No black magic can control me and no curse can let you own me
Just as it was starting to appear that all hope almost fled for the hills and yet Harley refused to believe all was lost. There was always a way, self sacrifice included. Plus, her hope was packing a submachine gun and nuclear warhead missiles.. That just might take out the world.. And her along with it. She just needed to see beyond the fang pulling, the vampire who thought he owned her. Yeah, it wasn't looking good for her in that department.. But maybe there was a way to give Arlo that window he surely needed to take if he was going to survive. Well.. until he fucking teleported. That was a game changer. If he could manage that all along? How and why was he still there? Especially when he could be long gone. She was quite certain Darcy didn't know that little tidbit.. Which meant for a quick moment.. They had the upperhand. She was useless as he took them all out, save for the biggest bad.. She watched as they fell like flies, a wary eye forever upon the vampire cowboy who looked eerily cool as a cucumber to the point it was just unnerving. How could he stay so calm, still as a statue when his whole plan unravelled right before his eyes? It didn't take very long before the only beings left standing were herself and Darcy. It was for several long moments that Arlo was gone. Maybe he had done what he should have done all along and got the fuck out.
It was then that her own impending dread began to awaken when the cowboy fixated his attention focused upon her. He had ignored her like she was nothing more than a blemish on the concrete below his boot. All kinds of alarms sounded within her mind as he strode toward her with controlled confidence and that weaponous plank rolling within his hand like he could read where her thoughts were going. Fuckity fuck. This was taking a nosedive fast. Any joy she might have earned from watching Arlo take out his cronies had threatened to leave her stranded on a stone surrounded by lava. This was going to hurt. She could practically feel it already. She bristled with that anticipation of what was coming.
In spite of that nosedive straight to hell, the petite woman puffed up, boldly acting larger than she felt in that moment. Larger than she physically was, especially in comparison to Darcy's tall form. She was painfully aware of him, step for step. She steeled herself as if the very thought of surrounding herself in metal strengthed her resolve as she heard the sound of his boot colliding with the earth. He might as well have been a fucking t-rex. She didn't dare twitch a single muscle, didn't dare look away. Forever bold and unwilling to give him a single inch even though she could all but feel the pang of anxiety spread like a poison within her chest. He hadn't flat out beat her before and yet... how certain she was that he was capable of it. Female or not. Darcy with his deceptively pretty face was a thing of nightmares, especially when he smiled. Her mind was strong, but her body was far weaker than she would have liked to admit. She tried desperately not to focus on the weapon within his hands even though the movement of it was designed to draw her gaze. But oh she knew better. The man and the arsenal within his own mouth was something far from fearsome to her. Fucking vampires.
Arlo. That poor guy... for whatever reason he found his way on Risque and Darcy's radar, she hoped the man was long gone now. Harley remained, steadfast, listening to every accented word of Darcy's speech, as she fought the urge not to roll her eyes at the lunatic before her. He was so close now she could touch him and yet she held her ground. Maybe it was better to not see it coming. Yet she refused to go down without a fight. Not even to someone she knew physically overpowered her.
She felt her body coiled and ready, felt that monster within her body's agitation grow as if to remind her she had claws. Harley felt her skin start to crawl like an army of ants were doing the cancan on skin. That was when Arlo appeared behind Darcy, that plank went sailing in the air so quickly, it happened so fast she left out a startled sound... that sounded pitiful even to her own ears! The hefty piece of wood set to collide with the man she thought had left with his life intact. Oh fuck. This was not good. Arlo sailed through the hair, the wood shattered into unsalvageble pieces... like confetti.... It showered the ground below.. Darcy all but focused upon his true victim, the one he intended all along. It brought her little comfort to know that it wasn't her his focus was on and yet fuck... this wasn't good. Arlo was left gasping... like he needed air to breathe. Unable to recoup in time as Darcy finally made his first play... with cruel words upon his cold tongue.
How the hell did she make it out unscathed? Was a question that hovered somewhere within the back of her mind.
