Chapter 1: Infiltration
This is how the world will go
La le lo, so it goes
A lady from the blackest night
Shall perform the darkest right
All the world shall cry for her
And call her now: The Liar
The group gathered inside of the Egbert-Strider apartment at seven PM sharp. They had all dressed in their ideal infiltration garb—Jade wore black a sweater, sweatpants, gloves, and a hat. Dave was in a black tuxedo and Rose wore a black trenchcoat. John tops both of them, wearing a black tuxedo underneath a brown trenchcoat, he looks like a cross between James Bond and the Tenth Doctor. Kanaya dressed in black skinny jeans and a very tight black shirt (Dave quickly noticed that part, but he was a master at not showing it). Karkay shows up looking a lot like Jade, except he decorated his face with war paint. Sollux shows up looking like he always does.
“Guys… what are you wearing?”
John glares at him. “What are you wearing!? Aren’t we supposed to be breaking and entering into Felt offices?”
He sighs and looks to the heavens, mustering all of the patience he can find. “Yes. And the plan is not to draw attention to ourselves by dressing as stereotypical... whatever the hell youre supposed to be.”
“Come one, lets go.
Dejected, the rest follow him out of the apartment.
“Way to kill the mood, buddy.” Dave mutters behind him.
“Anyways,” Jade quickly says to stop any arguments that might be forming, “What are our targets today?”
“Their’s ten office buildings of various companies that our…. Parents… believed might actually be fronts for the Felt to manage their operations. We’re going to go check them out to see if any of them still house the Felt, if they ever did at all. If we actually suceed, we go in and extract information. Simple.”
“Alright.” John nods. “So how far out is the first target?”
“Ten miles. Let’s hurry and leave.”
So Dave drove John, Sollux, and Karkat there followed by Rose, Jade, and Kanaya. When they got within a mile they found some free parking and and walked the rest of the way, Sollux wincing in expectation of the judgmental stares. And because it was New York, no one gave them a second glance.
After a few minutes they find themselves staring at their first target. Looking through binoculars, John spots one security guard patrolling outside of the building, and more probably inside.
Dave rises, cracks his knucles, then starts towards the guard. “Alrighty, let’s do this.”
Rose kicks him. “Hold it, Strider. I’ll take this one.”
And they watch her as she walks towards him, John heading after her after a second.
The guard notices her after a second and walks to meet her, frowning. “I’m sorry, miss, can I help you?”
Rose quickly darts forward and places her hand on his chest. The guard jolts as if struck by lightning, before his eyes flash blacks and he goes perfectly still. Rose turns her head away and covers her mouth, feeling bile rise in her throat at the memory of doing that to John. The feeling passes, and when she turns back to the guard he is looking at her attentivley. Rose eyes him with suspicion.
“Are you a member of the Felt, or the Dersite Legion?”
“No, my mistress.”
She nods at him. “As you were.” And walks away.
John follows her, startled. “Wait, that’s it!?”
She shrugs. “I’m only making an assumpion here, but I assume that if Scratch uses a building for his operations, he’d have his own people guard it.”
They reach the others and Sollux marks off their location on his list. “Right, let’s move on the next one.”
As they walk on, Dave asks curiously, “So what exactly is the plan once we actually find the building.”
“We break into the head office, find a way to get into their computer, then download everything on there.”
“So… how to we get onto the computer.”
John grins. “Don’t worry, I got this.” And pulls out a replica Sonic Screwdriver. It then strikes Rose that his Doctoresque appearance might not actually be a coincidence. While the other look baffled and seem to have no idea what the Screwdriver was, Doctor Who was by far one of her favorite TV shows (not that she ever told anyone (and not better than Squiddles, of course (She let this be known far less than her love of Doctor Who))). She particularly enjoyed psychoanalyzing the Doctor and his companions, and loudly listen everything that was wrong with him. She had known John for three years and never knew that he enjoyed the show. They would have to watch it together some time.
But in the meantime, they went on with their objective. The second office proved just as useless as the first, as did the third. They weren’t holding their breath when they reached the fourth, which was a good thing because that and the fifth proved just as useless. By the time they got to the sixth even John had begun to grow bored. At the seventh Karkat had grown disillusioned with the ordeal and had begun to contemplate leaving. At the eight building they had all grown sick of asking, “Are you a member of the Felt or Dersite Legion?” and hearing the same old, “Yes, my Mistress.”
“Wait, what!?” John exclaims, doing a double take.
The enthralled guards looks confused. “I am a member of the Felt.”
Dave snaps awake at this (he’s been sleeping walking since around office five). “Wait, this is the Felt building?” He yawns sleepily.
The guard shakes his head. “No, but I do know of others.”
Sollux hands him the list of buildings they had marked. “Are one of these...?” He asks hopefully.
The guard scrutenizes the two names on the list. “No.”
He scrawls down a name and adress on the list. “Here’s the closest one, it’s only a few blocks away.”
Sollux takes the list back and adds somewhat grumpily. “Thanks.”
Rose smiles at him and pats him on the head. She actually pats him (John feels that his position as boyfriend is being threatened by the perfectly subservient beings that Rose creates. He gives the guard and appropriately threatening glare. It's less than intimidating). “Thank you very much. You can resume your duties.”
The guard bows low. “As you wish, Mistress.”
The seven head out, a bit more energetic now that they know that their journey is near an end. They quickly march up to the poor, confused security guard and Rose corrupts him before he can even ask who they are.
Rose looks him in the eyes. “You are a member of the Felt, correct?”
He nods. “Yes, my Mistress.”
“And this is one of their office buildings? Everyone who works here is a member?”
“How many people are in there?"
“Just a few guards, everyone else has left for the night.”
“Okay, take us to you boss’s office.”
So he leads them into the office and takes them to the elevator, heading to the top floor. And they exit right infront of three guards. They seem uncertain of what to do.
“Uh, Leonard, who’re these?”
“VIPs from Scratch.” He answers smoothly.
They seem to accept that. “Ah, figures. He never tells us anything…” He looks at the seven in fright. “I-uh, not that that’s a bad thing! No, no, no, he’s the boss, he doesn’t have to tell us anything! Infact, I respect him for that! Not wasting any time with useless mooks like us! Ahaha… hahaha... carry on!”
The enthralled guard continues on to the executive office. “It’s here, mistress.”
Rose nods gratefully. “Thank you.” They look in the office, and eye the computer that sits atop of his desk. “Could you grant us acess to his computer?”
The guard shakes his head mornfully. “I’m sorry, mistress, but I do not know the password.”
However, John is stepping forward, a curious gleam in his eyes. “Hey, does anything bad happen if you enter the wrong password?”
“No. I’ve been warning the boss that he should update the security, but he’s quite complacent, and careless.” He shakes his head sadly. “The security is terrible here, really. I’ve been meaning to email Mister Scratch about that.”
Dave gives John a quizzical glance. “Hey bro, you’re not actually thinking about hacking into it, are you?”
John laughs. “Hack!? I’m just going to try and guess his password.”
He sits down in the (remarkably comftorable) leather chair and boots up the computer. It’s an older model desktop, like the one his dad owned (thinking about the man still sends stabs of pain into his heart, but they aren’t as brutal as before). He starts to think: what is important to this man?
He tries a few variations of that to no avail.
WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO HIM DEVOUR
The Voice seems to give a self satisfied chuckle.
HUMANS ARE SO PREDICTABLE
“Okay, I’m in.”
Amidst cries of, "Holy crap how did you do that!?" Sollux shoves him to the floor, sits down, and acesses the computer. He begins typing rapidly, muttering to himself.
“Alright, let’s see what we have here… huh, let’s check his documents, an… Oh dear god….”
John looks up in concern. “What is it!?”
“He… he…” Sollux’s face is a mask of horror.
John shoves him out of the chair and looks at the screen, and he gapes in shock as he reads the document’s contents. “This… this isn’t…?”
“But it is!”
“Ahem.” Everyone turns back to Rose, who looks back with amusement in her eyes.. “Don’t mind me asking, but what exactly did you find there?”
Sollux states in disbelief, “He… has a document with his email address and password. Is this guy some kind of idiot?” He asks the guard.
“No, sir, he’s actually rather brilliant. Although quite forgetful.” The guard scratches his chin in thought. “Maybe that’s why he refused the updated security protocols. He’d probably set them off more often than any thief would.”
“Right, right.” Sollux mutters as he skims through a few more files on the computer. Then he loads up the man’s email, and his face breaks into delight. “Oh, yes! This is… whew.” He laughs as he notices that about half of the emails are from Scratch. He takes a flash drive out of his pocket and starts uploading files to it.
“Okay, I’ll take anything that looks important and look through them back at the Hive.” He snaps the drive out of the computer before booting it off. “Lets go.”
Dave nudges the guard. “Hey, do you think you could wipe us off of the security vids?” He asks, pointing at a camera. The guard looks to Rose, who nods in return.
“Hey, I like this guy!”
Rose elbows him in the stomach before speaking to the guard. “Alright, Leonard. After you do that, head home. Tell your co-workers that we’ve asigned you to an important task that they must never ask about. It’s for the sake of Lord English, it is that important. When you arrive at your house, you will find yourself feeling very sleepy. And when you wake up tomorrow you will remember none of what happened tonight. It will have been an unenventful night, as always.”
