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Ecalsneerg

Broken Wings [IC]

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I hate Midtown, thought Arrowhawk as the bullet tore through his cape. He slid down the roof tiles to the chimney stack in a shower of slate, crouching for cover just as a hail of gunfire tore over his head.

Dammit, who is shooting at me!? Unsure of where to go, he broke cover and sprinted towards the edge of the roof. But, at the least possible second, his bad leg collapsed under him even as a round burst through his chest armour, sending him crashing onto the hard cement.

The last he thought before blacking out was that, once again, he hated Midtown.


Orion ducked down behind the window and put the sniper rifle into its guitar case. Knowing he'd attract little suspicion 3 streets away, he casually saunted out of the room, down the elevator and into the streets, whistling a jaunty tune.

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Vivian strode happily down the streets of midtown on her way home from the grocery store. She had a small satchel filled with food over one shoulder. She had an iPod in her left hand and headphones in her ears. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and large Bug-eye like sunglasses adorned her face. Today she wore a pair of black tights, a tight fitting jean skirt, Converse low tops, and a baby blue short sleeved shirt with clouds on it.

When you live in Freedom City for six years, you stop looking up. Especially when you live in Midtown. Looking up makes you dizzy, and makes you look like a tourist. That's why Vivian had stopped doing it entirely. Thus, it came as a total surprise when Arrowhawk hit the pavement not three feet in front of her like a sack full of potatoes. "Ah!"

Vivian stood, stunned for a moment. Then she finally came to grips with what she was seeing. "Arrowhawk? What the hell are- Oh god!" She ripped the earbuds out of her ears as she ran towards him, not even bothering to pause the iPod. She practically slid to a stop on the sidewalk as she threw herself onto her hands and knees to examine him better. Her satchel hit the ground and a stray apple rolled away down the street.

"Arrowhawk! Wake up!" His dark uniform began to take on an even darker shade, emanating from the center of his chest. "That's not a ... good ... sign." she discovered it was wet to the touch. "No. That's a very bad sign!"

A quick glance around told Vivian that there was no one else around. She quickly stuffed her iPod into her bag, grabbed him under the arms and dragged him into the nearby alleyway. Setting him down, she patted his face, gently. "Arrowhawk, stay with me!"


Arrowhawk's eyes cracked open slightly. His world was a mix of swirling colors and stabbing pain. Something touched his cheek, and again, and again. His eyes began to clear up. His ears heard things, but it was like listening to a very slow recording with cotton stuffed in your ears. "rrHwwwk. rrwHwwwk!" he heard. He saw someone. A girl. Did he know her? Yes. No, certainly not. Maybe? His vision began to fade again. His last conscious vision showed the girl reaching down her shirt, clutching something small when she withdrew her hand. There was a white flash. Then there was nothing.


Vivian sat in her desk chair, drumming her fingers on the desk and staring at the unconscious body of Arrowhawk that lay on her bed. She'd had to remove his shirt to properly bandage him. It was currently soaking in her bathroom sink in warm water. *tdthrum* *tdthrum* *tdthrum* She drummed her fingers. "Okay, that's it. I can't take it anymore." she hopped up from the chair and crossed the room to her bed. The pajama pants that she'd changed into swooshed against each other. She'd also changed into a ratty old t-shirt, which was now wet with blood in multiple places. A hairband kept her long hair back over her shoulders.

Vivian sat on the bed next to Arrowhawk. She leaned over him, closely and whispered, "Are you awake? No? Hmmm. Just a peek then." Vivian reached forward, and placed her hands on his mask...

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Softness. Warmth. Arrowhawk was only semi-conscious for much of the time. Then the voice came from somewhere on the edge of his hearing.

Someone is taking off my mask. Almost by animal instinct, ignoring the pain in his chest, Arrowhawk's arms lunged upwards and grabbed Vivian's wrists in a vice-like grip. He started applying pressure as he growled. "Who the hell are you!?"

Then rational thought started clawing its way back, and his grip loosened (although he kept a hold). "Vivian? What... why am I here?"

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Damn...Missed my chance.

"I... You're awake! Thank the Gods!" Vivian exclaimed, closing her hands around Arrowhawk's. She leaned in closely and gave him a hug. Pulling back up, she sat on the bedside almost like she was sitting side-saddle on a horse. "For a while there, I was afraid you were a goner. Guess your made from sterner stuff after all. That wound was pretty big though."

