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Stubborn Flocks

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"Kurloz Makara, you're a rare sight. I don't suppose your pops is here is he?" 

Kurloz maintains a polite smile, though he lets hints of tiredness out to be caught by the blonde adults. Before him, his protective targets- the adults of the Strider and Lalonde families stood, dressed fashionably and looked at him with thinly veiled faces of interests. 

Makara, not only was it not a family involved in the underworld- it was rather famous in the civilian overworld. It came from old blood money and stayed afloat thanks to his father's efforts. They were rich and rather respected individuals in both worlds, of course one world was more bloody than the other. But in the public, the Makara family was a mostly reclusive rich family that didn't often go to events and charities even if they supported them- they weren't as elusive as Doctor Scratch but to see them in an event was always a surprise unless it was really confirmed that they would be going to the event themselves.

And even then, lately it was the eldest progeny of the Makaras that started to show up in the steed of his father. Aka, Kurloz Makara. 

Here he stood within the party, dressed to impress with his purple tux and tamed hair. He dressed similarly as to Gamzee but looked more extravagant and elegant as he was the older the brother, the primary heir to his father's legacy. 

Kurloz smiled at them, shaking his head to answer their question- still a person of few words even if he tended to be a bit more wordy during social gatherings. "My brother is with me." He adds after an afterthought, looking around even though he knew that Gamzee had immediately went to find the disguised Davis that would be stationed somewhere within the room. 

Rosaline rose a brow, "Your younger brother? Gamzee Makara if I am correct?" She says with a curious tilt of her head, peering at Kurloz to make sure she had it right. She looks satisfied when Kurloz nods to her in confirmation.

Kurloz didn't blame her, Gamzee didn't often come with him and their father -the uncommon times he comes along with- to these types of parties. It really didn't suit him but he knew how to behave and how to act- their father was adamant to put that in their skulls despite the fact they don't go out often. It was a public image that they shouldn't toy with after all. 

Gamzee coming along would've been an unsual thing, and it wasn't because that this was a mission commissioned by both Kankri and their father, and boy did he have thoughts about that as he was still reeling over the fact the eldest Vantas was not as he had seen him as, Kurloz was very sure that even if it wasn't a commissioned mission that Gamzee would have come along anyway just to see Qrow for the hell of it. 

It was strange to think of everything even if time had passed, Gamzee was taking it better than him and was swiftly taking setting his sights on the Angel of the Shackled. His interest with the Angel would have been concerning if it weren't the fact it was completely normal for members of their family to end up like that, but Kurloz had thought that he and Gamzee had somehow broke through that tradition. Going after strong individuals as ideal 'partners'. Kurloz had been sure of it, he had Meulin and Gamzee had been hanging out with the nicer Nitram aka Rufio's brother aka Tavros

But then things happened and Kurloz wasn't so sure anymore. 

Though he was digressing at this point; right now, he had to focus. 

Kurloz stood in front of the four adults, two Lalondes and two Striders with a polite smile. Protect the targets and keep an eye on the party. It was slightly strange, the Church didn't usually issue out missions that involved guarding people- places and items sure but people weren't a popular choice in their roster. Mostly because they were admittedly a bit unreliable on the mortality rate of their protected charge, subjugglators were meant for battle, to be the brutes and tanks of the first line and such, even their more discrete brothers and sisters within the church were more upfront assassins that loved to tango with violence. 

And though Kurloz wasn't the most violent motherfucker of their numbers he was their Prince, he was dangerous, he was his father's son. Violence was in his blood and he both loved and loathed it. 

Though he couldn't blame Kankri for putting him in this position, knowing that he could control himself better than most other subjugglators out there, Gamzee could have maybe behaved if he went by himself but that would be a bit suspicious and also a bad idea since despite that Gamzee was still quite the impulsive teen that was Kurloz's little brother. 

Said little brother ditched him the moment they came into the party but that was again, a given. 

"-s he by the way?" David Strider asks him and Kurloz realizes he should really focus on the present situation instead of lamenting into his head of his latest problems and unnecessary non-mission critical thoughts. He thinks the red-eyed man asked the whereabouts of his brother, he shrugs and looks around the party, keen eyes quickly spotting his brother's near untameable mane of hair that they had thankfully somehow arranged into a slightly more fashioned disheveled look instead of downright unmanageable-looking. Kurloz is proud of how Gamzee looks so cleaned up, their genetics contributed and showed nicely in the both of them even though they tended to hide it in their own right in most circumstances. 

