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Jesse wasn't prepared for the shock of his emotions as she pulled his arm back around her. Even though moments before, he had so skillfully swept her away, he had no idea how to handle this. Where did he put his fingers again?
It wasn't like Jesse had never been with anyone. Of course he had, on many occasions, especially in his younger years. But this job kept a distance of a certain kind. Jesse gave affection and flirted in a way that wasn't meant to be taken as true interest.
But as the years had passed on, he didn't want to get close to anyone. Most days, he even feared his friendships with anyone. He was sure they'd get hurt, whether it be by him, or just on the field, and he didn't know if he could take either of them.
So, McCree now, trying to grasp her shoulder as gently as possible, felt awkward. How long had it been since he'd actually touched someone like this? Courted anyone? Or just generally been this close to anyone? Pandora sent every thought and emotion haywire within him, and all she did was put his arm around her shoulder and ask about food.
Jesse was grateful for the cold as they stepped outside. He felt the cold air hit his face and cool him off. How'd this happen twice in one day? He shook off the thought, adjusting his jacket slightly to put it off as if he were chilly.
"Where?" He then asked, raising his hand to his face in thought. "Hn..." What was close to the base here, anyway? "...Well, I typically order Mexican. It reminds me of home." He shrugged slightly. "But I gather there's several places n' town to eat." He looked down at her with a grin, pulling her a little closer. "...You pick somthin'." He mused. "i'll eat whatever ya put under my nose." And that was pretty true. He'd eat anything, or at least try it once. He wasn't too picky when he came to sustenance.
He heard a movement from the room, and a few seconds later, the door slid open, revealing the sight he found quite amusing. She looked a little disheveled, and even though she seemed distressed by something, she looked a lot more relaxed than she had been on their mission.
Then again, who could be relaxed on a mission?
She mentioned something about no secrets between partners, which was a first for him. His brow furrowed as she looked down each end of the hall, as if he'd been followed. He took a quick glance as well, wondering if maybe she was just looking for trouble of sorts.
He made to speak until she pulled him into the room, the door shutting behind them as quietly as it had opened. She paced slightly, running a hand through her hair as she talked about her distant, darkened past of memories long since forgotten... Or erased. One of the two.
After all was said, she made a question towards his injury. He chuckled slightly, striding towards her with ease, before planting himself on the bed next to her.
"Don't worry 'bout me just now." He grinned at her. "Ain't nothin' but a dull throb. Wont be the last time I dislocate somethin' important." He laughed slightly.
"This... Moira. She's the one with all the fancy science gear?" He motioned around himself to sort of mimic what he saw on the loading docks. "Tuh be honest with ya... I think I recognize her, too." He looked towards the door and put his face in his hand, rubbing at his temples. "It's... Fuzzy, but the pieces that come together don't line up." He dragged his hand down his face slowly. "The face and the name don't match up fer me. They're different... Somehow." After a moment of silence he sighed before grinning over at her.
"Perhaps we can dote on this subject in a lil' while." He poked her forehead gently. "What say you tuh gettin' out a bit? I could use a bite tuh eat, n' some fresh air'd do you some good... And me." He shrugged slightly. He hadn't eaten since before he woke up, and the mission had taken a toll on his energy. And even with the dumb of information she just laid on him, Jesse was all too curious about his new partner.
Talon aside, he actually wanted to know what she was like.
...Where this morbid curiosity came from, Jesse couldn't decide.
"...And I ain't too fond of Reyes at the moment. His temper can get to be a handful." He made a slight face that resembled something of a 'woops'. "I imagine he'll come lookin' for either one of us, and I ain't too keen on punchin' anyone with a limp arm." He joked slightly before standing and offering his hand to the girl.
"What say ya, firebird?" He smirked at the nickname slightly as he waited for her answer.
He knew Amari had trained her. It was in her file. Of course, that's not the main reason McCree knew about her prodigue. If someone in Overwatch [i didn't] know that the new girl was being taken under Amari's wing, then it would be a surprise. But, he did have to laugh at her sassy comment.
"Don't get too big uh head 'bout it." He teased, shooting another omnic. They were starting to understand where the firing was coming from, turning to him mostly, rather than his counterpart.
Which made her statement of leaving all the more valid.
He watched Pandora salute him, that grin plastered on her face, before taking off towards her destination, which she had stated. Some kind of red bus...
He began to head in that general direction, easily bouncing over rooftops, all the while taking out as many omnics as he could. Quickly, he landed into an alley to get the robots off of his scent, hoping to give himself enough time to escape to their meeting place.
"I feel like ya ain't givin' me enough credit, Darlin'." He mused, referring to her statement about being safe. "I even toned down my normal behavior fer y--" Before the sentence could even leave his mouth fully, a blast of rubble and fire exploded from the building next to him, sending him backwards into the closest concrete wall. He groaned loudly, holding his human arm, which had been dislocated by the sudden jerking about.
