiled a bit nervously, hoping he didn't notice the change in her demeanor. "It's a different direction than I've gone before. A bit more modern setting and...close to real life. Not mine!--of course..."

A blush dusted her cheeks and she cleared her throat before she was finally able to regain her composure. "I'm not sure it's anything you'd be interested in," she said shaking her head and laughing lightly. "You think Xander would like to write? What about, I wonder."

Even though the awkwardness had passed, she couldn't help cursing herself inwardly for how flustered she'd let herself get. She should have known he'd ask about her latest thing when she'd told him she was a novelist--it was one of the most common questions and she should have been ready for it. Not only had she acted really dumb, but also a little suspicious. Hopefully, neither he nor Xander noticed.


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:14 pm

"Him? Oh... I don't know," Alex said. "Something only he'd like, probably, if I could get him to sit down for it. That'd be a weird day."

He cocked his head and puffed out a laugh at her description. She hadn't struck him as that kind of writer. Love, he could wrap his head around, but he had to ask about the other one.

"How do you go from a romance novelist to 'psychological thrillers'? With... occult stuff?" That was a big switch. "Did you get bored halfway through? I mean - it sounds good. If it's gonna be a hit, I should read it so I can say I liked it before everyone else did, but I guess I'm used to stuff that relates to me a little more."

"Y'know, wink, wink," Xander said.

"Heh. Yeah. I'm one to talk."

"Sure. That's what I meant. Hey - you know what's down this corner? Starbucks. We should go," Xander told them. "We should go right now."

"Starbucks is behind us now," Alex reminded, "and we're almost there anyway."

"You mean almost at 'Roasters'?"

He rolled his eyes. "It's a stupid name. That doesn't mean it's not any good." He turned to Gwen and said, "It's one of those 'artsy' places. The front of it's kind of odd, but it's nice inside."

"Awwww! Jus' wike Awex."

"Shut up, Xander."

"Sure. Agent, by the way. But I'll be quiet, since you don't want me around."

That wasn't funny. That was the exact opposite of funny. He couldn't joke about things like that. Alex, as a reflex, muted his breath and stepped lightly. He did it whenever he couldn't see what was supposedly around him. He'd told Gwen a lot already, but he couldn't help trying to hide his agitation as looked around, unused to finding things in broad daylight and trying to remember where they'd be likely to hide.

"Uh..." Might as well ask her. "I don't know if you saw them, but in the lobby, before we went outside, there were two people in there with sunglasses. ... Do you see anyone else like that around?"

My hero.

"If there's something here, you have to tell me," Alex whispered, annoyed and anxious that he had to explain this to him.

Xander was messing around. He had to be. One Agent in the middle of the night? That was practically a weekly thing. Two in the lobby? Very unusual, mostly because Agents worked alone. He'd never seen a pair of them before, and not so soon that he could them a trio. But four? Five? Seven? What?

I told you to go to Starbucks, Xander drawled. Shades and suits? 'Cept for that one prick who just won't die, that's about as 'Roasters' as you can get.

So... it was an ambush?

Shit. It was an ambush.

I know. Awesome, right? Not in the slightest. Relax. You're with someone else. They probably don't know you're you, he said. You broke the biggest pattern they've got pinned you to. See? Being sad and lonely has its benefits. Try not to fuck her, though. They'll know it's me.

"I'm still going for coffee," he said. "That's a pattern. They have to recognize that."

But it's not Starbucks, which sucks 'cause you'd've been alright there. His voice soured. You see what happens when you don't keep your mouth shut? This shit. This is what you get for tryin' to be in control. Enjoy.

And then he was gone. He'd be gone long enough for Alex to mostly get killed, just so it'd 'even the odds' for when he joined the fight and won. That wasn't happening this time.

"We're going to need to get there faster," Alex said. "Don't worry. It's - uh... It's not time to run yet."


Last edited by Tartra on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:36 pm

His surprise at the subject matter she described was understandable. It surprised herself as well, but she couldn't help but feel drawn to the drama that was his daily life. As much as she felt like she was in an action film of some kind, just from brushing shoulders with him, she could only imagine what it must be like to actually be him. It was pure gold as far as a plot-line went.

"Um, well, I was inspired," she said casually with a shrug and a smile to herself. At his next comment she couldn't help but laugh nervously, thinking how wonderfully he'd nailed it on the head. Maybe he wouldn't be offended. It wasn't exactly about him and with many different concepts thrown in. Besides, she kind of wanted him to know about it, for him not to discover it later and be mad at her. She hadn't stolen his life story or anything, so it wasn't anything legal that she was afraid of -- as if he'd go to court and tell people she'd stolen the idea about a guy in his head from him. But he had inspired her, and she felt a strange desire for his input on it. What would be the harm?

"Sure," she said with a nod and a smile at him, rolling her eyes at Xander's comment. "Maybe when I've got something written up, I'll show it to you." Then she fell silent as the other interrupted again, Gwen automatically picking up on the little things that told her there had been a change. It wasn't an absolute or dramatic change, but small posture differences and the tone of voice. It was odd how easy it was for her to notice these things, because it was the same voice and the same man, but she just knew when the two switched places inside, the transition moving smoothly through him like someone blinking or bending over to pick something up.

In the midst of their discussion when Alex turned to her to explain about the coffee shop, she nodded silently. It wasn't someplace she'd been before, but then again, coffee shops weren't exactly her thing. Gwen wasn't a complete shut-in, and liked to go out occasionally to be around people without being with people, but mostly she was an introvert. Something about crowds of people wore her down practically to a physical level. There was always a lot going on when there were people all around and she got the strange feeling she was a part of a thousand conversations all at once. Shut up in her apartment, she was alone and found some peace.

And then the pair's dialogue drew her attention abruptly, especially Xander's mention of an "Agent". What did he mean? An Agent of what? CIA? FBI? Was Alex a part of the X-Files or something? Hm, that'd be interesting... Even as his words put her on alert, she did not feel scared but found herself looking around, her eyes searching the faces of everyone who stood nearby. As she looked around, he fell silent again with his occasional muttering and she felt the familiar vibrations upon her skin that told her Xander was talking to him inside.

At Alex's last words, Gwen looked at him as they walked along at a quicker pace and she cocked her eyebrow. "Are you sure it's such a good idea to still do this coffee thing?" she asked, her tone surprising her by how calm she sounded. "I mean, if there's people these...Agents or whatever, always following you and ready to kill you and now they know where you live... It just seems like a really big risk is all. All for a cup of Joe."

She didn't understand why the guy didn't just get a coffee maker. Granted, she did know there was a difference between professionally made coffee and the store bought, do-it-at-home stuff. But if it meant their lives... If she had a coffee addict in her head and had to move around a lot because people wanted her dead and were looking for her, a coffee maker would be the first thing she'd spend her money on in a new place.


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:40 pm

[[This one's looooong. Surprise!]]

"Excuse me, lady, but this is not for a 'cup of Joe'. I don't know what swill you're drinking, but I -"

"Xander, shut up. You're supposed to be ignoring me. It's fine." It sucked talking to two people at once, especially when he couldn't see one of them and was so used to talking to the air, he forgot he had to make eye contact when there were eyes to connect with.

Hey now, let's not get distracted. But if you wanna turn your head a little -

"I was talking to Gwen. I was telling her it was okay. There's nothing to worry about." Then, finally remembering to turn to her, he repeated, "It's fine. Everything's safe." So far. "Nothing I can't handle."


"You turn."

Can't. I'm tired. Hit my limit.

Those words hit him like his fist had slammed into his gut. And he knew what that felt like, so it was an easy comparison to make. Keeping a calm, collected face for the rest of the world to see - even if no one else bought, it still made things seem better - he carefully and levelly asked, "What do you mean you're 'tired'?"

I've been talking all day. That last sentence? The one where I was about to explain the difference between ground shit and the glory that is a latte, the juice of the gods made for mortal man? That's it for a while. I'm sleepy.

"Except for the part of you that's ready to fight."

About that... Perking up, Xander added, Coffee would help.

"Are you just making this up so you can get your damn fix? I told you we'd stop at your stupid Starbucks on the way back!"

And I told you to turn. There was a feeble twitch of Alex's eyes, guiding him to an alley that came just before the last building on the block. Across the street was Roasters. It was impossible for Xander to want to turn back now, not when practically inches kept him away from his 'liquid gold' - Coffee's brown, genius. It's bronze. Or copper. It depends on what kind you get. Sometimes -

"I know what you drink," he snapped. "What's down there?"

One guy.

"Only one?"

From what I can see.

Good. Only one. He'd taken one on before. He'd be great. Giving his arms a shake and exhaling, he said boldly, "I have to -" He turned his head to face her. "I have to take care of something. In the alley. Back there." They were walking past it now. "Wait for me at the corner. I'll be right back."

I'm psyched for this.

"And - uh... don't... follow me. This'll take two seconds. Two."

Go, go, go, go, go.

So Alex stepped away from her, giving her a sturdy look to make sure she knew to stay away - she could handle herself for a minute and he didn't see anyone else around her, not that Xander felt like filling him in if he hadn't - and then walked briskly to the alley's mouth, trying not to break into anything faster than a very light jog.

"You know, you're not making this 'let's get coffee tomorrow morning' thing very easy," he said. "You should've picked a better day."

Are you crazy? This is perfect! We grab a few guys, kick a little ass, snap a neck or two -

"I don't know how to snap a neck and you're too tired to try."

Yeah, I know you can't snap one. I was there.

That'd been one of the most traumatic nights he'd lived through, next to the first time he-but-not-really-he had punched himself in the face. Which Xander had decided to do before introducing himself. He'd thought it was hysterical.

"Shut up and tell me where he is. I shouldn't be doing this for you," Alex said. "The one thing you're good for and you wasted your energy talking about coffee."

Fuck you, man! It's not a waste if -

"Where is he?" Alex couldn't see anyone. The alley was bare. A dumpster to one side, cardboard boxes to the other, and then nothing but dirt as far as he could tell. Maybe they were hiding in plain sight again.


Or maybe they were behind him - holy shit - where the hell did he come from - the same spot Xander had thrown his fist at before was pummeled again. Stunned, he stepped deeper into the alley and landed close enough to the dumpster to lean on it.

Here's an idea: when he hits you, don't get hit.

"Why don't you do this, then?"

M'sleepy. You'll be fine.

This wasn't an Agent! This was some... bar bum, or something. He smelled awful and his ragged coat slapped against Alex's face as ninja-hobo dropped him to the ground with a swipe to the back of his knees. Alex fell hard as the shock of the blow traveled up his legs. This was unbelievable. The exact same body, the exact same strength, and Xander would dance around this guy like he was on crack. Why the hell couldn't he?

How many times do I have to call you a bitch before you understand what I'm talking about? Alex took another shot to his thigh. Ah, ha. The ol' charliehorse. That's gonna be fun to limp around with.

He was glad Xander took the time to fight him so often, otherwise this would be a lot worse than it was.

I think she's waiting for you. Y'wanna wrap it up?

Yes. Yes, he did.

The ragged man with the ruffled beard and the wild eyes and the gaunt face had Alex kneeling on the ground with one hand pressed against the dumpster to keep his weak balance. The hobo lifted up his foot, preparing for a final kick to what he could guess was going to be Alex's knee, but the idiot didn't know what he was up against. His eyes burned. Both of their eyes burned. That bridge was formed as they locked onto each other, and with a push, Alex forced his enemy's mind into a frenzy. That'd be enough to knock him unconscious, which -

More force. More power. In less than a second, Xander had upped the dose and killed him. It was sad that Alex was so used to this kind of thing that his main concern was whether or not his jeans had ripped.

"An Agent, huh?" He got up, made sure he could walk, then took a practise step forward. "Yeah. He really looks the part."

Mike something. Ex-Agent. Formerly a part of our case, Xander said, very matter-of-factly. I guess this explains why we're getting rushed. He must've found us and called in the troops.

"'Formerly'?" He frowned. "He retired to become a bum?"

He got kicked out for 'bad behaviour', mostly 'cause he snapped with jealousy. If things turned out the way he wanted, it'd be him in here. He paused. I think he thinks you're me. I'm insulted.

... Wait - he'd never heard about this.

"You never actually explained how you appeared," Alex said. "I just... woke up with you."

Yup. Look for a wallet, will ya? Dude owes me a mocha.

"I'm not robbing the dead," Alex said. "I'm going to back to Gwen. And you're gonna tell me what -"

S'cool. I'll check.

And then Alex was hunched over the body, rifling through its pockets.

"Great. So now you have energy."

One second, one second... Awesome. Spare change. Hey - thirty bucks! Maybe I'll pay for you.


Hell no. This means 'two for Xander'. Back to the hot chick, please. And keep looking around. I wasn't kidding about the other Agents. Current ones, I mean, not psychos like Mike. Or Joseph. Or Benoit, for that matter. Damn - a lot of people hate me.

"Hate you? Poppycock."

Ha, ha, ha... Cock.

Six years. For six years, he'd been lugging this guy around. Now he wanted to almost-explain himself? Did Gwen just naturally have this effect on people or was it 'everyone say everthing' day?

Whatever. He walked out of the alley, determined to pick this up later, after he finished brush the dirt off his knees and checking up her. At least if anyone came across Mr. Ex-Agent - which he felt much less guilty for disposing of than if he'd been a real homeless man - they'd have no choice but to chalk it up to natural causes. A perk, he guessed, of frying minds.

Thirty free bucks. Good golly, I wonder what I'm gonna buy.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:46 am

Of course, Xander had something to say about that. So defensive about his little habit. She couldn't help the smirk that adopted her face as she nodded and listened to him start to rant, only to be interrupted again by his other half. There was more argument between them, her flesh rippling in the silence and Alex's voice filled with an impatient air as he explained things to himself. She took the moment to cast another glance around, still looking for anybody who fit the look of the men who'd been in the apartment lobby, but so far nobody set off any flags for her.