He spies the brown-haired male besides him and blinks in surprise. He had seen the disguise and the device that caused it but only in pictures, it was shocking certainly then and still even more now as he sees it with his own eyes. The new colors of his hair and eyes are really throwing him off but not for long since he knew that was Qrow underneath that admittedly amazing disguise- Aviator, Hal, he was certainly a genius when it came to making devices, he hears that he also modifies and makes weapons for the Shackled, he should try to ask or commission something from him at some point. He's skilled with his club and other weapons but the creativity that was in the weaponry of the Shackled made them undeniably dangerous and more.

"Gamzee is there nearby, he should be alright." Kurloz told the adults, briefly their attention turns to Gamzee and Qrow, Kurloz sees the way they tense a bit at the sudden attention from the four adults but they forcefully relax and continue to quietly bicker to each other. He also sees the looks on the adults faces, the confusion, the uncertainty on how no doubt familiar Qrow's disguise seem to be, Gamzee takes the initiative and casually moves in front of Qrow to block their view of him and Kurloz follows by casually walking forward in front of them. "Where are you daughters and brothers?" He asks them.

Their attention is successfully diverted but not completely, the younger elder brother, Dereck, squints slightly underneath his shades to look at Qrow's direction again but he's dealt with accordingly when David looks around and groans, "It seems that we've lost our kids." He says dryly, it was strange, he was sure they had been close by. 

Roxanne snorts, "You've lost them D, I see the kids and they're right over there." She motions to a direction that has them all looking to see where she was pointing at. And there indeed they were, on the edge of a group of other adults with their own kids. They seem to be dealing with it fine, uncomfortably polite but Kurloz could see the way that the lavender-eyed Lalonde, Rose if he was correct, peer around the room alongside the younger orange-eyed Strider. He had a good feeling on who they were looking for. And on cue, both Gamzee and Qrow move away from their spot, leisurely making their way on the opposite direction of the younger group. Both keeping a distance to both groups.

"There they are." Rosaline acknowledge with a small smile, slightly relieved to see them in their sights again. She knew they slipped away after their boring conversations with the other adults but at least they were close and in sight. They were stuck in a conversation but they were still close and in sight. Rosaline could recognize the one who's trapped them into a conversation, it was a big investor from one of the company owners no doubt. 

And though the adults were looking at their charges, Kurloz was glancing back at Gamzee, both Makaras sharing glance. Gamzee gives him a sly smile, Kurloz resisted the urge to roll his eyes and scoff. At least one of them was having fun with a person of interest. Sure he would've preferred to be with Kankri somewhere else in the building but his post was here within the party. 

Then he sees Dereck give him a slightly suspicious look and he counters that looks with a polite and easy smile, he always had been the most paranoid and suspicious brother out of the Striders. And Dereck never really liked the Makaras either, his brother actually got along with his father, the Lalonde mothers found their family interesting but Dereck? He rightfully seemed suspicious over their family, thankfully though, for the Strider, he did nothing to act on his skeptic paranoia.

The Strider's had lost enough family members. 

The Davis duo's mysterious connections to them aside.

At some point, he should ask Kankri on what happened, on how and why the two Strider-look alikes were in the Shackled Sufferers. They were well known through the criminal underground, at least Qrow was as Avian. Where his previous ties with the Crew true? There was something there since Qrow had managed to throw a sack of dog food at Spades Slick and lived to tell the tale. 

Right now though, he had a mission to focus on, and a conversation with the StriLonde family as well. 


Karkat had never really questioned about his living situation. 

How could he when the cause of it was the fact both of his parents were in a coma? Four years straight with a fluke that Karkat now held suspicion against. 

Before, his name had been Karkat Vantas-Leijon. Now it was just Vantas and his family was split neatly into two. With Kankri as his main guardian even though Meulin was technically the oldest between them but she looked over Nepeta and wasn't a bad guardian for her, mostly because she was independent herself but she wasn't a shit guardian or sister. Meulin was one of the nicest people Karkat knew of, sibling bias aside.

