Had Casey known how this would have gone down, she would have taken her head out of her ass and looked outside of herself before bringing David Dunn to her apartment.
She tries to get in and lock the door behind her quickly (not a hard thing to do when you're embarrassed as fuck about what just happened) but his hand comes out and stops the door from closing. She's a bit startled, and looks up at him.
"Uhh. Thanks. For walking me home." A seed of anxiety bubbles up in the pit of her stomach and begins to grow, bleeding into her insides as she sees there isn't a hint of smile in his eyes. "...David?"
"Casey, I'm really sorry," he says, face twisting in regret. "Now please move aside. I don't want to hurt you."
She's incredibly confused but doesn't move.
Inside, Barry can hear the conversation, and sets his glass of water down on the kitchen counter very quietly. He doesn't know what's happening, but it sounds very bad, and his body prickles with the static of danger in the air. He listens intently, not moving from his place in front of the sink. Is he a cop? Is he some perv that followed her home? Whatever the case, he looks inwards and smacks at Dennis to wake up.
Barry's heart thrums quickly in his chest, and his breathing picks up. He's always there when it's inconvenient and never there when it's convenient.
He reaches out to Hedwig--Hedwig, wake Dennis up--and slowly turns his body towards the door. It opens into the apartment, and he's on the other side of it, sweat popping up on his forehead as he tries to peer through the crack where the hinges are.
I can't wake him up Mister Barry, Hedwig whines. Do you-do you want me to wake up the Bad Man?
Do not wake him up, Barry says sharply. The last thing they need right now is The Beast ripping through some unsuspecting civilian to add to their kill count.
"David, let go," Casey says, trying to make light of the situation by putting an incredulous smile on her face. Ha-ha, they're joking. Ha-ha, this is silly. Ha-ha, he's not really trying to push his way into her apartment right now, is he? Her expression falters. It really seems so.
"I'm sorry," David repeats. His eyes dart into the apartment, and although he can't see anyone, he heard someone earlier before Casey opened the door. "Please move."
"I'm not going to move, David," she said. "First you reject me, then you're wanting to invade my place? What the fuck?" She's saying anything at all that pops into her mind. Anything that will give Barry time to run across the living room and down the fire escape. She doesn't look at him behind the door, but she wills him to do it--she's going to close the door very quickly, surprising David, and then Barry will run across and be out the window before David opens the door again. They've discussed this before, their Oh Shit Plan if the police came by.
That's the plan. It's a good plan.
She takes the door and tries to slam it--but it doesn't move. In fact, the wood creaks painfully against David's hand, and Casey is reminded just how strong The Overseer was in the alleyway.
David gently, slowly pushes the door open and Casey is trying to shut it, but all it's doing is dragging her along with it, her shoes sliding across the linoleum as she goes. "David, stop!" she yells.
He steps into the apartment around Casey and Barry is halfway across the living room before the sight of David stops him in his tracks. They stare at each other for the briefest of seconds, both immovable, before Barry darts for the window, opening it and jumping out into the fire escape. David recovers quickly and runs after him, jumping feet first through the window by sliding atop a side table.
"Fuck!" Casey exclaims, running to the window and grabbing the sill, sticking her head out to see where they ran off to. Barry is ahead, running down the fire escape, but bless the boy, he isn't very athletic. David, despite his perceived age, is way fitter and more limber than Barry is. In fact, David is way fitter and more limber than anyone she's ever seen.
He needs to give the reigns to someone else, Casey thinks. "Dennis!" she screams at Barry. "Get Dennis!"
Casey fumbles with her phone and dials Joseph's number in desperation.
Barry runs into the street and bursts through a crowd of people trying to cross. This slows David down; if he bursts through these people, there would undoubtedly be broken bones and smashed faces, so he has to slow to a jog and maneuver through them carefully. This gives Barry some room between them, but he can feel himself slipping, and then suddenly Jade is running and she's screaming and she doesn't know what's going on.
"Oh my god!" she screeches, panting, slowing to a stop. "What is happening?!"
KEEP RUNNING JADE WHAT THE FUCK! Barry's trying to cycle through everyone, checking to see if there's a moderately okay runner that can take the Light. Jade starts running again; she doesn't know where to, but by god she's not going to stop because for all she knows there could be some serial murderer running after Them.
Aye, both twins pipe up.
No no no, I need Ian, I don't need you right now Mary, Barry rushes.
Well you either take bot o' oehs ahr nahne o' oehs! Mary chimes.
What the fuck is that even supposed to mean? Barry usually has time to decipher the twins' accents but he can't do that right now. Barry whips around, looking at everyone.
You know what you need to do, Barry, Patricia says in her chair.
No, I'm not going to do that! Barry contests.
You may not have a choice very soon.
She's right. The longer they're in danger, the more of a chance there is that The Beast will emerge.
