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by: Matthew Cox
#11890
June 13
2100

The setting sun caressed Matt's skin as the night came in like a slow tide. He'd been here for how many hours now, sitting and listening to music or watching people enjoy the outdoors in the beginning of summer? The truth of the matter is that he didn't have anywhere to go where he felt like gen belonged.

Tristan claimed to have a work trip. While Mae wasn't terrible to be with, Matt knew that he had prejudices that affected how he treated the little Garou. It was better if he just stayed out and camped on a roof somewhere.

Maybe he should just go back to Cora's warehouse for the night...

The thought had been nagging him most of the day, but Matt couldn't bring himself to do that yet. She was a friend, but she was also an enemy. He loved her and hated her in equal measures, and that was half the problem. The scale was evenly balanced. He needed to count the grains of sand on each side to determine where his feelings fell. He needed to know, for certainty, where they stood with each other. If he went and begged for shelter over night, he couldn't objectively make that judgement. He'd visited to indulge and explore the friendship side of the balance, but he couldn't let go of the blame and the burden of guilt he felt around her. He sighed, frustrated.

The looks of pity from the last remaining park patrons pissed him off. He hated being pitied. Yeah, he was the poor blind guy, and wasn't it a shame since he'd be cute if it weren't for...you know...

Ugh. Superficial judgement. He hated that almost as much as he hated the pity.
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by: Jace Bryden
#11899
Jace had left the den of Keo Lucci, Alpha of the Cyber Dogs and a fairly consistent and stable source of work for the Lucky 7, and headed off to the park that Keo was decent enough to mention he should check out. One good thing about Glasswalkers that were knee deep in mob business was that discreet cleanup crews were always in demand, and while Jace wouldn't go so far as to say they were on good terms with each other, both packs had a tolerable working relationship. Due to that relationship is wasn't unknown for the 7 to barter services for information and the Cyber Dogs were excellent in that regard.

So why was the alpha of the Luck 7 currently traipsing through a the fucking cesspool known as London? Simply put, services for information. After the decently long meeting with the 7 this morning to make sure things were on the level and good between them all, the alpha had set them on various tasks pertaining to trying to figure out what the fuck kind of poison he'd been hit with and if there was more of it out there. Tao and Mia were to hit up the local Gnawers. Bree and Rafe to see if they could learn anything about Liam's whereabouts and hit the non-magical scene. Shadow and Carver were to keep tabs on Jon and Darque to see if anything of value could be found out and tail any of them if they left the compound. Stana would tail and cozy up to Jaleth and get what information she could out of him.

Keo had been a wealth of information and while he didn't have anything concrete on Liam's whereabouts or the drug, the Cyber Dog's alpha had strongly encouraged him to check out a certain park for a mutual enemy and a chance to rectify a broken contract. That in itself had peaked Jace's interest. It was a very, very rare thing for the 7 to walk away from a contracted job and the only one he could recently remember backing out of was when they'd gone hunting for a Nos that wasn't a Nos. In fact, Keo had gone on to fill him in about an explosion in one of the government divisions and rumors that the Devil had been involved.

If was for that very reason Jace found himself heading to the park Keo had mentioned. He checked his bandolier was free and that the bat Kara had magicked up for him during the alley fight was wedged comfortably across his back between the bandolier and his jacket. He'd had the forsight to have Mia spell up his gear so that it would remain invisible to the eye until he drew a weapon, which made it easy to blend in with the local trash walking through the area.

His nose confirmed that the very same devil he'd crossed paths with months ago was indeed here. The alpha let his eyes scan the area and eventually he spotted his prey. In hindsight it was stupid. The park was far to open for a meeting of this sort and honestly Jace had only intended on scouting the area.... but with the devil sitting there on the bench... he looked worn, downtrodden... perfect for the picking. There was no doubt the man probably knew he was here already so Jace let a wicked smirk settle over his face as he approached cautiously.