"The hell..?" He murmured before looking towards the now demolished building. The dust began to settle, and he could make out the features of the omnic he had viewed earlier. Two of it's four legs stepped out from the fog as its upper body looked around, trying to scan the area.
Jesse came to the conclusion that the thing had no idea he was on the other side of that wall. It was, unfortunately, dumb luck. Quickly, he dipped behind some boxes, still gripping his now throbbing arm tightly. He gave it a few minutes, listening to its creaking gears and rusted joints move around the area before continuing elsewhere. He sighed a small relief before standing.
"Hate tuh pull ya from yer perch, but im'a need ya closer to the ground." He said, peeking around the corner of a building before starting his trek towards their rendezvous point yet again. "It ain't easy tuh relocate an arm by yerself." He laughed it off gently, although the pain was really starting to set in. He dodged across and into another alley, making sure he was clear. He could spot the bus from where he was. He pushed himself against the alley wall, waiting for her to either come out from where she was hiding, or get there if she hadn't yet.
He gave a glance to the sky. No pilot just yet. Jesse didn't feel comfortable calling him until he was up to par, either. He then took a look around. Strangely, the omnics hadn't made it to this area yet. Not even stragglers, just... empty. It made Jesse uneasy.
"Where are ya, Darlin'?" He said, looking around again.
Jesse peeked over his shoulder as a shot went behind him. He barely had to tilt his head to feel the wind of the shot. The omnic behind him fell to the ground with a gentle "thud" as metal and concrete collided. Jesse then raised his eyes to the rest of the robot pals pouring out and heading his way. He grinned slightly.
Pandora mentioned the roof. That'd be a great vantage point for him. As he scaled it, he spoke into the mic.
"Can't say I ain't impressed with them sniper skills you got." He said with a smirk as he swung himself onto the building, sprinting and leaping to the next building, landing with a skid on the gravel. He turned to asses the situation. He turned to assess the situation.
The omnics were busy looking on the streets, not yet anticipating his move to the rooftops. He looked back to the site of origin, peeking over it, seeing basically a scale of fire and debris, and more omnics scouting the area towards the norther part of the city Jesse had not reached.
"At this point, Ain't got much of uh choice in the matter." He started walking along the top towards her, while counting the options they had on his fingers as he said them. "We could either have uh brawl here, or reconvene at a different rendezvous point, therefore our escape plane not bein' shot down by bastions, or we attempt to stand off 'ere, so the plane can get to us." Quickly, he hopped to the next roof with ease, his walking pace continuing upon his land.
"I reckon yer not the kinda girl to run away," He mused, smiling at the thought, "But I ain't about to put a bystander in danger." He was referring to the pilot, of course, even if said pilot navigated a plane as shit as he had. "So... Dealers choice." He nodded to the girl on the other end of the sniper before turning his attention to the street below, the omnics scouting faster than he was walking, and still a lot dumber than they looked.
"Better make that choice fast, Darlin'."
But that choice was made for him long before she could answer that question.
An omnic pushed himself onto the building close to Pandora, aiming right for her. Jesse immediately whipped out his peacekeeper, firing three shots right above her head, disengaging it completely. however, in doing so, the robots immediately below him looked up, and he had to make the choice to kill them, too.
"Well, down tuh two options now." He grinned, swinging his gun around his finger before aiming it towards the next unsuspecting omnics.
Pandora spoke up again. He raised an eyebrow to the girl as she mocked his flashy outfit. He thought for a moment about his retaliation, something about 'not knowing him very well' or that 'it was the least flashy thing he own', and while he was proud of that, he decided silence might bother her more. So, he merely smirked at her, pulling the brim of his hat down just a bit as he readjusted to lean forward onto his knees.
The plane ride was uncomfortable.
No, more than that. It was downright [i disagreeable] to McCree's frame, between the cramped style of the interior to the crappy way the pilot was maneuvering the plane back and forth, causing the bumps to dig into Jesse's back, he could barely keep from squirming around in his seat.
Pandora's jab to his arm pulled him out of his daze of trying not to murder the pilot. It was time. Good thing too, considering Jesse was about to go nuts. He immediately rose from his seat, standing closely behind Pandora as she watched the rope fall. She then pushed herself out of the plane, and he watched her land safely on the ground, with grace only in likeness of Mercy's.
He grabbed onto the rope once she had finished her decent, wrapping it around his mechanical arm before pushing off and lowering himself down, a little more speed than his partner before him. Then again, he'd been doing this a lot longer. Once on the roof, he untangled his arm and flagged down the plane, which took off upon recognition of the signal.
He watched the intricate way she scanned the area with her choice of weapon: the rifle. She was like a hawk, scanning her initial surroundings to decide on what prey to catch. And before he could react to her commands, she was on him, straightening his coat. He raised his head ever so slightly as he watched her. A nervous habit, perhaps? The way her fingers clenched around the hem of his coat confirmed the thought. He smiled very slowly.
It was kind of cute how she pretended not to care.
