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 Female x Male Pandemonium Zero

Discussion in 'Roleplay Execution' started by Nimbus, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    "It's not going to be easy, Juni. It's a tough, thankless life, you need to remember that."

    "I know, but I'll be able to do good. That's all that matters."

    The conversation had taken place more than a year ago, but Juniper could still remember the way Klause had scoffed at her, the way his lips had tugged into a frown shortly after. He'd called her a typical girl scout before going off on a tangent about how most of their new recruits backed out shortly after.

    She told him to eat his words, and Klause laughed at her pluck.

    More than a year had passed, and she was still here - still fighting the good fight and smiling in the face of adversity. The first few months were rough of course, but over the course of her missions, Juniper felt as if she'd managed to earn her team's respect. The other day, she was moved up into a more high-risk team, the reason she was seated at an outdoor table with Klause and the rest of their four person squad.

    They were on campus, and they had their books out to ward off suspicion, though there was nothing suspicious about a small group of college students gathering together for an afternoon chat. It was sunny Saturday afternoon and the air buzzed with the energy of weekend freedom.

    A little ways ahead of them, a man was mowing the quad. The smell of grass wafted toward them.

    "Juniper, you listening?" Klause called out.

    "Klause, buddy, pal, you know me. I'm always ready!"

    He rolled his eyes. Over the course of the year, he and Juniper had developed a love-hate big-brother-and-little sister type of dynamic. The others seemed to think it was cute, he found it a little irritating. She could be a bit more serious about things, but Klause would have been lying if he said he didn't think it was a little endearing. The cheer helped cut through the tension and the group appreciated it. "Good, there have bee monster sightings in the area. One was spotted near campus just last night."

    "I thought we'd just cleared out the area last week?" One of the group members asked.

    "We did, but they're back." Klause was frowning again, this time in full force. "It feels like something big is about to happen, which is why I want everyone to keep on their guard up and bring a buddy along. We can't have those things catch us by surprise, not this time."
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
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  2. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    Kuram had hit a snag with his poetry teacher. This particular collection of literature was hard to see through, since the writer was overly, well, useless. While he understood the value of paying one's dues to eventually mine out enough points for a degree, Kuram hated compromising art and what he said on the subject. This level of passion had earned him high grades so far, but his attitude was loosing its charm, it seemed, as the overworked Mr. Graham was less and less interested in their after-class debates, and the fervent insistence Kuram brought to them.

    The pretty, bothered expression on the already sought after boy was therefor deeper today, when he step out into the daylight that almost bleached his temple-forge spoiled skin paper white. Gray to white hair barely moved in the careful breeze, but still managed to cause some drama around his silver eyes. The Cleaver clan had been beautiful in their muted colors, when they were alive and recognized by the Scythe Syndicate. That subject paled the hatred he had for discussing redundant points of long dead poets.

    His lips drew in something happier, though no less sardonic when he passed a table of would-be diligent student. It was both refreshing and enraging to see the Syndicate so healthy and active. With his leather-bound book clasped between his waist and his arm, hands in his pockets, Kuram turned to look down at the nigh-secret gathering. The clean looking brunette male was the first to take note, and made sure Kuram saw him eye him up and down.

    "Yeah, it's almost like you'll have to get off your asses to do some work instead of studying your youth away." Kuram offered at the tail end of Klause's - his name was conveniently written on the back of his open notepad - ominous theorizing. It cause Klause to stand up, but Kuram wasn't so interested in comparing heights, and instead looked at the girl who seemed to have a lighter heart. In fact, she was a bit too pure for her position among these other high-skilled Scythes, properly jaded. It was a bonus that Krause was put-off by this.

    "So, you're new." he noted and pulled his hand out fast enough to catch his book. He placed it on the table, over Klause's notes, and offered his hand to her. Klause had gone around the corner of the table to get closer to Kuram at the swift gesture, probably because it could have produced a weapon too. Kuram had to assume Klause fancied himself a leader of this quartet, then. It made it even more pressing to ignore him. "I'm Kuram Ekuroi. Do you like strawberry shortcake?"

    In all black, Kuram set himself apart on such a bright day. His clothes were even a perfect contrast to his face and hair. She would see that half of his forehead lifted him that much higher above Klause, who was seething by his side. It was clear her friend wanted to stop this interaction, somehow, but hadn't been able to until it had reached introductory stages. "It is good to know there is new blood in the Syndicate, but I guess if you don't stay on your toes, you'll be old and dusty in no time, too." his smile was friendly, which would make it easier for her take his hand, and what he'd said as a joke.
     
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  3. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    The atmosphere shifted when Kuram waltzed through the crowd and made a beeline for their table. Juniper saw the tension in the way the corner of Klause's eyes crinkled, and in the way everyone had dropped their current topic to talk about college algebra and things like cosines and quadratic equations.

    She'd never seen this boy before, but he walked with a confident purpose that kept her eyes glued to him. He had a distinct presence.

    "New?" Her heart raced then. Did he know about the syndicate? "Not exactly. I was new last year, but just became a Sophomore this August. Glad I still look as young and fresh-faced as ever." She gave him a cheeky grin then, took his hand and shook it without a worry in the world. "Nice to meet you Kuram. Strawberry shortcake is good, but I'm more of a blueberry cheesecake kind of gal. You looking for the nearest cafe?"

    Juniper was good with people, and she planned to use it to steer him away from their conversation in a manner much more polite than Klause's glaring. That guy needed a Communication 101 class, he really did. That, or a how-to-smile-more book or something.

    "I'm sure one of us can show him the way," Klause butted in.

    "Mhm, nearest one isn't too far off campuse," another person added.

    The sooner they got this meeting on the road, the better it would be for all of them.

    Juniper continued to smile politely until all pretenses were shattered and he mentioned the syndicate. "What?" She eyed him seriously then, all traces of earlier mirth replaced with a burning curiosity. "I mean... keep your voice down. So, Kuram, you're a member from another division, I take it? Did someone send you over to join our team? We were told we might be getting an extra member or something."