“Yes, my mistress.”
John grins. “Well, I’d say that tonight was worth it. Let’s head out, everyone!”
After all was said and done, Rose asked John if he preferred the Classic Doctor Who Series or the New Series. His response: "There was a classic series?"
She died a little inside.
Chapter 2: Moving
Kanaya heads down to the medicine storeroom at five in the morning to get a new bottle of ibuprofen. She does this because she is the official team nurse. She laughs when she thinks about that. When she isn’t practicing on her dreams of becoming a fashion designer she’s acting as primary assistant to Sollux. When she isn’t working with him, she’s the nurse to Feferi, the team doctor. If she isn’t needed there she literally walks around untill someone asks her to do something. She really likes helping people. Probably a psychological disorder. Tavros would approve of that, seeing as it agrees with his theory that everyone here is crazy.
However, something is very wrong here. She’s left the main medical storeroom, but one of the smaller storerooms, the ones that house the less needed drugs, has a light on. No one else ever comes down here except Feferi on occasion. She cautiously peeks in the room to see Gamzee rummaging some bottles on a shelf.
He jumps a little before turning to give her a sheepish grin. He’s trying to hide some pills behind his back.
“Oh, uh, hey there Kay.”
Something’s wrong with his voice. She frowns. “Gamzee… are you sober?”
“Oh, uh, yeah. Not for long, though.”
She sighs before wrestling the pills away from him. It’s a bit difficult, seeing as he’s very strong despite being so scrawny, but he doesn’t put up as much a fight as he usually does. Strange. She sighs again as she looks at the pills. “Gamzee, we’ve told you many times that you can’t get high off of our… Gamzee, you can’t get high off of this at all.”
He grins a little. “Yeah… uh, surprise! I’m putting myself through detox!”
She frowns. “Whatever for?”
“Well, uh, as you’ve probably noticed, a doped up Gamzee is a useless Gamzee, so I… uh, guess I’d rather not be that Gamzee. That, and if the world does come to an end I’d rather not be stuck with an addiction that I can’t feed.”
“That’s… that’s actually pretty smart…”
“Oh, uh, thanks.”
“BUT we are going to talk to Feferi about this. She is the official doctor, and we’ll need her opinion on how to handle this.”
“Right, uh, right. It’s a plan. I guess I’ll stop shooting up tomorrow.”
Kanaya narrows her eyes at him.
“You will stop shooting up tomorrow.”
During a shared period where none of the four had classes they all shared lunch together. Starting yesterday, they’d decided to upgrade their lunch group and eat with all of the Trolls. John was engaging Karak in a particularly heated debate over the glorious nature of Con Air when Sollux walked up to their group. Karkat’s eyes go wide with fear.
“NO!!!” He screams has he tackles Sollux to the ground. It was hard to say who was more surprised, John, Jade, or Sollux. Rose and Dave were too busy cracking up.
“I- Karkat, we already discussed this. You’ve been out voted.”
“NO NO NO! I FORBID THIS!”
Gamzee walks over and calmly pulls a tearful Karkat off of Tavros. He pats his friend on the head. “There there, Karkat. What’s to worry about.”
He jabs a finger at Dave. “HIM!”
As Gamzee drags Karkat away to console him, the four give Sollux a confused stare. “What was that about?” John wonders.
Sollux climbs back to the bench. “Well, today before we left for the university, we held another meeting.”
Rose raises and eyebrow. “So what was the topic?”
“Well, we were considering—actually, most everyone voted in favor of—inviting you to live with us in the Hive.”
John grins. “Wow, thanks! Uh, why did this come up?”
“Well, we figured that it would be easier to relay information to you if you were always in the same place as us. Also, if the Reckoning does actually happen it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle to keep you all in a protected area. And don’t worry about being a burden; we have plenty of extra rooms.”
“Huh.” He turns to his three friends. “What do you guys think?”
Dave shrugs, Rose inclines her head after a moment of consideration, and Jade hesitantly nods after seeing the other two’s reactions.
“Great, that’s settled than. Ah, how do we get your possessions over to the Hive, though?”
Dave thinks for a moment. “Well, Egbert has his pickup truck, and we have super strength. It’ll take a few trips, but we can get everything there.”
John nods in agreement. “Okay, shall we start loading things up as soon as we get home?”
No one has anything better to do, so there are no objections. Tavros wheels himself by, grinning happily. “It’ll be great living with you guys!”
Karakt cries softly in a corner.
And this is where the difference between men and women become apparent. Rose and Jade spend the rest of the afternoon packing what they can into assorted, labeled boxes to ship off to the Hive once the boys are done with their loads.
John and Dave carry everything big and hefty and dump the haphazardly into the truck bed to ship off to the Hive. Dave takes all of the smaller things—books, video games, clothes, toiletries, and food—and loads them into his trunk. It’s messy, chaotic, and efficient. They’ve moved their possessions into the Hive in less than an hour (including the drive). Rose and Jade take three. They spend the rest of the afternoon moving everything into their respective rooms. The Trolls hold a welcoming party that least the rest of the night. And only three of them don’t need sleep.
Jack looks at his phone and frowns. Scratch is calling him. Knowing better than to keep a paying customer waiting, he quickly answers the phone. “Yeah, whaddaya want?”
“A most… surprising development has occurred in the plan.”
“Oh, do tell.” His voice drips with sarcasm.
“I mean, the children have somehow managed to get their hands upon one of my highest ranking officer’s email account.”
“… I’m assuming you planned that.”
“Not at all.”
“Then… how the hell did they… wait, how do you even know this?”
“I told you, I have an agent amongst them. He does keep me well informed.”
“So what are you going to do about it?”
If Jack had taken a drink, he would be spitting it out right now.
“No, information will be sent as usual. I will, of course, watch them closer than before. They have… surprised me. This is very interesting. Very… unsettling.” The man hangs up. Jack stares at his phone. It was possible to disturb the head of the Felt? He was looking forward to meeting those kids.
The rooming arrangements ended up being
Karkat moved to a different hallway shortly after that.
Chapter 3: Aduction
Being a Demon, John reflects, has many advantages. He gets some crazy awesome devouring/healing powers, some physic sonar that activated when Rose corrupted him, not to mention some super strength and speed. One of those advantages, however, is not improved grades. With all the stress of being attacked his grades (which, while never great, were always adequate), have begun to slip. Of course, every at the school attributes this to the recent death of his Father, and that is partially correct. Everyone there still treats him as though he’s fragile as glass.
Rose was always brilliant, so no matter what anyone throws at her she doesn’t require much studying to keep up with the demands of school.
Dave’s also quite smart, and even if he wasn’t the high speed life with Dirk left him more than capable to deal with the tension that the Felt imposed unto his life.
And while Jade hadn’t yet become a demon, she spent enough time stressing over her friends that becoming a Demon wouldn’t exactly change her life. And she was dealing with the stress and school load perfectly. John, however, was now being tutored by Rose and Kanaya to hold a basic understanding of his schoolwork. It wasn’t particularly fun.
They’d been living with the trolls for almost a week now, and it was definitely and interesting experience. You learn a lot about people when you live in close proximity with them.
For instance, Vriska enjoys getting up really early with Nepeta. Well, Nepeta enjoys getting up. Vriska enjoys trying to wake everyone else up.
Kanaya never seems to sleep because she’s always helping someone, but everyone else gets up at about normal times. Except Karakt. He’d probably sleep all day if he could.
Another interesting fact is that the usually cheerful Gamzee is very irritable and grumpy, although apparently he’s getting over his drug addiction so that is to be expected. Rose seems very worried about that and had a long talk with Feferi (who’s apparently a doctor or something) to make sure that she knew what she was doing.
But somehow the four blended well into their hectic lifestyle, and life continued on with relative normality. The only problem was Jade.
Every time they looked at her, the air filled with tension because they knew that it was about to be her turn. Any day now, the Felt might come and try to turn her into a Demon.
So they worked out a system, and she was never alone outside the Hive. Dave, Rose, or John would always escort her wherever she needed to go. They never really needed to worry about school; all of her classes are shared with one of the three or Kanaya (One of the few Trolls who actually makes an effort to show up to her classes).
John walks with her as they leave the university for the day. He silently reflects on the fact that he hasn’t seen any mysterious black robed men for four days now. That was very worrying.
Dave and Rose were outside waiting near the cars (Another note, they car pooled with the Trolls now. Boy, that was fun) making sure that the Felt couldn’t come near them. And yet John still had the feeling that everything was going to go horribly wrong.
IT IS BUT FATE DEVOUR
YOU CANNOT FIGHT FATE
SHE WILL TURN AND ALL WILL DIE
Not if I can help it.
IVE HEAR THOSE WORDS A THOUSAND TIMES AND HAVE YET TO SEE A PERSON DEFY THEIR FATE
A thousand times?
ACROSS A THOUSAND REALITIES
What the hell does that mean?
YOU SHALL KNOW ALL IN TIME
Oh come on!
BUT NOW FATE HAS ARRIVED
His senses go into overdrive and he sends out his psychic sonar to reveal… nothing. He grips a very confused Jade close to him and hurries to the door.
Voice!? Voice, what the hell does that mean!? Voice!?
