Get a Grip (open)

Amir accelerated down the road leading into Nachton, giving a short sigh and relaxing into the familiar feel of his bike. He hadn't ridden it since his return to the Manor. In fact, he hadn't gone anywhere since his return, and that was part of his problem.

He had discovered since recuperating that the thirst that drove him to feed night after night whether he needed it or not was fiercer than ever. He knew it was understandable, given that he had had that problem since his turning and being starved almost to death had exacerbated it. But he couldn't rely on Jin to feed him forever, for Jin could not rely on the Manor staff to feed him forever. Amir had wanted to go out and Jin had supported the choice, which meant a great deal to Amir, who was still not entirely certain of his own judgment.

So they were both tucked onto Amir's bike, Jin behind Amir with his arms tight around the Huntsman's waist, a comfortable arrangement, Amir thought. He had woven Jin's long hair into a tight, thick braid before they left, something Amir had secretly enjoyed and was looking forward to doing again. The pattern and repetition had been soothing, the feel of the cool silken weight in his hands equally relaxing.

He didn't pay any attention to the speed limit, as per the norm, as he cruised into the city limits and took them onto the Strip. There was no better place to go for a quick meal on any given night. Amir wanted to, no, needed to, test himself. See if he could keep himself in check when surrounded by this flood of humanity. As he pulled the bike up against the curb near a series of nightclubs and dismounted he was already scanning the area, senses sharp, fangs extended, well aware of every pedestrian who walked by. He followed them each with dark, hungry eyes while he waited for Jin.

"Where do you want to go?" His voice was strained; he was already holding himself back, trying to keep from pouncing on the closest person and drinking until he might explode.

Jin 12 years ago
The ride into town had been enjoyable. Jin held tightly to Amir, perhaps more than was strictly necessary, enjoying the feel of the hard healthy body beneath his hands. The wind would have tangled his hair into hopeless knots if Amir hadn't braided it before they left but this choice of locomotion was more entertaining than his mini cooper he would admit.

The wide strip spread out before them in all its mercantile glory. Amir parked the bike and asked him for a direction. "That place looks like a good start." He pointed to a place with large wooden doors and heavy leaded glass. The entrance had a sign sticking out on a wrought iron rod that was reminiscent of the old wooden swinging tavern signs, with the exception of the lighted lettering. The picture of a dog with its head tilted back in a howl illustrated the name, The Laughing Dog Tavern, fairly well.

Jin had heard the strain in Amir's voice and knew that this was going to be difficult for his companion. Before they moved toward the entrance, he took the Huntsman by the hand and pulled him off into the dark narrow space between two buildings.

Moving further into the darkness, Jin pushed up his sleeve and wrapped his arms around his friend. Pulling Amir close, he spoke quietly over his shoulder. "Take a little something before we go in. Once you've fed then I can get more." He hoped that a little bit of his blood would take the edge off Amir's hunger and allow him to move through the crowd of humans with more calm.
Amir 12 years ago
Amir looked up at the tavern sign. He nodded, able to hear the music and crowd from out here on the street. It was a decent place to start. There were enough milling bodies inside that he was sure to find something... someone. Maybe. The whole point of this venture was not to just walk in and grab the first person he saw.

Before he could make a move toward the heavy doors Jin took him by the hand and pulled him into the alley. Not a first for Amir, he reflected wryly, going willingly into Jin's arms. He smiled softly at the tempting sight of Jin's wrist and the sound of his soft, gentle voice in his ear. Turning to face Jin Amir hugged him fiercely, pressing his lips against Jin's quickly, anxiously, before sucking a soft trail down the Nightsman's neck, dragging his fangs along the smooth golden skin.

"Thank you, rohi," Amir said, pulling away. "I think that defeats the purpose of this little excursion though, don't you?"

It was bad enough he had been feeding off a steady diet of Jin for the past few nights. Amir was growing accustomed to it now though. He did not like to admit it, but it was getting to the point that he was beginning to think of human blood as unappetizing and unappealing. He could have easily allowed himself to continue drinking from Jin without a second thought, but Amir didn't want to be a slave to anyone. Not even himself. It was imperative that he stop using Jin as his one and only food source.