Nepeta was a close second, but she was also one of the strongest people he knew of despite her petite physique. She preferred to wear comfy clothes most of the time so not a lot of people saw the muscles that was underneath. She had a strict and admittedly difficult training regime that she stuck to, it was something that their mother had made for her, she had been a healthy woman who was very athletic. When she had been active and not in a coma, she had made sure they had stayed healthy and athletic, Nepeta had took to it naturally and went above and beyond. 

Meulin was never really into it nor did she seem suited for it though, she was kind of athletic and healthy sure but unlike Nepeta, she didn't have abs on her stomach. She was slim and she seemed to prefer it that way. Exercising occasionally to keep in shape. 

That's what both Karkat and Kankri did too. Exercise to keep in shape- at least, that's what Karkat assumed Kankri did. They never really exercised together but Kankri was healthy and did well enough in gym class and P.E. He's actually heard of people in slight disbelief at how 'nerdy and insufferably' Kankri could keep an average score in physical activities. 

Average at best, maybe a bit above from the time their mother had personally trained them to work out. 

Anyway back to the point, he never questioned on why his last name had changed from Vantas-Leijon to just Vantas. Or why Meulin moved out with Nepeta. Oh sure they were nearby and he could just walk over and pop in for a visit at anytime but Karkat had to live with Kankri in their modest home. Just the two of them. Wouldn't have it been easier if they had just stayed together and lived with each other instead of apart? Although he couldn't really remember on how it was when they were younger, when they were all together with their parents, he couldn't help but miss it a bit.

A small pang of longing of what had been.

And a small unnoticeable pang of confusion at the blur of memories, the subtle feeling of how he'd forgotten something important in the past. 

The Vantas house was a modest two-story house, on the first floor there was the kitchen, the dining room, the living room and a small bathroom. On the second floor were three bedrooms, one for him, one for Kankri and a guest room for whoever decided to waltz in and crash at their house among their giant group of friends. There was a bigger bathroom on the second floor as well as a small library slash office room that both he and Kankri tended to use to relax and or study in. Though it was uncommon that they'd be in there together.

Unknown to Karkat, there was a secret third floor within the house. A basement that few knew of and had access to. He also didn't know the fact that every window of their house was bulletproof, alongside with a lot of the rooms of the house. Not to mention the few weapons that were stashed and hidden away in the house itself. 

Just in case something happened. 

It was the same within the Leijon household that was nearby. 

Both Kankri and Nepeta were protective over their siblings, and should anything happen, there were precautions carefully planned and set for both of their siblings to follow should things go south and off the handle. 

But hopefully it wouldn't come to that.

It was better to be prepared though. 

However that knowledge was something that Karkat didn't know of. 

All he knew right now, was that he didn't know on how his family became this way and why Kankri was out or where he was.

Kankri wasn't within the house, he didn't come home earlier or later than Karkat. He didn't leave a note at home but he did send Karkat a message on Pesterchum. 

-- calmingGrievances [CG] began pestering carcinoGeneticist [CG] --

CG: Ah, Karkat it seems that I will 6e h9me late t9night. Please take care 9f y9urself and get to 6ed at a reasona6le time. 
CG: D9 n9t w9rry a69ut where my wherea69uts are, I'm w9rking at the m9ment and again w9n't 6e h9me f9r a 6it. F9r c9nfirmation please pester Dexter. 
CG: Y9u have permissi9n t9 g9 t9 the Capt9r h9use t9 temp9rarily stay f9r the night if 6eing al9ne at h9me seems t9 6e unc9mf9rtable f9r y9u. 
CG: Meulin is with P9rrim I believe and Nepeta went t9 stay with Equius perhaps, I f9rg9t t9 ask and c9nfirm things. 
CG: At any rate, 6e careful Karkat and have a g99d night.
CG: Remem6er to eat and sleep at y9ur curfew.

-- calmingGrievances [CG] ceased pestering carcinoGeneticist [CG] --

That was it. 

Pestering Kankri back did nothing and Kankri was offline anyway so none of his messages were likely to go through to Kankri wherever he was. 

Frowning, Karkat decided to contact the Captors on the matter. Unfortunately contacting Sollux was a fluke even though his handle was idle, he seemed to be busy and Karkat was in no mood in pestering him anymore, he thought about pestering Mituna before just deciding to go to Dexter himself first like Kankri said.

