Found! On a Rooftop

April 02, 2018:

In which Cassandra meets Jhiao but is rudely interrupted by a ninja.

East Gotham Rooftops

Characters

NPCs: League of Assassins goons

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

*

As weird as the world can sometimes be, the people living in American cities still have not reached the point where spotting a great cat in a service animal-like vest, strolling the streets passes without notice. And that notice would often lead to calls to the police or animal control; that would not be a Good Thing (tm). And while Cloud could wander the cities as a two-foot and garner very little attention, she prefers her four-footed form. It is in that form she feels most comfortable.

Her compromise solution is that she tends to slink about furtively, staying out of sight, and spends much of her time rooftop-leaping. Because silly two-foots seem never to look up! And as an arboreal breed of great cat there could be little more natural to her than bounding from one airborne platform to another, hunting.

Which is what brings this moment, as the soft grey cloud-spotted leopard dressed in a deep, deep navy blue 'service vest' with gold trim and a gold X just to the side of the center zipper on her chest comes bounding from one rooftop to the next. She is exploring Gotham; one of her two-footed charges from the school came from this place, and sometimes runs away back here when things get hard or confusing. So Jhiao is looking for him, and doing it her way, complete with backlit amber eyes and snuffling leopard nose.

*

There's another figure roaming the roof tops today. She's wearing dark colours, not quite black, to more easily blend into the shadows as she traverses the skyline of the worst parts of the city. This one moves on two legs, slightly crouched at time, and always runs between buildings. This is required of the two-legged variety of person, of course, as they must find a way to build momentum without storing the energy into their hind legs prior to leaping.

The girl is hard to make out clearly. Her face is mostly hidden in the shadow of a deep blue hoodie but her form is quite slender for her height of five freet and six inches. She also moves through the rooftops as easily as Cloud. This is clearly her home. Which is no doubt why, upon coming up to the Cloud Leopard's latest vista, she pauses, tilts her head in a way most reminiscent of the predatory cats, and then slowly turns.

One might expect a person to panic or be surprised by the presence of the arboreal predator along the skyline. She pauses, then reaches out toward Jhiao with her left hand. The girl wears gloves, but her hand is still quite small and her fingers are exposed from the second knuckle.

*

The slinking clouded leopard pads closer, head canted to the side, watching the two-leg girl curiously. While she is not immediately trusting, there is no aggression in the predator as she visibly inhales deeply, drinking in the girl's scent, something far more informative than mere sight, to be sure.

Assured of none of the accursed firearms on the girl, and also no sign of the ozone-like scents of high-energy weapons, the leopard slinks closer, moving slowly but purposefully, letting the girl be in control; with no scent of fear, Cloud assumes this girl is alright, but also leaves plenty of room for the two-foot female to back up, indicating that they are close enough if she wishes. Otherwise, Cloud approaches within a foot or two and then leans out, visibly dissipating the bound-up tension of her hindquarters as she touches her nose to the outstretched hand.

*

The outstretched hand is warm and also a bit rough thanks to the presence of leather covering all but the extremities of it. The girl seems to be completely at peace with the leopard. It isn't the casual, unassuming motion of the uninformed but rather the casually tense, observant stance of a fellow predator. Even so, those fingers are ticklish when they gently stroke along Jhiao's forehead and then move into her fur.

This girl is very good at petting. She can read the body language of the great cat, it seems, adjusting her movements in minute ways when she sees how Jhiao reacts to her. Cassandra lets the petting be led entirely by the barest movement of the leopard's frame an the tension in her musle. This means it's easy to lay back and simply enjoy. Amber eyes seek out the amber eyes of the animal opposite Cassandra, but the girl simply stares as she works.

The young woman smells like a teenager. Freshly out of puberty but still young and, in some ways, growing. She's got none of the scent of fear on her whatsoever, just a hint of clean sweat form exertion and human food consumed at least two hours ago. There was fighting earlier, but it is far away now.

*

The leopard chuffs softly, then leans into the petting a bit more, big amber eyes half-lidding in pleasure as petting continues, hitting all the best spots around her ears and neck. Assured that the human girl is comfortable, the leopard eventually inches closer until she is back on balance and in more easy reach, soaking up all of that attention. How nice; she has never met a non-empath who was quite this good at proper petting.