He keeps sending out the sonar as they head out the door, and although he doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary he’s starting to get some bad vibes. He regrets not strengthening this power because it only goes out a few feet. Really, the only thing that’s it good for is seeing behind him. And fuck, the cars were a good walk away from them. He leans close to Jade and sends out another pulse, whispering, “Call Dave and tell him to LEAD PIPE!!!”
His psychic sonar did a good job of picking up that lead pipe. Unfortunately, his brain failed in the logistics department as he whirls around to confront his assailant. Turning to face your attacker doesn’t do much to dodge the lead pipe, but it does help to lead pipe to smack you right in the face.
And true to his Demonic form, it will barely leave a bruise. In fact, the impact hurt the pipe more than it hurt him. The poor thing snapped in half. That being said, getting hit with a pipe will still knock you off of your feet and daze you for a few seconds. A few seconds is enough time for your assailant’s friends to run up, grab your very confused friend, and shove into a van and start driving away.
John realizes this in horror as he staggers to his feet and starts to charge after the vehicle. The Felt minion who initially assaulted him tackled him back to the ground, apparently having decided to stay and risk his life to get Jade to Scratch. John is not pleased and punches the man into a wall. Meanwhile other college students are screaming about an abduction and running around everywhere. He groans and gets up, only to see Rose and Dave running to him. They’d heard the shouts and pretty much figured out what they meant. Dave stops, takes a look at John and the cultist before whirling to face the latter.
He picks him up the neck and slams him against the wall.
“Alright.” He begins in a pleasantly calm voice. “Where did you take her?”
The cultist is sobbing in fear. “The… the hospital. Same as usual.”
Dave nods. “Thanks buddy.” And smashes his face into the wall.
Rose is carefully scrutinizing John despite his assurances that he’s alright. The trolls that haven’t left yet wander up to them.
Gamzee walks up cautiously. “Hey, uh, do you need you to do anything?”
Dave gives a quick shake of his head. “No, just head back to the Hive. Leave us a car.”
They get the feeling that they shouldn’t question him right now and leave.
John’s looking at Dave now. “So, are we going to—“
“WHAT THE HELL, EGBERT!?” Dave hisses, venom dripping from his voice.
“I uh, I… s-sorry.” He hangs his head in shame. The three head to their car in a cold silence.
Dun dun dun dun!
Chapter 4: Deal with the Devil part 1
Jade was terrified when John was attacked and she was shoved in a dark van. She was frightened as they drove her to god-knows where. But by the time they had led her to a room, she only had a vague feeling of irritation. So when Doctor Scratch walks in the room she’s over her fear and returns his bright smile with an angry glare.
“Ah, Miss Harley. How are you?”
“Let me go right now!”
He chuckles. “Ah, a fiery one. Alas, I’m afraid I cannot do that just yet. That would, of course, undermine the purpose of bringing you here in the first place.”
“So what, you’re gonna inject me with some chemicals then go on your merry way?”
“Why of course not. Unless…” He pulls a white horsepill out of his pocket and offers it to her, giving her a hopeful look.”I don’t suppose that you would be so kind as to take this right now and spare us any drama and trouble.”
He sighs and pockets the pill. “Well then, we’re going to wait right here for your friends to arrive. We will have some most interesting discussions, we shall.”
He gives her a litte smirk before stepping out of the room. He comes back in a few seconds later with a steaming tray. “Would you like a cookie?” He smiles winningly. “They’re chocolate-chip.”
She growls back at him.
Dave speeds through the traffic with wild abandon. As John clings to Rose for dear life, he notes with worry that they haven't passed any police cars on their journey. Did Scratch clear the way for them? Why would he want them to come to him? Needless to say, he has a bad feeling about this.
He leans forward and yells at Dave, “Dave! Calm down!”
Dave turns back to John and gives him a toothy grin. “Relax, bro. I’m calmer than I’ve ever been.”
Dave Strider was not calm.
“Ah, the culmination of my long existence is soon to be here. I have to admit, your companions have proven more difficult to manage than I had anticipated. They adapted to their powers with great haste. My poor little children couldn’t possibly handle them with only a dagger to fight with.”
He flashes her a shark like grin, pulling a pistol from his coat. “Ah yes, the daggers. I assume your friends have told you about the daggers? Well, thank goodness we don’t have any guns like that!”
Jade swallows as sudden malice forms in his violet eyes, worries at the voice dripping with sarcasm. “Oh, wait.” His voice suddenly reverts to the happy, chipper tone it always has. He softly strokes the gun with pride. “We do. Just perfected them two days ago. They’re about to go into mass production. Won’t your buddies be surprised? ”
Dave screeches into the hospital parking lot and leaps out of the car. John stumbles out and kisses the earth, and Rose nearly does the same. As they run to catch up to Dave, John looks around in confusion. The place is deserted. There aren’t any cars in the parking lot, and he can’t see any movement through the window. The lights are out in the building, save for one window where Jade must be.
Dave calmly ambles up to the two mooks guarding the main entrance. They stride up to meet him, both wearing confident smirks that quickly fade when he darts forward lifts them up by their necks.
“WHERE IS SHE!?” He roars out (Dave strider WAS NOT CALM!).
One man bursts into tears, the other soils himself.
“R-room four thirteen! P-p-please don’t kill us!”
Dave nods cordially at them before smashing their heads together. He doesn’t know if he’s killed them. He doesn’t really care. He heads straight through the doors and turns towards the elevators, John and Rose hurrying to catch up. The sudden rush of violence has taken all emotion out of his system, and he shivers slightly. A chill runs through his veins, and he feels so detatched from his emotions. He can’t think of anything other than Doctor Scratch’s head on a pike.
The elevator dings and the three get off. They glance at a sign before turning right to head to their room. As Dave reaches for the knob, John stops him and steps in front. He sends out his thoughts.
There’s only two people in the room, Jade and Scratch. Scratch feels funny, probably due to his “Eternal Demon” Status. There isn’t any back up.
John looks to his friends, looks them in the eyes, and opens the door.
He steps in.
Scratch turns around.
He beams at the boy.
“Ah, Jonathan! Glad you could make it!”
And fires six times into John’s torso.
Well, since summer is coming to an end and school is about to start back up, I'm going to have to revert back to the once a week uploads. See you then.
Chapter 5: Deal With the Devil, Part 2
John looks down in shock. A splash of crimson slowly stains his bright white shirt. The moment feels surreal, he’s not sure if he’s awake or asleep.
Another hole appears in his stomach and a flash of pain tells him that he isn’t dreaming. Slowly, he lifts his head to look at Scratch. The simple movement seems to take all of his strength. It seems to take an eternity to make any movement.
Two more shots rock his body by the time he can bring his head up to look ahead. Scratch is standing before him, still as death. Smoke rises lazily out of the gun’s barrel and bullet casings are drifting down in slow-motion.
He realizes that he’s falling backwards, oh so slowly until he hits something. Dave, who was following him close behind, not expecting John to stop so suddenly. They impact each other, and John rebounds off of him and starts falling forwards to the floor.
As John hits the floor with a spray of blood, Rose screams and Dave jumps. Rose immediately gets down to check on John, but Dave steps over his friend’s body and stares at Scratch.
“Hello there, children. Now, I’d like to set a rule for this meeting. Don’t attempt to use your powers on me. It won’t work, and I’ll shoot Jonathan again in the response to the sheer insult of it. Now that that’s over…” He leans over and picks up a tray. “Would anyone like a cookie?”
Dave takes one and icily bites into it. It’s amazing how he can make such a simple gesture seem so aggressive and threatening.
“Right then. On we go. Mrs. Harley, would you be so kind as to take the pill now?”
“Why should I?” Her voice has lost some of its edge, but she’s still somewhat defiant.
Scratch gestures at the door, which slams shut. “Because until you take the pill, no one is getting out, and if you don’t take it soon, Jonathan is going to die.”
Rose tries to open the door. Of course it doesn’t open. She whirls around and glares at Scratch. “So why don’t you just force her and be done with it?”
He chuckles in response. “That’s what I’m doing. Unfortunately, the medicine has to be taken with some semblance of free will, but I am allowed to bend the rules like this.” He turns back to Jade. “Now Mrs. Harley, I am going to make you an offer. This offer is more than generous. You take the pill, and everyone can leave alive. If you wait, Jonathan will be bleed out and we’ll move onto the next target. Maybe Mrs. Lalonde? Maybe… David?” He grins, placing the gun’s barrel directly between Dave’s eyes; so close that it touches the plastic frame of his shades. Dave doesn’t even flinch.
Jade swallows. She prepares herself to say yes. But she’s interrupted by a sigh from Scratch.
He turns and gives Rose a condescending look. “Mrs. Lalonde, I thought I asked you to refrain from using your powers.”
BANG goes John’s knee. This time he screams in pain.
Rose jumps and swallows a few times, before looking up at Scratch with wide yes. “You- bu- you… you’re immune!?”
He shakes his head. “Did I not just tell you that?”
Dave frowns and stretches out his hand. The air before him sizzles into a gray static, but Scratch is unaffected. The man glowers at Dave. “Are you really that stupid?” He asks in disbelief.
BANG goes John’s other knee.
