Moving's A Bitch

Cast: Cedric, Cassandra, Lex, Hilary, Decker
Date: 11 February 2013

A hunt for the next artifact turns ugly when innocent bystanders become involved … and it's a good thing they did.

Streets of Islington

The south border of this area near the City and Clerkenwell is made up
mostly of Victorian limestone rowhouses that come with a high price tag. The
area around The Angel, Upper Street and Essex Road boasts art galleries and
shops specializing in antiques and collectibles as well as many high pubs and
cafes. To the north, the district grows less grand and is mostly lower-end
residential in nature.

Finsbury Park is a large green space that offers a bit of everything:
tree-lined avenues, an arboretum, playgrounds and formal gardens. It also
includes a sports complex with football fields, a lawn bowling green, tennis and
basketball courts, and even "American" sport amenities such as an American
football field and baseball diamonds.

It's well after dark, and the chill west wind drives a few last tattered and shriveled leaves before it, sending a sweet wrapped bouncing and scudding down the middle of the road between the parked cars of this in-town area of London. Tall buildings of flats and local shops rise up between the streets here, creating wind tunnels that only make it chillier on this London night. Thankfully, it's clear except for a few isolated charcoal clouds here and there; by London standards in winter, it's a nice night.

Pack slung over his back, Cedric walks in a tense silence, his expression withdrawn and pensive. Unlike usual, he's not in a particular hurry, more a bundled of tightly leashed energy than anything else. He is mostly quiet, both in words and in general movements. Tatty jeans, beaten trainers, and an old thrift-store jumper under his usual torn black jacket are the order of the night; the look is not out of keeping with a low-income worker or student, the sort that might live in this area. He does, however, look something of a dork in the black-rimmed glasses he sports this evening, and he's using those eyeballs, too, his gaze darting this way and that.

Lex and Hilary ended up delaying a while - first there was packing, then there was a stop at the bookstore to pack some things for Lex, and then they had to stop somewhere and get ingredients for that potluck Wynn mentioned - and now it's after dark, and Lex is walking along with his bag over his shoulder and Hilary at his side, towing a rolling suitcase. "It's not that much further. We can take a cab but it'd be expensive." Lex is dressed in a black tank top, plain old jeans, and his good sneakers, with a heavy overcoat slung over the whole thing. "Better to just walk it, right? Exercise. Healthy. Yeah." He doesn't sound all that enthusiastic. He's eyeing Hilary with some concern. "I can take the suitcase if you want." A hand gets offered over.

"I'll need the bloody money if I'm going to be paying double rent," Hilary mutters back. Because of course he's in an excellent mood about changing his lifestyle to avoid being murdered. He frowns and shakes his head at Lex's offer. "It's fine," he says. "It's on wheels." And it's not the biggest of suitcases.

Following behind the more senior Agent, Decker is dressed in more proper attire compared from his first outing with the Watch. With Cedric being more quiet than usual, Decker is even on higher alert with his eyes scanning over the area, keeping close to Cedric. He remains quiet for as long as Cedric does, just keeping an eye out for their targets.

It may be a reasonably nice night by London standards, but that doesn't stop Cassandra shivering and tucking her hands more deeply into the pockets of her battered leather jacket after she struggles briefly to close the door of the shop she's leaving, the wind all but enough to take her off her feet. Her long, woolen muffler is wrapped around her neck, and a matching woolen hat is jammed down low on her eyebrows, covering most of her spikey black hair. "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey," she mutters under her breath; head down, she almost runs into the pair with the suitcase. "Oi! Sorry 'bout that," she exclaims, stepping back a pace to get out of the way and offering a sheepish grin. "Wasn't looking…"

The sounds of voices from up ahead - familiar voices - bring Cedric up short, and he flips up his hood almost reflexively with a quick gesture, tugging it close around him. "Damn," he mutter-growls in a low voice that is rough around the edges and meant only for Decker. His eyes fix on the group, and he glances around at the area, looking for someplace to get out of sight, the impassivity fading into sudden concern. "Bystanders." He doesn't pull his hands from his pockets, though.

