Tristan has been watching the sisters for awhile now. He sensed their disappearance from the mortal plane earlier. Naturally, he became concerned and abandoned his trip to the manor to find the missing Harts. When they reappeared on his magical radar he orbed over to the junkyard. In the distance, he could see the sisters found their Innocent. Like Parker, he felt Patience needed to handle this on her own and so he stayed back. He choose to watch instead of guide (read lead).
Things seem to get off at an okay start, but Pat's tendency to fall short when it comes to social situations becomes prominent. The conversation grows awkward between the premonition-prone witch and bright-haired Innocent. Parker decides to jump in to assist her sister.
Tristan doesn't expect less from Parker, the perfectionist. While he has his own thoughts about how the situation should have occurred, the Whitelighter does not act. He watches as the middle sister does her best to fix Patience's slip up and ensure their mission to save Gretchen is successful.
But then it happens.
The electric demon strikes down and makes himself known. Tristan is shocked (no pun intended) and steps from behind an old hunk of junk. The angel narrows his gaze at the demon and sees that he is made entirely out of electricity.
(Does that mean he can…)
The question starts to form in his mind, but it is answered before it can be completely formulated. The demon uses his hands to attack the mortal and Tristan's realizes the demon himself is the weapon.
(Yep. Shit! Shit! Shit!)
"Patience! Watch out!"
He runs towards his charges and their innocent. He spies a loose windshield and concentrates on the object. Electric current does not normally flow through glass, and so he hopes it will cause the demon's electric body to disperse. With a thrust of his glowing hand he aims the shield of glass at the demon with his TELEKINESIS. The average weight of the object should help him maneuver the glass to attack the demonic assassin.
Parker touches Gretchen's arm soothingly, a gentle smile on her mouth. "Trust me," she begins. "We understand how—" She frowns, pausing mid-sentence. A pungent smell hits her nostrils. Generally, she'd ignore this. The three women are in a junkyard after all. But this isn't a run-of-the-mill funk...
The electric demon bursts between her sister and Gretchen. Startled, Parker marvels at the humanoid made entirely of electricity. Patience's description didn't do it justice. It's terrifying. She opens her mouth to call Tristan before she hears him shout: "Patience! Watch out!"
(Patience.) Her eyes harden. The middle sister, weirdly, doesn't feel her heart slamming against her ribs. She sees the electric demon's hands move toward Gretchen's head and feels pissed. Pissed that this stranger's life is being threatened. Pissed that she and her sisters were chosen to slay evil. Pissed that this could become her new life.
"Don't touch her."
Flicking both hands, she unleashes her FREEZING POWER on the demonic assassin. Her gaze thins as something unexpected happens. The demon doesn't freeze. He SLOWS down. Parker arches a brow incredulously. (That's new.)
She whips her eyes to something coming toward she and the girls incredibly fast. (Is that a windshield?) Her body reacts before her mind does. Moving quickly, she tackles Patience and Gretchen to the ground. Her aggressive movement, naturally, UNFREEZES the innocent.
The confidence that previously melted her fears gives way to the chill of self-doubt. Once more, the baby Hart has to be rescued by her more capable sister. Parker carries out Patience's task in just a short instance, leaving the younger witch in the wake of her shadow. Why can't she do it? Why can't she connect with others? The answers to her questions will likely be revealed in due time but for now she can't help but feel useless.
Though Gretchen is not quick to commit to taking their offer of safety, she does listen to the witchy duo. (They definitely picked the wrong sister to have premonitions.) Doubts, dark and inky, twist about in her mind. Her arms cross over her chest waiting for Gretchen to eventually come their way. Just when she expects her sister to win Gretchen over, the presence of the Shocker Demon derails the progress they are making.
The jolt of electricity causes Patience's auburn hair to instantly frizz and forces her to take a step back out of fear. His raw energy based form commands her to squint her eyes just to see him. Once she makes out his form she sees him attack their innocent.
The timeline is off. According to her vision, this attack is supposed to happen much later. Had their intervention brought Gretchen closer to death? Though caught in a daze of wonder, all she can muster is a simple swear.
"Patience! Watch out!"
Her guardian angel's voice serves to stabilize her mind amidst the attack. She watches helplessly as her sister and whitelighter defend her and the innocent. Flying glass and slowed crackles of electricity zoom past her frightened eyes. The protective tackle of her sister-witch is the only thing that breaks Patience from her stupor.
This is real.
