|What: After the Metrodome "incident", Miggy finds Angela--and conversations go on an emotional roller-coaster.|
Almost an hour after the concert went awry, Angela is not at the damaged Metrodome. Nor is she among the crowd dispersing from the makeshift stage the band set up outside. It's like she's missing. In truth, she's climbed up to the roof of a squat McDonald's building not far away. Close enough to hear the music, far enough to let the last of the high of her power use fade without lashing out at any one else. It is then, sitting on the roof top, that the loneliness sets in. She struggles to contain it, and for a solid five minutes manages to do little more than curl up into a ball in the shadows, arms wrapped around her knees, back against the rooftop AC unit. Her mind streaks out for the only mind she knows for comfort.
**Save me,** her mind begs of Miguel as she filters the terror of what she can do to the burger patrons within the building. She's on a rampage, standing atop the AC unit, laughing macabrely as the people run in fear, slamming themselves into walls, chairs, and tables. In Miguel's mind, her victims claw at themselves and each other, in their desperate attempts to get away from the tortures she creates for them.
And it all started out so simply. That really should have been a clue. Miguel had overheard a phone call a young girl (who was wearing far too little, in his opinion) had taken from a friend. This friend had apparently been carjacked--just outside the Metrodome, as it turns out. The worst part--there was a baby still in the car. Of fucking course. He'd extracted a promise that Angela'd stay right the hell there while he went and dealt with it, and took off.
The debacle took him too many blocks away, and ended with him grabbing the baby just before the idiot decided to try and bury the car into a semi truck's trailer to shake him off. Moron. That had caused a huge cluster-fuck that was still being dealt with a half-hour later, when police, E.M.T.s, and fire personnel arrived. After making sure the baby was taken care of and would get back to its mother, he was finally able to swing back to the Metrodome.
"...oh, fuck," he says, crouched on a wall down the block a little. "What the shit happened /here/...?" He's just about to lose what little cool he has left--when he nearly falls off the building from the suddenness of the mental--whatever-it-is. He really has to ask if that has a name. A leap off the building, a swing on a web-line, and a short glide later, he lands on the roof of the burger joint, rushing over to Angela. Even through the mask, it's easy to feel the surprise mixed with annoyance mixed with relief. At least she's not tearing through the place and the people, like he'd admittedly feared.
Yet. She's not tearing through the place and the people, yet.
Phobia sits curled up, mind still fueling those nightmare images in faltering starts and stops toward Miguel's mind. The longer he takes the more difficult it is to keep to his mind alone and as he finally gets to her side, her green eyes flare open. ~Too late,~ she asks of him in her hissing whisper, form trembling from the exertion of such great restraint. She's the only one afraid.
Crouching with one knee on the roof, Spider-Man 2099 starts to reach out to Angela, though stops. He cants his head a little, obviously unsure if she really wants to be touched or not. Right about now, he'd rather be back dealing with the unintentional-baby-napping moron again. "Um. Too--too late? What happened, Angela?" he asks, fingers curling and flexing in obvious uncertainty. "Are you okay? Do you need me to take you to the hospital?" Already out of his element, and he's been back for seconds. That's got to be a record.
The name breaks her, mind stumbling upon itself and leaving off the dull throbbing illusions it was seeking to provide to the people in the area. The sudden Halloween town nature of the block ebbs away, the lights seeming to suddenly grow stronger. Angela looks up into that red and black face, then drops herself into his arms. "NO. No doctors. No doctors. I'm fine. I'm fine. I just... I had realized.. I was alone. I tried not to hurt anyone. I'd already fed, I didn't need to cause anything more, I just... no one was talking to me... I realized I was alone. I'm so glad you're back. I missed the concert, and I want to go home," she's babbling.
"It's okay, you're fine now," says Spider-Man 2099 softly, going to pick her up in his arms and cradle her against him in the crook of one arm. "I'll get you home, and you can just rest, okay?" Naturally, he really wants to ask her about what the hell happened at the Metrodome, but he can't think of how to do it just yet. Maybe after things--calm down. With her safely tucked against him, he'll go to hop off the edge of the roof and begin swinging back to the apartment, trying to remember to keep it slower, gentler, for her sake. Swinging on web-lines is really more enjoyable when one /isn't/ freaked out of their skull, after all.
Angela nods, moving with Miguel, toward the edge of the building. She's about to step away to find the ladder down when he tucks her more carefully against him and hops off the ledge. It's clear, in that first heart-stopping second, that Angela has never ever even remotely done anything close to like this, for she screams and suddenly clings to him as 2099 slings them about over the city.
It's a full five minutes before she stops shivering long enough to open her eyes and look about... It's like.. she's flying. There's a light and airy freedom in this unlike anything she's ever known and by the time they arrive to the apartment, Angela is smiling broadly and her eyes are gleaming with a definite brightness.
