#oh I hear them fighting I guess the magic of the get along box wore off
I finally got some photos properly showing how small Kepler actually is compared to Dave.
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Chapter 50: Blood In The Water
(Series: A Shard Of Broken Things)
Summary: y/n knows that crossing paths with Craig will result in doom and perhaps death.
POV: 1st, 3rd
Characters: DeanxReader, Castiel, Jack, Sam, Baby Skylar, Craig, Craig’s witches, Jody, Claire
Warnings: angst, strong language, violence
I shake my head at Dean, “oh to suffer horrendous labor and literal death birthing the child you are holding.” Dean and I stood in the nursery room, he lifted Skye in the air, making her giggles echo off the walls. I almost smile. I hope this can last a little longer, seeing Skye happy like this. Us as a family. May the treachery end today. On the plus side, my nightmares and visions haven’t got any worse. It’s getting better, but I’m worried it’s because Jack is mostly holding everything I’m seeing. That memory of my dad and his dad, was Craig there? Can’t be.. maybe it was Lorelei. She was probably there while he was getting hurt. If she saw him getting hurt why wouldn’t she help him?! Because she’s a sadist. She enjoyed seeing him get hurt didn’t she?
Dean finally lowered her down and let her walk on the floor. He turned to me, “ready to go?” I quit zoning out and nod in response. I pick up Skye and we head out of the bunker with Sam. Today was a bright and sunny day. A bright and sunny day.
We stood outside of Jody’s doorstep and waited before she hugged us and let us in. With an unexpected surprise, Claire was here. My eyes lit up, feels like we haven’t seen her in forever. She gives me a hug, and greets Skylar with a soft smile, “hey..” Sam and Dean welcomed Claire with open arms after. Jody smiled, “yeah, she just started break. Right Claire?” Jody glared at her. Claire replied with a snarky attitude, “obviously.” Dean furrowed his eyebrows, “hey-“ Jody cut in and changed the subject, “anyway! what brings you guys here this time?” I replied, “We were wondering if you could watch Skye for us.” Jody raised an eyebrow, “and you didn’t call?” I look at Sam, “no we did, well Sam did..” Sam nodded, “er- yeah, you just.. didn’t pick up.” Jody facepalmed, “oh, right. I was busy picking her up and then-“ Dean finished her sentence, “sherif duty.” Jody sighed, “yeah, but it’s okay. Claire can babysit.” Claire shot a look of rejection, “the hell?? No way, I’m not babysitting! I can come with you guys for backup.” Jody’s voice got stern, “Claire..” I sigh unnoticeably, “it’s just one night.. and if we need any help. I promise, we got you on speed dial.” I felt Dean’s gaze on me, I don’t have to look straight at him to know he’s giving me his, are you crazy?! Look. This is how you negotiate with a teenager. Jody says nothing, being careful as needed. Claire thought about it for a moment before saying, “okay fine. I guess I can take care of Skylar.” Responding, I say, “thank you.” I look at Skye, “We’ll be back soon baby girl.” I give her a tight little smile before setting her down on the floor to walk freely. Claire looked at Skye, “alright Skylar, follow me.” Skye cooed with her hand in her mouth, probably touching her very few teeth. Jody walked up to me and pulled me aside, “you need to come around more often.” I smirk. Dean’s voice catches me off guard, “call if there’s any trouble.” He turns to walk out the door and that’s when I hear Claire mumble, sarcastically, she says, “not if you call first.” Dean turned, “what’d you say?” Claire responded louder this time, “I said-“ Jody interrupted, “Claire.. please.” Claire rolled her eyes and gave up. Sam stood between Jody and I, with a smile, he says, “bye Jody.” Sam followed me out the door, behind us, Jody shut the door after saying, “bye ya’ll.” Dean sighed, “Teenagers, I swear.” I huff, “Don’t forget. You’re daughter will be a teenager one day too.” Dean frowned. Sam smirked at him before sitting inside the impala.
The ride didn’t feel that long to the mines, even though realistically it was. Guess the thoughts in mind are too good at distraction. I can’t stop thinking about that memory with my dad. Stepping outside the car, we see Castiel and Jack in a distance. Walking up to them, Sam asks, “any sign of Craig?” Castiel replied, “we just got here-“ Jack comments, staring at the caverns, “he’s in there.” Jack pointed. I strut past the guys to get inside the cave, “I’m gonna kill him..”
These mines feel fake, but that’s just me being skeptical of everything, I’m sure of it. Suddenly deep in, we find a large open area of the cave, white light shined in from outside through a large hole at the top of the cave. Good thing we brought flashlights, not gonna lie, my focus wasn’t so much on practicality as much as it was wielding my weapons at Craig.
The voices came, quiet then loud. I cover my ears, my head started aching. I groan at the burning sensation in my skull. I can hear him. I can hear Craig. He’s laughing. I yelled, “I’M GONNA KILL YOU ASSHOLE!!” Dean came up to me and wrapped an around around my shoulder, saying words I can barely hear over Craig’s laughing and the random mysterious whispers and voices.
