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What Made My Hamburger Disappear (IC)

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The boardwalks own 'Original BurgerShack!' was not as busy as during the summer months certainly but the steady flow of locals looking for what was widely regarded as the best burger and shake this side of the south river earned it the rare honor of being open on the chill winter afternoon.  A small number of workers from the nearby indoor attractions and a few die hards getting their burger on were spread out in the ample outdoor seating around the burger shaped hut that housed the BurgerShack! itself.  The line wasn't long and moving quick despite the late lunch rush so it was an inviting enough option for the rare passerby.

 

A half dozen construction workers waited patiently off to the side for their orders to be completed and on the edge of the seating area a group of local teens roughhoused boisterously as they clustered around a table just slightly too small for their group to eat the bags of food they'd just recieved.

 

 

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Jack stood off to one side, waiting for his order to be filled. He had received many looks from the patrons and staff. Looks of skepticism from the girl who took his order, looks of annoyance from the people waiting behind him for their food, and looks of curiosity at his appearance.

 

Jack was most likely not the most oddly dressed citizen of the city...but considering it was winter and he was only wearing flip flops, basketball shorts and an unzipped hoodie showing off his chest...it was definitely something many people didn't see often.

 

It seemed like forever before his number was called. He gathered up the two trays heaped with food, litterally heaped as no more food could be stacked on the trays without falling off. He made his way to a table and sat with his meal, longing in his eyes as his stomach made known how hungry it was.

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Cheat day. This was it. Working out, counting calories. It gave her a great body for the stage. But today? She had a list of places to go. Original BurgerShack was something she craved. Here she was looking at her list. A text came through, it was a few of the girls. Tonight at the Scarlet Sash. Jessica said she'd be there to watch, but was taking the night off.

 

This line was taking forever, Jessica thought. Some big guy with a nice looking build was apparently getting his fill. Some times Jessica though with things other than her head. This time it was with her stomach. "Down in front," she spoke up, waving at Jack, "we'd like food too!"

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Jack turned mid stride when he heard the voice. He smiled at the unusual sight. A beautiful red woman was something he had never seen. "My apology, dear lady." He said in his thick Russian accent with sincerity. He gestured with the trays. "I do happen to have a little extra I could share maybe to make up for any offense." He flashed her one of his usual smiles.

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That accent. That body. Unf. He made her forget about her stomach for a bit. "Oh really," she smiled back. He just offered her food. And he was built like a tank. "Well, you have my gratitude then,"  she said following him to sit down. Surely one of these burgers would be her favorite, triple stack with fried monster onions. She sat as he did. She was more dressed than the big man, but not by much. fitting jeans and an equally fitting pullover hoodie herself. She tried to keep up looks of seasonal 'normal', which is why she enjoyed summer a lot more. "I'm Jessica," she said reaching out her hand. With the other hand she pulled a burger off the top, whether he noticed or not. "And you must be a saint."

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Jack gently took her hand in his large hands as she grabbed one of the burgers, kissing it softly in greeting. "Dobry Den melady. Me name is Jack. A pleasure to meet such a lovely lady so unexpectedly." He grabbed a burger and took a bite, his stomach protesting his delay. 

 

"If i am saint..." He said with a chuckle after swallowing a mouthful. "Then you must be model." He took another bite.

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One of those gentlemanly gestures. It was something she rarely got. Quaint. The burger she grabbed was no triple stack with fried monster onions, but Original BurgerShack did not skimp on the meats. Besides it was free, and there was possibly more if the big man didn't devour them all before she got a second or third one. Still she was happy to get one free. She took a bite of the burger. Everything about it tasted right. Meat. Bread. The uncooked onions. Even the condiments. All blended together as one as she swallowed. 

 

She heard the assumption of her profession. It almost elicited a laugh, but she wiped her mouth and smiled pretty. "I get that a lot," she said with pride, "and yeah. You could say that." She didn't know this man from Adam - though God could take some molding from this guy, she wouldn't mind. Not that she was shy about her occupation, just not something she revealed in 'polite' conversation. "So, Jack. You look like you were born and raised in a gym. Not a bad thing. Not bad at all," she said complimenting him. It wasn't a question, but it was something for him to go off of, while she took another bite of this delicious burger. Which now she noticed, she didn't have a drink.

Edited by Jessica Witchblood

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The odd hue of Jessica's skin did not go unnoticed by the passersby though it being Freedom she drew fewer stares than she might have.  A young child was quickly hushed by her mother when she exclaimed, "Why's that lady red?",  the young mother offering a strained embarrassed smile as she shushed the inquisitive youngster and quickly distracted her with crayons and the kids meal placemat.  Next to more colorful entries Jacks unusual manner of dress attracted almost no attention at all.  