The life that she has longed for. The sense of purpose that she crazes has been served to her and all she can do is stand there in full Daphne. Her breathing becomes a bit heavy while she waits for Tristan to take them to safety. Though only seconds fly by, it feels like eons. She has felt the attack of the Shocker Demon before and cannot live through it again. "Tristan!" She screams with urgency, her eyes closed in terror.
A bolt of electric energy manifests in front of her and Gretchen instinctively screams! She first assumes it is a freak lightning storm that narrowly claims her life. What a strange day this is turning out to be. But it starts to get even wilder. The freak lightning bolt doesn't dissipate. Instead, the electricity shifts into a human form and stares at Gretchen with menacing eyes. Fear and confusion dominates the mortal's entire being. The electric monster growls at her.
She can hear people shouting all around her, but Gretchen ignores them. Her heart is racing. Initially, she doesn't understand why this thing is snarling at her. Then, deep in her bones, Gretchen starts to gravitate to some unspoken knowledge. She isn't going to live to rationalize what is happening to her.
The look of this beast gives Gretchen chills and yet she can't tear her eyes away from it. She feels her breath shorten. There is a need within her to cry for the future she knows is lost to her. Soon what looks like hands start to reach for her and Gretchen…
…finds herself falling to the ground with a thud. It is the weight of another that pushes her out of harms way. Deduction and reasoning helps the woman realize it is Patience's friend who saves her. As things progress, Gretchen's reaction is to scream again. It's the only instinctive thing that she can do. The only natural thing she can think to do. This all seems too unreal to the woman. She doesn't believe witches and demons can be real.
Electros' movements are impeded by powerful magics. It's as if time has slowed down for him alone yet the world continues on without fail. This prevents the demon from simultaneously strangling and electrocuting his intended victim.
One of the women tackles Gretchen to the ground along with the second acquaintance. A fiery rage builds in in Electros. He mentally screams, No!. The demon attempts to fight back and correct this horrendous interruption, but remains restricted. Electros sluggishly turns to look at the women on the ground. There is ire in his eyes.
Manifesting the full force of his power, the shocker demon projects a stream of electrical energy at the colorful-haired woman. This act is not as immediate as he would like. The current of electrical energy cuts through the air at a snails pace. The projectile magic pushing against Parker's magics in an attempt to strike Gretchen. Then something occurs.
Electros is broken.
Before time can catch up with itself in Electros' favor, he finds an instrument colliding with his physical form. The glass that slices through his body disrupts the electrical current of his molecular structure. This brief disturbance causes the subatomic particles that make up Electros to disperse in a spectacular explosion. The demon is temporarily rendered dissipated.
There's a moment of anxiety as the scene seems to slow to a crawl. His limited form of telekinesis can only move heavier objects so fast - and though the windshield is within his limits, it isn't exactly pages in a book. His mind dwells on the earlier decision to let the girls go at it alone. Could he have prevented this or kept them safer by staying closer? Prue is going to kill me.
"Tristan, get us out of here!" "Tristan!"
The cries from his charges both ring in his ears and through the empathic bond he shares with them. However, before he is able to respond, Tristan's plan comes to fruition as the windshield slams into the electrical demon and disrupts its molecular structure in a stunning explosion of sparks. Tristan turns his head, using his arm to take cover from the blinding light even as the glow from his own hand dissipates.
With the immediate threat subdued, Tristan ORBS over to the girls. His body materializes crouched beside them. Immediately he feels the small hairs of his neck stand on end; a sign of Electros' energy in the air. He can still sense the demon's presence in the area, but there is no visible sign of the elemental being. Not wanting to test their luck further, Tristan quietly reaches out and ORBS the three women (and himself) to the manor attic where he senses Wyatt and PJ.
Nicholas knows what he likes. And the one thing he likes the most?
God, yes. He enjoys structure. With age, Nic's learned to temper his controlling nature with generosity. An introvert living in a world of free-wheeling extroverts, he's grown accustomed to keeping his mouth shut, forgiving lapses in planning. But when it comes to his personal life? His time?
Not one hour goes unplanned.
On Sunday, he plans his outfits for the week. Business casual for Monday through Thursday. On Friday, he mixes it up with a collared t-shirt and shorts; depends on the weather, really. He drinks a protein shake, combs through work emails, firing off the occasional response to his development team, then heads out the door. Generally, he sneaks in a workout at six in the morning before his short commute to the Silicon Valley. His meals are always plotted out to a science. Protein. Vegetables. Rice cakes and peanut butter for a snack. In the afternoon, he shoots off a quick text to Yuen; are there demons afoot? When the work day's wrapped up, he drives to the gym to meet with the other champions. They handle what needs to be handled and he goes home.
