Suicide Breakdown

January 25, 2017:

Stephanie Brown and Barry Allen break down in the Slums, where they meet Kida.

Nothing and no one is what meets the eye.

//Suicide Slums - Metropolis //

"Slums may well be breeding grounds of crime, but the suburbs outside of
here are incubators of apathy and delerium."

Welcome to the Suicide Slums, also known as Southside and The Simon
Project. This area is the dark recess of Metropolis, where every corner you
take can likely be your last, and the glimmer of hope that glistens off the
skyscrapers ceases.

The high rises here are in shambles and disrepair, the markets seem
shadier, pretty much verging on that of Black Markets, and the malice is a
palpable feeling in the air, if not coming from the looks of the local
residents.

Those that benefit from this neighborhood are the ones who can make money
from nothing, or come from nothing and seek to have that glimmer on the
other side of the pipe-lain wall. Prostitution, gambling, drug dealing,
criminalizing - all of this is where most start and never find their way up
and out, and if they do, it is likely running the business they started at
or heading the gang they ran with, though tales are told of those that have
broken free.

Streets bear potholes, newspapers roll across the roads like tumbleweeds
and an old lady dumps trash from the upper story of her flat to splash into
the dark alley below where a stray cat growls and runs from it all, even the
rapid fire of bullets.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Barry couldn't really tell Stephanie 'Sure, pick me up outside of the Hall of Justice, it's where I'm living at the moment.'. Talk about telling of a secret identity - instead, he sent a message.

'At the library, pick me up there?'

It was a quick jog over to the library as he carries a small stack of books, a couple of history books, and some light reading on the current forensic journals. He stands outside as Stephanie arrives and offers a smile, a little chagrin in it as he's dressed down for the evening - a grey turtleneck sweater and blue jeans, with tennis shoes. "Sorry, I lost track of time studying." he offers apologetically. Something she should hopefully understand as she's a college student.

If she allows, Barry will give her a brief kiss, chaste but affectionate as he gestures. "Mind if I keep the books in the back seat? I'll get them when you drop me off for the evening." Which will be it own kettle of fish to deal with.

Chaste kiss accepted, Stephanie smiles at his excuse. She understands that completely and so accepts it at face value.

"What you studying?" she asks as she leads the way to the car in the library parking lot. Of course, a peek is taken at stack of books. A few titles are noted, eyes coming back up as he asks about keeping things in the back seat.

"Uh. Sure," she says with a heartbeat of hesitation. Her mind went to her P.O.F kit in the back. But that's a rather plain, black batpack. Like.. a literal bat…pack.. a back pack for baseball bats; batpack. To anyone, the micro expression of surprise and 'eep' and thought would be so fleeting as to not register. To the speedster she's not aware of being at her side… it's a different story. Her smile is back in short order. Unlocking the car, she offers to take the books to settle them in so she can nudge her bag out of the way and onto the floor board. Her rhinestone encrusted My Little Pony duffle bag is far more obvious a thing now.

"Sorry. Gym bags," she excuses with a smile. Books and passengers settled, Stephanie turns on the car engine only for her phone to kick back on through the bluetooth and pick up right where it left off.

"-a knowledge of infrared, ultraviolet, and x-" Stephanie reaches out as quickly as she can manage to turn off her car radio.

"Sorry! I was studying," she says, before tucking a single stray strand back behind her ear where the rest of the french braid rests. She takes a breath and heads out, needing to drive through Suicide Slums to get to the Air-U Trampoline Park. Two blocks in and her car sputters out on a not-pleasant grinding sort of whine. She drops it into neutral to coast it to the curb, hazards getting flipped on.

"Ohmygosh!"

"Slums may well be breeding grounds of crime, but the suburbs outside of here are incubators of apathy and delirium."

Welcome to the Suicide Slums, also known as Southside and The Simon Project. This area is the dark recess of Metropolis, where every corner you take can likely be your last, and the glimmer of hope that glistens off the skyscrapers ceases.

The high rises here are in shambles and disrepair, the markets seem shadier, pretty much verging on that of Black Markets, and the malice is a palpable feeling in the air, if not coming from the looks of the local residents.

Those that benefit from this neighborhood are the ones who can make money from nothing, or come from nothing and seek to have that glimmer on the other side of the pipe-lain wall. Prostitution, gambling, drug dealing, criminalizing - all of this is where most start and never find their way up and out, and if they do, it is likely running the business they started at or heading the gang they ran with, though tales are told of those that have broken free.