He ducked his head down again, nipped lightly at Jin's neck, and paused. It was so tempting. Shaking himself free of that spell he reached up and briefly brushed his fingertips against Jin's cheek, then lowered his hands to pull Jin's sleeve down.

"If I fail at this, I promise I'll restrain myself long enough to take from you instead. Will that suffice?"

It was a compromise; Amir wanted to do this. He needed to prove to at least himself that he still had some control over certain things, his own body being one of them.
Jin 12 years ago
Jin was surprised when Amir turned and kissed him fiercely, pulling him close. He savored the embrace, losing himself in that kiss for a moment. Amir found his neck, a now familiar feeling, and Jin closed his eyes, his breath quickening at just the thought of the Huntsman's bite. He opened them again when Amir pulled away, a small disappointed sigh escaped his lips before he could catch it.

He considered his companion's statement, weighing it in his mind. Eventually Jin nodded slightly; if Amir felt that it defeated the purpose then it did. He was more interested in success, whether that was gradual or immediate but that was not Amir's way. The man would be determined test himself, perhaps expecting too much so soon but he had always been very driven.

Leaning up, he gently kissed a line along his partner's jaw. "Its always a battle of some kind, hmm?" Jin held Amir a little tighter, loving the determination and willpower that drove his friend. "You're strength and courage are inspiring. I will be right beside you. I promise."

Amir's compromise was encouraging. With one final kiss, Jin let go of his companion. He turned toward the entrance. "Okay then. Let's do this."
Amir 12 years ago
Amir regarded Jin thoughtfully before shrugging his shoulders and nodding. "It is," he agreed. What fun was life without challenges? Granted, his most recent and long-standing one had not been fun, exactly, but he had survived it and while he wasn't feeling strong, he was sure that would come. Mostly sure. Well... he hoped.

The old Amir would have shrugged off Jin's pledge of companionship. It wouldn't have mattered to him what Jin did. Amir would have gone his way come hell or high water regardless of who was beside him, expecting certain people to be with him regardless of their opinions. Now, Amir offered Jin his typical smile, soft, sly, somewhat knowing, and accompanied it with a nod of thanks.

"It's not strength," he said softly. "It's necessity. but I will do it." Likely, out of sheer stubbornness. Amir had battled long and hard as a young vampire to master the thirst that drove him to feed every night when vampires his age could go days without. He had gotten to the point where he could go for days, when other ancients went for weeks. He knew he could reach that point again. He felt a chill of cold fear at the idea of doing so but he knew in his head that that was the result of starvation. He was not in that situation any longer.

Jin let him go and Amir turned toward the tavern with him.
"All right."

The ambiance inside was very old-style and rustic. There was a good crowd, mostly younger people who appeared Amir's age or slightly older; college kids hanging out after classes. Smoke hung thick in the air, which Amir detested, but this was as likely a place as any to find a meal. Likelier, in all probability. College kids weren't known for their discretion. Need and hunger hit him like a brick wall of blood-lusting red and he stood in the entrance for a few seconds, his chest heaving as he took in this flood of potential and tried to put a cap on the overwhelming thirst that struck him.

There was a long bar, several individual booths and tables, a couple of pool tables on one side of the building, and a dance floor toward the back where a live band was playing some sort of rock. So much... Amir shook his head quickly and moved away from the door lest they draw the wrong kind of attention. As it was he saw several heads turn, looking at Jin. Not that Amir could blame them. Even if he weren't possessed of a gorgeous thick braid of long white hair, the Nightsman was handsome enough to draw eyes wherever he went.
Jin 12 years ago
Amir was not one to argue with unless necessary. Jin opted for the sly approach to continued praise; with patience and frequency perhaps his companion would believe that he saw such traits in him. He would just have to sneak up on Amir with them again when the Huntsman was least expecting them.

Jin looked around the bar with a critical eye. There were only one or two people who would even meet his standards. If he had been here hunting for himself then the choice of where to go next would have been easy.

However, they were here for Amir. Jin turned and placed a hand on his friend's shoulder, giving him a small private smile of encouragement. "Shall we get a drink?"

