Author Topic: Highs and Lows  (Read 4940 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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Highs and Lows
« on: December 20, 2007, 09:50:50 PM »
(Continued from \'Deus Ex Machina\')

It took Tom and his thieving prisoner/partner in crime an hour to get sorted out.  Half of it was hiking to the spot he dictated they needed to get to, the rest was strapping her up into a harness that fit (Reed\'s had to be adjusted twice before it was small enough) and teaching her about knots, brakes and rope handling.  He\'d decided that neither of them would have a belay; he hammered a spike anchor in at the top of the hundred foot cliff for each of them and wound the ropes accordingly.

To her credit, she listened avidly and managed to stop sulking long enough to check what she had to do when she wasn\'t sure.  They wore helmets and gloves as their only safety gear (not that either would save them, if they fell) and Tom told his companion that she\'d have to step over the edge first.

"What\'s your name, anyway?" he asked belatedly.  "Y\'know; in case you fuck up and I have to go back to your place and let your buddies know you\'re cactus."  He smiled, ever the charmer, hoping she\'d really freak out when she went to take her first step over the side; that part was always the hardest, but always the biggest thrill.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2007, 07:45:15 AM »
This was not where she had expected to be, tonight: about to dangle herself off the edge of a cliff in the dead of night, so some bloodsucker could get his jollies. She let him manhandle her into the harness – manhandle being the operative word –  and her face showed her displeasure the whole time, but she endured in relative silence. At least he seemed to know what he was doing, and that was a comfort. A small one.

She was in the middle of checking all her knots for the hundred thosandth time when her redheaded companion spoke to her. Looking up, lips still pursed in concentration, she snorted, "Morgaine. And if I bite it, you\'d better get ready to be next," She cringed, instantly regretting her choice of words. Bite it. How ironic. She went on quickly, "\'Cause, vampire or not, my friends\'ll fuckin\' kick your ass." Or at least they\'d try really really hard. She was pretty sure.

"I know this is going pretty far out on a limb here, but assuming you had friends, what would they call you? I mean, aside from bad names?" She smiled at him as she backed toward the edge of the cliff, leaning her small weight against the rope experimentally.

She checked to make sure she wasn\'t too far away for when she jumped, and made the mistake of looking down. The moonlight didn\'t penetrate all the way to the base of the sheer face, which only served to make it appear bottomless, "Aw, shit." She turned away quickly, preferring instead to look at the sky. She wasn\'t afraid of heights, but that drop was enough to frighten anybody, "Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians, that\'s a long way to the ground," she muttered, soft enough that he wouldn\'t have been able to hear, had he been human  (old habits die hard). Then, louder, "Why do I have to go first, again?"

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2007, 01:06:21 PM »
He grinned nastily, pushing away the emotions that battered at him at the question of what his friends would call him - since Reed had named him most recently, it was a painful request.  He wasn\'t ready to let go of it, though.  Not just yet.

"They call me Tom," he told her sourly, enjoying her reaction to the drop - as he\'d known he would - despite the mood she put him in with her stupid questions.  "And you\'re going first because I say you are," he finished simply, smirking at her.  "Remember to keep your feet as close to perpendicular as you can, just let your ass lead the way."  He snickered, hoping for another gasp, and moved a bit closer so he would be able to sense the change in her heart rate as she stepped over.

"Don\'t worry, there are no hungry lesbians down there, you\'ll be perfectly safe, as long as you keep your head."

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2007, 04:16:55 PM »
Tom\'s sour tone earned him a raised eyebrow. So friends were a touchy subject, it would seem – and one she was content to let drop. "Pretty fuckin\' generic name, bro," was the only response he got.

"Alright." She took a deep breath and gave her head a good shake to clear her thoughts, "Just like Lara Croft." And she stepped backwards off the edge of the cliff.

She didn\'t give him the gasp he wanted, preferring an exhilarated whoop. She braced her sneaker-clad feet against the sheer rock face after allowing herself a short drop. The shoes skidded a bit, but nothing terrible; just enough to make her wish she was wearing boots. After checking (as best she could, without letting go of the anchored rope) that all of her knots had held, and making sure her rope was free, the dark-skinned singer grinned. She was alive.