He really couldn't be happier that she seems to be enjoying the swinging. Anything that makes her feel more relaxed, that's okay by him. It certainly relaxes /him/, which is more than he usually gets in this Spider-Man gig of his. By the time they get closer to the apartment, he's almost actually relaxed, himself. Not fully, since he knows better than to expect anything truly relaxing to actually /last/, but what the hell.
When they get back to the apartment, he lands on the edge of the balcony, setting her down gently. A quick look around to make sure no one is looking at them, then he ducks inside, following her and closing the doors behind them. He strips off his mask and gloves, saying, "Quite a ride, isn't it?" He says that with a smile, though there's still a bit of caution about him. "Why don't I get you something to drink, eh?" Oh, how he wants to grill her about what happened--but if she's in a better mood, he's not about to purposefully ruin it.
Angela takes a breath, the first untroubled breath she's likely taken since age six, March 14th, 9:47pm. She nods, the smile actually normal, sweet, childlike in its innocence and easy demeanor. She ignores her windswept hair, and has no understanding of the flush on her cheeks nor the sparkle in her eyes. She knows only that whatever worries she had were all swung out. Or something. Okay, maybe she doesn't realize it, but she's calm, relaxed, and for ONCE in her life, not steeped in fear and nightmare. Not that this replaces the fix at all, but it's certainly a close second.
Small favors, Miguel thinks to himself as he hurries into the kitchen. A glass is retrieved from a cabinet, juice from the refrigerator, and in only a few moments he reappears in the living room. As he hands her the glass, he says, "So, I'm glad you enjoyed the ride. It's one of the few good things about all of--this." He smiles and wags his fingertips, highlighting the talons folded against them, and thus all that they should imply. He's had nothing but true shit since that moron DelGato did this to him--but he does admit that there's nothing quite like swinging dozens of stories in the air. It's--a rush that isn't really comparable to much else.
Angela follows Miguel to the kitchen; his very own codependent shadow. She steps back as he does and takes the glass to sip from. "It's wonderful," she says simply, softly, honestly. "And so are you. I'm.... sorry I had to frighten you. I couldn't think of any other way, and the want to drop down into that eatery..." her words fade away as she moves to settle on the sofa. "I'm glad you were near by."
"Yeah, so am I," says Miguel. "I'm--sorry I had to take off on you like that." He can't really apologize for /doing/ it, but he can be and is sorry if it led to whatever the hell happened at the Metrodome. "Let me go grab some clothes." And with that, he heads to his bedroom, leaving the door open since he's just going to grab a shirt and pair of jeans. He's gone all of a few seconds, returning with the items in-hand. "Can you tell me what happened?" he asks as he starts slipping the jeans on, hoping that it's not too soon to see if she can talk about it.
"There was an attack. It wasn't me! I didn't start it. But it scared everyone, and I realized I was by myself, and I got scared. So, I... I ... defended myself. I made one stop... I hit him on the head. and then there was.. this girl... she was attacking... someone I had..umm... run into... so I... umm... stopped her... from... killing him... and ...then..umm... there were police... and I left... to um.. find you?" Anyone else think she's a really bad liar when she's not mucking with your head?
"Yuh-huh." Part of Miguel wants to call bullshit. Another, though, really hopes she's telling the truth--and just somehow makes it sound otherwise. "So there was no--hmm--no rampaging through anyone's head, no--no digging through people's fears, none of that?" he asks as he fastens the button on the jeans. He really wants to know how she's going to explain how she looked when he found her. In his experience, that bit of--green-ness means that someone, somewhere, is curled up in a fetal ball, sobbing their eyes out as the worst things they could ever imagine are running through their heads non-stop.
"Weelllll...?" Angela squirms. "A little bit.. by they had it coming! That one guy was ripping up the cement with his voice and that girl was going to cut that other guy in half," she's stating firmly, voice a little squeaky. "...and I may or may not have started the stampede for the doors...." She looks down at that quickly, fingers playing with her glass.
For a beat, only a soft sigh comes from Miguel. Then he grabs the shirt and slips it on, buttoning it from the collar down. "Well," he finally says, "I--am glad you stepped in to try and help. We just--need to work on--things." That's the best way he can think to put it, but on the other hand, he /is/ glad she tried to help. He would have been happy if she just wanted a normal life away from her powers, but--using them to try and help, even if it /fucks up horribly/--he can grade on a sliding scale. At least he can, now, though he makes a note to try and figure out how bad this "stampede" really was, later.
With Miguel not about to yell at her, Angela sighs and sips at her drink, smiling softly. "Never would have guessed a screamer would be afraid of fire," she murmurs half to herself as that smile turns a bit sadistic.