-- carcinoGeneticist [CG] began pestering telekineticApparatus [TA] --

CG: DEXTER IS KANKRI ACTUALLY THERE WITH YOU OR IS DID HE ACTUALLY LIE TO ME FOR ONCE AND IS SOMEWHERE ELSE.

TA: yeah kankri's with me
TA: don't worry about him he's fine 
TA: you at home with my boys?

CG: I'M AT HOME.

TA: on your own?

CG: I'LL BE FINE. 
CG: IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I'LL BOOK IT TO MITUNA AND SOLLUX I SWEAR.
CG: WHAT THE FUCK IS KANKRI DOING ANYWAY?

TA: he's working with me for a bit
TA: he's helping me out with a few things, not programming btw i'd ask one of my boys for that.

CG: AND THOSE THINGS ARE?

TA: those things are what they are. 
TA: look kid i have to go, me and kankri are going to be busy tonight
TA: sorry, kankri and i, proper grammar and that shit 

CG: YOU REALLY CAN'T TELL ME WHAT'S GOING ON? 

TA: nah not really
TA: if you're worried about kankri don't worry, i've got my eyes on the kid
TA: you know i'd look out for him 
TA: he'll be fine

CG: IF YOU SAY SO.

TA: later kid

-- telekineticApparatus [TA] ceased pestering carcinoGeneticist [CG] --

Well that was both relieving and suspicious. Karkat usually wouldn't be so suspicious, Kankri had gone to work with Dexter before, something about earning extra money- Meulin kind of did the same, working a part time job with Aunt Corinna or Moira because despite the money that their parents left them, it felt good to make their own money and to be independent. Besides they didn't usually delve into the family accounts unless it was an emergency, like if one of them got hurt and needed surgery or something. 

Still, suspicion plagued his mind that night. Wondering what Kankri was doing by Dexter's side, was Dexter just covering for Kankri for something else? Dexter was always close to Kankri, often reigning him in when he could whenever he was around. He treated Kankri as a close son- Karkat too obviously, they were both the sons of his best friends so of course he would treat them as his own but still.

There were times that Karkat thought that Dexter favored Kankri above the rest. 

Karkat wasn't really sure but with how Kankri was acting lately, or well from how Karkat had observed anyway, Kankri was vague and Karkat was very suspicious now.

He's never thought his own brother would be this vague, he'd never noticed it, not with Kankri's insufferable personality that drove most people away. Including his own siblings, but not as much.

He's still reeling on what the hell was going on, how Kankri knew of Qrow and Hal, what was going on, who Lord English was, what everything else involved had to mean, what the fuck did he mean by he and Meulin being fucking ignorant?! Kankri couldn't be involved in anything shady. He just couldn't. Kankri was the paragon of social justice stuff, an insufferable paragon but he was a pacifist and found disgust in violence and shady things. 

Karkat would look back to his thoughts and laugh bitterly on how entirely wrong he was. Denial wasn't only a river, and the truth of its waters was a bitter thing to swallow. 


Dave looked around uncertainly, where was he?

It was dark, his shades were missing and he had no idea what happened. Fear began building in his chest as he sees the barren and empty room he was in, there were two cameras, each in a corner of the room and a window with a mirror on one side of the room and a door on another side of the room. A one-way mirror he assumed, he'd ever only seen them in those movies that John would drag him to watch. The ones with the secret agents and stuff- did a secret agent kidnap him? Did secret agents kidnap him to get to his brothers? Was he held for ransom? Was this a ransom situation that his brothers had warned him and Dirk about? What the hell was going on?

He moved around the room, shouting at the cameras, wanting to know what was going on. Who kidnapped him? Where was he? Where were his brothers? 

Abruptly the door flew open, and a glowing feathery sack was thrown in, the door shut close quickly afterwards. It all happened too fast for Dave to react properly. 

"What the fuck?" 

The glowing feathery sack flashed like a neon rave with only two colors, lime green and neon orange. Actually, taking a closer look, the feathery sack wasn't exactly a sack. It was a strange person? With wings? What? 

They looked kind of familiar- wait, why did this strange winged person have his face?

They? groaned and stirred from the ground, Dave sat against the wall, looking at the other with a wide and wary look. 

"Ugh... what happened?" They asked, a strange combination of both female and male- they looked androgynous actually, that word that Dirk told him that was both male and female? But they had his face? Kind of? He was too confused on what was going on. "What the-" They froze as flashing shades caught sight of him, small fangs protruding from their lips. 

