Grit

Landing Strip 
#1
Beauregard had been such a dutiful Dominus as of late. With deaths and rebirths and ugly tears all directed to him, it was only fair to yearn for a break.

Regrettably, cruelly, his preferred one had vanished. Kaylee had disappeared effortlessly, leaving not a trace despite repeated visits to her apartment for any hint as to where she might have gone.

Rabbit was another creature that crossed his mind, but he was certain that showing up to her door unannounced would not lead to an invitation for whatever unfortunate games he might want to play.

And so, he was back to a spot with a particular charm found in its grime and reeking sadness.

Some nights, a very powerful man simply wanted to witness a bit of desperation. This was one of those nights.

Settled in a booth near the stage, he watched through a cigarette haze as some only averagely attractive blonde twirled and jerked her hips. It was not an especially skillful performance, but Beauregard would argue that was part of the appeal.

There was a keenness to his gaze perhaps bordering on predatory, feasting on unfortunate unhidden birth marks and loose strings on garments and clumsy slips against poles.



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#2
Outfit is this with black tights and this hair.


Robin was, emphatically, too old for this shit.

She was not in her trashy twenties, and had no business trying to play the cool girl, agreeing to go to a strip club, or drinking moderate-to-heavily in the dark loud of that strip club, feeling embarrassed and vengeful. The looks she was getting from the girls at work made her feel like a toad. So, she drank! Bullying money out of her troglodyte guy friends, she ordered a series of brightly-colored things and sucked them down as she lurked, ogling Barbie bodies and the bodies of the men who watched them.

It was so much grosser to show up at one of these places alone.
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#3
Time passed and Beauregard was nothing if not entertained, occasionally plucking cash from his wallet to tip as was proper for each dance. At some point he would need to purchase drinks for the sake of protocol. (It was unfortunate that none of said drinks would be warm. At least those would be pleasant to hold.)

But for now, he offered a lazy sort of attention to it all, taking the pleasure of people-watching as well. Young, drunken men letting their hands wander inappropriately. There was some temptation to play hero, but he found himself more interested in watching the uncomfortable fumbling of both parties. Dancers doing their best to smoothly move away, spikes of irritation detectable even as they gyrated and bit their lips as if any part of this was enjoyable.

His gaze traveled to the bar, to men and women all equally out of place here. One of them was offering some sort of enticing aroma, though he couldn't determine exactly which. Beauregard recalled some mention from Minerva that psychics could sense one another through an... aura of sorts. He wondered if he gave off one as well.

Rising from his seat, he approached the bar with some reluctance, more to perform his due diligence of purchasing drinks so as not to be an entirely unwelcome patron. There was no one immediately striking his attention to buy for, but for now he was content to drop them glass and all in some trash can if needed.

Drumming on the counter, he waited for the attention of the bartender and put forth some lazy effort to determine what smelled so lovely here.
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#4
It was a known and often denied fact to Abhinav that he did not know how to handle his liquor with dignity.

He was here to have a good time with women who couldn't give him dirty looks because they were literally being paid to turn him on, and he was having that good time. Half the times they came too close, he'd reach out a hand, running it up along acceptably smooth legs and along slightly flabby stomachs in anticipation of anything further being allowed. They never let him, but that was fine. It was part of the fun. Eventually he'd ask for a private dance, but he wasn't quite there yet.

He was grabbing another drink when he noticed some girl off to the side. Abhi, being approximately four drinks into the night and not at all thinking this was a girl here to watch other girls, decided to do the drunken gentlemanly thing and approach her.

"Oy! I think... you're wearing too many clothes," he called as he ambled to her on the opposite side of some old guy, aiming to tuck a dollar bill into the side of her turtleneck once he reached her.
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#5


Robin was also creepin' on the other barflies, right at that level of drunk where she became equal parts dumb and superior, judging a man for his awful highwater jeans even as she had a chunk of her own hair looped through an earring. Super classy, overall.

Her attention arrived at Beau, whose innocuous combination of shirt, coat and jeans struck her as comically suburban and white-collar for a place like the Landing Strip, and it made her decide, spontaneously, to lock eyes with him as he glanced down the line at the bar. She grinned and leaned in, her drink swilling. "You look like a dad."

