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Thread: [M] What Once Was Lost [Namingtoohard & Ashen]

  1. #81
    Mistborn
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    Whilst his attempts at talking the stranger with the gun down weren’t quite the distraction that she had been hoping for, Natalie couldn’t help but feel heartened by the fact that Luuk hadn’t frozen. She doubted that he were truly trying to talk the man down, given the circumstances. It seemed far more likely that he had come to the same conclusion as Natalie herself, and was trying to provide her with the opportunity to make a move that would allow them to escape relatively unscathed. Hopefully she wouldn’t let him down.

    That said, she couldn’t help but feel a little torn when her student willingly stepped in front of her, placing himself directly in the path of the gun’s barrel. On one hand, Natalie couldn’t help but admire that Luuk was willing to place himself in harm’s way to try and protect her, even if her assessment was correct, and it was only to serve as a distraction. On the other, she was older than him, and the teacher here besides. It was her responsibility to look after him, not the other way around, and Luuk intentionally placing himself in harm’s way made her sick to her stomach with both worry and guilt. Natalie tried to fight the feeling down, but it looked to be a losing battle. All the more reason that she act, as quickly as she judged safe, and take advantage of the opportunity that he was trying to provide her with.

    Now that the gunman’s view of her was at least partially obscured, and his attention was seemingly focused on Luuk, Natalie risked a small, shuffling step backwards. She held her breath, waiting for him to yell out for her to stop, or for the gun in his hand to spit hot death, and was relieved when nothing happened. Had he actually not noticed, or did he think she was merely afraid? Natalie didn’t know, but either way, she intended to take advantage of his oversight. She chanced a second small step, and then another, and another, slowly shuffling backwards until she was backed right up against the coffee table. With her gaze still fixated on the stranger and her hands hidden behind her back, she ran her fingers across its surface blindly, searching for a pen or a brush or anything else that she could use.

    After a few seconds of blind probing, her hands closed around a discarded marker – originally just another forgotten part of her home’s ungodly clutter, but now, a precious tool that very well might just save their lives.

    With her hands still hidden behind her back, Natalie set about the task of drawing the sigil she wanted on the inside of her palm. Working blind was dangerous, but with a gun pointed at them, it suddenly seemed the smaller risk to take. Natalie felt that she had little choice but to trust her own ability, her own experience, and hope that her hands weren’t shaking badly enough to ruin her plans. Thankfully, the sigil that she planned on using now was simple enough. Hopefully so much so that she wouldn’t screw it up now, at such a crucial moment.

    Once she was done, Natalie would crouch down as slowly as she could manage, before pressing her palm into the floorboards underfoot. Like always, the ink on her palm seemed to bleed into its surface, darkening a small area around it. Nothing seemed to happen at first, each second dragging on for what felt like an eternity as she waited to see if her efforts would bear fruit. The cold hand of doubt reached into Natalie’s chest, grabbed her heart, and squeezed as the moment dragged on. The silence was broken only by the harsh words of the gunman, who had finally noticed – or simply had enough of – Natalie’s strange behaviour.

    “Hey, you! What do you think you’re-“

    His words were cut short as a tremor seemed to run through the entire room, accompanied by a loud crack, causing all of its occupants to stumble. Natalie would straighten up, a satisfied grin on her face. Her aggressor, by comparison, seemed a touch uncertain now. He’d glance around the room briefly, before brandishing his weapon at Natalie anew.

    “What did you do?”

    Whilst Natalie didn’t have the time to respond, the answer to the stranger’s question would become clear enough. Almost as soon as the man had finished speaking, the very ground that they were standing on gave way. The floor itself collapsed inwards suddenly, dumping all three residents into the apartment below in a shower of wooden splinters, plaster, dust, and pieces of Natalie’s furniture.

    Natalie landed hard on the floor below. Having been the only one prepared for what had just happened, however, she was the first to recover. She had been lucky and avoided landing on anything, and despite the pain, it seemed that everything still worked. She staggered to her feet and started stumbling towards where the gunman had fallen, coughing and spluttering all the while. Natalie threw herself at the man as soon as she was close enough, falling atop him and grabbing at his wrists.

    It quickly became clear that the gunman was physically stronger than her, but he was both hurt and dazed, and Natalie had the element of surprise on her side. She’d manage to knock his gun away, sending it sliding across the floor and out of immediate reach. Even then, she’d continue to struggle against the man, seemingly determined to subdue or incapacitate him completely.

  2. #82
    The Ashen One
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    Luuk was certain the other occupants of the room would hear his heart drumming against his chest. He could only pray he looked more composed than he felt as he stared down the man who would take his life. No, he couldn't think like that--but how could he not? With the gun trained on him, with lifeless eyes boring into his soul, what chance did he have of making out of this alive?

