Your love's on the tip of my tongue

Started by Simon Rosentower at Nov 14, 2021 9:53 AM
March 17, 2051
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Well, he tried to silently--with his guilty ass eyes--tell Iris not to overreact but she overreacted and gave the game away. Cal had been fully prepared to pretend that they didn't have a phoenix waiting back at the hideout. That was their goddamn phoenix and these lazy fucking humans with their entitled attitudes could go find their own.

But Iris was a poor liar. Probably that fae part of her. Cal couldn't blame her; he still didn't react, trying to bluff his way out of killing Lieke again. What he said was true. A phoenix exchanging their life for the human's would save him and repair everything that was broken. But it was a last resort for phoenixes and... possibly a last anything for Lieke, if he was on his very last life. Cal didn't want to be the author of that sad ending, but he also wanted these humans off his back. He knew what the woman wanted to do to him, why her hand went to her pocket. 

"You have a phoenix." It wasn't even a question. Yas knew and she zeroed in on Iris. "You know where to find one."

"No," Cal said defiantly, shifting closer to Iris to protect her from the trigger-happy human woman. "Fuck off."

The backhand he received surprised him more than hurt him--and then it started to sting. Cal was on his feet but Yas was already grabbing him by the front of the shirt and dragging him close. She was stronger than she looked. "Take me to the phoenix. Right now." 

"Fuck. Off."


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"Hey!"

Iris moved closer, indignant as she grabbed onto the woman's arm. She had a lot of strength in that deceptively thin arm. Muscles that were currently taut as she grasped Cal in a threatening manner. More than indignant, she was afraid, angry, and horrified.

"Leave him alone! He came all this way to do what he could for you and you--you have the audacity to demand more of him? Of us?"

Humans were terrible! The others often said that they were but she always defended them. Always! And this was what she was defending the whole time? She looked to Reed. So far, he had been quiet about all this but he was usually a good human. Or she thought he was.

"Tell her!" Her hands trembled with restrained emotion. "Tell her we did what we could!" She turned back to Yas, narrowing her eyes. "At this point, it's just greed. Cal bought your friend more time than he had before and made him more clear headed. Reed asked for help and Cal didn't have to come out to help!"


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I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light
He's gotta be sure, and it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life

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This was going South all in a hurry and Reed didn't know whose side he was on! He wanted Simon to be saved--they all did. But he didn't want Iris and Cal to be attacked by a visibly upset and irate Yas! Debating between the two, Reed nervously chewed on his fingernails as he watched it all unfold. Yas looked ready to kill somebody, and if the healer kid wasn't so useful, it might have been him.

Reed uncurled from the love seat he'd stuffed himself into in the most uncomfortable way, legs drawn up and crushed under him, body hugging the contours of the back of it. He babbled something nonsensical that he knew was nonsense, about how the kids were trying to help even though they were probably hundreds of years old and knew what they were doing so, really, as humans did they have any right to tell them what to do?

The look Yas gave him could have curdled milk. In desperation, Reed shoved his hand into her pocket, grabbed her phone, and ran out of the room with it. "RUN YOU GUYS! RUN AWAY!" He thundered down the hall and locked himself in the bathroom, and then sat with his back to it, hugging the phone to his chest.

If Yas didn't have it, she couldn't trap the other two! Maybe they could run away and hide from her unending wrath!


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This situation was turning out a lot more dangerous than Iris anticipated. But she couldn't let Reed's semi-good deed go to waste! So she grabbed onto Cal and tugged him along with her as she made a beeline for the exit of the house. She didn't want to have to do anything bad to the human woman but if she forced her hand... Ah! She grabbed onto the doorknob, heart in her throat and pushed out, nearly stumbling down the steep steps as she ran out. She forgot where she was; these houses were super steep in this part of San Francisco!

Still, she managed not to throw herself face first onto the pavement. She kept a tight hold on tired Cal as she turned back in time to slam the door closed before the woman made it to them. Of course, the door between them was nothing. Yas was on the side that could be locked and she would just rip it open. All Iris was looking to do at that point was to buy more time to hurry down the steps without killing themselves in the process.

"We can't go straight back to the lair," she said breathlessly to Cal when she got to the bottom and looked back up. "She might chase us all the way back!"


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Cal was tired of humans. He let Iris drag him out but he didn't really think the woman would chase them without her phone. When he looked back, before Iris shut the door behind them, she wasn't there and he caught sight of her making a beeline for wherever that Reed guy had run off to. 

"Whoa! Shit." Cal grabbed on to her at the top of the stairs, and she managed not to throw herself head-first off the landing. Personally, after everything that had happened tonight, Cal didn't think he could handle seeing Iris crack her head open on concrete. Pulled down the steps, he finally tugged back to stop her from freaking out.