He moved out of the entrance and toward the bar, taking the middle stool in a row of three that were empty. It gave Amir an immediate choice of two people to potentially talk to depending on whether or not he chose to sit on Jin's left or right. Neither choice look exceptionally friendly but he would take the irritated looking blond woman over the thoroughly soused and ornery looking older man. To each his own though, who was he to judge?

"One Rum Runner, please."
Amir 12 years ago
Amir would normally have headed straight to the dance floor and picked out a likely meal from there, but Jin crossed the room to the bar and Amir followed. He had to admit it was probably the better option, letting him focus on one potential snack rather then the tidal wave of options the dance floor presented. He took the seat between Jin and the annoyed-looking blond woman, preferring not to drink from those who were already staggering drunk like the man on Jin's other side appeared to be.

He nodded at the bartender and held up two fingers, indicating he would drink the same thing as his companion, although he preferred not to drink at all. The bartender waited expectantly until Amir finally picked up on it and scowled, producing a false ID from his wallet.

Of course. He rolled his eyes at Jin and wished he could just eat the bartender. Instead he turned to the blond, momentarily forgetting he could make a meal of her, and let his lips twist up in a half-smile.
"You too huh?"

She looked like he felt. Irritable and pissed off with the universe.
Victim 12 years ago
Kat looked up, startled that anyone would address her. She went from startled to irritated, she really wanted to be left alone, her ankle was throbbing and she still had to figure out how to get to the hotel now that she no longer had cab fare. She was going to have to ask some one about a bus or something eventually, all she had was the fifty she'd tucked into her bra. That was only there because she'd just -known- something like this would happen.

She twisted her drink, water, she muttered about nosy people but his almost smile was hard to snap at. Maybe she wouldn't tell him to go to hell just yet. If nothing else he might know about the bus schedule, he looked young enough for that. He had a not quite harmless but not threatening appearance so she didn't close off entirely.

"A bit. I sincerely hope -your- day was better."
Jin 12 years ago
Jin silently approved of Amir's choice out of the two people nearby. He watched as the bartender asked for his friend's ID and bit his lip to restrain the smile, both amused at the actual age of his clan mate and the annoyed look on the Huntsman's face as he handed over a license proclaiming him old enough to imbibe alcohol.

'Irritable woman' didn't immediately brush off his companion so that was a good sign. Of course he wondered what she would think of the end of her day later if it involved being food for a vampire. Jin knew that with Amir's abilities that the woman was likely not to remember it at all. How many times would that skill have been useful?

It was now deadly; helping Amir regain his strength and confidence had not blinded him to the fact that there was still a murderer on the loose, likely somewhere in the city. Jin considered Amir's safety and well being to be more important at the moment. He only had a few leads and there were people out working through those so that he might search for more, in the mean time, Amir was a likely target. It was just one more reason that Jin wanted to remain at his friend's side.

The bartender handed them both their drinks and Jin silently sipped his fruity alcoholic beverage while feigning little interest in the present conversation.
Amir 12 years ago
Jin's choice of drink was remarkably fruity, a slushy sort of beverage that tasted like orange and banana and something else. Amir raised his eyebrows after the first taste, not having pegged Jin for a fru-fru drink sort of man. Then again Jin didn't really strike him as someone who drank a whole lot on general principle.

Turning to the woman at the bar next to him Amir reflected that he could simply Command the blond girl to come with him. He opened his mouth to do so and then stopped. The words wouldn't come out. He felt a chill creep up his spine. What was this? He stiffened. Fear? Revulsion?

He didn't want to Command her.

The realization hit him like a truck, head-on. He didn't want to use his most useful ability. He was terrified of it. He shifted on the bar stool uncomfortably and avoided looking at Jin, afraid of what the Nightsman might say. He'd have to win this meal the old-fashioned way. Fortunately Amir was no stranger to acting human and blending in when the occasion called for it. He put on his best 'friendly college age kid' face and smiled warmly at the blond.

"Well, with nothing for my day to go up against I can't say for sure. How about you let me buy you a drink, and we can compare war stories."

