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The Conduit Prince

Chapter Text

Tomorrow is my twenty-first birthday.

People keep telling me that I should be excited, that there will be a party for me. They don’t realize that I’d rather stay out of the public eye. I may be the prince, but why must the entire kingdom always be watching over me – Especially, when my mother and Lady Brooke already are?

In truth, I’m not excited at all for my birthday. It’s another year of being alone, of being trapped inside of myself. My mother has been responsible for the deaths of so many like me, of people who don’t confine themselves to the conventional ideas of love. I’m dying to tell her of my feelings for one of the servants, to tell someone, but I’d be exiled at best. Rather, it’s another twenty-one years of internal, personal suffering.


 

There was a sharp knock, causing Eugene to jump out of his chair. He slammed his journal shut and quickly shoved it into his drawer, quickly making his way to the door. On the other side stood a militaristic-looking woman with her hands behind her back, “Ms. Augustine?”

“Prince Eugene, your mother requested your presence,” Her mouth was turned down at the corners, as it always seemed to be. He didn’t think he’d ever seen her smile. She began to walk down the large corridor, and he quickly shut the door and followed.

He hated how large the palace was, and the nearly 10-minute, painfully silent walk to his mother didn’t help that at all. As the door to the study opened, his stomach began to hurt. She was smiling at him, and her smile always made him incredibly uneasy – a closed-lipped smile that didn’t reach her eyes, the same smile she wore at every ceremony, meeting, and execution. Her smile was cold, and it made her the most terrifying woman he’d ever known.

“Son, come sit,” He slowly made his way to the sofa opposite her, carefully sitting down, “Thank you, Brooke. You are dismissed.” She turned back to him with that cold smile.

“Why did you call me in here, mother?”

“Can I not want to talk to my son?” After a brief moment of tense silence between the two, she sighed, “You’re turning twenty-one tomorrow, Eugene. It’s time we discuss your future, and your duties as a prince and, eventually, a king.”

“A…king?” That word made his blood run cold. He never believed that one day he’d become a king. Kings aren’t afraid to be seen by the public, kings don’t have failing vision or hearing loss, kings weren’t attracted to other men.

“I’m not going to be around forever, Eugene. It’s time you begin to think about your future,” That damn smile again, “as the ruler of this kingdom. You’ve watched me lead our people your whole life, and you know how to uphold the great laws of our land.”

“Mother, I’m not ready to be king.”

“But you will be, dear,” She stood up, moving over to sit next to him, “You will be loved and feared by everyone, merciful but strong, giving but unrelenting. You will be a ruler of this land and no one will ever question your power. You’re going to follow in my footsteps.”

“I don’t know if I want to follow in your footsteps, mother.”

“What do you mean, son?”

“Mother, I’ve seen you cut people’s fingers off for stealing to feed their families, imprison people for practicing certain religions, and execute people for having relationships with people of the same sex. I don’t want to do that.”

He couldn’t meet her eyes, but he could feel her tense up, “I do what I have to in order to ensure the morality of our people intact,” A hand ran through his hair, making him jump, “One day, you’ll understand that. You won’t be afraid anymore.”

Eugene stood up quickly, “It’s late. I’m going to get to bed. Good night.”

“Good night darling,” That smile again, “I’ll see you tomorrow for your party.”

He nodded and quickly left the room, his heart pounding. He must have been staring at his feet as he went, because he didn’t even notice someone walking the other way until he ran directly into them. His hearing aid must have come out in the collision, because the sound of shattering glass was extremely muffled. As he pawed around for the aid, he looked up to meet the all-too familiar brown eyes that he saw in his dreams.

“Your highness,” Suddenly, those eyes were wide and full of worry, “I’m so sorry, please let me help.” He grabbed the device off of the ground, holding it out to a practically-frozen Eugene. The other quickly cleared his throat when the prince didn’t take it, and with a, “Let me,” he brushed the blond hair back to adjust it over his ear.

“Thank you,” He tried hard to hide his blush as he stood up, surveying the broken glass all over the flooring. It was hard to make eye contact with the other, but he couldn’t break away from that face. And that genuine smile was intoxicating, “What’s your name?” The look of worry reappeared on the beautiful face, “No, I’m not reporting you! I…I’m just curious.”

“No disrespect, your highness, but my name isn’t really important,” There was a tinge of annoyance in that remark, as if the thought of it left a bad taste in his mouth, “I should clean this up and let you on your way. I apologize again.”

“I would really like to know your name,” He attempted to put on his most leader-like voice, but it quickly faltered, “And…you don’t have to call me ‘your highness’, you can call me Eugene.”

That heart-stopping smile was back, “Are you sure? Well thank you,” A brief pause and then, hesitantly, “Eugene.”

“And your name?”

“Rowe. Delsin. Sorry, I’m used to Lady Brooke calling me Rowe. It gets confusing when my brother and I are together.” That smile brightened ever so slightly, “Maybe I can introduce you to him.”

“I would like that, Delsin. And I’m sorry about Ms. Augustine, she’s terrifying.”

That laugh was even more gorgeous that the smile, “She is. She’s the reason why my brother and I are here. Why our only options are to be lowly servants or face public hanging.”

He felt his heart stop for a moment, “What do you mean by that?”

“Rowe,” That familiar, piercing voice rang through the halls, “What in hell are you thinking?”

“I apologize, Lady Brooke,” He stepped quickly away from Eugene, looking at the prince, “I deeply apologize, your highness.”

“Out past curfew, speaking with the prince, neglecting duties by ignoring this mess,” She stopped in front of the pair, folding her arms across her chest, “This is grounds for termination, Rowe.” She made her way over to the broken glass, picking up a particularly large piece. Coming back over, she held the glass to Delsin’s throat, “So I suggest you clean up this glass and make your way out of my sight before I make that happen.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And next time,” She quickly pulled her hand away from his neck before sticking the shard in his arm. Eugene gasped audibly, and Delsin let out a muffled cry, “I won’t be so nice.” She chuckled at the sight of the servant, grasping at his arm, “Oh calm down, you know as well as I do that it’ll heal quickly. And you,” She turned to Eugene, “I suggest you go back to your room before I tell your mother what you’ve been up to.”

Eugene began to walk away, turning back to see Delsin. He saw him pull the glass out of his arm, and begin to shakily pick up other shards. After only a moment, his shaking eased up and he let out a sigh. He quickly got up, making brief eye contact with the prince before ducking his head and walking away. Eugene could swear he faintly smelled smoke as he walked back to his room.

Chapter Text

“Ladies and Gentlemen, please join in welcoming the young ruler of Lochhaven, his highness, Prince Eugene.”

He took a deep breath, stepping through the door to the railing overlooking the ballroom. It was his nightmare, standing in front of hundreds of people staring directly at him, with a fake smile on his face. The last time that he had to face a crowd like this was his eighteenth birthday – every other birthday was celebrated alone in his room. And, even though he was present for each ceremony and gathering, all eyes were always on his mother. Now, it was just him.

