Give It Back


astor_icon.gif brian_icon.gif koshka_icon.gif walter_icon.gif

Scene Title Give It Back
Synopsis An unexpected visitor comes to claim what is rightfully his?
Date April 17, 2011

Eltingville Blocks : Brian's House

"Goodnight Ernesto."

The voice calls out to the squat hispanic man making his way across the short distance to the house next to Brian and Koshka's. Darkness obscuring his pudgy form as he waddles back into his own home. A light flicking on for a moment. Before flicking back off. The young man in the original house smirks lightly through the window. "He goes to bed so fast." Brian comments, still sitting at their 'kitchen table'. He has gotten better since tackling the superheated robot. Not a whole lot better. But he can move without feeling like he's riding through a volcano.

The night is wearing on. They had a late dinner, and Koshka is cleaning up the last bits of it as Brian entertains her with the various ramblings his mind has to offer. The burn victim is mostly safe from the hot pink blisters that populated his skin, though now it is clear that the four fingered man will most definitely have scars from this robot. The dishes take a little while tonight. As it was taco night.

It's often taco night, when Ernesto chooses the meals. Brian leans back on his chair some as the dishes come close to finishing. The two carry on a quiet conversation until finally it looks about time to head to bed.

The house has been populated with whatever Brian had been able to salvage before his incident. A ratty couch, a picture of dogs playing poker, the pitbull missing a head. A scented glade plug in without any scent. The house is nicely decorated for what they can afford. Which is nothing. Once the evening talk ends, Brian finds himself lumbering back to his room. Closing the door, he meanders for his ratty mattress.

The light is flicked on, before he goes to take a seat on the edge of the mattress. The folder is picked up, four fingers going to open the flap to check the contents before tossing it aside. After getting undressed down to his boxers, the young man goes to lay down. Hand raised up and pointed at the lightbulb. A flash of blue white electricity and then, the light is out.

More listening than talking is what Koshka had to offer during the evening clean up. It's been that way since she'd shown up in Eltingville and hasn't shown any real sign of changing. There's a lot on her mind, especially of late, and words fail when she tries to make sense of her thoughts or explain her whereabouts. She's yet to tell Brian of her little field trip just a couple of nights ago.

When Brian takes to the bedroom, Koshka sets into her own bed time routine. A sleeping bag is laid out on the floor between the couch and table, her books for school are checked over again. Before turning out the lights, she peeks at the stitches running along her calf. It's healing well, the Russian doctor guy does fair work. Another thing she has yet to tell Brian about.

The teenager gives a sigh. So many things unsaid, and not even supposed to be secrets. She flicks the light off and feels her way back to the sleeping bag, stretching out on her stomach and cradling her head on an arm. Another sigh is expelled in attempt to settle in for the night, but her eyes remain open, staring into the darkness.

Rolling onto his back, Brian's eyes wander over to the envelope on the ground again. HIs hand reaching over to take the picture. Digging through it he goes to try and find a specific picture. Bringing it up to his eyes, adjusting to the darkness he eventually can discern that it is not the one he's looking for. Shuffled back into the yellow envelope he shuffles for another.

Snaking it out, it's held in front of his features. Blue electricity jumping around his four fingers to illuminate the picture in an eerie and zappy blue light. The picture is of his sister. His mouth closing tightly as he cranes his neck forward, studying the picture quietly. After a long moment the electricity goes out. The picture is simply slapped to the side of him as his face rolls over to the side, eyes closing.

Blue eyes close as though, perhaps, sleep is hiding there. But all Koshka finds are the memories of the last few days. Or week, really, it's been that long since semi-normalcy has taken a turn for the strange and bizarre. Eyes open again and flick toward the bedroom door, watching the glowing peek out around the floor. She could go talk now, if Brian is still awake.

Rising up from hands and knees to feet all together, Koshka starts for the bedroom door. She makes it as far as the hall juncture when the glow disappears, her steps stopping and eyes staring against the afterimage of the blue light. She grips the upper portion of one arm with the opposing hand and lets out a sigh, slowly turning away to find her way back to the sleeping bag.