Streets bear potholes, newspapers roll across the roads like tumbleweeds and an old lady dumps trash from the upper story of her flat to splash into the dark alley below where a stray cat growls and runs from it all, even the rapid fire of bullets.

… Not a good place to have your car die. Barrels burning with fires licking high for warmth in front of the rows of ramshackle apartment rises bear shadows of bodies huddled around it, some sitting by the wayside with bottles wrapped in paper bags, taking pulls here and there of the liquor within. Waiting their turn for the real warmth while sipping from the faux.

It is evident attention is had towards the vehicle, hooded faces veiled in shadows turn, others move closer to their neighbor and even what appears to be piles of garbage gain life and eyes.

Upon a bench a figure moves, a single massive dog uncurling from across her lap, a massive mix of Malamute and German Shepherd perhaps? Either way those eyes flash iridescent in the headlights of the car before it makes off into shadows and the female it had rested upon drops booted feet to the ground lazily.

Kida knows that sound, and here her affinity for mechanics is almost nil, unless it is a swift teardown of a stolen vehicle to part out so they can… Not illegal.

At. All.

There's no words, not even in the approach as she peers out from beneath the hood of the hoody worn beneath a piecemeal leather coat, framing and offsetting features with the fall of long black hair.

Until a window goes down, or someone gets out though, Kida just stands there without saying a thing.

Ominous. Creepy. Not at all!

As he moves to set down the books, Barry notes the batbag and the expression on Stephanie's face, but he doesn't note it other than to smile a little as he does so. "Decided to do a little criminal history research and need to keep my licenses up to date." he says with a small chuckle, setting the books into place. "I didn't know you played softball."

..did he just give her an out?

Puns aside, he grins and takes her own excuse at very much at face value. "Forensics on tape?" he asks playfully as he reaches up to rub the back of his head as he gets into the car. Buckling his seat belt, the speedster glances out the window while the two share idle chatter about how their days went, Barry occasional wiping his hands off to get over his case of nerves - and to burn off a little excess energy in the process.

As the car gives it's loud roar of protest as it hits into one of those nice potholes on one of the streets and grinds loudly, Barry arches his brow. "…that didn't sound very friendly. Or good for your car." he offers as he hopefully doesn't get a withering glare from Stephanie as she turns the car to pull over to the side of the road. While Stephanie may feel right at home with the neighborhood that they are in, considering that this is Gotham Light, Barry arches his brow at the friendly little place that they have pulled into. "I hope you have Triple A." he offers with a concerned pull on his teeth in the form of a tight lipped smile as he opens the passenger door to step out of the vehicle and take a look around.

The dog that moves away draws his attention for just a moment as Barry takes a look around, making a note of his location, the car, and those that are around him at the moment. Of course, in his mind, he's also running through a hundred different threat scenarios, even as he keeps his hands out of his pockets in order to give off an appearance of not being a threat as he brushes his shoe along the ground as he notices the young woman standing there, staring at the car and now him.

In the back of his head, he hears to himself, 'Hi, I'm Brad Majors, and this is my fiancé, Janet Weiss. You see, our car just broke down…'

Instead, he gives a little frown as he kneels down to look underneath the vehicle as he turns on the flash on his phone in order to get a better look at the undercarriage.

"Girls in the troop," Stephanie replies, taking that out and running with it gracefully, not even batting an eyelash at it. Because that's not a lie at all. There are girls in her scout troop that play softball. Of the audio textbook, Stephanie replies that it was part of the profiling book. She was 'rereading' it, in that she was having her car read it to her. Why waste the 45minute drive on pop music?

"No. That didn't sound good at all," Stephanie agrees. Car in park, she unbuckles.

"Right, because that's something a college girl can afford to maintain," she quips as she too gets out of the car. She sweeps her gaze about as she does, noting the area, the potential directions trouble could come upon them. Especially when Barry decides to be an idiot and blind himself with the flashlight on his cell phone. Looking every bit the dumb blonde, Stephanie locks the doors to her car and steps around the hood to give herself the clearance she knows a Gotham street would need of her to stay mobile. Her slightly heeled boots into which tight fitting jeans are tucked move on the asphalt.

"Do you see what's wrong?" she's asking, eyeing the woman who's looking at her car.

Suicide Slums. A newspaper rolls by. Gotham Lite, complete with ads. Stephanie's already got the Pro Version.

As the woman comes forth, Barry tenses for a moment, glancing around to make sure she's not the trigger for some elaborate trap. The pothole disables the car, the girl comes out, they lower their guard, her buddies arrive, and it's not a sexy party complete with Charles Atlas making a man…

…Mister Atlas would probably call scrawny Barry a wimp, anyway. It's his metabolism, he can't help it.