Arlo valiantly pushed himself up in an effort to pull his body upright. She had to do something. Fuck.. she was certain she had a taste for the near-death experiences or some other shit. Arlo, the poor guy thought he could reason with him. Did he not realize by now that he was dealing with monsters who lived by their own rules, that if they wanted something, they simply took it. That was the world they lived in. The only way to survive was to adapt and play that game. Adapt, adjust, survive, or die. It sounded dramatic but it truly wasn't. Harley didn't wait for Darcy to use that speed to incapacitate Arlo again, she had a moment to help him out.. To recover just long enough for Arlo to escape.
Why didn't he go when he had the chance?
Those words that escaped her came out strong and steady... with the perfect fusion of her own brand of acerbic sarcasm. Oh, how she knew Darcy would loathe that tone and barbed words that she fashioned like a weapon she spat toward him. How quickly that snarl escaped him. How easy it was to get under his skin at that very moment. A sane person would have taken the warning. Not her. She kept going. Arlo made no move to escape yet.... Maybe he needed a second after that cruel strike. How long she could keep Darcy on her? She hardly knew.. He would likely use that vampiric speed to rip her throat out in an instant. She moved like she was unmoved or unconcerned by the vampire who held her metaphorical leash. Darcy's retort spat with clear venom, his accent thicker in his rage.. Or so she thought...
Harley focused on those words, she had moved too damn close to him... Got too confident as she refused to back down like she was itching for a fight. She noticed his hand twitch, but violence rarely did anything to deter her even though she liked her face... the way it was...
Did she have more to say? Oh, what a loaded question that was! She allowed that goading smirk found her lips in response. She probably looked like a cocky little shit. If she was going to go out. She might as well go out all the way. "I have a lot I want to say... the thing is.. no one seemed to be able to handle my truth.. Judging by the looks of you.. I already struck a nerve already." She was too focused on her enemy, her powers sought metal.. That would do very little in this fight. He was a mere fraction of a second away from exploding on her when.. Arlo made a move. Ballsy. But.. how grateful she was for that single act... Arlo's fangs embedded into Darcy's leg. Any words that the raven-haired spitfire might have said.. Died. The woman could not help that grin that formed upon her face. All before Darcy moved with lightning speed in retaliation... But it was too late. That venom was inside of him! It wasn't exactly in the most ideal place, as she was certain it would take some time to allow that venom to travel upward.. Vampires were not actually known for good circulation. The amusement was short-lived as Arlo got kicked, hard, with an unrelenting supernatural force. Ouch. Another blow. He was taking a beating and she hadn't so much as received a single brand of the violent energy that charged within the cowboy's veins. Arlo was quick to scramble to his feet, any sign of injury ignored for now. How he wasn't far more broken was impressive. She was certain that she would have been far more incapacitated. Darcy, however, seemed unhindered by that venom and far more willing to up that fight. It was an all-out brawl.... Well sort of. It was more like a brawl with that poor wall while Arlo escaped, narrowly. Each enraged punch caused irreversible damage. She hoped the owner had insurance. The wall split and crumbled everywhere his fist landed. They moved like a blur before her very eyes...
She swore he was akin to the Tazmanian devil, all teeth and raging fury in a tornado... That summed up Darcy at that moment to perfection. How utterly useless she felt. Arlo narrowly missed each strike. If Darcy felt pain from his knuckles meeting that wall, he didn't show it. Nor did he slow. He was all but crazed with single-focused fury. Harley's eyed her surroundings in an effort to aid her companion... were futile.
Arlo called out a question, judging by the sound in his voice he was... tiring. While his aggressor showed no sign of stopping. What was with this guy? Hell if she knew. She'd wondered the exact same thing. "Fuck if I know.. He's like the terminator." Could he bite him again? She doubted he would get the same chance. Was Darcy the only vampire in existence with immunity to that venom? That would certainly be their luck.
Arlo appeared beside her in a flash the suddenness of it... made her jump. Teleporting vampires should be banned. Crusnik or not. She huffed at the man. Knowing it wouldn't be long for Darcy to realize where his punching bag went. Arlo was out of breath. Exhaustion clung to him. He was a musician not a mma fighter. There was no way he could keep up this pace if Darcy kept going. This man took stamina to a whole other level.