There's a figure padding over her sleeping bag then, quiet, a subtle wrongness to the precision of its long-legged stride and easy pace, as if it were a cat or a clockwork thing wearing the silhouette of a man. It's probably just a man, though. There are a lot of men with wrongness about them.

"I only want the box," he says, very straightforwardly. Him. As the girl's eyes adjust back to the semi-darkness, she can pick out details: a straight nose, wavy black hair, a heavy coat zipped up to his neck, something raw about his cheekbones and the stoop of his shoulders despite the eerie grace pervasive over his movements. Though handsome, he isn't altogether well. Either that, or heroin chic is back in in 2011. "So.

"Please," is polite enough, despite that there's an odd edge of resignment too: "don't scream or cuss me out."

A jolt of fear runs through Koshka as her eyes find movement of a shadow that certainly isn't her own. A tremble follows as she picks out the silhouette moving over her sleeping bag. It stills words further, eyes widening when the unknown figure speaks. Unwillingly she retreats a step and finds the joint between hall and living room behind her.

"Box," the teen manages, the restrained fright putting an edge into her tone. It's difficult to pick out which is more disconcerting, a strange man looming over her bed or the strange house beyond the woods. "W.. what box?"

"I'll show you," the stranger offers, after a moment. "I mean, you know what I'm talking about— it isn't a box anymore, but it was… it had the papers in it. He moved them. Or someone did— I don't know. I couldn't see that part. Look, I'd appreciate it if we could get this over with, so…"

His voice trails off. It's a pretty nice voice to go with his pretty nice face, but that's neither here nor there in the darkness, the house settling in eerie creaks and small, brittle breaths around her, the wind so low outside that it seems like it isn't doing anything at all. Eltingville doesn't seem to have noticed the strange who stole into her home at all. It's a non-event, omitted itself from the timeline, subtler than a secret.

He puts out his hand expectantly, palm-up. Steps closer. The oher dangles down by his leg. It looks empty, but it's hard to tell: his sleeves are heavy, and his gloves leave nothing, not the thinnest strip of wrist exposed.

Koshka knows very well which box the man is talking about, but feigning ignorance has to be tried. It buys time, offers the chance to think up a quick excuse or lie if necessary. Her eyes flick toward the upraising hand in wariness and then to the one still hanging. "Why… why do you want it," she asks as her eyes lift again to peer at his face, squinted against the darkness.

She presses backward, edging around the corner of the wall and toward Brian's bedroom door as the man approaches. "Just a ratty box. I think it's got some banana peels in it." Reaching back, Koshka gropes for the door. Too far yet, she can't reach.

Compromise: he does it for her.

An arm spanning the air behind her shoulder, wrist brushing by her elbow. He's right there in an instant, closes his long fingers around the doorknob, twisting it open with seamless grace. Simultaneously and with an odd, dislocated ease, like two currents merging in a body of water, his other arm loops around the girl's neck and the bones of radius and humerus closing like a switchblade on the big veins on either side of her neck, fitted as neatly as a turtleneck.

She'd been about to say something. To Brian, of course. Given his druthers, Astor would rather prefer she didn't. The arteries don't sever or anything as gruesome as all that, of course, but the adrenalized rhythm-and-pound of blood to her brain starts to choke almost instantly, floating moth-winged spots of neon up into the corners of Koshka's eyes. There's strain faint in the lean arm that hoists her up, toward the room, angling away from anything she might kick or slap over barring the walls themselves, but likely Koshka doesn't notice it. She's sixteen and being flung and hoisted around like a seal in an orca's jaws.

Astor stands framed in the doorway, hair a dark splash across his cheek. Staring at the endtable with keen interest, not the girl in his arm, or the rousing figure in the bed.

But there is no rousing figure in the bed. The envelope rests on the floor next to the mattress on the ground. There is a pile of sheets and blankets, and two pillows. But no man is in the bed. And as Astor fills the doorframe of the room, it is quickly apparent why there is no one in the bed.

