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OOC: Alright, I’m here. Am I alright? No. Can I try and do some drafts? Maybe, we’ll try.
i had a dream about killing his ex gf , life is sometimes good , i’m feeling nice !! might fuck around and commit a crime later idk !!
i found a myspace era vibe blingee edit of otto and im crying. mecore
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Can you please tag that post with kiss players as "p*dophilia cw" or something similar?
yes of course
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OOC: The worst happened. I don't know if I want to be awake because it'll come to be and I've been avoiding a depression crisis the whole day by buying tired, sleeping or next to my grandma who I promised wouldn't see me crying all the time. I don't want to be alone and awake, this will hit me and I don't want. But I need to. I don't even have much battery left on my mobile and I can only charge it if I'm awake. Also I need to wait for something tomorrow. I don't want condolences. I just want to understand HOW can anyone go from mildly ill with something like a flu to dead in one day. I don't get it. She wasn't that bad. I wasn't worried because it wasn't that bad. It became bad quickly I just want answers so I can avoid this with my last remaining babies. HOW?
Blizzard / New Year
We didn’t get far before I knew we were doomed. Alicia needed time to recover as her insides sluggishly healed, her spine was too mangled still for her legs to properly function. Anthony and I were strong enough to carry her, but the going was slow; we had to move her several yards then quickly go back and try to hide our very obvious tracks.
I knew from watching Curtis that fae were just as susceptible to cold as humans, so if Alton planned to stay through the storm he was going to need a decent amount of firewood. But that would still only take so long to gather, and although he might initially believe Gage had taken us to turn me in for the contract money a quick phone call would end whatever minutes that bought.
We really only had one option, as much as I loathed it, and after about twenty minutes I was forced to call our advance to a halt. We’d barely gone a mile, if that, and we’d all be dead if this kept up.
“Can you blink?” I asked as I lowered Alicia to sit on a fallen tree. Anthony responded by blinking first both eyes, then winking each one in demonstration. “Not you!”
“I think so,” she replied. “It’s my legs that aren’t working yet, everything else does. I’m tired, I’ll need to keep resting, but I can do it.”
“Can you take another person with you?” I asked. “Would you be able to blink Anthony with you?”
She looked him up and down thoughtfully.
“I think so.”
“Wait, what are we talking about?” Anthony asked worriedly. “And why am I the only one we’re asking about?”
“She can teleport,” I replied. “Short distances, but it means you won’t leave tracks. With nothing to trace you by, you should be able to stop when she needs to rest.”
“Okay, weird,” Anthony frowned. “But again, why am I the only one we’re asking about?”
I glanced down at Alicia, and could see she knew what I was thinking.
“Nox is giving off a call you can’t sense,” she answered for me. “It’s not as strong as it used to be, but out here with no other humans to dampen it he’s like a signal flare.”
“I’m the one Alton wants right now,” I said. “If I go in the opposite direction, he’s going to follow me. I’m easier for him to track and neither of you are really worth the effort.”
There was a noise overhead that made us all tense, a low caw that echoed through the snowflakes beginning to fall. The circling crow came to rest on a nearby branch, and for a minute I dared to feel hopeful; it didn’t occur to me Curtis would have eyes watching for him this far north, but the way the bird was looking at us was far different from a random crow passing by.
I dug in my boot and took out my phone. When it turned on I removed the password so they’d have no trouble, and handed it over to Anthony.
“Get away from here,” I commanded. “Call Curtis once you know you’re safe, tell him what happened. Let him know I went north and let him know his friends should be able to point him to me.”
“His friends…?” Anthony looked more confused than ever. Alicia took the phone off him.
“We’ve been still for too long,” she admonished. “Nox’s best chance is if we get somewhere safe and call in help.”
“Or you could just teleport all three of us,” Anthony was starting to get annoyed at not knowing what was going on, and I sympathized. “Or teleport yourself, and we can follow and hide our own trail easier!”
“The second would take too long and the first is dangerous,” I replied. “There are things I can do that mess with her abilities. I can’t always control it, if it kicks in halfway through a blink I don’t know what will happen to us. Now go. It’s freezing out here Anthony, and neither of you have coats. This storm is rolling in. I’m going to be fine…I’m not trapped out here with him, he’s trapped out here with me.”
He tried to argue again, but Alicia was done with him. She caught him by the arm and yanked him down into her lap, and the two disappeared in a flare of familiar static electricity.
The woods felt ominously quiet once I was alone. I looked up at the crow, which was still watching me.
“Help a guy out, huh?” I asked. “Maybe let some friends know where I’m at so they can pass on the message?”
It eyed me with vague interest and gave another soft caw, then took off and disappeared into the gray sky. I had no idea what that meant, or if it meant anything at all, but with the bird gone as well I was now completely alone.
The bravado I’d put on for the others was false; I was terrified. I had my cold weather hunting attire, but it would only keep me warm for so long unless I found shelter. Shelter was off the table, remaining in one place was a great way to be caught.
Melted snow would provide fresh water, which I would have to force myself to drink. My hunger and thirst still hadn’t properly returned, and I could easily dehydrate without noticing. The same went for my lack of sleep, I wasn’t going to realize how tired I was until it was too late.
I had my pack though, which meant my hunting knife, my bow, some hand warmers, and at least a few small snacks. None of which was going to do me much good once the flurries now falling became a full-fledged snow storm.
The only thing I could do was start walking, so I did. I kept close to the trees, making my steps as large as I could to hide them amongst the brush. I trudged along for about an hour before the snowfall became heavy enough to start obscuring my tracks, a small blessing mixed in with the curse.
The snow gradually became heavier, and the wind more biting. Every sound made me jump behind the nearest tree and hold my breath, waiting to be tackled to the ground. It only became worse when I started to sense Alton nearby.
His presence was like oil on water, a slick feeling dancing over my skin that got stronger and weaker as he gained on me or I pulled ahead. It was only when I felt it that I dared mask myself, occasionally letting it slip away just to keep him interested. I needed him to keep following me, if he lost me completely he would turn around and go after my friends.
I hoped he would need to rest on occasion, but he was tireless. The cloudy sky had long since given away to night when I forced myself to stop and eat some beef jerky, sitting on a rock outcropping to rest legs I didn’t want to overwork. The falling snow and noisy wind shielded him from my notice until he was almost on top of me, and only that strange feeling told me I needed to hide just before he appeared.
I huddled down behind the rock, keeping my head covered to hide the colors in my hair. I’d tried the hand warmers but they didn’t do much, and I was freezing; the last thing I wanted to do was curl up in the snow, but I had to do it anyway. I held my mask tightly in place and stayed unmoving, praying my camouflage did its job now that the orange sash was tucked safely in my pack.
He paused there, trying to gauge where I went, and I was sure my pounding heart would lead him right to me. After a few minutes of indecision he picked a direction and kept heading north, and I gave myself a moment to breathe when he was gone.
I knew it wouldn’t be long before he doubled back, once he found no trace. My break was over, and I was out of time. I had to push myself to my absolute limits now, Alton was simply too close for me to leave anything on the table.
I started walking west. I focused on speed over stealth, trusting the snow to hide my tracks, and tried to gain some distance before I dropped my shield again.
The game went on like this for what had to be hours. Sometimes the snow and wind died down, but most of the time it was frigid and visibility was low. It was often only the vision-shifting properties of masking that helped me see where I was going, in the stormy night I was completely blind otherwise. It didn’t help that snow was piling up quickly, slowing me down further.
Alton nearly caught me three more times. Each time I hid, glad the cold dulled his senses and slowed him down as well. It didn’t seem to affect him as badly but it did affect him, just enough for me to keep escaping by the skin of my teeth.
