Yes, I know I should be updating Snakes in the Crown (please read if you haven't), but this is something for me to write between chapters. I'll update it soon, I promise.
Breaking Your Walls (and Your Windows)
It was a normal day for Niklaus Mikaelson a.k.a Klaus the art studio owner a.k.a Shadow. After saving his elderly neighbour from falling down the stairs (this was as Klaus), he transformed into his persona of Shadow for the day.
He felt as if his life was at the part of the origin story where the superhero is still finding his roots and has not yet met his Joker or Lex Luthor. Yet, Klaus had been Shadow for four years and he still found himself doing the basic 'neighbourhood hero' routine. Today had been the same as it had been for the 1300 days-he'd counted the days since he'd discovered his powers (drunken night out and a contaminated hot dog- don't ask). He had chased down a mugger; helped a crying child find his mother (who hadn't even have been grateful); stopped a builder from falling off his ladder; returned a stolen bicycle to a teenage newspaper boy and fetched a cat down from a tree (ungrateful little furball, it has scratched him most ferociously when he had given it to the old lady). Klaus was getting a little tired of the old routine and he was itching for something more.
His roomate, Stefan Salvatore (one of the few people to know who Shadow was) had urged him not to look for trouble but Klaus, a rebel by nature, was deadly serious about finding his Joker. New York was no crime capital like it was back in the 1990's, but like every big city, it had his issues. He'd initially tried to break into the drug trade, especially those who deal the hard stuff to kids, but NYPD's roaring success in several sting operations meant that the legal authorities had the upper hand on him. He knew NYPD didn't take Shadow seriously, despite the dark name. They saw him as a powered up Good Samaritan and instead let him take care of petty street crime whilst they chased murderers and gang members.
Luckily for him, he'd found him.
The Scream was a low level bank robber, but he had powers and that made it hard for NYPD to touch him. Shadow had helped foil the robber several times but they had never quite engaged in a big fight and The Scream always managed to get away in a flash of his supersonic speed. Shadow had never quite understood why he was called 'The Scream,' with his archenemy always taunting him about the name as he clutched great bags of cash. Shadow knew that it would never be a continuous dance between them and whilst he still wished for his great nemesis, he knew that it would help prove to the cops that he was a serious superhero and not some gimmick.
Currently sat on a roof edge, feet dangling down and a tofu dog in hand, Shadow was waiting for his next moment. His eyes scanned a suspicious looking young woman eyeing up an elderly lady's bag, but the woman then turned out to be looking at something else and slunk off into a convenience store, emerging with a pack of cigarettes not moments later. Sighing, he resigned himself to heading back to the studio, dressing back in normal clothes and finishing off a painting. Just as he was about to stand up and fly off, a wave of sound hit his ears (supersonic hearing) and he instantly recognised a loud boom and that of screams...
Standing, shot into the air and flew in the direction of Midtown, far away from his current station of the Bronx. Kicking his legs to allow more power, he finally arrived at the scene. In front of him, a small amount of smoke was billowing from a small bank.
A smirk graces Shadow's lips as she slowly descended from the sky.
"Well if it isn't my favourite person?"
The Scream, masked as always, looked up from where he was shovelling money into a large sack. His face grew cold at the sight of the hero, who was hovering just above the ground. Snarling, he shoved the money back in and exited the door. Rising up himself, he hovered level with Shadow.
"The Scream- still taking money from innocent people and shutting down a hard working business."
"They can survive without the money, it's not like I'm stealing from some old lady in Harlem."
"Just because a business or person can survive somewhat without the money you've taken still does not make it ok- it's a crime on society."
The Scream tutted loudly, shaking his head, "I wish I could reply with a philosophical response, but I just like the money. Now run along before your precious cops come and fail to arrest me. You know I'll get away like I do every time."