For a moment, they stared at each other, Dave staring straight at the flashing shades on the other's face while the other's shades stared right at his surprised and wary face. It's a very awkward moment. 

"Uh... 'Sup there lil' Dave?" Dave's surprise and wary spikes.

His eyes narrow suspiciously, "How the fuck do you know my name?"

The winged? Horned? Dave? looking person paused.

"... This is going to be a long and awkward talk ..."


This was going to be a long and annoying talk. 

Supposedly if things went right and nothing went wrong. 

And even then, it already felt like a long and annoying talk. 

"I'm fucking hurt there bird brother, I barely talked with ya for more than ten minutes and you already find it annoying? Motherfucking ouch there." Gamzee deadpanned at him, ah, he had said that aloud didn't he. "You know you said that out loud on purpose fucker." He pointed out with a smirk. 

Qrow would neither agree or deny with that. Out loud anyway, but yeah, he said that out loud on purpose. 

Qrow peered around the room, he ignored how Gamzee kept looking at him- could he be any more obvious? The clown fucker. He checked on where everyone was, the adults were talking with Kurloz, Rose and the others were thankfully distracted by some rich person. He briefly wonders on their identity before deciding that he didn't care, as long as he wasn't a threat to the people he caredabout were connected to, then it was fine. 

There shouldn't be anyone hostile within the main charity room. Not every rich fucker here had direct connections to the criminal underground, some connections that were shady as hell but nothing personal like the Makaras and such. That giant clown head fuck, the Highblood had confirmed the party list's connections alongside Kankri. Working together with the information they had on almost everyone on the charity. 

Almost everyone.

The only one that they didn't know of was Doc Scratch himself who he and Hal knew were part of the Felt and Lord English's right hand man. Though Qrow suspected that the Makara head knew more about him than he let on, but he wasn't really in the position to accuse the giant man on anything. He wasn't suicidal, not with Hal as his main tether to life and the fact he had a lot of shit to do and other tethers like Nepeta and such.

Speaking of Nepeta, he glances over to the vents and checks on the conversation between Hal and Chesire. 

AL: i've tempurrarily sepawrated from huntress
AL: she's gone to the other side of the room

AR: Copy that. 
AR: I see her tracker. 
AR: There shouldn't be anyone else in the vents but keep lookout.

AL: as if i wouldn't be on my best guard in here brother

AR: You can never be too sure.
AR: Crimson and the others are reporting things going on smoothly for the most part. 
AR: A few bounty hunters were found before they entered the building and dealt accordingly.
AR: Guess the clowns are more useful than I thought.
AR: Always need for some muscle strength I guess.

"I guess." Qrow muttered back with a small smirk, ignoring Gamzee's look at his mutter. Though he knows he has to relay information since Gamzee and Kurloz were pretty much his teammates on this too, unfortunately. "We've caught a few bounty hunters so far. Not even a couple of hours into the main event." He informed him lowly, both he and Gamzee finally moving from their spot and towards a waiter. 

Gamzee grins sharply, though it softens when the waiter looks towards them and offers a tray of drinks. Gamzee of course takes one, he nudges at Qrow who rolls his currently brown eyes and takes an offered glass as well. When the waiter walks away his grin returns, "Our subjugga-brothas and sistas are doin' motherfuckin' miraculous then?" He drawls obnoxiously and Qrow resists the temptation of throwing his drink on his face and expensive suit to nod. Gamzee laughs and toasts to Qrow, "Good. They be doin' good those motherfuckers." 

"They're handling it good." Qrow reluctantly agrees because as much as he would have wanted to believe that they could've done this without the Mirthful Church, this was an easier and probably much safer alternative. Allying with the clown church was admittedly a good choice for them, doesn't mean he had to like it though. He takes a sip of his drink, it's slightly alcoholic but definitely not enough to get him drunk or even tipsy. He was not a lightweight. Turns out strong alcoholic tolerances was genetic. 

AL: would it be wise to be drinking on a mission?

AR: What, you don't trust our bro on that?
AR: He's not a lightweight.