There isn't much noise in the room. His company training kicking at the sound of drowned out hushes in the other room. Since living in Eltingville, Brian hasn't been a very heavy sleeper. And with only flirting with sleep in the first place, the burn victim had long enough to limp over to press his back to the wall directly adjacent to the door.

Four fingers fling out from the darkness flying toward the center of Astor's chest. His fingers flicker with electricity, before a flow of lightning blasts forward from the hand at the young man in the doorway. Not enough to kill him, but enough to disable should it land.

The words, or scream, or plead, whatever it might have been is summarily and literally choked off. Koshka's feet dangle, kicking yes but to find purchase and relieve the strain to her throat and generate some much needed breathing space. Bared feet thump against the wall but ineffectually, panic over the choking threatening to set in. Her hands grip at the arm that holds her, fingers becoming desperate to find a way between her neck and Astor's arm.

On that fragment of a second Astor spends staring moonily at the folder, it does occur to him, that allowing the electrokinetic to disable Koshka thusly might be the most convenient of Brian's impending mistakes. A notion occurs to him, however; a notion that has curly brown hair and Bambi blue eyes, a ridiculous pout, and prissily maternal air about every other thing. He grimaces and flinches his arm aside at the same time, releasing Koshka just in time to take the electricity to the chest. Little girls. What can you do?

Light sparks. Flares. There's the sudden stink of heated rubber, and through the haze of partial suffocation, the girl sees it in the dark: the brilliant flare-flash of wiring woven coarsely into the edge of his coat, like a lightbulb on its dying pop, conducting the electricity down, down, safely away from the body sealed up inside and into the ground in the coil around the density of his Wellington boot instead. The next instant, Astor's bounding across the room. There's a metallic twang faint in the air as he yanks the copper out of his sleeve, pulls it out like a stranglewire.

But it isn't. Squeak, the wire stretches out long, but it goes around Brian's arm instead, yanked out to catch the young man by the wrist. Pulled tight into a cross, snaring his other arm on another loop, and the taller man slams the former Company agent into the wall in the same motion that the copper's drawn tight, hard enough to cut purple lines into the flesh of his arms and bite through the fabric of his sleepwear.
His brows shoot up as Astor isn't affected by the jolt. Because he's wearing an anti electricity suit. That really sucks. The mostly naked Brian frowns pointedly. Then Astor is rushing him. The copper digs into already seared flesh. Which is enough to cause massive amounts of pain. His face immediately contorting into overwhelming pain. A choked off cry let out as Brian attempts a desperate retaliation in the same moment. His head slaps into the wall as Astor shoves him across his own room, head then whipping forward at Astor's pretty face, forehead flying rapidly at his nose. "Koshka!" Brian chokes out. "Gun!"

A follow up strike is delivered with his legs, One foot aiming a sweeping kick at the side of the man's legs as he then leans heavily against the wall, fighting the debilitating pain that overtakes him. "Counter!" He yells out, overly loud. Loud enough to be heard outside the house, hopefully Ernesto isn't that deep of a sleeper.

Landing on hands and knees after being dropped so suddenly, Koshka sucks in a much needed lungful of air. She gives a small shake of her head before lifting it in time to watch the display of lights and flashes abound off Astor and …into the floor? "He's grounded," she hisses, momentarily surprised at the vocal realization matching a whirlwind of thoughts. Someone planned for this.

On hands and knees, keeping an eye turned toward Brian and Astor, Koshka makes a dash for the envelope. Fingers curl around the treasure, determined to hang on to it and keep it safe. She may have, in a fit of teenaged rebellion, broken one promise about going back to that house, but she'd made another to return the items that were taken.

The girl's eyes tick up to Brian as her name is called out. Before he gets to reminding her where it is, Koshka's already turning and running for the kitchen. A sharp turn from the living room sends pain lancing through her calf, muscle and tissue straining against threads, but she slides up to the counter without giving much more than passing thought. The gun is grabbed then thrown down the hallway as the teenager heads for the front door to make her escape with loot in hand, a barefoot and jacketless run down the nighttime streets.