"Like hell!" a surge of energy flashed through Shadow and he launched himself at his arch-enemy, hands wringing his neck. After several seconds of strangulation, The Scream managed to get his neck free and almost break free. Still clinging onto one another, the two men rose in the air and began to fly through the streets, in what the average passersby would refer to as some kind of aerial wrestling.
"Relinquish your hold, Shadow, or I shall not be so merciful!" The Scream shouted, the words pounding in his enemy's ear thanks to his super hearing and their close range.
"You are no friend of anybody, Scream. If you turn yourself into the police or myself, you will find yourself in a better position, with less jail time. Give up your ways and let the streets of Manhattan sleep easier each night!"
"NEVER!" The Scream's voice, then and there, nearly deafened the hero. A surge of anger gripped Shadow, and he attempted to head butt his opponent. Unfortunately, The Scream was quicker and did so in return. A yell tumbling from his lips, Shadow found himself flying freely through the air, unable to stop or slow his pace. Getting closer to a tall building, he could only close his eyes and brace for impact...
Several bricks tumbled down on his head, dust escaping from the insides of the infrastructure. Coughing and spluttering, Shadow assessed the damage- the damage being a giant Shadow shaped hole in the side of the building. Several bricks were just managing to hold onto the cement mix, but half a dozen were scattered on the carpet and probably even more on the concrete. He prayed that someone had not been hit, as a brick from that height could easily kill a person. Luckily, his head was not pounding due to the strength of his skull, and the only damage to him was a small hole on his trouser hip. Dust covered him like frosting, his dark suit not a soft grey. Sighing, he took some on his finger and blew it off gently. Moaning slightly, he managed to struggle upwards. As he did, however, he came face to face with...
"WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?"
Oh crap, an angry civilian. These were his least favourite people- even The Scream was higher in his affections than those who got angry when their car got destroyed or their hat got stolen.
A woman, and a beautiful one he opined, was standing in front of him, briefcase raised high in hand. Dressed smart in a business suit, the only things wrong with her was her stiff countenance and the extremely, extremely angry look on her face. If Shadow was any closer, he felt as though she would have smacked him in the face with it. No wonder, he'd just destroyed half of her apartment.
"H...Hello ma'am," he brushed himself up as he stood, extending a hand, "I'm..."
"I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!" she still had her briefcase swinging wildly, a look of danger in her eyes, "What that does NOT explain is why the hell you have crashed into my apartment, creating a massive freaking hole in the side that I could have, I don't know, FALLEN OUT OF. The elements, the freaking elements, you know it's due to rain tonight? My apartment is going to look like something out of The Day After Tomorrow or some stupid disaster movie. Where the hell am I gonna live? I can't afford a hotel, I'm not some rich girl, I chose this apartment because it's on the cheaper part of Manhattan and I can pay rent without having to worry about food. My insurance is gonna jack up massively, I already live in New York, insurance is expensive because of have a go heroes like yourself and those stupid robbers! Mr. Jones is gonna kick me out, I know it, this'll take months to build back and he already doesn't like me. I hope you're happy that you've ruined MY LIFE in order to get some mugger."
"Actually, miss, it was a bank robber and it wasn't entirely my fault...see I was headbutted and..."
"I DON'T CARE!" the woman yelled again, getting progressively angrier by the second, "You're some stupid costumed freak, you're not NYPD. Shadow? You're a fricking joke and you ruin people's lives through your stupid schemes. I have an important client I should be seeing, but NO, I will have to avoid being homeless because some idiot crashed through my living room."
Shadow had no idea what to say.
"Miss...I'll fix the damage- I can do that, see..."
He moved to help, but the woman stepped closer, briefcase threateningly high.
"Oh no you don't, I wouldn't trust you to run my bath...step away, step away- that's right, good little superhero. Now, you're gonna stay here while I call my landlord and if you step out of my line, I will send you flying out of that hole, all the time praying that your powers suddenly stop working."
Shadow gulped. He faced big, scary men twice his size, men who had killed people, but he was way more terrified of some young city worker, who looked as though she would actually succeed in killing him.
