Wait and Bleed

June 03, 2017:

Ripclaw is found in a tough situation as he fights for his life against three SHOC. The Wolverine shows up to help him.

Characters

NPCs: Recluse, Jackal

Mentions: Killjoy, Nate Grey

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Ripclaw was counting the amount of days since his return to New York city since he last killed someone. Twelve days. Twelve days in New York and not a single death. Today changed that. Cyberdata never lets him forget who he is. A hunted, vicious and dangerous animal.

His back to a wall, gleaming red eyes locked down the expanse of the alleyway at the clumped together shadows there Ripclaw bleeds. Profusely. It's a stomach wound. It went deep. It cut through flesh, muscle, possibly chipped bone. Cyborgs. SHOC Cyborgs.

"Come on now, baby. Did you think we forgot about you?" The click of heels. Not heels. Cybernetic 'feet', thin things like the legs of a spider only they belong to a humanoid. A too tall, too long bodied female with an abnormally long neck, a too small head and hair that reaches well past a curvy ass. "We never forget our own. Killjoy thinks you're hers. Shes going to be soooo mad. I might get a promotion."

A snicker, claws scrape and a golden armored man steps forward behind the black and white clad woman. His lips peeled back too wide, sharp vicious teeth display themselves, "I'm going to eat his guts. Slurpslurp."

"Yes Jackal. Only after I've plucked his eyes. I want them while hes still alive.

"Recluse… I am the one who smelled him." A thin-long extra appendage that is not one of Recluse's human arms comes down, the thin point like her feet touches down on Jackal's muscular armored back,"Shush dog. Let momma gloat a little bit."

A snarl sound escapes Jackal, his head dips down in to the cement underneath him. Submissive. Obedient. Soldiers of Cyberdata are strange primitive thinkers, they respect strength, the next augment, the next upgrade and those who are more evolved or more powerful. You hold rank by being effective, frightening and strong. Ripclaw was strong once. Recluse is strong. Killjoy is stronger.
"You know if you kill me. You're both going to answer to /her/."

A wave in the air of needle-tip fingers, "Shes preoccupied. By the time she learns I'll already have my next upgrade and who says I wont be stronger than her? Now. Where were we?"

A loud unnatural inhuman howl rips free of Jackal's throat and he rushes forward, he charges his prey in a maddened bloodlust.

*

Laura has spent months now in solitude.

How many cuts will heal?

How many wounds wont?

Mental, all of it. And after the call of roaming, her room, and slipping in and out of her window, she is coming to a conclusion, but one that has her back out her window in the middle of the night - a shadow streaking across Xavier grounds and towards the city. Unnoticed, unheard.

Mutant Town:
2:03am EST

A race across the alleys is almost animistic, even alleycats cry out, scatter, knock over trashcans…
But when eyes avert down the darkened halls there is nothing but the tiny feline reflections staring back and agitated howls of disturbance.
Something else prowls here.

From the rooftop, in the darkness long tendrils of black spill from shoulders, framing a pale face that bears a formation of liquid black in a strip around… red eyes set in a narrow.

Words are exchanged, and X does not have to know the place of either party totally, but the fight it uneven.

Time to fix that!

Fingers curl into the edge of the roof, and from 7 stories up that tiny form descends in a blur of black to kick booted feet off a fire escape and leap forward with a feral cry from parted lips as arms spread and the duality of claws *snikt* from both gloved hands taped efficiently around those morphing knuckles.

The charging form of Jackal is her evident target in the full throttle descent that seeks to bear her down on his back.

If successful X is riding him like a 'skeet' board along the pavement while fingers seek his hair and to painfully arch him upward to stare at Ripclaw as his charge may have possibly changed due to a sudden Factor.
Jackal is close, Ripclaw is awaiting that moment just before he lunges and opens his mouth wide, extends those claws and metal crushing teeth…

*

CRASHTHUD

Laura Kinney lands with impact enough to force Jackal in a skid on his own chest, his face, his shoulders, her biting fingers in his greasy hair. Teeth snap, the brawny stocky bodied mongrel struggles to right himself.

