A Legend in My Own Mind

Sk8 City 

 Can't scramble a goddamn egg without the fire alarm shrieking, but she could stop on a dime if the need arose. Small comfort on a Friday night, a good skill to have with how packed the rink was - even if it was just past midnight and she had hoped to miss the worst of the crowd by waiting well past curfew. Ah well.

 The fact of the matter was that this was simply a test round. Spend an hour or so making laps, try to avoid bowling over any civilians. If she managed that, she supposed it wouldn't hurt to at least try out the next time the local roller derby team had stapled flyers to the board near the entrance. But for now it was just her, slightly hunched over with her knees bent, hugging the curve and leaning in to keep up speed as she twisted and pivoted her way between gaggles of friends. She made a particular point to avoid ramming into couples, some of which held onto each other for dear life.

 Like all good things, she knew it was a gamble, a risk to even attempt anything that would likely lead to direct contact. But you know what else was a risk? Literally everything. You got hungry, you might shift. You came a little too hard, congratulations you're a dog. And while it was a way of life that she wouldn't have traded, and she believed and herself more and more with each passing month, at some point you gotta risk it for the biscuit.

 Still, after what felt like at least eight laps she had an iron grip on her own confidence. Tunnel vision up until the point where it hit like a fucking freight train. Her nose wrinkled, she lurched forward and hit the brakes - stopped midloop and averted her eyes to ere on the side of caution as she curled her hands into fists.

Was literally nowhere safe? What the fuck.


 To anyone none the wiser, Gabriel was just another tatted up dude blading his little heart out. Truth be told, he probably didn't look that normal - he moved with an undeniable grace that probably didn't quite fit a guy who looked like a young crust punk, skating fast and smooth and grooving a little to the music that played over the loudspeakers. He swayed his hips and rolled his shoulders with the beat, flashing grins at attractive people, likely passing as attractive himself to anyone who didn't get the typical creep vibe from him.

 He was catching whiffs of wet dog every now and then. It made him curious, but he struggled to care enough to break away from his boogie-ing to really seek it out. That was, until, a certain someone came to a screeching halt just feet in front of him. Almost mowing her down proved to give him his answer, or at least made him pretty damn sure who was the source of the smell. His grin broadened into something a little too wide with a little too much tooth, and he whipped around in a perfect pirouette to face her.

 "You alright there, darling? Need someone to escort you to the rail?" He offered this in a sing-song voice, maneuvering around her in backwards circles, one hand extended towards her in a generous offer despite the mischievous gleam in his icy eyes.

 There was some immediate impulse to drive her elbow into the side of the corpse on wheels that spun around in front of her. Instead she kept her arms close to her sides, gritted her teeth and lifted her head a bit to look at him properly. A little too giddy, a little to self-assured to sit right with her ... a lot too dead. Still, she pushed herself forward as a passing stranger shouldered past with a mumbled pardon, the contact grounding her in the reality at hand.

 Not Cedar Creek, not Cordova - something in between. And he looked like a real ass clown but picking fights here was just cutting your own nose to spite your face. So instead she looked away - focused on the curve of the track just past his shoulder and picked up speed the slightest bit, tried to weave around him.

"Manage on my own just fine, thanks."

 People maneuvered around them in their less than courteous spot in the middle of the track; suffice to say that Gabriel ignored them all pointedly, staring at the dog lady as if they were the only ones here. She reminded him of the woman he had met at the train tracks some time ago, with an attractive pulse but a hot blood that did next to nothing for him.

 She turned down his offered hand, so he dropped it with a dramatic sigh. He turned without any hurry to follow after her as she moved to go around him. His hands linked behind himself, grinning again as he caught up to her with ease. "Are you new to this sport? I'd love to give you some pointers. I'll bet you're a born natural - you look super strong!" He prattled along like an over-eager kid looking to make a friend - but if he could irritate her with his falsified innocence, he would give himself a gold star.

 It was with a huff that she settled on the slow dawning revelation that she was dealing with a top of the line gnat. Someone who would linger and buzz in her ear and just genuinely push at buttons until he managed to earn some sort of reaction. Some old school part of her thought about her mother, the woman sitting her down and preaching about turning the other cheek and not giving the satisfaction. But a taunting corpse was a far cry from a middle school bully picking fun at your hand-me-down sweater.

 "Wanna see how strong?" She tried to sound pleasant, to keep up the illusion that they were genuinely civil as she stole a sideways glance to him. "I can show you, if you don't fuck off."

 Gabriel absolutely knew better than to fall for the plasticity of her tone as she retorted. But two could play this game - and honestly it was one of his favorites. His grin stretched again, unfaltering in his stride alongside her. "Yeah, show me!" he piped, as if he were talking about a bug collection or a picture of a cute pet and not calling her bluff. But his eyes gleamed with something much darker; the same words, show me!, but a dare rather than a request. Would they make a scene in the middle of a roller rink? He could only hope.

 One of two things were happening - this asshole was out of touch with reality or he banked on propagating that illusion. Either way she forced a smile and picked up her speed the slightest bit. Just like a match. Except it wasn't and there were unsuspecting and genuinely fragile human's all around and so if she was going to do this she was going to need to be cautious.

