You don't have permission to post in this thread.
[+orange “Should I tell her you said that if we get out of this mess or are you going to find a way to bribe me to keep me quiet?”] Logan clapped back, mostly to try and show his dad that he was still finding some strength and he hasn’t given up yet. It was the curse of the Sanders. When so much chaos happened in their lives eventually they caved in. Logan had been through Hell the last coming months, they all had! He was surprised that he was able to hang on for as long as he had but he could feel that fine wire snapping. Now his purpose was right in front of him. Jack didn’t want to die and they both wanted to get home for that little bundle of joy who had so much potential in front of her. It was the potential Jack and Logan could only dream of.
[+orange “I shouldn’t have let it tip… anyway we’re here. I get it, you’ll always be here for me, you’ll always protect me but that’s not what I want or need! I know you’ll have that impulse but what I need is a family who is intact and for once I might just have that if we get out of this! Can you remember the last time we worked together as a family unit? It’s the one thing keeping me together. I have to be honest with you because if I keep telling myself I’m fine, I’m going to crash. I’ve lost everything else. I never thought I would say it but I need my family.”] Logan admitted, allowing some vulnerability to show as he grabbed the fabric and placed it on the back of his neck. It certainly wasn’t going to stop the blood flow but it would slow it down.
With Jack’s deal placed on the table, Logan stared up at the metal bars of his face for a few seconds before reaching out to Jack as much as he could and just getting close enough to rest his hand on his shoulder.
Though their peace ended as multiple hands held Logan’s in place through the bars and on Jack’s shoulder and more of the cultists wrapped a chain around Jack to hold him in place.
[i “You both seem stronger together. This is what they have called us to do. Carlos and Tenica are signing to us that you need to be bonded. We shall help you, children.”] One of them spoke up, pulling out a large sharp piece of metal resembling a needle with a thick piece of black wire attached to it. Logan tried desperately to pull away but with his other injured hand and blood loss he didn’t have the strength! These sick fuckers were trying to stitch the brothers together!
With Logan’s hand in place they started to stitch his flesh to Jack’s, forcing Logan to practically have his face crushed against the bars as they pulled him as close as they could to Jack. With each piercing stab of the metal and thread, Logan hissed out in pain, his blood dripping down Jack’s arm. If they finished the job the only way Logan and Jack were getting out of this was if one of them managed to rip away from the other. With Jack unable to feel pain, it meant Logan was in one for hell of a torturous experience, especially if they wanted to get out of their cages. No doubt these freaks had that in their twisted minds anyway.
[+orange “Jack! Fuck! Don’t let them finish, it’s ok! Just fucking pull!”] Logan begged, terrified to lose the function of another hand but also whatever other sick plans they had. They promised they would get out of this together, even with the risk of flesh and bone… little did they know that help wasn’t far away…
Viktor knew better than to argue with Hayden, as much as it was taking his whole energy to play his role whether she doubted it or not. He was worried for the girl and didn’t want to see her suffer but it took two to tango! If she had some deep rooted medical history it was equally up to her to communicate to him. Sure he put on a character but Viktor was as open and honest as he could be and that night he couldn’t count on his hand how many times he asked if it was ok and if she was sure. He wanted to defend himself, especially with how much doubt was in his mind after Roland’s words but it would probably earn him one hell of a beating.
At least he thought it was his words that would until Xana made her announcement. He kept his composure, allowing his mask to fall into shock and concern but his eyes told his sister everything.
[+purple [i “Annnd your point is?”]]
Viktor was never bothered about being a father. In fact it was the one consequence of his life that linked him to his father, which left a bitter taste in his mouth but… he always asked! He always made sure they consented and that it was a good time on both parties. He never guaranteed that he was going to stay around and he never promised it was a lasting relationship. So if they wanted to risk those consequences he couldn’t pause his life for a kid, right? At least that’s what he thought until his recent meeting with Roland. He looked at Finn with a sheepish look, hoping at least one of his siblings would back him up on this! Before he could however, his eyes switched to Tigan and Caiden.
[+brown “Hey buddy it’s alright it’s… Jack told you… oh for fuck…I mean…”] Tigan hissed, staring at the clock for a few minutes to make sure he wasn’t seeing things. There was an instant panic in his eyes and his hands were gripping tightly by his side. Part of him wanted to yell at Caiden but it wasn’t the kids fault!
[+brown “Next time don’t listen to Jack, alright kid? I’ve clearly knocked too many brain cells out of him over the years.”] Tigan growled but with the scene playing out in front of him and Tarik fussing over his sister and a lot of anger getting directed towards Viktor, there was one way to test if these brothers had any loyalty.
In two strides he made his way across the room, grabbed Finn by the collar of his purple shirt and had him pinned against the wall next to Viktor.
[+brown “You really fucked with the wrong family. So this is how this is going to work. You’re coming with me and you’re helping me find Jack and Logan. Try and betray me, I dare you. Your dear brother might have had his fun with me in one way but I have plenty of other ways of letting my steam out and you really don’t want to find out what that is, alright? So if you come with me and help me out, I’ll try and stop Hayden from ripping your brother limb from limb.”] Tigan warned and without giving Finn much of a choice, he threw him towards the door and shoved his back to get him to start walking.
[#af944b “Tigan? This is Larry, look we just had a distress signal from Logan’s earpiece. I’ve just managed to get the coordinates. I’ll send you a message now with the location. I can see your with a stranger? Finn Heartley? I can trace his phone, I’ve sent him the location too. If Jack’s in danger, when you get him out, knock some sense into him for me.”] Larry spoke into the earpiece from his new location with Caleb.
[+brown “Don’t worry Larry, I will. Hayden I have my ear piece. I’ll let you know what I find. If he’s going to see Martyn, keep an eye on him! We don’t let these out of our sight. Caiden, I’ll be back soon.”]
[+purple “Look, I know I messed up but Hayden you want more problems on your family while they’re ill, then keep me here but otherwise I need to speak to Martyn. You can come with me, like your brother said.”] Viktor tried to explain but Tarik was already losing his nerve. He was sat next to his sister wishing he could comfort her but instead he was trying to batch up more medicine! Who knew how long this was going to go on for!
[+orange “After what you did to Tori? You think we can trust you?”]
[+green “We can’t…”] Elliot spoke up from the distance, the first time he had as a leader. He limped forward, looking at his wife with a confident look.
[+green “But he’s right in the sense we can keep an eye on him. If anyone can point out his bullshit, it’ll be Martyn. If anyone can punish him for his bullshit, it can be Hayden. Take him Hay, go make sure your brother is alright.”]
Jack could do nothing to help Logan as they branded the boy then finally shoved him in a cage alongside his father. All the man unwanted was to keep Logan safe, check his injuries, and get him home to his mom, brother, and baby sister, but even the experienced thief couldn’t see a way to sneak out of this one without help. Deprived of his sift, Jack tore a strip off his pant-leg and passed it through the bars for Logan to hold against his bleeding neck to try to stop the blood flow.
[#ff6622 “Nah, your curiosity is definitely from your mother’s side. But don’t kid yourself, Logan, it sounds like these guys were looking for us. If you hadn’t found them, they would have stumbled on us eventually.”] Jack said, trying to return the half-hearted joke, but when Logan started into him about his self sacrificing behaviour, Jack just shook his head. He’d been hearing the same thing from Lily for years, but this time was different. If the cult hadn’t intervened, Jack would have died either way: either he struggled and forced the cross to drop of his own accord or Logan would have eventually lost strength and let the damn thing fall. He’d just rather have gone out on his own terms that have Logan live with the truth that he’d killed his own father.
[#ff6622 “Logan, I’m going to be really honest with you: I don’t want to die. I will fight tooth and nail to get back home to your mother and that little girl, even if it breaks every bone in my body and leaves me crawling back by my fingertips. If there's even a sliver of a chance that we can both make it out of this, I will do everything in my power to make it happen. But back there once that cross tipped… Logan you wouldn’t have been able to pull it back and rebalance it. No one could have.”] Jack insisted. Wanting Logan to know that this wasn’t just another reckless risk on Jack’s part. This wasn’t the same self-depreciating, “everyone would be better off without me”, type of bullshit Jack had spun in the past. This was a father who had seen no other way out and who knew that if he was going to die anyway, he wanted to leave as little harm on his son as he could.
[#ff6622 “But you do have a point, son. In the past, I’ve been too ready to let myself bleed to protect the people I love. Turns out, my risks just hurt them more. Maybe if I hadn’t been so quick to bargain with Dylan, you mom and I wouldn't have fought. Maybe if you hadn’t pushed Jesse out that window, you could have escaped together. Maybe if Jesse hadn’t tried to protect you at a distance, you two could have faced whatever this is as a team. Maybe if Alex hadn’t have jumped in the way of that bullet you both would have survived that fight. We all did things to protect the people we care about, but sometimes… maybe we’re stronger together. But Logan… I’m your father. I’ll never stop trying to protect you.”] Jack admitted. He wished he could promise he’d never sacrifice himself for Logan like the boy wanted, but he just couldn’t. If the choice came down to only one of them surviving this, Jack would make sure that boy got home to his mother and sister. Then again, he’d been in Logan’s shoes before - after losing so much the thought of losing one of the few people that remained in his life was terrifying and Jack knew better than anyone the toll emotional agony like that could have. Saving Logan’s life didn’t seem like much of a mercy if he was dooming the boy to a lifetime of survivor’s guilt and depression.
[#ff6622 “Here’s the deal, Logan. I’m not going home without you. That’s not happening. If things take a bad turn, you better believe that I’ll be going down with you, and taking as many of those bastards with me as I can. But I can’t expect any different from you. So we do everything we can to get us [i both] home and the rest… we face it together. Deal?”] Jack offered, agreeing not to be a self-sacrificial idiot if Logan could promise the same. They were in this together, live or die; Jack just hoped it didn’t come to the latter.
[+red “This is what happens when you mess with people before getting to know anything about them. Tori’s sick and you made her condition a hell of a lot worse.”] Hayden snapped out of instinct. She cast a glance towards the young girl as Tarik and Lily fussed over her. Tori hadn’t had a spell like this in years and Hayden could only assume that the recently discovered pregnancy was the culprit.
As much as she despised the Heartly player in front of her, at least Hayden was able to get some honesty. She didn’t trust any of the concern he was showing was real. But he did seem like his warning was genuine. The family was in danger and Hayden would be a fool for ignoring a warning like that, even if it did come from an untrustworthy source.
[+red “Fine. You can stay until we figure this mess out but watch yourself, Viktor. You’ve caused enough damage already and I will not tolerate you causing any more harm to my family.”] Hayden agreed with her own warning attached. She backed off to give the brother’s some space but she hovered close by in case there was a need to intervene again.
Tori wasn’t having an easy time. Maybe it was because it had been so many years since her last episode, or maybe it was her current condition, but this spell seemed worse than the ones she had as a kid. Tori gripped at her sister’s arms to try to ground herself, struggling to do as she was told and slow her breathing. Her hands were shaking and her skin was growing pale, her lips turning blue as Tarik fumbled for her medication, finally able to produce a half-dose. Still, something was far better than nothing. Tori turned her fussy vision to her twin brother, feeling the pill on her tongue before the head tilt send it down her throat. It was fast acting, but the limited dose didn’t have the full effect. Her breathing slowed, but still left her with shallow wheezing breaths. The colour returned to her lips, but her skin remained pale. Tori felt exhausted in the aftermath and still was a far cry from her normal self, but these lesser symptoms she could manage. Tarik and Lily’s quick intervention had just saved her life!
The incident left a lingering fear in Tori’s mind as well as many of the others who witnessed this. If her illness was back, brought on by the pregnancy, it was likely to get worse as time went on. Even this early on an abortion would be too hard on her frail condition and could prove life threatening, but the pregnancy itself also had its risks. At this rate, there was no guarantee that Tori would survive this!
[#ff00ff “You got her pregnant?”] The sharp question was more like a harsh, disapproving statement as Xana returned to the room with Carla. It only took a single glance for the Reader to see the signs and ehr eyes shot directly to her brother with a very prominent [i ‘what the hell were you thinking?!’] written all over her expression. It wasn’t the gentlest of ways to break the news to the new father, but it did explain why the family was so eager to rip him apart for everything he’d done. And now with the added issues of Tori’s health, the situation was even more dire.
Unfortunately, things could still get worse and in this family, trouble seemed to hit all at once. Caiden reached up and tugged on Tigan’s sleeve to get his attention before pointing at the clock on the wall.
[+purple “Unca T! Jack told me if he’s not back by 9:00, I was ‘spose to tell you! It’s 9:00, see! The big arrow’s pointing to the 9 and the 12!”] Caiden told his uncle, not realizing his mistake. To be fair, it wasn’t really Caiden’s fault. Jack shouldn't have instructed a 2 year lf to be able to tell time! The poor boy was right in that the hands of the clock were pointing to the 9 and the 12, but it wasn’t 9:00, it was 11:45! Jack and Logan should have been back nearly 3 hours ago!
[#2b82da “You can do this Tess, I know you can because you’ve survived it before, right? You can do this and… no! No Tess! Don’t you dare speak like that. Not yet. I’d always tell them but don’t you dare quit on me.”] Dem was desperate to find her and for the first time in years he resented his blindness. It took a lot from him. He was never able to see Carla grow up and often had to rely on his wife telling him the details he missed. He was never even able to look his wife in the eyes and see that feisty yet all loving glow… at times it made him feel like a burden and now more than ever before it was the case. Without his glasses, every movement was shaky and disorientated. His lack of confidence, which was extremely rare for Demetri, showed with each movement until he finally felt Tessa’s hand wrap around his.
He gently rubbed his thumb across the back of her hand, providing the little comfort he could.
[#2b82da “I’m not leaving you.”] Dem said simply. There was no arguing with him. Even if she begged his decision was set and even Tessa would know it wasn’t worth the discussion. Demetri could be equally stubborn in his own right.
[#2b82da “I wouldn’t make it out, they’d catch me in a heartbeat if I did and I’m not leaving you to suffer here alone. If we get caught by the officers above together, then fine. I just can’t leave you.”] Demetri told her, this time leaning up as close as he could feel he could get without disrupting any of the nearby material.
The drilling at the top was stating to break through, just enough for them to start hearing voices.
[+grey “I’m Officer Dawson and was called on scene to handle any Street Brat survivors we manage to pull out. We have a private facility we need to take them to. We need them alive, so work as quickly as possible.”] The females voice commanded as they started to break through. Though as there was digging above them, Demetri felt something shift below him. Before he could react he felt something grip onto his leg.
[#063646 “You’re lucky I was crawling through the Underground when I heard that crash. Move your damn leg!”] Baxter’s voice called up, practically shoving Demetri’s leg away and lifting up a metal grid that they had collapsed onto. Baxter crawled up, lifting up a flashlight as he did to provide more light on the situation.
[#2b82da “Baxter? Why are you…”]
[#063646 “Helping? ‘Cause I have a little sister who doesn’t deserve my shit life who needs protecting with shooters and you can’t even do a blood run without getting buried alive. She needs you back and also, that up there? That Officer. She’s sick. She’s the one banishing people to the Underground and the brains behind a new idea called The Youth Containment Centre… there’s also a ton of rumours that people go missing but your chances with her, aren’t that great.”] Baxter explained, jumping up and forcefully shoving Demetri’s hand out of Tessa’s and forcing the torch into her palm.
[#063646“We have a split seconds. Demetri, I’m going to need your help lifting this beam. Tessa, you see that hole I just crawled out of? It takes us to the Underground. It’s going to hurt but you’re going to have to use whatever strength you have to crawl as quickly as you can into that hole, otherwise we all get buried alive. As soon as we move this beam, everything will start to shift. I mean it Tessa, if I die saving you, you’ll wish you suffered in the Underground rather than spending an eternity in Hell with me!”] Baxter explained with his get-it-done attitude with hardly any time to argue! Before Demetri or Tessa could even protest, he was already wrapping his hands around the beam.
[#2b82da “Tess you can do this alright. Think of the bonus points you’ll get. We’re close, we can do this.”] Demetri encouraged one final time before feeling his way to Baxter’s side. It was down to Tessa now. If she panicked and allowed her own pain to keep her trapped, all of them would be buried and if they didn’t die, Officer Dawson would have her way. They might have been going down to Hell on Earth, but it was their one chance of escape…
[+orange “Don’t you fucking DARE try that bullshit on me. You’re not going to give me some sacrificial bullshit now!”] Logan hissed as the cross was weighing daringly close to ending Jack’s life. He knew the moment Jack opened his mouth telling him it was ok what he was planning to do. It was the same stupid move he had tried countless times before! Logan had been no better in the past and knew what was coming!
Fortunately or unfortunately, that sacrifice didn’t have to come. They were both released from the cross and for now they had some time spared. Logan watched as Jack was pulled away but barely had a second to see what was going on before he felt his head slammed onto the concrete slab, his eyes inches away from the now dead teens face whose eyes had glossed over with death.
Logan’s injured hand was painfully outstretched, his arm twisted as the cultists held him down. Much like Jack, they placed a hot object against his palm, causing his screams to echo across the warehouse. Logan was usually good with pain but his hands had been through so much trauma since Eleanor, that it was starting to reach a limit! As they pulled away, Logan looked to see that they had singed his flesh together with a branding iron. On the palm of his hand was a satanic symbol which would scar him for life.