There had to be a reason she was in a bar, drinking a glass of what appeared to be water, with lemon in it. Amir didn't particularly care what the reason was. He just wanted to drink her. He rolled his shoulders, trying to ease the tension in them, ignoring the fact that there was an insidious little voice in his head drooling over the ready blood supply in front of him and telling him to just jump at her, grab her, and sink his teeth into her. Jin was right behind him. He wouldn't let that happen.
Victim 12 years ago
He was too young for her and she wasn't really in the mood to deal with any one or to be hit on. Still he was sort of sweet looking and he had offered to buy her a drink. She could use the drink. Kat thought for a second before narrowing her eyes at him suspiciously certain he would be just another horrible moment in a horrible day. But the need for a drink won out.

"One drink and you're cute but I'm not giving you my number."

Might as well put the ground rules out there right now and see how he dealt with them while she was safe in a public place. Flagging down the bar tender she ordered a gin and tonic, after a second's hesitation she asked for a double. Just because it was only one drink didn't mean she couldn't make it count.

"Why don't you go first..."

Maybe someone else's sob story would make her feel better. Or at least keep her's from looking so bad.
Jin 12 years ago
It seemed to be going well so far, if by well one meant that something was not a complete failure. She was fairly icy and it would appear to be with good reason. She did manage to let Amir buy her a drink and told him he was cute but that he wasn't getting her number. Jin snorted quietly and continued to sip on his fruity drink.

He was interested to hear what sob story Amir came up with. Personally the night was rather young and, as far as Jin knew, the worst thing that had happened to his friend tonight was that he had to put on clothes and leave the Manor. It was a tough life. Therefore the fabrication of a suitable situation should prove quite entertaining.

While Amir was busy talking to the woman next to him, Jin reached over and stole the orange slice resting on the edge of his friend's glass. He popped it in his mouth and pretended to be interested in the activities going on somewhere else in the bar.
Amir 12 years ago
Amir snorted and smiled wryly. "Relax, you're not my type." He nodded his head toward Jin. They had obviously come in together, it wasn't a huge leap of logic. "You just looked like maybe you could use it."

In the meantime he noted Jin's careful study of the rest of the room, as well as the fact that his orange garnish seemed to have magically disappeared. He made a mental note of it and looked back at the blond with a little shrug.

"If you insist. Where would you like me to start?" He rolled his eyes upward in thought. "I'm pretty sure it goes back, I dunno, a few centuries. At least. First my family was murdered by invaders. Then I was brainwashed by a psychopath. After that I got lost in several centuries of deceit and betrayal while continuously putting my life at risk for a cause that couldn't possibly succeed. Then I managed to lose the woman I loved to one of my best friends. After that I was imprisoned by some terrorists and nearly starved to death."

He took a healthy swallow of his drink and smiled innocently at the blond woman.
"How about you?"
Victim 12 years ago
Huh, he was hear with a guy and he still was talking to her? That just didn't add up, not to Kat. Well at least she wasn't going to have to fight off any advances, that was one less thing to worry about. Although, maybe, it would have been nice if he'd been a -little- interested might have made her feel better about her crap day. Oh well.

Her eyes widened at his story. For a second Kat considered being totally turned off by that story. It was obviously a line, maybe he was making fun of her. But, maybe, just maybe he was trying to be nice, funny. She doubted it but, since he'd bought she cut him some slack.

"That is certainly a sob story. I might call you on the technicality of that being more than one day but other than that..."

She smiled a little hesitantly. If he was kidding then she should get a positive reaction from him.

"I don't think I can top that. I came into town for an interview, my bags got lost so I had to interview in my travel clothes. Then I totally fucked up the interview, but it is the first one I've had in months so while I'm thinking of a way to grovel and pull victory from the jaws of defeat I manage to get mugged. So now I have a sprained ankle and the heel broken off my shoe," She held out her feet to demonstrate and give credence to her story, "I have no ID, I don't have the key to my hotel room which is a flea bag any way, and I'm out my only working credit card I only have $50 to my name and I have -no- idea how I'm going to get on the plane home tomorrow."

That was something she didn't even want think about what would happen if the airline wouldn't let her board. How was she supposed to get past security. She was so screwed.
Jin 12 years ago
Jin smiled over at the woman briefly when Amir mentioned that the lady was not his type. He slid a hand over onto his friend's lap as if to claim him, rubbing his palm along one denim covered thigh.