“Dean..” Sam called his brother’s name. Dean looked at Sam and to where he was looking. Jack stood the closest next to Craig. He wore a dark purple and black suit. His smile, sinister and smug he is. Dean raised his gun at Craig, “alright, let’s settle this.” Jack looked at Dean, “DEAN DON’T!” But Jack yelled too late, Dean already fired his gun. Luckily, Jack used his powers to ripple the bullet away. Dean furrowed his eyebrows in deep confusion. Castiel replied, “that’s not Craig.” Y/n screamed in pain, her eyes white turned, her mind unconscious, only seeing the things she couldn’t stand to see. Craig held y/n from behind, a blade at her throat. The same one y/n used to kill Dean in the old west reality. Suddenly witches came out of nowhere. Sam pulled out his gun and shot two that darted at him with magic words. From behind, another witch was already ahead and got Sam choking on air, falling to the ground. Castiel continued fighting off witches who were tackling him to the ground trying to stab him. Jack ran to fake Craig, using his magic, he touched fake Craig’s forehead to reveal the true identity, it was Claire. Claire nodded to reassure she was okay. Claire ran to the witch behind Sam and grabbed his gun from the floor and shot the witch. Sam gasped for air. Claire crouched down, “you alright big guy?” Sam was more concerned of why she was here than how he was feeling. He stood up and grabbed the gun from Claire, “You shouldn’t be here.” Sam raised his gun on incoming witches. Claire scoffed, “but you’re glad I saved you right??”
Dean quickly acted and shot Craig in the leg. Craig’s magic untangled from y/n as he moved back and groaned at the gunshot wound in his calf. Dean ran to y/n right away, holding her by the shoulders, “you good?” Y/n lied with a nod and quickly recovered, turning she grabbed Craig by the collar and shoved him against the rocky wall, punching him as hard as she could in the face. “YOU. HURT. MY. FAMILY!” Craig tried to speak a spell but it was interrupted by another blow to the face from y/n. Meanwhile Dean helped get the witches off Castiel, Jack assisting him. Pulling Castiel to his feet, he points and says to Dean, “Claire, she’s-“ Dean looked up and saw Claire next to Sam. She was fist-fighting another witch. Dean quickly stood between them and shot the witch, turning to Claire, he looked very pissed. “Why are you here?!? You’re supposed to be watching Skylar!” Claire yelled back, “You needed my help!” Another witch came by.
Y/n got more aggressive after each hit given to Craig. Now strangling Craig to the ground, he choked until he used his body weight to switch sides. Now he was the one strangling y/n. His throat was throbbing, “you think you’re all that, huh??” Y/n felt his hands push her throat to the ground. The air escaping her little by little, making it all the more painful. Craig chuckled, “you’re nothing but a piece of shit that’s gonna die.” Jack yelled, “GET AWAY FROM HER!” His powers rippled again, causing Craig and the witches to fly back and hit the rocky walls. Y/n placed a hand on her throat and sat up coughing. Holding her gun, the click sounded and felt vivid to y/n, she raised it and shot Craig in the forehead. Blood pooled around him like a puddle of water. Castiel yelled, “NOW JACK!” Castiel had just pulled Lorelei’s body out from one of the wooden body boxes along the wall with other ones. Lorelei’s eyes open and she stands upright as if she’s never slept for so long before. Castiel moves back, Claire, Dean, and Sam behind him as Jack grips Lorelei’s skull with his hand, his eyes ignited into gold, Lorelei was shocked. Y/n slowly stood up again, watching. Using his powers, Jack made Lorelei’s skull crack, the glow of his magic filtering the cracks in her. She exploded. Nothing but dust powdered the air.
Later we burned the bodies in the mine. It’s over.
“You have any idea what could’ve happened tonight?! I almost killed you!”
Claire shook her head, “But you didn’t.. besides, I saved Sam!” I look at Sammy, avoiding eye contact he said, “it’s true.. she did help me back there. Still Claire, you should’ve stayed at home.” Claire rolled her eyes.
I sigh. “What about Skylar? Did you leave her with Jody??” Claire sighed, “Yeah.. I left before she did.”
I shake my head, pressing the bridge of my nose between my fingers, “Sam..” Sammy replied, “Let’s go Claire.” Claire scoffed before getting back inside the car she came in, Sam drove her back.
Jack hugs me, for some reason this felt like what I needed. I hugged him back before pulling away. He gives me a hopeful smile. And I can’t help but smile too. Craig, Lorelei, they’re dead. I won’t have to worry about them ever coming back. And these visions, they’re gone. And so are the nightmares I’m guessing. Castiel and Jack departed, stepping into the truck they came with. Dean leaned against the impala with his arms crossed. Reminding me of our younger days when he would do that to impress me because he thought he looked cool. This time of course, he didn’t have to worry about impressing me. He seems pretty annoyed that Claire showed up. I leaned against baby beside him, “hey.. Sam went with Claire?” Dean’s jaw was clenched, “yep.” I rest my head against his arm, “Cas told me there’s a way to contain Skye’s powers..” “how?” “The details are still unclear for now but.. when she’s older, she has to learn to control them before she can have it contained.” Dean sighs, “great. What else?” I bite my lower lip, “the bad news is, the witches won’t stop until they have her.” Dean raised his voice a little, his vibration touching me, “Then we’ll kill them all.” I move in closer to hug Dean. His heart was beating fast. I respond, as cliche as it is, “whatever it takes.”
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Summary: All beings in the universe have a soulmate except for Midgardians. People can hear their soulmate in their heads. For almost five hundred and fifty years, Loki believed that he had no soulmate until 1513 when a Midgardian princess was born. Will fate be kind to them or will the universe tear them apart?
Warnings: violence, language, hella historical inaccuracies (I tried to do research but then got lazy), maybe some AOS season 2 spoilers(?)
Word Count: ~3400
A/N: Yay! The re-write is here! I changed it so now there are flashbacks and stuff and the chapters are longer! I’m also posting this chapter a day early because of reasons. Anyways, enjoy!
[New York, New York, March 2024]
‘Soulmates?’ You had never heard of the concept.
‘We are destined to be together. The universe made it so.’
You shot up in bed, a light sheen of sweat covered your body. Loki’s words replayed over and over in your head. You hadn’t heard his actual voice in so long but it was still as clear as if he was speaking to you now. It had been twelve years since you had seen him in Germany and he had tried to take over.