When she was on her belly, rifle ready, he chuckled deeply before walking over to the edge of the building. Hands stuffed deep into the pockets of his coat, he looked over his shoulder with a smirk before dropping to the ground below, no effort in the landing, and a lot quieter than anticipated from a man in boots.
He took her words to heart, going down the alleyway she suggested, and carefully rounding a corner to head north for a click or two. Still, he had his hands in his pockets, even as he danced around an unbeknownst omnic, slinking behind it and continuing down one of the darker alleys.
After a small travel down that, Jesse found himself face to face with a base of operations. He darted his eyes back and forth, checking to make sure he hadn't been snuck up on, then continued to scout right around the outskirts.
Omnics were pouring out of the openings, which Jesse only counted 2. They were mostly janky copies of Zenyatta, but a few Bastion-bots were meandering around as well. He stopped when his eyes fell upon a particular four legged omnic; one he hadn't encountered in years.
"...Well that don't bode well." He said very lowly, just enough for the mic to pick up. Jesse quietly carried himself to somewhere he was certain he wouldn't be seen. He then relayed that information to his partner, probably still spying on him from her perch, before looking down the alleyway he'd pulled himself into.
"Think i've seen all I want tuh. Point me to the nearest exit, darlin'?" He said, quietly stepping towards the mouth of the alley.
Jesse sighed, standing up after Pandora exited the room. He wasn't one for scouting missions. He liked the types of missions he could use to show off; to enjoy himself. He turned to exit when there was a noise of throat clearing behind him. McCree peeked over his shoulder.
"Jesse," Ana warned, giving her head a slight tilt, "Don't do anything foolish." Jesse gave a wide smirk, grabbing the brim of his hat as he nodded.
"You must be thinkin' 'bout the wrong man." He exited the room.
He only had an hour to assess what kind of fighter than Pandora was. Given that this was their first mission together, as well as her first mission [i ever], he wanted a little heads up on what he'd gotten himself strung up in.
"Girl on fire..." His accent was long and drawn out as the name dance over his tongue. She certainly had a history, mostly one of violence. A little like him, in fact. Jesse also pulled out the medical file he snagged from Angela's office during his check up when she wasn't looking.
She'd of course scold him for it later, but the intent wasn't malicious. She'd forgive him. She was good like that.
She was too good for all of them.
After a once over on that file, he put them both into the upper drawer of his dresser, hiding underneath undergarments he knew most prying eyes wouldn't want to snoop through. Once snug, he pulled out his blackwatch uniform.
The uniform itself screamed McCree, but was subtle enough, no one would think of him being more than just a cowboy. It was all black, decorated in little bits of gold and red here and there, giving him a sense of pride when he wore it.
He [i was] a badass, after all. His outfit should reflect. Especially when on a mission. He exited his room exuding that confidence, making his way towards the bay, where most of their transportation lay, waiting to be used. This time, they were being flown in. The propellers of the plane blew at Jesse, making his coat flap, forcing him to hold his hat on his head. He entered the plane, only to find Pandora there already.
Before sitting, he made sure his Peacekeeper was strapped to his side, where it was supposed to be, and flexed his hand around the hilt. He felt ready. He sat down, giving himself some space from where she would most likely sit.
He perked up, however, when she mentioned his name, a thick accent caking her words. He hadn't realized she was Irish.
[i "I'm your eyes in the sky, once we get there."] And then a smirk spread across her face, peaking his interest further. His grin followed in suit as he crossed his arms over his torso and leaned back to get comfortable.
"Countin' on it, Darlin'."
Kayle left the tree a while ago. In the meantime, she caught a glimpse of the human girl she had stumbled upon earlier, getting dragged into the alley and half beaten to death by some thug who thought the weight of money was worth his soul. She had planned to swoop in, but the guy-- also met from earlier-- jumped in to save her, overpowering the thug with ease.
Kayle decided to hover for a moment, watching them go inside the building where she had previously dropped the jacket off, and sighed. This guy seemed to be too well placed. Two times in one night?
When Kayle was sure that they had been snug inside, she let herself land in the darkness of the alleyway, looking over the man who was now a pretzel of pain, crumpled into submission. She landed softly on the ground, bending over to pick up what Kayle could only assume was that girl's things. She picked up what she could, sort of shoving it into the bag, and readied her wings for flight.
In an instant she took off, going into the sky as high as she could muster. She then willed her wings to carry her towards that tree she had paused on earlier, making a perch on one of the branches as she looked through the girl's I.D., wallet, and just the general contents of the bag, hoping to get a sense of this girl; Trying to figure out how she could weasel into her life without being too suspicious.
Kayle snorted. [i Weasel is such an evil way to put it...] She thought dimly to herself, trying to restructure the sentence with a word that felt less... Dirty.
She sighed, putting everything back that she had, looking over the sky towards the direction in which she predicted the bar to be.
"I'll return it tomorrow..." She thought it would be a good way to start a conversation. Maybe even get a favor in for returning it. Kayle strapped the bag around herself before settling into the trunk of the tree, closing her eyes to rest for the remainder of the night.