This was all extremely tiresome and Cal was done with it.

"It's me she wants, not you, so let's split up. I'll lead her away from the lair, you go back and warn the others."


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"No!"

Iris stared at Cal as if he'd grown another head. Holding onto him like she thought he was going to make a dash for it anyway, she tugged on him to follow her down an alley--or rather, a small space between two of the painted lady houses. They were really close together so it wasn't fun or easy but even if that Yas person did follow them... She worried. There were so many ways to find their kind in this place and it wasn't a good idea to get on their bad side.

But it wasn't fair--they should be on their GOOD side right now!

"Come on," she whispered as she kept tugging. If she had the strength, she'd pick Cal up and carry him. Eyeing him over, she asked--still whispering--"Can you be a bird? I can carry you and run faster!"


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"You realize I can fly, right? Up high? Where humans don't usually look?" Cal whispered as he let himself be carted off into a tiny alley, too annoyed to even place importance on the fact that they were squeezed up together. He tugged back more firmly this time because while Iris had her heart in the right place, he didn't think sticking together was a good idea. That woman would use Iris to get him to do what she wanted; Cal wasn't prepared to let that happen.

"Just go back home. I'll hide out with the Free Birds tonight, she won't look there. She can't even get there." As a bird he had much more mobility and he could access hiding places that others couldn't. Cal tried to pull away from Iris, casting a look over his shoulder to make sure they still weren't being followed. 


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"I... yes. But..."

Actually, she did kinda forget he was probably a lot faster than she was with his wings. How silly of her to think of running with a BIRD in her arms!

...seriously. How silly. How stupid. She could feel her face growing hot with the embarrassment of it. Cal had that ability, though--to make everybody else feel totally stupid with his deadpan snark. Even more so, his plan did make sense. It made a lot of sense. So much sense.

"Right. Of course..." She also looked around, also worried they were being followed. "I-I'll go back and tell everybody what's happening... and you..."

She uselessly lifted a hand in the general vicinity of Alcatraz. He would be safer there and she would... well, she would just have to creep around for a little while before heading back to the lair. After having to vacate the last one, she didn't want to be the one to force them out of their new home already. Quickly, she hugged Cal.

"Stay safe."


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Ugh.

See.

This was why he bitched and moaned to Lieke about Iris. Not because she was annoying or anything--FAR from it--but because he just kept coming across like a jerk to her. Cal could tell that whatever he said, and however he'd said it, made Iris feel bad. Her heart really was in the right place, and he knew she meant well and wanted to protect him. It was just that there was no time to find the words to express that, or to explain everything in a way that spared her feelings. 

Awkwardly Cal let her stumble through her words, stiff and tense and still on edge and mostly, super fucking annoyed by the humans who had turned on them. It was the humans who caused this. The humans, always the humans. If possible, he hated them more than he hated the way he made Iris feel bad.

"...yeah. You too. Be careful. Stay close to the shadows." He pulled one arm up stiffly to bro-pat her on the side, because he didn't know if a full-on hug was appropriate right now. And then he eased away, glad that their hideout wasn't too far away. Cal could keep an eye out for her in the sky, too, although he didn't say that--in case she got alarmed and wanted to stick with him. That was nice of her, he thought. Most people would've run off by now, intent on saving their own skins. 

At the mouth of the alley, he paused, just before he was about to shift. "Hey." He wanted to say sorry, but was it too late? Would it make things more awkward? Cal opened his mouth and frowned. "Um. I'll bring you back something."

Uh.

Ugh.

He shifted into his bird form so quickly that he almost hurt himself, and winged off into the night, horrified at his own lame parting words. He'd bring her back something?!


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"Of course!"

She would stick to the shadows and stay out of sight! After all, it wasn't just her life on the line. It made sense, Cal's plan. She saw that now. She was just--she let her heart do all the talking and sometimes she forgot how to maintain objectivity. So in a way, she was glad Cal knew how to talk sense. Even if he was a little rough about it. And his hugs were more like a bro cringing at another bro coming in for a real hug. That was okay; Cal was a reserved person. She knew that.

So she backed away and smiled and waved a little as they parted. Good luck, she wanted to say--almost said--but Cal spoke first, surprisingly. And said something about bringing something back. Iris blinked. Before she could even properly absorb the words and what they meant, Cal was shifting and off into the sky and Iris was left lowering her hand, feeling dumb, and saying to the air, "Okay."

Because she had no idea what else to say. But she thought she felt it in his aura. An apology, not in so many words but he felt bad for some reason. Being abrupt with her maybe. She looked up at the sky for him for a moment, then turned her attention to the shadows. Well, she better get moving. Everybody had to be warned before somebody ran haplessly into that woman. She smiled to herself, though. Cal might be a little rough but he had a little squishy heart in there somewhere.


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