 

As the pair got to know eachother better the group of teens across the dining area grew more rowdy and loud.  The jovial nudging and laughter shifting in tone to more aggressive displays of dominance among the young men.  As one stooped to retrieve his cap after it was knocked aside another leaned in and snagged the remains of his nearly untouched burger.  As the first teen turned he rumbled angrily, "The hell, where's my burger!" and stood looming over his compatriots who still laughed as he turned more red in the face, "Not cool Brody!"  he boomed angrily veins straining at his neck as the other boy stood to face of against him, "Yea what you gonna do about it?"  he threatened as the other teens hooted and egged their friends on in the burgeoning conflict.

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Jack's eyes traced around the room absently before returning to her. "Well melady, when you have a Polar Bear spirit trapped inside you, one tends to have good genes." He said with a sly grin.

 

His ears pricked up on the commotion coming from the group of men. Mentally he shook his head. Only men who were insecure about their power felt the need to show it off, well in his opinion anyways. He noticed the kids eyes seemed to be glowing. He returned his attention to his beautiful companion, but he kept a wary eye on the group. He didn't want to interfere in other's business, but his instincts told him that of the situation went South he may have to to protect his new friend.

 

"What about you?" He asked. "I may be big, but you are perfection, no doubt of that." He removed a pen from his hoodie and started drawing on a napkin.

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This was ot an uncommon thing. Her skin drew stares and comments from people of all ages. Sometimes she let it bleed in to the background noise, but every so often she'd hear one. Kids were the best, they didn't know who to not like until they were told. This was a more black and white part of the world. Bad people did bad things, and good did good. She was one of those outliers. In this situation. Chewing on a burger, talking with a living statue.  She had no time for the Sesame Street gallery. Which was funny, because that kid's favorite character was probably red as her.

 

The big man was out pacing her on the food, but she could eat another one or two. "Polar bear. That would explain the white hair," she said between bites of the burger. The guy was visually striking in other places that his body. Melting pot country and all, but he looked fresh off the boat. The accent she loved so much told that at least. "Me," she said after finishing the last bite. She let out a satisfied sigh before wiping her hands and mouth, these things were quite juicy. "I'm of more infernal stock. Not actually a demon, but I do bear resemblance after some ancient relatives made some, let's say, odd decisions." She put her hand on another burger in the pile, staring at Jack, "do you mind if I get some of your soda? These things do  tend to build up."

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Jack nodded as she spoke, facinated. He had never met someone of demon blood before, indeed he hadn't known such a thing was possible...but it made sense. He had an animal spirit inside him. His eyes flited to the raucous men for a moment but returned to her immediately. "My grandfather was Shaman of his tribe and talked tospirits often. I admit I know little about demons, though I can tell you would probably steal my soul if you could." He gave her a wink and a mischievous smile.

 

He felt silly when her words registered with his brain. "Da, of course you can! I apologise for not offering sooner, must have been too distracted by the lovely redhead before me." He looked at the table and noticed that his cup was not here. "So distracted that I completely forgot to get Soda. I be right back melady."

 

He stood, towering over her as he slid past her, her head barely coming to the level of his abdomen, and he made his way past the racous boys to the counter to get his soda cup. He filled it and returned to her, setting it down before her, letting her have the first few sips.

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Of course she was oblivious to anything to anything but her date. Was this a date? Friendly conversation with a stranger. Sure, we'll go with that. Dates are more formal. Then again, she did fight a tree while on a random one.

 

The mention of spirits caught her. Shamanistic spirits were a whole different kettle of fish than what she dealt with. elemental spirits. weather spirits, animal spirits. She couldn't count them all, she didn't practice the art. But her spirits, the carnal spirits, would probably be something totally different in Jack's grandfather's purview. Mystics of all clan and clade were around this city. If you threw a stone, you'd probably hit three. And most likely piss them off.

 

She shook her head when mentioned soul stealing, "nah, the whole soul stealing thing is for the bigger guys. I mean I could try, but it's dangerous." She crossed her hands into a simple arcane gesture of protection. "Never mind if I succeeded, it's if I failed that it would be much worse than if I succeeded." She looked at the burger she took ad then to Jack, "besides. I like you. Where would be the fun in a soulless friend?"

 

She took the compliments  with a light laugh, "flattery will get you everywhere," she said before he got up to go get a drink. The pile of burgers was lessened as the voracious bear man had had a few to her one. She looked over at the kid who made remarks about her looks, enjoying his burger with his mother. Oh well, at least that kid had less things on his mind to worry about. It didn't take long for Jack to get the soda, "thanks," she said before taking a couple and digging into the second burger.