"[i Get up,] Mcree." a booming voice said on the other side of his door. Jesse sighed, knowing very well he was being summoned for a mission. He also knew that Reyes was planning to pair him up with the newbie, Pandora; The Girl on Fire.
Jesse was also up already.
The 37 year old male was in full get up, merely sprawled out along his comforters in an attempt to get his mind straight before leaving the room. But his thinking would do him no good, nor did it last all that long.
When Reyes pounded on his door again, threatening to break the damned padlock that kept him safe, he decided to actually get out of the bed he'd been relaxing in most of the day. He pressed a button and the door slid open, revealing the angry expression of his "leader".
"Hold yer horses, then." Jesse grabbed his hat off the wall and placed it on his head, pushing it on until it was snug, then stepped into the hallway, forcing Reyes to take a step back. He looked up at the man, just barely taller than him and gave a grin, to which the captain was not amused.
"Er is everyone else jus' early?" Mcree mused, walking towards the hall that was holding the meeting without so much as a queue from Reyes.
Mcree wasn't one to take much seriously. Except for maybe his job. Maybe he'd take a girlfriend seriously, too... If he ever had one. He felt more of a freelancer type fit him, and on top of that, sometimes this job was far too dangerous to let anyone worry about him at home.
Or vice versa.
And so, he remained alone, as he always did. He even walked into the meeting first, alone. Reyes may have been taller than him, but Mcree liked a wider stride. Jesse's eyes dance over Ana and Jack, and then fell onto the girl. He grinned slightly, flicking the bill of his hat in acknowledgement, before turning to one of the chairs and sitting there casually.
"You're late." Ana said with a sigh.
"So I've been told." His thick, southern drawl came out in exasperation. he didn't need a repeat. Reyes then entered the room, closing the door behind himself and walked over to stand proudly with the other captains, as if he belonged there.
As if he hadn't forced the position upon himself to feel important.
Jesse shifted in his seat slightly at that thought and positioned himself in a sprawled fashion. It was certainly hard to get comfy in those chairs.
"Let's get this over with." Jack said, eyeing Mcree for a moment before turning to Reyes.
"Jeez, lady. Was your power always this crazy annoying?" Wrath said as she dodged another attack, the balls of energy flying past her, barely missing her side. Wrath took the opportunity to flip onto the side of one of the buildings, hopping from it to another building, and pushing herself up until she was on the roof. She took a quick survey of the land, noting how far she'd gotten away from both the party, as well as civilians. She turned back just in time for the figure of her once good friend rise to meet the roof as well.
"Alright... Now we can get serious." Wrath said, pulling out her staff to full length. "I don't even know if this is gunna work..." A ball shot past her face and she dodged it easily. "First, i [i really] need you to settle down with those." And with that, she lunged. However, the demon Viv had been a lot faster than she anticipated, dodging and blocking her with as much ease as Wrath had been continuously dodging the energy balls. Wrath cursed under her breath.
She took a few steps back, away from the girl, and pulled her power towards the side of the building, ripping from it the grating that people would normally use to get up and down from the roof. Wrath pulled it around her and formed it into shards of metal and turned to Viv.
"Guess i'll have to try a different method." Wrath said before strategically launching shards at the girl. It seemed she did not expect this, and there was a delay in her dodging, giving Wrath the opportunity to get her to a point she could no longer run away from an incoming attack. All the while, Wrath approached slowly, trying to get her cornered, forming that staff behind her yet again. Viv began to try and outplay her, dodging the other way, Which Wrath was just hoping for.
"There." She said, pulling the staff out and swinging it towards her. [i I just have to knock her out!] She thought as the swing intensified.
But nothing would come to flourish of that hit. Wrath watched in slow motion as the staff split into quarters. She pulled back, holding the small piece of metal in her hand before looking to her right.
Kane had his hands raised towards her, ribbons of water around him. Why was he...?
"Kane, don't--!" But before any more words could come out, a flash of purple blinded her and she took a hit to the face, her mask breaking apart as she was sent flying, landing on the other side of the building with a sickening skid. Wrath hissed and groaned at the gravel now in her arm and side, her face dripping from the hit she took. Wrath watched from the floor as the balls of energy floated back to her.
[i "You should have killed her."] A voice came into her head from out of nowhere. The alternate version of her, quiet before this, was active enough to point out that Wrath had made a crucial flaw standing so close to a demon. Wrath whispered to the voice to shut up before regaining herself, turning to Kane, who was no approaching the girl who attacked you. [i "Kill them both."]
"Shut. Up." She said a little louder this time. She tore off the other half of her mask, but felt a dizziness come over her, probably from the blow. She held her hand to Her face, trying to stop the blood from pooling into her eye; trying to stop the dizziness from taking over.
"What the hell!?" She shouted towards him. He instantly shot her a glare. Wrath narrowed her good eye at him. She understood well enough that he was more upset than most of them about this. But he couldn't be that close to her... Not for long. Wrath flicked her eye between the two, trying to assess the situation.