The reports the two agents received were of a pack of black dogs prowling this block. Animal control tried to locate them - even spotted them, but they disappeared into the shadows. There is a known Gloom entrance not four blocks away - the sewer where the sluagh grew and made everyone around it mad. There are no tracks, no overturned trashcans. All they have to go on is their gut - quite literally. A feeling of nausea is an excellent way to locate them.

Lex slows abruptly as Cassandra passes - and, of course, because her voice is female, he has to give her that especially charming Lex-grin that really looks something like that of a wolf propositioning a sheep. "Hey, don't worry about it. You might want to take care, it's a little late to be out walking here, you know." He thinks he's being helpful. He /sounds/ like a terrifying stalker man threatening to pounce the innocent the instant he gets the chance. This is why Lex does not get the ladies. His attention whips back to Hilary and he grins proudly as if to say 'See? I CAN talk to women!' Poor, poor Lex will never learn.

"He means 'watch where you're going,'" Hilary says flatly, shooting Lex an annoyed look that is the opposite of the approval he's probably hoping for. "Come on, we'll miss dinner."

Decker continues to move along with the Cedric, slipping his hands into his pockets, his skin becoming stone beneath the fabric of his jacket, making sure to keep his exposed skin normal. At the sound of the voices, he looks up in the direction the sound comes from, watching the bystanders for a moment, trying to look inconspicuous. "I'll keep an eye on them." He offers in hushed tones, allowing Cedric to keep an eye out for their target.

Cassandra unconsciously shivers again, only partly from the cold, "yeah, I'll just be -" she pulls a gloved hand out of her pocket, gestures in a generally-westerly direction, "going now…" she shoves the hand back into the pocket, and sidesteps, giving the tall Asian-looking fellow a wide berth to pass.

There's a sound. It's low and difficult to hear if you're not listening to it. Rat tat tat. Clawed feet moving along stone. The shadows ripple. There's an alley mouth not far from where Hilary, Lex and Cassandra are standing. The feeling of nausea is acute and sudden. Not toss your cookies bad, more like the beginnings of seasickness.

Sometimes the best way to locate one's quarry is to wait and watch, to see if they'll show up. This is definitely the area, and Cedric's well familiar with it - too familiar, really. That's exactly what he does - wait and watch. He'll pull out a cigarette if it goes very long.

Fortunately, he gets to save the fag. The nausea washes over him, drawing a grimace, but instead of raising a hand or doing anything else, he shrugs out of the pack and the jacket both, dropping them unceremoniously to the sidewalk on which they stand and tucking them up against the wall. The next thing he does is remove his glasses and tuck them safely in a side pocket of the bag. "And bang on cue. Look sharp, Decker." There's a tension in his voice, along with the beginnings of a snarl, and he raises his voice a little to be audible to the others.

"Hey, that's not what I meant at all," grumbles Lex, but it's a good-natured grumble. Hilary technically has every right to stomp on his fun, after all - he's not supposed to be flirting on the job, right? He's already started to stroll again when the feeling hits. "Ooog." Yeah, that's the noise. It sounds like maybe he will toss his cookies. And, shortly after that comes a very surprised, "Oh shit, dogs!" His attention's gone and locked on the alley nearby and he slings the bag off his shoulder to put in the way of any oncoming animals; he moves quickly to get between Hilary and Cassandra and whatever he senses. A second later, if he hasn't already been charged for alerting the others, he yelps in complete surprise, "Vanishing dogs!" That alley's dark as sin, no way he's seeing anything in it - but then again, Lex's vision is strange sometimes. "Back up, let's get the hell out of here," he adds in a quieter tone to those behind him.

Hilary starts to open his mouth to say something about the nausea when Lex mentions dogs. Hilary can't see them, but he starts to back up anyway, nearly stumbling over the curb. "Do we run?" he asks. He's ready to run even if he is dragging a stupid suitcase. He looks afraid.

Decker feels the sudden feeling of nausea that appears along with the dogs, nodding his head slightly with Cedric's words. He looks towards the dogs as they make their appearance, the rest of his skin turning to stone as he looks to Cedric. "Game time." He offers before he waits for Cedric to make the first move since he's the more senior of the two.