    "Juniper," Klause hissed.

    "Sorry."

    "So, Kuram. Who are you?" Klause wasn't intimidated by the difference in height. He continued to glower, waiting for some sort of answer.
     
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  4. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    He'd enjoyed her attention, walking over. She didn't hate him instantly, or rather didn't show it, and he thought that was commendable. Klause was not as secretive, even if he didn't spell it out. Confident girl with a refreshing attitude. She'd not bought into the high-and-mighty attitude that was rampant in Syndicate ranks. Strange, with a proud male such as Klause in her group. Kuram parted his lips slightly, and shaved his upper lip deeply with his wet tongue while still holding her fingers. "So fresh." he reiterated and then shut his glistening lips slowly. "Blueberry looks a lot more like blood when crushed." as though that pertained to their preferred desserts at all.

    He continued to ignore the sempai-act beside him, and that added a corresponding strain to Klause's ego. Perfect. Kuram did, however, turn for the second peripheral participant and winked at her vague contribution. It made Sera blush. He was more interested in Juniper's new expression. He felt attended to, and that made him like her more. She was being drawn, and it wasn't just by their still joined hands. Klause stared at that grip and seemed to be objecting deeply. Silver eyes glittered at her questions.

    "Well, Juniper." he started, to register her name in his mouth. "I'm a legacy member of sorts. Retired." he said and slid his thumb between two of her knuckles intimately before finally giving her hand back. He leaned forward to place his fingers on his book, but it was mostly to get closer to her face with his. "I'll be here if you need me. I have an interest in the Break Beasts too. Shouldn't everyone?" He lowered his shoulders when he picked the book up and shrugged casually. "I mean, I can sense them, and Klause here isn't wrong. The Mire is full of whispers."

    Klause sprung to initiative at the term and pressed between the two conversationalists then. It caused the few onlookers to gasp. "You're from The Cleaver Clan." he deduced and carefully pushed Juniper back. Silver eyes challenged ambers ones with a slightly widening of lashes. Klause stood fast. "They're the reason district Autumn is barren of activity." he said. A rather recent calamity, where the Break Beasts in that spiritually strong area had been eradicated through great effort of the assigned clan, though it had been suspected of being in cohort with the beasts to begin. The Cleaver Clan's church had always been more mystic than the Syndicate liked, and they'd never gotten a foot in to examine their power. Juniper should have read footnotes of what little information there was on the event and the clan.

    "Why the sudden spikes out, friend?" Kuram asked and looked down at his now open book between them. When he turned his eyes up again he snapped the covers closed with a commanding clap. "It's almost like you consider me an enemy. Isn't that dissension?" This seemed to strike a chord with the bureaucratic side of Klause, and he tsked angrily. Kuram looked over a squared shoulder down at Juniper. "If you're ever curious, I'm sure that café has both our favorite treats. And if not, you'll just have to humor me. You don't look spoiled." he grinned brightly, brows raised in a friendly invitation for her to continue, despite the obvious obstacle between them.
     
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  5. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    Kuram was dramatic, and mysterious, and bold, and something about that drew Juniper in. She was used to reading people like books, Klause, Sera, the rest of her friends, it was easy to tell what made them tick or what made them happy because they wore their hearts on their sleeves and spoke their thoughts with candor.

    He was different, she could tell the moment he opened his mouth. Klause didn't like him and he was part of the Cleaver Clan - she'd read about them in the books the Syndicate provided, but books had never been her thing, Juniper thrived off learning things from people and on the field of work and battle.

    She arched an eyebrow when he invited her to the cafe right after his minor scuffle with Klause. She was interested but there was work to be done. Maybe next time, she was about to say when everyone's watches, except Juniper's, began to beep.

    Klause scoffed. "Something's come up, HQ wants me back."

    "Looks like they want to talk to us." Sera sighed before noticing the Juniper was off the hook. "You're lucky newbie, I was hoping to spend my Saturday relaxing for once, but I guess that's off the table." She sighed then. "A girl can dream. See you later, Juni." She gave Kuram a quick wink. "Catch you later Cleaver."

    "Juniper, we're regrouping later at eight."

    That was all Klause said before he and the other hunters had to go. It was just Juniper and Kuram in a table for too big for the two of them.

    Juniper was quick to fill in the silence. "Sorry about that. Klause is a grump, trust me, I've know him for like a year now and he still treats me like I'm twelve. He's like our grumpy older brother. But yeah, nice to meet you Kuram. Name's Juniper, and I'm actually very curious. Unfortunately, I'm but a broke student, so the desserts will have to be on you." It was a joke, and she ended up laughing after, but if he agreed she wasn't going to say no to free blueberry cheesecake.

    Juniper stood and in a friendly manner, yanked Kuram by the arm. "So Cleaver Clan. Must be a weighty name to bear, read about district Autumn in one of our books. What brings you back here? This place isn't exactly teeming with Break Beast activity. It's been getting a little worse, but we've been keeping it under control."
     
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  6. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    Kuram saw the intrigue in her eyes, despite Klause's attempt at hiding her. He was about to sweeten the deal somehow when a familiar signal filled the atmosphere. Silver eyes staled somewhat at the tune. Recognition with a hint of disdain. He also noticed that Juniper was not called, and smiled to himself. It was a summons for the group elders, then, which promised that it was either important or boring or both. Kuram nodded at Klause, face like he'd had the Syndicate called them himself. Klause did not like that insinuation but could do little about it but glare.

    "You too." he replied back to Sera, and turned his head after her so she'd feel attended to. She seemed caught off guard by it, and he was sure she'd blushed when she turned around.

    Kuram chuckled lightly when she apologized for the other male and shook his head. "Even grumpy siblings are nice to have." he said with a heaver kind of amusement in his throat. He couldn't help but laugh along when she did, at her own joke. How endearing. Her spirit had caught him off-guard. She seemed genuine, which meant her friendship was worth something. Every now and then the Syndicate folded someone good into their ranks.

