Washington, D.C.

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Wint
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Re: Washington, D.C.

Post by Wint » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:27 am

As night went on, so did the fade between darkness and light, as Robin's pupils expanded to make room for all possible light.
It was dark, and yet it seemed normal. Except for the lingering feeling that something will pop out of nowhere.
With his helmet firmly on, Robin glanced at the lingering presence of the crow.
"<Any news?>"
Would it be better if there was something to do to justify this whole getup, or better if it was just a quiet night?
So far it was quiet, at least from what eyes Robin could gather at the moment. Not all birds were keen on waking up for watch duty.

But as the night stretched on, the more unsure Robin became.
What would he find? He needed to stay sharp, be on his toes.
And just as the doubt began spreading, a voice called.

"You all right there, son?"

WOOSH!

His baton pointed straight ahead, as the adolescent stared straight forward, surprised but trying to keep his cool.
Be more intimidating.

"Ah-!"
It was Capacitor!
As fast as the baton went up, it went back down.
A turn of his head was an attempt at hiding an embarrassed blush as the wannabe hero tried to look past pointing his weapon at a registered public hero.

"I- ..yeah. Thanks..for...asking."
What is she doing here?!
"I-uh... didn't.. know you jogged at night. Please excuse me, I thought you were- Well, a...n armed criminal?" The boy tried to softly but ultimately awkwardly laugh off a looked down upon but honest truth.

Robin not knowing her real name, decided it would be rude to call her by anything in her sportswear, at least before he knew what her angle was. Would she try to figure out who he was, rat him out to his parents?!
Maybe she'd be chill and let him fight!
What if I could join Freedom Brigade! Oh my Go-!
Sh-she probably-...I'm weak.


His smile protected him from what he didn't to tell the world, his parents, but as concealing as the night was, everyone was human to some extent, and knew how to read each other to some extent.
“It’s not the size of your brain that matters, it’s whether or not you can set things on fire with it” ~ A wise philosopher

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Re: Washington, D.C.

Post by illirica » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:02 pm

Teja found herself on the end of a... baton. She raised an eyebrow at it, skeptically. With as much training as she had these days, she could handle herself in a fight just fine - with or without abilities - but being confronted with the brandishment of a nonstandard weapon in the streets of DC was... well, unexpected.

The wielder seemed equally surprised and skeptical that he'd drawn it, and put it away quickly. It seemed like she'd startled him. Ah, well. Looking at him more closely, all of his equipment was nonstandard. Are those hockey pads? He seemed less like the professionally equipped hero she was accustomed to, and more like a kid who'd hit up Dick's Sporting Goods with the money he'd saved from flipping burgers, and tried to assemble something protective, without much thought as to what that actually meant.

She thought about just walking on, but that little blush... He had recognized her. The downside of a distinctive look, naturally, was that both in and out of uniform, she was recognizable as a hero. And heroes didn't just leave kids standing embarrassed in the street. Ninety percent of hero work, properly done, was public relations. That's what her superiors told her every time they sent her out to talk to the media. Privately, Teja thought that they just didn't like talking to the media any more than she did, and knew that she wouldn't say no.

"You're welcome," she said instead, with a slight, reassuring smile. "And don't worry about it. You've got good reflexes. Both in reacting and in de-escalating, actually." From her tone, it sounded like the latter actually impressed her more than the former. The truth was, it was pretty easy to find a hair-trigger fight-jockey anywhere. Finding someone who could recognize that they didn't need to fight and stand down quickly without all the posturing, that was a lot more rare.

Unfortunately, this one apparently wanted to be a hero. Oddly, for all that Teja was a public hero, she generally advised against it as a career path. It was dangerous work, put a person into contact with all sorts of unsavory figures - some of which were ostensibly other heroes - and was intensely draining, both physically and emotionally. A lot of young heroes burned out, even if they weren't killed outright. And she could say all of that, and it wouldn't change a thing. She knew. She'd been that age, once, too.

And if I had to do it over, knowing what I know now... I still would have done it. She smiled a little, thinking of the bright, determined kid she'd been a decade ago.

Of course, she also hadn't wandered the streets at night wearing sports pads. "You know, I always thought the difference between a hero and a vigilante is that a hero steps in where he's needed, and a vigilante goes out looking for places to step in whether or not he's wanted. Something you might want to think about." The kid definitely struck her as more hoping-to-be-a-hero, at least, from the way he'd reacted to her. "And... about that equipment...." She trailed off, and just let that one hang.