"You." The feral cybermutant says in recognition of Laura only to leap past her, his forearm coming up to block the spiky thrust of one of Recluse's extra arms. Another slashes out and he dices it in half. Blood spraying out of his abdomen in a gush as he snarls.

"I don't know who your little friend is Ripclaw but shes just another meal for usss." More thrashing arms, even a kick. Recluse has so many limbs Ripclaw is on the defensive.

"Get off me." The man under Laura growls, pushes upwards and reaches up behind him, gripping and tearing at her with sharp claws of each finger. Theyre not as long or deadly as hers or even Ripclaws but he possesses a far beyond normal strength that matches his 'brawn'.

*

X…
She is 'X' right now. Nothing to no one. It all ended…
Let the new in…

But sometimes, the other needs let out!

X lowers as Ripclaw leaps over her with his single *noun* of acknowlegement. "Meee…." Growled back and as those claws rip along the pliant fabrication of black leather that paints her lower body from belted waist down, she does not flinch, instead X kicks back off the coasted along shoulders of Jackal, landing after an acrobatic back flip upon the alley's ground. The hand that held him extends and drops pieces of hair and scalp upon the moist cement.

A forward sweep of that hand, and extension f fingers resting just above two claws… 'Bring it!'.

And as Ripclaw meets the woman, X is charging Jackal on even keel if he regains quick enough!

Once? Twice? How often had X met Ripclaw? It was past, but now it is present, and due to that alignment, he is friend now - they are enemy…

Restraint is nil as she seeks to swarm upon Jackal in a move much akin to a Tasmanian Devil instead..

A head to head suddenly has her dropping to skid along the street, abrasing the opened side of pants where Jackal's claws had peeled, butif made just below and past Jackal, a single leg kicks up and embeds a blade from her foot into his shoulder, aiding in her climb of his body that is all careful lacerations and a wrapping ferret-like spiral of his form!
Awesome bulk and brawn against the agile smaller tighter actions of X-23 has Jackal swiping at air, spinning and even crashing his head /through/ the brick wall. A yowl of pain exits him when she spits him with a toe blade. Then climbs him. The scalping is another sharp rush of more agony. Sudden, abrupt. She is the better fighter he is just a brute, an armored savage brute. She is a slicing efficient assassin.

*

Ripclaw is hefted up by one arm, Recluse hoists him in the air and his hands abruptly find purchase on the sides of her head. She begins to thrash, those tentacle-style arms of hers smashing in all directions as she suddenly releases a very very human and shrill scream. One that says a body part just detached itself or several. They did. He just gouged out both of her eyes like shes been threatening to do to him all night. It's a disturbing noise this creature makes, metal clanking, squishy sounds and limbs thumping about on the alley floor.

The Native American is going in for the kill on her, Laura can see it. She will recognize that look in his eyes as he looms over Recluse. Her own battle-friend is backing away from her, now bald in a grotesque manner, scalp visible ringed in pink and red. A whimpering mongrel dog noise coming from him as he backs away in to shadow. Retreat. His alpha is down and he is outclassed. Run away. Hide. Seek weaker prey later or find a bigger pack.

Ripclaw uplifts a shining bio-metallic limb, the claws at the end of it start to length like individual swords and they hover, take aim and prepare for that finisher.

*

Wait and Bleed

"Stay…" A simple hiss from between lips, ground teeth as she slides down Jackal's back and hamstrings him with those claws that flash from the toes of black boots to seek and bring in to his knees and unable to move!

"Down!"

But whether or not Jackal is down X is leaping towards Ripclaw's hoisted appendage of familiarity, that tiny form clinging along his bicep like she had Jackal, but suddenly claws are a bit more careful as she scales the massive limb like it belongs to an ancient and sacred tree.

"No!" Even as X lets go of his arm and falls back, she pins herself back against recluse in a manner of all fours pinning the "woman" to the ground by her own flesh, but not vitality, to the ground beneath them.

Let more blood spill, but none too vital. They can bleed out and not die!