    He followed along, book in his other hand when she directed where they were going. It was not an accident when his body pushed into hers, casually. "It's as heavy as any legacy, I suppose." he said about his name. "And it's not a clan anymore." The comment was free of what could have been sorrow or bitterness. Once their pace had steadied he shrugged, keeping his arm close, and there by also her. "There is life after Break Beasts too." he said and looked around. "I figure I'm in school age, so I should go to school. Make friends. Live a life." he mused. "But I guess it's hard to stay away when I know I can still be of use, despite The Scythe Retiring me. I'll tell you all about it when were better friends."

    The sun was coming down well, not too blinding, and found that he was looking forward to sitting down with her. When he stopped to see if his book was unscathed, he made sure she went on for a few steps, which slid her hands along his arm until his own fingers could lock around hers. He smoothed it out by not commenting on it before he continued moving. It was not the first time their palms had met today, after all. Despite playing the novice, Kuram knew where the café was, and pulled out her chair for her at a small table.

    "How about you, Junpier?" he asked and leaned closer, since she seemed to like her secrecy about her line of work. He wasn't opposed to putting his lips closer to her face, either. "Was your childhood dream to cut down monsters, or did you have some other plan, too?" His mouth broke in a wide smile, eyes petitioning to latch onto hers. He wanted to raise her pulse. "There's more to life, you know." his voice lost volume as he gained proximity, tall guy like Kuram didn't have any trouble bridging the small table. "Some students here even find time for games, leisure..." Next his lips curled to show one of his canines in a more dastardly expression. "Romance."
     
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  7. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    Juniper walked alongside Kuram as he spoke, listening to the vague hints at a life much different from the current one he was living. A part of her wondered if she was stirring up bad memories, but the tall boy spoke without a hint of regret, so she listened to his tale of Break Beasts and clans and other magical things she'd only learned about the year before. It was almost like receiving a history lesson from one of her superiors at the syndicate.

    She'd noticed when he'd locked her fingers with his, wondered briefly if he was flirting, but allowed the thought to pass like a brief afternoon shower.

    They reached the restaurant and found themselves sitting across from each other at one of the tables. He leaned in close then, and there was a small flutter in the pit of her stomach. Kuram had silver eyes that were enchanting. Pretty boy with his charming tricks. "My childhood is as normal can be. Trust me, it'd bore you to death. I didn't learn about the Syndicate until a year ago. Got caught up in something and Klause and Sera saved me, been with them ever since."

    Kuram leaned forward and the next few words confirmed her earlier suspicions. He was flirting, wasn't he?

    She didn't have a problem with that. "Romance, huh? It's kind of difficult to date anyone when you're spending your Saturday nights fighting monsters." She laughed a little, trying to play things off coolly. The pink blush on her cheeks told another story, revealed that he was flustering her. "I'm sure you understand the feeling well? Monsters and magic make for a very weird work-life balance, there's hardly any time to meet cute boys."

    There was an awkward pause.

    "Though, you're a cute boy, so I guess I haven't failed completely." Juniper seemed proud of her comeback.
     
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  8. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    He thought her pinkening cheeks were very becoming, and he shrugged in defeat about her point on dating while being a Scythe. She was open. He liked that. His elbow rested on the table so he in turn could rest his chin in that held up hand. It still had the faint scent of her. Those silver eyes kept examining their newest fixation. He laughed into the fingers that courted his lips when she joined in on his offered dance, their beginning love story. His eyebrows lifted once to underline his interest.

    "I'm only cute when I'm not devastatingly handsome." he exhaled, like it was a curse. He felt as though he'd caught a string from her courage, and he intended to pull it toward him, and make her blossom. "I am glad to have broken your streak, then." He tossed his head to the side shortly, and leaned back from his comfortable slouch forward, to let the waitress get between them with a menu. He shot her a polite smile before continuing tanning Juniper in his silver attention.

    "It wasn't like that for me, since Breaking is-- was my family business." he said and sucked on the inside of a cheek. It might be because he was contemplating the food items, or because he was briefly reminded of his lonely domestic situation. A star glittered in the silver, sent there from a reflection in the resultant, before he put the menu down. "I was always expected to excel, since there's the matter of disproving nepotism - bloodlines aren't encouraged in Breaking - but I never needed to keep my activities with Beasts a secret." He took a sip of water and gestured with his other hand while swallowing. "At least not with my family."

    His head tilted, and his lips swelled like he'd thought of something clever or funny. "As for girls, I wouldn't know. You're the first one I've ever had the courage to talk to." He leaned in closer again, silver screens growing. "I felt an instant connection with you, Juniper." his voice was low and smooth. "You did something to me when I saw you in the perfect daylight." He blinked slowly and held on tightly to the intimacy the confession conjured between them.

    And then he chuckled under his breath and leaned back. "Honestly," he said and pointed at two things on his open choice of desserts when the waitress came back. He helped her get back the two laminated booklets. "it seems some things come easier when you don't need them. I had a social life because home was more important, and then, when my friends were all I had, they disappeared too." he wore a grim kind of amusement about it. "I guess what I'm saying is, enjoy both while you have them."
     
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  9. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    Kuram's reply marked the beginning of their game, a subtle flirtation of words and half-actions. The tension was there, but only if one squinted hard enough. It was an art, and Juniper was the unwitting admirer who'd wandered into the gallery. "Hah, someone is confident." And why wouldn't he be? Her eyes scanned him then, from his broad shoulders to his sun-kissed hair and deep-set silver eyes. She'd spent her college life fighting monsters as a Scythe, but she wasn't blind.

    His words were merely the truth. Handsome boy with his silver tongue and enchanting mysteries.