‘We are destined to be together.’
The words echoed in your mind. ‘Destined’ huh? Well, if you’d learned anything from the past four hundred and eighty-six years that you were not with Loki, it’s that the universe does a shit job at keeping you together. You ran your fingers through your hair, easily smoothing out the tangled mess. It was too early to think about Loki.
You slipped out of the silk sheets that covered your king-sized bed in your two-level, top floor Upper East Side penthouse. You were very proud of how far you had come. The view was amazing. You could see some of Central Park from one side and the stereotypical New York skyline from another.
As you walked out of your room, you caught your reflection in one of your full-sized mirrors. And that was definitely a nice view. When you came out of Terrigenesis almost five hundred years ago, you quickly discovered that you were now the blueprint for a perfect person. Straight, white teeth, surprisingly tameable hair, and clear, unblemished skin were some of the visually obvious changes. In addition to your perfected looks, you had increased senses, healing, strength, endurance, and your favorite, pain tolerance. Oh, and don’t forget you basically look twenty-five forever.
You checked your phone while you made breakfast in the kitchen downstairs. There were a couple of emails from your employees on their latest jobs. You opened one from Max, your right-hand man. You were reading over some job offers he had handpicked for you when you got a text from the man himself.
Bringing up some donuts!
Max was the only person from work to have access to your penthouse. He was your best friend. The two of you had met when you were at Afterlife nearly fifteen years ago. He was an Inhuman as well. All of your employees were Inhumans, using their specialties to carry out their jobs. Max had the power to change surfaces. It was a strange power, but he had learned to make it very useful. He could cause his pursuers to slip on the suddenly ice-like ground or climb up a glass skyscraper.
“Hello, bitch! I brought donuts!” Max called from the elevator.
“I’m in the kitchen!”
Max walked in holding the goods. He always wore eccentric color-coordinated outfits. Even the times you saw him in stealth mode, he had to have some lace or frill somewhere. Today he wore a mixture of neon green and pink with matching eyeliner.
“Are Cosmo and Wanda disguising themselves as your clothes?” you asked.
“Haha,” he deadpanned. “I knew you were going to say something like that. You’re so fucking funny. Soo…” He plopped the three large donut boxes onto your kitchen counter. “Have you heard of the Avenger’s new quote-unquote recruit?”
“Um, I think it’s your job to keep tabs on heroes.” You opened the nearest box and happily pulled out your favorite donut.
“Okay. Number one: I’m not speaking to you as your right-hand, right now, but as your friend.” He held up his finger. “Number two: it’s not really a job if I do it in my free time anyways. You’re paying me to do something that I do on an hourly basis.”
“You stalk the Avengers on an hourly basis?”
“No? Anyways, number three: it’s Thor’s brother. It’s your Loki.”
“What the fuck?” you choke on your donut. Max was the only person who knew you that you and Loki had a history. And that’s all he knew. Nothing about soulmates or all that shit. “What the fuck, Max? Did you try to use donuts to soften the blow? Stop laughing.”
“I-I wish I had caught that reaction on camera,” he said in between fits of giggles.
“Haha,” it was your turn to deadpan. “Fuck, man. I guess we just have to double our efforts to keep ourselves off of their radar.”
“Do you think they’ve forgiven him for New York?” Max composed himself.
“I mean, they must have if they’re letting him join the team.” You chanced another bite of your donut.
“But lots of people haven’t.”
“Lots of people still haven’t forgiven Barnes,” you pointed out. You didn’t know when or why Loki had attacked New York. That Loki was nothing like the man who you had grown to love back in the 1500s. But you were nothing like that girl either.
“Have you chosen a new job from the list I sent you?” he changed the subject.
“No, not yet, and you have a little…” you motioned to the corner of your mouth.
Max got the hint and wiped some powder off of his mouth. You noticed the sprinkling of grey that was mixed into his curly black hair. He displayed the last fifteen years proudly while you remained unchanged. Max was the closest you’ve been to someone in a long time, and just like everyone before him, you would outlive him. But you would remember him. You remembered everyone. You remembered everything.
Right now, you thought of Agnes, your first real friend. She was your handmaiden and you had met right before everything went to shit. She had helped you cope after you underwent Terrigenesis, although you hadn’t known what it was back then. She had helped you run away and even died for you. You had only known her for nine years, but you compared everyone to her. Max held second place, right after Agnes.
“I think we should take the Senator’s offer,” Max said, jolting you out of your memories. He pulled up the offer on his iPad. “One million to off his upcoming competition.”
“Damn,” you whistled. “He’s desperate, isn’t he? Is there a deadline?”
“No, but I assume we should get it done quickly.”
“Send over the info.”
You shoved the flower into Jake Morano’s mouth. Blood from the bullet wound in his forehead trickled down until it turned the perfect, white rose red. You snapped a quick photo on your burner phone to send to the Senator as confirmation. With a huff, you looked around the apartment. Mr. Anderson had put up a fight, although it didn’t do anything to deter you and Max. A few glass awards were in pieces on the hardwood floor, family pictures were shattered, and the wall behind you held a couple of bullets from Anderson’s gun.
“All good?” Max asked from his location by the computer. He was deleting all footage of you being there. And everything else, just to be safe.
“Yep.” You walked over to him, your boots making a satisfying clicking on the ground, and proudly displayed the picture of the dead body. “Got the confirmation picture for the Senator. How’s it coming?”
“Almost… there. We’re good to go.”
The two of you left in your favorite black Lamborghini. Unfortunately, you actually had to drive places now that Gordon was dead. You followed his advice, though, and bought a plane along with four other sports cars, a helicopter, and a couple of motorcycles. You knew how to operate every single one of them. What else were you supposed to do except for establishing your contract killing empire?