"Oi - what was that?" Cassandra's eyes flick in the direction from which the clicking noise came, "sounded like -" then the Asian fellow's words sink in, "dogs?" she stops in her tracks, "don't run - that'll only make them chase us," she says, as steadily as she can manage, though there is some nervousness in her voice.

Click. Click. Clickclickclick. Scratch. Whuff. It sounds like a pack of dogs, all right. But the strange thing is, they can't be seen. They seem to be concentrated in the alley, but there's sounds from behind them as well. It's like they're being surrounded by invisible mutts.

Out of the corner of Decker's eye, he can catch a blur of movement. Then out of Cassandra's, within view of Hilary as well. Something black. Something…no fur, but shaped like a dog - specifically a very large pitbull. There's scratching, then braying that sounds like a person doing a very convincing dog impersonation. It's highly unnerving, since the effect is like a feral beast with human-level intelligence.

Cedric gives Cassandra, Hilary, and Lex a long, hesitant stare, then looks back at Decker, shaking his head. "Dammit," he mutters. "Let's hope she doesn't see me properly." Again, that's all muttered very quietly, to Decker as he whips off the jumper and tosses it after the bag, revealing only tightly muscled arms beneath a ratty brown T-shirt. Too cold for that? Probably, for the way his skin prickles in the streetlights, but he adds to Decker, "Give me three meters!" With that snarled order, audible to all present, he crosses his arms across his chest and bows his head ….

….and his very body begins to shift, his clothes tearing.

Decker turns to look towards the sound of the dogs and the movement that appears in the corner of his eyes. He searches for the source of the movement and the sounds. At Cedric's words, he nods and starts to move away from the man, trying to give him more space. He pauses for a moment as he sees the man start to shift.

"Shit," Lex gasps as he twists, bag-first, to face the animals as they start coming out. "What the hell. Diu!" Sometimes English just doesn't cut it. What a pity, too, considering how hard he's been working to suppress that reflex. "Don't move, they're surrounding us." His attention whips from one to the next to the next as if he can see them just fine - and then he does something strange. He squeezes his eyes tightly shut. "Hilary. Girl. Get in here, stay close. Put your backs to mine and put your bags up. If I yell your name, I want you to swing the bag right in front of you. Girl, what's your name?" For name-yelling, of course. It's probably as close as they've got to an organized resistance right here, but it may help. He thought he heard voices, and he thought he recognized one of them, but his senses don't clearly identify without sight, and at the moment it's just a matter of hoping that's actually Cedric and he knows what the hell to do.

A hound surges out from the shadows and snaps at Lex's bag before they can get entirely organized. It's the size of a large pitbull, just as muscled, but with inky, hairless, almost reptillian skin, and a head shaped like a crocodile - with teeth to match. It makes its pass, then another surges out, aiming for Hilary. Right now, they're the easy prey, so the two Watch agents are not attacked directly - yet.

Lex and Cassandra both give very good advice. Everyone knows that you ought not to run from dogs. However, logic does not always win out over fear. Cedric is presumably behind Hilary. Maybe Hilary hears him shout, but he doesn't look. He is too transfixed by the possible doom coming out of the shadows. He sees the animal that jumps for him, and then despite Lex's battle plan, he bolts. He ends up dragging the suitcase along with him, going too fast to keep it on its wheels. While he does seem like the unathletic type in everyday life, it seems that his long legs can take him very fast indeed when he's afraid. Until he runs afoul of another dog, or the one that's after him catches him, that is.

Cassandra is too busy trying to put her back against something that isn't a glass store front to worry overmuch about what is going on across the street. Swearing in what sounds like a combination of Cantonese, Mandarin, and Cockney guttersnipe, she looks around, canted eyes wide enough that the whites are visible all around, for something - anything - she can use to defend herself, muttering, "don't panic… don't panic… SHIT… don't panic, Cassandra!" as if trying to convince herself - and not quite succeeding. The sound of tearing cloth has her eyes flicking around trying to determine where the greatest danger is, and, despite the cold, she begins to sweat. When the Asian fellow snaps out the order to move, back to back with him, she hesitates for only a moment, then does so, "An-Cassandra," she tells him. "I - don't have a bag…" then she lets out another string of Cantonese as Hilary runs off.