When Alex turned back to her she gave him a small smile, the confidence and energy in his voice doing the job to make her feel reassured. And then they were back to talking again. It was a bit odd, like listening to someone talk on the phone, but from what she could gather, Alex seemed to expect Xander to take over and fight if they encountered anyone dangerous - which Alex also seemed to expect - but the other was worn out apparently.

Then the tone of the discussion changed as Alex looked down an alley they passed and she felt a chill run through her when her own eyes strayed down the darkened hall of brick. When he started to prepare himself a few steps later, her heart increased it's pace more than it already had and her blue eyes went wide when he started to say he was going to go down there. Gripping her purse strap in her hands as if clinging to it like a shield, she shook her head and said, "Please, don't..." But it fell on deaf ears. She wanted to believe he could handle himself, but he seemed unprepared. From his discussion with Xander, it seemed the other did a lot of the fighting and now he was going off to do something without Xander's help.

Again, he urged her to stay where she was and left, casting a look back at her before disappearing down the alley. Worriedly, she stood there, looking at the street around her like an abandoned child, everything and everyone full of hidden threat. Turning back towards the alley, she started to take a step forward but stopped and bit her lip. How the fuck could she help if she followed? All she would do is endanger the both of them. But still, it killed her inside not to know if he was okay or not. She hadn't realized how much she cared before, but she did now. She didn't want him to get hurt.

Looking across the street at the coffee shop, she started to walk towards the corner obediently, but whimpered and stopped, turning back to where he left her and stomping her foot lightly in irritation while looking at the alley worriedly. Alright, she'd just wait for him here. She was far enough away that if anything happened she could probably make a run for it and get out of harms way, but close enough to be there for him if... If what? God, she was so pathetic.

Standing there she stared at the mouth of the alley, not able to see into it from here, and focused on it, chanting in her head, Please, Alex, be alright, please. He hadn't been gone for more than a few minutes when suddenly she felt her vision blur and a wave of vertigo swept over her. Breathing heavily, she swayed on her feet and stumbled towards a nearby lamp post and leaned upon it for support. It lasted only a few moments it seemed but it felt like she'd been lost in that dizzy haze forever, before finally she stood up straight and let go of the lamp. That was weird... Her brow furrowed as she looked down at herself, smoothing her shirt and outfit and adjusting her purse strap. She seemed fine. Maybe she was just light-headed because she hadn't eaten anything yet this morning. Yes...that was probably it.

In the midst of the spell, she'd forgotten almost completely about Alex, so when she looked up and saw him striding from the alley, dusting himself off, her eyes lit up and relief washed over her. With a sense of abandon she let her purse strap fall down her shoulder as she took a few steps forward and dropped the thing on the ground as she progressed into a run. Parked cars next to the sidewalk and the front doors of shops and building faces, bodies of anonymous strangers flew past in a blur. All she saw was him and she ran to him, her breasts swaying with every gliding step she took, her hair blowing out in wavy strands behind her. When their bodies collided, it was like she instantly melted to him, even as their chests pounded together with the impact. Her slender arms wrapped around his neck in embrace and her lips sought his with a feverish intensity, pressing together bruisingly close, his lips and tongue dancing with hers just as passionately, her breasts smothered against his hardened form...

Blinking, Gwen adjusted the strap on her shoulder and shook away the thought that had filled her mind upon seeing him, a light blush pinkening her cheeks and a breath of relief escaping between her plush lips. He was okay. That was good. She waited for him there as he approached and she looked at him with a fire in her eyes. "Don't ever leave me like that again!" her voice was angrier than she intended and she sounded a bit like a wife, but she didn't care. She'd been worried. And here he was, safe as could be. There was a slight limp that wasn't there before, she noticed but she didn't want to get any more personal than she already had by reprimanding him. Cooing over him like she was his girlfriend or something would be just plain foolish.

"I'm glad you're okay though," she said in a calmer voice. "Is everything alright now? Did you kill somebody?" For the last sentence, her voice lowered somewhat and she looked around to make sure nobody could overhear her. Without her seeming to notice, a bright ribbon of red streamed from her right nostril flowing warmly down to her lips. Only when she licked her lips and tasted the slightly metallic liquid did she realize and reached a hand up to stop the flow of blood, her other hand digging into her purse to find a napkin.


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:29 am

He'd been out of breath when he emerged from the alley and his mind was slow to process things. This was unreal. Yes, he'd been in fights before and, no, this wasn't the first time he'd used his powers - or had Xander piggyback on them - but the context of everything... An ex-Agent? That Xander knew? Big surprise, but he didn't exactly socialize with the super-secret assassin's guild or whatever the hell they were, so how Xander knew someone they - or Alex, at least - had never met before was an uncomfortable mystery.

Seriously. He'd felt better when he thought he was crazy. Now the voice in his head had some kind of life...?

He took things in one at a time, only because he wasn't familiar with the massive rush of adrenaline in him. The first task he set out to do was make sure a group of whoevers weren't crowded around, waiting for him. The second was to check on Gwen. He'd been lying a little when he assured himself - and her - he could handle it. The minute he stepped away from her, which he realized might've been the best decision he'd made all day, his palms had started sweating. It'd stopped. They were normal again. He didn't have to worry about someone doing anything to her. As he saw her light up in what he really, really hoped was relief, he felt his muscles relax and the pain in his leg - Xander was right about the limp, damn him - soften.

And then she got mad at him.

Well - not mad exactly. More like a 'furious concern'. He walked up to her, sheepish because he'd kept her waiting but delighted she'd stuck it out, but when she scolded him, he couldn't help but flinch. He half-expected her to slap him for running off. Thanks, Xander! It was great being completely unsocialized. He was happy that he didn't have to worry for very long, though, because the tension dissolved and she was telling him she was glad he wasn't dead. The feeling was very, very mutual.

It was a casual concern, he told himself. It could've been anybody and he would've been relieved. Not that he'd ever been relieved before. This was the first time -

Smell that?


That's blood.

The hobo wouldn't bleed if - Gwen was bleeding. He immediately started to freak out.

"You're okay. You're fine," he said, the second she put her hands in her purse. "You're okay, it's all okay -"

Who the fuck are you trying to convince?

He didn't have napkins. He didn't have tissues or sweaters or -

"Paper," he said suddenly. "I have paper!" And he pulled out the two sheets from his pocket. He felt Xander quickly crumple it in his hands. Good thinking. Always is. It might've been right out of her notebook, but she didn't know it'd been snatched out and she probably wouldn't recognize it. She was busy with other things.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," he said, giving the paper to her. He had to stop himself from trying to do it for her. For one thing, she needed something better than this, and for another, he didn't want to make things worse. "Xander, did you do -"

Don't gimmie that shit. You know how my powers work. Single target only, he replied.

So this probably wasn't his fault. Probably. But it sure as hell didn't come out of nowhere. Had she hit her head? Had someone attacked her, except really quickly and in a way that she couldn't have realized until she started bleeding?

Once again, the coffee shop can - and will - save us.

Yeah! Of course! They'd have something there. A first aid kit. Or maybe that was too much. Whatever - he needed to get her over there.

It's a nosebleed. She's not melting.

Xander didn't get it. He couldn't get it. He wasn't out here with her. With Alex, even though he didn't understand either it, he knew he had to help her. That was his new mission.

"Don't worry about me. Don't worry about the alley or that crazy guy," he said. "Let's get you to Roasters."

So - uh... I'll just keep watch.

Yeah. Do that.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:32 am

Gwen could not remember the last time she'd gotten a nosebleed. She'd had a couple before, but none like this. There didn't seem to be a cause for it that she could discern and it flowed madly down her lips like a raging storm, as her fingers pinched her nose and her hand rifled through her purse. Nothing but a bit of touch-up makeup, her wallet, keys and a tampon or two were inside the tiny little bag, but she could have sworn she'd had tissues in there at some point.

"Shit!" she murmured as she gave up her search, becoming aware of Alex's frantic tone. It was merely an embarrassment and slightly unsettling for her - and possibly a wardrobe malfunction if any of it got onto her crisp white blouse - but he seemed genuinely worried about her. And all the while, the little buzz on her skin told her Xander was in there chattering away. In the midst of her miniature chaos, she gave him an appreciative look, her eyebrows bouncing when he exclaimed in triumph about paper. Yes, at least it would be something. As the page came crumpled from his pocket, she smiled through the river of gore and held out her hand for it. "God, thank you!" she mumbled as she began to open the page up and smooth it out one-handedly, folding it before pressing it to her nose. Immediately the white sheet blossomed with a scarlet flower, the capillaries of the paper filling up with each drop that continued to pulse from her beating heart.

"It's okay," she said slightly muffled through her new mask of paper. "I'll be fine, I just need to find a bathroom." At his suggestion of the restaurant she nodded and began to lead the way across the street, stopping only to check if any cars were coming by. It was somewhat embarrassing walking around like this, but even moreso when they entered through the front doors of the establishment. She didn't let it bother her too much though and tried to keep it discreet.

Turning to Alex she smiled reassuringly at him through the paper veil and said, "Listen, I'll be just a minute. You go ahead and order something for me. I'll pay you back when I'm done dealing with--" she waved a finger in a circular motion to indicate her face and the bleeding hole in it and laughed a little nervously. "Yeah." With one more glance at him she left his side and went looking for the restroom. Weaving through the tables she barely looked around the place before following a sign into a secluded hallway tucked near the back.

Once inside, she instantly went to the sink where a tissue box sat and she took a few from it with a breath of resignation. God, she must have made a really good impression. He probably thought she was like some nervous, overly excitable kid or something who got nosebleeds from sitting too close to the screen in movie theaters. Taking the paper away from her face, she let it lie on the counter by the sink and replaced it with the tissue. The flow seemed to be settling now, but still she waited a few more minutes, tipping her head back gently.

Finally when it stopped, she found herself sniffling as she pulled the tissue away. Experimentally, she blew her nose and was surprised that there was no sign left of the horrible tragedy. Well, except on the rest of my face, she thought wryly as her eyes looked into the mirror. She looked like something from a horror movie. Jesus, what had happened? And right after she'd had that dizzy spell too. Were they related? And Alex had said something to Xander... Or had he been talking about something else?

"Hm," she murmured with a shake of her head, setting the mystery aside for now. Turning on the sink, she wetted a paper towel and cleaned her face up, and tossed everything away into the waist basket in the corner. Then she finished by washing her hands and her eyes finally fell upon Alex's savior paper.

Her mouth curved into a curious twist as she regarded it and slowly picked it up, unfolding it and looking over it intently. What did Alex write notes on? With a smile on her lips, she focused in on the crinkled paper, a dark red blob mirrored on both sides of the crease where she'd held it to her nose, the liquid drying now but blurring a lot of the words. Quietly, she read aloud to herself, trying to decipher the code of broken text through blood and mountains of wrinkled paper.

"He sat alone in....wrecked apartment fill-ed....after she'd gone yearn....-ontact but afraid of...." Slowly as she'd read, the smile had faded from her face and now her voice dwindled to nothing as she stared at the page in her hands, finally recognizing her scribbling scrawl through the pattern of wrinkles.

"Holy shit!" she exclaimed in angered shock. "You motherfucker!"

Last edited by TimeOfTheEye on Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:48 am

He should've been waiting for her closer to the door. He knew she's sent him off, assured him she'd be fine by herself and, especially because she ran into no-man's land, he'd believed her. But he should've been at least pretending to wait. If she collapsed -

From a nosebleed?

"It happens," he mumbled, moving up in line.

Behind the counter was a boy hovering on seventeen. He had long hair pulled into a ponytail, thick and dark-rimmed glasses, and a hook at the end of his nose sharp enough to gut someone on. His uniform looked as though he'd spilled half of everything he'd made onto it, but he could've been one of the people they set around the shop to paint and have everyone crowd around. Roasters was known for its off-the-wall theatricality. One time, they'd pulled out a Medieval theme without any warning whatsoever. Xander had been in the middle of his coffee, giggling over how he'd made some kid cry, when the staff suddenly pulled out swords - oh, this was the kid who'd burst into tears. He saw Xander coming long before they reached the counter. He was instantly on guard and trying to find someone else to help -

"You." Xander had zeroed in on him. "If you fuck this up like you did last time, I'm coming over there and snapping your neck."

"This isn't Starbucks -"

"Yeah! Yeah, I noticed that," he snapped. "Too fucking bad, 'cause I'm here and now I'm stuck with you. Life's shit for everyone. Figure it out. If I say I want a 'venti', your ass jumps and throw everything in a twenty ounce cup, and I swear to God, if you do something even the slightest bit out of order..."

"We're - uh... We're out of peppermint until -"

"Peppermint is for fags. Don't ever offer me that again," Xander replied. He'd clearly been resting up for this. "What you're gonna give me is vanilla. On the second one, out of three. Y'ready?"

The kid saw no help on the horizon. He was on his own. Breathing out, then in just as sharply, he nodded and bunched his shoulders up, clearly trying to be prepared.

"Great. A cafe mocha for the chick in the bathroom," Xander said. "That's drink one. Drink two, I need a quad, venti, three pump caramel - if you try doing one of those shitty half-pumps, I'm putting your head through a wall - then four pump vanilla, breve - no, don't 'repeat it over me', you're gonna screw something up." The kid stopped. "Every pump of vanilla goes between a shot of espresso and the first shot of caramel must be at the bottom. If I'm not scraping something up with a spoon at the end of it, I'm going back and jamming the cup down your throat."

The barista was not having a good day anymore.

Gwen was still in the bathroom. What was taking her so long? And he couldn't look around for her because Xander had his eyes locked onto the kid's.

"And..." The boy did not want to ask his next question. "What's the third drink?"

