summary: y/n is discovers that there is more to it than just her escaping once she realizes that Karl has a similar way of thinking.
for ch. 1, go here!
warnings: cursing, and mentions of gore
a/n: lots of reading but trust it’ll be worth it!
A cold sweat was running down your temple as you were walking through the blood. When your eyes adjusted to the scene ahead of you, you collapsed on your knees.
“Brother... no... no no what happened?” You whispered, cupping his face and wiping the blood from his lips.
“Get away... r-run, please.” He choked out quietly.
You felt the trickles of blood run down your hand as you felt your eyes water.
“No, please... can’t leave you!” You cried.
“S-Stop it. J-Just listen... listen... to..-”
His sentence was cut short when the world around you went black. There was a force that tugged at the back of you and sent you flying, leaving your dying brother behind.
“Let me go!” You screamed, wailing your arms frantically.
The sudden force stopped and before your eyes were unusual furry creatures tearing humans apart in your village. You could vaguely make out the faces of the people being eaten. You wanted to tear from the invisible force’s grip, but it was no use.
The world went black again and the vicious force pulled you once more..
“Stop! Please! Get me out of here!” You cried out again.
You then heard laughter from a distance in the darkness. It grew louder, louder, and louder. It felt as if you couldn’t stop it.
“He won’t come back. NONE of them will.” The female voice boomed from behind.
You then popped up, grasping for air. Your chest was heaving up and down and you felt your hands being painted with your tears.
“This... That was a nightmare again.” You whispered angrily, your breathing still being uneasy.
You let your feet hang off the bed as you tried to calm down. These were reoccurring nightmares with different meanings behind them. The female voice kept sounding familiar, but you could never place your finger on whose voice it could be. It’s been happening for the past week of living inside this factory. It made you fear to go to sleep so when you did, it was really by accident.
You were angry. You were pissed to be in a situation like this. You wanted your brother back, your family too. Why were they stripped away from you like this? What did you do?! The unknown adrenaline caused a horrid thought to come across your mind.
Yes, murder. It didn’t sound bad. You wanted to escape and you had to do it one way or another. You decided to think up a plan to help you not only with that, but with helping you escape the damn place. You realized that escaping was more important than killing him for now. Just thinking alone, you could feel something changing within you.
Your plan became extremely elaborate. You knew that you had to seek for parts and tools in order to assemble at least a reactor in order to control your future creation. So, you looked at the map again that Karl gave to you. There was a ‘tools’ area that he marked, assuming that maybe you would go there for some parts. He wasn’t wrong.
You left your room and began to make your way down to the area. You took the elevator and tensed up when it began to move. Your adrenaline from earlier came down and then you were faced with a harsher reality. What if you ran into him? What would he say? What if he surprised you and took your life? These thoughts cornered you in your mind, causing an unexpected migraine to appear within seconds. When the doors opened, you sped walk off, trying to ignore the ache. When you walked in, you stared at the parts, already picking apart which were of use and which weren’t. It felt so unreal to understand which was which.
You walked to a certain pile of scraps and when you reached out to move them, and shooting pain entered behind your eyes. The throbbing pain coursed through you and before you knew it, three pieces of scrap metal flew to the wall, creating an overwhelming amount of noise for your ears to register.
You stared at your hand in disbelief.
“What the hell am I becoming?” You questioned yourself quietly.
You didn’t know what to think, so you tossed the unbelievable event to the back of your mind for a moment. You started picking up parts and stuffing them into a makeshift bag that you found on the ground to take back to your room. When you finished you immediately went back as quick as possible.
You tossed the parts to the ground and began to sort them out. When you were done you went to your desk and began sketching a prototype of the reactor. This obviously wasn't going to be an overnight thing. You may have had the parts yes, but the creation itself was slowly becoming a pain in the ass. It was in your mind but it wouldn't show on paper in order to piece them together correctly. Every now and then you would test your mind to see if you could move a piece of metal to your table. The amount of mind power it exerted made you mentally exhausted.
“Please don’t make me into that metal asshole.” You grunted, the metal scrap just falling to the ground in another failed attempt.
You looked around your room until you came across a wooden chair. You zoned in on it and noticed it trembling against the ground. It then lifted up for a moment and you felt your face practically light up. Seeing that the chair was strictly wooden, it seemed as if you could lift up other things besides metal. You were elated. This provided you with more motivation to keep pushing in your prototype.
This went on for days into the second week. Karl knew since the time he provided you with map he would hardly see you again. His mind did often wonder what the hell you were doing, but then he remembers he has a rebellion to attend to. Worrying about you had been pushed to back of his mind. He knew that if you hadn’t gotten anything now, what would change within some weeks? You were just going to be another test subject for him.
You needed him to think that nothing had happened to you. You wanted to keep him in the dark while you created things he was unaware of. Time plus him was against you, and the last thing you wanted was either one of those to stop you.
Your telekinesis was getting stronger as time went on. You couldn't control it, but there were moments of stability. You were surprised by the stability considering you hardly slept. You wanted to make up for lost time when you unexpectedly got sick, or to just simply avoid those lucid nightmares.
One day your curiosity got the best of you. You knew your ideas were dying out and you needed a change of scenery. You did yourself a solid and took a tour the factory. You were careful to avoid random steam bursts from pipes and just the x’s in general on the map.
You found yourself outside, taking in the light snowflakes that fell on you. The bitter cold nipped at your nose continuously along with the faint scent of oil. You looked up at the sky and took a deep breath before exhaling. You found your peace and a new set of ideas.
Right when you felt like going back, you noticed two large metal doors cracked open. You neared them, just to take a quick peek inside until you heard Karl’s voice booming from within. You neared the voice, walking down a small set of stairs quietly, until you were able to peek inside.
“I’ll kill her.” He grumbled before a knife jolted from a cross the room and scarred up a wall.
The wall was had plastered black and white photos of the ‘siblings’ that you came across when you first woke up. You watched as the knife tore the wall to shreds. The rage emitting from his room was almost terrifying. His forehead was glistening with sweat and his hand was bleeding.
“You take my fuckin’ life and expect to keep livin’?! Fuck that...”
A roar of an engine then emitted from underneath the ground. Karl walked over to it and knelt down, opening the gate to the ground wildly.
“Shut the fuck up!” He yelled before slamming it back down with his bleeding hand.
He hissed from his carelessness and stood up, his right hand now trembling.
“I... I need to clean this.” He started to throw some mini bag together and began to head to the door.
You slipped out of view and looked for a quick hiding spot. You hid behind a metal pillar and watched him aggressively walk out and make a right. You came out and immediately walked down into his room to examine it more. You read the names underneath the photos which gave you a better understanding of who was who. From first view, you could tell he had a special hatred for Mother Miranda. You inferred that she maybe was the one that ‘took his life away’. Her face was almost impossible to make out due to his rage.
“Is she responsible for me too?” You questioned out loud.
You stared at her shredded portrait for a few seconds longer before feeling an abnormal fear go through you. The face was attempting to jog a memory back that you couldn't remember. You then recalled the voice within your nightmares. You matched it with her face and then suddenly your memories were bombarded with when you woke up that day with everyone staring at you. You felt as if that she was the source of everything that has happened to you. Your emotions were flowing through you again, but directed more so at the right person this time. The questions you had were now being answered once the dots finally connected.
You scanned around his desk once more before coming across some notes. You looked at some papers and read the heading on the top.
“Rebellion?” You mumbled.
You read and looked over all of his creations he was making. Everything was detailed, more detailed than you could ever be. As you read, you saw that there was one he couldn't control. Sturm. It was uncontrollable according to his notes and even with his abilities he couldn’t control it nor fix it.
This could be a way out for you. Or maybe now... a compromise, or even blackmail.
You suddenly heard heavy footsteps from a distance and indistinctive grumbling. You tore the single page that contained all the information about Sturm and placed the papers back where they came from. You peeked out to the staircase before darting out of there, taking a quick detour back inside the factory.
If you could fix Sturm, it could open more opportunities in different creations. But to be inside that rebellion with him... to kill the source of it all, to be of value with your new ability, to simply not die in vain... those were what enticed you to consider the odds.
I stood with General Scott who was very eager to begin the process of my court-martial. We were waiting for Washington outside of the house that served as headquarters of the camp. We saw him approach with three soldiers following, one of them writing down everything Washington said. “Absent without leave, falsifying intelligence, insubordination…” Scott listed. “I want you to know, Captain, I plan to leave nothing out of my report.”
Annoyed but forced to comply respectfully, I said, “I wouldn't expect you to, sir. Though you should know, I already told the commander everything I did.”
He seemed shocked but carried on. “Well, then likely your punishment's been decided and we've merely been called here to see it carried out.”
Washington walked past us, stopping next to me. We all turned our attention to the officer on the wagon with a noose around his neck. “The accused, John Herring, having been convicted of breaking into the house of Mr. Prince Howland and robbing him of several spoons, silver dollars, and wearing apparel, has been sentenced to suffer death,” the executioner announced. “His Excellency, the commander in chief, approves this sentence as an example made to deter the boldest and most hardened offenders.” The entire time the executioner spoke and until the wagon was being rolled out, Herring kept his gaze locked on Washington.
Upon hearing the reasons for this man’s execution, I realized I may be facing the same punishment. I found it difficult to watch as he struggled. As the man was still struggling, Washington’s low voice interrupted. “Shall we?” was his invitation for us to follow him inside. I was frozen in place and could not tear my mind from my potential punishment. General Scott gave me a pointed look before I finally followed everyone else inside, a new sense of fear washing over me.
Scott and I followed Washington into what could be best described as a war room. In the room connected to the one we stood in, we could see a man hunched over a desk, writing vigorously. “This is Mr. Nathaniel Sackett,” Washington introduced, “of the Committee to Detect and Defeat Conspiracies of America.” Unsure of what to effect, I swallowed nervously.
“Sir, the presence of a civilian at court-martial is highly irregular,” Scott protested.
“Yes, I agree Charles,” Washington said, turning to me. “Now would you be so kind as to brief the room on the intelligence uncovered at Trenton?” he asked Scott.
“Brief the room?” he repeated.
“Myself included,” Washington said.
I realized this was a trap for Scott. Designed to show that he disregarded vital evidence to humiliate him. Scott began nervously, clearly about to flounder. “An examination of orders discovered in the desk of Colonel Rall suggests that the garrison we took from the Hessians was much more than a winter camp.”