Wrath decided, after Isa talked with her breifly, to dissapear.
She told DeLeon she would be back in a little under a month, but she had some things she had to take care of. He made some notion about homework, but said little against the idea otherwise. Perhaps he knew, it would do her some good to get away for a little while.
After that, she flew to a sister city, where there was work to be done. There was hardly a team there, and what little there was, they were getting their asses handed to them. From what it looked like, the demons took out their leader and were running rampage for [i weeks], and on top of that, the portals were still opening. They were scared, and so were the towns people.
Wrath swooped in and, in a matter of days, cleaned up their problem. She noted that even with the amount of power she used, not once did her bones break, and that scared her more than the creatures pouring from the portals. They asked her to stay and continue to lead them. She refused.
She moved on to the next city that was crumbling. And when she had cleaned up there, she moved on to the next, and then the next, and the next. She felt like she'd cleaned up thousands of towns, small and large, but none of that help would clean her conscious. She did what she did, and when she was dead, she would pay for it.
Wrath took a flight home, which was a good few hours away. She held her bag close to her as she watched the cities below go by so fast. She took note of everything inside her sack: Her new outfit, her new mask, her new weapon, various gifts from the places she'd visited. Her finger squeezed in on a book that had been given to her; a journal stating everything he'd learned about "The Light", giving Wrath more insight than she had wanted.
And the beast within her was so quiet, it was nerve wrecking.
She'd grown accustomed to the voice in the back of her mind, taunting her to go back through the portal, or to do bad things, or to reclaim what she'd given up. What scared her was when they all the sudden just disappeared. What was the thing planning? Where exactly was she lurking at that Wrath couldn't find her?
Wrath paused a few yards away from the front of the building she'd once called home. Things felt different here. Something was not right, and she knew it. She felt the tingle on the back of her neck like she did that day by the tree.
She swallowed hard, slinging her pack over her shoulder before approaching the door. She quietly opened the door, noting that there wasn't anyone nearby when she came in. Good. She made it to her bedroom, throwing her things down and immediately changing clothes.
When she stepped out, fresh and renewed, she met Viv, facing her.
[i "Hola, Amore."] She grinned in a way that made Wrath's spine tingle. And she hadn't hugged her yet... Weird.
"Heya, Viv." Wrath grinned, trying to shake off the feeling.
"I've missed you, [i Miss Wrath]." That did it. The inflection sent every nerve skyrocketing. Who was this person standing in front of her? Wrath kept her grin and chuckled slightly.
"I know... I'm sorry. I needed some time." She shrugged. Viv made to put her arm into Wrath's, and it burned. Viv jumped back, rubbing her arm.
"[i Cara Mia], you're on fire! Do you have a fever?" The Italian slipped from the girl's tongue, and the accent changed just slightly when she did so. Wrath made a note to keep her face clear from the shock of being burned, and her sudden change in language.
"Maybe... I was on a pretty long flight. It was kind of a shock to my nerves. Maybe I'll get some water and sleep it off." Wrath made her way to the kitchen, Viv right on her tail, watching her every move. Wrath remained calm as she got a cup, filled it with water, and downed it. Slowly. When it was empty, she filled it up again.
"Better?" Viv raised an eyebrow to Wrath as she turned.
"A little. Gunna take this with me in case I need more. Sorry our reunion is brief." Wrath grinned before saying her goodnight. She peeked into Isa's room, but they must've been at school already. She closed the door behind her when she found herself in her room.
That girl was not the same girl she'd left.
She knew that now more than ever as she stared down at that portal, a demon with a girl's face on it she once knew. She stood, previously crouched through the debriefing, the bright red smile of her mask the only thing visible by the glow of the portal.
"...Told you to take care of yourself, girl." She mumbled quietly to herself, not really caring if anyone heard her. She pushed through the crowd to stand next to Isa, turning to the girl.
"If she's here, there's going to be a good number pushing through." She said loudly. "I'll keep her attention for now while everyone else takes out the lesser ones." Wrath flicked her arm out and a staff came to her, forming in her hand. "See you on the other side." She grinned behind the mask, even though they couldn't see it, and dashed into the fray, dodging away from the four legged beast and smacking the once-was Viviana in the face as hard as she could muster. The demon-girl growled and turned her attention to Wrath, just as had been expected.
"The monkey chased the weasel~" Wrath singsonged, dodging those annoying energy balls as Viv pursued her away from the others.
Wrath approached the portal from the opposite side of it, disregarding what Isa had wanted. The problem with that plan was, Isa had not prepared for Vivianna to be there. Wrath had.
For the past month, Upon her return from her adventure with Kane, she'd become much changed
It had been a whole month since the fiasco of going into that portal. And boy, did she regret it more each day.
The voice never left her mind, always filling that silence with whispers of various things: The Light, Viv, how she'd go about killing DeLeon, but most importantly, never to trust Isa.