"Suck on that."

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2007, 03:36:31 PM »
Tom chuckled as he dropped over the edge beside her, the thrill of it taking away his cranky demeanour almost instantly.  It was hard to stay mad at the world (and Reed) when flinging oneself wildly over a cliff with only a rope and a well-hammered anchor stopping him from falling to his death.  He practically leapt into it, in fact, as always testing his boundaries and glaring certain death in the face.

His greater experience at abseiling and in knowing this cliff showed as he practically flew down the rock beside her, liking his descent hard and fast.  He waited for her to get to the bottom, happy with the feeling of adrenalin in his veins - even if it was only a touch compared to what he generally survived on.  It was better than nothing, which was all he\'d had for months now.

He was smiling fairly genuinely when Morgaine landed, the rope on the ground at his feet, his gloves removed and grasped in his right hand, arms akimbo.  "So," he drawled, "how\'d you like it?"  From the whoop she\'d delivered, he expected that she certainly hadn\'t hated it.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2007, 04:00:55 PM »
Morgaine had gotten the hang of it quickly, shedding her fear quickly as she\'d descended. She\'d found, in fact, the sheer adrenalin was enough to make her forget, at least for a moment, why she was here in the first place. That adrenalin was by far her drug of choice.

Driving fast was great for that, and driving recklessly was even better, and train jumping was still the best, as far as she was concerned – but this was new and different. She had never previously strayed from an urban environment to get her heart-pumping thrills, and something about the raw, man-versus-wild element out here in the wilderness appealed to her primal nature.

"Homigodomigodohmigod," she enthused, as her feet touched the ground. Jazzed beyond belief, the tiny brown-skinned hurricane was practially bouncing up and down, "Let\'s do it again. Can we? Huh? Can we?" Now she actually was bouncing, grabbing Tom\'s arm like an impatient child in a moment of pure excitement.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2007, 04:20:02 PM »
He grinned and laughed.  "Absolutely," he enthused.  "Race you to the top!"  With that, he took off to reach the path that they\'d used to get to the cliff top in the first place.  It was quite a slog with all the plantlife blocking the way but seemed far easier this time; no doubt because of the excitement of the very recent descent.

Tom made sure he didn\'t streak ahead of her, finding it unnecessary to flex his supernatural muscles to accomplish what he would naturally achieve with his longer legs, but he certainly admired her determination not to let him leave her behind.  Of course, he reached the top first and was clipping himself back onto the rope by the time she arrived.

"How many times you think you can do that run and complete the drop?" he enquired thoughtfully, giving a nod towards the path that she\'d just emerged from to indicate that the trip up the cliff was what he meant by the \'run\' - the drop she\'d no doubt figure out all by herself.  He was aware that they didn\'t have unlimited time here, but he was willing to keep dropping and returning if she was (he wouldn\'t even press home to her the fact that they\'d had his satisfaction riding on this little venture, for he was happy enough with her reaction to let the other consequences slide... so far).

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2007, 04:33:12 PM »
Morgaine was breathing hard by the time she reached the top of the cliff, and she found herelf unnerved by the fact that Tom wasn\'t outwardly affected in the slightest; the guy didn\'t breathe at all, for God\'s sake. Her lungs burned, and she took a moment to catch her breath before considering Tom\'s inquiry.

The endorphins were still pumping through her system, and she knew it wouldn\'t be too long before they wore off and exhaustion began to set in. Once the adrenaline was gone, her feet wold wobble, and there was a much higher chance that she would plummet to a bloody end. Her guitar playing left her with increased upper body strength, but, being female, her arms were still less strong, so the ascent was much more difficult. Plus, she\'d never done this before, so saying that she was \'out of practice\' would have been laughable.

But Morgaine knew her limits, "I can go twice more, i think," she said, when she\'d regained her breath, "Before I curl up and die. Goddamn, that climb is wicked hard." It was her opinion that they should have some handy device akin to ski lifts, for this sort of thing. This climbing business was for the birds.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2007, 04:55:30 PM »
"Twice more," he agreed, giving a nod of understanding.  Before he stepped over the edge though, he tilted his head to consider her, a sudden thought entering his head that was likely borne of naughty, nasty places but sounded innocent enough spilling from his lips.