"The third? Buddy - I'm not done explaining my second," Xander said. "Breve, extra hot, caramel drizzle on the whip - drizzle - and then, somewhere in the middle of that, you're gonna remember it's a caramel macchiato and try not to die inside. You'll get the order for drink number three when you get that one done right. I will send it back if it's even drop out of order. You know I will."

There was no way any person on this planet drank something like that, ever. Xander might not've even liked the taste. He gulped it down fast enough, but he was more likely to have been savouring the pain he caused Roasters employees. The Starbucks kids could take it, though. Xander had bled the weakness out of them.

"Why do you think she started bleeding?"

Maybe she thinks we're hella hot and had to get it out of her system, Xander said. What else should I get? I feel like I've got too much insulin in my body.

"My body, and I have just the right amount of insulin, thanks."

I need something with chocolate. He thought this over. Maybe white chocolate. Five pump, at least.

At least he felt safe in here. Still, he hoped she didn't need him. He wasn't getting out of this line anytime soon.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:06 pm

Her breathing continued to come out in labored pants as she stared accusingly at the crumpled piece of paper in her hands, her mind running a mile a minute. What...what did this mean? He'd taken it from her apartment while he'd been in there obviously, but she'd tucked the pad of paper out of sight, she'd thought. Unless he'd been specifically looking for it... Oh God..

In her mind flashed the different questions he'd posed to her over their walk here, and it felt like a subtle interrogation to her now. Had he taken her out today just to get the information out of her? With the way he must live his life and from her own interactions with Xander, now that she knew he'd stolen something from her - something she'd wanted to keep private from him specifically until just a little while ago - it all felt incredibly fake. It was hard to imagine Xander expressing innocent interest in someone just for the sake of interest and she started to see an ulterior motive in everything he'd done up to this point. God, he was spying on me... and this whole time I've been...

It was incredibly ironic but Gwen started to feel a little sick with anger. She felt very used right now and was regretting ever considering liking him. With a disgusted click of lips, she started to crumple the paper back up and was preparing to throw it away and storm out of there when she stopped and unfolded it again. If...he'd known what was on it and had been bleeding her for information the whole time... why had he given it back to her? It might have been his taunt to pressure her for information, letting her know he knew so she'd tell him - he could be waiting out there now for her to come bursting out of here waving it around and demanding to know why he'd stolen it. But that didn't really make sense. With it in her possession now, she could deny that whatever he'd seen on it simply wasn't there. But if she'd wanted to get any direct answers about what he knew about the paper's contents, she would have to admit that she'd been writing about him. Was that what he wanted? Still, there was no way for him to interpret her next moves accurately. She could get mad and freaked out and just leave without saying another word. Then again, it would scare her off of spying on him ever again... It was an awful lot to go through to get that end however.

It occurred to her now that she had an awful lot of questions and very few sure and definitive answers. Any action she took, whether she went out there angry or afraid would be based on assumptions she was making blindly. Afterall, he hadn't grilled her about it; he'd asked some questions about her latest project, but she was a writer and that was normal for people to do. And also she had to remember who she was dealing with as well: Xander, his other half. Alex was a good guy and she found it hard to believe that if anything like this had happened, he was hardly the one to orchestrate it all. Then again, she'd just met him and barely knew him.

But she really wanted to like him. So with all the theories and doubts swirling around her head, she calmly decided to give him a chance to explain. And in turn, she would be honest with him about her story and her original reasons for agreeing on this date of theirs. It was only fair. Neatly folding the paper back up and tucking it away into her purse, she realized that this whole thing was really not a big deal. But he'd expressed interest in her first and it had been Xander at her door offering her pineapple pizza. That made her feel like he'd at least been aware of something. Or he could just be using her as a plaything, a distraction from the things he dealt with on a regular basis.

Looking in the mirror, she started to give herself last minute adjustments, fluffing her hair with her fingers a little bit and her eyes trailed down to her body. God, she looked like such a slut. With a shake of her head she began to button up her shirt with the button she'd undone earlier, but slowly started to stop. No, she'd leave it. It was an odd thought that crossed her mind, the fantasy she'd had when he'd come from the alley popping into mind. Things were still salvageable. She would give him a chance. But there was nothing wrong with greasing the wheels to get some answers.

With a sigh, she stepped from the restroom and exited the short hallway, her eyes scanning the room, looking for him. When she finally laid eyes on him, even after the discovery she'd made, a smile jumped to her lips involuntarily. Gwen approached him with a seductive saunter across the space that separated them, her hips swaying with every step and her breasts jiggling lightly from the gaping opening in her shirt. She would settle this and he would tell her everything she wanted to know.


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:52 pm

Gwen was back. As he and Xander waited for the barista to make the coffee again - and again and again as new things were added to the order - he'd been able to wrestle his eyes back. The rest of his body was set in an all-business mode. When it came to this sort of thing, making everyone else's day miserable, Xander didn't screw around, but he 'allowed' Alex to light up as he saw Gwen come towards him, her nose clear and -


... Well, yes, there was that.

Bouncy bouncy?

"Stop that," Alex said. When she finally did reach him - so bouncy - he smiled, and keeping his eyes level with hers, which was not an easy thing to do, he asked, "Are you feeling better?"

"You look better. And - hey, if that shirt's got a little blood on it, you could always rip it off. I don't mind," Xander politely told her, grabbing the one cup that'd been made to his impossible standards. "I played it safe and got you sugar. Cafe mocha, the only thing this fuck-up knows how to make." If the barista hadn't heard, and he probably hadn't, he definitely acted like he did. "Alex made me pay, even though I remember you begging to get this for me."

"She wasn't 'begging' and it wasn't necessary," Alex said, defensive. "And you can afford the sixty bucks you've racked up. You know you're paying for everything he's throwing out?"

"The manager knows me."

Xander had a 'talk' with him once or twice before.

"Right. Well," Alex said, "just hurry up."

Out of the corner of his eye, the man in line behind him moved to open his mouth. It was the same guy - another regular - that somehow always ended up behind him. He'd tried complaining about the wait every single time, but the memory of when Xander 'talked' with him too kept his mouth shut as he was sent a nasty glare. The man grunted to himself and muttered something about wanting to leave.

"Good. Go. Try McDonald's," Xander said. "They serve the same thing you order here anyway - hey!" With eyes very clearly in the back of his head, he snapped at the barista before he made yet another mistake-that'd-only-seconds-ago-had-been-specifically-requested. "I want it with soy. You pick up skim again -"

Alex put a hand over his mouth - this is basic stuff! - and turned his attention back to where it belonged: with her. Satisfied Xander wasn't going to break into a rant, he gently explained, "This takes a while. You might want to sit down."

Last edited by Tartra on Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:53 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:09 pm

Back in his presence again it was hard not to bring it up right then. But luckily, he and Xander kept her somewhat distracted with their witty banter. "Oh, I'm sure our fellow patrons would love to get an eyeful," she said with a grin and casting an appraising glance around. As he told her what he'd gotten her, she gratefully took the offered cup with a smile. "Thank you. It's perfect." And then the two were off again, racing each other through a conversation.

She watched him closer now, looking for signs or hints that he had other intentions, anything that fit with her suspicions. But as far as she could tell, the one was acting like a self-absorbed junkie and the other was trying to control his companion while simultaneously attempting to impress her. It made her have second thoughts about confronting him, especially with how busy he seemed to be right now, but the thought would not go away. It was just too big of a coincidence to have been just a flippant, kleptomaniac gesture. She was positive it had been intentional but she no longer thought that he was trying to get something from her. That left the question of "why?" though and the not knowing bugged her.

So, for the next couple of seconds after Alex turned to her with the patient resignation of a babysitter, she debated on the "when". He was obviously busy right now with lots going on and she definitely didn't want to get between Xander and his coffee. He was still such a wild card and she didn't know what to expect. If she started to draw Alex's attention from the very important task at hand, would he blow up like he had on the way here? That had been for different reasons of course, but she didn't want to be the one standing next to him when he went off and the manager was forced to call people to handle the situation. Then again, looking around at the people here, even the other customers, it seemed they recognized and were familiar with the obsessive ranting of her companion. He wasn't making that huge of a scene right now, but she doubted it would come as a surprise to anybody here if Xander suddenly lost it. With how practiced the expressions were, they probably even had a specific protocol for his visits.

That set her a little at ease and made her smirk to herself as the thought of how that routine was developed flashed in her mind and it both unsettled and amused her. Going with her tactics before, now seemed the perfect time to bring all this up. While he was distracted and trying to reign Xander in, he might be more truthful and less likely to think too much about what he was saying.

"I wanted to thank you," she said, tapping her hands on the coffee cup idly. "For the paper. You definitely saved the day. I don't know why I didn't this time, but I usually have something in my purse. Without it I probably wouldn't have made it here without making a mess and looking like a zombified secretary." She laughed lightly then, her blue eyes twinkling at him. "But I'm afraid to say, your notes were ruined." She nodded lightly and paused to search his face before continuing in a calm voice. "Or rather mine were." Her expression was still warm and she was obviously not upset but she had an expectant look in her eyes.

The people around already knew he was somewhat crazy, so it did not concern her what they heard now or thought of their business. All she wanted was an explanation. Seemed like she was demanding that a lot from him. But she couldn't help it. He was confounding and irritating and endearing all at the same time while still remaining as mysterious as a locked box. Everytime she opened a door, she was met with another door immediately on the other side of it. When would she be able to just see him clearly?


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:33 pm

Great. She was angry, just hiding it.

"Sorry about that," he said, giving her a half-shrug, trying to lighten what he felt was growing into a tense mood. "Xander took it on the way out. I told him to put it back, but we were leaving then, and it would've raised some questions if I just walked back in." He rolled his eyes and then admitted, "Although in hindsight, I guess that didn't matter."

For fuck's sake, this isn't hard. Pump, espresso, pump, espresso, pump, espresso, then one last time. Twenty seconds, tops.

"You're forgetting the forty other things you told him to do," Alex said. "Maybe you should learn how to make it."

I know how. It's this asshole who needs to learn. Agent breaks into my bedroom, won't wake up 'til morning, ruins my entire interrogation schedule, and now this shit keeps happening. The corner of his mouth twitched at Gwen. That includes her, too. Damn - that pizza was a bad idea.

"Wow! Good job, Xander! That's a milestone, right there," Alex said. Translating for Gwen, he added, "He's finally figured out that I'm not always wrong."

The reason the pizza was a bad idea was because you can't keep your mouth closed around the bouncy-bouncy.

"You sound like a child," Alex said.

No, you.


"Anyway, Gwen, don't get mad at him. He probably didn't read what was on there -" I did. "Okay, but it wasn't like he memorized it -" Yup. Alex tried again. "It's not like he's capable of doing anything with it. It's for your book, right? He's not a writer. You're fine. And I'll make sure he doesn't give the plot away to someone else."

Interesting plot, though. So far, I mean.

As a matter of fact, what was up with that?

"How the hell did you read it? I didn't even see -"

Peripheral vision. I can focus on the stuff that's in the corner of your eye. It's another reason why I'm so great. Mystery solved? A cup was cautiously pushed towards him. Taste it.

Alex did. He picked it up and gently sipped, trying to get enough to recognize the flavour but as sparingly as possible, all to keep Xander from thinking he was being robbed if this turned out to be 'the one'. He felt his nose start to sniff the thing, then he waited to see if he'd be throwing it at the kid's face or...


"Thank God," the barista gasped. "I can't - I - I can't make another one -"

"Don't worry," he sneered. "For future reference, I know not to ask you."

The kid was relieved. Alex shook his head, while Xander glared and finally started drinking. As if this exact thing wouldn't happen sometime next week. Xander would expect the guy to have it perfect the first time, only now there'd be hell if it wasn't. Today, the beast was soothed, and they zeroed in on a table not far from the window near the back. If they were here for a while, they'd be talking. If they were talking, he wanted to be alone.

Relatively speaking.

"Hope you don't mind the spooky corner in the back," Alex said. "It's probably the most normal thing you've into today, though." And then, with more emotion, he asked her, "Are you sure you're okay? Does that always happen?"

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:31 pm

Listening to his explanation, she nodded slowly, exhaling through her nose and her shoulders relaxing. So it had been Xander who'd taken it and at the thought she felt herself smiling at Alex. She knew he wouldn't do that. He may be a bit paranoid and jumpy but it just didn't seem his style to spy and steal from her like that. Thinking back, she did remember him whispering to himself excitedly in the hallway and even though she hadn't heard a lot of that conversation, she now knew what it had been about. It was like putting a puzzle together and seeing part of the picture it was making.

Taking a sip of her coffee, she let the two of them talk for a moment, her skin prickling with tiny pinches and her eyes catching the look the other gave her making her almost choke on her Mocha with a laugh. Fine, so the other was upset with her for breaking through their carefully crafted wall. At least she assumed that was the reason until Alex tried to reassure her Xander had not read what she'd written. Apparently he had and he even knew what was on the paper and it made her grow cold. Gwen had wanted to tell him about her story and his relation to it but it seemed he already knew...or only one of them did. Whatever Xander knew he wasn't sharing it with Alex. Or maybe he hadn't figured it out... No, that was unlikely. She'd put her notepad out of sight and if he could get the page off of it AND read it all without Alex knowing then it was not very probable that anything could get past him.

As the coffee was finished being made and handed over to him, she watched as he tasted it, smirking at the sweat beading down the sides of the server's face. His eyes latched onto Xander as he swallowed a gulp of the hot liquid as if he were looking for the approval of a hungry tiger. At Xander's response to the young man, Gwen frowned and took another sip of her own drink to cover the expression. God, how arrogant could you get?--and that was when it dawned on her why Xander hadn't told Alex what was on the paper. Not only was she not considered a threat - except to Alex's mouth - but here she was writing a book based on him. It probably fed his ego to be the main character and inspiration for a novel and the story was just different enough not to encourage his paranoia.

