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Post by Charon on Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:26 pm

Phoba was breathing heavily, feeling the strain of everything that it took for him to be here right now. A part of him still really didn't like this idea, and yet another part of him knew that it was the right thing to do. He had plenty of help with people reaching out to him over his years of training. Now that he was officially a ranked Hero, granted a D one, he had a responsibility to help those underneath him. He was encouraged to reach out to some of the students and see what he could do to help him. He didn't want to just talk to anyone though, he wanted someone that he could actually be able to help. There had been a girl that had particularly stood out to him.

Sitting in the office, Phoba had been told that it was his to use whenever he needed to plan or wanted a meeting. The room was rather scarce, as he didn't have a lot of personal effects to fill the room up with. On the wall was a single picture of his mother, smiling and not looking a thing like she should given the life she had to endure. On his counters, he had a brewing machine for various hot drinks, mainly his remedies and herbal teas. He sat there patiently, looking over Dolores's file until he heard a knock on the door.

Phoba went to speak, but suddenly had a mild coughing fit. "Come in" Phoba said through the coughs before grabbing his handkerchief to cover his mouth as the attack subsided. Dolores would be greeted with the interesting sight of the man, wearing a silver mask that covered the majority of his face. There were slits for his eyes to see, and a gap at the bottom where his mouth and jaw were exposed. Dolores would likely see some of the sores of his skin if she looked closely enough.
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:45 pm

It had been a very... eventful few days for Dolores. She had officially enrolled in SAFE extracurricular classes, and rather quickly one of the heroes had asked to speak with her. Anxiety gripped her chest; she hadn't been around long enough to do anything wrong, and none of the other students said that they had anything similar with them. Even so, if a hero asks to speak with you, you go with them.
So here she was, at the office of a "Mr. Phoba"; she knocked on the door twice, and immediately heard a coughing fit on the other side. In between, she heard him call for her to enter, so she did, tentatively. Inside was... not what she was expecting. The man was wearing a metallic silver mask and coughing into a handkerchief. She sat down across from him, sliding her hands in her hoodie's pocket as she waited for his fit to subside. As he put it away, she saw the sores, but quickly averted her eyes to the slits so as not to stare. "Uh... D-Dolores Agony. You wanted to speak with me, sir?" She asked nervously.
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Post by Charon on Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:24 am

Thankfully it wasn’t an uncomfortably long time for the coughing fit to subside, longer than Phoba wanted but that was always the case honestly. Giving one last cough to clear his throat, Phoba turned his full attention to Dolores as she spoke. She seemed reserved but respectful, of not a tad too much for his tastes.

“Oh please just Phoba, sir is far too...It makes me sound old” he said with a small laugh. “Besides I can only be maybe three or four years older than you. I just barely graduated from this very school myself” he acknowledged with a small smile. “Ah but where are my manners? Would you like something to drink? Tea, got chocolate, coffee perhaps?” He offered as he motioned over to his machine. “I’d be happy to make you something while we chat”
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:13 pm

Dolores nodded as Phoba insisted to not be called "sir", and made a mental note. "Uh... I guess a hot chocolate would be nice." She answered. It was hard to get a feel for this guy; he was polite, casual even, which was good, she liked that. But that personality seemed to more or less conflict with his physical appearance. She tried not to let that get in the way of what she thought about him, but... Well, she only had a few sentences and this silver mask to go on, so it was hard. Even so, he was amiable enough, so she allowed herself to relax slightly. It didn't seem like she was in trouble or anything, at least based on his tone and lax attitude.
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Post by Charon on Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:10 pm

“Good choice, I just got a good batch in, it’ll just take a minute or so” Phoba said before standing up and heading over to the machine he had set up. He started heating the water before grabbing a mug for her. “You’re not in trouble by the way” he remarked, certain that she probably thought she did something wrong.

As he was now standing, Dolores would be able to see the strangeness of his outfit. While he wife a long flowing silk shirt, underneath she could see strange plates that were strapped in various places. Phoba used these plates to keep the ointment close to his skin and help relieve some of his pain on a daily basis. They were life savers at this point. They didn’t add physical defense really, but they allowed him to function.