Klaus listened as the woman called her landlord, sounding very agitated. In his fear, he had forgotten to feel sorry for her. She was right; this would probably cost her a lot in insurance and would maybe upset her job, as she said she'd had an important client. This woman was also smoking hot, but he was not about to admit that to the briefcase wielder herself.
Eventually, she hung up and turned back to him.
"Right, my landlord is across town right not but will be back soon. In the meantime, you will stay so that when NYPD comes, you will have a lot of explaining to do. You will also be paying for this damage because if you don't, I will sue you so much that you won't even be able to afford a studio apartment in rural Alaska, understood?"
"And how exactly will you sue a person whose identity is unknown to you?"
Shadow stopped laughing when the woman death glared him.
"I can help this, I promise- I can fix it right now."
"Do it and you will never be able to move so much as an eyelid ever again."
Shadow nodded, gulping, "Can you at least put the briefcase down? Please?"
Sighing, the woman nodded and dropped it by her side, before neatly falling onto the couch. Head back and eyes closed, she pinched the bridge of her nose. There were several minutes of awkward silence as Shadow looked out into the day.
"So, what's your name?"
"Caroline, make sure you can spell it right in your legal documents."
He snickered, before quickly hiring as to avoid earning her ire.
"You lived here long?"
"About a year now, but I will be moving to a first floor apartment soon."
"Oh?" Klaus asked, before realising he meant it because of him. The silence continued. He was very thirsty from his flight, but was too scared to even so much ask for some water. The girl continued to attract him, and whilst human him would have hit on her in a heartbeat, superhero him was doing everything he could to stop her anger. Eventually, Caroline hopped up from the couch and headed into the bathroom.
Just as he thought she'd calmed down, something even worse happened.
"Ah, hello Shadow."
That bloody idiot.
"Hello Scream, looking for one last go?"
"Oh, you know me," the villain smirked, "I could not resist giving you a pathetic chance. Here we are, ready to do battle. I will finish you once and for all..."
Before he could continue, Caroline exited the bathroom. At the sight of him, she sighed and exhaled very loudly.
"Not ANOTHER one of you idiots," she rolled her eyes, "FOR GOD's sake, is this because I didn't tip that waitress enough last week? Is this God punishing for me for making sure some poor lady didn't make rent. Now, honestly, I don't care about suing you, can both of you just give me a point of contact like some fake human address so we can settle this? Then after that, you can go to hell and I can go my life without ever having you mouth breathers near me again."
The Scream looked almost offended.
"Mouth breather? Ma'am, I don't think you want to offend me, I am the mighty Scream- the greatest supervillian in this city, I..."
"All you do is this," Caroline made a yacking sound with her hands, "This this this. You aren't Loki, this isn't the Avengers and you're not some alien God- and you, Shadow, are not Captain America or Iron Man or whatever. You look like your blind grandmother made that suit for you when you were a kid and the only reason it fits because she made it super stretchy for your growth spurts as a spotty adolescent. And as for greatest criminal, is that a joke or something? You rob from banks- it makes you a shitty person, but you aren't some mastermind who is holding the city hostage. I bet you go home at night alone, insulting women because this is probably the closest one you've been to one since some awkward cupping at prom. No one is scared of you, NYPD probably laugh and think you're just some lucky idiot. You know what, a few nights ago a few of us were discussing you at a bar and we were LAUGHING- that's right, bozo, LAUGHING. We think you're some rip off of a cheap comic book made in the 1950's by some wannabe who ended up drawing pictures for 50 cents in Central Park. You're a LOSER, honey, and there is no two ways about it. I'm more scared of the 78 year old secretary at work than you. I'm not even quivering right now, steady as a rock. Later tonight, I will be mocking you and your costume to whoever I will be staying with. Your head butt has made my insurance go up and as my father always taught me, a girl should always be frugal, especially in New York City. If I have to move to Queens because of this, I will kill you, because that is a REALLY long commute and I really, really don't like mornings."