Wrath's shadow self always got very, very serious around that girl, which worried her more than it should have. It was much worse when Wrath had finally started speaking to her again. She was much more solid, and more reclusive; She'd become cold.
Kane was different, too, somehow. But out of their little "disappearing act", Vivianna was most changed. Her character had flip flopped in that time span and upon returning home. Wrath couldn't help but watch. The whispering in the back of her mind about it didn't help.
Ares had decided to keep to himself mostly, While Aiden spent his time training with Isa. Wrath watched them all from afar. She was afraid to get too close... For now.
Wrath had developed some interesting side effects for yet [i another] piece of her soul, now forfeit to the beast within her in order to save... Well. [i That kid].
"Viv?" Wrath said as the girl entered the hallway. The comment she heard as she came out of DeLeon's office was not a typical thing that came out of the girl's mouth. Actually, it was a lot more like Wrath's thing. Viv turned to her with a grin.
"[i Buenos Dias, Amor]." She grinned before turning away, strutting a little more than normal down the hall before veering towards the showers. Wrath looked to the watery footprints on the floor and narrowed her eyes.
[i "Oh, my."] A voice whispered behind her, causing her eyes to shoot up. She knew she should not answer it, but the curiosity got the better of her.
[i "She's here."] It said quietly before her mind erupted in laughter. Wrath's eyes slowly widened and turned to Ares. Could he hear it, too? Judging by his confusion and spaced out nature from Viv's comment, he couldn't. Wrath turned back to the hallway.
"Shut up." She whispered harshly to herself, but she couldn't help but wonder: Who was here?
"You've been more persistent than usual." Wrath said aloud. A quiet laugh invaded her mind.
[i "I'm bored. Let's go do something] fun." It said to her. Wrath scoffed, closing her book, a pencil and paper she'd been writing on wadded between the pages she'd been reading.
"Just shut the hell up and go away like you usually do."
[i "But] she [i gets to come out and play... I want to have some time, too. Out there."]
"Forget it." Wrath growled, packing her belongings back into her bag and picking herself up off of the grass. Every day since the portal she'd been sitting at the tree, waiting for something like that day almost a week ago. She had a feeling that it was never coming, but she couldn't help the paranoia.
[i "Let's go play with that Wind boy."] The voice decreed. Suddenly, Wrath found herself being pushed forward. She turned around sharply, but no one was there.
"...Did you just--" She was pushed again, a little harder. She took a few steps back to regain herself, but that answered her question. "Stay the [i fuck] in my head, or I will come in there, and so help you God." Wrath warned, to which the voice laughed.
[i "Dare you."] She said. Wrath anticipated more commentary, but nothing was said. Nor was she getting pushed anymore. Wrath straightened her belongings out before turning to view Ares, who was training.
For the first time, Wrath felt terrified of being around them.
"Fuck... Fuck!" Wrath breathed to herself as she watched her reflection. It seemed to dance and sway, and turn into something else as she watched it.
Wrath opened her eyes to a world a lot more blurry than she remembered. Something shifted in her line of vision, as she stared up. She tried to blink away the obscurity, and as things became more clear around her, she realized that the shifting object was a ceiling fan above her, hardly doing its proper job at the trickling pace it was producing.
It was at this point, that her vision became even more clear and her concious more aware of her surroundings, that she was in a [i massive] amount of pain. Her entire body ached, even though the only thing moving was the steady rise and fall of her chest as she tried to breathe, the air scratching her dry throat. However, she decided that she couldn't just lay there all day.
Slowly, with her entire body screaming at her, she sat up, trying to assess her current situation. Somehow, she'd made it to her room. She looked around, nothing out of the ordinary, but something still felt off. As if on queue, she heard the chuckle, and her entire body tensed, which she immediately regretted. Even after she tried to relax, her mind was on high alert.
[#ef1a06 [i "Well, Well. Sleeping Beauty wakes."]] Said a voice Wrath was all too familiar with. Attempting to swallow some saliva, she looked around the room, until her eyes fell on the mirror across the room from her bed. Her reflection grinned back at her, a more sinister air about her. [#ef1a06 [i "You don't remember what happened, do you?"]] The figure said to her. Wrath, after a moment of silence, shook her head. Her reflection laughed. [#ef1a06 [i "Perhaps it's best that way. It was quite a show... If you like violence, anyway."]] The figure flicked a cigarette Wrath had not noticed she'd had before, and stuck it in her mouth to take a puff. Wrath, panicked, looked to her own hand, but there was no cancer stick there. She looked back.
"...What do you want?" Wrath asked hoarsly. The reflection tilted her head, letting the smoke trail out of her mouth.
[#ef1a06 [i "Power."]] She breathed. "[#ef1a06 [i I want to control] that [i realm. I want to be number one...."]] The reflection grinned. [#ef1a06 [i "What if you could have unlimited power? One that you wouldn't need to have me for? You could just... Have your own."]]
"What's the catch?" Wrath glared at the reflection, to which it responded with a laugh.