Edited by Jessica Witchblood

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Jack smiled at her. "Well I'm glad to have such beauty lady as a friend." He let his eyes rove over her for the first time, really taking her in from the red hair and skin to the tight hoodie and jeans. She seemed quite at peace, sitting there eating and sipping on the soda. He knew he liked her and her laid back attitude. He saw a lot of himself in her, and he liked having someone around who was as laid back as he. The fact that she enjoyed burgers as much h as he did was a bonus.

 

"I do not know if stating facts is considered flattery here...but I have no intention of stopping anyways...so is good." He finished another burger and stole the soda away playfully and took a sip.

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The teens conflict grew louder and more heated as the boys began shoving one another the other teens starting to take sides as they cheered their compatriots posturing and insults.   The staff and other patrons edged away from the growing conflict staring nervously at the heated exchange of words and threats.  Shortly after Jack returned to the table there was a resounding crack as one teen snapped the heavy concrete table off it's pedestal and sent it spinning through the air to crash into a closed storefront across the boardwalk.  The reckless vandalism and obviously unnatural strength of the teen seemed to do nothing to quell the growing bloodlust of the rest of the group as they beat their chests and several appeared to take hits off some kind of inhalant eyes flaring with a a dangerous red glow and already muscular frames distorting to grotesque exaggerations of strongman physiques.

 

The crowd started to scatter trying to get away from the likely collateral damage that would come of the groups growing clash, but the bulk of the teens were between the crowd and the nearest exits.  More of the teens bulked up and began tearing free the anchored steel stools wielding them like crude clubs as they clashed.

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Jack's eyes narrowed as the group of boys changed from annoying idiots to threat. "Get everyone out of here..." he said quietly to Jessica, his mood instantly turning dark. He could stand by and let idiots argue, but these were inciting panic and endangered the patrons and other Civilians. He rose to his full height and walked towards the group, menace in his posture. "Excuse me comrades. Do not endanger innocent people in you idiocy."

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Jessica looked at the fleeing crowd, "I'd say they're getting themselves out pretty good." She looked over at the two fake hosses and rolled her eyes, "oh come on," she jeered, "that's too cartoonish. And I'm a technicolor person!" She took the last few bites of the burger an killed the soda before standing up. Jack's show of intimidation even made her stop for a moment. She smiled and walked over to him, leaning on his side. Looking at the drugged up behemoths, "I'd do what the big man says before he rips your poser heads off. But then again, you don't want to know what's behind door number two," she flexed one arm in a non-serious manner.

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Jack felt the warmth of her as she leaned against him, and it was almost too distracting. He cracked his knuckles as the punks rose to face him, undeterred. It seemed they were in no mood to listen to reason, and Jack only ever made one offer to take the easy way out. Villains and thugs never seemed to take it, prefering the hard way.

 

He looked at the one he had first seen using abilities, assuming him to be someone of importance in the group, if not the defacto leader. He steeled himself and launched an attack before they could injure any Innocents. His fist shot out in an upper cut aimed for the punk's stomach and connected with a satisfying thud. His other hand came up immediately after and grabbed his throat, lifting him off the ground. "I say again...stop before you harm Innocents..." His thick accent lowered to a harsh whisper, punctuated by a deep growl. "...and I lose my patience with you..." He let the threat hang in the air.

Edited by Jack

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Jessica looked at the other bugged out goofballs. It was pretty goofy looking. Exaggerated to cartoon extent, like she mentioned. Not like the guy who she was with. Jack and his sublime form. "Now, let's see if you listen to reason or if you get smacked down," Jessica spoke to the ones Jack wasn't wrestling to the ground. "Not to brag or anything but I'm pretty resourceful myself." She was silent for a second, "too big of words? How about this one?" The word that came our of Jessica's mouth was 'Sloth' but with more mystical additives enough to sound like a word they'd never heard before. The other roid rager felt the carnal spirit enter him urging him to slow down a bit. Jessica looked to him, leaning in and whispering, "I'd listen if I were you."

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The group almost as one turned on Arctos as he approached clearly feeling challenged by the man's words and far to high on whatever they were huffing to recognize the danger they were in.  One of their brethren struggling with all his considerable might to free himself from Arctos steely grasp egged them on, "Take this guy out!"  he bellowed angrily as he thrashed his legs trying to find purchase or leverage to free himself.  

 

Two telegraphed obvious wild blows the bug man easily sidestepped even with his burden but he foundhilself backed up against a table when a third delivered a vicious punch to his midsection with more force behind it than would seem possible even in their obviously altered states.  The last one stared at where his cohort fell lost to the crushing weight of hte carnal spirit the demonic woman had inflicted upon him and growled angrily as he plowed toward her in a lunging tackle that cracked the bench he collided with and bent the frame of the steel fencing where he impacted.  