The Scream actually looked shocked- no mere citizen dared stand up to him, but this girl who was probably no more than 25, had and did not look like she gave any shits.
"Ma'am..."Shadow stepped forward.
"Stop," Caroline held up a hand, "I wasn't done, bozo. You are a massive joke, nobody takes you seriously. Your costume looks as though a sad attempt at Comic Con, where you would not even be classed as a good cos player- it's obvious you've made it tight around your junk, which means you're compensating for something. You just catch muggers; I could do that with my left foot. You think you're being heroic but you're just a nuisance, it's not like it's a big deal. Ok, maybe I'm being mean, you have good intentions but by God, you are just the genuine worst. It's like somebody made a real life episode of The Simpsons with like one of characters dressed up. Life advice for you: get a better costume, work some respect into the community and stop being a have a go hero. When you destroy houses and cars, apologise and perhaps set up a fund. We know you're trying to help, but regular people being inconvenienced is not even ok. Please stop trying to find validation from the regular person, it's actually quite embarrassing. I don't believe for one second that you could fix the massive damn hole in my apartment."
Both men looked at each other, then back at Caroline. The Scream stepped forward, but Caroline grabbed her briefcase and held it aloft.
"I will mess you up son."
The Scream stepped backwards, hands in the air.
"If you think I'm gonna be some damsel in distress for you to hurt Shadow. I don't scream or cry, my mom is a cop and she taught me to defend myself."
The three stayed locked in an intense staring battle. As he looked to the side, Shadow noticed The Scream raising his arm towards his enemy.
"Get down!" he screamed, running forward and pushing Caroline down. A ball of energy flew from The Scream's hand, missing Caroline by centimetres and blasting her side table across the room. Knowing to get out of there quickly, Caroline crawled out of the living room and into another room, Shadow assuming it to be her bedroom or bathroom. With the civilian safely out of the way, the two began to lock horns. The apartment was being completely destroyed, furniture flying everywhere. He knew that Caroline would probably throw him out of the hole after this, but in Shadow's defence, he hadn't stated it.
It was a brutal battle, with The Scream attempting to strangle his enemy with a curtain chord. The chord cutting into his neck for several moments, Shadow bashed him on the head with a lamp. Both shot blasts from their hands but it failed, knocking into the walls instead. Grabbing his enemy, The Scream eventually succeeded in pushing him onto the floor, his foot on his chest, stopping him from getting up. Shadow groaned, rubbing his head.
"I will win, Shadow, I will always win," The Scream smirked cruelly, "And once I have beaten you, I will make sure the girl pays for her petty insults- she won't be so brave as she dangles above the ground, knowing she'll die if she's drop...I won't kill her, but I will sure enjoy making her beg for mercy."
Just as he was about to strangle Shadow, a loud CLUNK was heard and The Scream dropped onto his enemy, completely unconscious. Shocked, Shadow managed to kick off him off, breathing heavily. Above him, Caroline was holding a golf club aloft.
"I got this as a gift from a Ryder Cup guy I represented not long back," she admired it, rubbing it between her fingers, "Pretty good, huh? I almost went for a pan but I knew I couldn't get it quietly enough. My gun license is still coming through, should be legal to get one soon- single girl, don't want to live alone without protection."
"You must have a mean swing, that guy doesn't fall down easily," Shadow stated, pulling himself up, "I don't know how long he's gonna be out."
"Good thing I called the cops," Caroline held up a cell phone, "They were downstairs anyway but they wanted to secure a perimeter and call the fire department. They've evacuated the downstairs floors and they're heading up as we speak."
"Thank God," Shadow went forward to thank her, but she shook her head, holding her golf club in front and pressing it against her chest, keeping a distance between them.