It took him a moment to gather his courage, but he managed to swallow his fear and address the room, “Thank you all for being here. I’m extremely grateful that so many respected members of our high society have gathered together for my birthday. I hope you enjoy the party.” His heart was racing as he backed away from the railing and made his way down the stairs. He hated being the center of attention, and this didn’t help.

“Son, that was a wonderful address,” His mother appeared beside him as a congratulatory member of the nobility walked away from him. Always present, Lady Brooke was at her side, “Happy birthday, darling.”

“Thank you, mother,” He forced a smile and walked away, grabbing a glass of champagne from a nearby tray, saying a soft thank you to the waiter holding it. As he downed the contents, and said a few more ‘thank you’s to random people wearing extravagant clothing and jewelry, he made his way to a corner of the room. He took a seat and glanced around the room, scanning to see a face that didn’t make him nervous to his core. When he couldn’t find one, he decided instead to take out his hearing aid and grab another glass from a table nearby.

That is, until he felt a hand on his shoulder, making him jump. He looked up to see Delsin, standing with a smile. He was saying something, but Eugene couldn’t make it out because of the noise of the room. As he was going to put his hearing aid back in, he saw motion out of the corner of his eye. Looking back at the other with a confused expression, he saw what was happening. 

Is everything okay, your highness?

You can sign?

My grandmother was deaf, she taught us when we were little.

I’m glad to have someone to talk to now.

He slid the hearing aid back into his ear, smiling. He downed the rest of the champagne and stood up, feeling the warmth of the alcohol in his stomach. He felt somewhat braver than before, and met Delsin’s eyes, “Do you want to leave this party?”

“I would love to,” Those brown eyes were staring so deeply into his that it almost made his knees weak. Then, suddenly, they looked away into the crowd, “But I can’t. I’m working, your highness." 

Eugene sighed, and grabbed another glass from the tray in Delsin’s hands. Taking a sip, he looked into the crowd as well, “I’m almost your boss, though.”

“Technically, Her Majesty is my boss,” Eugene only noticed how close they were standing when he looked up to meet his eyes one more time. Delsin cleared his throat and smiled, nodding to the prince, “Happy birthday, your highness. I should get back to work.”

The prince drank the rest of the glass, placing it on the table and turning to walk out of the room. But as he turned, he met another pair of brown eyes – ones that, instead of being warm and pure, were clouded with nothing but hatred for humanity. Her red hair being pulled back into a tighter bun than usual made her face look almost skeletal. As she began to walk towards him, he felt his heart begin to sink. The look of determination and anger on her face could scare anyone, and since he knew exactly what she was going to bring up and what could happen as a result, he was absolutely horrified. She’d taken about five or six steps towards him when the doors to the ballroom were slammed open with a shockingly loud bang.

All heads turned to the entrance, were a pink-haired girl stood, tattered clothing stained with dirt and what looked like blood. She stood there, a mixture of terror and anger on her face. The sounds of shouting guards came from behind her, and all of a sudden she was gone, replaced by a figure made of glowing neon light.

This figure ran, faster than he’d ever imagined, up the stairs. Next to her, a tall, bald man appeared from a cloud of smoke, his clothing in a state of disrepair similar to hers. They each held up an arm towards the crowd in an almost threatening way, causing everyone to duck or run in fear. Eugene had no clue what was happening, and felt almost like he was in a dream. A voice coming from behind him amid the screams snapped him out of his daze

“Hank? Fetch?” He turned around to see who the voice belonged to. It was Delsin, who had dropped the tray of hors d’oeuvres he’d been holding. There was another server standing next to him who looked surprisingly similar to him. It must have been the brother that he’d mentioned. The screams continued until a shockingly booming voice came from the small girl.

“Enough!” She shouted, silencing the room. Delsin took a step forward, but his brother stopped him, “We are not the monsters here! We’re the victims! The monsters are all around you, enjoying their perfect little worlds, not giving a shit about those of us stuck in solitude and servitude.”

“Just ‘cause we have powers don’t make us any lesser than any of you,” The man added, his speaking clearly giving away his lack of education more so than the girl, “You all sitting up in your palaces, stuffing your faces while we get crumbs, are the ones keeping us quiet.”

“We’re sick of it,” She continued, “And it ends today.”

“By the order of the queen, you must stand down,” Lady Brooke stepped forward, reaching for her gun. Both of the other two held their hands out to her. It looked like there was a charge of some sort travelling up their arms, “You think I’m scared of you?”

“We ain’t scared of you either, lady,” The smoke moving up his arm almost made his fingertips glow orange, “We’re here to start a revolution.”

Suddenly, he let out a loud scream that filled the hall. Dropping to his knees, he grabbed his ankle, and Eugene could have sworn he saw something sticking out of his skin. Next thing he knew, there was a flurry of gunshots firing from the guards. The pink-haired girl began to shoot lasers from her hands, taking out two of the guards in a second.

There was a hand on his shoulder in a second, “Your highness, we have to get you out of here. Come with me.” He began to turn around to follow the guard when he felt an excruciating pain in his shoulder as a bullet pierced his skin. His vision began to go black at the edges as he fell to his knees, and as he blacked out, he smelled smoke and felt himself being wrapped in a pair of strong arms. He looked up and saw a familiar face and those warm, brown eyes, and suddenly everything was dark.

Chapter Text

"Your highness, you have to wake up.”

He opened his eyes slowly, blinking away the daze he felt. Someone he recognized as one of the chefs in the palace was looking back down at him. She was dabbing his forehead with a wet washcloth, and he could feel the drops of water running through his hair. Then he realized that it wasn’t water, but gentle fingertips. After sitting up slowly and wincing in pain, he saw Delsin staring back at him. The servant quickly withdrew his hand, clearing his throat, “Sorry, there was blood in your hair. I was trying to get it out.”

“It’s no problem,” He reached around to his shoulder and felt bandages, “What happened?”

“You were shot in the crossfire. And from the looks of it, it wasn’t a normal bullet.”

“What do you mean?”

“A gas bullet,” The chef said, holding up a small, pointed piece of metal, “The gas is designed to nullify the powers of conduits and acts as an anesthesia of sorts.”

Eugene ran his hands through his own hair, fingers getting caught in a clump of dried blood, “Conduits?”

“Like those people who came into the party,” Delsin said, “People who can control matter. Like neon and smoke.” He was looking at the ground, and his knee was bouncing rapidly. He almost looked like he wanted to say something, but couldn’t, “Or concrete, metal, electricity,” A pause, “And at least one who can absorb powers from others.”

“Del–”

“Delsin,” A somewhat familiar voice came from behind him, and Eugene turned to see who it was. The pink-haired girl stood in the doorway, “What are you doing here?”

“Fetch?” He stood up and she ran over to him, throwing her arms around him. He lifted her up, laughing, and Eugene couldn’t help the pang of jealousy that ran through him.

“I thought you were dead, Smokes!” She got down, smiling as brightly as those powers of hers.