Eventually, I had to pause to honestly assess myself. The results weren’t good.
My cold-weather gear was good quality, but nothing was going to stop hours of tromping through knee-deep snow from squeezing water into my boots. My feet were numb, and the fingers I had curled up inside my sleeves had hardly any feeling left. The chill had made its way down into my bones, leaving me shivering with an almost painful intensity, and in the many hours since striking out from the cabin to hunt I’d eaten very little.
I forced myself to dip my cold fingers into the snow, to put some in my mouth and let it melt for what I knew was likely badly-needed hydration. I’d only done so a few times, despite knowing I was losing moisture through my skin and my two bathroom stops.
While I waited for a mouthful of snow to melt, I lightly massaged my legs. I couldn’t really feel much with my fingers but I could see they were starting to shake. So were my hands, and as I looked straight down with only the snow under my feet as a backdrop I could see the edges of my vision getting blurry and faded.
Hypothermia was setting in, and my venom-sharpened mind didn’t notice. My time was up.
But if I was going down, so was this motherfucker.
I unclasped my pack and pulled out the hunting knife, unclipping the sheath and sticking it in the side of my boot. My bow got stowed to the side, pushed down into the snow where it was invisible, and I shrugged off the coat that was doing little to keep me warm anymore. My shirt underneath was soaked, both from snow gradually making its way in and my own sweat. I didn’t even notice the extra chill, most of me was already numb.
I draped my coat over a low hanging branch, tying it in place with the bright orange hunter’s sash, and propped up the hood with a twig. My years of building lifelike scarecrows for Halloween paid off; up close it wasn’t exactly art, but from a distance it would do its job.
All that was left to do was duck behind a tree and stop shielding myself, and try not to die before my blood did its work.
Easier said than done. The snow was letting up and the wind was dying down, but my whole body was shaking like a leaf. Leaning here was the first rest I had in hours, and now that I stopped moving I could feel the sluggishness kick in. the only thing keeping me going was knowing Alton was there, feeling him getting closer and anticipating making him suffer for ruining my day.
He wasn’t even careful when he finally did show up. From what I could see he was moving slowly, but the cold hadn’t caused him the same damage it did to me. He wasn’t trembling and his movements were still strong and steady.
He spotted the coat and started moving faster. I pulled out my knife and gripped it tightly, holding my breath as he got closer. I needed him to get past me, to leave his back open like Allen did back on the bridge.
I wasn’t so lucky. Alton realized what he was looking at and skidded to a stop only a few feet away from me, eyes narrowing as he realized the trick. He looked to his right first, away from me, and I knew it was now or never.
As he was turning his head to look in my direction I gripped the knife with both hands, bringing it up as I stepped out of my hiding place. The blade hit the soft part of his abdomen, below his ribs, but I knew I didn’t have enough force behind it to reach his heart. I wrenched it free and stabbed again immediately, landing two more blows before he recovered enough to fight back, but none of them hit their mark.
He reached for me and I masked myself, but I could feel it was weak. I may have dipped out of his sight but he didn’t lose me entirely, and I only barely made it around him to slam the blade down on the back of his neck.
The luck I had with the strike was incredible. The blade somehow hit true, wedging between the vertebrae and severing nerves. Alton collapsed into the snow but so did I, no longer having him to hold onto to keep my feet. I skidded downhill on the inclining ground, slamming into a hidden rock with my unprotected side and getting the wind knocked out of me.
Everything stilled as I tried to recover. My body didn’t want to move and my lungs didn’t want to take in air, every part of me wanted to shut down and give up. It was a powerful temptation, to close my eyes and drift off and escape my current problems in a very permanent sleep.
But I knew I couldn’t, not yet. First I needed to finish this, until I did Alton was a danger to everyone I cared about, and the first person he would go after was Curtis.
I managed to get up on my hands and knees, my arms shaking violently as I made them carry weight they could barely hold. I crawled, inch after painful inch, to the spot in the snow where the wooden arrows lay hidden away from sight. One of those in the heart would pin Alton down, until Alicia sent someone to finish him off.
Numb fingers had to fight with the clip on my quiver as I desperately tried to get the arrows free. It took far too long for one to come loose, and even as I slid it out I heard a sickening crackling sound echo over the dying wind. A few yards away Alton twitched, the knife forced slowly out by healing bone and reconnecting nerves. After a moment he reached up and pulled the blade free, and stumbled back up on jerking legs.
The snow had stopped, the anger on his face was clearly visible.
“You annoying little bastard,” he hissed, sloshing through the snow to grab me by the shirt and pull me to my feet. “You’re going to pay for that.”
I felt the arrow slip out of my fingers and knew I missed my chance. Instead of being afraid, I felt a surge of anger for being put in this position in the first place.
“Promises, promises,” I shot back. It was my first time speaking in hours, I could hear my voice was slurred. “I’ll say hello to your bitch ass brother for you.”
I hit a nerve. He was practically vibrating in anger, unable to make a coherent response. I was certain he was about to twist my head off my neck, but at that point I was so cold he’d only be doing me a favor.
Up above a cry rang out, a single, loud caw, drawing our attention up to the crow circling low overhead. I felt Alton’s grip on me tightening as he debated the meaning of the bird’s appearance during a storm, but the trees to our right exploded with movement and sound before he could make up his mind.
The huge, dark shape hit us both, all snarls and claws and teeth as it knocked Alton to the ground. I fell into the snow, lost in the confusion of the flurry of action my muddled brain was having trouble comprehending.
Something was attacking Alton, something large and angry, making its anger known with an ungodly yowling I never imagined could be made by a living thing. It lashed at him with sharp claws and wicked teeth, ears flat against its shadowy fur and its red eyes glowing in rage.
A black mountain lion.
Purpose flooded my muscles with a last surge of strength. Alton still had my knife and he was still strong and fast, Drew had anger and surprise on his side but I didn’t know what Grim were really capable of. I struggled to push myself up, to dig through the snow until my hands hit the hard surface of my bow, to search for my dropped arrow.
My hands shook as I raised my weapon, shifting my vision just enough to be able to see the two combatants against the backdrop of nighttime forest. For the first time in years I prayed, desperate for some divine intervention to help me end this. The bow was too heavy for my tired arms, my fumbling hands couldn’t nock the arrow. I could see now Drew was bleeding, his blood mixing with Alton’s on the knife blade as he fought.
They were a flurry of snarls and slashes, equally matched for now but I knew one would eventually give ground. Unlike Alton, Drew didn’t immediately heal, and I had a sinking feeling he would go down first.
The warm feeling was faint at first, I didn’t notice it in all the noise. A hint of spring in the middle of winter, a pleasant sensation against the stinging cold. It felt like somebody was standing behind me, arms coming around me to rest over my own.
I felt the word more than heard it, a gentle urge rather than a command. It felt…feminine. Safe. Like a moment of calm in the ghastly, freezing storm. I couldn’t not listen, everything else faded to a peaceful quiet as I slowly took a deep, steadying breath.
I lifted the bow, nocked my arrow, and drew. Something strengthened my arms, steadying my hands and letting me line up my shot. Through the trees, it was as if Drew and Alton were now moving in slow motion, even at my most sloppy there was no way I could miss.
I let the arrow fly. As soon as my fingers released the bowstring time snapped back to full speed and the safe feeling receded, and sound returned with a vengeance. The snarls and wind and crashing of bodies through the snow was deafening after the moment of peace. The arrow hit its mark, striking Alton between the eyes, aiming for the same spot Gideon had aimed for when he’d managed to kill the fae in the woods with a bullet.