So, following him to a pair of chairs in the back corner of the room, she felt somewhat lighter having gotten all that mess out of the way. Not only was she not angry anymore - having gotten her notes back anyway - but she no longer felt burdened by the need to confess to him about the subject matter. No, she wasn't after information anymore. She just wanted to enjoy his company and hoped they got the chance to do that without being interrupted again.

"No this is good," she said nodding and settling into her seat across from him, her dress riding up to mid-thigh as she crossed her legs, smooth skin shining in the light filtering through the window nearby. Tossing her hair over her shoulder, she continued to sip from her drink as he asked her about the nosebleed incident. The concern still in his voice really touched her.

"No, actually," she said, setting the drink down on the table, her brows crinkling slightly. "I mean, I've gotten nosebleeds before, sure, but nothing as sudden and forceful as that. And with no apparent cause." She paused and looked down at the tabletop for a moment, lost in thought. "Well, there was this one thing... A few moments before you came out of the alley, I got really dizzy and almost fell down." She laughed a little nervously and rolled her eyes in embarrassment at having to explain this aloud to someone. It made her seem like a sickly or clumsy person when that couldn't be farther from the truth. It had been totally out of the ordinary what had happened.

"I'm not one to get light-headed or swoon," she said shaking her head. "As in EVER. I take care of myself, I rarely get sick, and I'm not a couch potato. So, I really don't know what happened. I thought maybe it was because I hadn't eaten yet, but I still haven't and I'm completely fine now." She paused and shrugged, picking up her cup again. "It was just like a wave of something hit me and then was gone, like that." She snapped her fingers and then took a sip of her coffee, swallowing before she continued. "I'm not too worried about it though. If it happens again, then I'll probably go and get myself checked out or something. No big deal."


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:42 pm

Alex frowned at that before he sat down and tried not to choke on the coffee - if that's what it was anymore.

"No big deal? That's... pretty much the opposite of what I'd call it," he said, "and this is from a guy who's got Xander living with him. Has it happened before? Or..." His mind started running wild with the possibilities. "What if you're driving or doing something delicate? What if you're being chased?"

By Agents. It always came back to that.

"I sound like I'm exaggerating," he said. "I'm not. Being here with me, I'm surprised we haven't had a gun put to our heads already." Then, hearing how that echoed in the air, he tossed in a light, "Not that I'd let that happen. By the time they'd get their hand on their holster, he'd step in. Still, though, you shouldn't wait with this sort of thing. We could always go by the hospital later. They practically have a room reserved for me."

He waited for Xander to congratulate himself on inadvertently drumming up another advantage of his ballistic rage, but the guy was quiet. What was wrong with him today?

It took him a moment to realize his finger was tapping on the table.

He knew that tap. That was the interrogation tap. It was the first time he'd seen it without someone frothing and foaming and on the brink of death, but he had no idea why Xander would be doing it at all. He felt him lean back in his chair, lazily, and give Gwen a vaguely triumphant look. Xander was curious. ... Why, exactly?

"I knew you were interesting," he said, grinning like he'd found the end of the rainbow. "I think it's time we had a chat."

He wasn't -

Relax, lover boy. I'm not gonna hurt her.

Right, sure, totally. He believed that with his heart and soul. Knock it off.

"This is important, Alex. Don't get your panties in a twist," Xander said. He took a deep gulp of that coma-in-a-cup, savoured it, still managed to think it was off, then got his finger tapping again. "So. Gwen. Is that short for anything? Don't answer that - I don't really care. What I do care about is how you're feeling. I was nervous there for a minute. All that blood... Gross. Am I right?"

He wasn't trying to be charming anymore. He was getting to the point, some imaginary or impossible point that no one else would understand but him. Alex tried stepping in, reached out to take control of his mouth, but Xander - with what amounted to a slap in his mind - pushed him back.

"I'm not trying to accuse you of anything." Except he definitely was. "You probably don't even know what's going on. And that's fine. Neither does Alex. I keep him in the dark about a lot of the shit around us 'cause he's panicky and he talks too much." Hey! "Let me explain something to you." He took another gulp. This time, he savoured it long enough to think of something else. "Actually, let me apologize. I'm sorry, Gwen. I shouldn't've snapped at you before. You deserved to know I existed and I guess I took screwing around with Alex too far for me to realistically have expected you to ignore it. And for being a bad neighbour - that too. All of that. I'm sorry."

Xander -

I'm not kidding.

"You should know some other things," he went on. "Obviously, because if you picked up on me, you picked up on this, we're entertaining some shady company. They come and they go and they try to kill us and I've got one stuffed in our apartment and, lately, specifically since yesterday, they've started picking up in numbers. But that's okay. I'm not complaining. They've done it once before and it was - let me assure you - fucking awesome. But that only happened because I attracted some attention." Understatement. "You see, these people, the Agents, the ones Alex hasn't stopped droning on about, are after me and my kind. Well - Alex's kind. I didn't have powers until I showed up in his head, and imagine my surprise when I could shoot freaking lasers out of my eyes. Oh, by the way, I can kill you with my mind. That's just so we're on the same page - you don't have to worry about that yet."


"Anyway! I thought Alex was the only guy wandering around with some 'special ability'. I mean - come on. Regular people with magic powers? Whatever you wanna call them, until you see it, it's a tough pill to swallow. I couldn't wrap my head around this guy until I started seeing what he could do. So, imagine my surprise when, one day, we run into some other kid named Peter. Refresh my memory, good fellow. What was Peter's thing again?"

"Oh. Uh..." Geez. Peter. He hadn't thought about him a while. "Telepathic. Kinetic, I mean. Telekinetic."

"Sure. So - Peter's doing the same thing we're doing, apparently, and - lo and behold - he's got a guy in his head, too. Hey! What're the odds of that, huh? And he comes running up to us, jumping for joy that he finally found the one other person on Earth exactly like him."

"Xander took care of it," Alex quietly remembered. "He turned out to be a traitor."

"Yeah. He was sent to find us. His powers, while for his personal use, were mostly a way of convincing us that he was on our side, that he was being hunted. And I had a good reason to believe him. The guy inside his head?" He rolled his eyes. Alex sympathized. That'd been one of the few times Xander was reluctant to kill anyone. The 'Brain-Bound Buddies' was what they'd stupidly called themselves for a while. "Persuasive. They usually are. When I finally discovered they were leading the Agents to us - which Alex, stupid shit, wouldn't believe me about - so they could get us trapped - which they did, and the fight was spectacular - I had to fry 'im. 'T'was a dark day, truly, but I learned a couple of lessons from it."

"There's no one in her head," Alex muttered. "I'd know."

You know? For a fact? Maybe she's a success story, he said. Then he went back to talking to Gwen, asking her, "Did you feel anything just then? Sweaty? Nervous? Pained? When we're doing the mental chat, I mean. Anything?"

Clearly, it was a rhetorical question. Xander was more interested in sucking down his coffee than he was in hearing what she had to say, but he listened patiently enough.

The paranoia was coming back. He'd made a good decision by walking to the back of the store. He wanted to reassure her and tell her Xander was playing around, even if he wasn't, but the words were stuck in his throat. That had nothing to do with his other half.

He sipped the coffee, too.

Last edited by Tartra on Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:51 pm; edited 1 time in total

Join date : 2010-07-10

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:58 pm

Again that show of concern warmed her heart and she could tell it was real. What he said did seem to make sense to her. Maybe she was being too passive about this. It wouldn't hurt to just check it out. "Maybe you're right," her brow crinkled with thought as she took another sip of coffee. "I can always go alone...but it might be nice to have you there." Her smile was small and secretive and just for him.

But the flirtatious mood was shattered as the other spoke up, his finger tapping repeatedly on the tabletop in an agitated fashion. Uh-oh. Xander wanted to "chat". Something was up. Instantly she found herself put on edge and for the next 5 minutes as she listened to him speak, the tension did not leave her but seemingly grew with each passing moment. The smooth sound of his voice was still there, coming out quick and even but it was no longer full of the appeal it held before. There was an edge to his voice now, full of a threat bubbling under the surface, almost...predatory.

At first he wasn't making any sense but still she felt like there was a target somewhere on her and he was aiming for it. "I don't understand," she said, casting a quick and worried look around them, hoping to find safety in the public atmosphere. Alex wouldn't let him do anything to her, would he? But then Xander was moving on and there was still no sign of the main personality. It had already been established for her that although Alex seemed the owner of their body, Xander held a dominance over him she couldn't comprehend. She hoped Alex would be able to stop Xander from acting violently towards her...

The tension still had her on the edge of her seat as he continued to speak, but then she was blinking at him as an apology was offered. Well, yes, she did find it odd that for a man on the run from dangerous people, he didn't seem to put much effort into hiding that he was different. But if he hadn't she probably wouldn't have noticed as much and would have been continuing to sit in her apartment in her loungewear writing about a lady jogging in the park and meeting a lovely stranger by chance. It wasn't necessarily original or groundbreaking so she was still somewhat grateful for the opportunity to have noticed he wasn't normal.

As he went on, she had to keep her mouth from hanging open and had completely forgotten about her mocha as he proceeded to give her a personal history lesson. All the questions that she'd had buzzing around her head before, that had gotten in the way of her seeing him as a person and not just an idea, were now being answered to some degree. His threat however was not lost on her in all it's implications. Great, she thought as she once again scanned the room, no longer seeing the other occupants of the shop as possible allies. They might as well be part of the furniture. If he could kill her with his brain then any hope she might have had of jumping up and getting help from someone nearby was halted before it even began. Violence would ensue and he didn't even have to lift a finger to do it. Oh, not yet? Well that was reassuring. Yeah right.

Then the lesson went on and despite herself and the threat still present in him, she found it fascinating. So, Alex was the one who had that ability and Xander was a foreign entity? That hadn't occurred to her even though the alter-ego in her story had a demon inside his head; when considering Alex's situation, she'd automatically assumed it was a psychological problem of some kind. And now he was telling her there were others, like him and Alex. The tale he wove was a tragic one. How difficult it must be to always be alone, to always be betrayed and never able to rest or trust anyone. No wonder he'd blown up at her on the way here after she'd gotten Alex to blurt out their well-guarded secret. She could have been dangerous for them both and Xander had probably known all along what she'd been doing trying to weasel information out of them.

At Alex's words she balked and shook her head and started to say something to reassure him. No, she was alone in her head! She wasn't anything special like him or Peter! And then that tickle started up again, all over her body the nerves humming quietly making her shift in her chair with the urge to itch her skin with an all-body scratcher. Just as suddenly, it was gone, Xander's questions coming out in quick succession and causing her to pause.

The silence that followed after that made it feel like their corner of the room had turned into a vacuum and she breathed in deeply, pushing her coffee cup, still half-full, aside as she leaned forward and answered. "Well, yes, I felt something," she said lowly, her blue gaze piercing and intense. "My whole skin crawls whenever you two do the "phone talk" thing. What's your point?"

She'd thought it had just been the vibrational energy he gave off...although, now that she thought about it, she didn't know why she'd make that assumption. Why would he give off vibrations if he was just a split personality like she'd originally thought? Why hadn't this faulty logic set off any red flags before? God, when she'd woken up this morning did she just forget to open her eyes or something??? Something wasn't right with her head today and it all seemed to centralize around this guy and his fucked up little buddy.

Gently her hand reached up to touch her forehead as she stared at the table trying to make it all fit, trying to quickly reassemble this puzzle with all this new information. All of a sudden she no longer wanted to be a part of this. Alex was nice but this whole thing surrounding him was just too fucking big and scary and now it felt like she was being consumed by his life. She just wanted to go back home and write her book. She didn't want to become like him, unhappy, alone and paranoid.

With her eyes shining wetly, the ocean color swimming with the lights and tears that threatened she looked back up at him. "I'm not," she said shaking her head and pressing her lips together, her voice quiet. "I'm not a part of this. There's nothing wrong or different about me."


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:53 am

She was leaving him, wasn't she? She was pulling away. Alex might not spend his time around the bulk of society anymore, but he knew a stamp of rejection when it was slammed on his forehead.

"No," he said. "No - he wasn't... He didn't mean to imply anything about you. He's not..." Just like that, this was over? One nice morning, followed by one crappy talk over coffee, and now he was back to being on his own. Alex tried once more, mustering up the courage, and leaned forward to reassure her, "He never said anything was wrong with you."

It was hard to stay focused when Xander was, quite literally, laughing until he couldn't breathe. The second Gwen had answered, he disappeared again, only because the shrieks of entertainment would've turned some heads. He didn't know what was so funny. He didn't care. He was miserable now. He slumped his shoulders, then dropped back against the chair, absently listening to the sounds inside his head.

I - can't - even - talk -

"Just spit it out, Xander. Stop laughing." He wasn't in the mood for this anymore.

It took three minutes of waiting for Xander to compose himself well enough to take over again. Even then, his words were peppered with snickers and snorts.

"Sorry," Xander said, trying to shove the giggles down. "Sorry. Sorry - that was rude." More laughter, but he got it under control. Great. Alex didn't want to hear it. "Sorry. I'm okay. I - just... Really, I thought this'd be obvious to you."

'Obvious'? There wasn't a fucking person here who'd think anything Xander came up with was obvious. The guy followed a train of logic that'd derailed, rolled down a hill, dragged down a river, then dropped off a waterfall, reaching its destination through sheer luck and a miracle. Just to top off that analogy, everyone in the train, meaning everyone he brought into this mess, died horribly. He almost shoved Xander's stupid cup over to spite him, but he stopped, only because that'd be an entirely new kind of war.

Screw this. Let them talk. He should've fought harder with that dumb pizza thing. This was his body and he was the one in control. Supposed to be. Was.