They didn’t bother to fix the broken bones. Instead they tossed him in the cage, still seeping with the puddles of blood from before and now the back of his neck which was still freely bleeding from the sickle was adding to that drenched surface. He wouldn’t die from the wound on the back of his neck but it would certainly keep him weak.
Feeling his fathers hand, Logan leant his head on the bars and shook his head.
[+orange “You shouldn’t have tried to save me. I shouldn’t have took that stupid turn to see what was going on. But hey… only the Sanders can go on a job for diapers and baby food and end up fucking that up with a blood raging cult, right?”] Logan sneered in what probably started as an attempt or humour but turned back in on itself.
[+orange “Don’t do that again dad. No more self-sacrifice. If I have to hold on and fight like Hell and break my bones, you do the same! I’m fucking… I’m fed up of us all risking our necks for one another and not actually hanging in together. Maybe I would still have Jesse around, maybe Rylan, maybe we would have gone in that warehouse together and come out together! No more fucking shit… if we’re going out, we go out together. I don’t care what you think. I can’t lose you again.”] Logan warned him, ignoring his apology and setting his terms,
These monsters had some sick plans and Logan knew that however long they were here, if they survived, would be a living nightmare.
[+orange “Promise me you won’t prepare to give up on yourself to save me again dad. Ashlynn has a chance of a normal life and she needs a dad around to do that…”]
[+purple “Hey is she ok? What’s going on?”] Viktor asked showing concern as he watched Tori stumble out f the bathroom. What the hell could have prompted her to act like that? Sure, she might have looked fragile but she certainly didn’t act like it on the night! Viktor never would have guessed that anything much more serious would have been happening underneath. Though before he could question any further, he was once again slammed against the wall and this time looking into the eyes of yet another Mason. He knew he was pushing his luck already but to see Hayden, just that tone in her voice told him just how much on thin ice he was. Maybe he needed to play a different game…
[+purple “You’re right… there’s no point spinning my words so how about this instead? You break every bone in my body then you’ll be heading towards a world of shit. Not because you don’t that, hell, I deserve it, but because you didn’t take the time to listen. Your family is in deep shit and you’re in much thicker water than you’d like to think. So you want it straight? We can either keep playing this aggressive cat and mouse, or you can help me out and get everyone to back off and actually let me deal with what I have to deal with. If you don’t trust me, that’s fine, but you’ve seen the damage done to your family by a Heartley who is a reckless fucker. You don’t want to see the damage that can be caused by one who can actually plan.”] Viktor warned her in an equally hushed voice, not wanting to cause anymore chaos on top of what was going on but knowing desperately he needed a Mason on his side to get to Martyn. He could spill some of the truth for now, that didn’t mean he had to draw all his cards… maybe it would be enough to get Hayden on his side.
Meanwhile Lily and Tarik had bolted from the intruders. Lily wrapped her arm around Tori and guided her to one of the medical cots which Elliot had stood up and left for her. There was only limited medical supplies and Elliot was using the oxygen supply. Even though he needed more blood to build up his strength, the leader didn’t hesitate handing Lily the oxygen mask whilst he sat down on the ground. He could manage awhile… Tori was in more need.
[+orange “Tori, look at me. You remember your breathing techniques, you have dealt with this before. What will help? Do you want him gone?”]
[+brown “Say the word and I’ll have the bastards out of here Tori.”] Tigan chipped in, having pried himself away so Hayden could have her turn and was now standing close to Caiden, though his sharp and betrayed eyes didn’t leave Viktor.
[#229177 “Hold on Tori! I’ve got it! I’ve… fuck… we’ve been running so much I don’t have a full dose!”] Tarik exclaimed to Lily, practically hating on himself for making such a slip up. He usually had them in his possession at all times but they had been on the run for so long and had to carry so much equipment there was no telling where it was! Luckily he still had a collection of the ingredients in his bag but for now Tori would have to deal with the limited he had!
Rushing to her side he could tell by her panicked state he would have to do it the old fashioned way.
[#229177 “Deep breath, alright. These will help Tori but Lily is right, you need to focus. Look at me! Look at me. I’m here.”] Tarik assured her, slipping the tablets in her mouth and tilting her head back to try and force her to swallow them in her panicked state. All the time he kept his eyes locked on hers, whispering reassuring words whilst squeezing her hand. He just hoped the half dosage would be enough to see her pull through…
[+pink “She’s alive. Uncle Elliot had a rough time and mum… yeah, she’s alive. They’re all alive.”] Carla said rather bluntly. If Xana wanted them dead and was truly against the family, they wouldn’t have been here today. She didn’t bother hiding the reading from her eyes. She was too angry, too exhausted and too frustrated to even bother.
[+pink “I haven’t seen Logan or Baxter for awhile. They went out… weird actually, they’ve been gone for awhile. So is my mum and and dad… Jesse is still with the guy? Is she ok? I can help but… things have been pretty tense here. You couldn’t have come at a worse time.”] Carla explained but as Xana pointed that she didn’t slip up, the girl just gave a tired sigh.
[+pink “Jesse told me the same about Alex, that it wasn’t my fault and I always do what I can. Everything’s falling apart and as much as I want to believe you, I’m sorry… look I’ll help. I’ll do whatever, I’ll guard, I’ll shoot but don’t expect miracles Xana. Come on then…”] Carla stepped out of the room, watching the scene.
Viktor was surrounded, Tori was having a panic attack. Tigan looked like he was about to rip someones head off their shoulders and once again the chaos was raining down on the family. There seemed to be only one person who had some focus in their eyes and was the one who they could rationale with.
[+pink “Hayden, we have to trust them. The family is in danger. Tori, you have to let him stay to talk. We can take them to another room but Xana, you need to be open with us too, ok?. It’s ok Hayden, I trust her.”]
Tessa was freaking out. She hadn’ been put in a position like this since she was a kid, and the sheer amount of terror was staggering. Her mind raced through flashbacks of incidents she thought she had long since dealt with: Ethan locking her in the wardrobe, throwing her out a window into the pool; her grandfather locking her in to a hole in the ground, with her father hanging above her dripping blood down onto her face; being trapped in a coffin with nails sticking through the wood for her to cut herself on as she panicked - and with every new vision Tessa could almost feel the walls closing in on her. She felt like her lungs couldn’t expand enough with the weight pressing down on her chest and her own heartbeat was thundering so loud in her own ears she almost didn’t hear Demitri calling her back!
[+blue “Dem! Oh, thank god, I thought… Dem, I can’t do this, I can’t…”] Tessa started, latching onto his comforting voice as a lifeline. She tried to follow his instructions, she really did, but as she tried to take a deep breath she felt the constriction on her lungs and the air filled with smoke, dust, and debris and it just sent Tessa into a violent coughing fit.
[+blue “Dem, I can’t! I can’t breath! I…”] Tessa whimpered back, vaguely wondering if this was the first time he had seen her like this. Tessa couldn’t remember if Demitri was around when she had faced this fear in the past and though she knew he was aware of her phobia, she couldn’t remember a time that he had witnessed it first hand. Though with her fuzzy mind, it was entirely possible she just couldn’t remember properly. She tried to focus on his voice, but it was distorted by his damaged communicator and Tessa felt another stab of panic at the possibility of the line going dead and Tessa being left alone in silence.
[+blue “I’m really scared, Dem, and I… I don’t know if I can get through this! Oh my god, what if… if I don’t make it and Carla… you have to tell her I love her, Dem! You have to promise me you’ll tell her! Elliot and Nic… the last thing I did was fight with them, and I… I didn’t mean it! I didn’t! I love my brothers and… you have to tell them!”] Tessa begged. The thought of dying by her worst fear was heartstopping, but what made it worse was all the unfinished business Tessa still had! She never resolved things with her brothers, she hadn't found an understanding with her daughter, she was going to die thinking that the very last interactions she had with her loved ones were filed with blame and anger! Even the thought of having Demitri here was a blessing and a curse! One one hand, Tessa didn’t want to die alone and she was desperate to have the comfort of her husband at her side, but if he stayed he was in danger of a second cave in, not to mention he‘d have to listen to his wife taking her final breaths!
As Tessa felt Demitri’s hand find hers, she squeezed back - the uneven pressure proving she’d likely broken a couple fingers during the fall. But she still couldn’t see him and Tessa found herself sobbing at the thought that her love was so close yet still so far.
[+blue “Dem, you can’t… If you shift anything, the rest could come down and crush us both! We need more help but… Dem… you’re going to have to… you gotta go get the others, you… you have to l-leave... “] Tessa could barely get the words out as an active sob wrecked through her body. The thought of him leaving her here alone was so terrifying it nearly stopped her heart, but at this rate, Tessa wasn’t going to last much longer trapped down here and the rescue team wouldn’t reach her for a while. There were only two options: Either Demitri left Tessa there alone, somehow found his way out of the rubble and back to the family to get help, praying that Tessa’s panicking didn’t kill her before they could reach her. Or he could stay by her side and hope the rescue team could reach them safely and that none of the drilling and digging they were doing would shift the rubble enough to kill them both!
[#ff6622 “Logan, you need to stay calm, son. If you panic, you’ll bleed out faster. I need you to take a deep breath and focus on keeping this damn thing balanced. We [i will] get out of this, Logan.”] Jack told his son, trying to keep his own panic at bay. He was terrified - not for himself, but for his son! This was supposed to be a simple supply run and now Logan’s life was in danger!
He hated that he was ordering his son to hurt himself, especially with the damage already done to his hands, but Jack didn’t see another way. With every passing second, both he and Logan were losing strength from the blood that seeped from their wounds and eventually one of them would lose their ability to stop struggling. Jack knew in his heart what that would mean. He’d die for Logan in a heartbeat, without a single doubt or hesitation. He loved that boy more than anything his own life and he would make the sacrifice if he felt Logan losing strength. But he couldn’t let Logan blame himself for that. Jack knew what it was like to carry that weight and he couldn’t put that on his son’s shoulders without exhausting all the options first.
[#ff6622 “That’s it. You’re doing great, Kid.”] He said, trying to build up Logan’s confidence as well as his own. He felt the uncomfortable shift of broken bones in his own wrist as he prepared to violently pull his hand free front he binding, but before she could get himself loose, a sudden jolt sent the cross hurling towards the metal spike and Jack barely had time to tear his hand free from the binding as he fell. He took in a final breath and closed his eyes, expecting to never open them again.
He didn’t feel any pain, but the warmth spreading over his chest made Jack very aware that he was still alive. He opened his eyes to see the spike just barely piercing his chest. Another inch and it would have killed him! Jack tore his broken hand free and gripped the spike, trying to push it away while staying very still so as to not add any more strain for Logan to fight against. Unfortunately, the cross was now so unbalanced that Logan had no hope in righting it again by himself!
[#ff6622 “It’s ok, Logan. I’m alright. It’s ok.”] Jack whispered back to his son, trying with all the strength in his broken hand to keep that spike from piercing his chest any further. He knew at this point it was hopeless. Jack would have to let that metal drive through his chest and kill him, but he couldn’t let it be Logan’s fault. He just needed to buy a bit of time and explain to his son that this was his choice! Fortunately, that grand sacrifice would be postponed for another day.
Jack felt the pressure relieved as he was pulled from the spike, released from the cross and lowered back to the ground. The fresh blood had streaked down his chest and smeared the symbols, making him look even more gorey, but at least he had the benefit of not being able to feel any pain. Logan wasn’t quite so lucky. Jack barely got a chance to glimpse the boy’s hand as he was being forcibly removed from that cross, but what he saw looked pretty bad. The stab from the sickle must have hurt like hell, but then to have to dislocate the wrist and slide it through the tight ropes would have been sheer agony. What kind of father forces his son to go through unimaginable pain like that? Jack should have just made the cross fall and sacrificed himself for Logan, at least then his boy wouldn’t have had to go through all that pain… and it was about to get worse.
As Jack was removed from the cross, he was shoved against the wall with two cult members securely holding him and a third approaching with a butane torch. Jack could hear the sizzle of his skin as the torch cauterized the pierce in his chest and the much larger slash across his torso, but he could have cared less about his own situation. Jack couldn’t feel a thing, but Logan could and the desperate father was helpless to stop his boy from suffering so much worse.
[#ff6622 “Logan! You fucking bastards, don’t you touch him!”] Jack shouted, fighting as hard as he could with the weakness from the bloodloss, but Jack was outnumbered and out muscled at this point and he couldn’t stop them from forcing him into one of the cages as they turned their attention to the boy. Jack was forced to consider his failures as a father while these bastards tortured his son, violently sealing his wounds before locking him into another one of the cages. All Jack could do was reach through the bars to grasp Logan’s arm, providing what little comfort and reassurance he could manage.
[#ff6622 “Kid, you ok? Let me see that hand… You fought like hell back there, Logan. I’m proud of you. We’re going to get out of this. Take a chance to catch your breath and keep that hand elevated. Damnit… I shouldn't have asked you to do that. I’m sorry. I never wanted you to get hurt, Logan, I just… I’m so sorry.”]
Xana braced herself for the mocking and the teasing that would inevitably come from her brothers. She had never shown any real vulnerability in front of them before and since even when they were on good terms, the boy never ceased to give her a hard time, she could only imagine the pleasure they would take in grinding her about this. It didn’t help that her previous experiences with her father were less than comforting. If Xana had ever expressed uncertainty, fear, pain, guilt, or weakness of any kind, she was severely disciplined, eventually programming the girl from a young age that any trace of vulnerability was forbidden. She expected the same cold, cruel treatment from her brothers, and was a little caught off guard when all that came was some light razzing. She risked a glance towards Viktor, reading the intent behind his eyes and felt a swell of gratitude for the gesture of keeping things normal. Maybe having brothers wasn’t so bad after all.
Xana wasn’t entirely sure Viktor would take her advice, but it seemed for once the Heartley siblings were actually willing to work together. The excuse seemed to buy some cooperation from Tigan and Lily, who accepted that while Viktor was still an asshole he at least hadn’t hurt them intentionally. Tarik still seemed resistant, but that wasn’t surprising. The young man was far too protective over his twin sister.
Xana gave a confident nod to her brother to tell him he was on the right track with speaking to Tori. if he could pacify the twin sister, she would calm Lily and Tarik and get everyone back on even ground. Xana, however, stayed back and relatively out of sight. After all, she had put a bullet in Nic, Hayden, and Tessa’s skulls, forcing Elliot to make a horrible choice the last time this family saw her and she hadn’t exactly been given a chance to explain herself yet. That was why, when the opportunity came to break off and talk to Carla, Xana eagerly took it and left her brothers to work their magic on the Brats.
[#bb00ff “How’s the guy supposed to make things right if you won’t let him apologize? Look, if you want us gone after he’s said his peace to Tori, then we’ll go. Hell, I’ll draag the asshole out myself! But come on, at least let him explain himself. You can’t tell me the girl would be better off not knowing his reasoning.”] Finn offered, flashing that showman’s charm to try to help please Viktor’s case. But whether the McCleeves would have agreed or not, the decision as rapidly taken out of their hands.
[#ff44ff “T-Tar… Tar-ik! I.. m-meds… I n-need… T-tar…!”] Tori appeared at the doorway to her room, leaning heavily on the frame as she struggled to breath. Whether it was the shock, the stress, or the physical strain of the pregnancy, somehow Tori had triggered one of her weak spells! She hadn’t had an attack like this since Tarik’s cure years ago, but now she felt like she was right back to being a young teen, gasping and choking on her limited breath. It didn’t help that the moment she stepped out of her room, her eyes locked on Viktor and the mere sight of him seemed to make her symptoms worse! How was she supposed to tell him she was pregnant?! He didn’t even bother waiting for her to wake up that morning, what was he going to do once he found out he was going to be a father after just a one night stand? The spike in stress effectively cut off the rest of her airway and Tori stumbled against the door frame, now no longer able to even get enough breath to talk! She needed her medication immediately or she was going to lose consciousness, but since it had been years since her last weak spell, did Tarik even still have any pills prepared? Would he have the right supplies?
While Tori’s condition captured the attention of her siblings, Hayden stepped in to assist Tigan in handling the strangers, feeling her own overprotective sisterly instincts kick in. She shoved Viktor back against the wall and stood blocking his view of Tori so all he could hear were the choking gasps from across the room. When she spoke, her voice was quiet, but deadly wanting to get her message across without the other Brats needing to overhear.
[+red “You saw how much damage you’ve caused here, so I want you to think long and hard about how you want to proceed. You might fool the others, but I know you’re full of shit. I’m Martyn Mason’s sister and I’ve dealt with his antics for decades, so I know when a Silvertongue is spinning his words. I won’t force you to leave if Tigan or Tori tell me not to. But if you so much as hurt their feelings, I will break every bone in your legs and let you squirm around on the floor like the insignificant worm that you are, do you understand me?”] Hayden threatened before taking a step back. Like Lily, she had no patience for anyone who messed with her siblings and not even a reader like Xana could have seen any hesitance in hayden’s eyes at her ability to carry out that threat.