“Almost,” He laughed a bit, “It was either execution or servitude. I’m not a fucking idiot. How did you get out?”

“They gave me the same option, cause I didn’t kill anyone. She got Hank, though.” Fetch looked around the room at the other servants, eventually making eye contact with Eugene. As soon as she did, her eyes narrowed and her smile disappeared, “You fuckin’ piece of shit.”

“Fetch, stop.”

She stepped towards him, that light moving up her arm, “The fuck are you doing here? Giving a death sentence to all of these innocent people?” She raised her arm to him, “How would you feel if we did the same thing to you, your fucking highness.”

The fingertips lit up as the light shot from her hand. Eugene shut his eyes tight and put his hands up, bracing for the impact that never came. Instead he looked up to see a hole in the wood surrounded by a pink light. Delsin stood next to her, holding her arm, “What the hell?”

“What the hell? What the hell are you doing? Do you know how many of us he’s been responsible for the deaths of?”

“His mother. He’s only the prince.”

“Why are you defending him, Del?”

“Because he’s different than the rest of them. He’s not a monster.”

“He’s a royal. They’re all monsters. Why are you defending him?”

“Abigail?” Another voice chimed in from the other side of the room. Standing there was the man who looked just like Delsin – his brother, most likely, “You’re here?”

“Reggie,” Her entire demeanor changed. Eugene could even swear he saw tears come to her eyes as she ran over to him.

Delsin sat down next to Eugene, whose heart was still racing, “If anyone can talk her down, it’s him.”

“What’s going on.”

He sighed, “Fetch lived with our tribe. So did Hank, the bald guy with the smoke powers. But she and Reggie dated for a long time. Before our village was invaded, they were actually engaged.” He looked at Eugene, who was extremely confused, and probably looked it, “Reggie is my older brother. We’re Akomish. It was a tribe that was based just outside of the kingdom, primarily made up of conduits. We were invaded about three years ago – most of us were captured. Everyone too old to work were executed, the rest of us were given a choice between death or being servants. Anyone who didn’t have the gene was left to live in the kingdom.”

“So you’re…”

Delsin held up a hand, smoke circling his fingers, “I’m a conduit.”

“Your power is smoke?”

“I’m like a sponge. Any conduit I touch, I get their powers. I have smoke and neon.”

“What about the others in the tribe?”

“My powers weren’t activated yet, I guess. They showed up during the invasion – before that, I had no idea.”

“How old are you?”

“Twenty-four, twenty-five in a few months.” He laughed, “Yeah, I managed to spend twenty-one years with no clue who I was.”

That smile just made Eugene laugh too, “You’re so old.”

“Maybe you’re just a baby,” Delsin laughed, bumping his shoulder gently against Eugene’s, “The guards are probably looking for you. Let’s get you back to the land of royalty.”

“I’d rather stay here, though.” Even then, he stood up and pulled on the coat that made his stomach hurt. Covered in badges and medals, it brought way too much attention to him.

“You’re a prince.”

“I’d give it up in a second.”

Delsin smiled at Eugene, who was fiddling with the buttons of the uniform. The prince turned to leave the servant’s quarters, but was stopped by a hand grabbing his. After a second of hesitation and a quick glance around the room to make sure they were alone, he was pulled into a tight embrace. Suddenly there were a pair of chapped lips against his own, and everything else disappeared. Then, as soon as they were there, they were gone.

“Was that okay, your highness?” Delsin asked. Eugene couldn’t do anything but nod. It was as if he’d lost the ability to speak, or even see anything that wasn’t the conduit staring at him. There was another kiss and he was nudged towards the door, “I’ll see you around the palace, okay?”

Eugene nodded again, walking out the door and closing it gently behind him. He brushed his fingertips on his lips, smiling to himself. He managed to collect himself as he walked across the gardens to the palace, but replayed the moment over and over in his head.

As he made his way up the steps, the back door swung open and there stood Augustine. She looked at him with a bone-chilling, knowing glare. It shook him to his core, and he nodded to her.

“Welcome back, your highness. How was your night with Mr. Rowe?”

Chapter Text

“You sure had us fooled, Prince Eugene,” Augustine smiled, walking down the steps to meet him, “I, personally, never would have expected you to go after a servant. Do you think you’re above the law, Mr. Sims? Just because you’re the prince, you won’t face the same punishment as anyone else?”

“Lady Brooke, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” He tried as hard as he could to avoid letting his fear show through, and kept his face solid. Attempting to remain strong in the face of the storm that was Augustine was harder than it looked.

She chuckled, “I saw him grab you at the party, and after the way you two were talking, it was unmistakable what you two were going to get up to.”

“He grabbed me because I was shot. He wasn’t even the one to care for me, it was Margaret, the chef.”

“I won’t say anything to your mother, so long as it doesn’t happen again,” She got close to his face, “And if I were you, your highness, I would stay away from that kind.”

That comment made him even angrier than before. He clenched his jaw and forced a smile cold enough to mimic hers, looking directly into her eyes. “And if I were you, Brooke, I would avoid threatening someone who has the power to call for your execution.”

He pushed past her, breathing a sigh of relief once he was inside the hall. Quickly making his way to his bedroom and locking the door, he took a few deep breaths to calm his pounding heart and slammed the door behind him. He moved towards his desk, pulling out his journal and flipping to a new page.


 

If I were to disappear from the palace, how long would I be searched for? If I found a way to get Delsin out of the gates and take him with me, would he be tried for kidnapping? I’m sure with the powers of smoke and neon, he could defend the both of us. I can handle my way around a gun, so I could help in some way.

Lady Brooke knows about my feelings for Delsin, I’m sure. I doubt she’d tell my mother, though, as I could hold her life in my hands – one positive to being in power. But I also can’t tell if that’s something that would deter her, since she’s killed so many in cold blood.

I’ll continue to lie low, but I don’t know if I can keep myself from going back to the servant’s quarters. Maybe I can figure something else out, but for now I hope to keep out of the way of Lady Brooke, my mother, and Fetch (or Abigail, possibly? I’m not sure). I think she wants my head for what mother’s done. I’m terrified of her.


 He closed the journal, placing it in the locked drawer that served as its home. With a sigh, he stood up and walked to the window. The sky was almost completely overcast, but the sun was still shining brightly enough to light up the whole garden. He looked at the clock – 1:34. He must have been out for most of the day; god, that gas bullet really messed him up.

The window in his room had an only slightly obscured view of the servant’s quarters, and he liked to watch people leaving the building to start their work. Beyond that were a few of the nicer homes in the kingdom – still nothing compared to the palace, but nice homes for more affluent members of the society. He could sit in the window for hours and stare at the quarters and those homes. It made him feel like he could be there, live a more normal life.

“Do you plan to come?” He jumped a mile into the air when the voice came from behind him. His mother stood in the doorway to his room, in her ceremonial gown that she wore whenever she had to address the public, “The people expect to see their prince, especially after an event like last night.”

“Come to what, exactly?”