Up close, despite everything going on, Brian can see: his opponent's pupils are big as fucking nickels. There's an odd instant, between Brian screaming and the girl blowing out amok, where his eyes slide briefly out of focus, like they're looking at something other than the agonized face of the electrokinetic below him. The next instant, he twists his mouth into a wry grin. Blinks. Refocuses.

In time to get clunked in the forehead, but his own skull had rocked back an inch in anticipation of that, a little like the crotch of a rider atop a trotting horse. Not to deliver Brian particularly unflattering metaphors, or anything.

A fist swings up in the front of the electrokinetic's forehead. Pops forward once, brusquely swift, hammering Brian solidly on the temple, so too does the burnt man's head rock backward from the impact, and rebound neatly off the wall as well. There's a sympathetic slosh of movement within the cage of his skull, brain swinging forward, backward in its soupy bath, slamming into its curving walls forward then back, the makings of a concussion.

By the time Brian's eyes are clearing, Koshka has a pursuer. Not through the door, but swinging out Brian's bedroom window instead, a boot-print left smudged neatly on the top of the endtable that the folder had sat on seconds ago. She sees him in a handful of seconds, fast as a shadow, intuiting her movements and longer-legged than she is easily.

Brian's eyes go extremely wide. The young man glances down as Koshka zips by him to take the envelope. Then leaves. Throwing the gun into the hallway. But just.. running. Brian stares blankly after Koshka's retreat before he is popped in the face. A cut off yelp is let out as Astor's fist first connects with his face, then his head whips into the wall.

The metallic taste of blod leaks out from his lips as Brian drops to his knees. Hands going to catch himself from falling fully. Dressed only in his boxers and the copper wire Astor tied around his arms. Brian scrambles forward on his knees, blood dripping down his chin. Working desperately to untangle himself from the copper as Astor disappears out his mirrorwindow.

Crawling out into the hallway, Brian reaches forward to grip at the pistol. Unloaded as it is. It probably won't matter much to Astor, whether or not he has a gun. Those eyes told him that much. But at least he can slam the pistol into a head or something.

Shoving his shoulder into the wall, he levers himself against to it with a screech of pain, going to force himself back to his feet.

There's no need to look behind when the sounds of footfalls are telling enough. Koshka's being chased. She should have expected it, but what else to do when she knows full well what Astor is after and has no intentions of actually giving it to him?

The teenager's bare feet continue to strike pavement, ever other step sending a fresh searing stab of pain through one leg. The envelope is held tightly, partially crumpled in her grasp. These streets are different in the dark, dangerous yet safer all the same. She'd been a runaway once before, and had dodged patrols out looking for curfew violators. She makes for an indirect route, heading for the distant fence and the woods beyond them.

But it's not just running that Koshka does. While moving and trying to use her ability has never been particularly easy, it's something she attempts now. The dirt that lines the streets is felt for, reached for with her mind. A hand flicks out from her body then back in, pulling to send shoots and whorls of dust up and back at Astor blindly. Or at least behind her, to hopefully tarnish his vision and buy her some time and space.

A shout erupts over Koshka's shoulder and a few dozen yards in front of Brian, through the door, from outside: Ernesto. It dissolves into a dry, dull whumpf, a squelchy curse and then the man's down, holding himself by the throat and horizontal on the ground, while the long-legged man races after the slender girl.

The dust proves a problem, insofar as that his accuracy seems to have gone off a little by the time he actually reaches her. At least, judging from the sloppy, blunt impact of shoulder and chest into her back, the awkward grunt of impact, the long fingers aiming to hook the edges of the box against her ribs missing to gouge a moment, bruising deep furrows into the side of her hip instead.

He's closing his eyes. She sees that, in the moment he slides around in front of her, boots scraping pavement, fingers scrabble-slide-hooking shut on the ligaments and tendons of her elbow, yanking her to a stop. "That," he says, "is mine. If you put it back in the house, I might never get it back."

The copper wire drops from around his arms. Fumbling his way through the searing pain. Managing to trundle through the hallway into the kitchen. Stumbling forward, his hand flings forward to catch himself. Blood still trickling down his jaw into his stubble. Hand going upward to grab at the knife drawer. The largest blade drawn before he's stumbling for the front door.

