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Stubborn Flocks

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"Aghk!" Some spit mixed with blood escaped his lips as he was knocked back, a semi-solid hit on his stomach was the cause for his newest pain and injury but thankfully his opponent didn't managed to land a solid and direct hit against his abdomen, that would've been bad. He rolled a good distance away, clutching his stomach and panting. 

Qrow wasn't given time to properly recuperate from his new wounds as Gamzee dashed at him once again, quickly, he leaped over the charging clown and into the air, aching wings flapping once as he took to the air temporarily -he knew very well he couldn't stay in the air for long- to get a chance of relief. Even with Gamzee launching one of his clubs at him, Qrow managed to dodge them before diving in with his sword. 

He ignored the pain of his body as he twisted in his attack, showing off impressive and almost unnatural flexibility as he lashed out at his opponent, Gamzee hissed as he was given another slashing cut on his arm as he blocked the resulting assault before returning the favor with the one club he had in hand, the previous one was over at the other side of the arena from when Gamzee attempted to hit Qrow out of the air with it and failed. 

Around them, the arena was in chaos as both sides roared their encouragement, their discouragement, their support and their jeers for the fighting champions. Up in the viewing platform for the leaders and previous champions, contrary to their noisy followers, it was tense and silent for the four occupants as they watched the conflict. 

Underneath the scrutiny of what felt like the whole world watching over them, Gamzee and Qrow were in it to succeed. Somewhat. 

Qrow needed to win, he was not going to become a fucking clown lackey, not only that, he wasn't going to let Hal become one either. Knowing his dumbass little brother, he'd join as well and he like hell was he going to let that happen to the both of them; much less to fucking Hal! Not to mention he was going to have some fucking words with Kankri when this was all over.

Gamzee on the other hand, didn't really care if he won or not, not really. Sure, winning might be a motherfucking awesome thing but he was mostly  in it for the thrill of the fight, but then again, most of his people were expecting him to win. Eh. Either way, the adrenaline he felt as he clashed with Qrow, it was exhilarating and Gamzee's bloodthirtsy grin widened as he eagerly followed after Qrow, getting more and more enthralled by the way the other fought, especially when the fucker took to the air with those miraculous fucking wings of his, it was motherfucking beautiful.

It was nothing like the Summoner's wings, it couldn't compare at all.

The ex-Strider skidded back, he quickly used his wings as a temporary shield, gritting his teeth as Gamzee collided with his feathery barricade. Surprisingly or not, his wings were quite strong, he found out in a similar situation. In all actuality, the bones in his wings should be breaking by the force of the Gamzee's hard ass juggling club but his wings were unbelievably strong, though Qrow knew his back would be sore as fuck afterwards when he came home. 

Seeing his chance in a brief pause in Gamzee's attacks, Qrow used his wings to surprise him, flaring them wide and knocking Gamzee on his ass, using the opportunity to try and take a stab at the youngest Makara. It only managed to nick him, his broken sword stabbing into the ground instead as the other managed to dodge just in time, showing off his own flexibility and strength as he kicked Qrow away, the elder Davis ended up skidding back on his side, groaning as he held his jaw, damn, any harder and he'd have a dislocated jaw, though he knew he'd end up with one hell of a bruise instead.

Gamzee grinned, seeing his opponent down on the ground while he himself stood tall. Though, he knew it was far from over, and it filled him with excitement as he sees Qrow get back on his feet, he could practically see the defiance in the other's eyes despite the fact they were covered with red goggles. 

He was going to love this. 

Hal sighed, trying to release the tension in his mostly-mechanical body but failed to do so completely. 

He hated this. The feeling of utter uselessness

Hal winced as he watched his brother skidding back from an attack from the second spawn of the Makara head, Kankri wasn't kidding that about how the family was strong, but then again, being the son of the behemoth of a man Highblood, aka Kieran Makara, he wasn't surprised that Gamzee inherited his freakish strength despite the fact he mostly looked like a tall lanky teen with only lean muscles. 

The ex-A.I. had hacked into the building's cameras, the secret ones, the ones that overlooked the arena and such- not to mention he had a first person view of the whole fight with Qrow's goggles, something that was a bit disturbing as Qrow clashed head-to-head with Gamzee, giving Hal a clear sight of the insane eyes and disturbing grin the young subjugglator had on his face. Yeah, sometimes first person views weren't all that nice.

His robotic fingers dug into the arms of his chair as he continues to watch the fight, he couldn't tell whether he was glad or not that he wasn't able to come to the arena personally. He couldn't really go places on the account of his lack of legs, something he was hoping to fix now that he had two functioning arms now, and even if he went he'd be literally handicapped and wouldn't be able to properly retaliate if ever he was attacked. 