The warm feeling of smug satisfaction I had as Alton’s head snapped back and he collapsed to the ground was the last sensation I had.
My arms gave out, and so did the rest of me. I didn’t feel myself fall but I knew I must have; the flurries were now falling directly on my face. I closed my eyes and gave in, letting myself drift off.
Someone jostled me at some point, but I couldn’t bring myself to care very much. Sounds were muffled, words were slurred, everything hurt.
“I’ll get him back to the cabin.” A deep voice, familiar. A soft, pleasant scent. Warm arms. “The sun is almost up, get back there fast while you still have four legs to carry you. Others are coming, they’ll take care of the fae.”
Cold. Dark. Quiet. I drifted away into an uncomfortable sleep, wanting to be awake but unable to get myself there. I was being pulled downward, smothered, my body was trying to give up but my racing mind knew there was more to be done. I had to make sure Drew was okay, I had to make sure Anthony and Alicia had gotten to safety. Rest had to wait, just for a little while, until I knew everyone was okay.
Pain helped drag me to wakefulness, a horrible burning as I suddenly became too warm.
“Where did you find him? Where was he?” That sounded like Lux, but I didn’t know why he would be in the middle of the Pocono woods.
“He was walking in the snow, about a quarter of a mile from here. He almost made it back.”
“Here! Over here!” Lux exclaimed. “Tell the paramedics to bring a gurney!”
There was yelling. I stopped listening, I felt too hot. I tried to pull at my shirt, to expose my skin to the cool air, but hands stopped me and there was more yelling. Something solid materialized under me, shaking my whole body slightly as I was moved, and when I managed to crack open my eyes I immediately closed them against the bright light above me.
“I’ll call you once we’re at the hospital!” Lux again.
“Wait!” A new voice, breathless, far more forceful than I’d ever heard it. “You, out. I’m riding with him, you can go call off the search teams.”
I braced myself against that horrible light and opened my eyes again. I saw Lux disappearing from view, replaced a moment later as Drew stepped up and sat down next to me. He was cut and bruised, his hair a mess, and he was breathing heavy.
“You’re going to be fine,” he murmured. I felt him take one of my hands in his, his other stroking my hair. “Just a little ride to the hospital, okay? I’m going to make sure nobody gets creepy when they change you into that stupid gown.”
A hospital sounded like overkill, I was sure I just needed some sleep. It would be nice if my limbs stopped tingling too, but I was a doctor. Surely I would know if I needed a hospital.
“Your shirt’s on backwards,” I slurred, the first response that came to mind.
Drew smiled and squeezed my hand. I closed my eyes when he leaned down to kiss my forehead, giving myself a rest from that horrible overhead light.
I gazed out the window at the falling snow, the last flakes in a passing flurry the weatherman said would be gone soon. In the distance I could see the clouds clearing up, revealing a cold, clear sky perfect for the fireworks that would happen later tonight.
My room at Garrett’s house was spacious and luxurious, but I missed being home and I couldn’t wait to leave. My clean bill of health had finally been issued this morning, and my house arrest lifted this afternoon. I had one social engagement to attend—the family New Year’s Eve party—and then I was free to leave.
If I could ever be considered free again, now that Garrett was aware of what I was.
Nobody was really at fault, it was simply how the chips had fallen. When Noah and Jack found me missing they called the rangers, but it was Anthony who’d called in the cavalry. He’d been to visit me, and admitted he’d called Lux and babbled on about vampires and Invisibles to get my family involved. Curtis had decided a large group of fae hunters was the fastest way to find me safely, and urged Anthony to do so without revealing the Duchesnes.
I’d been found despite the storm because my family was searching closer to the cabin, letting Curtis extend his own search further. As annoyed as I was to have my secret spilled, I knew I owed my life to Anthony’s call.
Garrett had me transferred to home care as fast as his money could buy, and as soon as I was well enough I insisted on choosing my doctor. When Oksana arrived I gave her the truth—the whole truth, with Anthony as a witness. Curtis couldn’t visit me here in this den of rabid wolverines, I needed her to see me safely through the last vestiges of withdrawal.
A knock on the door drew my attention away from the window. The door opened without me giving permission, to reveal Lux. He held a wrapped suit in his hand, and looked very uncomfortable.
“Hey.” He sounded nervous, not at all the man I was used to him being. I let the curtain fall closed and sat on the edge of the bed.
“Can I come in?”
I shrugged. “You’re halfway in already.”
He shut the door behind him and looked around awkwardly, until he spotted a hook on the closet door where he could hang his burden.
“Grandpop ordered you a suit,” he said, needlessly. “I made sure he had the right measurements.”
I did not want to wear a suit. I especially did not want to wear any suit Garrett picked out. He had been far too interested in me over my month-long recovery, and I didn’t like it.
Lux stepped away from the suit and stood awkwardly in the middle of the room. We still hadn’t talked, and I hated how uncomfortable this all felt. He raised his other hand, and I saw he was holding Marc’s journal, still in the bag I’d put it in at home.
“Found the book we were looking for,” he murmured.
“I see that. Any reason you were nosing around my house?”
“To get the book, obviously.”
He shifted uncomfortably for a moment, then came over to sit next to me on the bed. I didn’t stop him. We sat in silence for about five minutes, while I waited for him to get around to his reason for being here.
“I’m sorry,” he finally said.
I didn’t expect it. I knew he was uncomfortable with our altercation all those weeks ago, but Lux didn’t apologize if he didn’t think he was wrong.
“I’m not,” I replied. That made him laugh a little.
“I know. But you weren’t being the asshole, so I guess you don’t have to be. Do I get to explain myself, or should I just see myself out?”
I wanted to be a jerk and tell him to get out, but this was my brother. I was still angry but I missed him, and even getting into another argument now was better than this radio silence we’d had going on.
“I’ll give you five minutes,” I supposed.
Lux let out a huff, carefully taking the book out of the plastic. The many sticky notes I’d used as bookmarks made it impossible for me to claim I’d never read it, and I wondered if he’d shown it to Garrett yet.
“Grandpop came to see me on our thirty-fifth birthday,” Lux said. “He said he’d been waiting for me to show some “unexpected talents” but it was taking too long, that he was going to try and teach me. I didn’t know what he was talking about but I played along, gave in and went to one of his meetings. That was when they told me there were…things…out there.”
“Fae,” I supplied.
I didn’t like the way he said it, like anything that wasn’t human was a monster. I knew that wasn’t true; the Duchesnes were just a family, living their lives in the world they’d been given. And Drew, who warned me that hunters weren’t too sweet on Grim, either, didn’t ask to be what he was. Being forced to choose whether to live or die wasn’t really a choice at all.
“Yeah, fae,” Lux replied. “He told me about the Hidden Court, about how our family was descended from people who’d gone to war with the fae and lost. He was sure it was still in the bloodline, that it was live in me.”
“What made him so sure?”
Lux frowned and carefully unwrapped the leather around the journal pages. He ignored the pages themselves, instead pulling off one of my sticky notes and using it like a pot holder to pull the silver medallion from its pocket.
“A few days after we were born he came to visit,” he said. “Apparently he does it with all the kids when they’re little. He said the stone in this thing reacts to members of this Hidden Court.”
He dropped the medallion into his open palm, letting it touch his skin. Unsurprisingly, nothing happened. Then he offered it to me.
I’d touched the medallion before, but never with my bare skin. I always wore gloves, to try and keep from damaging it. Now I took it, still feeling like I was manhandling an antique as I lifted it from his hand.
The red stone, locked inside its metal cage, glimmered with a liquid sort of light. It wasn’t a blinding glow, but it was unmistakable.