Vivian stood up from the bed and crossed the room. She left through the doorway, and made an immediate left. From the sounds of clinking glass, and a few dull *thumps* Arrowhawk guessed she was in the kitchen. Vivian returned a moment later with a tray and two large brown mugs on it. She set the tray on the desk, on top of the assortment of papers that were scattered everywhere. She pushed her chair toward the bed, and it rolled across the hard wood floor. She lifted a mug in each and and returned to the bed side.

With the back of the chair facing Arrowhawk, she straddled the seat and leaned forward into it. She handed Arrowhawk one of the mugs. "Here you go. I remembered what you said last time."

I really am lucky to have gotten him back here in time to save him. Vivian eyed the bandages that wound around his chest. They were soaked red with blood. Thankfully, the bleeding had stopped.

After she had teleported the two of them to her room, she'd thrown down some towels on her floor, place him on them, and forcibly removed his shirt. The bullet had struck him in the chest, but thankfully hadn't gone through the rib cage. It had hit below, and went deep into his stomach. She couldn't see the bullet, and had no way of pulling it out, so she'd bandaged him up. When that didn't stop the bleeding, she'd reached over him to retrieve her phone from the floor and call an ambulance.

That's when the Orb had tumbled out of her shirt, and fell onto his chest. There had been a flash of blue light, and for a second, Vivian had no clue what had happened, but she saw that the bandages which were soaked with blood already, weren't getting any wetter. The Orb it seemed had staunched the bleeding, and likely saved his life. For that, she was thankful.

"It's mead," She told him, "I didn't know what you liked, but it's my favorite." Vivian held her cup with both hands, tipped it back and drank, peering over the lip of the cup at Arrowhawk.

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"I... You're awake! Thank the Gods!" Vivian exclaimed, closing her hands around Arrowhawk's. She leaned in closely and gave him a hug. Pulling back up, she sat on the bedside almost like she was sitting side-saddle on a horse. "For a while there, I was afraid you were a goner. Guess your made from sterner stuff after all. That wound was pretty big though."

"Eh," grunted Arrowhawk. "Had worse." ... why am I half-naked? Oh, not again. He tried to stand up when Vivi had left the room, but felt his chest tighten painfully so settled for sitting down on the bed, self-consciously glancing around for his shirt or something.

He reluctantly accepted the drink. Grudgingly, he downed some of the mead, showing little reaction to a mouthful of liquor. "Out of curiousity..." wondered the Scot idly. "How did you get me across and up eighteen floors? No offence, but you don't look like you could easily lift me." Wait... she just saved my l... well-being. I should be nicer.

"Uh... thanks, by the way."

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"You're welcome! I mean what else was I supposed to do?" Vivian happily responded.

Well, fancy that. I guess he CAN be nice after all. Who said super heroes didn't have manners?

He reluctantly accepted the drink. Grudgingly, he downed some of the mead, showing little reaction to a mouthful of liquor. "Out of curiousity..." wondered the Scot idly. "How did you get me across and up eighteen floors? No offence, but you don't look like you could easily lift me."

"Truth be told, I don't really know." Vivian lied, looking away from Arrowhawk to hide her face. It was a trick she had found to be effective when trying to sell a lie. "I don't actually know. I was panicking, and you were bleeding, everything was kind of fuzzy. Maybe it was adrenaline?" She looked back up at him, "Like when people are able to lift cars if their baby is stuck under them?" Vivian took another sip of mead. "Or maybe I'm just stronger than I look." She winked at him, giving a mock flex of her left bicep.

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Arrowhawk nodded, taking another swig of his drink. "Sounds plausible," he conceded. Then suddenly a thought occured to him, and his eyes narrowed again under his domino mask. "Wait... what if someone saw you take me up here? And why didn't you take me to a hospital or something?"

OK, veering into the rude again... "I mean, if the person who shot me followed you..." He trailed off sounding, concerned.

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"I... I don't know." She replied sullenly.

Thank god he bought that one!

Vivian shifted in her chair, uncomfortably. "I wasn't sure what they would do at the hospital. I had to take off your shirt just to get at the wound. They probably would have cut it away. I mean, blood isn't easy to get out, but at least this way its salvageable. The hospital definitely would have ruined it. Besides that, they probably would have needed to know who you were to treat you properly. Then there goes that secret identity thing." She paused to take a sip of her drink, "Besides, I would have called them if I wasn't able to stop the bleeding."