    But behind him, he heard the cautious footsteps of the real target. Natalie had some kind of plan. If he could just keep this distraction up a little longer, would they be able to get out of this mess? He forced his gaze back to the gunman's face, trying to keep his own expression neutral. When he noticed the gunman's eyes going for Natalie, Luuk made some movement, some sudden flick of the hand, a sharp step; anything to bring the attention back to him. He didn't even know if it was worth the effort. Was Natalie really planning on saving them, or was she just trying to get away? She wouldn't leave him here alone, Luuk believed in that. But whatever she was planning, he just hoped she'd execute it soon. He would not be able to keep his composure for long.

    But finally, the man pulled his attention away from the terrified student. Luuk dared to glance back, to see if Natalie had figured out something. Before he could guess at what she'd done, the floor started to shake. An earthquake, here? Coincidence could not have granted such a blessing; this must have been Natalie's doing. What she'd done had only aggravated their assailant, however. Was Natalie trying to get him mad enough to fire? But then the earthquake grew stronger, and Luuk felt himself falling. The earth was swallowing them whole, and as they fell, he could only hope Natalie would be safe during this.

    He hit the ground, hard, and winced at the pain that rose from a new wound in his back. He'd landed on something sharp, and it didn't take long for the thick liquid to pour towards his waist. Dazed, he frantically looked around for Natalie, for the gunman. His own coughing fit drowned out hers, but he still saw her make her way towards the stranger. Luuk struggled to stand; was shaky on his feet. He tried to swallow the pain. Natalie needed him.

    The gun, at least, was no longer in enemy hands. Natalie was holding him off, but from the looks of things, she wouldn't be able to for long. Luuk stumbled towards the two, but his eye caught on the jet black thing half-buried by the vanity they had been working on. Panicked, Luuk grabbed the weapon. He held it awkwardly, afraid of the power now in his hands. He pointed it at the gunman, but his hands trembled. Would he be able to...? Did he even know how to work this thing? What if he hit Natalie by mistake? Swallowing, he lowered the gun, and he approached the two, knowing his inaction would likely lead to death.

    So rather than firing, Luuk did the next best thing. He swung the gun, smacking the man across the nose, twice, thrice. Luuk didn't know where the violence in him came from, nor the strength, but by the time he was finished the man had stopped fighting Natalie, and speckles of his blood were on the weapon. Luuk stood there, petrified. Had he just beaten a man? Was he dead? It was unlikely, but the possibility shook him. His grasp on the gun tightened, and he looked to Natalie. "We... should go," he suggested, quiet, as if afraid of his own voice. He looked to the gun, too dangerous, too red. He couldn't leave it here, not when the man could pursue them. So he clutched it tightly, and on his stumbling legs, he silently left behind what he'd done.
    Last edited by Ashen; 07-13-2020 at 06:17 AM.

  3. #83
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    Even though she had disarmed him already, Natalie continued to grapple with their assailant. She groaned softly as the two of them struggled against each other, determined to win out before he could get his bearings. Natalie didn’t know who he was, nor could she be certain why the man had decided to come after them, but none of that mattered right now. It didn’t matter how much pain she was in after that fall, or what she had been forced to do to her apartment. She wouldn’t stop, couldn’t stop, until she was certain that both she and Luuk were safe again. In the short term, at the very least.

    For all her good intentions, however, it quickly became clear that Natalie was fighting a losing battle. She hadn’t been quick enough, or strong enough, or had seriously underestimated the man. Regardless of the reason, he was quickly beginning to overpower her. Within seconds, the man had gotten a hold of one of Natalie’s wrists, even whilst his other hand pushed at her face. She had a few seconds at best until he managed to throw her free, after which he would inevitably move to reclaim his fallen weapon.

    And then Luuk was there. Her student had apparently managed to retrieve fallen gun without Natalie realising, engrossed in their little struggle as she had been. The first she knew of his presence was when she watched him smash his new weapon across the man’s face. Her attacker’s nose broke under the impact, and Natalie felt a few specks of blood splatter her face and forearms. The man went limp beneath her – either unconscious or dead, though the former seemed much more likely. Inwardly thankful for his timely intervention, Natalie sat back on her haunches, and let out a shaky breath. It took her a few seconds longer to unclench her fists, after which she’d finally turn her attention to Luuk good and proper. She responded to his words with a simple nod of agreement.

    “Right. We…we should get out of here, before anyone realises what has happened. We’ll go to my car. See if we can find somewhere safe to hole up” Natalie answered, once she trusted herself to speak. She tried to calm herself. To sound calm and steady, even if she didn’t feel it. Her voice sounded weak and steady even to her own ears, however.