[#ff00ff “First, whatever you’ve heard about me shooting your mom, you have to know I did it to protect her and the others. Eleanor wanted them dead. I made her believe they were, knowing your uncle Elliot could deactivate the devices and save them. It was only supposed to be for a few hours, I had no idea it would take days before he’d check on them.”] Xana said, wanting to clear the air of any misunderstandings. Carla was fairly trusting usually, but Xana could see a deep rooted doubt building in the girl’s mind and didn’t want to make anything worse by trying to hide the truth.
[#ff00ff “I did the same thing with Jesse… I staged her kidnapping and kept her with me to make sure she was safe, but… we were attacked. There’s a man, Roland, he’s the one who did this to my eye. He’s still got Jesse and if I don’t do what he says, he’s going to hurt her. I need your help; Logan, Baxter, and Rylan too.”] Xana said, not knowing yet that Rylan had disappeared and that Logan was currently missing. She couldn’t read that in Carla’s eyes passed the anger, guilt, and stress that seemed to consume her. Xana didn’t have time to play councillor, but she knew Xana wouldn't be able to offer much help if she was feeling like this.
[#ff00ff “Hey, look at me. You didn’t slip up, Carla. Jesse told me about this safe house, Viktor had been here before, and Finn’s a thief. All three of us knew how to get in quietly so the family wouldn’t have Viktor lynched on sight. There’s no one more qualified to keep this family safe than you, Carla, that’s why I came to you. I trust you.”] Xana offered, hoping the small bit of reassurance and encouragement would help build her confidence back up.
[#2b82da “Yeah it’s twisted, yeah it’s going to get us into a world of shit but when is that ever different? At least I can get a laugh out of this one! I don’t think the others are going to believe this when we tell them…”] Demetri continued to laugh, knowing he should take this a little bit more seriously. These guys weren’t helping the Street Brat cause but in Dem’s mind, the Brat’s were already in shit anyway! Whether these imposters dampened their name or not, the police and city officials wanted the Brat’s out of the way and with the costs on their heads, he would be shocked if these guys could do anything to add any further danger…
Sometimes the phrase be careful what you wish for really did apply… if Dem had known what fate was waiting for them, perhaps he wouldn’t have laughed so much. As the police surrounded Tessa, Dem tried to break through by her side but he had two pointing weapons at him! He pulled out his gun, using his glasses to watch Tessa’s situation and allowing the scope of his own gun to tell him what the cops were doing on his side.
[#2b82da “We don’t need unnecessary blood shed! Let us go.”] Dem warned but the police were quick. Demetri was always happy to pull the trigger but he didn’t want to kill a cop for doing their job! He felt a sharp wire dig into his leg before an electrical impulse sent him down on one knee. There was the feeling of cold metal wrapping around his wrist before before anything else could happen, the next set of events happened too quick…
He heard Tessa’s voice, felt her hands shove him and then there was an intense heat, the sound of crashing and everything went black. He didn’t know how long he had been out for but as he woke up, he was laying against a wall. There was blood dripping down the side of his face from his head and there was a dead weight pressed against his body. Usually he would rely on his glasses but all they were doing was creating a constant buzzing in his ear… for anyone who would be able to see him, his glasses were cracked and had smashed into the bridge of his nose which was now broken. Demetri was once again completely blind with now even his gun and scope nearby to help him.
He reached forward with his hands, hearing and feeling the weight of a handcuff on one of his wrists. He reached towards the weight on top of him, feeling the fabric and cold skin of a body which had landed on him during the collapse. Demetri could only presume it was the officer who had attempted to arrest him. As he pushed the body off he felt his sudden expansion of his lungs and started to cough the smoke and dust that had gathered in his lungs.
[#2b82da “Tessa?”] Demetri choked out, forcing himself onto his hands and knees and crawling forward as tentatively as possible. He had been blind for years but with Elliot’s tech and Caleb’s programming, it was like he was never without eyes. Now he was completely in the dark, unaware of what was around him and his independence stripped. As he made his way and heard Tessa’s comm come through his earpiece. With the buzzing off the broken communication from his glasses, it was harder to hear her but she was alive!
[#2b82da “Tess? I’m here! I’m here and I’m alright but… listen to me, take a deep breath. I’m going to find you, I’m not leaving here without you but I need you to guide me with what I can do. My glasses are broken… I… I think I can hear you nearby… I’m not going to let you down but you have to speak to me. We’ll get out of this.”] Dem reassured, already having on his mind the panic that Tessa must have been going through.
He continued to crawl through though, occasionally slipping and crashing into rubble or slicing his hands on something he couldn’t see. Every move was tentative, having to outstretch his palms first to try and get a sense of what was in front but the gap was getting smaller as he crawled closer to Tessa’s location.
[#2b82da “Keep talking to me, don’t go quiet on me. I need to hear you to find you.”] He explained but it was getting harder to communicate with her. Above there was the sound of drilling as a rescue team tried to dig their way through and if Demetri didn’t get to Tess soon, if he lost his hearing as well there would be no way he would be able to find her! Though little did he know he was a lit closer than what he expected…
As he reached his hand forward, he felt her skin against the back of his bloodied fingers. He paused for a second, brushing his hand again to feel that all too familiar wedding ring.
[#2b82da “Tess? Tess! Alright, focus with me now. Yeah? Tell me what I need to do to get you out. I’m here now. You’re not alone.”]
[+purple “Maybe a pillow fortress and a tub of mint-choc-chip ice cream wouldn’t be such a bad idea right now? I can even light some candles and get some fairy lights?”] Viktor snarked back but there as an underline motive behind his words. To the outside eye it would have just looked like a stupid, childish argument that had no place in the current moment for everything that had happened. However with his and Xana’s relationship it was a sign of solidarity. Nothing had changed, they were still together in this and he wasn’t viewing her any different. They were still family… just unlike the Street Brat’s they wouldn’t dare say it out loud.
[+purple “Exactly! We told you what we planned to do and I even text you with what had happened! I’m guessing you never got it because… fuck… alright, look I played a game and got a little bit over my head with the fun of it but so long as I know how to win them over, it doesn’t matter! If I can get them to sleep with me I can surely get them to believe a few other words, right?”] Viktor asked but even he wasn’t too sure. That family was super protective of one another.
With the plan in motion, Viktor took a deep breath and headed in with his character in mind. He knew it was going to be chaotic but he didn’t expect everything to blow up as quickly as it did! Feeling the wind knocked out of him he smirked at Tigan and bit his lip.
[+purple “So I see you still like it rough?”]
[+brown “I don’t think this is the fucking time for that.”] Tigan snarled back and Viktor was glad for Finn’s interruption! It bought him the perfect alibi into his facade. His playful smile turned more guilt ridden and he let his head fall. No doubt his brother would rip him a new one for this… he let a few tears build up in his eyes before looking back up at Tigan.
[+purple “I really thought we were something. My brother didn’t want me here but I couldn’t just hold back without telling you the truth! I would have come sooner but look at my face…”] Viktor said, already seeing Tigan ready to question but he shook his head. It was working… Tigan’s fingers loosened a little and Viktor was able to put his feet back on the ground, only now just realising that Tigan had him lifted this entire time! However now there was a look of confusion and concern on the usually aggravated man’s face.
[+purple “That doesn’t matter right now… what matters is that I really cared about you. I was telling the truth, Tori was my cover but then we went out and… I don’t know, it’s been a confusing mess! I don’t even get it but it’s like you’re both magnets and you just pulled at me and…”]
[#229177 “Bullshit.”] Tarik intervened, crossing his arms around his chest.
[#229177 “You wanted cause shit. When I caught you outside that room…”]
[+purple “No, I was scared you would blabber your mouth and you almost did!”] Viktor quickly countered, needing to defuse that before it even became a thing.
[+orange “You still left my sister…”]
[+purple “And as I said… I had my reasons.”] Viktor pointed to his face a second time and even Lily couldn’t argue against that… why would he leave Tori to go get himself beat up? Clearly there was a reason and he wouldn’t come back from his own free will, especially against his brothers decision to stay away…
Though there still wasn’t any trusting looks. They may have been more accepting to the story, but they certainly weren’t letting Viktor off the hook.
[+brown “You should never have messed with us like that. Get out…”] Tigan hissed, throwing Viktor towards his brother.
[+purple “We need your help…”]
[+brown “You need to help yourself first…”] Tigan hissed, already feeling tears in his own eyes at the thought of being played. He thought he was finally so close to having someone actually love him and want him. Now he had just been a pawn in a game that had hurt multiple family members.
[+purple “Where is Tori?”]
[+orange “I think Tigan is right. You’re pushing your luck and you should leave…”]
[+purple “Please, I just… I need to see her. I know I left, I know I vanished but… she deserves to know and… please?”]
In the other room Carla was sat staring out the window, doing exactly the orders that she had been left with. She was watching intently, protecting the safe house but there was no spark in her eye or joy on her face. She still looked pissed off as when her parents left. Though as she heard Xana’s voice, even she couldn’t shake the surprise from her face.
[+pink “Xana? Are you… your eye… and Jesse? Wait, what’s happening? What danger and what do you mean Jesse sent you? What’s going on?”] Carla asked, looking through the door to see the gathering and gripping the back of her hair. She couldn’t even stop a group of strangers stepping in! She had been so pissed off she couldn’t do one simple task…
[+pink “I always trusted you Xana… just bad things happened. What do you need?”]
Jack could have gotten away. With how much he was able to fight all he had to do was turn his back and with his skills as a thief he could have disappeared. Once again however Logan had dragged him into another mess. This should have been a simple supply run. If Logan had stayed away from the sound and just did what he was meant to, this never would have happened. Logan’s mental state had been attacked for months now but once again this was feeding into his constant layer of guilt. Though he wouldn’t have the opportunity to think on that now. The moment Jack was on that cross, it was a twisted game of survival.
[+orange “And what if help doesn’t come? We won’t last long up here. We need to get off this damn thing!”] Logan hissed, doing the best he could with the strength he had to maintain the balance. Their only sign was either when the cross swayed on either direction on who had to tug harder or loosen up. The blood was freely flowing down Logan’s wrist now, dripping onto the floor as it slipped from the open wound in his palm. Listening to Jack’s neck plan, Logan grit his teeth.
His hands had only just recovered from severe damage. Just like Jack’s torso, they were marred in scars and the skin was twisted. He knew more damage could permanently damage them or even make him like Tigan but he wasn’t going to let Jack die because of his mistakes! So, taking a deep breath, Logan didn’t hesitate. He started to pull as hard as he could against the rope, allowing his own blood to drench the area. Then just as he felt it slipping through, he did what most never would have been able to do. A ‘pop’ echoed the room, followed by a pain scream as Logan’s writ clicked out of place. He shot his hand towards his ear, pressing the button but that wasn’t the worst of it...
With Logan’s hand free from the bind, that split-second decision had Jack’s side of the cross start plummeting towards the metal spike. If Logan had communicated, Jack might have been able to double his resistance on his side to keep them both up. Logan slammed his hand back out, gripping his now free rope with his bloodied and dislocated wrist. His screams continued but he grabbed and tugged, feeling the sweat drip from his forehead with the effort he was making to stop Jack plummeting to his face!
Logan had acted just in time. Jack was inches away, hell it might have even cut him or partially pierced but Logan had acted quick enough to stop his brother from being killed. The problem was, he no longer had the strength to hoist the balance and there was no way Jack would be able to centre them either! Though as they were stuck and Logan desperate pulled onto that rope with the sound of his wrist bone now cracking from the pressure even further, the cult approached the boys.
[+grey “The brothers are unbalanced. To spill one's blood would ruin the purity of their sacrifice. We must spare them until the time is right. The ritual must be ongoing. Lock them in their cages, burn their bleeding flesh, we shall appease the city day-by-day, night-by-night until the sacrifice is ready.”] The woman called but as she did, a less cult-like-sound echoed through what was hidden beneath her cloak...
[i “Officer Dawson, additional officers needed at the hospital. Are you free to attend?”]
The woman simply smirked, taking off her cloak and folding it neatly to reveal a SFPD uniform she was wearing. She was older... must have been in her late 40’s.
[+grey “Make sure they don’t get away. Keep up with the rituals, keep this place secure. We will finish this. My son never spread the word, so we’ll make sure the word gets to him. He’ll see. He’ll learn.”] And with that she turned her back on the scene, leaving the brothers to their fate...
It was times like these where Jack was ever thankful he’d let Tigan teach him how to fight. He was no match for trained fighters like Tigan and Hayden, but Jack could usually hold his own against the average asshole who assumed they could get the better of him. In addition, since his family had been back together these last few weeks, Jack had been taking much better care of himself - eating and sleeping properly , getting back in shape - he was strong and determined making him a fearsome target. Jack didn’t play defensively, he darted towards the V and attacked before they even reached him, twisting weapons out of their hands and slamming them against the walls, floor, etc, to knock them out as quickly as possible. That wasn’t to say he was flawless: Jack could feel the warmth of his own blood as the occasional knife slipped through or the cold of a chain lashing against him, but since he couldn’t feel pain, it didn’t affect him much. His main concern were those sedatives and Jack willingly took the slash of a knife in order to avoid that needle if he had to.
Jack made his way through almost half of the cult members before a familiar cry from across the room made him freeze.
That split second as all it took for the tide to turn against him. Jack felt the bite of a cold, metal chain wrap tightly around his neck. His hands were captured and retrained and for good measure, one of the cult members slashed his sickle down the length of Jack’s chest, tearing his shirt and the skin beneath it in one long slice from his shoulder to his hip. It was a superficial wound, but the bloodloss would become an issue before too long. The tattered remains of Jack’s shirt were torn off and the symbols were painted across the scared flesh of his torso. Between his violent childhood, the cave in he was trapped in, his time in the underground, his father’s 21 stabs, his own self-inflicted knife to the chest, and all the other injuries Jack had collected over the years, there wasn’t a bit of his skin not marred with lines of scarring and the bloody symbols had to be painted over top of the old wounds.
Being strapped to the cross and hoisted above the altar, Jack took a couple deep breaths to try to focus. He was never a planner, never a strategist, but his years as a thief had taught him to be observant. He couldn’t find a way out of this… right?
[#ff6622 “It’s ok, Logan, you’re ok. Just listen to me, alright? We just got to buy ourselves some time. We’ll figure a way out of this and if we can’t, Tigan will find us. He’ll realize we’re missing and he’ll come for us. Just keep it up as long as you can, alright?”] Jack said, pulling at his own binds just enough to match the intensity of Logan’s struggles, no more and no less. He looked down at that metal spike and noticed grimly that it was aimed directly at his heart. There would be no survivable stab this time. If that thing pierced his chest, he’d die in seconds! Jack had no hesitation to die for his son and perhaps if this happened a month ago, Jack would have already pulled the cross down to kill himself and save his boy, but he had too much to live for. Jack swore to Lily that he wouldn’t get himself killed, he had a little girl at home who needed her father, Baxter who had started to tolerate the family, Logan who… he’d blame himself for this, Jack knew he would. He couldn't do that to his son. But he also couldn’t let Logan die!
[#ff6622 “Logan, you have to tell me when you start feeling tired, alright? We’ll work something out, son, but just give me as much head’s up as you can, alright? We’re going to get through this, Logan.”] Jack assured him.
Time was ticking by and Jack could feel his own body growing weaker from the bloodloss. He knew he and Logan didn’t have much more time. They needed to find a way to escape or at least to stall until help could arrive. Jack had lost his earpiece in the fight, but maybe Logan still had his? If he could activate the emergency tracer in it, Larry could track them down and send help! The problem was that Logan would need a hand free to activate it and the two would have to be synchronized in their movements or else risk one falling to their death!
[#ff6622 “Logan, there’s blood running down from your palm. I think it’ll make your wrist slick enough to pull through the binding. You’re going to need to free that wrist - dislocate it if you have to. It’ll hurt, but you have to try, ok? I’m right here with you, Kid. Just focus on that wrist.”] Jack advised, glancing at his own. He twisted his wrist sharply against the binding, trying to dislocate or break the joint so he could slip his own hand free without the benefit of the blood slicking his wrist. These people were insane, but they seemed to somehow worship the Brats. Maybe if they could prove they could escape an impossible situation like this, these freaks would delay killing them long enough for help to arrive.
[+blue “Are you kidding me? You’re loving this, aren’t you? Don’t you think it’s a little twisted that these guys want to be like us?”] Tessa asked, trying to break away from the crowd before anyone else could cut them off. Honestly, their lives were shit! They were constantly hunted, harassed, tormented, targetted; they’d all been hurt, tortured, captured, arrested, beaten, nearly killed; who the hell would voluntarily opt in to this life! Well… ok, aside from Dem and Starla, but those two married Nic and Tessa so there were already some concerns about their good judgement.
[+blue “Ok, basement. Good plan. Let’s just get out of here before you get kidnapped by your groupies.”] Tessa teased, heading towards the stairwell that would lead them down to the basement, going the commotion they were leaving behind might buy them some time. Unfortunately, that was about the time the police arrived.
[i “Wait, is that...? Demitri and Tessa Maloway! Arrest them!”] The officer shouted, fighting through the mob to get to their key targets. There were enough officers on scene for crowd control that a few could be spared specifically to hunt down the actual Brats and Tessa soon found herself surrounded.
