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Stranded (IC)

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The sun had yet to set, but the streetlights began to light one by one down Swan street. The artificial light did very little to illuminate long shadows cast by the towering complex of glass and concrete over the scattered cars of the nearly deserted parking lot. This shadow only continued to grow as the sun set, and eventually reached all the way to the bus stop, it's single current inhabitant, and slightly used paperback she had been squinting at in the diminishing light for the last hour. As the shade obskewed her attempts finish the twelvth chapter, letting out a sigh she bent a page on the lower right hand corner before closing her book completely and daring a look at her blocky plastic watch. Eight fifty, looking at it for a second she then turned her head at the nearby bus chart, the green line was suppose to be there thirty five minutes ago. Sighing once more, she looked back towards the mall and tried to weigh her options.

Walking was out, even if she spent two years just a few miles down the road, that was a little more then five years and things changed fast out here. Plus, she doubted the energy from the oversized muffin she had purchased and slowly devoured during the day would even carry her that far even if it was safe. A continued wait crossed her mind, but knowing the buses, if they were this late it probably meant something was going on near midtown or one of the more populated areas where villians love to make a big show. Usually, they just shut it down for the night. The thought of a cab, or the subway might of crossed her mind if not for the fact that she had money for neither. No, she had invested her rather limited traveling budget in a bus card since they ran on a much later schedule and in more places around the city then both of the earlier options. Pricing of course played a part as well, but because of that decision she would probably be effectively stuck at the stop all night. Looking back to the mall, she gathered her things and moved back to through the automatic doors and into the air conditioning. Someplace had to be open.

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James muttered to himself as he stepped out through the door from the back areas into the mall proper, looking around the food court. Who knew that imps had a thing for cheap taco mix? There was a minor mess in the back of that particular cheap eatery but that couldn't be helped. Fighting and banishing demons, even little ones, was not the cleanest activity. He'd left a few bill to pay for it with a note apologizing for the mess and had wiped his hands of it. Literally. At least he hadn't wrecked his clothes this time (from being burned or coated in salsa mix).

He looked around the mostly closed mall with a shrug. Thankfully most people were long gone. He checked the area with his senses, making sure there were no residual magical or dimensional issues he needed to be aware of. Maybe the rest night would go nice and slow for a change.

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There were a couple of things Carrie usually expected, guys deciding after a couple of drinks that she looked safe enough to hit on shamelessly, muggers mistaking her for an easy target because she so frequently travels alone, heck even being tied up and held hostage by some whack job super villian didn't really shock her anymore. None of those however prepared her for while some small fast little strangely colored thing shot past her. It took a few seconds for her to catagorize what exactly that was, but it didn't take very long for her to start chasing it because that thing had her purse.

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James muttered to himself a little more as he detect an a stray imp running amok. They really weren't dangerous, to him anyway, but they were a royal pain. He only had this last one to go. He strode forward a few steps and jumped over the railing, coat flapping out behind him. Before he fell more than a foot, he vanished in mid-air. A moment later he appeared father down the concourse, crouched down. He looked up as he stood, staring down as the little demonic creature flew towards him, purse clutched in one little claw. Behind it, charged a young woman. James was a bit surprised at that; most people ran _away_ from creatures and monsters and what not. Not chased them down for the contents of a purse. He quirked a smile and brought fire to his hands. "Time to go home," he said, half to himself and half to the imp.

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The whatever it was while not stopping dead slowed down considerably enough for Carrie to catch up in time to see some random guy with fire in his hand. While not completely shocked, it certianly made her take a few steps back when he came into view. She wasn't very keen on fire after all. The small creature apparently wasn't too bright since it tried to charge the young pyro and got a face full of flames for his troubles. While normally this would of been a good thing, those flames went from the now missing little thing to the cloth strap of her purse. Running forward with a silent curse Carrie pulled off her the jacket to her well worn jogging suite and used it to smother the flames. Now most woman wouldn't go through so much trouble for a cheap cloth purse (though she had seen some do crazy things for designer labels), but most woman didn't have a not so cheap, and not so replacable black biker suite in lining the bottom of said purse.

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James sent the little imp back to it's home plane with a burst of hellfire. With the summoner dealt with now, this problems was done. Dusting his hands off, he looked down at the girl on the ground, trying to smother her purse apparently. He grinned and spoke up. "You can stop now. I think you got it." When she peeled her jacket away, the purse lay there completely untouched by the fire. It still smelled of fire and brimestone for now; nothing he could do about that one. "Are you alright? You're not hurt or anything?"

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She looked away from her purse lifting her jacket and seeing it was fine dispite the smell and gave him a once over. He was taller then her, but then again most heroes were. Given he wasn't exactly in the whole hero costume thing he didn't seem to have the presense of a bad guy. Also, he could probably take her if she decided otherwise so she gave a light sigh before answering,

"I am, but I have a question, what exactly was that?'