    "Sounds like you and your clansmen were close. It must have been nice, fighting arm-in-arm with your family. Must have brought you all closer. I doubt I'll be able to tell mine about any of this, they'll think I've gone crazy." Juniper frowned. "Feels a lot like lying to them, but it's for their safety too... sorry, I didn't mean to remind you about your family."

    She was worried when he grew quiet, but Kuram was quick to move on, easily picking up where they'd last left off in their game.

    He practically confessed, and the confidence Juniper wore like a second skin seemed to melt away. She was suddenly aware of her own self-consciousness, and her heart thrummed in her chest like the steady beating of a drum. It had been a long time since she'd played the flirting game with a boy. She allowed herself to relish the sweetness he gave her. "Right, I'm supposed to believe that?" She grinned and threw his words right back at him. "Devastatingly handsome guy like you must have trouble keeping the ladies away?" And she meant it too, he had a way with words. "Anyway, that's probably because it's just easier to talk to people who've been through similar stuff."

    She offered him a slight smile when he grew somber, turning away merely to confirm her dessert of choice on the menu.

    "Sorry about your friends. You're definitely right though, life's short, we should live it up. Which is what we're doing right now. Dessert might not fix everything, but it fixes some things. If it cheers you up, Kuram, we can even call this a date." She grinned.
     
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  10. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    He bit his tongue for her viewing pleasure, adding a smile to that wink when she called him on his confidence and vanity. He left her to interpret whether he was acctually being coy, or if the grimace had been based off real modesty. Isn't any escape from any subject really that? He nodded at the family bit. They had worked as a unit, which was why even the Syndicate didn't meddle in their business. Ekuroi always got the job done, even while playing along with Syndicate rules.

    He considered her position. Her family was outside danger if she did her job correctly, and their lack of involvement was based on her ability to lie to them. He wondered if he could have thrived in such circumstances. "You have your own pressure, then." he deduced. It was meant as a compliment. Kuram recognized and acknowledged strife when he saw it. Nobody lived an easy life among monsters, no matter how skilled you became. "I hope it makes you better."

    He welcomed her mirrored compliment with his hands out, cocky with his face slightly turned to the side, to take in her words with that ear. She made a good point about the dessert, and he shook his finger in her direction as though he was the teacher, and she'd said something clever about his subject. "Few problems can't be fixed with cheesecake. I am only sorry you're so misinformed on your choice of berry." he said as though there was no other truth.

    Kuram's spirits were even further lifted at what she said next. "Oh, then that's what this will be." His palm touched the table soundlessly to cement the deal. "I have to warn you, if you get too frisky with me I still remember some of the moves from my active duty." He laughed with his head back. For all the games he'd been playing, it seemed the mirth was honest. He had some more water and in his eager to continue the conversation, his lips were still wet when he put the glass down.

    "Tell me about your first encounter as a Scythe, then!" he demanded just as their cakes were placed on the table. He picked up his fork and waved the prongs at her before cutting in to the decorated triangle. He got a small piece first, and before even considering tasting it, he shoved it back into the body of the treat to scoop up more. He was satisfied then, with an approving sigh. "Did you do well? Ah. I bet your older brother helped you, right?" As he waited, he stuffed the helping of cake into his large mouth, filling one cheek.
     
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  11. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    Her eyes shone with a fervor, determination and steel. The life of a Scythe wasn't what Juniper had dreamed of in her childhood days - there was far too much violence and grief for her liking - but she took pride in her work and the good that they managed to do. "We all have our own demons." Her heart went out to him, the sweet boy with his charming words and tragic memories. "I hope yours make you better to. You know what they say, cheesy at is, the climb makes us stronger."

    Foolish girl who knew nothing of the impending darkness.

    When he agreed to her proposition of a date, she smiled, all white teeth and apparent joy. It had been a long time since she'd gone out on one, in a way, it almost made her feel normal. It was refreshing, pleasant. "Hah, you wish, Kuram. If you're trying to win a smooch on the first date, you better make sure it ends up being extraordinary." Not true. Just talking about the Scythes and things she could tell no one else (aside from Klause and Sera) made her feel closer to him. She couldn't deny the attraction, and could already picture herself kissing him on the cheek for the wonderful afternoon of berries and monster talk.

    "It wasn't good. Was walking home from school when I ran into it. If it weren't for Klause, I probably wouldn't be here. I didn't join the Syndicate until a month later. " She paused, sucking on her teeth. It hadn't been a pleasant memory. The thing had leaped out of her from the bushes and snagged at her arm with its claws. She had to get five stitches on her arm. It had been a long night in the ER, and the lies she had to tell. "The next time was better, Clause and Sera were there. They kept tabs on me, made sure I wasn't dealing with too much all at once. What about you, Kuram? Must have been different growing up in a household of Scythes?"

    *
    In the alleyway outside something was stirring just out of sight. As students and people rushed across campus, dark tendrils slithered out from the drainage down the street. The tendrils pooled out into the alley until a puddle of black ooze appeared. Slowly, the dark substance began to take form.
     
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  12. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    His air hardened at her encouragement. The tightening of his distant eyes agreed with her. He'd seen the outcome of their kind of life, and she was right. He'd become stronger. The twitch on his lips when she challenged him about their performance was much more playful, though it retained some of his trademark darkness. He wouldn't mind having at her like that. As always, he left a little gravity in their joke, simply by putting his persona into their interaction. Maybe she'd sealed her fate, maybe she hadn't.

    She had a decent introduction to the Beasts. It was a good thing she became a Scythe, since by the sound of her encounter, she might as well have been a casualty. Klause must believe in her. Many victims wanted to know more, to be involved, but the Syndicate were famously elitist, and quite honestly, only exceptional people were excepted. A by-the-book guy like Klause would have been careful about who he folded in, since her record would reflect on him. No wonder he was protective. Kuram of course suspect something else there, from Klause's side.