Loki stood in the middle of his assigned room with his hands on his hips. It certainly was much nicer than the last prison the Avengers had kept him in. They may say it wasn’t a prison but the twenty-four-hour surveillance from Stark’s new AI said otherwise. Even though it was nicer than the shitty glass cylinder from twelve years ago, it was empty. Thor had shown Loki the few things in his room: books, photographs, and his own goddamned merchandise.
Would Loki have his own merchandise one day? Everyone was redeemable as shown by Romanoff and Barnes. Maybe there would be plastic replicas of his helmet? No, Loki thought that was stupid. Only heroes got merchandise and heroes had to show up to events and sponsor health drinks or whatever the fuck they do. Heroes had to be nice.
Nothing good ever came from being on Midgard. Most recently, there was his father dying, although what followed was worse. Before that was the attack he had been forced to make on the city. And the first time he had ever come to Midgard had ended with disappointment and heartbreak.
Loki sighed and waved his hand to conjure green and gold accents, sheets, and blankets. At least there was color in the room now. No doubt the AI had reported that he had used his magic. He hoped it had also told them that all he did was improve the room, he didn’t need anyone talking to him at the moment.
“Good afternoon, Reindeer Games,” the AI echoed through the room. Loki glowered at the sound of Stark’s nickname. “There is a meeting in Conference Room Five that the entire team is required to attend.”
Loki hadn’t the faintest fucking idea where the conference rooms were. He left his room and caught sight of his brother and the Valkyrie. The God of Mischief followed the pair down to where the meeting was taking place. Did he really want to go? If he wanted to be part of the team he would have to. He preferred the Revengers, though. While it had lasted. It was smaller.
Everyone was sitting around the long table. Of course, Loki would be the last to arrive. Stark and Barton both glared at him when he entered. Understandable. Romanoff remained impassive, but Loki knew she would bash his head in the first chance she got. Rogers had to remain positive that Loki could be redeemed because if the Norse God could redeem himself, then so could Barnes. Bruce had warmed up to Loki on the journey to Midgard. None of the newer members of the team outright hated him, but they were still cautious around him.
Loki found himself sitting in between his brother and Bruce. Stark went up to the screen at the front and everyone fell silent.
“This is Jake Morano.” The screen turned on to show a dead man with a rose stuffed in his mouth. “He was going to run for Senator against this guy.” The screen changed. “This guy is William Anderson, a very corrupt Senator. In the last month, Morano began to gain a lot of support including a sponsor from us. Well, a sponsor from me in the name of the Avengers.”
“Are you implying that Anderson killed Morano?” Rogers asked.
“I’m saying that Anderson hired someone to kill Morano.” The screen changed again to display multiple bodies left with a rose in their mouths. “I had F.R.I.D.A.Y. do a quick search of bodies with roses found in their mouths and we found a shocking amount of similar deaths. The first ones dating back to the nineteen twenties. More recently, some of the deaths have happened at the same time on opposite sides of the globe. Deaths include, but are not limited to, shooting, stabbing, poisoning, drowning, burning, missing organs, being found stuck in a wall, and looking like a suicide. They all have a white rose soaked in blood in their mouths.”
“Are you sure it isn’t a serial killer?” Wilson questioned.
“Yeah, it’s probably not the same guy,” Romanoff pointed out. “Especially if it goes back to before Steve looked like that.”
“It’s gotta be an organization,” Barnes guessed. “Been around for a while, a couple of deaths happening at the same time, and one constant MO.”
“Loki?” Everyone looked at the God of Mischief when Stark said his name. “You’re technically a part of this team now. What’s your opinion?”
“Barnes is probably right,” Loki said after a moment’s hesitation. “The locations are all over the place and there are many different ways the victims met their demise.”
They nodded and Loki returned to silence.
“Alright, game plan.” Stark clapped his hands. “We have to get Anderson into an interrogation room. Round one is the good cops: Steve and Sam. When he doesn’t crack, and he won’t, we up the intensity. Nat and the Manchurian Candidate will do some intimidation. If he still doesn’t crack we can send in Wanda, or even Reindeer Games if she’s not comfortable, to search his mind.”
“Are all Midgardian politics like that?” Loki heard the Valkyrie ask Thor after the meeting. Thor only shrugged so she turned to Bruce.
“I mean, I haven't been here in a while but it’s always kinda been fucked up.”
Only an hour after the meeting, Anderson took out one million dollars in cash. Stark tracked him to a small cafe where he was going to, no doubt, pay the assassin. The team rallied, but of course, Loki wasn’t going. Apparently, he wasn’t ‘cleared’ yet. The only other people staying behind were the Valkyrie, Thor, and Barton due to a recent injury.
Loki went to his room to sulk, although he told everyone he was thinking. He didn’t want to be here. Maybe he wanted to go somewhere that reminded him of home with tall buildings that reached the sky…
"Hello, (Y/N)." Loki’s voice was as smooth as it was in your head, but it was different. The only way you could describe it was that it was solid. It felt less intimate. Like he could bless others with his words, but it was more special because he was here.
"Loki," you breathed.
"You look more beautiful than I ever could imagine." He stepped closer.
You touched your hair self-consciously. There were multiple knots, and it probably looked like one of those bird nests the dogs always knocked out of trees. You had woken up in a hurry and your hair being trapped in the hood of your cloak probably didn't help.
Then it occurred to you that you were wearing only your nightgown, and you tightly wrapped your cloak around yourself. Loki wouldn’t hurt you, but no man has seen you in an outfit so revealing. Still, you took another step closer.
"I do not know what to say." Fortunately, your voice didn’t shake or waver as you had feared, but Loki could probably feel your nervousness.