"I could carry you up, if you like.  Piggy back.  Let me know at the bottom!" With that said, he did drop over the edge, going a little bit slower this time than he had the last, so that he didn\'t get too far ahead of her.  It didn\'t even occur to him to question the courtesy he was showing her, for it was the same as he\'d show any jump-buddy.  His shitty memory and live-for-the-moment attitude were already working in her favour.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2007, 05:19:27 PM »
Backing toward the edge of the cliff, Morgaine snorted (she waited until Tom was already over, though, to do it – it wouldn\'t do to hurt his feelings too badly, and it seemed like he was really enjoying himself). Yeah, that would be the day.

She caught up quicker, this time, too, so he didn\'t have to go as slowly as he would\'ve, had he been showing the same courtesy previously. Her feet were more sure, and she handled the rope more deftly. A quick learner, it would seem.

When they reached the bottom, Morgaine cracked a derisive smile, "Pffft, please. Piggy back. I am the master of this cliff," she assured him. And it was true – Morgaine loved a challenge, and the climb certainly presented a formidable one.

One she was evidently  eager to face, since she began the ascent without waiting for a reply. She had to move quickly in order to capitalize on the dwindling endorphin rush.

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2008, 01:02:35 AM »
With a mocking dip of his head - silently conceding that she didn\'t need his help and that he would allow her to think herself the cliff\'s mistress - he watched her run into the wooded darkness to begin her final trek up the cliff, rope appropriately abandoned behind her.

He was debating another drop, or simply climbing to the top and beginning to pack up the gear.  Technically, she might grow restless and escape his control out here in the woods if he was otherwise occupied but then... well, he wouldn\'t admit it to her but he actually felt he\'d been paid in full now.  She\'d ridden his bike hard, she\'d toted gear, listened properly to his instructions and let her little body flutter like a moth symphony playing to the largest lamppost on the street as she flung it over the cliff and into the night.  He was satisfied that she\'d made up for trying to steal his petrol, so if she did try to make a break for it, he wouldn\'t pursue her.

Fuck telling her that, though.  Fuck not taking the last chance at the fastest run down the cliff yet, either.  He pushed himself through the forest like a bullet suddenly expelled from a gun and reached the cliff-top first.  Before she knew what had happened, he\'d landed at the bottom with only two points of contact made to the cliff-face in between and a whole lot of sexy adrenalin dumped into his dead veins in between.  Almost reluctantly, he headed for the top once more, intent on pulling out the anchor spikes and packing everything away just as it had been when he\'d retrieved it.  He\'d invite her inside his place when they got there to pack everything away but he expected she\'d demand to be returned to her bike and he intended to do that.

Hell, he\'d even get her a full can of petrol to boot.  The last thing he needed was another enemy for no good reason.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2008, 06:16:35 AM »
Bolting was out of the question; by this time, Morgaine was too thoroughly exhausted to run so much as an inch. Leave it to him, though, to make her feel out of shape as he launched himself off the cliff one more time, whipping her hair about her face as he plummeted past. Despite herself, the singer let slip a raw-throated whoop as he sailed past.

She reached the top at roughly the same time he reached bottom, and she collapsed gratefully upon the loose soil there, tearing her helmet off with shaky fingers. Panting, she rested there for a few moments as her companion began his ascent.

It wouldn\'t do for him to find her there, all splayed and panting and sweaty – much as she\'d like to curl up and fall asleep right there in the dirt – so she groaned, and went about wrestling the harness off.

Midway through extricating herself from the troublesome safety device, it occurred to her that she could, if she wanted to, tug up the vampire\'s anchor line and let him find his own way up the damn cliff. The thought gave her some pleasure, and she grinned – but not enough to make her actually go through with it. Besides, he knew where she lived, and if he\'d made her go through all this for two goddamn gallons of gas, who knew what he\'d have in store for her after such a stunt. She shuddered at the possibilities, and abandoned the thought.