 So she moved faster, gritted her teeth and moved without much warning or preamble to drive her shoulder into his side and hopefully knock him off his feet. And it was petty, but it felt good - glancing over her shoulder quickly and flicking him off.



 Oh! So strong! If he had air in his lungs it would have been knocked out of him somewhere between her blow and hitting the waxed surface of the rink floor. He was honestly somewhat taken aback by it, blinking a few times as people giggled and gasped. There was an instant where his temper threatened to rise up as she flipped him off - instead, he grinned again, rolling to put his feet beneath him and stride back towards her again.

 "My, that was fantastic," he called after her, reaching to swat her on the arm. "I bet you get all the boys with that move, you little minx."

 She heard the voice and sensed the approach more than she outright saw it. And while she wanted to grab him by the jaw and twist, instead she kept her eyes focused on the polish of the floor. It was easy enough to turn the other cheek and focus on the fleeting satisfaction of the shove. Was, until he swatted at her arm like they were old friends settling in to sharpen their teeth and dig into some juicy bit of gossip. It was then she whipped her head to the side, dug her nails into her palms and felt herself snarl and bristle in ways unseen. "They line up by two, Noah's ark style."

Nonchalant. Collected. Don't give him what he wants. Simple - right? Right.

 She focused forward, fell into an easy rhythm as she rocked her weight from one skate to the other. "What the fuck do you want?" Because really at this point unless he was simply a dog chasing it's own tail she wasn't quiet sure what this assholes damage was.

 He expected her to lash out again, push him or elbow him, judging by the traitorous tattoo of her heart, but she didn't. Instead, she just glared at him, uttering some words in a bitter tone. He snickered a little, but found it far less entertaining than her actually unleashing her frustration in physical violence. He dropped into a rhythm at her side nonetheless, yet to truly lose his pestilent drive. Her question drew a scoff from him, and he puffed up somewhat as if offended.

 "Just to get to know you, is all!" he purred, grinning again. Her off-the-bat rudeness had only served to encourage that desire, but if she had any sort of connection with the dog-man that Margaux had battled some months ago, he figured she had good reason to be weary of him. Perhaps she was one of the smart ones who understood that Cordova was off limits, and why. "Tell me about yourself. What do you do besides seduce men with your extraordinary blade-battle skills?"

 There was a fast encroaching fork in the road and she wasn't sure which way she wanted to veer. The safest bet of course was to not engage, to swallow her pride and pack up for the night and leave it all at that. But perhaps she could glean something from him - a little scrap of tangible information that she could bring home and lift above her head.

 Except it seemed that this was quid pro quo and she wasn't sure where the cost could outweigh the benefit, so she tried to brush past his questions and lock onto her own. "What's your name? You from around here? Cordova?"

 Did she think she was slick? Gabriel sneered almost playfully at her, lifting a hand to wag a long finger at her, his nose wrinkling as if he were teasing a child. "Oh, no, honey, I asked you first. Don't be shy. But since you mentioned it, I would dare to guess you're... what, Cedar Creek? Or is it Larkspur? I'm close, aren't I. I'm on fire!" He laughed then, a strange and potentially menacing sound, before he attempted to lean a little closer to her between the sway of his feet. "Don't worry," he whispered, "It'll be our little secret."

 Honey. She winced, gritted her teeth and picked up the pace a bit as he started to take potshots about where she happened to call home. "Lavender Heights." If he didn't believe her that really wasn't much of an issue, but it would be a cold day before she would lead him home without hesitation. Except he leaned in and she instinctively moved to drive her elbow up and towards his face when he got close and the smell of rot bloomed. "You could be on fire if you don't fuck off."



 Lavender Heights! He didn't believe her. But that was hardly of importance for much longer before she drove her elbow straight into his nose. He made a loud noise of complaint, his hand immediately moving to cover his nose - unbroken, but definitely in pain, and he could feel the slow ooze of cold blood pool in one of his nostrils. Her threat didn't go unrealized at all - it served to add to his damaged pride. All the fun was suddenly gone from this, as much as he had been trying to egg her on; bleeding in public and potentially outing himself to some other dipshit who recognized weird dead blood wasn't his idea of fun. Only because he was a part of a Clutch. A part of him wished he was flying solo so that he could kill this bitch right here and skip away into hiding without repercussion.

 "Rude bitch," he muttered at her from under the shield of his hand, using the other to attempt and slap her. His hand swiped empty air, and with one last eat-shit look, he would try to skate away from her so that he could clean up his pathetic nose.

 She smelt blood, but it was stagnant and thick and generally all around worse than normal. The smell threw off her proverbial victory lap, made the ache that shot down her forearm feel like nothing at all in comparison. When he reached out she twisted, nearly lost her balance in the process but corrected herself in time to avoid landing hard on her ass. Instead she glared at him - forced herself to keep that particularly smug grin if only for the sake out outlasting him.

 As he rolled away she softened the slightest bit - relaxed after a full lap and kept her eyes out on her surroundings. Two more - simple enough. Two more laps and she was going to go home ... to Cedar Creek, which had a infinitely less likely chance of a less than desirable Vampire interaction.

Small favors.

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