"They kick you out of hell already devil boy? Lot of people after your head these days it seems." His voice was low enough that anyone nearby wouldn't be able to make out what was said but with the Devil's hearing.... Jace was certain the man would catch every word.
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by: Matthew Cox
#11915
A familiar scent came to Matt on the evening breeze. The same Garou that he'd gone toe to toe with and fought to a stand still. No pack this time, so Matt had no immediate instinctive need to run, but he was just sitting here and being miserable. He didn't need an enemy to come and rub it in that he was at one of the lowest points of his life so far.

On top of that, he was dressed down. Slacks, white button down shirt, loafers, glasses, cane...he was just blind Matt Cox, not the super powered Devil of Judgement. His knuckles whitened as he gripped his cane tightly to keep from standing and confronting the Garou in battle.

Neither of them would win that fight. There were too many people here still for a brawl. Granted, there were only three or four stragglers still, but even one was too many. They both had secrets to keep, after all. But then the damned wolf had to open his mouth and poke at him. It made Matt's ribs ache to hold his breath to keep himself from becoming the explosive preflight adrenaline fueled berserker that his Rage wanted him to become. Maeve had been teaching him techniques to hold onto the Rage and to not let it consume him the way it had been.

Lord it was so hard.

"What do you want?"

The question was not neutral. While it wasn't an animal growl, there certainly was hostility and challenge in the question. Matt didn't want this bullshit. Didn't want it, didn't needn't it. If this was going to go the way he thought, then he was going to wind up in an alley somewhere trying to kill the wolf while the wolf did the same. Nope. Did not need that.
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by: Jace Bryden
#11922
The hostility dripping from the man across from him was tangible in the very air surrounding the pair and Jace did well to keep a reasonable amount of distance between them just in case the Devil did decide to act. The last time they'd crossed paths the Devil had struck first so there was reason to believe he could very well do so again. Not that, that was a bad thing. In fact, Jace would prefer it if the other man made the first move, especially since they were still very much out in the open.

The alpha managed a smirk as he let his eyes rove over the seemingly defenseless blind man. The rage roiling of of him was familiar in a sense yet different. Almost like that of a garou but more raw, unrefined, and certainly not controlled. Jace kept his expression neutral as he tried to figure out what that meant. That Silver Fang bastard had made specific reference to the first time the 7 had crossed paths with the Devil and had then implied that the Nation wanted him to disappear. Which made some limited amount of sense to the alpha. From what his senses and previous experience told him, Jace knew Matt wasn't a werewolf, nor a Garou. Hell he wasn't even human by human standards.... so what did that make him besides an obvious blight on humanity? Jace pushed that train of thought away for the time being. Keo had said that the Devil was involved with someone dealing in the drug and that was the first priority on Jace's list.

"I want a name. There's a human engineered drug out there that has a highly fucking unpleasant effect on my kind. So I did some digging and low and behold the god damn fucking Devil popped up on my radar. Word is you turned on your keepers and are in touch with some piece of shit prick that has been developing a drug with some pretty damn nasty side effects. I want that name, and pretty sure you're going to give it to me."

The alpha's posture shifted to something much more aggressive than when he first walked over and it was taking a good deal of effort to not draw a blade (breaking the spell that concealed his gear) and lunge at the man sitting on the bench. Honestly this past week had been hell for the alpha and after all the bullshit he needed a release for all the pent up aggression he'd been holding back like a powder keg ready to blow and the Devil here was an unexpected perfect excuse to blow off some steam.
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by: Maeve McLeod
#11926
At least it's a nice night, Maeve thought to herself as she stalked around the park. The small redheaded Garou had been tracking and tailing Matt- this Devil of Judgement as he was being called- for several hours now. Not really on any orders, per se, however she knew King had been seeking information about the man even if Tristan had paused all ops against him for the time being, and besides that Maeve was downright curious about Matt.