"Let them live…" A small voice in comparison to before, but she doesn't exactly define 'in what state' they need to live in.
Just live…

*

Even if her back is upon Recluse and Jackal has been sliced as if in a blender and left behind.
"They only live to kill." Ripclaw says hoarsely, the wrap of her limbs around his bicep slows him though. A frown creases proud features and that hawkish nose dips.
Crimson eyes roll over to stare at her face, studying it and then he looks down at the back of Recluse who is crawling away blindly, her limbs weakly thrashing back and forth, like a spider that just got smashed by a boot heel only it was too stubborn to die all the way.

Inhale and an exhale. Deliberate. Slow. Laura will recognize this too. Ripclaw is centering himself. That exhales gets a cough from him though and fluid, dark slick fluid spurts forth from his guts, he staggers in to her slighter frame and his knees wobble.

Jackal stops. Dead stops and is ground kissing again, just in the shadows. Head bowed. Such an animal and an animal knows it's betters. "Yes… yes. Do not hurt me." He pleads.

*

X is poised between his extended blow and the retreating Recluse. There is no waver there, those lightly glowing crimson eyes meet Ripclaws without so much as a blink. One hand still remains wrapped around his arm, and when he speaks, she says nothing.

Like the X he first met.

But his breathing has her planting, centered, and ready for the mass of weight that descend into her hold, that arm held draped over her slight spanse of shoulders. Now, with both hands gripping his arm she is walking towards Jackal in his cow-tow to his superiors. A light loft of chin where jawline is sprayed in blood (*his!* blood), a narrow of that red gaze and a booted foot is drawn back…!

A flash of metal, a scrape of sole in return to blow!
And just along Jackal's jugular that bladed toe rests, pressing, opening a small ravine for blood to spill further, but more like an animistic bite for submission's finality upon him. Non fatal.

"Remember this." Two firm words from the smaller form holding up a much larger pale figure. She knows Jackal's scent now, down to the sweat from his brow and the blood that spills.

Heel plants to his shoulder in withdrawal and gives Jackal a shove enough to pivot him and excuse him from his moment, but staggers her beneath the weight to regather with hand splayed over the open abdomen and Ripclaw's…

Insides on the outsides…

"Where are your friends?" A query as she is now moving faster, but not hesitating to push what shouldn't be -out- back -in-! Done on herself enough times, she knows how this works, but not how He works.
"Around but right now unreachable. You are the closest thing." Ripclaw responds to Laura, "Where did you come from? The last time I seen you was in Westchester? It's been a while I suppose." He went away. She was busy being an X-Men and they never really knew eachother that well. He just liked her 'style'. Like him their stories are very similar, feral mutants, clawed, a look down and she'll even see the small beginnings of an intestine actually raveling itself back in to him. Alive is the healing factor. The smell of incoming infection due to open air bacteria? No. Not on Ripclaw. He is like her in those regards. His bladed fingers still clutch his stomach though, maintaining pressure to ease pain and make sure things go as they should. His other bulky arm draped over her much smaller shoulders.

*

"Thank you. I would probably be dead if you had not shown. They never give up." He says sounding exhausted.

"Only by… Luck." X murmurs in regards to Ripclaw's assurance that she was it, for this moment.

A look around, the streak of red eyes, coupled by Ripclaw's own that are a bit more dulled due to his injuries, she is searching.
A barred door…
But not for long.

A switch in pace sends them both staggering akin to drunkards towards her target, and with a slide of blades the chains clatter from holds and a boot shoves the door aside to grind open against age old debris behind it.

"I wander at night. I…" A heave to aid him in and close the door behind him. A boarded up and abandoned shop lain bare, looted already, gutted save the skeletal remains of of what it once was, a small recliner off to the side before a table where new dust gathers over old… A TV was there before… Not now.

"..Have things to do." A twist at hips once they near that chair and she is nearly judo-tossing Ripclaw into it.. «This has been done before, but that man is gone…»

The dust from the furnishing puffs up and those ruby eyes watch him, watch as more of his insides slowly retreat and the gashes wide become far more narrow.

«…Fields of flowers and reassurances..»