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James looked her, over, double checking to make sure she was alright. "Glad to hear it." He looked around, seeing if anyone else was around to notice but things were mostly closed up apparently. The mall was practically deserted. "Oh, it was a pesky little thing. They get summoned now and again by some fool who doesn't know better. Nothing to worry about," he said with a grin. Most folks didn't want to hear the word 'demon' so he kept the explanation vague. He half paid attention to her and the surroundings as he concentrating, letting his mental senses do one final sweep of the building.

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She thought about it as he gave the mall another once over, not that it mattered, if he was a discrete type of hero he wouldn't of done such an obvious display in a public without a mask. Wait summoned?

"So you're saying I was purse snatched by a demon, Jesus, even extra dimensional beings think I'm an easy target."

Looking at her watch she tried to get a feel for the place which apparently didn't have good enough security to notice some dude with a bunch of candles setting up a pentagram. Just thinking of where there would be enough blind spots for such a happenings made her retract all thoughts of making a visit to any restrooms in the immediate area.

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James chuckled, perching himself on the top edge of a bench. "Nah, not really. It wasn't a real demon. Just an imp. They're like the suckup toadies of demons. Not real powers either though a bunch can be a serious pain. He didn't think anything of you most likely. You were more...an random attack of opportunity and mischief. I dealt with the summoner first but that meant the little buggers got to run free when I knocked him out. Most stayed to cause me trouble. You just happened to be lucky enough to draw its notice. Made my just easier though," he said with a smile. "It's all good though. All wrapped up. You can get back to whatever it is you were doing before I showed up. Sans purse snatching imps of course!"

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Rolling her eyes at the explanation she continued her visual of about two dozens of those annoying little things running around doing random havoc. Maybe if she had come in sooner she could of kicked that summoners butt.

"That's great, I'm randomly attacked at a mall I'm probably stuck at for the night where some sicko has done some random occult ritual probably a little under two hours earlier."

She half mumbled this but didn't had her dry tone and annoyed expression as she looked at her watch. Just a little past nine, walking over to the map she started to skim the selection, maybe the food court was closed, but maybe there was a sit down restuarant with it's doors still open she can grab some free corn chips from.

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James raised an eyebrow at the grouchy young lady. "Stuck here? If you need a lift, I'll drop you off someplace. I think the buses in town still run for a while longer but that's not exactly the most pleasant way to travel," he said with a shrug. Not like he was an expert or anything. He'd been on a bus maybe 2 or 3 times in his entire life. He shrugged, standing up as he noted her search. "Hate to say this lady, but everything's pretty much closed. If you want, we'll stop and grab something on the way. If you want that lift of course."

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She gave him a weary eye to this, she wouldn't deny her lack of options but everyone should think over an offer for a free ride a little bit of skepticism since in a lot of places in the world taking ride from strangers was a good way to end up chopped up and scattered around parks. Still, she had a pretty good idea who this was, and there was probably some code that dictated he had to be a somewhat decent guy to get where he was no matter the reason. Even if he wasn't a decent guy, reputation means there's a lot he can't even in civilian dress and with clear cameras in a nearly abandoned malls if anything happened he has no grounds of deniability. Plus, as her mind reeled past her trail of cynicism, she recalled he did offer free food, scratching the back of her head looked at her watch again before saying,

"Fair warning, I live in the Fens."

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James looked at her a long moment, mouth half quirked up in a wry smile. He'd just been mentioning demons and whatnot, and some vague references to dealing with them, and she thought the Fens was a problem? Even if she had no clue who he was, possible since they had yet to be introduced, he'd have thought that was a sign. He gave a mental shrug.

"Doesn't bother me any. So, you want some food on the way? In the mood for anything in particular?"

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She thought about it for a second, what was on the way to her house, probably no place nice but then again she hardly wanted to do anything like that.

"I haven't had Chinese in a while."

Counting on her fingers she wondered exactly how many chinese restuarants were from here to the Fens, there was at least one of those cheap chain restuarants that specialized into it and maybe one or two sit downs. Given the chain was probably a favorable option as it was more likely to still be open. She did this a bit absently as she followed the decently nice pyro whom she had narrowed down to one of three people who did active superhero work.

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James only took a step or two back from the sign before he stopped walking and looked at her. "Well, Chinese it is then. I know a place; excellent food, quiet and great service. I haven't been in a couple weeks but I'm sure they'll have a table for us." He quirked a smile at her and held one hand out to her. "Ready to go," he asked with a smile. He didn't bother reaching for his keys. After all, it wasn't like he drove much anymore. Just occasionally for fun really.

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She was pulled a bit out of her thoughts as she realized he started speaking again, a table, guess that meant a sit down restuarant. Might take a bit longer then just take out but probably meant she could get a larger amount of food for a to-go box. She turned to him and said to his remark,

"This late in the evening, they'll probably have a table for anyone."