Let's see what this kid thinks about himself.

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Re: Washington, D.C.

Post by Wint » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:58 pm

This was not how Robin envisioned the night would pan out.
He could see himself coming home empty-handed.
He could see himself entering a fight and winning, and entering a fight and losing. He could see the harsh looks of grief at the back of his head, of his parents. He committed to this months ago, and he wasn't going to stop.
But this? He did not expect to meet Capacitor. Or, well, whoever it was underneath the mask.

Robin momentarily stared at the ground as he took in a silent deep breath, his chest puffing out before he resumed his calmness.

When she replied, Robin became suspicious.
She didn't do anything, but that's the whole point.
Was she just being polite and kind or did she have an agenda?
Goddammit, Rob, get it out of your system. She's a nice, cute, really ho- hero.

But he did enjoy being praised, as anyone would. Made him feel a bit safer in the silent streets of inaudible crime.
She did hold her note longer when mentioning de-escalating. Did she hint at something about his weapon?
Why was he feeling attacked?
Cut it out cut it out cut it out. Just stop overthinking this, she's giving you a compliment; Capacitor- well- whoever.... dammit.


But then came the very obvious lecture. Instead of sitting around he was out looking for the crimes instead of waiting for the calls that could be too late, allow too much pain already.
"Way I see it," he replied. Robin looked directly at Capacitor this time, no childish games. "is that vigilantes want to beat the criminal to the crime. And that heroes want to do it without the prejudice of being a meta, but they still end up getting it." Even though he was incapable of being the intimidating, or at least the one with the power in the conversation, Robin felt attacked. But still, he didn't want to attack back, that would destroy the whole purpose of clashing beliefs and instead turn into an argument.
"N-not that I think that DO- listed heroes are bad or anything. I mean, without you things would be way worse. And I don't think that everyone should be a vigilante, and if you can do it out in the open then go for it, but for those that can't or for those that won't, I mean... Even if you stop them, you can't stop them. Y-You know?" Robin tried to make peace in a fight he made with himself. Well, himself and the public hero before him. Even though he stuttered, Robin wanted to make it clear he wasn't trying to be the enemy or anything, just someone who wants to help their own way.

Once he finished talking, Robin kept his eyes fixed on Capacitor's, but it was nothing like a stare. It was more like trying to read the person that's trying to read you, trying to express passion without showing dimwittedness.

But then she caught him off-guard, though he probably should've seen it coming.
She started saying something about his choice of protection and just trailed off.

Scenes in his head of her telling him what she meant sprung one after another, not stopping even when he wanted to talk, all flashing in his eyes like a persistent afterimage from staring at the sun for too long, following his eyes like the Mona Lisa.
"I want to help. You don't get military-grade armor with a high-school diploma." He wanted to say more, but he didn't want to make himself seem younger than he actually was.
It was over a year and yet it was the most noticeable thing in his life, at least from what he could actually tell his parents.
"And regarding the club," He fixed his grip on it with his left hand, twiddling the handle with his fingers. "It's better than stabbing someone. Blunt force trauma heals more easily, and, if you hadn't figured it by now, I have alternative means of finishing fights."
Robin wanted to sound intimidating, logical and kind, all at the same time, all the while without making her see him as neither a threat nor a petty nuisance.
“It’s not the size of your brain that matters, it’s whether or not you can set things on fire with it” ~ A wise philosopher

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Re: Washington, D.C.

Post by illirica » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:05 am

"Hm." She gave him a soft smile, then shrugged. "All right. You've put some thought in to what you want to be. I can respect that. The path I chose isn't for everyone. However it is that you choose to help, you seem to have put some thought into the sort of person you want to be. Just... keep in mind when you're 'beating criminals to the crime' that if they haven't committed a crime, they're not actually criminals. Make sure that if you're going to stop something, you're doing it in a way that's moral. You seem like a decent kid. I wouldn't want to be ordered to put you down over a misunderstanding."

She meant it, too. He did seem like a decent kid, the sort that thought about how to defeat his enemies, and not necessarily how to kill them. Sometimes it was all too easy to kill, and much harder not to. And while Teja would have regretted being ordered to put him down, if he made a mistake, she also knew that she would do it. Her line of work didn't leave much room for proselytizing about morality. Teja was as moral of a person as she could be within the confines of her orders, but her orders were paramount.

