May 25, 2019 1:22 AM
'Chelledad scoops a Percy
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There are many people that a gang could set upon on a night, and even get away the victors. But even with the advantage of numbers, attacking the four tipsy people who'd been weaving down the street has turned out to be very much the wrong decision. Because the four tipsy people are in fact military trained. That they're tipsy barely impedes their reactions. It doesn't take them long to have it over with, breathing a little rushed, faces flushed with adrenaline and grins.

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"I could almost have done with them being more of them!" Strath says, bouncing slightly as she stretches.

"Psycho," Paul accuses fondly.

"Hey, a girl's gotta get her kicks somehow. I can't keep a boyfriend, or a girlfriend for love nor money..."

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The gang members are in various configurations of "on the ground, defeated". Except for the one that showed any common sense by not joining the fight and declaring surrender even before any of his gang mates was knocked to the ground.

One of the gang members, possibly their leader, is promising all kinds of horrible torture towards the "traitor".

Said traitor is standing still, watching the victors attentively, his face hard to read. His lack of reaction is only causing the possibly-leader to get madder and louder. Too loud for someone that just lost a fight.

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Strath gets noticeably irritated. "Oh, shut up," she says, her foot planting on the back of his head and forcing it further to the ground. "You're beaten, deal with it. No need to be a sore loser."

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"Strath," Aaren sounds far more amused than chiding. "Hey, kid, do I know you from somewhere?" he directs to the one still standing.

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The gang's leader says something that sounds awfully close to "dyke".

"You saw me earlier, I think four and a half hours ago. Me and Jeffrey," he points at one of the fallen, "were waiting in an alley and you spotted us and was immediately suspicious of two guys in an alley. By your disapproval I'd guess you subconsciously notice the smell of Jeffrey's cigarettes."

He sounds very confident of his assessments of Aaren's emotions. Less so of his inferences.

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Aaren smiles, gives a little laugh. "I shouldn't judge for smoking, I was like a chimney back in the day."

(That gains three snorts, even as Strath shifts her foot and straight up kicks the apparent leader in the face.)

"But I do anyway. You got somewhere to stay?"

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Percy smiles back at Aaren.

Then he tenses and appears to dodge an attack from behind before his wound be attacker even moves. Said attacker manages to lift himself up enough to see that Percy changed places and then falls to the ground defeated. Percy's hands go up again.

That reaction would've be hard to pull off even if it was choreographed somehow. The street is too noisy, there was no obvious visual tell even if Percy was looking that way.

"They know where I live and DeLarge would definitely torture me. He has been waiting for an excuse to torture someone for a while."

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He doesn't immediately react to the strange reaction times - he's seen more peculiar things, and he's started to get the impression this kid is anything but mundane. "Strath?"

Strath looks up at him. "We'll get the cops to deal with this, Sarge," she assures.

"Thanks," he says gratefully. "Alright, kid, you're with me. C'mon." He jerks his head, and half turns to leave, waiting half a beat to see if he's being followed.

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The kid follows without a pause. He doesn't look surprised or afraid there will be consequences.

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"I'm Aaren, you got a name I can call you by?"

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"Percy."

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"I'd say a pleasure, but under the circumstances..." Pause. "I suppose you're wondering where we're going?"

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"A shelter of some kind. Maybe your house. Because you're concerned about my safety."

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"Kinda comes down to which you'd prefer. Can get you a room in a hotel for the night, or I have a spare bedroom. -more of a couch tonight. Spare room is currently a box room. The bed might be a bit covered..."

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"I don't want to be alone," Percy says showing the first sign of apprehension. "I don't mind sleeping on the couch."

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"My house then," Aaren decides. "You might regret that when you realise 'not alone' includes a teenage girl - my daughter 'Chelle - and her best friend Lan on top of that."

He nods to the last. "Clearing the bed probably won't take too long, but if you just want to collapse and sleep, we can make up the sofa."

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"I don't mind other people. You don't need to worry about me being comfortable. The sofa is fine."

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Aaren blinks slightly, and gives him a sharp look. "We'll see," he says eventually. Pauses. "You mind telling me how old you are?"

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"Fifteen."

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"-I'm gonna take a wild guess that there's no family out there looking for you?"

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"No." Aaren is going to feel sad and Percy doesn't want to feel sad for himself and quietly shoves that emotion aside.

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-Yeah, there is some, but it's tempered with anger that Percy ended up in a gang.

He shakes it off as they reach a residential area and Aaren leads Percy up to his house opening the door and gesturing him in. "Welcome to our humble abode, it's not much, but it is home."

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Anger and indignation are better, useful even. He doesn't let them show in his face.

"It's a nice place," he reassures before walking in.

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"I appreciate the sentiment," Aaren says with a grin, opens his mouth to-

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Only to be interrupted by a male voice from the top of the stairs. "You are using Bonetti's Defence against me, ah?"[1]


[1] From here, till the end of Lan and 'Chelle's current interaction, all dialogue is from the Princess Bride

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