Cementing

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Cast  • Geneva Rose Sterling Pagan

Date  • 2020-06-24

Summary  • Awkward Guardian sexual tension turns into flight for life from things too strange to face.

 

"So you're telling me-" There's a conversation going on at the water cooler. Literally around the water cooler. It's adjacent to one of the elevator bays. The voice is uniquely familiar. It's Pagan. It isn't that his voice is insanely deep or booming that makes it so distinct. It's the way it's kind of soft, scratchy and not so overwhelming. It's a comforting voice. The kind of voice one might hear on YouTube talking someone through the steps of DIY noodle making or pottery. "-you can accept that matter and energy are basically two sides of the same coin, but despite that and the fact that you've already stated all Matter ultimately leads back to the stars, you cannot accept that there's a possibility that matter, life, and energy are three difference frequencies of the same thing? Even the nihilists agree with that. Eventually."

The man on the other side of this conversation is average height. He looks tiny beside Pagan, but he makes up for it with his confidence; unwavered as he belittles the larger man. "If there were any truth to that, then why are there ten distinct Arcana that are fully compartmentalized?" The onlookers--in their suits and functional yet professional attire--move their heads and/or gazes diagonally between the two.

Pagan shrugs. "How are they 'fully' compartmentalized? The only thing that stops two Patterns from being able to merge into one--even if within the purview of different Arcana--is knowledge and experience." He holds out his right hand aloft like he going to swear an oath. "Look at my hand. It's both Life and Matter and neither of those things. Just as the Mesolithic Druids saw the combination of two elements as the creation of a third, the way we define and discuss magic changes with our societal paradigm, but any system that encompasses ubiquitously is going to suffer in terms of descriptive precision."

The other man is quiet for a moment before he retorts with, "Says the 'gun mage'."


Matter. Life. These are not Gin's forte. This conversation? It's also not Gin's forte. She is, however, soon among the onlookers, glacial gaze languidly shifting between the two people chatting away at the cooler, her brows furrowing as she follows along with the concepts apparently being disagreed upon. She takes in a breath a few times as though she'd interrupt, but that would be terribly rude, and so she just lets it out in a sigh every time, and holds her tongue. At the other man's 'conclusion', the skin above Gin's nose wrinkles. "Says the man with no viable or defensable position." She begins, "Says the man that resorts, in civil discourse, to what amounts to petty name calling. Just because you haven't the ability to consider a reality beyond your own doesn't mean his path is any less viable, or his title any less than whatever you might hope to wear but can't achieve." A beat, "Who are you?" I want to speak to your manager. Gin is a small woman, this much is true. She lacks the physical imposition of ... well, really anyone else in the room. But, there is a sort of gravity to everything she does, a feeling that rolls off her that inspires shame and insists guilt. The way she's looking at that poor fellow suggests that offering her a name might not be in his best interest, but goodness, if he doesn't just really want to.


There is a single onlooker that starts to chuckle at the petty retort, but that laughter turns to ash in her throat as Gin Joint steps into the conversation. Well; pounces it like tiger on a dog it doesn't like.

The man seems surprised; his eyebrows start in a 'the the fuck are you' position that quickly drops down into flat lines of 'oh really.' Pagan is ignored for the moment as his 'opponent' turns around and gives the interruption (how he looks at her with those scathing, 'no fucks' glares) his full attention. "I'm Johnson." There's some snoot there in the flicker of a twitch below his eyes. "And you've probably never heard of me, because I'm a proper Guardian." The sneer of his expression grows as a couple of the onlookers exchange glances.

Johnson lifts a finger to point as he's about to speak further. It's back like a scorpion in that moment. Like he's going to stab it towards her. Before he can, Pagan's right hand is on his left shoulder. "Hey," he tells Johnson. "No need to escalate. We're just theory-chewing, right?" There's a beat that's copied by the pat of his hand on that shoulder.

A voice from one of the tiny offices shouts, "GET BACK TO WORK!"

Pagan's eyes shift from Johnson to Gin Joint, and he lifts his chin at her and greets. "Can I tell you a secret?" Three or four onlookers lean in. Pagan looks around as if just now realizing there's a bit of a crowd.

"You heard her! Back to it!" The cubicle farm is picking back up, peole are dispersing, and Johnson gives Gin Joint and Pagan (mainly the former) a dirty sneer before he heads back to his task.