[+blue “Dem, we need to get out of here now!”] Tessa shouted, knowing she couldn’t start shooting in a hospital or else she’d risk injuring the patients instead of the police or the rogues! But it seemed like every exit was blocked. At the moment, Tessa was being circled by several officers and she wasn’t sure she’d be able to break free without help. She thought at first some of the imposters would come to her aid, but it appeared these fans liked the idea of Bonds not Blood rather than actually acting on it.
Tessa made the mistake of thinking things couldn’t get much worse. It was bad enough being surrounded by cops and having a group of Street Brat imposters causing trouble that the family would be easily blamed for, but it seemed not everyone was in it for harmless fun. There always seems to be a few in every crowd that burn a game into something far more dire. Tessa should have seen the red flags when one of the characters appeared to be dressed up as Cole: covered in fake scars and burns with a lighter in hand that he habitually played with during the chaos. He hadn't caused much of a fuss so far, but when the police arrived things took a dark turn. Seeing the group of officers the young man took something out from under his jacket and Tessa recognized the volatile device instantly.
[+blue “Dem run! Bomb!”] She screamed shoving her husband hard and forcing him away from the bomb as much as she could, seconds before the device was thrown and detonated with the victorious cry of: [b “Die cops! Long live the Street Brats!”]
Tessa felt the heat from the blast before the floor gave out beneath her feet. She hit the hard ground below with enough force to knock her unconscious. The screams and confusion above were pure chaos. The bomb had taken out the entire room, the ground floor, and the ceiling directly above, killing or injuring several patients, officers, rogues, fans, and of course Tessa. The dark haired shooter had fallen when the floor gave out below her, and was buried in the subsequent cave in from the upper floors, crushing her under a mass of rubble. As the smoke started to clear and fire rescue arrived to deal with the flames, the doctors and nurses were scrambling to move their existing patients to another hospital for their own safety while also providing medical care for the injured they could find. First responders and search teams were scouring the rubble, looking for survivors while new vans arrived to cover the horrific story.
[i “Shelly Fogal here with breaking news. A hospital was thrown into chaos this evening when a group of Street Brats attacked, putting patients and hospital staff in danger. What started with graffiti and property damage quickly turned violent once the police arrived to get control of the situation. One of the Street Brats detonated an explosive in the lobby destroying two floors of the hospital. So far, 6 patients and 3 officers have been found dead on the scene, but several others are still missing beneath the rubble. Police, fire, and medical staff are joining forces to dig through the rubble and find any survivors, but we’re being told the outcome looks bleak. Was this just a random act of violence? Or are the Street Brats warming up for an even deadlier terrorist attack on the city? One thing is certain: any Street Brats found amidst the rubble will be immediately taken into custody to receive treatment behind bars. The police say, there is simply no other way to keep this threat under control.”] The news reported, sending the story to all major stations across the city. Unfortunately, this led to even more consequences for Tessa and Demitri! If either were found by the authorities, they’d be instantly arrested! That was… if they were still alive! And on top of everything else, Tessa was now waking up, trapped in the small, hot, dark space beneath a mound of collapsed building with no way to escape and her severe claustrophobia to haunt her. At least she had her ear piece.
It must have been at least an hour later before she woke up beneath the shattered wood, concrete, bricks, and metal, finding herself already panicking within seconds of waking up. A metal beam was stuck about a foot above her head, supporting the wreckage and miraculously protecting her from the debris, but her legs were securely pinned and one arm was trapped in the twisted metal of what used to be a medical cot. She tried twisting it free, only to feel an agonizing pain shoot through her arm and shoulder. Her other rm was pinned along side her body, but with some struggling she was able to get it mostly free. She used her arm to try to shift some of the rubble away, but that only led to the entire thing shifting dangerously and risking a second collapse. Tesasa was trapped. She was hyperventilating - really not good with the limited air supply she had left - and finding she couldn’t move sent tears streaming down the woman’s face. She was barely able to slide her arm up to the earpiece, just barely able to reach to call out to her husband in a desperate need to hear a comforting voice.
[+blue “Dem? Demitri, can you… oh god, please tell me you can hear me? Are you there? Are you ok? Please be there, please just… Dem, I… I can’t move! I can’t breath! I… I’m trapped… Dem, please, please tell me you’re there! Please just say something!”]
With Viktor snapping back, Finn just shook his head in frustration. He knew Vik was just lashing out because he was worried and Finn was doing the same thing. It was an annoying characteristic the brothers shared, they were both rather protective over their siblings and with the two brothers being close friends on top of everything, it was natural to be on edge after seeing the other hurt. Finn let it drop, knowing that arguing wouldn’t make things better and judging by Viktor’s apologetic smile, he had come to the same conclusion Finn did. They’d have a truce for now, at least long enough to check on Xana.
[#ff00ff “I thought I could handle it. Besides, what would you have done? Play the ‘protective big brothers’ and told him to back off? Then we could have all gone for ice cream and snuggled up with a nice family movie night? That’s not how this family works and you know it.”] Xana snapped back, not liking her position as the victim in all of this. But her cold act was rather transparent and even Finn could tell most of it was bullshit. Xana wasn’t as indifferent towards them as she pretended to be.
[#ff00ff “Look, Jesse just… she took a big risk for me. She suffered a lot of pain and now she’s trapped back there alone, scared, and hurt with no way out because she was stupid enough to try to help me. I don’t want either of you to make that same stupid mistake, alright?”] She said, poorly hiding the truth. She was scared and worried about her siblings. She felt helpless when Jesse took that punishment for her and being forced to watch what happened with Bryn. She knew that Roland had killed Kenny in the past and was afraid of losing Viktor, Finn, and Jadyn the same way, and despite being scared to show it, she just wanted her brothers safe.
[#ff00ff “You tried to split the family after I [i told you] not to mess with them? Did you have any real motive or were you just doing it to spite me? Damnit, Viktor, and you wonder why I don’t call you when I need help?”] Xana snapped.
[#bb00ff “Don’t act so surprised, princess, you knew what he was going to do before we even left. You use that freaking Reading thing and know what we’re going to do even before we know it half the time!”] Finn said in his brother’s defence, but his arguments were rather half hearted. Both Finn and xana seemed to be bantering just out of habit, to bring some comfort of normalcy ack into things since everyone was so freaked out still.
[#ff00ff “Well, you couldn’t have picked a worse time. Tori won’t cope well with being ditched. She’ll probably run crying to her big sister. Unfortunately, Lily and Tigan are good friends, so he probably already knows you slept with Tori and lied to him about her just being a cover.”] Xana said, recalling what she knew about each of the Brats she’d met before. Of course it had been years since she’d spent any time with them, so she wasn’t sure how accurate her readings would be until she was back seeing them all face to face. But this hopefully gave them a starting point.
[#ff00ff “Tori’s a romantic and Tigan’s got tons of family and friends with complicated relationships. Your best bet is to pretend Tori was supposed to be a cover, but you ended up falling for her. Tell them you woke up the next morning conflicted because you were torn between Tori and Tigan and you left because you didn’t want to hurt either one. That should at least make them stop hating you. As for getting them to trust you again… that’s going to take some work.”] Xana suggested, knowing her Silvertongued brother would be able to sell the lie enough for the family to believe him. If they couldn’t get Tori to stop hating Viktor they were screwed from the start!
[#bb00ff “Roland got contingency p[lans for his contingency plans. He's going to target Martyn whether we do this or not. At least if we go, we can warn the guy. Maybe even find a way to help get his daughter out of there. I’ll see if I can talk to Baxter and Logan. Those kids care about Jesse and they seem to have a history with Bryn. Maybe I can get them to trust us.”] Finn offered as they approached the safehouse, not prepared for the shitstorm that awaited within. As Viktor was slapped then slapped against the dor, Xana did a quick read on the crowd and whispered something to Finn. The magician, who was ready to dart in and shove Tigan away from his brother, took his little sister’s advice for once and took a more passive approach.
[#bb00ff “Hey, easy! Give the guy a chance to speak, alright? Look, I told him not to come back here, he’s the one that said it wasn’t fair to you if he left without an explanation! Come on, man, let him go. We can all be civil here, can’t we?”] Finn tried to talk Tigan down while the youngest of the Heartley’s sought out one of the only ones she had once had an understanding with. Years ago, Carla had been the first to show her any compassion and even forgiveness towards Xana. She had seen the change of heart and knew Xana wasn’t as cruel as her father, she was just a little girl wanting her daddy’s love and approval. When Gordon turned on Xana, Carla had been there along with Jesse to support her. They hadn’t spoken in years, but Xana was hoping there was still some lingering trust she could rely on.
[#ff00ff “Carla, I need your help. Jesse sent me. I know Viktor’s an asshole, but he’s not here to cause any trouble. You and your family are in danger, Carla. I need you to trust me.”]
The cloaked woman simply smiled at Jack. Her expression warm, terrifyingly inviting, with the only distraction being the blood curdling screams from the teenager behind her being mutilated with a sickle. Just as Jack tossed the lockpick, in a formed V shape, a collection of the cultists appeared all aiming to grab Jack. Thy did not run, or show any instant behaviour of a typical attacker. Every move had its intent, slow and purposeful and in time with one another. It looked like a well-rehearsed march rather than an oncoming attack. Beneath each of their cloaks they carried sickles, chains, knives and sedatives; anything they would need to bring Jack down. Though these weren’t just a bunch of crazies – they knew the Brat’s because their beliefs came from the depths of the Brat’s history. So as the collection of the cult approached Jack, the woman nodded to another who approached Logan’s cage.
Logan was already in the midst of lockpicking his way out but just as he got to that final ‘click’, he felt his head slam against the bars and a sharp slicing pain press against the back of his neck. A hooded figure had wrapped a sickle around the back of Logan’s neck, using that to hook him in place with his face now pressing so hard against the bloodied metal bar it was leaving bruises. The sickle itself was cutting deep into his flesh, so much so that if he resisted too much it would slice all the way to his spine!
[+grey “You have been chosen. Destiny brought you here. Come with us peacefully, follow with what you were born to finish, or watch your brother die and waste the sanctity of his blood.”] The woman instructed and to emphasise the point Logan’s scream echoed out as a second sickle was slammed into the palm of his hand, piercing straight through the centre. Either way, Jack didn’t have much of an option. He was surrounded in a circle now with all the cloaked men and women raising their arms, revealing their weapons as they collectively chanted, stepping forward together in unison to tie and drag Jack to where they needed him to be.
The sickle from the back of Logan’s neck was removed but the sickle through his hand was pulled, dragging him out of the cage and pulling him across the floor to the concrete slab where the dead teenager was. The floor was already painted in different symbols using the teenager's blood and as Logan was brought forward, they ripped off his shirt and started to paint his torso with the same symbols.
[b “What the fuck is this!? Dad don’t let them win! Go! It’s ok! Get help and go!”] Logan called but it was too late. The cultists who had Jack were planning the same thing and as Logan looked up he could see a large wooden cross above the makeshift sacrificial slab.
Before he could protest further, his body was slammed onto one side of the cross, his arms outstretched and his wrists tied in place with two long, thick heavy pieces of rope which were attached to two mechanisms either side of the cross. The sickle was ripped painfully out of his hand and those who had Jack were attempting the same on the other side of the cross. Both brothers, tied to the same wooden symbol on each side... though Logan spotted something even more terrifying on each side. Below Logan and Jack on each of their corresponding sides was a metal stake, which if they fell forward would impale directly into their chest...
The woman who had been fronting this stood on top of the sacrificial table which Jack and Logan were now hoisted above, a black bound leather book in her hand as the cult gathered in mass at the scene.
[+grey “Brothers and sisters, we have waited for this moment for too long. The Holy Day would come in which the Brat’s would descend upon us. Two brothers. Two binded together in the unity of family which had held them together, through Bonds not Blood. Today is the day of enlighten!”]
[i “Together, bonds not blood.”] The cult spoke back together in unison towards the women's words.
[+grey “The Street Brat’s have made sacrifices through their years, as proven by the scripture! Today we honour that sacrifice. We have awaited two brothers to show their strength, the values which run deep within the Street Brat’s and put an end to this misery which has rained our city. Together, they will show their struggles, they will fight against the bonds that hold them in place and spill their own blood, pumping through their veins, to make the ultimate sacrifice. We shall witness the glory, the bloodshed; the ultimate sacrifice.”] The woman called, looking up at Jack and Logan with an almost honourable look in her eyes as if they had chosen to be here. That their sacrifice was what they were waiting for! In her hands were the Street Brat’s published books, now coated in blood and ancient markings. A twisted rebuild of what the words were actually meant for.
Though her own words were more than just scripture. It was an instruction of what was to come. The cultists continued to chant “bonds not blood” and as they did, switched on the mechanisms which the ropes where attached too. The cross was weighted by how much the boys pulled on their ‘bonds’, the ropes which tied them to the cross. If Logan didn’t struggle hard enough, the cross would start lowering Jack to the stake on his side, impaling his heart. The same was if Jack didn’t struggle against his bonds. If one of them pulled too hard on their bonds, they would sacrifice themselves... Eventually one of them would grow tired, or give in, forcing them to sacrifice their brother... or they would grow impatient, scared, fearful and on impulse, kill themselves. Jack couldn’t feel pain, so had the advantage of keeping Logan alive by being able to struggle for longer but neither brother would be able to survive the torment of knowingly killing the other!
[b “NO! Fuck! I’ll keep fighting! I’ll keep fighting but ah, I’m losing blood... the back of my neck... I can’t get my way out!”] Logan called to his brother, fighting against his own ropes and pulling on them as hard as he could. At the moment the cross was balanced but if the boys didn’t come up with a plan, one of them would be doomed to their fate...
[#2b82da “$25,000... not a bad price. I’d consider handing myself in for that sort of cash but I wouldn’t want to give you the satisfaction of hearing about my capture. You’ve been really useful. I’ll see you in Hell and we can rot together one day. Until then, goodnight.”] Demetri whispered to the Rogue, putting his gun against his neck and pulling the trigger so the tranq would knock him out cold. If there were three Rogue’s already in one room, who knew how many more were scattered around the hospital. Demetri grabbed the blood bags, packing them into his bag just as Tessa’s communication came through.
[#2b82da “You’re having to ask yourself if you need to shoot someone? What the hell is making you ask that? You never ask!”] Demetri commented as he snuck out the room, locking the door behind him and heading back to Tessa’s location. He might not have been able to see what was going on but it really didn’t take long for his glasses to be scanning and communicating all sorts of crazy shit to him!
[#2b82da “Ugh... Tess... um, what’s going on exactly?”]
[+pink “Whoa! Are you... are you Demetri Maloway?”] An adoring fan came up, wearing a really cheap pair of black sunglasses with a USB stuck to it with cheap plastic to make out these glasses had some sort of enhancement. Unable to grow facial hair themselves they had painted on lines of stubble and carried a cheap nurf gun. There were times when Demetri regretted not being able to see but as his glasses communicated what was in front of him, it took everything within him to stop himself from bursting out laughing.
[#2b82da “Whose asking?”]
[+pink “I’m your biggest fan dude! Can I have your autograph? Please!? You’re the best shooter, even Tessa couldn’t match your skills!”]
[#2b82da “You know what, you’re a smart one! You hear that? What do you think? I mean I can tell you are a huge Tessa Maloway fan; your costume is insane! Here kid, take the autograph but keep it a secret for now. Remember, last thing they’ll never see. Can’t be ruining the surprise.”] Demetri told the adoring fan whilst engaging Tessa in the conversation by making out she was dressed up too! Taking a pen and scribbling down on the nurf gun, he literally had to take a step back as the fan gave a high pitched squeal of excitement.
[+pink “I can’t believe it. Dude, you’re my idol! I’ve got to get back but your secret is mine. Last thing they’ll never see! Street Brats forever!”] The kid chanted before joining in with the chaos happening beside them.
The moment the kid ran away, Dem was in stitches! There were laughter tears rolling down his cheek and he wrapped his hand around Tessa’s.
[#2b82da “How have you not emptied your gun right now on these clowns? Tess, I’m impressed but did you hear that? I’m famous, that’s gotta be a bonus 10 points for me! First Street Brat signature!”] Dem laughed but he knew if they stayed here any longer, they would be putting themselves at risk. The police would break through that door at any minute, Tessa was losing her patience and they also had to remember that Rogues were still patrolling the hospital.
[#2b82da “Come on, I got the blood. I can explain everything away from this chaos. We can arrange our next comic-con appearance when we are home. I’m already planning the merch in my head! Let’s get to the hospital basement and get out through the ambulance parking. Rogues are still around but this should be enough of a distraction.”]
[+purple “What’s a broken jaw compared what that sick fuck has bene up to? He’s been screwing girls against their will after I’ve slept with them, he’s torturing our siblings, he’s just as fucked as dad! You wanted me to just stand there and show him he can do what he wants? I’ve been pissing him off since I was a kid Finn, I wasn’t just going to nod like a puppy and hope for the best! He deserved it. I knew I’d get something back for it.”] Viktor countered back at his brother but after a few seconds of letting his anger hit boiling point, he shot Finn a more empathetic and an apologetic look. It was brief but he knew Finn was just trying to look out for him.
His concern was for Xana. Usually she would have taken the opportunity to cut him down now for his mistakes, or pointed out how it was down to them getting in the way that the plan never went smoothly. In fact Viktor was waiting for those taunts but when they never came, he let the concern show on his face.