[#ef1a06 [i "I'm stuck in your body, idiot. I can't get it myself."]] She mused, taking a hit off of the cigarette once again. [#ef1a06 [i "You help me get it... I leave, and I'll give you your own power."]] [i My own power...] Wrath's mind trailed as she pondered on the thought of what it would be like to have her own body, untouched by the chaos that lurked inside her. [#ef1a06 [i "You could play hero, without my help."]] That last phrase echoed around her like a choir in a cathedral, bouncing around her mind, tantalizing her thoughts with the juiciest information that that [i thing] could give her.
[i Knock, Knock, Knock.] Wrath shot her head towards the sound, immediately regretting the action, as it hurt like hell. She turned back to the mirror, finding herself standing in front of it. She took a step back. When had she moved? How long was she standing there? ...Why was she covered in dried blood? She looked down at her hands and pondered this for a moment before the knocking sounded again. She cleared her throat as best as she could.
"Ye--?" A near squeak came out. She tried again. "Yes?" Better, more controlled.
[#1AB46B [i "Meet me in my office when you've gotten all of that blood off of you."]] A voice rang clear through the door. Her breath hitched in her throat. [i DeLeon.] With a gulp, and a deep breath, she responded with a 'yes'. After that, she heard his footsteps trail away from her door, but the anxiety that she felt never left with him.
As quick as her body would let her, she dragged herself, along with some clean clothes and a towel, to the shower, and washed herself at about the same pace. The hot water certainly helped each aching muscle, but it did not stop it. She thought, breifly, that she might ask Viv to heal her. Another thought told her she deserved every ounce of this. After a few more moments, the underlying anxiety of being in water overcame her, and she decided to get out. She took her time, however, drying off, and putting on clothes, as to delay her meeting.
What was she supposed to say to him?
She threw her towel in the laundry bin close by, and walked down the hall, towards her dread. When she was in front of the door, a voice commanded her to come in. [i I didn't even get to knock...] Wrath thought as she opened the door to enter. Without saying a word, she closed the door behind her, and quietly sat in the chair across from him. The entirety of those actions were monitored by glares from [i him]. They stared at each other for a while before Wrath shifted in her seat, uncomfortable.
"So... I guess this means Isa reported in." Wrath wasn't one for beating around the bush. If he was going to yell at her, she'd rather get to the point of it.
[#1AB46B "She didn't have to."] DeLeon responded, lacing his fingers over his chest as he leaned back in his chair slightly. [#1AB46B"I saw you."] Wrath felt her heart rate pick up a smidgen, but tried to maintain composure. [#1AB46B "I saw you go into the portal. Isa, as well. [i I saw you both.]]" He jabbed that point into her, knowing full well that she would feel guilty about disobeying his rules.
"Leon, let me explain." She tried to give, but he just slammed his hands on his desk so hard, that various objects and nic nacs bounced up, or fell over. Wrath's heart jumped, but she remained stoic. "...Please." She said quietly.
[#1AB46B "I don't ask for very much around here."] He said, getting up suddenly to pace around the room. [#1AB46B "I give very few rules-- All of which are for [i your] saftey-- and I only expect your grades to be good. I let you get away with skipping school, skipping life, I give you a place to stay, and for what?"]
"[#1AB46B You [i disobeyed] one of the rules, and you could've [i died in there]."] He raised his voice as if trying to interrupt him would do little good to him. [#1AB46B "You could've gotten Isa killed, [i too!]"]
"I didn't ask her to come with me!" Wrath yelled, standing up just as suddenly as he had, knocking over the chair. "I'm fully responsible for what happened, but listen--"
[#1AB46B "[i I know you are.]"] He spoke harshly, completely stopping her mid-sentence. There was a tense silence between the two of them as Wrath mulled around ideas in her head before a chord struck with her.
"...What is so important about us not going into the portal?" She asked quietly.
[#1AB46B "I told you. It's dangerous in there, you could've--"]
"Stop." She said, holding up her hand to him. He went into a silent rage. "Just... Tell me what is hiding in there that's so important to you. What is it that you didn't want us to see?" To that, he was silent. She waited, giving him a moment to contemplate an answer, but it never came. He just stood there, glaring at her. "...Fine. Then i'll find the answers myself."
[#1AB46B "If you go back in there..."] He seemed to threaten.
"If you know about whatever's in there, and [i she] knows... There are bound to be countless others who do, too." Wrath said, crossing her arms. "And I don't just mean the humans." DeLeon's glares turned into confusion, and shock. Perhaps the anger was melting away?
[#1AB46B "...She she's awake."] He said, his voice a lot calmer than it was before. [#1AB46B "That means she's interested. She knows."]
"Knows what? Interested in what?" Wrath pressed. DeLeon stared at her for a moment before taking a deep breath.
[#1AB46B "The Light."]
Her eyes fluttered open to a ceiling fan, lazily twirling above her and hardly doing its job at that pace. It was a ceiling fan for sure, but it was blurry. Her mouth was so dry, and every joint felt like fire when she tried to move. What in the world happened after she blacked out?