"You're a proper fuckin' fud, mate." Gin retorts evenly. Apparently his withering glare isn't having its desired effect, because Gin's own icy blues are meeting him head on in the sort of silent challenge that suggests she's just the sort of mad cunt that's waiting for the fight to begin. "And I've not heard of you, because you're irrelevent, and you know that better than any of the rest of us, don't you?" It's clinical, that stare of hers, the way it cuts away at those well guarded walls in seeking for the sweet meats that await her. She offers this even as Pagan's hand is upon the fellow's shoulder. She offers it even as she's stepping forward toward what would be that striking, stinging finger, her chin lifting and arms raising to the sides as though she would unleash the sickest T pose ever known to man. Her eyes slide to Pagan with a vague narrowing, but the yelling does stop her approach, but then move to watch Johnson scuttle back to his desk. As he passes, she informs him, "We all know, Johnson." Her voice lowers, "You reek of failure." With that, she huffs out a softly snooted 'hmph', and turns her head to stare toward the much larger figure of Pagan. Her head then bobs, and she turns to stride away, apparently to get back to work, one hand moving toward the satchel she's wearing to pull free some papers that she's got to make copies of.


"Christ, Gin." It's a soft profanity that Pagan utters. Not so much for the workplace. Everyone knows this bullpen has heard worse. It's more just that he doesn't so much mean to state it as it is just pulled out of him like chains dredging some wreck from the bottom of the sea.

He's about to say something further, but she walks off and leaves him in possession of a secret only now-banished onlookers were interested in. He was so touched when she stuck up for him, but that just lifted him up for the higher fall. The narrowing of her eyes at him, her escalation towards Johnson even as he was trying to prevent escalation, the nod of... acknowledgement? To say the look on his face is confounded doesn't quite touch it. He's as perplexed as a man that was running to his favorite childhood cartoon mascot only to get a swift kick in the nuts.

Completely lost, he lifts his hand at Gin Joint in silent 'I don't even know' greeting (Surrender?) as she's already striding away.

He turns around, bobs his head in a nod as he walks to the elevator, then makes a thoughtful frown as his head bounces a little left and right as if in deliberation. He stops the superfluous movements and then makes a "Hhn" sound in his throat. Expression alternating between neutral and different frowns and other pensive looks, he waits for the elevator. His patience lasts about seven seconds before he hits the button again. Harder this time. Just in case.


"Hold the lift." Gin announces, apparently completely unaware of anything that's going on in Pagan's head. She goes about making the copies she needs, collects them, neatly tamps them into uniformity, and stuffs them right back into her satchel. Once that's complete, she turns and begins striding back toward Pagan, one gloved hand lifting to push her hair back out of her face, smoothing it down and turning her attentions to Pagan in her approach. Utterly nothing seems wrong. "Apologies, needed to get those copies done." There's a soft sniff, "Otherwise it wasn't happening." Reasonable. She glances to the elevator door, and then back to Pagan, vague smile on pale lips. "So," She begins, leaning toward him conspiratorily. "Secrets, ey?" Her brows lift and fall, and she straightens to return his personal space to him, hands clasping in front of her. "Anything to do with our friend Bally? Or is this the sort og thing where I get all interested and get a screaming goat for my efforts?" She shifts her weight in an easy sway, Johnson now the farthest thing from her mind. He knows, now. He knows they all know. That's good enough for her. "That reminds me, actually, that we could very likely use your help in regards to the Banishers issue. We've been stretched a bit thin as of late, Nine and myself, but it must be addressed." All business. All the time.


It's funny. Pagan is an instant from taking the stairs when he hears that request to hold the elevator from the only person in the building that would call it a lift. "Better word for it, really." The door finally dings and opens, and he's just barely gotten inside and wrapped one of his big hands around the inside of the door superfluously to keep it from closing to hold it open for her. Once inside he elaborates on his segue as the door shuts. "Lift. Much less of a mouthful than elevator. They both only mean to go up, too, so they're equally shit in all other ways. I like it." Yes. That's how rare the word 'lift' is in the Northwest unless you're in a Crossfit class or otherwise hearing it through the context of fitness.

"Uh." He sucks in a breath and smiles at her. It's a little forced, but not really. There are smiles in him for her, but they're all tangled up right now. The one on his face matches suit. "You know we could tag them all with lasers and then wait until they go to bed and snipe them all in the middle of the night, right. Just gotta figure out which the bad ones are." The elevator is old and slow. It's on the to-do list that comes right after 'Don't Die'. "From Smith Tower? The big, round one across the other river? With the right collection of hardware and mystical support, we could probably snipe anyone in Vancouver from the top floor." He blinks a couple times and then looks over. "I've been working on a plan for it since you brought it up at the town hall. Banishers need to be taken seriously. They use the Sleepers better than any of our foes, but you say 'liches' or 'Scelesti' and everyone forgets about them. So... don't think I've been planning a killing spree in Vancouver or something."