“Now, if we can-“
“You… Sunnova… BITCH!!!” John screams and latches onto Scratch’s leg. He tries to Devour the man, he really does try, but his head is spinning and the world seems too bright.
Scratch looks down at the boy, looking disconcerted for the first time that they’ve ever seen. He tries to shake him off but John hangs on for dear life for reasons he doesn’t quite know. To get him off, Scratch finally kicks him in the face.
John’s head snaps backwards and for a moment he’s horribly still. Everyone looks down at him, wondering if he’d actually died. But then draws in a ragged breath and wheezes out: “You… killed… him…”
Scratch cocks his head quizzically. “How on earth did you… of course…” He chuckles slightly. “Of course he would tell you.”
He quickly turns to Jade, remembering while he’s here. “Now, Mrs. Harley, I believe that Jonathan isn’t looking too good. What is your decision?”
She glares at him. “Fine…” She mutters.
He offers her the pill in his outstretched hand. She examines it. To think that such a tiny, harmless looking thing would have caused so much pain in such a short time was almost laughable.
Dave glowers at the Doctor, wanting so bad to smash his face in and destroy him. But he’s beyond their powers, and that terrifies Dave.
Rose kneels next to John, softly stroking his face and whispering words of comfort. She looks up at Scratch in fear, glaring at that smug face.
John lays face down on the floor, not doing much of anything at the moment.
Jade swallows the pill, and Scratch gives her a soft smile. “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt a bit. Mrs. Lalonde can attest to that. Now, you’ve kept your end of the deal, and I shall keep mine. Good day, children.”
And, before they can blink, he’s walked out the door and they’re alone.
Chapter 6: Deal With the Devil, Part 3
John groans, and everyone looks down at him.
“It’s okay John, we-“ Rose starts.
She doesn’t understand, but Dave seems to and he drags her and Jade out of the room. He kicks the door shut behind him and keeps on running, dragging the confused girls farther and farther away. For a moment, all they can hear is their footsteps, but suddenly they’re swallowed by a dull roar. Rose stumbles and almost loses her as the wind rushes behind them, but Dave's grip is iron and he keeps struggling forward. This goes on for a few seconds before it abruptly ceases. They turn around and gape in awe.
There is a massive spherical hole in the hospital, and a somewhat better looking John kneeling at the bottom.
Dave grins, grabs Jade, and leaps down. Jade screams in horror as he laughs, but in the end they safely land at the bottom. Rose clumsily follows in a slower fashion.
At the bottom Dave and John look at each other, and Dave pats him on the back. All is forgiven. No words need to be spoken.
They make their way back to the car, but John is still limping and doubled over in pain, which concerns everyone greatly. When they finally reach their vehicle, Dave starts for the driver’s seat but John stops him, instead motioning for Rose to take that spot. Jade rides shotgun and Dave gets in the back with John.
“Hey bro, what’s wrong?”
“I healed myself.”
“I still have bullets in me.”
“What does th- oh. Right then.”
John stretches out awkwardly into Dave’s lap.
“So where do I Erase?”
John grabs Dave’s hand and slowly guides it down his chest, eventually pressing one finger against his skin.
“So how do I do this?”
“Just… I dunno, pazow!”
“Just… whatever you do!”
Right. Okay. Dave could do this.
There’s a faint sizzling, then an agonized scream. Dave swears and almost smacks himself for being an idiot.
“Hey, do any of you girls have some napkins or something in your purses?”
Jade, looking a little green, hands a fist full of tissues over to him. Dave stuffs a few down the newly created hole. Unfortunately, tissues soak up blood very quickly so that it doesn’t exaclt work as a clot. Not to mention that stuffing a tissue inside of you hurts like hell as evidenced by John pained groans. Dave stuffs the rest of the tissues into his mouth.
“Yeah, bit down on these.”
“Eesh ashte errible.”
“I’m sure it does.”
He speedily punches seven more holes into John, not even attempting to seal them anymore. When John’s sure that there’s no more bullet fragments in him, he reaches out and Devours a few trees they pass by the heal himself again. Now that the pain was simply a dull, aching memory, he decides that it would be a very good time to pass out. Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way so he just lies there in a misty haze of pain.
The rest of the ride passes by in an uncomfortable silence.
They finally pull up to the Hive and the entire group is waiting outside for them. Great.
As Dave drags a semi-conscious, bloodstained John out of the car Karkat gapes. “What happened!?”
Dave frowns. “Well, I guess they have guns now. That’ll complicate things, won’t it?”
John groggily nods. “Auggrghadnd… that was a disaster.”
Dave blows out some air. “You can say that again.”
Everyone awkwardly says their farewells before heading back to their respective rooms. John manages to stay awake long enough to shower and change into clean clothes before he hits the bed and is out like a rock.
Dave stays with Jade, not wanting to leave her alone for a second. It takes much pleading, but finally he leaves to give her some rest.
Rose meets up the Dave in the library and they sit there for the rest of the day in a stony silence. Dave, because he’s angry at Scratch and all of the Felt and can’t wait for Sollux to find them something else to target so they could hurt the Felt.
Rose because she felt guilty at getting John shot twice more, and feeling rather useless overall. She tries to look over her school work but she can’t erase the smell of blood from her mind.
After a few hours they leave for sleep, not eating dinner.
Eh, I feel that the ending was kinda weak. I really suck at endings if they aren't sudden and dramatic :(
Chapter 7: Respite
Everyone is a little surprised when John actually gets up in the morning to go to school. They watch him carefully as he walks into the dining hall to get some breakfast. Rose walks up to him and slowly asks if he’s sure that he wants to do this, and is surprised when he smiles and nods. There’s a new determination in his deep blue eyes, one that hasn’t been there before.
As he grabs a bowl of cereal and pours some out, he overhears Kanaya and Gamzee talking.
“I can’t do this…. urggh….. my skin is…. crawling….. I need….”
“Gamzee, you can’t do this. You’ve been doing so well so far, you can’t give up now!”
“You don’t understand, I NEED—“
“Nah, you can do it.” John pats Gamzee on the shoulder and gives him a gleaming smile. “You just have to power through. It gets easier in time.”
But Johns left already to sit at a table, and begins to eat his cereal with a zest.
WELL YOU CERTAINLY SEEM HAPPY TODAY DEVOUR
Hey, it’s a new day! Carp Dies, or whatever it is.
Yeah, that! Carpe Diem, Carpe Noctum, ect. Ect.
You still there?
MIGHT I ASK HOW YOU BECAME THIS HAPPY
He finishes up his breakfast and heads out to school with his friends. They’re a little anxious when they arrive, but no one mentions the kidnapping fiasco of yesterday. Maybe they don’t want to talk about it. Maybe they don’t remember. Who knows what Scratch could accomplish? No one planned to bring it up either way.
And it unnerves everyone how normal the school day is. They go to their usual classes, the usual posse of girls glare daggers at Jade—they were Strider groupies since highschool, and never forgave Jade for swooping in and stealing him. Many men would be jealous of John for stealing Rose away too if they weren’t so scared of her… and no one really cared about the Egbert-Harelys.
And they go to their usual classes, eat their usual lunches, and plot their next moves.
“Alright, Sollux.” John begins, looking at the Troll. “Has Scratch sent any emails out?”
“A couple, but nothing useful.”
Dave frowns. “Do we really have anything useful to do to them?”
Rose nods. “I highly doubt raiding another office complex would terribly incite them.”
John scratches his chin, mulling this over. “Okay, so I guess we continue on as normal? Defend ourselves if they ever attack, and wait for Jade to perform some weird mojo?”
Dave chuckles dryly at that. “Ooh, the suspense.”
John frowns in thought.
Hey, do you have any clue when Jade will get her powers?
SHE ALREADY HAS THEM
I mean, when will they activate?
IN HER TIME OF NEED
God you are so unhelpful!
Alright, that creeps him out.
“Well, come to think of it, they haven’t exactly attacked us for a few weeks now.” John mentions.
“Yeah yeah yeah, why are you complaining?” Karkat shouts.
“I think he’s just wondering what they are plotting.” Rose interjects.
“Yeah yeah yeah, cause they ALWAYS have to be plotting something. You know what they say about gift horses?”
John’s brow furrows in confusion. “Don’t… shoot them in the mouth?”
Karkat leaves to bang his head against a wall.
Dave shrugs. “I like it!”
Eh, short chapter is short, I'm sorry. Next one should be better.
Chapter 8: Preperations
They waited three days. Throughout the weekend the Demons continued to train their powers and took the time to start teaching Jade some basic self defense. John still struggled in his studies, but with the aid of his friends he managed to stay afloat. (A/N Don’t tell Rose, but Dave has started to simply do some of John’s work from him. It’s a lot easier… Don’t judge him.)
And then Tuesday comes. It starts off just like any other day. School, training, goofing and off and everything. Their current group consists of the four kids, Karkar, Nepeta, and Gamzee. Karakt and Gamzee are the only ones who actually care about combat training, and Nepeta decided to be their cheerleader. The others went back to the Hive and kept themselves busy.
But when John walks into the archive, he notices that something is off. Sollux is sitting at the large Maplewood desk that he oh so loves, frowning at his laptop in thought. As he scans whatever he is reading, his fingers tap out a distracted rhythm.
“Hey Sollux, what’s wrong?” John hesitantly asks.