“I know what Howe wants,” Washington mumbled more so to himself. “But how will Howe take it?” he continued, inspecting the map. He moved pieces to represent Howe’s forces as he continued to theorize. “By land... by sea... or will he lunge north to join forces with Burgoyne so as to decapitate New England from the rest of our colonies? We have until the snow melts before their forces in New York begin to move. New York,” he concluded. “Which remains dark to us.”
“Sir, I have just dispatched new scouts to observe the enemy,” Scott stuttered.
“I grow weary of contradictory accounts,” Washington interrupted with a yell, “that merely guess at the intent of the enemy.” He turned his focus to me. “This letter written by your man on Long Island…
“That letter,” Scott interrupted, “was not received through the proper channels.”
“Which is why I paid it no mind,” Washington told him harshly. “It was a lone report and unconfirmed until our victories at Trenton and Princeton proved it accurate.”
“More accurate than any piece of intelligence we’ve received thus far, at least,” Mr. Sackett chimed in.
“Gentlemen, I've asked you here today to determine if this was a fluke and, perhaps more importantly, if this fluke can be repeated. It was your friend, Captain Tallmadge, that got this information, was it not?” Washington asked me.
“Yes, sir,” I answered.
“How are we to trust someone so unknown to us?” Scott protested.
“I can assure you, sir, you will be perfectly convinced of my friend's integrity and loyalty,” I swore.
“Well, according to you, he took an oath of loyalty to King George,” Scott countered, clearly agitated.
“Only to get closer to the enemy, to learn their secrets,” I, in turn, insisted.
Still very frustrated with losing his control of the situation, Scott continued to argue. “Traditional military reconnaissance is a proven discipline. Multiple scouts produce multiple reports which may be cross-referenced to ensure verification. In addition, soldiers are trained to recognize一”
But he was cut off by Sackett. “Actually, soldiers make terrible spies.” He got up from his desk and walked over. “All that discipline drilled into their movements makes them easy to spot, unlike us civilians.”
“Excuse me, sir, but why exactly are you in this room?” Scott demanded rudely.
“I’ve been invited here by your commander in chief to opine the business at hand,” he stated matter-of-factly.
“Mr. Sackett came to us by way of William Duer, who recommended him as a person of intrigue and secrecy,” Washington defended.
“And I must say, I find this young man's chain of agents very intriguing,” Mr. Sackett said, looking at me. I was astonished that he was so impressed with me.
“I want this chain notion explored and a unified recommendation presented upon my return,” Washington ordered angrily to Scott. “Any questions?”
“Well, yes, Your Excellency,” I began nervously. “The letter that I transcribed regarding the Hessians and Trenton. It was unsigned. I mean to ask, how did you come by the name Abraham Woodhull?”
“Excellent question,” he said. He then turned to Sackett who had returned to his desk. “Any for you, Mr. Sackett?”
“Plenty, but not for you, sir.” Washington then left, leaving General Scott and me in confusion. Nathaniel Sackett seemed unbothered by the interaction.
I spent an entire day with Sackett and Scott discussing my ring with Abe. I purposely left out Jane’s involvement. She wasn’t even supposed to be involved with the Simcoe plot in the first place, much less if this became a steady source of information. Sometimes it was the three of us together, me alone, or me with one other man. But we sat down at the table we began the day at. Nothing was said as we waited for Washington who came in a few moments later. A soldier took his cloak from him and he turned to the rest of us. “General, have we come to a consensus?” he asked.
General Scott stood up proudly. “Your Excellency, we believe traditional reconnaissance is the way forward as it depends on as little variable as possible and would be carried out by men who could be trusted to follow orders.”
Mr. Sackett and General Washington looked irritated. “Captain,” Washington looked to me, “what say you?”
I was unsure of what to do. Crossing Washington is a huge no but crossing my immediate superior might end up worse for me. “I一 I concur with the general, sir,” I momentarily gave into Scott’s glare. Sackett scoffed but I continued. “The chain of agents approach would require trust and in that resource, I'm afraid we find ourselves lacking.”
Washington walked slowly into the room. “You’re speaking now of your men on Long Island,” he inferred.
“No, sir, I’m speaking of the men in this room,” I stated boldly. Washington gave me a look as if daring me to continue speaking. “Sir, for a conspiracy like this one to function, we would need to be keeping secrets from the enemy, from Congress, even from our own army. This would require absolute trust amongst the secret-keepers, and yet General Scott here does not trust me or my judgment. Mr. Sackett here mistrusts my experience, much as I mistrust his attitude toward the lives of the agents in the field. And you, sir…” I hesitated, knowing I was getting myself into deep shit, “you know the name Abraham Woodhull and yet you will not disclose to me the source of your knowing. Apparently, you do not trust me either. Therefore, I cannot trust the success of any chain that we might build here today.”
Washington looked down, seemingly thoughtful. I hoped he’d be wise enough to look past my disrespect and hear my words. “I’d like to speak with Captain Tallmadge alone,” he said in a low voice. He turned and walked out of the room, only stopping to allow a soldier to slip his cloak onto his shoulders. I followed hastily after him, not wanting to be in more trouble than I already am.
We walked out into the snowy night, Washington not saying a word. “Mr. Sackett tells me that you prefer an alias for Woodhull,” Washington finally began. “I must say, I concur.”
“Forgive me, sir, but I thought that we had agreed that the best way forward一”
“You were right in your prescription,” he interrupted. “We require an amendment in the name of trust.
“Following our retreat from Brooklyn Heights, I tasked a native to reconnoiter enemy encampments around Long Island and seek out contacts friendly to our side. His name was Nathan Hale,” I was taken aback at the mention of my friend’s name, “and he was captured while he was on a mission for me. He was hanged as a spy. Fortunately, his best friend at Yale, a certain Benjamin Tallmadge, spoke often of his hometown friends... a fiancée by the name of Jane Coates, a whaler named Brewster, and a farmer named Woodhull. I wrote those four names down on a report, a report I looked back on when an unsigned letter sent by an anonymous farmer proved correct. Captain Hale died without friends to support him. We cannot let that happen to Mr. Culpepper.”
My thoughts lingered on my friend until I heard Culpepper. “Mr. Culpepper?” I asked.
“We'll never use the name Woodhull again,” Washington agreed to my plan to use Abe and to keep his identity a secret. He held up the egg Mr. Sackett had written ‘Mr. W,’ on, and crushed it in his gloved fist. He began to walk back towards headquarters but I called after him.
“Sir!” he turned back to me and I rushed forward. “If I may ask, can we also keep the name Jane Coates out of discussion? She is not a part of the ring and I’d hate for anything to happen to her,” I said hesitantly.
Washington gave me a knowing smile. “A man protecting his bride, I admire that.” He paused for a moment. “Of course. Although I hope that after the war I will be given the pleasure of meeting her. Hopefully she will be Mrs. Tallmadge by then.”
The next morning I was called back to headquarters. There I was greeted warmly by General Washington who immediately led me back outside just as General Scott arrived. Washington left me in front of the steps to the house and met Scott on the lawn. “You are an invaluable asset to me, and so, General Scott, I feel it better to apply your acumen where it is most needed... on the front.”
I was surprised by Washington’s decision but not as surprised as Scott. “But, sir, a captain can't run the intelligence branch.,” he protested.
“That's why I have promoted him to major.” I refused to let it show but inside I could feelmy heart pick up with excitement. I realized I had just become the new Head of Intelligence with my new rank.
Scott pursed his lips in poorly covered up irritation. “I wish you the best of luck, Your Excellency.” He gave Washington a respectful bow before walking away with his pride barely stitched together.
I walked closer to General Washington. “Thank you for this promotion, sir. I pray I do you proud.”
“As do I. Your first duty is to come up with a given name for our Mr. Culpepper,” he said with the faintest hint of a smile.
I thought of all the important people in my life. Deciding on my little brother. One of the men I am most proud of, I announced, “Samuel.”
“In honor of your brother, I presume?”
“Yes, sir. And might I ask, what is the meaning of ‘Culpepper’?”
“Excellent question,” was all he said with another faint smile. Realizing that was a story for another day, I nodded and turned to walk into headquarters. Where I will now be working. Despite everything, all the responsibilities I now have, all the people that now answer to me, my thoughts are on Jane. What would she think about my new position? Would she be proud, ecstatic, or scared? If I told her in person, how would she react? I just hope I’m a man she can be proud of.
A/N jesus christ, I am so sorry that was all Ben with very little mention of Jane.
Sorry in advance but more likely than not, there will be no new chapter tomorrow. I hate to leave you guys with this and no new chapter tomorrow but I’m busy all day.
summary: a mission gone awry leads to feelings being embraced.
a/n: i’m in the very tedious process of moving some of my c&m content to my main, enjoy what may become a clone influx depending on how quick i am w it. set pre-echo. no warnings to be found
neither of you really intended for your relationship to go beyond a simple camaraderie, what it always had been since you were folded into the ranks of the bad batch. the first instinct was to keep the clones at arm’s length, maintaining just enough friendliness to warrant trust on the battlefield and nothing more. growing attached never does good when either of you could die at any time, but the longer you were both alive and around each other, the harder it became to stomach it.
crosshair was far easier to be around than most usually think. his low standards for others left plenty of room for him to be pleasantly surprised when things go alright, so when the happier lilt in his voice makes it’s presence known, it’s always genuine.
wrecker, though? despite the fact he lets himself be read like a holonovel, it was like attempting to read one in a language you didn’t know. you had no idea how to talk to someone that was so open and honest, utterly devoid of any motives other than what he makes known. it was always “this means that” and “up means down” with most other people because not many people would trust a jedi so openly with their true feelings so brazenly.
but wrecker was different. more time spent with the animal loving pyro had him pouring his soul out to you right on the floor of the marauder. it was hard to not give him something back; you feared that if he gave too much that he’d soon have nothing left, and you refused to watch the light die in his eyes.
so you tried to repress everything you’d been taught since the crèche about emotions and vulnerability, starting to give pieces of yourself to wrecker and the guys. it worked wonders on missions, making your motley crew even more efficient. there was never a doubt whether someone would do what they said they would, would be where they said they would be.
this newfound trust — along with what had turned out to be a trap — prompted the first throwing. the five of you were surrounded and almost everyone wounded in some form or another. escaping to higher ground meant life or death. you figured the plan would be for you to use the force and move them before bringing yourself to safety, but wrecker had other ideas.
once hunter’s mapped out an escape route, wrecker snatches tech by his back plates and throws as hard as he can. you’d never seen this display of strength and are absolutely gobsmacked, but you have the sense to use the force to push him a little farther and soften the landing. he does the same for hunter and crosshair until it’s just you and him left.
he’s right beside you and starting to grab you by the modified armor you wore painted in the same slate grey the boys wore, but you moved from his reach the moment you felt him come towards you.