Gin just stares toward Pagan as he goes on about the difference between lift and elevator. When he holds the door, she does dutifully slink into that death cage of questionable security, rigidly standing against the back wall as she prepares for its descent. Something dawns on her, however, and she squints at some daring there-and-not memory, her head tilting as it turns toward him. "... Wasn't this how we met properly? Pretty sure I called you names, then followed you to call you more names, and then you called me..." She blinks, brow furrowing, her attention moving away from him to stare toward the now closed door instead. "It doesn't matter." She decides, aloud. "Mm, but there's the rub, right? Investigation still has to happen in order to properly execute," A beat, "No pun intended," Her brows twitch up and fall, "Our response." And then he's saying Liches and Scelesti, and she exhales a slow, quiet sigh through her nose. Her lips purse. "... What the hell is even going on in this place? I mean, there's always a threat that we're dealing with in every city I've been in, that much is to be expected. That is the way of things. But, this place?" Her brows lift in their creasing, something that would give her a sort of lost puppydog expression that'd be most convincing, were it not for the fact that he knows well that she's a vicious beastie beneath that fragile veneer of propriety. "Every day seems something different yet equally so world-ending as the last, and the cases aren't being cleared nearly so fast as they're coming in... a backlogs of threats that cannot be ignored, and yet also cannot be currently fully addressed." He can already feel the tension in her building, like a spring being wound too tightly. "Where do we start?" She blinks, pauses, turns her attention to him. "... Er... apologies, once again. You had secrets to impart. I'm listening."


He touches the back of his neck with a wince in memory. "You followed me to call me names? I thought you just wanted to kiss my forehead and make it feel better." Pagan, however, was also just thinking about their first elevator ride. His eyes are just barely squinted, but it makes the crows feet that line them just a bit more pronounced in that moment. The elevator is slow; they have ten seconds or so until the door opens, but he looks over at that big, red button like he's considering hitting the emergency stop for a moment. His eyes shift back over to Gin Joint to examine her face like he's never seen her before or isn't going to see her again for awhile. There's definitely something(s) unsaid there. In the place of words, he momentarily rubs his lips together.

When he speaks, his eyes fail to meet hers for a moment. "There is a lot going on here. I'd like to hope that part, at least, of the level of threat is that we're just more aware of our surroundings than some places, but... you're right. This is a very dangerous Consilium. Which is part of the reason I know that no matter how careful I am, well, any mission could be the last. Whether it's to an actual monster, a Scelesti infiltrator, or a kid with a gun, there's a possibility. I don't wanna give some macho shit like 'comes with the terri-'" He stops as the elevator dings. The doors open, and he puts a hand around them and stays aside for Gin Joint to go first; not stepping yet.

"Gin," he's careful there. Like he wanted to use her name but doesn't. He pauses, and in that pause there is a birth of awkwardness that comes into being. Why isn't he getting off the elevator? He's just standing there. Holding it. Maybe this is why the thing always takes so long when summoned. "I don't have a secret. Well. Not that kind of secret. I just kinda felt like I was going to explode in a good way when you jumped Johnson's shit. But then I realized..." He trails off and drags his upper lip between his teeth invisibly for a moment; pulling it free before he continues. "I keep looking at you in a way I shouldn't. And that's on me, right?" He's nodding and squinting with the question as if trying to confirm or convince himself. "And you're being professional. In most ways. You're not leading me on. It's just... I don't know. You made it clear you're not interested. I just... it's taking me some time to get everyting in line, you know?" Does he know?


"I mean..." Gin lifts her shoulders in a shrug that doesn't fall, "Insults are the way we make things better back home, so I suppose in a way I was just very aggressively kissing it better with my words, in such a fashion that I made you momentarily forget about the pain... by virtue of getting you angry with me." Finally her shoulders fall, a smug smirk kissing her lips. That is, of course, until he continues. She's noticed the way he's looking at her, the expression he wears, that lingering ... something that she can't quite place. "That's the case of any place, isn't it?" That rhymed. She makes a bit of a face, but continues on. "Guardian or pedestrian on the street, there's always something waiting around the corner to snuff us out. Even our own bodies are making their best attempts at it. It's simply that we're acutely aware of..." And there's the ding. As though compelled to do so, Gin starts a bit and hurries her way off the lift. Damnedable UK conditioning. Her name is given, and she turns around now that she's clear of the lift to face him. When he starts talking about what he shouldn't be doing, she seems genuinely confused by what he's on about. "I'm ... not sure how you mean, get everything in line." Her head tilts to one side in her observation, "How is it that you're supposed to be looking at me? We all view this world and the people in it very differently... view particular traits in certain flattering or unflattering light, dependant upon our own characteristic--...s..." She squints at herself, stopping herself before she continues down a far too clinical path for the conversation at hand. She clears her throat, "What I mean is that I don't believe seeing anyone a particular way is wrong... it is, at its core, unspoken opinion, which we're all free to entertain, right?" She pauses, "... I'm not making sense, am I?"


