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The Arrow and The Orb (IC)

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Vivian sat at the desk in her small high rise apartment. She was leaning over her desk, intent at the small object in her hands. In its enlarged state, the Orb of Fate was no larger than a good sized snow globe, about six inches in diameter. Vivian stared intently into the swirling clouds held within the Orb.

"There's always clouds." She pouted, slightly dejected. "The Norn says this Orb holds tremendous power, but if it does, I can't see it." She turned the Orb over in her hands. "Well, you know. Besides the obvious." She held it above her head, and gazed up at it. The clouds swirled and swirled, casting their soft blue glow over the rest of the room. Comfortably dressed in loose fitting plaid pajama pants, and a light green tank top, Vivian relaxed, leaning back in her swivel desk chair. The light of the Orb was comforting, but frustrating all at once. "It must do something else!" Vivian strained her eyes, trying to see deeper into the Orb, willing it to reveal its secrets.

The glow from the orb was so powerful, that it shone through the drawn curtains of her apartment balcony. From the streets of Freedom City, onlookers could see a soft blue glow coming from the apartment. Thankfully, not many people in Freedom City ever looked up...

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Arrowhawk bound the mugger's hands with rope, and dumped him in the alleyway. "You'd think you'd learn, wouldn't you?" he said, shaking his head. Quickly sending out a signal for a police pick-up, he ran up the wall onto the next roof and kept going.

He hated Midtown, but not so much as he hated the greens who kept moving in on Southside. So it was a bit of a toss-up.

Suddenly, instinct told him to look up. His gaze rapidly firing towards the window, his eyes narrowed. That's not a good glowy effect... I better investigate. In one bounding leap, he'd cleared the edge of the roof, firing his grappling gun as he went. Swinging around and upwards once more, he halted on the brickwork under the window.

Putting his grapple gun away, he slid up the brickwork and onto the sill. An attractive woman seemed to be... staring into a crystal ball. Damn crazies. "Hey, what's going on here, then?" growled the archer.

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Vivian let out a squeek, much like a mouse, "Eep!" She spun in her chair away from the window, causing her long golden ponytail to twirl around her. She tucked the Orb to her chest as she did so. When her chair swiveled around to face Arrowhawk, there was no more Orb. Arrowhawk did spot a small golden chain around her neck, though. The necklace could not have been there before, surely Arrowhawk would have spotted it.

Vivian's hands were on her hips, "Who the hell ar-" She suddenly stopped, and brandished a finger at him. "Wait a second, I know you. You're Arrowhawk aren't you?" The question came out as more of a statement. She stood from her chair, and replaced her hands on her hips. She was taller than she looked, matching his height at six feet.

"They didn't tell me you were a peeping tom!" She sounded indignant, and annoyed, with just the slightest hint of outrage.

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"I'm the one investigating the mysterious light coming out of your window," said Arrowhawk, stepping down into the room. "Which is probably linked to that Orb you just made disappear."

He crossed his arms across his chest and rose up to meet her gaze. "I've nothing against people dabbling in the arcane. What I do object to them doing is doing it suspiciously and obviously, then acting like the man who came to see if they were alright is in the wrong." His mouth twisted in a wry smile. "And if I was peeping, would I announce it?"

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"I don't know," Vivian offered, "Maybe you get a rise out of scaring innocent women, like me." She took a few steps toward Arrowhawk, clearly un-intimidated by his line of questioning.

"I assure you there's nothing arcane about anything in this apartment. I would know, I'm kind of a history buff." Vivian approached closer, and gave Arrowhawk a light poke in the chest with her right index finger. She didn't remove it immediatly, either. She let it linger, looking straight ahead into his eyes, and asked, "Now what's this Orb you're going on about?" then bit her lip lightly.

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Arrowhawk glanced down at the finger pressing into his chest for a second. Only to notice the woman was wearing a tank top. He sharply snapped his gaze back up... to see her bite her lip. "The orbs, er orb I was going on about?"

He hesitated for a second. Well, this doesn't happen often. "Um, yes, the orb. Well... um..." He tried to think of something to say, but ended up trailing off.