Pushing himself up to dust off his knees. "Oh.. well, I thought that might be it. Okay, not a clue. I don't usually use cars. Never owned one." he admits. The poor Spoilermobile has thrown a rod, and Joker got away, hey.

Plus from here, he can check out Stephanie and her tight fitting jeans. Cutting off the flashlight, Barry blinks a few times. While he may not get his night eyes back immediately, he had made note of everyone's positions earlier.

"Take it there's not a repair shop open this time of night. Any tow companies nearby?" he asks as he glances towards Stephanie and nods a little as he notices the clearance she seems to be taking.

Takes a step to the left (instead of a jump!), but when Barry leans down her brow goes up and fingerless gloved hands sweep the hood back and away to reveal her moreso and take her out of the shadows where the rest of those lining the streets seem to remain, a few having stepped closer, although their actions are the same despite placement.

A light lean forward and Kida raps those clothed knuckles on the hood, uncaring of the head or face beneath that will hear the resounding echo of her ministration. *Bang THuNG~ BOOM!* A moment of pause and it seems as if the woman is looking for the words to tell them while Barry is on low and Stephanie is backing up for vantage on high.

"Pop the hood. You won't see from there." She states, hazel eyes framed in dark lashes, set against a backdrop of uncannily tanned skin for the season. "Though that hole likely threw alignment, that wont make the noise."

The accent is thick, indiscernible and at Stephanie's appearance the catcalls even show that it is not from the Slums, not Goth-ic, or Metro in lilt. "Stand up." Her words to Barry then are firm, but hold warning. This is Gotham lite only because of the lack of space and the fear of the 'Metahumans', plus - I mean come on! Cozy.

As the woman comes forth, Barry tenses for a moment, glancing around to make sure she's not the trigger for some elaborate trap. The pothole disables the car, the girl comes out, they lower their guard, her buddies arrive, and it's not a sexy party complete with Charles Atlas making a man…

…Mister Atlas would probably call scrawny Barry a wimp, anyway. It's his metabolism, he can't help it.

Pushing himself up to dust off his knees. "Oh.. well, I thought that might be it. Okay, not a clue. I don't usually use cars. Never owned one." he admits. The poor Spoilermobile has thrown a rod, and Joker got away, hey.

Plus from here, he can check out Stephanie and her tight fitting jeans. Cutting off the flashlight, Barry blinks a few times. While he may not get his night eyes back immediately, he had made note of everyone's positions earlier.

"Take it there's not a repair shop open this time of night. Any tow companies nearby?" he asks as he glances towards Stephanie and nods a little as he notices the clearance she seems to be taking.

Asked to pop the hood, Stephanie hesitates. She could ask Barry to do it, so she can keep an eye on the odd woman, remain in a place to kick her in the back if she tried anything. She could open the hood herself and leave Barry with a way to get into the passenger seat. A car makes a handy weapon in a… a car that works. Not this car. This car is broken right now. Stephanie smiles brightly, making her resigned sigh into one of apparent relief. And she moves to the driver's side to get the hood.

"Do you know anything about cars?" asks the blonde, seeming doe-eyed, as she settles gets the hood release.

Kida stands there, watching the two of them with as much speculation they give her, save she could care less if they pounced. Unlike them, she has friends here… Or so she assumes. If only she knew…

Hazel eyes follow them both, even Steph in her motions to pop the hood. Once the tell tale *BUNG* of the hood gives her the lip of metal she steps forward, the backpack unslung from her shoulders to drop between her feet, propped against the front bumper.

"Enough." Consoling, that single word. But a flashlight is battered against her palm and brought to life to shine beneath the hood and reveal the loss of fluids that now drips to the road after running slowly along chassis… All a lack of tension…

Broken serpentine belt. Reaching in the tattered rubber is gripped, a whine from pulleys and it is ripped free.

Behind them the people of the Slums' Topside Ghetto watch, although space seems to become one closing in.

"Got any tights in the car? Water?" A light glance between Barry and Steph and Tattoo is already lowering to crouch in front of her backpack where a crowbar is slung on one side, a pommel/hilt of some sort on the other bearing old Haida script and a few strings of broken beads and tattered feathers.

"I can get you out of here." A pause and she looks around them, then back to them. "All you need."

That would be Stephanie assuming that Barry would even know where the hood latch is release is on a car. He's been a mass transit kid all his life..