Listening to Amir's story, which sounded too incredible to be true to the casual observer made Jin pause his movements. When Amir got to the part about losing the woman he loved to one of his best friends, Jin squeezed the leg his was holding in sympathy, not really able to outwardly show any more support for such a far-fetched but entirely honest tale.

"Bào qiàn" Jin spoke quietly, knowing Amir would hear him over the noise of the place.

The woman's story, also obviously true, was less serious but no less dramatic for all having happened within the same day. Jin frowned, placing the hand that had been on Amir's leg around his companion's shoulders and leaning into his friend so that he could talk to the woman beside him.

"Did you get a good look at who attacked you?" Jin explained. "We have friends in the local law enforcement perhaps we can take a description to them if you haven't already and we're in the area quite often, so perhaps we can keep an eye out." He shrugged. "I know that doesn't help you but perhaps it will help someone else." Jin was tempted to search for the guy, or guys, who attacked her. It was hard not to be moved by that long string of events that went from bad to worse, leaving the woman stranded and injured in a strange city. No wonder she looked irritable. Jin wondered if Amir was up the mystery solving as well when they were done here. They would need to know where she had been mugged but, considering the state of her shoes, it couldn't have been terribly far away.

((OOC: I'm sorry, or regret ))
Amir 12 years ago
Amir inclined his head at the blond woman, conceding the point that his story did, in fact, encompass more than one day. He wasn't in the mood to compare tall tales though so he really had just told her the first thing that came to mind. He felt Jin's hand on his leg, looked down in surprise when he heard the softly worded apology. He slid his own hand on top of Jin's and patted it briefly, as if to say it was all right. He didn't blame Jin or Mara. He had encouraged them. They were good for each other.

Even Amir couldn't help but be moved in some small measure by the woman's story of loss. He would have been inclined to do something for her; at least get her some ID and a ride back to the airport so she could get home again. But Jin, it seemed, had other ideas, perhaps.

Amir might not normally have been inclined to help further than that but he was following Jin's lead in matters of morality lately. His own, he called into question too often, unsure of whether his decisions were his or Subira's. The latter made him shudder at the thought. He leaned back into Jin's hand.

"When did it happen?" he asked. "How many were there, and where were you?"

And why had she gone to a bar instead of the local law enforcement? Amir was all about saving good food, but maybe this one was too stupid to let live. If she didn't figure out how to protect herself she was just going to get mugged again, or worse.

His skin, in the meantime, crawled with an imaginary burning sensation as his body insisted he feed it. He suppressed the desire to grab the woman and feed from her. This was a challenge. He loved a challenge. If he had to fend off hunger a little while longer, he would.
Victim 12 years ago
Kat started when the other guy spoke up. His white hair was a little disconcerting. It was -so- white. It must be colored and whoever had done it had done an amazing job.

She leaned back a bit her eyes widening a bit. She hadn't expected either of them to really care or to have a questions. Looking from one man to the other she liked her lips and swallowed. Taking a healthy swallow of her gin and tonic to fortify herself she nodded.

"It happened fast and... well I was scared I don't know how good a look I got. There were two guys just a few blocks from here. I called the cops but they didn't seem to care much. Said I could come in and file a report but I couldn't get very far and what would it matter any way?"

Kat shrugged, she had little illusion that she'd get her stuff back. Maybe she should go in a file a police report, maybe it would at least help her get on the plane.

These guys seemed nice enough, at least they were pretending to be concerned. Still she was waiting for them to pass judgment. People were supposed to stand up for themselves and not get pushed around. Well damned it to hell they could say that when they weren't having to big guys threaten them.

"I'm not a great witness I just wanted to get away is all..."
Jin 12 years ago
Jin listened to Amir's questions, smiling faintly at the interest the Huntsman showed in the girl's troubles. He was not sure it was for the stranger's sake and it wouldn't matter to him one way or the other. Personally her tale made him want to help her but that interest only went so far. If they didn't find the thugs tonight then he would likely not trouble any more over it. No lasting harm was done to the woman. He idly wondered whether it was sympathy or the thrill of the chase that motivated his companion. Maybe it was the thought that the muggers would make better targets; they were not really a loss to society if Amir drank too deeply.