“Remember how Dad used to get us mixed up until we were almost a year old?” Lux asked, a wistful smile on his face. “I knew as soon as Grandpop told me that it wasn’t me. Not sure how I knew, I just did. He tested a kid, it glowed, he assumed it was the one with the penis, end of story.”
“And you didn’t tell him that?”
Lux took a deep breath, growing uncomfortable again.
“No, I didn’t. I knew he’d just use you, or try to. And knowing you…if you thought it would help even one person, you’d let him. I was never brave like you, you know? You were always the fighter, you don’t take shit. I’m the older brother, but I was always the one hiding behind you. I thought at least this once I could step up, keep him distracted, make him leave you alone.
“He wanted to pull this thing out and make a show of it for everyone, so I strung him out as long as I could. I was always using Beth or work as an excuse, any time I thought he might call everyone together and try to use it I’d suddenly get busy. His birthday was the first time I couldn’t weasel out of it, but then I got there and the book was missing anyway.”
“I know, I’m not done,” he interrupted me dully, looking down at his feet. “I should’ve told you. I guess I kind of liked pretending it was me even though I knew it wasn’t. I never went to war, I don’t save lives every day. It was like secretly being a superhero for a little while, I got caught up in it. And you almost died because I didn’t warn you. I…”
He sputtered, looking for words. I could hear the genuine sorrow in his voice, see the guilt in his posture. I hated it. I wanted him to apologize and know how stupid he’d been, but I didn’t want him hurting.
I tossed the medallion on the bed and pulled him into a tight hug.
“I didn’t die, so we’re going to throw that part out,” I told him. “But promise me you’re not going to hide things anymore? He’s up to something, we both know it, I’m gonna need you back on my team.”
“Promise,” Lux murmured.
We talked for a little bit after that, about these strange, sudden changes in our lives. I wanted to tell him about Drew and Curtis but I didn’t dare, not yet, though I promised myself I would as soon as I knew Garrett wouldn’t be able to manipulate it out of him.
Eventually he had to go get changed, and I grabbed a shower and put on my new suit. It fit perfectly, but I absolutely hated it. The material was too expensive, the cuff links and tie clip that were included with it way too fancy. I put it all on because I knew Mom had probably already seen it, and I didn’t want her to be disappointed.
The party was always somewhere stupid, and this year was no exception. Garrett had rented the Crystal Tea Room in the Wanamaker Building downtown, a gorgeous, ninth-floor, high-ceilinged ballroom that was an absolute waste of money. It was his attempt to pretend he was more class than brass, which meant the usual alleged movers and shakers were invited.
Mostly it was just Garrett’s rich friends, the majority of whom I’d be hard pressed to list any redeeming qualities for. They were half trust fund millionaires and half skeezy businesspeople who thought labor laws stopping children from dying in coal mines were unconstitutional.
He left earlier in the day to make sure everything was set up the way he wanted, so Lux, Beth, and I were left to travel together. I thought that meant we’d be taking Beth’s perfectly spacious car, but I was uncomfortably surprised to find a limo waiting for us outside the house.
When we arrived at the Wanamaker Building, an usher for the party opened our door and welcomed us. I’d never almost gagged so hard at being called “sir” in my life, and it only got worse from there. My intent was to stick with Lux, like I always did, but as soon as we stepped off the elevator I was whisked away by two of my uncles.
I was ushered through the crowds to where Garrett stood with a few other guys in equally ugly suits, the kind that were bought based on cost by people pretending to know fashion but who didn’t realize they were supposed to be fitted. Garrett’s smile put me on guard.
“John, Steve, I don’t think you’ve met my grandson Nox,” Garrett declared, resting an arm on my shoulder. “He’s a trauma surgeon. Top of his class at Perelman, United States Army Corporal, discharged with a Purple Heart. Could probably give your nephew a run for his money when it comes to wits, John.”
I felt a snap somewhere in my brain hearing those words come out of his mouth. They were all things my friends had said plenty of times, also to talk me up to new people, but it was very different coming from Garrett. I felt like I was in some kind of mirror universe, all I could do was smile and shake their hands and nod as I was told who they were only to immediately forget.
I didn’t stand there long. Garrett took two glasses of champagne from a passing tray and handed me one, and excused us to move on.
I was introduced to face after strange face, none of whom I managed to fully process. Each time I was presented to people with glowing assessments of my accomplishments, shown around with a pride I’d never experienced from my grandfather in my life.
Suddenly, I was his grandson and not a secret embarrassment. I was Nox, not my birth name. I was a skilled surgeon, not a backwater, small-time doctor. It was everything I’d ever want to hear him say, and it was creepy as hell to finally hear.
I spent more than an hour being presented to people who didn’t know I existed before today, and was finally rescued when Lux appeared and patted me jovially on the back.
“Hey, Grandpop, I need to borrow Nox for a minute,” he requested. “Some of our friends are here, and he looks kind of tired.”
Garrett looked at him impatiently, but then finally took a good look at me. If I looked anything like I felt it must have been terrible.
“Yes, of course,” he allowed, waving us away. “Get something to eat, have some drinks, mingle. The ball drop is soon.”
I was so frozen in place by the general weirdness of the night that Lux had to literally pull me away. I let him tug me halfway across the ballroom before a welcome face finally appeared, as Drew melted out of the crowd and put an arm around me.
“Hey, sorry I’m late,” he grinned, giving me a quick kiss when he was sure nobody was looking. We’d already discussed this, and decided to be subtle here with so many strangers present. “The early fireworks were great, but traffic was a mess getting River back to her mom’s.”
“Don’t worry, these things usually last until well into the next day,” I assured him. “We’ll be looking for a closet to take a nap in before the even break down the buffet tables.”
He looked good in a suit, and fit in with this crowd better than me. And so did the man I saw when I glanced past him.
Curtis was here, which I supposed shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did. I was Garrett’s ticket to getting into bed with the Duchesne businesses, there was no way he wouldn’t take advantage.
Curtis glanced up and saw me looking, but didn’t approach. He raised his champagne glass and gave me a smile in greeting, which I returned, then went back to his conversation.
I hadn’t seen him at all during my recovery, it simply wasn’t safe for him at Garrett’s house. Not now, while everyone in my orbit was under scrutiny if they got too near. I could talk to him again once I was back at home this week, but for now I had to pretend I didn’t care he was here. The last thing I wanted to do was put his family in danger by giving Garrett reasons to get too interested.
“Hey, come on, I need you,” Lux called my attention back to him, motioning for Drew and I to follow.
I glanced back at Curtis one more time before I went along, joining them to go to the atrium where only a handful of people currently milled around. Beth was sitting there, talking to my mother, and my father was standing off to the side. He motioned for us to come over as Lux headed for the women.
“What’s going on?” I wondered. “Is Beth okay?”
“Beth’s fine,” Dad drawled, sipping his beer. “Calm down. All good, Drew?”
“Hello, Mr. Caldwell.” Drew became as meek as ever in the shadow of my gigantic father, who didn’t even notice.
My mother hurried over, all aflutter, and I turned back to see what was going on. I found Lux pulling a ring box out of his pocket, and getting down on one knee.
“What in the motherfu—”
“Nox!” My mother hissed. Drew slapped a hand over my mouth, my father only chuckled.
To be fair, the words came out of their own accord in my shock. My brother, king of avoiding commitment, was proposing to his girlfriend of many, many years. And the woman I already thought of as my sister-in-law, sheerly out of time served, let out an excited squeal of glee.
I was happy for them. I didn’t have to pretend this time, I was honestly ecstatic. As soon as their moment was over and they let me go I bound over and jumped on Lux’s back, giving him a bear hug from behind.