“Hrm?” He mutters in confusion, looking up to see his distraction. “Oh good, you guys are back. Sit.”
John takes a seat and flashes a text to his friends. After a few seconds, they walk in. Dave gives him a quizzical glance. “Can’t this wait till after I’ve showered?”
With an overly dramatic sigh, he flops down next to John, Rose taking his other side and Jade plops down next to John.
“So what have you summoned us for?” Rose questions him.
“Well, Scratch sent out another email, to the highest ranking Felt officials again.”
That brings everyone to full alert. “So what’d it say?” Dave asks him.
“It was talking some mysterious that will be taking place on Saturday. Nothing else, just a date and location.”
A wicked grin twists onto Dave’s face. “A party that we will be crashing?”
John frowns. “I don’t think that would be a good idea, Dave.”
“Hey, why not?”
“No, John’s right,” Rose interjects. “It would be best to attend this event and glean whatever information we can.”
John flashes a bright grin. “Oh, that’s a brilliant idea!”
Everyone gives him a confused stare.
“Uh, I was just gonna say that we shouldn’t do a full on assault and whatnot…” He mumbles, shrinking back from their eyes.
Rose smirks at that before redirecting her attention back to Sollux. “So that gives us about four days, yes? What will we need.”
He scans the email again. “Well, it says wear formal attire, so we’ll need suits and dresses. But we don’t exactly have those on hand…”
Dave gives a soft chuckle. “Let me worry about that. Now let’s see here, how many will we need…”
Dave was the only one who actually owned a suit; he had rented the tuxedos for himself and John. So he had to purchase a suit for John, dresses for Rose and Jade, but who else would be coming? Well, Sollux and Kanaya, obviously. After a little questioning, Karkat decided that he would be going too, and that made Nepeta jump in as well. Terezi wouldn’t go because she was blind, Tavros because he was a cripple, Gamzee because he was still prone to violent tendencies, and no one else really cares. Whew, he’s glad that Dirk is rich.
And of course, it’s really easy to get them. All he has to do is phone Dirk and explain that he needs them for some really sweet party that he and his friends are going to. Dirk is insanely happy that Dave now has more than three friends, and conjunction with being insanely rich, is more than happy to send off the money.
So the next day everyone goes to get a suit/dress after school. Dave and Kanaya, being the most fashion savvy, supervise the entire operation. John ends up getting a midnight blue outfit with a dark red tie. Dave chooses a sanguine colored suit with a simple black tie. Rose gets a shiny purple dress and Jade gets a strappy green and black one.
As for the trolls, Karkat picks out a simple gray attire (the boring fool…), Kanaya gets a skimpy black dress, and Nepeta buys a cute little olive one.
With that accomplished, day two comes by. After taking a careful look and John and Karkat, she drags them to her room and commands them to sit.
She tuts as she examines their shaggy, unkempt hair before pulling out a large pair of shiny scissors. Karkat hisses as she attacks his dark, curly mane until it looks somewhat respectable. She then whirls over to John and does the same, although his hair isn’t nearly as bad a Karakt’s. Dave wanders by and laughs at them, but his laugh turns to a scowl as she drags him in too.
Jade, on the other hand, is all too happy to get a girly make over, and she’s so excited about it that Rose doesn’t have the heart not to come. Of course Nepeta, Feferi, and Aradia come along, and then Vriska joins in just because she wasn’t invited. So they spend that night in a mess of clothes, make up, and silly sleepover games.
Gamzee, starting to regain some of his former joviality, takes great offense at their merriment and orders a bro’s night with invested in him as a self appointed high blood. So Karkat pops some popcorn, John brings some of his favorite movies, and Dave throws those movies in the trash and substitutes some from his own library. Equius and Tavros happily accept the bro’s night offer, and Sollux hesitantly comes.
They throw an all out party that night, watching four movies and playing a few video games. And the final night, they rest in preparation of the day that would follow.
Chapter 9: Presentation Part One- The Party
“Gah, this… this thing is chocking me. How do you wear these things!?”
“Calm down, Karkat. It’s just a tie.”
“You can talk, Kanaya. You’re not wearing one!”
“Aww, come on Karkitty! I think it makes you look adorable!”
“I… bu… Thanks Nepeta. And please stop calling me that.”
“Awww you do look so adowable Karkitty!”
“SHUT UP STRIDER!!!”
“Awww, calm down both of you… Ummm…”
“… Bro. Oh no, bro…”
“You don’t know how to tie a tie!?”
“Shut up, I’ve never had to before! An—Stop laughing Karkat! You couldn’t either!”
Rose sighs. “Dave, please help him.”
Dave simply smirks. “Why don’t you? He’s your boyfriend.”
Rose delivers an equally sadistic smirk. “Very well then.” Dave frowns as he morbidly realizes his mistake.
And Rose slides forward, sly smile upon her lips. John’s eyes widen and he gulps noisily. He looks to Dave, a pleading look in those dark blue eyes of his. Dave can only shake his head sadly in apology.
And then Rose ties his tie for him, in the most seductive manner possible. She slides smoothly across his body and idly strokes him as she slowly ties the tie. It’s not fun for the viewers, and it’s not fun for John.
Karkat averts his gaze. “Right right right, we’ve wasted enough time here, can we leave already?”
Rose gives him a sweet smile and replies, “Oh, all right.” With a wink she grabs Kanaya and Nepeta’s hands and strolls out of the room with them. Karkat is flabbergasted.
“Wha- why did she wink at me?”
Dave chuckles and heads out with Jade. “Good luck figuring that out.”
Karkat growls as they leave, following quickly behind, leaving a very amused John the last one in the room. After one last glance in the mirror to make sure that he looks alright, he finally vacates the room.
The drive to their mysterious destination takes a little over an hour. Dave does the driving, seeing as they’re taking his flashy red sports car. They pull up outside of an inconspicuous shack—or, it would be inconspicuous if it weren’t for the sheer number of cars parked nearby, far more than a tiny shack deserves.
They six of them stumble out of the vehicle and gather themselves. When everyone is ready, they head up to the dingy little shack to see what awaits them.
It isn’t much to look at. It’s a small, decaying wooden shed out in the middle of a field right in the middle of nowhere. Cautiously, John pushes open the rusted red door and steps in.
John jumps slightly and looks to see a large, intimidating man glowering at him. Light reflects off of his shiny bald head, and the man has enough muscle to intimidate any living being.
Consciously stopping his hand from shaking, John reaches into his pocket and pulls out a scrap of paper they had printed from the email. The email had an RSVP link, asking everyone invited to register with their current alias. Given that Scratch apparently didn't know everyone's alias, they hoped that it would mean that he wouldn't know that a few undesirables would be attending.
The man reads the printout, and then consults a clipboard. “Hmmm…. Bartholomew Desent… yes, you do check out.” The man reaches behind him and grasps a fridge that John hadn’t noticed before. With a small grunt, the man detaches the door, revealing a stairway leading down.
“Okay everyone, come on.” John calls back nervously, and the rest of the group files in.
“Hold up, who are they?” The bouncer asks angrily, stepping forward.
No, he couldn’t! Not when they were so close! A flash of rage overtakes John and he steps up to look the man in the eye.
“THEY’RE WITH ME.” He intones, his voice cold and dark. The man takes one look into his icy blue eyes, before swallowing nervously and backing away.
“O-Of course, sir. I meant no offense.” He replies meekly.
“I THOUGHT NOT.” Is John’s only reply before he leads his friends into the tunnel.
Once they’re a little ways down, Dave snickers a bit. “Holy crap, bro. You didn’t need to scare him that badly. Where the heck did that come from?”
“Well, he was going to stop us, and I didn’t want that to happen…”
Rose sighs. “Dear, you are aware that I could have simply Corrupted him, yes?”
Oh yeah. He scratches the back of his head. “Oh, right.” Why didn’t he think of that?
A little farther down and the stairs end, opening up to a bright and cheerful ballroom. The six of them stop suddenly, struck by how normal it all looks. It doesn’t look like some organization meeting with gothic décor and black drapes everywhere (Like Rose’s room). Instead, it’s just a happy room buzzing with energy, with large white marble columns shooting up to the ceiling, with glittering chandeliers hanging down from the cavernous roof. And there’s good food. Dave immediately heads out to follow his stomach, followed by a happy looking Karkat. And since no one dislikes food, the group finds themselves gradually migrating over to Dave.
As John warily tries some caviar, an older man walks up to him with a bright grin. “Why hello there, sir, I don’t believe we’ve met.” He offers his hand as John tries to not choke on his caviar. After John accepts the handshake, the man continues to beam at him. “My name’s Matthew Smith, at the moment. I oversee all operations here on the east coast. You would be?”
“I, uh, I’m currently Bartholomew Desent.” John manages to say.
“Hmmm, Bartholomew? Nice choice. The best pseudonyms are the ones people won’t believe are pseudonyms.” Really now? How ironic.
“Well, I…” John starts trying to come up with something quickly.
PRESENT YOUR BLADE
Not one to argue with his voice, John reaches into his pocket and wordlessly presents his dagger to the man. With eyes widening in shock, the man reaches out and gently takes the blade from John, running his fingers over the blade delicately.