Reaching out she had a bit of a wonder about his other question, and took a glance at his hand. However, for a moment her stomach overuled her hesitation and she took quietly while noticing the notable size difference between hers and his.

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James shrugged. "Well, not necessarily. This place is rather popular. Though given it's just after ten, it should be slowing down." He grinned and they vanished from the concourse of the mall to appear outside the best and most popular place in the city...which was obviously NOT in the Fens. They were likely a little under dressed not that it would matter. After all, there were few exclusive places James couldn't just walk into, reservation or no. "Here we are. Even if you don't want to have sit down meal, they'll pack something up for us. Trust me," he said with a grin. He hadn't gotten her name but she hadn't offered either. Either way, he wasn't concerned. He was just helping out a bit after all.

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The restuarant was indeed very stylish, it had several fountians, mirrors, and intracite wallhangings as well as frame and window work that was accompanied the appropriate colors to give it a warm and welcoming feel. All of this was lost completely on Carrie as she held her hand to her forehead and grabbed the nearest table to keep herself upright. This action was followed immediately from some dry heaves before found herself a chair and sat herself down while her stomach settled. Looking up at the young man who had brought her here, she very gloomy said,

"It's probably my fault for assuming that you might try to use a more conventional means of transportation, but for future reference I'd like some warning before you preform a dimensional leap since my stomachs a bit sensitive."

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He looked at her with concern as soon as they appeared. He crouched down and looked her over. "You ok? I've never had someone react that badly." He looked up and, in a fluent Chinese asked for some water and bread, before turning back to her. "It was just short teleportation; not dimensional. We're still in our reality's Freedom City. I didn't think you wanted to eat out in a reality where China rules the world. But I'm sure I can find one for you if it's that important," he said with a half smile and yet completely serious. "Sorry. I apologize. I don't think anything of it anymore. It's like second nature to me at this point."

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Sat there for a second and let him talk both in English and Chinese before took her hand off her head straightened her posture and held out one finger in front of her,

"First off, China already rules the world, alternate dimension or no, second off it's not you're fault, I'm just abnormally prone to motion sickness."

Reaching into her purse, grabbed and then unscrewed the top of a small bottle. Letting two small brown pills fall into the the palm of her hand she welcomed the water one of the free waiters had brought to her and took them quietly before standing up once more and stretching her back but taking a quick step back to recover from moving to quickly,

"Okay, alright, I should be fine for now and the next time you plan to make another wrinkle in time."

There was still some concern on his face but she held out her hand to his and said,

"You know, this whole time we've talked and such we've never actually introduced ourselves, my name is Caroline Wendle, and you?"

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James shook his head with a smirk. "It does not. Not by a long shot. It might have quite a market share, production capacity and population dominance, but that's not nearly the same thing. Trust me on that. They are nothing like 'ruling the world'," he said, speaking from personal experience. He shook his head, chuckling. "I don't do time travel. Not my department, sorry. Science and time travel aren't my things. But I'll warn you if there is a next," he says lightly.

He took her hand, shaking it and giving it a light squeeze as he smiled. "James. James Prophet." He released her hand and took a seat at the table. "Nice to meet you Caroline."

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Prophet, that was a familar name, he was probably related to someone important, it just had that sort of ring. Whoever it was didn't come to mind immediately, but then again very few things did. She was drowsey, but she was tired, nausea did that to her. Still she gripped his hand and gave him a light smile,

"Likewise, also, thanks, just thanks for what you did I'm quite sure I had yet to say that."

Looking over her shoulder she saw a hostess looking at them,

"It seems they have a table available, so after you."

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He nodded with a smile. "Your welcome though I think you were doing pretty good there, chasing that little sucker down by yourself." He glanced over and nodded to the hostess with a charming smile and nod. A moment later, they were led to a nice little table towards the back. James held the chair out for her politely, before seating himself. They were seated and the server handed them some menus politely before excusing herself.

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They were presented at a booth, so Carrie took advantage of the space and leaned her back against the wall and let her legs come out onto the seat. From that angle she could only give a sideways glance at him as she said,

"I see no point in running away from a meer purse snatcher, if they really meant trouble they would at least have the decency to try and properly mug you. And as you said yourself, that wasn't a real demon just an annoying little choreboy."

Reaching onto the table she picked up the menu and opened it with her arms at her side, letting out a low whistle as she did. This was an expensive joint, and there was no way she could even pick up the tip on a light meal here. Given, she probably couldn't pick up the tip at a Waffle House so it wasn't reliavant either way, and as much as she could complain that this was shovenist and that she should pay for her far share the plain truth was, feminism was a luxury she couldn't afford.

"I'll probably get some chicken soap, a side of beef dumplings and sesame chicken, also I certianly hope they serve coke here it seems to get more scarce the further up north you get, just like Waffle Houses."

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