Finishing her got chocolate, he handed Dolores her mug before starting to brew a bit of tea for himself. “I have you at a disadvantage. I’ve read your report but short of a name you know nothing about me. Please, ask whatever you wish. I’ll take no offense to any question” he assured her as his tea continued to brew.
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:25 pm

Dolores watched with curiosity as Phoba moved around; it almost looked like he was wearing armor. She accepted the hot chocolate with a soft "thank you", and took a sip as Phoba suggested she ask him some questions. "Well... I guess the outfit is... Well, I know some heroes like to maintain some level of anonymity, but the mask is... A bit off-putting, so why do you have it?" She asked tentatively; it was by far the oddest thing about him. While she did have additional questions, that stood out in her mind.
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Post by Charon on Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:00 pm

“So far that’s everyones first question” Phoba said with a small smile as he collected his tea. Moving back to his chair, he took a seat and lightly blew on the tea to make it a little more palletable to drink down. “The mask suppresses my power. Without it I can’t stop my power from affecting family, loved ones, even civilians. And believe me, I don’t wish that on anyone”
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:15 pm

Dolores blinked. That was an odd choice of words. Suppress his power? She had heard that some people's powers were simply a part of who they were, couldn't be turned off and the like... So that led into her next question. "What is your power, then? Does it have to do with..." She didn't feel comfortable saying it for fear of sounding rude, but she gestured to her chin, clearly alluding to the visible sores.
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Post by Charon on Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:31 pm

"My skin condition?" Phoba said to finish Dolores' sentence for her. "No, that's just how lucky I was to be born. Doctor's told my mom that it was lucky I made it to be honest" he said before taking a sip of his tea. "My power is that I generate an invisible aura around me, and it causes everyone caught within it to feel a strong sense of fear and paranoia gripping at them. It's not a pretty power, and it's one that hasn't won me a lot of friends over the years. Believe me, I've had more people accusing me of being the villain over the hero"
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:54 pm

Dolores nodded as Phoba explained his skin condition. It wasn't pretty, but at least he was alive. Small victories, and all.
As he explained his power, and said what people thought of it, Dolores fell quiet, staring into the cup of hot chocolate she was holding in her lap. Thoughts of the boy from earlier that week and words she overheard her father saying echoed in her mind. "Yeah... I know what that's like." She muttered. After a moment, she shook her head. "Sorry. I'm tired. Tests today took a lot out of me. Uh... What did you want to talk to me about?" She asked before taking a quick drink to ground herself again. It was good hot chocolate, she had to admit.
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Post by Charon on Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:13 pm

"Haven't guessed yet?" Phoba asked as he watched Dolores seem to retreat in to herself. "I read your entire file. Your power is an interesting one, but one that probably has a higher price to pay than most. I'm sure that like mine you saw it as a curse rather than as a gift. I believe that I can help you Dolores, or at least I can serve as someone for you to open up and talk to about. I've been where you are in my own way. I don't have your powers, but mine has its own drawbacks"

Phoba drank a bit of his tea once again as he tried to watch for a reaction from Dolores. "I only got to where I am because I had some people believe in me. Trying to pay it forward I guess in my own way. If you don't want to talk though...you're welcome to leave at any time you wish. I'm not going to make you say anything"
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:38 pm

Dolores stiffened slightly as Phoba spoke to her. She was silent for a long time. "I... I guess that makes sense." She looked down into the cup again. "Yeah... A lot of people think that I must be a sadist with this power. So I try to convince people that I'm not by just using half of my power, and then..." She sighed. "Then people just see me as a living painkiller. And some people... Some people manage both. Even if they won't say it to my face."
Dolores blinked and realized how depressed she must have been looking. Sure, this guy was here to help her, but the last thing she needed was his damn pity. She straightened herself up, cleared her throat and looked back at him. "But I'm working through it. Sure, it's tough. I'm sure I don't need to tell you about the looks that people can give someone they think is a 'deviant'. But curse or not, this is the hand I was dealt. Just have to play it now."
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Post by Charon on Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:47 am

“No, you don’t have to tell me about the looks” Phoba admitted. Dolores might have regretted that phrasing considering the guys damaged face and body. Even without his power, Phoba would draw attention in any crowd. It was the hand he had been dealt too, but he could see someone in defense mode when it was presented to him.

“Enlighten me, what are you doing exactly to cope and feel better about your surfeit situation, it’s true acknowledgment is the first step, but it means nothing if not followed with immediate action”
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:03 pm

Dolores didn't respond for a moment. She wasn't about to tell him the truth; she barely knew Phoba, and he was a chaperone for the SAFE classes. If she told him she was taking pain meds to take the edge off, he'd have to report her. She wasn't going to risk that, no chance in hell.
Finally, she looked up. "Mostly I just focus on building the sets for the drama program. Channel that energy somewhere productive, y'know?" She sighed. "I should be doing more. And I know I should. I just.... Don't really know where to start."
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Post by Charon on Fri Dec 21, 2018 9:36 pm

"Oh I understand plenty" Phoba said before finishing the rest of his tea and setting his mug down. "I just also know that sometimes it isn't enough. Sometimes we put so much effort in to one task that we hope with our entire being that it's enough...and it rarely is" Phoba admitted as he had been down that path before. "The only true way to move on from something like that, is to find a purpose that involves more than just yourself. Working with the drama program is nice, but I hope that you can move forward effectively in the SAFE classes with your fellow heroes. You'll be able to find others that are willing to accept you. Not everyone is as close minded as our elders. Believe me, if I can be accepted, so can you"
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:17 am