Tristan had been torn up when they first got the report on the Devil's identity, thinking it was someone he knew from his past, and had gone out on a limb to find out. It had turned out that he was correct, though whether that revelation was going to be a positive or a negative the Garou wasn't sure yet. Personally, Maeve didn't blame Tristan for needing to reconnect with his old friend; after all, wouldn't she do the same if she could? Besides, other than being a human-Garou hybrid mutant thing, the damn Devil really wasn't that bad. She had even been teaching him some tricks to help him control the rage in himself over the last couple days, and it seemed to be helping a bit.

Thus she had decided to follow Matt when he left the penthouse that afternoon. Tristan considered Matt his brother, his pack. Maeve thought of Tristan as her only pack. Tristan was off somewhere on business for their boss and couldn't keep an eye on his wayward brother. So, therefore, Maeve had taken it upon herself to look out for the Devil. And if she managed to learn a little something about him in the process? All the better.

She was careful to remain downwind from Matt and kept a good distance from him as he wandered and finally came to rest in the park. She didn't know if he could still sense her with that creepy radar-like sense of his, but she figured as long as she didn't interfere with whatever he was up to he probably wouldn't care if she was there or not. Speaking of interfering...

Maeve stiffened when the stranger approached Matt. She didn't recognize him but his scent marked him as a fellow Garou. Lovely... Just what she needed today: to let Tristan's brother get beat to hell or killed by another Garou. With a heavy sigh of annoyance, Maeve strained her hearing and crept slowly closer to where the two men were verbally jabbing at each other. She wouldn't get involved unless the idiots made a scene, but being a bit closer wouldn't hurt.
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by: Matthew Cox
#11939
"I want a name."

Fat chance of that. The people that Matt knew and that the Garou knew was a very slim, probably nonexistent Venn diagram.

"There's a human engineered drug out there that has a highly fucking unpleasant effect on my kind."

Boo friggin hoo. That was neither Matt's business nor interest. In fact, he attacked drug pushers and drove them out of neighborhoods. If this yapper thought Matt knew anything about drugs, he was barking up the wrong tree.

" So I did some digging and lo and behold the god damn fucking Devil popped up on my radar."

Wait what. Why would he have come up on this guy's radar if the subject was drugs and, bybleap of the imagination, drug pushers? Was Mi5 into something they shouldn't be?...Again?

"Word is you turned on your keepers and are in touch with some piece of shit prick that has been developing a drug with some pretty damn nasty side effects."

KEEPERS?! The long cane in his grip groaned under the pressure of his throttling grip. Matt eased the pressure on this collapsible cane and took a deep breath to steady himself and still the growl that was burbling in his chest.

And on top of that, who had he been in touch with since bolting from -5? Tristan and Cora. Cora wasn't dealing drugs....was Tristan? That was implausible. Even if be was, or his mysterious employer was, Matt wasn't going to betray his brother.

"I want that name, and pretty sure you're going to give it to me."

Matt gave the Garou a lopsided grin. While the expression itself was normally a friendly one for the Devil, today it was sarcastic and caustic.

"Or what? You're going to beat the shit out of me in a public park where mundanes and their recording devices with catch your pretty face, leading to a city-wide manhunt for you? You're smarter than that."

The grin evaporated, leaving a hard glare behind. Matt continued his narrative, predicting the future.

"Likely you'll huff and puff and stalk off, then try to follow me on the way home. I'll spot you, then we'll get into some knock down drag out brawl in an alleyway, both of us collecting more injuries and regrets than we already have. And you'll accept what I'm going to tell you now that you're not wanting to hear: I don't know what you're talking about."
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by: Jace Bryden
#11947
The lopsided grin was anything but warm and Jace just barely resisted the urge to bristle at the sarcastic response that was thrown back. The alpha could feel the rage roiling off the seated man. It was raw, unrefined, like a Spiral pup. Jace let his smirk widen. He'd been watching the Devil's reactions to his call-out and it was clear that along with the rage, the man was on edge. The mention of keepers seemed to have struck a pretty sensitive chord. Perfect. The older man was no stranger to rage fits and that was definitely something he could use to his advantage.