A slow blink and X looks towards the floor, then the empty space, moving to the empty 'TV stand' and occupying it boot-by-boot to perch, arms draped over bent knees to become the gargoyle over this structure and the mending man within.

"How can we make them give up?" X has been elusive, avoid-ant, a shadow in shadows, even to her fellow X-Men unless called upon in need. That mantle still resting on display…
In her closet.

Her words are more pointed, less a question, even if ended as such. The curl of wrapped and fingerless gloved fingers a sign of her enforced desire.

*

Ripclaw is guided by the smaller form rather easily. He isn't putting up resistance. She was introduced once as an ally and that is what she is now. She did after all just save him. The dusty innards of the abandoned shop have his nose curling but its a good distraction from the smell of blood.

"Nfhgh." A sound rolls from him at the 'almostjudoflip' and he is hitting the recliner, his bulk crushing down the springs and causing the fold out portion to kick up. "Ow." Ripclaw says in a robotic manner.

"Just need to lay here for a bit and I should be okay… " His fingers slide together and interlace, pressure remaining on his stomach.

"We don't. Not them. Jackal and Recluse don't even need a brainbox to be who they are. Usually with SHOCs, mutants taken against their will, chopped up and put back together, they're held in control by the box. It can be shut off. Theirs, theirs gone they would still be monsters. Killing them is the only way. They'll give us another chance… " He hesitates, "Me another chance. I respect your desire not to kill. It is admirable. I won't taint that."

*

X knows his ease into her movements is acceptance.

Of past..
or of death?

She could kill him in this moment. But he could grant her the same rattle if she chose such a fight.

Ths was nt her fight, she knew it when she dove in.
But it has now, become a fight she will partake in. Things to do.

A reach up with his affirmation of recognition, that strip of black leather gathered beneath the curl of fingers and peeled away to reveal the piercing emerald gaze that stares at him. Once dead, now as alive as the cast of red from the masks overlay.

…And I need you to recover…
… cuz I can't make it on my own.

"Jackal will roll," A pause and the moan of leather can be heard from the adjustment. Abdomen is bare. Pants and the band of a halter, both that leather but exposure is evident. Like this X is daring… "He already did once." The bend is to look down to the toe of boot that bares his blood, never mind the fingertips. That was war, the boots…
Were his remission.

"If he does not know better…" Elbows upon bent knees pivot, arms extend outward and finger splay, those claws slowly extending with the audible tear of her flesh as they extend far longer then the 'shrug' of gesture.

Even as she watches Ripclaw and speaks, her eyes never fully leave his wound, to be sure…

An exhale He is.., while arms fold back in, as do the claws with that suction.

"You couldn't taint me, if you tried." Inhale. Exhale. "Us."

"Please." A look to the side, not fully away…
X needs this.
Laura needs this..
Wolverine…

"My name," A slow swallow. "Is Laura. I was X-23. I want to be something I was not made.

*

"Laura." Ripclaw repeats. A light strained smile appears across those chalk white and tired features, "It is a pretty name you chose." He says before his hands lift, a burble rises up from his stomach and he places palms on the arms of the chair, uplifting himself and seating again.

"You are striving to be better. That is all I meant, I would not let you step off that path. I am not. I have unfinished business and until it is completed I am this revenant, this wraith of consumed vengeance." A sigh again, his head wobbles a little back and forth with his weariness, dark hair flooding down around his face as his gleaming eyes appear almost dull. One would think he is about to expire right now. So weak appearing.

"Just a little longer… "

« .. I did not choose any of this..»

Lips part to protest but then seal shut into a firm line while she watches him strain and re-seat himself. For that moment it is as if every moment they had just shared is gone.
Water down your empty soul..

"Rest." A low whisper, an assurance is a smile word that comes forth in a manner backed by the return of the strip of mask and the sudden flare of red over what was once emerald.

"You're not the box they put you in, Ripclaw." X remembers him, and in her own words is ever vigilant, her head tilting to listen - birdlike…

Heartbeat… Pulse…

When the sun rises and presses slivers of light through the boarded over business windows, she is still there, curled into a minute ball upon the table whre a TV should be.
Asleep but not…

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