We celebrated with champagne—and a soda for Beth—and decided the occasion should be marked by going out to dinner this week. And as the exciting little event drew to a close, Lux pulled me aside and asked me to be the best man at his wedding.
It was something I’d never thought was going to even happen. How could I say no?
We were in high spirits when we all went back to the party, and this time I mingled in earnest. I stuck to the people I liked; my friends, my cousins, the aunts and uncles who weren’t complete douchebags. Avoiding Curtis was harder than I thought; I guess he was a decent enough guy, and the company I preferred to keep gravitated to him.
I was still keeping an eye on him when the music died down, and the volume on the New Year’s Eve special being projected on a screen up front was raised in time for the announcement that the Times Square ball was beginning to drop. The partygoers around me began to chant the countdown, and I found myself being swept up in the cheer.
I looked over at Curtis one last time as I counted, and this time he was looking back. Just as the countdown reached “one” we both raised our glasses again, in a distanced toast to the new year.
Then I was spun around as everyone began popping streamers and making noise, and Drew kissed me solidly at the stroke of midnight.
There still weren’t any fireworks—none that weren’t up on the screen at least—but I was left breathless by the surprise and had to hold onto him to keep my feet. I felt warm and safe for the first time since the woods, and I knew this would only get better with time. And unlike so many others, Drew would give me all the time I needed.
I hugged him, resting my head against his, and we watched the fireworks being broadcast on the screen, my eyes sliding over to Curtis one last time. He was looking away now, laughing with someone and watching the show.
I turned my attention back to the fireworks, and to Drew. I was happy right now, of course I was. I had my health, I had my family, I had a midnight kiss from my Prince Charming.
What more could I possibly want?
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The Elder Scrolls: Blades update out now (version 1.13), patch notes
The Elder Scrolls: Blades received its latest update this week, bringing the game to version 1.13. It includes new Event Quests, new gear coming to the Sigil Shop, and a weekend of free skill resets.
Below are the full patch notes:
NEW EVENT QUESTS!
Heed Hircine’s call and join in the new ‘Spirit of the Hunt’ Event Quest, coming April 24
Equip your best shock weapons and spells when ‘The Thunder and the Fury’ returns May 8
Escape the dark dungeon beyond the portal in ‘Trapped,’ a new Event Quest debuting May 22
A new category of legendary items for players between level 30 and 55 will show up in the Shop starting May 8
More special gear coming soon, including Forsworn weapons, the Conjurer’s Gauntlets and the fabled Akaviri Sunderblade
FREE SKILL RESET!
Celebrate the season of rebirth and log in on the weekend of May 1 to enjoy a free skill reset
BUG FIXES AND IMPROVEMENTS
Equipment: Fixed a cosmetic issue with the Golden Saint gauntlets that displayed incorrectly when holding a weapon with two hands
Equipment: Shield of Mania damage reduced
Events: Extended level ranges for wispmothers, bears, and undead dragons in event quests
Events: Fixed limestone rewards not being awarded correctly in ‘The Dark Hold’ Event Quest
Guilds: Fixed an issue where interacting with a vendor in a guildmate’s town with a poor internet connection could cause a crash
Quests: Allowed the Chests in spider boss rooms to be more easily accessible
Switch: Fixed an issue where players could get stuck in the Message of the Day window
The Elder Scrolls: Blades is currently available for Switch via the eShop.
I like how Episode 30-32 is mainly for Rintaro’s Final Form Arc
OH YEAH BY THE WAY I FUCKING HATE KHEZHU.
Doing pretty decently in Rise atm. Already up to 3 star quests.
Granted, I gotta change my strategy as I’m a mount abuser from 4U which doesn’t work here lmaooo.
I used Insect Glaive in 4U, what can I say.
Cody & Frankie
Cody & Frankie
Cody watched as Blaster lifted a barrel off of a car. Ever since Blaster had joined their team, he’d been left behind at the Firehouse with Cody, as he was a Communications Officer, which left him paired with Cody.
“Why am I completing training exercises when I’m never going to be out in the field?” Asked Blaster, as Chase observed him.
“In the event of Cody being in danger.” Said Chase, getting stares from Blaster and Cody.
“No offense,” Started Blaster, “but Autobot City is practically a fortress, any Decepticon that is stupid enough to get too close to here is scrap.”
“You mean like the ones of the Alchemor?” Asked Chase, making Blaster go silent.
“Well, if you guys are busy,” Said Cody, getting up, “I’m going to meet Frankie.”
“Cody, I must ask you to postpone your date with Francine,” Said Chase, making Cody blush, “you may be required for the training scenarios.”
“RiGht,” Cody’s voice cracked, “First thing, I’m not dating Frankie, we’re just friends, second, you have that training dummy that can stand in for me.”
Chase and Blaster both stared at Cody, “Need we remind you of the Velgrox incident?”
“That scenario doesn’t count,” Protested Chase, “You and Francine instigated that incident.”
“Yeah, but it showed that Blaster doesn’t need to go through any more scenarios,” Said Cody, folding his arms, “He protected me just fine.”
Chase remained silent, which Cody took as his que to leave. The two Autobots watch Cody limp away.
“I think he’s still upset about Prowl.” Said Blaster, frowning.
“I thought it was just me.” Agreed Chase, as Cody disappeared from view.
Cody parked his bike outside the park, the lock activating automatically, before heading off to find Frankie. He’d usually be able to find her at the memorial statue that had been erected in the middle of the park after the Decepticon Attack two and a half years ago. Cody remembered the attack, because it was when he, truly, first met Starscream.
“Cody, over here!” Called Frankie, waving at him.
Cody smiled and started towards her, she was sitting on a bench in front of Prowl and Quickshadow’s legs. The two statues’ shadows casting a shadow of the area, Brawn and Windcharger’s Statues stood over by the lake, while Huffer, Hound and Beachcomber stood in a field of trees, bushes and flowers. The seven Autobots had been killed when Starscream led his Decepticon ‘loyalists’ against the city, it was because of those seven that no humans were harmed in the attack.
“CeCe got her first Science Fair prize,” Said Frankie, showing Cody a hologram of the nine-year-old, braces and all, holding a ribbon and her project, “It collects glitter from all surfaces, Daddy wants to see if more can be made, since, well, you know glitter.”
“Small, sticks to everything and almost impossible to remove.” Said Cody, sitting next to Frankie as Fixit rolled past, “Blurr’s gotten a new paint job.”
“Yeah, blue really suits him.” Said Frankie, as Cody pulled a hologram out of his bag, “Nearly three years.”
Cody looked up at Prowl’s statue, he couldn’t get the sight of smoke pouring out of his optics and mouth as his body slowly greyed, the resulting explosion revealed that his internals had all but melted. Prowl’s corpse had landed on Cody’s leg, resulting in the limb being amputated. The only bright thing that came from that day, in Cody’s opinion, was Arcee taking Starscream’s head off.
Cody quickly looked to the ground, before placing hologram emitter at the feet of the statues. A small Autobot symbol appeared, Ratchet had told them that placing a hologram with the faction’s symbol was the Cybertronian equivalent of placing flowers on a grave.
“Jolt’s been working with Daddy on something,” Said Frankie, from her spot next to Cody, “I think it’s related to the power spikes.”
Cody hummed, before Frankie took his hand and said, “Let’s go get something to eat.”
“Anything to keep me from Chase’s scenarios.” Said Cody, walking with Frankie, their hands still entwined.
“I’m not sure if we can keep this up,” Said Frankie, her grip on Cody’s hand tightening, “Dad only not questioning why we’re meeting up so often because he’s working with Jolt, I don’t know how he’ll react to us, you know, dating.”