That makes Miguel stop buttoning, and his right eye twitches twice. Mustn't yell. Mustn't get irate. He starts buttoning the shirt again, tucking it into his jeans when he's done. As he fastens the buttons on the cuffs, he says, "Angela, it doesn't count as helping when the 'help' does more damage than the initial problem was causing." He looks at her pointedly as he makes sure the collar is snug enough to hide the collar of the costume.
Angela looks up, all innocence. "What? He eventually -did- stop yelling... I had to hit him on the head, but he stopped. And that girl had cut the catwalk in half. If I hadn't seen that boy dangling there, I wouldn't have thought to find her mind.... She did move quickly though, when she thought she could..." And Angela silences herself with a drink of juice... No, wasn't going to say more. Honest. Angela didn't... just... sorta.. okay maybe a little... no one could have pinned it on her, if that girl HAD killed her 'team mate'... honest.
That right eye twitches again. Then again. Then again. Miguel's realized that ranting like a lunatic isn't the best way to handle Angela, but /holy shit/ would it be a great release for him right now. He can /just imagine/ what the hell happened. After forcing himself to breath calmly, he rubs his face then says, "I think we are going to have to find some sort of news service and discuss the finer points of how you could have handled it better." It might be surprising how calm he is--but if her mind-sensing-whatever-powers are even /remotely/ active, she'd tell that he is having the devil's own time trying to keep himself at least /appear/ calm.
If her mind-sensing-whatever was active, he'd be either cowering like a frightened baby or she'd be dead. You know, just saying. Because her powers don't work like that. She looks over at him. "Handled it better? How else could it have been handled? The bad guys are in custody.... would have been better if they weren't around anymore to cause problems, but whatever. I don't think anyone was seriously injured... well, maybe that one guy I was hiding behind... just that metal partition looked like it hurt, but you know, other than him..."
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Miguel takes two calming breaths. Doesn't really help, though. "Look, it's not enough for things to turn out /mostly/ okay. The ends /cannot/ justify the means. We do that, we start down that road--we become no better than the ones /intentionally/ hurting people. Everything we do--/everything/--has to be done while keeping in mind that it may hurt people. We have two choices, and only two--we can either use what we are to /help/, or we can use them selfishly. There is no middle ground--there /can't/ be. That's why it /cannot/ be alright if you hurt even /one/ innocent person, or /allowed/ them to be hurt when you could have stopped it." He's trying his best to keep it from being an official lecture, and modulates his voice to keep the tone more conversational--but it's not easy.
Angela blinks a few times at the speech, head tilts. She's silent, for a long time she's silent, before she puts her juice down and stands up with a conversational, monotone sort of, "Oh. Okay." And that's it. Nothing more as she moves to the table to collect her knitty. Phobia's got a new pattern. Burnt at the stakes anyone?
It's a good thing she turned away. It lets Miguel mime strangling her behind her back. That's one of the most infuriating things someone can do--so, naturally, something he'd grown up with. After that little, silent release, he can calm himself down again. "What 'okay'? You can't just say that like it's the end to everything and go on like nothing happened," he says, still trying to keep his voice calm. He remembers how much /he/ screwed up when he first got these abilities, and tries to use that to be patient. That's not easy, though.
"I can't? Why not? I understood what you said," Angela replies calmly, moving back to the sofa to start casting on for her latest knitting project. A curtain, she's thinking. Something that the sunlight can pour through.... that would make the flames dance. She's starting to smile now; the perfect picture of calm.
"Because it's disrespectful to basically ignore what someone says by just cutting the conversation off so--abruptly," replies Miguel, sticking his hands in his pockets--more to keep the temptation to web her to the ceiling at bay than anything else. "I am honestly trying to help you. I've /been/ there, remember--I /know/ the temptation. I /know/ how tempting it is to use one's own nature to do whatever the hell they want." At least it's dark enough to not make him require his sunglasses--and that means she can't see the anger that he's sure must be dancing in his eyes. He's still trying to remain calm, but being made to feel ignored like that--not making the job any easier.
Angela looks up, hands still knitting. Really, she hardly needs to look at what she's doing. "I'm sorry. Was the conversation /not/ over," she asks with that infuriating posh British accent. And yet her eyes are uncoy, lacking in anything remotely resembling a sly look or ulterior motive. The girl just truly thought the conversation was done.
"Really," says Miguel, tone flat, making it obviously not a question. "You understood everything /perfectly/, with no need for clarification. And you agreed /completely/, one hundred percent, without any different opinion, anything new to add, nothing." He doesn't bother to try and hide the disbelief in his tone. There is no way in /hell/ that the woman is /that/ naïve. He affixes her with a narrow-eyed look, as if trying to peer into her very brain.