The elevator tries to shut the door and immediately belays its action; jerking in place due to the placement of Pagan's hand. He gives it a look like it's only going to give him so many chances before it goes down anyways, but his crystal-clear blue eyes come back to meet her bigger, lighter-hued orbs. "I lied to you." He doesn't follow that for a moment. He does step out of the elevator, however. It shuts behind him after a few moments, but he still hasn't spoken. He puts his hands in his pockets, looks down at the ground, and starts to walk in a very unhurried manner through the breezeway towards the parking lot. It's a ways, as they came out of the elevator on the far side of Turbine Hall. This breezeway used to be a popular hangout for children and teens on school trips, but now it is empty except for the two of them and a couple of nearby racoons digging through the dumpster around the corner of the building.

Staring at the ground and slowly walking south towards the parking lot or his home, he finally elaborates. At the ground. "I wasn't fucking with you to prove my acting skills that one day. I just... I just started leaking. I didn't really get why at the time, so I made up an excuse. By the time I got my shit together... you were gone. Then when I saw you the next morning?" It's good he's looking at the ground. She only has to see one side of his face as he makes an expression like he just had something twisted in his gut. "Everything was different. You had even more barriers up than a half dozen belts could pull off. I'm not just a peer to you anymore. I'm a threat. That really..." He catches the insides of his lips between his teeth for a moment. "Really made me feel like a fuckin' creep, to be honest." The last part would be too low to be heard if they weren't out in the quiet, foggy morning. What distant traffic noise usually pouring down off the nearest bridge seemingly muffled by it. Busiest bridge in Oregon a thousand feet away and they might as well be the only people for miles. They're about in the middle of the breezeway as he continues. "I'd invited you back to get Kismet to show you we could interact without the weirdness, but I could tell it was too late. You were... so guarded." Another word seems read to come, but it shifts into a sigh and falls to the cement floor.

The fog around them is gradually but noticeably thickening; not unheard of for this season and this time of day, but typically this is when the fog is burning off, not getting thicker. Pagan hasn't noticed it, because he's a little focused inward (and downward) right now. The racoons around the corner can be heard scurrying up and out of the dumpster and running off towards a copse of trees and brush near the bank.


When he first confesses to lying to her, the look she gives him is a witheringly furious affair. It is, however, short lived. It's quite apparent that the concept of being fooled is an instant trigger for the frost midget known as Gin, and the idea that she's given someone so much thought only to know that she'd been duped in some way has her immediately riled. To her credit, however, she actually waits for him to expound upon this confession. She follows as he paces, silently livid already, but forcing a strained neutrality onto her expression. "A half dozen--" She begins, undoubtedly to correct his approximation of the truly unhinged amount of belts that adorn that particular outfit, but she stops herself to allow for him to continue. When he concludes, her lips press to a tight, bloodless line briefly, "You humiliated me," She accuses, or explains. It's a bit muddied, really. "In that moment I felt concerned, I felt compassion, I -allowed- myself to feel these things, and then was made to feel a fool for believing you... like you'd pulled one over on me, and made a mockery of..." Her eyes close and she shakes her head, a sigh loosed even as that fog builds. She, too, is distracted. "I... do not handle humiliation well. I do not handle being ... tricked ... well. In that moment, I felt terribly disrespected... I felt like I was an absolute diddy for feeling something, and was ashamed that I didn't see it until you made me see it." She continues, her arms crossing over her chest, her gaze cast downward much the same as his. "By the time I came back, I was expecting you'd mock me, and in my impotent rage fall even further toward something I don't wish to ..." She stops herself again, taking in a sharp breath, bordering on a gasp, shoulders tight and lifting gradually in her growing apprehension. "I had resolved not to be fooled again." She concludes, right about as the racoons go scurrying off, her attentions drawn toward the sound, sharp gaze focused in their direction. That seems ... odd. It's about then that she notes the fog, and the strange sort of silence that shouldn't be found in a place such as this. "... hm..." She breathes out a noise, icy gaze flicking from detail to detail, a strange sense of forboding prodding at the periphery of her curiosity. "Is, uh..." She looks sidelong toward Pagan, "Are you... making fog?" The hell kind of question is that?


The words 'You humiliated me.' That's about where his desire to look over at her combined with his guilt forces him to squeeze his eyes shut for a moment of anguish. One look at his suffering would show anyone that's the last thing he ever wanted. As she continues to talk, he swallows; the sound dead and distant in his own ears. The more he listens, the more upset he seems; further agonizing over a bad decision. Rather than spiral too badly, however, he is interrupted from his internalization by the question about the fog.

He looks up, straightens, looks around, and straightens further. He really takes a good chunk of inches off himself when he's trying to talk to her. "I don't fucks with weather magic," he tells her with a shake of his head. His concern is fleeting. Fog in Portland happens. He probably should be a touch more cautious, but he's distracted and there's no clear and present danger.

"Gin." There's a pause as he swallows, and it grows as he turns towards her. "I'm sorry I made you feel that way." Which way? He doesn't specify. The way he's feeling guilty about making her feel, obviously. "I'm still figuring things out. You know. Life; not the magic, but the living. Kinda newer to all this than I seem, you know?" His smile looks more wincing than convincing, but he tries it on all the same.