The process of shifting over is not entirely quick, nor does it look entirely comfortable … or safe. He bites his lip in paid as a shiny black, chitinous armor forms over his skin and a second pair of arms begin to erupt from his ribcage. He takes on half again his height, his legs muscling to an unnatural degree and thickening to support the additional weight. What was once a normal human head becomes grotesquely large and chitins over except for the eyes, becoming little more than a maw full of multiple rows of barbed teeth; the chitin rolls over his hands and the ends of the new arms, replacing them with barbed, sharp chitinous knives.

When the process is complete, the tattered remnants of clothing fall away to shreds on the ground. Where Cedric stood is now a hideous cross between demon and insect, some nine feet tall, with four knived arms. A killing machine that moves with unnatural speed, and as it looks up, it lets out a roar of sinister triumph and looks around, hunting for its first quarry - closest unfortunate soul is Lex's attacker. The thing jumps at Lex, grabbing for the dog with one of those knived arms.

"Hilary!" Lex yells, turning blindly towards his companion - which leaves him open for the oncoming dog's leap. Its claws have an instant to slice into his shoulders as its jaws go for his throat - and then he screams something unintelligible that might have been either a curse or a prayer. The invisible dog is /snatched/ off him and he's scrambling back, eyes still clamped shut, bleeding from his shoulders as he windmills back into Cassandra and tumbles sideways, staggering after Hilary. The other guy has the right idea - /if/ he doesn't get leapt on by a wild Gloom-dog. Lex is taking his chances.

Staggering back as Lex tumbles into her, flailing to try not to fall, but landing on her back end on the sidewalk as a result, Cassandra scrabbles back towards the nearest wall, the scream that has been building in her throat ripping out of her as she takes in the demonic-looking creature before her, grappling with something she can't see, a scream that is pure terror. Finding the wall, she presses her back hard against it, curling up in a tight, frightened, feral ball, her fear radiating from her in waves, arms up to protect her head. There, against the wall, the scream becomes a keening whimper.

Three of the hounds go charging after Lex and Hilary. The damned things are fast. They snap out with vicious jaws, snarling and surging forward. Lex seems the tastier treat. He's got two on him while Hilary has one.

The dogs snap out a few times at Cassandra, but it seems to be designed to stop her from interfering rather than to actually attack her. One gets close to her, like it's about to snap at her leg. It takes in a bit snootful of her scent, slobbering as it does. Then it looks at her with oddly intelligent eyes, snorts and then scampers off.

Cedric, now, Cedric's threat has attracted something a little…bigger. Even with Lex's distraction, he'll feel this thing. This…big thing. This large, lumbering beast that impossibly slips out of the shadows. It's a huge she-hound - the size of a small elephant, with dangling teats and a giant maw. Those hellhounds? Were just puppies. Mama's here. It lowers its head, snarls, then launches at Cedric. maw wide open. Inside that maw, deep inside, something golden glitters.

"Lex?!" Hilary yells without stopping, hoping he hasn't left him too far in his dust. "Run…!" He continues to do just that, running for all he's worth, trying to keep ahead of this hound. But he doesn't let go of the suitcase.

As Lex flails into her, Cassandra reaches out to grab hold of him, and fails as she spins around and falls to the ground. If her eyes were wide before, they seem to take up her whole face now as she takes in not only the demon-thing, but the mother of all hellhounds that is now attacking it, and the scream that has been building up inside of her rips out, a sound of sheer terror as she scrabbles back, crab-style towards the nearest wall, curling up in a fetal ball as she bumps into it, arms over her head, eyes squeezed tightly shut, as the scream devolves into feral whimpering, and murmurs "This isn't real… it's not real… it's not real…"

The thing that was once Cedric tosses the hellhound carelessly aside, in the direction of two others that might be attacking someone. There's that much possibility of distraction, anyway. And then … it sees the thing launching itself at it. A chitinous face does not lend itself to facial expressions, so it's hard to tell what or if the creature is thinking, but it has barely a split second to set itself before the creature barrels into it, and it rolls with the blow, grappling and slashing with those chitinous knives at it. It's got its hands full - Lex is on his own!