AL: i do trust him and i know he is not a lightweight whatsoever, it's a genetic thing we've both inherited
AL: i vaguely remewmber the both of us emptying our mewther's liquor cabinet
AL: though i do remember beating him in terms of alcoholic tolerance

AR: Well there we go.
AR: And don't worry, I think he actually needs a bit of it.
AR: You know how uncomfortable he is right now with those glasses.
AR: And I am fairly sure that those drinks aren't that alcoholic. 
AR: And unless he went out of his way to drink a fuck ton of them, he really won't get that drunk.

AL: mmm, a fair point

Qrow shoots a deadpan at the nearest vent before drinking a bit more. It's a bit soothing, and Hal's right, the little shit. He was feeling very uncomfortable with his current pair of glasses but unfortunately there was nothing he could do about them. They were crucial to his current disguise. Very crucial. So he head to suck up his discomfort and bear with it. But at the very least he had something on his face, he preferred his shades but the glasses would do. 

"Who do you think's gonna show tonight?" Gamzee asks him out of the blue, looking a tad bit more serious as he and Qrow observed the rest of the room from where they were. "These blond fucks got a big fucking price tag over them all, someone big's gonna take notice of course but who's gonna come?"

"I don't know who exactly will come." He admits with a grimace after a moment of thinking, and that really sucks because honestly anyone else in the criminal underground could come. "But we're not letting anyone claim their bounties." He says afterwards, dark and protective. Despite the fact he didn't want to be involved with them in mostly any way, he knows that they didn't deserve this. To have a bounty on their heads and to be hunted down like animals. 

Gamzee glances over him for a short moment, purple eyes blank but searching before they sparked madly, it matched the dark grin that spread on his face. "Fuck yeah we're motherfucking not." He purrs before downing the drink in one go. 

Qrow snorts at him and continues to sip his at a leisurely pace.

After tonight, he would hopefully get a break before going to interact with the StriLondes again. He wasn't naive nor optimistic to think he would be able to totally avoid them, but he would fucking try it for as long as he could. 

He just had to survive tonight.

They all had to.


Kankri tugs at his gloves- No, Crimson tugs at his gloves as careful red eyes looking around his surroundings even though he had just gone through the area just before. It always paid to be careful and Kankri was goddamn careful. He had to be. 

And though his paranoia and carefulness proved to be for nothing, there was no one there, he was still on guard as he walked down the empty hall. Taking in the silence. He closes his eyes, listening to the silence before deciding it was the good kind, nothing was happening. Yet. 

He took in a deep breath and opened his eyes, he continued down the hall.

He checked into the memo once more. 

PS: karkat's offlIIne crIImson
PS: looks lIIke he fIInally went to bed, the tracker shows he's stIIl at home so don't worry about that
PS: doesn't look lIIke he's anywhere else

Well there's one thing he doesn't have to worry for tonight. 

FE: more guys are appearing crimson
FE: i think the police are going to notice soon enough
FE: should we execute a distraction now for them?

SP: Might as well. 

SC: Tetrarch's correct, set off a distraction.
SC: Beta one.
SC: Also make sure everyone is secured at the end.
SC: The building is calm for the moment.

SP: And how long will that last?

SC: Undetermined.

SV: a few assassins appeared
SV: they've been dealt with don't worry
SV: no injuries or casualties but we're tightening our securities

LL: Party's going on smoothly.
LL: The prince has come into contact with the main-prey while the minis are distracted by a ceo of a small company, no underground affiliation.
LL: Separated from eldritch for a moment to check the other side of the room.
LL: No one's in the vents besides us and nothing else is happening but guards are still up.
LL: The bard and avian are still keeping their distance with eldritch looking after them.

Good. A few hours have passed since the start of the charity event and everything was stable and under control but Crimson doesn't dare jinx it, he knows how fragile everything was and he was just glad that everything was manageable for the moment. 

It continues to go smoothly as Crimson reunites with Tetrarch a few floors below the main floor where their protected targets were in alongside Avian, Aviator, Eldritch, Huntress, Bard and Prince. Aviator reports on how the main event of the charity started, the sponsor thanking everyone for attending and all the donations that they received and were receiving from those present and not-present. 

The sponsor also glorified the main host of the event, the mysterious Doctor Scratch that didn't even show up to his own event for mysterious circumstances. There were various rumors as to why that was and why he was such a mystery, why no one had seen him before but Kankri knew the truth on why. He was a manipulating fuck was why. Part of the competent side of the Felt, Lord English's right hand man. 

And someone who Kankri suspected was the main reason why his father and mother were in a coma. 