Battle a few demons. Fire off work emails.
Pack a lunch for work. Beat Michael to the shower.
That structure is gone and...
Nicolas takes a deep breath. (Why do I still have my power?) He flexes his fingers, staring down at them. With just a touch he can feel the emotional storm of any living being. It's never been an ability he understands, to be honest. But now it's stuck; it's part of him. And he needs to figure out why. But first?
He steals a look at his Prius...
Yesterday, the side of his car was damaged. Badly. The left door looks like a crumped up juice box; it's gonna cost a pretty penny to repair. Yet Nicolas' mind isn't on the door. He's not tripping up over the dent left in his day. Why? He took the entire week off to regroup. It's like the universe was telling him to slow down.
Coming from the interrupted breakfast with his sister, the boy Snow's insecurities had crept up on him on his walk to work. The doubts and feelings of inadequacy were so heavy that AR could've sworn they literally weighed him down; he was stepping into Junkyard a bit late, even though he'd taken that exact route plenty of times and not been tardy before. Shit, he cursed at himself, praying no one noticed he was gone. He couldn't take a write-up or the docked pay. Get it together, ass for brains.
Self-deprecation aside, being at work was good for AR. Here, he could stay out of trouble by putting his hands to good use. The pay wasn't much, but it let him help out with bills at his sister's place for the time being. Like muscle memory, he tossed his coffee to-go cup into the trashcan like it was game point at buzzer--nothing but net. With both hands free, he wiped his palms on the legs of his jump suit before grabbing a clipboard and pen from the dock and approaching the only patron who looked like he still needed assistance.
A Prius was a status symbol. It said, 'Hey! Not only can I afford a car, but I'm smart enough to buy a car that's energy efficient and good for the environment.' Alex was almost immediately envious of his client's ride, a negative emotion piled onto a heap of other depressive shit he was currently feeling. He bit his bottom lip and put pen to paper to begin keeping record of the interaction that was about to happen.
Mechanic Name: Alex Snow
Vehicle Make/Model: Honda Prius
Nearing Salcetti, Alex looked up from his clipboard to assess the damage to the car with his own eyes. He wrinkled his nose up at the crumpled door to confirm what his client already knew: It looked pretty damn bad. "Rough break, man," he offered a distant condolence. Reaching out his hand to accept the item he was about to ask for, he began again. "Could I see your driver's license? And what's the year on the car?" Once he had the license he could finish filling out his paperwork. From there, he'd provide a price quote, give the client an estimate of when the job should be finished, and then file the record. Another regular day.
He certainly wasn't expecting a mechanic with the youthful appearance of Alex Snow. A smile tugs at his lips. Everything from the tousled hair to the slight urban drawl suggests the other man's fresh out of community college or, at least, recently joined the workforce. Regardless of their age difference, Nic is quietly delighted to have someone pretty to look at. Really.
What's enjoyable about a trip to the junkyard?
"Could I see your driver's license? And what's the year on the car?"
"Sure," he says, reaching into his jacket. He draws out his wallet and hands over his California-issued license. "And the year's 2036..."
While Alex punches in his information, Nic steals another look at his bumper. He frowns; it almost pains him to see it -- the cost of repair will chip at his savings.
AR took the proffered license and scanned it for the details he needed. Nicolas Salcetti, it read. And he got a sneak peek at the middle name too, but that wasn't needed on these forms. The birth year gave Nicolas away as being a few years younger than himself, putting him somewhere nearer his older sister's age. He frowned slightly, thinking about how Iz had lied to him earlier that morning...
With a literal shake of his head, he shook off the ill feelings beginning to creep up on him again and tried to focus on his work. "Thirty-six, you said," he echoed his customer, jotting down the number for record keeping sake. Then, he looked up to meet Nicolas's gaze after registering the question he'd just asked.
"Dude, I work in a junkyard," he said lightheartedly. In truth, the question had been a little silly, but maybe the client was just trying to make conversation out of nerves. "All I do is see damage like this. But don't worry, you're not the worst I've ever seen. We'll get you right in no time." That was a little trick he'd learned--make the customers feel like they're better off than the next guy, and they'll be more satisfied with the service as they think about how things could've been worst. It helped nip a lot of complaints in the bud, although so far this guy had been pretty agreeable, even excusing Alex's tardiness.