OK, veering into the rude again... "I mean, if the person who shot me followed you..." He trailed off sounding, concerned.

"Oh no." She clapped a hand over her mouth. "I didn't think about that!" She placed her cup on the bedside table and leaped out of her chair. Running to the window she asked, "Do you think they did? Do you know who it was?"

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Arrowhawk forced himself to stand and struggle over to the window. "I'm not sure, but it was a good shot," he said, pulling the curtains shut. "Not many people could take me out like that."

He shook his head then turned away from Vivian. "You should have left me, I don't know who it was, and thus if they'd come after you. And I don't think either of us want that." He rubbed at his temples, still ignoring the pain in his chest.

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"What are you doing?" Vivian asked harshly, "You shouldn't be out of bed!"

Vivian placed her hands on either side of Arrowhawks face and neck. Her eyes softened, and she gave him a gentle caress. "I don't know how good that dressing is. You could re-open your wound. Come back to bed. Have another drink. Is there anything specific I can try and make you?"

After a good deal of fawning over the masked hero, Vivian declared, "Besides, if anyone came after me, I think I could take it. I'm a pretty strong girl, you know." She gave Arrowhawk a wink as she led him back across the room.

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Arrowhawk reluctantly let himself get led over to the bed. My life is a surrealist drug trip. "Um, yeah, if you've got whisky, then... wait, you Americans call it Scotch. No ice." He sat down heavily and smiled at her next comment, however wryly.

"I don't doubt that, but I think in this case you'd not be strong enough. I'm usually fast enough to not get hit directly in the chest," said Arrowhawk with a tinge of regret. That's not happened in years. Perhaps I'm just getting too old. "I just can't think of who or why... well, I can't narrow down who or why."

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"Scotch... might be a problem..." Vivian frowned, "I don't usually keep that stocked. I'm not a big scotch drinker. But I'll get some for next time you come!" Vivian smiled at him, hoping to appease him with that offer, and get him to agree to another visit in the same try.

"For now, I think I have Vodka. I might have some Gin left over from when I made Kamikazes a few weeks ago..." Her voice trailed off as she tried to remember what liquors she had stocked.

"So are you going to let me in on the secret?" She asked as she sat down on the bed next to him. "Who do you think could have done this?" She busied herself by fussing with his dressings, making sure they were tight. This of course resulted in her hands finding their way all over his chest and back.

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"Scotch... might be a problem..." Vivian frowned, "I don't usually keep that stocked. I'm not a big scotch drinker. But I'll get some for next time you come!" Vivian smiled at him, hoping to appease him with that offer, and get him to agree to another visit in the same try.

Surprisingly, Arrowhawk nodded in agreement. "Ok, then. Next time."

"So are you going to let me in on the secret?" She asked as she sat down on the bed next to him. "Who do you think could have done this?" She busied herself by fussing with his dressings, making sure they were tight. This of course resulted in her hands finding their way all over his chest and back.

"Well..." he said, trying to ignore her hands working their way over him. "One guess is Orion. He's one of the best gunmen around, and he's apparently worked for the mob lately. Thing is, last I knew he was in Blackstone." In trying to get his arms out of her way so she could fuss with the bandages, his hand somehow ended up on her leg. Um...

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Surprisingly, Arrowhawk nodded in agreement. "Ok, then. Next time."

Yay! Vivian thought, smiling outwardly.

"Orion? Isn't he the guy who..."

In trying to get his arms out of her way so she could fuss with the bandages, his hand somehow ended up on her leg. Um...

Vivian immediately stopped talking. To Arrowhawk's touch, her leg was warm to his touch, beneath the fuzzy plaid pajama pants she was wearing. Due to her posture on the bed, his hand rested right on the upper part of her thigh. She looked down at his hand, her hands momentarily forgetting their work, pausing to remain clutched at one of his bandages. She inclined her head only slightly so that she could look up at him. She felt her face heat up as it began to turn red.

Stupid mead... What was I saying again?"

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Arrowhawk paused. Wait... she's stopped talking... and gone red. Did I offend her? Christ, I'm a forty-year-old man, I should know what to do in this situation. He looked at her and smiled. Oh, what the hell. Worst comes to worst, I'm the creepy guy who came in the window and how is that different from most people's reactions?

He reached up with the hand not on Vivian's lap and slowly brought it up to run it through her hair. "Thank you," he said hesitantly and softly.