Once out of her harness – leaving it a hopelessly tangled mess – she tore off her gloves, tossing them in the general direction of her helmet, and began coiling her rope (still unthinkingly attached to it\'s anchor.)

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2008, 02:10:04 AM »
Tom arrived to find his guest a fairly hopeless case, as far as packing up went.  He tsked her a great deal, taking her rope from her and coiling it properly, telling her in admonishing tones what she should be doing - with everything.  When it was all tied off and collected to his satisfaction, he shouldered the ropes and heavy gear, leaving her to carry the helmets, gloves and torch so she could see where she was going.

"Think you can manage that then, princess?" he asked mockingly, giving her a lazy smirk as he hefted his considerable rope burden, to space the weight of it a bit better.  When he had her answer, he chuckled and led the way back down the mountain, not taking it too slowly for he was aware that the sun would be making an appearance into the world in just over an hour. It wouldn\'t do to be stuck out in the open when that happened.

He found her to be surprisingly docile when getting back on the bike - considering - and he tried his best to keep his hands to himself (though one wandering up her thigh so that his fingertips could tease at the inner seam didn\'t seem too much to ask, after all they\'d shared) as they drove at breakneck speeds back to his place.  He was off the bike and had finished stowing the gear in about five minutes flat, taking a moment to stare at her before he got back on the bike.

"So," he announced casually, looking her over with his hands finding his slim hips automatically "how happy with you am I?  Do you come inside with me for a bit more action before a well-earned rest, or do I drive you back to your bike with some gas for complying like the good, thieving bitch you are and letting you off the hook... this time?"  His tone was conversational, lips twisted thoughtfully as he appeared to be genuinely offering her a choice.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2008, 10:27:26 AM »
Tom\'s lecturing tone was made bearable to the singer by the fact that every time he turned his back, she took the liberty of silently mocking him in an unflattering yet comically accurate manner. Every time he turned around, however, to deliver some particularly important point, she was the very picture of attentiveness.

She had to jog to keep up with him, however, as they traversed back to the parking lot, and despite the jibe, she was indeed glad of her light burden.

It was, apparently, too much to expect from her to put up with his pawing, though, since she jumped off the motorcycle as if it were aflame the second it rolled to a stop in his garage. Brushing herself of indignantly, she stood back and let him put everything away to his satisfaction as her eyes roamed over the rest of the equipment lining the walls.

Her attention snapped back to her host as he spoke – though his words soon caused her to roll her eyes. The nerve on this guy was enough to make anyone sick.

A smirk soon replaced the exasperated expression and she sauntered over to the bike. Instead of taking her seat in front of him, however, she leaned over the front of the bike – legs spread to accommodate the front wheel, arms crossed on the handlebars. The angle gave him a nice view of her ample cleavage, most likely to deflect attention from her insolent words, "Saying that I\'ve been good is an insult to the worldwide thieving bitch community," she informed him, "I have been an Angel – nay, a very God among thieving bitches, for your information." The smirk widened, and she continued, "So now you\'re going to take me back to my bike, along with the gas I have oh-so-rightfully earned, and then I am going to go home and sleep the sleep of the righteous."She was positively grinning now, as she held out her hand, palm up, "Moreover, you\'re going to let me drive. And–" She held up her thumb and forefinger as if holding a gun pointed at his forehead "You\'re going to keep your hands to yourself." She\'d never claimed not to be a tease.

She didn\'t even address the possibility of there being a next time; if she stole from him again (which was highly unlikely, in any case) there was absolutely no way she\'d let him catch her.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Highs and Lows
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2008, 08:19:32 PM »
"Or," he interrupted, lifting his index finger as if he\'d just had a grand idea (those milk jugs of hers actually were rather distracting, so this exclamation was a good way to keep himself on track), "how about this?  I give you ten bucks, lock you out of my house and leave your righteous ass to make its own fucking way across town to sleep wherever the fuck you drop, because I think, after the tutoring I gave you - not to mention the break - you don\'t get to make any rules, oh Thieving Bitch Goddess."

His tone was mocking, his smirk sultry in its superiority and he folded his arms over his broad chest for good measure while he looked her over from his great height.  "Do it my way or fuck off."