“Henry Daughtry, that monster who attacked innocent people, is being put to death,” She smiled, which seemed extremely inappropriate for what she’d said, “The people expect you to be there, especially since it was your party that he murdered those guards at. Now change into a less tattered uniform.” 

She walked out of the room, leaving him in a silence that was somehow warmer than her voice. His stomach dropped as he looked out the window at a few servants leaving the small building, walking to the execution grounds. They’d be responsible for disposing of the body – a job that was deemed too demeaning for the guards. Among the group were Delsin and his brother, to be expected as it was typically ‘stronger men’ who were in charge of the job.

He swallowed hard and turned from the window to change and make his way to the entryway of the palace in order to be escorted with his mother to the grounds.


 

“Today, we gather to witness the execution of Henry Daughtry. He is to be hanged for the crimes of breaking and entering, threatening Her Majesty, and committing the murders of four palace guards.”

Two guards escorted a familiar face towards the gallows, his hands in some sort of block. The sun shone off his head, making it clear that he was sweating profusely. Eugene had to swallow the lump in his throat, and looked to the crowd. Most of them looked on without issue, but a few hid behind their hands as his head was slipped into the noose.

He looked to the servants, who didn’t wear their usual uniforms, but rather old ones used solely for this purpose. There were four of them standing there, hands behind their backs and staring straight ahead. It was clear that Delsin and Reggie were uncomfortable in the situation, which just made Eugene’s guilt worse. 

“Do you have any last words, Mr. Daughtry?” His mother said from behind him – the first time she’d addressed the crowd at all.

He looked up to the box they sat in and them spit in their direction, “This revolution don’t stop with me, it’s all of us. It’s every conduit who you’ve killed to keep us quiet, and the ones who are too scared to speak up. It’s gonna keep on comin’, and you’d better be ready.”

He didn’t know why, but that speech, which should have scared him, just made him want to join their fight. He met eyes with Hank for just a moment, and the smoke conduit nodded, as if to say that he was responsible for helping the cause. He couldn’t help but nod back ever-so-slightly. 

Eugene looked back to the servants, who still looked on. Except for Delsin, who was looking back at him. The servant immediately turned back, but Eugene saw a glimpse of a gash along the other side of his face. It made his heart stop for a moment. Did someone hurt him?

Suddenly, the previously murmuring crowd went completely silent. The guard’s hands met the lever and there was a brief pause before he pulled it. The floor opened up beneath Hank’s feet, and the rope tightened.

And suddenly, the world was down one more conduit.

Chapter Text

Eugene slowly made his way down the corridor to the dining hall. All he could think about was Hank’s body, hanging lifeless in the gallows. It made him feel sick, like he always did whenever he had to watch someone be killed. This one stuck with him, though, especially when he thought about that speech. All he wanted was to help their cause.

He rounded a corner in the hallway, and bumped into someone. He muttered an apology and made to keep walking. But after one step, he heard “I apologize, your highness.”

He turned to look at Delsin, who smiled back at him. All he wanted to do was take refuge in those arms and cry, but he knew there were security cameras at every turn, usually being watched by Augustine. Instead, he just smiled and nodded, “I thought I asked you to call me by my name.” His eyes met the scar on the side of his face, and his smile faded.

Delsin’s face mirrored Eugene’s and his fingers brushed the discolored skin, “Augustine made it clear that I shouldn’t get too close with men. Especially you.” 

“Oh.” He couldn’t help but look to the ground, “Well, it healed quickly.”

“One perk of the conduit gene is fast-healing. Bad injuries will still scar, but the whole thing comes in handy.”

“What exactly did she do?”

He paused, “Dagger. She threw it at my me before I even knew what happened. It could have been worse.”

“Worse?”

“Usually, the punishment for anything like this is something more like…whipping. Or, you know, execution.”

Eugene hesitated before speaking up, “There are no cameras in the bedrooms.”

A chuckle, “How am I supposed to get in there?”

“You’re a conduit,” Eugene smiled and looked at the camera on the wall out of the corner of his eye, making sure there was enough distance between them so that they didn’t look suspicious, “I’m sure you’ll figure it out. Augustine usually isn’t watching the cameras at six, since that’s the time she confers with my mother. Might be the best time.”

He walked away, smiling to himself. Suddenly, he wasn’t thinking about Hank anymore.


It was 6:05 when he heard a knock at the door. He opened it to an empty corridor. And then there was a cloud of smoke and Delsin was in the room.

“How’d you manage to sneak in?” Eugene said.

“Knocked when I was walking past, turned the corner, and then teleported back here.”

“Well, I’m glad you did,” He reached up and traced the scar gently, “I’m so sorry. This is my fault.”

“Forget it, I don’t even care.”

“Why is that?”

“It’s worth it,” That smile would make Eugene’s heart skip a beat every single time. And this time, it was accompanied by a hand moving through his hair and a pair of lips on his forehead. He looked up, meeting those lips with his own. When they pulled away from each other, he couldn’t help but whimper the slightest bit, “Are you okay?”

Eugene could feel his face heat up, “Yeah, just…It’s not something I’m used to.”

“The kissing?”

“Kissing someone I’m actually attracted to,” He said, quickly and quietly, “I’ve had plenty of girlfriends for show. My mother set me up several times as a teenager.”

“You didn’t like any of them?”

“None of them were male.”

“Right, you didn’t grow up in a tribe whose sole purpose was to act in direct defiance to every law passed by the tyrannical regime of the Sims family.”

He couldn’t help but laugh, “Oh yeah, that’s right. I grew up being one of the people you were rebelling against.”

“Oh, I remember now,” Those lips met his again, “You’re the enemy.”

“Fetch certainly thinks so,” Eugene said with a sigh.

Delsin shook his head as he took the prince’s hand, leading them both to the bed, “I’ll keep talking to her. She’ll come around. And if we keep her around Reggie, she’ll be more open.”

“So they’ve been together for a long time?”

“Well, she came to the Akomish about three years before we were invaded. They got together a few months after. So it was about three years, and then three years of not being together since he’s been a servant. By the way, you still have to meet him.”

“Maybe the next time I’m shot and you all have to nurse me back to health.”

“Let’s hope that’s not anytime soon,” Delsin laughed and began to unbutton his coat, slipping it off of his shoulders, “Would you have any say in changing these uniforms? To ones maybe not so unpleasant?”

“I wish. But to be fair, I fell for you in that uniform.”

“It’s just not my style. Worst of all, I hate having my hair uncovered.”

“It’s nice hair, though,” It was his turn to run his hands through Delsin’s hair.

The conduit pushed it back, “I always wore hats before – especially after I grew it out. Now, it looks ridiculous.” He reached to unbutton Eugene’s jacket, and he moved back slightly.

“Delsin, I’d rather not do anything like that. Not yet, at least.”

“I never said I did, Eugene. You’ve had a long day, I watched someone who I considered part of my family die, why don’t we just lay down for a while? I’m done working for tonight, given you don’t need me to run to the kitchen for you at all,” He started unbuttoning the jacket again, pushing it down the prince’s arms. 