    "Well, I'm glad you're well taken care of. If you ever need any support aside from them, I'll give you my number." he injected. "And, you know, you can use it for when you're feeling lonely, too." he added. "I would love to see you in action though." He turned his head slightly into that thought. He'd not lied. He was sure she was formidable. It would be odd if she was anywhere near full fledged yet, but with the tutelage she'd already gotten, and planning countermeasures to a larger scale threat meant someone believed in her other than Klause.

    "Growing up was-- everything I knew." he started and had another piece. "Mother and father were loving but strict, and my sister spoiled me when they weren't looking. I only learned there are other ways of life through interacting with other children. Home schooled." he grinned at that, as though pointing at the common prejudice. He'd proven him enough to get accepted to their university, anyway. "I'd consider myself the runt of my clan, so they didn't expect much from me. Compared to my sister I was free." He laughed to himself at some unspoken memory. "I guess boys are always favorites. Still, I was expect to meet the standards of the Syndicate, even if we weren't official within its ranks."

    He looked at her, through her, and he might as well be reliving something delightful or tragic, or nothing at all. When he returned he did have a thought in his silver circles. "Did you have a dream before becoming what you are now? I guess nothing is impossible, but being a Scythe does divide your focus from your own path." He leaned over, and quickly stole a sizable piece of her cake, and ate it quickly. "Hmph. Not bad." he admitted, his tongue blue.

    -

    The pair that hid away had been secretive for a while. They were new students, and were still easing in to their new group of friends. She'd been shy at first, and verbal about not committing to anyone so early, and he'd been quiet in the back, laughing at everyone's jokes. They'd found each other when the group didn't show up to a movie, and had been finding new places to make new secrets ever since.

    When he leaned in to take his third kiss of this little meeting, his eyes grew wide suddenly. She petted his cheek, his scratchy stubble, to calm him down. She didn't understand why his arms went lax around her. When she stepped back she screamed. Something large and dark had taken him, only his head and shoulders were sticking out. When the monster shifted into the light she saw dark muscle and white bones held together by a translucent membrane. Shape like a man but a few times taller. It's neck expanded to take the rest of him down.

    People gathered in the alley to see the girl join her beau, mostly, as he legs thumped to the asphalt, severed. The creature turned to the frozen audience, maw wide, with fingers still stuck between its teeth. Their screeches took over campus.
     
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  13. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    She smiled at him, the perfect picture of warmth on a pleasant Saturday afternoon. "Hah, your number? Someone's a smooth operator." Of course, it had taken two of them to tango, but Juniper enjoyed placing the playful burden on his shoulders. "Tell you what, we've had a stunning conversation so far, so I'll give you mine after we enjoy our dessert." She took a bite out of her cake then as if they were just two young adults reveling in each other's presence.

    The more he spoke about his family, the more she felt for his wounded past.

    "It sounds like your sister loved you very much. It must have been an interesting childhood. Home-school sounds a little lonely, but considering your family's line of work, it sounds like it must have been a much needed break from all the craziness. But yeah, welcome to Uni, Kuram! Must be a big change for you. You liking it so far?"

    She paused to give him time to answer. "Of course I did, no one actually dreams about slaying beasts for a living. I wanted to be a vet, still do. Working on getting there eventually - hey!" He stole a bite of her cake and she snickered. Instead of complaining, she retaliated by reaching out for his own plate and swiping a bite with her fork. She looked at him smugly then devoured the bite in one feisty chomp. They were even now. A bite for a bite. "Not bad, but it's still the second best berry."

    The quaint ambiance of the cafe was torn to pieces when people started to scream.

    It was one passerby at first, a man who yelled about an attack outside by the alley. He was the first, but his voice triggered a domino effect of sorts, and in a heartbeat, the screams grew into a frightening chorus spilling from countless of lips. Someone was wailing, someone was praying, Juniper flinched.

    There weren't supposed to be any monsters in the area, their unit had cleared the city last night.

    "This isn't good," she hissed. Klause and Sera would already be at Headquarters by now and her one-on-one experience in monster fights was close to none. She could call Klause and Sera and wait it out. No, the screaming of the crowd told her otherwise. If she didn't act now, lives would be lost. Juniper rose to her feet, leaving Kuram at the table. The customers were rushing out of the cafe, so she ducked behind the counter and pulled at the gem she kept by her belt. It was a round stone that pulsated a stormy purple. It was hot to the touch and Juniper brushed her fingers over the smooth surface before holding it tightly in her hand.

    Purple light burst from behind the counter, and Juniper emerged in a sleek, almost knightly outfit of purple and gold. A dark, helmet shielded her identity from view and a steel saber, with the gem embedded in its hilt, hung threateningly by her waist.

    "Kuram," her voice was muffled behind the dark glass of her helmet. "We need to evacuate everyone. Get them out of the square."

    He was a retired Scythe, but from what she'd heard, he'd be more than capable for the job. In fact, his presence helped quell the erratic beating of her heart. She was fairly new to this, and when she did participate in fights, it was always under the watchful eye of her teammates. There was no time to doubt.

    Junper rushed out of the cafe and into the chaotic street. People were running in all directions, and at the heart of the alley, was a monster bones and dark flesh. It was atrocious to look at, but Juniper's stomach didn't sink until her eyes landed on what remained of its victims. Someone had already perished. She'd been eating cheesecake when it happened, she was right there and she let it happen. It was a jarring thought, but she chased it away, and tightened her grip on her blade.

    "Everyone! Move!"

    Unsheathing her sword, she dug her shoes into the ground then rushed forward, propelling herself at the monster. If it didn't turn to focus on her she would go all the way, slashing at it the moment she got within arm's length. If the monster turned to face her, Juniper would pull two sticky bombs from her belt and toss it at the monster's face. After blinding it, she would then rush in to slam her blade into its flesh. She wasn't the most skilled, but even Klause had praised her for agility.
     
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  14. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    He perked up when she promised him her number. It was a boyish reaction, as though something juvenile and honest was breaking through his well-assembled stage of desirable features. The honest tidbit lived for a short while on his prettiness, and soon he was making another face, composed and picturesque and a little playful, as she'd come to know him. "That's a deal. Please forgive me if I now scarf down both of our cakes so you don't change your mind."