Shouldering it open, Brian manages to get himself out into the street. The silver pistol is pointed out at Astor as the man limps forward's, chest laboring as he moves forward. The gun shakes some as he aims it toward the back of Astor. "St—Stop."

No time to worry about Ernesto, or Brian, Koshka's sole plan is to keep running. Or was. She stumbles when hit from behind, fist tightening around the envelope as she lets out a startled yell. She's nearly falling when Astor appears in front of her, feet trying hastily to keep moving despite the sudden disruption to her posture, the arm going out to stop her momentum from sending her sprawling.

The hand tightens painfully around Koshka's elbow, keeping her from falling completely and dragging her to a stop. Against the tightness, though it threatens to rip and rend ligament and tendon both, she continues to aim for her flight, twisting and pulling to get away. "They're not yours," she yells back at him.

Meanwhile, the dust she so uncoordinatedly controlled while running becomes a little more artistic and far more menacing now that she's held in place. Koshka, teeth bared and full of flight instinct, hurtles her ability, the dirt and dust now coming up in literal whirlwind. She'd shied from it before, not the use but the full fury, afraid after it had torn through her legally adoptive father's skin. This time, she's serious about using it.

"They are mine," Astor answers, snapping this time; more than a little annoyed, dimly regretting not having had her electro-shocked five or ten minutes ago. A beat. "One of them is mine," he corrects himself, crossly. His eyes are still closed, dust catching on his eyelids, clotting in his hair. He is somewhere else for an instant, which doesn't really excuse his saying what he says next, but he does anyway, "The treehouse is mine. And I want it the fuck back. The house didn't mean a thing."

Cursing at a sixteen-year-old. Somewhere in the back of his mind not occupied by the myriad images and impossible flow of time, independent drives, there's a tiny puppet-sized Benji scraping fingers at him. Possibly whilst wearing nailpolish. "Give them to me," he says. "Your dad—" though she's likelier to scream Brian, he feels the ghost of the word on her lips. "I don't want to knock you out or break your arm or your nose or blind your eye or—" Too much. Blood spurts in his mind's eye; he reminds himself it hasn't happened yet, but it isn't like remembering; it's like forcing time back into place.

Blood trickles out of his nose, and he pays it no mind. "Give it to me and I'll go."


He never should have given the gun to Koshka. The pistol is held out, but has no effect. Brian glowers at Astor's back as he rapidly approaches the man punishing his ward. The pistol pulls back over his shoulder before it's hurled powerfully at the back of Astor's head. The thick weight of the pistol is all there is to the weapon. But the rough model of the revolver is enough to do damage should it land.

Stalking forward, the man's eyes flick over to Ernesto on the ground. Jaw tightening, his teeth bare as he rushes at Astor's back. Kitchen knife drawn out to the side. Previously in the encounter, Brian would be letting out a yell, a warning. But Astor has pushed it too far. There's no vocal warning as Brian's silent footsteps bring him up behind Astor, knife held out ready to plunge, carefully into Astore's side.

"You're lying," Koshka snaps back in full teenaged rebellion at being contradicted again. She knows where those drawings and pictures and everything else came from and she's not giving them up without a fight. She'd told Ted she'd return them for the lady who lives there, the lady who claims ownership of the box and its contents. "They belong… to someone… else!" The words come, shouted, as she wrenches her arm against Astor's grip.

The build up of her ability seems to hit an apex, with Koshka's very skin beginning to take on visual characteristics of the very sands she manipulates. The whirlwind that's been building lashes out at the man, and either it will further annoy him. Or the tiny grains will scathe and cut abrasively. She no longer cares which, so long as she's able to free herself and the sought after drawing.

Maybe Astor's dad beat him a lot when he was a kid, or his temper's off, or something; his annoyance is obvious, and pity as absent as either of his opponents'. He decides that babies can not be reasoned with, and obviously their dads can't anyway. He has something against both, he decides, an ugly spike of personality rifting through the otherwise amoral flow of chance and circumstance.