As they're talking, however, that light fog has thickened considerably. Even in his distraction, his guilt, his shame, and his embarrassment, Pagan says something that really should be a line, but isn't. He realizes he can barely tell which way is east and west right now (which should be very simple given that they're in the open, it's morning, and there is a major river and bridge nearby, and he quietly insists, "Hold on to me, Gin." Never has he missed such an opportunity.

The sound of Wrath coming out of Pagan's leg is something she knows now. Not because it is loud, but because the sounds of that machinery volumizing out to life like some sort of Transformer is more distinct and subtle than a Hollywood effect could hope to be. It leaves that taste of ions on the air; crisp, clean, and sterile for all of a moment before the thickening fog pushes it right away. She can feel his left hand grasping at her clothes on her right side; trying to get a handful of something (inorganic) as he peels his eyes open and starts to look around with eyes that can see through the fog; if only a fraction of the Patterns of the Tapestry at at a time. "I've totally got a crush on you," he admits as he forces his will around them both like an invisible suit of armor.


If it isn't him, and it certainly isn't her... As far as anyone knows, Gin hails from London. The fogs there are legendary. But this just doesn't feel right. Maybe she's just paranoid -- a very real possibility given her history and general state of 'edgy, mate' that she lives her life in. It does, however, give Pagan a lot more chance to speak to her without that harsh and judgmental gaze of hers rested on him, but instead drifting over the surroundings as questions begin forming in her mind. What would cause this naturally? Why is it so quiet? Why are animals fleeing? Her eyes flick from point to point as she asks herself these questions, seeking answers that she doesn't have to give. When he says her name again, her eyes flick back to him, "I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want to admit I had been fooled. So, yes. Walls were built, and sentries were placed on my ramparts." She confesses, "I do not envy you your predicament. It's ghastly." Now that's a proper british word for you. "I can only theorise about how difficult it must be to know and not to know all at the same time." But, when he speaks about holding on to him, beyond a quirk of her brow and a dubious expression cast his way, her paranoia assists in moving her to do what he says. He can feel her gloved hand creep over the front of his suit to ball in a fist, he can certainly feel the heat of the press of her body against his, her anxiety terribly clear. He may be grabbing something inorganic, but she is decidedly not. Her free hand moves for Kismet -- it is nothing so impressive as Wrath, but is definitely a brother in cause -- her fingers artfully working to free it from its holster, the sound of the rigid, lined leather against the metal as it's drawn an obvious thing to many. When he speaks his last, she can't help the look that crosses her face, even with her swimming in an ocean of danger senses. "A ... a crush? Are we back in primary?" She's so judgmental, but he might have noticed by now that it gets so much worse when she begins feeling flustered. It's a deflection, and she's good at it. She doesn't look at him now, focused on the world that seems to be in the process of being swallowed up, stolen from view. "... I don't like this," No, really? She blinks once, the briefest flash of white-blue shimmering across her icy gaze, some complex design of gossamer strands streaking through those pale depths as she fights to see literal reason in the mist, some sort of indication as to why this is occuring, what might be causing it, and how she could stop it. The perception she has of the situation, how she can manipulate the tapestry to her favour should shit go sideways, results in the activation of her mage armour -- a momentary tremor as she tugs on those webbed strands. Under her breath, high speech can be heard, only by virtue of the fact that she is currently clung into his side like some fucked movie poster for some Bonnie and Clyde epic as Kismet is pulled upward, strange symbols formed in some ethereal threading before it shatters and blows away on her breath. "Right. Okay..." She whispers to herself, "Let's get proper bold." Maybe that means something to her. Maybe it's in reference to forcing fate to favour her, if only for a little while.


"You say that like I remember scho-WHOAAH!" Pagan's low voice spikes in surprise and alarm as Gin Joint can feel him jerk beside her. A grey, cement-textured hand has a hold of his ankle around his pantleg. No sooner than he starts to twist about to aim at the arm emerging from the ground beneath their feet as if that smooth, grey surface is liquid to all but them when a pair of hands grabs his left leg. The grips are machine strong, but they don't crush his ankles thanks only to the Shielding effect he'd extended over them both just before.

Hands come up out of the ground for Gin Joint, as well, forcing her to dance to the edge of her grip on Pagan's suit jacket to dodge the first pair as the second wraps around her foot from below attempts to crush her bones; slowly bending her shoe and bruising her instead of breaking bones. To her left--maybe towards the water?--a form comes fully up out of the cement, but where eyes should be there are pits like miniature sinkholes. There is no mouth at all until it smiles at her; cement falling into its face like the ground crumbling away from the surface to reveal infinite mystery below.