[+purple “Why didn’t you tell us sooner about what he was doing to you Xana? I know we have each other's guts at times but not when shit like this happens.”] Viktor asked, flicking away the remaining of his cigarette and rubbing his jaw again to ease the pain.
Viktor would have laughed off Xana’s comment usually about ditching who he had slept with but after hearing what Roland had been up to, it just twisted his stomach. Still, he was cautious that he was letting himself slip too much. He shrugged his shoulders, allowing a half smirk to show on his face but it wasn’t nearly as cheeky or daring as it usually was.
[+purple “Slept with both of them... ditched them quite quickly... I was err, going with the splitting the family thing but I’m not going to lie, it’s probably going to cause some shit and I’m going to need you to read their intentions and help me out if we’re going to befriend the family again. Heh... um, I might have told Tigan that Tori was a cover for me and I might have told Tori that I wasn’t sleeping with anyone else.”] Viktor explained his antics, rubbing the back of his head nervously but finally letting slip that playful smile. There were sometimes some things that would pull him back, even if it was his own stupidity.
[+purple “Look we need them on our side and I’m going to need you to help me with the words. My main thing is also are we actually going to do what this bastard wants, or do we have a bigger plan?”] Viktor asked but they would have to talk about that on the way. He started to head towards the Street Brat base, waving for Finn and Xana to follow.
They wouldn’t be returning to a pretty sight. Tori had been vomiting to the point where Lily had given her sister a pregnancy test in private. That turned to Lily turning on Tarik for making his sister cry, who then in turn switched on Tigan for allowing Tori to go out, which led to Tigan arguing back and trying to explain his actions! In fact as Viktor appeared at the door, Lily spun around and without a second's hesitation, slapped Viktor across the face.
[+orange “That’s for hurting my baby sister!”]
With Viktor’s bruised jaw it was even more painful but despite the shock in his eyes from only stepping a foot in and getting a slap, he lifted his hands and nodded in agreement.
[+purple “Yeah I deserved that. Tigan! Hey I...”]
But before he could speak Tigan had him by his collar and slammed against the wall!
[+brown “You told me it was just a fake thing! You told me nothing was happening with you and Tori! You told me we had a thing!”]
[+purple “Yeah, a thing as in a quick thing! As in a super quick thing in which you never see the thing again! Aha! Oh shit, hey, guys, let’s talk! Calm the hell down!”] Vikor shouted as he was surrounded by all three! Tigan had him pinned, Tarik was stood on one side of him and Lily was stood on the other!
[#ff6622 “First of all, Logan, don’t you [i ever] blame yourself for Eleanor. She was targeting me and I’m the one that put you in danger with her. None of that was your fault. You’re a teenager Logan, getting pissed off at your parents, throwing a fit, and storming out is what normal teenagers do! It was [i my] job as your dad to not let things escalate so far. And even after I failed so miserably, you still protected me.”] Jack told him, not wanting that situation to add to Logan’s lingering guilt. Jack realized they’d never properly talked this out and poor Logan never got a chance to clear his conscience for what happened with Eleanor. That wasn’t fair on the boy when it was Jack’s fault the mess even happened!
[#ff6622 “Your mom told me they tried to get her to report me for domestic abuse. I’m guessing Eleanor asked the same of you, right? She wanted you to give evidence that I hit you? Mistreated you? And despite the fact that you probably had a decent case for it, you didn’t give her what she wanted. You're brave and loyal… and way too stubborn for your own good. And you don’t deserve to keep blaming yourself for things that were out of your control.”] Jack told him. The topic could probably have used a bit more attention, but they were getting closer to the warehouse and there was still one thing Jack needed to say.
[#ff6622 “For the record, Kid, I don’t think you’re a burden to Jesse. And I don’t think she sees you as one either. I don’t know the girl as well as you do, but… maybe in her own way, she was trying to protect you. People aren’t exactly rational when it comes to protecting the people they love.”] Jack pointed out, knowing the Brats were not short on examples of that. Jack himself had avoided Lily for months after their first meeting with Rick, thinking that distancing himself would protect her. Elliot and Lisa once sold themselves to the Elites for 8 years thinking they were keeping the family safe. Lily even confessed to cheating on Jack and having Tigan’s baby just to spare his life, so he wouldn’t be surprised if this was some misguided attempt by Jesse to keep Logan far from danger.
[#ff6622 “Haha, alright Logan, you’ve got yourself a deal. And hey, If I get into trouble, you better save my ass! Your mom’s already forbidden me from dying, and if there’s only one piece of advice I can offer you, son: don’t piss off your mother!”] Jack teased.
As they went their separate ways, Jack trusted Logan to get in unseen. He had to give the boy credit, he was a good thief. Jack had taught him the basics over the years, but Logan’s own instincts as well as the experience he got working for Hensen certainly showed in his level of skill. Jack was impressed! Enough that he watched Loga work until the boy was out of view before finally going about his own sneaky entry.
Jack snuck in and gathered the supplies he needed, filling his backpack with everything from wipes to diapers, bottles to formula, bibs to sleepers… looking after one baby was hard enough on the streets, but three newborns and a two year old? This was going to take some work! He was just slipping his backpack over his shoulder and preparing to leave when Logan’s voice called over the earpiece.
[#ff6622 “Is everything ok? Logan, whatever you found just get back out safely and we’ll deal with it together, alright? Don’t just… Logan!”] Jack called, hearing the commotion as the boy cut off mid sentence and fell.
[#ff6622 “Logan, are you hurt? Talk to me! Damnit, Kid, where are you?!”] Jack asked frantically, no longer caring about his stealthy exit as his thoughts focused on the fact that his son was in danger. Jack cursed under his breath, securing his pack and heading back towards the entrance. From inside the warehouse, he could see the vent Logan had used and followed it, slipping into the hidden room and staying out of sight. But the image of his son trapped in a blood stained cage while another innocent boy was sacrificed mere feet away made the father’s stomach turn. He took out his knife - thankful once again that he followed Tigan’s advice of never leaving the safehouse unarmed - and slipped into a better position to fight. He couldn't take them all out, but if he could distract them long enough to toss Logan his set of lockpicks, the boy could free himself!
[#ff6622 “I’m his [i father] you psychotic piece of shit!”] Jack growled, leaping out of his hiding place, grabbing two of the hooded figures and slamming their heads violently against the wall, while driving his knife into a third.
[#ff6622 “Logan!”] Jack called out, throwing his set of lockpicks towards the cage for his son while he focused on distracting the rest, but Jack was severely outnumbered and there was no way in hell he was leaving Logan behind!
[+blue “I’m hoping Carla will be cooled down a bit by the time we get back. I’ll talk to her then. Don’t worry about me, Dem. I had enough fights with my mom and dad to know what Carla’s going through. As long as it's just words she’s targeting me with and not that pistol of hers, I’ll be fine.”] Tessa promised, giving her husband a reassuring smile. Tessa could hardly blame Carla for having a rebellious stage. Both Tess and Dem had their fair share of parental disputes when they were kids and it was no surprise that some of that teen angst had filtered through their bloodline. The mother just hoped that she could find some common ground with her daughter before things got out of hand.
It didn’t take too long for Tessa to find the stash of blood she needed for Elliot. She didn’t have the same commotion in her path as Demetri did, so it only took a few minutes for Tessa to get in, fill her pack with supplies, and get back out. She was already making her way back when Demitri’s call came in.
[+blue “Rogues? Shit… they’re dangerous, Dem, be careful. I’m on my way.”] She told him, turning back so she could head in Demitri’s direction. She was half way there when the doors of the hospital burst open and a large group forced their way in.
[+blue “Scratch that. Dem, I uh… I think we’ve got a problem.”]
[#00ccff “Long live the Street Brats! Yeah!”] The shout rang out as a group of people from low 20s to mid 30s crashed through the doors. After all her years on the streets, there wasn’t much that shocked or surprised Tessa anymore, but this… she had no idea what the hell this was.
The group were all dressed up in what appeared to be street clothes at a first glance, but upon further discussion was clearly just a poorly fashioned costume. Ragged jeans that were ripped so neatly and were otherwise in pristine condition, were obviously purchased like that not torn on the street. Several wore leather lakers with the words Street Brats either embroidered, screen printed or, in one absurd case bedazzled, onto the backs of the jackets. Hair was dyed black or bleached blond and styled as if it had been frayed or pulled in a fight, but was quite clearly just teasing and hairspray. A couple looked like they had smears of dirt or mud on their arms, face, and clothing, but it was obviously just a mix of paint and makeup to make them look dishevelled. Beyond their appearance, there were other attributes as well: a “fighter” wearing fingerless gloves who’s fighting stance was so bad he tripped over his own feet. An “inventor” with a mechanical arm brace like Rylan’s that was a handmade mess of pipecleaners, duct tape, and pieces of an old clock. A “shooter” with a plastic toy gun that still had the “for ages 10 and up!” sticker on the side of it… all looking like they were playing characters from their favourite book or movie!
The group rushed into the hospital, some hollering and disrupting the medical staff while others were vandalizing the equipment and spray painting “Street Brats” and “Bonds not blood” on the walls. They caused enough of a stir that the hospital staff called in the police, and soon the parking lot would be swarming with cruisers flashing red and blue lights and sounding their sirens at the mob. If these people thought they were supporting their Street Brat heroes, all they were really doing was bringing even more heat down on the Brats!
[+blue “What the hell do you think you’re doing?! Stop this! Get the hell out of here! If you have any shred of respect for the Street Brats, you wouldn’t be doing this!”] Tessa snapped back at one of the fans. She was well aware that Demitri was possibly facing down the rogues right now and she couldn’t even get through to help him in this chaos!
[#00ccff “We heard on the police scanners that they’re searching hospitals for the Street Brats! They said the leader Elliot Evenwood could be here, can you believe it? Elliot! The leader of the Brats! Can you imagine?! We’re going to save him from the police!”] The poor, misguided fan said, clearly driven by half-truths and fantasies. This mob had somehow got it in their head that they were rescuing the injured Brats from the authorities, but in doing so they were destroying and vandalising a hospital, putting medical staff and patients at risk and making it seem like the Street Brats were the ones who planned all this! If the Brats weren’t hated enough already, attacking innocent people at a hospital sure as hell wouldn’t do them any favours!
[+blue “You have to stop this! You have to leave! You’re just getting the Street Brats into even more trouble!”]
[#00ccff “No! You can’t silence us! We’re all Street Brats and you can’t tell us what to do!”]
[+blue “You’re NOT Street Brats! And you’re NOT helping their cause!”] Tessa argued, but the fan wouldn’t have it.
[+blue “Shows how much you know, lady! My best friend is Demetri Maloway! The best freaking shooter in the whole place and he’ll shoot you in the face if he ever found out you were yelling at me.”]
[+blue “Demitri Maloway is my husband! And believe me, bitch, he’d do no such thing!”] Tessa said, losing her patience. It was clear this woman had picked her favourite characters for her own fictional style - she was dressed up with a fake holster on her belt and a tattoo spelling out the phrase: “the last thing you’ll never see” on the inside of the woman’s arm.
[#00ccff “Yeah right, you’re Tessa? Ha! Not a chance! Tessa’s way smarter and prettier than you! She’s a badass, not some stuck up rule-follower! You’re so full of shit! Get out of here before you get hurt, you old hag!”]
Tessa was literally shaking with outrage at this point and had to force herself to take a step back as the police started to arrive, but were unable to gain access since these Street Brat impersonators had barricaded the door.
[+blue “Demitri, if you don’t get me the hell out of here, I’m going to shoot someone.”] Tessa said back through the coms.
[i “Ah! Fucking bastard! I’m not telling you anything!”] The rogue said, acting pretty tough until the threat about the real bullets came out and Demitri started to count down his limited patience.
[i “Shit, you’re one of them, aren’t you? You’re a Street Brat! There’s a real pretty price on your head, you fucker! It’s not just the police. They’ve got someone privately funding the capture of any Brats - putting a shit ton of cash on the line! An average Street Brat is $10,000 alive. But the higher ups are worth more. Maloway, the Masons, and that Smaulders chick are worth $25,000, and the three leaders: Elliot, Tessa, or Nic Smaulders are worth $75,000 each! They’re only worth half as much dead… the cops wanna see you all rot away in the camps!”] The man admitted bitterly, clearly not interested in getting shot but still hesitant to give Demitri anything that could really help.
[i “The camps? Some rich bastards that wanna clean up the city! Put scum like you to work so you’re actually useful! I don’t know what happens there, but I do know that your two little friends have only been in that shit hole for a few weeks and they’re already being worked into the ground! They’ll be nothing but corpses by the time you find them, and I hope you rot right alongside them, you bastard!”]
Roland didn’t seem phased or threatened by Viktor’s rage, instead he settled with a smug, satisfied grin as three of his half-siblings left the room. Elan wasn’t too worried about retribution. His brothers and sister may not act like a typical family, but they won’t risk any further harm coming to Jadyn, and Xana had more of a soft spot for Jesse than she let on. As for the girls that remained in his care, it wouldn’t be hard to keep them in line. Jesse was much more easily managed now that she was temporarily mute, Bryn was basically broken, and Jadyn knew the consequences of acting out. This gave him all the leverage he needed against his siblings yet not being too much of a burden for him to control. Just like always,. Roland’s plans were going precisely according to his plans.
Leaving the room, the siblings each showed their own reactions to what just happened. Xana - usually one to never shut up - didn’t say a word a first. Finn, on the other hand, was barely able to contain himself!
[#BB00FF “Are you shitting me? This from the guy who spat in Rland’s face! What the hell were you thinking antagonizing him like that? You’re lucky he didn’t break your jaw, Vik!”] Finn snapped back, his own brotherly concern making him agitated. There was a red mark on Finn’s face from the force of the slap, but nothing too serious. Rolan’s strike did more to shock and throw Finn off guard than it did to cause any real damage. The magician was worried about the bruising on Viktor’s cheeks though - knowing how close he came to a broken or dislocated jaw. He also spared a glance at the fresh blood that seeped from Xana’s cut, and with a resigned sigh, he took out a clean strip of cloth and handed it to her. The Reader took a concerning couple of seconds to snap out of her daze before taking the cloth without a word and dabbing it lightly against the deep cut. She didn’t even shoot back a snarky comment when Viktor ranted at her, only seeming to snap out of it when he directly asked her if she was alright. The shock of having her brother outwardly show concern seemed to finally trap her attention.
[#ff00ff “I’m fine.”] She snapped out of instinct, but the hollow look in her eyes showed she was still a little shaken by what happened. That in itself would have been a little staggering. Viktor and Finn teased one another, but there was no doubt they cared for their siblings on some level. Even Jadyn, despite being a backstabbing bitch, had never and would never cause any serious arm to her family and had, on more than one occasion, helped them out quite a bit with those inventions of hers. Xana had always felt like the odd one out: she was the youngest and the most recent favourite of her father’s, being the only one still currently living with the man when he was killed. If that didn’t cause enough tension, she was also adopted by that gang and had happily lived with very little contact with her siblings for years. She didn’t really have much trust or compassion for her brothers nor did she assume they had any for her. And for a reader, someone so crucially obsessed with hiding her vulnerabilities and protecting a carefully constructed image to the public, Xana NEVER showed weakness like this. She never let people see when she was shaken and she never let her guard down around people she didn’t trust, including her brothers!And yet, Xana looked like she’d just been through hell. That alone had Finn worried about what went on behind those closed doors.
[#ff00FF “He wasn’t going to stop. He was going to really blind me this time. Jesse stopped him… that’s why he stitched her mouth shut.”] She admitted, explaining what had her so rattled. Xana wasn’t used to anyone making sacrifices for her, let alone her own half-sister. There was clearly some guilt and disbelief in the young girl’s tone, but there was something else that triggered another snarl from Finn.
[#bb00ff “[i This time?] The fucker’s cut you before?”]
[#ff00ff “Yeah… quite a few times. It’s like you’re broken fingers. Every time I have a bad run in with Roland, he threatens to cut my eyes and blind me. It’s usually nothing more than a threat and a scratch. Last time, Hensen almost caught him… Roland said he’d kill Hensen and Erlina if they ever interfered.”] Which would explain why Xana had her sudden change of heart, turning her back on the gang and going back to a life of wealth and security. It wasn’t to run away from Hensen and Erlina, it was to protect them from Roland!
Xana shook her head, trying to snap herself back to focus. It took a little more effort than usual, but she managed to put her emotionless mask back in place. Not that it would fool either of her brothers at this point, since they’d already seen how afraid she was, but it did make Xana feel less vulnerable to have those emotions hidden.
[#bb00ff “I’ll stick with you guys for now, but I doubt I’ll be much help with the Masons.”] Finn admitted, trying to get his anger and this strange sense of protection under control.
[#ff00ff “I know where they are, but that doesn’t help much. I was supposed to keep Jesse safe - if I show up there without her, Martyn will kill me. And he sure as hell won’t trust you. We need someone to vouch for us, but unfortunately, the list of people Martyn truly trusts is very short. Either Hayden or Tigan are our best bet. Do you still have an in with Tigan? Or did you already ditch him?”] She asked, not necessarily trying to be an asshole, but it had become almost like a defense mechanism by now, like Finn’s bad jokes or Viktor’s sarcasm.