    He did have another piece. Kuram had been happy as a child, listening to his parents's lessons and playing with his sister. To him, the outside world was strange. It would feel like an adventure, going out on the back of mother's bike or on foot with father. He was an excited little boy clutching the back of his parents's robes, eager to brave the novelties of buying food or carrying supplies, but by the end he got exhausted, and always wanted to come home. Home was where they tended to the other world.

    "It's a change." he agreed and looked her over. "More girls here." Which of course was significant for any growing young man. Ge gasped with interest when she revealed her preferred career. "I can see it. You'd be good with animals, I think. I don't know you very well yet, but you kinda look like someone who might pet you, and stick a needle in you, too." He laughed to himself, but it wasn't as off-guard as with her cheekiness about her number. "Suppose I'll have to become an animal, a beast, and get sick, then."

    His jaw dropped and it hollowed out his cheek in a very flattering way, his tongue still blue from his same transgression when she retaliated for his pastry theft. The performed theatrics became real surprise, a slightly more subtle open mouth as he looked around at the growing unrest. The silver of his eyes cooled when he turned back to her, standing and nodding at her assessment. While trying to oversee the mounting confusion and threat, he tracked her when she found privacy in plain sight.

    He breathed slowly when she came back from the light behind the counter. How formidable she looked. Kuram accepted his mission and they parted.

    The monster sensed a change in the flow of how the people fled, and it lead it to turn toward her. People divided for her, and watched in awe as the light from the projectiles arched from her hands had the monster stagger back and emit a sound like a handful of beehives were in an uproar. It was the kind of vibration that shook them in their chests. The sound exploded into something less controlled when its gut took her saber. While people still ran, their hearts were lighter, since their fear and ill-will were being satisfied at once.

    The saber stuck into its stomach, and she could see through the murky skin that its organs shifted away from the damage, even though she'd already hurt it. Eyeballs traveled from the head and down the neck, nestled safety between muscles and sinew, looking out at her from the chest behind the see-thorugh skin. It tried to backhand her with a very long arm, and if it missed, it would try to catch her speeding leg with the other hand. The giant mouth which protruded with gums outside of its already elongated head clasped at her, eager for vengeance.

    Kuram was steering people in the right direction, his expression calm. It he only rushed them from the square, some of them would funnel into dead ends, and others would trample each other. This was basic knowledge for the Ekurai family. He even knew which level and tone of voice would most likely be heard and obeyed in this kind of situation. He did what he could to soothe their panic, and most of them seemed content in fleeing. This city had seen its fair share of monsters.

    It was when the Beast seemed to have too good of a retort to Juniper's saber that he dove into the crowd and ripped a lacquered black cane from a rift in reality. When he whipped it, his Altar Shroud was summoned, and white robes knitted around him, held together with a leather harness that climbed his long neck and covered his mouth. His hair was longer, white, and his eyes were yellow. He ran low toward her, to see how she'd handle the beast. His hand was already holding the long cane as though he'd draw it like as sword.
     
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  15. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    Steel sunk into dark flesh and Juniper scowled. It was a direct hit, but it did absolutely nothing. Organs shifted behind muscle and sinew and eyes stared up at her from the safety of the monster's neck. She tugged at her blade, fingers tightening around the hilt only to realize that it was stuck. She tried once more then realized that the beast had her right where he wanted her. She abandoned her sword the moment it raised its hand, jumping back to avoid its blow.

    It missed the first time, but the second blow caught her in the leg and sent her crashing to the ground.

    "Go!" She screamed, hoping that her scuffle would buy everyone in the area a bit of time. They listened and took off as Juniper pushed herself back onto her feet. The monster was upon her the moment she found herself back on her feet, and Juniper swiveled and leaped away from its crushing blows. Every swipe was a close one but she was agile enough to be just a few seconds too quick for each of its blows. It was almost like a deadly dance of sorts, Juniper weaving away just in time to avoid the crunching of teeth and the brunt of heavy limbs. "Kuram! A little help?"

    She was used to teamwork, to fighting alongside Klause and Sera.

    Their leader was often the one who bore the brunt of the beast's blows, Sera provided support from a distance, and she would play the decay, weaving and bobbing through the throng of enemies as she delivered blows from out of reach. Her fighting style was meant for teamwork more than anything else.

    Juniper pulled out a knife from the sheath by her belt. As she twisted away from each new blow, she would flick her wrist to the side, leaving cuts across the monster's arm. Each hit rang true but did little to nothing. By then, all the people had already evacuated the area. Their only concern was the monster.

    It stopped amid the flurry of blows, and the sudden pause made Juniper stop too.

    "What is it doing?"

    She'd barely finished her sentence when a mass shot out of the monster's stomach. It struck her hard in the torso and sent her crashing back onto the ground. Juniper lay on her back as the air left her lungs.
     
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  16. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    He watched as she did what she could against the beast. It had locked her saber in place, and Kuram feared the worst. She had enough wits to let the weapon be and avoid the strike that came. He gasped when she was felled to the ground and gritted his teeth. She recovered well, agility and bursts of speed obviously her advantage. He could see the potential Krause was so attached to, but her talent didn't provide her with anything that could take the beast down.

    She managed to nick the monster and the gray, dirty blood on its arms was perfect expression of her effectiveness. He'd already realized her usual role in a team. She was the red cape to a matador. He would have to relent his role as helpful observer and dive into center stage, then. The monster had the same idea, and golden eyes widened when the Xlayer Preix realized how the beast intended to clear the scene for the two of them.

    Kuram grabbed his cane tighter in his run, but his feet didn't move fast enough to stop the flexing pillar of tendons and meat shooting out. "Duck!" he roared at her question. She was caught in it and overwhelmed by the blunt power. The new limb of the monster stayed protruded, and then gurgled. He was above her fallen form in time to pull the handle of the cane and produce a thin sword to block the bone crescents coming out to slice her. It was the traditional weapon of the Ekurai, a simple cylindrical stick becoming a blade. Elegant and surgical in the right hands.