"Okay. Okay, I'm good," Xander said, taking in deep breaths. "Alright. Let me break this down for you: the Agents are here because they're looking for someone 'special'. That's me. It's always me, and it's always been me because - until Peter, so many years ago - that's all there's ever been. You know - as far as I was told. There's a specific number of people they're allowed to send after me before they can't contain the secret anymore and the outside world starts cluing in. The fact that now, all of a sudden, they're pumping up the numbers to the point where, sitting here, I can see two of them walking around outside, means there's something else going on."

He paused for a coffee break.

"I don't know. Maybe it's subconscious with you. Maybe you really don't know what's happening and, if that's the case..." Xander shrugged. "Man. I can't tell you how lucky you are. Today's the day they mounted an attack, and if you hadn't run into me - if I hadn't come to you and stolen the spotlight, you'd be dead already. So, yes, you owe me a coffee. Make it two and we'll call it even."

"Focus, Xander..."

"Alright, alright."

He leaned in, suddenly light and bubbly. At its deepest core, Xander's words were still laced with suspicion, but he was like a kid, excited and in awe of the world around him. He was enjoying himself, Alex realized. Xander was enjoying talking to her. Or scaring the shit out of her, but this was as close to 'civil conversation' as he got, next to shamelessly flirting. He'd been pretty conservative with that so far though, which said a lot about how bad he could get.

"You tense up," Xander explained. "'Skin crawls'? Why not? But it translates to you becoming ever so slightly, blink-and-you-miss-it, absolutely imperceptible to anyone who isn't looking for it, tense. I'm always looking for that kind of thing and I've been seeing it all morning. I wasn't sure at first, but I put things together and now..." Sharp exhale and a shake of his head. "Damn. Mike. The one in the alley, the one I went off to talk with. He wasn't here looking for me. He was here looking for you."

"Xander, what the hell are you rambling about it?"

"I'm serious," he said. "He didn't get Alex, he freaked out, went all crazy-jealous 'cause, 'oh, damn, that should've been me with the seizure-eyes', so now he's been skulking around for who-knows-how-long, trying to find someone else he could hop inside, and taking over a hot chick - well... Either that's the smartest thing I've ever heard of, or he's ten times more evil than I thought."

"Why don't you try explaining things without forgetting the critical details?" Alex wanted to scowl, but Xander held it in place. "Why would the Agents want - what do you mean 'hop inside her'?"

"Oh, you don't have to worry about that," Xander said. "You're fine, so long as I keep them away. You, on the other hand, have a hell of a lot to be afraid of." He pointed at her, teasingly. This was not the time for that. "The technology's had to have improved since they tried this shit out. If they get to you, you're not putting up with this little half-and-half you see me'n'Alex struggling with. You'll be dead, and there'll be someone walkin' around in a brand new Gwen body, complete with full access to any and all abilities you may or may not be aware of." He downed the rest of his cup merrily. Then he took his spoon and started scraping up the caramel stuck to the bottom. "By the way, you might want to look into something better than 'my skin crawls when people talk to themselves' if you plan on fighting back. Pretty lame. Try harder, 'cause they will."

This was too much for him to process. He couldn't imagine what it must've been like for her. He wanted to reach over and make sure she was okay, but he wouldn't let himself. This was the sort of situation where people didn't differentiate between them. It was 'Alexander' now, and if she was freaked out by one, she couldn't possibly want comfort from the other.

"So the Agents are after her? Because you think she has powers?"

"Maybe I drew them to her, maybe she drew them to me," Xander said. "All I can assume is that they know we're together at this particular second and there's not a doubt in my mind that they're gonna make a move." He snorted. "Eventually. I mean - this is me they're tryin' to fight." Cup was empty. Coffee was done. "So! I hope I made it clear that you don't have a choice in being involved, 'cause y'kind'f are already, and if you actually are the person they're after 'cause you haven't 'mastered your abilities' so you're defenseless, then I'm not ecstatic to be around you anymore, 'cause I was hoping to stay here another few weeks. I'll probably have to move out this afternoon, just to be sure I'm out of here before they bring in reinforcements."

"That mask," Alex said. "The one the Agent in our room was wearing."

"Worthless piece of garbage. 'Mirrored lenses' was some shit they pulled six years ago. Didn't work then, won't work now," Xander said. "Probably something they whipped up for you, Gwenny, just in case you decided to go crazy on them."

Too much. Way too much.

"Be gentle," Alex sighed.

Xander rolled his eyes.

"Look. Don't panic. I'm here and I'm unstoppable. Unless you really are playing us like Peter did, in which case I won't hesitate to make your brain explode. I'm here to help you," he finished, with the faintest touch of sincerity in final words. Then he looked down at her half-empty cup. "... Uh... You gonna drink the rest of that?"

Last edited by Tartra on Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

Join date : 2010-07-10

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:02 am

A glare found it's way to her features after she'd answered him, only flickering and softening with the appearance of Alex, his voice soft and plaintive. It helped her reconnect with him to a certain degree, but she did not smile and watched warily as Xander came out again, practically a bundle of joy apologizing even as he snorted and chuckled in her face. Gwen just wanted to smack him upside the head with a baseball bat and the desire was barely tempered by the thought that it was Alex's head too.

Even as she found herself waiting for him to explain why he was suddenly hysterical, his explanation didn't do much for her. Here he was vaguely describing a world she didn't understand - who the fuck were these people? And why all the rules and secrecy? - so once again she found herself lost as he sped ahead of her. His mention of two of them outside instantly made her turn to the window however, her eyes wide as she searched the street beyond. Instantly her eyes zoomed in on the two who resembled the ones in the lobby but she couldn't tell if they were the same guys; she hadn't studied the two in the apartment building too much. Other than a strange vibe coming off of them, they didn't appear out of the ordinary to her.

With a sigh, she turned back to him as his voice went on. This was becoming tiresome and she was quickly losing patience with his game. She was beginning to regain her common sense as well. For now, she let him rant on and she listened coolly, trying to take everything in with an objective outlook. The more he went on, the stronger she clung to her life and reality, shaking off the burst of emotion she'd felt before as she saw this for what it was: bullshit. Sure, okay, so Xander was real and he probably had these people after him, but the little flourishes he added like special powers and secret conspiracies; it was all too fanciful. It DID taste a lot like an action movie and any minute now in his story she expected a recount of a car chase or a bomb going off and them escaping in the nick of time.

And the way Alex talked it only seemed to further the fantasy they were locked in; he was lost to whatever it was they were involved in, wrapped up in that world where they fought an evil, secret agency of some kind. And then the last bit, Xander's voice changed to what could almost be described as a reassuring tone. Of course! HE was going to be her hero. AND he wanted her coffee. She rolled her eyes. The fact remained, none of his story was provable fact. She had not seen him use any superpowers, she had not seen him attack anyone and the only hint that all of this might be half true were the few people wearing sunglasses wandering around who didn't seem to belong. Nobody had threatened her. Nobody had attacked them while she'd been around. All he'd done was messed with her head and taken her for an emotional rollercoaster ride. Well, the ride was over and she wanted to get off.

Glancing at the cup, she picked it up out of his reach, seemingly regaining interest in the drink and took a tiny straw and stirred it idly while she spoke. "Wow, this is quite a story," she said seemingly to herself. "And I cannot believe I almost fell for it. Listen, I don't need your help because no one is after me. They're after you because you're the freak. Me? I'm stuck in reality with everyone else."

Smoothly, she scooted her chair back a little. "Alex, you seem like a nice guy and everything and it's been a fun and...interesting morning, but I gotta stop playing pretend now." Standing from her chair she adjusted the strap of her purse and sighed, giving him a gentle look. "I'm going to go home, probably check in to the hospital to see what's wrong with my head and then get a new laptop and finish writing my book. Hopefully some day you'll read it and think of me. If you're ever free of this...thing, just call me and we'll hook up. I'm in the phone book." Handing the cup to him she started to walk away, giving him a polite smile over her shoulder. "Thanks for the coffee." And then she was heading for the doors struggling with the urge to not look back a second time.


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:50 am

I guess this means she's not buying me coffee.

"Gwen - wait!" Stop playing with the fucking cup! Stand up, you son of a bitch! "Gwen, hold on for a second!"

This put things into perspective. No, she wasn't leaving him. She was ditching Xander. He and his crazy story - what the fuck was that about? - had scared her off, and now she, repulsed out of her mind, was trying to run out the door.

Everybody panics, Xander said. Nobody listens to me until it's too late.

"You didn't have to spread that crap about 'magic powers'," he spat, struggling to get up. Xander had all his attention on his knees, determined to stay where he was. "What are you doing? She's going outside - there's Agents out there!"

It's fine. There's no one after her, remember?

No. Enough of this. Alex had fucking had it with this asshole and he wasn't taking his half-answers or any of the other shit anymore.

"Get up," he roared. "Get up and go outside before I stab you in the throat!"

That got the guy's attention - and everyone else's in the shop. All of their eyes were on him, but for the first time, he didn't care. So get up, you selfish bastard. He wasn't doing this.

Y'know, technically, she called you a freak, too.

She had the right! It was justified! After everything that'd happened today - was still happening - he was surprised he'd gotten off so lightly. His determination to catch her didn't fade. If anything, he fought harder. At last, his efforts were rewarded. Whether he'd run out of strength or simply gave in, Xander released his knees, let him stand, then run to the door to grab onto her.

At least, he would've grabbed onto her. Xander wasn't done yet.

My mistake. There's four. Outside. He was running outside. I'll change that.

Not here! Xander - what the hell?! Not here!

He might as well have been in a different country. Far too eager, Xander pushed past Gwen, kicked open the doors and latched onto the first Agent he saw by its throat. He dragged the squirming fool over and forced its head to turn, building up his gaze of death beyond its boiling point. There was no frothing this time. The Agent just... dropped. Its dead weight pulled the body to the ground, which Xander was happy to let go of, especially since another Agent, one that'd been closer to the corner of the building and neatly out of sight, decided to draw his gun.

The sunglasses they wore were only useful in throwing off immediate and direct eye contact. So long as Alex saw pupils, he could pick someone off at any distance. He didn't. He thought it was the greatest act of evil he could've possibly been able to perform. Xander, on the other hand, called it a pointless drawback, one that meant he had to put in the extra effort to leap over. And he did - leap, that is. He jumped over the first body and stormed the second, pulling his fist back and throwing it into the new target. It was more than enough to knock the glasses off and it did enough damage on its own, but Xander's fights weren't over until someone stopped breathing, so he got in the second Agent's face and fried his mind, too.

And now he had a gun.

"You don't move," Xander told the third, who'd been trying to hide behind the second until that failed and had taken too long to run. In his sights, at his mercy, this one had no choice but to stay put, and Xander made extra sure he wouldn't try anything by grabbing him by the throat as well.

"There's four," Alex hysterically reminded.

Across the street and speeding over to join the fight came the last and the largest of the four roaming Agents. He'd've been better off trying to get help, because Xander raised his new toy arm, pulled some crazy half-second aim, fired, then quaintly noted, "No there isn't."

In public. In a public place. In front of a coffee shop, in front of a whole bunch of people, in front of an intersection for fuck's sake -

"Who are you?"

It was the third Agent who'd asked, the one Xander had kept alive. The reply that the man received was a very feral and bloodthirsty grin. Alex knew exactly what it looked like and it meant this Agent was braver than most because he didn't immediately break down and beg for his life at the sight of it.

"You don't know me? You must be on a different case," Xander said. "After Gwen."

"I don't know what you're talking about!"

"I believe you," Xander said, sickly sweet. "It's - just... I've got this crazy voice in my head who's a little on the paranoid side. I've gotta make sure he believes you, too. You understand."

If Alex had control of his stomach, it'd be flipping by now. He didn't like this. He hated when Xander worked, but especially now, he felt nauseous.

"We have to get out of here," Alex said. "It's not even a question of 'did somebody see us'. Everyone saw this. And Gwen -"

"Right, her. Well, she wanted proof," Xander answered. Shouting over his shoulder, not bothering to check if she was still at the door where he'd left her - had they been in each other's shoes, Alex would've booked it by now - and already beginning to drag the third Agent across the street, he told her, "Hey, princess, sorry about the trauma, but if you're seriously looking for some evidence, this'll be the guy to talk to."

She can come if she wants. I don't care.

"Where are you taking him?" He was headed back in the direction they came. Oh God - what if someone called the cops? They had to have done that already. "Are you going back to the alley?"


"Gwen," Alex yelled, turning as best he could despite his roommate's insistence that they kept their - his - body facing ahead. "It's okay! He's fine - he's under control!"

If she was still there, she was insane. But if she was still there, she'd be safe. It was a risky deal, but he hoped she'd go through with it. And not be permanently scarred by his powers' handiwork.

Dammit, Xander. Whatever else happened, he better at least make this worth it.

Trust me.

And as much as every twist of logic in Alex's brain said otherwise, experience plainly stated that trusting him was a good idea. But it wasn't like he had the luxury of choosing.

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:27 am

Walking to the door, she chided herself mercilessly about how stupid she'd been, hearing Alex call to her and feeling the distant goosebumps that signaled Xander's occasional internal dialogue. No! Just stop thinking like that! It's over as soon as you walk through those doors and you never have to see his crazy ass again! The front doors to Roasters seemed to shine in the morning light coming through them and she approached them with a steady walk, her head held high moving as if magnetized. Still, there was the buried hope that he might call her someday when he was mentally stable. It might be nice to get to know HIM without the stories and the glamor of Xander haunting his brain.

