I've kind of been working under this design where, in the event I think about or someone else suggests an in person meetup... I kind of stop and really consider that for a while before I jump into it. Like... do I trust this person enough? What's the likelihood of something bad happening while I'm around them? Just how dangerous of a person are they? Can I even make it to where they are realistically? You know... "things and stuff." Is this really a good idea or not? I like to weigh my options and make sure I'm making a good decision before I do something like this. Because believe it or not, I do THINK about things before I do them. Though that probably just makes me seem like even more of an idiot sometimes... Oh well. Think what you will of my logic, but that's how I try to roll.
Because when I suddenly found a message in my inbox earlier in the week from Hakurei Ryuu basically saying "We need to meet." I immediately came back with a "When? And Where?" without giving it a second thought.
....I'm not sure which part of my brain is broken.
Maybe I was just too intrigued by the suggestion. I feel like she's been acting a little ...cryptic? is that a good word? She's been a little odd lately. How about that? Not necessarily in a bad way but... enough to raise eyebrows. And now she wants to meet with ME of all people. So something's got to be up. Because I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would want meet up with me. And... okay, there's the Sage thing. The Title attracts my attention and my respect, so it's not someone I can ignore very easily. Not to mention her connection to- to-
So a few days go by and I find myself standing around in a park, waiting around at a picnic table, and having these sudden paranoid realizations that she may just be coming to kick me in the balls for calling her the c-word a few weeks back. But before the insane half of my brain could convince me to bail, I look to my right and "Hey." she's sitting right fucking next to me... and I am not ashamed to admit that I probably jumped five feet at that and nearly stumbled completely over onto my ass(if I hadn't taken my backpack off before hand I probably wouldn't have regained my balance in time). So I asked her when the fuck she turned into "The Gods Damned Batman." Then she gave me this agitated look and came back with "Of course I'm invisible. Haven't you been paying attention?"
"Uhh... yeah... right, sorry. I uhh..." I'm rubbing my temples and trying to regain some sense of composure at this point. Off to a great start Gargoyle, way to fucking go.
So moving on... -.-;;
Gargoyle - "So, okay, now that we're here... What's this all about? I mean, no offense, but I hardly see how I register as a priority contact for someone of your caliber. Unless you're just making house-calls to everyone now..."
She seemed to be actively thinking about it as she started responding, like maybe she wasn't entirely sure herself, even though her words and thoughts came out pretty clearly. "I guess half of it was just to make sure that you were real. You've posted some stupid stunts in the past so I wanted to make sure you weren't just some poser jerking people around... like someone else I know..."
I shrugged and sort of held my arms to the side in a sort of 'behold' gesture. "Whelp... here I am. In the flesh. Dirty, raggedy, and beat all to hell. Probably don't smell at that well either... but I wouldn't notice that. Oh-" I reached into a pocket and moments later produced a small plastic animal with rainbow swirled hair, setting it on the table. "...and carrying around ponies. That fit all the basic criteria?"
She sort of stared at Rainbow Dash for a moment, shaking her head. Didn't take a mind reader to guess what she was thinking, but hey... I set myself up for the ridicule, may as well roll with it now. If she'd got up and left in that very instant, I would not have blamed her. In any event, she eventually continued with, "All that aside then, you happened to be nearby, and you're crazy enough to be of use. Plus you seem like you still have some misplaced awe in a title that an insane person gave to me just because I'm friends with two people who actually deserved it. In other words, Gargoyle, I am using you. Are you on board with that?"
There was a bit of a pause here while I stared back at her with this wide-eyed look of... confusion, I guess. Really more a matter of my brain processing this information too slowly. And then this enormously stupid grin spreads across my face. "M'lady, that's what I'm fucking here for." I dropped down onto the bench and leaned forward over the table, "What have you got in mind?"
So maybe an hour or two later, we're strolling along the park's nature trails, going a bit off the beaten path in search of Who-the-Fuck-Else? My previous experimentation, combined with my dumb/terrible luck, suggested that this was as good a place as any for an encounter. I hadn't failed to run into him in such a place to date... barring that One Other Time that we will not be discussing further... So, seemed like only a matter of time. And with two Runners instead of just one I figured the odds were more highly stacked. Even though the point of the experiment we were planning to perform was technically meant to override that fact...
As per the usual at this point, I'm not sure when he actually popped up. I just know that I suddenly took notice of him. And I'm not sure... because my attention was jumping about and I'm forgetting things now, but I think she might have actually noticed him first. So... there he was. Time for mildly suicidal action.
So, let me explain the deal here. Hakurei is basically invisible to the Construct for as of yet undetermined reasons. I don't know how many people are actually aware of that, and for some reason Hakurei herself always seems to avoid the topic in her blog, but I'm not going to beat around the bush. Some hunches are flying about, but no real answers, so lets not speculate too much there. Point of matter, it doesn't seem to see her. So what we wanted to do was test to see if this ahh... "cloak," or what have you, effect she's got going on extends to more than just herself. Presumably to confirm whether those around her are also protected by the effects or if it applies only to herself.