You both took a final step closer. You reached up and cupped Loki's face in your hand which tingled slightly when you made contact. You admired his sharp features and bright blue-green eyes. Then you shivered in the cold winter air. Loki noticed and pulled you into a hug. You leaned into him and felt a shiver, a different, better shiver, shoot through your body.
“You’re real.” Your soft voice was almost lost in the biting wind. “I was so scared that I was dreaming.”
Another goddamned dream about Loki? You groaned into your pillow and pushed a few damp strands of hair away from your face. Why now, all of a sudden? Was it because he was so close? Just a few hours upstate in the Avenger’s compound.
Pushing the dream aside, you stretched and got ready for the day. You had sent the photo to the Senator, who you had learned was very fucking corrupted, and he replied with a location. That changed your plans a bit, you hadn't physically met a client in decades, but it was for the better for multiple reasons.
The first reason was that the cafe he had chosen was next to a flower shop where you got your supply of roses. The second reason was that it meant his apartment would be empty. While you went to get the money, and eventually kill Senator Anderson, Max was going to rob his house. It wasn’t something you’d usually do, but honestly, the shitty asshole deserved it.
Your lips were painted red and you wore your usual boots and a leather jacket. Your regular hair was hidden behind a pink and green wig, courtesy of Max. A baseball cap and large sunglasses further hid your appearance. Though if somebody knew your face, the hat and glasses did nothing. There were multiple knives hidden on your body as well as a handgun tucked into your waistband and a pocket pistol in your, well, pocket.
As you walked into the cafe, Izzy, the auburn-haired florist, nodded to you. She had Botanokinesis, plant manipulation, so your supply of white roses was never low. Every once in a while, Izzy would take a job but she had told you she was very happy in her shop.
You noticed the Senator immediately. He still wore a suit and the sunglasses did nothing to hide his identity. There were two young women behind the counter and you suspected that the four other ‘customers’ were too buff not to be the Senator’s security. Anderson had his back to the door which meant you would have to get past his security to get out. You zeroed in on the black briefcase on the ground by his feet.
“Senator,” you greeted and sat down across from him.
“You can’t possibly be the one I talked to,” the asshole replied. “You’re just a girl.”
“Well of course I couldn’t be,” you rolled your eyes behind your heavily tinted glasses. “My boss is too busy and smart to meet you in public.” He didn’t notice your sarcasm. You pulled out the burner phone and showed him the messages as proof. “Now, I’m also busy so if we can get this over with?”
“Sure, darling.” He put the briefcase flat on the table and pushed it towards you.
“Open it.” Even though small boobie traps wouldn’t hurt you much, it wasn’t a piece of information you wanted to give him.
Anderson sighed and complied. Then you turned it around to quickly inspect the contents. One thousand one hundred dollar bills. Hello Mr. Franklin. You nodded in satisfaction and comically rubbed your hands together to inconspicuously grab a knife that was hidden up your sleeve.
“Thank you, Senator. That will be all.”
You closed the case, stood up, and plunged your knife deep into his left carotid artery. As his security descended upon you, you pulled the knife out and his neck satisfyingly squirted blood. The Senator collapsed with his hands clutching his wound desperately. The pool of blood rapidly grew underneath him.
The two baristas screamed behind the counter and the Senator’s security drew their guns. You flipped the small table for cover as bullets pierced the cafe’s window behind you. Perfect. Just a bit more.
You pulled out the handgun from your waistband and with practiced ease, shot three of the four goons. The last one got the bloodied knife to the face. You elbowed the already damaged window and it finally broke, raining glass down on you. Ignoring the small cuts, you jumped out of the cafe through the window as a familiar red and gold suit landed in front of you. Why the fuck were the Avengers here? What about Loki?
You darted into Izzy’s shop and she played her part well, screaming that you had run out the back when you had actually gone into the side room. You listened as the Avengers followed her directions. One person, maybe it was the Black Widow, stayed behind to help calm down the seemingly hysterical Izzy. If she wasn’t so happy at her shop and she didn’t want to work directly for you, she could be a great actress.
You rolled back the rug on the ground to reveal a metal trapdoor. You entered the code to unlock it and climbed down into the darkness. Behind you, you heard the trapdoor’s magnetic lock click back into place. Two centuries ago, you had tunnels dug underneath Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens for easy getaways. If you went… that way, you would end up in Sandra’s souvenir shop which was a couple of blocks away from your penthouse.
With a million dollars in one hand and a handgun in the other, you walked down the concrete tunnel.
@kaithehero @liliannyah @andreasworlsboring101 @oatballsoffury @aberrant-annie
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Dragon Dancer Chapter 6: The Walking Dead
Deep down we all know our lives can change in an instant. We all hope it will change for the better. We hope that we’ll find that dream job. That girl we’ve been searching for will show up, smile at us, and agree that she’s was searching for us too. That some prince will come and whisk us away from our problems.
We also know that things can change for the worse. In that same instant, our lives can be taken, as if by some strange magic, and everything we’ve been working for crumbles to dust. All we can do is pick up the pieces, start over again, and be grateful we survived.
When I woke up at the hospital, I couldn’t talk about what happened. Nono, at my bedside, tried to get me to say something about it, but my mind could not form the words to describe the chaos I remembered. If I focused on the memories too much, they overwhelmed me the way the strongest emotions do. They were pure sensation, coming over me faster than my intellect's ability to register them.
There were details, focal points that my mind latched on to after the world went blurry.
The shocked look of a young man’s face when he realized he was going to die the instant before he did. The pulsating waves that were visible when blood oozed from a severed artery. The life and death struggle of a living person between my hands. Despite the clarity of these memories - or maybe because of it - their horrific nature stunned me into speechlessness.