She was almost there, holding her breath as she let her hand drift from her side and reach out, a foot separating her from the metal and glass of freedom. A sharp intake of breath broke her concentration as Alex - no, Xander - was moving swiftly past her, slamming through the doors foot first like an action hero ready to break necks and kick ass. Her blue eyes opened wide and she frowned as she stepped forward to follow him wondering what the hell he was doing. She didn't get very far, her curved, slender form obscuring the doorway as she stood cemented in place gaping at the scene playing out before her.

Xander, whom she could identify by the way he moved, like a brazen wraith shot up to one of the men she saw from the window and grabbed him by the neck, the cords of muscle in his forearm standing out as he lifted the poor guy right off the ground. And then she felt it again, that wave of vertigo almost like she could feel it coming, rising like a tsunami and barreling down upon her. The shock of the impact of power however was not like before. Physically, it felt like she really was rooted in place and got hit by a wave crashing upon the beach, instantly submerged in "liquid", the air surrounding her body thickening.

Everything seemed to slow down, even her, and she felt like movement was done in a vat of molasses. All except for Xander who seemed to be moving like a fast-forwarded film. The body of the man he killed - and she knew he was dead; she could feel it like a light inside her head had gone out - fell from his grip like a feather drifting through the air down to the ground, taking forever for gravity to drag him down. But the instant he'd let go, Xander was moving past the corpse, his attention diverted elsewhere and like a rocket blur he was near the corner of the building engaging another who had drawn a weapon.

Even as she watched this happen Gwen felt herself become aware of things going on around her that she'd never noticed before but had always been there whispering deep inside her. An Asian woman in suit pants and with a laptop case over her shoulder had just left the small bookstore next to Roasters a few seconds before Xander had burst through the doors. She was talking on her cellphone to a colleague about a business project they were working on together and had instantly turned to see the wild man striding out of the coffee shop like Death himself. As Xander had grabbed the first Agent, Miranda Tam's eyes had widened and as the dead man had fallen she'd felt the urge to scream. But no sound had come out, her throat seeming to constrict against her will and Gwen felt her own throat spasm and close up, almost like she WAS Miranda Tam standing there, just behind herself watching the events unfold from the other woman's eyes.

Simultaneously, she felt others around her as well and knew things about them - a large man who'd been crossing the street when this all started happening stopped in his tracks to stare, already wheezing in fright as the fight or flight response kicked in; a college boy was on another street, talking to a girl he liked as they lounged in front of a pizza place and he turned to see the man with the gun as the girl pointed, her scream piercing the air as she saw the first Agent fall; and a man who was parked on the curb across the street on the other side had his back turned and was completely oblivious to the chaos happening just behind him, ready to go home to his boring and unsatisfactory wife after he'd just been out with the woman he'd been having an affair with.

As the second man died, Gwen felt the energy coursing from Xander hit her like the first and it seemed to "pop" the bubble she'd been stuck in, releasing her unevenly. Stepping forward out of the doorway of the coffee shop at normal speed she continued to watch Xander in amazement, the feel of the gun in his hand mirrored in her own as if she were actually holding it. The teenage girl across the street screamed again when the gun went off and the fourth Agent fell to the asphalt with a heavy thump.

Even though the "liquid" was gone, the sensory input remained on a lower scale. She knew in the back of her mind that Miranda Tam had hung up on her friend and was dialing the police; the portly man had turned to run back the way he'd come and barely made it to the corner before he started feeling chest pains. He thought he was going to die; the teenage boy had his cellphone out and was taping Xander nervously, trying not to be noticed, shushing his terrified girlfriend as she sobbingly pleaded with him to leave with her - this was the most scared she'd been in her 18 years of life; and the man who was having an affair...had driven off still unaware of the drama he'd left behind and slowly faded from her consciousness. After the gunfire, several people in the coffee shop, bookstore and other buildings surrounding the intersection had moved to either stand at the windows of the shops looking out or had actually trepidly exited the buildings to see what was going on.

And she was peripherally aware of them all in a distant way... in a familiar way. Something she'd always felt but hadn't noticed until now. God... what was happening to her? And then her eyes widened as she realized Xander had been right even as she heard him shout to her over his shoulder, dragging his new captive along - the guy couldn't breathe and he was likely going to pee himself - and Alex calling back to her like a man riding a bucking Tyrannosaurus Rex. And not just about the superpowers, but about the Agents as well. They were a bit harder to discern from regular people but from the emotional feedback, she knew they'd been surprised to see Xander.

Casting a quick glance around, she took in a deep breath and quickly followed after him having to wait to cross the street as a car drove by. When she finally got on the sidewalk where they'd walked together, she saw further down Alex/Xander had already made it to the alley and she broke into a run going as quick as her flat heels would allow. Breathing heavily when she finally reached it, she had not thought to question what she was doing up to this point. All she knew was that he was right and she'd be crazy to leave his side. And there was the added bonus that he promised her answers now and after what had just happened to her - an old lady in an apartment next door to the alley was setting out milk for a stray cat she was fond of because she was feeling especially lonely this morning waking up in an empty bed after her husband of 45 years had died a few... - she NEEDED them.


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:51 am

"Okay, buddy. Stay alive a little longer." Easier said than done, the way the Agent was being treated. Xander was still dragging him, and by the time he'd reached the alley, the bottom of the man's pants were nearly shredded. It looked like he wasn't in any hurry to start walking or make getting to his interrogation room plus eventual grave a simple job, but because they were here now and no one else had shown up to save him, the Agent probably would've at least grabbed some brownie points if he'd played along. "Let's see what makes you tick."

Gwen was running up to them. He couldn't believe how overwhelmed she looked when she appeared. She wasn't being chased, so why -

Oh. Sometimes people panicked when there were dead guys lying around. So that, yes, but she almost seemed desperate not to be left behind now. He wouldn't do that to her. Chasing after him meant he had her trust and it was something he had no intention of abusing.

I like him, Xander said, bringing Alex's attention back to the Agent that'd been thrown against the dumpster. He seems to know he's fucked.

"Just don't go overboard. Gwen's here."

An alley was still a public place. Fortunately, at least, the current audience was limited to just her. So long as no one else came bursting in at the last second - he was praying the cops hadn't been called or that they'd take half a year to get here because Xander's list didn't need to be any longer - this would be a private affair. He tried giving her a friendly smile but it came out weak. Then he felt a wild and cocky grin spread across his face, knew it was time for that 'talk', and felt his head turn back towards the guy at his feet.

"I don't have rope," Xander said, "so it's 'you stay put' or 'I break your legs'."

"Fuck you -"

"That was not one of the options I gave you," he replied. "That's okay! I may need you to walk later or something. For now, let's keep your jaw in one piece." To Gwen, graciously, with more confidence and ease than anyone should've held claim to in a moment like this, he added, "Don't freak out. These guys don't have any powers and they suck. If you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded or whatever, let me know."

The concern in his voice was borderline noble, but he smashed that to shit as he smirked at the Agent again.

"Hey. You okay?" The Agent's lip curled into a snarl. "Good. I was worried. So how about we start with someone simple: do you know who I am?"

"Psychotic," the Agent spat.

"That's a 'no' and I'm insulted," Xander said. "I should be common knowledge by now. What the hell were you doing wearing sunglasses then?"

"They're standard issue."

"Well - that's bullshit. You were wearing 'em 'cause they made you look badass, right?" Xander waited until the man reluctantly bobbed his head. "I see, I see. That's fine - I'd do the same thing. So - uh... Do you know who she is?" He gestured to Gwen.

"No. I don't know who any of you are," the Agent said. "I'm just some kid you attacked -"

Xander cut him off. Alex almost did, too. Agents, when they were undercover, tried dressing down into more civilian-y clothes, but they kept certain things - like the sunglasses and the pissed off attitude - on at all times so they could recognize each other and apparently stand way the hell out anyway. He might not've been able to see the guy as a threat at first glance, but looming over him like this, Alex knew for a fact this was not some random guy on the street.

"Do you know her?" Xander rolled his eyes. "I killed your friends in - like - two seconds. You really think it's a good idea to 'resist'?" Quotation, quotation. He'd done the finger quotes.

For a few seconds too long, the Agent kept his mouth shut. It took a gentle nudge of his foot to the guy's hand, followed by a not-so-gentle nudge on his arm, then the threat of a swift kick to the side of his head to convince him his life was worth more than the answer to a question everyone already knew.

"I know of her."

Exactly what Xander wanted to hear.

"This is weird," he said. "This is really, really weird. I'm so used to being the center of attention and everyone having a profile on me that - this? You hunting her? I think I'm jealous. You actually don't know who I am? Actually?"

"... I've heard of you, too," the Agent admittedly, obviously hating himself for giving up the answer. "You're supposed to be the bogeyman, not real."

That was also exactly what Xander wanted.

"This is so awesome. I might have to keep you alive. Or at least not shoot you in the face."

"Yeah - about that!" Alex was annoyed yet another secret had 'mysteriously' been revealed. "When the hell did you learn how to use a gun?"

Uh... since always?

"I've never even touched one, but suddenly you're a sniper?"

Point, shoot, it's standard stuff. So - in the past six years I've been telling you 'we should get a gun', 'we should probably get a gun', 'I know we're like a gun but we should get a gun anyway', you thought... what?

"I thought you wanted to play with it," Alex said. "I didn't know you could shoot someone's head off from across the street."

"That was impressive. Wasn't that impressive?" He made the Agent agree. "Okay. So that's step one. Gwen, he's here for you. Surprise." A thought came to him. "Are they gonna do the transfer if they get her? Do they have someone picked out to take over her?"

"I wouldn't know." Xander's fist was raised. "I wouldn't know because I haven't met anyone like that yet! They might've - sure, but they don't tell us anything until we need to know."

"But we need to know," he said. "Gwen - she needs to know. How about explaining a few things to her?" With that semi-noble face again, he welcomed her closer to the Agent and asked, "Anything you wanna ask? Maybe why they're trying to steal you?"

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:53 pm

Being with Alex again had a strange effect on her now, especially after she'd decided he was a big fake and had already been planning what she was going to do once she left him. Well all her reasoning and suspicions seemed so foolish and inconsequential in light of watching 3 people die at his hand - or mind, rather - in less than 5 minutes. And it all was compounded by the fact that she could feel almost everything from the two of them - Xander and the man he held. Catching her breath she followed them into the alley, glancing back to check on the chaos they'd left behind. Nobody seemed to be coming in this direction and she knew the police were not here yet but were rushing to the scene.

And then Gwen had to stop herself from gasping when the tingling on her skin was accompanied by words. It wasn't like hearing him audibly but she was aware of what Xander was saying...inside. Turning back into the alley slowly, she caught his haughty smile and quirked an eyebrow at him. Then he began to deal with his knew captive and she stood trying to control her breathing and the new emotional awareness of everyone around them within a mile.

Even so, she nodded when he addressed her about telling him if she was feeling dizzy. She wasn't feeling dizzy per se, but it was very noisy around here. Concentrating on the men before her as the interrogation began, she felt something strange when regarding the "Agent". She couldn't "hear" anything and that either meant nothing was going on in his head - which she doubted - or it was being blocked somehow. What she could feel of his emotions seemed clouded. It wasn't a normal signature like what was on the walls around them or the dumpster - he was an empty space that occasionally felt things. Which was odd because he looked like a normal person and under any other circumstances, Gwen would be going off on Xander for attacking a civilian and bringing him into his super-powered-psycho drama. But after feeling just about everyone else she'd been in contact with the past several minutes, she could not ignore the absence of anything from him. And she could tell his denial was a lie.

Mentally stretching forth, she tried to press into him to get a hint of something but it was like sticking her hand through a hole in a wall and trying to feel the hole itself. She started to step forward to see if getting closer would help - maybe if I touch him - but Xander was in the part of his questioning that involved physically getting the guy to comply. Blinking away her piercing gaze, she stepped back and allowed him to work for now.

Having seen things happen before her very own eyes, she found herself believing the things that were being said and a calm descended upon her even as she felt Xander speaking inside again, his words drifting to her consciousness like an echo in a long tunnel. There was a certain satisfaction in being able to hear the other side of their conversations. And suddenly she found herself included in the interrogation, it having been established that they were after her for some reason. For a split second, she paused, looking from Xander to the Agent before stepping forward. More than anything she wanted to know why this was happening to her, but the more pressing question was the one Xander had posed: Why were they after her?

Not only was it important to know because of her personal safety but she was also curious and baffled. Sure or whatever one would call it, was valuable but was it really worth the trouble of sending so many people after her? Unless they wanted her for something. Staring into the man's eyes she tried again to feel what he was thinking but still felt that emptiness staring back at her.

With a sigh, she turned her head to look at Xander and said "The cops are on their way and will arrive from the northern street of that intersection. We've got less than 10 minutes." A smug smile tugged at her lips then having been let in on Xander's internal words and her tone was slightly teasing hinting at what she had heard. "But I'm sure you could handle them now that you finally have your gun."

Looking back at the Agent she frowned at him and asked, "What do you want with me? Once you have me what exactly were your orders at that point?" And then her voice grew irritated as she reached forward to grasp his head in both of her hands. "And why the fuck aren't you thinking anything? Why is your head empty?"

The physical contact did not change anything and her sky blue gaze searched his face for some hint of an internal dialogue. Nothing, and it creeped her the fuck out. It was all still fairly new to her but it was like it was something she'd always felt the presence of tucked away deep inside. And here was someone who was hollow; with all the internal noise still going on around her, this one smudge on her radar unsettled her. With a disgusted sigh, she let go of him and stepped back not wanting to touch him anymore.


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:50 am

The Agent was perfectly blank. He'd snapped from cornered and frustrated to emotionless the second Xander suggested he begin explaining things. Whatever it was he was hiding, it was pretty obvious he'd come prepared. He knew how to counter... whatever it was Gwen could do.

So she did have powers. Somehow. And Xander had known? He wasn't sure how he felt about that. He trusted her, of course, but he'd trusted Peter, too...