    His arms were steady, one at the handle of the sword, and the other pressing a hand against the flat of the blade to add more counterforce to the descending bone weapons. But humans usually lost to Break Beasts in brute strength. "Juniper." he said between his teeth, locating the eyes at the side of the pillar. "Are you ok?" he asked as rolled his shoulders forward to toss the bones back so he could cock back his sword and cut through them. The Beast complained into the sky with its buzzing voice, and it gave him time to scoop her up and throw her onto grass under a tree planted ontop of a concrete square. Those ornamental structures were placed evenly throughout campus.

    The beast came at him now, pillar receded, and reached for him with those long arms. Kuram's own fanned out to make his robes wave and his hair flail to take the impact. He'd blocked both monster palms, one with his sheath, and the other with his cutting blade. The more the monster tried to reach him, the more it cut itself up, which left it too occupied or weakened to apply more pressure to its intact arm. Kuram gargled as he stared the livid eyes down from where they sat on its shoulders, and then forced his sword forward, cutting through the wrist and into its forearm. The beast hissed with all its voices and retreated to cradle its cut limb.

    Kuram could see Scythe weapons glisten from the top of a building, but focused on the monster. He held his sword out, arm straight toward his adversary, sword up toward heaven.

    " I take your pitch black and I drown it in the warm loving sea. " he said as the blade started to grow a faded green. " verdant abyss CRUSH. " He twisted his wrist to have the blade point at the ground, and a great snake of green light was born from the edge, spearing out to reveal that most of its length was its jaws. It opened with myriad teeth to then snap shut around the monster, and inside the light the beast was mangled. Kuram sliced his sword once and the snake retreated into his blade. He got into a new battle position.

    The light ontop of the building flashed again, and Krause with his blue armor and helmet landed, spear in hand. Sera was not long after, her red bow ready. "Okay! Everyone! Calm down. The Scythe Syndicate is here." Krause announced, looking the beast over, going closer to the heap of black meat it had become. Kuram's eye pulsed with worry.

    "No! Don't get so close!" he pleaded as he darted forward. Krause twisted around, ignoring the beast to shove his spear in Kuram's direction. It cut up Kuram's side, but it didn't slow him down as he passed the blue Scythe and cut a shooting limb off before it could reach the professed leader. The sharp bone rattled on the ground as Kuram stood over the still pulsing black mass of the body. He cut it into six pieces. They sizzled and started to rot.

    "Kuram. I'm sorry." Krause tried, but Kuram sheathed his sword and pushed Krause out of the way bitterly, staggering toward Juniper. He kneeled by her side.

    "How are you?" he asked with blood rolling down his chin. And then he fell ontop of her.
     
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  17. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    The beast hit like a freight train and Juniper found herself at a loss for words. She could hear Kuram talking to her, but his voice was hazy and dreamlike and second only to the pain that bloomed across her chest. It was difficult to so much as speak and she wondered, for a brief horrifying moment, if she'd broken something. The pain intensified when she was tossed, and Juniper spent a moment on her side, to regain the strength the monster had so easily sapped out of her.

    Glass canon, that was the word Sera had used to describe her. She was still trying to crawl out of that niche and improve her own strength, but for now, she'd failed and left Kuram to deal with the beast on his own. She sat up to see the last few moments of the fight, eyes enraptured by the green glow that had rendered the monsters paralyzed and defeated. So this was the power of the cleaver clan. Admiration only dug its roots deeper.

    But the victory of battle was short-lived, Klause and Sera arrived at the worst moment.

    "Klause! Sera! Don't get near it!"

    Neither Juniper's nor Kuram's words got through to the leader and the archer on time, Juniper was just about to race toward her friends in hopes of doing anything to get them out of harm's way, but Kuram was already on it. The monster's arm was cut off, but he'd suffered an accidental injury in the process. The monster was defeated.

    Kuram made her way toward her, words barely leaving his lips before he toppled over and fell. His weight brought on the familiar sting from earlier, but she was far too worried about his well being to care. "I'm fine... you're not. We should get you to a hospital or something." She held onto him for a moment, concern written all over her face. Had they not been through a life-and-death situation. This position they'd found themselves in would have left her flustered. "Kuram, do you think you can stand? We need to tend to your wounds."

    It was around then, that Klause's strong arms wrapped around the fallen boy's waist. He hauled Kuram to his feet before having the slender boy sit on the grass. Klause hadn't been fond of the Cleaver boy when they first met but guilt was written all over his face. "You're going to be okay. We've got a first aid kit."

    Klause and Sera worked in tandem to stop the worst of Kuram's bleeding and wrap up his wounds, and once that was done, they attended to Juniper. Nothing was broken, but a dark and ugly bruise had spread across her torso where the tendons and dark flesh had hit.

    "Thankfully," Klause exhaled. "It's nothing serious. You two should be alright."

    "We weren't expecting to have a Break Beast in the area so soon," Sera added. "Apparently they're multiplying like rabbits in the spring. We just cleared the area yesterday." She shook her head. "This isn't good. Klause, we should get back to HQ and finish the rest of meeting."
     
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  18. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    Kuram's teeth were pressed when he laid against her. Anger was a normal state for any fighter when they'd lost their ability to carry on with the battle. By the way he was clutching his sheathed weapon by his side it seemed Kuram was not immune to tarnishes on his pride, either, and he tried to oppose her help. "I'm fine. It's a clean cut." he muttered even as he was being handled by her. She'd feel a tension in his back that wasn't necessarily helpful to sitting him up.