Now, at this point in the story, I'm pretty damn sure it can at least see ME. I mean, it was pretty clearly looking... "in my direction" at the time and just the plain fact it was here at all suggested I'd probably summoned it there somehow. So I was pretty confident it was aware of me. Whether it saw Ryuu or not was another thing all together. At that moment in particular, she was right next to me, so hard to say. He could have easily been looking at both of us. So it was time to get a little confirmation on that...
So I took a few steps away from Ryuu, we'd already kind of been over that she would stick to one spot while I did my wandering around, so she stood her ground while I made sure I had the big guy's attention. Sure enough, his gaze did appear to be following me... but maybe that was just because I was moving. In any case, I had it's attention. So I switched directions and walked back towards Hakurei, moving behind her and stopping for a bit. Kept my eyes on him to make sure he was still watching me, though I will note that I was trying NOT to look directly at him this time... (See? I can take advice.) I didn't notice any changes, no signs of confusion when I stepped behind her. The only thing I really noticed at that point was that Ryuu had started shaking... and I was trying to ignore that... but in any event, I hadn't "gone invisible" by hiding behind her best I could tell, so moving on...
I started walking in an arcing path around the Construct, circling him basically, with Hakurei keeping to her position still. His gaze followed me perfectly the entire time. He never split his attention between us or looked back at her once. Just kept following my movements the whole time whether I was in direct proximity to Hakurei or not. I felt loved... Really. -.-;; But for all I knew at the time, he was just ignoring her for some reason, so I needed some sort of confirmation this was working at all.
I chose a spot that put the Construct thereabouts directly between us both, but not quite, since I didn't want him obstructing my view of Ryuu. I turned my gaze directly to Hakurei at that point and basically said 'Shout something.' She seemed hesitant for a moment... during which I noted again that she wasn't looking near as confident about this as she had seemed before we came out here... maybe... maybe this was a mistake... But then she called out something derogatory that I can't remember because I was too busy laughing at both what she said and at how quickly the Construct turned his head in her direction after she said it. Keyword "direction." For the first time in a while, or maybe ever, I felt this notion that it was confused.
I asked her to move to her left a bit, circle a little like I had been doing. She did. It didn't follow. It kept gazing towards that same spot. "Son of a bitch." It turned it's gaze back to me. "Well, at the very least I think that proves he can't see you... but I don't think your presence is having any effect on its ability to see me, so... do you want to try-
I'm not sure what changed. I'm still kind of confused by it. I guess because he's never really acted aggressively towards me, that I could tell, except for that one time when I provoked him. Maybe that's what he was taking this as... provocation. I guess that's reasonable... All I know was that I saw things snaking up from behind him. And that by the time I registered this, one of them was flying towards me.
Did not know the girl could move that fast. Kind of wish she couldn't have. But she shoved me out of the way just before it struck.....
and took the blow herself.....
In retrospect, I think I'm having more of a panic attack thinking about this NOW than I did when it actually happened. Adrenaline had kicked in and everything sped up, so there wasn't much time to think about it. Just react. Unlike now, when I have all the time in the world to sit here and fucking hate myself. Why did she have to- tangent. Tangent. Tangent. LATER.
I clambered to my feet pretty damn quickly and rushed to her side. All I could really tell was that the thing had hit her in the shoulder, presumably at thereabouts the location of the large tear in her clothing, and that there was suddenly a lot of blood. I shot a freaking deathglare over at the Construct, but he didn't quite seem to be looking at me anymore. A little above us I think... There had been a small spray of blood when the blow connected... I think that's the only reason he didn't follow up with anything... I think he was too busy trying to figure out what the fuck he'd actually hit. Thin air doesn't normally bleed I guess?
Whatever. She looked shocked from the experience, but she was still lucid, so I yelled at her to snap out of it as I pulled her to her feet. Then we started running. She was stumbling a bit at first and I practically had to drag her, but she recovered after a moment or two and was moving along just as well as I was. From there it was a mad dash back towards civilization. The trees seemed like they were closing in at times and I swear I saw dark fog rolling in from the corner of my eyes a couple times, but it never caught up with us. Not sure if it was actually following us, or just screwing with us as we fled... just told myself to keep following the "First Rule of Amnesia." Don't look behind you...
We'd been running hand and hand for a while by the time the first signs of life greeted us along the forest exit. Which is why I was surprised went I suddenly realized her hand had slipped out of mine. I had been able to hear the panicked deep breaths as we ran... the strange... humming? she was doing as we fled... and then nothing. We ran past this large tree just moments before hitting civilization. It blocked my vision of her for less than a second... and she was gone. Stopped dead in my tracks. Looked everywhere, called her name, tried to find a blood trail... Nothing. I wanted to call foul play, but there were no signs of the Construct anymore either. Everything looked and felt perfectly normal.
Listen... I've postponed this post for a while now because I was worried how you guys would respond but... I swear, she's not dead. She can't be. I fucking scoured that place. I'd have found something. But she is gone... and I don't know where she went... but I'm sure she'll turn up again soon. That... seems to be the pattern. So, try not to worry too much...
But I'm still kind of annoyed that she just ditched me like that and left me to worry, so... whoever runs across her next... smack her upside the back of the head for me will you? Christ.