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Feb 23, 2020 5:15 PM
magical girl drug addict cato and jean
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A voice whispers in Dulac’s ear, thrown from where a woman watches out the window. 

The poetry stops abruptly. 

Try not to panic,” and that’s all the warning Cato gets before the suffocating cloud of fear descends. 

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He doesn't scream – doesn't cry – doesn't vomit – doesn't run doesn't run doesn't run it's not the fucking time to run–

He curls himself up as tight as he can, squeezes himself as far into the tiny gap between the toilet and the wall as he can fit, hyperventilates into his knees as his body tries to flicker out of place and somewhere else and he fights it with everything he has left.

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Armored men spill out of the cars and into the building.

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It’s dim and foggy, inside, but they can see shapes moving in the fog and not all of the shapes are human—

— one of them goes down to a tripwire and all the others can hear him screaming and screaming, begging for help, begging for his parents —

— another tries to fire his gun but there’s no gunshot, just the sound of the bullet clattering to the floor in front of him —

— an icy chill sets in and the screaming hasn’t stopped and another one falls and how is this room so much bigger on the inside and who is that laughing—

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They're dropping like flies.

Two break and scramble for the door. One opens fire into the fog, or tries to. One of them starts muttering to himself about contagion, how he's going to get infected, how they need to pull out and call in a quarantine.

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— the gun turns icy cold in his hand and screams at him in a human voice, calls him a murderer and worse than a murderer — 

— the ground shakes beneath their feet, and there’s terrible cracking crashing sounds in the distance —

— the figure wreathed in shadows can conjure up more ghoulish forms of smoke at a twitch of its fingers, and it’s walking towards them and smiling 

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This is above the pay grade of literally everyone in the room.

They retreat — the man with the screaming gun has dropped his but one of the others is spraying bullets in his wake — some of them are backing out and some of them are sprinting away.

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(In their wake, under the cover of the fog machine, people duck and cover. 

The downside of sound manipulation is that it doesn’t, actually, stop bullets.)

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They're all out.

Everything is quiet, aside from one of them talking frantically into a radio outside.

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Dulac is up off the floor in moments, heading for Cato. 

“We’ve got to get moving before they call in the supers — come get the druggie, Meg, I can’t carry him up a fire escape—”

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A man leaning lightly on a dark wooden cane in a very expensive suit comes walking in through the front door.

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— Dulac stops in place, leans against the wall for support while the aura of terror redoubles —

— there’s fog thick to knee-deep still, concealing the tripwires and the marbles skittering in artificial silence across the floor —

— pins and needles fly through the air at him like a swarm of stinging insects, aiming for face and hands —

— there’s an electrical whine, and an ominous ticking noise —

 

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A pale blue, spherical forcefield wraps itself around him, scattering pins in all directions.

(Someone just outside the door is gasping for breath. The noise of the radio is gone.)

"Very impressive atmosphere."

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-- the cane in his hand is scorchingly hot, starting to smoke --

-- the terror is abruptly replaced by grief, crushing despairing hopeless sorrow --

-- there's the sound of gunfire and his voice is giving three sets of commands at once, retreat and regroup, rush them, duck and take cover --

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He drops the cane.

(Telekinesis, audiokinesis, thermokinesis, empathic manipulation.)

His finger goes to his ear.

"Detonate. If you please."

That's the last indicator before his bubble bursts, and an overwhelming wall of force crashes anything not nailed down into the walls, slams all the doors shut, shatters the windows.

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Ow.

The despair doesn't let up. Everything else does.

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"In, now, and mind the empath."

A round young woman with barely visible vitiligo enters the room, shoulders shaking with the force of her sobs. She's followed by a broad figure in considerable body armor whose face is contorted with grief.

The elegant man looks around the room.

"Take the child to the hospital – make sure her care is paid for, send our apologies and pull her files. Remove the other three to our midway. Leave me restraints and the case, if you please, I won't be long. –stay, Elise."

Elise (presumably) stays. The other figure restrains the others, working efficiently through the silent tears, carries them out one under each arm.

He picks up his cane.

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The despair lifts, as Dulac slides down against the wall to sit on the floor.

The lust that replaces it is every bit as all-consuming and oppressive.

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"Oh, really," he says, mildly.

And then – "–hands on the wall, please."

Elise removes her hand from her skirt with a look of complete anguish and complies.

He proceeds towards the door Dulac is leaned up next to and opens it.

(He's not distracted, he's not looking at him – he's not even getting hard.)

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Cato is curled up, shaking, in the same place he was left.

He's dripping with sweat and tears and his eyes are red from crying and now he's flushed and trying to cover himself and still half-sobbing into his shoulder.

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"...really, you know what this does to people," he says, softly.

He leans down to stroke Cato's damp hair, just for a moment.

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Flinch.

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Peering back out the door.

"I do hope you have the key for these."

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He sent the kid to the hospital.

The lust lets up, too.

"Are you going to have someone shoot me if I get it out of my pocket?"

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Up against the wall, Elise progresses very quickly from surprise to realization to shame to more tears.

"Oh, no, that doesn't seem necessary."

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