Was that a burn? A come-on? Just a creepy thing to say to a stranger? It was unclear! And perhaps the world would never know, for immediately afterward a man dealing with his liquor even more poorly stuck his fingers down her shirt.

There was only one way a sober Robin would respond to this, but she had the misfortune of having handicapped herself by three cosmopolitans and a long island iced tea. Her neck squinched back into her shoulders with a look of confused, helpless horror, and for a second the most articulate thing she was able to say was "Ohh!" She looked from one man to the other, one hand rising up to pick the crumpled bill off of her neck. "No!"
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#6
Beauregard had held the appearance of a certain age for long enough that he'd heard all manner of comments on it. In the end, there was comfort in the knowledge that he was handsome and far livelier than grayed hair would let on. (And looking father was some sort of commentary on general fertility, Beauregard imagined.)

The eye contact was a happy thing for the second that it lasted. A variety of retorts crossed his mind as he opened his mouth to respond, a smile in his eyes more than anything, but every one of them died on his tongue as some oafish creature appeared.

He could play the hero, certainly. But it would require reaching around the girl, or stepping closer, and Beauregard was hardly invested enough to do either.

Instead, he merely watched, a slight frown on his face but little else. If she needed help, certainly she could ask for it. Women were good at constantly crying for help.
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#7
Her twin sister was dancing on stage and Riley couldn’t do enough not to look at her. She frowned and headed to the bar, ordering some fruity drink of the night that most men steered clear of. It was probably for the men to buy the women as opposed for them to drink.

The new Were frowned at the noise from the joint, let alone the smells. She scratched up her nose as she perked on the bar stool, body rigid. What was that God awful smell like death. She turned toward the source, watching an older man look at a couple across from him. "You stink," she muttered. Instantly her hand flew to her mouth, slapping over it, her cheeks turning bright red.

She did not just say that out loud. Maybe he didn’t hear her over all the noise. She hoped that was the case. She needed to be saved from her own embarrassment.
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#8
Ohh, no? Abhi was confused and somewhat about annoyed as she ripped away the money he'd so generously given her. Also she looked like she'd sucked a lemon. What the fuck was her deal?

"The fuck's that mean, 'no?'" he huffed, quickly stumbling his way to offended. "That's not how you talk to a patronize— a patron."

Words were hard and he railroaded over his thickly. The interaction beyond the woman hardly registered.
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#9
Robin's poor disordered neurons made their best effort to get their shit together, the shape of what that meant becoming clear only as she was already in motion. She wadded the bill into a ball and bounced it toward his chest, stepping into his space with the kind of concentrated fury that only the very short can quite channel. "You think this is a stripper outfit? You think these titties are big enough for me to work here? I could crush your head between my legs, man, you better step the fuck back." He really had better, because she was stepping the fuck forward, bent on pushing him away from the bar through sheer aggro energy alone. "Go crawl back in your hole, you toad!"

In the face of more pressing matters, Dad Bod was completely forgotten.
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#10
The world fell into a bit more chaos in the moments to follow.

The intoxicated gentleman laid out his assumption. The decidedly non-stripper burst into a furious rant. It was a delightful show, and perhaps just about time to intervene.

But then there was something else demanding attention specifically. Words from a child, one decidedly holding a secret.

He could not determine what variety from scent alone. That didn't bother him particularly.

Seeking eye contact, he spoke in the way one did when trying to speak over a crowd. But Beauregard could project with great clarity, and that was his intention here.

"What kind of shifter are you?" he asked loudly. "I might have some silver with me of that helps you remember."