“let me throw you! you need to get with the others!”
“no! you won’t have a way to get to us!”
“i’ve got you for that, don’t i?”
there was something in his force signature alongside the trust and adoration. that something you didn’t have the experience to identify was rolling into you like the waves of kamino against tipoca city. it told you that he knew with every fiber of himself that you were gonna get him out of there in one piece.
when he goes to grab you again you shake your head, pointing to a small area of respite from the droid’s blaster fire. you’re there in seconds and you can tell he’s wondering what you’re about to do but isn’t questioning whatever you’re thinking of. your lightsaber is quickly put away as your hands reach for his, giving them a soft squeeze before moving them together. he gets the hint to lock his fingers and he realizes how exactly he’s going to launch you.
the blaster fire was now centered on your little respite and it would only be moments before they had you on the ground before them if you didn’t get out now. “on the count of three!” he nods quickly. “one, two, THREE!”
he put most of his strength behind that launch and you felt like you were flying. you turned your body towards him, back to your destination. the force wrapped around wrecker, bringing him into the air with you.
he didn’t struggle against the hold you had on him, seeming to take comfort in the presence instead of being worried. oddly enough, he seemed to enjoy it, especially after you brought him even to you with a wide grin. you knew heights were troubling to wrecker, so seeing him so carefree while midair was unexpected.
when asked about this moment, soaring through the air with his jedi while escaping from a seppie ambush, he’ll say that the only reason he wasn’t afraid of falling was because he knew you would catch him. he could feel your presence around him the entire time and nothing in him doubted that he was safe with you.
your recounting of the events that took place on that backwater planet have you reminiscent of the way he threw you, how you felt so free when soaring towards the rendezvous. it was nothing you’d felt before, nothing you thought you’d feel again until the next inevitable launching.
but then you’re back to the marauder and he collects you into his arms, holding you there as if you would be snatched away if he didn’t barricade you between them. he sinks to his knees with you and lets everything he’s feeling right then be known — the fear of losing you to the swarm in those final moments, the elation of feeling your force presence cocooning him like a soft blanket because that meant he had succeeded in protecting you, what he now told you was love with no words to be found.
and for the first time, you open yourself up the same as he did for you. showing yourself to someone else didn’t hurt the way your master had insisted it would. to you, it felt as if you were making a home in the arms of this clone, this man, this hero. if given the choice, you swear that you’d choose those arms over any temple.
i did not forget about you, beautiful anon, i promise! thanks for the ask, 💛.
fic ask game
5. What character that you're writing do you most identify with?
well, currently only writing sebchal, so i've got limited options, ha. but out of the two, i definitely identify with seb more--and thus, perhaps, actually find him easier to write. i identify with his privacy, his lead by example mentality, his sudden and direct moments of snark, and a bunch of other stuff actually. we're both water signs, you see--intuitive and emotional water signs who care a lot about depth, relationships, and security. it's rather a pleasure to write him.
10. How would you describe your writing process?
i did answer this one in the last ask, but here's some more insight regarding outlines. i don't know what a typical outline is supposed to look like if there is even such a thing, but mine tend to be a sequential map of where the fic is supposed to go (we're talking longer fics, of course). for example, for postcards, the outline consisted of the entire made-up 2021 season, taken from the original 2020 season, and what each postcard would say per location. if you take only what was written on the postcards, you can vaguely see how the story transpires (platonic to longing to desperation to vulnerability to comfortability to love). all the actual scenes that accompanied the postcards or those in between were crafted as i wrote, but because i had the progression of the fic and relationship embedded into the postcards, i didn't need to outline every single scene in sequential order.
18. Do any of your stories have alternate versions? (plotlines that you abandoned, AUs of your own work, different characterizations?) Tell us about them.
i previously answered this one too, but here's another bonus version of roots on the rooftop. i was originally going to have their physical relationship begin that first night seb arrives in monaco after he gets a brief tour of charles' apartment. here's the snippet i saved:
“Why are you so quiet?”
So he had noticed. Of course he did. This was Seb.
Charles tried to laugh it off, but the sound was awkward between them. “I don’t know. I’m just surprised you came.”
“You were the one that asked.”
“Yes, I did.”
Seb stepped closer to him—closer than Charles thought would ever be possible. His breath hitched, and he held the air inside of him like he did his expectations and desires.
“This is silly,” Seb said. And he leaned in to kiss him.
Charles pulled back immediately. His body vibrated with the need to go back there and capture that sensation again and again and again.
“What are you doing?”
“Isn’t that why you invited me here?” Seb asked.
And, fuck. What the hell just happened. What did he miss in those two stupid text exchanges that amounted to a grand total of five messages. What did he not see when Seb called him and said he could book a flight in a couple of days and could stay for a while. How long was a while? And—
the fic theme would've been the same, but i ended up scrapping this because i thought this made the relationship too obvious for charles, wanted him to struggle a little more, and wanted to see a slower unfolding of him realizing his feelings for seb. but if you compare, i did repurpose most of the dialogue and narrative for two scenes in the final product.
19. Is there something you always find yourself repeating in your writing? (favorite verb, something you describe 'too often,' trope you can't get enough of?)
also previously answered, but i gave this question additional thought. if it's not obvious already, i write romance--not just because of ships but actually the genre of romance. that's my style. that's my comfort. that's my go-to. so that in of itself sometimes lends to ideas or images or actual writing that can be very similar. i'm pretty conscious of trying not to literally write the same thing over and over, but it happens. and sometimes i lean on that purposely to kind of throw fun easter eggs into my writing as if i'm creating a signature thing you can look out for and be like 'ah, it's her. i found her initials embedded in the work.'
I loved the deathslinger tree scenario!! I have another one aswell!
What about Deathslinger with an s/o who just has no fun at life in the fog anymore? Like theyre always try to get killed first, theyre sitting around on the map, theyre not fixing gens, etc.
Much love ! (♥ω♥*)
🤠 ok, this is definitely before you guys become a thing.
🤠 you've been there in the fog for what felt like years, and just didn't see a point anymore. Usually when this happened the entity would just kill you off forever, but...you were still here.
🤠 The first few trials you had with him he just let you be, but finally he confronted you.
🤠 "What in the Sam hell is wrong with ye?! Don't ya wanna git outta here?!"
"What's the point? Its gonna keep us here. It's the same thing, day in, day out. Nothing changes."
🤠 That's when he realized something. Survivors see the realms differently than the killers do. He's heard the others mention it before, but never thought of it much until now.
🤠 "That...ain't entirely true."
"What do you mean?"
"That crab thing...it treats us differently than you. We don't got no campfire to sit around. We live in our realms, we got amenities and everythin'."
"So...you're bragging right now?"
🤠 He fished out a bloodied coin from his pocket. "Hold this, and you'll see what I mean."
🤠 The second you did, it was like a new world had opened to you. It...it was raining in Glenvale. It was fucking raining in Glenvale. There wasn't as many dead bodies around, and the saloon looked a bit sturdier than usual.
"Quite the eye opener ain't it, darlin'?"
🤠 You nodded.
🤠 "You hold on to that fer a few days. Then come back and tell me how you feel. But, ya can't tell anyone I gave it to ya. I dunno what could happen if anyone finds out. Deal?"
🤠 Day and night actually had a cycle again, there was sunshine in Lery's, snow in the red forest, there was actual changing weather! What's more, you found out you had an open passageway to any of the killer's realms.
🤠 A few days later you came back to him. "I...this..."
🤠 "Come 'ere." He brought you to a hidden door under the saloon stairs. "Now before I open this, I wanna see if you can."
🤠 You tried the handle but no matter what you did, it wouldn't budge.
🤠 Caleb hummed. "Figured as much, but wanted to see fer meself. Come on it." He leads you into an actual living space. Small, but...comfortable. Tailored to the era that Caleb had come from, with a few small upgrades here and there that looked handmade.
🤠 He threw you a towel. "Git in that damn shower ya smell like shit. Don't touch anything till ya clean. I ain't lettin' you stay 'ere between trials just so you can be a fucking slob."
🤠 "Ya deaf or somethin'? I said imma let you stay here between trials. Now git in that fucking shower before I throw yer ass in there."
🤠 When you came out, it was like you'd been reborn, never having felt that clean in ages.
🤠 Caleb sat in his workshop, cleaning the barrel of his gun. You went pale.
🤠 "Don't worry yer lil head, we ain't allowed ta harm ya'll outside them trials. Now. Here's how things are gonna go. Yeah, you're staying here between trials, but that don't mean ya get to sit on yer ass until ya get called back, got it? I've still got shit to repair in this place, and you'll be helping me."
🤠 An agreement had been made, but you still couldn't figure something out. Why you?
🤠 Staying with Caleb Quinn was actually quite pleasant most of the time. Sure he was a bit rough around the edges, and his temper was a powder keg at times, but he was kind.
🤠 The other killers caught on pretty quick that you could see things as they did. Surprisingly, they didn't object to it. A few made sure you knew to stay out of their realms, but a few were actually quite friendly outside trials.
🤠 Over time you couldn't help developing feeling for the old coot. He certainly had quite the appealing voice, that you knew day one, but you never got to really look at him when you were running away.
🤠 All the killers saw that you'd gotten your spark back. You fought to escape trials again, you made the chase fun once more.
🤠 Finally you couldn't help but ask him. "Why me?"
"You could've picked any of us to stay with you, and you chose me. Why?"
"You want an honest answer, Darlin'?"
🤠 The pet name always made you blush, especially now since you realized you had feelings for him.
🤠 You nodded.
"Yer cute. Figured at least I'd get some attractive company, even if we just stayed civil...." There was something there he wasn't telling you.
🤠 "...And well, you-uh...um.." Caleb's throat went dry. Should he even say it? There's no way you could possibly even begin to feel the same way he did about you.
🤠 Fuck it.
🤠 "In the beginning, its because I thought you were cute, and, well, up until ya lost yer spark, you didn't bullshit around like the others. But...now..."
"Its...cuz I like ye. A lot. Uh...more than-"
🤠 You took him off guard smashing your lips against his. When it broke, you'd never seen him smile so bright, picking you up and twirling you around, chuckling happily.
🤠 "You helped make this place feel...whole again." You confessed. "And I can't thank you enough for that. You gave me something to fight for again. To fight for you."
"To fight for us." He corrected.
"To fight for us." You repeated with a smile, kissing his cheek.
