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The Adventures of Cain
Cain wasn’t one to hang around too long in someone else’s house. Cruz was theoretically letting them stay there indefinitely, or at least until his dad got ‘everything’ worked out. Still, nothing made Cain feel more homeless or out of place than squatting in a room that some rich kid had his butler prepare for him. He’d always imagined that if he were in a situation like this, he’d be living it up, taking advantage of the free drinks, etc. However, that couldn’t have been further from the case. The redhead just felt restless, kind of like when he was on a street corner that was regularly patrolled and was just waiting to get kicked out. Maybe Cruz would keep to his word and he and Nox would be welcome for however long. In fact, it was probably the likeliest scenario. But maybe he wouldn’t. Maybe he’d get bored and kick them out without even giving Cain time to gather his stuff. Maybe Cruz would get his kicks by calling the cops and having them arrest the homeless man who ‘broke into’ his house. Cain had seen plenty of normal-looking people get their jollies by torturing the folk that lived on the streets.

The redhead spent the whole night with the jitters. He didn’t think that Cruz would do any of those things, but he hated the fact that the other man could if he so desired. Well, he wasn’t exactly in a cage. Nox felt the need to stick around but Cain had no such moral compunction. He wasn’t even certain that he could help even if he wanted to. The redhead had no idea what the Atharim were capable of. So, the next morning he left. Cain shot Nox a text message on his fancy new wallet.

“Hey. I’m going out for a while. Let me know if anything’s going down or if you need me.”

With that, he strolled out of the house. Cain enjoyed being able to see the city from a new perspective. There were quite a few sights and sources of free entertainment for him to take advantage of that he hadn’t gotten to do before. He’d basically been a homeless tourist wandering around Moscow with no idea about where he was going or how he was going to get there. The redhead’s primary concern had been about finding food and shelter. Also, homeless people were rather forcefully discouraged from wander around shopping malls and tourist traps. He’d been able to shower and wash his clothes at Cruz’s and so he wasn’t looking so shabby. Altogether, for the first time in months Cain felt more like a tourist than a vagrant.

Now that he didn’t have to babysit Nox, Cain was able to more openly gawk at Ascendancy’s monument with all the other bystanders. Even now, a day after he’d seen it last, the thing still seemed to vibrate with the Power. The magician couldn’t imagine being so strong that he could create such an impressive work. It was unfair really that the most powerful man in existence with regards to political influence would also literally be the most powerful man in the world. For the first time Cain thought about Ascendancy’s claim that he was the ‘first’ and oldest among them. People had been trying to figure out the man’s secret to his youthful looks for decades. Maybe there was something to his claim of godhood. Regardless, as interesting as the topic was, and as interesting as the monument was, Cain had other things to see.

The redhead managed to fit in a few other high-traffic sites, and even stumbled upon a free tour of the city. Overall it was just a lot of fun to be a part of the crowd for once. When he’d been so obviously homeless, there was a kind of bubble that surrounded him. No one was willing to get close to him, or even to make eye contact with him. Every passerby would carefully give him at least a meter of space and meticulously keep their eyes averted, liked he’d snap and attack them if they so much as glanced at him. Sometimes he wanted to scream “boo” just to see if they’d jump. A man had dropped his wallet once in Prague and Cain had nearly gotten arrested trying to give it back. The guy had practically wet himself when he saw the redhead tried to talk to him. Now though, Cain was still a bit shabby but could easily pass as a solo traveler who was rough from travelling the roads rather than sleeping on them. He’d even been invited out for a pint by one of the other men on the tour. (He’d refused politely, of course, being completely skint and all).

So it was with high spirits that Cain meandered through the city. He was in no rush to get back to Cruz’s place, and unlike most tourists, he had no fear of getting off the beaten path. The redhead recognized that the neighborhoods were getting rougher as he went, but there was an interesting culture here as well. The street art was more inspired, less covered-up, and he managed to actually find a food stand that he could afford. Okay, so he might’ve pickpocketed a bit in the city center, but it was just a few bills and the prick was practically asking for it. The other man would probably earn it back double in a single hour of his posh job. So Cain was happily chomping on his last pastry (called something that he couldn’t even attempt to pronounce) when he stumbled upon a scene that made him pause.

There was a kid, probably in his late teens, backed up against the wall, and four guys surrounding him, obviously gang members of some sort. The kid was talking low and fast in a language that Cain didn’t understand, Russian maybe. Some natives of the old Russia still taught their children and grandchildren the language, especially in the lower classes where education was less prevalent. The redhead had seen this show dozens of times. Crime was pretty low in the CCD, but as long as there were cities there would be gangs, although their influence may be smaller. The kid had obviously done something to piss off the local big-wigs and was trying to fast talk his way out of it.