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If Vivian had been turning red earlier, she was now putting the world's beet population to shame. Her face felt so hot she was convinced it could boil water. "I..." She looked up at him, unsure.

Her face went blank for a moment at his touch. What? Now what are you going to tell him? More lies? 'I didn't expect things to go this far?' 'I don't even know your name?' 'I think you're swell and all, but?' You got yourself into this. Now what are you going to do? But only for a moment.

Vivian smiled, "It was the least I could do." She placed her hand against the one in her hair and held it against her cheek. Leaning into his touch, she smiled and looked up at him.

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Crap... she's seriously blushing, and she hesitated... dammit, John, sometimes you're a complete idiot. Arrowhawk went to move his hand away. "Are you..." He struggled for the word. "... OK?" I hesitate to think of OK!?

"It's just that the other night, you seemed..." Once again Arrowhawk struggled with the trauma of social niceties. "... into me? Is that what the kids say? Now, you look hesitant."

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Come on, fess up. You can do it. She thought to herself after his line of questioning.

"'What the kids say?'" Vivian giggled a little, not taking him seriously. "You're not that old. You can't be." She gave him a light slap on the arm, playfully. "But yea, I'm okay. I just...There's something I have to tell you." She sighed, looking down at her lap, "The other night, I... I don't know what came over me. I like you. I do. But we've barely met." She smiled at him, and placed her hand against his masked face. With a light stroke, she continued, "And I don't even know who you are." She looked disappointed. Like she didn't want that to be an issue, but couldn't help it all the same.

Removing her hand from his face, she took one of his hand in both of hers and place it between them. "The other night, I think I was just flustered. The big, strong, famous Arrowhawk drops in to visit me and I think I just got excited." She patted his hand, "Now I've gone and saved your life, I think, and I don't even know what to say to you."

You could just tell him that you were lying. And that you're sorry...

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"'What the kids say?'" Vivian giggled a little, not taking him seriously. "You're not that old. You can't be." She gave him a light slap on the arm, playfully. "But yea, I'm okay. I just...There's something I have to tell you." She sighed, looking down at her lap, "The other night, I... I don't know what came over me. I like you. I do. But we've barely met." She smiled at him, and placed her hand against his masked face. With a light stroke, she continued, "And I don't even know who you are." She looked disappointed. Like she didn't want that to be an issue, but couldn't help it all the same.

"Who am I?" Arrowhawk forced a thin smile. "I'm Arrowhawk, I'm thirty-nine years old and have been in the business for nineteen of those. For all intents and purposes, the mask is who I am."

Removing her hand from his face, she took one of his hand in both of hers and place it between them. "The other night, I think I was just flustered. The big, strong, famous Arrowhawk drops in to visit me and I think I just got excited." She patted his hand, "Now I've gone and saved your life, I think, and I don't even know what to say to you."

Arrowhawk rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Well... I'm not the kind of guy to know what to say, either." Self-demonstratingly, he left the sentence hang as an awkward silence slowly came into existence.

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Now didn't that feel good? You told him the truth, well, most of it. He didn't even toss you out the windo... Thirty-nine? No way.

"For all intents and purposes, the mask is who I am."

Fine. Be that way.

"Well... I'm not the kind of guy to know what to say, either." Self-demonstratingly, he left the sentence hang as an awkward silence slowly came into existence.

A second passed. Then another. Vivian squirmed, Oh hell no. You are not just going to sit there like that. I won't let you. She grabbed the back of his neck, pulled him forward, closed her eyes, and kissed him on the lips. It wasn't a long kiss, or a sloppy one. It was a short kiss on the lips that lasted only a few seconds that none the less felt like it lasted for minutes.

Vivian finally pulled away, and looked him in the eyes, "There. I did it, okay? Now it's out of my system." She reached across him to the bedside table, lifted her glass of mead, and unceremoniously dumped the last of it down her throat. She placed it back on the table heavily. The glass mug made a *Clunkt* sound. Vivian sat back and folded her hands in her lap.

"Okay, look. I don't know if I believe that you're thirty-nine or not. But I don't see why you would have any reason to lie about that." Vivian paused for just a moment, Because you've been completely honest with him. Right. she thought as she continued, "Hell, it would probably have benefited you to say you were younger. You could easily pass for thirty, given the shape you're in. Well, except for the bullet, but you get what I mean." She stopped herself, Rambling!