A few more articles of clothing later, and they were laying under the covers, looking at each other. Delsin was clearly having trouble keeping his eyes open, which made Eugene smile, “Are you okay?”

“This is a soft fucking bed.”

“The ones in the servant’s quarters barely count as beds. When I first came to, I thought I was on the floor.”

“No one cares about us.”

Eugene looked away from Delsin’s face, even though the other’s eyes were closed and he couldn’t see. There was that all-too familiar pang of guilt in his stomach whenever the servants were brought up. The idea of being king was still terrifying to him, but he made a silent vow that, when he was, he would improve the living conditions of the people in the kingdom who weren’t as lucky as him. He would start with the workers of the palace.

He could hear the soft sound of Delsin snoring, pulling him from his thoughts. He just kissed the forehead gently, and whispered, “I promise, I’ll make everything right.” 


It was half past midnight when he was shaken awake, jumping and nearly falling out of the bed. Then, those arms were around him and he suddenly felt safe again. The lips on his cheek made him finally fully open his eyes. He could get used to waking up to that face, “Hey.” 

Delsin smiled, “I have to get back. This was kind of great. I’ll see you around the palace, and maybe we can do this again.” 

“I’d really like that,” There was a kiss to the top of his head and he heard the window open. Then the smell of smoke filled the room again, and Eugene fell back asleep with a smile on his face as the breeze came through.

Chapter Text

“I’ve started thinking about becoming king,” He said, looking at the floor. His mother stopped stirring her tea and placed the cup down on the table. She smiled at him and folded her hands in his lap.

“Why this sudden change of heart, Eugene?” 

He looked back up at her, meeting her cold, blue eyes. He managed to keep a steady composure, “I don’t like the way the kingdom is being run.” 

She froze slightly, “What do you mean, dear?” Picking up the cup again, “The kingdom is better than ever.”

“Mother, with all due respect,” He met her eyes again, “The kingdom is in a dismal state. The people despise us, the servants fear us, and it’s unsafe for anyone to differ from convention in even the slightest.”

“It’s important to be both loved and feared.” 

“We aren’t loved – you aren’t loved, mother. Only feared. The society built by your grandfather, my great grandfather, is crumbling before our eyes.” He had to swallow the lump in his throat, “And you refuse to see the ruins.”

“I suggest you watch your tone, darling,” Somehow, those icy eyes became even colder, “You’re still speaking to your mother. And your queen.”

He stood up, his legs feeling weak, “You asked me to prepare myself to be king. I’m doing exactly what you said. I’m sorry that you don’t like the way I’m planning to accomplish that goal.”

“Eugene, I know ways to silence those who threaten my rule,” Her sick smile made his stomach churn, “Don’t cross me, or you’ll join their ranks soon.”

That comment knocked the breath from his lungs. Did his own mother just threaten to have him killed? He stood silent for a moment, keeping contact with her icy eyes and praying his didn’t give away the fear that suddenly overcame him. After a few moments, he was able to regain his voice, “I’m not afraid of you, mother. Not anymore." 

As he turned to walk away, he could feel her eyes boring into the back of his head. Once his hand was on the door, he heard the soft comment that made a chill run down his spine, “But you should be.”


 

“Your highness,” He turned his head to look at the door, where Fetch stared back at him. She’d come a far way from the first time he’d seen her almost two weeks prior. Her tattered and bloodied clothes were replaced by the familiar white blouse and black skirt of the uniform. Each time she came into the room to clean – something he tried to do himself in order to ease her workload, but didn’t finish, so that she wasn’t caught avoiding work – she glared at him slightly less. Delsin must have been working with her. Now, she would actually talk to him.

“Hi, Fetch,” He smiled at her. The pink in her hair was fading out, showing the natural brown, “Come in. And I told you, call me Eugene.”

She nodded, entering the room and closing the door. He never bothered hiding his journal from her, like he did nearly everyone else. Instead, he just kept writing through the still slightly uncomfortable silence, “I’ll change the sheets and make the bed. What else do you need me to do?”

He looked at her, “Well, I don’t think there’s anything else right now.” She nodded nervously, knowing that if she left too quickly, she’d be punished, “You could always just sit in here for a while. Augustine shouldn’t come by any time soon.”

Another nod, “Thanks, Eugene.” She began to strip the sheets from the bed, stuffing them into the basket she’d brought with her. He could tell she was watching him, though, “If you don’t mind me asking, what do you write about in there?”

“I’ve never really had friends. So I’ve written down everything in journals since I finished my tutoring when I was eighteen.”

“Tutoring?”

“Instead of school. I don’t think other kids would have really enjoyed having a prince in their classes. Or they’d never leave me be.”

She walked slowly over to his desk, “What about your mom? Or Lady Brooke?”

“They hardly count as friends. Especially considering I despise both of them." 

A chuckle came from next to him, which made him happy. Maybe she really was warming up to him, “You and me both,” she sighed and started unfolding a new set of sheets, “Sorry I didn’t trust you at first.”

“I understand. Our family history doesn’t exactly beg for any other kind of treatment.”

“But, as far as I can tell and from what Delsin says, you’re different. You support the ones who don’t get a fuckin’ say.”

“I told my mother today that, when I’m king, you’re all going to have a voice.”

She scoffed slightly, tucking the sheets into place, “And how did that go?”

He tapped his pen closed, “She threatened to have me executed if I try to cross her.”

“Fuck, executed?”

“Yeah,” He said with a sigh, “So until she dies or gets run out of the kingdom, I have very little say in what happens.”

She put the last pillow into place and glanced at the clock, leaning against the edge of the bed. Taking her hair out of the bun it was in, it was clear to see just how faded the color was. Even her previously bright green eyes looked duller than from what he’d seen before. She was on her way to being broken like the rest, and it made him feel horrible, “That’d be great. I’d love to put a laser through her head.”

“I have to say, I’m jealous I don’t have that option.” 

“I’ve seen some of your training. With the guns. You have some damn good aim. It really is a shame you aren’t a conduit, too,” She smiled and patted him on the back gently. He really felt relaxed about her being there, like he had a friend, “By the way, how’s your wound?”

“It wasn’t too deep, I guess. It healed pretty quickly."

“That’s impressive. Sure you aren’t a conduit?” He laughed and shook his head. She looked at the clock again, “Shit, I should get back to work.”

“Have fun, Fetch.”

“Oh yeah, definitely,” The door clicked behind her as she left, and the room was filled with a still silence. He tapped his fingers on the desk, flipping open a new page in the book and staring at the blank paper.

He had no idea how much time had passed when a familiar, sharp knock came from the door. He threw the book in his desk before opening it to the cold face of Augustine. She nodded for him to follow, “Time for your training.”


 

“Aim, fire!”

He pulled the trigger, feeling the back of the gun push against his shoulder – a feeling he’d never fully get used to. At least it didn’t bruise anymore.