“Chase came close to finding out as well,” Said Cody, sighing, “he said our date would have to be postponed. I think he and Blaster are trying a little too hard to make up for Prowl.”
“HA! I knew it!” Cried Blades, making Cody and Frankie jump, “I knew you two were dating!”
“Blades!” Hissed Cody, as everyone stared at them.
“What?” Asked Blades, before looking around, “Oh…right, sorry.”
“Blades, why are you here?” Asked Cody, his face red.
“Oh, press conference, you know, live broadcasts, Q&A, that sort of thing.” Said Blades, as Cody spotted Huxley Prescott filming them.
“Y-you said ‘live broadcast’,” Said Cody, colour slowly draining from his face, “So, everyone watching heard your outburst?”
“Yup.” Said Blades, as Frankie caught on.
“Okay, maybe they’re not watching tv?” Suggested Frankie, just as their phones went off, “Oooh, it’s my Dad.”
“Kade.” Said Cody, confused, “Hello?”
Cody suddenly pulled the phone away from his ear and winced, “Dani, why are you using Kade’s phone? Oh, that noise was you, Kade.”
Frankie nervously answered her phone, as Cody’s face went beet red, “Hi, Daddy…”
Frankie was stiff for a moment, before relaxing, “Right, thank, Dad. Love you too.” Frankie hung up, before looking at Cody, who almost seem purple.
“Kade…I don’t need you to give me the Talk again,” Said Cody, “The first time was traumatising enough. No, don’t put Dad on the phone… hey, Dad. Yes, I do know how that stuff works. No, I don’t need Chase to make a diagram. I, I don’t think that’s an appropriate question Dad. Yeah, sure. Love you too. No, don’t break out the pictures!”
Cody lowered his phone and stared at the screen, “Dad’s going to break out the baby pictures.”
“Please, as if I haven’t already seen them.” Smirked Frankie, before looking up at Blades, “Where’s Dani?”
“With Taylor,” Sighed Blades, looking dejected, before looking down at Cody and Frankie, “Wanna go flying?”
“Is energon blue?” Was Frankie’s response, before Blades Transformed and Cody and Frankie climbed into his cockpit.
“Any requests?” Asked Blades, waiting for their input.
“Somewhere private.” Said Cody, immediately.
“Somewhere private coming up.” Said Blades, as he took off.
“I’m sure that could’ve gone better.” Said Frankie, as soon as Blades arrived at a waterfall that was difficult to access from the ground.
“Yeah, Kade tried giving me the Talk, again and Dad wanted to know if we were physical and if we were protection.”
“What is it with parents and thinking their kids are interfacing?” Asked Blades, making Cody and Frankie look up at him, confused, “You know, how humans make sparklings.”
Cody and Frankie blushed and looked at the ground, “Sooo, what now?” Asked Frankie, looking at Cody.
“We wait up here for a couple of hours and then head back,” Said Cody, sitting at the water’s edge, “I don’t think Kade’s going to let up on the Talk.”
Frankie smirked playfully, “Well, you know what we could do to fill that time up?”
“Oh, what?” Grinned Cody, before Frankie pushed him in the water, only to be dragged in herself when Cody grabbed her wrist.
Both teens were laughing as they threw water at each other, Frankie tackled Cody, making the young man fall on his back with Frankie on top of him. The young woman giggled and kissed Cody, resting her forehead against his.
“I love you.” Whispered Frankie, getting comfortable on Cody’s chest.
Cody returned the kiss, “I love you too.”
Frankie buried her head in the crook of Cody’s neck, getting comfortable as the pair drifted off into sleep.
Blades glanced over at the two humans, both cuddling each other in their sleep, and checked his internal chronometer before deciding to wake the pair up.
“Guys?” Said Blades, his voice soft, “It’s time to go.”
The two teens groaned, but started to get up, both shivering as the cold started to set in.
“Next time we’re up here,” Said Frankie, looking at Cody, “We bring a change of clothes.”
Cody smiled, before climbing into Blades with Frankie. Blades took off and took them back to Autobot City, landing on top of the Firehouse. The pair were greeted by their families, Doc Greene and Chief Burns holding a set of dry clothes.
“Blades said you’d need them.” Said Chief, as the pair took the dry clothes, “But, we need to talk about you running off.”
“I’m partially to blame, Chief,” Said Blades, crouching, “I suggested that we go flying and the fact I kind of outed their relationship on live TV.”
Chief sighed, before looking at the pair again, “Come on, you’re probably hungry, but, please, get changed first.”
Cody and Frankie nodded and headed off to dry off and change, leaving their parents on the landing pad.
“They do grow up fast, don’t they?” Asked Doc Greene, as Charlie frowned.
“I just wish that Cody didn’t grow up so fast.” Said Chief, as he watched Cody and Frankie messing around with each other.
“I just hope I win the next bet.” Said Doc Greene with a small smile.
Cody fiddled with the guitar strings, as Miko showed him how to play a chord.
“You’re doing great, Cody.” Said Miko, getting Cody to smile. Frankie was discussing some science stuff with Raf, while Jack was flicking through some paperwork given to him by Fowler, “I’d say we’re almost finished with the lessons.”
“It’s nice to be with you guys,” Said Cody, leaning back in his chair, “It’s almost as if things are as, they were before the Omega Lock incident.”
“Yeah, there are times I half expect Ratchet or Arcee to walk in and ask what we’re doing.” Sighed Miko, looking out the window, “I mean it’s nice having the Autobots here, I think I speak for everyone when I say we miss our partners.”
Cody’s smile turned sad, “I remember the time Prowl walked into that power line, I don’t I ever saw anyone move so fast.”
“Or that time Bulkhead screamed his head off when we showed him that mouse.” Grinned Miko, looking over at Jack.
“That’s nothing compared to Arcee calling an exhaust a ‘dowhicky’.” Said Jack, abandoning the paperwork.
“How about Bumblebee sneaking out of the base to go racing?” Asked Raf, as he joined the three.
“How about Kup’s cy-gar trick?” Asked Frankie, remembering the old bot.
“You mean the one where he turned it into a bullet?” Responded Miko, looking at Frankie.
“Yeah, that one!” Laughed Frankie, as Cody went to stand up, only for his prosthetic to buckle under his weight, “Cody!”
Jack caught Cody before he hit the ground, helping him back to the chair.
“It’s fine, it’s been acting up for a while.” Said Cody, as he rested the prosthetic on his other leg and pulled his trouser leg up. The light blue glow from the power cell flickered as the group observed it.
“I could get my dad to look at it.” Frankie offered, making Cody smile.
“I probably forgot to charge it properly.” Said Cody, getting back to his feet. Frankie held his arm, in case the leg gave out again, “You’re just looking for an excuse to steal me away, aren’t you?”
“How could you tell?” Smirked Frankie, as Jack sighed.
“Just remember to use protection,” Smirked Miko, making Cody and Frankie blush, “I’m too young to be an aunt.”
The two eighteen-year-olds quickly left the room to escape twenty-one-year-old, as Jack levelled her with an unimpressed stare.
“Old enough to be a mother, but too young to be an aunt.” Said Jack, folding his arms.
“Shut up.” Giggled Miko, as Raf decided to go back to his computer.
Cody winced as Doc Greene removed the power cell from his leg.
“Hmm, it seems that the power cells developed a fault.” Said Doc Greene, rubbing his chin, “I don’t know what could’ve cause it, unless you went for a sudden swim.”
Cody and Frankie froze and glanced at each other, thinking back to the week before and their dip in the pool of water.
“I know that look.” Said Doc Greene, folding his arms, “I’ll see about making your next prosthetic waterproof, Cody.”