"I believe the lady asked you a question, kind sir," Xander said, twirling the gun on his finger. "Care to share?"

"I don't have the information you request."

Like a robot, Alex shuddered. Like a dead-eyed, soulless robot.

Xander, who'd stepped back enough to let Gwen do whatever she'd just done, came forward and knelt by the Agent's side. The man didn't flinch. He keep his face as bland as ever, until he was poked in the nose by the gun's barrel. That broke his concentration for an instant, but he immediately returned to stone.

"Ten minutes," Xander muttered, thoughtfully. "I can work with that."

"It's for the same reason we wanted you," the Agent blurted out. So much for 'cold and empty', although his eyes still seemed glassy. "We're only here to locate the host."

"For what?"

The Agent looked annoyed that he had to repeat himself. With a voice that wavered at the start of his next sentence, he replied, "I don't have -"

"It's a super-soldier program," Xander said, coolly. "Just like in the movies."

"This isn't a movie. And it's not a game," the Agent said. "This is -"

"They think you guys can't control your powers, so they're out to stick someone in your body who can." Xander kept twirling the gun around. "They'll grab you, hook you up, suck you out, and then in pops whoever they guess is good enough to handle it."

"Stop talking like you know what's going on," the Agent snapped. "You're the failed experiment."

"And you, along with the rest of your posse, need to accept that I'm too awesome to get back," Xander said. "Seriously - I've been killing colleagues left and right for forever. Weir? Mike Weir? Found him lurkin' around an hour ago. That's him, by the way." He gestured to the body that'd had the courtesy of falling and neatly hiding in a mound of garbage bags. "Crazy guy. I swear he tried biting me."

"He's another failure," the Agent said. "He couldn't cut it as a candidate. I'm glad he's dead. It saves us from having to hunt him down."

"Wow. See - it's that kind of cut-throatedness that makes me happy to be out'f your circle-jerk," Xander said. "I want... Wait - hold on." Then he put a hand over his mouth, just as Alex exploded.

This. Was. Not. Happening.

It didn't matter whether Xander could read his thoughts; the message was as loud and fucking clear as if it'd been written in the sky with explosions.


"'Relax'?" Alex was screeching into his palm, hyperventilating and horrifically aware there wasn't anywhere to run. "You're an Agent? You're one of them?"

I'm not an Agent. The Agents were established after I... y'know... escaped. I'm stolen property, he said, almost singing with pride.

"You're an Agent?!"

Really though? I mean - you never even guessed? I have the coolest moves, I kick the most ass, I know almost everything about the way these guys work...

For six years, Alex had trusted him to lead them to safety.

Oh, come on. You're exaggerating.

"Is this a bad time?" The Agent sneered. "I can come back later."

Xander slapped the gun into the side of the Agent's face. Then, politely, he replied, Obviously I'm on your side. You heard the guy. I was put in you -

"'Put in me' - you were 'put in me'?"

You're not paying attention at all. Let's start again: the Agents think you can't control your powers -

Oh God. Oh God, this was Peter on steroids and with full control over his body.

Funny thing about Peter: he was sent after us 'cause I ran off, and I ran off because the transfer didn't completely work. They got him right, though. He was an Agent from the beginning, Xander said. Fully uploaded, or whatever you wanna call it. I thought he knew how to get me out of here. Or get rid of you, at least.

This was not the first time he'd been told Xander wanted Alex out. This was, however, the first time the words had thoroughly terrified him to the core.

"Seriously," the Agent spat, recovered from the shock of the blow, "I can come back."

Xander punched the guy. This time, the Agent's lip split open. Alex barely noticed.

"How was he supposed to get rid of me? How was he supposed to help you?" He was still talking into his palm. Alex yanked it off his mouth. "No fucking wonder you two were friends. You were plotting against me -"

Oh, wow, really? I was up to no good - me? What a shocker. Completely out of character. Xander rolled his eyes. I killed him, didn't I? Turns out there's no second shot at this thing. If it doesn't work, you've gotta restart with an empty slate, which basically means they'd be sucking me out, too. As I'm sure you've noticed, I don't want to die.

He wanted Xander out. He wanted Xander out now. Right now. Right this second.

"The cops are coming," Alex said. He stood up. "I'm going. Gwen? You should start packing."

Methinks you might be angry.

He was furious.

"For as long as you think you can trust him," Alex said, "you might want to tag along. And you, Xander, are staying out this from now on."

...O... kay?

Son of a bitch. All this time... On the run together, maybe, but he must've been driving himself crazy trying to think of a way to get rid of Alex. Those had never been empty, asshole-ish threats. Those had been serious promises made by a very capable person and...

"Let's go."

You're gonna leave the -

"Shut up," Alex said. "Let's go."

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:37 am

The emptiness in the Agent's tone when he answered just made Gwen want to scream. Coupled with the fact that she couldn't feel anything from him, no thoughts and no emotion, it frustrated her beyond belief. Her life had just been altered drastically by the appearance of this man to the point where she now had people looking for her and she no longer felt safe or even sane anymore. She wanted to know the truth, she deserved to know. And this guy wasn't giving the answers up easily nor allowing her access to his brain so she could possibly find them on her own.

But when the answers did come...they didn't originate with him. Xander stepped forward and helped encourage the man loosen his tongue, and he mentioned a host - was he referring to her? - but then the guy ran out of cooperation and Xander was the one spouting the rest of the plan. At first it didn't seem abnormal to her that Xander knew about their plans; it made sense if they'd been hunted for a while for him to have some concept of why. When the Agent mentioned he was a "failed experiment" however, her eyes narrowed at the other who occupied Alex's body. If they were talking about implanting Agents into people's bodies to control their powers did that mean Xander was...

Alex apparently was quicker than her at figuring it out because abruptly they were locked back inside with an internal argument. And she could hear everything. From the emotions emanating off of Alex she knew why he was upset, especially in relation to the story they'd told about their old "friend" Peter. But still his panic and anger made her wonder if it would be safe for her to stay with him. They were being hunted by these men and Alex had an ex-Agent in his head. Thinking of her options however, she didn't really have a choice. Alex and Xander had information and right now, that was the most valuable thing to her survival.

Gwen flinched when they were interrupted by the Agent and Xander forcibly shut him up, and she rubbed her arms in uncertainty as they continued on after that. This wasn't like the semi-playful arguments they'd had before. Alex was finding out new and possible lethal information about the man who shared his head and body and it was an all out battle between them. Gwen wondered who would come out as the victor but instinctively knew that Alex being the original owner of the body would come out on top. Still the doubt had been there, so when he finally got Xander to shut up, she breathed a sigh of relief.

A burst of warm energy pulsed through her when Alex turned to her and in an authoritative voice told her they were leaving now. It was different than any way she'd seen him behave before, taking complete control over the situation and his body and her eyes were bright as she looked up into his face. She wasn't sure what to say about their argument - there was still a lot she didn't know about them both - so instead she followed him saying, "The police cars are about three - no, two now - blocks away," just before the distant wail of sirens could be heard. Now that Alex was the one taking charge, she felt even more magnetized to him than before, and it wasn't just the safety and information he provided. The only doubt she had in him now was whether it was a good idea to leave the Agent alive.


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:02 am

What was with it with these people and their food?

Scratch that. What was with it with these people and their food and their offering of it to him and their not actually handing it over but then letting him watch them eat while he was tied up? Frenchie'd been pacing around with a plate of bacon for damn near ten minutes. Jason was starving and he'd been promised something to eat twice. Nothing. And this interrogation - another thing he was being treated to for the second time today - wasn't helping. He hated everyone on the Alexander case, especially this jackass. Pompous prick wouldn't undo the restraints because it was his fault for 'losing'.

"And he took the mask?"

'And-di took ze mask?'

"Yes," Jason said. "He had it on his person as he left. I can't confirm whether he still has it."

"He has it." ''e 'a-zit'.' "He has never turned down a chance to examine our tools." ''e 'as nev-veur turned dawn a shance -' Jesus Christ. Jason didn't know if the accent was legit or something he'd cooked up for the hell of it, but it was pissing him off. "Did you tell him what it was?"

"He implied he felt it was something for use against him."

"It is. Everything the Agency has always is. I made sure of it," Frenchie said. "If we cannot keep track of him, we must assume he is lurking in the shadows. As I see, you have forgotten this golden rule."

"I assumed," Jason replied, "that the technology of the suit -"

"He had a hand in its design. He field-tested the product for years before and after its release. You are a fool for thinking it would confuse him." Frenchie fit all the stereotypes. He took a break in the middle of his quiet rant to smoke his little cigarette. Jason had coughed loudly several times when he'd pulled it out, but that only seemed to amuse him because he'd been smoking ever since. "It goes without saying, but you have failed to prove yourself as worthy of this job."

"It was one mistake." What an asshole. "If you'd untie me, I'd be happy to go out there -"

"To bring him back? No. You would die. Frankly," Frenchie said, putting down his freshly emptied plate, "I am surprised he did not kill you already."

"Well, maybe he had a good nap," Jason said. "I'll ask him after you untie me."

Frenchie, or 'Benoit', went back to pacing like he, once again, hadn't heard. Jason grit his teeth. This man thought he was fantastic. A million recommendations, a billion recaptures under his belt, but he couldn't be so great if he'd failed forever at reclaiming what the Agency called 'stolen property'. Jason found that pretty embarrassing, and he'd sure as hell would've gotten off his high cheval if, despite the spies and assassins and prisoners and experiments he'd killed/slaughtered/broken/recovered, one tiny ex-Agent - floating in the brain of some kid, no less - had eluded him for years. But Frenchie refused to see it that way. According to him, this proved how amazing he was, because even if he hadn't caught the property, he'd encountered it at least six times and he was the only who hadn't immediately died upon doing so. Jason wasn't surprised. Frenchie was French. He probably booked it the second he gotten a glance of Alexander.

He knew it was stupid, but the name managed to get a shiver down his spine anyway.

Alexander was the famous case. He was the one every Agent studied and was warned about. Told to fear, actually, but so excessively that he and everyone else had assumed it was some urban legend to keep everyone on their toes. They'd been wrong. And they hadn't known about the powers. The Agency had explained that Alexander had a knack for killing good men and women effortlessly and without leaving a scratch on them. Okay, so it was a metaphor for him being really good, he'd rationally deduced. But magic powers? It'd never crossed his mind. Even if that sort of person was precisely what he was supposed to be dealing with, if he hadn't been blasted with the seizure-ray, he would never have believed it. The girl whose apartment he was supposed to have gotten into had powers, too. Normally, he'd finish off that thought with a snarky 'so they said', but after this...

"You are not ready for this assignment."

"My target's inactive." Supposedly. His intel had also said this was the right room. He was gonna kill whoever fed him this garbage. Gary, you dick. "I think I can handle it."

"You say," Frenchie said. "I am not convinced."

"Because I couldn't take on Alexander?"

"No one can do that. You, however, reek of inexperience. You should not be alive," he said again. "That Alexander would leave you here..."

"He said he had a date," Jason grunted, flexing against the ropes around him. If Benoit wasn't gonna untie him, he'd get out of it himself. "Maybe it was with my girl."

"A union," Frenchie murmured. Not once had his voice gone above a smug whisper. "A merging of two cases: one new, inactive, ignorant of the power she possesses and the danger she will impose, and the other a veteran of society and our weaknesses. And, of course, a master of his ability." He nodded. "This could fare well for us, if it is as you say. She may render him vulnerable." His lip immediately curled. "I mean, of course, his host. Alexander - the true, the new, the intended Alexander - does not give in to such primitive shortcomings."

"I don't know which one I was talking to, but he sounded pretty primitive to me."

"You will hold your tongue, boy." 'Boy', like Benoit so much older. "Alexander is an avatar of all that strength inspires." His lip curled again. This time, a cloud of smoke rolled out. "I do not expect you to understand. The extent of your hunt for this 'inactive' requires only a name and a two-minute search. You cannot appreciate the sweat and the tears I have put into this. No one can."

Wow. That was a man-crush if he'd ever heard one.

"I'm glad you think we've got such a prized-pony on our hands," Jason said. "I'm sure our lead Agent would love to hear it, too."

"Your 'lead Agent' manages a case that could be run by children. There is no pride in such a victory, only an unbearable shame in defeat." And, like that, Benoit gave him another twitch of his eyebrow, one that clearly said, 'And yeah, that means you, you pathetic sack of shit.'

Benoit wasn't old. Pushing forty, maybe a year or two beyond that, but he was still young and spry and as dickish as they came. He'd gelled his black hair until it'd been pasted to his skull, and he walked around - even in the night - with his stupid shades. The fact that they had a night-vision feature barely made up for it. And he had a long coat on, a black one that made him stick out like a sore thumb. He and his flunky - some guy who was even more insane, tall and French - were the head, and the remaining, Agents in the case for bringing Alexander in. Jason didn't know a thing beyond that. Cases were kept very close to the chests of the involved group. It was why Benoit hadn't asked about the woman he was chasing; he knew he wouldn't get an answer. That, and he didn't care. If it wasn't Alex, it wasn't worth talking about.

As for himself, Jason was at a solid twenty-six. He had black hair too, but it was curly and cut short. He had an oval face and dark eyebrows, while the rest of him was soft and boyish. Except for his abs. And his arms. And his legs. And everything else. He'd been a fat kid growing up, so he'd really thrown himself into the training regiment the Agency required. Alexander was no bag of dough and there'd been an incredible force - far more than he'd been expecting - in that hand around his throat, but when it came down to it, Jason was going back bragging about how much more ripped he was than the 'almighty Agent assassin'. It was a close competition, fine, but he still won. Suck on that, Alex.