Spoken loudly, clearly, and with a handsome smile, still seeking eye contact with the foolish girl.
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#11
Oh god. He’d heard. And to make matters worse, he practically yelled at her. No, he was doing it on purpose. Her cheeks heated with embarrassment, the bear within stirring. Eyes bled a soft pink as she glanced up toward him, feeling the eyes of the people around her settle on her. She gripped the edge of the bar, trying to steady herself. "And what kind of human are you to know that?" she said softly, not wanting to make a huge scene but the stinky guy had other plans. With the way he smelled she’d assume he wasn’t a human at all but a vampire. It made sense. She never encountered one before. She really just wanted to get her sister and get out of here. Especially with the two people next to the suspected vampire starting to make a scene of their own.
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#12
Wow she was shouting a lot. It was really really annoying. Abhi was holding a fruity cocktail in his hand and decided, somewhere around the part where she called him a toad, that this cocktail was going to have more use out of system and onto her cakeface.

So he did that.

But there was some loud talk about a shifter right about the moment as he backpedaled drunkenly from his latest mess, almost hitting an actual hot stripper in the process. "That girl's a shifter!" he shouted loudly, and pointed in the general vicinity of the two girls around the old man.



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#13
Shit!!!!

Robin wasn't exactly a brawler, but you know, if you were going to to get into a fight? Go ahead and do it at a skeevy strip club, and do it because a troll just threw his sticky-ass drink in your face. Her shoulders had seized up for a moment, and she had sputtered, but now she was bulling after him, grabbing for his shirt.

He danced out of her way, which seemed completely unfair, so she began to look for security to get this turdweed thrown out. Since, you know, she wasn't having great luck beating his ass. And what was what about there being a shifter?? Her head whipped around as she tried to keep everyone within sight.

she miss :C


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#14
What a goddamn mess this was. Beauregard found himself a little giddy.

There was the splash of a drink, and he could smell the sweetness and the alcohol. The young woman making correct assumptions regarding his humanity. Cries supporting his shifter claim.

He considered some suggestion to the shifter girl. Could he get her to turn with words alone?

But why not strike two idiots with the same stone?

"Boy," he called sharply to the drunk, seeking his eyes. His voice fell, then, but would still be plenty audible.

"Tackle the shifter before she escapes."

A conspiratorial command, accompanied with a point to the shifter to clarify.


success

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#15
Oh no. Oh no. She could feel her heart beat increase, her fingers gripping the edge of the bar as the vampire ordered the man, the human, to tackle her. This can’t be happening. She shook her head. "Please don’t. I don’t want to hurt anyone. Please,"she pleaded, her pink eyes flickering to everyone looking at her. Felt her eyes sting with tears, sliding off the bar stool and backing away. She needed to leave. She held her hands up but that did nothing as the bear started to take over. Pain racking through her body. No. No. Noooo.
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#16
Boy!

Not something he was unaccustomed to being called, even if he was in his thirties, Abhi would just about forget about the dumb toadgirl immediately as he looked stupidly to the old man. The connection was instant, and it didn't matter that Abhi actually hadn't known who the shifter was before — he knew now, and nodded as he looked to her with just about murder in his eyes. For a tackle.

The stupid beast woman started to edge away. Drunk as fuck Abhi lurched into a body slam towards her.

Most people in the nearby vicinity seemed to have stopped to watch.



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#17
Did she have the order right?

Dad Bod yelled at the shithead who was trying to get away from her, and that shithead then went from reverse into drive, blowing past her to lunge at a tiny pale girl at the bar. What the fuck?? Was this some shifter bullshit?

She realized she still had a drink in her hand, half-slopped all over the floor by now; she reached over to set it on a stool. Nope, nope, Robin was out. She might fuck with a guy who started shit with her, but she did not fuck with crazy. This was how you ended up dead or a werewolf.
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#18
The human lunged for her and she didn’t know if it’s because she dodged out of the way or benign he was too drunk to see straight, but Riley was thankful. Part of her wanted to help the human up, but another party of her told her to get the heck out of there. Pain raced through her body, and for a moment she took out her phone, dialing the one person she thought would help her in this situation.

Ring! Ring!
Riley

Noises became too loud. Everything was just too much. the phone kept ringing and before the human tried to lunge for her again, she attempted to leave, body hunched over as the change started to take place, her phone clinched in her hand, crying out in pain. She just needed to leave. She didn’t want to hurt anyone. She turned and ran as fast as her breaking, hunched body could go.
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#19
He missed and knocked his face into the bar top, splitting his lip in the process as he dizzily got back up. "Get back here, shifter!" he roared with a very drunken macho type of commanding yell that he honestly only imagined was possible in the movies.