It was why Qrow and the others were adamant of him staying back, he was more suited for down-low and other missions, hacking and online machinations were his forte, not to mention his robotics were almost second to none. Still, it stung a bit at the feeling of being unable to back his brother up in an actual fight, but one day, he'd do it. 

One day, when he finished building and completing his legs, he'd be able to help his brother so much more and be there for him. 

Not to mention finally be able to wander around a bit more freely, as awesome as his custom-made and modified chair was, he wanted some more mobility, he wanted some gogdamn legs dammit. 


Hal's attention snapped at the sudden sound, immediately opening another window to see who the fuck it was pestering him at a time like this-

Oh, it was just Calliope. 

--uranianUmbra [UU] is pestering roboticAutomaton [RA]--

UU: hello lovey ^u^ 
UU: i realize how late is trUly is bUt i know for a fact that yoU don't really sleep mUch 
UU: which by the way is still Utterly Unhealthy, yoU shoUld start getting into the habit of sleeping more hal

RA: Hey Callie. 

UU: good evening hal
UU: hope i'm not intrUding on anything important
UU: i jUst got the time to contact yoU now
UU: i've been awefUlly bUsy as yoU know. 

RA: Well, its certainly important but I'm appreciating the distraction right now.

UU: distraction? 

RA: Right now, I am unwillingly observing an event that is involving Qrow, least to say, I am not liking the event at all. 

UU: oh no OnO
UU: can't yoU stop the event?

RA: No, I can't because it's fucking necessary. 
RA: The only thing I can do is hope for the best. 
RA: Which is for my bro to win this thing.
RA: Which he will.
RA: Because, you know.
RA: He's my bro and all and he's the fucking best. 

UU: ;UnU
UU: i certainly hope that yoUr brother wins the event as well
UU: is he getting hurt?

RA: He may or may not be getting his ass kicked.

UU: OnO!!

RA: Don't worry, he's also kicking ass too. 

UU: ;>n>

RA: Qrow is going to win this. 
RA: He's going to win and come home and I'm going to make sure he gets patched the fuck up.
RA: Wrapped in all the bandages, **all of them**.

UU: my, i presUme that woUld be a lot of bandages?

RA: You presume right. 

UU: well, i wish yoUr brother lUck in the event. may he win withoUt any serioUs worry?

RA: Thanks Callie. 

UU: certainly no problem at all hal, yoU and yoUr brother are one of my most precioUs people. 
UU: i can't wait to meet yoU both one day
UU: if that day ever comes anyway ~n~

RA: Of course it'll come.
RA: And when it does, bro and I will treat you to a fuck ton of candy.
RA: Like holy shit, give the whole fucking world all the types of diabetes amount of candy.

UU: >u<

Hal smiled, leave it to Calliope to cheer him up. 

"Time to motherfucking take this up a notch." Hal's attention went back to the fight, apprehension filling him as he sees Gamzee's eyes spark unnatural purple. Shit, shit shit shit

A thing to know about the Makara's, about the Mirthful Church in general, was that not only were they brutes of ridiculous strength. They also had the ability to control fear to an extent, Kurloz had used it frequently in the last fight and it had been a bitch to deal with- but fortunately Qrow and Nepeta managed to plow through it together. 

Here, Qrow was on his own and had already taken a good beating. Not only that but Hal was worried that what happened with Dirk and the others would enhance the effect the fear mongering ability had on his brother. 

RA: Shit.
RA: Shit this is not good.

UU: what's not good?

RA: Sorry Callie but I'll have to be MIA for a bit.
RA: Fuck.

--roboticAutomaton [RA] is idle--

UU: hal?
UU: oh dear
UU: i hope everything is okay
UU: i wish yoU both lUck! 

--uranianUmbra [UU] is idle--

Hal cursed, flinching back at the unexpected scream that obviously belonged to Qrow, it seemed that his worries were justified since this scream was so much more worse than the last. 


All was fucking fine and dandy at the start. 

Qrow could take a beating, he was a tough son of a bitch. Plus, this wasn't his first hoedown with a Makara. 

He survived against Kurloz, who was definitely stronger than Gamzee and managed to beat the fucker. But then again, he had Nepeta's help in that fight, which was fair because they both knew that individually, they stood no actual chance against Kurloz. Nepeta and him would have been fucked if they had fought against the eldest son all on their own. 

Gamzee on the other hand, was less experienced and Qrow knew he had a fighting chance against him. 

Or, at least he thought he did until Gamzee pulled that bullshit fear power he, his brother and asshole father had. 

Now things weren't as fine and dandy as they started, now shit was getting real

"Time to motherfucking take this up a notch." The instant that sentence left the youngest Makara's mouth, Qrow dreaded, and when his eyes began to glow an unorthodox purple, he dreaded even more and instinctively, his feathers flared and bristled at the unnatural feel of fear that licked his senses. He'd done the very same thing when Kurloz used the same goddamn ability against him and Nepeta. Though noticeably, he could tell it was weaker than Kurloz's, which was great but that didn't change the fact it still affected him almost as bad as before. 