When Nono was unable to get me to answer her questions, she said, “I think we need to get you some help.” She stood up and left me alone in the room.
I laid on my side picking at the thin threads of the soft pillow case. When the door creaked open and footsteps approached, I didn’t turn to look.
“I am Doctor Toyama.” A gentle male voice greeted me.
When he didn’t say anything more, I turned my head to see if he was still there. He had light brown eyes in a young face and a thin well manicured goatee that traced around his upper lip and chin. He wore a lab coat with a tag hanging from his pocket as an identifier. He held a notebook and pen.
That much acknowledgement of his existence was enough to make him smile. “I have a few questions for you. You don’t have to say much about this incident. The College is well aware of many details about Isaac and his… activities here. It’s unfortunate that it had to end up this way.”
He pulled up a chair and sat next to my bed. I averted my eyes from him as he continued to speak. “You’re probably blaming yourself for what happened. I’m here to tell you that it wasn’t your fault.”
He didn’t wait for me to respond. “People here all have a certain percentage of dragon DNA. The higher the percentage the stronger they are. But there is a cost.” He kept his tone soft and clear.
“If someone’s percentage of dragon DNA is too high, it begins to overwrite the human. It grows, much like a cancer and they cease to be recognizable as a human. They turn into what we call a death servitor. That is what happened to Isaac.”
“It happened to Isaac because of what I did though,” I whispered. My throat squeezed shut. My lip trembled. I could feel his eyes on me, but I couldn’t return his gaze.
“Oh? How so?”
I chewed my lip and pressed my face into the pillow.
“I’d really like to know. There are surveillance cameras in the library. As far as we can tell after watching the footage, you walked into a conference room together. The rest is hard to make out but it’s clear you disappear. You went…” He let the sentence hang.
“I wanted to see my family.” I said shakily. Tears wet the pillowcase around my eyes.
“Why? You were only here a day. You miss them already?”
“Hmm…” I hear his pen click. “Did you inform one of your class advisors?.”
“Yeah. He told me that… I couldn’t see my family because the rules said I had to stay on campus… I couldn’t even call them.”
“Ah… I see. You’re very close to them then?”
“You must be if you were willing to follow a stranger into the dark on the off chance you might get to see them. Tell me, what do you plan to say to them?” There was genuine curiosity in his voice.
“Everything here is secret… right?” I peeked up from the pillow.
“That’s right.” He's writing in his notebook.
“Well, I’d … tell him that there’s a lot of boys here. And they make me nervous.”
He stroked his goatee. “Ah… I see. What else?”
“Everything is really extravagant… and I don’t think I’ll fit in. And that I failed my first exam.” Now that I’m looking at him, he offered me a tissue box. I sat up to accept it.
“Very good.” He made a few more notes “I’ll submit this to the board members and see if they can make a bit of an exception for some forms of communication. It’s… rare we get people like you. Who actually come from loving non-hybrid homes.”
He clicked his pen and put it back into his breast pocket. “But since you still have so much to say to them, that means you didn’t go back to your home, did you? Where did you go?”
“I don’t know where it was. There were others too. They were dressed in Japanese clothes. So maybe Japan?” I blew my nose.
“Japan? Hm…” He made a note. “That’s … odd. Why do you think he would take you there?”
“Maybe that’s where his family lives?” I looked to him for confirmation of my guess.
“His family? I thought you were going to meet yours?” He raised his eyebrows.
I explained. “He said I shouldn’t have failed my test. He said he wanted to test me… before I went home.”
“There was no way you could have known what that meant.” He told me. “You must have … fought hard to escape.” He looked at me expecting me to fill in the blank, but I fell into an abrupt silence. My eyes were downcast. My fingers kneaded at the pillow case.
“Alright…” He said quietly. “What’s one thing you can tell me. Just one.”
My continued silence stretched on.
“Just one thing? I promise, I won’t ask any more questions.”
I didn’t reply but Doctor Toyama continued to sit and wait. My mind remembered, indexed and sorted what happened into a large pile of secrets. There was one memory that I felt comfortable revealing.
“He saved my life. I would’ve died. But when he held me, my wound healed. He brought me back before he turned into that monster.”
He watched me wipe away tears, keeping his expression neutral. “I see. Thank you.” He made another note. “I’ll leave you now. Feel free to contact me any time.” He left his card on the table next to my phone.
After he was gone, I examined the card. His title was Campus Psychologist. My phone lit up, attracting my attention. It displayed an overwhelming number of notifications. I ignored them in favor of visiting my social media page.
At the top of the feed, the official administrators had pinned a message.
This page is now restricted, only those with access may view it. If you have questions about the restriction or feel you’ve been blocked in error, keep it to yourself because you haven’t been.
Below that stretched a long string of posts by other Cassell students.
“How does one kill a servitor in a single hit?”
“Well, this new student is promising. Anyone get her number?”
“Wish she’d left some of that fight to me.”
“How can I date her please.”
“DMs are blocked :(“
“Anyone have her phone number? What about email?”
“How do you even get that strong?!”
“10/10 would watch again.”
My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach. I didn’t want to talk to or meet any of these people.
In my notifications, I found a text from Nono. “Hey, hope you’re feeling better. You’ll be getting a message from the Principal soon. Don’t be nervous, just do your best. If you need me, just call me alright? Please, if you want to talk, don’t hesitate to call me. I know you miss your family, but you can’t go back to them right now. Not without talking to him.”
The phone sang its jaunty ringtone. The caller ID was just ‘EVA’. “Hello?”
Her voice was cheerful but her words were to the point. “You passed your E3 exam with a high level of resonance with a draconic cipher. This along with your unique dragon ancestry puts you at Rank S.”