[Image: dmitri_zpsb9ew0msm.jpg]

Cain’d always kept in head down in the past. He was a big enough guy that he wasn’t afraid to break up fights between kids, and other such misdemeanors. He was as gallant as he could be given the circumstances, but he didn’t take stupid risks. When the odds were four to one and the gangbangers had knives, well that was generally a good indication that he should look the other way, as much as he hated it. Now… well Cain was feeling pretty powerful, and it would be nice to put it to good use.

he cried, striding purposefully towards the group. The four men stared at him for a moment, looking pretty shocked that anyone would be dumb enough to get in the middle of a gang matter.

“Alright then mates,”
Cain said with a smile, palms up. “Now isn’t there some way that we can resolve this peacefully?”

The guy closest to him scowled and waved a blade in his direction. “Yeah mate, you scram. You don’t want none of this.”

Cain just grinned wider and grabbed hold of his magic, conquering it and feeling himself grow stronger as it filled him. These punks had no idea what they were messing with.

“Come on, what did the kid do to you? It can’t possibly be worth all of this trouble.”

The thug stepped closer to him. “That ain’t none of your business. Now back off. Last warning.”

Cain had to admit that he’d been hoping for that. Wordlessly, he used a simple thread of Fire to summon a flame above him. The gang member jumped back, but he wasn’t quite satisfied. He’d been able to make a fireball for months, and he was much stronger and more experienced now than he was then, and the threads of Fire seemed to vibrate in his hold, like they wanted to do more too. So he fed the flames more power, weaving more Fire into it and adding a touch of Air here and there for fuel. Overall it was a rather impressive display, the magician thought. He held a fireball in each hand, and a wall of fire had sprung up behind him. To his observers, he probably looked like a demon straight out of hell.

“Let me make this perfectly clear. You scram, and leave this kid alone or else-”
Cain didn’t even get to finish his threat before the guys were taking off like the devil was on their heels (a rather appropriate metaphor). Obviously they hadn’t required any further demonstration. The redhead laughed at their retreating backs and then allowed his spell to unravel, releasing his grip on his magic altogether. The redhead turned back around to the kid, trying to decide which witty hero line he wanted to go with. Instead, Cain ended up yelping and clutching at his shin. The brat had kicked him! And hard, too.

“You fuggin’ idiot! What the hell did you do that for?” The boy spoke with perfect English.

Cain gaped at the teen, who was looking furious. “Uh… I figured you didn’t want them stabbing you?”
He hated that it came out as a question rather than a statement. The kid just looked even more mutinous.

“Oh you figured did you? Well did you bother figuring that I had everything worked out until you stuck your big nose into things and now I’m screwed.”

The kid started pacing back and forth, muttering to himself in Russian. Cain began to feel ashamed of himself. He wasn’t stupid. If he’d been thinking beyond the rush of his power trip, he’d have been able to see the issue himself. A gang was after the kid. That wouldn’t stop just because Cain had made a show of force. If anything, it would just make things worse. He’d humiliated the men, and the kid would be who they took it out on. There were dozens of ways that he could’ve handled that situation without metaphorically whipping it out of his pants and showing off how big he was.

“Hey, I’m sorry mate. You’re right, I just saw you getting ganged up on and reacted. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Cain hoped that he wasn’t about to go hunt down an entire gang or something.

“I think you’ve helped quite enough,” the kid sneered. Then, the guy looked Cain up and down and his eyes narrowed. “What are you doing here anyway? Backpacker?”

The redhead chuckled but shook his head. “No. Hobo.”

The teenager considered that for a moment. “Yeah. You’re the one who showed up a few days ago in the tunnels. The guy who could throw fire around but kept his head down unless provoked. You sure you’re homeless still?” The guy nodded at the redhead’s clean clothes and shaven face.

“Ah, that’s a long story, but yeah.”
Nox seemed to be good to his word, finding Cain a place to stay for the past couple of nights. Still, he wouldn’t consider Cruz’s place to be ‘home’. “How’d you know all that anyway? You keep track of everyone Underground?”

“Yes,” he replied simply. Cain blinked, nonplussed, but the kid didn’t seem to be joking. “That’s what keeps me on the radars of guys like the ones you chased away. I usually play them off each other, give them some tidbits about the other gangs. Not enough to piss anyone off but enough to get them off my back. Or at least I did until you showed up.” There was a beat where the guy glared at him, before finally extending his hand. “I’m Dmitri.”

the redhead responded. Dmitri’s grip was strong. His hands were rough and calloused – not as much as Cain’s own, but enough that it was surprising given the guy’s pretty face. Dmitri looked young but really he could be anywhere from mid-teens to early-twenties. Some guys just stayed baby faced longer than Cain had. The redhead doubted that Dmitri would tell him the truth either way, and he knew better than to ask.

“Cain…” Dmitri said, as if tasting the word. The kid chuckled and glanced at the scorch marks on the ground. “Appropriate. You sticking around town then for a while, Cain?”

The magician had to admire how ballsy Dmitri was. Four grown men saw his flames and ran for their lives. The kid saw the same thing but responded with wit and a kick to the shin. “Yeah,”
he responded. “No plans to leave anytime soon.”