Logan was used to having his problems brought up by Jesse but never by his family. Especially Jack. If they were going to have a conversation, it would usually be the two clashing it out or storming away from one another. It had been a long time since the family didn’t have any pressure on their shoulders but this time it felt like Logan had been suffering alone. So to hear Jack trying, Logan had to admit his initial reaction was to roll his eyes and either tell him to back off or not reply at all. However as they continued their walk Logan was actually grateful that Jack was stepping in. It had been a lot harder dealing with all the thoughts in his head without his usual partner or friend-he-never-had to talk them out too.
[b “I always want to rip shit apart when I’m angry but that’s what got Eleanor onto us… my anger… Jesse doesn’t need me and I’m actually burden to her, I couldn’t keep Ry. Alex got shot saving me. I’m just starting to wonder what’s the point in being around if no one actually needs me…”] Logan admitted as he walked with Jack, his hands now stuffed in his pockets though gripping at the seams inside. The only person that seemed to be keeping him grounded at the moment was his little sister and when Jack pointed out what he had spotted, Logan shot him a challenging look.
[b “If you tell anyone else I won’t hesitate to tell Tigan. It was just a one time thing… she deserves a childhood, y’know? We never got one.”] Logan pointed out, surprising himself with how open he was being.
With the plan set in motion he took the earpiece and slotted it in his ear.
[b “Yeah, yeah safe as always… if YOU get into trouble, scream like the little girl you are. I might, if I can be bothered, come and save your ass..”] Logan smirked as he made his way to the ventilation system. It would be a pretty standard job. Sneak in, grab the goods, only take that was needed and escape with as little evidence as possible. Not that it really mattered at this point. The city wanted them for more serious offences but the last thing they needed was a digital record of their location.
Logan was shifting through the vents, looking through the gaps to see the aisles beneath him. It was the typical kind of set up. Delivery drivers slacking off, taking the opportunity for a quick break, others driving around in forklift trucks and gathering what needed to be loaded. Though as Logan crawled through there was a sound that stopped him dead in his tracks. It sounded like… chanting? Humming? Both? He shook his head, thinking he was going mad but it was getting louder…
Maybe a quick look wouldn’t hurt, right?
So Logan changed his direction and followed the sound, unknowingly going to a separate part of the warehouse which had been segregated from the rest of the workers. As Logan crawled into a viewing space, he looked through the gap to see he was directly above a collection of people all stood in a circle, their arms out stretched, chanting words that made no sense. He couldn’t help but chuckle to himself. What a bunch of hippy freaks…
That was until the circle parted both ways, revealing a concrete block in the centre of the room which was splashed with crimson marks and deep scratches. Two workers came in wearing high vis, carrying a heavy looking box which had been brought into the warehouse. As they opened the box, there was a teenager inside who was gagged and bound, already covered in deep scratches and bruises. They forced the kid onto the slab, lifting up the heavy metal chains and forcing his arms above his head and while others chained his feet down.
[i “On the streets, alone, homeless for weeks… it is the one we have been waiting for…”] One of the men explained, backing away as they all started to circle the kid, the chanting getting louder.
[b “Ugh, Jack… I don’t think we’re in a normal warehouse.”] Logan whispered into his ear piece, his eyes widening as he watched the scenes unfold. They grabbed a metal bowl, bringing it towards the teenager. The bowl was engraved with markings, stained with the same crimson that stained the slab. The chanting get louder again but everything changed the moment they pulled out a large black sickle.
[i “DUDE! I’M NOT A STREET BRAT! I’M NOT A FUCKING STREET BRAT!”] The kid screamed as he managed to free himself from his gag, though it didn’t seem to slow the group down. Logan grit his teeth, watching as the sickle was lifted above the screaming teenager .
[b “You need to get…”] Logan started to comm but the vent opened beneath him, throwing him down to a cage that was locked on the outside. As he landed, twisting his wrist as he did, he looked down to see he was sitting in a pool of blood which had built up over time. Though standing outside the cage was a woman with a comforting smile that was more disturbing. The sound of the sickle hitting the teenager echoed through the room and she pulled down her hood from her adorned block cloak
[+grey “We have been waiting for you. I hope your brother is on his way.”] The woman smiled, watching as the blood was collected from the teenager and the group started to paint on the floor with his blood.
[+grey “We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time Logan Sanders. Now all we need is your brother and the ceremony can begin…”]
[#2b82da “Damn, it was worth a shot and hey… bad decision? Nah… far from it. Imagine how boring life would be without Tessa Maloway. It means my ears don’t get tired from not being worked up with all the shouting.”] Dem was just as quick back but as much as he was teasing there was a genuine love and care in his voice. As much as this was an opportunity for Tessa to talk her feelings, he also wanted to give her an opportunity to relax and know she could lighten up around someone.
[#2b82da “I think she knows that Tess. Carla actually turned a little too sweet and innocent for my liking… far too quiet, kept far too much to herself and did it all with a smile on her face. There was going to be a boiling point. I hate it is being aimed at you, I wish it was me but she wouldn’t have let out as much steam if she didn’t feel comfortable. Carla just needs a reason to believe she’s cared about by someone.”] Demetri knew that Tessa was putting on an equally brave face but just having Carla snap at him a few times was hurtful enough. He always admired his wife resilience however and as he felt Tessa’s lips against his, he knew though the journey may be rough ahead they would get through it as a family.
For someone who was completely blind, you never would have been able to tell with Demetri. His journey was flawless and despite the many medical personal walking around, he wasn’t spotted by a single person as he made his to the blood unit. He loaded his gun with tranquillisers just incase he was spotted. There was no need for unnecessary bloodshed. Though as he heard the rogues within the room, his lip curled into a snarl. He would have loved to have taken a few of those bastards out with what they did but he had to remember his primary reason why he was here. This wasn’t the time for revenge.
[#2b82da [i “Tess… got eye’s on Rogue’s. Keep your eye out and don’t get caught if you get into contact. I’ll explain later…”]] Demetri spoke into his comms. This may not have been a revenge mission but that didn’t mean he couldn’t take the opportunity to try and gather more intel.
Stepping into the room, Demetri lofted up his gun having already had his glasses tell him the location of each of the Rogues. Taking a deep but silent breath he wrapped his finger around the trigger and within seconds he had shot a tranquilliser towards two of them before sprinting toward the third. In a quick movement he slammed the rogue into the wall, pressing the strangers face against the wall and pushing his entire body weight onto the potential attacker to keep him in place. He then wrapped his hand as quickly as he could around the Rogue’s eyes, making sure that he couldn’t see Demetri. After all he would be the last thing they’d never see.
[#2b82da “I want more information on those work camps or in approximately 10 seconds I switch my bullets for loaded ones.”] Demetri warned, having to rely that his tranqs on the other two guards had done their job.
[#2b82da “What are the Brat’s worth for capture alive? What happens at these camps? Who is running these camps? 8…7…6…5…”]
Viktor never had any bad intentions with the people he slept with. Sure he would use some sly tactics but he would never force a single person. So what if he disappeared in the morning? If they consented to it so quickly, then what was the harm? It wasn’t like he stayed around long enough to form any meaningful relationship. Sometimes he would get lucky and meet another person who was just in it for the fun but then there were those who became easily attached… he thought nothing of it but hearing what Roland had been up to made his stomach twist. People called him with the hope he would stop their suffering and he ignored them. It was in that moment that his mindset switched. He wasn’t going to bother smooth talking this bastard any longer. So as that spit connected with Roland’s face there wasn’t a smug grin, only rage that stayed glued to his expression, even as he felt his brothers hands clutch at his jaw.
Viktor show his hands up to Roland’s wrist to try and pry them off but he wasn’t strong enough. He was a smooth-talker, not a fighter. His mouth was held open with the pressure and as Roland squeezed tight with Finn’s approach, Viktor’s knees started to buckle under the immense pain. Though he couldn’t speak his words everything he wanted to communicate came through his eyes as he glared at the man he hated more than his father.
The rag in his mouth had him wanting to cough it out but with his brother holding him, he couldn’t move his jaw to get the damn thing away! He was choking, still tasting the partially wet blood on his tongue. The moment he was thrown away , Viktor spat the cloth to the floor and raised his own hand to rub the pain away. There was deep bruises covering each side of his jawline and even the inside of his mouth was bruised, though his own suffering didn’t seem to be the reason why that spark of rage never left his eyes.
[+purple “News flash, you won’t hear my silver tongue again. No, you’ll hear me be blunt and you’re a fucking monster. You really don’t know what you are messing with but I’ll do your stupid fucking game.”] Viktor snarled as he walked to stand in the way of his brother. He wasn’t going to let his words get his brother hurt anymore. Though the moment Xana was released, Viktor put a hand on her shoulder and wasted no time pushing her out of the room. If he stayed around he was afraid he wouldn’t leave until some serious blood was shed and he wasn’t even the violent type. He tugged on his brothers jacket on the way out to get him to follow, glad to have turned his back on that family scene.
Once they were outside, Viktor wasted no time pulling out a cigarette and shakily lighting it, taking a few paces away from his siblings as he let out deep stress filled breaths.
[+purple “Oi you, hocus pocus, stick to the magic and not getting slapped in the face!”] Viktor called him out for intervening. It wasn’t against Finn, instead it was a rare moment in his lost composure that he was actually showing his brother he cared.
[+purple “As for you, the only way we’re getting this sorted is if we go speak to Martyn Mason. So looks like we get to be best buds for awhile! Wow! What a ride this is gonna be, huh? Look, I’m not in the mood for antics but I am in the mood to get this over with as soon as possible. That way you get to go back being an asshole and I get to go back, well… also being an asshole.”] Viktor ranted away but as he took another drag , he rubbed his brow and let the tension ease a little.
He wasn’t being fair. His sister had already been through Hell already by the looks of things.
[+purple “Are you alright?”] He finally asked, pointing to her eye.
[+purple “You’re the brains, I’m the talking monkey. Do you know where Martyn is? Finn.. you coming for the show? I’d be careful going out on your own…. Want to keep the rest of your fingers…”]
[#ff6622 “Good luck!”] Jack said teasingly as he handed off the baby only for her to start crying again immediately. He gave Lily a quick but loving kiss before heading out with Logan, not sure how to combat the uncomfortable silence between them. Jack had come a long way in just a few weeks. He was finally settling into his role as a father and even though he wasn’t very good at it yet, bhe was genuinely trying to be a good dad for Ashlynn, Logan, and Baxter. But the effort he was putting in now didn't just erase his past mistakes and out of all three of the kids, Logan was the one Jack had disappointed the most. He was just glad Logan agreed on this little father-son bonding time, giving Jack a chance to at least try to repair things between them.
Along their walk, Jck could tell something was bothering Logan and he had a pretty good idea what it was. Logan may have acted like a bit of a lone wolf in his youth, but over the past several years he and Jesse had been nearly inseparable. The two hadn’t really had much chance to reconnect since their kidnapping before Jesse was gone once more and Logan was probably feeling that loss pretty heavily. On top of that, he’d lost the Evenwood siblings as well. Jack had never seen any real friendship between Alex, Rylan, and Logan, but that didn’t lessen the loss. In fact, it might have even accentuated it! Alex was gone forever now and Logan wouldn’t have the chance to get to know the fiery young teen as anything more than the tag-along little sister. And Rylan… Jack couldn’t help but think that in another life, Rylan and Logan could have been as close as him and Tigan. Both were far more similar than they realized and despite never saying it out loud, both boys cared a lot about each other. For Rylan to walk away before he and Logan had established any sort of real friendship just seemed like a missed opportunity, leaving a vacancy in Logan’s life that wasn’t easily filled.
Jack wanted to say something comforting or supportive, but he still didn’t know if Logan trusted him enough for that. Or if he even wanted Jack to play that fatherly role. Maybe Logan was content with Jack being more of a big-brother to him? It was these insecurities that made Jack nervous to even bring it up, but he had promised Lily he’d do everything he could to be a father to the boy.
[#ff6622 “Hey um… I know you’ve been through a lot of shit lately, Kid, and I… well… I can’t say I know exactly what that feels like. I’ve had my fair share of issues and as you know, I didn’t xactly handle them in a good way. But I do know it feels a hell of a lot better to get it out in the open. If you ever needed to talk or… hell, throw a punch or two, yell, scream, break shit… whatever you need, I’m here for you, Logan. No matter what’s going on with your friends or the other Brats, just know that there’s nothing you could say or do to me that will push me away, got it? I’m not much of a father… but I do love you and I’m proud of you. Oh, and if you tell Tigan about this chick-flick moment, I’ll skin you alive!”] Jack said, ending with a joking smirk just to break the awkwardness of his little speak. He still wasn’t very good at the comforting father act, but at least he was trying.
[#ff6622 “That’s good thinking, Logan. Sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought and planning into this. Why don’t you take point on this one? I’ll follow your lead.”] Jack offered, wanting to give credit where it was due and also show his trust and confidence in Logan. The boy had been through hell in the last several months and it was about time something went his way.
[#ff6622 “I may not be as agile as I was when I was your age, but a good thief adapts to the situation. I can handle myself, Kid, don’t you worry. But splitting up does make sense. Here…”] Jack pulled out a couple of the earpieces he’d swiped off of Elliot’s workbench, handing one to Logan while sticking the other in his own ear so they could stay in touch.
[#ff6622 “And don’t be calling [i me] soft, I saw you singing Ashlynn to sleep the other night. And I’m better you were the one who stole that little teddy bear that I found in her crib this morning? That kid’s got you wrapped around her tiny, little finger. Now you know how I felt the day you were born.”] Jack teased lightly, but all the things he mentioned just made him more proud. Logan was already a better big brother than Jack had ever been and despite the doubts the kid carried, Jack knew Ashlynn would grow up seeing her big brother as a hero.
[#ff6622 “Alright, I’ll meet you there. If you get into trouble, you call me. Oh, and the last one to get back with the supplies is on diaper-duty for the next week.”] Jack challenged playfully, looking to spark some friendly competition between the two before slipping away to find his own way in while Logan had the vents.
[+blue “Not a chance, Dem. You were the one who agreed to marry me, so dealing with my angst is just part of the package you signed up for. I’m not giving you extra points just because you made a bad decision.”] Tessa shot back teasingly, but there was a genuine gratitude in her eyes as well. She knew Demitri had her back and that he’d be there to help her through this, not just case judgement and blame like some of the others. Nathan had raised the two as young kids, practically grooming them to both be the perfect partners for each other. Tessa had to admit, sometimes the old man knew what he was doing.
[+blue “I know, you’re right. I just want her to know that whatever she’s feeling, it’s ok. I spent years repressing my own emotions, turning numb, just an empty shell for Nathan to order around. I had convinced myself that the pain, anger, and sadness I was feeling was wrong and that it was just better to hide all of it from the world. At least I had you to snap me out of it and bring a little life back in me, but Carla doesn’t have that right now. I want her to know that it’s ok for her to feel all of that. It’s ok for her to be angry at us, we’re still never going to give up on her.”] Tessa replied. She would talk to Carla one this mission was done. Maybe the girl just needed an opportunity to confront her mother and get some things off her chest. And as hard as it would be on Tessa to hear her daughter’s blame and anger directed at her, maybe she deserved it? Tessa had made a lot of bad decisions lately.
[+blue “Alright. Make sure you grab enough for Maddison as well. Oh, and Dem…”] Tessa pulled her husband in for a loving kiss before parting ways.
[+blue “Be careful, ok? I love you.”] She told him before splitting off as planned. The blood Elliot needed was on the second floor, so she’d have to slip through the hospital. Normally, she’d take her chances at not being recognized and just blend in with the hospital staff, but with the Rogues scattered through the halls, she figured it was better to stay unseen as long as possible.
There were at least three Rogues in the room where Nic’s blood was kept, so Demetri would have his work cut out for him. It seemed that while some had been assigned to check the rooms and make sure Nic and Elliot weren’t admitted as patients here, others were send to check on any medical supplies the Brats might need in case - like with Tessa and Demitri - someone tried to break in and resupply.
[i “I still don’t think it’s worth this much hassle. I get that we get paid more if the bastards are alive, but shit… the guys that captured Smaulders were almost completely wiped out! Maybe we should just shoot on sight and bring the fuckers back in body bags.”]
[i “No, man, we need at least some of ‘em alive. The cops wanna test out that new work camp they’re building on the outskirts of town. That’s where they took the thief and that one-armed chick, remember? Except they’re not much use. We need some of the big players - the Evenwoods, or Smaulders, or that Maloway family. That’s what’s worth the big bucks.”] The guards chatted back and forth, clearly intend on bringing in any Brats they found. But in all that rambling, they’d let slip a clue about Kira and Seth. They weren’t in a prison, they were in some kind of newly established work camp! And it sounded like if they write caught, Tessa and Dem would be heading to the same place.
Roland eyes were void of any amusement, but even though this conversation was boring him., he wasn’t the type to let his brother walk away feeling like he’d won.