…that is until he became is own ultra low-cost, super-fast transport.

As Stephanie makes with the question of the woman, Barry moves to peer in on the pull of the serpentine belt and makes a little face at the mass of rubber that comes out. "It's like a snake." he says with a little grin. Clueless nerd is clueless as he looks to Stephanie. "I only brought books. You got any tights in that mass of stuff in the back of your car?" She probably has a whole wardrobe, food, even Twinkies in there.

Sure, there may be eyes on them as he moves to settle against the rear passenger panel of the car, looking rather non-threatening. The idea being if they look like a pair of poor college students on a date, then they won't come under attack because well, they don't have money to be taken. He glances from Kida to Stephanie and then back out into the darkness and the shadows that seem to be closing in.

Barry gives a little shiver. Fear?

Oh, Stephanie knows this too well. That tang of adrenaline through her system when she gets that twinge of being surrounded. It really happens more often than she'd like to admit.

"I have some gym pants," Stephanie replies. Though her blue eyes are on Tattoo, she's keeping her peripheral on the ever closing ranks. Gym pants, among other things, but she's not handing THAT bit of stretchy over, thankyouverymuch.

"What about you?" Stephanie asks then, voice soft, somber, tight and on edge with cautious concern for this 'good Samaritan'.

The belt hit the ground and does just as Barry depicted with words. Slithers. But the motion ceases when one of the 'Slummers' picks it up and runs off wit their useless piece. They have use for it!

When Steph asks 'What About You', Kida looks at her and blinks. "Tights?" Shrug. "Maybe. Those pants though…" A mutter and a clatter comes as she digs through her backpack, placing things aside, everything as meticulous as it can be in Slums. Small refused bags meant for travel, holy zip-locks…. Piece and parts are within but they clatter as she digs…

Until a woman duskier skinned then she approaches and hands over a holey pair of nylons, a bandanna covering the clean-shaven head, the red on gold with black lining accenting eyes of the same. "Mete yo deyo, yo."

A glare to Barry and Steph and then she retreats, grabbing her broken squealing cart and waddling from vicinity.

Kida holds the nylons and nods to the woman, but the language barrier ignored as the eyes alone tell enough.

"Water? You must travel with more…" A lift of a small Evian bottle only bearing half. And as Kida inquires she gives them an up-down.

.Yep. Yuppies. Tch.

In the meantime random tools, wrenches of crescent and socket pull free and propping on the bumper she gets to work.

"You will blow a head. You need water not bearing salt." A gesture towards the beach and oceanic shore.

"Kida." She states after a pause. Abrupt, but none the less trying to calm tension, as tension leads to swift action and disaster….

"Water? Yeah, I think I saw a bottle in the back. I'll grab it." Barry offers as he moves towards the trunk. He's listening, watching really. The young man's perception is a lot clearer than one would let on as he finds the gallon jug that Stephanie uses for the Scouts at the gym and takes it out. Bringing it back around as he sets it next to Kida, he watches the Haitian woman walk away. "One moment!" he calls out as he considers, and frowns. He's not carrying much in the way of cash, as he considers and pats himself down. Finally, he moves and takes off his sweater.

Beneath he is wearing a black thermal long-sleeved shirt, an under armor style finish to it.

Sheepishly, he offers it to the woman that so gallantly offered the nylon to the car as he smiles. "Please, it'll help?"

Not to mention it was the Hall of Justice 'extra clothes' bin, so may have been worn by a well-known superhero at some point?

As Kida makes her introduction, Barry frowns a little. Was she talking to the woman, or them. Finally, he makes a leap of faith. "Barry. Thanks for all the help. Is there some way we can repay you?" The ring on his right finger is visible after pulling off his gloves as he starts to put them back on after surrendering his sweater.

Stephanie had stood from the car when she popped the hood, keeping an eye on things. When Kida misunderstands wheat she meant, Stephanie has to blink and refocus on what she meant in return. The new woman with the nylons is watched, the unfamiliar language making Stephanie's brows draw together. Seeing Barry stripping out of his coat, she's about to say something when the reason strikes her and the blonde holds her tongue. She'll have to see what the Metropolis troops are doing. Silent, she watches Barry, noting the ring on his finger and letting him take over the conversation for a moment.

"El ap fe…." The old Creole woman pauses at Barry's offer, feeling the thread count beneath fingers of the offered sweater, her gold-on- grey eyes lined in wrinkles settling upon him. "Me-si." A nod of the elder woman's head in thanks just before she scuttles off, wrapping the sweater around her much akin to a head-scarf.