    There was little for him to do, white robe turning a pink and red gradient, when Klause lifted him and set him down on the grass. He huffed when he was propped up against the trunk of a tree. All around remnants of panic still moved the people, but their sounds were on a tolerable level now. Good. Less risk for trampling. He glared up at Klause who didn't seem too keen on the situation either. "Thanks." he said between his teeth. he supposed first aid was the least they could do.

    He drank some water through his mask while they tended to Juniper. Klause wasn't very excited about putting the two together, but there was nowhere but the tree that could act as supports for their backs. Kuram placed his sheathed sword across his knee as he listened to what they said. "I've seen this kind of quick turn-around before." he injected. Kuram leaned the back of his skull against the bark and sighed to test the bandages on his chest. He thought they were decent. Klause narrowed his eyes at him and Sera had a question she then swallowed. The event that had claimed Kuram's Clan.

    "I'll talk to the higher-ups about it." Klause gave. Sera nodded and took a step back, looking to the sky. "Will you two be alright? We need to report this, and start on countermeasu..." Klause's words trailed off when he saw Kuram's hand cover Juniper's.

    "I think the worst is over for now." Kuram said and nodded toward the building they should use. The red and blue pair darted off, propelled by the power in their suits. There had been hesitation in the blue's jump.

    Kuram groaned as he turned his body toward hers. The white hair fell around his face to imprison his yellow eyes. He squeezed her digits affectionately as his mouthguard opened up so she could see him from her angle. His mouth was just as she'd remember it from the cafe. That moment seemed so far away now. "I think, for a first date, this will do just fine, don't you, Juni?" he asked as he leaned closer, jaw tense from the cut in his side.

    "I was told there'd be something sweet for me at the end of all this." he whispered as he stroked the back of her hand with his fingertips. "Were you lying?" The molten gold eyes flashed once before they faded back to the mercury rings she knew. "If I bleed, it's because its my first time." he said and then chuckled with his deep voice, which in turn made him wince from his current state.
     
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  19. Nimbus

    Nimbus Chaotic Member

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    "We'll be fine, Klause. You need to tell headquarters as soon as you can, we'll hold out till you send help." Juniper's voice a little strained, but she meant every word. Now that the monster was dealt with, they'd be able to tough it out until someone from Headquarters came to pick them up. "It's just a bruise, and I'll make sure Kuram's wound doesn't get any worse." She hadn't noticed the hesitation in Klause's nod, but he and Sera were gone soon after.

    Not the ideal way to end a date, but this had most certainly been the most exciting one. "I would have rather we didn't end up injured, but you're right, it will definitely be a memorable first date." Pulled the helmet off her head then and tossed it to the grass. When Kuram held her hand, she blushed like a shy schoolgirl, as if she were no longer a Scythe but merely a girl who'd enjoyed a lovely date at a quaint little cafe. "Thanks for saving me back there." A sheepish smile. "You were amazing."

    The red of her cheeks deepened when he leaned close and she laughed lightly at his request. "Still a smooth operator, I see. Tell you what, once we're back at HQ, I'll give you my number as promised and... if you're interested, we can have a proper date. One that doesn't end with monsters going for our throats." She was happy he was holding her hand, and as he spoke, she leaned her head against his shoulder.
     
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  20. reverse

    reverse crusher rusher Member

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    It was good to see that she was well enough. Blunt trauma shouldn't be taken easy, protective suit or not. He remembered how the pillar had crashed into her. He smiled when he saw her face again, hair a little wilder from its stay inside the helmet. "No problem. I feel like any good potential partner should at least keep the other alive." he said and shrugged. "I'm just old fashioned that way." Another confident grin. His injuries hadn't been from the Beast, after all.

    "I was kinda of hoping for at least second base, but I guess your number is good for now." he joked and put his cheek to her head while she rested against his shoulder. Kuram breathed slowly, conserving energy while enjoying her nearness. The rotting pieces of the beast were left alone, people taking care to walk wide circles around it, while campus recovered from the bloody and violent ordeal. Kuram squeezed her hand and thought he saw another light atop a building before he closed his eyes.

    When he opened them again they were in a medical facility. He guessed they'd been transported to HQ. Before anyone could talk to him about it, he smiled to himself, and then tried to sit up against the headboard. It went surprisingly easy, and he flexed his upturned palm in commemoration to the drip for the drip. His battle garb had given place for his day clothes, since there was no threat, and his shirt was removed and mostly replaced by bandages. Kuram touched the bonds and nodded to himself. The cut had been given good attention.

    "I am telling you, Juniper, he's not had formal, Syndicate approved training." Klause said as they walked down the corridor after a short briefing with their handler, sent down from the council. He had removed his helmet and held it in one arm, but kept his suit on. "That's why we shouldn't have brought him here. Now, I understand I have a responsibility in this..." he shook his head and stopped, reliving the moment that opened up Kuram's side. It would be a stain on his record and the root of hesitation for a while.

    "But he mustn't stay long. And you shouldn't befriend him. It seems like a conflict of interest, doesn't it? Someone who can't be a sanctioned Scythe, being so close to one who is?" he sighed as he took them to medbay and frowned as his hand-print opened the door. Kuram had been given their best physicians, that coupled with the fact that the wound hadn't been lethal should let him be up and running rather quickly, especially since they'd replenished the blood he lost.

    "Look at you two. I'm glad everyone's alright." Kuram said and tugged at the IV. He laughed modestly at his state. Klause took a place by his bed and straightened his posture.

    "I am sorry for cutting you. I was on high alert and I thought you were coming at me." he explained. Kuram waved the arm that didn't have a needle in it.

    "It's better to be cut by a Syndicate blade than Break Beast claws, right?" he said and tried looking beyond the staunch Scythe to lay eyes on Juniper, much like their first meeting. "Did you bring me more cake?" he asked, and the familiarity and casual nature upset Klause so much he huffed and took a step back, hands fisted by his side as he passed her.

    "Just remember what I said." he warned and hurried out the door. Kuram grinned and waved her over, and petted the bed for her to sit.

    "Hey there, Heroine."
     
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