Pagan twists his fingers about on his left hand, pulls it into his chest, and makes a half circle in front of him from 2 o'clock to 8. Gin Joint can feel her tiny frame surge with the torque of a machine; her pound for power ratio spinning wildly towards the realms of unbelievable for a creature her build. She can feel, however, the strain that is taking on her system immediately. The adrenal surge. Her eyes widen to their maximum and lose their ability to blink. She's in a state of shock unlike that she's ever seen. When this effect ends, they're going to be exhausted. Now they're on the clock in more ways than one.

"RUN TOWARDS THE GARAGE NOISE!" is what Pagan chooses to scream as he lurges for Gin Joint, slaps her hand for one desperate clench as he's suddenly pulled, and then vanishes back into the fog as something manages to pull him away; leaving Gin Joint there with that hand around her shoe and others coming back for her.


When Pagan jerks, so does Gin. She's already jumpy, and this isn't helping. But what's REALLY not helping ... is the cement growing limbs. "OH--" She begins, but stops as she has to dance away from those hands, even as her one hand is still gripping at the cloth, not realising the seperation it insists at the start. "What fresh hell is this??" Why, Portland?? Why?! God, she should have stayed in Edinburgh. The only thing that tried to grab her back home was cheeky chavs, and they're so much easier to deal with than... this. When it starts to clench at her foot, however, she growls out some formless profanity, jerking free of the boot that it had caught. This is gunna ruin her damned stockings. When that form emerges, her head snaps toward that, and Kismet is brought to point toward it with that steady, level hand. In these moments of utter chaos, she begins to find her perfect clarity, everything seems to slow and refine in her mind's eye. That, of course, lasts only as long as it takes for Pagan to work his baffling magics. She takes in a gasped breath, her fingers tightening their grip on her gun, and his suit jacket. As a result, when he screams and slaps her hand, he is left staring back at those vibrant, chilly eyes, almost unsettling in their purity, her fingers trying to grip back at that desperate clench... ... But she's too late... "PAGAN!" She howls toward the mist, her teeth clenching as she hears the sound of the door. She can't help but think that he knows what this is, or at least he's got a better concept of it than she does -- his preparation, his defense, maybe it was nothing more than how he responds to any threat. Maybe she's just overly suspicious. But, he told her to run. Could she help him if she dove in after him? If nobody knows he, or they, are gone ... what hope is there? "I'll be back for you!" She bellows into that encroaching mist, "I'll find you!" She turns with that and begins in a dead sprint toward the sound of the garage, just as he had told her to do, using that last gift he gave to escape the clutches of ... whatever the hell this is. Just another day in the worst fucking Consilium in the world.


Silence. The only thing she hears after her scream is her own voice echoing in a place that usually carries (but only echoes with the sound of a truck horn or something on the bridge or a warning dinging in the water as a ship comes through). Her proclamation that she'll come save him before turning towards that distant, doomed to soon end sound of the garage door rolling up can be heard repeated in that echo. Mocking her. Taunting her with her own voice. Warping around her as she spins around in the smiling, pitfall grin of a cement creature just in time to see stalactites stab down from the roof of its mouth as if the cave is now spilling into the world of man. Two stalagmite tusks follow, and it is during that distraction that the strange thing--which is in no way the result of Awakened magic; not Supernal to her senses--punches that cement fist into her stomach hard enough to bruise her spine on the other side of her organs and tissues if not for the buffering force of that Shield.

The sudden pelting, rapid slap of footsteps echo from behind before Pagan is bursting past her; grabbing for Gin Joint and pulling her sideways and forward in attempt to get her away from Cement Thing without stopping. "RUN! They're everywhere!" He's got Wrath in his hand and has yet to fire a shot, because everyone time he starts to aim something grabs him. He's bleeding down the left side of his face from a nasty gash above his hairline, but he just aims with his left hand. The one that is holding a fob or a dongle; whichever funny word one desires; they're both correct in this case. He hits the buttons as he's running and adjusts his course as he hears the door stagger and reverse direction. He keeps hitting the light button on to try and turn on his perimeter lights, but they're already on; just distant candles of glow through the thickness of that fog.

As they run, however, the ground begins to undulate beneath their feet; waves washing back towards them making them work with more effort to push forward like some sort of Ninja Warrior Escalator of Doom.


When impact is made, that crushing blow sinking into her tendervittles as it does, a sharp yelp escapes her, forced out by the pure pressure that tears through her even with the benefit of the armouring magics he provided. She's thrown off balance, but manages to keep her feet under her as she sprints onward, exhaustion already showing its ugly face. She was not built for this. Pagan's sudden arrival makes her jump, "JESUS! Here am are all fuckin' sentimental again and you're pullin' shite!" Gin expresses, calmly, her surprise. "When you said you had a crush on me, this wasn't what I was expecting!" She remembers herself, and once again assumes that posh british cover. It's hard to tell if she's actually annoyed about it or just being clever, most especially since it's broken up by heaving, panting breath that would be terribly charming to behold were it in a different circumstance. Her feet are quick, probably quicker than most people assume of her, especially given she only has no boots on. "What -is- this?!" She likely doesn't expect an answer as she charges toward the fence, when he pulls at her to get her away from this grinning, hungry thing that has done some very real damage by this point, her body showing clear indications of slowing in the wake of the event. When she arrives, it's with that surprising grace and pure panicked necessity that she's rolling her way over. Now is not the time for methodical. Now is the time to not get eaten. She will, to her credit, wait to help Pagan over, turning to stretch hands out for him in case he needs that extra little hoist.