Give me back the Light Jade, he says. She hands it over and Barry cuts into an alleyway, looking over his shoulder. He's going to stave The Beast off as long as he possibly can, but he can feel him waking, like a volcano rumbling deep within its belly.
Barry stumbles, catches himself against a dumpster and pushes off of it, staggering a couple of steps forward. He feels like his bones are breaking, so suddenly that he is unable to breathe enough to even utter a protest. He stands there on one side of the long alleyway and David skids to a stop at the mouth of it on the other side, seeing that Barry has stopped running. Barry's back is turned to him, and he is suddenly hyperventilating, eyes widening, hands clawing at his throat, fighting it.
The words reverberate in his head like some wrathful god's command, but he rebukes him, and it makes the process so much more painful.
When Dennis takes the Light and The Beast changes the body, Barry never realized how much it feels like it's ripping his soul apart. It's a sensation that starts from deep within his belly and pulls out, like bad blood being sucked out of his body. His brain gets tingly, then it feels like claws are raking through it, tearing through his face and ripping down his back. His shoulders, especially, feel like they are being crushed by an invisible boulder. He is Atlas, bearing the weight of the world as it cracks his bones and condenses his flesh.
Barry is vocalizing his pain--not quite screaming but not quite speaking.
David is watching from behind him, transfixed. Slowly, he takes his poncho out of his back pocket and shakes it out, pulling it over his head.
Barry fights it, and the pain is triplefold because of this, because The Beast is bursting forth and Barry is pushing him back and there is no middle ground for such a battle of wills. The pain intensifies, and Barry feels like he is drowning in a river of blood and darkness--he feels like he's in the Train Yard, in the center of it all, the blood trails pouring onto him like a deluge of suffering.
"Please," he is suddenly sobbing, but it's far away now, and he tries to turn his body to look at his pursuer--they lock eyes and Barry reaches a hand out to him before the hand curls into a fist and smashes itself into the ground. The concrete folds, bits of it raining against Barry's face, and then the other hand is grabbing the dumpster by the bottom and hurling it behind him towards The Overseer.
The Overseer stops the dumpster mid-air but he's pushed back a couple of steps, and he sets it down. Now the dumpster is between the two of them, which honestly could work in his favor.
Barry is gone, far away, hopefully slumbering a silent sleep of nothingness. The alternative would be horrific.
The Beast's irises turn black and he focuses them on The Overseer--deep and eternal, and The Overseer feels like he could fall into them and disappear forever. Black veins snake their way against The Beast's pale body; he's grown at least a foot taller, muscles rippling and flexing against the shirt he still has on. He takes an impossibly sharp hand and scrapes the shirt off of him, revealing more dark veins slithering down his chest.
He hardly looks like a man.
The Beast roars at The Overseer, asserting his displeasure, panting like an animal.
Welp, the man in the green poncho thinks. This is gonna be a little harder than it would have been three minutes ago.
The Beast lunges, and The Overseer kicks the dumpster towards him, which The Beast backhands away. It crashes against the wall, crunched in where they each smashed it.
They stare at each other, assessing each other's strength, both clenching their fists. The Overseer widens his stance, and The Beast rolls his shoulders back.
A panting Casey makes her way onto the scene.
The Overseer can't help but glance at her, and when he does, The Beast lunges at him, smashing him against a wall, shattering the bricks around their colliding bodies. Casey screams and covers her head against the shower of dust and shards of brick. The Beast has a forearm against The Overseer's throat, and, with great difficulty, The Overseer attempts to pry it off with one hand and with the other hand wraps his fingers around The Beast's neck. There's a flaw in The Beast's footing and suddenly they switch places, The Beast flipped against the wall instead.
This has all gotten so out of control. Casey is literally a potential meatbag casualty in a battle between gods. She takes several steps back, giving them ample room.
The Beast is able to twist his knee up between him and The Overseer, and that's all it takes to nudge the poncho'd man up to kick him off square in the chest, tossing his body against the dumpster on the other side of where they are struggling. The Overseer is on the ground getting back to his feet when The Beast lunges again, maw gnashing at his opponent's neck. He wraps his teeth around the flesh there and chomps hard, shaking his head back and forth like a pitbull tearing its prey apart.
The Overseer feels the effects of the bite and the shake but it doesn't break skin. He reaches up and smashes the side of The Beast's jaw with the heel of his palm, which causes The Beast to release his jaws. The Beast jerks back and is momentarily stunned. The Overseer takes this opportunity to roll forward, away from him, and scramble atop the disheveled dumpster. He leaps upwards, coming down on his adversary with a clenched fist to punch The Beast across the face, landing in a crouched position in front of him.
The Beast staggers back and falls against the wall on the other side, but regains his composure almost immediately, using the wall to leverage himself and powerfully kicking away from it to fly at The Overseer, snagging the man's midsection with his arms and smashing him against the side of the dumpster. It's The Overseer's turn to see stars, and his body slumps forward, dazed.