Watching everything in your house get moved was an odd feeling. It had been the only constant in your life since Lily was born, it was so much more than a house to you.
But with all the stuff slowly dripping out, packed up in boxes, being put on a truck and taken across the city, you couldn't help but think about when you first moved in.
Back then the house seemed like such a weird place to be living; you knew hardly any of your neighbours, you still had to google maps the address on your way home and when you looked out the window you saw the beach.
Now you knew almost everyone on your street, you could find any house from anywhere and the view out the window was just the same.
"Are you ready to go?" Harry asked as he walked up behind you in the kitchen, making you jump in fear.
You nodded. "Yeah, can I just walk around and say goodbye first?" You asked, moving to the lounge.
"Sure, baby. I'll go get Lils." He said before walking out to find Lily, who had gone three houses down to say goodbye to her friend. Although she would be seeing her at pre-k when Harry drove her over for the next week and a half and you slept in.
Tears welled in your eyes as you walked around. The only time you use to ever think you'd be moving out is when you were going to a retirement home or moving back to your hometown.
You stood in Lily's room for the longest amount of times. All the memories of her growing up hit you at once. Like a movie flashing before your eyes. All of those nights you'd spent desperately trying to get her to sleep and all of the days she slowly grew into the most beautiful, caring and amazing child you'd ever met.
"Come here," Harry said as he walked in saw the amble evidence of tears rolling down your cheeks. He wrapped his arms around you and it's a correlation to how secure the house made you feel.
"I'm sorry... I just... there's just.... this house just means so much to me." You told him honestly, it took a while to find the right words and you really didn't want to be crying on such a happy day.
He shushed you. "It's okay, love." He breathed out as he held you before he pulled you away from his chest and wiping the tears from your eyes. "Now let's go and start a new chapter of our lives." He told you and you nodded before walking out the front door with him.
As soon as you got to the new house everything felt right. You did think there would be some small doubts but there were absolutely none. It already felt like home.
The house itself was big. With a bottom floor containing 3 bedrooms, 2 lounges, a kitchen, a study, 4 bathrooms as well as a big outdoor space with a pool.
The pool was one of the best features. It had 3 separate slides, each of which connected to 3 of the bedrooms on the second floor. On the ground level, there was a separate pool bathroom but the pool itself had a built-in grill and bar area where you could swim up to get drinks. That was along with the huge movie screen.
There were 4 bedrooms on the 2nd floor each with its own ensuite as well as a lounge. The 3rd floor was significantly smaller, with only a movie room and library which had a secret staircase to a mezzanine floor with a glass ceiling. It gave you the best view of the stars and city.
"Can I look at my room?!" Lily asked quickly and Harry nodded before walking up the stairs after the jogging little girl. You followed the pair. "Oh my god!" She exclaimed before you walked in to see a whole new bedroom. It had a massive princess carriage with a bed inside as well as a castle that had stairs going up. At the top of the castle, there was a small bookshelf and a slide that went down to the desk at the bottom.
Lily ran around the room like someone had given her 3 cups of coffee. And some cocaine. You noticed the majority of her clothes in the wardrobe, her teddy bears and barbie dolls already there.
"Hope you don't mind," Harry said as he came up behind you.
"Tell me next time, Haz. She loves it but I wish I knew." You told him and he nodded before pulling you into his side. "What's going to happen when she grows out of this?"
"There's another room on this floor with a walk-in wardrobe." He told you and your eyes widened a little surprised by his thoughtful nature. "Ready to see our room?" He asked as he pulled you out to Lily's room.
"Lils, we're going to see our room. Don't go on the slide." You told her and she nodded before running up to the two of you and hugging your legs before rushing out a quick 'thank you' and going back to playing with her toys.
Harry just smiled. "Don't worry about the slide, they are all safely locked with a PIN number." You were swooning about how thoughtful he was for someone who had only had a kid for 7 months but it was a good look on him
"I love you, Har." You said as you continued to follow him to your room.
"I love you even more. Now close your eyes." He instructed and you complied, putting your hands over them before he opened the door and led you inside. "Open." He told you.
As soon as you remove your hands from your face you saw how sophisticated it looked. There was a massive be and ottoman with a couch and table in the corner. "Look at this," Harry said as he pushed a button and a tv came up from the foot of the bed.
You'd barely glanced down that end but now you saw the massive window with a view of the whole city and a door that had a few steps down onto a balcony that was big enough to have a table and chairs.
"I'm in shock. It's beautiful." You told him and he smiled, looking pleased with himself.
"You're beautiful. Now wanna see the closet?" He asked and you nodded, wondering what else he had in store for you. The closet was like a whole house. First, there was a seemingly normal shoe, bag and accessory closet with a massive mirror and all your makeup neatly organised. Then some stairs led up to a whole top floor filled with your and Harry's clothes.
"Harry, this must-have taken forever..." You trained off.
"That's why I didn't get home until late. It was mainly the boys that did the final touches." You thought Harry not being to be home until 8 was a normal thing, it did worry you.
But now it was making sense, him insisting on going to lunch before you got here was just time to get it ready.
"I love you so much." You told him as you brought your lips together. "Not even for the materialistic aspect of everything you've done. Just that you care enough about us to do this."
"I just want you two to be happy. Now come and look at the bathroom, you sap." He joked as he walked through a door which led into a big room with a bath, fireplace, shower, two vanities and a toilet. There was also a door to the bedroom.
"Harry!" You screamed. "It's all so amazing." You told him before you leant into his side. His arms wrapped around your waist and pulled you closer.
"I'm glad you think so." He said before he kissed you again.
"Mummy! Hazzy! Can we go on the waterslide?" Lily's voice came as she ran through the room, making you pull away from your kiss.
Lately 'Hazzy' was her nickname for Harry and while he was delighted she was calling him that, he was gunning for the title of dad.
"Yeah!" Harry agreed and you smiled at the two of them. "Go get changed and I'll come with you for the first slide, then we can play in the pool." Lily ran off with the biggest smile on her face and you turned to Harry with an equally big smile on yours.
"We better go get changed then." You winked at him before going to the closet.
"Can you pretty please wear the green one, please?" He begged as you searched through your swimsuits and briefly picked up a dark green one.
It made you inwardly roll your eyes at him. "I am not wearing this." You continued as you held it out. "It's way too complicated and a little slutty." He just looked annoyed as you showed him another option. "This one?" You held up one of your favourite yellow bikinis.
"I like it, but can you wear the other one when we go to the hot tub tonight?" He asked, almost like he was telling you.
You laughed at him. "Who says I'm going in the hot tub with you tonight?" You finished changing and walked across to see Harry who wasn't ready because of how distracted he was checking you out.
He picked up his iconic yellow shorts, which ironically matched your bikini, and began undressing. "Oh, I'm definitely getting you in the hot tub tonight." He said as if it were a challenge. His low voice made him so much more attractive.
After he finished changing you stood there kissing for a few minutes.
Lily raced in a few seconds later. "Let's go! Let's go!"
"Alright," Harry said as he got dragged to her room.
"Hold on, I'm going down to the pool, then I'll film when you come down." You said as you grabbed your phone and raced downstairs, quickly trying to find the perfect angle to watch them pop out of the waterslide.
"Ahhh!" You heard Lily's voice a second before she and Harry came splashing out into the pool. "That was so much fun, can we go again?" She asked, looking up at Harry who held her because of how deep the water was.
And that was how the rest of the day went, Lily going down the waterslide before running up the stairs to go again.
Finally, you got out of the pool and left Harry to supervise Lily while you made dinner. That night as you, Lily and Harry ate dinner, while looking out over the LA skyline, everything was perfect.
And, later in the night, the hot tub with Harry was just as perfect.
Set after KoA. Rowan has to go on a Two Year trip across the sea. Aelin is less than enthusiastic about it.
≈ 900 words
Aelin Galathynius stood stunned before her mate as she tried to sort through the information he just gave her. Her eyes roved over his face, looking for the joke she surely missed.
“Two years?” She finally sputtered out. “You’re going to leave this court, our court, for two years?” Her voice rose to a near shout that could surely be heard by any servant outside of the doors of their suite.
Rowan averted his eyes, the only sign of his own ire towards the subject. “Long before I met you, Aelin, there was a promise I made to a man who saved my life. I-“ He finally met her gaze. “I never thought he would call in that promise. I promised him a favor, I was a fool, but I cannot live knowing I broke this promise.”
Aelin was about to start arguing with him again, but…
His eyes. The eyes of her husband, her friend. The eyes she found after every nightmare, through darkness and horrors. Those eyes showed a need for her to understand. If he didn’t do this, if she held him back, he might very well lose respect for himself.
She just sighed. Relief flashed in his eyes, knowing she understood.
“And where will you be going? What will you be doing?” She asked him.
He strode over to a map of Wendlyn tacked onto a wall. His gaze lingered on the kingdom to the north for only a moment before moving south to where Galvan Ashryver now ruled. “This man needs a guide,” his finger trailed across the eastern content, “to where his family hails from. Apparently there has been news from his family that his brother died. He is to rule over their territory. He is too scared to use public routes, for reasons I cannot figure out.”
With the thousands of miles between the two destinations, the trip would take… Aelin did the math in her head. Years. It would take two years with this man’s human form. With the rocky terrain, the rivers and mountains they would climb, it would have to be on foot.
She just gripped his hand, pulling his attention away from the map. Her hand reached up to stroke the tattooed face, his head tilting into her outstretch palm instinctively.
“I understand. This is stupid, and ridiculous, and I hope this man realizes he is using the world’s most powerful male and a king to be his body guard. But I understand the power of oaths.”
They gazed at each other for a few moments.
“I am going to miss you, Fireheart,” he whispered. The sound made the Queen’s hair stand on end.
Suddenly, there was too much distance between them. She didn’t know how she would survive half a world separating them. Rowan, as if sensing her dismay, pulled her in tight to him. His hand went to stroke her head, trying to soothe an ache that hadn’t yet begun.
“I will always find my way back to you. This isn’t permanent.”
She nodded against his chest. She pulled back just enough to speak. “The last time we were that far apart for that long was-“ her voice cut off, memories of iron boxes flooding her memory. Her mate only held her tighter. “I love you,” she mumbled.
“To whatever end,” was his only answer.
The Queen of Terrasen watched as her husband and King flew across the stretching city of Orynth. He wanted to leave as soon as he could, after he had tied up all loose ends in court. Aelin’s eyes roamed the horizon, looking for a hawk she could no longer see.