Pagan is spitting blood out the corner of his mouth in the opposite direction of Gin Joint as he runs; trying to counter his panting, open mouth allowing the active flow from his head in the rush of everything. He is much slower to reach the fence than Gin; almost out of sight when she reaches it. He's wounded and despite the surge of adrenaline and Mana, he's quickly losing steam as he sprints through the waves; not being able to spare the energy to jump them so easily as Gin Joint does.

Just as he drops low as if he is going to jump the fence rather than climb it, one last cement arm comes out of the Mists to grab him; this time tightly acround his right wrist. He yanks his arm away with a sound that is more of a lazy, desperate grunt than anything heroic, and throws himself at the fence; grabbing the top bar with his left hand and flipping his injured body around to the other side; reaching back for Gin but finding her more than capable. He drops down to his feet, falls onto his ass in his driveway, and rushes to the half-open door that's closing. Ducking and running through injured has him quickly staggering down to his knees and tumbles; looking back at the door as he activates every fan in the building with will alone; pushing the lingering fog that's drifted in out even as a sea of Mists seems about to close in around them. "Call the Hall," he says in a daze before it's even clear whether they're safe or not. Merlin Hall? Turbine Hall? ...Revolution Hall? He doesn't specify. He's in bad shape. There's a roar of fans over them, and the garage is closing down, and as the imbuing strength magic fades from them, he finds himself shakey as a post-flight prey animal; wide-eyed, bloody as fuck, and dragging himself on one knee towards Gin. "You hurt?" asks the man that just barely survived.


She's battered. She's bruised. But Gin's concern is mostly leveled on Pagan as they barely manage to get themselves inside. The fans confuse her, that roar a disorienting detail amidst the array of madness that's pounding through her reality like a sledgehammer, until she realises what he's trying to do with them. Her breath heaves, her expression still one of shock, her skin somehow even paler than it usually is as she sits, breathless, horrified on the floor. A gloved hand comes up to run the back of her hand across her mouth where some blood had escaped. Primarily, it's specks -- a soft of bloodied froth that's not altogether uncommon in people that've taken a particularly hard blow to the guts. Kismet has been pointed toward the door as it closes, as though she needed to be prepared to shoot anything that happened to rudely pop in uninvited, but her hand is shaking to a degree that one would find it hard to believe she could get an accurate shot off right now even if she tried. As it closes to a point where she feels at least somewhat secure, Kismet is shakily fumbled into a holster and her fingers reach into her pocket for the cell phone she carries, almost dropping it a few times, her digits practically numb in her blossomed anxiety. She is, in fact, calling the hall. When he asks her if she's hurt, dragging himself toward her, her eyes turn to him. "You're bleeding," She manages, hoarsely. So is she. With the hand not holding the phone, she's rummaging about in her satchel to find the gifts fate (well, she, actually) left her. That is, of course, exactly what she needs. She always seems to have just that. She pulls out some gauzy cloth, but lacks the requisite knowledge to properly treat his wounds. And so, phone in one hand and bandages in the other, she's shuffling toward him on her knees to press those sterile strips against the visible gash. "What the hell do I tell them when they pick up??" She is clearly distressed. It'd be weird if she wasn't. "What the hell WAS that??"


"Mists. Tell them the Mists are bad outside." He's spitting a little blood on himself as he talks. It isn't that it is coming from inside like hers is, but more than his mouth just keeps filling up with it. The fans cease without warning, a second layer of the door she's never seen before begins to roll down behind the first, and the fob Pagan holds that has been a big help is dropped. "Mists. Local. Full effect. They'll get it."

It isn't that he's trying to be vague or mysterious, or even that he isn't trying to be informative. He's soundly concussed, pale to the point of looking more blue or green than white--normally nicely tanned--and trying to keep his head straight.

"Cura te ipsum!" The words are a declaration like a soldier telling themself to get on their feet. If her Latin isn't too rusty, she might recognize the phrase from the longer 'Medice, cura te ipsum'. 'Physician, heal thyself.' or 'Healer, cure thyself.' The meaning, however, remains. Does she remember his lead hammer? The one he was rubbing on his head when they met? He pulls it very wearily from his jacket as if it's no more cumbersome than a pen and begins to mumble to himself as he's attempting to stop his bleeding and knit his wounds. It takes time, but on his third, gross motor motion in clockwise fashion with that hammer, he manages to complete his Imago, seal the effect, and quickly scab over his wounds. Blood no longer pouring down the left side of his face, he takes a little bit more time and care to help Gin Joint; chanting in High Speech and touching the center of her forehead so lightly with that cool hammer she barely feels it, then repeating that over her throat, her sternum, her solar plexus, her gut, and her abdomen as if following some chakra line.