Fuck people, Benji.

"No," he answers, and then he lifts her up suddenly, brusquely, yanking her arm around and her slight frame into the air. The gun catches her neatly upside the head at the same instant the noise of clothing fibers splitting rises out into hearing, and his cheek begins to run dimly red from the slice of a particle ripping along th eangle of his cheekbone. There's a knife swinging in from below and the girl herself is swung over the blade, dropped bodily into the man with the weapon with the momentum of a sack of potatoes.

A screaming, ill-tempered, decidedly unpleasant sack of potatoes, if you ask Astor. Not that anyone ever asks Astor. A sidelong pinch-shift of his fingers filches the folder out of her sweating, particle-armored fingers, jerks it free, leaving a furrowed trail of her grip rended into the grain and material of the envelope. He pitches back, recapturing his balance like a cat finding its feet. Behind him, Ernesto's half the color of pavement and half himself, coming to with a gurgling cough.

Teeth flash in a growl. What the fuck. He threw a gun at Koshka's head. Next time she will do what he says! Just kidding. When his knife tries to find purchase in Astor, Koshka is flung up onto him. The knife immediately jerks away to ensure that Koshka is not stabbed. "Fuck." Winters cries out as she is flung unto him. Stumbling backward, and eventually down to the ground with Koshka on top of him. The young man goes to quickly roll Koshka off of him with a loud growl. "Is he still wearing the shit? Does he still have the shit?!"

Brian doesn't really wait for an answer as he is attempting to separate himself from Koshka. Hands coming out again, tongues of electricity springing once again at Astor's chest.

Her head rocks with the force of the gun catching her, square and solidly hit. It makes even easier for Koshka to be thrown aside so that she's fallen on Brian and then dumped to the ground. "I don't know," she answers, crawling aside from the man. Somewhere in her mind she's trying to take stock of injuries and find her bearings. She's bleeding from a couple of places, sticky dampness pulling at her pants leg as she staggers to her feet and dampness left where the pistol had found her head. There's pain too, elbow and of course the damned gun hitting her.

It settles the teenager's dust manipulation, the coloration fading from her skin as sand and dirt alike settle in a quite literal fwump, the cloud stretching outward across the night darkened street. Koskha's eyes come up to find Astor, brows knitting with worry and a hand going out for the envelope. "I have to give those back," she states, not quite pleading.

Mindful of the jolt of electricity that arcs from Brian toward Astor, Koshka starts forward, staring up at the stranger with one hand still extended.

When your best friend in the entire world (and time) is five years your junior, you get used to letting him do things by himself and standing on the sidelines while he makes mistakes — or doesn't. Walter isn't completely sure what this is, but it takes him a flick of an eyelid to decide that he's reached a point where it isn't beneficial for anyone for him to continue playing the impartial role of observer.

"Astor," Walter fairly snarls, stepping out into the mouth of a neaby alley and creating the third point of the triangle with Koshka and the man in question forming the other two. Eyes that gleam Laudani blue flick briefly toward Brian, and he holds up his hand in what he hopes is a placating gesture, fingers splayed. "You're the last person I'd've thought needs a lecture on how t'use his ability responsibly. Jesus fucking Christ."

"She gave my fucking treehouse to that brat," sounds, in retrospect (a strange place that exists somewhere between the past and having perceived the future in the context of that past) a little irrational.

Just a little. Maybe-almost tantrumy, and possibly failing to pay proper recognition to the situation, what with the bleeding girl on the ground and a burned man shooting electricity at him. His arms go up, crossed, the envelope flagging up crumpled in one hand, like some ridiculous anime character blocking a ranged strike of crackling blue and the garment soaks that shock too, strengthening the stink of rubber that permeates in the air. Yes, he is still wearing that shit.

There's a kick hurling in low, scooping up the weapon from the ground and into the air. He catches it in the same motion of stepping toward Brian, an adorable prop in either of his hands, now. His fingers tighten around the nozzle an instant before the grip of the empty pistol is brought down, slamming blunt trauma into the side of Brian's skull.