Jace let out a laugh and shook his head in amusement, though there was no warmth at all in the expression or sound. The alpha let out a deep sigh and looked skyward before letting a red tinted glare fall back on the man, matching his own hard stare.

"You really think being in a public place scares me?" Jace rocked back on his heals and his smirk widened. "Naw, see, thing about me and the pack is, we don't like to leave witnesses. So yeah, I'd beat the shit out of you, and then go kill anyone around and it wouldn't phase me. But... but, I think the man hunt wouldn't be because lil' old me killed a bunch of people... well even if it was I'd just disappear and no one would be the wiser. You on the other hand, I'm pretty sure that beautiful face of yours is famous to a certain group of people. And if what I was told carries even a lick of truth and you were around when that government building went,"

Jae clasped his hands together and then pulled them apart in a mockery of an explosion.

"Boom! I'm thinking that you just might be one of the most wanted people in London. Bettin' you don't want your ugly mug plastered all over the place any more than I do, so it would be a shame to have a bunch of humans end up dead in the park at the hands of the Devil. Way I see it, is yer going to get up and we're going to go have a nice little chat someplace a little more quiet like, because I think you know more than you're letting on in regards to the prey I'm tracking."
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by: Matthew Cox
#11951
Clearly, Matt had underestimated the Garou. As the wolf promised his threats, Matt felt himself go cold. His extremities felt numb and his stomach clenched. His foe was speaking the truth about every atrocity he promised. Not just the truth, but gleeful, joyous eagerness about killing innocents.

Matt had once considered the rage inside of himself to be monstrous, but he was seeing before him now what a monster really was. This wolf, this thing...he was evil.

Interestingly, the rage in him was only more and more eager for the fight. Matt slowly stood, still holding onto his cane and using it for support. He would have to be clever as he considered how to keep from simply just being stabbed in the back as he turned. Yeah, he'd see it coming, but that didn't guarantee that it wouldn't happen anyway.

"...where to?"

It made him feel sick to acquiesce to the Garou like this. Everything in him was rebelling against obeying the monster, but he had to keep the people here safe. Hell, even Maeve. She was Triatan's friend, and while she was Garou, she wasn't as sadistic as this beast. Matt didn't think she'd fare well against him. It was his job to protect; he could only do that now through self sacrifice.
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by: Jace Bryden
#11952
The alpha couldn't help but feel a slight pang of disappointment when the Devil seemed to comply with his request to take this conversation somewhere else. Jace had been hoping the man in front have him would have given him the excuse to prove he wasn't joking around. Maybe it was the pent up blood-lust talking, maybe it could have been the rage, or maybe it was just the wolf wanting out, either way the older man would have savored ripping apart some helpless mooks for a change of pace.

When the Devil stood and asked where they were going, Jace nodded off to their right. Across the park, and almost directly perpendicular to the pair, the dark mouth of a small alley could be seen. "I'm thinking that hidey hole over that way will work just fine."

Jace set a pace that was almost lazy in nature. Not to fast, not to slow, but something comfortable and that wouldn't look out of place in a park a the current hour. The alpha, while his posture was relaxed and his arms hung loosely at his side, was extra careful to keep the Devil at beside him. He didn't want to risk giving the man his back as a target and likewise, didn't think the 'whatever the fuck he was' would willing offer his back as a target either. Jace was also careful to keep about a body width between them, just far enough so that if the devil decided to either bolt or get a case of grabby hands the alpha would have enough time to react.