"He has to be immune or something... Arlo... what the fuck are you still here for? You can teleport. Get the hell out of dodge, go off-grid.." She uttered quickly. She eyed Darcy warily...Who finally tracked Arlo down...He looked like a charging bull.. Like he was going to paw at the earth and attack. That was when he moved like the speed of a fucking meteor... fully charged. "Oh fuck." Harley uttered with feeling... as if they were her last words. Only.... Darcy just breezed by... sending her raven locks in a disarray... "What the.." She whirled looked around, confused. Only to find the vampire... had gone straight for the abandoned bag of leftovers from that restaurant.
Did the venom finally work? He wasn't unconscious.. But he was different. The pair cautiously drew a little closer to the cowboy as if to confirm. The pair stared in disbelief as Darcy sat propped against that wall, both boxes wide open, picking through the contents with a plastic takeaway fork. She didn't see that coming. It seemed weird watching a vampire using utensils other than his teeth. Arlo could not contain his surprise that he was chowing down on the contents of the take-out containers. Arlo's exclamation was background noise. He could eat food? Was that awe or bafflement in his tone? She nearly sighed, not at all rattled by what she felt was a near brush with a torpedo of death. " Rest in peace... leftovers." She muttered in a low voice utterly transfixed.. With the sight. It was fascinating to watch the vampire obsess over that food in near-complete bliss! It was fascinating.. in the way national geographic was... like watching a wild animal ripping into its kill. Only.. that was supposed to be her lunch for the next day.
At least the man who seemed more parts beast somehow used a fork. Half civilized for a man flopped in a filthy alley picking through the Italian remains. Better the food... than them. Even though she could have still mourned the loss of that tasty dish. Food was not cheap.
Did they really pull that off? It didn't exactly go according to plan... but the end result wasn't the worst.
What a weird night. Arlo's gaze turned to her once more... The movement caused her own vivacious eyes that caught the dim overhead light, drew to Arlo then, baffled that even still he... lingered. Why did he stay? He owed her nothing. It was arguable that she put him in harm's way.. Why stay, why fight?
Arlo felt the need to explain his venom further, not a single ounce of anger stirred within him. He was an anomaly, she was certain. She spent little time focused on that and more on his further explanation of his overpowered venom. Darcy.... was defenceless.... Well, as defenceless as a vampire could be. Harley canted her head to the side as she considered the implications of what that might mean. An opportunity that revealed itself in the midst of all that chaos. "There is nothing harmless about that man. Maybe I should stake him.. But then again.. These people are like the fucking hydra.." She hardly elaborated. But it was clear she had something in mind while also considering the risk to the reward...
How much time did she have? What if Arlo was wrong?
Arlo's gaze shifted back to the cowboy... rubbing his undoubtedly sore head.. He probably would get a wicked headache... but it was clear he seemed... fine. At least fine enough to live to see another day. Her eyes narrowed... that mask of Candance long gone. His bright blue eyes found her own as he used Darcy's botched-up name.. Really? Another one? The offer was... kind.. But she remembered the warning from a certain Frenchman.. Remembered her vow to herself. She couldn't just simply leave town. It was never that simple. The past could certainly attest to that. Running did nothing. It only made it worse. Why couldn't those leaches just leave her be? Harley was certain there was no simple answer to that. Only a mass of destructive thoughts she refused to entertain. However, it was the mention of being someone's pet that drew her attention with a scoff upon her lips. She would never be anyone's pet. She could see the kind look upon the Crusnik's face, it matched the genuine smile upon his face. How was he not pissed at her? How could he be so chill after all that?