“What do you mean I passed? I didn’t write anything?”
“Most record their ciphers. In your case, this was not the correct medium. Determining your ability will take further research. Therefore, we are admitting you. Welcome to Cassell College. I’m EVA, the school AI butler. Let me know if you need help or have questions."
“AI…? A computer…?” I stammered but couldn’t form a complete sentence so she continued.
“Your meeting with Principal Anjou is in half an hour. I’ve sent Mingfei Lu to guide you there. Your uniform is there in your room. Please dress and get ready to meet him. Don’t worry. He’s very nice.”
“Wait! Who is…?”
The phone beeped to tell me there was no longer anyone on the other end. I returned it to the nightstand and slid my legs over the edge of the bed to get up. I found my purple and black uniform on a hanger in the open closet across the hospital room.
When I put the uniform on, I examined myself in the room’s bathroom mirror. The open collar displayed my pendant over my collarbones. I turned my back to see if there was any sign of where that man had knifed me. There wasn’t. My heart began to pound as I remembered the spear of light impaling my attacker, how his jaw dropped open in shock. I started to wonder how much of that really happened, hoping some of it was a dream.
A knock on the hospital room door frightened me so badly I stumbled backwards into the wall. Trembling, I peeked outside the bathroom to see a gangly young man with brown doe-like eyes and a mop of messy brown hair. He gives me a cheerful wave. “You must be the newbie!”
He slowly lowered his hand when I didn’t echo his enthusiasm. “Don’t be shy! I don’t bite! I promise!” He gave a little nervous laugh. “I’m not good at this…” He mumbled.
“Good at what?” I asked him.
His eyes snapped back to mine. “Huh? What? D...did I say that outloud?” He looked at me for confirmation so I nodded. “Sorry. Um. So, You can just call me Lu. I’ve been here for a little less than a year.”
His shoulders sagged at my silence, “So…” He steeled himself, forcibly perking himself up. “My roommate happens to run the gossip column at school. He told me what happened. It was pretty incredible. Where’d you learn to do that?”
I closed the door again, wondering if he was one of the people who posted on my feed. I leaned against it, glaring at the ground. “I wouldn’t say it was ‘incredible’.”
His voice sounded from the other side. “I know it's hard but I can help you. I… I know what it’s like okay? Just bear with it. You’ll do fine!”
I took a deep breath and cracked the door open. “Sorry…” I whispered.
“You’re fine okay?” He said, peering through the small space, his voice trembling with nervous laughter. “We just need to get you to the principal’s office. You don’t have to do anything. Oh and don’t forget to grab your coat. It’s pretty windy out there.”
As we walked down the campus paths, Lu kept glancing down at me like he wanted to say something but didn’t know how to start. “So… what’s your name?”
I felt a chill run down my spine, recalling the results of using my childhood name. “I don’t like my name.”
“Oh… then… what do you prefer to be called? I feel bad just calling you, newbie.” More nervous laughter.
“Newbie is fine.” I told him. “But if there’s a name you like, just call me that.”
His nervousness turned to surprised dismay. “What? I can’t just call you whatever I want! What if someone else calls you something different?”
The corners of my mouth turned down. “You’re Mingfei Lu, right? You said, just call me Lu. Does everyone call you Lu?”
“Ah… good point.” He rubs his chin in thought. “But… What if I call you something you don’t like?”
I chuckled. “Then I’ll tell you. Like I said I didn’t mind, ‘newbie’.”
He rubbed the back of his neck but didn’t continue to object.
The administration building grew larger into view, fronted by a stone staircase. People hurried up and down, anxious to get out of the cold.
Once inside, Lu led me to the main office. We paused at the wooden door carved with the word ‘Principal’. Lu knocked before going in. Like most things at Cassell, the principal's office was larger than it needed to be. It was fancy, with black mirror tiles and a sleek glossy desk. Behind it sat Anjou who greeted me with a sympathetic grin. I couldn’t bring myself to smile back. That man fooled me into coming here and denied me access to my family. This was all his fault.
Johann and Caesar stood in front of the desk. Johann crosses his arms at my dour expression.
Caesar was bemused at my silent snarling. “It’s good to see you up and healthy. We are all grateful you made out alive.”
“Yeah. Thanks.” I mumbled, my shoulders rising to my ears.
Johann's soft voice echoed in the roomy interior. “That’s Mingfei, he’s our other S-ranked student.”
“You’re S-ranked too?” I turned to him in shock.
Mingfei Lu held up his hands in self-defense.“ Don’t look at me like that! I’m just ranked as S! I don’t actually have any abilities at all.”
Anjou stood up from behind his desk, as tall as I remembered, smoking a cigar. He paced, massaging his beard as he began. “Now that we’re all here. We can start the mission briefing.”
My eyes lifted at the word ‘mission’, glancing at the others.
“Our intelligence is reporting the signal of a dragon embryo off the coast of Japan. This signal may be what we have been dreading. Analysis indicates that it is the signal of a first generation dragon lord. So we’re sending you as a team to meet with the Cassell College Japan division.”
He took a drag of the cigar and let it out slowly. “This mission is Grade SS. We will need all of you."
My hand tentatively rose but he ignored me and continued.
“Our Japan branch is very secretive. This situation calls for the utmost discretion and sensitivity. However, I have maintained contact with Masamune Tachibana. He welcomes our assistance. Please, view this as a stepping stone for bringing our branches into closer cooperation.”
Filling with dread, I recalled Isaac’s Japanese companions and wondered if there was some connection to what I had done.
“Caesar, you’ll be the one leading on this mission.” Anjou nodded to him.
Caesar opened his mouth to speak but Johann responded. “Of course, that’s for the best.”