There was a moment of pause as Dolores absorbed what Phoba was saying. "I hope you're right." She said at last. "I'm honestly not too worried about being accepted, though. I'm more worried about being viewed as a tool. And I'm worried about turning into one to avoid being seen as... Well..." She shook her head. "No, negative thinking just makes things worse. I can dedicate myself to the SAFE classes in full." She looked up with determination in her eyes. "I intend to become more than my power. It'll take more than some bad looks to get me not to."
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Post by Charon on Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:20 am

“You’re correct on all accounts, but sometimes we can be our own biggest obstacles. I struggle daily in to diving headfirst into what my power asks me to be” Phoba said quietly. Dolores didn’t know it, but Phoba had used his power on her and learned her greatest fear. “So tell me Dolores, have you ever enjoyed using your power to cause someone to be in pain? Have you ever enjoyed it?”
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:29 am

Immediately Dolores went white. Without answering the question, Phoba could likely tell what the answer was. She turned her gaze down, unable to look at him. "Little while ago I cut myself in crew. I was leaving school, some guy tried to pull some shit with me. Got a bit handsy, tried taking my bag, so I made the cut his problem. Yeah, I enjoyed it, because the prick deserved it." She shook her head. "But it's not like I went looking for someone to hurt. He went after me, and I got him to stop. He thought he was messing with someone without a power. Nothing wrong with finding someone realizing that they picked a bad fight funny. He deserved what he got, anyone would say the same..."
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Post by Charon on Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:33 am

Phoba said nothing for about a minute once Dolores finished speaking. His fingers were drumming across the table as he debated what to say. “I remember one of my first times going after an actual criminal. East Diamond is a dangerous place, and I was going after a gang member who had information I needed. I cornered him and activated my power. I had been angry fir so long, watching that fear in his eyes...watching the hope within him die as I beat him to the ground. It felt so good, and the moment it ended...I realized that I had acted exactly as everyone thought I was: a monster”
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:41 am

Dolores kept her eyes fixed on the table as she listened to Phoba. She had to admit, hearing that story paired with his general appearance, she couldn't help but fear him, just a bit. "Th... That's different. I didn't enjoy hurting him.. I-I... I enjoyed beating him. Winning. Making someone cruel get what they deserved, make him think twice about going after someone weaker than him in the future. I had a cut and a guy messing with me, so I used one problem to solve the other. I didn't enjoy watching him suffer... I enjoyed being free of two issues..."
Dolores wasn't even sure if everything she was saying was true. She wasn't sure if it was helping her case. It sounded like denial to her, but she was't in denial; she didn't like hurting people. She like beating bad guys. That's what heros do, after all.
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Post by Charon on Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:46 am

“I thought the same thing when I broke that man’s arm. If he was afraid of me, he’d never commit a crime again. I’d make him fear the law, even if they didn’t respect it” Phoba acknowledged. He was starting to lightly rub one of his arms as his sores were starting to get itchy.

“But I knew that what I did was wrong even if the result had worked...so tell me something Dolores. Who are you trying to convince here, me or yourself?”
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Post by JollyLabyrinth on Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:05 am

Dolores's head was hung by now, her bangs hiding her face from Phoba. Finally, she let out a small chuckle, which slowly grew to a full belly laugh. "Not sure why I'm surprised." She said as she looked up; Phoba would see her eyes were somewhat redder and she was fighting back some tears despite the smile on her face. "Your guys's job is to keep people safe. Makes sense you guys would want to screen people with powers that were 'of risk'. Makes sense they'd employ someone like you to do it, too. A power people like me could relate to when it doesn't actually hurt people. It's common tactics; build a rapport with the individual so they trust you and get the needed information. And you and your bosses need to know if I'm gonna hurt anyone." She huffed and abruptly stood up. "So who am I trying to convince? Whoever the hell's in charge. I'm here because I want to use my power to help people. Stick that in your little letter to your higher ups. I knew I'd have trouble being accepted here. I just thought classes would at least start before people started interrogating me. Tch." She shook her head and stormed out of the room, really starting to regret not bringing her bookback to this; she really needed one of her pills right about now.
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Post by Charon on Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:10 am

“Someone like me?” Phoba quietly questioned but didn’t interrupt the sudden rant that Dolores went on. She was obviously upset, and he let her take it all out on him. He sat there in silence, though he rubbed his arm a bit faster as she threw every venom-filled word at him. She stormed off and he listened to the door slam behind her.

Phoba said nothing, only looked down at his empty mug and noticing a bit of blood drip from his sleeve as he had rubbed too harshly. He picked up the mug and threw it against the wall, causing it to shatter before he hit his arms against his desk. “Damn it!” He shouted, though no one was there to hear him.
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