There's no answer from Lex to Hilary's cry or Cassandra's grab - Lex has gone down. He's sprawled unmoving on the pavement, his bag beside him… and the hound that was about to take his throat out twists and latches its jaw onto its own companion's neck instead. One hard clamp and tear - hellishly swift, viciously efficient - and it's flinging its brother off to hurtle into the pack, dead. The standing hound, the one Lex has just taken possession of, then lifts its bloody muzzle, fangs dripping with ichor, to look after Hilary and the other chasing him, preparing to launch after - and another cuts it off. With a snarl, the beast launches itself in that general direction, leaving Lex's empty body behind - and unguarded. It fully intends to rip its way through the pack to get that one, if it has to. Lex… Lex is not a person any more, just an empty meat-suit, waiting for the right-shaped spirit to come along and put it on.

The suitcase that Hilary is pulling catches a cobblestone and is torn rather violently out of Hilary's hand. the thing rumbles backwards and right into the face of the charging hellhound. A suitcase full of books is a pretty sturdy projectile. The creature goes spinning, ass over head and skids along the ground. Turns out books make a pretty awesome weapon.

The she-hound howls and bleeds as the knives slice into her. She rolls and snaps out, clamping down those powerful jaws on the first bit of Cedric she can. If she manages to close her jaws, she'll start to feed, start to drain him of energy.

More and more baby hounds emerge from the shadows. They surge past Cassandra, a few stopping to sniff as before. But they move on. The curious behavior of their brother has them worried. They surge forward sniffing and growling, examining the bloody-mouthed sibling like they don't know what to make of it. Lex's body is ignored for now. It doesn't smell like energy.

Hilary looks increasingly upset when he doesn't hear any answer. He looks back over his shoulder as the case is ripped from his hand, stumbles, and turns around as he comes close to a halt, staring at the animal that's been taken out by his own suitcase. He runs back to grab it and go back for Lex. "Lex! Damn you! Come on!"

The breath of hell-hounds snuffling at her hair, and the breeze of them running past her has Cassandra, full of trepidation, uncurling herself and starting to crawl towards the nearest doorway to get out of the way… then she spots Lex, down and out. "Oh no… no… please don't be dead…" she swallows, hard, and, with a terrified glance over her shoulder at the ball of rolling blood, demon, and beast fighting in the middle of the street, begins crawling towards him.

That's a hard landing the creature took, and the she-hound is as strong as hell itself. It takes doing to get through that chitinous armor, but the hellhound manages it, finally ending up crushing it enough to sink part of a fang into the flesh of what would be a human shoulder. It lets out a roar that is both furious and pained, but more beast than human in the sound, and takes its two free arms to plunge the knives at the hound's belly, blood glistening blackly across the armor. If they connect, the two knives will rip apart in a rending motion designed to gut the mama hound in a vicious blow.

The possessed hound breaks off its lunge towards Hilary as Hilary's follower goes down - it takes a moment to ensure that the man's all right. In that moment, another beast clamps down on its throat and starts killing it with sharp, rough shakes of its huge head… and Lex jumps. A completely different hound three meters away abruptly leaps on its brother, which was going after Cedric, and clamps its jaws on the back of the other pup's neck. Something cracks ominously in the creature's neck. Lex's body does nothing, one way or the other; he's alive, Cassandra will realize, but his pulse is slow and steady and his breathing faint. He's heavy, too, which might be worse.

Once the she-hound gets a fang into Cedric, all the hellhounds perk up and turn towards their mama. Its teats start to engorge, and they all make a little yip yip sound and start to charge forward. Lex, inhabiting the hound as he is, will feel a similar urge, a hunger gnawing at his belly.

It doesn't last, however. Cedric guts mama quite neatly, greasy black entrails and ichor spilling out over the ground. She howls, rolls her eyes back, and the massive jaw disengages. It lets out a few more swipes and snaps, but this particular Other can't survive a disembowelment.

Lex's beastie-hopping is doing its job. They're understandably confused and start to look at each other with suspicion. They back off from each other, snapping and snarling. Turning them on each other. It's a good plan, except the next time he tries it, one of the hounds reads the body language and makes a premature snap at its brother.