"She thanks you." Kida states from beneath the hood towards Barry, as the nylons are laced, looped, and she is straining back with both ends in hands, looking to Steph.

"Tie a knot?" While she holds the tension? Either way it needs done by more hands then just her own.

Kida, unlike many others, is not forward-in-time. In fact, she is backward. No media, no care… Primal. Suspect upon them is only for a matter of life and death, and they have bore her no threat. Therefore… Those around them give pause.

The ring may be noted by others, but Kida is just doing what comes to home, so rare to be able to do here and she seems to find a passion in it. Although even back home… It was only during raids….

((Fade…))

Eyes refocus on repay and she looks from Steph, back to Barry. "Food." Well… Can't spend that all in one place…

"Stephanie, knot tying is your thing, Girl Scout." so proclaims the Boy Scout, at least in that never dampened spirit of one Barry Allen. Rubbing his hand against his sleeves, he warms himself, apparently not a fan of the cold as he listens to the conversation and then the request of the young woman with tattoos that's helping them as he considers.

"Got a preference?" Food may be food, but really, he wants to make sure she gets something she likes with the cornucopia of food that he's probably going to try to get together to pay back her assistance this evening. He taps his chin for a moment thoughtfully as he watches the work, and looks around. "Sweets? Savory? Steak? Chicken? Fruits?"

Wait, what? oh! That was an introduction. Stephanie blushes when Barry points out the rude by saying her name. She nods and moves over to help with the tying of the knot. Stephanie leans over into the hood, chiding herself for not paying more attention to the Bat class on automobiles. She'll have to put in to take it again. Maybe Jason'll help. He seems good with vehicles.

"Food. Yes. Sure," she says as she ties a very strong secure knot where Tattoo says. But at this point, she's got to get her car back to Gotham and into repairs. So preoccupied by this and watching her back and Barry's that, well.. maybe she's just spooked by the Slums.

It's much akin to home for Stephanie. No need to be "spooked".

The strain from Kida, has the jacket falling open the tattoo's revealed but inactive in the moment, a moment she finds more comfort in then when she has to use

Once Steph steps in and the needed tension is applied with a knot, Kida lets go and the Spoiler is a-okay!

"Just. Food." Kida states to them both, a sweep of arm bearing inkwork beneath the tattered hem of sleeve sweeps out to the people watching. There's now, no wonder why that woman is regarded as such as the people hold back.

Kida dumps what remains of her water into the radiator while watching, a look that binds pact as the last of her own resources go into "Getting Them Out."

"That will get you over the bridge and gone." An up nod, the vines upon Kida's neck reveal easily, matching with the hue of her eyes as she cleans up her things and puts them back in her pack.

"You need to leave here." Her words thickly laden in accent and yet despite depth, somber.

"Kida… Out." A wave and the backpack is hefted as she look between them both.

Don't try to fix what's not broken…

"Food." And as she wlks away, like a haunting the massive "dog" joins her side from the shadows, tail wagging.

Hood is drawn back in and 'Kida' is gone.

Gosh. Kicked out of Gotham. Kicked out of Gotham Junior. What's a Flash to do. "Okay, did you totally just get a 'Stranger in the Mists' vibe just then with the ghost that shows up in the middle of trouble and then is gone again or was she ever really here?" Barry asks Stephanie with a lift of his brow as he moves to open the door for her. "Here, we can get over to a service station and call a cab to get us to our homes. I know you have classes in the morning."

And patrol a little later in the evening.

That's what was so unsettling. That feeling of being watched and not knowing where it was coming from. Barry's quip just earns a bod, quick and tight. This was Metropolis. It shouldn't FEEL like Gotham. It shouldn't. Slighlty shaken, Stephanie nods, thanking Barry softly for getting the door. She slides int, eyes still scanning the area, heart still thumping harshly with adrenaline. When Barry gets in the car, Stephanie forces a false smile and drives away.

Patrol tonight indeed. But in Gotham. Where this kind of dark feels normal.

A few hours later, there's a streak of red and yellow that races through Metropolis. As it cuts through the slums, there's a box of groceries that is left near the very spot where Stephanie broke down. Inside, is several loaves of bread, peanut butter and jelly, canned milk, energy bars, bottles of water and powdered drinks - everything that a speedster really needs for quick energy.

A chocolate bar at the bottom has a note attached to it.

'Thanks for helping my friends, it's nice to know that even in the darkest place, there's still a glimmer of light'

- Flash

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