“Thanks, Doc.” Said Cody, as Doc Greene reinserted the power cell.
“Frankie,” Said Doc Greene as the pair were leaving, “do try to be home at a reasonable hour tonight, your mother and I heard you knock the planter over.”
“Daddy!” Exclaimed Frankie, her face going red with embarrassment.
“I’m glad that no one heard me knock an entire shelving unit over.” Muttered Cody, as Blurr shot past.
“Higuys,byeguys,I’dlovetostopandchatbut,I’mbusybusybusy!” Said Blurr, speaking a mile a minute.
“That red energon must be some really strong stuff.” Said Frankie, as Blurr turned a corner.
“Apparently, Blurr’s body was built to use it,” Said Cody, shrugging, “Something about Velocitron and speed?”
A red and black semi with a yellow cab pulled to a stop in front of the pair.
“There you guys are,” Said Blaster, opening his door for them, “Chief has an announcement down at the Firehouse.”
“What is it?” Asked Cody, as he and Frankie climbed in.
“I don’t know,” Said Blaster, driving off, “Blurr was supposed to pick you up, but then he got called away by Bumblebee for something. Oh, and be warned, I think Chase’s sister is visiting.”
“Chase has a sister?” Asked Cody, cocking an eyebrow.
“The way Strongarm acts?” Snorted Blaster, “She might as well be!”
Blaster pulled to a stop outside the Firehouse, allowing Frankie and Cody to climb out. Blaster transformed and followed them inside, joining the joint crowd of Humans and Cybertronians. Cody and Frankie made their way through the crowd of Autobots with ease and then weaved through the humans.
“Graham, what’s going on?” Asked Cody, as soon as he spotted his brother.
“Dad has an announcement to make,” Said Graham, frowning as he looked at his notes, “Something about work.”
Cody noticed pink glittery ink on the paper, “Sarah’s really learning how to draw, huh?”
“Yeah, she’s either drawing or running Amy and I into the ground.” Said Graham, yawning.
“I heard Kassie’s been a nightmare for Kade and Hayley.” Said Frankie, folding her arms.
“Yeah, even I can hear her temper tantrums.” Groaned Graham, shaking his head.
Everyone went silent as Chief Burns walked/shuffled onto the stage.
“Okay, I’m going to keep this short and sweet,” Said Chief Burns, looking around, “I’m retiring. I spent a good 45 years serving on the police forces and, frankly, I’d love to spend more. However, I’m not getting any younger and the resident doctors, thank you Doctor Darby, have told me that my body can’t keep up with the rescue anymore. I’ll be making the official announcement tomorrow. That is all.”
Cody watched as his father left the stage, wincing as he stumbled a bit when he reached the steps. Carin helped Charlie with the last few steps. Cody felt a tug on his trouser leg, drawing his attention to the twins, Kyle and Maggie. Kyle and Maggie were Cody’s younger half-siblings, born shortly after his dad married Carin when they first moved to Autobot City.
“What’s daddy we-tyre ring?” Asked Kyle, looking up at Cody.
“Retiring?” Asked Cody, getting a nod from Kyle, “It means he’s going to stop working because he’s starting to get too old.”
“Why?” Asked Maggie, her teddy trailing behind her.
“Because he’s a grown up,” Said Cody, crouching down to their level, “and, eventually we grow up so much that we can’t work anymore.”
“Then what happens?” Asked Kyle, making Cody freeze.
“Uh, well, then we, er,um…” Cody was saved from explaining death to the twins by Carin walking towards them.
“Come on,” Said Carin, hoisting Maggie onto her hip, “time for your nap.”
Cody picked up Kyle and followed his stepmother, Frankie following behind them, leaving Graham with his work. Getting the twins in bed and a sleep was fairly easy, Maggie and Kyle were quick to nod off. Soon the family, plus their significant others, were sitting in the living room.
“I know it’s short notice,” Said Charlie, looking at his children, “but, I think it’s time to face the music, I’m not the man I was.”
“It’s fine, Dad.” Said Dani, resting her feet on Taylor’s lap, “You’ve earned it, more than any of us at this rate.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Demanded Kade, crossing his arms.
“I don’t think Dani was looking to start a fight, Kade.” Said Cody, from his place curled up with Frankie.
“I saw you explaining retirement to the twins, Cody.” Said Carin, smiling softly as he flushed red, “I also saw how you tried to avoid explaining the concept of death to them.”
“They’ll probably have to be told sooner or later.” Mumbled Cody, his grip on Frankie’s hand tightening softly.
“We will when the time comes.” Promised Carin, her smile turning sad.
Shortly after Prowl’s death, Cody had vanished, along with some weapons Wheeljack had been working on. Cody was later found next to the remains of a Decepticon known as Thundercracker. Thundercracker’s optics had been torn out and parts of his body had been subjected to small explosives. What killed Thundercracker, however, was a small vial of cosmic rust that had been poured into the remains of his optics. Just shy of where Cody was found was the burnt out remains of a Decepticon energon mine, with the melted remains of MECH agents. Ultra Magnus had said that he’d assumed some humans were working with the Decepticons, he just didn’t expect them to be wiped out in one strike.
“How’s your studying coming along?” Asked Charlie, swiftly changing the subject.
“Doctor Darby thinks I’m progressing well,” Said Cody, his frame relaxing, “if I keep at my current level, I’ll be able to continue on and become a doctor by the time I’m 25.”
“Know you,” Smirked Dani, her hands cradling her bump, “You’ll probably find a way to become a doctor before then.”
Cody let out a laugh, before the robotic lion that was Steeljaw tumbled into the room. Everyone watched Steeljaw chase something that looked like a ball of light, before he vanished down the stairs.
Kade smirked as Hayley adjusted Kassie on her chest, “So, Cody, what are your and Frankie’s plans for the future?”
“Decent paying jobs before getting married and having kids.” Said the pair, simultaneously.
“Why do I get the feeling you two rehearse that?” Asked Dani, as Sarah toddled up to her parents and presented them with a picture.
“Ta-Da!” Sang Sarah, as Amy took the picture.
“Oh, Graham, look at this,” Gushed Amy, showing Graham the picture, “it’s another work of art.”
“A Masterpiece.” Agreed Graham, picking the toddler up.
C&F (Time skip)
Cody rocked back and forth on his heels, the weight of the small box in his pocket was impossibly heavy. He’d been waiting for Frankie to turn up for nearly an hour and was beginning to think she wasn’t going to show. The sounds of a fight caught his attention, Cody spotted a guy that worked with Frankie having his ass handed to him. The guy, Matt, Cody thought, had been flirting with Frankie, despite her saying she wasn’t interested. Cody caught sight of the person knocking sense into Matt. Frankie was dressed up nicely, despite still having her lab coat on, while hitting Matt with her handbag. Cody winced as Matt hit the doorframe and slid, before walking over to Frankie. It was only as Cody got closer, did he see that Frankie’s hair was dishevelled, as if someone had pulled on it, there was a bruise forming on her neck and the necklace Cody had given her for her 21st Birthday was missing.
Cody reached and touch Frankie’s shoulder, making her whip around with a snarl on her face. Frankie completely relaxed at the sight of Cody, while Matt struggled to get up off the floor.
“What…happened?” Asked Cody, frowning.
Frankie threw a disgusted look at Matt, “He didn’t know how to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
“Are you alright?” Questioned Cody, looking into Frankie’s eyes.
Frankie sighed, “Yeah, he only turned violent when I entered the restaurant, but he only followed me here from work.”
Cody’s gaze turned to Matt, before it fell to Matt’s right hand, “Aren’t you going to give that back?”