Alex handed back the license lazily, his fingers barely hanging on to the end closest to him. He was already looking back towards the car, assessing the damage again. "I don't think a job like this should cost more than, oh, two or three days. And the damages themselves, well... just spit-balling I'd say, like, two grand? The questioning inflection of his voice conveys uncertainty, but that's why they called it a quote estimate. "Your insurance might cover that though. How'd it happen?" For this, he turns his attentions back to the Honda Prius owner.
Nic grins, appreciating the straightforward answer. (Stupid question, I know...)
"All I do is see damage like this. But don't worry, you're not the worst I've ever seen. We'll get you right in no time."
He combs all ten fingers through his hair, sighing: "Goddess..." It's a throwaway prayer of relief, a habit he picked up from Vanessa when she was alive. More often than naught, he says it when he's in the company of his makeshift family. Later in the day, Nic will think back to this moment, wondering if Alex thinks it's odd for a twenty-something man to say "Goddess," of all things.
"I don't think a job like this should cost more than, oh, two or three days. And the damages themselves, well... just spit-balling I'd say, like, two grand?"
"That's it?" Nicolas blinks incredulously. He wants to punch himself in the face when the words leave his mouth. Yes, he's aware; he sounds like a privileged, bubble-brained Caucasian dude.
"Your insurance might cover that though. How'd it happen?"
The truth? Unwittingly, Nic absorbed the emotions of a neighbor who was high on mushrooms. With a silly smirk on his face, he backed out of his garage and didn't see the Buick heading straight his way. It was his fault, really. Also - he was blindsided by the rediscovery of his empathy; why does he still have this power?
"Hit and run," he lies convincingly. "Didn't even see their plates." Nic cracks a small smile.
Goddess? AR arched an eyebrow, contemplating his customer for a brief second. That sounded like something Izzy would say to herself, chalked up to some combination of feminism and her witch shit. Maybe that sort of thing was catching on. Not the witch shit, but the feminism stuff. This guy looked like the type to talk about how important male feminists were, so Alex didn't put it past him.
Yep, he was definitely the type. A three thousand dollar car repair would really blow through every penny AR had to his name right now. In fact, it might send him into debt. What had once been a staunch self-loathing for not being more like this man was turning into a combination of that plus maddening envy at everything people like Mr. Salcetti represented. If he was that well off, why didn't he just head to the dealer for repairs instead of slumming it out at the junkyard?
The mechanic tried suppressing his feelings. Part of the labor was emotional management. Nicolas didn't have to empathize with him, but AR got paid to at least feign empathy with the clientele. "That really sucks, dude," he said casually. "But the good thing is most insurances do cover hit and run. Leave it to us."
Now, Alex stuck out his right hand to shake on it. This was another thing his supervisor suggested doing--a firm handshake makes customers feel like they're going to be taken care of, even if this small garage in Fremont didn't look like it could compete with larger dealerships and auto shops.
"That really sucks, dude. But the good thing is most insurances do cover hit and run. Leave it to us."
"Thank you!" Nicholas brings clasped hands up to his mouth. He glances down at Alex's offered hand, tempted...
(Should I do it?)
A handshake can be many things. The close of a successful business deal. Means of evading a kiss from a date. Psychic, Nic has an opportunity to dive into the currents of any emotional storm. Nic has learned to control his gift. The slightest brush of skin doesn't send him into a tailspin.
Now he has questions about how his power should be used. In battle, he never found much use in it. How do you fight someone with feelings? Is his purpose to save innocents? Should he marry a cute boy or girl in the midwest and raise even-tempered children? Nic has no idea. This leaves him anxious and strangely...
"Again..." Nic shakes the other man's hand and smiles. "Thank you." When he draws his hand back, he takes out his cell phone and paces five feet away from Alex; he's got to talk to someone from Pentagram. His mind flies over possibilities; Holly's at work, and he doesn't want to share this with Michael yet.
After the thought materializes, he shoots a message off to his close friend.
After their handshake, AR sees Salcetti turn around to begin tapping away at his phone screen. He could be doing one of several things: arranging a ride-share pickup to whisk him away from the junkyard, updating his insurance claims, or perhaps even letting a concerned friend or partner know that everything would be all right.
Alex watches him for a just a second before returning to his paperwork before him. There weren't many customers waiting to be seen, but the sooner he got the papers filed the sooner he could actually get to working with his hands.