    She climbed to her feet, and was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t immediately buckle underneath her. Natalie made for the front door, and had almost reached it when a sudden thought made her pause. She glanced back over her shoulder and surveyed the wreckage for a moment, her lips pursed into a thoughtful frown. Her eyes would pick out a familiar-looking cabinet, now bent and broken. Temporarily abandoning her ideas of a speedy escape, she began to walk towards it, carefully picking her way through the ruins of what had once been the ceiling…or the foor, she supposed, depending on your perspective.

    She knelt down once she reached the cabinet, and spent a few brief moments sifting through the wreckage. It took her a few seconds of purposeful digging, but Natalie would eventually find what she had been looking for – a small wooden box. One that had been sitting on the shelves in her apartment, until just a few moments earlier. Relief flooded through Natalie, and she clasped it to her chest for a brief moment. A quick glance was all she needed to tell that it was very much worse for wear. The lid no longer sat properly, one of the hinges was twisted and bent, and its wooden surface was now marred heavily with scratches and chips. The main structure seemed to be intact, however. She simply had to hope the contents were too...and hopefully in slightly better condition. When she straightened up again, box clasped in her arms, she felt a little more stable.

    "Alright. Let's go."

    Leading the way, Natalie would slip out the front door. She’d make certain to close it behind her, before leading her young charge down the steps and out onto the street. The mage remained silent throughout, mind swirling as she tried to come to terms with what had just happened, and make sense of why. It was only when they had reached the pavement and found her car that Natalie patted down her pockets with a free hand, and realised her mistake.

    “Ah, fuck. I didn’t have any of my stuff with me when he came in, and I didn’t think to grab it on the way out. My keys, my phone, my purse…”

    Her gaze would drift up to the complex that towered above him, her expression pinched. Was it worth going back for them, or were they better off just taking the subway? Covered in blood and dishevelled as they were, the two of them were bound to attract attention, but it didn’t have to be for long. She was yet to decide where they might go, but right now Natalie was content to deal with one problem at a time. She was also yet to realise that some of the blood covering Luuk was his own, given how messy and disorganized things currently were, though it was only a matter of time.

  4. #84
    The Ashen One
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    Thought had abandoned him. Luuk could feel his legs moving him out of the wreckage, away from this place that had once looked like a home, back onto the streets, but his mind was stuck elsewhere, in front of that man, swinging a weapon he never thought he'd see with his own eyes. That couldn't have been him, beating that man--right? But who else would it have been? His grip around the gun tightened. Held up to his chest like this, he was hardly concealing this new weapon. Someone was bound to call the police on him like that, especially with the blood on his face, dripping down his back. They would take him away, strip the freedom he had just earned--and wasn't that what he deserved, now?

    But when Natalie spoke again--had he even heard her the first time?--he blinked the world into focus again. She had forgotten her things inside her apartment...? Luuk cast a glance towards the front door, face paling. He couldn't go back there. He couldn't let her go back there. She could return when the coast was clear, maybe, if it was ever clear. Right now, Luuk knew he had to get the hell away.

    He grabbed Natalie's hand, still clutching the gun with his other. He couldn't find the right words, couldn't find any words, so instead he would lead her. He started for the train station, but after only a couple minutes of walking he stopped. Wouldn't the other passengers be wary? Wouldn't someone stop them, try to find out what was wrong? And what was he doing still holding this? Luuk fumbled with the gun, awkwardly shoving it into the waistline of his pants, at least mostly concealed. He didn't know how bloodied his back was. He shook his head. Walking would take too long; they had no other choice.

    Luuk couldn't remember the walk from Natalie's apartment to the train station being so long. His pace quickened, though his pain advised against it. If Natalie spoke at all, he certainly wasn't in the headspace to hear her. He silently led her to the train station, bought the tickets for the train back to his dorm, and paced while he waited. They were safe, but Luuk was still processing it all. Everything had happened so fast. Was this his fault? If he had never met Natalie, would they be in this situation? Why couldn't he have been okay with not knowing anything about his parents? About this magic? About people trying to kill him? But now, no matter what, he knew he couldn't forget any of it.

    If anyone had noticed the two of them on the train, Luuk certainly hadn't paid them any mind. The gun sat awkwardly against his stomach while he sat, reminding him of its presence. When the train pulled up to his stop. He was quick to get up and start away from the public eye. He could only assume Natalie was following him as he led her through campus and to his dorm. It was only when he was inside his room, door firmly locked behind him, that his reality finally caught up with him.

    He was back at his dorm with Natalie. Without warning, he'd brought a woman back to his shared living space, after they'd nearly gotten killed. She had nothing, no phone or wallet, and he had taken her away from her home. Luuk turned to her sharply, disbelief caught in his throat. "My god," he murmured, "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean-- Did we...? Are you okay?" Finally a coherent question. Before she could answer, Luuk lifted his shirt and pulled the gun from his pants. "What--?" he started, struggling to find the words. He looked back to Natalie. Taking a moment to catch his breath, finally, he asked, "What was​ that?"

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