“So you’re… a hunter… and one so young at that…” He hands the dagger back to John, eyes shimmering with admiration. “It’s an honor to have spoken with you, young man, and you and your kind do us proud!” With that, he walks away with a happy smile.
Dave raises an eyebrow in question to John, who responds by simply tapping his skull while he pockets his dagger. However, a few others had taken notice, and soon John had a steady stream of people wanting to speak to him and shake his hand. Apparently the daggered minions were supposed to be excellent fighters, and were somewhat like celebrities here. A little strange, considering how many of them that he and Dave had killed.
He shakes that thought out off his head, worried about how nonchalantly he had thought that. Great, I’m becoming used to killing. That’s just… great… He’s feeling very disturbed right now.
After the crowed at dispersed, Dave leans in and whispers, “Well that was interesting.’
“Yeah,” John replies, “I guess Hunters are really popular.”
They here a tapping noise, and everyone looks around to try to see where it is coming from. Then a voice rings out from some hidden speaker system.
“Hello, can everyone hear me? I’d like you all to proceed to the next room, the main event is about to begin.”
Everyone in the room laughs and cheers as a door opens and they begin to trickle through the opening. But four of the six look at each other grimly, because they know who’s voice that is. Karkat and Nepeta share a confused look.
“Well now.” Dave mutters in anticipation. “Hello again, Doctor Scratch.”
Flabbergasted. I just love that word. Remember, all reviews and comments are welcome!
Chapter 10: Presentation Part 2: Imps
The crowd slowly files into a large, bland room. It’s quite unimpressive compared to the previous room: All four walls area made of a dull gray metal, probably some form of steel. It’s rather big, big enough to hold a multitude of people with room to spare, but there is one thing that stands out from the rest of the room.
A large glass dome sits in the middle of the room, about ten feet in diameter. There is a trapdoor at one end, and on the other is a cow idly munching out of a manger. The only other thing of interest in the room are some metal trashcans lined up at the back of the wall, enough so that they cover the entire length of the wall.
“Ahem.” Everyone looks away from the crowd to see Dr. Scratch on a balcony, jutting out of the wall on the other side of the dome. The four Demons instinctively move to the back of the crowd, trying to escape notice. He doesn’t seem to notice them.
“I’m glad that you have all arrived.” He gives the crowd a broad, gleaming smile. “Now, you all know about the rising threat of the Demons.” Dave has to resist the urge to snort. “Unfortunately, they are becoming too powerful too quickly, and it is costing us manpower. And I have finally perfected the solution. Mr. Noir, if you will?”
A very scary looking man walks onto the balcony. He’s dressed in a black trenchcoat, with black hair slicked back over his head and a black eyepatch covering his left eye. A scar trails down the entirety of the left side of his face.
“Hello everyone.” His voice has a thick Russian accent. “Most of you know me. I am Jack Noir, head of the Dersite Legion.”
Sollux hisses in a sharp breath. “It’s true...” He mutters. John looks around wildly, but luckily no one had heard him.
“Now I know that some of you don’t like us.” He sneers at the crowd. “You don’t think we can do as well as your precious hunters. Too bad your boys are getting slaughtered out there by a couple of kids.”
The crowd bristles at this, but Scratch quickly slides next to Noir and mutters something in his ear. The man scowls, but starts speaking again. “So we’re going to need more foot soldiers. And your oh so great leader believes that he has the solution.”
Dave whistles softly. “Weeell, it’s obvious that Mr. Noir does not like Scratch at all.” He mutters to John.
“Yes. Now, Mr. Noir, the button.”
The soldier rolls his eyes, but he reaches into his coat and pulls out a small device. They can’t see it, but they assume that he’s pressed the button because the trapdoor pops open.
Silence. Everyone stares expectantly at the gaping hole in the floor, patiently waiting for something to happen. And then it does.
A black blur streaks out of the trapdoor and tackles the cow. It doesn’t even have time to let out a surprised moo before the creature begins to painfully dismember in it. Everyone in the crowd flinches as gore splatters the dome and entrails go flying everywhere. The cow is reduced to a gooey red heap in a matter of minutes.
The trashcan’s raison d'etre becomes painfully obvious as many people, Jade and Nepeta included, rush to them to vomit. Everyone else is looking quite green, and even Dave’s mouth is left hanging in shock.
After rummaging through the desiccated remains of the cow, the creature suddenly notices the crowd. Howling, it leaps at the glass. Though everyone flinches as it claws and bites at the glass, Scratch must have picked the glass out carefully for the creature doesn’t manage to leave a scratch on it. After a few minutes, it stop and idly glowers at them with its hungry golden eyes.
“I call the Imps.” Everyone jumps at the sound of Scratch’s voice. “Any questions thus far?”
There’s a brief silence, the man that had talked to John earlier raises his hand. “Sir, what is to stop Devour from simply consuming them?”
Scratch chuckles. “A fair question. No, an excellent question. One that has plagued for centuries on end. One that took countless years to answer. However, I did eventually uncover it.” He starts pacing. “You see, The Noble Demon gains energy as the matter of his food is obliterated. Now the Imps will draw energy from him, weakening him instead of healing him. So if he tries to Devour too many, it can and will kill him.”
John swallows silently. Well, that sucks.
“So they will be our new army, especially as the Reckoning is coming soon.”
Wait, what!? The six of them share a nervous glance, because that sure as hell is not good.
“And best yet, the Imps have been trained not to attack anyone who has received the microchip implanted inside of all of our members.”
“So let’s find out if we have any unwanted guests today, shall we?”
Oh dear. The six of them start to back towards the door, a movement that does not go unnoticed by Noir. He laughs out loud: a cruel, hoarse sound. Giving them a wolfy grin, he slowly draws his thumb across his neck. “Run, little children!”
Scratch just gives a muffled laugh. “Release the Imps.”
Chapter 11: They Hunger
Ghastly howls and beastly grunts follow them as they charge up the stairs. The stairs are too narrow and everyone is moving too fast, and Nepeta quickly trips on her dress and starts to tumble down the stairs. Luckily Dave and Karkat are quick enough to grab her before she gets too far down, and Karkat slings her over his shoulder and continues running.
John’s leading the group, and notices that the fake fridge is back in place to block the doorway. He doesn’t stop or try to Devour it, he just barrels straight ahead.
Everything happens in slow motion. He sees a bit a fizzling at the edges of the fridge and realizes that Dave is weakening it for him. Then he hits the fridge. It’s fairly sturdy, and if Dave hadn’t weakened the frame it might have hurt a bit. But now it goes flying off without any resistance. He turns to his left to see the surprised face of the bouncer gaping at him as he runs through.
John doesn’t waste time and simply punches the man in the face as he goes by. John then proceeds to tear through the wall (which wasn’t nearly as sturdy as the fridge), providing the rest of his friends a convenient escape route.
As the four charge out of the shack, they keep running for a minute before John and Dave simultaneously stop and turn around.
“Hey, you guys get to the car. I want to see how tough these guys really are.” Dave growls out. He stretches his arm forward, the air hissing and crackling as it ceases to exist. “But bro, you can head out. The doc said that they would hurt you.”
John shakes his head. “No, we need to know if he was lying or not.” He turns to see the other four waiting, staring at the two of them. He waves them away. “Go on, get the car started. We’ll be coming in behind you.” After a moment, they leave in silence.
Dave sighs and stares at the shack. “Okay, so I’ll start picking them off. You can go later, when we’re sure that we can run.”
The clamoring howls steadily grow louder as John nods in agreement. And then the shack explodes. Wood splinters and shard fly in all direction as imps pour out of the doorway. There are a lot of them, maybe a hundred. It makes them wonder how many Scratch can afford to make. Dave reaches forward and the air begins to hiss, but even as they dissolve into static too many rush are rushing at them. Dave’s face is turning red from the strain because they are harder to Erase than normal. Whatever Scratch did to them, it was effective.
But the tidal wave of creatures is still heading at them, and John does the only thing that comes naturally. He reaches out, and snap off darkness engulfs the creatures.
OH YOU FOOL
Everything is crystal clear. He hasn’t Devoured the entire pack, but most of them are gone. Dave’s already finishing off the rest of them. John reaches out to help, but something feels wrong. He pauses a moment, and realizes that he hurts.
And imp leaps up and chomps down on his shoulder, but he doesn’t acknowledge it because he already hurts too badly.
Blood begins to trickle out his nose, and he doesn’t acknowledge the fact that the demon on his shoulder dissolves into a fuzz of grey, because he hurts too much.
A huge roar of noise engulfs his mind, and he falls to the ground; writhing in pain.
Damn it…. He….
DO NOT TRY TO SPEAK
He can barely moan; it hurts to breathe. A car pulls up and hands pop out to pull him into the car. He tries to tell them to stop it, to just leave him here so he can escape the pain, but he can’t form the words. He lets out a chocked gasp and tries to pass out. He’d rather die than endure the pain he’s suffering now.
But instead he lies awake, feeling very bump on the road like a knife twisting into his flesh.
Chapter 12: The Light
Man, I've just noticed how badly I've bullied John in this series :/
And important AN are at the bottom.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
John experiences a delightful plethora of changes in his condition as they travel back to the Hive. The fiery pain lowly fades away to a soothing numbness after a few minutes. That lasts for about ten minutes, and then he’s left with a dull but manageable ache across his entire body. As they pull into home, he slowly sits up. “Well, that was… fun…”
Dave chuckles and pats him on the back. “Now bro, you’re brave. You’re heroic. You’re quite noble—pun most certainly intended—but God damn you’re an idiot.”