Hilary drops his suitcase and rushes forward to check Lex for injuries and give him a shake. "Lex! Please!" he shouts desperately, finding no particular injuries. "Come back," he says, lowering his voice a little.

As she reaches Lex and checks the pulse in his throat, Cassandra isn't sure if she's cursing or praying, but then she stiffens. Eyes going opaque, she stops stock still for a moment, then yells, "HILARY! LOOK OUT!" as fear gives her a burst of strength and speed she didn't realize she had. In the shadows, about to pounce, lurks a hellhound - with a five-foot-nothing girl diving to try and tackle it before it can go for Lex. "HELP ME!" she shouts to anyone listening at all. She has no prayer of stopping the thing alone, but maybe - just maybe - she can slow it down enough.

As the mama hound falls dead, the demon-creature staggers to its feet with an effort, shaking itself, then looks down at the body. Several quick slashes at the body, as if the creature is looking for something in the corpse, and the other arms will slash at any hound fool enough to approach it. Its armored form is slick with blood, and one shoulder of that armor is crushed in. It's not using that arm too effectively.

Decker stands there, unable to move as he watches Cedric transform and then attack the beasts. His stone skin gone and he is visibly shaking as he watches the onslaught. His memories flashing back to his time in the Gloom with his eyes focused squarely on Cedric and his demonic form. Yup. He's as frozen as a statue.

The possessed hound yips as it's bitten, twists, and snaps at its brother - then gets a very confused look on its face. Another hound tries to attack another - and gets bitten. Lex is getting less effective. It's good work - it's making them injure their own - but those bites are taking something out of him, and he doesn't like it. In a second or so, he stirs - his real body, that is - and lets out a faint groan. There's nothing he can do about the one about to pounce Hilary. "Behind you…" God, he feels like he's been chewed on.

The beastie feels oddly cold and slightly clammy, slick but not slimy. It makes terrible noises and wriggles around in Cassandra's grip. It thrashes out with claws and opens its maw. It doesn't bite. Luckily for her, its jaws only have one purpose, and it's not to chomp humans. Still, those claws are sharp. She can hold it, but not for long.

All the other hounds are looking very distraught and confused. They look at each other, snarl and snap. Some scamper close to their mama, but Cedric's presence drives them off.
Eventually all but the one Cassandra's wrestling with melt back into the shadows. The feeling of nausea for Touched abates, except for anyone within six feet of the last hound.

Cedric finds what he's looking for within a few slashes. An ebony stone with a gold circlet around it, patterned with runes. He's seen this before.

Hilary turns and looks, wide-eyed, staggers to his feet, and takes up his suitcase for use as a weapon. He holds the handle in both hands and swings it as hard as possible at the face of the hound Cassandra is holding.

Front claws rake down Cassandra's left arm, back claws across her side, and she screams in pain, but somehow keeps her grip - for a moment. Then Hilary's suitcase comes swinging in, smashing at the dog's face, and she loses her grip as she dodges the oncoming suitcase. Bleeding, her jacket torn in several places, she swears again and dives to get between the hound and Lex.

That's one hefty suitcase and a hell of a swing. The beastie goes flying off with a yelp. When it notices its brothers are gone, it gives them all an irritated huff, then darts off. It melds into the shadows. The last traces of nausea evaporates.

Decker continues to watch Cedric go to town on the mutts, but finally snaps out of it after he sees Cassandra get cut by the giant demon creature. He rushes over, his training kicking in to protect innocents against the Gloom.

Too far away from the wrangle with the last hound to feel its presence as it is, only the sounds of struggle cue the demon-thing to look up. It studies the situation for a moment, tensing as if to leap, then stands perfectly still, and finally, drops to one knee, trembling. It takes several seconds, but the process reverses - the creature shrinks and changes, the chitin peeling back to reveal fair skin dotted with tattoos in a couple of places, the arms withdrawing, the head shrinking back to its normal size, the legs to normal if muscular proportions. What is left is a naked man — well-muscled and solid, somewhere in his 20's, with jet-black wavy hair that is now slick with blood. Much of him is similarly blood-slicked, but a couple of tattoos are visible - a pair of kanji all but invisible amid bruising and swelling across his right shoulder, and a knifed insect claw eerily similar to the weapon he just finished wielding seemingly sprung from his back. He stays where he is for several breaths, eyes shut tightly, shaking like a leaf.