Over the course of moments, she'll feel refreshed. Not healed entirely, no, but rested. Sated. No longer thirsty even though she didn't realize she was. It's like he didn't just heal her; he gave her a vacation. His half-blooded face splits in a big, dumb smile. The bloody side makes his teeth look whiter where his gums and teeth aren't pink with it. "Good hustle, Gin."


Gin nods in response to his words, and when there's someone on the other side of the phone, and she's certain it's who she meant to call, she will repeat precisely what he said. "Mists are bad outside. Local. Full effect." And then without so much as a word of further explanation, she's hung up on them and slid her phone back into her pocket. She just sits there on her knees, cloth pressed against Pagan's head -- something she actually has to reach for -- absolutely silent in the wake of these happenings, eyes allowed to fall toward the floor as exhaustion begins to settle in fully. "... I hate Portland." She mentions, casually. Her eyes slide shut, only one opening again as she hears him speaking in latin, one of her brows quirked as he begins playing with his hammer. No euphemism, even. She doesn't even move when the hammer is touched that gently to her forehead, her eyes merely both find a half-lidded state at the refreshing cool of the metal. She doesn't fight as he goes about whatever ritual this might be. She doesn't assume any impropriety, or slap away his hand. She's much, much too tired for any of that nonsense, and ... well, it's actually helping. She settles back, sitting her rump on her bootless heels. She's refreshed, she's recovering, but goodness she looks a little on the rough side. "I'm glad they'll get it, because I certainly don't. When they told me I was going to Portland, they left out some very crucial details, it seems." She finally pulls the cloth away from his head, now that his bleeding has stopped, and his wound has scabbed over. She stares at the cloth, glances to his wound, and then to his face. "Magical gauze, clearly. You're welcome." Her shoulders bounce in a scoff she didn't quite catch, lips parting ever so slightly in that grinning that evaded her grip on neutrality, but it's gone just as quickly as it appeared. "I can move if I've got to." A beat, "... you frightened me again. You really must stop doing that. I'm accustomed to not caring, and I should aim to keep it that way. I hesitated," She squints at that word, "Irrational emotions get people killed."


"If we sort Awakened magic into Arcana, why do we not recognize that Ration and Emotion are, likewise if sorting and labeling is the methodology of our paradigm, different aspects?" He's looking much better. His suit, in anyone else's hands, would be ruined. Blood is drying on the side of his face, if no longer flowing. He looks a proper mess, but he walks to the bathroom, runs the water, and carefully finds the right temperature before coming back--at a paced walk, he's not as refreshed as she is--and hands her a warm, damp rag for cleaning up with along with a clean hand towel for afterwards. He brought the sink to her so she wouldn't have to get up, basically. He then goes to his kitchen, gets into the pantry, and pulls out a mop and bucket. Menial, calm, and simple. Outside, things better left underexplained just tried to kill him. Now? He's getting ready to mop up where he bled on the floor. If she even so much as looks like he's going to fuss, he waves her off with a resolute hand. "This is how I process," is about all the explanation she'll get for his need to keep his Sanctum and sanctuary in order. He paces himself, however, and he doesn't seem unsteady on his feet; either steadily recovering or just stubborn and stoic before her. Once that mess is tended to, he removes his suit jacket, removes his button-up, and leaves his undershirt on; the white tank top unbloodied if sheer enough that his bruises can be seen through it. Washing up, he sets those clothes in the sink, keeps his pants on despite one of the cuffs being ripped and dragging, and comes and sits down next to Gin Joint.

He folds his hands in his lap, kicks his shoes off in front of him, and pulls his feet up into his lap. It's only then that he notices her boots didn't make it. That won't do. Quietly, he raises his left hand as he draws in the air with his right until a dagger made of unknown crystal appears in his left hand. It is a gorgeous piece; looking more fragile than a snowflake, but every bit as detailed. He takes it in his right hand and begins to cut at his ruined loafers with it; sliding the blade along the sole with a light scratch as he begins to whisper. The tip is used to put light details and shapes into it; suggesting a different form. Then he sets the dirk aside and hands her his shoes.

Only they aren't his. They're her boots; newer than new but somehow already feeling broken in, even if they weren't before. "Excuse the Hubris; I'm not much of a cobbler." Though if making sure a fellow Guardian is shod is Hubris, it certainly is the mildest form of it. "You don't need to move... Gin." He looks at her with a hard to discern expression and says, "You're... out of my league," he begins. "I'm not going to be a creep anymore." He closes his blues for a moment and then reopens them as he adds, "Shit's too real."