It had been a mere three days since he told her the news. Three days spent planning and preparing and… other things. Aelin stole a look at their unmade bed, where only a few hours ago Rowan has shown her just, exactly, how much he would miss the queen. Her core was still hot from the path he kissed down her body until reaching her apex.
Aelin shook her head to clear her thoughts. There would be enough time to miss her husband, there was no point in starting that moment. Her hands tightened at her side. She tugged at the mating bond wishing to feel him, in spirit if not in person. He only tugged back, confirming he was still there.
It has only been half an hour. She could practically feel his eyes rolling.
And I miss you already. She sent back down the bond.
The day was still young. There were meetings and hearings and council to speak with. She needed to prepare for the diplomats coming from Melisande tomorrow, the guests from the Wastes in a week. Not the Wastes, she reminded herself, but the new Witch Kingdom. She doubted the silver haired queen would be joining the group of courtiers who would be scheming for better trade relations.
No, there would be no friendly faces for awhile. Lysandra and Elide were tending to their territories, their males following them like sad puppies like they always did. Dorian and Chaol were busy in Adarlan. She knew she relied on Rowan, she just hadn’t realized how much until he was gone.
With one more glance to the horizon, Aelin Galathynius turned away and got ready for the day. One morning down. Two years to go.
Beguiling An Archangel: Sarah West has always tried her best to keep her daughter healthy and safe in the post apocalyptic world they live in. With Sarah’s daughter, Bash, suffering from seizures and on medication that is quickly running out, Sarah is forced to make a decision to head for the one place she swore to never to return to. Vega, a place of old memories, false security, and worst of all, him.
To Note: Based on Syfy’s Dominion and the movie Legion, remake of a story I wrote a long time ago (different story lines and character names but somewhat based off what I previously wrote on Quotev), italics is dog speak, flashback are blue, divider by @firefly-graphics
Extra Edit: Yes, but I am not perfect.
Word Count: ~2.2k
“We’re going to have to stop,” Ryder spoke up forty-five minutes later. I brought out the map and looked at the nearest mile marker on the road.
“We’ll be able to make it to Cedar City. There should be some motels that we can find on the outskirts near 15. Scout and fortify a room. Maybe sleep on actual beds.” I replied as I stared at the map.
“Cedar City is the next exit. There’s a Motel 6, think we should give it a try?” Ryder asked.
“Might as well,” Mark interjected as he stroked his beard. “It’ll be close to the road so we won’t go too far off our path.”
“Might find some working plumbing, maybe take some baths.” Ryder mused to himself as he, too, rubbed his beard. “Been a while since we last bathed.”
“I for one would love a bubble bath.” Jules sighed.
“Don’t get your hopes up,” I reminded her. “It has to have working water.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Jules muttered back, hunkering down in her seat. Ryder took the exit and the nearest sign said that the motel would be .7 miles down the road on the right. “Sweet baby Jesus have water, I don’t even care if it’s hot.”
Mark shook his head as Ryder pulled into the parking lot.
“You know the drill, Jules,” Mark said as he grabbed his rifle.
“Stay in the car and watch Bash, don’t open the doors for anyone. Gun is under the seat,” Jules replied. “I know, you’ve said it to me like a thousand times.”
“Well, let me say it to you one thousand and one times.” Mark replied, kissing his daughter on the forehead. “Stay in the car and watch Bash, don’t open the doors for anyone. Gun is under the seat.”
I looked back over the seat to see Bash drawing with an almost gone crayon. I need to find more for her so I can continue our lessons.
“Bashie, I’ll be right back.” I told her. Bash looked up at me with her bright blue eyes and nodded.
“I got this mommy, Micky, and I will hold up the car.” She said proudly as Micky agreed. Ryder snickered as Jules sighed.
“Close enough,” I commented, kissing the top of her blonde mop and getting out of the car. With Mark taking care to properly conceal the Jeep, Ryder and I started to do a sweep of the complex, room by room.
“You take north, I’ll take south?” Ryder proposed as we got our guns ready. I gave him a chin nod and headed right as he headed left. The Motel had twelve rooms, six on each side. I started at the far end. The door was ajar, and the inside was a complete mess.
Opening the door with the tip of my boot, I peered into the room. It was a standard single bedroom, full of dust, sheets a mess, chair knocked over. Someone had been in a hurry to leave.
I moved onto the next room after checking the bathroom. Finding no nasty surprises, I waited for Ryder at the manager’s office. The desk looked like it had been left the way it was when this whole apocalypse started.
A folder with papers spilling out of it sat in the very middle of the desk. Checking my surroundings one last time, I sat down in the chair and began opening the drawers, looking for anything that might be remotely useful.
Opening the top of the drawer, I smiled triumphantly as an entire pack of new pencils revealed themselves, along with a pencil sharpener. Quickly I grabbed the unopened pack of pencils and shoved them into my side bag as my other hand snapped up the pencil sharpener.
I dug through the next set of drawers, finding a few paper clips, a stapler I had no use for, and a few bills from the old world. My fingers ran underneath the wood of the heavy desk and came across a cold surface.
A smirk crossed my lips as I realized just what was strapped underneath the desk. Unhooking the shotgun from underneath the desk, I brought it into my hands and checked the chamber. Fully loaded. I am pretty sure that wasn’t legal in the old world.
“Sarah?” Whirling around, I pointed the shotgun up at Ryder as he took a step back and cursed. “Leave it to you to find another gun.”
I dropped the shotgun from its position against my shoulder and glared at him.
“You of all people should know not to sneak up on me, Ryder!” I hissed at him as I pointed the barrel of the gun at the ground. Raising an eyebrow, Ryder grinned at me and looked around the office.
“Find anything?” Ryder asked as he picked up an old newspaper that had been sitting on a side table.
“Well,” I dragged out sarcastically.
“Other than the shotgun,” Ryder replied.
“Some pencils, a few paper clips, money that we have no use for.” I said as I turned to the cabinet behind the desk. There was a line of keys hanging on the doors with labels. My fingers ran along the line of keys. “Find any usable rooms?”
“Yep,” Ryder responded before grinning. “Doubles.”
Pressing my lips together, I turned my back to him and looked at the room numbers.
“What room number?”
Bash was sitting at the small table in the room we had decided to sleep in for the night, working on a worksheet with pie charts related to math. Jules was sitting across from her, coaching her as I sat on the bed, oiling our guns and sharpening our blades.
“And how many slices have been eaten from this pie?” Jules asked, pointing to something on the sheet.
“Four?” Bash asked, looking up at Jules underneath her blonde eyelashes.
“Is that a question or an answer?”
“Mom!” Bash whined. “Aunt Juju is being mean!”
“Aunt Juju wants a definite answer.” I replied sternly, looking up from the gun I was oiling. Bash pouted before looking back down at the sheet.
“Four!” Bash announced. “It’s four! And someone has an upset stomach from eating that much pie.”
“Someone does have an upset stomach from eating that much pie, kiddo.” Jules said with a smile as I got back to oiling. “and correct.”
Someone knocked on the door five times before opening the door ten seconds later. Mark and Ryder came back into the room and secured the door for the night as I set the rifle I had been oiling down.
“Any luck?” I asked. We had found that the motel had several generators that could connect to the rooms.
“Got the generator running,” Mark said as he began wiping his hands. “We’ll have enough hot water for all of us to take a bath or shower, I don’t want to risk keeping it on, specially overnight, so we should split showering between this room and the next and turn it off when we’re done.”
“Agreed,” I sighed in reply. “Jules, go and take your bubble bath while I finish teaching Bash.”
“Okay,” Jules replied as she got up from her seat. “We’re just about done with math, I think English is next.”
“Alright, now,” Mark said sternly, walking up to me as Jules happily entered the bathroom and shut the door. “I’ll finish up with Bash. You and Ryder go take your shower’s next door, you’ve been working too hard lately Sarah, you need time for yourself.”
I stared at Mark before giving in. I set the oiling supplies down and stood up.
“Micky?” The German Shepard lifted his head from his spot next to Bash. I pointed to Bash. “Watch Bash for me?”
“I watch.” Micky barked softly at me before lowering his head back to the floor. I smiled at the dog and patted him on the head as Mark shook his head.
“I don’t know how you and the dog understand each other.” I smiled at him as Ryder picked up his gun and the bag of clothes Jules had cleaned days earlier.
“She listen,” Micky grumbled from the floor. “You no listen.”
“Micky….” I warned the dog as he huffed and rolled his eyes at me. “Honestly.”
“We’ll be back,” Ryder said, slinging the bag of clothes over his shoulder. “Don’t have any parties without us.”
“Wasn’t planning on it but now we might just have to have one.” Mark teased as he sat down across from Bash. With one last look at Bash, I left the room with Ryder and entered the next room over.
“You can take a shower first,” I spoke up as I sat down on the lone bed in the room. Ryder turned to look back at me and raised an eyebrow.
“I’m sure,” I replied as I pulled my knife out and began to play with. Ryder shrugged his shoulders and entered the bathroom. A minute later, I heard the water turn on. While Ryder started to sing in the shower, I fiddled with the knife in hand.
I would normally never set foot within a hundred miles of such a populated area. Eight-balls naturally gravitated towards such area as their hunting grounds. Naturally, with Bash depending on me for safety, I avoided the cities like the plague.
As much as I tried, medication could only get so far with an unwilling child. Bash’s epilepsy was only getting worse. The city provided the much-needed medical treatment she needed. The only problem was that it wouldn’t come free, or cheap.
She might be a child, but nothing came for free in this world.
“Shower’s free.” Ryder’s voice brought me out of my thoughts. Had I really been stewing about that city for that long? I looked up at Ryder. He had a towel hanging low around his waist as he towel dried his hair.
If I was any other girl, I would have had a nosebleed and flopped on the floor in a limp mess. But I wasn’t going to be one of them. I returned the knife to its spot on my waist before standing up.
“Save me any hot water?” I teased as I grabbed my set of clean clothes to change into after my shower. Ryder smirked at me, flashing me his adorable dimples.
“Well, if you get cold just call and I help warm you up.” I slammed the bag into his stomach as I walked past him. As I closed the bathroom door behind me, I could hear his echoing laughter.
I let out a breath and shook my head. Ryder is the dream boyfriend, quality husband material, and a perfect father figure for Bash. There was only one big problem. I felt nothing. Ryder was just Ryder. A man who helped me raise a toddler. Any romantic feelings he felt for me were not reciprocated.
I started removing my knives and guns before slipping out of my jeans and button down t-shirt. Folding my dirt clothes, I put them off to the side before stripping out of my underwear and bra.