Tackle her before she leaves. Do it. Tackle.

He throttled back towards her, but she was inhumanly fast, and it was over someone's foot that he'd trip and eat shit on the gross nasty floor.

His lower teeth stained red with blood from his lip, Abhi realized he failed, and he looked for the old man as security closed in on him. "Sir— sir, she's gone!" he yelled to him apologetically, terrified somehow by this failure, by what he'd earned by coming short of his target. He was supposed to tackle her before she left, but she had managed the latter before he'd managed the former.

The toadgirl was gone too, he realized belatedly. And unless somehow impeded, he'd be thrown out on his ass too.
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#20
What a show.

He watched it all unfold with a subdued smile but a rather joyous heart. The shifter was fast, supernaturally so. The drunk did his best to subdue her, but perhaps it had been unkind of Beauregard to match them up so unevenly.

There was a heartfelt sort of plea, and the vampire felt some glimmer of pity for the idiot.

Not enough, of course. Beauregard fixed him with a brief frown, finding the smell of blood pleasant but not tempting enough to sink teeth into the idiot.

Instead his gaze fell on the woman who had originally commented to him.

"Quite a scene," he remarked as if he hadn't just caused it.
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#21
Robin had put the bar between herself and the chaos, and was occupied with gloomily dabbing at her hair and shirt with black napkins a tall, pretty bartender kept solicitously supplying. This had been a bad night. This was the kind of night that kept you from agreeing to do stupid shit for the next five years.

She had forgotten completely about Dad Bod, and she looked over to him with a mix of surprise and resignation, remembering she had tried to be playful with him about one second before some asshole groped her and then ruined her hair. "It's the unscheduled shows that are best," she agreed, trying to come to terms with the fact that she was the butt of this joke. Also generously giving the guy one chance to be interesting before she crawled back to her friend group.
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#22
She was not any more attractive covered in someone spilled drink. Neither were the dancers, thrown off just enough by the strangeness of the incident.

It wasn't entirely the satisfaction he'd been looking for, but if nothing else, it had been interesting.

Her comment was amusing enough, and he offered her a smile for it. Now would be the time to leave or start some actual conversation. He decided on a rather bold route, leaning in just a bit to raise his voice less.

"What... ability is it that you have? Of the..."

His tone grew a bit conspiratorial.

"Supernatural variety."

Perhaps she would shy away. It didn't worry him much. There was nothing for Beauregard to lose here.
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#23
He leaned in, and she prepared to eat the gross man pie she'd served up for herself eons ago, when she was happy-drunk and sociable. She was steeled for him to say something awful, given the setting, and the words coming out of his mouth were unsettling, but they were completely devoid of sexual connotation.

Should she be relieved, or uncomfortable for a whole other reason?

She dropped her napkin on the bar and gave him a long look. Was this a thing supernatural types did, casually out each other in public? She frowned at him a little, wary. "How did you know?"
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#24
A long stare came in response, and Beauregard what was going on in her mind for it. Minerva had said there was something of an aura between little psychics, and he would have to use her wording for this.

Though it was tempting, for the delightful mess that this all had been, to simply come clean as a vampire.

"Practice," he said simply. "Can you not determine it of others?"

Either she was very ordinary, or Minerva's friend very special.
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#25
She continued to watch him, her eyebrows tense; she could feel a certain teetering, on the border between caution and curiosity. How drunk was she now, exactly? Her gaze flicked back to the bartender, and she asked for a water.

Her friends were still here. As long as she didn't go anywhere, this was probably fine. So, she leaned in. "All I can do is change my eye color. What can you do?"

Being small, and sort of average-looking, and also quite ferocious, Robin used sustained eye contact as a way to be sure that she was being listened to and not forgotten. It was long past time that someone filled her in on the dangers of this practice.
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#26
Oh, how delightful! Beauregard had to keep from bouncing on his toes where he stood. It was a shame she wasn't prettier, though perhaps he could convince himself to look past it. He was overdue for the sort of interaction where he could be informative, helpful. There was Minerva, of course, but she was still under the impression that he was a handsome bird and not a handsome man.