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The first thing Vivian noticed was that she was doing it again. Lying just to get something she wanted, just like when she was a kid. It made her feel crummy. The worst type of low. Then she noticed Arrowhawk admiring her, and realized it had worked. Vivian instantly forgot all about feeling bad, and started feeling really really good about herself.

Vivian placed her forearms on Arrowhawk's shoulders and pulled him a little closer. She leaned in and whispered in his ear quietly, "I think this is the part where you ask me what my name is." A sly smile crept across her face as she inched away again. Slowly this time.

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Ok... this isn't going as planned. In any way, shape or form. Great. Arrowhawk froze up completely as the woman pulled up close to him, and for a few agonisingly long seconds after she'd pulled away.

"Ok, fine. What's your name?" he said quietly, without resisting her suggestion.

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"Vivian," she chirped. "But you can call me Vivi, ... if you want." she allowed her voice a little more edge as she finished the sentence.

"So, Mr. Hawk," Vivian put on her cutest, most questioning face possible. "What brings you to my apartment so late at night? Were you ..." She used her left hand to trace the symbol on his chest, while placing her right behind his neck, "Looking for something?" Vivian brushed some of her hair behind her shoulder, exposing more of the tank top, and the golden chain which wound its way down into her shirt.

Ooo, I forgot how much fun this was. I wonder how long I can keep this up? She thought to herself.

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Arrowhawk became painfully aware he was ogling Vivian, and decided instead to meet her gaze. Awful idea. "Ummm... I already said why I was in your apartment. Was arresting a mugger, saw a weird light coming from the window, so I, umm... came up here." He shuffled his feet nervously. Well, there goes my scary nighttime vigilante credibility.

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When Arrowhawk met her eyes, Vivian giggled, being as coy as possible. "Hee, hee." She even chanced covering her mouth with her hand. Then came his explanation,

"Ummm... I already said why I was in your apartment. Was arresting a mugger, saw a weird light coming from the window, so I, umm... came up here." He shuffled his feet nervously. Well, there goes my scary nighttime vigilante credibility.

Now to go in for the kill, she thought.

Abruptly, Vivian removed her arms from Arrowhawk and took a step back. "So what your saying is," She crossed her arms in front of herself, "You didn't come up here to see me at all, did you?" she questioned the vigilante. She sounded offended, and worse still, hurt.

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Dirty little... Arrowhawk glowered from under the cowl. "Ok, clever. Nice distraction, but it's not gonna work forever." He pulled out his bow and a blunt-tipped arrow.

"I don't appreciate people taking the Michael, nor do I appreciate them messing around with magic when they apparently can't handle doing it. Where's that glowing orb?" He tensed, ready to nock the bow if necessary.

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Well THAT backfired!

Vivian decided to drop the act, "I... Okay, look, I'm sorry, okay? I shouldn't have done that. But I really don't know what orb you're talking about." Well, most of it, anyway. "All I have is this necklass," She pulled on the chain, and a marble sized glass bead withdrew from her shirt. She dangled it in front of her. "It's an antique heirloom, and I just like looking at it sometimes. Maybe you saw the light reflected off of it?"

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Lie. "Listen... "Vivi"," growled Arrowhawk. "I'm far from stupid, and like I said, I don't like people playing games with me."

He pointed the bow at her. "Now what are you mucking around with?" Eyes gleaming red, his glare cut a swathe towards her. C'mon, give it up. What's going on?

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"Nothing!" Vivian managed to squeak out, dropping the necklace so that it dangled in front of her, "I'm not messing with powers beyond my control. You can examine the necklace, and you can search the room..."

If there was one thing that Vivian had learned about lying, it was that sometimes not telling outright lies could be just as effective.

"I promise I'm not hiding any magical artifacts in my dresser or anything." Vivian shrugged, looking innocent and helpless.

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"Fine. I believe you," said Arrowhawk, rolling his eyes.

"But if it was something innocuous, isn't it quite immature to mess with the guy who just happened to check if you were OK? Seriously." Arrowhawk met her gaze. "I'm just here to help, there's no need to act... well, like that."

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Inwardly, Vivian breathed a heavy sigh of relief. I can't believe that worked! This is Arrowhawk we're talking about!