Angela's brows lift, and two childish blinks are given. "You are the expert in all things heroic. I've been told not to argue such things with an expert, not being one myself. I understood every word you said and have nothing further to say on the matter," she explains, all without the slightest hint of concern or remorse over the damage she MIGHT have caused. After all, it's a very dirty trick to pull... Forcing someone to see their greatest fears covering the form of another then altering the sounds about them so they hear and feel that if they would just kill that fear, it would all end.
And Miguel just--stares at her. He opens his mouth--and then closes it again. No, nothing good could possibly come from that. There's just no way he can hold an adult conversation tonight, he can see that now. He has no idea /why/, but something closed her up. Well, fine. "Okay," he says instead. "Good night." And with that, he turns and heads for his bedroom, to close and lock the door behind him, so he can brood in private. He'd thought about leaving via the window--swinging around does /so/ much to help clear the mind--but that would just be cruel. He won't let her think he's ditching her.
Angela blinks as Miguel walks away and shuts the door. Her hands still. Left...? Her heart starts to race, a fraction at first. She stands, starting to inch toward his door. Her tiny hands wring in front of her chest, her teeth starting to bite at her lower lip.
"Mi-Mi-Miguel," she calls out softly after nearly five full minutes, leaning in toward the door to his room. Ah, phobias.... let us count how long it takes before she starts to flip out. Current record: ten minutes.
He'd /just/ felt calm enough to sit down on the bed, too. Teeth grit, hands clench into fists, and he tries to keep the explosion building within him from happening. Nothing good can come from that, either. He tries to remember that first moment he realized how much shit he was in--crouching on that post, looking down at Venture, the cyborg bounty hunter sent after him. He realized in that moment that he was in a world of shit and would never be able to come back from it. That's what he focuses on, to try and keep him from lashing out.
About ten seconds after that initial knock, the door is unlocked and opened. "Yes?" says Miguel, letting the door ease itself open all the way as he stands there, left hand on the door jam, the other in his pocket. "I thought you were done talking. And--I wasn't going to leave." The last added on in case she was afraid he was going to leave via his own window or something.
Which is exactly what Angela was afraid of. She lets out her breath in a huge sigh of relief. Her eyes fall toward the ground, shoulders slumping downward. "Oh. Okay," she says again, starting to take a half step back. "I just... couldn't hear... I ah... sorry. Umm.. you're tired? So, um.. good night..."
"I thought you were done talking," repeats Miguel, calmly if quietly, though she's close enough that she might see what passes for tiredness in his eyes, even in the dark. Though--it's not the physical sort. It's the sort from feeling like he's been ramming his head into a brick wall and not realizing for far too long that the headache was only going to get worse.
Fatigue? Oh yes. She's familiar with that look. "I... I guess... I was? I am, no I am. Yes. Um.. good night," Angela says again. She takes one half step back, but doesn't turn to go. Clingy little cobweb.
A memory. Dana, a bruise covering half of her face. That helps drain the rage--if only a little. The realization that it /is/ only a little helps, if oddly. And cruelly. Miguel lets out a soft breath, then leans against the door jam. "I'm--not going to ditch you, Angela," he says, just as quietly as before. "But--if you don't want to talk, then--fine. That doesn't mean I'm going to continue to beat my head against the wall. Do I think you understand? Honestly--no, I don't. But if you aren't going to talk about it anymore, there's nothing I can do about it that won't piss one or both of us off."
Angela's nodding, but she doesn't move, not yet. She bites her lip a bit, and only when she's resettled and her fear it's about to run rampant does she speak again. "Are you going to sleep now," she asks her tiny voice. Her eyes are cast downward, hair falling to cover parts of her face. The way she droops her shoulders makes her suddenly appear so much younger than her nearly twenty years.
"Look," says Miguel, going to put his right hand on Angela's left shoulder, "I'm--sorry if I come off like an asshole sometimes. It's just--the stakes are larger than you might realize. But--I promise you, I'm not going to ditch you. I wouldn't do that to you. Tell you what, just to prove it..." He reaches behind him to pull his mask out of his waistband and offer it to her. "Even if you don't believe I wouldn't leave /you/, I hope you believe I wouldn't leave without /this/. It's--not something that's supposed to exist, so." That's said with a small smile, an admittedly weak attempt at humor.
Angela looks at the mask oddly, then up at Miguel. "Just you saying it, right now is enough. My head's saying over and over that you haven't broken your word, and your nightmares tell me that you'd rather die than fail again so..." She reaches out and pushes the mask back toward him. "Good night. Please, leave your door open?"
For the brief moment her hand covers his to push the mask back to him, he puts her left hand on hers. Miguel's not exactly the "huggy" type, so that will hopefully do. "I will. Sleep well," he tells her, knowing he doesn't have to comment on the--rest of it. She knows him far better than he's comfortable with, but it's a small price.