Matt froze at Cody’s cold tone, something Cody had picked up from Prowl. Matt looked at the necklace in his grip, before throwing it into the restaurant and trying to run off. Cody grabbed the necklace from the air and looked at the damage. Cody sighed when he found only the clasp was broken.
“Your mum’s necklace.” Gasped Frankie, upon seeing the damaged necklace.
“It’s an easy fix.” Said Cody, carefully putting the necklace with the ring box, “Do you want to go home?”
Frankie took a deep breath, before nodding. Cody gave her a small smile, before going to the manager to cancel the reservation. The two twenty-six-year-olds drove home in silence, Frankie closed her eyes and leaned back in her seat.
“What did you want to talk about?” Asked Frankie, almost making Cody jump.
“Let’s, let’s deal with that when we get home.” Said Cody, suddenly remembering the box.
“Right.” Said Frankie, her tone despondent.
“Don’t worry, it’s a good thing,” Said Cody, before frowning, “well, I think it’s a good thing, I mean the others said it’s a good thing and, I’m rambling again, aren’t I?”
Frankie giggled, Frankie had been terrified that Cody was going to break up with her, after she found that ring in the draw. Cody had been giving her gifts recently, when she brought it up with Priscilla and a couple other friends, came to the conclusion that they were breakup gifts, something to help with the actual blow of the breakup. Frankie knew that Cody didn’t class breaking up as a good thing, unless he took a heavy blow to the head.
Cody pulled into his usual parking space and went inside the home with Frankie, both taking a seat on the sofa.
“Are you okay? Really, okay?” Asked Cody, looking into Frankie’s eyes.
Frankie averted her gaze and sighed, “I was scared, the entire time he was following me, I was scared he was going to do something. I took the longest possible route to try and get away from him, but when I arrived at the restaurant, I found he was already there. I thought if I ignored him, he’d leave me alone.”
“Then he decided to grab you.” Said Cody, making Frankie nod.
“He was fired today because he damaged something that the Autobots are keeping top secret,” Explained Frankie, as Cody wrapped an arm around her, “we don’t know how he got hold of it, but Hardhead found it in Matt’s locker and demanded an explanation from him. He didn’t give one.”
Cody pulled Frankie closer to him, rubbing comforting circles on her arm, “It’s like something in him snapped. I wasn’t expecting but, I kinda was? It’s difficult to explain.”
“I doubt he’ll hurt you now,” Said Cody, pulling Frankie close and allowing her to rest her head in the crook of his neck, “I saw Streetwise picking him up.”
Frankie smiled, before looking at Cody, “What is it you wanted to talk about?”
Cody swallowed the sudden lump in his throat, “Right, er, yes, well…screw it.”
Cody got off the sofa and got down on one knee, taking the ring box out of his pocket, “Frankie, you’ve made me incredibly happy in the time we’ve been together and, frankly, I don’t want that to end. Will you marry me?”
Frankie’s eyed danced between the ring and Cody’s face. The next thing Cody knew, he was on his back with Frankie laying on top of him and kissing him.
“I’ll…take that as a, yes?” Asked Cody, as Frankie grinned and nodded her head.
Cody grinned as well and slipped the ring on Frankie’s finger.
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K sooooo. I really wanna write a Blades Fic buuut Idk what to write 💀. I mean I have a few AUs and backstory stuff but I'm not sure what to do with them.
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starscream @ bumblebee: i fucked your dad, shitlips
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OOC: sign here to be part of mikasa's harem ;)
Aaaand I'm off to bed. I'll see you all later.
The Forest Sages (Blades AU) Part 2/?
Pairings:Tyril x f!Elf MC (Skylark Nightbloom), Imtura x f!Orc MC (Kraken Stormspray), Mal x m!Orc MC (Trout Babblebrook)
Taglist: @voseho @tyrils-star (if anyone else wants added let me know)
This goddamn machine has deleted or posted so many drafts of this chapter when I didn't want it to it's pissing me off
Summary: Tyril and Adrina are searching for the druid clan that lives in the sprawling Ellara Forest. They hire Mal and Imtura, two mercenaries, to escort them through the woods. Meanwhile, Skylark, Kraken, and Trout are returning home to the clan. What happens when their paths cross?
Thankfully, the sky was clear and the sun was shining merrily away in the sky when Tyril and Adrina descended. They found an empty table (most of the patrons who'd stayed the night were sleeping off hangovers), and a waitress strolled over almost immediately.
"What can I get you two for breakfast?" she smiled. Tyril couldn't help but feel like she was familiar. The waitress seemed around his height, with almost coal black skin, white hair tied back in a bun, gold eyes, and pointed elf ears.
"I wasn't aware elves lived this far out?" Tyril murmured. He couldn't shake the feeling that he was missing something. The waitress laughed.
"Mister, do you want breakfast or not? I don't get paid to tell my life story to strangers, regardless of how good looking they are. Besides, my shift finishes soon."
Skylark didn't know whether to kill or hug her foster brother, Trout, for saying she should do this to get a closer look at the strangers, since they hadn't seen her face or heard her voice. It was simple to change from her hunting getup into a simple low cut dress.
The bartender was a retired member of the clan, and often let druids work there now and again, serving patrons, cooking, or cleaning. Obviously, no one but the bartender and her wife knew that the workers who came and went so often were druids, but everyone was used to the mismatched group that staffed the tavern.
Still, she fought to surpress a grin when Grumpy face's cheeks gained a violet tint. What was it his lady companion (who was now fighting back giggles) had called him? Tyril! That was his name!
"I didn't mean- I thought-" he stuttered, shooting a glare at his companion. "I'll have the vegetable stew," he muttered.
"Warm porridge, please!" his companion chirped, grinning at Tyril across the table.
With a wink in Tyril's direction, causing him to turn a deeper shade of purple, Skylark strolled over to the bar. After telling the bartender the orders, she slipped around the counter, vanishing through the door to the kitchen. From there, it was easy to get out the back door, and she scaled the wall no problem. She was saved the trouble of breaking the window to her room by her sister Kraken, who threw open the shutters so enthusiastically Skylark almost lost her grip. It must have been a strange sight, an elf clinging to the wall (climbing in a dress was slightly harder) and an orc in a green cloak leaning out of the window and hoisting the elf up by the wrists.
Cursing violently, Skylark sprang into the room and made a beeline for her hunting clothes.
Once she was back to normal, she and Kraken left the room at last. Trout joined them at the top of the stairs.
Tyril noted the strange hunters as they made their way back to the corner he'd seen them sitting in before. He sighed, rolling his shoulders with a crack, and deciding to focus on his stew.
It was around noon when the two mercenaries finally plopped down next to Tyril and his sister. The orc woman was taller than Tyril by at least 5 inches, and her human companion only just came up to Tyril's shoulders.
"So, you're looking for someone to guide you through the woods?" the man drawled. Tyril gave him an icy stare.
"Evidently. Are you capable of doing so?"
The orc woman interrupted her human friend before he could reply.
"Oh, we're more than capable. But only if we're paid well for our troubles. Ellara Forest can be pretty dangerous, and we'd need compensation, of course. See, if there were Green Hunters in a generous mood, that'd be another story. But, these ones-" here she jabbed a finger in the direction of the green cloaked trio "-ain't offering their services. So, we're your best bet."
Tyril, in no mood for haggling, dropped a coinpurse in front of her with a heavy clink. "Here's half in advance. The other half will be paid when we conclude our business here."
The man smirked, grabbing the purse and tossing it up and down. "You, my friends, just got yourself two bodyguards."
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In addition to the chapter posted last night, I've just finished the last chapter of Ace of Blades. 💜 I'll be posting it with the epilogue chapter as soon as it's done.
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