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The punch hit Jack square in the stomach, and a fire erupted in his eyes as the beast within howled in rage. With out thinking, Jack launched into a furious attack, throwing the punk he held at his compatriots, knocking one out completely. He charged the remaining ones and punched on of the punks hard enough to send him flying into the wall, landing with a flop in an unconscious heap. He was breathing a little heavy, but in short order he had dispatched with nearly half of the thugs, only two remaining after Jessica began to do whatever it was she was doing...Jack had no idea what she was doing to them, but they stayed down, so he didn't care at the moment.

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Jessica looked at Jack, "you doing good there, babe" she asked with a smile, "don't get too tired. We still haven't finished our lunch." Though she had other plans for the white-haired beast. What other trouble could they get in to?

 

She looked at the two left. Sure, she could get them with the fire, but more collateral damage for the good Dr Metropolis to fix. So she continued to go one by one. Little dominoes, all of them.She looked at one of the drugged up thugs, "you there," she said softly, " I don't think you've been honest lately. Tell us something." The word 'Greed', like the last that word she said, was pretty unrecognizable to the non-mystic among them. The Greed spirit passed easily into him, trying to make him think about all the greedy actions he'd done. Trying to get him to confess.

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Most of the drug fueled strongmen were in a pile at Arctos' feet.  Thier remaining compatriot's eye flared bright red as he roared in challenge and telegraphed a brutal uppercut at the big man running on rage more than strategy at this point.  The blow was clumsy but with deadly force behind it should it connect.

 

The teen who had tried to tackle Jessica picked himself up from the rubble as the spirit of greed entered him and he twitched for a moment before it settled in quite at home there.  He shook his head at the red skinned women, "You best stay out my head woman."  he bellowed and hefted a slab of concrete table hurling it like a frisbee toward the shake shack itself shattering one of the supporting pillars and sending an spray of mortar and debris to scatter over the huddled customers and staff who had taken shelter for the battle in the lee of the small building now threatening to collapse atop them.  

 

With a cocky sneer he turned to lumber away making for an exit, leaving his compatriot to his own fate and Arctos and Jessica the choice of pursuit or stopping the collapsing building.

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Jack saw the punch coming and moved his head, the attackers hand missing his jaw. He hoped the whiff would send the attackers into a tailspin, giving Jack an easy attack...but he had no sooner thought that then his eyes saw the concrete frisbee whizzing through the air and into the support beam of the restaurant.

 

Jack's anger flared anew as he saw the innocents in danger. Without second thought he charged towards the support and the helpless patrons. He hoped Jessica could handle the last opponent without him.

 

He heard tearing sounds as both his skin and hoodie were ripped apart as his body began to grow and tear itself apart in order to accommodate his growing frame. Muscle tore and reformed could tles times as it grew, his skin turned pitch black as white fur sprouted over his entire body. His skull cracked and bent into a new shape, protruding with a bear's maw. His hands and feet contorted into claws. He had to duck his massive 11 foot frame to keep from punching a hole in the ceiling. 

 

He reached the crumbling shack and put his massive paws under the remaining cross beams to support the weight and keep it from coming down.

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There was only one of the drugged up punks left. And even he was lucid enough to know this old building was about to fall. But more importantly, there were scared civilians. Jessica had to get them out of harms way. And now Jack was a bear. If there wasn't imminent danger, she would have stopped and stared for a moment. Which she technically just did, but in less time that she would have liked to. They would have to talk more about this afterwards. Maybe go find some more trouble.

 

"I'll be your captain today," she said  getting to the civilians, "hang on tight and I'll get you out in one piece." She picked up one and nodded. to the other, "Grab on, this is the only time you'll get to fly Air Jessica." Whether or not  they took it, she flew to the outside. The punk on the inside would have to deal with one angry looking bear... man... thing.

Edited by Jessica Witchblood

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The drug enraged young man that Jack had engaged looked prepared to take advantage of his distraction for a moment.  Though when the transformation took hold he rapidly thought better of it and beat feet in the opposite direction from his cohort that had fled Jessica moments before.  

 

In the looming shadow of hte collapsing burger shack the young child that had remarked on Jessica's skin stood wide eyed and in danger staring at the man-bear-man  now holding up the heavy steel and concrete structure.  They barely even registered Jessicas word as the heroine whisked them and their mother off to safety outside the fall area.  In the distance sirens could be heard as someone had alerted the authorities and police and rescue were on their way.  As Jessica set the mother and child down a safe distance away the last of hte violent thugs vanished around a distant corner perhaps the police would catch up to them yet.  The young mother looked up at Jessica with grateful eyes, "Thank you miss. I don't know what might have happened if you and your partner hadn't been there."  she praised effusively as she held her child tight. 

 

From a safe distance several of the construction workers had pulled out phones to recorded Arctos holding aloft the damaged ceiling and roofline sure to be the next viral hit, it wasn't every day a polar bear saved the day after all.

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