If not, it was a bit worse. 

Back then, he had his sword in his hand, he had Nepeta backing him up and he would back her up, but now; his main sword was stabbed into the ground and Nepeta was up in the platform, he was alone against a mini-behemoth of strength that was Gamzee Makara. 

Qrow bit back a snarl that lodged itself in his throat, he threw himself back, away from Gamzee, away from his fear mongering powers, away from the threat to his existence- fuck. He needed to get his sword back. 

It wasn't like he wasn't stocked up on swords, in fact, he had plenty of them in his sylladex- only problem was that he wasn't allowed to use them in the battle. It was one of the rules, you weren't allowed to access your sylladex during the fight, not allowed to use the weapons you had stored in it. You could only use the weapons you brought with you in person into the arena and nothing else.

Getting extra weapons out of the sylladex, unless it was ammunition, was a big fat fucking NO. 

Thus Gamzee was stuck with his two clubs and Qrow was stuck with his sword... and a couple of hidden weapons he had himself. 

Qrow burst into action, hands moving quickly from his belt, his utility belt- which meant fucking pockets motherfuckers. He took out a few smokebombs from one pocket, tossing it across the arena and filling it with dark blinding smoke. He had those on his person, they weren't in his sylladex, it wasn't against the rules and he's seen and heard of people doing similar tactics. 

Gamzee let out a roar, briefly angry at the sudden smoky darkness that engulfed him, that was cheeky. Tactical, but utterly cheeky in his personal opinion... he liked it. His scowl turned into a smirk before he sent out a strong wave of fear, listening intently and grinned savagely at the choked gasp that came from his left, he dashed towards the sound, sending another wave just to be sure. 

Qrow on the other hand, was not having a fun time, the wave of fear hit him square on and it showed him his fears.




Die once, die again, and again, and again.

Doomed Daves all around-- He gasped again, managing to get back to reality just in time, he rolled forward back into the smoke as Gamzee smashed his club into the space that he once occupied, a web of cracks forming the instant the club met with nothing but the floor. Gamzee let out an annoyed huff before sending another wave, using the same tactic once more. 

Qrow gritted his teeth and was taken under. 

It was hot. 

Too hot. 

Metal and dark heinous high-pitched laughter.

Bro-- Qrow forced himself out, NO, just, no. This time, he let the snarl tear out of his throat as he focused at the task at hand. Get his sword, kick ass, win. Get the sword, kick clown ass, win. Get sword, kick ass, win. Fucking repetition.

He was going to win dammit

Qrow let Gamzee hit him, knocking him just so while gritting and ignoring the pain as he forced himself to kneel as he skidded, rightBesidesHisSword

Get sword.

He grabbed it, pulling hard and viciously pulling it out of the ground, a chunk of the ground comes with it but he doesn't care, he twists the disc-like knob and suddenly his broken sword was fixed and once again whole, surprising the crowd and his opponent. He takes to the air but faces Gamzee with determination.

Check- next on his list;

Kick ass.

A work in progress- he was more than happy to work on. 

Gamzee on the other hand, was ecstatic Ah, so that was his goal. Well, too bad it was his as well- his other club was right besides him and once again, Gamzee had both his clubs and Qrow had his sword.

Both crackled, energy, adrenaline and the forces of their wills practically coming off of them in waves. 

The Bard stared up to the Angel who was almost frozen in mid air, a tense moment. 

A tense moment that breaks as both champions, the Bard of the Mirthful Church, the Angel of the Shackled Sufferers, clashed

And only one champion would win.

"Roxy darling?" 

Roxy blinked, glancing up from her laptop to see her mother at her doorway, "Yeah Mom?" She replied, taking her attention away from her laptop to focus on her mother. A thankful distraction really, she was taking a gander against Hal's systems again. She really wanted to meet him one day, even if it weren't for the whole, 'Dave conspiracy' thing going on, she had to admit, Hal was a goddamn genius and she wanted to meet him for the coding and possibly robotic prodigy he was. 

"Have you seen my phone? I can't seem to find it." Rosaline said with a frown.

"Which one?" 

"The one with the lavender casing and skull stickers sweetheart." 

"That old thing? No, not really. Don't you have, like, three other phones that are more up to date than that one?" 

Rosaline sighed, "Yes but it was my favorite phone, I've had it for years, though then again lately it has been a bit difficult to work with it." 

In the shadows and another section of the house, one certain not-really-feline was humming lightly as they figured a few things out. 

It was a bit hard to work a phone with tentacles and paws after all. 