The target at the end of the range shattered as the bullet hit it. Eugene lowered the rifle, taking a deep breath. The instructor came over and took it from him, nodding. The sun began to set as he turned to leave the training range, and suddenly he was excited.

The guards led him back to the entrance – a practice that had been in place since the party – and he quickly made his way to his bedroom, shutting the door and locking it behind him. He opened the window and checked the time: 5:59. It was an almost regular thing at this point, and he was really enjoying it.

The chime that came from the church every hour rang through the night. It was the third ring of the bell when the familiar smell of smoke made him smile. Being face-to-face with Delsin could always make him ecstatic, even after long days like this one was. 

“Hello there, your highness,” That term had almost become a pet name at this point, and had gone from annoying him to filling him with joy. Those arms wrapped around his waist, pulling him close. It was the only place in the world he felt fully safe anymore, “How are you doing?”

Eugene sighed, resting his head on the chest of the conduit. He’d always been insecure about his height – five-foot-six on a good day – but having an over-six-foot person to curl around him was ridiculously comforting. And that hand running up and down his back helped, “I’m one step from being hanged like Hank.”

That hand froze, and those arms pulled away so that Delsin could look at the prince, “What?”

“I told my mother that, when I’m king, I plan to completely overturn her laws. I let her know that it’s important to me to give a voice to the unheard. But until she’s dead, I don’t have any sort of opportunity for that.”

“Damn,” Delsin laughed quietly, “Sometimes I forget that I’m with the future ruler of an entire fucking kingdom. And a shit ton of outlying tribes and villages.”

“Possible future ruler,” He corrected, meeting the other’s eyes, “Unless I’m dead.”

Delsin stared at him, for a few seconds before just saying, “You have beautiful eyes.”

It was his turn to laugh, “They’re my mother’s.”

“No, they aren’t,” The servant smiled, “Your mother’s eyes are ice. Yours are more like the ocean; they’re deep and really full of life. How are they so full of life like that after everything you’ve been through in your life?”

“I could ask you the same thing. Your eyes are warm and bright like a brilliant fire, and you’ve been through so much worse than me. Thanks to me.”

“Thanks to your mother,” Delsin leaned down to kiss Eugene, putting a hand on the back of the prince’s hair to deepen it. It felt like forever before they had to pull apart for air, “So, what’s the plan for tonight?”

“You’re going to help me forget that my mother is a tyrant, and that I have no power.”

“Well, not no power. We could start an uprising.”

“Funny, Fetch said something like that when she was in here to clean earlier.”

There was a pause, “Why don’t we?”

“Because there’s no chance of winning that fight,” Eugene pulled away and started walking towards his bed, “She already has her eye on me and you guys are basically powerless in this rule. There’s guards and Augustine before we’d even get to my mother.”

“I’m sorry, powerless?” He held his hand out to a candle lit on the dresser and the smoke was drawn into his hand. There was an orange glow up his arm and the smoke circled his hand and moved into his fingertips, “Don’t be rude, I have powers.”

“How many of you do?”

“Almost all of us. Me, Fetch, Reggie has the gene but his powers haven’t been activated. That chef that helped you when you were shot controls metal. The waiter with the scars up his face has fucking plants or something like that. Almost all of us have powers. And if you think I haven’t seen you with that gun in the gardens, you’re insane. I didn’t know they were supposed to train you with that.”

“They started when I was about twelve, the first time we were attacked. I was also being trained in hand-to-hand combat for a while but I’m pretty much useless with that. But I’m not nearly good enough to orchestrate a coup.” 

“But all of us together are,” Delsin put his hands on either side of Eugene’s face, kissing him deeply. When he pulled away, he was smiling, “Let’s do it. Let’s overthrow your mom.”

Chapter Text

“Hi, sorry it took me so long to get here,” Eugene said as he walked into the servant’s quarters. He locked the door, “It took me forever to convince guards to let me walk the gardens alone.”

“At least you’re here,” Delsin pulled him in for a quick kiss, “Everyone’s in the other room. Let’s go.”

He nodded, following the other into the room. Everyone fell silent and looked at him, which made his stomach churn slightly. There hadn’t been this many eyes on him in weeks, but he managed to calm his nerves, “So, how do you guys plan to do this?" 

“Your highness, you live in the palace, you must know it,” Someone he recognized as a maid for the guard’s quarters spoke up. She had a white scar along her neck. Up close, he could see that almost all of them had scars and bruises of some sort or another. Augustine really had no mercy. What he wouldn’t give to watch her burn.

He shook his head, “We’re all on the same team now, please call me by my name. And I’m not really familiar with the layout of the palace. I’ve never really explored any of it. The people who are most likely to know the layout are the maintenance workers,” He turned to one person who he had seen fixing security cameras in the past, “You guys also know the locations of all the cameras, right? And know how they work.”

“And the maids know all of the outside entrances and exits,” Fetch stood up, “Plus, we have the underground access to the laundry room.”

“What about servers and chefs?”

Reggie spoke up from next to where Fetch was sitting before, “We can move through the castle without suspicion. Some of us will go through the day as a distraction, hopefully keep them from realizing what’s happening. Those with shit coming out of their hands, who can take multiple bullets will go in with the attack groups.”

“What are you going to do?” Fetch asked, looking at Eugene. He looked around the room, and suddenly the feeling of eyes on him made him feel powerful. Maybe being a leader would suit him.

“I’m going to put a bullet in Augustine’s head and tear my mother from the castle to live in exile. And if I have to, I’ll kill her too.”

“Holy shit,” Delsin put a hand on his back, “This is actually gonna happen.”

Eugene took a deep breath and nodded, “Yes, it fucking is.”


The next week moved by with a tense routine. It was a slow process, but it was steady and definite. Maintenance workers rewired cameras so that they played previously recorded videos on repeat, maids began to mark entrances and exits to the palace, and those on the attack teams trained in the servant’s quarters and planned routes.

Days were spent chipping away and going about business while nights were spent planning. He started spending more and more time in the servant’s quarters and began to feel more at home with the people there. Every training session lasted twice as long as normal, and Eugene was almost able to shoot targets with his eyes shut.

His meetings with Delsin also became longer and longer the closer they got to the day of the coup. It was typically about four in the morning when he left Eugene’s room. They would fall asleep together after talking and kissing for a few hours. The conduit made him feel safe and sure about everything that was happening in his life.

Then, the night before the coup was there. The entire air of the servant’s quarters was tense as everyone gathered around. Eugene stood up and the circle went quiet, “Is everything ready?”

“All of the cameras are overridden or broken.”

“Unguarded outside entrances and basement are unlocked and marked.”

“Attack routes are sets and plans are made.”

He nodded, not being able to stop himself from smiling, “I managed to steal a few of the smaller handguns from the range when the guards left. Whoever doesn’t have powers should take one and hide it in your uniforms. The attack starts at eleven. Just before the guards change. The first round of them are tired and the second aren’t ready yet.”