She tried to recall, shutting her eyes and trying to breathe. Her nostrils were just as dry, she was afraid she'd start tasting blood soon. [i Think, girl, think.] She told herself, looking into the blackness behind her eyelids.
[i "Do you really want to remember what happened?"] A voice called out from somewhere. Wrath shot her eyes open, darting them around, panting even when her throat protested the action. With grunts, and waves of pain, she slowly sat up, looking around. Empty.
Her eyes eventually were drawn towards the mirror, where she saw herself. Well... Sort of.
The reflection grinned back at her, and she tried to calm herself.
"You... You can't be here." she said, hoarsly. The reflections grin widened into a laugh that echoed around her. She flicked her head around, trying to pin the noise to one position, but to no avail.
[i "As if I ever needed your permission."] Her reflection mused. Before Wrath could say anything, the reflection leaned forward on the bed. [i "Did you see it? When you went inside?"] Wrath was confused by her darker self's question. The girl laughed, standing from the bed and approaching the mirror's face. Wrath watched her, trying to maintain some kind of composure. [i "You were too busy trying to play the hero again. You completely missed the light, didn't you?']
"I don't know." Wrath breathed. The reflection grinned.
[i "You could have it, you know."] She mused. Wrath tilted her head. [i "You could have the power to be a hero. We could get it... We could go back and get it. You'd be unstoppable."] What kind of power was it that the demon inside of her was willing to help her get it? Wrath gulped, opening her mouth to speak.
A knock at the door interrupted her thoughts, and she turned her head sharply. She found herself standing in front of the mirror, breathing heavily. When had she gotten there? She looked down at her hands, still covered in blood from when she came out of the portal; still having no idea where it had come from. She approached her closet, grabbing a change of clothes as well as a towel, hearing that knocking again, a bit more urgent.
"What?" She said, approaching the door, even when her muscles ached.
[i "We need to talk."] The voice said from the other side of the door. Her hand paused on the door handle. She knew it was DeLeon... She knew he was going to scold her for [i oh so many] things. More than scold, probably. If he didn't beat her for the things she pulled, she would be shocked. And even in knowing all this, her hand still floated over the handle, dreading the guilt of her choice, knowing she would have to hide that guilt from him. She pressed her head against the door, bracing her hand against it.
"Not right now... Please, Leo." There was silence from the other side of the door for a while, and she closed her eyes, anticipating his response. A few minutes passed by before a sigh came from the other side of the door.
"I'm scared, Wrath. You came back different. Isa came back different. I haven't seen Kane or Viv. I can't..." He trailed off after that, the silence heavy between the door. "Were you hurt? Did something happen?"
"Isa hasn't spoken to you yet?"
"...Then..." Wrath said quietly. She pulled away from the door, diligently pulling it open, looking up at him. He looked tired, and angry, and scared. He was looking her over as all of those emotions crossed his face. She must've looked crazy, still covered in blood that was now brown and flaky, haggard, and all around a mess. When the hurt crossed his features, she had to bite the inside of her cheek so hard, she tasted blood.
She would not [i fucking] cry. Not here. Not in front of him. Not in front of [i any of them].
"What... Did you do?" He asked. It was almost a whisper, but she heard it. She knew what he was implying.
"...Did I ever tell you," Wrath said as she stepped into the hall, closing the door behind her with a quiet 'click', "What I gave up to make the first deal?" He stared at her before shaking his head. "...My name." She said. He seemed confused at this.
"A demon... Accepted your name as payment?"
"With my name came consequences of having one." Wrath continued. "My memories associated with that name, my past, and the name itself: Gone. The demon destroyed any evidence of me having ever lived before I made that deal. I can't even remember making that deal." Wrath began walking past him, and he followed. "I keep thinking, that my life must've been so horrible, I was willing to give up all of those things to forget; To be able to start over. So... When I came here, I wanted to make sure that even though I made a bad choice, I would do good with it."
She turned to DeLeon right in front of the entrance to the showers, and gave the most sympathetic smile she could muster. "Sappy as it is, this place, and the people in it, are all I have. And... I have to protect it, no matter what." DeLeon stared hard at her for what seemed like an eternity before he pulled her into a hug. It was so tight, she thought she might suffocate, but more than anything, she was surprised.
"...I'm so mad." He said quietly. "...I don't know what else to say, but that I am the maddest I've been in a long time." Was he... going to cry? Wrath had to bite her cheek again as she raised her arms slowly, making to hug him back. "Lo, and Viv..."
"They weren't at the fight." Wrath nodded. He hummed some sort of relief, squeezing her shoulders.
"Please... If you keep giving into her..." He whispered.
"...I know." She said back. "I know. Please don't make this harder on me." They stood there for a few more moments before he pulled away.
"Have you been hearing her lately?" He asked, acting a little more like the DeLeon she remembered. Wrath nodded.
"I'll hear her for a week or two before I can finally tune her out. It's just because I'm drained. I'll be fine."
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