Lex isn't getting up. He does, however, watch with wide-eyed surprise as Hilary goes to town on the hound Cassandra tackled, taking that one out for the count. "Diu," he mumbles again, because he's not thinking very clearly. They're all gone as far as Lex can tell, so he shuts his eyes and breathes. There's Cedric over there, he can tell - and he can sense, somehow, when the man changes. It makes him a better target for possession. Lex takes another slow, deep breath, then wedges an elbow beneath himself and starts struggling upright. There. He can move!

Hilary is a little stunned to see that his desperate action works. He stares after the beast, panting a little. No doubt he's just ripped through half the muscles in his back. He'll feel that tomorrow. He turns back to look at Lex. "Can you walk?" He comes over to try to help him up.

Cassandra doesn't know she's bleeding; she doesn't realize the hellhound is gone, and she certainly didn't see the transformation from Kafkha's worst nightmare back into a naked man (or she might have looked in that direction, shock or not). She's almost wrapped around Lex to protect him, shifting away as he starts to move. Then, abruptly, the adrenaline drains out of her and she starts to shake as well. "I thought you were dead," she tells Lex. "It was going to rip out your throat - I Saw it - I Saw it - it was going to rip out your throat…" there's something shocky about her words - small wonder, given the blood she still appears to be losing.

Decker arrives next to Cassandra, still keeping an eye on Cedric with a slight look of distrust towards the man. "Are you alright? How bad is it?" He asks her as she talks to Lex. He tries to gauge how bad her wound is and how much medical attention she's going to need.

At length, Cedric finally pushes himself to his feet with an effort, shivering now with the chill of a London winter on bare skin. Quickly, he strides over to his pack and whips out an old gym towel that has seen better days - someone came prepared! It doesn't take him long to clear off the worst of the blood and jump into a pair of old sweats and a T-shirt, then add the jumper and another pair of beaten trainers. Not exactly sassy, and that shoulder is clearly giving him trouble; it isn't long before the shirt is sticking to him and has a stain on the point of the shoulder.

His last move is to pull a long knife from the pack, one marked with runes similar to what's on that ebony stone. Instead of taking it over there, though, he walks over to the group. "All right there?" he asks quietly, something curiously flat in his voice. "Sorry you had to see that. Anyone need a doctor?"

Lex manages to get himself hauled up, half from his own effort and half from Hilary's. It's a downside of the muscle he's been putting on: he weighs a damn ton. "I'm alive. Just… got bit a few times." He's weak, battered, and from the look of him, exhausted, though the only visible wounds on him are where a hound clawed him in both shoulders through his coat. His head droops sidelong and leans close to Hilary's. "Nice job." That's very general, might be directed at anybody and everybody. "Maybe we should call a cab after all." Nevermind the bodies, the blood, the shocky young woman freaking out in Decker's care. He pries his eyes open and locks a slightly glassy stare on Cedric. He just saw the man as a monster. He just nearly got killed several times over. He got to witness, through animal eyes, as the monster gutted the mother hound. And he says faintly, "Nice pecs." His mouth curls in a crooked little smile that promises he's going to have nightmares later.

"They'll never pick us up," Hilary murmurs. "Come on. I'll help you the rest of the way." He puts an arm round Lex's waist, ignoring all the monster bodies strewn around, ignoring the other Touched. Even more or less ignoring Cassandra, since someone's seeing to her. "Let's go."

Cassandra remains on her knees on the pavement, looking up at a familiar voice, "you - it - you -" total confusion; the demon-bug-from-hell is gone, but the man is bleeding from the same place… her eyes go wide, and there would be fear, but then - then - the pain hits, and she hisses, her right hand reflexively going to cover her left arm, and she looks over at Hilary and Lex. Shaking her head, and obviously still somewhat shocky, she mutters, "wouldn't you know it… the cute ones are always queer or taken," and passes out cold.

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