Crimson breathed in minutely, ignoring the look Tetrarch sent him as he calmed himself. There was no concrete evidence but Crimson had a gut-feeling that Scratch was at least somewhat involved. It wasn't powered by anything and it didn't need to be but without evidence he couldn't exactly do anything. Aviator was working on it and his last information dig hadn't exactly helped on his personal mission to find out about Scratch but it still helped immensely when going against the Felt. 

Still he wished that they knew more about the condescending and mysterious prick.

At any rate, the main presentation is done and the charity event is half-way done. They just had to hold out for the rest of the night. Tetrarch had handled a few stragglers that managed to breach through their careful defenses outside- they've caught a lot of hitmen, assassin and bounty hunters already. Their outer forces were doing well but the stragglers that managed to get by were a clear sign that they had to kick it up a notch. 

Not to mention the fact the police were quickly catching up with them was going to be a problem. Their planned distractions of bombing a few buildings, all abandoned and unused, and other crimes were going to fail soon enough and Crimson felt like things were going to go off the wall soon enough. 

"Hide them in one of the room for now." Crimson told Tetrarch, gaze briefly skimming over the three bodies of the three 'stragglers' that Tetrarch had dealt with a floor underneath them. "Still up for the night? Or shall we take a break for your sake?" He couldn't help but ask with amusement as Tetrarch grunted, shoving the three bodies into a nearby room. Tetrarch had merely knocked them out- well, only two of them, he was fairly sure the third one died due to severe head trauma. 

It's a good thing that the carpets of the halls were deep red, it made the blood almost unnoticeable at a first glance. Eldritch's suggestion to have the building change the carpets would pay off for a bit.

The older man shot him a withering look, "I'm not that much older than you Crimson, don't push it." He warned without fire as he adjusted his black goggles, sighing through the dark brown face-mask he wore on his face. He was indeed only a few years older than Crimson, still he had no problem in letting Crimson be his leader, the one that would mainly order him around. Dammek had been there when Kankri's father appointed him as his successor, sure he had protested quite a bit at the start. Especially after his father's hospitalization, but the years went by and now Tetrarch was his loyal his subordinate. 

He'd seen what Kankri was capable of, he knows that he was worthy to be the Second Crimson. And Kankri was thankful for that. 

"Leave the old jokes for Psiioniic." 

Crimson chuckled slightly, "Of course." He conceded, smiling underneath his mask before they both stiffened. 

Instantly they were back-to-back, a bo-staff in Tetrach's hands while a pair of specially silenced guns were in Crimson's. 

"Well well well, if it ain't the mini-scarlet himself."

Crimson's eyes narrowed and his lips formed a fine tight line. "Snowman." He greeted the woman at the end of the hall from his vision.

"Tetrach, nice to see you again, might actually bite your head off this time." 

Tetrarch scowled, hands tightening around his staff before he decided to just switch to his main rifle- no point in trying to be discrete now. "Boxcars. You can try or you might just end up eating a bullet or two instead." He replied tersely as he aimed at the gigantic man. 

Great, the Felt and the Crew in one place. 

Wait, why hadn't he been informed from this? 

SC: Salamancer.
SC: Salamancer come in.

SP: We've got both Hearts Boxcars and Snowman in the building, what the fuck happened out there?!

SC: Salamancer come in.
SC: Psiioniic.
SC: Aviator.

"Don't bother Crimson, we've activated our signal jammers. Well, I have, I don't exactly speak for the brute at the other end of the hall." Snowman called out with a sensual purr, "Hello Hearts, wherever is Spades?" She asks as she slowly saunters her way down the hall, fully knowing that Crimson and Tetrarch wouldn't attack just yet. 

Hearts Boxcars does the same, making his way down the hall with Tetrarch's rifle firmly aimed at him, "Spades wanted to be here but Diamonds got him going somewhere else. I'm more surprised you're down here and not up there in the main event." He rumbled, looking amused and hungry. The cannibalistic mobster. Tetrarch growled minutely while Crimson cursed.

Communications were down, great.

Crimson briefly wondered if it was just down for him and Tetrarch or was everyone experiencing it? He then decided it didn't really matter right now.

Not with two very dangerous people in the hall with him and Tetrarch right now. 

Snowman and Boxcars stopped at a good distance away from them. 

A tense moment.