Eventually the leopard strops her cheek ruff against the girl's leg, putting at least a patch of her own scent on her so that the other cats - faint traces, only - will know that this one is a good one. Then she inches closer, for more petting, before finally lowering her rump and sitting up, eyes lifting to meet the girl's gaze curiously. She hasn't seen many bipeds up here on the rooftops. That makes this one's ease and skill at it rather exceptional. Worthy of attention. Curiosity.

*

When Cloud drops to her haunches Cassandra goes to her knees. Now they sit in a markedly similar position, cat and girl, watching one another with similar levels of intense scrutiny. The girl, for her part, seems to regard the cat as a curiosity. She givesn one of the sense of Jhiao being out of place the leopard would expect.

Finally Cassandra takes a deep breath and shifts her hips forward slightly so that the cat can lean forward into her lap if she chooses. Cass lets her fingers run down Cloud's side to rest on her side. Silence follows save for slow, deep breaths.

*

Cloud is out of place because leopards don't belong in cities. The girl is out of place because bipeds don't belong up on rooftops. Yet both are here, and so be it. Sensing the offer, Cloud inches closer and then lays herself down across the kneeling girl's thighs, happily accepting more petting and attentions. She does like this, and a deep rumbling purr vibrates through her as she relaxes.

The purring, however, comes to a halt a minute or two later. The cat tenses slightly, and turns her head as her ears flick. Just a moment or two later and the leopard hops up to her feet, crouching between the girl and the rest of the rooftop, pointing herself towards one of the nearby rooftops, tail quivering with only tiny little slashes of activity. What was a rumble of a purr now becomes the rumble of a softened, quieted growl.

*

Cassandra continues to lavish Cloud with attention, offering more of it the louder the purring becomes in a sort of feedback loop which nearly requires the animal to lay across her lap and happily accept being pampered with gentle caresses. It's something that brings the girl some peace as well and she slowly relaxes as this happens. Amber eyes lift then, to cast out over the rooftops.

To be truthful, the man garbed indeep grays who approached the pair from a nearby rooftop had expected to be seen at soem point. It was part of the risk he was taking in surveiling Cassandra Cain, of all people. She knew his tricks after all, but he was confident he could at least get within a dozen meters without being immediately pinpointed. He hadn't counted on the leopard. So instead of proceeding the man stepped back behind the cover of a rooftop entrance and murmured into a receiver.

It's hard to make out but token ears sounds very much like, "…Eyes on… Request ord-"…

*

The leopard remains tense and watchful, but she does chance glancing back over her shoulder at the girl she is visibly protecting, assessing her response to this situation, before she then turns back and bounds over to the other rooftop. She is an arboreal predator; there is no biped who can be her equal here! (Well, OK. None Cloud has ever met. OK?)

Landing on soft cat feet, there's little sign at all of her approach, as she then slinks around the rooftop entrance, then leaps up lightly onto its roof and pads across to peer down at her target. Her tail swishes in short, agitated little movements side to side as her hips bunch and prepare to spring.

*

the man recoils slightly, then blinks a few times. Cassandra's expression is oddly calm as he confronts both of them. the girl straightens slowly, coming up beside the leopard and dragging her fingers through soft fur.

The assassin in black takes a deep breath and then reaches for his breath. He draws a short sword as he is retreating from the pair now rounding on him. His free hand goes to his ear. "…UNderstood."

Then the man turns, blade still in hand, and runs for the next rooftop, leaping away from them both. Cassandra is left beathing heavily, her legs tense as the only real sign of her reaction to all of this. She tightens her fingers into the leopard's fur for a second and then turns.

The implication is obvious: they need to go.

*

The leopard turns her head and pushes her forehead against Cassandra's tummy, a firm but measured nudge. Then she chuffs, nudging once more, and leaps down from the entrance's roof to the main rooftop, takes a stride or three and then leaps back to the roof from whence they encountered one another. She waits, there, senses peeled to be sure more like the one in black do not return.

*

Cassandra watches as the leopard leaps down to the main rooftop and then she takes a few steps closer, slowly. The girl coils her legs, then jumps down to join her companion, and just allows the leopard to lead. Periodically, Cassandra glances around as well. The rooftop remains almost eerily empty for now. Every shadow could hide another pursuer but they find none.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License