"Ah no, we ain't cool just yet," she raised her eyebrows at him, "I mean what I said about you two basically being grown up cosplayers, you're not coming anywhere near me. Have you seen my apartment, it looks like something attacked me in here...which wasn't far off. I'm happy you can fix it, but believe me, if you try, I will sue you for property damage and emotional distress. If I get fired or penalised for missing my client today, I swear to God I will sue your ass off."
Shadow knew not to laugh.
"So what is it you do?" he asked.
"I'm in PR, we specialise in image- making a person look good, especially image rehabilitation- I don't specialise in that. Here, I'll give you my card so we can swap insurance details."
She reached into her bag, hand still holding onto the golf club. Taking out a small card, she handed it to him.
Caroline Forbes, The Brandon Group- followed by a work telephone.
"Maybe I could get a personal number, and then I can take you out for a nice dinner to apologise?"
"Easy, tiger," Caroline looked hugely unimpressed, "I'd rather not. You're an asshole who breaks stuff and you're probably not so hot underneath the mask."
"Let me take you on a date and I'll show you."
"Shall I quit while I'm ahead?" Shadow asked, taking note of her withering look.
"Quit while you're behind, more like," Caroline responded as a frantic knocking came about the door, "Ah, that'll be the police. I wouldn't move if I were you, if The Scream wakes up, I ain't taking another shot."
Crossing the hall, she opened the door to the cops.
"Thank God for some sanity, come on in officers," she ushered them in, the men entering as they thanked her. As soon as they did, a deep sigh came across the face of Stefan Salvatore, who was leading the pack. It was handy having an NYPD officer as a roomate, as he fed him a lot of information about what was going on in the city. Of course, if anyone found out, Stefan would be fired.
"Shadow," he growled.
"Salvatore, Greensby, Richards, Meeks," he greeted the officers, "Always a pleasure. I can only apologise for all of this, I think I have ruined Miss. Forbes' day quite a lot, but at least The Scream has been apprehended and can be locked away for his heinous crimes, all thanks to the hard work that has gone on in this apartment."
"Hard work?" Caroline turned to the men, "I knocked this idiot out with a golf club."
Shadow nodded, "She did."
Stefan pursed his lips, "Well thank you Miss. Forbes. I see that your apartment has had quite a shock, that hole is one big risk waiting to be happen...and this mess, I can see that this will inconvenience you quite a bit. We can only apologise for Shadow, he has a reputation for mess. May I enquire as to how you are?"
Behind him, the officers had their guns drawn at Shadow, even though they knew it would be ineffective.
"I'll be fine once these idiots are out of my hair."
"Ma'am, Shadow will be able to repair that damage easily," Stefan smiled at her.
"Oh hell no," the blonde shook her head wildly, "He is not touching anything in my apartment- as I said earlier, I wouldn't trust him to run my bath. I want him far away from me, along with this guy who would probably kill me if he had the chance."
She prodded the still unconscious Scream with her toe.
"I know you're very angry at Shadow, ma'am, but it is much easier than getting a repairman- this will take months to sort, he can do it in seconds."
"Fine, but my landlord is on his way and he'll need to survey the damage. Once that's done, 'Shadow' or whatever his name is can do it- that'll be a couple of hours, I guess you guys can do what you want to in the mean time."
Stefan nodded, "Of course. My men will take The Scream to the station; we will need to take a statement- it may be used in court."
"Happy to help," Caroline turned to Shadow, "What's going to happen to this guy?"
"He won't come quietly, that's for sure," another one of the cops replied.
"This one's right," Shadow smirked, "Well, I guess I better be going, the world cannot spin on without me. Officers, always a pleasure, can't wait to see you all at the next event. Miss. Forbes, I will repair the damage whilst you are out of the building. Until then."
He did a mock salute and did a running jump, flying out of the building at the speed of light. Behind him, the figures watched incredulously. Taking out the card Caroline gave him, he mulled it over. Shadow would never have a chance with the fiery blonde, but Klaus Mikaelson might. He guessed he needed a PR consultation...