And Brian's out. Eyelids curtaining, his head snapping back on a brutal arc before the rest of his body seems to catch up in slack sinosoidal slow-motion, sending him down, down, to bounce onc eon the ground.

There's an instant of surprise when Walter, yet another strange man, steps out of the darkness. The girl's eyes flick in his direction then back to Astor. "Ass," Koshka hurls back at Astor, teeth baring over the insults to herself. "You broke in and stole those from me and I'm suppose to be bringing them back!" In case he hadn't gotten it the first few times she'd explained this, now she's yelling it.

When the gun is picked up, Koshka's steps stutter in a moment of uncertainty. It's not loaded, but there is a quick concern of what will be done with it. Her steps pick up and hasten again when it's turned on Brian, though too late to stop him from being pistol whipped into unconsciousness. The quick stepping turns to a lunge, hands grabbing for the envelope still holding the contested pictures since there's little she can rightfully do for Brian at the moment. "Give it back!"

"ASTOR." Louder, now, because Walter had hoped to avoid any further injury to Brian sprawled out on the ground, bruised and probably bleeding now if he wasn't already before. His mouth peels back around a horrific grin that keels to one side — his mother taught him to always smile when being friendly — and he directs it at Koshka, all foxy teeth and almost no lip.

He flickers out of existence and then back in again, just in time to hook his arms under Koshka's, hauling her up and away from both Astor and envelope. "You have t'forgive him," he pleads, and he'd be pressing his hands together in prayer if they weren't locked in front of the teen's chest. He hisses the words into her ear, though they're loud enough for Astor to catch if he can hear past his drumming rage, "Precogs. They get a little crazy sometimes, yeah? Hold still—"

For a moment, there's a look in the precognitive's eye like he's seriously thinking about kicking the girl in the head while Walter's holding her still like that. Like football! Working as a team. They don't have football where they come from, though, not even with people's heads, so there's no real hope that Walter will conveniently misunderstand and it would be a gesture wasted on anger, anyway. Some part of him is concerned enough with efficiency and friends that he spares them this petulance.

"I," he says, "am going to slap her so hard, the other her is going to feel it." This retort is ground out, hurled, practically spat at both the young woman and the red-haired man hanging onto her arms. Twisting on a heel, he starts to run away; only now, the faint arrhythmia to his stride shows, where Brian had battered his leg earlier. As he passes Ernesto, the chameleon man starts to move forward, almost reaching his feet.

The gun stops him. Chucked overhand— bounced off the middle of his face as neatly as it had hammered the light out from Brian's eyes at the side of it. Clack, and it goes skidding off the pavement.

Fingers nearly close around the envelope, but all Koshka manages to grab is air with Walter coming up behind her and restraining her attempts. Her eyes continue to stare at the crumpled, abused envelope, jaw set with consternation. She strains briefly against the hold, gauging the probability of continuing the fight, whether it would be worthwhile or if strategy should be rethought.

Given that Walter, older and stronger and easily larger than she, Koshka keeps rebellion to just that minimum, a small test against the newcomer's hold on her. For the moment. When addressed by Astor, her gaze snaps up to him and she lunges against those arms again. Better hold tight, Walter. "Yeah, you better run," she calls back, taunting. "I'll find you! And steal back what I stole first after I stab you in the face! …With a spoon!"

One final and futile, though no less insistent attempt to break free is offered before Koshka resigns with a huff. Her eyes follow Astor, however, marking his departure.

Where Koshka's eyes go, Walter's eyes go, and they do not drop to the top of the teen's head until his friend is out of sight. "I wouldn't recommend it," he says finally as he steers a look over his shoulder at Brian's crumpled shape, ginger brows knit in consternation, and finds himself wishing that one of their number had the ability to wipe minds with the ease of a school teacher taking a wet cloth to an old-fashioned chalkboard.

The knot he's worked his hands into loosens and he eases Koshka back down onto the ground so her feet are touching the cement. Then, just as abruptly as he'd snagged her, he lets her go. "Come on.

"Let's get your friend back inside."

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