This Could be More Trouble than it's Worth

OOC: A triple action Joint Post by Winters, Blitzen & Esimed

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BACK TO THE MAXIMOFFS ...
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“Golden Arches!” She pointed out a Mcdonalds and slugged Niko on the shoulder before darting down the street towards the inviting green of Central Park. Whether or not Golden Arches had been an established game prior to the punch was highly debatable. Many of Theo’s games involved arbitrary rules and a capricious start of play, but they all had a heavy element of Niko getting punched in the arm. He may well have minded such unfair treatment, but he played along like a good sport. Then proceeded to cheat and beat her to the park by a long shot. He was leaning against a tree waiting for her when she came sprinting into the park proper. She was fast for sure even with the high leather boots she adopted for her everyday wear, but it had been an unfair race long before she cheated.

“You only won because you cheated, Niko.”

“Since when it’s cheating I use gift was born with?” Niko sounded distinctly not American with that borrowed accent.

“Don’t use that Sokovian talk on me, bub. You cheated or I’d have beat you. You don’t see me pulling apart the fabric of reality just to get here first, do you? Now, won’t you be my primo and go get me one of those famous Dirt water dogs?

“You can’t do spells like that Miskja Brat. Can you?” Niko sounded worried and it had nothing to do with the race or the hotdog.

“Certainly not on an empty stomach or while I’m running a race.” Hatchet averted; Niko seemed to relax at Theo’s comment.

“Don’t wander off, Theo. Stay in the park, please?” Niko was walking backwards towards 8th street again, waiting for Theo’s agreement.

“I’ll be here. Mustard and ketchup only or they’ll think we’re tourists.”

“We are tourists!” Then Niko was walking off, actually walking! Because there were a couple of young women checking out his abs and he wanted them to have as much time as they needed.

Theodosia Maximoff began walking the park and watching people watching her. Not everyone of course but there was a group of men who were either following her or on the same random walk. It was a warm summer day so people may have just been curious as to why she was wearing a leather coat. Perhaps she looked like a silly tourist, snapping pictures of everything with her phone. She was more impressed by the tall buildings that hemmed in the park on all sides than the park itself and she was pretty sure she could handle the accusatory opinions of a few locals if things went dicey.

“Hey … you … Sweetheart.” A raspy voice said from behind Theo. She had been so involved snapping photos she hadn’t heard the person approaching her. “That's an awful nice coat.” He looked around, making sure he was out of earshot of others. “Why don’t you give it to me.” To show he meant business, he pulled out a rusty knife and brandished it towards Theo. He nervously glanced around. “I said give it to me.” The man clearly has seen better days with stringy hair and greasy skin. His own clothing was sized too large and hung unfashionably low on his thin shoulders. The glazed look in his eyes suggested that some sort of drugs might be influencing his actions. “Just hand it over and nothing’ll happen to ya.” He added a feverish look to his eyes.

Ah, New York. Apparently, this was the proper welcome for a tourist walking through Central Park with her head in the clouds? Theo turned around and waved at the man, he’d clearly been on hard times. But mugging women in the park was not the way to change your luck. “This was my mother’s coat; she’s probably dead now, but possibly just stuck in an alternate dimension. I don’t think she’d want you to have it; I know I don’t want you to have it and I doubt you’d look very dashing in this color.” She looked up sadly at the red helium balloon tied to her wrist with a black ribbon. She undid the knot and tied it to the iron railing of a conveniently placed park bench.

“What are you crazy, bitch? I said give me the jacket!” He grabbed her shoulder roughly and swung the knife to show he meant business.

“Crazy?! God, I hope not or we’re all fucked.” Theo had stepped back out of the man’s grasp, but he wasn’t letting her slip out of his fingers now that’s he’d worked up the nerve to mug her. Yeah, he was always going to mug someone in the park that evening, but even the lawless had to work themselves up to it. He lunged for her shoulder again and she ducked out of the way. When she stood up straight her eyes had that otherworldly red vapor lingering near the irises that gave her away as something less than the simple tourist. “If I gave you the jacket you’d want my money next, right? This is not a cycle of demands that end well for you, Mister.”

“For me?” He said, with a laugh. “How about I cut your pretty face, then we see who this doesn’t end well for..” He put the tip of the rusted knife to Theo’s chin.

“No, No, that’s not necessary. Here, you want to wear a woman’s jacket so badly, I’ll give it to you.” She grabbed the left sleeve with her right hand as if to pull her arm through, but the fingers of her left hand were already dancing into odd rhythms. A scarlet red wisp of vapor formed there and a moment later the mugger was thrown back ten feet by some unseen force. He landed on his butt and fell back, but managed to hold onto the knife. Theo rushed to his side and nudged him with her boot while she held her hands out to him, not in a pose of rescue or assistance, but as if she were going to zap him with bolts of imaginary lightning. “Drop the knife and I’ll do my best to help you out of this way of life.”

The man did drop the knife and propped himself up on his elbows, attempting to scoot himself back and away from the threat looming in front of him. “What are you… some sort of freak?”

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OBLIGATORY
FLASHBACK
SEQUENCE
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“What are you some sort of freak?” Jack Lancaster taunted, shoving an 11 year old Theo against the dumpster behind the school. She’d been waiting outside for Niko who ironically had detention for being tardy back from lunch.
Several girls from their class looked on and laughed, mocking her as well with sing-song calls of ‘Theo is a freak.’

“What’s the matter, freak? Gonna cry?” Jack asked. A mischievous look crossed his face and he grabbed Theo by the shoulders of her jacket. “Is the freak gonna cry?” He asked again, as Theo struggled to free herself. Jack shoved her unceremoniously on her backside into a muddy pile of wet sludge which ran off from the dumpster. The girls laughed harder and continued their chanting.

“Make her eat mud!” Felicia Hunt laughed. Jack wasted no time in picking up the sludge with his bare hand and knelt down over Theo. The girl's eyes widened in horror as she struggled in vain as she gave out an involuntary whimper.

“Eat it, Freak!” Jack laughed, shoving it close to her face.

“Theo is a fre-ak, Theo is a freak.”

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END
OBLIGATORY
FLASHBACK
SEQUENCE
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So it really hadn’t been entirely the mugger’s fault, but he’d chosen his words poorly. The air between Theo and her would be mugger rippled as her magic lashed out through her outstretched arms. The man at her feet looked like he’d been hit in the gut by a freight train as his breath was knocked out of him and he was slammed down into the grass then soil ...1 foot … 2 feet ...

“If that’s how you speak to every witch you meet it will be a short life for you, friend.”

3 feet … 4 feet …

“Some time in the grave may change your tune while you still have time to change it.” When she relaxed her focus and stance, and took in her handiwork the mugger was 6 feet down into the wet earth and staring up at her through a veil of fear. The surface near the edges of the hole was furrowed as if it had been displaced as indeed it had. Loose soil continued crumbling in on him, but he was coughing now so she hadn’t killed him.

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