"First off...it's Harley. I thought he said my name like that because he was trying to be a dick.. But I actually don't think he can say it..." How she hated that name.. " Secondly, I can't leave." She eyed the cowboy, considering words she couldn't exactly voice. It was far too complicated. She thought of it countless times before. How easy it would be to start over. It wasn't like she had anything for her here. Starting over would be easy. Her business was easily enough to move.. Ace was happy as long as he was by her side.. Her friends were living their best lives with their own loved ones. But what would stop Nathaniel from finding her outside these city limits? What if she inadvertently made her life worse? What if they found her and forced her into that basement forever? What if this was the best hand she'd been dealt? But her thoughts switched back to Arlo and his.. Genuine concern.. As if he could simply make this all go away. She felt the need to claim that she wasn't anyone's pet. But she wasn't sure she could buy the lie any more than she could make it sound believable.
It was a pretty naive little pipedream. Freedom that seemed out of reach. That pipedream could join the others, buried in a cemetery she was not nearly foolish enough to believe in. She straightened her spine, collecting herself from the near sad smile that threatened to leak into her usually resilient features. He spoke like she had a choice, but they were limited. Suffocating. She spared him from anything else she was going to say. It was her burden to hold, he was just the poor stranger with a hero complex. "He will tell me just about anything? Hm." How she willed that fleeting emotion back.. Replaced by intrigue enough to fuel that smirk. "Now that is something I can work with. As for.. Your other offer... running does nothing.." Hell, she had tried and look where she wound up. The only way to survive... was to go through it.
"But you... you should go. How much time would you say I have before it wears out?" She waited for that answer, unable to hide that look of mischief. "Thanks... Arlo. I am pretty sure I would have had a permanent 2 by 4 imprint on my face if it wasn't for you." She added with a ring of finality before she had any more dumb ideas like taking him up on that offer. "Now, I have a vampire I get to torment. Seems like my luck hasn't run out yet." That sarcasm was back in full effect.
She finally turned, stride awfully confident, shoulders squared as she made her way to Darcy who currently looked like he had the munchies of his life.. She turned her head to throw some words over her shoulder. "See you in fifty years." She offered in jest toward the Crusnik, unsure if he'd even hear her. If it took fifty years for their paths to cross.. They should only be so lucky. She refused to linger on about the unspoken morbidity that clung to those harmless words.. Or the heavy reality behind them. Arlo claimed he wasn't dangerous and yet how did he know for sure? He did not know the endless wells of depravity within her so-called vampire 'keeper'. Like anyone could actually keep her. Would she bet her life on the musician's advice?
Maybe curiosity won out... maybe just maybe there was a little truth in the say that curiosity killed the... well, sure as fuck, not her. Why she thought it was a good idea to eye a harmless dime-sized rock on the ground, bend to easily pluck it and toss it at him... Why? Was besides the point. Sort of, it was a test.. A toe dipped into the water to test the temperature before she dove in instead of that reckless pursuit she would have delighted in earlier that evening.
"Darcy, I didn't realize you were such a fan of Italian." Why she seemed morbidly curious of that small fact, she would never know. The raven haired woman half expected him to turn feral. As if he was going to suddenly lunge right for her. Yet the sight of him looking like he was high and hungry for... human food? She could get behind that... The thought caused her lips to twitch into a semi-smirk. He actually didn't look murderous for once. Sure, if you ignored the fangs.. He almost seemed... human minus his death pallor. But she knew better. Babysitting a vampire was hardly how she wanted to spend her night. Yet, when did an opportunity like this one occur? "Is the eating food thing an age thing?" He did claim to be old.. How old? Did it matter?
While she didn't just simply sink down to sit next to the man like she was pulling up a chair, she would never fully forget what he was... but she was within reach. "I think it's time you and I get to know each other a little better..." If only she could look half less devious when she said it with a hand on her hip as if he didn't have much of a choice in the matter. Yet there was a certain... unspoken feeling she exuded... that I'm chill.. if your chill.. Yet she couldn't lie that she might have been just bracing a bit for impact.
How little she realized she didn't know about him. It was a little unbalanced. Besides he had no problem demanding all kinds of shit from her without knowing a single thing about him... at least from what she couldn't deduce all on her own. Like the man was a pain in the neck, well, in more ways than one.