John only laughs at this. “Yeah… I think we can say that the imps are bad news.”
Rose looks thoughtful. “I wonder how many of them there are?” She muses.
Jade shrugs. “From the way he talked, it sounded like there would be a lot…”
John slowly climbs out of the car. “Yeah, well…. I’m calling it a night.” He staggers away to his room. “Man, this seriously sucks.” He mutters to himself as he stumbles away.
Dave shakes his head as John walks away, but turns when Sollux taps on his shoulder. “So Dave,” Sollux asks as adjusts his glasses, “How did they affect you?”
Dave shrugs. “Well, they… I mean… how exactly do I explain Erasing…?” He paces a bit before looking up. “Well, imagine that everyone’s one this plane thingy. Like a piece of paper. I can push you through. I can push pieces of you and leave the rest there. That’s Erasing. Now the imps… Well, they were the difference between pushing a leaf and a brick. A bit more difficult, but not too much effort.”
A sudden though strikes him, and he looks back in the car. “Hey, are you two alright in there?” He peers into the car window. He sees Karkat sitting there, comforting a trembling Nepeta. Karkat glares at him and whispers, “She’s just a little… emotional. Go away!”
Dave shrugs, looks at everyone else, and leaves the two together.
Nothing very interesting happens. College ends, and the two months of summer vacation begin. In light of the dangerous imps, Dave and John are back to training their self defense and focusing less on their powers. Karkat, Gamzee, and Equius soon join them and they begin to have nightly martial arts sessions.
About a week later, Dave sees Gamzee hauling some clown statues down to a store room. He sidles up to the Troll and gives him a wave. “Hey man, what are you doing?”
“Well, I’ve had these clowns for a while. The time that I was high and stuff. And… well… these things honestly creep me the fuck out now…”
Dave chuckles at that and helps Gamzee stuff them into the room. “Yes… These would make for some amazing pranks…” he smirks and imagines how Jade would react to finding one in bed with her. Hell, he’s got the whole summer to plan this shit out. And it will be glorious.
Dirk Strider leans back in his seat and groans in frustration. So his brilliant search has lead nowhere. This Jack Noir doesn’t exist. According to everyone he’s hired to look into the man, the trail always ends pretty quickly. This is freaking ridiculous. He sighs and massages his face. Dave got him to train John in martial arts. John’s dad died. Totally not suspicious.
He really respects his brother’s privacy… but he really needs to find out what’s going on. He sighs and mulls it over. He’ll give Dave a few days to come out before he asks. Hopefully nothing worse will happen.
“Guys! Come over here!” Everyone jumps slightly and looks over at Jade. Slowly, John and Dave walk over to her. “I think I’ve… done something.” She holds her hand out and strains, her face turning red in concentration. But slowly and steadily, a faint ball of light forms at her fingertips. It fades fairly quickly, but she still has a triumphant grin on her face.
“Oooh…. That’s nice?” John hesitantly asks. Well, it is kinda impressive. But it's also kinda wimpy...
BUT THAT IS NOT THE FULL EXTENT OF HER POWERS FOR SHE HAS NOT BEEN ACTIVATED
“Apparently you can do more, but you haven’t been ‘activated’.” John dutifully repeats.
“That’s probably the moment of stress when we first use our powers.” Rose comments.
The two boys whirl around. “When the hell did you get here!?” John screams in fright. Dave just laughs.
“That’s my sister. Like a ninja.”
BUT YOU MUST NOT TARRY LEAVE NOW AND FOLLOW MY LEAD
IT IS IMPERATIVE
“Ummm… guys, we need to go.”
Dave frowns. “Why?”
“Just… super secret voice thing.”
He shrugs in response, ready to follow that voice. Rose nods to him, showing her support, and Jade looks a little dissapointed that they aren't fawning over her light-ball. But she's eager to test her powers out in the field, so she tags along.
And the four of them follow the Voice, mindlessly. Like sheep. Those fools.
I'm sorry if you've seeing a decline in quality in these latest chapters. Lie is coming to a close, and I'm finding it hard to get the right words down for these last few chapters. But that being said, yes this work is coming to an end, and if you are following this series you should read the Interlude that follows. I'm saying this because I've noticed that each of my works have about 1k views, but Interlude 1: Conspire has about 200. So the next interlude- Interlude 2: Exiled will indeed be a part of this series, and you should read it if you are enjoying this series. That being said, thank you for your continued views, you guys are awesome!
Chapter 13: The Liar
John drives them around for about ten minutes, focused on the commands of the Voice before it finally orders him to stop. He parks on the side of the street and the four kids get out.
So what are we doing here, anyways?
FACING YOUR DESTINY
… yeah, that sounds ominous
“Hey bro, what are we doing here anyways?”
“Wait a minute…” Dave frowns. “This isn’t…?”
“I believe it is.” Rose quietly murmurs.
“Huh? What is it?” Jade appears to be just as confused as John.
“John,” Rose points towards a gap in the walls of one side of the street, “that is the alley where you were first found unconscious. Right before you deloped your powers.”
“Oh… wow… I, uh, I didn’t know that. Because I was kinda unconscious, or in extreme agony… but yeah… uh…. cool?”
He starts moving towards it to get a better look, because that sounds like something that the Voice would tell him to do. It doesn’t tell him not to, to be fair, so he doesn’t stop. He rounds the corner to enter the alley, then freezes with a look of horror on his face. Jade runs into him whilst Dave gracefully dodges the two. “Bro, what’s wrong? Wha… holy shit…”
In the middle of the alley stands Doctor Scratch staring down at the ground whimsically. The four kids stare at him in terror before they realize that he doesn’t even know that they’re standing near him. However, after a moment he does look up and catches sight of them. Surprisingly, he looks shocked for once. “How did you find me?” He murmurs. “Ah, don’t tell me… it’s time.”
TIME TO FACE YOUR DESTINY
He takes out a pistol and fires at the kids. The shot is half hearted and poorly aimed, but he’s not trying to kill them. Just scare them. Scare one in particular. Because the Demonic powers activate in times of stress, and there is no greater stressor than fear.
As the bullet sails towards the four, Dave grabs Jade and pulls her into cover behind a wall near the opening, and John pushes Rose to the other side as he whips a hand forward. A blackened hole appears between him and Scratch, and the bullet is no more.
But Scratch smiles cruelly and he hears Jade start to panic, and he knows that his work is complete.
Jade gasps and clutches her chest. She feels a heat bubbling in her chest, and it’s raging to get out. She lets out a chocked cry and sinks to her feet. Dave notices and kneels down next to her, asking if she’s okay. She just grimaces and clutches her pounding skull.
Scratch shakes his head. “She should have been activated a while back. This must be painful for her.”
John growls and points a finger at him. “Hey, you did this!”
Scratch smiles wanly. “Yes Jonathan, I did. Because she needs this.”
“Bullshit, you wanted this!”
“So I did. Are the two mutually exclusive?”
Scratch sighs softly. “For some reason, I do not think that you will come around to my side for this argument.”
“Not for some psycho who wants to destroy the world!”
Jade moans and clutches her chest. She would probably be crying right now if Dave was kneeling by her, whispering comforting words to her.
Suddenly she gasps, arching her back. A rush of power surges through her and her vision goes black for a moment at the glorious onrush of raw power. Dave frowns and slowly backs away from her. The air around her has started shimmering; her body has started smoking.
“SCRATCH! WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING O—“ Dave’s scream is cut short, and John whirls around to check only to be blinded by a glaring light. Even Scratch winces and covers his eyes, although a slight smile dances across his lips as he suspects the source.
The light fades and all that’s left is Jade standing there with a faint glow surrounding her, and she looks more than a little confused. John quickly backpedals until he’s next to her and hugs her tightly. “Hey, are you okay?” He asks, checking her to make sure that she isn’t wounded.
But she pushes him away, and with a look of confidence on her face she steps towards Scratch, a faint smirk playing on her lips. She points a hand at him, her eyes flash green, and then a tidal wave of flames is rushing towards him.
ONE MORE CHAPTER TO GO!
Chapter 14: The Reckoning
Extra long chapter to finish this segment off! Don;t forget to look for Exiled next week. And remember to review, rate, criticize, and comment. I love your opinions!
The flames clear and Scratch remains. He calmly brushes imaginary dust off of his white suit. “Oh dear, I had almost forgot that she only produces illusions.” He lets out a shaky chuckle, and though his tone is light John can see nervousness in his eyes. “But still, they’re quite realistic.”
Jade looks highly disappointed at the fact that Scratch is not a smoking heap of cinders at the moment.
Scratch gazes down curiously upon his hand, stroking it absentmindedly. “I honestly do not know how you found me. I have my theories, of course, but they are inconsequential. What matters is that you are here now. And now that you have… resonated with me…”
His hand radiates a bright green glow. “We can move on to the next phase.” He clenches it into a fist. John leaps back as a wave of green energy explodes outwards from the fist, searing him with painful heat even though it doesn’t reach him.