Bruises and cuts littered my body from day to day wear. My fingers brushed a particular cut along my collarbone. It was almost healed. An Eight-ball had jumped us near Salt Lake. I dropped my finger and stepped into the shower, turning the water on.
Since Ryder had taken his shower first, the water that came out of the shower head was still slightly warm and didn’t spew out a shocking burst of cold water at first. For us to find working plumbing was a miracle, to find decades old shampoo bottles that were still full was even more so.
Running my fingers through my hair, I let the water slowly wash the built-up dirt and sand on my body. Cracking open the luxury shampoo, I squeezed out just enough to clean my hair before setting it back on the shelf.
Scrubbing for at least five minutes, I finally rinsed my hair of the dirt and sand that clung to it for months. Jules was probably having a field day, finally being able to wash her hair. Most likely, Jules would soak in the bath until she turned into a prune.
I ran a hand over my head once more before turning the water off and ringing out my hair. Grabbing the well-used hair tie Jules had found for me, I twisted my hair up and tied it into a bun.
Luckily, Ryder saved me a towel. Grabbing it, I started drying myself as Ryder started to hum in the other room. Once I had gotten most of my skin somewhat dry, I threw the towel over by the toilet and turned my back to the mirror. Leaning my head backwards over my left shoulder, I stared at my bare back in the mirror.
Burgoyne browsed through the mask shop in the Safehouse, per requested by Bagley. “Welcome to DedSec, Johnny! Now, how about you make yourself a team player and purchase a mask?” There is so much to choose from. Browsing through various choices of masks gave the playwriter a migraine. I don’t know which is good. He finally settled on a mask that is a modern “knight” helmet with a holographic golden “Lōng” teeth glowing. The entire front was a black visor encased by gold lining. “Knight of Avalon” the description read. Fancy, fancy! Burgoyne scanned 200 ETO and the mask was instantly dropped from the machine. He picked it up and placed it over his head. The visor obscured 90% of his vision, but he can still make out the room. This is pretty neat! Hearing the front door opened, Burgoyne removed his helmet and saw both André and Clinton arrive, dropping their gear on the table.
Bagley spoke up. “Welcome back Operators! Are you ready for your next mission?” “NOW HOLD ON!” Burgoyne quickly rushed downstairs to greet his friends. He spun Clinton around and began shaking his hand. “It is an honor to meet you, sir. What brings you here on this fine day?” Clinton gave him a fake glare. “Do you know how to address your superiors?” “I don’t need to. You are NOT my superior and I don’t HAVE to address you as anything,” smirked Burgoyne. A smirk also crept across Clinton’s face. “Pleasure seeing you here, Burgoyne.” “Indeed. Such a friendly reunion that I forgot to add you don’t have permission to be accessing DedSec technology until you are fully recruited,” the playwriter taunted, showing off his new mask. “I don’t believe in holding an initiation ceremony unless you want a repeat of what happened before,” chided Bagley sarcastically. “Hey, hey, that was once a lifetime thing,” Burgoyne retorted.
“Regardless, André has already informed me that Clinton was able to access all of Clan Kelley’s information regarding the human organ harvesting as well as an auction. Some of them are victims of the bombings. This one piece of information is vital, however, there is more,” Bagley said, pulling up the data. The three men read through Kelley’s documents, each growing more disgusted with the paper detailing everything. “That bitch. Always kissing up to some higher up,” growled André. “Those poor victims. How are we going to find them? We need to rescue them from those bloody bastards!” Clinton added. “Perhaps. I can’t quite pinpoint where Clan Kelley is operating right now, but I do know we need to find more information about those victims starting from one of the bomb sites.”
“How would that give us any information?” André asked curiously. “Perhaps the bombs were set off internally. It’s best if you try recovering a clue first then we can proceed with the next step,” Bagley said, opening up a map of London and marked one of the bomb sites. It was located in the City of London. “You’ll need to sneak in with caution. Albion secured the location to make sure no one gets in.” André pouts his face. “This will be rough.” “Quite certainly. Although there is a way of tackling this,” Bagley said. The Operators looked at him with a confused expression. He continued. “I propose one of you stay behind and monitor the site through the cameras. The rest of you travel to the site and recover the evidence.” “I’ll stay. I know the ins and outs of every part of the location,” André said, sitting down in front of the computer.
Clinton and Burgoyne looked at each other. “I guess that’ll be us. Alrighty, let’s head out,” Clinton said as he headed for the entrance upstairs. “Now hang on a second, have you picked out a mask yet? You can’t be going out somewhere with your face exposed,” Bagley stated matter of factly. The Operator raised his gasmask. “Already have one,” he chirped. “Oh well, fantastic then. Looks better than the others ones I’ve seen.” “HEY!” André and Burgoyne protested together. “Alright, alright. Now time is running short. Do hurry.” Burgoyne and Clinton climbed up the staircase and left the Safehouse. André began accessing connections to the bomb site. “I’ve never imagined it to be this horrendous,” he said, scanning the whole site through different camera angles. “You can’t imagine being this horrendous? I wonder if it is any worse than the plays you write.” “Those ideas are scraped, my dear Bagley,” retorted André. The AI chuckled, remaining silent for the remainder of the mission.
Clinton’s eye widened when the men approached their destination. Half of the stadium was blown to smithereens. A construction fence was set up all around where the incident took place, some heavily constructed by Albion to prevent outsiders from looking in. A memorial to those who lost their lives was placed at the front entrance, covered with flowers and candles. Burgoyne let out a sob. “This is heartbreaking. I feel for the victims of this tragedy.” “You weep for the civilians while Clan Kelley and the others laugh at our misfortune,” Clinton softly replied. As they approached the heavily barricaded walls, a small ctOS drone can be heard buzzing above them. Burgoyne quickly put his helmet on as Clinton strapped his gas mask on. Both men quickly slipped behind a small barricade and watched the small drone look around before entering the site.
“That’s odd. That drone would usually chase outsiders out. I wonder who is controlling that?” Burgoyne wondered. He felt a tug from Clinton who motioned towards a small opening. Nodding, the two men crawled through the hole and found themselves standing in front of a large crater where the explosion took place. Debris covered every part of the broken stadium; chunks of metal, concrete, as well as aluminum, splayed across the ground. The interior of the stadium was exposed, so the men can see Albion guards patrolling the inside of the building. ctOS drones flew everywhere amid large cargo drones occasionally flying in and out to drop off necessary materials. Burgoyne stared in disbelief at the amount of damaged caused. Adjusting his mask, Clinton began quietly prodding his way towards the epicenter. A few guards walked by, but one of them spotted the men. “HEY, YOU! STOP RIGHT THERE!” he yelled, raising his gun. “OH SHIT! RUN” Burgoyne pushed Clinton and the two began the run.
The site became alerted and all Albion guards began pursuing the intruders. Spotting a small opening, Clinton grabbed Burgoyne by the arm and they slipped into the crater. They hid behind a massive concrete building, away from their pursuers. The ctOS drone that they saw earlier slipped into the crack and hovered next to Burgoyne. He tapped the little drone. “You could’ve helped us drive those bastards away, you know.” “I don’t think that’s André. He doesn’t know how to operate a drone yet,” Clinton whispered. “Wait, if this isn’t André then…” Sweat began to break out as Burgoyne nervously checks the drone. Whizzing past the men, the ctOS drone began scanning the nearby area. It shone its light on a small object lying on the floor. A small sigh escaped Burgoyne but with his helmet is made it sound suffocating. Clinton emerged from his spot and approached the object. From the drone’s flight, he can tell it was part of a Spiderbot.
Bagley pinged the earpiece. “That’s it. You’ve recovered the first clue. It looks like a Spiderbot. I’m sending out an AR replicant so we can have a detailed visual of what exactly happened here.” “Great. But just a question, is André piloting this drone? There is a drone that has been following us around and I wonder if it’s André.” André spoke up. “No sir, it’s not me!” Clinton froze. Bagley took over again. “You’ll need to proceed with caution. I’ll track the user of this drone for the time being. For now, take a look at this AR video and tell me what you think.”
As Bagley pinged off, a holographic display began to play. It showed three people walking down the tunnel as one of them carried a suitcase. Hiding within the small vent above Clinton was a Spiderbot. Both Clinton and Burgoyne observed the holographic Spiderbot proceed down the vent, entered a room adjacent to the main tunnel and the AR stopped. Bagley pinged again. “So it appears that one of the people has access to the explosion that attached itself to the Spiderbot. You’ll need to bring the bot back to have more data processed.”
“And this drone?” “I’ve traced it back to a user not far from the site.” “Great. We’ll head out there now. Much appreciated.” Tapping his earpiece, Clinton turned to Burgoyne who was still hiding behind the concrete. “We got what we came for let’s head out.” Picking up the bot, Clinton put it inside his bag then dragged the somewhat frightened playwriter out of hiding. The ctOS drone followed them, buzzing softly in the sky. Making their way back to the entrance, Clinton and Burgoyne ran until they’re out of range of suspecting Albion guards. Removing his gas mask, the hacker looked around. Burgoyne, upon removing his helmet, began combing his brown hair which was sticking up from the static of the helmet. “Damn, that was a close one. I guess we now know what happened?” “Yes. This Spiderbot might still hold some key data on how the bomb was processed. We’ll need to head back now.” The ctOS drone buzzed towards a man approaching them. He was wearing a hacker-esque jacket with black leather pants covered with binary code and grey low-cut boots. The man took off his hood, revealing a surprising face that both Clinton and Burgoyne stopped then burst out laughing.
“Ara-ara, if it isn’t SIR William Howe,” snickered Burgoyne as punched his friend on the arm. “What are you doing here on this fine evening hmm?” questioned Clinton in a mocking manner. Howe rolled his eyes. “Same as you. Trying to find information about what has happened here.” “Ah, I see. Did André recruit you to help or you’re just on your own?” Burgoyne inquired. “André? I’m on my own. The two of you are with DedSec I presume?” Howe said, pointing towards the DedSec fox logo on the men’s jacket. “Yes we are,” Clinton said. Their friend narrowed his eyes a tad bit and Clinton could tell this wasn’t going to be good. “Siding with a terrorist organization? I’d rather leave this country than to join a terrorist organi-“ Clinton cut him off. “How about you follow us and we’ll show you what DedSec is.”
Howe bit his lip before shrugging his shoulders. “Alright.” And followed the men back to the Safehouse.