A glint appeared in Dmitri’s eyes. “Okay, we can spin this. I’ll take you back to my spot, and you can stick around long enough to deter any retaliation. Meanwhile I’ll start spreading it around that you’re a client that got overprotective. That’s the kind of thing they understand. You didn’t actually hurt any of them so the Bratva will forget about it eventually.”

Cain didn’t mind hanging out Underground for a while. Theoretically he should want to go back to the posh house that he was occupying, but he didn’t. He could still stop by to shower and wash his clothes. But one thing caught his attention: “Client?”

Dmitri just stared at him, one eyebrow raised. Suddenly it made sense. Street kid, rather clean looking, kept tabs on everyone, and with a pretty face to boot. Cain felt himself blush. “Oh. Oh. Right. Uhh, is there any way we can do the plan that doesn’t involve people thinking I would buy the services of an underage prostitute?”

Dmitri gave him a guileless smile that still seemed to have a bite to it. “Well, let me know if time travel is one of your super powers. If so I can work that into the plan and we’ll just keep you from causing me problems in the first place.”

“Right, uh, no. No time travel. Sorry.”
Cain was still a bit flustered. He’d met plenty of prostitutes before, but no males, and most a lot less… well, clothed. The redhead was still off balance. He still noticed that Dmitri didn’t protest the ‘underage’ statement though.

“Great. We’ll just go with plan A then. Don’t worry. No part of it involves you actually fucking me.”

Cain hadn’t realized that it was possible to pack so much distain into a polite smile until Dmitri directed one towards him. The kid could teach politicians a thing or two. Dmitri started walking away, stopped, and then gestured impatiently. Right, he was meant to be sticking around for a bit. Wordlessly, Cain followed along, wondering what exactly he’d gotten himself into.

((Skint=broke in brit slang.))
Edited by Cain Belasis, Sep 7 2016, 04:00 PM.

To tell the truth, Dmitri had been scared out of his mind at Cain’s display. Still, he knew better than to show it. And as scary as it was, he hadn’t been any more powerless with Cain than he’d been with the four Bratva thugs. The brunet knew a thing or two about keeping his wits about him around potentially aggressive men who were much stronger than him. Besides, there were only two types of people who would get between a guy with a knife and a teen with a pretty face: bleeding-heart hero types, or horny pedophiles. Dmitri knew how to deal with both.

However, it took him barely a few sentences to realize that Sparky wasn’t a pedophile. Cain had given him a look over, but it wasn’t the kind of heavy glance he associated with people who wanted to get in his pants. And that left hero-complex. Dmitri could use a guy with super powers and a bleeding heart. He didn’t precisely need to go with the ‘Cain as a love-struck client’ angle, but it was the easiest. Johns did stupid, crazy things when they got possessive over a hooker. It was one of the few excuses that wouldn’t lead to the bosses blaming Dmitri. They’d had to deal with plenty of Johns trying to ‘rescue’ their girls, enough that they knew better than to pin it on the girl.

Of course there were other routes Dmitri could take, but none of them that got a magical do-gooder to follow him around and act as muscle for the short term. As he led Cain back to his spot (one of his spots, he was way too smart to show a stranger his best places) Dmitri brainstormed how he was going to pull this off. He’d exaggerated to the redhead, with regards to his occupation. The younger man made his living through information. He sold intel to the gangs, and so far had managed to keep any of them from either killing or recruiting him. Of course, as a whore’s son and a pretty boy growing up in the slums, everyone thought that he would end up a hooker. It was a useful reputation to have, and so Dmitri cultivated it despite its inaccuracy. No one questioned how a prostitute got his information.

When the two finally arrived at Dmitri’s nook Underground, they found it already occupied. The younger man nodded to the women present. “Candy, Sarah,” he started. “This is Cain.”

Sarah stayed silent. She was a lot warier than Candy, especially around men. Candy though… “Now he doesn’t look like a freelancer,” she said with a smirk.

Dmitri eyed the redhead. Cain was fairly tall, a few centimeters more so than Dmitri himself. He was also rugged looking, with a blocky build and scruff on his face. No, the guy definitely wasn’t prostitute material. Johns didn’t like guys that could overpower them.

Candy sashayed over towards them and slowly circled Cain, trailing a hand gently along his shoulders as she went. Dmitri had to fight off a laugh. The taller guy was visibly uncomfortable, adorably flustered in a way that few people down under were anymore.

“No,” continued Candy, who was eying Cain up and down. “Definitely not new talent. Why, Dmitri darling, have you brought me a new client?”

At that Dmitri couldn’t resist a chuckle. The magician’s face was now the color of his hair. It’d been a while since he’d met a homeless person who was so body shy. “Nah Cain isn’t a client. He saw me with some Bratva guys and decided to be a hero.” Candy’s face immediately paled, so he rushed to reassure her. “Don’t worry! Cain’s one of those magic guys, like Ascendancy. He’s going to stick around for a bit and, ah, discourage any thugs who think that we’re easy pickings.”

Candy shot him a look, the kind that warned him that he was stepping into dangerous waters. But Dmitri was already aware. He knew what he was doing (or at least he hoped).

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