"So blind guy? That your down and out, world take pity on me look? Kind of reminds me of those pricks from wall-street or whatever the fuck you call it." It was useless banter, but Jace already knew he was getting under the man's skin so there was no point in stopping if he could only further aggravate the Devil. It was only a short walk to the alley anyway and once there they could cut the shit and get down to business.
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by: Matthew Cox
#11953
This was a gallows walk if ever there was one. He'd have to plan this fight quickly and carefully. This guy carried knives and probable a bat, if his radar was reading under the coat correctly. Matt had his cane. Maybe a garbage can lid if he was lucky.

The quip about being blind made Matt smirk. At least he'd be able to shock the Garou with his answer.

"Its not a pity thing. I'm actually blind."

And because they asked...they always asked...he reached up and lifted his glasses to show off the fixed-pupil gaze. He dropped the shades again, still smirking. He wasn't going to share his trade secret on how he navigated and fought, though. Same as he wasn't going to be sharing Tristan's name.

As soon as the were in the cover of the alley, Matt pulled ahead of the wolf and set distance between them. It was a blind passage (ha, ha), so Matt set his back to the wall and crossed his hands over the top of his chest high cane. He cleared his throat.

"So, you gonna beat me first and then question me, or question first and then take your pound of flesh?"

Maybe getting sassy was the wrong way to handle this...
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by: Jace Bryden
#11954
Jace turned his head to look at the Devil, brow raised and offered a snort of disbelief. "Bullshit." The garou tried to pick out anything that would indicate the man beside him was lying through his teeth. There was no fucking way he was legit blind was there? As if the Devil knew the next question that was about to be lobbed in his direction, the man lifted his glasses to show he wasn't kidding in the least. "Well I'll be fucked!" The tone of his words and the laugh that followed was chalk full of amusement. Well wasn't that just something. Not only was the asshole some fucked up version of a garou, he was as blind as a bat... well not really. the way the man fought was an indication that he was using his senses to make up for lack of real sight. Not unheard of, but the level at which the Devil could do it was as unnatural as hell.

Once in the cover of the alley Jace chanced a quick look over his shoulder to make sure the unusual pair hadn't been tailed and stretched out his senses. The alley was empty and they hadn't been followed as far as he could tell. Perfect.

The alpha let his gaze follow the Devil as he quickened his pace to get in front of the garou. Jace stopped and offered the man a toothy grin at his candor. His back was to a wall and while he might look as if he was relaxed with his hands resting over the top of a his cane, the Spiral wasn't fooled. The Devil was as ready for a brawl as he was.

Jace kept his posture loose and fluid as he slowly paced without taking his eyes off the Devil. Almost as if he was giving the question some real thought. "Either way suits me just fine, though I'll admit one option is infinitely more fun than the other." Jace pause in his pace and turned to face the Devil, reaching up in front of his jacket and unsheathing a knife, breaking the spell that had concealed the bandolier and bat tucked along his back. Casually the Spiral twirled the blade in clawed hands, his smirk growing wider all the while.

"But for shits and giggles lets try a civil approach. Who have you been associating with since going on the run?"
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by: Matthew Cox
#11955
Sadistic bastard.

Matt tried to stay loose and not let tension eat his energy. He'd need his wits, weight, and strength to get out of this alive. The wolf was taller than him, but Matt had a few pound on him when it came to muscle. They were evenly matched, as he remembered before.

The wolf drew a blade and something changed about his gear. Matt couldn't quite place it, but the feel of the texture of his weaponry shifted slightly, like it was more tangible. Odd.

Matt shook his head slowly and casually.

"I'm a solo act. Always have been. That whole explosion thing you referenced earlier? Blew my social life to hell along with my job."

The trick to lying without lying was...tell the truth. It wasn't the answer the Garou wanted, but it was a truth of sorts. Matt had been sleeping at Tristan's but he'd been spending his days roaming London and visiting Cora. And Day Zero certainly screwed his life and friendships over.
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by: Jace Bryden
#11956
Solo act. It was laughable. While the mans words seemed to ring true something wasn't adding up. Jace tilted his head back slightly and scented the air, a devious grin still marring his face. Absently he tapped the side of his blade on his cheek. "Solo act in the field? Sure, I can buy that. And if I was anyone else, I might be inclined to believe that bullshit about social life. But if you're going to fuck with me, best make sure you aren't carrying any scents that aren't yours."