"Benoit." The flunky was back. He shoved in and crushed through the debris on the floor like the truck that he was. The debris was a question he hadn't gotten an answer for, by the way. Even though he'd asked and even though Frenchie obviously knew what had happened, he wasn't sharing. "More reports."

This man was in love with his 'r's. It took five full seconds for him to move onto the other letters.

"Alexander is still around," Benoit said. "And he has been busy."

"He must've been picking off our Agents," Jason said. "There's no one left on your team."

"The Agency prefers to employ those who are weak and spineless in its present day. I cannot use them on my team," Frenchie told him, sounding bitter. "Men like myself and the intended Alexander are but a thing of the past."


"I will wait outside." So Flunky started to leave, almost hitting his seven-foot-high head on the way out. All muscle and no grace, exactly the opposite of Le Leader here, though Jason wasn't about to tangle with him anytime soon, either.

"Inform me of when their lead Agent arrives," Frenchie told his friend before he disappeared into the hall. "We will need to share certain facts if our targets have indeed encountered each other."

'Ee chuz-zer'.

"Final orders, sir?"

Benoit puffed on his cigarette, mulling the question over. Finally, he replied, "Tell the lead not to untie this man. Let him sit and reflect upon his mistake."

"I got the wrong apartment number," Jason snapped. "It wasn't my fault. And it helped you out, right? I flushed him out."

"And now he will run," Frenchie said. "Jean? Also ask the lead if this man is disposable. I may choose to use him as a bait for Alexander. It is the least he can do."

Asshole. Asshole.

But he was right about one thing: his boss was gonna kill him.

Damn, he was hungry.

Last edited by Tartra on Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:54 am

Stephanie was a walking mask; a contradiction of sorts. Everything about her from the physical to the emotional existed in painstakingly crafted layers and the outermost thickest shell was purely artificial in design, the deeper more complex parts of her personality hinted at and never seen. Standing tall at almost 6 feet in her high heeled pumps, her posture was straight as a Marine's, every line and curve of her lithe, willowy form was severe and with an edge to it. The business suits and pants she wore helped disguise her graceful figure bringing a more masculine grace to her feminine physique, broadening her shoulders and dulling her curves. But the clothing did not hide the athletic body underneath them, her every step graceful and measured with violent threat.

Her skin and hair melded together with light golden color, her shoulder-length, straight blonde hair tied back in a conservative ponytail at the nape of her neck, and pulled tight to keep stray hairs out of her sharply angled face. Although her skin was fair and her makeup kept light, there was something dark and morbid about her appearance, splashed with a bronze shadow that mimicked the sun's rays and made her disappear from sight most of the time. And emotion did not exist on her deathly beautiful features in any degree, despite the anger that boiled deep within her now.

Walking up the stairs of the apartment building, she idly touched the walls, her skeletal fingers and long nails lightly scratching at the stucco. She knew this place like the back of her hand but had never been here. Finally entering was like walking into a dream. The mood was only dampened by the fact that her reason for being here, for even knowing this place so well, was no longer here and would not likely be coming back. That firey intensity pulsed through her veins and made her internally grit her teeth to think of what she'd lost, but there wasn't a flicker of change on her serene face, her eyes clear and her dark colored lips set in an expression that hinted at a smile but was more neutral than anything. It was a severely practiced expression and the tight reign she kept on her emotions had one purpose. Gwendolyn Stewart. Stephanie's case.

For years she'd been following the woman but they'd never met or seen each other face to face. Even so, Stephanie felt like she knew the woman almost as well as she knew herself and even though they were inactive, she knew about Gwen's powers. In that time she'd prepared herself vigorously for an occasion such as this although she'd never believed it would happen and despite the slight thrill attached to the chase, she was more than disappointed that things hadn't gone as planned. Someone had fucked up and it had been the man on her team. It should have been an easy assignment to grab someone so powerless still and return her to base for the transfer; it was almost laughable at how pathetic this failure was. Needless to say, Stephanie was not laughing and wouldn't be even if the time and mood were right.

Arriving at the right floor, she breathed in deeply, the sound of air filling her lungs almost as imperceptible as the movement of her chest rising and falling to perform the action. This was her floor. There was her room. But what caught her attention first was the man standing outside the neighboring apartment, waiting. Someone much like herself. Recognition was a quick flicker in her dark green eyes and nothing more as she walked placidly forward, surveying her surroundings methodically and without error. Everything was exactly as she expected it to be...except for the missing woman of course.

Arriving to stand in front of the other, she regarded him coldly, with the same examination of a robot scanning him over. "Where is he?" she asked in a bland monotone. Even her voice was devoid of any emotion almost as if she were bored or uninterested in the response. Despite this, there was an undercurrent in it that hinted at the rage filling her and the violence brimming beneath the surface. The absolute absence of any emotion on her own face was not mirrored in his and the procerus and levator muscles in his face twitched towards the door behind him, telling her all she needed to know.

Striding past him without another word she entered the room with a stolid grace, an aura of death clinging to her every movement. Coming upon Jason in his chair, still bound tightly, her green eyes grew grey as she looked him over. "I'm very upset," she said in the exact same tone that she'd used with the giant man at the door. Still, there was no doubt at all that it was true. Stephanie controlled emotion like it could be cataloged and stored. She had studied everything about her own face and postures, manipulating them in such a way as to present a plastic and pristine mask that revealed nothing. And it was the same with everything she did, dealing with those under her with a cold apathy that was merciless and calculated. Like a robot, she'd lost a great measure of her humanity. When she said she was angry, it was for the benefit of those who could not discern how she was feeling as a warning to precede action.

"I want you to explain to me why I shouldn't kill you," she intoned dully, her green eyes regarding Jason without even a minuscule hint of what she was thinking. "That means details and the truth. I want to hear it from you. This mission was simple and there were very few ways for you to screw it up. And yet you happened to find one and we are left in a shit hole without a shovel." She stood, statuesque and calm, both rigid and at ease, filling the room with golden light from her soft yellow suit jacket. Turning her head towards the other in the room, she blinked plainly and said, "I'll be with you a moment. We need to share notes if what I've heard is correct." The boogieman case, she thought as she looked him over briefly before turning back to her colleague.


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Tartra on Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:58 pm

Jason, although he'd tried to keep calm, had faced a very sharp escalation of panic that Frenchie McFrench-Fries wouldn't stop smirking at - who, by the way, had given him a friendly 'you're dead in two minutes' eyebrow twitch and then turned around and left him to it. The minute he felt - felt - her walk into the building, a well-justified wave of panic had come over him.

Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap.

Then he'd heard her outside, talking to the Incredible Hulk like she was a second away from drop-kicking him into yesterday if he even considered himself worthy enough to answer her. The wave grew into a tsunami.

Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap.

Then she walked inside ohcrap-ohcrap-ohcrap-ohcrap-ohcrap and stared, as blank as the stupid stolen mask was supposed to make him. She spoke, made her point extremely clear, practically summoned a circle of demons to throw him in if his response didn't measure up - thanks to Gary, it wouldn't - and then stood there, silently, waiting. He had to think.

Okay. Downplay what happened. Try to find something good to report.

This would be so much easier if he were untied. At the very least, he wouldn't be sitting in the shit hole.

"My intel said this was the room," Jason said. "I got in flawlessly. No one, inside or out, saw me come in. If they -" Meaning Gary. "- hadn't screwed me, our target would've been acquired hours ago."

"Blaming the intel is a frequent mistake of any Agent found lacking," Frenchie said, puffing away. "You are fortunate your target is inactive."

"We don't all get to play fetch with some two-minded psycho," Jason said, annoyed. "And I wasn't lacking. Intel was lacking. This wasn't my fault! Check the records they sent me - I did everything right!"

"Except not get caught."

"That was an accident," he fumed, absently pulling at the ropes again. "It was a freak accident, completely out of the left field. Maybe if you decided to share some details, I would've known there was something here and adjusted accordingly."

Benoit had nothing to say to that, except for giving him another overly-amused eyebrow twitch and turning his head back around. That said it all for what senior staff thought of him. The trouble was that his boss was senior staff, too. This wasn't looking good.

"I can get her back," Jason said. "I'm capable, I'm trained, and now that I have accurate information, this should only be another twenty minutes. At most." And before she could think he was trying to slip it by him, he added, "But we will have to watch for Alexander."

That was some fantastic downplaying. Maybe instead of the circle of demons, she'd just skip the middleman and cut his face off herself.

"I'm sorry," he said reluctantly. "I should've known this wasn't the room. And I did - the second I got in here and saw the mess, I knew it wasn't right. Her profile says she's too clean for this, but I only had a minute - less than - of being in here alone before I heard him and had to prepare."

The suit he wore was the most advanced technology on the market today. The Agency owned it exclusively and gave it to whoever had been deemed skilled enough to use it. The suit worked on an entirely psychological basis. It'd show up on camera, it'd be there on film, but any person physically walking by it wouldn't know a damn thing. Until actual invisibility became an option, this was the best thing they could've had, and Jason had been honoured to be considered one of the chosen few trusted enough to use it. He had never once made a mistake with it on and he'd always been so careful that he'd nearly forgotten it was a safe escape. It was like a second skin now, and he felt sickly weak outside of it, even if it made him look like he was geared up to scuba dive. At least it was black. Black was slimming. And the mask it came with - not the anti-telepathic one he'd been issued when Stephanie had taken him on, probably only because he'd had access to the suit, something she was no doubt reconsidering given Gary's screw up - had a thousand different features: Benoit and his 'night vision sunglasses' could kiss his ass.

"I have reason to believe... sort of... that Alexander and our target are travelling together. And that he's been killing our team all morning," Jason said.

That was another thing he could've stopped if he'd been out there. Probably. Maybe. At least he could've saved a few. No, he had to stay here. He had to 'reflect'. Benoit, who'd slowly drifted back to center-stage, was on the butt-end of an angry look. It didn't phase the man for a second.

"I will need a full profile on your target," Benoit said, having clearly woken up on the 'what the fuck did you just say' side of the bed this morning. "Since it is my case you have stuck your fingers into, I will expect your full co-operation. And a re-examination of your intel."

'And staff', he could hear the man think.

Last edited by Tartra on Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:41 pm

The fear that rippled through her colleague's features was both satisfying to see and disgusting to her. Of course, she felt that way about all emotion, considering it an inner beast that humanity had no control of. Which was why she made a job of controlling it for them. The tension of Jason's eyebrows and the worry in his eyes momentarily changed and she could tell as he began speaking that she was getting the lightened version of his report. And as he spoke, she couldn't help the fire raging within her innermost layer at the excuses that came spilling from his mouth.

Faulty intel? It made sense but her disdain was focused in on Jason for the moment and she had to agree with Benoit. Failure was failure and he was in the middle of it; the blame laid upon him. Although he did make a good point about not being prepared for the other - she'd known about the other case living in this apartment, but she had not been given much information about who it was; she'd assumed the other could be side-stepped cleanly and efficiently without disturbance - it was still inexcusable for him to end up like this. Gwen was gone and they'd lost track of her and it was all his fault.

As he further explained the information he had now, Stephanie felt a new burst of rage fill her. Things couldn't go any more haywire. Not only was the target missing but in addition to that, she was with another target, one renowned for eluding capture. Gwen was naturally perceptive due to her slumbering abilities. If she sensed the power in the other it was very likely her own powers would be awakened as a result and thus make it harder for her to capture. The lack of emotion those on her team were trained to perfect, including herself, would help to block Gwen's ability to read their thoughts, but then they would stick out like sore thumbs among the crowd. Not only did Jason's failure make it difficult to find her now, it would make it almost impossible to catch up with her without detection. More than ever, her whole body screamed for his blood and she had to struggle internally with the desire not to rend him open with her bare hands. As always, none of the emotion showed on her features as she continued to look down upon him placidly.

At Benoit's interruption, she was further able to stay the sanguine urges and breathed in deeply before finally speaking in her level, unwavering monotone. "You have no idea what you have cost me," she said, her voice almost soft at first. "Instead of giving me any good reasons not to kill you, everything you've said has compounded upon the facts I already know that have made it necessary to spill your blood here and now." She paused for a moment, in her mind imagining crushing his skull between her skeletal hands and feeling a pulse of delight run through her at the imagery before she continued.

"But I'm going to give you another chance to redeem yourself and fix this mess. Sometimes people make mistakes and sometimes it is not always completely their fault. This opportunity will allow us to determine if you are even worthy of your position and your life." Stepping forward, she reached out with a slender knife that appeared from out of nowhere, the blade shining black in the light from the windows, and cut the rope that bound him. Surreptitiously as the ropes fell away and Jason's posture relaxed from their hold, she gathered up a length of it and swiftly wrapped it around his neck, pulling both ends tight in a scissored pose in one fluid motion.

It was tight enough to cut off his carotid artery and to stop blood flow to his brain momentarily as she leaned forward and whispered in his ear, "You will not fail me again. I do not believe I need to further illustrate why, but just in case it's not clear, because I want no misunderstandings between us: the next mistake you make will be made a moment's breath before I tear the life from you. There is no more room for explanation and excuses now."

Finally, her death grip on the rope loosened and she released him, stepping back as well. "From this point forward, we will proceed under the assumption that her powers have been awakened. Traveling with another with abilities will have the effect of triggering her own eventually as she will be able to sense everything about him. Because of this, we will need to proceed with more caution than before and hide in plain sight. Anything abnormal will be detected within a mile's breadth. Even if it turns out they haven't awakened at all, it will still be better to operate with caution. For now, you will stay with me and we will work on this together. I'll not have you running in there and alerting her of our presence. She will need to feel safe with this other for what I have planned to work."

Turning towards Benoit she said in bored tones, "I would like to inspect her room for any clues to her current state of mind before I give you an updated profile. A lot has changed since she came into contact with your target. I need to figure out why she would go with him in the first place. She is not the adventuring type."


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Re: The Other Kind of Roommate

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