"Yea, I know. I'm sorry." Vivian pouted. She took two steps to her bed and sat on it heavily, bouncing slightly when she made contact with it. She looked down at the floor in shame, "But you surprised me!" She turned her eyes back up, and fixed Arrowhawk with a pleading gaze. "But you're a Super Hero that just came flying into my room. You're famous, and you're so strong." Her next statement was true enough, "I just couldn't help myself." Arrowhawk knew what was coming next, and right on cue, Vivian bit her lip again, her eyes giving him the typical "bad girl" expression.

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Oh... bouncing... damn. Arrowhawk took a couple of steps backwards. This never happened to the Raven. Dammit, I know she's playing me. "Look, Viv- um, madam," began Arrowhawk. Ok, keep it formal.

"I apologise if you're offended by my actions, but if you want me to leave, please just say so." Flee! Run away! I'm a disgrace.

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Oh... bouncing... damn. Arrowhawk took a couple of steps backwards. This never happened to the Raven. Dammit, I know she's playing me. "Look, Viv- um, madam," began Arrowhawk.

Madam? Ugh. I hate being madam-ed.

Damn, that was one of my best faces, too! Vivian was surprised at Arrowhawk's resilience. Well, I guess it couldn't hurt to give it one more go.

"Aww," Vivian cooed. "I'm not offended! You don't have to apologize." She cracked a wide smile at him. "You don't have to be so polite, either. Please call me, Vivi." that felt like the most genuine line she had said all night.

She scooted backwards on the bed, so that she was sitting in the middle of it. "I don't know what gave you the impression that I wanted you to leave." She relaxed, laying back on the pillows stacked at the headboard. She reclined with her hands behind her head and her upper body at about a thirty degree angle. Her knees were steepled on the bed, propped up by her feet. She turned her head towards Arrowhawk and smiled, clearly at ease with present company.

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Arrowhawk dropped his bow to the ground and once again folded up his arms. Now... go! "Ok, then. But I think it's my turn to ask this question." He looked at his feet for a second, and sighed deeply.

Because I can't pick up hints to save my life. Bullets? Fiiine. Hints? Scary. "What exactly do you want from me, here?" Ask a stupid question, cue... stupid answer.

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Well, that tears it. It's official. This guy has no brains.

Vivian sighed, and her head loled back against her pillow. Great. Moment...over.

"Okay, look:" Vivian rolled onto her stomach, and turned to face Arrowhawk. Pressing down on the edge of the bed with her forearms, leaving her hands dangling over the edge, she lifted her upper body away from the bed so she could get a better look at the darkly clad hero. Curling her legs in the air she said, "If you really don't want to be here, then I certainly don't want to be the one keeping you." Vivian sounded impatient, but hadn't quite lost the smile on her face.

"It's up to you, Mr. Hero. You may stay or go, as you please." She made a point of avoiding his question.

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Well, thought so... Arrowhawk narrowed his eyes as he picked up his bow. "I'm a busy man. In the time you wasted, I could have arrested ten muggers, or carjackers, or drug dealers." He turned up and climbed onto the window ledge.

OK, that was slightly harsh. Hmmm... Turning, he forced a wink from under the shadow of his cowl. "Next time, I'm partial to a drink first./color]" And too convivial. "I will be checking up on you again. What's it the kids say... catch you around?" And with that, he turned to leap from the window.

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"That man sure is dedicated." Vivian sighed, "In the worst way, jeez."

Vivian rolled onto her back, and lounged on the bed with her head on the pillow. For a while, she just lay and stared at the ceiling. Then she pulled at the golden chain around her neck, and lifted the small marble sized blue bauble out of her shirt. Checking to make sure that Arrowhawk hadn't suddenly sneaked back into her apartment, she focused her attention on the piece of jewelry.

The Orb of Fate returned to its full size in her hands. She held the six inch smokey white globe in her hand above her at arms length. Again, the Orb lit the room with its soft comforting blue light. Willing the Orb to show her something, she stared into it for a long time.

Years later, Vivian would swear that one of the clouds within the globe looked like a fierce raptor hunting its prey.

At least he mentioned a next time...

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