Jace brought the blade down and deftly flipped the weapon into a reverse grip, before unsheathing a second and then taking a moment to shift both blades into his right hand, leaving the left temporarily free to grab a third if needed or a quick throw required.

"See, thing is, I'm picking out not one, but three scents. All strong enough to tell me you've been with whoever they belong to for at least a few days. So I'm going to ask you one last time before we move to plan fun, prick. Who are you staying with?"

The alpha shifted into a semi-offensive stance after his question was delivered. The civil fuckery wasn't going anywhere so plan beat the shit out of the dumb blind fuck in front of him was about to take center stage. While striking first wasn't his forte the wolf was wanting blood, and Jace was feeling his rage rise up at an unprecedented level. Still before that happened he had a few more daggers for words he could hurl if it became necessary.
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by: Matthew Cox
#11959
He'd tried. Sorry Tristan, Maeve, and Cora...it looked like Matty was getting beat up tonight to protect you. Hopefully they'd not be upset at him. If they dared to say 'you should have just told him' later, Matt was probably going to punch their teeth in...if he had the strength left to do it. Ah, think positive, boy. You've fought him to a stand still before, and that was when he had his pack at his back.

"What's you're name? If we're going to keep meeting like this, I'd like to know your name. I'm Matt."

It was a delay tactic as he folded the collapsible cane into its forearm length storage size. Or fighting size, Matt considered. It wasn't going to be as sturdy as his magically reinforced batons, but it would do in a pinch, which this was. He removed his glasses with a bit of regret. He liked these frames, but it wasn't worth getting them broken and the lenses embedded into his skin. He pocketed them where the inevitable damage could be contained.

"Lets just do this and stop posturing."

Matt dropped to his own ready stance, prepared to dodge and block the throwing knives that the wolf had prepared.
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by: Jace Bryden
#11960
And the Devil dodged the question again. Perfect. Civility could take a hike right out the front door. The Devil took up a more aggressive stance to match his own and that had Jace shifting into more of a ready stance, body tense like a coiled spring, ready to move the instant it looked like the man across from him would. But the the Devil did something more than a little unexpected and Jace was sure his face showed that. Trade names? The asshole wanted to get to know each other? Maybe play a game of twenty questions while he was at it.

Jace openly scoffed at the recognized delay tactic when Matt offered his name freely and without any catches that the Spiral could pick up on. Well la dee frickin' da. Did he want to play twenty questions too? Go out on a date? The alpha paused a moment before deciding it didn't much matter if the man knew his name or not. Dead was still dead and even if Matt managed to get away it wasn't like Jace or any of the 7 were easily trackable.

"Well hi Matt. I'm Jace, and I'm pretty sure this little tussle is going to go a hell of a lot different then last time. I mean, last time was a bit of a surprise and I'll admit you didn't get me at my best."

A laugh broke out at the comment about posturing and just grinned. Jace made note of the ready stance and the cane and began to plan his move. A blade throw was going to get blocked but it could be enough to bait the man into acting, especially if he could get under Matt's skin. He pointed his right hand holding the two knives at the Devil.

"You ever hear the one about the stupid little prick named Matt, who thought he knew shit but didn’t know shit and got everyone he ever cared about killed? Cause you will. Once I'm done with you Devil boy I'll use that pretty little name of yours and go hunt down everyone you ever cared about and make sure I have a nice, long, intimate chat with them."

As soon as the words were out Jace reached up with his left hand to grab a third blade and hurl it with a practiced ease right to the center mass of the Devil. It was time to get this party started.
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