Abrubtly, she scolded him, "Don't make this awkward." She shook her finger at him, "You're in this situation as much as I am. Your opinion matters as well. So have one." Her face softened, "What do you think? What do you want? Whether its you, or the mask, or the guy under the mask, what do you think?"

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She grabbed the back of his neck, pulled him forward, closed her eyes, and kissed him on the lips. It wasn't a long kiss, or a sloppy one. It was a short kiss on the lips that lasted only a few seconds that none the less felt like it lasted for minutes.

Arrowhawk froze temporarily in shock. What the... !? Then, rallying somewhat, he kissed back for a couple of seconds before she pulled away. What the hell just happened?

Abruptly, she scolded him, "Don't make this awkward." She shook her finger at him, "You're in this situation as much as I am. Your opinion matters as well. So have one." Her face softened, "What do you think? What do you want? Whether its you, or the mask, or the guy under the mask, what do you think?"

He paused for a second. "What do I think? Well, I think you're the kind of person willing to patch up" And feel up "complete strangers, you've got good taste in alcohol and you're really beautiful." He said the last bit quietly, knowing he needed to say it, but unaccustomed to actually being nice to people. "On the other hand, we first met when I jumped in your window, and again when I was bleeding out."

He took a deep breath. I hate doing this. Can't I get shot again? It's generally simpler, and less painful overall. "So... rather than me constantly appearing through windows or dropping off rooftops... we should try going on a date. No costume, no weird stuff, just two normal people." He paused to gulp down the lump in his throat. "Y'know... if you want to."

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Vivian blushed, smiling at the compliment. She did enjoy compliments. "Well you don't have to whisper it, its not like someone's going to see you." she placed her hand abover eyebrows and looked around as if gazing into the distance. Trying to find out who he was so afraid of being heard by.

Teasing aside, she smiled again when he asked her out. "Yea, I think i'd like that." she placed her hand on his, "But not till your better. I don't want to have to drive you to the hospital in the middle of dinner."

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Arrowhawk raised an eyebrow at the 'hospital' comment. "Please, I'll be out doing the same thing tomorrow night, injury or no injury. Dinner is stress-free by comparison." He stood up, and started moving to gather his shirt, armour and bow.

Ok, how does this work... wait, not that amateurish. This part's cliche. "Pick you up next Friday, around 8?"

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She admired his determination. She realized it must be the warrior spirit in him that got to her so much. She couldn't even think of telling him to take it easy, when the fact that he didn't was such a turn on for her.

Ok, how does this work... wait, not that amateurish. This part's cliche. "Pick you up next Friday, around 8?"

"Mmhmm. That sounds good." She stood up from the bed, and walked past him, brushing her hand along his cheek as she did so. "I'll assume you're taking my someplace fancy, so I can get all dressed up." She winked at him as she left the room again. She returned from the bathroom with the Kevlar shirt of his uniform. "I think the Kevlar's probably messed up," She wiggled one of her fingers through the hole, "But the blood's all out of it from the soaking I gave it."

She helped him into the rest of the costume so he wouldn't pull any of the bandages off. Then when he was fully dressed, she grabbed the sides of his arms, pulled him close, and stole another kiss. After she pulled away, she added, "See you Friday, Mr. Super Hero."

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"Mmhmm. That sounds good." She stood up from the bed, and walked past him, brushing her hand along his cheek as she did so. "I'll assume you're taking my someplace fancy, so I can get all dressed up." She winked at him as she left the room again. She returned from the bathroom with the Kevlar shirt of his uniform. "I think the Kevlar's probably messed up," She wiggled one of her fingers through the hole, "But the blood's all out of it from the soaking I gave it."

"Thanks," grunted Arrowhawk, pulling the shirt on and strapping his armour plating over his shoulders and chest. He bolted it in back as he pulled on his hood and cape, accepting Vivian's help in doing so.

Then when he was fully dressed, she grabbed the sides of his arms, pulled him close, and stole another kiss. After she pulled away, she added, "See you Friday, Mr. Super Hero."

This time, Arrowhawk was prepared and kissed her back."Ok, see you Friday. Until then..." He pulled away, slinging his quiver over his shoulder and replacing his bow in it. "Adieu." He raised two fingers in a mock salute, then, without turning back, opened the window and slid down the wall, hugging close to avoid a repeat of the shooting incident.

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