The green light dies with a harsh crackling noise, and Scratch steps forward to greet his foes. He would be smirking now, if he could. He can’t, though. He’d need a mouth for that.
His eyes would be gleaming with victory, maybe even tearing up for the first time in his existence. They aren’t, though. Probably because they don’t exist. Neither do his ears and nose, they were all whisked away when he unleashed his true form. Now he is the image of perfection.
All color has been bleached from his form and his skin is like marble, rock hard and pure alabaster. He pauses a moment to admire his new hands, with talons that taper down to a fine point. Turning to the four kids, he can see the horror in their eyes at his new appearance. He towers over Jonathan, at about eight feet tall.
“Now… I do believe you deserve a reward for this kindness. Ah, I know. Why don’t you await the Reckoning. Maybe it will remind you how badly you’ve failed the world.”
The words twist like a knife in his gut, and John charges forward with a howl of rage. But Scratch simply points a finger at the boy, and John’s world ends in a brilliant flash of emerald.
He comes to several minutes later. Rose is crouched over him with and anxious expression on her face. She helps him and he turns to see Dave lying down near the wall.
“After you attacked Scratch, Dave did the same with… similar results. We… chose not to try.” Rose mention with a brief shameful look on her face.
“No no, it’s… it’s alright…” John murmurs, giving her a hug. He hears Dave groan and stagger up next to Jade.
“Alright guys, we need to… we need to…” John can’t find anything to say. He’s terrified and can barely manage to keep from bursting into tears. “We need to… go to the Hive and talk with everyone.”
His friends wordlessly nod at him, and they head out together.
They head down to the archives to find every Troll waiting for them already.
“Guys.” Sollux’s voice is thick with fear. “Guys, what does this mean!?” He pushes his laptop towards them and they read:
Attention everyone. This is Doctor Ambrose Scratch. The time is currently 00:00 GMT. In seventy-two hours, the Reckoning will commence. May our Lord be with us.
John swallows. “Well… uh… yeah…”
Sollux is shaking, and looks to John with burning eyes. “But… I thought we were stopping them!”
“I… but…” How the hell does he explain to Sollux that he doesn’t know what to do anymore than Sollux does? Hell, Sollux is better at this than he is! He’s just a teenager! What the hell is he supposed to do against some evil cult!?
“Okay.” Everyone jumps and looks at Gamzee. “Okay.” He repeats. “We can’t fight them. We don’t have time or the resources.” He looks to John and Dave, and no one disagrees with him. “So when we can’t fight,” He continues, “we survive. Sollux, does the email explain what the Reckoning is?”
“Oh, yeah. Apparently they’re taking all of the world’s missiles and launching them down to the Earth. They have bunkers set up to survive, and I think the Hive will endure too.”
“Right, so would radiation be a problem?”
NAY FOR THEY WISH TO SURVIVE THEMSELVES
“No.” John bitterly says. “They’re gonna want to survive until they kill us off.”
Thanks Voice. You’re a real help.
I DID WHAT I MUST
“Okay, so… Kanaya’s been taking inventory all this time. Rose, you’re smart. Go with her, do some number crunching and figure what we need, if anything. Vriska, Aradia, Feferi, Terzi. You’ll go purchase anything they think we’ll need; tools, munitions, medicines. Pool all of our money together, don’t be afraid to over charge a credit card, we won’t have to worry about the bill.”
Every starts to calm down and relax as Gamzee takes charge. “Right, what else? Weapons? I dunno, do we have those?” He asks, looking to Kanaya. When she nods, he turns to Dave. “You, Karkat, and Equius go check those out. Go buy anything you think we could use; guns, ammo, knives. Hey, get some bikes while you’re at it. Not motorcycles, just normal bicycles. They’ll be useful transportation and we can save our gas. We have three days people, go!”
Everyone he’s given orders to scatter. He looks at Sollux next. “Yeah, I won’t pretend that I know what to do with you. You know more than us, you probably know where you’ll be most useful. Take Eridan and Jade with you if you need anything.”
Sollux nods and heads off with a grumbling Eridan, leaving only a handful of people left in the room. John lets out a shaky laugh. “Oh boy, I’m really glad we have you. I think I’d probably fail as a leader.”
Gamzee chuckles at that. “You shouldn’t say that, everyone here looks up to you more than you realize. But anyways, I’ve got your task. Not exactly the most glorious one, but no one knows how long we’ll be here. I want you to go with Nepeta and Tavros and get anything for entertainment. Cards, board games, arts and crafts supplies; whatever you guys think we’ll need.” Noting John’s frown, he adds, “Like I said, it’s not the most glorious job, but we need something to maintain our sanity for what very well could be months or years with just each other for company, and I think the three of you are probably best suited for the entertainment area.”
John does give a rueful laugh at that. “Yeah, okay.” He replies before leaving with his companions. Gamzee surprised him by stepping up and becoming a leader, but he’s definitely good at it.”
“Strider, where are you going!?”
Dave sighs, “Look, just start without me. I’ve got a call to make.”
“What do you me… oh…” Karkat scowls and drags Equius down before the later can start asking questions. “Good luck.” He calls out behind him.
Dave closes his eyes and dials a number. There’s a click and the call is answered after the fourth ring.
“Daaaave, whassup?” Dirk cheerfully asks.
“Hey, uh…. bro… I just…”
“Dave, what’s wrong?” All the playfulness is out of his voice immediately.
“I just… what would you do if… I uh, told you that the world was going to end. Soon.”
His heart beings to beat rapidly as Dirk pauses for the longest time. He finally asks, “How… credible is your source?”
“I wouldn’t doubt it.”
“…” There’s a heavy sigh from the other end of the line. “Does this have something to do with John’s father?”
Another sigh. “Right… How’s it going to happen, and what’s the time frame?”
“Well… missiles, non nuclear, in a little less than three days. I’d find somewhere save within two.”
A third sigh resounds across the line. “Right… have you called Roxy?”
“No, Rose is. But she’s out of state—we dropped by a few days ago to find a sticky note on the front door.” Dirk lets out a short barking laugh at his sister’s antics, “But the last time we called her she didn’t pick up. Rose’ll probably call, you know, a bajillion times, so hopefully she’ll at least pick up or get a voice mail… but you know how Roxy is when she hits the booze…”
“Okay. This is… I have to get packing, don’t I? Gotta break out the emergency kit and upgrade that…. You stay safe, Dave. That’s an order.”
Dave laughs mournfully and wipes away a tear that’s coursing down his face. “You, too…. And thanks for trusting me.”
“Well, if the world doesn’t end, you can bet that I’m coming down to New York and dragging your butt to the nearest psychiatric ward.”
“You don’t know how much I’d like that to happen, Bro.” Dave’s trying really hard to ignore the cracks in his voice.
“Yeah… see you soon, Dave. I love you.”
“I-I love you too….”
The second day comes and John finds himself standing out in a nearby park. He looks out at all the people laughing and playing, and just wants to scream at them to run and hide. “Why… why aren’t we telling them?” he asks Tavros.
“Tell them what? That the world is ending cause an immortal demon seized control of the world’s governments and is now nuking said world? Do you realize how insane that sounds?”
“BUT WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!!!” John screams.
“Do what? Do what, John? Cause I’d really love some ideas right now.”
John stares at Tavros for a while, tears threatening to stream down his face at any moment. He walks out into the middle of the park and starts to shout, “Hey! You guys… you… you need to… you…” Everyone’s looking at him now like he’s raving mad.
“Kid, is everything alright?” Some man walks up and asks.
“You… but… it’s not fair…” He whispers, tears breaking lose and cascading down his face. He roughly wipes them away and wheels Tavros out of the park to meets up with Nepeta. It’s the end of the world and they’re buying games.
“She, uh, she still hasn’t picked up.”
“Ah shit Rose, I’m sorry.” Dave hisses out.
“D-don’t be. I’m fine. Really.”
“Rose, you do realize that you’re fooling no one.”
She tries to come back with a witty comment, but opts to burst into tears instead.
The third day dawns. Gamzee and Karkat went up to seal the Hive from the outside—apparently they have blast doors. Their ancestors really went all out on the place. John himself had stood and stared at the blue morning sky as the door slowly descended and blocked out the sunlight. It had slammed into the ground with a horrid thud and John had just realized that he wouldn’t see the sun for a long time.
Now he sits in the archives with the rest of their tiny, dysfunctional family. He’s holding Rose closely even though she’s cried herself out. Dave squeezes Jade’s hand tightly, and John briefly realizes that he and Jade are the lucky ones. Everyone else they care about is already dead.
There’s a movement to his right and he sees Nepeta holding up a gleaming new box. “H-hey… wanna play Risk? I heard it’s a long game and… we have nothing to do…” John smiles warmly and fakes courage that he knows he doesn’t have. “Yeah Nepeta, that’s a great idea! We can break up into teams of two and three, there’s enough people for that!”
No one objects to the distraction and they divvy up the pieces. They begin claiming territories, and he feels his nerves beginning to ease.
His hand jerks and scatters pieces across the board. “Ah, I… I’m sorry…” He begins to pick up the fallen soldiers.
He flinches and sends pieces flying. “We… I mean…”
Dave lets out a panicked laugh and helps pick them up. “Little shaky there, eh? Hahaha….hahaha…. oh god…”