"I like the club," she assured him, deliberately shifting the topic. "I'd worry that your 'armor' isn't as protective as you'd want it to be, and might be more of a hindrance to your movement. There's... probably... somewhere you could pick up some cast-off Kevlar. Might be something to think about."

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Re: Washington, D.C.

Post by Wint » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:41 am

She let him be his own man, but Robin didn't quite feel it. It was more lectures from her, moral and physical.
Did she think he didn't already know that? He was petrified about it the first few weeks, even more, even now!

As she spoke, Robin's eyes were focused on her, but also on anything other than her.
This was worse than bleeding out. This was just reliving all of his worries in the second-worst possible way.
But she probably meant well.
...Right?

Crossing his arms and looking to his dominant left, Robin tried to not mind her.
Capacitor meant well. She wanted him to turn out right, do right, be good, do good.
"I know" he said softly, looking at her. Two inexperienced but ready to experience eyes. Eyes unwilling to let go of a dream where he saves the world. Him and his weird power. He wanted to be better, and he wanted to get better.

And lastly came the armor.
Even though he wasn't sure how to take her compliment regarding his baton, not knowing whether it was sincere or an attempt to change the topic of conversation or a genuine stamp of approval, Robin was interested in her suggestion about his armor.
Find somewhere to nab some Kevlar from.
Get something that if not block a bullet, would prevent it from penetrating. And in the case of Kevlar, it could do both.

"..Thanks." He smiled.
The moon was just as high as it was before, but everything felt different.
With such a short conversation, Robin felt new; felt different. Felt like he did when he just started. A scared child, much more afraid than now, but one that thought more about his options.
Maybe then his dad wouldn't be so surprised that he was getting into... well, whatever sports he imagined when Robin got all of his equipment.

There was another thing that stuck with Robin.
"Uh-I..."
He looked to his right, straight on as if someone was there, staring into the nothingness.
"I-uhgm... how many times did this happen to you?" As the words left his lips they couldn't be stopped.
"How many did you need to, you know..."
“It’s not the size of your brain that matters, it’s whether or not you can set things on fire with it” ~ A wise philosopher

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Re: Washington, D.C.

Post by illirica » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:55 pm

Teja looked over at him, not quite sure what the question was. It could have been a lot of things. One stuck out, though. She looked distant for a moment, thoughtful. "I don't know." It wasn't really much of an answer. It was also a lie.... and whoever he was, he probably deserved better. Needed better, if he was going to continue. Heroes lying to people didn't help anything. "I... can't tell you," she changed her answer, instead. A lot of that information was classified, and with good reason.

Teja closed her eyes, far away. "I remember a girl in Iraq." It had been Teja's second tour. Five years ago, not all that long after she'd mastered her gifted meta-abilities. The first time she had been to Iraq, it had been as an infantry soldier, and the army did its quiet best to - for the most part - keep its female soldiers off the front lines. She'd done a lot of support work, and she had been in some combat, but she knew she hadn't seen the worst of it. That second tour, though, was different... because then she'd had special abilities, and that meant the army needed her out there, using those abilities. "She called herself 'Amal. It means... Hope."

Hope, because she had been a hero. Because she had wanted, more than anything else, to help people. And because she'd been broken so much that she had to invent a new understanding of what help was, because it was all that she could hope for. "There are people... in any war... who are not kind. Especially to young women. She wanted to stop that." And it had been a noble goal. Something that Teja could understand. Something that Teja could support, even.

She opened her eyes, but wouldn't look at the boy. "She had some sort of... explosive ability. I'm not entirely sure how it worked, but when things got bad, it would trigger. And so she'd go into these places, where... things happened. And she made them stop happening. Forever. For everyone within fifty meters. Soldiers. Civilians. The girls she wanted to help."

She did look at him then, with the veteran's gaze. The one that knew he wouldn't understand, but she had to tell the story anyway. Because he hadn't been there... but she had. "Because all she had ever hoped for was an end. And so she gave, what she could never have."

But she gave too much. She wasn't seen as a hero, but as a terrorist. A target. And in order to take her out, they'd needed another person with super-powers. And in order to get close, they'd needed a woman. Capacitor.

The fight had been like so many others. Intense. Brutal. And in the end, Teja had sat with the girl when she breathed her last, of the injuries Capacitor had caused. She'd smiled, almost, as if she'd forgotten how. Teja hadn't expected that. The media had lauded the mission, the finality, the end of a terrorist and the restoration of... not precisely peace, but a return to normal. Teja had said the right things, to the right people, and done her duty.