The woman said that there were two and that it happened in an alley not far from here.

"Was there anything about their clothes that you could describe?" Those details tended to stand out better than facial features for most people, perhaps it was the large blocks of colour. " Jackets and hats might be especially helpful since they are more likely to be worn regularly. Or anything else that stood out? Like a big nose, strange hair cut, funny ears?" Jin looked at her hopefully.

He leaned a little closer, his cheek nearly touching the back of Amir's neck. Smiling sympathetically he said.

"Hey, you got away with your life from two thugs who probably had weapons and you aren't quivering in a corner somewhere. I'd say that says a lot for your bravery and level headedness."
Amir 12 years ago
Amir nodded in agreement with Jin. "If you're not prepared to handle your attackers' strength, the most logical thing to do is get out of the way. Doing that with your skin intact is as good as you're going to get in that situation."

He took another drink, Leaning back against Jin with a short impatient sigh.
"Tell us everything you can remember. It doesn't matter how minute or unimportant the detail might seem. It might be key."

He shrugged.
"Or show us if you prefer. Show us where it happened. Chances are the muggers didn't go far to find you. They probably went through your things right there. Kept the important stuff, tossed the rest."

He wished Mara were here. If they could find anything that belonged to the woman's attackers she would be able to track them down and Amir would have three meals instead of one. That was ideal, to him.
Victim 12 years ago
They both seemed... interested and that struck Kat as Odd. She opened her eyes wide and leaned back a little, unconsciously distancing herself from the men.

She shook her head. No, she'd not be showing them where it happened she wasn't going anywhere with two strange men tonight. Especially not with her ruined shoes. Although the idea that they might have tossed her purse and wallet, her purse was the best thing she owned right now, the last 'treat' she'd had when her income had been steady, was terribly tempting. Her room keycard might still be in it.

Besides, they both seemed sort of nice. At least they weren't bashing her for having run away. Kat licked her nips and nodded.

"The bigger guy had a knife, like a Crocodile Dundee knife."

A little pocket knife she might not have been to afraid of but that was a big vicious serious looking knife.

Squeezing her eyes shut she tried to remember what she could.

"The one guy had on black track pants and the other guy had ripped blue jeans. One of them had a red t-shirt and they both had really bad breath. The other guy had on a worn out hoodie I think it was blue or gray or maybe brown and big sun glasses."

Opening her eyes she bit her lip disappointed with how little she remembered. It was dark enough out that she couldn't even swear if they were white guys or some other ethnicity.

Kat sighed clearly exasperated.

"You'd think I'd have learned something watching CSI."
Jin 12 years ago
Jin hummed a soft happy sound as Amir leaned against him but otherwise kept his focus on the woman who was having an understandably bad day.

He wondered what Amir thought of the description. The knife was certainly something very noticeable. They might be able to persuade other locals to tell them who was known to carry such a thing. It also wasn't as easy to hide as a switchblade. It might be strapped up underneath a jacket, or if they were lucky, to a thigh. Someone carrying a weapon like that wouldn't exactly be going for stealth but how blatant they were being remained to be seen.

"Not too bad." Jin told her, smiling encouragingly. "That's quite a lot considering the situation."

Looking over at Amir, he said. "Think perhaps we should go take a look around the area and see what we can find? Even if we don't find those two perhaps we'll see signs of her things."

He turned back to the woman. "They took your purse? Anything else? What does your purse look like so we'll know if we see it?" Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a twenty and handed it to her. "Get something to eat. You're probably starving, try to eat it, even if you don't feel hungry." Jin leaned closer when the bartender moved away. "I know pub food isn't the best thing ever but you'll feel better."

Hopping down out the chair, he knocked back the rest of his fruity frozen drink. Taking his own orange slice between his fingers, he held it up and spoke. "We'll see what we can find out and come back with the news. How's that?" Jin placed the fruit in his mouth and looked over at Amir innocently. He was offering up the Huntsman's services but this chase sounded fun to him, something they both would enjoy for their own reasons. It also would get Amir out of a crowded area and give him more suitable targets to feed from until they were sure he would be able to pull away.