[#996633 “And the ten or so I took from you? Oh, that’s right, you wouldn’t know. You ditch those women after you get your fill - never speak to them again. All those missed calls and unopened text messages from them, you probably just assumed they were desperate to get you back, right? It used to be a game to me. I’d track down someone after you left to show them what a real Heartly was like whether they wanted it or not. I’d let them all call you - I even promised I wouldn’t force them if you’d only pick up the phone. You never did. I got bored after a while - it wasn’t fun if you never found out about it. But maybe I need to restart my little game with one of your recent conquests? That Tori McCleeve looked fun.”] Roland said, again trying to get under Viktor’s skin. He knew it was working. Viktor’s composure was nearly flawless but there were little things: a pause that lasted just a second too long, that smirk that seemed not quite as effortless as usual, the way he let Finn hover nearby as if needing the unspoken support. Viktor was nearly at his limit and then he’d do something rash and stupid, giving Roland all the permission he needed to strike back. Just like Finn, Xana, and Jadyn, Viktor needed to be put in his place.
Roland looked as if he wasn’t even going to react at first. He slowly took out his handkerchief - already stained with red patches from cleaning his hands - and wiped the spit from his face. But there was a moment that something in Roland’s eyes just snapped. His hand shot out and grabbed Viktor’s jaw, squeezing so tight that there were bruises already forming under his fingertips. The pressure on Viktor’s jaw must have been agonizing and all it would take is a very simple, quick movement from Roland to break or dislocate his brother’s jaw in an instant.
[#BB00FF “Hey, you fucker! Let him go! Roland!”] Finn snapped back, stepping forward to intervene, but Rolland practically stopped him in his tracks with a glance, twisting his hand to put increased pressure on Viktor’s jaw as a threat for the magician to keep his distance.
[#996633 “Out of all of our father’s spawn, you have to be the one I despise the most, you arrogant, insolent little prick! One day, that Silvertongue of yours is going to get you into trouble you can’t handle, Viktor, and I’ll take great pleasure in watching you choke on your words.”] Roland said, taking his bloody-spit covered handkerchief and stuffing it in Viktor’s mouth enough so he was nearly choking his brother just to punctuate his threats.
[#BB00FF “Fucking bastard! Get off of him!”] Finn tried again, this time grabbing Rolan’s arm and ripping him away from Viktor. The eldest brother finally released the Silvertongue, only to spin around and backhand Finn hard enough to send his younger brother crashing into the wall behind him.
[#996633 “Next time, do what you're told without the attitude. I’m a reasonable man, Viktor, but I don’t have the patience for your childish antics. Here…”] Roland stepped towards the girls, each of the three shuddering as he approached in clear fear of what he’d do. Rolan grabbed Xana, pulling her to her feet and releasing her wrists from their binding. He shoved her towards Finn and Viktor, allowing her to leave with them as promised. Xana spared a glance for Bryn before meeting her sister’s eyes. Her silent conversation with Jesse, however, was cut abruptly when Rolan closed the french doors blocking their view of the other girls.
[#996633 “Take her and get out. Don’t show your face here until Martyn’s been dealt with. And if you fuck this up, Viktor, or piss me off any further, Jadyn’s going to suffer a lot more than broken fingers.”]
[#2b82da “Look at you being fair. I thought you would be happy for the advantage considering I usually catch you up every single time. Hey well, you’ve said it now. 3-3, no turning back. Though I personally think it should be a bonus point to me. Angsty wife and daughter is a double threat and so far, I haven’t missed a shot in terms of earning myself a slap from either of you.”] Demetri teased back but there wasn’t that all too goofy smirk on his face. In fact, his smile was more warming, showing Tessa that he knew the strain on her shoulders and he was around to listen and comfort. He couldn’t change what had happened but he wasn’t going to abandon her anytime soon.
[#2b82da “So long as it doesn’t go too far Tess. I’ve never had to raise my voice at Carla. She does have her mother's spirit but you shouldn’t be a punching bag. We’ve all been through a lot, made bad decisions... hell, I made the one that sent your brother crumbling... I just don’t want to see Carla downward spiralling from feeling so much she turns herself numb.”] Demetri explained his own feelings but he squeezed back on Tessa’s hand to show he was also concerned for her. There had been so much tension in the family that he was waiting for the breaking point. They usually had the pressure of oncoming gangs, attackers, long lost enemies and rarely they would go at each other but what family didn’t? The difference this time was that they seemed to be doing more damage to each other than what their enemies were capable of! For Carla to react the way she did, it just showed the weight of their actions. Even Zach was struggling.
[#2b82da “It’s an option but it is a decision we need to make together. Carla already feels like an outsider and she isn’t that with us. You’ll need to speak to her when we get back and maybe if it goes ok we can bring that up... it isn’t just the family Tess, it’s the city. Hell, the gang have even been thinking or relocating. Maybe we need to do the same. Whatever we decide, we’ll do what is best for our family.”] Demetri promised, quickly learning in to peck her cheek before pulling out his gun as they approached the building. He checked the scope to see that it was communicating what it could see into his ear piece and just as he did it also alerted him of the two large vans.
[#2b82da “In these times and circumstanced I’d say stick together, HOWEVER, we need separate blood types and they are on different wings... You go for Elliot’s blood type and I’ll find Nic’s. Quicker we get them the quicker we can get away from those Rogues but erm, no cheating on the points Tess. I’ve got exceptionally good hearing and I’ll be able to hear you pull that trigger.”] Dem chuckled, squeezing her arm before approaching the door.
[#2b82da “Oh and first one back gets double points!”] He called in a hushed whisper as to not alert the rogues but before Tessa could argue, he was gone and through the double doors to his side of the wing.
It wouldn’t have seemed like much of an action to others... Finn taking his place behind Viktor probably made him look like he just wanted to get closer to the drama so he could watch with a full view. Viktor however appreciated having his brother nearby and knew how that small action actually showed that Finn was by his side. There weren’t many times when Viktor lost his cool but there had been the occasional night out where he may have pissed off a doorman or two and ended up with a block eye and a busted nose. Or if he tried to flirt with a girl who already had a partner, that would often result in a few injuries. Finn was always around to have his back, even if it was to laugh at Viktor licking his wounds and to add salt to the injury. Though those times had their fair share of humorous memories, Viktor was already struggling to keep his composure .
It was even harder as Roland called him a rapist. Viktor let a smirk cross his lips but his heart was smashing against his chest and he could feel the adrenaline practically vibrating inside him to throw a punch. There were many things Viktor could be called but he would never be linked with forcing a man or a woman into anything they didn’t consent too. He may have paused a little longer than he felt comfortable for his act but he brought himself back rolling his eyes.
[+purple “Sure I lie to get them under the sheets... at least they enjoy the show and more often than not [i want] to come back for seconds. I know no one has ever actually wanted you. I'm just glad the trauma doesn’t last very long for them. They won’t have much of a memory to erase, will they? Wasn’t that why they called you one pump back in the day?”] Viktor snarked, feeling his gut wrench at just playing along with the darker side of his brothers' actions but at least he could throw his jibes in. Bastard wasn’t getting off that easily.
[+purple “Oh fuck off... I haven’t interrupted your life since the day I took the only girl who was interested in you away. The ONLY girl. You think I want to get in the way of anything? I just want to carry on with my life and you’re coming in with your shit fucking plans ruining the party. So yeah, I was expecting a little bit more but hey, guess you’re a constant wave of disappointment.”]
There was no doubt Viktor could have kept throwing jibes all day long. Roland wasn’t usually worth his energy but now he knew his intentions he was happy pissing the guy off whilst keeping himself valuable enough to be kept alive. Though as the door opened, Viktor’s smirk which he had kept on his face fell.
He and Xana may have hated each other's guts but he would never wish for the girl to get hurt. She was stuck up, spoilt, egotistical... but it was his little sister. That one mark under her eye brought the same reaction as seeing Finn’s broken finger. His eyes travelled to Jesse... he didn’t really know or care much about the girl but no one deserved that level of torture. Though his eyes finally fell on Bryn, seeing the girl broken and dishevelled on the bed. The sick fuck wouldn’t even cover up for any human decency.
At this point Viktor didn’t bother to hide the disgust on his face. Roland was a freak and a monster, just like their father and Viktor was done with the games. He turned to Roland again, allowing the fire to burn in his eyes but it was also a clear sign for Finn that Viktor was close to snapping.
[+purple “Fine. I’ll play your game, I’ll do what you want but I want Xana out of there, safely, now. You also said not to double-cross you to keep Jadyn safe? Fine. Easy. Want one message so you know exactly what I feel about you?”] Viktor asked and just as quickly gathered as much phlegm in his mouth as possible before spitting it directly at Roland’s face.
[+purple “I hate your fucking guts. Now I’m not double crossing you. You know I hate you, but I’ll do your dirty work. You disgusting little prick.”]
With Lily now taking Ashlynn , Logan headed out with his father to do their own resupply run. It wouldn’t take them too long. A few baby supplies was a walk in the park and both Logan and Jack had more dangerous jobs in the past. It was still a bit odd walking with his father... Logan had been separated for so long and was used to working with Jesse it didn’t feel as comfortable as perhaps it should have. It wasn’t because he didn’t respect or love Jack, in fact he admired the man more than ever! The problem was Logan was still dealing with a hell of a lot of trauma from the Underground, guilt from the loss of his friends and the loss of Alex, and fear that he wouldn’t be able to do Ashlynn any justice.
[+orange “I know we usually just go to the local stores and pick from the shelves but too many people and it’s too public... I know the warehouse where they store a lot of the essentials, it tends to be quiet at this time because they are already out delivering to the city but I scoped it out, saw they already start packing the shelves for tomorrows delivery at this time. Should be plenty for us to take.”] Logan suggested as they reached into the city, his eyes scanning the streets carefully. After what happened with Eleanor the police had an interest in the Brat’s but it seemed her last dying action was making sure the Sanders faces were prominent across all media.
[+orange “Problem is for what we need I don’t know where it is and both of us together... hate to say it but you’re the size of a log and will give the game away if I’m with you. Unless you need me to hold your hand? I know you’re getting a bit rusty, you know? Having to be all paternal... it’s making you soft.”] Logan mocked but there wasn’t that usual spark to his cheeky Sanders smile.
[+orange “I’ll get in through the vents. You can go through the loading bay... should be easy enough unless you have more than a brain cell to conjure up a better plan.”]
[+blue “I know you do, Carla. I trust you.”] Tessa told her daughter, keeping her voice calm and trying not to react to the harsh tone spitting from her daughter’s mouth. Tessa was a rebellious child so she could hardly expect any less from her own daughter. Still, it was a bit out of character for Carla and Tessa hoped that the young girl wasn’t letting everything that happened poison who she was. She would need to have a conversationw ith her daughter, but for now she hoped showing a bit of trust in her would be enough to keep the girl from doing anything too reckless.
Tessa slipped her hand into Demetri’s, curling her fingers around his. She did appreciate Demetri’s support in all of this, but she knew he was probably also frustrated with the way Tessa had been behaving. Fortunately, Dem always knew how to lift her spirits.
[+blue “Considering you’ve been dealing with our angsty teenage daughter all morning, I think that earns you at least a point. And since I’ve been causing my fair share of problems lately, I’m sure I’ve lost at least two, so let's call it a tie at 3-3, sound fair?”] Tessa asked, returning the good nature but there was a weight behind her words that she was sure Dem could hear. Tessa may put on a brave face, but she wasn’t dealing with all of this as well as she wanted the others to think.
Tessa followed her husband outside, staying close but more out of comfort than out of a need to protect Dem. When he had first lost his sight, Tessa hovered over him like a hawk, wanting to protect him from anything else that might threaten to take the love of her life away. But over the years she’d learned that Dem was far from helpless. He was one of the best shooters even without the benefit of his sight and he still had his independence. It was Tessa that felt she was dependent on Demetri. She’d been growing ever more distant from her brothers and with the current friction between her and her daughter, she was practically clinging to her husband to fend off that ever present fear of being left behind.
[+blue “I know. Carla’s got every right to be pissed at me right now, and I can‘t blame her for that. I’d be a hypocrite if I tried to stop her from feeling what she needs to feel. Carla’s been through a lot. I know she still feels guilty about Alex, even though it wasn’t her fault. And no doubt she feels somewhat responsible for not convincing Rylan to stay, even when that was out of her control. I’d rather she take that out on me than on anyone else.”] Tessa admitted. Nathan had been dead for years, yet he still managed to teach his lessons. She remembered once after a particularly harsh fight with Nathan, the man said he wanted her to hate him and push him away so she’d be free to stand on her own two feet and be her own person. It took years for Tessa to let that one sink in, but she finally thought she understood now. There were only a small handful of people in life that would love you unconditionally and forgive you no matter what. Tessa used to think that circle included her brothers, but she was starting to realize that it didn’t. She didn’t want Carla to turn her anger against someone that would turn their back on her for it. Logan and Baxter would only tolerate so much, Rylan was gone, Alex was dead, Maddison was in a coma, and the twins were already at their limits. Carla needed a release and unfortunately, lashing out at any of the family right now could cause even more issues. But Tessa would love her daughter no matter what Carla said or did to her. She would take any snarky remark, any hurtful insult, and every bit of blame Carla pushed on her, and still love that little girl more than life itself. So if she needed to be the punching bag for a while, so be it.
[+blue “Things are changing, Dem. There used to be no doubt in my mind that we belonged here with the family, but… it doesn't feel much like a family anymore, does it? I’d never leave my brother like this, not with everything he’d been through, but… I can’t help but wonder if Carla would be safer growing up away from all of this.”] Tessa admitted. She led the way towards the hospital. It was dark enough outside they should have no trouble slipping in unseen to get the blood bags they needed for Nic, Maddison, and Elliot. Plus there would be some infant supplies they could get for the little ones too, as well as replenish their med kits. It had been a long time since they had to resort to theft like this, but it felt kind of nice doing an old fashion mission with Demetri… that was, until Tessa saw two large vans pull up to the front doors and several masked figures get out.
[+blue “Those look like the guys Bre described… the ones that attacked Nic. They must be Rogues. We can’t exactly shart a shootout in the hospital, but we need those supplies. Ell’s not stable enough without that blood.”] Tessa insisted. They’d have no choice but to try to sneak in and try not to get caught by the Rogues who were clearly here looking for them. Tessa could overhear one saying how: with the injuries, those Brats would have no choice but to see a doctor.
[+blue “What do you think? Sneak in together or split up?”] She asked her husband, feeling the nostalgia of when she and Dem would do missions like this together as teenagers.
When Viktor entered the room, it was as if the temperature dropped several degrees, sending a chill down Finn’s spine. There were very few people the magician had come across that were more intimidating than his oldest brother, yet Finn did his best to keep his composure like Viktor. He didn’t have the benefit of a mask like the Reader or the Silvertongue, but Finn was a performer at heart and he knew how to sway his audience. The trick with Roland was to try not to react to his subtle threats - as challenging as it was. Finn realized pretty quickly that he didn’t trust his own words to keep his cover, so he left the conversation in Viktor’s hands. As a show of support, however, Finn stepped closer to his brother, leaving against the wall next to the couch as a show of solidarity (while crossing his arms and hiding his remaining fingers from view.
[#996633 “Yes, thank you Viktor. You see? Civilized already.”] Roland chipped back, wiping off the blood Viktor had pointed out. He seemed unfazed by the action, considering that blood most certainly belonged to a young teenage girl, quite possibly one of his sisters.
[#996633 “Ah, you’re still selling yourself that old charade, are you? It’s true, your conquests are usually more compliant than mine, but don’t kid yourself Viktor. It's not exactly consensual, is it? You lie and you act and you manipulate them into your bed. At least I’m honest - they might not like it, but they know what they’re in for with me. But you? Think of your last trick, Viktor, would he or she have slept with you if you didn’t manipulate them? Would they willingly do it again without some sort of trick? Are you really any better than me?”] Rolan asked, not knowing about Tori, but he had blindly hit the nail on the head. Tori was a prime example of someone who was interested in Viktor for the character he played and he had left her without a word that morning, with no regard for the consequences she now had to live with.
At the accusation, Finn shifted a little, positioning himself close enough to intervene if one of his brothers lashed out. Call him a softy - but Finn didn’t want to see Viktor get hurt by this bastard just because he lost his temper. Unfortunately, the conversation was getting less and less civilized as it went along.
[#996633 “What do you get? You’re getting greedy Viktor, I just told you that I’d offer you and Finn your lives. It’s not my fault if they’re not worth very much. I could offer you a place among the Privileged in this new city I’m building, but that would be a bit of a risk for me. I don’t trust you any more than you trust me, Viktor. And I won’t have years worth of planning washed away because of your incessant need to interfere.”] Roland retorted, not really eager to make deals with his brothers. He didn’t [i really] need Viktor’s help now that he had Jesse, but it would make his life easier if he had some help taking Martyn out. Especially since the older Silvertongue would be eager to challenge Roland once news got out that his precious little daughter was in danger. Maybe it would be worth making a small deal - its not like they’ll be able to cause too much damage. Roland just needed to ensure his brothers knew the consequences for trying to mess with his plans. Well, that would be easy enough. Finn and Viktor acted tough and apathetic, but they were soft on the inside. They cared about their sisters and that’s what gave Roland the advantage.
When Viktor mentioned how he’d left his mark on Finn, Roland let a cruel smirk play across his face.
[#996633 “Finn’s not the only one I’ve left my mark on. Besides, he still didn’t learn his lesson. He stole something from me before he left - didn’t you Finn?”] Roland turned his sharp gaze to the magician, seeing the cracks in Finn’s composure that were more expertly hidden on Viktor’s.