It doesn't last long and Crimson can only hope that everyone would survive tonight and clean up the aftermath.


 

AR: PSII
AR: PSII I CAN'T GET TO THEM

PS: fuck neIIther can II

SV: what's going on? is everyone alright?

PS: II thIInk our comms to everyone else has been messed wIIth
PS: looks lIIke they've got strong sIIgnal jammers

AR: QROW'S IN THERE ALONE
AR: HE'S IN THERE ALONE AND I CAN'T TALK TO HIM

PS: fuck calm down kIId he'll be fIIne
PS: he and crIImson are goIIng to be fIIne
PS: you know your brother and you know hes not alone
PS: hes got eldrIItch and huntress
PS: IIm goIIng IIn
PS: try to get pass the sIIgnal jammer

SV: fuck 
SV: is there anything i can do?

PS: get ready for anythIIng and try to calm avIIator down IIf he goes off agaIIN

AR: I'm fine.
AR: I'm calm.
AR: I'm going to get pass that fucking jammer and connect with my bro again.

PS: thats the spIIrIIt


AL: huntress i can't connect to the others can you?

LL: No.
LL: Dammit I think we were cut off somehow.
LL: Aviator you there?

AL: nothing
AL: this is not good
AL: not good at all

LL: I know but get ready for anything Eldritch.

AL: avian's noticed our brother's silence.
AL: i'll calm him down
AL: i

LL: Eldritch?
LL: Eldritch come in.
LL: *Fuck*


Qrow notices the static silence after Kurloz comes over to him and Gamzee. 

It's after the whole sponsor thing, with that guy coming out and discussing things about the charity, thanking everyone and the donations that type of deal. It makes Qrow want to yawn but he doesn't. He feigns attention, quietly bickering with Gamzee from time to time through out the thing and clapping at the end.

Kurloz comes to find them afterwards, managing to slip away from the others in the room to seclude himself with his brother and his 'acquaintance'. Gamzee informs him on what's been happening so far, on how things were still manageable and that they were capturing and killing a lot of criminals that were after the StriLonde bounty. Said bounties were currently somewhere among the party. Qrow tries to find them but it's hard to see with everyone clustering together and moving constantly. 

He tries to contact Hal and Chesire for a possible location on their targets. 

"Where are they? We can't really see them right now." He asks quietly into his cufflinks, waiting for a moment before he frowned when he wasn't answered. "Hello? Aviator? Eldritch?" 

Nothing.

Something was wrong.

Something was really wrong

Kurloz and Gamzee are obviously alarmed and on alert when that quickly registers, the fact Qrow tenses up confirms it. Not to mention the panic that was growing in his disguised eyes. "What's wrong? Motherfucker are you okay?" Gamzee asks lowly. 

"I can't get to them." Qrow replied stiffly, which shouldn't be possible but both Hal and Chesire weren't responding. This was not good. Why couldn't his brother reply? Did something happen? Was he okay? Did things escalate out there? Hal should be safe at the base but he wasn't talking. Chesire was in the vents, did something happen? 

Kurloz frowned at the growing panic that he and Gamzee could feel coming from Qrow, "Calm brother, we'll get to the bottom of this shit. But you can't go panicking on us right now. We got a mission to do." He reminds him pointedly, Qrow stiffly nodded before closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. 

Kurloz was right, they had other things to focus on right now. 

Hal was fine.

Chesire was fine.

Nepeta was fine.

Kankri and all the others were fine. 

They had to be. 

"Are you okay there?"

The three had been so distracted by the unfortunate situation that they hadn't seen the group coming their way until it was too late and they were too close.

Rose and Dirk spearheaded the group, looking pleased to have finally cornered Qrow who stared at them with wide eyes. Looking like a deer caught in the headlights of an incoming car, its demise imminent if either the deer or the car didn't move away. But Qrow couldn't move away. Both the kid and adult group were right there, in front of them and if Qrow moved no doubt they would follow after him. 

The Makara brothers could try to distract them but they couldn't distract the group as a whole and no doubt those that could slip away would follow Qrow. 

Qrow was ultimately forced to interact with them all.

Fuck.

He sees the way the adults look at him, the looks of contemplation on their faces onBro'sface as they try to identify him. 

Double fuck. 


Chaos comes in the middle of the conversation.

Qrow counted all the fucks in the world as every fell apart.

FUCK.