Caesar scowled at him. “Don’t steal my lines!” He cleared his throat. “We’ll complete the mission in no time at all, Principal Anjou! With time to do some souvenir shopping!” The blue-eyed hybrid waved a hand at me and flashed a smile, “In fact, I’d like to outfit you in the finest silk kimonos…”
“If that’s what you want to do.” I replied, reluctantly smiling back.
His eyebrows rose to his hairline. “This is your first mission as part of our team! That’s surely something to celebrate.”
“Wait… I'm going?" My smile turned to confusion. Somehow, I’d passed my E3 without writing anything. I killed my fellow students the night before. Now, he assigned me to work with top students and sent me to Japan.
While I struggled to grasp my new reality, silent seconds ticked by. Johann cleared his throat. Caesar glared at him. “You have something to say?”
Johann returned his gaze with a calm expression. “Nothing at all.”
“If you have something to say, you should say it!”. Caesar turned to fully face him.
Johann looked at me instead. “I promised you I would show you a frozen dragon specimen. But now you’ll be seeing the real thing.”
“When was this?” Caesar demanded of him. "Don't ignore me, Johann Chu!"
I looked between them both, baffled at Caesar’s sudden aggression. Lu hid his face behind his hand in embarrassment.
Anjou puffed on his cigar chuckling. “I have to interrupt.” He addressed me next. “My dear, your performance in the library tells me that you qualify for this dangerous mission.”
I frowned at his use of the word performance. “But I…” I couldn’t finish the sentence, my voice trailing off.
He turned to the others. “I’d like to have a private word with our new student.”
As they walked out, Caesar continued to menace an unflappable Johann. “Keep in mind that it was Nono and I there at her arrival here…”
Lu followed them, glancing over his shoulder at me in worry before he was forced to jog after them to catch up.
Anjou sat down and gestured to a chair for me.
“You know,” he said. “Of all the recruits, you have outstanding resilience. You come to my office after everything you’ve been through. After you hear that I’m sending you on a dangerous mission after this incident, you don’t immediately object.”
“Do I actually have a choice in any of this? You’re just throwing things at me and I’m trying to just survive here!” My voice shook. “You’re not going to let me leave, are you?”
He settled his cigar down on a silver ashtray. “Your talent is a Class S… the strongest kind. But it is extremely unstable. The injection Johann gave you is a temporary experimental measure. I’m hoping that the Japan Division might be hiding research that can aid us in preventing you from turning into a monster like Isaac.”
“What are you talking about?” My voice lowered to a whimper.
His uncharacteristic seriousness lent weight to his words. “What happened to Isaac could just as easily happen to you. I am committed to preventing that. You’re here to today because of that effort. Had you turned servitor after the injection, we would have had no choice but to eliminate you. You did not. So there is still hope.” He said this frankly, looking into my eyes. His expression turned grim. “I cannot keep you here against your will. I can only tell you the truth. Your chances of survival are slim outside of Cassell College.”
My self-protective sense of humor faltered and I found my desire to contact Robbie lessened. If this was to be my fate, then it would be better that he never saw me again. “And if there’s no cure?” I asked quietly.
“Let’s take courage and hope. We’re working on it.” His positivity returned. “You remind me so much of my friend Manecke. When I look at you…” He took another puff. “I see brilliance. Something will come up.”
My throat started to close and my eyes burned. “Can I go?”
He nodded. I stood up and rushed out of the office.
Lu was waiting for me, but I pushed by him before he could say a word.
I managed to make it back to my apartment before I gave in to the shattering grief inside. My shadow twin appeared, kneeling next to me. She tried to catch my tears but they fell through her hand to the carpet. I wished I had never accepted the offer to come to Cassell. But if I hadn’t accepted, who knew what might have happened? Had I blissfully gone through life, I might have suddenly turned into a beast. I imagined myself as a ballerina, graceful and elegant, only to morph into a horrible monster a few years into my career. Maybe even on stage. It would have been awful.
My emotions began to subside and I picked myself up off the floor. Packing for the trip wasn’t difficult. Most of my things were still in my suitcase. As I went through my belongings, I wondered what I wanted to wear on my last few days on Earth. ‘Whatever felt comfortable on a plane’ won out.
I wrote in my school notebook what I wanted people to find after I was gone. I confessed that I hadn’t just killed Isaac, but possibly six or seven other people. I was a waste of everyone’s time and effort, especially Robbie and Mom’s.
My phone buzzed. Nono was trying to talk to me but I didn’t want to anymore. It was better if she forgot I ever existed. I turned the phone off.
My heart beat fast all the rest of the day and into the night. I spent most of that night pacing around my apartment. The racing pulse made it impossible to sleep and robbed me of my appetite in the morning.
The next morning while I was turning out the lights and getting ready to meet the others to go to the airport, someone knocked on my door.
I opened to Nono, her crimson eyes narrowed. “You know, I don’t take it lightly when someone ignores my messages. Especially someone I’ve tried to be nice to.”
My shoulders lowered and I sighed. “Nono, I…”
She cut me off. “No, you need to listen to me. I know what happened was hard. Maybe even harder than most. But you have got to pull yourself together.”
“Life as a hybrid will never be fair or easy. Not one of us has had an easy and happy life. You’re one of us now. So buck up and do what needs to be done!”
I shrunk under her stare, swallowing hard.
“You’re going on a dangerous mission with Caesar and the others. And I can’t have you getting into a funk, slipping up and then someone else dies because of it.”
When I stood silently she took a step forward, her voice rising. “Do you understand? Do what you have to do to stop moping. If something happens to Caesar, I won’t forgive you.”
“Yes ma’am.” I whispered.
She turned, her heels clicking against the tile as she departed.
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