But sometimes, she still thought about what 'Amal meant.

The distance fell from her eyes, and she was back, here and now. "I don't like doing it."

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Re: Washington, D.C.

Post by Wint » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:53 pm

She said she didn't know.
It meant she did. It meant it was a lot.

But through a pair of transcendent eyes, Capacitor spoke of a tale that Robin simply did not know how to react to.
A tale of friendship and care.
A tale of abuse and suffering.
A story that was neverending to those who survived it, from what it seemed.
All the boy could do, feeling powerless in the face of this world she spoke of where such things happened all the time, all around them, a reality check that quite honestly fazed him.

All this time that Capacitor spoke, her eyes looked at anything but him.
It made sense, he avoided even seeing her feet as she spoke of a forbidden but realistic past and present.
But as the sun broke through the darkest of veils, so did her eyes, although cloudy by sorrow and tarnished by an unachievable distance between life and death.
The two stood there, their shadows becoming clearer even though time seemingly stood still.
It felt like he could never reach her status, nor that he would want to now. But he did want to support her friend.
Support Amal for what she believed in-- hope.

Robin bit his lip as he glanced up, seeing her eyes make contact with his.
He wanted to look down, to look away from the sad truth.
He felt as though she was alone in a world that would never give her privacy, a public image whose voice stays muffled within her throat.

His head lunged forward, and before he knew it, his arms surrounded her.


Head burrowed deep in her clothes, he held on tight as he tried to give her at least some comfort.
Knowledge that she was a symbol of hope, a shining ray of energy that kept Amal alive every day she kept on fighting; every day she stood up for what was right; every day she stood up for people like him who were so defenseless. It was why he wanted to change, to be able to be counted on, and not just the other way around.

Maybe there was still hope after all.
“It’s not the size of your brain that matters, it’s whether or not you can set things on fire with it” ~ A wise philosopher

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Re: Washington, D.C.

Post by illirica » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:01 am

Years of training told her to kill him.

Years spent learning to override that training stayed her hand. Likely he could feel the electrical energy she'd stored, though - people who got close to her described it as a static-y sort of feeling, like taking off a woolen sweater. She was careful not to discharge it, though, and so it remained nothing more than a crackly feeling.

Capacitor tensed, though, and gently extricated herself, reminding herself over again that he was just a kid. It was enough of a mantra to get her through the initial reaction. Always, it was enough. She could control herself. Without control, she was useless. Without control, she was no better than the villains she fought. "No hugs," she said, gently, assuming that the static would speak for her reasons. "And it's best not to do that to any meta, son. Not all of them have my control. Or my reflexes. Ask first, and don't surprise people."

She made sure there was a full step between them, "Best not to do that to any veterans, either," she added quietly, since that seemed equally relevant. "I think you'll do all right, though. You've got some things to think about, and you seem like the sort of person who'll actually do so. That'll get you pretty far. Might even get you far enough. We'll just have to see."

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Re: Washington, D.C.

Post by Wint » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:18 pm

Robin felt what was to be expected.
The great Capacitor was renowned for her powers; a passive discharge, as awkward as it sounds when said out loud, would make sense.
Pins and needles spread all across his body, pulled in and pulled out, again and again, the closer he was to her.
On his face it was almost dazing, but he didn't mind.
"No hugs,"
Letting go, Robin looked aside, unsure what to say. His face remained as expressionless as it could, with the few tears that were brought up from the same emotion that caused the hug slowly drying out.
God dammit, what were you thinking?! the kid thought to himself, trying to invalidate whatever justification he had for hugging her.
She didn't need more people feeling sorry for her, but he didn't want her to be left with no support at all.

Robin nodded to what the woman had to say; it was clear why, but he wished it didn't happen. He was fully aware of the risks, he just... wanted to quell her sorrow, somehow. He may not be able to punch through a building or be the town hero, but in his mission to help others, fighting wasn't the only approach.

"Thank you." was the last thing he had left to say, wanting to leave Capacitor to her own business.
He would get new protection tomorrow, perhaps even tonight if fortune would be on his side.

He smiled, unsure what to do after they've had a long talk about life and dead and he managed to embarrass himself in the span of only a few minutes. If not a hero, Robin had a bright future as an overachiever.
“It’s not the size of your brain that matters, it’s whether or not you can set things on fire with it” ~ A wise philosopher

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