[#BB00FF “You killed Kenny, didn’t you? You son of a bitch, he was just a kid!”]
[#996633 “He was an annoying little runt who kept hacking into my computers and finding out my plans. But since family is so important to you two, I suppose I could show some good faith.”] Roland stepped over to the french doors that led to Xana’s bedroom, connected to her office. He pulled open the double doors, revealing the unwelcome sight inside:
Xana, dishevelled and bound with her hands behind her back, had a small but deep cut under her left eye. It didn’t seemed like much, but Finn recognized the intent. For the magician, who’s skills and talents depended on his hands, Rolan had broken his fingers. For Xana, the reader, who depended on her eyes, Roland had likely threatened to blind her. Not only would she lose her skills, but for the incredibly vain yet beautiful young girl, a scar like that would destroy her otherwise flawless appearance. Bryn was on the bed with her hands bound tightly to the headboard. It didn’t take much of an imagination to know what the poor girl had been through and now with tear-streaked cheeks, she had curled herself up as much as possible in her position to hide what her torn and ripped clothing wasn’t covering.
Finally, Jesse was on the other side of the room in perfect view of the bed - likely forced to watch what could eventually become her own fate. Her wrists were tied behind her back like her sister, but it was obvious where the blood on Roland’s hands had come from. Jesse’s lips were literally stitched together with thick, red thread and punctures going straight through the skin on her lips. If she moved or tried to open her mouth at all, the painful tug of the thread would cause her agony, not to mention the horrid taste of blood that she was now incapable of spitting out. Roland couldn’t do any permanent damage to Jesse’s voice since he needed her, but leaving her in pain, mute, and forced to silently watch the torment of the other girls would have been enough to keep her in line.
[#996633 “It’s unfortunate that Jadyn couldn’t join us as well, but she’s in one of the labs working on a few projects for me. She was wise enough to be cooperative once she saw what happened to the others. But you need a little more convincing, don’t you Viktor? How about this: I’ll let you take Xana with you to confront Martyn and Lisa Mason. A Reader and a Silvertongue against a Reader and a Silvertongue… sounds like a fair fight to me, and it’s a sign of good will since I know how much you care for our little sisters. Just don’t try to double cross me unless you want Jadyn to join Kenny in the family cemetery.”]
[#2b82da “Carla come on…”]
[+pink “No dad! This isn’t just about moving on! I lost both my cousins, who I was just a third wheel too anyway. Then mum has to open her big mouth as she always does and I’m the one who gets in trouble for being upset? What? I’m not being quiet anymore and you don’t like that? We’re losing family dad and you just expect me to be quiet and behind the scenes like everyone else does!”]
Demetri had been sat with his daughters for hours. Carla was sat on the windowsill, staring out the window with her knees tucked up to her chest and her arms crossed above the top, her revolver hanging loosely from her fingers. He thought she would open up at some point but as the silence continued, Demetri attempted to open up a conversation. Unfortunately it led to a lasting headache and far muddier waters then what he wants to enter. So when Tessa came upstairs he was almost thankful for the offer… almost… their daughters sudden outburst which was so rare stemmed from Tessa’s actions.
[+pink “I know what I’m doing mum.”] Carla snapped back, not moving her eyes from the window.
[#2b82da “She’s just trying to…”] Demetri started but before he could finish, Carla pushed herself from her seat and shoulder barged past her mum, storming up to the rooftop where she could do what she was told.
[#2b82da “Well… that went swimmingly.”] Demetri signed, placing his hand on his hips and taking a moment for the awkwardness to settle.
[#2b82da “Let’s hope this ‘supply run’ goes a little better. What was our last score? We refreshed, right? So… 5-2 to you? I have some catching up.”] He finally smirked, wanting Tessa to at least feel some of the tension off her shoulders. There was enough to talk about but with how his daughter was and how much he himself had messed up with the family, the last thing he wanted was to push his wife away as well.
Flicking on a button on his glasses, he headed out the warehouse with Tessa. The glasses didn’t give him sight but would communicate into an earpiece about what he was walking on, what road, if any objects was in front, any known Street Brat enemies. It allowed him some independence without Tessa having to guide him everywhere but also worked hand-in-hand with his weapons.
Once they were far enough out of the safe house, Demetri ran his fingers across the back of Tessa’s hand.
[#2b82da “She’s just angry. She’s like you. When she’s determined she’s right, she’ll hold onto it until it will settle. We’ve had a lot happen recently… I don’t blame her. I wonder if I’ve been too hard but… what else should I expect from the two women in the family? I’m outnumbered.”] Demetri chuckled.
[#2b82da “My question is Tess… I know you are fiery but… it’s getting dangerous. Even the gang is asking if we should move in with them again but I know leaving the family isn’t an option. Hell, I have a lot of making up to do. So… what’s getting you so het up? I heard you and Elliot. I think most of the house did. I’m worried Tess… Elliot lost his children, Nic’s child is in a coma… I don’t usually admit this stuff out loud but I’m scared for Carla, for you…”]
Viktor was sitting casually on the sofa as he waited for his brothers performance to bring Xana’s attention to the room. If it wasn’t his words it was usual Finn’s little games which would annoy her from her usual sitting space. While he waited he had his arms spread across the back of the sofa, his legs wide and his fingers playing with a loose thread, annoyingly pulling on it with a smug grin. He was waiting for Xana’s frustrated sigh and was grinning to himself, already imagining her rolling her eyes.
Instead a voice stopped his his heart, caught his breath and made him pull on that thread so hard it snapped from the sofa.
With everything that was announced, Viktor was expecting a visit from Roland at some point. He just didn’t expect it to be so soon. He felt like there was a weight pressing down on his chest, all the rage and hatred he had for this man compiling inside him and daring to rip out. Though if there was one thing Viktor was good at, it was being a charismatic silver-tongue. So as Roland stepped in, wiping the blood from his hands, Viktor locked eyes with him with that all too playful smile on his face which he always kept. He didn’t change position on the sofa, keeping up his casual appearance. Deep down inside he felt a sickness in his stomach, a dread for his sister, a desire to go up and grab the bastard while he could… though his face never gave it away.
[+purple “Civilised conversation. Hm… can’t remember what one of those is with you Roland. Oh you erm, missed a bit.”] Viktor pointed to a blood smear on Roland’s thumb with an all too pleasant smirk on his face. If he played it too nice, Roland would catch him out instantly. He’d have to stick to being a sarcastic little shit while also staying on common ground . He also had to hope that Finn didn’t loose his cool and knew that Viktor was playing the game.
[+purple “Talents of a silver-tongue. My, my… I am going up in the world aren’t I? You see, that’s the difference with me and you. She wouldn’t fear physical touch with me, she’d enjoy it. It’s why I was always able to take them away from you Roland. I just know how to treat a woman… or a man… or anything with a pulse…”] Viktor clapped back, hitting back a little on their past but also trying to force himself past the obvious attack Roland was throwing. It was really taking everything to keep Viktor grounded and in check. He had no idea what had happened to Xana, or what this little stunt of Roland’s was leading too. Viktor may have had the family trait of sleeping around but he kept his morals in check. He wasn’t a heartless monster and could never do what Roland had done to so many before him due to his power and wealth.
As Roland talked about his plan stayed where he was sat, reaching for a toothpick that was in his pocket and setting it between his teeth, acting as if he was absently listening. Only every little detail was sinking in. Their brother was more of a psychopath than what he originally imagined. He was the bastard behind all of this and he was happy to take out half the cities population just to get what he wanted. Rolling the toothpick over his lips, Viktor laughed and shook his head once the grand scheme was all revealed, keeping himself leaned back and relaxed as he did.
[+purple “Why the fuck are we not on some reality TV bullshit? This family… we love the theatrics and the drama, don’t we Finn?”] Viktor called, laughing a little more.
[+purple “Alright big shot, great plan, you want me involved but er, notice how you said ‘I’ll secure MY place’? Hm? Oh and don’t think I didn’t notice you’re taking all of daddy’s money and you get all the kudos and the power… you want me to stop a Mason? You want me to do some of your dirty work and for what? Me and Finn to end up in the gutter. You started this by saying a civilised conversation Roland. How do I know I can trust you? Oh wait, wait, wait… fun fact: we can’t.”] Viktor pointed out, finally jumping up to his feet and daring himself to take a step forward to his brother, stopping inches away.
[+purple “I prefer calling it really getting to know people intimately but hey, I’m a pretty hot whore if that’s what you’re saying. Might want to learn a thing or two.”] Viktor cockily retorted as he stood in front of the man he despised.
[+purple “For a business man you’re not really selling it to me. What have you done with Xana? For all I know you’ll leave us here to burn. I need some reassurance Roland. You’ve already left your mark on Finn.”]
[+blue “So now I’m in trouble for agreeing with you? I’m not a mindless lemming, Elliot, I have a mind of my own! I just happened to be on your side! Guess who else just sat there doing nothing, Ell? Hayden! Jack! Lily! Tigan! The whole damn family let you kick him out and the only ones that seemed to have a problem with it were the Smaulders and the hackers!”] Tessa argued back and when Elliot challenged her, she did exactly what he asked. She looked her brother square in the eyes and with an unwaveringly sober tone, she admitted it:
[+blue “I agreed with you kicking Nic out. I knew he was going to leave either way - he [i always] leaves! - and this time, I wanted it to be [i our] choice not his! Because I’m sick of being abandoned, Elliot! I’m sick of him walking out on us and it felt damn good to be the one making the decision for once! I love Nic and I never wanted him hurt like that. But I did want him to learn his damn lesson! To know what it feels like to be the one left behind!”] Tessa stated rather harshly. Taking her cue from her brother, Tessa took a few deep, calming breaths and tried to bring her own temper into check. She knew this wasn’t getting resolved today but she genuinely didn’t want to make things worse.
She wanted to argue her point one last time to make Elliot understand her point of view, but as she watched him stand and grip his chest, her concern for her brother outweighed her need to be right.
[+blue “You need more blood and Lily won’t let me give you anymore. Nic and Maddison probably need more too. Dem and I will make a run to the blood bank and steal some supplies. Don’t worry, we’ll be careful.”] Tessa told him, hoping it would be a peace offering if she agreed to get the supplies for Nic and his daughter as well. After what happened, she wasn’t foolish enough to go alone, but she and Demetri shouldn’t have any trouble. After all, they were the last things you’d never see. Besides, Tess needed some time to clear her head and Dem was usually the best at knocking some sense into her.
[+blue “Dem? Supply run?”] She asked, leaving the room and finding her husband. She knew he’d be able to tell that her conversation with Elliot hadn’t been an easy one.
[+blue “Carla, I need you on security until we get back. If anyone besides a Street Brat sets foot near this building you shoot first, ask questions later, alright sweetheart?”] Tessa knew she’d need to have a conversation with her daughter like Elliot suggested, but it was better to fight that battle with a clear mind. She just hoped giving Carla the responsibility of guarding the safehouse would at least show the mother had full trust in her daughter.
Tori buried her head in her arms, hiding the tears that dripped down her cheeks from ehr twin brother. She could hear him as he stepped closer and knelt in front of her, but Tori refused to look at him. She knew she was probably overreacting - tarik never wants to hurt her, and usually he doesn’t even realize what he said could be hurtful until Tori points it out. Knowing this about her brother, tori was usually very patient with him, even making jokes about what he said so he wouldn’t feel guilty about accidentally offending her. But this time, she couldn’t put on that brave face. Her emotions were raw from everything that had happened and his words were affecting her far more than usual. But she could tell he was trying to make things right. He didn’t storm off and leave her to cry, he stayed and tried to explain his reasoning - that it was born of concern and doubt, not of cruel judgements. Eventually, Tori raised her head, peering up at her brother through tear-blurred eyes.
[#ff00ff “I know I scared you and I… I never meant to, Tarik, I just… I can’t explain it. It was like I couldn’t think of anything else when I was with Viktor, and that makes me feel even worse! What kind of person runs off on a date when her best friend is in a coma? And I never meant for things to go that far, but… I just got carried away and the next thing I knew…”] Tori couldn’t believe she had let herself get swept up like that. She was usually so timid and cautious, how had she let a stranger she’d only known for a few days convince her to go that far?
[#ff00ff “But I am stupid, Tarik! I thought he really liked me! I should have listened to you from the start. You warned me he was only after one thing and you said… wait… you said you saw him with Tigan, was that true?”] Tori asked, now raising her eyes to meet her brother’s fully. At first, she had thought Tarik was just saying anything to drive her and Viktor apart and used Viktor’s friendship with Tigan as a catalyst, but if Tarik had been telling the truth about what he saw… Did Tigan kow? Tigan had been in support of Toriu dating Viktor from the beginning, did he know Viktor was playing her this whole time? How could Tigan do that to her? He was like a big brother to Tori!
[#ff00ff “I… I feel like I’m going to be sick!”] Tori said, feeling a sudden wave of nausea hit her. She jumped u0p, pushed by her brother and ran to the washroom to throw up. She thought at first it was just because she was overwhelmed and worked up, but there was another far more concerning trigger - Tori was pregnant. The one night she was desperate to forget would now change her life forever.
As Finn and Viktor entered Xana’s office, everything appeared the same as when they left aside from the now empty cell where Jesse had previously been. That alone wasn’t much reason for concern though - both Finn and Viktor had known Xana was bullshitting about Jesse being a prisoner and with their visit being unannounced, she could easily have Jesse wantering about the building. When they entered the room, Xana’s high backed office chair was turned away from the door, making it so they couldn’t see who was in it. While Viktor threw himself down into his chair, Finn played his typical antics. He disappeared in a puff of purple smoke, only to reappear directly in front of Xana’s turned office chair with a smirk that died as soon as he saw that the chair was empty.
[#996633 “Unfortunately, Xana is a little occupied at the moment. Of course, you could just ask me directly, Viktor. It’s about time you and I had a civilized conversation, isn’t it?”] A deep voice snapped Finn’s attention to the door where a man walked in: tall, with broad shoulders, dressed in an expensive, tailored suit which would have made him look quite civilized indeed, were he not in the process of whiling blood off his hands onto a pristine, white handkerchief. The sight sent a chill down Finn’s spine and he didn’t miss the threatening glance Roland sent his way, clearly unimpressed that the magician had gone running straight to Viktor after being told specifically to stay out of Roland’s way.
[#996633 “Your timing is impeccable, Viktor. I actually came here to see if Xana had any idea where I could find you. You see I need the talents of a Silvertongue for my next operation, and I was under the impression you’d be the easiest to persuade. When I arrived, however, I discovered I was wrong - that doesn’t happen very often. I found that our dear sister had a Silvertongue practically gift wrapped for me and she comes with the convenient weakness of fearing physical touch. Well, who says you can’t mix business with pleasure.”] Roland stated, wanting to get under Viktor’s skin. With Roland it was never the grand gestures, it was always subtle threats. Like breaking Finn’s fingers - a taste of what damage could be done and targeting Finn’s vulnerability - without full use of his hands, he couldn’t be a magician or a thief! It was just a finger now, but it could be so much worse. Even his actions of wiping the blood from his hands, not giving any indication of whose it was, but making a point to acknowledge that neither Xana nor Jesse were still in the room. He let their minds race with the possibilities, wanting the unknown to set them on edge. His plans always went more smoothly when his opponents were off their game. It was going to be fun messing with the little redhead this way. Roland liked to have his fun as much as Viktor did, the difference however was that he wasn’t as concerned with consent as his little brother was.
[#996633 “The grand plan is simple, Viktor. The bomb will be detonated, killing half of the population and sending the city sinking into the Underground. The explosion will be blamed on those meddlesome Street Brats, which will drive the City Council to action. I’ll convince the council that vermin like those Street Brats belong in the Underground pit they created, and those of us with a higher standing deserve to prosper from it. A new class system will fall into place, marking the wealthiest among us to be the most powerful, and with father’s inheritance in my hands that will place me as one of the ruling members. All I need is a Silvertongue to ensure the council goes along with my suggestion, and I’ll secure my place of power and rid this city of those annoying, street urchins all at once.”] Rolan explained, and now that he had Jesse in his possession, he had everything he needed for his plan. Most would have been satisfied with that - put their plans to action and reep the rewards, but Rolan was a strategist and a good plan wasn’t good enough. Everything had to be perfect.
[#996633 “There’s just one last loose end I need to tie up. One last Silvertongue unaccounted for. Martyn Mason has the skill and potential to convince the council not to go ahead with my plans, especially if he believes he has a chance to save his young daughter by intervening. I need him stopped. I know you've been whoring yourself out to those Street Brats, Viktor - one of them being Martyn Mason’s younger brother. Find out where I can find Martyn, and I’ll allow you and Finn to leave the city before the explosion and no further harm will come to either of you.”] Rolan offered, seemingly not including Xana or Jayden in the deal - both of whom were in the back room with Jessa and Bryn at the moment, heavily guarded. Jadyn’s talents could disarm the bomb, so she couldn’t be allowed to go free, and Xana knew far too much about his plans simply by reading him. They weren’t getting out of this alive.
All posts are either in parody or to be taken as literature. This is a roleplay site. Sexual content is forbidden.