The Beast gets to his feet, arms still around the man, and hurls him down the alleyway. He goes flying past Casey and into the street, where a car narrowly avoids him, honking its horn.
Oh no. This is going to get a lot more public than Casey would like.
Still in the alleyway, she gets between The Overseer and The Beast, looking The Beast directly in the eyes. "Don't, we can't do this here," she pleads. "You'll put Kevin back into the public's attention and then he'll really be in danger." Her hands are slowly coming up in a defenseless gesture, shaking. Now that she's seeing what was so close to her in the dark underneath her uncle's cabin, and how much he's transformed from when she first saw him underneath the zoo, she's even more terrified of him.
"You...mistake me," The Beast says, speech slow and deliberate, guttural and impossibly deep. He breathes deeply with each word, as though saying each one is a translation of his abstract thoughts. "Kevin...is already...safe. It's My Horde...I protect."
This exchange gives The Overseer enough time to stand and make his way back into the alleyway. Not a lot of people saw him fly out of it, and those that did fled the scene.
He walks past Casey and Casey grabs his arm. "Please, don't. He's sick, Kevin's sick."
There's a moment where she and The Overseer stare at each other. "That doesn't excuse murder, Casey," he finally says.
"Then--then take me," she breathes. She positions herself between the two again, holding his arms and looking up at his obscured face. "I've killed people. Let him go and I'll come with you. Fight him some other day, and I'll follow you wherever you want me to." The Beast is pounding his chest in an act of dominance, pacing back and forth, waiting for The Overseer to finish his trifling little palaver.
"Being present at his killings doesn't make you culpable," he says. It's evident he doesn't understand what she's trying to say.
He takes his arms away from her and moves past her, then begins to run full speed at The Beast. The Beast begins to do the same, and when they explosively meet, there is an audible blow from their impact that blows Casey's hair back and makes the strewn trash in the alleyway take flight. They're grappling with each other and neither seems to be letting up; they stumble against one of the lamp posts and dent it in, and The Overseer recovers more quickly than The Beast does, taking his knee and smashing it into The Beast's solar plexus one-two-three times. He doubles over and The Overseer smashes his knee into his face, knocking The Beast back into the lamp post again, nearly cutting through the metal. It tilts and then slowly falls, cables snapping and bending metal shrieking.
The Beast lets out a bone-chilling bellow and rolls quite a bit away, leaping back to his feet, eyes drilling holes into The Overseer's soul. He's pacing again with the broken lamp post between them, and The Overseer waits, readying himself for whatever may come next. In an act of rage, The Beast, with great effort, wraps his arms around the lamp post and it lifts slowly off of the ground. He rips it away from the rest of the wiring on the ground and he very slowly adjusts his hold on it, hoisting the middle of it on his shoulder and turning to towards The Overseer. The Overseer takes several steps back, avoiding any potential of the lamp coming down on him.
Suddenly the post is hurled towards The Overseer like a javelin through the air. It hits him square in the head and he flies back, his world a sea of light and darkness swirling together as he lays on the ground. It continues flying through the air, hurtling down the length of the alleyway, and there's a moment where all Casey can see is the gray metal circle of it coming towards her. Her eyes widen, her lips part, her hair is blowing back from the force of the air rushing around the post--
--and then she feels arms pushing her and she's flying through the air. The post narrowly misses her, and she sprawls on the concrete, hitting her right shoulder on the ground with a sickening thud. The post does connect with something, but she's unable to see what it is, and she hears it smash against a wall on the other side of the street. Cars are screeching to a stop as it blocks the passage in their lanes. Someone's screaming--some pedestrian, and Casey gets to her feet, clutching her right arm. Something doesn't feel right with it.
David shakes himself out of his stupor, looking around, his vision swimming. Blinking rapidly, he staggers to his feet, searching for his adversary only to realize he's run off. He turns to look behind him, the alleyway tilting dangerously, and he falls against a wall, using it to steady himself. Using the wall as a guide, he walks back, seeing Casey standing at the mouth of the alleyway, a look of horror on her face before she runs across the street. There's screaming--a lot of people have left their cars, forming a crowd around the fallen lamp post.
David is confused. He has the faculties enough to take his poncho off, shedding it in the alleyway without caring if he loses it or not. He can get another one. Limping towards the lamp post, he sidles up to Casey to see what she's looking at.
Joseph lays broken, alive but unconscious, various parts of his body in very bad shape.
She falls to her knees beside him, tears stinging her eyes, and David's body stiffens when he sees his son on the ground before he's right there beside Casey.
"Shit," Casey says, the pain of her shoulder a distant twinge as she watches blood pool around Joseph. "Fuck, call an ambulance!"
The blood slowly seeps into the knees of her jeans and she begins to shiver, but it's not due to the cold Philly air. David is in shock and he's staring at the blood surrounding Joseph in disbelief, watching as Casey puts her forehead to Joseph's in a desperate attempt to let some part of his subconscious know someone is here for him.