“Plus, lunch is served a little bit later than that.” Delsin added, “Give us time to make our way in there while Augustine and the queen are distracted. You can keep them in there, right?”

“I can,” He felt his heart pounding, “I can’t believe this is happening. But I’m ready.”


“Here is your meal, Your Majesty,” The server placed the plate in front of Eugene’s mother. Another placed one for Augustine, and Reggie placed one in front of Eugene. It was clear that Reggie was stiffer than normal, so the prince made eye contact with him, with a small nod. Then, he met Augustine’s eyes – full of suspicion.

“Thank you,” The queen responded. She had barely lifted her fork when a guard burst through the door. All eyes turned to him, except for Eugene’s. He watched the servers’ hands move slowly towards where the guns were hidden, “What’s happening?”

“Your Majesty, at the changing of the guards, something disturbing was discovered,” He began, out of breath. Reggie reached under the table and took the rifle that was hidden there in the morning, passing it to Eugene, “The guards patrolling the outside were found dead.”

“Dead? What do you mean?” Augustine asked.

“The marks left in the wounds were clearly left by conduits. Please come quickly,” Augustine and the queen rose to follow him.

Eugene also stood, holding up the gun, “Sit,” He commanded as the servers pulled theirs out as well. His mother looked at him, eyes wide with clear confusion.

“Eugene?” She said, voice giving away her betrayal, “What are you doing?” The guard held up his own rifle and moved to shoot. Eugene fired first at the guard’s leg, knocking him to the ground screaming.

“I plan to help people, mother,” He reset the bullet, aiming the rifle towards her, “All you’ve ever done is destroy this land.”

He quickly moved the gun to face Augustine and shot towards her head. What he didn’t expect was the wall of rock that appeared before her. As is dissipated, she began laughing. The noise in the room must have attracted the attention of passing guards, as two ran into the room to escort the queen out.

The servers all shot at them, but another wall appeared to block the bullets. Reggie groaned in pain, grabbing his leg. Eugene could see the same rock sticking out from his legs, crawling up slowly. The other two servants followed with similar reactions. The prince stood, looking around, “What the hell?”

“Your highness, you may have excelled in school, but you aren’t overly bright, are you?” She smiled, pulling out her own weapon, “You may have made a mistake, planning your little coup with only non-conduits.”

“You’re one?”

The rock began to coat the rifle, leading him to drop it on the table. He then heard a gunshot, and a familiar excruciating pain surged through his shoulder. He grabbed it, swearing under his breath. Augustine laughed, stepping towards him, “Of course I am, your highness. Concrete is my specialty. Your mother hired me when I vowed to help her rid the rest of the kingdom of other conduits and anyone who deviated from the norm.”

He felt a searing pain run through his left leg, making him yell out in pain. That made Augustine laugh again as she held the pistol at his head. She then moved it down to his chest and smiled. He met her unforgiving eyes as she pulled the trigger, and everything went black.


 

Eugene blinked his eyes slowly, taking in the room around him as he came to. It was dim and cold – probably somewhere under the palace in the laundry room or storage. He tried to stand up, only to realize that he was stuck to the ground from the knees down. As his eyes adjusted to the room, he could see that there was someone sitting in a chair in the corner.

“Glad to see you’re finally awake,” Augustine said, “I was beginning to worry I’d missed my mark and hit you in the heart." 

“Why didn’t you kill me? You had a clear shot,” He snapped at her, reaching for a gun that wasn’t there.

Another one of those blood-curdling laughs, “You think I’d let you off that easily?” She stood up, adjusting her coat. Her arm moved to the shadows in the corner, “No, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. I’m going to have some fun.”

She threw something into the little bit of light that there was – someone. Grabbing a fistful of hair and yanking the head up, he made out Delsin’s bloodied face. There was concrete encasing his hands, likely keeping him from using his powers. It took everything in Eugene not to throw up or scream seeing him like that, hurting but still conscious. The conduit muttered, “Go to hell,” and attempted to hit her.

“Stop fighting, Rowe,” She grinned, “It’s over. And now the prince is going to get to watch you die to pay for what he tried to do.”

Eugene looked over Delsin’s face, and saw that bold and confident demeanor lay almost broken. But as he met those brown eyes that he loved, he still saw that burning fire. That fire felt like it was lighting inside of him, building up through his body as he was filled with anger.

“It’s over,” Augustine hissed as she held her pistol up to the back of Delsin’s head. Eugene wanted to scream and cry, but his voice wasn’t coming out. He could still feel that burning bubbling up inside of him, though.

Her finger was on the trigger and began to pull, and Eugene felt like he was about to explode. He couldn’t help but throw a hand up in front of him and scream “No!”

What happened then left the room dead silent. His fingertips began to glow, similarly to how Fetch and Delsin’s would whenever they fired a shot. Next thing he knew, the pressure building up inside of him as a flurry of blue lights were shot, sending Augustine reeling backwards.

He looked at his hand, shaking; There was a remaining blue afterglow. He was so distracted by it that he didn’t notice the concrete disappear from his legs and Delsin’s hands until he fell to his knees. The other conduit ran to his side, helping him to his feet, “You okay, Eugene?” He moved his hand to meet the prince’s, “We need to go.”

“No,” Eugene managed to get out, “We need to finish this.”

Delsin paused and then nodded, “The others are fighting off armies of guards, we have time before they get to your mom.” They both looked to Augustine, who was sitting up, “You don’t know how to control these powers, so let me handle that, okay? Here, I managed to get a handgun.” He handed it to him quickly, turning towards the woman standing up and shooting a smoke shot at her.

Eugene took the gun in his hand, turning it over and pointing it at Augustine. It was a different weight than the rifles he was used to, but he figured he could use it. Delsin smoke-dashed over to her, pinning her up against the wall by her neck. The prince could see him smiling, likely glad to finally have payback for all the times she’d hurt him.

A hand came up and grabbed the side of her face, and Delsin tensed up for a moment before stumbling backwards, dropping her to the floor. Eugene lifted the gun back up towards her, but Delsin motioned for him to stop. 

“This,” He held up his hand, firing a concrete dagger into her shoulder, “Is for Hank,” Another one in her stomach, “For my tribe,” In her leg, “For Betty,” Several in her chest, arms, and legs, “And for every last conduit who you trampled over and killed to keep us quiet.”

“You think you scare me, Rowe?” She sneered, blood beginning to seep through her clothes, “You don’t have the fucking heart to kill me.”

He spit on her, kicking her in the stomach, “This one’s for your vendetta against me. Every last concrete splinter you shot, shard of glass you stabbed me with, and bullet you fired into my back. And most of all, taking my family away from me.”

He charged up his newly-obtained concrete power, firing what was more like a missile directly at her head. Eugene had to look away before it hit, not wanting to see what happened. When he did look up, her body was slumped to the side, lifeless. Delsin stood over her for another moment before turning away, back towards Eugene. His clothes were splattered with fresh blood, and his face was covered in concrete dust that had come back when the missile hit.

“Let’s go, we’re not done yet."