After arriving at the Earl’s Fortune, Clinton dragged Burgoyne and Howe into the Safehouse where they saw André sitting on the couch looking at the London Tube system while discussing transportation with Bagley. Bagley closed the map and said, “Oh hello there Operators. I see we have a recruit. Is he a playwriter? How sexual is his mind?” “No and my brain is NOT sexual”, Sir William retorted at the AI. Burgoyne and Clinton looked at each other before bursting out laughing. “Oh haha, very funny. VERY funny,” the drone flyer rolled his eyes. André hid his face behind his hands to hide his snicker but was nevertheless happy to have another close friend recruited into DedSec. Recruitment Complete.
We spent the night in Frontenac Park, hiking the Big Salmon Lake loop. Park map says it’s 17km, my watch says it was just shy of 20km. We stayed at a campsite on the north side of the lake, with a neighbouring campsite right next to us where there were two couples on a canoe trip. They were lovely and adored Clifford. Having people right next door was in fact the best possible thing for helping Cliff get acclimated to his first camping experience. They were quite busy all day and evening DOING THINGS and it was great for cliff to see all of it and learn that all of it was perfectly acceptably parts of camping activity.
Weather was amazingly cooperative. Hot and sunny and windy all day Sunday. An early (5am) thunderstorm to start the Monday. Overcast and muggy and occasionally threatened rain on the hike out. No bugs in the wind, but otherwise…. Every crawling jumping flying insect was out in force holy fucking shit (I’ll get to this later)
So I’ll start off and say that Cliff is the ideal hiking/camping/adventure buddy. Holy crow he was amazing right off the bat. I feel like my day-in-day-out labour of training him in the city paid off in spades, and he brought his absolute best. I’m so happy, and so proud of my puppy!!
Cliff is 8 months now, and there was a lot of attitude from oh, idk, months 5-7, but at least this weekend, it seems we have turned the corner! A model citizen! A delight from start to finish!!
I got one of those bungee leashes and it was the best investment of my life. Clipped the biner to the bottom of my backpack strap, and he walked in a perfect heel right beside or behind me literally the entire time. He always deferred to me to decide where to go. He needed coaxing only once to get up the one minorly steep bit. I set a slow pace, and let him sniff and we took water breaks about every 30 minutes or whenever we crossed close to the shore/over a clear stream for him to cool his paws. Day 1 he had some warning grumbles for Suspicious-looking Stumps, but otherwise was super cool about everything and everyone we encountered on the trail (like, 5 whole people, and Cliff sat nicely off to the side of the trail and let them pass with no issue). Day 2 I think he was tired, and he didn’t give a fuck about anything, and we only saw one person anyway.
He handled the distance pretty well. KM 5 he started to lose his pep. KM 8 he started to protest for more frequent/longer breaks. KM 9 he was kind of over it. Rinse and repeat on day 2. 5km seems to be his sweet spot – I think if I split it up with a bigger break in between segments (like 30-60 minutes), we could happily work up to a full day’s hike of 20km in the future.
I tried out his backpack and it’s a bust – it’s just a tad big/long on him, no matter how I adjust the straps, and it gave him some serious chafing on his underside. :( Sorry boy. So day 2 he just wore his regular harness which he was quite happy with. Trying to decide if I’ll exchange it for a smaller size, or just forgo the backpack all together.
He was tethered on a long lead in the site, which was great and after the first hour he stopped tripping/getting tangled/etc in it. Good to have him tied up because he is otherwise a total busy body. There was A LOT OF STUFF he’d never seen before that he was Very Interested in or Mildly Concerned about (the concern is usually expressed as a whine/woof/howl – escalating depending on how severely he things I need to be made aware):
Me setting up the tent (strange object, flapping in the wind, with him tethered and me 3m out of his reach) – whining
Me setting up the tarp (as above – whining
Me leaving to go to the bathroom – anxious whining until the neighbours went to play with him and he forgot all about me in favour of playing with them (when I went again later and the neighbours were away, he cried for a minute and then just sat like the saddest most neglected animal in the world, waiting for me to return)
Absolutely nothing in the bushes – minor grumbling (actual things in the bushes like birds/snakes/deer/frogs/squirrels etc received zero attention)
The loon calls – minor grumbling/small woof
The tarp flapping in the wind - woof
The neighbours coming back from the kybo – stern woof
The neighbours moving their picnic table into the water – stern woof
The neighbours playing with their giant pool floaties (HOWL!)
The neighbours doing anything with their canoes (HOWL!)
The neighbours coming back with like an entire dead tree to cut up for firewood (HOWL!)
He likes to steal sticks from the firewood pile. Only tried to steal a stick from the actively burning firepit once (otherwise he preferred to sit outside the campfire seats). Left the stove alone too.
We played fetch off leash in the water for a while, and his recall was spectacular. I let him off leash while I collected firewood too – also spectacular recall. Generally he doesn’t want to be too far away from me, and really wants to Be Involved in what I’m doing (or lie down close by with a toy or stick to chew on). AMAZING.
I seriously expected this to be a bigger issue than it was. Mid-afternoon I got into the tent, armed with a handful of treats to do some ~tent manners training~ and brought Cliff in. He was tired enough that he sat down and waited for instructions. I tried waving my sleeping bag around to do “leave it” – he looked away. I made noise with the mattress – he didn’t care. I laid down, expecting him to want to paw or jump on me – he immediately went “this I where we sleep? ok night” and lay down for a nap using my mattress for a pillow. 😭💕 I spent an hour reading while listening to my puppy snore beside me.
He was just as good at nighttime. No fuss or fidgeting. Just laid down and totally content to sleep beside me. He had a few grumbly little woofs about noise outside the tent (mostly our neighbours who stayed up much later, or the wind in the tarp, or this one fucking bird that made noise all night and wouldn’t shut up) but responded well to “hush” and that was that. In the morning I woke up around our usual time (5:30) to the sound of thunder and a storm coming up the lake. He was absolutely silent – just sitting up waiting for me to wake up and let him out to pee. GUYS I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.
Fuck I forgot how bad June bugs are. Everything was out – mosquitoes, deerflies, horseflies, TICKS, idk tiny little mites. I’m fairly immune (my skin has no reaction to mosquitoes, and everything else is just annoying) but poor Cliff got EATEN ALIVE. He was not having a good time in terms of the biting bugs. Fortunately the high wind at our campsite meant we enjoyed most of Sunday afternoon/evening bug free, but his underside and nose and eyes are mottled with bug bites. I’m sorry, boy!
And the ticks. THE TICKS. God, if anything, those ones actually bother me. On Sunday I took 6 off him (just crawling on him – no bites) and today found idk, a dozen?? I checked him like three separate times (when we got to the parking lot, during the drive home because I looked back and saw one crawling on his face, and again when we got home) and would find a couple each time. I had to get out the tweezers to remove one that had bitten (but wasn’t engorged yet) in his armpit and UGH those fuckers really latch on. I got it out, and the whole time Cliff was very patient with me pulling at his fine armpit hairs with fucking tweezers (we’ve come so far with his handling lmao). He’s on a preventative medication so I’m not necessarily worried, but ugh, I hate those fuckers, and his patience only goes so far with me hunting through all his thick fur with a comb.
(I was tick free, but finding so many on him definitely made me a little paranoid)
He’s awesome and I’m so excited for many many many more outdoor adventures together!!
What more information do you have on this cookie who betrayed you?
"His name was Nightshade Cookie. He was our eyes and ears in the Blazing Sands Desert, his job was to go through ruins and collect maps for us. He's even how we figured out Sugartera existed. He could not fight at all so we gave him a cake hound to fight for him if he got into a situation." Dark Enchantress explained "And one day when I was out of the castle, he told Poison Mushroom here to give me the map that looked like a map of the Millennial Tree Temple, but when we used it we discovered it was fake. We did have a few cake hounds search the desert for him, no luck, he completely vanished with the cake hound we gave him."
As everyone piled in, the first hints of flame peaked beneath the closed hood. Time was up. Vermilion took her phone from her pocket at sent a message ahead: Unscheduled departure request, 3 passengers, Imminent arrival. Royal Exec. The message back was nearly instantaneous: Confirmed.
The road ahead was clear. The car pulled out of the tunnel and back into the rescinding sunlight, chasing the rising twin moons until it led them south, out of city limits. A winding trail guided the car to a dirt road that was not on any map. Vermilion knew it well–a chauffer escorted her out on it in the Empress’s vain attempt to send her home for her own safety. But the loyal were truly stubborn. Eventually, Annalis’e herself was brought into the city on that very road, and she had been back and forth on it in her very brief study of the world. Vermilion couldn’t speculate what Annalis’e would bring back the next time she took the road.
As the car traveled, the road became uneven and trees grew thick and crowded until what was left of the sun vanished beyond the canopy. In an instant, it all dissipated as the car pulled into a vast clearing, where a hangar sat pronounced in the center. On sight, guards opened the doors without question, and kept their eyes on the road as the car passed. Only when the hangar doors were sealed behind them did Vermilion and Annalis’e exit the vehicle. Annalis’e hurried to gather her things, but not so desperate enough to not open the door for Ella on the way to the trunk.
Vermilion made her way to the black crate in the center. She had to steel her nerves, even though (statistically) there was nothing to worry about. It didn’t change the fact that she was nauseous each time. But the chance to see Lux Hall again, perhaps the first time as a welcomed ally, motivated her forward to the technician.
The technician nodded, and went to work in silence. The crate’s door opened to welcome them.
Annalis’e had only traveled back and forth a handful of times. Seeing the door open this time filled her with relief, but also with a sense of obligation. She had seen the injustice Vermilion had hoped she would, and though she was able to easily flee home…she couldn’t leave it be. Only in those whirlwind of feelings did Annalis’e truly understand why Vermilion asked her here in the first place.
Turning to the girl under her protection, Annalis’e braced Ella’s shoulders and turned her until she faced north. It was impossible to see it through the hundreds of trees, but the city was on the other side.
“I know I’ve asked you to take a lot on faith, but in the end, it’s your decision to come with us. Last chance to wave goodbye. Or to turn back. But for however little my word means to you, I can guarantee that no one will find you where we are going. I can also guarantee that this goodbye is only temporary.”
She released Ella’s shoulders and started for the crate. “Whatever you decide, either way…I’ll understand.”
The city gave way to trees. Ella leant up and all but pressed her face to the glass. She had been allowed a few escorted to visits to the great lakes, and her family owned a grand garden, but an actual forest? That was a more unusual sight in Ella’s world. To be truly parted from the inorganic, and as she often imagined it, parasitic capital of Sonedisi. It was a wonder to her, and she felt in that moment that had she simply decided it maybe, just maybe...She could have slipped away in the night and escaped after all. Before any of this.