--felineTentacles [FT] began pestering turntimeFeathertail [TF]--

FT: Yoy have no idea hoq hard it is to funxtion this wirh thw limited limvs thst I have.
FT: It's gonedtly a hasslw
FT: You kniw who thos is alresdy, send mr a loxatiom and a time so yot can puxk me up.
FT: Sonetime this week?
FT: ;3
FT: You serm to be budy, reply whwn yoi can brother dearest.

--felineTentacles [FT] ceased pestering turntimeFeathertail [TF]--



The instant it was over, Nepeta and Kankri leaped down into the arena, the window opening at their leisure as they did so. Behind them, Kieran and Kurloz followed afterwards, rocking the ground in their landing but it didn't matter to the others as around them the cheers were almost deafening. 

The fight was over and done. 

Kankri and Nepeta knelt by the severely injured Qrow's side, having finally succumbed to unconsciousness and his wounds. Across him, Gamzee was in a similar state that had both his father and older brother kneeling besides him as well. 

Kieran Makara took his youngest son into his arms, Kankri doing the same to Qrow. 

"MOTHERFUCKERS OF THE CHURCH AND SHACKLED!" Highblood roared, gaining the attention of the whole arena. "The fight is motherfucking over! Rejoice! Fucking celebrate motherfuckers!" He commanded as he turned to Kankri with a wide grin, he turned and bowed towards Kankri, stiffly, Kankri returned the bow before looking towards the crowd. 

"The winner has been declared!"

Kieran cracked a wide and dark smile, Kankri smiled back, though it was tense and sharp, "May the fucking deal be finalized Second Crimson, but first, we tend to our champions.

"Of course...

With that, both leaders along with the previous champions left the arena.

Nepeta backtracked though, to pick up a pair of broken goggles.

Damn, Hal must be worried sick.

"All according to plan... It was such a close call though, but as you said Master, he won.


"Of course Master, I will immediately prepare for the next phase of the plan."


"Yes, yes. Though we are not half-way done, we are still so close. It is quite marvelous Master."


"Goodbye Master, just leave it up to your most excellent and humble servant~

He stared up, and up, and up. 

The sound of ticks and tocks were/are maddening.

Someone is/was screaming-

It's not him-

It's him-

Who was screaming?

He died.


"Hoohoohoo. Time to wake up~~"

He's alive.

Qrow's eyes snapped open and a rasping gasp escaped his mouth. 

"He's awake!"

Red-orange-red eyes squinted as his vision blurred, he grunted in slight pain as metallic hands -hard as steel, trying to get his attention, failing- wrapped themselves around his waist. "Woah, careful there Hal!" A voice says as Qrow has to blink several times to make sense of the yellow-ish color that appears in his vision along with the hands along with the weight of a small person on his chest. "Jesus Hal, you're lucky he's numb with drugs or else he'd be screaming." 

Hal. It really was Hal, hugging him as he laid on what felt like a bed. It was soft but he liked his nest better- not that he'd willingly admit.

It takes a moment for his brain to catch up with everything that happened and the first thing that leaves his mouth is-

"I'm not becoming a fucking juggalo ass clown am I." 

The silence that comes afterward does not help the apprehension that he's feeling.


"You're a fucking idiot bro." 

An offended indignant snort leaves him, he opens his mouth to reprimand his younger brother but pauses as he feels the other tremble. Oh. Oh...


Carefully and semi-awkwardly, Qrow returns the impromptu hug, the trembling does not abate, if anything it intensifies a bit. 

Damn, he feels like a douchebag now. 

"That's because you are."

Oh he said that out loud. 


"I need to stop doing that."


Qrow smiles, now the trembling abates, and Hal is just draping himself over him now. 


He tenses slightly as Kankri, Salamancer's shadows were gone so he was clear to everyone in the room -Casey, Nepeta and Dexter were there too-, came to view. He looked apologetic. 

"Kankri." Terse, angry, which he had the right to be. The deal had changed, he hadn't been informed about it right until the last minute. But he was also scared, he didn't want to be a juggalo. 

"My sincerest apologies for that, Highblood had proposed the deal at the last minute and I had to accept." Shit, he was probably still talking out loud. 

"You could have rejected it." Was his raspy reply, he felt thirsty- he thanked Nepeta as she offered him a glass of water.

"I could have, but I couldn't." What, "But good news Qrow." What good news?

"We have a new recruit now thanks to you."

It takes another moment for him to process that. 


In another room, one bandaged Gamzee Makara was pouting as Kurloz informed him about his loss. 


But hey, at least he got to fight Avian, and goddamn was it a good fight.

The injured Makara wondered if Qrow was up to regular spars or something... 

Hey, there might be a perk to becoming a Shackled Sufferer after all, if it meant seeing Qrow more often then sign him up. 

The clock is ticking, the ball is rolling. 

It was one step over another.

This was just the beginning.