Chapter Text

“Delsin, can we talk about what just happened,” Eugene was struggling to keep up with the taller, who stopped and turned towards him, still covered in dust and dried blood. His own blood that had covered his face before was mostly rubbed off, but some still lingered, primarily in his hair. The fury that burned in his eyes was mildly terrifying.

“Do you want to talk now, or after your mother joins Augustine in hell?”

“Now,” Eugene looked into his eyes, which seemed to help him calm down, “You need to calm down anyways so you don’t kill yourself in the process.

A deep breath, “You’re right. But we can’t take too long, there’s a war going on up there.”

“You have new powers and I,” He held up his hands in front of him, palms up, the blue lights flickering between them, “Have powers. I don’t even know what they are. It looks like pixels or something.” 

“Maybe that’s it. Video powers?”

“Video?” He paused, looking up to the walls. He spotted a camera a few feet away and walked towards it. Once he was underneath it, he held his hand up and almost immediately, the pixels moved from the device to his hand. It almost made him feel like he could breathe easier, “Yeah, I guess it’s video.”

Delsin smiled, pulling Eugene close, “Feels pretty damn good, right?” He kissed the prince, and Eugene felt his mind go blank. It was like part of him was being ripped out, and he fell to the ground. Delsin fell back as well, managing to catch himself on the ground.

“What just happened?” Eugene asked, panting slightly as he sat up. 

“Fuck,” The taller hissed, standing and helping the prince to his feet, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. That happens whenever I get a new power.”

“Oh, so when you touched me…”

Delsin smiled, opening his palm to reveal a flurry of blue pixels, “Looks like we’re doing this one purely on video power.” 

Eugene couldn’t help but smile back, reaching up to pull Delsin’s head down into a deep kiss, “Concrete probably would’ve been better. But at least we can learn this together, right?” He leaned in for another kiss but was interrupted by another voice. 

“That’s where you two are,” Fetch called out, “Come on, lovebirds. We have a fuckin’ mission.” They looked at each other briefly before following her. She looked Delsin up and down, “You look like hell, what happened?” 

“Augustine’s dead. I got her concrete, which is what the dust is from. The blood is a mix – she fucked me up but I blew her head up. So, I’d say she and I are even.”

“Damn, well I can’t wait to see,” She ran off before he could correct her, leaving a lingering trail of neon behind her. Delsin pulled the trail into his fingertips, shrugging.

“I know this one. We’ll figure video out together later. Let’s go.”

He took off running as well, leaving Eugene to roll his eyes and follow at a normal speed, “I need to figure this stuff out soon.”


When he got to the door, Delsin and Fetch were already waiting for him. He was slightly out of breath, but he was too full of adrenaline to notice.  He knew that just beyond the door, his mother was waiting. The woman who raised him alone after his father died, who pushed him to learn every skill he could, and who made sure to keep him safe from the outside.

She was also the woman who broke him down, forced him to keep everything a secret from the world, kept an entire breed of people in servitude or exile, and threatened to murder him for not obeying her every order. Eugene didn’t want to kill her, but he wanted her to pay for everything she’d done to him and everyone else. He wanted her to feel like he’d felt since he was born.

So he took a deep breath and straightened his back. He knew his clothes were torn up and filthy and he probably looked worn down, but he was going to look as strong as he could. Looking to Fetch and Delsin – getting a smile from the former and a kiss on the forehead from the latter – he moved to open the door, hesitating only slightly before pulling the gun out of his pocket and walking into the room.

Inside sat his mother on the sofa, facing away from him. Standing around the room was a number of armed guards. She didn’t turn to face Eugene when she spoke, “I was thinking you had been killed in your little raid, son.”

“On the contrary,” He said, making his way to the couch across from her and sitting down, “I’ve never felt more powerful.” He kept the gun in his hand as he stared at her, not breaking any sort of eye contact.

“Well, what are you going to do now that you’re here?”

“Rip you from the throne.”

A quick, cold chuckle, “You never were much of a fighter, Eugene. A good shot, but not very skilled in combat. How do you intend to take out seven guards and get me out of here? There’s an army out here as well.”

“We have an army, too. And ours have superhuman powers.”

“I’ll call Augustine and have her come. Judging by the dust and remnants of stone, you know of her powers, now.”

“You might have issues calling her, mother,” He tapped his fingers on the gun, “Unless you believe she can function without a head.”

His mother visibly tensed up, but hid it with a cold, forced smile, “You killed her?”

“Delsin did,” He said, “Do you know Delsin, mother? He’s a twenty-four-year-old, conduit server from the Akomish tribe. His power is the ability to absorb the powers of others; currently, he has smoke, neon, video, and concrete so far.” Eugene smiled, “I’ve also been in a sort of relationship with him for nearly a month.”

“What?”

“That’s right, mother. Your only son, the prince of this kingdom, has violated one of the strictest laws of this land: He’s in a relationship with a man. He loves a man.”

The queen sighed heavily. She nodded to one of the guards, who moved to one side of Eugene, “I’m disappointed to hear that. I was hoping you and I could move past this and be a family again.” Another guard moved to the other side, “But it appears that you have no hope for a future, especially as a king.” 

The guards grabbed his arms tightly, making him swear quietly. A third opened the window on his mother’s cue. He quickly realized what was happening, and began to struggle, shouting for the two outside. The door burst open as Delsin and Fetch came running in, each quickly being seized by the remaining guards. They tried to use their powers, but their hands were put in devices like those Hank had been in when he was executed.

He met eyes with Delsin as he was dragged towards the window. Even at that moment, the brown eyes were bright and full of fire. The older conduit said something, but he couldn’t hear what it was as he was thrown out of the building. All he could think of as he plummeted was those eyes.

Every kiss suddenly flitted through his mind, each time he felt that spark when their lips met. He began to think of the first time he saw Delsin, when he was nineteen. Before that he’d been a maintenance worker, but couldn’t work with the technology well enough. Instead, he became a server, and Eugene couldn’t look at him without blushing.

Then, he thought of the time they met in the hallway. When Delsin helped him put his hearing aid back in – he realized now that the aid probably got knocked loose in the struggle, which is why he couldn’t hear Delsin. The party flashed through his head next, finding out that Delsin could sign. Next was their first kiss in the servant’s quarters. The first time he felt really alive was in that kiss.

More and more instances like that flashed through his head as he continued to fall. Finally, it was those eyes. And those cheekbones, the way his hair fell into his face. Then it was those hands that ran through his hair and made him feel safe. His brain settled on his lips, the way they kissed him so deeply and curled up at the very corners. He thought of the way they moved when he talked, and he thought of what they said when he was thrown from the window.

“Your powers!”

He smiled, thinking of the blue pixels flying through the air from his hand. Those powers couldn’t save him, so he just gave in. He’d lived long enough to fall in love, start a revolution, and find out he had powers. That’s what mattered to him. He just closed his eyes and waited for the impact, but it didn’t come. One more thought flashed through his head.

“Try to unlock your powers!”