But unfortunately, she had to climb out of the car. When she did, what stood before her almost couldnt have caused more emotional whiplash; It was a Supo hangar. Her hand went up to steady herself on the door.
Ella suddenly remembered sitting in the drawing room with Gopal while he tried to draw out the theoretical principles of how the thing worked, his hand working with the careful and elegant precision of a draftsman on the tablet. She had frowned at the diagrams.
“But, if a crate is displaced, where does it go?”
“They don't get displaced, if they did it would be less than a one in a million chance...”
“But if it did?”
Gopal was a person of great patience, and he sat thoughtfully for a moment before responding.
“Theoretically, you could vanish from the universe, or perhaps be transposed into a completely different one.”
Ella had raised her eyebrows. “I appreciate the explanation Gopal but I don't think I’ve ever been gladder to be a mechanic, rather than a physicist.”
The black mouth of the crate opened like a void. It took no effort for Annalis’e to turn her away, back toward the lights of the city. Ella felt herself perched on a terrible fulcrum; on one side was a concrete, unshifting world of unremitting cruelty...And on the other was an unknown void that may just represent salvation, but so much faith and bravery was required.
She breathed deeply and closed her eyes. She could still smell the forest, still feel Annalis’e’s hands firmly on her shoulders. Ella turned to look hard at her escort, she looked different now. She wasn't just an agent, she was something else altogether.
“I’m not a religious person. Not the old gods, or the new. I never had much use for it, I never understood it. I always looked at the world exactly on the terms of what I could see and touch. But right now...” Her gaze drifted a moment to the crate, then back again. “...I understand the need of faith.” Again that slightly bemused laugh. “And Lords help me, I could almost believe that one of the heavenly host finally decided to show up...” Her expression softened. “...And if that’s true I’ll give them credit, because it was in no way I could have anticipated.”
Ella turned away from her world, all the while promising herself that this was just one step in a chain. But Lords, what a step.
Propelling herself almost mechanically toward the up ramp of the crate she grasped Annalis’e’s forearm for strength. Her heart hammered altogether too hard in her chest.
Minific of Marvelous and Ahim because I’m still on a Gokaiger high
I think I made Ahim saucy in this one (is that even a thing anymore? lol)
“Marvelous-san, would you like some tea and scones?” asked Ahim, already prepared with a teacup and a plate of the pastry with some clotted cream and berries on the side.
Marvelous looked up from the star maps he was reading, charting out their course for the next few days. “Thank you, Ahim. You can set it down here.” He cleared a space on the table, and Ahim placed the tea and cakes on it.
He lifted the cup to take a sip. As expected, it was already sweetened to his taste, and cool enough to drink without being tepid. He took a bite of the scones, and the fruit and cream was a nice addition to an otherwise plain, but fluffy treat.
“You know, I could never figure out how you know exactly how we all like our tea,” said Marvelous absently as he munched on his snack. “Even Gai, when he just joined up... Is it just a princess thing, or...?”
“Well...” Ahim replied with a soft laugh. “I suppose you could put it that way.”
“Wait, what?” Marvelous asked, not expecting that reply. “It actually is a princess thing?”
“I was taught the art of tea as part of my etiquette lessons,” Ahim replied. “Not just how to make different kinds of tea, or what foods to go with them. But how to read people to know how they would like to take their tea. Or anything else they want, for that matter.” She explained. “After all, as royalty, it was essential for us to ensure our guests are as comfortable as possible. Especially when the smallest slights- like a badly made cup of tea- could start a war.”
Marvelous gaped at her. “...You’re serious,” he said in shock. Ahim nodded.“How do you exactly do this... reading thing? Would anyone else... say me... be able to learn it?”
Ahim tittered. “I’m afraid it’s a trade secret, Marvelous-san,” she giggled. “One must be royalty to learn it.”
“And being your captain isn’t reason enough?” Marvelous asked, smirking at her.
Ahim returned it with a sly smile of her own. “Of course it isn’t. But maybe if you gave me another reason, I might consider teaching you, Marvelous-san.”
Toddler Mutant Ninja Turtles, chapter 1; Hall of Science! @brightlotusmoon @selfindulgenz @scentedcandlecryptid
They were running. Silent feet pounding on stone and impressive forms guiding them over the gaps between rooftops fast enough to disappear between blinks. Like shadows, completely unseen, the brothers raced to the location of their next mission.
“Can I get another runthrough, Don?” Raphael called to his brother as they glided side by side, looking to each other mid-jump.
Donatello didn't need to pay attention to where he was going; his body was so used to the nightly activity that his feet guided him even as his mind was focused on other subjects. He tapped the band on his wrist to bring up a map of New York that immediately settled on his location and the path they would have to take to arrive at their destination; naturally, being the only one with such tech, and as second oldest, he took point with Raphael.
“There’s been a recent string of robberies in every major museum and science building in a hundred block radius. Just the normal stuff: jewels, gems, priceless artifacts, experimental technology—anything worth a pretty penny really.”
“And we’re sure this is our kinda thing?” Leonardo asked; for stamina, the turtle was not built, so already he was panting and coated in a heavy layer of sweat. Still, he was able to keep up quite easily with his brothers. “We do mutants and we do Foot Clan, we don’t do petty robbers.”
“With their MO, I am 99.8 percent certain this is a new mutant.” Donatello reported.
“And what MO would that be?” Raphael questioned.
Donatello cleared his throat and closed his eyes, sticking a finger in the air to annunciate himself as he spoke. “They break in without any clear entry or exit points, door and windows locked and intact, and no security cams or security sensors can seem to pick up on when the attacks occurred. And, most incriminating, they leave behind nothing but a water trail.”
Michelangelo whistled. “Did Piebald go all dark side? Can’t she do all that?”
“I don’t know Michael.” Donatello admitted, “But we’re about to find out. I’ve figured out a pattern in the places they’re targeting and I have a pretty good idea of where we can catch them in the act.”
Raphael nodded and gave an approving grunt. “Then let’s put a hustle on it!”
The journey was an easy and short one. They came onto the roof of the museum and, while they split up at Raphael’s order to find a way into the building, Leonardo took the chance to read the sign.
“New York Hall of Science?” Leonardo scrunched up his beak.
Michelangelo hummed and put his hand on his hip; he had just found a way in through the vent shaft. “Are you sure this is a mission and not just a Donnie field trip?”
Donatello’s lips curled down and he put a hand to his chest. “I reel at the actuation! Gasp! I, the respectable and beloved green mutant lad I am, would never ever do anything like that, never in a million years!” Wild hand gestures enunciated his dramatics. “This is purely professional!”
Michelangelo rolled his eyes. “I found a way in!” He pointed to the vent shaft and was easily able to pry the cover, tossing it aside and going to climb in.
Raphael was there before Michelangelo could do much more than put a foot in, grabbing his baby brother by the shell to pull him out and plop him back down on the safety of the roof.
“Leader goes first!” Raphael declared proudly. Then he immediately melted into soft coos and kneeled beside Michelangelo, pinching the box turtle's cheeks and rubbing his head, “I can’t have my baby brother getting hurt can I?”
He stood up again and gave the seething Michelangelo a final pat on the shoulder before jumping into the vents without a care as to where they led. Michelangelo tried to follow after, but he was forced back by sharp nudges from Leonardo and Donatello as they side-checked him before ducking inside. Michelangelo was the last one in the vents and the last one out.
The brothers fell one by one from the vent shaft, landing with solid, yet muffled thumps as the stealth mode drilled into them took over. The building was completely dark, but that was expected given the fact it was long after hours and the security guards and workers had all gone home for the night.
“Nice.” Leonardo whistled, eyes going white as they scanned across the dark room. “Now this is more my style!”
The museum, despite its namesake, didn't much resemble a museum as it did an indoor playground. There were several exhibits quartered off with rope and chains; a rocket ride that resembled a better, cooler version of a coin-operated horse, a trampoline with a harness attached to a bungee cord, several displays showing off depictions of the solar system or sand dollars you could dig for in a sand pit or a small chemical set for little experiments. It was like something straight out of a child's imagination! Michelangelo had to rub his eyes several times just to be sure he was actually seeing it.
Donatello stepped in front of the awed group and gave a bow before motioning widely to the room. “Welcome, dear brothers, to the greatest place on earth if you happen to be a science child! Ohhh I’ve always wanted to come here!” Donatello practically melted, his eyes shimmering with the child-like wonder as he leaned his full weight on his bo staff. He sucked in a shaky gasp and one of his spider arms deployed to offer him a tissue. “It’s so beautiful.”
“I guess.” Raphael laughed, smiling at the sight of his brother happy as could be. “But I don’t really see how this fits our thief's MO…”
“Allow me to elaborate!” Donatello declared, spinning on his heels to face his brothers again as he threw purple sparkles into the air, “This museum of wonder and extravagance will be displaying the illusive and highly controversial trillion-sided die in their Math-mania exhibit this Saturday eve! School children from all over with come to marvel as this beautiful piece of scientific—“
“Woah woah woah, trillion-sided die?” Leonardo interrupted, fixing Donatello with his ‘I don’t believe you’ eyes, “That sounds totally made up!”
Donatello gasped as if Leonardo’s words were a personal affront. “I assure you the trillion-sided die is a hundred percent, genuine marvel of the world—“
“How could there be a trillion sides?” Leonardo asked, “Who counted all them sides!”
“T...they clearly had a highly advanced expert to prove—“
“Another question,” Leonardo raised his hand, “How big is the die? It’s gotta be pretty big to have a trillion sides.”
“I… It’s a… it’s just a regular sized die!”
“Then are the sides all like… really small or… or how did they do that?” Leonardo leaned against a wall and smirked.
Michelangelo was quickly growling bored with the argument and his eyes began to wander, searching for some movement or stimulation to keep his mind happy. What he found instead was a wet spot on the floor, and once he saw it, it was impossible to unsee it. It was like someone had been carrying a bucket full of water with the bottom full of holes, dripping it all the way through the walkway and then around a bend and out of sight.
“Guys—!” Michelangelo tried to get their attention. He was met with a finger pressed to his lips to silence him.
“Shush, Angelo. Big boys are talking!”
Michelangelo’s hands became fists and he growled. If he had been in a cartoon, steam would have poured out of his ears! But before he could try again to call their attention, Leonardo had jumped forward, leaning his entire weight on Michelangelo’s head to point.
“Hey look! A water trail!”
Raphael came over grinning. “Good job Leo! Great find!”