"That," he said, tapping the bartop with one cold finger, "is where you're wrong. But in the best sort of way, I assure you. Eye change only indicates the use of an ability. You simply haven't determined yours yet."

It was hard not to be overly excited. There was a decided youthfulness in his tone. A few yowls of some men alarmingly close to his own age caught his attention briefly, and he glanced backwards, reminded suddenly that they were indeed still in this dreadful strip club.

"I have two of my own, perhaps because I'm old to look, what was it, like a 'dad'?"
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#27
It was always super fun to be told she was wrong by an old white man, but she persevered with only minimal irritation, the promise of secret information still dangling in the air like a big, magical carrot. She blinked patiently, watching him, picking up his excitement.

If the eye color thing only meant she was doing something else...then what was she doing?

This was an exciting thought, and one that left her off-guard for the return of Dad Bod. She snorted and wiped at her cheek for just a moment of embarrassment before looking back, and glancing down at his jeans. "It's your outfit." You look like you drive a minivan, she barely managed to not say, her ego a little too deflated at present to tease.

She reached out to grab her glass, pursing her lips around the straw for a drink and waiting with raised eyebrows. He had his audience, so, speak!
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#28
The snort was unattractive, and followed up by an insult, no less! She was lucky his mood was on the rise. He chuckled, flagging the bartender to offer out his card in exchange for a vodka and cranberry.

Where was the shifter by now, he wondered. Hopefully making headlines somewhere.

"What would you prefer I have worn?" he asked, admiring his own clothing with a thoughtful frown that blended to a smile before long. "A greasy t-shirt? Or perhaps a three piece suit?"
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#29
He was still stuck on the outfit thing, because of course he was; this whole night was just that sort of disaster. She crossed her legs at the ankle, now leaning on the bar. Patience. She rolled her eyes indulgently and smiled. "All right, no, you look great." Her hand darted out to make a wingy gesture at his torso. "You class the place up. But you were talking about...powers?"

She was trying to pump the brakes on her eagerness, but this was turning into a real page-turner.
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#30
A reluctant compliment, it seemed, but he would take it regardless. If they'd be settling in for a time, Beauregard supposed he could take a seat, though it didn't help with his perhaps excess of energy. Or the likelihood that he might eventually take her somewhere to dine on.

"I was," he agreed, sitting and leaning his elbows on the counter, leaning in a bit conspiratorially. It was also hardly silent here. "I have two, as mentioned."

Two fingers drummed against the bartop.

"The first is to read the... emotional states of those around me. The second is to simply... stop others from using their powers. Very handy."

Such openness cost him nothing. He feared no one overhearing. There was no visual proof of any of it.

"When is it that your eyes change?"
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#31
She was being sucked in; how could she not be? And they were at a bar, in plain sight, not even tucked away in a sticky booth. She stayed standing only because it felt undignified to have to clamber up into a seat. She kept leaning in, closing off a little space on the counter for private conversation.

"I've never figured out why it happens. I can do it on purpose if I focus, but." She shook her head, perturbed. "Nothing happens."

Skeptically, she was also thinking that he had chosen very esoteric powers to claim; she guessed the only proof that he was using them would have to be an eye color change of his own. She might make him go first if they really were outing each other at a Red Rock strip club.
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#32
Look at her drawing nearer. It was nice to be the center of interest.

His drink arrived and one hand reached out to twist the glass against the table. He could fake a sip here and there. Beauregard pondered back to pouring out his drink in the Glenn and the way it had summoned Katya.

Dear, ruined girl.

"Nothing you've noticed," he corrected, sensing less than total trust from her. That was fine. Wise, even. "Give it a try. You can't make a scene greater than that mess a moment ago."

He wasn't sure what to expect, truthfully, but given that fire could no longer instantly vaporize him, it was easier to play it all a bit more loosely.
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